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February 2013

Archive for February, 2013

Training a timid or scared dog

Thursday, February 28, 2013
posted by Jim Murphy

Sometimes, dogs up for adoption were abused or neglected.The cause can be that the dog wasn’t properly socialized when it was a pup. If you are moving from a quiet suburb to a noisy city, do everything gradually. You can start with an occasional trip into town before the move.

If you have a more mature dog who is shy, help the dog gradually gain confidence. It’s especially important to control any situation you introduce him to. Ask for the help of people you can trust to follow your instructions. Here’s one approach:

Make sure that the person helping you avoids eye contact with your dog. Always stay still and quiet and make sure that your helper stands sideways to the dog and give him plenty of room. Never force the dog to approach the person. Let the dog initiate contact when he’s ready. Have your helper crouch down with some tasty snacks in his hand. Have your helper gently drop the treat. He should never leave his hand extended. The dog should come and sniff around. Your helper should still be avoiding eye contact.  Avoid too much talking with your helper as this may distract the dog. Ignore your dog if she tries to cling to you or beg for attention. Don’t comfort your dog either verbally or physically during this period. You don’t want to reinforce undesirable behavior. Your dog should feel like your helper is the source for treats and positive interaction during these sessions.

Eventually, your dog will show signs of budding confidence. He should eventually touch the helper’s hand when he takes the treat. The helper can now say “good dog” and gently stroke the dog under the chin or on the back of the neck. Shy or fearful dogs are often frightened when people try to touch their face or head. The helper can now show eye contact.

This is a slow process but your dog will eventually increase his confidence level and not be as scared or fearful around new people or in new situations.

Remember, your pets count!

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Why Do Cats Love Boxes?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013
posted by Jim Murphy

If  I put an empty box on the floor or on the table, my younger cat, Millie will certainly be in it within five minutes!  What’s the attraction to an empty box?

  • Cats like to security of an enclosed place.
  • They enjoy playing in and around boxes.
  • Boxes are cozy and you can make a comfortable bed for your cat by  putting a soft blanket inside it.
  • Cats like to sleep in small, confined places.
  • Boxes are an inexpensive way to entertain your cat. Try throwing some cat toys in and around the box.
  • Make sure your cat is out of the box before throwing it out. Don’t laugh, this has happened!!

Remember, your pets count!


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Dogs in the military

Tuesday, February 26, 2013
posted by Jim Murphy

Currently, there are about 2,500 t0 2,600  military dogs deployed with our American troops overseas. Like members of the military, these dogs go through basic training and face combat, explosions and gunfire. Many times, dogs are sent into dangerous situations to protect the lives of  their handlers as well as other solders. Military dogs a invaluable in detecting explosives and chasing the enemy on foot.  Did you know that a military dog saves an average of 150 solders lives throughout it’s service?

There is a tremendous bond that forms between military dogs and the solders. They spend 24 hours a day together. They eat, train, sleep and fight together. The solders credit these dogs for saving their lives and providing much needed companionship.

About 400 military dogs are retired from service yearly. 430 military dogs were adopted in 2011.  There is even a waiting list of about 300 -400 potential owners. So lets give credit to these brave animals who are true companions and friends of our military.


Remember, your pets count!


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Applying eye drops to your dogs eye

Sunday, February 24, 2013
posted by Jim Murphy

Eye infections are pretty common in dogs.  If your vet prescribes eye drops, it will be up to you to administer the drops to your dog.  Here are some steps to follow to keep both you and your dog safe.

  1. If it’s possible ask a family member to hold your dog while you give him the drops. Make sure that you wash your hands before beginning.
  2. If your dog is uncomfortable, position him with his face toward a wall or toward you to prevent distraction.  You can also hold him firmly between your knees but most important is to hold his head securely.  Put a muzzle on your dog if you can’t t get him to relax.
  3. Clean the eye area. Place one hand on the side of your dog’s jaw to support his head, and tilt his head upwards. Gently wipe away any discharge with a damp cotton wool ball or a tissue.
  4. Apply ointment by putting your had on top of the dogs head.  Use your hand to gently pull down the eyelid.  Be care not to touch the eyelid with the nozzle or tip,
  5. Allow your dog to close him eye, them gently massage the medicine in  his eye.
  6. To apply the eye drops, by holding the dogs eye open. Hold the bottle about 1 inch above the eye. Squeeze on drop out at a time.
  7. Allow your dog to close his eye after each drop.
  8. Try not to let your dog rub is eye with his paw.

Remember, your pets count!

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Is it normal for a cat to snore?

Saturday, February 23, 2013
posted by Jim Murphy

My older cat Mollie, snores all the time. Sometimes it does concern me but is snoring for cats normal? Snoring occurs when  the nose, back of the mouth (the so-called pharynx), or throat — vibrate audibly during breathing. This occurs during sleep when the tissues of the upper airways are relaxed. Persians are one breed that is most likely to snore. Humans have bred them to have shorter noses.

In some cases, snoring can be a result of a health problem. The most common problem that leads to snoring is obesity. Excess body weight leads to fat accumulation in the tissues surrounding the upper airways, which in turn can trigger snoring. This phenomenon is quite common in people as well as cats and dogs.

Cats with a respiratory infection can also develop snoring because of the mucus buildup in the airways. There are also other medical conditions that also lead to snoring. When in doubt, consult your vet.

Remember, your pets count!

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Are Calico cats always female?

Thursday, February 21, 2013
posted by Jim Murphy

You may be surprised to hear that the majority of calico cats are female.  Is it possible for a calico cat to ever be a male?  First off, you must understand what a calico cat is. Is not a cat breed but rather a color pattern. Three colors are always present, black, white and orange. Most are female because of genetics. Coat color in cats is a sex linked trait. Female animals have two X chromosomes (XX), males have one X chromosome and one Y chromosome (XY). The coding for black or orange coloring is found in the X chromosome . White coloring is a separate gene. Since females have two X chromosomes, they can display two colors such as orange and black or variations. They can also display white creating a three color mix.  Males have only one X chromosome and can display orange OR black. So can a calico cat ever be male. Yes in very rare cases where the male cat has two X chromosomes.

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What are “hot spots” on dogs?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013
posted by Jim Murphy

Your veterinarian may refer to “hot spots” on your dog but what are they?  A hot spot is an irritating skin condition that affects many dogs each year. This condition involves an area of the skin which has become inflamed and infected. It’s a moist, red area that frequently oozes fluid. It is very itchy and painful to your dog which causes him to scratch and lick the area. You may also notice hair loss in this area.  The conditions worsens as the dog continues to lick and scratch.  Hot spots are caused by anything that makes the skin itchy. It could also be caused by allergies. Some additional triggers are food allergies, fleas, mites, insect bites and skin wounds. A bacterial infection develops that could also be a staph infection.

So how is this condition cured?  Usually your vet will clean the wound and  prescribe a topical medication. Topical treatments will kill the bacteria and ease the pain.  Oral antibiotics are usually prescribed for a course of 3-4 weeks and sometimes longer. Prednisone may be prescribed to relieve the itching and reduce the inflammation.

If you see that your dog is scratching and notice that the skin is irritated and sore, take your dog to the vet before it gets worse.

Remember, your pets count!


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When your dog suddenly becomes lame

Tuesday, February 19, 2013
posted by Jim Murphy

Injuries to a dogs hind legs can vary in severity.  Trauma to a dog’s leg can occur suddenly after a fall, car accident, blunt force or animal bites. The dog will suddenly become lame and require immediate treatment. If you notice that your dog is having trouble walking and did not suffer any of the things mentioned above, more serious conditions such as hip dysplasia and osteosarcoma (bone cancer)  can be the cause. It’s very important that you get him to a vet right away. There is also a possibility that he may have a clot in his leg. This is a life threatening condition that requires  immediate medical attention. Several years ago, my older cat, Mollie suddenly had trouble walking. I immediately called my vet and after I described in detail  her symptoms, he told me that she may have a blood clot and to get her in immediately to be checked. Luckily this was not the case but it’s really important the you do not delay treatment. Every minute counts!

Remember, your pets count!


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Feeding your cat – add some variety

Sunday, February 17, 2013
posted by Jim Murphy

Adults cats should be fed at least once per day but it’s important that you provide them with the nutrition and variety that they need. Would you want the exact same meal day after day? Here’s what I do. In the morning, I give the a can of Fancy Feast. I make sure that I buy a variety of types. I also give them one cup each of dry food. I usually mix two types of dry food together to add to the variety. Because they are indoor cats, I use an indoor formula which doesn’t contain as many calories as the regular kind. In the evening, I give them a few snacks. Again, I mix the different types together. Remember, variety is the key to life!! Now don’t change brands of food types once your cat is used to a particular brand just mix it up a bit.

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Cleaning your dogs ears

Saturday, February 16, 2013
posted by Jim Murphy

It’s important that you check your dogs ears regularly especially if you notice that they smell or you notice your dog scratching them. He could have an ear infection which would require the attention of your veterinarian.

You should clean your dogs ears regularly. Your vet will supply you with the proper safe ear cleaner, You’ll want to keep some cotton balls close at hand. Clean your hands or wear gloves and treats are a must. Close your dog into a small room like the bathroom.  It’s a good idea to have a second person on hand especially if your dog begins to squirm.

Start by cleaning the outside of your dog’s ears and work your way in.  Wet the cotton ball with the cleaner and clean the outside  surface of the ear. Then wipe the inside surface of the ear flap Once that is clean, get a new cotton ball wet with the cleanser and clean the inside part stopping when you feel resistance. Pushing further than the dog wants you to go can cause damage. If you find that the cotton balls are dirty, it may be time to have your dog checked by your vet.

Remember, always give him lots of praise and treats.

Remember, your pets count!


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