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Spring Allergies in Pets and What You Can Do to Help
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: Choosing the Right Pet Food
How to Care for Your Senior Family Pet

Spring Allergies in Pets and What You Can Do to Help
Although you might be happy that spring is approaching with some warmer weather, it also often means allergy season is not far behind. Those allergies might not just affect you, they could also affect your pet.

While human allergies usually are respiratory in nature, pet allergies typically affect the skin more often than not, such as skin irritation or inflammation, “a condition called allergic dermatitis,” according to the article, “If Your Dog is Itchy or Your Cat is Wheezy, You Need to Read This” at Healthy Pets.

Your pet’s allergies will cause itchy skin leading to excessive scratching. “As the itch-scratch cycle continues, her skin will become inflamed and tender to the touch,” the article said. “Other signs of allergic dermatitis include areas of hair loss, open sores on the skin, and scabbing.” Additionally, pets who have allergies often get ear problems, especially dogs. It is evident when the pet scratches her ears or shakes her head. An infection can bring about discharge and a bad smell as well.

The article said that other signs in pets with allergies include:
• Puffy red eyes
• Red oral tissue
• Red chin
• Red paws
• Red anus

And because allergies can easily become worse with time, seeing a veterinarian is important. “Your veterinarian may perform diagnostic tests to identify skin and ear infections and rule out diseases that mimic the symptoms of allergies,” according to the article, “It’s Spring and My Pet Itches! A Look at Seasonal Allergies” at American Veterinarian.

Treatments can vary but may include medicated shampoos and conditioners, antihistamines, antibiotics, and antifungal drugs, among others. According to the American Veterinarian article, your pet may do well to see a veterinary dermatologist.

Don’t let your pet’s allergies go without proper treatment. Seek out professional help to ensure your pet’s condition is managed properly.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: Choosing the Right Pet Food
It’s not uncommon these days to see articles all over the Internet about pet food recalls, essentially scaring pet parents. What food should you choose? Dry food? Wet food? Store bought? Specialty store bought? Raw food? Home-cooked food? Natural food? How do you know?

First, begin reading labels and doing your own research. According to the Petful article, “A Quick Guide to Choosing the Best Pet Food for a Long, Healthy Life,” maybe your pet has been OK on a low-quality brand, but it might not be the best choice. “Even a claim of ‘human-grade meat’ is questionable,” the article said. “For example, meat that was once deemed safe for people may have spoiled and found its way into the pet food.”

The article states that if you’re searching for a commercial dog or cat food that is healthy as a base, when looking at labels, search for “high in protein and low in fillers.” Also, try to avoid the inexpensive fillers often found in lower-quality pet food.

Typically, many supermarket and chain store pet foods are low quality. Oftentimes “animal fat” is present, which can mean a variety of negative things. “Not to mention, the chemical additives and preservatives used to process animal fats may cause chronic allergies and skin problems,” the article said. “With a super premium food, you’ll get higher-quality fats — vegetable oils rather than highly processed animal fats.”

High-quality pet foods are free from by-products, fillers, and chemical preservatives and instead have ingredients that “include unrefined, minimally processed foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthy fats and proteins,” according to the article, “Why You Should Feed High-Quality Dog Food and Cat Food” at

While a lower-quality food may meet basic requirements, the higher quality foods are better for your pet’s health and wellness.

How to Care for Your Senior Family Pet
As your pet gets older and becomes a senior, it’s important to be aware of any of the physical and mental changes that occur. Caring for a senior pet is different than a younger one, and that can include changes in diet and exercise, and more trips to your veterinarian.

If you have a dog, keep your eyes open for anything that seems out of the ordinary, as dogs can hide health issues, according to the article, “Caring for Senior Dogs: What You Need to Know” at “Routine exams, preventive medicine and adjustments to your dog’s lifestyle can help your pooch stay healthy even as the years creep up,” the article said.

According to the article, here are some issues that may arise in your senior dog:
• Arthritis
• Cancer
• Cognitive disorders
• Intestinal problems
• Deafness
• Dental disease
• Vision problems

Just as in dogs, cats’ health requirements also change with age. “Like people, aging cats are often faced with a wide variety of age-related, life changes and basic healthy habits become even more important with passing time,” according to the article, “Caring for a Senior Cat: 7 Healthy Habits” at Pet Health Network.

The following are some things you can do for your senior feline:

• Keep senior cats indoors
• Ensure your senior cat doesn’t become overweight
• Keep up on regular veterinary visits for appropriate vaccinations to prevent infectious diseases
• Grooming and hygiene including dental cleanings
• Keep senior cats active

Just as in humans, your senior pets face a variety of age-related health changes both physically and mentally. Monitor them carefully, take note if any major changes occur, and keep your veterinarian abreast of any issues. By doing so, senior pets can continue to live healthy and happy lives.

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How Do You Love Your Pet? Great Ideas for Valentine’s Day
Cat Communications: What Is Your Feline Trying to Tell You?
The Importance of Exercising Your Dog

How Do You Love Your Pet? Great Ideas for Valentine’s Day
Love is in the air, especially during February when Valentine’s hearts and candy are everywhere. There are tons of ideas out there for humans, such as a romantic dinner date or a romantic weekend getaway.

However, if you have a pet, what’s the best way to show him your love on Valentine’s Day?

There are so many things you can do. According to the article, “Ten things you can do to show your pets you love them” at, there are things to do to make your pet feel very loved, including:

• Feed healthy foods. “Just like humans, pets thrive when they have a healthy diet,” the article said.
• Exercise your pet to enrich his life, and yours, too! Try walking, running and playing fetch for dogs; interactive play for cats.
• Learn your pet’s language and how he communicates through body language.
• Build a relationship through reward-based training classes.
• Ensure you take your pet for annual checkups. You can even visit the vet at other times to get your pet used to going there. Check with your vet’s office beforehand.

There also are other creative ways to treat your pet right on Valentine’s Day, according to the article, “8 Ways to Love Your Pet This Valentine’s Day” at They include:

• Specially made treats you can make at home.
• Get your pet a new toy. “Answer your pet’s pleas with a new toy, and indulge in a play session or three!”
• Give your pet an indulgent at-home grooming session, including “a quick bath, a loving comb-out, or just a brush massage.”

Although you have to keep the chocolate, wine and flowers away from your pet due to the danger they can cause him, there are many ways to show the love on Valentine’s Day and beyond.

Cat Communications: What Is Your Feline Trying to Tell You?
Cats are amazing, loving, finicky, and sometimes hard to figure out. They seem to have their own language. What is the best way to figure out how your cat communicates with you?

“Cats use a variety of signals (body postures, facial expressions, and vocalizations) to convey their message and avoid unwelcome confrontations,” according to the article, “What Your Cat’s Body Language Is Saying,” at When humans learn how to “decipher these feline postures,” it is easier to figure out cats and have a better bond.

The article offers advice on interpreting cat lingo:

• When your cat rolls over to display her tummy, it can mean she is content or the pose “followed by fully extended claws and sharp teeth” can indicate her being defensive.
• Cats are not big on people staring at them, as they find it to be a threat.
• “Learn the nuances of your cat’s vocabulary so you can detect the difference between a plea for dinner and an urgent cry for help,” the article said.

When your cat wants to show you affection, she has a variety of ways to do that from kisses to chirps and mews. According to the article, “How Do Cats Show Affection? 7 Cat Affection Signs” at, “Because some signs of cat affection are subtle, they are often misinterpreted and sometimes overlooked.”

Some signs include:

• Using their tails, which convey their emotions “through how they are held and positioned, and the degrees of fur puffiness,” according to Catster.
• Cheek rubs, which is something some cats do to greet people they trust.
• Showing affection through head bunting.
• Hanging around their person.

Although different than dogs show affection and maybe not as obvious, cats show their affection to their humans in many ways, so be on the lookout.

The Importance of Exercising Your Dog
Exercise is as important for your dog as it is for you. When you have a dog, you literally have a reason to get up and move.

In order to get into shape physically and mentally, exercise is key. Obesity is becoming more prevalent in dogs and many are considered overweight by their veterinarians, according to the article, “Your Dog: Why Exercise Is Important” at “Obesity prevents dogs from enjoying many physical activities; it also decreases speed and stamina and makes it more difficult for dogs to deal with heat,” the article said. Obesity also can bring on a variety of medical issues from arthritic changes and torn ligaments to back issues and cardiac problems.

Before you start on an exercise plan, speak to your vet. The exercise you do should take the following into consideration regarding your dog:

• Age
• Breed
• Individual needs

If you walk or jog, ensure it’s not too hot and check hot pavement. Swimming is great, but make sure your dog can swim and that he wears a life vest.

“While some breeds have special needs that have to be taken into account, and dogs do slow down as they age, they still need to take part in some form of daily physical activity,” according to the article, “Exercising with Your Dog 101” at

Additionally, even dogs who are older, handicapped or blind can benefit and need exercise. Make sure not to push your dog. “Your dog should be happily tired, not exhausted, when you are done exercising her for the day,” the petMD article said.

It’s also great to mentally stimulate your dog, which you can do by changing up where you walk, and providing new and different play toys or games.

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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.