Blog Posts by petMD

  • Fact and Fiction About Dog Poop

    By Bryant, Carol | Pet360

    This month kicked off with "International Pooper Scooper Week" on April 1 and will end with a similarly themed weekly ahem …celebration: "National Scoop the Poop Week."

    To commemorate both - and that daily ritual for pet parents - we separate the fact from the fiction about disposing pet poop.


    Flushing dog poop down the toilet - without a bag, only the waste - is perhaps the best disposal method, says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Resources Defense Council. Leaving pet waste on the ground increases public health risks by allowing harmful bacteria and nutrients to wash into storm drains, and eventually into local waterbodies.

    But cat feces should never be flushed, as it may contain Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite that can infect people and animals. Municipal water treatment systems do not always kill this parasite.


    Leaving dog poop behind is good for the soil. Reality: In order for feces from a

    Read More »from Fact and Fiction About Dog Poop
  • Signs Your Cat Hates You, and How to Fix It

    As your cat gets older, you may notice your once snuggly, loving friend becoming a bit more reclusive. While behaviors like these are a normal part of aging, it can be challenging to find ways to reinforce your bond with your cat, and ultimately, determine the proper ways to care for them. We've asked an expert to share some tips on how to bond with your senior cat and behaviors to look out for. Get the details, below.

    Changes in Your Cat's Behavior

    In a similar manner to people, cats will become less active and more sedate as they age, said Katie Watts, senior feline behavior counselor at the ASPCA adoption center. Changes in their behavior can be caused by medical conditions, such as hyperthyroidism, arthritis and dental disease, or cognitive diseases like dementia. Common symptoms of these conditions can include irritability, discomfort and limited mobility, while cats suffering from dementia may wander around and meow more frequently, Watts said.

    Read More »from Signs Your Cat Hates You, and How to Fix It
  • Can Your Dog Have Asthma Attacks?

    By Valerie Trumps | PetMD

    Dogs naturally pant when they are hot or fatigued. But beware -- and aware -- for clues that may indicate asthma, a potentially life-threatening condition in pets.

    As with humans, asthma in dogs is essentially an allergic reaction to something in the environment. Exposure to the allergen triggers inflammation and uncontrolled mucus or fluid production that may block or narrow airways to make breathing difficult.

    Cats are much more susceptible to asthma than dogs, but small canines are more vulnerable than larger breeds.

    Risk Factors

    Common allergen that can trigger an attack include smoke (from tobacco, fireplaces or wood stoves), household cleaners, air fresheners or deodorizers, perfumes, air pollution, airborne pollen, mold spores, pesticides and fertilizer, and cat litter particles. In some dogs, triggers may be as innocuous as cooking odors or the scent of a burning candle.


    Fortunately, the signs of a canine

    Read More »from Can Your Dog Have Asthma Attacks?
  • Cats and Their Odd Behavior: 5 Creepy Cat Habits

    By Cheryl Lock | PetMD

    The more time you spend with your cat, the more you'll probably start to notice-she's got some weird habits, doesn't she?

    We decided to look at 5 of the most common odd cat behaviors and get to the root of why they do them.


    From time to time you may catch your cat doing something a little strange: kneading. This occurs when your kitten rhythmically alternates her paws, pushing in and out, usually against something soft.

    While no one is 100% sure why cats take on this behavior, there are a few theories. For starters, baby kittens will knead instinctively when they're young to help stimulate their mom's milk production. In this way, some people think cats continue kneading as they get older because the action reminds them of the rewards of nursing.

    Other theories for why cats do this include that it's their way of showing affection, it helps them limber up after a nap or prepare a soft, comfy spot to lay down in, or that it's an

    Read More »from Cats and Their Odd Behavior: 5 Creepy Cat Habits
  • How to Pick the Best Name for Your Kitten

    By Yahaira Cespedes |

    Kitten Photo by Ilike via Shutterstock

    It is a wonderful day when you welcome a new kitten into your home. One fun-filled task is the process of picking from the multitude of kitten names. Sometimes, a name can just pop right out of you, but at other times it may not be so easy.

    Whether you've decided to re-name an adopted kitten's shelter name, or want to include your friends and family in on the fun, there are many interesting naming methods to choose from.

    Carrying on a Tradition

    One of the most popular ways to pick a cat name is to delve into your past. Many people choose to name their cat in memory of a beloved childhood or family pet. In the same manner that people pass on family names like Junior, providing your new addition with a recognized family pet name will make them feel right at home in your family.

    Popularity Contest

    Baby names aren't just for humans. The popularity of cat names of course depends on the country you live in, and language(s) you speak. If you

    Read More »from How to Pick the Best Name for Your Kitten
  • Animal Rescue Stories You Won't Believe

    Lucca The Hero DogBy

    From military dogs to therapy, guide, and rescue dogs, service animals are everyday heroes for their owners and role models for fellow pups-in-training worldwide. Here are just a few stories of these dogs doing their jobs with exceptional outcomes.

    Yolanda the 911-Dialing Dog

    A Golden Retreiver trained as a service animal and guide dog, Yolanda saved her owner, Pennsylvania resident Maria Colon, from being burglarized and potentially killed by calling local police and bringing the phone to her.

    When two men, identified as Colon's neighbors, entered her home, Yolanda chased the intruders and pressed a large "9-1-1" button on Colon's phone. By the time Yolanda brought Colon the receiver, the police operator was already on the line. Colon made her way downstairs, where all of her oven burners were reportedly turned on and emitting gas. Police officers led her and Yolanda out of the home safely.

    See more pictures of these heroic dogs at

    Juno the

    Read More »from Animal Rescue Stories You Won't Believe
  • 5 Dangerous Foods You're Feeding Your Cat

    Image: Nailia Schwarz / via Shutterstock


    While we may consider cats to be members of our family, treating them as such at mealtimes can cause more injury to them than just spoiling their dinners. Here's a look at the five most dangerous foods for your cat, how they affect their bodies, and what to do in case of an emergency.

    1. Onions/Garlic

    Onions and garlic can cause the destruction of red blood cells and lead to anemia in cats, Dr. Tina Wismer, medical director at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center says. "Cats tend to be much pickier eaters as opposed to dogs, but we've seen cats eat an entire cup of caramelized onions."

    Although the size of the dose determines the level of poisoning, lethargy and a reduced appetite can be symptoms of a toxic reaction. The sooner you diagnose potential poisoning in cats the better, so if they're acting strangely don't hesitate to call your veterinarian.

    2. Raw Eggs

    Similarly to people, consumption of raw eggs can lead to salmonella in cats,

    Read More »from 5 Dangerous Foods You're Feeding Your Cat
  • 5 Ways to Help Your Pet Live Longer

    Bulldogs via ShutterstockBy Lorie Huston, DVM |

    Anyone who has ever had a dog or cat wishes just one thing - that he or she has a healthy and long life. Here are five tips that can help your pet do just that.

    1. Feed a high quality diet. Pets fed a high quality diet have a shiny hair coat, healthy skin, and bright eyes. A good diet can help strengthen your pet's immune system, help maintain his or her intestinal health, help increase his or her mental acuity, help keep joints and muscles healthy, and much more.

    2. Keep your pet lean.

    Pets that are overweight are at risk for a myriad of health issues. Obesity is the number one nutritional disease seen in pets currently and studies have shown that being overweight or obese can shorten a dog or cat's life span by as much as two years. Why? Being overweight or obese puts your pet at risk for joint disease, heart disease and diabetes, among other things.

    3. Take your pet to the veterinarian regularly.

    All pets, including both dogs and cats, require Read More »from 5 Ways to Help Your Pet Live Longer
  • 7 Reasons Your Dog is Fat

    Pug image via Shutterstock

    Your pet is overweight, and being the conscientious pet owner, you have made the necessary changes to your pet's diet and activity levels, but your pet is still overweight. In fact, not only is he still overweight, he seems to be gaining more weight. If diet and exercise are not solving the problem, what else is there?

    There are other valid reasons for weight gain besides eating habits and lack of activity. Here are seven of the most likely offenders.

    #1 - Pregnancy

    This is the most obvious cause of weight gain and potbellied appearances. Although it may seem obvious, some pet owners are completely unaware that their cat or dog is pregnant until there is a litter of little ones staring them in the face. If a female dog or cat is not spayed, she can become pregnant, and it does not take long for it to happen. A few unattended minutes in the backyard can lead to an unintended pregnancy.

    So don't go putting your dog on a strict diet or exercise regimen just because she's

    Read More »from 7 Reasons Your Dog is Fat
  • 6 Deadly Diseases Plaguing Puppies

    Image: petMD 2014By Amanda Baltazar |

    Your puppy is brand new and you want to protect him. The best thing you can do is to feed him a healthy, balanced diet, says Dr. Jim Dobies, a veterinarian with South Point Pet Hospital in Charlotte, N.C., and a member of the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association.

    "If you do, you're giving your puppy's immune system the best chance to fight off infection, he says. "He is in better shape to fight off illness and recover."

    But you can't protect your baby pooch from everything. Here are six common illnesses he could catch in his first year of life.

    1. Parvovirus (Parvo)

    This highly contagious virus attacks puppies aged between 12 weeks and up to 3 years. Transmitted through bodily secretions, parvovirus is easily passed on, though most dogs are vaccinated against it starting at six to eight weeks, then again every three weeks until they are four months old (or until your veterinarian recommends).

    Symptoms: Parvo in dogs starts

    Read More »from 6 Deadly Diseases Plaguing Puppies


(58 Stories)