Great Time to Foster; Great Reasons to Foster

The time is right; the needs at area shelters and rescues are great. The COVID 19 pandemic has disrupted every aspect of our lives. The work of animal shelters and rescues has been greatly impacted also. They need fosters NOW. Before you may have been too busy with work, school, and other commitments to make a commitment to foster; NOW though is a great time to open up your home temporarily to a pet in need. Have your children pleaded and pestered for a pet but you felt that even their schedules were too busy for that type of commitment. Fostering a pet is an ideal way to enjoy the benefits of having a pet without a “furever home” commitment. 

In case you need a few more great reasons:

  • Fostering gives you the satisfaction of getting a pet ready for their furever home by sharing your home, time, and friendship.  It provides foster pets with opportunities for socializing and training that are not available in a kennel or shelter.  Foster pets get a chance at becoming cherished pets.
  • Fostering is a great opportunity for families to work on a project that is fun and teaches responsibility.  The addition of a pet brings joy to a home even temporarily.  There is a sense of accomplishment when your foster becomes part of a furever home.  Your family may decide to foster another pet.  Fostering can also help a family find out if it is ready for the responsibilities of having their own pet.
  • Fostering offers financial support.  The rescue or shelter usually is responsible for the financial needs of the foster pet such as any necessary medical treatments your foster pet requires during their stay with you.
  • Fostering a pet gives you a first-hand understanding of the personality traits of your foster.  The knowledge you gain about your foster pet will help the rescue or shelter find the best furever home for your foster.

Fostering is a major of time and effort.  Welcoming a foster pet into your home will require changes to your lifestyle.  AND saying Good Bye will be difficult.  Yet so many foster pet parents and families agree that the rewards of fostering outweigh the costs.

If you’re not able to foster at this please help the animals in our community by donating to a local animal shelter or rescue.

ACAA Regulation on the Transport of Service Animals

On January 22, 2020 The U.S. Department of Transportation announced that it is seeking public comment on proposed amendments to its Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) regulation on the transport of service animals.

The following chart courtesy of HABRI visually provides an excellent overview clarifying the differences between service animals, emotional support animals, therapy animals and pets.  Scroll past the chart for a brief overview of proposed amendments and additional resources.

The U.S. Department of Transportation is proposing to ban all service animals except dogs aboard U.S. flights. Airlines would also no longer have to accommodate emotional support animals. Airlines could ban emotional-support animals including untrained dogs, cats and more exotic companions such as pigs, pheasants, rabbits and snakes.

In a statement on their website they state “the department recognizes the integral role that service animals play in the lives of many individuals with disabilities and wants to ensure that individuals with disabilities can continue using their service animals while also reducing the likelihood that passengers wishing to travel with their pets on aircraft will be able to falsely claim their pets are service animals.”

In limiting the options to dogs, the department states that its proposed definition aligns with the one used by the Department of Justice and the Americans With Disabilities Act*.

This is a very complicated and complex issue. We encourage you to read the regulations and respond to them with your comments.  The proposed amendments can be found at

Comments must be received by April 6, 2020.


Safe Thanksgiving Foods and Snacks to Share with Your Dog or Cat

The feasting holidays are wonderful times for family and friends to come together and enjoy great food and fellowship. Safely including our pets in the feasting can be challenging yet there are some human foods that can be shared with them. The following traditional holiday foods are safe and nutritional for pets.

APPLES – contain powerful antioxidants and vitamin C. Caution: never give them the core or seeds.

BLUEBERRIES – contain powerful antioxidants and are a good source of healthy fiber, manganese, and vitamins C and E.

CARROTS AND CELERY – both are low in calories and high in fiber and vitamins. Before preparing the stuffing set aside a few bite-size pieces for your pet to enjoy.

BROCCOLI – has anti-inflammatory properties, contains healthy fiber to aid digestion; is rich in beneficial nutrients like potassium, calcium, protein, and vitamin C.

PUMPKIN – is a great source of fiber, vitamin A, and antioxidants. Caution:  use only fresh pumpkin or canned 100 % pumpkin – do not them pumpkin pie filling which contains sugar and various spices.

PUMPKIN SEEDS are also a healthy treat. Pepitas, or raw pumpkin seeds, are a rich source of minerals, vitamins K, E, B and zinc.

SWEET POTATOES are rich in beta-carotene, antioxidants, and vitamins A and C.

It is important to introduce new foods slowly to your pet; start with one at a time in case your pet is allergic to it. Too many changes to a pet’s diet can cause digestive upset. Be careful about offering foods that contain sugar, salt, spices, butter and fat, or spices.

If you have concerns or questions or if your pet is exhibiting any symptoms of an allergic reaction or food poisoning please call your veterinarian or contact the following:  ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center — (888) 426-4435


National Poison Prevention Week – Sunday, March 17 – 23

National Poison Prevention Week is a great time to find out more about the potential poisons and toxins your pet might get into – let’s keep our pets safe!

In early March the ASPCA®’s Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) releases its findings about the Top Ten Poisons for the previous year. The top spot again for the most common toxin ingested by pets is over-the-counter medications and supplements. Prescriptions for human medications are in the second spot. Over 35% of the calls received by the APCC are for either OTCs or prescriptions meds.

The other toxins on the Top Ten list for 2018 are:
3. HUMAN FOODS – Approximately 11% of the calls involved food or ingredients such as xylitol, grapes, raisins, onions and garlic.
4. Chocolate
5. Veterinary Medications
6. Household Items
7. Rodenticides (Poisons for mice and rats)
8.  Insecticides
9. PlantsBoth indoor and outdoor
10.  Lawn and Garden Products

It is important to poison-proof your home and educate yourself on items that are toxic to pets. As evidenced by the 2018 results all medications need to be kept out-of-reach for your pets. Also, there is an increase in calls in the spring and summer months due to increased outdoor activities and exposure to outside plants, herbicides, fertilizers, and pesticides.

For more information about the 2018 findings from the ASPCA (APCC) –

ASPCA Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 

Pet Poison Helpline 855-764-7661


Heart Health

February – The Love Month

Valentine’s Day and Love Your Pet Day are two heart- themed days we celebrate in the month of February. It is the month of love with colorful decorative hearts on cards, candies and celebrated with candlelight dinners, marriage proposals, weddings and anniversaries.

February is also American Heart Month which promotes awareness of heart or cardiovascular disease and how to prevent it. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Some of the leading causes of heart issues are excess weight, inactivity, diabetes, unhealthy eating, and stress. Healthy choices and lifestyle changes are key factors in preventing heart disease. Pets can also be affected by heart conditions? Regular checkups are important for both humans and pets to detect early warning signs of heart disease.

You can reduce your chances of developing heart problems by increasing your physical activity, adopting a healthy eating plan and managing stress. It is important, too, to smile, laugh and have fun – A happy heart is a healthy heart. There is a link between our emotions and our hearts. Taking time for fun including friends, hobbies and enjoyable activities help in achieving a heart-healthy lifestyle.

Help Your Heart – Hug Your Pet

Multiple studies suggest that having a pet offers numerous health benefits for people. Pets have a positive effect on stress levels, blood pressure and emotional well-being. Staying active is important for overall health fitness and heart health; walking your dog is a fun activity. Stroking or petting a pet increases serotonin and dopamine levels which help create a sense of calm and well being. The companionship and unconditional love of pets helps reduce depression, loneliness and anxiety which are harmful to our health.

Love Your Pet – Keep Them Healthy
A few important tips to helping your pet stay healthy are:

Taking your dog for daily walks is a great way to stay fit. Schedule regular playtimes with your pet. Make sure they enjoy an active lifestyle; walking, hiking and swimming are healthy activities.

Feed your pet a balanced, nutritious diet based on their breed, age, activity level and species. Help them maintain their ideal body weight; excess weight or obesity increases stress on the heart, other body organs and joints

Take your pet to the veterinarian for regular checkups and routine care annually or more often for older pets or those with an existing health condition. Regular veterinarian care is important to help prevent or diagnose health problems.

Keeping them healthy is one of the best ways to show our love!

February offers three great reminders to take care of our health, to express love to our family and friends and to shower our pets with extra love and attention.


Have A Safe Thanksgiving With Your Pets

Is it safe to share the bounty of the Thanksgiving feast with your pet?

There are many traditional Thanksgiving foods that are perfectly safe to share with your pet. It is important, however, to keep table treats simple and small.

KEEP IT SIMPLE – One of the hazards of sharing human food with our pets is that our food is usually too rich and highly seasoned and can create problems for them.

KEEP IT SMALL – Another hazard is giving them large amounts of table treats especially if a number of people are feeding these “snacks” to your pet. Another temptation is to give them too many unfamiliar foods at one time; even safe foods can cause stomach upsets or allergic reactions.

UNSAFE FOODSX Turkey skin/bones  X Fatty foods  X Gravy  X Stuffing  X Breads (anything made with yeast which can cause painful gas and bloating)  X Onions  X Garlic  X Raisins  X Grapes X Nuts  X Mushrooms X Chocolate  X Alcohol. There are other unsafe foods but these are popular ones included in many Thanksgiving feasts.

SAFE FOODSTurkey  Cooked vegetables such as green beans  Sweet potatoes  Cranberries  Yams  Pumpkin  Carrots Kale Broccoli  Fruits such as apples, blueberries. 

REMEMBER SIMPLE… no butter, spices, added sugar or other ingredients. Many baking ingredients include baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg and other spices which are potentially toxic to pets.

There are a few other items that will help keep your pet safe this Thanksgiving:

SECURE THE TRASH! Many medical emergencies happen after the feast because pets have gotten into the trash. The trash can smells can be irresistible yet it contains many hazards such as unsafe food, foil, plastic wrap and more. Make sure your trash is placed in a secure container.

GUARD THE DOORS! Many pets have escaped while guests are arriving or leaving your home. Unfortunately some get lost. Note – the holiday season is a wonderful time to check to make sure your microchip information and other forms pet IDs are up-to-date.

CREATE A QUIET SAFE SPACE for your pet to escape if the noise or stress become too much for them.

Wishing you and your pets a safe & Happy Thanksgiving!

Fletcher Canyon – Favorite Fall Hike

There’s nothing like hiking in fall up at Mt. Charleston. The cool breezes and the fall colors remind us that fall is really here and winter is on its way. This 3.2-mile roundtrip hike begins off Nevada Highway 157 in Kyle Canyon, a ½ mile past the turnoff to Nevada Highway 158. The trailhead is on the north side of the road with parking on the south side alongside the road. While the length of the hike isn’t that long, there is a thousand-foot elevation gain as you hike back into the canyon.

The hike begins in the canyon forest amongst the trees at the Forest Service information board. As you hike along the trail, look for the high elevation cactus that makes this habitat their home. Further up the canyon, you will begin to notice a small stream flowing. Depending on the weather, the stream length will vary. Along the stream are wild roses, columbine and maidenhair ferns. Along the trail you may see old piping – before the use of wells in this area the water from Fletcher Canyon was piped to the Kyle Saw Mill.

Eventually, the trail crosses the stream and heads back into the canyon. From here the canyon walls begin to close in and become vertical creating the ‘Fletcher narrows.’ This area is prone to flash flooding so check weather reports before hiking and don’t hike if rain is predicted. As the trail narrows, conditions deteriorate, and rock scrambling is necessary at several points. At the end of the trail, a massive boulder formation blocks the canyon. There is often water running across these boulders creating a waterfall. From here, stop and have some lunch then head back the way you came.

Benefits of Playful Activities

What images come up when you think of playful pets?

Probably the picture is of cute cuddly kittens or puppies playing with their siblings, wrestling, chasing and just having Fun! Play is instinctive in young pets and is important in their development into adulthood. Yet, like us, pets never lose their ability and desire to play.

It can be challenging to find toys and games to keep their playful activities varied and interesting. Plus every pet is unique and likes different toys and games. Since the traditional season of gift giving is fast approaching we’d like to help Santa by giving him a list of favorite toys from our readers.

Send us an email at telling us what your pet’s favorite toy or game is. We’ll make a list with ideas for the pets on Santa’s “Nice” list and share them in our next issue.

Kidney Disease

What is kidney disease?
Any disease process, acute or chronic, that prevents the kidneys from functioning properly. Every wonder what the kidneys do? Well, the kidneys have multiple jobs, but their primary and most important role is to filter the blood and remove toxins.

What are the most common causes of kidney disease?
Before discussing, it is important to understand the difference between acute and chronic kidney disease. In acute cases, the onset is sudden and clinical signs are usually more severe, since blood toxins build up quickly. In chronic cases, the disease usually progresses slowly and clinical signs may go unnoticed for months.

Most common causes of acute kidney disease are ingestion of toxins such as certain foods or plants. For example, raisins and grapes can be extremely toxic to dogs. In cats, ingestion of lilies can cause kidney failure and even death. Other causes of acute kidney disease include infectious causes, such as leptospirosis, lyme disease and pyelonephritis. Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection usually spread by infected wildlife and concentrated in areas with rivers, lakes and/or streams. Leptospirosis is not common in Nevada. Lyme disease is transmitted by ticks, this is why tick prevention is important in areas where tick burdens are high. Pyelonephritis occurs secondary to a lower urinary tract infection, when bacteria ascend up into the kidneys, causing sudden and often severe illness.

Chronic kidney disease usually occurs over a long period of time. In many patients with chronic disease, the underlying cause may not be determined. Chronic kidney disease is more common in aging dogs and cats.

What are signs of kidney disease?
During the early stages of kidney disease, the signs are usually non specific, such as increased thirst and urination, and decreased appetite. In acute cases, or when the disease process progresses, you may notice vomiting, lethargy and weight loss.

How do you diagnose kidney disease?
Since chronic kidney disease may go unnoticed, it is important to include annual veterinarian care. IF your pet is over 7 years of age, it is recommended to have routine check-ups every 6 months. Your veterinarian may perform a physical exam, complete blood profile, and urinalysis. In addition, imaging, such as radiographs (x-rays) and ultrasound of the kidneys may be performed. However,
many tests may be normal in early stages of kidney disease.  A newer blood test, called SDMA is now routinely used to aid in earlier detection of kidney disease.

What are treatment options?
The mainstay in treating kidney disease, is good hydration and dietary modification. If an underlying cause is determined, other treatments may be used. Occasionally, your pet may need hospitalization for more intensive care.

If you think your pet is showing clinical signs of kidney disease, please schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.

Did you know? Ethylene glycol, a common ingredient in anti freeze, is severely toxic to dogs. In addition, giving your pets over-the-counter human drugs, such as aspirin, may cause kidney failure. Please make sure to keep these products out of reach of your furry friends.

Pet-Friendly Dining Etiquette

Dining out with your dog can be an exciting new adventure for you and your favorite pooch to enjoy. With more and more restaurants and coffee shops offering pet-friendly eating areas, the ability to take your dog with you for a cup of coffee or a nice meal with friends is such a welcome option. For the optimal dining experience, there are a few things you can do beforehand to help ensure that your dog is up to a social dining experience.

Since you know your dog’s personality and possible problematic behaviors, you will be able to determine if your dog is a good candidate for a social dining experience. Like many people, not all dogs are comfortable in social situations. Meeting new people, new dogs, and dealing with unpredictable situations can be too much for some dogs. If your dog is very timid or potentially aggressive in social settings, it may be best to leave him at home until you feel confident in his readiness. But if your dog is obedient, good with other dogs, and enjoys meeting new people, he may be the perfect candidate to accompany you on a dining or coffee date.

Before you embark on your first doggie-dining outing, here are a few tips and rules of etiquette you may find helpful:

Restaurant Policy – Check out the pet-friendly restaurant you are considering visiting beforehand. Make a note of the table locations and available seating. You may want to check with the staff regarding their pet-friendly policies and call them ahead of time to check on seating availability before you go.

Socialize Your Dog – A well-socialized dog that is comfortable with people and unfamiliar surroundings will probably be a good dining companion in a pet-friendly restaurant. Lying down next to your chair and being patient is really all that you are asking of your four-legged companion. Your dog should be well-versed in the basic commands of sit, lie down, and stay.

Before You Go – It is important to have a plan before you embark on this new adventure. Prepare for your visit by packing a water bowl and a chewy or quiet toy for your dog to enjoy while you are eating. Be sure to exercise your dog and feed him before you go to the restaurant. A full-bellied, tired pooch will only add to your chances of having an uneventful, relaxing time with your friends. Immediately before you enter the restaurant, give your dog a chance to go potty. (An unexpected potty accident can be an embarrassing and uncomfortable dining interruption.) Plan on bringing a friend with you for your restaurant visit. If YOU need a restroom break, your friend can take care of your dog in your absence.

At the Table – Keep your dog leashed at all times. While seated at your table, keep your dog’s leash in your hand or readily available to you. Do not tie the leash to the table or even your chair. An unexpected “dog emergency”, like a scrambling mouse or squirrel, may surprise you both with an overturned table or chair. Either keep the leash in hand or try sitting on it, wrapping it around your thigh or ankle. Keep your dog close to you where he is not obstructing the foot traffic of other patrons or your server.

Table Manners – It is always important for you and your pup to observe good table manners; no begging, barking or feeding your dog from your plate or silverware. (It is a violation of health codes for pets to use the restaurant’s dishware or silverware.) If you’ve forgotten your water bowl, your server will typically be happy to bring you a plastic water bowl for your dog. Additionally, your dog should not be allowed on your lap or seated in a chair at the table. Pets should be positioned next to your chair where they can relax comfortably.

The ability to eat out with our pets is a refreshing option for pet lovers. By observing a few guidelines in dining etiquette, you and your dog can enjoy many fun-filled dining adventures.

August 15th is National Check The Chip Day

This event was created by the American Animal Hospital Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association with support from HomeAgain to encourage pet owners to check their pet’s microchip information annually and keep it up-to-date. By doing this yearly, you increase your pet’s chances of returning home if lost!

Adventure is out there, protect your pet!

– By Alexa Rabini

Once upon a time there was a dog named Daisy. She was a happy pup with a loving family! Daisy spent her days begging for food, going on neighborhood walks and playing outside in the yard. But one day while she was chasing a bird, it suddenly got dark and started to rain. Daisy was so scared she panicked and crawled under the gate! Looking for her family, she just kept running and running. When the rain finally stopped, she didn’t know where she was or where her family went. Luckily for Daisy, Alexa was out taking her dog Lily for a walk. She found Daisy and took her back to her house to keep her safe until she could find her family. Daisy was given a warm bed and a fresh bowl of water. But she was very sad and missed her family very much. Daisy’s family returned home from dinner and couldn’t find her anywhere. They called their neighbors and asked if anyone had seen her. Fortunately, Daisy’s family had her microchipped the year before and the registration information was current. The next morning Alexa took her to the nearest veterinarian and they found her chip. Alexa called Daisy’s family and told them that she was safe. Daisy was so happy to see her family! Because of her microchip and an up-to-date registration, Daisy and her family were reunited.
August 15th is National Check The Chip Day Microchips are the size of a rice grain and do not cause your pet any pain. ID tags can easily be damaged or removed.

Alexa Rabini is Pet Care Consultant at Pets of Las Vegas.


Pet Safety In The Garage

When you picture your garage, what do you see? Sharp objects? Heavy machinery? Hazardous and flammable materials? Do you envision a safe environment for your pets to be in? Would you keep your pet in a garage for any period of time, or would you worry for their safety and health?

Chances are, your garage isn’t the safest place for your pet to be in. However, where your pet goes isn’t always in your control. Someone leaves a door open, or your pet follows you into the garage. Regardless, it’s a wise decision to carefully prepare the garage just in case an accident does occur. The following four points are some ideas that will help you prepare your garage to be a safe place for your pet.

  1. Keep hazardous materials placed high above the ground and out of reach. Pets are notorious for finding small things to chew on and even swallow. Your pet isn’t at fault for this, it’s just part of their instinct. Keep an eye out for potential “chew toys”, small objects, or chemicals that could pose a lethal threat to your pet.
  2. Ensure there are no sharp objects within reach or laying on the floor. These include power tools, knives, even nails and screws. If you have recently used a power tool, make sure there are no sharp metal shavings that your pet can step on.
  3. Electrical wiring must be kept out of reach. You can purchase wire protector or wrap duct tape around the wire. Another option is to ensure the wiring is tucked away behind a desk or is pressed up against the base of the wall, increasing the likelihood that it will be out of sight, and out of mind for your pet.
  4. The garage is often utilized as storage space, which may include boxes and objects piled on top of each other, in high places like shelves, or on top of cabinets. The main concern here is to simply ensure that these items are secure and maintain no risk of falling down if knocked over. Depending on the size of your pet, it can be extremely dangerous by not taking care of these stacked and stored items.

These are just a few ideas on how you can ensure your garage is a safe place for your pet. You never know what might happen. Protect your pet by preparing for the worst.

Matt works for Custom Garage Storage Solutions. He enjoys traveling with his wife, spending time with his Rhodesian Ridgebacks, and spending time with friends.


Celebrating Presidents’ Day

Celebrating Presidents’ Day
Presidents’ Day originally was established in 1885 to recognize President George Washington. The day is now popularly viewed as a day to celebrate all U.S. presidents past and present.

It gives us an excellent opportunity to learn more about our presidents and their pets. It is interesting to learn about the variety of pets that were part of their lives. Since 1800 the White House has been home to more than 400 animals including cats, dogs, alligators and others. We often view our presidents only as historical or political leaders. Learning about them as pet parents and animal lovers offers us a glimpse into the lives of the men, women, and children who occupied our nation’s capital.

Our Presidents and Their Pets
President Washington, known as The Father of Our Country is also considered to be the Father of the American foxhound. In addition to his 36 dogs he also owned and loved horses. The Washington household also had birds; one parrot in particular was a favorite of the first lady. Polly often spent time sitting with Mrs. Washington even when she was entertaining guests.

President Lincoln was the first president to bring a cat into the White House. When he assumed office and traveled from Illinois to the White House, his son, Tad, asked his father to bring his cat (Tabby) along. President Lincoln agreed. He loved all cats and could play with them for hours. Once when a reporter asked Mary Todd Lincoln if her husband had a hobby she replied simply, “cats”. We know that Abraham Lincoln owned at least 2 dogs, Fido and Jip. A book by Matthew Algeo, Abe & Fido: Lincoln’s Love of Animals and the Touching Story of His Favorite Canine Companion depicts Lincoln as a deeply compassionate animal lover and shares the story of his favorite dog, Fido.

President Coolidge had a “personal zoo” that included more than 26 pets, including a bobcat named Smoky, six dogs, a goose, a donkey, a cat, an antelope, a wallaby, and two lion cubs called Tax Reduction and Budget Bureau. He also had a pair of raccoons called Reuben and Rebecca. Reuben didn’t like being around people but Rebecca loved posing for photos. Calvin often took her on a leash for walks on the grounds of the White House. Another one of his popular pets was Billy, a pygmy hippopotamus. Billy was donated to the Smithsonian National Zoological Park.

President Theodore Roosevelt’s household consisted of six children and numerous pets including a bear, badger, pony, hyena, pigs and birds. Guinea pigs were part of the family and President Roosevelt felt they made perfect pets for his children. The guinea pigs often were seen playing with the children outside on the White House lawn. One of the guinea pigs lived in a cage with Peter the rabbit. Sounds like a typical household of pets and children!

White House Gators!
The White House was home to three alligators – one was given to John Quincy Adams by the Marquis de Lafayette and lived in a White House bathroom. President Adams enjoyed scaring his guests with his unusual household pet.

Though President Hoover and his wife, Lou, were dog lovers, their son, Allan Henry, had a pair of alligators as pets. Normally they were kept in a bathtub but often escaped and were seen roaming the grounds of the White House. The alligators were eventually donated to the Smithsonian Zoo

Guess who had a Doggie birthday party in the White House. President Harding and his family had a birthday party for their dog Laddie Boy. The guest list included other dogs. A dog biscuit cake with frosting was served. Just a typical family celebrating the birthday of a family member!

I identified with President Lincoln and his love and enjoyment of cats. The image of guinea pigs and children playing on the White House lawn warmed my heart. I would have loved seeing President Coolidge walking his raccoon. Our presidents and their families indeed were pet people!

See the following for more interesting tales of pets and presidents plus photos:


October 11, 2017 – National Pet Obesity Awareness Day

Have you noticed some signs of weight gain – clothes getting a little tighter, getting “winded” climbing stairs, flunked the “pinch an inch” test?  As humans, we know what these signs mean and can choose to take corrective dietary and lifestyle steps to reduce our weight. Unfortunately, our pets are dependent on us to help them maintain a healthy weight. Overweight and obese pets can suffer from joint problems and arthritis; develop diabetes, and can experience increased susceptibility to heat stroke. Obesity in pets reduces quality of life ad shortens their lifespan.

On October 11, the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP)* will conduct its tenth annual U.S. pet obesity prevalence survey. Results from their 2016 survey show that 53.9% of dogs and 58.9% of cats are overweight or obese.

A few tips to help keep your pet at a healthy weight:

MONITOR MEALTIMES – For many pets it is best to provide food at mealtimes rather than having their bowl filled with food available at all times. Determine your pet’s calorie needs and divide that into 2 or 3 mini meals. Word of caution – it is important to not cause quick weight loss. Know your pet’s ideal weight and create realistic timelines for weight loss. Avoid giving your pet table food or table scraps because prepared people food is usually higher in salt, sugar and fat content than is healthy for pets.

LIMIT SNACKS OR TREATS – Treats add calories and must be counted as part of your pet’s daily calories. Offer healthy snacks and consider replacing treats with other rewards such as belly rubs, body massage, and extra hugs.

TAKE MORE WALKS – Both of you will benefit from daily walks around the neighborhood or dog park. Start with short walks and watch for signs of over exertion especially if your pet is older or already overweight. In addition to burning calories, brisk walks help strengthen the respiratory and circulatory systems, keep joints flexible, and releases excess energy and alleviate boredom.

Regularly monitor weight – routinely weigh your pet approximately once every two weeks at the same time of day and on the same scale for accuracy. This will help you notice weight loss or gains and maintain a record for your pet’s health file.

“Our pets will thank us for helping them maintain an ideal body weight. They will live longer and happier lives as a result.” ~ Dr. Chad Bower, DVM

*The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) was founded in 2005 by veterinarian, Dr. Ernie Ward.


Are you a Cat Person or a Dog Person?

Do you love the sound of Meow or Woof?

Recently while taking my two young granddaughters out to eat I was privileged to eavesdrop on their conversation. Allie, the youngest, stated that she was a dog person. She plans to have four dogs; one or two would be therapy or service dogs. Allie also loves horses, cats and all animals but she is a “self-identified” dog person. She looks at a dog and it’s an instant sibling-style connection. Her cousin, Laura, wasn’t sure if she is a cat person or a dog person. She loves her pet rats, and her other grandmother’s dog, Fritz. It takes a while for my cats to warm up to her but she likes them. She also loves horses. At this point I was included in the conversation. She stated emphatically “Grandma, you’re a cat person.” And I said, yes!

Later, reflecting on the conversation, I thought back to my pet experiences as a child. I was fortunate to have had dogs, cats, rabbits and birds as pets. I also had lots of opportunities to be around with cows, pigs, chickens, and goats. Yet cats hold a special spot in my heart.  I describe myself as an animal/pet lover but I identify myself as a cat person – there is a special connection.

Researchers are beginning to study the connection between personality and pet preference. There is increasing evidence suggesting that there are distinct personality differences between cat people and dog people. One study, Gosling-Potter Internet Personality Project, led by psychologist Samuel Gosling, University of Texas at Austin included about 4,500 participants who answered questions using the Big Five model to assess personality. The areas are:

Extraversion – talkative, energetic, assertive
Agreeableness – sympathetic, kind, affectionate
Conscientiousness – organized, thorough
Neuroticism – tense, moody, anxious
Openness – having wide interests, being imaginative

The volunteers in this study completed the personality test first and then self-identified themselves as a cat person, a dog person, both, or neither. The results: 46% dog people; 12% cat people, 27% both, and 15% as neither.

Some of the findings:
Extraversion: Dog people were 15% more extroverted than cat people. What it means: Outgoing, enthusiastic, positive, energetic
Agreeableness: Dog people were 13% more likely to be agreeable than a cat person. Agreeable people tend to be trusting, altruistic, kind, affectionate, and sociable
Conscientiousness: Dog people were 11% more conscientious than cat people. What it means: Self-disciplined, strong sense of duty, tend to be “planners”
Neuroticism: Cat people were 12% more neurotic than dog people. Neurotic people are: Easily stressed, anxious, worriers
Openness: Cat people were 11% more likely to be open. Open people tend to be curious, creative, artistic, nontraditional thinkers open to trying new things.

Interesting results – as a cat person I wasn’t sure I liked them until I got to the last section.  Yes, Laura, I still identify as a cat person!

What about you? We’d love to hear from you. Email us at and share your thoughts with us.