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  • Behavior Problems? We have answers.

    Behavior Problems? We have answers.

    Learn about behavior from our team of experts. Whether you have cats, dogs, reptiles, horses or birds, we can help you learn to live with them. Read More
  • All About Horses

    All About Horses

    Learn about equine science, whether you're an aspiring rider or a long-time owner, we have the latest in products, breeds, and more. Read More
  • Traveling with Pets

    Traveling with Pets

    Be sure to check this section out before you hit the road with your pet! We've got a look at pet-friendly hotels, the guidelines of air, train, bus and auto travel, and much more. Read More
  • All About Critters

    All About Critters

    Take a look at what it means to have ferrets, rabbits, mice, rats, guinea pigs, and more. Read More
  • All About Reptiles

    All About Reptiles

    A look at our cold-blooded friends and discovering how to care for these fun loving creatures! Read More
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  • New Ways to Keep Pets Cool in Summer

     If you’ve followed PetsWeekly for any length of time, you already know how we feel about summers in the desert. However, this summer, it appears our entire nation is going to experience a taste of our sweltering desert heat. Those of you who are not quite accustomed to 100+ degree temps will need some adjustment time.

    That’s why we want to share some of the newest products on the market to help protect your pets from the sun (and a few favorites we’ve used for years that we love).

    We also tossed a few tips in here on how you can stay cool without breaking the bank on air conditioning bills and even what you can do to help Keep Your Aquarium Running During Summer Blackouts and how to plan ahead for power loss.

    Read More
  • Take Your Pet to Work Week Features FREE Doggy Bagels

    June 19-23 is Take Your Pet to Work Week! Before you head into the office, be sure you swing by to pick up your free doggy bagel from Einstein Bros Bagels. We love it when companies join in on the pet revolution, so we wanted to make sure you knew that Einstein Bros is offering a free doggy bagel each day that week.

    Before we tell you how to get your free coupon, we want to remind you that the nation is in the grips of a heat wave. Be sure your pets have Keep Paws off Hot Pavement  by having paw protection available when walking across hot parking lots. Never leave your pets in the car (not even for a minute) and make sure they are microchipped. While at work, keep your pets on leash and under control so they are not a distraction to coworkers.

    Here's how to get your free doggy bagel coupon: 

    Read More
  • Keeping Dogs Cool with the Ruffwear Swamp Cooler

    In Arizona, there are basically two temperatures: Hot and Slightly Less Hot. Last year, on this day, we hit 118 degrees (you can see how I really feel about this topic here: Life in Arizona: An Environment Trying to Kill You)

    This year, we're at a (comparatively) balmy 103. 

    Sure, it's a "dry heat" but so is a convection oven. I don't care where you live - 103 is pretty hot. Which means everyone in the family is hot, including the dogs. So when Ruffwear agreed to let me try their Swamp Cooling Vest for dogs, I jumped at the chance. 

    Read More
  • Tips for Buying a Pet-Friendly Home

    Your pet is as much a part of your family as you are, so it’s only natural that you should want to buy a home that has pet-friendly features.

    If you’re a first-time home buyer, this could be the first time that you’ve taken your pet into consideration when choosing a place to live. Knowing what to look for can help you make a decision that will make you and your pet happy for years to come. 

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  • iFetch Helps Anyone Play Fetch with Pets

    My dogs love to chase things, the prey drive is strong with them. That makes fetch an important game to us. A controlled game of fetch helps my pets exercise, gives them an outlet for excess energy, and improves our bond. It also reduces behavioral problems and decreases their potential to chase a cat or bird. 

    The problem is that I can’t throw a ball... 

    Quite seriously, I am awful at throwing. The ball goes wherever I don’t want it to - through windows, over walls, into the street and occasionally, I even accidentally trip up my dogs when I toss it. 

    That’s why iFetch is a great option for me. This automated ball launcher lets me play fetch with my dogs without injury (to me or them).

    Read More
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Dogs that can't Swim and Some that just aren't very good at it

Summer is officially here in the desert and we have reached temperatures in excess of 100 degrees, so you know Read More

Disaster preparedness with pets

September is National Animal Preparedness Month. Some natural disasters require that you evacuate your entire family, pets included. Wildfires, floods, Read More

Keeping Aquariums Alive During Summer Blackouts

Summer is on the way, and that means possible brown outs (power shortages) and even blackouts (power outages) for most Read More

Keeping Pets Safe from Coyotes

No matter where you live, you’ve likely had to deal with wildlife. Whether its mountain lions and coyotes, or squirrels Read More

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There is a lot of interest in chicken keeping these days. With the cost of food skyrocketing, chickens can be Read More

TrackR Uses Crowd GPS To Locate Your Pets

It's tough finding a GPS collar or tag that is small enough for your cat or tiny dog to wear, Read More
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Allergies can have a drastic impact on our health, including ear, nose and throat problems, upper respiratory issues and an overall drain of energy. As cat lovers, we want the best for our pets, but it needn’t come at the cost of our health. There are many ways to keep cats indoors and still reduce or eliminate allergies. If you’re allergic to your pet, rest assured that you’re not alone. Studies show that nearly two million Americans live with at least one cat in their home, despite being allergic. According to Dr. Jorgenson of the Arizona Asthma and Allergy Institute, approximately 20% of the population suffers from allergies. The good news is that fewer than 10% of his patients choose the drastic option of re-homing their favorite felines, and if you love your cat, you already know why. Here are a few of the suggestions that he makes to help you live in harmony with your pets.

The Reasons Allergens Linger

Most cats exert a glycoprotein, which is simply a protein that has sugars attached to it, known as Fel d I. While glycoproteins are naturally occurring in all mammals, Fel d 1 is specific to our feline friends and is secreted through their sebaceous, or small skin) glands. Due to the unique chemical makeup of the protein, it can then easily attach itself to a cat’s dander. After grooming, the dander becomes airborne in the form of lightweight, microscopic particles, which then attach themselves to furniture, carpet, or particles of dust.

Removing Allergens at the Source

Even if a pet is no longer in the home, the allergen is difficult to eliminate and can take between 4-6 months (and a great deal of deep cleaning) before you’ll see a difference in particle levels. There are, however, many ways to share a home with your cats despite suffering from allergies. It all comes down to some minor home improvements that can even have the added benefit of increasing your home’s value.

  • Replace Carpeting: Ridding your home of wall-to-wall carpeting is one of the best ways to alleviate allergies. According to Dr. Lori Coughlin, DVM and owner of The Cat Practice in Oak Park, Illinois, “Carpeting is the biggest culprit when it comes to trapping dust mites and spores.”  Replace your carpet with tile, hardwood flooring, linoleum or even decorative concrete to dramatically reduce all types of allergens.
  • Replace Curtains: Next to carpet, curtains are one of the biggest allergen attractants in your home. Consider replacing curtains with wooden or vinyl blinds. You’ll find them attractive and easy to clean, and custom blinds can actually increase your home’s value.  If you do choose to stay with cloth curtains, be sure they are washable and made of synthetic fiber or plain cotton.
  • Upgrade Furniture: Plush, soft furniture is a magnet for dust mites and pet hair, and can be difficult to clean. Try updating your cloth-covered furniture for a more modern look that is easy to maintain. Faux leather, vinyl and other similar materials won’t attract and trap allergens.
  • Install a Central Vacuum System: Installing a central vacuuming system will help move the dander and dust outside of the home, rather than release allergens into the air. No more heavy portable unit to drag around the house, and it can actually increase the value of your home up to $2,000.
  • Rid Home of Wallpaper: Get rid of that old wallpaper and create a new look with tile or paint. Oftentimes, the thick fibers of wallpaper can trap allergens and mold. When combined with water, this can lead to many types of allergies. Tiling your bathroom can dramatically increase your home value.
  • Seal Up Doors and Windows: Your cat may not be solely responsible for your allergies! In areas with high levels of dust or mold, you may be allergic to something completely different. Ensure that your doors are completely sealed against the outdoors by using caulk and weather stripping, and consider installing double-paned windows. You will even be helping the environment (and your pocketbook) by reducing electricity and gas use.
  • Filter the Air: You don’t need to pay for an entire new air conditioning unit. There are some very good systems out there that can help dramatically reduce or eliminate airborne allergens. Look into a central system that piggybacks your air conditioning / heating units, or you can invest in a portable HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter.
  • Create A “Cat-Free” Zone: Since we typically spend 1/3 of our time in the bedroom, creating a safe haven by keeping your bedroom a “cat-free zone” can be an alternative. According to Dr. Jorgensen, “Keeping the bedroom free of cats and adding a HEPA filter” can go a long way towards reducing allergies.
  • Build an Outdoor Enclosure: Feline design is becoming the new trend in homes. By allowing your cat to spend part of the day in an air-conditioned (or heated) outdoor enclosure, you can create a little sanctuary for both you and your pets. Be sure to include lots of areas for climbing, toys to play with, and plenty of comfortable ledges for long naps.
  • Grooming Outdoors: Brushing your cat’s coat each day can go a long ways towards reducing allergens, but be sure you take them into an enclosed, outdoor area before grooming. When you brush your pet in your home, you are simply releasing more allergens into the air. “Several of my patients have also found it useful to wipe their cats down with a damp rag each day,” says Dr. Coughlin.  “Daily baths can dry the coat, resulting in over-grooming problems, and may needlessly stress your pet.” However, weekly baths have been demonstrated to eliminate nearly 84% of the allergens.

Living with cats and allergies can be done. With the new advent of immunotherapy, over-the-counter and holistic relief, portable HEPA filters and new technology, you can be successful in sharing your home with your cats. “All cats, even lions and tigers, produce the Fel d 1 allergen,” says Dr. Ronald Jorgensen.  But some cats naturally produce less of it. The Cornish/Devon Rex, Sphynx and Siberian breeds are reported to create fewer reactions in those who have allergies.  If you or a family member has allergies, first ensure that it’s really your cats that you’re allergic too. Oftentimes, reactions are set off by other types of allergens. Use the methods mentioned in this article to reduce allergens throughout your home. And remember, when it comes to the levels of allergens, it depends on the individual cat. You may just discover that you have less of a reaction to one specific cat or cat breed than you would to another.

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stacymantle
Author: stacymantle
About the Author

Stacy Mantle is a freelance writer who currently resides in the southwestern deserts of Arizona with a few dogs, several cats, and a very understanding husband. She is a regular contributor to Pet Age Magazine, Catster, Animal Behavior College, and of course, PetsWeekly. Many of her stories and articles have been translated into several languages, and now reach an international audience. She is also the author of a bestselling urban fantasy/thriller, Shepherd's Moon; a humor book entitled, Conquering the Food Chain: Living Amongst Animals (Without Becoming One), and a line of Educational Activity Books for children.


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