Q&A: What to Know About Dog Flu


It’s that time of year; with the kids back at school and germs on the rise, everyone is more susceptible to the flu, even our pets. That’s right: with a recent canine influenza outbreak in the Midwest, dog owners are concerned and asking questions. So, today we’re breaking down everything there is to know about dog flu and what we can all do to be prepared….

Q: What is canine influenza?

A: Canine influenza is a respiratory disease in dogs. There are two currently strains identified: H3N8 and H3N2. Both are considered highly contagious. Frustratingly, influenza viruses are able to change quickly and develop new strains.

Q: Where have dogs been diagnosed with the flu?

A: Dog flu was first diagnosed in Florida in 2004 and has since spread around the country. States affected with the flu include Chicago, Georgia, Texas, Tennessee, Montana, Louisiana, and North Carolina, among others. At the moment, canine influenza has yet to spread to New York or New Jersey, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t stay vigilant and up to date on its whereabouts.

Q: How is it transmitted?

A: A dog can become infected by being in close contact with another dog with the virus, especially in kennels, dog parks, groomers, crowded sidewalks, and shelters. Again, it is highly contagious and spreads similarly to a human virus via respiratory secretions (coughing or sneezing) or by being in contact with a contaminated object like a leash or collar. The virus, while originally transmitted via horses, has only been shown to affect other dogs, and in some cases, cats.

Q: What are the symptoms, and what is the treatment?

A: A common question is whether you can tell if your dog has the flu. Yes – once exposed, an infected pup will feel under the weather and may cough, sneeze, run a fever, and have a loss of appetite. Luckily, the virus is rarely fatal. Veterinary guidance is recommended if a dog shows signs of the flu, and a vaccine is available for at-risk canines.

Have more questions? We’ve found this website about canine influenza to be very helpful and informative. If your state has been infected, we recommend taking a look at this article, which outlines prevention and control in detail. Meanwhile, we always urge pet owners to practice cleanliness and safety when it comes to petting other dogs and letting your own furry friend interact with other canines. Hoping everyone’s four-legged pals are healthy and happy!

Cats May Be More Similar To Dogs Than We Think


We tend to think of cats and dogs as being polar opposites. “I’m a cat person,” we explain when passing on the opportunity to pet a pup. But are our beloved felines and canines as different as we think? An experiment conducted in Japan suggests otherwise…

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Ways to Help Pets Impacted by Hurricane Harvey


After the wake of Hurricane Harvey, many pets have been displaced or affected, so we wanted to share ways we can all help in the aftermath. Please feel free to pass this post along to friends and family, and we encourage you to spread the word. Any help, no matter how small, makes a big difference!

The Humane Society has been deployed to Texas and is working tirelessly to rescue, transport, and rehabilitate lost pets. They are taking donations here.

Houstin SPCA and SPCA of Texas are assisting pets and people evacuate North Texas, and providing shelter for hundreds of animals. Last Friday, they rescued 123 cats from a cat shelter! Here is where you can donate.

Austin Pets Alive is currently providing shelter for more than 600 pets, and is need of crates, cat litter, bedding, and more. See the complete list here.

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary has a page on their website dedicated to Hurricane Harvey, including breaking news, wishlists, lost and found pets, ways to donate and ways to volunteer.

Donating is not the only way to help. If you’re in the area, consider fostering one of the animals, volunteering at a shelter, or dropping off supplies (most shelters are in need of towels/blankets, cat litter, toys, newspaper, and crates). We also recommend following a Facebook page like this one to stay up to date on how you can help.

Sending our love and best wishes to all the furry animals in need right now!

Image via

Do or Don’t: Raw Food Diet for Cats


Fellow cat owners: what do you feed your cat? Have you ever considered a raw food diet for your furry feline? Below, we’ve outlined the pros and cons. We’d love for you to chime in, too!

Cats, like dogs, can benefit from a raw food based diet. After all, their carnivorous diet in the wild is as “raw” as it gets, and if you have a cat that hunts, you may already know this! If you’re considering switching up your furry pal’s diet, here’s the 411:

A good raw diet consists of mostly dark muscle meat, and can include whole eggs and some fish for omega-3 fatty content. Why do it? For one, some veterinarians believe the elimination of starch is good for their health and energy (after all, they wouldn’t eat starch in the wild). While veggies aren’t necessary, you can try including carrots, kale, zucchini, or a small amount of pureed plain pumpkin.

Where cats will reap the most benefits is from consuming organs like kidneys, gizzards, brains, hearts, bone, and livers. This might seem odd but remember, cats are carnivores, and can digest these parts much faster than kibble (bonus: the bones are good for their oral health, too).

The flip side? Of course, it’s not as convenient as scooping out a cup of kibble or popping open a can of wet food. It’s an exacting process and much more time consuming, especially since it’s so important the diet is nutritionally complete and includes all the vitamins and supplements needed to keep your furry friend healthy. Also, if you are handling raw meat in your kitchen you want to make sure you buy only high quality ingredients and sanitize your counters after every feeding.

Every cat is different, and the switch to raw food should be under the CLOSE supervision of your veterinarian or cat nutritionist.

What do you think? Do you feed your cat a raw food diet? Any tips? Feel free to share in the comments below!

Read more about the topic here.

What Makes Dogs So Friendly?


There are many things that make our furry canines so easily lovable; their unconditional love, their loyalty, their big floppy ears and their goofy personalities. But what makes them so friendly, and so completely content to socialize with humans? The reason may surprise you…

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Why Do Cats Like Circles?

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One thing we know for sure: cats like boxes. It’s indisputable! Put a cardboard box in front of a cat, and they’ll be entertained for hours. But what about a circle? Many photos these days are popping up online of kitties all over the world sitting in the middle of a circle – and it doesn’t seem to matter how that circle is made (hoola lops! A ring of flip flops! Pieces of tape!). So, why are felines attracted to circles? While we have yet to fully understand all of our furry friend’s funny quirks, we can speculate on a few theories…

One theory suggests that cats tend to sleep in circles themselves, especially when preserving body warmth, so a physical circle on the ground might be of comfort or familiarity to them.

Another possible explanation? It could be territorial – a physical mark on the ground could be a demarcated territory for the cats to claim as their own (that means stay away, dog!).

Or, it could be a matter of safety and security. After all, cats love cardboard boxes for that reason, and it could feel like a safe boundary from the outside world.

Or is it simply out of curiosity? We could theorize all day, but cat behaviorists have yet to determine exactly what makes cats drawn to circles (and of course, some aren’t!). Why do you think cats like circles? Feel free to chime in below!

Image from @myfourcatsdesign

3 Ways Your Dog Can Cheer You Up


Having a furry friend is one of life’s greatest joys. They add humor, endless entertainment, and company — and even when they get themselves in trouble, they’re still so darn cute. But did you also know your dog is also the best at cheering you up? Here are 3 ways they can lift you out of a funk…

  1. They increase oxytocin, the “love hormone” released in our brains during moments of bonding and affection (include link to previous article on Pampered Pets: Not only do we experience the feel-good boost, our furry canines have been proven to experience it as well. The next time you’re feeing down, cuddle up with your four-legged companion. If that’s not love, we don’t know what is!
  1. They improve your social life. A recent study at Tufts University found that individuals who felt attachment to their pets also reported feeling “more connected to their communities and relationships.” Next time you’re feeling lonely, make a lunch date with a friend, then thank Fido.
  1. They’re good listeners. Well, not all of them, but hear us out: studies have shown that talking to oneself can “speed up cognitive abilities in relation to problem solving and task performance.” So we’re going to put our spin on this: if you don’t already, talk to your pet. Especially on a day you’re feeling blue. Think of it as free therapy – plus, your therapist is cute!

How does your pet cheer you up when you’re feeling down? We’d love to hear in the comment section below!

Our Top 5 Tips for Keeping Cats Cool in the City

Summers in New York and New Jersey are not for the faint of heart – with all the concrete and sky-high temperatures, it can feel like a giant brick oven. While cats are lucky to stay in their air-conditioned homes during these hot months, they can still be at risk of overheating — especially ones with longer coats. Below, we’ve outlined our top 5 ways to keep kitties cool in the summer…


1. First and foremost, always make sure your cat has access to fresh, cool water. We like adding a few ice cubes in the morning so the water stays cold. Hydration is key for kitties during the summer! A tip for encouraging your feline to drink? A water fountain, which will increase your pet’s natural instinct to drink more. We like this one

2. Give your cat a fan! Setting up a cool breeze for your furry friend will help him stay comfortable during these hot summer days. We recommend placing the fan somewhere where your kitty can comfortably sprawl out – either directly in front of it, or at a distance (just make sure the fan is placed somewhere where they can’t pull it over or injure themselves in anyway).

3. Let your cat choose which room he prefers to relax in. While it may be tempting to keep your kitty in the coolest room of the house, felines are good at regulating their own temperature, and should be given free range to find a cool spot of their liking.

4. Postpone playtime on the hottest days. Usually, we encourage daily playtime with your four-legged friend, but here’s the exception: on hot summer days, having your kitty chase after a laser might put him at risk of overheating.

5. Keep up on grooming in the summer months! This one is important. Matted fur can lock in heat, so we recommend scheduling regular appointments with groomers who can come to your home, like our services at Pampered Pets.

Happy Summer, everyone, and stay cool!