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With Springtime Comes Allergies: How to Treat Your Pets
How to Humanely Trap and Bring a Dog to Safety
If Your Dog Freaks Out When you Leave Home, You May Want to Read This Nipping Separation Anxiety and Your Dog in the Bud

With Springtime Comes Allergies: How to Treat Your Pets

Springtime means lots of great things. The weather is warmer. People step outside more often for outdoor activities. Then there’s allergies. Humans aren’t the only ones who suffer. Our pets can be susceptible too, making this great season not so great for our dogs and cats.

Many pet parents are not aware that their pets may be miserable due to springtime allergies, according to the article “If Your Dog is Itchy or Your Cat is Wheezy, You Need to Read This,” by Dr. Karen Becker at

The article points to two categories of pet allergies: food and environmental. There are some exceptions, but pets who get itchy in the spring, summer and fall most likely have environmental allergies. Pets whose symptoms are throughout the year are reacting to a “more constant in her environment, or to something in her diet,” the article said.

Watch for these signs:

  • Dog and cat allergies typically are seen by “skin irritation or inflammation – a condition called allergic dermatitis,” the article said, whereby the pet’s skin becomes very itchy.
  • Allergies can manifest with ear problems, more so in dogs than cats. Problems include scratching and shaking the head. With an infection you typically get odor and ear discharge.
  • Pets who are susceptible to seasonal allergies “also develop sensitivity to other allergens inhaled through the nose and mouth,” the article said.
  • Puffy red eyes, red chin, red paws.

Seasonal allergies can be remedied with foot soaks and baths with grain free shampoo. Try to keep your pet’s bedding clean, and vacuum and clean floors with non-toxic cleaners where your pet spends most of his/her time, the article said. Consider an anti-inflammatory diet or supplements. Contact your veterinarian first to get your pet on a regimen to feel better during the spring.

How to Humanely Trap and Bring a Dog to Safety

Do you know about humane dog trapping? Lost or stray dogs may be difficult to trap. In order to catch them humanely and bring them to safety, you often have to implement a tried-and-true method that many animal rescuers have been doing for years.

It’s easier to catch “well-adusted, confident dogs” who go missing, according to “Humane Capture of Skittish Dogs,” an article found at The Retrievers, a Minnesota-based organization offering lost dog support services.

Shy dogs and dogs never socialized from puppyhood in addition to “Dogs raised in puppy mills and hoarding situations are the most difficult to recover,” the article said. “They will bolt in panic when startled, or escape at the first opportunity when faced with a stressful situation. They may run for several miles before slowing down. And then, they will avoid human contact, running away from anyone who tries to approach.”

This can be very dangerous. Even dogs who come from wonderful families, dogs with great socialization may go into “survival mode” when on the streets for a long time. Those dogs may even run away from their own family as they see humans as threats, the article said.

To bring them to safety, it is often necessary to use a live trap, large enough to capture the animal. The Retrievers suggest a trap larger than a typical crate. Generally, traps are “triggered when the dog is lured far enough into the trap to step on a pressure plate, releasing a mechanism that causes the door to slam shut.”

Oftentimes, food is placed inside a trap to lure the dog in addition to being monitored either by live people or with a special camera.

Those who help are diligent in capturing stray dogs and always put the pet’s welfare first to bring the dog to safety.

If Your Dog Freaks Out When you Leave Home, You May Want to Read This Nipping Separation Anxiety and Your Dog in the Bud

Your dog is loving, sweet, cuddly and amazing. However, you’ve noticed that your dog’s personality does a 180 when you leave home. “Dogs with separation anxiety exhibit distress and behavior problems when they’re left alone,” according to the article, “Does Your Dog Freak Out When You Leave?” at The Humane Society of the United States website.

The article said that some of the common ways that dogs exhibit separation anxiety include:

  • Digging and scratching at windows and doors
  • Destructive chewing
  • Urinating and defecating
  • Barking, howling and whining

The reasons for separation anxiety are not necessarily known, but “your dog’s behaviors are part of a panic response,” the article said. Your dog wants you home. Triggers can include:

  • Dogs left alone when their human is typically home 24/7
  • Being alone for the first time
  • A traumatic event such as coming from a shelter
  • Loss of family member or pet or other routine change

You can try to remedy the situation with some simple things. When you arrive home, don’t make a big deal out of the situation and do the same when you leave the house. Leave something familiar with the dog such as an old sock or shirt that smells like you. You can even try an over-the-counter calming product, but talk to your veterinarian first.

For more severe situations, make sure to create a “safe place,” the article said. This will “limit your dog’s ability to be destructive while you’re away.” The place should not be too small and have a window so he or she is not totally isolated. Leave toys and a dirty sock or shirt.

If the situation becomes intolerable and you need help, make sure to contact a local professional animal behavior specialist. Remember, do not punish or crate your dog. It could make the situation worse.

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Count the Ways You Love Your Pet in February and Beyond
February is Pet Dental Month: Keep Your Pet’s Pearly Whites in Tip-Top Shape
Do You Know TNR? Trap-Neuter-Return Helps the Lives of Feral Cats

Count the Ways You Love Your Pet in February and Beyond

We love our pets; it pretty much goes without saying. And they love us back. Our loyal dogs are so dutiful. They protect our homes by barking at intruders, they greet us at the door after a long day of work, and they snuggle up with us during a home movie. Our devoted cats seem to listen to us when we have no one else around, and they love to cuddle up and purr in our laps.

But how do we show them the love?

Here’s some ideas to count the ways and make them count:

For dogs:

  • Take your dog for a nice long walk. It will make your dog happy and it will keep you both in shape.
  • Pet your dog and even give him or her a doggy massage.
  • Give your dog healthy treats, such as carrots.
  • Play with your dog. A game of catch is always a good idea to keep you both happy.
  • Pay attention to your dog, even if it’s just cuddling on the couch together.

For cats

  • Because most cats love to be clean, make sure you keep a clean litter box around.
  • Cats love play time, so invest in a toy mouse, some string or laser lights. It’s playtime and exercise for you both.
  • Keep some sturdy scratching posts placed around the home to keep your cat busy and engaged. It keeps their claws shortened and helps relieve stress, too.
  • Give your cat a couple places to sleep to feel safe and stay warm such as a bed or a box.
  • Snuggle up with your cat and give some scratches behind the ear. You’ll have a friend for life. 

Show your cat or dog the love, and you’ll be rewarded tenfold with a grateful and loyal friend for life.


February is Pet Dental Month: Keep Your Pet’s Pearly Whites in Tip-Top Shape

Just as the health of your teeth are important, so is the dental health of your pet. When you disregard their dental health, serious issues can arise, just as in humans. Since Feburary is Pet Dental Month, there’s no better time than to have your pet’s pearly whites checked by your veterinarian.

According to the article “Pet Dental Care,” at the American Veterinary Medical Association website, your pet’s teeth should be checked yearly to detect any problems and for the overall health of your pet’s mouth.

Take note of signs including bad breath, a broken tooth, discolored teeth, mouth pain or bleeding from the mouth. Any of these signs could be a serious dental problem, so contact your veterinarian as soon as possible, the article said.

It is less common to find cavities in pets, but “they can have many of the same dental problems that people can develop” including broken teeth, abscesses, cysts, tumors and periodontal disease, the latter of which is most common in dogs and cats. “Early detection and treatment are critical, because advanced periodontal disease can cause severe problems and pain for your pet,” the article stated. Periodontal disease is associated with other issues including kidney, heart muscle changes and the liver. Discuss dental cleaning treatment with your veterinarian.

Along with a yearly checkup for your pet’s teeth, speak to your vet about prevention at home. This can include brushing your pet’s teeth on a regular basis. It “is the single most effective thing you can do to keep their teeth healthy between dental cleanings, and may reduce the frequency or even eliminate the need for periodic dental cleaning by your veterinarian,” the article said.

The trick is to be patient with your pet when getting him or her used to brushing. Talk to your vet before you start any regimen.


Do You Know TNR? Trap-Neuter-Return Helps the Lives of Feral Cats

If you don’t know about TNR — Trap-Neuter-Return — it’s time to find out about the program that is helping feral cats nationally.

“Trap-Neuter-Return is the humane and effective approach for stray and feral cats,” according to “Why Trap-Neuter-Return Feral Cats? The Case for TNR,” an article by Alley Cat Allies, a nonprofit that helps to effect positive change for cats. The program has been in practice in the US for decades after it was proved to work in Europe. The article said that, according to scientific studies, TNR “improves the lives of feral cats, improves their relationships with the people who live near them, and decreases the size of colonies over time.”

The TNR program is simple, according to the article: People involved with the program in their communities set out to humanely trap the feral cats in the area. The cats are then taken to a veterinarian, neutered and vaccinated. Following recovery, the cats are then brought back to their outdoor colony. Those cats who are friendly and some kittens are sometimes adopted out to homes.

TNR is an effective program that helps the lives of feral cats by halting breeding, which improves health and prevents unnecessary litters. It is a program that easily and much more humanely stops the inhumane practice of killing outdoor, feral cats. Additionally, feral cats who are removed and brought to local pounds do not end up being adopted and are then euthanized, according to the article. TNR programs continue to be effective and successful.

To find out more about local TNR programs in the Phoenix area and to help, go to the Animal Defense League of Arizona or Altered Tails.

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New Year, New Pet: Get Your Overweight Pet on Weight Loss, Exercise Plan


Whether you have a fat cat or a pudgy pup, the New Year is the perfect time to get your beloved family pet in shape. It’s not that they need to fit into a great bathing suit by summer, it is strictly for their health and well-being. Along with your own resolutions for 2017, add some for your pet as well.

As with people, overweight dogs are susceptible to various health risks that affect many organs, according to the article “Health Risks in Overweight or Obese Dogs” at Doctors Foster and Smith at “When we overload these organs, disease and sometimes death are the consequences,” the article said. Risks can manifest in the form of diabetes mellitus, damage to joints, heart disease, digestive disorders and many more.

Basically the same can be said for overweight cats as stated in “Health Risks in Overweight or Obese Cats” at “One of the most common complications of obesity in cats is the development of diabetes mellitus (sugar diabetes).” Other consequences include liver disease, lameness and arthritis, and skin problems.

In the article “7 Surprising Ways To Help Your Pet Lose Weight (And Why It’s Important)” at, Dr. Ernie Ward, DVM, wrote, “…over half our nation’s dogs and cats are overweight. This means almost 80 million pets are at risk for developing crippling arthritis, debilitating diabetes, catastrophic kidney and heart disease, high blood pressure and many forms of cancer.”

Dr. Ward recommends seven tips to help get your pet back in tip-top shape:

  1. Calorie counts. Find out the amount of daily calories your pet needs by asking your veterinarian, and consult your vet before starting a diet because each pet has a different metabolism.
  2. Got measuring cup? Well use it, according to Dr. Ward. Don’t “guestimate.” He said, “After you calculate how many calories your pet needs, determine how much food you should feed each meal – and measure it.”
  3. It’s OK to give treats, but make sure they are not junk-food. Provide treats that are low calorie and no-sugar.
  4. Instead of store-bought dog treats, try baby carrots, green beans, cucumbers, bananas and sliced apples. “For cats, try a flake of salmon or tuna,” Dr. Ward wrote.
  5. Exercise! It’s good for you and your dog. “…anyone with a dog has a built-in, no-excuse exercise buddy,” Ward wrote. For dogs, 20-30 minutes of brisk walking helps with cardiovascular health. For cats, play with a laser pointer or remote-controlled toy for 5 to 15 minutes a day.
  6. “Almost every dog, cat and person can benefit from taking a daily omega-3 fatty acid supplement,” Ward wrote. Consult your vet before using any supplement.
  7. Cutting carbs. Dr. Ward suggests a higher protein/low carb diet. However, he advises checking with your vet first.

Our pets are our family and we are responsible for their health. There’s no better time than now to achieve your pet’s weight-loss goals and keep him or her healthy to live a long life.