The Secret Lives of Cats and Dogs Part 2 (Photos)

Gary Bogue: Possible Solutions to Barking Dog Problems
By Gary Bogue - Contra Costa Times

The barking of a dog does not disturb the man on a camel.
— Egyptian proverb

Monday, Anonymous wrote that the neighbor's dog was driving her crazy with its incessant barking, and asked for a solution.

Today, some reader suggestions:

Re today's column and the incessant barker — have the woman ask her neighbor if she would consider putting a citronella collar on her dog. There are different settings she can use, depending on how the dog reacts. The collar emits a spray when he barks that the dog doesn't like to smell and he discovers which of his actions (barking) sets it off. Worth a try. (Judie Howard, Moraga)

A suggestion for today's letter writer who is having problems with a neighbor's barking dog: Years ago we read about this solution.

Put some pebbles or pennies in an empty soda can and tape the opening closed. When the dog is barking, walk quietly up to the fence and start shaking the can hard. Keep shaking it, then throw it at the bottom of the fence. Pick it up and do it several more times until the dog runs back to its house.

At first it will bark more, but if you don't say anything, just keep rattling and throwing the can, it will stop barking and back off. You have to do this consistently when it barks.

After a while you only have to shake the can and with some dogs you only have to open the door and they stop! It is a good idea to do this a few times before you have company over, to start the training.

We've used this effectively with a number of neighboring barking dogs over the years and it has worked every time. Sometimes it takes longer than others. The key is to not say a word, just keep shaking the can. (Carol, Livermore)

Re: the annoying barker next door: I use a little collar by PetSafe (Ultrasonic Stop Bark Dog Training Collar) that makes a high-pitched whistle when the dog barks. This company also makes a similar whistle designed to be mounted outside on a fence, directed at the offending dogs. I have never tried it (my annoying barkers live four yards over) but would love to find out if they work. (Sarah, Oakland)

Most pet stores carry the citronella and Stop Bark collars. Both are harmless to the dog. They hate the citronella smell and dislike the sharp whistle. (I do NOT recommend shock collars for obvious reasons.) You can learn more about these products and who carries them by going to and doing a search for them by name. (Gary)

Dear Gary:

I've been reading and enjoying your columns for years.

I'd like to ask if you can discourage people from leaving their cats outside all day to roam freely?

When I first moved to Orinda 30-plus years ago, we had California thrashers on our back hill in the oak tree. One day my cat brought one that she had killed and placed it on my doormat. I didn't know until years later that the thrasher she left on the doormat was the last one we would ever see.

At that point I made the decision to start keeping the cat indoors.

There are a few neighborhood cats that wander through our garden. I don't know where they live, but I am saddened to think how many birds they must kill in the neighborhood.

Thank you,

Alma Raymond, Orinda

Dear Alma:

All our cats should be indoor cats (like my two monsters). Indoor cats not only live up to five years longer than outdoor cats, they don't kill a lot of birds.

They just glare out the window and think about it.

4 Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe This Monsoon Season
Produced by: Marchelle Lee -

Summer downpours are a familiar sight here in the Valley during Monsoon Season.

We all know, when the rain starts falling, it's time to run inside!

But what about your pets? Do you remember them in your summer storm preps?

According to the Arizona Humane Society, the lightening, thunder and pouring rain that accompany them can be frightening to family pets.

Unfortunately, according to AHS, many pets end up running in fear and end up lost or worse.

Here are a few tips from the Arizona Humane Society to keep your pets safe during this monsoon season:

1. Keep pets indoors.
If necessary, confine pets to a bathroom or another save haven within your home. If your dog is crate trained and he wants to go into his crate, let him. If he does not want to be in his crate, DON’T force him.

Also keep in mind that during this time of year, storms typically roll in late in the day.

If you leave early in the morning (such as for work), be sure to keep pets indoors while you are gone – the storm could hit before you get home!

2. Make sure pets always have current ID.
If they are outside when a storm hits, the thunder and lightening may spook them and cause them to jump or dig out of the yard.

Something else to keep in mind – many homes suffer storm damage. If heavy winds blow down a fence/wall or blow open a gate, your dog could take off!

3. Be careful not to OVERPROTECT pets during storms. Fussing because they are scared will reinforce your pets' fears.

Stay normal and calm. Remember, if you act scared or stressed, it will only make them feel worse.

4. Consult your veterinarian about prescription medications that may help. Some pets just can’t cope with storms and your veterinarian may be able to prescribe medication to help.

However, never medicate your pet unless you do so under the supervision of your veterinarian.

For more tips and information about protecting your pets in the summer storms, visit the Arizona Humane Society website.

TAIL TALK: Cats Can Suffer from Heartworm Disease
by Gloria Dauphin, Louisiana SPCA - New Orleans Times-Picayune

Heartworm disease, a mosquito-borne disease, is a constant threat to our pets' health, especially in our community where the disease is unfortunately at an endemic level. This is due both to our tropical climate, as well as the fact that many pet owners, regrettably, still do not provide their pets with heartworm preventive medication.

While many of us are familiar with the disease in dogs, one of the greatest myths is that it is not a concern for cat owners. That myth, however, is being debunked, and to help educate cat owners, the American Heartworm Society (AHS) and the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) joined forces to create the KNOW Heartworms campaign (

Dr. Amy Grayson, a local veterinarian, agrees that it's an important topic to share with the public because, as studies show, wherever there are incidences of heartworm disease in the canine population, you can be certain that it will be present in the feline population as well. Grayson also points to a study showing a 10 percent infection rate which proved that in endemic areas, such as the Gulf Coast, feline heartworm disease is more common then feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency viruses.

Unlike dogs, cats are naturally resistant hosts to the adult heartworm and as a result they may have as little as one worm present in their body. But it's this same defense mechanism, which presents itself in the form of acute pulmonary inflammation, which occurs when heartworm larvae is present in their bloodstream, that puts them at risk. In short, in cats the disease affects their lungs, much more so than their heart.

The way the disease presents itself in cats is called H.A.R.D. (Heartworm Associated Respiratory Disease). As Grayson points out, the signs of H.A.R.D. can mimic a respiratory ailment such as asthma, and as a result, the actual disease may often go undetected. The common symptoms of H.A.R.D. include coughing, shallow respirations, vomiting, lethargy, weight loss or diarrhea.

The good news, Grayson said, is that increased attention to heartworm disease in felines has led to more medical studies and better diagnostic testing.

On another positive note, there is also preventive treatment readily available, even if your cat is already heartworm positive.

If your cat is diagnosed with feline heartworm disease, putting them on preventive treatment will effectively manage their disease and greatly improve their outlook. Grayson also notes that if your cat is heartworm positive you should seek prompt veterinary medical care whenever respiratory symptoms present themselves.

As we learn more about this disease the best option for any cat lover is to begin a routine use of heartworm preventives for all of our feline friends.

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The Secret Lives
of Cats and Dogs Part 2
Thanks to Barb in Superior, MT

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Looking After Your Pet Parrot

Parrots are endearing and colorful pets, but they do require much attention from you; if you think of them as perpetual five-year-old children, that will give you some idea of the complexity of their needs.

The decision to introduce a parrot into a home is a major one. You must provide the food, care and attention that the bird needs, not regard it as an occasional amusement.

If your reason for keeping a parrot is to have a talking bird, an African Grey or an Amazon parrot is a good choice. Other parrots could be regarded as better companions such as Macaws and Cockatoos. On the other hand, a budgerigar is smaller, easier to amuse and a lot less messy. What is more, a pet budgerigar in a smaller cage may easily be handed over to a bird-sitter when you go away!

Whichever species you choose, you will need to feed your Parrot the correct diet. While budgies eat smaller seed, softer fruit such as apple or pear and soft salad items in preference to harder items, Macaws will eat pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds,hazelnut, brazil, almond and walnut kernels, cereals and dried fruit too.

Cages for sedentary birds should be adequate for changes of position and height; no cage is large enough for the Macaw! All Parrots need time out of their cages to fly and walk around; if this is permitted at frequent intervals they will be happier when caged.

Parrots need company; they like to investigate and interact with people. They need toys to play with too; try to provide safe items such as cardboard tubes, hemp ropes, plastic tubs and fabric pockets to explore, unravel or investigate for small food rewards, just as they would forage in the wild. If you must leave your Parrot on his own for a while, a radio playing music in the background is better than being alone in silence.

For the complete guide to the care, feeding, training and welfare of your pet parrot, visit Ultimate Parrot Care Guide

The Ultimate Parrot Care Guide covers parrot behavior, with information which includes selecting, feeding, and taming a parrot. Provide your Parrot with the right care for a rewarding lifetime experience!

Books to Enlighten and Entertain
Pet Lovers of All Kinds
By Ben Steelman -

When reporter Michael Schaffer and his wife adopted a St. Bernard puppy named Murphy, "It didn't take long," he wrote, "to realize that the line between sober pet owner and spendthrift overindulger wasn't as clear as I'd imagined."

That led Schaffer - a former staffer with the Philadelphia Inquirer and U.S. News & World Report - into an investigative tour of the $43 billion-a-year pet industry. The result is his book "One Nation Under Dog: Adventures in the New World of Prozac-Popping Puppies, Dog-Park Politics and Organic Pet Food" (Henry Holt, $24).

Schaffer offers a surprising, often hilarious view of the American pet scene, following professional dog walkers, the burgeoning business of pet medical insurance, the growth in companion-animal litigation (this is the U.S.A. after all) and grief counselors briefing veterinary students on what to say to bereaved owners.

Still, among the abundance, there are stark contrasts: As Schaffer writes, "A society where people wait years for an au courant dog from a breeder, even as hundreds of thousands of strays get put down every year has some 'splaining to do."

Here are some more summer beach reads for animal lovers:

Aquariums: As you might have gathered from grade school, keeping fish healthy in a tank can be a tricky business. With the help of colorful graphics, though, the authors of "Aquariums: The Complete Guide to Freshwater and Saltwater Aquariums" by Thierry-Maitre Alain and Christian Piednoir (Firefly Books, $29.95), new in paperback, make clear such complex topics as water cycles, buffering and pH balance, how to prepare a water and how to achieve the right mix of fix. Also included are tips of aquarium first aid and health.

The Cat's Pajamas: 101 of the World's Cutest Cats: Cats in photos don't shed, don't shred the sofa and don't soil the carpet when their litter box isn't cleaned on time. Still, there's something especially appealing about "The Cat's Pajamas: 101 of the World's Cutest Cats" by pet photographer Rachel Hale (Andrews McMeel, $24.99).

Hale produces the equivalent of a Penthouse for ailurophiles (cat lovers). She illustrates the fine differences between a silver-shaded and a chocolate Persian and between a Burmese, an Egyptian Mau, a Tibetan and a Munchkin. All in all, "The Cat's Pajamas" is just the book for your coffee table - right next to the shredded sofa.

The Complete Single's Guide to Being a Dog Owner: A cute puppy is a guaranteed icebreaker when trying to meet humans of the opposite sex. Still, as Betsy Rosenfeld argues in "The Complete Single's Guide to Being a Dog Owner" (Adams Media, $12.95 paperback), "We're not talking about a new pair of shoes, a flat-screen TV or even a decision to go blonde or shave your head. Dogs are living, breathing creatures."

In other words, adopting a word means confronting the "C" word many singles dread: Commitment.

That said, this "Single's Guide" provides a solid introduction to dog ownership that even married folks could use. Rosenfeld provides a helpful guide to all the costs involved, offers good advice on dog health (spring for the kennel-cough vaccination) and lists one of the most helpful address books I've ever seen for online dog-lovers' resources.

A breed-by-breed guide suggests why you might be better off with a Boston terrier than with a Jack Russell ("known to dominate households"), an English sheepdog ("Sheds a lot") or a Lhasa apso ("Likes to bark at the slightest suspicious sound"). After reading this book, you might actually feel ready to consider a human Significant Other or even an Offspring.

Mornings With Barney: The True Story of an Extraordinary Beagle: After the book and the movie, you had to expect a lot more "Marley & Me" stories. Indianapolis talk show host Dick Wolfsie supplies one with "Mornings With Barney: The True Story of an Extraordinary Beagle" (Skyhorse Publishing, $21.95).

Barney became a star on the Indianapolis "Daybreak" show essentially by misbehaving - by climbing a 60-foot high-diving platform during a telecast, by destroying furniture and by eating anything in sight, including a pepperoni pizza (plus box), two cherry pies (in one sitting) and an ant trap. Eventually he'd appear on 3,000 telecasts. Readers can expect plenty of humor with a dash of pathos.

Ben Steelman: 343-2208

Do You Want a Healthier Pet?
by Skibber Labskovs -

When you own a pet you take on the responsibility for their lives

So many factors play into your pet being healthy. You have probably had a sick pet at some time your life, and you know how that can tug at your heart. I have had a sick dog so I know it feels, I could only thinks about getting her well. Does your pet need to be healthier?

The main thing you need to watch with your pet is the food you feed them; make sure it has the right nutritional value to it. Be certain the food is designed for them. This type of food will include all the nutrients your pet’s body will require to be healthy. It doesn’t matter if you own a hamster, cat, or dog, they all require the right food for their systems.

Only feed them people food if the vet says you can and only what the vet says. Caffeine is not good for dogs so they need to stay away from it. It can affect a dog’s heart to the extent of a heart attack. A dog doesn’t need to eat sugar either.

If animals are overfed they can put on too much weight. This is the reason you should not feed any pets table scraps. You can actually make fish die by feeding them too much. Pets like people can become unhealthy by consuming too much food. Allow your pet to drink enough water per day for them to get hydrated. Now if you own fish for pets make sure to keep their water clear and clean. You need to keep a close eye on the water so that you can spot problems early.

Don’t skip your pet’s checkup at the vet; this is important to its health. Dogs and cats regularly need exams and vaccines to keep certain diseases from happening. The most important one is probably the rabies vaccine. If your pets are in close contact with numerous other animals domesticated or wild this becomes twice as important.

Every pet needs exercise even fish. Fish do of course get a lot of exercise swimming constantly like they do. Cats and dogs should be ran, played with, and walked be certain that they receive enough healthy exercise. This helps keeps their bodies strong and their weight at the right point. It also helps your pet’s heart be healthy. Walk your cat or dog when you go for a stroll. This is how both of you can get healthier at the same time. Provide a hamster with a wheel to run on for their health, if that is your pet of choice. This way it gets enough exercise for its health.

The last thing our pets to be healthy is our love and attention. We need to pet them and talk to them to let them know they are loved. Even grooming them is part of showing them attention. Dogs and cats both for the most part shed or their coats can become matted without proper brushing.

Following the above suggestions will help you have the healthiest pet you can have. Is this not what all of us pet owners want? So have a healthier pet today!

About the Author:
Wanting to become a pet owner is wonderful. But there are two things that you need to know about. One is quality pet health insurance because unless you have it your pet is not secure if accidents happen. The second is that using cheap pet meds can hurt your pet terminally if you find the wrong quality of medication.

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Ozzy Osbourne's Pet Dog Eaten by Coyote
By Ben Leach -

Ozzy Osbourne's pet dog has been eaten by a coyote.The Pomeranian, who Osbourne, the former lead singer with British heavy metal band Black Sabbath, called Little Bit, was attacked on Tuesday.

It is believed the 60-year-old 'Prince of Darkness' and his wife Sharon were watching the Michael Jackson memorial on television when the attack happened and did not hear the dog's yelps.

The couple's daughter, Kelly Osbourne, said in a Twitter message that her father - who has a history of animal abuse including biting the heads off live bats and doves - "is devastated – she was his other woman."

In the late 1970s Osbourne was removed from the offices of a record company after he bit the head off a live dove and spat it on the ground to get the attention of executives.

He also famously bit the head off a bat he thought was rubber while performing at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1982.

Osbourne has also admitted that, at the height of his drug addiction, he shot his family's pets. "I was taking drugs so much I was a wreck. The final straw came when I shot all our cats. We had about 17, and I went crazy and shot them all."

The Osbournes now have 18 dogs at their sprawling home. Mrs Osbourne is a regular at the Los Angeles stray dog home and often gives homeless dogs a new home.

Last month one of her pooches needed emergency treatment after being bitten by an adder.

Authorities in Los Angeles are so concerned about coyote attacks on pets they have issued guidelines for owners. The Department of Animal Services warns: "Wild animals are opportunistic, and coyotes fit this mould very well."

Can Humans be Reincarnated as Pets?
By Jo Singer -

If I am fortunate enough to come back another lifetime as a different species, I want to return as a rich and famous animal lover's pet

I want to be doted upon and spoiled even more than I presently treat our two cats. I think I deserve it. Many of my friends have already requested to come back as one of my pets for this reason.

But herein lays a great dilemma. If I am to come back in my present form to accommodate them, then I am doing double duty. I treat our cats similarly to the lifestyle I want to experience, but of course to a lesser degree. It just isn't fair to make promises to them I am unwilling to keep.

Consider socialite Paris Hilton for example. Her pampered pooches, Marilyn Monroe, Tinkerbelle, Prince, Harajuku Bitch, and Dolce, along with nine other dogs all get to live in the lap of luxury, living in one "fancy schmanzy" dog house, in Beverly Hills. It is a "mini Doggie Mansion". Paris has even added photos of it to her Twitter page. She tweeted, "I may have spoiled them a little too much. But how can I not? Just look at those sweet lil' faces, they deserve to be treated like my lil' prince and princesses :) I love my babies,"

She has replicated her mansion in miniature and decorated it with tiny pieces of furniture, a balcony, a black chandelier, a spiral staircase and has even installed air conditioning to keep her pups comfortable in hot weather. And to add to this high roller life style, Paris has also provided them a stylish wardrobe so her dogs will always be ready for an exciting night on the town. She also gave them "Chewy Vuitton" beds.

So on these hot and humid days I think I will spend some quality time fantasizing about the future and start making a list of those celebrities that have animal loving children who will be about ready to welcome me when the time is right and I somehow manage to make contact with them. I think I had better create a Twitter page of my own and extend my social network to these appropriate "kids".

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