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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.

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Summer Haircuts for Dogs and Why You Shouldn’t Shave Certain Breeds
To Do or Don’t: Socialization Tips for Your Dog
Make Plans for Your Dog Now that the Kids are Back to School

Summer Haircuts for Dogs and Why You Shouldn’t Shave Certain Breeds

As hot as humans get in summer, it’s even hotter for dogs. Many people get their dogs a summer haircut to trim long, matted hair for their dog’s comfort. Some people shave their dogs, but is that the right thing to do?

Dogs sweat differently than humans and their coat actually protects them in many ways.

According to the ASPCA article, “Heat Wave! Should You Shave Your Pet?” you can think of your dog’s coat as if it were “like insulation for your house,” as per Dr. Louise Murray, vice president of the ASPCA Animal Hospital. “Insulation stops your home from getting too cold in winter, but it also keeps it from overheating in summer—and your dog’s coat does the same thing.”

Dogs have many layers to their coat, which actually helps them in the heat. “Robbing your dog of this natural cooling system can lead to discomfort and overheating. And keeping your dog cool isn’t the only reason to leave his coat intact, Dr. Murray warns. Your dog’s coat prevents your pup from getting sunburn and helps protect her from skin cancer.”

For long-haired dogs, you can provide a “summer cut” to trim up the hair. The article advises to use a professional groomer and to never have your dog’s hair shaved to the skin.

Cat Coats

If you’re thinking about shaving your cat, realize that “A pet’s coat is designed by nature to keep it cool during the summer and warm in the winter,” according to the article “Should You Shave Your Pet for Summer” at

Dr. Karen Becker is not in favor of shaving cats “unless there’s a medical reason,” she said in her article at HealthyPets. “Whether a kitty lives indoors all the time or is an indoor-outdoor cat, she needs her coat.” Extenuating circumstances include medical reasons or terrible matting.

To Do or Don’t: Socialization Tips for Your Dog

Your dog is adorable. The cutest pup on the block. But his manners! What do you do with your precious furry family member who lacks socialization skills?

Manners go a long way in both humans and dogs. There is hope if your dog lacks socialization skills. It’s naturally better to start socializing when your dog is a puppy. “It’s the important process of exposing a puppy to other animals and people so he will be better equipped to handle social situations,” according to “The Do’s and Don’ts for Socializing Your Puppy” an article at

The best time to start getting your dog socialized is within the first three months of his life, according to the article. “When it comes to socialization, it’s the quality, not quantity that counts.”

Some tips from the article:

• Gradually introduce new experiences.
• Never push your pup if he’s scared.
• Control his first encounters and outings in a familiar place.
• “Associate good things with each new introduction,” the article said. Offer treats or praise.

According to the article, “Do’s and Don’ts for Socializing Your Adult Dog” at, here are things NOT to do:

• Do not go to a dog park or café to socialize.
• Do not overwhelm your dog to be crowded by too many people.
• Do not bring your dog to a friend’s party where there are lots of people and dogs.
• Do not push your dog to be involved in a class if he is fearful. One-on-one training may be best at first.
• Do not punish your dog if he is scared, and don’t yell.

Taking your time with your dog will go a long way. Remember to seek professional help if you need it.

Make Plans for Your Dog Now that the Kids are Back to School
Summer is such a great time for your kids and their pets. Dogs get extra time with their best human friends. Extra playtime. Extra treats. Staying up late and bonding all summer long. Now that kids are heading back to school and spending more time on homework and after-school activities, family pets may become depressed.

“This change in routine can cause your dog to suffer from separation anxiety or depression—to actually miss your kids—and even follow them to school,” according to the article “Separation Anxiety Can Be a Reality for Your Dog When the Kids Go Back to School” at Banfield Pet Hospital.

Signs of anxiety can include chewing furniture, shredding paper and obsessive barking, all of which “can be managed with structure and patience,” the article said.

For those who may have adopted a pet over the summer, “the change in routine when children return to school can be confusing to a new family pet,” according to the article “Leaving Your Dog or Puppy at Home: Back to School Tips” at North Shore Animal League America.

The following are tips offered by the Animal League’s Animal Behavior specialists:

• Ensure your children set a schedule and follow it throughout the year to feed and walk their dog. The routine will help.
• Have your child give the pet a “special toy” before leaving for school and put it away when your child returns home.
• While you and your child are away, hide treats for your pet to find.
• Have children return home directly after school to care for pets, such as feeding or going for a walk. Play a game before doing afterschool homework or activities.
• Include pets in afterschool activities for quality time.

Quality time, playtime, toys and treats can go a long way!