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Archive for April, 2011

The Sporting Dog

Tuesday, April 19, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

weimeraraerSome of America’s favorite dogs are sporting animals. This group generally includes retrievers, pointers, setters and spaniels. All are bred for their intelligence, strength and hunting skills but the two most beloved family dogs in the world are Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers. Sporting dogs need plenty of exercise. If you own one, you know how much he enjoys chasing after his dog toys. Some, like the Chesapeake Bay Retriever are powerful swimmers. Breeds range in size from the small Cocker Spaniel to the medium sized Irish Setter, on  up to the large Weimaraner.  All of these dogs were bred over time to help hunters find, hunt and retrieve game. It’s clear that you don’t need to be a sporting type to enjoy the great hunting dogs.

Bringing home a new kitten

Sunday, April 17, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

kitten-in-glassAdopting a new kitten is an exciting experience but before you introduce you little furry friend to your family, you’ll need to get a few items that will help make the transition safe, clean and fun. Here are some items that you’ll need.

  • Collar and ID Tag – this is essential even if you keep your kitten indoors.
  • A litter box, litter and a strong scooper
  • Brushes – you should groom cat every day or so.
  • Cat toys – kittens as well as adult cats love to play! Try cat nip mice – they love them! Feathered wands and sticks with toys at the end will help your kitten develop strength and agility.
  • Dry treats for a reward or to give them as an after dinner snack.
  • Healthy kitten food.
  • Ceramic or metal food and water bowls.
  • A nice, cozy cat bed for napping.

Enjoy your new family friend, you’ll have many years of love with her.

The White Cat Phenomenon

Saturday, April 16, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

blue-eyed-catIt’s a common belief that all white cats are born deaf and that blue eyed white cats are prone to blindness and deafness.Blue eyed white cats are no more prone to blindness than any other cat. They are more likely to be deaf. White cats make up about five percent of all cats. Of these, fever than half have one or two blue eyes.  Most white cats with orange or green eyes have normal hearing. Up to 80% of all white cats are born deaf in at least one ear. If your cat falls in this category, don’t worry. A deaf cat can be a perfectly sweet and attractive companion.  If he is deaf, don’t ever let him outdoors. Keep him safe indoors with all of his cat toys and lots of love from you.

Think before buying a pet rabbit for a child

Friday, April 15, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

cutebunnyIt’s Easter time and you are at the mall with your child. Many pet stores have those cute, furry bunnies in the window. Your child begs you to buy one. Before you make one of the worst decisions, there are some things that you should know about rabbits. Too many people will buy an animal and have no idea how to care for it. It’s just “cute” that’s all. As a former rabbit owner, I’m very familiar with the mis-conceptions and ridiculous, untrue theories about these wonderful creatures. Lots of pet stores don’t even offer rabbits because most people don’t know how to care for them. A large number of rabbits are found dead, abandoned in the streets or dumped off at a shelter because selfish, inhumane people bought them just because their child wanted one. Humans are dangerous!! These  creatures deserve owners who will love and respect them and know how to properly care for them.

If you are serious about adopting a rabbit, here are some things that you must know.

  • Are you willing to make a seven to ten year commitment? That’s the average life span of a rabbit.
  • What will happen if your child gets bored with the bunny after six months? Will you abandon him or dump him off at a shelter?
  • Is there a place in the house for a rabbit cage? Rabbits should not be kept outdoors despite what you may be thinking. They are social creatures and like to interact with people. Keeping him outside in a cold damp environment and throwing some hay in the cage everyday just doesn’t cut it.
  • Are you willing to pay to get it spayed or neutered and provide pet care. Rabbits get sick and require immediate care. Your vet will administer the proper pet medication for it.
  • Do you know that most rabbits hate to be held? Will you child accept this?
  • Are you willing to ensure that a child under 7 will not pick up the rabbit? Rabbits have very fragile bones that can be broken easily. Their legs or spine will break if accidentally dropped.
  • Can you provide three hours of exercise in an enclosed area outside it’s cage everyday?
  • Do the adults in the family want the rabbits too? A rabbit should be a family pet.

Rabbits are a lot of work. There cage must be kept clean and they must be fed a balanced diet of fiber and grains. They must always have water and hay. They cannot throw up like other animals.  Food could get stuck in their intestines. If a rabbit stopped pooping and eating, he is sick and must be taken to a vet right away. A sick rabbit will die very fast.

I had my rabbit for seven years and a did everything I could have to keep her alive at the end. It was very painful to let her go. I know that this sounds a bit severe and it’s meant to be. These creatures deserve a chance and we should never react on the actions of a child. Do your homework and know what kind of commitment you are willing to make.

Our pets can’t dial 911

Thursday, April 14, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

cute-puppy-and-kittenOur pets can’t tell us how they’re feeling. We need to know when our pets are ill and not ignore important, sometimes life threatening symptoms. Here is a quick checklist. If your pet has any unexplained symptoms such as the ones listed below, get him to a vet or animal hospital immediately. It’s always better to be on the safe side and get things checked out fast. Many animal hospitals and clinics are open 24 hours. It’s a good idea to check which ones are open in your area so that you’re ready in case of an emergency.

Symptoms to look for:

  1. Vomiting or Diarrhea
  2. Urinating more frequently
  3. Hair Loss or itchy skin
  4. Stiffness, lameness or difficulty with rising
  5. Coughing
  6. Lack of Appetite or Decreased Activity

If you notice any of these symptoms, get your pet in for a check up. Many times pet medication will take care of the problem, however any of these symptoms could be a more serious condition.

Remember your pets can’t dial 911!

Taking care of a very young stray kitten

Wednesday, April 13, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

kitten-three-weeksIf you find a very young kitten, there are some important things that you should know in order to take care of it properly.  First of all you should try to determine the age of the kitten. Here are some guidelines that may help. This will also help determine whether of not the kitten needs to be bottle fed.

  • Eyes closed, ears folded over – kitten is 1 – 14 days old
  • Eyes are open, kitten moves around but is wobbly – 2 – 3 weeks old
  • Eyes are open, ears up, can walk around – 3 – 4 weeks old
  • Running around and is difficult or impossible to catch – 4 – 8 weeks old or older.
  • 1 – 3 weeks old – will need to be bottle fed.
  • 3 weeks and older – can be offered soft food, but may need to be bottle-fed.

If you find that the kitten is cold, warm her very slowly and gently by holding her against your bare skin. This will allow her to absorb your body heat. Being cold is very dangerous to kittens. Do not submerge her in warm water or use any method that would heat her too quickly.Wrapping her in a blanket or towel is not sufficient. She must get her heat from your body. Do not try to feed a cold kitten. Wait until her body temperature is at least 90 degrees.

Make a kitten box and put a heating pad in the box and also leave some area not covered by the pad so that the kitten could crawl toward the heating pad when she needs to. If they do not have an area away from the pad, they could become dehydrated and die. Turn the heating pad on low and cover it with a towel. Never put the kitten directly on the heating pad. Place the box in a clean, dry area.

Here are some supplies that you’ll need for a neonatal kitten:

  • Heating pad
  • Kitten Milk formula or replacement
  • Hot water bottle (must be wrapped in towel)
  • Feeding bottle and several nipples
  • Eye dropper or syringe (without needle)
  • Several bath towels for bedding and cleaning kittens
  • Scale for weighing kittens (optional)
  • Rectal thermometer (kittens normal temperature is between 100 and 102 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Have Emergency Vet Clinic number handy.(Ask if they have experience with orphaned kittens)

To feed the kitten, never give them cows milk. They should be fed kitten milk formula found at most pet stores. Warm the formula in a nursing bottle or medicine dropper by sub merging it in hot water. Test the formula as you would do for a child by pouring it onto your wrist. Place the kitten on her stomach at a 45 degree angle.  Let her drink until she turns her head. Do not hold the kittens head back. Avoid getting air in her stomach by holding the bottle at an angle.

Important – after the kitten is finished eating ,you’ll need to stimulate her in order for her to eliminate. Kittens digestive systems are not that developed at this age. Get a lukewarm towel and or wash cloth and gently massage her anal area with a small, circular or back and forth motion. This needs to be done until the kitten is at least three weeks old.

Follow the feeding schedule below:

    Age in Weeks/Feedings per day

  • 1 week old – needs 6 feedings per day
  • 2 weeks old – needs 6 feedings per day
  • 3 weeks old – needs 4 feedings per day
  • 4 weeks old – needs 3 feedings per day

Never over feed the kitten.

Later on you’ll need a litter pan and other cat accessories but make sure that you’ve gotten through this initial period first. Much of this information was provided by Home at Last animal rescue.

Adopting a stray cat or dog

Tuesday, April 12, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

dog-strayMany times we see a stray dog or cat in the neighborhood, or in the park. Being a pet lover, you show your concern and start feeding that stray cat that comes around everyday or you take the stray dog in. If you’re planning on adopting it, here are some things that you should know.

  1. Make sure that the dog or cat is friendly. Many feral cats, don’t like being around people and would prefer to be outside, alone. If it is a feral cat, you really shouldn’t feed him. If you do, he’ll think that you are welcoming a home for him. Not all stray cats are lost pets. If the cat is constantly coming to your home, try to find out if it belongs to anybody. Ask around the neighborhood and check to see if it has any tags.
  2. Stray dogs are usually lost or they don’t have a home at all. You can try feeding him but some dogs shy away from people because they were abused. Try to get him to a safe place. You can welcome him inside your home if he’s friendly. The first thing that you must do is take  him to a vet. Let the vet check him out first. You should do this with any stray pet that you’re planning on adopting. The vet will see if they carry any diseases, need any shots etc. They can also see if there is an identification chip in them. If they do, the vet will scan them to get all of the owner information. The owner would then be contacted.
  3. Don’t go to the grocery store and feed him just plain dog food. It could disrupt his digestive system. I would boil some chicken and feed him that with some rice for starters. Feed him one cup twice a day. If he’s a pup, feed him once a day. This won’t disrupt his digestive system but rather settle his stomach.
  4. Try to locate the owners first even if you are planning to adopt him. Post an ad for a missing dog, go on line to pet sites and give as much detail as possible. At least when you adopt him, you’ll have peace of mind that you’ve made every effort to contact the owners first.
  5. Now you could buy those toys, leashes and accessories for your new pet!

Dog and cat shedding

Sunday, April 10, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

dog-brushBoth dogs and cats shed hair year round. They shed more hair as their coats thickens and thins. Typically this is in the fall and the spring. The amount that your pets sheds is due to the amount of daylight rather than the outside temperature. There are some other factors that affect shedding. They are nutrition, hormones and stress. Some breeds such as poodles and some terriers shed very little. These dogs need more grooming that the other breeds.

Shedding is much more noticeable in dogs and cats with long, thick hair.  Unless these pets are groomed regularly, mats can form. These mats can lead to skin conditions such as hot spots. The mats are best removed with clippers as scissors can accidentally injure your pet.

Any bare, itchy, or raw areas should be brought to the attention of your veterinarian. The best way to deal with shedding is with regular grooming.  Brushing your pet daily removes dead hair, removes mat formation and cuts down on hair within the home. Many pets really enjoy daily grooming. My older cat knows that her brush is in a cabinet below the bathroom sink. Every day she goes over to it and nudges it which tells me that she wants me to brush her. You can buy dog and cat grooming supplies at any pet store.

Characteristics of cat lovers vs dog lovers

Saturday, April 9, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

catdogSome people prefer dogs over cats and vice versa. There are lots of people who prefer both. According to some new research from a University of Texas at Austin psychologist, there is really a difference between cat people and dog people. Now don’t take offense to any of this as it’s only a study. According to this research study, people who define themselves as “dog” people are more extraverted, more agreeable, and more conscientious as those defined as “cat” people.  Fans of our feline friends are more neurotic but also more open than dog lovers.

The findings:

  • Forty Six percent of the respondents defined themselves as “dog” people, while twelve percent said that they were “cat” people. Almost 28% said that they were both and 15% said that they were neither.
  • Dog people were generally about 15 percent more extraverted, 13 percent more agreeable and 11 percent more conscientious than cat people.
  • Cat people were generally about 12 percent more neurotic and 11 percent more open than dog people.

The person who conducted this survey is a professor in the psychology department  and is a leading authority on human personality.  He recently made international headlines with his findings that people’s Facebook pages reveal their true personalities not their idealized personalities.

So don’t worry, I would like to see the characteristics of those who were classified as neither cat or dog lovers. I think we may see some interesting facts in this category!

Keep spending your money on dog clothes, cat toys, and pet accessories, we have some great qualities!

I guess I would be classified as both and he’s right, I’m a bit neurotic!

mandoggirldog

Is it a dog or a Lamb?

Friday, April 8, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

bedlington-terrierOne of the strangest dogs that I’ve ever seen has to be the Bedlington Terrier. These dogs look almost like a lamb.  They have pear shaped heads, curly sheep like fur  and triangular ears. There really is no other breed like them. The funny thing is that originally, they  were  used for fighting!  Today, they are bred to be sweet companions but they could still get pretty tough if they’re challenged.  They are brave and energetic dogs and super fast runners.  They could be high strung if they don’t get enough exercise. Only let this breed off of their dog leash in an enclosed area. Like the Whippet, they are fast and love to chase squirrels or other critters that they might see.

Bedlington Terriers may have a serious inherited liver problem known as Copper Storage Disease. They are also prone to hereditary kidney disease, PRA, thyroid problems and eye problems such as cataracts and retinal disease.

These breeds will do OK in an apartment but they need lots of exercise and long walks. Their coat sheds little or no hair and requires specialized grooming every six weeks or so.