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Archive for December, 2010

dog-happy-new-yearMany of you are probably either going to a New Years Eve party or having one yourself. If this is the case, here are some tips from keeping your guests and your dog safe.  Keep your dog away from food and party treats. Rich, fatty foods like gravy or grease can cause stomach problems and even Pancreatitis  for your pet. Dogs with this condition require hospitalization for treatment. As we mentioned many times before, chocolate is toxic to both dogs and cats. Keep it away and make sure that your guests know not to feed your dog anything.  Uncooked meat can cause a very serious bacterial infection. Tobacco could be toxic to your dog and bones can cause problems if swallowed. Some  artificial sweeteners that are present in some gums, breath mints, candy, and other human food can be very toxic to dogs.

Some pets love visitors and behave very well around strangers but if those party guests have a little too much to drink and get a little rowdy, your dog may behave differently. He may become aggressive and try to bite or attack your guests.  Some dogs will try to run out of the house and into harms way when the door is open. Keep your dog away from the door where your guests are arriving. It’s a good idea to keep your dog in a quiet room with plenty of  food , water and dog toys to keep him occupied during the party.

Be safe this holiday season and keep a close eye on your family pet during a party or celebration. Remember, this is a situation that your dog or cat is not used to, so be prepared for all sorts of reactions. Have a great New Years Eve party — HAPPY NEW YEAR!happy-2011

Dogs that love to graze

Thursday, December 30, 2010
posted by Jim Murphy

dog-grassDoes it surprise you when you notice your dog eating grass? This is not unusual behavior. Many dogs like to nibble on greens from time to time yet veterinarians are not sure why.  Some believe that it’s a normal part of a dogs diet because in the wild, dogs eat all of their prey including the plants in the intestines.  Another theory suggests that it could be a sign of fiber deficiency.  Some found that changing a dogs diet, helps end the grass grazing habit.  Because dogs usually vomit after eating grass, another theory suggests that by eating grass, they are cleaning out their stomachs when they are feeling ill. We may never know exactly why dogs eat grass,  but unless your dog is vomiting frequently, there’s probably no reason to worry.  Don’t buy grass for him to nibble on like you would a cat but rather keep a good supply of dog treats on hand and make sure he’s on a well balanced diet.

Feline CRF – Chronic Renal Failure

Wednesday, December 29, 2010
posted by Jim Murphy

cats-drinking-milkI just heard a sad story from a friend here in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Over the holidays, she had to put her 17 year old cat down for CRF or Chronic Renal Failure.  This disease is progressive and terminal but with patience, a good veterinarian, early diagnosis and the right pet medication, the condition could be managed effectively for some time. Life expectancy with this disease depends on how well the cat responds to treatment.  Each cat is an individual and there are no set rules as to how long your cat will live with this condition. My friend’s cat lived quite a while, then suddenly developed seizures which worsened over just a day or two.

Early symptoms of this disease are increased water consumption and urination. If you notice this, take your cat to the vet for a blood test. The earlier the diagnosis, the better the quality of life.

Accidental urination

Tuesday, December 28, 2010
posted by Jim Murphy

excited-puppySome puppies get so excited when someone comes through the door that they urinate on the floor. Even a well trained, older dog can exhibit this behavior.  When a puppy gets older and gets a little more confident, accidental urination should go away.  The dog owner can re-enforce this behavior by accident.  If your dog is having accidents when you walk through the door and medical conditions were ruled out by your veterinarian,  never scold your puppy for this behavior and don’t reward him for it either. Hold off on any dog treats until later.   If you console the dog after he pees on the floor, you are sending the message that this behavior is OK.  Always keep your entrance to the house low key. Ignore the dogs excitement and wait until he is calm before you pet him.

dog-puppiesA female dog comes in heat and is able to get pregnant every six to eight months.  Her first heat takes place when she is about six months old.  This last for about three weeks.  She is most fertile around the tenth day.  Aside from a small amount of vaginal bleeding and increased urination, the most noticeable symptom of heat may be the attention that the other dogs pay your pet. To determine when a female dog is in heat and which days that she is most fertile, a breeder will test the dogs progesterone levels. This hormone peaks when the dog has ovulated.  This helps the dog owner know when it’s the right time to breed the dog.

The only thing that you may need while your dog is in heat is a pet stain remover.

poodleIf you have children in your family, it is best to research the types of dog breeds that are best suited for families with children.  Some dog breeds are better suited for children than others. Here is a list of ten breeds that are very good with children.

  1. Newfoundland – This dog is known as the “gentle giant.”  They are very laid back, are great with children and have a natural ability for swimming.
  2. Staffordshire Bull Terrier – This breed is a true family dog. The are not aggressive at all and are incredibly affectionate.
  3. Pug –  This is the only smaller breed on our list. They prefer people to other dogs and are friendly and trust worthy around children.
  4. Labrador Retreiver – These are one of the most popular breeds in the world but they do need to be trained. An untrained Lab is know to be hyperactive and boisterous.
  5. Keeshond – These stocky dogs love being around children and love being involved in the games that they play.  They learn tricks very easily and will even learn to learn things that they shouldn’t. So be careful. They are great dogs for children.
  6. Golden Retriever – They are overly friendly and will retrieve anything that you toss for them.They can be boisterous as puppies and need to be supervised around small children because they may knock them over by accident.
  7. Collie – A very active and gentle dog perfect for families with children. They need to be brushed regularly and not recommended for people with respiratory problems.
  8. Standard Poodle – They are extremely intelligent, patient and affectionate dogs who do very well in a family setting.
  9. Bernise Mountain Dog – A large, very gentle dog ranging from 80 to 120 pounds.
  10. Bulldogs – These dogs are very gentle around children, however they are prone to illnesses such as skin diseases, cherry eye and hip dysplasia.

Do your research to determine the best dog breed for your family and don’t forget about dog leashes, dog crates and all if the necessary dog accessories.

Is your cat under the weather and won’t eat?

Friday, December 24, 2010
posted by Jim Murphy

cat-vetSometimes when a cat is not feeling well, she probably won’t eat because she cannot smell her food. Unlike humans who know that we need to eat whether we can smell, taste or not, cats will not eat if they can’t smell their food.  To coax your cat to eat, moisten her dry food or warm her wet food to bring out the aromas. Upper respiratory infections are the most common reason why cats lose their appetite.

Your cat may also refuse to eat if you’ve changed the brand of food you use.  Cats get very used to the texture of their food and can be very sensitive to any changes.  If your cat shows a lack of appetite for a few days, it probably is not really a problem.  Watch out for a persistent refusal of food as this could indicate a serious condition.  Contact your veterinarian if the problem continues or if your cat stops drinking water.  If your cat is listless and not interested in playing with any of her cat toys, I would also contact your vet, even if it’s only for a checkup.

Choosing safe cat toys

Thursday, December 23, 2010
posted by Jim Murphy

cat-tree-toyI have some last minute shopping to do today. I need to get my cats new cat toys for Christmas. Yes, my cats celebrate the holiday to. We need to keep in mind that some cat toys could be dangerous.  When considering buying a cat toy, keep this in mind. If it can be swallowed, then it’s dangerous. The backward pointing barbs on your cat’s tongue make it difficult for him to remove items from his mouth if he starts choking.

It’s also important to stay away from toys that have a string or shiny bits of metal that cats may swallow. A cat fishing pole toy is OK as long as you keep it in a place that your cat can’t get to while you’re not playing with him.  In general, stay away from toys that have small pieces on them that can fall off . Also stay away from small ribbon, tassels, bells  and rubber bands as these items could get lodged in your cat’s throat.

Testing your cat for F.I.P.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010
posted by Jim Murphy

cat-stretchingFeline Infectious Peritonitis or (FIP)  can be a deadly viral disease in young cats. An infected kitten may be lethargic, have a fever and refuse to eat. The symptoms of this disease are very similar to feline distemper.  One form of FIP can cause fluid buildup in the cat’s chest and abdomen and you will be able to see a distended belly.  Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to test for FIP.  This disease is caused by exposure to specific strains of the feline Corona virus.  Your vet will be able to test for this virus.  There’s another problem however, no blood test can tell for sure if your cat was exposed to a disease causing strain of the Corona virus.  A positive lab result doesn’t necessarily mean your cat’s at risk.  Your vet will not only look at your cats test results but will consider his history,  symptoms and general health when diagnosing F.I.P.  If your cat has symptoms, don’t try to diagnose him yourself or administer pet medication. This is a job for your vet.

Your cats claws

Tuesday, December 21, 2010
posted by Jim Murphy

cat-clawCats have a very special tool. It’s not just their whiskers or their ability to land on all four feet. It’s their retractable claws.  Cats are the only animal in the world who can pull their claws in completely when they want to be gentle or deploy them when they want to attack.  This amazing ability sets cats apart from other animals. Your cats claws enable him to run, jump, catch prey and defend himself.  To keep their claws sharp, cats pull their claws in when they walk.  Their claws are constantly growing so to keep them sharp, they have to dig or claw. That’s why your cat may go after that expensive living room sofa.  To train a cat to use a cat scratching post instead, sprinkle it with cat nip.