Monthly Archives: October 2010

Tips to Keep Pets Safe and Stress Free on Halloween

By Linda Cole

Halloween isn’t a very pet friendly holiday. I had a dog who was scared to death of Halloween masks. Even though she knew it was me underneath the mask, she would become aggressive and vocal. My cat Milo also had one of his nine lives scared out of him by a rather large rubber rat one Halloween, and it took him a long time to recover from his fright. He checked under the covers every night for almost a month before he’d even think about crawling in bed with me.

We don’t always stop to realize how certain holidays are seen by our pets, and Halloween is one that does give some pets a fright. Because of that large rubber rat and an audio tape of Halloween noises, Milo freaked out when the rat accidentally fell off the table. Unknown to us at the time, the evil laughs, creaking doors and screams on the tape had put him on edge. The falling rat sent Milo racing to take refuge in the bathroom. When I found him, his eyes were huge, his heart was racing and he was quivering from his frightful encounter.

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Can Dogs Get Distemper if They’ve Been Vaccinated?

By Ruthie Bently

Pet owners are required to get their cats and dogs vaccinated against the rabies disease, and there are other vaccinations our pets get depending on their owner’s preference and veterinarian’s recommendations. The distemper vaccination is not a required vaccination in the United States, but it is strongly advised by veterinarians because distemper can be fatal in certain cases.

A dog can contract distemper from a vaccination and this is known as vaccinial distemper; it is exceedingly rare but is possible. I spoke with my vet, and in his 32 years of practice he has never seen a dog contract distemper from a vaccination. If a dog contracts distemper from an inoculation, it is a situation where the dog’s immune system has already been severely compromised by something else.

The distemper virus is related to measles in humans, and in days gone by they used human measles vaccine to immunize puppies. A dog contracts distemper by coming in contact with an infected dog’s bodily secretions such as drool, discharge from a sneeze or cough, even urine; it is introduced to the body through the mouth or nose. In places of the world where vaccines are not commonly used, distemper can affect any age dog.

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Tips for Solving Litter Box Problems

By Julia Williams

In the “bathroom habits” category of the Cats Versus Dogs debate, fastidious kitties win paws down over canines. House training a puppy can be a lengthy process fraught with accidents; house training a kitten, on the other hand, usually involves placing them gently in a litter box once or twice and calling it a day.

A cat’s natural instinct to bury their waste typically means that litter box problems are few and far between. However, there are exceptions, and solving litter box problems requires being a bit of a “pet detective.” There’s always a reason why a cat stops using its litter box, and to get them back on track (or in the box), you have to figure out what it is. Litter box problems can be the result of a medical issue, or they can occur when your cat develops an aversion to the litter box for many different reasons.

Possible Causes of Litter Box Problems

1. Medical problems should be ruled out first. A urinary tract infection, blockage, or crystals in their urine can make elimination painful. It’s assumed that cats associate the litter box with the pain, and begin to avoid it. You may also see them spending a long time in the box but producing very little or no urine, and/or frequently licking their genitals. Urinary tract problems occur more often in male cats, although females have them too. It can be life threatening, so take your cat to the vet immediately if you suspect this to be the cause of your litter box problem.

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Spay or Neuter Pets to Prevent Health Problems

By Linda Cole

Getting a puppy or kitten is so much fun. Watching them learn, investigate new things and grow is exciting, but they soon reach the age where they’re mature enough to reproduce. It’s best to have them spayed or neutered to prevent unwanted pregnancies, and this safe procedure can help prevent health issues too.

Responsible breeders take great care to make sure the dogs or cats they use in their breeding programs are healthy. They go to extensive lengths to try and eliminate as many genetic defects as they can through responsible breeding. For the rest of us, our duty as responsible pet owners is to spay and neuter our family pets before they are old enough to reproduce.

Some vets recommend spaying and neutering as young as 6-14 weeks, whereas others prefer to wait until the pet is closer to 6-7 months of age. Those in favor of altering as young as possible say it’s the best way to prevent accidental pregnancies. Vets who do early age spaying and neutering believe the pet heals more quickly from the operation and has less discomfort than those who are altered at an older age. However, many pet owners are concerned about putting their 8 week old puppy or kitten through an operation that requires anesthesia. Having your pet altered is a simple and safe operation any qualified vet can perform, whether it’s at an early age or when the pet is older. The important thing is to have them altered to give them a better quality life.

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Enjoy Those Eight Stages of Puppyhood

By Tamara L. Waters

They’re cute and adorable, and who can resist a sweet face (or my weakness – those squeal-inducing bellies)? Why, they’re puppies of course, and if you have a new pup or are thinking of adding one to your family, you might be interested in learning about the eight stages of puppyhood. These stages are categorized according to an article titled “Stages of Canine Development” originally published in Weimaraner Magazine.

The eight stages of puppyhood are divided according to days after birth, and run into adulthood. Knowing about the stages of your puppy’s development can help you become a knowledgeable and responsible pet owner, which will help you give your pet the best care possible.

Puppy Stage One: Neonatal Period – Birth to 13 days
This is the most helpless stage of puppyhood, as the pup cannot regulate its own body temperature and requires food and warmth from mama or a surrogate. During this stage, human interaction should start. Puppies should be handled gently by their humans beginning in this stage of development.

Puppy Stage Two: Transition Period – 13 to 21 days
This next stage of puppyhood will see the pup’s eyes and ears opening up. Yep, that means the puppy will start to hear, and his sense of taste and smell will develop. More human handling is on the agenda during this stage, and this is also the perfect time to start introducing your puppy to your kitties, if you have them. Just make sure they are friendly kitties!

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Fun Fall Activities for Your Dog

By Suzanne Alicie

You know how much you enjoy it when the days begin to cool down after a hot summer? Well your dog enjoys that as well. With cooler temperatures, your dog will have more energy and more stamina for being outdoors and enjoying fun fall activities. There are a few activities that are specific to the fall season that your dog will love.

Football – Your dog probably won’t do well with a regular football, but you can use a foam football or even a doggie sized football to take your dog out and play a great game of catch, fetch and tackle (be careful tackling, of course). Larger dogs especially enjoy the rough and tumble fun and exercise of a fall game of football.

Hiking – Once the days cool down, taking a hike with your dog is a lot less challenging for him than it is during the heat of summer. Choose a hiking trail where you and your dog can wander for a few hours and you’ll see just how much he enjoys all that sniffing and exploring, when it is cool enough to do so comfortably. Be sure to bring along your favorite snack, some bottled water, and a few CANIDAE Snap-Bits™ treats for your pooch. For more information on fall hikes, check out The Benefits of Hiking with Your Dog.

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