Skin Conditions in Dogs & Cats

Nothing is worse than when our fur kids aren’t feeling well and we aren’t quite sure what’s wrong with them. When they experience illness, there are certain physical symptoms that may alert us to what’s wrong. However, there are some ailments and side effects that are more discreet, which we might miss upon first glance. Or, there are times when cats and dogs try to hide symptoms from their owners.

Even though our fur children may be able to communicate with us, they still can’t tell us exactly where it hurts. Animals can face some of the same illnesses, conditions, and allergies that humans do, but are limited in their ability to communicate their feelings. This is why it’s important that fur parents take extra precautions when it comes to the care of their beloved fur kid.

Although some side effects may be temporary and go away on their own, other conditions may be permanent or lead to more serious health issues if not given the proper attention and care.
It’s important to keep an eye out for changes in outward appearance and/or behavior in pets to ensure they are kept safe. Let’s take a look at a few of the most common skin conditions in dogs and cats.

Skin Conditions in Cats

Cats can be elusive animals and have been known to hide their symptoms quite well, especially when they’re not feeling well. Skin conditions are a different story since they can’t be hidden as easily. Even if your cat isn’t the cuddly type, make sure you hold him every once in a while to at least check their skin for any abnormalities. Below are a few cat skin conditions to make note of:

Open Sores

Maybe your fur kid likes to be extra frisky playing outdoors, running after squirrels, or climbing up trees. It may be common to see scratches or other minor injuries on his paws or face after being outside. However, open sores or lesions are still something you’ll want to keep an eye on to make sure they heal on their own.

Open sores can easily become infected when they fail to scab over – leaving them more susceptible to bacteria and disease. In fact, persistent sores may be the symptom of something larger. If you’ve noticed sores on your furry friend that haven’t gone away in a few days, make an appointment with your veterinarian to check for allergies or infectious disease.

Hair Loss

Hair loss or alopecia in fur parents can be caused by a variety of things. One of the most typical factors being stress or anxiety. Similarly, hair loss in your fur baby can be indicative of stress, allergies, or other types of illness or infection in the body.

Of course, you’ll notice your cat shedding (how can you ignore the never-ending hair clumps hidden all over your house), but if the hair is falling out in bigger clumps or more than usual, it’s something to be wary of. Your pet may not seem to be in pain, but this side effect could be related to a much larger diagnosis, such as pancreatic tumors or adrenal disease.

Allergies

It may be strange to think about cats having allergies when usually they are the ones to cause allergies in others, but it occurs more frequently than you might think. There are three major types of allergies they can suffer from, including food allergies, environmental allergies, and flea allergies.

A cat with food allergies will most likely experience obvious reactions, such as vomiting or diarrhea, after eating the offending food. Food allergies for felines often occur when they have a hypersensitive reaction to protein. Do you suspect allergies in your fur child? Mention the symptoms on your next visit to your veterinarian. Seemingly unrelated actions could all stem from one common allergy.

Dull Coat

A change in appearance of your cat’s coat can indicate the presence of a more serious skin condition. The appearance maybe greasy, flaky, or dull. In some instances, you may notice your cat has discontinued grooming, which leaves the fur looking mangy, dry, or matted.

A cat’s diet could be the culprit for this skin condition. For example, a lack of omega-3 or omega-6 fatty acids could dull your cat’s fur. Fish sources are a common source of omega-3s and help moderate inflammation. Plants provide omega-6 fatty acids for pets and are important to maintain the skin’s cell membrane. Lack of either of these in the diet can result in a negative change in your pet’s outward appearance.

Ear Mites

They sound as invasive as they are (yuck!) The tiny parasites feed off the oil and wax inside your pet’s ear. If that’s not bad enough, this causes inflammation, which can develop into a more serious ear or skin infection.

Symptoms that indicate your fur child might have ear mites include excessive shaking or head shaking and/or a dark substance coming from the ears accompanied by an unpleasant odor. Check out your cat’s ears from time to time and make sure to schedule routine visits to the veterinarian for nose-to-tail checkups.

Feline Acne

Believe it or not, cats can get pimples too. While they may not experience the somewhat embarrassing outbreaks their fur parents have, feline acne is a common skin condition that spreads around your fur baby’s chin. However, much like humans, feline acne is caused by stress, an adverse reaction to medication, or poor grooming. Most cats are self-groomers, so you don’t normally have to worry about it. But if you see your fur kid isn’t taking care of his fur as diligently as before, acne may sprout up unexpectedly.

Dog Skin Conditions

Everyone’s had to deal with a scratching dog at one point or another, but many chalk it up to fleas or “just being a dog”. Although that may very well be the case, there are several other types of skin conditions your furry friend may be suffering from, which can cause this incessant itching.

Allergic Dermatitis

“Allergic dermatitis” is just a fancy word for skin allergies. Your dog may have an allergic reaction to grooming or bathing products, a change in food or treats, or environmental factors like insects or pollen.

If your fur kid is constantly scratching and is starting to show signs of redness or rashes, he may need to be treated for allergies.

Impetigo

This bacterial infection is visible on the surface of the skin and has the appearance of pimple-looking bumps, which are filled with pus. The condition is most often found in puppies and show up where there is little to no fur.

Although not immediately serious, impetigo can prove uncomfortable for your pet and should be treated right away. In most cases, the bumps can be treated with a topical solution before the bacteria spreads or becomes a bigger problem.

Ringworm

Ringworm is one of the more prevalent skin conditions dogs can get. Contrary to it’s name, the condition itself is not an actual worm, but a fungus. It is noticeable by its ring shapes that show up on the head, paws, ears, or legs.

In addition to hair loss, your dog may experience inflammation or scaly patches where the fungus lives. You will want to seek treatment for ringworm right away, as it can easily spread not only to dogs or other fur friends, but also to humans.

Your veterinarian can prescribe an anti-fungal treatment to take care of it, but you’ll want to limit your fur kid’s interaction with others until your pup has healed.

Hot Spots

The clinical term for hot spots is “acute moist dermatitis”, which refer to sections of the skin that are red and inflamed. Most often, they’re found on your fur child’s head or chest and feels hot to the touch.

Hot spots can result from allergies, infections, or excessive chewing or licking of the skin. It’s important to keep the section as clean as possible, but if this condition continues, your best bet is to pay your vet a quick visit.

Other Signs and Symptoms of Skin Conditions in Pets

There are several other symptoms (other than those listed above) that may alert you that your fur kid is suffering from a skin condition or other health issue.

Does your fur kid drag his back legs on the carpet? Does your cat or dog constantly lick raw patches onto his paws? Does your fur child sneeze, scratch, or itch a lot? Although the behavior may seem harmless, if it happens regularly, it’s worth having checked out. It’s also a good idea to keep a look out for:

● Dandruff
● Flaking
● Scaling
● Hair loss
● Inflammation
● Strong odor
● Increased oiliness

There may need to be an adjustment to your fur kid’s diet, shampoo, or other products you use daily. Allergies may develop over time or may change with the seasons. Knowing your fur baby’s habits is what will help most to control issues and prevent conditions and diseases from developing further.

How to Remedy Skin Conditions in Pets

The best thing to do if you notice a skin abnormality, rash, or unusual bumps is to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. A doctor can properly analyze the symptoms associated you’re your fur kid’s physical condition and eliminate any chance of the skin condition being an indicator of a larger problem. They’ll already have a history of your pet’s health and can help put your mind at ease.

If you cannot get to the veterinary clinic right away or you want to try an at-home remedy for more short-term skin conditions such as a mild allergic reaction to certain plants or products, then consider the following:

• Vitamin E for dry skin. When your pup experiences dry, flaky skin, you can pamper your pet with a massage. Apply vitamin E directly into the skin or add it to part of your fur kid’s bath. It will help soothe the skin and make it healthier.

• Applying certain foods as a topical solution can help with your pet’s skin conditions as well. Chamomile tea, for example, can be used as a natural disinfectant for minor skin irritations on your fur baby. Chill the tea first and spray onto your pet’s skin for a soothing effect.

• Oatmeal also helps ease the skin, especially from a rash or allergies that make your fur child extra itchy. Oatmeal is often used in human bath products for its mellow nature that is gentle on the skin and helps with irritation. Why shouldn’t we use it for our fur kids, too?

What Kind of Pet Care Routine Should You Follow?

Ensure your pet is receiving a balanced diet. Make sure your fur baby receives his daily dose of nutrients every day. Read the labels of all the food and snacks you feed your pet to check for fillers, dyes, or other potentially harmful ingredients. If you have more than one pet in your household, they may be allergic or have adverse experiences to different things. It’s important to keep food and drink separate for each fur kid.

Take your pet for regular checkups. Just like humans should visit the dentist twice a year or go to the doctor for yearly physicals, regular checkups for your fur baby is just as important. Even if there are no major changes to report, it’s a good idea to be preventative rather than waiting and having to be reactive when thing go wrong. Be proactive for the health of your pet.

Know your fur baby like the back of your hand. Before even getting a pet, research the breed you want and what kind of conditions their breeds might be more susceptible to. For example, a puppy with lots of skin folds may collect debris, dirt, and oils within the skin that can lead to skin conditions. The more you know in advance, the better you can care for your pet in the future. It can help you know what to look out for as your pet grows.

How to Pet-Proof Your Apartment

Getting a fuzzy new roommate is an exciting adventure, but there are a few steps you should take to ensure that your apartment isn’t totally thrashed, making it look worse than a college dorm room. Not only do you want to provide a hazard-free environment, but you also want to ensure that your pet feels right at home. Here are a few easy ways to prep your apartment for your newest roomie.

Paws Off

Puppies and kittens are notoriously curious, leading them to open any cabinets, cupboards, or cubbies they can get their little paws on. Even mature fur kids can be intrigued by their new space, sending them on a hunt through your precious belongings. Not only is it a nuisance to come home to the contents of the bathroom cabinet dispersed all over the floor, but it is also potentially dangerous for your pet.

When your fur child gets into your belongings, they will likely lick, chew, or attempt to play with their newest treasures. Items such as cleaning products, prescriptions, and even certain foods can be extremely harmful to your furry friend. Take preventative measures by putting childproof locks on cabinets that house these dangerous products.

Fragile Finds

In addition to chemical products, the Pinterest-inspired decor you worked so hard on could be potentially harmful. Any fragile items that could be knocked over and shattered should be put away or out of reach. Remember that cats are climbers and can jump up on very high surfaces, so it’s safest to remove dangerous materials altogether.

Any pointy, sharp items should be removed from your fur kid’s environment so that they don’t chew on them and cut themselves. Think of this as an opportunity to de-clutter last season’s mason jars and revamp your apartment with pet-friendly décor.

Cut the Cord

Electrical cords can also come as a shockingly scary surprise to curious, teething pets. Eliminate this risk by unplugging any unused cords, and covering cords that you need plugged in at all times.

Protective cord covers can be found at your local hardware store, or you can try coating your cords with a bad tasting spray that your fur kids will be sure to avoid. In addition to electrical cords, the cords hanging from blinds can be a chocking hazard, especially for climbing kitties. Tie your cords up in a loop to keep them out of reach.

Plant Proof

Many plants are poisonous to dogs and cats, and unfortunately, many pets love chewing and digging through them. Even non-poisonous plants can be harmful, causing vomiting or diarrhea. It’s important to do your homework on what houseplants are pet-safe before bringing your new best friend home.

Check out the ASPCA’s list of toxic and nontoxic plants to see if your windowsill garden is in the clear. After reading through the list, replace your dying lilies with pet-friendly plants, or better yet, a treat like cat-grass. Cat-grass is a healthy mix of grasses including wheat, oat, and rye, which your kitty will love to chew on.

Who Let the Dogs Out?

Another way to ensure your pet’s safety is to provide them with a secure space that will keep them from running away. It may take a little time for your apartment to feel like your pet’s true home, and you want to ensure that there isn’t a way for them to sneak out. Inside, check that your screens, windows, and doors are secure. If your fur kid is a scratcher, you may need to get a plastic or metal grate to cover screens so he cannot push through it.

If your fur child spends just as much time outdoors as they do lounging around inside, it’s important to pet-proof your yard. Make sure that there aren’t any holes in or under the gate, and that the fence is high enough to keep your fur baby in.

If you have a pool, it is important to make sure that this is gated off as well. Another huge factor is eliminating potential poisons. Remove any toxic plants and check that poisonous pesticides aren’t being used in your area. If you do not own your apartment, you should check with your property manager to see if any harmful chemicals are being used.

Dumpster Diving

Although we tend to avoid the trash at all costs, many pets think the trashcan is a treasure trove of new smells and things to explore. To prevent your fur kid from eating harmful items or decorating your kitchen floor with food scraps, make sure all of your trashcans have secure lids. The same rules apply for litter boxes if you have a cat and you are getting a dog.

When it comes to your fur child’s safety, a little preparation goes a long way. Keep your furry friend happy and healthy, while keeping your apartment disaster free by pet-proofing your space before bringing home your new roommate.

Ear Infections in Dogs

Think back to summer camp as a kid—playing tag in the woods, swimming in the lake, and eating all the yummy foods Mom would never allow in the house. Upon coming home with a sunburn and scrapes as battle scars, you would suddenly develop an earache.

This is a typical childhood memory most people can relate to, and surprisingly, your fur kid can too. All of your rambunctious summer camp activities also happen to be some of your four-legged friend’s favorite hobbies, often leading to an earache.

Ear infections in dogs are one of the most common reasons for a trip to the vet, so as a responsible fur parent, it is important to be aware of the causes, symptoms, treatment, and prevention methods.

Causes of Ear Infections in Dogs

There are a number of ways your fur kid can develop an unpleasant earache. The most frequent cause of ear infections in dogs is an imbalance of bacteria or yeast. While bacteria and yeast both exist naturally in your dog, when they become out of balance, an infection can begin making itself at home.

A change of environment, moisture, or a fluctuation in hormones can reduce your dog’s natural ability to maintain a healthy balance of bacteria, sparking the infection. As all of these sources are relatively commonplace, it is understandable how Fido could develop a few earaches over the years.

Your dog may also be hosting a few pesky pets of his own that are leading to the ear infections. Ear mites are another cause of infection, and although they are more typical in cats, they can be found in dogs – especially in puppies. Ear mites are not externally visible, and are transmitted from animal to animal. If your pup is a social butterfly, some unwanted visitors might be causing the ear infection.

Another potential cause of ear infections in dogs is the presence of foreign objects in the ear canal. Unlike humans with our tiny, vertical ear canals, our fur children have large ear canals that go flapping in the wind as they chase some poor unsuspecting squirrel down the driveway.

The nature of their anatomy makes it easier for dirt, debris, and other foreign objects to get lodged in their ear. These objects eventually work their way into the ear canal, sparking a painful infection.

A larger issue that could be causing earaches in your dog is hypothyroidism. This is a relatively common disease found in middle-aged dogs, with some breeds more susceptible than others. Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland, primarily responsible for monitoring metabolism, is under producing. Although this disease can produce a wide array of symptoms such as lack of energy, hair loss, and weight gain, an ear infection can also be one of the side effects.

In addition to external factors, your cocker spaniel’s adorable floppy ears might be one of the culprits leading to unpleasant ear infections. By nature, long eared dog breeds are more susceptible to ear infection because it is easier for moisture and foreign objects to get caught inside the ear. Similarly, dogs with long hair around their ears can also be at higher risk compared to dogs with short hair and upright ears.

There are a number of elements that can lead to ear infections in our canine companions, so unfortunately there is not one simple solution. The best way to eliminate an earache is to have a veterinarian take a peek in your dog’s ear and find the root of the problem. However, there are a several symptoms that you can be on the lookout for to ensure that your fur baby is as happy and healthy as possible.

Symptoms of Dog Ear Infection

Although it would be amazing if our furry pals could simply tell us that their ears are hurting, unfortunately, we aren’t all Dr. Dolittle and need to be aware of the warning signs of an ear infection. Most dogs will get an earache at one point in their lives, so it’s important to know the symptoms.

There are a handful of actions or habits that your dog might pick up if he has an ear infection. You may notice physical actions such as shaking the head, tilting the head to the infected side, rubbing or pawing at the ear(s), or excessive scratching around the ear area.

In addition to your dog pawing at his ear, you may notice a lack of balance or walking in circles, indicating an infection. Sometimes the pain is so intense, that your furry friend will refrain from opening his jaw or eating because it triggers the pain of an ear infection. Keep an eye out for uncharacteristic habits in your dog to identify an ear infection.

Besides odd behavior, there are also visible symptoms that may indicate that your fur kid has an earache. Redness, swelling, and scabs in or around the ears can all be signs of an infection. You also may notice brown, dark yellow, or bloody discharge in your dog’s ear. Do not mistake this for earwax, as these symptoms are not normal and should be treated.

Finally, one of the most common symptoms is one that you can neither see nor observe in your dog’s actions. Tap into your own dog-like super-smell and see if your dog’s ear is giving off an unpleasant odor. If you notice an unusually pungent scent coming from your dog’s ear, this is often a key indicator of an infection.

Next time your pup starts pawing at his ear, don’t take it as an opportunity for an adorable Snapchat, as this is a symptom of an ear infection. Being aware of the signs is part of responsible fur parenthood so that you can spot the problem and prevent your dog from dealing with unnecessary pain. Ear infections originate from a variety of causes, so your veterinarian can prescribe the best treatment for your dog’s specific case.

Treatments for Canine Ear Infection

It is always safest to consult a certified professional before diagnosing your dog or attempting to treat the ear infection. Even though your intentions are good, this could escalate the problem if incorrectly diagnosed or improperly cared for. There are a number of potential reasons that the earache originally formed, and your vet can provide you with the right solution to help make your fur baby feel as good as new.

A bacterial infection is one of the most typical causes of an earache because it can be sparked by a number of external factors. If your veterinarian determines that the root of the problem is a bacterial infection, he or she will professionally clean the ear and prescribe antibiotics.

For some mild cases, your vet may recommend a simple cleaning routine; however, if the bacterial infection is more serious, antibiotics may be necessary to get rid of the earache once and for all. Since antibiotics are something that should be treated carefully, it is important to strictly follow the provided instructions and follow through with the prescription.

Another common doggie diagnosis is an infection caused by an imbalance in yeast. Although one might assume that antibiotics are the solution, your vet will actually recommend an antifungal solution. If the infection is only in the outer canal, they will clean the ear and provide you with a topical solution.

However, if the yeast imbalance has caused the infection to spread to the inner canal, further treatment such as tablets or injections may be needed. With infections caused by bacteria or yeast, your vet may prescribe an additional anti-inflammatory to supplement the antibiotics or antifungal treatment.

If some pesky, unwanted visitors are the culprits behind your dog’s ear infection, your veterinarian will provide you with a parasiticide to put the ear mites out of business. One of the primary complications with ear mites is that that they can easily spread from animal to animal and can live outside a host for a period of time.

Due to these factors, one of the keys to eliminating the ear mites is to shut them down at all sources. This includes getting your other fur kids checked for mites and thoroughly cleaning your living area, specifically areas that your dog likes to frequent.

In addition to the medication, your vet may recommend a thorough ear cleaning, which can be administered in the veterinary office. It is important to eliminate ear mites as quickly as possible because their presence can cause your pup to scratch so much that further ear damage is incurred.

It may seem like a bit of a no brainer, but if your veterinarian finds a foreign object such as a burr lodged in your pet’s ear, they will remove it. It is important that a professional does this so that no harm is caused during the removal process. The tricky part is then assessing what damage the foreign object has done. Your vet will assess the situation and see if antibiotics or another form of treatment is required after the object has been removed.

In some cases, the earache may be a side effect of a larger problem such as hypothyroidism. If this is the case, your veterinarian will diagnose the problem and provide proper treatment. In the case of hypothyroidism, a regular dose of artificial thyroid hormones will balance your furry friend’s hormones and return him to his normal self. Because a larger systemic issue such as hypothyroidism could be the root of the problem, it is important not to play doctor and do the diagnosing yourself.

Although long, luscious locks and bouncy, floppy ears might bring all the dogs to the yard, unfortunately these characteristics also make your pup more susceptible to infections. This is a naturally occurring cause based on your dog’s anatomy, so you can help out by participating in prevention methods such as cleaning to keep your fur baby’s ears squeaky clean!

Preventative Measures for Dog Ear Infections

Whether your dog’s breed is more prone to ear infections or not, almost all dogs will get an ear infection at least in their lifetime. However, preventative measures can be taken to stop the infection in its tracks. The best preventative step you can take is to make a habit of checking your dog’s ears on a weekly basis.

Keep an eye out for physical symptoms such as extreme redness, swelling, or abnormally dark earwax. Remember small amounts of wax are normal, and shouldn’t cause alarm. When checking your dog’s ears, take a quick whiff of those puppies to ensure that there isn’t any unusual odor. By keeping an eye on your pup, an infection can be stopped before going too far.

In addition to keeping an eye out for the symptoms, there are a few additional steps you can take to avoid unpleasant earaches. Since trapped moisture is a common cause of infection, make sure to thoroughly dry your dog’s ears after swimming and bathing. If your dog’s long hair is locking in moisture, have your groomer trim the hair around the ears.

Finally, if your fur kid is a repeat offender when if comes to ear infections, you can talk to your veterinarian about an at-home cleanser that you gently apply with a cotton swab. Although cleaning often seems like the answer, it is important to check with your vet first because over-cleaning can have an adverse effect, drying out the ears and leading to an unintended imbalance.

It was never fun spending the week after summer camp with a debilitating earache, and your fur child couldn’t agree more. There are a number of causes that can spark an ear infection, so it is important to be aware of the symptoms so that you can stop the infection in its tracks. Although ear infections are an uncomfortable ailment, they can be easily treated with a quick trip to the vet, some TLC… and a few extra treats during recovery doesn’t hurt either!

5 Tips for Keeping Your Pet’s Coat Silky & Shiny

Is your fur kid’s coat looking a little less like a Pantene commercial and a little more like they just finished a tough mudder? There are a number of dietary, health, and grooming factors that could be hindering the silky shine of your furry friend’s coat. As a fur parent, there are five easy tips you can use to keep your pets looking like they just stepped off the runway.

Get Grooming

Could you imagine going for weeks without brushing your hair? Surprisingly enough, your fur children don’t want to go without regular grooming either. Regardless of your pet’s fur type, brushing every few days is an effective way to give his coat a healthy boost.

By grooming your fur kid a couple times a week, you are helping to evenly distribute the oils throughout the coat, increasing its natural shine. In addition to combing the oils throughout the coat, grooming also helps to eliminate buildup of tangles, dirt, dander, and dead skin cells. Integrating regular grooming into your pet care routine is a simple solution to a dull, tangled coat.

Splish Splash

Another quick way to enhance your fur kid’s coat is by making sure they are properly bathed. However, sometimes less is more when it comes to bath time. When a pet’s coat becomes dull, owners often think that a bath is the solution, but excessive bathing can be part of the problem.

A good rule of thumb is making sure that your fur baby receives a bath at least once a month. Over-washing can strip the fur of natural oils and lead to skin irritation. Keep an eye on your pet’s coat and skin, and use a special shampoo for sensitive skin if you notice dryness. It is also important to thoroughly rinse all shampoo and conditioner from your fur child’s coat, as any residue can cause irritation or make the coat appear dull.

You Are What You Eat

Lack of vitamins and nutrients in your pet’s food is one of the top reasons why your fur kid’s locks aren’t looking very lustrous lately. Similar to our food, the more processed the food, the more nutrients that get lost along the way. Look for pet food that is rich is natural proteins and is free of preservatives as well as allergy inducing corn, soy, and wheat products.

The Missing Link has identified that a primary cause of health problems in pets is a poor diet, lacking balanced omega-6 and omega-3. Try treating your fur kid to an omega rich snack like fish to give them a tasty, healthy boost.

The Perfect Balance

Due to commercial processing, there is a significant gap between the nutrients in most off-the-shelf pet foods compared to what your pet would be consuming in nature. Because sending your pets off to fend for themselves in the wild isn’t the safest solution, you can bring the great outdoors to them by supplementing their food with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Although many pet foods claim to have these ingredients, the processing that they go through leads to an imbalance and lack of natural nutrients. The Missing Link has pinpointed this gap and created a preservative, pasteurization, sterilization, and heat free process to deliver these crucial supplements to your pets, restoring their coat.

The Missing Link provides Ultimate Skin & Coat supplements for dogs, cats, horses, and small animals. By enhancing your pet’s food with omega-3 and omega-6 supplements, you can help restore their coat’s silky shine.

Happy & Healthy

The overall health of your four-legged friend could also be impacting the appearance of their coat. Pay attention to key health indicators such as unusual sluggishness, excessive thirst, irregular diet, vomit, diarrhea, and bad breath. If you notice any of these in your fur kid, it’s safest to consult with a veterinarian to identify the larger problem.

For example, arthritis is a common occurrence in elderly pets, and this may be impacting their ability to groom themselves. If you know that your fur kid is struggling with arthritis, try brushing them daily to compensate for their lack of grooming. Another common problem is parasites. When your pet is exposed to parasites such as worms, these unwanted visitors will eat your pet’s food, leaving them void of proper nutrients.

Similarly, sore gums or unhealthy teeth can hinder your fur child’s ability to eat, impacting their vitamin intake. By keeping a close eye on your pet’s overall health, you may be able to pinpoint the cause of a lackluster coat.

5 Incredible Reasons to Rescue a Shelter Dog

Adding a furry member to your family is a big decision to make. Furry friends come in all shapes, sizes and personalities. So whether you’re searching for a loyal companion or someone to play Frisbee with, there’s a fur kid out there for you. Now, before you make a decision on the pup of your dreams, be sure to consider all of the benefits of adopting a shelter dog.

Shelter dogs are often overlooked because of their past, however, these past experiences often contribute to their wonderful personalities and the amount of unconditional love they offer. Before deciding on the fur baby of your dreams discover these five amazing reasons to adopt a shelter dog.

You’ll Save a Dog’s Life

Be a part of a cause, adopting a shelter dog helps end animal homelessness. Every year thousands of animals are abandoned, lost, and picked up on the streets, only to end up in a shelter. While shelters promote dog adoption and rescue, the sad truth is that there are just too many fur babies for shelters to handle. Even the biggest of shelters have a set amount of space when it comes to how many dogs they can take in.

Once the kennels are full, shelters are not able to take in any more animals. Because shelters don’t have the time, money or resources to care for large amounts of animals, they are forced to turn homeless pups away or euthanize dogs whose chances of getting adopted are slim. By adopting a dog from a shelter you are not only saving their life, but you’re also saving another dog from the streets and giving him the chance to find his forever home.

You’ll Give a Dog a Much-Deserved Second Chance

Each shelter dog has a past. There are many reasons why dogs end up in shelters. For some, it’s because their owners passed away or a new baby meant no time to care for a dog, while others were mistreated or found on the street. Either way, shelter dogs often experience feelings of abandonment that can cause emotional problems and stress.

Despite the sadness they may have experienced, surprisingly most shelter dogs exhibit very little behavioral problems and are fully prepared to enter a new home. A dog who shows signs of behavioral problems can be rehabilitated with the right amount of time, care, and patience. No matter the case, dogs who end up in shelters deserve to be given a second chance and a better life, full of love, happiness, and companionship.

You Don’t Have to Worry About Potty Training (Most of the time..)

Puppies are adorable, sweet and oh so fun! That is before you realize all the care and training they need to become a fully functioning member of your family. As cute as puppies may be, coming home to find your floor soaked because he had an accident or two (or three or four) is never a nice surprise. Because most dogs at shelters are adult dogs, oftentimes they’ve received some form of training which means less work for you! Not having to potty train your fur kid means that you can spend more time doing things you both enjoy!

You’re Standing Up for What’s Right!

While you may not know everything about a dog’s past through adoption, purchasing an animal through a breeder is not much different. Most breeders or puppy mills place profit over the well-being of animals, meaning that they will over breed or inbreed a dog just to produce puppies for profit.

Oftentimes this large scale breeding can leave dogs with birth defects and health problems. By adopting an animal from a shelter rather than a breeder not only are you saving a life, but you’re also supporting a cause and standing up for what’s right. Plus, the adoption fees will go to the care and rescue of another dog instead of into a breeder’s pocket.

You Form a Special Bond

When you rescue a shelter dog, you not only become their owner, you become their best friend. Most shelter dogs have experienced sadness, hunger, injury, even loss. Because of this, they appreciate love and companionship tremendously. Rescuing a shelter dog will not only provide them with a happy rewarding life, but you’ll end up feeling overjoyed as well! This sense of fulfillment on both ends of the relationship with creating an unbreakable bond that only you two share.