Pet Advice: What Pet Owners Should Know During a Pet Emergency

Puppy Mills in NC
Blaine Harper - Fayetteville Pets Examiner

Puppy Mills. Back yard breeders. To many people, these are terms that have only become part of their lexicon in the last few months with the emergence of high profile stories about raids on overcrowded kennels that are breeding dogs in deplorable conditions. The topic of puppy mills hit close to home in North Carolina last month when a Wayne County puppy mill, Thornton Kennels, was raided in a joint effort between the Humane Society of the United States and Wayne County Animal Control.

Over 280 small-breed dogs were confiscated in the raid that revealed dogs living in cramped, feces-strewn cages with no climate control. Many were suffering from skin problems, matted fur, respiratory infections and pressure sores from being forced to live in close quarters. Local area residents were outraged and shocked, though there is evidence that at least some community members knew about the conditions of the operation. Some former customers who had purchased sick dogs contacted authorities, which eventually resulted in the February raid.

When it comes to pet overpopulation, puppy mills are a serious factor contributing to the problem. Large-scale breeding operations produce countless hundreds of puppies per year that are sold to pet stores and to individuals. Because there are so many dogs to care for, puppy mills use cheap, low-quality food. Vet care is provided only in cases of emergency, if at all. The animals are not properly socialized with humans because there are too many of them and too little time. The results are sick, malnourished and unsocialized dogs. However, because the dogs are purebred or popular mixes (Maltipoos, Snorkies, etc.), the best looking ones are sold to pet shops for hundreds of dollars each before the pet store adds their retail markup.

Pet stores and big chains keep puppy mills in business. They have a customer demand to meet. Customers expect that when they enter the store, there will be a variety of puppies in all sorts of breeds at any given time. They expect to see pups that are young and cute (8-10 weeks old) at any given time. This attractive, impressive “product” display hides the fact that a mother dog is being made to produce puppies in a factory-like puppy mill. Those dogs that are not sold to pet stores are listed in classified ads on the Internet and in newspapers, also for significant sums of money.

It is important to know that puppy mills don’t always look the part from the outside. There might be a kindly looking woman in charge, a slick website and even a decent looking property. But do not be fooled. Responsible breeders will not have more than a few dogs being bred at any one time. They will know all their dogs individually and provide only the best care. When it comes to breeding operations it is quality, not quantity that matters.

But when it comes to pet overpopulation, puppy mills are only half the story. It is easy to look at a barn full of hundreds of neglected creatures and say “For shame!” in regards to the actions of the unethical breeders producing such misery. What we must realize is that for every large-scale puppy mill breeding hundreds of dogs, there are a thousand separate individuals breeding a dog in their own backyards. Conditions may not be as dramatic, the tales not as tragic (though some cases certainly are) but the impact on pet overpopulation is much greater. Back yard breeders, due to their numbers, have a far greater impact on pet overpopulation and represent a problem that is far more difficult to address than that of puppy mills.

Top Pet Illnesses
Baltimore Sun

Last week, we talked about parvovirus, which killed one of Oprah Winfrey’s puppies and sickened another. But as devastating as that disease is, it doesn’t make the list of the 10 most common conditions for pet insurance claims.

According to Veterinary Pet Insurance, the nation’s oldest and largest provider of pet health insurance, ear infections are the No. 1 condition for dogs and lower urinary tract disease the No. 1 for cats.

The conclusions were based on an analysis of medical claims the company received last year. The top 10 conditions accounted for nearly 340,000, or close to 25 percent, of all canine and feline medical claims VPI received. The most expensive of the common canine conditions was benign skin tumors, with an average submitted claim fee of $340. For cats, the most expensive common condition was renal failure, with an average submitted claim fee of $267.

Here are the lists:

Top Canine Claims Top Feline Claims

1. Ear Infections 1. Lower Urinary Tract Disease

2. Skin Allergies 2. Gastritis/Stomach Upsets

3. Pyoderma/Hot Spots 3. Chronic Renal Failure

4. Gastritis/Vomiting 4. Enteritis/Diarrhea

5. Enteritis/Diarrhea 5. Diabetes Mellitus

6. Urinary Tract Infections 6. Skin Allergies

7. Benign Skin Tumors 7. Hyperthyroidism

8. Osteoarthritis 8. Ear Infections

9. Eye Inflammation 9. Upper Respiratory Virus

10. Hypothyroidism 10. Eye Inflammation

Don’t Sacrifice Dogs’ Nutrition

Pet Nutrition Month in March highlights importance of healthy food.

As many pet owners struggle to find ways to save on pet care, there’s one area that should not be neglected: pet food. That’s why Banfield, The Pet Hospital, is offering tips for ways to help pet owners keep cats and dogs healthy during difficult economic times.

While it may be tempting to switch to lower-cost pet food, Banfield said it’s important for pet owners to be aware of the long-term cost-efficiency of feeding their pets a higher-quality diet.

“Nutrition is the foundation of good health, and a quality diet can actually decrease your pet’s chance of developing costly health problems in the future,” said Karen Johnson, DVM, of Banfield.

High-quality food tends to include less filler. As a result, more nutrients are directly absorbed and used by the pet’s body.

In addition, feeding pets a high-quality diet decreases the amount they need to be fed, according to Banfield. The hospital urges pet owners to consider the following tips:

--Give pets food that’s made by companies known for ongoing nutritional research.

--Make sure pet food stays fresh by minimizing the time period food is stored.

--Feed pets the right amount according to their weight, and avoid feeding pets as much as they want, or feeding large amounts at once.

--Maintain a consistent daily feeding schedule to help pets keep normal elimination habits, as well as avoid indoor accidents.

--Examine the first three ingredients on pet food labels. The most nutritionally rich pet foods contain whole ingredients in the top ingredients, instead of “meals” or ground skeletal meats, organs, or connective tissue. By-product “meals” do have nutritional benefits, but are more beneficial to pets when not among the primary ingredients.

--Avoid feeding people food to animals. A pet’s digestive system is simpler than a person’s and can be upset by feeding table scraps.

Dogs Help in Hunt for New Cancer Drugs
By Amanda Gardner - US News & World Report

Research with canines may one day lead to new therapies to benefit humans

MONDAY, March 23 (HealthDay News) -- Joe Bauer got the call on a Friday afternoon.

A 10-year-old bichon frise named Oscar had developed anal sac adenocarcinoma, a particularly virulent cancer in dogs, and had been given only three months, at best, to live. The dog's owners, from Milford, Mass., were heartbroken and planned to have Oscar put down the next day.

Instead, Bauer, who at the time was a staff scientist at the Cleveland Clinic's Center for Hematology & Oncology Molecular Therapeutics, shipped an experimental cancer drug free-of-charge to Oscar's veterinarian -- essentially enrolling Oscar in a clinical trial that could end up benefitting not only suffering dogs but humans as well.

Treating dogs as a prelude to finding new cancer drugs for humans is an idea that's catching on.

"Dogs are benefiting more and more as [people] recognize the value of studying new cancer therapies -- not just drugs -- in dogs," said Dr. Ann E. Hohenhaus, a staff veterinarian and board-certified dog/cat oncologist at the Animal Medical Center in New York City. "There are a couple of reasons why the dog is so good."

For one thing, the mice usually studied in cancer research are genetically bred to develop tumors. Dogs, like humans, spontaneously develop tumors.

"The tumors we ultimately want to treat in people spontaneously happen because people have darn bad luck," Hohenhaus said. "The same thing is true for dogs. That aspect of tumors in dogs is fabulous in terms of mimicking what happens in humans."

Also, not only are dogs similar to humans in their genetic makeup (certainly more similar than mice), they are also exposed to the same environmental factors that humans are.

Experimental chemotherapy drugs might garner response rates of 80 percent or higher in mice, but that figure often plunges to 10 or 15 percent when applied to humans, added Bauer, who said he now directs scientific research at the Bauer Research Foundation in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

It's been five years since Oscar's death-sentence reprieve with the new drug, and he's still going strong.

Since then, three other dogs have been treated and have responded to the drug, called nitrosylcobalamin (NO-Cbl), without any negative reactions, Bauer said. He was to present the findings Monday at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Salt Lake City.

The research field appears so promising that the U.S. National Cancer Institute has established the Comparative Oncology Program to evaluate chemotherapy drugs in dogs.

And the first U.S. canine tumor tissue bank started accepting tissue and blood samples from dogs with cancer in 2007. The new "biospecimen repository" facility lies adjacent to the National Cancer Institute's own library of human cancer samples.

NO-Cbl works like a "Trojan horse," binding to vitamin B12 receptors on cell surfaces. This blocks the action of B12, which aids and abets the potentially deadly divide-and-multiply process of cancer cells.

Since Oscar, Bauer has treated a 13-year-old giant schnauzer named Haley with thyroid cancer and a 6-year-old Golden Retriever named Buddy with malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor.

Buddy's tumor shrank 40 percent after 10 months of daily treatment, he said. Haley's shrank by 77 percent.

Bauer's group is now doing research with 10 dogs. They will be tracked for a year with the help of their own veterinarians. Based on the results of that research, Bauer said, he hopes to file for an investigational new drug application for NO-Cbl from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for a phase I clinical trial on humans.

"There's a great inequity for drugs available for veterinary use and those available for human use," Bauer said. "Most of those used to treat dogs and other pets were developed in the 1950s."

Hohenhaus added: "This helps my animal patients have access to treatments they wouldn't have access to otherwise. We look at this as a benefit to both species."

Prepare Pets for Storm Stress
Dr. M. Margaret King - The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — We are moving full throttle into Oklahoma’s thunderstorm and tornado season. Some Oklahoman’s already have experienced the wrath of our Oklahoma weather and the season has just begun.

One of the biggest problems is that these storms are rarely predictable, and for that reason, storm phobia easily can develop and be difficult to treat in our pets.

The usual signs of storm phobia may include nervousness, trembling, drooling, vocalizing, hiding, human-seeking, trying to escape, panting, pacing and destroying items or structures such as door jambs, walls and pillows or beds. Tearing up items is bad enough, but if the dog eats some part of it, they may be facing an emergency surgery to remove a foreign body. Dogs that are storm phobic may try to jump through windows or doors to escape during a thunderstorm. If they have access to the outdoors, they may just take off and run uncontrollably, becoming lost or injured in the process.

Speak to your veterinarian about a non-sedating, maybe even homeopathic drug to help take the edge off. While the pet is taking the drug, try to use various methods of desensitization such as CDs with recorded noises such as thunder, sirens, fireworks, etc. Play the CD quietly initially and gradually increase the volume. As they become more comfortable with the noises, continue to gradually increase the volume.

During a storm, and with your pet medicated initially, work with him to try to desensitize him. Close all shades so the lightening cannot be seen. Close all doors and windows and keep the pet in a safe room so it will not try to jump through a window. Distract him with chew toys and games, as well as a few treats. Involve another housemate pet if it is not storm phobic to try to distract him. Background music also may be helpful to cut down on the storm noises.

To prepare for the worst should a serious storm or tornado occur and you are home with your pet, make a few general preparations. Have a first aid kit that also should contain a picture of your pet(s), any microchip numbers, your veterinarians telephone number, the nearest veterinary emergency hospital address and phone number and a nearby pet friendly motel’s telephone number. It is a good idea to check this out ahead of time and have all your information handy when an emergency occurs.

Have a pet carrier or two handy and leashes for larger dogs. In a real emergency, pillow cases make great small pet/cat carriers. Take pets into a centrally located bathroom or closet with you if possible. Try to have everything needed to transport pets ready in a nearby closet or corner of the room. This might include things such as flashlights and raincoats that you might need for yourself in case a quick exit is needed. A source of drinking water for you and your pet should be readily available and any medications, special diets, syringes and insulin need to be kept handy.

Be sure you take your cell phone with you everywhere you go and try to keep it dry. As with most emergency situations, previous preparation can make enduring the event much safer and easier to tolerate for both you and your pets. Work on correcting storm phobias and if medications are needed, give them early so transporting your pet whether to your favorite closet, bathtub or storm cellar, will be a much easier task.

DR. M. MARGARET KING, a longtime Edmond veterinarian, is a guest columnist. If you have any questions for her, send them to 1900 S. Bryant, Edmond, OK 73013.

Katrina Dog Documentary Gets Raves in Austin

For thousands of New Orleans pet owners who became separated from their pets during Hurricane Katrina, the pain still lingers, and a new documentary shows how deep and complicated the hurt can be.

"Mine: Taken by Katrina", premiered at a film festival over the weekend in Austin, Texas and proved a crowd favorite.

The documentary highlights a few of the tens of thousand of animals who were displaced by Katrina, the dedicated volunteers who risked their lives to rescue them, the adoptive families that have taken these pets into their homes and the original owners who lost them — some of whom are still fighting for their custody.

Director Geralyn Pezanoski, herself the adopter of a Katrina animal, began documenting animal rescue efforts in New Orleans shortly after Hurricane Katrina, and has followed the stories of several pets and animals over the last two years.

The documentary, which won the Audience Award for best documentary feature at last weekend’s South by Southwest film festival in Austin, has some heartwarming moments and some anguishing ones, such as those of pet owners still trying to reclaim their animals from adoptive homes that have grown to love them.

Those include a man named Malvin, who built his dog Bandit a new dog house next to his FEMA trailer — in case the dog’s adoptive parents in Pittsburgh ever agree to return the pooch. Another, Jesse James Pullins, a downtown hotel worker, was still mourning his separation from his Akita mix when he saw him show up on Cesar Millan’s The Dog Whisperer.

Like the aftermath of Katrina, the documentary is a testament to the intense bond between people and their pets. In this case though, those bonds are often shared by the guardians who lost their pets and want them back, and the well-meaning adoptive guardians who have taken them in, nursed them back to health and don’t want to part with them, even when the real owner surfaces.

Cat-Lovers' Historic Anderson House Closes
USA Today

Minnesota's 153-year-old Historic Anderson House, where overnight guests could borrow a cat for companionship, has closed, The Rochester Post-Bulletin reports.

The owners of the house, which was built in Wabasha in 1856, said "bad economics" forced them to close the doors on the state's oldest operating hotel, the paper says.

More than a dozen cats lived at the hotel, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, says The StarTribune of Minneapolis.

Dogs Gone Wild: Vet Tips
LA Small Dogs Examiner - Johnny Ortez

The idea of Rufus, my smooth red miniature dachshund, eating a mouse, a bird or other living animal not only grosses me out but is worrisome for me. Rufus only eats his kibble and vegetables and I’m very discriminating on the brand and ingredients. I know in theory it’s probably perfectly natural for a carnivore to eat other animals as part of its survival, but Rufus lives a pretty posh life in Hollywood.

Even city life offers Rufus the occasion to tackle a mouse or other rodent as we witnessed this past Saturday night, and although Rufus did not eat the mouse this time, I asked a few vets about the possible effects of eating a mouse or other wild creatures.

Dr. John B. Winters, Rufus’ personal vet from the Beverly Hills Small Animal hospital, says the risk of transmitting a disease from a mouse to a dog is very low. He also said mice do not carry rabies.

According to the County of Los Angeles Public Health, “Rabies is detected yearly in bats. About one out of every 12 bats tested by the health department has rabies. Rabies can occur in other wildlife but has not been detected in other wildlife in the County for over twenty years.”

“The most common [disease or threat] would be parasites,” said Dr. Tania White from the Hancock Park Animal Hospital. “It is very common that wild animals carry parasites. Bacterial infections like Leptosporosis, Salmonella, Streptobacillus, and Tularemia are possible but unlikely. These all can be treated with antibiotics which is another reason why a trip to the vet is in order [after your dog has an encounter with a wild animal].”

My mom tells me her red chow chow Harley regularly brings her the corpses of squirrels, as though he is saying look what I found mom. Luckily Rufus has yet to bring me any dead trophies.

There are two distinctions dog owners need to stay present to, the first being did your dog kill the animal or was it found already dead. If your dog finds, plays and eats part of a dead animal the risk of ingesting poison or getting sick can be greater.

“The biggest concern with a pet playing with a dead animal is that no one knows why the animal died,” said Dr. White. “It could have been poisoned and if your pet eats it, it will ingest this poison. Depending on the poison and the size of the pet, it may or may not affect him. Rat poisons can have huge effects on dogs and if a possible ingestion occurs, Vitamin K may be in order to prevent a deadly bleed.”

Dr. Winters says if the animal was alive and healthy and the dog eats some of it then they may only experience a mild gastro intestinal irritation.

Second, anytime our dogs are in an altercation with a wild animal we must examine them closely for cuts, bites and scratches.

"Check the dog thoroughly for wounds. Don’t leave any spot unchecked. Especially the belly and groin area,” Dr. White reminds us. “This is a common area for a wild animal to bite. Also look for squinting or watering of the eye(s). This could be a sign of a scratched cornea. Any eye injury should be immediately examined by a veterinarian.”

Dr. White also adds, “Clean the wounds well with warm water. Flush with lots of water. At least 5 minutes to each wound. If unable to get to the vet immediately, apply Neosporin ointment. Bleeding or deep wounds should be lightly wrapped with bandage material and it is important that these wounds are inspected by a veterinarian immediately.”

Dogs will be dogs, I suspect much like boys will be boys or at least that’s what they say. Chasing squirrels, mice and other wild animals is just part of being a dog. Dog owners need to be vigilant of their dogs and knowledge is power. Pulling from our trainer tips mentioned in a previous article, it is up to us to keep our dogs out of harm’s way by managing their behavior to the best of our ability and maintaining a good working relationship with your local vet.

Save 5% on Pet Supplies Orders Over $75

First-Aid For Pets - What Every Pet Owner Should Know During a Pet Emergency
By Brent McNutt

First-aid treatment is never be used as a substitute for professional veterinary care. However, proper know-how may buy you some time and save your pet's life before you can get your pet to a veterinarian.

Show poise in the face poisoning

You don't need to be handy with scalpels and landau scrubs to know that poisoning is one of the most common pet emergencies that causes a great deal of confusion among owners. Poisoning usually happens when a pet gets a hold of certain household products proven to be harmful. Such products range from cleaning products to rodent poisons. For this reason, it is advisable for pet owners to acquaint themselves with foods and common household items that may pose a danger.

If your pet's skin or eyes have been exposed to a toxic product, quickly check the product label for instructions. Usually, you must your hands with soap and water before washing your pet's skin or eyes. Try not to get the soap and water into your pet's mouth and nose. Flush the toxin out, and as soon as possible, get help from a veterinarian.

If you think your pet has consumed something harmful, call a veterinarian immediately. Check if your pet is having seizures, having difficulty breathing, is unconscious, or is losing consciousness. If possible, be prepared to give the following information ready when asked by the vet:

- species, breed, age, sex of your pet

- symptoms

- name and description of the substance involved. Usually, the vet will also ask the amount of substance ingested and length of time of the exposure

When you are advised to rush your pet to the clinic, make sure you bring a sample of the substance in question for testing.

Sizing yourself up against seizures

When your pet is suffering from seizures, keep yourself calm. Do not try to restrain your pet. Just keep him or her away from any objects such as furniture. Best if you could time the seizure so as to give the veterinarian additional information. In most cases, a seizure usually lasts 2-3 minutes. Once you are certain that the seizure has stopped, keep your pet warm and quiet. Be sure to contact the veterinarian right away.

Facing fractures

Put a muzzle on your pet to prevent it from biting you or the vet. Best if you could gently lay your pet on a flat surface for support. Next, secure your pet to a stretcher when transporting your pet from the house to the clinic. Just make sure that you don't put pressure on the injured area or your pet's chest. If you are adept at making homemade splints, then you may proceed with caution. If in doubt, better leave it to the expert hands of a veterinarian.

If your pet is not breathing

Don't panic. Have another person call a vet while you're attending to your pet. Try to open your pet's airway by gently grasping its tongue and pulling it forward. Check if there are foreign objects lodged in its throat. Next, perform rescue breathing. Hold your pet's mouth firmly breathe with your mouth directly into its nose.

To know more about first-aid techniques for your pet, ask your local veterinarian about the things you can do until you can bring your pet to a pet emergency clinic.

Brent McNutt enjoys talking about landau scrubs and urbane scrubs and networking with healthcare professionals online.

Article Source:

Pet Odor Removal - Things to Consider When Buying a Pet Odor Remover
By George Poliker

There are many different aspects to take into consideration before giving your money away for another pet odor removal method, device or product. Some things need to be carefully analyzed because it might happen that you don't need that particular one. Today we are going to mention some really important moments that one should have in mind when buying a pet odor remover.

Everyone knows that both dog and cat urine can leave an awful scent and in most of the cases it is quite difficult to remove it if you don't act in time. Fortunately, there are many good products out there that can help you to get rid of the unpleasant smell and help you combat this embarrassing problem. However, we consider that people need to know what to look for when trying or deciding to buy a particular pet odor removal product.

First of all make sure that it helps to neutralize all the possible pet urine odors. This is very important because there are products that are not made to get rid of all the possible unpleasant scents. Remember that you are looking for a universal one.

The second important aspect that one should note down is to purchase such a pet odor remover that is going to prevent your lovely furry friend to urinate again in those areas. Such products definitely exist and all you have to do is try to find one that can actually assure this to you.

Do not buy expensive removers if you can't afford them. There are plenty of simple traditional recipes that you can prepare at home. However, if you don't want to mess with it yourself you should buy a ready one. Make sure that it is not quite pricey and you are going to be fine.

Besides all the other features and important aspects that a good pet odor removal product should have, safety is on the first place. Make sure you get a natural and not a strong chemical one.

The last one is quite simple. You want it to be long lasting. If it works only one or two days then it is basically worthless and you are just wasting your time. Try to find a product that will not force you to purchase a new one each and every week.

Basically these are the most important things that one should know when buying a pet odor remover. We are not promoting any particular product; we are just trying to give out some tips that one should be aware of when trying to purchase something similar. If you manage to find such a pet odor eliminator then you are good to go. Nevertheless, if you are still not convinced and would like to find out more information visit our website.

Article Source:

Deal of the Week 120x60
AmeriMark Direct is a leading direct marketer of women's apparel, shoes, name-brand cosmetics, fragrances, jewelry, watches, accessories, and health-related merchandise.

Essential Facts About Dog Agility and Dog Agility Training
By Chuck R Stewart

Dog agility training is both challenging and fun. Whether you are doing it for plain fun or for serious competition, it is one of the most fulfilling activities for you and your pet. Pet agility training involves a structured training regimen and exercises for the both the dog and his human handler. We usually see in agility trials pets competing in timed off-leash courses with their human companions.

The training for dog agility is based roughly on the training platform of equestrian show jumping competitions. This type of dog agility competitions take its roots on the first show competition at the Crufts Pet Show held in England in 1979. It started out as pure entertainment but later shifted to become a competition event as more and more pet lovers and handlers became interested in it.

Dog agility training uses some essential equipment that includes several obstacles such as tunnels, weave poles, jumps, A-frames, see-saws and pet walks. These are simple equipment made out of inexpensive and light materials and are generally for short term use. Resources for your own backyard dog agility training are in abundance and you can also purchase ready-to-use equipment which is generally cheap. You can also make your own obstacles by using easy-to-follow instructions in building obstacles utilizing common materials like PVC pipes. However, you should always remember to follow standard design used in regular competition in order to achieve the best results from the agility training of your pet dog.

In regular dog agility competitions, the obstacles used are arranged in a variety of configurations and sequences for every levels of the competition. The dog and human companions are allowed to negotiate the course for familiarization prior to actual competition. The handlers are allowed to use hand and verbal signals to guide their dogs through the competition course but cannot touch their pets or the equipment in whatever way possible. The levels of difficulty of the obstacle course are different and it is dependent on the level of competition. Thus, the competing dogs are grouped into classes prior to actual competition based on the height of the dogs. The height of the equipment used in the obstacle course is based on the competition class in which the shortest dogs in each class are entered into.

Whatever is your motivation in training your dog, this activity you share with your pet can bring you lots of fun and excitement. However, most find the participation in agility competitions as the reward for long hours spent in agility training for both the dog and the handler. The training itself takes time and good results are attained only with the right amount of patience and persistence of both the dog and the handler. The dog and the handler must be in good shape before they begin the dog agility training as they are required to put great amount of time in training all possible configurations of the obstacle course. In order to get the most from the agility training, monitor closely the performance of your dog making sure that you do not push too hard during training. You should remember that this training is first and foremost a fun activity for you and your pet dog.

Chuck Stewart recently learned about dog agility and plans on using dog agility training to keep his dog in great shape.

Article Source:

Many People Have a Fear of Dogs
By Carl Walker

Have you ever wondered why many people have a fear of dogs? There are several reasons for this.

One person may have had a "bad" encounter with a dog. Maybe they have been attacked or bitten. If this happened during childhood it is more likely to be a traumatic event which develops into a fear of all dogs.

The media has added to this fear for many. Even some people who were not afraid of dogs formerly, have become fearful after hearing or reading accounts of others being injured or even killed by dogs. This seems to be most common with certain larger dog breeds.

Due to some misinformation as well as improper training of the dog and the owner, this fear is not without foundation. Some dogs have been intentionally bred and or trained in order to ensure that they will be more aggressive. The intention is to cause fear in order to keep people away from the dog and it's owner.

Still other people have no fear at all. They frequently approach unfamiliar animals without consideration of any possible negative outcome. Some of these people have also been known to leave their dog alone with small children. Sadly, this has at times become a situation which has ended tragically.

All dogs are not inherently dangerous. They are however all animals. The way they communicate is different than that of the people who love them.

Dogs are pack animals. By nature they live in groups with one predominant male acting as their leader. This dog is known as the "alpha male".

It is necessary for humans to establish themselves as the group leader with their dog. Even the nicest most obedient dog can become a problem if they do not respect their human owner as the "Alpha male".

Never leave any dog alone with a small child, or anyone that you know is unsure. Remember, your dog's ancestors were wild. If common sense is used, much can be done to help a person overcome their fear of dogs.

Dealing With Stray Cats
By Rolf Lampo

Thousands of stray cats are rescued every year thanks to organisations such as the Cats Protection League, but as we have found out first hand it can be a tricky thing to identify a stray cat from a neighbours adventurous pet.

Several months ago a 'stray' cat invited himself through our cat flap and helped himself to our cats' food. We don't know how long he'd been eating here before we had noticed. He seemed to be a stray cat, he would always eat like a pig and was nervous if we approached him.

After a couple of weeks of him coming in everyday for food, it was time to find out if anyone did actually own him, otherwise we would take him to the Cats Protection League to be re-homed.

We made a whole stack of flyers and posted them through the door of every nearby house with a phone number, much to our surprise that night someone called and claimed him. Our 'stray' actually lives a 5 minute walk from here, he has shelter and food but it seems he likes to eat out at least a few times a week even to this day!
Signs of a real stray cat:

--No Identification - collar, tag or microchip
--May be skinny or malnourished
--Coat is dirty or in poor condition
--Longhaired cats would be badly knotted/matted
--There may be battle scars/ wounds

If you think you have found a stray cat, you should always try and find an owner before you call a rescue organisation. Either put up posters in the area, flyers through doors or put a collar on the cat with a phone number to call - you might even want to take it to a vet to be scanned for a microchip.

Once you've established that you have a stray cat you have two choices, adopt the cat yourself or take it to a rescue shelter to be re-homed. The Cats Protection website can be found at and you can find your local branch from there. They will be able to help you with trapping nervous strays too.

On a slightly different note, if you want to be sure your cat isn't mistaken for a stray (especially older cats who may look skinny with a poor condition coat) it is a good idea to get you cat micro chipped.

The rescue centre will quickly identify it as an owned pet and he/she will be returned to you, rather than possibly being re-homed.

© copyright The Purr Company - One Goal, One Passion, Happy Cats!

This article was first published in The Purr Company 's monthly Mews-letter, visit us for more cat articles and stories, our specialist online cat shop and much more for anyone with an interest in cats

Article Source:

When Your Cat Bites While Being Stroked
By Kathy Robinson

Usually, cats will walk away when they have had enough attention such as stroking or being played with. However, some will nip at your hand. Why do they do this? You haven't hurt them, so why have they lashed out at you.

This is called petting induced aggression. It just means that your cat has had enough and wants you to stop. Some cats can become easily overstimulated. Some may not have been taught as kittens that biting was an inappropriate behavior. By watching your cat and learning its body language, you can understand the signals your cat may be giving out and learn to distract it before any damage is done.

Keep an eye on your cat's tail. If it starts twitching, this is a sign your cat is starting to get a little irritated. While dogs wag their tails to show they are happy, cats move their tails to show their displeasure. I'm sure everyone has seen an angry cat and noticed the flattened ears, so that is something else to keep an eye out for. If the ears start turning to the sides, this is a sure indication that your cat is starting to get irritated and I would strongly suggest that this is a good time to stop stroking or making a fuss of your cat.

If your cat shows a lot of petting induced aggression, you need to try and allow it to 'tell' you when it has had enough. Perhaps someone has teased or hurt your cat when it was being stroked and it now associates being petted with this. You will need to retrain your cat if you think this is the case. Be patient and follow your cat's lead. When you notice your cat becoming agitated, stop what you're doing and talk gently to it. If possible, keep your cat on your lap. Stop stroking and just keep your hand gently on your cat's back. As soon as your cat is calm again, start stroking gently once again. Repeat this a few times, talking to your cat and praising it for as long as your cat will tolerate it. Repeat this at various times during the day to get your cat used to being stroked with out being teased or hurt.

If you are bitten, it is important to not try to pull your hand out of the cat's mouth. A cat is conditioned to hold on to its prey when it is struggling and you will only end up being hurt even more. Don't be tempted to hit to your cat on the nose to make him let go and if possible, and this will be hard, don't yell out. This will only reinforce that being stroked can lead to being hurt or frightened. Try to distract your cat in other ways. If someone else is in the room with you this happens, get them to call the cat's name. Or perhaps they could rattle something or flick some water at the cat. Something that will distract your cat with out frightening or hurting it.

If your cat continues to bite and scratch at you, put it down on the floor immediately and don't allow it back onto your lap for at least an hour. Then try again.

I wouldn't suggest giving your cats a special treat when they do allow you to stroke or pet them. This could become expensive. And just like with children, your cat will come to expect this each time he is stroked. Remember, cats are individual too, just like people. And just like people, some cats prefer not to be petted.

Kathy is the author of numerous articles on cat problems and the care of cats. Visit her website at today to find answers to problems you might be having with your cat or kitten.

Article Source:

Click here to visit The EZ Online Shopping Network of Stores

No comments: