Friday, March 1, 2013

How to Eliminate Pet Odor From Your Furniture

How to Eliminate Pet Odor From Your Furniture

Some helpful tips about how to get those annoying pet odors and stains out of your furniture.

A lot of people are dealing with pet odor on their carpets and floors, but many don’t know how to eliminate pet odor from furniture. We love our pets, but even the most beloved furry friend can have an accident now and then. Pet smells are aggravating, and if you fail to get the mess cleaned up quickly you can have an even more troublesome problem.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A veterinarian's top 10 tips for keeping pets healthy in winter

(ARA) - Jack Frost is nipping at your pet's nose. Winter is here again, and cold weather can be uncomfortable and dangerous to your pet.

"In colder regions of the country, pet owners should already know that they need to make accommodations for their pets, but winter can be hard on a pet even in warmer states, like Georgia, where I work," says Dr. Larry R. Corry, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). "While we don't get a lot of snow, it does get cold in the winter, and when it gets below freezing, our recommendation is that pet owners get their pets inside."

Here are the AVMA's top 10 winter tips for pet owners:

* Even if you own a sled dog, living outside during the depths of winter is very difficult. If you must keep your dog outside year round, remember that dogs must be allowed time to get acclimated to the cold with the change of the seasons. This builds up a winter coat they will need to survive. Corry recommends that dog owners with outside dogs double check to make sure their dog's housing is well insulated, including straw or padding to sleep on.

"If you want to heat a doghouse, be careful to ensure that the heat source is installed properly so that the animal cannot be hurt," he says. "If you can't or won't bring the animal into your home, consider bringing it inside a garage on bitter cold days."
* Corry also advises pet owners to refrain from taking their pets near frozen ponds. Many dogs and cats fall through or sometimes are cast adrift on an ice float.

* Keep your pet away from antifreeze with ethylene glycol. It's sweet and extremely lethal, even in small doses. The AVMA provides a brochure and video on this and other household hazards and poisons.

* Honk your horn or pound on the hood before starting your car on cold days. To a cat, a warm engine block can seem like a nice escape from cold winter winds.

* Carbon monoxide is just as lethal to pets as it is for people. Make sure your home has a carbon monoxide detector, and, if you bring your pet from the outdoors into a garage during the winter, make sure exhaust fumes from your car aren't allowed to build up inside.

* Cold air is dry air, so your pet can become dehydrated easily in the winter. Give him plenty of fresh water. If the bowl of water you put outside for your dog or cat freezes, it's of no use to the animal.

* Road salt and ice melting products are not only irritating to the pads on your pet's feet, but when your pet cleans itself by licking off these chemicals and ingesting them, they can cause gastrointestinal problems. Wash your pet's feet after she's been outdoors.

* Consider booties for your dog's feet. Booties help prevent ice balls between the toes that can be both painful and do damage to the toe pads.
* Be careful about candles, space heaters and fireplaces - pets can get burned and even set the house on fire.

* Pay close attention to your older pet in winter, especially if he suffers from arthritis. Arthritic pain is even worse in icy winds and cold temperatures. Seek the advice of your veterinarian to help your pet cope with arthritis.

For more information about animal health, visit

Courtesy of ARAcontent

New Year's resolution: slim down that fat cat or dog

(ARA) - To his owners, Moby, a 4-year-old Australian Shepherd, was a very healthy, spry dog, so when his veterinarian told them that beneath his thick, reddish-brown coat he had a weight problem, they were a bit shocked.

Apparently, all that baby food licked off the floor, and the lack of activity that came with the two toddlers who had recently joined the family, added about 10 extra pounds on a normally 65-pound dog. The good news is the veterinarian was able to put Moby on a program of diet and exercise, and he was back in perfect shape within a year.

Studies show that pet obesity is an epidemic in this country. According to a 2005 study, approximately 35 percent of American dogs and cats are obese or overweight, and some veterinarians report that they see even higher percentages now.

"I would say that probably more than 50 percent of the animals that we see are overweight," says Dr. Larry R. Corry, a companion animal practitioner in Georgia and president of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). "We say that people are 'killing their pets with caring.' They want to give too much food, table scraps and too many treats. They simply don't realize how unhealthy that can be."

Obesity can cause a number of health problems, including diabetes and heart problems. Diabetes in animals can be treated successfully with diet and insulin, but treatments are expensive and difficult to undertake successfully with cats. Diabetes treatments require animals to eat on a consistent basis, and cats don't often enjoy following a schedule. Treating obesity before the animal becomes diabetic is a far simpler solution, Dr. Corry says.

"If we can get pet owners to comply with weight-loss plans, usually we don't have any problem getting the animal's weight under control,"Corry says. "Weight-loss diets generally involve specially formulated pet foods or simply a reduction of the amount of food the animal receives.

"Every member of the family has to be in agreement, because if one person is slipping the dog scraps under the table, the program won't work," he continues.

For dogs and cats on a diet, one little treat can truly be a diet buster. For example, giving a cat one potato chip may not seem like an extravagant snack, but it's equivalent to giving an adult human half a cheeseburger or half a candy bar. And giving your cat an ounce of milk is equivalent to eating four and a half cheeseburgers. Giving your pet pooch one hot dog is equivalent to you eating two cheeseburgers. Needless to say, giving a pet table scraps is a sure ticket to pet obesity.

The AVMA has partnered with Hill's Pet Nutrition Inc. to combat obesity by sponsoring the Alliance for Healthier Pets - Obesity Awareness and Prevention Program. The initiative's primary goal is to educate the public on how to recognize obesity and to suggest simple solutions. Visit to see examples of how common pet treats translate into major calories. Watch as personal trainer Gunnar Petersen teaches pet owners how to exercise with their pets and then take the "Pet Fit" Challenge.

For more information about animal health, visit and visit for an informative video about pet obesity.
Courtesy of ARAcontent

Find Solutions to Cat Behavior Problems

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

New puppy? Learn how to prepare your home for a furry friend

(ARA) - Anyone who's welcomed a new pet into the home can tell you how important it is to prepare for that four-legged friend. Whether it's moving furniture to accommodate a dog cage or learning to host a puppy play-date with the bulldog next door, becoming a pet owner can be a definite learning process.

When getting your family and your home ready to welcome a furry friend, a few simple steps can go a long way:

* While your new pet is getting used to his/her surroundings, it's a good idea to keep them in a defined area of the house. Baby gates are perfect for closing off an area in your house and designating it as the "puppy area." Having a small rug in your puppy's play area will not only protect your floors, but also protect your dog from sliding and potentially getting hurt. Think twice about what furniture is included in your puppy area - the more excited they get, the clumsier they get.

* Keeping cleaning supplies on hand will be your greatest ally. The Swiffer Sweeper with new Wet Mopping Cloths are great for wiping up pet "mistakes" and dirt that they might track in the house.

* Don't forget to brush your new furry friends. Brushing your pet regularly and frequently helps to keep his/her coat in check, especially if they are going through seasonal shedding. Brushing stimulates the skin to keep it naturally moisturized, which can cut back on dander. If possible, brush your pet outside to avoid spreading pet hair in the house.

*Get down to your pet's level, on your hands and knees, to see what he could get into. Dogs love chew toys, so don't entice them with a ball of wires from your stereo system. Zip-tie the cords together so they stay neat and tucked behind furniture. Also, cord covers are a great idea for those extension cords running along the floor. Certain types of floor plants can be poisonous if ingested, so be sure to move them up and out of the way.

* Pets, especially puppies, need to expel excess energy by playing with others just as much as children do. When hosting a puppy play-date, keep collars on both dogs. If you need to grab one of the dogs in a hurry, you want to be sure you have something to take hold of. Also, when inviting a four-legged friend over to your home, have the dogs meet outside. This way, your pup won't feel threatened in his own territory.

It's no secret that having a pet can benefit a family, but making certain that you and your home are prepared to welcome a four-legged friend will also benefit you. Taking a few simple precautions and making the effort to keep your home pet-friendly will make the transition easy.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

Monday, September 7, 2009

What to Do when You're Allergic to Dogs

The term "hypoallergenic" was first used in reference to cosmetics in the 1950s. It refers to something being less likely to provoke an allergic reaction, not something totally non-allergenic. There are no known dog breeds that are guaranteed not to cause allergic reactions in humans; but there are breeds and methods available that make it possible for an allergic person to live with a dog.

It's Not the Hair

People often think they are allergic to dog hair, and thus, breeds touted as "hypoallergenic" shed less. Allergic responses to animals are actually caused by dander, microscopic skin flakes, and proteins found in the animals' saliva and urine. (This is why some people get hives when a dog licks them.)

It is true, however, that dog hair carries these allergens around the house and aids in the distribution and dissemination of the allergens. This is why breeds that shed less or have a single coat (versus a thick-haired dog with an undercoat) are often called "hypoallergenic." It has little to do with the actual length of the dog's hair.

Which Breeds Are Considered Hypoallergenic?

Examples of breeds that tend to be considered hypoallergenic are:

- Maltese
- Poodle and poodle hybrid
- Terrier
- Bichon-Frise
- Greyhound
- Chinese Crested and other hairless breeds (although their skin is entirely exposed, hairless breeds shed fewer skin cells than fur-covered dogs)
- Portuguese Water Dog and other curly-haired breeds

But what if you already have a dog, and it is causing you allergic misery? There are some things you can do to make living with a dog more comfortable if you have allergies.

* Bathe the dog once a week. This removes proteins, dust, and skin flakes from the dog and prevents them from flaking off into the air you breathe.

* Brush the dog often, and do so outdoors, where it is less likely to bring on an allergic reaction. You can also wear a dust mask when you groom your dog.

* Do not allow your dog into your bedroom. You spend a third of your life in the bedroom sleeping, and that is a time for your body to recover and rest from allergens. You can also run an air purifier in your bedroom.

* Consider letting your dog spend more time outside - but not all the time. Build a run or fence in an area where the dog can be comfortable and happy, and let him spend a few hours out there each day, weather permitting.

* Feed the dog a healthy diet high in essential fatty acids. Omega-3s and Omega-6s are necessary for a healthy skin and coat, and help prevent abnormal shedding.

There is no such thing as an allergy-proof dog, but there are certainly enough choices out there that allergic individuals can consider the joys and rewards of dog ownership.

Emotional Advantages of Owning a Pet

If you own a pet, you probably think of that pet as a family member. You care for it, nurture it, and love it - but did you know that your pet is giving you emotional health? Research shows that pets bring emotional well-being to their owners, and the benefits of pet ownership extend to children. Following are some of the characteristics exhibited by children who have a pet in the home, and other advantages to owning a pet.

- High Self-Esteem

Having a pet can help children with self-esteem - an animal is non-judgmental and loves its owner no matter what. Your dog will greet you at the door and your cat will love your warm lap no matter what other people may think of you. Children especially benefit from this unconditional love.

- Language Proficiency

Children with pets are more proficient in spoken and written language than children in non-pet owning families. Adults who have a hard time getting a child to open up and communicate in writing or speech have found that asking such a child about his or her pet results in expansive communication.

In other words, if a child will not talk about anything else, he or she will talk about his or her pet. Children love to write poems and stories and draw pictures of their pets, too, opening the door for creative expression which is therapeutic in itself.

- Social Skills

Children with pets tend to have better social skills, which could be due in part to the enhanced communication noted above. Also, as children come to a point developmentally where more social skills are needed, having a pet in the home tends to bring out those skills in a no-pressure environment. Pets make children surer of themselves, which makes socializing easier and more natural.

- Physical and Emotional Health

Let's not forget that physical health enhances emotional health. Having a dog means walking it, playing with it, taking it on hikes, and so forth. That kind of physical activity gets you and your children away from the TV and the video games and outside exercising. A dog's enjoyment of the outdoors gives its child owner an appreciation of the natural world and bridges the gap between people and nature.

Cats, too, can provide incentive to move - energetic play with your cat is every bit as entertaining as TV, but with the added benefits of interaction and exercise. Children love to run through the house dragging a piece of string with the cat in hot pursuit. Exercise and loving interaction benefit body, mind, and spirit.

- Depression

There is nothing like fur therapy when it comes to depression. Studies show that pet ownership or interaction with a visiting animal can greatly reduce depression and induce feelings of well-being. This is why there are therapy animals that visit nursing homes and the children's wing of the hospital, and why there are successful programs for troubled children that involve caring for animals as part of their therapy.

Owning a pet forces a depressed person to think about someone other than him or herself, and breaks destructive thinking patterns. Children who struggle with emotional troubles often find solace in the company of animals.

Certainly owning a pet is a big responsibility, and should not be undertaken without careful consideration. But among those considerations should be the emotional advantages.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Scratching the surface of canine allergies

(ARA) - Most people consider their dog to be more than just a pet. Dogs are true members of the family. So when your dog is itching uncontrollably, it is frustrating not to know what’s wrong. Once owners rule out the possibility of fleas, they are often left with questions unanswered. One problem frequently overlooked is a skin disease caused by environmental allergies.

Like humans, dogs can be hypersensitive to common airborne allergens such as pollen, mold and dust mites. But instead of showing symptoms such as sneezing, watery eyes and a runny nose, dogs present symptoms on the skin that they try to relieve through constant scratching, licking and gnawing. These symptoms are typically signs of an allergic skin disease known as canine atopic dermatitis.

More than an itch

According to Kadence Research, canine atopic dermatitis affects about 16 percent of the canine population. As with human allergies, symptoms are often seasonal but can develop into a year-round problem if not properly treated. Dogs with atopic dermatitis usually start showing signs of the disease between the ages of 6 months and 3 years old, but some will show signs later due to changes in their environment.

Atopic dermatitis is characterized by intense scratching or chewing of the skin, hair loss and a foul odor resulting from the nonstop chewing and licking. The continual scratching can be bothersome to owners when their dogs are restlessly itching. It can also make the dog lethargic because they are unable to sleep due to constant irritation.

“Sam has had allergies for five or six years,” said Marj Voorhees, owner of Sam the Siberian husky. “He was doing lots of scratching, licking and itching. He lost a lot of hair around his face, eyes and ears.”

Voorhees tried using traditional medications and shampoos, as well as immunotherapy and zinc supplements in attempts to end Sam’s suffering. Sam’s therapy made him hungrier than normal and he gained 20 pounds. He also continued to itch.

There are numerous methods used to try to control the symptoms of canine atopic dermatitis. Veterinarians regularly try everything from antihistamines to steroid injections to keep their clients’ dogs from itching.

“Symptoms range from mild to severe,” said Steve Milden, VMD. “But the quality of life for a dog with atopic dermatitis can be diminished if the symptoms go untreated.”

Without a proper diagnosis and treatment plan, dogs with atopic dermatitis will continue to live in pain and discomfort; they won’t simply “grow out of it.” Anyone with active allergies can attest to how miserable life can be with an itchy throat, clogged sinuses and red eyes, so one can only imagine how unhappy dogs are when they have unstoppable itching. Luckily for dogs and their owners, there is a solution for the symptoms of atopic dermatitis.

Not your average backscratcher

The solution for dogs with atopic dermatitis comes in the form of a prescription product called Atopica (Cyclosporine capsules, USP) MODIFIED that specifically targets the immune cells involved in the allergic reaction. Similar to humans taking allergy medicine year-round to prevent flare-ups and misery, the same concept can be applied to treating dog allergies.

“I’ve been prescribing Atopica to dogs for about five years,” said Milden. “My clients couldn’t be more pleased. Their dogs seem to be happier now that they don’t itch all the time and their owners are thankful to have finally found relief for their best friend.”

Like Milden’s clients, Voorhees was able to find relief for her dog. Once Voorhees’ veterinarian prescribed Atopica, Sam was completely different.

“It made a tremendous difference almost immediately,” said Voorhees. “All of his hair grew back. It took care of the itching, too. He’s noticeably more comfortable.”

Owners should speak to their veterinarians if they think their dog may be suffering from allergies. The veterinarian will be able to answer questions and recommend a proper treatment. For more information on canine atopic dermatitis and ways to treat the disease, visit or the Novartis Animal Health home page at

Courtesy of ARAcontent