Category Archives: stacy mantle

Can You Get Swine Flu From Your Dog or Cat?


By Stacy Mantle

There are a few things to worry about getting from your pets these days, but according to the CDC, Swine flu (H1N1) is not one of them. Dogs are susceptible to the “canine influenza virus” – a specific Type A influenza virus known as the H3N8 influenza virus. This is NOT something that humans can come down with as it is a species-specific virus.

Cats Flu is a name used to identify a group of viruses, which affect the upper respiratory tract in cats. Felines are known to obtain Upper Respiratory Infections (URI’s), which is most commonly caused by the Feline Herpes Virus-1 (FHV-1), or Feline Calicivirus (FCV).

Most diseases and viruses are “species-specific,” with only a few exceptions. Visit the CDC website to see a complete list of “diseases that people and pets can transmit.”

Dr. Michael Watts says it best, “The current ‘swine’ flu outbreak is not technically a “pig virus.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has determined that the new influenza A (H1N1) strain contains genetic material from four different viruses. One is a swine influenza commonly found in North America. The others are a human influenza virus, a North American avian influenza virus, and another pig influenza more typically found in Europe and Asia.”

Bird Flu
As far as the Bird Flu goes, the CDC has this to say on the subject, “Influenza A viruses are divided into subtypes based on two proteins on the surface of the virus: the hemagglutinin (H) and the neuraminidase (N). There are 16 different hemagglutinin subtypes and 9 different neuraminidase subtypes, all of which have been found among influenza A viruses in wild birds. Wild birds are the primary natural reservoir for all subtypes of influenza A viruses and are thought to be the source of influenza A viruses in all other animals. Most influenza viruses cause asymptomatic or mild infection in birds; however, the range of symptoms in birds varies greatly depending on the strain of virus. Infection with certain avian influenza A viruses (for example, some strains of H5 and H7 viruses) can cause widespread disease and death among some species of wild and especially domestic birds such as chickens and turkeys.”

No Reason to Worry
Bottom line is that with the current outbreak of H1N1, neither your dogs or cats can get it or be carriers of the virus. Now, this is not to say that you shouldn’t ever worry. Part of the panic with the H1N1 virus is that it appears to have the ability to mutate. It still could. It probably won’t, but really you’re far more likely to get hit by a meteorite than to pick up the H1N1 virus from your pet.

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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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Pets and Pests: How to Combat Fleas and Ticks


By Stacy Mantle

There is nothing more terrifying to a pet owner than happening across a flea or tick on their pet. The first thought that runs through their head is that they must do something immediately. While you do need to take action, you should always be thinking of ways to prevent pests in the first place.

Prevention is the key when it comes to pests such as fleas and ticks. While you may not have them in your home now, there is always a distinct possibility that they are on the way. The best way to prevent pests is to have your home treated with an environmentally friendly, yet effective pest control service. Treating the outside of a home is optimal, and will help in eliminating anything that may show up indoors.

If you do find fleas or ticks in your home, there are a number of steps to follow:

1. Vacuum: Studies show that merely vacuuming the home regularly can eliminate 50% of fleas and ticks. Don’t let waste be stored in a bag. Wrap it in a plastic bag and dispose outside or empty and clean canister after a quick spray of frontline.

2. Laundry: Do lots and lots of laundry. This will help eliminate any current pupae (flea larvae) and help prevent future problems.

3. Treat your pet: Using a nontoxic spray or monthly treatment, be sure to have your pet treated. Be very cautious when choosing a treatment and do your homework. If you’re treating cats or kittens, be careful. They have a tendency to react poorly to these treatments and it’s important to choose one that is nontoxic and approved for use on cats. Read the instructions and never try to use a dog treatment on a cat.

4. Treat bedding: Be sure to vacuum and clean the areas where your pet spends most of their time. Wash bedding, treat with a nontoxic spray or powder, and vacuum often.

With these guidelines, you should be able to prevent and eliminate any future infestations. If you already have fleas, remember that you will need to do this often. Fleas have a 15-day life cycle.

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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 Keep the Neighborhood Cats Out of Your Yard

By Stacy MantleHaving their front door “sprayed” by roaming cats is probably the number one “complaint” of neighbors. There are a number of solutions to this problem.

· Aluminum Foil: Cats do not like the way aluminum foil feels on their paws, or the sound it makes when stepped on. Placing a large piece of foil in front of, or taping against, the door is an inexpensive and simple way of stopping the problem.

· Scat Mats: There are several different types of scat mats. Some have raised points on them that won’t injure the cats, but does deter them from entering the area. These mats can be purchased from pet stores for less than $12.00. Another type of scat mat can be plugged into a nearby outlet and produces a static electricity charge that, when stepped on, will create a small static charge which keeps the cat away. These types of mats can be a bit more expensive, varying between $50-$100.

· Motion-Activated Sprays: Ssscat is a motion-activated sensor that produces a safe spray and a loud noise when activated. They have a range of 3-10 feet, and this can be adjusted for height and range.

· Doublestick tape: Place double stick tape on your doors. Sticky Paws offers a wide selection of sizes and they will not harm your doors or windows. Cats do not like the feel of the tape, and will run away.

These are highly effective methods and quite inexpensive. Often these stop-gaps are only required for a short time period. The goal is to create doubt about a cat entering the yard.

Cats resting in garden areas are probably the number two complaint. So, to keep cats out of your garden, you can try several things.

· Ornamental Pebbles/Gravel: cats do not like to walk on these, and they look nice in yards.

· Water: Keeping an area moist will deter cats from entering the garden.

· Plants: There are several plants that work well for keeping pets out of your garden and/or yard. One of these is Coleus Canina, a newly developed plant that cats (and all types of animals) hate. It releases a stench that animals cannot handle. However, it only smells to the human nose when touched! It’s a pretty plant and works in nearly all types of landscaping and climates.

You could also try using the herb, Rue. The blue leaves create a nice garden accent, and cats seem to hate the odor. Cats are not keen on the smell of citrus either, so you could try using orange or lemon peel in your yard as a deterrent. Other things that have been successful are coffee grounds, blood meal, cayenne pepper, lavender oil, lemon grass oil, citronella oil, peppermint oil and eucalyptus oil.

Keeping pets out of your yard entirely requires a little more work and a lot of patience, but here are a few options. Note that these solutions generally only need to be activated at night, when strays are most active.

· Water Bottle: Fill a clear plastic bottle halfway with water. Replace lid and set in the middle of the lawn. If you have a large lawn area, place two or three out. The theory is that cats are frightened away by light that travels through the bottle of water, giving off little “flashes.”

· Blank or Scratched CD’s: these work the same way as a water bottle by reflecting light and causing doubt in the cat when he/she enters your yard.

· Motion Activated Sprinkler: When a cat or other pet walks in front of it, they set forth a 3-second burst of water. They run about $50-100.

· UltraSonic Cat Deterrent: These systems operate on a 9-volt battery, and when a cat comes into range, it sets off an ultrasonic sound, undetectable to humans. Often they run about $60.

I hope these suggestions help! Remember that it is always best to start out with a little, and then move into the power tools. It will be much more effective in the long run.

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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.

Should You Sleep With Your Pets?

By Stacy Mantle

The Mayo Clinic released a study that states sleeping with your pets could, and I quote, “Make You Dog Tired.”

My initial question is: “How long did it take these geniuses to come up with this theory, and how much did it cost us, as consumers, for them to complete a study that really could have been accomplished by just contacting me?” As the owner of fourteen cats, three dogs (one of which is half-coyote) and a plethora of other little creatures that may or may not be visiting at any certain time, I can attest to the fact that, of course sleeping with your pets will make you tired.

For instance, last night in the hot deserts of Arizona, we had a huge lightening storm. Under normal circumstances, the most catastrophic event that occurred for most people during said storm was a temporary loss of power. Not true for our household. In our household, the most catastrophic event that occurred was being bombarded by fourteen half-wild cats as they scrambled under the bed covers, three paranoid dogs as they struggled to climb up on the (thankfully) large bed, and a slightly irate husband. Obviously, this proved to be a serious disruption to an otherwise restful night of sleep.

The study went on to say that, “…when a dog was permitted to sleep in the bedroom, it has only a 57% chance of being allowed to sleep on the bed.” I find this interesting mainly because they neglected to mention the number of cats who shared their bed. This is primarily due to the humiliation of cat owners in admitting that they have a choice in the matter. If these cat owners’ homes are anything like mine, they don’t have, nor will they ever have, a choice on where the cat sleeps. Cats are notorious for simply sleeping where they choose, and God help the person who tries to move them. Therefore, I’m assuming that roughly 100% of the cats slept on the bed in contrast to the 57% of dogs.

But that’s not all! In addition to this already disturbing trend, “Snoring was reported in 21% of dogs and 7% of cats.” (Again, this is more than likely due to the cats’ reluctance to admit that they snore).

The Mayo clinic study also stated that, “…nearly 60 percent of their patients with pets, slept with their pets in the bedroom.” I’ve done the numbers, my friends, and that is a lot of pets who are disrupting the sleep of otherwise normal human beings.

The Census bureau claims that there are currently 106,566,000 households in the US (a figure that I can’t help but think is seriously understated. But, we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt). In addition to this large number of people, there are 60 million dogs, and 70 million cats that currently claim “pet” status. Now, if every household in the US has one cat and one dog who own them, then that, in essence, means that 82% of the residents in our beautiful country are being deprived of sleep each and every night. I find this interesting, as the article goes on to say that more deaths occur from falling asleep while driving than from drinking and driving.

While this study does in actuality, exist, it is obvious they have forgotten several important points. First, there is little hope of successfully sharing a bed with your pets, unless of course, you are like my husband, who could sleep through a nuclear attack, without any of the following events occurring:

· Heat exhaustion from the body heat of all the animals accompanied by the average 110-degree desert heat.

· Noise pollution from the hissing, barking, growling, and general irritation resulting from cats and dogs sharing a bed together, not to mention the snoring.

· Bodily injury from the occasional night stalker cat that chooses to use your naked back as a scratching post.

But there is good news among these disturbing figures. First, the Mayo Clinic also did a study some time ago discussing the positive effects that pets have on people. These consist of lowered heart rates, a sense of calmness resulting from petting your animal, and an overall decrease in disease amongst pet owners.

So, while we may run the risk of dying in a car accident from sleep exhaustion, the good news is that you will have a much lower level of stress during the accident.

Ultimately, the risk falls to you. And I, for one, am willing to accept the potentially deadly car accident over not sleeping with my sleep depriving pets. In all, it is just a part of learning to live amongst animals without becoming one – a task unto itself.

Read more articles by Stacy Mantle

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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.

Adopting Older Dogs and Cats

Older dogs and cats are often overlooked as pets when you enter into a shelter. But, the truth is, they are often the best bet when it comes to adoptions! Enjoying the company of a dog costs nothing. You don’t have to pay each time you spend time with your dog, you don’t have to drive anywhere – it is wonderful pleasure right there in your own home.
Take a look at an older dog or cat on your next trip in. Then remember that they:
  • They are already house-trained. No more mopping floors five times a day or going through frustrating crate training. 
  • They are focused. You will have their full attention when it comes to training. 
  • They are easier to settle into a pack: Often the older dogs and cats are much calmer and have an inherent sense of pack. 
  • Your dog doesn’t care that you lost your job or your savings. He loves you no matter what.
  • Dogs and cats are relatively inexpensive to feed, you can bathe your dog with a hose in the backyard, and if you adopt a mutt, you may have fewer veterinary bills.
  • If you can’t afford to travel, the “I am gone too much” excuse is no longer valid.
  • Frisbees and balls are cheap, and if you videotape them, you might just win $10k on America’s Funniest Videos.
  • Petting a dog lowers blood pressure, thus saving on medical bills.
  • Your dog or cat doesn’t need a fancy vacation to be happy- she is satisfied with a walk in the park or lying on your lap as you read a book. 
Please consider adopting an older dog or cat – so many are being turned in to the shelter due to “cost” or “lost our home and had to move into an apartment”.
We especially need adopters for the older dogs who have been in a family environment for their whole lives and find themselves scared and confused in a kennel in the shelter. These old souls are the sweetest and the best! Seniors are by far my favorites.
For more reasons on why “Seniors Rock!”, visit www.srdogs.com.

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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.

A “Coat” of Many Colors…

Tabby, Calico, Gray – okay, well gray is kind of easy, but you get the idea. What kinds of colors are available for cats? And how do you know what you have? We have the answers for you.
Interesting Fact
Tri colored cats are almost always female. About 1 in 3000 are males, but they are almost always sterile. This is due to the genetic factors required to create the color pattern. It’s no reason to avoid neutering your cat though!
Solids
Typical “solids” are just that – one solid color. There are really four basic colors, but they can vary in shades. The colors are white, blue (which is really gray), black and “red” which is the official term for “orange”.
Tabbies
Tabbies are one of the oldest, and most common, patterns. They can become complex though.
  • Striped: Striped tabbies look similar to tigers, but are often called “Mackeral Tabbies”.
  • Classic: These cats have a round color pattern, similar to a target. They are one of the most common patterns.
  • Spotted: These cats have spots that resemble a cheetah, but are more commonly found in breeds like the Ocicat and American Bobtail.
Bi-Colors
  • Tuxedo: These are the kitties with glossy black coats and white socks or white bib.
  • Other Bi-colors: There are other bi-colored cats that may include gray and white or red and white, or even brown and white colors.
  • Points:
  • “Points” are darker shades at the ears, tail, and/or feet of a cat. The Siamese is known for this type of marking. A white cat with brown “points” is known as a sealpoint.
Tri-Colors
  • Calico: These cats have separate solid color blocks. They may be “diluted” which results in a very angelic looking kitty or could be in blocks similar to a tabby, which creates a very colorful cat.
  • Tortoiseshell (aka Torties): These tri-colored cats have several shades of color that are all blended together in an intricate, muted pattern.

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.