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Archive for June, 2011

Team sport for dogs

Saturday, June 18, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

dog-fly-ballFly ball is a fast paced sport in which the first of four relay dogs begins at a starting line, races over four hurdles ten feel apart and runs fifteen more feet to a fly ball box. There he presses a spring loaded pad to release a ball which he carries back over the same track to his owner. When he crosses the line, the second dog races off. Each team consists of four dogs of any breed or mixed breed. The hurdle height is determined by the shoulder height of the teams smallest dog. For this reason, teams welcome small dogs who could run and jump with speed and precision. The objective in fly ball is to win the race without dropping the ball or having any dog start before the previous dog has crossed the finish line. Remember to take plenty of dog treats along with you to entice your dog to win!

Urinary track infections in dogs

Friday, June 17, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

dog-flowerIt’s not uncommon for our pets to get sick every now and then. One of the more common conditions in dogs is an infection of the urinary tract. If left untreated, urinary tract infections can lead to even more serious bladder and kidney issues. This could put your dog at great risk. A healthy bladder is always free of bacteria. Symptoms of a urinary tract infection include:

  • Frequent urination in small quantities.
  • Accidents in the home because of the inability to hold urine.
  • Foul smelling urine.
  • Blood in the urine.

It’s important to take your dog to the vet immediately as that the appropriate tests will be run and the proper diagnosis made. Urinary tract infections are treated with pet medication such as antibiotics. Typically, your dog will be placed on a two week cycle to ensure that all of the bacteria is eradicated. Don’t delay treatment for your dog. Take him to the vet as soon as you notice any symptoms.

Your kitten’s eyes

Thursday, June 16, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

kitten-two-weeksAt birth, a kitten’s eyes are closed.  This is mother natures way of protecting them because a lot of development is still taking place.  Most kittens tend to open their eyes when they’re 10 to 14 days old.  They look blue at first because the kitten’s body hasn’t begun to produce melanin, the color pigment that determines eye color.  Things look fuzzy to a two week old kitten but as it’s eyes continue to develop, it’s eyesight dramatically improves.  At two to three months of age, it’s eyes begin to change color. This is also the age that they become very active and love playing with their toys.  Most felines have eyes that are green, gold or copper. Some breeds such as  Siamese, Birman, Balinese and Rag dolls retain their blue eyes into adulthood.

Cat panic – careful with the cat toys!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

Cat playingMy younger cat, Millie loves to play with her cat toys. Every night, she lets me know that it’s time to play by dragging her favorite toy, a stick with a long string and feather at the end to the middle of the room. On Wednesday night, she was having a good time as I swung the toy back and forth. She would jump as high as she could to try and catch the flying feather at the end. Suddenly, when she jumped and landed, she screamed and ran out of the room with dragging the toy that was either stuck around her neck or around her paw. She was crying and screaming as I panicked and tried to catch her. At this point, I didn’t know if the string was around her neck and choking her! I finally stopped her under the dining room table. I saw that the string was wound tightly around her leg. I calmed her down and gently unwound the string and removed the toy. She was traumatized! I was relieved but felt very sorry that this happened to her. I picked her up, pet her and put her in her  bed so that she would calm down. She did and was up and raring to go again in an hour or so.

Be careful when playing with these types of cat toys. They could easily choke or injure your cat as I learned this week. Don’t keep the toys out when you are not playing with your cat. I put my cats string and stick toys in a corner that she cannot get to. In the future, I’ll be very careful with this toy and shorten the string so that I could control it better.

Roller Blade with your favorite canine

Tuesday, June 14, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

dog-rollerbladingRollerblading is a great activity to do with a high energy dog but it’s important to follow some safety guidelines.  If it’s hot outside, don’t roller blade midday.  Head out in the cool morning and be sure to bring along some fresh water for both you and your pet. Wear protective gear such as a helmet and knee pads and keep your dog on a short leash to keep him from crossing in front and tripping you up.  Go at a comfortable speed, one that the dog can comfortably maintain and work up to longer distances slowly. Try to find a paved path with a dirt or grassy edge for the dog to run on.  This will be easier on his joints and paw pads.  Remember, give him lots of praise as he’s trotting along and stop when he’s had enough.

Giving your cat tuna fish

Sunday, June 12, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

cat-tunaTuna fish probably seems like a tasty treat to feed your cat.  An occasional small amount like a bite or two probably won’t do any harm. Be careful not to feed her too much fish.  First, there is the risk of mercury which could build up in your cats system over time. A cat that eats too much tuna may also develop nutritional deficiencies.  Tuna alone can’t provide all of the vitamins and nutrients that your cat needs.  Tuna fish is especially lacking in vitamin E, an important anti oxidant. Without vitamin E, your cat can develop a disease called yellow fat disease.  Make your cat stick to a regular, balanced diet and only indulge his taste for tuna every once in awhile. Stick to cat treats instead.

How dogs find disaster victims

Saturday, June 11, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

ground-tracking-dogDogs are able to track and locate disaster victims using their amazing sense of smell. They have about 200 million scent receptors in their noses. We only have about 5 million. Dogs can sort out smell about 10,000 times better than we can. The longer the nose, the better it works. On the job, search and rescue dogs use two different search modes.  One is air scenting, which involves the dog holding its head up  as it works off lead. They will try to catch the victims scent in the air and follow it to the source.  The other method is ground tracking.  A ground tracking dog sniffs out a specific scent as it works on a lead with his handler.  Keep lots of dog treats on hand when training these dogs.

Cats provide good therapy

Friday, June 10, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

cat-dog-catMany different kinds of animals are used as partners in animal assisted therapy. These can range from birds to rabbits to lamas and horses.  Of course dogs and cats are at the top of the list.  Interacting with pets has a wonderful, calming affect on people that are ill or injured. This can help them feel better both physically and emotionally. Therapy cats can be any size and breed. All that’s required is a calm, gentle personality and interest in people. To prepare to work with a therapist, each cat must go through a training program. It’s taught to sit quietly, tolerate frequent handling by strangers and stay calm in the face of sudden loud noises and distractions.  These cats deserve special recognition for their wonderful abilities to help people that are ill.  Give them an extra cat toy or snack for all of their hard work!

Therapy dogs and handlers

Thursday, June 9, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

therapy-dogThe most important member of any therapy dog team is the handler.  You’re the one who must make the commitment and then follow a schedule of regular visits.  To make sure it’s an activity that’s suited to you, find a therapy handler working nearby and ask if you can accompany her on several visits. Just you, without your dog.  Your best canine friend may or may not be a good therapy dog candidate. Besides having good obedience skills, he has to be willing to meet and act with strangers, work well with other dogs and react calmly to distractions and stress. To test your dogs basic temperament, socialize. Take him into the community to face new people and new situations.  He’ll let you know if he likes it.  Give him an extra dog treat for hard work and good behavior.

Taking care of an orphaned kitten

Wednesday, June 8, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

kitten-bottleTaking care of a baby kitten is no easy task. It will need to be bottle fed every two to three hours day and night for several weeks.  You can find kitten milk replacement in special bottles at your local pet store.   Hold the kitten gently and burp him after each feeding. Keep your kitten warm, clean and dry.  Experts recommend placing a heating pad under one corner of the nesting box so the kitten can stay warm and can move away if it gets too warm.  After each feeding ,gently stimulate the kitten’s bottom to encourage elimination. Kittens cannot do this on their own until they are about four weeks old. You can do this with a sterile  cotton ball dipped in warm water.  Hold off on any cat treats until your kitten is about eight weeks old.