Pets

Purebred pet Adoption

Spaying and Neutering Diabetic Pets Pet Free Zones 4 Million Pets Adopted Sharring with Pets Community Cats Compassion Felize Health Hydration

Don't Pay For A Purebred—Adopt One

(NAPSI)—Are you looking for a certain kind of furry family member? Consider adoption as an option. Despite popular belief, not all pets needing homes are mixed breeds. In fact, as many as 25 percent of the 8 million dogs and cats in the care of animal welfare agencies are recognizable breeds. All kinds of pets end up homeless for a variety of reasons—frequently due to "people issues" rather than problems with the pets themselves. As a result, local animal shelters and breed-specific rescue groups are great options for people interested in adding a specific breed of pet to their family.

For example, when Destini Hollis decided to get a dog, she had her heart set on a Bouvier des Flandres, a large dog originally bred in Belgium . Rather than turning to a breeder, Destini sought out rescue groups that specialized in caring for homeless dogs of her preferred breed. She soon found her match: Baku, a 113-pound gentle giant whose family could not keep him in their small apartment.

"We did our research," Destini said, "and we found exactly what we wanted. I highly recommend searching out a purebred rescue group if you want a specific type of dog."

Narrowing down your options can be tough, but some online tools can help prospective pet parents with their search for the right pet and the right adoption agency. The PetSmart Charities Adoptable Pet Locator, found on its People Saving Pets website (www.peoplesavingpets.org), allows you to search for local adoptable pets based on criteria such as size, gender and breed.

Many homeless pets end up that way because their original owners couldn't provide what they needed. Every breed has websites that can help you find the right match for you. Here are some basic criteria to consider:

1. Space: Some pets do just fine in an apartment; others need more room. Energy is the key, rather than size. Many large-dog breeds spend lots of time sleeping and are content with daily outings and play, while some small and medium breeds need more opportunities to run and explore.

2. Time and energy: Herding, hunting and other types of dogs—and several cat breeds—need to keep their brains and bodies busy. Some others are napping professionals. The time needed for training, attention, play and outings can vary depending on breed type.

3. Coat: Some dog and cat breeds must be professionally groomed to stay healthy and to keep you happy. Almost all dogs and cats shed, so ask yourself how much hair you are ready to handle.

Most pets available through adoption come spayed or neutered, vaccinated, licensed and often microchipped for a very affordable adoption fee. You can find a listing of local adoption agencies by using your zip code to search on www.peoplesavingpets.org Download article content                                                                                          [Top]

Spaying and Neutering is a Win Win "Fix" for Pets and People

(NAPSI)—Pet owners can help put an end to a sad situation: Each year, thousands of kittens and puppies wind up in shelters as a result of accidental litters from pets that are not spayed or neutered. While they may be small in size, these unplanned offspring have a giant impact on a community, including higher costs to taxpayers for the community to trap and transport homeless litters to shelters, higher costs for shelters to house, feed and care for these pets and shelter overcrowding—which increases euthanasia rates.

An estimated 11,000 pets in this country are euthanized daily, according to a PetSmart Charities study—that's half of the 8 million pets that land in shelters each year.

Not all of these pets start out homeless. Half of U.S. pet owners who've had a pregnant dog or cat say the pregnancy happened "by accident," according to statistics from the study. These accidental litters could be easily avoided by early spaying and neutering.

Philip Bushby, a veterinarian and professor of shelter medicine at Mississippi State University, believes that spaying and neutering pets at an early age not only reduces the economical and societal impact of pet homelessness, but also improves the long-term health of the pet.

"Most puppies and kittens can safely be spayed or neutered at as early as 8 to 10 weeks of age. If you wait longer, you're risking an unplanned litter," Dr. Bushby said, adding that early spaying and neutering is good for pets, with benefits such as:

• Reduced aggression: Cats and dogs that have been spayed/neutered are less aggressive than unaltered pets, which means fewer fights, less risk of contracting contagious diseases and lower vet bills.

• Wandering: Pets that aren't fixed are more likely to stray away from home in search of a mate. Spaying and neutering reduces this urge, keeping your pet close to home and out of harm's way.

• Less marking: Dogs and cats mark with urine when they are trying to "claim" their territory—like your couch. After a spay/neuter operation, pets become less territorial, and this behavior decreases dramatically.

• Fewer health problems: "Pets that have been fixed are less likely to develop mammary and reproductive cancers, as well as some potentially fatal infections," said Dr. Bushby. And, there's evidence that the earlier it's done, the better. "Contrary to belief, having the surgery performed before your pet's first heat period actually amplifies these benefits."

Convinced that spaying/neutering is right for your pet, but worried about the cost? An online spay/neuter services locator can help you find clinics that perform high-quality, affordable spay/neuter surgeries in this area. Go online to www.PetSmartCharities.org and click on Spay/Neuter. The site also provides resources to combat pet homelessness and to donate to programs that support local shelters.

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Have A Diabetic Pet? Manage Your Pet's Diabetes With These Helpful Hints

(NAPSI)—Many people don't know that the diabetes epidemic in the United States isn't just striking humans—it affects pets, too. Diabetes can lead to health complications like recurrent infections, nerve damage and cataracts, says Dr. Debbie Olbrich, a veterinarian for Abbott Animal Health.

"If your cat or dog displays signs of diabetes like excessive thirst, frequent urination, increased appetite despite weight loss, or weakness or fatigue, see your veterinarian as soon as possible," says Dr. Olbrich. "By actively partnering with your veterinarian and providing a little extra attention at home, your pet's diabetes can be managed."

Some tips for caring for a diabetic animal that Dr. Olbrich recommends include:

• Provide a Healthy Diet. Just like in humans, diabetic cats and dogs have special dietary needs to help maintain their blood sugar levels and control their weight. Special diets to help manage your pet's diabetes are highly recommended and an integral part of managing diabetes. These diets may decrease the amount of insulin your pet needs to be given, and they can help maintain more normal blood glucose levels. Talk to your veterinarian about your pet's dietary needs.

• Get Your Pet Plenty of Exercise. For diabetic pets, physical activity is especially important because it can help control weight and manage glucose levels. It's important to include exercise in your pet's daily routine. Your pet's age, overall health and fitness level will determine what types of exercise are best.

• Make Sure Your Pet Gets Proper Medication. There are several types of injectable insulins available to treat diabetes in cats and dogs. Your veterinarian will prescribe the most appropriate insulin for your pet. Insulin is generally given twice daily, and pets tolerate the injections well.

• Monitor Your Pet's Blood Glucose Levels. Diabetic pets, like humans, also benefit from blood glucose monitoring. The American Animal Hospital Association recommends monitoring blood glucose levels at home. Handheld monitors, such as Abbott's AlphaTRAK® Blood Glucose Monitoring System, are specifically designed for cats and dogs, simple to use and provide up to 25 percent more accurate readings than human meters. By monitoring your pet's blood glucose levels, you can help your veterinarian assess your pet's treatment and provide them with important information they can use to recommend adjustments to diet, exercise regimens or medications. Additionally, cats may get stress hyperglycemia, which is another reason monitoring blood glucose levels at home can be so beneficial.

"Diabetes in cats and dogs can be managed," says Dr. Olbrich. "If diagnosed and treated early, a small population of cats may go into remission. Regardless of what kind of pet you have, working with your veterinarian can provide your diabetic pet the best possible care."

For more information on diabetes in cats and dogs or to learn more about Abbott Animal Health's AlphaTRAK® meter, visit AbbottAnimalHealth.com or AlphaTRAKmeter.com.

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Tips To Get Ready For A New Pet

(NAPSI)—Whether you're thinking of adopting a pet now or in the future, it's never too early to prepare for your future family member. To ensure a smooth transition, it's helpful to plan for the arrival of your new pet by putting together a shopping list, reorganizing your schedule to make time for your pet and even participating in activities that allow your family to interact with animals now.

• Try a virtual pet—"The Sims 3 Pets," the newest offering from one of the world's most popular videogame franchises, will give your family the chance to care for-and even be-a virtual pet with personality traits and moods just like a real pet. Playing the game both entertains and sheds light on the responsibilities of caring for a pet, including scheduled feedings, playtime, training and even dealing with your pet's unruly side. You can also take on the role of a pet to gain a new perspective and see the world through an animal's eyes. The Sims 3 Pets, available now for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo 3DS, PC and Mac, will virtually help you prepare for your new family member.

• Sponsor an animal—A great activity for the family is an adopt-an-animal package from a local zoo. By donating and registering for the adoption, you can foster a great relationship with animals while helping to support them at the zoo. The donation is even tax deductible. Another great option to engage your family with animals is to donate to a non-profit organization such as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and help endangered species by adopting or sponsoring a particular animal with your family.

• Volunteer at a local shelter—A rewarding way to gauge your ability to care for a pet is to volunteer at a local animal shelter or rescue organization. Not only will you spend time with animals that need care and attention, but you and your family will also have the opportunity to bond directly with animals. It can prepare you for life with a pet or help determine if you are ready for the responsibilities of becoming a pet owner.

Preparing for your pet is incredibly important so that you can enjoy a happy and healthy life with your pet. For more information on The Sims 3 Pets videogame, visit http://www.thesims3.com.

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Good News For Pet Lovers Can Get Better

(NAPSI)—There's good news for people who love animals. The percentage of dogs and cats in homes adopted from shelters and rescue groups has risen from 27 to 29 percent in the last few years, while the number of healthy and treatable pets losing their lives for lack of a home has dropped from 3 million to 2.7 million.

It would be even better news if that number dropped to zero.

That's the goal of The Shelter Pet Project, the national PSA campaign to encourage pet lovers to make shelters the first choice and desired way for acquiring companion animals.

The television, radio, print, outdoor and Web public service ads direct audiences to visit www.theshelterpetproject.org, where they can search for a pet from a local shelter or rescue group, read adoption success stories and learn more about pet adoption.

Approximately 17 million people will acquire a pet within the next year, but many remain undecided where they will acquire their pet. "Pets end up in shelters through no fault of their own—they are often victims of circumstance," said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States . "If enough people in our nation choose adoption, we can eliminate the euthanasia of healthy and treatable pets in our country."

The campaign hopes to encourage people to adopt from shelters by explaining that "A person is the best thing to happen to a shelter pet."

The Shelter Pet Project is the first animal welfare campaign that the Ad Council has undertaken in its 60-year history. The campaign was taken on in partnership with The Humane Society of the United States and Maddie's Fund®.

According to Maddie's Fund president Rich Avanzino, "We are hopeful that the new ads will also inspire the 14 million animal lovers who have already adopted to tell their friends why shelters are the first and best places to go for a new four-legged family member."

The ads, created pro bono by Draftfcb, focus on the relationship between shelter pets and their owners by featuring pets observing their humans' quirky yet lovable behaviors.

"We are confident that the optimism of our message will resonate with the millions of potential adopters who are still out there and bring us even closer to our goal," said Nick Paul, EVP, global chief growth officer, Draftfcb.

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Tips On Sharing A Home With Pets And Plants

(NAPSI)—Plants can be a beautiful way to spruce up your home and garden, but if you share your home with a dog or cat, you'll want to choose your plants carefully. The leaves, seeds, berries and bulbs of some common plants can be poisonous to pets.

Many flowers, such as hyacinth, oleander and hydrangea, can cause stomach irritation when ingested by your cat or dog. Wisteria, lily of the valley, morning glory and narcissus are other common plants that have parts that could be poisonous such as seeds, pods, roots, bulbs and flowers, and therefore should be avoided when landscaping your yard.

Vegetable and fruit gardens should also be treated with caution. The leaves of rhubarb, shoots of potatoes and seeds of apples can be extremely poisonous to dogs and cats. Instead, try planting beets, honeydew melon or zucchini squash, none of which will pose a threat to your precious pets.

If you'd like to bring your garden inside, tuberous plants are great to include in any fresh-cut arrangement. While some members of the tuberous family are completely poisonous, such as iris and lilies, others can be safe when handled intelligently. As long as their bulbs are discarded, tulips, daffodils and buttercups are a beautiful and safe way to bring nature indoors.

In the spring, be sure not to plant azaleas, primroses or geraniums, which are entirely poisonous to dogs and cats. Consider planting impatiens, sunflowers or petunias instead, as they are all safe and will add color and beauty to your outdoor space.

Floral decorations are not solely relegated to springtime, however. The winter holidays are a popular time to celebrate with seasonal plants, so be mindful as you decorate. Cats and dogs should stay away from holly and mistletoe—both of which contain poisonous berries—and English ivy and poinsettia plants, whose leaves, flowers and stems are toxic.

For more information about plants that are hazardous to your pets, visit www.Petside.com/plants. Petside.com is an online destination for pet owners and pet enthusiasts from DigitalWorks @ NBCU and Procter & Gamble Productions, Inc.

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Showing Compassion For Community Cats

(NAPSI)—It is no secret that Americans love house cats. Research estimates that more than one-third of all U.S. households have one or more cats as pets. However, what may be less well known is that this affection does not end with house cats.

Caring For Outdoor Cats

"Americans care about outdoor cats, too, and want to help them," said Becky Robinson, president of Alley Cat Allies, an advocacy group. "Research shows that 40 percent of Americans have fed a stray cat at least once in their lives. Millions provide this help every day, making sure the outdoor cats in their communities have food, water and simple shelter."

Most of these cats cannot be adopted into homes because they are not socialized to people. These cats are known as "feral" cats and are the same species as domestic cats, but are not accustomed to life indoors. Instead, they live outdoors in family groups called colonies.

Science, said Robinson, shows feral cats can be just as healthy and live the same long lives as pet cats, content in their outdoor homes.

The traditional response to feral cats is called "catch and kill." More than 70 percent of all cats taken to animal pounds and shelters are killed there. For unadoptable feral cats, impoundment in a shelter almost always means a death sentence. This approach, say critics, is very costly and cruel, and it doesn't work to control the cats' numbers.

A Better Approach

In the past two decades, many communities across the country have rejected catch and kill in favor of Trap-Neuter-Return, a program that ends the breeding cycle humanely while respecting the cats' natural life outdoors.

Benefits Cited

The experts at Alley Cat Allies say that communities that have embraced Trap-Neuter-Return see huge benefits. The cats are neutered, which means no more litters of kittens. They're vaccinated, which broadens already successful public health efforts for rabies prevention. The cats also become better neighbors, because once they are returned to their colony, behaviors associated with mating cats—such as yowling and fighting-cease. Cats in Trap-Neuter-Return programs have an "eartip"—a small portion of the left ear is removed while under anaesthesia—to indicate they've been neutered and vaccinated.

According to Robinson, Trap- Neuter-Return respects Americans' empathy for the four-legged creatures who share their neighborhoods. "We are an animal-loving society. Americans want compassionate and commonsense approaches to outdoor cats," she said.

For more information, visit www.alleycat.org.

 

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Feline Health: Tips To Help Improve Hydration

(NAPSI)—Pet parents may be surprised to learn that water accounts for 60 to 75 percent of a cat's body weight. Cats tend to be water avoiders but, because water is so critical to their body composition, it is important to make sure that they stay properly hydrated. Water helps regulate a cat's body temperature and plays an important role in helping them to digest food and eliminate waste.

When cats are not properly hydrated, they can have problems eliminating waste, which may lead to urinary tract issues or infections. Urinary tract conditions are one of the most common reasons cats visit the vet. Such conditions occur when crystals form in the urine. This can lead to frequent and painful urination, urination outside the litter box and bloody urine. If left untreated, the condition can be life threatening. One way pet parents can help promote urinary tract health and hydration, in general, is by choosing a food that helps cats stay hydrated.

"Diet plays an important role in supporting overall feline health," said Dr. Al Townshend, staff veterinarian at Wellness Natural Pet Food. "To help encourage a healthy urinary tract, feed a high-quality canned cat food, since a high water content from natural meat sources and cranberries will help maintain a healthy urine pH and help prevent bacterial-related infection."

Here are some of Dr. Townshend's tips to encourage healthy hydration for your feline friend:

• Feeding canned, or wet, food is a great way to increase water consumption. Canned food is available in a variety of textures and flavors so there is something for every cat, even picky eaters or those that have allergies. Dr. Townshend recommends either Wellness Sliced Turkey Entrée or Minced Chicken Dinner. If feeding both canned food and dry food, pay particular attention to feeding guidelines to help prevent overfeeding.

• Choose a diet with moderately low levels of magnesium to discourage crystal formation in the urine.

• Provide fresh, clean water at all times to prevent dehydration. Install recirculating water fountains, or provide access to multiple water bowls in different locations throughout the house.

• Multiple clean litter boxes should be placed in out-of-the-way places, making it easy for cats to relieve themselves without interruption.

• It is especially important to monitor water intake in a warm climate.

In addition to the tips above, pet parents should regularly monitor their cats' water and food intake since changes in consumption can sometimes be a symptom of an underlying issue. Preventative health checkups with a veterinary professional are also essential. For more information, visit www.wellnesspetfood.com.

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