Monthly Archives: April 2012

How to Give Your Cat a Pill

By Langley Cornwell

My neighbor has a cat with asthma. She travels for work, and when she’s gone I cat-sit for her. The cat is generally easy to care for but recently she needed oral meds and I had to give her a pill every day. We have a cat but fortunately our little guy has never had to take a pill so I had absolutely no experience in this area. I consulted a few cat-loving friends and got loads of good advice.

One friend used to give her cat a daily thyroid pill. She was able to hide the pill inside a tiny bit of something the cat liked, such as cream cheese, butter, turkey, or a bite of FELIDAE wet cat food. She would cover the pill with the ‘good stuff’ and roll it into a bite-sized ball. The cat looked forward to this and would gulp the whole thing down. My friend doesn’t know if her cat knew the pill was in there or not. Maybe she knew but just didn’t care because the ‘treat’ was so good. Whatever the case, this method worked well and she never had the stress of worrying about how to get her cat to take a pill. This probably works best with very small pills. The asthma pills for my neighbor’s cat were a bit large but it was worth a try.

No luck. It didn’t matter what I wrapped the pill in, that cat would devour the delicious outer coating and spit out the whole pill. My neighbor laughed at me via text; she had warned me that the ‘hide the pill’ method was going to be unsuccessful but I needed to prove it to myself because the alternative seemed so difficult.

If you’ve ever had to give a cat a pill, you already know how hard it is. Maybe I’m wrong here but I think even the most seasoned cat-people would rather not have to do it the manual way. In fact, Animal Planet says cats enjoy taking a pill as well as they enjoy taking a bubble bath – and I honestly think giving my neighbor’s cat a bath would have been easier.

Here’s a combination of what the experts at Animal Planet recommend and what worked for me:

Have the pill within arm’s reach before you even think about starting the process. Some people recommend lubricating the pill with butter to make it easier to swallow.

Confine your cat to one room; preferably a room the cat is familiar with. Equip the room with the pill and a blanket or large towel. Check to see if the pill can be taken with food. If so, have a high-value treat like FELIDAE TidNips on hand.

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What is Flyball?

By Michelle Martin, CANIDAE Team Member

When you ask the average dog lover what agility is, they can probably give you a general description, but ask them what Flyball is and you usually get a response like “Fly…What??” My goal today is to introduce readers to the wonderful, action packed sport of Flyball! It’s a fast paced dog relay race that sets two teams of four dogs each, to race each other. Flyball is a fun sport that combines agility and an advanced game of fetch.

Flyball is a competitive team sport that was invented in California in the late 70’s. Herbert Wagner was credited for creating the first ever Flyball box when he showed millions of Americans his dogs playing Flyball on the Johnny Carson Show. Soon after, dog trainers were making their own Flyball boxes and in the early 80’s the sport became so popular that the North American Flyball Association (NAFA) was formed; they are a know worldwide. Today we have two associates that host Flyball competition, which are NAFA and U-Fli.

Flyball races place two teams of four dogs and handlers each to their own lane, racing side-by-side, over a 51-foot long course. Each dog runs in a relay fashion over a set of four jumps in a straight line, and then they hit the box, which triggers the ball to pop out. The dog then catches the ball (on the “fly”) and returns over the jumps with the ball to their handler. The next dog is released but cannot pass the start/finish line until the previous dog has. The goal here is to have the dogs cross as close as possible to the start/finish line. The first team to have all four dogs finish the course without error is the winner of that race. If you could take a guess how fast this could be done, what would it be… 1 minute…30 seconds? Can you believe the fastest that Flyball has been raced so far was clocked at 14.690 seconds! This is the world record held by a club called Touch n Go during a 2011 competition.

Like I mentioned, a Flyball team consists of 4 dogs running; usually one of those four dogs is a lot smaller than the others. People watching a competition always wonder why there is a small dog on the team. They think we are just being “nice” to let the little dogs play. In actuality the hurdle heights are determined by the smallest dog on the team, which is then called the “height dog.” Dogs and their owners really like having small dogs on the team because it lowers down the jumps, which usually means the big dogs can run faster! So we big dog owners really like having the little dogs play.

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Dog Training is a Commitment You Make to Your Pet

By Linda Cole

Dog training isn’t a hard concept to grasp, and neither is teaching your dog. It’s a commitment you make to your pet. You are the teacher and your dog is your student. Some dog breeds are harder to train than others, not because they aren’t smart enough to learn, but because of their breed characteristics. Any dog can learn, if you take the time and commit to his education. Training a dog isn’t just about teaching basic commands. For some dogs, it’s also finding something they like to do and then teaching the necessary skills needed to succeed in whatever it is. You could say it’s a college education for your dog.

Most owners understand why their pet needs to know certain commands that help to keep them safe and under control. Dogs are also capable of learning things on their own just by watching and listening to us. My dogs figured out on their own what “back up” and “wait” meant because those are two commands I’ve always used when it’s time to go outside to their pen. “Back up” means give me a chance to open the basement door, and “wait” means let me get down the steps so you all don’t knock me down the stairs. It hit me one day when I forgot something and turned around. They were standing behind me patiently waiting for me to open the door. Yep, I had a light bulb moment and learned something about dog training at the same time.

Training shouldn’t be a boring chore for you or your dog. Make it fun and interesting – playtime with your dog. As long as there’s a commitment by you to reinforce what it is you want them to learn, they will learn, even if you don’t realize you’re teaching them. That’s the beauty of dog training. Most dogs do want to learn and are willing students who pay attention to what we say and do. Positive reinforcement, commitment, plenty of CANIDAE treats and praise are the tools you need to teach your dog.

Giving your dog a job to do isn’t a must, but if you have an energetic dog with a high prey drive or one that’s well socialized, friendly and likes people, you have a pet that could excel at agility or as a therapy dog. Of course, dog sports or jobs require additional training for the specific activity. In most cases, you can find classes that can help you teach your pet what they need to know. Langley Cornwell introduced us to the sport of Treibball earlier this year. It’s a growing activity for dogs of any size or age.

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Thank Heavens Our Pets Don’t Hold Grudges

By Julia Williams

Last night my cat sauntered into my office and began dragging her behind across the carpet. I’ve seen dogs do this but never a cat, and certainly not my prissy baby girl Belle. I was aghast. I picked her up and discovered that an immediate bath was in order. Now, given that most cats loathe water, a bath is not something one attempts even under the best of circumstances. A bath on the spot was foolhardy, but I was in panic mode. I wasn’t about to set this cat down on the carpet again.

I hurried into the kitchen, carrying her outstretched as though I was holding a ticking time bomb, for in a way I was. I grabbed a bath towel and proceeded to run water as fast as I could. Belle writhed in fear and tried to scratch her way out of my grip and the impending immersion. I hastily placed her in the water and washed her, she all the while clawing at me and meowing pitifully, desperate to get out. I toweled her dry and she ran off to sulk under the table. A little while later, attempts to coax her out with FELIDAE Tidnips proved unsuccessful. I felt awful because in hindsight I didn’t handle this well, and I know I frightened her.

I was worried she’d stay mad at me, and that I had damaged our incredibly close and loving relationship. But it was done; I couldn’t unring that bell. Amazingly, when I went to bed a few hours later, Belle came in and curled up next to me by my pillow, as she does every night. And this morning, she came in and crawled up to get her hugs and love, as she does every day. She wasn’t mad anymore, and I hadn’t negatively impacted our relationship. Whew.

I think this happens to every pet owner at some point, because we’re not perfect and we screw up. We do things that our pets have every right to be angry at us for. We do things unintentionally that, if it had been a human, they might never speak to us again, because humans hold grudges and pets do not. Hold a person down and force a pill down their throat or shove them into a sink full of water – how long do you think they would stay mad at you? Longer than an hour or two, for sure.

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Helping Animals in Third World Countries

An Unforgettable Trip to Nicaragua   

Suturing post surgery with the supervision of Dr. Carvajal

Hello! My name is Jaimie Spitz, and I’m a fourth year animal science major at California Polytechnic State University. With the help of CANIDAE Natural Pet Food Company, I was rewarded a sponsorship that granted me the opportunity to work with the Volunteers for Intercultural and Definitive Adventures (VIDA) and travel to Nicaragua, one of the poorest nations in Central America. I participated in a volunteer program that established a temporary veterinary clinic, assisting over 200 malnourished animals in a two week span.

VIDA is a nonprofit organization that sends groups of students to third world countries in Central America. The participants are comprised of mainly pre-vet, med, and dental students who are given the rare opportunity to gain practical, hands-on experience while aiding the disadvantaged communities of people and the overpopulation of stray animals that inhabit the area. The majority of these people are living in poverty, making less than $2 a day, and don’t have the necessary knowledge or resources to care for their pets or children, let alone themselves.

Ometepe Island, Nicaragua

With the kind help of CANIDAE, I was able to join a team of 40 pre-vet, med, and dental students from the University of Madison, Wisconsin. Our mission was to learn and help as many animals and people as possible in the duration of our two week program. With a group of 7 pre-veterinary students, a translator and a lead veterinarian, our team set up a makeshift veterinary clinic in a local elementary school on the beautiful Ometepe Island in Nicaragua. Our supplies were limited by donations, so we had to work with what we had. The clinic consisted of three intake tables covered with large plastic bags, a pharmaceutical table, a surgery prep corner, a surgery table centered in the location with the most access to direct sunlight, and a recovery area identified by laid out newspaper and used towels.

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Moving in Together: How to Socialize Pets from Two Homes

By Linda Cole

Adding a new pet to a home where one is already residing can be a challenge for some pets, but bringing two or more pets together under one roof when you move in with your significant other can be an even bigger challenge. The goal is to help each pet transition into their new life without breaking up your relationship. It can be a delicate balance, in the beginning, for owners and their pets.

Combining pets from two different homes means both pets’ routine has been changed. They have to get used to new smells, sounds and how each person interacts with them. Pets don’t usually like change, and it can be a reason why some pets develop behavioral problems. It can take time and patience to make a transition, and how to handle the pets is a discussion couples need to have before they move in together. It’s important to socialize pets as soon as possible and it’s equally important for each person to take the lead role with dogs from both homes. Pets are important to their owners and can be a reason for friction between a couple if it’s not handled carefully.

Socializing pets when moving in together is done the same way a new pet is added to a home. However, there is one difference to keep in mind – each pet has a bond already established with their owner. Dogs are more apt to follow their owner’s commands over someone new in the home. The solution is for both people to learn which commands are used and be consistent with them to keep the dog from being confused. Discipline is also a subject that needs to be discussed, as well as what sort of liberties will be permitted by both owners. Are pets allowed to sleep in the bed? Is the furniture off limits? It’s important to have a serious heart-to-heart talk before moving in together to work out a compromise, if it’s necessary.

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