Monthly Archives: June 2011

Why Do Dogs and Cats Chase Their Tails?

By Linda Cole

I don’t know many pet owners who haven’t watched their dog or cat chase their tail, especially if they adopted the pet as a puppy or kitten. However, tail chasing isn’t a normal activity for adult dogs or cats and if they chase their tail all the time, there could be a medical or behavioral reason for it.

Young dogs and cats enjoy trying to catch their tails. Kittens are fun to watch when they get in a tail chasing mood. When my cat Pogo was a kitten, he would stare intently as his tail flicked back and forth. He lowered his head with each flick and readied himself for an ambush. At the right moment, he would pounce on his tail, twisting, turning, doing somersaults and hopping up and down (the reason for his name) until he tired of the game. Of course we laughed watching his antics.

Some older pets chase their tail to get our attention. Dogs and cats are both capable of learning things on their own and sometimes realize they can get us to pay attention to them if they chase their tail. When they get a positive reaction from us – we laugh and pay attention to them – it makes them more likely to continue doing it to please their human.

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What Does a Pet Rehabilitation Center Do?

By Julia Williams

When age or injury makes it more difficult for your dog or cat to get around, many pet owners assume that nothing much can be done. However, thanks to new treatment options and modern technology, our pets don’t have to hobble about in pain anymore. Pet rehabilitation centers are springing up all around the nation, and they’re helping pets regain mobility and get relief from the pain. Rehab can be a great help for humans, so why not for our pets too? Whether the aches and pains are from tendonitis or arthritis, a pinched nerve or surgery, a pet rehabilitation center can help to get your pet back on his paws.

Pet rehabilitation involves using a variety of treatments and technology to help restore normal function to their joints and muscles. Rehab can improve a pet’s flexibility and mobility, enhance limb use and mitigate pain. The pet rehab facility takes a holistic approach to health and considers all factors, including medical history, current issues, body condition, lifestyle, nutrition, supplements and medication. Pets typically visit a rehabilitation center about twice a week, and owners are also taught how to do core exercises with their pet at home.

Pet rehabilitation centers combine the education and expertise of a veterinarian with a doctor of physical therapy. This produces optimum results because vets understand the nature of pet injuries and diseases while physical therapists understand the science of rehabilitation – e.g., how a body moves, joint and soft tissue mechanics and the impact of exercise. Add cutting edge technology to the mix, and it’s easy to see how beneficial this could be for aging or injured pets.

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How to Tell if Your Pet is Overweight

By Suzanne Alicie

Responsible pet owners have the job of making sure their pets stay healthy and fit. Besides regular vet visits and exercise, it’s also important to make sure your pet is at the proper weight. Overweight animals, just like overweight people, tend to develop other health problems. Some people think it’s cute to see a big fluffy cat or pudgy pooch, and you may believe that a full bodied animal is healthy. But there is a limit to just how big a dog or cat should be allowed to get. This has nothing to do with height or length; the determination of whether a dog or cat is overweight is generally based on their appearance. There are several visual indicators that let you know it’s time to discuss your pet’s food intake with the veterinarian.

Overweight Cats

Felines are known for their lithe bodies, and cat owners can help their kitties watch their figure by keeping an eye on the following areas.

• Ribs should be easily felt but not sticking out prominently.
• From above, your cat should have some indentation between the ribs and the hips; this is the feline hourglass shape that is healthy.
• The cat’s belly should not protrude to the sides or hang down.
• Feline hips should be covered with a light fleshiness. If you have to really search to find the hip bones, your cat is likely overweight.

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How Facebook Helps Pets In Need

By Linda Cole

Anyone with a Facebook account understands the addictive nature of this social networking site. It’s a place where anyone can go to meet new people (with the proper precautions), get information and find pets that are in need of homes. The site even helps lost pets that have gone through natural disasters get reunited with frantic owners who were searching for them. Facebook is helping to change the plight of pets, one animal at a time.

Natural disasters affect not only the people who experience them directly, but those of us who only witness them via TV reports and now, social media. This year’s violent and deadly tornadoes have given new meaning to “keep your eye on the weather.” People who live in tornado prone states aren’t taking warnings and watches for granted this year. We can’t do anything about the weather, but we can help those affected by it in ways that weren’t possible five years ago.

Several days after the Joplin tornado, my Facebook news page was filled with posts from people who’d found pets in a demolished home or wandering aimlessly among the rubble. I also saw a number of posts from pet owners asking if anyone had seen their pet. It struck me then that Facebook had become a sort of “bulletin board” for lost and found. This is not what we see on TV news reports. Oh sure, we get some personal stories, but we don’t get the day-to-day activities that go on after a natural disaster. I gladly shared each post I saw hoping it might help reunite pets with their owners. It was my only way of trying to help. But the power of social media cannot be denied, and I know that sharing someone else’s post might lead to a person who was able to help in a way I couldn’t.

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Working Cats, a.k.a. “the Verminators”

By Julia Williams

Much has been written about the various types of “working dogs” that provide a great service to mankind. I’ve done several articles on “dogs with jobs” myself, and CANIDAE sponsors dozens of exemplary working dogs in their Special Achievers program. But working cats? Other than certified therapy cats – like the delightful Guido the Italian Kitty – you don’t hear a lot about cats with jobs. Nevertheless, working cats do exist and are becoming increasingly more common. They may not undergo the same rigorous training as police dogs or search-and-rescue dogs, but these highly skilled “Verminators” provide an invaluable service.

Farmers have known for eons that cats are the best way to keep a rodent population under control. Cats are also being used at various historical sites, public gardens and museums to keep the grounds rodent free. An extra benefit of having working cats on the premises is that the visiting public enjoys them as well. When word gets out, cat lovers flock to tourist attractions that have kitties on patrol.

Here are just a few places that use working cats to keep the mice away.

The Alamo in San Antonio, Texas

Legend has it that there’s almost always been a cat living at the Alamo. A Mexican soldier’s diary told of a friendly feline roaming the grounds in 1836, the year of the famous battle. In 1981, guards rescued a stray kitten from a tree and she began joining them on their rounds. Upon her death the cat – christened Ruby LeGato – was buried on the grounds. Now the Alamo has another famous feline resident, a plucky black-and-white cat named C.C. who’s been patrolling the gardens for about 14 years.

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Does a Dog’s Guilty Look Prove He’s Been Naughty?

By Linda Cole

After a long day at work, you’re tired and all you want to do is go home and put your feet up. But as soon as you open the door, you see trash scattered all over the kitchen floor and your dog has a guilty look. If you only have one pet, the naughty one is obvious, but households with two or more pets may not know which one did the dastardly deed. Before jumping to conclusions, are you sure you’re blaming the right pet?

Like any pet owner, when I come home and find knick knacks lying on the floor I assume one of the cats must have had a fun afternoon dusting the table. I’ve even returned home to find a chunk missing out of the arm of my couch. My first reaction is to look to see who looks guilty. Trying to find the guilty cat is like trying to find the proverbial needle in a haystack! “Don’t look at me. I’m a cat and we never do anything wrong.” Besides, cats believe everything in your home belongs to them anyway. So, since the knick knacks and table are theirs, it’s a cat’s right to rearrange them if she decides the table looks better without all that clutter.

Dogs sometimes give us a peevish look of guilt that says it all, whether they’ve been naughty or not. My dog Alex will sit in the corner of the couch with all of the guilty signs of a bad dog. Her face is long, her head drops low and she looks at me with the saddest eyes she can muster even though I know she’s innocent. Alex doesn’t get into trouble, but she reads me like a book.

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