Cat Bites

Cat Bites CAN Be Dangerous

When is a cat’s nip more than a nip? When it’s a bite, intentional or not.

And bites to the hand can often be serious. Studies have shown that a shocking 80% of cat bites, even those that don’t bleed, become infected. The hand is one of the worst places to get bitten because the tendons and joints are very close to the surface of the skin and are therefore harder to treat if bacteria gets into the wound. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) says that a cat bite can even lead to permanent disability if not treated promptly.

Cat bites are twice as likely to become infected because their sharp teeth cause deep puncture wounds, injecting bacteria further inside them. Approximately 400,000 cat bites occur every year in this country, with 66,000 of them requiring trips to the emergency room.

Three out of four bite infections are due to Pasteurella Multocida, a bacteria that’s found in a cat’s mouth, and which, if left untreated, can cause cellulitis. Most people recover from cellulitis, but if severe enough, this bacterial skin infection can spread throughout the body and become life threatening.

Infections in the hand can destroy cartilage and prevent one’s fingers from moving in the future, while a chronic infection can destroy joints and bones, and lead to amputation. The bacteria can spread to the rest of the body and cause sepsis. If one’s immune system is compromised, other rare complications include bone or heart infections and meningitis. And since rabies, tetanus and other transmittable diseases can occur if the cat is a stray or a stranger, the best protection is keeping one’s tetanus shots current.

To reduce your risk of being bitten, it’s essential to understand why cats bite in the first place – including their instincts to hunt and play. Avoid picking up or reaching for cats you don’t know. Look for signs of anxiety or stress in your own cat and pay attention to the signals. But, if you do get a bite, wash it thoroughly with mild soap and rinse it with running water. Pat it dry and apply antibiotic ointment to the wound, then cover it with a clean bandage. Place some ice (an ice pack is best) on it to reduce the swelling, put pressure on the wound, and elevate it.

See your doctor as quickly as possible. You’ll likely be put on a regimen of antibiotics and receive a tetanus shot if yours is out of date, and possibly a rabies shot if your doctor thinks it’s necessary.

If you treat the wound promptly and seek medical attention swiftly, it’s unlikely that you’ll suffer any serious complications. But then, being prepared for a bite is one part of being an informed and responsible cat owner.


Article by Nomi Berger

Keeping Dogs Warm in the Cold

With the wind gusting, snow falling and thermometer plunging, conscientious dog owners are making certain that their precious pets remain snuggly safe and warm this winter.

Keep all dogs indoors, preferably in warm “go to” places away from drafts. To ensure their skin and coat are protected against the drier air – inside and out — brush them more often than usual. Pay special attention to both elderly and arthritic dogs, as their joints may stiffen in the cold, making their movements more awkward and painful.

If you have a wood-burning fireplace and light a fire, ensure that your dog is a safe distance from the heat, flames and flying embers. This reduces the risk of singed fur, hair, paws and tails. The same applies to space heaters, except that, in this case, a dog can knock over the heater itself, possibly causing a fire.

Weather permitting, the happiest, healthiest dogs are those being walked and exercised on a regular basis. But before going outside, dress your dog — particularly seniors and smaller breeds – in a heavy sweater or coat. The colder the temperature, the greater the protection and should include waterproof, padded parkas with hoods and dog booties.

Always keep your dog on a leash, whether you’re on a city street or a country road near a frozen pond or lake. There’s nothing more dangerous or frightening than a dog running loose in the snow, possibly losing all sense of direction, or falling through the ice into the water.

When it’s cold and snowy, many dogs will resist pottying outside. Ensure that they’re warmly, but comfortably dressed, and stand close to them, perhaps with an opened umbrella to shield them and keep them dry.

Dogs lose most of their body heat from the pads of their feet, their ears, and their respiratory tract. Monitor them closely for any signs of discomfort. If they begin to shiver or whine, appear anxious, slow down or stop moving altogether, it’s time to go back inside. Be on guard as well for two more serious conditions: frostbite and hypothermia.

Once indoors, dry your dog thoroughly, paying special attention to their paws and the pads of their feet. Licking at any salt and antifreeze coating their pads can make them sick, while the combination of ice and salt can cause their pads to crack and bleed.

Never leave your dog alone in a car for any length of time on a cold day. Cars are like giant refrigerators on wheels. The only safe place for your dog on a cold day is a warm home.


Article by Nomi Berger

Holiday Hoopla and Doggy Health Hazards

With the holidays approaching, it’s time to think not only about celebrating, but also about dog safety.

To ensure that the season stays merry and bright, plan ahead and start early. Change the appearance of your home from everyday to holiday gradually, over a period of several weeks. This will allow your dog time to grow comfortable with everything from new or additional furniture and tabletop arrangements to wall and window decorations. To encourage your dog to view this as something positive, reinforce the sentiment by keeping him occupied with Kongs filled with cheese spread or peanut butter, or puzzle toys to puzzle over while you slowly transform the space around him. Maintain your dog’s normal feeding and walking schedules. Ensure that your dog’s “go to” place for security remains the same, unless you know from past experience that his doggy bed, crate or favorite blanket should be moved to a room far from the festivities.

Whether you’re hosting a single event or several, follow the same routine to minimize your dog’s potential uneasiness. Ask any unfamiliar guests and all of the children to calmly ignore your dog. Monitor your dog for any signs of anxiety or stress, and lead him to his “safe” place if necessary. On the other hand, if he appears relaxed and is eagerly going from guest to guest, provide them with some of his favorite treats so that they can keep him happily fed.

Be conscious of and careful about the greenery you bring into your home. The sap of the Poinsettia plant is considered mildly toxic, and can cause nausea or vomiting in your dog. Holly is considered moderately toxic and can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, whereas mistletoe is severely toxic and can cause everything from gastrointestinal disorders to cardiovascular problems. Christmas trees are considered mildly toxic. Their oils can irritate your dog’s mouth and stomach, causing excessive drooling and/or vomiting, while their prickly needles are hazardous to your dog’s entire GI tract. Wherever possible, keep all plants beyond your dog’s reach, or else watch him carefully for signs of curiosity, interest, or the impulse to either lick or chew. To err on the side of caution, buy artificial plants instead.

Consider next the breakable ornaments and dangling tinsel, shiny ribbons, ropes of small lights and flickering candles. All eye-catching eye candy to curious canines – from noses and teeth to paws and tails.

Hang delicate ornaments higher on the tree and resist placing any in decorative bowls on low surfaces. Not only can dogs choke on them, but the sharp edges of any broken pieces can lacerate their mouths, throats and intestines. Drape tinsel higher on the tree as well, and keep ribbons on gifts underneath the tree to a minimum. If tinsel or ribbons are swallowed, they can twist and bunch inside a dog’s intestines, causing serious, sometimes fatal, damage if not caught quickly enough.

Artificial snow is toxic and should be avoided at all costs. Lights, large and small, solid and flickering are another danger, not only because they are hot and breakable, but because of the electrical cords holding them together. If bitten, they can cause electrical shock if not properly grounded, and if frayed, they can cause severe lacerations to your dog’s tongue.

Place all lighted candles out of reach to reduce the risk of singed fur and pads, paws and tails, and lower the chance of them being tipped over, leaving burning wax everywhere or worse, starting a fire.


As appetizing as holiday fare is for people, it can prove agonizing, even lethal for pets. The most notorious offenders are:

Grapes: Although the precise substance which causes the toxicity in grapes is unknown (some dogs can eat grapes without incident, while others can eat one and become seriously ill), keep them away from your dog.

Onions and garlic: The sulfoxides and disulfides in both destroy red blood cells and can cause serious blood problems, including anemia.

Ham: High in salt and fat, it can lead to stomach upsets and, over time, pancreatitis.

Macademia nuts: Within 12 hours of ingesting them, dogs can experience weakness, depression, tremors, vomiting and hyperthermia (increased body temperature), lasting between 12 and 48 hours. If your dog is exhibiting any of these symptoms, contact your vet immediately.

Bones: Whether rib roasts or lamb chops, turkey, chicken or duck, they all have bones. Thick ones and thin ones. Brittle, fragmented and splintered ones. Whatever the size, shape or texture, they all spell the same thing: danger. From throat scratches to stomach perforations to bowel obstructions. To safeguard against these painful possibilities, all leftovers, particularly bones, should be carefully wrapped and promptly disposed of.

Fat trimmings: They cause upset stomachs, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Alcohol: It’s traditional to celebrate the holidays with more alcohol than usual – in cooking and in drinks such as eggnog and fruit punch. For safety’s sake, keep these temptations (including partially eaten plates of food and half-empty glasses) out of reach of your dog to avoid intoxication and alcohol poisoning.

Chocolates: Although chocolate has long been taboo for dogs, most chocolates are wrapped in foil for the holidays. Now, not only can your dog get sick from eating the chocolate, the wrappers themselves can get stuck in his throat or cause problems as they work their way through his digestive tract.

Christmas pudding, cake and mince pie: Filled with potentially toxic raisins, currants, and sultanas, they are also made with fat and suet, and laced with alcohol — from scotch and brandy to sugary liqueurs.


And so, with some strategic planning beforehand, you and your doggy dearest can be assured of spending the happiest and safest of holidays together.


Article by Nomi Berger

Dogs and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

As the days grow darker and shorter, and the thermometer plummets, so does the mood of millions of people living in the Northern Hemisphere. But humans are not the only ones affected by what scientists refer to as Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. Our dogs – even the happiest, most active and energetic ones — can suffer the same dramatic downturn in mood.

In some veterinary studies, one third of the dog owners surveyed reported a steep plunge in their dogs’ otherwise happy and balanced personalities during the winter. According to them, nearly half of their dogs were less active, while half of them slept longer and were more difficult to rouse in the morning.

The British veterinary organization PDSA (People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals) recently listed some of the symptoms displayed by dogs suffering from SAD. They include aggressive behavior or soiling inappropriately, clawing at the furniture, either demanding more attention or appearing withdrawn, frequent barking, lethargy, less interest in going for walks or playing either with people, other dogs or toys, and reduced appetite accompanied by weight loss.

According to scientists, the reason for these behavioral changes in both humans and dogs appears to stem from the effect that light has on two significant hormones. The first is melatonin, produced in the pineal gland. The second is serotonin, produced in the brain.

Melatonin, often referred to as the “hormone of darkness”, plays a vital role in regulating the sleep cycle. The pineal gland is light sensitive, and because melatonin is usually secreted at night, the less light there is – as in the shorter, darker days of winter — the greater the production of melatonin. Key among its many, negative effects: lethargy, loss of appetite and sleepiness.

Serotonin, often referred to as the “feel good” substance in the brain also affects mood, appetite and sleep – but in an entirely different way. In this case, it’s sunlight that’s needed for the production of serotonin.

There are ways, however, to combat the effects of daylight’s diminishing hours on your dog’s mood before the full onset of winter. Start by ensuring that his regular exercise regime is maintained, and that his diet is well balanced. If your dog is already showing signs of lethargy or withdrawal, talk constantly and comfortingly to him and play games — such as hiding his favorite toys or tug-o-war — to keep him active and engaged. Studies show that dogs left alone most of the day are those who suffer the most. To rectify this, spend more time with your dog, hire a dog walker, or place him in doggy daycare.

Since the absence of bright light seems to be the major cause of SAD, the other solutions involve raising your dog’s direct exposure to as much light as possible. Place his bed close to a window or glass door. Change the schedule of his walks so that he is outside during the brightest portion of the day, and keep the lights on inside, particularly on the dullest days.

Ultimately, though, it’s the composition of the light that matters most. The more closely it resembles natural daylight, the more therapeutic it is. Just as there are specially designed “light boxes” for people with SAD, there are now similar light boxes for dogs. Owners opting for less expensive solutions need simply replace old, tungsten light bulbs with new, compact white fluorescent ones, labeled either “full spectrum” or “daylight.” Turn these lights on for at least an hour each day, then play with your dog to ensure his eyes are fully open and both retinas clearly exposed to the incoming light.

Hopefully, following all or some of these suggestions will spare both you and your cherished doggy companion an unnecessary case of the winter blues.


Article by Nomi Berger

Senior Cats and Senior Dogs

Familiar with the axiom: “There may be snow on the roof top, but there is fire in the furnace”?

Now, imagine it this way: “There may be snow on the fur/hair, but there is fire in the soul.”

Not to mention a springy step, a feisty spirit and a loving heart. Describing both a senior cat and a senior citizen, when these two are placed paw in hand, more often than not, they form the perfect forever pair.

While understandably attracted to the “idea” of a kitten, the “reality” of one –brimming with energy, climbing everything in sight and scampering underfoot – may paint a rather exhausting pussycat picture for the average senior.

The solution to this purr-plexing problem is as clear as the whiskers on a fine feline’s face: match a senior cat with a senior citizen.

There are many benefits to adopting an older cat, a true “adult” in every sense of the word. One who has long been comfortable inside her own “skin”. One who is likely to relish sitting on a warm lap or atop a cat tree to watch the birds fly past the window. One whose appetite is no longer ravenous but reasonable. One for whom litter box training is not a learning experience, but a lifetime habit. One who will take the occasional absences of an active senior companion during the day with good grace and a genial “welcome home” meow.

For less active seniors or those in assisted living facilities that allow pets, felines make fabulous roommates. Unlike their canine counterparts, they don’t require a daily regime of being walked and exercised outdoors — whether it’s hot or cold, raining or snowing. Whatever the weather, cats will remain contentedly indoors, provided their food dish, water bowl and litter box are near by. Playing cat-specific videos whose themes range from birds and butterflies to squirrels and mice will keep them endlessly entertained whether their humans are with them or not. Entranced and stimulated by the movements and sounds, they can happily view the same tape over and over.

Some cats adapt easily to a harness and leash, enabling their humans to take them for walks in the hallways of their seniors’ residence, outside in the garden, into the common areas, and on visits to those without pets of their own. For more finicky felines, there are specially designed, enclosed strollers, allowing them to ride safely and stylishly both indoors and out.

As beneficial as senior cats are for senior citizens, senior citizens are equally as beneficial for senior cats. More difficult to adopt than younger cats and kittens, but just as deserving of permanent homes, they’re all too often overlooked at shelters, humane societies and rescue groups — and for all the wrong reasons. Senior cats seem to sense when they receive a second chance at the rest of their lives. And any senior citizen savvy enough to adopt one, will not only reap the rewards, but will be the lucky recipient of a love as endearing as it is enduring.


Article by Nomi Berger

A Feline Friendly Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a festive time, filled with feasting, family, and friends. But it’s also a time of potential distress for our feline companions. Any changes in a cat’s regular routine – a calm home now crammed with new scents, sounds and strangers — can send even the least “fraidy cat” cat scampering for cover.

To reduce your furry friend’s stress level (and YOURS), maintain her regular feeding and playing routine with some extra interactive play sessions for good measure. Keep all but the most social cats in a separate room, then ensure that your social “cat-erfly” doesn’t dart out into the night when the door opens and your guests arrive. Should the worst happen and she does disappear, make certain that she has either been micro-chipped or is wearing a collar with up-to-date tags for proper identification and a swift return to your waiting arms.

As tantalizing as Thanksgiving food is for people, some can prove painful, even fatal for cats. The most notorious offenders are:

Chocolate: All chocolate, especially semi-sweet, dark and baking chocolate contain the toxic, caffeine-like ingredient theobromine. Candy containing the artificial sweetener xylitol, is also dangerous. If you suspect that your cat has eaten something toxic, promptly call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

Turkey stuffing: It often contains onions and garlic, raisins and spices – all of them toxic to cats. The sulfoxides and disulfides in onions and garlic destroy the red blood cells and can cause serious blood problems, including anemia. The effects of ingesting raisins and/or spices usually occur within 24 hours and include lack of appetite, lethargy, weakness, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and decreased urination.

Cooked turkey bones and gristle: Turkey bones splinter easily and can get caught in your cat’s throat or esophagus. They can also cause intestinal blockages or perforations leading to infection, while turkey gristle presents a clear and present choking hazard. To safeguard against these painful possibilities, all leftovers should be carefully wrapped and promptly disposed of.

Alcohol: To avoid intoxication and alcohol poisoning, keep all full glasses and half-filled glasses of wine or spirits out of reach of your cat’s curious nose and playful paws.

And yet, there’s no harm in providing your kitty with her own Thanksgiving feast, one that includes a few small, boneless pieces of cooked turkey, a taste of mashed potato or even a lick of pumpkin pie.


Article by Nomi Berger

Cats Who Act Like Dogs

There’s long been a stereotypical depiction of cats by diehard dog lovers, who consider canines social and eager to please while finding felines aloof and openly independent.

There are, however, several pussycat breeds that defy ALL stereotypes, causing both puzzled dog devotees and cat caretakers to pose the question, “What do you think you are: a dog?”

Strangely enough, these kitties possess traits more often associated with doggies, such as sociability and an increased need for affection, an affinity for water and playing fetch, greeting their owners and even learning basic canine commands. And six of these “dog like” breeds are:

Turkish Angora: Instantly recognizable by their luxurious white coats, these lavishly furred felines crave attention and affection from everyone. They’re extremely friendly towards strangers, yet remain fiercely loyal to their owners. Famous for being fun loving, they thrive on playing games like fetch, love going swimming, and require frequent social interactions to keep them hap-hap-happy.

Maine Coon: The largest and lushest of domestic cats, they often reach the size of a small dog. But their size pales in comparison to their smarts! Thanks to their high intelligence, they’re easy to train and exceptionally good at games. Due to their dexterity, they’re capable of opening doors, turning on lights, and getting food for themselves. And should they ever run out of steam, they morph into the cuddliest teddy bear wannabes.

Siamese: These chatty “catties” vocalize even more than the average dog. They possess a vocabulary of sounds that suit their every mood: be it a purr or a growl, a mewl or a meow. And they’re sassy! Tell them “No!” and they’ll promptly respond with the kitty equivalent of “Oh, really?” Besides their ability to banter, they’re also one of the most affectionate breeds and form deep, loving bonds with their owners.

Manx: Having originated on the Isle of Man, they’re known for having no tail (the result of a dominant genetic mutation) almost as much as for their ability to bond firmly and fur-ever with their people. Like puppies, they’ll faithfully follow their owners everywhere, never wanting them to be out of sight. They’re also one of the few breeds that enjoy car rides, that are easily leash trained, and that actually growl at intruders, making them fairly effective “guard” cats.

Ragdoll: Named for their flip-floppy demeanor when they’re picked up, these cats are remarkably easy to train by using the twin reinforcements of praise and treats. Calm and quiet and adoringly attached to their owners, they cherish being in their company as much as paws-ible, and due to their oh-so-cuddly nature, they’re just naturally compared to a snuggly, cuddly lap dog.

Abyssinian: Assigned the title “Athlete” of the feline world, and arrayed in their trademark “ticked” tabby coats, these lithe acrobats LOVE heights and will effortlessly make their way to the highest part of any room. Affectionately called “Aby-grabbys” because of their propensity for taking things that catch their eye, they also love playing with toys, learning tricks, and being the focus of their owners’ universe.


Article by Nomi Berger

10 Brightest Cat Breeds

1. Abyssinian

Not one to laze about, the Abyssinian keeps moving as she eagerly explores her indoor world. She’ll even allow herself to be leashed and walked by her owner if it means further investigation of the world outside. A great fan of both people and bird watching, adept at learning tricks, she much prefers playing to cuddling as her main form of social interaction.

2. Bengal

True to her “wild cat” appearance, the sharp-brained Bengal thrives on activity. Whether she’s outdoors running, playing and watching the birds or indoors leaping from counters and “climbing the walls”, keeping this kitty mentally and physically stimulated is key to keeping her happy. Use a clicker to teach her tricks, join her in puzzle playing, and this attention seeker is purr-fectly content.

3. Savannah

Part African Serval, adventure comes as naturally to the Savannah as her curiosity, and thanks to her magnificent leaping skills, takes her to the highest places, be it the top of the refrigerator or the tallest shelf in the room. She also reigns supreme when it comes to socializing with her people, loyally and lovingly shadowing them and even accompanying them on walks if they leash her.

4. Cornish Rex

Her head may be egg-shaped, but it’s certainly not empty. Extremely charming and exceedingly purr-sonable, the Cornish Rex relishes human attention and revels in tricks and puzzle games that involve both her and her devoted owner. She also LOVES being held, and with so little fur on her body, is winningly warm to the touch, making her the ultimate bed warmer on cold winter nights.

5. Balinese

Both inquisitive and entertaining, the Balinese loves being involved in whatever her owner is doing as much as she loves performing tricks. Add a touch of naughtiness to her niceness, and her sense of humor will keep her human not only “ooh”-ing, but “ahh”-ing in wonder. Given her druthers, she would cuddle all day, every day while whispering sweet kitty nothings in her chosen person’s captive ear.

6. Sphynx

Described as part monkey (due to her dexterity), part dog (due to her sociability), part child (due to her curiosity) and part cat (due to her intelligence and grace), the Sphynx is a sublime example of puss-in-boots purr-fection. Whether she’s defying gravity, mixing and mingling, exploring her world or showering her owner with love, she does it with elegance and poise.

7. Japanese Bobtail

Striking a splendid balance between social and solitary, the exotic Japanese Bobtail is one feline who fairly oozes confidence. Famously friendly and amazingly amiable, with a distinctive singsong “coo”, she’s exceptionally easy to train for performances in shows, and when she’s not nestling close to her owner for human companionship, she’s purr-fectly content to keep her own company.

8. Somali

Created, it seems, for mischief, the vividly colored Somali with her full, plumed tail and vixen-like cunning make her more fox than feline. With an insatiable curiosity that leaves no proverbial stone unturned, she navigates every nook and cranny of her inside world, wreaking havoc wherever she puts her paws. Fortunately, her good-natured sociability and easy lovability tip the scales in her favor.

9. Burmese

Boundaries don’t exist for the perpetually curious and enduringly playful Burmese. The world is her oyster filled with wonders that demand exploration, while her owner’s her own best friend whose moods she can read like an open book. As trusting as she is teachable (tricks come easily to her), she’s also fabulous fun to be around and can, with little effort, turn even the grayest day sunny.

10. Singapura

Addicted to admiration, the Singapura lives to be loved and to shine in the spotlight! Bristling with kittenish energy, this petite puss butts nosily into everyone’s business, earning her the title of “pesky people cat.” Known for her exceptional intelligence and effortless agility, she’s as nimble on her paws as she is at stealing hearts, making her endearingly lovable to those lucky enough to love her.


Millions of dogs go missing each year. Unfortunately, very few of them are ever reunited with their owners. Many of them become and remain strays. Others are taken to pounds or shelters, where they are all too often, euthanized. The luckier ones are saved by rescue organizations and ultimately placed in adoptive homes.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Lately, an increasing number of conscientious dog owners have begun to rely on a dual form of protection for their precious family pet. Included in this “protective package” are visible forms of identification – ID tags — and permanent ones — microchips.

Pet ID tags are small metallic or plastic tags personalized with your name, address, and phone number, and attached to your dog’s collar. These tags are as close as your nearest pet supply store or online vendor, and if your dog ever goes missing, will immediately identify you as the owner.

Microchipping is a simple and safe procedure. A veterinarian injects a microchip designed especially for animals — the size of a grain of rice — beneath the surface of your dog’s skin between the shoulder blades. Similar to a routine shot, it takes only a few seconds and most dogs don’t seem to even feel the implantation. Unlike ID tags, a microchip is permanent and, with no internal energy source, will last the life of your dog. Your dog must then be promptly registered with the microchip company (usually for a one-time fee), thus storing his unique, alpha-numeric code in the company’s database.

Whenever a lost dog appears at a shelter, humane society or veterinary clinic, he/she will automatically be scanned for a microchip. If there is one, the screen of the handheld scanner will display that dog’s specific code. A simple call to the recovery database using a toll free 800 number enables the code to be traced back to the dog’s owner. But in order for the system to work efficiently, all owners are cautioned to keep their contact information up-to-date.

The most complete microchips comply with International Standards Organization (ISO) Standards. These standards define the structure of the microchip’s information content and determine the protocol for scanner-microchip communication. They also include the assignment of a 15-digit numeric identification code to each microchip; 3 digits either for the code of the country in which the dog was implanted or for the manufacturer’s code; one digit for the dog’s category (optional), and the remaining 8 or 9 digits for that dog’s unique ID number.

As with anything else, however, problems can and do arise. Not all shelters, humane societies, and veterinary offices have scanners. Although rare, microchips can fail, and even universal scanners may not be able to detect every microchip. Accurate detection can also be hampered if dogs struggle too much while being scanned or if either long, matted hair or excess fat deposits cover the implantation site. And because there are an ever-increasing number of pet recovery services, there is, as yet, no single database that links one to the other.

Since no method of identification is perfect, the best way owners can protect their dogs is by keeping current ID tags on them, microchipping them, and never allowing them to roam free.

Why You Should Spay/Neuter Your Dog

The problem of dog overpopulation is a global one and requires a solution on a global scale. But like every journey that begins with a single step, this particular journey must begin with every dog owner in every town and every city in the country. Those conscientious owners who act responsibly by spaying and neutering their cherished family pets.

Spaying (removing the ovaries and uterus of a female dog) and neutering (removing the testicles of a male dog) are simple procedures, rarely requiring so much as an overnight stay in a veterinary clinic. Because half of all litters are unplanned, and because puppies can conceive puppies of their own, spaying and neutering them before the age of 6 months can help break this cycle.

According to SPAY USA, an unspayed female dog, her unneutered mate and their offspring (if none are spayed or neutered) result in the births of a staggering 12,288 puppies in just 5 years.

The inevitable outcome? Hundreds of thousands of dogs being euthanized through no fault of their own. Why? Because they are the tragic, but avoidable, result of over breeding and overpopulation. Why? Because there are too few shelters to house them and too few homes to either foster or adopt them. Why? Because there are still too many dog owners unwilling to spay and neuter their pets.

The positive effects of spaying and neutering far outweigh the negatives. Females spayed before their first heat are much less likely to develop mammary cancer than those left intact. Early spaying is also their best protection against conditions like pyometritis, a potentially fatal bacterial infection of the uterus, as well as ovarian and uterine cancers. Early neutering of males protects them against testicular cancer, and helps curb both aggression and other undesirable behaviors. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association Task Force on Canine Aggression and Human-Canine Interactions, 70 to 76 percent of reported dog bite incidents are caused by intact males.

For years, reputable rescue groups have been spaying and neutering the animals in their care before even putting them up for adoption. More recently, in an effort to address at least part of this ongoing problem, various organizations — large and small, urban and rural, public and private — have been springing up across the country. From the ASPCA to local humane societies, spay/neuter clinics are opening and operating. Mobile spay/neuter clinics are reaching out to those unable to reach them. Many rescue groups now offer their own Spay Neuter Incentive Programs (SNIP), which provide assistance to low income households.

Imagine if there were more regional, local and mobile spay/neuter clinics. More Spay Neuter Incentive Programs. Imagine entire communities across the country, where every pet owner took personal responsibility for spaying and neutering their pets. Imagine what we, as part of the global community, could accomplish then.


Article by Nomi Berger


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