Emergency Pet Care PLUS Be a Pet 'Foster Parent'

You and Your Pet
by M. McMahon - CaliforniaPsychics.com

What your animal friend says about you

Labradoodle or tabby cat? Clydesdale or parakeet? Whatever pet you pick says something about you. Connections with pets often mirror our relationships with people.

Here is a run-down of some of our favorite friends and what they say about their owners!

You are in for the long haul and enjoy lasting deep bonding from a place far within you that is impossible to ignore. Horses are an integral part of your life and you wouldn't have it any other way. Just don't love the animal more than a human partner! Horse lovers tend to do best with other people who participate in their passion.

You love to give and receive emotion. You don't mind being counted on in sunshine or rain and consider the animal an extension of yourself. Even more so, you thrive when needed. You identify with your animal. This is why you have chosen a breed that reflects you and maybe even looks like you? Why not? You love yourself and you love your dog. It's inevitable!

You enjoy a cuddle now and then but value independence as well. You don't need big loud expressions of emotion but hold dear the quieter moments of intimacy. You see others as complex mysteries to unravel but never solve and that's fine with you. You value your time in your home and want it to be warm and inviting.

You want things to be unique and eccentric. You value finding your own way and being choosy about who you love. You appreciate the less overt personalities that take time to discover and nurture. You like inside jokes and the quirky side of life.

Tropical fish
You value aestheticism and collecting things. Visual expression is important to you. You find comfort in water and movement. You are looking to share experiences, sightsee and travel. You like keeping a piece of faraway land in your home.

Pets are a gift in our homes and whatever the animal you decide to co-habitate with, there is much to learn and gain from our creature friends. To get love is to give love. Pets embody that principle in a pure and wonderful form.

Naming a Cat:
A Serious Undertaking
By Jo Singer - PetSide.com

One of the most frequently asked questions appearing on many interactive pet- related websites are those requesting help naming a new kitten or cat. Many of the responders offer a long laundry list of "cute" names, depending on the cat's description or photograph provided by the asker.

However, I think that naming a kitten or cat should be considered a very serious undertaking and one that never should be done in haste, or taken lightly. After all, as the cat servant becomes more familiar with their new kitty and the name chosen proves to be totally inappropriate, think of the confusion that the poor feline may experience when names are changed rapidly. The naming of a kitten or cat carries a high degree of responsibility but many folks lack the patience to discover a suitable and appropriate name for their new kitty. This can cause some pretty disastrous results.

Rather than picking a name off a website, or choosing a name that someone else is suggesting, it is far better to wait and spend time getting to know the newcomer. Each kitten and cat has unique behavioral antics that endear us to them. A kitten may have a particularly unique appearance that may suggest a more suitable and catchy name as well.

For example: My husband and I were given an adorable seal point Siamese as a wedding gift, years ago. Even though he was 4 months old, he was the cutest tiny ball of fluff. We fell in love with him the minute we set eyes on him. He came to us with a fancy long registered name, "Brown Toast", prefixed by the name of the cattery. His name was longer than he was, in fact! As we gently let him out of the shipping carrier in which he arrived after his long airplane voyage, we instantly felt that the name that was given him was totally wrong.

After spending time with him and observing his little purrsonality quirks, with his endearing habit of licking us with his incredibly long tongue whenever he was petted, coupled with his diminutive size being the runt of the litter, his name came to us in a flash. As he was an oriental-type cat, and I am an avid pun-maker, the name "Mousie-Tongue", a play on Chairman Mao-Zedong nailed it. And not so amazingly he responded to the name immediately. The Vulcan "Mind Meld" had obviously been affective.

I always advise people be patient and wait for their kitten or cat to "reveal" his or her name. Keeping our ears and eyes open for the obvious hints being offered, letting our innate intuition guide us, will always lead us to that purrfect handle.
What method do you use to name your cats?

Unable to Own a Pet?
Be a Foster Parent
BY PAMELA DUQUE - South Florida News Service

South Florida humane societies are encouraging animal lovers who are unable to own pets to take some home temporarily.

The Forte family had a dilemma. They loved animals but couldn't keep a pet.

``We travel often, and it's not fair for the pet to be left by itself or to be moving around,'' said Helen Forte, 45.

The Fortes found the solution by becoming ``foster parents'' for the Humane Society of Broward County.

Foster care is one of the volunteer programs offered by the Broward shelter, the Humane Society of Greater Miami and the Tri-County Humane Society in Boca Raton to find more help in the community for homeless animals. The nonprofit organizations rely on private donations and fundraising and follow a no-kill policy.

``We look for donors and sponsors and people to participate, so that we can be able to provide and guarantee the life of these animals,'' said Summer Miller, special events manager at the Humane Society of Greater Miami.

All three shelters, which house 250 to 300 pets each, said the need for pet foster care increases each year with more animals coming in.

``It is tough right now,'' said Pamela D'Addio, volunteer coordinator at the Tri-County Humane Society. ``Sixty percent of our dogs are turned in by their owners. We hear anything from `I'm moving' to `my kids are allergic' to `I lost my house.' ''

Dexter, a black Labrador mix, had been living at the Humane Society of Greater Miami for four of his five years until Larry Rizzo became the dog's foster parent.

``He ended up being the sweetest dog,'' said Rizzo, who started volunteering for the shelter about a year ago. ``It was tough to get him adopted because most people want the younger dogs, the puppies.''

On weekends, Rizzo, 43, started taking Dexter to his home in Miami Beach, where he lives with Brooklyn, a 3-year-old Beagle he rescued from a puppy mill.

``We play at the beach or just sit on the couch and watch TV,'' Rizzo said.

Simple interaction makes a difference in the life of an animal, shelter officials said.

``People don't realize the importance of socializing a pet,'' said Sandy Guerra, director of operations at the Humane Society of Greater Miami. ``The more interaction a pet has with different people -- men, women, children, young, old -- the more social they are.''

That interaction can also lead to adoption.

After seven months of foster care, Dexter found a home when one of Rizzo's friends saw him walking the dog on the beach.

Rizzo visits the shelter once or twice a month. He takes dogs to the playground area outside the shelter, but he also likes to take them home with him.

It's at night when the animals need love the most, he said.

``After 7 p.m., the lights go out and the animals are alone.''

Volunteers can also just take an animal for a walk or a weekend vacation from the shelter. Many times, foster parents care for animals that are recuperating from an injury or operation.

Lacey Freeman, foster care coordinator at the Humane Society of Broward County, said she interviews interested volunteers to determine if they are ready for foster care.

``I think some people think they will take just a dog. Others do realize they get babies,'' she said.

They may wind up caring for young puppies or kittens that lost their mothers and need somebody to feed them. Usually they need fostering for two weeks to a month, depending on the animal's age and health. ``That can't just be done at the shelter,'' said Susan Richards, administrative assistant at the Tri County Humane Society. ``What the volunteers give is love and shelter.''

Forte and her daughters, Antonia, 15, and Michaela, 10, usually care for two to four kittens for a month. Forte sees it as a way of showing her daughters that having a pet is a big responsibility.

``It's been a great thing because they've also learned a lot,'' said Forte, who divides the chores between the two girls, who pick names for the kittens that match their personalities and appearance.

``Some of them are playful, more feisty, or affectionate. They are all different, like the people you meet,'' said Antonia, a sophomore at Cypress Bay High School.

The hardest part is bringing them back to the shelter. ``I know that they are going to a family that's going to take care of them and love them as much as we do,'' she said. ``At least I hope so.''

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How Much Do We Spend
on a Sick Pet?

LEVI: A week ago, after making my lunch and packing my backpack, I went downstairs to Tex, our mutt. He was on his bed; I went to pet him, but he wouldn't get up.

It got even worse. Instead of running into the yard, chasing squirrels, he barely moved when I opened the door. I had to entice him with the leash. Then he hobbled outside, whimpering with every step he took down our deck stairs before we went on our daily before-school walk.

A week before, the vet had said that Tex had arthritis in his back legs, and she put him on meds. But this didn't look like just arthritis. I immediately began to worry. What could be wrong? How sick was he? And: What if Tex was sick enough that we couldn't help him because of the cost?

We've had Tex for nine years. He was a gift to Isaac for his ninth birthday, and he has been an energetic part of our family ever since. Theoretically, he was Isaac's dog, but he was really a family dog. After Isaac went to college three months ago, I took over the Tex responsibilities.

We've become closer friends. We've played, run and eaten together (not the same food). I slept in his room once so I could feel more in touch with him. He was like a younger brother I never had. But he suddenly seems older and completely changed. Although I've tried not to think about it, I do worry how long he will last.

Last weekend, it got worse. Every couple of yards on our walk, he yelped. I tried to calm him down, but it was clear that the medicine wasn't helping.

So we took him to the vet a second time. As we were driving there, with Tex whining in the back, my dad and I had a conversation about death and how to deal with people close to you going out of your life.

The vet said she thought a pinched nerve or a squashed disk in his neck was causing the pain. An X-ray didn't show problems. She said if we wanted to investigate further, we should see a neurologist and get an MRI scan and possibly surgery.

"Let's try this medicine for a few days," the doctor told us in the examination room, "but if he doesn't get better, then you will have to make some decisions."

Those words hit my dad and me hard. We couldn't put it out of our minds. We couldn't ignore the fact that if we didn't do something now, Tex could die.

So is it worth it? Should we spend tons of money on Tex as we would any family member? Or should we let him go and say he had a good life?

STEVE: At what price does an ailing pet cease to be family? $1,000? $10,000?

As if to press the question, while Levi and I sat in the lobby awaiting Tex's diagnosis, two customers arrived to pick up their pets' ashes.

"I didn't choose Tex," Isaac told me, wide-eyed and shivering with joy in March 2000 when he came back from the Oakland animal shelter. "He chose me!"

Karen had taken Isaac in to find his soulmate, and there he was: Halfway down the bank of cages, a light-brown mixed-breed looking very much like a dingo rushed to the bars and told Isaac, in a language a 9-year-old understands, that he belonged in our family.

Tex was immediately one of the boys -- friendly, smart, naughty. Even his name was family: Isaac chose it because he'd decided Texas was "the best place in the world" after I'd taken him there for my Texan grandma's funeral.

A decade later, we must calculate whether Tex remains in the family. I just went down to Tex's bed; as I stroked his ears, he looked up with frightened, pleading eyes that said, in a language I understand: "What's happening to me? Why don't you do something?"

I passed the fridge on the way back. A photo under a magnet is of a year-old Tex, nose in the camera lens, smiling (always smiling). The snapshot was from back when a grade-school Isaac would phone me at work, hope in his voice: "Dad, you coming home soon? Want to meet me at the dog park on your way home?"

Above my desk is another snapshot: Tex, sitting next to a long-haired Isaac on a Nevada sand dune, both of them cocky adolescents. I hear Tex whimpering softly downstairs as I write this.

"Oh, for pity's sakes," I can hear my farmer forebears chiding me for sappily thinking of spending serious money on an old dog. Animals came and went on the farm; there were more important things to spend money on.

Tex has already been a cost center: the massive dog-food bags; the $25-a-day kennel costs during vacations; the $200 in medicine after he ate rat poison; the lawn furniture he destroyed as a pup; the mop-ups after his disagreements with skunks.

But we've spent over $500 in just the past week on vets and tests and drugs. How much more? (The vet estimates $1,500 for the MRI, $5,000 and up for surgery.)

Levi has been caring for Tex like I want to be treated when I am a deteriorating, confused old man. He takes his homework to Tex's bed to be by his side. He spends time after dinner rubbing Tex's stomach and talking, softly, to calm him. Tex deserves it: He has been worth so much to us.

We'll have to decide within a week, in cold dollar terms, just how much he still is. How do parents ever do this?

Going to the Dogs:
Before You Take Your Four-Legged Friend
Skiing, Make Sure He's Up to the Task
By BILL HAGGERTY/The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel

Before we get started this cross country skiing season, let’s talk about dogs.

Should you take them cross country skiing with you?

Or not?

One of the best places to ski nordically with a healthy and prepared canine companion is at the Mesa/Delta County Line Cross Country Ski Trails, expertly groomed by the Grand Mesa Nordic Council (GMNC).

The Nordic Council provides designated dog trails in this area. Loops from one kilometer (.62 miles) to about four kilometers (2.48 miles) are beautifully laid out by the good folks who groom these trails four times a week, weather permitting.

One of the worst places to ski with your pet is at Skyline Cross Country Ski Area, a few miles closer to Grand Junction. That’s because other backcountry users have major “issues” with your pet... holes in the track where a skier wants to plant and kick, dogs chasing you, dogs snarling at each other, brown klister ...

There are other life-threatening issues as well: your dog can get hypothermia, frostbite, have a heart attack or stroke, just like you. They can get injured, hungry, dehydrated and tired.

Sarah Shaw knows a lot about pets on Grand Mesa in the middle of winter. That’s because she and husband, Kenton, graciously donate their lives to the Grand Mesa Nordic Council, and they have participated in a half-dozen dog rescues over the past few ski seasons.

“People are slowly becoming more educated,” she said, “but they need to be reminded that animals can suffer as much as we can.

“If it’s a sunny day and the snow is hard as a rock and there’s no one around, I guess it’s OK, but for the most part, I don’t encourage anyone to take their dogs skiing with them. Some dogs just aren’t right for the winter climate we have here — puppies, old dogs, dogs with short hair — they’re better left at home.”

According to Drs. Foster and Smith, of the famous pet catalog company named after them, minor cases of frostbite in pets “usually involve only ear tips, whereas more extensive freezing causes the loss of the tail and appendages (toes and legs). Death may result if the limbs are involved. Dying tissue attracts bacteria, and severe, life-threatening infections can result.”

Hypothermia “is a condition in which the body temperature becomes too low for normal functioning. It is more common in animals that are short-haired, small, wet or have no shelter during periods of cold temperatures,” according to the good doctors’ Web site, www.drsfostersmith.com.

That could happen every day on Grand Mesa from now to next spring.

Want more on doggie issues like hypothermia, frostbite, and how to treat them? Check out drsfostersmith.com AND ask your veterinarian.

If you ski or snowshoe with a four-legged sidekick, hazards exist that you may not see.

Remember, you’re gliding on top of the snow with your skis or snowshoes, while your dog is post-holing through the deep stuff. They may encounter stumps, ruts, vegetation, rocks, fallen trees, stream beds, water bodies, and many other natural and man-made objects that could cut a paw, sprain a leg or freeze a toe.

No matter what, as Sarah suggests, provide a hardy breakfast for your four-legged friend, at least an hour before exercise. (Longer-bodied dogs should eat two hours before exercise. Like horses, they may bloat, which is very dangerous). Carry plenty of snacks and water for your dog as well as yourself.

Before you take your dog skiing, check the temperature and wind chill factor. It’s updated daily on the Nordic council Web site at http://gmnc.org.

Give your dog plenty of time to acclimate to altitude and a chance to rest. He’s working a lot harder than you are.

When your adventure is complete, be sure to have blankets or old sleeping bags in your car to warm your dog.

Check pads, stomach and groin area for scrapes or chafing from snow build-up. Never let your dog ride in an open pickup, wet or dry.

There are many dog friendly cross country/snowshoe areas in western Colorado. Check with local land use agencies before you go.

One final word: If your pet does not come to you when it’s called, it should not be off lead. But, if you’ve got a pet that needs to burn energy and get out as much as you do, do us a favor: pick up his doo-doo, and take Fido to a place where he’ll be appreciated.

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Pet Grooming
Is A Responsibility

Many pets purchased today are purebred. The elaborate care required for maintaining health and value should be known and the responsible owner will follow these guidelines. A large amount of households, however, still follow tradition and have chosen a mixed-breed house pet. These individuals may feel that the responsibilities for pet ownership are limited to veterinarian care, food, toys and accessories, but the family who is gifted with a “free” puppy or kitten must also consider the necessity of pet grooming when compiling the expenses and responsibilities for the newest family member.

The family, who chooses a short-haired pet, may feel that this will alleviate the obligation for daily grooming; this is however, a mistaken thought process. The shorter haired pet will still require regular brushing to stimulate a healthy coat and reduce loose pet hair. The indoor pet will invariably leave hair throughout their environment, so brushing is essential for a cleaner home. In addition, indoor pets are subjected to the same environmental influences as their human family. Dry, hot, furnace heat and artificial cooling systems dehydrate the skin causing it to flake and slough off. Although perhaps more apparent amongst darker-toned breeds, this same process is occurring in the family pet. Dandruff-like flaking will appear on the dog or cat’s coat when stimulated either by hand or brush, indicating dry skin.

Supplements or vitamins may need to be included into the pet’s diet for complete relief, but the inclusion of regular baths into the pet grooming routine will provide the greatest improvement. Some individuals may choose to do this themselves, however the local pet groomer will also perform this for a reasonable fee.

Proper pet grooming does not end with the animal’s skin and coat, as other needs will require regular attention as well. The home that now includes a domestic cat will need its members to be diligent in training the animal to use a scratching post. Failing this, the decision to de-claw the feline used to be the only option; however, today’s pet grooming advances have made it possible to live with the offending talons. A pet groomer can be enlisted to clip the tips of the front claws or soft pads can be applied to the claw, thus keeping the nails from damaging inappropriate surfaces. If started at a young age, the adult cat will readily submit to either of these procedures, however the responsible pet owner should speak to their veterinarian about which options would be the best for the animal and the expense that will be included in the pet’s regular grooming routine.

The family, who has chosen to bring a dog into the home, must also realize their responsibilities in regards to nail care. Regardless of size, a dog’s nails can be damaging if not kept to a proper length. This damage does not just include the family home and property, but can also extend to the animal itself. Nails that are not clipped may cause the pet to walk awkwardly or lead to other foot problems; therefore this is a maintenance necessity. Some dogs are submissive and do not require any assistance; however, this is not often the case. The veterinarian may be needed to perform this grooming necessity. This could become quite expensive; however, many pet professionals will eagerly train the pet owner to do this job themselves. The pet owner should be aware, though that this is a procedure that is best begun as soon as possible and at regular intervals, as the normally docile family dog may react very adversely to the nail clipping regimen.

Regardless of the initial cost in procuring a family pet, the family needs to be aware and understand the responsibilities that they have now chosen to undertake. The animal’s health must be maintained and this will require the procurement of a good medical professional. In addition, though, the family must understand the obligations for regular pet grooming to assure a long and happy life for this family member.

Gary Bogue:
How Did the Cat Find His Way
Home from 3 Miles Away?
By Gary Bogue - Contra Costa Times

wintering white-crown

sparrowing in the sage

almost brushes my boot

— Anastasia Hobbet, Walnut Creek

Dear Gary:

My daughter recently moved about 3 miles away, and she took her cat with her. He is a 5-year-old male outdoor cat (trust me, she tried to keep him an indoor cat, but it just didn't work!).

Anyway, his pattern is to be out at night, come home in the morning, sleep most of the day inside, go outside for a couple of hours, back again for a late night snack, and then out again for the night.

He is trying to adjust to living with two other indoor cats at the new place. The female cat has no problem, but the other male isn't too thrilled he's there. We understand it will take awhile for all of them to adjust, and hopefully, it will all work out.

However — how in the heck did that little imp find his way back home to my house?

He showed up at my doorstep the other morning and I couldn't believe my eyes. When I called my daughter, she was just as surprised and said he had been home all day the day before, and she had let him out that night.

The cat had only been at the new place for about two weeks, and I can't figure out how he would even begin to find his way back here when he'd never been in that area before. It's mind boggling.

Of course, our worry is that he will do it again, and he has to cross a couple of very busy streets to get here. Is there anything we can do to try and discourage him from doing that?

If he does it again and she just keeps bringing him back to her place, will he finally get it and understand that is his new home?

Kathi J., cyberspace

Dear Kathi:

Cats and dogs have reportedly made some amazing journeys over the years.

I admit I was somewhat skeptical "... until it happened to me.

I had a cat named John when I was a youngster, still living with my parents in Pleasant Hill. When I was 22, I got married and we moved about 7-8 miles away to Walnut Creek. We left John the cat with my parents.

After a week or so, my mom called to say that John had disappeared. I spent days prowling the neighborhood and trying to find John. No luck.

A couple of weeks later I opened the back door at my Walnut Creek house to take out the garbage — and there was John, skinny, matted, dirty, sitting on my back steps meowing for me to let him in. Boy, did we hug.

John stayed and lived with us for the next 10 years, finally dying at the fine old age of 21.

How are cats and dogs able to find their ways back to previous homes, often many miles away? No one really knows. Oh, there are probably as many theories as there are cats. Do they use earth's magnetic fields? Follow the stars? Don't you need to know where you're going before you use any navigational skills?

I've yet to see an answer I can live with. Maybe it's better not to know. Knowing would take the fun out of it.

I'm also concerned that your daughter's cat might get in trouble crossing those busy streets if he tries to come back to your house again. I wouldn't be surprised if he tried it because it sounds like he doesn't like living with those other cats. If your daughter can keep him inside the house for a couple of weeks, maybe in his own room with a litter box and food, gradually letting him meet and try to get to know the other cats, he might figure that's his real home and decide to stick around.

If he takes another trip back to your house (and makes it!), you might consider letting him stay there with you, because that sounds like where he wants to be. Or maybe you should make that decision now so he doesn't take any more dangerous trips.

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What to Do If Your Pet
Needs Emergency Care

If your pet is ever injured, your quick action can make a lifesaving difference. Of course, first aid is only the first step; the goal is to get your pet to a veterinarian as quickly as possible. Putting the phone number of your veterinarian and the nearest veterinary emergency center in speed dial on your phone can save crucial minutes.

Obviously, we can only give very general guidelines here. In an emergency, you will need to use good judgment and seek your veterinarian's advice.

When a pet is injured, the first order of business is to move your pet away from any immediate danger while ensuring your own safety. Then, call your veterinarian or emergency clinic. Letting the clinic know that you are on the way and what to expect enables them to be ready for your pet.

Protecting yourself
Even the gentlest pet can bite or scratch their favorite person when the animal is injured or frightened. Muzzling your dog is the safest way to ensure that your dog cannot bite and will be able to get needed help quickly. You can create a muzzle with a strip of cloth, necktie, or nylon stocking. Wrap it around the nose and under the chin and then tie it behind the ears. Do not muzzle a dog that is vomiting. Once the dog has been moved, you can loosen or remove the muzzle.

Cats and small pets are best handled by wrapping them in a towel or placing a towel over their head temporarily. Be sure that your pet is able to breathe.

Transporting an injured animalIf an animal has sustained trauma, such as a car accident, you can help prevent further injury by minimizing movement of an animal's body. Gently lay your pet on a flat surface for support. A board or similar flat surface or a rug or blanket held taught by two people can function as a makeshift stretcher.

A carrier may be workable for a smaller animal. Taking the top off to put the pet inside and then replacing the top can minimize movement for the injured animal.

Fractures or dislocations
If your pet is holding a limb in an unnatural way, this may indicate a fracture. During transport to the clinic, try to move or handle the animal as little as possible. Don't try to apply a splint since it will most often only inflict greater pain.

Bleeding woundsIf a wound is bleeding profusely, apply firm pressure to the area with a clean cotton cloth to slow the bleeding. Do not use a tourniquet. If it bleeds through the fabric, apply more cloth over the pad rather than removing it. Meanwhile, arrange transport to your veterinarian. If you are alone, you can tie the compress in place.

It should be snug, but not cut off circulation. Waste no time getting your pet to the veterinarian. A wound does not need to be large to become infected, so it is best to seek care even if the wound stops bleeding quickly.

An animal that is bleeding from their nose, mouth, or rectum may be bleeding internally. Pale gums, weakness and collapse are other symptoms of internal bleeding. Keep the animal warm and rush to a veterinarian.

Shock: Shock can accompany injuries. An animal in shock will be weak, have pale gums and rapid breathing. Keep the animal warm and get to a vet clinic right away.

Poisoning: Products that are harmful for people to consume are also harmful for pets, but sometimes pets can also be sensitive to other substances.

Symptoms of poisoning may include weakness, vomiting, convulsions, difficulty breathing, or loss of consciousness. Telephone your veterinarian immediately or, if you know what your pet has consumed, you can call the Animal Poison Control Center hotline (888-426-4435) that is available around the clock, 365 days a year (there is a fee for the consultation). Treatment depends on the substance, so keep the product label at hand.

Collect any material your pet may have vomited or chewed in a plastic sealable bag, this may help your veterinarian determine what was consumed. If poisoning is detected soon enough, it might be possible for your veterinarian to eliminate the poison before serious harm occurs.

If your pet's skin or eyes are exposed to a toxic product, check the label for the instructions for human exposure and follow those instructions. Call your veterinarian immediately as further treatment may be needed.

Move the pet away from furniture or anything that could harm them during the seizure. You can use a blanket for padding, but do not restrain the pet during the seizure. Time the seizure; they usually do not exceed three minutes. Afterwards, keep the animal calm and call your veterinarian immediately.

If your pet is having difficulty breathing, pawing at the mouth, blue lips or tongue, you need to act quickly. Be aware that your pet may be frightened and more likely to bite. If your pet can still breathe, get them to a veterinarian as quickly as possible.

If your pet cannot breathe, look into their mouth to see if the object is visible in the throat and can be removed with your fingers, tweezers, or pliers. Take care not to push it farther down the throat. If it is lodged too deeply or if the pet collapses, place your hands on both sides of the animal's rib cage and apply firm, quick pressure or place the animal on its side and using the palm of your hand, strike the side of the rib cage firmly three or four times. If you can force air up from the lungs, you may be able to expel the object. Keep trying until the object is dislodged or you arrive at the veterinarian's office.

While first aid can be a lifesaver, it is only the first step. Your emergency care should always be followed by immediate veterinary care.

Bonney Brown is the Nevada Humane Society's executive director.

Get The Safest Kitten
Collars for Your Pet
by ja_schmidt - Bukisa.com

Kittens are one of the most popular pets of the royalty back in the days of kings and queens. So if you have a cat and would want them to look well pampered and taken care of, then kitten collars are just the thing for them.

Kittens are one of the most popular pets of the royalty back in the days of kings and queens. So if you have a cat and would want them to look well pampered and taken care of, then kitten collars are just the thing for them. Since most cats have fairly small necks, they come in a size that fits most cats or have an adjustable lock.

Kitten collars can come in many designs and styles. The most sought after are the ones with crystals on the collar. Some collars even have pendants and bells. Others have designs embroidered on the collar like the name of the cat. It can also have a pendant that holds valuable information about the cat like who the owner is and where the cat lives.

Kitten collars are supposed to be glamorous and safe. Kitten collars are only glamorous and good to look at but be sure the safety of the cat is not overlooked. Good collars should have safety features to ensure it does not endanger the life of your pet. Since cats are curious and active animals it might be possible that they sneak into crammed spaces and snag their collars onto something. The cat might strangle itself if this happens.

Makers of kitten collars made improvements in their design by placing safety break points or elastic bands in the collar. This way your cat can easily break free from whatever it is that it got stuck in.

Kitten collars should also have provisions for a leash connection. Of course, like other pets, cats also need exercise. This way they can also be taken for a walk in a leash. Pet stores also sell those that have special leash features that attach to whole body harnesses so they can easily be controlled without harming the animal.

Since some cats can freely go around outside, some kitten collars are equipped with reflectorized bands on the collar. This way any light that hits the collar will make your cat visible at night. Other pet owners even go all out by putting pendants with LED lights that automatically lights up in the dark.

Another innovation in kitten collars is the one made with anti-parasitic properties. These are the ones that can keep your cat tick and flea free for months. It will keep your cat healthy and energetic without the use of harmful pesticides and chemicals. These are guaranteed to be safe for the cats themselves.

When looking for kitten collars make sure that they serve their purpose but with the safety of your pet in mind.

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