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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

Cool Products for Dogs

Products for Your Canine Companions

FirstAlert-BarkGenie

Unwanted barking can be stressful to owners and bothersome for neighbors. One solution to this dilemma is the First Alert Bark Genie Automatic Ultrasonic Bark Deterrent. When barking occurs, the device emits a high-pitched sound, stopping the barking within seconds. Effective up to 50-feet away, the device can be used both indoors and outdoors and can be mounted to a wall, fence, post or tree. It can be used with most breeds, and the level of sound sensitivity is adjustable to three levels based on the distance between the dog and the deterrent. www.firstalertforpets.com

 

Orbee-Double-Tuff

The Orbee-Tuff® Diamond Plate Double-Tuff® with Treat Spot® from Planet Dog is made from doggie-durable, bouncy, buoyant and mint-scented Orbee-Tuff® material. Its asymmetrical “doubled” design makes for unpredictable bounces, which can add to a dog’s mental stimulation. The “diamond-plate” design is extra durable for even most aggressive chewers. And, the toy’s innovative design includes a uniquely reinforced Treat Spot that allows for interactive fun. The toy is available in three sizes and three colors, and like all toys made with the Orbee-Tuff compound, it is made in the USA, non-toxic, recyclable and 100 percent guaranteed. www.planetdog.com

 

ecoflex Inn Place Crate

ecoFlex InnPlace End Table Pet Crates from New Age Pet feature stainless-steel bars to prevent dogs from chewing and a removable table top for easy cleaning. The crates are made of moisture-resistant ecoFLEX material, making spills and accidents easy to wipe clean, and are backed by a 10-year manufacturer warranty. They are easy to assemble—no tools required—and are available in Chestnut and Espresso colors to match any home’s décor. www.newagepet.net

 

 

Petmate's Lightplay Line

Do you get home too late for an evening’s game of fetch? Then you need to check out Petmate’s new Lightplay line of toys. The durable, high-visibility, glow-in-the-dark toys feature 3D print fabric and fast-charging Max Glow™ rubber that charges under a bright light in less than 10 minutes for up to 30 minutes of early morning or nighttime play.  Available beginning Fall 2014, the line offers a glowing twist on nine of Chuckit!’s most popular dog play products including the Chuckit! Glow-in-the-Dark Launcher, which pairs with the durable Chuckit! Max Glow Ball; the Chuckit! Max Glow Kick Fetch available in two sizes; and the Chuckit! Max Glow Roller. www.petmate.com

 

P.L.A.Y. Outdoor Bed Collection

P.L.A.Y.—Pet Lifestyle and You’s new Outdoor Bed Collection provides stylish comfort for your dog(s), while introducing an extra pop of color to your outdoor living area—e.g., deck, garden, gazebo or poolside. The collection’s TUV-certified, waterproof and UV-resistant fabric Is designed to prevent any water seepage and discoloration. The removable covers and inserts are machine washable and dryable. The beds are filled with P.L.A.Y.’s signature soft PlanetFill™ and are available in three colors. www.petplay.com

 

Petmate Heggies

Your dog’s favorite plush toy just got cuter. Heggies are soft and cuddly hedgehogs dressed in classic character costumes. Featuring a grunting sound that drives dogs wild the toys are available in Farmer, Fisherman, Army, Chef, Winter and Super Heggie™ characters. And coming this October, Holiday Heggies will be available in Vampire, Frankenstein and Mummy costumes for Halloween, and Santa, Reindeer and Snowman for Christmas. www.petmate.com

Fun New Things for Your Favorite Feline(s)

Cat Products Galore

By Sandy Robins

If you are looking to spoil your kitty with fun new toys, beds and pet accessories, you’re in luck. I recently attended SuperZoo 2014, a pet industry tradeshow held annually in Las Vegas where manufacturers of everything pet show-off their wares to retailers from across the country and around the world. Below are just a few out of hundreds of the cat products that I found interesting. Most are available now for your favorite feline—and all will be available for gifting during the holidays.

Sleepypod

Sleepypod has launched its self-titled carriers in a new limited-edition that features the fabulous Robin Egg blue (aka Tiffany blue). This stylish carrier has been crashed tested both in the United States and Australia and is made from ballistic nylon. The carrier converts into a bed when the dome is removed. Ideal for trips to the vet as scaredy-cats can be examined in the carrier if necessary, and perfect for cats who travel, as it can become a home away from home. www.sleepypod.com

 

 

WorldwiseMouse

Stylish new toys designed by celebrity Kathy Ireland include this patented Stretch and Chase© Mouse that will hone your kitty’s prey and pounce skills in the safe confines of the living room. Ireland’s new Loved Ones collection offers innovative and solution-based toys that will meet a variety of pet needs. The feline toys are filled with organic catnip to rev up the fun and ensure your cat gets plenty of exercise. www.worldwise.com

 

Motorola Scoutt 66Motorola’s new Scout 66 camera means you can check in on what your cat is doing when you are in at work or traveling anywhere in the world. The camera operates via a free app that works with both Apple and Android phones and various tablets. It allows pet owners to talk to their cats through the camera and also play a selection of soothing music if their kitty is feeling anxious being home alone. The Scout 66 is available at PetSmart. www.motorola.com

 

Earthbath-2-n-1

While many cats are water phobic, it may be necessary to bathe them if they suffer from a sensitive, itchy skin. Earthbath’s new 2-in-1 Conditioning Shampoo is pH-balanced for feline skins and contains ultra-mild coconut-based cleaners, supple conditioners,and aloe vera to soften the coat and re-moisturize the skin. This new formulation also includes vitamins A, B, D and E and glycerin for added moisture retention in the skin. www.earthbath.com

 

 

 

YeowwCigars

No cat can ever have too much catnip. Yeowww! Catnip Cigars are stuffed with Yeowww! organic catnip, and are perfect for cats who like to grip and kick; they can be tossed in the air, too. The cigars are available individually and in a new special three-pack tin. The ideal gift for the cat who has everything. www.duckyworld.com

 

 

PlushBlanketBed

If you cat is obsessed with kneading your throw or getting herself super comfortable in your freshly washed laundry then she will appreciate the patent-pending Blanketed Pet Bed from The Plush Pet Company. This very clever design has a comfy throw sewn into the bed for kitty to nest and nestle and purr off to sleep.  www.plushpecompany.com

 

Foods that are Safe to Give to Your Dogs

People Foods for Dogs

By Audrey Pavia

Most dogs love bananas, which is good since they're a people food dogs can eat.

Most dogs love bananas, which is good since they’re a people food dogs can eat.

Before the days of commercial dog food, dogs ate whatever they could catch, and whatever their humans were willing to share. With the development of the pet food industry, dogs now have their own special diets designed to provide them with all the nutrition they need to stay healthy. But that doesn’t mean your dog can’t enjoy—and even benefit from—certain types of people food.

Prior to even considering giving your dog foods typically enjoyed by humans, consider his weight and health. If your dog is overweight, it’s not a good idea to supplement his regular diet with anything that might contribute to his overall calorie intake. If your dog suffers from allergies and is on a special allergy diet, giving him human foods might aggravate his condition.

That said, the following foods are safe to give dogs as an occasional treat:

  • Vegetables such as carrots, sweet potato, pumpkin, green beans and squash, either raw or cooked
  • Cooked lean meats, such as chicken or turkey (without the skin or bones), beef or pork
  • Fruit such as bananas, blueberries and apples
  • Plain yogurt

It’s best not to give dogs simple carbohydrates such as bread or crackers because their systems are not designed to digest this type of food.

As long as your dog is not overweight, you can give him an occasional treat of eggs or cheese. Cook the eggs (scrambled is best) and serve in moderation. Avoid using oils or butter since these fats might upset his stomach. When giving cheese as a treat, select cheeses that are low in fat. String cheese is a particular favorite of dogs and can be easily broken up into small pieces as a training reward.

Some people-foods can be harmful to dogs because of chemical compounds they contain. Do not give the following to your dog:

  • Chocolate
  • Grapes
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Raisins

Remember when giving your dog treats of people food to always use moderation. A few bites here and there are enough. Too much people food given all at once can make your dog sick and upset his nutritional balance.

Whichever people foods you give your dog, remember to not feed him directly from the table--you'll encourage begging if you do.

Whichever people foods you give your dog, remember to not feed him directly from the table–you’ll encourage begging if you do.

Keep in mind that if you feed your dog while you are sitting at the table eating your own meal, you will create a beggar. If you’d rather not have your dog staring at you whenever you eat, place people food in his own dish when you are serving him his regular meal.

If you plan to use people food as a training treat, keep it in a plastic bag in your pocket, and offer it in moderation when your dog performs a behavior you’ve asked for. Cut the food in small pieces about the size of a dime so you don’t give him too much. This will help keep him from gaining weight or getting an upset stomach.

Remember when giving your dog people food, the choice of food item and the amount you give is most important. Always use moderation.


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.

Why Dogs Act Aggressively Toward People and Other Dogs

Reasons for Aggression in Dogs

By Stacy Mantle

Dog aggression can stem from a variety of causes, and once you understand them, you can start learning the solutions.

Dog aggression can stem from a variety of causes, and once you understand them, you can start learning the solutions.

The stories show up in the news nearly every day—someone was attacked by her dog, another dog was attacked by a dog or a child was bitten by a dog. The public begins to think that all dogs are vicious, trainers look at the ways they could have been avoided and animal lovers rise to the defense of the animal.

More than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year, according to the American Veterinary Association of America (AVMA). Considering there are 70 million dogs in the USA, these stats show we need to do more on all levels; from educating the public on how to work with animals to teaching children how to recognize dogs’ body language and signals.

Under most circumstances, bite cases can be summarized into three categories:

  1. A lack of veterinary care for dogs suffering from a medical condition
  2. Children who have not been taught to read animal behavior
  3. Multi-dog households with owners who are not trained in working with multiple pets

Pet aggression can stem from a variety of causes. These are the more common reasons for aggression in dogs. Once you understand the causes, you can start learning the solutions.

Pain Aggression

One of the most common causes of aggression in pets is a result of the dog being in pain. Since associative learning is a dog’s most important way of learning, it can result in long-term damage to the dog and the owners. The most obvious solution is to have the dog medically evaluated.

Multi-dog Households

If you have more than one dog in your home, you are five times more likely to be bitten than a home with only one dog. This is largely due to owners reaching in to break up fights between dogs. This is a problem that can only be solved by educating owners on how to live within a multi-pet household. Fortunately, there are many good sites that focus solely on this problem, and plenty of material that you can share with family members.

Side Effects from Medication

There are hundreds of medical conditions that can stimulate biting behavior in pets. In many cases, pets have sustained damage before they were even brought them into a home. But more commonly, aggression can be caused by side effects from prescription medications. Check with your veterinarian and pharmacy to learn which types of medications are most likely to encourage aggressive behavior.

DogBiteInfographic

Fear Aggression

Just as screaming or striking out at someone who surprised you would be considered a perfectly normal response, dogs react with the same instinctual response. Since children are fond of “sneaking up” on a pet, this is one more reason why most bites occur in kids. Threatening a dog, negative training methods or lack of socialization can cause a pet to react in fear.

Children

From 2010 to 2012, there were 359,223 reported bites in children. 57 percent of these children were between the ages of 5 to 9. Sixty-six percent of these injuries were to children 4 years and younger. This is just one more reason it’s so important to teach children how to understand dogs at a very young age or keep them separated from dogs until they can learn how to read them. There are many child-friendly books, diagrams and infographics that are free to download and available from a variety of sources. Simply search on “Body language of dogs” and print one out. It’s free and it could save a child or a pet’s life.

Behavioral Aggression

Behavioral aggression can include everything from resource guarding to frustration aggression. Dogs are naturally territorial and if your pet perceives you as the cause of a resource being withheld, you could be at risk for a bite. This is one more reason it’s so important to socialize and train pets. Dogs learn by association and once they have successfully used a negative reaction (biting) to obtain results they want (food or a toy), they will begin to do it more often. Dogs learn by association, which is why it’s so important to integrate positive training approaches.

Genetics

There is a lot of controversy about breeds that bite. Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) is rampant on a global level, particularly in regards to the “bully breeds.” While it’s true that many bites occur from bully breeds, the facts are rather skewed. Often, a smaller dog’s bite is not reported because of the minor damage smaller dogs inflict. However, a large-breed bite is nearly always reported due to a larger bite radius and therefore increased damage. Bully breeds tend to get most of the blame due to selective breeding in the world of dog-fighting. It’s important to remember that there is no “inherently vicious” breed of dog. There are only dogs who have been bred, trained or taught to become vicious.

Education is the key to preventing dog bites. By training yourself, your children and your friends who have pets on how to interact with animals, you will be helping to decrease the number of bites and the number of animals who enter the system and are destroyed.


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

Make Sure Your Pets are Prepared in Case Disaster Strikes

Preparing Your Pets for Evacuation

By Stacy Mantle

RescuePetFloodWe never think it will happen to us, but the truth is a disaster can strike anywhere at any time. From hurricanes and fires, to gas leaks and terrorist threats, there are hundreds of reasons why you and your pets may need to evacuate your home. The important thing is to be prepared and to be certain your pets are, too. Here are some guidelines on getting your pets ready for evacuation.

Microchip Your Pets: This is the best way to ensure you and your pet are reunited. Be sure to register the tag (or change ownership if you adopted a dog or cat from a rescue). If you move, be sure to update your pet’s microchip information.  Always keep a recent photo of you and your pets on you. You never know when this information will be needed in case of separation. In addition to microchipping, your pets should always be wearing a collar with ID tags.

QR-coded tags are handy if you have a pet with a medical condition as you can store the information needed in one simple app. You decide how much of the information a stranger who finds your pet needs to know.

Know Where to Go: You should be certain you have a place to go in case of emergency. Search in advance for pet-friendly hotels in your area. In the event of long-term evacuation, you should have a plan in place with family or friends where you can take your pets.  You might also want to make prior arrangements with a kennel (for dogs or cats), a ranch (for large animals) or an animal rescue (for exotics).

Know Your Emergency Veterinarian Hospitals: Even if you don’t think you’ll need a veterinarian, you should know where your nearest 24-hour hospital is for your pets. This is particularly important if you have large animals who are more likely to injure themselves due to the stress of evacuation.

Make a Plan: You should have several ways to get out of your home with your pets, know how you will gather them safely in a timely period and identify a “meet place” with other family members. Map out your area and know where the nearest 24-hr veterinarian clinic is located so you can ensure your pets receive prompt attention in case of emergency. Verify that your veterinarian, pet sitter, trainer or daycare facility has an emergency plan in place if anything happens while your pets are under their care.

Create a “Go Bag”: Every household should have a single backpack that you can “grab and go” on the way out the door. This is a perfect bag for quick evacuations (gas leak, police evacuation or other temporary threat).

This bag includes a three-day supply of whatever your pets need for longer-term evacuations. Larger animals can carry their own packs if you plan well. You should have a go-bag in place for each animal and teach them ahead of time how to carry a pack. Smaller pets may need you to do the carrying.

  • Documentation: This includes an updated photo of you with your pet, microchip numbers, ID tag numbers and any emergency contact information in case anything happens to you.
  • Water: You and your pet need water. Keep a three-day supply of water for you and your pets in your go-bag. Plan on keeping 1 to 3 ounces of water per pound of body weight for each animal, each day.
  • Food: Keep at least three days of food for each pet in an airtight, waterproof container. Rotate these out on a monthly basis to ensure freshness. You may want to consider feeding your pets moist or canned food to assist in preventing dehydration. You can also consider purchasing premade emergency meal kits. (See resources below.)
  • Medicine: Keep an extra week of medicine on hand for pets who are on prescription medication.
  • Collar, Leash, ID Tags: Your pets should always be wearing a collar and ID tags, but it’s also a good idea to have an extra set stored in your “go bag.”
  • Dishes: Be sure you have at least one dish for feeding and watering your pets.

Crate: Be sure you have a way of transporting your pet securely. Conduct training exercises on a regular basis so that pets know the crate is a safe place. The goal is to have the crate be their location to run if anything frightens them. There’s nothing worse than trying to find a cat that has hidden in fear during an emergency situation.

Sanitation: Be sure you have a way to clean up after your pet. For cats, this means a spare litterbox and litter (these are premade and easy to dispose of). For dogs, this means plastic doggy bags. Your sanitation bags should also include paper towels, a disinfectant and wipes.

Use the Buddy System: A buddy system can be incredibly beneficial in saving your pets lives. Particularly if you work away from the home or have large animals (like horses), larger dogs who may be considered threatening (shepherds, pit bulls, etc.), or exotics (reptiles, ferrets, birds, etc.). Proper handling of these animals often means the difference between life and death. Work out an agreement between three and four families to learn how to handle one another’s animals. That way, you have back up if you’re out of town and emergency strikes at home.

Emergency Resources ASPCAPetFirstAid

 Premade Meal Kits and Bottled Water for Pets:

 First Aid Kit for Pets

 


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

What to Do if Your Cat Gets Stung

The Cats and the Bees

By Sandy Robins

CatBeeGardenDid you know that July 10 was “Don’t Step on a Bee Day.” Seriously, who comes up with this stuff? If you don’t believe me, go to a website called DaysOfTheYear.com and check this out along with national waffle day and national gummi bear day…

The whole idea of this day is to help preserve bees, which are in danger in many parts of the world. While saving bees is a good thing, they can present a problem when you have cats. Cats find them irresistible to watch, chase—and catch.

We have a succulent on our balcony where the cats are allowed to sit safely and sun themselves. Every year it produces a huge stem with hundreds of tiny yellow flowers and with it comes the bees that probably get more pollen from this one stop than from flitting from flower to flower.

Fudge couldn’t care less. Been there done that—this occurs every year. But Ziggy is fixated, watching their every movement. It must make him dizzy when several bees arrive at once and flit all over this huge flowering stem. When one bee lost its sense of direction and flew inside Ziggy took after it at high speed. I had to spring into action to prevent ensuing conflict.

After a couple of weeks of this, I realized I couldn’t sit and watch Ziggy watching the bees any longer because eventually he could catch one and probably get stung, so I cut off the huge stem and put into it into a vase instead.

CatwBeesWhat do you do if your cat gets stung on her nose, paws or anywhere else? First off, if possible, get the entire stinger out. (Note: wasps, yellow jackets, hornets and bumble bees don’t leave their “stingers” behind.) A credit card is your best friend when it comes to removing a stinger. Use the credit card to scrape it away, making sure you get the whole stinger. Don’t use tweezers or your fingers as you might end up releasing more venom into or onto your cat. A sting won’t be too painful for your cat, according to veterinarians, but the site can swell up quickly. Ice will help reduce the swelling and it’s also a good idea to apply an antibiotic cream.

A friend’s cat chomped on a bee and got stung inside his cheek. That necessitated a trip to the vet and an antihistamine injection. In fact, any bee sting is definitely worth a follow up to the vet because cats can have an allergic reaction and go into shock. They might have difficulty breathing if the tissues of the throat swell. In addition, their blood pressure could plunge, resulting in a life-threatening complication. If your cat exhibits any of these symptoms after being stung, take her to a veterinarian immediately.

Sorry bees. Next year when this plant flowers, I am going to cut off the flowering stem and put it in a vase straight away. I am going to buy Ziggy a toy that replicates a bee on a wand and play with him instead.


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