Heartworm Awareness Month

In April, pet organizations nationwide work to bring attention to the prevention of Heartworm Disease during National Heartworm Awareness Month.

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What is Heartworm Disease?

Heartworm disease is a potentially fatal disease that affects dogs and cats, as well as other mammals, and it is spread by mosquitoes. When a mosquito bites an infected animal, it could carry microscopic baby worms to your healthy pet. Because mosquitoes can easily get inside your home, even exclusively indoor pets are at risk.

Dogs are a natural host for heartworms, and if not detected early, heartworms can multiply inside a dog’s heart, lungs and associated vessels until there are hundreds of worms, causing severe lung disease, heart failure and other organ damage. Symptoms of heartworm disease may not appear until the disease is advanced, and may include a persistent cough, lethargy, fatigue, decreased appetite, and weight loss.

Because cats are not natural hosts for heartworms, it is less likely that worms will reach adulthood in a cat, and if they do, they will not be as numerous as in a dog. However, even immature heartworms can cause serious health problems for cats, including respiratory disease. Signs of heartworm in cats may include coughing, loss of appetite, vomiting, or weight loss.

How is Heartworm treated?

Treatment for heartworm disease in dogs can be lengthy and expensive, which is why prevention is key. If your dog does become infected, treatment might include medications, surgery and serial blood tests.

Unfortunately, there is no approved drug therapy to treat heartworm in cats, but close veterinary care in these cases is still essential.

Prevention is the Best Treatment

Dogs and cats should be tested for heartworm at their regular veterinary visits, and your vet can prescribe monthly preventatives for you to administer to your pet. It is important to stay on top of preventative medications to avoid a gap that could leave your pet vulnerable to infection.

For more information on how to protect your pet from heartworm disease, please visit the Heartworm Society website.

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Be sure to Thank your local Animal Care & Control Officers this week!

A12353062 - angry dog biting a african american dog catcherpril 8-14, 2018 is Animal Care and Control Appreciation Week, do something special for your ACOs this week. Send them balloons, flowers or a nice card, letting them know that you appreciate all they do for their and your community.

Do you know all that they do and are responsible for? Here are some highlights:

  • ACOs are public safety officers dealing with dangerous situations on a regular basis to protect your community.
  • ACOs help all kinds of animals (domestic and wild) in all kinds of situations – they may be lost, sick, injured, starved, misused or need transportation.
  • ACOs apprehend and impound loose dogs and/or livestock.
  • They assist citizens with the removal of nuisance wildlife (skunks, raccoons, and squirrels) by setting up and maintaining live traps.
  • ACOs also care for and adopt out homeless pets who need shelter and new families.
  • As one of your community’s animal welfare organizations, your city or county animal control collaborates with private non-profit animal groups to pull together all available resources for homeless pets.
  • Rabies is under control in the United States because of ACOs . They enforce the laws and statutes which protect people and animals from rabies and other life-threatening diseases.
  • ACOs will mediate neighborhood disputes over animal issues/concerns through communication, education, and enforcement
  • ACOs cooperate with other agencies/officers, such as Police Officers, Wildlife Officers and Sheriff’s Deputies when necessary.

To reiterate – in a given week (or even a single day), an ACO may rescue a kitten trapped in a wall, catch and relocate a possum or native snake, work with local police on a drug raid, help a lost dog find his people (and vice versa), retrieve a scared or confused horse or cow from morning traffic, adopt a homeless cat to her new family, and testify in court against an abusive pet owner. Whew!

So Thank You, Thank You, Thank You ACOs for all that you do!

Spring is Just Around the Corner – Are You and Your Pet Ready?

14163002 - cute rhodesian ridgeback puppy in a fieldWhile some areas of the country are still experiencing Nor’easters, others parts are already welcoming crocus and daffodils as the first signs of spring. We have “sprung ahead” into daylight savings time in most areas and are looking forward to longer, warmer days spent outdoors. This is also the time of year that many people start thinking about home improvement projects to be completed during the spring and summer season. Are you and your pet both ready for the upcoming hustle and bustle that accompanies this time of year?

A Few Things to Remember at This Time of Year

  • Pets can be lethargic after a long winter as well. Reintroduce them to outdoor activities slowly if they have been more sedentary than normal.
  • Watch out for fleas, ticks and heartworm that are more prevalent in warmer weather. Always keep up their protection but especially check for ticks if you’ve walked your dog in an area where they gather.
  • Pets can suffer allergies just like people do from things like dust, mold and pollen. If your cat or dog is sneezing, coughing, scratching, licking or chewing more than is normal, check with your vet to see if they are having an allergic reaction to something and to see how to treat it.
  • We love spring flowers and bouquets whether in our house or yard but they aren’t the healthiest for your pet and can even be fatal if they ingest certain plants, especially lilies. Keep these away from your pets and double check your landscaping for any plants that may be poisonous to your pets.
  • If you are taking your pet with you for a drive to enjoy spring scenery or fresh air, make sure they are properly secured in your vehicle and not allowed to roam loose in a car or truck. And NEVER leave your pet unattended in a car for any length of time. Even in the early spring, cars can heat up quickly to a lethal temperature. Also make sure they have access to shade and fresh water even in your yard.
  • Springtime home improvements and spring cleaning give opportunities for both added safety and added dangers. Make sure screens are secure so cats can’t fall out the window. Make sure there are no puddles gathering anywhere around your house where your pets could drink from filthy water. Make sure your pool fence is in good repair to keep your pet away. Keep all cleaning products, even natural ones, safely away from pets and keep pets safely away from newly cleaned areas until all surfaces are dry and won’t get any cleaning products on their paws or fur.
  • Does one of your home improvement projects this season involve a pet door so your pet can safely enjoy the great outdoors while still having access to his food, water, air-conditioning and comfy bed? Check out the line of Hale Pet Door pet doors, ramps, security barriers and more to make life better for you and your pets.

National Poison Prevention Week

March 18-24, 2018 is National Poison Prevention Week

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Remember your furry friends this week and always. There are a lot of different things (plants, medicines, people food, household products, etc) that can make your animals sick or even kill them.

TIPS TO PREVENT POISONINGS

  • Be prepared for an emergency. Keep the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center number at your fingertips by saving the number in your mobile phone: 888-426-4435
  • Practice safe storage habits for household chemicals and other substances that can be poisonous for pets
  • Read and follow all labels and directions
  • Detect invisible threats

36871833 - white cat fight green snake in untidy dirty garden, danger.The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center is the best resource for any animal poison-related emergency. They are available at 888-426-4435, 24 hours/365 days a year and staffed by veterinary health professionals. There may be a fee for the call.

The ASPCA has a good page with more information on specific items: https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control

If you have a pet door, please be aware of what’s in your yard, for their safety and health.

Celebrate K-9 Veterans Day on March 13th

63544343_lDogs were called to duty in 1942, as the US Army was expanding quickly due to WWII. The United States K9 Corps was established March 13, 1942. Mrs. Alene Erlanger, a private citizen, initiated a program called Dogs for Defense. She, along with some breeders and the AKC, started a group to train dogs for military use. They had the first dogs ready for service by November, 1942.

The dogs are trained in bomb, drug and weapon detection, tracking the enemy and defending their unit. These dogs’ loyalty, bravery and high level of training make them extremely valuable to any unit that they are attached to.8887524 - airport canine. dog sniffs out drugs or bomb in a luggage.

There are approximately 2,500 dogs in active service today, with about 700 deployed overseas.

Joseph White, a retired military working dog trainer, originated the idea for this special day – March 13th – National K9 Veterans Day.

We salute and thank all of the K-9 military and service dogs!

Lucky Animals Get Adopted

March is traditionally a month when people think about being “lucky”. We thought it would be a perfect time to reflect on the thousands of “lucky” pets who are adopted into loving homes every day around the country. And especially we wanted to emphasize the benefits of adopting over buying.

According to the ASPCA website in March 2017, there have been “dramatic decreases in shelter intake and euthanasia of homeless dogs and cats. The ASPCA reports that an estimated 1.5 million companion animals are euthanized in U.S. animal shelters nationwide every year, a decrease from about 2.6 million estimated in 2011. Contributing to this reduction is an 18.5 percent increase in national adoptions. An estimated 3.2 million shelter animals are adopted each year (1.6 million dogs and 1.6 million cats), up from 2.7 million adoptions in 2011.” This is wonderful progress but still a sad ending for the 1.5 million sweet and loving animals who continue to be euthanized every year.

How can you help?

  • Adopt don’t buy – Every pet bought at a pet store is one less adopted from a shelter and many pet store animals have come from puppy mills or disreputable breeders who do not provide humane conditions for their breeding animals.
  • Spay or Neuter your pets – Don’t add even more animals to the problem. Controlling the pet population at the source is a huge first step.
  • Volunteer – Check with your local humane society or a pet rescue. Animals need walked, fed, socialized, trained, kennels cleaned and more.
  • If you can’t adopt, FOSTER – Maybe you can welcome animals into your home temporarily until they find their forever home.

There are thousands of wonderful “lucky” stories of pets, rescued from bad situations or lengthy stays at shelters/rescues to loving homes. Dogs that have transformed themselves bringing joy and happiness to their new owners – some even becoming service animals for their new owners.

Here are just a few stories from around the internet that show the best of side of humans and our furry counterparts.

11 Tear-Jerking Stories of Rescue Dogs That Found the Homes They Deserve

Journey Into Rescue – The Story of a Lucky Puppy

10 Large Cat Breeds: The Next Best Thing to Owning a Tiger

Miracle Dogs: Rescue Stories

13 Before and After Adoption Stories of Dogs Will Make Your Heart Kablooey With Happy

5 Dog Adoption Stories That’ll Restore Your Faith in Humanity

5 of the Sweetest Pet Adoption Stories of 2016

To help your new/current dog have the best of both worlds (inside and outside) consider a Hale Pet Door to give them and you more freedom in your lives. And with Hale’s Rescue Rewards program, you not only help the pet you adopted you help other animals as well. When you purchase a pet door for your adopted pet and tell us the name of the rescue or humane society where you adopted them, you get 10% off your purchase and we donate an additional 10% back to the rescue so they can continue helping even more animals. A LUCKY day all around!

World Spay Day

Spread the message that spaying and neutering saves lives!

World Spay Day is an international day of action to promote the sterilization of pets, community cats and street dogs as a way to save animals’ lives. It takes place each year on the last Tuesday of February.

Created as Spay Day USA by the Doris Day Animal League (DDAL) in 1995, World Spay Day is now a program of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Humane Society International (HSI) and Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association (HSVMA).

In 1995, the estimated euthanasia rate in overcrowded shelters was between 14 and 17 million dogs and cats each year. While there is still much work to be done, we’re happy to report that currently the estimated number of dogs and cats euthanized in U.S. shelters has dropped to 2.7 million annually.

In every community, in every state, there are homeless animals. 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.

A USA Today (May 7, 2013) article cites that pets who live in the states with the highest rates of spaying/neutering also live the longest. According to the report, neutered male dogs live 18% longer than unneutered male dogs and spayed female dogs live 23% longer than unspayed female dogs.

Spaying and Neutering curbs bad behavior:

  • Unneutered dogs are much more assertive and prone to urine-marking (lifting their leg) than neutered dogs. Although it is most often associated with male dogs, females may do it, too. Spaying or neutering your dog should reduce urine-marking and may stop it altogether.
  • For cats, the urge to spray is extremely strong in an intact cat, and the simplest solution is to get yours neutered or spayed by 4 months of age before there’s even a problem. Neutering solves 90 percent of all marking issues, even in cats that have been doing it for a while. It can also minimize howling, the urge to roam, and fighting with other males.
  • Roaming, especially when females are “in heat.”
  • Aggression: Studies also show that most dog bites involve dogs who are unaltered.
  • Excessive barking, mounting, and other dominance-related behaviors.

While getting your pets spayed/neutered can help curb undesirable behaviors, it will not change their fundamental personality, like their protective instinct.

Here are some ideas on how to help:

  • Share infographics on social media. Use #WorldSpayDay for promoting an event.
  • Set up a table at a popular location and distribute literature on the importance of spaying and neutering to control pet and street animal populations.
  • Organize a visit to a school or a youth or community group to speak about what pets need to be healthy and happy.
  • Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper advocating spaying and neutering to pet owners and government officials.
  • Raise money to subsidize the cost of spays and neuters performed during or after World Spay Day. Raffles, bake sales, benefit concerts and shelter open houses are just a few examples of fundraising events that some organizers have found to be successful.
  • As an individual, you can participate by sponsoring a pet’s spay/neuter surgery. Contact your local shelter to make a donation, or sponsor a spay/neuter surgery for a pet in need.

Focus on Your Feline During National Cat Health Month

February is National Cat Health Month, it’s also known as a month to celebrate love. One way to show your love is to schedule a visit to the vet for an annual check-up. The vet will check for periodontal disease, obesity and more. Be sure to write down any questions or concerns you have before you go.

Did you know . . .

  • Cats purr at a frequency of vibration that aids bone and tissue growth and repair.
  • Cats also produce a “silent” meow which is thought to be a request for attention or a show of genuine affection from cat to owner. It is pitched too high for the human ear to hear.
  • Most cats eyes glow silvery green when light is shone into them at night, but Siamese cats eyes glow red.
  • Cats eyes function in about 1/6th the light needed for human vision but cannot function in complete darkness.
  • Cats memory can last up to 16 hours in contrast to a dog’s memory that lasts about 5 minutes.
  • A cat can jump from a standing start to over 5 times its body height.
  • One female cat averages 6 kitten per year, 75% of which die before reproductive age.
  • One female cat and her offspring will produce 100 cats in 7 years.
  • 38% of US households own a cat.

Ways to keep your kitty content:

  • Rotate toys every few weeks to keep your cat’s interest and banish boredom.
  • Cats are huggable when they are asleep, but they do need 16 hours of sleep each day.cat playing with feather toy
  • Put the litter box in a quiet area of your home, give them privacy.
  • Do Not Declaw – it only solves a symptom. Buy a scratching post or kitty condo.
  • Cats know when they are being sung to and often meow, so serenade your sweetie.
  • Cats don’t like harsh noises, but they love the sound of soft whispers.
  • Buy fresh catnip to stuff it into an old sock.
  • Clean their potty often, cats hate dirty litter boxes.
  • Play TV shows or videos for cats or tune into a nature channel.
  • Get toys that involve both you and your pet.
  • Lavish your cat with attention.

Winter Pet Safety: Top 7 Tips

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1. Get an energy efficient Hale Pet Door

When it’s cold and snowy outside, you may be tempted to leave your dog indoors where you know he’ll be safe from the tempestuous winter weather when you’re away from home. But it’s important that your dog has access to the outdoors to answer nature’s call when necessary. Having to ‘hold it’ can cause urinary tract and digestive issues that can result in much discomfort for your dog and extensive veterinarian bills for you.

2. Don’t leave your pet in a parked car

Your parked car can be a freezer – trapping the cold air inside. It can be just as dangerous to leave your pet in your unattended car in the winter as in the hot months.

3. Give your pet a warm bed

Just as you like a warm comfortable place to sleep, so does your cat or dog. Provide a bed – off the floor if possible – in an area away from drafts. A blanket can help trap your pet’s body heat, so she gets a good night’s sleep for optimal health and wellness.

4. Keep common poisons out of pets’ reach

All medications, antifreeze (just a few licks can cause death), rodent baits and poisons, and some houseplants can make your pets sick. Use only pet-friendly ice melting products that won’t irritate your pets when they lick their paws and stomachs.

5. Prevent hypothermia and frostbite

Let your dog’s coat grow longer for the winter months. If your dog has a short coat, get him a coat or sweater that covers him from the base of his head to his tail and around his belly. If your pet gets too cold and shows signs of hypothermia: disoriented, shivering, lethargic or hair standing on end, get her to the vet immediately. Frostbite can affect the tips of the ears, extremities and reproductive organs turning the skin bright red, pale or black.

6. Avoid electrocution and fire hazards

Chewing on heating pads wires can cause electrocution or shock. Heating pads’ iron oxide pads can cause poisoning. Portable heaters can be both a shock and fire hazard, so don’t leave your pet unattended with one in the room.

7. Bang on the hood

Feral cats and wildlife seek the warmth of vehicle engines. Give them a chance to escape by knocking on the hood before starting your car or truck.

Keep yourself and your best friends safe this winter season.

Keep Your Pets Safe This Holiday Season

Keep Your Pets Safe This Holiday Season

Keeping your furry friends safe during the busy holiday season can be quite the challenge. There are new and interesting temptations in your home, new noises and smells, and likely a lot more people coming and going. In the hustle and bustle, it can sometimes be easy to overlook some common dangers for your pet. To help keep everyone in the holiday spirit – and out of the animal hospital – we have put together a little list of simple things you can do to keep your pets safe this holiday season.

Holiday Decorations: Tinsel can be very attractive to pets, particularly cats. While it may be fun to play with, ingesting it could result in an intestinal blockage. Similarly, if glass ornaments are broken and eaten, there would be great potential for serious damage to the digestive tract, or the glass shards could injure paws or other parts of the body. Lights that are hung too low on the tree are very tempting to pets who like to chew, and could create a fire or electrocution hazard. It is best to hang all holiday decorations out of reach of all household pets.

Holiday Plants: Mistletoe, holly and poinsettia are common holiday plants, and all of these are toxic to pets. It is best to avoid these plants in a household with pets, but if you have them, make sure they are out of your pet’s reach. Call your veterinarian or poison control center if you believe your pet has ingested any of these plants.

Christmas Tree: It can make your pet ill to eat certain types of Christmas trees, as well, so watch your pet closely for interest in chewing on the tree itself. The tree water can also be a concern, as it can contain fertilizers and/or bacteria, so it is a great idea to anchor your tree to the wall to prevent a spill, as well as to keep the tree from falling over onto your pet. Keep loose pine needles cleaned up off of the floor.

Gifts: Covered with bright colors, ribbons and bows, gifts can be an enormous temptation to curious pets. Make sure there are no food items inside the gifts under the tree, and it might help to minimize loose strings. Many people choose to place their tree in a corner and gate it off once presents starts to accumulate – this might be the safest choice to cover all of your bases.

Holiday Gatherings: Finally, one of the best parts of the holiday season is getting a chance to visit with loved ones, but sometimes the full house can be stressful for your pet. Take a few moments to make certain that your pet is fed on the same schedule as they are used to, and has a safe haven to escape the commotion, whether it is their favorite room, comfy bed, or through their Hale Pet Door into their cozy outdoor space.

Happy Holidays, from all of us at Hale Pet Door, to you and your furry family members!