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World Spay Day: The Importance of Spaying and Neutering

Benefits of Spaying a Dog or Cat

Established in 1995, World Spay Day is celebrated annually on the fourth Tuesday in February, and this year it falls on February 23rd. However, the entire month is recognized as Spay/Neuter Awareness Month (AKA Beat the Heat Month), and local animal shelters and humane societies often host awareness events.

World Spay Day is a campaign aimed at raising awareness of the importance of spaying and neutering companion animals and encouraging people to do so as it can save lives. It’s completely expected that you might be asking, “why spay and neuter?” or have some additional questions regarding World Spay Day so we’re here with some answers and to talk you through the importance of spaying and neutering your pets.

Importance of Spaying and Neutering

  1. What’s the difference between spayed and neutered? Spaying is a veterinary procedure that removes the uterus and ovaries of a female pet. This typically requires minimal hospitalization time and offers lifelong health benefits. Neutering is the veterinary procedure that removes the testicles of a male pet. This can vastly improve the male pet’s behavior and also can provide lifelong health benefits.
  2. Benefits of spaying a cat/Benefits of spaying a dog. Many pet owners often ask, “why spay or neuter?” The answer is simple: long-term health. Breast tumors are cancerous in about 50% of dogs and 90% of cats but spaying your pet helps prevent breast tumors and uterine infections. Spaying your pet before her first heat offers the best protection against these diseases. Additionally, neutering your male pets helps to prevent testicular cancer and other prostate issues as well as minimize poor behaviors.
  3. What if I choose not to spay my pet?  The instinct to procreate is strong in animals. An unspayed dog will enter into a “heat cycle” where her hormones tell her to breed. This can result in bloody discharge, swollen/inflamed genitals, excessive mounting, and may attract other dogs to mount her as well. In addition to this, male pets, including those still intact, can smell females in heat from great distances away and will do anything they can to reach them. Lastly, having a litter of puppies is not always safe. Intact females are at risk of developing Pyometra, a potentially fatal infection in the uterus that is often a result of hormonal changes in the reproductive tract.
  4. What if I choose not to neuter my pet? While these claims may vary from breed to breed, some consistencies can be stated about unneutered cats and dogs. Males can be very aggressive. By failing to alter your pet, they produce more testosterone, which can intensify aggressive tendencies. Excessive amounts of testosterone can be harmful to a domesticated dog. They may be more inclined to initiate fights with other males they come across, and can be more likely to view other males as rivals rather than friends. Unneutered pets can also project this same aggressive energy toward humans. Furthermore, an unaltered male will have more sexual energy meaning much more mounting of furniture, people, objects or female animals. If he cannot achieve this, he can feel stressed and agitated.

Additionally, while dogs are known as ones to mark their territory any chance they get, cats are more likely to mark their environment when still intact and, unfortunately, feline urine is much stronger and contains high levels of ammonia making it harder to clean out and giving off a more pungent odor. 

Celebrate World Spay Day or Spay/Neuter Awareness Month by spreading the word and raising awareness behind the importance of spaying and neutering your dog or cat. By doing so, you can help protect pets against certain types of illness, address

 

Celebrating Your Pets and Valentine’s Day

pets and valentine's day

Celebrate Your Pets AND Valentine’s Day

Who says National Doggy Date Night is the only excuse to “wine n’ dine” with your pet? Pets and Valentine’s Day go paw-in-hand, too! Celebrate your love for your furry companions all month long. 

While gifting chocolate and roses may be the go-to choice for humans, both are harmful to animals. The toxic level of chocolate for dogs (and cats!) varies pet-by-pet and by the type of chocolate consumed. Chocolate is toxic to animals because it contains the chemical theobromine along with caffeine. These chemicals are often used medicinally for humans, and dogs cannot metabolize them as efficiently, making them more sensitive to the chemicals’ effects. Luckily, there are countless safe and non-toxic ways to celebrate. Spoil them with healthy pet treats and festive Valentine’s Day pet toys, or head out for some one-on-one time at the park or pet store, and you’re guaranteed to have a happy Valentine’s Day with your cats, dogs, and other furry – (or even not so furry!) – friends.

5 Ways to Have a Happy Valentine’s Day With Your Dogs & Cats

 

  1. Do Something They Love! The best way to ensure a happy Valentine’s Day with dogs and cats is by stepping into their world and doing what they love to do. If your pet loves running, lace-up and get going. Bird watching? Find a park bench and observe. Chasing a string around in circles for hours? Get comfortable! 
  2. Spoil with Special Treats! Pet bakeries are popping up all over the place and serving up delicious, healthy pet treats that cater to animal’s dietary needs and restrictions. 
  3. Go Shopping! Hit the store and let them pick out their own Valentine’s Day pet toy. Pet stores often allow leashed pets inside to peruse the shelves so next time you visit, let them explore and take their pick, then head home to play!
  4. Go on an Excursion! Take a trip to the sand, hit a hiking trail, or start up a game of fetch at the park. Whether there’s a destination or it’s just a drive around the block, your pet loves an outing.
  5. Movie Night! Pets and Valentine’s Day and movie night – what more could you need? If Fido or your feline friend often prefer to sleep their day away indoors, they’ll likely love a movie night. Any chance to cuddle up on the couch and soak in the warmth of their favorite human.

Between National Doggy Date Night and Valentine’s Day, February comes with endless opportunities to spoil your pet and say thank you for all of the unconditional love and spoiling that they provide you during the rest of the year. Make the day about them just as all of their days revolve around you. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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.

 

 

National Doggy Date Night – February 3rd

doggy date night

Dog-Friendly Date Ideas for a Doggy Date Night

The new year brings new opportunities to slow down and enjoy the simple things like spending quality time with your pup! Treat them to a dog playdate on National Doggy Date Night, Wednesday, February 3rd. 

The National Today science team surveyed 3,000 pet owners to discover just how much they loved their pups. They ranked each state by asking owners how often they let their pup lick their face or sleep in their bed, as well as how often they say “I love you,” buy them gifts, conversate with them, dress them in special outfits, and simply curl up and relax together. The results of each were close! The researchers followed up by asking single and married women who they would rather take on a date – their dog or significant other – and at least 20 percent voted in favor of doggy date night. Additionally, participants were asked how their dogs make their lives better, how having a dog affects day-to-day life, and the most popular dog playdate ideas/doggy date night activities:

  • 64% – Give your dog a special Valentine’s Day treat.
  • 53% – Tell your dog, “I love you.”
  • 39% – Make or buy a special gift/treat for your dog.
  • 33% – Post photos of your dog on social media with a loving message.
  • 28% – Include your dog in Valentine’s Day activities with your significant other.

Just like people, dogs like dates, too! You can always go for a walk around the block or play some ball in the backyard, so for doggy date night, try and think outside the box and add some fun to your dog playdates.

Our Favorite Dog-Friendly Date Ideas:

  1. Hit the Town: Head outside for a dog playdate. Find a park with some wide-open space for your pup to sniff and explore or run free and play a big fetch game. If weather permits have a picnic! Pack a basket with a blanket and snacks for both you and your pup to enjoy. Be sure to snap some commemorating photos throughout the day.
  2. Spa Day: Treat your pooch to some primping and pampering. If your pup enjoys a trip to the spa, schedule a grooming appointment. If your dog prefers to stay home, consider a DIY spa night. Look into all the different spa products specifically designed for dogs and treat your pooch. Suds up in the tub and get that coat glowing. Grab some moisturizing, dog-friendly lotion and apply it to your pup’s nose and paws. 
  3. Drive-In Theatre: Yes, these still exist! Given the current state of the country, this dog-friendly playdate idea is not only safe for your pooch but also a safe environment for you. Most drive-ins don’t mind if you bring your pet with you, so pick out a show time and pack up the family to enjoy this throwback date activity. 
  4. Shopping: Shopping is something everyone can enjoy and can make for a great outing. Several big box home improvement stores are pet friendly, so you can shop for new home appliances or tools, and your furry companion will be happy to go along for the adventure. Head over to a local pet store and pick out some new swag, upgrade your pup’s bedding, or stock up on treats – let Fido pick out his favorite!
  5. Car Ride: Hitting the open road– it’s no mystery that a good ‘ole car ride is one of most dog’s favorite pastimes. It’s perhaps the simplest dog playdate idea, but likely the one your dog will be most thrilled about.

Your pup isn’t picky. For them, an evening spent with you is more than enough. No matter how you choose to spend National Doggy Date Night, any adventure where you’re together is sure to be perfect in your dog’s eyes. Enjoy!

Why Preventive Health Care for Pets Is Important 

health care for pets
Health Care for Pets – Why Pet Preventive Care Matters
Health care for pets, including pet preventive care, matters a great deal to  companion animals. Your family pet’s health care plan should incorporate regular  check-ups, pet dental care, and grooming to keep them looking and feeling their  best. Good pet preventive care helps maximize our faithful companions’ health,  wellness, and quality of life, which is what every pet parent wants for their furry  friends.
Like people, dogs are living longer. And like people, dogs are at risk for developing  age-related illnesses and issues like arthritis, diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease,  and cancer. Regular pet preventive care helps your vet identify your pet’s particular  risk factors – whether it’s age, lifestyle, weight, or genetics, and quickly get on top of  any problem. Early detection of disease and intervention allows you and your vet to  decide the best course of care for your pet.
Pet preventive care often includes lifestyle and/or dietary changes and may  incorporate medication, especially as your pet ages and risk factors increase. Cats are often overlooked for preventive care, but they need regular wellness checks, too!  Your veterinarian will likely recommend annual wellness programs for your pet,  including routine blood work to monitor for potential problems. Some pets may  require more frequent veterinary health checks depending on their age and overall  condition. Naturally, older pets should see the vet more frequently.

Creating a Family Pet Health Care Plan 
The core of your pet’s preventive care plan should include complete wellness exams  by a veterinary professional. According to the ​Merck Veterinary Manual​,
“​Adult dogs​ should have a complete veterinary examination at least once a year.  Puppies need veterinary visits usually every 3 to 4 weeks until they are about 4  months old. Geriatric dogs (older than 7 to 8 years old) should see their veterinarian  twice a year or more frequently because illness is more common in older pets, and it  can be identified sooner.​”
“​Adult cats ​should have a complete veterinary examination at least once a year.  Kittens need veterinary visits usually every 3 to 4 weeks until they are about 4  months old. Geriatric cats (older than 8 to 9 years old) should see their veterinarian  twice a year or more frequently because illness is more common in older pets, and  should be identified sooner to provide proper treatment.”

Key Tips for Pet Preventive Care  
Your veterinarian will recommend timelines for your pet’s core vaccines and dental  care. Routine veterinary preventive care for your pets should include the following  items, as well as any additional health screens recommended by your veterinarian,  tailored for your pet’s specific needs.
● Vaccinations
● Parasite control
● Dental care
● Grooming
● Stool screening
● Bloodwork
● Heartworm testing

Finally, if you have questions about preventive pet care or your cat or dog’s health,  give your vet a call. Don’t have a regular vet? AZPetVet has 21 convenient locations  around the Valley. Find an AZPetVet location near you ​here​.

[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.  

Pets’ Mental Health & Pet Stress Relief

We Prescribe Exercise – the Natural Stress Relief for Pets

When it comes to pets and mental health –– OK, pets and physical health, too –– we prescribe exercise, the natural stress relief for pets. Yes, we all know we should exercise, but the same is true for pets. Low activity levels lead to boredom, feelings of loneliness, weight gain, and possible mental health and behavior issues for your pet (the same is true for humans). Luckily, the solution is usually simple. Get up, and go outside for a walk together. Don’t just wait and put it off or we assure you the results won’t be good. 

For pets’ mental health, the #1 enemy is boredom. We’ve all seen funny videos of pet parents coming home to a giant mess while the pets (usually dogs) make a big production of looking innocent. Who chewed the couch cushions? Who ate my new shoes/the remote/the pillow? Who got into the trash? Who did this? Who, indeed. Idle paws are the devil’s workshop! 

Pets that get destructive or develop behavior problems are often acting out of sheer boredom and loneliness to release stress while unconsciously causing more of it. Attention seeking behaviors like pawing, jumping, whining, and barking are also telltale signs that your pet’s mental and physical health needs to be addressed. 

Think about it. Pets are often home alone for a large part of the day. Of course, now that more of us are working at home, pets are trying their best to ‘help,’ begging to get your attention or for treats while you’re trying to work. Add kids, and oh, boy–stress galore for everyone.

Feeling stressed is universal these days, and our stress can spill over to affect pets. Our faithful furry friends know our every mood, and they only want to please us, so when we’re down, they’re going to feel down, too. So, remember, healthy pet parents, make for healthy pets. Exercise relieves stress and improves mental health. Pet exercise, such as a daily walk or playtime, provides natural stress relief for pets, and people, too. The mental stimulation means pets are far more likely to stay out of trouble (and the trash can). Exercise or playtime spent with your pet is pawsitive and fun, rather than based on “no, stop that,” or “go lay down,” so everyone feels happier. Plus, you never know, you might meet some new friends along the way!

Still not sure? January is National Walk Your Pet Month, and the weather is beautiful around this time, so no excuses. Walking is good stress relief. Make it a goal – get up, grab the leash, and go on an adventure. It’s good for your heart and your pet’s heart, too. So, head outside and stretch those muscles and joints. Burn off some excess energy and fat with your pet! There’s no better stress relief than watching your pup’s eager interest in new sights, smells and sounds, and their wagging tail.

 

[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.