Thursday, February 27, 2014

Is Your Bunny a Bully? - Spaying and Neutering Can Help!

Guest Blogger: Cortney Ressler

If you’ve been following Animal Friends for the last month you probably know February is National Adopt a Shelter Rabbit Month. Did you know that February 25th is the 20th anniversary of World Spay Day? There will be events happening internationally to celebrate the life saving efforts put forth through organizations to spay and neuter companion animals as well as street cats and dogs. This month Animal Friends wants to point out the importance of spaying and neutering your pet rabbit.

I recently worked with a potential adopter that mentioned she had resorted to leaving her pet rabbits outside in partitioned hutches all year round. She had gotten three sister bunnies from a local farm. Although her intentions were altruistic, she became frustrated when the three growing, female rabbits started having problems. She explained her efforts of trying to keep them inside, but the fighting and territorial urinating was too much to handle. Not to mention they were biting and boxing her. None of them were spayed. As we know, living outside in a hutch is no place for a rabbit. I informed her about local low cost options to spay her rabbits that would help get them back on track to living safe and comfortable inside the home.

The solution to most behavior problems with rabbits starts with spaying and neutering. We will never know for certain if altering her rabbits earlier on would have prevented every problem she encountered, after all raising three rabbits is no easy task! But what we do know is that unaltered rabbits, whether they’re male or female, have a very difficult time keeping companions due to sexual frustration and aggression triggered by hormones. Rabbits are extremely social pets and will crave the companionship, but left unaltered, they will become aggressive not only towards other bunnies but towards other pets and humans as well.

Aggression and territorial problems are just two of many reasons to have your pet rabbit fixed. Rabbits are dying in overwhelmed shelters everyday, just like cats and dogs. Left in the wrong hands many unwanted rabbits are turned loose outside to fend for their lives, where they quickly perish. When faced with the staggering figures of how many wonderful, healthy rabbits are waiting to find a home in animal shelters and rescues, it is looked down upon to keep your rabbit intact for breeding purposes. A baby rabbit will reach sexual maturity within the first few months of their life. An experienced rabbit veterinarian will perform surgery on a female around 6 months and on a male as young as 3 ½ months. If left unaltered, your rabbit can have a litter every 30 days, even if they're only a few months old!

Getting your rabbit fixed will be sure to prolong their life and your relationship. You will eliminate any chance of reproductive cancers or infections that may arise and your bunny will care less about reproducing and territory and more about cuddling and bonding!

Please make the best decision for your pet rabbit and contact Animal Friends’ Low Cost Spay and Neuter Department at 412-847-7004 to schedule an affordable surgery today.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Dental Health Contributes to Overall Health in Our Pets

By the staff at Petagogy

February is pet dental health month! Good dental health is an important part of your pet’s overall health and well-being. Too much plaque and tarter can erode your pet’s gums, creating pockets for bacterial infections. These infections can cause tooth and bone decay, sometimes leading to more serious health issues. Many times, bad breath is a sign of too much plaque and tarter. It’s best to help control plaque and tarter before it builds up. Contrary to popular belief, kibble does not clean teeth; that’s like humans eating crackers to clean our teeth instead of brushing. Chewing a protein-based kibble may help remove some plaque near the tops of the teeth, but it is not very effective along the gumline where plaque and tarter do the most damage. Plus, poorer quality kibbles containing lots of carbohydrates and fillers can actually contribute to plaque buildup.

Brushing your pet’s teeth with a special pet toothpaste and toothbrush is great; unfortunately, squirming dogs and cats can make it difficult to effectively brush their teeth. There are several non-invasive, toothbrush-free dental products that can help prevent plaque buildup, as well as remove any existing plaque and tarter:

Raw Bones and Chews – One of the best ways to keep your dog’s teeth healthy is by regularly giving him things to chew on like raw meaty bones, rawhide, bully sticks or sweet potato chews made by reputable companies like Primal, Vital Essentials, Wholesome Hide, Barkworthies, Sam’s Yams and Snook’s. Regular chewing helps polish and scrape teeth as the dog crunches and gnaws.

Ark Naturals’ Brushless Toothpaste – Brushless Toothpaste is a highly digestible dental chew with clinically proven, all natural ingredients. On the outside are breath-freshening ingredients like chlorophyll, cinnamon, vanilla and clove, with ridges that provide effective teeth scrubbing and support healthy gums. On the inside is a patented toothpaste center that provides three bacteriostats to inhibit the growth of plaque-forming bacteria and assist with bad breath, tartar and plaque build-up.

Earthbath Tooth & Gum Wipes –Tooth & Gum Wipes from Earthbath are the easy and convenient solution for keeping your pet's mouth clean from plaque, tartar and odor-causing bacteria. The totally natural formula, made with peppermint oil and baking soda, is free of parabens, alcohol and other nasties that don't belong in your pet's mouth. Use daily for best results.

Grin Daily Treats – These easy-to-digest treats contain premium natural ingredients–– chlorophyll, anise, green tea and FOS––to improve your dog’s health by supporting fresher breath, tartar control and healthy digestion.

PetzLife – When used daily, the all-natural ingredients in PetzLife Oral Care Gel or Spray safely remove plaque and tartar, promote healthy gums, brighten teeth and kill the bacteria that causes bad breath.

PlaqueOff – PlaqueOff’s seaweed formula is clinically proven to reduce, help control and prevent plaque, tarter and bad breath in dogs and cats. The granulated formula can be easily added to your pet’s food daily.

Tropiclean – Tropiclean gel, dental chews and water additive help give dogs and cats fresh breath and clean teeth without the hassle of brushing.

Wysong DentaTreat
– DentaTreat is an alternative, natural approach to maintaining pet oral health using cheeses, probiotics, minerals and other natural ingredients. DentaTreat can be sprinkled directly onto food, or it can also be used with a toothbrush as a tooth cleaning powder.

Maintaining your pet’s oral health can help prevent more serious health issues down the road. It’s never too early to start cleaning you pet’s teeth, but it is especially important for older animals who may already have plaque and tarter buildup. So, use pet dental health month as encouragement to start caring for your pets’ teeth––you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the difference it makes!

Petagogy (pronounced pet-uh-go-jee) specializes in premium and natural pet foods, treats and supplies for dogs, cats and small mammals. Petagogy is located at 5880 Ellsworth Avenue in Shadyside. Store hours are Monday through Saturday from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm and Sunday from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. Visit their website at

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Run For A Reason: Join Team Animal Friends!

Help support the animals in our community when you run in the 2014 Pittsburgh Marathon! If you’re already running for the race or are planning on signing up, consider fundraising for Animal Friends. Your fundraising efforts will help fund the care of our homeless animals, low-cost spay and neuter programming, and important outreach work like Pet Therapy and Chow Wagon that help animals and people not only at our shelter but out in the community. Last year, our runners raised over $5,500. This year, we want to raise even more!

Signing up to be a part of Team Animal Friends is easy.

1.    First, go to  Choose which race you’d like to run (marathon, half marathon, 5k, dog walk) and register. Sign up quickly – spots fill up fast!
2.    Next, register with Team Animal Friends to start fundraising on CrowdRise. Here’s the link: Click on the “Fundraise for this Campaign” button on the left hand side and make a profile.
3.    Start fundraising! Share your page with family and friends and ask them to donate to your cause. Don’t worry: there are NO fundraising minimums when you run for Team Animal Friends. Just choose a goal that means something to you.

If you are unable or don’t want to run but still want to help our cause, you can always skip registering for the marathon and just fundraise with us on CrowdRise! Or you can donate to our animals by visiting our marathon page.

As a thank you for their generosity, we are offering our fundraisers the chance to win an Animal Friends prize pack! Each time someone donates to your page, your name will be entered into a raffle to win Animal Friends prizes. The more donations made to your page, the more chances you have to win!

All gifts made to CrowdRise are tax-deductible and go directly towards helping homeless animals in need.

Here’s an idea of what your fundraising will help fund:

$50 – Underwrites one spay surgery and keeps 55 unwanted animals from being born.
$ 100 – Provides vaccines, a medical exam and microchip for a shelter animal.
$150 – Provides critical care to a rescued animal

Do something you love while helping animals in need – run for Team Animal Friends in the 2014 Pittsburgh Marathon!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Animal Friends' Straw Drop Program Comes to an End

This winter has certainly provided many challenges to safely caring for animals living outside.  During these difficult times, Animal Friends’ Straw Drop provided over 500 bags of free bedding straw to animals in need, breaking all previous records for the program!  

With this year’s supply of Straw Drop straw depleted, those who need more straw can contact area feed and tractor supply type stores for availability and pricing information. An example is Best Feeds Garden Center on Babcock Blvd.  Their number is 412.822.7777.  Caregivers are reminded to remain vigilant during extreme weather conditions to ensure that their animals are safe and their living conditions are legal.  

Although current PA law does not list specific temperatures at which an animal must be brought inside, if weather conditions are such that the legal requirements of animal care cannot be maintained outside, then animals can be ordered inside or seized by an officer and charges for animal cruelty could be filed.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Animal Friends' Home-To-Home program presents: Tucker!

Tucker is a 3 year old male Presa Canario, attached are some pictures of him. He is about 160 pounds and a very good watch/guard dog. He listens very well and is house/kennel trained. We have had Tucker since he was about 5 weeks old. 

He has a history of not getting a long with other dogs which is the main reason we are looking for a new home for him as we have another dog which we have to keep separate at all times. This with 3 young children is a very difficult task to make sure of. 

Tucker has all his shots and is neutered, he is a beautiful dog its unfortunate we have to do this but hoping to find a home where he can be more free and have a better life.

If you can help Tucker, please contact Mike at