Monthly Archives: May 2009

Can You Get Swine Flu From Your Dog or Cat?


By Stacy Mantle

There are a few things to worry about getting from your pets these days, but according to the CDC, Swine flu (H1N1) is not one of them. Dogs are susceptible to the “canine influenza virus” – a specific Type A influenza virus known as the H3N8 influenza virus. This is NOT something that humans can come down with as it is a species-specific virus.

Cats Flu is a name used to identify a group of viruses, which affect the upper respiratory tract in cats. Felines are known to obtain Upper Respiratory Infections (URI’s), which is most commonly caused by the Feline Herpes Virus-1 (FHV-1), or Feline Calicivirus (FCV).

Most diseases and viruses are “species-specific,” with only a few exceptions. Visit the CDC website to see a complete list of “diseases that people and pets can transmit.”

Dr. Michael Watts says it best, “The current ‘swine’ flu outbreak is not technically a “pig virus.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has determined that the new influenza A (H1N1) strain contains genetic material from four different viruses. One is a swine influenza commonly found in North America. The others are a human influenza virus, a North American avian influenza virus, and another pig influenza more typically found in Europe and Asia.”

Bird Flu
As far as the Bird Flu goes, the CDC has this to say on the subject, “Influenza A viruses are divided into subtypes based on two proteins on the surface of the virus: the hemagglutinin (H) and the neuraminidase (N). There are 16 different hemagglutinin subtypes and 9 different neuraminidase subtypes, all of which have been found among influenza A viruses in wild birds. Wild birds are the primary natural reservoir for all subtypes of influenza A viruses and are thought to be the source of influenza A viruses in all other animals. Most influenza viruses cause asymptomatic or mild infection in birds; however, the range of symptoms in birds varies greatly depending on the strain of virus. Infection with certain avian influenza A viruses (for example, some strains of H5 and H7 viruses) can cause widespread disease and death among some species of wild and especially domestic birds such as chickens and turkeys.”

No Reason to Worry
Bottom line is that with the current outbreak of H1N1, neither your dogs or cats can get it or be carriers of the virus. Now, this is not to say that you shouldn’t ever worry. Part of the panic with the H1N1 virus is that it appears to have the ability to mutate. It still could. It probably won’t, but really you’re far more likely to get hit by a meteorite than to pick up the H1N1 virus from your pet.

Read more articles by Stacy Mantle

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

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Why do we love our dogs? Because…


By Lexiann Grant

Although we started out as work partners, thousands of years ago, dogs first loved us. In return we fed them, then grew to love them. There are more reasons than can be named why we love our dogs. What’s not to love?

To celebrate this loving relationship, here’s a list of some of the top reasons why. We love them because they…

…Fill our hearts and homes with laughter.
…Do something remarkable every day.
…Greet us enthusiastically even when we’ve only been gone for one minute.
…Show us how to give and receive unconditional love.
…Share our sorrows and our joys with us.
…Introduce us to their fascinating, simple world.
…Play funny jokes on us.
…Reduce our stress.
…Howl songs of delight to us.
…Are cuddly, huggable and love to be touched.
…Want to go with us everywhere we go and do whatever we do.
…Clean up the food we spill on the floor.
…Depend on us to care for them and teach them.
…Live with mindfulness of the present.
…Keep us on our toes.
…Do disgusting things that bewilder and amuse us.
…Change a bad day into a good one with a wag of their tail.
…Allow our inner child to come out and play.
…Relieve our boredom.
…Offer us an excuse to tell unexpected visitors why the house isn’t spotless.
…Lick our tears away.
…Watch over us when we are sick and guard us from peril.
…Make us proud of their achievements.
…Express themselves and their emotions honestly.
…Usually understand us, even when we don’t know what we mean ourselves.
…Quickly forgive us our wrongs.
…Teach us valuable life lessons, like patience, acceptance and devotion.
…Don’t criticize or judge us.
…Make us feel secure after we have a nightmare.
…Never let us sleep by ourselves when we are lonely.
…Don’t care how we look or what we wear.
…Are always beautiful regardless of their appearance.
…Give us a reason to get up in the mornings.
…Eat the same food each day but relish every meal.
…Are poetry in motion.
…Provide us a piece of heaven on earth.
…Are our family members and best friends.
…Live in our hearts and memories forever, even after they’re gone.
…Are our soul mates.

Read more articles by Lexiann Grant

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Helping Your Overweight Dog Lose Weight


By Ruthie Bently

When you have an overweight dog, this can affect their health in many ways. They can become diabetic, have heart issues, as well as develop arthritis or joint issues in later years. So as our pets’ care givers, we need to be aware of their weight and help them lose weight if they need to. When you have a dog that needs to lose weight, how do you go about it without making everybody’s life miserable?

When I first adopted Skye I thought she was too thin, unfortunately I needn’t have worried. Because of the medication Skye is on she is ravenous all the time, and I do mean all the time. I never thought I would be living with an animal that is food driven, and it was difficult in the beginning. You see, I had never lived with a “counter surfer” before and now have first hand knowledge of how crafty they can actually be.

Skye is a master at the art of “counter surfing,” and may have perfected things that I was too dense in the beginning to figure out on my own. After all, I assumed that “counter surfing” meant just that; stupid human. Skye has climbed on her crate to get to the cats’ food; she has climbed over gates to get to food in unopened bags and to get to the new bag of cat litter (I use wheat-based); all because of her hunger issues. The only saving grace in my house is that Skye hasn’t figured out how to get into either the refrigerator or the microwave yet. Don’t laugh; I have a friend with Labrador Retrievers who have learned how to open the refrigerator for their favorite pizza leftovers.

Not only that, how can we help our dogs to feel fuller and not feel the hunger that is driving them in the first place? This sounded tough to me until I began doing my homework, and I found lots of healthy things to add to Skye’s food that will not compromise the value of the food she was eating at the time, which was not CANIDAE®. I found a document on the USDA’s website, titled Nutrient Value of Foods, Home and Garden Bulletin #72. It has been an invaluable source of information. It shows caloric values for many kinds of foods: raw and cooked, as well as many commercially produced human foods. These caloric values will be the same for your dog as they would be for you.

I started experimenting with different vegetables, because Skye didn’t need any carbohydrates or sugars added to her diet. Vegetables were a good choice, because the body usually has to work harder to digest them, and Skye could actually lose weight having veggies added to her diet. Skye loves asparagus, green beans, peas, tomatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, pumpkin, zucchini, summer, acorn and butternut squashes. We give her the rind of the squashes after we have scooped them out and she (and the cats) love them. We use butter on our squash, but don’t add anything to what we give Skye. I stay away from foods like corn or noodles, or anything that can add extra carbohydrates or sugars.

As an extra treat after I have exercised Skye sometimes I will give her fruit. While they do have sugars they are natural sugars, and I don’t give her enough to add too many calories to her diet. Skye’s favorite fruits are strawberries, bananas, watermelon, honeydew and cantaloupe. Those are the only ones I’ve tried so far, but Skye continues to surprise me with her likes. I am happy to report that now that Skye is on the CANIDAE Grain Free All Life Stages, she is losing weight and we don’t seem to have the counter surfing issues that we had before.

Those of us who live with dogs that need to lose weight live with another quandary; how do we provide our dogs with a treat without adding to their weight, especially if they need to lose weight to start with? As to the treat, see my article on CANIDAE Snap Bits, a wonderful smaller treat, which is just fine to give your dog whether they are large or small, and doesn’t add much to their daily calorie count.

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Bringing Home a New Kitten or Cat

By Julia Williams

If I followed my heart, I would have a whole house full of cats. But as a responsible pet owner, I must follow my head which says three is my current limit. Now, many people would say three cats IS a house full, but never mind. If you are lucky enough to be adopting a new kitten or cat (or “angel with fur,” as I like to call them), there are some things you’ll need to do before you bring them home. Planning ahead for the fluffy new arrival will ensure that this transition goes smoothly, for you and your household as well as your new kitty.

The first thing on your agenda is shopping for all the essential supplies. You don’t want to bring the new kitty home and then run all over town looking for the things you’ll need to make them comfortable in their new surroundings. Essential supplies include a sturdy cat carrier, litter box, kitty litter, scooper, cat food and water dishes, grooming brush, cat bed or cat blanket, high quality cat food, scratching post and some toys. You might also way to pick up a book or two on cat care and behavior.

If you’re adopting a kitten, be aware that they are very fond of climbing and jumping, and they play enthusiastically with no consideration for your valuables. Therefore, kitten proofing your home is advised if you wish to keep your precious Ming vase in one piece. You’ll enjoy your rambunctious kitten’s antics a lot more if you move your breakables to a safe place for the time being.

You might also want to move any houseplants that are situated at floor level. Kittens (and even adult cats) are very attracted to plants, and they might chew on the leaves, sit on top of the plant or dig in the dirt. Moving your plants to less accessible areas, like the top of a bookshelf or outdoors in nice weather, will ensure that they don’t become a plaything for your kitty. Many common houseplants are actually poisonous for cats and should be removed from your home entirely. The Cat Fanciers’ Association has a detailed list of all the plants to avoid.

When it’s time for your kitty to come to their new home, it’s imperative that you transport them in a pet carrier. A loose cat riding in the car is a surefire recipe for disaster, as is carrying them from car to house in your arms. If possible, bring a towel for your new kitten or cat to sleep on for a few days before “moving day,” so it will have something familiar in the new surroundings. This will comfort the kitty and help it feel more secure with this big change.

Arrange to situate the new kitten or cat in a quiet place in your home, like a spare bedroom. It should be someplace where the kitty can be away from the hustle and bustle of your home, particularly if you have children or other pets. It’s also a good idea to limit introductions to family members (both two and four legged) for the first few days, which allows kitty to settle in, and minimizes the stress of being in a new environment. Put all of the new kitty’s essential supplies in this room for the time being.

Don’t force the kitty to come out of the carrier, just open the door and let them come out when they’re ready to explore. Leave the open carrier in the room so the kitty can go back into it if they get frightened by something and want a safe place to hide. But don’t be surprised, though, if they take up residence under your bed or in the back of your closet for those first few days. Eventually your new kitten or cat will become braver and venture out to explore their room.

It’s a good idea to arrange to bring your new kitten or cat home on the weekend or at a time when someone can be there with it for a few days. It’s frightening for an animal to be taken to some strange new place and then left all alone. Being there for this transition will help the new kitty bond with you and feel safe in their new forever home. And, it will go a long way toward creating a well-adjusted, happy cat.

I hope these tips on bringing home a new kitten or cat will help you to take good care of them. I only wish I could be there to give your new kitty a “welcome home” kiss.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Pets and Pests: How to Combat Fleas and Ticks


By Stacy Mantle

There is nothing more terrifying to a pet owner than happening across a flea or tick on their pet. The first thought that runs through their head is that they must do something immediately. While you do need to take action, you should always be thinking of ways to prevent pests in the first place.

Prevention is the key when it comes to pests such as fleas and ticks. While you may not have them in your home now, there is always a distinct possibility that they are on the way. The best way to prevent pests is to have your home treated with an environmentally friendly, yet effective pest control service. Treating the outside of a home is optimal, and will help in eliminating anything that may show up indoors.

If you do find fleas or ticks in your home, there are a number of steps to follow:

1. Vacuum: Studies show that merely vacuuming the home regularly can eliminate 50% of fleas and ticks. Don’t let waste be stored in a bag. Wrap it in a plastic bag and dispose outside or empty and clean canister after a quick spray of frontline.

2. Laundry: Do lots and lots of laundry. This will help eliminate any current pupae (flea larvae) and help prevent future problems.

3. Treat your pet: Using a nontoxic spray or monthly treatment, be sure to have your pet treated. Be very cautious when choosing a treatment and do your homework. If you’re treating cats or kittens, be careful. They have a tendency to react poorly to these treatments and it’s important to choose one that is nontoxic and approved for use on cats. Read the instructions and never try to use a dog treatment on a cat.

4. Treat bedding: Be sure to vacuum and clean the areas where your pet spends most of their time. Wash bedding, treat with a nontoxic spray or powder, and vacuum often.

With these guidelines, you should be able to prevent and eliminate any future infestations. If you already have fleas, remember that you will need to do this often. Fleas have a 15-day life cycle.

Read more articles by Stacy Mantle

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Doc, How Long Will My Dog or Cat Live?


By Dr. Melissa Brookshire, DVM

This is a common question asked in veterinary practices every day. We all know that most pets don’t live as long as humans, but we want to know if we will have 10 good years, 15 good years or even longer with our special pet.

A 34-year old cat? Wow! While this number may sound extreme, the average life span of 15 years for a cat far exceeds the 4-6 years that was typical just 30 years ago. Dogs also are living longer now too, with significant variability in the average lifespan based on breed size.

In the Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice – Geriatrics, an article by Dr. Dottie LaFlamme says that 40% of dogs and 30% of cats in the United States are 6 years or older. Thirty years ago, we would not even be talking about this population because dogs and cats were simply not living that long.

So why are our pets living longer than ever before? Dr. Johnny Hoskins, in Geriatrics & Gerontology of the Dog and Cat, attributes the increased lifespan of our pet dogs and cats to veterinary research and care, and improvement in diet.

Did you know that the feline requirement for dietary taurine was not even identified until the 1980s? Research into the ideal diet for dogs and cats has identified beneficial nutrients that many premium pet foods now contain. Antioxidants, joint care supplements, probiotics, prebiotics and many others, are new ingredients that improve your pet’s well-being.

So, what can you do to help your pet live a longer, healthier life? Besides regular check-ups and preventive care at your veterinarian, your pet’s diet and body condition are two of the most important factors for longevity. A 14-year study done with a group of Labrador Retrievers showed a 1.8 year advantage for dogs that were maintained in lean body condition over dogs that were slightly overweight. The Labs were not allowed to be obese, as many pets are. Obesity has an even more detrimental impact on overall health and longevity, leading to chronic diseases that are difficult to manage.

Feeding your pet a premium food with high quality beneficial nutrients and keeping him in lean body condition will provide him with the nutritional advantage he needs to be happy and stay healthy.

Read more articles by Dr. Melissa Brookshire

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.