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Minnesota Veterinary Hospital Blog

It's Almost Time for National Mutt Day

Colleen Paige, a well-known animal activist, created National Mutt Day in 2005. She is also the person behind such campaigns as National Puppy Day, National Cat Day, and numerous others related to the well-being of pets. National Mutt Day now takes place every year on July 31 and December 2. The purpose of the campaign is to celebrate dogs with mixed parenting heritage and to encourage people to adopt them. According to Paige, mutts make up the largest percentage of euthanized dogs. Overbreeding in the quest for the perfect designer dog is one of the main reasons for this. This day is now also known as National Mixed Breed Dog Day.

The Advantages of Adopting a Mixed Breed Dog
Like most dogs, the mutt is lovable and loyal to her human family. If you purchase a mixed breed from a shelter or private party, the adoption usually costs much less than it would for a purebred dog. Other benefits of adopting from a shelter are that your new pet has usually been spayed or neutered, is up-to-date on shots, and has had a complete medical evaluation. When you adopt a mixed breed dog, you save a life and add much joy to your own.

Challenges of Owning a Mixed Breed Dog
Whether you bring home a cockapoo, labradoodle, or dog of unknown heritage, you may not have a lot of information about your new pet's background. That can make health, behavior, and future size hard to predict. However, you can overcome this lack of initial information with research and dedication to staying informed about your specific type of mixed breed dog.

All Dogs Deserve a Loving Home
Every dog, regardless of her parentage, deserves to be loved and cared for as part of a family. Even if you can’t adopt, you can help dispel myths about mutts that keep too many of them in shelters where they are often euthanized before they can find a home. In the words of Colleen Paige, "In every heart, there is a hole. In every shelter, there is love in which to fill it."
While you should never make an impulse decision when it comes to bringing home a new dog, know that mixed breeds can make delightful pets. Once you get settled with your new dog, bring him into Minnesota Veterinary Hospital for a check-up and to introduce him to our staff. We look forward to helping you care for your new family member for years to come.
Photo Credit: GlobalP / Getty Images

This Saturday is Pet Fire Safety Day

It might seem hard to believe that a pet can start a house fire, but it happens approximately 1,000 times a year in the United States. A curious cat can knock over a burning candle or an excited dog can accidentally bump a burner when jumping up on the stove to sniff dinner. This is one of the reasons that ADT Security Services and the American Kennel Club (AKC) teamed together to sponsor National Pet Fire Safety Day every year on July 15. The other is that 40,000 pets die and another 500,000 are injured in fires every year.
How to Prevent Fires with Pets in the Home
All homes should have a smoke detector with working batteries on every floor. This alerts you to the presence of smoke or fire somewhere in your household, but the alert only comes after the fact. By following these safety tips, you can stop a fire before it starts:
  • Pet-proofing your home may require you to get down on your hands and knees to see things from your pet’s point of view. For example, the stove can be easy for a dog to reach just by standing on his hind legs. Loose wiring may draw the attention of a curious kitty who could then electrocute herself in the process. It’s also important to ensure that you put any hot item away immediately after use, such as an iron.
  • ADT and AKC both offer free window clings that alert emergency responders to the fact pets are in the home. You can write the number and species of pets on it so they know what to expect.
  • If you’re going to be away from home for more than a few hours, place your pets near the front entrance of your home to improve the likelihood of a firefighter finding them. Before you leave, do a quick check to make sure your pet isn’t close to any fire hazards.
  • If you have a fireplace in your home or choose to burn candles, make sure that you supervise your pet around any open flames. Additionally, extinguish all flames before leaving the room and don’t allow your pet to investigate.
Plan How to Escape a Fire with Your Pet
We published a blog post last year about making a written disaster plan that includes your pets. Whether it’s a fire or another sudden catastrophe, make sure you have a first-aid kit and a stash of food, water, and toys already prepared for your pet. Keeping a leash and collar near the door allows you to get out of the house faster if you have a large or frightened animal who tries to run away from you. These are simple precautions, but they can save your pet’s life in a fire when every second counts.
Photo Credit: A Dog’s Life Photo / Getty Images

Are You Ready to Adopt a New Pet?

Sharing your home and life with a pet can be immensely rewarding. It's also a lot of responsibility. Sadly, many dogs and cats are surrendered to animal shelters or just dropped somewhere to fend for themselves because people underestimate everything involved in pet ownership. Some pets find another home only to repeat the cycle and others are euthanized before they can find their permanent home. That is why it's so essential to thoughtfully consider all that caring for a pet entails.

Your Decision Will Affect You for Years


According to the American Humane Association, the average lifespan for dogs is 12 to 15 years while cats can live 15 to 20 years. The little puppy or kitten you bring home today will age rapidly and require your care for a lifetime. Before you act on a whim, be sure to think about the following:
  • Are you anticipating any major changes that might affect your ability to care for a pet, such as a move, new job, getting married, or having a baby?
  • What do you plan to do if someone in your household is allergic to the new pet or can't get along with her?
  • If the pet is for your children, are they responsible enough to care for him? Are you willing to take over the duties if they don't meet them or when they move out on their own?
  • Can you afford to care for a pet? Click here to see what you can expect to spend the first year and beyond.
  • Are your current living arrangements a good set-up for a pet? An older cat may do just fine in a one-bedroom apartment, but an energetic puppy could annoy the neighbors and become destructive.
  • What will you do with your pet when you travel for business or go on vacation?
  • Are you willing to get your pet immunized as well as spayed or neutered?
  • How will you handle behavioral issues such as chewed up furniture and inappropriate elimination?
  • Do you have time to play with and exercise your pet?
  • Will your pet spend most of her time alone?
These are a lot of questions, but it's important to honestly reflect on your answer to each one of them. Even if you decide that now isn't the best time to adopt a pet, that doesn't mean you can't revisit the issue later.

Establish a Veterinary Relationship Right Away

If you decide you're ready for the responsibilities of pet ownership, one of the first things to do is schedule a check-up for your new dog or cat at Minnesota Veterinary Hospital. We will get your pet started on a vaccine schedule and complete a full head-to-tail exam. We also recommend spaying or neutering your new pet as soon as possible if he or she is not yet altered. Congratulations on your new family member and we hope to see you soon.
Photo Credit: Rozowynos / Getty Images