February is National Spay/Neuter Awareness Month

February is not only the time of year where you shower your human loved ones with affection, but also the four-legged members of your family. And there’s no better way to show Fido or Mr. Whiskers how much you love them than by being a responsible pet owner and making sure they are spayed or neutered. The overpopulation of pets is a big issue all over the country. Shelters across the nation are packed to capacity with dogs and cats that are in desperate need of a forever home, and sadly, over half of these precious animals are euthanized. Although a portion of the puppies and kittens dropped off at shelters come from strays, a lot are actually a result of unintentional breeding of beloved family pets.

But there is one surefire way to ensure that you don’t end up with unintended offspring – spay or neuter your pet. It is truly the only 100% effective form of birth control and it’s one of the very best things you can do for your kitty or pooch. And the process is probably even easier and cheaper than you think. Because getting your pets fixed is so important, most veterinary offices and animals shelters offer the service for a reasonable price, and some even offer special programs for lower income families. They work to make it as affordable as possible for all pet owners. Make sure to ask what options are available for you.

Not only is fixing your pet a smart decision for preventing unwanted pregnancies, but it also helps them to live longer and healthier lives than their counterparts. The changes that come with spaying and neutering helps reduce their urge to roam which could lead to their getting lost or injured as pets that wander away from their home are more likely to be hit by cars or attacked by wild animals. Spaying and neutering also lessens their chance of getting certain types of cancers and typically reduces behavioral issues such as aggression or desire to seek out a mate.

A lot of people worry about putting their beloved furry friends through a painful and traumatic experience. But rest assured, it’s a simple and easy procedure, and often you’ll be able to take your pet home the very same day. It’s a quick surgery, usually lasting less than 30 minutes, after which your pet will spend a few hours recovering from the anesthesia before being ready to go home. After your pet comes home, you’ll just need to keep them safe and comfortable while they recover. They’ll probably be feeling groggy and not themselves for a little while, but have no fear, after some rest, they’ll be back to normal in no time. Most times, even by the next day they’ll start feeling much better.

It truly is one of the most responsible and loving things you can do for your pet. So, if you have questions or are feeling unsure about this important decision, please talk to your vet today!

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7 Simple Ways to Keep Your Pet Healthy

  1. Keep your pet active. No matter if you’ve got a brand new pup who is full of energy to burn, or you’ve got an older dog that’s slowing down, exercise is vital for a healthy animal. Even a little walk around the block is an excellent way to keep them active and happy. And exercise isn’t just for dogs! Take a little time each day to play with your cats and other indoor fur babies!
  2. Spay or neuter. We just cannot stress this one enough. Getting your pet fixed is one of the best things you can do! Getting this simple procedure done can help avoid serious health issues in the future, such as uterine infections and breast tumors in female dogs, and prostate problems and testicular tumors in male dogs. But it’s also an incredibly responsible thing to do as a pet owner! Getting your pet spayed or neutered makes you part of the solution for the overpopulation problem and overcrowding of shelters.
  3. Take your pet to the vet regularly. Making sure your pet gets their regular checkup is vital for their health and well-being. Vets are specially trained to evaluate your pet’s health, make sure they’re healthy and detect problems early on.
  4. Feed your pets a healthy and balanced diet. Now, Fido may look cuter than cute batting those big brown eyes at you as you’re finishing your meal, but that doesn’t mean you should always share! Giving your pet a treat every now and again is probably okay, but it’s important to make sure they’re getting a well-balanced diet to keep their bodies in tip-top shape.
  5. Get your pets vaccinated. One of the best ways to help your pet avoid terrible illnesses is to get them vaccinated. Vaccinations help protect against disease like parvo, distemper, and rabies. Talk to your vet about what you need to do to keep your pet up to date on their vaccinations.
  6. Keep your pet’s weight healthy. Just like it’s not too healthy for humans to be overweight, it’s not healthy for your pet, either. All that extra weight is hard on their joints and organs and slows them down overall. Help them stay healthy and full of energy by monitoring what and how much they eat and keep them active. Talk to your vet to get started.
  7. Start a supplement routine. Dogs and cats can benefit from supplements just like people do! There are countless numbers of different types available on the market, so you’ll be able to find just the right ones for your pet. Multivitamins offer a great foundation, but there are also other supplements available like fish oil, which is great for their coats and joints.

The Benefits of Owning a Pet Door

A lot of pet owners consider getting a pet door for their home but are unsure about whether or not it would be a good investment for their family. We at Hale Pet Door have spent the last 33 years manufacturing the best pet door on the market and we’re proud to say that they make an outstanding addition to your home. Here are just a few of the reasons why owning a pet door might be one of the most beneficial home improvements you’ll ever make!

Safety – Having a pet door in your home allows your pet access to both inside and outside. This cannot be any more important than if there was an emergency at home and you were not there to help your pet(s) escape. And of course, we all know how very dangerous it could be to leave a pet outside to deal with the elements. Giving them the ability to come inside anytime they need to is important.

Health – Ask any veterinarian and they will tell you that making your dog hold its bladder and not be able to use the bathroom for extended periods of time is very unhealthy. Not only is it quite uncomfortable for your pooch, but it can cause urinary tract problems, including but not limited to infections and urinary stones. Could you imagine having to hold your bladder for 8+ hours every day? Of course not – and your pet shouldn’t have to, either! Not to mention giving your dog the ability to run and play every day will help keep their weight in check and their cardiovascular system strong and healthy. Having a sedentary lifestyle isn’t good for any of us.

Helps with Boredom – Being home all day alone waiting for you to come home, pets often get bored or antsy which can lead to behavioral problems such as destruction or anxiety. Allowing your pet the freedom to go outside at their leisure to explore and play breaks up the monotony of the day and maintains activity and mental stimulation.

Greatly Reduces Accidents – Even the most well-behaved dogs are bound to have an accident inside every once in a while. While many dogs do their best to hold it until you get home, sometimes they just can’t wait that long. Having the freedom to go outside gives them the ability to relieve themselves anytime needed without risking an accident inside your home.

Pet Doors Aren’t Just for Dogs – Did you know that cats love pet doors, too? These days, catios (outdoor enclosures for cats) are gaining popularity. Imagine if you could give your cat the independence of going outside as often as they would like to watch the birds and bugs without fearing for their safety or security. Just like dog runs, catios come in all shapes and sizes and can be completely customizable to your home. Trust us, your cat will love it!

And Let’s Not Forget What Might Be The Most Important Reason – Not having to let your dog in and out of the house 100x a day! I think we all can agree that is definitely one of the best benefits to owning a pet door!

For more information about pet doors in general or to see our line of high-quality pet doors and related products like ramps and security barriers, visit our website at www.halepetdoor.com.

 

 

Healthy Thanksgiving Treats for Pets

Thanksgiving is a special time of year where people prepare delicious foods to share with their loved ones, but a lot of these dishes are not safe or appropriate to feed to your pets. Surprising to many of us, there are quite a few human foods that are very dangerous for pets to consume. You may already be aware of some of the harmful foods such as chocolate and items containing caffeine, but did you know that citrus is also dangerous for pets? The fruit, stem, and seeds contain citric acid which can cause damage to their nervous system in large amounts. Even smaller quantities can cause an upset stomach. Also, grapes and raisins can be quite toxic to pets and can even cause kidney failure. But one of the most concerning substances is something called xylitol. It can cause liver failure and is very serious if consumed even in smaller amounts. One of the reasons this particular ingredient is so dangerous is that it is in so many products like gum, candy, and toothpaste. It’s even in some peanut butters – a food that is often given to dogs. So, make sure that you always, always double check food labels before sharing anything with your pets.

Thankfully, there are tons of foods that are very healthy and beneficial for your pets, so you don’t have to leave Rufus out of the holiday food fun. Foods high in protein like chicken and eggs are an excellent addition to their diet. Treats made of peanut butter or cheese are also great choices. A lot of dogs love to eat veggies like carrots and green beans, and most cats will go bonkers for a little salmon in their bowl. Your pets will be so thrilled with these tasty treats, that they’ll have no idea that they’re so healthy! And you’ll be thrilled with their healthy coats and teeth.

Check out this quick and easy recipe that you can share with confidence this Thanksgiving with your fur-babies!

Sweet Potato Peanut Butter Dog Cookies

Sweet potatoes are a classic dish on the Thanksgiving table and as it turns out, they’re also amazing for Fido! Rich in vitamin A and fiber, they’re a great addition to their diet.

INGREDIENTS:

1 Large Sweet Potato

2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour

½ Cup Old Fashioned Oatmeal

¼ Cup Unsweetened Applesauce

2 Eggs

¼ Cup Natural Peanut Butter

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Stab sweet potato several times with a fork or sharp knife to make numerous holes.

2. Place sweet potato in microwave on high for approximates 5-7 minutes until fork tender. Carefully peel the skin off sweet potato (potato will be extremely hot, so please use caution!). Then, mash the sweet potato and place about 1 cup in a large mixing bowl.

3. Add the remaining ingredients to the large mixing bowl and combine until a dough forms. Place dough onto a floured surface and roll dough out to about ½” thick.

4. You can use a knife or pizza cutter to cut dough into treat-sized pieces, or you can use fun cookie cutters. Small biscuit cutters work well also. Arrange treats on an ungreased baking sheet.

5. Bake until nice and crisp, about 35-45 minutes. Allow treats to remain on the pan for 10 minutes after baking before moving them to a wire rack to cool.

These cookies are sure to be a hit in your home this holiday season. Keep them in a sealed container like a cookie or mason jar and they’ll keep well for weeks. They’re full of beneficial nutrients for your dog and are also nice and crunchy so they’re great for their teeth. Plus, it takes almost no effort to throw a batch together. These also make a wonderful gift! Simply place them in a clear jar and tie a festive ribbon around it – voila! Enjoy!

Keep Your Furry Friends Safe this Halloween

While Halloween festivities can be fun for humans, they can be stressful and even dangerous for our four-legged friends. Follow these safety tips to have a fun and safe Halloween for everyone in your household.

  • Do not let pets eat trick or treat candies. They can be toxic to animals.
  • Kids and others in costumes can be stressful for pets so keep them away from the door when trick-or-treaters call. The loud noises of doorbells constantly ringing, kids screaming and more can set off the calmest dog. And people in costumes can be disorienting and frightening for any animal. If possible, shut them in a quiet room away from the action to keep them calm and prevent them from running away or possibly being aggressive towards one of your callers.
  • Don’t leave your pet out in the yard on Haloween. You wouldn’t want them to be the victim of a “trick”. Be especially careful if your pet is a black cat.
  • Be wary of keeping Halloween decorations out of reach of your pets. Pumpkins and corn can be dangerous especially if eaten uncooked or if moldy. Lit candles can burn your pets or get knocked over and cause a fire. Glow sticks can make a dog sick if chewed on. Electric cords to decorations can be chewed on causing a fire hazard or electric shock danger. Batteries from decorations can be swallowed.
  • Pets in costumes look cute but they don’t all love it. Make sure you try any costumes before the big night to get your pet used to it. Also, make sure your pet actually isn’t upset or annoyed with the costume or any part of it. Look for pieces of a costume that might restrict the animal’s movement, hearing, eyesight or breathing and remove them. Watch out for skin problems caused by the costume and remove immediately if any develop.
  • Most importantly for Halloween and every day: Make sure your pet has proper identification with the proper information on it. Collars and tags are a good start but these can fall off and get lost. Microchip your pet to make sure they can be identified if they do get separated from you.

Community Cats Need Our Help

Misinformation costs millions of community cats (also known as feral cats) their lives every year. When a person sees a cat living outdoors, the urge is to assume that it needs our help, and that help often comes in the form of delivering said cat to the overcrowded local shelters. Sadly, because feral cats are not socialized to humans, this well-meant action is most likely to be a death sentence for a cat who could otherwise have lived a natural life outdoors.

Cats living outdoors is a hard pill to swallow for many animal lovers, especially since we are told over and over that it is so much safer for our pet cats to live indoors. This information is real and good, considering that an outdoor cat is more likely to be hit by a car, contract a disease, or get into a fight – but it doesn’t apply to community cats quite the same way. Why? Because feral cats are closer to wild animals than pet cats. They, like millions upon millions of cats who came before them over many thousands of years, were born and have made their homes outside, in nature – just like squirrels and rabbits. Contrary to popular belief, feral cats can live long and healthy lives in the wild. While we might want to “save” them, most feral cats typically avoid contact with humans, are even frightened of them, and would be unhappy if made to live in a human home.

Alley Cat Allies is an organization that helps educate the public about community cats, and combat the misinformation that leads to the deaths of so many of them. Among many efforts, they work with officials to create T-N-R (Trap, Neuter, Release) programs for community cats that help to combat overpopulation, while allowing cats to continue living where they are happy and thriving. Humanely controlling the feral cat population in this way, as well as working to inform the public as to the nature and needs of community cats, also helps to save the lives of stray or pet cats – overcrowded shelters all too often result in their deaths, as well.

It may be difficult for a concerned cat lover to tell the difference between a stray cat who might need help and a community cat who just needs to be left alone. Alley Cat Allies has an amazing guide to help us figure this out. We urge you to peruse their website, which contains a wealth of information to help the average animal advocate to learn how to help their own community cats, including what to do when we find feral kittens, how to help educate others on the truths about feral cats (are they really bad for wildlife?), and how to get involved in T-N-R.

Like us, we know you want to do what you can to help your neighborhood cats. For Global Cat Day, we hope you use this information and these resources to kick off a community cat education initiative in your own neighborhood.

Happiness is Vital to Your Cat’s Health

We do everything we can to make sure our cats are healthy. We feed them good quality food, we take them to their annual checkups, brush them, scratch them behind the ears, and love them. Cats have a reputation for being the low-maintenance pet – meet their basic needs, and they will live long healthy lives. But do we spend enough time thinking about our cats’ mental and emotional well-being?

It turns out that, like most creatures, happiness has a deep connection to your cat’s health. While good food and vet visits are clearly important, we also need to consider what our cats need to meet their instinctive requirements as a cat.

First, let’s look at the most prominent threat to a cat’s happiness: stress. Like in humans, stress, especially over prolonged periods, has a detrimental effect on cat health. Stress hormones that are perfectly designed to help cats in nature (the good old “fight or flight” response) were not meant to be released over and over again all day long. Continuous exposure to these hormones causes damage to organ systems by elevating heart rate and blood pressure and raising blood sugar.

But what on earth does a pampered domestic cat have to be stressed about, you may wonder? The answer is a lot of things. Things like boredom, conflicts with other household cats over territory, food or resources, changes in routine, loss or addition of household members and pets, tension in the home, medical problems, and so much more, can cause systemic stress in your cat.

So what can we do about all of this? We have to remember that cats are not very far removed from their wild relatives, and their needs are still very similar to that of their cousins. Cats are hunters, and also prey animals. They need to have their own territory and resources. In short, cats need to feel like cats. You can help keep your cat happy and healthy by:

Protecting Food Resources

This doesn’t just mean feeding them on time. When you feed them, make sure they are not threatened by other animals in the house – that might mean separating them from other cats at feeding time, elevating their feeding area to be safe from dogs in the house, or simply moving their dish away from the wall so that they can face the room while they eat.

Give them Ownership of Scent and Vantage Resources

Make sure that all of the cats in your house have access to climbing, perching and burrowing resources. In nature, cats might sit in a tree to view their surroundings for hunting or hiding purposes, or they might prefer to shelter in a bush. Approximating these with plenty of cat trees, perches, caves and beds will help to assure that each cat has their own space without any conflict. Likewise, there should be cat scratchers aplenty around the house – cats need them to maintain claw health and to leave their scent, thus securing their zone.

Keep Things Clean

In nature, cats bury their waste, and would not wish to relieve themselves in a dirty place. The same is true for your cat. Keeping the litter box clean by scooping or emptying a minimum of once per day is key if you want your cat to maintain good bathroom habits. You should also have more than one litter box – ideally, one for every cat in your house, plus one – distributed in different parts of your home, to avoid litter box conflicts.

Provide Mental Stimulation

We want to keep our cats indoors to keep them safe, but we also must ensure that their needs as a natural hunter are being met. Play with your cats daily by encouraging them to chase toys that resemble prey animals, laser dots, etc. Give them window perches so that they can watch birds outside. And if you want to go all out, you can build your cats a catio – an enclosed outdoor space that allows them to experience a taste of the outside world without the dangers of outdoor-cat life.

In reality, it just takes a few simple changes to put some focus on your cat’s mental well-being, and you will be paving the way for a cat who is healthy in both body and spirit.

July Is Pet Loss Prevention Month

July is National Pet Loss Prevention Month, and even though the majority of us are responsible pet owners who care deeply for our furry family members, 1 out of 3 family pets will go missing at least once in their lifetime, potentially ending up as one of the 7.6 million dogs and cats who enter shelters every year.

July is an especially risky month for lost pets, because of the 4th of July holiday. More pets go missing on and around the 4th of July than any other day of the year, due to anxiety caused by fireworks. A mild-mannered dog might panic and claw its way out of a crate or crash through a glass door or fence, and could be running on the streets within moments. But it doesn’t have to take something dramatic – there are many reasons well-behaved pets might wander, even if it’s simple curiosity.

You can help reduce the stress of a lost-pet situation by taking a few steps ahead of time:

  1. Make sure your pet has up to date ID tags and a secure collar. This goes for cats, as well as dogs. A pet with a collar will be more easily identified as a pet, as opposed to a stray, and having your pet’s name and your identifying info clear to the person who finds your pet will help immensely with getting your pet home.
  1. Have your pet microchipped. Because collars can come off, another important step is to have your vet microchip your pet. If your pet were to be found and turned in to a shelter, they will be scanned for a microchip. Make sure you keep your info up to date at your microchip registry so that you can be reunited with your pet quickly.
  1. Get a GPS tracker for your pet. To help you track your pet if he or she does get out, there are several brands of GPS devices that are designed to attach to a pet’s collar.
  1. Be prepared for riskier times for pet loss. Make sure you have a plan to keep your pet safe and secure during holidays like the 4th of July. It is best to keep your pet home from 4th of July events, and it might even be a good idea for you to stay home with them. For more information on keeping your pets safe during 4th of July, the ASPCA has some great tips in this article.

Be Prepared to Care for Your Pets in a Disaster – National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day is May 12

85018767_l cropPrior to 2005, not much official consideration had been given to the needs of pets in a disaster situation. But when more than 150,000 pets perished in Hurricane Katrina, largely as a result of there being no provisions for the rescue of animals, this critical concern was brought to national awareness. In addition to legal measures being passed to protect the rights of animals to be rescued by officials in disasters, National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day was established to help educate the public on the needs of animals in these situations.

Your pets are a part of your family, and just like any other family member, planning and preparation for unexpected situations is important. Here are some ways you can prepare to care for your pet in a disaster:

Be Aware

  • While you can’t predict every potential problem, it is important to know what the most likely dangers are for your geographic area, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, etc.
  • Know what the local disaster evacuation plans and routes are for your area.

Find Safe Havens

  • Never leave your pet behind if you have to evacuate, as they will be unable to fend for themselves in a disaster situation. However,
  • It is important to have a Rescue Alert Sticker on your windows to alert rescuers to the presence of your pets, in the event that you were separated at the time of evacuation. If you evacuate with your pets, and there is time, write “Evacuated” on the stickers to let rescuers know that you are all out.
  • Some evacuation shelters do not accept pets, so it is very important to research where your pet could board in a disaster.
  • Know which hotels in the area would accept you and your pets together in a disaster.
  • Designate a trusted friend, neighbor or family member that can come into your home and help your pets if you are away in a disaster.

Pack an Emergency Kit

  • Make or purchase a first aid kit for your pet. If you make your own, ask your vet for advice on what to include for your pet to meet their individual needs.
  • Keep a 7 day supply of food (both canned and dry) and water for your pet in waterproof and airtight containers that are easy to transport. Rotate these every two months.
  • Make sure your pet’s tags are up to date and secure to their collar, and consider microchipping. It is also a good idea to include a recent photo of you with your pet for visual identification in case of separation.
  • Include a copy of recent health and immunization records in a sealed plastic bag.
  • Pack an extra leash and collar, along with their carrier. Dogs will need crate liners, and cats will need a disposable litter tray and a supply of cat litter.
  • Pack a few comfort items – blankets, a couple of toys.

Add to this list anything that is individual for your own situation, as you best know your own pets and their personal needs. For more information on how to keep your furry family members safe in a disaster, please see these helpful articles on the ASPCA and the Red Cross websites.

 

 

 

Responsible Animal Guardian Month

With Responsible Animal Guardian Month, Pet Cancer Awareness Month, and Chip Your Pet Month, the month of May is here to remind you to be more aware of your pet’s health, surroundings and happiness. And it is also to help people understand that we are not just “owners” of our pets but rather “guardians” of another life. We would never want to treat pets simply like property to be treated however we want and discarded when we tire of them. When you are a Guardian, you have compassion, responsibility, consideration and love for your pet.

For their health, check them over for lumps, bumps, sores or anything unusual. Our pets are just as susceptible to cancer as we are, they are exposed to the same environmental risks as us. See the vet if you find something. Be sure to feed them a good quality food in the correct amount for them. Always have clean water available for them. Get lots of playtime in, both physical and mind challenging. Remember all of their needs: both physical and emotional.

Do proactive things too for your pet and your community.

  • Microchip your dog or cat. This tiny chip has a unique ID number that can make the difference between your pet finding their way home or being lost forever. Microchips are no bigger than a grain of rice, implanted under the skin at the shoulder blades. Almost all shelters and veterinarians have scanners.
  • Start or participate in a Trap – Neuter – Release program in your neighborhood. This helps keep stray cats healthy and helps to prevent the number from growing.
  • Encourage other pet parents to spay/neuter their pets.
  • Donate funds, supplies or your time to a local shelter.
  • Know the early warning signs of cancer, Learn the 10 L’s

There is so much wonderful information and ideas available that we couldn’t begin to share it all. But here are just a few links with more information:

https://www.puppyup.org/its-responsible-animal-guardian-month/

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/10-traits-of-truly-loving-companion-animal-guardian/

https://www.idausa.org/campaign/guardian-initiative/latest-news/animal-guardian-month/

https://www.puppyup.org/canine-cancer/about-cancer/

https://positivelywoof.com/pet-calendar-may-is-national-chip-your-pet-month/

Don’t forget to consider a Hale Pet Door to give your furry companions a way to get outside for more playtime.