Pet Advice: Dogs, Cats, Horses and Ferrets(?)

Dog Illnesses
by Pet Care Tips

All pet dogs should be treated as members of our family and adequate attention must be paid to the canine's health. Sometimes dogs become sick but may not look so. It is very important to recognize and understand dog illnesses symptoms.

Since prevention is a better cure, we must learn something about dog illnesses and symptoms so we can better understand their conditions. This will help us recognize some common dog illnesses. If appropriate and adequate vaccinations are administered to the puppies, most of the common dog illnesses can be easily prevented.

Some elementary observations are useful to recognize certain common dog illnesses. Dogs take a lot of sleep but their sleep is marked by alertness. If a dog is sluggish then there may be various causes contributing to it, right from anemia to old age. If the dog is limping then you should check for prospective painful areas using a firm and yet gentile hand. Check out for any signs indicating lameness from time to time.

The appetite of the dog is bound to be affected by ill health. Look for any signs of loss of appetite. An important sign of dog health problems is excessive thirst. A pronounced weight loss is also an indicator of ill health. Check the eyes for any ulcers, discharges, veins or sores.

The mouth of a healthy dog is pink. There should not be any discoloring or cavities in the teeth. Look for signs of discharge from ears. It is advisable to clean the ears from time to time. The dog's head should be regularly checked for sore patches, hair loss, or deep wounds.

Investigate the limbs and trunk for the same signs. If the dog is vomiting, there may be various underlying problems. If the body temperature of your dog is not between the range 38 to 39 Celsius it is an indication of some kind of illness. Check the female dogs for any kind of foul smelling vaginal discharge, which needs attention of a vet.

The symptoms of pain and discomfort experienced by a dog can give us many clues about the possible underlying illness. If the dog is suffering any abdominal pain, it may be due to canine hepatitis, enteritis or it can be a simple case of constipation. The abdominal swelling dogs indicate canine bloat and roundworms in puppies. Aggression of the dog may be caused by rabies. Roundworms, tapeworms, and whipworms my cause anemia in dogs. Any behavioral changes in dog can be an indicator of hookworms, tapeworms, whipworms, canine arthritis, heart disease, canine, or parvovirus.

Kidney diseases sometimes cause blood in urine. Eye infections and entropion cause bloodshot eyes in dogs. A ruptured diaphragm, obstructed airway, lungworm, bronchitis, pneumonia, food poisoning, heatstroke, allergies can cause respiratory problems in dogs.

There are various reasons of sudden change in weight of dogs like heart disease to heartworms. Hernia might be caused due to long term constipation in dogs. Allergies, parvovirus, hepatitis, lungworm, TB, pneumonia or distemper may be one of the reasons of coughing in dogs. Cannine parvovirus can also cause dehydration in dogs. Any pancreatic disorder, food poisoning can give rise to diarrhea in dogs. The dog may suffer from hair loss due to mange, red mange demodectic, scabies, cheyletiella mange, or cushings syndrome.

If dog indicates any signs of failing genital bleeding, persistent constipation, projectile vomiting, fainting, hair loss, seizure, stumbling, trauma, trembling, mouth bleeding, rectal bleeding, lethargy, shaking, urinating problems contact a dog care specialist.
If you love your dog, you've got to know "What to do if Your Dog is Poisoned" just in case. Hope you'd never have to use it.

Why Are Her Kids Acting Like Animals
By Jenny Matsumura

Shayna's kids are acting like animals! Perhaps, because they are. No really, they are. While many of her friends were having multiple babies, Shayna decided to adopt multiple dogs. She said she wasn't the type to have kids and despite the cultural expectation for women her age to give birth, she never heard that 'internal clock' ticking. Not one to give in to pressure and expectation, she happily has a husband and family of her own liking. Don't tell Shayna her 'kid' is ugly, aggressive or just plain dumb, for she will defend like a mother bear for her cubs. These are not just her 'dogs', they are her babies. They are the first ones to greet her everyday upon arriving and leaving home. They never argue with her. They love to snuggle and give her kisses. If she's having a bad day, they understand with their large marble eyes and crooked ears propped up, waiting to listen to her complaints.

Research indicates that having a pet is very therapeutic and actually relieves a lot of stress, can lower blood pressure and prolong life. It's like having a lifelong buddy who unconditionally loves you under any circumstances. For some people pets are their saving grace. They can brighten kids days in the hospital, make the elderly smile in homes, bring compassion in hard times and save lives (rescue, guard, seeing eye dogs). They are not judgmental on where they live. Have you ever seen homeless men walking with an unleashed dog by their side? They don't run off and they don't stray. It's because that homeless guy is not just 'homeless', the dog sees a loyal parent.

So when one cold evening when Shayna arrived home, Mugsy wasn't there with the others and she knew something was wrong. She looked in every room until she saw him lying angelic like on the sofa, as if in deep sleep. Shayna's memories came flooding in. Mugsy was there when she first moved out on her own. He was there when she graduated college. He was always there throughout the dating years anger and tears both! It seems a bit selfish to think of all the things Mugsy did for her, but that seemed to be Mugsy's joy in life. He wouldn't want it another way.

Shayna went through a depression. She didn't think anyone would understand. Her friends would think it's not like a 'real' human being, like if one of our children died. She agreed to an extent and then felt really guilty and ashamed. Others would think, just get another one. She felt alone without her Mugsy.

A loss of a loved one is hard. People go through different stages of grief, that are difficult but a normal process. People find their pets part of their family, and yes, can go through the same sadness as if losing a human family member or friend. Pets can bring a certain bond not like any other. There is nothing wrong with missing him/her and grieving. Just remember that you still have the warmth of your memories and made his/her life as well as yours a whole lot happier.

Please check out my other articles and if you are interested in therapy in Los Angeles area, go to my website where you can find out more about what I do and how to contact me.

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Do Cats "Go Wild" From Eating Raw Meat?
By Dr. R.J. Peters

Some myths about cats seem to never die and are quite difficult to correct. One such myth is the belief that cats go wild, even feral, if fed raw meat.

This idea keeps showing up on lists, in forums, on question and answer sites, chat rooms, and yes, even in the supermarket line when someone buys a large package of chicken and mentions it's for the cats.

"Aren't you afraid your cats will go wild?"

"You shouldn't be feeding that to your cats. They'll go wild, you know."

Well, no. Not really. What they do, however, is sometimes they growl. This is a natural response and has even been observed in some cats when they are eating a bowl of dry kibble. Perhaps it has more to do with "ownership" and serves as a warning to other cats nearby to wait their turn. It also can be a sign of pure enjoyment. After all, meat is their natural diet, the craving they were born with.

In our shelter, when cats arrive in poor health, or strays that are clearly underweight, they are fed raw meat, if they will accept it. In every case, without exception so far, they all have improved rather quickly. Some of them growl, some do not. So what?

Those that were conditioned to eat only dry food took much longer to get well and seemed to need more help, such as medications and veterinary visits. The raw-fed individuals blossomed and became friendly, adoptable cats in a short time.

The greatest opposition expressed by traditional vets is usually the fear of salmonella. Well, it's not like we feed the cats some rotten old chicken that has been discarded or was on sale for being out of date. We use human grade, fresh chicken. And while salmonella is still a concern for humans, necessitating thoroughly cooking the meat, cats have a different physiology from ours.

In nature, predatory animals are uniquely suited to eating meat that might not be safe for us. Their digestive tracts are shorter, and their digestive juices are far more acidic, allowing the meat to be digested quickly and safely, unless someone has interfered and poisoned it. But that's a different issue.

In any case, use precautions when preparing raw meats for your pets. Wear rubber gloves and keep all surfaces and utensils clean, such as cutting boards and knives, disinfecting them when done. This is more for your safety than the cat's.

As for the growling? Don't worry about it. Remember, the issue is with the owner, not the cat. However, it would be wise not to put your hands in the area. If a very hungry cat feels protective of its meal, you could be scratched, but we haven't seen that behavior very often.

Dr. Peters has an extensive background in health care, and animal care and established a shelter in 2002. Visit and for more articles and information about pets.

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Ferret Cage 101 - Your Choice
By E. Anthony Gove

Expect your pet to sleep a lot. It will be a great idea to provide a place for your ferret to sleep inside its cage. This place should be as dark and as comfortable as possible.

1. Ferrets' are energetic playful and active. If you decide to cage it, you will need to have the one that is very spacious, with some means for him to play. An ideal ferret cage size for one ferret should be at least 18 inches long, 18 inches deep and 30 inches wide. A good choice can be tunnels and multi-leveled ferret cage. It should be roomy enough so that you can have some space for additional cage accessories such as hammocks, toys, litter box, shelves, food dishes, water bottles and such, while still leaving enough area for your ferret to run around.

2. Expect your pet to sleep a lot. It will be a great idea to provide a place for your ferret to sleep inside its cage. For proper ferret care try to leave your ferret a place that is dark and cool.

3. Ferrets cannot withstand to much heat. You have to consider the adequacy of circulating air in choosing a cage. a good choice is a wired cage. Just make sure that the gaps between the wires are not more than 1 inch by 2 inches wide, to ensure that your ferret will not be able to escape.

4. Make sure that the cage you choose for your ferret doesn't have holes through which your ferret can squeeze its head in. This can be dangerous as the ferret might get choked, or worse, it might manage to get free and go somewhere else. You wouldn't want that to happen, for sure.

5. Don't let your ferret get board, add some toys to your cage. You really need to keep them entertained. This will decrease the chances of your ferret getting destructive.

6. plastic shelves or flooring, is what you should Try to get in your cage. It is advised that you cover them with soft materials like tiles or shelf liners if you get the wired ones.

7. Also consider your budget in choosing a ferret cage although you can't put a price on proper ferret care, you do have to consider price.

8. A ferret cage is NOT a glass aquarium! this will not allow him to roam around and be active and that is why this will never make a good living quarters for your ferret. If you have enough time, you can make one other wise I would choose to buy a commercially manufactured ferret cage. When you have already chosen the perfect cage for your ferret, remember not to put it on a place that is directly near the window through which sunlight comes in the room. Make sure to put it in a place with good circulation and where it will be cool. It is also a good idea to let the ferret out of its cage whenever possible and just put some rugs on the floor where it can crawl under. Just be sure that you are ready with the mess that it might be able to create all over the place! Nevertheless, you will surely have fun watching your pet run around the house and burrow into just about anywhere he can do so.

E. Anthony Gove Does marketing and he helps transcribe articles for this website the owner also has another good site (lens) found here:

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7 Reasons Not to Shoe Your Horse
By Monique Myers

Last year, I had some trouble with our little Arab gelding. We purchased him late 2006 and brought him home from Arizona, where he had been living on the breeding farm with the brood mares and foals.

Up until then, the footing he was used to was very soft dirt with manure turned under and not too many rocks. All he had been doing so far, was hanging out with his friends and some round pen/turn out time every day. The good and lazy life!

When he came to live with us that changed over night. No, we didn't work him too hard the first few months. It was fall, soon winter and since we live at 4500 feet, it was pretty cold. But, he did go from soft dirt to decomposed granite and a pretty hard footing all around. During the winter and spring months, that wasn't too bad; except that he was a little crazy Arab who loved to 'cut' the fence, swing his but around and practically do a sliding stop every time he came to the end.

That was not so good for his hooves and they became visibly unbalanced. On top of that, we had him started under saddle and he was working 3 or 4 times a week instead of living the lazy life.

Okay, that being said, the problems began to show up the next spring. We had him shoed, since now my daughter was riding him and training him in dressage and the ground was harder than ever. Shortly after that, he started stumbling and falling flat on his face. Not a nice experience when you're on his back. It continued for a while and we decided to take him to the lameness specialist 3 hours away.

After a thorough lameness examination and x-rays, he told us he needed shoes with pads for 6 or 8 weeks, and just shoes thereafter. According to him every horse that is ridden twice a week or more, needs shoes and we should have shoed him a lot earlier. He needed hock injections as well; at age 7!

Upon coming home, one of my friends told me about natural hoof care, bare foot trimming and thrush. After spending $800 to the 'expert' I was not ready to listen. I knew she was right. Everything she told me and showed me made sense and seemed logical.

Here are the 7 reasons you should not shoe your horse:

1. Frog pressure - The frog needs to be healthy, and compressed with every step. The digital cushion pumps the blood and helps a healthy blood circulation, resulting in a healthy frog - shoes prevent this from happening.

2. Flexion - a hoof needs to be able to flex and retract with every step - a metal horse shoe prevents this from happening.

3. Shock absorption - as the hoof flexes and retracts the shock of the step is absorbed. This protects the joints - again metal shoes prevent this from happening.

4. Horses should not walk on their hoof walls; that is like having long fingernails and walking on them. Just pull your nail away from your finger; that is basically the same. Sure, the first week or so after new shoes, this doesn't happen, but we usually only have the farrier come out every 6-8 weeks. This puts extreme, unnecessary pressure on the lamina.

5. The bars are part of the hoof wall and should be treated as such. I know this is not a good point for bare foot trimming, but traditionally farriers allow the bars to fold over and that creates pressure.

6. Contraction of the hoof occurs when the frog is not allowed to have ground contact when the hoof is set down. This is typically the case in shoed horses since the shoe prevents this.

7. A 'Sinker' is created when the hoof wall is forced to carry the complete weight of the horse. If the frog and the sole had been allowed to carry the weight the way they are supposed to, it would not have happened. Luckily this is reversible.

I could give you many more reasons. We are starting to understand, that the main reason for the problems our horse has is the abrupt chance of footing and work load. Should we have shoed him earlier? Maybe, but maybe we could have prevented the problems with riding boots too.

Each horse is an individual, and each horse's circumstances are different. One can easily learn to do barefoot trimming by attending a weekend seminar and practice. It is something a horseman should at least look into.

Now go ride a (sound) horse.

And now I would like to give you our Free eBook: "What to Do In Time of Emergency - A Guide & Workbook for Families with Horses".

All I ask is that you answer a simple question to help us with our next interview and eBook. Just go here

You will get instructions of how to download your copy and will receive "Tips & TidBits from our Barn" our newsletter.

From Monique Myers @

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