Monthly Archives: November 2013

Big Dogs Get a Fresh Start at Gentle Ben’s Rescue

By Suzanne Alicie

There are numerous dog rescues that are worthy of mention. Today we are showing our appreciation and spreading the word about Gentle Ben’s Giant Breed Rescue. I was able to catch up with the very busy Noreen from Gentle Ben’s and ask her a few questions. The more I learned about this program, the more enamored I became of it. I love the idea of rescuing big dogs and fostering them in the home.

Gentle Ben’s Giant Breed Rescue is a non-profit 501 C (3) large breed dog rescue located in west Pennsylvania. They take in unwanted large breed dogs that may end up in shelters or are abandoned through no fault of their own. The rescue also helps families who have lost jobs, lost homes or have medical conditions which make it impossible for them to keep their beloved pet. Dogs are welcomed into Gentle Ben’s home, provided with veterinary care and given lots of love and reassurance. The families in these situations are kept up to date with emails and photos of their pet. When a dog is taken in it becomes part of the family whether it comes from a loving home or has been abandoned. Either way, the goal is to nurture and love the dog to keep him happy and healthy.

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How to Make Holidays Special for Your Pet

By Linda Cole

Thanksgiving and Christmas are fast approaching. There’s cooking, baking and shopping that needs to be done before we can relax and enjoy the holiday season with our family and friends. With all the running around to buy groceries, decorations and presents, and making sure everything is in order, some pets can feel a little left out. Your focus may not be on them as much as usual, but you can still make the holidays special for your pet without a lot of expense. Here are some suggestions:

Maintain their daily schedule

With all of the hustle and bustle before and during the holidays, your pet’s daily routine can be disrupted. However, deviating from a pet’s feeding schedule, walks and even playtime can cause them to become anxious. They like to know what’s next and they don’t like change, so keep their daily routine as regular as possible.

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Is It Okay for Cats to Eat Bugs?

By Julia Williams

Like their wild cousins, our domestic kitty cats are natural born hunters. Their motto is “If it moves, chase it” which includes everything from rodents and insects to human toes that unwittingly wiggle under the bedcovers. For many cats, hunting is the fun part; they either bring their catch to us in exchange for praise, or leave it lying around for our bare feet to step in.

Sometimes they will eat what they catch. It’s not about hunger though – my cats get two square CANIDAE meals a day plus treats, yet they still munch on that juicy grasshopper like it’s the best feline caviar on the planet, the stuff of every kitty’s dream. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear they eat their kill with even more gusto when I am watching, because they know how much it grosses me out. Yep, there is nothing quite like seeing your cat wolf down a fly and come running over for a kiss. I love my cats dearly, but there will be no kisses until that little snack is washed down with copious amounts of water or the “incident” is forgotten, whichever comes first.

So while many cats do relish eating things like flies, spiders, grasshoppers, ants, crickets, June bugs and moths, is there any harm? With a few exceptions, the answer is no. Most household and garden-variety bugs aren’t harmful to cats. Although it may turn your stomach to witness the carnage, eating bugs is a natural behavior for cats that in most cases is not cause for alarm.

As I said, though, there are some exceptions:

Gastrointestinal upset

If a cat eats a lot of bugs in one sitting, or a certain kind of bugs, this could result in stomach upset. Bugs with hard exoskeletons, such as beetles, are really irritating to the cat’s digestive tract. Typically, this doesn’t end well – as in, the cat barfs up a pile of bugs. Per the Cat Golden Rule, this will be done “always on the rug, never the linoleum.” Additionally, if kitty doesn’t chew thoroughly, a chunk of bug can get stuck in his throat, causing choking. Diarrhea is also a strong possibility.

Poisonous Bugs

Some bugs, such as stink bugs, are not poisonous per se but their secretions can cause excessive drooling or vomiting and can also irritate the cat’s gastrointestinal tract. A few bugs – lovebugs and fireflies, for example – are actually poisonous for your cat and can cause severe intestinal problems. If a cat tries to eat a black widow spider and gets bitten by it, this can cause a long list of serious health issues and even death.

I have read that cats instinctively know which bugs to avoid. However, I wouldn’t want to put that theory to the test and have my cat suffer the consequences if it proved not to be true. In any event, figuring out which bugs are safe and which ones are not can be tricky. If you see a bug you know to be poisonous or any bug you can’t identify, it’s best to procure the professional services of an exterminator.

Insecticide Toxicity

Bug bait traps can be deadly for pets. Even if you place the bug bait where kitty can’t get to it, the insect may drag some of the poison out where your cat can come into contact with it. Cats can also become severely ill from eating poisoned bugs. I personally would never take that chance, especially since there are pet-friendly alternatives for killing bugs when necessary.

I may not enjoy seeing my cats devour the occasional fly that sneaks into my house, but I don’t panic either, because I know that hunting and eating bugs is a perfectly natural feline behavior. Does your cat like to eat bugs?

Top photo by Simon Evans
Middle photo by Ian Barbour 
Bottom photo by babbagecabbage 

Read more articles by Julia Williams

DIY Crafts for Dog-Treat Jars

dog-treat-3By Langley Cornwell

When it comes to doggies and their treats, having a custom made jar is almost a requirement; after all, anything as important as a CANIDAE Pure Heaven dog treat must have a special container! How else can we expect our lovable pooches to sit up and beg? Here are some ideas for a DIY handcrafted dog-treat jar:

The first thing you need to do is find a proper container. You want something that you can seal up tight, but that you can easily open and reach into, for those moments when your pooch is doing something especially precious and requires an immediate reward. Your container should be made of glass or plastic so that it will be easy to work with when you start crafting. Glass and plastic take paint and various other things quite well, so those are excellent choices.

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Alaskan Malamute, Siberian and Alaskan Husky Differences

By Linda Cole

To the untrained eye, it’s not always easy to tell the difference between some dog breeds. The Alaskan Malamute, Siberian Husky and Alaskan Husky may resemble each other, but there are differences between them.

The Alaskan Malamute is the state of Alaska’s official mascot, and one of the oldest of the northern sled dogs. Named after the Inuit tribe Mahlemuts, the nomadic people of Alaska used this powerful breed for centuries to hunt seals and pull heavy sleds to move supplies and people throughout the Arctic region. Today the breed looks much like it did 4,000 years ago. The Malamute is taller and heavier than the Siberian Husky. The dog stands 23 to 25” at the shoulder and weighs 75 to 85 pounds, though it’s not unusual for a muscular male to hit 100 pounds.

The Malamute has brown eyes and a broad head with the ears set wide apart. His bushy tail is carried over his back. Because the Malamute is heavier than a Husky, he is less likely to jump a fence, and will use his powerful paws to dig out instead. This breed should not be let off his leash; he has a high prey drive and loves to run. He can be gender aggressive with same sex dogs, but is affectionate with his human family. This is an intelligent, confident and stubborn breed.

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Explaining Responsible Pet Ownership to Children

By Suzanne Alicie

This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. Too many parents want to make sure their child receives a pet when they ask for it and just don’t have the heart to say no if finances or living situations are not ideal for owning a pet. In this case the pet suffers. If you are going to have a pet, it is vital that you understand and explain responsible pet ownership to children – and this is also an important part of the explanation of why they may not be able to have a pet at any given time.

It is a pet peeve of mine to see a family with a toddler get a pet and not teach the child to respect the animal. Tail pulling, carrying them improperly and playing rough with pets is not proper care and may lead to the pet defending itself and then being removed from the home as if it did something wrong. Teaching your children to care for pets can begin early in their lives and will require your attention and supervision.

Pets require more than just a place to live. They need attention, healthy food like CANIDAE and medical care just like your children. If you do get a pet your children will need several lessons on the various aspects of responsible pet ownership in order to learn to respect and appreciate the pet as a family member and to care for it properly with your help.

Children of all ages can understand that being hungry and thirsty mean you need to eat or drink, but they need to be taught how much food and water your pet should have and when to feed it. Explain to them that just as they have breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as snacks, the pet also needs to have regular meals and treats. This is one of the first responsibilities that children can assist with when you have a new pet.

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