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From Allergies to Hot Spots, Ensure You Address Skin Problems in Dogs
How to Help Calm Your Dog When Separation Anxiety Takes Hold
Thinking of Giving a Pet as a Gift? Make Sure to Do Your Homework

From Allergies to Hot Spots, Ensure You Address Skin Problems in Dogs

There are various skin conditions found in dogs, which is why many dogs end up at the veterinarian, according to the PetMD article “5 Common Dog Skin Problems,” by Jessica Vogelsang, DVM.

According to the article, here are five common skin problems:

1. Itchy Skin. This is “officially referred to as pruritus,” which is common in dogs and is “the primary complaint associated with up to 40% of all vet visits for a skin problem.” Itching is miserable for dogs who continuously scratch, which can then cause “secondary skin lesions, infections, and hair loss from the trauma of teeth and nails on their skin.”
2. Allergies. When dogs itch, it can be due to allergies, which can be caused by the environment, food and fleas:
• An environmental allergy, also called atopy, is when allergens are either inhaled (pollen or mite dander) or absorbed through the skin (through grass). Dogs may need shots or medication.
• For dogs allergic to fleas, “One bite can be enough to trigger a systemic bout of chewing and scratching,” the article said. But once under control, so will the itching.
• Food allergies can be “triggered by a hypersensitivity reaction to a protein that the body misidentifies as a threat,” the article said. Make sure you see your vet to receive the proper diagnosis and treatment.
3. Sores and Hot Spots. Other causes of itchiness are mites and fleas and primary bacterial infections, the article said. “Hot spots, or moist dermatitis, are often seen in the dog and can spread very quickly.” Contact your vet if you see red, sticky sores.
4. Hair Loss. Caused by various issues, “from parasites such as Demodex mites to thyroid disease to Cushing’s disease,” so make sure you bring your dog to the vet for diagnosis.
5. Dull Coats. For dogs with a dull coat or dry skin, oftentimes nutritional management can be helpful along with supplements.
To ensure you receive the correct diagnosis and treatment for any skin problem, make sure to consult your veterinarian.

How to Help Calm Your Dog When Separation Anxiety Takes Hold

Do you have a dog who freaks out when you leave the house? Do you find your house destroyed when you return? Does your dog howl when placed in a crate? Or does she incessantly follow you around the house? When dogs show signs of separation anxiety they “exhibit distress and behavior problems when they’re left alone,” according to “Does Your Dog Freak Out When You Leave?” an article by The Humane Society of the United States.

Other signs are digging, chewing, barking and whining and going potty in the house.

According to the article, there is no real understanding of why some dogs suffer from the anxiety, but “dog’s behaviors are part of a panic response,” and they want you home with them.

The article points to the following triggers:
• When dogs are left alone for the first time, especially when they are constantly around humans.
• Traumatic time spent at shelter or boarding.
• Change in home routine.

For minor separation anxiety, the HSUS article recommends:
• To “ignore your dog for the first few minutes then calmly pet them” when you leave or return home.
• Leave them home with a piece of clothing that has your smell.
• Use an over-the-counter calming product.
• Use a word or action to indicate that you will return.

For more severe issues, use the above “along with desensitization training.” For those times you are away, establish a “safe place” for your dog where they cannot be destructive. This should be a place where your dog has room to play with toys but where the dog is confined loosely, the article said.

While you are teaching your dog to be calm, in the meantime you can send your dog to doggie daycare or to a friend. You can ask your vet for medication that can help with anxiety.

Whatever you do, do not punish your dog, get another dog or crate your dog. You can also speak with a behaviorist to get more input.

Thinking of Giving a Pet as a Gift? Make Sure to Do Your Homework

We seem to hear it time and again: It’s a bad idea to give a pet as a gift. This sentiment is heard often during the holiday season when many people are thinking of giving a puppy, kitten or bunny as a gift. Surely giving a pet as a gift to an unsuspecting person is not a good idea. When someone is not prepared for a new furry family member, although the initial response is excitement over the adorable pet, sometimes things turn out bad.

The most important aspect to keep in mind in the end is the animal’s welfare.

In a survey done by the ASPCA to find out about people receiving pets as gifts, “96% of the people who received pets as gifts thought it either increased or had no impact on their love or attachment to that pet,” according to the ASPCA’s “Position Statement on Pets as Gifts.” Accordingly, the survey also noted that there is “no difference in attachment based on the gift being a surprise or known in advance. Several studies conducted in the 1990’s and 2000 (Patronek, 1996, Scarlett, 1999 New, 1999, New 2000) found that pets acquired as gifts are less likely to be relinquished than pets acquired by the individual.”

The ASPCA does recommend that people only give pets to those who have made it clear that they would like to have one and that they are able to care for a pet in a responsible manner. “We also recommend that pets be obtained from animal shelters, rescue organizations, friends, family or responsible breeders—not from places where the source of the animal is unknown or untrusted,” the ASPCA article said.

Whatever you do, make sure the pet’s welfare is at the top of the list. Do your homework as you want to ensure the pet and the recipient will have a long life together.

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When Adopting, Don’t Forget That Senior Pets Make Great Family Members, Too
Thanksgiving Is a Time to Give Thanks to Your Pets
What You Should Do If Your Pet Ingests a Foreign Object

When Adopting, Don’t Forget That Senior Pets Make Great Family Members, Too


So many people seem to want puppies and kittens. There’s no doubt that they are cute and cuddly. However, senior pets are adorable as well. They have their own way about them. They are lovable and need a great forever home. Overlooked by many who want the younger pets, seniors make great companions who are forever grateful. And there’s no better time to adopt a senior than during November, which is National Adopt a Senior Pet Month.

According to the article, “November Is Senior Pet Month: Consider Adopting an Older Pet,” at the ASPCA website, “Animal shelters across the country are full of animals of all shapes, sizes, breeds and ages, but senior pets are typically the most difficult to place.”

Older pets typically spend more time at shelters and rescues being passed over for younger pets while waiting for homes, “if they find one at all, that is,” according to an article at DogTime. Additionally, the euthanasia rates for those older cats and dogs are higher than for younger cats and dogs.

One of the many great things about adopting an older pet is that there are basically fewer surprises. According to the ASPCA article, many of these dogs and cats are already trained, fully grown, and “their personalities have developed.”  Even though they may seem more set in their ways, “that doesn’t mean you can’t teach an old dog new tricks!” the article said. “In our experience, senior dogs are often easier to train than puppies due to their calm demeanor and prior interactions with human companions.”

Older pets are also great family companions for seniors and those who are at a point where they are less active. Seniors oftentimes dote on their senior furry family members, making senior pets feel especially welcome in their new home.

Thanksgiving Is a Time to Give Thanks to Your Pets

We love our pets. They make us laugh, give us purpose, cheer us up when we are down, and keep us active and playful. There are so many things to be thankful for during this Thanksgiving, so make sure to give thanks to your pet, too.

According to The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) in its article, “What Are Your Pet’s Plans for Thanksgiving?” one of the most important things we can do for our canines and felines during the holiday is to keep them safe and healthy. “It’s all too easy for dinner guests to accidentally leave a door open and allow an escape,” the article said. “And your uncle’s goodhearted desire to slip a few leftovers to your dog under the table can actually be dangerous.”

We would never want our pets to become lost and be out alone and scared, or fall ill due to ingesting dangerous foods that bring them to the emergency clinic. Be prepared with the HSUS list of foods your pets should avoid.

Here are some ways to give thanks to your pets:

  1. Keep your pets in a safe, calm place if you are expecting company. Your pets may get stressed out, so ensure they have their own calm area to hang out.
  2. Have natural, safe treats on hand and keep your pets away from leftovers that can cause harm.
  3. Enusre you make time for them during the hustle and bustle of the holiday. Take them on a walk or enjoy extra playtime just for them.

Our pets give us so much joy and make us feel special while they are always excited to see and be with us. Let’s show them some extra love in return this Thanksgiving.

What You Should Do If Your Pet Ingests a Foreign Object

From rocks and socks to clothes and paper for dogs and thread and rodents for cats, some pets want to eat anything and everything they can get their little paws on! Some just seem to be vacuum cleaners who will suck up anything that comes their way. What if that something poses a danger and gets stuck?

In dogs, “Sometimes, objects are too big to progress through the digestive tract, and when this is the case, they cause an obstruction,” according to “Does Your Dog Have an Appetite for Life?” at Pet Health Network. If your dog suffers from symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy or lack of appetite, consult your veterinarian as it may be cause for concern. Your vet may want to take X-rays or run bloodwork or other tests. Treatment can vary from inducing vomiting to surgery.

According to the article, “If the object has made it into the intestine, surgery is imminent.” If there is a blockage, it “can cut blood supply to the stomach and intestinal tissue. After a few hours, it is possible for the tissue to become necrotic, or ‘die.’”

Although there are similarities when cats ingest a foreign object, there are some differences, too. In the article “Did Your Cat Eat Something Weird?” at Pet Health Network, watch for vomiting, lethargy and lack of appetite. If a cat swallows thread it can be very life-threatening, “especially if it is attached to a needle,” the article said. “As the cat swallows thread, it can wrap around the tongue and pull against the tongue with each swallow. If that sounds uncomfortable, consider what can happen if a needle is attached to that thread: it may pierce the stomach or intestines multiple times and keep the thread from passing through the digestive tract.”

As with dogs, if your cat has swallowed a foreign object and may be stuck, surgery could be required. Ensure that you consult your veterinarian for the best possible outcome.

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Black Cats, Halloween and Debunking the MythsBlack cat

Halloween is nigh. Often what follows are the countless myths about black cats. From being bad luck to the numerous stories told throughout the years about black cats who are used for ritualistic torture, you can’t help but wonder what’s true and what’s a hoax. So how do you determine fact from fiction when it comes to black felines at this time of year?

One myth is that there are those who steal black cats from yards or off the streets in order to use them for rituals, while another myth says black cats are adopted from shelters prior to Halloween to be used for decoration, only to then be returned to the shelter. It is also heavily advised to keep black cats and pets in general indoors because of the nature of the holiday. Any of the scenarios are just as horrifying as some of the scary movies that are released this time of year.

Whether the myths are just rumor or speculation, there are many shelters throughout the country that refrain from adopting out black cats during this time of year as a simple precaution.

However, what’s the truth, and will we ever really get to the bottom of the rumors?

In the article by Dr. Marty Becker, DVM, “Are Black Cats in Greater Danger Around Halloween?” at VetStreet, the concerns are “based on little more than hearsay, that black cats are sought out on Halloween for Satanic rituals” along with the other myths. “In the meantime, people who’d offer perfect homes for these pets may not come into the shelter at all while an adoption ban is in effect.”

For those who blame Halloween and rituals on cats not returning home or being killed, there are typically explanations such as being hit by a car, being poisoned by accident or on purpose, or caught by coyotes, the article said. This is reason enough to keep cats inside the home during Halloween and throughout the year.

According to Becker’s article, Francis Battista, cofounder of the Best Friends Animal Society said, “There is no evidence that black cats are at special risk of abuse if adopted around Halloween.” She added that the “fear-driven policy” only puts cats of all colors at risk of dying in shelters “due to overcrowding.”

In the article, Becker points out that good shelters look for reasons to adopt out their pets. “They recognize that powerful, positive marketing (such as through the Shelter Pet Project and Petfinder) helps get pets into great homes. The shelters that put black cats ‘on special’ are using a ‘hook’ to get people thinking about adoption.”

And that’s no trick. It’s actually the best treat there is!