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How to Create a Happy, Safe Halloween for You and Your Pets
Let the Dogs Out for Safe, Outdoor Fun in Cooler Weather
Underbelly Cat ‘Sack:’ Does Your Cat Have One and What Should You Do?

How to Create a Happy, Safe Halloween for You and Your Pets

Halloween is around the corner promising fun, tricks, treats and costumes. Have your pet in on the fun, but ensure she is safe at all times.

There’s really no trick to your pet’s safety. The ASPCA’s article, “Halloween Safety Tips,” offers common sense advice:
• Keep treats away: Many Halloween treats are dangerous for pets, so make sure to keep the candy bowl out of your pet’s reach. All forms of chocolate can be dangerous for dogs and cats, and candy with xylitol is harmful, too. If your pet eats anything toxic, call your vet or the ASPCA Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.
• Wires and decorations: A flame in a jack-o-lantern can be deadly and start a fire if knocked over, so place in a safe area. Keep wires out of pets’ reach.
• Costumes: “For some pets, wearing a costume may cause undue stress,” the article said. “The ASPCA recommends that you don’t put your dog or cat in a costume unless you know he or she loves it.” Ensure the costume fits well and that she can move. Check for choking hazards. If your pet is “distressed or shows abnormal behavior,” ditch the costume.
• If you expect lots of trick-or-treaters, keep your pet safe in a separate room because “too many strangers can often be scary and stressful for pets,” the article said, and you don’t want your pet escaping out the door. Ensure your pet is microchipped and wearing a collar with tags.

It’s also important to keep your pet safe from the unknown outdoors, according to The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) article, “How to Give Your Pets a Safe and Happy Halloween.”

According to the HSUS, “Cats are always safest inside with you, but on Halloween it’s especially important to secure all pets inside.”

Let the Dogs Out for Safe, Outdoor Fun in Cooler Weather

When the temperature finally cools down in Arizona, all paws are up for fun in the fall weather. During the hot summer months it can be difficult to find things to do for dogs. The mid-fall weather is the perfect time to get outside so both of you can explore, exercise and have a ball — no pun intended!

Get out with your dog for some usual things such as extra-long walks, jogging and longer car rides ending up at the dog park.

Here are other fun ideas to try as suggested in Vetstreet’s article, “11 Fun Activities to Do With Your Dog This Fall:”

• Pumpkin patch pooches. With Halloween and Thanksgiving just around the corner, it’s pumpkin time! “Many pumpkin patches allow dogs — provided they are on leashes and their owners clean up after them,” the article said. Check the rules first.
• Off-season travel. Get out of town for a long weekend and stay at a pet-friendly hotel. Also, “Many beaches allow dogs during the off-season — and as a bonus, travel prices are often lower,” the article said.
• When all else fails, go camping! Rough it up with your pooch on a nature-loving camping trip. “Just make sure that in addition to packing the necessities for yourself, your dog is well-equipped as well,” the article said. “That means bringing a leash, dog food, treats, food and water bowls and a bed. And don’t forget the first aid kit!”

Don’t forget football season. Your dog is sure to have a favorite team, so make sure your tailgating pup is ready for a touchdown.

According to the article, “6 Great Fall Activities for Dogs,” at, “Gridiron season has an ongoing love affair with canines: From mascots to dog apparel, there are so many ways to get your favorite pooch involved.”

Underbelly Cat ‘Sack:’ Does Your Cat Have One and What Should You Do?

Is your cat a sad “sack?” If your cat has a “sack” under his belly, you might wonder what it is and why it’s there, especially if your cat is not overweight.

Sometimes, “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 “While some people mistakenly assume the cat develops this excess flesh as a result of being spayed or neutered, it’s actually a normal part of your cat’s anatomy.”

According to the article, the flap of skin and fat, “which often feels like a half-full water balloon” actually has a technical name called a “primordial pouch” that also can be seen in lions and tigers.

The “sack” is there for a variety of reasons, according to the article:

• It provides additional protection to your cat during fights. Additionally, “cats have excess skin covering the entire body which helps them squirm out of the grasp of other predators,” the article said.
• It allows the cat to move more freely “to fully stretch and extend the back legs when in full stride.”
• A primordial pouch that is visible “is actually a part of the breed standard” for breeds including the Bengal and Pixie Bob.
• Although the pouch or “sack” is normal, keep your cat at a normal, “healthy weight so excess fat isn’t stored in your cat’s abdominal flap,” the article said.

Since a cat’s metabolism slows down with age, the pouch’s size may increase and may store additional fat, according to the article, “Why Does My Cat Have a Flabby Belly?” at Pawsome Cats.

Speak with your veterinarian if you have any concerns.

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Keep Pets Indoors Year Round for Health and Safety

Your pet is like family, and you want to ensure that he is safe at all times. With so much information out there, are pets best inside or out? Although there are many people who leave their pets outdoors 24/7, there are many reasons why keeping them indoors is safer.

When it comes to weather, especially with Arizona’s triple-digit temperatures, outdoor pets can suffer from severe dehydration and even death. When temperatures dip to low single digits, pets can be in danger of freezing to death. Even during milder weather, there are countless reasons why outdoor pets are more susceptible to danger.

For Cats

According to the article, “Does Your Pet Belong Indoors or Outdoors?” at, when it comes to cats, many “people believe that cats are natural outdoor pets and will be happier outside, but according to the Humane Society of the United States, cats will stay healthier as indoor pets.” The article points to the following about outdoor cats:

  • Lifespan for outdoor cats is approximately 2 years as opposed to 10 years for indoor cats.
  • Disease is more prevalent in outdoor cats.
  • “Studies have found that about 13 percent of a coyote’s diet consists of cats,” the article said.
  • For those who want their cats to get fresh air, an outdoor pet enclosure with a closed roof is a great idea. Or get a harness. “Cats can be trained to go for walks outside on a leash and harness.”

For Dogs

When it comes to canines, remember that dogs are happier with their pack, and they love attention and hate to be alone, according to the article. “And instead of exercising, dogs that are left outside spend most of their time waiting for you.”

The article points to the following dangers for outdoor dogs:

They can escape from a backyard putting them in grave danger, including getting hit by a car, getting poisoned or fighting with other animals.

  • Health problems can occur from heat or cold exposure.
  • “Because outdoor dogs are less socialized, they are more likely to be given to shelters,” the article said. “In addition, outdoor dogs are more likely to be put down.”
  • They can suffer a range of behavioral issues from barking to aggression. “This makes them harder to train and easier to give up.”

To ensure indoor dogs get exercise, make sure to go on plenty of walks and engage in playtime. “If you leave your dog outside for short periods, make sure to provide a safe, escape-proof shelter, shade, and fresh water,” the article said. “Never chain your dog.”

According to the article, “Why ‘Outdoor Dogs’ Are Miserable,” at, “For those who love pets, a pristine home is nothing compared to the pleasures of living with an animal who’s really bonded to you.”

If your plan is to bring home a furry family member, remember that pet wants to be a part of the family. The best way is to keep him safe in the home.


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Tips on Bringing a New Cat into Your Home
Check Ingredients to Know What to Feed Your Pets
How to Keep Your Pet Active during the Hotter Months

Tips on Bringing a New Cat into Your Home

You have finally decided to bring home a new cat. What special things should you do to prepare your home and your feline friend?

Remember that “cats are very much creatures of habit,” according to the article, “Bringing Home a New Cat or Kitten.” You will be bringing your cat into a new environment. “To make the transition as smooth as possible, take things slowly and give your cat plenty of time to get used to his new home.”

The article recommends the following:
• Make a veterinarian appointment and have your new cat checked, especially if bringing him into a home with other cats.
• Ensure you have a sturdy crate for travel.
• Place your cat’s food, water, scratching post, litter pan and toys in a quiet room where your cat can adjust before slowly introducing him to the rest of the home. “Cats are curious and most will soon come out to explore their surroundings,” the article said.
• When introducing your cat to the family, take it slow and bring in everyone separately.
• Slowly introduce other cats in the new home but first keep them apart.

“Don’t throw your pets together in a sink-or-swim situation and just hope they’ll work it out,” according to The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) article “Introducing Your New Cat to Other Pets.”

Feed the animals on either side of a closed door to get used to each other and their smells. The HSUS advised to gradually move food “dishes closer to the door until your pets can eat calmly while standing directly on either side of the door.” Spend quality time with both old and new pets.

“The introduction process can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, or even a few months in extreme cases,” the HSUS article said. “Be patient.”

Check Ingredients to Know What to Feed Your Pets

With so many pet foods and treats out there, how do you know what is best for your pet? Couple that with various pet food recalls and the pet food industry can seem pretty scary. The best way to arm yourself? Research and check ingredients. Find out where your pet food is made and be aware of recalls.

Nowadays, convenience is important, but it isn’t always best. “By providing their pets with commercially available dry and moist foods and treats, owners are lulled into a false sense of security that their pet’s best health is being served,” Dr. Patrick Mahaney, VMD, wrote in the article, “Pet Food: The Good, the Bad, and the Healthy,” at Mahaney, a holistic veterinarian, focuses on “quality of nutrients” and whole-foods diets at human-grade for his patients.

More pets consume high-processed foods and an overabundance of calories that lead to health problems ranging from obesity to diabetes, the article said. From recalls to toxic treats made in China, pets continue to get sick.

Mahaney said that more commercial dog and cat food is considered feed-grade making it lesser in quality to human-grade.

In the article, Mahaney recommends looking for the following in dry or wet food:

• Natural preservatives or none
• U.S.A. made
• Human-grade ingredients (not found on kibble)

The article advises to avoid the following:

• Corn and wheat gluten
• Meat and grain meals and by-products
• BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole)
• BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene)
• Ethoxyquin
• Food Dyes (Blue 2, Red 40, Yellow 5 and 6, 4-MIE)
• PG (Propylene Glycol)
• Rendered fat

According to the article, “What Pet Food Makers DON’T Want You to Know…” make a difference “by simply ignoring the labeling claims on commercial pet food.” Remember that “the longer the ingredient list, the more potential for filling your pet full of stuff that is biologically inappropriate, probably allergenic, and possibly toxic.”

How to Keep Your Pet Active during the Hotter Months

Summers can be tough when it comes to keeping pets active, especially when temperatures are in the 90s and above. Many outdoor activities can be dangerous for pets in the excessive heat. However, it is still important to keep your pets moving, so what are the options?

Start with some fun indoor activities for your pets. In the article, “5 Ways to Keep Your Dog Active Indoors,” at, the following can keep your dog active in hot weather (or rainy and cold weather, too!).

• Inside games: Play different games using a variety of toys. Games can include tug, fetch or chase, especially if you have a basement or recreational room.
• Scavenging: Stuffed Kong toys are a fun choice. Or toss treats and ask your dog to “find it.”
• Play dates: Schedule times for your dog to play at another dog friend’s home or vice versa.
• Indoor agility course. “Create obstacles for your dog to navigate, much like he would on an agility course.”

Swimming may seem like an obvious active choice for the hot summer months. However, note that not all dogs like water or to swim. For those who do, here are some tips to keep your dog safe, according to the article, “Dog Swimming Safety Tips,” also at

• Never leave your dog unsupervised near a backyard pool, pond or creek.
• Teach your dog to swim and show him the steps so he can get out safely.
• Provide a flotation device for dogs who are not great swimmers or who are old.
• Be aware of your dog, as he may tire and could become in danger of drowning.
• Provide enough drinking water.

Even when it’s hot, there are ways to ensure your dog can be active and have a great time.