Tosha was my first cat as an adult. I was 21 and newly married, and we’d just moved into a cozy cottage in Northern California. Of course, in my eyes no house is a home without a cat, so it wasn’t long before an 8-week old brown tabby came to live with us. I thought she was just the cutest little thing, and she was a delightful addition to my new family. Like any kitten, she was playful and inquisitive. She was also very affectionate, and would curl up on my lap anytime I sat down.
When Tosha was about a year old, we went away on a weekend camping trip. At the time, I thought it was perfectly fine to leave my cat home alone with a bowl of dry cat food and some water. Worse, she could come and go through the cat door anytime she liked. It wasn’t that I didn’t care about her; I loved her dearly, but I just didn’t know better. Older and wiser now, I would never do that. As it turned out, Tosha paid for my mistake.
When we returned from camping, I called and called her. She didn’t come, so I went looking for her and found her lying in the bushes with a badly mangled back leg. I rushed her to the vet, who said he wasn’t sure what had happened but guessed she was either attacked by a dog or hit by a car.
Mice are experts at finding ways into our homes. Cracks, holes and crevices in foundations provide easy access, and if you see one mouse there’s likely more lurking about in the walls, duct work, attics and basements. Some people use rodent poison to get rid of mice and rats, but it poses a grave danger to cats and dogs and shouldn’t be used in a home with pets. There are ways to rid your home of rodents that are safer for your pets and more humane for the mice.
Even though I have cats and dogs, I still get mice inside my house when the weather turns colder. They are usually caught by one of my pets, which is a natural way of controlling vermin. However, I’m a true blue animal lover, which includes mice. So my challenge is finding ways to deal with the mice that won’t harm them.
Live Mouse Traps can be very effective, as long as you check them several times a day to remove caught rodents, freshen the bait (peanut butter on crackers or dry cat food works well), and make sure you purchase a quality trap. You can find traps to catch multiple mice at a time or smaller ones that hold just one or two. The air supply in some traps is limited and if you don’t remove a mouse soon after it’s caught, it can die from asphyxiation. Trapped mice can then be released outside. Mice can find their way back home, so you’ll need to release it at least ½ mile or so away. The best place is in a wooded or bushy area where they can find shelter and isn’t near other homes.
Yes, I’m one of those people who take a zillion pictures of their pet. Fortunately, my mobile phone is usually in close proximity so when one of the dogs or the cat strikes a particularly precious pose, I grab and snap. Yet with all my grabbing and snapping, I only manage to get a frame-worthy photograph every once in a while. And that’s pure luck.
Because I wanted to increase my odds, I spent some time researching and practicing new pet photo techniques. This article is primarily for the amateur photographer. There’s nothing I’m going to say here that will make you the next Annie Leibovitz or Ansel Adams of pet photography, but these tips are good for animal lovers who want to capture the occasional cherished moment with their favorite four-legged friend.
Catch the Animal’s Attention
This is an obvious point, but one worth mentioning. Some of the sweetest animal photographs I’ve ever seen are when a cat or a dog is staring soulfully into the camera lens. I’m a complete sucker for pictures like that. One way to capture your pet’s attention is to have a handful of CANIDAE treats with you and reward him when he does what you’re asking him to.
When a dog is experiencing pain, whether from an obvious illness or injury, or something you can’t see or figure out, they will let you know in a number of possible ways. Because they cannot talk and explain what is going on, you are left to puzzle it out and determine how to help relieve their pain, whatever its source.
You may notice altered behavior such as withdrawal, refusal to play or even eat, or the opposite – excessive clinginess and following you everywhere in the house. You may see your dog crying or whimpering. You may notice that they are moving differently or favoring the part of the body with the injury or pain. It’s always a good idea take your dog to the vet to make sure it is nothing serious and something for which they need specific medication or professional treatment.
Here are some tips for helping your dog deal with their pain.
Comforting your dog helps to soothe pain levels and reduce the anxiety and stress caused by pain that isn’t understood. You dog reacts to your stress as well. If they are in pain, try to stay calm. Your dog will sense your mood and react accordingly. If you are calmer handling your dog’s pain, they will feel more secure and at ease. Your dog trusts you.
Bonding is something most humans do without thinking about it. As individuals, we each have our own personality, strengths, flaws and preferences. We tend to gravitate towards other people who share our interests, and as the relationship develops, so does bonding. Most pet owners think of their dog or cat as a member of their family and the connection we share with our pets is unique. But does our special bond with a pet help us form closer relationships with other people? According to science, it does.
Beginning some 10,000 years ago, humans and canines formed a unique pact that benefited both species. We know our early ancestors placed great value in their pets because dogs and cats have been found in burial sites with humans, indicating people felt it was important to give their pet a proper burial. Throughout the many decades of animal domestication, the bonds between humans and our furry friends have made us healthier and happier, and helped us cope with life’s surprises. Pets also help us connect with other people because caring for animals gives us a sense of empathy.
Natural disasters and house fires occur every year. We watched with sadness as the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina unfolded. Researchers conducted studies to find out why many New Orleans residents refused to evacuate to safe shelters, and discovered it was because people didn’t want to leave their pets behind. I didn’t know any of these pet owners, but could relate with the decision they had made. Most pet owners are willing to risk their life to save a pet, according to a 2013 Vanity Fair poll that found 81% of dog owners and 71% of cat owners would go back inside their burning home to save their pet.
The holiday season is one of joyous celebrations, but along with the merry gatherings and cheery decorations comes increased risk for our beloved pets. As responsible pet owners, we need to be extra vigilant during the holidays to prevent our dogs and cats from being accidentally poisoned or injured. No one wants to spend Christmas at the vet, least of all your pet. Here are some potentially poisonous things to look out for as you decorate your homes and plan your parties.
Imported Snow Globes
What prompted me to write this article was a heartbreaking blog post I read recently, about a family whose cat had broken a snow globe. Some of the liquid got onto the cat’s fur and despite receiving timely medical attention, the kitty didn’t make it. I was surprised to learn that imported snow globes contain antifreeze (ethylene glycol) which is highly toxic to pets – ingesting just a teaspoon can be fatal for a cat, and a tablespoon or two for a dog (depending on their size).
Snow globes are the #1 bestseller in Christmas décor on Amazon. With so many people displaying them in their homes, I wanted to get the word out about how dangerous snow globes are to pets. They are pretty, but certainly not worth the risk of poisoning a beloved pet. If you have snow globes in your home, please put them where you are 100% certain your pet cannot get to them.
The personal opinions and/or use of trade, firm, corporation or brand names, in this blog is for the information and convenience of the reader. Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company of any product or service to the exclusion of others that may be suitable. All opinions in this blog are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company.