The Zika Virus: Are Humans At Risk From Pets?

There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to some of the newer viruses were hearing about and how they could be linked to our pets. A perfect example is the Zika virus, first discovered in a primate from a jungle in Africa way back in the 1940’s. Even though this was almost eighty years ago now, new rumors about the spread of this disease are hitting headlines today.

First of all, Zika is spread primarily by mosquitos, but can also be transmitted from an infected pregnant woman to her unborn fetus, through sexual contact or from blood transfusions. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), there is no evidence to suggest that humans can contract the virus from casual contact with animals unless that came from an infected mosquito of course.

People are more likely to contract an illness, disease or infection from coming into contact with a deceased animal than they have any type of problem from petting a domesticated animal. While more research is needed on the spread and effects of something like the Zika virus, there’s simply no evidence that pets or other animals have been affected.

Zika Case Counts

Again, according to the CDC, not only have there been no reported illnesses in animals found in the United States, those that do enter America are subject to a quarantine period to ensure they are not infected. Of those humans in the USA who have been exposed to the Zika virus here in America, those cases were all confined to the state of Florida.

Of those cases found in other parts of our country, all of those examples were travel-related. In other words, those exposed to the virus were not infected here in the United States, but brought the illness with them from somewhere else. Florida seems to be at a higher rate of exposure due to cases find in nearby Puerto Rico.

Animals That Are At Risk

While pets and other domesticated animals aren’t at risk, some believe those that first contracted the virus, monkeys or other primates could be problematic for carrying or infecting others with Zika. But again, the CDC reminds us that:

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●     Monkeys and apes are held indoors when they’re being quarantined where the risk of exposure to mosquitoes is extremely low.

●     If a primate was exposed or entered into a quarantine with an active form of the Zika virus, infection is not possible through sexual contact (since they’re caged) or spreadable without mosquitos being present.

●     Antibodies are developed for those infected with Zika within 14 days of exposure and would be free of the virus at the end of the quarantine period.

Don’t give into the hype and fall for rumors when it comes to the spread of the Zika virus - remember the panic that was associated with the outbreak of AIDS? As you can see after reading these facts from the CDC, there’s little threat to you or your four-legged friends when it comes to the transmission of Zika.

Amber Kingsley
Amber Kingsley is a freelance writer who has donated countless hours to supporting her local shelter within operations and outreach.  She has spent most of her research with writing about animals; food, health, and training related.  Plus, she has tried numerous methods of training with local Southern California trainers. Add a comment

6 Reasons to Choose a Pet Sitter

As a pet owner, you will realize that it becomes very hard to go away, especially when you are going somewhere you can’t take a pet with you.

However, you don’t need to worry about your pet as you can hire a professional sitter – a professional who will take care of your pets while you’re away.

Professional pet sitters offer different services that range everywhere from taking your pet for a walk to staying overnight in your home to make sure everything is flowing smoothly.

There are, therefore, several reasons why you should pick a professional sitter to help you take care of your pet whenever you are away.

1. They allow your pet to live in their normal condition

Since a pet sitter will come to your home, your pet will be able to do everything they are used to doing.  Since many pets don’t adapt to new surroundings, this can be a great option for pets that tend to stress out easily.

2. They dedicate their time

As opposed to having a friend or family member taking care of your pet, a professional will pay close attention to your pet when they are visiting.  Oftentimes, these professionals will spend 15 to 30 minutes interacting with your pet and writing up a small report when they are done.  While there isn’t anything wrong with a family member or friend taking care of your pet, most of the time, they will just come and go, making sure the food and water is fresh.

3. They are professionals

Most pet sitters have been in the business for quite a while and probably have seen it all when it comes to situations.  This helps you relax and enjoy your trip as you are assured that your pet is getting the best care from a trained person who will know whenever your pet has a problem.  So if your pet were to get sick or even get into something, your sitter should know what to do.

4. Professional pet sitters are insured

Since the sitter stays at your house taking care of your pet when you are away, most of them have an insurance policy that covers you in case anything happens to your house or your pet when you are away.   Before hiring any pet sitter, always make sure they are bonded and insured.

5. Pet sitters will also look over your house

Though pet sitters provide their services purely for your pet, they will also check on your house since they are visiting, and this is like another layer of security.  Many pet sitters will be more than happy to get the mail, water some plants and do a check around the house. Keep in mind, however, that some may charge an additional fee for these services.

6. Administering medical care

In case your pet requires some medication or special food, this shouldn’t deter you from getting a pet sitter.  In fact, many are used to administering medication and performing other medical duties.   Regardless of what your pet needs, your pet sitter will be able to accommodate you.

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Stephanie Lynch is from the website -- the Internet's largest cost-helping database.  Aside from working, she enjoys spending time with her children, enjoying the outdoors and scrapbooking. Add a comment

Now Who's in the Dog House?

Our dogs like being outside as much as we do. When the weather is hot think sunbathing in a fur coat. Dogs can’t release heat by sweating the way humans do. Heat and humidity can raise a dog's body temperatures to dangerous levels.
For that reason, an outdoor dog house or ‘kennel’ is the perfect place for a dog to cool down and relax when all that running around gets too much.  Structures in the shape of small houses with a large entrance are available in many designs for any type of dog. The stereotypical ‘snoopy’ style dog house remains the most popular. Even ancient Egyptian nobility kept their dogs in houses and dog houses are still in high production today. Some dog houses are designed to complement their environments.  Live in a log cabin style house? I'll bet you can buy a log cabin style dog house to match!

A dog house doesn’t have to be a permanent structure. There has been a dramatic rise in plastic houses that can be collapsed and transported, including pop-up doggy tents or igloo styled units with an external water bowl. The list is endless. In fact, there is almost no limit. Whatever the size, shape or need of your dog, there is guaranteed to be a house made from various materials to fit the bill.  Creating a special, shady place in your yard can also be a nice refuge for your pet.

If you are considering a dog house, however, wood is still the most used material for the crafting of dog houses due to its natural insulation, durability, and availability. Red cedar is often used in making dog houses as its own resins shield the wood from water damage and repel insects such as fleas, ticks, and mites. Wood can also be specially treated to give the wood extra defense against extreme elements.  Another good dog house material is Cedar wood. It has low temperature conducting properties which do not lose or gain heat easily. Cedar wood structures will help keep a dog cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

Living in Colorado, winter is sure to return. Of course, winter months bring a new set of challenges. Modern dog kennels can be insulated, particularly in the roof if it is peaked. Many dog houses are fitted with a self-closing door to keep in the heat. Often these doors have a UV ray filter and can be removed.  A kennel that is raised above the ground is further away from damp and insects so that a pet is kept dry and safe whatever the weather.

Dogs adore the outdoors and they can explore for hours, but at the end of the day, the little guys need their rest, and what better way to relax than in their own perfectly sized doggie palace!

What ways have you found to keep your dog cool outdoors? Add a comment

Common Misconceptions About Missing Pets & Other Options

Just like having children, there’s nothing like the horror of losing a pet - one minute they’re there - the next they’re gone. Perhaps we’ve returned from work or school and they’re not there waiting for us when we arrive home.
In any event, I’m sure we’ve all done what’s expected as responsible pet owners, they’re properly licensed with a collar and ID tags, maybe they even have a microchip implanted, but there’s other options available and some common misconceptions out there when it comes to missing pets. 

Pet Tattoo for indentification

Getting Ink & Photos

Everyone’s getting tattoos nowadays and this is also an option for identifying your precious pet. Usually located on the ear or inner thigh, this may or may not be the best choice. On the upside, it’s a permanent marking, but on the downslope it’s painful for the dog and usually requires anesthesia for the application process. Similar to dog tags, they can fade or become distorted with age and they can become illegible.  
Speaking of age, be sure you have current pictures of your pet in case they do go missing. This probably goes without saying for most pet owners nowadays, especially those carrying smartphones and posting on social media, but it’s still worth mentioning.  
The Name Game
Here’s an interesting concept many pet owners don’t realize when it comes identifying their pet using a collar and ID tag. Almost all of these list the pet’s name on them. This is a big mistake and here’s why. Face it, not everyone is a good samaritan and just because they find your missing animal, that doesn’t mean they will return it to you or take them to a shelter.  
Let’s say a stranger finds your missing dog, who is wearing a collar and ID tag engraved with their name and your contact information. Here’s a cute, friendly, well-cared for pooch, who is licensed and trained. Perhaps this well-meaning stranger intended to return your pet, but after calling it by name and becoming attached to it, maybe they’ll change their mind and keep it for themselves.  
Many Are Returned Myth
This is perhaps the biggest misconception when it comes to lost animals, many people believe most of them are returned to their rightful owners, but the truth couldn’t be further from this myth. If they were in fact reunited to their masters, there wouldn’t be such a tremendous problem with overpopulation in pet shelters across the country and around the world. 

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In fact, according to recent figures from a 2015 Research Symposium from the National Council on Pet Population, numbers are dismal for dogs and even worse for cats. Of the over 7.6 million companion animals that enter shelters annually in the United States:
●DOGS: 26% are returned to their owners, 35% are adopted and 31% are euthanized.
●CATS: Only 5% of felines are returned to their owners, 37% are adopted and 41% are euthanized.  
While there are no statistics available for people helping people, those who return lost animals from information found on flyers, posters and ID tags, the number of animals put down still outweighs the amount returned to their rightful owners. Perhaps the best news in this equation, at least the combination of those adopted exceed (for dogs) and come close (for cats) to those that are put to sleep due to a lack of a good, loving home. 

Amber Kingsley

Amber Kingsley
is a freelance writer whom has donated countless hours to supporting her local shelter within operations snd outreach.  She has spent most of her research with writing about animals; food, health and training related.  Plus, she has tried numerous methods of training with local Southern California trainers. Add a comment