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Have a Heart And Ensure Your Pets Are Safe From Heartworm Disease

Heartworm is not something to be taken lightly, which is probably why there’s a special month to recognize what can be a very deadly disease if not caught early enough and treated. 

And April is that month. During National Heartworm Awareness Month, there is no better time to get educated about the disease and steps you can take to prevent it. 

Affecting dogs, cats, ferrets and some other mammals from coyotes and sea lions to even humans, which is rare, “heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease in pets in the United States and many other parts of the world,” according to the American Heartworm Society. “It is caused by foot-long worms (heartworms) that live in the heart, lungs and associated blood vessels of affected pets, causing severe lung disease, heart failure and damage to other organs in the body,” the website said. 

The American Heartworm Society offers important information: 

In Dogs:

1.      Dogs are “a natural host for heartworms.” The heartworms become adults, then mate and then have offspring. Without treatment the situation escalates and dogs can have hundreds of worms, which ends up in damage to the heart, lungs and arteries.

2.      Signs can include decreased appetite, weight loss, mild persistent cough and fatigue after moderate exercise. As the disease progresses, pets may experience heart failure and a swollen belly because of extra fluid in the abdomen.

3.      Have your dogs tested annually for heartworm, even if your dog is on heartworm prevention medicine. 

In Cats:

1.      Cats are an “atypical host” and the disease is different in them than it is in dogs as the worms typically do not mature to adults. Often it goes un-diagnosed. The immature worms can cause damage. The condition is heartworm associated respiratory disease. Remember, cats cannot use the same medication that dogs use to treat heartworm, so prevention is important.

2.      Either subtle or dramatic, signs in cats can include lack of appetite, weight loss, coughing, vomiting or asthma-like attacks.

3.      Much more difficult to detect in cats than in dogs, heartworm screening includes an antigen and an antibody test. “Because there is no approved treatment for heartworm infection in cats, prevention is critical,” the website said. 

The best thing you can do is discuss a heartworm prevention program with your veterinarian. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Heartworm is deadly and you don’t want to put your beloved pet in harm’s way.

Celebrate National Adopt A Shelter Pet Day And Adopt A Furry Family Member

Every day thousands of dogs and cats in local shelters across the nation are looking for homes.

Due to that sad fact, National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day was established every April 30 to bring awareness to those animals. It’s a way to try to get people to go out to their local shelter and adopt a dog, cat, puppy, kitten or even a bunny.

The “unofficial” holiday is hopefully catching on as an important day not only to bring the homeless pet problem to the forefront but to also attract more  people to shelters to adopt pets. 

According to the ASPCA, “There are about 13,600 community animal shelters nationwide that are indepenedent; there is no national organization monitoring these shelters.” In addition, according to the website: 

·         There are roughly 7.6 million companion animals who enter shelters yearly in the U.S.: 3.9 million dogs and 3.4 million cats.

·         Every year 1.2 million dogs and 1.4 million cats are euthanized.

·         About 2.7 million animals in the shelters are adopted: 1.4 million dogs and 1.3 million cats. 

With those numbers, it is plain to see there are so many more animals needing homes. It’s a great idea to have a holiday to remind people to go out and adopt a shelter pet.

To try to help make National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day a national holiday, you can send a letter to the President. Click here for more information.

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What’s Good For You Isn’t Always Right for Your Pet

Our pets mean the world to us. They make us happy; they make us whole. It is easy to get carried away with how much love we want to give. But it’s imperative that we keep them safe at all times. Sometimes we don’t realize all the poisonous things our dogs and cats can get into just around our own homes. There’s no better time to remind us of prevention tips than in March, Poison Prevention Awareness Month. From plants and household cleaners to food and even chewing gum, your own home can be hazardous to your pet’s health. 

The ASPCA has poison prevention tips so you can keep your pets safe. The following are some important tips to alert you to what’s OK and what’s not when it comes to your furry family members: 

·         Plants are beautiful, and with spring just around the corner it’s time for lilies. Did you know that many lily plants are toxic to cats? It’s better to be safe than sorry; so check for the ones to keep away from your pets, along with other plants that can be toxic.

·         Here are some of the foods to keep away from your pet: alcoholic beverages, chocolate, avocado, macadamia nuts, raisins and grapes, yeast dough, coffee, fatty foods, onions, salt, and moldy or spoiled foods, and chewing gun containing Xylitol.

·         Say no to ibuprofen and other prescribed people meds. They can be deadly.

·         Do your research on flea-control products and their proper use, and never use one on cats that is meant for dogs and vice versa.

·         Anti-freeze can be deadly so keep it away from your pets.

·         When tending to your lawn, ensure your pets don’t get into insecticide or weed killer. Read the labels and follow directions!

A comprehensive list of products along with a 24-hour emergency line is available through the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC). Stay on top of things to keep your pets safe.


Hope Springs Eternal Allergies: Get Your Pets to Stop Scratching that Itch

Coughing. Sneezing. Teary Eyes. Yep, it’s that time of year. Allergy season is upon us. However, it’s not just people who experience seasonal allergies that can start in the spring and hang on until the fall. Our pets are susceptible as well, although they often experience different symptoms. 

There are 10 signs that your dog may be suffering from allergies. Take note so you can be aware and get your dog the help and relief necessary:

1.      Itching

2.      Irritated and red skin

3.      Constant licking

4.      Rubbing face on objects

5.      Hair loss

6.      Hot spots

7.      Red and smelly ears

8.      Shaking the head

9.      Red skin

10.  Puffy eyes 

If you notice any of the above signs, it is important to take your dog to your veterinarian for a checkup to find out the cause and then discuss solutions. 

Signs to look for in cats with allergies include:

·         Scratching leading to skin conditions “due to the release of an immunoglobulin called IgE.”

·         Hair loss

·         Scabs

·         Open sores

·         Ear discharge

·         Excessive scratching 

Before you do anything, and that includes medicating with an antihistamine, stop right there! Never administer meds before consulting your veterinarian as it can prove dangerous to your cat. Your cat could also be allergic to flea saliva, but again, consult with your vet.

In all manner of treatment for your pets when it concerns allergies, defer to the experts and discuss with your veterinarian about the right plan to get your furry family member back on track and feeling better.


Make the Right Litter Go a Long Way

Right from the start cats know instinctively to do their business in a litter box. It is one of the great things that comes along with having cats. It is also important to remember that cats are finicky. How can we forget? We can’t. They remind us every day. They can even be fussy about their litter box. Keeping the perfect litter box is not only good for your feline, it is also great for you and your home, too. 

From cleanliness to location of the litter box, there’s a lot to take into consideration. Here’s some litter box tips from The Humane Society of the United States: 

1.      Location is key. The litter box doesn’t have to be in some remote, dark area. The litter box should provide privacy and convenience. Don’t place it near “noisy or heat-radiating appliances.” Never place near food or water bowls. Place a litter box on each floor of your home. If it’s behind a door, be sure the door is kept open.

2.      With all the different cat litters out there, do your research. “Fine-grained litters” are popular with cats and are softer to the touch.

3.      Forget the scented litter as it can be a turn off to many cats. “A thin layer of baking soda placed on the bottom of the box will help absorb odors without repelling your cat.” The best thing you can do is to keep the box regularly clean.

4.      How many boxes? It depends on how many cats in the home. “The general rule of paw is one litter box for each cat in the home, plus one more.”

5.      To cover or not to cover… Some cats won’t even use a covered litter box, so give both a test run.

6.      Your cats are clean, so keep the litter box up to par. Scoop out daily. Replacing litter depends on how many felines are in the home, number of boxes and the type of litter.

7.      Never punish your cat if litter box problems arise. First things first: Rule out medical conditions with your veterinarian. 

Great litter box care equals a happy cat, and a happy home.

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Are you prepared for a disaster?

Oftentimes in the news we hear of natural disasters where people are being evacuated. From tornadoes to flash floods to wild fires, depending on where you live, disasters can happen and catch you off guard unless you are prepared.pets inside

Not only is it important to have a plan of action for the humans in your family, but what about the family pets?

Even though more agencies are considering the family pet, make sure you are prepared first. That goes for every day emergencies to natural disasters.

According to the The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), there are a number of things you can do to keep you and your pet at the ready:

  1. Identification goes a long way: Pet IDs for all your pets are essential every day and in case of emergency. Ensure your family pet wears a collar with ID tags as you never know what can happen. From your pet escaping out the front door to an emergency, things can happen, so have tags with current information on your pet at all times. Have your pets microchipped. It offers an added plus. Again, ensure you register the microchip with your current information. “Put your cell phone number on your pet’s tag.It may also be a good idea to include the phone number of a friend or relative outside your immediate area—in case you have had to evacuate,” according to the HSUS.
  2. Prepare an emergency kit. From water, food, medications, litter box and leashes to harnesses and carriers, get it together and have it easily available.
  3. Do you have a place to stay with your pets in an emergency? Start researching places you can take your pet if it’s necessary. The HSUS recommends calling your local office of emergency management. Also check hotels and motels and their policies, friends, family, vets and shelters.
  4. Make arrangements with a trusted friend or family member in case you are away during an emergency so that they can take your pets until you meet up.
  5. If you have to evacuate, take your pets! According to the HSUS, “If it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for your pets.”
  6. For those who must stay home during an emergency, find the safest place to wait it out with your pets.
  7. Keep pets safe after disaster. According to the HSUS, “Your home may be a very different place after the emergency is over, and it may be hard for your pets to adjust.” Make sure your pet is safe with dogs on a leash and your cats in cat carriers and within your sight. Don’t let pets roam as it could be very dangerous.emergency

The old adage, “Better safe than sorry” rings true when it involves pets and disaster. You’ll feel much better knowing you are prepared and that your beloved furry family members are protected.