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October 2023

Archive for October, 2023

Socializing Your Adult Dog

Tuesday, October 31, 2023
posted by Jim Murphy

I once had a small dog. Unfortunately, I was young and didn’t know the importance of socializing him with other dogs. This resulted in him barking and stressing out whenever he saw dogs or people he did not recognize. Part of dog training must be socialization. Animal Humane has put together a great article explaining the process.

Play in puppies vs. adult dogs

Off-leash play is beneficial to puppies learning behavior cues, but the same practice can have detrimental effects on adult dogs. While there are exceptions, when dogs reach social maturity between ages one and three, they often no longer enjoy playing with large groups of unfamiliar dogs. They may either attempt to avoid the dogs, stand close to their human family, or even growl and snap at boisterous young dogs that come too close to them. This behavior is often misidentified as abnormal, when in fact it is quite common.
Setting up playtime for your adult dog

If your heart is set on social time with other dogs, start by introducing your dog to one dog at a time. Invite a friend to bring her gentle, easygoing dog on a walk with you and your dog. Allow a polite distance between dogs while they get accustomed to each other. If both dogs appear relaxed throughout the walk, allow them to sniff each other briefly. Keep leashes loose and each interaction short. If either dog appears to be tensing up, call the dogs apart with pleasant, relaxed voices. If both dogs’ bodies appear loose and tails are wagging, consider an off-leash session in one of your fenced yards with leashes dragging, using the same short sessions and reinforcement for relaxed behavior.
Dealing with leash aggression in your adult dog

If your dog lunges, pulls toward or barks at other dogs on walks, you know how stressful and embarrassing it can be. Learn more about the causes and prevention of leash aggression.

Remember, pets are family!
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Scaredy Cat

Saturday, October 28, 2023
posted by Jim Murphy

Your cat is arching his back, puffing out his hair and bouncing all over the room. What’s happening? If your cat perceives that he is in a fearful situation, his biochemicals begin to go to work. Adrenaline is flowing through his body causing his hair to stand up on edge, his back begins to arch and his tail puffs up. You could snap a picture and put him on a Halloween card. Cats pose like to this to look bigger and menacing to an approaching threat. Your cat will turn sideways toward the proposed attacker to further magnify his appearance. He may look tough on the outside but on the inside, he hopes the attacker will turn and go away. This position may look strange to us but it’s very real to your cat. Maybe that’s where the phrase “Scaredy Cat” came from.

Remember, pets are family!

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Getting Your Dog To Wear A Halloween Costume

Thursday, October 26, 2023
posted by Jim Murphy

Sunday is the doggie costume parade  on the boardwalk in Rehoboth Beach. Dogs of all kinds will be wearing all sorts of creative, cute Halloween costumes. What if your dog doesn’t want to wear his costume? Here are some tips.

  1. Let your best friend sniff his costume before trying to put it on him. Do this gradually a few weeks before he has to wear it. It may be to late to do this now but try again next year.
  2. Give him lots of praise when you put the costume on him. Reward him with lots of treats.
  3. Before putting the costume on, take it out and let him get used to it. If your dog stands on the costume, it usually means that he likes it.

Good luck and have lots of fun this halloween with your best friend!

Remember, pets are family!

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Adopt An Abandoned Dog

Sunday, October 22, 2023
posted by Jim Murphy

The other day we were at a pet store where many puppies were being sold. They are the cutest little creatures and many customers, including us were tempted to take to take one home with us. We must stop and think that these puppies come from a puppy mill where they are bred to be sold to customers just like ourselves. Let us pause and consider adopting an abandoned dog that lost it’s home. Thousands of dogs are euthanized each year because no one wants them. This is heartbreaking and we must remember the good deed we are doing by giving one of these forgotten dogs a second chance.

Before you get tempted to buy a puppy, consider going to a shelter and adopting a dog instead. The best thing you could do is to give a poor, abandoned pet a second chance at a good life. The love you will receive is indescribable. Do a good deed today, adopt a new best friend.

Remember, pets are family!

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Pet MD’s Guide to Pet Halloween Safety

Thursday, October 19, 2023
posted by Jim Murphy

It’s almost Halloween and a fun time for kids and adult alike but is it a fun time for our pets? We dress them up take them out to parties, parades etc but we must ensure that they are kept safe at all times. Pet MD has put together a comprehensive guide to pet Halloween safety. Please take a look at their article right here to make sure that you have their safety covered.


Halloween can be a festive and fun time for children and families. But for pets? Let’s face it, it can be a nightmare. Skip the stress and keep your pets safe this year by following these 10 easy tips.


1. Trick-or-treat candies are not for pets.

All forms of chocolate—especially baking or dark chocolate—can be dangerous, even lethal, for dogs and cats. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning may include vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, and seizures. Halloween candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also be poisonous to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar and subsequent loss of coordination and seizures. “Xylitol ingestion can also cause liver failure in dogs, even if they don’t develop symptoms associated with low blood sugar,” adds Dr. Jennifer Coates, veterinary advisor with petMD. And while xylitol toxicity in cats has yet to be established, it’s better to be safe than sorry.


2. Don’t leave pets out in the yard on Halloween.

Vicious pranksters have been known to tease, injure, steal, and even kill pets on Halloween night. Inexcusable? Yes! But preventable nonetheless. Black cats are especially at risk from pranks or other cruelty-related incidents. In fact, many shelters do not adopt out black cats during the month of October as a safety precaution. Make sure your black cats are safely housed indoors around Halloween.


3. Keep pets confined and away from the door.

Indoors is certainly better than outdoors on Halloween, but your door will be constantly opening and closing, and strangers will be on your doorstep dressed in unusual costumes. This, of course, can be scary for our furry friends, which can result in escape attempts or unexpected aggression. Putting your dog or cat in a secure crate or room away from the front door will reduce stress and prevent them from darting outside into the night…a night when no one wants to be searching for a lost loved one.


4. Keep glow sticks away from pets.

While glow sticks can help keep people safe on Halloween night, they can add some unwanted drama to the holiday if a pet chews one open. “Thankfully, the liquid inside glow sticks is non-toxic, so it won’t actually make pets sick,” Coates says, “but it does taste awful.” Pets who get into a glow stick may drool, paw at their mouth, become agitated, and sometimes even vomit. Coates recommends that if your pet does chew on a glow stick, “offer some fresh water or a small meal to help clear the material out of the mouth.”


5. Keep Halloween plants such as pumpkins and corn out of reach.

While small amounts of corn and pumpkin can be fed safely to many pets, ingesting uncooked, potentially moldy Halloween pumpkins or corn displays can cause big problems. Gastrointestinal upset is a possibility whenever pets eat something they aren’t used to, and intestinal blockage can occur if large pieces are swallowed. Coates adds that “some types of mold produce mycotoxins that can cause neurologic problems in dogs and cats.” So, keep the pumpkins and corn stalks away from your pets. And speaking of pumpkins…

6. Don’t keep lit pumpkins around pets.

If you are using candles to light your jack-o-lanterns or other Halloween decorations, make sure to place them well out of reach of your pets. Should they get too close, they run the risk of burning themselves or causing a fire.


7. Keep electric and battery-powered Halloween decorations out of reach.

Electric and battery-powered Halloween decorations are certainly safer than open candles, but they still can present a risk to pets. Pets who chew on electrical cords can receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock or burn. Batteries may cause chemical burns when chewed open or gastrointestinal blockage if swallowed. Shards of glass or plastic can cause lacerations anywhere on the body or, if swallowed, within the gastrointestinal tract.


8. Don’t dress your pet in a costume unless you know they’ll love it.

If you do decide that Fido or Kitty needs a costume, make sure it isn’t dangerous or simply annoying to your pet. Costumes should not restrict movement, hearing, eyesight, or the ability to breathe. Coates warns that pets who are wearing a costume should always be supervised by a responsible adult so that if something goes wrong, it can be addressed right away.


9. Try on pet costumes before the big night.

Don’t wait until Halloween night to put your pet in a costume for the first time. “Any time you want to introduce your pet to something new, it’s best to go slowly,” Coates says. Get your pet costumes early, and put them on for short periods of time (and piece by piece, if possible). “Make it a positive experience by offering lots of praise and treats,” Coates adds. If at any time, your pet seems distressed or develops skin problems from contact with a costume, consider letting him go in his “birthday suit.” A festive bandana may be a good compromise.


10. IDs, please!

If your dog or cat should escape and become lost, having the proper identification will increase the chances that he or she will be returned. Collars and tags are ideal if a Good Samaritan is able to collect your wayward pet, but microchips offer permanent identification should the collar or tag fall off. Just make sure the information is up-to-date. Use Halloween as a yearly reminder to double check your address and phone number on tags and with the company who supports pet microchips.

Remember, pets are family!
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Why Cats Sleep in Weird Places

Monday, October 16, 2023
posted by Jim Murphy

Our 18 1/2 year old cat Millie has recently been changing her sleeping places and some of the new places she chooses are weird. Last night we found her sleeping under one of our end tables. This is very strange for her. Should I be worried? Well I worry about everything anyway but other than her weird sleeping places, she seems normal so I will say I’m not really worried but I am keeping a close eye on her. Sometimes when a cat sleeps in strange places, it could signal illness. explains some history on why cats my change their sleeping place.

Cats seek different places to sleep out of instinct. In the wild, cats would sleep in different places as a way of varying their routine and protecting themselves from predators. This is the same instinct that prompts mother cats to periodically move their kittens to new locations in an effort to keep them safe. Rotating sleeping spaces in the wild had the added benefit of minimizing fleas and other parasites, keeping the cats healthier.

In the wild, hierarchy among cats came into play, and that instinct continues in today’s domesticated cats. Dominant cats claimed their sleeping spots first and would then allow more submissive cats to share those spots with them. A change in the hierarchy would prompt a change in the sleeping spots, so if you bring a new cat into the home, you’re likely to see your current cat sleep in different locations.

So if your cat is suddenly sleeping in strange places, take note but do not panic. There could be a very logical reason for these changes.

Remember, pets are family!

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When A Cat Starts to Slow Down

Friday, October 13, 2023
posted by Jim Murphy

Our Millie now 18 1/2 years old

We really don’t like to admit this, but our cats really grow up quickly. I remember when my cat Millie would race all around the house chasing anything and everything! Now,she barely gets up at all. She spends all her day in the quiet comfort of her bed in our warm home. Here are some facts that may help you care for your senior cat.

  1. Did you know that cats are considered “senior” at seven years old?  This doesn’t mean that they’re over the hill by any means. Veterinarians just want their owners to be on the lookout for any health problems that may affect your cat since it is no longer a kitten and is getting a bit older.
  2. Did you know that most physical conditions in cats go undetected? Cats don’t usually let you know when they are in pain unless there is something that is really causing the discomfort. This is why it’s important to take your cat to the vet at least twice per year.
  3. Did you know that more than half of cats become obese?  As older cats slow down, so does their metabolism. That is why you should try to engage your cat in some kind of moderate activity at least once per day. This is easier said than done. When I try to play with Molly by throwing a toy across the floor or using a cat fishing pole to stimulate her, all she does is look at it! Then look at me as if trying to say “are you crazy?” Usually something with catnip in it will get her going for a little while.
  4. Did you know that 70% of cats develop arthritis? Make sure that your older cat has easy access to his kitty litter, water and food dish.
  5. Did you know that older cats put on body fat even though they consume fewer calories?  Obesity, heart disease, periodontal disease can occur as a cat gets older. Make sure you speak with your vet about any changes you may need to make to your cat’s diet.
  6. Our cat Millie is almost nineteen and even though she sleeps alot, she still has some fire in her. She can still run and climb when she decides to do so.
    Remember, pets are family!

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Preventing Pet Stress During a Move

Tuesday, October 10, 2023
posted by Jim Murphy

Reclining cat pinches an eye

Moving can be stressful and it can also be stressful for our pets. It’s hard enough to find apartments where pets are allowed but when we do, there are now additional challenges that we must face. Pets are often adverse to change. Fortunately, there are ways that pet owners can make moving easier on themselves and their pets.  First of all spread things out. Sudden changes can stress a pet out and alter his behavior. Gradually pack things away so pets won’t panic as their environment changes. Don’t pack a pets comfort items such as toys, beds, bowls until the last minute.

Arrange for travel well in advance of your move. If you are moving relatively close, then the trip to your new home will be no different than a road trip with your pet. Make sure that you pack toys and snacks to keep your pet occupied during the trip.

If you are flying, make arrangement as soon as possible. Doing so increases your chances of getting a non stop flight. Flying can be uncomfortable for pets no matter how considerate the airline is. Make sure to book a single non stop flight. If your pet is small enough, try to arrange to keep him with you in his crate under the seat during the flight. This will help reduce stress for both of you.

In the days leading up to the move, stick to your pets routine as much as possible. When you arrive at your new home, give your pet a designated area to “chill out.” Movers will be in and out and things could get hectic. Place toys, litter (in you own a cat) food, water etc in the room with your pet while the movers are there.

In no time,  your new home will become your pets new home.

Remember, pets are family!

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Fall is here and that means tourists leave and residents and their pets come back to town here in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. I took a short stroll on the boardwalk yesterday and saw many four legged friends with their owners strolling along and enjoying the fine weather. This is my favorite time of year. I love to see dogs romping about the beach or keep their owners company as they take a walk down the mile long boardwalk.

This weekend is also Greyhound weekend in Rehoboth and Dewey beach. There are lots of beautiful greyhounds with their owners taking advantage of all of the activities in and around town.

Fall is the perfect time of year to take your best friends out to enjoy the cool, crisp weather. So enjoy Fall and enjoy your furry friends this season!

Remember, pets re family!

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Adding Protein to Your Cats Diet

Wednesday, October 4, 2023
posted by Jim Murphy

Cats are very special creatures.  A cat needs twice as much protein to keep it’s muscles strong and healthy just like a dog. Cats also require about 20 different kinds of amino acids to make their own body proteins. Those amino acids come from protein and food.  What’s the best source of protein for your cat? The truth is any and all of the protein sources are fine for your cat. Commercial pets foods generally contain at least 30% protein, often from a variety of sources to more than meet your cat’s needs. So if your cat’s are like mine, gormet eaters, you can give beef one day, chicken the next,  and fish the next. Keep that protein coming!

Remember, pets are family

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