Monthly Archives: January 2013

Separation Anxiety in Cats

By Linda Cole

Separation anxiety is a problem for some dogs. They can experience mild to severe reactions when left home alone. Because cats are thought of as being solitary, independent and aloof, the idea that they miss their owner and experience anxiety when home alone is scoffed at by some people. However, cats are social animals, and some can develop separation anxiety.

The cause for separation anxiety in cats is unknown. Scientists can only speculate, and think it could be caused by genetics and environment. Felines more inclined to become anxious are kittens that were orphaned, weaned too early, or came from a pet store or shelter. If they never learned how to be a confident kitten, s cat has a greater chance of developing separation anxiety A change in routine, like a vacation, new job, loss of a person or pet she was close to, or a new baby can cause a cat to become stressed.

What is Separation Anxiety?

Cats suffering from separation anxiety have a fear of being left alone, even if there are other pets in the home. They become anxious and stressed while you’re getting ready to leave and when you’re walking out the door. They can become upset and anxious when you leave a room or go outside for just a few minutes. You don’t have to actually leave the house to have your cat become distressed. Just the thought of you being gone is enough to trigger an emotional response before you’re out the door.

Cats express themselves in more subtle ways than dogs, and don’t try to scratch through the door, wall or floor, or crash through a window. They aren’t as apt to destroy trim around a door or tear up a couch, and they won’t bother the neighbors with barking, whining or howling. You may not even notice your cat is stressed when you leave the house, if you’ve missed the signals she’s giving you.

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5 Fun Snow Games to Play with Your Dog

By Tamara McRill

Do you have a dog that just loves burrowing through the snow? Don’t you just love those big doggy grins when they get to frolicking in the powder? I have three snow-loving pooches and, aside from making a dog snowman, playing in the snow is our favorite winter activity.

Of course, we certainly take safety precautions, and winter paw care is a must, but these snow games are easy to safely set up. Here are my dogs’ paws-down favorite five snow games:

1. Hide and Seek

Since dogs like to dig in the snow, give them something to find. Bury toys, sticks or even dog treats in the snow and ask your dog to find them. For dogs that aren’t good at seeking, you might have to tip them off on where to look. I like to up the excitement and competition by letting the dogs think I’m looking for their toy too.

You might want to avoid playing while snow is falling and accumulating though. That makes it harder to see where you buried stuff and you don’t want to have to wait until spring to uncover their favorite bone.

2. Snowball Catch

This is an excellent game for dogs who like to play catch and “kill” things. Pack a snowball, making sure there aren’t any ice chunks or rocks in the mix, and lightly toss it for your dog to catch. When they do, they will get the fun and satisfaction of chomping down and destroying the snowball.

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What is Limber Tail Syndrome in Dogs?

By Linda Cole

My dogs wag their tails a mile a minute every time I talk to them. Even a playful stare from me can get their backside wiggling in happiness. Thankfully, my dogs have never lost their ability to show me their contentment by wagging their tail, but some dogs can develop a syndrome called Limber Tail. This is a condition that can affect any dog whose tail hasn’t been docked, but it’s mainly seen in hunting dogs like pointers, retrievers, foxhounds and beagles.

Limber Tail syndrome is also known as broken wag, cold tail, dead tail, limp tail or rudder tail. It’s when a dog’s tail hangs limp, like it’s broken, and it can be painful. No one really knows for certain how a dog actually develops this condition, but they do know it’s brought on by overexertion, swimming in water that may be too cold or too warm, cold and wet weather conditions, an out-of-shape dog, or being confined for long periods of time in a crate when traveling. Even something as simple as a cold bath can affect a dog that’s more sensitive to temperatures than other canines.

It’s also possible the condition could be due to a poor diet. That’s another reason why providing a premium quality dog food like CANIDAE can help your dog maintain his good health. Poor circulation may also be a culprit for a droopy tail.

When a dog is swimming in water, he works his tail like a rudder. If he has been sitting around during the off season for hunting or has been relatively inactive during the winter months, and isn’t in shape when he hits the water for a swim or to retrieve something from the water, he can injure his tail and develop Limber Tail because his muscles weren’t properly conditioned before the workout. When the tail is overworked, the muscles at the base of a dog’s tail swell, causing connective tissue to tighten and cutting off blood flow to the tail.

For the most part, Limber Tail syndrome isn’t a big deal, and it will correct itself in two to seven days. The condition can be mild where the tail is held just below a horizontal level, severe with no wag and hanging limp, or something in between. The tail can be permanently affected, but it’s not usually a problem. Sometimes, the dog will hold the tail out just a few inches before letting it sag down. You may see raised hairs at the base of the tail, which is due to swelling, and the swelling can make sitting or lying down more difficult for some dogs, depending on their tolerance for pain.

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Funny Sayings from Comedic Pets

By Julia Williams

The advent of the internet has given dogs and cats a voice like never before. True, talking animals have been around for a very long time in literature. However, it was oft said that no good writer would ever stoop to such low levels.

Nowadays, you can’t be an animal lover and spend time on Facebook without seeing dozens of witty quips every day, made by the animals themselves of course. The lack of opposable thumbs for typing appears not to be a hindrance for these clever pets who are always coming up with funny quotes to amuse their fans.

I must confess that when I read their humorous status updates, I never think “Haha, Fluffy’s owner is so hilarious.” No, in fact I don’t think about the human at the keyboard at all. Ever! And gauging by the thousands of fans I see interacting with animals on Facebook every day, I am not alone.

Vive la animals! Here are some of the things they’ve said lately that made me laugh:

“Every morning my human shaves off all of his face fur. He’s funny like that.” ~ Tuck the Cat, Shelter Pet Project ad

“Every snack you make, every meal you bake, every bite you take. I’ll be watching you.” ~ anonymous dog

“Sometimes it’s better not to ask why the cats do the things they do.” ~ Phaedra and Phriends

“Did anyone ever stop to consider that maybe it’s boxes that like cats?” ~ Henri, le Chat Noir

“Day 2 of my diet and I’m doing some wishful shrinking. The trouble is, I can resist everything except temptation!” ~ Uggie the Artist

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Original Jobs Small Dogs Were Bred to Do

By Linda Cole

Over the centuries, humans and dogs have traveled down the same road, side by side. When you think about it, our relationship with canines is a unique and mutual one that serves us both. Today, small dogs are more likely to be just a household pet instead of doing the jobs they were originally bred to do. Like our ancestors, we appreciate the warmth of a snuggling dog curled up next to us on a cold winter night. Some breeds were bred only for companionship, and some are mighty hunters, in a small body.

Hunters

Even small dogs can hit the trail as a scenthound or sighthound. A newly recognized AKC breed, the Russell Terrier, was originally left behind on hunts because his small size wasn’t thought to be useful for hunters. His first role was as a companion dog around the home, and as a ratter to keep vermin at bay around sheds and barns. That was, until it was discovered the Russell’s smaller size made him ideal for hunting prey that went underground. The dog was easy to carry over rough terrain in a “terrier” bag or across the saddle of a horse, and he had the desired temperament and drive to handle himself against a red fox and other small prey.

Small dogs were often used to seek out, track, follow and find small prey as a pack. Dachshunds were used to hunt badgers, while Yorkshire Terriers were used by miners to help get rid of rat infestations in the mines. They were also used to hunt fox, badgers and other small prey, and follow them into their holes. Italian Greyhounds chased down rabbits. Dogs bred to work as a pack generally get along well with other canines in the home.

Watchdogs

Small dogs are not good guard dogs, but they make great watchdogs. If they see someone who isn’t suppose to be in their territory, these alert little dogs will let you know in no uncertain terms. In the old days, small dogs were put up on the top of walls where they would patrol during the night and warn their owners if someone was around. Small breeds like the Brussels Griffon, Pomeranian, Miniature Pinscher, Shih Tzu and Lhasa Apso were used as watchdogs to guard the palace chamber of the lady, or guard their owner when they traveled.

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How to Make Your Cat Feel Special

Jet feels special!!

By Langley Cornwell

Our cat, Jet, got sick recently. This four-year-old guy is an iron-clad warrior; we’ve never seen him truly sick. Yes, we’ve rushed him to the veterinarian many times for what turned out to simply be hairballs, but this was different. We found him in a corner, hunched in a ball and foaming at the mouth. We scooped him up and rushed to the vet where they ran every test possible but couldn’t identify the cause.

Because he was heaving and miserable, the vet gave him a dose of fluids and anti-nausea medicine and then sent him home with us. Seeing our robust, fun-loving kitty uncomfortable broke our hearts. He already gets plenty of attention from me, my husband and our dog. He gets rub downs from us and full facials from the dog (she loves to lick his face and he encourages it). He enjoys laying on us when we watch TV and he sleeps with us in the bed. He has a special cat window perch in the front of the house. We talk to him and play with him a lot. In other words, he’s spoiled rotten. But, not knowing what else to do for him while he was sick, we wanted to make him feel extra special. Here are a few things we did:

Built a nest. When we got home from the vet, he hid under the bed. I know other cats that spend a lot of time under beds but this was the first time he had ever done that and it made me feel bad. So I got a large cardboard box with high sides (typical cat, he loves boxes), put a feather pillow in the bottom and put a wadded up soft blanket over the pillow. I put the box up on a chair in the quietest room in our house and waited. Within the hour Jet made his way out from under the bed and into his new nest. He loved it.  

Kept the cat warm. I prefer our home to be somewhat cool but knew our cat would be more comfortable in a warmer environment, so we set the house temperature to 74 to 75 degrees F during the day. There was no way I could sleep in an overly warm house, though, so I had to figure out what to do about the evenings. I researched those heated cat mats but decided against it and instead put a hot water bottle underneath the wadded up blanket in his cardboard box/nest in the evenings. He seemed to love it and rested comfortably.

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