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Bring Home the Holiday Gifts Your Pets Will Love
What You Should Know if You’re Getting a New Puppy for the Holidays
Be the Best Pet Parent You Can Be: Tips to Help

Bring Home the Holiday Gifts Your Pets Will Love
Who doesn’t love buying the cutest cat toy or fashionable dog sweater? It elevates shopping to another level.

If you have dogs, you have a variety of great gifts from which to choose. The article, “Top Ten Holiday Gifts for Dogs,” at petMD, offers up some great ideas:

• Puzzle bowl. Mealtime can be fun for your dog and stimulating, too! Dog food is hidden in compartments and he has to figure out how to get the food.
• Reflective gear. Your dog probably won’t care, but you will because keeping him safe is a priority. Reflective gear is great for evening walks.
• Dog bed. Give the give of comfort with a new bed. “Sure most dogs can fall asleep anywhere, but that doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate a good bed,” the article said.
• Plush antlers. Your dog will likely hate you for them, but it’s good to be like Rudolph, even if just for a cute holiday photo

Be your cat’s favorite person when you load up on holiday gifts she will love. According to the article, “Top Ten Holiday Gifts for Cats,” at petMD, you have a lot of great choices:

• Scratching post. “Your cat gets a fun new toy, and you get to keep your furniture intact,” the article said.
• Mouse in the house. Toy mice are fun for cats. Fill them with catnip and your cat will love it even more.
• Litter box. According to the article, a new litter box is like “a renovated bathroom” for your cat.
• Roomba. Your cat will love it, and you’ll love your cat as he helps to clean your floor. It’s a win-win.

There’s so many great gifts for your pets. Your dog or cat will love them or put up with them while providing you with a great photo op.

What You Should Know if You’re Getting a New Puppy for the Holidays

Puppies are adorable, and many people want to bring one home for the holidays. However, there are many things to consider. Is the puppy a gift? Is the puppy for a young child? Who will care for and train the puppy?

According to the article, “Position Statement on Pets as Gifts,” at the, pets should be given as gifts, “only to people who have expressed a sustained interested in owning one, and the ability to care for it responsibly.” Additionally, the ASPCA recommends that animals are not obtained from unknown sources but instead from places such as shelters and rescue organizations.

In “Pets as Presents: A Good Idea?” at, the article refers to Stephen Zawistowski, senior vice president at the ASPCA, who says that pets can be a good idea as a family gift.

However, according to the article, it is important to consider the following:

• Age. “Different pets are appropriate for different ages,” the article said. A young child is not able to care for a kitten or puppy.
• Although your child may love dogs, she may not want one at home.
• Cost. Many people don’t realize the expense of having a family pet. After an initial adoption fee, there are vet bills and more.
• Commitment. When you bring home a puppy, it’s for life. “If your child is a teen, remember that the animal will be with you when your son or daughter heads off to college,” the article said.

When you do make the decision after thinking it through, going to a shelter is a great idea. “They’re in the business to help animals have good homes, not to make money,” Zawistowski said in the article. “You can turn this whole experience into an extraordinary experience for the kids.” The kids will have a forever friend.

Be the Best Pet Parent You Can Be: Tips to Help

The unconditional love your pet has for you is priceless. You love him back just the same. While you try to do right by your beloved furry family member, there’s never too much information to learn how to be the best pet parent you can be.

According to the article “How to Be the Best Pet Parent in Town,” in the Sept. 4, 2017 issue of People magazine, contributor Dr. Evan Antin, a veterinarian at Conejo Valley Veterinary Hospital in Thousand Oaks, Calif., offers some important advice:

1. If you want to dine with your dog on a restaurant patio, ensure your dog is OK with the crowds.
2. Keep your pet’s vaccinations up to date and on schedule.
3. If your dog gets into marijuana and/or chocolate, Dr. Antin advises to get to your vet ASAP, according to the article.
4. According to the article, Dr. Antin said, “there are parasites and bacterial species that can live in stool,” putting people and pets in danger if they come in contact.

There are even more things you can do for your pet to make you “top dog” in his eyes. The article “10 Simple Things You Can Do to Be a Great Pet Parent,” at offers these important tips:

• Ensure your pets are comfortable in their home environment as they will spend most of their time there. Keep plenty of water available, access to potty areas, a fresh litter box and a warm bed.
• Safety first! Make sure there is nothing hazardous that your pet can get into, including household cleaners, chocolate, electrical wires and yarn.
• Your pet should wear ID tags and be microchipped.

It is not difficult to be a great parent, but there is always more you can do to be better.

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How to Be Thankful for Your Pet on Thanksgiving
Poisonous Plants and Pets: What Not to Grow in Your Garden
Remember Animals on Thanksgiving and Be Sure to Give Back

How to Be Thankful for Your Pet on Thanksgiving

Our pets bring us so much joy, love and laughs. When we come home from work they greet us with kisses and purrs. When we’re sad, they sit by our sides to comfort us. Sometimes we may take them for granted, but we should always remember to be thankful for them, especially in November.

According to “7 Reasons to Be Thankful for Dogs,” an article at, here are some reasons to be thankful:

1. They help you stay fit. Did someone say “walk?” Going for walks with your dog is not only good for the soul, “but studies have shown that walking a dog for just 30 minutes a day can reduce your risk of heart disease, relieve stress and more,” the article said.
2. Cuddle up! Dogs love to snuggle and cuddle, showing you their love. There’s nothing more comfortable and warm on a chilly Thanksgiving night.
3. No judgment zone. Be thankful that your dog (or cat) isn’t judging you for your looks, your salary, or weight, your political affiliation or your profession. “Dogs accept you for who you are and aren’t going to try to change you or make fun of you or gossip about you — something that we could all be better about,” the article said.
4. Dogs just want to have fun. Grab a toy or ball and make time to play with your dog.

Pets also do a heart good, according to the article, “7 Reasons to be Thankful for Pets,” at Veterinary Pet Insurance. “According to a report of the American Heart Attack Survey, within a year of surviving a coronary event (heart attack, stroke, etc.), there was more of a chance for long-term survival in pet owners versus non-pet owners.”

Always remember to be thankful for everything pets bring to our lives.

Poisonous Plants and Pets: What Not to Grow in Your Garden

There’s nothing more beautiful than a garden in full bloom especially for those with a green thumb. There are pretty plants that may look innocent enough but can prove poisonous and dangerous to pets.

In the article, “10 Garden Plants That Are Toxic to Pets,” from the University of California, Davis, here are some plants to keep out of your garden:

1. Daffodil. The yellow flower contains lycorine, which can cause “vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, heart rhythm abnormalities and respiratory depression.”
2. Lily. “Some lilies (Peace, Peruvian and Calla) contain oxalate crystals that cause minor signs of toxicity, and true lilies (Tiger, Day, Asiatic, Easter and Japanese Show lilies) can be fatal,” the article said. Cats are more sensitive to lily poisoning.
3. Cycad (such as Sago palm and cardboard palm). The Sago Palm is poisonous and very dangerous to pets. “The plants contain the chemical compounds cycasin and B-methylamino-l-alanine, which are toxic to the nervous system when ingested,” the article said. Some symptoms include vomiting, jaundice, increased thirst, liver failure and death. Even ingesting one to two seeds can cause death.

According to “Top 10 Plants Poisonous to Pets,” an article at Pet Poison Helpline, some of the other poisonous plants to avoid include Oleander, an outdoor shrub whose flowers and leaves “are extremely toxic if ingested.” Azaleas are also very dangerous. Ingesting only a few leaves can cause excessive drooling, diarrhea and vomiting. The article said that “without immediate veterinary attention, the pet could fall into a coma and possibly die.”

Pet Poison Helpline has a more complete list of plants to keep away from dogs and cats.

Make sure you contact your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline as soon as possible if you suspect your pet has ingested any of the poisonous plants.

Remember Animals on Thanksgiving and Be Sure to Give Back

Thanksgiving is a great time to get together with family and friends, feast on great food, gather to watch the game, get ready for holiday shopping, and be thankful for all you have, including the animals in your life.

It is also a time to remember the animals who don’t have homes. Throughout the year local animal shelters are filled with dogs, cats, bunnies, horses and more. They all need homes. Even if you cannot adopt one at this time, Thanksgiving is the perfect time to give to your favorite local animal rescue.

Most rescues run on donations and are staffed by volunteers who give of their time without pay. They do it out of the goodness of their hearts. The animals in their care rely on them, while the staff and volunteers rely on the goodness of the public.

This is the beginning of one of the most difficult times of the year for rescues as they become inundated with animals the closer it gets to the holidays. While you give thanks for all the good things in your life, you can give back to a local rescue.

If you don’t have a favorite rescue, go online, do your research and choose one. Find out what they need. Most rescues have wish lists that often include the following:

• Dog or cat food
• Dog or cat treats
• Cat litter
• Toys
• Blankets
• Dog or cat beds
• Scratching posts for cats
• Puppy pads
• Nail clippers
• Folding crates
• Disinfectant
• Pet shampoo
• Bleach
• Laundry detergent
• Paper towels
• Garbage bags
• Leashes
• Pet carriers
• Antibacterial hand soap
• Monetary donation

If you can spare some time to volunteer and play with the cats or walk some dogs at your local rescue, you’ll feel good, and rescue staff and the animals will be ever so thankful to you.

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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.