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.

What Is The Best Way To Feed Your Cat?

What Is The Best Way To Feed Your CatThink that your cat needs a fancy set of dishes to eat from? He doesn’t. But, what he does need is something that is sturdy and durable and it needs to be easy for you to clean as well. Cat feeders and bowls should be cat-proof.

One type of cat feeder is a type that refills from a reservoir as your cat drinks from the bowl. These can be used to feed one cat for several days even. You can use these to feed multiple cats too. There are some disadvantages to using them though. For example an aggressive cat can easily prevent the other shyer cats from getting enough food. It is also harder to know just how much food the cat is eating so you may not realize if he is eating less than he normally does. This is an important sign that he’s not feeling well and it can be a serious problem then. Cats that are finicky may waste a lot of food by refusing to eat it if it has been sitting in the feeder for too long.

Another type to consider is the automatic cat feeder. These have several compartments. The feeder’s lid has an opening that will allow the cat to eat out of one compartment at a time. A battery powers it to rotate the lid using a timer so that different compartments are opened at the set time.

Cat owners who are not around for a long period of time should make sure that the feeders that they use are large enough to hold enough food for the entire time the cat is alone. This way, cats are cared for no matter what you are doing.

Cats who are territorial really do need their own dish. Then, you can feed the different cats at different areas of the house. When looking for bowls for your cat, make sure to look for those that can be put into the dishwasher as well as those that are not going to break.

Only have one cat? Then look at a combination feeder that holds two bowls one for each food and water. These allow you to keep the feeding organized and they are easy to clean. The bowls can be removed from the feeder to be cleaned.

Some cats are picky and for these you may need to choose a heated food bowl. These are a great way to provide local strays with water during the winter months too.

Make sure to clean the food bowls everyday. Put them in the dishwasher if possible after throwing out the old food and dropping the dish in the dishwasher. Don’t leave the food sitting out as it can spoil. And, make sure to clean your cat’s water bowl daily as well. Keep it full of clean fresh water.

When you do these things, you will provide your cat with a place to get their food that is clean, safe and keeps them happy. This can help you to have a well taken care of cat.

Following these suggestions will go a long way to keeping you cat happy and well nourished. She’ll love you all the more for it, too.

Cat Care 101: Keeping Your Cat Healthy and Your Home Clean

Cat Care 101There’s no question that our cats are full-fledged family members. Their loyalty, their love, and their ability to comfort us are unparalleled. Sometimes, though, their hair or odors can leave an unwelcome footprint in our homes. Just as we clean up the spills made by our kids (or our spouses!), it’s up to us to clean up after our cats. Luckily, there are any number of products that make pet care a breeze.

Cat Litter Boxes

Cats are generally low maintenance pets, but their litter boxes often contribute little to you home decor, and can become a smelly nuisance. Today’s litter boxes, though, can bring a touch of whimsy to your interior design, while their functionality can put an end to messes and odors.

One line of litter boxes comes in an assortment of patterns and colors, from solid silver and solid black, to polka dot, leopard print and wood grain. The litter tray door pulls out, and a metal sifter rake pulls and lifts litter out of the tray for easy cleaning. Another ingenious design has a triangular shape so that you can easily place it otherwise used corner space.

If you want to make cat care even easier, self-cleaning litter boxes are the answer. One style has an internal grill that traps used litter. You simply roll the enclosed litter box on its side and remove the waste tray. Another type takes self-cleaning to the next level by having a slowly but rotating system that quietly but continuously scoops used cat litter into a receptacle. The ultimate litter box is one that automatically flushes cat waste down your toilet. Instead of cat litter, this box uses permanent granules that are washable. After your cat uses the box, the granules are automatically washed, disinfected, and dried. Liquid and any solid waste are flushed down the toilet with fresh water.

Kitty Litter

When it comes to kitty litter, many cats have a preference for one brand over another. But if you start with the right litter or are persistent, you can find kitty litter that can help eliminate odors while keep your cat healthy. One brand of kitty litter on the market not only neutralizes litter box odors, but also changes color if your cat has a urinary tract infection. Given that urinary tract infections can quickly become life threatening, early detection is key. It’s also helpful to have information about a potential infection to give to your veterinarian.

Shedding Tools

Many people who love cats are troubled by allergies, or by the cat hair that clings to furniture and clothes. Products that help with shedding take one of two approaches: either they work at the source of the problem (your furry feline) or they make it a snap to clean up hair off of furniture.

Cats typically shed their undercoat (rather than the hair you see), so a product that helps you remove hair from your pet – a “furminator” of sorts – means you’ll never see it on your couch. These products brush out the dead hair from the undercoat (but don’t cut it), while bringing your cat’s natural oils to the surface. Because this type of product also helps stops over zealous self-cleaning, your cat may be less likely to be bothered by hairballs.

Cat care isn’t difficult, and the great litter boxes, kitty litter, and shedding tools make it even easier!