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California Veterinarians Recognize National Pet Week With Tips to Keep Your Animal in a Safe Environment

SACRAMENTO, Calif., April 30 /PRNewswire/ -- National Pet Week, May 4-10, celebrates the relationships formed between humans and animals and is a great opportunity to emphasize the caretaking actions we can take for our animal friends, including providing regular health care as recommended by your veterinarian; giving them plenty of attention, exercise, and companionship; and keeping the environment for your pets safe and pleasant.

"Being a responsible pet owner means ensuring your dog or cat is provided with proper shelter, food and water, toys to play with and a clean and safe living environment," said California Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) President Jeff Smith, DVM. "If companion animals are kept outside for an extended period, they need to be provided with adequate shelter against extreme hot and cold weather and provided with water. Also, animals, whether indoor or out, like interaction with humans, so we encourage owners to spend quality time with their pets."

According to the CVMA, pets are a lot like people when it comes to comfort. They like cozy places, soft, clean bedding, fresh water and a sanitary environment. For pets, this means a living space free from fleas, ticks, dust and excessive noise. Dog beds can include fleece blankets.

Veterinarians recommend the following tips for choosing and maintaining living spaces for dogs and cats:

Indoor and Outdoor Living Space Tips. Many pets live indoors and have access to the outdoors.

-- Make sure your living space is safe for your pets. Certain plants are

toxic to pets, for example. Be aware of hazards indoors such as

unsecured doors and accessible cleaning supplies.

-- Pets enjoy napping on a couch, so choose durable furniture made in

colors that won't show dirt readily if you allow this. If your pet is

not allowed on furniture, create a comfortable bed in the main living

area, so it can hang out with your family.

-- If you have a yard, make sure it is securely fenced with no escape


-- Consider installing a doggy door to allow your pet free access to the


-- Walk your dog regularly to ensure he gets enough exercise and

environmental stimulation.

Safety and Sanitation. Cleanliness should be a high priority for any pet owner.

-- When cleaning up after a pet, treat spots with "enzymatic cleaners" to

remove the smell of urine that causes pets to mark again.

-- Don't let pets drink from toilets, especially those with fresheners in

the tank or bowl. The chemicals are toxic.

-- Pet dander is a common allergen. To minimize human allergic

reactions, have your carpet and furniture professionally cleaned


Crates. Crates can be a temporary den for your new dog. Dogs have den instincts and will avoid messing where they sleep.

-- Keep washable bedding and safe toys in the crate.

-- Make sure the crate is large enough for your dog to lie down and turn


-- Feed your dog in the crate and offer praise when it rests calmly.

-- Avoid using crates for time-outs as punishment.

-- Take your dog outside 20 minutes after it eats or drinks.

-- Open the crate door and gradually increase the number of rooms to

which your dog has access.

-- Do not crate your pet for long periods of time.

Cat-Friendly Homes. It is not necessary to let a cat roam outside. In fact, many felines do fine when confined indoors, and they avoid dangers such as diseases, cars, fights and poisonings. Indoor cats like play toys to keep them active and stimulated. Cats swat at moving objects, so items like wind chimes, plants and hanging lights should be kept out of paws' reach.

The CVMA emphasizes pet owners should schedule routine wellness exams for their pets and ensure the animals receive vaccinations against common diseases and preventative medicines for internal parasites like roundworms, heartworms and tapeworms and external parasites like fleas or ticks and ear mites.

For media interviews with a California veterinarian regarding this issue, please contact Phil Boerner at the CVMA: 916-649-0599. To access past CVMA press releases, visit the CVMA Media Center in the News Room at

The California Veterinary Medical Association is the largest state veterinary medical association in the United States, with more than 6,000 members. Founded in 1888, its mission is to serve its membership and community through innovative leadership and to improve animal and human health in an ethically and socially responsible manner.

SOURCE The California Veterinary Medical Association
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