Home & Family
Cats and Canines
7/1/2019 1:00:00 PM
Cats and Canines

Sixty-eight percent of U.S. households, or about 85 million families, own a pet, according to the 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association. And because your pets are beloved members of the family, you want to take good care of them. Here in our special section on caring for pets, you’ll find articles that will help you keep your pets, both canine and feline, happy and healthy.

Five Reasons to Regularly Groom your Pet

Grooming your pet offers perks beyond a cool canine haircut. Regular grooming provides several health benefits. For example . . . 

When it comes to dogs and cats, performing some grooming rituals helps the animal become accustomed to being touched. Brushing your pet’s hair each evening can help relax you, as well as the animal. Your pet will get acquainted with you more as you teach it to lie down calmly while you lavish it with attention, de-tangle its fur, and remove any debris from its coat. This is especially true for clipping the nails of your dog or cat. Performing the chore weekly, or at least every other week, will make it easier, in the long run, to care for your animal’s feet.

Control Shedding
Shedding is also a major issue that can be remedied with regular grooming. While all shedding cannot be completely avoided, daily brushing and weekly baths with a conditioning shampoo will help cut back on the need to vacuum the carpet. A decrease in shedding will be noticed when you regularly use a pet brush, since the brush stimulates oil producing glands in the animal’s skin that help keep it healthy. Sometimes it is easier and more productive to have your pet groomed by a professional. A trained professional will know the proper way to groom your pet, specific to each breed and will be able to trim your pet’s hair, which is especially helpful for pets with thick coats.

Avoid Medical Problems
Some actions, such as checking an animal’s eyes, teeth, and ears regularly, can help you avoid major medical bills. Many cat and dog breeds are susceptible to illnesses that can be caught early, simply by paying attention to your pet and thoroughly checking the animal’s entire body during daily grooming sessions.

Dental Health
Brushing a pet’s teeth is another ritual to perform regularly. A pet’s dental health can have tremendous effects on its overall physical well-being. By keeping your animal’s teeth clean, you will also help keep the animal well between vet check-ups and can also avoid expenses related to professional cleanings.

A final benefit is all about looks. Animals feel better when they are groomed and also tend to look better. Avoid matted hair that is difficult to untangle, nails that are too long and curled, and other issues by paying attention to your pet each day. If you don’t have time to groom your pet yourself, make an appointment with a local groomer. Taking a little time for your animal regularly will help keep your pet healthy and happy!

Protect your Pet from common diseases

by Nate Ellender

Pets are a fixture of many American lives. Just ask the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), who report that there are 75 million pet cats in the nation, and 70 million pet dogs; to say nothing of birds, snakes, mini-pigs, and fish. They provide benefits across the spectrum of mental health, provide lessons in socialization and responsibility for younger owners, and leave us with memories and stories that last a lifetime.

As much as we love them, these adorable friends can be a much less adorable drain on the wallet. The AVMA’s estimates put American veterinary spending at nearly 70 billion dollars in 2018 alone. If you would like to learn some ways to keep your hard-earned dollars out of vet visits and securely invested in pet-sized leather jackets, read on for tips about keeping dogs and cats healthy and frisky. 

Limit exposure to the pathogens that cause diseases. Like the flu, plague, or pop music; if you don’t want to deal with it, stay away. For pets, it’s much the same. Limit their movements and control their environments to minimize the chance that a random encounter will lead to infection. Only allow them to associate with healthy animals in a clean place. This will reduce the chances of a healthy animal contracting diseases like mange, rabies, kennel cough in dogs, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, and Feline Leukemia Virus in cats. 

Take care of your pet’s home environment. Be certain water bowls are clean and food is fresh and safe. Clean litter boxes and keep the yard as free as possible from Fido’s land mines. Bedding and living spaces, particularly for indoor pets, should be regularly cleaned. While it bears consideration as an Olympic event, bathing your pet is a necessary facet of disease prevention. It not only helps remove any present pathogens from their skin and fur, but can also kill fleas that may be hitching a ride, and lead to the discovery of any ticks that might have clambered aboard. (To the cat owners reading: Godspeed.) Doing these things will put the brakes on potential infections of giardia, hookworm, ringworm (which is technically a fungus, rather than a true worm), campylobacter, lyme disease, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, along with parvovirus in dogs.  

Proactive Treatments. Exposure control and scrupulous care of the pet’s body and environment will go a long way toward keeping cats and dogs healthy, but they are not foolproof. In the end, a squirrel will bring fleas to your yard. Ticks will invade. A stray cat or raccoon may jump the fence, or any number of other unforeseen circumstances might occur. To cover your pet’s well-being against these, there are proactive medicinal measures that can be taken. Worming medicines guard against parasitic threats on the inside, while flea and tick treatments ward against them on the outside. Vaccines are available for serious ailments such as parvovirus, rabies, Feline Leukemia and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus. These will require vet visits and cash, but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Try as we might, it’s awfully tough not to end up part of that $70 billion. But after all, our fur-faces are worth it. 

Dog Days!

Dog Parks for Your Canine Companion

by Stefanie Powers

Summer is here and with it comes longer days and the urge to get outside and have some fun. This goes for our four-legged friends, as well. They have a lot of energy to release, and what could be better than to run and play and socialize with other dogs?

Check out these great places where you can take your best buddy for a romp. 

Lake Charles 

Bark du Lac Dog Park 

This fenced, off-leash park has two separate play areas: one for smaller dogs and one for larger breeds. They all must have current rabies shots and other vaccines and wear a visible license. There’s a two-dog maximum per visitor, and aggressive behavior is not allowed, so keep an eye on your buddy. No puppies under four months are allowed; nor are small children, for their protection. It goes without saying that no female dogs in heat should be at the park, and unneutered males must be closely supervised.  And please, be responsible and clean up after your pet! Open 9:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m. daily. 100-198 W. Pine St, Lake Charles.

Dog Park at Enos Derbonne Sports Complex 

This really cool place has all kinds of fun equipment to keep your pup busy, including the A-frame, agility walk, crawl tunnel, dog teeter totter, dog walk ramp, fire hydrant jump, hound hoops, hound hurdles, a tire jump, a wait table, a wall jump, and weave poles! The park is open from sunrise to sunset daily. Naturally, you are responsible for your pets while at the park including cleaning up after them. There are Mutt Mitt stations for waste pickup and disposal, so there’s no excuse! There’s also a dog-friendly water fountain, which comes in handy after all that exercise! 7903 Lake St., Lake Charles

Calcasieu Animal Control Dog Park

This fenced dog park is open to the public every day from daylight to dusk, with free admission. The park offers three separate fenced areas where dogs can play, along with shade and tables. Make sure to bring your own water. This park was made possible by a grant from the ASPCA. 5500-A Swift Plant Rd, Lake Charles


Fideaux Field 

Fideaux Field is open from dawn to dusk every day except for Monday, when the park is closed until noon for maintenance. It features two separate enclosures: the Little League side for canines 30 pounds and under (including puppies over four months old) and the Big League side, for big dogs (along with little ones who like to run with the big ones). There’s some challenging, fun equipment in the Big League, too! Water fountains are available for both people and pets, and the usual dog park rules apply. 900 West Parish Road, Sulphur

For the past few years, there’s been talk about a dog park in DeRidder with a tentative opening scheduled for 2019, but a call to City Hall revealed that it’s still in the planning stages and has a long way to go. 

Jet-Setting Pets: A Growing Number of Animals Joining Us in the Friendly Skies

by Andrea Guthmann

According to the American Pet Products Association (APA) there are around 77 million pet dogs and 85 million pet cats in the United States. The APA’s National Pet Owners Survey showed 37 percent of pet owners travel with their pets every year, up from 19 percent a decade earlier. And a growing number of pet owners take them along even when they travel by air.

In 2017, the number of pets carried by U.S. airlines increased to 784,000. Although we love our furry, four-legged friends, traveling with a pet can be stressful. Luckily, airports are catering to canine needs and responding to the pet-friendly travel trend by offering a growing list of animal amenities. Those include boarding, dog runs, even shops selling gourmet dog treats. If you travel with pets, here are some airports to have on your radar. 

John F. Kennedy International Airport

In a New York minute. That’s how quickly you’ll be able to find somewhere for your dog to let it go, since multiple terminals have pet relief areas. Terminal 5 even has 

a 4,000 square foot outdoor garden patio open to all passengers and their pets.

Another reason to say I love New York? Last year, JFK became home to the world’s first privately-owned animal terminal. The ARK, a 24/7 facility, provides care and veterinary services to all animals traveling via cargo or boarding.

Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson 

Federal rules require airports serving more than 10,000 passengers per year to have pet relief stations. The world’s busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson, not only offers pet relief areas, but a 1,000-square-foot dog park. Located in the Ground Transportation area at terminal south, the dog park is fully fenced-in and offers benches and waste bags.

Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway Airports

The Windy City welcomes pets at both its airports. O’Hare has four pet relief areas, while smaller Midway has two. Both airports have a convenient boarding option, Paradise for Paws, a chain of boarding facilities near airports. Paradise 4 Paws has facilities located near Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway Airports, along with Denver and Dallas/Fort Worth Airports. Paradise for Paws allows you to drop off your beloved pet, park at the facility, then take a complimentary shuttle ride to your terminal for your flight.

Los Angeles Airport

Angelenos love pampering their pooches. LAX has more pet reliefs stations than any other airport. Another special treat? The Dog Bakery in Terminal 5 caters to canines with all-natural specialty dog treats. 

If you’re a cat or dog owner, you know that pet-friendly places rule. No bones about it. Do your homework before you travel, so that you and your feline or canine companion can peacefully enjoy the dog days of summer vacation together. That includes thinking about whether your animal is fit to travel. If they are aggressive or overly shy, it’s best to leave them at home.

Remembering your Pet

by Haley Taraseiwicz

Pets are considered valuable members of the family, making the loss of a beloved animal companion one of the most difficult things a pet parent can go through.

Whether it’s sudden or expected, the grief that comes with the passing of a pet is both intense and unpredictable, similar to how one might grieve with the passing of a dear friend or family member. And, while it may seem unfair that our pets’ lives are often short in comparison to our own, the best way to honor a pet who has crossed the Rainbow Bridge is to celebrate their spirit and memory. 

Before making any decisions on how to handle your pet’s remains, consider how you may want to honor the memory of your beloved fur friend. Whether you choose burial or cremation, it is important to remember that this is not only the final act of love but also an important means of closure.

The staff at Johnson’s Funeral Home understands the grief experienced with the loss of a beloved pet. Pet Angels, an affiliate of Johnson’s Funeral Home, is committed to ensuring your faithful companion and friend is treated with respect and compassion, and returned to you in a caring and timely manner.

Pet Angels offers pet owners dignified cremation services and remembrance products to help honor and cherish the memory of a pet. Their services also help alleviate the worry a pet owner may experience if they bury their family pet and must relocate in the future.

The process works like this:

Pet Angels is contacted by a veterinary clinic to request services on behalf of a pet owner.

They pick up the pet and transport it to their facility.

Each pet is assigned an identifying number used throughout the entire process, ensuring peace of mind that the remains received are those of the beloved pet.

The pet’s remains are returned in a temporary urn to the veterinary clinic in a timely manner. 

Once the temporary urn is received, the pet owner can contact Johnson’s or stop by to view their selection of memorial products.

In almost all cases, Pet Angels works through local veterinary clinics; however, pet owners can also contact them directly to make arrangements. There’s no right way to mourn the loss of a pet. Pet Angels is available to help you celebrate your pet’s life.

For more information at Pet Angels please visit www.johnsonfuneralhome.net or call 337-478-8687 to speak with a Pet Angels representative.

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