Adopting a Pet (Image Credit: Scarleth White)

Your First Time… Adopting a Pet

Adopting a Pet (Image Credit: Scarleth White)

Adopting a Pet (Image Credit: Scarleth White)

As a pet-owner (verging on animal hoarder), caring for my animals has been enormously rewarding. It comforts me to know they have a home because of me. But then again, it is a serious commitment. Pets, by definition, are entirely dependent on their owners—physically, financially and for the rest of their lives. A pet should never be an impulse purchase. If you’re thinking of adopting, first make sure you’re qualified.

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Meeting a Dog

DOS and DON’TS of meeting and greeting unfamiliar animals

Meeting a Dog

Meeting a Animal (Image Credit: Claudio Gennari)

The primary rule when interacting with an animal that isn’t yours is to ask the owner first, assuming the animal has an owner. When you’re meeting – or just greeting – a domesticated animal that isn’t yours, however, there are several other rules you might want to follow. Continue reading

It’s National Pit Bull Awareness Month!

Image Credit : Love-A-Bull, Inc.

In today’s piece, we are focusing on something very important – National Pit Bull Awareness Day! This began in 2007, started by Jodi Preis. On that day several years ago, over 150 events were held to educate others, and celebrate what a wonderful breed the American Pit Bull Terrier (and other bully breeds, Staffys, etc) are. This year, while it is a month of events, the official date is the 27th. What better way to make a difference in such a positive way than by attending one of these events, or by starting your own to showcase that “pitties” and their owners are so much more than what everyone is led to believe. Continue reading

Move Over Marley….

Image Credit: Flickr User geraldbrazell

Separation anxiety, one of the hardest obstacles for a dog, and their humans to adjust to living with or overcome. I think a lot of the time, there are little signs, so insignificant in the beginning stages of a pups life in a home, that they can be overlooked. The crazy greeting when you come back inside after stepping out to get the mail for 5 minutes is just oh so cute! The jumping like a pogo stick, frantic whining and vocalizing. My pooch really loves me! Until one day, that has turned into wide spread panic while you are gone, and not only do you come home to your velcro dog, but your home may look like a someone let loose a few animals from the circus. While this is a serious issue, and I urge people to not overlook it, and do what they can to help their pets, and themselves, so one does not have to resort to giving up their pet, I will be sharing a few incidents that we can now laugh about after having lived with an anxiety ridden dog. It’s been 14.5 years. We deserve to laugh,…a little. And he was nice enough to share with me his most memorable moments for all of you. Continue reading

Pet Quirk: The Dog (and Cat) Days of Summer…

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Since we are officially in the beginning of summer, I thought I’d share some insight in to various ways to keep our pets cool and comfortable all summer long. Some of these seem pretty basic. You might think that these are things that should come easy to pet owners, but you’d be surprised how many pets we see at our office that come in overheated. We also tend to get calls that pets are behaving differently when it’s hot out, even though they are strictly indoor pets. So, turn on the AC, sit back, and take note of the following tips to keep your furry friends happy and comfortable.

Water – Keep everyone and every animal hydrated! The heat affects them the same way as it does us. Except we sweat, dogs and cats don’t officially. They pant, a lot. Whether you are indoors with your pets or spending time outdoors, make sure there is water available at all times, cool and fresh. If you are leaving the house for several hours or the majority of the day, throw a handful at least, of ice cubes in your pets water bowls. You can extend the length of time the water stays cool instead of getting room temperature. When your pets are going to be spending time outdoors with you, remember to bring water with you. Also, investing in a travel bowl is a great idea. They come in leak-proof fabric as well as foldable “rubber” bowls to save space while you travel. Finally, freeze water in water bottles to put in your pet’s favorite spaces. This also works well cages if you have small and furry animals like rabbits or guinea pigs. If you’d enjoy a cold refreshing glass of water, so would your pets.

Image Credit: Flickr User: BotheredByBees

Never EVER leave them in your car – I don’t care if you have your air conditioning on, if you are parked in the shade, or if the windows are open. There is no need to keep your pet in your cat on a hot day. Temperatures inside a car can reach 20 degrees higher or more inside the car then outside. If you think it’s no big deal, get in your car on an 80 degree day and just sit there. No AC, crack a window maybe. You won’t last a minute without getting out for relief. It does not take long for our pets to begin suffering from heat stroke, and their is no errand worth running that could be worth your pets life. (Now people, please do not go shutting yourselves in your car to literally test my theory, that would not be smart folks – but you get my drift)

Pick the best times of day to be active with or take them outdoors – You may have to change your schedule with your dog as far as walks go to limit your time outside when the sun is strongest. Set aside some extra side early in the morning and later in the evening to go for a romp. If you dog isn’t a seasoned jogger, don’t force a faster paced walk to make up for a skipped mid day one. Keep your walk at an easy pace, but just for a longer amount of time, as long as it’s comfortable enough outside. Overweight pets have a harder time keeping up as it is, so running them when they aren’t used to it will have it’s own problems. Make sure you can provide a shady area for them to get out of the sun wherever you may be. Some dog houses are made to provide a much cooler spot for dogs outside. We have a dog house shaped like an igloo and I know there’s a more defined reason, but it is definitely about 15+ degrees cooler in our boys’ house than it is out in the sun.

Leave them home – If you have cats, and they are let outside and aren’t strictly indoor felines, make the indoors a little more fun and don’t let them outside. You cannot guarantee that they’ll find something to drink, or a shady place to cool off for a while. If they do routinely go outside and come back home to be let back in, what will they do while you’re out and about enjoy a hot summer day? Sure you’ll hear a lot more meowing and complaining possibly, but knowing they are safe and cool should give you piece of mind. Invest in some more cat toys, or a laser light to keep them form getting bored. Save a little money and save a cardboard box or 2 and let them have a blast inside. (My cat keeps himself entertained for hours with a box!) For your dogs, unless you can provide a cool place to rest and fresh water at all times, leave your pooches home in a cool house. Young puppies and older dogs should be kept indoors regardless for their safety.

Outdoor bathing – While you can skip the shampoo (unless Butch really needs a washing) if you’ve got access to a hose, water your dog down every few hours to help them stay cool and comfortable. If you are traveling outdoors and your canine companion is along for the trek, aside from carrying water, bring a bandana or 2 along to soak with cold water and tie around your dogs neck. I’ve even soaked and frozen my dogs bandana for long lasting comfort. This is a good option for dogs that aren’t too thrilled about being hosed down. Our lab was petrified of water, but during a major blackout about 8-10 years ago, he was so hot that he stood for being hosed down in the  yard and it’s been a piece of cake ever since.

Image Credit: Pete Markham

Finally, watch and monitor your pets behavior. If you are concerned about anything out of the ordinary, call your veterinarian. Pets can exhibit very different behaviors with they are overheated or suffering from heat stroke. I know I get irritable when I am too hot and uncomfortable, and the same goes for our pets. Some may nip or growl to warn others to leave them alone when they are affected negatively by the heat. When a pets temperature is reaching past 103, 104, etc this is a dangerous zone for them to be in. Higher than that, and our pets are at risk for seizures, even death. It becomes important to cool them off, but at the same time you cannot shock their system by introducing extreme opposite temperatures too quickly without the direction of a Dr. All of that being said, as long as you follow some of my tips, and plan your days or trips ahead of time, you can have an enjoyable summer with your pet whether indoors or out. Enjoy!

The life of a pet owner

Image Credit: Mosman Council

I can’t imagine living the rest of my life without having a dog, or other animal for that matter. I don’t mean I’m one of those freaks who want to take possession of any and all exotic animals just because I can. Wildlife should stay right where it is, in the wild. Even parrots, they should be flying wild with their flocks, not stuck in cages. I’m talking about a cat or something else small, furry, and domesticated. People who know me, and my pets intimately would say I was nuts for that thought. You may say, Why? Is she a hoarder, does she have 10 dogs and 43 cats roaming her house? No, because THAT would be nuts. But what I do have is a bi-polar cat and a separation anxiety suffering dog and both at some time, make me want to rip my hair out.

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