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Adopt a Less Adoptable Pet Week – September 20-26, 2020

Why You Should Consider Special Needs Animals for Adoption


Shelters and rescues are packed with homeless pets. At AZPetVet, we work with many rescue groups and organizations around the Valley, such as LovePup, to help as many animals in need of adoption as we possibly can. The ASPCA estimates that around 6.5 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters nationwide every year – approximately 3.3 million dogs and 3.2 million cats. Each year, approximately 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized (670,000 dogs and 860,000 cats). Special needs animals are consistently overlooked for adoption simply because so many people prefer to adopt cute puppies and kittens.

If you search ‘animals up for adoption near me’, you’ll get a huge string of results from all sorts of shelter and rescue organizations vying for your attention. All of them have pets that have been waiting weeks, months, and sometimes years to find their fur-ever homes. Typically, ‘less adoptable’ refers to animals in some unique categories including special needs and even hair color. While the term ‘special needs’ might sound intimidating, it’s a category term for pets who may need a little extra care. Physical disability, behavior, chronic illness, or medical conditions can all put an animal into this category, reducing their chance of finding a home. That’s why created ‘Adopt a Less Adoptable Pet Week’ – to help raise awareness of these wonderful animals who are too often overlooked. Here, we’ll highlight the most common types of special needs pets and the reasons you may want to consider them.

Older Dogs

Senior pets end up in shelters for a variety of reasons. Some may have health conditions that can be managed with diet and medications, others are perfectly healthy. Sometimes, the owner can no longer afford to care for them, becomes ill, moves, or just doesn’t want a pet anymore. Given the chance, older dogs can adapt to a new home and family, and become wonderful companion animals for families. Older dogs are especially great for individuals that enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle, as they require a lot less exercise, and are often just happy to curl up next to their beloved person. Many people prefer to skip the rambunctiousness, potty training, and additional training that comes with adopting a puppy or kitten. Older pets usually know basic commands and tend to be more mellow, so they’re ideal for senior citizens. And yes, old dogs can learn new tricks – it’s just a matter of working with them to develop new habits. Positive reinforcement is the best approach. The Arizona Humane Society even offers a Senior to Senior adoption program with discounted fees. Like people, older pets will require regular wellness checks to keep them healthy and happy for life, so this should also be considered when adopting a senior animal.

Pets With Medical Conditions

Many shelter dogs and cats have some form of short- or long-term medical condition, especially older animals. Younger animals with less developed immune systems, or that haven’t received the required vaccination series can contract diseases, like parvovirus, distemper, kennel cough, or Valley Fever. With the right family or individual, plus regular veterinary care, many health conditions can be managed through medications, lifestyle and dietary modifications, and some good old fashioned TLC. With the right treatment and care, most pets will enjoy a good quality of life for years to come with their new families.

Hearing loss or deafness is another reason people will overlook adoptable pets. Congenital deafness often occurs in predominantly white or merle-coated breeds like Dalmatians, Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, English Setters, white Boxers, and white Bull Terriers. While they may not be able to hear, most of these pets can learn simple sign language commands. Aside from the hearing loss, they’re still the same wonderful, loving creatures – they just need the chance to show it.

Behavior Problems

Just like people, no pet is perfect. Behavior problems are a common reason for people surrendering animals to a shelter or rescue. Pets with behavior problems have special needs, and require consistent, specialized training from a professional to get them back on track. Behavior issues can range from poor potty training, separation anxiety, or not getting along with other animals/children, to aggression. Many issues can be resolved with stability, consistent training, regular exercise and play, and of course, love.

Black Dogs & Cats

Research studies consistently show that black dogs and cats have a more difficult time getting adopted than others. Black dogs and cats are often left behind in shelters and rescues due to centuries of ingrained superstitions and old wives’ tales. The reality is that black dogs and cats are just as loveable as any other pet. While it may be harder to capture their cuteness and features in a photo without proper lighting, no matter what, black cats and dogs bring the same brand of goofy, unconditional love as other pets.

Remember, loving pets come in all shapes and sizes, colors, and breeds. Take some time to get to know one another when you’re looking for a new pet. You never know, it could be a loving match for life. Good luck in your search!

Need a good vet for your new pet? AZPetVet has 21 locations around the Valley. Click here to find a location near you.

Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.




When Do Puppies Lose Their Teeth?

Call the Tooth Fairy — Are Puppies Meant to Lose Teeth?

Fuzzy, cuddly, and adorable — it’s no doubt that having a puppy in the family can bring endless joy to your life! However, there is one aspect to puppies that can be a little less than pleasant — their teeth. These baby teeth are sharp like needles and can be a nightmare to your furniture, curtains, and shoes, as well as to your own arms and ankles. But remember… puppies will lose all of their baby teeth eventually.

When do puppies lose their teeth? It really depends on the breed and the dog, but puppies will generally start to lose their baby teeth at around four months old.

The Life Cycle of Puppy Teeth

For newborn pups, their teeth will typically start to grow in around two weeks old. You’ll be able to tell that your little pup is teething if they are drooling more or chewing on more things. These baby teeth can be very sharp and unpleasant. Since puppies drink their mom’s milk and then move to kibble, it may cause you to wonder why puppies have such sharp teeth in the first place. One common thought is that domestication has not fully impacted their teeth. Historically, wild dogs had to have razor-sharp teeth in order to tear into their first taste of meat. It’s also thought that sharp teeth will help with the weaning process, as well as teach bite inhibition.

Puppies start to lose their baby teeth at around four months old as their adult teeth begin to come in. Sometimes you may find that a baby tooth will be stubborn and will remain in their mouth… if this happens, you should consult your local veterinarian as the tooth might need to be extracted.

Do Puppies Lose All Baby Teeth?

Eventually, your pup will lose all 28 of its baby teeth. Due to the fact that these furry friends don’t eat much hard food and mainly drink their mother’s milk as pups, the baby teeth don’t include any grinding molars. Over the course of their teething period where they transition from 28 baby teeth to 42 adult canine teeth, your pup will gain some molars to help grind up/chew their food.

You may find a sharp baby tooth in your carpet over the course of this period; however, it is more likely that your pup will swallow the majority of their baby teeth while they eat. So, no need to alert the puppy tooth fairy!

Discomfort During the Teething Period

Just like humans, it’s common for your furry friend to experience a certain level of discomfort while teething. They may whine more than usual or chew on more of your beloved personal items. It’s important to do what you can to help ease their discomfort during this period; try to find quality chew toys specifically designed for teething pups.

Although it may be easy to get frustrated from time to time when you find that they’ve chewed up your favorite sneakers – again – try to be mindful and aware of the changes they are experiencing. Before you know it, your puppy will lose all of their baby teeth and your shoes will be safe once again!

[DISCLAIMER] Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.

Does Separation Anxiety Exist in Dogs and How to Ease Separation Anxiety

How to Help my Dog with Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety can be a serious problem for pups and their owners. This issue goes beyond the regular little whimpers and whines as owners get ready to leave the house. Destructive behavior can result from separation anxiety, leaving parts of the house torn up, as well as can be potentially dangerous for the dog. Being able to properly recognize true separation anxiety symptoms early on will ensure your furry friend can get the proper help and training that they need in order to overcome it.

However, it can be difficult to tell whether or not your companion is suffering from separation anxiety or if it is just bad behavior. A good indicator is if your pup still exhibits similar behavior when you are around. If so, this is probably just due to a lack of training and not separation anxiety. If you are still uncertain, consider setting up a video camera in your home to record how your pup reacts when you are away.

What Causes Separation Anxiety?

It isn’t clear why some dogs suffer from separation anxiety over others. There can be a number of experiences that trigger separation anxiety, including being abandoned at a shelter, losing a loved one, change in routine, moving to a new place, and experiencing a traumatic event while being left alone.

Due to there being a number of factors that can contribute to a pup’s separation anxiety, it’s important to be able to recognize and help ease your dog’s separation anxiety early on before it gets worse.

Symptoms of Separation Anxiety in Dogs

There are a number of symptoms and indicators that your pup may be experiencing separation anxiety when they are alone. These indications of extreme stress can include:

  • Excessive howling or barking
  • Trying to escape
  • Having “accidents” inside despite being potty trained
  • Chewing, tearing, and digging
  • Pacing
  • Excessive drooling and panting

How to Ease Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Depending on the severity of the situation, there are a number of ways to treat separation anxiety. All possible solutions do require lots of patience and a persistent mindset, as it will take time for your furry friend to overcome their separation anxiety.

Potential treatments to help ease your dog’s separation anxiety include:

  • Counterconditioning: Counterconditioning takes a negative experience or feeling and turns it into something positive. One way to do this is to give your pup some delicious food or treats to enjoy while you are away. This turns a negative experience (being left alone) into a positive one (receiving tasty food). By doing this enough, your dog will be able to associate being alone with a more positive experience. A great tip is to fill a KONG toy with their favorite food or treat. You can even freeze the toy the night before to make it last longer.
  • Gradually accustom your dog to being alone: This is a more time-consuming treatment and requires great patience for it to be successful. To help ease your dog’s separation anxiety, practice having them stay in one room and leaving the room for a short period of time. You don’t need to leave the house but simply be out of sight. As your dog becomes more comfortable, slowly work your way up to leaving the house for a few minutes at a time.
  • Avoid exciting your dog when you come/go: When you are leaving your house, avoid exciting your dog any further or encouraging anxious behavior. When you are getting ready to leave, don’t give your pup too much attention or make your departure a bigger deal. Simply pat them on their head and go on your way. Likewise, when you return home, give them a few minutes to calm down before giving them any attention.
  • Medications and over-the-counter supplements: If necessary, consult your veterinarian regarding medications to help your pup overcome anxiety and panic disorders. Depending on the situation, your vet may prescribe medication or can direct you toward natural supplements.

Being able to recognize the early signs and symptoms of separation anxiety is key to helping your dog overcome these negative experiences. The course of treatment is not a one-size-fits-all case and it may require several attempts and lots of patience. If you need an extra hand, consider reaching out for professional help. A professional can assist you in helping your dog with separation anxiety and give you the tools you need to help your furry companion get on the right path.

[Disclaimer] Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.

Adopt a Homeless Animal on International Homeless Animals Day

Young woman with worker choosing which dog to adopt from a shelter.

The Benefits of Adopting vs. Buying a Pet

When you are ready to bring a loving, sweet, and loyal companion into your home, there are a lot of factors to consider. With International Homeless Animals Day on August 15, this provides the perfect opportunity for individuals to learn and understand the value of adopting your next pet and giving that animal a second chance at life in a new, forever home.

Benefits of Adopting a Homeless Animal

There are countless benefits to adopting your next pet. One of the biggest benefits is knowing that you are potentially saving a life. Although no-kill shelters are on the rise, there are still thousands of animals that are euthanized each year due to lack of resources, space, and funding. By choosing to adopt, you are providing this animal with a new and better life by bringing them into your loving home.

In addition, adopting a dog or cat is often less expensive. Although costs vary state-by-state and depending on the shelter, adopting will likely still cost significantly less than purchasing a pet from a store or breeder. Shelters often will also spay and neuter the animals, as well as even provide you with microchips. All of this saves you a lot of money when it comes to adding a furry friend to your household.

Where to Adopt a Pet

If you are ready to start the search for your next best friend, there are plenty of great shelters in the Valley for you to choose from. One organization to consider is Helping Hands for Homeless Hounds (HHfHH). This non-profit provides support and resources to homeless pet owners so they can properly care for their furry companions. If they become unable to care for their animals themselves, HHfHH can also take in any surrendered pets and help them find a great home. Another great Valley organization to consider adopting through is LovePup. This mission-driven group takes the homeless dogs into their own home, allowing them to socialize with their pups and family. This socialization helps to prepare the dogs for adoption, ensuring they are ready to be a loving friend and new family member in their forever home. Their effective and simple adoption process also helps to ensure the pup’s overall success in their new home.

At AZPeVet, we understand the power of the human-animal bond and have partnered with many rescues and adoption organizations throughout the valley. If your new pet was adopted through one of our approved rescue partners, be sure to reach out to the AZPetVet nearest you to schedule your *FREE Post Adoption Health Exam and Fecal Testing.

Making the decision to bring a furry friend into your home is a big choice to make. When you know that you are ready and can provide a comfortable, warm, and welcoming environment for your next companion, consider the option of adopting a homeless animal. This International Homeless Animals Day, as well as throughout the year, you can help homeless animals in need in more ways than one. If you are unable to adopt at this time but still want to find a way to give back, be sure to visit your local animal shelter’s website for volunteering opportunities and donations.

[Disclaimer] Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.

International Assistance Dog Week | Better Understanding Service Dogs

Service Dogs: Common Breeds and Training Programs

Guide dog helping blind man in the city.

While all dogs are good dogs, some pups are trained to be especially good to serve individuals in need. Assistance dogs, or service dogs, are specially trained to assist individuals with disabilities and special needs in order to help them live a more independent lifestyle, as well as to keep them safe, happy, and healthy — overall improving their general quality of life. With International Assistance Dog Week coming up on August 2-8, now is a great time to recognize and honor the good girls and boys that are dedicated to helping others.

There are several types of assistance dogs out there, including guide dogs, seizure response dogs, hearing dogs, medical alert dogs, therapy dogs, psychiatric service dogs, and others. These trained pups can accomplish a number of tasks, including answering the door, helping their owner get around, alerting others of issues, and more.

Common Service Dog Breeds

Almost any dog can be a service dog with proper training. However, certain breeds are better suited to excel as a service dog. Typical service dog breeds include:

  • Labrador Retriever
  • German Shepherd
  • Golden Retriever
  • Poodle
  • Great Dane

Traits of Good Service Dogs

There are a number of indicators and characteristics that create the ideal assistance dogs, this includes:

  • Friendliness
  • Calm nature
  • Intelligence
  • Dedication

Assistance Dog Training

For those who are interested in training their dog to be an assistance dog, individuals can look into assistance dog organizations or can train them themselves with the help of a professional trainer. For those who are seeking to train their pup on their own, owners should start to work on solidifying the basic skills first. On top of this, individuals should expose their pup to new places with new people as building confidence with being in unfamiliar places will help your furry friend to remain calm in new situations. Along with these foundational skills, pups must be able to master a skill that assists a specific disability.

For those who are interested in seeking an assistance dog organization to train their pup, there are a number of organizations in the Valley that offer this service. AZ Dog Sports in Phoenix offers an affordable assistance dog training program that is specifically designed for handlers who want to train the dog themselves. In Tempe, All 4 Paws Training gives individuals with disabilities the tools they need in order to train their own pups.

With International Assistance Dog Week approaching, now is the perfect time to recognize and appreciate the service dogs in your community that are helping individuals to live a happier, more independent life.

[DISCLAIMER] Any information obtained from this blog in reference to a specific product, process, business, or service, does not constitute or imply an endorsement by AZPetVet or its affiliates. Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.