Friday, 8 February 2019

What is the best age to spay or neuter my pet?

This is a very common question from pet owners who are trying to make the safest and healthiest decision for their beloved animal companions. And, depending on who you ask, you can get many different answers.
Most private practice veterinarians won’t schedule a spay/neuter surgery until the animal is at least 6 months old. Meanwhile, common shelter practices involve spaying or neutering as early as 2-3 months of age.
While there may be a difference in opinion among veterinarians about the ideal age to alter an animal, the truth is that pediatric spay/neuter (or surgery performed on a pet younger than 5 months) has been safely performed for years. Pediatric spay/neuter is a common practice among animal welfare leaders like Animal Friends for a number of reasons.
First, it allows shelters to find adopters for their younger residents during a highly adoptable period of their lives. Before pediatric spay/neuter, shelters would adopt out unaltered young animals with the hope that their families would seek out spay/neuter options when their pet was a little older. But, as pet overpopulation continued to be a growing problem, organizations realized that the best option was to alter their animals before adoption.
© Linda Mitzel Photography
Another benefit of pediatric spay/neuter is a faster recovery time following surgery. Often times, younger patients can actually be awake and playing within hours of their operation.
And, pets who are altered are at a lower risk of developing certain cancers.
While everyone can agree that kittens, puppies and baby bunnies are adorable, there is certainly no shortage of them in our region. Whether purebred, mixed breed or lovable mutt, offspring who are born – intentionally or unintentionally – contribute to the growing pet overpopulation facing our community.
Each year, millions of companion animals are euthanized in the United States. For decades, Animal Friends has strongly believed that euthanasia can never be the solution to pet overpopulation. Spay/neuter is safe, humane and – thanks to the low-cost services at our Howard Ash Animal Wellness Center – affordable.
If you have an unaltered pet at home (young or old!) contact our Clinic Services team at 412.847.7004 or to discuss spay/neuter options for your four-legged family member.

Ronan: Home to Home Adoption Program

This handsome boy is Ronan! He is a very sweet, affectionate cat who is about 5 years old. He is neutered, very outgoing and gets along with other felines. Ronan has always been a friendly stray cat. He has been living outside, receiving care from a Good Samaritan, but has never had a home he could call his own.

At one point during his life, Ronan was hit by a car and his hind leg was broken in three different places. Since he had no family, the broken bones were never set properly and never properly healed. To ease his pain, a veterinarian decided to amputate his leg. He is recovering well from his surgery and is adjusting quite nicely to a life with three legs.

During his most recent visit to the veterinarian, Ronan was diagnosed with FIV. With regular visits to the veterinarian, though, cats with FIV can live long, happy lives! Ronan can go home to a family with other FIV positive felines or a home where he will be the only feline.

Ronan is looking for a home where he will be given all the love he deserves. He loves neck and belly scratches and lounging around with his human friends. If Ronan sounds like the perfect addition to your family, please contact Peggy at

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Beat the Winter Blues

With Puzzles and Games for your Pet

By Suzanne Denk, Animal Enrichment Specialist, Animal Friends
With the chilly winter weather upon us, you and your pets may be feeling the winter blues. But, you can help your four-legged family members beat cabin fever with some daily activities that put their minds to work! Providing your pets with opportunities to use their brains in new ways that engage their senses, reduce stress, redirect extra energy or relieve boredom can add to the quality of their lives by keeping them engaged with the world around them.

You may have seen dogs enjoying puzzle feeders and toys before. There is a wide variety of puzzle feeder toys available in stores for pets. While many are labeled for dogs, cats and rabbits can use the very same ones!

Everyday items that you find around the house can also be turned into enrichment activity puzzles for your pet. Hide a treat in a ball pit, an egg carton, a cereal box, a muffin tin, a paper towel roll or even in the box that Amazon or Chewy delivered. The possibilities are endless!

You can also scatter multiple boxes, plastic cereal bowls or yogurt containers around the room to be searched – there just might be a yummy treat or a new toy inside! If your pet is breezing through their puzzles a little too fast, try hiding the toy for them to rediscover or wrap it in a towel or blanket.

By offering your pet a new activity each day, you can help them keep the winter blues away. It is so important to give your pets the opportunity to use their senses in ways that are fun, new and exciting. Remember, as Dr. Seuss said, “I know it is wet and the sun is not sunny. But we can have lots of good fun that is funny.”

To learn more about fun ways to enrich your pet’s days during the winter months, click here.

Monday, 10 December 2018

Brutus: Animal Friends Home to Home Adoption Program

Brutus is a neutered 2-year-old American Bulldog/Pit Bull mix who is searching for a new home. He is up-to-date on all of his vaccinations and is hoping to find a calmer and quieter home without small children. Brutus can be very shy when he's meeting unfamiliar people, so  he will need some time to be comfortable with new friends – he tends to warm up to women a little quicker than men.

A happy dog, Brutus loves to play and enjoys cuddling with his closest friends. His current family is hoping to find a new home for Brutus because he recently bit their young child after being startled while sleeping. Because of this, they've made the difficult decision that he may be more comfortable in a family with older children or adults only.

Brutus's family just hopes that he can find a home where he can share all of the love that he has to give – and get lots of love in return, of course!

If you think your home could be the one Brutus is looking for, please contact Jason at 724.856.3079 and leave a message.


Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Ruca: Animal Friends Home to Home Adoption Program

Ruca is a beautiful pooch who is about 3 1/2 years old. She has gorgeous eyes that will melt your heart and is a happy, friendly, well-behaved and extremely intelligent girl. Ruca was adopted from a shelter when she was about 4 months old and spent the past 3 years in a loving home until her owner passed away.
Ruca is spayed, microchipped and knows all of her basic commands. She is a Labrador Retriever/American Pit Bull Terrier mix with a gorgeous yellow coat who weighs just shy of 60 pounds. Ruca is also housebroken and has never demonstrated any destructive behavior (she certainly knows the difference between toys and furniture!).
This sweet girl is very curious and alert and is always eager to explore. She gets along nicely with other dogs, is very gentle with children and is not protective of her food or toys.
Although she has been given special permission to be cared for in her temporary caregiver's retirement complex, Ruca is in need of a permanent living arrangement and a new family to give her all the love she deserves.
If you would like to meet Ruca, please contact She would love to meet you and show you how incredibly beautiful, intelligent, loyal and special she truly is.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Happy Thanksgiving from Animal Friends

With the holiday season quickly approaching, the dogs, cats and rabbits at Animal Friends are getting excited for Thanksgiving! We encourage you to include your pets at home to join in the festivities, but what's most important is keeping them safe and healthy. Here are some helpful tips from the experts at the ASPCA to help your pets enjoy a safe Thanksgiving!

Talkin’ Turkey
If you decide to feed your pet a little nibble of turkey, make sure it’s boneless and well-cooked. Don't offer them raw or undercooked turkey, which may contain salmonella bacteria.

Sage Advice
Sage can make your Thanksgiving stuffing taste delicous, but just like many other herbs, it can contain essential oils and resins that can cause gastrointestinal problems and central nervous system depression to pets if eaten in large quantities. Cats are especially sensitive to the effects of certain essential oils.

Bread Dough-n't
Don't spoil your pet's holiday by giving them raw bread dough. According to the ASPCA, when raw bread dough is ingested, an animal's body heat causes the dough to rise in their stomach. As it expands, the pet may experience vomiting, severe abdominal pain and bloating, which could become life-threatening and require surgery.

There's Not Always Room for Cake 
If you’re baking up Thanksgiving cakes, be sure your pets keep their noses out of the batter, especially if it includes raw eggs – they could contain salmonella bacteria that may lead to food poisoning.

Too Much of a Good Thing
A few small boneless pieces of cooked turkey, a taste of mashed potato or even a lick of pumpkin pie shouldn’t pose a problem. However, don't allow your pets to overindulge, as they could wind up with an upset stomach, diarrhea or even worse – pancreatitis. In fact, it’s best to keep pets on their regular diets during the holidays.

A Feast Fit for a Kong
While the humans are chowing down, give your cat and dog their own little feast. Offer them Nylabones or made-for-pet chew bones. Or stuff their usual dinner – perhaps with a few added tidbits of turkey, vegetables (try sweet potato or green beans) and dribbles of gravy – inside a Kong toy. They’ll be happily occupied for a while, working hard to extract their dinner from the toy.

We hope you and your pets have a very happy Thanksgiving! Take it easy on the turkey and please, be tasteful with the pilgrim costumes.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Fall Enrichment Fun ... with Your Pet!

Crisp fall temperatures have arrived and you may be looking for some indoor fun with your four-legged friends. Here are some enrichment activities that are just what you need to keep your pets stimulated (both physically and mentally!) once the cool weather arrives.

Rabbit Enrichment Toys

Wheat Grass Containers
Grow wheat grass in a small plastic container – apple sauce or dressing cups work very well. Your rabbit will enjoy grazing on a healthy snack in a fun new way!

Cardboard Ball
Cut a paper towel tube into rings. Insert one ring into another to make an X. Continue to add rings to create a round ball. Add hay to the center and allow your rabbit to have fun tossing and tearing.


Bubbles for Cats

Everyone loves bubbles, and your cat is no exception! Bubbles can provide something new for your feline friend to look at and the fun, unpredictable movement stimulates her mind. And, the adventurous kitties will love the excitement of popping them! You can even find several different brands of bubbles that land without popping, can be easily wiped up and are safe for your pet to eat.


Egg Carton Puzzles

Dogs enjoy playing games to find hidden treats. A quick and easy way to give your dog a fun activity is to hide treats in a cardboard egg carton or cereal box and let him get to work! This activity will allow your dog to use his mind and his nose. And, tearing the cardboard helps to channel your dog’s energy and gives him an appropriate alternative to chewing on the sofa!