Pet retailers from around the world are in Las Vegas this week to showcase their latest pet products. SuperZoo, the largest pet industry trade show in North America, features every kind of pet product imaginable: foods, treats, toys, leashes, grooming supplies, pet apparel, and the latest gadgets, all under one roof. Since SuperZoo is not open to the public, here are some pet products that caught my attention.
New Dental Treats
Most pet parents know that dental chews can help keep their pet’s teeth clean and gums healthy. The Missing Link® has recently released Smartmouth™, a new dental chew designed to not only keep their pet’s teeth clean, but also to provide them with essential vitamins and nutrients. The Missing Link® Smartmouth™ Dental Chews have unique ridges and textured grooves to help clean teeth, provide omega-3 fatty acids to promote a healthy shiny coat, glucosamine to support mobility and joint health, and Stay-C™, a patented form of vitamin C, to help fight tartar and promote healthy gums.
Have you ever taken your dog on a hike but forgot to bring a bowl? If you have, you know how hard it for dogs to drink water from a bottle. Fortunately, pet parents can choose from a variety of portable travel bowls. I like Bella Roma travel bowls because they are lightweight, collapsible, BPA-free, and unlike cloth travel bowls, they hold water better because they keep their shape. They even come with a carabiner so you can clip them to your purse, backpack, or your dog’s harness or leash, and not forget them at home. https://lovingpetsproducts.com/product-category/dog-bowls/bella-roma-travel-bowls/
Do you have a dog whose super power is destroying toys in under 5 minutes? HERO® has an assortment of durable toys designed with your dog in mind. HERO® Outer Armor™ dog toys are built for intense play and use the latest advances in materials, design, and technology for durability. HERO® Chuckles are plush dog toys that squeak, crunch, or chuckle. Unlike many plush toys, they have reinforced lining and stitching for extra durability. They are available at pet stores nationwide and Amazon.
Eco-Friendly Cat Litter
When it comes to litter, pet parents have many options to choose from. For environmentally-conscious cat parents, Healthy Pet® Okocat™ litter is a great choice. Okocat™ litter is a 100% natural litter that is good for your cat, your family, and the environment. It’s made from reclaimed wood and doesn’t have the chemicals or toxins found in many litters. It also comes in a variety of formulas, such as clumping, non-clumping, and different textures so there’s something for every cat. While fairly new in the US, Healthy Pet® is part of JRS, a family-owned company with 100+ years of natural fiber product research. https://www.healthy-pet.com/okocat
Fashionable Dog Carriers
Let’s face it, our dogs love spending time with us. One perk about having a small dog is that you can carry them in a sling and take them wherever you go. Susan Lanci has a great selection of stylish dog carriers, ranging from her high-end Luxury purse carriers, to her more accessible cozy Cuddle Carriers. Both collections made out of soft, plush materials and are designed to look great. No matter which carrier you choose, you and your pampered pet are ready to hit the town with one of her fashionable carriers.
Dogs and cats know the value of relaxation. Whenever they have any down time, you are likely to find them taking a nap. There’s a reason it’s called a “cat nap.” That’s why your pet will enjoy a comfy new bed from Susan Lanci Designs. Cuddle Cups are unique beds that can be used 3 different ways: like a sleeping bag for pets that like to tunnel, pulled open like a blanket, or the sides can be rolled up to make a bed. Cuddle Cups made from plush materials and they are available in several fun colors and patterns.
Super Stylish Pet Accessories
Everyone wants to look their best and pets are no exception. Susan Lanci Designs offers an assortment of clothing and accessories to make sure your pet looks fabulous. Her selection includes fashionable collars with trendy prints, chic bows, and real Swarovski crystals. She also offers a collection of elegant dresses, classy coats, and stylish harnesses. Whether your pet prefers understated elegance, or fashion-forward trends, you are guaranteed to find something that will turn heads.
This is just a sampling of some of the many products here at SuperZoo. To see more fun pet products and some of the amazing animal celebs at SuperZoo be sure to check out my Instagram page @drruthmacpete
Whenever I see a feral cat, I see the wild ancestral roots hiding just beneath the surface of every domestic cat. Even the wildest feral cat can be just one generation away from being someone’s pampered household pet. Feral cats are victims of their own success as efficient hunters and prolific breeders. Although their exact numbers are unknown, the Humane Society of the United States estimates that there are about 50 million feral cats in this country. The problem is not unique to the United States. You are just as likely to find them on the beaches of Phuket or the ruins in Rome as you are in your own neighborhood. If you look carefully, you will see them everywhere. You can see them basking in the sun, hiding under cars, or rummaging through garbage cans in alleys. While feral cats can survive without human assistance, they live a harsh existence and die prematurely from illness, injury, or starvation.
So what is being done to help feral cats?
Unfortunately there is no simple solution. In the United States, the majority of programs are trap-neuter-return (TNR) programs run by animal shelters and municipalities. These programs help control the feral cat population by humanely trapping feral cats, neutering or spaying them, and then returning them to their environment or moving them to a designated location. Some programs will even rent or loan humane traps to the public in order to help trap and neuter or spay feral cats in their neighborhoods. How effective are they? Studies have shown that these programs can reduce the overall feral cat population significantly and humanely.
How can you help?
Make sure your own cats are spayed and neutered so they are not contributing to the feral cat problem. Cats are prolific breeders and even someone’s pampered pet can result in another generation of feral cats. Besides being responsible with your own pets, support TNR programs financially. Monetary donations will not only fund operations to keep the program running, but also awareness campaigns to educate the public about the feral cat problem and how they can help. These programs also depend on volunteer support and you can help by volunteering your time with the trap-neuter-release programs or their educational campaigns.
The problem of pet overpopulation is worldwide. While there is no simple solution, the first step towards tackling the global problem should start in your own backyard.
For more information about TNR programs check out: https://trapkinghumane.org
Picking the right dog is more important than you may think. If you go to any shelter you will see countless numbers of homeless dogs that ended up there because they were a bad fit for their family or because their family did not anticipate the level of responsibility or financial impact a dog would have.
The decision to get a dog should not be taken lightly. Dogs are a significant investment of your time, money and emotions.
Before you decide to get a dog you need to ask yourself these questions…
Do you have time for a dog?
Do you have enough room or space for a dog?
Can you afford to properly care for them?
Are you prepared to take on this responsibility for the life of the dog- which could be 10-14 years?
If you answered yes to all of these questions then the next step is to decide which type of dog is best for you. In order to find the right dog I recommend people think about these things; size, coat, and activity level and temperment.
First it is imprtant to think about size. Would a big dog or small dog fit best in your family? Big dogs need more space, must have training and eat more. Can you afford to feed a 150# Great Dane? Do you have kids or elderly people that may not tolerate a big dog jumping on them? These are some of the things you need to consider when deciding what type of dog would be best for your family. Remember if you get a puppy they won’t always be small so again think about size before you decide.
Once you decide the best size dog for your family think about the coat or hair you prefer. This may sound like it’s a beauty preference but really this is about grooming and maintance. Long hair dogs need to be brushed regularly. Many dogs like Scotties or Poodles need regular professional grooming. Are you willing to do this? Or would a short hair, lower maintance dog be better for you? Keep in mind grooming doesn’t just involve hair brushing-many dogs require regular ear cleaning like Basset Hounds, Cocker spaniels and Bulldogs like Annie. Bulldogs also require regular facial fold cleaning to prevent skin infections. If you can’t imagine doing this- a Bulldog might not be the best dog for you.
Lastly people need to think about the activity level of the type of dog. That means you have to look at your own life. Are you a couch potato? Or a marathon runner? It helps to pick a dog that matches your level of activity. Weimeraners and Vislas are high energy dogs that love to run and need to run. They do best in active families. While Bulldogs are not able to exercise much and are also heat intolerant. Bulldogs are pretty sedantary dogs that tend to be happy just hanging out with the family. If you pick an active dog and don’t exercise them you are waiting for a disaster. Bored dogs become frustrated and often get destructive an dchew up furniture, shoes, etc. Likewise you don’t want to pick a Bulldog if you want a running partner.
Take the time to think about your lifestyle and don’t get a dog impulsively. Do your homework and researchg breeds so that when you look for a dog at the shelter you know what mixes to meet.. There are several books and websites that can help people look up breed traits and give questionnaires to help them find the perfect match!
Summer is almost here. Are you and your pets ready for some fun in the sun? I have put together a list of summer must-have products designed to keep your pets entertained, hydrated, safe, and even clean this summer.
Kids aren’t the only ones who love summer, our pets love summer too. Pets enjoy being outdoors, being active, and of course, playing. An all-time favorite is the irresistible game of fetch. Unfortunately, many dogs have so much energy, we usually get worn out long before they get tired. The Chuckit® Classic Launcher is the perfect solution. It allows you to throw a ball farther with less effort so that your arm won’t wear out. You can also use it to launch sticks, and for a little variety, they even make a Chuckit® Ring Launcher to launch a ring that bounces and rolls. Best of all, these launchers allow you to pick up the ball or ring without using your hands so you can keep your hands free of slobber and slime. If you have a frisbee dog, the Chuckit® Fetch Flight frisbee is designed to be easy to throw, easy to catch, and easy for your dog to pick it up.
Safety Tip: Remember to take it easy and not overdo it on a hot summer day. Avoid running or playing with your dog during the middle of the day when it’s hottest. Instead, exercise or play with your pooch in the early morning or evenings when it is typically cooler. And remember to stay hydrated!
Whether playing in the park, hiking along a trail, or playing on the beach, remember to bring water for yourself and your pet. Remember to bring a bowl since most dogs have trouble drinking from a water bottle. Fortunately, there are lots of great options for a travel bowl. I like Bella Roma travel bowls because they are lightweight, collapsible, and unlike cloth travel bowls, they keep their shape and hold water better. They even come with a carabiner so you can easily clip them to your purse, backpack, or your dog’s harness or leash.
During the dog days of summer, make sure your pets have access to fresh water. Encourage your pet to drink with a Petmate Fresh Flow Home fountain. The Petmate Fresh Flow Home fountain is like having an artesian spring in your home. The fountain provides a running supply of fresh water. It recirculates water through a carbon filter to keep it fresh and odor-free.
Safety Tip: Be sure your pet has access to water and shade whenever they are outside. Always carry water and bowls whenever you are out with your pet.
Be water-safe with your pets. Not all dogs are good swimmers. If you take your dog to the ocean, lake, or on a boat, make them wear a life vest if they aren’t strong swimmers. Choose a life vest specifically designed for dogs, and make sure it fits properly.
When the weather gets hot, remember that the ground gets hotter! Asphalt and sand absorb heat. They can get hot enough to scorch your pet’s sensitive pads. Protect your pet’s feet by investing in dog booties. Remember, if the ground is too hot for you, it’s too hot for your dog.
After a long day at the park, beach, or mountains, you and your dog will return happy, tired, and most likely, dirty. Don’t let the dirt faze you. It’s easy to keep your dog looking like they just came from the groomer. Remember to use a high-quality pet shampoo specially formulated for pets, like VetDerm Solutions Super Hydrating & Conditioning Pet Shampoo. As a vet, I often saw people use human shampoos or harsh pet shampoos to bathe their dogs. Although their pet smelled great by our standards, these heavily perfumed shampoos overwhelmed their dog’s sensitive sense of smell and left their pet’s skin and coat dry and itchy. That’s why I teamed-up with dermatologist and founder of SkinResource.MD Dr. Paul Dean to make VetDerm Solutions Super Hydrating & Conditioning Pet Shampoo. Our shampoo combines the highest quality ingredients to cleanse, hydrate and soothe your pet’s sensitive skin. It’s tear-free and kind to your dog’s sensitive nose with no added fragrances.
Have you ever thought about becoming a foster pet parent? Foster pet parents play an important role helping a shelter’s most vulnerable animals, yet most people know little about the positive impact foster pet parents make. Like their “human” counterparts, foster pet parents provide temporary care and housing. The animals they foster come from shelters or rescue groups and consist of the very young, sick, or injured. Given the large number of animals in a shelter and the shelter’s limited resources, shelters are often unable to care for animals that require additional attention, such as young animals that need frequent feedings, or the sick and injured that need additional medical care. As a result, shelters and rescue groups depend upon foster pet parents to care for these animals until they are old enough or healthy enough to be adopted, providing a vital bridge to their adoptive families.
Being a foster pet parent helps animals in many ways besides giving needed care and shelter. For example, with kittens and puppies, the foster home environment is better suited for young animals with immature immune systems than the crowded and stressful setting of a shelter. In addition, being in a home environment and getting the love and attention of their foster families prepares them for their future homes and helps socialize them. The same is true for injured and ill animals. The extra love and care from their foster families helps promotes a speedy recovery. As you can see, besides providing a needed lifeline for shelter animals, fostering prepares animals for their future families by exposing them to a loving setting.
If that wasn’t enough of a reason to be a foster pet parent, here is another, especially for parents: the benefits of fostering animals are reciprocal! Having fostered kittens, puppies, dogs, cats, and even ground squirrels, I have witnessed the positive impact of fostering on my family. My children have seen how our love and care helped these animals grow and get healthy for their adoptive families. Fostering has taught them to be gentle and to develop a respect for life. It also showed them the importance of hard work and dedication. There is a great sense of gratification knowing that your efforts saved a life and helped a deserving animal find its family.
For people who are interested in becoming pet parents but who have never had a pet before, being a foster parent is a great way to try out being a pet parent. If you aren’t sure if you and your family are ready to take on a pet for life, fostering may be the answer. You can have a pet in your home for a few weeks to months and determine if your family is ready to make a long-term commitment. It also allows you to determine if a particular pet is a good fit for your family or not. While you might be interested in a puppy, after fostering you may decide an older more settled dog may be better for your home or you may decide you want a cat instead of a dog. After all, becoming a pet parent is a major commitment and you want to be as sure as possible that you are making the right choice.
There is of course one other benefit of fostering shelter animals. As was the case with one of my many foster cats, opening your home and heart to a foster animal can sometimes lead to the addition of a new member to your family. It’s an unintended consequence, but under the right circumstances, fostering the right animal at the right time will serendipitously lead to the realization that your foster animal is a perfect addition to your family.
Foster pet parents play a vital role helping shelter animals that need extra care and attention to become adoptable. Being a foster pet parent is great for the animal, you, and your family. If you are interested in becoming a foster pet parent, contact your local shelters and local animal rescue groups. They will tell you what you need to do to become a foster parent and help you get started.
Hiking is a great activity for people and pets. Besides the beautiful scenery and fresh air, you get a healthy dose of exercise. Before you set out on a hike with your pet, here are a few things you should know.
Know the rules
First make sure the trail allows dogs. Some allow dogs but only if they are on a leash, others do not allow dogs at all. Most trails post signs at the trailhead to inform you if pets are permitted. Know the rules before you hit the trail. No one likes to arrive at the trailhead with a very excited pooch only to find out that no pets are allowed. Although it may be tempting to break the rules, do so at your own risk. Most parks have rangers who are not afraid to issue citations. It may not seem like a big deal but a ticket can a lot of money.
Know your pet’s ability
Be sure your dog is in good shape and can complete the hike. Otherwise, you may find yourself carrying them back. Some dogs, especially brachycephalic breeds and small dogs, do not have much stamina and cannot physically handle strenuous hikes. Others are just sedentary and don’t enjoy hiking. Years ago, I used to hike with my Doberman and Scottish terrier. My Dobie could hike for miles and miles and would never tire. My Scottie, on the other hand, loved hiking on level ground or downhill but would refuse to hike uphill. After having to carry my twenty-five pound Scottie uphill a few times, I learned my lesson and bought a dog backpack carrier. She loved it and I loved it because it was easier than carrying her in my arms. The main point is make sure you know your pet’s limits and don’t exceed them.
Be sure to bring plenty of water for yourself and your pets. Just like you, your pet will need to drink a lot of water while hiking in order to stay hydrated. The heat and exercise can lead to dehydration quickly if you and your pet are not drinking enough. Never assume you will find water on a trail. You never know when a stream or creek is going to be run dry. Also, drinking water from a stream is a good way to get intestinal parasites like giardia. Make sure you bring enough water for you and your pet and don’t forget to bring a collapsible bowl for your pet since it’s not easy for them to drink from a water bottle.
When hiking, always stay on the designated trails to avoid disturbing wildlife or damaging native plants. In addition to obeying the rules and helping protect the environment, staying on the trail can actually save your dog’s life. Poisonous snakes are found in every state except Alaska, Hawaii, and Maine. Although you may not realize it, you and your pet may not be the only ones enjoying the hiking trails on a warm summer day. By keeping your pet leashed and on the trails, you can pull your dog away from danger and you are keeping them out of a snake’s favorite hiding place, like brush and piles of rubble. For more info about poisonous snakes and what to do if your pet is bitten, read my previous blog on poisonous snakes. While not as dangerous as a venomous snake, plants with thorns and cacti are a common outdoor hazard for your pet. Keeping your pet leashed and on the trail can protect them from becoming a cactus pincushion. Keeping them on a leash will also keep them out of harms way by keeping them away from cliffs, waterfalls, and rivers. After you finish your hike, check your dog’s fur and in between their toes for thorns, cactus stickers, foxtails, and burrs, and look for ticks, especially if you live in an area endemic for Lyme disease.
In line with the Boy Scout motto, being prepared can make all the difference in the world between an enjoyable outdoor excursion and wilderness misadventure. Before you set out on a hike, know the trail rules and bring plenty of water for yourself and your pet. Remember to keep your pet on a leash and on the trail. Afterwards, check their fur and feet closely after hikes. Hiking is a great activity that people and pets can enjoy together. Hopefully these tips will help you and your pet stay safe while enjoying the great outdoors.
This month’s Pet of the Month is Odie from Pug Nation LA. Odie is a very special 1 year old male neutered pug. Although every dog is a gem, Odie shines with a rare light that separates him from the pack.
Odie has a medical condition called hydrocephalus, a condition where there is an excess of cerebrospinal fluid that has leaked inside a dog’s skull and causes brain swelling. It is often referred to as water on the brain. Odie’s condition is likely congenital, meaning he was born with the condition. Affected animals often have abnormal gaits and appear spastic or wobbly. They can circle or fall over to one side and often have trouble with training.
Due to his neurological issue, his former family had to make the difficult decision to relinquish Odie into the care of Pug Nation LA. Since arriving, Pug Nation reports that “he has become worlds calmer and has been adjusting quite well to his (hopefully temporary) new surroundings. He has made animal and human friends and has captured the staffs’ hearts with his loveable and happy nature. His long-term prognosis is unknown (already suffering from sight loss) and he probably won’t be the easiest to train due his condition.”
However, Pug Nation wants everyone to know that Odie is extremely LOVABLE! This precious little baby boy is playful and energetic but also very cuddly when he is relaxed. Pug Nation is looking for someone to welcome this adorable special needs Pug into their home.
As the weather around the country gets warmer, our pets spend more and more time outside. Unfortunately, being outdoors can expose our pets to ticks and tick-borne illnesses. Before you head-out to the great outdoors, make sure you know how to protect your pets from ticks and tick-borne diseases.
Ticks spread disease
Ticks are found throughout the United States and can spread diseases like Lyme disease, Ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Anaplasmosis, Tularemia, and Babesia. Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses are a significant source of morbidity in people and dogs. Lyme disease is endemic in the Northeast/mid-Atlantic (from northeastern Virginia to Maine), upper Midwest (mostly Wisconsin and Minnesota), and the West Coast (mostly northern California).
Think ticks are just a summer problem? Think again. In warmer climates, ticks are a year-round problem. Even in colder climates, ticks can wake from their winter slumber and become active if the temperature rises above 32 Fahrenheit. Some ticks, like the brown dog tick, can even survive indoors and inside kennels year-round. For these reasons, the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) recommends year-round tick control. So, what can you do to protect your pets from tick-borne illnesses year-round?
How to protect your pets
1. Tick control
Luckily there are numerous products available to prevent tick infestations. Speak with your veterinarian to find out what tick control product is best for your particular pet.
2. Lyme Vaccine
If you live in a region where Lyme disease is endemic, consider protecting your dog with a vaccine against Lyme disease. For more information and to find-out if your dog is a good candidate for the Lyme vaccine, speak with your veterinarian.
3. Daily Checks
Inspect your pet for ticks on a daily basis. Know what ticks look like and give your pet a head-to-tail inspection. Your pet will love the extra attention and you might find a tick before it has a chance to spread disease.
4. Lawn Maintenance
Take care of your yard. Mow regularly and keep your yard clear of tall grass and weeds where ticks like to hide.
Ticks are more than a nuisance; they pose a threat to your pet’s health. Talk to your veterinarian for more information about ticks and the best way to protect your pets.
For more information about ticks and how to protect your dog check out the CDC website.