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United Airlines Changes Policy For Support Animals

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United Airlines is updating its policy concerning emotional support animals allowed on its flights.

The carrier announced Thursday that it will no longer allow flyers to bring emotional support animals other than dogs or cats, and that the animals must be at least 4 months old or older to qualify, as younger pets “typically have not received the necessary vaccinations that help ensure the safety of our employees and customers.”

United further said that it would not be allowing emotional support animals of any kind on flights scheduled to take longer than eight hours.

“We have seen increases in onboard incidents on longer flights involving these animals, many of which are unaccustomed to spending an extended amount of time in the cabin of an aircraft,” the airline wrote on its website.

United added that it is restricting support animals ─ in general ─ to only dogs, cats and mini horses older than 4 months.

Changes are set to take effect Jan. 7, though United says any travelers who booked their flights before the day of the announcement (Jan. 3) and have the appropriate paperwork will be allowed to board with their pets under the previous guidelines.

The decision comes less than a month after Delta announced plans to tighten restrictions and ban emotional support animals from flights longer than 8 hours. The airline also stipulated that support and trained service animals need to be at least 4 months old, saying the policy “follows an 84 percent increase” in urination, defecation and attack incidents.

 

photo source: Pexels

Source: Fox News

Things to Consider Before Bringing a New Pet Home

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Some of the greatest moments in life include the day we met our pets for the first time, and the day we adopted them and they came home with us. Here are 10 things to consider before bringing a new dog or cat home.

1. Can You Commit?

Will you have the time to walk your dog three times a day? Will you remember to exercise your cat every evening? If the answer is no, and you have no one who can perform those essential tasks, you should stop right here and consider a fish or a parakeet as a low-demand animal companion.

2. Will Your Pet Fit Your Lifestyle?

Choosing a pet based on how popular or cute it is, is probably one of the worst decisions people make. Too often these pets are unceremoniously dropped at an animal shelter when they show themselves to be too high energy, too needy, too intolerant … the list is endless.
Get to know the breed you are interested in and be open to changing your mind if it doesn’t fit your ability to provide for its temperament. Ask lots of questions from the people adopting the animal out, maybe even find a breed specific group to ask questions of some of the members. A great example is the recent Chihuahua craze. Sure, they’re adorable and can live in any size home, and they’re very low maintenance. The catch is that they are not usually very tolerant of children and are one of the breeds that are known for biting children without much provocation. A pet cat should also match your personality. Some cats, for instance, require a lot of attention and interaction while others are mostly independent. Do your research and choose wisely.

3. Interview Veterinarians Before the Adoption

Before you have settled on the type of pet that will suit you, ask your friends for their veterinary recommendations. A veterinarian can be an excellent source of information to help you choose the best pet to suit your lifestyle and needs. Not all vets are the same, and you want a veterinarian that best matches your needs. This will be a lifelong relationship and as such, the choice is very important. Again, do your research. Read online reviews of the vets in your community (with a grain of salt), ask groomers in your area who they recommend, and make interview appointments with them.
Our tip: Don’t rely entirely on a vet’s friendliness toward humans (i.e., you). A good veterinarian often has better skills relating to animals than to people. It is also your prerogative to ask the vet if she/he can provide a few references.

4. Make Your Home Pet-Friendly

Did you know that something as simple as chewing gum can be deadly for dogs, or that ibuprofen is toxic to cats? It is highly important to go through your home now, before you bring a new pet home, to search out hazards and get them out of the way or out of the house. This includes cabinets at pet level, counter tops, bottles of chemical on the floor, small toys, electric cords and curtain cords. And it doesn’t stop there. You will also need to check your home and yard for toxic plants for dogs or cats, and if you carry a purse or bag, you will need to find and discard any potential dangers – like sugar-free gum, which often contains xylitol.

5. Choose an Age and Breed Appropriate Food

Not all pet foods are alike. Some are better than others, and some make claims that are not always backed by facts. It would be easy to just grab the pet food bag or can with the nicest design on the cover, but that is not what is going to guarantee our pets’ long term health. Choose the best food for your dog or cat and always look for a diet labeled complete and balanced. From the time they are young until the time they are seniors, your pet food choices should be guided by the pet’s specific needs, life stage, and lifestyle. You can do some cursory research to get a good idea of why it is important and what to look for, but for the best advice, consult your veterinarian.

6. Be Prepared for an Adjustment Period

If it’s a puppy you’ll be adopting into your home, be prepared for crying. Yes, just as with human babies, baby dogs cry during the night in their first days in their new home. But unlike human babies, it is not a good idea to take your puppy to your bed to soothe him. The best thing you can do before bringing the puppy home is set up a quiet, enclosed space with a comfortable bed, or a kennel that can be closed, keeping your puppy secure from wandering. Choose the spot that will be your dog’s permanent spot. During the day, let your puppy have free, supervised privileges to roam around the house to smell everything. This will also be a good way to spot any hazards you might have missed on the first go ‘round.
Bedtime for cats is a bit easier. Arrange the kitten’s sleeping area in a secure area close to his litter box so that he doesn’t get lost looking for it, and then leave him to romp around in his area until he drops off to sleep.
Things get a little bit trickier when you are bringing a new pet into a home with pets. You will need to make sure that your resident pet does not feel threatened enough to strike out at the newcomer.

7. Train Your Pet

If your happy home is going to remain a happy home, the housetraining will need to start immediately after bringing your pet home. If you are adopting a kitten, introduce him to his litterbox as soon as you get him inside. If it is a puppy, leash him up and take him outside to start getting to know his neighborhood. Most puppies will be intimidated by their new surrounding, and you don’t want to put a fright into your puppy. A very short walk on the first outing is all that is needed. Begin training on that first outing. When the puppy relieves himself outside, while he is doing it say, “Go now.” Repetition of this command will eventually make it so that you will be able to take your dog out in any kind of weather without worrying about how long your dog will take to relieve himself.

8. Select Appropriate Pet Treats and Toys

The right treats are essential, especially for puppies. Treats are one of the best tools for behavior training when used sensibly. Experiment with a few different dog treats and stick with the one that has the highest value for your puppy. That will be the treat he will do anything for, including staying by your side even when a clowder of cats goes by. Stay practical when giving treats. It is tempting to be liberal when it comes to treating our “little babies,” and just like giving candy to a human child, too many snacks can lead to an unhealthy body; even healthy snacks can add up in excess weight. Do always keep a back of treats in your pocket for training opportunities. Be careful with rawhide; it can be torn into pieces and swallowed in large chunks, potentially leading to choking or intestinal blockages. Toys should be free of buttons, strings, and anything that can be bitten off and swallowed. Stick with rubber balls made for dogs (the harder to tear apart), nylon-bones, non-toxic stuffed toys, and ask other dog “parents” for advice on toys that hold up under puppy pressure.
For cats, feather wands are always popular, and a lot of cats are responsive to laser light devices. And don’t forget the old standbys: the catnip stuffed mouse toy and the old boxes. Cats love treats too, so go with the same advices as above and treat sensibly.

9. Consider Spaying and Neutering

Neutering, a term that can refer to spay or castration surgery, can typically be done as early as eight weeks. Generally, the neutering procedure is performed around four to six months, plenty of time before the animal has reached the age of reproduction. Some people choose not to based on the feeling that the animal will lose its sense of identity (male), that the animal will be missing out on the life milestone of giving birth (female), or that the animal will lose its ability to be protective. None of these reasons are based in fact.
The best thing you can do for your pet’s health is to have him or her neutered. Yes, neutering does decrease aggression in most instances, but it does not make a dog any less protective of his or her human family. And your female animal will not feel less-than for not giving birth. It would be worse for her to have her babies taken from her than to have never given birth at all. She will not know the difference. She will also be less prone to cancer of the mammaries and ovaries. Ask your veterinarian for their recommendation.

10. Outfit Your Pet with Proper ID

Finally, ensure that your puppy or kitten is properly outfitted with ID so that if he should ever get loose — and it does happen to most everyone eventually — you will have him returned safely to you. Have your contact information on your pet’s collar, either on a tag or printed directly onto the collar (the latter can be custom ordered or made by you). Also, keep photos on hand. This is a good reason to track your pet’s growth, but you may need those images when it comes time to post them around town or to leave with the local shelter in case your pet is delivered to them. A GPS device that attaches to the collar is a clever way to track your pet, but it loses its efficacy when the collar gets lost.
Microchips are the best assurance for identification and need to be used in combination with a collar for the best chance of finding a lost pet. Make a point now of remembering to update your contact information with the company that keeps records for the microchip every time there is a change in your contact information. It can make the difference between your pet being returned to you or staying lost to you forever.

photo source: Pexels
source: Pet MD

Winter Weather: Are You and Your Pets Prepared?

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While the temperature continues to drop in many parts of the country, it’s important to make sure that your furry friends are staying safe and warm. That’s why the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center(APCC) has issued some critical cold weather safety tips so that pet parents can keep animals healthy and happy as temperatures drop and the snow piles up.

Things to Keep In Mind

• Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm. Dogs can lose their scent in the snow and easily become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure your dog always wears an ID tag.

• If your large dog spends most of his time outside, take proper precautions during the colder months. Make sure your dog has an insulated and waterproof dog house and access to fresh water. Never leave your dog outside during a snowstorm or inclement weather including sleet, ice, snow, wind, or extreme cold.

• Bang loudly on the hood of your car before starting the engine. Outdoor, stray and feral cats sometimes sleep under car hoods to stay warm, but the fan belt can injure or kill a cat when the motor starts. Banging on the hood can help avoid catastrophe and give the cat a chance to escape.

• Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. If your dog is long-haired, simply trim him to minimize the clinging ice balls, salt crystals and de-icing chemicals that can dry his skin, and don’t neglect the hair between his toes.

• Bathe your pets as little as possible during cold spells. Washing too often can remove essential oils and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin. If your pooch must be bathed, ask your vet to recommend a moisturizing shampoo and/or rinse.

• Pets burn extra energy by trying to stay warm in wintertime. Feeding your pet a little bit more during the cold weather months can provide much-needed calories, and making sure she has plenty of water to drink will help keep her well-hydrated and her skin less dry.

photo source: Pexels
source: ASPCA

 

Massive Dog Food Recall Over Toxic Vitamin D Levels

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Multiple brands of dog food are being recalled over elevated levels of vitamin D.

Elm Pet Foods and ANF are the latest dog food makers recalling products because of toxic levels of vitamin D, which can cause kidney failure at high enough levels.

Similar recalls have been issued by Sunshine Mills Inc., Natural Life Pet Products and Nutrisca over the last month.

Elm and others companies urge consumers to either dispose of or return several types of chicken and chickpea recipe dog food.

Dog owners whose pets have eaten the recalled food are urged to contact their veterinarian.

Symptoms of vitamin D toxicity include vomiting, weight loss, increased urination and excessive thirst.

Affected brands are:

Nutrisca

• 4-pound Nutrisca® Chicken and Chickpea Dry Dog Food Bag; UPC: 8-84244-12495-7

• 15-pound Nutrisca® Chicken and Chickpea Dry Dog Food Bag; UPC: 8-84244-12795-8

• 28-pound Nutrisca® Chicken and Chickpea Dry Dog Food Bag; UPC: 8-84244-12895-5

Bags affected have a Best By Date code of Feb. 25, 2020, through Sept. 13, 2020. The “Best By Date” code can be found on the back or bottom of each bag.

The products were distributed to retail stores nationwide.

Natural Life Pet Products

• 17.5-pound Natural Life Chicken & Potato Dry Dog Food Bag UPC: 0-12344-08175-1

Bags affected have a Best By Date code of Dec. 4, 2019, through August 10, 2020. The Best By Date code can be found on the back or bottom of each bag.

The products were distributed to retail stores in Georgia, Florida, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and California.

Sunshine Mills, Inc.

• 14-pound Evolve Chicken & Rice Puppy Dry Dog Food Bag; UPC: 0-73657-00862-0

• 28-pound Evolve Chicken & Rice Puppy Dry Dog Food Bag; UPC: 0-73657-00863-7

• 40-pound Sportsman’s Pride Large Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food Bag; UPC: 0-70155-10566-0

• 40-pound Sportsman’s Pride Large Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food Bag; UPC: 0-70155-10564-0

• 3.5-pound Triumph Chicken & Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food Bag; UPC: 0-73657-00873-6

• 16-pound Triumph Chicken & Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food Bag; UPC: 0-73657-00874-3

• 30-pound Triumph Chicken & Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food Bag; UPC 0-73657-00875-0

Bags affected have a Best Buy Date Code of Nov. 1, 2018, through Nov. 8, 2019. The Best Buy Date Code can be located on the back of each bag.

The above products were distributed in retail stores within the United States as well as some export distributors in Japan, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Israel, Canada and South Korea.

ANF, Inc.

• 3-kilogram ANF Lamb and Rice Dry Dog Food Bag; UPC: 9097231622; best by date of Nov. 23, 2019

• 7.5-kilogram ANF Lamb and Rice Dry Dog Food Bag; UPC: 9097203300; best by date of Nov. 20, 2019

The above products were distributed in retail stores within Puerto Rico.

ELM Pet Foods, Inc.

The recall includes Elm Chicken and Chickpea Recipe dog food. All bags in the Elm recall are yellow with the Elm Pet Foods Tag on the front of the bag and have a silhouette of a chicken at the bottom of the front side of the bag.

• 3-pound Elm Chicken and Chickpea Recipe; UPC 0-70155-22507-8

• Lot numbers: TD2 26 FEB 2019; TE1 30 APR 2019; TD1 5 SEP 2019; TD2 5 SEP 2019

• 28-pound Elm Chicken and Chickpea Recipe; UPC 0-70155-22513-9

• Lot numbers: TB3 6 APR 2019; TA1 2 JULY 2019; TI1 2 JULY 2019

• 40-pound Elm K9 Naturals Chicken Recipe; UPC 0-70155-22522-9

• Lot numbers: TB3 14 Sep 2019; TA2 22 Sep 2019; TB2 11 Oct 2019

Lot codes in the Elm recall were distributed in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Orlando brand sold at Lidl
In association with Sunshine Mills, Lidl recalled specific lots of Orlando brand Grain Free Chicken & Chickpea Superfood Recipe Dog Food.

The recalled products consist of the following lot numbers manufactured between March 3, 2018, and May 15, 2018: TI1 3 Mar 2019; TB2 21 Mar 2019; TB3 21 Mar 2019; TA2 19 Apr 2019; TB1 15 May 2019; TB2 15 May 2019.

Lidl has more than 50 stores across seven East Coast states.

photo source: Pexels

source: WDSU

Signs You Should Get Your Pet’s Thyroid Checked

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The thyroid is a small but important gland in the neck. A cat’s thyroid or dog’s thyroid consists of two segments, one on each side of the windpipe. This gland produces the hormone thyroxine, along with several other important thyroid hormones. In a healthy pet, these hormones automatically work together to coordinate your pet’s energy levels, growth, body temperature and heart rate.

Cat thyroid problems and thyroid problems in dogs occur when the hormone levels become too high or low. According to Dr. Rachel Barrack, DVM, CVA, CVCH and founder of Animal Acupuncture in New York City, signs of a thyroid problem in dogs or cats occur gradually and can be easy to miss. “Symptoms are often subtle at first but become more overt with progression of the disease,” she says.

Pet owners can sometimes fail to recognize a cat or dog thyroid issue until their pet is at risk for more serious complications. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the subtle signs and symptoms. If you know what to look for, you can bring it up to your vet and possibly catch the disease in its early stages.

Thyroid Disease in Dogs and Cats

Thyroid problems are extremely common in pets. However, dogs and cats aren’t typically affected the same the way. Dogs are most commonly afflicted with hypothyroidism, or low thyroid hormone levels. According to Lori Pasternak, DVM and co-founder of Helping Hands Affordable Veterinary Surgery and Dental Care, hypothyroidism usually affects dogs around the age of 2 to 7 years old.

Hyperthyroidism, or high thyroid hormone levels, is more common in cats. While dogs and cats can be diagnosed with hyperthyroidism at any age, cats generally don’t show signs of hyperthyroidism until they are at least 7 years old. While either disease can occur in both species, it is rare.

Here are the key symptoms of cat and dog thyroid problems to look out for:

1. Changes in Behavior or Activity Level

According to Dr. Pasternak, the biggest sign of a thyroid problem is changes in your pet’s behavior or activity level. “Generally, when pets exhibit behavior changes, it is usually their way of telling us something is wrong,” she says.

Since the thyroid hormone helps regulate your pet’s energy level, a common sign of hypothyroidism in dogs (low thyroid) is that they tend to be less active or lethargic. Your dog may seem less playful at the dog park, or doesn’t want to play fetch, or just won’t walk as far as he used to. He might also be sleeping more than usual or won’t get up with you in the morning.

Cat hyperthyroidism (high thyroid levels) is the opposite problem—they tend to have more energy than usual. According to Dr. Pasternak, this can sometimes be tricky to pinpoint. “Most people think it is a good thing when their older cat starts becoming more active,” she says. “They don’t realize it’s a thyroid issue until the levels are so high that the cat starts to show more serious signs.” While increased energy might be a good sign in your older cat, it’s always best to run it by your vet to rule out a cat thyroid problem. Other symptoms commonly seen with hyperthyroidism in cats include increased thirst, urination, hunger and vocalization as well as intermittent vomiting.

2. Weight Gain or Loss

Another sign of thyroid problems in dogs is weight gain that’s not caused by overeating. Instead, your pet slowly packs on a few pounds despite you feeding him a normal diet. According to Dr. Barrack, this weight gain can even lead to obesity in your pet if the thyroid problem isn’t corrected.

Conversely, cats with thyroid problems often experience weight loss, despite having a ravenous appetite. As with increased energy, Dr. Pasternak cautions owners against mistaking increased appetite in an older cat for a good thing. When paired with weight loss, it’s always something you should bring up to your vet.

3. Skin or Coat Problems

Skin and coat issues are also a sign of thyroid problems in dogs. Hypothyroidism typically causes dull hair, hair loss or a dry coat, according to Dr. Pasternak. You might notice that your pet’s skin flakes off more than usual when you’re brushing him. Or, he might start to experience patches of thinning hair.

Hyperthyroidism in cats causes the opposite problem. According to Dr. Barrack, your cat’s coat may start to look greasy and matted. Cats will sometimes stop grooming themselves and develop an unkempt appearance.

4. Intolerance to Cold
According to Dr. Barrack, aversion to cold can indicate hypothyroidism in dogs. You might notice your pet shivering in the cold or turning back toward the house to cut potty breaks short on cold days. He might also sit close to the heat vent, burrow under blankets or be reluctant to leave his warm bed.

5. Vomiting or Diarrhea

Over time, hyperthyroidism in cats can progress to a more serious symptoms, such as vomiting. “Left untreated, cats with thyroid problems can also develop secondary problems such as high blood pressure and heart disease,” warns Dr. Barrack.

If your pet is experiencing any of these symptoms, talk to your veterinarian. If your dog or cat does have thyroid problems, they can typically be treated with prescription pet medication. However, when left untreated, these problems can greatly affect the quality of your pet’s life.

photo source: Pexels
source: Pet MD