Planning a Road Trip with the Dog

Introduction

When the weather begins to moderate, we begin to day dream about vacation time. The days grow longer; daylight stays until almost 8 o’clock in the lower United States and we have “cabin fever.”What is “cabin fever” you ask? It’s not a real, physical illness, it’s a longing to get out of the house and plant flowers, take a long walk in the sun, build something, go fishing, etc. Most of us are disgusted with Winter. It’s so cold outside, the days are short, and our tempers get “short” too.

Family members begin to talk about where to go this summer. The kids want to go to a Theme Park; Dad wants to take a prolonged road trip,with a couple of fishing side trips along the way. Mom wants to go somewhere that doesn’t require her to do anything domestic. She wants to be pampered, she doesn’t want to cook, wash or iron clothes.

Then the kids ask, “Can we take Tops with us, please, can we?” Tops is their new dog. He is part Golden Retriever and no one knows exactly what else. He is a sweet dog, but how will he travel? Mom puts the kids off with a half-hearted, “We’ll talk about it later.” The last thing Mom wants to do is to plan a road trip with the dog.

Train Your Dog for the Trip

The begging, the tears and the shouts of joy are all over and it’s been decided that Tops will go on vacation with the family. DoesTops know about riding in a car? Someone in the family must take charge of his training.

1.TakeTops in to see the veterinarian. Tell the vet you’re going to be on vacation and you want to be sure Tops is healthy. Make sure he has a current rabies shot and any other shots he may need. Get a copy of Top’s medical record to take with you.

2. Make sure Tops is okay with riding in the car. Do some short practice road trips. Make sure none of these trips are to the vet. You want Tops to understand that riding in the car is fun and he may go anywhere with you. Take him places that are strange to him and where people that he does not know are shopping or visiting. Make sure he knows how to act in these instances.You will be his guide.

3.Tops is a large dog so you won’t have a carrier or a crate for him, but don’t let him roam loose in the car. All dogs should ride in the backseat. Keep a leash on him at all times. When you stop at a rest area, you don’t want Tops to bolt out of the car.

4. Stop about every two hours. Dogs need rest stops too.

5. Take dog treats and chew toys. Bring Tops’ favorite food, his favorite blanket or bed and his water bowl. Also bring his comb and brush. He will be getting out of the car into  some places that have weeds and high grasses and you will want to keep his coat clean.

Decide on places to see, Where to Sleep

You have the dates you are going to be gone, you have the dog trained, now where are you going? You have made arrangements to visit a theme park for the kids and the rest of the trip will be sight seeing with overnight stops at motels. Find out from the Theme park their rules concerning pets. Some will allow dogs on leashes while others have kennels for visitors to house their pets while seeing the sights. 

Check with Motels about rules for pets. Some allow pets with no extra arrangements, others charge an additional fee for a  pet to stay in the room. A few motel chains do not allow pets in the room. Do not sneak your pet into the Motel, go on down the road to another facility. You can save yourself some hassles, it you decide how far you are going each travel day and make motel reservations ahead of time.

Traveling with a small Dog has a few different  considerations

Before we round out our story , we need to take a look at our friends with small dogs. If you are traveling by car, all small dogs should be confined in a crate or a small carrier. Put them on a leash so that when you stop for a rest, your little dog can’t get away. They should at all times be in the back seat,  All other considerations would be the same as for large dogs. Small dogs are more likely to be acceptable at most Motels.

Some rules are made to be broken, however. My mother had small dogs and the current family pet always rode in mother’s lap in the front seat of the car at all times. In their retired years, my mother and father drove all over the Southwestern United  States. Dad bought a GM pickup truck and a small travel trailer and  outfitted it with everything necessary for camping.  The little dog, sometimes two little dogs, were always with them.

Alternative Travel Vacations

Some people like to “rough it” and spend all their vacation time in the great out of doors. It’s called Camping. With the right gear, camping can be almost as easy as being in your own kitchen. However, everybody in the family should be in agreement about a camping vacation. If even one person is not happy about the choice then the whole vacation will be less than ideal. But if everybody is “gung ho” about a camping trip, consider National Parks, and National Forests for your destination. All campgrounds have information on rules and regulations for campers, and if pets  are allowed. You would be wise to check early on campgrounds in popular areas. During summer months campgrounds in some areas are completely filled.

A good time was had by all

Our pets become part of the family. With a little training, your dog can be delightful company, especially for your kids during a long trip. Also consider that your dog can be a watchdog for your belongings. Most dogs bark when strangers approach, and that can be a good safety measure. Take the dog. You’ll all have a great time.

My-Pet-Toys-And-Stuff: Do Show Dogs Influence our Pet Choices?

Introduction

Everybody loves a movie about a courageous Dog. TV shows and contests about pets hold us captive. A Collie named Lassie was a must see for 19 years (1954 -1973) on Television and in movies. Rudd Weatherwax was trainer and owner of Pal, the first Lassie.

He eventually acquired the name and trademark. Pal and his descendants played Lassie for the whole 19 years.

 

 

 

The movie, 101 Dalmatians, inspired a lot of families to adopt one for a pet.

The 143rd Westminster Dog Show held dog lovers hostage in front of the TV set just a few weeks ago when “King” the wire-haired Fox Terrier from Brazil was selected as Best in Show.

Fox Terrier

But are movies, TV shows and Contests the best avenues to decide on a pet for our households? Do we get an accurate background of knowledge to make an educated decision on a particular animal?

The Valiant Collie

Lassie, the canine star of the long-running TV show of the same name, was played by several dogs. The first dog to portray the female star Lassie was actually a male, named Pal. Pal was an excellent actor, doing most of the stunts on the first take. Pal’s son, Pal Junior came next. Subsequent offspring of Pal; – Spook, Baby, Mire and Hey Hey played the heroine for the whole series.

The Collie is a beautiful dog with an open, bright-eyed facial expression and a long flowing coat. She is a gentle dog and is very good with children. The Collie is an- all-around exceptional dog for a family.

The breed originated in Scotland and Northern England and was used as a herd dog. The Collie is a strong, active, responsive dog, very intelligent, mild-mannered, and easy to train. Daily care includes lots of exercise and a daily brushing.

If you decided to get a Collie for the family pet based on the series, “Lassie” you would have probably made a good choice, considering temperament and ease of learning. But do not expect your collie to perform the gallant rescues that the TV Collie was specially trained to do.

101 Dalmatians, the movie

The movie was released in 1966 and immediately captured everybody’s heart. The story is pretty simple. The evil Cruella deVil is captivated by the dalmatian puppies and devises a way to get enough spotted puppies in order to make her a spotted fur coat. Of course the puppies owners thwart Cruella’s every move and she doesn’t get her coat and the puppies are saved.

Real puppies weren’t trained for this movie. Animatronics were used to create the puppy antics. Nevertheless, people fell in love with the adorable puppies and after the movie release, sales of Dalmatians shot up. Families were not prepared to handle adult Dalmatians and many were given up to pounds and shelters, which led to many of the dogs being euthanized.

Dalmatians, the Dog

The Dalmatian is a medium to large dog, reaching 48 to 55 pounds and has a life span of 13 to 16 years. The origin of the breed is unknown. The name comes from Dalmatia, now called Croatia, on the shores of the Adriatic Sea.

“Born to Run,” the Dalmatian started out as a coach dog- a hunting dog- a fire house dog and a circus performer. The Dalmatian can act from gallant to goofy. He is affectionate and good with kids, friendly with other dogs, but not a dog for apartment living.

Dalmatians shed and need daily grooming. They have a high energy level and daily exercise is a must. This is a dog that was bred to run for miles and miles. In the days of horse drawn carriages, the landed gentry had Dalmatians run alongside the coaches for miles, and perhaps more than once a day.

These dogs have an endless capacity for exercise. They are intelligent animals and need rigorous training. Their owners need training too, on how to manage them. Finally, there is a possibility of deafness that runs in the breed. These are beautiful dogs, but can be more difficult to care for than most families can manage.

143rd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

February 11 and 12, Dog lovers were glued to their TV sets waiting to see if their favorite breed would make “Best of Show” this season. Some were happy and no doubt, some were not so happy when the Best in Show, “King,” a wire- hair Fox Terrier won the title.

The Fox Terrier is a medium size dog.The male reaches 14 to 16 inches in height and will  weigh 15 to 20 pounds. Females will reach 13 to 15 inches in height and will weigh 13 to 18 pounds.

The coat is dense with twisted hairs. The hair grows thick and close together, so thick that when you try to part it, you cannot see the skin underneath. Wire hairs have an undercoat that is soft, smooth and short.

Fox Terriers are usually white with black and brown markings.The life span is around 15 years. Like most smaller dogs they present a bold, brave front. They are cheerful, lovable, enthusiastic and playful. They get along well with children and are devoted to family.They will get along with other dogs, if they have been properly socialized.

Terriers are intelligent and can be taught to do tricks. They do have a dominant streak and are very energetic – which means that they need lots of exercise, both mental and physical.

The dog’s owner must be 100 percent, all the time, firmly, his pack leader. Terriers need consistent rules to follow, with limits on what and what not to do. They are fine living in an apartment, as long as they have a vigorous walk or jog each day.

Wire Hair Terriers were originally bred to hunt, coming from a mix of Daschund, English Hound, Fox Hound and Beagle. Farmers used them to stalk and kill small prey.They are one of the oldest Terrier types, dating back to the 17th Century.

Up until 1984, all Fox Terriers were considered one breed, with two coat types: smooth and wire-hair. In 1985, the AKC recognized them as two distinct breeds.

Wire Hair terriers can make good family pets. They are willing companions for that morning jog and that evening constitutional. They do not shed,which makes them wonderful pets for allergy sufferers They need to be brushed once a day and only bathed when necessary.

Wrap Up

The human being likes a certain amount of drama in his/her life. An activity that makes the heart race a little, the breathing come faster. It can be personal activity or the senses triggered by something we see. Action movies can give us a rush of excitement. We love movies where animals are pitted against what seem to be impossible situations, prevail and live happily ever after.

But deciding on a pet based on the tricks the movie animal does is not the right way to go. Those animals are especially trained by professional animal handlers. You can’t expect your pet to perform like a movie star. Do your own research and select the pet that suits you and your family.

Thanks to: Dog Breed Info; Dog Time.com; Wikipedia;  Pet M.D..com; Westminster Dog Show; Pixa-Bay for information on this Post.

Color and Breed Influences Cat and Dog Personalities Part 2: Cats

Introduction

When I started this project, I had no idea it would expand to two articles. But when I began to put it together, I realized I had much too much material for just one article. So, both Cats and Dogs will get equal time. Personality wise, the dogs wouldn’t care or take offense, but the cats would expect equal time as their right.

A cat’s coat color can tell us something about her personality. I didn’t just make that statement up. As early as 1872 people have tried to link certain cat colors and patterns with certain personality types. We heard such descriptions as, “Temperamental Torties,” “Placid Tabbies,” or “White Mousers.”

Today’s domestic cats descended from one small group of African wildcats, who domesticated themselves about 10,000 years ago. They were all gray tabby cats resembling today’s African Wildcats- which would indicate that this color gene is dominant and carries through from generation to generation. Feral cats in rural areas in Europe and the USA usually have the same fur patterns.

You will notice that the rise of domestication in cats started much later than in dogs. Might be one reason our sweet little furry kitties sometimes act like crazy wild things. If you are a serious cat watcher, you might also see that every cat, no matter the color, or the circumstances of their lifestyle, believes that Royal blood courses through their veins.

Cat Colorization

We are going to start with the cats that have coats of many colors: The Tortoiseshell and Calico. Torties have no white in their black, red, cream coats, while calicoes have a generous smattering of white mixed with black, red and cream. Torties and Calicoes are usually female; it is rare to find a male calico. Torties are vocal about everything. Calico’s are lively and loving. In Japan, Calico’s are thought to bring good luck.

Orange cats- are more likely to be male- about one female to every five males is the ratio. These cats are lovable, but also assertive and aggressive. These male cats can also reach a good size–about ten to fifteen or more pounds and husky in build.

Red or Ginger colored cats are sweet, sassy and unpredictable. They may have the tabby markings as well.

Gray cats are the sophisticates of the cat world-secretly they like to be let loose to let the wild side out.

Tabby -these are lovers of the good life. They can be various shades of gray and black with the true lines and circles that label them tabbies. They are good-natured and friendly.

Tuxedo cats- They are always dressed for any party occasion-Black with white vest, four white feet, and some times a little white on the face, or white whiskers.They lovable, but independent creatures. If let out, they will roam far from home.

Black cats– their personality traits are closely related to their wild ancestors. Black cats were first seen in the wild. They are unpredictable and can roam far from home.

Chocolate Cats- are intelligent, playful, friendly and vocal.

White cats– are timid cats-they are at risk of congenital deafness. In

fact, many white cats are born deaf. Some white cats are born with blue eyes, or one blue and one green eye. They may also have poor vision. For these reasons white cats are usually home body’s, electing to stay close to their owner and close to home.

 

Siamese cats– Color Point and Seal Point- These cats are usually sleek in build, with long legs. They are assertive and vocal, to the point of driving you crazy.

 

 

 

The muted colors, blue, cream, gray and lilac are usually the Persian cats. These cats are playful, mischievous,and curious. They will run from one end of the house to the other, chasing invisible prey.

 

A couple of traits that are usually consistent in all cat color variations are the eyes and the white in almost all coats. Cats usually have green eyes or yellow eyes. The exceptions are the Siamese and  the white cats with blue eyes, or one blue eye and one green eye.

As to major colors, almost all cats have some white in their coats. Most usually the white occurs around the under side of the cat and the paws. Sort of looks like each cat stood at attention while someone poured paint over their backs, and as the color ran down their sides, it left the underside white, and missed the paws.

Now after singling out these color coded cats, those of us who own cats know that there are as many color combinations as there are cats.

Cats that I have owned

I have owned a number of cats during my adult years. My first cat was a calico- female. She was a loving cat–to me. She wouldn’t tolerate anyone else.  She barely tolerated my son and my husband. The vet got the spit and yowl treatment.

My in-laws lived on a farm in the state of Kansas. Now, there are usually cats around the farm and my father-in-law’s farm was no different. There were plenty of cats around. Most stayed in the barn, to get fresh milk at milking time, and to keep the mouse population down. However, once in a while a cat ,or cats would catch my father-in-law’s eye, and they were promoted to life in the house.

One summer when we were visiting, I noticed two orange and white cats up at the house that were unusual. They had almost exact color markings.  One had a white blaze down his forehead and the other one was a boxer-that is he would stand on his hind feet and box with his front feet. I fell in love.  My in-laws let us bring them home to St. Louis. My mother-in-law said she was sending them off to college. We named the one “Blaze” and the boxer-what else?-Ali. Blaze died from a kidney problem at three; Ali lived to thirteen.

Jake came to live with me a few years later. Jake’s owner said she was allergic to him. I think she was scared of him. He weighed in at 16+pounds. He was gorgeous. All white long hair with a flowing black tail and a couple of black spots on his ears made up this cat from hell.

He had been declawed  and then let outside to fend for himself. He wanted to be petted and loved but I never knew when he would turn on me and scratch me with his hind claws. Finally, he figured out that it was just me and him and  I wasn’t afraid of him, so we settled in together. Jake lived to be 16, and I’ll never forget him.

The two cats I have now are sisters. Janie is a Tortoiseshell and Julie is a Tuxedo. I adopted them when they were about 2 years old. They are now 13. Janie is allergic to all kinds of foods that cats would normally eat. The only way she can keep food down is to take prednisolone every day. I keep a vaporizer going all day and night to keep her from sneezing her head off.

Julie is smaller than her sister, but she actually rules the household. She plays all the time and runs through the house like a maniac She also is a nurse to Janie. Julie grooms Janie every day and sleeps next to her to keep her warm. It is amazing to see the level of devotion the little tuxedo has for her ailing sister.

Conclusion

Our pets can teach us something about living from day to day and in the moment. That is what they do. Each day to them is the only day to be concerned about. Forget about yesterday and tomorrow isn’t here yet. The only day we have any control over is today. Live in the now.

I would love to hear from my readers. Let me know what you liked and what I missed.

Information for this article came from:  Cattime.com; The Thought Co.; Dog time.com; Dog Reflections, May 2008 by Dan; Pet Wellbeing; Pixabay.com.

Color & Breed influences Cat & Dog Personalities-Part I Dogs

Introduction

Some might disagree with me, but cats and dogs exhibit certain personality traits. Some cats are very friendly, some talk a lot, some always run away when they get the chance, some are aloof. Some dogs are friendly from the beginning, some are very shy, some like to bark nonstop. Most dogs are friendly, unless they have been traumatized by loud noises or mistreated. Gently turn down offers of cute puppies, breed unknown, in order to give yourself time to select one with the personality you want.

Now please don’t send me nasty notes telling me that I’m a snob about breeds, and that mixed breed puppies are wonderful dogs with great personalities. I agree.

Mixed breed dogs can be the greatest dogs around. I’m just giving you several things about dogs to think about. If you are adopting a dog for the family, especially a family with children, you might want to consider personality traits and compatibility before you bring the dog home. Remember, you will have that cute bundle of fur for about 10 or 12 years.

There have been studies on what causes certain cats and dogs to exhibit certain traits. It seems that color and breed influences cat and dog personalities. If you know what kind of personality to expect with the pet of your choice, you will have a better idea of what to expect of your new family member. Today we concentrate on dogs.

Part One

Dogs and Wolves Split

DNA studies of wolves and dogs point to a split into different species about 100,000 years ago. Domesticating dogs may have happened between 40,000 and 20,000 years ago. Researchers cannot agree, but some think that the domestication began in East Asia, others think it started in the Middle East, and others think there was a second domestication that took place in Europe. Whatever world circumstances were in place about 14,000 years ago that caused men and dogs to form working or companion relationships is still in place today. The bond between dog and human is unbreakable. One thing scholars do agree on is that most of the dog breeds we see today are recent developments.

Dog Personalities by Breed

I picked several dogs that have quite different body builds that exhibit personality traits a family might be looking for. In dogs, breeds usually hold to one color or one color combination. In mixed breeds a variety of colors can be exhibited.

1. The Newfoundland–is a giant breed. It is usually black and has a natural ability to swim. It has a very placid personality and gets along well with children. If you love to swim, the Newfoundland is a perfect companion. Just remember, this lovable giant will eat a large hole in your grocery budget.

2. The Pug--is a small dog- a member of the Toy group. Pugs are very social and they can form a special bond with children. They also will be a little easier on your grocery bill. They can have light colored bodies with black faces.

3.Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a medium size dog and is a good companion dog for the family as long as he is the only dog. The Staffordshire is not good with other dogs.

4. Labrador Retriever- the most popular dog around today. Usually come in black, chocolate and light cream or tan. They make wonderful family dogs, but they must be trained. They also are large dogs.

 

 

 

5. Keeshond- is a medium-sized dog with a  fluffy silver and black coat They are great with children and easily learn tricks. These are truly people dogs. They are an old breed. They once were companions and watchdogs on the barges and boats that traveled the canals and rivers of 17th and 18th century Holland.

 

6. Golden Retriever- large dogs. They are extremely intelligent. The Golden is a great dog for a family. They always make good service dogs. By virtue of their name, their coats are golden brown. However, they can have light, off-white coats too.

 

 

7.The Collie is a beautiful, gentle dog. A large dog with a gorgeous coat -light brown over all, and white on ruff, tummy and paws-who is well suited to families.

 

 

8. The Standard Poodle- A large dog that can come in several colors-black, white, gray. These are the wizards of the smart dogs. They are extremely intelligent and do well with all dog sports. Poodles are affectionate, patient, and make very good family dogs.

 

9. The Burmese Mountain Dog-another gentle giant. This dog can weigh between 98 and 120 lbs. when full-grown. They are good companions for children and they get along well with other pets in the family. The Burmese has a long shaggy brown, black and white coat.

 

 

10. The Bull Dog–a small dog that will become the clown in the family. They can be black and white, or light brown or tan and even white. They have a tendency to be stubborn, but they are also very docile and loyal, and do well with children.

 

 

I named just ten dogs out of hundreds of breeds. Some are large, some medium and some small. I know I left out quite a few breeds that are also quite good at being family dogs. These ten breeds have certain personality traits that you can depend upon. Families with children need pets that the younger members can enjoy. Dogs and children grow up together and it’s a wonderful experience. Children also learn that pets are dependent upon their owners for food, exercise, and health needs.

Conclusion

We often leave out the mixed breeds. Some of these dogs are wonderful with families and deserve a good home. If it is at all possible to find out the mix, it will give you a better idea of the personality traits you can expect.

My mother adopted a Keeshond/Irish Setter mix and as the puppy developed into a mature dog, we could begin to see how the two breeds melded together into a beautiful friendly dog. Her body build was more like the Setter- a little larger with longer legs and a longer coat.

But the Keeshond showed up in her coat color- the silver/ black with a thick mane. Her disposition was more like the Keeshond. All in all, she was a wonderful dog, very loving and smart.

Would love to hear from my readers. Let me know what you liked or didn’t like. Next time, we explore the personalities of cats by color.

Information for this article came from : The Thought Co.; dogtime.com; Dog Reflections, May 2008 by Dan; Cattime.com; Pet Wellbeing; Pixabay .com.

My-Pet-Toys-and-Stuff:The Cat Litter Box and Litter

Introduction

Every indoor cat needs a box with litter in it. It is an absolute necessity. However, it is usually the very last thing a new cat owner buys. You’ve got the cat, feeding dishes, water bowl, flea collar, sleeping bed, comb, brush, food- wet and dry. You’re on your way home when suddenly you panic. You don’t have a litter box or any Litter. Well how hard can that  be? A cat box  and Litter? 

How Many Kinds Can there Be?

You stop at a pet store  and are suddenly overwhelmed by all kinds of boxes: small ones, large ones, corner boxes, boxes with lids, self-cleaning boxes, all in  variety of colors. Well, you make a selection, anything will do for now. You walk over to the Litter section and are  shocked by the number and kinds of Litter. Clumping, non-clumping, scent controlled,  low-tracking, no dust, low -dust, a variety of Litters now made from plants, and a litter that changes color so you can see whether your cat has an infection or not. You grab a bag, the cheapest, pay for your purchases and head home.

Which Box Is Best?

What kind of box to get and where do you put it in the house? These are the main questions you have to answer before you go shopping. Cats want a box that is large enough to turn around in and do some serious digging and covering. They don’t care what color it is.That is your concern.

Where will you put the box? Cats like a secluded area, away from household traffic. Also, cats need to find the box, and have an uncluttered path to it. If you put it in the basement, be sure the door is always open, or cut  a cat door in the basement door  so your cat can go through.

There are on the market, cat boxes that have covers over them, presumably to give Kitty cat privacy. I don’t think your cat cares. Some will like the cover, some will not. Personally, I don’t fiddle with the extra lids. I think it is just that, something extra. You should consider, however, a box with high sides. Some cats like to scratch a lot, and the high sides will keep the litter inside the box.  A corner box? That is personal decision. As long as the cat has full access, I doubt it will make a difference.

You want a box large enough to accommodate a fair amount of litter and give the cat room to maneuver.

What Kind of Litter?

There are many different kinds of litter, supposedly to cover many different kinds of problems. Basically, your cat just wants something to plant her business in, and proceed to hide it by covering it up .By the way, do you know why cats are so meticulous about covering? It ‘s a carry over from the wild. Cats cover, so that other cats and predators can’t track them.

You want to pick out a clumping litter, it’s easier to clean out the box and Kitty doesn’t care. Don’t buy a scented litter. Some cats will refuse to use it. And you don’t want to deal with a cat that is not happy with her litter box.

Be sure to get a low-dust litter. The dust from some litters can aggravate allergies for cats and for people.

Litter can become a big expense. And obviously, you are always throwing it out, and getting more. So do some price shopping and buy the least expensive litter that has all the additives you need, and buy in large quantities. One company even has a refill program that helps the pocket book.

You want to buy a clumping, low-dust, non-scented litter.  Scoop out the litter box every day, at least once, and completely replace litter once a week. Wash the litter box with clear warm water, dry and refill. That way, you’ll never have cat box odors in your house or apartment. You also will have a happy cat that always uses her box.

Why Cats Refuse to use Litter Box

Every year, a few cats are returned to shelters,or given up to the Humane Society, or turned out of the house because of Litter Box problems. These problems stem from misunderstandings between cat and owner, and needs to be cleared up for the good of both.

First of all,take a good look around the Litter box area. Is it kept clean? Is there anything that could upset your cat? An open window with outside noises, or a curtain flapping? Do you have another animal in the house, or small children ? These sound like crazy questions, but distractions will discourage your cat from using her box.

A stray cat outside can upset your cat inside. If everything is clean and quiet around the Litter box area, then make an appointment with the vet for a checkup for your cat. She may have a urinary infection and, in her mind, the box may be causing her the discomfort.

If that is ruled out, try a different litter. Be sure to clean the soiled area very carefully and put something over the area, so she can’t use it again. After checking all the above situations, you and your cat very likely have found the solution to the problem.

Whatever you do, don’t resort to the old punishment of grabbing the cat, rubbing her nose in the soiled area  and whipping her with your hand or a newspaper. That will only strike fear in your cat and it will do no good. She doesn’t equate the punishment with the mishap. Besides, it is cruel.

All is well

It has been about a week now since you brought home your new beautiful, furry cat, and everybody seems to be settling into a routine.Your cat knows where everything in the house is located. She has picked out her sleeping place–not the lovely cat bed you bought her–at the foot of your bed. All is well. You have a loyal pet to keep you company for a good ten or more years.

Some of you may think that this topic is a strange one to write about but everybody wants a 

healthy cat, and the whole digestive system is the secret to good health.

Tell me what you think. Would love to hear from my readers.  Barbara  

My-Pet-Toys-and-Stuff:What Makes My Cat Sneeze?

INTRO

We humans sneeze from time to time. We usually blame it on allergies, a cold, or “something in the air.” But have you ever thought about whether animals sneeze? Well, it seems they do, and often for the same reasons that we do. To discuss the sneeze problems of all animals would be a mind boggling task, so I’m narrowing the discussion down to one pet that can develop sneeze problems.

Cats and Sneezing

What makes my cat sneeze? You’ve taken your cat to the veterinarian because your cat sneezes from time to time, and you are worried that your cat might have a cold or something worse. The vet checks her over, asks you a bunch of questions, and makes a diagnosis based on the information he has obtained from you and the cat.”Nothing serious,”he says.” She probably has a mild allergy to dust, cigarette smoke, or something else in the air.”

“Cats sneeze randomly, depending upon what is in the air. Occasional sneezing with no discharge, is nothing to worry about,” concluded the Vet.

Meet Janie

Eleven years ago, I adopted two sister cats Janie, a Tortoise Shell, and Julie, a Tuxedo. They were estimated to be around two years old. If that is right, that makes them thirteen now. I asked my vet recently, how old they were in people years and she said they were maybe around 75.

We’re going to leave Julie for now and concentrate on Janie. Janie is a sneezer. I have counted up to 19 sneezes, in rapid succession, in one of her episodes. She can have up to half a dozen of these episodes in a day. Then comes another bout.

I’ve about given up on finding the cause. She has had clear discharges sometimes, and on other episodes, what I call, indelicately, a snotty nose.We have tried several medicines to no avail. Since I suffer from sinusitis, I decided to try a humidifier. Amazing! My head stays clear, and Janie’s sneezing has nearly stopped. I should report that on these sneezing episodes, there never seemed to be a common cause. Sometimes she would be eating, other times she would wake up sneezing.

Various causes of Sneezing, natural or man-made

1. A tiny bit of dust or an irritant from a chemical can cause an occasional sneeze.

2. A respiratory infection–most often caused by a virus, most often a viral infection- can cause a common cold.

Other virus infections such as herpes virus, and others and

Bacterial infections may be accompanied by a cough and a discharge from the eyes.

3. Chemical irritants- from various solvents can cause inflammation of the membranes inside the nose

and the sinuses. A sneeze, or several, is the body’s way of getting rid of the irritant.

Some cats are sensitive to tobacco smoke, some perfumes, or chemicals used around the house as cleaning agents. You may have to become a sleuth to find out just what is causing all the sneezing. Some cats are allergic to the chemicals used in cat litter. You may have to change litter several times to find which litter your cat can tolerate. Your best bet is to use litter that has no additives. Frequent sneezes-one after another-as well as sudden bouts of sneezing- may be a signal that your cat is allergic to something or several things.

Outside Allergies

You don’t let your cat outside do you? You shouldn’t. There are so many things in the out of doors that are harmful to cats, and may shorten their lives. If you want to make sure she gets fresh air every day-keep a window open -make sure the window is tightly screened.

A screened -in porch is ideal for your cat. If you have an open porch or patio, get a large screened -in run for your cat, so she can enjoy the out-of-doors and still be safe. You will still have to monitor her activity, because cats can climb screens, or figure a way to get free from the enclosure.

Some cats are allergic to flea bites, and the powders that you may use to rid her of fleas. Certain grasses and pollen in the air can cause a sudden fit of sneezing. If your cat is in contact with the out of doors and she starts sneezing, she may be allergic to the outside pollen.

Other problems that can cause cats to sneeze

Cats can become infected with the herpes virus. Many kittens come into this world with the virus, having been infected by their mothers.during the birth cycle. Cats can also get the viral infection from other cats. It is also true that many cats carry the herpes virus all their lives and never have an infectious outbreak. Stress can trigger the virus.

One very important point I need to make about the herpes virus cats may carry: human beings cannot be infected by any cat that carries the virus. The cat virus is completely different from the human virus. Once again: You can’t get herpes from a cat.

When to take your cat to the vet

If your cat is a sneezer, watch her and if she exhibits the following symptoms it’s time to take her to the vet:

Runny eyes; a cough; fever; lethargic; green/yellow nose discharge;no appetite.

It your cat sits on her haunches, in a little ball with her fur spiked, it’s a sure sign she is not feeling well.

Final thoughts

Cat breeds that have “pushed in” faces, like the beautiful Persian may have more respiratory problems than other breeds.

If you find that your cat has allergies, but you are not sure exactly what she is allergic to, there are some things you can do to make her life – and yours- easier. Clean your house or apartment thoroughly; change to a low dust, no additive litter; and use a vaporizer or humidifier. Also, if you smoke, you may want to stop, it will be healthier for both of you. Finally, don’t use heavy perfumes and high-powered cleaning supplies.

Information for this article came from: Pet Health Network, Mike Paul, DVM; Leo’s Pet Care Indianapolis Blog, and my cat, Janie, chronic sneezer.

I would like to hear from my readers. Please e-mail me, and tell me what I missed, or if you liked the article.

 

My-Pet-Toys-and-Stuff:Home Decorating With Pets in Mind


Decorating a home is more than deciding what you like and don’t like. If you are living alone, that makes the decorating decisions easy. But, rarely do most of us live alone. We may start out alone, but after a while, we add a partner, usually a husband or a wife, then comes children, and after that, perhaps a cat or a dog. All these live additions to the home create new ideas for decorating. I’m not talking about necessities, I’m talking about the additional things that turn an apartment or a house into a home.  Since the Christmas season is upon us lets consider home decorating with our pets in mind.

Home Decorating with a Cat

What we have said about cats in previous articles still holds true. A cat believes everything in the house belongs to her. She just gives us permission to use it. Therefore, she expects us to consult with her on every new item we bring into our living quarters. She must inspect it, smell it, rub her chin on it, give it a full body rub.

Watch her carefully, especially if the new item is a piece of furniture- the next move is to stand up on her hind legs and run her front feet over it. If she has claws, she needs to be discouraged immediately. (See-Train your Cat not to claw the furniture). If she turns around and walks away from the new item, she has accepted it. You may keep it.

What about Christmas Trees, plants, gifts, and all things glittery? Think “high.” Think, “no way she can jump from here to there?”  Probably best if you don’t insist on a live ChristmasTree. If a live tree is a must, then the cat will have to be locked in another room when everybody is gone, and when everybody has gone to bed. An artificial tree will be less stressful for everyone. Anchor it well, so there is little likelihood it will fall.

Decorate the tree as you usually would, starting from the top down. Stop decorating about 3 or 4 branches from the bottom, unless you don’t mind redecorating these branches several times a day.

Poinsettias are dangerous for cats. If you have a plant, keep it in a room that is closed off from the cat. Mistletoe berries can make a cat sick, actually, any plant with berries can be bad for a cat. Your furry friend will beg you for any tasty morsel from the dinner table. Don’t give her anything except maybe some turkey-no gravy -and check for bones.

Cats like to pull off ribbons from the presents, and tear off wrapping paper, too. Leave presents in the closet until time to open. Or, if you want presents under the tree before distributing them, put them out shortly before opening, so you can keep an eye out for the cat.

Home Decorating with a Dog

Dogs will do many of the things that cats do, but, if you have taken the time to train your dog, it will be easier to keep your dog away from decorations you want left intact. Make sure your dog responds to commands like : NO!, Stay Down! Don’t Jump! Drop it!, etc.

If you have a live tree, don’t let your dog drink the water in the container the tree is set in. The water may contain some chemicals to keep the tree fresh longer.

Some dogs, however, do like to chew on boxes, ribbons, tree decorations, strings of lights, etc. It is always easier to put hazardous things up or away from places where pets can get to them, rather than spend your days yelling at your dog.

Be careful what you give to your dog as a treat from the dinner table. Chicken bones and Turkey bones will splinter when dogs clamp down on them. If swallowed, these splinters could damage the intestinal tract.

Some vets suggest that dogs should not be given any bones at all, even those that are manufactured and packaged especially for dogs. Bones of any kind can cause choking, vomiting, damage to the mouth, or blockage in the digestive tract.(Check with your vet about bones for your dog). Just stick with some turkey meat, without the bones, if you want to include your dog in the feast.

Dogs will also eat anything left out and easily reached. Chocolate is especially dangerous for dogs. Put the candy box away after indulging in a few sweets.

Note: a few years ago, I had family over for Christmas dinner and we had a round of candies before we left to visit friends. Unfortunately, I left the candy box -lid on- on the coffee table. When we came home, the candy box was on the floor, with the lid off and quite a few chocolates missing. My poor dog was terribly sick. She survived after a very miserable evening. I learned from that incident to always put food away.

So How Can Pets and Decorations Co-Exist in a Household?

First of all, use some common sense when looking for decorations for the house. Don’t get a lot of things that dangle, or have gold or silver sprinkles. If you want live decorations -wreaths-trees, etc. watch your pets to make sure they are not ingesting pine needles, berries, bits of tree bark. If you have a live tree, be sure to sweep or vacuum the area at least once a day.

Keep plants away from pets. Watch for dropped leaves or flowers and pick them up immediately. Especially keep Poinsettias on a high shelf, where even a cat can’t get to. Empty garbage cans every day, even more than that if you are doing a lot of cooking or arranging bouquets, etc.

Artificial trees and wreaths and garlands are safer for inside decorating, if you have pets around. However, remember artificial decorations can be toxic, too. Some paints, glitter and glue can be toxic to pets and even children.

Conclusion

So when you are starting to decorate your home, don’t just “Deck the Halls with boughs of Holly” but rather “Deck the Walls—“high”. Put wreaths, garlands and plants up, out of reach. Sturdy your tree and don’t decorate the bottom three or four rows of branches. Keep your furry friends in mind when you decorate for any occasion.

My-Pet-Toys-and-Stuff:Which Pet for Our Lifestyle


cat and dog

Introduction

When we were children, most of us remember having a cat or a dog around the house. We remember playing with them, chasing them and then laying down in a heap when we finally wore ourselves out. The years passed quickly and soon enough, we were married to the love of our life, going to jobs every day, planning and saving for the future, and thinking we were missing something.

A young couple, married about a year, decided that they would like to get a pet, a dog or a cat, they weren’t sure which. They had good jobs, and a nice ground floor apartment in a good neighborhood. There was a park about two blocks down the street, and a little strip mall across from the park. They weren’t ready for the house, and kids yet, but thought they’d like to have a four-legged, furry friend. But, which pet would best fit their lifestyle?

Since they lived in a small apartment, the husband thought that a cat would be the ideal pet. His wife, however preferred, a dog. So they decided to do some research, and come up with the pro’s and con’s of adopting either a cat or a dog.

Pro’s and Con’s of Getting a Dog

dog

On the Pro Side

  1. Dogs Bark- can warn of prowlers or other emergency
  2. Dogs don’t need a lot of extra stuff- like litter boxes, etc.
  3. Dogs are pack animals- they welcome human company
  4. Dogs like to run and play- can help with daily exercise
  5. Dogs can be trained-To stay off the furniture
  6. Dogs will protect the family in times of crisis

On the Con Side:

  1. Dogs Bark- They can annoy the neighbors
  2. Can’t get a large dog-will have to get a little “yapper”
  3. Dogs can’t be left alone- they’ll tear things up
  4. Dogs have to be walked-in all kinds of weaher
  5. Dogs don’t always protect-some are too small or too friendly
  6. Dogs need a lot of stuff -leashes, collars, crates, dog beds

 Pro’s and Con’s of Getting a Cat

On the Pro Side

  1. Cats don’t bark-They are quiet creatures
  2. Cats are small creatures-Perfect for small apartments
  3. Cats are loners- they don’t mind being alone all day
  4. cats never have to be walked:provide a litter box 

   On the Con Side           

  1. Cats will get up on counters, no matter how much they have been “trained”
  2. Cats shed – You’ll have fur all over your furniture and carpets
  3. Cats swallow a lot of fur- which they regurgitate as hairballs
  4. Cats will shred your furniture-unless you declaw them
  5. Cats can’t be around babies- They get in the crib and smother a baby
  6. Cats sometimes ignore the litter box- and do their busines elsewhere

What’s Right and What’s Wrong about Dogs

Our couple took the time to visit with friends who had both dogs and cats. They got information about both animals that would help them erase some of their pros and cons. They found out how their friends dealt with certain oddities about each pet. They heard how each pet had made their owners lives much richer. They promised each other that they wouldn’t’t make up their minds until all the information was on the table.

First of all, Dogs bark. They can be annoying, if they just bark because they’re bored. 
Dogs can be trained to bark if there is an emergency, or if someone is hurt or some other action appears to be  
 dangerous. There are numerous stories told about how a family was saved because of a brave dog. 

Dogs are easier because they don’t need a lot of stuff. But a dog needs a number of things for his care. He needs a good collar; a collar that will not chafe the dog’s neck, but will remain snug. He needs a leash that will give the dog room to walk easily, but still gives his owner control. Dogs like their own bed. Some dogs are trained to go into a crate, when his master is gone. Obviously,the dog needs his own food bowl and water bowl.

The following is true. Dogs are pack animals. They like human activity and are fiercely loyal to their master or family. They look forward to that daily walk- and it can be a great way to get some exercise. Rainy days can be a problem, but most dogs won’t mind a little rain or snow. As far as giving a dog certain boundaries–with kindness and patience, dogs can be trained that some items are off limits. The size and breed, or mix, is up to the prospective owner. Consider the size of your living quarters, and amount of yard when selecting a dog. Use common sense; it probably is not wise to get a great Dane when you live in a two-room apartment with no yard.

What’s Right and What’s Wrong About Cats

Cats are smaller than some dogs and they are quieter. Meows usually do not rise to the deafening barks of some canines. Cats are good for small apartments. They usually sleep mos most of the day. However, be sure to leave them clean water and a bowl of kibbles.

Cats don’t need a lot of paraphernalia. They need a food bowl; actually two food bowls: one for kibbles and one for soft food. Cats need the variety of food, and they need lots of water. Some cats do not drink enough water. 
 Feeding them canned food gives them extra water. Cats need a litter box. Do’t get one too small.. Cats like to turn around and scratch around when attending to nature calls. Try putting the box in a semi-private place.

Would you want to do your business in public? 

Also, separate the food and water bowl from the litter box area. Cats don’t like to eat in the bathroom. 

Cats can be trained to stay off some areas. It takes a lot of patience.but they will catch on. Cats can be discouraged from getting on the furniture and scratching the furniture. They don’t have to be declawed. A good scratching post or “Kitty condo” will take care of most of their scratching. Trim their nails periodically.

Cats do have a problem with hair balls. Long-haired cats will cough up hairballs more often. There is a medication that can be given to cats that will dissolve the hairballs. Some cats actually like it so much that they will lick it off your hand.

This last “con” item is an old wives tale. Cats do not get into a baby’s crib to suck away baby’s breath. Actually, cats like milk; babies drink milk, and the cat is attracted to the milk’s smell. That is why they may get into a baby’s crib. They do not intend harm. Keep the cat out of the nursery.

Sometimes a cat will ignore the box. First, have the cat checked out by a vet. Some cats will ignore the box because they are sick. Cats will ignore the box if it is dirty. Scoop the box at least twice a day. Change the litter once a week. Wash the litter box before putting in fresh litter. Just use water. Strong soap and cleanser smells will turn the cat away from the box.

Final Decision on Which pet is best for our lifestyle

The last thing our couple probably will do is go check out some pets, both cats and dogs. Then they can make a decision. Ultimately, it will come down to an emotional decision. The one animal they cannot bear to leave behind will be the one they take home. They still have breed or mix to consider, and,in the case of a dog, the size. Maybe they will get one of each.

Would love to hear from my readers. Did you like the article? Did you get some helpful information? What did I miss?

Barbaran

My-Pet-Toys-and-Stuff-Why did we get a Dog?

 

 

Introduction

According to Statista(The Statistics Portal), in 2017, about 89.7 million dogs lived in U.S. Households. In many households, this scene plays out. Little Jimmy comes home from school and confronts dad with this request: Dad, can we get a dog? I won’t go into all the details, but numerous questions have to be answered, What breed? where will he/she live? inside, outside, doghouse, garage, who feeds, walks, brushes, cleans up back yard, etc.? To which Jimmy answers, “I can.” Up until now, the lady of the house has been quiet. Now she says to Jimmy, and to her husband, “we”ll see.”

What Kind of Dog to Get and from Where?

Long after Jimmy had gone to bed, mom and dad explore the idea of adding a new member to the household. Mom knows full well who will ultimately be the dog’s caregiver. They called a couple of friends who already had dogs to get some ideas. They decided to go to the animal shelter and to a couple of rescue adoption centers. And they decided they might try to find a Golden Retriever. Since it was to be Jimmy’s dog, they wanted a gentle dog that would play with Jimmy and his friends but not hurt them. They also decided on a fairly large dog that might discourage people out to do mischief or break in the house.

The Dog’s History

The next day, mom went to see an old school chum who had studied to become a veterinarian. She really didn’t know anything about dogs and wanted to find out all she could before they committed to another house member for possibly ten years or longer. Her Vet friend gave her some background and sound advice on what to expect if a dog joined their household. He told her that dogs originated from the Grey wolf– that is where dogs got their excellent hearing and keen sense of smell. He also told her that dogs were communal animals, they ran in packs, they were usually not “loners.” Mom wasn’t sure what that meant. “Someone in the family needs to be the “Alpha dog”, the vet explained, “otherwise, your dog won’t know who is boss.”

Mon was getting confused, and she was beginning to wonder if a dog wasn’t just going to be a lot of trouble. Her Vet friend explained to her that all dogs needed to be trained and it was better if one member of the family was the “head of the pack,” the one person the dog would look to for commands. Actually, he told her that the whole family needed to be in on the dog’s training so everyone would know how to handle all situations. She wondered if Jimmy was old enough to actually be the “Alpha Dog.” The vet said, “If you think he is old enough, that would be a great idea. “Then the dog would be truly his.”

One more thing the Vet suggested to mom.”Depending on what you get, he said. “Have the dog (male)neutered or(female) spayed. Unless you are planning on raising litters of puppies.” She looked at him with daggers in her eyes.

Family Dogs

A goodly number of dogs are considered “Family Dogs. Mom came away with a list of “family friendly” dogs, some small, some large, some medium-sized. “Main thing”, her vet friend said, “Don’t be in a hurry-look over several dogs–take one home overnight.”

When dad got home that night, mom told him and Jimmy what she had learned from her Vet friend.” Wow!, that’s a lot to think about.” “What about it Jimmy, do you think you can learn how to train your dog, and properly take care of him?” Jimmy thought for a few minutes, and then said,”I think so, dad, after all I am 12, and you ‘ve said I have to start learning to be a man and take responsibility.” Mom said, “Well we will help you, after all the dog will be like a new member of the family-but you will be the dog’s “Alpha Male,” the one he looks to for guidance and for praise and love.

After dinner, they sat around the table and looked over pictures and read about the dogs that Mom’s vet friend had suggested. They finally narrowed down the list of dogs that they thought would work with their family to 6.

Their list included: Golden Retriever– a large dog with beautiful golden fur and listed as intelligent, kind, and friendly. Collie-a large dog with beautiful multi-colored fur and listed as gentle, loyal, intelligent and protective. Beagle-a smaller dog with an even temper, and is gentle, intelligent and determined. Brittany-a medium-sized dog with white and brown coat- is happy, intelligent, agile and quick. Maltese– a small, beautiful,fluffly dog -is playful, lively, docile, gentle. The sixth one--a Mix. After all they were going to check out the adoption centers and rescue places, so they just might find a good mixed heritage animal.

 

The Final Choice

They spent several days looking at dogs. They actually found a few purebred dogs, but they seemed a little skittish when approached by strangers. They were about to decide on a beagle mix when mom got a call from her vet friend. He had found a Brittany that the family had to give up, because they were moving across country. The dog had been well-cared for and was only about 2 years old. The family made an appointment to see her and fell in love. She was a well-mannered dog and had been spayed. Jimmy hugged her, named her Tippy and told his parents that this was the one.

A few weeks later, Jimmy started training sessions with Tippy and it wasn’t long until she knew sit;stay; go fetch; lay down. She never seemed to tire of chasing balls, fetching sticks, and wrestling with her favorite human.

Why A Story

This was a make believe family, but how they went about deciding on a pet, a new member for their family, was the right way to do it. They did some research, found the kind of pet they wanted, learned how to take care of a pet, and preferred to look for a pet that needed a home.

My first dog was a toy collie. She had a face like a full size collie, but she was about half the size and had a smoother coat. She was a sweet dog and very gentle.

My grandmother had only one pet that I know of–a little white Maltese. He lived to be 17. Every time I went to visit my grandparents, that little dog always sat beside me on the front porch.

My son begged for a dog when he was about 9. A little young to be the leader of the pack. My husband came home one night to tell me that one of the teachers at the Junior College had a dog he would give to a good home. The dog was a Brittany and was gun shy. The teacher wanted a dog to hunt, but since she was afraid of gun shot, he wanted to find her a good home. We went over to see her. She was so smart. She immediately sensed that my husband didn’t really care about dogs. She went over to where he was sitting, put her head on his arm and sat there until we left. We took the dog. My son named her Tippy. She lived to be 13.

Let me hear from you. I would love to hear about your favorite dog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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