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  • 5 Reasons Cats Are Given Up for Adoption — and How to Avoid These Problems

    By Dr. Marty Becker

    Cats are among the hardest animals to place in new homes.My career as a veterinarian - and really, my entire life - has been all about celebrating what I call "The Bond," that amazing connection we have with our pets. But even as I've made a life's work out of The Bond, I am keenly aware that it sometimes breaks, landing pets in shelters where they hope for new homes.

    See Also: Finding the Perfect Shelter Cat

    The good news is that progressive shelters are making tremendous leaps forward when it comes to re-homing pets in need. The success of Maddie's Pet Adoption Days - with almost 8,000 pets nationwide placed in forever homes over a single weekend - highlights the amazing work that the shelter and rescue communities are doing these days.

    But despite this positive news about pet adoptions, cats are still among the hardest animals to place in new homes. Fortunately, there's good news for the felines too: The shelter community is studying the reasons cats are given up, with an eye to helping pet owners solve the

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  • 9 Things No One Ever Tells You About Traveling with Pets

    By Dr. Patty Khuly

    Vincent, the French Bulldog, all tuckered out from traveling.As a veterinarian with 20-plus years of experience roaming the States with pets in tow, you'd think I'd have the traveling thing down. Yet every single time I take my pets anywhere outside my hometown in South Florida, I'm forced to confront some new (and often annoying) aspect of pet travel I'd somehow missed during the 50-plus trips that preceded it.

    My last expedition serves as a perfect example:

    I flew from Miami to Arizona with my French Bulldog, Vincent, for a speaking engagement.

    After spending the night at a fancy pet-friendly resort, we flew to Washington, D.C., where Vincent and I met up with my significant other and our Belgian Malinois pup, Violet. They'd just driven up from Miami to help me enjoy three days of BlogPaws, a social media conference for the pet set. There we spent our nights in a ninth-floor hotel room (near the elevator, thank God) and our days in a conference booth promoting my Fat Dog Diet iPhone app.

    [ See Also: 11 Small

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  • Why Won't My Dog Look Me in the Eye?

    By Mikkel Becker

    ThinkstockQ. My rescue dog is uncomfortable with eye contact. Why does eye contact make her act so skittish? How can I teach her that eye contact is an OK thing?

    In many human cultures, eye contact is viewed as a way to make a connection and show interest, but for dogs, eye contact sends a different message. Seeing eye-to-eye is likely viewed by your dog as more of a threat than a measure of good will.

    See Also: What Does My Dog's Eyes Say About His or Her Health?

    Depending on the socialization your dog received as a puppy, her genetic predisposition and her experience before you adopted her, eye contact may actually be perceived as a significant enough threat to spark aggression. Unless she is taught that eye contact is OK, it is possible that she could progress from simply being skittish to biting.

    Why Dogs Don't Make Eye Contact

    In the canine world, prolonged eye contact rarely occurs in friendly contexts; it is more commonly seen as a threat or challenge to

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  • Rituals Can Help You Cope with Pet Loss

    By Dr. Carrie La Jeunesse

    Marking and memorializing pet lossWhen we lose a loved one, the stories of our lives change forever. Our connections to those beings are not gone, but are transformed as we move forward in time. The ways in which we choose to mark and honor seminal events such as marriages, births, important religious or spiritual milestones, life-stage transitions or deaths are steeped in the ancient tradition of ritual. Our life stories and who we are change through loss. Despite the pain, most people come to discover "positives" that, upon reflection, help us appreciate lessons learned and personal strengths or qualities that would not have been discovered without such powerful transitions. Marking these losses through rituals or other means of memorializing is a healthy first step toward moving through the tasks of mourning.

    See Also: 5 Strategies for Surviving the Loss of a Pet

    Rituals Help With the Reality of Loss

    In the case of death, rituals serve many healthy purposes. On a personal level,

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  • Should You Let Your Pets Drink from the Toilet?

    By Dr. Patty Khuly

    Dr. Patty Khuly's Belgian Malinois, Violet, drinks from the toilet.I know, I know. You think I'm a bad mother. And, sure, drinking from the toilet seems likely to top the list of verboten activities for indoor animals. But once you break down the risks and benefits of this common behavior, imbibing "eau-de-toilet" doesn't seem so gross anymore - not to me, anyway.

    It's not as if I don't understand your distaste for the stuff. After all, aversive toilet training is part of every human's formative years. But that doesn't mean the water contained therein is unsafe or unwholesome… or that you should go to great lengths to limit your pets' access.

    [Related: Why Does My Dog... Drink From Weird Places?]

    Still not so sure? Here are some arguments in its favor:

    1. It tastes great! Dogs love toilet water. Cats too, though their reach often limits their ability. The reason for this phenomenon is simple: The stuff must taste great! (Better than what you're offering, anyway.) To those unencumbered by a commode's connection to

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  • The Right Way to Run with Your Dog

    By Mikkel Becker

    Start slow and run safelyWe know that running is good for humans, but it can be good for your dog, too. Not all canines are built for running, but most dogs in good health enjoy it, even if it's only a couple of miles. Whether you're a Couch to 5K newbie or a committed marathoner, there are some factors to consider before you take your dog out on a run.he R

    Related: Match Your Dog's Breed With the Right Type of Exercise

    Start With a Health Check

    Before hitting the trails with your dog, it's essential to get a clean bill of health from your veterinarian. Running is a high-impact, cardio-intensive exercise, and unless your dog has been cleared for this activity, he can be at risk for injury - or worse. Joint problems, like hip dysplasia, luxating patellas and arthritis, can make running painful or even impossible. Good cardiovascular health is also necessary for this intensive activity. Your dog's weight is another factor; overweight dogs will struggle more with running than their

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  • 20 Dog Breeds that Have Fallen in Popularity Over the Past Decade

    A couple weeks ago we took a look at 20 dogs that have soared in popularity over the past decade, but as we know in life as some things rise others must fall. These once-popular breeds include dogs like the firehouse dog (Dalmatian), Dorothy's best pal in the "Wizard of Oz" (Cairn Terrier) and the winningest breed at the Westminster Dog Show (Wire Fox Terrier).

    To determine which breeds have experienced the steepest decline, we looked at Vetstreet's extensive database of millions of pet records and compared their popularity in 2002 to their rank in 2012. Here are the results, and a few are sure to surprise you.

    GreyhoundNo. 1: Greyhound

    No. 48 most popular breed in 2002, No. 117 in 2012

    The breed that saw the sharpest decline has been the Greyhound. They are known for being gentle and affectionate, but even those appealing attributes couldn't keep this dog from declining in popularity over the past decade.

    [ See Also: 20 Dog Names That Are Passé]

    No. 2: Smooth Fox Terrier

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  • Comfort Dog Gets His Own Comfort

    By Amy Sinatra Ayres

    Moses Comfort Dog / FacebookEven a dog who's trained to lend a paw to people who are suffering could sometimes use a little comforting himself.

    Workers in Oklahoma gave Moses the Comfort Dog his very own Golden Retriever stuffed animal to snuggle with while taking breaks from visiting with the victims of the devastating May 20 tornado.

    "How thoughtful, I love it!" Moses posted on his Facebook page, along with a photo of him with his "puppy." Less than 2 years old himself, Moses visited Oklahoma from his home at the Christ Lutheran Church in Nebraska.

    Oklahoma is the most recent place the K-9 Parish Comfort Dogs have visited to help residents heal from a disaster. A team of nine dogs from four states visited Moore, Okla., in the days after the storm there.

    In recent months, the Golden Retrievers, who are trained by the Lutheran Church Charities in Illinois, have also traveled to Boston after the April bombing at the finish line of the Marathon, and to Newtown, Conn., in the

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  • Adopt a Pet for Free During Maddie's Pet Adoption Days

    By Dr. Marty Becker

    People in 5 states can adopt a pet for free this weekendWhat would you do if someone gave you a new car, the one you'd always wanted, the one that was perfect for your family? Would you treat it like trash because, after all, it was "free" so it wasn't worth anything? Or would you drive it proudly everywhere, telling everyone you know, "I won this car! I didn't have to pay for it! Isn't that great?"

    I'm guessing you'd be pretty happy with your good fortune and happy to share your good news. The car is perfect for you, and the fact that you didn't have to pay for it won't change how much you value it or how well you care for it, not a bit.

    [ See Also: See How Adopters Pick Shelter Pets ]

    Now what if you went to the shelter to adopt a pet and found out that your adoption fee was being paid by someone else and your pet was "free?" People in the shelter and rescue community have long believed that if you don't pay to adopt, you won't value or care for your four-legged family member. And at the first sign of

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  • Meet Ray Charles the Blind Golden Retriever

    By Amy Sinatra Ayres

    Ray Charles the Golden Retriever snuggles in his pajamas in his Facebook profile picture.This 6-month-old blind Golden Retriever puppy isn't quite as famous as his namesake - yet.

    But after being featured on Buzzfeed, the Huffington Post and other news sites this week, the adorable little guy is quickly making a name for himself as an Internet darling.

    Born in December, he was one of five pups in his litter. His breeder took him to the veterinarian when he wasn't playing with his siblings, and discovered that the puppy was born blind, according to his Facebook page.

    "Don't feel bad for me! I can run and play and do everything else other dogs that can see do!" he says in his bio.

    He now lives in Boston with his "dad" and brothers, Goldens Harley and Jack. And he's loving the attention that comes with going viral.

    More on

    * This Breed Is the Perfect Family Dog
    * Adopt a Pet for Free This Weekend
    * Can All Dogs Swim? No, and This Popular Breed Is Worst
    * 20 Trendiest Dog Breeds for 2013

    Newsletter: Free Weekly Read More »from Meet Ray Charles the Blind Golden Retriever


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