Pet Advice: Fire Safety for Pets

Taking Your Dog to Work

I would never bring my dogs to work with me. It's hard enough to watch TV at night with those three critters. Someone always has to potty or wants some water or steals another's dog's coveted spot on the pillow/couch/chair/Dad's lap. I'd never get any work done.

And I know I am saying that like it's a bad thing.

But maybe your boss would let you invite your agreeable pooch to accompany you to the office on Friday, June 26, officially known as "Take Your Dog to Work Day."

If your dog is chill, and your boss isn't paying attention will allow you bring him/her to work, here are a few common-sense tips from Banfield, the Pet Hospital, on how to prepare for the big day (the paranthetical nonsense is from me):

--Provide your dog with a break outside every couple of hours (these are good for you, too; take lots of them and read newspaper blogs!)

--Make sure your dog can attend any meetings scheduled during the day (but don't rely on the dog to take notes; dogs are notoriously bad at this)

--Bring plastic bags for cleaning up (there are a few desks in this newsroom I'd like to clean up with plastic bags- and a blow torch)

--A bed, blanket or towel for your dog to lie on will make them more comfortable (bring one for yourself too, it's very European)

--Pack food and snacks, if appropriate (put a few out in the break room and see who nibbles the kibble; always good for a chuckle)

--Favorite toys are fun for dogs as long as they don’t have squeakers (I'd rather hear a squeak toy than listen to someone droning on about work, but that's just how I roll)

--Bring a sturdy leash for walking and, if necessary, for confining your dog to a desk area (do not try this with co-workers, trust me, they always get loose)

--Pack bite-size treats to reward good behavior (maybe your boss will get the same idea with loose change)

--Always have a water bowl with fresh water available (after 5 p.m., feel free to add whatever you like to your own water)

If you have ever taken your dog to work, post a comment and let us know how it worked out.

Time for my annual trip to Minneapolis. Will resume 'blogging' on the 24th. Check-out some prior posts - you may have missed something good! . Thanks for stopping by.

Hey, Kitty! You're Not the Boss of Me!
By Nona Nelson - The Roanoke Times

OK, Thai. I've had it. This time, kitty, you have pushed me too far.

I know you think you are the boss of me; I've written a column and several blog entries about how you are the boss of me. I've enabled you to be a tyrant since the day you, as an impossibly cute homeless kitten, wandered into my life.

But your days as my lord and master are over, cat.

I, the two-legged controller of your food dish and litter box, am here to tell you what's what.

So what was the last straw, you ask? Your new favorite napping spot is on the dining room table. I don't care if it gets the best sun in the morning, I've told you over and over again to stay off that table.

Not only do I take your playtime with my new placemats as your way of telling me you do not respect the boundaries I set, but, when I find your little paw prints in the dust, I take it as your way of pointing out my lack of housekeeping skills.

What you and I have, Thai, is a failure to communicate on even a most basic level.

I see a cat bowl with plenty of kibble as half full; you see it as half empty. I open a closet or cabinet door, you see it as an invitation to dart inside and explore. When I pull a chair back at the kitchen table, it's so I could sit in it, not you.

And, by the way, when I spread the Sunday newspaper out, it's so I can read it, not so you can weigh it down.

You hurl yourself directly in my path while I try to balance laundry baskets or bags of groceries. You plop yourself down in front of the refrigerator while I am trying to cook.

Is it absolutely necessary to rub your body against my legs every time I wear black pants? And how is it that you manage to leave -- no, actually embed -- only your white hairs on the fabric?

I am not the only one who has had it with your bossy attitude around here, either. It's bad enough that you have the two greyhounds thinking you are alpha dog, but you have completely humiliated the puppy.

He's a pit bull, for Pete's sake, and you make him cry like a little girl.

Not that there's anything wrong with breaking down stereotypes about pit bulls, mind you, but he's the only home security system we have.

How fearsome is that 60-pound terrier going to seem to potential intruders if they see the YouTube video of you beating the snot out of him?

Thanks to you and my cellphone camera, our pit bull has no street cred.

So, that's it. You are so out of here. I can flip through my Rolodex and call at least three different shelters to find out who has room. Thanks to writing this column and the blog, I know a lot of those good folks on a first-name basis.

Of course, after a little time with you and your condescending, arrogant attitude, they probably won't return my calls. But everything has a price.

Pack your pet carrier, kitty. You are bound for the pound.

Stop purring. Stop it right now.

And rubbing your face all over me isn't going to work this time, so knock it off.

Get out of my lap. Go!

OK, you can stay.

Yes, I will top off your bowl.

No, you can't have your own Facebook page.

Twitter? Maybe.

I have to draw the line somewhere.

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How Do I Train My Cat Not To Harm My Parrot??

We have an Alexandrine parrot approx 7yrs old who walks around the house.
i was given a 3mth old kitten yesterday, how do I train the kitten not to harm the parrot?

5 Responses to “How Do I Train My Cat Not To Harm My Parrot??”

Deecat says:
There is no responsible and completely safe way to introduce these two species. If everything works out, you’re lucky, but if you really care you won’t take the risk!
The bird should be safely away from where the kitten can stress it out.

Hookbills are capable of inflicting serious injury. Your kitten could lose an eye or at least get seriously traumatized. Any injuries could cost a lot at the vet, and make your kitten skittish for a long time to come.

Birds are such incredibly delicate creatures. If the kitten does bite it, remember the amount of blood a bird can lose before it dies is VERY small!
For your own sake, and for the safety of your pets, please find another way to let both animals enjoy their freedom.

I would recommend you give the parrot specific times when it can run on the floor (having it run all the time would be dangerous anyway) and have the kitten in it’s own room with some toys while the parrot gets his exercise. Make sure the cage is somewhere the parrot won’t feel threatened by the cat, and the cat can’t stick a paw in and get hurt!

Good luck, and enjoy your new kitten
ps- please neuter as soon as your cat is old enough!

OR says:
ohhhhh boy……
Not only do you have to be concerned for the bird…..The bird can harm a kitten quite easily if it’s agitated by the kitten!!!
Try to keeping the bird and kitten separated. Baby gate off play areas. One half of the apartment/house for each animal.
Once the kitten gets a good nip from the bird it may be a bit gun shy of the bird. Other than that….I would have to say to keep them separated. I don’t know what else to do…..maybe this should of been addressed before buying a kitten….Yikes.

justanot says:
*don’t think you can ….cats eat birds

April S says:
Wow!! I think it’s bound to’s in their blood. Good luck with that though!!

Hamilton G says:
while its a kitten, let the bird attack the cat. It will learn not to mess with the bird, and at this point the bird will fend for itself and probaly peck the cat a little bit as it paws at it. Thats my suggestion, just don’t let the cat hurt the bird. Or hiss at it when it starts trying to play with the bird, your call. But as others said, its in their nature, so its gonna be alot of work.

Does You Dog Bark Often? Learn How To Control It
by Simone Fitzgerald -

It doesn’t matter how big your dogs bark is or how old your dog is because no matter what you will see that you must get your dogs bark under control. It is an instinct for a dog to bark, but there are ways that you can get it under control and stop annoying bark behavior.

There are different things to keep in mind when you are working to stop your dogs barking behavior. There are many different methods and you may have to try more than one. It just takes time and work to find what works.

First, make sure that you know why your dog is barking. Dogs never bark for no reason, though the reasons that they do bark might surprise you. First and perhaps most useful to owners is the alert bark, which tells you that they see something or someone strange or alarming.

For most dogs, puppies especially, barking is a way to get attention. Some dogs will also bark when startled. However, the most common reason for barking is simply out of boredom or due to feeling lonely. A dog often barks to draw people to him because he feels alone. A bored dog barks just to let off some energy.

Do you know what kind of barker your dog is? Has he always had a problem with barking? If you just got an older dog then you need to think about things. Do know that the old saying about not being able to teach an old dog new tricks, is not true. You will have to spend some time, though.

Although your first instinct might be to shout at your dog, resist this at all costs. Shouting will only terrify your dog or make him think that it is a game. Pick a word that your whole family will use to command your dog to stop barking and make sure that your whole family uses it. A word like enough or quit can work fairly well. You may choose to lightly spritz your dog in the face with water. This tends to make your dog quiet with surprise and it can help him associate barking with something unpleasant.

Is your dog feeling alone? Barking is often a sign that a dog is feeling lonely. You should make it a routine to involve your dog with your family and spend enough time with him. You want him to be happy and to feel secure so that when he is alone he knows it will not be for long. He will be happier which will lead to less barking due to loneliness. He needs to feel like he is part of the pack because dogs are natural pack animals. Make him feel secure and that can help reduce lonely barking.

When you just can not figure out why your dog is barking then you should contact a veterinarian or animal specialist. They can lead you to answers that might not be obvious. You can stop your dog from barking, just be patient.

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Fire Safety for Pets
By Raj Salwan - Mercury News

Each year in the United States, thousands of people lose their lives to fire.

Tens of thousands are injured and the financial costs can reach into the billions of dollars.

Almost forgotten in these tragedies are the hundreds of thousands of family pets who suffer death or injury as well.

Fire is a very scary thing. We use controlled fires to heat our water, cook our meals and power our cities.

But for most people, fire is a wild, ravaging beast. And, despite educational programs that start in preschool, more than 3.000 people die in house fires every year.

Sadly, those who survive a house fire often lose their cherished four-legged family members to the smoke and flames. According to the U.S. Fire Administration's Web site, more than 1.7 million uncontrolled fires occur annually in the United States. The fire administration does not keep a tally, but other groups estimate that more than 500,000 pets are killed by house fires each year.

Why are we so good at saving human lives, but not in saving our own pets? One answer may be the presence of smoke alarms in our homes. For more than 30 years, laws have required these lifesaving devices in homes and apartments.

In fact, the Public/Private Fire Safety Council has called for the elimination of residential fire deaths by the year 2020 and smoke alarms figure prominently in their plan. But the high-pitched alarm that saves so many human lives is not helpful for saving our pets.

We all realize that it's time to evacuate when the alarm sounds, but our pets don't know that. Worse, the unknown sound could scare a pet into hiding, increasing our own risk for harm as we search for the missing kitty or pup. And, the sad fact is that many pets will die in house fires because they are unable to get out of the home. This often happens when the family is away. Rescue personnel are frequently unaware of pets needing help.

The heroic efforts of firefighters may save some pets from the flames, but damage from smoke or carbon monoxide inhalation can overwhelm many. Lifesaving equipment, such as oxygen masks, is usually designed for people, meaning some animals could die en route to the veterinarian.

Fortunately, many groups are working to improve the survival chances of pets caught in fires. Many concerned groups — from alarm monitoring companies to local veterinarians and humane organizations — are looking at ways to save the half a million pets lost each year. As with many tragedies, preventing the occurrence is the best first step.

Pet owners are urged to "pet proof" their homes and look for potential fire hazards. Always extinguish open flames before leaving your home and consider keeping younger puppies and kittens confined to prevent them from accidentally starting a fire.

Firefighters are trained to look for window alert signs and make attempts to save pets. These "window clings" are often available from the pet store. Beyond using the signs, you always should update them as new pets arrive in your family.

If you return home to a burning building, you should not attempt to enter to save your pets. This is difficult, but you need to let the professionals do their job and rescue your animals.

As mentioned, working smoke alarms are helpful to the humans, but if you aren't there to hear the alarm, your pets could be trapped inside.

According to Bob Tucker, public relations director of ADT Security, pet owners should consider monitored smoke detection services as an extra precaution. By alerting the fire department more quickly, these services increase the chances that your pets will get out safely.

Finally, due to the efforts of local veterinarians and animal volunteers, many rescue services across the nation have access to "animal-appropriate" oxygen masks. These devices help deliver lifesaving oxygen more effectively and will increase the chance of your pet's survival.

Other veterinarians teach courses on effective animal CPR techniques to first responders.

Saving pets from the horrors of fire will be easier thanks to dedicated firefighting professionals, alarm companies, veterinarians and concerned citizens all working together. Together we can make a difference.

Gary Bogue: Things to Think About If Your Dog is Stolen
By Gary Bogue - Contra Costa Times

"You enter into a certain amount of madness when you marry a person with pets."
— Nora Ephron

Stolen pets

I suspect you probably read the story in Tuesday's paper about the Concord woman who paid a $10,000 reward early Monday morning to get her stolen dog back.

The tiny Chihuahua-Yorkshire terrier mix had been taken from a SUV parked behind a Concord restaurant Friday. The owner found the window of her vehicle was smashed and her dog gone.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, here are 10,000 more reasons not to leave your beloved dog alone in a car, even for just a few minutes.

The major reason is that dogs can die in hot cars.

And now we are unfortunately reminded that our pets can also be dognapped if we leave them alone in places where they can be snatched.

Something to keep in mind if your pet has been stolen and you want to offer a reward to get it back:

The people who took your pet will most likely respond just as quickly to a reward of $100, or $500, or even $1,000 "... as well as they would to the offer of a $10,000 reward.

But that's your call. I understand completely how important your pet is to you. I know what my own pets mean to me. A lot.

Any time you offer money for the return of a pet, you are probably going to receive LOTS of phone calls from people who don't have the animal, but will still try to separate you from your money by claiming that they do.

So please be careful. It's a jungle out there.

A final note

I was reading today (June 6 column) about the quail babies Marcie in cyberspace wrote about. Your comment about how they can flatten themselves brought back a wonderful memory that could have been so tragic.

I was driving north on Marsh Creek Road to Clayton and saw a bunch of baby quail trying to jump up the curb off the road. Somehow they apparently had been led safely from the west side of that road and even over the middle divide but they could not get up the curb on the east side.

Mom tried to coax them up and they were desperately trying but couldn't seem to make it. I drove to the next available right turnoff and ran back where they were.

One by one I caught the little things and threw them (softly) into the bush on the path. Mom was with me the whole time. At one point an SUV came barreling down the road and a baby had given up trying to get up that curb and ran back to the middle divide. Once there it must have felt the approaching car and tried to dash back to the east curb.

I was standing in horror as the SUV flew by and I kept my eye on that little thing, hoping. It flattened itself and I thought it was hit but I was so surprised after the SUV went by.

The little thing stood up and ran to the curb!

As you can imagine, Mom and I were thrilled.

I had about eight of them up safely and was going for four more when a small hawklike bird went for the last one.

Mom was running to save her baby and I ran over to help. The little hawk flew off and I caught the hapless chick and sent it into the shrubs.

Mom and I caught them all and got them all into the shrubs. I cannot tell you what an extraordinary day that was and yet as I was feeling so lucky I realized how extraordinary that day was for Momma.

What can I say — sometimes human intervention is a part of Mother Nature's design. (Tina Mason, cyberspace)

What Cats Truly Regret
By John Tierney - New York Times

Do cats ever regret anything?

Lots of readers responded to that particular question from my Findings column and post about research into animal regrets. There were also stories about other animals, and tomorrow we’ll have some overall reactions to readers’ comments (and a dog story) from one of the researchers, Michael Platt, a neurobiologist at Duke.

Today we’ll stick with cats. My favorite answer regarding felines: “They regret not being large enough to eat their keepers.” That comment wins the prize for Tom Civiletti, who lives in Oak Grove, Oregon, and runs Lamb & Loom, a rug store. He gets a copy of “Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals,” by Marc Bekoff and Jessica Pierce. In accepting his prize, Mr. Civiletti explained his views further:

As to cats, I find them quite admirable creatures, but, as pets, their interaction with humans is profoundly different from that of dogs, which behave as though they are human - or that their people are dogs. Cats have no such illusions. We are not members of their prides, nor they of our families. We are convenient and are tolerated as such.

An honorable mention award goes to Vera Sampson, who distinguished between regret and remorse:

Cats regret? Yes. Cats feel remorse? No.

I used to have a fine big cat who was a terror for catching birds, which was strictly forbidden, and resulted in being locked in the house for a week when caught.

One day he came into the house with some bird feathers stuck in his whiskers. When I pulled out one and asked, “Titus, what is this?” a look crossed his face of “There’s going to be trouble for this,” which was regret not for catching and eating a sparrow, but for not cleaning his face properly before coming in.

Another honorable mention award goes to kryptogal, who made a useful distinction between disappointment and shame:

Disappointment regarding the consequences of one’s poor choice requires a fairly high level of cognition. An animal must have a rudimentary understanding of cause and effect and the ability to imagine different consequences. If a chimpanzee pushes Lever A and gets some broccoli, but sees his friend choose Lever B and get a tasty banana, he may experiences disappointment if he can figure out that he should have pushed Lever B. This type of “regret” requires some fairly sophisticated logic. Perhaps cats, dogs, and chimps are capable of this level of cognition in certain situations. But watching another animal get a tasty treat may simply trigger envy, which does not require much cognition at all.

In contrast, shame is a demonstrative emotion that social animals experience when they’ve broken a group rule. Shame serves dual purposes: it provides an internal incentive to avoid rule-breaking and it provides an external reconciliation display to help mollify angry group members. Shame does not require cognition at nearly the high level that disappointment-regret does. It merely requires the animal to recognize the fact that its group is angry. Shame does, however, require a highly social animal. This is why dogs readily display shame behaviors and cats do not, despite similar levels of intelligence.

Not being large enough to eat your keeper would fall into the first category — disappointment, not remorse — and therefore would require more sophisticated logic than being sorry for something the cat already ate. I share Mr. Civiletti’s hunch that cats are quite capable of this mental feat, but further research is clearly needed (preferably not involving any actual eating).

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The Art Of Living…With Dogs
By Dave Carty -

How to survive indoors with an outdoors animal.

I've been living with dogs for most of my adult life and all of my sub-adult life, and not just bird dogs, either--throw a couple German shepherds and non-hunting goldens in there, along with a Chihuahua, a springer spaniel and of course a healthy mix of Brittanys and setters, and that about covers it. Some belonged to my sisters, some to my parents, and one--the Chihuahua--belonged to a former girlfriend. I still miss her dog.

This is by way of saying that what I've learned about living with these creatures over the past half century I've come by from honest trial and error, which is another way of saying I've made the same stupid mistakes in some instances so many times that even I eventually learned from them. It is with several decades of banging my head against a wall that I humbly offer the advice that follows.

In my experience, the amount of enjoyment people get from living with their dogs is directly proportional to the amount of control they have over them, and one of the first places to exercise control is over boundaries. In my house, for instance, none of my dogs are allowed upstairs. That's ostensibly because I have occasional visitors who are allergic to pet hair, but more to the point is that I'll be damned if I'll haul my vacuum upstairs any more than I have to.

I remember being vastly impressed years ago when, upon visiting a bird-hunting buddy and his wife, I noticed their springer stopping on the precise border of the kitchen/living room floor, refusing to set foot into the living room. He'd scoot to the very edge of the linoleum, crane his neck out as if leaning over an imaginary fence, and watch guests with intense interest (you have to have lived with a spaniel to know the kind of intense interest I'm talking about), but never in all the times I visited them did I see that dog step over that boundary.

And of course, there's the furniture issue. Those who have lived with dogs all their lives are invariably more tolerant than those who through marriage or other social experiments are new to that particular arena. Dogs have hair, and it's going to get on your black dress slacks if you insist on wearing them. But enough is enough, even for me.

Keeping the dogs off the furniture has been a fairly new development at the Carty estate. But with three white-haired bird dogs under one roof, my garage sale sofa was beginning to look more like another big dog in need of a haircut and less like a functional design accoutrement. Something had to change.

Breaking my dogs of the furniture habit wasn't easy--after all, they'd spent most of their lives hopping up on the sofa at will--but after a couple months I'd got through the worst of it. Upon the advice of several friends, I bought a smooth leather sofa and recliner, which dog hair simply doesn't stick to. If I find hair on either piece of furniture, a quick sweep of my hand brushes it off. It was not an inexpensive addition, but assuming my next puppy doesn't use either piece for a chew toy, they should last for a couple decades.

Although I let my dogs on the furniture for years (and still do, but only if I specifically ask them to sit on my lap), I learned long ago that it worked out far better for everyone concerned if they didn't sleep in or even under my bed. This policy was implemented in a blinding flash the minute I realized that one of my dogs had separation anxiety, and that a strong contributing factor to the condition was allowing it to sleep under my bed.

Separation anxiety, in its worst manifestations, will make you rue the day you ever considered owning a dog; will make you hunt down the sorry sucker who sold you that dog in order to pluck out his eyebrows with vice grips. As afflictions go, it's right up there with the plague. And if your dog has dodged that bullet, you don't want to load the gun for him.

Now, having said that…on road trips, when the dogs have been especially good, and they're old enough that I no longer have any worry about their going off the deep end, so to speak, I'm sometimes tempted to relax the rules a bit and let them sleep at the foot of the bed, knowing they'll be back on the furniture the minute I get home. Once in a blue moon I actually do. But then I remember:

We were in central Montana in an aging cab-over camper, early December, with a storm bearing relentlessly down. Two of us, my friend John and I, and my two dogs. At some point that evening--17 degrees and dropping--the heater blew a fuse and went belly up.

No amount of my screaming and threatening changed its mind; it wasn't going to fire. So, we did what we had to do to stay warm that long, black night: we cracked open the windows, lit both burners on the gas stove, and took the dogs into our sleeping bags with us.

John got to sleep with Poke, my brilliant if hyperkinetic springer, and I got my pint-size Brittany, Fancy. Throughout the rest of the evening, Poke farted non-stop and Fancy kicked and clawed her way through an endless loop of canine dreams. Both kept us warm, but that trailer was mighty small by the time the sun finally threw a few feeble rays through the window the following morning.

On the home front, two things are absolutely indispensible to living with dogs: an outdoor kennel and an indoor airline crate. The first because, no matter how much you love them, there will be times when the best thing for both of you is to get them out of the house and out of your sight as quickly as possible. Outdoor kennels serve double duty as places to park visiting dogs that can't get along with yours or your dogs when they can't seem to behave themselves around company.

If the kennel includes an insulated doghouse, your dogs can spend the occasional night out, even if they're used to sleeping inside, as mine sometimes do. And an outdoor kennel is a far, far better place for a bored dog to spend the day when you're away at work.

Indoor airline crates serve much the same purpose for lesser infractions. As I write this, I've got one permanently stationed in my office. Dogs that don't behave get a timeout in the airline crate. And any of my dogs that can't be trusted, whether to air themselves outside or to refrain from chewing furniture, also spend their nights in the crate.

Hanna, my youngest setter, seemingly was unable to control her bowels until recently, and has spent most of her evenings for the last three and a half years in my handy airline crate. As it happens, her inability to hold it may have been due to intestinal bacteria, which extensive testing on the part of my dedicated vet finally unearthed. She's had the free run of the house the last month or so, and so far, no accidents.

Although I consider the command "sit" about last on the list of functional commands for pointers in the field, in the house it's another story. I make my dogs sit before they go outside; sit when company comes to visit (albeit with considerably less success), and sometimes, if I'm feeling particularly cruel, make them sit before they eat. Nor do I let them jump up on me or company. My way of curing that particular habit is simple and to the point: I knee them in the chest. I encourage my friends to do the same.

Finally, there are a few areas, I've learned, that aren't worth fighting with your dog about. You'll never convince any dog not to get into the garbage or an open food container, so keep your garbage and dog food in secured containers or behind closed doors.

Child-proof doors work great on dogs who, like my old spaniel, Poke, could open a door with one paw and scoop up a couple gallons of dried kibble with the dexterity of a London pickpocket with the other. And rather than spend hours trying to train your dog not to bark, do yourself a favor and buy him a bark collar. They work, they really do. And they'll save you time, energy, and frustration.

Of course, these are my parameters, not yours. I have three bird dogs in my house, which is more than enough for me, but I have friends with four and even five dogs who seem to do just fine. Some allow them on the furniture; some don't. Some sleep with their dogs with no ill effects. Their boundaries are different from mine.

There's one thing we all share, however, we who live with dogs: None of us wear black slacks anymore.

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