Monthly Archives: January 2010

What to Do if Your Dog is Bleeding


By Ruthie Bently

If you discover that your dog has an injury, try to stay as calm as you can. By staying calm you can keep your dog calm as well. They can sense your stress, and the most important thing is to keep them calm. The next thing to do is to determine where the blood is coming from. For example, a dog can cut their paw and it may bleed profusely, though it may not be a serious injury. Check them all over from nose to tail to find out where they are bleeding. By finding the source of the bleeding, you can determine how serious the wound is and proceed from there.

The color of the blood can help you determine if it comes from an artery or a vein. Venous blood will be a dark red color and may ooze from a wound, and arterial blood will be bright red because of its oxygen content. If there is a lot of blood and the wound has stopped bleeding and begun to clot, do not attempt to remove the clot, as this can make the wound begin to bleed again. Wrap the wound in a clean towel or several layers of gauze and tape the wound well but not too tightly, as this can cause swelling in the affected area. This is called a pressure bandage.

If the bleeding is severe and you can’t get the wound to stop bleeding or it is bleeding sluggishly, again apply a pressure bandage and get your dog to the vet or emergency clinic as soon as you can. This situation can be life threatening and time is of the essence. Another way to stop the bleeding is to use a tourniquet, but do not use this method unless advised by your veterinarian, because cutting off the blood flow completely can damage tissue in the surrounding area.

If it is a cut on your dog’s foot, it could be from a foreign object they stepped on outside. The capillaries in a dog’s foot are very close to the surface and they can bleed profusely even if the wound is minor. Carefully examine their foot to find the source of the bleeding. If you don’t see a foreign body lodged in their foot and the bleeding is minimal you can clean it with a mixture of 50% hydrogen peroxide and 50% water. If it is the webbed tissue between their pads, it may not stop on its own and may require stitches.

The most important things about a cut on your dog are to get the bleeding stopped and prevent infection. If the cut is a laceration of an inch or more and has any amount of depth to it, it may require stitches. Any cut may become infected, and you should contact your vet about using an antibiotic to keep infection at bay.

My AmStaff, Skye, had an accident that happened when she walked through a broken glass jar one of the cats had knocked off my kitchen shelf. She nicked her right leg, which required two stitches. Her left leg was a more serious injury. She cut the ulnar artery (one of the two in her leg) and cut through two tendons, and the blood was bright red. I don’t tell you this to scare you or gross you out; I just want you to be aware that no matter how careful you are in your own house, accidents can happen when you least expect them, and you need to be prepared.

Because of my quick action, the vet’s prognosis of her regaining the full use of her leg and foot are good. We have a first aid kit for our animals, as every responsible pet owner should. If you want to make one, read Linda Cole’s June article for a list of basic first aid supplies.

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

Find CANIDAE Retailers Near You!

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.

EmailGoogle GmailBlogger PostTwitterFacebookGoogle+PinterestShare

How to Leash Train a Cat


By Julia Williams

I imagine that many people, upon reading my title, might wonder why anyone would want to leash train a cat. And yet, I recently discovered a website which claimed that “walking the cat is quickly becoming one of the hottest new trends.”

I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle. There are valid reasons for leash training a cat, but I sincerely doubt that walking the cat is “the next big thing.” I’m fairly sure you won’t see hordes of cat owners out for their evening stroll with felines in tow. That being said, a few years ago I actually did leash train three cats in preparation for my 1,000+ mile move/road trip. I’m very glad I did too, or I might be minus one cat.

My original reason for leash training was to exercise them on the long trip, which I did. But I also used it when Rocky soiled his cat carrier and I had to clean up at a rest area that didn’t have a lock on the door. With the harness and leash on him, I was able to tie Rocky to the sink so he couldn’t escape while I washed out his carrier.

There are other reasons why you might want to leash train a cat too. For a trip to the vet, it’s safer to have cats (especially skittish ones) leashed whenever they need to be out of their carrier. It only takes a second for a loose cat to bolt out an open door. Leash training a cat can also give an indoor kitty a taste of the great outdoors, without putting their life in peril. They can get some fresh air, exercise and tactile playtime while in the safety of your backyard.

Leash training a cat is difficult, but not impossible. Like any training, it takes time and patience.

Step One: Buy a lightweight leash (approx. 6’ long) and a harness made specifically for cats. My harness is nylon, but I’ve seen others that are more like soft, fitted jackets. Just don’t use a collar, as it can cause choking.

Step Two: Put the new gear near kitty’s napping spot for a few days, and let them investigate it.

Step Three: Put the harness on your cat when they are relaxed. If they don’t freak out wearing it for a few minutes, give them some cat treats as a reward. The hardest part about this step is learning how to put the harness on correctly. It should fit snug but not too tight, nor so loose that your cat can wriggle out of it. (You should be able to fit two fingers between the harness and your cat’s body). Repeat this step a few times a day for a week, to get kitty used to the feel of the harness.

Step Four: With your cat in the harness, clip on the leash. Rather than try to hold onto the leash, allow your cat to walk around with it trailing behind them. As in step three, reward them with treats if they can calmly wear the harness and leash.

Tip: Do this in a closed-off, uncluttered room to prevent kitty from getting entangled in something if they panic while wearing the harness and leash.

Step Five: Once kitty seems relatively at ease wearing the harness, hold the leash loosely and walk with them as they explore the room.

Step Six: Walk your leashed cat around your home, and again, use treats. Alternatively, you could bring out their favorite toy and try engaging them in play while still wearing the harness/leash. Never allow them to wear the harness unsupervised though.

Step Seven: Take your leashed cat outside for 5 minutes, 2-3 times a day. If they’re comfortable outside in the harness and leash, gradually increase the amount of time, and reward them with treats when you go back inside. This is where it gets tricky, because some cats will be at ease from the start, while others take a lot longer. Watch your cat for signs of stress, and bring them inside if they’re frightened. You want this to be a pleasant experience for them, not something to be feared. Give them however much time they need to become acclimated to this strange new thing. It helps if you have a secluded backyard, and you can take them outdoors at a quiet time of day.

You may be surprised to learn that leash training your cat is far easier than you thought it would be. Or, if your kitty is anything like my three, it might be a long and challenging process. It all depends on your cat’s personality, which is something you can’t change. I would never leash-walk my cats outside my own yard, because their personalities aren’t suited for such an adventure. However, if you have a very outgoing and relaxed cat that seems to love walking on a leash, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t try it.

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.

How to Take a Great Photo of Your Pet


By Suzanne Alicie

Our pets are an important part of our lives, and we naturally want to include them in our photo albums. Taking a great picture of your pet requires some preparation, some skill, and a whole lot of luck. Occasionally a snapshot of your pet will turn out wonderfully, but more often than not you have lost the personality of the moment in the photo. Your gorgeous pet looks as if it’s in the middle of the road and caught in the high beams. Glowing green and red eyes ruin even the nicest photo of your pet. So unless you are a professional pet photographer, how can you take a great photo of your pet?

Avoid Glowing Eyes

The glowing eye problem, whether red or green, is caused by the same thing that causes this problem in human photos. The flash reflects off the back of the eye. To avoid the glowing eyes when you take a photo of your pet, the best thing to do is eliminate the flash entirely. Try shooting your pet outside or in an area with a lot of natural light.

Utilize Props

We all know how hard it can be to get a pet to sit still long enough for the shutter to close on the camera, but to create a really unique photo of your pet you will want to incorporate some aspect of his personality into the photo. This is where props come in handy. Prepare the props in the area you want to take the photo before you call your pet in. If your dog loves a certain chew toy, place it in a well lit area in preparation for the photo. Does your cat have an affinity for walking on your keyboard? Place an old keyboard where you want to take the photo. Clean up the background or use a solid colored blanket as a backdrop and you have the setting for a great pet photo.

Timing

When it comes to getting a great photo of your pet, a digital camera is your best option. Call the pet in, and play with it near the props you are using. Once your pet is relaxed and seems content to be in the area you have selected, offer a treat or wave a toy at the pet to get it to look at you, and snap as fast as your finger will move. Often times the photo that you thought would look great will be one of those you will discard, and a random shot will turn out to capture your pet’s personality perfectly.

Much the same as taking photos of children, you have to work around their quick loss of interest and easy distraction, using those very qualities to get them to look at you and stay where they are. Having a second person on hand to help play with the animal or get it to move to a certain area while you snap photos is a sure way to get a great photo.

It may take a few tries, and you may find yourself discarding many more photos than you keep, but eventually you will get a shot of your pet that you can’t wait to share with everyone.

Read more articles by Suzanne Alicie

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.

The Story of Balto is a Tribute to All Dogs


By Linda Cole

Every now and then an exceptional dog rises above expectations. Balto was such a dog, who despite difficult odds guided a life saving dog sled team into Nome, Alaska in 1925 after a diphtheria epidemic threatened to wipe out the entire town of 1,400 residents. What kind of dog was Balto, and how was he able to complete his journey?

Central Park in New York City is a long way from Alaska, but it’s where you can find a life size statue of Balto. His nose, paws and face are worn and shiny from children touching the statue, and it’s the most visited and admired statue in the park. He stands as a tribute to a heroic group of dogs and mushers who braved an Alaskan winter storm in a relay race against time.

There is some confusion as to Balto’s breed. Some say he was an Alaskan Malamute, others claim he was a Siberian Husky. However, he was owned by Leonhard Seppala who raised and raced Siberian Huskies and there’s no mention of him ever owning Alaskan Malamutes. Balto was born in the Chukchi Inuit tribe and came from their stock of Siberian dogs. Described as a jet black Siberian Husky with a white bib and white socks, he was born in 1919 and died in 1933.

Seppala didn’t believe Balto was good breeding stock or a good lead dog, so the dog was neutered when he was 6 months old and delegated to pulling heavy freight sleds for the Pioneer Gold Mining Company Seppala worked for. Looks can be deceiving, and this was definitely the case with Balto. Seppala knew dogs, but he misread Balto’s potential. Not a perfect specimen of a Siberian Husky, he was barrel chested with a boxy looking body that made his front legs look bowed, and he didn’t look like a racing dog. However, he turned out to be an able, strong and intelligent dog. He proved his worth by safely delivering the serum and saving the lives of the rest of the dog team and his musher, Gunnar Kaasen, who used Balto as his lead dog during the 1925 serum run to Nome.

Heading his dogs into a wicked, cold night with a -70 wind chill, Kaasen began his portion of the run which was to end at a town named Solomon. The howling blizzard was so fierce, he couldn’t see the dogs harnessed closest to his sled, and he was 2 miles past the town when he realized he had missed it. Kaasen pressed on to the next stop where a fresh team of dogs and musher would be waiting to take the hand off of the precious serum to its final destination. When he arrived, the musher was sleeping and the dogs weren’t ready to go, so Kaasen decided to continue on instead of losing time that Nome residents were running out of.

Dead tired and cold with frostbite on his hands, the musher and dogs pulled into Nome at 5:30 in the morning, five and a half days after the serum run began. The only words he was able to muster were about Balto, “Damn fine dog,” he said as he fell beside the dog at the front of the team. They had run 57 miles in bone chilling cold, barely able to see through blinding snow and completed a 674 mile rescue mission along the only route possible—the mail route. Because the weather was so bad, sled dogs were the town’s only hope.

Balto knew nothing of his important mission; he ran because that was his job. He was part of a team of dogs and one man who drove through the night, depending on each other in weather that wasn’t fit for man or beast. Balto proved that he had the fortitude, intelligence and courage to guide six other dogs and the sled.

A Siberian Husky can tolerate extreme cold (minus 50 to minus 75) as well as warmer weather because their double layered coat helps keep them warm and cool. They are an intelligent, tenacious, independent, strong and fast breed capable of picking safe paths over snowy trails and frozen streams. Balto was able to stay on the trail despite whiteout conditions because he knew the trail and he used his instincts. At one point, he stopped shy of a not completely frozen lake, saving the entire team and serum from disaster.

Balto was never used as a lead dog after the run. Even though he proved himself a strong, determined and capable lead dog, the attention he and Kaasen received from the press made the other mushers, including Seppala, jealous. A taxidermist at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History stuffed and mounted Balto after his death where he is still today. His original lead is laid across his back.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

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.

Basic Supplies Needed for a New Dog


By Ruthie Bently

Bringing home a new dog, whether it’s a puppy or an adult, is like bringing home a new baby – you need to be prepared, and you need supplies. You should have a collar with an identification tag on it in case your dog gets lost. Even if you have a fenced yard for your dog to play in, you should have a leash for those trips to the vet or walks around the neighborhood. I suggest a six foot nylon leash unless your dog is an adult and not chewing anymore. Nylon is a sturdy material and stands up to most things except a determined chewer. Six feet is a good length, as it gives your dog enough room to step away from you to go potty and still gives you enough control. It will also keep your dog from tripping you up by accident.

You will need a supply of dog food of course (I use the CANIDAE Grain Free, four meat meal formula) and you will probably want dog treats too (I use both CANIDAE Snap-Biscuit® and Snap-Bits™ treats). You’ll want to get a set of bowls for their food and water; I prefer stainless steel because they are easy to keep clean and resist rusting. I’ve had the same set of bowls for over twenty years now and have never had an issue with rust. When I got my first puppy I bought bowls for the adult size dog that I knew my puppy would be when full grown. This way you only have to make the purchase once. I have a set of three quart bowls, which are a good size for any medium to large sized breed.

When you need to confine your new puppy or dog, such as when they need a time out or you just need a break, a dog crate is nice to have on hand. Dogs, like their wolf cousins, have an instinct to “den” and a crate is a good place they can call their own. If you have an aversion to crating your dog but aren’t quite ready to give them the run of the house, a pair of dog gates is a good way to confine them to a specific room. A washable fleece pad is a perfect choice for a teething puppy, and if your dog is past the chewing stage you can get them a regular bed so they have their own place to sleep.

Don’t forget to buy some toys to keep your new dog occupied. I like to have an assortment of chewing and interactive toys, and Skye also has a flying disc and a 10” ball she can chase in the yard, as well as sterilized and nylon bones for when she is on her own. She also has a cotton rope tug but isn’t allowed to play with that herself. If you choose a stuffed toy for your dog, don’t leave them alone with it and keep an eye on them when they are playing with it to prevent them from tearing it to shreds.

Dog shampoo is good to have on hand for a bath or spot cleaning if your dog rolls in something. I have an oatmeal based shampoo and a dry shampoo for Skye because I like the ease of giving her a spot bath if she gets her feet dirty after a walk in the mud. Make sure you get a shampoo made specifically for dogs though. The ph of a dog’s hair is different than ours, and you could harm their skin and coat by using shampoo made for people. You can also find tearless dog shampoos that won’t burn their eyes.

If you plan to groom your dog yourself, you will need a brush and comb suitable for your dog’s coat. You’ll also need a set of nail clippers and styptic powder for when their toenails need clipping. Grooming your dog is a great way to bond with them. Other items you may want to consider are a scooper for the yard and biodegradable poop bags for walks. Natural cleaners and deodorizers are handy to have for those unforeseen accidents, and an anti-chew product is a good idea for a new puppy.

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

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.

How to Choose the Right Vet


By Julia Williams

Vet visits are not overly pleasant for any animal or owner, but they are an essential aspect of responsible pet ownership. Like us, our pets can get sick or have an accident, and they also need routine care such as yearly “checkups,” teeth cleanings and immunizations. As such, it’s very important to find a veterinarian that you and your pet are comfortable with. You’ll want to feel confident that the vet and their support staff are knowledgeable, capable and dependable. You’ll want to trust that whenever your pet needs medical care, they will be in good hands. In doing so, you’ll minimize the stress of a vet visit for both you and your pet.

How to Find a Vet

For obvious reasons, the ideal time to find a good vet is before your pet needs one. If you’re moving to a new city, or you’re unhappy with your current vet, it’s important to spend some time researching the possibilities. Begin by asking friends, family members, co-workers and neighbors with pets who their vet is. But don’t stop there. Ask them what they specifically like about their vet and why they would recommend them. Be wary if they chose their vet mainly because they were close by, or from a yellow page ad. While this doesn’t necessarily mean the clinic isn’t a good one, you should do more research before entrusting them with the care of your beloved pet.

Before you commit to a new vet, it’s a good idea to schedule a short visit with them. In addition to speaking with the vet and their support staff, you should assess things like cleanliness, procedures, prices and demeanor. If your pet has existing health concerns, discussing them during this visit will help you determine whether this clinic will be able to treat them. Vet clinics are busy places and may not have a lot of time to spend with you on a “meet and greet,” but if they are open to having you as a new client they should be willing to see you briefly.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Vet

Before you visit a vet clinic, think about your pet’s needs, as well as your own. If your pet has health issues or special needs, it’s critical to find a vet who can adequately treat them. Do you need a vet who specializes in (or has extensive experience with) such things like dermatology or geriatrics? Do you prefer a vet whose practice is strictly traditional, or one who integrates holistic care with conventional treatments? What services does the facility offer? For example, if your pet needs an x-ray, surgery, dental work or lab tests, can these be done there, or will you need to go elsewhere?

Is the vet clinic in a convenient location, and are their hours agreeable? Does the place look inviting, inside and out? Is the reception room tidy, and is the receptionist well groomed and friendly? If there is more than one vet at the clinic, will you be able to see the same one each time you visit? If not, does it matter to you? What are the clinic’s procedures for emergencies on nights and weekends?

Will they allow you to make payments should you incur a large bill, or will they demand payment immediately? This can be an important consideration, because life sometimes hands us more than we can handle financially. Many years ago, I had a wonderful vet who let me pay off my balance one month at a time, without any guilt trips. Conversely, I once had to visit an emergency vet clinic that wouldn’t let me leave with my cat until I figured out a way to pay their $800 bill on the spot (needless to say, I never went back there).

Does your vet have good communication skills, and are they personable? Your vet needs to be able to clearly explain treatment options, test results and other important things related to your pet’s care. They also need to be willing to listen to you and answer any questions you may have. Just as with human doctors, a vet’s “bedside manner” should make you feel at ease.

Pay attention to how the vet and their support staff interact with your pet. It’s equally important to watch how your pet responds to the staff, because animals are incredibly intuitive. Speaking of intuition, if anything makes you uncomfortable about a particular vet or their place of business, trust your gut, because in my experience it is never wrong.

Choosing the right vet takes time and effort. You may need to visit several vet clinics before you find the one that best fits your needs. But considering all the love and joy your pet gives you, don’t they deserve the best possible care in return?

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.