Monthly Archives: April 2011

Garden Plants That Help Fight Fleas Naturally

By Linda Cole

It’s that time of year when pesky fleas begin popping up in the home and on your pet. Planting certain garden plants around your home and in the areas where your pets wander can help deter and repel those little pests. Now is the time to plan your garden to include some plants that can help control fleas naturally.

Many of the same herbs used in cooking, baking and teas work well to help deter and repel fleas. However, not all plants are safe for use around dogs and cats. Tansy, Wormwood, Eucalyptus, Fleawort, Pennyroyal (also called Fleabane), Rue, Citronella and Sweet Bay are garden plants that can help repel fleas and they are suggested for use as natural flea control, but all of them are toxic to dogs and cats. Since most gardens are visited by neighborhood cats or dogs, it’s best to avoid using these plants in gardens or around the yard.

Mints are one of my favorite garden plants because they can be used in baking, cooking and teas, and they have a wonderful smell. I have chocolate mint growing around my dog pen and the foundation of the house. All varieties of mint work well to repel fleas. One thing I love about my chocolate mint is when one of the dogs wanders through a patch of mint, they have a minty smell that clings to them for awhile and at the same time, it repels some of the fleas on them. And if one of the dogs decides to munch on some of the mint, I know it’s safe and won’t hurt them.

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Dealing with Spring Fever in Female Dogs

“Bear” helps in the garden by guarding the shovel

By Suzanne Alicie

Okay, so I don’t know if it’s actually spring fever but when springtime rolls around my female dogs have always acted out just a bit. When we had two dogs they would do a bit of sparring and some territorial behavior. This was funny to watch as the younger dog suddenly gained confidence and a bit of cockiness and shoved her mom around. After several weeks they returned to normal.

This spring fever behavior didn’t coincide with them going into heat or beginning their cycle, so I just chalked it up to being similar to the way I react to spring. When the days begin to warm and the sun is shining, flowers are blooming and pollen fills the air I feel rejuvenated and alive after a long winter.  I suppose if I were a dog, I might get just a bit pushy too!

Now that I only have the younger female dog, she seems to have turned her spring fever towards me as the only other female in the house. Bear has always been an odd duck; she didn’t socialize well when she was a puppy and still seems to have the puppy mentality even though she weighs 50 pounds and is just over seven years old. She sleeps under the bed, and she generally thinks she’s either a lap dog or a person. But when spring fever hits, she’s downright ornery!

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Take a Vacation with Your Dog at Canine Club Getaway

By Julia Williams

Even though I’m a diehard “cat lady,” I love all animals including dogs. Lately, I’ve been having a strange desire to get a dog. I say “strange” because I’ve always bonded more with cats than dogs. Plus, it takes considerably more time and effort to be a responsible dog owner than it does to be a responsible cat owner. If your cats are poorly trained it doesn’t really matter, because no one expects you to be able to train cats anyway. Ha ha!

But seriously – one big advantage dogs have over cats is the potential for fun outside the home. There are umpteen dog sports and activities you can participate in with your canine best friend. Cats generally prefer to stay home getting their 16-18 hours of beauty sleep. Most dogs enjoy road trips, and pet-friendly lodging makes it easier than ever to take the pooch along on summer vacations.

Elevating that idea to a whole new level is Canine Club Getaway (CCG), a once-a-year opportunity to take an amazing vacation at a beautiful resort that caters to people AND dogs! Uh oh. I was already feeling the itch to get a dog – and now, after looking at all of the pawesome activities the Canine Club Getaway offers both its two and four-legged guests, I really, really want a dog!


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Two Acts of Loyalty after Japan’s Earthquake and Tsunami

By Linda Cole

Natural disasters can happen in the blink of an eye, and people and animals caught in nature’s fury have their lives changed in a matter of minutes. Even with all the destruction, life goes on as stories of survival emerge from the rubble. Japan’s earthquake and tsunami devastated so many lives, but some were saved because of the devotion of dogs.

As an animal lover, when natural disasters happen I worry about the pets that are caught up in something they don’t understand. Pets that suddenly find themselves wandering through debris and shivering through cold nights with no shelter, food or clean water and no comforting voice from the ones they love.

Since the earthquake and tsunami struck Japan, videos and stories of survival have been popping up on Facebook. One video in particular captured my attention. It shows two dogs left homeless by the devastation. One dog is injured and his friend stands guard over him in a true display of loyalty. When this video began to appear, the person posting it left a comment saying, “This is a hard video to watch. It’s heartbreaking.” So I passed it by not wanting to watch something I knew would make me cry. But it stuck with me as the days passed and I kept thinking about the dogs and wondering what their fate was.

The video was shot by a Japanese reporter and his cameraman surveying the destructive power of the tsunami in an area called Arahama. A dog approached but stayed a comfortable distance away from them. He gave a bark as if saying, “That’s close enough,” and went back to another dog lying in the background in front of a large metal barrel resting on its side. It’s obvious the dog was protecting his injured friend. Both dogs were muddy, wet, cold and probably hungry. No one knows how long they had been together, but it’s believed they knew each other. The uninjured dog wore a collar, so he was at least someone’s pet. The good news is, both dogs were rescued. The dog guarding his friend was taken to a shelter, and the injured dog was taken to a vet where he is being cared for.

One story of survival that has stayed with me recounted a 12 year old Shih Tzu named Babu and her owner, 83 year old Tami Akanuma, who rode out the earthquake in their home. Babu is not a dog who enjoys walks, but on the day of the earthquake, she insisted on going for a walk when the lights in the house began to flicker. Once outside, instead of following Tami, Babu yanked on her leash and went in the opposite direction towards a nearby hill. Each time Tami stopped to rest, Babu would urge her to keep moving by pulling on her leash to get Tami to move faster. Babu finally relaxed and stopped pulling, and Tami was amazed to have discovered they had walked a little over half a mile in just a few minutes. As she turned around to look down the hill, the tsunami crashed through her coastal town and Tami’s home was destroyed, along with everything else in the area.

Those of us who are close to our pets aren’t surprised by these two stories of devotion, but they are nonetheless humbling because they remind us how the strong bond we’ve built with our pets goes both ways. Even between two dogs.

I do think animals have an ability to predict the weather to a certain extent, and I’m sure Babu sensed the tsunami. She could have raced outside and left Tami behind – but she didn’t. Babu knew her job was to lead Tami to higher ground because of the impending danger she sensed. The uninjured dog in the first story could have taken off on his own to find shelter and food – but he didn’t. His devotion kept him by the side of his injured friend. Loyalty and love run deep once a bond and trust has been formed, and not even an earthquake’s destruction nor a tsunami could break their bond.

This isn’t a feel bad story. It’s a reminder to love your pet each and every day, and never take them for granted. It’s a reminder to “see” stray cats or dogs who are trying to survive the best they can because they could be someone’s lost pet. It’s a reminder to treat every animal with respect and realize how precious they all are. It’s a reminder to give the people and pets you love an extra hug. Life and security should never be taken for granted, because both can be changed in the blink of an eye.

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.

How to Bond with Your Cat

By Julia Williams

One of the most prevalent myths about cats is also one that, as a lifelong cat lover, I can unequivocally refute. Cats are said to be aloof, independent creatures that shun humans and don’t form close bonds with them. Many people joke that the only use cats have for people is to keep their food dish full. If that were really true, I imagine there would be a lot less cat owners in the world. Cats can and do bond with humans. This is not to say there aren’t aloof cats among us. There are, yet I believe the vast majority of them are not born aloof but become that way as a result of their environment or lack of human interaction.

Not counting the “family cats” of my childhood, I’ve been a mom to 12 different felines, and have had a close relationship with all of them. Learning how to bond with your cat is not rocket science. It’s more about knowing a few simple things about cats that will help you forge a mutual close relationship.

Respect Your Cat’s Individuality

This is by far the most important thing you can do if you want to have a good relationship with your cat. It’s crucial because cats are individuals and each one has very different likes and dislikes. Moreover, they don’t enjoy being forced to do something they don’t like. Imagine what would happen if you took a child who disliked roller coasters on the Matterhorn ride at Disneyland. They’d scream, cry, kick and make your life miserable. The same principle holds true with cats.

Some cats love being held and hugged, while others don’t. One cat may love having its belly rubbed, while another might think this is a form of torture. If you want to bond with your cat, you need to first learn what it likes and what it doesn’t like. Then you can spend your time doing the things your cat prefers rather than trying to force it to do things it doesn’t enjoy.

Although you may want a cat that enjoys being petted while sitting on your lap, you may actually have a cat that prefers being petted while it’s lying on the bed or the floor. Unfortunately, you get what you get, and you can’t change your cat’s preferences by wishing or by force. This is one reason I love having more than one cat. My three cats all like different things, so I get to enjoy a little of everything. For example, one cat doesn’t like being held or kissed but will sit on my lap for petting, for as long as I indulge him. One likes to be cradled like a baby but is not a fan of the lap. One loves to be brushed while two do not. You get the idea. It’s all about what the cat likes, not what you like!

Spend Time with Your Cat

You simply can’t expect to bond with your cat if you don’t interact with them on a daily basis. This is especially true if you work outside the home and are gone for most of your cat’s day. If you come home, plop on the couch to watch TV and don’t pet your cat or play with them, do you think they don’t notice? It’s preposterous to think that cats don’t have feelings and don’t know when they’re being ignored. They certainly do, and they don’t feel all warm and fuzzy toward the people who ignore them. Greet your cat enthusiastically every time you come home. Engage them in play with their furry mouse or feather toy. Show them that they matter to you, and you may be surprised to see that they actually meet you at the front door!

Talk to Your Cat

Even though your cat will not understand everything you say, they can and do learn certain words. Aside from that, they love hearing your voice and they know that you’re speaking to them and paying attention to them. You can talk to them about anything and everything because what you say doesn’t matter nearly so much as how often you speak to them and are focused solely on them.

These tips are all things I have learned from many years of having cats in my life. I really believe that anyone can form a close bond with their cat if they desire it, and are willing to do a few simple things to nurture the feline-human relationship. When you treat your cat like family, respect their individuality and see them as sentient beings that want to give and receive love, your relationship will blossom.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

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.

Breed Health Concerns for Poodles

By Suzanne Alicie

Poodles are wonderful pets. They are intelligent, easy to train, eager to please, and just a pleasure to have around. However, as a responsible pet owner you have to look further than the outward appearance and behavior before choosing a dog. Poodles aren’t low maintenance dogs, and even have some breed wide health concerns to consider. It’s important that you are aware of the possible health problems your poodle may have before you adopt one and get hit with veterinary bills.

I was given a poodle for Mother’s Day several years ago. My dog, named Noodle the Poodle by my kids, was a toy poodle. I had never owned a small dog or a poodle before, so I went in blind. Initially everything was great. I kept Noodle groomed and up to date on his shots and vet visits. He loved to play and was an all around great dog. He even got along with my cat!

When Noodle was about 18 months old he was lying on the floor beside the sofa while I watched TV. Suddenly I heard a coughing/choking noise and I jumped up. When I looked at Noodle his whole body was stiff, his eyes and mouth were open and he was gasping for breath. I thought he had found my child’s toy and had eaten it. I tried to feel in his throat to see if there was anything I could remove, but found nothing. I picked him up, and raced for the car telling my husband to get us to the vet. It was a Sunday afternoon, and we went to three veterinary offices before we found one that was open.

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