Protect Your Pet from the Cold

Animal Charity Warns Pet Owners About Frostbite
The Telegraph

An animal charity is warning pet owners about the perils of frostbite with winter fast approaching

Veterinary charity, PDSA, is warning people that, despite their fur coats, animals are not immune to the cold weather, and can easily develop hypothermia and frostbite in the winter months.

"It's easy for us to wrap up warm and add on layers to keep us snug, but it's not that simple for our pets," said Sean Wensley, senior veterinary surgeon. "That's why, at PDSA, we are keen to give owners some important seasonal advice to help keep their pets safe and healthy as the cold winter weather sets in.

"Frostbite, which develops through prolonged contact with cold surfaces, can affect a pet's ears, paws, tail, scrotum and mammary glands. Affected skin will at first appear white and will be itchy and painful. In severe cases, the skin will turn black. Owners should check their pet over regularly as a pet's fur can hide frostbite damage.

Hypothermia (low body temperature) is another risk for pets and the charity wants pet owners to be able to recognise the signs of this potentially fatal condition.

"The first sign that a pet is cold is when they shiver," said Mr Wensley. "However, this stops if their temperature falls dangerously low. They can then become confused and subdued, with cold ears and feet. Their heart rate and breathing may also become slow or irregular."

Among dogs, hypothermia is more common in the small, old or sick animals. Some breeds with low body fat or thin coats, such as whippets and greyhounds, are also more susceptible.

Puppies and kittens have difficulty controlling their body temperature and should always be kept indoors during cold weather.

Mr Wensley advised: "The first thing you should do if you suspect your pet is suffering from hypothermia or frostbite is to make sure they are dry. Then, gradually raise their body temperature by placing them next to a well-covered hot water bottle or use a hair dryer, on a low heat. It is very important to call or visit your vet for advice. Don't ignore the signs of possible hypothermia and don't take any chances."

Small furry pets, such as rabbits and guinea pigs, often require special care during the winter. It's best to bring them inside in very cold weather, or put their hutch in a car-free garage.

Hutches and cages should contain warm bedding, and make sure there is lots of ventilation.

Prevention is the key to stopping hypothermia. Pet owners are advised to bring pets indoors during cold spells, dress vulnerable dogs in suitable dog coats when going for walks to protect them from the cold and clean and dry pet's paws after a walk outside in the cold.

Things to avoid include leaving pets outside for any length of time without access to shelter and warmth, or leaving them alone in a car, conservatory or caravan and taking dogs for long walks outside when it is cold and wet.

Advice on Family Pets: Praising Your Deaf Dog; Pet Grooming; PDSA Pet Fit Club
By Pete Wedderburn - The Telegraph

Our pet guru, veterinary surgeon Pete Wedderburn, answers your queries.

Weighty matter: diet and exercise are key factors for pets, too Photo: ALAMY
My daughter has just taken on a two-year-old English bulldog who is deaf. He is doing very well and is responding to hand signals, but do deaf dogs understand when you are pleased with them from your facial expressions as well as touch? It is hard when you can't use your voice to praise your dog when he has been good. AL, Manchester

When praising your dog, you need to smile and give him a reward, such as a tasty food treat. Dogs learn by association, so if he is given some food (sausage or cheese, for example), he will associate a smiling face with a treat. The food can then be gradually phased out and replaced with a pat on his head. At the same time, give a "good dog" hand signal, like a thumbs-up. He will eventually learn that a smile and thumbs-up mean that he has done well.

Hear, Hear! A Guide to Training the Deaf Dog, by Barry Eaton, a professional dog trainer, could be helpful. It is available from You should also see

My cat Fu, a neutered tom, came to live with us about three years ago after being rescued. He does not let me put flea treatment on the back of his neck, nor will he be contained in a cat carrier, so he has never seen the vet. I brush him regularly, but am worried about fleas. What can I do? FW, Sutton

If you brush Fu regularly, I can at least reassure you that you would soon notice if fleas were a problem. Fleas leave spots of dry blood, which appear as small black specks in the coat. If you come across these when brushing Fu, pick them out and put them on a piece of moist tissue. If they dissolve into an orange/brown colour, this confirms the presence of fleas.

If there is no evidence of a flea problem, you may be able to avoid giving Fu any treatment. If he does have a problem, you can buy a wide range of anti-flea spot-on products from a vet. It may be worth trying a few different brands. Some drops seem to cause more of a thickly sensation than others and you may find one that Fu does not mind too much.

We recently adopted a 35-year-old Mediterranean tortoise. How can we be sure that he is ready to hibernate? He has hibernated in previous years, in a small box approximately 14in x 10in and 10in deep, with a blanket in a cupboard in a shed. We have replicated these conditions, but we are not sure that we are doing the right thing. Can you help? SN, Surrey

Hibernation is not something to be entered into lightly: there is a high mortality rate if a tortoise is not in excellent health at the start. It is important that a tortoise is well hydrated and that its bowels are empty before it hibernates. Its environment, including ambient temperature, is also critical.

The safest course of action would be for you to have the tortoise examined by a specialist vet. If a tortoise is underweight or unwell in any way, it would be much safer for it to overwinter in an indoor enclosure, with a heat source and full-spectrum light for 13-14 hours to prevent hibernation. See or for detailed care sheets that include advice on safe hibernation.

* Send your pet problems to All sick animals should, of course, be taken to a vet.

The PDSA, one of Britain's biggest animal charities, is running its annual competition, the PDSA Pet Fit Club, with eight grossly overweight pets battling to be the best at shedding the pounds. But it's far better to keep your pet slim in the first place. Here are a few tips to help you to help them:

1 Ask your vet to weigh your pet and assess her body condition during any routine visit. It helps to have a baseline record to benchmark her against as she grows older.

2 Measure your pet's daily food ration rather than just giving her a "bowlful". If she starts to fill out, cut it back. If she becomes too thin, give her a little more food. You will soon learn what suits her.

3 Avoid scraps. If you can't abide throwing them out, add them to your pet's dinner bowl but reduce the measured daily ration by an equivalent amount.

4 Maintain a healthy exercise regime. Walk your dog for 20 minutes, twice daily. If your cat is an indoor animal, make a point of playing with her for a similar length of time.

5 If your pet does put on weight, you should get her checked by a vet. Some medical conditions (such as hypothyroidism) can lead to obesity and medical treatment is needed rather than a strict diet.

6 Obesity clinics, run by vet nurses, are a successful way of dealing with the problem if your pet's weight does get out of control. They are often provided free of charge.

Family Finds Pet Dog – After Three-Year Search
By Lisa Mehring • Windsor Beacon

A frustrating search for the Blackwell family pit bull has finally come to an end after three “ruff” years.

“We had just assumed that he had been stolen,” said Allison Blackwell, owner of Gotti and now a Loveland resident . “He’s gotten out before but we could always find him.”

But, this time, it appeared that Gotti, the eight-year-old blond pit bull, might have been stolen right off his chain in the backyard of their old home in Milliken.
“He’s never gotten off his chain before,” Blackwell said.

“That’s why it’s weird he did and that his collar and tags were lying on the ground.”
The search for Gotti began in October, 2005, after the Blackwell family came home one evening to a house with doors gaping open and no sign of the pit bull.

“We always lock our doors,” Blackwell said. “And, for good reason too. Once we even had the wheels on our trashcan stolen and a bike, so I had thought someone broke in.”

The Blackwell family drove around every day looking for their dog and even put up pictures. They checked for him at different animal shelters and even asked the police if they had any missing dogs at the station.

But, then three months after Gotti was first declared missing, someone found him and took to the K9 Bed and Biscuit, 14253 Colorado Highway 392, just east of Windsor. The dog remained unclaimed there for three years unbeknownst to the Blackwell family.

Then, while Blackwell’s husband, James, was at work one day he overheard a conversation between two of his co-workers about a dog. The story sounded familiar. They said the dog had been found at the K9 Bed and Biscuit.

After Blackwell’s husband relayed the information to her, she immediately called K9 Bed and Biscuit but was told she needed to look for him on the Web site and was given a description for a different dog.

“I was scrolling down on the Web site looking for the dog that they were talking about and it wasn’t him,” Blackwell said. “That’s when I saw a dog named Brad Pitt and, sure enough, it was him.”

That was on a Friday night in October, nearly three years after the Blackwell family first reported Gotti missing. The family was prepared to pay for the adoption papers but was told they had to wait until Monday of the next week to pick him up.

“The people at the shelter were really nice,” Blackwell said.

“They took really good care of him and even micro-chipped him and gave him his shots.

“It’s sad that he had to sit there that long.

“In his biography at the animal shelter, they even mentioned that he would be better as an individual dog and how he didn’t like kids. If the biography had been different, I’m sure someone would have taken him. It really must have been fate that we found him.”

The Blackwell family and Gotti are now inseparable.

“I’ve been taking him everywhere with me,” Blackwell said. “I don’t like to leave him home for even five minutes because I’m afraid that he’ll open the sliding glass door again.”

But, Blackwell is not the only one who missed Gotti.

“He’s really good with my daughter,” Blackwell said. “She can do anything to him and he’ll be fine. As for my son, this is a new experience for him. So far, they get along great. I’ll have my back turned and once I turn around my son will be sitting on top of Gotti and it doesn’t seem like he minds it.”

Small Business is Man's Pet Project

It may seem that a dozen years in industrial electrical sales wouldn't prepare someone to open a pet store, but Paul Baumann did it anyway.

His wife, Tammy, challenged him to open a pet supply store after he complained of his own shopping experiences.

So in December 2006, Baumann opened All Paws Pet Center on Maize Road near 21st Street.

He said simply being a consumer himself helps him understand how customers want to be treated.

"I get to be around dogs and happy people all day," he said. "Everyone who works at the store is happy to talk to our customers about their pets."

Baumann says common sense and great service help him be successful in the competitive pet supply business.

All Paws specializes in pet food, because Baumann says if pets are fed a higher-quality food -- even if it's more expensive -- they're less expensive to care for in the long run.

Baumann said his store sells 20 brands of dog food, which is the primary focus of his business.

"Good food does not have to be expensive," he said. "Pets are a part of your family and, ultimately, you decide what your dog or cat will eat. Also, with recent pet food recalls, people are more aware of what they're feeding and want a better product."

Baumann likes to shop with local vendors as much as possible, not only for pet food but all pet supplies. He buys baked pet treats from Derby resident Lea Bradley and handmade beds and bones from other Wichitans.

Baumann said he takes special care to explain to customers who are searching for the perfect pet that they should visit the Kansas Humane Society. He also offers financial support.

For example, pets can have their picture taken with Santa at All Paws on Dec. 13 and 14, and part of the proceeds will go to the Humane Society.

Baumann owns two rescue dogs, Bree and Molly.

One day, he said, he may consider opening an east-side store. For now, he's content until he finds the perfect location.


Treat Your Pet With Love This Holiday Season
By DON PALERMO - McClatchy Newspapers

The holiday season is here, and this is the time that we can do something special for our pets. Here is a list of 10 do’s to make holidays special for our four-legged friends.

1. Spend more time with your pets during the holidays. You usually have some extra time off at the end of the year, so resolve to spend a little more time with your pets. An extra rub on the head goes a long way in showing your pet how much you love him or her.

2. Get your pet caught up on vaccinations. Call your veterinarian and make sure your pet is current on what’s required.

3. Resolve to exercise your pet more during the holiday season and the upcoming year. Exercise will help you and your pet.

4. Remember that some of us travel during the holidays with our pets. Keep your pet confined while riding in an automobile and stop every 90 minutes for a water break and a stretch.

5. Take some new photos of your pet. It’s always nice to have current photographs of our furry friends, and you can use the photograph as a Christmas card to send to friends.

6. Get some sort of pet identification, be it a tag or microchip, in case your pet goes missing.

7. Pet-proof your home during the holidays. Keep plants that may be toxic and electrical cords out of reach.

8. Learn a new fact about your pet’s breed and share it with the rest of the family.

9. Go online and find a few healthy treats that you can make in your kitchen for your pet, and let the family in on the fun.

10. Finally, make a contribution to your local shelter in honor of your pet.

For all the good times that all of our pets have given us, let’s not take their love and companionship for granted.

Dr. Don Palermo is a veterinarian in Ocean Springs, Miss.

Two Pet Love Stories
By Linda Goldston - Mercury News

Somehow the holiday season is already here, and I have two love stories to get you in the mood — or at least take your mind off all the grimness in the world right now.

One is a love story between two dogs; the other is about a cat named Dewey that a whole town in Iowa fell in love with.

I know dogs fall in love because my dog Lucy had one true love: a German shepherd named Rocky, who reduced my bearded collie mix to giddiness every time he came by. She couldn't care less for other dogs; she much preferred people who could fawn over her, pet her and give her treats. But Rocky, that was her guy!

Dana Arbaugh of Milpitas said he had two male dogs. "But only one has ever fallen in love.

"Our big Bodie, a Lab-Rottweiler mix, went on almost daily walks with our friends' female golden retriever, Daisy. Bodie and Daisy were a couple for a good seven years before our neighborhood friends moved to Canada five years ago."

After the friends moved away, poor Bodie "would sit at the living room window looking for Daisy in the park across the street from our house," he said.

"Our friends would make an annual visit back to the Bay Area and often come by to stay with us. Bodie was always sad they didn't bring Daisy with them."

As happens sometimes in love stories, Daisy died in September.

"A few weeks ago, our friends from Canada returned to stay with us and explained to Bodie that Daisy was no more." But Bodie wanted to be sure.

"One morning as we took Bodie on his walk, we allowed him to lead the way. He took us through the park, over two streets to an adjacent park, up another two streets and finally to Daisy's old street. We were not sure he could remember the exact house as they all looked very similar — I had to look myself for the old house number to be sure.

"But somehow, Bodie stopped at the point just across from Daisy's old house, crossed the street and walked up to the gate. He sat there for five minutes waiting for her to come out. We could hardly believe what we were seeing.

"Big Bodie is 12 years old, and we will all miss him when he joins his true love, Daisy, in a few years."

The other love story I promised is chronicled in a lovely new book called "Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World" by Vicki Myron with Bret Witter.

This one began on a bitterly cold night in Spencer, Iowa, when the temperature had reached minus 15 degrees "and that didn't take into account the wind," wrote Vicki, who was the librarian at the Spencer Public Library.

That was the night that someone put a tiny, sick kitten in the library drop box.

When Vicki and an assistant librarian found Dewey — named for the Dewey Decimal System, of course — the next morning, "it was huddled in the front left corner of the box, its head down, its legs tucked underneath it, trying to appear as small as possible. "... The kitten looked up at me, slowly and sadly. Then it lowered its head and sank back down into its hole. It wasn't trying to appear tough. It wasn't trying to hide. I don't even think it was scared. It was just hoping to be saved." That night he was placed in the drop box was the last sad night Dewey had. The rest of the book is about how he blossomed, becoming far more than an impish mascot for the Spencer Public Library; he was the reason some people went there, to wait their turn for Dewey to sit on their lap.

"Dewey's story resonated with the people of Spencer," Vicki wrote. "We identified with it. Hadn't we all been shoved down the library drop box by the banks? By outside economic forces? By the rest of America, which ate our food but didn't care about the people who grew it?" As articles were written about Dewey the Library Cat and family told family, friends told friends, people started coming from all over to see him. "They came from Utah, Washington, Mississippi, California, Maine and every other corner of the map," Vicki wrote. And, "whatever they were after, Dewey delivered."

If you love cats and frankly even if you don't, you can't go wrong with this book — for yourself or as a gift. Some pets are adopted and enter our lives by choice, some cross our paths when we least expect it and some are put right through the library drop box and win the hearts of a town.

Despite Economic Dog Days, "Pet Nanny" Business is Booming
Tealy Devereaux, FOX13 News

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WHBQ FOX13 -- If pets are people too, can they have a nanny?

"Gidgette" and "Duchess" do. If the downtown dogs' owners are in town and at work or out of town on vacation, Gabrielle Dubois does it all.

"My range of services is so varied, it is absolutely like being a nanny for children," said Dubois.

At first pet sitting was just a part time job.

"I had lots of clients that I did in my spare time, nights and weekends," she said.

Now it's turned into a full time business of coming into people's homes to let out, walk, and feed your four legged friends.

"I don't just hang out downtown and in midtown. But I also go anywhere in Shelby County where I'm licensed to work."

Dubois says she's been virtually unaffected by the troubled economy. When she started her business 10 months ago, she had 10 clients. Now she's up to 100.

"Pets are members of your family and people make the provisions that they need to make for them regardless of the economy," Dubois said.

The "Mid-South Pet Nanny" business has grown so much; Dubois can afford to pay assistants, allowing her time to work in the office of a Memphis veterinarian practice. The assistants divide up throughout the city, and they don't just change a pet's water and put out food. They're house sitters too.

"Mail brought in, plants being watered. It looks secure. Someone is coming in and out of the house more than once a day usually." said Dubois.

Dubois admits her profession as a pet nanny does attract questions and the occasional strange look. But she says the joke's on everyone else.

"I love what I do and I am earning a living," she said.

Museum Exhibit On Presidential Pets Opens
The Associated Press - ZooToo

WASHINGTON -- The election is not over for museum visitors weighing in on what President-elect Barack Obama calls a "major issue" for his transition: selecting the first dog.

Seventh-grader Mary Grace Moran, visiting the Newseum with her class from Covington, La., cast her vote for a poodle by dropping coins in a clear, plastic tube.

"I have a poodle, and my brothers have really bad allergies," the 12-year-old said, expressing concern for Obama's sneeze-prone daughter.

Visitors are casting votes with pennies, quarters and a few dollar bills in a small exhibit on presidential pets at the Newseum, a museum about the news. (The museum, which announced a staff reduction this week, says it will use the cash for educational programs.)

Newseum is not without guidance on the puppy issue. Obama has said the family would like something hypoallergenic, and that the family likes the idea of rescuing a shelter dog, even though "a lot of shelter dogs are mutts like me."

So the exhibit is offering the American Kennel Club's top five recommendations for allergy-sensitive breeds — poodle, soft coated wheaten terrier, bichon frise, Chinese crested (caution: It's mostly hairless) and miniature schnauzer — along with an unspecified shelter dog.

So far, a shelter dog appears to be the people's choice, followed by the bichon frise, a small, fluffy non-shedding breed, Newseum exhibits chief Cathy Trost said.

The exhibit, "First Dogs: American Presidents and Their Pets," opened Friday and also includes about 15 photographs and a video on presidential pets. It will remain open at least through January's inauguration.

If the Obamas are looking for doggy precedent, they could consider Scottish terriers, Labradors or mutts, all former first pets.

More than a few presidents brought odd critters with them, too. President Theodore Roosevelt and his family had a one-legged rooster and a pony named Algonquin that once rode in the White House elevator. President William Howard Taft had a Jersey cow named Pauline.

"Animals have always been a part of White House life," Trost said on Monday. "More than 50 dogs have lived at the White House, along with alligators, goats, raccoons, parrots, you name it."

President Calvin Coolidge and his wife Grace were responsible for the pair of raccoons, along with 12 dogs in their small White House "zoo."

Journalists helped make some of the pets national celebrities, Trost said. Fala, the Scottish terrier who lived with President Franklin D. Roosevelt, was said to have his own press secretary.

Other pets were experts in their own right. In his race against Bill Clinton and Al Gore, President George H.W. Bush said his dog Millie "knows more about foreign affairs than these two bozos."

The Obamas may not find a mutt with similar expertise, but experts at the Presidential Pet Museum in Williamsburg, Va., have recommended the Portuguese water dog for its "international appeal," noting that Sen. Ted Kennedy has two of them.

The American Kennel Club suggested a pair of toy poodle puppies that will be available in January. So far, though, spokeswoman Christina Duffney said they haven't heard from the Obamas.

Or the president could take it from Mary Grace, who voted for the poodle based on experience with her brothers: "It doesn't do anything to their allergies."

Tell us what you think about “Museum Exhibit Opens Dedicated to Presidential Pets” below. Share your favorite videos by clicking on the ZootooTV tab. Send us your story ideas by e-mailing us at or by calling us at 877-777-4204

Click here to visit The EZ Online Shopping Network of Stores!

No comments: