Doc Halligan's What Every Pet Owner Should Know: Prescriptions for Happy, Healthy Cats and Dogs


For the more than 73 million dogs and 90 million cats in the United States, Doc Halligan's What Every Pet Owner Should Know is the "go to" book for their owners and caregivers in need of easy-to-understand, expert advice on helping pets of any age stay healthy and remain a loving family member for years to come.

One of the country's most respected and leading authorities on preventive health care for pets, Doc Halligan provides a commonsense, ...

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For the more than 73 million dogs and 90 million cats in the United States, Doc Halligan's What Every Pet Owner Should Know is the "go to" book for their owners and caregivers in need of easy-to-understand, expert advice on helping pets of any age stay healthy and remain a loving family member for years to come.

One of the country's most respected and leading authorities on preventive health care for pets, Doc Halligan provides a commonsense, practical approach to keeping your pet happy, healthy, and out of the emergency room.

In a book that could only have been written by someone who has treated and cared for thousands of dogs and cats during her distinguished medical career, Doc Halligan puts her 20 years of veterinary medical and surgical experience at your fingertips, and gives you an easy-to-follow prescription for your pets' continued good health.

Inside you will find:

  • A sample script for getting the most out of your vet visit
  • Simple instructions for weekly home exams
  • What to do in case of emergencies
  • The scoop on lowering your vet bills
  • The pros and cons of pet insurance

And many other preventive health care tips and words of wisdom from one loving pet owner to another.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
As the director of Veterinary Services for the Los Angeles Society for the Prevention of Cruelty Toward Animals, Halligan has seen pet owners at their best and worst and knows full well their most common concerns. Her passion for education and motivation to give back even a little part of the unconditional love and affection animals have given her come across in this clear and concise guide to responsible pet ownership and basic care considerations. Chapters cover such topics as acquiring your new pet, feeding and nutrition, preventative care (e.g., grooming, home examinations), spaying/neutering, dental care, the hazards of obesity, talking to your vet, traveling with your pet, disaster preparedness, and senior pets. Illustrations are limited to black-and-white drawings, but that doesn't detract from the book's value. A comprehensive work written to appeal to the average or first-time pet owner, this is highly recommended.
—Edell M. Schaefer
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060898595
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/30/2007
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.09 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr. Karen Halligan has appeared on Live with Regis and Kelly, the Today show, Animal Planet and Animal Rescue 911 and is the Director of Veterinary Services at the spcaLA. She shares her life in Los Angeles with Kinky and Nathan, two very spoiled (and healthy) cats.

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Read an Excerpt

Doc Halligan's What Every Pet Owner Should Know

Prescriptions for Happy, Healthy Cats and Dogs
By Karen Halligan

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2007 Karen Halligan
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780060898595

Chapter One

Your New Four-Legged Friend

"Until one has loved an animal, part of one's soul remains unawakened."
--Anatole France, novelist, satirist, playwright, and poet

Loving a dog or cat is truly one of life's most rewarding experiences. Animals can melt our hearts. I've seen clients who consider themselves "dog people" have a kitten show up on their doorstep and change them forever by breaking down old walls and awakening the spirit, which led to a deep, meaningful, loving relationship with the kitten. I've seen families torn apart by death be re-united by the love of a puppy. In New Orleans I witnessed amazing heroic acts from people who were touched by the pain and suffering of animals and wanted to help.

Animals can bring out the very best in us if we let them. They have this ability because they love us unconditionally. They freely offer their love with no expectations.

Think First, Act Second

Okay, so you're sold on getting a pet. You really want to have a long, happy, meaningful life and have decided that owning a dog or cat would be just the right thing.

However, there are many factors to consider first. You may have owned a cat or dog in the past, but that doesn't mean your lifestylesuits having one now. You must take into consideration the huge daily responsibility it is to own a cat or dog. Don't buy a pet as a status symbol or because a cute puppy or kitten tugged at your heartstrings. Don't run out and buy a pet during the holidays or as a gift for someone who is ill prepared to own one.

If you do decide to get a pet, just make sure you've thoroughly assessed your lifestyle, living situation, and financial resources. Don't be hasty. This should be a carefully thought-out decision in which you've contemplated the enormous task it will be to have a living, breathing creature join your family. You will be responsible for your pet's every need.

Ten questions to ask yourself

1. What do you hope to gain from your relationship with this pet?

2. Do you have the financial resources to take on a new family member?

3. Will this new pet fit into your current family, four-legged members included?

4. Are you prepared emotionally if your pet has a medical problem?

5. Do you have the time commitment necessary to care for this pet?

6. Does your current living situation allow for a new pet?

7. Does your work or travel schedule interfere with owning a pet?

8. Has the whole family been involved in the decision to get a new pet?

9. Are you willing to give up some freedom to own and care for a new pet?

10. Are you physically able to handle this new pet?

Pets should be selected with the entire family in mind, including everyone's needs, concerns, expectations, fears, and medical issues, such as allergies. Will the family thrive from taking on and caring for a new pet, or will this caretaking become a burden after the initial excitement wears off? Keep in mind that children may not always fulfill the promises they make about caring for a new pet. Will a relationship with this pet enhance or detract from any human relationships that you may have, such as a spouse, children, or close friends, or even your job?

Kitten, Puppy, Cat, or Dog?

Without a doubt, owning a puppy or kitten requires much more work during the first year than adopting a mature dog or cat, but there are pros and cons of both. Raising a kitten or puppy takes a certain amount of commitment on your part to ensure you end up with a well-behaved pet that fits into the family. It's similar to raising a child, only at an accelerated pace. A kitten or puppy will age fifteen human years in one year and go through all the stages that a child would experience into their teens. It can be challenging, entertaining, daunting, and amazing all at the same time. The trouble that puppies and kittens can get into can rival that of a two-year-old child.

The key is to put in the effort initially so you don't wind up with an untrained, highly destructive, or obnoxious cat or dog. A pet's first year of life is crucial to developing a highly positive social bond with you.

If you don't have the time, energy, or patience to put into raising a kitten or puppy, then it's probably best to adopt an adult dog or cat. Generally speaking, adult pets require far less work initially; however, if they have behavioral problems, you'll need to address those immediately so you can enjoy cohabiting with your pet.

It will invariably take some work to have your adult cat or dog adjust to your house-hold. As in any new relationship, you must first get to know each other. By putting a good six months of effort into establishing ground with your new pet, you'll have a highly social, well-trained animal that fits properly into your home.

Cat Versus Dog

Naturally, there are certain differences in owning a cat versus a dog.

Advantages of owning a cat include:

  • Easier to potty-train than dogs
  • Can stay longer at home alone
  • Fairly quiet
  • Relatively small
  • Don't need to be walked
  • Fairly nonaggressive
  • Typically less costly
  • Require less exercise
  • Need less socialization
  • Need less training

Benefits of owning a dog include:

  • Excellent companions
  • Unwavering love and loyalty
  • Provide sense of safety and protection
  • Many different breeds to choose from
  • Come in all sizes and shapes
  • Some make great traveling companions

Choosing the Right Pet

It's critical that you research the particular breeds of dogs or cats before you actually go out and buy one. Different breeds have different characteristics and temperaments as well as maintenance requirements you must consider before choosing a particular breed. For example, Persian and Abyssinian cats are considered to be very affectionate; Siamese cats like to meow a lot. Long hair versus short hair is another consideration. Certain breeds of dogs, such as Maltese, poodle, and Lhasa apso, require grooming every six weeks.


Excerpted from Doc Halligan's What Every Pet Owner Should Know by Karen Halligan Copyright © 2007 by Karen Halligan. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Table of Contents

Introduction     ix
Your New Four-Legged Friend     1
Make No Bones About It: Your Pet Is What It Eats     31
Prevention Pays, Neglect Costs     52
Love Your Pet: Spay or Neuter Your Pet     70
Dental Disasters     92
Battle of the Bulge     104
How to Talk to Your Vet     124
Avoiding the Emergency Room Blues     138
The Perfect Fit: Outfitting Your Pet     157
Traveling with Your Pet     169
Disaster Awareness and Preparedness     184
Seasonal Disturbances     210
Seniors Are Special     245
Health Insurance: Pros and Cons     280
Epilogue: Summing up     298
Resources     301
Index     313
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