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New Year, New Goals, New You and Your Pet
Does Your Dog Really Need a Sweater When It’s Cold?
CBD Oil: What Is It and Should You Use It on Your Pets?

New Year, New Goals, New You and Your Pet
It’s a New Year and some people have made resolutions. Whether it’s to lose weight, exercise more, or shop less, there’s so many.

Having goals for the New Year might not be such a bad thing. They may be even easier to attain when including your pet. If you find something you can do together, it can make you both feel better and happier.

Start with a grooming routine for your dog or cat. It’s great for your pet and good for you to get into the habit. Remember, “grooming isn’t all about the fur – it’s also about being familiar with any changes to your pet’s body,” according to the article, “5 New Year’s Resolutions All Cat and Dog Owners Should Make” at

The article also suggests being up to date on your pet’s preventive care, so make sure to schedule at least a yearly vet checkup and talk to your vet about heartworm, flea and tick prevention. Keep your pets bedding, bowls and toys clean as well.

To ensure you both get exercise, “take your pet for a longer walk at least 3 times a week,” according to the article, “New Year’s Resolutions For You and Your Pet,” at

Other suggestions from the article include:

• Ensuring you and your pet eat healthier
• Spending more time with your dog or cat, whether it’s outside or snuggling on the couch
• Getting a new toy and playing with your pet at least five minutes a day
• Joining a class together, whether it’s agility, swimming, obedience or socialization
• Starting a saving’s account in case of a pet emergency

New Year means a new you and your pet. Include preventive ideas as well as fun ones and you’re off to a great start.

Does Your Dog Really Need a Sweater When It’s Cold?
Some dogs are made for the colder weather while others are not. According to the article, “Do Dogs Need Sweaters in Winter?” at, “dogs come equipped with their own external layering system, but some dogs have lighter layers of fur than others, and some are not genetically suited to the environments in which they find themselves transplanted.”

Much of whether your dog is cold or how he warms himself has to do with his size, breed and oftentimes his age. It’s usually the “smaller, light bodied breeds, toy breeds, and breeds that naturally have very short or thin hair coats” who do well with a sweater.

Sweaters are helpful for senior dogs who may have a weaker immune system, the article said. Additionally, dogs with certain diseases such as Cushing’s also do well with a sweater.

Typically, larger dogs with dense hair do not need a sweater. “Their fur is already genetically designed to protect them from extreme winter temperatures,” the article said. Dogs in this category include the Siberian Husky and Malamute.

If you do get a sweater, measure your dog first to make sure the sweater is not too small or too large. Cotton or acrylic are washable and easier to maintain. Make sure there are no loose parts.

Be careful of hypothermia if you are in extreme cold weather. “Any dog, regardless of breed, can develop symptoms of hypothermia,” according to the article, “Why Some Dogs Really Do Need Sweaters” at Signs include, whining, shivering, and anxious behavior. If you see any signs get your dog inside and get him warm as hypothermia can be very dangerous.

Always remember to keep an eye on your dog and watch his behavior in the cold, and limit his time outside during inclement weather.

CBD Oil: What Is It and Should You Use It on Your Pets?
There has been a lot of talk and news lately about the usage of CBD oil and using it for pets. The topic can get a bit confusing and there’s a lot of information, including whether it is legal and if your veterinarian can prescribe it.

What is CBD Oil?

According to the article, “What’s the deal with CBD?” at Veterinary Practice News, “CBD is a component of both the marijuana plant and its close cousin, the hemp plant. Almost all of the CBD oil used in medicine is sourced from hemp.” Colorado State University has done a safety profile of CBD and studied it in dogs with a conclusion that it is safe for them. The school is also researching its efficacy in seizure disorders, the article said.

More and more veterinarians are considering that CBD oil is “safe and effective.” However, the downside is that it is technically illegal, so vets really shouldn’t prescribe it.

Hemp, however, is classified as a Schedule 1 drug. “Why?” the article said. “Hemp has the unlucky distinction of sharing a genus with the marijuana plant. Though it claims a mere 0.3 percent THC (and can’t even remotely get you stoned), this plant has been just as off-limits to farmers, sellers, and buyers in the U.S. as any other Cannabis plant.”

According to the article, “Cannabis Oil for Dogs: Everything You Need to Know” at, “Cannabis oil can be used to treat seizures, nausea, stress, anxiety, arthritis, back pain, symptoms of cancer, and gastrointestinal issues, among other health conditions in dogs.”

“Obtaining medical cannabis for your pet all depends on where you live and your state’s marijuana laws,” the petMD article said.

The best thing you can do is your research on the topic and speak with your veterinarian.

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Tips to Help if Your Dog is Leash Reactive
Best Ways to Socialize Your New Puppy or Kitten
Keep Up with Your Dog’s Grooming Between Professional Appointments”

Tips to Help if Your Dog is Leash Reactive
Having a dog means taking nice long walks. However, if his behavior becomes unmanageable while on a leash, he may be leash-reactive, making that walk unnerving.

According to the article, “These Dog Training Tips Can Help Your Pup Overcome Leash Reactivity” at, “Leash-reactive dogs are triggered by stimuli in the environment, responding with over-the-top behaviors that increase stress levels for the pet parent, the dog and everyone within barking distance.” Additionally, behaviors “can range from fear to frustration to true aggression,” however, there are dog-friendly ways to remedy the issue.

Leash-reactivity can mean a dog is anxious, fearful and trying to get away from the “stimulus,” the article said. The defensive reaction is used to “prevent further confrontations.” It can come from:

1. Lacking proper early socialization
2. A bad experience while walking
3. Punishment after he reacted
4. “Barrier frustration” whereby he is moved away from interacting with another dog before he is ready

You can help by “changing your dog’s perception of the stressor,” the article said. The goal is your dog eventually will associate more positively to the stimulus. Include treats and a “marker” such as a clicker or a particular word.

• Determine the buffer zone and keep your dog “below the point where he reacts to the trigger,” the article said.
• When your dog sees the “trigger,” mark it with the clicker or the associated word. Then provide the treat as a reward, continuing as necessary until you see the dog associating the trigger with the treat.
• As your dog is more relaxed, you can “begin to decrease the distance between your dog and the trigger during walks,” the article said.

Continue the method and always keep an eye on your dog to see how he is reacting. Keep treats with you as well.

Best Ways to Socialize Your New Puppy or Kitten
One of the many joyous occasions in life is bringing home a new puppy or kitten. You have to think about training, vet care, bedding, potty training, litter boxes, toys, etc. And don’t forget socialization.

According to the article, “Socialization of Dogs and Cats” at the American Veterinary Medical Association, “Socialization is the process of preparing a dog or cat to enjoy interactions and be comfortable with other animals, people, places and activities.” It’s best to start at 3 and 14 weeks for puppies and 3 and 9 weeks for kittens.

Start early so your puppy will be “a more confident, relaxed and well-adjusted canine,” according to the article, “Your Guide to Socializing a Puppy” at, which offers these tips:

• Teach your puppy to be relaxed in different situations so she can react confidently.
• Introduce her to sights, sounds and objects calmly and reward with a treat or toy.
• Expose her to other dogs, livestock, horses, birds, etc., avoiding dog parks at first, the Vetstreet article said.
• Introduce her to a variety of people, grooming, the vet’s office, car rides, shopping carts, visitors to your home.

The article, “Your Guide to Socializing a Kitten,” also at, says to introduce your kitten to different people, sights and sounds, which makes for a confident adult cat. Speak to your vet about when to expose your kitten to other cats.

• Get your kitten used to being touched and handled by different people.
• Expose your kitten to a variety of experiences so she is not scared or threatened later on in life, including a car ride, vet’s office, a crate, music, harness, groomer, other animals, tooth brushing, nail clipping and bathing.

The earlier you prepare your puppy or kitten for social interactions, the better adjusted and happier you both will be.

Keep Up with Your Dog’s Grooming Between Professional Appointments
Whether you have a dog who is high maintenance and needs regular grooming or a dog who is groomed less frequently, it’s important to keep up with grooming in between professional appointments.

“In addition to maintaining your dog’s beautiful coat, making sure that your pet is groomed will reduce the chances of many health problems, including painful tangled fur and the presence of flies and all the issues they present,” according to the article, “Keep dogs happy in between grooming sessions” at

The article offers simple advice:

• Remove your dog’s collar every so often when at home to reduce matting and irritation of the skin
• Brush your dog’s coat regularly.
• Clean your dog’s ears, especially if your dog has floppy ears, which are more prone to infections.

If you plan on at-home grooming in between professional appointments make sure you feel confident. You will get to know you dog, get in some bonding, and also notice anything unusual on his body, including lumps or bumps, according to the article, “7 tips for safe, stress-free grooming” at Animal Wellness Magazine. The article offers the following advice:

• Buy the right tools and keep in good condition, including brushes/combs, shampoo, scissors and clippers, blow dryers and nail trimmers.
• Find a good, safe and secure place to bathe your dog.
• Be patient and use positive reinforcement. Keep treats on hand “to reward good behavior, and give him lots of love,” the Animal Wellness article said.
• Go slow and let your dog get used to the experience and sounds.
• Groom regularly.

If you’re uncomfortable doing a full groom at home, do the basics and leave the rest to your professional groomer. You don’t want to accidentally hurt your dog or make him stressed so that he is afraid of getting groomed at all.

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November is the Perfect Time to Give Thanks to Your Pets
The Do’s and Don’ts of Thanksgiving Dinner and Your Pets
Got Cats? Find Out What’s All about the “Flap?”

November is the Perfect Time to Give Thanks to Your Pets
Thanksgiving is around the corner. With so many things to be thankful for, make sure you don’t overlook your pets. They bring so much joy and add so much to life, and November is the perfect time to give them thanks.

According to the article, “Reasons to Be Thankful for Pets” at, your pet “is a member of your family and deserves to be appreciated for all the love and companionship he offers you.”

Some of the great things you get from pets include snuggling sessions, their excitement when you arrive home from work, laughter, they are playful, they are great companions so you’re never alone, and unconditional love. “Pets don’t care what you look like, what you do for a living, that you bite your nails or clean only when company’s coming over,” the article said.

Pets truly “make us whole and happy,” according to the article, “10 Reasons To Be Grateful For Pets This Thanksgiving,” at The article offers some more reasons to be grateful for pets:

• Animals keep us present and “remind us to be mindful.”
• Pets give us purpose. When you help homeless animals or shelter pets, “it feels worthy and meaningful.”
• Animals are good teachers by allowing us our imperfections and accepting us as we are as we learn and grow.
• Pets keeps us active. We walk our dogs and go on hikes, and we play with our cats and rabbits. They help keep us physical and young.
• We become better. “Studies show that petting an animal can reduce a person’s heart rate as well as their blood pressure, and animals keep us physically healthier overall because they keep us moving,” the article said.

For all pets bring to life, being grateful to them is the least we can do.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Thanksgiving Dinner and Your Pets
Many of us wait all year for Thanksgiving to come, dreaming of mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie, oh my! If you have sneaky dogs or cats who enjoy hiding under the table or standing at your leg begging for a morsel, it might be hard to resist their cute faces. However, think twice before you drop that turkey.

Nothing ruins a Thanksgiving feast more than a sick dog or cat. “In fact, abrupt changes in diet or too many rich, fatty foods are just a few of the reasons why veterinary clinics see an uptick in cases of pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) and gastrointestinal upset right after Thanksgiving,” according to the article, “10 Best and Worst Thanksgiving Foods for Pets” at

Many Thanksgiving foods are detrimental to pets who should stay away from things cooked with garlic, butter, sour cream or bacon drippings. “Don’t leave food within reach of counter surfers and take garbage outside so your pets don’t into it while you’re engrossed in the football game,” the article said.

Some foods are literally poisonous to pets. According to the article, “Thanksgiving Pet Safety” at (American Veterinary Medical Association), keep pets away from fatty foods that are hard for them to digest, poultry bones that can do damage to the digestive tract, and some holiday sweets that have ingredients that are poisonous.

The AVMA article offers tips:

• Some poisonous foods for pets include onions, raisins and grapes. Even a bit of turkey or turkey skin can cause pancreatitis.
• Keep pets away from desserts especially ones with chocolate and xylitol, an artificial sweetener.
• Yeast dough may cause bloating and gas.
• Keep trash away and out of pets’ reach.

If your pet eats anything poisonous, call your vet, emergency clinic and/or ASPCA Poison Control: 888-426-4435.

Got Cats? Find Out What’s All about the “Flap?”
Cats are amazing animals. They are intelligent, adorable, fun, playful, and sometimes sneaky. Ask any cat person, and they’ll tell you all that and more. They also may tell you about their cat’s saggy belly. Not all cats develop that flap underneath near the belly, but some do. What is it?

Sometimes cats who are not overweight otherwise may have a hanging belly. “Unlike most dogs that generally have firm bellies, this pouch of saggy skin just in front of the rear legs is common in cats and can often be seen swinging merrily from side to side as the cat trots along,” according to the article, “Why do many cats have a saggy belly?” at

The saggy belly is a part of your cat’s natural anatomy. The technical term for the flap of skin is the “primordial pouch,” which also can be seen in some lions and tigers, the article said. “This bit of loose skin and padding at the belly provides extra protection and insulation to your cat during fights when a cat’s practice of “bunny kicking” with the rear paws could result in severe abdominal injury to their opponent.”

It is also said that the flap allows the stomach to stretch in order to hold more food, which would make sense for cats in the wild, according to the article, “Why Does My Cat Have a Flabby Belly?” at Pawesome Cats.

When a cat ages and his metabolism slows, he may store more fat. This could cause the pouch to increase its size as well.

Remember that even though the flap is part of your cat’s overall anatomy, it’s not a reason to keep him otherwise overweight. Keep your cat at a healthy weight to help him live a long life.