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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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The Best Dog Breeds for Seniors

Saturday, August 6, 2022
posted by Jim Murphy

Seniors need and appreciate the company of a dog probably more than any other age group but if a senior citizen wishes to adopt a puppy at age 65 or older,  there’s a lot to consider.  When the dog reaches fourteen or fifteen, the senior will be 79 or 80 years old. The question is will that senior still be able to care for the dog at that age. Sure many will but a lot could happen in that time  to limit the mobility of a senior citizen.  This is why an older, shelter dog may be a better choice . If there was ever a time to own a dog, it would be around the time that you hit 70.  For an older couple, a dog could make a huge difference in their lives. The kids are grown and the rooms are empty. Never get a dog for someone without consulting with them first.

Smaller dogs are generally better for senior citizens. They are easier to manage and pick up after. Senior citizens are more into walking and jogging now than ever before for health reasons so having an active companion like a dog seems like a good idea. My first choice would be a mix breed from the local SPCA.  They have some of the best dogs and a knowledgeable staff that can help you find what you need and at an affordable price.  They screen all of the dogs and let you know the ones that you would be happy with.  A few good breeds for seniors are:

  • The Yorkshire Terrier
  • Boston Terrier
  • Miniature Poodle
  • Pug
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Shih Tzu

It a great thing to a senior to adopt a dog. There’s much love and affection to be had here.

Remember, pets are family!

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Walking an Aggressive Pooch!

Friday, August 5, 2022
posted by Jim Murphy

It never fails, you take your dog out for a calm walk around the neighborhood and you wind up on your butt as he drags you toward a bicycle, jogger, squirrel, or anything that is moving.  How do we calm him down so you and he can enjoy a peaceful walk?  There is something that you may want to try. You have to desensitize him to the presence of bikers and joggers. Try getting a friend to bike or jog by over and over. (Hopefully, he is a good friend who can deal with your dog chasing after him!)  Start at a distance where your dog barely notices and gradually have your friend get closer and closer. Feed your dog treats the whole time that your friend is in view. Mix up the areas as well as the helpers. (hopefully you have lots of friends) Keep feeding him treats but not if he barks and runs toward the biker or jogger. Eventually, your dog will see a jogger, or biker and look immediately at you for a treat.  There will be no more lunging and barking and dragging you on your butt. A good trainer or behaviorist can help you with your timing. Good luck with this one!

Remember, pets are family

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Keeping Your Dogs Stress at Bay

Thursday, August 4, 2022
posted by Jim Murphy

Just like people, dogs can become stressed out. New people or animals in the household, travel, confinement, owner separation and fear of thunderstorms are all common causes of canine stress. Symptoms may range from mild whining or a loss of appetite to inappropriate eliminations and all out panic attacks.  Nervous dogs may tremble, bark and even show destructive behavior. If your dog appears to be stressed out, your veterinarian could rule out physical problems, and if necessary, prescribe anti-anxiety drugs and behavior modification techniques. Maintaining a regular schedule of feeding, long walks and playtime can also go a long way to keeping your  dog’s stress at bay.

Remember, pets are family!

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Adopting a Family of Cats

Tuesday, August 2, 2022
posted by Jim Murphy

If you are feeding a feral cat and she has kittens, you may decide that you want to adopt the whole family. Here are some suggestions. Wait until the kittens are about 5 or 6 weeks old, then get a cat carrier and a pair of rubber gloves. Carefully see if you could get the kittens into a carrier. You may have to catch one or two at a time. Take them to the vet for a checkup and get them their shots.  You can call your local shelter and ask them to borrow a trap to catch the mom. Once you catch her, see if you can get her in a carrier and take her to the vet for a thorough checkup. You want to make sure the kittens and their mother are healthy and get them spayed or neutered. Your vet will also want to vaccinate the mother before spaying her. Set up a place in your home to keep mom and the kittens. Feral cats could take a while to socialize, so take your time and be patient. Set up a litter box and show the new family where it is. After the mother cat is spayed, you can schedule the kittens for neutering or spaying once they are about 4 months old. You’ll now have a family of wonderful companions. You may choose to put some of them up for adoption. Make sure they go to a good home.

Remember, pets are family!

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Look for Signs of Heart Disease in Your Pet

Monday, August 1, 2022
posted by Jim Murphy

If you notice that your cat or dog has shortness of breath, sudden weakness or an extended abdomen don’t take it lightly. It could be a sign of heart disease.  Many times, there are no symptoms. My dog had no symtoms until one day I noticed that he would cough. The coughing and wheezing got worst and when I took him to the vet, it was determined that he had a heart defect from birth which is now threatening his life!  Jonathan Abbot, a cardiologist at the Virginia, Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine says that there are a number of ways that they could diagnose heart disease before your pet shows any signs. Some of these ways are x rays of the chest, electrocardiography, and cardiac ultrasound.  Your vet will also check for a heart murmur and use a blood test to check for heart worm. Once this is diagnosed, there are treatments and pet medication that will enhance both the quality and length of your pets life. So don’t hesitate, have your pet checked now. I waited and although the pet medication worked for about six months, my little dog eventually passed away.

Remember, pets are family!

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Interpreting Your Cats Meows

Sunday, July 31, 2022
posted by Jim Murphy

When your cat meows, do you know what he is trying to tell you? Probably not, but the way a cat meows can indicate how he is feeling and what he would like from you. Here’s a short list of different kinds of “meow requests.”

  • Short meow: Standard greeting.
  • Multiple meows: Excited greetings.
  • Mid-pitch meow: Plea for something like food or water.
  • Drawn-out mrrroooow: A demand for something.
  • Low pitch MRRRooooowww: A complaint or displeasure
  • Lower than mid pitch MEEOOOOOOwww: Begging, for something such as food.
  • High-pitch RRRROWW!: Anger, pain or being fearful.
  • Chatter (rapid teeth-chattering): Excitement, frustration.
  • Chirrup (a cross between a meow and a purr with rising inflection): Friendly greeting sound, often used by a mother cat to call to her kittens.
  • Purr: Invites close contact or attention.
  • Hiss: A serious sign of aggression.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So pay attention to what your cat is trying to tell you, it may be important!

Remember, pets are family!

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Today, many brands of dog foods are specially formulated  not only for your dog’s age but for his breed. Energy dense foods may help compensate for the fact that smaller breeds have a higher metabolism and are also more finicky eaters than larger breeds. Some companies also state that the antioxidants in their small breed formula can help support a small dog’s longer life expectancy. Meanwhile, larger breed dogs are more susceptible to bone and joint ailments.  They may benefit from food containing glucoseamine and chondroitin which  prevents cartilage breakdown as well as a low carbohydrate, low fat diet to control the excess weight that can stress joints.

Remember, pets are family!

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Cats, Fighting or Playing?

Friday, July 29, 2022
posted by Jim Murphy

If you have two cats and one is stalking the other in the middle of the living room, the two jump on each other and look like a ferocious ball of fur. Are they playing or fighting?  Cat play is quieter. You won’t hear the loud wailing of a serious fight. During play, the offensive and defensive roles shift back and forth. Cats usually don’t get injured in the fake battles and afterward, neither seems afraid of the other. They will also display friendly behavior between these “fake battles.”  Remember, if your cat’s tiff  involves howling, flattened ears, dilated pupils, arched backs and puffy hair, make a loud noise or spray them with water because you have a real fight on your hands. Play with them with their cat toys to keep them occupied and away from each other for awhile. Remember, pets are family!

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After years of research, scientists have found that certain compounds in cranberries can prevent  urinary tract infections in humans. The compounds don’t actually kill the bacteria, it would take an antibiotic to do that but the cranberry compounds can act as a preventative. Amy Howell who is an associate research scientist at Rutgers University says that the disease causing bacteria cannot stick to the bladder wall and lose their ability to multiply. The bacteria is then washed out of your system. She says that the same process works in dogs. Not all cranberry products are equal. Ask your veterinarian for cranberry products that have hard hitting bio active properties. So hold off on the pet medication until you try a cranberry product for your dog’s urinary tract.

Remember,pets are family!

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