Pet Advice: Does Your Cat Like Red or White Wine?

Ask the Shelter
Public Opinion Online

Q: I just recently got a new cat and I'm trying to get him to wear a collar, but he gets really upset when I put it on him. He's inside all the time, but on the off chance he gets out, I want the identification on him. Any suggestions for how to keep the collar on him?

A: First of all, congratulations on the new addition to your home and welcome to the wonderful world of cats. As you're finding already, it can be a bit troublesome to get them to do what you want. It's quite admirable of you to think about your guy's safety and want him to wear a collar for identification should he get out.

Another great means of identification is a microchip. It's a little electronic chip placed under an animal's skin -- near the shoulder blades -- that allows vets' offices, animal shelters and humane societies to use a handheld scanner to get the number and get them home. That might be a viable option for you to consider.

If you prefer the collar, I would recommend a breakaway one or at least one that stretches, so your boy won't get caught up on something. Breakaway collars will snap apart so he won't be stuck -- same with the elastic ones.

Cats can be a bit trickier than dogs to convince that something's okay. You might want to see if you can tempt your boy with food or toys. Put the collar on him and give him a yummy treat or play with him with a toy.

Q: My dog is really crazy. He runs around all the time, he won't listen to me. It's driving me crazy. Any advice?

A: I would seriously recommend you look into dog trainers. They can be incredibly helpful in situations like yours.

This may sound a bit odd, but the best thing dog trainers do is help the owners think more like their dogs and understand the "why" behind their actions.

If you decide to take dog training classes with your pet, you have to be open to the suggestions you're hearing and be willing to be consistent and diligent in continuing the training even after school is out.

Give us a call at the shelter and we can put you in touch with some qualified trainers in the area.

Ask the Shelter is a weekly feature aimed at pet education. If you have a question, contact Jennifer Vanderau, director of communications for the Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter, at or 263-5791.

Brrr! Keep Your Pet Pals Warm This Winter
Dr. Marty Becker's Tips for Winterizing Pets in Cold Weather

Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow a little more than a week ago, so now there's five more weeks of winter to contend with for you and your pets.

Veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker of Twin Falls, Idaho, has some indoor and outdoor tips and pet products to keep your dogs and cats safe and warm for the rest of the winter.

Pet Beds and Heating

It's OK to turn down the thermostat to save on heating costs but you can make things more comfortable for your pets with beds and heating pads. There are many choices for both beds and heat pads. Two of them are:

Pet Clothing

Pet clothing isn't silly at all. Small dogs, older dogs and greyhounds and their relations like whippets benefit from pet apparel. Check pet retailers for a wide selection. Boots can protect pet paws from de-icing chemicals and make post-walk, cleanup easier.

Winter Paw Care

Becker recommends either putting doggie boots on pets or putting a thin film of Vaseline on paws to protect them from ice and salt. You should also keep the hair trimmed between the toes to prevent ice balls from building up. Lastly, if you don't have boots on your dogs, keep a shallow dish of water and a towel just inside the door so that when they come in from their walk you can just dip their paws in the water and towel dry.


Antifreeze drips out of the car and accumulates in driveways and on garage floors and it's poisonous to your pet. It tastes good and it's sweet, so it appeals to cats and dogs. But it can be deadly.

Thump the hood before starting your car. Your neighbor's cat may be snuggled against the engine block and can be hurt or killed when you start the car. Also, be a good pet neighbor by either using a pet-friendly brand of antifreeze or making sure you clean up any spills in your driveway. Make sure you don't leave pets unattended in cars or trucks; they can die from the cold.

Healthy Valentine's Day Gift for Pets. Part Two
by Maria Devore, Denver Pet Health Examiner

In part one, I wrote about the importance of professional veterinary dental cleanings for your pet. In part two you will learn about how to maintain dental health at home.

After your pet’s teeth have been inspected and professionally cleaned, start a brushing regimen at home. Pet-friendly toothbrushes and toothpastes are available at most pet-supply stores. Use a toothpaste designed for pets; they come in flavors like chicken, seafood, beef, mint, and peanut butter. Never use human toothpaste on your pet. The ingredients that cause foaming are irritating and can cause your pet to choke. Most pets will learn to tolerate or enjoy having their teeth brushed. Go here for a five-minute instructional video. My dog Captain sits after dinner to have his teeth brushed because he knows he gets praise and a treat afterward.

Dental treats and specially-formulated foods are available for those pets with stubborn tartar problems. The treats, available from your veterinarian and some pet-supply stores, are designed to be difficult to chew and are shaped to scrub the tooth surface as they consumed. Ask your veterinarian about whether or not your pet needs a special diet. There are also products that you can add to your pet’s water to reduce plaque and tartar build-up. These are NOT a substitute for regular brushing.

Rope toys and rawhides are great for dogs. The fibers on the rope help gently clean the teeth’s surface as the dog chews and tugs. Be careful with rawhides, though. Make sure that the ones you purchase are made in the USA and supervise your dog while he chews them. Dogs can choke on the pieces once they get smaller. Also available are specially-designed toys to reduce plaque and tartar, such as Nylabones and Kongs. Cats can try this dental toy.

It takes just a little time and effort to start a regular brushing practice for your pet, but the rewards will last for years. Remember that even if you maintain a regular cleaning regimen at home your pet will still need annual dental exams, and possibly cleanings, by your veterinarian. We brush our teeth daily, but visit our dentists twice a year (right, everybody?). Please note that the Denver Pet Health Examiner does not endorse any one retailer; the links provided in this article are from an easily-recognized, easily-accesible store to make it easier for people to find examples of the suggested products.

Remember that February is National Pet Dental Health month. Give your pet a loving Valentine's Day gift - good health!

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Animal Column: Pet Penny Pinching
Tug Gettling- Herald Extra

Early last year when gas prices began their historical climb I offered some money-saving tips to pet owners. Now, with the economy in a tailspin, I thought it would be prudent to explore a few more. One of the top reasons that people surrender their pets to animal shelters is cost. Hopefully as pet owners utilize wise financial strategies, they will become confident in their ability to provide for their pets and more willing to keep their pets rather than giving them up when times get lean.


Other than surgical procedures, pet owners spend more on food for their pets than on anything else.

Consider buying food in bulk. In most cases the larger the quantity you buy at one time, the cheaper it is per pound. Go in together with friends or neighbors when possible to cut costs.

Keep an eye out for coupons, mailers, circulars, and discounts; pet food is often on sale.

Buy your food at a supermarket rather than at the pet store. The exact same product can often be found at a highly reduced price.

Feed your pet a smaller amount of high quality food rather than a larger amount of poor quality food. High quality food will produce a healthier pet which equates to fewer medical expenses.

Cut back or eliminate treats and table scraps altogether. Many animals are over-fed and over-weight. A reduction in their snacks saves you money and produces a healthier pet.


Keeping your pet contained is an often-overlooked money-saving issue. The fact is if your pet escapes there are many costs that you could incur such as fines for animals running at large, shelter fees, medical expenses for injury or illness acquired while your pet was loose, damage to other people's property, etc.

If you have a fenced kennel or yard be sure to keep it in good repair. Search for possible escape routes and eliminate them.

Consider installing self-closing mechanisms to all gates.

Keep doors and gates locked and closed at all times.

Talk with family members and establish a standard of always keeping the pet contained and under control.

Think about hanging a sign on your front door alerting visitors of your pet and your desire to keep the pet contained.

Medical and veterinary care

Medical expenses are often sudden, unexpected, and very high. With a little forethought and preparation the shock of such expenses can be either reduced or eliminated.

The price for veterinary services varies greatly from clinic to clinic and vet to vet. Do some homework before you are in need of any services. Call all of the veterinarians within your area and inquire about the complete price for certain procedures. You will be surprised at the number of different prices you will receive.

Look into low-cost clinics and events. Animal shelters, Humane Societies, SPCA agencies and other organizations often offer discounted medical procedures such as rabies shots, vaccinations, micro-chipping, and spaying/neutering, as a service to the community.

Purchase your pet medicine at places other than your veterinarian.

Look into pet health insurance, or better yet, establish a fund wherein you regularly set aside a little money to cover medical costs when they arise.

Taking preventative measures when it comes to your pet almost always pays out big dividends in the future. An ounce of prevention costs a lot less than a ton of cure. I hope these tips will better enable you to stay united with your pet during whatever twists the economy throws at you.

• Tug Gettling is the director of North Utah Valley Animal Services

Well-Behaved Dog Helps Teach Life Lessons to Children
By Linda Lemond - Post-Tribune correspondent

PORTAGE -- Using techniques learned by working with children for 27 years and a dog named Lucky for three years, former school psychologist Nancy Starewicz has developed a program to help motivate children to be the best people they can be.
She calls her program "Lucky Lessons."

Accompanied by her soft-coated Wheaten terrier, Starewicz visited Central Elementary School in Portage recently and taught students life lessons involving behavior, kindness, manners and good health habits.

Home-school adviser Nicole Slack arranged for the students to meet by grade level with Starewicz and Lucky in the school's media center.

Starewicz began with a book she wrote, illustrated with photos of Lucky from her days as a black and brown puppy to her present blond appearance.

The soft-coated Wheaten terrier, which does not shed and therefore is good for families in which allergies are a consideration, is one of the few dog breeds in which there is significant change in coat color as the dog matures.

As Starewicz read to the children, she encouraged them to write stories about their own pets and illustrate them with drawings or photos.

She incorporated lessons that Lucky has taught her, such as being able to wait. She placed a peanut on Lucky's nose and spoke softly and calmly to the dog, who waited patiently until given the go-ahead to eat the peanut.

"When I have to wait and I'm feeling a little impatient, I can picture Lucky sitting patiently. Then I can wait," Starewicz explained. She had the children practice sitting still and quietly, pretending to be Lucky with a peanut on her nose.

Another of Lucky's lessons is "I am friendly to everyone." Starewicz told the students that Lucky and she go to nursing homes, and that Lucky had to be tested for her friendliness and lack of aggression.

"Even if someone accidentally grabs her tail, she is still friendly. If someone does something to us, should we try to do anything back?"

A chorus of "No!" came from the children.

"That's right. We can always be friendly, too. And remember, those of you who have pets, never tease them or frighten them, because that can make them mean."

Lucky illustrated talents such as shaking hands, speaking and even "reading" a poster and rolling over to show her belly.

Starewicz gears her presentations to the age of the students.

While the younger students learn very basic lessons such as "I keep my eyes on my teacher" and "I eat good foods and drink water," older ones are encouraged to "Be less selfish, think of others more," "Guess less, study more," and "Judge less, accept more."

At the end of the presentation, the children were allowed to come up and pet Lucky.

"She was really soft," first-grader Zachary Young said.

"I liked it when she barked," first-grader Troy Kowalski added.

Starewicz worked as a school psychologist for 27 years -- 11 in Crown Point and 16 in Hobart. Her husband, Doug, taught and coached at Calumet High School for 37 years.

"When my husband retired, I wanted to do something that would give me more flexibility in my schedule. I love working with and helping children, and this fulfills that need," she told the adults as the first-graders filed out.

For more information on Lucky Lessons, contact Nancy Starewicz at 548-8664 or

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My Pet World: Fortunately, Most Pets Are Teetotalers
By Steve Dale - Twin

Q Recently, my cat got into my wine glass while I was away from the table. I caught him red-handed with the red wine. I noticed he enjoyed it. I don't think he got drunk, but he sure did sleep well that night. I know that since he's so small, a few licks could be damaging. I don't think this will happen again, but now I'm curious. Are there any alcoholic dogs or cats? And is alcohol any more dangerous for pets than for people?

— S.E., Montreal

A It's a good thing your pet is an indoor cat and didn't need to drive home. Dr. Steve Hansen, a veterinary toxicologist and director of the ASPCA Animal Poison Center in Urbana, Ill., says: 'The primary reasons we don't want pets drinking alcohol is that their bodies aren't adjusted to it. And if they overindulge, they may lose balance and fall from a counter or down stairs.'

Also, it's true that just a few sips for a cat or small dog may be equivalent to a single glass of wine for a person. There are no known studies on long-term use of alcohol on dogs or cats. However, Hansen suggests that pets, cats in particular, may be even more susceptible than people to renal and especially liver issues as a result of too much of a good thing.

Since cats tend to be teetotalers, Hansen is unaware of any felines with a craving for the bottle. However, there are anecdotal stories of dogs who've been encouraged to imbibe, particularly in college fraternities; certainly, alcohol addiction is possible. In fact, on St. Kitt's, monkeys who live near the beach visit local bars for a good time often, and many are truly addicted.
Q I hear it's possible for dogs and cats to get carbon monoxide poisoning in garages. If that's true, it must happen a lot. Can you tell me more?

— C.T., St. Paul

A Thanks for asking this question, which is rarely written about but needs to be.

Denver-based Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald, from Animal Planet's "Emergency Vets," says, "As the temperatures sink, people warm up their cars in the garage. It's ridiculous. We really forget about the dog or cat going into the garage — and the door is closed. A 10-pound cat kept in a sealed garage for 10 minutes with a car running will die of carbon monoxide poisoning. Again, this is no urban myth. I see this all the time, almost every week (in the winter)."

Q My 4 1/2-year-old dog, Rose, suddenly developed what was diagnosed as hyperplastic spongiotic perivascular perifollicular dermatitis chronic active, and eosinophillic and lymphoplasmacytic hyperkeratosis. My vet tells me there's no cure for this autoimmune disease. There are lesions all over my beautiful Rose. I agonize every day that my dog is suffering with an ongoing bacterial infection, which the veterinarian says also indicates a possible allergy. Rose is taking various drugs. I'm disabled and on a limited income, and the vet bills are eating me alive. Rose is family and I can't believe what's happening. Can you explain?

— R.P., Boulder City, Nev.

A All those big words are a description (albeit a very technical description) of your dog's condition, not her disease. "This may be consistent with an autoimmune disease but could also be associated with a skin infection," says Dr. Linda Frank, professor of dermatology at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, Knoxville. "Just changing antibiotics may not help. In fact, you could have, in part, a drug reaction going on. The secret is choosing the right antibiotic. Right now, I have no idea exactly what disease you're treating. It seems you're treating a series of symptoms, though certainly significant symptoms.

"I strongly suggest you see a specialist in dermatology," Frank says. "A skin cytology with a skin culture can identify the specific bacteria you're dealing with. Biopsies will need to be done, even if they were previously conducted. Since the treatments for skin infections and autoimmune disease are so different, it's important that a definitive diagnosis is reached."

Without making a blanket prediction, autoimmune disease is not necessarily a death sentence; depending on the specific disease, management is certainly possible. Of course, skin infections can be treated, but it's key to choose the appropriate antibiotic. Allergies may or may not be a possible contributing factor, and allergies can be treated. Please don't give up hope. Clearly, you love your dog.

Unfortunately, the reality is that persuing this further will require an additional investment. If your track record for on-time payment with your regular vet is good, perhaps he/she can inform the specialist, who might allow you to pay over time.

Q I say poodles have won the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show the most often. My wife says it's some kind of terrier. True?

— T.C., Peoria, Ill.

A I hate to admit it, but your wife is correct.

Of the 101 total Best in Show Awards presented at Westminster, the toy fox terrier (some kind of small terrier) has the most wins with 13, followed by the Scottish terrier (yet another smallish terrier) with seven and the English springer spaniel has earned the honor six times.

Among the poodle varieties, the Standard Poodle has four wins, the miniature poodle has three victories and the toy poodle two.

Interestingly, each time the standard poodle or miniature poodle have won their Non-Sporting Group, they've succeed at winning the entire show.

Steve Dale welcomes questions/ comments from readers. Although he can't answer all of them individually, he'll answer those of general interest in his column. Write to Steve at Tribune Media Services, 2225 Kenmore Ave., Suite 114, Buffalo, NY 14207. Send e-mail to Include your name, city and state.

Care Tips For Injured Pets
Fulton County News

One of the most distressing events for pet owners to encounter is witnessing their pet being injured in a road traffic accident, or some other type of mishap that causes injury. When your pet does become injured, here are some tips from HomeoPet to increase your pet's chance of a speedy recovery.

Get your pet out of harm's way. If your pet was involved in a road traffic accident, move the animal to the side of the road, using slow, deliberate movements. You don't want to scare the already frightened animal or worsen any injuries that your pet may have suffered.

Call a veterinarian. Add your veterinarian's telephone number into your cellphone speed dial in case of an emergency, or if you are traveling, the number of a local veterinarian. Do not administer fluids or food to the animal in case an anesthetic is needed, unless instructed by the vet, as in the case of a diabetic with low blood sugar.

Stop any bleeding. To stop heavy bleeding, apply firm pressure with a clean towel or cloth. This is usually better than a tourniquet, which can lead to tissue death from lack of Olsen. To stop a graze bleeding, apply powdered pepper or turmeric, which are easily available and wonderful clotting agents.

If an injured animal feels icy cold due to shock, wrap a plastic bottle filled with warmed water in a towel to avoid burning or overheating the animal. Never put a hot water bottle directly against the animal. The animal can also be wrapped in insulating material such as a rug, a thermal blanket, or even bubble wrap. If an animal is in shock, a quiet, dimly lit space can be helpful.

When a pet has been badly injured and is not easily handled due to pain, use a large rug to transport dogs, or a cage (or box) lined with a towel for small pets such as cats, rabbits or hamsters. If you suspect fractures, a board can be used like a stretcher. Remember, even the most friendly pet may bite when in pain. A thick towel wrapped around your arm and hands can help. A tie or soft rope can be used as an emergency muzzle or leash.

Clean wounds can be washed with calendula herbal tincture (available at most health food stores), 10-20 drops in tepid water. Infected wounds can be safely cleaned with tepid salt water. Use as much salt as will dissolver in water.

For more information on HomeoPet, or visit

Clever Dog Uses Snow Bank to Climb Up on Roof
Minot Daily News

MINOT, N.D. (AP) — Minot police say they get lots of calls about animals but this one was different. A caller reported a dog on the roof of a house. Animal control officer Dick Schnell said the snow in the back yard of the dog's owner's home apparently was high enough for the dog to walk up onto the roof Tuesday.

The dog, which appeared to be a border collie mix, seemed perfectly content to be there.

"A neighbor from across the street called us and said, '"You're not going to believe this,"' Schnell said.

The dog was in a fenced yard with a kennel and apparently just wanted a better view from the roof's peak, about 25 feet in the air, Schnell said.

"He would sit on top and look like, 'It's pretty cool up here,'" Schnell said.

Schnell tossed some treats and tempted the dog to the roof's lower level, but the dog would not come down until the owners got home.

Schnell said they were "very cooperative, very nice people," who were "very surprised" their dog was on the roof.

"Just when you think you've seen it all," he said with a chuckle.

Information from: Minot Daily News,

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