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Social Petworking Month: Networking for Animals

How to Use Social Media to Find a Good Home for a Dog or Cat

As social media has become such a prevalent part of our lives, it’s allowed us to stay connected to friends, family, and acquaintances. It has also evolved into a useful tool to serve more purposes. June is Social Petworking Month — the perfect opportunity for individuals to use their social channels to help others — specifically, homeless dogs and cats looking for a good, loving forever home.

During Social Petworking Month, individuals are encouraged to use their social media to promote photos and information on furry friends in shelters that are seeking adoption. Doing this helps to bring awareness to all the different dogs and cats that are ready for a family and hoping that they’ll find their perfect match. 

How Can You Participate?

Participating in Social Petworking Month is easy and quick to do. All you have to do is look through your local shelter’s website to find dogs and cats that are looking for a new home. Take their photo and a short description of the pet to share on your social media, whether that’s Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or Snapchat. The more you share, the more you boost the chances of someone seeing your post and being interested in adopting them!

On top of this, you can share interesting facts about the furry friend to really personalize their social post and increase interest in their adoption. People love to hear about what makes them unique or fun quirks they have, which can include anything from having a special talent or trick to loving tummy scratches. 

You can also use your social media to become an advocate for adopting in general, including sharing the benefits of adopting pets from shelters and rescues to encourage others to do the same.

Pet Sharing Apps

Another aspect of networking for dogs and cats that can be beneficial to look into during this time is pet sharing apps. These apps and sites connect communities of pet lovers who can provide a safe and loving temporary home for the dog or cat when the owner needs help with care. 

These virtual communities can often offer a cost-effective solution to normal pet daycares, walkers, and sitters. For those who take care of the dog or cat, it offers a perfect opportunity for them to experience being a pet parent without having to fully commit. This can be a great stepping-stone for those looking to adopt in the future so they can understand the time commitment, responsibility, and work that goes into taking care of a pet. 

During Social Petworking Month, take a look at how you can give back and promote dogs and cats looking for forever homes. By simply promoting animals up for adoption on social media, becoming an advocate for adopting, or getting involved with pet sharing apps, you can make a significant difference for pets in shelters in need of loving families. 

[DISLCLAIMER] 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. 

Why Animals are Good for Your Health

 

Is it good to have a pet? We may be biased, but our answer is a resounding YES! Without a doubt, having a pet is good for your health. Here are five great reasons why animals are good for you and your health.

  1. Pets provide love and companionship. Get a pet and you’ll never feel alone. Pets provide us with unconditional love, lots of affection, and are great for prompting laughter with their antics, so it’s hard to feel lonely with a furry friend by your side. Even better? Pets are always happy to see you, even when you’ve only been gone for a few minutes! (Many pet owners will tell you that dogs are much better at this response than most cats.) 
  2. Better mental health. According to an article in TIME magazine, research increasingly shows that owning a pet can improve your mental health. Many hospitals, nursing homes, and other care facilities often have a pet in residence to help soothe anxiety. Pet owners are also less likely to suffer from depression. 
  3. Reduced stress levels. Petting a loving animal can rapidly calm and soothe you when you’re feeling stressed or anxious. Since stress is a significant risk factor for serious health conditions, a pet can help lower your stress levels and in turn, reduce your risk for experiencing health problems. 
  4. Reduced risk for allergies and asthma. Numerous scientific studies have shown that having a furry friend in the home can make children less susceptible to developing allergies or asthma later in life. 
  5. Lower blood pressure. Did you know that simply petting a dog or cat can help lower your blood pressure? It’s true. Getting regular exercise can also help lower your blood pressure. Dog owners tend to get more exercise than non-dog owners, as dogs are a great reason to get outside and take a walk. 

Still not convinced? According to the CDC, some of the health benefits of having a pet include:

  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Decreased cholesterol levels
  • Decreased triglyceride levels
  • Decreased feelings of loneliness
  • Increased opportunities for exercise and outdoor activities
  • Increased opportunities for socialization

One final note: better health associated with owning a pet isn’t limited to just cats and dogs. Whether your pet is sporting fur, scales, fins, or hooves – it’s the simple act of caring for another living being that makes being a pet owner worthwhile. Don’t have a pet yet or thinking of getting one? Check out our blog on how to choose the right pet for you and your family.

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.

Change a Pet’s Life Day January 24th

Five Ways to Change a Pet’s Life Without Adopting

Winning the lottery would be an incredible, life-changing event for anyone. Most of us have dreamed about what it would be like to win the lottery and what we would do with the money. For a homeless animal in a rescue or shelter, however, winning the lottery is really simple and heartwarming. For these vulnerable animals, finding and becoming a part of a fur-ever family is the most life-changing event imaginable.

Every year on January 24th, Change a Pet’s Life Day is celebrated to support and encourage pet adoption. There are many wonderful ways you can help Change a Pet’s Life all year round – even if you’re not ready to adopt. Many of these actions help prepare animals to become loving members of a new home. We hope you’ll consider adopting our suggestions (OK, and a pet or two won’t hurt either).

1. Foster a Pet – not ready to make the commitment to adoption? Consider a trial run by fostering, which helps shelters and rescues free up resources and space. Fostering also helps homeless animals increase their chances of finding a permanent home.

2. Sponsor a Shelter Dog or Cat – many shelters, rescues, and sanctuaries will allow you to sponsor a specific dog or cat, and that’s life-changing for them. You could also sponsor an adoption fee for another family to adopt a pet.

3. Make a Charitable Donation – most animal shelters and rescues are non-profits, so they rely on donations from animal lovers to help them to operate. Your charitable contributions help ensure food, medical care such as spaying/neutering, vaccinations, microchips, and prepare for a future life in a loving home.

4. Volunteer at a Shelter or Rescue – becoming a volunteer at a local organization is fun and fulfilling and so appreciated. Volunteers help prepare pets for adoption and free up staff for other tasks. Volunteers can walk or play with dogs and provide love and attention to help with socialization, so pups become more adoptable.

5. Become a Social Media Sharer – make sharing posts about dogs or cats in need on your Facebook a habit. Sharing the posts from animal organizations like pet rescues and shelters exposes adoptable dogs and cats to a wider audience – which means more chances for viewers to fall in love, share or even adopt. This one small act can Change a Pet’s Life forever!

What’s the Best Type of Dog or Cat for Your Family Pet?

How to Choose the Best Type of Dog or Cat For Your Family Pet

At AZPetVet, we think pets are so awesome, we’ve made them our life’s work! Often, we’re asked what’s the best type of dog for a family pet or what are the best types of cats? These are great questions to be asking BEFORE you get a new dog or cat, and they spawn a lot of other questions that you might not have thought to ask. The type of dog or cat is not simply limited to a choice of the breed — there are many other things to consider.

If you’re an experienced pet owner, you already know the challenges and rewards of owning a cat or dog; it’s a lifetime commitment! Sometimes, people can underestimate the particular needs of a type of dog or cat or get a pet without fully thinking things through, which can lead to frustration or even the animal being surrendered to a shelter or being rehomed.

Taking the time to explore different breeds of cats and dogs and the specific care needs of each type can help you make the decision that’s best suited for you, your family, your lifestyle and your future pet dog or cat. This is especially important if you’re a first-time pet owner or have small children or other restrictions. Read on to learn what things you should consider when choosing the best dog or cat for your family.

Experience Levels & Time Commitments for Training Pets

Bringing a pet into your life has lots of benefits, but there’s also a big adjustment period for everyone, including the animal. Have you ever owned a dog or cat or are you venturing into dog or cat ownership for the first time? Do you currently own a dog or cat (or both) and are planning a new addition to your family? Do you want a puppy or kitten or an older animal?

If you’re considering a puppy or kitten, ask yourself how much time you are willing to devote to training? A little (1-5 hours per week)? Mid-range (6-10 hours per week)? A lot (10+ hours)?

Are you gone from home for long periods of time for work or other commitments? Will the dog or cat be crated during the day/night, or free to run around?

If you’re looking for an older pet that’s already trained or housebroken, adoption from a shelter or rescue may be your best bet — and due to the number of unwanted or homeless animals, adoption is always encouraged!

If you currently own a dog or cat or a mix of pets, bringing a new dog or cat, puppy or kitten into the pack will be a gradual process to minimize any territory or jealousy issues or possible personality clashes. Your vet can recommend the right steps and sometimes even products that may help ease the transition period.

Your Home, Family & Lifestyle Matters

Do you live in an apartment or condominium with breed or size restrictions? A home with a big yard? A patio style home with a small yard or limited space? Do you have children under age 10? Choosing the right type of dog or cat for your family and living situation is a must.

For instance, larger breeds of dogs such as Great Danes, Mastiffs or Saint Bernards may not be as happy in an apartment or home with little yard space and can often act out by chewing everything they can find, including furniture and walls! Really active breeds like Australian Shepherds, Retrievers or Jack Russell Terriers tend to be extremely smart and will need regular exercise, interactive toys,
and playtime to stay happy and healthy.

Barking, Meowing & Shedding, Oh My!

Can you tolerate barking and meowing, or do you prefer a quieter pet? Dogs will bark, and some tend to do it more than others. Many breeds of dogs, such as Siberian Huskies, Spaniels, Beagles, and Basset Hounds tend to be much more vocal by nature due to their natural hunting instincts. Cats may not bark, but some of them are definitely talkers! Siamese Persian, Japanese Bobtail, and the Sphynx are just some of the breeds of cats known to be very vocal compared to other types of
cats, so it’s important to choose your next pet according to your tolerance level for
barks and meows.

Longer haired pets need regular brushing to help keep their coats in good shape and to prevent matting. While all pet dogs and cats will need some grooming from time to time, shedding is another big consideration, especially if you have allergies or someone with allergies is living in your home.

Some breeds of dogs and cats are natural-born fur factories, while others are low-to-no shedding or even hypoallergenic. The types of dogs that shed the most include Saint Bernards (long or short-coats, they both shed a LOT), Siberian Huskies, Labrador/Golden Retrievers, and German Shepherds, among others. Types of dogs that shed the least include the Dachshund, Cockapoo, Havanese, and Bichon Frise, among others.

Cats that shed the most fur include the Ragamuffin, Ragdoll, and the Russian Blue. If you’re looking for a low-shedding type of cat, consider a Siamese, Turkish Angora, the Siberian, or the Tonkinese breeds. One note: if you’re allergic to cats, choosing a low shedding breed might not help. Eighty percent of cat allergies are actually due to a protein that’s found in the skin and saliva, rather than the actual fur itself.

Activity Levels

Consider your activity levels and lifestyle: are you more one to relax and hang out on the couch, go out to take a walk around the neighborhood or park, or are you an active runner, biker or hiker?

Some of the best dogs for more sedentary lifestyles include the English Bulldog, Chow Chow, Basset Hound, Boston Terrier, and the Shih Tzu. People with active lifestyles who want to bring their dog along for the adventure and exercise. If you’re one of those people, consider an Irish Setter, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Golden Retriever, Weimaraner, or Dalmation for your next companion.

Whew, that’s a lot, we know! Hopefully the questions here will help you make a wise choice when selecting the right new member of your family. Whether you end up choosing a purebred cat or dog or adopting a pet from an animal shelter or rescue, the lucky cat or dog will likely make a wonderful addition to your life and family for years to come. A final note: don’t forget to spay or neuter your new pet, and schedule regular wellness visits with your veterinarian. Happy adopting!

Here is a fun interactive tool to use to help select the right breed of dog for you:

Dog Breed Selector

Here is a fun interactive tool to use to help select the right breed of cat for you:
http://www.animalplanet.com/breedselector/catselectorindex.do

What to Know About Purebred Vs Mutt Health, Life Expectancy, and More!

Purebred Vs Mixed Breed: Everything You Should Know

There has been a lot said when it comes to whether or not a mixed breed dog is healthier (or not) than a purebred dog. There certainly seems to be a surplus of health benefits for mixed breed dogs as compared to their purebred counterparts. With that said, however, this isn’t to say there aren’t any benefits in choosing a purebred dog. So if you’re looking to bring a furry friend into your home but are worried whether a purebred or mixed breed is right for you, sit back and relax. We’re going to uncover the benefits of mixed breed dogs and purebred, purebred vs mutt health and life expectancy, and more!

Benefits of Mixed Breed Dogs

  • Get That Same Breed Look: Some dog owners are looking for a puppy with a distinct look, say a husky or a chow chow. Many mixed breed dogs will tend to physically resemble one breed more than the other, so you can get pretty close to a purebred look for your dog while still adopting mixed breed.
  • OR Get a Unique Look: On the other hand, if you like the uniqueness of a mixed breed dog, then it’s possible to find a dog that doesn’t look like other dogs. Take Basil for instance — a 3-year-old mixed breed dog (photo submitted by a staff member!). Take a second to guess what breed he is. We’ll give you a second.
  • Price: A key benefit of mixed breed dogs is that they come at a much cheaper price than those from the breeders of purebred dogs. While their personalities and growth may come as a surprise to you, the experience will be well worth the wait (and the wait itself is so much fun) if you love surprises and being spontaneous. And back to the question — what breed is Basil? If you guessed husky/labrador, you’re a winner!

Benefits of Purebred Dogs

One misconception people have about purebred dogs is that all purebred dogs are not as healthy as their mixed counterpart. While there is research that suggests this is true for some breeds (and we’ll get to this soon), there are various factors that influence the life expectancy and health of purebred dogs.

  • Specifically Selected Parents: In most cases, dogs breeders have selected the parents (sire and dam) specifically for health and desired breed traits to ensure that their puppies will be happy and healthy.
  • You Know What to Expect: When you get a purebred dog, you can expect to know how large they will get, their temperament, and more. If you’re living in a smaller home or work long hours, you can choose a dog that is suited for your lifestyle; whereas a mixed breed dog may have some surprises that might not be as easily manageable.
  • Ease With Training: With a purebred dog, you (and potential trainers) have a better idea of what to expect with your furry friend. What this means is that a dog might not have the temperament you’re looking for — and you won’t know this until they are older. For Basil for instance — part husky and part lab. While the lab in him makes him viable as a great service dog, the husky portion of him might make service or guide training difficult. Speaking directly with Basil’s owner, it’s clear that… the latter is true. He is apparently impossible to train. While this varies across the board, a purebred dog lets you know what to expect, so you can pick a pup with a training regimen in mind.

Purebred Vs Mutt: The Major Health Differences

When comparing purebred vs mutt health, there are some differences in how purebred and mixed breed dogs inherit genetic disorders. A study conducted by the Institute of Canine Biology examined cases of 24 different genetic disorders and found that across the board, 10 disorders occurred more frequently in purebreds, 1 disorder occurred more frequently in mixed breeds and then the last 13 disorders did not appear more frequently in either dog.

So this means that you should only adopt a mixed breed dog, right? Nothing is ever that simple. Let’s just examine two of the disorders more frequented in purebred dogs: atopy (or allergies). Studies found that 1 percent of mixed breed dogs were affected by allergies. In contrast, some of the top purebred dogs with allergies included the West Highland White Terrier (8.2%), Coonhound (8%), and Wirehaired Fox Terrier (8%). Now let’s look at bloat in dogs. With mixed breeds, we are again at less than 1 percent. The breeds that bloat was most present in were Saint Bernard (3.7%), Irish Setter (3.4%), and Bloodhounds (3.4%).

What does this mean?

In these two categories of disorders, purebred dogs did exhibit symptoms more often; however, not all purebreds were at the same risk for the same diseases. Consider how some dogs are more apt to be a ‘watchdog’ or protective dog, and others are more apt to live in a small apartment than others. Obviously, not all dogs are the same. So do mixed breed dogs really have fewer health problems? The answer is not so definitive. Mixed breed dogs are not going to be healthier than purebreds all the time. While some breeds may be at a higher risk for health problems, every dog is different.

Furthermore, many dogs will go on without developing any particular health complications. If you want to know the health patterns for a specific breed of a dog, you’ll get a better expectation of what to look for throughout their life by talking to a breeder or by doing more breed-specific research.

Purebred vs Mixed Breed Life Expectancy

Not much will be said about life expectancy that hasn’t already been said about purebred vs mutt health. There are a multitude of factors that impact the life expectancy of a dog.

  • Wellness Care: Of course, if you invest in how you care for your dog — by adhering to the Veterinary recommendation for annual or semi-annual wellness exams — then your dog will be more primed to live a longer and healthier life.
  • Dog Size: Additionally, research on the size of the dog has shown that some larger dogs may have a life expectancy of around 7-10 years, while smaller ones may have up to 13-16 years. These, of course, aren’t hard numbers, but general observations.
  • The Real Question: Even though research has indicated that mixed breed dogs show signs of longer life expectancy, proper dog care will always be key in making sure your dog — no matter the size, no matter their lineage — will live a long and happy life beside you!

In Conclusion

Really, the decision to choose a dog that’s either mixed breed or purebred is entirely up to you. Each has its own unique strengths which can make for a fun (albeit different) experience for you and your family. Even with all these facts in place, it’s important to remember that each dog is different. While they may react to things in very similar fashions, every dog has its own special personality and spirit which will make the overall experience all-the-more fun!