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February 2011

Archive for February, 2011

Five things you probably didn’t know about cats

Saturday, February 12, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

cat-sleeping-on-a-carThere are about 75 million cats in the U.S. and they are one of this country’s favorite pets. Here are some things about cats that you may not be aware of.

1. A cat that is falling corrects it’s position in a particular order. You may wonder why they always land on their feet. As a cat is falling, it rotates it’s head to face forwards. It then twists its back to align its spine upwards and then align it’s legs accordingly.The cat then will arch it’s back to minimize the impact when landing.

2. Cats hardly ever meow at one another. They will hiss and growl at one another if they feel threatened. The meow sound is reserved for cat- human interaction only. If your cat meows, you should assume that it’s speaking directly to you.

3. Eating grass is healthy for cats and helps with digestion. You can buy grass for them to graze on at your pet store. It’s usually in the cat accessories section.

4. Cats have a distinctive walk that only two other animal have. Look closely, you’ll notice that your cat walks  by moving it’s left feet then it’s right feet in unison. Dogs alternate one left then one right. This promotes better agility and ensures silence when they are walking. The camel and giraffe are the only two other animals that walk this way.

5. Kittens are born deaf and blind and it takes about 5 days for a kitten to open it’s eyes. Vision and hearing begin to develop in the second week.  When they are adults, cats have an incredible hearing range much better than humans. Their night vision is six times better then ours and they have 285 degree peripheral vision.

Dental problems in cats

Friday, February 11, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

cat-brushingDid you know that dental problems are one of the most common things that your vet deals with in cats? Most people associate pet dental problems in dogs but they are just as common in cats. These conditions are preventable with good hygiene. Cat owners should always be aware of any problems in your cats mouth. Some things that you should be aware of are:

  • Their reluctance to groom.
  • Lumps of bumps
  • Bad breath
  • drooling
  • Reluctance to eat dried food when that the food they are used to.
  • Red, inflamed or bleeding gums

Problems could be those similar in humans like gingivitis, abscess, periodontal disease or endodontic disease.

Your vet will be able to diagnose and treat most dental problems. Brushing your cats teeth can help prevent disease in the mouth, teeth and gums. There are  cat accessories that you can get from your vet which will help your care for your cat’s teeth and gums.

How much should a pure bred puppy cost?

Thursday, February 10, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

pedigree-pupThe price of a pure bred puppy will depend on whether you’re buying a show puppy or a companion puppy. Puppies that are sold on a spay/neuter contract usually sell for about $800.  If your buying a puppy to work or compete, then be prepared to spend at least $1,500.

Make sure that you get these things for that price.

  • At least three generations of pedigree.
  • Titled Champions (sporting, working, or Conformation titles) in the pedigree, within the first two generations listed (directly descended from).
  • Hips, Elbows and  eyes are all good and free from genetic abnormalities.
  • You need a guarantee that your puppy is free from inheritable diseases or other conditions. A refund or exchange policy must be noted.
  • The puppy should be well socialized
  • Care, grooming and feeding information must be provided.

Check these things out before you buy that dog carrier, dog leash or any other accessories.

Estate Planning – providing for your pet

Tuesday, February 8, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

dog-and-cat-togetherMost of us don’t like to think about planning a will and sometimes neglect to do so. Our pets should not be left out and they should be provided for. There are several ways that you could do this. The first is to leave your pet in the care of a friend or family member, then leave that person a specific sum of money to care for your pet.  You must be certain that the person that you’ve chosen to take care of your pet will honor your wishes and use the money specifically for that purpose.  You can also establish a trust for the care of your pet after you’re gone. You name a caregiver who will be responsible for the care of your pet, you also name a trustee that will be in charge of your pet’s money.The money will be used for food, dog or cat accessories and anything else that your pet may need.  You then fund the trust with enough money or property to meet your pets needs during it’s lifetime.  Leave written instructions as to how the pet should be taken care of. This way, the obligations of the caregiver and trustee are legally enforced.

Speak to your estate planning attorney for the best way to make sure that your pets are included in your will. This will give you peace of mind that your pet will not be abandoned or sent to a shelter.

Five quick tips on training your puppy

Monday, February 7, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

cute-beagleIf you’ve never had a dog, training can be a very frustrating experience. We will try to make this situation a little easier for you. Here are some tips which may help.

  • Begin training your pup as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be.
  • Pay close attention as to when your puppy has to go. They will always have to go immediately after they eat, play or wake up. Take them out at these times and reward them with a dog treat when they do their business outside.
  • If you are crate training, never leave your puppy in the crate for more than four hours at a time. A puppy cannot hold it that long and you don’t want to get them used to going in their dog crate.
  • Socialize your puppy as soon as possible. Get him used to being around other people and pets. This will prevent him from becoming aggressive later on.
  • Never train your dog when you’re upset. If you’re angry, your pup will sense this and associate fear with going outside to do his business.

Be patient, this process will improve over time.

Healthy treats for cats

Sunday, February 6, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy
Don't every feed you cat table snacks such as popcorn.

Don't every feed you cat table snacks such as popcorn.

Most of the time, when we think of treats for pets, we think of dogs. There are many treats on the market for cats as well. My cats love their treats every night after dinner. Make sure that you carefully choose the right treat for your cat. Treats should never amount to more than 10% of the cats diet.  Cat treats can also be very fatty and you want to make sure that his treats don’t spoil his appetite. Always check the ingredients on the label. Look for treats that are lower in calories. Another thing that you may want to check is the veterinarian-approved AAFCO certification.

The Association of American Feed Control Officials publishes a set of guidelines for cat food and treats, and if the ingredient definitions meet the regulations, you will see, “Formulated to meet the AAFCO Cat Food Nutrient Profile for Kittens/Adults/Senior)” printed on the label of the treats. Watch out for companies that do not provide this information.  Always look for a treat that is nutritionally balanced yet also has flavor that will appeal to your cats. Treats usually come in beef, chicken or fish flavors. Choose a treat that you cat will like best. My cats like them all.

Don’t ever feed your cat things like cookies or popcorn. Stick will nutritionally balanced store bought cat treats.

Some causes for weight loss in cats

Saturday, February 5, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

calico-catIf your cat is overweight and you put him on a diet or switch to food for indoor cats only, you will notice some weight loss which is perfectly normal. The weight loss will not be too dramatic and take place over a period of time. If you notice that your cat is losing weight and you didn’t change his diet at all, here are some things to consider.

  • Feline Leukemia Virus Disease Complex

This is a fatal disease that is transmitted through saliva and other secretions. Some other   symptoms to look for is fever, depression, enlarged lymph nodes and diarrhea.

  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBC)

This causes chronic vomiting and diarrhea which will lead to the weight loss. This disease can be treated after the cause of the irritation has been determined. A change in diet will be required in addition to some pet medication.

  • Liver Disease

The liver keeps the blood free from toxins and helps with digestion. Besides the weight loss, the cat will vomit and have diarrhea. The cat will also have yellow eyes and mucus membranes. He may even have seizures and bad breath.

  • Diabetes

This is an endocrine disorder that is caused by an insulin deficiency in the body. Diabetes causes weight loss and excessive thirst.

  • Kidney Disease

Kidney disease can be fatal to cats. It means that the cat has lost more than 70% of it’s kidney function. It can be caused by infections, kidney tumors or cysts.  Your vet will prescribe a wet diet and phosphorous binders will help to keep this condition under control

  • Stress

If a cat is under stress, this will cause weight loss. You must determine the cause of the stress and correct it.

Do Doberman Pinsher’s turn on their owners?

Friday, February 4, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

dobermanSome people will say that Doberman’s have the reputation of being overly aggressive even vicious in some cases. This is simply not true in most cases. Any dog that is not properly cared for may become aggressive.   Given a good home and proper training, they are sweet, loving animals that are very good with the elderly as well as children. Because of their strong, large bodies, it is not recommended that they be left unsupervised around children. They may be overprotective. If your child is playing with other children and the dog detects that your child may be in harm, he may misunderstand the situation and become aggressive in order to protect the child even though the children were only playing.

Doberman’s are active dogs and should be trained and well exercised to become a good pet.  They do best with an experienced owner. So if you are not experienced with this breed, before you take your doberman off of his dog leash and let him run in the park, learn all you can about him. There are many books available, so do your research before adopting a Doberman.

Feeding a kitten

Thursday, February 3, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

cute-kitten-2You just brought home a kitten and should know how to properly feed it. First of all, a kittens weight could double or triple during the first few weeks of life. This along with it’s high energy levels make it essential that he eats properly. Kittens will want to eat three or four meals per day. Since cats are “snackers,” I recommend that you leave their food out for them during the day and always have their water bowl filled.  Kittens need fat and some fatty acids. These needs are the same for both kittens and full grown cats. Kittens require more protein, amino acids, minerals and vitamins.  Kittens should get 30% of their energy from protein.

The experts recommend that you feed your kitten specially formulated kitten food until age one.  Buy from a reputable company and stay away from generic or store brands. Ask your vet for advice if you’re not sure which brands are best.

I feed my cats a can of wet food along with a bowl of dry food. You should also do this for your kitten. He should get a mixture of both wet and dry food. Stay away from table food. Lots of table food is not good for your cat. Feed him some snacks every now and then. A good diet is essential in this early stage of your new kitten’s life.

Buying versus adopting a dog

Wednesday, February 2, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

puppy-cageYou are now ready to add a new member to your family. Congratulations! I know you’ve probably been to those pet stores at the mall many times and stare at those cute puppies in their cages. The best place to find a puppy is at your local animal shelter or breed rescue group. They have a large selection of purebreds, mixed breeds, large and small dogs. You’ll have many to choose from.  When you adopt from a shelter, you’ll be doing something great by providing a second chance for a dog or cat. You also will not add to the nations overpopulation problem. Did you know that about 3.7 million unwanted pets have to be euthanized each year because they could not find families to adopt them?

If you don’t find a puppy at your local animal shelter of breed rescue group you could buy one. The important thing to remember when buying a puppy is to buy from a responsible breeder that breeds and only sells well socialized puppies. Typically responsible breeders will not sell to pet stores.  Responsible breeders usually want to meet the prospective families to insure that their puppies will be raised in a good, healthy environment. Unfortunately, those cute puppies that you see at the pet stores in the mall usually come from puppy mills and are raised in inhumane conditions.

So before you buy that dog leash or pet carrier, do your homework.