Does your pup enjoy romping through the dog park? Does your cat like lounging near large windows shimmering with sunshine? Does your pet need consistent, reliable vet care? If so, you might need to move!
Which communities in the U.S. are the most pet-friendly? Factoring in cost of living, access to dog parks, price of vet care, and other factors, last year WalletHub ranked cities in America for pet-friendliness. NOTE: These are large cities, not smaller towns or communities. But, if you enjoy city-life and you own a pet, check out the list and find the top 10 listed here:
1. Scottsdale, AZ
2. Phoenix, AZ
3. Tampa, FL
4. San Diego, CA
5. Orlando, FL
6. Birmingham, AL
7. Austin, TX
8. Cincinnati, OH
9. Atlanta, GA
10. Las Vegas, NV
To reach these conclusions, WalletHub evaluated cities on three aspects of pet-friendliness: 1) Pet Budget, 2) Pet Health & Wellness and 3) Outdoor Pet-Friendliness.
Other websites list various other communities, as well as states, which are pet-friendly. If you’re looking to make a move and you have a pet, search sites like Realtor.com as well as WalletHub to help you decide where you might want to live… or if you’re being transferred, to find a neighborhood or apartment complex that welcomes furry companions.
If you’re traveling and want to bring your dog or cat, the Travel Channel lists the top five destinations where you’re furry friend will be welcomed. These places include Key West, Florida; Asheville, North Carolina; and San Diego, California.
Pet parents enjoy taking their beloved four-footed family members different places, including restaurants, stores, parks, and hikes. Many towns allow such outings; others, not so much. Some neighborhoods and apartment/condo complexes are more pet-friendly than others. Hotels the same way. Whether you are re-locating permanently or taking a fun trip, reviewing where your pet will be welcomed is sound advice. “Moving” is a number one reason people give up their pets, causing angst to both themselves and their furry friends. Pets don’t have to be left behind and there are many technological ways to do research before having to pack that U-Haul … or embarking on vacation without your furry side-kick.
Sun, surf, snow, ski, park, play, views, friends – share these experiences with your pet by doing your homework on your next potential permanent or vacation home – maybe in one of the top 10 best places for pets!
The 5-month-old puppy came into the care of Black Dog Animal Rescue, located in Cheyenne, Wyoming, in March 2017. The signs of abuse were apparent: more than 20 broken bones, a large, fluid-filled mass on the dog’s neck and shoulders, and her timidity around people. Months of medical and emotional care transpired, and her story took flight thanks to local media and animal advocates on social media. The pit-mix was named Angel; she became the “spokesdog” for advancing stiffer cruelty laws in Wyoming. Angel recovered from all her physical injuries and eventually the happy, friendly puppy-self emerged. She was adopted by one of BDAR’s board members and renamed Stitch. Read her entire journey and see photos and X-rays of her injuries here: http://www.bdar.org/angel/
Although no strong statistics are available on the number of animal abuse cases, which can and often does include the international trade of dog meat and the national issue of horse slaughter, hoarding, dog and cock fighting, and puppy and kitten mills, the issue of animal cruelty exists everywhere. The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) documented 29 incidences last year in which they were called in to assist. More than 47,000 animals were rescued or helped in some way last year, and more than 300 criminal charges were filed, according to the organization. Just last week, the organization announced it was helping New Mexico law enforcement with a critical case involving more than 100 animals, many living without shelter and in need of medical care at a supposed animal sanctuary.
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month
April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month. What can you do to help? Here are five suggestions:
Forms of Abuse
Animal cruelty takes on many forms, from lack of food, water and shelter and violence against an animal (as in Angel’s case) to dog fighting and puppy mills. The dog my husband and I adopted last fall, Jeremiah, is a puppy mill survivor. He and many other dogs were rescued by Hearts United for Animals (HUA), a sanctuary in southeastern Nebraska which, for the past 30+ years, has rescued animals throughout the Midwest. That portion of the country seems plagued with puppy mills, with Kansas, Missouri, and Iowa involved in this industry in high numbers. But, according to the Humane Society of the United States’ 2017 report on puppy mills, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Texas also have a big issue. That’s why organizations like HUA, which recently helped rescue several German shepherd dogs, and National Mill Dog Rescue (NMDR), exist – to provide a sanctuary where these animals can heal physically and emotionally and hopefully find these creatures new, loving homes. Which we’ve provided for our Jeremiah.
Cruelty to animals is not something to be taken lightly. These animals suffer, physically and emotionally, such as children and other people do. Let’s hold abusers accountable and not tolerate the harm they inflict.
Resources on animal cruelty:
Most of us have experienced cancer in our lives, whether in ourselves, a friend, a family member, or a pet. I’ve lost two dogs to cancer during the past 20 years. The disease came on suddenly in both dogs, and one of them, Sage (our blind springer spaniel) died less than two weeks of the diagnosis.
Experts estimate nearly 12 million dogs and cats are diagnosed with cancer every year. Nearly 50 percent of pet disease-related deaths are due to cancer. According to PetPlan’s Guide to Pet Cancer website, one in four dogs will develop a tumor at some point in their lives,
Cats don’t seem to get cancer as often as dogs, but cats also mask pain and disease well, so it’s often more difficult to detect feline cancer by cat owners. Lumps and bumps are ways to notice potential cancer as well as vomiting and diarrhea. One of the most common cat cancers is lymphoma, which oftentimes shows few symptoms.
A seven-part docu-series is set to begin this week to help pet parents learn and understand more about this deadly disease. Starting Wednesday, April 4, you can watch the free series, which features 30 pet health experts. Ty Bollinger, the founder of The Truth About Cancer, has created this program, The Truth About Pet Cancer. Learn more and watch the documentary trailer here; you can also sign up to receive emails with links to the free seven-part series at this same website: https://thetruthaboutpetcancer.com/.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), nearly half of dogs over 10 years of age will develop cancer. Many different breeds are susceptible to cancer, including Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, basset hounds, boxers, and Boston terriers. Dogs suffer from many of the same cancers as humans, including prostrate, bladder, mouth, lymph nodes, and brain tumors. Some cancers develop in the nose, causing nose bleeds. A cocker spaniel I adopted in 1989 died ten years later, at age 12 ½ from cancer that began in his nasal cavity.
Although there is no sure-way to prevent cancer claiming our pets, there are some things we as pet parents can do to help off-set the chances of the disease. Here are a few ideas:
Cancer is a terrible disease, and though cures still allude scientists, doctors, and veterinarians, we can all do something to lessen this deadly pestilence in ourselves and our pets, that includes greater knowledge through the upcoming docu-series. Sign up here: https://thetruthaboutpetcancer.com/.
During the past month or two, I’ve honored people in my life who have had birthdays. Friends, colleagues, family – those milestones of years, experiences, and relationships are important, and therefore, should be recognized.
My husband's birthday is next month, and my birthday occurred on Sunday. My husband, dogs, and I took an outdoor adventure on Saturday (the nicest weather day of the weekend), traveling nearly 200 miles total to experience the spring migration of sandhill cranes through eastern Wyoming. We also visited Kindness Ranch, a livestock and pet sanctuary for former research animals. Both were grand experiences!
My husband and I don’t just celebrate people’s birthdays. Our springer/cocker mix Mary had her 12th birthday in early February. We celebrated with a cake – white with cream icing. This is a tradition in our household; it began more than 15 years ago with our blind springer, Sage. Greg started the tradition, deciding to purchase a dog-shaped cake to honor Sage’s birth. Such celebrations have been part of our life with canines in our home ever since.
We’ve also honored our pets by cooking or buying hamburger and feeding the treat to them, in particular our dogs. For the cats, tuna is the food of choice for their August birthdays.
Various websites provide ideas for celebrating our furry friends’ special day. Some of those thoughts include:
According to the UK’s Daily Mail, nearly 75 percent of pet owners celebrate their furry family member’s birthday. Do you? If so, how do you celebrate?
PersonalCreations.com provides a guide and some recipes on cakes that are edible for dogs and cats (the meat cake is thought to be best for cats; but, there are many varieties of special treats which pets can enjoy). Visit their website for ideas: https://www.personalcreations.com/blog/dog-cake-recipes. Writers for this site also give thought to what types of foods are NOT good for our animal pals, which is also important information. Check it out.
Happy Spring, and Happy Birthday to you and your pets!
According to the calendar, spring arrives today. Many of us, however, may doubt what we see on that wall ornament as we look outside. No matter if the season has changed where you live or if you still see piles of snow in the yard, knowing that the sun will shine, the temperature will rise, and travel will commence. Taking your furry friend on the road with you can be a wonderful experience and can also help you maintain your exercise routine. This week I welcome fitness expert and dog lover Paige Johnson -- she shares with us ideas and insights about how you and your dog can stay fit while traveling.
Guest Post by Paige Johnson
Staying fit while you’re on the road can be a real challenge, but if you decide to bring your dog along in lieu of leaving him with a kennel, friend, or loved one, you’re more apt to maintain your routine. Studies show that dog owners have a better chance of attaining their fitness goals than those who forgo having a furry friend. Why? You’re forced to move more (by an impressive 69 percent), dogs can increase your walking endurance, and mental health is improved while blood pressure is decreased.
If you have yet to choose a destination for your trip, consider checking out resources that help connect dog owners to pet-friendly establishments around the world. Along with hotels and restaurants, you’ll find tips for the best dog beaches, parks, and even walking tours you can bring your dog to.
Standard activities that may come to mind may include running (consider signing up for a canine charity race), walking, cycling, and hiking. Consider these alternatives:
Maintain a Healthy Routine for Your Pooch
Just because you’re away from home doesn’t mean you should forgo your dog’s regular, healthy routine. This includes a healthy diet to avoid stomach problems, access to fresh water at all times, clean food and water dishes, and regular walks.
When packing your fitness gear, consider what additional items your dog may need based on the activities you have in mind. Some suggestions include:
Not only does traveling with your dog help you stay on top of your fitness game, it’s also a bonding experience. Do your research in advance to make the most of your experience. Don’t forget to get your dog vaccinated if traveling overseas and ask your vet for any tips for car and airplane travel prior to departure.
Paige Johnson is a fitness nerd and animal lover. She shares her insights on LearnFit. She loves offering advice on a variety of topics. As a personal trainer, she has a passion for fitness training and enjoys sharing her knowledge with those seeking to live a healthier lifestyle. She's also mom to three dogs, all rescues, and volunteers at her local animal shelter. Through her time with her own pups and working at the shelter, she's picked up some great tips on pet care and training.
Credit for Photos: Pixabay
Last week I wrote about loss of hearing and deafness in dogs. This week, we’ll explore the same afflictions in cats.
I have two cats. My husband and I adopted these sisters more than a decade ago. Always curious, they have brought us great joy. This summer they will be 13 years old and have slowed down since becoming seniors. I once had a cat who lived to be almost 19; in fact, cats 20 years and older are not uncommon. However, with age, just as with humans and canines, come health issues. One of those concerns is loss of hearing, even deafness.
Feline Hearing Loss
According to VetWest.com, an Australian veterinary clinic, hearing loss in older cats occurs “as a result of damage to the ear system and nerves. Normally sound waves vibrate the ear drum between the outer and middle ear. The tiny bones in the middle ear transfer the vibrations into nerve impulses within the inner ear. When any portion of this system is damaged hearing will be affected.”
According to veterinarians at Cornell University, there are a variety of reasons for loss of hearing in cats, in additional to aging. Those include: tumors, polyps, and other growths in the ear canal; hypothyroidism; medications, including antibiotics; infestations of yeast, bacteria, and ear mites; and household chemicals that are ingested or somehow seep into the ear. Additionally, hearing loss and deafness is hereditary, especially in white cats with blue eyes. In fact, researchers believe 65 to 85 percent of all-white cats with two blue eyes are born deaf, or at least become totally deaf as young kittens, and white cats with one blue eye generally have a 40 percent chance of being deaf.
How You and Your Cat Can Cope
As a cat owner, there are some things you can do to help both you and your cat adjust to hearing loss and deafness.
Learn more about deaf cats and how to help and communicate with them at these websites:
Living with a deaf or hard of hearing cat presents challenges, but nothing that a loving pet parent can’t handle. With plenty of patience and positive resources, including tips from your veterinarian, you and your feline friend can enjoy many happy years together.
Our springer/cocker mix, Mary, recently turned 12. During the past few months, she’s experienced ear problems, including debris from rolling in the grass and infection, from rolling in the snow. Spaniels are prone to ear infections due to the type and length of their ears; the breed is also prone to deafness. Mary has allergies, both environmental and food, and therefore, is also easily susceptible to ear infections, especially after being groomed or rolling in snow (water in the ears).
My husband and I recently noticed Mary's lack of response when we called her name and her sleep is deeper than ever. These are potential signs of deafness.
Loss of hearing in dogs occurs for many reasons; one of those is aging. My husband and I have traveled this road before. In 2011, our then 12-year-old springer spaniel Sage became deaf. That experience was especially difficult because Sage was also blind. Her hearing loss caused her anxiety because she had relied on that sense so heavily due to her blindness. We worked with her, however, and those additional trainings via the sense of touch generated calmness and greater trust.
How do you know your dog is losing its hearing? According to the Drake Center of Veterinary Care, there are several symptoms of deafness. Those include:
Read more about deafness and its symptoms here: http://www.thedrakecenter.com/services/dogs/blog/deaf-dogs-living-hearing-loss.
Although some dogs, especially older ones who have lost their hearing gradually, may adjust to deafness, others may experience anxiety, just as Sage did. Work with your dog in different ways to help your canine friend as we did. Some ideas include:
Animal Magazine provides an article about training with hand signals. Visit their online site here to learn more: https://animalwellnessmagazine.com/sign-language-deaf-dog/..
Adjusting to a disability such as deafness can be a challenge, for both you and your pet. However, that challenge can be met with grace, perseverance, and patience. Just as we humans must adjust to our changing bodies and mental capabilities as we age, we can adapt to the changes in our pets, and be a strength and comfort to them as they, too, adjust to the changes that take place as they age.
Read more about living with a deaf dog here: https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues/13_10/features/Senior-Dog-Going-Deaf_20100-1.html.
February is Responsible Pet Owners Month, and though this is the last day of February 2018, I want to acknowledge this special pet holiday. Every month, every week, every day, we who love pets should recognize our responsibility toward our beloved animals. So, in honor of my four-footed companions, I want you to meet mine – and we’ll start with the canines who share my home.
Jeremiah, the Shih Tzu
Adopted in September 2017, Jeremiah is between 4 and 5 years old; when my husband and I adopted him from Hearts United for Animals, Jeremiah was a few weeks’ shy of 4 years of age. The first three years of his life was spent as a stud in a midwestern puppy mill. When he was brought to the HUA sanctuary in southeastern Nebraska, he was basically unsocialized and had experienced minimal medical care. He lost 28 teeth due to his poor nutrition and lack of health care, and he was not neutered. HUA staff and volunteers spent a great deal of time helping him become accustomed to people and hugs. Just prior to us leaving with him, one of those volunteers told me, “He’s such a sweetie! I know you’re going to love him!” And, she was right! Six months after arriving in our home, Jeremiah now enjoys sitting on laps, receiving hugs, taking walks, and eating treats. He has become a very special member of our little family.
Shih Tzus are small dogs, weighing between 9 and 15 pounds and standing 9 to 10.5 inches tall. This is considered an ancient dog breed, developed either in Tibet or China as far back as 8,000 years B.C. The name means “little lion” in Mandarin Chinese. These dogs came to the United States during the 1940s, traveling with World War II veterans who brought them home. This breed remains one of the most popular dogs in America, usually ranking in the top 10 in popularity. These dogs are known to be affectionate, friendly, and charming, oftentimes “dancing” on their hind legs for treats and attention. They also don’t need a lot of exercise and therefore, make great apartment-dwelling dogs and companions for elderly people. They can be difficult to housebreak, need attentive grooming, and can suffer health issues with their eyes, ears, and knees. Learn more about this special small dog breed here: http://dogtime.com/dog-breeds/shih-tzu#/slide/1
Mary, the Springer/Cocker mix
Mary has been part of our family for five years; we adopted her from English Springer Spaniel Rescue in January 2013. At age 12, Mary is still active as her hunting heritage dictates. Both springer and cocker spaniels were used in England to hunt upland game birds, and in the United States, the springer is still used for this purpose by many people – although, both springers and cockers are popular simply as companion pets. Known as smart, happy dogs, the cocker spaniel is also an active breed. These dogs range from 13.5 to 15.5 inches tall, and weigh 20 to 30 pounds at optimal weight, according to the American Kennel Club. Springer spaniels are the cockers’ larger cousins, standing 19 to 20 inches tall and weighing 40 to 50 pounds. This is an energetic, active breed, needing lots of exercise and playtime, considered intelligent, friendly, and eager to please. Springers are known as “Velcro dogs,” for they love being with their people.
That personality trait describes our Mary to a “T.” Her place in particular is stretched out next to my husband, whether on the couch, in his recliner, and lying in bed. Mary is extremely friendly; her previous owner certified her as a therapy dog (sadly, her owner passed away, and that’s why she was available for adoption), and I have taken her to libraries and book signings, where she greets people with a toothy smile and a wagging stub of a tail! Like many spaniels, Mary suffers from allergies and ear infections. Our previous springer spaniel, Sage, became blind due to Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), another health issue common in this breed.
Learn more about springer spaniels here: http://dogtime.com/dog-breeds/english-springer-spaniel#/slide/1
Learn more about cocker spaniels here: http://www.vetstreet.com/dogs/cocker-spaniel
Great dogs for families!
These breeds make wonderful family pets, and I am so glad I have the honor to have them in my home.
I love my dogs! Jeremiah and Mary get along very well; in fact, Jeremiah relies on Mary – he is quite bonded to her. Both dogs are good with our cats, although Jeremiah is more startled by their sudden movements and has growled at the kitties at different times (probably still getting used to being around them). I enjoy both dog breeds, the Shih Tzu, and the Springer/cocker (guess I should say “three breeds!”) – and I would adopt one of these types of dogs again.
With the recent Kitten Bowl, Westminster Dog Show, and American Rescue Dog Show now complete, many people may be thinking about bringing home a dog, cat, kitten, or puppy. Pets touch our hearts and warm our homes – they provide companionship, comfort, and comedy to our lives.
There is little else that lifts one’s spirits than to come home from a tough day at work or school and be happily greeted by a four-footed friend. If you’re thinking of adding a pet to your home, here are six tips to help insure you and your new dog or cat will spend many happy years together:
Having a pet makes a home more cozy, warm, and loving. Pets are devoted to their humans – they love us unconditionally – and like children, they depend on us for care. Therefore, make sure you’re ready and that you’re willing to be faithful to your new furry friend, which can live 10 to 20 years.
For centuries humans and dogs have been companions and for more than 100 years people have shown off their pedigreed pooches in a special show in New York City. The 131st Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show began this week. During this annual event, the best in breeds compete for the best in their category, and then those seven dogs compete for Best in Show. The pups are pampered, groomed for local, regional, and (owners hope) national competitions. One can learn a lot about dog breeds watching the televised Kennel Club Dog Show, including any new breeds recognized by the AKC (American Kennel Club).
The AKC recognized two new breeds earlier this year: the Nederlandse Kooikerhondje, a spaniel-like canine, and the Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen (GBGV), classified in the Hound Group. The total number of AKC-recognized breeds is now 192. Read more about the newest types here: http://www.akc.org/content/news/articles/newest-akc-recognized-breeds-nederlandse-kooikerhondje-grand-basset-griffon/
The top dog in the country will be chosen tonight at Westminster, from all the pampered, primped, and perfect pets that have competed the past few days. But, for those of us who don’t show our dogs or maybe don’t even care to watch Westminster, is there a program to which we (and our canine companions) can better relate? YES!
On Monday evening, February 19 (next week) Hallmark Channel presents The American Rescue Dog Show. Categories include:
Who might win Best in Rescue? The choice is likely going to be difficult, but I’m rooting for the deaf Dalmatian who lived in several different homes until finding his “true love” (Valentine’s Day is tomorrow after all!) and is being certified as a therapy dog. We can all learn about perseverance, courage and trust from rescue dogs, especially those who have faced more challenging circumstances, like disability and rejection.
Before and during the show, we can tweet and share pictures of our own rescue dogs using the hashtag #BestinRescue and @Hallmark – the company plans to award someone $1,000! That would buy lots of dog biscuits!!
I love Hallmark Channel – many shows and movies are uplifting, funny, and family-friendly. And, I’m delighted at how they often incorporate animals into the programs, including upcoming movies. The company has also chosen to promote pet rescue and adoption, partnering with Adopt-a-Pet to help people look for the proper pet for their household: http://www.hallmarkchannel.com/2018-american-rescue-dog-show/adopt-a-pet-search.
They also provide a listing of the rescues from where the Rescue Dog Show contenders were adopted: http://www.hallmarkchannel.com/2018-american-rescue-dog-show/rescue-organizations.
Wyoming, the state in which I live, stepped into the rescue spotlight earlier this month. Governor Matt Mead signed a proclamation declaring February as Adopt a Rescue Pet Month. My state hasn’t been the best at protecting companion animals until recently. Because of many rescue organizations which have cropped up in the state, including Cheyenne-based Black Dog Animal Rescue, which celebrates its 10-year anniversary this year, more attention and compassion has been given toward pets by legislative measures and other means. We still have a long way to go in this state, but thanks to the governor’s recent action and the increasing number of people involved with and supporting rescue endeavors, I believe Wyoming may continue making positive strides.
Rescue Dogs Rock! I’m the guardian to two in my household, and we’re going to sit back and enjoy Hallmark Channel’s American Dog Rescue Show next Monday evening as well as many upcoming movies with pets as co-stars – I hope you and furry friends will do the same.
Gayle M. Irwin is a writer and public relations professional who volunteers with various animal rescue groups. She enjoys sharing her books and her passion for pets and the environment with others.