Explore

Be Quiet! How to Cue Up Silence

The doorbell rang. Rudy the Miniature Schnauzer erupted into a frenzy of barking. He ran to the door and back to his parents, back and forth, with increasing urgency. At times, his bark reached such a high pitch, you were certain it physically penetrated your brain. Even after his folks had retrieved a package and […]

Home Dental Care Saves Teeth, Tames Breath

Did you know that over 80 percent of adult dogs and cats have some form of dental disease? The good news is that this does not need to happen to your pet. Preventive dental care, both at home and from your veterinarian, can help to ward off dental disease. Preventing dental infections and injuries to […]

Feral to Friendly-ish: Cats Coming in From the Cold

A major conundrum of the cat world is the profusion of feral cats. Robin Olson, president of Kitten Associates in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, recently trapped the most beautiful tabby-marked Siamese kitten in her yard. Dubbed Silas Buttonwood, he will be vetted, neutered, fostered, and placed in a loving home. He is proving to be a […]

Did the Breeder Call Your Pup a “Pet”? It’s Not an Insult

People sometimes feel slighted when they learn that their pup from a responsible breeder is considered “pet” versus “show quality.” No need to feel slighted! Good breeders love all their puppies and give each one the best of care. Here’s what to know about the similarities and differences between pet pups and conformation contenders. Same […]

Your Pet Is Undergoing Anesthesia and Surgery: What Should You Expect? What Questions Should You Ask?

Most of our pets will need to undergo anesthesia for a surgery or other procedure at some point in their lives. Puppies and kittens have spay or neuter surgeries. Dental cleanings are also common. Other surgeries might include wound repair or removal of a skin tumor, correction of a cruciate tear. or any number of […]

Nosing Their Way to Confidence

One thing every dog knows how to do and loves to do is sniff. Dogs devote over 40 percent more of their brains to smells than we do and have up to 300 million olfactory receptors in their nose compared to the paltry six million we humans have. That makes sniffing sports and games a […]

Decoding Your Cat: Behavior Experts Uncover Cat Secrets

Veterinary behaviorists are last responders. When no one else can assist, they swoop in and save the day, and often a pet’s life. Boarded veterinary behaviorists are true specialists. Not only are they veterinarians who understand medical health, they are also experts at understanding emotional health. They unpack animal behavior for us–in the case of […]

Stem Cell Science: Can It Help Pets?

Stem cell therapy, often referred to as regenerative medicine, has grown in popularity in veterinary circles as a way to treat many painful issues that affect the wellbeing of dogs, cats, and horses. Bosco was having difficulty walking and generally moving about. The 8-month-old Labrador Retriever was taking anti-inflammatory medication daily as well as glucosamine-chondroitin […]

Are Our Pets Really Happy We’re Home All the Time, Or Is It a Mixed Blessing?

At the start of the coronavirus pandemic when my state issued a stay-at-home order, a handmade sign appeared in a neighbor’s window that proclaimed: “AT LEAST OUR DOGS ARE HAPPY!” Meanwhile, the internet exploded with memes of cats being unamused that their humans were cramping their style by invading “their” home so much. Reality seems […]

The Pandemic Is Reshaping the Future of Animal Shelters and You Could Be Part of It

When the coronavirus pandemic led to California’s stay-at-home order in March, Los Angeles resident Morgan Saunders was living by herself in an apartment. She started working from home, and her family lives across the country on the East Coast. Feeling isolated and wanting to help during the crisis in some way, she decided to foster […]

Get Your Jog on With Your Dog

Fartlek. Yes, it is a strange word sure to make you giggle, but if you plan to start jogging with your canine pal, knowing its definition may keep your dog from incurring injuries. “In the running world, walking interspersed with short bursts of running is known as fartlek training,” says Robin Downing, DVM, board certified […]

Wearing a Different Face? How Dogs React to Masks

At the start of the pandemic, concern was sometimes expressed that dogs would be disturbed because people were now wearing face masks. Personally, I was skeptical, from the evidence of my own highly reactive Pug. She’s attentive to small details – one thing she’ll always object to is a person who is looking at their […]

What We’re Noticing With Our Pets Now That We’re Home All the Time

My husband and I have been lucky to work from home for over a decade. But because of the coronavirus pandemic, we haven’t left our house to go to a movie, restaurant, party, or concert since March. At least one of us is always home – to the delight of our dogs, Rio and Peach. […]

Vet Techs Keep Clinics Running and Pets Cared For

Whenever someone asks Lindsey Rud what she does for a living, she answers, “Veterinary technician.” But most people have no idea what she means. “I would say about 90 percent of the time they’re confused,” she says. “So I always say, ‘I’m kind of like a nurse for dogs and cats.’” Rud is a Certified […]

Safe and Stress-Free Getaways With Your Dogs

Since the pandemic surfaced in March, you and your dog may be experiencing what I refer to as mutt rut. You and your pooch take multiple walks around the neighborhood each day: same route, same duration, same time. B-o-r-i-n-g. So, it’s little wonder that you and your dog may be going a bit stir crazy […]

Sound Matters: Tips on Living With a Deaf Cat

Sixteen-year-old Winifred is a grande dame. She is stubborn and opinionated but sweet and affectionate with people, prefers not to interact with the other cats she lives with, and lord help the cat who gets in her favorite spot in the catio. Winifred is also deaf. Leslie Cobb, cat artist, adopted Winifred in 2018 from […]

8 Ways to Manage Unruly Dogs

Behaviors such as jumping, stealing, and chewing can be challenging to live with, whether this is your first dog or your fifth, but you can learn how to manage and prevent these behaviors and teach your dog new habits, setting your new dog up for success, and creating less frustration for both of you. If […]

Airport Therapy Dogs Lend a Calming Paw

Standing in line to check bags, taking your shoes off as you go through security, walking what feels like a mile to get to your gate, wearing a mask and hoping no one coughs near you; let’s face it, flying is more stressful than stress-free these days. But what if you had a chance to […]

10 Trail Tips for Hiking With Dogs

Hiking is one of the most special ways to spend time outdoors with dogs. Besides the activity aspect, they open our eyes to the presence of birds and wildlife—I still remember fondly the time my dog Bella “pointed” mule deer—and remind us to stop and smell the flowers, listen to the bees and woodpeckers, and […]

Why Do Cats Have Vertical Pupils? The Hunt’s the Thing

My mother is a Cat Lady in training. Because she has severe allergies and asthma, the last and only cat she lived with in my lifetime was nine lives ago way back when I was in high school. That changed three years ago when my sister rescued a tiny, tailless, longhaired black kitten who was […]

Life Lessons From a Dog Named Gobi

Sometimes, victory doesn’t mean you cross the finish line first. Just ask ultramarathon runner Dion Leonard. He went to the Gobi Desert in China in 2016 to win a grueling six-day, 155-mile race. He finished second among the world-elite runners but is still enjoying life’s victory lap thanks to lessons he continues to learn from […]

What Pet Lovers Should Consider When Shopping for Homeowners Insurance

I live in Denver, the current epicenter of the debate over pit bulls. My city has banned any dog with more than a 50 percent “appearance” of a pit bull for over 30 years, but this November, a ballot measure will let voters decide on replacing the outright ban with allowing pitties whose owners obtain […]

Why Your Vet Uses Rescue™ in Their Clinic

When you go to the vet, you know that they’re doing everything they can to create the best possible experience for your pet. But that doesn’t stop at providing good patient care – it also applies to the clinic environment that your veterinary team works hard to create. This means taking important steps to reduce […]

Car Safety: Do You Protect Your Pet?

It’s a worldwide trend: Our pets are joining us more and more on vacation. That was happening before the pandemic, and it hasn’t stopped. But with that comes the importance of ensuring our pets’ safety on the road, especially with car travel. A study published last year on PubMed compared pet travel in the United […]

How Long Does It Take to Train a Dog?

I am often asked how long it took to train my dog. I like it best when I am asked this question when I am walking Sky, who will be 14 in November, because my answer is always the same:  We’re still working on it. Pet owners often like to think of training as, say, […]

Horse Scare: Reducing Fear of Loud Noises

Horses might be pretty big creatures, but in their minds, they only weigh a few hundred pounds. Before humans started breeding horses to carry and pull heavy loads, equines were much smaller. Scientists believe the first domesticated horse only weighed about half of what today’s horses weigh. But while horses’ bodies have become bigger—making them […]

An Itchy Dog’s Journey

Bodie, a 3-year-old Golden Retriever and one of the millions of dogs suffering from allergic itch, recently saw his veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment. His journey with itch, however, is just beginning. Dogs with atopic dermatitis (allergy to environmental triggers) and their families face a lifelong challenge of managing the ups and downs of itch. […]

Why the Loss of a Pet Is So Challenging, and Tips for Coping With Grief

The death of a beloved pet is excruciating. With their shorter lifespans, it’s also, unfortunately, an inevitability. Therapist Susan Anschuetz, LMFT, co-founder of the Denver-based nonprofit Human Animal Bond Trust, has led free weekly pet loss support groups for more than 30 years. “There’s hardly a week that goes by where someone doesn’t say, ‘I […]

The Pandemic Is Transforming Lives—for Pets and People  

While the Age of Isolation brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic has not been kind to people, conversely, it has had many wonderful positive benefits for pets. For starters, it has transformed shelters across America, producing empty cages as people welcome cats, dogs, and other critters into their lives, offering both forever homes and foster […]

Getting Wet With Waldo: Boating, Swimming, and More

Does your dog love water? Some dogs are natural water babies—think Labs, Portuguese Water Dogs, or Boykin Spaniels, for instance—while others take to water play gradually when they’re introduced to it in a fun way. The most important factor when introducing dogs to water is adaptability. Depending on what you plan to do, your dog […]

Lesson Plan Aids Training, Ensures Fun

Having a plan can help training sessions to go smoothly. Here’s what to consider to ensure you cover everything you want while allowing space for changes. Years ago, when I taught high school English in Brooklyn, New York, all the teachers had to submit weekly lesson plans explaining what we were going to teach each […]

De-Stressing Dog Bathing: Home Design Tips

At our house, giving our dogs a bath used to be a struggle! As an animal-care architect, I now understand that bathing areas can be better designed to reinforce gentle handling and to reduce the stress of bath time. I look forward to sharing some of the ideas that work best in our home and […]

Chinchilla Challenge: Are They Right for You?

Confession: I once bought a pet completely on impulse. I knew that wasn’t how you were supposed to do it, but I just handed over the money and took him home. That’s how irresistibly cute chinchillas are. I’d owned rodents before, so I knew some of the basics, but I quickly discovered that a chinchilla […]

Conquering Everest: Learning Stairs the Fun Way

“Nope. Not happening. No way.” The Poodle puppy’s mind was made up. I was crouching at the base of the stairway, with the puppy on the first step. The goal: make it to the bottom of the staircase. Just one little step. “You can do it!” I encouraged, waving a treat. The puppy started barking […]

Sound Management: Reducing Stressors in the Home

Many of us have experience with sound-sensitive pets. Fear of thunder, for example, is common among dogs and cats, and we all know how crazy our pets get when a home smoke alarm is malfunctioning! Pets get worried about sounds in part because they can hear much better than we can. Humans can hear a […]

The Best Puppy for You: How to Make the Choice

Choosing a puppy is a momentous decision. Here’s what to consider. My friend Andrew wants a huge dog, a Newfoundland or perhaps a Mastiff.  His wife, Jane, wants a dog she can pick up and cuddle, one who will be easy to walk and undemanding. For some people, there are German Shepherds or Border Collies, […]

Calling All Itchy Pets: August is Itchy Pet Awareness Month!

In 2019, Zoetis Petcare launched Itchy Pet Awareness Month, recognized each year in August, in order to help bring awareness to the millions of pets with skin disease and to provide resources for pet owners and veterinarians to identify and manage pet itch. Skin allergy is consistently among the top reasons that pets visit the […]

A Mouse Has Only 30 Calories, and Other Things You Didn’t Know About Caring for Cats

Even if you’ve shared your life with cats for years or decades, their ways can be mysterious. Cat lover and veterinarian Dr. Liz Bales shares some secrets to understanding how cats think and why they do the things they do. A mouse has only thirty calories. That is a meal for a cat. This translates […]

How to Prepare Dogs for Back-to-School Season – and Possibly Homeschooling

Back-to-school season can be an exciting time for children, but a stressful time for dogs. After all, our pups love the extra time and attention enjoyed during summer vacation. During the coronavirus pandemic, our pets have been the beneficiaries of stay-at-home orders, as parents are often around more, too. Plus, many families have adopted pets […]

Do Dogs Need a Daily Walk?

It’s important for dogs to get daily exercise. In fact, many of us get dogs to help ensure that we get more exercise. But life gets in the way, and sometimes walking the dog falls low on the priority list. We get it. Walking a dog can be a big commitment, especially if you have […]

Kitten Caboodle: Play Dates Are Fun and Educational

Nothing is sweeter than an 8-week-old kitten. Those tiny paw pads, curious eyes, and that wiggly body practicing “big cat” pounces. Adorbs, right? Adding a kitten to your family is easy in this charming, playful, and easy-care stage. Alas, within a few months, cute kittens become adolescents, with the potential for behavioral issues caused by […]

A Wish List for Puppies

When I was a little girl, we’d open the door in the morning and let the dog out. When he got hungry, he’d come home, hoping it was dinner time. In between, he played with his dog friends, hunted for crabs in the lagoons the jetties made on the beach, napped on someone’s porch or […]

Bringing a New Dog Home: Successful Adoption Habits

You have an adorable new puppy or just adopted a sweetheart of a dog from a shelter or rescue group. You can’t wait to spoil him or her rotten, right? Loving on a new pup is mandatory, sure, but it’s also important to provide him with a structured environment from day one. Setting clear expectations […]

Giving Medication to Birds Without Fear and Stress – for Birds or Humans!

Administering medications to birds can be challenging and stressful to everyone involved. For many bird owners, the thought of administering medications brings up images of capturing their frightened or aggressive bird who is rarely handled, wrapping him in a towel, forcing foul-tasting medications into their beak, and possibly getting bitten for their efforts. Rough handling […]

Human Stress, Reactive Dogs, and Science

It’s conventional wisdom among dog trainers that a handler’s anxiety “travels down the leash” to influence the dog. To be honest, this had always sounded like some kind of woo-woo mystical nonsense to me. When I got my current extremely reactive Pug, the trainer I was working with – who I respected for being pretty […]

Kids and Pets: How to Develop That Best-Friend Relationship

Kids and pets go together like peanut butter and jelly. I should know. Our Pugs were my daughter Reagan’s best friends from the time she was born. Her canine “brothers” were there to greet her when we brought her home from the hospital, and it was no surprise that Reagan’s first word was a bark! […]

It’s Not a Hairball: Fear Free Management of Feline Asthma

Cats can be notorious for hiding illness from their owners, but if your cat is affected with asthma (also known as feline allergic bronchitis), their coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing will soon become apparent. This inflammatory disease of the lungs is thought to arise from an increased sensitivity to inhaled allergens such as dust, pollen, […]

My Dog Doesn’t Love Car Rides. What Could Be the Issue?

The human-animal bond is stronger than ever. In fact, research has found that spending time with our dogs makes us healthier.1-4 But more importantly, we enjoy being with our dogs. We like to take our dogs with us whenever possible: to the park, visiting friends and family, or on a family camping trip. The number […]

How to Think Like a Zookeeper About Your Pet’s Welfare

Pets are so much part of our families that it’s easy to forget they’re different from us in many ways. To give them a good life, sometimes we need to get outside our human heads and understand what’s important to another species with different senses, needs, and instincts. Zookeepers are experts at this, and we […]

Good Vibrations? Cue Cat Music

The power of music is as old as the first human heartbeat. Music communicates emotions, inspires creativity, and provides healing. From 1697, literature gives us William Congreve’s play, “The Mourning Bride” with the famous opening line: “Music has charms to sooth a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.” Scores of studies […]

How to Become an Exceptional Veterinary Client

Earlier this year, my 15-year-old cat, Ivan, had a behavioral upheaval that required several veterinary visits, tests, medication, and weekly follow-up calls to his veterinary team. Because Ivan’s condition required tweaking until we found just-the-right remedy, I felt like a nuisance until my trusted veterinarian gave me the highest compliment. She said I am a […]

9 Ways to Help Pets With Fireworks Fears

Many pets are petrified of fireworks. And no wonder: no one tells our best friends that these incredibly loud and sudden and unexplained bangs are supposed to be a celebration, not an attack. For dogs and cats, becoming startled at sudden loud sounds can be a protective response. Who knows what could be making that […]

What’s That Smell? Secrets Behind Litter Box Odor

A commercial airing for a brand of cat litter shows a woman walking into her house and making a great “stank” face. Perhaps a bit exaggerated, but who among us hasn’t entered a room and sniffed suspiciously? According to Cécile Pétel, writing in “Something in the air: why cat pee stinks and how to control […]

Curbing Vet Visit Fear: The Curbside Approach to Veterinary Dermatology Visits

This is Sophie. She’s a very good girl, but has been itching constantly. While her family, the Fosters, have enjoyed extra time at home together recently, Sophie’s scratching, chewing, and biting her skin is driving everyone crazy! And she’s not alone. Allergic skin disease is one of the most common reasons that pets need veterinary […]

Is It Okay to Take My Pet to the Groomer?

When I mentioned to a friend that I was thinking of taking my Labrador Retriever to the groomer, she suggested I shouldn’t do it, out of concern that the COVID-19 virus could pass through her fur if the groomer was infected, or get on the leash, or pass from the groomer to me when I […]

Tracking: Searching For Fun With Your Dog

Does your dog like to sniff? And does she like playing games with you and learning new things? Then tracking is a sport for you! Tracking helps to build confidence in shy or anxious dogs because it is a natural behavior and one of the few sports where your dog calls the shots. Humans have […]

Help! My Cat’s Been Diagnosed With FIC!

No pet parent wants their beloved cat to receive a chronic diagnosis. And when it comes to a chronic urinary issue, it feels overwhelming, especially if you’re faced with bloody urine or outside-the-box elimination. For cat parents who discover their cat has feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC), it can feel even more daunting since environmental stress […]

How to Raise a Fear Free Puppy

You waited until the time was right to adopt, or you waited for a special litter to be born and ready to come home with you.  You want your puppy to be loving and funny, but also confident, able to go anywhere you want to take him with no problems at all.  But what do […]

Pets With a View: How to Create Visual Interest at Home

Many of us are spending a lot of time at home right now. Even a brief walk around the neighborhood feels like a special experience, and we may see things we never noticed before. With this perspective, we no longer take for granted the views from our windows. Assuming we could take this perspective and […]

New to Cats? Litter Box Basics for Beginners

Cats are great! They are independent but affectionate, playful but restful, and they don’t need to go outside to eliminate—one of the biggest positives for people who appreciate our feline overlords. Sometimes, though, cats stop peeing or pooping inside the litter box. In worst-case scenarios when this occurs, they are relinquished to shelters or re-homed. […]

Too Old for a Kitty?

When you’re a cat lover, age is not a factor. Whether you are 20 or 80, the soft fur and reassuring purr bring endless joy. So, if you’ve had cats your entire life, the prospect of living without them is unthinkable. But with some forethought and planning, there’s no reason why you should deny yourself […]

Is Your Pet Overweight? Here’s How To Know – And Why You Should Care

After my husband and I adopted a little stray Poodle named Peach, we took her to the veterinarian for a checkup. We were shocked when we learned she was overweight at 10.2 pounds. “She’s been hiking with us. Maybe muscle weighs more than fat?” I ventured. Our veterinarian patiently but firmly said, “No, she needs […]

Telemedicine: Keeping Veterinary Dermatology Fear Free in the Time of COVID-19

While the world practices social distancing and self-quarantine, pet owners are spending more time with their pets. The extra cuddle time with animal family members can be beneficial for humans’ physical and emotional health1,2. Spending so much time together also gives pet parents an opportunity to notice when something might be wrong with their dog […]

Dog Bite Basics: Experts Share Prevention Tips

National Dog Bite Prevention Week has come and gone, but preventing dog bites is a year-round endeavor. Prevention as well as education are key. That was the theme of a recent Zoom press event featuring experts from various fields. Here’s what they had to say. “Dog bite prevention may have more meaning this year than […]

Puppy’s First 8 Weeks: Love and Lessons

Watching mothers teaching their puppies lessons that would hold their value for the life of those little dogs greatly informed my understanding of how to train dogs. The mom, or dam, not only nourishes her puppies, not only keeps them clean and safe, but as they get up onto their feet, as they interact with […]

Hide and Seek: Just Add Dogs!

Hide ‘n seek is the greatest dog game ever because there are so many benefits. It keeps children (or adults) engaged. There’s some exercise involved for dogs. When the dog inevitably finds the person hiding, the human-animal bond is enhanced. It’s a great way to reinforce calling your dog to you. And most of all, […]

How to Keep Your Dog Safe in the Great Outdoors

As COVID-19 continues to keep doors to gyms and yoga studios shuttered, dogs are playing a more prominent role as workout buddies for people seeking safe ways to exercise outdoors. Just ask my dogs, Kona and Bujeau. Since the “shelter in place” order was declared in mid-March, only an occasional rain shower has stopped us […]

Therapy Dog Organization Launches Virtual Reading Program to Benefit Kids and Pets

With social distancing and stay-at-home orders across most of the country during the coronavirus pandemic, school and library “Read to a Dog” programs that boost children’s literacy are temporarily on hold. But there’s an innovative way for kids to still benefit from reading to nonjudgmental listeners: reading to their own pets at home. The nonprofit […]

Poop: The Inside Scoop on Your Dog’s Output

Everyone who shares a home with a dog deals with poop on a daily basis. While it may not be the most appealing topic, learning about your dog’s “output” offers important insight into his health. Not only his food, but also your dog’s environment and emotional state, affects how his body works. Fear, anxiety, and […]

Do You Really Want a Ferret? What to Consider Before Getting One

Lots of people are crazy about ferrets. “I think most veterinarians that work on ferrets will tell you they’re pretty darned adorable,” says Valarie V. Tynes, DVM, DACVB. But people who love them want you to know about the challenges of living with them. “The first thing I always ask people is, ‘Why do you […]

How to Recognize Signs of Canine Osteoarthritis and Relieve Fear, Anxiety, and Stress

It’s hard for me to believe that my dog, Chilly, is already 10 years old. It’s easy to think he’s as young on the inside as he looks on the outside. I just thought it was old age, which I am sure many pet owners like you have thought. However, a few recent changes in […]

One-Time Scare? How Single-Event Learning Affects Dogs

Dogs find certain encounters so memorable that learning happens via a single experience — especially if it’s novel, intense, startling, or incredibly rewarding. Sometimes it’s hilarious, as this headline from The Onion perfectly describes — “Dog Takes Pilgrimage to Holy Site Where It Once Found Rotisserie Chicken on Side of Road.” Often, though, a single […]

The Latest on When to Spay or Neuter Your Pet

When do you spay or neuter a dog or cat? For years, you’ve probably heard that the best age for this reproductive surgery is six months, but times change. Veterinarians and pet owners are taking a closer look at when it should occur. And the answer isn’t what you might think. For kittens, the answer […]

How to Help Your Dog Love Vet Care

More and more veterinarians are taking low-stress and Fear Free approaches to care. But as pet owners, we can’t leave it all to them. It’s equally important to do our part to make health care less stressful for our dogs. That starts at home – and it’s really not hard. You may think your dog […]

Sibling Rivalry: When Canine Housemates Don’t Get Along

“Stop copying me!” I’d yell at my sister, next to me in the car backseat. “Stop copying me!” she’d whine, then stick her tongue out at me. Mercy, she was aggravating. My father would tell us both to be quiet. We’d glare at each other across the imaginary demarcation line in the middle of the […]

Will Separation Anxiety Strike After Coronavirus?

Having us shelter in place at our homes is a dream come true for dogs. What happens, though, when people head back to the office? This is a unique experience so there’s no data to suggest how pets will respond, but I suggest we’ll see a significant uptick in separation distress among the following populations […]

Safe Exercise for Dogs With Limits

When we think of exercising our dogs, we tend to think of going all out – long, brisk walks, throwing a ball as far as possible, vigorous romping with other dogs. But in the life of nearly all dogs there will be circumstances where that’s not possible, including when your dog is recovering from injury […]

What to Know About CBD for Pets

Medicinal hemp products have not been subject to rigorous FDA oversight, but many pet product companies tout multiple health benefits for pets. In addition to potential health claims, the anxiety-reducing potential makes it an attractive “natural” option for pet parents with fearful pets. Rob Silver, DVM, a holistic veterinarian and founder of http://nurseyourpet.com, and veterinary pain […]

Saying “No” to Hello

We’ve all been told our dogs need to socialize with other dogs and with people, leaving some of us with the notion that our dogs and puppies should go to the dog park often or greet every dog who pulls toward them on the street. No doubt about it, we humans love dogs and, more […]

Breakthrough: New Cat Food Changes How People Manage Cat Allergies

Approximately one in five adults worldwide suffer from cat allergies. They must limit their interactions with felines, take anti-allergy medications, and in worst-case scenarios, relinquish beloved cats. A breakthrough cat food called Pro Plan LiveClear, now available on pet food shelves nationwide, may transform how people manage their cat allergies, allowing them to keep their […]

A Pet Parent’s Guide to COVID-19

With more than a million cases of COVID-19 diagnosed worldwide, and the number rising, most people are still grappling with the changes and restrictions of life during a global pandemic. News that dogs, cats, and ferrets may be susceptible to the virus only increases the fear, anxiety, and stress pet parents are feeling. What are […]

AniMeals On Wheels: Pet Food Deliveries Support Seniors and Reduce FAS

We know that senior people partnered with pets benefit from the companionship and numerous health benefits. Walking the dog and playing with the cat offer exercise opportunities and lower blood pressure, for example. I like to call it the “Pet Effect.” Sadly, many seniors have difficulty feeding themselves, let alone their animal companions. Even if […]

How Cats Hear, See, and Feel

In a previous post I talked about how cats’ very different senses mean they do not experience the world the same way we do. That is certainly true for a cat’s superior sense of hearing. Cats can hear a mouse squeaking underground or a cockroach scurrying inside the wall. Their amazing ears enable them to […]

Cabin Fever: Keep Kids and Pets Happy in Isolation

Got bored kids, dogs, and cats at home because of the quarantine? To the rescue are two new books by Fear Free contributor Arden Moore, herself a Fear Free certified professional. She has written “A Kid’s Guide To Cats” and “A Kid’s Guide To Dogs” (Storey Publishing, ebook, $9.99, paperback, $14.95). Both are filled with […]

How to Teach Your Dog to Love Swimming

Before our litter of Labrador retriever puppies went to their new homes, they learned to swim. Some would live at lake homes, others on the beach, and one went to canoe enthusiasts, so it was important to teach them not to be afraid of water. Even if your dog is an adult or senior or […]

Mindfulness Tools Help With Grief

Losing beloved cats, whether death is sudden or gradual, is a big deal. Even though I’ve been through at least 15 of these passings, my human mind can’t wrap my head around my companion’s absence. How can a being who means so much be gone? How can that bond be suddenly severed? How can we […]

Scents and Scentsability: Feline Senses of Smell and Taste

The way our cats experience the world is different from the way we experience it, because their senses are tuned differently. We know a lot about feline senses, but all that knowledge gives only tantalizing clues to how they perceive their world. We can’t know what it feels like to be a cat. Still, these […]

Canine Separation Anxiety: Home Alone! An Anxious and Fearful Time for Some Dogs

What is Canine Separation Anxiety? Have you ever come home to find your dog has redecorated your house, chewed on the windowsill, or urinated/defecated on the floor? Or perhaps your neighbor runs out to greet you and tells you your dog has been barking incessantly ever since you left. If so, your dog could have […]

Quash Quarantine Qualms: Brain Games to the Rescue

Are you and your dogs stuck at home hiding out from the coronavirus? They’re probably wondering why they’re not getting as many walks or car rides to different places. Changes in their routine can be stressful. You can help to reduce their stress—and yours—with some mental activities that are perfect not just when a pandemic […]

Declawing Changes Are Good for Cats

After fits and starts, the momentum to ban declawing of cats is building, supported by veterinary hospitals and associations, and legislation that has been passed in cities and states. Most recently, Banfield, VCA, and BluePearl veterinary hospitals, a chain of nearly 2,000 clinics owned by Mars Inc., will no longer declaw cats as elective surgery. […]

Learning Theory 101: Modern Training Techniques

If you’re a fan of Animal Planet, National Geographic, or other cable and or streaming networks, you’ve probably seen one of the many animal training programs these stations broadcast. Methods used by the featured trainers range from positive reinforcement, such as using food and treats to strengthen a behavior, to aversive techniques such as positive […]

COVID-19 and Pets: What to Know

So far, with more than 446,000 identified cases worldwide of COVID-19 (a figure that’s rapidly rising)– and an unknown number who have been infected but have not had any symptoms or minimal symptoms – only one companion animal has been found to have the virus, and even that incident is unclear. On February 28 a […]

Coronavirus and Pets: It’s Safe to Keep Your Dog

There’s a lot of fear swirling around the novel coronavirus – what it might do to us, and what it might do to our pets. My heart broke when I heard about dogs being abandoned or killed in parts of China. Then panicked friends started texting me about a dog testing “weak positive” for COVID-19 […]

What’s New in Pet Play, Care: Global Pet Expo Report

Global Pet Expo, the largest pet trade show in the United States, sets the stage for all the fun, functional, and innovative products debuting that promote the wellbeing of pets and help enhance that wonderful human-animal bond. Here are our picks of the top new cat and dog items you’ll be seeing soon. Cat Fun […]

Masters of Meow: Feline Vocalizations

Of my two cats, Ivan is chattier with an extensive vocal repertoire. He gives a friendly “mrrp” for a greeting or invitation to play, “me-owt” when he’s at the sliding door asking to go out, and a raspy, bordering on obnoxious, “mrne-ow” when insisting on more treats. Should I ignore his appeals he yells, “ME-NOW!” […]

Smell of Success: Scent Enrichment for Cats

Our cats are sensory creatures, but we often overlook their acute sense of smell. Using scent to enrich their environment offers inexpensive, effective, and fun ways to keep your cats happy, stress free, and healthy. Why Enrichment Matters An outdoor cat can chase butterflies, climb and claw trees, munch grass and mark territory, stalk critters, […]

Dogs in Yards: Are They Happy?

Even those of us who love dogs don’t love the sound of constant barking. One effective way to get dogs to bark their heads off is to leave them outside in a yard alone. Maybe you have a neighbor who does this, but maybe you even do it yourself, because you think your dog loves […]

Surprising Things Pet Insurance Covers: What You Might Not Know

When my husband and I adopted our first puppy, we had no idea how much trouble the little scamp would get into. After he’d been bitten by two different dogs annoyed with his puppy antics, we invested in pet insurance to help cover Rio’s medical bills. “You’re smart to do this before he develops pre-existing […]

Use Your Senses When Choosing a Veterinarian

Finding the best veterinary care for your cat care is critical. The veterinarian you choose will be a crucial contributor to your cat’s wellbeing throughout life and should be someone you can work with to ensure that your cat receives the best care. But what are the indicators to look for when vetting a veterinarian? […]

7 Tips to Make Flights Friendly and Stress-Free for Cats

Most cats prefer to be homebodies, but not Pet Safety Cat Casey. As my feline teaching partner for veterinarian-approved pet first aid/CPR classes all over the country, this orange tabby has logged oodles of miles in the car and in the air. His latest adventure found him flying with me nonstop from Dallas to Washington, […]

Dog Sports Roundup

Is walking your dog getting to be a drag? Do you and your dog want to be more active outdoors? Have you ever thought it would be fun to try a dog sport but don’t know which one, how to get started, or where to practice? We have the answers that will get you and […]

How Much Exercise Does Your Dog Need?

It’s natural to wonder exactly how much exercise your dog needs. Your friend, the marathoner, runs with her dog. Your neighbor, the lawyer, who is gone all day and half the evening, has a dog walker. When you were a kid, you couldn’t wait to get home from school to go exploring with your dog. […]

Shelters Unleash Effective Tactics to Land Loving Homes for Older Pets

From waiving adoption fees to offering discounts for veterinary wellness visits to staging fun events, shelters are stepping it up for senior pets inside their facilities. There are many advantages to adopting an older pet over a young kitten or puppy. Topping the list: most older pets are housetrained, mellow, and less apt to chew […]

Celebrate Love Day With Pet-Friendly Treats

Valentine’s Day is the sweetest of the holidays. It’s overflowing with boxes of chocolate and other sweet treats exchanged between lovers. While we don’t typically send Valentine’s cards or gifts to our dogs, cats or other animals, there’s no doubt that they hold a special place in our hearts. What doesn’t hold a special place […]

Ways You and Your Pet Show Love to Each Other

We love our dogs and cats. Mine are as much members of the family as my wife and children and my granddaughter Reagan. But do they love us back? I think so, and I think they show us that love—and we show it to them–in myriad ways individual to each pet and person. Body language […]

Pet Experiencing Dental Pain? How to Know and What to Do About It

When Animal Control picked up a little stray Poodle that I’d later adopt, she was a mess. Among a host of health issues, Peach was missing 18 teeth and needed another seven extractions. So we’re protective of her remaining teeth, which my husband and I affectionately call “chompers.” But the other day, I gave her […]

Dressing Up Your Pet May Be Surprisingly Useful

The idea of dressing up your pet may seem silly, eccentric, or just something novel to do for a couple of moments during the holiday season. But putting clothes on your dog or cat, and acclimating them to it, may be useful for a number of reasons. Take, for instance, the situation Paula G. found […]

FIP News: Is a Cure at Hand?

A diagnosis of FIP used to be a death sentence, but that’s changing. Like the disease itself, the story is complicated. Here’s what we know now. First, and most exciting, attending researchers agreed that FIP should now be called “treatable,” at least potentially, and perhaps “curable.” A conference about FIP took place last November, drawing […]

Love and Loss: Helping Children Grieve When a Pet Dies

My 10-year-old daughter Reagan has experienced a lot of pet loss in the past year. Our 12-year-old black Pug, Willy, died suddenly and unexpectedly while my husband and I were out of the country, leaving Reagan and my mother Teresa to face his loss together. Then my parents’ 16-year-old canine cocktail Quixote passed away. At […]

Play: It’s Not Just for Kittens

Kittens are born with an amazing ability to seek and pounce—but not right out of the womb. That aptitude develops in partnership with physiological changes as they grow. At first, they are helpless, fully dependent on their mother. Their only focus is staying warm, finding their mother’s teats, and sleeping. Their mother’s licking not only […]

Tort Report: Enrichment Is Essential

Traditionally, little thought was given to enrichment for reptiles, and a pet tortoise can often play a role more like a decorative object than a pet. But times are changing, for good reason. “In pretty much every species it’s been shown that the ability to have choices and make decisions and perform a full range […]

Will Work for Mice

When you have a killer resume, elite skills, a lifetime of experience that requires no on-the-job training, yet you’re not people-oriented, where do you look for work? If you’re of the feline persuasion, look no further than “working cat” or “barn cat” programs. They help save lives of unadoptable cats by finding them alternative placements […]

Keeping Dogs Safe on Walks

My dog Rio, a friendly Lab mix and former therapy dog, has been attacked numerous times over the years by other dogs – both leashed and unleashed. Once, we even had a dog jump out a car window to try to bite Rio. Panicked, I screamed while Rio defended himself before the owner came running […]

Fitness Resolutions Go to the Dogs

Is getting—and staying—in shape one of your New Year’s resolutions? Include your dogs, too; it’s good for their physical and mental health. But before you haul them out on a five-mile run, talk to your veterinarian about their current condition and the best ways to make sure they don’t suffer from weekend warrior syndrome—the aches […]

Gulp! Why Some Pets Gobble Their Food

When Karma-Kat showed up on our back patio, the 8-month-old kitten had been on his own for some time. Starved for attention, and for food, he ate anything and everything. Karma chewed through the dog food bag to munch kibble and practiced snatch-and-grab attacks to gobble food from our dinner plates. Our last dog, Magic […]

Meet Max the Dental Dog

Going to the dentist usually ranks low in popularity for most people. The sound of the drill and the anticipation of pain are two main reasons. But people are flocking to the Dr. Carole Ann Boyd dental office in Dallas from as far away as Palm Springs, California, and New York City. Two reasons: Dr. […]

Am I Too Old to Get a Dog?

One of the first articles I ever wrote was called “A Pet for Your Parents.” I’m sure I wrote about all the right things, but now the shoe is on the other foot. Now I am the old person. Now I can tell the story in a much more personal way. Some people feel it’s […]

Smokey, Cured of FIP and Living to Meow About It!

Peter Cohen of Santa Barbara, California, has made feline infectious peritonitis his personal cause, having lost two kittens to the dread disease. He now has a third, Smokey, who is a survivor. Cohen’s first experience with FIP, a fatal viral disease in young cats, was in 2012 when he adopted a pair of litter mates, […]

Ways to Thank Your Veterinarian–and Why It Means So Much

My pets are part of my family, so I’m extremely grateful to the veterinary teams that help us through sickness and health. Typically, I’ll drop off a holiday card with bottles of wine before their party or a giant popcorn tin, though once I brought a box of chocolates without realizing it could accidentally poison […]

 Small Pets Count Too

Dogs and cats get a lot of attention in our homes and from the manufacturers of pet products. There are many pampered pooches and spoiled kittens. But what about our small furry and scaly friends? They have the same need for a safe, Fear Free Happy Home. When planning a low-stress Fear Free space for […]

Time for Sniffing? Cue the Shenanigans

In the article “Walk or Sniff? How You and Your Dog Can Have a Meeting of the Minds” I explained how enrichment walks are important for dogs. Dogs live the world through their noses. Giving them a chance to sniff and enjoy some “shenanigans” is healthy for them. It’s not going to be fun for […]

Taking the Fear Out of your Dog’s Fecal Test

There are a lot of stressful and uncomfortable things about fecal tests in veterinary medicine. It doesn’t have to be that way. Many pet owners dread being asked to bring a stool sample to the vet, especially if their dog or cat isn’t sick. It’s a hassle to get the sample, and it’s hard to […]

A Death in the Family: Facing Loss With Your Dog

When the worst thing you can think of happens, when there’s a death in the family, some of the most important help you and your dog can get is from each other.  Not surprisingly, it might be the dog’s issues that alert you to the depth of your own, because you might be too frantic, […]

Luxe Locks: Feline Supermodel Hair Care

With their plush fur, double- and triple-coated cats are in a feline supermodel league of their own. Their lavish coats feel rich to the touch and provide insulation from natural elements, especially the heavy snow that is a feature of the original habitats of some of these cats—think Maine Coons, Norwegian Forest Cats, and Siberians. […]

Why Calming Medications May Need to Be Given to Your Pet While in the Clinic

Do you have a fear of going to the doctor or the dentist? How does that make you feel? Or perhaps you know someone who gets anxious just thinking about going to the doctor or dentist? Your pet may feel the same way about going to the veterinary clinic. If your dog shakes, pants, acts […]

How to House Train Your Puppy the Fear Free Way

This article was authored by Marty Becker, DVM, and Mikkel Becker, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, KPA CTP, CDBC, CTC When a new puppy joins your family, you have a great opportunity to ensure she’ll grow up to be a confident, healthy dog. Central to that goal is helping her understand where she can and can’t go to […]

When Pets Seek Our Help: What to Look For

We probably all remember Aesop’s fable about Androcles removing a thorn from a lion’s paw and being rewarded later on when the lion saves his life. But do animals really come to us when they’re hurting? The answer is often yes, although we don’t always realize it. I have to admit, I was blind to […]

Fat Cats Are No Joke

Want your cat to be healthier, more active, live longer, and interact more with you? There is a “magic formula” for that—a healthy weight. Fat cat memes are pretty funny, but feline obesity is no joke. Depending on which study you read, somewhere between 40 and 60 percent of housecats in the United States are […]

How Pets Can Have a Joyful and Safe Holiday

The holidays are filled with family, friends, food, and fun, but they can also pose threats to your pets and cause fear, anxiety, and stress. From poisonous plant decorations to not-so-safe sweets, the holidays can be a challenging time for furry family members. Follow these tips to help your furry friend safely enjoy all the […]

Winter Blues: Do Cats Get SAD?

On one of my first trips to the Pacific Northwest I noticed a highway marker on I-5 just north of Salem, Oregon, that reads: “45th Parallel Halfway Between the Equator and North Pole.” Hailing from the sunny climes of the Southwest, I pondered what that meant. On average, the 45th parallel north gets just over […]

Tweaks, Props, Tricks: How to Make Therapy Visits Even Better

If your dog is not only your pet, your stand-up comedian, your shrink, your exercise companion, your smile inducer, your best friend, but also a therapy dog, you and he can tweak your visits to make them even better than they are today. Years ago, I was asked to bring my Golden Retrievers, Oliver and […]

When Cats Are Distressed: How to Help Them Recover

Cats are sensitive, and that is never more apparent than when something happens to upset them. Your kitty could be innocently window-watching when a stray tomcat tries to attack him through the glass, scaring him into the far reaches of your bedroom. Or an attempt at nail trimming turns your sweet fluffy girl into a […]

Senior Pet Nutrition: What to Know

A nutritionally balanced diet is one of the keys to good health and longevity for our pets. A good diet is important at every stage of life, including the senior years. Issues plaguing aging senior pets mirror the same issues that plague humans: both physically and mentally, things just don’t work like they used to! […]

Does This Belly Pouch Make Me Look Fat?

 At 12 weeks old, Ivan was a bear of a kitten, hinting at his full adult Siberian size. He had the most adorable baby fat paunch I took as a sign that the husky boy never missed a chance to belly up to the milk bar. We adopted Natasha from our shelter the day after […]

Wintertide Follies? Help Your Dog Enjoy the Howlidays

Doggone it – some pups would bark bah humbug if they could. They just don’t appreciate the Christmas spirit. Everything in their lives is upside down. The family is busily trying to attend to preparations for fall and winter holidays, starting with Thanksgiving right on through to the New Year. Well-wishing friends and neighbors drop […]

Home for the Holidays—With Your Cat

Cats are devoted homebodies. They like their routines and comfy naps in the sun, and if they do go out, it’s for a quick trip to the veterinarian’s office or maybe a secure outing with leash and harness. However, sometimes you have to take them on a Big Journey. Holidays may be that time – […]

Experts, Cat Lovers Gather for FIP Symposium

The 2019 FIP Symposium: PURRsuing FIP and WINNing might be the most significant event in feline health ever! That’s a mighty powerful statement to make, but it’s likely true. Here’s why that’s so, for me and for many other cat lovers. A Devastating Day I recall the exact moment when Dr. Sheldon Rubin called to tell […]

Golden Years: Adopting and Loving a Senior Dog

Senior dogs are often overlooked in shelters and can remain there for months. To give them the attention they deserve, November is labeled National Adopt A Senior Pet Month to highlight that the inimitable human-animal bond is not governed by age. Welcoming an older dog into the household and giving them love and care for […]

Little Dogs Have More Than Big Attitudes

The doorbell rang. We usually get our dogs out of the way before letting people in, so my husband, Tim, called out “Rosie, Place!” as he headed to the front door. Rosie sped to the bedroom, whipped around and held position at the open doorway. As Tim greeted our guests, Rosie waited until she heard […]

Go Cat Crazy! How to Craft an Engaging Environment for Feline Fun!

Admit it; you like to watch cat videos at work when you’re procrastinating. We do too! Cats are fun, engaging, and incredibly athletic animals. Our homes should provide them with opportunities to use all of their senses, explore, play, and relax in a safe, stimulating, and stress-less environment. Let’s create homes where we can embrace […]

Sniff, Sniff! How Your Dog’s Nose Works

We may be blessed with thumbs to open jars, but when it comes to the sense of smell, our dogs have us beat, paws down. Discover ways your dog uses his superior sense of smell. Dogs use their noses in many predictable as well as some surprising ways. They can easily sniff out a bag […]

Living With a Fraidy Cat: Tips From the Field

Nemo is one of those gorgeous longhaired cats you just want to pick up and cuddle. Sadly, this has never happened. After 12 years, this fearful cat is still a work in progress. I rescued Nemo as a feral kitten being hunted by hawks and brought him inside to live with me. There were two […]

Help Your Pet Have a Happy and Fear Free Halloween

While Halloween may be an exciting time for you and your family — costumes, candy, carving — it can be frightening for your dog or cat. From ringing doorbells to monstrous masks, these new sights and sounds can create high anxiety for pets. However, when you follow these simple suggestions, you can give your pet […]

The Itchy Dog, Part 5: Tips to Reduce the Stress Associated with Your Dog’s Itch

You are not alone if your dog is itchy with skin or ear problems!  It is the number one reason pet owners like you seek help from a veterinarian.1 In fact, 7.5 million dogs were treated by veterinarians last year for skin and ear problems.2 Did you know that August was Itchy Pet Awareness Month? […]

Why Fake Service Dogs Do More Harm Than You Might Think

A service dog named Elmer has made a wonderful difference for a 7-year-old boy named Gavin Swearingen. As a toddler, Gavin fell off a swing and suffered a traumatic brain injury that led to complex medical issues, from strokes and epilepsy to cerebral palsy marked by weakness on his right side. Elmer, a Labrador-Golden Retriever […]

5 Ways to Help Pets Have a Fun and Safe Halloween

What scares pets at Halloween? It’s not the specter of too much chocolate but it can be ghosts, jack-o-lanterns and giant inflatable spiders (those scare us, too). People—or other animals—in costume, flickering carved pumpkins, and spooky décor can frighten pets who aren’t prepared for them. Help protect them from or prepare them for the following […]

3 Easy Tricks to Teach Your Cat

Cats can’t be trained. How many times have you heard that statement? I’m here to tell you that it’s not true. Most cats can–and should–learn how to do a few simple tricks. Some, such as coming when called, are useful, and others, such as giving a high five, are a fun form of enrichment for […]

The Itchy Dog, Part 4: How Dermatology Diagnostic Tests Help Your Veterinarian Help Your Pet and Reduce Anxiety and Stress

In the previous post in this series we talked about two big tips for helping reduce the anxiety and stress that patients with skin disease may experience. The first was stopping the itch by visiting your veterinarian and committing to therapies that are effective, work fast and get the pet back to normal again. The […]

Walk or Sniff? How You and Your Dog Can Have a Meeting of the Minds

The Beagle came bounding into class, dragging a 7-year-old girl desperately trying to maintain a grip on the leash. “Ms. Teoti,” the little girl whined, “Bonnie doesn’t want to go for walks. She wants to go for sniffs!” Bonnie’s not alone. Dogs have more than 100 million sensory receptor sites in their nasal cavities. In […]

May-December Cats? How to Make the Relationship Work

There’s nothing like the joy of a living with a new kitten: the wide-eyed wonder, the playful antics, the unabashed energy. We love our older kitties, but every so often, there’s the siren call of kittenhood. So how do you integrate a high-energy kitten into a household with a more sedate senior cat (or two)? […]

The Itchy Dog, Part 3: Taking the Stress Out of Fall Allergies

The joy of fall! he sun rises a little later and sets a little earlier, temperatures start to drop, and the ragweed pollen counts skyrocket. As people and pets spend time outdoors together, dogs are exposed to environmental allergens. Fall allergies to environmental allergens lead to itchy skin, a condition called atopic dermatitis. The uncomfortable […]

Dog Meets Muzzle: How to Make the Introduction

Just like people, dogs want to feel safe and happy. The emotionally protective practices employed through Fear Free help to keep animals calm and comfortable throughout care and prevent them from feeling a need to escalate to a bite. But as much as we plan and try to protect our precious pooches, the truth is […]

Why Your Indoor Cat May Need Vaccinations

Your cat stays indoors only. Do you really need to vaccinate her? There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. You want your cat to be protected from disease, but you don’t want to give her a shot that she doesn’t need. How do you make a good decision for your cat? The American Association […]

How to Be Safe Around Trippy Cats

Tortie and Brutus are dedicated leg weavers. Fuzz is a burly 14-pound obstacle who plants herself in walkways, daring 55-year-old owner Cary Cook of Orangeville, Illinois, to trip over her. Which she does, frequently. “They’re dangerous!” she says of her three cats, who have caused her to trip or fall more than a few times, […]

How to Be A Good Neighbor to Reactive Dogs

My first dog was thrilled to go anywhere and meet anyone. Crowds, children, traffic: she was calm in the face of it all. So I could not understand what was wrong with other dogs or, more to the point, their owners. You know the ones I mean: their dogs jumped and barked and were out […]

Leptospirosis Threatens Dog, Human Health

One of the lesser known and hidden dangers of hurricanes and tropical storms is a waterborne bacterial infection called leptospirosis, which can be deadly to humans, dogs, and other animals. It’s likely that following Hurricane Dorian, the incidence of leptospirosis will increase in the Bahamas. It’s not the only place at risk. Rising ocean temperatures […]

Adopt a Cat, Save Two Lives

When you adopt a cat from a shelter, you not only save that cat’s life, you also free up space for another cat to have a chance for adoption. Adopting and rescuing cats is a trend, and in the process lives are being saved. According to the ASPCA, over 1.6 million cats and kittens are […]

Got a Pet With a Short Snout? What You Need to Know About Anesthesia

Do you love an adorable French Bulldog? Do you think that a fuzzy little Shih Tzu or a bouncy Pug is just the cutest dog ever?!?! If so, you are not alone. The popularity of these dogs, and others like them, has skyrocketed. The “cuteness” of these breeds occurs in part because they have a […]

5 Important Tips for Socializing Your New Puppy

So you know you’re supposed to socialize your new puppy but you just don’t have time in your schedule for a puppy class. Don’t worry; by following a few simple rules, you can keep your puppy safe while making sure he has the experiences he needs to become a well-adjusted member of your family. First, […]

New Shelter Model Seeks to Reduce Stress in Shelter Dogs

My husband and I adopted our Lab mix, Rio, from an underfunded shelter in New Mexico in 2010. It was our first time visiting the facility, and the housing conditions depressed us: a few litters of puppies were crammed into chain-link cages, and adult dogs were kept alone in each small enclosure. It didn’t seem […]

Do You Walk Your Cat? How to Protect Your Feline Friend from Outdoor Risks

Koshka Hellqvist wanted a nice time at Boston’s Binford Park with her two Abyssinian cats, Jake and Angel. Jake, a certified therapy cat, was experienced at walking on his leash. Angel was shyer, but still willing to explore. But several dogs were running around free, against Boston’s leash laws. Without warning, a Rottweiler mix appeared […]

Choosing Pet-Friendly Flooring for Your Home

Pets can be hard on floors, and floors can be hard on pets. Fortunately, manufacturers of flooring have responded to create a whole range of pet- and family-friendly flooring options. If you’re building or replacing your floors, it’s time to shop for some great new products. What should you look for in a pet-friendly floor? […]

How to Know If Your Cat Is Happy

September is Happy Cat Month. It’s a special celebration created by—who else?—the CATalyst Council. The organization’s purpose is to help spread education and awareness about the health, welfare, and importance of our companion cats. Is your cat happy? We talked to an expert, as well as several cat-loving humans, about how to know if cats […]

What’s a PVP? An Expert Explains

If you have a dog or cat who is fearful, anxious, or stressed during veterinary visits, the veterinary team may have recommended that you give your pet a PVP, or pre-visit pharmaceutical. These are medications that may be used in addition to training or behavior or environmental modifications to treat fear, anxiety, or stress associated […]

Getting Kitty Orphans Off on the Right Paw

Have you ever wanted an inside look at how shelters prepare young kittens for adoption? It’s a 24/7 process that requires many helping hands. Orphaned kittens, some just days old, may never realize their good fortune of being rescued and transported to the San Diego Humane Society’s kitten nursery center. Strategic steps taken by staff […]

Preparing for a Disaster with Pets in Mind

I grew up on a farm in Iowa, so preparing for spring severe weather and tornadoes was normal. We had dogs, barn cats, horses, and other livestock to keep safe, so we had to have a plan. Everyone in the family knew what to do even before the weather radio siren went off. Our animals […]

Catios and Rabbitats Allow Safe Outdoor Fun for Furry Friends

Dogs can enjoy a safe, fenced yard, but animal welfare experts recommend that cats and rabbits remain indoors where they are safe from predators, accidental escapes, and extreme weather. Some people keep rabbits in outdoor hutches, but this is reasonable only in extremely mild climates, and hutches are usually inadequate in size. Housing small pets […]

Get Off the Path of Leash Resistance

When you got your dog, you had visions of the two of you walking together, in perfect harmony. You may have picked out a sporty collar and matching leash as the perfect ensemble to make your dream a reality. It can be a bitter disappointment when your dog has other ideas. Dogs aren’t born knowing […]

The Itchy Dog, Part 2: The Roller Coaster of Emotion

Itch can erode the bond between you and your dog. Itchy dogs are often up at night scratching and preventing others in the house from sleeping, or are banished to separate rooms of the house because their skin smells bad. This can make you desperate to try anything for relief from the itch and skin […]

6 Reasons to Microchip Your Pet

My childhood cat, Pretzel Popcorn Reeder, once disappeared after a massive earthquake shook Southern California. Happily, a few days later, she reappeared in our backyard. Because of that experience with Pretzel, I always microchip my pets for “just in case” scenarios. As you probably know, a microchip is a tiny device – about the size […]

Tips and Tactics to Work Your Senior Dog’s Brain

The outward sign of a dog’s senior status is often the gray muzzle. But aging is also occurring within your dog’s body, including the brain. Fortunately, experts confirm what we have always hoped: You can teach an old dog new tricks and the payoff may result in a healthy brain up for new challenges. “Yes, […]

The Itchy Dog, Part 1: Your Questions Answered

You are not alone if your dog is itchy with skin or ear problems. Itch is the number one reason pet owners seek help from a veterinarian.1 In fact, 7.5 million dogs were treated by veterinarians last year for skin and ear problems.2 We know skin disease can decrease quality of life for a pet […]

Training a Voluntary Blood Draw: It Can Be Done

About a year ago, when my veterinarian was unable to get a blood sample out of my reactive and extremely opinionated young Pug, I got to thinking. I have a background working in zoos, where it’s now common to train animals to cooperate in their own medical care. Animals of many species, including bears, hippos, […]

Keeping Pets With Seniors Who Love Them

New Mexico resident Theresa Kline is active and independent at age 81. But after her beloved Westie, Abby, passed away last year, she wondered if she should get another dog. Would having a dog tie her down? And what would happen to her pet if she became ill? Still, Kline missed canine companionship and voiced […]

Help Your Puppy Grow Up to Be a Happy Dog

Looking at that cute little puppy face, you can’t imagine loving him more than you do right now and you certainly can’t imagine loving him less! But raising a puppy can be hard work. The “new” wears off fast after several nights of waking at 3 A.M. to let the puppy out, or cleaning up […]

Preparing Your Pet for a Vaccine Appointment: 5 Tips for a Better Experience

If your pet (or you) get stressed out when heading to the vet for vaccines, these five tips can help make the trip free of fear, anxiety, and stress for both of you. 1. Be an Example Your pet is more likely to be calm if you are. If you’re stressed out before the vaccination […]

Taking Your Dog? Check With Him First

It sounds like a fun idea to take your dog to the monthly art gallery walk downtown, the outdoor patio of a dog-welcoming restaurant, or for a ride in a kayak. These activities may seem safe and fun for you, but to your dog, they can be downright scary. How can you tell if your […]

Disaster Preparedness for Pets: What to Know

You never know when disaster will strike. Each year, hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, tornadoes, and other natural disasters cause people to flee their homes in search of safety. In case of a disaster, it’s important to create a plan that takes the safety of pets as well as people into consideration. A disaster preparedness plan includes […]

Ways to Make Your Cat’s Move to a New Home Safe and Stress-Free

When I was a young woman, people who lived on our street moved away. But about a week after they drove off in a moving truck, neighbors discovered they’d left behind their pregnant cat – who promptly gave birth to a litter of kittens. It made me furious that someone would abandon a cat so […]

Fostering Tiny Felines is Fun and Rewarding

Want to save a cat’s life with only a short-term commitment? Consider fostering a litter of kittens. In summer, shelters are overrun with kittens, often with multiple litters coming in daily. In many shelters, young kittens need feeding and care ‘round the clock, care that understaffed shelters are unable to give. Without volunteers and foster […]

When You Must Rehome Your Dog: What to Do

What would you do if you had to give up the dog you purchased from a breeder? Hint Number One: Forget leaving the dog at a shelter or asking a veterinarian to euthanize him. Hint Number Two: Contact the breeder first. We talked to some conscientious breeders about loving ways owners can find a new […]

They’re Not Loners: Cats Can Have Separation Anxiety, Too

It’s a worn-out myth that all cats are aloof, independent, solitary. In reality, they can be highly social and form strong bonds with humans and other animals. Most people are familiar with separation anxiety in dogs, but research suggests that cats, especially those who are deeply attached to their people, also experience separation anxiety when […]

Adopting a Dog from a Foreign Country? Here’s What to Know

In August of 2018, I adopted a rescued Sheltie puppy from Korea. He was so thin the rescue group thought he was only 3 or 4 months old, but my veterinarian determined that he was older because he had his adult teeth. I have learned so much since I adopted my dog, and I’d like […]

Playtime: Stress Relief for Your Cat and Yourself

Play is vitally important to a cat’s mental and physical health. Cats may sleep up to 16 hours a day, but when they’re awake, they need stimulation. Play is the best way to accomplish this. Play is nothing more than a way for your domestic tiger to satisfy his natural hunting instinct. In the wild, […]

Illinois Passes Kennel Fire Safety Bill

After 31 dogs died in a kennel fire at Bully Life Animal Services in in suburban West Chicago, Illinois, I thought to myself, ‘This can’t ever happen again.’ The facility had fire alarms, but as smart as dogs are, they can’t phone the fire department. The kennel trainer/caretaker had left to run an errand. The […]

5 Tips for Introducing a Kitten to Adult Cats

There’s nothing like the fresh new energy of a kitten coming into your home! If you normally adopt adult cats, adding a kitten can be a real adventure and can bring a sense of play and joy into your household. If you already have several cats in your household, you’ll want to make sure the […]

Your Cat’s Vet Visit Begins at Home

America’s cats are facing a healthcare crisis. The findings of a feline health study conducted by Bayer Health Care in 2014 found that 52 percent of America’s 74 million cats are not receiving regular veterinary care. The actual number is probably much higher, since this study captured data only from cat owners who seek some […]

What Can DNA Kits Reveal About Your Dog?

Canine DNA tests can be a fun and interesting tool for learning more about your favorite pooch but they’re not useful for making medical diagnoses or decisions about treatment. Here’s what to know about them. Ancestry DNA kits have become a popular way for people to fill gaps in their ancestral background and possibly learn […]

Design Safe and Welcoming Outdoor Spaces for Pets and People

The best outdoor spaces are designed with the same care as indoor spaces. As extensions of living areas, yards and gardens should be safe and enjoyable for all family members, including pets. Here’s how to create outdoor spaces that everyone can love. Outdoor Access Dogs usually have access to outdoor areas. What about cats? Experts […]

Get the Goods: What You Need for Your New Cat

You’ve visited the shelter and found the perfect cat for you. But before you bring her home, it’s time to do some shopping. You’ll want to stock up on the supplies that will turn your house into a Fear Free feline paradise. Here’s what you’ll need to ensure your new cat’s wellbeing, safety and happiness. […]

Boom, Bang, and Other Noises That Freak Out Pets

Kristen Levine was on a quest to help her dog, Chilly, during fireworks season and thunderstorms. “The sound of fireworks would send him into a state of panic, and he would leave claw marks on my closet door and pull my dresses right off of the hangers to make himself a pile of clothes to […]

How to Have a Happy Canine Coworker

Taking your dog to the office tomorrow? Some people are lucky enough to work for companies with dog-friendly office environments where well-behaved furry friends are welcome companions and coworkers. For everyone else, Take Your Dog to Work Day is an appreciated and highly anticipated opportunity to share workspace with canine companions. Whether your dog has […]

When Cats Grieve: How to Help

Grief is the price we pay for love. When one of our cats dies, we have lost a beloved family member, and we feel it deeply. We may lose sleep, lose our appetite, spend more time alone, or spend more time seeking comfort from others. Our routines feel off, because they included the cat who […]

How Your Dog’s Fear Affects Your Own Emotions

It had been a long day, working with cases back to back of dogs displaying significant fear. One client was angry. Two were in tears. And one couple bickered constantly about the severity of the dog’s problem. As a professional dog trainer, I help dogs overcome fear. But it’s not just the dogs dealing with […]

Want a Pedigree Cat? Here’s What to Know

More than 30 years ago, I said to my husband, “Someday I’d like a gray kitty – a Russian Blue.” Armed with an issue of Cat Fancy, he found a breeder in New Jersey and we traveled two-plus hours to pick up Ashley, my first Russian Blue. Thus began a love affair that continues to […]

How to Cope When You Hear the “C” Word

It’s a sad fact that roughly six million dogs and a similar number of cats are diagnosed with cancer each year in the United States, according to the Animal Cancer Foundation. No animal lover wants to hear the dreaded “C” word, but many of us have or will. Colorado resident Britton Slagle knows the pain […]

Puppy Socialization: Does it mean what you think it means?

What is the most critical period of your puppy’s life? It’s not her first snowfall, the day you met, or the first time she sits when you ask her to. It’s the time between roughly 3 and 14 weeks known as the “socialization period.” Pet owners often ask what’s so important about this time. They […]

Social Distortion: Media Doesn’t Always Reflect Reality of Life With Exotic Pets

Capybaras were almost unknown in the United States a few years ago. Now the world’s largest rodents star in memes about how chill and friendly they are. There’s even a Tumblr of Animals Sitting on Capybaras. And if you’ve ever seen a photo of a pet capybara sitting on a sofa, there’s a good chance […]

Adopting a Shelter Cat? Here’s How to Prepare

June is both the ASPCA’s Adopt a Shelter Cat Month and the American Humane Association’s Adopt a Cat Month. Either way, it’s a very special month for cats. Cats definitely need adopting. According to the ASPCA, about 3.2 million cats enter shelters annually. However, only about half are adopted. While some are euthanized for medical […]

Introducing Cats and Dogs: How to Help Ensure Harmony in the Home

Picture this. You work in an open-plan office, but you simply don’t get along with the person in the desk alongside yours. Or someone in the office insists on wearing perfume that gives you a headache. Once you leave that office environment and go home, it’s fine, but the tension starts up again the next […]

Fear Free Talks to Dr. Jane Goodall

Dr. Jane Goodall hadn’t heard about Fear Free, but the idea resonates with her. Considering animal emotions is something she once fought for. It’s hard to think of Goodall as a controversial figure, but when she first began her observational notes on chimpanzee behavior at Gombe National Park in Tanzania in the early 1960s, she […]

Cats Don’t Share. Here’s Why

There may be nothing on earth cuter than two cats cuddled up in the same cat bed. But while those particular cats may be willing to share a bed, that doesn’t mean they’re okay about sharing everything. Cats don’t actually share well. The reasons for that have as much to do with territory as they […]

Nose Work Is Scentsational for Dogs

Everyone knows dogs love to sniff, but we tend to think of it as a distraction, that walks should be for exercise, not wasting time dawdling and sniffing. But exercising an animal’s mind is important too, and a substantial part of the dog brain is devoted to smells. A study–“Let me sniff! Nosework induces positive […]

Are You the Cause of Your Pet’s Stress?

It’s not only people who suffer from stress; our pets most certainly do, too. The question is, could you unknowingly be the cause of some of your pet’s anxiety? Everyday noises and events that humans take for granted, for instance, can cause pets to be fearful and anxious. And because pets, like people, react differently […]

Hitting the Road: Summer Travel Tips

I love to take summer vacations with my husband and our dogs, Rio and Peach. It’s a thrill to pack the car and drive to an idyllic campground here in Colorado or head west to explore the off-leash dog beaches of Southern California or north to Wisconsin to splash around in refreshing lakes – checking […]

When Your Dog is Afraid of Fireworks: What To Do

Is it noise aversion? Does your dog run and hide or start panting and shaking when children in the neighborhood set off firecrackers?  Has your dog run away during the Fourth of July celebration?  If so, your dog likely suffers from noise aversion, also commonly known as noise anxiety or noise phobia.  Noise aversion affects […]

Keep Calm and Kennel On

Relaxing comfortably in a crate or carrier is a critical canine skill with many applications. A dog’s crate is an important management tool that assists in building better behaviors and deterring unwanted antics such as chewing furniture instead of appropriate toys or eliminating on the rug instead of outdoors. A kennel is also a protected […]

How to Help Pets Adapt to Vision Loss

Connecticut resident Kathye O’Brien Anstis and her family were concerned when Riley, their 5-year-old Beagle mix, started bumping into their legs – it was as if he couldn’t see. They took him to a veterinary ophthalmologist who confirmed that Riley had lost his eyesight and diagnosed him with Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome (SARDS), a […]

What’s in Your Cat’s DNA? Tests Are Fun but not Definitive

Cats are enigmatic and mysterious, but DNA testing kits are helping us to learn more about them. Here’s what you can find out about your fine feline, from ancestry to health. Interestingly, no DNA kits can precisely identify a cat’s genetic makeup in the same way the dog DNA tests can. That’s because dog breeds […]

How Arthritis Affects Your Dog and What to Do for It

I like to think my Labrador Retriever mix, Rio, is invincible. He loves hiking on trails, swimming in lakes, and generally frolicking outside. Even though he’s nearly 9 years old, I’ve been in denial that he’s a “senior.” But a recent conversation with a veterinary technician gave me pause. He mentioned that dogs who start […]

Re-connecting with Your Best Friend: Understanding Canine Motion Sickness

As the summer approaches, many of us will be traveling to fun places and hoping to bring our dogs with us. In fact, a recent study showed many pet parents travel with their pets every year!1  It turns out most of us take our dogs with us on daily errands (bank, gas station, coffee, etc), […]

Games to Play with Your Senior Dog

Not so long ago, your dog was barely beyond puppyhood, and you could throw his ball so far you could barely see it and wait for him to race to it, fetch it, and return it. You could toss a flying disc, and he’d leap to catch it. You could throw a stick in the […]

Choice: What It Means for Cats

Our cats rarely get to choose for themselves when it comes to the really important stuff. We decide what the cats will eat, where, and when. We pick the litter box and determine where to put it and what litter to use. We select all the cat furniture, from the scratching posts and pads to […]

12 Toys and More Your Pet Will Love

Each year we trek to Global Pet Expo in Orlando, Florida, to check out the latest and greatest in toys, training devices, and other pet paraphernalia. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to walk the miles and miles of aisles to see all the products. We chose items in four categories: Dog Enrichment, Cat […]

Brain Games: How Dogs Think

Most tests meant to rate the intelligence of dogs are interpreted as if all dogs were the same.  Beagle, Shiba Inu, Golden Retriever, Border Collie, Maltese, one test fits all, without considering that dogs are the most diverse of all species. Of course, if you have lived with a variety of breeds, cross breeds, or […]

Choosing and Caring for a New Cat: What to Know

When I graduated from college a few centuries ago, I wanted an apartment, a car, and a kitten. (I was lucky enough to have a job lined up.) While cats were a part of the family when I was growing up, this would be my very own cat. I adopted a kitten from a college […]

5 Ways to Make Your Dog’s Fear Worse

You realize your dog is fearful. You want her to get better, but could you also be making the problem worse? Unfortunately, this situation is all too common. Here are five ways you could accidentally be making your dog’s fear worse. Waiting to Treat It You hope your dog will “outgrow” the problem. Fear doesn’t […]

What Movement and Gait Tell You About Your Cat

Feline movement could be described as grace on paws. Cats have a variety of movements and gaits and can instantly switch from a slow, sensual walk to a slinky strut to a full-on burst of speed. Recognizing your cat’s movements is one of the keys to understanding his emotions and behaviors. Form Defines Function As […]

Dog Bites: 6 Ways to Prevent Them

No one knows how many dog bites occur each year, but the Centers for Disease Control and the American Veterinary Medical Association estimate the number is between 4.5 and 4.7 million. More than 800,000 of the people bitten receive medical attention for dog bites, and most bites happen to children, from dogs the family knows—often […]

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Talking to Your Vet

Talking to your vet can be stressful. You’re already upset because your pet is sick, medical information can be complicated and confusing, and it’s hard not to worry about the bill. But you may not realize it can be frustrating for your vet as well. We talked to a couple of experienced veterinarians about how […]

Reducing the Risk of a Dog Bite: Setting You and Your Dog Up for Success

Owning a pet is a big responsibility. Dog owners are responsible for not only the health and safety of their pet but also protecting people from injury. Most dogs will never bite, but it’s important to remember that any dog, regardless of breed or type, can bite under certain circumstances. It’s Not the Breed Just […]

Webinar with Victoria Stilwell: Reducing Dog Bites by Understanding the Secret Language of Dogs

Dog attacks are a nationwide issue and pose a double tragedy to the victim and the fate of the dog. Dog bites and injury to veterinarians, staff, and pet professionals, are often considered an occupational hazard.  Many of the situations that may result in a dog bite can be prevented by understanding the language and […]

Take the Panic Out of Handling a Pet Emergency

Lisa Lippman, DVM, knows the value of always acquiring knowledge. That may explain why in addition to her skills in house call medicine, general practice, and emergency veterinary medicine, she made the decision to complete a two-day course to become a pet first aid/CPR instructor. Her reason is simple: “In a veterinary clinic, medicines and […]

Stressed? You Might Be Stressing Your Cat as Well

We all know about studies showing that sharing life with a pet has beneficial effects on human health. Even a few minutes of petting a cat or dog can lower blood pressure and release mood-enhancing endorphins. A University of Minnesota study found that cat companionship may reduce the risk of heart attack for people by […]

Consent to Touch? Cats Require It, Too

How many times have you heard a cat person say, “Kitty likes to be touched, but only on her own terms.” They say it somewhat unkindly, as if it’s proof their cat is a diva. If we’ve learned anything from the #MeToo movement, it’s that nobody likes to be touched without consent. Yet we still […]

New Puppy? Socialization Starts Now!

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy skittered into class and ducked under a chair, trembling. It was Pip’s first night of puppy kindergarten, and he was terrified. After class, I chatted with his parents. “Your puppy is really shy,” I said. “Sixteen weeks is the latest we’ll take a puppy into this class, and he’s […]

Food Poisoning? 13 Things Your Pet Shouldn’t Eat or Drink

The word toxic comes from the ancient Greek word toxikon, meaning “poison for arrows.” While swallowing poison darts rarely occurs among pets, here’s a list of foods that are dangerous to share with our best friends with four legs or feathers. Alcohol: Letting or encouraging pets to drink alcohol is dangerous. We know grapes are harmful […]

Puppy Primer: Start Your New Dog Off Right

Is a puppy in your near future? Here’s how to make his transition from rescue organization or breeder to your home as easy as possible. Bringing a puppy home is a joyous time for the people in a family, and it should be for the puppy as well. Planning, play, training, and timing are all […]

Does Your Dog Want to be a Therapy Dog?

Making therapy visits can be great enrichment for the right dog and make you feel good about giving back to the community. But it’s important that therapy pets love their work, and for some dogs it may be too stressful. If you’re considering getting into this, make sure your dog will be an enthusiastic partner. […]

When Vets Take Pets “To the Back”

When I worked as a vet tech many years ago, we didn’t routinely “take pets to the back” for treatment. Emergency visits, or pets not easily handled, were the exceptions. But more often than not, dogs and cats had their temperatures taken, vaccines administered, routine blood and stool samples procured, all while in the presence […]

How to Overcome Fear, Anxiety, and Stress About Your Pets’ Dental Care

Even though periodontal disease is the most common disease in both cats and dogs1, many pets don’t get the dental care they need due to the fear, anxiety, and stress (FAS) they experience when going to the veterinarian. And that stress affects not only the cat or dog, but the owner, too. Two things need […]

Is This New Cat “The One”?

When we lose a beloved cat, sometimes our inclination is to “find” him or her again. This desire may be driven by personal spiritual beliefs (reincarnation, or some kind of belief that our cat’s soul will want to find us again), or this desire might more simply be based on a belief that somewhere out […]

How to be the Perfect Pet-Sitting Client

What information does your pet sitter need to efficiently care for your home and pets? After 25 years as a pet sitter, I find it falls into two categories: pet care and “all that other stuff.” Here’s how to ensure that your pet sitter knows the most important details about your animal’s care. Meals, Meds, […]

Anxiety Often Accompanies Cognitive Dysfunction

If your pet has cognitive dysfunction—canine or feline dementia—you may have noticed that he seems to be more anxious than in the past. That’s a common side effect of the condition, but there are ways to manage it. Aging dogs and cats have problems similar to those of elderly humans, and not just physical ones: […]

Cat Play the Right Way: 7 Mistakes to Avoid

Nature designed cats to be efficient little predators and to hunt even when they’re not hungry (because who knows when the next meal will scamper by?). Play is the indoor cat’s version of hunting. It’s an expression of a host of hardwired feline behaviors. Cats who do not use their minds and bodies in natural […]

What Martinis and Chocolate can Teach You About Overcoming Your Pet’s Fears

Fear is a powerful emotion. It takes a lot to overcome it, in dogs and cats as well as humans, but there are some techniques that can help. I am afraid of spiders. Granted, there are species of spiders than can pose some danger in certain situations, but I live in a big city with […]

Save a Life at any Cost? When Rescue Isn’t

At what cost do you save a life? Or is that not even the right question to ask? What motivates this story is local dog trainer, near where I live, who was recently “outed” for alleged use of aversive methods to save lives. That in itself sounds like a contradiction, doesn’t it? When animal control […]

When Your Dog Is Afraid of Men: What To Do

Does your dog wag her tail and act happy when women and children come close, but crouch down, roll over on her back, and pee whenever a dude greets her? Does she tuck her tail between her legs, pace around the room, or bark, growl, and snarl when a man shows up? If so, perhaps […]

7 Ways to Create Harmony in a Millennial Pet Household

Lots of factors set millennials apart from previous generations. For starters, they like to share things like houses and apartments. They are also adopting pets as family members before considering marriage and human children. This means that several pets can find themselves co-habiting too. Here’s what to consider to ensure that individual pets get along […]

Better Together? A Kitten Combo is Fun and Smart

Thinking about a kitten? Consider adopting two. Acquiring a pair of kittens is good for their physical and emotional health and fun for their humans. Here’s what to know. Anne is a curious caramel tiger kitten, who chirps sweetly to herself as she goes about her day, jumping in and out of laps, proudly carrying […]

Dental Care Do’s for Your Pet’s Good Oral Health

Keeping a dog or cat’s mouth healthy is a key part of overall good health; after all, the mouth is the gateway to the rest of the body. Here are some ways to keep teeth clean without feeling as if it’s a chore for you and your pet. There is nothing more affectionate than big […]

Remedial Kitty Socialization: Smoothing Rough Edges

If kittens don’t receive appropriate handling and socialization early in life, they can develop undesirable habits. Here’s how to help tame their behavior. Mollie was turned in to the shelter when she was approximately 4 weeks old, a singleton with no mom in sight. She languished in a cage until we saw her photo posted, […]

Make Your Pet’s Last Vet Visit as Free of Fear as His First

Saying goodbye to a beloved pet is never easy, but planning and care can help it to be less stressful for your pet, yourself, and veterinary staff. Gracie was nearing 12. She had arthritis in her hips and in both knees. For two years we’d been able to manage her increasing pain with a combination […]

Should You Ignore Your Dog When Leaving the House?

A new study casts doubt on a mainstay of teaching dogs to stay home alone. Here’s what it found. Everyone’s heard the advice: ignore your dog when leaving the house and returning. The claim is that long goodbyes and excited reunions might cause separation anxiety, but if you don’t make a fuss, the dog will […]

Puppy with Upside-Down Paws Gets Helping Hand

Surgery is only the first step in repairing an injury or defect. Ensuring that pets rest during recovery is essential to the process. So is rehab. Here’s what to know about successful recuperation, through the experience of a lucky pup. Milo looked like a normal puppy when he was brought to Oklahoma State University Veterinary […]

How to Feed a Cat–Naturally

How cats eat plays a pivotal role in their day-to-day satisfaction with life. Here’s what to know about letting them eat the way nature intended. The cat hears the rustle of grass and the ultrasonic squeak that tells her there’s a mouse nearby. Her ears swivel to home in on the location of her prey. […]

Fear, stress, and puppy brain development: what to know

The dog brain is very different from that of wild dogs, so that in some ways puppies are born ready to fit into the human world. But the puppy brain still has a lot of developing to do after birth, and understanding that process is important to raising confident, well-adjusted dogs. It’s now generally believed […]

Keep those claws! Why cats need them

Recent studies show that declawing can significantly increase the risk of long-term adverse effects on feline physical and emotional health, including chronic neuropathic pain, biting, and an increased likelihood of house-soiling. Here’s what you should know if you’re considering this procedure for your cat. Declawing is an emotional, controversial, and divisive topic. Some people consider […]

Reading to shelter pets can lower stress, improve adoption chances

Who doesn’t love being told a story? Dogs and cats are no different. Here’s how shelter reading plans can improve pets’ chances of adoption. Imagine you are housed in a shelter, suffering loud noises from other anxious animals and smelling scents that definitely aren’t from a home. You enjoy little social interaction and are confined […]

Is Your Cat’s Litter Box Stressing Him Out?

A mantra for cat caretakers: You can’t scoop the litter box too often. While there’s a litany of tips for successful litter box training, if the box isn’t scooped often, the prettiest setup is useless. Cats have extremely sensitive noses, and while they find comfort in familiar scents, a box full of urine clumps and […]

Gotcha! Why grabbing your puppy’s collar needs to be fun

Sometimes you need to catch your puppy by the collar if he’s eating something dangerous or about to take a flying leap and you need to stop him quick. Here’s how to successfully teach him to like having his collar handled so he doesn’t respond aggressively during these incidents. “Time out!” I called. Seven people […]

Can cats and dogs get along? Science says yes

If you were to go by all the talk about “dog people” versus “cat people,” you’d think that everyone had to choose one and stick to it. They don’t, of course; plenty of us have both cats and dogs and despite their differences, it seems to work out. If you want to ensure a good […]

Relieve Your Pet’s Stress-Related Diarrhea

It’s not unusual for pets to suffer stress-related diarrhea, especially when it comes to car rides or veterinary visits. Here’s how you can help relieve the causes. With a dog or cat who tends toward an anxious outlook on life, visiting the veterinarian can be a big stress. One of the most obvious signs of […]

When “Fine” Isn’t

Socialization can go wrong when people don’t recognize a puppy’s signs of fear. Here’s what to look for and how to avoid problems. “We don’t understand where this aggression came from,” the woman said, tears in her eyes. “We took her everywhere as a puppy like you’re supposed to do. She went with us to […]

Taking The Blues Out Of Doggie Bath Time

Lots of dogs don’t like bathtime because they are uncomfortable in the bathtub or shower stall. Fortunately, if you follow the Boy Scout credo of being prepared, it’s easy to turn bathtime into a fun time and get a dirty dog clean again. The primary reason dogs are hesitant to climb into the tub or […]

Bathroom Basics: Roll Out These Safety Tips For Cats

Can your kitten or cat get into trouble in the bathroom? You bet! From unrolling the toilet paper (fun!) to licking surfaces that may have been cleaned with harmful substances (not so great), bathrooms can be hazardous areas for felines. To lessen the risks, consider making some changes for your cat’s safety and your peace […]

New Dog Anthem: I Love My Automobile

If your dog is terrified of riding in the car, it doesn’t have to be that way. With careful planning and patient training, you can teach him to relax and enjoy the ride. Here are my favorite tactics for building canine confidence in the car. Riding in the car. Isn’t that something that all dogs […]

Is Natural Better? What To Know About Nutraceuticals And Supplements

Everyone hopes to find a “natural” way to manage a pet’s fear, anxiety, or stress, but there’s more to consider than you might think. Here are the pros and cons of nutraceuticals and supplements. The word “nutraceutical” was coined as a combination of “nutrition” and “pharmaceutical” quite recently–in 1989–and arguments about its precise definition have […]

Fun And Stress-Free Ways To Include Dogs In The Howl-idays

Holidays are family time, whether you celebrate Christmas, Yuletide, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, or any other special celebration. Since dogs are part of the family, we want to include them. But along with the pleasures of holiday decorations and visiting guests come mounting stresses for humans as well as pets. Here are some ways, gathered […]

Get The Most From Vet Visits: What Questions To Ask And How

Ever get home from a vet visit and realize you aren’t really sure when to start that medication or what exactly the next step is for your pet’s treatment? Happens all the time. Here’s how to get the information you need. When I worked as a veterinary technician many years ago, pet parents asked questions […]

Mindful Ways To Make Time For Cats

Life is busy, and we all suffer from too much to do. Have you ever had the sudden realization that, “Hey, it’s been awhile, days even, since I petted or loved my cat!” I’m embarrassed to admit that there have been days when I may not have touched my cat once. But our cats thrive when […]

12 Safety Tips For Happy-Pet Holidays

No one wants a trip to the veterinary emergency room, a vomiting cat, or a down dog to spoil the holiday season—let alone empty out the family wallet. Here’s how to avoid mishaps and keep pets happy. Candles Burn Bright: Curiosity can kill. If a candle is knocked over, a house fire can start. A […]

Fear Free Handling Techniques Help To Rescue, Care For Displaced Cats

On the morning of November 8, certified veterinary assistant Samet Kaplan left his three-bedroom mountain home in Magalia, California, for the 30-minute drive to work at the Chico Hospital for Cats. The sky was cloudless and blue. “But just as I reached downtown Chico, I looked in the rearview mirror and all I saw was […]

7 Things To Know About Living With A Tripod Cat

When you watch a cat perform amazing feats of athleticism—climbing to the top of a tree, jumping straight from the ground to a high place, and running so fast she becomes just a blur—it’s hard to imagine life could be good for a cat with only three legs. But the truth is that tripod kitties […]

Buckle Up Pup: Trip Tips On Driving With Dogs

It’s the holiday season, and if your dog is lucky, he’s going to be doing some traveling with you. But before you load him into the car and head off down the road, it’s important to consider both safety and the law when it comes to driving with dogs. At least seven states have laws […]

Does Your Cat Hate Company? Help Her Cope

Does your cat make a beeline under the bed whenever the doorbell rings? Does he seem to disappear into thin air whenever a visitor enters your home? If this sounds like your feline companion, you’re not alone. Many cats are shy when it comes to visitors. Fear of strangers can be a normal behavior in […]

Holiday Toy Stories: Let Your Dog Know Toys Won’t Hurt Him

Balloons. Life-size talking robots. Remote-controlled drones and cars. When new toys join the household during the holidays and see action months later, they’re all fun and games for adults and children. For dogs, it’s another story. Here’s how to help them stay calm amid the buzzing sounds and flashing lights. Action Figure Fright While some […]

Feline Physics: How The Righting Reflex Helps Cats Stick A Landing

Amazed by your cat’s acrobatic skills? Feline physics is the secret to dramatic leaps and landings. Cats are equal parts mystery, myth, and masters of physics who have confounded scientists and owners for ages with seemingly impossible feats. A cat’s uncanny ability to land upright from a fall is a physics mystery that has perplexed […]

Make Holidays Friendly For Felines

The holiday season is a fun time, full of family and friends, good food, and festivities. It can also be stressful, with too many activities, family feuds, and failed expectations. Either way, your cats feed off your energy and, like you, experience holidays with either excitement or dread. So how do you make holidays less […]

Off-Leash Dog? Head Off Trail Tensions

“Don’t worry!” you call out. “He’s friendly!” Your dog is barreling down the wooded trail ahead of you, aiming his greeting at another hiker with a dog on leash. Your canine buddy just loves everyone, and you can tell he’s excited to make some new friends. You soon realize this is not going to happen, […]

Do Cats Love Us? Science Says Yes!

It’s long been a kind of running joke in the popular media that cats don’t much care about their humans, and that as long as we feed them, they’re just fine. A spate of studies that came out a few years ago, most of which were not well designed and were even less well understood […]

Teach Your Cat To Go Into A Carrier—Without A Struggle

There’s probably nothing a cat owner dreads more than a trip to the vet–even if the cat isn’t sick. Most dogs will happily jump into the car, but for cats the ordeal starts with a struggle to get into a carrier that’s stressful for both of you. It doesn’t have to be this way. A […]

New Tricks That Make Life Better For Old Dogs

Old dogs are the best dogs. They know the rules, they’re not full of crazy energy, and they love nothing better than a good nap. The downside, though, is that all that makes it easy to slip into the habit of not spending as much time with them. Your dog may no longer need long […]

How to Help a Senior Cat Adapt to Life in a New Home

Margaret Slaby loves animals, so for a time she worked in animal care at a shelter in Monterey County, California. But after two and a half years, she had to call it quits. “I saw a lot of older cats didn’t make it out of the shelter simply because they were older, and it just […]

New Family? How To Help A Senior Dog Adapt

Last year my husband and I did something incredibly rewarding: adopted a senior pet. We wondered if Peach, a little 8-year-old Poodle rescued as a stray, would find it challenging to adapt to life in a new home with us and our Labrador Retriever mix, Rio. But the adoption coordinator suggested I feed Peach canned […]

Stress-Free Holidays With Pets? Here’s How

Dangling ornaments. Rich food. Brightly blooming plants. Parties. No matter what your species—human, canine or feline—there’s a lot to love about the holidays. But in the wrong hands, er, paws, those same things can cause everything from a bellyache to a bite to a trip to the emergency room. Here are three ways to avoid […]

Keeping Yourself Fear Free While You Wait for Your Cat’s Diagnosis

A few months ago, my cat and I endured a stressful experience at a pet emergency hospital. Those of us who love our cats have been through this. Something comes up. It may be end- of-life, it may be an emergency followed by recovery. But whenever this happens for me, I feel a familiar kind […]

Stress-Free Dog? Your Attitude Counts

If you’re happy, there’s a good chance your dog is happy, too. So says a recent study led by Mexican researcher M.T. González-Ramírez and published in the November-December 2018 Journal of Veterinary Behavior. According to the study, dog owners who are less stressed have dogs who are better behaved. Conversely, stressed dog owners reported more […]

Is It Crazy To Bring A Kitten Into Your Multi-Cat Household During the Holidays? Not If You Prepare

You’re contemplating adding a kitten to your multi-cat household, and the holidays are fast approaching. There’s plenty to think about with this scenario. How will your stable, tried-and-true household kitties adjust to the newcomer? Will the kitten get into trouble, especially with decorations, food, and unknown people thrown into the mix? Will you be able […]

Five Cat Toys You Can Make In Less Than Five Minutes

Research tells us that play is a stress-buster in cats, because it enables them to express their natural hunting behaviors. More playtime has been found to correlate with fewer behavior problems, too. We also know that cats are more likely to play with novel toys. That’s because play is pretend hunting, and once you’ve killed […]

How To Stave Off Canine Cabin Fever This Winter

If you have a puppy or adult dog with lots of energy, you know how much work it is to keep your pet entertained. And you’ve probably noticed how your dog’s stress level—and yours—goes up when he’s not getting enough exercise. High-energy dogs can develop behavior problems if they don’t get enough exercise and stimulation. […]

How Helping Pets Helps People Escape Domestic Violence

When I volunteered on a domestic violence hotline, I was horrified to learn that abusers will threaten to hurt or kill their partner as well as their partner’s loved ones – including pets. In fact, research shows 48 percent of domestic violence survivors have stayed in abusive situations out of fear of what would happen […]

Cattens: The Young And The Restless

Cattens: They’re not quite kittens, not quite cats. They’re tweens through teens. Adolescents. Can go from “Mommm-muh!  Don’t! Won’t!”  to “Mommmy?!” in five minutes. Absolute challenges in the bum. I love them at that awkward time. Sometimes, it’s fun. Often, sweet. As we did ourselves, they’re going through changes. Watching your Noodles develop into the […]

Pets Plus Seniors Equals Happiness

When Robert Hampton recently moved into the Brookdale Memory Care Center in Dallas, his wife, Marilyn, knew exactly what he needed to boost his spirits and to encourage him to be social with other residents. She brought in four friendly cats from a local pet rescue group into her husband’s room and said, “Pick one.” […]

Walk This Way: Stress-Free First Time On A Leash

I couldn’t wait to take Oscar, my new Dalmatian puppy, outside for his first walk around our block. Clipping the leash onto his collar went well but taking a step out the front door to enjoy nature was another story. I never knew that paws had brakes, but he sure applied them in a flash […]

Even as Young Puppies, Dogs Look to People for Reassurance

“Social referencing” is a fancy term for a familiar phenomenon: when uncertain about a new situation, you check to see how everyone else is reacting. Are they scared, happy, calm, anxious? We look to others for clues in case they have previous experience that we don’t. Other social animals do this as well, and it’s […]

Hold Tight? Not When It Comes To Cats. Here’s How To Pick Them Up And Hold Them

When we see a feline fluff ball, we want to scoop her up and cradle her in our arms like a baby. This may be a natural behavior for us, but not so much for cats. The feeling of feet off the floor is stressful to some cats and they may squirm to get down, […]

Pet Haunted By Halloween? How To Help

Many pets never received the memo that Halloween is supposed to be fun. They truly are spooked by all those creatures that smell like humans but resemble zombies or superheroes.  And for many pets the constant ringing of the doorbell and all the commotion is disturbing. For two reasons, ensconcing those animals in a room […]

Turtles Need Environmental Enrichment, Too

Are you old enough to remember buying those little red-eared slider turtles at pet stores when you were a kid? Back in the day, in the 1950s and ‘60s into the early 70s, these turtles were commonly kept as pets. Typically, though, they suffered from inadequate diets and unhygienic habitats and became known for transmitting […]

Happy Halloween? For Pets, It Can Be With A Little Practice

Blah! Blah! It’s scary out there—all those pets dressed up as dinosaurs, lions, and spiders. And if you dress up your pet, you’re not alone, as more than 4.2 million dog-owning households and nearly two million cat caretakers will be treating their furry (and costumed) companions to ghoulish goodies and grisly toys this Halloween, according […]

Veterinary Technicians And Owners: Working Together For Positive Pet Experiences

We recognize that veterinarians make positive differences in the lives of our cats and dogs. But veterinary practices couldn’t function as efficiently or effectively without the expertise of compassionate veterinary technicians. To recognize their contributions, the third week of October each year celebrates National Veterinary Technician Week. In another life, I worked as a vet […]

Teach Kittens Gentle Play? Yes You Can!

If you’ve ever seen a litter of kittens zooming around in play, you know they bite and wrestle, jump on each other’s backs, and throw each other on the ground. They play rough. Flinging humans around is not an option, but young cats may nibble or bite our fingers, feet, or other body parts. They […]

Face Talk: What Your Cat’s Whiskers Tell You About His Mood

Cats are superheroes complete with uniquely feline super powers. One of their super powers is nonverbal communication. Their body language is so subtle that it almost seems telepathic. The cat’s head is the command center, comprising the communication triad of the eyes, ears, and whiskers. Holy Cat Whiskers! Whiskers, or “vibrissae,” are so vital to […]

Walking After Dark

Sometimes, the best time—or only time—to walk your dog is after dark, but that can be a little scary because your own vision is impaired. Your dog may be more alert than usual, too. The following tips will help make evening walks low in fear, anxiety, and stress for both of you—and ensure that you […]

Ears To You: Listen To What Your Cat’s Ears Say

Let’s face it, cat ears are cute. The fashion industry, clearly smitten, offers a wide array of cat ear headbands for our personal adornment. Cuteness aside, though, cat ears are fascinating for their form and function. Beyond providing cats with superior hearing and helping them maintain their storied balance, the ears are also part of […]

Turning Cat Wheels: Could Your Cat Benefit From This Feline Exercise Trend?

Is your cat fat? Inactive? Bored? That’s not normal or healthy, and here’s why. Cats instinctively nap 16 or more hours daily. Back when they lived outdoor lives, napping was a mechanism to reserve energy to keep their hunting skills sharp. But in a time when most cats live indoors, with no need to hunt […]

Pre-Op Planning Reduces Your Pet’s Stress And Yours

Why all the lab work before your pet’s spay/neuter surgery or other procedure? He looks healthy, and as far as you know, there’s nothing wrong with him. The key words are “as far as you know.” Pre-operative testing is an important part of pre-surgical prep that can alert your veterinarian to underlying problems that could […]

Stranger Danger: Help Your Dog Feel Relaxed When Visitors Arrive

When I ring my friend’s doorbell, her two 50-pound-plus dogs, Nike and Susie, go berserk and bark uncontrollably. Like firefighters racing to a five-alarm fire, they rush the front door, jump, and growl.  If I were an intruder, I’d surely think twice before robbing this house, but I only want to hang out with my […]

5 Simple Ways To Keep Cats (And Yourself) Calm While You’re Gone

Sometimes travel is a passion and a hobby; sometimes travel is a necessity. When we have to travel and leave our cats, it can be difficult for them and for us. If you are like me, you’ve spent years observing and getting to know your cats. Put this knowledge to use to make sure your […]

Can Fear Free Strategies Help When Your Cat Is Dying?

We dread the deaths of our beloved cats, and every death is different. We may or may not get notice; we may or may not have time to say goodbye. Assuming there is time to say goodbye, what can we do to make an already stressful and possibly dreaded process as calm and meaningful as […]

Telling Tails About Cat Emotions

From bobtail to slender “whippy” to magnificent plume, cats carry their tails proudly. Like a semaphore flag, the feline tail is a visual signal that communicates emotions up close and at a distance. Flexible, the tail moves up, down, high and low, back and forth. It may be straight, curved entirely, or curved only at […]

Make Getting Pee And Poop Samples Stress-Free For Your Pet—And You

Elated and relieved people all over proclaim “Good potty!” and “Good pee!” when their dogs perform these necessities during leashed walks. But when is the last time you really looked at your dog’s poop? And how much attention do you really pay to the clumps you scoop each day from your cat’s litter box? One […]

How Pets Read And Respond To Our Emotions

Legendary Lassie did more than “save” little Timmy from being stuck at the bottom of the well. The beloved television Collie seemed to accurately read when Timmy was happy or scared and knew when to spring into action to save him from danger in each episode. It turns out our dogs–and cats–may be better mind […]

My Pets Survived Our Home Renovations and Yours Can, Too

Raise your hand if you just finished or are in the midst of a major house renovation. Nod your head if your frustration and uncertainty during this ordeal sparked a spat or two with your spouse or made you want to scream out loud. As stressful as these construction projects can be to us, imagine […]

Zoom, Zoom! Agility Training Gets Cats Off The Couch

A video circulated around the internet of a little girl leading her kitten through an agility course in her backyard. The girl’s energy and the tails-up, fearless enthusiasm of Suki, the kitten, were endearing. For most of our cats, their best sport is competitive napping. But the Suki video shows that cats can indeed be […]

How Dogs “Yap” By Using Their Tails and Ears

Want to better understand your dog? You may be surprised to learn that he says a lot by how his positions and moves his tail and ears. Although a dog’s tail is situated far from the ears, these key body parts work in harmony in clearly communicate a wide range of moods from anger to […]

Fear Free Handling—And Tuna—Turn Vet Visit From Sad To Glad

Does Fear Free matter? Are you kidding? Here’s an example. My own 15-year old cat, Roxy, went to the veterinarian recently for some medical issues. She’s actually fine with going into her carrier and the car ride, and in the past she has never minded the veterinary visit. This time, however, both Dr. Natalie Marks […]

Feline Body Language: What Your Cat’s Eyes Tell You About His Emotions

We’ve heard it before–cats are not small dogs. They differ in nutritional requirements, training techniques, and body language. People often find feline communication more difficult to interpret than that of dogs because it can be so subtle that nonverbal communication cues are completely missed or misinterpreted. Misreading a cat can land us on the wrong […]

Is Your Dog Happy? The Inside Scoop From An Expert

Because they do not have bills to pay, annoying in-laws, difficult bosses, because they live in the present and don’t concern themselves about what was or what might be, because they are forgiving, because they delight in small things, because their very presence is so delightful to so many others that they often walk into […]

Does Your Dog Need Canine Friends?

Ask yourself: Do you like all people all of the time? Probably not – and that’s perfectly acceptable. And the same applies to your dog. “For 95 to 98 percent of dogs, the simple answer is yes, they like having doggy buddies,” says Nicholas Dodman, BVMS, professor emeritus at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at […]

Good Touch, Bad Touch

When I was in college, several members of the football team lived in my dorm. I’m five feet tall, and whenever I walked down their hallway, one of those huge guys would pick me up, give me a big hug, and tell me how cute and tiny I was. I know they didn’t intend to […]

Massage Away Pet Stress

If you’ve ever had a massage, you know how relaxing it can be. There’s something about the touch of a massage therapist that can make stress melt away. Turns out the soothing aspects of massage are not just for humans. Your pet can get relief from stress through massage too. According to the American Massage […]

Retractable Leashes Pose Risks To People, Pets

The retractable leash, also referred to as a flexi lead, can allow dogs to be up to 26 feet ahead of their owners during walks. Proponents say it gives these dogs “freedom” to explore their surroundings. However, many veterinarians, dog trainers, pet sitters and dog walkers say the extendable leads unleash far too many dangers […]

A Shelter Shares Enrichment Tips For Pets At Home

Recently I volunteered with my husband and two nieces at a special place: Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. It’s the largest no-kill animal refuge in the United States, spanning nearly 3,700 acres of red rock canyon near Kanab, Utah. Hundreds of employees care for roughly 1,600 dogs, cats, horses, pigs, bunnies, parrots, and “wild friends.” Most […]

Emotional Rescue: How Play Meets Needs Of Young Cats

When you waggle a feather for your kitten, toss her a catnip mouse, or encourage her to chase a wand type toy, you’re doing a lot more than having fun with her. Play is exercise, stress reduction, and motor skill training all in one. For kittens, play is also an important part of social bonding, […]

Hemp Products for Pets? What Dog Owners Should Know About CBD Oil

Recently, Oklahoma approved “medical marijuana” for people. I live in neighboring Texas, and the news has prompted debate not only over the purported benefits for humans, but also for our pets. Besides the potential for physical benefits, it’s thought that these products may help anxious and fearful pets during veterinary visits or other scary, angst-producing […]

Cat Up A Tree? How To Get Him Safely Down

Increasingly people are keeping cats indoors only. More than 65 percent of the feline population never goes outside, according to the American Pet Products Association. But that still leaves millions of cats who go outdoors, and cats being cats, some will climb trees in search of the highest vantage point in the neighborhood, to escape […]

Puppy Proofing Reduces Stress For Pets, People

Last fall, my husband and I lost our 11-year-old German Shepherd Magical-Dawg in September, and Seren-Kitty in December just shy of her 22nd birthday. The sadness ambushed our emotions for weeks and months. It also haunted Karma-Kat, and he slept with Magic’s collar for a week between bouts of crying, increased clawing, and other attention-seeking […]

Pet Losing A Limb? How To Help Him Get Back On His Feet

When my late Greyhound, Savanna, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, her oncologist advised amputation of her rear leg and chemotherapy. My husband and I were anxious about how our 10-and-a-half-year-old dog would respond to losing a leg, but we decided to give surgery a chance to save her life. It was the right choice. Savanna had […]

Nose It All: How Cats Communicate With The Nose

The feline nose is the cute-as-a-button spot we love to “boop” and is of course responsible for the sense of smell, but a cat’s nose is also an important part of feline communication. Besides sniffing out food or danger, one of the most important tasks it performs is to help cats feel comfortable with humans. […]

Make Cross-Country Auto Travel Fear Free for Your Cat(s)

In 2014, my husband and I moved cross-country from the Midwest to New England, a trip that involved transporting our five indoor housecats, a newly trapped feral cat, and our older dog. I planned ahead to try to ensure that this trip would be as stress-free as possible for the animals. We had a successful […]

The Making of a Therapy Cat

Outgoing. Confident. Friendly. Those three words size up Casey, my four-year-old orange tabby. I often say that Casey has yet to meet a stranger or feel as if he is in a strange place. But even though Casey assists me in our veterinarian-approved pet first aid/CPR classes and travels nicely inside his carrier on road […]

Service Dogs Need Stress Relief, Too

While the pet dog is snoozing on the couch after a meal, a walk, and a game of fetch, the service dog is on duty. She is always ready to work, even in the middle of night. Because of the nature of the work — looking for something amiss, something dangerous — these working dogs […]

Freud’s Chow: When Therapy Is A Three-Way Connection

Many years ago, my therapist friend, Anita, agreed to take care of my dog, Dexter, while my husband and I went on a trip. Anita had a great idea. Instead of leaving Dexter home while she saw her patients, she had asked each how they would feel about having a dog in the room during […]

Why Is My Dog Panting? Reasons Include Injury, Disease, And Anxiety

Tank, my Lab, and I returned from our weekly agility class and plopped down in the living room to relax. Two hours later, I noticed that Tank was still panting as if he had just exercised. That didn’t seem right. I watched him carefully the next day and saw he was panting heavily even after […]

Make Brushing A Pleasurable Experience: One Cat’s Story

My beautiful 12-year-old black cat Rama has always taken life seriously. We know nothing about his background prior to adopting him nine years ago, but I clearly remember the shelter staff trying to steer me away from him. Rama moved like a small panther in the wild–nervous, with a bit of insecurity, and not open […]

Nameowste: Cats Reap Yoga Benefits, Too

As soon as I sit down, my cat Natasha becomes my yoga partner. She helps me stay focused when she swishes her tail under my nose while I’m in Half Moon pose or swats my ponytail while in Downward Facing Dog. She’s a master at shavasana, the relaxation pose at the end of practice. Cat-loving […]

Agility For Fun Is A Positive Experience That Builds Confidence In Dogs

Lily may never earn a Master Agility Champion title, but the little Chinese Crested already has attained her championship in agility fun. The 2-year-old has always been uncertain, says owner Michelle Atkinson of Anaheim, California. “At home in her environment she’s the boss, but outside her comfort zone she’s fearful and shy.” She proved that […]

Manage Your Own Vibes To Give Your Cat A Fear Free Experience

If we share a home with a beloved cat, we’ll likely have the opportunity to engage in cat-care interactions that may be a challenge, a perceived challenge, or unfamiliar. If we are giving our cat a pill for the first time, we may have preconceptions about how the pill-giving event is going to transpire. We […]

Senior Pets Have Special Anesthesia Needs

Feeling a little more tired as you age? A little out of breath? The same is likely true for your aging dog or cat. The fact is that organs change with age, and those changes can affect not only day-to-day activities, but also the way our pets respond to anesthesia. Changes related to aging can […]

To Lower Stress, Play’s The Thing

We’ve all heard that exercise lowers stress, but working as a dog trainer I also observed that the combination of physical and mental exercise does the job even better.  Play is the answer, engaging your dog’s mind along with his muscles. Try to avoid over the top play. Getting a dog overly excited is hardly […]

Stress-Free Travel With A Service Dog

Good planning is absolutely necessary when you are traveling with a service dog. Having the proper paperwork, your dog’s regular food, some toys and an extra leash, plus a clear idea about how to divide your time between human-centered and dog-centered activities, will help make the trip as stress free as possible for human and […]

Can An Adventure Lifestyle Benefit Your Cat?

Anyone who spends much time on Instagram has seen them: cats in backpacks, cats hiking up trails, cats on leashes enjoying the wild outdoors with their people. There’s even a dedicated hashtag for these kitties: #adventurecat. In fact, a whole book was written about these intrepid felines. Adventure Cats: Living 9 Lives to the Fullest […]

Cat Litter Science: Why To Let Your Cat Choose

When cat litter was invented in 1947, it was made of grains of absorbent clay called Fuller’s earth. There was just one brand, called Kitty Litter, and cat owners had a choice between that or natural sand or sawdust. Today cat litter is a $2 billion industry in the United Sates. Much of that is […]

Nighttime Crazies? How To Take Your “Catten” From Wild To Mild

Noodles gets the “crazies,” the zooms-at-three-a.m. stuff. Dusk and dawn are favorite times, when the predator is on alert. She thunders up and down stairs, races down halls, or gnaws on your head, on your nose, on toes. She’s after prey, whether imaginary or just you. Cattens also knock things over, for the fun of […]

Thunder Cats? Felines Can Be Fearful Of Storms, Too

When thunderstorms strike, does your cat run and hide under the bed or in the closet? Maybe you notice that she just disappears and you don’t think much about it? Dogs earn the greatest amount of recognition when it comes to fear of thunderstorms because their reactions are more visible: they tremble, pace, hide, try […]

Give Your Pets a Fear Free Fourth of July (INFOGRAPHIC)

The Fourth of July should be fun for the whole family, your pets included. Fireworks, parades, large numbers of strangers, and other out-of-the-ordinary experiences can be stressful and scary to your pet. Use this infographic to understand and prepare yourself and your house to give your pet a Fear Free Fourth of July! Download

How To Recognize Fireworks Fear And Help Your Pet Cope

The Fourth of July is one of the busiest days of the year for animal control officers. Lost and terrified pets fill shelters. Booming fireworks cause frightened dogs to jump fences they’ve never jumped before; others leap from their owners’ arms and disappear across a busy street. An anxious dog may show subtle or dramatic […]

Storm Brewing? Get Inside Your Dog’s Head To Help Him Manage Fear

Storm phobia is a problem not just because dogs are afraid. The physiological reaction to fear is bad enough—the racing heart, the rush of stress hormones—but fear also causes dogs to react in dangerous or destructive ways. They may destroy doors or jump through windows in an attempt to escape the frightening situation. By the […]

Flash, Bang, Boom! Fight The Frenzy From Fireworks

Do you jump at unexpected loud noises? It’s adaptive for humans and other animals to startle at sudden loud sounds. We might run the other way or hide if we didn’t understand what a certain sound was. The same thing happens with many of our pets when they hear fireworks go off. It’s not that […]

How To Set Your Kitten Up For Success

Spring is the time for new beginnings, flowers, sunshine, and kittens. Yes, kittens. Spring and summer are known as kitten season, for good reason. It’s the time of year that the tiny cats-to-be are born and, at the appropriate age, go to their new homes. Before you bring one of these cute kittens home, learn […]

Unleashed: Keep Dog Play Areas Safe And Fun

It’s a reality that not everyone wants to hear: Not all dog parks and dog beaches are for all dogs or for that matter for all people. Here’s what I mean. I recently visited a dog beach, and one particular Mastiff was taking advantage of his size, acting like the beach bully. He bulldozed other […]

How to Make the Carrier Your Cat’s New BFF

How much does your cat like his carrier? If your cat is like most, the answer is “Not at all!” Most of us drag the carrier out of storage minutes before we need it and wrestle our cats inside.  If we are lucky, no one is bleeding and we can still get where we need […]

Why Does Your Dog Turn Tail At Thunderstorms?

If your dog is fearful of storms with thunder, lightning, hail, or high winds, you’re not alone. There are no statistics on the numbers of pets with storm phobia–or to give the fear its scientific name, astraphobia–but it’s likely that the prevalence of this type of noise sensitivity in dogs is 20 percent or higher, […]

New Study Finds Four Scents That Can Relax Dogs

When I was a little girl, my cat Pretzel made it clear that she was not a fan of car rides. Luckily, my mom had a brilliant idea. “Let’s put your sweatshirt inside her carrier instead of that blanket,” she suggested. “It’s soft and smells like you. I bet she’ll find it comforting.” It helped […]

Squelch The Squirt: Why Spraying Water Doesn’t Work To Train Your Cat

I just got a new kitten, and she jumps all over the kitchen countertops and the dinner table. This is dangerous for her and annoying for me, so she has to learn some boundaries. Friends keep telling me to squirt her with a water bottle, but I know that doesn’t work. Why does everyone else […]

From Lava Flows To Wild Winds And Waters, Be Prepared For Natural Disasters

This month we’ve watched lava flows from Hawaii’s Mt. Kilauea destroy homes and cars. Last month, two tornadoes hit Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in the same day. Even if volcanoes don’t erupt down the street from your house and you don’t live in Tornado Alley, natural disasters and emergencies occur somewhere every day. And part of […]

Cats and Kids: Can They Be Best Friends?

Kids and cats go together like mac ’n’ cheese. Cats offer warm companionship for children and the life-long value of compassion for sentient, living beings. In children, cats have a built-in playmate and attention-giver. What can be a special relationship takes work to build, though, to ensure that cats and children enjoy a stress-free experience […]

Acupuncture: Can It Help Reduce Pet Stress At The Vet?

“Daeli receives regular acupuncture sessions. She was once very afraid of the needles and she still gets a little worried right before, but she relaxes as you can see here,” says KristyAnn Brock, DVM, CCRP, CVA, Fear Free associate veterinarian at Viking Veterinary Care in Portland, Oregon. The idea of sticking needles in your dog […]

Team Effort Makes Training Fun, Successful

Not long ago, a woman contacted me about her dog. He was an accomplished trash can raider and recently had surgery to remove several foreign objects from his intestinal tract. “I guess it’s time for him to be trained,” she said. This idea that training is something that happens to the dog is not unusual. […]

Relieving Feline Fear, Anxiety, And Stress Is Key To Successful Anesthesia

Do you ever wonder what your cat is thinking when she just stares at you unblinkingly while the dog is maniacally bouncing up and down over a ridiculously small treat? In the ‘Ad-dressing of cats’, T.S. Eliot famously stated, ‘So first, your memory I’ll jog, And say: A CAT IS NOT A DOG’. The intriguing […]

Is Your Dog Afraid? Support Him, Don’t Ignore Him

A good friend of mine is afraid of spiders. She’s not so afraid that she’s going to burn her house down if one is inside, but as she says, perhaps she’ll just scorch the house a bit. Her fear is not incapacitating, but it is overwhelming enough that she must do something about the spider […]

Marriage Pending? How Do You Merge Your Pets?

Moving from San Diego to Dallas a few years ago, I bravely left my being-single comfort zone and joined an online dating service. My biggest concern wasn’t if I would find the person of my dreams, but rather, how dating would emotionally impact my dogs, Kona and Cleo, and my cat, Casey. Seriously. And, I’m […]

Travels With Charley: How To Make RV Travel Stress-Free For Your Dog

Last week I picked up my RV, Astrid (yes, I named my RV!) from the storage spot and brought her home. Once the dogs realized she was home, they sat at the front door nicely, with only smiling faces and wildly wagging tails betraying their excitement. They’re experienced road dogs; Bones, five years old, has […]

Planning A Party? How To Keep Anxiety (Yours And Your Pet’s) At Bay

When you have pets, party planning takes on a whole new meaning, and not necessarily in a good way. Many dogs and cats are spooked by the presence of strangers noisily enjoying themselves in the living room. Similarly, they don’t share any enthusiasm for backyard barbecuing or raucous swimming parties with children shrieking and splashing […]

City Dog Days: How To Make Them Fun, Not Frightening

Years ago, after living in the suburbs for a few years, I moved back to the city with my Golden Retriever, Oliver. Ollie was my demo dog, a working stiff who went along with me on my training jobs. I always left time between appointments for him to swim or run, and together we knew […]

Be Kind to Animals Week: 5 Ways to Be Kind to Dogs

Be Kind to Animals Week is a wonderful time to figuratively walk a mile in your dog’s paws. While it’s a given that dog lovers treat canine companions with compassion every day of the year, during this special celebration, taking stock of what your dog wants out of life can offer insight to keep his […]

Be Kind to Animals Week: 5 Ways to Be Kind to Cats

Whether you share your pillow with a kitty or care for feral, stray, or community cats, Be Kind to Animals Week is a great time to consider what that means for cats. We love our cats all year long, but sometimes we lose sight of what cats actually want out of life. Channel your “inner […]

Mexican Resort Goes All Out For Feral Cats

Who doesn’t love spending time at a swank resort? Feral cats are no exception. They like to hang out at resorts such as El Dorado Royale in Mexico’s Riviera Maya region on the Caribbean coast. After all, the pickings are good, whether from restaurant trash or soft-hearted tourists. With so many humans around and few […]

Pup Has Potty Problems? How To Troubleshoot Housetraining Issues

Puppies learn to toddle away from their bed (usually the pile of siblings) to relieve themselves almost as soon as they have control over their bowels and bladder. It’s this instinct to not soil the nest that allows us to teach puppies and adult dogs not to relieve themselves in our nest–our home. Sometimes, though, […]

Got A Counter Cruiser? How To Get Your Cat To Keep Four On The Floor

Many cat parents struggle with this common problem. Old suggestions like spraying cats with water don’t work and aren’t kind. To make matters worse, these punishment-based techniques make cats scared, anxious, and stressed. So, how do we get our cats to stay off the counter? First, let’s look at why they are up there in […]

Global Pet Expo Report: Our Fab Five Dog Happiness Products

There’s more to keeping dogs satisfied with their lives than reducing fear, anxiety, and stress. At Global Pet Expo this year, we looked for items that would make dogs happy and enrich their environment every day. Here’s what we found. Whether you toss them on the ground or in the water, Rogz Pop-Upz always land […]

Shadow Effect: Is It Closeness Or Anxiety?

I share my home with two English Shepherds, Bones and Hero, who, as herding dogs, follow me everywhere. If I’m in the shower, both dogs are within eyesight of the door. After all, I might need help. Some people consider this constant companionship annoying, but I’m used to it and even enjoy it. Herding dogs […]

Knowing Your Cat’s Personality Type Can Help You Give Him A Better Life

If you’ve known more than one cat in your lifetime, you know that each cat is unique, with her own personality. Behaviorists have been working on ways to categorize feline personalities, usually with the goal of matching up cats with families (both human and feline) where they will best fit in. But a group of […]

From Fearful to Fear Free: A Positive Program to Free Your Dog from Anxiety, Fears, and Phobias

Does your dog shiver and shake when it’s time visit the veterinarian, or even just go on a car ride? Does she destroy the house when left alone? Does bring brushed or bathed send her into a panic? Is she terrified of thunderstorms, fireworks, and other loud noises? If the answer to any of those […]

Global Pet Expo Report: Our Fave Five Cat Happiness Products

There’s more to keeping cats satisfied with their lives than reducing fear, anxiety, and stress. At Global Pet Expo this year, we looked for items that would make cats happy and enrich their environment every day. Here’s what we found. It’s so nice, we liked it twice. The Catit people are back with their Treat […]

8 Steps to Fear Free Nail Trims For You And Your Cat

Do you dread trimming your cat’s claws? Does kitty feel the same way as you do? It doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some techniques to help both of you get through the process without a meltdown and turn it into an enjoyable bonding time. Cat Claws 101 Your cat’s claws are similar […]

Science Confirms 14,000 Years Of Love

It turns out there’s nothing new about the human-animal bond. Fear Free Happy Homes and the entire Fear Free initiative are, after all, at their core a celebration of the bond we all have with our pets, and it goes back for millennia. That bond with dogs dates to approximately 14,000 years ago. We know […]

Don’t Become a Statistic: National Dog Bite Prevention Week Tips

Repeat after me: Any dog can bite anyone at any time. Yes, even nice dogs, shy dogs, and scared dogs can and do bite people every day. The victims are not limited to mail carriers perceived or to children determined to deliver big hugs. About 4.5 million people of all ages from all states are […]

Global Pet Expo Report: 5 Top Products For Reducing Fear, Anxiety, And Stress In Dogs

There are lots of positive ways to reduce fear, anxiety, and stress in the life of a dog, and many of them involve providing our canine pals with ways to take their minds off their concerns or simply to be more comfortable in whatever situation they find themselves. We found some favorites here at Global […]

Does The Way You Feed Your Cat Make Him Anxious?

What we feed our cats is a topic worthy of discussion. But just as important, we need to talk about how we feed our cats. Most cat caretakers feed their cats from bowls. And most of those leave dry food out 24/7. The theory is that cats don’t naturally scarf down meals all at once […]

Hoppy Days: Tips On A Rabbit’s Best Life

A surprising number of pet house rabbits live with fear every day because their families, though they may love their rabbits, just don’t understand their needs. Rabbits are sensitive creatures as well as prey animals, and they easily can suffer without their families knowing it or understanding why. Living with fear day to day is […]

How To Head Off Your Dog’s Hat Hate

You’ve noticed your dog hates hats. As in people wearing them. What’s going on? Has he become a fashion critic? We take for granted our dogs’ incredibly acute senses of smell and hearing. But dogs also rely on vision to navigate their world. Depending on their breed, age, and the circumstances around the headgear, dogs […]

Slick Trick: How To Give Pups Traction On Slippery Surfaces

Have you ever slipped on a slick floor? The feeling that you’re about to fall, or actually falling and hurting yourself, is a scary one, sending the stomach flip-flopping with anxiety. Dogs might seem to have an advantage with four legs to balance on, but slippery surfaces can be just as frightening to them as […]

Global Pet Expo Report: 5 Favorite Products For Reducing Fear, Anxiety, And Stress In Cats

There are lots of positive ways to reduce fear, anxiety, and stress in the life of a cat, and many of them involve providing our feline friends with a more normal environment: one that meets their natural needs or is attractive in other ways. We found some favorites here at Global Pet Expo, all of […]

Team Effort Makes Training Fun, Successful

Not long ago, a woman contacted me about her dog. He was an accomplished trash can raider and recently had surgery to remove several foreign objects from his intestinal tract. “I guess it’s time for him to be trained,” she said. This idea that training is something that happens to the dog is not unusual. […]

Pre-Op Planning Reduces Your Pet’s Stress And Yours

Why all the lab work before your pet’s spay/neuter surgery or other procedure? He looks healthy, and as far as you know, there’s nothing wrong with him. The key words are “as far as you know.” Pre-operative testing is an important part of pre-surgical prep that can alert your veterinarian to underlying problems that could […]

Kitty Vacation Angst?

You’ve had the most wonderful vacation ever, and you can’t wait to get home to the fur kids. But your cat’s vacation angst makes her want nothing to do with you. She even *gasp* pees and poops outside the box to get back at you. It’s obvious Kitty is mad because you abandoned her. Or […]

Coyote Beat: Protect Pets Without Killing Predators

Has your pet come face to face with a coyote recently? Even if you were right there, it probably struck fear not only into your pet’s heart but into yours as well. As urbanization sprawls into canyons, woodlands, and other areas that until recently have been home to animals only, confrontations between wildlife, humans, dogs, […]

Do Pets Love Us? Why We Say The Answer Is Yes

How do I know my pet loves me? I get asked this question a lot! I suppose first I need to address whether or not pets can love. They certainly do have emotional capacity, as Temple Grandin, Ph.D., pointed out in her book, “Animals in Translation.” Others have demonstrated the same regarding the similar brain […]

Talk To The Claw

Scratching. It’s a perfectly normal, natural cat behavior that meets grooming, exercise and communication needs. But while cats enjoy the sensation of scratching and use their scratch marks to send messages to other cats—“Blinky was here” or “Look how big I am!”—the destructive nature of the habit can put owners and cats at odds with […]

Nine Lives with Dr. Kathryn Primm – Episode 2 – DIY Tricks: Make Your Cat’s Life Better ‘On The Cheap’

  Have you thought about what makes your cat happy? Maybe you should. Today, we will talk with Dr. Lynn Bahr who is a veterinarian and  Feline Enrichment Specialist. Dr. Bahr loves to share ways you can use what you have to make cat friendly spaces and she even innovates cool cat products herself! Be the first […]

Winn Feline Celebrates 50 Years Of Commitment to Cats, Behavior Breakthroughs

A half-century ago, most cats lived outdoors, rarely visited the veterinary clinic, and lacked any commercial toys designed to encourage them to play with a purpose. The year was 1968, and there was not a single cat-only veterinary practice in the country. Funding for feline behavioral research was essentially nonexistent. You’ve come a long way, […]

Support System

Who doesn’t like to have a friend along when facing a frightening situation? Dogs are no different. They are better equipped to face their fears in the presence of a friend, and that friend’s company can make them less likely to panic during scary circumstances. Whether your dog’s best friend is a person—you!—or another dog […]

Perfect Pet Sitter? Here’s What To Look For

If you have a fearful pet or you simply prefer that he stay in familiar surroundings while you’re out of town on business or vacation, you likely have hired or considered hiring a pet sitter. That’s smart. Dogs and cats thrive with a routine, so when their family leaves on a trip, it can turn […]

Kitten Care: How And What You Feed Affects Wellbeing For Life

You probably don’t think about it as you’re filling up your kitten’s food dish, but what you feed and the way you present it affects more than just growth: it’s the foundation for a healthy, happy future. A nutritious diet is important for development, but the amount of food and how your kitten eats it […]

Can Cats Be Service Animals? No… and Yes

Audra H. has been disabled since a car accident while she was in college. “I have a blood clot on my brain that causes episodes of syncope. Simply put, I pass out,” she explains. “I have fibromyalgia, bilateral neuropathy, bilateral sciatica and constant migraines, just to name a few of the issues I live with.” […]

Fearless Kittens: Are They Made Or Born?

Stories abound about kittens who are adopted into new homes, then promptly disappear for days at a time, coming out only at night to eat and use the litter box. It doesn’t have to be that way. Here’s how to improve your chances of bringing home a confident, outgoing kitten who will be comfortable in […]

Whine, Wiggle And Wet: Why Dogs Wet At Homecomings And How To Stop It

Does your dog whine, wiggle, and wet whenever you come home? That could be excitement related or even fear related to your homecomings. Of course, you don’t want your dog to be scared, but the wet floor ratchets up your stress levels, too. What does it mean, and what’s a caring pet parent to do? […]

Cure Feline “Indoorosis”: How To Introduce Hunting Feeders in 3 Easy Steps

Hunting feeders are the 2018 buzz words for cats. When you understand the science, it’s easy to see why. Cats have an innate need to hunt, catch, and play with multiple small meals every day–not eat from a bowl. Cats kept indoors are safer from infectious disease and accidents, but when we fail to meet […]

Caring For Pets While Caring For Yourself

It is the worst when you have the flu or are recuperating from surgery, a broken bone or other injury. All you want to do is lie around and feel sorry for yourself. But if you have a houseful of pets, or even just one, that’s just not possible. Your dog or cat needs you […]

Stress: The Good, The Bad, The Measurable

Stress: we can’t live with it; we can’t live without it. Defined as emotional strain or tension resulting from environmental challenges or demanding circumstances, stress is an integral part of being alive. No living being or environment is completely stress-free, no matter how sedate the existence. Stress jump-starts the body to meet challenging situations. The […]

Got A Fraidy Cat?

Does your cat streak for the bedroom and dash underneath the bed every time she hears the doorbell ring? Do visitors seem disbelieving that you actually have a cat because they’ve never seen her? I know just how you feel. That was the case with my cat Shelby, a beautiful but painfully shy black-and-white domestic […]

Toe Trauma? Daily Handling Reduces Nail Care Fears

Bones, my five-year-old English Shepherd, is an athlete. He twists, turns, dashes, and runs hard. He leaps, jumps, and climbs. While all this hard exercise keeps him physically fit and mentally happy, he is tough on his paws. Once in a while he’ll scrape a pad or come up with a cut on a paw, […]

12 Tips To Caring For Your Senior Dog’s Coat

Your elderly canine friend might be a little grumpy about being brushed as she ages. Here are some tips to keep grooming sessions stress-free while taking a few extra steps to ensure her day-to-day comfort. Keep Sessions Short Older dogs may not be able to stand comfortably for more than a few minutes at a […]

Feline Intelligence: How Your Cat’s Brain Works

Ivan, my 12-year-old Siberian, is a brainiac. It’s a challenge sometimes to stay one step ahead of him. When he was about four months old, he learned to open a cabinet door to get his favorite toy. He then transferred that knowledge to other cabinets and various types of closet doors not only in our […]

Taking The Fear Free Message Home – Dr. Marty Becker

  Most of us know the importance of physical wellbeing for pets. And it’s no surprise that pets who like going to the veterinarian are healthier because it’s easier to get them examined and cared for. That’s one of the reasons so many veterinarians are now bringing Fear Free techniques into their practices. Now we […]

Nine Lives with Dr. Kathryn Primm – Episode 1 – Tips for Fur-ever After with a Cat or Kitten

  In the inaugural episode of Nine Lives with Dr. Kathryn Primm, she speaks with Dr. Denise Radford about the most important questions to ask yourself when you’re looking at getting a new cat or kitten. Have you thought about the best place to get her? How will she get along with the cat you […]

Old Cat, New Tricks

Who says you can’t teach an old cat new tricks? This is Roxy, who is nearly 15. She never before saw the Friskies Pull ‘n Play toy – but she managed (with a bit of help) to figure it out. With cheese string for mouse ears and a place inside the mouse “belly” to stash […]

Coping With Chemo: How To Reduce Stress For Your Pet

One of the biggest upsets for many pet-loving families is getting a diagnosis of cancer in their beloved dog or cat. Luckily, many advances in veterinary medicine allow pets to live longer, high-quality lives despite this diagnosis. The prognosis will vary dramatically with the type of cancer, but many pets can gain years of good […]

How Good Breeders Raise Puppies Who Grow Into Happy, Confident Dogs

From the minute she was whelped and I tied a red ribbon around her neck, I knew this puppy would be my keeper. In a litter of seven black Labrador retrievers, she racked up the “firsts” in my first breeding. Miss Red was the first to respond to my presence, the first to crawl into […]

From Scratch: Claws And Paws Get A Workout

Upon the first application of Feliscratch to attract our 15-year-old Devon Rex cat, Roxy, to the post, she rubbed her cheek glands, depositing comfort pheromones on the scratching post. Feliscratch contains a blue dye to help mark the post with a visual cue. Cats actually do that when they scratch (please never apply Feliscratch on […]

Test Cat Roxy Rocks Feliscratch Trial

When cats aren’t scratching where their people would like, it may mean the cat lands at a shelter or is dumped outdoors. It may also mean that the cat is punished by being declawed, which is nothing short of an amputation. To be clear, the last portion of each digit is removed (akin to cutting […]

Nail Anatomy 101: Keep Trims Safe, Not Scary

      A good grounding in nail anatomy is one of the secrets to a nail trim that doesn’t cause your dog to run away in fear and you to stress out over giving it. Understanding exactly how and where to trim helps to ensure that you don’t “quick” your dog, a painful experience […]

Cat Fight! Why Cat Friends Fuss After Vet Visits

Congratulations! Your hard work has paid off, and Kitty no longer fears the carrier and handles the car ride with almost no signs of fear, anxiety or stress. Kitty purrs and cheek-bonks the veterinary technicians and barely notices the doctor’s exam through all the petting and tasty treats. But as soon as you get home, […]

Animal Mourning: Recognizing A Pet’s Grief

My grandfather and his dog, Trimmer, a Redbone Coonhound, went about their daily routine of feeding the cows. When they didn’t come home at their normal time, my uncle and a neighbor went to look for them. They found my grandfather slumped against an old oak tree where he had collapsed from a fatal heart […]

Phone Fanatics: Why Does My Cat Pester Me On The Phone?

When the phone rings, does your cat come running? At our house, we still have a land line with a long cord, in addition to our cell phones. My Karma-Kat tries to bite through the phone cord whenever I’m in a conversation. Some cat lovers report that their kitties become aggressive around the telephone. Thankfully, most […]

4 Tips To Make Pet Tooth Brushing A Habit

By now you’ve probably heard that dogs and cats should have their teeth brushed regularly, preferably every day. Good dental care is vital not just to the health of your pet’s mouth, but also his entire body. Dogs and cats who aren’t used to having their teeth brushed may be uncomfortable with the procedure. After […]

Scratch That!

The tide is turning regarding declawing of cats. Denver recently became the first city outside California to ban declawing surgery. The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) updated its position statement regarding declaw, which begins, “The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) strongly opposes declawing (onychectomy) as an elective procedure. It is the obligation of […]

That New Car Smell!

You’ve brought home your new car, loaded it with the things you normally carry, and you’re ready to go for a drive with your dog riding shotgun (safely secured, of course). But when you invite him to jump in, he puts on the brakes. Your faithful canine companion knew your old car. This car is […]

On A Tight Leash?

Each day that I took Chipper out for a walk, I launched into high-attentive mode. My husky-golden retriever mix who lived to be 14 was quite friendly to all people and even all cats. And she was extremely loyal to and tolerant of dogs in her pack of pals, but when it came to encountering […]

Sleep Wars!

In 2018 I am resolving to get more sleep.  Studies show that, for a human, eight hours of sleep nightly is optimal.  Less than that, and you have problems with your health, concentration, mood and weight. Getting more sleep is easier said than done, though, if you live with a cat. A cat’s sleep cycle […]

Got A Pop-Up Pooch?

For dogs, jumping up is a normal behavior. They often licks other’s faces in greeting. Since most dogs can’t easily reach us, they leap to offer their version of a polite canine “howdy” and solicit attention. Many folks think jumping up is cute, at least when the pet is a pup. That attraction wanes when […]

Catio Life

Bird and butterfly watching – and even people watching — is more than an engaging pastime for cats. It gives them the mental and physical stimulation they need on a daily basis. Letting cats go outdoors on their own isn’t usually a safe option for them, but there’s an alternative for feline nature lovers: a […]

Chilly Dog?

To some dogs, and most people, the weather outside is frightful. Other dogs delight in romping and playing on snow and ice. Alaskan Malamutes, Siberian Huskies and other heavily furred dogs, not to mention their feline counterparts such as Maine Coons and Norwegian Forest Cats, were built for snow and cold. But Toy Poodles and […]

Feline Resolutions

Want to know the secret to truly achieving your New Year’s resolutions? Set goals for your BFF: best feline friend. When you shift your focus on your cat, you may find you are more motivated to set and meet goals in the new year. This strategy has worked purr-fectly for me to the benefit of […]

Canine Resolutions

One sure bet about New Year’s resolutions – they are always crafted with good intentions. Did you write down the same ambitious resolutions from last year: to eat more spinach salads and fewer pizzas or to spend more time on the treadmill and less time in the recliner in 2018? Realistically, what are the chances […]

Start Your Pet’s New Year Off Right

New Year’s Pet Safety Infographic Download this infographic that shows you how to make New Year’s celebrations safe and fun for your pet.

Fostering the Fearful Kitten

The photo on social media shows a box of young kittens. The text says, “Kittens abandoned. Fosters needed.” You look up the rescue group and find they are local to you. Fingers poised over the keyboard, you ask yourself, should I foster? Having fostered kittens for a number of years, I’ve faced this scenario more […]

Stop Ear Fear: How To Help Pets Stay Calm During Ear Care

From a pet’s perspective, ear handling and care can be unsettling and downright scary unless it’s conducted in a way that allows the pet to feel safe and comfortable. Why do pets fear ear cleaning and care? For an animal with fear, anxiety, or stress (FAS), ear care may seem threatening, especially if sensitive ear […]

Exercise Your Cat And Feed Her At The Same Time

Up to 69 percent of the feline pet population now live indoors only, and because of this, being run over by a car or run down by a coyote is not too likely. However, despite an indoor-only existence, cats are born with a hard-wired prey drive, and they continue to have the need to chase, […]

Why Get A Puppy From A Responsible Breeder? A Veterinarian Shares The Benefits

When you are looking to add a puppy to your family, it pays to consider purchasing from a responsible breeder. Basic reasons include predictability of size, coat type, and behavior. Conscientious and careful breeders check the health of a pup’s parents before breeding them. That is not an ironclad guarantee of good health, but it […]

Cat Critter Gifts

Here in Texas, the warm weather continues to bring big-bug migrations from outside to the living room. The cats are thrilled with cricket carcasses and the occasional disoriented field mouse that takes a deadly detour. Thank goodness, both Karma-Kat and Seren-Kitty haven’t presented me with anything beyond a cricket drumstick. But it’s not unusual for […]

Beyond Catnip: Can Scent Enrich Your Cat’s World?

Enriching the environment means providing suitable outlets to meet the needs of a species. One example: Cats have a hard-wired need to hunt and pounce. It’s great that cats are increasingly being kept indoors (they do live longer when indoors only), but we rarely meet their innate needs. Many zoos have a full-time employee whose […]

Christmas Trees And Pets: Can They Mix?

Christmas without a tree would be like Flag Day without a flag. The tree is an important tradition for many families. And it’s typically pretty simple—purchase the tree, and if it’s a real tree do your best to keep it thriving as long as possible. That’s until a pet is involved. Any pet. For a […]

Cat Potty Buddies

Our cats sometimes challenge the most insightful among us to figure out what’s behind a weird and wacky behavior. Felines always have a good reason for doing what they do. But a given behavior doesn’t always mean what you think, including why cats follow us to the bathroom. CAT POTTY BUDDIES Dogs do this, too, […]

A Kitty for Christmas? Preparation is Key

Your child has been begging for a kitten for Christmas. It’s on her Christmas list – at the top – and you heard her tell Santa that she wanted one at the outdoor holiday event you attended. There are pictures and drawings of cats on her bedroom wall and fridge. Without a doubt, kittens become […]

Helping Pets, Helping People

The holiday season reminds us that home is where the pet is. Just ask the homeless huddled in highway underpasses in Los Angeles, women fleeing domestic violence in New York City, families in Minnesota too poor to pay for veterinary care, and homebound seniors in San Diego who must depend on others to bring them […]

Why Dogs Snack From Cat Litter Boxes

Dogs often indulge in the habit of dung eating, technically called coprophagia. Mother dogs keep the nest free of smells by eating waste from puppies. As a result, many puppies copy the behavior when young, and may indulge in dung-eating of their own or other animal’s feces. Most pups outgrow the behavior, but some dogs […]

Fear Reactions: Fight, Flight, Fret, and Freeze

A cat, when startled by the sound of a backfiring car, dashes toward a hiding spot, running as fast as she can. A small dog, backed into a corner, snarls, showing his teeth and his willingness to protect himself. A kitten, hearing a vacuum cleaner for the first time, freezes in place. A cat or […]

How Much Protein Does Your Cat Need?

Most cat owners know that cats need to eat more protein than many other animals do. Cats break dietary protein down into amino acids, which they burn for energy or use to make new proteins. Cats cannot make all 22 amino acids they need; they need to get eleven of these (the essential amino acids) […]

Shedding: Tips to Bring Out the Best in a Hairy Situation

When looking to adopt a puppy or dog, compatibility between you and this new four-legged member of your family should be paramount. Not looks or age. So, that explains why when I temperament tested Chipper and discovered we were a match, I overlooked the fact that I just adopted a super shedder. Yep. Make that […]

Building A Relationship with Your Dog

Television shows and movies portray every dog and owner relationship as a wonderful, empathic, instantaneous one. A dog in the shelter takes one look at a person searching for a dog, they lock eyes, look deeply into each other’s soul, and immediately have a lifelong bond. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Just like relationships with people, […]

Finding the Right Motivator for Your Cat

Creating a Fear Free environment for your cat at the veterinary clinic, groomer’s salon, or even at home begins with finding the right motivator (or two or three). Where one cat might cooperate with many indignities if she can have some chicken baby food, another will ignore the noise of a groomer’s salon if she […]

Pets Make A Difference In Handling The Holidays

Thanksgiving is supposed to be a happy time of year: all about friends, family and food. But for some, Thanksgiving can be a trying holiday. The stereotypical image of the jovial family gathered around a handsomely dressed holiday bird isn’t reality for many. Grief One of the toughest emotions to deal with at Thanksgiving is […]

Adopting A Shelter Dog: 5 Tips For Success

Animal shelters can be scary places for a dog. Noisy, and filled with strange sights and smells, shelters can be intimidating for even the bravest canine soul. Timid dogs and those who haven’t been well socialized can become downright terrified when placed in a shelter environment. Candy was one such dog. A 6-year-old Australian Shepherd […]

How To Adopt A Shelter Cat: 6 Tips For Success

Who doesn’t love a kitten? Kittens are cute, cuddly and funny. Most people who are thinking of adopting a cat usually have a kitten in mind, but we at Fear Free have a proposition for you to consider: An adult cat can be a better bet. When you bring home an adult cat, the acronym […]

Why Do Some Dogs Watch TV?

When a doorbell rings on a television show or commercial in my sister Karen’s house, her three dogs unleash a chorus of barks and dash to the front door. When a dog pops into view on my high-definition television screen, Kona, my terrier mix, will sometimes trot up for a friendly look-see, give a sniff, […]

Does Your Old Dog Need A Young Friend?

You love your golden oldie canine more than anything, but your relationship has changed. He’s not as active as he used to be, and your days of jogging or hiking with him are in the past. Maybe a puppy would revitalize him and give you a new exercise partner. Before you move ahead with that […]

Get The Scoop On Litter Box Behavior

My dynamic feline duo express their personalities in everything they do, including litter box practices. Ivan hums while he fervently excavates the depths of the box. Natasha “aims high,” plus she engages in bouts of what I call “litter boxing”— she scratches the sides of the litter box, wall, mat, floor and occasionally the mirrored […]

A Gnawing Habit

Dogs use their mouths the same way we use our hands. That means nearly everything goes into a puppy’s mouth as he explores the world. Chewing is more than exploring, though. Teething pups chew to relieve discomfort as their permanent teeth come in. Some dogs never outgrow the gnawing habit, though, and that can get […]

Nurseries And Foster Homes Give Kittens A Head Start

Young kittens are so adorable that it’s hard to imagine they are the animals at greatest risk in shelters. Kittens found outdoors and relinquished to shelters often face a bleak, short future. In fact, they’re usually considered unadoptable. That’s because it takes 24/7 hands-on care to help these tiny, fragile fuzzballs to survive until they […]

How to Prevent Halloween Howls From Your Pet

10 Halloween Infographic Download this infographic that packed with tips on how to make your Halloween Fear Free for both you and your pet.

Fraidy Cat? How To Recognize Signs Of Feline Fear, Anxiety And Stress

Communication is key to any relationship, and conflicts arise when we misunderstand a message. We can usually decipher a person’s emotional disposition by expression and body language, but cats are mysterious and wear a poker face so their emotions aren’t as easily read. Most humans aren’t adept at reading a cat’s normal behavior when dealing […]

Fearful Fido?

Fear and stress play important roles in the ability to function, for humans and dogs. Fear, for instance, helps to protect from danger. Stress aids in reacting to and learning from threats and improves memory. Too much fear, stress and anxiety isn’t healthy, though. Excess stress and anxiety affect the immune system, negatively influencing both […]

Training Small Dogs Takes Awareness, Trust

When training dogs, size does make a difference. Small dogs are dogs, just as Golden Retrievers and Great Danes are, and they respond to training just as their larger cousins do. However, just the fact that toy breed dogs, small spaniels and terriers, and other little dogs are diminutive in comparison means your training techniques […]

Make Your Garden Friendly for Senior Pets

No matter the size of your garden, it’s an area for the whole family to enjoy, and that includes the family dog. By adding a few dog-friendly features to create special canine areas, you can make it more enjoyable for your dog, especially if he is a senior, to be outside and spend quality time […]

How To Help Dogs Stay Calm During Noisy Events

Sound-sensitive dogs benefit from training that conditions a calmer response to perceived noises outside their natural comfort zone. Here’s how to get started. Prep your pooch with positive exposure to sounds. Exposure for exposure’s sake can backfire and increase fear in the future, especially if the dog is forced to face the scary sound scenario […]

How To Communicate Calm To Your Canine

Are you helping or hurting your pet by providing comfort? You may have heard that comforting a pet when he’s frightened is the wrong thing to do because it “reinforces” that he’s right to be fearful. I’m here to share the good news with you that this concept isn’t correct. Here’s what to know about […]

Enrich Your Cat’s Life! The Art Of Connecting With Your Cat

If you are anything like me, you know that social contact can be positive or negative. Your cat feels the same way. One of the best ways to enr