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July 2023

Archive for July, 2023

A Visit From a Beloved Pet

Sunday, July 30, 2023
posted by Jim Murphy

I believe that our loved ones are watching over us and are with us forever and this includes our pets. I lost my beloved cat Molly in 2018. She was bonded to me for 18 years and seemed to never leave my side. Over the past several months, I’ve been going through some worrisome times and last light Molly paid me a visit to comfort me.

As I was drifting off to sleep, I saw a shimmer of black (Molly was a black cat) jump up on the bed. I then felt soft fur under my chin. I reached and felt that it was Molly. She stayed there for quite awhile. I felt so calm as my hand stroked her neck and back. It was so real or I wouldn’t be writing about this right now. When my partner, came down the hall to bed, Molly slowly drifted away. I felt sad that she was leaving but happy to know that she was still with me. These kinds of experiences are rare and unforgettable.

Our beloved pets are still with us after they pass and I believe we will be together with them again one day!

Remember, pets are family!

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Is Your Cat Healthy?

Wednesday, July 26, 2023
posted by Jim Murphy

two cats rest very close together

You’ve just adopted a cute kitten, now you must make sure that he is healthy. Here are some things for you to look for.

  • Make sure that he has a good appetite. There is something wrong if he doesn’t eat within 24 hours.
  • A healthy cat’s eyes should be sharp, bright and clear, without any teary discharge or soreness. Although some breeds, like Persians, are prone to eye discharge, you should always seek advice from a vet to ensure everything is okay. If your pet’s eyes look inflamed, “gooey,” or they are constantly pawing and rubbing at them, you should take it to the vet.
  • Cats are groomers and their coats should reflect this. They should be soft and shiny without any clumps.
  • A healthy cat’s gums should be a pale pink colour, and the teeth should be clean and the breath normal – a particularly strong odor could indicate digestive problems, gingivitis or a bad tooth, and should be properly investigated by a vet. Tartar can also build up on cats’ teeth, particularly as they get older, which is why their teeth should be brushed three times a week. See your vet for details on how to do this.

Remember, pets are family!

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Happy male veterinarian crouching next to the examination table and looking at the little cat lying on it. He is smiling and petting it.

Our cat Millie is 18 1/2 years old and is in pretty good health. When a cat gets older, they normally slow down. They may not be interested in chasing that ball across the room or jumping on furniture. How do you know whether or not your senior cat is ill? Here’s some guidelines. As they get older,expect a slowdown but ask yourself the following questions.

1. Is the cat losing weight?

2. Is he eating normally?

3. Does he drink enough each day?

4. Is he peeing and pooping normally each day. By “normally” I mean that the urine is a normal color and there is no blood mixed in. The stools should be firm and not contain any blood.

5. Is the cat making any unusual sounds?

If your cat appears normal and you don’t notice anything unusual, then probably your cat is doing fine. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, then I would get him checked by a vet.

Enjoy your senior cat. Keep them cool, comfortable and give them lots of love!

Remember, pets are family!

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Keeping Your Dog Cool in Extreme Heat

Saturday, July 22, 2023
posted by Jim Murphy

Jack russell terrier dog sits enjoying the cooling breeze from an electric fan on a white background

With the extreme temperatures gripping the country this Summer how to we keep our best friend cool and safe. This is especially difficult if there is no air conditioning. The American Kennel Club has put together a comprehensive article describing things to do to protect your pet from the extreme heat.

The summer heat can be stifling for both dogs and humans. And when we lose power, it is not only stressful on our own bodies but on our dogs’ as well. There are a few steps you can take to keep your dog (and you!) safe and cool in extreme heat.
Most Dogs Aren’t Built for Heat

Most breeds are built to conserve rather than dissipate heat. They don’t have sweat glands, and most of their body is wrapped in fur with little or no exposed skin. As a result, they lose heat through the pads of their feet and through their mouths by panting.
Australian Shepherd puppy looking out the window waiting.
Mark Herreid/Shutterstoc
While sunscreen is important for all dogs, some breeds need special consideration when it comes to the sun. For example, white or fine-coated breeds, like Bull Terriers and Greyhounds, are especially vulnerable to sunburn, while the black coats of dogs like the Schipperke absorb heat, adding to the danger of overheating and heatstroke.
Keep Water Available

Let your dog drink as much water as possible
If you have a working freezer, make cold treats, like frozen chew toys or dog-safe ice pops

How to Help a Dog Cool Down

Along with plenty of cool water, the most important thing to do to keep a dog cool is to stay indoors or in the shade. If your air conditioning turns off on an extra-hot day (and you can’t get it back on), go to the coolest area of the house you can, such as the basement. If possible, stay at a friend’s house until your air conditioning is restored. There are other ways you can relieve your dog from the heat by having dog cooling supplies on hand in advance, such as:

Battery-operated fan
Cool cloths made of chamois, like those used to dry cars at a car wash. If this happens at a dog show, put a moist chamois on your dog’s back without getting them too wet, take it off, and present them to the judge, who probably will only feel a tiny bit of dampness when going over the dog. If you keep your cool cloth in a cooler, don’t put it directly into the ice. You don’t want to put anything ice-cold onto a dog, because that shrinks the blood vessels and actually generates more internal heat.
Cooling vest, which deflects the heat and cools the dog through evaporation
Cooling crate pad or a cold, wet towel that you can spread out for your dog to lie on. You can also have them stand on a damp towel to help their paw pads release heat.
Rubbing alcohol, which you can dab behind your dog’s ears, on their stomach, or on their paws. Rubbing alcohol cools faster than water and can draw out heat.
Spray bottle filled with cool water. Spray the underside of their body that’s not exposed to the hot sun (such as the groin area, where the hair is less dense), the bottoms of their feet, and inside their mouth.
Rectal thermometer with lubricant. Your dog’s temperature shouldn’t rise above 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the high end of normal.
Unflavored pediatric electrolyte solution for the dog to drink if they get dehydrated

Funny portrait of a welsh corgi pembroke dog after a shower wrapped in a towel. Dog taking a bubble bath in grooming salon.
©Irina –
Signs of Heatstroke

In spite of your best efforts, your dog could develop heatstroke. Here are the symptoms:

Unusual breathing (rapid and loud)
High rectal temperature (103 degrees Fahrenheit or higher)
Extreme thirst
Weakness and/or fatigue
Frequent vomiting
Dark or bright red tongue and gums
Skin around the muzzle or neck doesn’t snap back when pinched (dehydration)
Difficulty breathing
Thick saliva
Rapid heartbeat
Heavy drooling

If you suspect that your dog is overheated, immediately take them to a cooler area or to the vet. Once in a cool room, separate their fur with your fingers so the cool air can penetrate the skin.

To cool your dog down as quickly as possible, pour cool water over their head and body, gently hose a very gentle stream of cool water over them, or, where possible, submerge them in a tub of cool water.

Even if your dog seems stable, it’s a good idea to take them to the nearest vet for evaluation and treatment if necessary.

Remember, pets are family!

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Some Garden Plants are Toxic to Pets

Thursday, July 20, 2023
posted by Jim Murphy

dog and cat on garden bench

Plants and flowers are in bloom in the garden. This is a good time to examine your yard for pet hazards. We may not realize it, but we plant flowers that are poisonous to our pets. Here’s a list compiled by the Blue Buffalo Dog Food company.

  • Sago Palm – It has leaves and seeds that can be deadly to pets.
  • Oleander – This outdoor shrub has leaves and flowers that can be extremely toxic and even deadly if ingested by dogs and cats.
  • Azalea/Rhododendron– If your dog eats just a few of the leaves, he will vomit and have diarrhea and excessive drooling.
  • Tulips – The bulbs of these plants are highly toxic to pets, more so than the leaves and flowers. The bulbs are the perfect target for dogs who like to dig.
  • Crocus – If consumed, they can cause gastrointestinal problems.
  • Cyclamen – The roots of this plant can be deadly if ingested by pets.
  • Daffodils – The outer layer of it’s bulbs have crystals that can irritate a pets mouth. Eating the stems and roots can also be toxic.

Being that May is national pet month, lets all do our best to keep our pets safe.

Remember, pets are family!
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Don’t Ignore Dog Weight Loss

Wednesday, July 19, 2023
posted by Jim Murphy

Little hound on weight scale. (Shallow depth of field)

Is your dog losing weight, almost like he’s on a diet?  You’ll need to take him to the veterinarian. There are a variety of possible reasons for weight loss. Diet, parasites, diabetes, cancer and heart disease are some causes just to name a few. To make a diagnosis, your veterinarian will ask you about other symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting. Take note of any changes in your dogs behavior.  You may want to consider bringing a stool sample to your veterinarian.  The veterinarian will examine your dog and run a series of tests such as x rays, blood tests or a urine analysis. Then he will make an official diagnosis. Some diet changes and pet medication is all you may need.

Remember, pets are family!

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Looking for a New Pet Online

Sunday, July 16, 2023
posted by Jim Murphy

Working in front of the computer, the kitten is lying on his lap.

If you want to search for a new pet online, you have many options depending on what you’re looking for. There are rescue groups for almost any breed of dog or cat. There are shelters in almost every town and there are cyber shelters such as I would advise you not to fall in love with a pet just by looking at a photo. We discussed in previous postings the characteristics of particular breeds of pets. Research the breeds temperament and background. Consider the breeds, size, general behavior and any other characteristics that may be important to you. Any pet that you bring into your home should match well with your family and your lifestyle. Check out the rescue group as well. Find out about its procedure, its follow up policies and its adoption fees. Before you go out and buy that dog leash or that cat bed make sure you do your homework.

Remember, pets are family!

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The Worlds Best Litter

Friday, July 14, 2023
posted by Jim Murphy

After years of dealing with the mess and smell of litter boxes, I’ve found one that is fabulous! It’s called The World’s Best Litter. Usually kitty litter that clumps, still smells and requires some digging to get through the urine. Bottom line, it’s still a mess. Clay litter hardens and is very difficult to clean. It also requires very frequent changes.

The Worlds Best Litter is more expensive but the benefits out weight the cost. It’s not made of clay and the best part is that you can scoop it and flush. Yes this litter is flushable. You can keep your litter box odor free and cleaner longer. You can also easily scoop out the pee as well as poop and away it goes down the toilet. This keeps clean litter much longer so you don’t have to change it as often. I change mine every two weeks instead of every week. So even though it’s more expensive, you are actually saving money!

So “The World’s Best Litter” is actually “The World’s Best Litter!”

Remember, pets are family!

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Side view of man training Dalmatian dog in grass on meadow.

Sometimes there can be a fine line between dog abuse and discipline but not very often. We say that a dog is man’s best friend but dogs don’t have the same thought pattens as humans.  If you apply human characteristics onto a dog for the purposes of causing it pain, that is abuse – it’s clear cut. For instance, you get out your dogs leash and get ready to take him for his walk and notice that he’s peed on the floor. You get a newspaper, roll it up tight and began hitting him with it. That is abuse! You are causing the animal pain and applying human characteristics. Did you know that Pitbulls account for 1 out of every 4 dogs that areabused, which is a rate that has doubled in the past decade? Communities that ban pit bulls or other dog breeds help to condition an attitude of fear and this can lead to an attitude of abuse.  Remember dogs and cats respond to kindness and love. Know the difference between discipline and abuse. A dog loves attention, he love chasing around his dog toys, loves getting treats when doing something right so if you leave your dog alone, for many hours or days, or ignore him when you’re home you might say that is also a form of abuse.

Remember, pets are family!

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Introducing a New Dog to a Cat

Sunday, July 9, 2023
posted by Jim Murphy

American Staffordshire Terrier dog and british shorthair cat together on pink background

Do you already have a cat and want to adopt a dog? Please read this article published by

Planning is important

Introducing one animal to another should never be taken lightly, especially with dogs and cats. Even before moving forward with this decision, cat owners need to have a plan of action on how they’re going to make the introduction and have both animals live together for an unforeseeable future.

Cats are very different from dogs. Once your feline feels comfortable and thinks of your house as her own, she will begin to feel threatened if another animal comes in to join the family.

You will need to have a solid plan in place before you bring your new dog home. Whether they are a puppy or an adult dog, there are certain things you can to do make the adjustment easier for both animals.

Introducing Your Cat and Dog

If the dog is a little older (like from a shelter or rescue), you need to take things a little slower. Some dogs have not had any obedience training and are not willing to listen to you, so you need to delay the meeting for as long as possible. (If this is something you can do.) In the meantime teach your dog “leave it” and emphasize impulse control. Dogs with good impulse control are much less likely to attack.

If you have a new puppy, the introduction is going to take place sooner or later. Make it as soon as possible so that you can be there for it and monitor the meeting closely. The introduction that I have outlined above will work with puppies or with obedient adult dogs.

Bring the cat into the room where the dog or puppy is already waiting on a leash, hopefully with another person. The cat should really be in a carrier because if he or she gets scared immediately and decides to run you are likely to get scratched up if you are carrying him.
Put the dog into a down/stay and set the cage on the floor. If you have a puppy pick him up and hold him on your lap.

Wait for a few minutes. Five minutes seems like a long time when you are just sitting around waiting, but by introducing them slowly this first time you will be saving yourself hours of heartache in the future.
Let your dog up and go over and sniff the cage. If he is overexcited and lunges, tell him “no” firmly and take him out of the room. If you have a puppy let him down and let him investigate the carrier. Your cat will most likely just sit at the back and avoid the dog.
After your dog has sniffed the carrier, praise him and put him back in a “down/stay” (or pick up the puppy again) and prepare to wait. Have a seat on the floor and rub your dog’s belly. You have to allow the cat to come out of the cage on his own time.
When your cat starts to come out of the cage, make sure that your dog is watching you and not the cat. I think this is a perfect time to distract with training treats. (I use chunks of liver.)
Cats are curious and may come up to check out the dog. Give him a treat and see if he is interested. If the dog is too interested in the cat, it may be time to stop the exercise and try again the next day. If the dog is more concerned about getting his next training treat, that is a good thing.
If your cat just goes to the opposite side of the room and lies down, your pets will be fine together as long as the dog stays focused on you. If not, leave the room and try again tomorrow.

The next step is up to you. If your new puppy is a Maltese, and your cat is a Ragdoll, there is really not much of a chance of any problems developing if you leave them alone after this. If you have adopted an English Mastiff (or a small aggressive dog like a Jack Russell Terrier), however, and your cat is a small American Shorthair, it is a good idea to take them to different parts of the house and continue to monitor their interactions.

No Dog Yet? Which to Choose?

If you still have not purchased a new dog, you and your cat will have a much better chance by selecting one of several breeds. This is a generalization, of course, but breeds with low-prey drive are much less likely to chase any other pet you already have in your house. These are the breeds that consistently have the lowest prey drive:

Japanese Chin
Bichon Frisé
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Golden Retriever
Old English Sheepdog

Dog Breeds You Should Avoid

Most of us do not want our dogs to have a high prey drive, especially when we have other pets. Here are some dog groups to avoid if looking for a pet with a low prey drive:

This includes dogs like the Greyhound, Whippet, Saluki, Irish Wolfhound, Borzoi, Afghan Hound, and others that hunt by sight. They are a great group of dogs, and many of them will be calm and never make any movement around your cat, but when the dog thinks the cat is running he or she will pounce. There is no guarantee any individual will act a certain way, but for the safety of your cats, it is best to avoid dogs in this group.

Thanks to for publishing the very informative article.

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