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Archive for May, 2011

Puppy parerphenalia

Tuesday, May 31, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

puppy-very-cuteWhen you bring home a new puppy, you’ll want to have a few essential items on hand. Formulated puppy food is a must.  A tip proof food and water bowl is also recommended. Puppyies are a bit clumsy and instead of wiping up the floor all the time and refilling the water bowl. it’s a good idea to get a bowl that will not tip over that easily.  An adjustable cloth or nylon collar is also very important along with a dog leash for all of those walks that you’ll be taking.  A dog crate or carrier that is roomy is also a must have because your pup will sleep a lot at first.  Don’t forget to get an ID tag and put it on his collar in case he wanders off.  Other items that come in very handy include training pads, grooming supplies and toys for chasing and for chewing. Your energetic pup will need things to keep him occupied when your away or at work.

My cat wants to be on the radio!

Sunday, May 29, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

cat-headphonesCats are always meowing for one reason or another. A few years ago, after working part time in commercial radio for many years, I decided to start a very small FCC compliant radio station for just my small condo community. I put the station on the air and started broadcasting oldies and community events. The small studio was in a media room in my apartment.  One day I got into my car, turned on my little radio station and heard my cat meowing into the microphone! Her meow was being broadcast over the song “What’s New Pussycat” of all things. I thought that I was dreaming! I stopped the car, rushed back to the apartment and found my cat Mollie sitting next to the microphone which was left on by mistake. My radio station is now internet only and all programming is pre-recording so no more of “Mollie in the Morning!”

So why do cats meow so much?  The reasons change as they grow from kittens to cats.  Kittens meow to their mothers when they’re hungry, cold or scared.  Once cats get older, they use other vocalizations such as yowling, hissing or growling. They do this to communicate with each other. Meowing is then reserved for communications with humans only.

My younger cat, Millie meows when she’s wants a treat or wants to play with her cat toys. At least she doesn’t want to be on the radio!

Why do cats love to sit on newspapers?

Saturday, May 28, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

cat-newspaperIt happens all the time, as soon as I start reading the newspaper, my cat, Mollie will jump up and sit right on top of the section that I’m reading. When I encourage her to move, she gets angry, meows and gives me a swat! I guess she doesn’t like the fact that I’m paying attention to the newspaper and not to her.  Unless of course, I’m reading the section that she wanted to read! There’s really no answer to this question. Maybe it just feels good but I think it’s because that she wants to get into the act. Cats also like the way paper sounds. Put a paper bag on the floor and your cat will love going inside of it and making noise. So before you go out and spend lots of money on cat toys, consider a paper bag and don’t forget to let your cat read the “kitty” section of the newspaper or you may just get swatted!

Summer healthcare for your pets

Friday, May 27, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

dog-barbequeIt’s Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of the summer season. You will be spending more time outdoors with your pets. Summer holidays are a great time for barbeques, pool parties, picnics. The make sure that summer is enjoyable for both you and your pet, you should be aware of various summertime hazards that can result in injury or illness to your pet. Here are some tips to keep your pet safe during the summer.

Outdoor threats – Always keep your pet on a dog leash when you leave your yard.  If your dog meets another dog, a fight could result, injuring both you and your dog.  Protect your dog from insects. Flies are everywhere in summer. If your dog has a cut or scratch, files could lay their eggs in his wound. The eggs will hatch in the form of maggots which will infest your dog. Always keep him clean and wash any cuts out regularly.

Table scraps – Never give your pet any leftover food from the barbecue. He could choke on the bones and scraps can cause gastrointestinal upset which can result in vomiting and diarrhea. Pets are  not used to the high fat content of foods commonly associated with picnics and barbeques.

Heat Illness – Do not over exercise your dog in the heat or never leave him in a hot car or in the sun. Always provide a cool bowl of water when you’re outside with him. Heat stroke can kill your dog very quickly.

Fish Hooks – If you take your dog fishing with you, watch out for the hooks. Your dog may like the bait on the hook and swallow both the hook and line. Also watch out that he doesn’t step on any hooks.

Water – Never let your pet drink for stagnant pools of water. This can cause serious gastrointestinal problems.

Be safe and have a great summer with your pet!


Bone cancer in dogs

Thursday, May 26, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

dog-vet1Large and giant breed dogs are most at risk for developing bone cancer, probably because their bones grow so rapidly.  It’s most common in middle aged to older dogs. The tumor usually forms on a limb causing a lot of pain and lameness.  Front legs are affected about twice as often as back legs.  Bone cancer spreads quickly, often to the lungs.  The sooner that you take your dog to the veterinarian, the better the chances that the treatment will be affective.  Veterinarians diagnose the cancer with X Rays and sometimes a bone biopsy.  Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation may be used to try to keep the cancer from spreading and to ease the dog’s pain. If your dog does develop any symptoms, don’t try to diagnose his problem by yourself and never give him any pet medication. Take him to your vet right away!

cat-bowlWhen buying food and water bowls for your cat, look beyond the cute patterns. Plastic scratches easily and tiny fishers  can harbor germs.  Stainless steel is sturdy, unbreakable and dishwasher safe. Ceramic is another good choice. Be sure to wash out all bowls daily. Cat bowls should be shallow, yet large enough to hold a full cup of cat food. Straight sided bowls are less likely to tip. Automatic feeders help keep you cats feedings consistent while you’re away. If you care for outdoor strays, electrically heated bowls keep water available all winter long. If you want to pamper your older cat, buy her an elevated bowl and watch her chow down in comfort.

Is your cat pregnant?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

pregnant-catPregnancy in cats lasts about nine weeks. Early signs are easy to miss. About three weeks after mating, an expectant  cats nipples will become enlarged and pinker. To find out for sure if your cat is pregnant, take her to your veterinarian.  Fetal heartbeats can be detected with ultrasound around day 24.  Around week five, a pregnant cats abdomen begins to swell noticeably.  Like pregnant humans, pregnant cats tend to eat more and sleep more.  Unlike humans, cat mouths may be eating for eight or more. Her personality may tend to change during this period. They may become more affectionate and seek more attention.  Give her the affection and attention that she needs. Start preparing that special place with a very comfortable cat bed for that special day!

Ouch! Watch out for those ankles!!

Sunday, May 22, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

cat-attackIf your cat is pouncing on your ankles as you pass by,  he’s probably trying to act on his instinct to hunt prey.  Try to anticipate this and redirect his frenzy to a cat toy on a stick or even a rolling toy. When your cat goes for your ankles, clap your hands or stomp your foot to cut it short.  Indoor cats need lots of active and interactive play. If you offer him some indoor exercise and play on a daily basis this problem may be cured.  The assault on your ankles usually takes place when your cat is a kitten and stops as soon as he gets older. If your cat launches a serious attack that breaks your skin, take him to the veterinarian. The aggression might be caused by pain, a hormonal change or a nervous system problem.

Salmon poisoning of dogs

Saturday, May 21, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

dog-fishingYou love to fish and so does your dog. He goes with you on every trip. You’re just getting back to the dock with a good catch of salmon and trout. To reward your dog for being such a good companion, you throw him a fish.  Did you know that you may be killing him with your kindness?  Salmon poisoning disease found primarily in the northern pacific area of the U.S., and the pacific coast of Canada is often fatal for dogs.  The disease is caused when the dog eats raw salmon or trout contaminated with a parasite that contains the infecting organism.  Symptoms usually appear five to seven days later. Look for lack of appetite, fever, vomiting and diarrhea if you suspect that your dog may be infected.  Salmon poisoning disease is curable if caught early and the dog is treated with fluids, antibiotics and anti vomiting medication.  So instead of throwing him a raw fish, buy him a dog toy instead!

Making your own cat toys

Friday, May 20, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

cat-home-made-toyCats love to play but purchasing a variety of cat toys can get expensive.  So why not make your own? A tightly wadded ball of paper,an empty toilet paper tube, a ping pong ball or a brown paper bag are some of the simplest cat toys.  If you want to put a little more effort into it, tie three feet of string onto a stick and dangle it like a fishing pole. I used the plastic ring on a milk carton and attached it to a piece of string and it became my cat’s favorite toy.  You can also make a cat nip toy out of the top end of an old sock.  Just cut it off at the heel, put in some cat nip and stitch it closed. A plastic bottle with a secure lid can be partially filled with rice to make a rolling rattle.  Figure out what your cat likes, get creative and make sure that you always supervised her playtime when you make the toys.