Your Pets Count

pet information that caters to your special friend



June 2020

Guidance For Crating Your Dog

Saturday, June 6, 2020
posted by Jim Murphy

According to the Humane Society, crates may be used to assist in house training a dog. They are used to reduce anxiety and to keep a dog safe when they are home alone or are traveling. Puppies under six months old should not be crated for more than three or four hours at a time.  Older dogs can work up to longer crating times, six to seven hours overnight.

It’s important to remember, dogs are social animals and like to interact with people. Keep your dog out of the crate when you are home and never put him in his crate to punish him. Make sure that the crate is always a positive experience for your dog.

Remember, your pets count!

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We’ve been discussing feline kidney disease in detail for the past several weeks and I described our journey with two of our beloved pets. Molly, who struggled with the disease for over five years and now Atlantis who is still with us and doing well. Dealing with this disease is an ongoing struggle and ongoing worry for me. There are days when Atlantis does great and luckily this is the case most of the time but some days are not as good. We adopted Atlantis in July of 2019 from a neighbor who has since sadly passed. We really didn’t have any knowledge of his medical history or how he was cared for. I do know that six months before we adopted him, he was not cared for at all.

The first thing that we noticed is that he had digestive issues that include vomiting, diarrhea and loss of appetite. A thorough exam by the vet did not reveal any digestive related diseases but did reveal hyperthyroidism and kidney disease. Our vet thinks that his digestive issues are caused by these two diseases. I’m still not so sure.

Yesterday was not a great day for Atlantis. He vomited twice and refused any food until late in the day. My stress level once again began to rise. Thankfully, he began to return to normal in the evening.

Today, he seems  to be fine but we can’t let our guards down. Kidney disease does not just go away and as a cat ages other issues may be at play. Thankfully his medication, Methimazole and the products made by Astro’s Oil have really been helping.

I know that Atlantis’s health will always be an issue and we will always be on the look out for any changes to his over all well being. So I ask my readers to do the same with their furry friends. Report any changes to your pets health to your vet.

Remember, your pets count!


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When your pet swallows poison, you have to decide whether to treat him at home or make a fast trip to the veterinarian.  You shouldn’t make this decision on your own.  If you pet ingests something dangerous, the first thing that you should do is call your vet or the Animal Poison Control center. Tell them what your pet has swallowed, how much and when it happened. They’ll also need to know you pets age, sex and approximate weight. Then follow their instructions to the letter.  There’s a chance that they will ask you to induce vomiting in your pet at home using hydrogen peroxide. They might also tell you to go to the veterinarian immediately.  If so, hurry, but don’t panic. Take a moment to collect a sample of whatever your pet ate.  It may be helpful to the vet.  Do not try to administer any pet medication by yourself. You may cause more harm than good.

Remember, your pets count!

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Every time I go to a store or even for a walk, I come home and mindlessly go to the cabinet and get the sanitizer or the bleach. I spray the door knobs, surfaces even the bottom of my shoes. Sometimes after I get finished sanitizing everything in sight, I actually feel a slight pain in my chest. It’s not from working, or walking, It’s the bleach and sanitizer that I’ve inhaled.

So what about our pets? Cats continually clean themselves. They lick their paws that could be picking up that sanitizer that was sprayed all around the house. Just like me, they could have also inhaled those products.

This is not written to suggest that you stop protecting yourself or your family, it’s written to raise awareness that our pets could be harmed if we don’t take precaution. I would suggest, only sanitize things that were touched, like door knobs, surfaces, handles and faucets. Spray into a cloth not in the air and don’t over do it. Always store cleaning and sanitizing products in a secure cabinet. It is now being said that Coronavirus is spread primarily through droplets an not so much on surfaces.

It’s still very important that we continue to protect ourselves, but while doing so, think of your pets and take precautions

Remember, your pets count!

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We have lots of cats here in our community. The one that I think is particularly beautiful is a brightly colored calico cat. There cats have natural orange/red, black and white coloring and will almost always catch your eye.

Calico cats are not a breed but they all share unique markings. They have separate patches of red, while and black fur. Some calico’s have separate blocks of color but in pastel shades which give them an ethereal appearance. The coloring on these calico’s is a little different from your typical calico. Because two “X” chromosomes are needed to produce these markings, calico cats are almost always female. Like any mixed breed cat, calico’s don’t have any specific personality traits.  Instead their personalities are determined by genetics and early contacts with humans. But regardless of personality, the calico is always sure to be admired by other cat lovers.

Remember, your pets count!

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The risk of cats developing chronic kidney disease increases with age. So how is the diagnosis made?  My cat Molly began to lose weight and started having seizures. Her head would begin shaking and her eyes got very dilated. Of course , I panicked. I would pick her up and comfort her until the seizure subsided. I took her to the vet and they ran a series of blood tests. She was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and also kidney disease. The hyperthyroidism was causing her weight loss and her seizures. Often kidney disease is often diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and is not yet causing symptoms. The same diagnosis was made of my cat Atlantis.

The faster you act, the more years that you will enjoy with your cat. Don’t hesitate. Atlantis is now taking medication for his thyroid condition and I’m giving him Astro’s Oil, a Nitrogen-Creatinine Scrub and a renal care protein medication. All of these products are made by the makers of Astro’s Oil. We’ve discussed the benefits of these products in a previous blog. Your vet will usually recommend a renal diet. I am hesitant to start Atlantis on it because lots of cats won’t eat it and this food contains less protein which cats need. The Astro’s oil alternative is a much better choice for me. Atlantis is doing just fine at this point and is a loving member of our family.

So what does chronic kidney disease look like? Senior Cat, explains chronic renal failure.

Chronic Renal Failure

Chronic kidney failure is a slower process. It is often caused by wear and tear on your cat’s organs. Minor kidney blockages can gradually take a toll.

A young, healthy cat in the prime of its life enjoys 100% kidney efficiency. Over time, kidney function will drop steadily.

A cat can function with as little as 25% renal efficiency. This why chronic kidney disease can be a slow, creeping concern.

Kidney failure can also be brought on by secondary medical concerns. Some of the most common causes include:

  • Hypertension
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Cancer
  • Advanced periodontal disease

It is rare for any cat beyond middle age to avoid some renal failure. Treating the issue early improves the chances of managing kidney disease.

Keep a close eye as your cat ages.

Remember, your pets count!


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The Puppy Weening Process

Sunday, May 31, 2020
posted by Jim Murphy

Weening is the process of teaching a puppy to eat solid food instead of it’s mother’s milk.  When they are first born, puppies get all of their nutrition from their mother’s milk. As they get older, they require more nourishment then she can provide.  Most veterinarians recommend that puppies be weened sometime between three and seven weeks of age.  Switching from their mother’s milk to dry puppy food is a  big change.  Help your puppy ease into his new diet slowly. The first thing that you should do is crush a small amount of puppy food and mix it with milk so that the consistency is thin.  Use less and less liquid over the next several weeks so that the food becomes thicker.  By week seven, the puppy should be able to eat dry puppy food. You can even start to give him a small amount of dog treats.

Remember, your pets count!

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We all love those cute little faces staring at us for those cages at the animal shelter. Sometimes we want to take the all home but adopting a pet is a very big responsibility. You must pause and think it through so your pet lives in a safe, healthy, loving environment. Before you make that important decision, make sure you ask yourself the following questions

  1. What’s the best breed for our lifestyle?
  2. Will we have the time to give the dog the proper training?
  3. Will there always be someone around to walk and feed the dog?
  4. Are the children old enough to be given the responsibility of caring for a dog?
  5. We will have the time to care for the dog? Are we away too much?
  6. Who will care for the dog if we are away?
  7. Can we afford the extra expense?
  8. Is our yard large enough and secure enough for the dog to play outside?
  9. Are we home enough? Dogs get lonely and like to have people around
  10. Are we getting the dog for the right reasons? (Not just because our child wants one.)

Seriously, ask yourself these questions before you decide to adopt a dog. If the answer is “no” to one or more of these questions, you should reconsider your decision.

Remember, your pets count!

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This crisis has posed all sorts of questions on all subjects including transmitting the virus to our best friends. What are the proper dos and don’ts when it comes to this virus. The Kennel has put together some valuable information on this subject.

Currently there is no evidence that dogs are affected by COVID-19, or that they can transmit the virus to other humans (read more about whether dogs can catch coronavirus here). As with any surface, if someone with COVID-19 touches, sneezes or coughs on a dog, the virus could temporarily contaminate them. Although we don’t know how long COVID-19 can survive on surfaces, scientists think that it could range from a few hours to several days, depending on the type of surface, how warm it is and levels of humidity.

During this time you should maintain good hygiene practices. Bath your dog often and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and hot water before and after you:


  • Feed them
  • Touch them
  • Touch their toys
  • Touch their bedding.

It’s also a good idea to try to avoid them licking or kissing your face and sharing your food with them. This advice is generally good practice as dogs can sometimes carry common bacteria which can also be passed on to humans.

Remember, your pets count!

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Does Your Dog Have A Fever?

Thursday, May 28, 2020
posted by Jim Murphy

Detecting a fever in a dog can be difficult. Some signs to look for are lethargy and panting. If your dog does have a fever, he may also refuse his food.  A dogs normal temperature at rest is between 99.5 and 102.5 degrees. This number can climb higher when your dog has some kind of medical problem. Anything higher than 104 degrees requires an immediate call to your veterinarian.The most common cause for fever in dogs is infection, particularly from a wound or abscessed tooth. The most accurate way to detect a fever in your dog is to use a rectal thermometer.  Ask your veterinarian to show you how. Do not try to do it by yourself or never administer any pet medication with your vets advice.

Remember, your pets count!

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