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Pets and Science: Serving Emotional Needs

Posted on: June 18th, 2009 by

PETS SERVE EMOTIONAL NEEDS

We have long known that we feel better when we are playing or interacting with our pet. We were never sure why, we just knew that at the end of a hectic day we looked forward to being with our pets. Maybe it was their enthusiastic greetings, the uninhibited play time, or that they simply loved our company. No matter if you are gone an hour, a day or a week, your pet’s greeting always makes you feel special.

Recently, science has discovered why we have such positive feelings towards our pets. It seems that pets affect our biochemistry in positive ways that can be scientifically measured. Pets diminish or drain away stress by increasing “good feeling” hormones and reducing chemicals associated with stress.

Studies have been performed that measure hormones and certain chemicals in our bloodstream before we interact with a pet as compared to afterwards. The results demonstrated a definite positive improvement in increasing those hormones that make us feel better and diminishing those that are related to stress!

Why not adopt a pet from your local shelter and bring home a full-time stress buster? Adopting a homeless pet is a responsible act, provides a needed home and is good for your health and emotional well-being.

But be sure to follow our tips and advice on adopting to make your adoption a pleasurable experience. Learn about feline or canine behavior to provide the proper relationship. Be prepared for the type, age, breed and health of the pet you are adopting. Otherwise, adopting can become stressful and lead to the opposite results that most pet owner’s experience.

Being prepared, properly introducing the newly adopted pet into the home, understanding some basic pet behaviors and having the right expectations for your circumstances can improve your odds of adoption being favorable. Otherwise, behavior problems or not understanding the pet’s needs can lead to an unfavorable situation and create stress, instead of relieving stress. Learn more about all the many positive benefits of pets on this site.

Introducing a Newly Adopted Pet Into Your Home

Posted on: June 18th, 2009 by

1. Introduce your newly adopted pet to other pets in a neutral location. Do not introduce a new pet in the “territory” of your current pets. This will set up a confrontation.

2. Do not have the first meeting of the newly adopted pet at the front door. Again, reinforce the neutral area. For dogs, it might be a park down the street. For cats, you might want to place the newly adopted cat in a bathroom for gradual introduction, avoiding confrontation. This way the animals get to smell each other and used to the idea of an intruder. Provide a hiding place like a covered kennel or safe room. Being able to hide lowers a cat’s stress when confronted by strangers, changes or excess activity.

3. Be patient and build trust with your new pet. Expect them to take some time getting to know you, and to feel safe. Do not “push” them to respond to you until they are ready to engage.

4. Do not overly lavish attention on a new pet, as it will establish the expectation that this level of attention should continue and the pet will become stressed if the attention does not continue. The tendency is to lavish a lot of attention in getting to know each other and to bond, but this can backfire when your normal routine sets in.

Information provided by Dr. Rolan Tripp of animal behavior network. Visit www.animalbehavior.net to learn more.

5 Reasons to Promote Pet Dental Health

Posted on: June 18th, 2009 by

June Pets Best Newsletter – In this issue:
Top 5 Dog Travel Concerns
For a Healthier, Happier Life … Every Pet Deserves Oxyfresh

Many pet owners may not realize just how crucial dental care is. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), an organization dedicated to advancing the science and art of veterinary medicine, 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats show signs of periodontal disease by the age of three. Although pet periodontal disease is completely preventable, it often goes untreated and can threaten the health of your furry friend.

5 Reasons to Promote Pet Dental Health

1. Pets with fresh breath get more lovin’

People love to closely interact with their pets — to snuggle, hug and kiss them. When they have bad breath, snuggles, hugs and kisses don’t happen as often. Fresh breath can help improve the human-pet bond, making pets and people happier.

2. A healthy mouth feels good

Dental disease can cause severe inflammation of the gums and socket of the tooth. Inflammation also means the pet is in pain — even if they don’t show obvious signs of discomfort.

3. Pets with healthy mouths live longer

Pets free of dental disease may live three to five years longer. The stress placed on the immune system and the bacteria that escapes the mouth and makes it’s way into the bloodstream can cause major organs like the lungs, heart,kidneys and liver to age prematurely, thereby shortening their potential life expectancy.

4. Dental disease can lead to tooth loss

Without proper preventive or therapeutic care, plaque and tartar buildup leads to periodontal disease, which affects the tissues and structures supporting the teeth. Left untreated, periodontal disease can cause oral pain, dysfunction, tooth loss and systemic complications.

5. Pet owners are looking for a convenient solution

Brushing is the gold standard for keeping the teeth free of tartar, the mouth healthy and the breath fresh. Fewer than one out of 20 pet owners are willing or able to brush their pet’s teeth on a regular basis. That means 19 out of 20 pet owners are open to a more convenient way to control dental disease and doggie breath.

Remember that illnesses and complications caused by periodontal disease are generally preventable with regular checkups and teeth cleanings from your veterinarian. Preventable diseases and ailments are usually not covered by your Pets Best policy, so it is important to maintain the health of your pet’s teeth to avoid costly problems in the future. To further help avoid periodontal disease complications, consider brushing your pet’s teeth on a regular basis and using an oral hygiene cleansing solution. Check out Oxyfresh’s complete line of superior pet care products that include all-natural, cruelty-free ingredients such as Oxygene® for maximum odor-fighting and oral health.

Top 5 Dog Travel Concerns

Posted on: June 18th, 2009 by

June Pets Best Newsletter – In this issue:
5 Reasons to Promote Pet Dental Health
For a Healthier, Happier Life … Every Pet Deserves Oxyfresh

It’s summer! Keep your dog safe and happy when you hit the road

For many of us summer is travel season; a time when the entire family finally has some precious time together for rest, relaxation and recreation. Of course, if you are a pet owner and lover like me, your dog is likely to be traveling with you. So don’t let poor planning for your dog’s travel turn your vacation into a disaster. Here are some pet travel basics to follow and pitfalls to avoid:

Top 5 Dog Travel Concerns

1. Anxiety: Dogs can be scaredy cats on the road

Some dogs get all excited at the prospect of a car ride. They jump eagerly into the car and watch happily out the window. Others are afraid. They have travel anxiety. These dogs must be dragged into the vehicle and they pant, tremble and stay crouched down for the entire trip. Different feeding times, a strange bed, long car rides, lots of commotion and unfamiliar faces can all be stressors for your pet that can have a wide range of side effects — from having an accident in the vehicle to getting aggressive. Consider a safe and natural supplement to calm your pet. Although supplements are not covered by your Pets Best policy, your small investment could help to make your dog more comfortable.

2. Dehydration: Quench thirst to avoid medical issues

Dehydration in dogs is common during warm weather, travel or any time your dog doesn’t have access to water for an extended period of time. Signs of dehydration range from excessive panting and dry mouth to loss of elasticity in the skin, sunken eyes and exhaustion. Dehydration can occur quickly as a lot of moisture is lost when pets pant from either anxiety or summer heat. Plenty of fresh cool water is essential to maintain proper hydration and organ function and avoid possible heat stroke. Pack water in a sealable container — and don’t forget the bowl.

3. Pet Odors: Never Pleasant on a Trip

If you have had problems with noxious pet odors in your vehicle, you know that getting rid of the odor is very difficult. Traveling in the close confines of an automobile exaggerates odors from pets. Dogs often find unpleasant things to roll in at parks and rest stops and a soiled crate quickly diminishes the air quality. And it’s not just the nasty odor. Pet feces and urine can pose a real health danger to you and your family. Be sure to pack deodorizers and cleaners to keep your pet and your family safe, clean and fresh.

4. Digestive upset: Calm his topsy-turvy tummy
Travel or motion sickness is caused by movement in different directions, particularly when the animal is sitting or standing still in a moving vehicle. It can also happen when there is a loss of visual contact with the outside horizon or due to pressure changes through elevation changes. These events may cause changes in the balance center of the inner ear, leading to fatigue, nausea, dizziness and even vomiting. Your dog is experiencing enough changes during travel season, so try not to alter his normal diet. And include healthy snacks to keep him energized and happy.

5. Emergencies: Be prepared for the unexpected
Medical problems and injuries can be even more difficult to deal with when you are on the road. Be sure to have a pet first aid kit, medical records, your veterinarian’s number and a pet poison control phone number with you at all times. Next, be sure every family member knows where these things are at and that they are readily accessible.

Small efforts in organizing and preparation can pay large dividends for both you and your pet during your next travel. Tips like ensuring access to an online vet locator can help make sure you are prepared for any pet emergencies. Plan ahead for pet-friendly locations and if one of your destinations does not allow pets be sure to have scouted out a nearby boarding facility you are comfortable with and make reservations well in advance.

Now that you are ready, get out and have fun!

-Article submitted by Boyd Harrell, DVM – Oxyfresh Pet Consultant

Too Many Homeless Pets: What Can We Do?

Posted on: June 15th, 2009 by

I found another stray dog today. He was wandering my neighborhood with no collar and no identification. He’s the third one this year! I usually walk them around the neighborhood, ask the neighbors if they look familiar, then take them to the local animal shelter. I hang “found dog” signs if I have time.

I hope that their owners will find them or they’ll get adopted; I’d keep them all if I could.

It made me wonder how many dogs and cats end up in US animal shelters or rescue shelters. Estimates vary a lot—there could be anywhere from 6 to 12 million every year, according to my research.

Many of these are lost or homeless pets, but there are also plenty who are surrendered by their owners. Why? Good question. A government study I read gave some of the major reasons:

  • 11% of cat owners say “There are too many pets in our home.”
  • 7% of dog owners and 8% of cat owners give up pets because they are moving
  • 8% of cats are relinquished because of allergies
  • 6% of both dog and cat owners say that their landlord won’t allow the pet
  • For 5% of dogs and 6% of cats, owners say it costs too much to care for them

The study went on to say that 25% of the dogs are eventually adopted and 16% are reunited with their families. Almost all of the rest are killed. Adoption statistics are almost the same for cats, but nearly 71% end up getting euthanized.

Want to help this sad situation? Here are a few things to think about:

  • If your pet is lost, check your local shelters right away.
  • Make sure your pet always wears a collar with current identification.
  • Thinking of getting a new dog or cat? Save a life–consider pet adoption first!
  • No room for a new pet? You can help by donating your money or time to a local shelter. They might also appreciate old towels, blankets, pet food, cat litter, etc. Call them and ask what they need.
  • Make sure all your pets are spayed or neutered. There are too many cats and dogs as it is, and too many wasted lives.