Wednesday, September 30, 2015

What to Do if You Find a Stray Bird, Squirrel, or Rabbit (Twin Cities)

Wildlife Rehabilitation Center MN
If you come across a stray or lost dog or cat in your area, it’s best to take the animal to your local shelter as soon as possible. But, what should you do if you find an orphaned or injured bird, squirrel or rabbit? It’s natural to feel compelled to help in these situations, but your local shelter may not have wildlife rehabilitators on staff.

If you're in the Twin Cities, call the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota at 651-486-9453

Squirrels
If you come across a baby squirrel, it is best to leave him alone unless he looks malnourished, dehydrated or covered in fleas. Those are usually signs the baby has been away from his mother for an extended time period. If the squirrel looks healthy, it's probably just going through its curious juvenile stage. However, if that squirrel isn't quite as perky the next time you see it, please bring it to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. It needs help if it starts becoming lethargic.

Birds
In the fall, migration is underway and that means many new birds are visiting your yard. They are not as familiar with your house, and windows, as your resident chickadees, cardinals, etc. If a bird hits your window, read through this information before you bring it in (unless it's bleeding or its wing is bent back in which case you should just bring it in). This information might save you a trip.

Found a pigeon with colored leg bands hanging out in your yard? It's someone's pet. Because of that the center cannot admit it. If the bird is still there after several days, and you can capture the bird, write down the series of letters and numbers off the band(s). Call the Wildlife Center with that information and they can give you the contact info for the owner's club.

Rabbits
The main thing to remember when you uncover a nest of bunnies is leave them be. For just a few weeks re-arrange your activities to give them a chance to grow and leave the area. Once they've left you can fill in the slight depression the mother digs for the nest.

Also remember that you most likely will not see the mother rabbit on the nest with the young kits. To protect the location of the nest, she avoids the area; coming back only to briefly nurse the young at dawn and dusk.

If you have more questions, please visit the WRC's FAQ website here.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Do's and Don'ts of House Training Your Dog or Puppy

You’ve brought a new dog into your home—congratulations! Now comes your first dog-training challenge: house training.

House training is not an exact science—there’s no sure-fire formula or timetable that will work for every dog. The important thing is to make it a positive experience. Here are a few tips to help you through it.

Do: Supervise your dog. Limit the dog’s run of the house to the one or two rooms where you are able to see her at all times. Dogs usually show “pre-pottying” behavior such as sniffing, circling and walking with stiff back legs; all signs that you should get her to the potty area ASAP! As the training begins to take hold, you can slowly enlarge her territory.

Don’t: Yell at a dog for a mess she made earlier. If you catch her in the act, it’s okay to startle her by clapping or making a noise (hopefully this will stop her long enough for you to whisk her outside). But a dog will not learn anything by being scolded for a past accident, even one a few minutes old. Just clean it up and soldier on.

Do: Offer big praise when she gets it right. Whether your goal is for your dog to eliminate on pee pads indoors or to do it outside, you have to really throw a party for her when she succeeds. Lavish her with praise, affection and some yummy treats!

Don’t: Rub her face in it. In addition to this action making your dog fear you, she’s incapable of making the connection that it’s the act of soiling indoors you object to—to her, you just really hate pee and poop. If she thinks that the waste itself is what you dislike, she’ll only get sneakier about hiding it from you.

Source: ASPCA

Monday, September 28, 2015

7 Home Renovation Hazards for Pets

Home repair is primarily done in the spring, but many home and apartment dwellers are constantly trying to spruce up their abodes with a little project or two. While you are measuring, taping and scraping, however, don’t forget to protect your pets. Home repair is stressful enough without your pets “helping!”

One of the best precautions is simply to keep your pets away from the work area. You may need to  close a door or use a crate or baby gate to separate your pet. If you can’t isolate the area, boarding your pet at a kennel or with a friend or family member for a few days may be the best option. Here are a few other safety precautions to keep in mind:

Sunday, September 27, 2015

What's In A Name: Azawakh

The Azawakh is a loyal sighthound known to have a protective streak. It originated in the Sahel region of Africa, a desert area that includes parts of Mali and Niger, and a region called the Azawakh Valley, from where its name comes from. There, the Azawakh protected the nomadic Touareg people and guarded their tents, along with assisting them in hunting hare, antelope, and wild boar.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

What's In A Name: Chinook

Bred as a versatile sled dog, the friendly Chinook is best known for his love of children.  "Chinook" is Inuit for "warm winter winds", and the breed lives up to it. He excels at mushing, hiking, sledding, and skijoring (a person on skis  is pulled by dogs). He is equally good at being a family dog. The breed has a think, tawny colored double coat that sheds lightly every day.  It came about when musher Arthur Treadwell Walden bred a farm dog with a "northern" husky and produced a littler of puppies, one of whom became the father of the breed.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Tips to Socialize a Shy Cat


Shy Cats



Reward-based training is a simple and effective way to boost your cat’s confidence and strengthen her bond with you. For a shy or cautious cat, though, the benefits of training may be even greater.



Shy cats tend to keep to themselves, particularly in uncomfortable situations — which can include everything from friends visiting your home to a trip to the vet’s office. One downside of this is that when your cat is prone to hiding, it can be difficult to spot the small changes in behavior that may signal a health problem. Your shy cat may also aggress when she feels threatened, and this behavior can make even routine vet visits difficult.

Luckily, a cat doesn’t need to be born bold to become a confident kitty. I have seen shy adult cats learn to be more relaxed around people. Reward-based training can help your cat feel more comfortable around humans, both those she sees often, like your friends, and those who are new to her, like the staff at the vet’s office. Training doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming; rewarding everyday behaviors can help foster communication and trust between you and your cat.

Your cat may never become the life of the party, but these simple training strategies may help her to be more comfortable in social situations.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Tear Staining In Dogs

Tear staining is a common problem for dogs. The pesky brown streaks creeping down from their dog’s inner eye corners drive pet owners everywhere crazy - but what are they? Below is information on what is tear staining as well as how to treat it in dogs.

What is Tear Staining and Why Does it Occur in Dogs? 
Tear staining refers to the browning of hairs near the inner corner of the eye. We see tear staining most often in white and light-colored dogs. Most of the time tear staining is normal and not of concern (other than perhaps making the dog appear “less cute” to his owner). 

Tear staining occurs when a chemical called porphyrin, a breakdown product of blood in the tears, interacts with the light and is oxidized. This causes a brownish stain of the hair at the inner aspect of the eye. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

8 Items That Can Help Make Life Easier for Senior Pets

Let's face it, getting old stinks! It's not fun for anyone — and that includes our four-legged friends. But, there are things that we can do to make growing older a little easier for our pets. These eight easy-to-use products can help keep elderly pets feeling young at heart.

1. Dog Shoes
Some lightweight shoes can help your senior dog cope with the elements. They should have traction to help your senior dog on slippery surfaces. These little shoes will help protect paws from extreme temperatures and abrasive surfaces. Check out these Summit Trex

2. Lifting Harness
If your dog has trouble climbing stairs or getting in and out of the car, a front-lift harness offers a real mobility boost. You can also get a back-lift version for dogs who have trouble with their rear legs. Check out Lift 'Em Up

3. Washable Doggy Diapers/ Pee Bands
As your pet gets older, she may have urinary accidents. Washable diapers can help make your pet's incontinence more manageable for her and for you. But, be sure to change them as soon as they get damp to avoid skin irritation. Check out Doggie Dungarees

4. Orthopedic Dog Bed
Made with durable foam, an orthopedic bed is designed to help senior dogs feel more comfortable while getting rest. Get one that is water-resistant and has a machine washable cover in case there are any accidents due to your pet's older age! Check out Happy Hounds

5. A Ramped Litter Box
Having an elevated ramp on your litter box can help a senior cat have easy access to their litter. Make sure that any litter box you choose is 1.5 times the length of your cat. Check out Booda Dome

6. Pet Stairs
Make it easier for your dog or cat to get on the sofa or bed with wide, rubber-gripped steps. You can also get some with removable tread for easy cleaning. Check out Pet Gear Easy Step

7. Stroller
Even if your senior pet can't go for long walks like he used to, he can still enjoy a stroll through the park in a stroller. Get one that is easy to handle and has shock absorbers to make the ride more comfortable! Check out Next Gen All-Terrain Stroller

8. Field Coat
As some dogs get older, they become more sensitive to cold air. Help keep your dog warm all winter long with a protective coat. Check out Field Coat for Dogs

Source: Vet Street

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

9 Matriarchal Species in the Animal Kingdom

In the animal kingdom there are many species in which the females rule the roost. This might seem unusual in that the males are typically thought of as the protectors, but oftentimes the females have unique advantages or skills that make them uniquely suited to protecting their species’ survival.

1. Honeybees

The female queen is the ruler of the honeybee hive. She’s larger in size than her workers and lives for one to two years, compared to six or seven weeks for workers. The queen’s specialty is reproduction, which ensures the survival of the hive.

“Drones usually die upon mating or are expelled from the hive before winter sets in.”

Monday, September 21, 2015

8 Autumn Hazards to Dogs

fall hazards to dogs

Cozy sweaters, Pumpkin Spice Lattes, and shorter days. Yup, autumn’s almost here. And pup parents will soon start seeing the warnings about Thanksgiving leftovers posted all over the internet.


But did you know there are other autumn-specific hazards that you might not even know could harm your pooch?

1. Nighttime walks
autumn hazards to dogsOk, so nighttime walks happen year-round. But with the transition to shorter days, sunset might come sooner than you think. And you might not be prepared when darkness falls halfway through your walk. That’s why it’s a good idea to have some kind of reflective gear on you and your dog, especially if you walk him in an area with cars zooming by.

Another thing to consider is visibility in case your dog gets lost. My rambunctious squinky-faced pup Lady once escaped from our house. I’ll never forget the panic that started to set in once I realized the sun was going down. (She’s fine now — her American Bulldogy stubbornness is no match for meaty treats.)

2. Mushrooms
The cool rainy weather and composting leaf piles make the perfect environment for mushrooms to start popping up everywhere, and, just like you probably wouldn’t start plucking and eating toadstools off the ground (we hope), your dog shouldn’t either.

No, it’s not because your dog might start hallucinating and then run off to join a commune for hippie dogs. Not all mushrooms are lethal, but you never know which type of mushroom can be toxic. And you don’t want to risk it. So keep a close watch when going for hikes in woodsy areas and other places mushrooms thrive.

Click here to read our blog post "5 Poisonous Mushrooms You Should Know"

3. Fleas and ticks
If you think fleas and ticks are a thing of the past once temperatures start going down, think again. You and your pup may pick them up on camping trips or walks in woodsy areas, and nobody has time for itching or disgusting ticks that can transmit a number of serious diseases like Lyme Disease (and a host of other nasties that can come when dealing with these pests.)

You’ll want to have your pup on a flea and tick control product so ticks and fleas won’t stand a chance.

4. Mothballs
You can try to cling onto summer for as long as you can get away with wearing your booty shorts and flip flops, but the cold weather eventually wins. And that’s when the cozy sweaters come out!

For those of you lucky enough to not be plagued by moth larvae that munch on your sweaters: everyone is jealous of you.

For the rest of us, we might still be using mothballs. Because the thought of hotboxing obnoxious critters to death reminds us of the good ol’ days of rummaging through Grandma’s closet for vintage gems.

Keep your dogs away from these balls. If your dog just so happens to come up to you with mothball breath, get him to a vet ASAP.

5. Compost
If your dogs like to help out in the garden, make sure you keep them away from the steaming pile o’ gardener’s gold in your yard. You don’t want to deal with the poop squirts that might result from eating half-decomposed food. Also, any apple cores you chuck in there from making your delicious apple cider will make your dog sick.

6. Antifreeze
It’s toxic. Just five tablespoons can kill a medium-sized pup. But your dog doesn’t know that. And even if you take your car to the mechanic for all your car maintenance needs or dispose of your antifreeze properly, your neighbor might not. Don’t let your pup drink from puddles, especially if you can’t figure out the source.

7. Rodenticide
Creatures that can’t stand the dropping temperatures will try to shack up in your house, which is why fall is a time people set out traps and poison. Regardless of where you stand on the To Kill or Not To Kill debate, you can’t ever be completely sure that your dog won’t get his nose into something harmful.

Always keep your pup on a leash during walks to avoid ingestion of poison. And it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have some emergency numbers saved onto your phone as well.

8. Allergies. Specifically hayfever.
Allergies can act up with the season changing from Summer to Fall, which can irritate your pups skin. Make sure you consult with your vet if your pup is showing any signs of allergies.

As always, we recommend that you keep emergency numbers handy in case of any emergency. Don’t hesitate to contact your vet or the Animal Poison Control Center if you see your dog acting strangely or suspect she might have gotten into something she shouldn’t have. After all, you can’t ever be too cautious when it comes to keeping your family in good health.

Source: BarkPost

Sunday, September 20, 2015

What's In A Name: Abyssinian

The Abyssinians a breed of domestic shorthaired cat with a distinctive "ticked" tabby coat, in which individual hairs are banded with different colors.

It is named after Abyssinia (now called Ethiopia) the country from which it was first thought to have originated; more recent research now places its origins somewhere near the Egyptian coast. The Abyssinian has since become one of the most popular breeds of shorthair cat in the USA.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

What's In A Name: Ocicat

The Ocicat is named for it's resemblance to an ocelot...can you see it (image below)? It's known for being a completely domestic cat, but it resembles a wildcat. They are friendly and social, despite their "wildcat" appearance, and are bred from Siamese, Abyssinian, and Domestic Shorthair.

Friday, September 18, 2015

How to Safely Collar, Tag and ID Your Cat

Cat Collars

Anyone working in an animal shelter will tell you: It is far more likely that your cat will be lost and never returned home than it is that he will be harmed by his collar. That’s why we recommend that you keep a collar and ID tag (and license, if cats are required to be licensed in your municipality) on your cat at all times. It’s important even if your cat lives entirely indoors, because you can’t guarantee there will never be an escape.


Choose a Cat-Safe Collar
Because cats do climb trees and scale fences, they are at some risk for getting their collars caught, but many collars designed for cats have the situation covered. That’s because they’re made to give way under pressure when caught, either by being made of stretchy material (like Beastie Bands) or having a breakaway clasp (like Safe Cat). Because hanging-down tags are more likely to be caught, you could also check into a slide-on collar tag, such as those from Boomerang Tags.

Note that if you want to walk your cat, you will need to attach the leash to a halter not a cat collar, because any pressure will release your cat from the collar.

Add a Microchip for Extra Safety
Cat CollarsWhile we do recommend you keep a safe collar and ID on your cat at all times, having a collar that allows your cat to slip free means that your pet may quickly shed his life-saving ID when he's on the lam. That’s why you need to have a microchip as well as a collar and ID.

Microchips have reunited pets and their families hundreds of miles and many years apart. Your veterinarian can insert a chip in your cat in a swift procedure that some animals barely notice. Just make sure you keep your contact information current with your microchip registry — and on your cat's ID tag as well.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

5 Must-Know Obedience Commands for Dogs

Dog Obedience Commands

There are five obedience commands that every dog owner can benefit from teaching their dog. Having a dog that listens will make life easier and less stressful for you. It also makes life safer for your dog and ultimately provides them more freedom and the ability to partake in your daily life/activities.

Place: The goal of the “Place” command is for your dog to be sent to a specific location: dog bed, folded blanket, area of carpet, etc. (any spot that is distinguishable from the rest of the flooring around you) and to remain on their regardless of what is going on around them. Your dog can stand up, sit, lay down, etc., their only responsibility is to not leave the “Place”.

“Place” is a great household management command which enables you to mitigate many problematic issues such as begging for food at the table or jumping on guests. A dog who is in “Place” can relax and will not jump, run around, or be bothersome during important daily activities.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

7 Tips for a Fearful Dog

Fearful Dogs



Every now and then you might meet a new dog who runs away at the sight of you and won't let you show any affection, even if it's a delicious treat. These are dogs that lack socialization and confidence. There are a few ways to help young dogs overcome their fearfulness, like proper socialization and obedience training. 


Any internet search will bring up a lot of information on this topic, but what we have done here is find 7 ways to properly interact with fearful dogs, so the next time you visit your friend's or relative's with a fearful dog, you don't make things worse for the poor thing.

There is an important distinction between a fearful dog and a fear aggressive dog.  If your dog displays any signs of aggression or you feel uncomfortable interacting with your dog in anyway, contact a qualified professional who can help you in person.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Why Dogs Smell Other Dog Butts

You know the scene: you're out with your dog when you come across another friendly canine. There's the initial sniff, and a circle around. Now, another moment and another sniff, right on the rear end. Then it's time for another loop around and yet another butt sniff. Why do dogs do this? 

As a pet owner, the natural thing is to want to pull your dog away from the other dog when they are performing this ritual. After all, it is a little embarrassing when your dog starts smelling the butt of a friend or neighbor's dog while you are having a conversation.

It seems pretty weird, especially considering how humans communicate, but it's actually an important part of canine behavior. Here's why.

Butt sniffing is a very natural, instinctual, and basic form of dog-to-dog communication. Strangely enough, it is how dogs greet and get to know each other. Even dogs that know each other will sniff butts to “see what's new” and reinforce their bond and communication.

The dog butt sniff is the canine equivalent of “hello, how do you do?” and similar to how humans use a handshake when meeting and being introduced to someone. Dogs communicate with each other using their strong sense of smell and detect signals in the chemicals in smelly oil from the anal glands.

Monday, September 14, 2015

How to Feed A Puppy (Large or Small Breeds)

If you've ever had a puppy, you know they grow up quickly — but their rate of growth and the amount you should feed them depends on the size of their breed when full grown. A newborn toy puppy may increase his birth weight by a factor of 10 to 20, while a newborn giant-breed puppy may increase his birth weight by a factor of 50 or more. All puppies grow fastest when they're very young, but the period of rapid growth lasts much longer — up to about 12 months of age — for the largest dogs. Because of this difference, large-breed and small-breed dogs have different feeding requirements as they grow. Here's what you need to know to make sure you're feeding your puppy the right nutrients in the proper amount.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

What's In A Name: Nebelung

The name Nebelung — apparently a portmanteau of the German word Nebel for "Mist" or "Fog" and a medieval Germanic saga, Nibelungenlied — is perhaps derived from the cat's distinctive silky blue-grey coat and from the breed's progenitors, who were named after the two major figures in the Nibelungenlied, the German warrior Siegfried and the Icelandic queen Brunhilde.

The Nebelung is a rare breed and is relatively recent (1985). The goal of the breeding program was to produce a blue cat with the same type as those early Russian imports and to combine this type with a thick shimmering coat of medium length.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

What's In A Name: Devon Rex

The Devon Rex was discovered, as you may have guessed, in Devon, UK in 1960 among a litter of kittens near a disused tin mine. The breed was initially thought to be linked with the Cornish Rex; however, test mating proved otherwise. Cats have three types of hair: guard hair, awn hair, and down hair. The Devon Rex's coat is unusual because there is little guard hair.  This also results in the Devon Rex shedding less, which in turn has earned it a reputation for being hypoallergenic (although not completely).

Now for the second half of the name: As some of you may or may not know, any breed name that contains the word "Rex" refers to a genetic mutation in various animal species that results in soft, curly fur. The Rexed coats are unusual but occur (and have been preserved) in cats, rabbits, horses, and dogs.

Friday, September 11, 2015

11 Easy-to-Miss Signs That Your Cat is Sick

Though it might not seem that way to feline aficionados, the veterinary establishment considers cats to be subtle creatures. Indeed, when it comes to displaying signs of sickness, cats are masters of obfuscation and disguise. They simply do not want news of their diminished physical state disseminated.

It’s been postulated that cats unconsciously behave this way so as not to inform predators and competitors of their current weakness. If their true condition was known, their instincts tell them, they’d lose status in their colonies or worse — they might succumb to predators.

The Feline Enigma
Veterinarians are all too aware of this phenomenon. After all, not a clinical day goes by that we’re not treated to the case of a patient whose illness mysteriously managed to avoid detection.

That’s why it’s important to be on the lookout for subtle changes in your cat’s behavior that might indicate negative alterations in their health status. In-the-know cat owners are well acquainted with these. Are you? Check these out:

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Why Does My Dog Bury Things?

Have you ever wondered why your dog likes to bury his bones? Sometimes this behavior can be annoying, especially when his hiding places happen to be a flower garden or under your couch cushions. But there is likely a method to his "madness."

Many species of animals exhibit caching — or burying — behavior in regards to food items. Certain species of birds and squirrels, for example, are renowned for their amazing memory and ability to retrieve hidden items. In these species, it is important for the bird or squirrel to bury his food in the warmer months of the year so he can dig up his supplies in leaner, winter months when food is scarce.

Some dogs also exhibit this same behavior — burying favored treats where they are likely to find them again. This behavior may have developed due to strong survival instincts inherited from their wild ancestors. Dogs, as you know, have evolved from wolves, which live in packs and work together to hunt larger prey animals. In times of plenty, when they are able to bring down a large animal, such as a moose or elk, wolves tend to gorge themselves. When there is plenty of food to go around, wolves may feast for several days. Once the prey animal has been consumed, however, wolves may go days without eating a substantial meal. As individuals, they may hunt smaller prey animals, such as rabbits, but often these meals may not provide enough nourishment to replace the energy needed to hunt and chase the prey down, especially if the prey animal is lean or small. The behavior of burying valued food items may have developed from the need of these ancestral wild canines to store energy-rich food for later consumption. A wolf who could remember where it buried food items could dig them up and later ingest those items and probably survive the winter.

This behavior may persist in our domestic dogs. And though you should never feed your dog real bones, because they can splinter and cause injuries, many dogs enjoy rawhide or other bone-like chew toys. They may sometimes bury these "bones" or any other items they may perceive as "high value," such as certain toys or maybe their owner's shoes or clothing items. They may think that these interesting items are worth saving in case they never get those items again. So, this may explain why your dog buries bones, toys or other unusual but "treasured" items in your flower bed or couch.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

De-Skunking Your Dog

Skunks are everywhere—in the country and in the city. If your dog gets sprayed, there are ways you can rid him of the scent without using your entire ketchup (or tomato juice) supply to do it.

Over-the-counter products such as Nature's Miracle Skunk Odor Remover, which is available at most specialty pet retailers, are a quick fix, but if you don't have that on hand, try the following:

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

How to Get Your Dog to Stop Barking

Here's a list of six techniques that can help stop your dog from barking. While all of them can be very successful, you shouldn't expect miraculous results overnight. The longer your dog has been practicing the barking behavior, the longer it will take for him to change his ways.

Some of these training techniques require you to have an idea as to why your dog barks. We can help you get some insight into what is behind the bark.

Always remember to keep these tips in mind while training:

  • Don't yell at your dog to be quiet—it just sounds like you're barking along with him.
  • Keep your training sessions positive and upbeat.
  • Be consistent so you don't confuse your dog. Everyone in your family must apply the training methods every time your dog barks inappropriately. You can't let your dog get away with inappropriate barking some times and not others.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Dogs and Motion Sickness During Car Rides

Car Sickness in Dogs

A good way to socialize your dog (and tune up his social skills throughout his life) is to take him in the car with you. And if he’s a good traveling companion, it can be a wonderful experience for everyone.
Unfortunately, not all dogs do well in a moving vehicle. Their humans usually make this unpleasant discovery the first time little Buddy tosses his cookies either during the ride, or shortly after arrival.



Motion sickness is as real for dogs as it is for people, and it can happen during even a short 5-minute drive to the vet’s office or dog park. Just as children are more likely to get car sick than adults, puppies and younger dogs are also more susceptible. This is probably because the structure inside the ears responsible for balance isn’t yet fully developed. However, some dogs don’t outgrow motion sickness even as adults.

If your dog became sick on her very first car ride with you, it may be strictly motion-related, and she may not outgrow it. However, for many dogs, carsickness is triggered by stress. If the only time your dog sees the inside of your vehicle is on trips to the vet’s office and she vomits each time, stress may very well be the culprit.

Red Flags for Motion Sickness

Some symptoms of carsickness, like vomiting, are obvious, while others are more subtle. These are the danger signs to watch for when you travel with your canine companion:

  • Constant yawning
  • Excessive drooling
  • Non-stop whining
  • Uneasiness
  • Listlessness, inactivity
  • Vomiting

Sunday, September 6, 2015

What's In A Name: Xoloitzcuintli

The Xoloitzcuintli (pronounced Sho-lo-eets-quint-lee , although it's sometimes called "Mexican hairless" or just shortened to "Xolo") is a hairless Mexican dog that is so primitive that it was actually worshiped by the Aztecs. According to the mythology, the god Xolotl made the dogs from a sliver of the Bone of Life, which was also used to create all of mankind. Xolotl gave the dog to man, asking him to guard it with his life. In exchange, the dog would guide man through the world of death.

Because the breed is not well-known in the US, the Xolo has been mistaken for the mythological Chupacabra in US border states such as Arizona and Texas.

The Xolos are mellow and loyal dogs once they reach adulthood, but up until they become emotionally mature at age two, they are still highly noisy, chewy and high-energy. The breed was not inbred like many other purebred animals, so they are incredibly healthy, but they do require moisturizer, sunscreen and baths to prevent sunburn, acne and blackheads.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

What's In A Name: Vizsla

The Vizsla originated in Hungary some time in the 14th century, though records of their ancestors go back to the 10 century. They are named, presumably, for the city of Vizsla, Hungary. The Vizsla breed was preserved for centuries by the land-owning aristocracy who guarded them jealously and continued to develop the hunting ability of these "yellow-pointers". The Vizsla was held in high esteem as a hunting and companion breed. The modern Vizsla is a natural hunter endowed with an excellent nose and an outstanding trainability. Although they are lively, gentle mannered, demonstrably affectionate and sensitive, they are also fearless and possessed of a well-developed protective instinct.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Ways to Make It Easier For a Person With Allergies to Live With a Cat


An estimated 10 percent of Americans are allergic to household pets, and cat allergies are twice as common as dog allergies. Most people with cat allergies react to Fel d 1, a protein found on cat skin (although there are other cat allergens as well found on the fur and in saliva).

The Fel d 1 protein is quite small, so when it’s attached to a piece of airborne cat hair or skin, it can linger in the air for hours – much longer than a dog allergen would typically stay airborne.

Meanwhile, the Fel d 1 protein is quite sticky, so it readily attaches to your clothing and skin, and can even be transferred quite easily to public locations that have no cats present, like a school classroom.

Male cats tend to produce more of this allergenic protein than female cats – especially if they’re not neutered. However, all cats produce the Fel d 1 protein, and it’s not related to the amount of dander or shedding.

This means there are no truly hypoallergenic cat breeds. That being said, some cat breeds may be better for pet lovers with allergies than others, and the 10 that follow are said to be among the most “hypoallergenic” of all cat breeds.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Top 10 School Supply Choking Hazards


New pencils, new books, and a new look. All this new school stuff can be hard to keep track of, but when you have a curious pet in the house all this “stuff” may look like so much mouthwatering yum, especially when there are pencils and erasers that are fruit scented. So before you dump the contents of your book bag and pencil box to do your homework, make sure Fido and Fluffy are out of the room. And before you put everything away for the night, take an inventory of your supplies to be sure that nothing is amiss.


While our list is not exhaustive — after all, dogs and cats have been found with all manner of objects in their digestive tracts —  these are some of the top offenders and most commonly used school supplies that are liable to be a choking hazard to pets.


  • Paperclips
  • Pens — watch out especially for the pen caps
  • Pencils — even small splinters can get lodged in the mouth and esophagus
  • Markers
  • Crayons
  • Bouncy balls
  • Action figures/small dolls
  • Coins
  • Glue sticks/bottled glue
  • Erasers

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), fortunately these items are considered "low toxicity" to pets. This means they probably won't cause your dog or cat serious problems unless large amounts are ingested.2

However, there is the potential for GI upset and even a blockage, so be sure the kiddos keep their school supplies out of reach of your pet.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

How to Get Your Dog To Eat Slower

Most dogs love to eat, but problems can arise when dogs wolf down (no pun intended) their food. Fast eaters tend to swallow more air than do slow eaters, which is a risk factor for a potentially fatal condition called gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV), especially in large and giant breeds of dogs. Research in people has also pointed to a link between fast eating and obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Determining why a dog is eating so fast is the first step in solving the problem.
  • Is your dog ravenously hungry? If you are only offering one meal a day, try feeding your dog 2-4 smaller meals spaced throughout the day.
  • Are your feeding an exceptionally calorie/nutrient dense food, which limits the volume your dog can eat? Some dogs will slow down when their meals consist of a greater amount of a lower calorie/higher fiber diet.
  • Does your dog feel like it is in competition with other housemates for food? Try feeding your pets in separate rooms.
If none of these simple fixes do the trick, consider making an appointment with your veterinarian. A physical exam and some simple lab work (fecal examination, blood tests, urinalysis, and perhaps some abdominal imaging) will rule out most of the diseases that can make dogs perpetually hungry.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

3 Common Over-The-Counter Medications You Should NEVER Give To Your Dog

Dog Medications

Pets are a lot like kids. They depend on you for their safety – and you can never be too careful. Your most important job as a pet parent is to keep your pet healthy.

Just because a medication is safe for humans DOESN'T mean it's safe for dogs. Pet parents with the best intentions have accidentally poisoned their dog with common over-the-counter medications because they didn't understand the dangers. That's why you should NEVER give your dog medication without first checking with your veterinarian.

Here are 3 common over-the-counter medications that you should NEVER give to your dog:

1. Aspirin – Aspirin interferes with platelets (which help the blood to clot). So if your dog has a wound or laceration, aspirin would make it harder to stop the bleeding. Aspirin is especially dangerous when mixed with other drugs, like steroids or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Dogs may experience gastrointestinal problems, respiratory difficulties, neurological problems, bleeding disorders and kidney failure.

Dog Medication2. Ibuprofen - This over-the-counter medication is a popular way to treat pain and inflammation in people – but for dogs, ibuprofen can easily exceed toxic levels. Well-intentioned owners may give their dog what they consider to be a "safe dose" – but it can easily lead to bleeding stomach ulcers and eventually kidney failure. And, if left untreated, this can be fatal. Symptoms include poor appetite, vomiting, black tarry stools, vomiting blood, abdominal pain, weakness and lethargy.

3. Acetaminophen - Medicating your dog with acetaminophen without consulting a veterinarian is dangerous. (Pets also consume tablets that are dropped on the floor or left around the house.) Dogs are less sensitive to acetaminophen than cats are. For example, a 50-pound dog would need to ingest more than seven 500 mg tablets to suffer toxic effects. For a cat, one 250 mg acetaminophen tablet could be fatal. If you suspect that your dog has ingested a toxic amount of acetaminophen (one pill or more), contact your family veterinarian or local veterinary emergency facility immediately. Common brands of acetaminophen include Tylenol®, Percocet® and aspirin-free Excedrin® among others.

So remember to keep all medications out of your dog's reach and NEVER give your dog any medication without first consulting your veterinarian. If you ever suspect that your dog has ingested any of these medications (in any amount), please contact your family veterinarian or local veterinary emergency facility immediately. I hope this helps keep your dog safe from common medications that can be dangerous.

EIGHT more medications to never give your dog

Source:  Pet Place by Dr. Deb