Archive for July, 2009
What can you do to be prepared in the event that your dog or cat eats something poisonous? If you fear that your pet has ingested something that is poisonous, call your veternarian or poison control center immediately. It’s a good idea to keep hydrogen peroxide in the house in case your vet advises you to induce vomiting. Don’t administer this or any other pet medication on your own. Wait until you vet tells you how to procede or call the National Animal Poison Center at 1-888-426-4435. They charge $50.00 per case. The Center will do as many follow up calls that are necessary in critical cases. They will also contact your veternarian at your request. The center will also provide any treatment protocols via fax when needed. Don’t wait! If you suspect that your pet may have ingested something that is poisonous, you have no time to lose!
A friend of mine showed me pictures of her two cats cuddling and cleaning each other. What a cute sight! Her two cats are males and one is much younger than the other. My two cats on the other hand do not get along. I have two females. One is much younger than the other. I adopted my younger cat Millie about four years ago when my older cat was about six. There were problems right away. My older cat was very insulted by this new “intruder” and did every thing in her power to let me know it. She hissed at me, would not come over to be pet, she made my young cats life miserable by not letting her use her litter pan. She would actually sit in the pan when the younger cat had to go. She would not let the new cat come into the room where I was. I had to pick her up and carry her. She would even prevent the new cat from going in any of the cat beds.
What do you do in this situation. Here’s what I’ve learned.
1. Isolate the new cat for a few days. Have him checked by a vet to make sure that all is OK. This will also give the new cat a chance to calm down and get used to his new surroundings.
2. While the cats are separated, take a towel or other object, rub it on the older cat and then while the new cat is still separated, rub the object on him so that he becomes familiar with the older cats scent.
3. Let the two cats see each other by opening the door a crack or putting a high screen between the two rooms. Make sure you are supervising to prevent the cats from jumping over the screen.
4. Switch places for a while. Have the older cat in the newer cats room and vice versa.
5. Feed each cat on opposites sides of the door but let them see each other. Again, make sure that you are supervising.
6. Put the two cats together with you supervising for a short period. Make sure that there are food and treats available.
7. Make the supervised visits longer.
8. If there is hostility between them, separate them again.
Keeping doing this everyday until you feel that your cats can get along together. My older cat does not like the younger one and probably never will but at least the fighting has subsided somewhat. Two males seem to adjust better than two females.
At least 20% of dogs will develop arthritic pain by the time that they reach seven years of age. Dr. William Fortney, a Veterinarian at Kansas State University says that arthiris is a progressive degeneration of the cartilidge, bones and the lining in a joint. That joint can be elbows, knees, hips or even the spine. If you have an older dog that might be in pain, try to keep his weight down and talk to your Veterinarian about pet medication. There are pain relievers for dogs and cats which will help ease the pain of arthritis. If your dog has trouble going up or down stairs or is sluggish, it is a good idea to get him checked for arthritis. Don’t try to make him walk faster or pull him while he is out on his walk. Remember, you pets cannot tell you when they are in pain. Look for signs and react accordingly.
Many people have cats who go outside. Some stay outside most of the time only to come in for a nap or to be fed. Here are some pros and cons about keeping a cat outdoors. Keep in mind that I will be relating a rather unpleasant experience that I had when I kept my cat outdoors many years ago.
First of all on a positive note, cats love the outdoors, they are free spirited and love the sunshine and fresh air. I once thought that keeping a cat confined was cruel. My opinion has shifted. Many years ago, when I was young, we were not allowed to keep any pets indoors. It was my mother’s beliefs that cats should stay outside. I found a little kitten and had to keep him outside most of the time. He was allowed on the porch to eat and sleep if it got too cold. I loved this cat and he became very attached to me. He always came when I called and always enjoyed seeing me and would follow me all around. My next door neighbor, an elderly man on the other hand hated all animals including my cat, Tiger. He had a vegetable garden and my cat would frequently stroll through it. One day, I kept calling my cat and he didn’t come. I began to panic fearing that something may have happened to him. I always feared that he would get hit by a car. As I walked around the yard and the front of the house, there was no sign of him. I then looked in my neighbors garden and there he was lying still under a tree. He was dead and obviously had been poisoned! This image still stays with me to this day. Nothing was done to the mean man who killed my cat. If this occurred today, I would make sure that he was prosecuted. Now you know why my opinion has changed and I would always keep my cats indoors at all times. Today I received good news from a friend who keeps her cat outdoors. Her cat disappeared several months ago and she thought that it was gone for good. All of a sudden, it appeared back at her home. It was very skinny but was OK. It could have been stuck somewhere for a long period of time but who knows, the good news is that she got her cat back!
Remember, outdoor cats can carry fleas and ticks indoors. We did an article about the dangers of flea and tick sprays and other products a few weeks ago. I would always check with your vet before you purchase any flea and tick product for your pet.
My older cat Mollie, once feared and hated her cat carrier. As soon as I would take it out, she would hide. It was difficult getting her to go inside. She would resist and I would have to practically shove her inside! I have a weekend home in Delaware which has a screened in porch. I would leave her cat carrier on the porch with the door open. She loves going on the porch and eventually would go into her carrier and take a nap. I would frequently give her a snack in the carrier. Now, she no longer fears her carrier and spends many hours inside when it’s on the porch. If you bring home a new kitten, try to get her used to her cat carrier right away. Keep the carrier within your cats sight with the door open, put in a soft blanket and some of her favorite toys. Feed her inside the carrier and before you know it, getting her inside will no longer be such a chore.
It’s normal for untrained dogs – especially puppies – to chew virtually any item they can reach with their gnashing teeth. This behavior should be controlled and channeled early on so that a dog doesn’t destroy valuable family antiques or expensive stereo equipment. That way, dogs learn some manners for the future and humans save a little dough (not the chewable kind).
The duration and intensity of a dog’s chewing habit depends partially on its specific breed. Black labs, for instance, enjoy chomping on tennis balls well into their adult years. The best way to deter destructive chewing is by providing dogs with safe chew-fodder. Rawhide chews or bones should keep a dog’s attention away from the socks and slippers.
My little dog used to go crazy when anyone would enter or leave my house. He scared guests so much that they would return to their seats until I picked him up and made sure that they were out of harms way. One guest was even bitten! Luckily no blood was drawn! I needed to teach him to do something else when people left my house. I told him to sit and remain calm and rewarded him with treats. I had a guest walk to the door, if he didn’t bark, I would reward him with a treat. I then had the guest walk back into the living room again, then walk again to the door. If my dog remained quiet, I would give him another treat. Eventually my guest left. This did help but my dog had to be constantly reminded to sit and be quiet when someone would get up to leave. Eventually he did it on his own. It is not necessary to put your dog in his crate or dog carrier while your guests are visiting.You must persist and your dog will eventually learn. Once he learns, usually he will never forget. At least my guests were no longer suggesting that I put my poor little dog in the microwave!!!
I have two cats and they are not declawed. I choose not to get them declawed because I believe that it is extremely painful for them. I did not want to put them through that. If you want to own a cat, you must remember that nature gave cats sharp claws which also will shred your furniture. Before I go into what you can do to prevent this, let me talk about the declawing process. Declawing is debilitating surgery that can seriously affect the life of your cat. It can also put her at risk for infections. A cats claw is not like a fingernail but rather like a toe. The claw is attached to bone and muscle tissue. Claws have more than one function. They help your cat with walking, balancing, climbing and even running. Cats cannot get bed rest after surgery. The mutilated paws do not heal for many months. Your cat still needs to get around and it’s very painful for her to function until she is all healed. Keep in mind that cat declawing is illegal and several countrys and looked at as animal cruelty. I love my cats and yes they did mutilate one of my chairs but a chair is a thing that could be replaced. My cats are more important that my one chair that was ruined. If you have several cat scratching posts in your home, you can train you cat to use them. They also sell a product called soft paws that is an acrylic coating that goes over you cats nails. They will still scratch but will not be as destructive. They do wear out and must be replaced fairly frequently. I try to trim my cats nails frequently as this also helps ease the damage.
If you are worried about your furniture, maybe owning a cat is not for you. I feel that it is better not to own a cat at all then to declaw it.
As you may already know, I have two cats and I frequently drive 215 miles to Rehobeth Beach, Delaware. I always take my cats along with me. I also live in Northern New Jersey, one of the most heavily congested traffic areas in the country. Usually the trip to Delaware takes about 4 hours. However, I frequently get delayed especially getting out of my own traffic ridden town of Edgewater, NJ. I then have to deal with the New Jersey Turnpike which in itself can be a nightmare! (Have you ever gotten stuck at the infamous “merge” down around exit 8? Whoever was responsible for designing this road must have had rocks in their head!) My point is that I’m really concerned about my pets being in the car for long periods of time. Sometimes it can take as long as six hours to get down there thanks to the New Jersey Turnpike! I always bring water but my cats usually don’t drink at all while on the road. They usually do OK but are very thirsty when we get there. The first thing I do is give them a large bowl of water. Dogs on the other hand seem to get thirsty more frequently than cats. If you are going on a long trip with your dog, always bring along his dog water bowl and make frequent stops so he can have a drink. Your pets cannot tell you when they are thirsty so always be prepared – especially if you are driving on the New Jersey Turnpike!!
Yesterday while sitting outside at Starbucks having my daily cappucino, I happened to notice a women walk by with a small dog. I looked down and saw that the dog was wearing shoes, stylish ones that you would find in a doggie designer store. At first I thought that this was odd but then realized that those little shoes probably protect him from the hot concrete in summer and dog boots will protect him from the cold and salt on the roads during the winter. Keep in mind that your dog will walk a little funny when he first wears his new shoes or boots because they will seem bulky and heavy to to him. Try putting the shoes or boots on for a short time each day until your dog gets used to them. Give him a treat while he is wearing them so that he associates wearing his new shoes with something good. Praise him while he is getting used to his shoes. Make sure that you keep his nails short and take the shoes off after a long outing. I wouldn’t advise shoes or boots if your dog is the size of a St. Bernard!