Having a pet around the house is like having a friend who is always by your side. Pets are not just great for companionship, however – studies have shown that pet ownership provides some very real health benefits for you and your family.
Top Benefits of Pet Ownership
The top five benefits associated with owning a dog or cat are listed below:
1. Stronger Immune System – It may seem counterintuitive, but having a pet in the house can actually reduce your susceptibility to allergies. According to pediatrician James E. Gern from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, having a pet in the home can reduce a child’s risk for developing allergies by as much as 33%. Children who grow up with pets also tend to have stronger, more developed immune systems in general. If you already suffer from allergies, adding a dog or cat to the family may not help, but it can be a benefit for those who do not suffer from allergies yet, esp...
When you bring a new puppy into the home, you are taking on an enormous responsibility. Having a puppy around is like having a new baby, except they are far more mobile right from the start. Keep the following tips in mind to help you get ready.
Set Up Barriers
The most practical way to puppy-proof your home is by setting up various barriers between different parts of the house. Gates and locks are particularly valuable in this instance. Simply install them in the same places you would not want a baby to go, such as cabinets or private areas like the bathroom and bedroom. These will limit your puppy’s ability to cause trouble and potentially get injured. Blocking the stairs is of paramount importance.
All types of heat source can be dangerous. Ensure fireplaces, wood stoves and ovens are screened off. Never ever leave your puppy on their own in a room with any of these items.
For those of us who are allergic to dogs, it can mean they miss out on the joys of living with a canine companion. It's thought that as many as 10% of the population in the United States is allergic to dogs. For these people, a hypoallergenic dog would be wonderful, but is there really such a thing?
The prefix "hypo" means "less than usual". For example, hypothermia means lower-than-normal temperature and hypoglycemia means lower-than-usual blood glucose. So, hypoallergenic really means a dog is less likely to cause allergic reactions. It doesn't necessarily mean it never causes reactions but it is certainly less likely to trigger a reaction than a normal dog.
This is because there are many parts of a dog that can trigger an allergic reaction. Some people are sensitive to dog fur or to their pet's saliva when they are licked. Many people react to the dander or cells that normally slough from a dog's skin, and all dogs, even the supposed hypoallergenic breeds, she...
Some children (and adults) have a fear of dogs that can stem from a few different circumstances. Perhaps they've been chased or threatened by a dog, or maybe they've encountered an exuberant, friendly dog that meant no harm but was just overwhelming and jumpy. They may have been knocked over or even bitten by a dog. Some children notice a parent's nervousness around dogs and feel the same way. Whatever the reason, it's important that steps be taken to alleviate this fear because it's not easy to avoid dogs completely. Their friends or family may have dogs, which can lead to stress when they visit. A stroll to the local store can induce anxiety because there may be a dog on their route.
There are things that can be done to help children overcome this fear. Parents can follow a desensitizing program that is not unlike those used to treat other fears such as arachnophobia (the fear of spiders).
The first step is to reduce any fear associated with dogs in general. Ma...
While many Americans are content with having a dog, cat, rabbit, or fish, others may always be on the search for the next exotic pet – a status symbol, perhaps, or an animal they’ve always admired. However, having such pets isn't without its risks.
Experts in Canada have been quick to warn of the perils associated with having exotic pets, such as injury, infectious diseases, and destruction – not to mention the harm that could be caused to these beautiful animals by ill-informed pet parents and those with little to no experience in handling them. What makes having an exotic pet different to any domesticated pet? Well, the clue is there for all to see; domesticated pets are bred for the purpose of being pets, while exotic animals are not. When it comes to the unknown, exotic animal husbandry is littered with uncertainties.
"I can tell you pretty well what a dog or a cat or a rabbit is likely to carry, what the risk is and what we can do to decrease that risk. But ...
From scenes in movies depicting bright-eyed and fluffy puppies and kittens being chosen by excitable children, to traditional songs such as "How much is that doggy in the window?" many of us will have grown up with the reality of seeing cats and dogs in pet stores across the country. Isn't that the best place to get a puppy or kitten from, anyway? While it's certainly true that puppies and kittens are still being sold in pet stores, authorities in many states are doing their best to clamp down on the practice, which can promote illegal puppy mills, untreated medical issues, and even cruelty. Palm Beach County has become the latest area to ban the sale of unlicensed dogs and cats in pet stores, but are authorities doing enough?
Under the new legislation, which came into effect on October 1st, pet stores may still sell puppies and kittens as long as they have been purchased from a licensed ...
Having a pet is good for the soul. They make us smile, provide bountiful opportunities for affection, friendship, and introduce us to a whole new world outside our own human constraints. In addition, pets can change our lives quite literally. You've no doubt heard of service dogs, and are well aware of the great work they can do for those constricted by a variety of disorders. Did you know, though, that our four-legged friends could be used to overcome rheumatoid arthritis and similarly debilitating conditions?
If you're thinking of adding a puppy to your family, you may be considering bringing home two pups so they can keep each other company. After all, it can't be much more difficult than having one young dog to care for - or can it?
Raising two littermates can indeed be more challenging than bringing up a single puppy. This is because they've spent their entire lives together and already have a very close bond. This isn't a bad thing, and it is nice to see your two dogs get on well. However, in many cases this bond can interfere with their relationship with you, their pet parent.
Apart from working with two dogs that are often closer to each other than they are to you, there are the practical aspects of raising puppies. Young dogs need attention and training; toilet training is a major task in those early months. Imagine the cleaning up if you have two puppies that are learning to control their bowels and bladders at the same time. It's more time-consuming and can d...
If you grew up with a family pet, or are currently a pet parent, you'll know just how special that bond between a family and their animals can be. Having a pet during childhood can help little ones to fathom the concept of responsibility, as well as providing fond memories and a deep feeling of love that will last well into adulthood.
Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences Lecturer Dr. Sara Griffin is quick to extol the virtues that are created by a child having a pet: "Children learn about responsible pet ownership by observing their parents," she told Consumer Affairs. "Positive pet interactions with children can help develop non-verbal communication skills, compassion, and ...
If you've been considering sharing your home with a cat or kitten, there has never been a better time. This month is Adopt-a-Cat Month, a popular annual campaign organized by American Humane Association (AHA). This year's adoption month is extra special, though, as it has been incorporated into the association's centenary celebrations.
AHA CEO and President Dr. Robin Ganzert said: "American Humane Association has rescued thousands of cats in need over the past 100 years. But there are still millions more healthy, adoptable pets in shelters around the country, just waiting for someone to be their hero by rescuing them and bringing them home. American Humane Association's Adopt-a-Cat Month not only encourages people to give loving homes to animals in need, but offers an opportunity to provide a wider focus on the ongoing need these beautiful an...
Scratching is as natural to a cat as grooming. Not only does scratching help your cat remove the outer dead layer from her claws, but it also serves as a good stretching exercise for her shoulders and back. Finally, scratching provides your cat with a way to mark her territory. Scent glands located in her paw pads allow her to leave her scent on what is “hers.”
Unfortunately, though, sometimes that territory consists of your furniture or other objects in your home that you would prefer remain unmarred. One of the best ways to keep your couch from getting ripped to ribbons is to instead provide your cat with a scratcher – a place all her own where she is encouraged to act on her scratching instinct.
Getting your cat off on the right paw with a new scratcher is key to making sure she decides for herself that it is a better choice for scratching than the sofa. Here are five ways to encourage your cat to use the scratcher:
- Choose the Right Ty...
Elderly dogs tend to be more sedentary and spend a lot of their day snoozing. Many are also a bit stiff and arthritic, which makes it more challenging for them to move around. The right bed will make their days and nights more comfortable, so consider an orthopedic bed for your senior dog.
These beds are made of special orthopedic memory foam that is comfortable, yet supportive. It eliminates pressure points and alleviates adverse effects of stress on sore joints. It insulates from the cold if it is placed on the ground and also offers many other features that make it a great bed for elderly dogs.
Ideally, a dog bed should be heated, whether they are plugged into a power outlet or have an insert that can be warmed in the microwave oven. A warm bed will help ease elderly joints when it’s cold.
ave you always dreamed of the day that your dog would be able to tell you what he is thinking? That time may be closer than you think. According to WIRED, a Georgia Tech scientist named Melody Jackson has been working to create computerized vests meant for service dogs. In an emergency, these vests would allow the service dog to locate a human, pull a lever on the vest, and play an audio message that says, "My handler needs you to come with me!"
Currently, these vests are designed for dogs who work with diabetics or people suffering from epilepsy. While these dogs are trained to detect dangerous changes in their humans that may signal an oncoming diabetic episode or seizure, sometimes these conditions come on too quickly and the dog is left with an...
Only last month, we brought you the news that the tech industry is booming thanks to savvy pet parents and the rise in pet-centric smartphone apps. When it comes to our pets, we'll buy into almost anything to ensure their health and happiness, to keep up to date with the latest doggy developments and kitty creations, and to solve those pet parenting problems that the modern world tends to create. For example, how many times have you tried to take a photograph of your pet only to discover they're looking the other way, or to lose their attention completely? This problem is one that plagues pet parents across the country – and we've been a little stumped.
"It seems today we humanize our pets more and more. They are our fur children, I know mine are. As they are our furkids, it makes sense that we want to create the same kinds of memories we do with other people," explains Jason Hernandez...
We, as a nation, adore our pets and will do anything for them, regardless of how much money that ends up costing us. Indeed, you need only look at how much the pet industry is worth ($62.75 billion, fact fans) to know that we'll buy almost anything if it means that our pets are leading happier, healthier, and more comfortable lifestyles. While the majority of our hard-earned cash goes towards our pets' food, medical expenses, general care, grooming, and accessories, a rising number of pet parents are choosing to invest in technology.
You see, there's something of a tech boom going on within the pet industry at the moment, with an...
As a pet parent to a dog, there's a good chance that you've allowed your furry friend to share your bed at least once during your time together. Whether it was a particularly stormy night, your pup was ill, or you both needed a little comfort, there's nothing wrong with sharing a bed with your furry companion every now and again. However, imagine what life would be like if you had eight rescue dogs vying for a pillow.
Meet Chris and Mariesa Hughes. A doting couple from upstate New York, Chris and Mariesa often attempted to share their bed with their seven rescue dogs, and failed miserably. "At nighttime all of the dogs want to sleep on the bed and sometimes it becomes too cluttered," Chris explained to Today.com. "We [ended] up being pushed off of the bed or sleeping on the couch."
As founders of Keep Your Indoor Cat Entertained With Food Puzzles
Whether you live in an apartment block with no outside space or prefer to keep your feline friend safe from a busy road, there's probably a good reason that you've chosen to keep your cat indoors; isn't that better for local wildlife too?
While your cat may well be happier inside, those with little to no opportunity to explore the outdoors can become bored and quickly encounter behavioral issues and health difficulties. These can include anxiety, aggression, soiling, and attention seeking, as well as obesity, diabetes, and urinary tract issues. What’s the answer?
A recent study published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery discovered that food puzzles are a gr...
When you share your life with a dog that has a behavioral problem, such as barking or escaping your yard, it's not surprising that you want a quick fix to put an end to it. Many people reach for an electric shock collar to teach their pet how to behave.
The use of these collars is controversial. Those in favor of them feel they offer advantages in being able to manage a dog's behavior from a distance. Opponents believe that they cause pain and suffering to dogs, and are responsible for increased stress and anxiety. Anxious dogs are less likely to respond to punishment so the collars may not have as much effect as a pet parent would like.
These collars were first used to train hunting dogs but are now often used to teach pet dogs. They provide an electrical current across two electrod...
In today’s technologically advanced world, it seems like there’s an app for virtually everything. But dog poop? While you try to wrap your head around this, allow us to tell you more about the mobile application named Machi Repo Izumisano Osecho.
A city in Japan launched this mobile app to monitor their dog fouling problems. Specifically, the app allows locals to report dog poop in public areas so that the city authorities can clean it up.
How Does the App Work?
Imagine you’re strolling through a park in Izumisano, a city located in the central Osaka Prefecture. You’re enjoying a nice walk and the sound of the birds in the trees when you look down and notice an unattended pile of It’s Not Thor's Day
We all know what it's like to lose, or damage, our favorite possession; perhaps it's an item of clothing we've accidentally shrunk in the wash, or a gadget ruined beyond all recognition. That feeling is going to take a little while to subside. It turns out, though, that the ability to mourn a treasured possession in such a way isn't reserved for humans alone - particularly when the item is a Frisbee, and the owner is a German Shepherd/Great Dane called Thor...
There are two things that you need to know about Thor; firstly, he lives with his owner, Madeline Paige Bruener, in Naples, Florida. Secondly, he really, really loves that bright yellow Frisbee. Imagine his utter devastation, then, when that beloved chunk of yellow plastic shattered...
Cats love nothing more than a fresh can of tuna or a few scraps of lunchmeat. As much as your cat may enjoy it, however, it might not be a good idea to feed him people food. While there are some foods that are safe for cats to eat, many are not only dangerous, but also toxic to cats. Before you offer your cat anything other than cat food, make sure that what you are offering is not hazardous to their health.
Foods Harmful to Cats
Many of the foods that are toxic to cats are foods that your cat probably would not eat anyway. You never know, however, when your cat might get into something that he shouldn’t and it could become a dangerous situation. Some of the foods most toxic to cats include:
- Alcohol – All types of alcohol including beer, wine, and liquor are bad for cats because it can cause damage to the brain and liver. Even as little as a tablespoon of alcohol can put a full-grown cat into a coma – doses larger than th...
As people, we know that getting the Vitamin C we need in our diets often entails supplementation or eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Because our bodies can't manufacture our own Vitamin C, we need to bring it in from the outside. Did you know that this is also true for guinea pigs? If guinea pigs don't get enough Vitamin C in their diets through sources like leafy vegetables and colorful fruits, their Vitamin C reserves disappear entirely and they become vulnerable to scurvy – a condition that causes blood clotting and difficulties in the joints and skin. Here's what you can do to discourage Vitamin C deficiency in your guinea pig.
How Does Vitamin C Deficiency Happen?
While it's obvious that the easiest way for a guinea pig to become Vitamin C deficient is by not consuming enough Vitamin C, it's important to remember that it is possible for guinea pigs to become deficient eve...
Many pet parents love the taste of creamy nut butters. Packed with protein and omega-3 fatty acids, these tasty spreads are a great way to snack smart and power through your day, right? Unfortunately, the same can't be said for peanut butter's role in Fido's life. While nut butters may be a great snack for humans, they can be incredibly dangerous for dogs.
The Dangers of Xylitol
Xylitol is a natural sweetener that's popular in a variety of health foods for its low glycemic index and preservative-free status. Unfortunately, it can cause hypoglycemia and hepatic necrosis (acute liver failure) in dogs.
Fortunately, the sweetener hasn't started popping up in peanut butter brands across the board as only three specialty companies (Nuts 'N More, Krush Nutrition, and P28 Foods) currently produce spreads containing the ingredient.
With that in mind, pet parents who feed their...
Pet parents who feed their four-legged companions human food mean well. However, they often don't realize that these tasty human treats are filled with dangerous calories and fat. While some pet parents pamper their furry friends with tasty human food, some treats can cause your dog's waistline to expand at an alarming rate. From cookies to hot dogs, these are some of the most common treats that you should avoid feeding your pet:
1. Oatmeal Cookies
An oatmeal cookie may be a tasty treat for humans, but it's a calorie-packed gut bomb for dogs. One small oatmeal cookie for a small dog is the same as an entire, fatty hamburger for a person. While your pup may love the salty sweetness of a homemade oatmeal cookie, save him the calories and offer a carrot instead.
2. Hot Dogs
Hot dogs pack way more fat than you would assume. At around 175 calories, they make up about 1/3 of a 20 lb. dog's recommended daily calorie intake. While dogs will happil...
For humans, chewing gum is a harmless habit that helps freshen breath and keeps boredom at bay. For pets, however, gum sweetened with Xylitol is a potentially deadly substance that is roughly 100 times more toxic than milk chocolate.
While many pet parents don’t realize how toxic Xylitol can be, it is important to know the signs and symptoms of Xylitol poisoning in order to be able to respond better should your pet ever ingest this dangerous substance.
Signs of Xylitol Poisoning
Xylitol is a sugar-free sweetener that is widely used in gums, mints, foods like pudding and gelatin, toothpastes, and sugar-free multivitamin and fish oil supplements. While the Xylitol content of these products varies hugely, a pet that ingests less than 0.1 gram of Xylitol can easily experience life-threatening symptoms. Typically, the most life-threatening symptom of Xylitol to...
Manufacturer: K9 Natural Ltd
Risk Factor: Listeria Monocytogenes
Announcement: Company press release April 13, 2018
- K9 Natural Frozen Chicken Feast 2.2lb bags (Batch number #170517 with an expiration date of 17NOV2018)
- K9 Natural Frozen Chicken Feast 11lb bags (Batch number #150517 with an expiration date of 15NOV2018)
- K9 Natural Frozen Chicken Feast 11lb bags (Batch number #160517 with an expiration date of 16NOV2018)
- K9 Natural Frozen Chicken Feast 11lb bags (Batch number #170517 with an expiration date of 17NOV2018)
Manufacturer Statement: "Listeria Monocytogenes is an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in humans and animals. Symptoms of infection may include nausea, vomiting, aches, fever, an...
Manufacturer: Redbarn Pet Products
Risk Factor: Potentially Elevated Levels of Thyroid Hormone
Announcement: Company press release March 6, 2018
Manufacturer Statement: "Dogs consuming high levels of beef thyroid hormone may exhibit symptoms such as increased thirst and urination, weight loss, increased heart rate and restlessness. These symptoms may resolve when the consumption of these levels is discontinued. However, with prolonged consumption these symptoms may increase in severity and may include vomiting, diarrhea, and rapid or labored breathing. Should these symptoms occur, we recommend pet owners contact their veterinarian immediately. Consumers who have purchased the specific lots of product listed above should stop feeding it to their dogs. If consumer...
Manufacturer: Redbarn Pet Products
Risk Factor: Salmonella Contamination
Announcement: Company press release March 6, 2018
Manufacturer Statement: Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vmiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian. Again, no illnesses, injuries or complaints have been reported. Consumers with questions may contact the company via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at at 1-800-775-3849, M-F, 8am-5pm PST.
Manufacturer: Northwest Naturals
Risk Factor: Salmonella
Announcement: Company press release March 6, 2018
Products recalled: UPC # 072635520017 - Tucker’s 5lb Pork-Bison Box 5lb – Lot # 27717 - Best If Used By: 04/17/2019
Manufacturer Statement: "Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian. Consumers who have purchased Tucker’s 5lb Pork-Bison Boxes are urged to return it to the place of purchase for a f...
Manufacturer: Steve’s Real Food
Risk Factor: Salmonella
Announcement: Company press release March 2, 2018
Products recalled: UPC # 6-91730-15303-8 - Raw Frozen Dog Food Turkey Canine Recipe 5lb – Lot # E 178 - Best If Used By: 09/27/2018
Manufacturer Statement: "Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected, but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian. Consumers are encouraged to check the lot code of any 5lb frozen turkey nuggets. Any product with the noted lot code should be returned to the specialty retailer where product was purchased for a full refund. Consumers with ques...