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Choose a Vet and Ensure Your Pet is Healthy for Life
Beat the Heat with Fun Indoor Activities for You and Your Dog
It’s Pool Time! Ensure Your Dog’s Safety in the Water

Choose a Vet and Ensure Your Pet is Healthy for Life

When you choose a family pet, there are many things to consider. What pet will fit best with your family’s lifestyle: a dog, a cat, a rabbit? Do your research and learn about the animal and what to expect.

A new pet brings happiness, but you must promise to be responsible and keep your pet safe throughout his or her life. According to “Responsible Pet Ownership,” an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) article, there are many things to consider, including:

  1. Commitment to care and provide for the pet, including exercise, food, water and shelter.
  2. Invest in your pet’s health.
  3. Obey the laws, clean up after your pet and provide licensing.
  4. Provide proper ID and microchip.
  5. Spay/neuter your pet.
  6. Prepare for emergencies.

As a pet owner you are the guardian of their well-being and good health. When investing in their health, be sure to choose a good veterinarian right away. Budget for preventive health care, which includes vaccinations, heartworm prevention and deworming. Additionally, ensure that you can care for your pet in times of illnesses or injuries, the article said, as well as “Budget for potential emergencies.”

Don’t skimp on your pet’s health by trying to save money, as it can cost you later. “Regardless of what you read, providing your pet with regular preventive care is the key to a healthy and long life for your pet,” according to AVMA’s article “Money Tips for Caring Pet Owners.”

According to AVMA’s “Importance of Wellness Exams,” wellness exams for your pets are done for the same reason humans go to doctors and dentists, “if you can detect a problem in its early stages, it’s more likely to be treated and resolved with less expense, less difficulty and better success.”

Beat the Heat with Fun Indoor Activities for You and Your Dog

The heat is on in Arizona and it’s going to get hotter very fast. That means it’s more dangerous for your dogs to engage in outdoor activities. Excessive heat can have adverse effects on your dog and sometimes be fatal. Since we have a long summer ahead of us, it’s important to get creative for fun indoor activities to keep you and your dog busy.

Your dog needs to have mental and physical stimulation, according to “Rain or Shine: 10 Ways to Engage your Dog Indoors,” at The article offers ideas to keep boredom away that can be done in your own home while keeping your dog happy. Here’s some ideas to try with your dog:

  1. Food dispensing toys. Choose from classic rubber Kongs you can stuff with treats to a variety of new products including durable puzzle toys by Nina Ottosson.
  2. Kibble hunt: According to the article, put your dog’s kibble to work “by making your dog hunt for it with his nose…hide small piles of food in the house then release him to ‘kibble hunt.’”
  3. Tug and fetch: These classic games are easily played anywhere at home.
  4. Doggie play date: Does your dog have a friend or playmate? Schedule a play date at your home but make sure to clear the area of breakable items.
  5. Socialization outing: If it’s too hot for a walk, take your dog for a nice ride in the air-conditioned car. Consider a visit to the vet “where he just goes to hang out and get some treats and scratches just for being a great dog,” the article said. “This will provide the added benefit of teaching him that vet visits can be a lot of fun!”

It’s Pool Time! Ensure Your Dog’s Safety in the Water

From the pool, to lakes and the beach, summer is a great time for swimming. Contrary to what some believe, not every dog can swim, nor does every dog love water. Here’s some great tips on swimming and keeping your dog safe in any body of water, according to “Dogs and Water Safety,” at WebMD. The article provides the following tips:


Teach your dog the basics by choosing a quiet, shallow spot, get in with him at the edge and keep him on a leash. Do not force your dog. “When your dog begins to paddle with his front legs, lift his hind legs to show him how to float,” the article said.

The Beach

Be careful of riptides and strong currents. Keep your dog from washed up fish and drinking ocean water as they both can cause sickness. 

The Pool

  • Keep your pool fenced.
  • Use a sturdy cover when the pool is not in use. “It should be made of a material that lets rainwater drain through,” the article said. “Dogs can drown in puddles on top of pool covers.”
  • Ensure your dog knows how to get in and out of the pool and provide steps or a ramp.
  • Make sure the water is not too cold.

River, lake or pond

  • Invest in a life jacket for you and your dog.
  • Stay away from blue-green algae as it can make your dog sick.
  • Check the current before swimming.
  • Avoid dangerous fishing gear.

General Safety Rules

Always rinse off your dog after swimming to prevent damage to skin and fur. Make sure to dry your dog’s ears well to avoid infection. Don’t leave your dog alone near the water, and learn canine CPR. “Mouth-to-nose resuscitation and chest compressions could save a dog’s life in an emergency,” the article said.

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Spring into Action if Your Pet Gets into Something Poisonous
Get Outside with Your Dog and Have Fun
Tips to Keep Children Safe around Your Pets

Spring into Action if Your Pet Gets into Something Poisonous

You suspect your pet has gotten into something poisonous. Depending on what your pet ingests, there can be minor side effects, but some can lead to death.

According to “Poisons (Swallowed)” at, watch for certain signs if you suspect poisoning. From general lethargy, weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, drooling and nausea to more severe signs such as agitation, tremors, twitching and seizures, call your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-800-213-6680 for help.

Remember that dogs are very curious and many will put anything in their mouths, so when poison is ingested, it’s most likely by accident. “Sometimes, owners may self-medicate their pet, only to find out days later, when their pet is symptomatic, that the medication is poisonous to pets due to their altered ability to metabolize certain drugs,” the article said.

If your pet gets into poison, the article recommends the following:

  • Remove the pet from poison source. Before handling, determine safety and if rubber gloves or mask are needed.
  • Identify poison and bring the contents and label to your vet.
  • If your pet vomits, bring a sample. Do not induce vomiting unless consulting your vet or Pet Poison Helpline.
  • Contact the Helpline on the way to your vet.

Some common poisonous household products to avoid include: drain cleaner, oven cleaner, toilet cleaner, kerosene, gasoline, paint thinner and chlorine bleach. If your pet is exposed to any of these products, remain calm and immediately get to the vet.

It is always best to practice prevention in your home and to “treat your dog as you would a young, inquisitive child,” the article said. Pet proof your home, keep chemicals stored away safely, store medication separately from your pet’s medications and administer correct drugs to your pet.

Remember, an ounce of prevention really helps when it comes to keeping pets safe.


Get Outside with Your Dog and Have Fun

Spring is a fabulous time of year to get outside with your dog. There are many things in the Valley to have fun, get exercise and explore the great outdoors. has great ideas from Dog’s Day Out in Phoenix, AZ, so take note:

  1. Arizona Biltmore Fashion Park. If you both love to shop, this is the place. “This outdoor mall is perfect for strolling along and window shopping with your pooch,” the article said. “Select stores even allow your well trained dog to accompany you.”
  2. Cosmo Dog Park. This off-leash dog park in Gilbert has lots to do, featuring four fun-filled fenced acres. There’s nighttime lighting, wash stations, and even a separate space for smaller dogs. “But the main attraction at Cosmo Dog Park is the man-made lake that is a favorite for water-loving breeds,” the article said.
  3. Music on Mill. Music lovers and their dogs can enjoy free music in Tempe’s Mill Avenue district from September through June on Thursday nights from 5 to 9 p.m.
  4. Cupcakes from Sprinkles. This place offers delicious delights for Valley residents, but did you know they have doggie cupcakes, too? Take a stroll on the Soleri Bridge in Scottsdale and exercise before you indulge. Then make sure you take a walk afterward to burn it off.

Surprise Stadium. For baseball loving dogs and peeps, try spring training. “At Surprise Stadium, owners can take in a ball game with their dogs in a specially-designated area,” the article said. It costs $11 for people and $5 for dogs who must be leashed at all times. “Walk-ins aren’t typically allowed during the Bring Your Dog to the Ball Park event, so be sure to register and buy your tickets in advance.”


Tips to Keep Children Safe around Your Pets

A pet can be one of the best things about childhood. With pets come responsibilities, so it is important to ensure children know the rules and that parents are always supervising.

According to the article “Teaching Children Pet Safety Rules,” from North Shore Animal League America, benefits of pets include “increases in self-esteem, nurturing skills, cooperation and, best of all, the creation of an unconditional, loving bond that brings immeasurable joy to your entire family.”

When bringing home a pet, everyone must follow simple rules to help “guard against injuries such as bites and scratches, which are often caused by children yanking an animal’s tail, chasing or cornering it or approaching it suddenly,” the article said.

Dogs are “pack animals” and live by a “social hierarchy,” as explained in the article by Kim Lasek, North Shore Animal League America’s head trainer. It is very important to “establish every person in the family as an authority figure or ‘pack leader’ to the dog by simple, everyday interactions.”

The article offers tips for a safe, happy relationship, including:

  • Accidents can happen, so never leave children and pets unsupervised.
  • Never approach animals while they are eating, sleeping, caring for their babies, in a crate or chewing on a toy.
  • Pet gently. Do not pull or tug or approach from behind.
  • Ask permission from an adult before approaching an unknown animal.
  • Refrain from making loud noises and sudden moves when approaching an animal.
  • Do not make contact with dog or cat waste.
  • Children should not touch or stand near dogs when they are excited, such as during meal time or when someone comes to the front door.

Ensure your children know that pets are living beings with feelings, the article said. They must be respected and cared for with lots of love.

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You and your family want a dog. The thought of a furry family member brings a lot of excitement. What kind of dog should you bring home? A puppy for the kids? A middle-aged dog? An older dog? What breed? Male or female? You want to be sure you bring home the perfect pooch who will fit right in with your family and lifestyle. How do you find the dog who will fit the bill?

Remember that dogs are a huge responsibility and should be treated as part of the family. You will have to take the good with the bad, especially at first since there is always an adjustment period. It’s also a commitment, so you have to be prepared to bring in a dog for life. Everyone has to be on board with the decision and agree to take part in the dog’s care.

A great place to start

Dogs come in all shapes and sizes, breeds (full or mixed) and personalities. The best place to start is at your local shelter or rescue group, according to “Choosing the Right Dog for You,” an article at The Humane Society of The United States (HSUS).

Here are some questions before you bring a dog home:

• What is your lifestyle? Do you live in a house or an apartment? Do you have children? Is the family active? “A dog’s size, exercise requirements, friendliness, assertiveness and compatibility with children should all figure into your decision,” the article said. “Remember, you’re not just getting a dog; your new dog is getting a family!”
• What breed? Do your homework about breeds. Also “visit with animals at the shelter and speak with an adoption counselor for guidance.” You’re in luck as most shelters have purebreds and mixed breeds. Remember: “Mixed breeds are also more likely to be free of genetic defects common to certain purebred dogs because of over-breeding,” the article stated.
• Visit the shelter. Animals at the shelter are often under a lot of stress, according to the article. They may be scared or lonely, too. Speak with an adoption counselor to help choose the right dog for your lifestyle and spend time with the dog first. Ask the dog’s age, temperament and if the dog is good with children.

When choosing a dog, shelters and rescue organizations are great places to turn. Remember that “6–8 million animals end up in shelters each year, half of which will probably not be adopted,” according to “Adopting from an Animal Shelter or Rescue Group,” another HSUS article. Additionally, “25 percent of pets in shelters are purebreds. Breed-specific rescue groups always have purebred dogs and puppies looking for new homes.”

If you don’t find the right dog the first or second time you visit your shelter or rescue group, be patient because “shelters and rescue groups receive new animals every day, so keep checking back with them,” the second article said. “Some groups also keep a waiting list, so they can call you if an animal matching your preference becomes available.”