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Archive for January, 2011

Taking your pet with you in style

Thursday, January 20, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

7572621509-01With Hollywood starlets always carrying their pets around with them, it’s becoming increasingly trendy to have a teacup poodle safely stored away in your handbag. And if you’re the proud owner of a small dog, this might be a desirable option. It’s also great if you take your pet with you when you travel. But you aren’t necessarily out of luck if you have a slightly larger dog. For these pets, there is a wide selection of larger pet carriers. While you can’t carry around a German Shepherd or Great Dane, a midrange pet carrier does make it possible to carry dogs over five pounds.

A pet carrier also has some distinct advantages over your standard handbag. For one, handbags are not specifically designed for pet transport. As such, a pet could be uncomfortable or even slightly injured on something like a sharp or jagged zipper. But don’t worry. You don’t have to abandon the fashion expert in you. These pet carriers can offer both attractive styling and total pet comfort.

Giving treats to your dog

Wednesday, January 19, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

dog-treatYou should give your dog treats every now and then.  Dog treats reinforce that special bond between you and your dog.  They help with training and reinforcing positive behavior. When you select a treat for your dog, consider how many treats that you’ll give him, his age, health, allergies and overall preferences.  Treats should consume no more than 10% of your dog’s diet.  Puppies prefer smaller treats and senior dogs with chewing problems would prefer softer treats.

Treats should not affect your dog’s eating habits. They should be given when the dog does something good or between meals. This will prevent him from  begging for table scraps which could cause him to gain weight.  Table scraps can also cause picky eating habits and contribute to digestive problems.

If you’re using the treat for training purposes, choose a small treat that your dog could consume  quickly.   Natural treats are high in protein and may be a good choice for health purposes. Rawhide is good for the teeth but can cause choking in some cases. Ask your vet which treats would be best for your type of dog.

Caring for a cat with diabetes

Tuesday, January 18, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

cats-ice-creamThere are two types of diabetes that cats get. Diabetes Mellitus occurs when a cats body cannot produce or use insulin correctly. Then there’s type 2 diabetes which usually doesn’t require insulin. Caring for a cat with diabetes is a joint effort and it’s very important that you do your part along with your veterinarian.  As soon as a cat is diagnosed with Diabetes Mettitus, she will probably require insulin injections. You have to administer these injections according to the schedule that your vet provides. The dosage will depend on needs and condition of the cat.  Types of insulin varies from cat to cat. You should have her blood tested regularly to determine if the amount of insulin is sufficient or  in some cases, it may be too much.  Your vet will show you how to give your cat her insulin shot.  One good place to give the injection is along the side of your cats’ body.  Insulin shots are usually given twice per day in either one or two units per shot.

Once your cat has been diagnosed with diabetes, you must always monitor her at home. Take note of any changes in her weight, eating habits or blood sugar levels. Notify your if vet  you do notice any changes.  Also consult your vet before administering any additional pet medications for other  conditions.

Removing pet urine stains

Monday, January 17, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

dog-urinatedI’m sure at some point, one of your pets urinated on the carpet. The stain and smell seems to stick around forever no matter what you do. If the problem continues, the urine will seep through and rot the rug and damage the floor. Don’t try to remove the urine by rubbing it with a cloth. You’ll make it worse. Use warm water and baking soda and blot up the spot containing the urine. It is difficult to remove the odor. Use pet stain and odor remover and repeat the process frequently until both the stain and odor is removed.It’s best to catch your pet in the act. The key is to blot the urine up right away. Use a shammy cloth because these cloths hold as much as 25 time their weight in liquid.

It come cases, it’s a good idea to shampoo your rug and make sure that your pet does not have any more “accidents”.

How much water does a cat need?

Sunday, January 16, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

cat-waterA bowl filled with water should always be available to your cat. You should check the water bowl regularly to make sure there’s enough water for your cat to last all day. Cats need fresh drinking water for optimum health.  Water helps the kidneys flush out the toxins in the blood.  It also helps to keep the other organs hydrated and healthy.

Dehydration in cats is very dangerous and could lead to death.  Cats that are in kidney failure require extra fluids given intravenously. Sometimes a subcutaneous drip is necessary. This  therapy is often carried out at home and is relatively easy to learn and perform. Cats improve pretty quickly when given these therapies.

To test for dehydration, pull the skin up on the nape of your cats neck. If it springs back quickly, the cat is properly hydrated. If it is slow to recede, suspect dehydration. If your cat is not drinking properly, I would put an ice cube in his drinking water or add some water to your cats canned food to make it more enticing.

Make sure that you know your cat’s drinking habits, if his water bowl is always filled and he is not drinking or if you notice that he is drinking too much, call your veterinarian. If he is drinking excessively, he may have an over active thyroid or diabetes.

Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

Saturday, January 15, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

dog-brushedDogs of all ages are subject to Hip Dysplasia.  Hip Dysplasia is abnormal joint structure and a laxity of  the muscles, connective tissue  and ligaments that support the joint. Larger and medium breed dogs are more prone to the disease.  This disease can be found in dogs, cats and humans. In some severe cases, puppies as young as five months could begin to show signs of discomfort and pain after exercise.  As the dog ages, the condition worsens and discomfort is detected  even after your dog performs normal activities such as walking up steps. Without treatment, these dogs may eventually not be able to walk at all.  In most cases, symptoms do not begin to develop until middle  or old age.  The disease is diagnosed by your vet who assesses the case and determines  whether or not arthritis is causing the problem. A complete exam including a x rays is used to make the diagnosis.

One of the main causes of hip dysplasia is diet. The amount of calories a dog consumes and when most of those calories have been consumed have the biggest impact in determining if a dog that is prone to hip displasia will actually develop the disease.  If the the dog is obese and is at high risk, there is a great probability that he will develop hip dysplasia.

Surgery in addition to therapy is the most common way to treat the disease. Sometimes, pet medication is added to the treatment procedure.  This disease is very painful and if you suspect that your dog may have it, then get him to your vet and follow the procedures to insure that he gets the best treatment possible.

Can two cats get along?

Friday, January 14, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

cat-sleepingIf your two cats are like mine, unfortunately, the answer is no but this is not true in many cases.

I found my older female cat, Mollie when she was only 5 weeks old under a car on a damp, rainy night. She immediately became very attached to me and to this day, she follows me around where ever I go. I adopted another female cat, Millie about 6 years ago. Millie was only 2 months when she was adopted. The moment that I put the two of them together, war broke out. Mollie didn’t want any part of her or me anymore for that matter. She was extremely upset. It took a few months for Mollie to warm up to me again. How could I upset her little world?   To this day Mollie does not like Millie. She blocks Millie’s entrance to all rooms including the bathroom where her kitty litter is.  She growls when Millie passes her and sometimes chases and swats at her. This could be very frustrating because Millie is a very gentle cat who won’t hurt anybody.

Here are some tips when acquiring another cat. The most ideal situation is to get them both at the same time and it’s even better if they are from the same litter.  If you already have a cat, introduce them gradually. Let them first see and smell each other through a screened in area.  If they are both females, don’t expect much. It is known that usually two females will not take to each other if there is already one in the house. You’ll have better luck with a male and a female.

Two males will be territorial at first but they will eventually learn to put up with one another.

Make sure that you feed them and give them cat treats at the same time to avoid any food conflicts. Have two separate kitty litter pans and bowls for them. Most of all be patient, sometimes the personality of the cat alone will make the difference.

Proctecting your pet with a microchip

Thursday, January 13, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy
Dog getting a micro chip implanted

Dog getting a micro chip implanted

You live on the first floor and despite all of your efforts, your dog or cat slips out the door and is no where to be found. Panic sets in as you search around your home and eventually start looking all over the neighborhood. What an awful feeling!  If you have your dog’s name, phone number and address,on his tag,  the chances are pretty good that someone will spot him and you’ll get a call with some good news.  What if the collar falls off?  To protect your pet, many pet owners are turning to a fairly new technology. A microchip is implanted inside your pet and in the event that he gets lost and someone finds him, they can take him to a vet or animal shelter to be scanned.

Each microchip contains a registration number and the phone number of the registry for the particular brand of chip. The vet or animal shelter will use a handheld scanner that reads the radio frequency of the chip and displays this information. The animal shelter or vet clinic that finds your pet can contact the registry to get your name and phone number.

It’s a very easy procedure where the tiny micro chip is injected under your pets skin similar to receiving an regular injection.

Don’t only rely on these chips,  the tag on your dog or cat’s collar will be his easiest way home.  Remember that when you are walking your dog, always keep him on his dog leash.

Why smaller dogs live longer that larger dogs

Wednesday, January 12, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

large-dog-small-dogIt is true if you have a Chihuahua and he is healthy you can expect him to live between 16 to 18 years.  Great Danes rarely live more than 8 years. Why such a big gap?  The answer to this is simple. There is much less strain on the organs (Heart, Lungs and Liver) of a small dog than there is on a large dog.  When we bring our cute little puppies home for the first time, we rarely think about how long they will live. As a general rule of thumb, the larger the dog, the shorter the life span.

The time passes by so fast. We want our little friends to be with us forever and losing a pet is one of the most stressful things in life.  Keep your dog well exercised, well fed and well loved and he’ll give you many wonderful years. Don’t forget to throw in some dog treats every once in awhile.

Dog breeds with special health concerns

Tuesday, January 11, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

rhodesian-ridgebackEvery breed will face some health issues as they age.  If you are thinking of adopting a dog, you should look into some of the health issues that are associated with certain breeds.  A few of the breeds with health challenges are:

Shar-Pei – This wrinkle faced dog along with others of this type such as the English Bulldog are prone to skin infections. Their skin must be cleaned and checked regularly to prevent any problems. Various pet medications prescribed by your veterinarian could help cure these infections but prevention is always best.

Rhodesian Ridgeback  – This breed has a ridge of hair along the spine that grows backward. It looks beautiful but unfortunately, it frequently caused spine and back problems for the dog.

Inbreeding by puppy mills and irresponsible backyard breeders have created a whole new set of problems for otherwise healthy dog breeds. A couple of very popular breeds that now face health problems are the Labrador Retriever and German Shepherds. They are more prone to hip dysplasia than lots of other breeds.

It’s always a good idea to know these risks before adopting a dog.