Category Archives: pets

Pets Can Teach Children Valuable Life Skills

By Julia Williams

Bringing a pet into your home – and your heart – offers so many benefits. Laughter, love and joy are three wonderful things I have an abundance of, thanks in large part to my three cats. Pets provide companionship to the lonely, and they can be great teachers for children too. Encouraging children to take an active role in caring for a pet helps them learn important life skills and lessons, while also learning about responsible pet ownership. Here are eight essential skills the family pet can teach your children.


Giving children age-appropriate chores related to feeding, grooming, and cleaning up after the family pet helps them understand what it means to be responsible, dependable and conscientious. Taking care of a pet teaches children the importance of being reliable, since the pet is counting on them to provide what they need. At the same time, tasks like bathing, brushing and grooming can deepen the bond between pet and child.

Patience and Consistency

House-breaking a puppy or a kitten can teach children to be patient, because young animals do not learn everything they need to know overnight. Some pets are slower to learn than others and thus require more time and effort, but consistent methods are a vital element of training success. Having your child help with the pet’s house-breaking and other training helps them learn that patience and consistency will pay off in the end.

Goal Setting and Perseverance

Children can learn about the process of goal setting and achievements by being involved in training a pet, be it for house-breaking, performing tricks or obedience training. When they put in the persistent effort these things require, they’re not only rewarded with a well trained pet, but an increased sense of pride and self worth at what they have accomplished.


As pack animals, dogs do best in a household where there is a pack hierarchy and an established leader. Although that person should ideally be an adult, you and your dog can teach your child what it means to be a good leader, one who your dog willingly and happily follows.


Having a pet in the family opens the door to a wide variety of emotions that are very important for children to discover and articulate. Pets can help children learn to express feelings of love, compassion, caring and concern. And experiencing the sadness involved in saying goodbye when a pet passes away, helps children learn to deal with loss.


Although kindness is not exactly what I would call a “life skill,” I’m including it because, of all the things pets can teach children, I think it might be the most important. Children who are taught to be kind to animals grow up to become compassionate adults who treat both humans and animals with kindness and respect throughout their lifetime. That, in my opinion, is a priceless lesson to learn.

So you see, pets can teach children a great many skills that will help them grow up to become well-adjusted members of our society. When you add in the pure delight pets can bring to a child, it seems unthinkable to let them grow up in a house without one.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

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How to Get Rid of Ear Mites

By Linda Cole

Ear mites are microscopic, white crab-like critters that invade a cat or dog’s ear canal. Their diet consists of ear wax and debris in your pet’s ears. You can see ear mites with the naked eye, but you have to look closely. Where do ear mites come from, and how do you get rid of them?

Ear mites are highly contagious and can easily infect other pets in a home. More common in cats than dogs, this parasite lives inside the ear, but it can also live on other parts of the body of an infected pet. Outside cats who have contact with other cats and animals have a greater risk of being infected with ear mites, but inside cats are also at risk. The cat is a perfect host and will pass the mites on to other pets in the home.

Humans can also become a host and transmit the mites if we touch an infected animal and then touch our pets. A dog’s scratchy ears are usually from another source of infection, since they are rarely infected with ear mites. Some pets will scratch infected ears until they bleed. Skin diseases can also develop from untreated ear mite infections.

It’s important to know what an infestation of ear mites looks like in your pet’s ear because too many times a pet is treated for ear mites when the actual problem is a yeast or bacterial infection.

Symptoms to watch for include:

Head shaking or scratching around the ears
Inflammation of the ear
Sores located around the pet’s ears caused by scratching
Debris in their ears that resembles coffee grounds
An unpleasant odor

An ear mite infestation can stimulate ear wax production in the infected cat or dog. So you could see a dark waxy discharge coming from your pet’s ear. Left untreated, ear mites can cause permanent hearing loss, so it’s important to have your vet examine your pet to find the exact cause of their head shaking and scratching if you notice any symptoms. If you suspect or just want to check to see if your pet has ear mites, scratch the base of his ears which would be in the area of the ear canal. If he responds by immediately scratching his ear, that’s a sign that the tiny parasites are most likely present.

Your vet can detect ear mites quickly by looking inside the cat or dog’s ear with an instrument (an otoscope). They can also be seen under any magnifying glass or with the naked eye by closely examining debris pulled out of your pet’s ear on a Q-tip. If any of the parasites are found in one pet, all other pets in the home will also need to be treated to prevent re-infecting the one you just treated.

Treatments to kill ear mites work well, but it can take several tries if the first treatment doesn’t take into account the life cycle of ear mites. They go from egg to larvae, 2 stages of nymphs and finally adult mites in about 21 days. Treatments need to go through the complete life cycle of the mites to successfully eliminate them. The good news is advances in ear mite medications have been successful in reducing the time needed to get rid of an infestation.

Tresaderm has been a favorite of vets for years and works well, but newer medications are showing good results in as little as 2 to 4 treatments. Invermectin is an anti-parasitic medication that’s injected into the pet. However, not all dogs can tolerate the medication. The injections are a good solution to use on pets who refuse to allow anyone to mess with their ears. Cat owners who have tried to clean out or put ear drops in their cat’s ears will appreciate the convenience of an injection. Two different topical flea medications have been approved for use in eliminating ear mites: Revolution® for both cats and dogs, and Advantage Multi® for cats only.

It’s possible for humans to be affected by ear mites, but not likely. Some people have reported skin rashes when their pet was infected with mites, but it is rare and most pet owners don’t need to worry about becoming infected.

It’s best to take your pet to the vet for a professional evaluation just in case your pet has something other than ear mites. Yeast or other bacterial infections will not be cleared up using ear mite medications, and you are only wasting your time and money treating the wrong infection.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

How to Take a Great Photo of Your Pet

By Suzanne Alicie

Our pets are an important part of our lives, and we naturally want to include them in our photo albums. Taking a great picture of your pet requires some preparation, some skill, and a whole lot of luck. Occasionally a snapshot of your pet will turn out wonderfully, but more often than not you have lost the personality of the moment in the photo. Your gorgeous pet looks as if it’s in the middle of the road and caught in the high beams. Glowing green and red eyes ruin even the nicest photo of your pet. So unless you are a professional pet photographer, how can you take a great photo of your pet?

Avoid Glowing Eyes

The glowing eye problem, whether red or green, is caused by the same thing that causes this problem in human photos. The flash reflects off the back of the eye. To avoid the glowing eyes when you take a photo of your pet, the best thing to do is eliminate the flash entirely. Try shooting your pet outside or in an area with a lot of natural light.

Utilize Props

We all know how hard it can be to get a pet to sit still long enough for the shutter to close on the camera, but to create a really unique photo of your pet you will want to incorporate some aspect of his personality into the photo. This is where props come in handy. Prepare the props in the area you want to take the photo before you call your pet in. If your dog loves a certain chew toy, place it in a well lit area in preparation for the photo. Does your cat have an affinity for walking on your keyboard? Place an old keyboard where you want to take the photo. Clean up the background or use a solid colored blanket as a backdrop and you have the setting for a great pet photo.


When it comes to getting a great photo of your pet, a digital camera is your best option. Call the pet in, and play with it near the props you are using. Once your pet is relaxed and seems content to be in the area you have selected, offer a treat or wave a toy at the pet to get it to look at you, and snap as fast as your finger will move. Often times the photo that you thought would look great will be one of those you will discard, and a random shot will turn out to capture your pet’s personality perfectly.

Much the same as taking photos of children, you have to work around their quick loss of interest and easy distraction, using those very qualities to get them to look at you and stay where they are. Having a second person on hand to help play with the animal or get it to move to a certain area while you snap photos is a sure way to get a great photo.

It may take a few tries, and you may find yourself discarding many more photos than you keep, but eventually you will get a shot of your pet that you can’t wait to share with everyone.

Read more articles by Suzanne Alicie

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

How Well Do Dogs and Cats Hear?

By Linda Cole

Dogs and cats and are in a special category when it comes to hearing, or not hearing, their human companions. They can be nowhere in sight, yet never miss the careful opening of a bag of potato chips or cookies. But just try and get their attention when they are in the same room with us – it’s like talking to the wall! Cats definitely have selective hearing when it comes to us, but a quiet mouse sneaking up on a missed piece of cat food on the kitchen floor can be heard loud and clear. Their sense of hearing is phenomenal; so it would seem that most dogs and cats only hear us when they want to.

Cat ears are amazing little radar antennas that have the ability to focus in on two different sounds inches apart from each other three feet away. They can distinguish these sounds so precisely and hone in on where the exact sound is coming from that a cat can tell if you are getting into a cupboard that has no food in it versus the one where you keep her favorite treats. They can detect the size of prey and the distance of a sound in just six one hundredth of a second, and can hear five times farther than we can hear.

Cats hear higher frequencies than dogs or humans. Because of that, a woman’s voice can be more soothing to a cat, especially if it’s upset. Our sense of hearing is in a range of 20 hertz up to 20 kilohertz, but dogs hear up to 40 kilohertz and a cat’s hearing jumps into the higher pitched range of 60 kilohertz. However, a cat’s range starts at 30 hertz which means they probably don’t hear lower tones as well as we do, and that could be why cats don’t always respond to a man with a deep voice. Since mice have a tiny high pitched squeak, it’s bad news for any wayward mouse in a cat’s domain.

Because of the upright and erect shape of their ears, cats can hear with amazing accuracy. Thirty different muscles allow them to rotate their ears 180 degrees independently of each other which helps them focus in on any interesting sounds they hear. These sounds are then funneled down through their ears and picked up by extremely sensitive hairs located in the base of the ear. From there, the sound is transmitted to the cat’s brain via the auditory nerve. Even though they are experts at selective hearing, a cat does hear extremely well and knows exactly what is going on in his world.

Dogs can hear with the same kind of accuracy as cats, and their ears also rotate to pinpoint the exact location of where a sound is coming from in less than a second. They can quickly decipher pertinent information to determine if they need to be on alert. If it’s a sound coming from another animal, the dog can even determine the height of the animal and know if it’s prey or predator.

A dog with floppy ears can’t hear as well as those with ears standing erect. Like cats, dogs hear and pick up on our tone of voice as well as the pitch in our voice much better than we realize. As they listen to what we say, they are able to distinguish what we mean by our pitch and tone more than by our words. If we are trying to train a dog, his response is determined by how well we convey a command to him. A sharper tone will get his attention and if you are training a puppy, using a whistle or an abrupt noise will tell him to pay attention to you.

Dogs can move their ears independently too, and have 15 muscles that help them locate and pick up sounds. We can pick up a sound 100 yards away, but a dog can hear a sound that’s a quarter of a mile away. Dogs have a unique ability to actually close off their inner ear so they can weed out distracting noises and focus only on the sound they are interested in. I guess that’s what they must be doing when they ignore us. And the next time they refuse to go outside in the rain, it might not be because they don’t want to get wet, but because the falling rain may actually be hurting their sensitive ears.

Since dogs and cats can hear so well, sirens, loud music and raised voices are annoying to them. We will get their attention better with a softer voice. It’s also important to pay close attention to their ears to make sure they are not infected with ear mites or other bacterial or yeast infections that can cause permanent hearing loss if left untreated.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

The Trade-Offs of Having Pets

By Julia Williams

I’ve heard it said many times that “when you have children, your life changes forever.” Having a child does significantly alter the way people live, on a daily basis as well as long term. To a lesser extent, the same can be said for having pets. Bringing a companion animal into our home requires that we make lifestyle changes. There are things we have to choose between, and sacrifices we may need to make for the sake of our pet’s wellbeing, and sometimes our own. So what are some of the trade-offs of having pets?


Responsible pet owners give up the ability to leave town on a whim. If our animals are staying behind, then before we hit the highway or hop a plane to Cancun, we need to make arrangements for their care. In my opinion, that goes for cats too. I was once called sanctimonious for saying that cats shouldn’t be left to fend for themselves while their owners go away on vacation, but I stand by my belief. Dogs and cats are not capable of calling 911 or seeking emergency care in the event of an accident; as such, our duty as primary caregiver is to make sure they are looked after in our absence. I trade the freedom to take off at a moment’s notice, with the good feeling that comes from knowing my cats are well cared for while I’m away.


Having pets requires that we give up a lot of this precious commodity. Our animals rely on us to feed them, shop for their food, clean up after them, play with them and groom them. Dogs also need regular exercise in the form of walks, runs, or trips to the dog park. Very often, our lives can be so busy that these things feel more like a “chore” instead of a labor of love. Be that as it may, they aren’t optional. Responsible pet owners willingly trade their time in order to properly care for their animal companions.


There is no denying that pets are expensive. Some cost more than others, but all require that we trade money for the privilege of having them in our life. When adopting a pet, many people fail to consider just how much money it takes to care for them, and they are caught unawares. Add in unexpected expenses like accidents, illness or an aging pet, and you can quickly see that pet ownership does not come cheap.

A monetary trade-off I recently made involved my pet door. Because it’s drafty, I close it off in the winter, and my cats stay inside 24/7. However, Mickey gets rather irritated with that arrangement and he scuffles with Rocky, particularly late at night. One night while I was in bed, a cat fight took place on my face, so after examining my scratched cheek I made a decision: I opened the drafty pet door so I could have two cordial cats. This seems like a pretty good trade-off to me.

A spotlessly clean house

Dogs and cats shed, and they make messes. They track in mud, dirt, plant debris and other unsavory things that muck up our floors and soil our carpets and furniture. Choosing a short haired breed lessens the shedding problem somewhat, but not entirely. You can religiously vacuum, scrub and dust, but the reality is that a home with pets is not going to be spotlessly clean all of the time. Sometimes this can be embarrassing, such as the time a delivery person sat in a chair my cat had slept in. When he turned to leave, I saw that the seat of his pants was entirely covered in cat hair! (And no, I didn’t brush it off, nor did I say a word).

Many pet owners also choose to forego expensive furnishings and/or fragile items that can’t be placed where they won’t get knocked off by a wagging tail or a climbing cat. I don’t put a cover on my couch and I let my cats sleep on my bedspread, because I choose not to buy overly pricey things. This way, it’s not a big deal to me if they get wrecked by cat claws or gastric “accidents.”

Certainly, pet ownership is not without trials and tribulations. But then, isn’t that the very nature of our existence? My own life so far has been a series of happy times entwined with sad and challenging times. Having pets, or not having them, wouldn’t change this. It’s true that over the years, I’ve made many trade-offs in order to have pets. I’m sure you have too. But when I think of all the things I’ve given up or had to forego, there isn’t a single one I would choose over the love and companionship of my feline friends.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

The Michigan Pet Expo is a “Doggone Purrfect” Event!

By Julia Williams

If you love dogs and/or cats, and you live near Detroit, Michigan, then the place to be November 20 to 22 is the 2009 Michigan Family Pet Expo. In fact, this three-day showcase for pet products and services is so big and promises to be so much fun, you might want to attend even if you don’t live in Michigan! Besides being a one-stop shopper’s paradise for all things pet-related, the Michigan Pet Expo is slated to offer a great mix of entertainment, artwork, demonstrations and attractions, including a cat show, a Petting Zoo, and a “Dancing with Dogs” competition.

CANIDAE will be at this exciting event (of course!), handing out free pet food samples and helping to raise funds for cancer research in pets. As part of their ongoing mission to foster Responsible Pet Ownership and aid animals in need, CANIDAE will once again hold a charity raffle, with a fabulous Felt Bicycle as the grand prize. Proceeds from the raffle will directly benefit cancer research projects at the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

One of the highlights of the Michigan Family Pet Expo is sure to be the Dock Diving competition, where CANIDAE-sponsored Team Air Gunner will participate in the Ultimate Air Games. In this sport, dogs run down a 40-foot dock and into a swimming pool to retrieve a toy that’s tossed in by their handler. “Dock Diving” dogs can reach speeds of more than 30 miles per hour and jump over 28 feet.

Also scheduled to appear at the Pet Expo:

Johnny Peers and the Muttville Comix will amuse pet lovers of all ages with their comical canine routine. Johnny Peers performs as a Charlie Chaplin-like clown with a personable pack of mutts that skateboard, walk the tightrope, climb ladders, jump rope, knock Johnny down and walk all over him (in a lovable sort of way).

Rock-N-Roll K-9’s Performance Team will enthrall crowds with their amazing athletic dogs and trainers. Cheer on your favorite canine as they race around, over, under and through the custom-made agility course, perform a hilarious musical mat routine or try their paw at flyball and high jump. Combining energetic dogs with rock-and-roll music and incredible tricks, this show is sure to leave audiences begging for more.

Cat Show & Seminars hosted by G.L.A.C.E. (Great Lakes Area Cat Enthusiasts).The club will have a special display of cats, seminars and exhibits, along with cat agility, a parade of cats, cat presentations, cat grooming and care seminars.

Paws With A Cause will demonstrate how this national agency serves people with disabilities through custom-trained Assistance Dogs. PAWS staff and their clients will demonstrate some of the many tasks dogs can be trained to do, which provides invaluable help to those with disabilities.

First Aid 4 Paws will present pet first aid & CPR training demonstrations.

Animal Adoptions: many local rescue groups are planning to participate in the Michigan Family Pet Expo. You can view different breeds of dogs and cats that are available for adoption, and speak with educated volunteers to find out which animal would best suit you and your family.

Now in its second year, the 2009 Michigan Family Pet Expo takes place at the Rock Financial Showplace in Novi, Michigan on November 20 to 22, 2009. Admission is $9 for adults and $5 for children (ages 3-12); parking is $5. Please visit their website for more information, including a complete schedule of entertainment and a list of vendors.

If you’re in the area next weekend, you won’t want to miss this family-friendly event – and while you’re there, come by the CANIDAE booth to say hello and buy a raffle ticket to support cancer research in pets.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.