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Healthy Pets at Home: A Guide for Cat and Dog Owners

INTRO

Keeping a pet at home is a huge responsibility. Some say it is akin to taking care of a small child, given the animal’s constant dependency. There are several factors regarding pet health care that should be taken into account including daily exercise, regular check-ups at the vet and precautionary measures. Proper and constant care everyday will ensure that your pet is happy, safe and comfortable in the home and the surrounding area. And remember that a happy and healthy pet will in turn offer much peace of mind to their owners.

PREVENTIVE CARE

Dogs

  • Dog Dental Care: Ever accused your dog of having foul fishy breath? It may actually be a symptom of dental issues. Daily teeth cleaning, an adequate supply of fresh water and chewy toys (such as rawhide bones) will help to eliminate rotting teeth, bad breath and gum diseases.
  • Dog Ear Cleaning: Excessive ear scratching or strange smells from either of the dog’s ears can indicate a yeast infection. Although a dog’s ears don’t have to be cleaned everyday, making it a somewhat regular habit will reduce the risk of infection and help to make your canine buddy more used to it and more cooperative!
  • Preventing Flea and Tick Infestations: Avoid spending hours of picking out and killing nasty little parasites by simply performing regular skin checks on the dog, maintaining a clean home and practicing a few other preventative measures.
  • Regular Grooming: Bathing (despite the dog’s best efforts to wiggle out of it) and brushing will keep a dog’s fur clean and help to prevent parasites.
  • Dog Vaccinations: Never underestimate the importance of vaccinating dogs. They can easily contract a number of illnesses without correct and up-to-date vaccinations.
  • Dog Feeding Tips: The food and treats a dog receives plays an important role in their health, energy levels and weight.

Cats

  • Dental Care for Cats: As with dogs, cats can also experience plaque, gum disease and other problems without good dental care. Regular brushing can help prevent this and make the owner aware of any emerging issues.
  • Cleaning Cats’ Ears: Cats can develop various fungal or yeast infections in their ears or also have ear mites. Undoubtedly, dealing with infected ears is quite troublesome, so prevent it with regular checks and cleaning.
  • Preventing Fleas on Cats: Flea infestations in cats can lead to many serious diseases. They can easily be prevented through skin checks, a flea collar and injections.
  • Cat Grooming: Don’t be fooled by people who say that cats clean themselves. Cats still require bathing, brushing and the removal of matted fur no matter how much they might lick themselves. This will also help to eliminate parasite infestations and alert the owner to any abnormalities on the body.
  • Cat Vaccinations: According to pet laws in most cities, cats also need to be vaccinated to prevent diseases and to ensure that no diseases are passed on in the event of bites or scratches to other animals or humans.
  • Cat Feeding Tips: It is important to properly research the types of foods that are suitable for a cat, based on its age and weight since each life stage has different nutrition requirements.

EXERCISE

Dogs

  • General Exercise Tips for Dogs: Like humans, dogs also require a bit of a warm-up before launching into intensive exercise. This article offers more tips on how to safely exercise a dog.
  • Appropriate Amounts of Exercise for Dogs: Exercise requirements for dogs vary immensely with factors such as size, age, weight and health issues such as hip dysplasia or leg injuries.
  • Winter Exercise for Dogs: Walking and playing outdoors in winter requires special care to ensure the dog does not become too cold or suffer from frostbite in the paws.
  • Exercising Dogs with Arthritis: Dogs with arthritis should not be pushed beyond their limits as it could lead to further damage in their bodies.
  • Exercise for Small Dogs: Many small dogs are veritable balls of energy just waiting to run around at top speed. Left to their own devices at home all day, they might start to become destructive. A good amount of daily exercise will keep them content and ready to settle down at home.
  • Exercise versus Play: Learn what forms of exercise are suitable for dogs, why it is important and how it differs from playing outdoors.
  • Dog Obesity and Prevention: Obesity in dogs is more common that many people think. It is a dangerous condition and can be fatal in severe cases. Proper exercise can aid in reducing an obese dog’s weight and maintaining it at a healthy level.

Cats

  • Why do Cats Need Exercise?: This article explains the various health issues that can be reduced in cats through daily exercise.
  • General Exercise Suggestions for Cats: Exercising a cat is not as intensive as with dogs, but it is still very important. Climbing trees or scratching posts and a variety of toys will keep them occupied.
  • Exercise for Diabetic Cats: Intense exercise is not recommended for diabetic cats since it can harm them. Keep it light but constant.
  • Fat Cats Need Exercise Too: Obese cats tend to prefer plenty of sleep when they’re not eating, but their owner should make sure that they also fit in a decent amount of exercise each day.
  • Exercise Affects Cat Behavior: Lack of exercise leads to a bored cat that can be destructive and even aggressive. This article explains how to keep cats mentally stimulated through regular exercise.
  • The Cat’s Guide to Exercise: A helpful list of suggestions for popular cat toys as well as ideas for toys that can be made at home to help with exercising the cat.

SPAYING AND NEUTERING

Dogs

  • All About Spaying Dogs: This article explains the process of spaying from a science perspective and also outlines the disadvantages of not spaying.
  • Spaying and Cancer in Dogs: Spaying female dogs can eliminate the risk of mammary and ovarian cancer.
  • Spaying and Neutering Dog Myths: This guide helps to clear up several commonly heard myths about spaying and neutering procedures and also offers statistics on the problem of dog overpopulation in the U.S.
  • Effects of Neutering Dogs: Learn about why dogs should be neutered and the effect it has on dominant and aggressive behavior in males.
  • Long-Term Risks and Benefits of Spaying and Neutering: This scientific study examines the benefits of spaying and neutering dogs and also puts forward several risks that are not normally mentioned in mainstream literature.

Cats

  • Neutering Cats: Cats are neutered by removing the testes to prevent aggressive behavior and aid in cat population control.
  • Pros & Cons of Neutering and Spaying Cats: This article helps to show both sides of spaying and neutering procedures and how they affect cats.
  • All About Spaying Cats: Spaying cats usually involves removal of the ovaries and uterus to ensure the cat does not become pregnant in future or develop hormonal-based problems. This intensive guide includes the pros and cons of spaying and features some graphic images.
  • Why Spay a Cat?: This article will help guide cat owners in making an informed decision about whether or not to spay their cat and when to do so.

Additional Resources

  • Where to Spay or Neuter: A helpful guide from the Humane Society with several options on where to spay or neuter a pet, including financial information.
  • Free or Low-Priced Spaying Programs: There are many clinics in the U.S. that offer spaying services at low prices or for free. This directory is searchable by state and offers several options with contact details for each state.
  • Spay USA: This quick checklist provides a brief look at the benefits of spaying or neutering dogs as well as cats.
  • Common Spay and Neuter Questions: The Spay-Neuter Assistance Program answers several questions that pet owners commonly ask about spaying or neutering cats and dogs.

TOXIC SUBSTANCES TO YOUR PET FOUND IN THE HOME

Dogs

  • Poisonous Substances for Dogs: Many common items from cleaning products to certain foods and plants can be toxic for dogs. Always keep such items on high shelves or in pet-proofed cabinets.
  • Toxic Foods and Plants for Dogs: This list provides a large amount of information about common foods that are dangerous for dogs (with explanations of how they can harm) as well as a second list of toxic plants and flowers.
  • Toxic Substances and Effects on Dogs: Learn about some of the most common items that harm dogs and how long before symptoms become apparent.
  • Dogs and Chocolate: Dogs may beg for human treats but it is always safest not to give in. This article explains how much chocolate will affect a dog and what the symptoms are.
  • Dog Poisoning Treatment: A guide on what to do if your dog ingests some form of toxic substance.
  • Dangerous Items for Dogs: Reduce the risks of dog poisoning by chasing your pet out of the kitchen and discouraging it from licking floors or grabbing human food from tables. Onion and garlic scraps or chicken bones can cause plenty of damage!
  • Alcohol and Marijuana: It might sound like a no-brainer, but a shocking number of people find it amusing to intoxicate their pets with alcohol or drugs. Learn about how these substances affect dogs and why second-hand smoke is also dangerous.

Cats

  • Toxic Substances for Cats: Common toxic items and symptoms of toxic poisoning are covered in this guide about cats.
  • Foods Poisonous to Cats: Allowing a cat to share the dog’s kibble or indulge in raw fish or canned tuna can be more dangerous than it seems!
  • Safe and Toxic Plants for Cats: When planning a garden, don’t forget to consult this list to ensure that the cat does not accidentally get poisoned.
  • Potpourri: Fragrances and essential oils used in potpourri are often concentrated and can cause irritation and toxic symptoms in cats. To prevent this, place the bowl of potpourri in an area that the cat cannot reach, or attach a secure mesh covering to the top so that the smell emanates without the contents spilling out.
  • Medicines and Chemicals: Batteries, aspirin, herbicides and insecticides are just a few of the substances in the house that can be incredibly dangerous for cats.

Additional Resources

  • Anti-freeze: Who would seriously ever drink antifreeze? Pets, that’s who. This is perhaps one of the only cases in which it is suitable to give alcohol to cats or dogs, since the alcohol negates the side effects of the antifreeze. Of course, such a treatment should be carried out by a professional, so consult a vet as soon as the pet has consumed any amount of antifreeze.
  • Pet Holiday Hazards: Keep pets safe in holiday seasons by adhering to a few simple guidelines about common pet hazards.

OUTDOOR DANGERS

  • Cold Weather Hazards: Cold weather doesn’t only affect pets while walking outdoors, but cars, salt on roads and ice pellets pose other dangers.
  • Hot Weather Hazards: Dehydration, sunburn, parasites and hot asphalt can hurt cats and dogs alike. The preventative suggestions offered in this article can help keep them safe.
  • Outdoor Risks for Cats: While many dogs are leashed outdoors, cats are often left to roam free. Keep them safe by watching out for traffic, fighting with other cats (especially feral cats), loose garbage and other dangers.

PICKING A VETERINARIAN

  • Choosing a Vet for Dogs: One of the best ways to find a trusted vet is by asking around! Friends or family might be able to offer suggestions, or an online search can provide background info on a vet’s credentials and reputation. Never hesitate to ask the vet about any suspected problems regarding the animal’s health.  
  • The Pet Fund: Veterinary care for pets is certainly quite expensive, but The Pet Fund is one of several organizations that aim to help pet owners finance the medical fees. 
  • Emergency Pet Clinics: In case of unexpected and possibly fatal emergencies, an emergency clinic is usually a better solution than the regular vet’s office, especially with respect to opening hours. This list offers a comprehensive set of listings across the country. 

INSURANCE

  • Petplan: Petplan is a large worldwide organization that provides insurance services for pets. They offer separate insurance plans for dogs and cats and can customize it to the animal’s breed and genetic disorders.
  • Pet Insurance Comparisons: This helpful guide offers a quick comparison of different pet insurance plans offered by various companies. An excellent way to start shopping for pet insurance.
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