Why are spayed or neutered pets happier and healthier?

When adopting a cat or dog from an animal shelter, chances are you’ll take the animal home spayed or neutered; otherwise you won’t take it home at all.

One reason animal shelters and rescue shelters insist on spaying and neutering is because they are busy fighting a serious overpopulation problem. Every year, 10 million animals are euthanized at shelters simply because there aren’t enough homes.

For the health and happiness of your pet, there are dozens of other reasons to spay or neuter. Here are just a few:

  • When it comes to your pet’s personality, neutering will only change it for the better. They may become calmer. It may keep them from trying to escape to look for a mate. It won’t make them less protective.
  • An unsterilized cat or dog will tend to roam and is more likely to get in fights or accidents, or be exposed to poisons and illnesses.
  • According to the ASPCA, neutering a male cat or dog before they are six months old prevents testicular cancer and prostate disease, and spaying a female cat or dog helps prevent pyometra and breast cancer.
  • Statistics show that spayed or neutered animals may live up to two or three years longer than those that are not.
  • It is a myth that females should have a litter before being spayed. Your pet will actually be healthier if she never matures sexually. And though some pets become calmer after giving birth, many become more aggressive.
  • In cats, spaying prevents the crying and pacing they do when they are in heat.
  • Got several pets? They’ll get along better if spayed or neutered.
  • A sterilized pet will be more focused on, and devoted to, its human family, making this decision a win/win for the pet and its people too.

Spaying or neutering does not have to be an expensive procedure, and is certainly cheaper than raising a litter of pets. Your local animal shelters may offer these services at a discounted rate. Contact them to find out more.

What Kind of Dog Should You Adopt?

Adoption decisions are usually emotional and many are “spur of the moment,” where you fall in love with a cute dog.  You take it home and then over time you find out whether it was a good decision or not. A better approach is to take some time to clarify expectations with the household before you adopt your next dog.  Remember, it is a decision that will last 12-16 years.

 

Size, hair coats, breed traits and behavior are extremely diverse in dogs.  In fact, dogs are more diverse than any other animal.  No one article can begin to address the diversity of our canine companions.  Your personal choice and appeal play the largest role in the end.  However, here are three things to consider in your criteria for adopting your next dog.

 

SIZE

Size is important in the process, especially later if your adoption is a puppy.  It is more than what breed you prefer, you should consider what size you can manage comfortably physically and in your home.  All too often the puppy grows up and up and up.  That puppy may become too large to manage, but by the time it is full grown you are attached.  Questions such as, how much space do you have, how much time can you devote to walking or exercising a large dog?  Do you want a small lap dog?  Do you want strictly a house dog?  Will your dog be traveling with you often?  Do you have a fenced in yard that is escape proof?  Are you physically able to restrain a larger more active dog?  And can you afford to feed a large dog, which can cost much more than a toy or small breed dog?

 

All too often the reality in dealing with a large dog and what you had imagined erode over time due to the additional time and cost associated with large breeds.  Limited space, time or resources may make it an unwise decision for the long term.  Just as adopting a small toy breed when you have young children may not be practical or best for the dog.  Select an adult size that is right for your family and lifestyle prior to adoption and your choice will sustain a long pet relationship.

 

HAIR COAT

While hair coat may not seem important, it will become a factor over time.  Long haired dogs require more brushing and grooming.  For some, brushing and grooming is enjoyable and a good way to bond with their pet.  Others are too busy or do not enjoy the process.  Left alone, many long haired dogs will become matted with tangled hair which can lead to infections of the skin under the matted hair.  It can also lead to knots or tangles which can only be removed with sedation and professional grooming.

 

Many long haired dogs do need regular professional grooming and bathing which needs to be considered in your monthly budget for pet care.  Other factors are shedding, which is a natural process for dogs, to shed old hair and replace with new hair.  Regular brushing will help reduce unwanted hair around the house, but for some breeds, even short haired breeds, shedding is part of pet ownership.  You simply need to factor it into your decision on which breed to adopt.  Studies suggest that introducing pets to young children will diminish future allergies to pets.  But remember, long haired dogs need to be groomed on a regular basis.  And start them when they are young, so they will always accept grooming.

 

ENERGY LEVEL

The energy level or activity level will vary by breeds.  Some breeds are very inactive and prefer to lie around most of the day.  Yet other breeds seem to be in constant motion.  Some breeds require a lot of exercise; otherwise their highly active nature is directed towards more unpleasant activities that you will find are not conducive to your expectations or lifestyle.  Without proper exercise to exert their energy they may turn to barking, jumping, digging, chewing or other destructive behaviors. 

 

Size is not always a good indicator of activity levels, some small to medium breed dogs are quite active.  Some breeds are not good for highly active families if they are inclined to include them in activities, such as jogging.

 

Of course you should make allowances that most all puppies require more activity than adults.  But some breeds, seem to remain active right up to old age.  Also, understand that chewing is natural and important.  This is especially true for puppies as they mature and their temporary puppy teeth are replaced with permanent teeth.  Chewing in addition to being important for healthy gums and teeth provides an outlet for excess energy and when bored.

 

A regular scheduled exercise period of playing fetch or long walks are good for highly active dogs with no physical impairments, such as arthritis or hip dysplasia.  It allows them to anticipate and get rid of all that energy in productive ways that are good for them and for you.  Studies have shown that walking a dog can be better for weight loss than other traditional weigh loss programs.  Consider another dog, especially if you’re gone from the house for long periods during the day.  Otherwise, dogs get easily bored and they turn to destructive behavior.  A playmate can relieve the boredom and be an activity outlet in play.

Pets and Science: Serving Emotional Needs

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

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

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.

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