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Five Pit Bull Myths

Busting Pit Bull Myths

Pitties are not the dangerous breed many think they are.

By Audrey Pavia

PitBullPit Bulls get a very bad rap. How many times have you heard Pit Bull attack stories on the news? If you only obtain your information from the media, you might think Pit Bulls were the only dogs that ever bite anyone.

The truth is that any breed of dog is capable of aggression. Pit Bulls are in the news more than any other breed because they have the misfortune of being the favorite breed of gangbangers, drug dealers and irresponsible individuals looking for an intimidating, macho dog.

As a result, plenty of myths exist about Pit Bulls. Let’s take a look at five of the most popular untruths plaguing the breed.

1)      All Pit Bulls are vicious. All you have to do is meet a few pet Pit Bulls in person to do discover the falseness of this myth. Pit Bulls are among some of the sweetest, gentlest dogs around. Although they were originally bred in England for fighting other dogs and taking on bulls, the original lines were never bred to be aggressive towards humans. Well-bred modern Pit Bulls are not inherently vicious.

2)      Pit Bulls have the ability to lock their jaws. Veterinary examination at the University of Georgia has proven that Pit Bulls have the same type of jaw mechanism as all other breeds. They do not have a special mechanism that allows them to lock their jaws once they take hold of something in their mouths.

3)      Pit Bulls are able to inflict more bite pressure per square inch than other breeds. Dr. Brady Barr, of National Geographic’s Dangerous Encounters with Brady Barr, measured the pressure per square inch (PSI) of the bites of German Shepherds, Rottweilers and Pit Bull Terriers. The Pit Bull had the least amount of bite pressure of the three breeds tested.

PitBullwChild4)      Pit Bulls attack more people than any other breed. Pit Bulls are among the most popular dog breeds in America, so their bite numbers will be high relative to the number of Pit Bulls in existence. (Rottweilers and German Shepherds also have higher bite statistics than many other breeds.) Pit Bulls are also the favorite breed of certain types of people who deliberately train them to be aggressive toward human beings. For instance, drug dealers often keep Pit Bulls as protection dogs, and maintain these guard dogs in residential communities where innocent people sometimes get bitten.

5)      If a Pit Bull is aggressive toward dogs, he will aggressive toward humans. Aggression toward other dogs is common in many breeds, and is a separate issue from aggression toward humans. Any breed of dog can be aggressive toward another dog for reasons of protecting territory or resources, or because of fear. That same dog can be submissive and loving toward humans.

The best philosophy to take with Pit Bulls is to judge each dog as an individual. Responsible Pit Bull owners treat their dogs with love and gentleness, provide them with training and veterinary care and teach them to be canine good citizens.


About the Author: Audrey Pavia is an award-winning freelance writer and author of “The Labrador Retriever Handbook.” She is a former staff editor of Dog Fancy, Dog World and The AKC Gazette magazines. To learn more about her work, visit www.audreypavia.com.

 

How to Help the Feral Cats in Your Neighborhood

Feral Cat Care

You can help homeless, gone-wild felines.

By Sandy Robins

FeralCatDay-1October 16th marks the 14th annual national Feral Cat Day with the goal of bringing awareness to the sad plight of feral cats who are forced to live on the streets of cities and towns across America as well as in rural areas.

Feral or community cats are a “man-made problem” that comes about when people carelessly and ruthlessly abandon cats, leaving them to fend for themselves. Moreover, if they have not been spayed or neutered, their numbers quickly escalate.

The official definition of a feral is a cat who is living in a wild state after domestication. Fortunately, cats quickly revert to their natural instincts in order to survive. However, this doesn’t mean they do well on their own. It’s tough to find food, water and shelter in order to survive, let alone thrive.

Here are some useful tips on how to aid feral cats living in your area.

 

TNR—Trap, Neuter and Return

If you find community cats in your neighborhood, the very best way to help them is to get them spay and neutered. The process of having them spayed and neutered and returned to the area where they were found is called TNR: trap, neuter and return. Not only will this stop the cat population from growing, it also makes the cats healthier and happier because they are not continually bearing litters of kittens. It also stops nuisance behavior such as yowling, fighting, which, of course, can make your neighbors more tolerant of them, too.

Just about every community has low-cost or free spay/neuter clinics to help, and they often offer free rental of trapping equipment. To find one near you, contact your local feline rescue group, Humane Society or SPCA. 

 

Establish a Feeding Routine

Be sure to provide the cats with fresh food and water every day. Since they don’t have “owners,” they rely on the kindness of people to help them survive. If possible, find other concerned cat people in your neighborhood and set up a feeding roster to share the responsibilities.

 

Provide Shelter

This is particularly important if you live in a colder climate. You can make a very simple and inexpensive shelter using a plastic storage bin and straw, or you can build something more sturdy and insulated. Here are several great plans for easy-to-make shelters: www.neighborhoodcats.org/HOW_TO_FERAL_CAT_WINTER_SHELTER

 

Rescue, Foster and Find Homes

FeralCatTrap

Many low-cost spay/neuter clinics will loan volunteers humane traps to catch feral cats.

Many feral cats are friendly and will come close to humans. Where possible, try to remove them from their colony. Very young kittens who are removed early will be easier to socialize in a foster care program. Work in conjunction with a rescue group in your area. Their volunteers will be very willing to teach you the ropes.

 

Encourage Neighbors to Participate—and Spay/Neuter Their Pets

Chances are the feral cats you’re seeing in your neighborhood are the descendants of unfixed domestic cats. By encouraging your neighbors to spay/neuter their pets and educating them about low-cost or free options, it will help prevent the introduction of more homeless cats in your neighborhood.

Cimeron Morrissey, who was named Animal Planet’s person of the Year in 2007 for her tireless work with feral cats, notes the best way to humanely trap cats is to withhold food for 12 to 24 hours and then set the humane traps with tempting treats, such as tuna or wet food.

“Once caught, cover the traps entirely with old sheets or towels, which will calm the cats,” she said, adding that many spay/neuter clinics operate by appointment only, so be sure to plan ahead.

For recovery post-surgery, Morrissey suggests keeping the cats in their covered traps for 24 to 72 hours, taking guidance from the veterinarian clinic and watching for signs of illness or surgical complications (which are rare). Finally, after the cats have recovered, they must be returned to the exact location where they were originally caught.

You can find out more about the National Feral Cat Day along with an interactive listing of events going on around the country at www.alleycat.org/NFCD

Other useful links:

www.alleycat.org

www.feralcatproject.org/aboutthecats_whatis.aspx

www.homelesscatnetwork.com 


About the Author: Sandy Robins is the 2013 winner of the “Excellence in Journalism and Outstanding Contribution to the Pet Industry Award.” Her work appears on many of the country’s leading pet platforms, such as MSNBC.com, MSN.com and TODAYShow.com. She is a regular contributor and columnist in multiple national and international publications, including Cat Fancy, as well as the author of the award-winning books “Fabulous Felines: Health and Beauty Secrets for the Pampered Cat” and “For The Love of Cats.” Learn more about Sandy on her website or Facebook page. #welovecats

Keep Track of Your Pets’ Activities While You’re Away

Home Alone

How to keep an eye on your pets no matter where you—and they—are.

By Stacy Mantle

HomeAloneMost pet owners agree that the most stressful part of having pets is leaving them when they have to go to work or decide to take a vacation. Whether you decide on having a pet sitter come in to your home, putting your faith into a close friend or relative, or selecting a boarding facility; there are new ways to ensure your pets are safe and secure.

 

Wearable Technology

Technology has come a long way in the past few years. Lightweight GPS locators, individual activity trackers, hi-def cameras, and motion-activated technology are just a few ways you can make sure your pets are in good hands. Here are a few things you can try to make sure your pets are safe while you’re away.

 

GPS Trackers

TaggPetTracker

A GPS pet tracker, such as the Tagg unit the yellow Lab is wearing, helps ensure you’ll be able to find your pet if he goes roaming on his own. Image courtesy of SnapTracs Inc.

If you’re wondering whether or not your dog walker is taking your pets out for the full hour walk they promised, this is now a way you can do that. GPS monitors, such as the Tagg unit, will notify you when your dog leaves a previously assigned “virtual” area (like your backyard or home). You will receive a text message when your dog leaves the area and you’ll be able to track the route your dog is travelling. This works for dogs who are being walked as well as it works for those who escape yards.

Your pets should all be wearing GPS trackers even while they are home with pet sitters. Pets tend to become more stressed when they are away from us, so it’s good to have a secondary method of finding your pets should they escape the yard while you’re on vacation. With GPS trackers, you’ll be able to give your pet-sitter access to the program, or you can just contact your pet sitter after you receive a notification. You can also put other important contacts, such as neighbors or relatives, into your contact list in the event your dog escapes the yard.

 

Activity Monitors

Activity monitoring is another offered feature through Tagg and other companies, such as Whistle, Starwalk, the Spotlight and dozens of others. Each tracker offers individual benefits, so you’ll need to do some research to find the one that best fits your situation.

Activity trackers are remarkably advanced and are now capable of monitoring everything from your pet’s internal temperature and heart rate to the type of activity she is engaged in. For instance, you’ll be able to identify whether your dog is running a fence line, walking calmly through the house in search of treats or sleeping.

 

Wireless Cameras

If you are the type of owner who always worries about their pets while you’re away from the home, a wireless camera can be an excellent way of checking in on them without being invasive. There are a number of cameras that are not only high-def, but also offer infrared technology, which enables you to check on your pets in the middle of the night.

These cameras are affordable (ranging between $80 to $200) and very easy to install. Each camera brand has a free, downloadable app that can access the camera from any device. Before you purchase, be sure to check the following:

  • Does the camera have two-way talk? (This can come in handy if you check in and see your dog ransacking the garbage.)
  • Is the app compatible with Apple and Android? If you have an Android phone and iPad, you’ll want a camera that can handle both systems.
  • Does the camera offer infrared/nighttime vision?
  • Does the camera offer additional functions, such as temperature inclusion? If you live in an extreme climate, knowing what the temperature of your home is may be of value to you.
  • Does the camera offer you control over location? For example, can you maneuver the lens to easily survey a room or do you need to purchase more than one camera to have them strategically placed around the home?
  • Can the camera be used indoors and outdoors?
PetSafeSocialPet

Wireless cameras with treat stations, such as SocialPet from PetSafe, lets you monitor and treat your dog while at work or traveling. Image courtesy of PetSafe.

When selecting a boarding facility, be sure the facility has remote cameras installed that give you access via secured servers. In this day and age, there really is no reason for a facility to not have cameras installed. If they do not—ask them why and decide for yourself if it’s acceptable.

In this day and age, we never need to be far from our pets. While technology offers a lot of advantages, it will never take the place of good old-fashioned TLC and will never be a substitute (or excuse) for leaving pets at home alone. What technology can do is alleviate some of the anxiety we feel when we have to leave town and it might just help decrease your stress a bit while you’re at work, too.


About the Author: Stacy Mantle is the founder of PetsWeekly.com and the bestselling author of “Shepherd’s Moon.” Learn more great tips for living with animals by visiting PetsWeekly.com or get to know a little more about the author at  www.StacyMantle.com

 

Go Walk Your Dog; It’s Good for You and Your Pet

Walk the Dog!

Treat your canine—and yourself—to daily excursions.

By Lisa King

WalkDogCityNo matter what type of purebred or mixed breed dog you own, chances are he’s not performing the duties he was bred for: herding sheep, chasing vermin into their burrows, tracking large game across open plains. Modern life offers few chances for dogs to do their intended work, so how can owners provide the exercise and stimulation their dogs need?

The answer is simple: Take your dog for a walk. A good long walk outside won’t do you any harm. Since October began with Walk Your Dog Week, now is a good time to resolve to walk your dog more regularly.

The frequency and duration of these walks depends on many things, such as your dog’s size, breed, health and age. A young Lab or Shepherd mix can handle much longer and more vigorous walks than an elderly Pug. Ask your veterinarian for guidance and pay attention to how tired your dog is getting. In general, a young athletic dog should be walked for 30 minutes to an hour once or twice a day, while a small lapdog can get plenty of exercise from a 20-minute walk. A dog who gets enough exercise is much less likely to exhibit nervous barking and destructive behavior around the house. Walk him at roughly the same time every day if possible.

Choose a secure collar and, if desired, a harness, plus a study nylon or leather leash. Walking in an urban area requires a shorter leash so you can prevent your dog from entangling other pedestrians, while walking in an open area allows you to use a longer leash. A retractable leash can work well for both these scenarios.

Before leaving the house, provide your dog with proper identification. A tag with the dog’s name and your phone number on it plus microchipping in case his collar is lost are the ideal combination.

To make the walk more pleasant for both of you, teach your dog to heal rather than drag you along behind. If your dog persists at pulling on the leash, try using a head halter, which redirects his efforts so he can’t pull you.

DogWalkCountryFind interesting places for the two of you to walk. Your dog will find plenty of interesting smells and sights in your neighborhood, but once in a while he should get to walk someplace new, such as a park, nature trail, lake or beach. Check first to make sure dogs are allowed at the location you plan to visit. If your destination is a dog park or dog beach, make sure your dog is comfortable around other dogs before venturing out.

Walks are when many dogs relieve themselves, especially if they’re apartment dwellers. Besides marking new and old territories with urine, they’re bound to defecate while on walks. Whether you’re on a mountain trail, on a city street or in your own front yard, pick up your dog’s solid waste and discard it appropriately. Carry some type of baggies with you on every walk.

If the walk will be a long one, bring water for both you and your dog, especially in hot weather. Collapsible bowls, soft foldable bowls, receptacles that clip onto human water bottles and many other types of drinking containers are available at pet supply stores. Bring along a pocket full of your dog’s favorite treats, too, to reward good behavior.

Having a dog and walking him regularly not only gives you both much-needed exercise, it facilitates bonding. Dogs look forward with great anticipation to their walks and to spending time exploring the world with their favorite human.


About the Author: Lisa King is a freelance writer living in Southern California. She is the former managing editor of Pet Product News International, Dogs USA and Natural Dog magazines. Lisa is also the author of the well-received murder mystery novel “Death in a Wine Dark Sea” and the recently released “Vulture au Vin.”

Must-Have Pet Products

Accessories for Your Dog(s) and Cat(s)

 

HiLo-FeederHelp ensure your pet maintains good posture while eating with the New Age Pet Habitat ‘n Home HiLo Diner. It elevates two stainless-steel bowls several inches off the floor so dogs (and cats) don’t have to arch their necks as much. It’s made from ecoFLEX, a patented blend of recycled polymers and wood byproducts, which offers a long lifecycle and weather-resistance. Available in three sizes and two colors, the stainless-steel dog bowls are included. www.newagepet.net

 

PLAYsnugglebedSnuggle Beds from P.L.A.Y. (Pet Lifestyle and You) feature plush, luxurious velvet on one side and smooth and sturdy canvas on the other. Perfect for all seasons; the cotton-mix canvas is breathable and light for summer, and the velvet keeps pets warm and snug in winter. The beds can be molded into multiple different styles (flat, “cup” or “cave-like”) for ultimate versatility. Snuggle Beds come in two sizes, small and large, and three styles: Truffle Brown, Husky Gray and Charcoal Gray. www.petplay.com

 

barkgenie

 

The Bark Genie™ Handheld Ultrasonic Bark Deterrent from First Alert is designed to minimize excessive barking. The device releases a pet-friendly ultrasonic sound (one that humans can’t hear) with the press of a button to curb barking and other unwanted behavior. It’s a small device akin to a remote control that’s effective from up to 15-feet away, making it convenient for at-home and on-the-go training. www.firstalertforpets.com

 

EarthbathCatShampoo

 

earthbath’s Hypo-Allergenic Cat Shampoo is formulated for cats who may have sensitive skin or allergies. The ultra-mild shampoo is pH-balanced to be especially gentle for even the most sensitive cats and contains natural conditioners and aloe vera to soften the coat, remoisturize the skin and provide brilliance and shine, the company reports. Its fragrance- free nature can also be of special importance in multi-cat households where scent can sometimes lead to feline confrontations. www.earthbath.com

 

 

 

KyjenSloBowlMiniNow you can make feeding fun and healthy for smaller dogs with the Slo-Bowl Mini from Kyjen. The unique nature-inspired designs allow dogs to eat at a natural pace while lengthening mealtimes and preventing canine bloat. The bowl exceeds food-safety standards with BPA, PVC and phthalate-free construction, the company reports. Designed to stay in place via a non-skid rubber base; the Slo-Bowl Mini holds up to 2 cups of dry dog food. www.kyjen.com

 

OurPetsCorknip

 

OurPets Corknip cat toys feature a proprietary material made from North-American-grown premium catnip and natural cork. The toys are specially designed for pet owners who enjoy giving loose catnip to their cats, but dislike cleaning up the scattered mess. The tempting, soft texture of the cork mixed with the catnip gives cats an intoxicating surface they’ll love sinking their teeth and claws into. Corknip toys come in a variety of forms, including wands (with and without feathers and bat-able balls and wobblers. www.ourpets.com

 

 

StewartFreezeDriedFoodStewart® by MiracleCorp’s Raw Naturals™ Freeze Dried Dog Food is made in the USA with human-grade, wholesome ingredients, including single or limited source protein, fruits, vegetables and other natural ingredients, according to the company. The food is grain and gluten-free, cold process pasteurized using HPP, a non-thermal process that destroys harmful bacterial and pathogens for added safety. It is available in a variety of all-natural “fresh-to-home” recipes including beef, chicken, turkey, bison, lamb and chicken & salmon. www.stewartpet.com.

How to Make Your Cat a Happy One

Having a Happy Cat, Every Day

By Sandy Robins

September is Happy Cat month. Again, I wonder about these designated events since every day of every month should be about keeping your cat happy.

The best way to make your cat happy is to ensure she really feels comfortable in your Home—everywhere and every day. While cats might love to snooze in a favorite chair and on the bed in the spot where their owners usually lie, they still need a designated place in the home to call their very own.

CatCondoPerch

A cat tree/condo combination offers your feline the perfect place to perch, claw, play and/or hide as his mood demands.

Cats love vertical space because it gives them an opportunity to survey their world and look down on you. The Answer to the question of how to this is a tall cat condo. They usually have small bases so they don’t take up too much space. To meet a cat’s innate needs the condo should provide some privacy, a place to hide and snooze, a lookout zone platform and a place to scratch.

Where possible, position the condo near a window so your cat can enjoy a range of visual entertainment, from birds and butterflies in the garden to passersby (both human and non) and street activity.

Home comforts also include ensuring that your cat’s bed is not placed near a draughty door or window. This is particularly important during the colder months and is especially so for older cats. You should also move the bed around from time to time—it’s like providing your cat with a new place to sleep.

It’s equally important to hone your kitty’s Pounce and Prey skills by providing a variety of toys, from wands to puzzles to catnip-filled comfort toys. Exercise provides both mental and physical stimulation and is essential to weight control (a fat cat is not a happy cat, health-wise). Our cats are not supposed to be couch potatoes but active hunters of prey.

You also need to get your cat’s groom on. While cats are efficiently self-cleaners, those who live safely indoors shed year-round and tend to need extra help. So do elderly cats; their reduced mobility often means they can no longer efficiently groom their nether regions.

CatOneonOneTime

A happy cat is well fed, groomed, played with and, above all else, loved.

For grooming to become routine, you need to find grooming tools your cat is comfortable with you using. Some prefer mitts with rubber knobs to remove fur instead of a slicker brush. In addition, a de-shedding tool is a must-have to get rid of thick undercoat and to prevent matting.

Let your cat dictate where she likes to be groomed, whether it’s the kitchen counter or on your lap. Grooming is a great way to spend quality time with your favorite cat and is a great way of enhancing the human-animal bond.

Lastly, don’t forget that above all else, make sure you always give Your cat plenty of purr-inducing attention every day.


About the Author: Sandy Robins is the 2013 winner of the “Excellence in Journalism and Outstanding Contribution to the Pet Industry Award.” Her work appears on many of the country’s leading pet platforms, such as MSNBC.com, MSN.com and TODAYShow.com. She is a regular contributor and columnist in multiple national and international publications, including Cat Fancy, as well as the author of the award-winning books “Fabulous Felines: Health and Beauty Secrets for the Pampered Cat” and “For The Love of Cats.” Learn more about Sandy on her website or Facebook page. #welovecats

Why You Should Adopt a Senior Pet

Older Pets Rule!

By Lisa King

If you’re in the market for a cat or dog, why not consider an older pet? There are many advantages to passing over those irresistible puppies and kittens and taking a closer look at mature cats and dogs.

Most people who go to shelters are looking for younger pets. In fact, pets over the age of five have a difficult time getting adopted, even if they’re far from elderly. These animals have so much to offer, but they tend to get passed over. Here are just a few reasons to take home an adult or senior pet.

SeniorDog

Consider adopting an older dog as he or she will be already house-trained and ready to settle down in his/her new home.

  • You know what size the pet will be, since he’s full grown. With mixed-breed puppies, adult size is always a guessing game.
  • It’s easier to assess the pet’s temperament accurately since his personality is fully developed. Shelter staff can tell you whether the dog or cat you’re interested in likes to cuddle, is kid-friendly, or will get along with your other pets.
  • If you choose an adult dog, you’ll avoid the tedious process of house-training your puppy and attending puppy obedience classes, and usually won’t have to worry about chewing, digging or other destructive behaviors. Adult cats may already be trained not to scratch furniture.
  • With both dogs and cats, you won’t need to puppy- or kitten-proof your home. Older dogs and cats tend to be less active and inquisitive.
  • Older dogs and cats are easier to train since they are calmer and more able to focus than puppies and kittens. Remember that pets can be taught new tricks at any age. Most older dogs already know how to walk on a leash and obey simple commands.
  • A dog or cat who has lived in a home with people before is better socialized and more adaptable. They have better manners than young pets and know what’s expected of them.
  • Bringing a mellow older pet into a home with existing pets is far less disruptive than bringing home a rambunctious kitten or puppy, especially if the pets you already have are older, too.
  • An older pet can be left alone all day while you’re at work. They don’t need close supervision as a puppy or kitten would. They are usually happy to entertain themselves or doze away the day.
  • If you’re elderly yourself, you’ll have a lot more in common with an older dog or cat who is low-key and doesn’t require strenuous exercise.
SeniorCat

A senior cat is perfect for someone looking for a relaxed companion who won’t tear up the furniture or do late-night sprints in the hallway.

These animals are in shelters through no fault of their own. Owner-surrendered adult dogs and cats are usually the victim of circumstances, like a move to a no-pet home or a change in jobs, or a life event such as divorce, marriage, or a new baby. If you adopt an older pet, you not only acquire a loving and grateful companion, you save a life and reduce euthanasia, because older pets are the ones who are put down when they’ve overstayed their welcome at crowded shelters.

You might be concerned that an older pet will end up costing you a fortune at the vet. Before you adopt, get a veterinary report that details the pet’s issues. The shelter should be able to provide you with one. Some agencies offer assistance with vet bills for a periods of time after adoption, so ask at the shelter or rescue where you adopt your pet. Keep in mind that your adult pet won’t need spaying, neutering or puppy or kitten shots.

There will be an adjustment period for any new pet you bring home. While some pets move right in as if they’ve always lived with you, others take time to adapt to new surroundings. This is especially true if the pet has been in the shelter for any length of time, which is a very stressful experience. Be patient and loving and things will work themselves out.


About the Author: Lisa King is a freelance writer living in Southern California. She is the former managing editor of Pet Product News International, Dogs USA, and Natural Dog magazines. Lisa is also the author of the well-received murder mystery novel “Death in a Wine Dark Sea” and the recently released “Vulture au Vin.”


On a Mission To “Save Them All.”
Save Them All - Pet Adoption OnlineIf you are looking to adopt a pet, please consider Best Friends. Best Friends Animal Society is here to save animals from shelter euthanization and cruelty by finding them forever homes. These cats, dogs, birds, horses and more are all living beings that deserve the chance to enjoy their life. At Best Friends volunteers and staff are hard at work daily to find animals in high-kill shelters and rescue them for the chance at finding them a forever home! Visit: www.bestfriends.org

Toxic Versus Safe Houseplants for Pets

Houseplant Awareness: Which Ones Are Safe and Which Ones Are Not for Your Pets

By Audrey Pavia

The month of September plays host to National Indoor Plant Week, which runs from the 21st through the 27th. If you love nature, chances are you like to keep plants inside your house. Houseplants add softness and beauty to the home. But if you have pets, you need to be careful of which houseplants you choose. Some plants are toxic to dogs and cats, and can cause a variety of problems, from gastrointestinal irritation to death.

Although the following plants are beautiful, resist the temptation to keep them inside your house where your dog or cat might get to them:

ToxicPlantsforPets

Houseplants that are toxic to pets include (clockwise from top left): Dieffenbachia, philodendron, cyclamen and pointsettia.

  • Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis)
 
  • Amaryllis (Amaryllis sp.)
  • Angel’s Trumpet (Datura innoxia)
  • Angels’ wings (Caladium hortulanum)
  • Azalea (Rhododendron sp.)
  • Ceriman (Monstera deliciosa)
  • Chrysanthemums (Chrysanthemum indicum)
  • Croton
(Codiaeum variegatum)
  • Crown-of-thorns (Euphorbia milii)
  • Cyclamen (Cyclamen persicum)
  • Devil’s Backbone (Kalanchoe daigremontiana)
  • Dumb cane (Dieffenbachia sp.)
  • English Ivy (Hedera helix)
  • Flamingo lily
(Anthurium andraeanum)
  • Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla)
  • Jerusalem Cherry (Solanum pseudocapsicum)
  • Kaffir Lily (Clivia miniata)
  • Philodendron (Philodendron sp.)
  • Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima)

If you suspect your pet has ingested one of these plants, contact a veterinarian right away. Immediate symptoms will depend on the plant. Extremely toxic plants, such as Angel’s Trumpet, can cause lethargy, hyperactivity, vomiting, decreased gastrointestinal motility and constipation, dilated pupils, disorientation, tremors, seizures and respiratory depression. Less toxic plants, such as poinsettia, are likely to cause only mild reactions, such as drooling, lip licking, skin irritation, vomiting and diarrhea.

The good news is that plenty of attractive houseplants are fairly safe to keep around pets. Here are some suggestions:

SafePlantforPets

Fortunately for flora lovers, there are many safe plants you can keep around pets, including the easy-to-care for jade plant.

  • African Daisy (Dimorphotheca aurantiaca)
  • African Violet (Saintpaulia ionantha)
  • Aluminum Plant (Pilea spp.)
  • Baby’s tears (Soleiria soleirolii)
  • Golden Bamboo (Phyllostachys aurea)
  • Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae)
  • Bird’s Nest Fern (Asplenium nidus)
  • Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata)
  • Christmas cactus  (Schlumbergera bridgesii)
  • Coleus (Coleus hybridus)
  • Echeveria (Echeveria spp.)
  • Geraniums (Pelargonium spp.)
  • Impatiens (Impatiens wallerana)
  • Jade Plant (Crassula argentea)
  • Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum spp.)
  • Orchids (Paphiopedilum spp.)
  • Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
  • Wax Plant (Hoya carmosa)
  • Zebra Plant (Aphelandra squarrosa)

While these plants are not considered harmful to pets if they eat them, keep in mind that any kind of foreign matter ingested by your pet might upset his stomach. You may see vomiting or diarrhea if your dog or cat decides to swallow a large enough amount plant material. Once the chewed up plant has left his system, he should be fine, with no lasting effects.

The best way to avoid having any issues with plants and your pet is to place them in areas where your dog or cat is unlikely to get at them. High windowsills make it hard for dogs—and some cats—to reach, and the extra sun is good for the plants.

For more information on toxic plants, or to get immediate help if you suspect your pet has eaten something poisonous, visit the Pet Poison Hotline at www.petpoisonhelpline.com or call 800-213-6680.


About the Author: Audrey Pavia is an award-winning freelance writer and author of “The Labrador Retriever Handbook.” She is a former staff editor of Dog Fancy, Dog World and The AKC Gazette magazines. To learn more about her work, visit www.audreypavia.com.

Alternative Pet Care & Therapy

Holistic Therapy for Your Pets

By Stacy Mantle

When it comes to the health of our pets, we want to make sure they receive the best care. Natural-based care has been around for thousands of years and some of the newer treatments have found ways to combine traditional practices with modern medicine.

According to the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA), holistic (or integrative) veterinary medicine is “the examination and diagnosis of an animal, considering all aspects of the animal’s life and employing all of the practitioner’s senses, as well as the combination of conventional and alternative (or complementary) modalities of treatment.”

Please remember that none of these practices should be administered at home or without the supervision of a veterinarian certified in his or her practice. Treatments can be just as deadly as they are effective when used improperly. For information on any of these treatments or to locate a holistic veterinarian near you, visit American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association at http://www.ahvma.org/ Here are three alternative therapies you might want to consider exploring for your pets.

 

Low-level Laser TherapyLaserTherapyDog

Low-level laser therapy is used by alternative-care practitioners as a way to ameliorate joint pain and treat soft-tissue injuries in pets. The theory behind the therapy is that at lower levels, the laser’s light can still stimulate cells and increase blood circulation, which can in turn reduce pain signals. Recent advances in this technology have made laser units available in most veterinary offices. This can be an effective treatment for dogs, cats and horses with arthritis, tendon damage, dysplasia and inflammatory joint or soft-tissue conditions.

For more information on laser therapy, both low- and high-level, visit the American Animal Hospital Association website.

 

Essential Oils

When it comes to skin conditions and natural calmants, there are few things more effective than essential oils. Lavender and chamomile can be very calming when diffused into the air and oils such as rosemary and melaleuca can be very effective in treating skin conditions. However, oils can be very dangerous and should not be used on or around pets unless under the supervision of a veterinarian.

Oils come in a variety of purity levels, which are measured by therapeutic value. Generally, the more expensive the oil is, the higher its quality (though this is not always true). Only pure oils should be used around pets. When used correctly, essential oils can be an effective treatment for many different ailments in any species.

 

Acupuncture

AcupunctureDog

Acupuncture has been around for more than 3,500 years and over a quarter of the world’s population uses it today. This alternative treatment was developed in China and is most often used for treating pain. Traditional Chinese medicine believes that Chi, a vital force that flows throughout the body, travels along channels of energy flow called meridians. Small-gauge needs are inserted into specific pressure points along the meridians to release the flow of energy a disease has blocked. Acupuncture has been used for everything from blocking pain to stimulating appetite. Today, many holistic veterinarians and pet owners stand by the benefits of use on pets. If you or your pet has a natural aversion to needles, you may want to explore acupressure instead.

Whichever method of alternative therapy you choose to try on your pets; be certain you only rely on the advice of those well-trained in such matters. The Internet is rife with bad advice that can potentially cause further harm to your pets. In medical matters, it is always best to rely on veterinarians and those professionally trained in holistic practices.


About the Author: Stacy Mantle is the founder of PetsWeekly.com and the bestselling author of “Shepherd’s Moon.” Learn more great tips for living with animals by visiting PetsWeekly.com or get to know a little more about the author at  www.StacyMantle.com

Fun & Practical Pet Products

An Assortment of Must-have Items for Dogs & Cats

PullerbyCollarPuller, a new training toy from Collar, is designed to actively engage dogs and provide enough exercise in just 15 to 20 minutes to keep them happy and healthy. Made of lightweight, odorless polymer, the rings are soft to the bite yet strong enough to withstand daily use—and they float. Puller is available in two sizes: small and large. www.puller.com/usa/

 

 

 

JGGoFishCatGame

New from the Jackson Galaxy Collection by Petmate, Go Fish™ is an interactive toy that encourages cats to work for their food. Simply sprinkle cat kibble or treats among the tails and watch as they fish them into the trough. The silicon tails rotate easily to continuously change the puzzle to up the challenge and are removable for cleaning. The round tray features a melamine base with rubber feet to limit excess movement and is dishwasher safe. www.petmate.com

 

 

OrbeeTuffProduce

 

Planet Dog has added a new crop of Carrots to its Orbee-Tuff® Produce dog toy line. The new Carrot joins the rest of the Produce collection—the Raspberry, Strawberry, Artichoke, and Eggplant. These durable toys are made in the USA and are doggie-durable, buoyant, bouncy, minty, recyclable, non-toxic and 100 percent guaranteed. As with the rest of the Produce line, the Carrot features a Treat-Spot® perfect for stuffing with tasty morsels for a well-balanced diet.  www.planetdog.com

 

KIWobbleFish

The Fish Wobble Cat Toy from the kathy ireland® Loved Ones Collection by Worldwise was created to draw your cat’s attention with everything she loves: catnip, feathers and unpredictable movements. The well-constructed toy is 2.75 x 3.75 x 4 inches in size and features a blue chevron design. www.worldwise.com

 

 

 

 

QuickFinderColors

MiracleCare®QuickFinder® nail clippers now come in cool, vibrant colors: blue, purple and green. Featuring QuickSensor technology and a convenient on/off switch, the electronic clippers are fast, safe and easy-to-use. Designed for cats, small and medium size dogs, the clippersafely takes the fear out of nail clipping and projects a green light to let you know when it is safe to clip, yellow for caution, and red when it is not safe to clip by detecting the nail quick. www.miraclecorp.com

 

WetNozMelanineBowlsThese handsome Melamine Bowls from the Wetnoz Collection by Petmate are based on the collection’s popular stainless-steel designs. Dishwasher safe and featuring a no-skid bottom, the bowls are ideal for cats and small dogs. They are available in Wetnoz bold basic colors: indigo, hibiscus, pear, sun, snow and night. www.petmate.com

 

Dental-Fresh

 

SynergyLabs’ Dental Fresh® has reformulated four of its additive solutions to better focus on different oral care needs. Puppy features an all-new, safe and gentle formula that protects and strengthens a puppy’s developing teeth and young gums. Advanced Plaque & Tartar reduces plaque and tartar build-up around the teeth and gums plus protects against the advancement of moderate to severe periodontal issues when used as part of a daily oral health care regimen. Advanced Whitening reduces surface stains, reverses discoloration and eliminates bad breath odor when used daily. Enhanced Flavor for Cats has an improved feline-specific formula with a delicious new flavor to aid in the removal of plaque and tartar build-up. And, the Original Formula protects teeth and gums, and restores fresh breath. www.synergylabs.com

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