Things You Can Do to Protect Your Dog in the Summer
Jun 24
Things You Can Do to Protect Your Dog in the Summer

1. Never, ever leave your dog in the car;
2. Make sure your dog has unlimited access to fresh water;
3. Make sure your dog has access to shade when outside;
4. Take walks during the cooler hours of the day;
5. When walking, try to stay off of hot surfaces (like asphalt) because it can burn your dog's paws;
6. If you think it's hot outside, it's even hotter for your pet – make sure your pet has a means of cooling off;
7. Keep your dog free of external parasites (fleas, ticks) and heartworms – consult your veterinarian about the best product for your pet;
8. Consider clipping or shaving dogs with long coats (talk to your veterinarian first to see if it's appropriate for your pet), and apply sunscreen to your dog's skin if she or he has a thin coat.


Do Pets Get Jealous
Jun 12
Do Pets Get Jealous

Sometimes our pets behave in a way that suggests they are jealous. When we bend down to pet another dog, our pup may shove his way in front of us, knocking our hand away from his canine companion. A cat may excessively meow when you’re not paying attention to him, or a dog may annoyingly whine when another pet in the house gets a treat and he doesn’t. But are these actually jealous behaviors? Experts disagree.

“Pets don't experience jealousy in the true sense of the word,” says Katenna Jones, associate applied animal behaviorist and owner of Jones Animal Behavior in Warwick, Rhode Island. “What you are most likely seeing your pet exhibit is assertive, pushy, or rude behavior—e.g., the pet that bulldozes other pets out of the way—or social hierarchy, where a higher-ranking pet displaces another pet.”

On the other hand, a recent study found that dogs “exhibited significantly more jealous behaviors (e.g., snapping, getting between the owner and object, pushing/touching the object/owner) when their owners displayed affectionate behaviors towards what appeared to be another dog [an animatronic toy that moved and vocalized] as compared to nonsocial objects [a children's book and a plasticjack-o'-lantern].”

Suzanne Hetts, applied animal behaviorist and co-owner of Animal Behavior Associates in Littleton, Colorado, concludes the jury is out on whether a pet feels the same type of jealous feelings that humans do. When a pet is determined to get your attention or his favorite toy back, “We have no idea whether a pet's emotional state is equivalent to what people label as jealousy,” she explains. “In most cases, this is better described as a competitive situation where the pet is competing with another individual—human, dog, cat, or otherwise—for something it wants.”

Jealous-Like Behaviors in Pets

Regardless of what you call it, this type of behavior is often unwanted or unhealthy. Here are some jealous-like behaviors that pet parents should be on the lookout for:

  1. Aggression. “This can often be in the form of biting or nibbling of the animal or person getting attention over them,” says Dr. Scarlett Magda, founding president of New York City-based Veterinarians International.
  2. Going to the bathroom indoors. “Our pets can’t express their thoughts and feelings in words, so instead, they sometimes express their feelings in actions,” says Dr. Geoffrey Broderick, a veterinarian in Huntington, New York. “If you see them peeing or pooping in places where they shouldn’t, they may be trying to tell you something.”
  3. Paying extra attention to their owner. According to Broderick, this can come across as a pet cuddling up extra close to you and suddenly licking your hand or face. “This is a sign of affection and they are trying to get your attention,” he says.
  4. Pushy behavior. Magda notes that this often comes in the form of a pet “inhibiting another person or animal from moving freely on a regular basis or pushing their way into a situation demanding the attention of their owner.”
  5. Growling, hissing, or getting into a fight with another pet. This may especially be an issue in a multi-pet household where pets are competing for their owner’s attention and resources, Broderick points out.
  6. Trying to scare off strangers. “Pets may aggressively bark, hiss, or growl when owners are greeted or visitors arrive,” Magda says.
  7. Doing a trick. According to Broderick, this is a surefire sign that your pet is trying to get your attention.
  8. Crowding your space. “Cats sometimes will lie down on your work table or sit on your computer keyboard to get attention or even start knocking things off the table,” Broderick says. “A dog may sit up and beg to try and get your attention or sit up on their hind legs.”
  9. Leaving the room. Sometimes when our pets get mad, they may have a tendency to withdraw, Broderick says.

What Causes Jealous-Like Behaviors in Pets?

According to experts, jealous-like behaviors in pets typically suggest boredom or a ploy for attention from their owners. “Sometimes, just like people, they can feel insecure,” Broderick explains. “They need individual attention, lots of cuddling, and activities to keep them busy and to keep them from being bored. Sometimes, our pets just want us and they don’t want to share us with another pet or person.”

In circumstances like this, here’s what could be going through your pet’s head: “I see you doing something. You look happy. I want that,” Jones says. A lack of resources (only one toy for multiple pets), social conflict, too small of a space, stress, lack of exercise, and geneticdispositioncan cause jealous-like behavior, she adds.

Magda advises pet owners to pay close attention if one pet or family member is receiving more attention than another, a new pet or family member has arrived in the household, or there is inequality in the amount of food or treats between pets.

How to Stop Jealous Behavior in Pets

Here are some of Magda’s tips for nipping this type of behavior in the bud, before it gets out of control:

  • Keep a diary to record circumstances that cause signs of jealousy/aggression to occur, so you know what to look for. This can also be helpful for behaviors that you cannot manage on your own, as you can share the list with your vet or a professional animal behaviorist.
  • Avoid giving too much attention to one pet versus another.
  • Train dogs to feel safe in their crate so they can feel relaxed during their “time out” period. Give cats a space to call their own as well.
  • Feed pets separately to avoid conflict during mealtimes.
  • Ignore your pets when you arrive home so they don’t feel like one is getting more attention than the other. The level of emotional excitement will diminish, preventing signs of aggression from occurring.
  • Put leashes on both dogs when walking two at a time and consider a gentle leader for better control.
  • Don’t pet one animal at the expense of the other.
  • Have at least two of all toys and beds but remove food-based toys unless supervised.
  • Catch your pets being good. Give them attention and praise when they are acting the way you want them too.

Managing unwanted behaviors and keeping our pets mentally healthy are keys to avoiding unpleasant situations down the line, Broderick says. “As pet parents, we need to attend to their physical and emotional needs, just like we do for our human children,” he says. “Our pets just want to feel loved.”


How to Identify Heat Stroke Symptoms in Dogs
Jun 05
How to Identify Heat Stroke Symptoms in Dogs

Heat stroke is a condition that results from hyperthermia (an elevation in body temperature). This increase typically occurs as a response to a trigger, such as inflammation in the body or a hot environment. When a dog is exposed to high temperatures, heat stroke or heat exhaustion can result. Heat stroke is a very serious condition that requires immediate medical attention. Once the signs of heatstroke are detected, there is precious little time before serious damage or even death can occur.

Dogs do not sweat through their skin like humans; they release heat primarily by panting and they sweat through the foot pads and nose. If a dog cannot effectively expel heat, the internal body temperature begins to rise. Once the dog's temperature reaches 106°, damage to the body's cellular system and organs may become irreversible. Unfortunately, too many dogs succumb to heat stroke when it could have been avoided. Learn how to recognize the signs of heat stroke and prevent it from happening to your dog. 

Why Do Cats Get Hairballs and Are They Normal?
May 04
Why Do Cats Get Hairballs and Are They Normal?

It’s a frightening sight if you’ve never witnessed it before. Your cat’s entire body convulses, as loud retching rumbles from deep inside. Then a cylindrical object hurls out of her mouth and onto the floor, much to your horror. It isn’t pleasant for your cat either, and many of them will moan before this violent bodily act. We have a lot of things in common with our felines, but this is not one of them. As mammals, we are warm-blooded, nurse our young and possess similar vital organs and bodily functions. Although we do experience vomiting, “coughing up” hairballs is something associated mostly with our beloved kitties.

Actually, cats do not “cough up” hairballs. Because hairballs are ejected from the stomach through the esophagus, vomiting is the correct term.

Hairballs, also known in the scientific community as trichobezoars, contain undigested hair and digestive fluids, including bile, which might explain their yellowish hue. Cylindrical in shape as they pass through the narrow, tubular esophagus, hairballs retain that shape as they are expunged from your cat’s mouth.

How does a hairball form?

Cats are meticulously clean. They don’t take showers like we do and, unless they have mobility issues, don’t generally need to be bathed like dogs. Cats clean themselves with their sandpapery tongues, which contain backward-slanting papillae. These barbs grab loose, dead hairs that the cat swallows while grooming. Overly meticulous groomers and long-haired breeds are prone to swallowing more hair, especially during shedding season.

While most of these hairs pass through your cat’s digestive tract and are eliminated in the feces, some of it remains in the stomach. As more hair accumulates in the stomach, it begins to form a clump that we know as a hairball.

A hairball can become dangerous if the mass passes from the stomach to the intestine rather than being vomited, according to the Cornell Feline Health Center. In fact, this would be a medical emergency , because the hairball could create a life-threatening blockage, which requires surgical removal. If your cat tries but does not produce a bowel movement, vomits frequently or refuses to eat, take her to the vet right away.

Is it a hairball or something more?

Brushing your cat and removing loose hairs prevents your cat from swallowing too much hair, which keeps hairballs from forming. Hairball diets, which are high in insoluble fiber, fiber supplements and GI lubricants like Laxatone are effective at moving swallowed hair through the digestive tract so that it passes through the stool.

While these remedies work at preventing hairballs, new research shows that we might just be treating symptoms and ignoring underlying disease. We may think of vomiting hairballs as a normal part of being a cat, but perhaps we should be asking why our cats are having problems moving swallowed hairs from the stomach through the rest of the digestive tract and expelling them through the feces in the first place.

When it’s more than just a hairball

Decreased digestive motility, or hypomotility, could indicate something more serious. Chronic vomiting, whether or not a hairball is expelled, could be a symptom that warrants further examination. So, before starting a hairball remedy, take your cat to your veterinarian to confirm that the hairball vomiting is just about the hairball.

“The problem with covering up vomiting with hairball diets, fiber supplements or GI lubricants is that it delays getting a diagnosis,” said Gary D. Norsworthy, D.V.M., a board-certified feline specialist and owner of the Alamo Feline Health Center in San Antonio.

Dr. Norsworthy explained that chronic vomiting might be a symptom of small bowel, or small intestinal, disease. Small bowel disease starts with mild inflammation in the intestines and progresses to severe inflammation, a condition known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). In some cats, IBD progresses to lymphoma

 “It is much easier to treat IBD than lymphoma,” Dr. Norsworthy said. “Sadly, many of the chronically vomiting cats I diagnose are already at the lymphoma stage.” Assuming that chronic vomiting is normal or treating the symptoms without an accurate diagnosis can allow disease to progress, he warned.

“Vomiting two times per month or more for several consecutive months is abnormal and justifies an ultrasound study,” Dr. Norsworthy said. “If the ultrasound study is abnormal, biopsies of the small intestine (and sometimes the stomach) are justified. The presence or absence of hair is not significant.”

The final word: Don’t dismiss chronic vomiting and hairballs as normal

What does this mean for those of us who live with cats? Bottom line: Don’t dismiss chronic vomiting as normal.

“Chronically vomiting cats (even hairballs) need an ultrasound study and most likely biopsies of the small intestine,” Dr. Norsworthy said. What surprised him was how many chronically vomiting cats there are and how many of them have intestinal lymphoma. In fact, only one of the first 100 cats studied had a normal biopsy, necessitating further examination for all chronically vomiting cats.

With so many cats afflicted with chronic vomiting, it’s no wonder that we accept it as normal. “Where there are cats, there are hairballs” might be an axiom we accept as part of life with cats. But Dr. Norsworthy and his colleagues refuse to accept that, and neither should the rest of us.

Article by: Susan Logan McCracken



A Dog's Tongue
Apr 29
A Dog's Tongue

The dog's tongue is one of the most important parts of its body. Besides lapping up food and water, or kissing its owner, the tongue serves as an essential heat regulator. When dogs exercise, their tongues becomes larger and due to increased blood flow usually hang out of the mouth. Thus, when a dog pants, it's actually cooling the dog's entire body. The dog's quick shallow breaths cause moisture on the tongue to evaporate thus cooling the tongue that in turn cools the blood flow through the tongue and the respiratory system. Providing your dog with cool air on hot or humid days is very important for temperature regulation. This is why it is so dangerous to leave a dog in an unventilated heated car. The warm air keeps the tongue from doing its job. Tongue injuries are uncommon, but if one occurs while the dog is warm and panting, the tongue may bleed excessively due to increased blood flow. If this occurs it is very important to cool the dog down. If the dog exhibits symptoms of distress, it may be necessary to seek veterinary attention. Another common tongue injury may occur with dogs that chew on wood. This may lead to getting a splinter. Although, it may be painful a vet can help you remove it. Dog tongues are really amazing. They are much more rich and complex than most people realize. Keep in mind that large dogs with large tongues have a need for different bowls and dishes. Obviously large dogs need larger bowls. If you pay attention to your dog's tongue, you will learn a lot. You'll also be able to better understand the health of you good friend. 



Why Do Cats Land On Their Feet?
Apr 22
Why Do Cats Land On Their Feet?

Cats make it look so easy: leaping or falling from some high shelf or piece of furniture only to land gracefully on all four feet.

But there's some complicated feline  effort that goes into falling with such style.

Cats have a highly-tuned sense of balance and have very flexible backbones (because they have more vertebrae than humans), which allows them to twist their bodies around to right themselves when they fall — an innate ability known as their "righting reflex."

When a cat jumps or falls from a high place, it uses either its sight or its vestibular apparatus (a balance system located in the inner ear) to determine up from down, and then rotates its upper body to face downward. Its lower body follows suit.

Even kittens can fall without fear, as most learn to master the skill by the time they're just 7 weeks old.

Cats are also helped in falls by their small bodies, light bone structure and thick fur, which decrease their terminal velocity, thus softening the impact. Some cats will also "flatten" out their bodies, in parachute fashion, to create more resistance to air to make them fall more slowly.

If you have a cat , be careful about opening windows though, as a bird or squirrel can easily distract a cat enough to cause them to lose their balance — cats can still be injured in a fall, even if they do land on their feet. Shorter falls, from one or two stories, can be riskier than higher falls because the cat may not have time to right themselves.

By" Live Science