Is your Four-Legged Friend Going on a Raw or Organic Diet?

In recent years, Americans have been spending more money than ever on organic and natural foods.  It should come as no surprise that many people are also beginning to buy natural or organic foods for their animal companions. Many of us feel like our dogs and cats are members of our family. As we begin to think more about finding healthy foods for ourselves, many of us are also becoming interested in feeding our pets better foods too. At pet stores around the country, new foods are cropping up featuring specialty ingredients like blueberries, alfalfa and brewer’s yeast.

There is some debate, however, as to whether these more costly “natural” foods actually have health benefits for your pet. It certainly can’t hurt your pet to keep them on a diet made from higher quality ingredients however some brands may be lower in important nutrients such as potassium, calcium and phosphorus. Grain-free foods also promise many benefits but there is debate as to the truth of these claims. According to some veterinarians, grain-free foods mainly benefit pets with specific food allergies.

In the end, it’s up to you to decide if a natural diet would be a good thing to try with your pet. If your pet has allergies or suffers from any feline or canine digestive troubles, paying more attention to their diet might help improve their overall condition. Rest assured, even if you can’t afford the additional cost of organic, specialty pet foods, more traditional brands are still a safe and cost effective way to fill up that furry little tummy.

July 4th Safety Tips for Every Pet Owner

For many, the 4th of July means barbeques with the family, fun in the sun and of course- fireworks! While firework displays provide us with plenty of entertainment, they can be downright scary for our pets.  It’s not uncommon for cats and dogs to go to great lengths to escape upon hearing those booming noises and seeing those flashes of light. Because of this, shelters see an influx of runaway pets every year after 4th of July festivities.

Below are a few tips for keeping furry family members safe this 4th of July:

Keep pets inside during local fireworks displays: Keeping dogs and cats inside will not only reduce chances of them running away, but will also minimize stress due to unfamiliar sounds. If at all possible, it’s best to stay home with your pets.

Close windows, curtains and doors: This will help keep out as much sound and flashing light as possible.

Turn on the TV or some music: These more familiar noises might calm a pet’s nerves and drown out some of the loud noise from outside.

Make sure all pets are wearing secure collars with proper identification: It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Pets have been known to dig under fences, pop out screens and perform other tricky escape attempts upon hearing fireworks. Just in case your beloved pet does manage to get out, up-to-date identification betters your chances of  a quick homecoming.

June is Adopt a Cat Month!

If you’re considering a feline addition to the family, don’t forget to check out your local shelter before opting to buy. The ASPCA has declared June to be “Adopt a Shelter Cat Month” to raise awareness for the growing number of cats in need of forever homes.

Sadly, an animal is euthanized every 8 seconds in shelters across the United States. Choosing to adopt a cat helps save two lives; the animal you take into your home and the animal that is able to use the empty space in the shelter. However, it’s important to make a responsible decision regarding the adoption of a new pet so that it never ends up back in a shelter. If you rent your home, make sure pets are allowed. Also, be aware that pets require both a time and a financial commitment.

If you feel prepared for adoption, you’ll be sure to be repaid with plenty of love and companionship. So, don’t hesitate to participate in Adopt-a-Cat month if you’re ready for a new feline friend!

Health Benefits of Pet Ownership

Pets rely on us for everything. We provide them with food, water, attention, veterinary care, pet medications and everything else their furry little paws aren’t able to provide for themselves. But what recent studies show pets can give us in return is invaluable- our health.

Owning a pet is linked to a variety of health benefits including lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, a slower heart rate and less stress. Thanks to plenty of walks and play time, pet owners also typically lead a more active lifestyle than those who don’t own a furry companion.

Pet owners not only usually experience better physical health, but also benefit mentally. The love and companionship provided by a pet has been shown to decrease feelings of loneliness and depression, outbursts, and instances of mood disorders. It’s no wonder why therapy dogs are now specifically being trained to comfort the elderly, Alzheimer’s patients and even cancer patients.

Pets  improve both our physical health and our quality of life. So the next time your sweet pup is not so sweetly chewing up something he’s not supposed to, remember all the benefit you’re getting from his tail wagging companionship!

What Should be in your Pet’s First Aid Kit

We take care of our pets. We shower with them love and affection. We try to keep them safe no matter what, but sometimes accidents happen. Trips to the vet and pet emergencies can become quite expensive. However, with a properly stocked pet first aid kit, you’ll be more prepared to handle some emergencies at home. You can buy a complete pet first aid kit, or if you like, you can also mix and match and create your own.

Bandages: With all that fur, it’s a little tricky to try and stick a normal Band-Aid on your pet. That’s why it’s best to have gauze and bandages specifically designed for use with pets.

Latex-free gloves, hydrogen peroxide, and tweezers: Gloves will protect both you and your pets. Gloves will reduce the risk of spreading infection. Hydrogen Peroxide is useful as a disinfectant and in some cases to induce vomiting in dogs.

There are some great tweezers out there designed for use on pets. Some of them even have magnifying glasses on them so you can better see what’s stuck in your pet’s paw. They can make spotting and removing those pesky ticks a lot easier. However sometimes tweezers should not be used on ticks, so I suggest you read ASPCA’s guide to effective tick removal.

Digital thermometer: Instant ear thermometers can work, but according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), they recommend a rectal reading.

Benadryl: Benadryl is an over the counter antihistamine that’s handy in situations involving allergic reactions such as bug bites or bee stings.

Towels: Keep a stash of towels and a blanket with your first aid kit. They can be used to stop bleeding or cover a wound. Wrapping an injured pet in the blanket can make carrying it easier.

Emergency phone numbers: You should definitely have your vet’s number on hand. Another useful number is the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, 1-866-426-4435. If your pet has swallowed or eaten something potentially dangerous, they can advise you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Plus the ASPCA website has articles and information about common household products that are toxic to pets.

These are just a few things you should consider having in your pet first aid kit. Also there are several handy reference guides for dogs and cats that can help bring you up to speed on emergency care for your pets. While we never wish anything bad to happen to our pets, sometimes accidents happen. Being prepared can make handling a pet emergency a little more bearable.