Thinking of a New Pet? Why Pet Adoption Should be Your First Option

By: Laura Sesana

WASHINGTON, September 4, 2012- I grew up with dogs at home and naturally, when I moved out to college, I wanted a dog of my own. I wanted a perfect puppy and bought a Miniature Schnauzer at a pet store on Lexington Avenue in New York City, kind of on impulse. Luckily, we were a good fit, and she was my best friend and companion for 14 wonderful years.

However, after learning about the practices of pet stores and puppy mills, I wished I had done a little research and checked out my local shelter or the Internet first. Today, my husband and I have two dogs, both rescues from They fit our lifestyle perfectly, and our family wouldn’t be the same without them.

If you are thinking about getting a pet, there are several reasons to consider adoption before contacting a breeder or heading out to a pet store.

1. Save a life. Be a hero! By adopting a pet, you will be saving a life. estimates that six to eight million pets got to a shelter every year. According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), three to four million pets are euthanized every year because shelters are overcrowded and not every pet can find a home. By adopting a pet from a shelter, humane society, breed rescue group, or animal control agency, you will be saving the life of a very grateful animal.

2. Avoid supporting puppy mills and pet stores. By adopting a pet, you will not be supporting pet stores and puppy mills. Pet stores, online sellers, and people who sell their animals through classified advertisements in the newspaper often get their animals from puppy mills and are willing to sell them to anyone willing to pay, no questions asked. Puppy mills and pet stores are part of a very cruel industry where animals are kept in shockingly brutal conditions with little medical care. Breeding dogs in puppy mills are locked in small cages for years without human companionship or attention. After a heartbreaking life spent in a cage, these animals are then killed, abandoned, or sold at auction.

Pet stores will also sell an animal to anybody, without making sure that the animal will go to a good home, will be safe, and the new owners understand the responsibilities of pet ownership. Many of these animals usually end up in shelters- if they are lucky.

3. Find the right pet for you and your family. Bringing a pet into your life is a serious decision that must not be taken lightly. Before bringing a pet home, owners need to be aware that it is the beginning of a relationship that may last 10 to 20 years, and that a pet needs constant care, supervision, and companionship.

Even though pet stores are likely to have the cutest puppies you’ve ever seen, the cute factor is not everything. Taking a pet home based solely on its appearance can be a recipe for disaster and yet another reason why so many pets end up in shelters.

Whether a pet fits your lifestyle is much more important than what it looks like. A pet carefully chosen to fit your lifestyle is more likely to result in a lasting home for the pet and a happy life for the owner. “Some people think yellow labs are adorable as puppies and beautiful dogs. But a person who lives a sedentary lifestyle and does not like to go running or exercising should not have a lab,” Gail Buchwald, vice president of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), told

You are more likely to find a greater variety of animals and a better fit for any lifestyle at a shelter or through adoption websites like Unlike pet stores, which are only interested in making a profit and moving their “merchandise,” shelters are more concerned with matching a person or family with a pet of the right breed and temperament for their lifestyle. Shelters have also spent time caring for the animals, know their disposition, and what type of owner they would be a good fit for. With so many pets entering shelters every day, you are very likely to find exactly the right pet for you.

Our dog, Emma- half gremlin, half hyena

Adoption is the way to go if you want a purebred animal or a one-of-a-kind. According to HSUS, about 25% of dogs and cats in shelters are purebreds. There are also a number of breed-specific rescue groups that have purebred adults and puppies for adoption.

Other people see the attraction in a unique mix. Some mixes have the positive characteristics of several breeds. Our dog Paco is a lab-collie mix, and he has the great qualities of both. He has a sweet disposition, is very calm, fantastic with kids, and can be trusted all the time. Our little one, Emma, is more of a mystery. When we adopted her at 9 months old, we were told she was a Chihuahua- Jack Russell mix, but I think she has some Cairn Terrier in her. My husband says that she is more like half gremlin and half hyena. To us, she is beautiful. She is lively and energetic, always getting into trouble. Both are unique, and we love them for it.

4. Shelter pets may have “baggage,” but this is not necessarily a bad thing! Many people think that a pet that is in a shelter is there because of some kind of behavioral problem. The truth is that there are many reasons that people have to give up their pets, most having nothing to do with the pet. These include moving to a place that does not allow pets, not having time for the pet, not being able to afford the pet, allergies, etc. has a sheet on the reasons pets are surrendered to shelters, which explains that most of the time the reason for surrender comes from the owner and not the pet.

On the other hand, adopting a pet, which has had a previous owner, may already be toilet trained and have other positive characteristics. (See # 9, the case for adopting an older pet)

5. Shelter pets are healthy. Even though some pets may enter a shelter without being neutered or having proper medical care, most if not all shelters give the pet a thorough medical screening and will not clear the pet for adoption until it has a clean bill of health. Most shelters also spay or neuter the pet before adoption.

6. Adopting is much less expensive. While adopting a pet is usually not free, the adoption fee will usually cover spaying or neutering, distemper vaccination, rabies vaccination, heartworm test, and flea/tick treatment. These services can cost up to $2000 at a regular vet, but adoption fees usually range from $100 to $300. On the other hand, a puppy at a pet store can cost over $700 and these services are usually not included.

7. Time. Adoption usually focuses on whether the pet will be a good match for a potential owner. Shelters are more likely to help you find your ideal buddy because shelters don’t expect and don’t want you to walk out with a new pet in 20 minutes or less, the way pet stores do. Shelters understand that finding the right fit takes time and a few visits. Shelters also allow you to interact with a pet and spend some time together before you take them home. Moreover, most shelters will allow you to take the animal home on a trail basis and take the animal back if things do not work out.

8. Set a good example. lists “setting a good example” as one of the reasons to adopt a pet. I don’t have children, so I can’t really speak to this point from personal experience, but I agree that adopting a pet can teach a child “how to care about those that others may view as castoffs.” Adopting a pet can also teach children that they can make a difference by saving an animal’s life.

9. The case for adopting an older pet. For certain people and families, adopting an older pet may be the best choice. There are several benefits to adopting an older pet. For one thing, there are fewer surprises when you adopt an older pet. From the outset, you will know its full-grown size; temperament; and food, grooming, and exercise requirements. Older pets are also easier to train because they are calmer and have more experience interacting with people. An older pet also requires less attention, is usually toilet trained, and settles into new environments more quickly than a younger pet.

Another wonderful thing about adopting an older animal it that it has experienced living in a home as well as being surrendered, and is ready to forge an instant bond with its new owner. Finally, as mentioned above, adopting an animal may represent a 10 to 20-year commitment that many people are not ready to undertake. People with certain plans for their long-term future as well as very elderly people would be good candidates to adopt an older pet. According to the ASPCA, even though the commitment level is the same, it is for a shorter period of time.

10. Not all breeders are bad. If you have looked into adoption and cannot find the right pet, the American Humane Society has a very informative page on how to identify a responsible breeder.

Connect to the Human Society here

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Bring your dog to work to lower stress; Companies that allow pooches have happier workers


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A new study supports the stress-reducing benefits of bringing your pooch to  work — to play with, look at, and pet while working.

According to a Virginia Commonwealth University study, having a dog at work  not only reduces the owners’ stress level but also increased the level of job  satisfaction for other employees as well. The study, announced Thursday, was  published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management.

“Dogs in the workplace can make a positive difference,” said head researcher Randolph  T. Barker. “The differences in perceived stress between days the dog was  present and absent were significant. The employees as a whole had higher job  satisfaction than industry norms.”

The study took place at Replacements Ltd, a service-manufacturing-retail  company located in North Carolina, which employs approximately 550 people. The  company has a dog friendly policy, similar to other  companies such as  Amazon, Ben & Jerry’s and Zynga, according to CBS News, with around 20 to 30  dogs romping through the office every day. The study took place over a period of  one work week, and subjects completing both surveys and saliva samples to  measure stress levels.

According to The Humane Society of the United States, there are numerous  benefits to having dogs at work, including improved staff morale, worker  productivity, and camaraderie among employees.

Numerous studies have shown that having a pet is a good investment for your  health. One study found that having a pet lowered your risk factors for heart  disease, and another found that dogs encourage more consistent walking and  exercise.

Action to prevent heartworm in dogs

According to a State of Pet Health Report by Banfield Pet Hospital in Jackson, nearly seven percent of dogs in Mississippi will acquire heartworms this summer, the highest proportion across the nation. The reason risk of infection is so high there is because they have the greatest number of mosquito’s in the US, and heartworm is spread from host to host through the bites of these parasites. However, heartworms are frequently found in dogs throughout the 50 states.

The heartworm is a small thread-like worm. The definitive host is the dog but it can also infect cats, wolves, coyotes, foxes and other animals, such as ferrets, sea lions and even, under very rare circumstances, humans.

Heartworms can live in your dog for six months before any symptoms are displayed. All dogs regardless of their age, sex, or habitat are susceptible to heartworm infection, which is why prevention is necessary. The good news is that heartworm is easily treatable – it just requires keen eyed pet owners to be aware of what the signs are and take action immediately if you suspect that your dog may be suffering with this condition.

What are the signs?

Symptoms of heartworm infection include:

• Coughing
• Shortness of breath
• Fainting after exercise
• Tiring easily
• Weight loss
• Loss of appetite
• Listlessness
• Anaemia
• Jaundice
• Poor coat condition
• Swelling of the abdomen
• Bloody stool

Each of these symptoms on their own, if persistent, warrant a trip to your veterinarian; don’t dismiss them – let a qualified professional be the one to advise you whether or not the symptoms are serious.

If your dog doesn’t have heartworm, then there are a variety of preventative treatments available, which will more than likely come in the form of a chewable tablet.

A couple of popular brands used are Heartguard and Interceptor, but there are other brands available which are just as efficient. Ask your vet which ones they recommend.

If your dog has been infected with heartworms, a possible treatment could be Immiticide and would be administered by your veterinarian. This drug has great efficiency and fewer side effects, which makes it a safer alternative for dogs with late-stage infections.

Depending on the condition that your dog was brought in for treatment, there may still be a few practical steps that your dog needs to undertake, e.g. rest, to ensure they receive the maximum benefits for the treatments that have been administered.

Do you know of any other effective brands that can be used to treat heartworms? If so contact us here at Pet Chauffeur so that we can add them to our list.

N.J. law: Put a seat belt on your pet or pay a fine



It’s that time of year when drivers cruise along highways and scenic back roads with the windows down, wind blowing through their hair, music blaring and their faithful four-legged canine riding with his/her head out of the window.

The image is almost as old as time, and this year it’s an image travelers will be seeing less and less, thanks to increased enforcement under the national Click It or Ticket program.

Under New Jersey Statute 4:22-18, unrestrained pets in vehicles is an act of animal cruelty, and drivers who don’t secure their pooch in a pet seat belt will be subject to fines, ranging from $250 to $1,000 and as much as six months in jail.

“That’s for each offense,” Col. Frank Rizzo, police superintendent for the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Animal Cruelty, said Wednesday, according to The Bergen Record. “So, if you have more than one animal loose in your car, just do the math…”

“Some people tell us they like to let their pets hang their heads out the window to take in the fresh air,” Rizzo said, “but dogs and cats become projectiles in a crash.”

On its website, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals offers tips for safe traveling with your pet, and the number one item on their list is making sure your “dog is securely fastened or confined during car trips.”

A large dog in your lap or a small one bouncing around the accelerator pedal can be distracting and dangerous—and should you have an accident, your unrestrained dog might be thrown about the cab, according to the ASPCA tips.

The ASPCA advises dogs be fastened in the back seat of the vehicle. Dogs can be injured or even killed if you have an accident and an airbag deploys, if they are riding in the front seat.

A dog seat belt is “specially designed for the bodies of dogs, so they are a bit different from belts that people use,” according to Canine Auto. It can be positioned in two different ways depending on how your dog prefers to sit.

The Click It or Ticket program is the most successful seat belt enforcement campaign ever, helping to increase the national seat belt usage rate, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Luxury pet hotel opens in Chelsea Manhattan

Luxury pet hotel opens in Chelsea Manhattan

Travelers Today | By  Katie McFadden
Updated: Aug 22, 2012 01:48 PM EDT

A luxury dog hotel is set to open in New York  City.(Photo : Reuters)

A new luxury hotel with double beds and flat-screen televisions is coming to  New York City. However, it’s just for dogs.

D Pet Hotels is coming to West 27th  street in Chelsea this month. The 10,000 square feet luxury dog hotel will offer  rooms with full-size beds and flat-screen TV’s with DVD players. The hotel will  also have a doggie gym with treadmills, a lounge, a spa, a retail boutique, and  even chauffeur services to drive dogs around in Lamborghinis and Porsches.

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The boutique will sell products such as organic dog food, treats, luxury pet  beds, bowls and carrying bags. The spa offers services such as “pawdicures” and  oil treatments for dry coats. There is also a fitness service that comes with a  personal trainer and a special meal prepared by a chef that includes brown rice  with vegetables, lamb or chicken.

D Pet Hotels offers day care services as well as rooms for boarding that  range from standard suites to “ubersuites,” which have queen-size beds, 19-foot  ceilings and 42-inch TV’s for $200 a night. There are 40 standard rooms that  start at $79 a night. The luxury suites, which include TV’s and DVD players,  cost $110 a night. Pets can watch titles such as “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” and  “Fox and the Hound” on the TV’s.

A walk around the neighborhood costs $60 an hour and gourmet meals go for  $9.

“As a New Yorker, when you go on vacation, and you stay in a fabulous  hotel with fabulous services, your dog is staying in a fabulous hotel with  fabulous services,” Investor Shawn Hassanzadeh explained to Digital  Spy.

Another D Pet Hotel opened in Scottsdale, Arizona on August 15.

The company opened its first property in Hollywood and it turned out to be  very successful.

Pet hotels are becoming increasingly popular and are getting even more  ridiculous. A five-star luxury Pooch hotel, which offers dog massages,  pedicures, facials, and teeth cleaning, opened in Dallas on Aug. 18.

An eight-story pet sex hotel is coming to the Brazilian city of Bello  Horizonte. The rooms include heart-shaped mirrors, red cushions and dimmed  lighting to set the mood for doggie love.


Pet friendly restaurants in New York

As the weather continues to warm up, the people of NY will no doubt want to engage in a spot of alfresco dining.  Increasingly more and more restaurants are making it possible for pet owners to be able to eat at their establishments with their beloved friends.  As far as I can tell at present, people have mainly been eating out with their dogs.  But if you decide to visit a restaurant with your pet iguana, be sure to let us know what happened!

The next time you fancy eating out, try these restaurants.  Remember to drop us a line to let us know what your experience was and if you would recommend it to our readers.

Barking Dog
150 E 34th St, New York. 212-871-3900

Barking Dog Luncheonette
1678 3rd Avenue, New York.  212-831-1800 ‎

Barking Dog Luncheonette
1453 York Avenue, New York.  212-861-3600

1649 3rd Avenue, New York.  212 289-2700

79 St Boat Basin Cafe
West 79th Street   212-496-5542

Cafe Gitane
Frnt 2, 242 Mott St, New York.  212-334-9552

Frank Restaurant 

88 2nd Ave, New York.   212-420-0202

Kabab Factory
101 Lexington Avenue, New York. 212-683-4229

The Shake Shack
Madison Square Park, New York. 212-889-6600

335 Bowery, New York.  212-505-9100

Shake Shack
Madison Avenue and 23rd Street, New York. 212-889-6600

Tom & Jerry
40 Elizabeth St.New York. 212-274-8787

646 W 131st Street, New York. 212-694-1777

Empire Diner
210 10th Ave.New York. 212-243-2736

9 9th Ave. New York. 212-929-4844

350 E 53rd St, New York. 212-753-1761

120 Hudson St. New York. 212-219-0666

941 2nd Ave. (Corner of 50th St.) New York. 212-308-5353

 White Horse Tavern
567 Hudson St, New York. 212-243-9260

George Keeley’s
485 Amsterdam Ave, New York. 212-873-0251

Tratoria Spaghetto
232 Bleeker St. New York. 212-255-6752


Dog Parks in New York

Spring is well and truly here now, and as it gets warmer the inhabitants of New York will be spending more time outside of their homes to make the most of the nicer weather.

Taking your dog to the park or to some other open space should be a fun day, but unfortunately as not all dog owners are responsible it can be irksome for those without pets who have gone to the park to enjoy a nice day out.  Some pet owners do not clean up after their dogs when they defecate; others let their dogs run riot, completely unconcerned about what a nuisance they are being, and still others are slow to respond when their dogs chase or bark at petrified passers-by incessantly, or help themselves to the food that is on the plate of those trying to enjoy a quiet picnic!  While you love your dog and everything about them, others don’t!  But of course, not all pet owners are like this.

There are a number of dog parks and dog runs in NY which cater either largely or exclusively for dogs so that your pet can run around uninhibited to their heart’s content amongst other dog lovers.  It is still essential that consideration and courtesy is extended to others who are using the facility also.

If you do happen to go to any of the parks listed here, please leave a comment stating what your experience at the location was like.

Adopt a Sheltered Cat

Here at Pet Chauffeur we talk a lot about our beloved dogs, but June is officially Adopt a Sheltered Cat Month.   There are thousands of cats in shelters throughout the NYC who need a loving environment to be nurtured in.

Many cats that we see roaming the streets do so because they have been abandoned by their owners for some reason.  Unless someone sees them and gives them a loving home or takes them to a shelter, such cats are often prey to sick people who take pleasure in mistreating them for fun or they fall ill and die from eating bad food or from being over exposed to harsh weather.

But this doesn’t have to be the case.  It is great that abandoned cats are safe in shelters, but they would benefit so much from having a loving family look after them.

Zootoo is running a page advertising lovable tabbies for adoption  Another easy way to help sheltered cats this month is to promote the Fee-Waived Cat Adoption initiative from the ASPCA and Fresh Step litter. To help spread the word and encourage similar programs, Fresh Step litter will donate $1 (up to $100,000) to the ASPCA for every “like” received on its Facebook page from June 1 through July 31, 2011. The money will help support this program and other cat care initiatives.

Alternatively, check out shelters near you to find a cat that you can give a great home.  Let us know which shelter it was so that we can list them.

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Cancer doesn’t have to mean the end for your dog

Cancer.  For decades this one word has struck fear into the heart of anyone who has been given this diagnosis.  Many believed death to be the certain outcome.
Nowadays this isn’t necessarily the case. We forget that with all of the incredible breakthroughs in science and medicine, cancer needn’t be the end.  Even though they cannot speak and tell us when something is wrong, cancer can be detected and treated in dogs, and in many cases it can be cured. The success of treatment will depend on the type of cancer, the treatment used and on how early the tumour is found. The sooner treatment begins, the greater the chances of success. Therefore, one of the best things you can do for your dog is to keep a close eye on them for signs of the disease.
There are doctors who specialise in field oncology, such as the world renowned dog cancer expert Dr Demian Dressler, whose research into the subject has brought immense comfort and hope to dog lovers the world over who have received the upsetting news about their beloved pets.  His comprehensive book, “The Dog Cancer Survival Guide” covers an array of issues surrounding cancer in dogs, such as the various treatments available, the correct diet for a dog that has been diagnosed with cancer, even how to manage your emotions during your difficult time.  So rest assured that a lot can be done to save the life of your pet.
So, how do you know if your dog has cancer?  First of all it would be a good idea to start by taking a look at the breed of your dog.  Did you know that certain breeds have a higher rate of cancers than others?
In my research I discovered the following:
Highest incidence breeds which also develop cancer at an earlier age than other dogs.
• Boxer.
• Golden Retriever
• Rottweiller
• Bernese Mountain Dog

High incidence breeds
• Boston Terrier
• English Bulldog
• Scottish Terrier
• Cocker Spaniel

Average incidence breeds:
• Irish Setter
• Schnauzer
• Labrador
• Mongrels

Relatively low incidence breeds:
• Beagle
• Poodle
• Collie
• Dachshund

It isn’t a sure-fire guarantee that these breed of dogs will develop cancer; it is just to make you aware that there is a higher probability that these breeds may develop the illness.

This isn’t an exhaustive list and there may be some variables from one breed to the next, but these are the signs that indicate your dog might have cancer:

1. Abnormal swellings or lumps that don’t reduce in size or continue to grow
2. Sores that do not heal
3. Loss of appetite
4. Weight loss
5. Bleeding or discharge from openings on/in the body
6. Difficulty eating or swallowing
7. Emitting foul odours (not just breaking wind)
8. Apathy, lack of interest in exercise; reluctance to move around much
9. Persistent lameness or stiffness
10. Difficulty breathing, urinating, or defecating

If your dog has any of these symptoms take them over to your vet as soon as possible.  Don’t immediately fear the worst as these symptoms may be signs of other illnesses too.

If your dog is diagnosed with cancer, however, it still isn’t the end of the world. The vet will discuss your various options, but remember that it is important that you do your research to satisfy yourself that the best course of action for your dog is being taken.  They should know of all the specialist cancer clinics that treat dogs and so they should be able to recommend one to you if they are not able to offer treatment for the type of cancer that your dog has.  Typically the treatments offered are, chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery but there are other options available, such as cryotherapy.  Check out our page for the addresses of some of the best veterinary practices in New York.

The key is to arm yourself with as much knowledge as you possibly can so that, should the worst happen, you are able to make informed decisions about the best treatment for your beloved friend.

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Raising an exotic animal

We had a lot of fun last week here at the Pet Chauffeur offices with Leo the leopard!  He was a boisterous little fellow!  Check out our videos of his visit on our Facebook page.  To mark the unique experience, today’s blog is about exotic animals.

Having an exotic pet can appear to be quite glamorous, or so the celebrities who pose with them in magazines make it appear.  But is it really?  Let’s take a look at what is involved in looking after a leopard.

Habitat, range and diet
The leopard is the smallest of all big cats, i.e. tiger, lion and jaguar, and there are a number of breeds within this species, such as the African Leopard, the Sri Lankan Leopard, the Amur Leopard and the Clouded Leopard.  The leopard was once distributed across eastern and southern Asia and Africa, from Siberia to South Africa, but its range of distribution has decreased radically because of hunting and loss of habitat. It is now mainly found in sub-Saharan Africa; there are also fragmented populations in Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Indochina, Malaysia, and China. Because of its declining range and population, it is listed as a “Near Threatened” species by the Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).

The leopard’s natural habitat is grassland and woodland which extends for miles.  Their home ranges can extend from 12-30 square miles for males and 5.8-6.2 square miles for females.  They have a very broad diet and eat anything from an antelope to insects and they mostly go hunting from sunset to sunrise.
Bearing all this in mind, how would you be able to humanely house and feed a leopard in NYC??

According to Born Free USA, the exotic pet industry is a multi-billion dollar business, but it is incredibly difficult to rear animals such as leopards in an enclosed environment when they have been used to living in a home that measured a minimum of 6.2 square miles of grassland or woodland, not to mention the problems with trying to feed them.  I mean, where can you go to stock up on fresh antelope for them to eat?? Where would you be able to take them for a walk?

Effects on wild animals living in captivity
According to the ASPCA malnutrition, stress, trauma, and behavioural disorders are common in exotic animals kept as pets. In the states where it is legal to have an exotic animal (only a few states allow this, and even then you will need a license) getting medical care is extremely difficult.  It may require a trip to your local zoo as your everyday veterinarians aren’t trained to deal with the diseases specific to animals usually found in the wild such as salmonella and herpes.

The reality is no matter how adorable an exotic animal may look, or how cool you think it would be to have one living with you, it really isn’t a good idea for you or for them.  The little that we do know about them shows that humans cannot meet their needs properly in captivity at all.

Leo is in the hands of trained experts who know what he needs and have the means to provide him with it, which is why he was such a handful for us at Pet Chauffeur!  If that wasn’t the case he may have ended up like a number of wild animals living outside of their environment do; as the majority of people who keep exotic animals cannot meet their needs, the animals end up caged, chained, or beaten into submission.  Some owners will even have an animal’s teeth or claws removed, so that the animal cannot harm the owner should an attack occur.

Outside of their natural environment, the best place for a leopard or any other wild animal is a smaller, controlled environment such as a reserve where, even though there isn’t as much room as they are used to, they can roam freely and get the specialist care and attention that they need.

Finding the best diet for your pet

You will find nowadays that it is becoming the trend for pet owners to start feeding their cats and dogs a raw diet.  The deterioration in health of these animals over the last 20 years has prompted a lot of research to find out why. The over all results cited poor quality ingredients in commercial animal food as being the common denominator in declining pet health.

Are our pets really getting what the label on the tin says?
In his article “Food Not Fit For a Pet,” Dr Wendell O. Belfield, D.V.M, who has been practicing small animal medicine for over 25 years, states that when he is asked which commercial pet food he recommends, he replies “none”.  Researchers have found that the “meat” in sampled commercial pet food was purchased from rendering plants which also receives material from slaughterhouses such as hair, feathers, hooves and any part of the mammal which is condemned for human consumption.  If food is condemned for human consumption, there is no reason why an animal’s constitution would be able to digest it. Rotten meat is rotten meat; mixed with hair, feathers and hooves it is a stomach churning meal.

A raw diet, which has been prepared with fresh, organic ingredients, will enable you to have peace of mind about what your pet is really eating.

Why a raw diet?
Before dogs and cats were transformed into pampered household pets, they were used to living in the wild, hunting for food.  Their diets would have consisted of raw materials which in that state provided them with the fullness of the vitamins and minerals that their systems needed to remain healthy.  There weren’t any cooked meats and other little treats and delicacies for them to eat!  And they have survived for centuries!  If we want Fido to live in optimum health, then his diet must mirror what he used to eat before he became a pet.  But do your research first of all, to determine if this diet works best for your animal.

You will find however, that opinions are sharply divided on this issue: a lot of veterinarians do not agree with a raw diet, citing high levels of bacteria in uncooked meats as being dangerous to your pets.  I suggest an experiment – put your pet on a raw diet for a fortnight and monitor the changes. If the changes are positive then keep going.  If not, then stop.

If you know you want to change your pets’ diets but find the thought of serving up raw meat a little nauseating, consider an organic diet instead.  Eating a diet with less pesticides and questionable ingredients can only be a good thing for them.  Again, conduct thorough research first of all before you decide which diet is best for your pets.

The benefits of a raw or organic diet

Reduction of skin ailments and allergies – If your dog suffers from allergies or an irritating skin condition, you’ve probably tried everything hoping to provide your pet some relief. Organic dog food may provide your pet with the best chance of combating skin infections and allergies in the long term. It is free of artificial colors and flavor enhancers, chemical additives and toxic pesticides that could be the source of your dog’s allergies.

More energy and a healthy weight – Since organic/raw food is naturally more nutritious, many owners report their dogs eat less organic dog food than other commercial varieties. Organic food doesn’t contain bulk-fillers, so your dog consumes only what it needs to maintain healthy energy levels and life functions.

Fewer digestive disorders – A lack of chemicals and artificial substances makes organic dog food more digestible. If your dog vomits occasionally after meals or commonly experiences gas, bloating or diarrhoea, check with your veterinarian for underlying illness. In the absence of another cause, feed your dog an organic diet and you’ll notice a definite change!   Easily digestible oats, barley or other natural whole grains and human-grade turkey, lamb or chicken make a tremendous difference to your dog’s digestive system. Rather than consuming corn or other bulk fillers and chemical additives, your dog will ingest only what it needs for healthy metabolic functioning.

Better overall health and stronger immunity – Organic dog food provides better quality sources of nutritional substances than even the non-organic, premium brands. It is more digestible for dogs, and therefore dogs are more likely to absorb than eliminate more of the nutrients they require to maintain a healthy immune system. Boosting your dog’s immunity may help prevent costly infections and illnesses that require veterinarian care.

Where can I get this type of food for my pet?
Some pet owners have taken to preparing food for their cat or dog by hand from scratch.  This is great if you have the time to do this, but I suspect that not many people will. Try these companies who provide ready prepared, natural foods for both cats and dogs and let us know how their products worked with your pet.

Stella and Chewy’s

Paw Naturaw

American Eskimo Food

Onesta Organics

Raw Advantage

Primal Pet Foods

Only Natural Pet Store

Also check out Sled Dog Central which has listed companies providing organic animal food throughout the US. It also lists a few companies in Canada and one in Germany, Europe!

Pet Airways – The first pet only airline

Travelling abroad or in the US can be quite a taxing operation with so many things to organise.  For those travelling with pets this can be a lot more problematic.  Apart from ensuring that your pet has had the right shots, has up to date health certificates etc, the safety of animals in transit is also a big issue.   How it all happened

Pet Airways  are leaders in the field of pet comfort and safety during long haul travel.  The company was born after the founders, Dan and Alysa Wiesel,  kept running into difficulty with airlines when trying to travel with their beloved dog, Zoe.  There just seemed to be no suitable way for Zoe to fly with them whenever they wanted to go on vacation.  Finally they gave up trying to convince human airlines to transport animals more responsibly and decided to take up the cause themselves.  In 2008, Pet Airways was born.

Pet Airways is the first airline that caters exclusively for animals.  With the exception of the pilots (obviously, LOL!) and pet attendants onboard, all of the passengers are of the furry variety.  The beauty of this airline is that it’s run by pet lovers for pet lovers.  Every conceivable occurrence has been thought of to ensure that pets arrive at their destination healthy and happy.


At present, Pet Airways operates domestic flights only and flies to and from the following cities: Atlanta, Baltimore/Washington, Chicago, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles/Hawthorne, New York, Omaha and Phoenix.  If you need help finding reliable international pet shippers, feel free to contact us and we will point you in the right direction.

The plane

Pet Airways uses the Beechcroft 1900 as the plane of choice for flying animals around the country.  This plane was chosen because of its impeccable safety record.  The animals all travel in the main cabin of the plane, NOT in cargo and each pet has their own container.  There is a climate-controller on board which ensures that the pets will neither be too hot or cold.

As with traditional flights, tickets  are booked online. There are different size seats to accommodate the various frames of animals who may be travelling: your pet can only travel on a given flight if the correct size seat is available.  If there isn’t a seat available on the day you want to travel,  you can either choose a different day or be put on their waiting list just in case another pet drops out.

Pets are checked every 15 minutes during the flight, or as needed and have regular potty breaks.  Everything is done to ensure that they are not distressed at any point during the flight.


As with all niche/boutique enterprises, you must expect to spend a bit more than you would on human airlines.  Fares start from $149 per animal per flight, but keep an eye out as they sometimes have sales.

It’s great to finally see the issues of animal safety during flights being addressed in this way.  It’s a relief to have the peace of mind that while your pets are out of your sight, they are being looked after by people who love them as much as you do.

Pet transportation by Pet Chauffeur can help Taxi your pets to this location.

Pet training in NYC

Imagine the scene.  It is a beautiful spring day; the sun is shining, the birds are singing and you want to enjoy a day at the park with Fido.  You grab a couple of his toys and set off to your nearest park, looking forward to spending a couple hours playing a game of fetch  and other fun things.  Once you arrive, you unclip the leash from Fido’s collar.

“Freeeeeeeeeeeeedoooooooooooooooooooooom!!!,” Fido thinks to himself and takes off like a rocket for the other end of the park.  “Fido, come back here!” you cry as you chase after him, a futile effort as your two legs are no match for his four.

The excitement of being unleashed mounts as Fido spots Fifi, the flirtatious, immaculately groomed poodle that he’d had his eye on the last time he was in the park and bounds after her.  In terror, Fifi’s owner snatches her off the ground just as Fido leaps at her and knocks them both to the ground.  “Fido, nooooooooooo!  Come here!  Fido, stop that! Bad dog!” you yell as Fido tramples all over Fifi’s owner.  “Aaaaaagghh!  Help!  Get this maniac off me!” Fifi’s owner cries.  You finally arrive and wrestle Fido off the owner and put the leash back on.  You apologise profusely but Fifi’s owner is absolutely furious.  She cusses you out and stomps off in the other direction, yelling something about a law suit

Does any of this sound a little familiar? Come on, tell the truth!  I’ve seen incidents not too dissimilar take place when out of control dogs go on the rampage.  A lot of pet owners find that their dogs tend to go a bit crazy when they are taken out of their home environment, especially when they are let off their leashes.  Others have found it difficult to train their pets, period.  You have done what you can to make your dog behave but your methods aren’t really working…what can you do?

There are a number of organisations in the NYC area that run dog obedience schools to help your pet understand how to behave in certain situations.  Having an animal in an urban setting can present its own set of unique challenges but there are things that can be done to help your pets behave appropriately.

Some organisations offer tailor made classes for your dog, others run group sessions, some even take in the psychology of your dog and help discover if there is an emotional reason for their behaviour.  But whatever the issue, there is a school somewhere in the City that can meet your needs.

Here are some of the ones that we have found.  If you know of any others  let us know and we will add them to the list.

A Pawsitive Dog Inc
A-1 K9 Intelligence Inc

ABCs of Dog Training

All Dawgs Training Services
Andrea Arden Dog Training

Anthony Jerone’s School of Dog

Bark Busters Home Dog Training
Bark Collar Store
Best Friend’s Dog Training
Best In Show Dog Training
Big City Dogs
Biscuits and Bath
Brooklyn Puppy Training
Canine Coaching
Cirius Kennels
Complete Canine Dog Training
David’s Dog Training
DingoGirl Dog Training &
Behavior Ctr.

Divine K9
Dog Almighty Training and Behavior
Counseling for Dogs

Dog Trainers of New York City
Dog training – Behavior

Dog Training by
Bob Maida

Dog Training School NY Confident
K9 Education

Dog Walking Made Easy
Doggie Academy
Follow My Lead Dog Training
Guiding Eyes for the Blind
Happy Tails Dog Behavior and

Harmony Dog Training
Innovative Reality Dog Training
and Dog Behavior

Joyful Pet Training with Maggie

K9s Best Friend
New Jersey K-9
New York Dog Trainer
NY Clever K9 Inc.
Piazza Dog School
Poochie University
Professional Dog Training by

RUFF Customers Dog Training
Sit n Stay Pet Services
Super Fit Fido Club
Tammy the Trainer
The Dog Guru, Inc.
Urban K-9 Dog Training
Vet Pet Supplies Online
Wag the Dog Urban Dog Training
Warsaw Dog Training Co.

New york city pet taxi transportation can be arranged by Pet Chauffeur of NYC.

Client Testimonials

    Testimonial from Roberta Flack
I have depended on Pet Chauffeur for ten (10) years to help me get my pets to life saving situations. Whether the trip is long or short, my animals are always looked after with the greatest care.  It’s good to know this kind of assistance is available and on time.  Thank you David and crew for being in my life.  Even if my concerts and public appearances take me from home, I can trust Pet Chauffeur to look after the travel needs of all of the dogs and cats, who are a part of my family.  BIG THANKS!
” Testimonial from another happy client”
   About seven years ago, in late November, my dog needed major surgery at Animal Medical Center in the far E 60s, a pretty far walk from my UWS apartment. My dog was small, but never learned to ride in a bag; she was a rescue and freaked out when she was put in the bag, so I worried that she had had some kind of trauma about being shut up in places and didn’t push it.AMC called me on Thanksgiving night to let me know that she could be picked up if I wanted to come get her. I didn’t want her to have to spend one more minute there than necessary so I walked over there in a mix of light snow and rain; I thought I needed to save all the money I could for a cab ride home and didn’t even want to buy a  Metrocard. I worried about getting a cab, though. Cabs often pass people, even with small dogs, and I didn’t see many as I walked over.My dog had had a giant tumor removed from her side. She had been shaved and was stapled up from end to end like some kind of Frankenstein dog. I wrapped her in a blanket and headed out, apologizing for the weather and hoping I’d be able to get a cab somehow.Then outside the exit to the hospital I saw an orange and blue van labeled “Pet Chauffeur.” I walked up and asked the driver if he was waiting for someone. No, he had just dropped someone off. I asked how much it would cost to take me and my dog back to my apartment and it turned out I had just enough money with me. The driver took us home in the bad weather, without my dog ever having to wait in the cold rain and snow at all.I don’t have any business advice to offer Mr. Lang. I just wanted to say how much I appreciated that van being there that night and I sincerely hope he makes it through this recession storm. Good luck–

The importance of spaying/neutering your pets

It may surprise you to know that as many as 3 million dogs and cats are euthanized in the United States each year because there simply are not enough homes or shelters to house them all.  The estimated number of homeless animals across America in shelters is approximately 6-8 million. The explosion in the number of cats and dogs produced each year means that even pure bred dogs are being destroyed as the supply is greatly outweighing the demand. The same issue also affects other animals such as rabbits and birds.

In order to prevent this tragedy, it is highly recommended that your pets are either spayed (female) or neutered (male).

Why should you do this?

I can imagine that a number of animal lovers would balk at the suggestion of preventing animal reproduction, but unless you are a licensed breeder producing and housing pure bred animals yourself, the addition of another animal to the already over populated market is unwise.  And even if you are a licensed breeder, there are limitations as to how many generations you can breed for and other stipulations that may vary from one state to another.  Spaying or neutering is the most humane, and the most responsible, thing to do.

What is involved?

With spaying, the ovaries, uterus, oviducts and cervix are removed and with neutering, the testicles, epididymis and spermatic cord are removed.  Both surgeries are performed regularly and are very safe in the hands of qualified veterinarians. While these surgeries can be performed as early as 8 weeks of age, they can be done safely at any age taking the animal’s health into consideration. Spaying and neutering can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. During the procedure the cat or dog is completely anesthetized and recovery time is very quick.

Health benefits

There are many benefits to an early spaying/neutering.  A female pet that is spayed before her first heat has a greatly reduced risk of developing ovarian, uterine, or breast cancer, the second most common malignancy in pets. Spaying this early will also prevent her from bleeding which can stain your carpet and furniture.  In addition, she will never develop pyometra (an infection of the uterus). Pyometra can become life-threatening and require an emergency spay operation. These infections very commonly occur in older, unspayed females.

As with spaying, neutering is best done on your pet whilst young. This also greatly reduces the risk of them developing prostate, perianal, and testicular tumors and cancers.

Behavioural benefits

The most noticeable change will occur with your pet’s sexual behaviours.  Sexually related behaviors of male dogs can include mounting human legs, climbing up on people, and even knocking children down and climbing on top of them. This is especially frightening and dangerous if a dog is large.

Neutering/spaying your pets will result in them becoming less aggressive, especially when they are in heat and looking for a mate.  Males who have not been neutered can become especially belligerent whilst defending either a female or a territory that he believes is his. With regards to territory, this can extend for miles.  Over protectiveness of family members may manifest itself by growling or nipping at visitors in your home.

If you are looking to have your animal spayed/neutered, Pet Chauffeur has a list of trusted veterinarians and animal hospitals that we have worked closely with over the years, who can give you all the help and advice you need when decided the best treatment for your pet.

If expense is a concern for you, most communities have humane shelters
and low-cost spay/neuter clinics that offer affordable services. Contact
your veterinarian or one on our list, your local shelter, or a PETsMART near you.

Pet Transportation by Pet Chauffeur of NYC is the best Pet Taxi service in the NYC metro area.

Daycare for Dogs

Picture the scene: you’ve returned home after a long, hard day at work. You turn the key in the lock and open the door. You gasp as you survey the carnage in your front room. Your possessions are scattered about the room; a couple of plant pots lie smashed on the floor with the soil trailing off in various directions on your carpet; the stuffing has burst out of your cushions, and some of your books lie in various places with ripped pages. Your heart sinks as you think you’ve been burgled, but then you spot Fido standing sheepishly in the corner with your now well chewed shoe in his mouth. It becomes clear; while you’ve been out at work, Fido has once again been going to town tearing up your house. If this sounds like the story of your life, dog day care facilities have been created with you in mind!

These facilities work just like day care for human babies. You drop your dog off in the morning on the way to work, and while you slave away, your pampered pooch is kept out of mischief! Depending on both your dog’s activity level and the curriculum set out by the day care owners, your pooch may enjoy his day by playing with other dogs inside or outside, or he may be the type to while away the hours perched on a couch, getting loving attention. Many dog day care facilities can also board your pets to ensure that they are kept happy and healthy when you are either working long hours or are out of town. You can rest assured that your pet will be in the care of people who love animals as much as you do.

The number of dogs at these facilities varies and some cater for dogs of a particular size. Trained staff keep the dogs busy with a range of activities, happily munching snacks, or even watching movies made just for the entertainment of dogs. Staff is often trained to deal with any outbreaks of aggression that might result, and have an account with a local veterinarian should an emergency arise.

Whether it’s for a few hours or the entire working day, you will never have to leave your dog home alone. Instead they will be entertained and fussed over until you are ready to collect a tired, happy dog. There are a number of dog day care facilities in Manhattan that cater for the busy individuals who would have to leave their dogs at home. Check them out and find the one that is best for your dog.

Pet Transportation by Pet Chauffeur of NYC is the best Pet Taxi service in the NYC metro area.

New website launches for luxury travelers and their pampered pets

Can’t bear the thought of leaving home without your furry friend? Good news pet-lovers: a new pet-travel site just launched offering information and news about luxury hotels, travel and luxe spots that allow your pets while you’re traveling.More hotels have embraced the pet-travel trend, allowing guests and their four-legged friends to sleep in the lap of luxury while traveling. Boston’s XV Beacon Hotel (photo), three Kimpton hotels (Nine Zero, Onyx and Marlowe), and the Charles Hotel are just a few of the local hotels that are pet-friendly. Take your pet outside the city and you’ll need some help finding the best luxe home for them.

Enter:, the “luxury travel source for pampered pets on the go.” The site has information on destinations, transportation, products and services that are pet-friendly for travel.

USA Todayformer staff writer Kelly E. Carter launched the site. According to the paper, Carter spent a decade globe-trotting in style with her beloved longhair Chihuahua, Lucy. Lucy enjoyed all the amenities and activities as Carter, including massages and room service at luxury hotels. Carter started as a resource for other travelers, including updates on hotels and travel providers that offer services and amenities for pets.

A quick look around site and I learned a few things, too. For example, The W Los Angeles Westwood has a separate pet meal menu, The Little Nell in Aspen allows dogs of all sizes (most hotels cap the weight at 30lbs.), and Paris is one of the most pet-friendly cities in the world, allowing pets in many of its most famous museums and tourist attractions.

The site also has a social media component, The Jet Set Pets Community, that allows members to create profiles for their pets, join groups and share photos of pets on vacation.

Pet Transportation by Pet Chauffeur of NYC is the best Pet Taxi service in the NYC metro area.

Readers: Do you travel with your pet? What are you recommendations for pet-friendly airlines, hotels, restaurants and companies?

Posted by Melanie Nayer   March 25, 2012 08:46 AM

United Airlines policy bans transport of certain dog breeds

SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — Military pet owners no longer are able to transport several popular dog breeds on United Airlines when changing duty stations thanks to recent amendments to the airline’s pet policy, a company spokeswoman said Wednesday.

English bulldogs, pit bulls and American Staffordshire terriers are among the 10 breeds banned by the carrier, according to United’s website.

The policy change was enacted when United merged with Continental Airlines on March 3 and adopted Continental’s PetSafe program.

United’s adoption of the PetSafe program caused quite a stir last month when it was determined that military families would be forced to pay much higher fees to transport their pets on the federally contracted carrier. Following thousands of complaints, United waived the fees for military members.

However, there will be no waiver to the breed restrictions, United spokeswoman Mary Ryan said.

“United does not accept certain breeds of dogs based on previous transport-related situations … Additionally, United reserves the right to refuse any animal that displays aggression or viciousness at the time of tender,” she wrote in an email.

The restriction is troubling for servicemembers and their families because those traveling on official duty are often booked to fly United at a reduced cost to the military. They are then responsible to pay to transport their pets. Prices for pet shipping companies in Japan vary depending on pet size, weight and destination but can reach upward of $4,000 for a large dog that is banned under the policy.

Pit bulls are a popular breed of dog among servicemembers.


Tiffany Jackson of the Okinawan American Rescue Society said she has personally rescued about 20 pit bulls in the past three years that were abandoned on the island. Now because of this policy change, she fears there with be more, she said.

Jackson owns two pit bulls. She said the dogs she sees come through, even after abuse, are loyal, loving, and are good with children. She has traveled from Okinawa to Germany and back on official orders with her dogs with no problems.

“That’s ridiculous,” she said when she heard about the restriction. “It’s sad what’s done to them.”

Mary Seward-Yamada, who runs Camp Canine Okinawa, a service that arranges pet transportation for troops, said pets left behind by their American owners in Japan are usually euthanized quickly unless they are rescued.

“Pit bulls get bad press,” she said, calling United’s policy discriminatory.

Seward-Yamada said these breeds have been singled out by airlines before. Delta has a similar restrictive policy, according to its website.

Experts say there are options for servicemembers.

Patriot Express flights — while often inconvenient and unreliable — charge anywhere from $110 to $336 to fly a pet from Europe and the Pacific. And Seward-Yamada said she recommends Japanese commercial carriers to the States because they have the best service.

Servicemembers and their families are not the only ones affected by the restrictions, however. A petition was started on about a month ago to overturn the breed restrictions and has more than 34,000 signatories to date.

“Dangerous dog policies should be implemented with reference to each individual dog’s behavior, not their ‘breed,’ ” wrote one signee. “These breed-based policies have been shown over and over again to be ineffective.”

Ryan said that determination of breed, age, weight, and other specifications of the pet in question is confirmed by the pet’s health certificate, which must be done within 10 days of travel.

More information is available on the United Airlines website.

Stars and Stripes reporters Travis J. Tritten and Charlie Reed contributed to this report.

By Matthew M. Burke

Stars and Stripes
Published: March 22, 2012

De-stress your dog with ‘doga’

Life in the twenty-first century is stressful for everyone.  While spas and retreat centers for city folk are doing a roaring trade during this global recession, our four-legged friends are increasingly feeling the need for some Zen-like calm in the midst of the hustle and bustle of urban life.

Yoga for dogs, or ‘doga’ as it is also known, isn’t new but there appears to be more of a demand for combined sessions for stressed out owners and their pets.

Doga combines massage and meditation with gentle stretching for dogs and their human partners. In chaturanga, dogs sit with their front paws in the air while their human partners provide support. In an “upward-paw pose,” or sun salutation, owners lift dogs onto their hind legs. In a resting pose, the person reclines, with legs slightly bent over the dog’s torso, bolster-style, to relieve pressure on the spine.

Suzi Teitelman, a Florida-based instructor has been teaching ‘doga’ since 2002. She started it when she noticed that her dog liked to join her when she was going through her paces.  Suzi developed this into a business and says she has since trained more than 100 people around the world in doga, some from as far away as China and Japan. Disco yoga, kid yoga, beach yoga, spin yoga and yogalites are all part of her repertoire.

But how does yoga help dogs?  Can they really get the same benefits as human beings?

Animal therapist Dan Thomas is head of grooming at London’s Pet Pavilion company which introduced the scheme to the UK. He says he is amazed at the effect of the classes on the dogs taking part.  “After a few minutes even the most unruly of participants appeared to chill out, relax and become calmer,” he told BBC News Online.

Not everyone in the yoga community is comfortable with this. “Doga runs the risk of trivializing yoga by turning a 2,500-year-old practice into a fad,” said Julie Lawrence, 60, a yoga instructor and studio owner in Portland, Oregon. “To live in harmony with all beings, including dogs, is a truly yogic principle. But yoga class may not be the most appropriate way to express this.”

The fact that interest in doga is increasing indicates that lots of dog owners are finding this to be a beneficial time of exercise and relaxation with their furry friends.

Curious?  Well you can check out the doga class right here in NYC and see what you think at Doga Dog.  If you know of any others, you can drop us a line here at Pet Chauffeur and let us know.  Have fun!

Pet Chauffeur Making A Difference During Hurricane Sandy

Dear David-

I really think you saved Clyde’s life– at least you extended it. We weren’t about to let a blackout take that great dog down.
But I really couldn’t get him up and down the steps, we were screwed. His legs were splaying out.

You saved our bacon by getting us that van tues night and that great driver!
Thank You So Much ~Ben

PS- Just got back to see the Giants lose! Boo!

Pneumonia in the Summer?

Fur the Love of Pets

The veterinarians at The Animal Medical Center, myself included, spent much of last week diagnosing and treating pneumonia in our canine and feline patients. I suspect many readers are surprised to find me writing about pneumonia in the summer. Cold weather, colds, and the flu bring pneumonia to mind, not the heat and humidity of August. None of these patients had a cold or the flu, but all had other medical problems leading to pneumonia.

Delbert’s debacle

Asthma in cats differs in most ways from the disease in humans – except both cats and humans with asthma are prone to developing pneumonia. The bronchi (breathing tubes in the lungs) of cats with asthma become inflamed. The inflammation blocks transfer of oxygen in the lungs, causing a cough or difficult breathing. Inflammation of the bronchi disturbs normal lung function, increasing a cat’s risk of developing pneumonia. This is exactly what happened…

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