A pet is an animal kept primarily for a person’s company or protection, as opposed to working animals, sport animals, livestock, and laboratory animals, which are kept primarily for performance, agricultural value, or research. The most popular pets are noted for their attractive appearances and their loyal or playful personalities.
National Pet Month’s aims are to promote the benefits of pet ownership, support pet adoption, make people aware of the benefits of pets for people and people for pets, increase public awareness of services available from professionals who work with animals and raise awareness of the role, value and contribution to society of working companion animals.
Where to look for a veterinarian
Ask a friend
Animal-owning friends are generally good sources of information. Ask them why they chose their veterinarian. If you believe their expectations of service are similar to yours, you may want to schedule a visit to the facility to evaluate it for yourself.
Breed clubs and special interest groups
If you have a purebred dog or cat, area breed clubs or rescues can be a good source of information. They have often established a strong relationship with a practice that is very familiar with the potential health-related problems for the particular breed. If you have a non-traditional (i.e., not a cat or a dog) pet, special interest groups in your area may be good sources of information about veterinarians who have special interest in and experience with your species of pet.
Directories and the Internet
The business pages of a phone book or yellow pages can be sources for contact information on local veterinarians, but the printed books may have fewer resources than online formats.
Your current veterinarian
If you are relocating to another city or state, ask your current veterinarian if he or she can recommend a practice where you will be living. Many times they have colleagues in other towns whose practice policies and services are similar to theirs. Your current veterinarian should also provide copies of your pet’s medical records to the new practice to ensure your pet’s medical history is available to the new staff.
When to look for a veterinarian
Pay a visit
Considerations when visiting a veterinary practice
What are the regular office hours? Are they compatible with your schedule?
Will they accept e-mails or appointments electronically (if that is your preferred scheduling method)?
Who covers the practice when the doctor is unavailable?
Do they have after hours emergency coverage or do they refer emergencies to a local emergency clinic?
What is the average wait time for making a non-emergency appointment?
- How are telephone calls handled?
- Can you request an appointment with a specific veterinarian?
- Does the staff dress and act professionally?
- Do you feel comfortable talking with the doctor and/or the veterinary technician?
- How do the staff and doctors interact with your pet? Does your pet seem comfortable with the doctor and staff?
Fees and payment
- What methods of payment are accepted?
- If you have pet insurance or are considering pet insurance, does the hospital accept your pet’s insurance plan?
- Are payment plans or financial assistance options available if you need them?
- What is the range of medical services that the practice provides, and does it suit your needs and expectations?
- If you own an exotic or non-traditional pet, is the veterinarian able and willing to provide care for your pet?
- Does the hospital have educational materials for pet-owners on a variety of topics?
- Are there non-medical services such as boarding, grooming, and training classes available?
- If necessary, does the veterinarian have a network of specialists for referrals?
- How are emergency calls handled during regular office hours and after office hours?
- Is there an emergency facility in your area should you need it?
- Is facility clean and orderly?
- Are there any unpleasant odors?
- Can you take a tour of the non-public areas?
- Are the veterinarians members of a professional veterinary association such as the American Veterinary Medical Association and their state or local veterinary association?
- What is the hospital policy regarding continuing education for the professional staff?
- Are the clinic’s office hours compatible with your schedule?
- How do the veterinarians and staff treat you and your pet?
- Are the clinic’s payment options/plans acceptable to you?
- If your pet is insured, does the clinic accept your insurance plan?
- How are after-hours emergencies handled?
- How do they handle referrals to specialists, if that’s necessary?
- If you have a non-traditional pet, does the veterinarian have experience with that species of pet?
- A referral from a trusted friend or family member is helpful.
Responsible Pet Ownership
Owning a pet is a privilege, but the benefits of pet ownership come with responsibilities.
Be a Responsible Pet Owner:
- Avoid impulsive decisions when selecting a pet.
- Select a pet that’s suited to your home and lifestyle.
- Keep only the type and number of pets for which you can provide appropriate food, water, shelter, health care and companionship.
- Commit to the relationship for the life of your pet(s).
- Provide appropriate exercise and mental stimulation.
- Properly socialize and train your pet.
- Recognize that pet ownership requires an investment of time and money.
- Make sure your pet receives preventive health care (vaccinations, parasite control, etc.), as well as care for any illnesses or injuries.
- Budget for potential emergencies.
- Clean up after your pet.
- Obey all local ordinances, including licensing, leash requirements and noise control.
- Don’t allow your pet to stray or become feral.
- Make sure your pet is properly identified (i.e., tags, microchips, or tattoos) and keep its registration up-to-date.
- Don’t contribute to our nation’s pet overpopulation problem: limit your pet’s reproduction through spay/neuter, containment or managed breeding.
- Prepare for an emergency or disaster, including assembling an evacuation kit.
- Make alternate arrangements if you can no longer provide care for your pet.
- Recognize any decline in your pet’s quality of life and make timely decisions in consultation with a veterinarian.
7 Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Dog or Cat
- Xylitol-containing products (xylitol is an artificial sweetener often found in sugar-free candy and gum);
- Chocolate (although some types of chocolate are not as toxic as others, it’s safer to keep your pet away from all types of chocolate);
- Grapes and raisins;
- Fatty and fried foods;
- Macadamia nuts
8 Things You Can Do to Protect Your Dog in the Summer
- Never, ever leave your dog in the car;
- Make sure your dog has unlimited access to fresh water;
- Make sure your dog has access to shade when outside;
- Take walks during the cooler hours of the day;
- When walking, try to stay off of hot surfaces (like asphalt) because it can burn your dog’s paws;
- If you think it’s hot outside, it’s even hotter for your pet – make sure your pet has a means of cooling off;
- Keep your dog free of external parasites (fleas, ticks) and heartworms – consult your veterinarian about the best product for your pet;
- Consider clipping or shaving dogs with long coats (talk to your veterinarian first to see if it’s appropriate for your pet), and apply sunscreen to your dog’s skin if she or he has a thin coat.
July 4th Safety
Whether or not you’re planning your own Independence Day celebration, it’s important to take precautions to keep your pets safe both during and after the July 4th festivities.
Preparing in advance:
- Make sure your pets – cats and dogs alike – have identification tags with up-to-date information. If you have horses, you might consider marking a safety (breakaway) halter with your contact information and leaving it on your horse during this stressful time.
- If your pets aren’t already microchipped, talk with your veterinarian about microchipping. This simple procedure can greatly improve your chances of getting your pets back if they become lost.
- If your pets are microchipped, make sure your contact information in the microchip registry is up-to-date.
- Take a current photo of all of your cats, dogs and horses – just in case.
- If your pet has historically been anxious on this holiday, or if you have reason to expect potentially harmful reactions, consider behavioral therapy to desensitize your pet and reduce the risk of problems. Some pets may need medication. Consult your veterinarian or a veterinary behaviorist.
- Make sure the environment is safe and secure. If your neighbors set off fireworks at an unexpected time, is your yard secure enough to keep your pet contained? Are pasture fences secure enough to keep horses or other livestock confined? Evaluate your options, and choose the safest area for your animals; and make improvements if needed to make the area more secure.
Safety during July 4th celebrations:
- Leave your pets at home when you go to parties, fireworks displays, parades and other gatherings. Loud fireworks, unfamiliar places and crowds can all be very frightening to pets, and there’s great risk of pets becoming spooked and running away.
- Consider putting your pets in a safe, escape-proof room or crate during parties and fireworks.
- Keep horses and livestock in safely fenced areas and as far from the excitement and noise as possible.
- If you’re hosting guests, ask them to help keep an eye on your pets to make sure they don’t escape. Placing notes on exit doors and gates can help both you and your guests remain vigilant.
- Keep your pets inside if you or your neighbors are setting off fireworks.
- Keep sparklers, glow sticks, fireworks, charcoal and kabob skewers away from curious pets.
- Don’t let pets get near your barbecue grill while it is in use or still hot.
- Avoid the urge to feed your pets table scraps or other foods intended for people. Be especially careful to keep them away from these common foods that are actually toxic.
- Remember that too much sun and heat (and humidity!) can be dangerous to pets. Keep them inside when it’s extremely hot/humid; make sure they have access to shady spots and plenty of water when outdoors; don’t leave them outside for extended periods in hot weather; and know the signs that a pet may be overheating.
- Never leave your pet in your car when it’s warm outside. Vehicle interiors heat up much faster than the air around them, and even a short time in a locked car can be dangerous to pets.
- If you’re travelling out of town for the holiday, consider leaving your pets at home with a pet sitter or boarding them in a kennel. If you need to bring them with you, be sure you know how to keep them safe.
- Follow safe food handling and hygiene practices to protect your family and guests.
After the celebrations:
- Check your yard for fireworks debris before allowing pets outside to play or relax. Even if you didn’t set off fireworks yourself, debris can make its way into your yard, where curious animals may pick it up to play with or eat.
- Check your pastures and remove debris to protect horses and livestock.
- If you hosted guests, check both your yard and home for food scraps or other debris that might be dangerous to pets, such as food skewers.
Ways to Celebrate National Pet Day!
1. Adopt a pet from your local shelter or pure breed rescue organization.
2. Volunteer at your local shelter and offer to care for the animals.
3. Donate blankets, food and toys to a favorite animal welfare organization.
4. Organize a peaceful demonstration in front of your community pet store that sells pets from puppy or kitten mills.
5. Have a National Pet Day party and celebrate all your pets!
6. Assist an ill, elderly or a financially struggling neighbor or friend by purchasing pet food, hay or needed items for their pets.
7. Buy your pet a fun new toy….or two…or five.
How to Feed Puppies and Kittens
Every year, more than eight million tons of pet food are manufactured under 15,000 different brand names. How do you ever decide what’s best for your puppy or kitten? Giving food that’s closest to your pet’s natural diet is the best option. You should feed your puppy or kitten pet food specifically formulated for puppies or kittens.
A puppy’s or kitten’s weight should double or triple during the first weeks of life. Milk from the mother dog (dam) and mother kitten (queen) is ideal for puppy and kitten growth. If the mothers cannot provide enough milk, puppy or kitten milk replacer is the ideal supplement.
- Canned or dry commercial pet food that is saturated with milk replacer is recommended for feeding unweaned puppies and kittens.
- Weaned puppies and kittens can be fed regular puppy food or kitten food.
Puppies need two times more calories per pound than adult dogs need. For newborn puppies, calories are provided by the mother’s milk or by milk replacer. At 3-4 weeks of age, puppies can be supplemented with a small amount of canned or dry commercial food that is saturated with milk replacer. Tiny puppies play with their food and need to be cleaned after they eat.
Most dams suckle their puppies until they’re 7-8 weeks of age, gradually decreasing the time the puppies are allowed to nurse. With this natural weaning process, by 7-8 weeks of age, puppies obtain 80-90% of their nutrition from supplements, and 10-20% from the dam. Puppies need 25-30% of their diet to be protein.
A puppy’s weight should double or triple during the first weeks of life, then continue to gradually increase to the adult weight. Small breed dogs, whose adult weight is 20 pounds or less, reach their adult weight between 9-12 months of age, but large breed dogs don’t reach their adult weight until 2 years of age. The size and weight of an adult dog is not determined by how quickly he or she grows, so feeding too many calories will not make your dog maximum size. In fact, feeding too many calories harms your pet. Your pet will reach a maximum size determined by genetics and nutrition.
When growing puppies receive too many calories, and too much calcium, they develop bone disease and arthritis including hypertrophic osteodystrophy, osteochondrosis, and hip dysplasia. Because too many calories and too much calcium cause the bones to grow improperly, these dogs have painful legs and joints, lameness, and malformed bones. Sometimes these signs appear to be rickets, which is a deficiency of calcium, but they are actually the opposite problem. If puppies with osteodystrophy, osteochondrosis, or the tendency to hip dysplasia are supplemented with calcium, their problems become more severe and their bones may be permanently damaged.
With any puppy, but especially puppies of the large and giant breeds, feeding so that the puppy grows slowly is the way to go. Do not overfeed.
Weaned puppies should be fed four times a day until three months of age. If puppies are growing properly and gaining weight, reduce feeding to three times a day. After six months of age, feed puppies twice a day. If possible, avoid leaving your puppy’s food down all the time because this allows the antioxidants, fatty acids, and vitamins in the food to oxidize so that your puppy receives less of the nutrients he or she needs and that you’ve paid for. Gradually introduce a variety of puppy foods and textures so your puppy will mature into an adult willing to eat a variety of healthy foods.
Canned or homemade pet food diets are closer to the natural diet that dogs evolved eating and may be healthier than dry diets for many dogs. If feeding dry dog food is most suitable for you, supplement your growing pet with small amounts of sardines, yogurt, mashed sweet potato, spinach, and pureed vegetables.
Kittens need 2-3 times more calories per pound than adult cats need. For newborn kittens, all the calories are provided by queen’s milk or by milk replacer. At 3-4 weeks of age, kittens can be supplemented with a small amount of canned or dry commercial food that is saturated with milk replacer. Tiny kittens play with their supplemented food and need to be cleaned after they eat.
Most queens suckle their kittens until they are 7-8 weeks of age, gradually decreasing the time the kittens are allowed to nurse. With this natural weaning process, by 7-8 weeks of age, kittens obtain 80-90% of their nutrition from supplements, and 10-20% from the queen.
Your kitten’s weight should double or triple during the first weeks of life, then continue to gradually increase to the adult weight between 9-12 months of age.
Weaned kittens should be fed four times a day until three months of age. If kittens are growing properly and gaining weight, reduce feeding to three times a day. After six months of age, feed kittens and adult cats twice a day. If possible, avoid leaving your kitten’s food down all the time because this allows the antioxidants, fatty acids, and vitamins in the food to oxidize so that your kitten receives less of the nutrients it needs and that you’ve paid for. Gradually introduce a variety of kitten foods and textures so your kitten matures into a cat that’s willing to eat a variety of healthy foods. At least 1/3 of the diet should be protein.
Canned or homemade diets provide moisture that helps prevent kidney and bladder problems and may be healthier than dry pet food diets for many cats.
- IAMS Dry DOG FOOD
- IAMS Dry Puppy FOOD
- PURINA CAT CHOW Dry CAT FOOD
- PURINA KITTEN CHOW
- Arm and HAMMER CAT LITTER
- Friskers Canned cat food
- Pedigree dry dog food
- Pedigree Dentastix or Jumbone dog treat
- Milk -Bane Dog Treats
- Milk -Bane Pill Punch
- Fancy Feast Gourmet Cat Food
- Meow Mix Dry Cat food
- Temptations Cat Treat
- Beyond Dry Cat and Dog FOOD
- Tidy Cats Clumping litter.
- Purine Beggin Strips
- Purine Beneful Dry Dog food
- Cat dancer Cat toy
- Jackson Galaxy Cat toy
- Fresh stop clumping cat litter with Febreze
- Febreze Fabric Refresher
Find a great pet store in NYC
The New York Dog Shop
This small shop is stocked to the brim with everything a dog could need, want or—more accurately—dread. Terrifying discoveries include pink dog goggles and a bunny raincoat, but you’ll quickly block those out of your mind when you spot delightful finds like Paws Aboard life jackets and green tea shampoo by Earthbath. The racks along the perimeter are bursting with fashion-forward dresses, tuxedos, sweatshirts, polo shirts, jumpsuits and puffy jackets in sizes all the way up to XXL.
Upper West Side
Billing itself as NYC’s finest ‘beastro, this sleek shop doesn’t disappoint: It offers raw and organic food and on-site grooming for all types of pets, from energetic new sidekicks to older disabled dogs. And if what you’re feeding fluffy isn’t working, don’t sweat it: It offers nutrition counseling to help you choose the best food for your pet’s well-being. Not only will it save you money, it’ll ensure you many more happy, healthy years together.
Battery Park City
This refreshingly non-cutesy pet supply store will have your canine cruising down the sidewalk in high-quality understated gear. The store’s spacious second location (the first is in Soho) features colorful goodies like collars, bowls and toys. Bring your pooch in to peruse the enormous and tasteful collection of collars, leashes, travel bags, beds and bowls. Also get your paws on handmade sterling-silver name tags in charming shapes such as cupcakes and crowns.