National Disaster Preparedness Month. Led by FEMA’s Ready Campaign, Citizen Corps and The Advertising Council, this effort encourages individuals, families, businesses and communities to work together and take action to prepare for emergencies. Visit Ready.gov.
Democrats and Republicans may not see eye to eye on certain issues, but whether your preferred political party is symbolized by an elephant or a donkey we all share a love for ‘political animals,’ in particular the dogs who have held the position of First Fido over the years.
Dogs in Politics Day (also known as Checkers Day) is held each September 23rd in a nod to the anniversary of Richard Nixon’s 1952 speech regarding rumors of misused funds. Referring to Checkers, the Rover his family received, the then vice presidential candidate told the public that the Cocker Spaniel was one gift that his family would most definitely keep.
Test your knowledge about All The Presidents’ Dogs by taking our Pop (or should that be Pup?) Quiz!
1) The first dogs whose paws promenaded on the grounds of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue had which President as a pet parent?
A) George Washington
B) John Adams
C) Thomas Jefferson
D) James Madison
2) The following Presidents were fond of Newfoundlands. Which Commander-In-Chief named his Newfoundland pup Veto?
A) Ulysses S. Grant
B) James Buchanan
C) James Garfield
D) Rutherford B. Hayes
3) Which First dog was named after a character from the 1950’s children’s book The Enormous Egg?
A) Miss Beazley, George W. Bush and Laura Bush’s Scottish Terrier
B) King Timahoe, Richard and Pat Nixon’s Irish Setter
C) Weejie, Herbert Hoover’s Elkhound
D) Fala, Franklin Roosevelt’s Scottish Terrier
4) Which First Fido moved in to the White House after being found at a gas station?
A) Grits, a dog gifted to Jimmy Carter’s daughter, Amy
B) Buddy, Bill Clinton’s Labrador Retriever
C) Yuki, Lyndon Johnson’s mixed breed dog
D) Liberty, Gerald Ford’s Golden Retriever
5) A President with a love of all with paws, which of Calvin Coolidge’s many canine companions shared his 4th of July birthday?
A) Tiny Tim
B) Peter Pan
C) Rob Roy
D) Prudence Prim
6) A Great Dane named President, who was the barking buddy of a President’s adult child, was a guest at The White House when which President was in office?
A) Warren Harding
B) Harry S. Truman
C) Herbert Hoover
D) Franklin Roosevelt
7) Which U.S. President was also the founder of the Buffalo chapter of the SPCA?
A) Grover Cleveland
B) William Taft
C) Millard Fillmore
D) Andrew Johnson
8) Which President said “If a dog will not come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.”
A) Woodrow Wilson
B) Harry S. Truman
C) Franklin D. Roosevelt
D) Dwight D. Eisenhower
9) Which President’s dog was so popular with the public that a song was written in his honor when he crossed Rainbow Bridge?
A) Charlie, John F. Kennedy’s Welsh Terrier
B) King Tut, Herbert Hoover’s Belgian Shepherd
C) Fala, Franklin Roosevelt’s Scottish Terrier
D) Warren Harding’s Airedale, Laddie Boy.
10) Which First Dog shared the White House with a cat named Socks?
A) Liberty, Gerald Ford’s Golden Retriever
B) Pushinka, The Kennedy family’s mixed breed dog
C) Buddy, Bill Clinton’s chocolate Labrador Retriever
D) Miss Beazley, George W. Bush’s Scottish Terrier
Answers: 1) B 2) C 3) A 4) C 5) A 6) D 7) C 8) A 9) D 10) C
Held each second Sunday in September, National Pet Memorial Day is a time to look back with love at our dog and cat companions whose paws have walked the path which led to Rainbow Bridge.
Created more than four decades ago by the International Association of Pet Cemeteries, the organization– along with The Humane Society of the United States– offers the following suggestions to help with the healing process after the loss of a beloved pet:
Plant a memorial tree or dedicate a flower bed in your garden as a loving way to keep the memory of your late pet alive for generations to come.
Flip through the pages of a scrapbook filled with small mementos and snapshots of special moments with your late four-legged friend. As time goes by it will help to turn sadness into smiles as you take a walk down Memory Lane.
In the words of Mary Lee Hall’s famous poem, “…turn again to life and smile/ Nerving thy heart and thy trembling hand to do/ Something to comfort other hearts than thine.” Giving the gift of your time to dogs and cats as a volunteer at your local animal shelter will help to fill the lonely hours as you mourn your pet… and fill your heart.
Make a donation of much-needed items or money to an animal shelter or rescue organization. The generous gesture will help to lighten your sorrow as it brightens the day of dogs and cats in need.
Once time has passed, one way that you might wish to honor the cherished memories of your barking buddy or purring pal and the legacy of love they left behind is to welcome another furry family member into your heart and home. Although some people may experience a twinge of guilt at the thought of getting another pet and think that they have nothing left to give after going through the pain of their pet’s passing, they will soon find that their heart has only expanded over the years thanks to the love of their late pet– who, like all true friends, only wish happiness for the friend they had to leave behind.
Photo Credit: Pixabay
As pet parents, we know that every day offers us an opportunity to show our furry family members that our fondness for them is far from mere puppy love…it’s dogged devotion! However, one day in particular has been set aside to give all Rovers the recognition they so deserve.
Established in 2004 by pet and family lifestyle expert Colleen Paige– the creator behind the dog-themed date on the calendar that shines a spotlight on our youngest canine fur kids, National Puppy Day, National Dog Day (August 26th) is a time not only to give your own pal with paws extra praise, but also to thank the Fidos in the work force who strive to enrich people’s lives as service dogs, KP cops and working military dogs.
Along with thanking our tail-wagging chums, the day is also dedicated to showcasing the option of pet adoption and all of our barking buddies in shelters who would love to celebrate the next National Dog Day in a forever home.
From taking your canine companion out for a day of play or capturing their cuteness for posterity with help from a professional photographer or artist, to marking the day by donating items (or the precious gift of your time) to a local shelter or welcoming an adorable adoptable into your heart and home, the official National Dog Day website offers a list of 20 ways to celebrate the pet holiday.
FUN IDEAS FOR NATIONAL DOG DAY
Bake your dog some homemade dog treats! See our index of easy treat recipesfor ideas.
Have you missed any summer fun this season? Check our list of 40 Fun Activities to Enjoy with Your Dog This Summer!
Today is National Bring Your Cat to the Vet Day, a day that encourages cat lovers to show their love for their cat by making sure he or she has the proper veterinary care. Launched by the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), this important day points out a statistic that’s sad but true: 83% of cats are taken to the vet in the first year of ownership but over half of them never return!
We’ve had Lucky at the vet more times than I can count these past three months due to his bladder stones. Our veterinary office is a cat-friendly practice, and it does make a huge difference. We have a separate door to enter as opposed to when we bring our dogs to the vet as well as a separate waiting area and checkout area. Even the care inside the office is especially cat friendly; when Lucky was sitting in his carrier on the table waiting for the vet, the vet tech draped his carrier with a towel misted with Feliway to help him feel more at ease!
Here’s an important infographic from the American Association of Feline Practitioners about why you should be sure to take your cat to the vet!
Statistics state that approximately 10 million dogs and cats find themselves lost each year, and although many companion animals are now happily reunited with those they love thanks to microchipping, the implant can only be of help if the information it contains is current. As a reminder to get your canine or cat companion microchipped and to keep the contact data up to date, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) have teamed up to create National Check the Chip Day.
Taking place on August 15, pet parents are encouraged to take a moment to either ensure that their pet’s microchip information is correct, or to schedule an appointment to have their barking buddy or purring pal microchipped.
Embedded beneath the skin with the aid of a hypodermic needle, no surgery or anesthesia is required when a microchip is implanted. It is a simple procedure which can be accomplished during a routine visit to the veterinarian.
Once a pet has been microchipped, the dog or cat’s guardian’s contact information in the event is registered to the microchip’s serial number in a database that veterinary staff can use to locate the pet’s family when their four-pawed pal is found.
“It really can be a matter of life or death if your pet gets lost and a shelter or animal control agency has no way to reach you,” the president of AVMA, Dr. Joseph Kinnarney, states. “It only takes the same amount of time as updating a password, but it could save your pet’s life.”
Felines living in the United States are worshipped by cat lovers each October 29th on National Cat Day, and power-hungry kitties can secretly celebrate their impending plot on Cat World Domination Day (June 24th). The dog days of summer also offers our pals who purr one day which has been has been set aside to recognize the estimated 600 million cats who share our world…and the joy that they bring to our lives.
Observed each August 8, International Cat Day (also known as World Cat Day) is a time to both cherish the feline friends in your life as well as raise awareness of cats in all corners of the globe who need help and forever homes.
Every year 3.2 million cats in the US alone find themselves in the shelter system. Pondering the possibility of becoming a pet parent to a new fur baby? World Cat Day would be a poignant date to open up a whole new world of happiness to one lucky cat! Fans of felines can also mark August 8th by making a donation of funds or much-needed daily items to their local shelter or rescue organization, signing up to volunteer at an area shelter or by fostering a homeless feline.
International Cat Day was created in 2002 by the International Fund for Animal Welfare, a non-profit organization founded in 1969 which helps both our domesticated pals with paws and all of our friends with fur, fins and feathers who “walk on the wild side.” Over the years IFAW’s missions of mercy which focused on the planet’s cat and dog populations include:
providing veterinary care to companion animals in financially distressed areas of Johannesburg, South Africa.
bringing food, vaccinations and emergency care to pets and other animals in need following devastating tsunamis in southern Asia.
rescuing companion animals and reuniting dogs and cats with their pet parents in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
supplying pet food and other much-needed pet-related products to animal guardians in the aftermath of earthquakes in China and Haiti.
spearheading the first Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to help street dogs.
closing a substandard municipal shelter in Bosnia, with the dogs previously in the facility’s care finding forever homes in Germany and Austria thanks in part to a community development program.
Every dog may have his day but, during the dog days of summer, canines who are devoted to enriching the lives of those in need of a helping paw are awarded an entire seven days of appreciation. International Assistance Dog Week starts the first Sunday of every August.
Established in 2009 by Marcie Davis, founder of Working Like Dogs, host of an internet radio program by the same name and author of Working Like Dogs: The Service Dog Guidebook (which features a forward by animal-loving luminary Betty White), the pet holiday applauds the abilities of our four-legged friends who open up a world of possibilities for people who face both physical and mental challenges. Through their roles as guide dogs for the visually impaired, service dogs, hearing alert dogs, seizure alert/response dogs and medical alert/response dogs, these service dogs perform a wide variety of roles.
Along with celebrating the skills of assistance dogs, the week is also an homage to all those who are dedicated to training canines for a future not only as a valued aide, but also as a trusted friend and family member to a person who is dealing with a disability.
For more information, including news of International Assistance Dog Week events taking place around the world:
Every two seconds a pet parent in the United States is faced with their worst fear when they suddenly discover that their cat or dog is missing. Statistics state that more than 10 million companion animals go astray each year, with only 1 in 10 ever reuniting with the ones they love.
Established by PetHub, Inc. in 2014, National Lost Pet Prevention Month– which takes place each July– offers families with felines and Fidos the facts they need to keep their four-legged friend from being among the one in three cats and dogs who find themselves lost in their lifetime.
The event’s official website offers a wide range of educational articles and infographics which cover ways to keep kitties safe at home and help our purring pals who feel the impulse to prowl and dart out the doorway, such as:
The five most common scenarios of lost cats.
The advantages of digital ID tags.
Ways to prevent pet theft.
Making preparations to prevent a pet from running away during 4th of July celebrations.
Critical questions to pose to a new pet sitter.
Making an emergency kit for your kitty.
For more information regarding National Lost Pet Prevention Month:
Photo Credit: Pixabay
From the moment we first say hello to the dog or cat we welcome into our heart and home we know that the day will come when we will have to say goodbye. Although the pain that comes with parting is the price we must pay for days spent in the company of a cherished companion, we are left with a wealth of treasured memories that we made with our furry friend.
Held each second Sunday in June, World Pet Memorial Day is a time to both look back with love on the pets in our past and help efforts to build a better future for our barking buddies and purring pals who are at risk of never knowing the joy of a pet/parent bond. In honor of a late dog or cat, animal lovers can give the gift of their time at a local shelter, make a monetary donation to a paws cause, contribute blankets, toys or much-needed supplies to a shelter or rescue organization, and– if the time is right, say hello to a new pal with paws.
June 8th is National Best Friends Day, and if your BFF happens to be a pal who purrs there’s no better way to celebrate that bond than to help cats without pet parents find their purrfect human friend.
An estimated 7.6 million pets– 3.4 million of our cat companions and 3.9 million of our buddies who bark– find themselves in the US shelter system each year. Sadly, only half of these adorable adoptables find forever families to love. In order to shine a light on the option of pet adoption and to show that your canine or cat kindred spirit may be as close by as your local shelter, The Shelter Pet Project has unleashed the Social Paws campaign.
Thanks to interactive toys that helped them build social graphics complete with headlines, backgrounds, emojis and hashtags, social media savvy cats and dogs from Humane Rescue Alliance and Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation in Washington, DC used their skills to make memes, videos and GIFS that will garner attention to the fact that there are animals in need of human friends at shelters from coast to coast.
Made possible through a partnership between The Ad Council, The Humane Society of the United States, Maddie’s Fund and J. Walter Thompson, the Social Paws campaign will continue to spread the message of pet adoption with ads for a variety of social media holidays, including National Space Day, National Odometer Day, National Buy a Musical Instrument Day, Eat Your Beans Day, National Moon Day and Hug Your Boss Day.
June marks the official start of summertime, and while it may be a season when “the livin’ is easy,” June has also been deemed the month for dog devotees to ready their four-legged loved ones for the possibility of days when living is rough due to a natural disaster. National Pet Preparedness Month marks a time for pet lovers to make preparations that be lifesaving.
As you know, the 2017 hurricane season was catastrophic. We spent three nights in a hotel (thank you, La Quinta, for being so pet-friendly!) with our dogs and cats as we waited out Hurricane Harvey. Our area received heavy rain but not flooding or storm damage; many areas were not so lucky. Just a week after Harvey struck, we adopted our cat Jetty, evacuated from a flooded animal shelter in a coastal town.
PREPARATIONS TO MAKE FOR YOUR DOG
Pet parents can defend the members of their fur family against flooding, tornadoes, wildfire and hurricanes by planning ahead. The American Humane Association offers the following list of essential items to pack for your dog in the event of an emergency:
To care for your canine companion’s nutritional needs, your preparedness kit should contain a 3 – 10-day supply of your dog’s regular food, along with plenty of water and food/water receptacles.
Store any medications for dogs with health concerns, your pet’s current immunization records and a First Aid Kit to address any injuries that might occur during a crisis.
A photo of your dog and a snapshot of yourself along with your dog will aid efforts to reunite you with your barking buddy if he or she becomes separated from your family.
A leash and collar will help to keep your dog by your side, and a pet carrier will act as a safe sanctuary for your pet as he/she is transported to safety. Let your dog become accustomed to his/her pet carrier with pet preparedness drills.
Store sanitary supplies, such as poop bags.
Make a list of family/friends who live away from the affected area, veterinarians, the American Red Cross, the American Humane Society and hotels which accept pets. (Note: If your dog is not a small breed, check with hotels beforehand to ensure that they do not have size restrictions.)
Although they may not be must-haves, your dog’s favorite toys will give him or her a sense of security in the days following a crisis.
MORE EVACUATION TIPS:
May is a month of renewal in nature…a time for budding flowers to blossom and the next generation of wildlife to take their first tentative steps out into the world. Along with the beauty, however, the season also brings destruction, with tornadoes, flooding and other severe weather events reminding us of the fragility of our surroundings and our security in it. Helping pet parents devise a plan to protect four-legged family members in times of crisis, FEMA has declared May 13, 2017 National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day.
CREATING A PET EMERGENCY KIT
To defend your dog or cat against a natural disaster, FEMA advises an evacuation plan and a Pet Emergency Go-Kit complete with:
First aid items
A three-day supply of water and food
Pet care supplies, such as food and water bowls, waste bags and a leash and collar
Any required medication and a copy of your pet’s medical records
Important contact information
Comfort items to calm the frayed nerves of your canine or cat companion, like their favorite toy or a blanket
TIPS FOR KEEPING YOUR PET SAFE IN A NATURAL DISASTER
Other recommended steps to keep your pet safe in the event of a natural disaster include:
Get your dog and/or cat microchipped and make sure they wear a collar ID tag.
Remember to keep all contact information on the ID tag up to date.
Alert first responders to the fact that there are pets in your home by displaying a pet rescue decal where it can be easily spotted, such as on the front door or window. Include your veterinarian’s contact information on the decal.
Where do your pals with paws hide when they are frightened? Finding the spot where they feel safe when scared will help you locate your pet quickly if an emergency arises and you need to quickly evacuate.
As some disaster shelters may not accept pets, designate a place to keep your dog or cat in case of evacuation. If relatives or friends cannot accommodate your pet, look for hotels and motels with pet-friendly policies.
Keep a photo of your four-legged friend with you at all times in case you are separated during a natural disaster.
Have a pet carrier or crate for transport and safe-keeping on hand.
Photo: Deposit Photos /© feelphotoartz
MAY - National Pet Week. Always held the first full week of May by the American Veterinary Medical Association
In the eyes of pet parents every day is dedicated to our friends with fur, fins and feathers, but the first full week in May has been designated National Pet Week— a special time for dog devotees, fans of felines and other animal lovers to celebrate our bond with those who bark, purr and chirp.
Launched by the American Veterinary Medical Association in 1981, the AVMA offers the following suggestions for marking the pet holiday (taking place May 1 – 7, 2016) with your dog:
Tame Your Tail-Wagger’s Mane and Give Your Pup a Paw-dicure: Regular brushing, bathing and nail trims are essential for keeping your canine companion clean and healthy.
Plan a Puppy Playdate: Fun with other Fidos will help to sharpen your Spot’s socialization skills. You may want to ask a trainer to be present to help keep the barking buddies on their best behavior.
Enjoy a Constitutional with Your Canine Companion: A walk with Rover is a good form of exercise for both pet parent and pup.
Mark the Pet Holiday with a Bit of Bling: Shop around for a snazzy new collar or leash that your dog can show off to his or her four-legged friends at the dog park.
Check On You Dog’s Health with A Check Up: Remember that regular vet visits will help to ensure your pet’s well-being.
Animal lovers can also mark National Pet Week by showing their appreciation for those who are doggedly devoted to keeping our animal companions healthy. The American Veterinary Medical Foundation– one of the world’s oldest and largest veterinary medical organizations– is currently accepting nominations for America’s Favorite Veterinarian.
Click on the link to nominate your favorite Veternarian!
MAY - American Humane’s Be Kind to Animals Week. This week-long event has been celebrated since 1915. Always the first full week of May.
Celebrating 100 years of helping dogs, cats and other animals in need, the oldest commemorative week in U.S. history takes place the first full week of May.
To mark the American Humane Association’s centennial salute to compassionate education, a year-long “Kindness 100” campaign has been launched complete with a national media tour, instructional roadshow to schools with a traveling museum aboard a fleet of Red Star Rescue trucks which save animals in disasters, and a www.Kindness100.org website, which includes:
a peek into Be Kind to Animal Week’s past
information to help instill in the next generation the need to care for all creatures great and small
official downloadable proclamations for local, state and federal officials
a Kindness 100 pledge
Striving for 1 million signatures, the Kindness 100 pledge is an oath to:
purchase humanely raised products in an effort to ensure the welfare of 10 billion farm animals.
look for the American Humane Association’s “No Animals Were Harmed” credit at the end of films of television programs, which signifies the safety of the 100,000 animal actors in the entertainment industry.
always choose the option of pet adoption when welcoming a new furry member into your heart and home to help lower the sad statistic of 6-8 million companion animals who find themselves in the U.S. shelter system each year.
By taking part in the campaign, not only will dog devotees become Honorary Chairs of Be Kind to Animals Week, they will also be following in the footsteps of the many animal-loving luminaries who have made Be Kind to Animals Week such a success over the years, including:
Bruce Boxleitner (star of Tron, Babylon 5)
Casper the Friendly Ghost
U.S. President Bill Clinton
Dennis the Menace
Lorne Greene (star of the television series Bonanza and Battlestar Galactica)
Dan Haggerty (star of the 1970s TV series The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams)
Tom T. Hall (country music singer/songwriter)
U.S. President Warren G. Harding
Shirley Jones (Academy Award winner, star of the 1970s TV series The Partridge Family)
Jerry Mathers (star of the 1960s television series Leave It to Beaver)
Jay North (star of the 1960s TV series Dennis the Menace)
Minnie Pearl (country comedienne)
Jon Provost (star of the TV series Lassie)
Romper Room children’s TV series
Tom from the classic animated cartoon shorts Tom and Jerry
Joan Van Ark (star of the 1980s television series Knot’s Landing)
Photo Credit: PRNewsFoto/American Humane Association
This event from the World Veterinary Association is always celebrated on the last Saturday in April
Approximately 10 million cats and dogs in the United States find themselves lost each year, with 6 – 8 million winding up in the shelter system. While only 2 percent of our feline friends who are in shelters without any form of identification are ever reunited with their human families, the American Veterinary Association reports that our purring pals who have a registered microchip are 21.4 times more likely to be returned home. To mark ongoing efforts to keep companion animals safe, the third week in April has been deemed National Pet ID Week.
To increase your cat’s chances of returning to the comforts of home if he or she becomes lost:
Make sure that your cat wears a collar which displays an ID tag, rabies tag and city/county license along with your contact information.
Check to see that all of the information on your cat’s license, ID or microchip is current.
While many of our four-pawed pals may live inside the home, pet parents should remember that it only takes a moment for their cat to dart out the door and into unfamiliar territory. All cats and dogs, regardless of their living situation, should wear a tag or be microchipped.
In recognition of National Pet ID Week, more than 130 Pet Supplies Plus stores– in partnership with VIP Pet Services— will host free and low-cost pet ID events from April 19th – 25th, with pets who have the process done at Pet Supplies Plus registered almost immediately with FoundAnimals.org. An additional 80 Pet Supplies Plus stores have arranged specific dates and times for pet parents to take part in the microchip special at a nearby clinic. If no local vet is available, free pet ID tags and engraving will be offered in store.
Pet parents are invited to celebrate their furry, finned or fine-feathered family members on National Pet Day.
Held on April 11th, the pet holiday was established in 2007 by celebrity pet and family lifestyle expert Colleen Paige– the creator of National Cat Day, Dress Up Your Pet Day, National Kids and Pets Day and many other annual odes to animals– as a way to promote the option of pet adoption.
How will you pay homage to your purring pal on National Pet Day? Here are a few suggestions:
Make Their Future Bright with a Present: Whether it’s a classic like fuzzy mice or the latest laser toy, give your four-pawed friend a gift to mark their special day.
A-List Luxury: Make your feline friend feel like the star he or she truly is with an afternoon of pampering complete with ‘mane’ taming, a clawdicure and a massage.
Spend Quality Time with Your Kitty Companion: Fancy toys and tasty treats are wonderful ways to show your dogged devotion to your cat, but love is the greatest gift of all. Set aside some special time during your busy day to just sit with, hold and talk to your fur baby.
Share the Love: In honor of the cat who has given you so much joy, give joy to other companion animals who are waiting at your local shelter for a pet parent of their own to love. You can volunteer your time, make a monetary contribution or donate blankets, pet beds, toys or much-needed supplies.
As friends of felines the news of animal cruelty can make us feel blue or see red, but during the month of April people with a passion for compassion can color the world of our furry, finned and fine-feathered friends with hope for a better tomorrow by “going orange for animals” in a show of support for the ASPCA.
Although the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals doggedly defends our four-legged friends from injustice throughout the year, the humane organization marks the month of its 1866 founding with 30 days dedicated to shining a spotlight on both the milestones achieved by animal lovers and the work that still lies ahead.
To observe Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month the ASPCA suggests:
Lending a helping hand to homeless animals in your home town by volunteering at a local animal shelter.
Raising awareness as you raise funds for the sake of our pals with paws by hosting or taking part in a special event.
Wearing your heart on your sleeve by displaying your dedication to the paws cause in orange attire (the color which has become synonymous with the ASPCA).
Joining the organization’s mission of mercy by signing up for the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade, which will keep you informed by email of animal welfare legislation and how you can make your voice heard.
Other ideas for commemorating Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month include:
Being a conscientious consumer. Before purchasing a product, find out if it’s cruelty-free.
Remembering to choose the option of adoption if you are pondering the possibility of becoming a pet parent. Approximately 3.4 million cats and kittens find themselves in the shelter system each year, where 1.4 million face their fate. The sad statistics also state that 3.9 million dogs enter U.S. shelters annually, with 1.2 million losing their lives.
For more information:
April is National Heartworm Awareness Month, and, by protecting our dogs, we as pet parents can also protect ourselves from the heartache that can come from the loss of a canine companion or the expensive and difficult treatment due to this preventable health issue.
Established in 1974, the American Heartworm Society strives to stop the spread of the disease through both the distribution of funds for heartworm research and the spread of the information to researchers, veterinarians and the public. Through a series of infographics and videos the organization arms animal lovers with the knowledge they need to combat this potential pet killer, such as:
What are heartworms? Roundworms which embed themselves in a pet’s heart, lungs and/or blood vessels.
How do canines contract heartworms? Through the bite of a mosquito, which transfers infective larvae from a previous canine host on to a new victim.
How long can a heartworm stay in a dog’s system? A heartworm can live out its life cycle in an infected host, mating and creating many more heartworms during that period.
When can my dog contract heartworms? Although more prevalent during the summer months, mosquitoes can transmit heartworms throughout the year.
Is my dog at risk for getting heartworms? Although dogs are more likely to get heartworms if they live in states where warm, moist weather is the usual forecast, any pet in the US is vulnerable to the disease.
Can my indoor dog get heartworms? As a warm home is a preferred place for the pest during the winter months, mosquitoes can easily infect a pet that does not venture outdoors.
What symptoms of infection should a pet parent look for? While the early stage of the disease can be undetectable without a check up, pet guardians should watch for such developing symptoms as a nagging cough, disinterest in eating, weight loss, indifference to playtime and loss of energy.
How often should a dog be checked for heartworms? A dog’s annual vet visit should include a test for heartworms, regardless of whether the dog regularly takes a heartworm preventative.
For more information (including preventative measures, what to do if your pet is diagnosed with heartworms, and how to teach children about heartworm prevention):
Photo Credit: American Heartworm Society
Founded in 2006 by celebrity pet and home lifestyle expert Colleen Paige, the message of the annual ode to fur babies is two-fold– to celebrate the puppies who are the sunshine of our lives, and to shine a light on the option of pet adoption.
Advice for New Pet Parents
Offering advice to pet parents in order to assure that the first phase of Fido’s life is happy and healthy, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) suggests:
First Vet Visit— Schedule a first check-up. Puppies should be vaccinated starting at six weeks of age, and an early vet visit will help to ensure the future health of your barking buddy.
Tracking— Purchase a tag or make sure that your puppy’s current tag is up to date in case your canine’s exploration of his or her environment leads to getting lost.
Household Harm— Puppy proof your home by both storing dangerous household chemicals out of the reach of curious canines and by keeping your pup away from the perils of ‘people food’ which can be toxic to dogs, such as chocolate, onions and avocados.
Puppy Blues— Puppies are more susceptible to ailments, so pet parents should educate themselves about the warning signs of sickness.
Potty Training— Like a child, puppies need structure in their lives and should be taught at an early age to go potty in an appropriate spot. Remember to reward your young Rover as he learns this bathroom routine!
Excess Energy— “Just a few minutes more!” As children didn’t we all beg our parents for more outdoor play time? Your puppy may not be able to express his thoughts with words, but his thumping tail when he gets the chance to expend his excess puppy energy outdoors speaks volumes.
Promoting the Option of Pet Adoption
Along with the chance to show how much we cherish our own puppies (as well as the playful pup in each adult dog), National Puppy Day is also an opportunity to spread the word about the option of pet adoption. According to the documentary MadonnaoftheMills.com, pet stores from coast to sell 500,000 dogs each year. Taken from a mother who has lived her life confined in a wire cage, a large majority of these puppies are sick or harbor illnesses. Meanwhile, an estimated 5 to 7 million homeless animals enter the shelter system, with only half ever finding forever families to love.
February marks Pet Dental Health Month, the American Veterinary Medical Association‘s (AVMA) annual effort to remind pet lovers to care for their pets’ teeth like they do their own. “It’s estimated that by the age of two 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have some form of periodontal disease,” explains Dr. Larry Kornegay, president of the AVMA. “Periodontal infections have been linked to diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease and other life threatening disorders. During Pet Dental Health Month, the AVMA is encouraging all dog and cat owners to take steps to control plaque on their pet’s teeth and see their veterinarian for dental checkups.”
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February has been designated National Spay/Neuter Awareness Month.
Not only does altering our four-legged friends play a significant role in ‘fixing’ the problem of pet overpopulation, and helps homeless companion animals who might face their fate in an animal shelter due to overcrowding, spaying and neutering can also enrich (and possibly save) the life of your own furry family member.
Sterilization can help to curb potentially perilous behavior, such as the urge to roam, which makes a pet more vulnerable to diseases and more likely to be injured or killed by various outdoor dangers, including passing cars. Spaying and neutering also adds to the longevity of our purring pals and barking buddies, with dogs living an average of 1 to 3 years longer and cats 3 to 5 years more by reducing the risk of certain cancers, the American Veterinary Medical Association reports.
To find a spay/neuter clinic in your area, check out the Spay/Neuter Locator provided by PetSmart Charities and the ASPCA.
World Spay Day
National Spay/Neuter Awareness Month broadens its outreach on World Spay Day, which takes place each year on the final Thursday in February. Created to combat the crisis of pet overpopulation in every corner of the globe, animal lovers are encouraged to spread the word through social media and help to raise funds for the paws cause.
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January 2nd has been deemed National Pet Travel Safety Day— a day created by celebrity pet and family lifestyle expert Colleen Paige in order to heightened awareness of our tail-wagging chum’s traveling needs.
If you are a pet parent for whom traveling down the road of life literally means traveling down roads with your canine companion, whether your idea of adventure is embarking on a cross-country trek with your pal with paws or simply popping down to the local dog park, a few simple dog travel tips can help you avoid any potential pitfalls:
Even though our buddies who bark may love the feel of the breeze in their fur, sticking their head out the car window can lead to a run in with disaster due to flying debris. Your dog’s head should remain inside the vehicle at all times!
Just as you would never leave the driveway without ensuring that your child is safely buckled in with a seat belt or securely fastened into a car seat or booster seat, so your fur baby should also be restrained when you get behind the wheel. An unsecured dog is a danger to your dog, your passengers, and the driver.
Before heading out, make sure that your dog has up-to-date ID tags and current vaccinations.
Be prepared for mishaps by stocking a first aid kit for your canine. (Also see:
To prevent dehydration, pack plenty of water and a water bowl for your trip. A clip-on water bowl is useful for hikes and roadside stops, too. (Also see:
Give your dog opportunities to stretch his legs with rest stops every two or three hours. Not only is it good for your dog, but the stop is good for the driver as well.
Remember that you should NEVER leave a dog alone in a car. Doing so puts your pet at risk of heat injuries, hypothermia and theft.
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As we take our first tentative steps into the new year, many of us may already find ourselves struggling with our resolution to exercise more. One way to go that extra mile in order to keep your commitment to keep fit is to enjoy a daily dog walk (or two!)
January is National Walk Your Pet Month. Here are some reasons why a stroll with a "Fur Friend" will help you both as you walk down the road of life:
Although your dog is domesticated, inside your tail-wagging chum longs to take a walk on the wild side like his four-legged forebearers. A hike will help him tap into his natural instinct to explore.
Promenading with a pet parent will put pep in your pup’s step by providing both physical and mental stimulation. While his muscles are moving, all of the smells, sights and sounds your dog is exposed to during a stroll will also give his senses a workout.
A dog who is deprived of regular outlets to expend his excess energy can turn his built up vivacity into destructive behavior.
A walk provides not only a workout, but also the chance to work on your dog’s leash training. A canine who has expended energy by exercising is more apt to focus on his lesson.
Taking a turn with your barking buddy, whether it’s around the block or your neighborhood park, will transform him into a social butterfly! Meeting other people, children and fellow Fidos will help any dog tackle shyness and fear, and is especially beneficial for puppies.
Frequent exposure to the sights of daily life, including the mailman, bicycles, and traffic noises, can help your canine companion become comfortable with his surroundings.
If your fur family consists of more than one dog, taking them on treks together will help your pooches bond as a pack.
Making even short hikes a habit can lengthen and improve your dog’s quality of life, as well as your own!
For pet parents who have made a New Year’s resolution to embark on enriching their canine companion’s life with an education in etiquette, the Association of Pet Dog Trainers made January National Train Your Dog Month.
Since its start in 2010, this pet holiday has offered a month-long look at the skills needed to keep our barking buddies both safe and stress free, and helps pet guardians understand their dog’s demeanor
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