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It’s February, and it’s the month of love – Valentine’s Day is Feb. 14. While you show love to your spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend, children, grandchildren, and your friends, make sure to show love to your pets.

How do you love your pet? Let’s find the ways.

Here are some great way to bring on the love for your dogs:

  1. Walking, hiking and day tripping: Take that extra walk with your dog. Not only will it give you both some exercise to help you keep fit, your dog will love you for the extra dose of getting out to smell the roses, or the other dogs. Go that extra mile and take a hike with your dog. Many dogs love a great car ride. Get in and go! Visit with friends, family or just follow the open road and see where it leads.
  2. Toys galore! When was the last time you took your pooch to pick out a toy from the love your petlocal pet store? What are you waiting for? Get going!
  3. Out with the old. Is your dog’s bed a bit worn around the edges or chewed up a la Fido. It’s never a bad time to check out some new, comfortable bedding.
  4. Snuggle up! Show the love by hanging out on the couch with your favorite movie and your favorite pup. Include popcorn for you and a dog treat for your best friend. Did someone say, “Lady and the Tramp?”
  5. Don’t eat that! Sometimes people confuse love with giving too much food – to animals and people alike! Try not to overdo it and over-love with too much food or the wrong foods, some of which can be very harmful to your pet. If your pet gets into a food that can be harmful or deadly, contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. Not to mention overweight pets can lead to various health problems.

Cats oftentimes are seen as mysterious, finicky and not quite as social as dogs. However, every cat is an individual, and many cats are very social and love interaction. Here’s ways to show them love:

  1. kitty loveExploration keeps the mind happy: Since cats love to explore, make sure your kitty has a cardboard box, a paper bag, scratching posts and even a cat condo.
  2. “Cat TV”: Cats often like to look out the window, watch the birds and check out what’s going on in the neighborhood. Ensure this fascination by allowing your cat access to window. Don’t forget to include lots of perches.
  3. The great outdoors: It can be dangerous to let your cats roam freely, but you can create a secure outdoor area for your kitty so he or she can get fresh air and be safe at the same time.

Our pets enrich our lives every day, so there’s no better time to return the favor.

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Keep Your Cat Healthy During National Cat Health Month in February and Beyond

Did you know that February is National Cat Health Month? It’s important to keep your cat healthy every month and even every day, but February celebrates the cat and how you can keep your feline friend at the top of his or her healthy game.

Americans love their cats, as there are about 74.1 million pet cats as opposed to 70 million pet dogs in the U.S. according to the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook (2012). Additionally, in 2011, six of 10 pet owners viewed their dogs or cats as part of the family. 

Even with the amount of love shown to cats, veterinary visits for felines were down as compared to those for dogs. The AVMA’s U.S. Pet Ownership Statistics showed that dogs saw a vet 2.6 times a year per household as opposed to 1.6 times for cats. Owners spent $378 a year per household at the vet for their canines and only $191 for felines. 

So where is the love for cats? Here are some interesting statistics about shelter dogs and cats from the ASPCA: 

·         “About 649,000 animals who enter shelters as strays are returned to their owners. Of those, 542,000 are dogs and only 100,000 are cats.

·         Of the dogs entering shelters, approximately 35% are adopted, 31% are euthanized and 26% of dogs who came in as strays are returned to their owner.

·         Of the cats entering shelters, approximately 37% are adopted, 41% are euthanized, and less than 5% of cats who came in as strays are returned to their owners.” 

From “The Importance of Taking Your Cat to The Vet,” the following are some statistics provided by The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP):If we have so much love for our cats, maybe it’s time

 to ensure they get the health care they need, and there’s no better time to start than in February!

·         “Almost twice as many cats than dogs never visit the veterinarian.

·         Of the cats that do visit the veterinarian, they average 26% fewer visits than dogs.

·         41% of cat owners visit the veterinarian only for vaccinations.

·         39% of cat owners say they would only take their cat to the veterinarian if the cat was sick.

·         60% of cat owners report that their cat hates going to the veterinarian.

·         38% of cat owners report that they get stressed just thinking about bringing their cat to the vet.” 

Many pet parents assume a vet visit is unnecessary if their cat is not sick. However, because cats have been known to hide sickness and pain, the best way to prevent illness is to ensure your cat receives a checkup. Why take a chance when you really don’t know? For cats and cat parents who get stressed and for those cats who hate the vet, try researching feline-only vet practices that specialize in just cats. It can help make things run more smoothly. 

It’s just not a good idea to avoid the vet and compromise your cat’s health. There is also cost, which is another hindrance for some. Remember though that a checkup now can save a lot of cost and heartache down the road. Don’t skimp on your cat’s health. Keep up with your cat by keeping up with his or her good health. You’ll be happy you did.


Keep Your Pet’s Pearly Whites Clean and Healthy to Ensure Overall Good Health 

Just as with people, good dental health signifies all-around good health in our pets. A sign of bad teeth, bad gums or even bad breath in our pets can actually point to something more serious.

Along with general vet wellness checkups for your family dogs and cats, make sure your veterinarian checks your pet’s teeth. Your vet can detect if your pet has any dental issues, including periodontal disease, which is prevalent in many dogs and cats. 

To ensure you remember the importance of your pet’s dental health, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) “sponsors National Pet Dental Health Month every February.” 

For starters, although we brush our teeth at least twice a day, most people neglect their dog’s or cat’s teeth. You can keep up with the dental health of your pets and start with brushing their teeth on a daily basis. Speak to your vet about a brushing plan that you can begin at home. Although it may not be easy to do or your pet might not take to it at first, check Dr. Sheldon Rubin’s video with tips on brushing your pet’s teeth and information about periodontal disease. In another video, Dr. Cindy Charlier discusses the disease and prevention. 

Heed the following tips and advice for your pet’s best dental health:

·         As with humans, a lack of dental care can cause disease that affects other organs, including the heart.

·         Proper dental health can prevent other serious health issues down the line

·         In order for your pet’s adult teeth to come in, all the baby teeth have to come out, which doesn’t always happen on its own. Consult your vet.

·         Your pet may need a professional cleaning due to plaque buildup, so it’s important to keep up with dental and wellness checkups with your vet.

·         Even though your dog or cat may seem fine, there could be a dental issue of which you are not aware, yet another good reason for vet checkups. 

Stay on top of your pet’s dental hygiene to keep good pet health all around, not to mention, he or she may have better breath. That’s a win-win for everyone!


Ensure Your Dogs and Cats Get Spayed/Neutered to “Fix” the Problem Before It Starts 

February is known for so many things, especially Valentine’s Day, a month to shower loved ones with cards, kisses, flowers and more. It’s also Spay/Neuter Awareness Month and the celebration of World Spay Day, held the last Tuesday of every February. It’s also a great time to show the love for your pets by ensuring they are spayed or neutered. 

Why February? There’s a great reason behind the timing. “The purpose is to encourage people to have their pets sterilized before the spring and summer months when there is a rampant overproduction of puppies and kittens,” according to February is Spay/Neuter Awareness Month at The Humane Society of Greenwood website. It is during those months that animal shelters across the country “experience an unmanageable increase in animal intake.” 

When you spay or neuter your dog or cat, you help to prevent the overpopulation of pets in shelters and on the streets, in addition to helping the overall health of your pet. Homeless animals are in every town, city and state across the nation. The numbers are staggering. 

·         For females there is less risk of pyometra (reproductive tract infection) and mammary tumors (breast cancer).According to “Why You Should Spay/Neuter Your Pet” at the Humane Society of the United States website, “In the U.S., there are an estimated 6-8 million homeless animals entering animal shelters every year. Barely half of these animals are adopted. Tragically, the rest are euthanized. These are healthy, sweet pets who would have made great companions.” The article says there are “more than 2.7 million healthy, adoptable cats and dogs” euthanized every year. So accordingly, “Spay/neuter is the only permanent, 100 percent effective method of birth control for dogs and cats. There are also numerous health and behavioral benefits to spay/neuter as per “Spay/Neuter Awareness Month: A Veterinarian’s Perspective” at

·         For males, the risk is reduced for testicular tumors, prostrate and associated urinary difficulties.

·         Cats will be less exposed to feline leukemia and the feline AIDs virus. “They will fight less and will not be mating, which means they will be avoiding the most common ways these feline diseases are spread.”

·         Males are less inclined to roam, be aggressive or mark.

·         Females are less inclined to fight. 

By investing in spay/neuter for your pet, including your pet rabbits, you help prevent health problems, help prevent pet overpopulation, and prevent potential high vet bills due to problems that could arise in the future. 

If you are concerned about the cost of spay/neuter, there are low-cost facilities throughout the country. Find a program near you.

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Dog Training is Fundamental: Get Started in the New Year

Did you know January is National Train Your Dog Month? The Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) began the campaign in 2010 and it’s been a huge hit with dogs and their people ever since.

According to the APDT, January is the perfect month because many people have brought home dogs and puppies over the holiday season. Since it’s the beginning of a new year, what better time than to train your new family member. It’s a month dedicated “to bringing awareness to the importance of socialization and training, and most of all, to inform the public that training your dog can be easy and fun!” 

Although January is the month, it’s important to realize that training and education last throughout the year and beyond. But there’s no better time to start than the beginning of the year. 

Even if your dog has been a part of the family for some time and might need some work, you can reach out to a professional who can offer additional guidance and suggestions for new behaviors. 

Training your dog only leads to happy dogs and happy pet parents. Keeping them well balanced in their daily lives is not only beneficial to your dog, but also to you.

“Too many dogs are turned into animal shelters each year for behavior and training issues that could be easily solved with proper socialization and positive, gentle, science-based methods of training. Moreover, we want the public to know that training your dog is not just beneficial, it’s FUN!” according to the National Train Your Dog Month website.

It’s easy to start getting involved with a variety of training resources and events from training tips and videos, found at the website. For anyone who loves dogs, has dogs or is ready to bring a dog into the family, training is for them. Help celebrate and tell everyone you know, from trainers, veterinarians, and groomers to shelters and friends who have dogs.

The Association of Professional Dog Trainers is a great resource for trainers and pets parents alike. You can search for trainers in your area and find out about educational programs.


Start the New Year on the Right Paw with Your Pet

Some people like to make resolutions and some don’t. Like most things, it’s a matter of personal choice. Some people make resolutions and follow through. Others fall through. But there’s one thing we all want in the New Year, and that’s to have a great one, possibly better than the previous year.

While we strive to have a better
year for ourselves, we can also aim to do more for our pets. Maybe you didn’t spend as much time last year as you would have liked with your pet. Maybe you and your pet need more playtime together. Maybe they need even more exercise.

Forget about resolutions, as some of them can seem intimidating and difficult to achieve. Instead try to just make a list and call it New Experiences for Me and My Pet. They can include:

  • Make sure to take your pet in for yearly exams to ensure they are in good health; that goes for dogs and cats. As Benjamin Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When you keep up with their health, they can live longer, healthier and happier lives. That makes you happy, too!
  • Take a hike! Sure, you should take your dog (and some cats), always on a leash or a harness, and yourself for a nice walk. By doing so, you both get some exercise and will enjoy spending time together. Broaden your horizons and once in a while schedule a nice hike. You’ll get to spend more time outdoors and see beautiful areas that you might not normally get to experience.
  • You know what they say, all work and no play… Set aside time every day for playtime. Even if it’s just for five or 10 minutes, throw a ball, or play Frisbee or chase with your pet. Your dog will thank you for it, and you’ll be happy you did. The result here is lots of smiles and a happy dog. For cats, get feline-appropriate toys and watch them just have fun while they run and chase.
  • Take five for a belly rub or scratch behind the ear. No matter what, even if you’ve come home from a hectic day, take five minutes to show your pet he or she is appreciated, cherished and loved. Give a belly rub or a long scratch behind the ear. Your pet will love you more and you may find your own stress levels have decreased.


Fashionable Faux Paw: Dress for Your Pet’s Sake

Who doesn’t love to play dress up? Some of our beloved pets love it, too. And even though it may not be Halloween, there’s something more chic for your pets: National Dress Up Your Pet Day. 

In support of our loving pets and the pet fashion industry, National Dress Up Your Pet Day was created and is celebrated every year on Jan. 14. 

Not an official holiday, although some of us pet parents think it should be official, the holiday was established in 2009 by Colleen Paige, pet lifestyle expert and animal behaviorist. 

Do you have a dog or cat who is styling? Loves new outfits? Does your dog love a great denim dress? How does your cat get creative with hats? As long as your pet is up for it, dressing up is a great way to bond and show off your furry family member. 

However, there are dogs and even some cats who absolutely love a great outfit, or even just a hip scarf. It’s always important to be mindful of your pet’s reaction to dressing up. If you can tell your pet is uncomfortable and really does not want to take part, it’s best to leave your dog or cat naked except for a collar and tags. A birthday suit is just fine for those who don’t want to partake. 

In a article, “Paige encourages pet owners to take time today to have fun with their dogs, cats, and critters by dressing them up in cute, safe outfits and pet costumes.”

She encourages pet parents to make sure not to force their pets into wearing costumes. It should be about bonding and having fun. 

Most important, the article says, “Garments should allow pets to see, hear, breathe, eat, and relieve themselves comfortably, and should be made of breathable material that prevents pets from overheating. Clothing should fit properly and be rid of any parts and small pieces that can be chewed off and swallowed by the pet.”

Make sure to keep it lighthearted, have fun and as always, take lots of photos. You never know when your pet might be asked to be on America’s Next Top Pet Model.