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Pets have been shown to be good for seniors.  Over the past 20 years or so numerous studies have shown the benefits sharing life with a pet can have for a variety of populations, including seniors.  Pets provide constant companionship and social support that family members sometimes can’t.  They also serve as “social lubricants”, making it easier to connect with other people.  Studies have shown that people are more likely to start a conversation or approach a person with a pet, compared to a non-pet owner.  And dog owners have been shown to walk more and be more active than non-dog owners, which is a big health benefit.
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How well does your cat ride in the car?  Does your cat hide when the doorbell rings, or does she want to sit in visitors’ laps within the first 10 minutes of their arrival?  Does your cat enjoy being brushed and groomed, or does she have a “don’t touch me” attitude about any kind of body handling?
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The most common cat behavior problem reported to pet behaviorists is cats not using their litter boxes consistently.  To prevent this common but very serious problem, it’s good to review from time to time what makes a good cat litter box.  Use this check sheet to evaluate your cat’s litter box(es) to see if you are meeting all your cat’s needs.
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It’s that time of year when we all start thinking about what we want to do in 2014 to accomplish our goals and make our lives better.  We have a protocol for pet parents that we know from our years of experience, both as professionals and as pet owners, will make your life with your pet better for both of you.  We’ve used our Seven Step Positive Proaction Plan © for almost 20 years to help prevent and resolve behavior problems in dogs and cats.  Suzanne’s best-selling “Pet Behavior Protocols” book is based on these seven steps, and we think our Plan is the perfect one to follow to improve your pet’s behavior and your relationship with your four-legged best friend in 2014.  This article is a bit longer than usual, but we think it’s worth it to share our exclusive Seven Step Plan© with you.
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During this Thanksgiving, we thought we’d take a somewhat tongue-in-cheek look at what we, as a pet owning family, have been thankful for over our lifetime of sharing our lives with our much loved dogs and cats.  For Thanksgivings both past and present, we are thankful:
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If you are a pet owner, how good do you think you are at spotting distress in your dog or cat?  Do you think you are fairly good at it – and better than anyone else, because you are more familiar with your pet’s behavior than anyone?
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In the Colorado AARP office where Suzanne volunteers, she is privileged to work with Julie, cat rescuer and advocate extraordinaire. During Suzanne’s most recent volunteer day, Julie was considering adopting a 16 year old cat from an animal shelter and wanted to know if her two much younger resident cats would be more likely to accept an elderly female feline compared to a younger one.
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According to statistics from the American Veterinary Medical Association, almost half of family dogs share their lives with at least one family cat.   It’s been implied that dogs and cats are “natural enemies” but that’s not really true.  Animals can learn who to treat as friends during early development, so dogs and cats that first meet each other as kittens and puppies will be more likely to get along.
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