Believe it or not, back-to-school time can be dangerous for your pets! Every September our amazing team at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) sees an increase in calls related to pets getting into backpacks.
Why should you keep your pets away from your kids’ backpacks?
Well, backpacks often contain items that can spell big trouble for the health of your furry family members, such as gum (which may contain xylitol), medications and inhalers.
So as your kids head back to school, please be sure to stash backpacks and lunch boxes out of your pets’ reach. And since we can’t watch our pets ALL the time, remember that the APCC is available 24/7/365 at (888) 426-4435. Keep that number handy by requesting a free ASPCA Pet Safety Pack, which contains a refrigerator magnet with the APCC's contact info!
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Whether you’ve recently adopted a dog or you’re considering it, one of the most important health decisions you’ll make is whether to spay or neuter your new pet.
When it comes to “fixing” male dogs, specifically, there’s a lot of misinformation swirling around. (“It’ll make my dog fat” and “it’ll change his personality” are two common myths that we’d like to bust forever!) Some pet parents even express guilt over neutering their dogs. But trust us, he doesn’t mind, and here’s why:
Neutering provides major health benefits. Besides preventing unwanted litters, neutering your male pup prevents testicular cancer and significantly reduces the chance of certain prostate problems as he ages.
Your neutered male will be more at peace. Neutering won’t affect your dog’s working abilities, friendliness or playfulness! However, it will likely reduce undesirable, sometimes dangerous behaviors including urine marking, attempts to roam away from home, aggression toward other dogs and inappropriate mounting. These things stress everybody out—including him.
He won’t become a deadbeat dad. Every year, millions of dogs of all ages and breeds are euthanized or suffer as strays. You wouldn’t want your beloved pooch to be responsible for creating yet another unplanned litter, would you?
Many states and counties have established safe, low-cost spay/neuter programs that make surgery easily affordable and accessible. To find an affordable program near you, search our Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Provider Database. If you're in New York City, the ASPCA mobile spay/neuter clinic offers partially or fully subsidized spay/neuter surgery for low-income dog and cat owners in the five boroughs.
Attention, pet parents: The Procter & Gamble Company (P&G) has voluntarily recalled specific lots of dry pet food due to potential Salmonella contamination. No Salmonella-related illnesses have yet been reported in association with these product lots, but P&G is recalling them as a precautionary measure.
You’ve brought a new dog into your home—congratulations! Now comes your first dog-training challenge: house training.
House training is not an exact science—there’s no sure-fire formula or timetable that will work for every dog. The important thing is to make it a positive, not a stressful, experience. Being attentive, patient and consistent are the keys to success, along with the following dos and don’ts:
Do: Closely supervise your dog. Limit the dog’s run of the house to the one or two rooms where you are able to see her at all times. Dogs usually show “pre-pottying” behavior such as sniffing, circling and walking with stiff back legs; all signs that you should get her to the potty area ASAP! As the training begins to take hold, you can slowly enlarge her territory as she learns where the potty area is—and that the house is not a toilet!
Don’t: Yell at or spank a dog for a mess she made earlier. If you catch her in the act, it’s okay to startle her by clapping or making a noise (hopefully this will stop her long enough for you to whisk her outside). But a dog will not learn anything by being scolded for a past accident, even one a few minutes old. Just clean it up and soldier on.
Do: Offer big, enthusiastic praise when she gets it right. Whether your goal is for your dog to eliminate on pee pads indoors or to do it outside, you have to really throw a party for her when she succeeds. Lavish her with praise, affection and some yummy treats!
Don’t: Rub her face in it. Ever!!! In addition to this action making your dog fear you, she’s incapable of making the connection that it’s the act of soiling indoors you object to—to her, you just really hate pee and poop. If she thinks that the waste itself is what you dislike, she’ll only get sneakier about hiding it from you.
A disturbing new trend—“pet flipping”—has been getting a lot of attention this week.
Pet flipping involves a criminal picking up a pet, either by stealing the animal or claiming to be the pet parent of a missing pet, and then quickly selling the animal for a profit. Is your blood boiling yet? It gets worse!
According to Time, pet flipping is on the rise in cities including Kansas City, St. Louis and Indianapolis. The stolen dogs are often purebred and very valuable. In March, an Indianapolis man was arrested after a three-month investigation found he had been stealing dogs for years, mostly purebred German Shepherds, Rottweilers and Pit Bulls.
“Many of these pets are housed in puppy mill-like conditions until they can be flipped—no food or water, caged and sick,” Dawn Contos, of Indianapolis Animal Care and Control, said in an interview following the arrest.