Monthly Archives: July 2010

Why Do Mother Cats Hide Their Kittens?

By Ruthie Bently

Cats are the most recently domesticated species, but some scientists argue that cats should not be considered domesticated. Nevertheless, like our canine companions, our cats do many things based on their natural instincts. Some of these things include: hiding or burying food, kneading, hunting, claiming territory and mating. Another natural instinct that a female cat has and some will use is hiding their kittens.

A feral cat will hide her kittens to protect them from predators and intact tom cats. Newborn kittens are blind and cannot protect themselves, so they rely on their mother to keep them safe. Coyotes, hawks, eagles and owls are not above killing cats if they are small enough to overpower and kill. Even a domestic dog can kill kittens by accident while trying to play with them. Male lions will kill cubs in the pride that are not his when they take over a pride. While cats are not lions, there have been reported incidents of intact tom cats killing kittens. Understanding this will help you deal with your cat hiding her kittens.

Cats are secretive, private creatures and while they may birth their kittens in a safe, secure place they may still move them later. A mother cat may feel uncomfortable with the place she has had her kittens. She may feel it is unsafe for her kittens and may move them. A room may have too much foot traffic going through it. The area may be too noisy or the lighting may be too bright for her liking. A mother cat may move her kittens if the situation is too stressful for her. She may move them to a closet, under a bed, into a dresser drawer, under or behind the sofa or a chair, into a kitchen cabinet or another odd place. Your cat may also “claim” the territory she moves her kittens to and defend it aggressively.

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What is Hanging Tongue Syndrome?

By Linda Cole

Seeing a dog with their tongue sticking out is cute, especially when puppies do it. Most of the dogs we see competing in the World’s Ugliest Dog competitions always seem to have their tongue hanging out between their teeth. However, a dog’s tongue sticking out all the time could be a condition called hanging tongue syndrome, and it can cause the dog pain. Hanging tongue syndrome isn’t life threatening in itself, but it could indicate something is wrong.

A dog’s tongue is quite remarkable when you think about it. They use it to drink water, help keep themselves cool and to clean their coat and feet. Plus, most dogs aren’t shy when it comes to giving us a warm, sloppy kiss when they feel we need one.

How the tongue helps cool the dog is simple, yet effective. When dogs get hot while playing or exercising, they pant to cool down. The blood vessels in the tongue swell because of increased blood flow to the tongue. As the dog pants, moisture is created by their breath which evaporates and cools the tongue. As the tongue cools down, the blood flow is cooled and this goes throughout the dog’s respiratory system, cooling his entire body.

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Do Rabbits Make Good Pets?

By Julia Williams

I’ve never had a pet rabbit, but over the years I’ve thought about getting one. Usually these thoughts come after seeing a picture of an adorable, fluffy bunny. Like kittens and puppies, baby rabbits have a cuteness that is hard to resist. Once, I seriously entertained the idea of getting a pet rabbit after seeing some baby bunnies in a pet store. But I was on vacation out of state and it wasn’t practical, so I went home bunny-less. I have, however, done considerable research on whether rabbits make good pets. Since July is “Adopt-a-Rescued-Rabbit Month” I thought I’d tell you some of my findings, in case you are considering getting a pet rabbit.

What I’ve learned is that rabbits can make great pets, but they are not for everyone. This is true of just about any pet, I suppose, but rabbits in particular. I’ve read lots of glowing pro-rabbit testimonials, and just as many anti-rabbit diatribes that called them “ill-tempered, destructive and unrewarding animals.”

Here’s the thing: whether rabbits make good pets or not largely depends upon what you are expecting or wanting from a pet, and how you personally define what being a “good pet” means. A rabbit may or may not fulfill this expectation. Though some rabbits do form strong bonds with humans and enjoy being petted and groomed, others are quite anti-social and prefer to be left alone. Moreover, most rabbits do not tolerate being held and do not like to sit on laps.

Although rabbits might seem like an easy, low-maintenance “starter pet,” they aren’t. Pet rabbits require much more care than a dog or cat. Rabbits that will be kept indoors require that you do extensive bunny proofing of your home. Even then, rabbits can’t be left unsupervised in the house, due to their tendency to investigate and chew on things like books, clothes, furniture and power cords. Indoor rabbits need a large cage equipped with a litter box, chew toys and enough space so that the rabbit doesn’t feel confined. Outside rabbits need to be kept in a hutch or they will dig holes in your yard and destroy your vegetable and flower gardens.

Like cats, rabbits can easily be house trained to use a “litter box.” Whether they actually use the box consistently enough to be allowed to roam around your home, is debatable. Some rabbit owners say their bunnies are very good about using their box, while others say their pet bunny leaves droppings all over the house.

Rabbits do not provide the same level of interactivity that you’d get with a dog or cat. However, rabbits do like to play with toys, and can be entertaining to watch. Rabbits have very distinct personalities and have been described as “playful and silly like puppies or kittens, independent, fascinating, loyal and openly affectionate.” Rabbits can learn to respond to their names and to simple words. Many long-time rabbit owners also claim that domestic bunny pets are every bit as smart as cats and dogs, in their own way.

If you’re thinking about adopting a bunny, the most important thing you can do as a responsible pet owner is to thoroughly research the pros and cons of rabbits as pets. Like any other pet, rabbits deserve to be in a home where their human family is well prepared for everything it offers, good and bad. There are many sites online that can help you determine if a rabbit would be a good pet for you. Two that are very comprehensive and a good place to start your research are the House Rabbit Society and Petfinder. Both of these sites have detailed information on training, grooming and handling rabbits, socialization, behavior and medical issues, rabbit proofing your home and more.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

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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.

How to Help Your Dog Overcome a Fear of Water

By Ruthie Bently

Why are some dogs afraid of water? I have read that some breeds are predisposed to a fear of water, but I don’t agree with that. If a dog is afraid of water, many experts feel it is because they had a bad experience when they were younger. Another reason a dog may be afraid of water is because they don’t know what it is. Water comes in several forms and is found in many places and situations.

A dog growing up in a kennel situation, going outside to go potty in a cement run covered from the weather will have no experience with wet grass on their paws or feeling snow or raindrops on their skin. It makes sense that a dog in that situation would not have any experience with water and may not understand it. I think instinct may have to do with the initial fear of water some dogs have. If a dog is wary of something they don’t understand and keeps their distance, it is less apt to harm them.

Wolves are not afraid of water and they have to hunt to feed their families whether it is raining or snowing. They cover long distances and depending on the season have to cross water, ice and snow to get from one place to another. Our domestic dogs haven’t had to live outdoors for hundreds of years and are no longer as in tune to the changes in weather that their wild counterparts are. Don’t get me wrong, dogs do feel the barometric pressure change when a storm is moving in. However, most are inside where the temperature is constant and they don’t feel the cold or heat of the day; and they don’t sit watching the weather outside change.

How do you get your dog used to water? You can train your dog to be accepting of water gradually, using understanding, patience, praise and dog treats as bait (if you need them). It may take several tries if they have gotten scared by water in the past. Try not to become frustrated if it doesn’t happen the way you want the first time you try it. If your dog is afraid of rain, take their favorite toy outside and play a game with them while it is raining. You can use this method when it is snowing too; just make sure you can see the toy in the snow. Praise them and offer a treat when they bring the toy back. If they have a problem with dewy grass, take them for a walk in the early morning or invite one of their dog friends over for an early morning play session while the grass is still wet. They will be interested in playing and forget about the wet grass.

Maybe your dog is fearful of taking a bath because they fell in the bathtub when they were young, went under and got a mouth full of water. Try getting them used to shallow water using a kiddie pool with a piece of non-skid shelf liner in the bottom so they won’t fall. Fill it with a few inches of water, get in and coax them in with you using a treat. Gently apply water to them and show them it isn’t as scary as they think. If you have a small dog, use a dishpan filled with warm water instead.

If your dog is afraid of water in general, try taking them to a lake with a beach or a gentle sloping bank that allows them to walk in on their own. Plan your trip on a day when the wind is calm, so there will be less wave action that may make them nervous. Attach a six foot lead to their collar and use praise and a treat to coax them into the water. If they don’t want to enter the water don’t force the issue. Return another day and repeat the exercise.

Skye is one of those dogs that isn’t entirely sure about water. She’s not afraid of a bath, though she is glad when it is over. She doesn’t like rain but she loves playing in the snow and has to be cajoled to come back inside. I had to teach Skye about the water in her kiddie pool but she goes charging into the river when we take a walk there. She wasn’t always so accepting of water, but over time she discovered that it isn’t the demon she thought it was. By understand your dog and using patience, praise and treats, you can help a dog who is fearful of water, learn to enjoy getting wet.

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.

Meet One of the Very First CANIDAE “Consumers”

By Julia Williams

This is a true story about Scout, a 15-year old chocolate Lab who has been eating CANIDAE dog food since the company started about 14-1/2 years ago. Scout began eating the All Life Stages formula as a 6-month old puppy, which makes him one of the company’s very first customers!

Considering that the average lifespan of Labrador Retrievers is estimated to be about 10-12 years, Scout is doing quite well. Moreover, Scout’s longevity is a testament to CANIDAE and their commitment to offering consumers premium quality pet food. Scout thrived on his all-CANIDAE diet as a young strapping pup, and as he grew and aged, his good health continued.

Scout now eats the CANIDAE Platinum formula for seniors and is still very healthy. Although he does have some arthritis in his legs, this is to be expected for such an old dog. As you can see from these recent photos, Scout is an energetic happy boy, still loving life and going strong at the age of 15.

Scout belongs to Duncan Reid, whose mother Debbie is a longtime friend of CANIDAE customer service rep Diane Matsuura. Debbie bought Scout from a breeder who was also one of the first sales reps for CANIDAE, back in the mid 1990s when the company was just getting started. Duncan said Scout was born in March of 1995, and was his 8th grade graduation present.

“My parents saw a ‘Labrador Puppies Available’ ad on the bulletin board at San Dimas Grain Company in California and decided it was time for me to have a dog of my own. When it came time to choose, there were so many cute puppies that I had the hardest time picking one. I remember looking over the group of puppies and seeing a small shy puppy amongst all the other strong energetic puppies. He was getting pushed around and most people would have overlooked this shy puppy, but I fell in love with him. I don’t know what it was; I just could not leave without him. We named him Windy River Scout after his mother, Marilyn’s Windy City, and his father, Mad River Burt.”

Duncan said he has so many fond memories of growing up with Scout. He remembers sleeping with him on the floor of the laundry room when he was a puppy so he wouldn’t whine in the middle of the night. He also remembers playing with him in the backyard every day after school. “One game we played was hide and seek. I would sneak into the bushes and be very quiet. When I was properly hidden, I would call Scout’s name and wait for him to find me. It was our own little game and he always won.”

Scout is a beautiful chocolate Lab with a “golden” heart. In addition to being Duncan’s faithful companion for all these years, Scout earned his American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen certification many years ago, and attained his Rally Novice title at 11 years of age. “It is amazing how long he has lived, and I cherish every memory,” said Duncan.

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.

Do Pets Forget About Us Over Time?

By Linda Cole

Sometimes, because of situations beyond our control, we have to find a pet a new home. An illness or change in jobs can force a loving owner to have to give their pet away. We develop such a close bond with our pets, we never forget them. But do pets forget about us over time? There’s no shortage of stories recounting the adventures of pets who traveled hundreds of miles to find their family. When a close bond has been broken and pets have to form a new one with a new family, are we still in their mind? Do they forget about us or do they retain some memory of their old life?

My mom fought a lifelong battle with rheumatoid arthritis, and was in and out of the hospital for as long as I can remember, undergoing numerous surgeries to correct the damage caused by her disease. Complications from her last surgery kept her in the hospital far longer than expected. I was taking care of her pets at my house. As their extended stay turned into months, one of her dogs, Ben, began to mope around the house. Mom passed away in the hospital and I started the chore of bringing her belongings to my house. Ben perked up when he smelled familiar scents, and he burrowed under her bedding I had brought over to wash. He ran from room to room as if he were looking for something, and I always wondered if it was simply the smells he remembered or if he was looking for my mom. I do believe he remembered his life with her when he smelled familiar scents from his home.

We know a lot about dogs and cats, but whether pets forget about us when they go to a new home or become lost is still a mystery. But there are amazing examples of how a cat or dog walked hundreds of miles to get back home when they were lost, given away or relocated to a temporary home. A cat walked 1,000 miles through the Australian outback to return to his home after he was taken to stay temporarily with a family member while his owners were overseas. What’s truly remarkable is how he knew which way to go, and that he survived in a region where many people have trouble surviving. It took him a year to cover his 1,000 mile trek home!

A well known example of a dog who refused to leave his master’s side is Greyfriar’s Bobby, a Skye terrier who became a fixture on his owner’s grave for 14 years. Even though people in the community tried to adopt Bobby, he always ran away and returned to the cemetery.

Some pets seem to be more tuned into their owners than other pets. We know some dogs have the mental capacity of three year olds. Cats are much smarter than they’re given credit for, and some dogs and cats do exhibit problem solving abilities. We can remember significant things that happened when we were three. So why should it surprise us if some pets can remember?

If pets do forget about us over time, then how do we explain the ones who crossed rivers and mountains to return to their homes? Some have even left their old home to find their owner who moved to a new location that was unfamiliar to the pet and yet, they were able to find them.

No one knows how pets are able to do this. It really is amazing how some pets are so connected with their owners that they will go in search of them. Some accounts of pets returning to their old home could be due to the pet wanting to be in familiar and comfortable territory. But that wouldn’t explain why a pet would pull up roots, leaving their old home to go in search of an owner who moved hundreds of miles away or one who passed away.

Pets instinctively hide pain or injuries so they don’t appear weak. Is it possible they’re good at hiding their feelings as well? Love is a hard emotion to define when it comes to our pets. We love them, but do they love us in return? I think they do. Do pets forget about us over time? It probably depends on the pet. Some are willing to do whatever it takes to be with the ones they feel comfortable and safe with. Love, after all, is a comfortable and safe feeling. Maybe it’s that simple for some pets – it’s a familiar bond with their human that remains no matter where we are.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

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.