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January 2022

Grapes and Raisins May Harm Your Dog

Monday, January 17, 2022
posted by Jim Murphy

Raisins and Grapes can be toxic to dogs but the reasons are not clear as to why. Scientists do not understand as to why this toxicity exists. Some dogs show no signs of illness after ingesting many raisins or grapes while others become very sick after eating just one.  The symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, anorexia and acute renal fatal. Renal failure can be fatal.  If you suspect that your dog has ingested raisins or grapes, get him to a vet right away even if it’s just to be on the safe side.  It is not known which dogs will become sick, it’s best to start treatment as soon as possible  to err on the side of caution. Digestion of grapes and raisins is slow so try to induce vomiting up to several hours to get out as many of the grapes or raisins from their system. This can reduce the risk of toxicity but the dog must still be taken to the vet right away. There is no known antidote for grape and raisin toxicity so a quick response could save your dog’s life.

Remember, pets are family!

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Feeding Feral or Stray Cats in Winter

Sunday, January 16, 2022
posted by Jim Murphy

We put food out for several feral cats each morning. It’s usually a bowl of dry food and some water. We have about three cats who come to our porch throughout the day. It seems that two of them are truly feral, as there is no eye contact with any of us or no meowing at all. One cat is probably a stray. She makes eye contact and will meow when she sees humans. Actually she was waiting for me at the door of our porch this morning waiting for her meal. True feral cats will wait until there are no humans around to eat. They will also run when then see a human. This information was provided by

Here are some tips in feeding feral cats.

During cold weather, feral cats require extra calories to stay warm. Many will have a hard time finding enough food to survive until spring. Make sure to either feed more or feed more often. Remember:

  • Water bowls can be spilled, so don’t put them inside the shelter. Instead, place food and water as close as possible to the shelter itself. The Humane Society recommends placing two shelters several feet apart, facing their doors together. A canopy can be created by securing the ends of a long board onto both roofs. Then both food and water can be placed beneath it.
  • You can also build a separate feeding station. Similar to your shelter, it should have a roof and be kept off the ground.
  • Dry food is less likely to freeze, but wet food is easier to digest which helps cats conserve their energy for staying warm.
  • To prevent water from freezing, use solar-heated bowls or ones that are dark colored, made of thick plastic, and are deep with a small opening.

Remember, pets are family!

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Aging Along With our Feline Friends

Saturday, January 15, 2022
posted by Jim Murphy

Time really flies for both ourselves and our cat companions. Look up one day and your feline friend is not as spry as a kitten and spending more time in her cat bed.We also are not as spry as we used to and find ourselves a bit less active.  Around eight or nine years, cats become prone to the ills of old age. They can develop chronic kidney or liver disease and maybe even diabetes or tumors. Their senses of site, smell, hearing and taste may begin to diminish. As their metabolism changes, a dietary adjustment may be necessary. The later years in humans and cats is no time to carry around too much weight. Older cats are also prone to kidney disease and hyperthyroidism all three of our cats developed these conditions.  Cats don’t get Alzheimer’ s but they get forgetful as they get older. Through it all, with modern veterinary medicine and your loving care, your cats nine lives can extend into the teens and even early twenties. Just keep giving her the best cat food and don’t forget about those cat treats once and awhile. She may even surprise you a chase around one of her cat toys or two!

Remember, pets are family!

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Do you know how smart your cat is? One way to test his intelligence is to look at his ability to discern object permanence. This is a test that was designed to test cognitive development in children but you can apply it to cats as well.

Show your cat an object in plain view such as a toy. Then hide the toy by placing a solid object in front of it like a file folder. If your cat looks behind the object for the toy rather than thinking that it just disappeared, he can be ranked with the intelligence of an 18 month old child. This is pretty good!

Super smart cats are capable of thinking like a two year old child. They will be able to follow the trajectory of an object that moves out of view. In other words if a live mouse runs under your sofa, your cat should be able to predict where he will come out and pounce on it as it reappears.

Don’t underestimate the intelligence of your cat.

Remember, pets are family!

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Service Dog Training by Inmates

Wednesday, January 12, 2022
posted by Jim Murphy

There are a variety of ways to become involved in training a service dog. One unique way that benefits the dog and the training is through inmates. When given the opportunity to train future service dogs, inmates gain confidence, learn how to handle responsibility and develop a valuable emotional bond with the animal. They also gain training and grooming expertise. Abilities that may help them find jobs when they leave prison. It’s an idea that seems to be working. Released inmates that have trained dogs have high employment and low rates of returning to a life of crime. The dog’s benefit to. Most are rescue dogs that need attention and obedience training. Many go on to become valuable service or therapy dogs. So if your ever visiting anyone in prison, don’t be surprised if you see some prisoners with dog leashes and dogs training.

Remember, pets are family.

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Dog Walking in Very Cold Weather

Tuesday, January 11, 2022
posted by Jim Murphy

The temperature has been on a roller coaster ride lately.But now it’s downright cold. It’s that time of year when we have to start  checking the weather outside before taking our dog for a walk. When walking your dog in the cold winter months, it’s important to keep in mind that dogs are vulnerable to harsh weather conditions just like humans. Dogs have a natural coat of fur that shields them from the elements, but among all dogs, only a few breeds like St. Bernards and Huskies were bred to endure the cold. If your dog is not one of the few cold weather breeds, it’s best to put a sweater or fleece lined dog jacket on him during the winter. This will add an additional layer to help keep him warm and prevent frostbite and hypothermia.

It’s also a good idea to avoid walking your dog for too long outdoors, especially if he’s just walking and not running; a dog’s feet can become cold and his vulnerability to frostbite increases.

Remember, pets are family!

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Benefits of Omega 3 for Cats With Kidney Issues

Monday, January 10, 2022
posted by Jim Murphy

Supplementing With Omega 3 Fatty Acids For Cats With Kidney Issues

The following article was written by It outlines how Omega 3 can help with many issues that you may have with your cat including kidney disease. Read about the benefits and see if Omega 3 would help your cat.

Among popular pet dietary supplements, perhaps none are quite so widely-consumed as Omega 3 Fatty Acids For Cats With Kidney Issues. Pet parents have been purchasing this health-boosting substance for years and its widespread usage and popularity on the pet market is only growing with time. One of the things we find with any popular supplement that ends up flooding the market, is an unfortunate fluctuation in quality between the different brands. It’s important to do your research and make sure you’re only buying a reputable brand that is comprised of quality ingredients.


What are Omega 3 Fatty Acids For Cats With Kidney Issues?

Fish oil’s two main ingredients are eicosapentoaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA) fatty acids. These are both long chains of bonded carbon and hydrogen atoms with a carboxyl group on its end. In nature, EPA and DHA are bonded to a three- carbon backbone structure called glycerol. Together this molecule is called a triglyceride. Fish oil is a triglyceride.


What Are Omega 3 Fatty Acids For Cats With Kidney Issues Good For?

  • Heart Protection
    Fish oil minimizes the heart’s vulnerability to developing an irregular heart rhythm, called atrial fibrillation. Additionally, it can act as an anti-coagulant and prevent blood clots from forming in cats and dogs with heart issues. 
  • Skin Health
    Provides support for dry, flaky skin in pets prone to allergies. Giving fish oil to pets with allergies may reduce their itching by decreasing their body’s production or release of inflammatory-stimulants, called cytokines. 
  • Kidney Health
    Helps slow down the progression of kidney disease in cats and dogs. In failing kidneys, fish oil may help regulate blood pressure, prevent undesired protein loss and minimize production of the inflammatory agents responsible for aggravating the kidneys. A study which followed nearly 150 cats with kidney issues found that omega 3 fatty acid supplements helped cats live approximately 10 months longer than those who were not taking them. 
  • Eases Arthritic Pain.
    Fish oil decreases prostaglandin production. Prostaglandins are the substances that can cause joint inflammation. Fish oil can help pets feel more comfortable, exhibit more flexibility and agility than those not taking fish oil. 
  • Safeguards Brain Health & Cognition.
    Cognitive function is improved in pets who are supplemented with fish oil with numerous studies showing decreased pattern-pacing with a simultaneous increase in recognition of family members. Older pets especially benefit from adding a fish oil supplement. 
  • Decrease In Blood Triglyceride Levels.
    High triglyceride levels in the blood can be harmful, worsening chronic conditions such as IBD, pancreatitis and heart issues. Fish oil has been known to have a lowering effect on these levels. 

Where to Purchase Your Omega 3 Fatty Acids For Cats With Kidney Issues

  • Be very careful about the company you’re ordering from. That goes for all supplements, but is especially relevant to pet supplements like fish oil because pet supplements are not regulated and nutritional supplements, in general, aren’t very well regulated. 
  • Make sure they offer the highest quantity EPA and DHA. Our own Kidney Shield for Cats & Dogs boasts a whopping 498.4mg of EPA and 472 mg of DHA per serving! 
  • Steer clear of cod liver oil as it is not recommended, despite being a decent source of vitamins A & D, it falls short when it comes to EPA/DHA levels and simply isn’t as good for pets. 
  • Similarly, steer clear of flaxseed oil and any other flax sources of fatty acids. They contain high amounts of ALA or alpha linolenic acid which can’t be converted to DHA/EPA by cats at all. 
  • If it’s in the liquid form, don’t forget to keep it refrigerated and always be mindful of expiration date to achieve maximum benefits. 

Omega 3 Fatty Acids For Cats With Kidney Issues are a polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) which are an absolutely vital component of growth, especially because the body can’t create a sufficient supply of ALA/DHA/EPA on its own. This means dietary sources become twice as important. When a dog or cat has developed chronic kidney issues, inflammation becomes the body’s worst enemy and can contribute to the majority of ills faced by your furry friend. Diet alone, unfortunately may not cut it, this is when supplementation becomes key.


Sources of Omega 3 Fatty Acids For Cats With Kidney Issues

Fish and other marine life such as calamari, green lipped mussels, krill and algae are obviously some of the richest sources of Omega 3 Fatty Acids For Cats With Kidney Issues. Many people, however, assume it is the fish themselves who create the oil, but contrary to popular belief, they do not actually generate the oils directly. Fish actually accrue the omega-3s from the prey they consume (i.e., the algae, krill, etc. we mentioned). It’s the active omega-3s in those sources which contain  eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA).

Although there are a few seeds and nuts which also contain omega-3s, they are not comprised of sufficient amounts of EPA/DHA, being higher in ALA which, as stated earlier, isn’t able to convert to EPA/DHA in cats. Our own Kidney Shield formulation draws its rich EPA/DHA content from a variety of coldwater fish such as: mackerel, salmon, sardines, anchovy and herring


How Does It Work Exactly?

Upon being digested, Omega 3 Fatty Acids For Cats With Kidney Issues are absorbed into the cell membranes of the body’s organs, transforming the building blocks ready for metabolism. The resulting changed molecules are far less likely to act as inflammatory agents, leading to less inflammation throughout the body and better-lubricated joints.


Why Fish Oil Is So Important!

The thing about fish oil that really makes it such a superstar supplement for cats is that it helps reduce protein loss through the urine. This also helps lessen hypertension and further helps to keep inflammation to a minimum throughout the body. It’s no coincidence that numerous kidney diets will include high amounts of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids.


How effective is Fish Oil?

More than other dietary supplements, fish oil has been studied extensively in cats and has been shown to provide benefit for allergies, skin issues, even some kinds of cancers. It is a very safe supplement and one which can go a long way toward helping your little one.


What’s The Ideal Method Of Administering Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

Omega-3s are typically given as either a liquid or capsule. Pilling cats is never easy, as anyone who’s tried knows. Luckily, formulations like our own Kidney Shield for Cats & Dogs comes in an easy-to-dispense pump bottle, where the oil can be applied directly onto their food and blended in. It can take several weeks before the full effects become apparent, but a gradual improvement is typically noticed within the first few days.


Do Omega 3 Fatty Acids For Cats With Kidney Issues Have Any Side Effects?

Omega-3 fatty acids are typically very safe for cats. The side effects that have been observed have been in cases of very high doses. These have ranged from vomiting and diarrhea to oily coat or skin flaking. In severe circumstances, cats can experience changes in blood clotting and inflammation of the pancreas or upset stomach. In these situations, discontinuing the supplement usually resolves any such problems.


Which Cats Should Avoid Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

As stated above, fish oil is generally very well-tolerated. That being said, any cats that have exhibited sensitivity to it should not be forced to take it. Also, this harkens back to the point we made about only obtaining reputable sources of fish oil, as less scrupulous companies will source from areas rich in toxic heavy metals and you don’t want that to be unwittingly consumed by your cats as a result.

If your cat is taking anticoagulants or has any kind of blood clotting issues, fish oil can increase anti-clotting effects and shouldn’t be used.  In cats that are pregnant/nursing, diabetic, experiencing diarrhea or who have a history of pancreatitis, it should be used cautiously.

In addition to anticoagulants, drugs like doxorubicin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may have interactions with Omega-3 Fatty Acids and in these cases, it’s best to defer to your veterinarian’s best judgement. With any supplement, vitamin or herbal therapy, it’s similarly vital to always consult your veterinarian before adding them to your cat’s healthcare regimen.

Remember, pets are family!

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When Your Cat loses their Balance

Sunday, January 9, 2022
posted by Jim Murphy

A few years ago, my  cat Mollie ( who has since walked over the rainbow bridge) and I were out on the porch. I was at my computer and Mollie was lying comfortably on a rug. Mollie began to get up and seemed not to be able to get her balance. She flopped over to one side and had trouble standing. Of course, I panicked (it’s something I do best !) . I jumped up and picked her up and brought her inside. She still was a bit unstable but quickly recovered and walked over to her bowl to get something to eat. I’m watching her closely. Cats can be prone to vestibular syndrome which I think may have been the case with Mollie. The root of the problem can be caused by changes involving the peripheral vestibular system which is lies deep within the inner ear. Fluid in the inner ear can cause the ear canal to become inflamed creating balance problems. So far nobody has been able to confirm a single common caused for this problem. According to cat, some cats may cry out, roll around, have a head that tilts way off to one side, eyeballs that oscillate back and forth, may lean against walls or furniture, fall down, and seem “out of it”. Sometimes if both ears are affected, the head may not be tilted much and kitty may not want to move at all. The affected cats most certainly are as puzzled as we are.

If this happens to your cat, watch her closely and if she doesn’t recover fully right away, take her to an animal clinic or your vet. I would also call your vet anyway to be on the safe side. When these things happen to our pets, we become very concerned because they can’t tell you how they are feeling after the incident.

Remember, pets are family!

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A Guide to Cleaning Your Dogs Ears

Saturday, January 8, 2022
posted by Jim Murphy

Dogs need to have their ears cleaned just like humans do. Usually a groomer will do this. However, you could do this yourself. Here are some easy instructions. First of all you’ll need:

  • Cotton swabs
  • Pet ear cleaners

1. Use an ear wash that is formulated for cleaning. Here’s something very important to remember. Never use undiluted peroxide on your dogs ears as it will cause burning.

2. Soak a cotton ball thoroughly in the ear wash and squeeze out excess liquid.

3. Place the cotton ball in your dogs ear and gently rub up and down.

4. Allow your dog to shake off excess moisture. This is important in preventing ear infections.

5. Soak the tip of the cotton swab in the ear wash solution and run it along the nooks and crannies of your dog’s ears.

6. Avoid putting the cotton swab down your dog’s ear canal. Leave this for your veterinarian.

7. Never put any other pet medication in your dog’s ears.

Remember, pets are family!

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Snow and ice can bother a dog’s feet but most medium or large breeds could still go on a winter run or walk. A rule of thumb for the average Lab is that if you could exercise without a face mask, he should do fine but wash his feet off when he comes inside. Dogs who lick road salt off their paws could develop a skin irritation between their toes. Many large dogs could even stay in the yard on a winter day if they have a dry shelter. Short, small breeds like Chihuahua’s may never be comfortable in the cold. You may even consider putting booties on them to prevent frostbite and protect their paws from sharp ice. No matter what precautions that you take, if your dog shivers or becomes listless, get her inside right away!

Remember, pets are family.

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