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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Download article content [Top]
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
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
• 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.
Download article content [Top]
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.
Download article content [Top]
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
. "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
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.
Download article content [Top]
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
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.
Download article content [Top]
Showing Compassion For Community Cats
(NAPSI)—It is no secret that Americans love house cats. Research
estimates that more than one-third of all
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
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'
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
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.
Download article content [Top]
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
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
• 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
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.
Download article content [Top]