January 2019 Blogs

Happy 2019! New Year, New Pet Resolutions

A new year is upon us. With it comes the opportunity to start anew and set some goals for better, healthier and more productive living. As a pet owner, the new year also marks a fresh opportunity to include your pet's well-being in your plans.

1. Resolve to engage in more physical activity and exercise with your pet – It may still be cold outside, but even increasing your daily walk by a few minutes will be beneficial to you and your four-legged friend. Play can also happen indoors. Ward off obesity and behavior issues before they become a problem. Games of fetch, play-wrestling or tug-of-war all are ways to keep your pup active and engaged.

2. Resolve to feed your pet a healthier diet – You may think feeding your pet human food is a way to show your love, but much of it can be fatty and unhealthy for your dog or cat. Just as you may be resolving to watch your own waistline, your canine or feline companion requires a diet that is formulated to provide all of the nutrients he or she requires. Do some research and invest in a high-quality kibble, canned food or raw diet plan – and be careful, as supplementing that with unhealthy human scraps is a leading contributor to weight gain.

3. Resolve to provide your pet with regular veterinary care – As pets age much faster than humans, a lot can happen with their health over the course of a year. Preventive pet health care is the best thing you can do to ensure your furry friend lives a long, happy and healthy life. Between visits to your veterinarian, take measures to continue care at home. This includes giving regular baths, grooming and brushing his or her teeth.

4. Resolve to curb bad behaviors – Being lovingly mauled by your pooch when you arrive home was cute for a while, but maybe the bruises are getting a little out of hand. This year, step up your training game and make it part of your pet's regular routine. Reward good behavior and stop passively encouraging the bad.

5. Resolve to be the best pet parent you can be – Odds are you probably already pamper your pet quite a bit. In 2019, look for more ways to be an outstanding owner. Maybe this means finally getting around to microchipping your pet, investing in pet health insurance or starting a savings fund, or introducing an adopted pet brother or sister into your home. You can also endeavor to do things that benefit you and your pet, such as getting him or her a stylish new bed that complements your décor or organizing that overflowing toy bin.

A Salty Danger: Keeping Your Pet Safe this Winter

With the winter approaching, pet owners should be aware of the dangers posed by rock salt, also known as “ice melt.” Used to combat slippery sidewalks, steps and walkways, rock salt contains a mixture of many minerals which pose unique problems for pets – who, unlike us, walk around bare-pawed all winter.

Pet Paws & Stomachs At Risk

Walking on rock salt-laden ground can lead to local irritation of your pet’s feet. Paws feature mucus membranes which are sensitive to the harsh, drying minerals found in rock salt. Prolonged exposure can lead to cracked paw-skin and, once the sensitive underlying tissue becomes exposed, can be quite painful for your pooch or kitty.



Your pet may want to cleanse his or her feet of the troublesome, yet tasty, substance by engaging in some extensive licking once back indoors. Ingesting the salt in this way, or from treated snow or melted puddles, can cause drooling, painful sores or swelling inside the mouth and oral discomfort. It can also lead to upset stomach, nausea and vomiting. The ASPCA Poison Control Center reports vomiting followed by diarrhea as the most common symptoms of rock salt ingestion in 30 percent of related calls.

However, if your pet decides to eat a buffet of rock salt cubes, this could be toxic and cause lethargy, tremors, disorientation, increased water consumption and seizures. In extreme cases, excessive ingestion can be fatal.

Tips for Cold-Climate Pet Owners

If you suspect your dog or cat has ingested a fair amount of rock salt, call your veterinarian or a Pet Poison Helpline (such as ASPCA's 888-426-4435) immediately.

Microchipped Pets Are More Likely To Be Returned Home

Lost pets that have microchips are more likely to be reunited with their owners. This is according to a recent study published by a leading veterinary journal.

Animal shelters in 23 states participated in this study. It was revealed that shelter officials were able to find the owners of microchipped pets 4 out of 5 times.

“This is the first time there has been good data about the success of shelters finding the owners of pets with microchips,” says Dr. Linda Lord, lead author of the study and professor Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

According to shelter statistics, lost microchipped cats were 20 times more likely to be returned to owners than non-microchipped cats. Microchipped dogs were 2.5 times more likely to be returned to their owners than non-microchipped dogs.

The major reason why pet owners could not be located was due to incorrect or disconnected phone numbers in the registration database. “The chip is only as good as the information that the owner provides. The pet owner needs to make sure that their information is always up-to-date.” Lord says.

Owners’ not returning calls or answering letters, unregistered microchips and microchips registered to a database that differed from the manufacturer were other reasons owners were not found, according to the study.

The results of this study clearly indicate the advantage of microchipping your pet. However, even though microchipping is essential, nothing replaces the need for a collar and tag with your pet’s name and your phone number, Lord says.