Your Dogs Water and Beverages – Things Pet Owners Should Consider

Your Dogs Water and BeveragesA constant supply of fresh water is essential to your dog’s good health and comfort. Water is very important, representing and estimated 70 percent of the dog’s weight. Like man, a dog can go without food for a surprisingly long time, but if he is deprived of water, he can’t survive for more than a few days, or even hours, in a hot, dry environment.

A dog’s water consumption varies according to the climate to his activity, and to the composition of his meals. Heat and exercise dehydrate him quickly. He gets very thirsty in cars or any confined space. However, excessive thirst for not good reason should be reported to your vet, because it may be an early symptom of diabetes or kidney trouble.

At home he should have a clean, full water bowl next to his food dish, another in his play area, and possibly a third one that is accessible at night. Away from home the problem is more difficult. A thirsty dog is attracted to water in the gutter, in stagnant pools and rain puddles. Clean rain water is fine, but hard to find.

Caustic chemicals used to melt snow on streets and sidewalks, weed-killers and insecticides on lawns and golf courses contaminate most standing water and should be avoided. Try to train your dog to drink only from his own bowl or what you offer him. Try to keep a water-filled plastic container with you or in your car, especially if you plan on a lot of walking or running during hot weather.

Milk is the only liquid, aside from water, that appeals to dogs and still agrees with them, (although it may cause loose stools). They are seldom tempted by other drinks and particularly dislike carbonated drinks. Milk is always another good source of protein but should not be used as a substitute for meat. Most any flavored drink should be avoided, as it only tends to irritate the kidneys, causing frequent urination and dehydration.

Your Cat’s First Vet Visit

Your Cat's First Vet VisitSo you’ve got a new cat, and she needs a checkup. On your first vet visit, your vet will take the lead and give you some basic information, and probably will go through a fairly standard routine.

Upwards of 90% of the information you need, however, will be based on the questions that you ask your vet. Somewhere, typically towards the end of the checkup, your vet will ask you if you have any questions.

Usually, by that time, your adrenaline has been pumping, and you’ve been overloaded. Your cat has been stressed and so have you… you are both ready to leave. Do not let this opportunity pass you by.

Take this time to take the lead, and ask your questions. What questions? Well, the ones that you’ll forget if you don’t already have them written down. Yes, write them down now.

Much of the information being distributed today on feline diet, health, and cat care in general is either fear based (e.g. raw meat diets, vaccination scares), or profit based (i.e. advertising). It’s important, therefore, to get your vet’s take on some of these issues.

Here is a list of issues that you can use to formulate your questions. This is by no means all inclusive, and you’ll probably have some specific ones of your own.

The important thing is that this will spark a dialogue between you and your vet that will help both of you to better care for your cat.

Here are some subjects to create your questions around…

Vaccination options: there are options for both type and schedule, and there are risks, so be sure to find out what your vet recommends for your cat.

Diet and nutrition: ask about commercial cat foods and brands as they are not all the same. What about alternatives like home made cat food, raw meat diets, and feeding table scraps?

Common cat owner mistakes: ask your vet which common mistakes to avoid.

Emergency procedures: find out what emergency procedures your vet has now, should you need it later.

Indoor or Outdoor: this is a big subject as it greatly affects your life, and the life span of your cat.

Cat litter and litter boxes: many choices can be narrowed to only a few by asking your vet for advice.

Common diseases and their signs: understanding what the common signs of disease are will help you detect problems in your cat early, and may save her life one day.

Use the above list to get started. As you write your questions, more will come to you. Write them down, even if the answers appear obvious. There is no question too small to ask your vet about the health of your cat.

Would A Raw Diet Be Best For My Dog?

Would A Raw Diet Be Best For My DOGThere has been a lot of debate recently over what types of food are best for dogs, commercial food versus homemade food, raw food, cooked food, etc. There are advantages and disadvantages associated with all of these diets, and in this article, we will cover the views on the raw food diet for your dog, covering both sides of the issue, so that you can make your own decision.

There are many benefits that your dog will receive from being on a raw diet, according to some vets. If you choose to allow your dog to have bones, then some say that their teeth will stay in better shape, and will be cleaner, than those on other diets. This could potentially mean less money that you have to spend on dental care at the vet’s office, which is considered to be an added bonus for you, the dog’s owner.
Many dogs’ digestive systems are better able to tolerate raw food than commercial dog foods that are filled with by-products and preservatives. You also don’t have to worry as much about potential food allergies, since you know exactly what is in the food that you are giving to your dog.
Another belief is that dogs that are on raw diets have significantly reduced risk of becoming obese, which can cause many serious health problems, just as it does for humans. They are only eating what they need, without getting all of the fillers that many commercial dog foods contain, which cuts out excess calories.

One of the most common complaints that dog owners have about a raw diet is that it takes a lot longer for them to prepare their dog’s food than normal. They can’t just go to a bag and scoop out kibble into a bowl; they have to actually prepare the food, much as they would for themselves. You have to have enough meat on hand to feed your dog, you have to measure out the correct amount, and then mix it with the proper amount of vegetables, and bones if you choose to go that route. You have to determine how much food your dog should eat each day, depending on his or her ideal body weight, and then either prepare the food on a daily basis, or prepare it in batches and store it in the freezer until it is needed. Either way, you have a lot more time invested in the entire process, and for busy families, this isn’t always an option.
When you purchase meat, depending on where you live, it can be pretty expensive, so you will likely have to spend more money on a raw diet than you would a commercial dog food diet. To make this option more affordable, you will need to look for sales and then buy as much as you can afford and store it appropriately, which could also mean investing in a separate freezer, if you don’t already have one on hand.

Anytime you think about raw meat, you have to think about parasites and bacteria, which could be potentially harmful for your dog. Some meats are more dangerous than others, for example pork, but in general, you should be okay. Raw beef and chicken usually don’t pose any problems for dogs, as long as it is stored properly at the correct temperatures.

You will need to decide whether or not to give your dog bones. Some vets say that you should never give your dog any kind of bone, because they could choke, or the bones could damage their digestive system, but others say as long as you are careful about the types of bones you give, this isn’t a problem. Many advocates of the raw diet grind bones up and mix them in, but again, that is your choice.

If you are thinking about putting your dog on a raw diet, you need to take the time to look at all of the information you can find, and then make your own decision based on your findings. The raw diet requires a commitment from you the dog owner, both financially, and time-wise, if you aren’t prepared for that, or aren’t certain that is the way you want to go, then you might want to think about other options.

Flea-Ridden Dog Ignored by Passersby Finally Gets Rescued

Flea-Ridden Dog Ignored by Passersby Finally Gets Rescued

This comes from The Animal Rescue Site, which, in addition to featuring fan-submitted rescue stories, offers a wide selection of clothing, jewelry, home décor, pet supplies, and other gifts.  For each purchase made, sponsors donate food to shelter animals in need.

Submitted by Joan B. of St. Petersburg, FL:

I was walking a husky and a chow mix for a client (I’m a pet sitter) when I noticed a woman in her driveway with a little unleashed dog toodling around at her feet. I asked her to make sure her little dog didn’t run up to my big dogs. She said he wasn’t hers, she was on her way out and he was covered in fleas so she didn’t want him in her house.

By this time the dog had seen my dogs and bolted. He stayed in view for a while and I saw him go up to two other people. He was clearly asking for help but they each shooed him away.  Heartbreaking. Then I lost sight of him.

I got my dogs back to their home, then drove around and around until I spotted him. He came right over. He was dirty and scrawny and his back end was raw and half bald from the chronic fleas. I told him, “You’re just a little monkeybutt aren’t you?”

I put him in a crate I always keep in my car. He put his chin on his paws and heaved the biggest sigh his little self could heave. He was not microchipped. The vet estimated about three years old. I posted him on our local lost/found sites but no one came forward. My plan was to bring him back to good health, get him neutered and then find a good home for him.

I am a cat person and wasn’t prepared to take on a dog with my seven-day a week pet sitting schedule. But Monkey had a plan of his own! He’s been with me for a year now, he gets along with my cats and I wouldn’t change a thing.

Why Socialize Your Puppy? A Guide to Why and How

Why Socialize Your PuppyThe importance of socializing a puppy can never be over-emphasised, but what exactly does it mean? And how does one go about it? This article will explain to you what socialization is and how to put it into practice to ensure your dog has few, if any behavioural problems later in life and is able to interact well with dogs and other species.

Socialization is the process whereby a puppy learns to recognise and interact with other individuals of its own species, with people of different ages, races and genders, and with other animals that she is likely to come into contact with, such as cats and horses. The dog will learn the skills necessary to communicate with and interpret the other animals’ intentions, thus avoiding unnecessary hostilities. The dog will also learn to cope with stress and will suffer less as an adult in stressful situations. When talking of socialization, we often include habituation, that is, getting a puppy used to different places, sights and sounds so that she becomes confident in new situations and gets used to as many different stimuli as possible.

There are certain periods in a puppy’s development that are more important than others. The most sensitive socialization period begins at around 3 weeks of age and begins to reduce by 12 weeks. Peak sensitivity is between 6 and 8 weeks of age. It is important to remember that many young dogs need continual social interaction to maintain their socialization and failure to do so will mean that they regress or become fearful again. The 6-8 month period is another sensitive time for socialization and owners and trainers can use this window to further habituate and socialize their puppy to different surroundings, people and animals.

So, now we know why and when socialization should be carried out, we must look at how to undertake this. It is recommended that your puppy be introduced to new stimuli and other people and pets in a systematic and controlled way. Remember that these formative experiences will shape the behaviour of your pet for the rest of her life, so the idea is that they should be pleasurable and fun. They may well also be challenging, but if done in the right way, the puppy will learn that there is no threat and that she is safe to explore and meet new friends and situations without being fearful. This ensures the best chance of her developing a sound temperament and capacity to cope in all circumstances.

Early socialization is, of course, in the hands of the breeder and if they are conscientious and responsible they will ensure that the puppies are handled frequently, as well being exposed to normal household stimuli such as the television, vacuum cleaner, washing machine, doorbell etc. Puppies who are raised in a quiet kennel or room will have trouble adapting to a normal family environment.

So once the puppy is at home with you, it is your job to continue carefully introducing her to different people, animals and stimuli. It is however important to introduce the puppy to new people, places, objects and situations only when you can completely control the experience. A frightening experience will be detrimental – avoid unfriendly dogs and adults and children who do not understand how to be kind and gentle with animals. Invite friends to your house soon after you bring your puppy home to teach her that guests are friendly and welcome in her new home. Give your friends treats to give to the puppy so she is rewarded. Introduce her to one or two other friendly, healthy, fully-vaccinated dogs – she can join in with bigger groups once she has all her shots and has learned some dog social skills and has over-come any fear. Always be ready to intervene if your puppy is scared, threatened or being bullied by another dog.

When socializing your puppy, you must evaluate your lifestyle and environment and assess what situations are lacking. For instance, if you live in the country, take your puppy to town and gradually and carefully let her become accustomed to crowds of people, noise and traffic. If, however, you live in a town and these things are no problem, take your puppy to the countryside so she can see and smell farm animals and become accustomed to them too. Make sure your dog meets some cats who are dog-friendly. Don’t let her chase them as this will start a life-long habit that will be difficult to change. If your household has no children, introduce your puppy to some children who can regularly play gently with her. Always supervise them to ensure the children are gentle and that your dog is responding well and not becoming nervous or aggressive.

Remember always to protect your puppy’s health, before she is fully vaccinated. Don’t put her down on the ground where there may be dog urine or faeces, and don’t let her interact with other dogs that may carry disease. You can still socialize your puppy by carrying her into different situations and taking her in the car, allowing her to see many different things in a safe environment and she will get used to trips in the car at the same time. Use treats and praise to reinforce good behaviour. Do not comfort your puppy if she is fearful as this can be interpreted as praise for the wrong behaviour. Simply change the situation (i.e. ask an approaching person to step back or pick up your puppy to get her out of a difficult situation) until she feels safe and secure once more.

All interaction with your puppy at this age involves consistently rewarding desirable behaviour which will increase the likelihood the dog will repeat this behaviour. It will also help to prevent the development of undesirable behaviour.

Another helpful step would be to enroll in puppy socialization and training class. This provides a great opportunity for puppies to socialize with other dogs, for puppies to learn obedience training in a playful environment with plenty of distractions and also for owners to learn training and communication techniques.

Where Does Your Cat Nap? Make Him As Comfortable As Possible

Where Does Your Cat Nap Make Him As Comfortable As PossibleGiving your pet his own snoozing area gives you the ability to take back all of the space in your house that he has taken over. You may even want to give him several places to call his own to keep him happy!

You’ll find a cat bed that fits your tastes, and your pets, because there are so many out there to choose from. You’ll find a colorful cat bed in fun pet prints that will add a touch of whimsy to the room you put it in. You’ll find designer brands to choose from as well. You can also choose based on how the bed feels too.

Many cat beds have a pillows made of fleece to keep them warm. They are oval shaped and have high sides or they may be completely enclosed. Cats like to find a secure, warm spot to rest. For many, getting into the tight warm couch cushion seems like the ideal place.

You will find that some beds you can choose from are heated as well. If the cat spends time on the porch or in other chilly areas, you may want to give him one of these heated beds to warm up with.

Have you purchased a great bed for your cat but he’s ignoring it? Don’t be surprised at this. If he just doesn’t seem interested, add a catnip toy to the bed to attract him to it. Make sure that you place it in a cat friendly location too which will help to make it appealing to him. Cats don’t want to nap in low places so you may want to put the bed on an end table or platform that is just a bit off the ground. You’ll need to keep it from being in the midst of heavy people traffic as well. He needs to be able to relax and sleep there or he won’t want to be there.

Does your cat shed? Place the nap mat where your cat normally sleeps and then store it when you have guests. The cushions that are under the mat will then be hair free.

Some pets enjoy a perch. These are padded shelves that have become very popular. You can attach the cat perch to your windowsill so that the cat can look out the window at the birds or just bathe in the sun.

More than one cat can means more than one bed as cats are territorial and don’t like sharing their beds. You may be able to look for a kitty version of a play gym or a cat condo. These allow several cats to nap in elevated spots. And, the cat condo has areas where they can climb and sharpen claws.

If your cat likes to nap on your couch cushions, giving him a bed is the ideal way to make him comfortable and provide him with a place other than your furniture to nap on!