Category Archives: responsible pet ownership

What Will the New Year Bring?

Photo by Janet 59

Photo by Janet 59

By Julia Williams

Ah. January 1. The beginning of another new year. For many of us, this day marks a fresh start symbolically. And despite the fact that even the best laid plans oft go astray, the day brings fresh optimism that this year all of our hopes, dreams and plans will become a reality.

So we begin another new year and like the kitty in the photo, we wonder what it will bring for us and our friends. Here at the CANIDAE RPO blog, the other writers and I are thinking about that right now, as well.

Whether you’re a new visitor to the blog, have been reading along since our first post way back in 2009, or joined us somewhere in between, we consider you all our friends. We may never meet you face to face, but we share two common bonds – a deep love for our pets and a desire to embrace every aspect of responsible pet ownership.

With that in mind, we want to take this opportunity to thank you – the many pet lovers all over the world – for reading this blog. You are why we do what we do.

We don’t know what the new year will bring, but we will do our best to not only share our knowledge of important pet-related subjects, but entertain you and make you feel at home here, where pets rule.

If there are particular topics you would be interested in having us cover, please feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments at any time, or send an email.

We wish you and your pets a wonderful, happy New Year!

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How to Keep Pets Safe When Using Candles in Holiday Decorations

By Laurie Darroch

The festivities and decor of the holidays often include beautiful lit candle displays set on tables, counters, window sills, buffets and mantles. The soft ambience of lit candles is appealing, but they can be dangerous around pets and children. There is, however, an option that allows you the flickering lights and romantic lighting without the dangerous flames.

An excited or curious dog or a cat climbing on a mantle or counter, or bumping into a table while running by or curiously sniffing, can knock over a lit candle in a split second and start a fire or burn a paw or nose. No matter how careful or attentive you are, like a human child, your dog or cat is a curious and playful being. They get into things they are not supposed to. A dog or cat does not realize the dangers of a lit flame and you can’t explain it to your pet the way you can to a human child. Pets are not always aware of surrounding hazards either. Sometimes the draw of something new in the house is too much to resist.

Pets trust their human family members to keep them safe, especially when they do not understand what the dangers are. It is up to you as a responsible pet owner to show your pet that their trust is warranted. Even a well-trained pet can inadvertently knock over a burning candle with an excited wagging tail or a misplaced step on a table or shelf. You cannot possibly keep an eye on your pets every second, and it only takes a few seconds to bump a lit candle over and start a fire.
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Why Do Cats Sneeze?

By Langley Cornwell

This is probably wrong of me, but I think it’s cute when our cat sneezes. After the initial ah-choo, he always looks startled, as if to say “where did that come from?”

Of course, humans are not the only ones with allergies. Dogs and cats can have them too. In fact, when a cat sneezes, it’s often a sign that he is allergic to something. Excess sneezing may be one of the first signs that something is amiss with your feline friend. In general, cats sneeze for the same reason that people do; it may be something as simple as a tickling in their nose, or they might have a more serious issue that is causing them to sneeze.

As responsible pet owners, we coddle our cats and feed them nutritious, high quality food like Canidae, but we don’t want to run off to the vet every time they sneeze. So how do we know when kitty is just sneezing “regularly” or if he needs a visit to the veterinarian?

Time to see the vet

An occasional sneeze is nothing to worry about most of the time. Kittens and cats will sneeze whenever they get something in their nasal passage that doesn’t belong there. If your cat is particularly curious, this may occur fairly often. Our cat puts his nose into everything! Perhaps he learned it from our dogs or maybe it’s a common behavior, but he is a sniffer and a sneezer.

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What Has your Dog Taught You?

By Langley Cornwell

My parents let me get a puppy for my 10th birthday. A neighborhood mutt had puppies and I just had to have one. That precious dog was still alive and well when I went away to college. A lot of growing and maturing goes on during that timeframe, and much of what I learned came from the unwavering bond I had with that sweet pup.

From the earliest days of childhood, kids begin to learn about pets. Some children observe pet ownership from afar and others, like me, are given the opportunity to experience it personally. Either way, pets play some type of role in our growing up. If you were a child who enjoyed the privilege of sharing your young life with a pet, you are probably aware that your relationship with that pet taught you a number of different things.

Responsibility

Owning a dog requires an investment of time and responsibility. Our canine friends depend on us for healthy dog food like CANIDAE, shelter, water and plenty of love – at a minimum. This sounds a great deal like what is required to be a parent. When dogs or puppies need you, you have to be there. This is a great way to introduce your kids to the world of taking care of others. Pets are usually a child’s first experience with being responsible for a living thing.

Patience

If you have ever owned a dog, then you are keenly aware of the patience living with an animal requires. Dogs can push you to the very edge of sanity and then bring you back again. While dogs are a great joy to raise, you have to go into the situation expecting some trials. Any animal that is young and helpless will make plenty of mistakes along the way. Dogs are no different.

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What Brings Your Pet Joy?

By Julia Williams

One of the things I find most interesting about human beings is our uniqueness. We each have a distinct set of things we like, and things we don’t like. No matter how many humans you compared side by side, you’d never find two whose preferences matched. It’s the same with our pets. While some people think animals are a less complicated species than humans, in terms of their preferences each pet is unlike any other. However, without the ability to speak our language, pets generally have a harder time making those preferences known. They have to rely on body language and their own “animal speak” to get their point across. They also need an owner who is tuned in and takes the time to discover what floats their boat.

Understanding what brings your pet joy and then doing what you can to provide that for them is a wonderful way to deepen your bond. We humans appreciate it when others make a point of knowing what we love and what we don’t, so why should it be any different for our pets? It’s really not, but because of the language barrier we typically don’t learn all of our pet’s likes and dislikes as quickly as we do with humans. It can take many months, sometimes even years, of observation and trial-and-error to figure out what makes them tick. The reward – a beautiful, close-knit relationship – is well worth it, though.

Discovering what your pet loves is important, but what is also crucial is making sure that others know these things, too. When I wrote Have You Made Arrangements for Your Pet, I neglected to mention this, but I should have. It’s an essential arrangement for every family with pets but especially those who are single. I was reminded of this while reading Gwen Cooper’s novel, Love Saves the Day. The cat protagonist lived with a single woman who passed away. Even though the cat’s new family was the woman’s daughter, she was thrust into a home where they knew nothing about what she loved and what she didn’t. Many pets are surrendered to shelters without this critical information as well.

Change is hard enough for any pet. Imagine suddenly being in unfamiliar surroundings with strangers, unable to tell them that the food they offered wasn’t appealing to your palate, or that you wanted a lighter touch of the brush when they groomed you, or that what you really wanted someone to do, more than anything, was scratch your belly. It would be frustrating, to say the least. A pet’s quality of life would surely be diminished if they weren’t being provided with what they love most.

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Top 10 Poison Dangers for Dogs

By Langley Cornwell

It’s that time again. Spring is upon us, and my neighbors are fertilizing their lawns and spraying all kinds of insecticides to kill bugs. It always makes me nervous when they’re poisoning up their adjacent yard; I’m sure some of the toxic chemicals migrate over into our space. To educate myself, I consulted the Pet Poison Helpline and saw that they have an updated list of potential poisons in our homes and yards.

The Pet Poison Helpline is a valuable resource for pet people. They log every call they get, and each year they examine their records to determine what type of poisons garnered the most calls. So even though we’ve written other articles here on the CANIDAE RPO blog about the plants, foods or chemicals that can be hazardous to your pet, as a responsible pet owner it’s good to stay updated on the subject. With that in mind, here are the most common dangers for dogs, listed in order of the frequency of calls into the helpline. Interestingly, the list starts with food items because food accounted for the highest number of poisoning calls.

1.  Foods, especially xylitol, chocolate and grapes/raisins

Xylitol is getting a lot of attention lately because of claims that tout its health benefits, including reducing the risk of tooth decay. Many sugarless gums and candies now contain xylitol, and this sweetener is dangerous to dogs. Even a small amount ingested by your pup can result in a potentially fatal drop in blood sugar or even liver failure.

Most of us know that chocolate is toxic to dogs. The chemical in chocolate that makes it dangerous for dogs is theobromine, which is a relative of caffeine. The darker, bitter chocolates are the most dangerous. The fact that raisins and grapes are toxic foods for dogs isn’t as widely known. Be cautious; if a dog eats raisins or grapes it can result in kidney failure.

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