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Archive for August, 2010

Mollie, my older calm cat

Mollie, my older calm cat

It always pays to stay calm, cool and collected. Just like me, the calmest person on earth. I’ve mentioned that I have two cats. Mollie and Millie.  My older cat Mollie is very content just lying around at home. My younger cat Millie, on the other hand is very curious. She always needs to investigate which is the reason why I need to keep an eye on her when I’m out on my terrace. I let both cats come out with me. My terrace is on the second floor of a mid rise apartment building.  Both cats love it when I open the terrace door to go out and water my plants. One day, they were lying outside on the terrace while I was inside getting more water for the plants. When I got back outside,  I noticed that my younger cat, Millie was no where in sight. I called her and looked both outside on the terrace and inside. There was no sign of her. I immediately thought that she jumped off of the terrace and was wandering outside scared and alone or ran out toward the local street which motorists think is the New Jersey Turnpike!  I panicked!! I was only gone about 45 seconds. After several minutes, I heard a faint “meow.” I called Millie’s name but did not see her. Finally, I decided to look over the wall onto my neighbor’s terrace. There she was!! Wandering around, meowing and scared. She climbed over the narrow wall connecting the terraces. She did not know how to get back over the wall. Of course, yours truly doesn’t have a calm bone in his body so I immediately ran next door praying that my neighbors were home. Luckily, they were. They opened the door and I explained that Millie is on their terrace. I raced over to their terrace  to get her. In my haste and clumsiness, I crashed right through their screen door on knocked it over! Millie, got so scared to see this “crazy man” charging at her, that she ran through my neighbors apartment and jumped into their dryer!  It was one of those front loading kind and the door was open. I fixed the  screen door, apologized to my poor neighbors for disrupting their nice quiet afternoon and got Millie. We had a little discussion on our the way home. I told her that she almost gave “daddy” a heart attack.  The moral is this story is that if you think you know your cats, think again, they will always surprise you. Millie was so worn out by this event that she stayed in her cat bed for the rest of the day!

Millie, being a little angel after almost giving me a heart attack!

Millie, being a little angel after almost giving me a heart attack!

Wet Dog Noses

Wednesday, August 18, 2010
posted by Jim Murphy

dog-sniffingThe nose is your dogs best friend. Did you know that his nose is 2 million times more sensitive than yours. Your dog’s sense of smell is his most important sense.  You can help him keep his nose healthy and don’t worry if his nose is wet or dry. Most of the time a dog’s nose is cool and moist because his tear ducts grain into his nose.  If your dog’s nose is dry, don’t worry. It doesn’t usually mean that he is sick.  An animal’s appetite and behavior are much better indicators of overall health. If your dog has a runny nose or a nasal discharge consult your veterinarian as it could be a sign of an allergy or illness. If your dog is active, and doesn’t turn down his dog treats, he is probably healthy.

Things to consider when adopting a pet.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010
posted by Jim Murphy

dog-and-cattogetherYou have made your final decision! You’ve selected a cute Beagle at the animal clinic. Here are some final things that you should consider before completing the process.  Make sure that you have several interactions with the pet that you select before finalizing the adoption. This is especially important if you have a multiple person or pet household.  Always have one on one time with the dog that you are interested in.  If they are at the kennel, see if you can spend time with them inside or enter the yard where he is playing. Keep a close eye on your new pet’s  mannerism towards you and any family members. Also look for how he behaves with the other dogs, volunteers at the kennel and other kennel employees.  Keep in mind that many dogs act differently in a kennel then they will at home.  If you are visiting the dog in a foster home, he may be very attached and even protective of his foster parents and may not show you any interest at all.  Take the environment into consideration.

If a dog is showing aggression in a shelter, you can expect him to show the same aggression when you get him home.  If you have other pets at home, make arrangements for them to meet in a neutral area first. Some animal shelters have areas for this purpose.

When you get your new pet home, create a space of his own. Have a dog bed for each pet, separate litter boxes if you’re adopting another cat, separate food and water bowls.  If your other pets have special sleeping places, don’t force the new pet to share the same places but rather let him select a place to sleep on his own.

If you keep these things in mind, your pet adoption process should go smooth.

Canine aggression

Monday, August 16, 2010
posted by Jim Murphy

aggressive-dogAggressive dogs are dangerous and their owner should seek professional support to rehabilitate them back to a trustworthy level.  First identify why and when your dog is aggressive. Estimate how much he can improve and formulate a treatment plan.  Discuss this program with your veterinarian and take is seriously. Gary Landsberg, a Veterinary Behaviorist says that one way to help your dog is through desensitization or counter conditioning.  This means that when the pet is put in a situation where it might be fearful or aggressive, they will make a good thing happen. So talk to an animal behaviorist or your veterinarian to learn more.  They may suggest using natural therapies or pet medication in the treatment plan. It is very difficult to control your dog if he is aggressive. Every time someone visits you, you have to hurry and lock him up. This is not fair to the animal or to you so get help on aggression as soon as possible.

Hairball Hazzards

Sunday, August 15, 2010
posted by Jim Murphy

cat-meowingIt’s not unusual for a cat to cough up a hairball. I have two cats and every now and then both of them will cough up a hairball.  Hairballs are not normally dangerous to cats but they could be misleading to cat owners because sometimes they mask other problems. When a cat coughs or vomits frequently people will tend to blame it on hairballs. There could be something more serious going on.  For example, a vomiting cat may have eaten something that it shouldn’t have like a button or coin. If you think that your cat has swallowed something unusual, don’t hesitate, take him to the vet right away for an x ray.  Your cat should also go in for a checkup if he is sick to his stomach more than once a week, is losing weight or is vomiting up food not just saliva or the occasional hairball. If it is just hairballs, there are pet medications that can control the problem.

Whippets, the mellow dog

Saturday, August 14, 2010
posted by Jim Murphy

whippetsWhippets are very gentle, docile dogs. They make great family pets because the are very affectionate and loyal.  They are also very intelligent and can be lively.Their sweet, friendly personality make them a good companion dog.  If you have children, your Whippet should get along very well with them as long as the kids don’t tease him or handle him roughly.  These dogs are very sensitive and need to be handled gently by their owners. Never scream or use a loud voice to discipline them.  Another great reason to own a Whippet is that if you are at work during the day, they love to lie around the house and sleep. Always remember that exercise is important so take him for long walks and keep him on his dog leash when he is not fenced in. They like to run and chase smaller animals.  Whippets are also very easy to train but because of their sensitive nature, an experienced trainer would be a better choice for training.  They respond well to positive reinforcement.

The Whippet is relatively free of hereditary medical conditions. Sometimes they have hearing or eye problems.

Whippets are sensitive to the cold. Make sure that they don’t stay outside too long in cold weather. They are best suited in warmer climates.

When dogs lick too much

Friday, August 13, 2010
posted by Jim Murphy

dog-lickingAlthough puppies put everything the their mouth, adult dogs vary.  Some dog turn up their noses at the thought of a lick, but others are very oral.  If your dog licks you a lot, she’s probably seeking your attention just like a dog that jumps on people. You may think that this lovable, but other people may view this as unacceptable.  Never reward a dog with dog treats for licking you. Instead, get up and walk away if you do not prefer dog licking.  You have to be very strick and not acknowledge this behavior.  Reward your dog when she does well. Before long, she will know what behavior is acceptable and which behavior is not.

De-Skunking pets

Wednesday, August 11, 2010
posted by Jim Murphy

skunk-and-dogIf your pet gets involved with a skunk in your neighborhood, it’s not to notice what has occurred.  The odor can linger up to a month. There are some commercial pet stain and odor removers available at pet stores.  Here’s a reliable home solution.

  • One cup of water
  • One half cup of baking soda
  • One teaspoon of liquid dishwashing soap
  • One quart of hydrogen peroxide

Mix together and work this solution deep into your pets coat and then rinse thoroughly. Make sure that you keep the solution out of your pets eyes, nose and mouth. Another problem with your pet getting sprayed by a skunk is that it can throw off your pet’s sense of smell.  This may affect their appetite, especially in cats. Adding water or heating your pets food make increase it’s appeal.

Feline food allergies

Tuesday, August 10, 2010
posted by Jim Murphy

vet-examining-catYou never know when you might develop an allergic reaction to something and the same goes for cats.  If your cat starts to groom and scratch a lot, she may have developed a feline food allergy. In pets, food allergies often manifest themselves in the skin. They can also cause vomiting and diarrhea.  If your cat displays these symptoms, take her to the veterinarian.  If your vet confirms that it is a food allergy, not an allergy that is inhaled, he or she may suggest that you change your cat’s diet.  The culprit is usually protein. Feeding a new source of protein usually alleviates the problem.  If not, pet medication may be needed.

Cats – excessive licking

Monday, August 9, 2010
posted by Jim Murphy

cat-lickingCats lick themselves to keep themselves clean.  They will lick to rid themselves of fleas and parasites. They will also lick to cool themselves, absorb vitamin D and to relieve stress.

There are several medical reasons for excessive licking. If it’s a neuropathy problem, a nerve is receiving a signal telling the cat to lick. If the cat  licks odd things like window sills or walls, it could be a sign of that he is anemic which could also be a sign of feline leukemia.  Excessive licking could also be caused by an allergic reaction. If you do suspect a medical problem, see your vet immediately.

If your cat has fleas, regular combing with a flea comb will help the problem. An occasional bath with a flea shampoo will help kill the fleas and remove dander that causes human allergies.

If is estimated that 35% of all cats suffer from food allergies which can result in excessive licking.  If you suspect that the cats diet is causing the problem, try one of the commercially prepared non allergy cat foods.

If your cat is licking you, that’s a sign that he likes you. They could also start urgently licking. This is done because of embarrassment such as falling off a window sill or chair.