Dog Flowers

Pet Safe Flowers To Brighten Up Your Garden This Summer 

As the summer quickly approaches, many of us are gearing up to beautify our gardens and homes with flowers. For those of us with pets, it’s important to know which flowers are safe to have around the house in case our furry friends decide to do what animals do best and eat something they shouldn’t. 

To ensure all the flowers you buy are non-toxic to your pets, it’s recommended to buy individual bouquets rather than the ones that are pre-assembled. Pre-made bouquets don’t normally have every flower in them listed when you purchase, so it can be hard to tell if everything is safe. 

Like most plants, if ingested, flowers can cause your dog or cat to have an upset stomach, so it’s important to know the least harmful ones you should be reaching for at the garden store. 

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Roses are a classic and safe option for both dogs and cats. Fallen petals that can be accidentally ingested by your pet won’t make them extremely sick, and they come in a wide variety of colors to brighten up any space. If your roses have thorns, try placing them in the least accessible place possible.

Gerber Daisies are some of the most popular flowers among pet-owners as they are both beautiful and safe to have around. Make sure that when you buy these flowers you’re purchasing Gerber Daisies specifically, as other flowers within the daisy family, like chrysanthemums or mums, can be toxic to pets. 

Sunflowers are a classic and safe option for summertime. If the petals or seeds are ingested by a dog or cat, it’s likely that they will experience mild stomach discomfort, but they won’t have any serious health issues. 

It’s vitally important to note that if you notice your pet has a habit of eating plants and/or flowers that you stop them immediately and try to reconfigure your space to give them little to no access to the flowers themselves. 

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Orchids are another beautiful option that pet owners can feel confident about having in their home. Like most flowers on this list, if your pet ingests a petal or leaf they’ll likely experience an upset stomach, but they’re non-toxic overall. 

Freesias are a tall and funnel-shaped flower, which makes it even harder for pets to reach if they’re in a vase. They are, however, lemon scented, which could be tempting for any furry friend. These flowers are non-toxic to dogs and cats though, so an upset stomach will be the biggest concern if they do ingest any part of the flower. 

Beyond the safe flowers, it’s important to know of the ones that you should absolutely never have around a dog or cat, as they’re toxic if ingested. 

These toxic flowers include lilies, mums, tulips, azaleas, daffodils, foxgloves, hydrangea, baby’s breath, peonias, iris’, lavender, and eucalyptus. To be absolutely safe, always do your research before bringing any sort of plant or flower into the home.

Striped Cat

UK Cat Owners May Be Forced To Microchip Their Pets Due To Increase In Thefts 

The millions of cat owners in the United Kingdom may soon be forced to microchip their furry friends, or face fines for refusal, due to new government policies that are working to prevent feline theft, which has been on the rise within the past year for the nation. 

Police data in the UK shows that the number of cats being stolen has tripled within the past five years; with a notable 12.3% increase last year alone. Owners are now being called upon to microchip their cats the same way dogs are so in the case of a petnapping, they’ll be easier to track down; and it will be easier to find the perpetrator. 

Local media reports wrote that  “a microchipping measure, which means animals can be tracked and identified if stolen and resold, is being introduced as part of a package of changes by a ministerial taskforce to combat the growing black market in stolen pets. Those who do not get their cats registered will face a fine of up to £500.”

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Robert Buckland is the UK’s justice secretary who’s running the taskforce for this initiative alongside Priti Patel and George Eustice, the home and environment secretaries. One government spokesperson spoke to the press this week about these new measures:

“Last month the home secretary, the lord chancellor and the environment secretary met to discuss a cross-government approach to combating this issue and we will announce next steps in due course. This builds upon the huge amounts of work already undertaken by junior ministers and officials to address this cruel and criminal practice.”

Stefan Blakiston Moore, an advocacy and government relations officer for Cats Protection, said: “It is a Conservative manifesto commitment [for cats to be legally microchipped] so we hope they will come forward with this. Cats Protection has been campaigning for it for a number of years. We are waiting for a response to that but we are hopeful a positive change will come and compulsory microchipping is brought in.”

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Moore explained that currently in the “UK there are 2.6 million cats that are not microchipped. It is usually a significant amount of cats and the risk is when they go missing or are stolen as has been reported. Without a microchip it is extremely difficult to reunite them with their owners.”

Ministers are also considering a ban on all cash purchases of pets as a means of stopping the black market for pet trading; one of the largest black markets in the world besides drugs. Some cat breeds can sell for over $2,000, and lockdown has led to a major surge in dog and cat sales, which has led to an increase in pet theft. 

“There is a thriving black market in cash sales of animals, no questions asked. A cash ban is appealing because we know it crippled the stolen scrap metal industry and microchipping is absolutely central to the way in which animals’ welfare is maintained,” a senior government source told the press.

The bill is currently being discussed among ministers in the UK, and a decision will likely be reached in the coming month.

Puppies in cage

Animal Cruelty Is Officially A Federal Crime

Animal cruelty has become a growing problem in this country. Whether it be blatant abuse that comes from the world of illegal pit bull fighting rings, parents dropping their puppy Christmas gifts off at shelters after they turn into an actual dog, or leaving dogs out in the cold during winter because they have a dog house, more people are just getting pets for the sake of getting them and not viewing them as an actual responsibility and companion. When animals end up in kill shelters, they’re more likely to end up in the wrong hands, as the background check process isn’t as extensive, and more animals are left to be killed or subject to abusive behavior, when all they want is a loving home and owner. 

Luckily, this month the government is making more moves to ensure that the animals who do find themselves in a domestic home, aren’t abused and are federally protected from those horrors. This past Monday President Donald Trump signed a bill that states animal cruelty is now a federal crime, and will be punishable as such. 

The specific act is titled the “PACT Act,” which stands for the “Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act.” According to the official bill, the act itself is a “bipartisan initiative that bans the intentional crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, impalement or other serious harm to living non-human mammals, birds, reptiles, or amphibians. The law also bans ‘animal crush videos,’ meaning any photograph, motion picture film, video or digital recording or electronic image that depicts animal cruelty.”

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The penalty for violating this new federal law will be a hefty fine, decided based on the specifics of each case, up to seven years in federal prison, or potentially both. The National Public Radio reported that the initial bill was introduced by Congressman Ted Deutch and Vern Buchanan of Florida. The bill was pushed to vote through the senate thanks to Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, and Senator Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania. 

Animal cruelty has been an ongoing and growing issue within this country. America already has a whole series of individual state laws against animal cruelty and torture, however, without federal legislation giving a general basis and guideline for these laws, it’s become increasingly more difficult to prosecute specific cases without any major point of reference. 

“PACT makes a statement about American values. Animals are deserving of protection at the highest level,” Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, said in a statement.

“I’m grateful to see the PACT Act finally signed into law. The barbaric torture of animals has no place in a civilized society and should be a crime — and thanks to this new law, now it is. Senator Toomey and I worked together for years to ensure that this kind of despicable torture of animals is forbidden for good, Senator Blumenthal said.

Many individuals who worked on this bill and helped sign it into legislation, including the President, have stated that this has been a long time coming, and animals are long overdue these types of federal protections. As previously mentioned, state’s were responsible for enforcing their own animal cruelty laws, as the only federal regulations before this point were more specifically based on animal fighting rings, and the distribution of videos depicting animal cruelty. Now, with the PACT Act, federal authorities will be able to target and go after animal abusers head on, as the act has granted them federal jurisdiction country-wide. The passing of this act is a win for animal rights activists, and more importantly our countries furry friends who all deserve a loving home, and are now being given a better shot at finding one.

Striped Cat

Why Do Cats React That Way To Catnip?

If you have a cat, you definitely have given your furry friend some catnip before, causing a seemingly “high” type of reaction that involves random bursts of energy, intense rubbing, rolling around, and licking. Every cat is different, but if there’s one thing that can be agreed upon amongst all cat owners, it’s that this random herb inexplicably causes a very intense and dramatic reaction in our pets. But what is the actual science behind catnip? Are our animals actually getting high simply from rubbing on a sock filled with it? What even is it? 

According to Live Science’s Online Magazine, the herb of catnip is in the same family as rosemary, oregano, sage, and basil, and is closest to mint, biologically. Catnip itself holds a chemical compound known as nepetalactone; this is what’s the most responsible for the catnip effect. There are other compounds in catnip that, chemically, are very similar to nepetalactone and can also emphasize the effect cats have when rubbing on the herb, however, nepetalactone is the strongest of them all.

“Cats are attracted to the odor of nepetalactone, which binds to receptors in their noses and often produces behavior that appears euphoric. Other compounds in catnip affect neurotransmitters, resulting in inhibition of central nervous system activity,” said Dr. Bruce Kornreich, an associate director for education and outreach with the Feline Health Center at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.

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Speaking from personal experience, as most of you reading can also most likely relate to, it’s safe to say that when our cats experience the euphoric responses induced by catnip, it really just looks like they’re high on drugs to us. When human beings experiences drug coaxed highs, dopamine, or the chemical that makes us happy, is released at a high rate in our brains, causing the high itself. In cats, it’s more difficult to know what exactly is happening in their brains and what chemicals are being released or contained to evoke such a wild and random reaction. 

Some studies have shown that when cats were given the chemical compound naloxone, which blocks opioid receptors in the central nervous system, cat’s have a much more minimal reaction to the catnip, and some cats were recorded to have no reaction at all. This potentially suggests that opioid receptors in the cat’s brain are most likely involved in the process of the “high.”

“A person who takes an opioid and has a euphoric effect from it; that can be blocked by naloxone. If a cat has behaviors that can be blocked by naloxone, might one of those behaviors — in the cat’s perception — be euphoria? It’s possible, but we don’t know for sure,” Kornreich said

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Taken after zookeepers treated their Siberian Tigers to large sacks full of catnip 

Other studies have suggested that the nepetalactone compound also released a scent that is similar to that of pheromones. So when a cat is aggressively rubbing on whatever toy the catnip is in, it can be because it is reacting as it would if a mate was around. It’s also important to note that the catnip reaction is genetic. According to Cat Behavior Associates, one third of all cats lack the gene that evoke a reaction from catnip, and cats can also be trained to have an aversion to the plant itself if exposed to it when they’re still a kitten, however, it’s been reported that most cats aren’t able to have any sort of reaction to the plant until they’re at least six months. This is due to the fact that their brains aren’t fully developed enough to process the chemical reaction catnip induces.

Additionally, cats wild relatives have also been shown on record to have the same reaction to catnip. Wildlife reserve employee’s have stated that they sometimes use the herb to lure their wild cat residents into spaces when they need check ups or need to be taken out of their enclosure for whatever reason. This fact is what helped lead scientists to understand the hereditary aspect of catnip. While we may not be able to fully understand all of the science behind our cats reaction to this herb, we do know that it’s safe, cats enjoy it, and it induces euphoria, so for now, keep filling up old socks with catnip and let your cat have a fun time.

Pet Cat

A Vaccine To Make Cats Hypoallergenic Is Coming

Cats are one of the most common pets that people find themselves unfortunately allergic to and scientists have been working effortlessly and quietly for the past few years on coming up with a solution to this problem. The good news is, they think they cracked the code, the bad news, it might not be available to the public for another couple of years.

Walk Dog

How Having a Pet can Improve your Health

For pet owners, or for those interested in adopting a dog or a cat, there’s good news: having a furry companion can be a boost to your overall physical and mental health.