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Archive for September, 2009

people-and-pets1If you notice that your cat or dog has shortness of breath, sudden weakness or an extended abdomen don’t take it lightly. It could be a sign of heart disease.  Many times, there are no symptoms. My dog had no symtoms until one day I noticed that he would cough. The coughing and wheezing got worst and when I took him to the vet, it was determined that he had a heart defect from birth which is now threatening his life!  Jonathan Abbot, a cardiologist at the Virginia, Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine says that there are a number of ways that they could diagnose heart disease before your pet shows any signs. Some of these ways are x rays of the chest, electrocardiography, and cardiac ultrasound.  Your vet will also check for a heart murmur and use a blood test to check for heart worm. Once this is diagnosed, there are treatments and pet medication that will enhance both the quality and length of your pets life. So don’t hesitate, have your pet checked now. I waited and although the pet medication worked for about six months, my little dog eventually passed away.

imagesIf your cat throws up a hairball every now and then, you have no need to worry but cats eat somethings that can make them sick.  If your cat throws up hairballs a couple of times a week, this is still considered normal cat behavior but if he is consistantly throwing up, it may mean that he ate something that he shouldn’t have. Dr. Elaine Mitchell , a Feline Practice Specialist in Orange, California says that they remove bottons, coins, rubber bands and all kinds of  items from cats intestinal tracks.  My cats love to chew on rubber bands, I have to make sure that I don’t leave rubber bands around the house. This can be very dangerous if a cat swallows it. If your cat is throwing up consistantly, don’t reach for the hairball pet medication yet. Take him to a vet for an xray. He may have swallowed something that he shouldn’t have.

cute-cat2cute-dog2I cringe when I hear that pets are thrown out of cars or left in the woods to fend for themselves. As I said in another post, I believe that people who do things like that are seriously disturbed and lack a soul. What can we do to prevent it? Unfortunately there’s no quick fix.  There are some small things that you could do to help prevent animal abuse down the road.  Take care of the animals that you have but encourage others to do the same. Lots of pet owners don’t have a clue on how to care for a pet and the pet ends up getting abused or abandoned. You could educate them. Give them tips on how you care for your pet and what a blessing it is to have the unconditional love of a pet.  An organization called Pet Abuse.Com provides animal advocates, humane law enforcement and other animal welfare organizations with the valuable  service they have come to rely upon in the fight against animal cruelty. They are run strickly by donations so any amount would help.  You can also volunteer at a local rescue shelter.  The shelters would be greatly appreciative if you could come in a few days a week for a few hours and just play with the animals! Get involved with your local government.  Animal cruelty and abuse is a felony in 31 states (it should be a felony in all 50 states.)  You can read through the abuse database and see the horrible crimes committed against these poor little creatures. While your dog is sound asleep in their soft dog bed, many are on the streets with no home. Send letters to your local government alerting them that the serious problem of animal abuse exists, is getting worse and must be stopped!

dog-bowlI’m sure all of you have heard of lyme disease. Did you know that ticks can carry and transmit other diseases as well including anaplasmosis and rocky mountain spotted fever? Regardless of where you live, you must be on the alert for ticks. Susan Little, a Professor of Parasitology at Oklahoma State University says that dogs  are becoming infested with ticks more than ever before. To protect your pet, Dr. Little recommends that you use a tick control product year round. Make sure that you keep your pet out of underbrush and other tick havens and routinely check for ticks. It may be a good idea to ask your vet about the vaccine for Lyme disease.

Keeping Flea and tick spray on hand all the time even in the winter is always a good idea but even better, be aware that ticks can cause dangerous diseases to your pets so and be alert and give them routine checkups!

dogs-in-parkWe are all pet lovers. I know that because you wouldn’t be reading this if you weren’t. Unfortunately, there are lots of people who do not like pets. Yesterday, I went to the county park for my daily walk. There are always lots of dogs having a great time with their owners and the park is a perfect place for your dog to get exercise. As I was walking, I noticed a bunch of people with their dogs, all on their dog leashes. They seemed to be in a group talking. I also saw a man screaming at them to get their dogs out of the park. The dogs had a perfect right to be in the park. They were with their owners and were not causing any harm. As I went to tell this cranky old man off, the group went up to him in unison and shouted at him to get out of the park. They also used lots of obsenities which prompted him to hurry off. I said “good for them.”  The park is a public place and our furry friends have the perfect right to be there! So it turns out that I didn’t have to intervene on their behalf after all. If you take your dog to the park, no one can say anything to you if your dog is on a leash and you pick up after him. There are also special dog runs where your dog could be taken off his leash for exercise and to social with other canine friends. Have fun with your dog in the park and beware of cranky old men!!

cats-eatingNow that you’ve adopted your new kitten or cat, what kind of food should you feed him? We usually choose high quality food for us so you should do the same for your new kitten.  Higher quality pet food is better for your cats health. The pet food that you choose should coincide with your cats lifestyle, current health status and physical condition. For instance, if you adopt a full grown cat, you would not choose a food that is made for kittens. The ASPCA recommends a “complete high quality  food made by a reliable manufacturer approved in feeding trials by the America Association of Feed Control Officers (AAFCO). Look for these words on the label:

* “Complete and Balanced” –  Since government agencies regulate what’s put on labels, these words would indicate that this is healthy for your cat.

* AAFCO Statement –  This shows that the food has passed many rigorous tests.

* Animal Protein – This should be the first ingredient on the label and should consist of either chicken, liver,fish or beef. I would not select a food without any of these  ingredients.

* Dry Weight Protein – This should be at least 26% for an adult cat. Kittens will need more.

* Manufacturer – Make sure that the food is made by a reputable manufacturer. Stay away from generic and store brands.  Saving money on the front end can cost you lots more in veterinary bills and pet medication.

* Contact info – Make sure there is contact information on the label in the event that you would like to find out more about the manufacturer.

I split a small can of wet food between my two cats and mix two kinds of dry food in their bowls each day. I also spoil them by giving them a few snacks each evening.

cute-kitten1If you are thinking about declawing your cat, after reading this, you may want to think again.  Declawing a cat is pretty much an American thing. It is not allowed in the UK.  The reason, it is major surgery that inflicts a great deal of pain on your beloved pet.  First of all you must realize the your cat is not going in to have his “nails done.” This is serious surgery.  Your cats claw is not like your toenail. It is attached to the bone. It’s attached so closely that in order to remove the claw, the last bone of your cats claw has to also be removed.  Declawing is actually an amputation of the last joint in your cats toes. When you envision not one but TEN  amputations on your beloved pet, you can clearly see that this is not a humane act.  Your cat is in great pain and has a long, painful recovery ahead of him. While you cat is recupering, he still has to walk, jump and scratch to use his litter box. Sorry – no wheelchairs for cats!  Also remember that your cats claws give it agility and flexibility. That’s the way that God designed him. So what are your alternatives? Actually there are lots. You can train your cat not to scratch furniture by putting several cat scratching posts around the house. Another excellent alternative to to put vinyl nail caps on your cat. You have to change them every now and then but they really protect your furniture. You can also trim your cats nails frequently. Let me close my saying this. I know that many of you have declawed your cat. I do not mean to be rude by saying that if your furniture is your priority then it’s better not to even consider owning a cat and having it declawed. I know that many of you will disagree but this is my sincere belief. My two cats did ruin one of my chairs – nothing else,  just one chair. I now call it Millie and Mollie’s chair.

Pets are Good for us – time to buy a pet carrier!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009
posted by Jim Murphy

people-and-petsErica Freeman, a professor at the University of Maryland School of nursing says that studies have shown that animals are good for our health.  This is true whether we own our own pet or just spending some time with one. According to Dr. Freeman, pet owners have better health in general, fewer doctor visits, higher self esteem and tend to be more independent that non pet owners.  She says that dogs can also motive people to exercise. People who won’t take a walk by themselves would be more motivated if they knew that they had to get up to walk their dog. People who walk with a dog walk longer and faster then people who walk alone. You don’t have a pet yet? I would think about adopting one! They offer more than just good health. They offer unconditional love that is very difficult to find these days. So head on out to get a pet carrier for your new pet!

cocker-spanielsThe american Cocker Spaniel has a rounded head, very long ears and a feathered medium length coat.  They are cheerful and sensitive pets. They are also usually gentle and trusting pets and are very playful. Cocker Spaniels should be socialized at a very early age or they have a tendency to become shy and uncomfortable around people they don’t know. I had a friend who owned a Cocker Spaniel and everytime someone strange would come to the door, she would bark and then run into the bedroom and not come out until the person was gone!  They are usually good with children but must understand their place under humans.  They need a firm loving owner and daily exercise. If you are not available all the time, it might be a good idea to get a dog exercise pen for him to play around in.  The Cocker Spaniel is easy to train and for the most part, they get along well with other animals.  They can be difficult to housebreak so be patient. Don’t let your new family member develop “small dog syndrome.” This is where lots of dog owners go wrong.  The dog believes that he is the pack leader to all humans. You must start early. Train him to know that you are the leader. If you don’t, behavior issues may develop. The Cocker Spaniel usually does well in apartments but make sure to take him on daily long walks so that he gets plenty of exercise. Enjoy your new family member!!

training_picnikDo you shout “no” when your dog does something wrong?  A kinder and more pro- active way  to train your dog is to teach him to do what you want before he does something wrong. Here’s an example.You can teach him to lie down instead of beg before dinner time.  Paul Owens promotes this kind of training in his book called “The Dog Whisperer.”  He says that most people that have a dog enter into a relationship where they become re-active instead of pro- active.  Don’t wait for your dog to do something wrong but rather train him to do what you want. You will be glad you did. Somethings that you may consider is training him not to pull on his leash, or not to jump on strangers. Whatever you do, never put him in his dog carrier or crate as punishment. This is the worst thing that you could do. He will not only continue to disobey you but he will associate his crate or carrier with punishment!