Pet Advice: Pet Friendly Cleaners

Protect Your Pet From the Elements
Compiled by TRACIE SIMER - Jackson Sun

Be it rain, snow, winds or heat, outdoor pets deal with all types of weather conditions. Pets that spend most of their time outside need a little help in order to survive various types of weather.

Amanda Waldon, a veterinary technician at the Jackson Animal Clinic, has some tips for pet owners on how to protect pets while they eat, sleep and play outside.

It's best not to feed outdoor cats outside, Waldon said.

"If you feed cats outside, the food can attract possums, racoons, animals like that," she said. "If they get into a fight with those animals, you'll want to know your cat's going to be OK because she had a rabies vaccination."

The same goes for dogs, she said.

"When feeding dogs outside - once they eat, pull their bowl up," she said. "Their food will attract other animals."

General health

Any animal that lives outside should be vaccinated, Waldon said.

Protect dogs and cats from strong winds. Short-haired dogs need blankets; long-haired dogs can stay warm.

Dogs don't like to go to the bathroom in the same area where they live, Walden said.

Pick up a dog's stool on a regular basis. Parasites can reinfect a pet when they walk in it, she said.

Weather tips

For dogs in pens, clear any snow away. Don't let cats or dogs eat the salt used to clear snow and ice from the pavement, Waldon said.

"If you go to Wal-Mart or Petsmart, you'll find pet-safe ice-melting pellets that are safe for animals and kids," she said.

Antifreeze, which is poured into a car to protect the engine, will kill dogs and cats if consumed, Waldon said.

"Dilute the antifreeze if it spills," she said. "It smells sweet, so they want to eat it."

In the warmer months, provide shade for dogs that live outside. Flea and tick prevention is good for dogs and cats, too, Walson said.

"You can't leave them in the car," she said. "Even in the winter, it's warmer than you think. If you must leave them in the car, leave the window cracked so they can get some ventilation."

Cats like to hide under things, such as porches with a dry area underneath, she said.

"Keep them out of the mud," she said.

For cats that can't come inside during the winter, a big pet carrier can be a good home, Waldon said. A pet owner can close off all the openings with plastic wrap to keep the heat in, she said.

"You can place the carrier next to a dryer vent, and put some towels in it," she said. "Also, put some plastic wrap on the front, making a flap like a doggie door. This can protect them from the wind."

For dog houses, make sure the house is out of the rain, Waldon said.

Line the floor with towels or blankets and use a heat lamp to keep the dog warm, she said.

"We caution against the heating pad," she said. "Heating pads will stay at the temperature they're set for, and that could burn cats or dogs."

If a pet owner uses a heating pad, use one that stays on for about 20 to 30 minutes so the animal's skin won't burn. For both cats and dogs, owners should provide an enclosed space that's dry, she said.

Waldon said a dog who lives in a pen with concrete floors should have an igloo or doghouse with its own floor to provide comfort.

"Line the floor with cedar chips or a dog bed to keep them warm," she said. "Concrete will be the temperature of the weather outside, be it hot or cold."

There are heat lamps that can fit in a dog house and are perfect for keeping dogs warm, she said.

"Change their bedding out if it gets wet," she said.

If the dog house is made of wood, be sure to seal it with a protective cover. If the weather is really cold, bring the dog inside if possible, Waldon said.

If it can't come into the house, maybe the pet can be brought into the carport or garage, she said.

"Just leave the garage door cracked open so they can go to the bathroom," she said.

Visit and share your thoughts.

- Tracie Simer, 425-9629

Kohdy's Tail Waggin Tips- Socializing Your Dog
Meredith Gage

Puppy Socialization Tips

I am sure you have heard about the importance of socialization, especially in young puppies. Socialization is introducing and exposing your dog to as many experiences as possible and conditioning them to the sights, sounds and touches in our human world. Most training books I read discuss the importance of socialization but don't really talk about the proper way to socialize your dog. Below are the top behavior issues I deal with in adult dogs, and how socialization will help to prevent these bad behaviors from developing.

The socialization techniques I recommend below are for prevention of undesirable behaviors. If your dog is already displaying these behaviors, please see a good trainer.

Dog-dog aggression: Puppies need to be introduced to as many dogs of all ages, shapes and sizes as possible. I am not a fan of dog parks as a venue to do this. Dog parks are great for the dog with a rock solid temperament. The dog that can have a bad experience and just brush it off do very well in dog parks. The rough house bully dogs or the shy sensitive dogs are often not good dog park candidates. The rough house bully dogs learn they can intimidate the shy dogs through play and this tends to make the bully dog into more of a bully, and the shy dog more fearful and shy. For examples, puppies tend to rush and jump in the face of other dogs. You may have an older dog that will not tolerate that behavior and wants to teach the puppy a lesson. Puppies can get scared in this environment and they sometimes learn to fear adult dogs. They might carry this bad experience into adulthood.

My recommendation for dogs that are not great dog park candidates is to socialize them through puppy parties. A great place to meet other puppy owners is in basic obedience classes. I often help owners set up puppy play dates at classmate's homes where between three and five well-matched puppies can be socialized in a supervised environment. It's best that the puppies are fairly close in age and similar in temperament. I can help to make sure the temperaments and play styles of the puppies are a good match. Again, you don't want an assertive puppy intimidating a shy one. Developmentally, a 20 week old puppy is a lot more mature and confident than a 12 week old. Often they do fine together but not always, so the play styles of dogs of different ages need to be watched carefully.

Leash Aggression: Dogs are often fine with other dogs when they are off leash, but turn into monsters when meeting another dog while on leash. We as owners have created this problem. Dogs feel trapped on leash and can't properly greet another dog. We drag them up to dogs they do not want to meet because we see that dog as friendly but your dog might be reading body language that says that dog is not going to be so nice. We hold the leash tight when dogs greet and dogs feel they can't pull away or defend themselves. This adds tension to the introduction. Often leash aggression starts out as leash frustration. We often begin socializing our dogs on leash and let our dogs go up to every dog. As they get older, we stop allowing them to greet every dog. They throw a temper tantrum which raises their arousal level and arousal very easily tips into aggression.

Leash aggression can be prevented by keeping a loose leash when dogs are meeting and carefully watching the body language of the dogs for signs of trouble. If either dog starts to get stiff and freeze, their ears go way forward or way back, or if there is any vocalization, turn your dog away with your best "happy voice" and move away. The worst thing we can do is to yell and correct our dog for snapping or growling. He is telling the other dog he is fearful (that's how dogs communicate), and we just punished our dog for fearful behavior. Instead, listen to the information that the dogs are broadcasting, respect it, and turn your dog away. Then once away from the other dog, ask for a sit and watch so he learns he is supposed to check in and pay attention to you when he gets scared. Work hard on not getting nervous yourself as that will go right down the leash.

Fear of people: Dogs will display their fear of people by growling, snapping, or cowering. Whether your dogs snaps/growls, or runs and hides, they are both displays of fear. If dogs are born with a shy temperament, they are commonly afraid of men. There are lots of theories why, which I won't delve into, but just be aware. If you have a shelter dog that is afraid of men, and you don't know their history, it doesn't necessarily mean they were mistreated by a man. Many shelter dogs I meet are initially afraid of men.

To prevent a fear of people from getting out of hand, it is important to get your puppy out to meet as many people as possible, especially men. Dogs don't understand the strange accessories we wear like cowboy hats, baseball caps, sunglasses, purses, umbrellas, or gloves. So, if you don't wear or carry them yourself, it could be frightening to a dog. Expose your dog to people wearing these strange accessories.

Dogs are often afraid of children. Children have sudden movements, smell and sound different than adults, and can be unpredictable. As puppies, expose your dog to children as much as possible, especially toddlers. Get them used to the fact that toddlers may grab ears and tails or pinch. You can grab ears and tails and pinch your puppy lightly, then reward with a yummy treat to get them used to it. Be very careful -- your job is to keep a child safe. Don't do this with an adult dog that hasn't been exposed to children and be very careful with puppies.

The behavior of a dog towards children can change - not always for the better - as the dog matures. When my dogs were puppies, they accepted children, but I believe that now they are adult dogs, they would be nervous and defend themselves if a child accidentally stepped on them or made sudden movements towards them. I exposed my puppies to older children at soccer and baseball games. Here they learn children scream, yell and run around and that is normal for pint size humans.

Possession Aggression: Possession Aggression is also called Resource Guarding. Dogs will guard things they don't want to give up, sometimes growling, snapping, and biting to get you to back away. Puppies naturally steal things and run to see how much control they have over you and what kind of reaction they get from you. This is the time to make sure you can get back what they steal. Play the exchange game with them. Give them a toy and say "give" or "drop" and when they give it up, give them a yummy treat. If they don't give it up, set them up for success and put a treat right in front of their mouth. Always give the toy right back. Many dogs start to guard because everything you take away they never get back. If your puppy steals your shoe, the worst thing you can do is chase them and then punish them.

Chasing them is playing their game with their rules. If you punish them they will remember that when they gave it up they got punished. Try to get that shoe from them the next time -- do you think they will give it up if they know they will get punished? If you have trained the exchange game right, they will very willingly give it up because they know they will get rewarded. Instead of punishing, call them to you with the stolen object in their mouth, say "give" or "drop" (which they've learned how to do by playing the exchange game) and then thank them for bringing it to you and dropping it. I have heard of dogs that learned the exchange game, and then go and find things and bring them to their owner to get rewarded. I'd much rather see that behavior than have them find something and then run and hide somewhere and to chew it to bits.

Possession Aggression around the food bowl is also very common. It is a hardwired behavior for dogs to protect their food. Make sure you can take the bowl away and always give it right back. Have a yummy treat ready, say "can I have that?," and take it away. Reward with a yummy treat and give the bowl right back. They will start to love having their bowl taken away. It is important that dogs learn they will get back some of the things they have to give up.

Separation Anxiety: Dogs need to learn you will come back. The dogs who have separation anxiety are often very bonded or very insecure. I see a lot of these cases in shelter dogs. They have been left once by a person they love, and put in a stressful shelter environment which they will never forget, and they think it could happen again. Breeders and trainers often recommend that new owners take a few weeks off work to bond with a new puppy and start the training process. I agree whole heartedly. But during this period, do not spend every minute with your puppy. Gradually increase your absences.

If you spend three straight weeks with them, taking them everywhere with you to socialize, and then suddenly you leave for 8 hours, your puppy could have problems adjusting. Prepare your dog gradually for long absences. You can start by teaching them to be in a room in your house by themselves. Never make a big deal or your departures or arrivals. If you are guilty, nervous, or over excited, your dog will pick up on this. Seeing that your behavior is different will change their behavior. Pay little attention to your dog when you depart and return.

Territorial Aggression: This is the dog who protects his space, a location, or his "territory." The way to prevent territorial aggression is for your dog, through leadership training, to learn that this is not his space to protect, it is yours. During your recall training (aka "coming when called"), practice calling your dog from the fence, the front door, or windows when they aren't aroused. Work up to calling them when they are in full arousal and barking. Never call them away when you know they will blow you off, or you will be teaching them that in high arousal they don't have to listen. Reward every time you can call them away. If they don't come the first time you call, go get them and don't reward them.

Barrier Aggression: Leash aggression and barrier aggression are very similar. A dog feels trapped because he can't move away or see the subject that makes him afraid. You often see this in a car. Most diagnose this as territorial aggression, and it very well may be, but often it is caused by barrier aggression. You sometimes see this when a dog is inside a crate or enclosed behind a fence-often called "fence fighting". With your puppy in your car, roll down the window far enough that people can give treats to him/her but he/she can't get out. If you aren't shy, ask people in parking lots to give your puppy treats. Same goes for the crate, when people come over and your puppy is in the crate, have them drop treats in.

Predatory Aggression: This is the hardest behavior to modify but luckily the most rare aggressive behavior in pet dogs. Predatory aggression is aggressing towards anything that is fast moving. It is most often seen in the herding breeds. Fast moving could be cars, bikes, skateboards, jogging strollers, adults or children running or jogging, or other dogs running. The best way to prevent this is to expose your puppy to these things when young and reward them when they see these objects fly by them and they don't lunge. If you have some training underway, when the object flies by, ask for an attention and watch and then reward. Be very aware of this behavior if you own a herding dog or mix, and watch for changes, and modify this behavior as early as you can.

Meredith Gage
Pawsitive Experience

Take Care of Pets, and Pets Take Care of You
Bruny Hudson - Tampa Pet Rescue Examiner

Feline Folks volunteers and other pet lovers gathered for a meeting Tuesday, Feb. 24, in the afternoon at the South Shore Regional Library in Ruskin to learn about the positive influence pets have on their owners’ health. It was this year’s first of four educational programs held by Feline Folks, a non-profit organization caring for the welfare of free-roaming cats in the South Shore area of Hillsborough County.

Sue Childress from Sun City Center liked the new afternoon time slot of 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. for Feline Folks’ educational program. She said she attended the first meeting when they started it two years ago, holding it in the evenings. After that she quit coming.

“I didn’t like to come in the evenings,” she said.

Childress, who owns two cats, both adopted from shelters, one from a shelter in Brandon and the other from Critter Adoption & Rescue Effort (C.A.R.E.), a no-kill animal shelter in Ruskin, read about Feline Folks in the newspaper but hasn’t joined as a volunteer yet.

“I’ll probably get involved. It’s a good deal,” she said.

Judy Stimson, Feline Folks’ secretary and treasurer, presented the program “How Pets Benefit Your Well-being” and led a discussion about cat care and the management of cat colonies.

Demanding daily care, affection, walks and a clean litter box, pets keep their owners active and healthy, lowering their blood pressure and cholesterol and keep their owners’ stress and depression level at bay.

Pets can also help their owners with medical issues, for instance detecting seizures ahead of time or sensing their owner’s physical distress.

Sharron Nabak, a volunteer at Feline Folks, is grateful for the keen sense her 10-year-old calico cat, Miss Puddy, a former stray cat, possesses.

“When I have trouble breathing during the night, she jumps on me and touches my face,” Nabak said. “It’s enough to wake me up. I continue with regular breathing.”

Starting volunteering for Feline Folks three years ago, Nabak takes care of 11 colonies with a total of 56 cats. She and her husband divide the workload with two other couples, guaranteeing constant supervision of the colonies. Nabak said each cat in each of her colonies has a name, and is documented together with a photo, having undergone spay or neuter surgery.

Deborah Farrel got involved with Feline Folks one and a half year ago when she heard about the organization as a volunteer at C.A.R.E. She now takes care of a cat colony of six, consisting of two females, Valentine and Gayle, and four males, William, Midnight, Sam and Cam. When she started to manage the colony, she said she noticed Cam’s tipped ear, a sign of an already neutered or spayed cat. Farrel trapped the other five cats to have them neutered or spayed and inoculated for rabies.

Feline Folks, adhering to the principles of “Trap-Neuter-Return” (TNR), provides people who are interested in caring for free-roaming cats with traps, free of charge after payment of a refundable deposit. The cats can receive surgery at C.A.R.E., which includes a 3-year rabies shot and ear tipping, for a cost of $10 the third Saturday of every month, at Animal Coalition of Tampa (ACT), a low cost spay/neuter clinic, or at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay if the cats belong to a registered colony. Feline Folks stresses the commitment to continuous feeding and monitoring a colony of cats once the cats go through spaying or neutering.

Farrel feeds her cat colony late in the evening and makes sure all are healthy. She said the fact that some cats started to come out at dust, shows that they have become less fearful than the ones coming to eat when it’s pitch dark.

Farrel said, “I can’t pet them but over time one might bond with me.”

Feline Folks will hold its next educational program, titled “Ask a Vet & Kitty Nutrition,” on Tuesday, May 12, at 2 p.m. at the South Shore Regional Library in Ruskin, Fla.
For more information, call Feline Folks at: 813-944-7651 or e-mail to:

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How Big Is a Pet's Vocabulary?
Seattle PI

The animals in our home seem to catch on to quite a bit of our verbal communication. We know that they read our body language, behavior, and emotions. They pick up mental and visual images. But lately, we've been noticing the human language they recognize.

Seems like we've heard that dogs have up to about a 300 word vocabulary. Of course, parrots' vocabulary can be incredible. So we've been experimenting with our cocker spaniel Leaf to find out which words have been imprinted on his young brain.

It's more difficult to figure out with cats. Do they really not know words such as "Don't scratch that," and choose, cat-like, to ignore the plea/command? It's easier to tell what words our bird knows. He says, "Hello," and "I love you, sweet baby."

Below are a few of Leaf's vocabulary achievements.

Popcorn: mentioned at any volume from any part of the house, brings him running

Carrots: see above for popcorn

Banana: see above for popcorn and carrots

Greenie: see above for popcorn, carrots, and banana

Pampered Pooch: his favorite doggy day care center and no problem getting the leash on him for a sprint to the car

Dog park: brings him and his orange ball to the back door, fired up and ready to go

Up, up, up: entices him to jump onto the bed for a squeeze, kisses, and a tummy rub.

Tummy, tummy, tummy: elicits a rollover that's faster than money moving from a 401K to an IRA account

Squeaky toy: causes him to root through his collection for favorite toy of the moment

To be fair he still remembers, sort of, his dog school training commands:

Sit (more like, squat for a second),

Stay (more like, pause),

Shake (more like, wave your paw around),

Down (more like, I'll think about it and decide if I want to)

What human words do your pets respond to?

Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network

Homemade Toys for Cats
By Natalia Macrynikola, Studio One Networks -

If you have ever bought a fancy cat toy only to find your pet later playing with the packaging instead of the toy, you're not alone. Baffled cat owners often wonder what went wrong. Some even take it personally. Your independent-minded kitty's choice of diversion, though, is more a result of its genetics than its feelings towards you.

Because your cat is a predatory animal by nature, a simple object that engages all of its instincts will attract its attention the most. Homemade toys often satisfy kitty the most. To better understand their benefits, we consulted with expert Holly Tse, author of Make Your Own Cat Toys: Saving the Planet One Cat at a Time (CreateSpace 2008) and owner of the Makeyourowncattoys Web site. Along with her insights, she offered useful ideas to help you create your cat's next favorite toy -- inexpensively and painlessly.

Consider the Benefits

Homemade toys not only benefit your cat, but they may also enhance your own lifestyle. Tse shares her top two reasons that homemade often trumps store-bought when it comes to cat toys:

You reduce your environmental impact

"Some of the best homemade toys can be made by reusing or recycling items you already have around the house," says Tse. By putting your "garbage" to good use, you divert usable objects away from landfills and direct them instead toward your eager kitty -- a plus in our eco-conscious times.

It's fun and safe for you and your cat

Making homemade cat toys is fun and creative, and it gives you the opportunity to bond more closely with your cat, says Tse. When it comes to safety, there won't be any scares about lead paint in toys. "If you buy a toy made overseas, you don't know what materials went into the manufacturing process," explains Tse. "However, if you make a toy out of an old gym sock, then it's really up to you to determine how toxic it is," a smiling Tse adds.

Try It Yourself...
Ready to try your hand at creating your household's next most popular cat toy? Here are four creative ideas from Tse's book:

1. Lazy Wrestle Sausage (prep time: two minutes)

What you'll need: one sock, one plastic grocery bag, one tablespoon organic catnip, one sturdy shoelace

How you'll do it: Place the catnip in the sock. Stuff the sock with the grocery bag. It should feel soft and pliable to the touch. If it feels too stiff, cut away excess plastic from the bag. Next, tie the shoelace around the open end of the sock, about 2 inches from the end. The toy is now ready for a game of tug-of-war.

2. Dream Catcher (prep time: less than one minute)

What you'll need: one CD, bright sunshine

How you'll do it: Hold the CD in the natural light so that it casts reflections throughout the room. Try angling the reflection so that your cat can chase the light beam along the floor and walls.

3. Polar Ribbon (prep time: five minutes)

What you'll need: old polar fleece jacket or top, one chopstick, one thick rubber band (like the ones used for broccoli), scissors

How you'll do it: Cut a 1-inch-wide lengthwise strip from the polar fleece top. Continue cutting strips until they add up to 50-70 inches in length. Tie the strips together with double knots to form a very long ribbon. Tie a knot at one end of the ribbon, and tie the other end of the ribbon around the elastic band. Wrap the band around the wide end of the chopstick until it is secure. Now, swirl the ribbon above your cat's head or dangle it above kitty's belly. Watch her chase it and swat it.

4. Sweep Around (prep time: two minutes)

What you'll need: one toilet paper roll, scissors

How you'll do it: Cut one end of the toilet paper roll to make parallel lengthwise strips, about 2.5 inches long and 0.3 inches wide each. Cut all the way around the roll to form the bristle end of the broom. Press the toilet paper roll flat, then fold it in half lengthwise. Fold again. Fluff up the sweeper bristles so that it fans out like a broom. Sweep Around is now ready to sweep kitty off her feet.

Tse reminds that you should always try to supervise your cat when it is playing with toys, homemade or otherwise. Store the toys in an attractive, covered basket, or other container, until ready for use. As a final word of advice, Tse says, "Avoid items that your cat may want to eat or that have the potential to cause injury." In fact, she concludes, "when in doubt, just leave it out."

About the Author: Natalia Macrynikola is an assistant editor at Studio One Networks, which publishes The Daily Cat. She enjoys writing while her feline roommate, Freddy, plays beside her with her homemade toys.

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Food for Thought: The Dangers of What Pets Can Eat
By Niro Rasanayagam -

A few years ago, our dog Elliott ate a brand-new rope toy. Elliott is a very large dog, and we’ve always been careful not to give him toys that he could tear apart. However, this rope toy seemed sturdy and was of a well-known reputable brand. The reason we had purchased it was because we had seen him and our other dog, Sara Lee, have a blast romping and playing with it at our dog trainer’s place. So we assumed the toy was safe.

Within hours of being given the new rope toy, we realized Elliott was finding it difficult to go to the bathroom. He was whining, clearly in pain. With a little more investigation, we realized Elliott had a sliver of rope hanging from behind as he attempted to poop. We also realized most of the rope in the toy was shredded and missing.

Elliot had eaten the rope.

When we gently “tugged” at the rope from his behind (which you should never do, as this can do further damage), Elliott winced in pain. The situation was serious.

Unfortunately, it was late in the evening, and our veterinarian’s office was closed. We called the local Animal Emergency Clinic, the only vet’s office that would be open at the time. We explained the situation to the staff who advised we bring Elliott in immediately and not to try to remove the rope ourselves.

That night, Elliott underwent major surgery to remove the rope, which had unraveled inside of him. The surgeon later told us she had removed several feet of rope from within, and that Elliott might not have survived had we brought him in any later. After a horrific night at the clinic, a couple thousand dollars, and several grueling weeks of healing and recovery, poor Elliott finally got better.

So, what should you do when your pet — dog or cat — eats a foreign object? And what should you watch out for?

Here are some tips from Dr. Les Mulligan of Peaks View Animal Hospital.

Surprisingly, soft objects such as cloth, rope and anything long tend to be the most dangerous when ingested. Soft objects, such as cloth and rope, tend to swell and if they unravel when swallowed (as in the case of Elliott), are highly dangerous to the pet’s organs and intestines.

When a pet ingests a soft item (as opposed to a metal object), it can also be harder to diagnose the problem. Soft objects do not show up on X-ray scans, are harder to identify and localize once ingested, and can be more challenging to remove during surgery.

Metal objects, such as coins and batteries, can be identified and localized using an X-ray scan. However, metal objects, such as batteries, are dangerous when swallowed since their chemicals may leach into the body if not removed promptly.

Intermittent vomiting in a pet may be an indication she may have swallowed a foreign object. If you suspect your cat or dog has ingested something toxic or undesirable, contact your veterinarian immediately and provide the history of the pet’s symptoms and activities. Do not try to induce vomiting in your pet without your vet’s advice, as this will likely exacerbate the problem.

Sometimes seemingly harmless items can be the most dangerous. For example, articles of clothing, especially socks — a favorite chew toy among many pets — can become life-threatening when ingested because they don’t always pass when eaten.

Cats should not be given string, yarn or tinsel to play with.

Dr. Mulligan informed me that in addition to all the stones, socks, ropes and batteries the vets at Peaks View have removed in surgery, they once removed 18 hair scrunchies from a cat. I do know a few cats who love human hair and the scent of shampoo — it’s hard to say what our pets might be attracted to.

As for Elliott, he’s never been allowed to play with any kind of rope toy since this accident, and any toy he does get to play with now is always under our strict supervision and a watchful eye.

—Rasanayagam is a volunteer board member of the Lynchburg Humane Society.

Inappropriate Urination in Cats—Holistic Considerations Part III
Darla Rewers - Seattle Alternative Veterinary Care Examiner

Lulu had bloody urine once from stress that cleared with holistic treatment. To clarify a lot of misconceptions, boy cats almost NEVER have an actual bacterial infection in their urinary bladder. If they are straining, having difficulty urinating, then they most likely have spasms in their urethra, crystals, or mucous plugs from stress. Antibiotics--usually the first line of treatment, seem to help from a traditional Chinese veterinary medicine perspective, because they cool down the “heat” in the bladder for a symptom, which is considered “damp heat” in this style of medicine. Often the symptoms will re-occur, however, because antibiotics do not drain the “damp” as the herbal formulas do.

Even if there are stones or crystals, herbal formulas can dissolve these. I have seen huge stones on radiographs (x-rays) shrink in size after being on these formulas for only a short time. Food therapies help as well. Some are prescription diets, or there are at-home and over the counter options as well. Because of the dire consequences of not noticing a male cat who is straining, I want to re-iterate that

If it has been determined that your cat is spraying, instead of urinating, then this is a behavioral issue which can still be addressed by many of the same therapeutics, however, the caretaker needs to be prepared to add diligence to the situation and help the cat to feel more secure. This is where the holistic therapies such as calming herbs, vibrational remedies and acupuncture, or “kitty Prozac” if you are so inclined, are beneficial. Pheromone sprays can help appease cats so they feel more secure.

Adding additional interactive play time, exercise and “kitty massages” can help diffuse stress. Remember that “stress” for cats does not mean working a 12 hour job daily or dealing with difficult clients. Stress can be from a sedentary lifestyle, joint soreness, vomiting or loose stool from a diet that does not agree with them, not getting along with other pets in the household or yard, being around anger or frustration in their people, and having unappealing litter pans. (See Part I again!)

6 Fun Facts About Your Dog
Sharon Harleigh - LA Pets Examiner

I'm constantly amazed by pet owners and their generosity in sharing information about their pets. From training tips to health facts, I learn the most not from what I read but from what friends tell me about their pets. As I pick up new, useful information, I'll be sure to share it with you all - and then you can pass it along to friends, and so forth. It'll be our own pet information superhighway.

For example, did you know:

1) Did you know that a one year old dog is considered to be as physically mature as a 15 year old human?

2) Did you know that obesity is the #1 health issue facing dogs today? Even parvo and other diseases have taken a backseat to the number of dogs afflicted by health issues caused by obesity.

3) Did you know that an estimate 1,000,000 dogs are the primary beneficiary in their owner's will?

4) Did you know that dogs have no sense of time? So, if I leave Angel at home to go to the grocery store, she won't know if I also add an hour in there for a workout. All she knows is that I'm gone - but it is very comforting to me to know that if I'm taking more time at my errands than planned, she's not looking at the clock (or at least, she's not reading it!).

5) Did you know that your dog can identify smells 1,000-10,000 times better than a human? Humans have 5 million scent receptors, whereas dogs have so many more - a beagle, for example, has 225 million scent receptors!

6) Did you know that if you plan to travel to Hawaii, your dog will need to be quarantined? State of Hawaii law says that pets (dog, cats, and otherwise) are required to completete a 120 day confinement in the State Animal Quarantine State; however, if specific pre-arrival requirements are met (rabies vaccine, blood tests, microchip, completed paperwork, etc), the quarantine period may be cut down to 5 days or less. For more information on this, check out Hawaii's Agricultural website at

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Airline Delivers Dead Body to Pet Store
By Karen Araiza, Vince Lattanzio -

Talk about your snafu.

Workers at a pet store in Northeast Philly spent half the day Tuesday freakin' out.

They went to pick up a big box of fish at the airport today.

They came back with a big box.
Eight feet long.
It had a body inside.

We got this frantic email at 12:36 p.m.:
"Please contact me ASAP about a dead body mistakenly picked up at the airport a few minutes ago by a local pet store. Was supposed to pick up fish and we received a dead human body! Is in the store RIGHT NOW!"

A packing slip on the box said "human remains" and had an address for a funeral home. No one wanted to open the box and in the end, no one had to. The pet store owner figured out what happened with police help and a few phone calls.

Turns out the body is a man from San Diego who died last week and donated his body to science. It was supposed to go to a research company in the Lehigh Valley.

But there was a mix up at the airport. US Airways, infamous for it's baggage handling problems will now have this to live down.

"The mix up occurred due to a verbal miscommunication between a delivery driver and the cargo representative. We are working to rectify the situation and are deeply sorry for the inconvenience this has caused," is the official statement from US Airways.

Yeah, I know. You're wondering what happened to the fish?

"They're still at the airport. Most likely dead," said pet store owner Mark Arabia.

And here's the ultimate irony: Jon Kenoyer, the man whose body ended up at the pet store, was a mailman. He hated to fly but as a practical joker, he loved a good laugh. His wife Mary says that's probably what he's having a laugh right about now.

Kenoyer also said she hopes this incident doesn't discourage others from donating their bodies to science.

In the end, the Pets Plus workers made arrangements with Philly PD to have a man's body picked up by airport officials.

Hopefully, his body gets to where it belongs.

Medical Marvels
Diana Gainer - Word Geek Examiner

Medical terminology can be pretty difficult to make out sometimes. I remember one time an older relative of mine showed me a bottle of pills she’d received from the pharmacy, with the directions: “Take two pills twice daily.” She confessed that she had no earthly idea whether she was supposed to (a) take two pills at one time and not any more until the following morning, (b) take one pill in the morning and another perhaps ten minutes later on, to make two, and then no more until the following day, or (c) take two pills at one time on one day and take two more pills at some other time on some other day. She also did not know when to stop taking the pills. She had fretted over the confusion which this had wrought in her mind so much that she was inclined to flush them all down the toilet and wait to see whether she died or got better.

I advised her not to flush the pills but to take two pills at one time in the morning and to take two pills again in the evening before going to bed. That was what the pharmacist and doctor had really meant by that confusing directive. She doubted me and the toilet still looked more inviting, but, in the end, she took my advice. Most of the time, though, people hear me out and then ignore me completely when I interpret their medicine bottles. After all, I only received nurses’ training, and did not go on to become a physician or a pharmacist, so what do I know?

Well, let me tell you a little story. Once upon a time, a dog went to see his veterinarian about a little skin problem he was having. His back was itchy and he scratched so much he made his owner, a soft-haired, old lady, feel very sorry for him. He was getting on in years, over 12 in fact, which is something like 85 in people years. The first time the dog went to see the vet about this skin problem, the vet thought he might have an underactive thyroid. She did a little blood test and told his owner she’d give her a call in a week to let her know the results. In the meantime, she advised the owner to make the dog take some pills for his skin condition.

The condition cleared up as the owner stuck the pills in bits of cheese and the dog gulped the cheese down without bothering to chew it, swallowing the whole kit and kaboodle without any trouble. While the dog was content to leave things that way, the owner did want to know the results of the blood test. So, after two weeks without hearing anything from the vet, she called the pet’s doctor, to no avail. After more fruitless phone calls, she wandered down to the vet’s office to see what was taking so long.

Much to her amazement, the owner learned from the receptionist that it would be a breach of the dog’s privacy to be told the results of this test. The aging owner was not only astonished, she was downright peeved, having already paid good money for that test. She began to raise her voice in a not very ladylike manner to the receptionist, intimating that the dog himself required that the results of the blood test be divulged and right quick. The receptionist stuck to her guns, however, since the dog was not present to confirm this and insisted that to produce said results without proper authorization by the dog would be illegal, unlawful, unethical, and against office policy.

The owner began to raise Cain at that point. In this case, Cain was shouting words to this effect: “That dog belongs to me and if anybody is going to authorize anybody to hear any results of any dadgum blood test, it’s going to be me, not the dadgum dog! Now get the dadgum vet out here right this minute and tell me, does the dadgum dog have a dadgum thyroid condition or not! And don’t give me no nonsense about privacy! He’s a dog, for heaven’s sake! He don’t care who talks about him!” Becoming hysterical tends to affect her grammar in unfortunate ways, as the reader can plainly see.

The receptionist left the front desk for the back and did not return. The vet did not appear, but an assistant did, who read from the chart. The dog’s thyroid was fine, as it turned out. Animal lovers will be pleased to learn that the animal’s ego also survived this bruisingly public reading of his chart, as he was at home, napping through the entire event. No, he really did not mind that his thyroid condition was discussed in public – and in a very loud voice. If truth be told, this same pooch will poo and pee in total view of the same public without any sign of embarrassment.

He also survived a second and third round of itchiness, both without excitement, and without confrontation between owner and receptionist. After nearly a year, the beastly germ that once attacked the canine’s back has again attacked and the vet has prescribed a slightly different medication. She has also hired a more cooperative receptionist, and the doggie’s owner is desperately attempting to hold her wicked temper in check. But the pharmacist is sorely tempting her. The dog is named for a particular brand of snack cracker (since the previous one was name for a breakfast food), not easily mistaken for a human name. But the list of warnings and side effects provided on the bottle of medication for the dog’s enlightenment seems unduly anthropomorphic.

The dog is warned that he may become drowsy after taking this medication. This will hardly be noticeable since he sleeps nearly 20 hours a day as it is. The beastie is warned not to drink alcoholic beverages. He has consequently guzzled no beer, and his owner is not sharing her wine with him, either. The dog must exercise care when operating a car or any other dangerous machine. Your columnist doesn’t know how many dangerous machines your dog operates, but hers only attacks the vacuum cleaner by biting it on the nozzle, so he should be reasonably safe. Nozzle biting takes only a modicum of coordination.

The dog is strongly warned to finish all this medication, but the pharmacist really should have explained more clearly that the animal should take the medicine for 14 days or until it is used up. The beastie apparently thinks he should sit right down and eat it all up immediately, something which he would happily do, if only his owner would wrap each pill individually in some lovely cheese and feed it to him.

The dog is also advised to consult the vet before taking any non-prescription drugs while taking this medication. But since the doggie rarely or never takes so much as a cough drop, a Viagra, or a sip of Nyquil, unless someone carelessly wraps it in cheese and lays it on the floor, his owner thinks he’ll be safe on that score.

Even if a pill bottle escapes from the cabinet and makes it way unattended to the dog’s toy box, he is unlikely to get the lid off without assistance, being without a single thumb. On those extraordinarily rare occasions when a pill bottle has found its way to his domain, he has chewed persistently at the lid until it came off but, having done so, apparently considered that he thereby killed the rattling “mouse” which had invaded his territory. Having thus accomplished his task, he promptly abandoned the bottle without consuming any of its contents.

Continuing with the instructions included with his medication, the doggie is advised a second time, in smaller letters this time, not to combine alcohol with this drug. Evidently, this is quite a serious matter and one can only conclude that alcoholism in canines is rampant. Your columnist cannot imagine how those other pooches get the fridge open to fetch their brewskies, much less how they manage the pull tabs on all those beers with their little round paws. She did mention the beastie’s lack of thumb, did she not?

Finally, his attention flagging due to cheese shortage, the critter is told he should read the FDA Black Box Warning information for this medication. When told about all this, the little animal just sat wagging his tail, panting in the general direction of his owner, cocking his head first to one side and then the other. He was not listening to the directions, but begging for more cheese. When no more was forthcoming, he made an abbreviated growl and then barked, which meant, “Get a move on, lady! CHEESE!” His owner obediently gave him some more cheese but without any pills hidden inside that time.

It was very thoughtful of the pharmacist to give the dog the FDA’s telephone number, for reporting any side effects. However, she very much doubts that the poochie will be able to punch the numbers on the telephone touch pad, since he’s only knee high and the phone is up on the desk. He was never able to jump that high even when he was young and didn't have arthritis in his little knees. Nowadays he doesn't jump at all. But, assuming that he does manage to get up there and dial the number, how is he going to report those side effects, she wonders? The little beastie’s grasp of English is extremely limited, being effectively confined to seven words: cheese, bone, out, no, his name, bed, and come. Then again, assuming that the dog is able to report those side effects with a bit of coded “Bow wow, arf arf, woof, woof!” who at the FDA is going to pay him any mind? They don't even listen to me and I used to be a nurse!

One more oddity: the poor, little, itchy dog had to break each of those pills in four pieces and take no more than one fourth every twelve hours. That’s a heck of a dose! Why didn’t the pharmacist just give him a bunch of little, tiny pills? The poochie had a terrible time trying to get the pieces to be the same size and some of them rolled off on the floor, which is not very sanitary. He was worried that his buddy, who does not have that itchy skin condition, was going to snap them up before his owner could chase him down.

His buddy has no compunction about things having to be wrapped in cheese before he’ll eat them, you understand. If they’re on the floor, they’re considered edible, so any semi-dissolved cough drops, half-chewed bubblegum, even the wrapper from a candybar – if it’s on the floor, it’s soon in his mouth! His owner is quite worn out from chasing him all over the kitchen and pulling things he shouldn’t have out of his mouth. It’s a good thing he wore down half of his teeth a long time ago or she would have lost a few fingers taking all that stuff out of his mouth, too.

His turn at the vet is Thursday. His owner can't wait to see what develops.

Dealing with Iguana, Westie and Cat Issues
Marc Morrone

Q: My green iguana makes such a mess of its water dish as soon as I put it in its vivarium. It kicks bedding in it and even poops in it. A few hours later, it is foul smelling. Is there a better way to give my iguana water?

- Jean Maggi,

Long Beach

A: An iguana can learn to drink out of a water bottle. You have to take a hamster bottle and paint the tip red with nontoxic, child-safe paint. Then you have to hang the bottle over the current water dish. Iguanas are very curious and will soon investigate the red tip of the bottle with their mouths. In no time they will realize they can get water out of this bottle. When you see the iguana doing this, take away the water dish. Some iguanas, however, do like to poop in a dish, so they would appreciate a periodic soaking bath of warm water for this purpose.

Even though this works very well for iguanas, I have never been able to get other intelligent lizards, such as bearded dragons, to drink this way. If any of you can get any lizards other than iguanas to drink from a bottle, please let me know.

Q: My Westie suffers from horrible food allergies that cause all sorts of skin problems. My vet told me it was caused by her dog food and gave me a prescription diet. The rash went away a bit but is still there. I have heard that feeding your dog homemade food will help a great deal in these cases, but there are so many recipes on the Internet I do not even know where to start. What formula would you suggest?

- Tim Meng,


A: Years ago, all dogs ate homemade diets - basically table scraps. Back then, only a few dogs were known to have the food allergies that many suffer from today. The dogs did suffer, however, from nutritional problems because the table-scrap diet was not balanced and nobody thought to add vitamin and mineral supplements. A wellbalanced homemade diet is always superior to just about any processed food, if you have the time to do it. Years ago, when I had fewer dogs and more time, I made my own dog food. This is how I did it: I would just buy a bunch of chicken legs and thighs and boil them until they were cooked. Then I'd pull the bones out and cut up the meat and skin. I'd cook brown rice in the same water the chicken was cooked in.

Then, I'd thaw out some frozen mixed vegetables I bought at the supermarket and mix together all three ingredients in a ratio of one-third each and portion it all out into plastic sandwich bags and freeze them all. Each day I'd thaw out what I needed and feed it to my dogs twice a day. Follow this plan, and you will be amazed at the results in her overall condition. You still need to add vitamins and minerals to this diet. Ask for the right dosage at your pet store.

Q: My 7-year-old neutered male cat named Colin has a fetish for water. He cannot drink without splashing all the water out of the bowl. When his bowl is empty, he then splashes water out of the dog's bowl. Anytime he can find water, he plays with it. I would like to know how we can keep him out of our other pet's water dishes and avoid the mess on the floor.

- Jean Van Leuren,

Forest Hills

A: I wonder if Colin has some Turkish Van in his genealogy. That is a breed of cat that loves to play in water. It is obvious that Colin is going to always go out of his way to splash in water. You might want to get him one of those Drinkwell pet fountains (many pet stores and online companies sell them). It is a little fountain that you place on the floor that has water constantly splashing into a drinking bowl. Colin can splash all he likes with very little of the water getting on the floor. Perhaps, with this constant source of running water to play in, he may lose the novelty of the idea and look for a new hobby.

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