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Category: Boston Veterinary Care
Keeping Pets Occupied While Working Remotely

For many us, our schedules have been rearranged in recent days, and that means working remotely whenever possible.

You’re following the guidelines for working from home – showering, getting dressed, having a dedicated work space, avoiding temptations like a Netflix binge-a-thon – but what about your pets?

We’ve all seen the cute pictures online – a cat sprawled across a keyboard, walking all over a desk or table, or curled up in a person’s lap These images are cute, but they don’t necessarily correlate to you being productive.

Our furry friends are attuned to our human habits, and once they get over the confusion of you not walking out the door in the morning, they can see it as an opportunity to spend more time with you and become more clingy.

Here are some tips to keep you productive and ensure that your pets are engaged while you’re home.

For Dogs

Maintain your dog’s routine as much as possible.

  • Keep feeding time the same, and if your dog spends time in a crate while you’re not home, don’t be tempted to forgo that routine either.
  • If you do crate your animal while at home, a tempting bone or treat will keep them occupied while you get your work done.
  • Try not to give in to the scratches at the door to go outside every time, and try your best not to give in to a lot of attention-seeking behaviors (whining, barking, pawing, among others) that may be happening simply out of confusion and wonder as to why you are around for so long.

Enrichment is critically important!

Some ideas to keep your pooch entertained!

There are a number of things to keep your dog active, engaged and occupied, including:

  • Stuffed treats (like a Kong) can keep a dog occupied and engaged for quite awhile
  • Marrow and Nyla bones at various times throughout the day is a great way to keep them engaged, but the key is to put them away when their time with the bones is over
  • Add a walk or two if weather and your schedule permits (it could be good for both of you!)
  • Engage in a couple of constructive play sessions (not snuggle sessions) where you play and really get your dog’s brain working to let them have fun
  • Allow you dog to relax and have quiet time by themselves

For Cats

Keep your cat’s regular feeding schedule, but meal time by:

  • Place food or treats in food puzzles, or in recycled toilet paper rolls or egg cartons
  • Try scattering dry food throughout a room and make them find or chase it!

Experiment with some easy (and inexpensive) ways to get your cat playing which include:

  • Fill a large paper bag with a sprinkle of catnip – cats love the crinkling and will be sure to have fun with it!
  • Build a fort/obstacle course with cardboard boxes
  • Take away a few toys from their regular stash then reintroduce them later – they’ll seem like new!
  • Put on a video to stimulate their prey drive (birds, etc.) then get them playing with wand toys; they’ll be stimulated by the “hunt” and will tire out quickly.

Finally, you can do something simple like move their cat tree to another location. You give your cat a new view to focus on and a new sunny spot to nap!

Have Pet Behavior Questions? ARL Has Answers

ARL is committed to being a reliable resource for behavioral and health-related questions about your pet, and our goal is to help owners provide the best care for their animals.

ARL’s Pet Behavior Helpline is a FREE service, and can answer basic behavioral questions about your pet, such as excessive barking, crate training, house soiling, or if you are looking for ways to stave off your pet’s boredom.

If you have questions, please call the Pet Behavior Helpline at (617) 226-5666 or via email behaviorhelpline@arlboston.org and an ARL representative will get back to you within 48 hours.


The Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Edward Schettino, DVM, PhD as the 9th President & CEO of the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL). His term will begin May 1, 2020.

After thoughtfully examining the qualities and skills desired in a new president, ARL’s Board concluded that Dr. Schettino’s extensive knowledge of veterinary medicine, deep understanding of animal welfare, business acumen, and leadership skills, makes him uniquely qualified to lead ARL’s vision for the future.

Dr. Edward Schettino

For the past five years, Dr. Schettino has served as ARL’s Vice President of Animal Welfare and Veterinary Services, and before this post was the organization’s Director of Veterinary Medical Services. As Vice President, he has overseen ARL’s animal care and operations, law enforcement, community and shelter medicine, and community programs. He has been instrumental in advancing ARL’s vision for the future—to reach animals and people most in need—and led the program design and implementation of many ARL’s innovative community-based programs.

Previously, Dr. Schettino worked for over 12 years in both private veterinary hospitals and animal shelter settings. He is an Adjunct Instructor in the Department of Clinical Sciences at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University and, on behalf of ARL, has trained hundreds of police officers and veterinarians on reporting animal cruelty.

Dr. Schettino is recognized for his ability to collaborate with local and national organizations to enhance the animal welfare field as demonstrated by his service on a variety of boards and committees. This service includes the Massachusetts Animal Coalition Board, Massachusetts Veterinary Medicine Association, the Tufts at Tech Advisory Board, the Shelter Medicine Steering Committee at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, and the Veterinary Technology Advisory Committee at North Shore Community College.

Today, ARL stands as the Massachusetts leader in providing affordable veterinary care to underserved communities, is in the forefront of responding to animal cruelty and neglect, and is a tireless advocate for law and public policies that will protect all animals from harm. We believe Dr. Schettino possesses the skills, passion, and leadership to support these objectives and advance our vision to reach, and positively impact even more animals and people in the years to come.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our current president, Mary Nee, for her enormously effective leadership of ARL. During her tenure, Mary conducted a strategic assessment of ARL’s programs, facilities and resources. Guided by this resulting plan, and through her vision, determination and hard work, she enhanced areas of strength, implemented necessary changes and successfully led the organization through a period of changing animal welfare needs. ARL today is helping more animals more meaningfully and effectively than ever before. The Board of Directors congratulates Mary for leading ARL to this proud place, and we wish her the best in her retirement.

 

 

 

Walter Kenyon, Chair

Animal Rescue League of Boston Board of Directors


It’s National Spay and Neuter Awareness Month!

Spay and Neutering Pets Promotes Health and Longevity

For all of us, the health and well-being of our beloved family pets is paramount; and the simplest way to reduce nuisance and aggressive behaviors, improve long-term health and longevity, is to have your dog or cat spayed or neutered.

February is National Spay and Neuter Awareness Month, and here at the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL), we field questions about spay and neuter on a daily basis which typically revolve around two issues – cost and understanding the real and long-term benefits for you and your pet.

Affordable Options Exist

Don’t let cost be a barrier, as there are numerous affordable options throughout Massachusetts that are readily available.

Be sure to talk with your veterinarian about your best course of action, but here are a couple of options.

ARL’s Spay Waggin’ is a mobile veterinary clinic offering high-quality and affordable spay and neuter services. The Spay Waggin’ has been serving Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard, the South Shore and South Coast for nearly 20 years; serving more than 59,750 animals.

Another place to turn is your local Animal Control Officer. The Massachusetts Animal Fund’s spay and neuter voucher program allows low-income residents receiving state assistance to get their pets this important surgery free of charge. Vouchers can be obtained through your city or town’s Animal Control Officer and are redeemed at participating providers, including ARL’s Spay Waggin’ and Community Surgical Clinic.

By the way, you can help keep this program going by donating on your state tax form on line 33f!

Long-Term Health Benefits

Caring for animals can be expensive, especially when it comes to their health. But consider this – having your pet spayed or neutered can reduce the risk of serious, and costly, health problems later in life.

Neutering male dogs and cats before six months of age prevents testicular cancer and spaying female cats and dogs before their first heat reduces the risk of uterine infections and breast cancer.
Spaying and neutering can also reduce behavioral problems such as marking territory, howling or barking, aggression and wandering.

We all want our pets to live long and healthy lives, and having an animal spayed or neutered actually increases their longevity. According to published reports, neutered male dogs live 18 percent longer than unneutered males, and spayed females live 23 percent longer than spayed females.

Healthy Moms, Happy Litters

How about if you have a pet at home with an unwanted or accidental litter of puppies or kittens? No problem, the Animal Rescue League of Boston can help.

Through the Healthy Moms, Happy Litters program, ARL will provide free spay and neuter services and vaccinations for mother/father dogs and cats. Once the procedure is complete, and animals are returned to the owner.

ARL will also waive the surrender fee for the litter of puppies or kittens, who will be spayed or neutered, vaccinated and placed up for adoption.

Remember, there are an abundance of resources and help available to those who need it so please consider having your pet spayed or neutered for their happiness, their health, and for your piece of mind.


New England Patriots Cheerleaders Visit ARL

This past weekend, members of the New England Patriots Cheerleading squad spent some time at the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center to make some cat treats and to spread some holiday cheer to some adorable adoptable puppies!

The visit to ARL was part of the Patriots Cheerleaders Holiday Service Day and was a perfect fit as several members of the squad are avid animal lovers. ARL thanks the Patriots Cheerleaders for spending a little time with ARL’s animals, staff, volunteers and even some lucky patrons!


Home for the Holidays

For many, the holiday season brings feelings of warmth, comfort, and friendship – and our wish for you and all the animals in our care is to experience the joy of the holidays.

Your generous support made this wish come true for thousands of animals so far this year, including:

  • 4,420 pets and community cats who were spayed and neutered to keep them healthy
  • 2,770 animals who were rehabilitated and adopted into forever homes
  • 980 pets who received affordable pet wellness services in the convenience of their own community
  • 275 cats and dogs who were transported away from overcrowded shelters in other states

But this important work to help animals is not close to being done.

In the last two months alone, ARL rescued over 160 animals from the horrors of neglect — and even more cases are under active investigation.  There has been a troubling increase in the number of animal cruelty and hoarding-type cases that result in a sudden influxes of animals in dire need, which is why your donations are critical to make sure we can stand ready to answer the call for help at any time.

At the same time, our shelter population is changing and we are seeing more animals with complex medical and behavior issues that require additional resources, skilled staff, and extra time to improve.

These animals need you now more than ever, and it’s not too late to help!

Animals give us so much.  Please consider giving back by donating today.

symbolic gifts

Thank you for your thoughtful year-end gift that makes happier lives possible for animals all year long!

Need assistance or want to give by phone? Please call us at (617) 426-9170 x603

Prefer to donate by check? Please have it postmarked by December 31, so that it may be considered tax-deductible for 2019 to the extent allowed by IRS regulations.


Winter is here – ARL reminds pet owners to protect animals from the cold

Winter is finally here in New England, and with the first extreme cold snap upon us, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) reminds pet owners to take cold-weather precautions to protect pets — frigid conditions can endanger the well-being, safety, and the lives of the pets we love.

Here are some things to keep in mind not just for this arctic blast, but for the remainder of winter:

  1. Prepare your dog for the elements. If you have a longer coat dog, let it grow out for the winter; it will provide warmth and protection from the cold. For shorter coat dogs, sweaters, coats and booties can go a long way to protect your pooch.
  2. Wipe off your dog’s paws and stomach. Sidewalks are treated with a number of chemicals. These chemicals can irritate your dog’s paws, and can be poisonous if ingested. When coming in from the cold, clean and dry your dog’s stomach to keep them healthy!
  3. Keep outdoor trips quick. Bathroom breaks or walks, keep it short and sweet and keep your pets indoors as much as possible.
  4. Never leave your dog alone in a cold car. Many Massachusetts residents are aware that it’s illegal to keep an animal in a hot car, under the same law it’s ALSO illegal to keep your animal in a cold car (Ma. Ch. 140, Section 174F. (a) A person shall not confine an animal in a motor vehicle in a manner that could reasonably be expected to threaten the health of the animal due to exposure to extreme heat or cold). When going out, leave your animals at home.
  5. Pay attention to your pet’s grooming and health. An animal with a matted coat cannot keep him or herself warm! Long-haired pets especially during heavy periods of shedding, need extra help maintaining a healthy coat. Senior pets also suffer from increased arthritis pain in the cold, so check with your veterinarian on how to keep your pet comfortable.
  6. Check under the hood. Cats love to warm up underneath the hood of a car, as the residual heat from the engine burns off. Unfortunately, this method of warming up can have dangerous consequences, such as severe burns and other grave injuries. Always pound on the hood of your vehicle and do a quick visual check before starting the engine.

The chill can kill! So bottom line, if it’s too cold for you to be outside, it’s also too cold for your pet to be outside.

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Halloween Pet Safety Tips for a Spook-Free Holiday

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) and Boston Veterinary Care (BVC) share important tips to keep your pets safe and happy this Halloween season.

Boston Terrier in Halloween costume

Tip: If it’s your pet’s first time wearing a costume this Halloween, spend a few days before the big holiday getting them acclimated to wearing it. Keep in mind, some pets are just not fans of wearing costumes and would much rather wear a festive collar or bandanna instead.

With the month of October almost half over, Halloween 2019 is right around the corner! You may be a fan of the spookiest time of year, but for your pet, this haunting holiday can be truly scary.

Not to worry though, enjoying the festivities and keeping your pets safe is easier than you think – Follow these 3 tips to ensure your pet has a spook-free Halloween this season:

1. Keep your pets inside. The Halloween season often brings out tricksters who might taunt or harm an animal left outdoors. It’s always a good idea to keep pets inside with proper, up-to-date identification. If your pet must be outdoors, be sure to keep them leashed and an eye on them at all times.

2. Stash the sweet treats. Chocolate, especially darker chocolates, are highly toxic to cats and dogs. Additionally, many candies and gums contain Xylitol. This sugarless sweetener is highly toxic to pets. Always keep chocolate and candies out of your pet’s reach.

3. Be careful with costumes. If you decide to dress your pet up for this festive holiday, costume safety is key. Keep these costume safety tips in mind:

  • Always supervise your pet while they’re wearing a costume.
  • Make sure your pet’s costume fits properly and does not restrict their movement.
  • Be cautious of loose or dangling pieces that pets could potentially choke on.
  • Ditch the masks or other accessories that could potentially make it difficult for your pet to breath or obstruct their vision.

No plans for Halloween? Spend the day getting to know some of our adoptable animals.

 


Popular Spring Flowers Toxic for Cats

With the weather changing, you may have noticed the first signs of spring in the form of flowers beginning to emerge from the ground.

Soon these flowers will be blooming, but along their beautiful sight and smell, many species of spring flowers add a life-threatening element of danger for your cat.

Lilies of all varieties (Easter Lilies, Daylilies, Asiatic Lilies, Peace Lilies, Lily of the Valley) top the list of spring flowers that are extremely dangerous for felines.

For cats like Duchess, ingesting just a small amount of toxic spring flowers like lilies can be life-threatening.

Ingesting just a leaf or two, or drinking a little water from a vase holding the flowers, can cause kidney failure, and possibly death.

Lilies are so toxic that symptoms can be seen less than 2 hours after ingestion and include:

  • Dehydration
  • Lack of Appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy

If you suspect your cat has ingested lilies or any harmful substance, seek medical attention immediately – do not wait!

Other spring plants that are toxic for your cat include: daffodils, tulips, chrysanthemums, and hyacinths.

Our animals rely on us to keep them safe — if you have a cat, it’s certainly a good idea to remove lilies and other noxious plants from your home and yard to ensure their safety.

Questions?

Contact Boston Veterinary Care (BVC) at 617-226-5605 or email at bvc@arlboston.org.


ARL Caring for Several Diabetic Cats

Cases of diabetes rapidly rising nationally – link to pet obesity

Diabetes is the second most common endocrine disease (hyperthyroidism is the most common) in cats, and the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) has seen several cats afflicted with the disease over the past year – recent statistics also indicate the number of cases are rapidly increasing.

The drastic increase can partly be attributed to the rise in pet obesity.

Webster, a 10-year-old male cat, was picked up as a stray in Malden, MA in late January, and had typical signs of living on the streets including dental disease and muscle wasting. However, his blood work revealed a glucose level of 349 – anything over 170 is considered high.

ARL’s shelter medicine staff continued diagnostic testing, instilled dietary changes and constantly monitored Webster hoping to rule out a diabetic diagnosis. However, a fructosamine test, which determines how the animal’s body is regulating blood glucose levels over a 2-3 week period, indicated that Webster’s body was not regulating properly and was properly diagnosed with diabetes.

The cat was placed into foster care, and is currently on a regimen of insulin injections twice a day, 12 hours apart, and after eating. Webster is also on a strict diet of wet and dry food specially formulated for managing diabetes.

Despite the diagnosis, Webster will have a good quality of life, his new owners will simply have to be diligent about follow-up veterinary care and ensuring insulin is administered as prescribed. Once his glucose can be regulated he will be ready to find his forever home!

Approximately half the cats diagnosed with diabetes can achieve remission if the disease is treated promptly – cats in remission may be able to stop insulin entirely as well.

Know the Signs

Diabetic symptoms vary and in addition to increased thirst and decreased activity, other signs include:

  • Weight loss
  • Change in litterbox habits
  • Appetite swings
  • Vomiting
  • Unsteady gait
  • Overall poor health

More than half the cats and dogs in the U.S. are overweight, and as long as pet obesity continues to be an issue, the number of diagnosed cases of diabetes in our pets will continue to rise. ARL encourages pet owners to strictly monitor their animal’s diets, limit treats and take action if a pet begins to gain or lose weight rapidly.


Press Release: Microchip Helps Reunite Lost Cat with Owners

Family notified of cat being found on Valentine’s Day

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is once again reminding the public of the importance of having pets microchipped – this after recently reuniting a Stoughton, MA, family with their cat who went missing shortly before Christmas.

Four-year-old Tigger snuck out of his Stoughton home on December 23, 2018, to explore the outdoors. Perhaps spooked by his surroundings, Tigger ran when his owners tried to get him back inside and unfortunately did not return.

In the following days and weeks, Tigger’s family posted the cat’s picture on social media and posted flyers in their neighborhood and nearby businesses – but still Tigger was not found.

Tigger back in the comforts of home but with a reminder of the elements — note the frostbite on his left ear.

On February 10, a local resident brought a stray cat to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center. The cat was emaciated, dehydrated, and had suffered from frostbite on its left ear and front paw due to long-term exposure to the elements.

The cat received fluids and was checked by ARL staff and was also scanned for a microchip. The chip was registered to a Florida resident, however after a little detective work, ARL tracked the owner from Florida to Stoughton.

A certification letter was sent to the Stoughton address, and owner Jackie Rhone tells ARL the cat was originally a gift for her 17-year-old daughter, and after two months had given up any hope of finding Tigger.

“That evening (Valentine’s Day) we went out for an errand and when we returned home my husband checked the mail, and when he came inside he screamed “read this Jackie quick”! I started reading it out loud with tears rolling down my face and said “they found our Tigger!”’, Rhone said.

Tigger was reunited with his family two days later and is now strictly an indoor cat.

This reunion would not have been possible if Tigger hadn’t been microchipped.

A Permanent ID

A microchip is a computer chip about the size of a grain of rice, programmed with an identification number unique to your pet. It is non-toxic, non-allergenic, and will last the life of your pet with no maintenance required.

A microchip greatly increases the likelihood of being reunited with a lost pet – an AVMA study shows 52 percent of dogs with microchips are reunited with owners, versus just 21 percent with dogs with no microchip. Owner return rates for cats with microchips is 38 percent versus 1.8 percent for cats without the chip.

ARL recommends pet owners to ensure their animal is microchipped, and to also keep contact information up to date.