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Declawing Cats and Why It’s Not Ideal for Them
Treat Enrichments and Fun Games to Keep Your Pets Mentally Stimulated
The Importance of Grooming Your Pet Regularly and Trimming Their Nails

There’s some controversy around the declawing of cats. Some think it’s OK for indoor cats. Some believe a cat may scratch a person or their child or ruin clothes or furniture. However, declawing a cat is cruel and unnecessary. According to the article, “Is Declawing Cats Bad?” at, a cat’s claws are important. Not only are a cat’s claws for defense, they help a cat “to establish footing for walking, running, springing, climbing, or stretching,” the article said. A cat also needs to scratch as “it pulls off the old outer nail sheath and exposes sharp, smooth claws,” the article said, while it enables the cat’s need to mark territory. When declawing a cat, there is a standard operation whereby the claw is removed as well as the “last bone of the toe.” The procedure is typically done on a cat’s front feet, and according to the article, it is “comparable to the removal of the fingers of the human hand at the last knuckle” and there is a lot of pain involved. According to the article, “Declawing: The Medical Facts” at PetHealthNetwork, after healing, there are some things to watch. While the following may not happen to every cat, the effects are something to be aware of, including: • Back and joint problems • Severe pain after surgery • Problems with the litter box whereby a cat may have trouble walking on litter • Personality differences • Declawed cats should never go outdoors There are things you can do as alternatives to declawing, according to the article, including: • Get your cat a scratching post. • Keep your cat’s nails trimmed. Before you decide, do your research. For those wanting a declawed cat, you can go to your local shelter and adopt a cat who is already declawed. When the weather gets warm and the temperature heats up, it’s not always the best idea to take your pets outside. There are things you can do inside to mentally stimulate them. Fun games and treats can keep your pet happy and prevent boredom. According to the article, “Easy enrichment ideas for pets” at The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), get your pet ready for fun with a scavenger hunt. “Hide some treats in sneaky spots around the house and let your dog use their strong sense of smell to find them,” the article said. Other things you can do with your pet, according to the HSUS article, include: • Rotate toys. Help make it more exciting and “refresh their collection by choosing three or four ‘new’ toys and put the rest away,” the article said. • Solve puzzles and keep your pet’s mind busy. • Training. It builds skill and you get to bond together. • Play games, such as fetch, tug-of-war, and hide-and-seek. Step outside the box and do something out of the ordinary. Try an obstacle course, get a box and build a fort for your cat, and more. There are other “fun and engaging activities that will allow your dog to explore their own home,” according to the article, “Dog Enrichment” at Animal Friends. According to Animal Friends, you can try the following: • Blow bubbles. Check out Pet Qwerks Incredibubbles for Dogs, which are great for everyone in the family and are non-toxic. • Take a paper towel tube and use it as a puzzle feeder. “Cut random holes in the tube, add some treats to the tube, and press in the ends to close,” the Animal Friends’ article said. There are so many games and ways to be creative to help spark your pet’s mind. Have fun together! We love our pets, and one of the best ways to show it is by ensuring they are groomed regularly. Grooming is not simply so your pet looks great, it’s also important for their overall health. “Grooming is an integral part of your dog’s health and well-being and even a short-coated dog can suffer from a lack of grooming,” according to the article, “5 Reasons Grooming Is Vital To Your Dog’s Health” at iHeartDogs. You may want to groom your dog yourself or take your dog to the groomer. Just get it done. “The amount of grooming your pooch will need will depend on their coat type, but adequate grooming is important for all dogs,” the article said. According to the iHeartDogs article, some of the top reasons to groom your dog include: • Grooming helps prevent fleas and ticks. Bathing will help you spot them so you can get rid of them. • A good grooming helps alleviate discomfort. Brushing your dog can be like a massage and helps stop matting on those dogs with a longer coat. Don’t forget you’re also removing dirt. • Trimming nails. Long nails are uncomfortable and unhealthy. • A good groom helps keep ear infections at bay. • Grooming helps you spot anything out of the ordinary on your dog. If you decide to get your dog groomed professionally, ask friends and veterinarians for references. A professional will know what to do whereas you may not have the tools or experience. “Grooming your pets isn’t just for show; it’s a responsibility all owners should take seriously to keep their pets healthy, clean, and protected from what could be a very hairy situation,” according to the article, “Hair Comes Trouble: Why Pets Need Regular Grooming,” at the ASPCA.

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Pool Safety for Your Dogs
Why It’s Better to Keep Cats Exclusively Indoors
Valley Fever in Dogs and What You Should Know

Pool Safety for Your Dogs

The weather is heating up and that means everyone is in the pool. It’s great to get cooled off and have some water fun. But does your dog know how to swim? Do you know how to keep your dog safe around the pool?

It’s a myth that all dogs can swim when in reality many cannot. “This common misconception can be life threatening to your pet,” according to the article, “Pool Safety for Dogs” at Modern Dog, which also points to brachycephalic dogs, such as English bulldogs, American bulldogs, and French bulldogs, all of whom are not good swimmers. “Therefore, it is smart to teach these and all dogs how to swim and exit the pool safely to prevent drowning.”

Keep your dog from drinking pool water, the article said. “It is also important that your pool’s chemical balance is correct, as algae can be disruptive to pets’ health.”

Introduce your dog to the pool by showing her the basics, according to the article, “Dogs and Water Safety,” at Fetch by WebMD. Have a positive attitude and make sure there’s no stress when teaching basics, including:

• Find a shallow, quiet place in the pool.
• Keep your dog on a leash while she learns.
• Be in the water with your dog.
• Don’t force your dog into the pool.
• “When your dog begins to paddle with their front legs, lift their hind legs to show them how to float,” the Fetch by WebMD article said.

Be sure to put a fence around your pool, keep a strong cover over it when it’s not in use, teach your dog how to get in and out of the pool, ensure the water is not too cold, and never leave your dog alone in the pool, the Fetch by WebMD article said.

Why It’s Better to Keep Cats Exclusively Indoors

Do you have a cat that’s an indoor cat, but you feel he should have a chance to be outdoors? Or maybe you have a cat who you think doesn’t want to be indoors and is missing out on something.

“A lot of cat owners feel guilty about keeping their cat inside and worry that they are depriving their cat of natural instincts or fresh air and sunshine,” according to the article, “Indoor Cats vs. Outdoor Cats” at American Humane.

Ensure you do research so you can make the right choice for the benefit of your cat’s health and life in general.

When your cat is outdoors, he will encounter other cats, from your neighbors’ cats to feral cats, who can have diseases that they could pass to your cat. These include feline leukemia, feline AIDS (FIV), feline distemper, upper respiratory infections, and others, according to the article. Your cat can also pick up parasites such as fleas, ticks, ear mites, ringworm, and more that will be harmful to your cat as well as to you and your home.

Your cat’s safety is also at risk when outdoors, the American Humane article said. Concerns include:

• Getting hit by a car
• Wild animals and loose dogs
• Poisons and toxins, such as antifreeze and rodent poison

Cats can be happy indoors, and they will be healthier and safer as well, according to the article, “10 Reasons Why Your Cat Should Be an Indoor-Only Cat” at Your cat can enjoy fresh air if you buy a harness. Or you can get a stroller designed for cats, according to the article. “Be sure they are up-to-date on their vaccinations and flea prevention before taking them outside, even with a harness and leash or inside a pet stroller,” said.

Valley Fever in Dogs and What You Should Know

If you live in the Southwest, you’ve probably heard of Valley Fever. Humans and dogs (and other animals) can contract it. If you plan to travel to the Southwest or plan to move there, you should know about the disease that can be severe in dogs.

The disease is most prevalent in south-central Arizona and “is caused by infection with a type of fungus called Coccidiodes immitis” according to the article, “Valley Fever in Dogs: Everything You Need to Know,” at “The condition may also be called coccidioidomycosis, California disease, desert rheumatism, or San Joaquin Valley Fever.”

According to the article, “Coccidiodes organisms live in desert soils and produce long filaments that contain infectious spores.” When dogs dig or when there is construction going on, soil is disturbed, and that is when the spores are airborne and inhaled, the article said. Dogs are often diagnosed with Valley Fever because they play, mess around, and sniff dirt.

The PetMD article points to symptoms limited to the lungs, including:

• Coughing
• Lethargy
• Fever
• Loss of appetite
• Weight loss

If Valley Fever spreads, it is the disseminated form of the disease. According to the article, “What to Know About Valley Fever in Dogs” at Fetch by WebMD, those symptoms include:

• Back or neck pain
• Eye inflammation
• Lameness
• Seizures

After diagnoses, treatment includes antifungal medications. Treatment depends on what type of Valley Fever your dog has, so it’s best to discuss it with your veterinarian.

You can help prevent Valley Fever by keeping your dog inside most of the time. “Prevent your dog from digging when they are outside, and try to stay away from areas where the soil is loose and dusty, such as construction sites or spaces with limited ground-cover plants,” according to the Fetch by WebMD article.

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Outdoor Activity Ideas for You and Your Pet
Safe Collars and Harnesses for Your Dog
Traveling with Your Pet and How to Properly Restrain Them in the Car

Outdoor Activity Ideas for You and Your Pet

March is a great time to get out with your dogs. There are so many great outdoor activities from which to choose, so make a list before heading out with your dog.

Head over to the park. “Taking your dog to various parks on his dog harness and 6′ dog leash is great exercise both physically and mentally,” according to the article, “4 Fun Things To Do with Your Dog Outside | Outdoor Activities With Your Dog” at Raising Your Pets Naturally. Bring high-value dog treats, the article said. You’ll be able to squeeze in dog training and keep your dog’s attention on you.

Go bike riding and take your dog. Use a dog bicycle trailer, which hooks directly onto your own bike. It’s also great for puppies, senior dogs, and for dogs who have medical conditions.

Dogs need stimulation, which helps them all around. “Walking, hiking and other outdoor activities will not only provide your pup with exciting new things to look at and to smell, but will also tucker them out, according to the article, “41 Fun Things To Do With Your Dog Outside,” at Outdoor Dog Fun. “And a tired pup is less likely to display bad behaviors, such as digging and excessive barking.”

Some ideas according to Outdoor Dog Fun include:

• Flyball, which is great for high-energy dogs. This team relay race has “dogs jump over hurdles to reach a box where they hit a spring-loaded pad to release a tennis ball,” the Outdoor Dog Fun article said. After catching the ball, it is returned to the owner.
• Try a picnic. Pack everything you need, go out and hike to a favorite spot.
• Find a yappy hour that is welcoming to pups.

So, get out there with your pup.

Safe Collars and Harnesses for Your Dog

All dog collars are not created equal. Do your research to ensure your dog has the correct and safe collar.

While you’d love to let your dog roam free, unless it’s in an enclosed area, it’s not a good idea and not a risk you want to take. “The keyword here being risk, because no matter how well-behaved your pup is, there’s always the chance that they won’t heel when hollered for, or come when called,” according to the article, “How To Pick The Best Dog Collars And Leashes For Your Dog,” at Canine Journal.

Your dog should always wear a collar, which should include up-to-date tags, including proof of rabies in case your dog is lost.

According to the article, make sure to get the correct size collar for your dog according to weight and size. Remember that “Dog collars should be snug enough to fit two fingers between the dog’s neck & their collar,” the article said.

Martingale collars are a good choice, and “are recommended by trainers for dogs who slip out of traditional buckle collars,” according to the article, “Harnesses, Leashes, & Collars” at PetSafe. If your dog starts pulling, the martingale tightens. “When your dog stops pulling, the collar loosens automatically, so the collar is only tight when it needs to be,” the PetSafe article said.

Along with a martingale collar, a no-pull dog harness is a good idea for dogs who pull. “Too much pulling can turn a pleasant and relaxing walk into a stressful slog – but you don’t have to put up with it!” according to the article, “8 Best No-Pull Dog Harnesses – Stop Your Dog from Pulling” at World Animal Foundation. “Designed to discourage pulling, no-pull dog harnesses have a font-clip leash attachment that pivots the dog towards you whenever they pull.”

Traveling with Your Pet and How to Properly Restrain Them in the Car

If you are traveling either for vacation or just to the vet, your pet should be properly restrained in your vehicle. It can be dangerous for an unrestrained pet who could fly around the car if there is an accident, or you stop short.

To be sure your pet is safe when riding in your car, place your pet in a well-ventilated carrier or crate, according to the ASPCA article, “Travel Safety Tips.” Your pet should have enough room to turn around, sit, stand, and lie down. “Secure your pet’s crate so it will not slide or shift in the event of an abrupt stop,” the article said. Use a seat belt to secure the crate.

It is very important that your dog does not roam freely while the car is in motion. That’s a disaster waiting to happen. “Dog restraints or seat belts are useful for preventing your dog from roaming around the car and being a distraction to the driver, but they haven’t been reliably shown to protect dogs during a crash,” according to the article, “Travel safely with your pet” at The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

Cats also belong in carriers and should never be allowed to roam freely in the car, not to mention that most cats are not thrilled about traveling in the car anyway. “It’s important to restrain these carriers in the car so that they don’t bounce around and hurt your cat,” the HSUS article said. You can secure the carrier with a seat belt around the front of it.

Don’t allow your pet to stick his head out the window of a moving vehicle as it’s dangerous. Your pet “can be injured by particles of debris or made sick by having cold air forced into their lungs,” the HSUS article said.