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The biggest holiday season of all is almost here and as much as we’d like for things to be “business as usual” this holiday, Christmas and New Year 2020 requires a little more work to keep everyone happy and healthy. The Holiday Season is a joyous time for everyone. From cooking, decorating, shopping for gifts, to hosting parties, there is a Holiday buzz all around.

While this is such a joyous time of year, it can also be stressful; and this year is even more so than before. With lockdowns and restrictions still going on in some areas, with family not being able to see each other over the holidays, with funds being extra tight for people whose jobs and livelihood was affected by the pandemic, this holiday season is definitely unlike any other. And while we may be feeling the stress and strain, our pets do too.

Most pets, especially dogs, are very empathetic and can sense the stress and anxiety all around them and this takes its toll on them too.  Even solitary creatures like cats can get anxious when something disturbs their normal routine. Our pets mean the world to us, but we are also  their whole world and we wouldn’t want our companion to be stressed now, would we?

First, it’s important to recognize what are the triggers that can get your pet anxious; especially during the holiday season.

Some of these triggers can include:

  1.     Loud Holiday parties
  2.     Unfamiliar people or large family gatherings at home
  3.     Travelling on vacation or to see family
        (regardless of whether you take them with you or leave them in a kennel or with a pet sitter)
  4.     Taking your pet for pictures with Santa
  5.     Dressing your pet up for the holidays
  6.     New Years’ Fireworks

Long time pet parents may already be aware of what triggers anxiety in your pet, but if you  you area new pet owner or even if you are a previous pet owner but just got a new pet, realize that each pet will react differently to these triggers. Their reaction will be a combination of their previous experience with the trigger, and your reaction to it.

That's right, if you stay calm it will greatly help your pet to stay calm as well.

Yes, pet anxiety is a real thing.

Just like us, all pets - from cats, dogs, birds, hamsters, and more can experience stress and it is up to us to help them manage their stress and anxiety, especially during the holidays.

How to Tell if Your Pet is Anxious

sad dog christmas hat decorations candy cane

Your pet is hanging around you and cuddling a lot; and while you may love the extra attention, this may actually be a sign that your pet is nervous and looking for extra comfort from you.

Other pet anxiety symptoms to look for include:

  •     Depression and listlessness
  •     Aggression
  •     House Soiling
  •     Destructive behavior
  •     Continuous barking or whining
  •     Begging for food, or the opposite - not eating
  •     Hiding

Any behavior that is out of the ordinary for your pet can be a sign that they are not feeling safe. Even usually well-behaved pets can experience a little anxiety when their usual routines are disturbed.

The following simple tips will help you ensure your furry friends stay calm and enjoy the holiday season as much as you do:

Maintain a Routine


Oh yes, this is a big one! I know how challenging this sounds, since the essence of the holiday is not to have any routine. But, even if that holds true for us, it is critical for our furry friends that there be as little change as possible. No matter what, you have to stick to your pet’s typical routine. Take him for long walks, feed meals and give medications all at the usual times.

Get Some Exercise

After all we can all agree that a tired kitty or pooch, one that has been kept busy all day, is much less reactive than an active one.

Give Them Space

When you were young and there was a time when all the relatives visited your place at the same time- How did that make you feel? Did you feel you have nowhere to go? Did you sometimes just feel like yelling “Leave me alone!” 

If yes, then you already must know how your pets would feel with the commotion of all the visitors coming to the house.

Before the guests arrive, give your pet a place of their own. Find a quite bedroom, their crate, or some outdoor space and surround them with their favorite things:

  •   A cozy bed or blanket
  •  Toys
  •  Treats
  •  Calming music
dog calm toy play stuffy

We all need some quiet alone time, so watch your pet’s reactions and mood and respect their need to move away from the hustle and bustle and sleep or just to be alone. 

If your pet is having a hard time quieting down, we have some suggestions for what can help with this – read on.

Plan Ahead

Whatever your holiday plans entail, try to keep your pet’s well reaction to the events in mind and plan ahead. Advance planning and preparation can make the whole event  easier for everyone.

girl cat christmas tree gifts
  • If you are the one planning the party, consider hosting the event outdoors. This gives your pet more room to explore and also leaves them with the option to come inside if the noise gets too much.
  • Make sure that the other guests are aware that you have a pet. If anyone dislikes pets or is also bringing a pet that your kitty or pup has not met before, you’ll want to make sure to make them aware so that the situation can be dealt with before it escalates.
  • Set the rules early on regarding what not to feed your pet. Some well-meaning friends who don’t have pets of their own can feed your pet human food that may not be safe for your fur baby. Letting everyone know what the rules are for dealing with your pet can prevent any issues down the road. 
     
  • Spend time with your pet prior to the event doing some of the things mentioned above in order to tire your pet out, but also to give them the attention they want before you get busy with family and friends.
  • You can also help your pet feel more at ease by introducing them to the other guests at the party at the very beginning. Preferably do this one at a time so as not to overwhelm your pet with too many new smells and too much attention.
  • Even if you are busy socializing, take time out to check on your pet and sit with them for a few minutes so they don’t get separation anxiety and feel abandoned. Pets (even cats) love attention and are happy when they are included as part of the group.

Safety First

Holidays can be a particularly dangerous time for pets. In all the excitement, it is easy to miss your pet getting into some mischief, of even having someone leave the door open so your pet gets out.

Don’t compromise on their safety; keep your pet safe and prevent any emergencies by following these suggestions:

dog christmas decorations ornaments toys

1.    Keep gift wrapping supplies and decorations out of sight:

With so much decorating and gifts to wrap it is easy to miss that one small ornament or bow lying on the sofa. However, string, ribbons, or small decorations can all be potential choking hazards for pets. Small ornaments can emulate balls or yarn so are tempting for pets to play with but they are not safe and your pet could accidentally swallow it and choke. Glass ornaments can also break and cause injuries to your pet.

Tinsel is another common problem for cat owners. Tinsel is easy to ingest, but can cause a host of digestion problems for animals.

2.   Prevent Christmas Tree and Christmas Plant Mishaps 

If you are a cat owner, you know what is in store for you! Cats love to climb and jump on tall perches, and the Christmas Tree is no exceptions. Too often, however, this results in both tree and kitty crashing down to the ground if the tree is not secured.

If you have a kitty that wants to be the star of your tree, check out our Guide on keeping both cats and your Christmas tree safe from each other.

Traditional Christmas plants like Poinsettia should also be kept away from pets. While this plant was once considered poisonous to pets, it is actually not life-threatening and only mildly toxic. If your pet does happen to ingest a bit of the Poinsettia plant they will most likely react by vomiting, drooling or having some diarrhea. Regardless, it is still best to keep pets away from any plants and call your vet if your pet starts getting sick.

3.   Use Care with Cords, Candles and Fireplaces

Electrical cords are hazardous for pets and although these are usually kept out of sight, during all the holiday excitement it is easy to forget to keep these away from pets; especially cords that have shiny lights attached to them.. Make sure to keep  cords in PVC piping or special cord protectors so your pet is not tempted to gnaw on them.

Roasting chestnuts over an open fire may sound magical, but make sure to keep pets away from fireplaces and candles. Your pet may be drawn to the warmth of the fire, but a real fireplace or even an electrical one can get too hot and burn your pet if they get too close.

Candles should also be kept out of the reach of pets or use battery-operated versions instead  

4.  Make your Pet a Priority

Regardless of how many people are going to be celebrating the holidays, even if they are just a few friends or family that you can’t wait to catch up with or new people that you want to get to know, remember to keep an eye on your pet at all times. It’s easy to get involved in a conversation and miss your dog or cat going outside to get some space or because they saw a squirrel or shiny object they want to explore.

Whether it’s your home or you are a guest, make sure to ask others at the party to keep an eye out for your pet and keep all the outside doors locked to avoid any sneak out incident. It is always a good idea to make sure that your pet is microchipped, registered, and has a collar on with your updated contact information.

Be Prepared and Have Fun!

Managing your pets’ anxiety especially during the holiday season will make sure everyone including your pet has a good time. If your pet seems unusually stressed during large gatherings, you can speak to your veterinarian about treatment options.

There are also various natural remedies that will help calm your pet such as jackets or Thunder shirts that keep your pet calm, pheromone diffusers, as well as calming sprays such as BestLife4Pets Pet Relax, Calming, Anxiety & Stress Relief for dogs and cats. The spray comes in an easy to use travel size bottle that you can even take with you if you are going out or travelling with your pet; it’s also all natural and non-addictive.

What's Causing Your Cat's Red, Watery Eyes?

A cat’s eyes are usually described as beautiful, stunning and mesmerizing; but these same gorgeous eyes are also extremely sensitive. In fact, it's not uncommon for a pet owner to discover discharge gathering in the corners of their feline's eyes.  If you find that the discharge or watery eyes don’t clear up after gently wiping them, your kitty may be experiencing an eye infection.

Cat eye infections, which are usually the culprits behind weepy eyes, are likely to happen to most cats at least once in their lifetime. 

And so it's essential to know what causes these cat-eye infections, the signs and symptoms beyond those runny eyes, and the conventional as well as natural treatments that will give a cat relief.  

But first, let's talk about the prognosis.

How Serious is a Cat Eye Infection?  

Seeing your pet in discomfort and pain can be quite scary for new pet owners, but is also worrisome for experienced pet parents too. The good news is that the most common eye infections can be easily cured with antibiotics and sometimes even natural homemade remedies. In these cases, and with early detection and treatment your pet will recover quickly and return to their routines of pouncing, playing, and cuddling in no time. 

However it is important to note that some cat eye infections can be more serious in nature and may require urgent care at a veterinarian. For example, if your cat is more tired than usual, excessively rubbing their eyes, and experiencing problems breathing, there could be an underlying health complication that needs to be taken care of by visiting a vet.  In these severe cases if the infection is not treated quickly it can become so severe that it may lead to blindness or even death. 

What is important is to get the right diagnosis and the best treatment as fast as possible.

But first, how do you determine the urgency of your pet's infection?

The first step is to understand the different signs and symptoms that can help you to identify whether your cat actually has an eye infection. Next we will discuss common treatments your vet may recommend. At the end we will also cover some natural remedies and procedures you can do at home to ease your kitty’s discomfort. 

Signs and Symptoms of Cat Eye Infection 

cat herpes eye disease swollen eyes

Your cat has more in common with you than you think. Veterinarians say that the first signs of a cat-eye infection are very similar to those experienced by humans.

If your pet displays any of the following symptoms for more than a few days they could very well have an eye infection:

These signs and symptoms may affect one eye or both. It's also common for your feline to display only one of the above symptoms, especially in the early stages of illness. However, as it progresses, others may appear.

If your furry companion has an underlying health condition, they may also experience fever, sneezing, lethargy, lack of appetite, and weight loss. Cats with pre-existing conditions that start to display other new symptoms should always be seen by a vet.

Now that you can spot the signs and symptoms, the next step is to understand what may be causing the infection.

The Causes Behind Cat Eye Infections

Not all infections are equal. Some are contagious and, some are not. Some are more likely to impact older cats while others are commonly found in younger ones. It all depends on what is triggering the eye-infection. 

Here are some of the most common causes along with their treatments:

1. Conjunctivitis (Pink-eye)

Conjunctivitis, one of the most common feline eye disorders,  is an inflammation of the thin mucous membrane (conjunctiva) that lines the inner surface of a cat's eyelids and coats the outer surface of the eyeball. 

cat vision eyelid infection

According to Cornell Feline Health Centre,  "Many cats will experience at least a mild episode of the condition at some point in their lives."

If your kitty has conjunctivitis (which may be infectious or non-infectious), they will likely have a combination of red eyes, frequent blinking, and discharge running at the corner of their eyelids. In some instances, the conjunctiva and third eye may protrude due to swelling. 

Infectious Conjunctivitis

Infectious agents like bacteria, fungi, and viruses such as Feline Herpesvirus, Chlamydophila Felis, and Mycoplasma are the usual culprits behind this type of conjunctivitis.

If your kitty has this type, it is best to keep them away from your other pets and animals. If you're worried about getting "pink-eye" from your furry friend, it's possible—but not very likely. Veterinarians believe that although most eye diseases in cats are viral, they aren't easily transmitted to humans.

Non-Infectious Conjunctivitis

On the other hand, it is not always a virus that can cause conjunctivitis. Sometimes it doesn't take much to trigger an episode of conjunctivitis. As much as a speck of dust finding its way behind your cat's eyelid can cause some trouble. Mold, aerosols like air fresheners or bug spray, and even pet shampoo can irritate their eyes. 

Besides lilies and daffodils which are very toxic to cats, pollen from other plants like oleanders, tulips, and  Spanish thyme can lead to this kind of infection. You'll want to keep these away from your home just to be safe. Practically anything can be considered an irritant. Your cat's eyes are just that sensitive!

Conventional Treatment for Cat Conjunctivitis

Your vet will likely prescribe special eye drops for the infected eyes for a couple of days in a row or even weeks. If the condition is caused by bacteria, the vet will most likely prescribe an antibiotic. If it is triggered by environmental irritants, soothing drops may be given to relieve your feline of the strain. The severity of the case will always influence the length of treatment. 

Application of the drops can be an uncomfortable scenario for your pet; they may be a little fussy in the process so it is recommended to have another family member or friend present to lend a hand. 

In instances where conjunctivitis is caused by a greater underlying health condition, anti-viral medication, steroid-based ointments, or other anti-inflammatory medication may be administered by a vet. If you are not able to get your pet to the vet right away, you can do your part to relieve your fur baby's discomfort by placing a damp, warm cloth over their eyes.

2. Upper Respiratory Infections

What does breathing have to do with eye-infections? It's not as far-fetched as you may think. When you and I catch, we'll experience the typical symptoms; sneezing, a runny nose, and discharge gathering at your eyelids. These are very similar to those experienced by your cat when they’ve got a flu.

Upper respiratory infections, most commonly caused by viruses such as Feline Calicivirus, Chlamydia, Bordetella, and other fungus, targets the airways causing breathing challenges for your kitty.

Discharge around the eyes is also generally an accompanying symptom. 

This is especially true for older cats and young kittens. If you've adopted a sweet cat from a shelter, rescued an older feral cat, or you're nursing a new-born and you've noticed them having flu-like symptoms, they may have an upper respiratory infection. 

Senior cats as well as feral cats who have weakened immune systems are likely to develop recurring eye-infections as a result of respiratory illnesses.  

cat eye boogers

Conventional Treatments for Upper Respiratory Infections

Respiratory infections can also have many triggers and so may be difficult to diagnose. Because the cause of many eye-infections stems from an upper respiratory infection, treatments should also address this core issue. 

You can care for uncomplicated respiratory infections right from the comfort of your home through the following methods: 

Discover more great at-home treatment ideas here

If your cat is dehydrated, depressed, or has a severe case of illness, see your veterinarian right away as they may need to prescribe more intensive supportive treatment. 

3. Epiphora

Epiphora occurs when their tear ducts become blocked due to allergies, conjunctivitis, irritants, abnormal tear drainage, and other serious conditions. 

When your pet is battling Epiphora, you may notice the following symptoms: 

  • Reddish-brown stains under the eyes and near the nose
  • Constant wetness around the eyes
  • Crust around the eyes
  • Swollen eyelids and face
  • Excessive blinking and squinting (due to pain)
  • Rubbing eyes and face
  • Red and or cloudy eyes

If your cat is displaying any of these symptoms, take them to a veterinarian right away especially if the signs appear suddenly. 

kitten watery eyes

Conventional Treatments for Epiphora

The course of treatment will dependent on the cause of the infection.  Medication is often given first to clean the stains. If there is a bacterial cause, antibiotics will be administered. Surgery may also be recommended to repair tear ducts or remove blockages. 

While you await medical attention, soothe your cat by using a warm compress with sterile water. 

4. Uveitis

Uveitis is a painful eye infection that can lead to complete blindness if not treated properly. This condition occurs when the uveal tract (consists of the iris, ciliary body, and choroid) becomes inflamed or damaged. 

kitten cloudy eye

You'll know that your pet has Uveitis when their eyes are red and cloudy; or they're squinting and are avoiding light. In some cases, the cat may paw away at the sore eye.  

Causes of Uveitis can range widely from blunt trauma, feline leukemia, immune system disorder, other tumors, bacteria like Bartonella, mycobacterium, and even internal parasites. Unfortunately, this condition does not go away on its own especially if it's caused by a serious disease. Taking your feline friend to the vet is highly recommended. 

Conventional Treatments for Uveitis

 Uveitis causes are difficult to diagnose so comprehensive diagnostic testing will be done to allow a vet to prescribe the right course of treatment. 

The Animal Eye Clinic states that inflammatory steroidal or non-steroidal medications may be used 2 to 4 times a day depending on the severity of Uveitis. These medications fight viruses such as the feline herpesvirus which is commonly carried by cats. Sometimes, a vet may even prescribe oral inflammatory therapy or immune-system boosting cat supplements.

5. Corneal Ulcers

A cat’s cornea is very sensitive and an untreated scratch on the surface of a cat's eye can result in a corneal ulcer. When this occurs, you'll notice discharge, reddening of the eyes due to inflammation, a cloudy cornea along with the other general signs associated with vision problems. 

Causes of corneal ulcers can be as 'minor' as ingrown eyelashes or dirt under the eyelid to more serious conditions such as:

  • Bacterial and viral infections 
  • Exposure to harmful chemicals
  • Blunt trauma during fight or play
  • Dry eyes 

Speed in diagnosis is essential to ensure your pet doesn't lose their sight when they've received corneal ulceration. The earlier the situation is detected and taken care of, the better!

eye ulcer in cats

Conventional Treatments for Ulcers

Corneal Ulcers create such painful experiences for your feline; that anti-inflammatory pain relievers may be prescribed to give relief. In other instances, a protective contact lens may be inserted to reduce irritation to the eyelid. 

If the ulcer is deep, your vet may even recommend surgery to correct the issue. A less invasive treatment is to  remove the loose layers of the cornea using a sterile cotton swab

Once your feline has received professional healthcare, you'll need to create an extra comfy space at home to facilitate the rest of their recovery. Expect them to be tired after post-surgical situations. It is important to keep them calm and as still as possible to give their eyes time to heal; ideally, for at least two weeks. 

Natural Treatments for Cat Eye Infections

cat eye watering and squinting

There are times when you may not be able to get immediate veterinarian care for your pet so we have compiled a few home remedies you can do to give your kitty cat the much needed relief right now. 

They aren't magic recipes; however, it can be a great help when you begin noticing those first signs of eye-infection.

For Cleaning the Eyes

What You'll Need 

Directions: 

  Mix salt with lukewarm water

  Soak the cotton ball in the solution for a few seconds

  Squeeze a few drops from the cotton ball into your cat's eyes to rinse them.

  Clean the edges of the eyelids and remove any crusty build-up present.

To Soothe the Eyes

Compresses of warm water can also be placed on your cat's eyes a few minutes at a time, a few times a day to improve your cat's comfort. 

What You'll Need

Directions

  Fill the bowl with water that feels lukewarm to the touch.

  Soak the towel in the water, wringing out the excess.

  Fold the towel into a square and apply it to your cat's eye. 

Your cat probably won't like the process so expect a little fight; they'll thank you after for sure. 

Try our Homeopathic Cat-Eye Infection Therapy

Our Cat-Eye Infection Remedy is so gentle on your feline's body yet will powerfully fortify their immune systems to fight eye-infections caused by an upper respiratory infection, conjunctivitis, inflammation of the cornea, Epiphora, bacterial/viral infections, nerve damage, and even allergies. 

homeopathic feline remedy for eye disease

The careful blend of herbs such as Arnica, Baptisia, Echinacea, Hepar Sulph, and Aconite will help to restore your kitty’s eye health to optimum levels from the inside, and without struggling to administer eye drops to your kitty cat! 

Give it a try and share with us your pet's healing story - your feedback truly helps us to help more pets. 

Cat-eye infections can happen to any happy feline. However, the good news is that it won't last forever. With the correct diagnosis and the right natural solution your kitty can start to feel better fairly quickly, even if you can't get to a vet right away! 

We wish your sweet kitty good health!

6 Ways to Make Pet Care More Affordable

Can you imagine that there are more homes with pets than there are those with children in America? The 2020 numbers are in: 2 out of 3 or over 85 million of U.S. households have dogs, cats and other pets while only 35 million have children!  The breakdown provided by the American Pet Product Association has the split being 42.7 million cat owners and 63.4 million dog owners - which clearly indicate that quite a number of people have more than one pet.

Interesting right? As a pet owner yourself, you can perhaps understand why so many homes make room for pets in their life (especially recently with the pandemic); having a furry pal or a few can bring you a multitude of benefits from improving your well-being, lowering stress, and reducing anxiety (not to mention having someone fetch your slippers or wake you up in the morning 😀).

But even with the amazing benefits, the truth is that the costs associated with caring for a dog or cat can be tremendously high. Recent statistics indicate that an average single pet household can be spending an average of $1,126 a year with 40% of that amount going to food and treats and 35.7% being spent on medical and veterinary care.  

Although, a majority of pet owners are more then willing to spend for the well being of their pet, not everyone plans ahead for these types of expenses. When buying a pet, many pet owners budget only for the basics like food and vet visits but overlook other expenses such as pet-sitting, day-care facilities, boarding services and insurance. 2020 was a tough one for many financially; however, it has taught many of us the lesson of life’s unpredictability and also highlighted the importance of saving money for the ‘hay days’. Unpredictable pet care costs sometimes pop up and it’s important to account for these moments as well.

One cannot put a price tag on their love for their pets. However, the reality remains that owning a pet does carry a financial cost that will impact your household budget.

In this blog, you’ll discover tips on how to manage your pet care budget without compromising your pet’s health and happiness.

#1 Control veterinary expenses

cat sick vet vaccine

The average American spends $139 per month on their pets, with 24% being allocated to Veterinary care. In 2019, pet owners shelled out a total of 36.9 billion on healthcare. While it’s important to ensure your pet’s life is always in the hands of a good vet, it’s still wise to choose your vet carefully and manage costs. The amounts charged by vets can vary so do your research and find yourself a vet who is good but also easy on your pocket.

Also, some vets will urge you to buy specialty foods or medicines from them, which may be more expensive then the ones you can find in the store. Always ensure you keep in mind what is most cost-effective for you: when your pet needs medication, consider asking for the prescription so you can order it online, or maybe get a generic brand that is just as good.  

#2 Don’t go overboard on toys and accessories

The American Pet Products Association reported that dog owners spent $107 per year on dog toys and treats and $66 per year for toys and treats for their cats. While toys are essential for their overall happiness and mental stimulation, pets are not going to care about the brand. They would be just as happy spending their time chasing you and the stick you found in your backyard or even a simple laser.

dog toys balls chew bones kong play

Although it’s worthwhile to spoil your pet with extra love and treat them like a family member, you can do this in a way that doesn’t place a burden on your budget; for example, limit how much you spend to clothe and dress them. Your pet is naturally born with all the clothing it needs to protect them, unless there are extreme weather conditions.

D.I.Y toys and clothes made from items around your home are always a great option. With just a little bit of creativity, you can create anything from toss-able toys to challenging puzzles. Barkpost shares some innovative fun ideas for DIY dog toys. For your sweet feline, Care.com provides you with irresistibly easy DIY options. Not only will these toys not cost you an arm and a leg, but your fur baby will get as much pleasure from it as it smells of you - their favorite human.

So go ahead - have fun creating! 

#3 Groom your own pet

dog bath shampoo wash groom clean

Americans spend a lot of money grooming their pets; this is especially true for dog owners. However, in these challenging times, more people are looking for economic alternatives to expensive doggy spas and cat groomers. During lockdown, some of these places had to close down and many pet parents had to figure out how to groom their pets at home.  Thankfully, the internet has a lot of information on how to clean, wash and groom your dog and cat. All you have to do is Google it!

Secondly, there are tons of grooming videos on YouTube with free lessons. Here are two videos that can get you on board:

  1.  How to Cut a Dog’s Hair? Basic Grooming Tutorial
  2. Basic Cat Grooming – Top Tips!

So, with just a few clicks, you will have all that you need and more. Additionally, you can also engage with pet groups on Facebook and Instagram and post your queries. People are always happy to pass on their expert advice.

#4. Make quality food (not brand name food) your focus

It’s okay to ditch the brands sometimes. Many believe that the most expensive pet food brands are best for our cats and dogs. It’s wise to not rely blindly on the marketing message of these brands. Do your homework and find out what is really in the pet food you buy. After all, what matters most is that the right ingredients are in your pets' food. There are inexpensive brands that provide kibble and wet foods that can adequately meet your pets nutritional needs - you just need to do some research.

raw food for dog cat meat diet

If you love spending time in the kitchen, you can even make food costs more affordable by searching the internet for some healthy recipes. Try them and see which one your pet loves best. DIY recipes can be a real money saver!

Here are some home-made pet food recipes you can try:

1.  Homemade Dog Food

2.  Homemade Cat Food

3.  Homemade Dog Kibble

4.  Three Recipes for Homemade Dry Cat Food

We have also saved some great recipes for DIY dog treats and home-made cat treats on Pinterest. Check out these easy and tasty ideas.

Happy cooking!

#5. Prevention is key

natural holistic pet medicine healthy dog happy owner

Affordable pet health care begins with preventive pet care. One of the best ways to protect your pet’s health is through prevention. Using natural pet supplements, feeding your pet good healthy food and giving them lots of love and exercise is a great way to prevent illness.

Another way we can prevent serious illness is by giving timely vaccinations and being diligent about re-vaccinating as per your vet’s recommendations. If you fall short in this area, you can leave your dog or cat susceptible to a variety of life-threatening illnesses, that can result in heavy vet bills.

As with all things you need to do your own research. Some holistic vets are now discovering that not all vaccinations being prescribed are necessary if your pet already has immunity against that particular illness, and therefore does not need another vaccine. You can check to see if your pet has the right amount of immunity to protect them by having your vet do a titer test. There are four canine and feline main diseases for which a positive titer test is an indication that the animal has protective immunity: distemper, parvovirus and adenovirus in dogs, and panleukopenia in cats and does not need to be re-vaccinated. 

The main thing to remember is that by doing the right things upfront to prevent illness will not only reduce costs down the road but will also keep your pet living longer.

#6. Take advantage of the sharing economy

While it may be tempting to get all new things for your new puppy or buy them the best there is, sometimes it is just as good, and certainly more economical to share things with other pet owners. Just start talking to your fellow pet parents in the park and you will not only get good tips and ideas but you'll also be able to create some innovative ways to share costs.  Here are some you can consider:

pet walker two dogs pets park hiking walking

Do a pet toy exchange

Most dogs and cats have more toys than they can play with in a lifetime, so rather than getting a new box of toys delivered every month, consider doing a toy exchange in your neighborhood. Just be sure to clean and sanitize the toys and then your pet won't get bored playing with a brand new ball, mouse or puzzle.

Form a pet-sitting or pet-walking club

Going away for a holiday or a business trip? Don't have time to walk your dog? Rather than leaving your pet at an expensive kennel or paying for a dog walker, why not ask some of the pet parents in the neighborhood that your pet is already familiar with to see if they will walk or pet sit your dog or cat for you. That way your fur baby can spend some time with a friend and not be so lonely while you are gone. Then when you are back consider returning the favor (just make sure your pets get along).

Trade specialties

Too nervous to groom your pet at home but you are a great carpenter? Why not find a local groomer in your area that can do the job. Then offer to build something for them in exchange. Bartering is something that has been going on for centuries and there is no reason it can't work now.

If you are new to the area or don't know anyone that has pets yet, consider joining a local pet meetup or connect with other pet parents through one of the popular pet apps on your phone. Get creative and you'll be able to come up with lots of ways to get your pet what you need.

Have a great idea? Share it!

Of course this is not all! If you are a seasoned pet owner, you might have your own solutions for affordable pet care that you follow regularly; we’d love to hear your ideas too - you can write to us or share on social media.

If you are a new pet owner and would like to receive more such useful tips and articles on other topics just sign up for our newsletter below!

Have you ever heard about the legend of the oldest dog that ever lived? 

Bluey, the Australian Cattle dog who currently holds this title in the Guinness Book of World Records, lived to a ripe old age of 29 years, back in the early 20th century. 

He outran the 13-year lifespan set for his breed and created the possibility that our pooches can defy genetic dispositions and live longer, happier, and healthier lives. 

According to the American Kennel Club, the lifespan of dogs depends on size and smaller dogs do tend to live longer than larger breeds. 

The generally accepted lifespan for dogs stacks up as follows (on average):

But don't you wish your best friend can live forever?  Have you dreamed of moving through different life stages with your dog right by your side?  Regardless of size, with proper care any dog, even large breed dogs, can defy the odds. 

With February being Pet Dental Health Month, as well as the month we celebrate National Walk Your Dog Day and Love Your Pet Day, what better month to start taking better care of and lengthen your pal's life? The four (4) essential health changes outlined in our guide below will help you give your dog a chance at enjoying a longer life. 

Consider them as your weekly challenges for the month of February or adopt them as your new year resolutions as a pet parent. 

Best of luck!

Week 1: Add more fresh whole foods to your dog's diet  

dog eating fruit banana healthy foods

Ensuring your dog has a diet of fresh whole foods is critical to adding years to your dog's life. Bluey's pet parent believed that his access to unprocessed foods contributed to his long lifespan. 

Fresh whole foods such as fruits and vegetables, dairy and meat, offer our pets digestible, nutrient-rich food that can have a profoundly positive effect on a pet's overall health; and, it also can be a great aid in avoiding, treating, and remedying many health issues.

As not all fruits and vegetables that are good for us are also good for our canine companions, Dr. Karen Becker provides an excellent guide to fruits and vegetables which you should avoid, and which ones you should put on your "add to your dog's diet" list. Items such as orange, mango, Brussel sprouts, and others that you may not have thought of, provide many nutrients for pets.

While it may be expensive and inconvenient to create tasty homemade dog food from fresh ingredients regularly, you can always add whole foods to supplement your dog's favorite kibble.

Imagine that the consumption of a non-toxic vegetable at least three times a week resulted in a 70 – 90% risk reduction in the development of cell carcinoma in Scottish terriers, according to the Integrative Veterinary Care Hospital.

Their research also shows that this type of diet improves a dog's brainpower, making them more alert (and probably more playful). 

Supplementation can be powerful!

Your Week 1 Challenge:

Add one of the following safe whole foods to your dog's diet within week one:

  • Lean Meats:
    Wondering if pork, turkey and other meats are an option for your dog?

    Fido must have a balanced diet. Try giving your pet some lean ground beef, white fish, or even chicken breast to boost their ability to form new skin cells, build muscle tissue, and even grow glossy fur.

    Some pet parents swear by feeding their dogs raw while others may be apprehensive about giving their pet raw lean meats. Experts have largely said it's okay; however, there are some precautions that must be taken to ensure optimal safety for your pet.

    Pet MD gives some great insight on this in their article on raw food diets for dogs.
what is okay to feed your dog

Week 2: Commit to Daily Walking/Exercise

healthy dog jumping and catching frisbee

Prolong your dog's life by sticking to a daily walking/exercise routine (and not just for a pee break). 

When the owner of the unofficial oldest dog in the world was interviewed, he mentioned that the Kelpie farm dog possibly walked/ran 9km a day. 

Now, the recommendation isn't for your pup to over-exert themselves. The amount of exercise required is dependent on their age and breed. It can vary from between 30 minutes to 2 hours a day. 

Keep reading to find out more about the requirement for your dog’s breed. 

It’s important to keep in mind that exercise will result in lower stress, increased endorphins, and a balanced mood while also helping your pal maintain a healthy weight, muscle mass, and an efficient cardiovascular system.

Your Week 2 Challenge:

Walking shoes and doggies booties on! It's time to go for a walk—every day! 

The PDSA shares a guide that tells you how long you should walk your dog daily.

If you've got a larger breed like a German Shepherd, you may be thinking, "Wow that's a whole lot!" However, you can make it easier for you and your pal by doing a one-hour walk session in the morning and a fun play session in the evening.

It doesn't matter how you meet the time goals daily; focus on meeting the minimum exercise time limit for your furry friend's breed.

Just like humans, some dogs aren't in love with the idea of walking; don't force them. Speak to your vet or an accredited behaviorist if your dog seems stressed out.

dog breed exercise walking guide

For arthritic dogs who experience severe pain while walking, PetMD.com has a great guide for how to get these dogs to exercise safely.

And when it's the winter season, ensure your dog has their waterproof booties on to protect their paws.

Week 3: Give Them Extra Love!

It's not just about their physical well-being; stress and anxiety can cause problems for pets as much as for people. Your furry friend's good mental health is also important for longer life.

happy dog in park with woman pet parent dog lover

A daily snuggle is great for your dog's happiness

Between the stresses of work, daily life responsibilities, and an ever-growing list of to-dos, cuddling with your pet sometimes fall to the wayside. Not only is it a nice thing to do but it's essential in increasing the lifespan of your dog. 

Here are TWO reasons why: 

1. Bonding is a biological need

Cuddling is a natural craving for your pet; after all, dogs are pack animals. 

Not giving your pet the daily love they require can result in anxiety, withdrawal, depression, and even severe eating challenges. These negative impacts will shorten their lifespans. 

2. You'll notice any signs of ill-health 

Cuddling also helps you to become more attuned to your pet's health. 

Daily love sessions will enable you to spot when something is wrong right away. While stroking your pet, you may notice a lump or bump, an unpleasant smell, or a pattern of avoidance and low moods.

Your pet can't tell you when something is wrong but these signs and symptoms will wave the red flag for you to seek medical attention immediately.

Your Week 3 Challenge:

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to how a cuddle session should go. What's most important is that you spend a 15-30 minute uninterrupted period with your dog every day.

Dog breeds like the Sharpei, Scottish Terrier, and Fox hounds are not fans of cuddling. As such, you'll have to take it easy with them. Listen to their body language and don't push it if they're not into it.

Walking, playing with toys, or simply spending quality time nearby all qualify as a love session.

Your pet will be happier and healthier!

Week #4: Take Your Pet for A Check-Up!

You are already aware that your dog needs regular check-ups to stay healthy. Thorough physical exams will allow your pet to get the care required should any health challenge appear.

If you've met the following recommendations, then you're off the hook for Week 4's Challenge(just a little):

dog cone vet veterinarian health checkup

For puppies:

It's important for young puppies to get regular checkups to ensure they are growing and gaining weight as they should. They will also need some shots to make sure they are properly immunized before they go out into the world and start socializing with other dogs. 

For Adult Dogs: Ages 1 to 7 years

Your mature dog will require one yearly check-up. A head-to-tail physical will be done. Always ask for blood work to be done.

For Senior Dogs: 7 – 10 years and beyond

Senior dogs require an extra expert eye on them. Vets recommend twice-yearly check-ups for older pets.

Your Week 4 Challenge:

Make it your duty to take your Fido to the vet for a check-up.

In addition to the overall check that your vet does, ensure your vet checks your dog for signs of periodontal disease. Plaque, tartar and bad breath can impact more than just your pup's teeth, they're a major problem that negatively impacts the possibility of a longer life.

Given this is the grand finale in our guide, we've added a bonus challenge!

Prevention is better than the cure.

BONUS: Brush their Teeth Daily!

dog teeth tooth brush canine toothpaste

Poor oral health can affect more than your dog’s teeth; if the bacteria spreads into their body it can lead to heart, lung, liver and kidney problems.  Help your pet avoid loosing their teeth or fatal gum diseases by brushing their teeth twice daily. 

Using a dental wash specially for dogs and brushing three times a week is the minimum recommendation to help remove plaque and prevent tartar accumulation. If your pup has stomatitis mouth ulcers or inflammation and won't let you brush their teeth because of tooth or mouth pain, the BestLife4Pets Oral Health for Dogs natural remedy can help them feel better.
 

Don't neglect their dental health; their life depends on it.

Having your pet with you for several years will take some extra effort. However, once you make these weekly challenges a part of your dog care routine, it will become easier. The idea is to keep each challenge in motion for a lifetime.

Are you up to the challenge?

Your pup will love you for it and you'll have them around - healthy and happy for many years to come!

What's the Reason Behind Your Dog's Goopy, Red Eyes: Signs, Causes, and Treatments

Dog eye infections can happen to any happy pup. Whether they are triggered by grit or grass stuck under their eyelids, recurring seasonal allergies or any other pesky culprit, these infections can cause your dog a lot of discomfort. 

As a dog owner, you may feel a little worried upon seeing your furry best friend’s goopy red eyes; after all, you want to ensure they remain in the best of health. In moments like this, it’s important for you to understand the signs, symptoms and causes behind the inflammation in order to get the right treatment. 

Consider this blog as a Dog Eye Infection 101 where you’ll discover essential information that will guide you along the right path to restoring your dog’s eyes to perfect health.

How Serious Is A Dog Eye Infection?

dog with eye infection swollen red eyes brown discharge tear stains

If your dog experiences some eye-irritation caused by substances like dust, smoke, or even shampoo, it is likely that there isn’t a major cause for alarm. Typically, removing the irritant and wiping their watery eyes with a saline solution will do the trick to bring them fast relief.

In other instances where the inflammation is triggered by bacteria, the use of antibiotics can be a simple yet effective cure.

However, if you’ve tried these remedies and your canine pal is still in pain, producing consistent eye boogers, or experiencing swelling of the eyelids and redness in the white of the eyes, there could be a serious underlying health complication that requires emergency veterinary attention. For severe cases, when left untreated, the eye infection can spread or result in vision loss. 

This is why it is so important to know the common signs and symptoms behind dog-eye infections so that you can identify the possible causes and take the right course of treatment to ensure your pet’s eye health can be restored. 

How to Tell If a Dog has an Eye Infection: Signs & Symptoms

If only your best buddy could verbally tell you how they feel - it would be a thousand times easier to recognize and treat the infection. Unfortunately, they can’t talk like humans do and, as such, you must be on the lookout for signs that they aren’t feeling themselves. Luckily, the symptoms of an eye infection are easy to spot. 

If your pet exhibits one or more of the following symptoms for more than a few days, they may likely be suffering with an eye infection:   

What’s Causing Your Dog’s Watery Goopy Eyes and How to Treat It?

Just like humans, the causes of dog-eye infections are numerous. In addition to allergies and foreign matter in the eyes, some other common causes of dog-eye infections include the following: 

1. Conjunctivitis or Pink Eye

Conjunctivitis, one of the most common canine eye disorders, is a condition in which the pink tissue inside your dog’s eyelid (called the conjunctiva) becomes inflamed. 

If you witness mucus, pus, or a yellowish-green discharge lining your dog’s eyes, or the eyes are noticeably inflamed, there is a possibility that they may be suffering from conjunctivitis. You may also see them blinking excessively or pawing away at the eyes. 

It’s not so simple to attach a definite cause to conjunctivitis because there can be multiple reasons - for example, tear duct defects, dog distemper, allergies, injuries, tumors, or perhaps just irritants like dust or an eyelash. 

Sometimes, a dog may contract a contagious viral or bacterial form of conjunctivitis. To be safe, once you notice your dog has an eye-infection, keep him away from the other pets to avoid spread.

Conventional Treatment for Conjunctivitis

The right treatment to tackle conjunctivitis is dependent on the cause. However, it may include removing the irritant or allergen, antibiotics, saline washes, surgery or homeopathic remedies. If you suspect your dog has conjunctivitis, it will be a good idea to take them to a vet to uncover the root of the issue.

2. Dry-Eye 

Dry-eye is when your dog is unable to produce enough eye-cleansing tears. Generally, this condition is signaled by a sticky, persistent eye discharge along with a build-up of mucus, constant squinting and red eyes. 

Similarly to Conjunctivitis, its causes can vary from a blow to their head near the tear duct or distemper. However, according to Bark.com, dry eye is most commonly caused by an immune-related problem that creates inflammation within the tear glands and reduces the amount or quality of the tears your dog produces. 

Conventional Treatment for Dry Eye 

Even though there is no cure for dry-eye, it is a condition that can be managed. The course of treatment is also dependent on the severity of the case.

For mild cases, a vet may administer artificial tears over several weeks.

For more severe cases, immunosuppressants may be used or surgery may be recommended. 

bulldog eye infection red inflammation teary watery conjunctivitis

3. Epiphora 

Epiphora occurs when the tear ducts of your dog become blocked due to allergies, conjunctivitis, irritants, abnormal tear drainage, and other serious conditions like corneal ulcers or tumors.

When your four-legged companion is battling Epiphora, you may notice the following symptoms: 

If based on the symptoms above, you suspect that your dog may have Epiphora, take them to a veterinarian right away!

Conventional Treatments for Epiphora 

The culprit behind the occurrence of Epiphora will be a major factor that determines the kind of treatment given to your dog. However, medication is often first prescribed to clean the reddish-brown stains. If it is triggered by a bacterium, antibiotics will be administered. Surgery may also be suggested to repair the tear ducts or remove the blockage. 

Epiphora can be quite painful for your dog; while you await medical attention, give your pet some relief by creating a warm compress with sterile water and placing it over their eyes.

Breed Physiological Tendencies

The physiology of a dog’s breed can make them more susceptible to health problems, including eye infections. The following types of dog breeds have a greater likelihood to contract an eye infection:

Flat-Faced Dogs (Brachycephalic Breeds)

Dogs belonging to this group: Bulldogs, Boxers, Boston Terriers, Pugs, Pekingese

Cause for Increased Susceptibility: Shallow eye-sockets and protruding eyes characterize this group. Dogs with more bulging eyes have a tendency to have tear duct drainage complications. Their eyelids also roll inward, causing irritation by the lashes. In some unfortunate cases, their lids don’t fully close over their eyes; surgery is often required to correct this defect. 

pug breed susceptible to eye infection flat face bulging eyes

Dogs with Loose Facial Skin

Dogs belonging to this group: Cocker Spaniels, Saint Bernard, Mastiffs, some Terriers and Bloodhounds. 

Cause for Increased Susceptibility: Dogs with loose facial skin are more prone to having eyelids that roll outward. This causes a condition called Cherry-Eye where the gland in the eyelid falls out of position. Surgery is also often necessary for these conditions.

How to Treat Dog-Eye Infections At Home Naturally

It’s understandable that sometimes it’s just not practical for you to take Fido to the vet right away. As an alternative, you can provide relief to your pet right in the comfort of your own home. However, home note that remedies may be only a short-term solution. 

If you’re seeing clear white discharge with little redness, you can also use a warm, moist towel to gently clean discharge from the corners of your dog’s eyes. A saline rinse made from the recipe below can also help: 


What You'll Need:

Directions: 

Every dog is unique, so this solution may not help all dogs with inflammation or an eye infection. You may also want to try using chamomile tea, Aloe Vera gel, or colloidal silver to wipe your pet's eyes - see this article for more information. 

If something is stuck in their eyes and the debris or substance can be removed easily without inflicting pain on your pet, then feel free to remove it yourself. However, if it’s something larger, it’s recommended that you take your fur pal to the vet. 

Try our All-Natural Holistic Remedy Designed Specifically for Dog Eye Infections

Using a unique homeopathic formula of powerful naturally occurring ingredients, our Vision and Eye Care support is carefully designed to heal your dog’s eye-infection and provide quick relief from its associated symptoms such as watery red eyes, conjunctivitis, burning, itching, pain and even blurred vision. 

Our unique blend treats eye discharge and inflammation caused by a variety of issues including: fungus, environmental toxins, abnormal eyelashes, Conjunctivitis or pink eye, inflammation of the cornea or internal structure of the eye, nerve damage, and even allergies.

Eye Care and Vision Support dog eye infection remedy homeopathic all natural no side effects

Give it a try here: BestLife4Pets Vision Support for Dogs

Though dog-eye infections can happen to any dog, it’s important to keep your friend happy and healthy with routine eye care checks at the vet.

We wish your sweet pup the best of health!

5 Paw-Some Reasons to Make Your Pet Your Valentine

Valentines Day is a celebration of love, a day to take a break from the to-do list, have fun and show friends and loved ones just how much they mean to you. Although we may not be able to  come together for meet-ups with friends and family this year the same way we did before, we can still shower our love on those we live with. So why not spend this special day with someone who is always there giving you unconditional love - your pet!

Whether you are single or part of a couple, here are five reasons why you should make your dog or cat your extra special valentine!

1. They Give Unconditional Love and Snuggles

cat with woman valentines day elevate mood reduce stress

Whatever your mood, happy or sad, your pet is always there ready to give your some cat love, doggy licks, snuggles, and cuddles.

Nothing beats having your cat curl up next to you full of love and trust; or that special bond with dog that you have where they know when you are feeling down and just lean against you to offer comfort.   “Simply petting an animal can decrease the level of the stress hormone cortisol and boost release of the neurotransmitter serotonin, resulting in lowered blood pressure and heart rate and, possibly, in elevated mood,” says Dr. Marwan Sabbagh of the Lou Ruvu Center for Brain Health.

In fact, according to a Dog Parent Study conducted by BarkBox  71% of dog parents believe that their dogs make them happier people, with 80% stating it is easier to wake in the morning because their dogs greet them. It's no wonder we think of dogs (and cats) as a person's best friend.

The beautiful thing about pets is that you never have to wonder 'do my dogs love me' or 'do cats feel love' when you can see it every day by how they act around you. When you care for your pet, they return that love a hundred fold. Desiree Wiercyski, a life coach in Fort Wayne, Illinois, agrees: "A pet can remind you that you're not alone. Pets offer unconditional love, which can be extraordinarily soothing [especially] when feeling isolated." 

We're always grateful to have our beloved dogs or cats, and our pets are grateful to have us - but in quarantine, count yourself especially lucky to have a faithful friend to help bear the stress of isolation.

2. They're Loyal and Dependable

Coming home at the end of a long day or even just a shopping trip, there is always someone who is happy to see you. I can come home to a house full of people, but everyone is too busy or distracted to greet me. However, I always know that my dog will be eagerly waiting at the door, wagging his tail in excitement as I come up the walk. It almost makes up for having to leave them at home in the first place - though of course we wish we didn't have to!

service dog valentines day loyal dependable companion helpful

And for some, having a pet means more than just having a loyal companion to greet them at the door - it means having someone they can rely on to help them navigate the everyday, to live rich and fulfilling lives.

In the United States, approximately 500,000 service dogs are helping people with visual impairments navigate unfamiliar places, protect someone who is having a seizure from getting hurt, or help people cope with mental health issues.

Organizations like Pets for Patriots work to save veterans' lives by providing them a loyal companion to care for. Many of these veterans suffer from depression and PTSD, but having a therapy animal, dog or cat to care for gives them a new purpose in life. It also stops them from thinking about the past or worrying about the future because animals do not dwell on what happened yesterday, nor what may happen tomorrow - they live only in the present and thereby get their human companions to do the same.

If you have a service dog, give them some extra love this holiday.

3. They Make The Greatest Best Friends

Dogs and cats are not only your loyal companions, they are always ready and will adapt to whatever you have in mind.

If you want to go for a hike, play catch, or just take a walk around the neighborhood, they'll be right by your side. Even as pets get older and start to slow down, they'll never say no to a walk or a cuddle with their favorite person. No amount of joint pain or arthritis can slow your dog down and prevent them from walking by your side.

And if you just want to spend a lazy day in lounging around, they are always ready for that too.  Especially cats.  When you love your cat, they know it and gladly curl up next to you on your favorite chair, couch or anywhere that you are (on their own terms of course).

And even when you are not in the mood to socialize or be in a crowd, who better than your kitty cat or pup to quietly listen and agree with whatever you have to say. They don't argue, they don't talk back, and they don't offer unwanted advice. It's like having your own therapist to confide to - and again for point #1, they can always help you feel better after letting out your emotions.

4. They Are Helpful and Inspiring

Over time and with good training, both cats and dogs can be taught to help out around the house. Everything from getting your slippers, to detecting smoke and warning of danger, to helping herd animals on the farm. Animals have even been taught to clean up toys, pick up garbage, sort laundry, close doors, turn off lights and even be your alarm clock. But did you know that your trusted kitty or loyal hound can also help you focus and stick with a task? 

We already know that having a dog or cat can help lower your blood pressure and relieve stress, but they can also help us focus and motivate us to take better care of ourselves. 

A study conducted with children who were given a task to do found that the kids made fewer errors in a matching task in the presence of a dog. This indicated that the dog served as both a source of motivation and the right stimulation that allowed them to keep their attention to the task. 

Another program matched sedentary adults with therapy animals and had the participant be responsible for walking the dog. The program resulted in the patients increasing their activity over a 52 week period with the participants stating their motivation for adherence was “the dogs need us to walk them”.

dog walker walk in park dog sitter dogs pack collie

We all know that we would do certain things just out of love for our fur babies even if we wouldn't necessarily do those things for ourselves, and this can become a great motivator that benefits people as much as animals.  In fact, the Center for Diet and Activity Research conducted a study into human motivation. When comparing dog walkers and people with pets vs those without, the study concluded that "Physical activity interventions typically try and support people to be active by focusing on the benefits to themselves, but dog walking is also driven by the needs of the animal," Andy Jones, a professor and researcher said in the release. "Being driven by something other than our own needs might be a really potent motivator and we need to find ways of tapping into it when designing exercise interventions in the future."

Pets help us reach our goals and be the best version of ourselves, so the least we can do is dedicate some of our time to making them happy in return.

5. They're Lots of FUN!

happy dog in park with woman pet parent dog lover valentines day

Many people with one or even multiple pets would agree that having their fur babies around is just plain fun. Sometimes exasperating, sometimes hilarious, sometimes downright silly - but never dull and boring.

Our kitty cats and pups can make us laugh with their antics, they lift up our mood, nudge us out of our thoughts, and give us the confidence to interact and socialize with other people, no matter how we do it. When you talk to other pet owners you feel a special bond - you now know that you're not the only one whose dog eats poo or whose cat snarls at and bosses the dog around.

If you can't decide how to make this Cat Valentine or Dog Valines Day extra special, here are a few ideas:

Pets - whether dog or cat, bird or hamster, guinea pig or chicken - know us and understand us like no one else, and still love us! So this Valentine's Day, treat them to something special and just enjoy that unique bond with a valentine like no other (but save the chocolate for yourself).

Want your best friend to be healthy and live forever (or at least as long as possible)? Check out our guide on Simple Steps to a Happier and Healthier Dog in One Month.

Learn the Signs and Symptoms of Cat Arthritis

Arthritis isn’t only experienced by humans. Believe it or not, it is one of the most common diseases seen in middle-aged cats. Unfortunately, cats have a knack for hiding their discomfort and so, an arthritic cat may go undiagnosed.

Additionally, some pet parents witness their older fur pals becoming less mobile and make the assumption that they are experiencing the natural effects of aging and therefore, take no further therapeutic action.

Unknown to them, their sweet felines may be experiencing severe pain due to arthritis.

As a pet parent, it’s essential for you to know the signs and symptoms of various conditions like arthritis so that you can seek the best care to secure your cat’s good health and happiness.

What is Cat Arthritis?

Also called osteoarthritis, arthritis is a disease that causes the degeneration of joints; it is also responsible for the pain and inflammation in a cat's joint.

Although the primary causes of arthritis in cats include injury and infection to joints, this condition can also be inherited as seen in the case of hip dysplasia.

Hip Dysplasia in Cats

cat with hip dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a kind of malformation of the hip joint that is inherited at birth. It occurs when there is a defect in the formation of the ball and socket of the hip joint thereby leading to bone degeneration and arthritis.

Most of the symptoms of hip dysplasia are the same as those of arthritis, as highlighted below, except that the symptoms can be seen in much younger cats.

If you suspect your cat is experiencing some form of hip dysplasia, observe them to see whether they may have any of the following signs: difficulty standing, attempting to stand with most of the weight being put on one leg, crying or resisting when the hip area is touched, licking and chewing the affected area.

If you notice any of these symptoms, especially in a young cat, then you should get them checked by a vet.

Causes of Arthritis in Cats

An obese cat has a higher risk of developing arthritis.

A shocking 59.5% of cats are classified as obese in the USA according to a 2018 study by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention.

The extra fat stored in an overweight cat’s body affects bodily functions that can cause damage to specific organs—such as the liver, or arteries. Also, the weight puts pressure on the cat's internal system and joints, leading to a series of health risks.

In the case of an older feline, their cartilages which are purposed to cushion and reduce friction when bones of the joint slide past one another, naturally deteriorate and they may lose flexibility.

This destruction to the cartilages causes the wearing away of the bone, resulting in reduced cushioning. Eventually, the inflammation and pain that are commonly associated with arthritis can erupt.

obese cat

Signs and Symptoms of Arthritis in Cats

Other signs that can indicate your cat may be suffering from arthritis include:

Prevention is Key

healthy cat running

If you suspect that your cat has hip dysplasia or arthritis, it is always good to have them checked. A veterinary doctor will further diagnose and administer the recommended treatment on your cat. Depending on how advanced the disease is, non-surgical or surgical treatments may be recommended.

As with any illness, prevention is always the best route; so what can you do? One thing for sure is to prevent joint stress by keeping your kitty at a healthy weight. You can do this by feeding them a healthy diet and ensuring that your cat gets the right amount of exercise (yes, even cats should be active).

If your cat is showing some signs of joint pain, there are alternative and natural treatments such as massages, acupuncture, and herbal medicines including our WALK-EASY Joint and Hip Remedy, that can reduce inflammation and joint pain helping your kitty to be more mobile and active.

Whatever course of action you decide to take, watch for the signs and seek help as soon as possible!

Remember, prevention is better than cure.

Have a High Energy Dog But Can't Get Outside To Play?

Giving your high-energy dog the proper amount of exercise can sometimes be a challenge. Between work, family, bad weather and curfews, it's not always possible to squeeze in that extra walk for your dog outside. Not to mention, some high-energy dogs require a little more attention and activity in order to burn off their energy.


Now that we've all been told to stay indoors, there are a few new tricks we need to learn to keep our pets occupied. Don't worry though, we've got you covered: keep reading to discover why exercise is a must for your four-legged friend and ways in which you can give them a good workout indoors.

The Importance of Exercise and Healthy Weight for Dogs

Every dog needs proper exercise to live a happy, healthy life. Exercise will also help your dog maintain a healthy weight, which raises life expectancy and reduces the risk of your dog developing diseases and ailments such as:

dog exercise maintain healthy weight lower risk of disease diabetes cancer arthritis obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Arthritis
  • Obesity
  • Kidney Disease
  • Respiratory Disease

But there are even more benefits for your furry friend.


Exercise can:

Nourish Your Bond

You may be tempted to gain your dog's love with plenty of treats, but affection and playtime are much more important to your pooch. Plus, exercise is far better for your dog's health than treats.

Encourage Better Obedience

High energy dogs can be especially difficult to train. When your dog doesn't have a good way to burn off the extra pep in their step, they may find something not-so-good to do instead. Exercise will help your dog avoid destructive behavior. Having a stronger bond through exercise will also encourage your pup's obedience. 

Help Increase Life Expectancy

Exercise helps keep your dog's body strong and their weight in check, which will prolong your canine's life span. According to a study done by the University of Liverpool and Mars Petcare's Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition, dogs who maintain a healthy weight live more than two years longer than overweight dogs.

Reduce Anxiety

Anxiety is felt by many humans and dogs alike. Lack of exercise can increase anxiety, but the ideal amount of it reduces anxiety. Just as going for a walk can help clear our head, your dog will be much happier after a good workout.

Raise Endorphins

Exercise is not a painstaking task for your happy pal. In fact, it’s loads of fun especially when they get to bond with their favorite human. Exercise leads to a happy dog. 

Provide Mental Stimulation

Though it’s a lot of physical work, exercise is also good for mental stimulation. This helps prevent your dog from getting bored, which can lead to sadness or bad behavior. 

Is Your Pal a High-Energy Dog Breed?

Although every dog can be considered high-energy, there are a few breeds that are notoriously so. Generally, dogs that have been bred for work, sport, hunting, or herding tend to be the most high-energy. These include:

  • Border Collie
  • German Shepherd
  • Australian Cattle Dog
  • Siberian Husky
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Jack Russel Terrier
  • Siberian Husky
  • Belgian Malinois
  • Poodle
  • Australian Shepard
  • Dalmatian
  • Boxer
high energy dog breed working herding border collie german shepherd husky labrador retriever

Indoor Exercises for High Energy Dogs

If you're wondering how to tire out a dog, these indoor exercises will help you learn how. These activities are also great for bad weather days or simply burning some extra calories while indoors. And here’s the bonus; as a human, you also get an opportunity to boost your own fitness! 

1. Hide & Seek

Keep your dog active and entertained with a fun game of hide & seek. Have your dog sit and stay while you find a place to hide. Once you're ready, call your dog to come find you. This will give your dog both physical and mental exercise.

2. Indoor Obstacle Course

Enjoy your own private dog show with an indoor obstacle course. Have your dog run under tables and jump over chairs or toys. 

indoor exercises hide and seek chew toy fun tug of war fetch ball workout

You can rearrange your couches to create a maze and make tunnels with blankets in-between furniture. There are endless ways to make a fun course for your pup. Plus, your dog may learn some new tricks along the way. 

3. Play Tug-of-War and Fetch

With a durable toy, you can combine two active games into a fun exercise. In a decently-sized area, alternate playing fetch and tug-of-war with your dog. Each time your dog returns with the toy, spend some time playing tug-of-war before having your dog release the toy to fetch again. This will keep your dog's brain and muscles stimulated.

4. Keep the Toy Just Out of Reach

A doggie flirt pole, a fun toy attached to a string on a pole, is one of the best indoor toys to get your dog's blood pumping. All you have to do is wave the pole around while your dog chases the toy. Once the toy is caught, have your dog drop it and start again. This is perfect for tiring out your dog without get yourself tired too. 

puppy push ups sitting standing exercise hip and joint pain walk easy pain relief

5. Puppy Push Ups

If your dog has difficulty standing, weak legs, or joint pain, it's especially important for them to exercise. Strengthen your dog's legs by having them go from laying down to sitting and then to standing repeatedly.


If all three commands are too difficult for your dog, you can simply do 'sit and stand' (skip laying down), so there will be less stress on their joints.

Getting your dog to walk backwards as you walk towards them also gets them moving in a different way then usual which strengthens different parts of their muscles.

How Much Exercise is Right?


It is generally recommended that dogs receive 30 minutes to two hours of exercise daily. The right amount for your dog depends on breed, age, and health. 


If you have a high-energy puppy, they won't benefit from taking a long walk. Instead, take a few short walks and several play sessions throughout the day. On the other hand, if your adult or senior dog has a medical condition or joint pain, it's important not to overdo exercise. It's beneficial to consult your vet on how best to give your dog the proper amount of exercise. 

happy healthy dog exercise maintain healthy weight live longer better quality of life

If you notice your dog repeatedly trying to get you to play, it may be a sign that they need more exercise. Dogs who are difficult to train or are being destructive aren't bad dogs, just bored. This is usually another sign that they need more exercise. Also, if your dog seems to be excessively barking for no reason or playing at bedtime, you may need to squeeze in more daily exercise to tire them out. 

A Healthy Dog is a Happy Dog

Indoor dog exercises are a great way to have a healthy dog. When your dog is healthy, it will live a longer and happier life.


If you opt to use toys for some of your dog's indoor exercises, remember to choose safe, durable options. Choose toys that are appropriately sized for your dog. Also, don’t forget to reward good actions with extra play instead of extra treats.


Although working out your pup indoors is great for cold or rainy days, burning extra energy, or when you just can't go outside, it shouldn't replace regular activity outdoors. Taking your dog out for a daily walk or jog is important for their overall health. 


Adding indoor exercises along with outdoor exercises will help your high-energy dog burn off the extra zest. More importantly, you'll be helping your dog stay in shape and live longer.

A healthy diet and lots of love, along with proper exercise and maintained weight will give your dog the best life they deserve.

Hip Dysplasia in Dogs - Know the Signs, Symptoms, and Treatments

Has your furry pal been showing signs of lower body pain with greater resistance to moving their happy feet?

If yes, there is a possibility that they may be suffering from Dog Hip Dysplasia. Many pet parents enter into a state of panic at the thought of their dogs becoming dysplastic. They worry about their pal's good health and comfort. While it's a disorder that cannot be overlooked, the good news is that several treatment options can help a dog live a happy and healthy long life

Here is what you need to know about Canine Hip Dysplasia, from signs and symptoms to the best care pathways.

What is Dog Hip Dysplasia?

cat with hip dysplasia

Dog Hip Dysplasia is a chronic condition that occurs when the ball and socket of the hip joint are misaligned. Because of the deformation, the hip bone and femur rub and grind against each other instead of sliding smoothly. 

Due to the malformed joint, lots of wear and deterioration can occur resulting, in severe pain in the lower body. Unfortunately, there can also be an eventual loss of the function in the joint itself. 

Though hip dysplasia is considered an inherited bone and joint disorder, many other environmental factors can drive the progression and increase the severity of a dysplastic case, for example, the dog's weight, level of exercise, and nutrition. 

Although symptoms of the condition usually appear in adult dogs, young dogs may be affected. 

In reality, all dog breeds can get hip dysplasia, but large ones such as Bulldogs, St. Bernards, Otterhounds, and German Shepherds have a higher risk of developing the condition. The reason for this is because their heavier weight can place a large amount of stress on their hip joint.

Signs of Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

Seeing a once happy and healthy dog showing signs of hip dysplasia can be heartbreaking for many pet owners. However, learning how to spot the signs and symptoms will allow you and your vet to provide the best care to regain your pooch's strength.  

Some of the early signs of hip dysplasia in dogs іnclude:

    • Decreased activity and a resistance to go out for walks, or climbing stairs

    • "Bunny-hopping"

    • Limping or lameness in the back leg

    • Difficulty getting up

    • Constant pain and stiffness

If your dog is displaying any of these signs, take them to a vet for a physical checkup as soon as possible. 

signs of hip dysplasia in dogs

Diagnosing Hip Dysplasia

Firstly, a vet will perform a full physical exam on your dog. Typically, this will include a test for the flexibility of the dog's joint. 

If the joint appears loose or is grinding and the dog is also showing other symptoms such as loss of thigh muscle mass or heavier front muscles (typically due to overcompensating for the back), the vet will usually order an x-ray of the dog's hips. 

The x-ray will show the degree and severity of the hip dysplasia and will help the vet to determine the best treatment that is right for your dog.

If your vet determines that surgery is the best option, they will discuss which procedure is best for your dog.

Best Treatment For Hip Dysplasia In Dogs

There are various treatment options for hip dysplasia; from natural pain relief remedies lifestyle changes, and in extreme cases, corrective surgery. 

dog massage

However, prevention is always the best treatment to maintain good hip and joint health for dogs. Although inherited hip dysplasia cannot be fully prevented, responsible breeders should screen for the condition and let the buyer know what to expect. 

Other preventative measures include weight control. Excess weight adds stress to the dog's hip joints, which means added pain for the dog. Some simple things you can do to control your dog’s weight include measuring exactly how much you feed them, treating them only when they’ve earned it, and taking at least one walk daily for 20-30 minutes (but avoid prolonged running and jumping).

For a natural option to help with hip and joint pain relief, many pet parents have turned to alternative treatments such as massage, dog acupressure, or natural plant-based homeopathic remedies such as WALK-EASY Hip and Joint Pain Relief.

Though these natural supplements cannot cure the illness, they are an affordable and simple way to improve the life of any dog with hip dysplasia, ensuring you and your pet a long and well-lived life together.

Traditional medications are another option for treating hip problems in dogs. Your dog’s veterinarian may prescribe non-steroidal аnti-іnflammatory medications that are made especially for dogs and/or hip and joint supplements containing Glucosamine, MSM, and Chondroitin. 

Some supplements also add Turmeric to provide extra relief from stiffness and inflammation.

Having to care for a pup with hip dysplasia isn’t an easy task but with the right care, you’ll be on your way to ensuring that they live a happy and healthy life!

Learn How to Set Up Your Cat's Litter Box

It’s not something you may think too much about as you welcome a new cat into your home, but it’s something that’s very important to your feline friend: A well-maintained litterbox is essential to their wellbeing. 

Ultimately, your cat always desires a safe place to do their business and as a pet parent, it’s your responsibility to ensure you create this space to keep them healthy and happy. 

In this blog, you will discover everything you need to know about setting up your cat’s litter box. 

What is a Cat Litter Box?


A litter box, sometimes also called a sand tray or cat pan is the place where your pet will use the restroom. The litter is the material that goes inside the tray to control odors, absorb the urine and even clump their feces. 

Cat in covered litter box

You don’t have to stress out too much about getting your cat to use the box as with minimal training, they’ll instinctively use it. 

If you’re curious about where the idea of a cat litter came from, here’s a quick history lesson for you:

Back in the late 1940s, Edward Lowe developed what he called "kitty litter." A neighbor needed sand for her "litter box." Lowe gave her tiny chunks of clay that he was using to absorb oil and grease. It worked so well that the word eventually spread throughout the world.

Why It's Essential For Every Cat

A litter box is essential for every cat but it’s important to note that not all set-ups are equal. If you get it wrong, you may find them using your floor as their new bathroom. 

Additionally, you must make it a priority to keep it clean. Cats are clean freaks and a dirty litter box will deter them from using it; they are very particular about where they use the restroom. 

Here are a few reasons why the type of cat litter and set-up is essential to their happiness.

1. Texture

The texture of the material used in the box matters! If they don't like it, it will be rejected. They enjoy digging their little paws in the litter and so, they become stressed when it is too rough to the touch. If they’re not fond of the texture, they'll relieve themselves somewhere else.

2. Odor

Believe it or not, your furry friend actually doesn’t like it when there is too much waste in their box. The smell is often a bother for them. 

Do your best to place it somewhere where the smell is contained but also, ensure you use litters that mask odors as much as possible. Both you and your pet will be much more comfortable.


3. Personality

Cats are interesting animals, and they often have distinct personalities that also impact their acceptance of a litter box set-up. If you’ve got a new kitty in your household, expect a bit of a trial and error before you get it right.  

Nevertheless, one rule you must never forget is to always keep the litter box clean! 

How To Choose The Best Tray For Your Cat + The Right Litter

Now you know; cats are extremely choosy when it comes to their bathroom experience. They are even particular about their actual type of litter tray.  Usually, the best choice is a large, plastic box. Ensure it is long and wide enough for your cat's comfort.  

Cat next to cat litter box

Some pet parents prefer to go with covered ones because of the odor control power that comes with them. However, the only caveat is that it must be scooped out at least once daily. Trapped odors will definitely irritate any sweet feline. 

Type Of Cat Litter

When you’re heading to the grocery or pet store, be prepared to see a variety of litter materials.  However, keep in mind that the cat litter you choose will be solely based on the preferences of your cat and your home. 

Here are some of your choices: 


1. Clay

Clay cat litter is great at absorbing liquid. The only problem is that it becomes solid quickly and will pose a challenge to absorbing your cat's urine after a couple of bathroom breaks.  Because this type of litter hardens, it's also not the easiest kind to scoop and clean. 

Additionally, if you aren't on top of cleaning your feline’s box, the odor will be an issue. If you choose to go with this clay,  it’s mandatory that you empty the entire box each week. 


2. Silica

Crystallized cat litters are formed from silica gel. These are great for absorbing urine and perfect for controlling smells. If your cat doesn’t like the texture of clay, then this can be a worthy alternative. The benefit is that this type of litter tends to produce less dust than others. 

Some people fear their sweet feline may ingest the crystals. However, this would only be an issue if your kitty decided to eat large amounts of it.   Don't worry, they're pretty particular with their food, so this shouldn't be a problem.

cat using cat litter box

3. Biodegradable

Bio-degradable cat litters are the perfect choice for a pet owner who is more ecologically-friendly. The ones that fall within this category are made from plant materials like soybeans, wheat, corn, and pine. They may also be made from recycled paper. 

This type of litter won't pile up in your trash can or pollute landfills.

How Much Litter To Use

The amount of litter you put in the litter box is usually left up to your cat. Depending on their digging habits and your scooping routine, you’ll eventually figure out the adequate amount for them. 

Most cats do well with one or two inches of litter. However, if you don't intend to change the litter as often, go with two to three inches of litter. 

Another question, some pet parents have is how often you should change the litter. Similar to the type of litter material, it’s all based on your cat’s preferences. However, the general rule is every 2 to 3 days.

If your cat refuses to use the litter when one piece of feces is in it, this may be a good indicator that you ought to scoop and clean daily.

Where to Put Your Cat’s Litter Boxes

Yes! We said boxes as in plural. 

It's recommended that you have two boxes for even one cat. Your finicky feline loves to have options when it comes to their potty breaks. However, where you place them is important. 

Take into consideration the following: 

Ease of access - Position the litter boxes where your pet can get to them easily. They don't want to maneuver through a lot of things to get to their bathroom.

Isolate -  Don’t line up your boxes in one room either. Place them in separate areas. 

Good circulation – Ensure you put them in an aerated room with lots of good circulation. This will aid with controlling the stench of feces and urine. 

Basic Cat Litter Maintenance Routine

Keeping your litter box clean isn't difficult if you follow a basic routine. 

If you’re a new pet parent, you should get the following items together:

- Garbage Bag
- Litter
- Scrubber
- Vinegar
- Water
- Paper Towels

cleaning a cat litter

Instructions for good care


1. Scoop or dump your old kitty litter into the garbage bag. You don't want to put this bag in your regular indoor trash and so, you should set it aside to take it out later. 

2. Wash out the box with soap and warm water. When finished, use a paper towel or rag to wipe it out. 

3. Never pour cat litter down a drain or else you’ll end up with clogged pipes. 

4. Do your best to sanitize the box often with vinegar and warm water. 

5. After you're done, dry out the litter box and pour in your fresh litter.

It cannot be stressed enough, how important it is to keep your cat’s litter box clean. Poor maintenance can lead to your pet experiencing a number of health problems, for example, urinary tract infections, and other kidney issues. 

Furthermore, keeping dirty litter around can also harm your own health as it increases your risk of contracting cat-scratch disease and toxoplasmosis.

Conclusion

It's not difficult to set up the perfect restroom for your feline friend. Once you have the litter in place, it's time to introduce your cat to its box. This might not be a glamorous part of owning a cat, but it's essential to their well-being. 

Stay on top of cleaning it and you’ll be sure to keep them purring with pleasure. They'll reward you with lots of snuggles and wet kisses.

Easy to Use Pet Mobile Apps to Care For and Treat Your Pets

Technology has changed our routine in unimaginable ways, compared to even a decade ago. What used to be outdoor activities such as banking, grocery shopping, and many others can now be done at home in just a few clicks on your mobile. Numerous applications have been introduced that function to assist us in our daily lives. 

From communication, health and diet, finances, games, and now even pet-related apps, everything is ready for download and installation in a few minutes!

Pet owners may find it helpful to have the following apps handy, in order to make pet care easier.

1. Pet First Aid

pet first aid red cross emergency preparation education track weight exercise

Operated by the American Red Cross, Pet First Aid is a mobile version of a pet emergency encyclopedia. The app is loaded with articles, videos, and other informative materials tackling various pet health needs, including step-by-step guides for human responders on what to do in certain cases. 

Another good feature of this app is that it stores pet information including medical history, scheduled appointments, medications, and more. It also enables journalizing your pets’ records and keeping track of their weight, height, and vital signs presented in graphs.


The app also downloads information on your phone, so accessing it offline is not a worry.

2. BringFido

Have you ever planned a weekend trip but canceled because the accommodation is not pet-friendly? Bring Fido will ensure that you never find yourself in a situation like that again! It consolidates hotels and other places that are pet-friendly.

It's great for planning a weekend getaway to a new city or even exploring new places in your own home town. From hotels, restaurants, to events for pets and their humans, Bring Fido will make it easier to find.

bringfido app pet friendly hotels travel reviews restaurants

3. WeRescue

werescue rescue dogs adopt a cat dog animal shelter

If you are in search of a pet or want to adopt one in need, try WeRescue! The app features numerous categories including cats, dogs, reptiles, small animals, barn animals, and more. You can also filter your search according to breed, color, size, and gender.

“From the beginning, the goal of the WeRescue app has been to help more people rescue the love of their lives at a nearby pet shelter. The app does this by making available over 70 filters to allow adopters to be very specific about the pet that will match their lifestyle [...] make it easy for anyone to browse the pet listings in our app, pre-apply with a shelter, and find the right pet for them,” said Mark Wade, Founder, and CEO, WeRescue. 

The app will connect you to the nearest shelter across the US and Canada.

4. BarkHappy

Imagine taking a stroll with your new pet and connecting with other pooch-loving pet parents along the way.  BarkHappy makes it happen with a tap or two on your phone. 

It is a location-based app that helps you discover the dog-friendly world around you. It not only allows you to find safe places nearby but you can also connect and meet up with other pet owners who are strolling along just like you.

On this nifty little pet app, you can find events and set up meetups, schedule "doggy play dates" and make lots of new friends. 

bark happy social app dog friends playdates pet owners meet up

And if your pet is ever lost, you have the option to use their lost or found reports as well as alert other users in the area with your dog’s photo and important information.

5. 11Pets

11pets pet care health medical data information reminders appointments

If you're ever looking for pet care tips but also want a place to store all your pet's information, 11Pets will come in handy for you. Considered one of the best pet health apps, it offers practically everything you need to care for your pets. 

You can set reminders, organize health records and medical data all in one place. The information can be accessed anytime, anywhere even when you are offline.  11 Pets also allows you to set reminders for your dog or even feline's appointments whether it is for veterinary visits, grooming sessions, dewormings, and more. 

No matter your needs, you've got a high chance of finding an appropriate app to meet them. The ones listed in this blog are great for pet health, travel, adoption, and relaxation.

And there are a lot more out there!

Head on over to your app store and search for 'pets' to see a number of applications that can help you and your pet live a happier and healthier life!

Have You Ever Thought About Walking Your Cat On a Leash?

It might sound crazy to see a cat walking on a leash, but it's actually a beneficial activity for a frisky feline. There may be a million things you can do inside to enrich your cat's life, yet some benefit even more from taking a good stroll on a leash or harness outside. This is a fun, exciting way to keep their mental and physical health in tip-top shape! 

Wondering about the benefits of taking your cat for a walk or questioning how is it even possible? Here are the essential details you need to know. 

The Benefits Of Walking Your Cat On A Leash

1. Overall Boost in Health

outdoor feral cat walk on leash

A healthy cat is a happy cat. 60% of cats in America are actually overweight. Their sedentary lifestyle inside your cozy house sometimes causes them to pack on the pounds. A cat's healthy weight can happen when they move a little more. When they get outside walking and enjoying the outdoors, they're able to burn extra calories. Cat exercise is crucial to a cat's overall health. 

2. Stimulation

Cats often lead pretty chill lives as they stare out windows and play with the occasional toy. Getting them outside gives them visual and mental stimulation. Walking outside on a leash gives them relief from a boring everyday life. Their minds stay active as they explore all the world around them has to offer. The exercise also helps relieve their stress. 

3. Boost In Energy And Sleep

Young kitties love to bounce off the walls with all of their energy. Get them outside to burn off some of that energy. As a bonus, they will get in some great sleep. You probably already know that cats love to sleep. Taking them on a walk gives them some extra deep sleep and gets rid of that pent-up energy.

4. The Wild Side

Think of your cat as a mini lion. Bet you’ve seen them roar a couple of times! They love to explore their wild side. They get to enjoy all of the outside experiences without the fear of danger. Feral cats and outdoor cats get the fun of taking a walk on the wild side. Your cat may love stepping into this world for a little bit. 

tabby cat playing outdoors hiking climbing

5. Ease Cat Arthritis

Over 30% of cats over the age of either suffer from arthritis. Getting their joints and muscles moving on a regular basis can help ease the pain of cat arthritis. They don't need to take long walks if they have arthritis, but it will help to get them moving by doing a little exercise. 

6. New Experiences Together

Getting your cat out in the world is an experience for both of you. You may have some strange stares at times. This is great socialization for you and the kitty. Your cat is getting to experience many things for the first time. They're smelling the flowers and thinking about the tall grass. They're in another world when walking on a leash outside. It's fun to experience this together.

7. Gain Confidence

Some cats are scared of everything. They run from new guests and hide in your house. Getting them outside on a leash helps them gain confidence. Once they get harness trained, they're able to know they can push the limits without getting hurt. Then they become more comfortable inside your house, too.

Sold on taking them for a walk? Still, proceed with care!

Some Cats Aren't Cut Out For Leash Training

walk a cat on a leash kitten healthy kitty

Some cats aren't going to budge from their happy little comfy spots. If your cat is stubborn and won't go for a walk, don't push them. Not every cat is cut out for walking on a leash. They can all be given the opportunity, but not all will be cool with it. 

You know your cat's personality better than anyone. Don't push them if they don't want to engage in it. Some cats love it, and some hate it. You can try fun alternatives if they refuse to walk. 

Cat Walking Isn't Like Dog Walking

Walking your dog usually means you get in some nice exercise and have an endpoint. Walking the cat is a little different. You aren't going to get to that certain destination when walking your cat. 

Your cat will want to wander around. They don't care about walking in a straight line. They want to smell everything and explore. Remember, they are curious creatures. 

In reality, your cat really walks you.

Have Patience

It's important that as your snuggle buddy learns how to maneuver on its leash that you stay patient. Sometimes they will sit in one place for an hour. Sometimes they will refuse to go another step. It takes a lot of patience to deal with your cat as they figure out this new thing. 

Cat exercise isn't in a lot of cat's vocabularies, so don’t sweat it until they figure it out. 

Fun Alternatives

If your kitty hates the leash and harness experience, explore other alternatives. You can create a special place in your home where your cat can explore. Set them up a little box house or put out a few different toys. 

There are even cat bags and cat strollers for you to take your pet on a walk outside to still get the outdoor experience. It's okay if your cat isn't into the leash life.

5 Tips To Get Your Feline Started on a Leash

1. Train Indoors First

It's best to start your cat training on a leash inside before you explore the great outdoors. You can buy a harness and let the cat play with it inside, so they aren't scared of it. When they're ready, strap them into it. 

feline training indoor kitten playing

Give them the opportunity to feel comfortable in the harness. Let them wear it roaming around your house. 

Next step, you let them play with the leash and get comfortable with it.

2. Go Outside In A Smaller Area 

Walking a cat with a harness isn't difficult, but you do need to help your cat figure it out once they are outside. Get them outdoors in a smaller area at first. 

Make sure there is not too much around to distract your cat, or you may totally lose their focus. Let them lead the way sniffing and walking in different directions. Lightly guide them, but don't push the limits at first.

3. Set The Ground Rules

Your cat may think if they've been outside once, they can dart outside at any point when the door opens. Set the ground rules that they can only go outside if they are wearing their harness. 

It's important that the harness fits correctly so they cannot get out of it. They may want to wiggle and escape. However, set the rules that they need to stay in the harness. Don't let it be loose enough that they can slip out. 

4. Let Them Lead The Way

Your cat will enjoy leading the way in its harness. Let them show you where they want to go. They probably won't want to walk in a straight line on a trail. This might mean a nice little walk in random areas. They may even want to just sit down and enjoy the sunshine. 

Their confidence will get boosted as they lead you along their walk. This is a time you get to enjoy and watch them with a smile.

5. Use Rewards

Training an animal is always done a lot better by using rewards and positive reinforcements. Give them treats as they learn to gain confidence on their leash. 

Make sure they always get extra cuddles and kisses when they are doing well with their harness. Don't push them too hard, but offer treats when they are showing improvement.

In Conclusion

Your happy cat will thank you with a purr and a head nudge after you've given them the experience of walking on a leash. When you're trying to learn how to walk a cat, you're learning a new experience along with your cat. You've unlocked another world for them. They get to explore the outdoors in a safe way and you get to smile knowing you're helping their health and well-being. 

The Reasons Behind Your Dog's Lameness and Limping

Dogs are born to be super pooches—fetching wood, leaping over bushes, running after their play toys, and standing on their hind legs to give you wet slobbery licks. Unfortunately, those same strong legs that give them their powers may sometimes experience challenges that lead to limping and lameness.

The onset of limping can be so sudden that pet parents describe it as their pups being active one night and waking up the next morning with a limp.

There are several reasons why a dog may limp. Some of the most common causes are sprains, trauma, ligament disease, or osteoarthritis. A dog's bones and joints are vulnerable to breaks, dislocations, sprains, and strains just like their humans’.

Any dog that shows signs of limping in its front or back leg is cause for concern. Dog owners should remember that even though lameness is painful, it is not a disease. It is a symptom of an injury or illness.

 As soon as you notice your dog is wobbling around, it is time to be proactive and determine what’s the cause. The first thing to do is examine your dog to determine if the situation is an emergency. Not all limping means that your dog needs to see a veterinarian immediately, it all depends on the severity of the occurrence.

Perform an Examination

dog leg pain
  • Observe for a few minutes to see where the dog is licking and then gently examine that spot.
  • Be aware of any cuts or bruises on the leg or foot, and then look for any swelling.
  • check the paw pads for a foreign object or a bleeding wound.
  • Watch for signs of pain when a joint is forced to move.

Signs that Emergency Care is Needed

If your dog is displaying signs of possible trauma or is in severe pain, do not wait to see a veterinarian right away. Some signs that may indicate a major problem are: 

Sprains

Dog limping front or back leg is indicative of a possible sprain. A dog sprained leg is a common injury that causes limping and pain. If your dog is limping on a front paw or the ankle appears to be swollen, the issue may be a front leg injury.

Dog with leg sprain

Front ankles are especially vulnerable to falls or other traumatic events. If limping comes on suddenly and is accompanied by limited mobility, a sprain may be to blame. Persistent limping may be a sign of something more serious.

A veterinarian should examine your dog to rule out bone degeneration or other problems.

Cranial Cruciate Ligament

If your dog begins to limp suddenly or gradually over a short period, torn ligament, also known as Cranial CruciateLigament, may be to blame.

Cranial Cruciate Ligament is the proper name for this canine disease; however, it is most commonly known as ACL as that is the name of the ligament in humans. Back leg lameness occurs in dogs when the ACL tears.

Dogs that suffer from torn ligament limp because pain occurs when weight is placed on the leg. Years of stress may cause ACL tears in older dogs resulting in a limp.

Which Dogs are Most Vulnerable to ACL

Any dog can suffer from ACL tears, but certain ones are more susceptible than others are.

Some factors make some dogs more vulnerable to this damage:

Dog suffering with cranial cruciate ligament

Possible Courses of Treatment

Sometimes a ligament tear can heal itself with rest and confinement. Any dog suffering from a ligament tear should not exercise or jump up. Injured dogs should avoid stairs and be taken to the bathroom on a leash. Short walks are recommended to help speed healing.

Some natural supplements can be used to help heal an ACL tear if crate rest and limiting exercise do not produce noticeable improvement in 24 to 48 hours. Natural supplements can be used to help relieve pain and build cartilage.

Even though dog ACL surgery is not the answer for all dogs, it is proven to get dogs back to normal after a short healing period.

Do Dogs Need Surgery to Completely Recover from ACL?

According to most veterinarians, dog ACL surgery is encouraged for most animals with torn ACLs, as they know that several things happen when a ligament tear occurs. The pain is so severe that your dog avoids using that leg, which can lead to muscle atrophy.

Because of inactivity, your dog tends to gain weight, which puts more pressure on the joints causing even more pain. Animal surgeons want pet parents to understand that surgery can fix an ACL tear.

It is critical for your dog's well-being  to consider all options before deciding on the proper treatment for an ACL tear. The overall success rate for surgery is between 85-90 percent for most dogs. They usually recover completely after surgery and rehabilitation in about two to four months.

Regardless of whether you decide on surgery or an alternate treatment, a dog will recover much faster with proper nutrition and physical therapy. All dogs can benefit from supplements that strengthen joints and help speed the healing process with or without surgery.

Does Your Dog Really Need a Bed?

As a dog owner, you can relate to the urge to give in to your puppy's plea to sleep on the bed with you. It's totally understood; those puppy dog eyes are irresistible!  You may even find yourself considering the reality that puppies make the perfect soft and cuddly heating pad.

While you may think this contemplation is a trivial one, believe it or not, your decision to allow them to sleep on your bed or not can significantly impact the health of your dog, especially their joints and hips in the long run. 

To avoid these challenges later in life for you and your Fido, it's recommended that you understand the ins and outs of bedding for dogs. The earlier you start them off with good practices, the greater the benefit as they get older. 

Why Your Dog May Prefer a Bed

rescue dog comfortable dog bed post surgery training conditioning future

Conditioning your dog to sleep in a dog bed from the puppy stage can remove needless frustration on both parts when your dog gets too big for you both to fit comfortably. Some dogs might actually prefer their own area to sleep in.

Rescue dogs, for example, usually want to have their own space until they feel comfortable being near you for an extended period of time. In addition, dogs that have been hurt or are post-surgery may also prefer their own place, as it helps them feel more secure and safe. 

And there is an added benefit to this training; starting out correctly when they are younger can boost their fitness and good health in their old age. 

The Right Bed Can Help an Older Dog

There are also medical reasons for wanting to keep your dog in a comfortable dog bed and off of hard surfaces such as the floor. Sleeping on a hard surface could be difficult for older dogs that have arthritis and joint problems, either now or in later years.

For older dogs especially, an investment into a good orthopedic dog bed can be worth the price of your pet’s comfort.

If your dog is in a lot of joint pain or has chronic arthritis, consider also adding natural supplements and remedies to ease their discomfort. Supplements with Glucosamine and Chondroitin can help joint support. 

For long-lasting relief, check out WALK-EASY Joint and Hip Pain Relief - a natural plant anti-inflammatory and pain relief remedy that helps dogs with all kinds of joint pain; or, for extra help, try WALK-EASY Extra Strength.

senior dog bed joint pain arthritis walk easy pain relief remedy anti inflammatory

What Type of Bed Should I Choose?

orthopedic dog bed senior dog memory foam joint pain relief health benefits

The type of bed depends on your dog, their needs, and their preferences.

There are many different styles of beds that could benefit your fur friend, depending on their needs or lifestyle: chew-proof beds (especially useful for puppies), indoor and outdoor beds, heated beds, travel or car beds, and as previously mentioned, orthopedic beds for the older dog.

Orthopedic dog beds, in particular, cushion and support the joints of sick, injured, or older pets with arthritis - they help ease the pain of achy joints, and the stiff foam makes it easier for senior dogs to get up after laying down.

All these beds can be moved to any room so your dog can always be near you and part of the family even when they are just resting or if they can’t move as much anymore. Look for a good quality memory foam orthopedic dog bed - these may be expensive, but they will give your furry friend the same health benefits that people enjoy on a memory foam mattress.

Whichever bed you choose, the most important thing to do is make sure the bed is big enough for your dog. Even if it’s a perfect fit for your house and matches your decor, if your dog cannot lay down in it, the dog bed will never be used.

Choosing the right bed takes time, but the effort you make now in selecting the ideal dog bed will ensure that both you and your dog will get a great night’s sleep and wake up refreshed and ready for a new day!

Cleaning Your Cat’s Teeth Is More Important Than You May Think

. Cats are easy to fall in love with. Undoubtedly, they are cute and their cuddly and friendly nature makes it even easier for you to become obsessed with them. 

However, a part of loving them means that you must also care for them holistically! 

While cats may seem to be very low-maintenance, many people make mistakes regarding their general health. Unfortunately, their dental health is often overlooked. 

Can you imagine that 85% of cats develop periodontal disease by the time they turn two years?

As a cat mom or dad, you’ve got to ensure that you tick the box on all their health and happiness needs. In this blog, you’ll understand why taking care of your feline’s pearly whites is essential and will also discover how to keep them clean and in great health.

The Benefits of Brushing your Cat’s Teeth

1. Prevents Respiratory Infections

sick cat laying down with flu symptoms

Did you know that cats have a high risk of exposure to infections due to the many things that they ingest? Unlike humans, cats cannot distinguish between good and bad food. In some cases, they develop respiratory infections due to frequent exposure to bacteria and other harmful microorganisms. Health experts reveal that most cats develop respiratory complications because the bacteria and other microbes in their mouth get inhaled into the lower respiratory system. 

It’s no surprise that more than 70% of the cats brought in for check-ups turn out to have respiratory infections. 

A cat with stomatitis is a clear indication of respiratory illness. One of the significant reasons behind that is that they have poor dental hygiene. 

Have you been noticing your cat developing signs of pneumonia and other symptoms associated with difficulty breathing? Check out their dental health. 

2. Reduces risks of developing tumors


Similar to human beings, pets too can have tumors. Unfortunately, poor dental hygiene can be a contributing factor to a cat developing papillomavirus. This is very similar to the relationship between humans who have poor oral hygiene and human papillomavirus. 

Papillomavirus does not cause aggressive symptoms, but that does not mean it is not harmful. 

Does your cat have lumps around the epithelial locations, especially around the eyes and other mucosal areas? 

If yes, it may be time to take care of your cat’s teeth by enhancing oral hygiene. Thus, it is beneficial to know the signs of papilloma. In cats, papilloma symptoms include plague-like scaly lesions, usually around the eyelids, neck, head, ventral abdomen, and limbs. 

Fortunately, it is possible to permanently eliminate papillomas in cats through surgery. 

3. Encourages Less Snacking

Cats, too, need to maintain a healthy weight. Accumulation of excess body fat is as dangerous to cats as it is to human beings. Typically, cats are considered overweight when they weigh 20% above their standard bodyweight. 

How do you treat an obese cat? First, you must cut down on snacks and treats. One way to achieve that is regularly brushing your cat’s teeth. The reason behind this is that your cat will have a distaste for some snacks just after you brush their teeth. 

tabby cat playing outdoors hiking climbing

More so, this will reduce your cat’s bad eating habits. Keep in mind that snacks should constitute only 10% of your cat’s diet. 

One of the reasons your cat begs for food can be due to the presence of disease. Brushing your cat’s teeth will reduce the cases of developing infections, which indirectly prevents obesity. 

4. Improves General Health

Happy cat with healthy teeth smiling with pet parent

Typically, oral health contributes to general health. As humans, we brush our teeth to rid of bacteria and other microorganisms potentially dangerous to our immunity. This also happens with cats. Additionally, cats have a high capability of harboring harmful bacteria since they do not choose what they eat. 

Cats may at times be moody, and their oral health may be one of the reasons. As humans, poor oral hygiene leads to discomfort due to tartar. Cats are not any different. Your cat’s mood swings may be a consequence of their discomfort regarding oral health. Poor oral hygiene is one of the major causes of repeated infections. 

Your cat’s stomach discomfort is also a sign of poor dental health. Does your cat throw tantrums off late? If so, it may be the perfect time to visit a vet.

5. Prevents Bad Breath


Sure cats are adorable, but that does not mean you have to withstand their bad breath. Pets, including cats, consume a variety of things, some of which can be considered quite nasty. 

If you are a cat owner, it is normal to notice substances stuck between your cat's teeth. These are debris, responsible for the bad breath. It would help if you took care of your cat’s oral health to eliminate unpleasant smells. 

How to Brush your Cats Teeth

The first step to caring for your cat’s health is recognizing a cat's symptoms with poor dental health or stomatitis. 

First, ensure that your pet has no bad breath. Keep in mind that bad breath in cats is not normal. Bad breath at most times means that your cat has an oral infection or other health-related complications. 

Cat with stomatitis brushing teeth

Also, check for signs of red or bleeding gums. Most times, red or bleeding gums are signs of oral diseases. Similar to humans, cats too develop inflammation in case of oral infection. Ensure that your cat is not showing any signs of inflammation. Is your cat unable to eat? This might be a sign of infection due to sore gums. 

Also, excessive drooling might point out that your cat has an oral infection.


Cats are not generally familiar with some hygiene routines. According to most statistics, it is easier to familiarize a cat with a specific routine at a younger age. That said, it is crucial to get your cat used to the idea of teeth brushing at a young age. While doing it, it is essential to be gentle. Mostly, cats adapt to some routines when you introduce the activities at a young age.

Use Brushes Designed for Cats’ Oral Health


Cats are delicate. That said, you should use a specific type of brush to care for your cat’s dental health. The human toothbrush is not efficient when it comes to a cat’s teeth. Your fur friend’s toothbrush should be smaller and softer than the standard human toothbrush.


Use Toothpaste Designed for Cats

One of the mistakes often made by pet parents when it comes to their pets is using their own grooming products on them. Using human dental products on your kitty can lead to mouth sores. They can be quite harmful to them. 

Find ways to Brush without the Fuss

Cat with stomatitis brushing teeth

Yes, it’s possible! Advancements in pet health care have paved the way for you to take care of your pet’s teeth without the catfight. The best part is that these avenues are also natural and won’t cause any nasty side effects on your pet.

Natural supplements for cats such as our  does quite an amazing job of not only reducing your feline’s plaque build-up but also controls degenerative mouth ailments and a plethora of periodontal diseases. 

Such supplements like this one are tiny and tasteless. They have also been designed to allow you to crush them, dissolve them or place them in their food. Your fur baby won’t even realize that they’ve just got their teeth brushed.

While it is likely that your cat will need dental treatment at some stage of its life, regular dental home care can dramatically improve oral health and reduce the necessity for dental procedures, which can be of benefit to you and your cat.

It’s totally worth the effort! 

Yes, You Can Help Your Pet Recover After Joint or Hip Surgery

Your pet is part of your family. They bring you joy and happiness every day. The love between you and them forms an unbreakable bond. So, when they need pet surgery, it’s understandable that it can be heart-breaking or even scary for both of you.

Joint and hip problems cause pets a lot of problems and pain. And in those instances when they need surgery,  it is important for you to know how to care for them while they are on the path to full recovery. Whether they may be healing from surgery for ArthritisHip Dysplasia, or a broken bone, this blog will provide you with a good guide on good post-op care for the four-legged love in your life. You’ll have them back on their feet in no time! 

First, take a quick look into common surgeries your vet may recommend for your pet’s hip and joint challenge.

Commonly Recommended Surgeries for Pet Hip and Joint Complications

For Dogs

Dog Hip Replacement

Total Hip Replacement (THR) is a surgical procedure performed to get rid of the pain your dog is experiencing due to hip dysplasia. This involves duplicating the workings of your dog’s hip and joint normal hip joint with a normal range of motion and limb function. Metal and plastic implants replace the ball and socket and are held in place with cement, metal pegs, or bone ingrowth methods.

Arthroscopic Surgery

To minimize pain and enhance your dog’s movements your vet may recommend a surgical procedure called Arthroscopic Surgery. Small incisions are made at the affected area so the cartilage can be cleansed of debris. Other procedures are geared towards repairing your dog’s bone abnormality, restructuring part of their joint, or fusing the joints together.

For Cats

Arthritis

Although there are no surgical procedures for arthritis in cats, you still need to take your fuzzy love to the vet for a diagnosis. Below is a list of traditional treatments for cats suffering from arthritis.

Cold Laser Therapy: This procedure is painless and does not penetrate your cat’s skin. Here, a vet uses a device that discharges healing light waves over your cat’s affected areas. Pain and inflammation are greatly reduced.

Injectable Joint Protectants: Injections of Glycosaminoglycans are given to your cat approximately every four weeks. These should help diminish arthritic pain. Since cats are known for their independent “leave me alone” attitudes, expect them to not be a fan of this procedure that requires them out of their comfort zones often.

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): This is the most used treatment by veterinarians to treat arthritis in cats. They will determine how long your cat will need to be taking them.

Broken Bone(Fracture)

Cats are known for their great balance. But even they can suffer a mishap and end up with a broken bone. If this should happen to your cat, no worries. Most fractures can be repaired by rebuilding the broken bone and holding it in place with metallic implants.

For such a procedure, vets frequently use the following methods:

1. A stainless steel pin is placed in the marrow cavity of the cat’s affected bone.

2. Using a plate screwed to the outside of the bone to hold it in its correct position.

3. Several short stainless steel pins are vertically placed into the bone fragments. Metal bars and clamps are then used to connect pins on the outside of the cat’s leg.

12 Tips to Get Your Pet on Their Feet After Hip and Joint Surgery 

As a pet parent, you do not want to think about any of the above befalling your precious four-legged friend. But what if it does and you find out they need surgery? How do you take care of them after they come home?

You want to be sure your pet has a speedy and perfect recovery. Here’s how you can support the process with confidence:

You will be pawsitively amazed. 

No need to sweat the surgery or aftercare. Follow the tips above and you will do great and your fido or feline will be back on their feet sooner than you think!

All the best!

If Your Cat Sleeps More Than Leaps, Here are Easy Tips to Get Your Lazy Cat in Shape

. We all know that cats sleep around 12-16 hours a day. Between that and a couple of other occasional naps, cats have a reputation for being one of the laziest pets. However, cats aren't as slothful as some may think but sometimes it's true. If you think you have a lazy cat, then you're in the right place. Let's go over some things that cause laziness in cats, and what you can do to help. 

Why is my cat lazy?

There are many reasons that a cat can become lazy. To start, cats tend to nap when they are bored. So if you notice your kitty napping quite a bit, that may be why. Cats tend to have more energy when they are mentally stimulated. Basically, your cat might be napping because there isn't anything interesting for them to do.

Another reason you might notice laziness in your cat is because they could be having hip and joint issues. If your cat is significantly less active than normal, you may want to consider that they could be having discomfort in their joints.

Your cat could also be lazier than normal because they are depressed or upset. Cats are very emotionally attentive creatures and change can be a big deal for them. Sometimes, cats will stop being playful and conserve their energy for dealing with stress or anxiety. There are many different things that can lead to having a depressed cat. But there are other possible reasons too like:


These are just a few, but they can all cause your cat to become depressed and therefore lazy. 

Are certain cat breeds lazier than others? 

Yes, some cat breeds are lazier than others. Having a breed of cat that tends to be lazy means that you will have some work to do to make sure they don't gain too much weight and still get the exercise they need. Some of the laziest cat breeds include:

  • American Shorthair
  • Maine Coon
  • Persian
  • Ragdoll
  • Exotic Shorthair
  • Scottish Fold
  • Russian Blue

If your cat isn't on this list, they still may have lazy tendencies, but these are just a few examples of breeds that may be predisposed to such behavior.

What are the health risks involved in cat laziness?

One big health risk for lazy cats is weight gain. Obesity in cats is becoming more common, and one major reason is that a lot of the cats we see in media are actually overweight. As a cat owner, how can you tell if your cat is a normal weight or could be at risk?

Of course your vet will always check your cat's weight, but there is an easy way for you to check for yourself.
Here is a quick and easy guide you can use at home to tell if your kitty is at a healthy weight or not.

If your cat is obese, or is at risk, don't just leave it but take action to change this. There are a lot of health risks involved with obesity. Overweight felines are more susceptible to having high blood pressure, thyroid problems, heart disease, bladder stones, and many types of cancer.

In addition, carrying around all that extra weight can cause faster joint degeneration, inflammation and osteoarthritis.


Laziness could also lead to cats no longer grooming themselves enough. This wouldn't cause much of a serious health issue, but it can cause their fur to become matted. Matted fur can be very uncomfortable and lead to dry skin, especially in long-haired cats.

Lazy cats are also prone to develop depression. Depression in cats can be hard to notice at first, but eventually, you will notice significant changes in their behavior. Cats with depression can easily become dehydrated because they tend to not take great care of themselves.

These are just some of the side effects of your cat being lazy, but there are a lot of things you can do to help.

How to exercise a lazy cat? 

1. Find toys they actually like


Cat toys are everywhere, but as we all know, cats can be picky. Your cat may not be playing with their toys because the toys may not be interesting to them. So, try some different types. Of course, it can be a challenging quest, but once you find the right one it can keep your cat active. 

2. Try some puzzles 

There are many different options for cat puzzles out there. You can buy puzzles that they can do anytime, or battery-operated ones meant to be done with you around. You can also test out puzzles that hide their treats or food if they need a little more motivation. A puzzle that they enjoy can keep your cat busy and mentally stimulated with little effort from you. 

3. Get an intricate cat tree

Many cats love their trees. If you get them a basic scratching post, there is nothing wrong with that. But having a large tree with levels and toys can help your cat stay active. You may find them going in and out of the tunnels and attempting to jump from the floor to the top level. It can keep your sweet feline active even when you aren't home, but when you are home, don't be afraid to encourage them to expend their energy on the tree. 

4. Interact with them more

Cats are solitary pets and are usually happy with the food, water, and occasional attention. But sometimes they need a little inspiration to become more active; this is where you come in. Playing with your furry friend can help encourage more active behavior, and it can help you bond with your cat. Try a feather or a ball on a string for help. You can also play fetch with your cat if they are willing. So try some different activities with your cat and see what they seem to enjoy the most.

5. Try a supplement for joint problems

If you notice that your cat is slowing down due to joint or hip issues like arthritis or hip dysplasia then, they may need a natural supplement like BestLife4Pets WALK-EASY Hip and Joint Relief Remedy to help with the pain. Cats tend to hide pain well, so you may not be able to notice much of a difference in their behavior. 

Is it too late to help my cat become active?

In short, no it's not too late. Even older cats can develop healthier habits if you encourage more activity. If your cat is overweight or already pretty lazy, then it may take longer for them to become as active as you may want. Be patient with them. It's just like humans when we get back to the gym after a long break. We can't usually go there and do the same exercises we did when we were there 5 years ago. Keep that in mind when you're encouraging your furry friend to be more active.

Try the suggestions above to help your cat be more active, but if you notice a significant change in activity or behavior, be sure to consult with your vet. Your vet will be able to guide you on how much exercise your cat should be getting, and they'll be able to give suggestions on making sure your cat is getting enough nutrients in their food. 

So, play with them and encourage more active behavior, and your cat will be more active in no time.

Senior Pets Need Special Care

. Pets are living longer due to advances in veterinary care, diagnostics, and earlier intervention.  Even so, the key to enjoying your senior pets lies not only in increasing their lifespan but also in helping them enjoy their later years to the fullest. 

Just like people, cats and dogs can be vulnerable to damaging health conditions as they grow older. Kidney failure, heart disease, arthritis, oral disease, malignant tumors, and cognitive dysfunction can take place through the typical maturing process. In earlier times, simply because quite a few health conditions weren't recognized until the pet was in the advanced stages, veterinarians could do nothing more than make a pet's golden years a tad more comfortable by caring for the symptoms of age-related health issues. If the pet was lucky, the issues could advance slowly. 

Most pet owners accepted the fact that their four-legged buddies were only able to survive a relatively brief life, get old and pass on. However, the breakthroughs in technical advancements in modern-day veterinary care and insights on pet nutrition mean that not only do pets survive longer but their quality of life has increased enormously as well. 

At What Age is a Pet Considered a Senior?

Generally, smaller breeds of dogs live longer than larger breeds, and cats live longer than dogs. Life spans vary with individuals, and pets, like people, grow older at different rates, some more gracefully than others.

A few smaller breeds of dogs, like Terriers, are considered geriatric at fifteen. Large and giant breeds like Labrador retrievers and Rottweiler’s are considered seniors as soon as seven years old. Cats, especially if they are kept in the house, frequently live to their early twenties and do not attain their golden years until their teens.

The single most crucial way a pet owner can take to keep their pet happy and healthy as long as possible is to pencil in regular veterinary exams. As pets age, these exams tend to be more critical than ever, because as with people, quick detection is essential for disease and problem

intervention. Younger pets need routine examinations once or twice yearly. However, as dogs and cats approach middle age, these exams should be much more frequent because each year in a pet's life is equivalent to 5-7 people years.

Preventing Health Problems

To detect potential health problems earlier, veterinarians recommend routine lab work, electrocardiograms, blood pressure monitoring, and x-rays to detect early conditions like thyroid, kidney, heart, and liver disease.

Vitamins and immune boosting supplements for both dogs and cats can also help increase energy and strengthen the body so that the animal is not as susceptible to infection and disease. It is always best to take preventative measures: a healthy diet supported by natural supplements, along with moderate exercise will keep aging pets healthy for many years to come.

For pets that do develop a health condition, if detected early enough, many can be treated with prescription medication, physical therapy, herbal supplements, and possibly even a prescribed diet that will not only prolong their lifespan but may also improve the quality of their lives. In some cases, problem health conditions could even be reversed.

Typical Treatments for Aging-Related Ailments

Due to remarkable advancements in medicine, we now have access to better treatments and remedies than ever. One example of science helping our pets live longer is the new generation of non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs. Because our older cats and dogs may often develop arthritis and/or hip dysplasia, these newer drugs help alleviate the pain of many senior pets while keeping unwanted side effects to a minimum.

Chondroitin and glucosamine supplements also seem to help older dogs with their arthritis. The recent addition and use of Turmeric, a cleansing agent that is also a powerful anti-inflammatory, has enhanced the effectiveness of these joint supplements. The benefits of Turmeric go even beyond pain relief but also include helping fight other chronic diseases. Advanced veterinary technology includes MRI's, cat scans, radiation treatments, chemotherapy, advanced surgery with laser scalpels, laparoscopy, hip replacements, and much more. 

Specialty Treatment Options

More and more veterinarians are pursuing specialty practices to address the needs of those pets whose owners want the best treatment available. Natural treatments are becoming increasingly popular and can include physical therapy, water treadmills, homeopathic remedies and even acupuncture, which can help pets recover from surgeries and gain their mobility quicker. Many diseases common in aging pets, such as arthritis and hip dysplasia, ear infections, gum disease, thyroid problems, and more, can be combatted through natural or homeopathic remedies.

Several age-related problems will still be viewed as unavoidable; however, the attitudes of both veterinarians and pet owners have changed. The belief now is the fact that "age is not a disease," and veterinary medicine is adding greater emphasis on senior pet health through preventative health plans.

The sooner a vet can detect a problem, the more likely they can manage or even correct the problem. Lumps and bumps, if surgically removed when they are small, may prevent the tumors from spreading throughout the body. Advances in oncology now make chemotherapy and radiation therapy almost a normal course of treatment for pets that do have cancer.

Other diseases can also be prevented through regular checkups. By addressing dental disease early on, you can extend your pet's lifespan by nearly three years. Diabetes can be managed with insulin, and special diets and medications are available to prevent heart disease and help the heart pump better. Cats with renal failure can benefit from many of the newer drugs released, as well as by undergoing fluid therapy to help them reduce the built-up toxins that their kidneys can no longer flush out. There are even drugs that can help with cognitive dysfunction in dogs. Some specialists can even remove cataracts so your pet won't go blind.

Because of all of this, our cats and dogs are living longer, with a better quality of life. Who knows what remarkable treatment will be invented next to keep our beloved pets healthy?

If your pet does have to undergo surgery or some form of treatment, there are a number of easy to follow things you can do to ensure they have a smooth and speedy recovery.

As your pet gets older, you will start to worry more about their health and happiness. But with the number of treatments available to help manage (if not cure) pet diseases, you don't need to stress. If you start noticing more grey hairs in their fur, you should bring them in for a checkup more often and pay closer attention to their everyday wellbeing, but there's no need to worry about every little thing.

Have fun with your furry friend and help them enjoy their remaining years with you, and they'll love you forever!

What is the risk of your dog developing arthritis?

Going to the dog park everyday I see too many older dogs slowing down or limping. This made me wonder if my dog will at some slow down and develop joint pain and arthritis, and if so, is there anything I can do to prevent this.

For pet parents like us, our dog isn’t just a dog; they’re family. So, when they’re experiencing the symptoms of dog arthritis, for example: limping, stiffness, redness, and swelling in the joints, it is really painful to watch. If you have a young dog or puppy, you too may sometimes wonder if there is any way to prevent this from happening to your pup.  Well, we have some good news ...

While many dogs may develop arthritis as they age, especially those that are genetically pre-disposed, the good news is that preventative care throughout your pup’s life can delay the onset or even prevent arthritis in your dog altogether. 

After all, even with pets, prevention is always better than cure!

The first step you can take in developing good preventative care would be to determine whether your pup is at a higher risk for getting arthritis. Based on this information, you can speak to your vet about developing a plan that ensures your dog has a lifestyle that gives them the best shot of experiencing their lives without pain in their bones and joints. You can even use anti-inflammatory supplements like Walk-Easy Extra Strength Joint Pain Relief to secure their overall mobility. 

Keep in mind that there are different types of canine arthritis, and a variety of cases are more commonly seen in many different dog breeds.

In this blog, you’ll discover breeds that are most at risk for developing and showing signs of dog arthritis. You'll also learn about two common types of arthritis and which breeds are more likely to suffer from them. 

Rheumatoid Arthritis


Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) occurs when a dog’s immune system attacks its joints. In many cases, it is a condition that is progressive.  A dog with RA will experience a worsening of inflammation over a period of time.

It is common for Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) to affect a dog in middle age. However, surprisingly, it has a greater chance of affecting younger pups than osteoarthritis does.

Additionally, because RA is believed to have such a major genetic component, it is recommended that you do not breed dogs that are pre-disposed to developing it. This type of dog arthritis most commonly impacts dogs of a smaller breed.

Breeds most commonly diagnosed with Rheumatoid Dog Arthritis include:

1. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Cute right? This little-known breed is actually pretty new. It wasn’t officially recognized by the AKC until 2003. These handsome dogs need some kind of job or activity to make them happy.

Tollers are also great for households with kids. However, you may not want to bring these pups into a household with cats. They were recently bred as hunting dogs, so they still retain the desire to catch and retrieve other furry animals.

2. Poodle

These dogs are affectionate and adaptable. Poodles are easy to train and can live happily in many situations, such as in apartments, homes with no yard, big families, with other pets, etc…

A hypo-allergenic breed, the Poodle sheds very little. Many people are put off by the long hair and crazy cuts on these pups, but their coats can be kept clipped close

3. Shetland Sheep Dog

Canines belonging to this breed are quite stunning! Traditionally known as racing dogs, dogs in this breed still retain high energy levels and need lots of exercise. Being great jumpers, make sure you have a high fence if you want to be an owner to one of these pups.

Greyhounds are easy to train, affectionate, and friendly. Most of these dogs are racing dogs, but their career is over when they are from 2-5 years old. Many people adopt them when they are “put out to pasture”.

Osteoarthritis in dogs

This type of dog arthritis is more common. Osteoarthritis is also known as Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD). It affects 1 in 5 dogs. The older your dog gets, the more likely it is that he will develop this arthritis, which is caused by normal wear on the joints and injuries.

While there may be some genetic component, canines who are overweight or in large breed classes are more likely to get more serious cases at younger ages than normal. Also, dogs who are active or working dogs will probably develop this type of arthritis in later years. The more your pooch is active in extreme sports or exercise, the more likely it will have injuries.

Breeds that are most likely to contract Osteoarthritis are:

1. Labrador Retriever

A symbol of search and rescue, the Bloodhound has a great sense of smell. Intelligent and affectionate, these canines are easy to train. A great family pet, this hound is friendly with everyone it meets.

This pup loves to follow his nose, so make sure you have a sturdy fence if you want one of these babies. The weight and bone structure of these dogs are what put them on this list.

2. German Shepherd

Hardworking and focused are the two traits that most describe the German Shepherd. They are not overly friendly with strangers, so they are not easily distracted when training and going about their business.

This breed is known for its intelligence and is often used as working dogs. Unfortunately, their size makes them more likely to get osteoarthritis.

3. Pug

The Pug is a mischievous breed that provides hours of entertainment to its companions. Unfortunately, these loving dogs are susceptible to arthritis. Also, their facial structure can cause breathing problems and overheat.

Pugs are not usually very healthy dogs. Take care that the parents of the Pug you are considering are healthy, and make sure that you’re adopting from a reputable breeder.

4. Alaskan Malamute

These double-coated canines do not do well in equatorial areas. They were made for the Arctic, and cold weather is what they are healthiest in. A great work dog and guard dog, Malamutes are reserved with strangers.

These pups do love to dig, so be prepared! A lot of dogs in this breed are work dogs. Size and injuries mean they can develop arthritis.

5. Bloodhound

A symbol of search and rescue, the Bloodhound has a great sense of smell. Intelligent and affectionate, these canines are easy to train. A great family pet, this hound is friendly with everyone it meets.

This pup loves to follow his nose, so make sure you have a sturdy fence if you want one of these babies. The weight and bone structure of these dogs are what puts them on this list.

6. Golden Retriever

One of the most popular breeds in America, these loving dogs are loyal and easy to train. Energetic pooches are best suited for the active, outdoors family. Golden Retrievers especially love water and mud holes.

Often used as hunting dogs, the retriever has its size and working-class background to thank for making it more likely to get osteoarthritis. Keep in mind that this breed also requires more grooming than other short-haired dogs.

7. Old English Sheepdog

Adaptable and easy to train, the Old English Sheepdog is gentle and fun-loving. Also, called “Bobtails”, this breed is at home herding and guarding other animals – and kids.

This friendly dog does well in country or city life. While this dog is large, they are also hard workers. Herding animals put them more at risk for an injury which heightens their chance of arthritis.

8. Samoyed

These intelligent pups are playful and athletic. Cold temperatures are the best for its health. If they are going to be outdoors in warm temperatures, you will need to keep their hair clipped short.

Samoyeds are gentle and do great with kids and other animals. The energy level and size put this breed at risk for arthritis.

9. Saint Bernard

An affectionate breed, the Saint Bernard is great for homes with kids and other pets. They cannot tolerate the heat well, so they are best suited for colder climates.

Saint Bernard's don’t need a lot of exercises. In fact, they can be downright lazy. This lowers the risk of injury, but their size still puts them at risk for joint issues.

10. Dachshund

These long dogs may not make good guard dogs, but they do make great watchdogs. While Dachshunds are usually suspicious of strangers, they are still loving and playful with their family.

“Weenie Dogs” also have normal energy levels, so they aren’t hyperactive yappers. Even though they are small, their long spine makes them at risk for arthritis.

11. Great Dane

These gentle giants are loving and loyal. Danes make great pets for active families on the go. These canines have tons of energy and will need room to romp.

Potential owners should also keep in mind that everything is more expensive when you have to buy it bigger. Great Danes can be the size of a small horse. That makes these pups one of the most common dogs to have joint problems.

12. Otterhound

These personable dogs are friendly and affectionate, but they are also good at entertaining themselves. In fact, they are one of the best breeds for spending time alone.

Otterhounds will love attention and play, but they are not clingy and needy. This little-known breed is playful, energetic, and large. That combination makes them a likely candidate for joint problems like osteoarthritis.

13. Chow Chow

These regal dogs need a strong trainer who is well-versed in “pack leader” training. Known to be aggressive, care should be taken in households with kids and other pets.

One thing this dog has going for it is that it is independent and does well with alone time. Another large breed, the Chow Chow is prone to joint and hip problems.

14. Basset Hound

Calm and low key, the Basset Hound loves to just lie around and take it easy. These lazy dogs are great for first-time owners, and ones who are lazy trainers.

Extremely friendly, you will never have to worry about aggressiveness in this pooch. Long and weighty, this breed is more susceptible to joint issues like dysplasia and arthritis, as well as frequent dog ear infections.

15. Mastiffs

(Japanese (Tosu Inu), Bull, Brazilian, Neapolitan, Dogo Argentino, etc.)

An independent and strong-willed breed, Mastiffs make great guard dogs. Needing a strong and experienced trainer, these gentle giants are still far removed from their war-loving ancestors.

While these pups have a bad reputation, most are not aggressive unless trained to be. Like Bulldogs, arthritis and hip dysplasia are more common in these breeds.

16. Boxer

These dogs are imposing in stature with their long, lean muscles; however, they are soft-hearted, loving animals. These pups make great companions to adults, children, and other animals.

Dogs in this breed are usually very quiet. One of their most coveted qualities is that they are not nuisance barkers. Despite this, boxers are highly  energetic which places them squarely on the list of dogs prone to joint pain later in life.

Is Your Dog On the List? 

If you’ve spotted your own pooch’s breed in the above list of top 16 dog breeds that are at risk for developing arthritis it’s worth exploring what preventative care can look like for them before it happens. After all, your pet's health and care are in your control.

However, regardless of your dog's breed, if you’re recognizing that your dog is experiencing inflammation from dog arthritis, try BestLife4Pets WALK-EASY Hip and Joint Relief Remedy to ease their pain and get them walking easier in no time.

Wondering if your pet has an ear infection? Know the signs, symptoms and natural treatments

It's so easy to fall in love with the floppy, perky ears of a pup or marvel at the sharp ones belonging to a cat. Beyond the cuteness and intrigue, just like humans, your pet’s ears are essential to their ability to socialize, interact and protect themselves. Without good ear health, your fur friend's energy and balance would be greatly affected. 

However, at some point in your pet's life, you may recognize that a pesky infection may appear almost suddenly. As a pet parent, you're now tasked with the responsibility of restoring their ears to perfect health. 

Believe it or not, roughly 20% of dogs have some form of ear disease. This number rises in more humid environments where bacteria tend to thrive. Where your feline friend is concerned, ear infections are a lot less common with only about 1 in every 15 cats seen by a vet comes in because of an ear issue. 

If your pet is suffering from an ear infection right at this minute, rest assured that you don't have to guess your way through their recovery. In this blog, you'll find a great guide that will help you understand what is an ear infection, the associated signs and symptoms, and some natural remedies that will help restore your beloved pet back to their happy, playful selves.

How Long Does an Ear Infection Last?

Most uncomplicated ear infections can be resolved within 1–2 weeks, once the right treatment is given to your pet. If the infection affects the eardrum, recovery can take from 3-4 weeks.

However, where the infection is severe or triggered by an underlying condition, full recovery may take months to resolve or may turn into chronic ear problems that recur from time to time. In some severe cases, there may be some structural damage that causes the ear to permanently change shape, although this is largely cosmetic.

What are Ear Infections?


Ear infections are just that: inflammation in the ear. It can occur in the inner or outer parts of the dog’s ears. Otitis (an infection of the ear) can occur in three places - the outer ear, middle ear or inner ear.  An outer ear infection is the most common because that's where your pet is most likely to be exposed to bacteria, yeast, ear mites, dirty water and other foreign matter.


If left untreated, your pet's your pet's eardrum can become porous and the infection can move from the outer ear through the eardrum to the inner ear. Even if your pet's eardrum looks intact, the inner ear may still be inflamed and infected from the bacteria.

There three different types of ear infections in dogs are usually referred to as: 

• Otitis externa - inflammation of the external ear canal

• Otitis media - inflammation of the middle ear structures

• Otitis interna - This type of infection is the most common of the three. It is the inflammation of the layer of cells of the outer ear canal. When left untreated, this can spread and cause otitis media and externa.

This is where some serious side effects can occur. Treating otitis externa as quickly as possible and monitoring the healing process is one of the most important parts of a pet's recovery. 

What causes ear infections?

Unfortunately, some breeds are just more prone to ear infections. In dogs, some of these breeds include Cocker Spaniels, Miniature Poodles, or Old English Sheepdogs while in cats they are common to Himalayans and Persians. 

Beyond your pet’s breed, an ear inflammation can also surface due to bacteria, yeast, worms, mites or a combination of these. Some of the issues can be caused by moisture, which holds bacteria and yeast; others may come from parasites found in hedges, or heavily wooded areas. Puppies and cats especially, can also get infections from ear mites. It is very important to watch your pet and make sure they don't get into dirty lakes or dense bushes where these creatures like to reside.

Even though these causes are more common, here are some more culprits that may cause ear infections:

• Allergies

• Endocrine disorders

• Autoimmune disorders

• Wax buildup

• Foreign bodies

• Injury to the ear canal

• Excessive cleaning

The good news is that some of these causes can be preventable, and as such, you have a great shot at preventing a recurrence in your pet. Getting to the root cause of your pet’s pain will be extremely important for both prevention and care. 

If you’re still wondering if your happy dog or cat has an ear infection or what one may look like, the following list of symptoms will be a good guide for you.  Do note that sometimes pets do a good job of hiding the infection as there may not be any outward symptoms besides built-up wax. 

However, if your pet is symptomatic, these are the signs to look out for in your dog or cat:

• Headshaking

• Redness of the skin

• Odor

• Swelling

• Scratching 

• Increased discharge

• Scaly skin

Untreated, symptoms can advance to:

Untreated, symptoms can advance to:

• Hearing loss

• Loss of balance

• Walking in circles

Undoubtedly, ear infections are painful for your best friend; the sooner the symptoms are detected and an infection is identified, the sooner you can take the necessary actions to reduce the discomfort your pet is experiencing and ultimately place them on the path to full recovery. 

How to treat dog ear infections at home?

Ear infections are one of the most common reasons pets are taken to the vet by their owners. While it’s wise to gain an official diagnosis from a health care professional, you can try the following natural remedies at home first if it doesn’t appear too severe. 

• Green Tea

Green tea is a natural solution for inflammatory pain. This is due to the antioxidants in green tea. First, you will want to boil 8 oz of water and add two green tea bags. Just like you would if you were drinking it, let the tea steep and cool off. Lastly, syringe the solution into the ear canal. 

• Grapefruit Seed Extract

Grapefruit seed extract is an antioxidant as well. It fights bacteria, fungi, and other causes of ear infections. You can add 3 to 5 drops into your cat or dog’s food, or mix 10 drops with half an ounce of pure aloe vera juice and use that to clean the ears. 

• Oil of Oregano

The oil of oregano is a powerful antioxidant, as well. Just like grapefruit seed extract, mix one drop of oregano oil and half an ounce of aloe vera juice. Use this to clean the outside of the ears.

• Vinegar and water

This solution can reduce itch and pain. For this one, mix one-part vinegar and one part water. Use this to clean the ears. It's recommended to use organic apple cider vinegar for this remedy.

Try a holistic natural supplement for pet ear health 

Alternatively, or even in addition to the above ingredients, you may readily have in your kitchen, you can try a natural treatment specially made for restoring pet ear health.  Made from select plants and minerals, Bestlife4Pets Ear Infection and Ear Itch Relief Remedy is specially formulated to ease all of the symptoms listed above and conquer the root causes behind ear infections in dogs and cats.

While there are many more recipes for natural remedies than we can list here, it's important to remember that prevention is necessary to make sure your pet's ears stay healthy and the infection does not recur.  Some things you can do right away include:

• Keep ear clean

• Monitor their diet

• Add food supplements to their diet (eg. garlic is good for yeast issues)

• Keep an eye out for potential signs and symptoms. Remember, sometimes ear infections come from a deeper problem. 

When to take your pet to the vet and what to expect

Of course, the aim is for natural remedies to entirely eliminate the problem. 

However, if there are no visible changes, then it’s time to take your four-legged friend to the vet. Here are some signs you should go to the vet for your pet’s condition:

• Symptoms not improving/getting worse

• If your pet's pain levels are too high

• If the ear swells up or looks puffy

• If you feel it is time to take them! Sometimes your gut is both you and your Fido or feline’s guardian angel. As a loving pet parent, you naturally know when it’s time to take them to the nearest pet clinic. 

If you do end up needing to take your dog or cat to the vet, here are some things to be ready to answer:

• Duration of the symptoms

• Allergies or medical conditions

• Medications

• Food habits

• If you clean your pet’s ears and which products you use

• If you’ve trimmed or plucked the hair in their ears

• Recent activities

• Former ear infections, when they occurred, and how they were managed

After answering these questions, it will be time for the physical exam. These depend on the severity of the ear condition. Here is what this could look like, depending on your case:

• Visual assessment

• Examination with an otoscope

• Gentle pressure to assess the level of pain

• Samples taken by swabbing the ear

• Biopsies or X-rays

Seeing our sweet furry love in pain is something that you’ll never want to experience. As owners and lifelong friends, you will always want to give them the healthiest and most loving lives that you can provide. If the situation keeps recurring, strongly consider a lifestyle change. 

Pets with more natural lifestyles are less likely to get ear infections. It’s important to look at every detail and find out what is causing the infection to prevent them in the future. Researching, reading articles, talking to the vet are all great starts for prevention in the future.

Hopefully, this guide has educated you on what an ear infection is, what it looks like, and how to get your dog or cat back to perfect health.

Looking to Celebrate Easter with Your Dog or Cat?

Spring is in the air and for many in North America that also means Easter celebrations, chocolate, flowers and Easter Egg hunts. With all the colorful and tasty treats around the house, it's no wonder that our pets want to join in the celebrations too. Holidays in general are a great time to get together with family, and our four legged family members usually want to, and should, also be included in the fun. You may want to make some Easter treats for your cat or an Easter basket for your dog, but you certainly don't want them getting into the chocolate eggs - those can be toxic. 

To make sure your Easter holidays are both fun and safe, here are 5 simple, yet super fun, ways to make this Easter the best one yet for your furry friend.

1.      Have an Easter Eggs Hunt 

Who doesn't love an Easter Egg Hunt and it's easy to include your pet in the fun. If you are doing a doggy Easter egg hunt substitute in a few hard boiled eggs instead of chocolate ones for your pup to find. And don't use the plastic eggs as that will make it harder for your dog to find the eggs and also the plastic can break and hurt their mouth if they bite into them.

If you are also hiding chocolate eggs for the kids, take the dog out first so that they don't accidentally find and eat the chocolate left by the kids. Chocolate is toxic for cats and dogs so don't leave your pets outside or anywhere near chocolate and candy unsupervised.

Another option is to hide dog treats or toys in the yard or around the house along with the Easter eggs and see if your pup or the kids will find them first. 

If you have a cat, hide some catnip or a cat treat in the eggs and encourage your kitty to find them. Then stand back and watch your frisky feline swat at and chase the eggs to get the treat.

2.  Make Easter Dog and Cat Treats 

One of the best parts about Easter is the yummy meal and all that candy and chocolate. Most pet parents are aware that sweets are a no-no for pets, but did you know that many of the foods commonly enjoyed during Easter such as ham and pork. 

As much as your pet loves human food and may stand by the table hoping to pick up on some of the scraps, the high salt and fat content of these foods is very bad for both dogs and cats and can lead to pet obesity and weight gain if they eat too much. Instead, try giving them some vegetables like carrots, squash or green beans.

If you can't help but succumb to your cat's mewing or those puppy dog eyes whenever you indulge in a tasty treat, why not make a cat or dog safe Easter treat for your fur baby. There are many great DIY recipes for Easter dog treats that you can even make in the shape of Easter eggs or Easter Bunnies which your pup will love.

For your kitty, why not treat them to a fancy gourmet cat food or some tuna - you can even serve it on a special dish. If your kitty overeats you can treat them to some cat grass. You can buy a grass plant for your kitty or grow your own. Cats usually love to nibble on grass after they eat as it helps them to regurgitate their food (dogs do this too) - just be aware that they may vomit after chewing it, but that's nothing to worry about.

3.  Dress Your Pet in an Easter Costume and Have a Photo Shoot

There is nothing cuter than dressing your pup or kitty up in bunny ears surrounded by Easter eggs - so why not dress them up and create some memorable moments with a fun photo shoot you'll remember for years to come. 

Here’s how you can make it happen…

Most of the props, such as an Easter basket, Easter eggs and decorations you will already have on hand.

  • Use a table cloth or a pastel colored sheet for a backdrop.
  • Put some colored eggs in the Easter basket and around your pet. 
  • Add some paper or toy carrots and Easter signs 
  • If your pet will tolerate wearing bunny ears or a costume, dress them up and you're ready to go; if not, then just use the decorations around them to set the theme
  • Grab your camera and snap a pic!

A few things to note:

  1. If using an Easter basket make sure to remove the fake, decorative grass that is typically used at the bottom the Easter baskets as it is easy for your pet to choke on this grass or have it clog up their intestines.
  2. If your pet gets anxious or over stressed, take a break. All the activities, people and excitement can be overwhelming for your pet so let them have some quiet time. Give them some space or take them for a walk to break up the activity.  If your pet runs away or gets scared, use a natural calming spray such as Pet Relax to help them cope.

4.  Make an Easter Basket for your Dog or Cat and Go On a Picnic

Although we just mentioned that you need to be careful when making an Easter Basket for your pet, that doesn't mean they should be left out of the fun. As long as you take out the fake grass and make sure that they are not likely to munch on the basket, then just go ahead and fill it with some of those tasty Easter dog treats or catnip filled Easter eggs and you're all set.

Easter also doesn't just have to be about food treats - put a fun new puppy or dog toy, cat  or puzzle in the basket for them to play with. You can even make these toy treats yourself as they are not that hard to do.

For cats: make a catnip carrot toy using felt, some thread and catnip of course

For dogs: make a rope tugging toy in the shape of a carrot, and add some green felt at the top that makes it easy to hold on to

Once you have your Easter basket ready, why not go outside for a picnic.  

Depending on where you live, the weather could be  just starting to warm up making it a perfect time to enjoy being outside again. If your Easter weekend is nice and sunny plan an outing to a new place you haven't been before, explore the local park and check out the flower that are starting to bloom. Even kitty cats can come along in a travel carrier or backpack.

If you don't want to go far, you can still have fun and set the picnic up in your own backyard! 

5. Make It Safe and Stress-free! 

Of course no matter what you do, you want to make sure that you keep yourself and your pets safe and healthy. 

Going outside, exercising and enjoying the fresh air is wonderful for both your and your pet's mental health as well as physical health. Parks and wide open spaces are also great in that you can enjoy them while social distancing. 

Going outside, exercising and enjoying the fresh air is wonderful for both your and your pet's mental health as well as physical health. Parks and wide open spaces are also great in that you can enjoy them while social distancing. 

If you are celebrating indoors, in addition to the safety precautions mentioned above around Easter decorations and chocolate, there are a few more things you need to watch out for to make sure your pet has a safe holiday:

Easter Lilies are poisonous to animals

As beautiful as they are, Easter Lilies present a very real danger to pets. Eating even a few leaves, petals or even just the water that the lilies were placed in can lead to severe kidney problems in cats.

In fact the Pet Poison Helpline states that Easter Lillies are among the most dangerous species of lilies, in addition to stargazer, tiger, day,

Asiatic hybrid, Japanese Show, rubrum, red, Western and wood lilies. If you want to brighten up your house with flowers and plants, make sure to choose non-toxic plants that are safe for pets.

Thinking About Bringing Home a Pet Bunny to Live With Your Dog or Cat?  Maybe not ... 

With all this talk of Easter, it may seem like a fun idea or a great Easter gift to bring the Easter Bunny right into your home. 

As adorable as a bunny may be, and they can make wonderful pets, they are not for everyone.  Rabbits can nip or scratch when scared, especially around dogs and cats, and may end up hurting a small child or their owner. And while rabbits and dogs and cats can live peacefully together,  some dogs may see the rabbit as pray and try to hunt them down.

Rabbits also have a fairly long life-span, with many pet rabbits living 12-14 years. Taking care of them, especially if they require medical attention can get quite expensive as vet bills for bunnies can actually be more than even those for the average pet dog or cat. If your family is not ready for this responsibility, then a pet rabbit is not recommended.

However, if you still think you want to get a real bunny, make sure you know which rabbit breed is the best one for your family and take your time introducing any new pet to your dog or cat.

Keep Your Pets Calm

Holidays can be busy, noisy, and a bit overwhelming for your pets. Between the house guests, the kids running around looking for Easter eggs, and all the extra commotion, your dog or cat can easily get scared and act out. Be patient and recognize that they are not misbehaving but are just a bit stressed.

Stick to your regular familiar routine as much as possible. Your pets will appreciate it. Find ways to keep them calm as much as possible through exercise, music or even take advantage of some natural calming remedies if you know your pup or kitty tends to get really anxious. Exercise your high energy dog so that they can expand some of that energy and stay calm; even if you don't have time for your usual long walk.

Take some quiet time and spend it just focusing on your pet. This may mean some extra cuddle time, or a walk just with you and your dog. Not only will they appreciate it, but it will also help decrease your stress this holiday.

However you choose to celebrate, make this Easter holiday a fun and happy one for both you and your pet.

You Can Live With A Cat, Even If You Are Allergic.

Cats can make the most wonderful pet for the right person, but if you happen to be allergic to one, adopting a frisky feline into your home can be a real challenge - but not an impossible one. If you already have a kitty in the house and are experiencing  allergy symptoms you should ask your doctor to do an allergy test.

So what does an allergy to cats look like?

Most people with mild allergies will have one of these symptoms that can develop within minutes or even a few hours after exposure:

Some people have severe allergies that result in lower blood pressure, allergic asthma attacks or even shock. But these are not common. Even if you have had a cat for a while and just developed these symptoms, ask for an allergy test that checks for cat allergies. Even if you do test positive for having cat allergies, you may not experience symptoms right away, or ever.  However, if you are having some of these symptoms, even if you have had your kitty for a while you could still have developed a new allergy, and your cat may be part of the cause.

If it does turn out that you have are allergic to cats, you are not alone. Did you know that 10% of the US population have allergies related to pets, with cat allergies being twice as common as dog allergies? If you are longing to have a cat but are one of those 10%, they key is to understand what is causing your allergic reaction - and believe it or not, it’s not the fur.

What causes cat allergies?

People with cat allergies react to a protein in the animal's saliva, skin, and urine. The allergen collects on the cat's fur when the animal licks itself and comes off in tiny flakes of skin that stick to walls, carpet, and furniture or stay in the air. A cat's lick or scratch can also cause skin welts or itchiness. In the nose and lungs, the protein causes itchy, watery eyes and nasal congestion and can lead to asthma. These allergens can even remain long after the cat is gone.

The other variable is your immune system. As with all allergies, an individual's immune system may see a harmless irritant as a threat, and will attack the body to try to get rid of it. Even those who are confirmed to be allergic may be affected differently. Maeve O'Connor, MD, a clinical immunologist in Charlotte, N.C., says one person can hold a cat and have no symptoms, while another has an asthma attack standing near a person with cat dander on his or her clothes. 


How to Cure Your Allergy to Cats

One way to reduce the amount of cat dander in your environment is to groom your cat on a regular basis. Keeping the area where your cat spends a lot of time such as their favorite chair or sofa, and especially the cat litter box, clean can help.

Another answer could be a hypoallergenic cat. While scientists can’t quite explain why some cats cause less of an allergic reaction, some possible theories suggest that some cats secrete less of the protein that causes the allergen, some cats put out less saliva, and some cats produce less dander. But all cats make the allergen in some form -- and a tiny amount can cause a lot of symptoms, depending on how clean you keep your house and how often you're around the animal. "Even a cat that has a little bit of allergen can cause allergy if you have enough exposure to it," says Robert Zuckerman, MD, an allergy and asthma specialist in Harrisburg, PA.

Still, some allergy sufferers find their symptoms don't flare up around certain cats. Maybe they can tolerate domestic shorthairs but not oriental breeds -- or vice versa. Some can pet a white cat but start sneezing as soon as they touch a dark gray or black one. Many patients report they can only handle being around Siberian cats.

Most research offers only clues to explain why people are more allergic to some cats and not others, not answers. However, if you are looking for a cat that may cause less issues, consider the following:

The Best Cats for People With Allergies

Here are is a list of some hypoallergenic cat breeds and why they seem to be best suited to those with cat allergies. However, regardless of the cat you plan to get, it is suggested that you first spend some time around that particular type of cat to gauge your specific reaction to it.

1. Sphinx

The Sphynx cat is famed for being hairless which gives it a unique look but ensures that the allergenic proteins in the cat’s saliva can’t get trapped in a Sphynx cats fur.

2. LaPerm

The LaPerm cat has a unique curly coat that may help reduce the spread of dander around your home. Many people with allergies do well with LaPerms in their homes.

3. Cornish Rex

Most cat’s fur is arranged in 3 layers; a top ‘guard’ hair, a middle ‘awn’ hair and a bottom ‘down’ hair. The Cornish Rex possesses only the bottom undercoat of down hair which means that they are not only very soft but they have a lot less hair and therefore shed a lot less hair; meaning that they are less likely to cause an allergic reaction.

4. Devon Rex

The Devon Rex shares the same coat type as the Cornish Rex possessing only the soft down hair that makes up most cat’s undercoats. However, the Devon Rex has even less hair than the Cornish Rex and also sheds very little. As with the Cornish Rex this means they are less likely to cause an allergic reaction.

5. Javanese

Javanese cats also have just one of the three typical layers of coats common to cats. But instead of having only an undercoat like the Cornish and Devon Rexes, the Javanese has just a top coat, which means less shedding and dander to spread around your home.

6. Oriental Shorthair

Oriental Shorthairs have a short, fine coat and shed very little. For best results, brush your Oriental Shorthair regularly to help remove any loose hairs to further reduce the amount of hair it drops.

7. Russian Blue

Russian Blues don’t have any special coat qualities that make them hypoallergenic but they do produce less Fel d 1 - the protein that cats secrete from their skin which a lot of allergy sufferers are allergic to.

8. Balinese

Similar to the Russian Blue, the Balinese cat produces less Fel d 1 which means that they are less likely to cause an allergic reaction.

9. Siberian

This one may surprise you… When you see a Siberian with its beautiful long coat it can be easy to think that this breed of cat will be a nightmare for allergy sufferers. However, like the Russian Blue and Balinese, the Siberian’s skin produces less Fel d 1 than most other breeds so is considered hypoallergenic.

10. Bengal

Many breeders and owners make claims that the Bengal has hypoallergenic properties. Although there is no evidence that they produce less Fel d 1 protein, the main argument for why they are supposedly less allergenic is that their short pelt-like coat sheds a lot less hair than the average cat and so is less likely to cause an allergic reaction.

Whatever cat you choose, make sure it is one that fits your family style and is one that you will be comfortable to be around. If you're happy, your pet will be happy too.

Easy Tips for Crate Training a New Puppy or Dog.

With spring finally here, many people are looking for something new - and for some, that means getting a new puppy! One of the first things on a new pet parent's mind is where their pup will sleep. Should you go with the traditional crate, or get them a special pet bed, or even let them sleep in your bed?

When house training a puppy, many people refuse to crate or kennel-train their dogs because they feel the confinement is cruel. However, in most cases this is not true as, rather than a punishment, crates can ease a dog's anxiety and offer them a sense of security in their new home. Just like dog obedience training, crate training - when done properly - is also a highly effective management system that can be a lifesaver for dog owners.

Like any training method, crating can be abused, but using a dog crate for appropriate time periods can be very beneficial as it helps with puppy potty training, preventing destructive behavior, and teaching a dog to settle and relax.

Can crates can be good for dogs?

Yes! If a dog is taught through positive reinforcement to love the crate, the dog crate becomes his own safe place, somewhere he can retire to or seek comfort in, much like a bedroom for a child. It is also a perfect place for the dog to retreat to when he is tired or nervous. 

Training your dog to be comfortable in a crate also helps when traveling with your pet, going to the vet or groomer, as they may need  need to go into a dog travel crate for a set period of time.

Many dogs take to a crate very easily. But for others it may take time and patience  - a puppy's initial response to crate training may be fearful or negative. Even an adult dog may resist going inside a crate. One reason for this is that their movement is initially very restricted. Larger pets especially will find it difficult to relax in a crate because they will have little room to move around.

Things will be even more complicated when bringing home adult or rescue dogs who are already used to roaming freely at home or outdoors. But it is still possible to crate train them when done kindly.

How to Crate-Train Your Dog

To help your pet get used to a crate and have a positive experience with it, many pet experts suggest classic conditioning. This approach consists of counter-conditioning and desensitizing.

To change the negative attitude of the pet to a positive attitude, the following dog training techniques can be used to gain obedience and help your dog become comfortable with the crate.

To help make dog or puppy crate training easier, we recommend the following easy steps:

1. Introduce the Crate to Your Dog

First, make sure that the crate is the right size for your dog. Check out this crate guide for how to measure your dog and determine the correct crate type and size for your dog.

Ensure that the crate is a warm, comfortable place with familiar smells.  At first you can even put a blanket that has your smell in the crate. Or add a dog toy or treat to entice them to go in the crate. Leave the door open inviting your dog to come and go as he pleases.

2. Encourage Your Dog to Go In the Crate

Place the crate in or near where your dog eats. At meal time, place food inside the crate so that your dog will want to go inside the crate to eat the food. If they seem hesitant, the crate door may be left open with food or treats placed inside the crate, giving them time to adjust. Once your dog realizes there is no danger, they will return to the crate on a regular basis.

If your dog does not eat the food even after several hours, then remove the food from the crate and feed them, still keeping close to the crate. Gradually, the distance between the crate and the food should be decreased until your dog begins to eat food inside the crate.

3. Use a Special Signal When In Home Dog Training

When the dog begins to voluntarily enter the crate, use a marker word when placing the food inside the crate. Words such as "crate" or "come in" can be used by opening the crate door to put the dog food inside. Some people also use a dog hand training signal instead of a word to tell the dog it's time to enter the crate.

After some time, your dog will begin to associate the crate with the positive experience of getting food or a treat. 

Important Tip: If multiple people in the home are training the dog, make sure that everyone in your house uses the same word\signal so as not to confuse the dog.

If your dog is afraid that you may lock him up if he enters the crate, then continue keeping the door open while you move farther and farther away.  Encourage your dog to stay inside the crate by offering treats so that they are motivated to stay in rather than follow you out. Once your dog gets used to staying in the crate, try closing the crate door, not altogether, but part way and for a short period of time. After some time you should be able to close the door fully and have your dog stay inside.

4. Increase Crate Time and Crating Your Puppy at Night

If your dog whines when you close the crate, try staying nearby, not paying him attention but close enough that he sees you.  Then while your dog is inside, slowly start increasing the distance between you and the crate. Continue using your marker word or signal and encourage the dog to go in and stay in the crate; always rewarding them after.  

Keep increasing his crate time until they are able to lie in the crate without complaint for a few hours.

When the puppy is young or new to the home and is still displaying some disruptive or destructive behavior such as chewing furniture, shoes or peeing inside the house, it is even more important to keep them crated at night when you can't watch them. Getting your pup used to staying in the crate longer throughout the day will also help them stay in the crate through the night. If they seem nervous or have trouble settling down, you can use a natural anxiety or dog calming spray to spray the crate or dog bed to keep the dog more relaxed.

5. Continue positive reinforcement

After following these simple yet effective steps, your dog should be content, if not necessarily happy, to enter the crate when he hears your marker word, and stay inside for longer and longer periods of time.

Once your pet is trained with positive reinforcement and food, your can also begin to give him toys to keep him occupied inside the crate. It is a good idea to keep one particular dog toy or treat that is set aside just for those times when your dog needs to go inside the crate.

Don't use this toy at any other time.  This way he will also associate the toy or treat with being in the crate and your can use the toy to draw your dog to the crate. Your dog may even look forward to going inside the crate if that is the time when he gets the special treat or toy.

In addition to the value of a crate at home, having a crate-trained dog is wonderful when you are traveling, when your dog needs to go to the vet or groomer, or if you plan to compete in any dog sports. Trained properly with positive reinforcement and patience, the crate becomes a safe place for your dog. You will find that your dog uses the crate on his own when he is tired, and enters willingly and eagerly when asked.

Crates may seem scary or unpleasant, but in time, they may become your pet's safe place. All it takes is an investment of time and a few treats to end up with a happy dog and a happy human!

Yes, Cats Have Allergies Too

From seasonal discomforts to food intolerances, we humans are fairly well versed in allergic reactions. But how much do you know about feline allergies and the cat allergy symptoms that can clue us in?

Whether your kitty's sneezing from environmental pollutants or biting his paws due to a cat allergy, if your feline friend is showing signs of discomfort, it's time to dig a little deeper into the cause.

First thing to note is that most pets only start developing allergies after 6 months of age. While some cats inherit allergies (called atopy), most don't develop any signs of allergies until later on in life, typically after the age of two. 

Types of Feline Allergies

Figuring out the cause your cat's allergies or allergic symptom is not always easy. There are many things your cat can be allergic to.

To help us out, experts generally categorize feline allergies into the following subsets:

These allergies can display in a variety of ways such as constant scratching, sneezing, nasal discharge, watery eyes and other feline upper respiratory symptoms; but there is one type of allergic reaction that may not always be diagnosed as an allergy - called atopic dermatitis. 

Atopic dermatitis or skin allergy, is an allergic reaction that specifically shows itself on the skin. Typical symptoms include: skin sores, scabs, dry/patchy skin, hair loss, and redness.

All cats are different, and one cat may exhibit allergic symptoms when exposed to something that another cat has no reaction to. Even cats from the same litter may have different allergies.

Within these subsets, there are many specific causes of allergies. This is not an exhaustive list, but your cat may be allergic to any one or more of the following typical feline allergies:

  • Tree pollen
  • Grass pollen
  • Mold or mildew
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Dust
  • Fleas
  • Flea treatments
  • Prescription medications
  • Plastic or rubber
  • Household cleaning products
  • Laundry detergents
  • Specific meats or eggs
  • Dairy products
  • Various fabrics
  • Other pets or wild animals

The Most Common Cat Allergies

As you can see from the lengthy list above, many potential allergens can affect your cat, making it difficult to nail down the exact source. However, observing specific cat allergy symptoms can often help you identify the allergy.

The following three cat allergies are among the most common in felines across the board.

Flea Allergy Dermatitis

A common flea allergy in cats, also called Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD), is a type of allergy that is usually characterized by excessive scratching and biting due to extremely itchy skin.

Most cats with fleas do not experience a high level of discomfort from bites, but allergic cats can have a severe reaction. Cats with FAD are actually allergic to flea saliva, which is injected into the skin in the course of a bite, rather than to the fleas themselves.

According to VCA Hospitals, the reaction “is an allergic response to proteins or antigens present in the flea's saliva."

Affected cats also don't necessarily have to be infested with tons of fleas. You may not notice any signs of fleas despite your cat exhibiting the classic symptoms of the allergy.

According to Tammy Hunter, DVM and Ernest Ward, DVM, authors of the aforementioned article, "a single flea is enough to cause a problem."

Symptoms of Cat Flea Allergy Dermatitis

  • Constant scratching
  • Obsessive licking, overgrooming
  • Itchy belly, back and base of tail
  • Hair loss on back and tail
  • Rash on neck or face
  • Itchy ears, ear infections
  • Biting paws and tail
  • Sore, swollen paws from biting
  • Raw, inflamed skin
  • Itchy skin for 2 weeks or longer

Flea Allergy Dermatitis Treatments for Cats

The treatment for Flea Allergy Dermatitis usually begins with a complete flea control regime. Flea and tick prevention products should always be acquired from a vet. Only use feline-specific flea treatments on your cat, as dog flea treatments can be dangerous.

If a regular flea prevention treatment does not seem to stop the symptoms associated with FAD, a vet may suggest a course of antihistamines or corticosteroids, or a combination of the two. Omega supplements may also help treat the condition. 

If your kitty's allergies are affecting the skin and you can't get to the vet, you may wish to try the BestLife4Pets Healthy Skin, Coat and Allergy Relief Dermatitis Remedy as a natural way to help your cat gain some relief. This remedy is formulated both for relief of itchy, irritated skin and to aid in the healing of sores and wounds associated with skin allergies.

Feline Pollen Allergies

A pollen allergy occurs in cats when their immune systems overreact to the inhaling of pollen particles. This allergic reaction can manifest itself through a number of symptoms, most of which are respiratory or related to the skin and eyes.

While these allergies often appear mild at first, according to the VetDERM Clinic, "if left untreated, these pollen allergies can turn into skin itchiness, skin lesions, skin infections and respiratory symptoms including cold-like signs, which can become chronic."

Symptoms of Pollen Allergies in Cats

Similar to our own environmental allergy symptoms, cats with pollen allergies can have symptoms which also often resemble those of a common cold. Some things to watch out for include the following:

  • Sneezing
  • Nasal discharge
  • Snoring, heavy breathing
  • Watery discharge from eyes
  • Scratching the eyes
  • Orange discoloration around eyes
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Ulcers or sores on skin
  • Chewing on paws
  • Overgrooming or hair loss
  • Shaking the head
  • Irritability or lethargy

Treatments For Pollen Allergies

If a cat's pollen allergy is moderate or severe, a vet will usually treat it with medication. Sometimes steroids are used, although antihistamines and dietary supplements may also be used.

For a more natural approach, you can treat your cat's pollen allergy and the associated symptoms, including cat sneezing and runny nose, using a home remedy like our Breathe Easy Respiratory Support For Cats. These tiny, easy to swallow pills are designed to relieve many of the upper respiratory symptoms associated with allergies and are a natural, chemical-free home remedy for your cat's sneezing and runny nose.

Cat and Kitten Food Allergies

Cat food allergies are more common than you may think.

A lot of cats do just fine with whatever kibble or wet food you bring home, while some cats either display allergic symptoms to the food right away or develop food allergies over time. According to the Cornell Feline Health Center, food allergies are the third most common type of feline allergy.

The most common food allergy culprits in felines are animal-based proteins. Beef, chicken and fish top most lists, with other meats and dairy products following as a close second. Some cats may also become allergic to eggs, and, although it is more rare, they can develop carbohydrate allergies to vegetable products like corn, wheat and soy. Some cats are even allergic to milk.

Food allergies generally develop over time. According to Carolyn McDaniel, VMD, "the animal’s immune system gradually mounts a defense against certain protein and carbohydrate molecules," which leads to progressively worsening, persistent symptoms.

Symptoms Of Food Allergies in Cats

Common symptoms displayed by a cat with food allergies include:

  • Scratching, especially head and neck
  • Hair loss or unkempt coat
  • Small lumps or sores on skin
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Stomach pain
  • Gas

Treatments for Food Allergies

Food allergies in cats is difficult to diagnose so determining the cause of a food allergy will often begin after other conditions, like flea allergies, have been ruled out.

Most vets recommend a "novel diet," or "elimination diet." This involves introducing completely different animal proteins, or different carbohydrates, into your cat's diet while removing the original foods.

After a month or more on the new diet, the previous diet is reintroduced to determine if that food was the cause of the allergy. A similar method is used to determine many food allergies in humans. The most important thing is that once a new diet regiment is determined by your vet, it should be adhered to strictly. 

Sometimes cat owners believe that using a particular exotic meat, expensive kibble or organic food will prevent their pets from developing allergies, but this may not be the best answer.

In fact, the Clinical Nutrition Team at Cummins Cummings Veterinary Medical Center, 

warns that "feeding a diet with duck, kangaroo, lamb, or venison doesn’t prevent food allergies, it just makes it likely that if your pet develops one, it will be to that protein instead of something more common like pork or chicken."

If you are unable to take your cat to the vet for testing and assessment, a home remedy approach to a food allergy can be achieved by creating your own elimination diet.

Noting the symptoms of allergies in your cat is the first step to diagnosis. Since there are so many possible sources of feline allergies, to determine the cause, it's important to familiarize yourself with some of the most common allergies so that you can observe your cat and recognize the symptoms.

Most feline allergies are easy to treat, and with proper care and treatment, even cats with chronic allergies can live normal, happy lives. 

How will 4th of July Celebrations be different in 2020 with COVID-19?

Many people have been debating what kind of events to participate in on the 4th of July during this pandemic. Although restrictions are beginning to loosen up, COVID-19 daily cases are on the rise in America and having an extravagant celebration may be too dangerous. Likely, some fireworks and a small backyard get-together will be the norm for most people, with precautions taken to protect ourselves against the virus. However, pet parents may need to take extra measures to help protect their pets, and not just from COVID-19.

Even with pandemic-sized, smaller and less rowdy celebrations, pets are still at risk during July 4th. Due to the loud fireworks, more pets go missing around Independence Day than any other time of the year. However, there are ways to protect your dog or cat before, during, and after the 4th of July Independence Day to make sure they have a great time too.

Prepare ahead of time to make sure your pet is safe 

With just a few precautions done before hand everyone can enjoy the 4th of July in peace. In fact, it will be pretty easy to avoid the stress and hassle of having an anxious pet or to prevent looking for a lost pet if you start preparing before the party. The two main ways to prevent a runaway dog or cat during Independence Day are to get all your pet's information up-to-date, and make sure your yard is enclosed and safe.

Keep your pet secure: 

Keep your yard secure:

4th of july independence day family bbq with dog and cat

CARE FOR YOUR PET DURING INDEPENDENCE DAY

Just because you've prepared for your Independence Day celebration doesn't mean you shouldn't do what you can to keep your pet safe and calm during the event. There are a few things you can do just before or throughout your party to protect your pet:

Additionally, if your dog or cat still gets scared or nervous around fireworks, large parties or loud noises, have a calming remedy on hand to help soothe them. We recommend our Pet Relax all-natural calming spray, made with five flower essences, that will relieve your pet's anxiety within minutes. Pet Relax will help your pet calm down without putting them straight to sleep, unlike other calming remedies: all you have to do is simply spray it on your pet's bed or rub it into their fur.

PET SAFETY AFTER INDEPENDENCE DAY

Ensuring safety for your pet during Independence Day doesn't stop at sundown. After a good party, many people want to rest or move on to the next day, but there are a few things you need to do first. 

  • Thoroughly comb your yard for any debris that may pose a danger to your pet, including spent fireworks, ashes, and food remains, and throw them out before you let your pet outside again
  • When going on walks with your pet shortly after Independence Day, be wary for any debris left on the ground, and pick it up before your pet finds it
  • If you notice your pet is missing, DON'T HESITATE to start looking - the sooner you begin searching, the more likely you are to find them and return them home safe and sound
american independence day holiday celebration fireworks and american flag

Everyone wants to have a good time and celebrate the 4th of July with family and friends, including your fur baby, and the best way to make sure that the celebration goes off well is to keep your pets safe and secure. Following the tips above will insure your dog or cat will enjoy Independence Day as much as you do.

From our team at BestLife4Pets, we wish you and your pets a safe and happy July 4th!

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Are Dogs More Than Just Pets?

Most people know that gum disease in humans can lead to other health conditions. It's also easy to prevent by thorough and regular brushing of the teeth. However, not all pet parents are aware that their dogs can also develop gum disease. If your dog has terrible breath, can you be sure that it isn't gum disease? This article will discuss periodontal disease in dogs and some of the things you can do to help treat it.

CAUSES OF CANINE GUM DISEASE

Gum disease in dogs is caused by the same reason in dogs as in humans: bacteria. Just like humans, dogs pick up a lot of bacteria in their mouths. Since dogs can put almost anything in their mouths, the threat of bacteria is even higher than in humans. When this bacteria mixes with food and saliva, it starts to form plaque on the teeth.

Plaque is a sticky film that can collect on the teeth, which commonly starts growing by the gum line. As is the case with humans, plaque can cause a series of problems. Plaque makes brushing difficult because the bristles can't pierce through the plaque without additional tools. Since the plaque is providing a barrier for the bacteria beneath it, the bacteria are able to eat away at enamel and gums over time.

dog gum disease periodontal disease in dogs teeth fell out rotten tooth

In dogs, plaque is even more serious. Because of the constant biological threats that animals face, they have powerful immune systems. Unfortunately, those systems can also wreak havoc on their bodies.

When plaque develops in a dog's mouth, its immune system recognizes it as a foreign invader. As a response, it creates white blood cells that are programmed to attack the plaque. Unfortunately, the bacteria also tells the white blood cells to attack the gums.

As a result, your dog experiences inflammation in their gums as well as the loss of gum tissue. Receding gums also comes with the consequence of losing bone material - their teeth will fall out. 

Gum disease is actually more prevalent in dogs than in humans. This is primarily because dogs don't have their teeth brushed nearly as much as humans do. However, there are a few symptoms that are noticeable before gum disease starts to spread.

SYMPTOMS OF PERIODONTAL DISEASE IN DOGS

One of the problems with gum disease is that it can be difficult to notice gum disease in its early stages. It requires you to be proactive in taking care of your dog and their teeth. Some of the more advanced symptoms of gum disease include:

Because the consequences of gum disease are severe, it's important to contact your vet or take steps to receive treatment for your dog. The easiest way to take note of your dog's oral health is to look for the above symptoms.

TREATMENT OPTIONS

There are both medicinal and natural dental care solutions that you can utilize to help treat gum disease in dogs. In addition, it's easy to include some of these steps in your dog' care to help stop gum disease from occurring in the first place.

1. Take Your Dog for Regular Oral Exams

Just like attending the dentist, it's important that you also take your dog to the vet for oral exams. During an exam, your dog will be placed under general anesthesia. It's the only way that a vet technician can easily look within your dog's mouth without difficulty. If there are any problems, the vet will know immediately what steps need to be taken.

dog teeth dog gums dog rotten tooth periodontal disease in dogs

2. Brush Your Dog's Teeth

Dog teeth cleaning is essential to both preventing and treating gum disease. While your dog may show some resistance to it at first, with enough patience and training, you can successfully clean their teeth and keep them happy. Speaking to your vet is a great way to ensure that you have the right kind of tools and are using the right kind of technique. 

Although there are many dental bones and treats on the market, cleaning your dog's teeth with a toothbrush and doggy tooth paste on a regular basis is still the best way to remove plaque from their teeth and ensure that harmful bacteria don't build up in their mouth.

3. Look For Dental-Friendly Foods

Not all dog food is created equal. You can also purchase certain dog foods that have oral health in mind. These foods essentially help scrub your dog's teeth as they chew it. By removing the plaque from their teeth, the food keeps your dog's oral health in check.

Some dental-friendly foods also include additives to help prevent the development of plaque.

4. Try a Natural Remedy

Some home remedies that have been shown to reduce plaque and strengthen teeth and gums naturally include giving your dog raw food or meaty bones, feeding them bone broth, and using coconut oil as toothpaste. Homeopathic remedies have also proven useful in preventing and treating periodontal disease in dogs.

5. Offer Them Chew Toys

All dogs love to chew! So why not get them a bone or chew toy that not only helps keep them occupied, maintains the health of their teeth, while at the same time helping to loosen and scrape off plaque.

dog chew toy dental canine toys

Some of the chew toys that you'll want to consider are rubber-based, tartar bones and dental treats. Many of these come with two sided ridges that help get at all parts of the dog's teeth. The other benefit of these rubber toys is that they also massage the dog's gums. Your dog can spend hours chewing on them and helping to clean their teeth all at the same time.

As with any dog toys or bones, it is important to supervise your pup and make sure that no small parts break off which can lodge in their throat.

6. Tooth Removal - a Last Resort

While cleaning, flossing, and brushing can help the early stages of gum disease, only one method is used for late-stage gum disease. At this point, a dog's tooth is almost entirely rotten. The only way to save the rest of your dog's teeth is to remove the infected tooth. A vet can do this by removing the tooth and cleaning out the rot.

Gum disease can ravage your dog. It's never too late to start taking better care of their oral health - so start today!

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No one likes to hear the dreaded “C” word but unfortunately, just as with humans, cancer is on the rise in both dogs and cats - or so some studies say. The truth is that, unlike all the research done on humans, not enough research has been done to show definitively whether this is true or not for pets. Regardless of what happens in the general pet population, when it happens to your fur baby the news is devastating. So what can you do? The answer is to learn as much as you can about it now and be prepared.

For cats, one of the most common forms of this disease is feline leukemia. Leukemia is a disease of the white blood cells that attacks the immune system in both cats and humans. Feline leukemia is caused by the Feline Leukemia Virus known as FeLV. Specifically, there are three different strains of leukemia that fall under the umbrella of feline leukemia virus. All three types of feline leukemia have the potential to be fatal, so it is imperative that cat parents stay alert for any symptoms. The good news is that we can protect our cats from FeLV and with early intervention 70% of cats can recover from the illness. The goal is always to detect FeLV before the cat develops more severe symptoms and then support their immune system to minimize future infection. 

CAT LEUKEMIA - WHAT IS IT?

Lukemia in cats is classified into three general disease categories named FeLV-A, FeLV-B, and FeLV-C. The first, type A, is the ‘base’ type of feline leukemia and occurs in all cats with the virus. It causes severe immuno suppression (weakening of the immune system) and is highly contagious - but only to other cats. The disease cannot be transmitted to humans or dogs. The second type is slightly rarer, occurring in 50% of all cases of feline leukemia. It causes neoplastic disease, which is the medical term for uncontrolled cellular growth, or tumors. Type B is formed from a combination of FeLV-A and FeLV DNA. Lastly, type C is very rare---it only occurs in 1% of cats with feline leukemia virus---but it causes severe anemia (a decrease in the number of red blood cells), reducing the ability of the blood to carry oxygen. This type of FeLV is a mutation of FeLV-A.

FELINE LEUKEMIA TRANSMISSION

kittens fighting scratching infection

The virus seems to affect kittens and younger cats more than older ones as they have weaker immune systems. Cats are most commonly exposed to FeLV when they get into fights. FeLV is a virus that is spread mainly through saliva and mucus, and the wounds a cat receives from bites during a fight provide an entry point into the body. Cats can also get FeLV from saliva by sharing food or water bowls or by grooming one another. A cat’s milk is another transmission method, usually occurring between a mother and her kittens. Less often, FeLV can also be transmitted through feces or urine when several cats share a litter box. 

Due to these various transmission methods, cats infected with FeLV are dangerous to other cats, and so they must live indoors in single-cat homes or strictly separate rooms. If a FeLV-positive cat will only be in your house temporarily, you may let your cats return to your home as soon as three days after the infected cat is gone, as the feline virus cannot live for more than a few hours outside of the cat. However, for the first few days they’re back, make sure you watch your cat carefully for the following symptoms of FeLV, just in case.

FELINE LEUKEMIA SYMPTOMS

All three types of feline leukemia virus have distinct symptoms, and the odds of your cat showing a specific symptom depend on which type of FeLV they may have contracted and what stage of the disease they are in. However, some general signs of feline leukemia virus include:

Because the consequences of gum disease are severe, it's important to contact your vet or take steps to receive treatment for your dog. The easiest way to take note of your dog's oral health is to look for the above symptoms.

CAT LEUKEMIA TREATMENT OPTIONS

Many of these symptoms (like bladder, skin, and respiratory infections, and stomatitis) have their own specific signs, which the responsible pet owner should look into. In addition, because of the immuno-suppression caused by FeLV, cats may contract other diseases with symptoms not on the list that could still be signs of this virus. In general, always contact a vet if you notice anything unusual going on with your cat, as the earlier a disease is detected, the more likely a sufficient treatment is found, letting your cat have a better quality of life.

While there is currently no way to treat FeLV completely, secondary infections and related symptoms can be treated in order to prolong and improve a cat’s life. Veterinarians treating and managing FeLV-positive cats tend to prescribe antibiotics for bacterial infections, or will sometimes perform blood transfusions for severe anemia. A vaccine is available to protect against FeLv, however it is not proven to be 100% effective and therefore pet owners need to weigh the risk of their cat being exposed to a cat infected with the virus vs the impacts of getting the vaccine. One of the best ways to help cats fight against the FeLV is to ensure that they have a strong immune system that can fight off the virus. A good immune supplement such as Immunity Boost for Cats can provide the extra support a young kitten needs to stay healthy and strong.

The only sure way to protect cats from FeLV is to prevent their exposure to FeLV-infected cats. Keep FeLV-positive cats indoors to prevent the spread of the virus to other cats, while also reducing the risk that your kitty will be exposed to pathogens that their weakened immune system cannot protect them from. If the cat is an outdoor cat, then be sure to place them in a secure  enclosure to prevent wandering and fighting. If there are other infection-free cats in the house, be sure to keep them separated from the infected cats, including keeping separate food, water bowls and litter boxes.

old feral cat outdoors

Unfortunately, many FeLV-infected cats are not diagnosed until after they have lived with other cats so if one cat is infected then it is best to get all the others checked. Lastly, FeLV-positive cats should not reproduce to avoid the spread.

Although it can be devastating to a pet parent to find their cat diagnosed with FeLV, it is important to realize that cats with FeLV can go on to live normal lives. Once a cat has been diagnosed with the virus, be sure to carefully monitor their weight, appetite, activity level, urination, appearance of the mouth and eyes, and behavior in order to assess and manage this disease. The average survival for cats diagnosed with FeLV is 2.5 years and with proper diagnosis and care a cat can live a good active life.

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cute puppy versus adult older dog rescue disabled adopt a rescue

So, you’ve decided to rescue an adult dog: good for you! Adult dogs may come with their own unique challenges, but they'll love you just the same as any puppy. And in return, you'll be providing them with a loving home for the years they have left - something that, unfortunately, adult shelter dogs or rescues don't always get. Whether it be from a kennel, your local shelter, or another dog rescue trying to re-home, you’ve made a very respectable and caring decision that will positively impact both you and your new pet's lives for years to come!

PUPPIES VS. ADULTS

The average pet parent wants to adopt a cute little puppy and raise them as they grow. That’s great for the adorable puppy, but sadly all too often leaves the ‘not-as-cute’ adult dogs in a bit of a tricky situation. An adult is perhaps more in need of adoption than a puppy, since the chance of being adopted into a loving home continue to dwindle as they age. This is especially true for disabled or rescue dogs, as many people either don't have the time or money to properly provide for an ill dog, or simply don't want to put in the effort of helping a pet with special needs. Besides, even if the dog is healthy, there could still be some issues that will need to be prepared for when bringing them home, which will make it more difficult for the dog to get adopted. Of course, not everyone can or wants to adopt an adult or rescue dog, but if you have the means and the will, adopting an older dog could drastically increase their happiness and quality of life for the rest of their days.

SO YOU’VE DECIDED TO ADOPT

When going to almost any shelter, you’re confronted with multiple animals to choose from. Which is best the best fit for you and your family? Jumping straight into a situation without preparing yourself first might not be good for either party. Here are some questions you will want to ask, and things you need to check before making your decision:

If the answers to these questions are compatable to your family and lifestyle, it may be a good time to adopt! When you do, there will be some things you'll need to take into consideration as the new parent of a rescue or adult shelter dog.

DIFFICULTIES IN ADOPTING ADULT RESCUES

Most dog breeds in general are highly intelligent animals. With good training, dogs can do anything from advanced agility to opening doors, guiding disabled owners to retrieving phones, sometimes even dialing 911 to contact emergency services. A well trained dog, however, hinges more on the ability of the human trainer than the ability of the dog to learn. Unfortunately, many adult dogs were sheltered in the first place because they were either poorly trained, or the owner wasn’t able to properly train them. As the parent of an adult rescue, you might have to devote more time in training your dog. However, with a little bit of research and devotion, many of your dog’s behavioral issues can be dealt with.

adult rescue dogs behavioral issues training problems

Some issues you may notice in your rescue include:

What these issues are, where they may have come from, and how to help your dog will be discussed below.

1. Housebreaking/Potty-training Troubles

Most adult shelter dogs that have had previous owners will likely not have problems with potty-training, but many rescue dogs that were strays or homeless for a long time might not have been taught not to pee inside, or have forgotten. In this case, you will have to train them as you would a new puppy. Sometimes, peeing in the house may be due to anxiety or fear, which will be talked about below.

2. Aggressive Behavior

scared rescue dog fear of people and animals calm down with pet relax anxiety relief remedy

Unfortunately, aggression towards an owner in rescue or shelter dogs is a habit developed to cope with an abusive or aggressive past owner. The only way to help in this case is by being kind and understanding towards the dog and training the dog that it's good to be kind in return, such as by giving them a treat each time they let you approach them without growling. Aggression towards people and other pets can also be linked to insecurity, trust issues, separation anxiety, and sometimes resource guarding, which will be discussed below.

3. Fear of Animals, Pets, or People

Fear and aggression are two sides of the same coin. A fear of people means that at some point in their life, the dog was hurt or neglected by a person and now doesn't trust anyone to not do the same. A fear of animals or other pets has more variable causes, but is usually due to bullying as a puppy. The only antidote to a fear of people is consistent kindness. As with aggression, being kind and patient towards your dog will show them that you mean no harm, and will hopefully calm them down. To help with a fear of animals, try exposing your other pets to the dog for a short time in a calming environment and see how they react. If it goes well, increase the exposure time until they're both comfortable with each other.

4. Anxiety and Trust Issues

Anxiety and trust issues are found most often in dogs who have had bad experiences with past owners or humans in general, and they can manifest in various ways, including aggression and fear directed at people and animals (as discussed above), as well as a fear or sudden movements or loud noises and hesitation towards accepting food. To help a dog get over trust issues, you need to respect their boundaries and create a safe space to let them come to you. Initially, there may be some bumps in the road, but with patience, kindness, and perhaps a natural soothing remedy to help smoothe things over, your dog will come around and thrive.

Additionally, separation anxiety sometimes appears in dogs who were neglected or left at the shelter by a previous owner. Separation anxiety is not something that disappears overnight, or even within a month, but you can try reducing their stress at first by giving them a calming formula for when you have to go away. In the long run, you will just have to consistently show them that you won't leave them and hopefully they will realize that they are safe and secure now that they're in your care.

5. Resource Guarding

Your rescue or shelter dog may have had to protect toys, food, or other resources from other dogs, and so now believes that anyone and everyone could try to steal from them. If you have other pets, they might be aggressive towards them or they will constantly guard their food bowl or crate (if they keep toys there) from you or other pets. A temporary solution may be to feed them in a separate room or to keep their toys in a room only they are allowed in. In the long run, you will need to train the dog to realize that having people or pets near their resources is good. There are ways to help with various types of resource guarding, which are explained in this helpful article.

resource guarding aggressive behavior protecting toys food

6. Destructive Behavior

Destructive behavior is most commonly a symptom of separation anxiety. Without healthy ways to calm down, dogs who haven't been trained properly may destroy furniture and other objects to release energy. There are three ways to stop this behavior: give the dog things to destroy that are less valuable; train the dog to stop destructive behavior (here's one resource that may help); or calm them down with a natural remedy.

7. Asocial or Poor Social Behavior

Asocial behavior (or shyness) and poor social behavior in dogs are the product of poor socialization from a previous owner. If your shelter dog hides from or barks at other dogs, their previous owner may have pushed them into scary situations with unfamiliar dogs or was overprotective and stopped them from socializing as a puppy. Sometimes shyness is due to fear, which is discussed above, but if your new dog simply doesn't know how to interact with other dogs, you will need to train them like you would a puppy.

8. Lack of Discipline/Obedience Training

Similar to an asocial behavior issue, many dogs who lack discipline were not properly trained (or trained at all, if they were strays) as puppies. They do not know what behaviors are acceptable or not, so you will have to teach them. Be wary, however, to use mainly positive reinforcement training and to respect your dog's boundaries so as to not scare them or trigger other behavioral issues. Additionally, some dogs purposefully disobey commands due to a lack of trust in people, which you will have to slowly regain (see above for more).

Despite the difficulties you may have to deal with at first when adopting a rescue, getting an adult or shelter dog will be a great new adventure for you and your family. All dogs, rescues or not, have lots of love to give and are a wonderful addition to your home. The bonds you’ll form and memories you will create will lead to a fantastic new chapter in your life.

Above all, remember that all pets need patience, discipline, and positive attention; rescues may just need it a bit more, but the rewards are priceless!

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sick dog with flu pug sneezing coughing cold influenza symptoms in pets

While the coronavirus is at the forefront of most people’s minds right now, the beginning of flu season can also present various dangers for you and your pets. Just like humans, dogs and cats can also get the flu. The flu in pets is due to an upper respiratory infection and can affect cats or dogs of any age, but is especially common in young or older pets, or those with pre-existing conditions. Just as with people, dogs and cats can easily catch the flu from other pets through coughing, sneezing, or barking.

CANINE & FELINE FLU SYMPTOMS

Influenza in pets has similar symptoms to the flu in humans. The major signs that your cat or dog has the flu include inflammation around the eyes and nose, discharge from the nose, a raised temperature, weakness and lethargy, loss of appetite, sneezing, and coughing. These symptoms are not usually serious, but some cases of influenza may lead to pneumonia or other illnesses, so it is always best to be careful and be aware. If your pet shows any of these symptoms, get treatment for your fur baby immediately so that they’re not left with lasting damage to their health. In addition, it is important to note that about 25% of pets are asymptomatic, meaning that they might not show symptoms but are still carriers. If you have two or more pets but only one shows symptoms, still keep the others away from pets outside their family.

TREATMENTS FOR THE FLU

Unfortunately, there is no cure for the flu, but its symptoms can be managed. Here are some ways to help your pet:

You can also try some age old home remedies and natural treatments to help your pet’s sniffles or lethargy. Chicken soup helps pets beat the flu the same way as it does humans, so getting your pet to drink some may increase their energy and reduce recovery time.  In addition, you can use holistic remedies such as Breathe Easy Respiratory Support for Dogs and Cats, a great natural plant based remedy that eases congestion and soothes that stubborn cold and cough, to help your pet feel better sooner. Lastly, try running a hot shower and letting your pet into the bathroom for ten minutes or so to breathe in the steam, which will unclog their nose and help them breathe.

feline influenza treatment home remedies for dogs and cats homeopathic natural cold medicine

AVOIDING AND PREVENTING THE FLU

Strengthening your pet’s immune system with vitamins, antioxidants and immunity boosters can go a long way to keep your pet healthier and if not avoid, then lessen the severity of colds and flu that occur frequently at this time of the year. You can help boost your pet’s immune system by supplementing their diet with natural immune boosters such as fish oil, turmeric and certain medicinal mushrooms - but make sure you check the quality of the ingredients as not all of the supplements on the market are created equal.

It may be difficult to prevent your pet from getting some kind of sniffles or infection, there are a few things you can do to give them the best chance of getting through the flu season healthy: 

No one wants to see their fur baby sick. Given that prevention is always easier than trying to treat an illness after the fact, give your pet’s immune system the best chance possible of winning the battle with any infection.

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Most pet owners treat their pets almost like their children - and this is no different during Halloween. While you won't necessarily take your dog or cat Trick or Treating, you can still have fun with your pet on Halloween by dressing them up in various costumes. The National Retail Federation estimated that more than 30 million people spent close to $490 million on pet costumes in 2019; third place right behind candy and kids' costumes.

Although this year Halloween may look different then in the past, with some kids opting out of Trick or Treating due to Covid-19 and some home owners opting out of giving out candy, whether you stay in or go out, pet owners can still enjoy the holiday by dressing up their pets. Not sure where to start? We've got you covered with some neat store bought and DIY costume ideas for both you and your pets to enjoy a safe Halloween together.

WHY NOT TRY A THEME BASED HALLOWEEN COSTUME?

Some of the cutest Halloween costumes for dogs and cats  are costumes that follow a theme, or costumes that fit with those of other family members. For example, say that you want to go as a bottle of ketchup. Maybe your partner wears a mustard bottle costume. Your dog or cat can then wear either a hot dog or hamburger costume to complete the theme. 

cat superhero mask costume for halloween

A lot of people like to dress up in a costume that matches a superhero or a character in a popular movie such as Spiderman, Secret Life of Pets, or Wizard of Oz; or a movie that premiered that year such as Toy Story or Lady and the Tramp. Other theme ideas can model a popular TV show such as Tiger King where you can dress your pet up as the tiger. Or maybe you are a Mandalorian and Star Wars fan and you dress your pet as Baby Yoda. There are also dog and cat costumes that look like your pet is carrying riding mounts from Star Wars with puppet riders on their backs.

Other costumes for both dogs and cats include ones that only dress the front half of the animal but provide a funny and fun optical illusion when the pet moves. Funny costumes are best for animals as it makes the children and adults laugh when they see the pets dressed up. "Cats-up" and "Franken-weenie" are examples of a cat costume and dog costume respectively that go together but are still very funny. Another idea is where you dress only the front half of the animal but provide a funny and fun optical illusion when the pet moves. 

IS YOUR PET READY TO BE A CELEBRITY?

Many pets were even made famous by having a key role in a movie or even being the pet to a famous celebrity. You can emulate these famous pets by dressing them up using to resemble the pet in the movie.

One example is to dress your dog up all in pink like Bruiser from Legally Blond, or Paris Hilton's micro-Chihuahua. You can dress them all in red to look like Clifford the Dog, or put a red nose and reindeer antlers on to emulate Max from How the Grinch Stole Christmas.


Put a sheet over your dog for an easy Casper the Friendly Ghost costume or do a pet mixup by getting your dog to dress up as a companion to a Witch.

witch costume dog playing in leaves for Halloween
dog pumpkin playing hiding

THE 'HOW TO GET MORE CANDY' COSTUME

Looking for a creative and cute way to get more treats? Why not get your pet involved. Try a costume where part of it doubles as a carrying bag for treats if you go Trick or Treating or to a house party where they give pet treats. One way to do this is by outfitting your pup with pony express saddle bags or mail sacks and accompanying accessories along those themes. All the treats the kids collect and any treats the pooch gets can go into the sacks or bags until they are too heavy.

Other pet Halloween ideas include turning your dog into a "horse" to pull a "carriage" (a.k.a. wagon for the little ones) from house to house for treats. If you have a large breed of dog willing to do this, it can turn into quite a fun and neat way to trick or treat. 

THE 'I CAN DO IT BETTER MYSELF' DIY COSTUME

You can find many pre-made costumes online and in costume shops, but most of the inventory for pet costumes tends to be online.

However, if you are the creative type or just don't want to go shopping, you can always make your pet a costume yourself. There are lots of great resources for DIY costume ideas on Pinterest, HGTV, as well as ideas with step by step tutorials at these popular DIY sites:

diy pet costume ideas and crafts

If your pet won't tolerate dressing up you can use Halloween body paints or toxic-free color sprays to color your pet. (We wouldn't recommend this for most cats, even though they would be safe in small accidental amounts if licked.)

Pet-safe Halloween "makeup" is available too, which allows you to doll up your pet with different colors without hurting them. However, most people prefer to stick to collars, headbands and bodysuit-type costumes for pets rather than the pet paint or pet makeup.

Remember that the most important thing is for your pet to be happy and safe on Halloween. With all the extra activity and noise it is easy for pets to get stressed out and anxious. If your pet gets upset or stressed easily consider keeping them at home or calming them down with some natural pet calming solutions. For more tips on keeping pets safe, check next week's blog on Tips for Keeping Your Pet Safe on Halloween Night.

frenchie dog in pumpkin costume for halloween

However you choose to celebrate Halloween this year - make it fun for both you and your pet, and stay safe. And if you do dress your pet in a costume remember to take a picture and enter them in our BestLife4Pets Halloween Pet Contest to Win! (details below)

Check out all the entries on our Social Media pages and vote for your favorite

Facebook                                    Instagram                                     Pinterest

Bestlife4pets pet contest win gift certificates to our natural pet supply and pet pharmacy store

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If your pets are tired and sleeping a lot, don't want to go on walks or play, seek warm places to rest, are gaining weight with no change in diet, or shedding their fur - you might think that they are just sick with a cold or dog flu, but in fact these may be signs of a much larger problem, one that has to do with their thyroid.  If you suspect your dog has thyroid problems, it can be very worrying especially as the symptoms (described in more detail below) may disguise themselves as other issues.

Given that many veterinary practices are still closed, figuring out how to keep your best friend healthy until you can take them to your vet is very important. This article can help you learn more about dog thyroid disease, identify symptoms, and help manage them until you can get your pup the proper care. Some dogs are even more predisposed to the disease than others so be sure to check below to see if your dog is at risk.

DOG THYROID - WHAT IS IT AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?

The thyroid is part of the endocrine system and is located in the front of the neck, with lobes on either side of the trachea. 

dog thyroid gland endocrine system auto-immune disease

There are a lot of different glands in the body, but the thyroid in particular, produces very important hormones that help regulate many different functions including the metabolism, the immune system, heart health, and more. Thyroid disease, a type of autoimmune disease that can affect both humans as well as pets. The disease occurs when the thyroid gland produces either too much or not enough of the thyroid hormone.

When the thyroid makes too much thyroid hormone, the body uses too much energy causing the heart to beat faster. This condition is called Hyperthyroidism. On the other hand when the thyroid does not produce enough thyroid hormone, the animal generally feels tired, disoriented and can even gain weight. This condition is knows as Hypothyroidism. Both conditions come with their own problems and affect pets differently.

WHEN PETS GET HYPERTHYROIDISM

Hyperthyroidism is a very rare condition in dogs, but cats tend to suffer it more commonly. However, when it does occur in dogs, it is very serious. The primary cause of dog hyperthyroidism is a type of cancer called thyroid carcinoma that would be diagnosed by your vet.  The prognosis is determined by the size of the tumor, how much surrounding tissue is involved, and the stage of the cancer. Your vet can go over treatments for your dog and give medications to alleviate the thyroid symptoms.

Thankfully, this condition is rare in dogs, but it is still important to watch for possible symptoms so that any issues can be detected early on.  Some of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism in dogs are: 


If you notice that your dog displays any of these symptoms it is best to get them checked by a vet right away.

Another symptom that you may notice is an enlarged lump or goiter in the front of the neck.  A goiter can occur when the thyroid gland, unable to produce enough hormones, grows bigger. They can also occur from iodine deficiency or too much iodine in the body. While goiters aren't too serious on their own, any swelling in your dog's necks should be checked out by a vet promptly to rule out anything serious, including hypothyroidism.  

DOG HYPOTHYROIDISM SYMPTOMS

The most common type of thyroid issue that you will find is dog hypothyroid. Low thyroid function can cause a number of issues for your dog as it directly affects their metabolism and energy. Symptoms of a slowing metabolism like lethargy, weight gain, and changes in the coat such as dog fur loss are very common for a dog with this condition. Read on for a full list of symptoms to watch for; but note that not all dogs will display all symptoms, and they may not always show themselves at the onset. Many of the symptoms show up slowly and are only notices over time as the underlying condition causes more damage to the thyroid.

While it is common to see these symptoms in cases of thyroid disease, some of these may also have other causes so it is important to get your pet checked out by a vet who can help rule out other potential causes of the dog not feeling well. Some dogs are also more predisposed to thyroid disease than others; these are listed below so be sure to check if your dog is at risk.

Signs of hypothyroidism in dogs to watch for may include:

  • Weight gain or obesity, without increased appetite
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Lethargy
  • Mental dullness
  • Cold intolerance
  • Changes in the coat and skin
  • Dog fur loss from increased shedding, including thinning coat or patchy fur
  • Skin thickening or changes in skin pigmentation (usually a darkening of the skin)
  • Increase in skin infections
  • Ear infections, ear pain or redness
  • Reproductive issues in intact dogs

Other less frequent signs include dilation of the esophagus which can cause regurgitation of food and difficulty swallowing, as well as muscle spasms and difficulty walking.

diy pet costume ideas and crafts

WHAT CAUSES HYPOTHYROIDISIM IN DOGS?

Hypothyroidism in dogs is typically caused by damage to the thyroid gland. The most common cause is lymphocytic thyroiditis. This is thought to be an autoimmune condition that causes the dog's body to attack it's own thyroid. The cause of this is unknown, but genetics are thought to play a role.  Although autoimmune thyroiditis can start to develop as early as 2 to 5 years of age, dogs with this condition can appear normal for years before becoming hypothyroid at a later date (typically between the ages of 4 and 10). 

One way to check if your dog is predisposed to this condition is to test for autoantibodies. Development of autoantibodies at any time in the dog’s life is a good indication that the dog has a genetic predisposition to developing the disease later on. 


The second most common cause is idiopathic thyroid gland atrophy. This is when the thyroid tissue is replaced by fatty tissue. This condition is poorly understood, but what is known is that these two causes account for about 95% of all hypothyroidism in dogs. The other 5% are typically a result of rare conditions including cancer.

If left untreated, symptoms usually worsen over time as more of the healthy thyroid is replaced. One thing to note is that thyroid symptoms can also mimic symptoms of many other diseases. In order to avoid misdiagnosis, work closely with your vet to rule out other potential causes and get the proper treatment.

IS MY DOG AT RISK?

According to Washington State University " Hypothyroidism occurs more commonly in medium to large breed dogs and usually in middle aged dogs." Dogs with genetic predisposition or other autoimmune disorders may also be at risk.

The most commonly affected breeds include:

  • Golden Retriever
  • Doberman pinscher
  • Dachshund
  • Akita
  • Boxer
  • Cocker spaniel
  • Beagle, and
  • Irish setters
golden retriever breed is predisposed to thyroid problems
large dog breeds with dog thyroid problems

However, many dogs can suffer from thyroid problems, and because the disease can be hereditary, if you know one of your dog's parents or other relatives dealt with thyroid issues, you should keep a close eye on them too.

TREATMENT FOR THYROID DISEASE

Although thyroid disease is not really curable, a typical treatment to help rebalance or replace the levels of thyroid hormone created involves thyroid hormone replacement therapy. This is usually done using a manmade hormone drug called levothyroxine or L-thyroxine that will be prescribed by your vet. Iodine is also needed for the production of the thyroid hormone and if the dog does not have enough iodine then they cannot produce enough thyroid hormone. For this reason, some thyroid medication contains iodine to help in the production of the hormone. But you need to be careful as too much iodine can cause an over-production of the thyroid hormone leading to hyperthyroidism. Achieving the right balance is critical.

If you are looking for a more natural solution to chemical drugs, a holistic vet can prescribe natural thyroid replacement remedies that typically have less side-effects. In either case most dogs with thyroid disease will need to be on medication their whole life to help regulate the optimal function of the thyroid gland. There is good news, however, as the symptoms of thyroid deficiency can be managed successfully, especially with early detection.

Once your veterinarian finds the ideal hormone balance for your dog, they should bounce back quickly. This balance is decided based on your dog's weight and the results of their blood work. A dog with autoimmune thyroiditis may also develop autoantibodies against thyroglobulin, a protein that is involved in the synthesis of the T4 and T3 hormone so the vet may recommend to have a full thyroid panel done to check for these antibodies. If your vet does not do a full panel, but if you suspect an autoimmune condition, you can ask them to do a full panel as it will help determine the best treatment for your dog.

 In addition to thyroid replacement therapy your vet may also recommend a diet or pet supplement to help support healthy thyroid function. Some natural supplements, such as Hypo-Balance Thyroid Support for dogs are very effective at supporting optimal thyroid function and reducing, or even eliminating most of the symptoms .

HELPING YOUR PET IF YOU CAN'T GET TO A VET

If your dog is suffering some of the symptoms, and you suspect they may have a thyroid issue but  your vet is closed, then do your best to ease their discomfort and provide supportive care. Natural thyroid support pet supplements and immune boosting remedies can help to give your dog more energy, regulate the production of the thyroid hormone and reduce symptoms.

If your dog is suffering from red or itchy skin then treating skin conditions and infections with creams or dog skin medicine can make your dog more comfortable. Some treatments may also help with dog fur loss, but fur may not regrow completely until the underlying cause is treated. Keeping your dog warm will also help, since a major symptom is intolerance to cold. You know your dog the best, so keep them comfortable as best you can until you are able to see a vet and get a proper diagnosis. On the bright side, remember that symptoms will improve once you find the right treatment and your fur baby will be back to his regular happy self.

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Is Your Dog's Coughing a Sign of Kennel Cough?

Canine infectious tracheobronchitis, commonly known as kennel cough, is a highly contagious condition found in dogs. This respiratory infection affects a dog's airway causing worrisome symptoms, but is rarely serious.

Kennel cough is very similar to human colds, which are caused by a variety of viruses. Even though most dogs recover without treatment, those with compromised immune systems or very old or very young animals may become seriously ill and require immediate medical attention. This complex disease is caused by several different viruses or bacteria and can begin to affect a dog within five to ten days following exposure.

Kennel Cough Symptoms

Main symptoms of kennel cough in dogs are:

  • A persistent cough that sounds like the dog is choking or gagging
  • Retching or gagging
  • A foamy white liquid is expelled from the throat

Some dogs make a choking, coughing sound when the sneeze, typically called a reverse-sneeze, but the sound is different and should not be mistaken for a kennel cough that is more of a harsh, honking sound, similar to a goose honking.

When the cough is accompanied by lethargy, appetite loss, or extreme nasal discharge it may indicate a more serious condition such as pneumonia. 

Coughing in dogs usually eases or goes away within a few days, but sometimes can last as long as three weeks. If the cough persists past that time, sounds more serious, or there are other symptoms that present themselves along with the coughing or choking, then it is best to take the dog to a vet to determine the cause of the cough.

Cause of Kennel Cough in Dogs

Like the name kennel cough implies, most dogs get kennel cough after visiting a kennel. A dog-boarding kennel is normally a safe and secure place for your pet to stay while you are on vacation or at times when you may not be able to have your pet with you. 

Most of the time, a boarding kennel facility will be a member of the boarding kennel association, meaning that the facility has been provided with proper training and direction and will adhere to strict guidelines in the quality care of your pet. 

Part of their procedure performed by the kennel should be to check that all dogs that come to the kennel are healthy. However, this is not always the case and some dog kennels and shelters are overcrowded and can keep animals in poorly ventilated areas that are cold and dusty.

If the kennel does not follow proper health procedures animals in their care may contract an illness by inhaling virus particles into their respiratory tract. That is why it is so important to check out the kennel and make sure that the facility is clean and is setup to take the best care of your pup.


However, even the best kennels can sometimes miss accepting a sick dog into the facility. Given the tight interaction between all the dogs, it is quite possible for a sick dog to pass the illness or cough to another.

Dogs that have been exposed to adverse conditions or other infected dogs should receive comprehensive testing. Most vets will do a blood tests and may request for X-rays to determine the severity of the kennel cough symptoms before beginning treatment.

Canine Cough Treatment and Prevention

A veterinarian will observe a dog to determine the severity of the cough before recommending a course of treatment. If the symptoms worsen, a veterinarian may prescribe an antibiotic if the blood test reveals a bacterial infection. Sometimes dogs recover without any treatment.

Natural treatments, such as our Breathe Easy Remedy for Dogs, can aid in reducing the severity of the cough, reduce chest congestion, and aid the dog’s natural healing.

In addition, vaccines can help prevent the development of this condition. A veterinarian can administer a vaccination before a dog is exposed to situations with extreme risk factors for contracting a cough. There are three forms of this vaccine available. It can be injected, given orally or be administered as a nasal mist. This vaccine is not guaranteed to prevent all forms of the disease, but it is effective for most.

Since this cough is so highly contagious, it is best to limit contact with other animals that may be infected. 

If you have other pets in the house, keep the sick dog in a separate area and don't let them eat from the same dog food bowl. Keep the dog away from other animals at a dog park and don't take them to a crowded play area with other dogs.

If you need to leave your dog at a kennel, check to make sure the dog hotel or boarding facility is well kept, clean and follows all the protocols. Because dogs are typically confined in close quarters, most boarding facilities require proof of annual vaccinations before any dogs are accepted. This minimizes the risk of dogs contracting kennel cough symptoms from infected dogs.

Kennel cough is not a serious condition for healthy dogs, so keep your pup's immune system strong and healthy to make any illness easier to overcome. If you notice your pet has signs of kennel cough, don't worry - just watch them for other symptoms until you can get to a vet, and begin treatment as soon as possible.

Who doesn't love Halloween? Every year оn October 31ѕt thousands of kids (and even some adults) dress up in fun and scary costumes to celebrate this special day. Not to be left out, pet owners often get in on the action too by dressing their dogs, cats, chickens, hamsters and other animals in funny costumes that they love to show off. It's аlwауѕ fun tо drеѕѕ up as ghosts and ghоulѕ, аnd іt'ѕ еvеn mоrе fun to have your kitty or роосh wеаr a matching соѕtumе; but before уоu dіvе into уоur раrtу рlаnѕ, іt'ѕ іmроrtаnt tо make ѕurе that your Hаllоwееn pet baby ѕtауѕ ѕаfе durіng thе сеlеbrаtіоn.

Hаllоwееn саn bе fun, but it can also be a ѕсаrу tіmе for both young kids and pets. Thе lоud knocks, bangs, ѕрооkу соѕtumеѕ,lаrgе grоuрѕ of mаѕkеd уоuthѕ, аnd dаrk, hаzу, ѕmоkу conditions add uр tо a mуѕtеrіоuѕ, somewhat frightening night. Nоw іmаgіnе how уоur реt feels with аll this асtіvіtу going on. Pretty ѕрооkеd, I'm ѕurе.

TIPS FOR KEEPING YOUR PETS SAFE ON HALLOWEEN

With all thе сhаоѕ happening all аrоund thеm, pets can feel very uncertain and are likely tо rеасt іn unеxресtеd wауѕ. Tо kеер уоur реtѕ аѕ ѕаfе аѕ роѕѕіblе on this hectic nіght, we've compiled 7 top tips for making сеrtаіn thаt you and your реtѕ соmе thrоugh Halloween unѕсаthеd.

1.  LEAVE YOUR PETS AT HOME

Thіѕ tip is especially important when іt comes tо саtѕ. Since cats are nоtоrіоuѕlу іndереndеnt, оutdооr cats wіll nоt enjoy being соореd up indoors, but in this case, іt іѕ definitely for their own good. Cаtѕ are mоrе lіkеlу tо get ѕрооkеd аnd run off gіvеn аll that's hарреnіng аrоund thеm.

halloween safety tips for pets

However, even dogs are better left to celebrate at home rather than walking around outside. In fact, both dogs and cats are generally better off being kept іndооrѕ and away from the noise to lіmіt their anxiety.

Even if they normally live outside іn a fenced backyard, a dog or cat house, it is still recommended to bring them inside as being outside thеу will ѕtіll sense and еxреrіеnсе everything going on around thеm and may get very nervous and cry.

2. PLACE YOUR PETS IN A SEPERATE ROOM  

Evеn if you keep уоur реt іndооrѕ during Hаllоwееn, іt may nоt be enough to еnѕurе they аrе оut of hаrm'ѕ wау. Pеtѕ аrе easily еxсіtаblе аѕ it is, but wіth all thе lоud nоіѕеѕ and a соnѕtаnt ѕtrеаm оf ѕtrаngеrѕ vіѕіtіng thе house, thеу аrе еvеn mоrе lіkеlу tо be jumру and rеасt unрrеdісtаblу tо аll the сhаоѕ gоіng оn аrоund thеm. Wіth the bell ringing and the dооr соnѕtаntlу ореnіng, it іѕ possible fоr уоur реt tо еѕсареоut іntо thе wild night.

Plасе уоur реtѕ іn a ѕераrаtе room оr the bаѕеmеnt for the few hоurѕ of activity to keep them calm.

3. DON'T DRESS YOUR PET IN UNCOMFORTABLE COSTUMES

diy pet costume ideas

There are many cute and funny Halloween costumes available for pets. Many are sold in pet stores or can be found online; and for crafty DIY aficionados you can even make your own costume for your pet. However, as adorable as some pets look all dressed up it is really important that they also be comfortable. When getting or making a costume for your fur baby, make sure that the material does not itch or cause a rash and that there is nothing in the costume which is constricting to your pet.

4. DRESS YOUR PET IN BRIGHT, REFLECTIVE MATERIAL

It's lovely іf your dog and уоur сhіld go trісk or trеаting together (especially if they wear matching costumes), but in addition to making sure that your pet's costume is comfortable for them, make ѕurе that thе costume is brіght, reflective аnd wаrm. This is especially important for small dogs that can easily get lost in the crowd of kids rushing to Trick or Treat.


People lоvе ѕееіng a dоgs in costume, but if уоu plan tо take your реt оut wіth you on Hаllоwееn mаkе thеm аѕ vіѕіblе аѕ роѕѕіblе. Itеmѕ ѕuсh аѕ reflective vеѕtѕ or LED соllаrѕ аrе a ѕіmрlе wау to mаkе уоur реtѕ nоtісеаblе аnd dіѕtіnguіѕhаblе. And remember to keep уоur pet on a lеаѕh аt all tіmеѕ and kеер thе саndу fаr оut оf his rеасh. 

5. KEEP YOUR PET ON A SHORT LEASH

There аrе ѕurе to be оthеr реорlе wаlkіng thеіr реtѕ аѕ wеll, аnd wіth thе hеіghtеnеd аnxіеtу all around thе likelihood of animals ԛuаrrеlіng іѕ grеаtlу increased. Tо mіnіmіzе реt іntеrасtіоn and роtеntіаl соnflісt, use a ѕhоrt lеаѕh and рау сlоѕе attention to оthеr аnіmаlѕ, ѕо уоu'll have better соntrоl оvеr уоur реt. If your pet gets anxious in a crowd, use a pet calming solution, or better yet, leave him or her at home.

6. PUT A LICENSE TAG ON YOUR PET

If your pet іѕ let outside, runѕ аwау, оr becomes ѕераrаtеd from you ѕоmеhоw, a license tаg оn thеіr collar соuld mаkе all thе difference in hаvіng thеm ѕаfеlу rеturnеd hоmе. Make ѕurе that your реt is rеgіѕtеrеd аnd is wеаrіng thеіr lісеnѕе tag аt all times. You won’t regret it.

7. KEEP CANDY AWAY FROM YOUR PET

Halloween is known for all the candy and chocolate that gets consumed on that day and for weeks afterwards, but chосоlаtе can be fatal tо a реt іf іngеѕtеd in lаrgе enough ԛuаntіtіеѕ. Mаkе sure уоur реt dоеѕ nоt rесеіvе аnу trеаtѕ from lіttlе сhіldrеn оn Hаllоwееn, аnd that gооdіеѕ аrе kерt away frоm your pet's prying раwѕ even аftеr Hаllоwееn.

Halloween can be fun for both children and adults alike. And this year, with extra safety precautions you also want to make sure that your pets stay safe as well. With these pet Halloween safety tips, you can insure that the holiday is also a safe and stress-free day for your pet.

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While to some they may seem intimidating, many large dogs are gentle and very mild tempered, but because of their impressive size they are often misunderstood by those that haven't had a chance to get to know them.  In fact, the world of big dog breeds is littered with misconceptions by the general public! This post is here to break a few of those misconceptions down and hopefully bridge the gap between these exceptionally large, very commonly gentle creatures, and you - potential large-fur-baby parents! (If you already have one of these beautiful dogs, there may be some things below that even you may find surprising 😉)

Many large dog breeds are misjudged by their exceptionally brawny appearance and unfortunately, because of this, rumors about why people shouldn't get large dog breeds have spread like wildfire in the past. When asking around about big dog breeds, you may have come across the occasional, "Aren't they really mean?" or "That's a lot of dog fur to take care of!" or even, "Don't they get sick really easily?"

Never fear, we're covering all of those concerns in this list, from temperament, to big dog illnesses, to large dog breeds that don't shed! Well, don't shed as much.

Read on to discover the wonders of large dogs and learn about some famous ones.

Is your dog on the list?

1. Peruvian Inca Orchid

  • Size - 9-55 lbs
  • Temperament - Intelligent, Affectionate, Anxious
  • Coat colors - black, brown, gray, pink, tan and white
  • Lifespan - 11-12 years
  • Origin - Peru
Peruvian Inca Dog

Are you seeking out a large dog that doesn't shed at all? Look no further, because not only does a Peruvian Inca Orchid not shed, but this breed doesn't have any fur whatsoever! Also known as "naked dog" the Peruvian Inca Orchid hails from Peru and it is said that many Peruvian's use the pups as their personal heating pads at night because the bald skin of the breed radiates so much heat!

These dogs are so intelligent that games that revolve around repetition bore them easily and because of this, they can be seen as highly active. The Peruvian Inca Orchids need to be well socialized and should primarily be kept in the house rather than left outdoors. They don't like to be alone as they are lively and always alert. They are highly intelligent and can be a challenge to train. Still, they are known for being friendly with other dogs!

The Peruvian Inca Orchid is generally a healthy breed but things like eye disorders, ear infections and hearing loss, should be monitored. As this dog is practically hairless they don't do well with extreme weather, but it is noted that if dressed warmly, they'll play in the snow!

Did you know that Peruvian Inca Orchids are an ancient breed of dogs? They are depicted on pre-Incan art and can be seen on Moche ceramics from as far back as 750 A.D.

2. Great Dane

Great Dane
  • Size - 110-180 lbs
  • Temperament - Physically Affectionate, Gentle, Low-prey drive
  • Coat Colors -Black, Blue, Fawn, Brindle, Harlequin, Mantle, and Merle 
  • Lifespan - 6-8 years
  • Origin - Germany

If you grew up watching the irresistibly lovable, dopey, mystery-solving Scooby-Doo, a Great Dane might be for you. While almost all dogs shed, especially large ones, Great Dane's coats are much easier to maintain than many others. These large dogs have coats that are what's known as single-coated and because of this, they don't have an under-fur popping through around certain times of year, coating your home and clothes with globs of your furry family. Instead, Great Danes have a short and smooth single-coat. This makes their fur much easier to maintain than some other large dog breeds.

These incredible creatures are actually known as gentle giants because despite their wildly large stature, they are incredibly loyal and physically affectionate. They are even known to be good with other dogs, pets, and children because of their low prey-drive. Still, even these sweet creatures can react out of fear if they're not given the proper training or they're not accustomed to new environments or people. Things like this can be remedied though, with a lot of love, patience and someone to train them!

Unfortunately, Great Danes are prone to quite a few health problems including: joint and bone issues such as arthritis and hip dysplasia;  cardiomyopathy - a disease of the heart muscle that leads to enlargement of the heart, bloat and thyroid issues. Sharing your life with a Great Dane can be a joy, but make sure to watch for signs and symptoms of any of these health concerns as the earlier they can be detected, or even prevented, the better.

Did you know that Great Danes are the current world record holder for tallest dog? Measured from their paws to their shoulders, the tallest living dog is a Great Dane named Freddy who stands at 40.7 inches (3.39 feet) tall! This is actually shorter than his predecessor, a Great Dane named Zeus, who stood at 44.0 inches tall!

3. Airedale Terrier

  • Size - 35-50 lbs
  • Temperament - Intelligent, Independent and Loyal
  • Coat Colors - Black saddle with tan ears, legs, and head; dark grizzle saddle (black mixed with gray and white)
  • Lifespan - 11 years
  • Origin - United Kingdom
Airedale Terrier

Next up on the list of large dogs that don't shed is the Ariedale Terrier. Think of this dog as the cooler, big brother to the long haired Jack Russell Terrier, the Ariedale Terrier has all the cuteness of a fluffy dog with extremely minimal grooming. They are the larges of all the Terrier breeds, standing anywhere from 22-24 inches tall and weighing from 35-50 lbs!

Airedales are often known for being working dogs, herding cattle and livestock or hunting because they have a tendency to chase prey. They are very loyal to their owner's despite their independent nature and stoic tendencies. These dogs are incredibly intelligent and even stubborn at times! They tend to be weary of strangers and need lots of socialization, but they can also be very playful and interact well with children and other dogs.

They can live up to roughly 11 years and commonly suffer from gastric dilatation volvulus, also known as bloat. Bloat is very common in large dogs and happens when larger breeds exercise too quickly after eating. This can lead to their stomach twisting and blocking their esophagus which leads to further complications like build-up of gas and even death. Luckily, bloat is relatively easy to treat! All it takes is making sure these large babies don't exercise too soon after eating and it's recommended to wait 40 or so minutes.


An Airedale’s ears should also be checked regularly to remove dirt and avoid a buildup of wax which can cause ear infections in dogs.


Did you know that the first Airedale to come to America arrived in 1881? His name was Bruce and he later went on to win the terrier class in a New York City dog show!

4. St. Bernard

St Bernard large breed dog
  • Size - 120 - 180 lbs
  • Temperament - Gentle, Affectionate, Patient 
  • Coat Colors - Red & White, Reddish-brown Brindle, Brownish-yellow, Reddish-brown Splash, Reddish-brown Mantle
  • Lifespan - 8 - 10  years
  • Origin - Monks in the Alps of Italy and Switzerland developed these powerful dogs that could locate and rescue travelers buried by drifts and avalanches 

St. Bernards are not only incredibly friendly, but the breed is famous for giving us some of our pop culture icons we know and love today! Have you ever heard of Beethoven from the classic 1990's comedy films? Buck from Jack London's classic, Call of The Wild? Nana from Peter Pan? Cujo?

Unfortunately, St. Bernards cannot be found on a list of large dog breeds that don't shed. In fact, it's quite the opposite! These hefty hounds tend to shed a lot due to the sheer size of their bodies, but they are known to molt around spring and fall like many other breeds do. Still, their dedication and love for their owners is well worth the time cleaning up all their fur!

Because they are such big dogs they can take longer to mature than other breeds and they generally do not reach their full size until they are 2 or 3 years old. When they do mature, St. Bernards can get as big 180 lbs and 35 inches tall, which is huge for a dog. Because of their incredible size they're sadly predisposed to bone deterioration and hip dysplasia. Other health issues that sometimes affect the breed include bloat and eye disease.

Did you know St. Bernards are so known for their kindness that there's even a legend about it? The legend revolves around a St. Bernard named Barry who found a small boy in the snow. He got the boy to climb on his back just so he could bring him back to safety!

5. Golden Retriever

  • Size - 55 - 75 lbs
  • Temperament - Intelligent, Kind, Trusting and Gentle
  • Coat Colors - Dark Golden, Cream, Light Golden, Golden
  • Lifespan - 10 - 12  years
  • Origin - Scotland
golden retriever breed is predisposed to ear infections

Golden Retrievers are not only known for their beautiful, golden fur.  Although not as big as some of the other gentle giants, Golden Retrievers are still have a very big heart. These large dogs are incredibly intelligent and are often used as a popular breed for assisting those who are differently-abled, hunting, detective work, and search and rescue.

Unfortunately, Golden Retrievers are a breed that is not necessarily among the healthiest large dog breeds. Common health concerns amongst the breed are cancer, hip dysplasia, heart disease, joint disease, obesity, glaucoma, and allergies! Luckily, many health concerns for Golden Retrievers can be prevented or proactively fought.

For example, Goldens are known to love eating! Limiting their food in-take along with a regularly maintained exercise regimen are just a few ways to prevent obesity. The Goldens ears should also be checked weekly for signs of infection and their teeth kept clean on a regular basis.

Did you know that Golden Retrievers are no strangers to the White House? President Gerald R. Ford had a Golden Retriever whose name was Liberty. President Ronald Regan had a Golden whose name was Victory, and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren has a Golden who's name is Bailey!

6. Alaskan Malamute

alaskan malamute
  • Size - 75 - 125 lbs
  • Temperament - High prey drive, Quiet, Amicable
  • Coat Colors - Sable & White, Seal & White, Black & White, White & Chocolate, Gray & White, Red & White
  • Lifespan - 10 - 16  years
  • Origin - these dogs are believed to be a descendants of wolf-dogs who together with Paleolithic hunters crossed the Bering Strait and migrated into North America roughly 4,000 years ago.

If you think you're unfamiliar with Alaskan Malamutes, you may have actually seen one in real life! These pups are commonly mistaken for being Siberian Huskies because of their similar appearances; and they certainly fit into the category of biggest fluffy dogs.

A tell-tale sign that the breed you're looking at is an Alaskan Malamute, rather than a Siberian Husky, is their big fluffy curly tail.

Like Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes are very intelligent and require a lot of exercise and mental stimulation to avoid becoming bored. They also get very attached to the humans in their family and can get separation anxiety if left alone too long. 

Alaskan Malamutes can live from 10 to 16 years old and are one of the northern breeds that commonly live with a hormone disorder called hypothyroidism in dogs. The thyroid is a gland in a dog's trachea that controls their metabolism. When a dog lives with hypothyroidism, their metabolism is slowed down because the thyroid is underactive. This can lead to symptoms such as weight gain and lethargy. Hypothyroidism in dogs is treatable, but not curable. 

As with all breeds, an Alaskan Malamute’s ears should be checked regularly to remove dirt and avoid wax buildup.

Did you know that after World War II, Alaskan Malamutes were nearly extinct? After combining certain breeds, Robert J. Zoller created what is now called a Husky-Pak line that all modern Alaskan Malamutes are descended from!

7. Irish Wolfhound

  • Size - 105 - 155 lbs
  • Temperament - Patient, Affectionate, and  Loyal
  • Coat Colors - Black, White, Brindle, Fawn, Grey, Red
  • Lifespan - 6 - 10  years
  • Origin - Ireland
irish wolfhound

Irish Wolfhounds are known for being an individualistic breed. Not necessarily in the sense of them needing their own space, but in the way that their personalities can greatly differ from one dog of the breed to another.

The Irish Wolfhound is, on average, the tallest dog breed in the world, although several other breeds can outweigh them. Because of this they need lots of room to move around but if you leave them outside make sure that you have a tall enough fence that they won't jump over to catch a passing squirrel. Despite the fact that they can run very fast, most of the time they move fairly slowly. When training these dogs, one requires a lot of patience; although they will eventually listen to you, their decision to follow your direction is at their own pace. In general, Irish Wolfhounds are extremely loving to both adults and children. 


Sadly, many of the biggest fluffy dog breeds have shorter lifespans and Irish Wolfhounds are on that list. With their average life span median ranging from 6.47 to 7 years, this breed shares many health problems that are common among large dog breeds. Irish Wolfhounds are a breed that is described to have a deep chest, which is yet another contributing factor to a large dog experiencing what is known as bloat, or gastric torsion. These big dogs also commonly have enlarged hearts and bone cancer.

Did you know that the Irish Wolfhound is a category of dog breed called sighthounds. Sighthounds are also called gazehounds, and these dogs are bred for their sight and speed rather than their scent and endurance! Sighthounds are known for their deep chests, long legs, and narrow snouts.

8. Old English Sheepdogs

  • Size - 65 - 100 lbs
  • Temperament - Sociable, Bubbly, Intelligent, Loving and Playful
  • Coat Colors - Blue Merle, Blue, Grey, Grizzle
  • Lifespan - 10 - 11  years
  • Origin - as you might expect, these dogs hail from England
old english sheepdog

Old English Sheepdogs are known for being the biggest fluffy dog. If you've never seen an Old English Sheepdog before, think of Prince Eric's precious pooch in The Little Mermaid! Among the most famous dogs of this breed was Paul McCartney’s Martha, who inspired the Beatles song “Martha My Dear.”

These big, fluffy, dogs are known for their bubbly personality and despite the fact that they are large dogs, they can just as easily live in an apartment as a big house as long as they get enough exercise and play sessions. Their shaggy coat also doesn't tend to shed as much as you might think. If you’re looking for a loyal, protective, and loving family companion, the Old English Sheepdog definitely fits the bill!

One thing to note is that although they may not have an incredibly long lifespan, these dogs tend to live with ailments that can be somewhat preventable like heatstroke, skin problems, and allergies. There are investigations into how many dogs in this breed are currently affected by other large dog health issues, like cataracts, hypothyroidism, and cancer.

Did you know that Old English Sheepdogs are a breed that is known for undergoing a procedure known as docking? Docking is when a portion of a dog's tail is removed and this procedure has been argued over for years on whether this is for cosmetic purposes or health purposes. Many Old English Sheepdogs you see may appear as if they have no tail at all. In most places around the world, docking is no longer legal and because of this, there has been a rise in undocked Old English Sheepdog popularity!

9. Bloodhound

bloodhound
  • Size - 88 - 120 lbs
  • Temperament - Gentle, Willful, Even-tempered
  • Coat Colors - Liver & Tan, Black & Tan, Red
  • Lifespan - 7 - 12  years
  • Origin - This is a vey ancient breed that is thought to have come from Constantinople

Unlike the Irish Wolfhound and other sighthounds, the Bloodhound is on the other end of the hunting spectrum. Bloodhounds are what is known as a scent hound. They are known for their almost obsessive nature in terms of tracking scents, particularly human scents, over many days or even great distances. They are so known for their scent-finding talents that they are often employed by the likes of police and law enforcement to locate escaped prisoners, and missing people. They even find other pets!

Fun fact is that the “blood” in their name refers to breeders working hard to preserve the lineage, and not because they search by smelling blood. 

Due to their size many large dog breeds have similar health issues. Just as some of the others we have mentioned to this point, Bloodhounds are extremely susceptible to gastrointestinal problems like bloat, which is most commonly their cause of death. They also tend to suffer from ear and eye ailments and it's recommended that their caregivers give these areas special attention and care.

Did you know that an event called the Bloodhound Working Trials is held four times a year? Started in 1898, the Bloodhound Working Trials is an event dedicated to testing and gauging Bloodhounds scent finding skills! The trials involve one person to follow a course on a map while a bloodhound and its handler do their best to track the scent. The Bloodhound Working Trials are held in Britain and follow Kennel Club rules.

10. Newfoundlands

newfoundland dog
  • Size - 120 - 175 lbs
  • Temperament - Calm, Obedient, Sweet and Loyal
  • Coat Colors - Black, Black & White, Grey, Brown
  • Lifespan - 8 - 10  years
  • Origin - Island of Newfoundland in Canada

The last breed on the list are Newfoundlands! These large dogs could easily be mistaken for bears with their long, dark fur and commanding stature but unlike a bear, these dogs are known for their calm and obedient nature. Much like their St. Bernard brothers and sisters, Newfoundlands tend to shed a lot because of their sheer size.

These giant pups are known for their courage and have a long history of tales from being taken on adventures to saving the lives of their human counterparts. Newfoundlands are born swimmers; they have partially webbed feet and are strong enough to save a grown man from drowning.  What the Saint Bernard is to the Alps, the Newfoundland is to the icy waters of the North Atlantic and many a time hauled both fishing nets and lost fishermen back to shore.

Truly a gentle giant, the Newfoundland is a working dog who is also happy lazing around the house. His docile temperament and love of children make for a wonderful family dog if you don't mind getting slobbered on.

Did you know that Newfoundlands are known so much for water rescue that kennel clubs across America offer Newfoundland Water Rescue Demonstration and classes! They even board boat tours in St. Johns for the safety of passengers! (Also, because who wouldn't want a dog on a boat?)

Large Dogs With A Big Heart

Although it is almost habitual for people to assume that large dogs will turn out aggressive - by now you should see that this not only untrue, but their severe kindness is one of their greatest qualities and strengths.

Not only are these big dogs extremely loyal and calm but they make wonderful pets and family protectors which are traits that are absolutely priceless.

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Over the years, the love and interaction between humans and dogs has become so accepted that they are termed "Man’s best friend". The level of relationship and care given by one to the other is virtually unrivalled. Like humans, dogs love to be social, so you might wonder how important is the interaction between humans and our best friends?

Research has shown that in many cases, playing with your dog and even talking to them can improve both their health and recovery process. Strange, right? Bristol University released a study that showed that dogs who do not engage in play can suffer from anxiety, a huge mental illness which increases the body’s susceptibility to attacks. Although some people (usually those poor people without pets to love) may find it odd to hear you talking to your dog, the truth is that talking and playing with your dog is very important in helping your pets stay healthy.

Seniors and single people often find that they are less lonely, more healthy and live longer if they have a pet.

Play is Fun For Dogs

Be it humans or animals, fun activities are a quick way for the body to get back to shape, eases anxiety, and give the body good room to work effectively. Stress can worsen the case of ill health as observed in both humans and animals. It is why rest from strenuous activities is advised during period of ill health. Play and fun is an excellent way of relieving the dog and putting it in good mood. Playing with your dog is also one of the best ways for both of you to get some exercise.

Experts have advised that exercise not only helps pets stay healthy and active so they are less likely to have joint or leg injuries, but also reduces the risk of obesity, which is a health problem of its own. In the US, a shocking 55.8% of dogs were classified as overweight or obese, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) 2018 study. Fit dogs are healthier and live for 15% more than their unfit counterparts.

pet dog obesity

It's All About Attention and Affection!

man and woman with happy dog

When looking for a pet, most people seek the one that gives them the most attention and affection. In humans, when we get attention and affection it helps to quicken recovery levels for even the toughest of ailments. It is observed that when there is a willingness to fight for recovery from within, the treatment regimens on the outside are more likely to work. This is because affection increases the circulation of the “happy” hormone which relaxes the body and allows the treatment to work stress free. 

Good health is as much a state of mental as physical wellbeing. Talking, giving regular attention, and providing mental challenges helps improve both yours and your dog's thinking and mental capacity. This kind of stimulation makes it easier to prevent against future health issues. Mental Grit helps in combating Illness as it tends to improve physical grit.

Include Pets In All Your Special Days

Dogs love being around people so much that when left alone they often experience separation anxiety and stress. which is why it is important that dogs are reassured and trained to know that you will always come back to them.  When possible, try to include your pets in your holiday and special celebrations. After all, they are family.

Just as you celebrate their birthday or "gotcha day", pets want to be a part of your celebration too.

In fact, many people like to include their pets in their most special day - their wedding.  Starting from the proposal, to walking the bride down the aisle, to taking on that very special role of 'best man' delivering the ring, your dog can be a fun and loving addition to a wedding. For some tips on involving your pet in your wedding day, check out these planning tips from Weddingideasmag.com

dog in wedding
Image courtesy of Unsplash

Dogs Just Love Us

Dogs just like to be around humans. Talking and playing with them takes away the idleness and boredom that goes against their natural way of life. When you talk to your dog, it stimulates their brain, and provides mental stimulation which not only helps keep them healthy, but also aids in recovery of sick animals. It is important to note that just like babies who are not conversant with the English language, untrained dogs would prefer humans to speak in “Doggy” tones to them.

traveling with your pet

For dogs that like body contact, play and immediate contact keep them warm and calm. Scientist have even observed that the fluffy hair of dogs calms the nerves of humans and vice versa.

And don't forget your pets when you travel. 


Traveling with your best friend can be a wonderful and rewarding experience that helps you bond and also opens up the world in new and exciting ways as you get to see it from your dog's point of view. Lastly, did we mentioned that fresh air is also very important in keeping healthy?

So get up, take a walk with your dog in the park, explore new places, have a chat, and enjoy the power of bonding with your best friend.

orange senior cat limping and trouble walking

Most anyone would agree that cats are fairly independent creatures and are pretty good at taking care of themselves. But even the most meticulous feline will experience health issues, especially as they age. The key for every cat owner is to be aware of these possible issues, know the signs to watch for, and hopefully prevent them from occurring.

To help with this, we share here not only the top cat health problems, but also some of the preventative measures you can take to help your feline fur baby live the best life possible.

CAT JOINT STIFFNESS AND ARTHRITIS 

Unfortunately, as with people, no kitten stays energetic and flexible forever. One day he may be leaping to the top of the bookcase, and another he is having difficulty just climbing to the top of the stairs. As cats age their muscle tone decrease and their joints may become inflamed due to conditions such as arthritis, degenerative joint disease, or even injuries that are just slow to heal.

Some preventative measures include ensuring your cat continues to be active as they age. If your cat is already experiencing problems, you can help them by ensuring their cat litter tray and beds are easy for him to climb in and out of. Or setting up ramps out of plywood covered in carpet to help your cat climb up stairs or onto his preferred patch on the couch.

Depending on your cat’s situation, explore alternative treatments such as massage, physiotherapy, as well as hip and joint supplements such as ones containing Glucosamine and Chondroitin which can be used to reduce your cat’s pain and inflammation. In addition, there are many natural and homeopathic remedies such as the BestLife4Pets Cat Joint and Hip pain relief remedy that uses a special combination of plants to help reduce inflammation, making it easier for your cat to continue to move around.

EYE DISCHARGE, INFLAMMATION AND BLINDNESS

Cats can experience a number of different eye issues from a mild irritations that cause guppy eyes, to conjunctivitis and other eye issues that show up as discharge coming from the eye, all the way to severe problems such as cataracts or blindness. If your pet starts rubbing their eyes or their sight starts to deteriorate and they begin to bump into things, the first thing to do is see a vet.

Some of the causes of eye irritations and eye discharge can include: feline upper respiratory issues, blocked tear ducts, pink eye (conjunctivitis), inflamed cornea, allergies and many more possible issues. Treatment for dealing with these eye issues vary widely from eye drops or ointment to antibiotics - and depend largely on determining the root cause of the issue as the problem can stem from another area of the body and not necessarily the eyes. This is why it is important to monitor your cat's overall health as well as getting their eyes checked. 

As cats age, it is also normal for a cat's eyes to become cloudy with age so as they get older you should have your veterinarian check your cat for cataracts, glaucoma, and other eye conditions during regular check-ups.

One other thing to watch for with a cat that is having trouble seeing is cat anxiety

A cat that is in pain or suddenly stops seeing can experience a lot of anxiety and stress so it is equally important to make sure to keep them as calm as possible and keep to their familiar routine. One of the ways to help a cat that is going blind is to try not to change the location of the furniture in your home as this can frighten or confuse your cat. If you need to make changes, carefully observe your cat for a few days while adjusting to the new environment to make sure they do not hurt themselves.

blind cat with cloudy eye looking out

BLADDER STONES, UTI AND KIDNEY DISEASE

The kidneys are a weak area for cats and many end up with some sort of issues with their kidneys, be-it kidney stones, difficulty urinating, bladder crystals, feline urinary tract infections (UTIs) or kidney disease which leads to kidney failure. Kidney disease falls into two main categories: acute and chronic. Acute kidney failure comes on suddenly and is usually the result of toxins, infection or shock. Chronic kidney failure occurs over time from the toxins that build up in the kidneys causing infection and blockage.  Other conditions, such as dental disease, high blood pressure or thyroid issues could also contribute to kidney problems. 

Despite a cat's propensity to developing some kind of kidney related problem, there are still preventative measures that you can take:

DEAFNESS AND HEARING LOSS

Going deaf is another sign of growing old with many cats starting to experience some hearing loss after the age of 10.  Most of the time we don't notice this change until the cat has already lost a significant amount of their high-frequency hearing.

cat sitting on couch deaf to woman calling


You as the owner, who spends the most time with your kitty, are in the best position to spot when your cat is starting to experience hearing issues. Some of the early signs of cat deafness can include:

  • not responding to being called
  • decreased response to sudden and startling noises
  • loud mewing
  • sleeping more

Hearing loss can also make a cat extra sensitive as well as be easily frightened. 

Deaf cats tend to rely more on their remaining senses, especially vision and touch. They may feel the floorboards vibrate as you walk by and could be more sensitive to vibrations from loud music or the slamming of a door. Because of this deaf cats will often move to a position where they will not get startled. They may want to hang out in very high places, like the top of the refrigerator or a bookshelf.

If you notice that your cat is going deaf, use a heavier stride when walking into a room or gently tap on the floor to let them know when you are coming near. To help guide them, you can use a laser pointer to show the way in front of you as you walk. If you notice that your cat is just starting to lose their hearing anticipate their need for security by creating lookout spots ahead of time in various areas of the home.

CAT PERIODONTAL DISEASE AND TOOTH LOSS

When it comes to oral hygiene, it is better to prevent than to cure, and this is especially true when it comes to gum disease. Once the gums have deteriorated, there is no way to regenerate them and too many cats end up having their teeth extracted. To avoid issues down the road you can help your cat by getting them used to having their teeth brushed from an early age. Getting your kitty comfortable with brushing will help you as they age. But if your finicky feline won't let you brush their teeth you can also feed them a special diet or treats containing foods designed to prevent plaque buildup. If your older cat has sensitive teeth, try to feed them moist foods or dry foods soaked in water to make it easier for them to chew. 

As cats age, dental issues may be unavoidable so if you discover that your beloved pet has swollen gums, periodontal disease, stomatitis (painful mouth sores), or is refusing to eat because of the pain in their mouth, take them to a vet for an examination. Infections in the mouth and gums can spread to the kidneys and heart, so it is best to get it checked right away.

You can also take steps to improve your cat's oral health and prevent issues with some excellent natural dental cat treatments and supplements that can help reduce the inflammation and infection in the mouth, provide relief from tooth pain, ease swelling and redness of gums, and reduce the occurrence of mouth ulcers.  

Related Articles You May Have Missed

Is your Cat Hiding a Serious Problem Under their Fur?

Tips for Preventing Kidney Disease in Cats

common cat health problems and solutions by bestlife4pets on pinterest

Soon we’ll be seated around the table, counting our blessings with our friends and families. The turkey will be basted, the candles will be lit and the pumpkin pie’s dish will soon be empty. Thanksgiving is near and while many of our traditions will remain, like most of 2020, this year’s celebration may look quite different due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

One thing that is not different is that we are still thankful for friends, our family, and our pets. Yes… our pets! After all, they help us stay happy and healthy all year round. This year especially, pets have provided love and companionship to many pet owners who have had to self-isolate or are separated from family due to the pandemic. Because of this, we want to encourage you to make an extra effort to show them gratitude. They deserve it!

We thought about all the things you can do to celebrate and thank your pet. Here are our top 5 simple, yet extremely fun, ways to make Thanksgiving the PAW-FECT treat for your furry friend.

1.      Thanksgiving Pet Treats? Yes please!!

Yum! Even we are drooling at the thought of this idea. This year, add a super tasty Thanksgiving pet treat to the menu.

cat treats DIY

Without a doubt, your pet’s soulful eyes will tempt you into giving them a taste of what’s on your table. However, you already know that’s a BIG no-no. Too much rich, fatty food, or even new, unfamiliar foods can upset a pet’s stomach–and even cause pancreatitis. Plus, those turkey bones can puncture their digestive tract. Ouch!

Instead, make their stomachs and hearts happy by creating a special dish using more pet-friendly Thanksgiving dinner ingredients. 

We absolutely love Queen Bee Kitchen's Dog Biscuits recipe. They’re healthy, they’re yummy and all you’ll need is turkey, sweet potato, cranberry, carrots, and oats/rice flour!

We’ve also added Hallmark Channel’s DIY treat to the list. It's great whether you've got a dog or a cat. 

BONUS: Make these recipes your own by giving them a unique name e.g., Tango’s Tasty Turkey Pie.

2.  Phones Down! It’s time for undivided cuddles and petting

Life can get so busy sometimes that cuddling with your pet becomes a side thing: You’re typing away at the computer, Mr. Meowsy comes along seeking some attention, and a quick pat on the head seems to be the quick fix. Except, he's probably seeking a full 'love' session.

Give your pets the undivided attention they’ve been looking for on Thanksgiving Day (and every day 😊). It’s not just a nice thing to do but just like humans, physical touch is a primitive need for your furry comrade. 

When you cuddle your pet, Oxytocin, the love hormone, is released in both you and your pet's brain! The result is a stronger bond and a calm mind for both of you.

We hope that’s enough evidence for you to grab the blankets and their favorite toy for an undistracted cuddling session on Thanksgiving Day!

happy calm dog being petted by owner

3.  Let’s Go for a Family Fun Walk with your Pet!

This isn’t just an ordinary walk in the park. We’re talking about lights, cameras, action, treats, and costumes. Take your pet for a fun walk and photoshoot!

Can you imagine the paw-struck Thanksgiving images you'll be able to reminisce on a couple of years from now?

Here’s how you can make it happen…

orange tabby cat with thanksgiving pumpkin
  • Before you take your pet out for the walk, line the path with some of their favorite treats.
  • Choose who will be the photographer in your family or even better, everyone can get in on the fun. You don’t need a fancy DSLR camera; a smartphone will do!
  • If you’d like to capture the cutest memories, we recommend that you read PetCare Rx's, “Thanksgiving Pets101: The Cutest Ideas and Tips.

We understand that this may be best for the dog owners in our community; however, if you’re a cat lover, you can create a version of the fun walk indoors, or even try a walk outside with your cat on a leash – some cats love this as much as dogs.

We’d love to see your fun walk in action. Share your images on Instagram and tag us @bestlife4pets.

4.  Watch the Dog Show – An Old Tradition or a New One?

After Macy’s annual Thanksgiving parade, you know what comes next… The National Dog Show – a holiday tradition that has been present in many homes since 1933!

Interesting right?

Believe it or not, watching the event with your family’s pet can be an ideal activity to keep everyone smiling.

Did you know that both dogs and cats love to watch TV just as humans do? Famous dog behaviorist Caesar Milan shares that dogs love whatever we love to watch. In an interview with Quartz magazine, he mentions, “You have households that watch movies a lot and the dog becomes, you know, a Jumanji lover.”

dog watching tv with pet owner National dog show after Thanksgiving

And well, for your sweet felines… they’ll just enjoy spending time around you engaging in what you love doing.  If this is already part of your family’s tradition – enjoy the show: if not, maybe start a new family tradition.

5. Make it stress-free! 

We wouldn’t be BestLife4Pets if we didn’t mention how you can help your pet experience optimal levels of peace and safety on Thanksgiving day.

calm and stress free dog zen pet

While we look forward to having our friends and family over for food and fun times, the reality is that gatherings can be a stressful event for our buddies. Trends have shown that many dogs get overwhelmed and anxious when their routine is disrupted and may even end up biting someone.  The scenario isn’t any different for cats, who may react by hiding or the opposite - scratch and hiss.

You’ll need to be your pet’s best friend by supporting them through your Thanksgiving event. If they are whining, their ears are erect or lying flat, they are shivering or barking excessively, take some time to calm them down by using one or more of the great methods we mentioned in our blog, 5 Tips for Calming Down a Stressed Dog (even when you’re at home).

Another option is to use a natural pet calming spray, Thunder jacket or pheromone spray for pets to help keep your pup and kitty calm and anxiety free. 

This holiday, be sure to take a little extra time with your pet. With a little creativity and imagination you can find many ways to enjoy Thanksgiving with your pet. After all, involving them in the family traditions, food, and fun is what it is all about.

After all, who are you more thankful for than your loyal companion?

Have a safe Thanksgiving from Viktoria and Tango!

Oh, the weather outside is frightful! But we’ve got to keep our pets feeling joyful. We’ve remixed the lyrics of 'Let it Snow' a tad, but our message is intentional. In a few weeks, life will change temporarily for our pets: winter is approaching. Sure, they’ll love to frolic, roll and dig in the freshly fallen snow. However, without taking the right precautions to protect them from the cold, their health and safety could be in danger.

The following are just a few of the winter illnesses pets can contract when the weather turns frosty:

And if you live in an area that gets lots of snow, then although you are probably thankful for the snow trucks that put rock salt on the road to keep your car from sliding, that same salt can wreak havoc on your pet’s precious paws as well as their internal organs if they ingest too much of it.

Avoid any suffering by implementing our 7 tips to help them stay safe and warm this winter season.

1. Know Your Pet's Natural Winter Response

All pets experience cold weather differently.

A golden retriever will likely feel less cold than a Beagle due to the thickness of the breed's fur. Some dogs, such as Huskies and Border Collies grow out a second coat under their fur, specifically to keep them warm, allowing them to work or play for hours, in even the coldest of temperatures.

dog and cat with long fur in snow cold winter indoor outdoor cat paws

A long-haired cat will also feel warmer than a short-haired cat. And if your dog or cat spends most of their time outside, they’ll have callused paws that can withstand cold weather as opposed to an indoor pet who will have softer paws.

The Happy Healthy Tip:

Before you follow our other winter precautions, it’s important to understand how your furry friend will naturally respond to the harsh cold. This understanding sets a great foundation to take action on our other tips.

2. Get Reliable Paw Protection

When your happy kitty or pup prances or pounces on the cold ground, their precious paws can experience cracking, frostbite, and drying. What's worse, the salts and chemicals used to melt the snow can be absorbed through their pads causing dehydration, or even chemical burns. And if they lick the rock salt off their paws they can do serious damage to their pancreas, liver and kidneys.

cat with boots keeping warm safe against salt and ice

The Happy Healthy Tip:

Always use paw protection! Purchase your buddy some waterproof booties. If they happen to walk on the snow without them, or refuse to wear protection (as some stubborn pups do – including mine), immediately wipe and even wash their paws as they come inside and be sure to triple check for any cuts or injuries. You can also apply some paw balm or coconut oil to keep their paws from cracking. And although not everyone may do this, you can do your part to make it easier on your pets’ paws by using a pet safe ice melter instead of rock salt to keep the sidewalks clean around your house.

3. Keep Your Eyes on the Water

Myth #1: Pets lose more water from their bodies in the hot weather.

Myth #2: Pets don’t get dehydrated in the cold weather.

thirsty dog drinking water from bowl not puddle dangerous antifreeze chemicals poison

If you’ve been a pet parent for some time, you may have noticed your baby’s extreme thirst during the snowy season. Winter brings such dry weather that pets lose much of the moisture from their bodies, especially through panting.

But keep an eye out for puddles! Thirsty pets may try to get the moisture they crave by drinking the melted snow that collects in street puddles. And while you may think that this is safe because it’s just snow, if the puddle is on a road where cars park then the water can also contain antifreeze that leaks from cars making the puddle water extremely harmful for your pet. A main ingredient in antifreeze is ethylene glycol, which is highly poisonous and can lead to acute kidney and liver failure in pets.

Cats can be poisoned with as little as one teaspoon of antifreeze, and for dogs all it takes is for them to ingest only about 1-2 tablespoons. If you notice your pet acting drunk, depressed or delirious; if they appear weak, urinate excessively, or vomit after being outside – get them to a vet or call poison control right away! Time really is of the essence here to make sure that your pet gets the proper antidote. 

The Happy Healthy Tip:

Keep your pet on a leash and make sure they don’t drink from street puddles. You can also keep them safe and prevent dehydration by ensuring their bowls are filled with clean water at all times! 

4. Keep Them Warm, Whether Indoors and Outdoors

Brrr! It’s too cold to keep them outside.

Let’s be honest: as a human, you wouldn't want to be out in those harsh conditions in just your clothes and a thin coat for a prolonged period; it's no different for your pet. This is especially true for dogs and cats that have short coats or only a single coat during the winter months. If your pet is not suited to the cold, keep walks short so as not to expose them for longer then their bodies can tolerate.

Small pets, or those with short legs that are low to the ground, can also get buried or lost in the deep snow mounds after a heavy snowfall. Getting buried in snow may sound like a lot of fun for kids, but dog and cat breeds that aren’t suited to the cold environment can lose a lot of body heat fast, leading to hypothermia.

cat in blankets sweaters coats warm and cozy safe inside

The Humane Society of the United States has stated that it is illegal to leave animals out in the cold weather for more than 30 minutes. Neglecting them in the cold without proper shelter can lead to an early death.

The Happy Healthy Tip:

Bring your fur kids inside and ensure they’ve got sufficient dry bedding to keep them warm. We understand that sometimes it may be hard to get your pets to come indoors, especially for feral cats, but you can still protect them outside by creating a cozy insulated shelter that’s roomy enough for them to move around and preserve their body heat.  With a little creativity, a draft-free garage, porch, or shed can become a comfy, warm outdoor home for your pet. 

5. Wipe Their Coat Off

When they return inside after a quick walk with you or a romp in the snow, your dog will most likely give their whole body a shake to get the excess snow off; your cat may decide to do some extra grooming and lick it all off. You may think they’ve got it handled, but in most cases they still need a hand to get themselves fully dry.

Snow and ice stuck in their fur can leave them very wet and at risk for hypothermia. Rock salt from the road can also hide inside your pet’s coat, especially if they’ve been rolling around outside. And even anti-freeze can get stuck in their coats making them extremely ill.

The Happy Healthy Tip: 

Be sure you wipe their coats off thoroughly and look for any salt stuck in the fur. To help you remember this step, we recommend leaving a special pet towel by the door. Don’t forget to clean their pads too! 

dog playing outside snow winter ice and salt stuck to coat hypothermia keep clean and dry

If you start training your pet early, you can even get them to wait by the door and give you their paws to clean before they run into the house. This habit can save both your pet, and your floors and furniture.

6. Keep Their Joints Comfy

Unfortunately, if your pet suffers from arthritis or another bone and joint challenge like hip dysplasia they may experience increased discomfort during the winter months as the cold causes joints to stiffen up. 

Never fear! We’ve got a few ideas to ease the pain:

The Happy Healthy Tip: 

  • Place extra blankets around the house so your fur baby has accessible places to rest their joints.
  • Keep them on their toes with plenty of playtime. It will be a big help in regulating their weight, which is integral in reducing the pressure on their joints. 
  • Our natural anti-inflammatory and pain relief supplements are a great support for helping your furry friends get through the cold with the least amount of pain possible.
old cat with joint pain hip dysplasia use arthritis relief remedy Walk Easy

7. Opt-out of Trimming and Buy a Coat

Save their coats, save their lives! 

dog warm outside in winter snow with coat and long fur don't trim or groom puppy

The winter season is a bad time to give them your pet a trim. After all, it is one of their first lines of defense against the frigid temperatures. 

If your baby is small, short-haired, short-legged, elderly, or sick, he’ll need some extra coating support to survive the season.

The Happy Healthy Tip: 

If your pet has long fur, don't shave him; let his long, fluffy coat keep him warm and toasty; but of course, keep it clean and snow-free! 

If your pet has shorter hair, you still have an opportunity to give them a fighting chance against the cold by getting them a warm coat or covering. There are so many different styles and brands of coats that you’ll be sure to find the paw-fect clothing to protect your pal while keeping them comfy and fashionable! 

Winter is a fun season with lots of great activities you can enjoy. Having your fur babies with you during the winter is always a delight, but to make the most of the season it's important to also keep them warm and protected. It really doesn’t take much effort. So, this year when the cold sends you scurrying inside, don’t forget your furry four-footed pal and their essential needs! 

Keep your pets healthy, cozy, and pain-free this season by stocking up on some of our natural products. Explore our relief options here.

We’ve all been there – getting dog toys that your dog won’t play with, or ones that they destroy in minutes and then look to the next thing to chew on. If this is you first puppy, I hate to tell you but this is something you can look forward to as well. And with all the choices at the pet store, how do you figure out  which toy is right for your puppy? On your criteria for selection, you’re hoping you find one that ticks all the right boxes:

Besides keeping them busy, did you know that toys are essential for your dog’s well-being and healthy development?

curious happy puppy dog toys stop boredom safe durable stop chewing and teething

Dog toys can help them fight boredom when they are alone at home, relax them when they are stressed, promote learning and enhance their ability to be independent. Additionally, it encourages natural behavior like exploring and foraging, and also helps prevent behavioral problems such as excessive barking and inappropriate chewing. Some toys are even specially designed to help keep teeth and gums clean and strong.

During a puppy’s development period from 2-10 months, it’s important to give them appropriate toys that cater to their personality and breed. If you've got an energetic pup who loves to chew like there's no tomorrow, you should buy toys that help relieve pressure on their gums and can last for a very long time. Stuffed plushies and teething rings are good options for smaller pups and breeds like Yorkshire or Shih Tzu that tend to have smaller mouths. For those smart pups that need a bit more of a challenge,  puzzle toys can help keep them mentally stimulated.

Finding the perfect toy is always a bit of trial and error; you’ll never know which is the perfect toy for your pup until you try them out. As such, the best thing to do is to buy a few different ones to see which one they enjoy the most.

Remember, one of the keys to having a well behaved, happy puppy is to have the right toys in their treasure trove. Their energy, enthusiasm, and curiosity must be funneled into the right place, or else even you can become their chew toy!

Here are some tips for finding the best toy for your puppy that will save both money and energy.

1. A Tennis Ball

A game of fetch is one of the oldest and most popular games for dogs. It allows them to exercise and is also a great way for you to bond with your furry friend. Your pup may not get the game in the beginning so they may require a little bit of training initially.

Heads up! You’ll need to include a tasty treat as a part of the training for this game.

Training your pup to fetch and retrieve is fairly simple: some dogs pick this trick up fairly quickly and will run after a ball as soon as you launch it. The trick is usually to get them to bring it back. One way to encourage this is to reward them with a small treat whenever they bring the ball back. Soon the pup will realize that to get the treat, they must bring the ball back.

puppy dog having fun chasing tennis ball outside happy playtime game toy

If your dog is not too keen on running after a ball, you can start your training by dabbing a small amount of pet-safe food and spreading it on the ball. Let your pet sniff it before you toss it. Most dogs will then follow the scent and go after the ball when you throw it. After they get the ball, encourage them to pick it up and bring the ball back to you. Once they do, praise them endlessly with treats. After a while, you can substitute treats with lots of praise for your pup. Unlike cats, dogs really want to please their owners so making you happy will become enough of a reward for fetching the ball. Pretty soon, you and your pup will be spending hours just throwing and fetching.

Once your pup gets good at recall, you can also start to use a ball launcher to throw the ball farther and farther away from you; thereby increasing the effort and exercise for your dog.

American Kennel Club has a great guide on how to teach your pal how to play fetch here.

2. Chew Toys

puppy chew toy teething healthy gums young and old texture flavor hold treats kong toy

Many dog owners swear by chew toys. These toys keep their dogs’ gums and teeth healthy and will ensure they are occupied and happy. There are many different toys available, so try different textures, flavors, and scents to find ones that will appeal to your pup.

As your dog’s teeth get stronger and bigger, different textures and materials may suit them better than others. If the chew toy is too hard, they may simply get bored and discouraged so it’s important to get the right chew toy for your dog’s life stage. If your pup is new to the toy, you can also opt for ones designed to hold treats like the famous Kong. It will give them a reason to keep chewing on a denser toy, and will still offer the many dental benefits of a chew toy.

3. Puzzle Toys

If you are looking for a low-impact game to control your pup's anxiety and destructive behavior, the puzzle game is just what you are looking for.

To make it intriguing, you can add a tasty reward in the end to help motivate them to keep playing. Puzzle games are a great choice for puppies that are learning paw-eye coordination. To avoid loss of interest, start simple, reward often, and then slowly work your way up to more challenging puzzles.

puppy dog puzzle toy stimulate reward do puzzles together bonding hide and seek treats

Another trick to get them started is to solve the puzzle together. Doing this will not only give them direction and encouragement but will be a great bonding experience between you and your fur baby. Awww!

While not exactly a puzzle toy, but a great game to play with your pup and one that also develops their sense of smell (especially if it’s a hunting breed) is a game of hide and seek. The idea here is to hide a strong smelling treat nearby or under something and have your dog use his nose to “find it”. If you have stairs in your house, then hiding treats at the top or bottom of the stairs and making your dog run up and down to retrieve the treat is a great way to give them some exercise, especially on rainy days. I do this with my dog all the time and he loves it.

4. Snuggle Toys

puppy snuggle toy relieve anxiety calm stress safe space stuffy stuffie pacifier relax

For some dogs, toys are more like a friend. If they are clingy, nervous or always looking for comfort then you should get them a good snuggle buddy to help them feel safe and happy.

Snuggle toys come in all shapes and sizes. They act as a pacifier when your puppy needs comfort in the night or when stress or anxiety is triggered by an unexpected house guest or a change in routine.

Be sure that you offer your pup this toy in a calm and safe space. They will eventually start associating their new buddy with safety and turn to their friend when discomfort peaks.

When looking for a snuggle toy, make sure it is safe for your dog and does not have any small parts that may be a choking hazard if they break off.

5. Teething Toys

Most pet parents wish that their pup can skip the teething phase. Unfortunately, it’s an unpleasant stage you can’t escape; however, there are things you can do to reduce the destruction that comes with it.

Remember that your pup is not a little demon trying to wreck your carpet and your shoes, they are just trying to soothe their tender mouth.

You can help your puppy overcome this stage by buying them a good teething toy. If your pup doesn’t know what to do with the toy at first, then add some flavor. Stick to tiny amounts of pet-safe food such as peanut butter (in small quantities) and let them lick it off.

puppy dog teething toy chew toy stop destructive behavior healthy teeth and gums

Note: Keep Toy Safety in Mind

No matter how expensive the puppy toy is, be careful of when and how you use it. Not every toy will be suitable to leave with your dog or pup unsupervised. So, be sure you are adhering to all the safety instructions before giving them these delightful playmates.

Some toys like puzzles have small pieces that can be hazardous if left alone at your pup's disposal. Any toy can be a choking risk if not selected appropriately. Hence, always choose the right size and type of toy for your pet and supervise them while they play.

Lastly: Be Creative!

Last but not least; get creative! You can make lots of home-made toys from things you don't use but have lying around, like old mismatched socks or your kids old toys (just careful not to give your dog a toy that your child is still attached to). Think outside the box to make a boring toy much more fun. There are lots of ideas for hand-made DIY toys that you can build from the things you have right at home.

No matter how many toys you buy from Amazon, Chewy, or any other pet store, nothing beats you getting on the floor playing with your dog to make them feel loved and special.

From making up new games indoor or out, to just playing with the toys right alongside them, giving your pup your undivided attention is the best gift you can give.

Does your happy pup have a favorite toy? Let us know and send us pictures of your pup with their best toy to info@bestlife4pets.com

Detecting and Treating Kidney Problems in Cats Starts With Knowing the Symptoms.


Do cats with kidney problems hold their pee or urinate more frequently?

As a new cat owner or even a seasoned one that never had to deal with cat kidney issues it may be normal to suspect that you'll know when your cat has problems because they are in pain and stop peeing, but that is not always the case. Each cat's situation is different and so are the symptoms of kidney problems.

Some cats aren't able to hold their pee and start urinating all over the house. At first you may think the cat is upset, angry or scared. After all, most cats are good at using the litter box properly, as long as they aren’t mad at you!

But occasionally, you may notice your cat having accidents or purposefully urinating in other places. As much as we love our fluffy feline companions, it can be frustrating when your cat pees outside of the cat litter box, especially if you can't figure out why.

If you've noticed your cat having accidents, it could be a sign of a urinary tract infection or even kidney disease in cats. Other common signs of possible kidney issues include weight loss, a dull coat or even excessive drinking. Determining what's wrong may be a bit of a guessing game which is why we have compiled some helpful information to assist you in figuring this out. 

Learning about the function of the kidneys and different kinds of kidney-related illnesses, like bladder or urinary tract infections (UTI), kidney stones and crystals, is a great place to start.

Types Of Kidney Problems In Cats

Lets start with understanding what the kidneys do.

In cats, just as in humans, the main function of the kidneys is to remove waste from the blood stream, regulate the levels of minerals such potassium and sodium, conserve water, and to make urine to expel the waste. Because the kidneys have a lot of capacity, they can continue to function even when parts of them are not working properly.  In fact, in many cases you may not even start to see any symptoms until more than two-thirds of the kidneys are deteriorated.

Also, because of all the functions that the kidneys perform, there are also lots of different types of kidney problems that can affect cats at various stages of the disease. Kidney stones and kidney failure are just a few of the serious conditions that, similarly to human, can affect our furry felines. All this makes detecting feline kidney problems early on a bit of a challenge

One way is to start with something simpler, like a urinary tract infection (UTI). Cats that get repeated UTIs should be monitored for early signs of kidney problems.

The following are some other conditions that can lead to cat kidney problems in the future:

  • Lower urinary tract infections
  • Upper urinary tract infections
  • Struvite crystals in the urine
  • Bladder infections
  • Kidney Infections
  • Kidney Fibrosis
  • Kidney and Bladder Stones
  • Inflammation in the kidneys
  • Polycystic Kidney Disease
  • Blood Disorders
  • Chronic Kidney Disease

Some of these conditions can be easily treated and cured. However, some are incurable. 
Many of the less serious illnesses, if left untreated, can also quickly lead to kidney failure in cats so it's important to be vigilant.

Causes Of Feline Kidney Problems

While senior cats are among the most likely to contract kidney related illnesses, cats and kittens of all ages are vulnerable to an extent. Fetch by WebMD states that "kittens can be born with kidney diseases" and "trauma, toxins and infection are also causes."

Here’s what causes some of the most common kidney problems:

Cat Urinary System Infections

Many serious feline kidney problems begin with a simple infection of the lower urinary system caused by bacteria.

The MERCK veterinary manual explains that, besides senior cats, those most susceptible to infections of the urinary system include those with urine flow problems or highly diluted urine, diabetic cats, cats with hyperthyroidism, weak immune systems and those with other diseases.

In general, bacterial infections are caused when the bacteria enters through the urethra. After the bacteria has entered the system, infections can settle in the lower urinary tract, bladder, upper urinary tract and even the kidneys. Infections can also take root when fungal, parasitic or viral components enter in the system.

Feline Kidney Infections

According to Pet MD, Pyelonephritis, or kidney infection, "is a bacterial infection of the renal pelvis, the funnel-like part of the ureter in the cat's kidney."

Many times, these infections are caused by an obstruction to the flow of urine, such as kidney stones. Pyelonephritis can also be caused by blood supply issues or damage to the kidney valves.

Kidney infection in cats can also occur when microbes from a lower urinary tract infection cause bacteria to spread to the upper urinary tract.

Kidney Fibrosis

Kidney Fibrosis is a serious condition that occurs when certain proteins are produced excessively and build up in the kidneys. These proteins, known as extracellular matrix proteins, according to SouthernBiotech, exist as "structural scaffolding to surrounding cells."

Kidney Fibrosis usually occurs in the final stages of a cat with chronic kidney disease (CDK) where the impairment of renal the function often leads to kidney failure. 

Interstitial Nephritis

Familydoctor.org reports that Interstitial Nephritis, or inflammation of kidneys, occurs when "the spaces between tubules (small tubes) inside the kidney become inflamed."

When these spaces are inflamed, the kidneys are unable to function at full capacity. This failure in the system makes it impossible for the kidneys to properly filter out waste.

If treated quickly, Interstitial Nephritis should not lead to kidney disease. However, untreated, it can be serious, and older cats are at a higher risk of having this condition develop into chronic kidney disease.

Kidney Stones And Bladder Stones

Kidney stones in cats are one of the more common causes of kidney infections.

In an article from the Cornell Feline Health Center, Richard Goldstein, DVM explains that kidney stones form from naturally occurring calcium oxalate when there is too much of this mineral in the urinary system. The minerals form crystals, and the crystals sometimes form larger masses known as kidney stones.

Bladder stones are similar to kidney stones, but they can be made from struvite or calcium, and they generally either remain so small that they go undetected, or grow so large that they cause severe pain, internal bleeding or complete urinary blockage. In severe cases, bladder stones must be removed through surgery.

Blood Disorders And Diseases

Several blood disorders and diseases can also cause major kidney problems. Blood diseases can develop when blood is not filtered properly. This can cause a build up of toxic levels of otherwise harmless and naturally occurring proteins, minerals, acids and other waste products.

Some of the blood disorders and diseases that may relate to kidney problems in felines include Acidosis, Glomerulonephritis, Sepsis, Urosepsis and Hepatitis.

Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic kidney disease (CKD), also sometimes called Chronic Renal Disease or Chronic Kidney Failure in cats, is a condition in which a cat’s kidneys eventually stop working over time.

CKD can develop for a number of reasons, but often the exact cause is indeterminable.

International Cat Care explains that biopsy reports reveal that Fibrosis and Interstitial Nephritis are often present in diseased kidneys of cats with end-stage CKD, but that these issues "do not tell us anything about the underlying cause."

The Goddard Veterinary Group reports that the most common cause of the disease is "degeneration due to old age and a high protein diet." In other words, most cats that have Chronic Kidney Disease get it because they have outlived their prime. As carnivores, all cats need a lot of protein in their diets - however, as they age, their kidneys have to work harder to filter out excess proteins, acids and other toxic waste.

A few other conditions that are not covered here, but that may also lead to CKD, include:

  • Benign or cancerous tumors
  • Birth defects
  • Polycystic Kidney Disease
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Overdosing medication
  • Poor nutrition
  • Trauma or injury

Symptoms Of Kidney Problems

Kidney problems can show up in different ways - from urinary tract infection all the way to Chronic Kidney Failure and the accompanying symptoms can vary widely as well.

The following is a list of some signs to watch for that can be a symptom of kidney disease in cats. If you notice any of these signs, you should seek consult your vet and get a proper diagnosis. The earlier the proper treatment is started the better.

  • Excessive urination
  • Failed attempts to urinate
  • Urinating outside the litterbox
  • Intentional urination elsewhere
  • Blood, cloudiness or crystals in urine
  • Existing or recurring UTI's
  • Highly diluted urine
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Increased thirst
  • Dehydration
  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Bad breath
  • Ulcers on tongue or gums
  • Brown colored tongue
  • Decreased activity
  • Lethargy, weakness or depression
  • Dry or otherwise poor coat
  • Seizures
  • Collapse

Treatments For Kidney Problems

Treatments for kidney problems will vary depending on the condition itself and the severity of the condition. CKD is not curable, but symptoms can be treated to make your cat more comfortable.

Vets treat some conditions, like infections, with antibiotics. More serious conditions, like bladder stones or Kidney Disease, may be treated with surgery or antibiotics, IV fluids and diet.

Fetch by WebMD advises that a diet that is "low in both phosphorus and protein, and is enriched with vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids," is the best choice for a cat with kidney problems.

Natural Options for Feline Kidney Support

Besides changing your cat's diet, you may want to use some natural, homeopathic treatments, especially if you are unable to get to the vet. These supplements can be used to help an infection or for ongoing kidney support.

Some treatments we recommend to help relieve pain, support kidney function, and reduce stress include the following:

1. Urinary Tract Infection and Kidney Support Remedy for Cats

These easy to use pills for cats are all natural, chemical-free and support overall feline kidney health.

Formulated with select plants and minerals, this special formula reduces the frequency and occurrence of urinary tract infections and helps filter and flush out toxins, making the job of the kidneys easier and not so taxing. The remedy also clears up crystals in the urine, aids in passing of kidney stones and relieves inflammation.

2. Immunity Boost for Cats

For cats that have a weakened immune system or get constant and recurring infections, the BestLife4Pets Immunity Boost remedy can help.

This powerful, yet gentle on the tummy supplement can help strengthen your cat's immune system and aid in fighting off stubborn, and recurring infections.  If your frisky feline is not feeling well, or can't seem to shake off that cold or congestion, this natural remedy can help provide the boost and support they need.

Cat urinary tract infections can be helped with a number of natural and traditional medications, but if the infection recurs it can lead to more serious kidney issues that can impact your cat's entire life. 

Not all feline kidney problems are life-threatening, but whatever the issue, if your kitty is not acting like their usual self or is displaying one or more of the symptoms discussed above it is important to get them looked into and taken care of right away. 

Identifying the Type of Parasite Infecting Your Dog is the First Step in Ridding A Dog of Worms.

Given all the things a dog sniffs and eats during the course of a regular day, it is not surprising that some of those things make them sick. One of the things that  dogs frequently pick up from ingesting contaminated soil or feces is worms or worm eggs. These parasites typically come from other already infected animals.

Parasites are an unfortunately common part of a dog’s life, and they can make your dog very uncomfortable. As much as we hate seeing our fur babies in pain, if your dog has a parasite, it is usually not as serious as it seems. Whether it’s a natural remedy or a medication, there are many different types of treatment for worms. In this article, you’ll learn all you need to know about the most common types of parasites, their symptoms and treatment options.

1. Roundworms

Roundworms are parasites that live in your dog’s intestines and feed off of semi-digested food. They are usually white or light brown in color and can be up to a few inches long. Certain types of roundworms can even spread to humans. Human contamination can lead to heart, liver, lung and eye problems so be careful around a dog that has contracted ringworms. Wash your hands frequently and be mindful when cleaning up dog poop.

Causes of Roundworms

Puppies are at a higher risk of contracting roundworms. If a puppy's mother is infected during pregnancy, then they can pass roundworms to their puppy before they are even born. It can also be passed from mothers through their milk.

The risk is higher with puppies because if the mother previously had roundworms, the larvae in their body can be reactive during pregnancy. This makes it more difficult to manage because even treated roundworms can still become an issue in the future for pregnant dogs.

For adult dogs, the risk of contracting roundworms is not as high, but there still is a chance. Adult dogs normally contract roundworms by consuming eggs. Eggs are most commonly consumed in animal poop and rodents who are infected. 

Once ingested, the roundworm eggs will hatch. Once they hatch, they will travel through your dog's liver and up their windpipe. Your dog will then cough and swallow the hatched eggs. This will send them to your dog's intestines, where they will live, collect food and lay their own eggs.

Roundworm Symptoms in Dogs

Not every dog shows symptoms of roundworms, but most dogs do. Your vet will be able to find roundworms through a stool sample. They will check the stool sample for roundworm eggs, and when found, will confirm diagnosis. Here are some initial symptoms to look out for that indicate your dog may have roundworms:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness
  • Stomach pain
  • Weight loss
  • Dull coat


Alone, these symptoms could mean many different things, but if your dog is exhibiting several of these symptoms, call your vet.

In addition, if you see small eggs in your dog's stool or vomit. So, contact your vet and report any of these symptoms as soon as you notice them.


Roundworm Treatments

Medical Treatments:


There are many safe medical treatments that your vet can prescribe for your dog. Piperazine, Fenbendazole, Milbemycin and Pyrantel are some of the most common deworming medications prescribed by veterinarians. These are typically given by your vet, and most of them will require multiple visits to monitor treatment.

The first dose is meant to kill the adult roundworms. This will prevent them from creating more eggs. The further doses will begin the process of killing any new worms that weren't killed during the first dose. You should continue to monitor your dog closely even after treatment. Some vets will request that your dog have periodic stool checks to ensure there are no further infestations.

Natural Remedies:

2. Tapeworms

Tapeworms are flat, white worms that attach to the lining of your dog's gut where they feed and grow. Although they may start off small, tapeworms can grow to be up to 8 inches long.

Humans can also get a tapeworm infection from their dog, however this is rare. The only way for humans to contract a tapeworm from their dog is to accidentally ingest an infected flea. Otherwise, tapeworm can't be transmitted from your dog to you - so no need to worry.

Causes of Tapeworms

Tapeworms come from fleas which are infected. Fleas can carry tapeworm larvae.

If your dog accidentally ingests an infected flea, then a tapeworm can grow inside of your dog by attaching itself to the walls of their gut. This is where they will remain as they grow and feed on nutrients that your dog needs.

Because this is the only cause of tapeworms, there is no risk of a tapeworm passing to another dog.

Tapeworm Symptoms in Dogs

Tapeworms can be difficult to detect right away, but here are some symptoms to watch out for:

Parts of tapeworms will fall off, and these parts are what you see in your dog's poop and around the anus. This is how your vet will diagnose your dog with a tapeworm. Though it may take more than one trip to the vet, and multiple stool samples, to accomplish this because the parasites may not be found in every poop.  

Tapeworm Treatments

Medical Treatments:

The most common medication used to treat tapeworm is Praziquantel. It is available as a shot or in pill form. This medication kills and dissolves the tapeworm. So, you will not actually see the tapeworm when it leaves your dog's system.

  • Cloves  -  Cloves are anti-parasitic in nature and can kill tapeworms if consumed. However, do not give cloves to pregnant dogs, because they can cause contractions.
  • Papaya  -  Papaya is naturally anti-amoebic and will kill tapeworms. You can feed the fruit to your dog, but careful to omit the seeds.  There are also papaya pills available as a natural remedy.

3. Heartworms

Heartworms are generally regarded as the most concerning dog worm or parasite, but it is also the most preventable. Heartworms live in the heart, lungs and blood vessels of dogs, where they grow and eventually reproduce. Adult heartworms can reach from 6-12 inches in length depending on age and gender. Heartworms are not contagious to other dogs or humans.

Causes of Heartworm


Heartworms are only passed through mosquitoes and can lodge themselves into the dog's heart, lungs and bloodstream. If you notice that your dog has been bitten by a mosquito, then there is a chance that they may have contracted heartworms.

Once the larvae is introduced to the dog from a mosquito bite, it will take about 7-9 months for them to fully grow into adult parasites. If not removed, when the heartworms reach adulthood they will begin mating and reproducing - making more heartworms in your dog's gut. 

Heartworm Symptoms in Dogs

There are few symptoms of heartworm which make it difficult to catch before it gets severe. Mild symptoms include coughing and fatigue after moderate activity.

Eventually at more severe stages, dogs can have a persistent cough, fatigue after little to no activity, trouble breathing and signs of possible heart failure.

Heartworm Treatments

Medical Treatments:

There are a few options for heartworm treatment that are popular with veterinarians, but it will not be easy on your dog nor will it be cheap. One treatment that many vets choose is an injection which is put deeply into the dog's back muscles. This FDA approved medicine contains some arsenic which will kill heartworms in the dog's system. According to the VCA Animal Hospital, this treatment has been successful in 95% of cases.

There is another option that vets use which is a topical solution applied to the dog's skin. This medicine will get rid of the parasites in the dog's bloodstream.

Many vets agree that the best heartworm treatment for dogs is prevention. If you live in an area with mosquitos, then you should absolutely start preventative treatment for heartworms as they are easier to prevent than to cure.

Natural Remedies:

Unfortunately, there aren't many proven natural remedies for heartworm because once they are contracted, they can quickly spread and cause other complications making it difficult to determine that the original cause of the problem is heartworm. Most other parasites are not serious enough to need a timely medical treatment, but heartworms are that serious.

There are some natural remedies for preventing heartworm, including the BestLife4Pets Dewormer for dogs. Other natural treatments include garlic and wormwood for treating and preventing heartworms.  However, if you suspect that your dog does have heartworms it is best to get them tested by a vet.

4. Ringworms

A ringworm is different from the above parasites because it is not actually a worm - it is a fungal infection that causes bald patches in the shape of rings. Because it is fungal, ringworm must be treated in very specific ways and there is a chance that it may come back, so thorough treatment is vital for it to completely go away.

Ringworm can easily be transferred to other pets and humans. Taking extra care around the dog plus keeping your dog quarantined during treatment can help prevent other pets in the house from getting infected. 

Causes of Ringworm

Ringworm is spread through direct contact with the virus. It's commonly spread through other animals or humans that contract ringworm and touch objects, leaving traces of the virus behind. Most commonly, it is spread through shared furniture, food and water bowls, bedding, brushes and even carpet. So, if you have multiple pets in your home, children or even just yourself, then you need to thoroughly clean after your dog if they have ringworm.

Ringworm Symptoms in Dogs

Though it is not deadly, you should definitely try to catch symptoms of ringworm as soon as possible to prevent the spread and infection of other pets or humans. Here are some symptoms to look out for in order to identify ringworm:

Ringworm Treatments

Medical Treatments:

Most vets will recommend a treatment plan for your dog which will include topical therapy, oral medications and environmental changes. Topical therapy normally includes prescription shampoos that are meant to treat the infection skin level and give your dog some relief.

Next, vets will prescribe certain medications to kill ringworms, and though this is effective, it will take time. In the meantime, they will also give you advice on keeping your dog away from other pets and humans. This separation is hard for any dog lover out there, but it is vital to control the spread of ringworms.

Natural Remedies:

Intestinal worms, regardless of the variety, can make your fur baby feel sick. Since the condition will only get worse as the worms grow and multiply it's important to treat them and get rid or the worms as quickly as possible; not only for your dog but also for other pets and humans in the household.

The good news is that there are many natural and prescription options out there so as soon as you identify what kind of worms have infected your pooch, getting rid of them and getting your pup back to good health is possible.

Most people know that gum disease in humans can lead to other health conditions. It's also easy to prevent by thorough and regular brushing of the teeth. However, not all pet parents are aware that their dogs can also develop gum disease. If your dog has terrible breath, can you be sure that it isn't gum disease? This article will discuss periodontal disease in dogs and some of the things you can do to help treat it.

CAUSES OF CANINE GUM DISEASE

Gum disease in dogs is caused by the same reason in dogs as in humans: bacteria. Just like humans, dogs pick up a lot of bacteria in their mouths. Since dogs can put almost anything in their mouths, the threat of bacteria is even higher than in humans. When this bacteria mixes with food and saliva, it starts to form plaque on the teeth.

Plaque is a sticky film that can collect on the teeth, which commonly starts growing by the gum line. As is the case with humans, plaque can cause a series of problems. Plaque makes brushing difficult because the bristles can't pierce through the plaque without additional tools. Since the plaque is providing a barrier for the bacteria beneath it, the bacteria are able to eat away at enamel and gums over time.

In dogs, plaque is even more serious. Because of the constant biological threats that animals face, they have powerful immune systems. Unfortunately, those systems can also wreak havoc on their bodies.

When plaque develops in a dog's mouth, its immune system recognizes it as a foreign invader. As a response, it creates white blood cells that are programmed to attack the plaque. Unfortunately, the bacteria also tells the white blood cells to attack the gums.

As a result, your dog experiences inflammation in their gums as well as the loss of gum tissue. Receding gums also comes with the consequence of losing bone material - their teeth will fall out. 

Gum disease is actually more prevalent in dogs than in humans. This is primarily because dogs don't have their teeth brushed nearly as much as humans do. However, there are a few symptoms that are noticeable before gum disease starts to spread.

SYMPTOMS OF PERIODONTAL DISEASE IN DOGS

One of the problems with gum disease is that it can be difficult to notice gum disease in its early stages. It requires you to be proactive in taking care of your dog and their teeth. Some of the more advanced symptoms of gum disease include:

Because the consequences of gum disease are severe, it's important to contact your vet or take steps to receive treatment for your dog. The easiest way to take note of your dog's oral health is to look for the above symptoms.

TREATMENT OPTIONS

There are both medicinal and natural dental care solutions that you can utilize to help treat gum disease in dogs. In addition, it's easy to include some of these steps in your dog' care to help stop gum disease from occurring in the first place.

1. Take Your Dog for Regular Oral Exams

Just like attending the dentist, it's important that you also take your dog to the vet for oral exams. During an exam, your dog will be placed under general anesthesia. It's the only way that a vet technician can easily look within your dog's mouth without difficulty. If there are any problems, the vet will know immediately what steps need to be taken.

2. Brush Your Dog's Teeth

dog teeth dog gums dog rotten tooth periodontal disease in dogs

Dog teeth cleaning is essential to both preventing and treating gum disease. While your dog may show some resistance to it at first, with enough patience and training, you can successfully clean their teeth and keep them happy. Speaking to your vet is a great way to ensure that you have the right kind of tools and are using the right kind of technique. 

Although there are many dental bones and treats on the market, cleaning your dog's teeth with a toothbrush and doggy tooth paste on a regular basis is still the best way to remove plaque from their teeth and ensure that harmful bacteria don't build up in their mouth.

3. Look For Dental-Friendly Foods

Not all dog food is created equal. You can also purchase certain dog foods that have oral health in mind. These foods essentially help scrub your dog's teeth as they chew it. By removing the plaque from their teeth, the food keeps your dog's oral health in check.

Some dental-friendly foods also include additives to help prevent the development of plaque.

4. Try a Natural Remedy

Some home remedies that have been shown to reduce plaque and strengthen teeth and gums naturally include giving your dog raw food or meaty bones, feeding them bone broth, and using coconut oil as toothpaste. Homeopathic remedies have also proven useful in preventing and treating periodontal disease in dogs.

5. Offer Them Chew Toys

dog chew toy dental canine toys

All dogs love to chew! So why not get them a bone or chew toy that not only helps keep them occupied, maintains the health of their teeth, while at the same time helping to loosen and scrape off plaque.

Some of the chew toys that you'll want to consider are rubber-based, tartar bones and dental treats. Many of these come with two sided ridges that help get at all parts of the dog's teeth. The other benefit of these rubber toys is that they also massage the dog's gums. Your dog can spend hours chewing on them and helping to clean their teeth all at the same time.

As with any dog toys or bones, it is important to supervise your pup and make sure that no small parts break off which can lodge in their throat.

6. Tooth Removal - a Last Resort

While cleaning, flossing, and brushing can help the early stages of gum disease, only one method is used for late-stage gum disease. At this point, a dog's tooth is almost entirely rotten. The only way to save the rest of your dog's teeth is to remove the infected tooth. A vet can do this by removing the tooth and cleaning out the rot.

Gum disease can ravage your dog. It's never too late to start taking better care of their oral health - so start today!

DESTRUCTIVE BEHAVIOR: ADORABLE IN SOMEONE ELSE'S HOME

One of the most adorable things about kittens is the mischief they are able to get into - after all, kittens just want to have fun. Some of their antics are adorable at first, but when it's your carpet that the kitten shreds, your curtains they tear up, or your pillows they chew to death, it's not always that amusing. So what is a cat owner to do?

quote don't shout kitten reduce stress stop destructive behavior

Well, the first thing is more of a "what not to do" - do not shout at your kitty cat! Remember, a domestic cat is still an animal, and will not understand what you are saying. Count to 10 and calm down, then firmly grasp your kitten, say "No" in a firm and clear voice and put the kitten in their bed - or in their safe zone if you have created one that they still use. This will tell them that this behavior is wrong and unwanted.

The next thing to do is to identify why your kitten has gotten into this particular misdeed - are they bored, feeling anxious, or are they falling prey to their hunter genes?

Usually it's a mix of boredom and practicing their hunting techniques that urges a kitten to cause the most trouble around the house. Whether you work outside the home or are now home more often than you were before, the busyness of everyday life may mean you don't play with your pet as often as they would like. This boredom causes them to find things like trailing plants, a table cloth string, or rolling apples, tempting. A cat, however, likes to hunt, and sometimes they will occasionally try to "kill" the odd cushion!

GIVE THE CAT A TOY

In this case, buying some cat toys will help teach your kitten what is acceptable to play with and what is not. A soft ball, not necessarily a small one - some kittens are happy enough to push something that is about half their size, but not too heavy - is a great toy. A ball made of crumpled paper is another good thing your kitten will want to play with - but be sure to crumple it gently because loud noises are likely to frighten a cat. Any toy that has been filled with catnip will keep your kitty amused for hours, but often the most fun toy for cats is a box with big holes cut in it that they can jump in and out of.

You can also get a scratching post that will help distract your kitty from scratching the furniture, and focus on the post instead. If you are buying a scratching post to go in your home, try to look for one made from the similar material as your furniture, so your cat will be able to scratch what feels like the furniture, without harming the actual furniture. If this is not available, go for something that feels like tree bark, as cats love to climb trees. Additionally, some stores sell catnip-infused scratching posts. These will not only be good for scratching, but will smell appealing to your cat as well.

cat anxiety hiding scared acting out aggressive stressed causing destructive behavior

ANXIETY MAY BE THE ISSUE

However, if your kitty is still scratching furniture or destroying its surroundings even after you've gotten him fun toys to play with, there could be a deeper problem. Anxiety is a common, but hidden, disorder in cats, and this may be what is causing your cat to lash out. Especially now, your cat might be picking up on the stress you are feeling and could start to feel stressed as well.

Destructive behavior is the best sign of a stressed cat. If your kitty keeps tearing up your things, or has suddenly begun doing so when he wasn't destructive before, it is good to begin watching for other signs of cat anxiety so you can be sure if this is the root of the issue.

In conjunction with destructive behavior, these are some signs of stress in cats:

If you are starting to see one or more of these signs, there is a good chance that you have a stressed out cat. It is normal for cats or kittens to get anxious during these uncertain times: schedules have been interrupted and you are not coming and going at the same times anymore, and this is enough to unsettle your pet and cause anxiety.

HOW TO HELP WITH DESTRUCTIVE BEHAVIOR

That said, there are many ways to give cats help with anxiety. First, you may want to try giving your cat a blanket or shirt with your scent (something you won't mind them destroying), which should calm them down if you have to leave the house or if you are too busy to play with them regularly. This will help your kitty understand that you won't leave them forever, and they'll have a reminder of you while you're gone. You may also want to leave the TV or radio on while you are out, as a quiet house can feel lonely for your cat, and may push them to distract themself by destroying your couch. Voices from the radio or TV will make them feel less alone, and the background noise will soothe your pet.

cat relaxed calm soothing smells background noise reduce stress

Another idea is to schedule time to focus solely on playing with your kitty. This has a dual purpose: it introduces a new, favorable routine, and helps your kitty feel more loved and seen. This playtime will become a daily favorite for both you and your cat, and will help them feel more calm and happy. Lastly, if the problem seems more serious or it just won't go away, you may want to try a calming remedy. There are various pheromone diffusers or supplements available to help ease your kitty's anxiety, as well as natural calming sprays like our Pet Relax Anxiety Relief Spray. All you have to do to calm your kitty down is spray some of the remedy on your hands and rub it over your cat's fur, or spray it on their bed or blanket (perhaps the one with your scent!). Made of plants and flowers proven to relieve cat stress symptoms, Pet Relax may be just the thing your kitty needs to calm down and stop scratching or tearing at your furniture.

A mischievous kitten can be frustrating, but with good toys, soothing smells or the right environment, combined with simple patience, you can help stop them from destroying the wrong things, and give them ways to release their energy. Remember, no matter how it may seem, your cat does not intend to be mean when they do something they should not: it means that there's an issue, but now you know how to solve it!

How will 4th of July Celebrations be different in 2020 with COVID-19?

Many people have been debating what kind of events to participate in on the 4th of July during this pandemic. Although restrictions are beginning to loosen up, COVID-19 daily cases are on the rise in America and having an extravagant celebration may be too dangerous. Likely, some fireworks and a small backyard get-together will be the norm for most people, with precautions taken to protect ourselves against the virus. However, pet parents may need to take extra measures to help protect their pets, and not just from COVID-19.

Even with pandemic-sized, smaller and less rowdy celebrations, pets are still at risk during July 4th. Due to the loud fireworks, more pets go missing around Independence Day than any other time of the year. However, there are ways to protect your dog or cat before, during, and after the 4th of July Independence Day to make sure they have a great time too.

Prepare ahead of time to make sure your pet is safe 

With just a few precautions done before hand everyone can enjoy the 4th of July in peace. In fact, it will be pretty easy to avoid the stress and hassle of having an anxious pet or to prevent looking for a lost pet if you start preparing before the party. The two main ways to prevent a runaway dog or cat during Independence Day are to get all your pet's information up-to-date, and make sure your yard is enclosed and safe.

Keep your pet secure: 

Keep your yard secure:

CARE FOR YOUR PET DURING INDEPENDENCE DAY

Just because you've prepared for your Independence Day celebration doesn't mean you shouldn't do what you can to keep your pet safe and calm during the event. There are a few things you can do just before or throughout your party to protect your pet:

Additionally, if your dog or cat still gets scared or nervous around fireworks, large parties or loud noises, have a calming remedy on hand to help soothe them. We recommend our Pet Relax all-natural calming spray, made with five flower essences, that will relieve your pet's anxiety within minutes. Pet Relax will help your pet calm down without putting them straight to sleep, unlike other calming remedies: all you have to do is simply spray it on your pet's bed or rub it into their fur.

PET SAFETY AFTER INDEPENDENCE DAY

Ensuring safety for your pet during Independence Day doesn't stop at sundown. After a good party, many people want to rest or move on to the next day, but there are a few things you need to do first. 

Everyone wants to have a good time and celebrate the 4th of July with family and friends, including your fur baby, and the best way to make sure that the celebration goes off well is to keep your pets safe and secure. Following the tips above will insure your dog or cat will enjoy Independence Day as much as you do.

From our team at BestLife4Pets, we wish you and your pets a safe and happy July 4th!

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