If the weather outside is frightful, stay in and play some games with your pet to keep him or her occupied during the long, cold season. Interactive puzzle toys are a great way to keep your pet entertained for an afternoon. These toys dispense treats as your pet plays with them, so they’re a great distraction — until all of the treats have been eaten. For cats, consider a laser toy or some catnip. You could also recycle gift boxes and wrapping paper to construct a kitty mansion for your favorite feline to explore. Dogs might also love playing a game of hide and seek with a favorite toy, or practicing a new trick, like learning to roll over.
They can tell when you have low blood sugar
Some trained dogs seem to detect low blood sugar levels. According to a 2000 article in the British Medical Journal, more than one-third of dogs living with diabetic people have been reported to display behavioral changes when their owners’ blood sugar drops, sometimes even before patients themselves were aware of it. In two case studies cited by the paper, the dogs not only detected their owners’ falling glucose levels, they even nudged their owners into eating.
It’s unclear how the dogs did it, but it’s possible that they detected minute muscle tremors, or changes in the owners’ scents, according to the study.
And they might be able to learn the skill. Reportedly, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was recently taught to recognize low blood sugar by the Pups in Prison program at the Junee Correctional Centre in Australia, where inmates helped train service dogs
Did you know pets can detect cancer????
Scientific reports of dogs sniffing out cancerous growths go back at least two decades. According to a 1989 case study in The Lancet, a patient reported that her dog would constantly sniff at a mole on her leg, and once even tried to bite the lesion off. Prompted by this, she had her mole checked out and found it to be a malignant melanoma.
But dogs are not only good at sniffing out skin cancer, some can also detect bladder, lung, breast, ovarian and colon cancer. In fact, a specially trained eight-year-old black Labrador named Panda correctly detected colorectal cancer in 33 out of 37 samples of people’s breath and stool that scientists had collected. Moreover, according to the article in the journal Gut published this year, Panda appeared to be highly accurate at detecting early-stage colorectal cancer.
It’s unclear whether such dogs are zeroing in on some unknown, tumor-related volatile compounds, or more conventional substances in body fluids associated with an increased risk of cancer, such as metabolites of cigarettes, the researchers said. However, in this experiment, Panda identified cancer patients even among body—fluid samples from people with inflammation, a history of smoking, or other diseases.
Some guys go for blonds, some go for brunettes and others are into redheads. And then there are guys who are attracted to Golden Retrievers. According to a survey of 1,000 people conducted by Kloof (a mobile app for pet lovers) and published in the Miami Herald, when it comes to dating, the top dog breed for women to attract men is the Golden Retriever, followed closely by Labrador Retrievers, Chihuahuas, Poodles and Beagles.
For men looking to woo the ladies, the top breed likely to attract a potential girlfriend is the German Shepherd. Similar to their male counterparts, women are also enamored by men who own Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers, as well as Huskies and French Bulldogs
The Kloof survey also noted that although men are likely to date a woman who owns a Chihuahua, they often enter into the relationship thinking the woman is “easy” or “dumb.” Similarly, a woman might find a man who owns a Pit Bull to be “slimy” or “sketchy,” whereas a guy with a Siberian Husky or German Shepherd is viewed as “masculine.”
What do you think? Are these “best breeds for dating” just stereotypes, or is there some truth in the survey’s observations? Let us know your opinion in the comments below.
Beginning at around age 7, your pet enters his or her senior years. At this stage, pets often begin to develop diseases common to their senior human counterparts, such as diabetes, heart disease, hypothyroidism, and cancer. In fact, one out of 10 pets that appears healthy has an underlying disease.1
First, identify your pet’s real age using this chart. Then, discuss ways to keep your pet healthy with your veterinarian.
Consider a Geriatric Work Up if you are seeing any questionable changes!!! Dr. Andy is always here for your questions!
Eventually, every cat owner will have a feline friend decide that the litter box is actually not the best place to do business. All too often, a cat will decide that it’s actually far better to use a discreet corner in your house, or perhaps your favorite shoe, or even the bathroom sink. It might seem like this is a random and meaningless change in behavior; but generally, you’ll probably be able to figure out the cause and get your cat back on track in no time.
Why is my cat not using his or her box?
Here’s the big question: why do cats, who usually like to be neat and clean about their elimination habits, decide to change?
First things first: make sure it’s not medical. There are a number of medical issues that can cause your otherwise well-mannered kitty to boycott his litter box. The first thing you should do, particularly if this bad behavior is unusual for your cat, is see your veterinarian. He or she will likely want to run some simple tests (urine, blood) to ensure that there is nothing wrong with your cat’s kidneys, bladder, or digestive system.
Marking and Spraying
A common cause is the instinct to spray or mark, and this is most common among non-neutered males, though it is also something that can happen in females and neutered males. Cats usually mark to lay claim to their territory– especially if there is a female in heat in the area — or as a reaction to stress.
In the case of marking, if your cat isn’t neutered, get him neutered. It will often quickly stop inappropriate urination, but also it leads to a healthier and longer-lived cat. Neutered males can’t develop certain kinds of cancer, are less likely to stray, and are often just calmer and easy to live with.
If your cat is neutered or spayed and marking anyway, look around and see if there might be something causing your cat to feel stressed or uncomfortable:
- New furniture or other large objects introduced into their environment
- Cats coming into your yard or “visiting” your cat at windows in your house
- Frequent or long-term guests or visitors in your house (human or otherwise)
You can use non-toxic anti-cat sprays to discourage marking or even use essential oils like peppermint, citrus, and eucalyptus to repel your cat and discourage marking in a particular area.
There are also some man-made and synthetic sprays and pheromones you can spray in areas your cat is eliminating that will help reduce stress. You veterinarian can recommend products of this nature.
Random Inappropriate Urination and Defecation
Cats will choose to stop using a litter box for a variety of other reasons, some obvious and some not. Some of the most common causes include:
- Dirty litter boxes – Cats hate a dirty bathroom as much as we do. You should scoop the box every day, at least once a day, removing any solid waste. If you use clumping litter, remove those clumps of urine every day, as well. Change the box as often as required to keep it clean and to ensure that cat litter can do its job of absorbing moisture and bad odors.
- Litter box over-crowding – Cats don’t like to share their boxes with too many other cats. Ideally, each cat in your house should have his own litter box. While they may not exclusively use their personal litter box, it’s a good rule to follow to ensure that every cat feels like he has ample space to do business.
- Bad litter box feng shui – Yes, believe it or not, cats do care about where their litter boxes are located. Because the act of using the litter box leaves a cat temporarily vulnerable, they don’t like to feel as though they can be cornered or snuck up on when their relieving themselves. Also, cats like a little privacy, so having their box in the middle of a busy place in your house isn’t a good idea.
- Litter type – Cats can be picky about what kind of litter they like. They might think one kind is too rough on their feet or not like the smell of another. Experiment with different types of litter if you think that might be the problem. When a particular kind of litter works, don’t switch! If you have to switch, do it gradually. Cats are generally wary of anything new and might boycott the box just because of that.
Cleaning Up Messes
Cats have incredibly strong powers of smell (not as strong as a dog, but many times more powerful than humans). Normal household cleaners will not remove the smell or urine or feces. You will need to use special enzymatic cleaners to get the (awful) odor out of carpet, upholstery, wood floors, and anything else that your cat’s waste might touch. The odor from the urine of an non-neutered male is particularly difficult to get out of many materials (another reason to get your kitty neutered!). Your veterinarian can recommend the best product for you.
Stay Calm and Patient and Show Lots of Love.
While it’s easy to let a problem like this get you really frustrated with your kitty, don’t let it get to you. If you get stressed or angry, it will cause your cat to feel the same way. Cats don’t do this to be bad, they just react to something that makes them break rules that they are normally happy to follow.
And remember, your veterinarian is always your best partner in helping with your pet’s behavior issues.
There are numerous reasons you should spay or neuter your dog! Let’s talk about health reasons first…
Female dogs that are spayed CAN’T get uterine cancers, their risk of mammary (breast) cancer is reduced by 25% and they are less prone to urinary tract infections.1 As early as 6 months of age, female dogs begin a biannual “heat” cycle during which they attract every non-neutered male dog within 20 miles. She can also have hormonal or personality changes and leak bloody vaginal discharge throughout your house. And no, it’s not true; your dog won’t get fat because you spay her.
Male dogs that are neutered CAN’T get testicular cancer and they live 40% longer than their non-neutered counterparts. Non-neutered male dogs respond to the “call of the wild” and their desire to wander is fierce. In fact, 62% of dogs hit by a car are non-neutered! Finally, 66% of non-neutered males get prostate disease.1
Aside from the important medical reasons for spaying or neutering you are doing the right thing for the serious overpopulation problem in the United States. Over 12 million unwanted dogs and cats are euthanized each year and even more are abandoned.1
Please contact your veterinarian if you have additional questions; they are the best resource for information about the health and well-being of your best friend.
1. Data on file at IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. Westbrook, Maine USA.
When a natural disaster occurs, clients will worry about the welfare of their pets. These worries prompted Alex Close to create the Save Your Pet Pack. Close, the owner of two cats, noticed a lack of products to care for pets during an emergency, so she created her own.
The Save Your Pet Pack can be used for any type of disaster: earthquakes, fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, and floods. The sling-bags full of emergency supplies are designed for people or their pets to wear, and they’re hands-free. To learn more about the bags,
Here are some of Close’s top tips you can share with clients for how to plan ahead:
- Purchase a pet emergency kit. It should contain a comprehensive pet first aid kit, a three-day food and water supply, medications, a temporary collar, identifying documentation, and current vaccination records. Include a photo of you with your pet to prove ownership.
- Prepare identification. Always have a securely fastened collar with current contact information on your animal. Microchip your pet and label all carriers with up-to-date personal and veterinary information.
- Practice home escape-drills. Do this twice a year using two different exits, and don’t forget to include your pets.
- Prepare transportation. Have carriers for each animal fully assembled at all times—train your animal to be on a leash or harness or in a cage or carrier. Label carriers with your personal and veterinary information. Also include details on your temporary shelter location.
- Consider alternate housing. Find friends and neighbors who are willing to take your pets if disaster strikes. Find pet-friendly places to stay (pet-friendly hotels), including locations within a 50-mile radius in case of far-reaching evacuation. Pinpoint kennels and veterinarians in your area. Create a list and map of your local shelters.
- Use the buddy system. Exchange pet information and evacuation plans with trusted friends and neighbors. Inform them of your pet’s favorite hiding places and let them know where you keep leashes and carriers/crates. If you’re away during an emergency, they can keep your pets safe.
Cats are unquestionably smart creatures. Their intelligence, however, is not a matter of understanding complex human ideas, but how to get the food, attention, play and care they so need and desire. In other words, cats know how to “work the system” and use their natural survival skills, even in a domestic environment.
Of course, some cats are bound to be better problem solvers than others. How do you know if you’ve got a brainy feline? There are no scientific tests to measure feline IQ. You can, however, get a pretty good idea of how smart your cat is just by observing him. Here are some questions to help you assess your cat’s intelligence:
1. When you open a can of cat food with an electric can opener, what does your cat do?
a) Runs and hides under the bed
b) Looks up briefly, then gets back to napping
c) Immediately races into the kitchen
2. When you get out the pet carrier, what does your cat do?
a) Gives it a quick glance
b) Runs away, but will come back if offered a treat
c) Hides and won’t come out
3. How often does your cat persuade you to get out of bed early to fix her breakfast?
b) Once in a while
c) Every day
4. Has your cat ever learned to do something just by watching you do it, such as how to open a cupboard door or turn off a light switch?
b) Yes, one or two easy procedures like how to open the box of cat treats
c) Yes. There are many things my cat has learned to do just by observing me.
5. If you come home at the same time every day, does your cat wait for your arrival, apparently aware that you have a regular return time?
b) Yes. He’s usually waiting for me by the door.
c) Yes. As soon as I walk in, he escorts me to the kitchen so I can get him dinner.
6. If a piece of food or a cat toy is out of your cat’s reach or trapped behind an object, what does your cat do?
a) Paws at it once or twice, but gives up if that doesn’t work
b) Tries to retrieve the item with her mouth and one of her paws and gives up after several failed attempts
c) Uses both of her paws and her mouth to grasp the item and won’t quit until she’s successful
7. Does your cat enjoy playing games with you?
a) Not at all
c) Very much so — especially challenging games like hide-and-go-seek
8. If your cat sees a bird outside the window, what does he do?
a) Bangs his head against the glass, trying to reach the bird
b) Paws madly at the window and yowls until I shut the blinds
c) Races to the door and meows until I let him outside
9. If you’ve ever moved your cat’s feeding dishes or litterbox from one part of the house to another, how long did it take her to get used to the new location?
a) Several weeks
b) A few days
c) One day or less
10. When you call your cat’s name, what does he do?
b) Looks my way for a second or turns his ears in my direction
c) Immediately runs toward me
11. Does your cat ever get bored with her toys and create her own amusements using your socks, the goldfish bowl, the tassels on your drapes, etc.?
a) My cat’s not very interested in toys.
c) Almost daily
12. If a guest teased or pestered your cat in the past, does your cat single out that person as trouble — for example, by avoiding that person but allowing other guests to handle him?
a) No. My cat acts the same toward everyone.
b) He does prefer some people over others, but there’s no clear reason for his preferences.
c) Most definitely! My cat remembers who gave him grief and does not forget.
13. How often do you come home from work to discover that your cat has gotten into mischief while you were away?
b) Now and then
c) All the time
14. While petting your cat, does she let you know where she most wants to be stroked and for how long?
a) No. She becomes extremely relaxed and doesn’t care where or how long she’s being stroked.
b) She purrs if she likes what I’m doing and growls or hisses if I pet her where she doesn’t want to be touched.
c) She moves around to make it easier for me to pet certain parts of her body.
15. What happens when you try to teach your cat a trick?
a) My cat never figures out what I’m trying to teach him.
b) After several training sessions, my cat is pretty good at it.
c) My cat masters the trick after one short training session.
16. After you’ve taught your cat a trick, will she still remember how to do it a month from now if you haven’t done any refresher sessions?
a) Not likely
17. When your cat wants something from you, what does he do?
b) Meows a little more loudly than usual
c) Makes a variety of vocalizations, depending on what he wants
18. How often does your cat coax you into playtime?
19. How does your cat react when the litterbox needs cleaning?
a) Goes in the same spot until I notice the mountain inside the litterbox
b) Starts using the planters for a litterbox or goes outside the litter pan
c) Goes outside the litterbox and meows loudly to get the point across
20. When your cat’s food bowl is empty, what does he do to remedy the situation?
a) Sits quietly in the cat tree and waits for me to feed him
b) Leaps onto my lap and meows until I realize he’s hungry
c) Opens the cupboard where the bag of cat food is stored and rips it open
Give your cat one point for every “c” answer. Deduct one point for every “a” answer. A “b” answer is a neutral response and doesn’t affect the score. Tally up the total number of points, and grade your cat according to the scale below.
Less than 5 points: Smarts aren’t your kitty’s strongest suit, but chances are that your cat is a wonderful companion, even if he doesn’t know how to open up the pantry to get out a treat!
6 – 15 points: When it comes to bell curves, your feline’s where most cats are: right in the middle. Your cat has average intelligence and can learn a few tricks, but has no desire to take apart the cat water fountain and reassemble it.
15 – 20 points: You may just be living with a feline Einstein! Your cat is extremely intelligent and continually amazes you with new tricks. Your cat also knows how to get you to do things her way. You’re going to need to be pretty crafty yourself if you want to outsmart your cat!
Rebecca Sweat is a freelance writer specializing in pet and family topics. She lives in the Dallas area with her husband, two sons and many pets
Dehydration in dogs, which occurs due to an excessive loss of body fluids, is a common and dangerous condition that needs to be immediately addressed. If left untreated, dehydration can lead to serious consequences, including organ failure and death. For this reason, pet parents should learn to recognize the signs of dehydration and how to respond to it with proper dog first aid and veterinary attention.
Dehydration in Dogs is Typically Caused by:
- Not enough intake of food or water
- Overexposure to heat
Along with a loss of water, dehydration also typically involves a loss of electrolytes – minerals such a sodium, chloride and potassium.
Signs of Dehydration in Dogs Include:
- Lack of skin elasticity
- Dry, sticky gums
- Sunken eyes
- Too much or too little urination
- Delay in capillary refill time (the time it takes for your dog’s gum to return to its normal color after you press your finger against it)
How to Determine Dehydration in Dogs
Although it is less accurate than medical testing from your veterinarian, a quick at-home physical examination to test the elasticity of your dog’s skin can help tell you if your dog is dehydrated. To check, do the following:
Gently pull up on the skin at the back of your dog’s neck. If the skin does not immediately spring back to its normal position (within 1 or 2 seconds), your dog is dehydrated and needs immediate attention. The longer it takes for the skin to return to its normal position, the more severe the dehydration.
Be aware that if your dog is older it will be more difficult to accurately perform this test, since older dogs naturally lose some of their skin elasticity.
Accurately determining dehydration in dogs via the skin test is also difficult in overly skinny (malnourished) or obese dogs. The skin of malnourished dogs, like the skin of older dogs, loses some of its elasticity.
Determining the level of dehydration is also difficult in obese dogs, since excessive skin fat can cause the skin to return to normal even if the dog is dehydrated. In such instances, check for dehydration by feeling your dog’s gums to see if they are dry and sticky. If so, then your dog is probably dehydrated.
Bear in mind that even if your pet’s skin snaps back to normal immediately, he may still be dehydrated. This is because even pets that are dehydrated will have skin that immediately snaps back to normal if the pet is less than 5 percent dehydrated. The higher the level of dehydration, the more pronounced will be the symptoms.
What You Should do for Dehydration in Dogs
As mentioned above, dehydration in dogs is serious and if left untreated can be fatal. Therefore, it needs to be addressed immediately. If you suspect that your dog is dehydrated, do not attempt to treat him at home, as it is unlikely he will be able to drink enough water to correct the situation. The best course of action is to immediately take your dog to your veterinarian or an emergency veterinary clinic for diagnosis and treatment.
Your veterinarian will determine the level of your dog’s dehydration and the volume of fluids needed to re-hydrate him. Fluids will then most likely be administered either subcutaneously (under the skin) or intravenously for greatest efficiency.
Your veterinarian will typically also ask you questions about your dog’s recent eating and drinking habits and physical symptoms, as well as perform a physical examination and laboratory tests to determine the level of your dog’s dehydration, as well as the cause of the dehydration.
Once again, do not attempt to treat a dehydrated dog at home. If you suspect that your dog is dehydrated, be safe and take him to your veterinarian.
If he is not vomiting, you could also try giving him Pedialyte®, an electrolyte-replacement drink made for infants, which is also safe for dogs. This should not, however, replace bringing your dog to the veterinarian for prompt medical treatment.
To avoid dehydration, always make sure that your dog has plenty of clean, fresh water available and that he eats and drinks normally.
If your dog is ill or injured, monitor him closely to make sure he is drinking enough water to replenish fluids lost due to vomiting, diarrhea or fever. Also be aware that excess fluids are lost as a result of excessive panting or severe drooling. In cases of drooling, the dog’s gums may feel moist, even though he is dehydrated.
After your dog has been re-hydrated, it is essential that your veterinarian perform the proper examinations and tests to determine the underlying cause. Only by doing so can you ensure that your pet is healthy and avoid repeated dehydration.
Again, dehydration in dogs is a serious condition that requires prompt attention by a veterinary profession. Do not take chances with your dog’s life. If at any time you suspect that your dog might be dehydrated, immediately bring him to your veterinarian for diagnoses and treatment.