We all want peace and tranquility in our homes. And so do our pets. Our home is our safe place when the world around us is a barrage of negative energy from noise, cars, computers, and TV. Our homes and backyards have the potential to calm us and recharge us with positive energy. Feng shui (pronounced “fung shway”) is the Chinese art of enhancing the flow of energy or “chi” throughout the home. It can enhance the elements that deliver health, good luck, wealth, and children while reducing negative energies.
Feng shui consists of five elements – earth, fire, wood, water, and metal – to create a balance in the environment. Applying some basic elements of feng shui to a dog’s life can promote similar health benefits. Dogs have a heightened sense of smell and hearing and can benefit from having a welcoming place that absorbs “pawsitive” energy.
Maintain the Energy FlowThe first step in creating a feng shui backyard is to declutter. Trim shrubs, pick up throw toys and give your pet plenty of room to run and play. It’s also important to maintain your lawn. Mow your lawn often and keep it free of weeds and pet waste. Attack the grubs early, so they don't create brown patches, especially in lawns in the Pacific Northwest. Water consistently, since dogs have high concentrations of salt and nitrogen in their urine. Their urine acts as a strong fertilizer and can burn grass blades, creating a negative feng shui balance. To counter the effects, water the area immediately, and give your dog plenty of water to drink to dilute the nitrogen content.
TurtlesIf you have a small pond in your backyard, introduce a turtle or goldfish. Turtles are believed to bring wealth and protect your home. Be sure to place a rock above the water level in the middle of your pond to allow the turtle to climb up and soak in the sun. For winter months, when the turtle is inside, place a feng shui turtle figurine in your garden or pond.
Keep it NaturalColors play a big part in feng shui, especially for high energy dogs. Paint a northern wall blue and hang peaceful sounding wind chimes to help with energy flow. Dogs should not be exposed to white blankets as dogs are elements of the earth. Good feng shui calls for earth-tone colors around dogs since they contribute to protective energy.
Your backyard is a shared space, so use natural elements in its design. Solid wood comes from trees. It reminds your pet of the comfort of the outdoors. Wooden chairs or fence posts can help balance the yard. Pebbles and stone tiles are also natural design elements; they not only look great against an outdoor wall, but they enhance the chi. Avoid using paint on wooden doors or panels; rather, opt to keep wood elements natural and warm.
BeddingPups enjoy a bed for snoozing but don’t forget to take into account feng shui properties. Place your pet’s bed away from a window, a corner or water elements that can disrupt the flow of energy. Water disturbs rest, so place their water bowl a few yards away. Use bedding made of natural materials.
Pet and PlayFinally, they're called pets for a reason. Pet your friend frequently. Hands-on attention will create a happier animal. It will also generate positive feng shui energy for you, decreasing stress and restoring inner peace. Since our pets provide feng shui for us, isn't it time we return the favor? Paying attention to feng shui elements in the design of your home and yard will add balance and harmony and create a happier pet.
Roger Fisk is a freelance journalist and landscaper. He and his two German shepherds enjoy listening to classical music while tending to the garden. All three of them enjoy chasing butterflies in the yard.
There are few things dogs love more than running and rolling around on soft grass. That's why so many pet owners choose homes with nice yards. But when it comes to nature’s call, dogs aren’t too particular about where they do their business. Cleaning up the poop is easy, but your dog’s urine can damage your lawn.
Chances are your Seattle lawn contains one or more of these types of cool-season grasses that are suited to the Pacific Northwest.
Fescues and ryegrass are extremely hardy and hold up best under the constant foot traffic of kids and dogs. All varieties will develop brown patches where the dog goes potty, but these grass types are more pee-resistant and easier to repair.
Dogs have high concentrations of salt and nitrogen in their pee. When your dog answers the call of nature, the stream of urine acts as a strong fertilizer and burns grass blades. This gets worse if your dog favors a particular area.
You can mitigate the damage by watering the area immediately after your dog relieves him or herself. This will dilute the urine, leaving less nitrogen to burn the grass. It also helps to have your dog drink a lot of water and dilute the nitrogen content. This is especially important with female dogs because they tend to squat in one location when they pee. Males, on the other hand, will often tinkle as they wander along, marking their territories. Lawn damage is worse when dogs consistently choose the same areas or routes.
Being a dog owner doesn't mean you have to live with brown patches in your yard. You can train your pooch to pee somewhere else, such as a gravel path or bed of mulch. While training is a good approach, it can be quite challenging — especially with older dogs. You can create an outdoor space specifically designed to draw your pet away from the lawn; a rock garden or mulched fence line may work. An area covered in clover is another good alternative. While some consider it a weed, clover is tough to kill and gives your lawn a green appearance.
Enzyme supplements promise to balance the pH in dog urine. But veterinarians warn these products are hit-or-miss, and not the best option. For example, supplements containing DL-Methionine can often cause kidney disease and aggravate pre-existing liver conditions. Talk to your dog's doctor before adding anything to his diet.
Stop FertilizingFertilizers contain nitrogen, which is essential for a healthy lawn. But your dog’s urine contains enough of it, so why add more? Instead, apply a lawn repair treatment with enzymes that will flush the salt from the roots of the grass.
Walk Your Dog
Your pup needs more than an occasional romp in the backyard. You’ve taken the time to provide him a home, now show him some love by taking him out for a daily walk. When he pees in the park, you’ll have fewer spots to deal with on your lawn. The exercise will be good for both of you!
Alexia Jones owns a landscaping company whose services include repairing and winterizing sprinkler systems. She is an expert in sustainable lawns and landscapes and efficient irrigation systems.
Active living is often associated with living a long and healthy life for both humans and dogs alike. Finding new and interesting ways to keep you and your dog active can be tough. Just like you, your furry friend can become bored with the same old song and dance. That is why you should switch up the activities every now and then.
If you and your dog tend to stick to indoor activities, then a switch to trying out outdoor activities may do the trick. Getting outside can help you, and your dog live long happy lives.
When it’s nice out, all that most people want to do is get outside. If you and your pup have been kept indoors after a long winter, it’s time for you to get outdoors and make the most of warmer weather. Here are some outdoor activities that you and your dog should try.
Go for a Walk
This one is the most obvious and most common outdoor activity for you and your dog, but there are ways to make your regular dog walk more interesting. You can change up your regular walks by walking in a new neighborhood or by joining a dog walking group.
Both are exciting ways to make your regular walks more interesting. Joining a dog walking group can give your dog the chance to play with other dogs. Surrounding ourselves with others can make your normal walk that much more fun.
Visit Your Local Dog Park
Dog parks can be a great way to exercise and socialize your dog, and you too! Visiting a dog park can give your dog the opportunity to interact and play with other dogs. While there, you can hang out with other dog owners to make it a fun and social outdoor activity for you and your dog.
Before you head down to your local dog park, be sure to brush up on some of the basics of Dog Park Etiquette. Here is a quick refresher:
Make sure that your dog has his relevant licenses up to date
Keep an eye on how your dog is behaving around other dogs
Check to make sure your dog’s vaccinations are current
Always clean up after your pup
Don’t bring your dog if he is aggressive and does not like strangers
At the end of the day, you know your dog best. If your pup seems uncomfortable at the dog park, consider removing him from the situation. If your dog is the anxious type, you can calm his nerves with CBD. CBD is a natural substance that has been proven to improve symptoms of anxiety, so your pup can make the most of the dog park.
Go for a Quick Dip
If it is hot out, taking your pup for a walk might put him in danger of heat stroke or burnt paws. That is why swimming is a great outdoor activity for both you and your dog. Swimming can help cool you and your pup down on those warm summer days.
Swimming is a great, low impact activity that is a great choice for aging or injured pups. You can take your dog to a local beach to enjoy a quick dip. Or you can to see if your community pool has any dog days. Dog days are designated days at the pool that allow pet owners to bring their dog to the pool for a nice swim.
Camping is a great way to get outdoors and take a break from the fast pace of life for both you and your dog. Camping can help you and your dog gets in tune with nature. Getting outside and surrounding your pup with new sights, smells, and sounds will refresh his senses.
Bring the Games Outdoors
Playing the games you normally play inside into the outdoors can add another level of fun for you and your dog. Playing fetch inside is fun and all, but taking it to the backyard or the park gives you and your dog so much more room to play. You can play almost any game with your dog outdoors to make the most of nicer weather.
Test Your Dog’s Agility
Agility is one of the most popular canine sports. Agility classes are an outdoor activity that puts your dog’s skills to the test. If you think that your pup might be a secret athlete, sign the two of you up for an agility class.
In an agility class, you get to try and direct your dog around an obstacle course. If your dog is an active type, this class will be a lot of fun for the two of you. Get outdoors with this activity and help your dog up their running and jumping skills.
Take a Hike
Although this outdoor activity is not something that you can do every day, it is still a fun way to get you and your dog outside. Immerse yourselves in new surroundings in this outdoor activity for just you two. You can start by choosing easier hiking trails and work your way up to more challenging ones. Talk about a fun outdoor challenge.
Check Out Local Events
Getting outdoors with your dog can be as easy as walking over to the local fair, run, or walk. Many communities and cities host dog-friendly events. Check your local community to see if there are any local outdoor events that you can bring your pup along for.
Some outdoor activities for you and your dog don’t require much activity at all. Getting outside with your pup can be as easy as heading to the park just to relax. If you are looking to wind down and want your pup to chill out too, try giving him some CBD dog treats.
The article is originally published on FOMO Bones.
For the dog-lover, few things in life are as difficult as watching a pet suffer. Unlike humans, dogs can’t say what they’re feeling, which makes keeping them happy, healthy and pain-free a challenge. When your furry friend has a tummy ache (or something more serious), it can be all-consuming and worrying. The best thing you can do is to trust your intuition and to know what stomach woes require waiting out and which should prompt a visit to the vet. Here are some signs signifying that your pet doesn’t feel well.
Easing Your Pup’s Belly Blues
The first thing you should do when formulating a treatment plan for Fido is to seek the advice of an expert. A veterinarian will help rule out any chronic, genetic or life-threatening gastrointestinal issues and help you determine if your pup has any food allergies. If your vet rules the condition non-life-threatening and sends you home, you’ll want to introduce gut-friendly foods and digestive enzymes into their diet. Vets often recommend canned pumpkin, boiled chicken, beef broth and ice cubes (to keep the pup hydrated) for easing canine tummy troubles.
The most important thing you should do as a concerned dog owner is to know the warning signs of the most life-threatening and time-sensitive digestive issues, especially bloat and gastric dilation volvulus. If you know what to look for, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to respond quickly so that your pup’s tummy ache doesn’t turn into an emergency.
Contributed by Morgan Walker Clarke
Backyards are the personal playgrounds of dogs everywhere. They can frolick, play, and relax without the worries of outside harm. But creating a space that is safe and healthy for your pet while also being a place humans can enjoy is sometimes difficult. Here are 7 fabulous backyard design ideas that will satisfy humans and dogs alike.
1. Dog Path
Whether or not you have a fence your dog will likely destroy the perimeter of your yard. Dogs are territorial and love to run along fence lines and property edges surveying the terrain and just getting in some exercise. Planning to keep grass alive along their favorite run paths is a futile goal.
Rather than deal with the look of dead grass and to help eliminate the issue of muddy paws consider putting in a dog path. This is just a stone or gravel path along the edges of your property, fence or wherever your k-9 insists on wearing down the grass. It will look nice and solve a few problems at the same time.
2. Grass Alternatives
While we’re on the subject of grass it’s a good time to discuss the dead spots your lawn is likely experiencing. Dog urine will kill most lawn grasses. Unless you’re following your dog outside and spraying where they relieve themselves there isn’t much you can do to stop it. If you would like to prevent the look of dead spots in your grass consider changing your grass.
There are several hardier varieties of grass that can be planted in your backyard. Or you can ditch the grass all together and go for a turf, gravel or mulch. Your choices are only limited by your backyard layout and your imagination.
A sandbox is a great addition to any dog-friendly yard. You can purchase a full sandbox or build a frame and drive stakes into the ground to hold it in place. Dogs love digging in the sand, burying their toys and even laying in the sand on a warm day. As sand is typically cooler than the surrounding dirt.
The first thing that comes to the mind of dog owners with a yard is whether or not it’s fenced. And with good reason. Yard fencing not only protects your dogs from getting out but also protects other animals from getting in. Fences can have many other benefits to homeowners as well such as; noise reduction, privacy and aesthetics.
5. Shaded Area
Dogs may want to spend a lot of their time outdoors in the warmer months. Shaded areas are often up to 10 degrees cooler than their non-shaded counterparts. Having a shaded place for dogs or humans to retreat from the heat is a great addition to any backyard. Trees are a great source of shade but often require lots of upkeep.
6. Water Features
As with added shade water features can help keep dogs safe and comfortable on hotter days. Installing a large in ground water fountain or small pond is an aesthetically pleasing option but can sometimes be cost prohibitive.
Other options include; putting in a sprinkler for your pups or installing a dog water fountain that attaches to your garden hose and allows them to step on a pedal to get a drink when they feel it necessary.
7. Dog Safe Plants
A wonderfully landscaped backyard typically induces images of fabulous plant life. Plants are an amazing way to add color and style to any yard. If you are sharing the space with a dog however; it is important to consider whether or not the plants are safe for your four-legged best friend.
There are several varieties of plants that can make your dogs very ill if ingested. Some stunning dog safe plants that can be added to your backyard oasis include: snapdragons, sunflowers and marigolds. Complete lists of safe and unsafe plants can be found online and most reputable landscaping companies have a working list of plants that are pet-safe and geographic ideal for you to choose from.
When designing a fabulous backyard hideaway there is no reason why dogs and humans alike can’t get everything they want. All it takes is a little forethought, some careful planning and an adventurous spirit. Let your imagination run wild and soon enough you will be sitting in your backyard dream come true, experiencing your own sense of satisfaction while witnessing the glee of your pup.
Abi Pennavaria is a dog mom and co-author of the the Saved By The Bark. She spends her free time as a volunteer veterinarian, and enjoys sharing tips and tricks for dog owners of all breeds.
The thought of pets who are neglected, hungry, and frightened in a cage is a huge emotional driver for people to adopt; however, many animals surrendered to shelters or found on the street can be older, less desirable, or in need of ongoing medical care. These pets tend to be overlooked, even by the majority of pet-loving humans looking to adopt a forever friend.
Because of this, we like to highlight harder-to-place animals to help them find their perfect home. Our Why Not Me? (#WhynotMEpets) program is dedicated to give homeless cats and dogs who need more care and attention a chance to find a home as quickly as possible. These are the ones left asking “Why Not Me?” – vulnerable pets who are harder to home such as those who have been homeless for an extended time, senior pets, those with medical needs and/or behavioral issues, pets who aren’t thriving in the shelter environment, and those that make up a large percentage of the shelter population, such as bully mixes. Additionally, cats and dogs can suffer from a “black pet” stigma, shy animals, and those who must be the only pet in a home aren’t easy to find forever homes for either.
“We try tremendously hard to get hard-to-place pets a second look by adopters,” says Amy Ferguson, Executive Director of Pawsitive Alliance. “It’s challenging when those pets get left behind – sometimes for years. Exposure on social media and TV helps a great deal, but pet parents still don’t necessarily go to a shelter thinking they’re going to adopt a senior cat or a Pitbull mix. We have a lot of stereotypes to overcome.”
According to Mercola, senior shelter pets across the U.S. are the least likely to be adopted, perhaps due to a variety of reasons, however the reality is that they’re the best pets to adopt! Older pets are less destructive, more relaxed, and can still learn new tricks. It’s much easier for potential adopters to get a sense of their new pet when they’re mature – you know how big they will get and their personalities are already developed. Also, many senior-savers report that older pets are full of gratitude upon adoption. “They truly seem to understand what you have done for them,” continues Amy. “These frosted faces are so full of love and loyalty; most all pets are upon adoption, but we see it so strongly in older dogs and cats.”
For pets who need ongoing medical care, adopters should realize that managing health conditions comes with pet parenthood, no matter if you’ve adopted a puppy, kitten, differently-abled or senior pet. Unfortunately, millions of animals are put down in shelters every year simply because they have special needs and as such, are deemed “unadoptable.” Many of these “less adoptable” pets spend up to two years waiting for a forever home, more than four times the average wait. Granted, pets with special needs will need an extra special parent who will have the resources and patience to take care of a terrific tripod (a pup with three legs) or a diabetic cat who needs daily insulin. However, it’s important to remember that those with unique circumstances make fantastic companions, regardless!
Of course, most all dog lovers and pet parents know of bully breed issues at shelters, or even larger dogs perceived to be aggressive (“guard dogs” that look like Rottweilers, Dobermans, or German Shepherds). There are considerable barriers to overcome when adopting these pups: the person adopting them will need to have room and energy for exercise and will need to understand the social hurdles that come with adopting a dog that people might be scared of. And of course, not all these pups need to be hiking buddies or agility athletes; each dog is an individual. The most important part of the puzzle is the pet parent, who will not just be rescuing the dog but will also serve as advocate for the breed.
Other hard-to-home dogs and cats are those who are shy or fearful – shelters can be a very hard environment for some animals, and rightfully so – or even the “wrong color.” Many people perceive black cats to be bad luck, and black dogs to be evil. “Remember – it’s what’s on the inside that counts,” says Ms. Ferguson. “You just need your personalities to click. And then by giving an animal a chance, you’ll get to see them bloom.”
If you’re still not sold on helping out a furry face who’s seen their fair share of obstacles, maybe you could do it for you. Imagine how good you’ll feel giving an older dog, a bull breed, or a pet with special needs a chance. Plus, it’s been scientifically proven that a pet’s unconditional love affects us in wonderful ways by lessening our feelings of loneliness and getting us outside for a walk.
After adopting your new buddy, you’ll want to buy toys, bedding, leashes, food — and you’ll need to pet-proof your home and ready the family for your new member. But have you considered pet insurance as well? By enrolling as soon as you can, older dogs and cats can be covered through many of life’s (mis)adventures. You can start protecting your pet today by getting a free quote through Healthy Paws Pet Insurance.
Content provided by Healthy Paws Pet Insurance. Policies are underwritten and issued by ACE American Insurance Company, Indemnity Insurance Company of North America, ACE Property & Casualty Insurance Company, Atlantic Employers Insurance Company, Westchester Fire Insurance Company, and members of the Chubb Group.
Are you one of the many pet parents who is trying to decide whether or not to switch from a grain free diet based on a recent FDA study?
From Pawsitive Alliance Board member, Tammy Halstead:
I’m a pet parent that switched to grain free for my pugs, and saw a remarkable improvement in their skin allergies. Then on June 27th the FDA released a status report on their investigation into the potential connection between certain diets and pet foods many labeled as "grain-free," which contained a high proportion of peas, lentils, other legume seeds, and/or potatoes as main ingredients, and cases of canine heart disease. I want to make the right decisions for my best friends, so does this mean I should stop feeding grain free?
The following information has been provided by our friends at Petcurean:
As per the FDA’s release, it’s important to note that the FDA does not yet know how certain diets may be associated with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in some dogs. Here are a few key points outlined in the FDA’s latest update:
We all need to do our homework and understand the nutritional needs of our own dogs. To help you we have provided a link to the FDA Q&A as well as a blog from the Nutrition Team at Petcurean which is regularly updated as new information from the FDA studies is received.
· FDA Q&A
· Petcurean DCM Update:
Imagine an area the size of Connecticut with no humane societies and where 95% of animals have never had a vaccination or been spayed or neutered. It sounds like the rural South or another country where animals are not valued, but that is not the case—it’s the Okanogan area in Washington State.
Tom Short with Okan Dogs is one of the few trying to help the homeless pets in this area. In three years, he has helped over 3000 dogs, about 2/3 of which are puppies. He is the one who gets the call when dogs are sick, injured or threatened with harm because they are a nuisance.
Okan Dogs sees a mix of breeds with about 10% bully mixes and the rest largely heelers, cattle dogs, and dingo mixes. The bully breeds are the hardest to place and where Tom sees the biggest need. Working with a local benefactor, Okan Dogs has started Danny’s Fund where he can get these bully breeds spayed and neutered for free.
Okan Dogs will also work with individuals to get moms spayed after a litter through the Mom’s Last Litter Program. However, all this work must be done through local veterinarians as there are no low cost spay/neuter clinics in the entire area.
A partnering group, Okan Snip has been working to get a clinic in the area and offering some help to low income residents. But, the need is great. Tom says that occasionally a spay/neuter clinic sets up on tribal land and there is a willingness to get those services. However, these are just not enough to make a difference in the numbers of dogs and cats in the area.
Even with taking in almost 700 animals last year, Tom helps them all find homes. He has been lucky in the past to work with rescue partners in Western Washington and Northern Oregon. Lately, his rescue partners have been dropping out. However, the need for help continues to grow.
Pawsitive Alliance recognizes the need to help the animals across Washington state and wants to help Tom reconnect with rescue groups and shelters that would be willing to accept transferred animals. Tom is willing and able to make the trip across the pass in his AWD van to meet rescue groups in North Bend, even during the winter months. Although he can’t guarantee what breed of dogs he can bring or whether he can bring puppies, Tom is willing to make the commitment to make sure “his” dogs find great homes.
Sometimes it takes an army and only by working together will we be able to truly make a difference for all dogs and cats in Washington State. If your group is interested in working with Tom, please let Pawsitive Alliance know (email us at firstname.lastname@example.org), as we would love to help connect you.
Is there anything more heart-wrenching than leaving your dog behind while you go away on vacation? Instead of feeling guilty over your pooch’s anxious whines and puppy dog eyes, invite your pet to tag along on your next trip! Traveling with dogs can be a great experience, and when done correctly, it’s even cheaper than hiring a pet sitter. Here’s what you need to know about staying safe and saving money while traveling with your dog.
Plane, train, or automobile? Driving is without a doubt the cheapest option for dog owners, as well as the most convenient. On a road trip, you can stop for bathroom breaks whenever you need, and you won’t be separated from your pet.
Most airlines charge around $100 one-way for pets and require a veterinary exam. Since only small dogs are permitted to travel in the cabin, large dogs have to travel in cargo, where they’re separated from their owners. Cargo travel is also more expensive — around $200 one-way. Cargo travel may not be acceptable based on outside temperatures and breed of dog. Consider carefully before having your dog travel in cargo. Also, research the airline to find out what considerations they provide for pets travelling in cargo.
Train travel may be a happy medium for dog owners who prefer not to drive. Amtrak accepts small dogs up to 20 pounds for $26 one-way. However, like airlines, Amtrak has specific requirements for pet carriers so be sure yours meets the criteria.
Choosing a Dog-Friendly Destination
The destination has a big impact on your vacation’s price tag. For an affordable vacation, look for destinations with dog-friendly outdoor activities like hiking trails and dog-friendly beaches. Serious outdoor lovers can take it a step further and camp for cheap or free lodging. If camping isn’t your style, look into cabin rentals at state parks. In many smaller state parks, you can rent a pet-friendly rustic cabin for around $60 or less per night.
Not the outdoorsy type? Don’t worry. An urban vacation can be just as pet-friendly as a backcountry one. Look for cities known for their dog-lovers — you’ll be more likely to find bars and restaurants that welcome pets, a big convenience when you’re on the go with your dog.
Dog Safety While Traveling
Keeping your pet safe while traveling requires more precaution than at home. You’ll need to buy new gear to keep your dog safe everywhere you go, but you don’t have to go broke doing it. When shopping for pet travel essentials, look for coupon codes that you can enter at checkout for savings. For example, you can locate an eBay coupon today and have it ready to go whenever you find the gear and supplies you need to get started.
Below are a few of the essentials you should keep in mind:
Owners should also carry their dog’s veterinary records while traveling. This leads to quicker treatment in an emergency and prevents unnecessary (and expensive!) testing. While getting records from your veterinarian, check that your dog’s microchip is registered using your current address and phone number.
Traveling with your pooch may cost a little more than jet-setting solo, but at the end of the day, you’ll have more fun and pay less than if you’d hired a pet sitter. While traveling with your dog averages $103 in extra costs per trip, pet sitting can run $75 or more a night. Now that’s a great excuse to bring your four-legged friend along!
Many pet parents know the importance of spaying or neutering pets, and frequently assume pets at the shelter level are being spayed or neutered. But have you wondered why? At Pawsitive Alliance, we not only help “less desirable” pets get adopted with the Why Not Me? pets program, but we also run an essential spay/neuter program in our home state of Washington.
A quick recap: Spaying is the surgical removal of the ovaries and uterus in a female animal, while neutering refers to the surgical removal of the testicles in males. The surgery is typically painless and uncomplicated; pets are under anesthesia and it’s the most common surgery performed by vets.
· Your pet will live a longer, healthier life.
Spaying helps prevent uterine infections and breast cancer, which is fatal in about 50 percent of dogs and 90 percent of cats. Spaying your pet before her first heat offers the best protection from these diseases. For males, besides preventing unwanted litters that can end up in kill shelters, neutering your male companion prevents testicular cancer, if done before six months of age. For both, there are studies that link even skin cancer to intact pets.
· Your spayed female won’t go into heat and your male dog will want to stay home.
While cycles can vary, female felines usually go into heat four to five days every three weeks during breeding season. In an effort to advertise for mates, they’ll yowl and urinate more frequently—sometimes all over the house! Unneutered cats and dogs may mark their territory by spraying strong-smelling urine all over as well. Think that’s bad? Well, an intact male will do just about anything to find a mate which includes digging his way under the fence or darting out the door. Once he’s free to roam, he can be hit by a car or risks getting into fights with other males. Neutered cats and dogs focus their attention on their human families. Also, many aggression problems can be avoided by early neutering.
· But won’t my neutered male feel less “manly”?
Your pet has no concept of sexual identity and ego. His biology and behavior developed in the wild to produce as many offspring as possible so his species could survive. In our modern world, this many offspring only add to the sum total of unwanted pets that end up homeless.
· Spaying or neutering will NOT make your pet gain weight.
Weight gain is from lack of exercise and overfeeding—not neutering. Your pet will remain fit and trim as long as you continue to provide exercise and monitor food intake.
· My pet is purebred. Shouldn’t I breed at least once?
Many purebred pets end up in shelters just like mixed breeds. The Humane Society of the United States estimates as many as 25% of shelter dogs are purebred. Plus, did you know that breeding in almost all cases requires a special permit? It is also costly, time consuming and does not create a clone of your pet. Responsible breeders would discourage this thought immediately.
· It is cost-effective to spay/neuter.
The cost of spay/neuter surgery is a lot less than the cost of having and caring for a litter. It also beats the cost of treatment when your unneutered tom escapes and gets into fights with the neighborhood stray! Additionally, there are many local resources available to people who need help financially for spay/neuter surgeries.
· It is good for the community.
Stray animals pose a real problem in many parts of the country. They can prey on wildlife which upsets the ecosystem, cause car accidents, frighten children and attack other pets. Spaying and neutering is the best way to reduce the number of animals on the streets.
· Spaying and neutering helps fight pet overpopulation.
Every year, millions of cats and dogs of all ages and breeds are euthanized or suffer as strays, or litters that have been surrendered. These high numbers are the result of unplanned kittens and puppies that could have been prevented by spaying or neutering.
Many of us can be affected by pets that are not spayed or neutered, but caring about homeless pets truly means caring about your community. Millions of tax dollars are spent annually to round up abandoned and unwanted pets, and when homes cannot be found, more dollars are spent on destroying these animals, which also takes an emotional toll. “It is only when all of us assume the responsibility for the homeless pet population that we will see any decrease in the problem,” explains Executive Director of Pawsitive Alliance, Amy Ferguson. “While shelters do their best to place animals in loving homes, many healthy and adoptable animals in our community are still vulnerable due to overpopulation. It’s up to the community to be responsible pet owners and spay/neuter their pets.”
If you’re interested in finding out how to spay or neuter your pet but are unable to afford it, and live in the Washington (state) area, check-out our free and low cost spay/neuter programs. For other areas, visit the Humane Society’s page detailing options for financial help.
After spaying or neutering your best furry friend, your next step in happy, healthy pet parenthood is pet insurance! By enrolling as soon as you can, dogs and cats can be covered through many of life’s (mis)adventures. You can start protecting your pet today by getting a free quote through Healthy Paws Pet Insurance.
We have many guest authors from volunteers, partner organizations, staff, and even donors. Thank you for your continued support of Pawsitive Alliance and making all of this possible.