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Why Does My Cat Scratch on Things?

Cat-ScratchThere’s nothing worse than coming home to the surprise redecorating of your kitchen table’s legs or living room upholstery, courtesy of your cat’s scratching instinct.  That doesn’t necessarily mean your cat has some inexplicable scratch problem that most other cat owners don’t experience as well.  There are many reasons why a cat will scratch anything sturdy enough to take a beating.  Let’s examine this further. [Read more…]

Liver Disease in dogs

DDD_liver_gallbladder_pancreas-150x150The liver is one of the most important organs in the body of your dog. It performs various functions like aiding blot clot, digestion, detoxification of waste products, and manufacturing of the body’s building blocks. If the liver fails to work properly, your pet can fall sick causing hepatitis which can progress into serious liver disease.

The liver is prone to being affected by a variety of diseases, including bacterial and viral infections, toxicities and neoplastic and degenerative diseases. According to canidae.com, “Canine liver disease is the fifth leading cause of death for dogs, and it’s estimated that three percent of all diseases veterinarians see are connected to the liver”. However, liver diseases can be treated and your pet can make a full recovery. [Read more…]

Pneumonia in Dogs

sick-dogThere is nothing more distressing then when someone you love is ill. It is even more difficult when the one who is sick cannot tell you what is wrong. It’s no different when your dog is not feeling well! When your dog is sick you just want to make him feel better! We understand. The best thing you can do for your dog is be diligent in your efforts to stay informed and educated! [Read more…]

Ear Infections In Dogs

wiley.290140003_stdSYMPTOMS, TREATMENT, PREVENTION

The medical term for the inflammation or disease of the outer ear canal is ‘otitis externa’. It is one of the most common diseases of pets and it is estimated that up to 20% of the dog population is affected by this disease. [Read more…]

What are bladder stones?

bladder stonesIs your dog having trouble urinating? It’s quite possible he has bladder stones. What are bladder stones? Bladder stones form as a result of mineral deposits in a dog’s urinary tract. As time goes on, these crystals gather together to form stones.  Bladder stones are primarily found in the bladder however they can be found in the urinary tract, kidneys, urethra and/or ureters.  The development of bladder stones in dogs is a painful and serious condition.  In fact, if the entire urethra is blocked by a bladder stone and thereby prevents your dog from urinating, death can result as toxins and waste will build up in your dog’s body. [Read more…]

What is 1 Good Reason to Exercise Your Dog?

Pet Exercise

Walkies!

Summer boredom impacts not only your two-legged kids but your four-legged kids as well. Bored kids and dogs spell “t-r-o-u-b-l-e”! One way to address summer boredom is by keeping your dogs exercised and plumb wore out! All kidding aside, did you know that exercising your dog is important ALL year long – not just during the summer?  It’s true.  Exercise promotes good health and reduces problem behaviors in your dog.

We all want our dog to be healthy, right?  Well, a good daily dose of exercise will definitely promote good health. Exercise builds strong bones and muscles in dogs just like it does in you! Strong bones and muscles are essential building blocks for good health.  They keep your dog protected against illness and injury.  Those long lean muscles will keep your dog flexible and mobile so he can continue to run, jump and play.  Exercise also prevents diseases that can plague aging dogs.  Cardiovascular disease, liver disease, cancer and obesity are three such diseases that can result from poor exercise habits.  Starting good habits now will last your dog a lifetime, literally. Exercise your dog today! First start with a trip to the vet for an exam to make sure your pup is healthy enough to increase physical activity. Then you can adjust the intensity and duration according to your dog’s level of fitness.

What happens when your kids get bored?  If they’re like most kids, they’ll either nag you or get into mischief! A dog will do the same if he is bored!  Destructive and problematic behaviors are often times a direct result of a bored, unexercised dog.  A dog is an inquisitive creature, by nature.  He is always up for some type of challenge whether it is physical or mental – and believe me, if you don’t provide the challenge, he’ll create his own.  Your dog’s predatory instincts demand that he explore the world in which he lives.  A nice long walk or romp at the dog park will fulfill those demands. Say good bye to problem behaviors such as jumping on people, chewing your favorite shoes and even aggressive behavior.  Again, poor behaviors are often masking a deeper issue and we can often point to boredom and lack of exercise. Exercising is imperative to keep your dog healthy and quite frankly, out of trouble. When exercising in the heat always take precautions and look for these signs of your pet overheating.

Remember to be safe, healthy and have a happy Summer!

Next Article: Invisible Fencing Can Keep Your Pets Safe

5 Ways to Ease Pet Arthritis in the Winter

“Them bones, them bones…”

If you’re experiencing extended wintery weather like we are in North Texas this year, your pet’s arthritis may be causing more pain than usual. Just as with human arthritis, doctors do not know why the cold causes more pain.

Osteoarthritis appears as a pet gets older, the cartilage in the joints erodes and the bones come in contact with each other. The joints most likely to be affected are the weight bearing joints: those in the pelvis, knees, ankles and spine. Arthritis is a progressive disease without a cure, but often some of the pain can be alleviated. Treatment plans often include a healthy, reduced-calorie diet, therapeutic exercise, massage, and anti-inflammatory medications and/or supplements.

  • One of the best things you can do for your dog is to make sure you have him or her on a weight maintenance diet, since extra weight places a lot of extra pressure on the already stressed joints.
  • Gentle exercise can be helpful, such as short walks. Dog gyms or dog activity centers are opening up around the country.   Check the internet to look for ones in your area. Some have pet indoor swimming pools. This is great exercise for arthritic pets since it takes pressure off the joints.
  • There are some medications that may help your dog, depending on the severity of the arthritis. Your veterinarian can prescribe an anti-inflammatory or corticosteroid drugs to reduce inflammation. Dietary supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate can also provide pain relief.
  • Keeping your dog comfortable and warm by providing your dog with a well-padded bed in a warm indoor location or placing a heated blanket (make sure it’s pet safe) in his bed can make all the difference in his outlook. Clothing can also help. Wrap your dog in a specially designed dog sweater, or alter one of your old sweaters or sweatshirts to fit your dog.
  • Ask your vet about massage and alternative medicine.

Take good care of your pet’s bones and joints in cold weather, and make him/her happy.

Arthritis in Winter

Winter Fun!

Next Article: 5 Ways to Alieviate Loud Noise Anxiety

5 Safety Tips For Pets in Winter

Here in Texas we know that we are never far from the sun. But this year, Old Man Winter seems determined to stick around a lot longer than usual. So here are some things to keep in mind for pets in winter.

  • Animals are just as vulnerable to the effects of Hypothermia as humans are. If you have an outdoor dog or a roaming cat, it would be better to keep them indoors or in the garage during these sub-zero nights.
  • Speaking of garages, be aware of these two things: anti-freeze and carbon monoxide. If you have a car that needs anti-freeze in the winter, you must know that there are elements of anti-freeze that are lethal for pets. Wipe up all spills, whether in the garage or out on the driveway, and keep pets away from the car when you are adding the anti-freeze. If you warm up your car in the morning before going to work, make sure you do that with the garage door open or with the car in the driveway. Before you drive off, make sure your pets are not lingering around the car to keep warm. Some cats even may get into the engine, so look there, too.
  • The salt solution used to prep the streets and the salt/sand mixture you may use around your front porch and driveway are not good for your pets either. Wash their paws when they come indoors if they have been exposed to salt.
  • Rat and mouse poisons are used more frequently in winter, so be certain that these are placed far from your pets.
  • You can get booties and sweaters to keep your pets warm outside while you look forward to the sunshine of Spring!
pets in winter

Traci Easter’s furkid Pink enjoying the snow.

For more information about pets in winter go to 5 Deadliest Outdoor Dangers for Pets this Winter

Next Article: 5 Ways to Ease Pet Arthritis in the Winter

Exercising your pets? It depends…

Do you exercise on a regular basis? If you do, way to go! Physical fitness is essential for a long and healthy life, the same goes for exercising your pets. Even cats need exercise, especially now that obesity in domestic cats and dogs is on the rise. In a 2010 study on canine obesity, only 35% of dogs were considered to be “normal” weight. Of the remainder, 5% were underweight and a full 60% were classified as overweight or obese. The numbers for cats and humans are similar.” See the remarkable story of Skinny the 42 lb cat who lost… (more)

Exercising pets
It is a common misconception that since many animals are built to run, they can jump right into it. However, just like us, dogs and cats need to work up to being fit, where to start depends on fitness level. Before exercising your pets, take a trip to the vet where body condition and overall health will be assessed. Getting a medical OK can rule out hidden underlying conditions that may cause problems later. For instance, pets suffer from arthritis, they have joint and muscle aches just like humans. Plus, if they carry extra weight, like the 60% of the subjects in that study, it puts additional strain on their joints. Unfortunately, animals are very good at hiding pain and discomfort, it’s a survival instinct. So even a short run with stiff muscles may be too much but Fido can’t verbalize that. Get a medical check up then find an exercise routine that fits your level starting slowly and advancing with improvement.

Hiking is a popular exercise people do with their dogs. It’s a fabulous way for both of you to stay in shape but there are some things to consider before setting off in that direction with your pup:

With cooler weather on it’s way, you will be enjoying the outdoors exercising your pets. Let’s make the most of it for everyone’s benefit!

Next Article: 5 Safety Tips For Pets in Winter

FIV in cats, do you own an FIV+ cat?

My FIV+ kitty Thomas

My rescue kitty Thomas

I adopted my FIV positive cat named Thomas in 2008 when he became an orphan after the death of his owner. Thomas’ veterinarian agreed to take him in and find him a forever home. Or at least a foster in the mean time. Being an adult cat with Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, finding him a home was going to be a challenge. Many FIV+ cats in this type of predicament are euthanized. Caring for an immune deficient cat involves a little more time and money than caring for a healthy cat. I’ve learned a lot about FIV in cats along the way.

So what symptoms does an FIV+ cat have? Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine has an article which thoroughly covers the feline immunodeficiency virus:  “An infected cat’s health may deteriorate progressively or be characterized by recurrent illness interspersed with periods of relative health. Sometimes not appearing for years after infection, signs of immunodeficiency can appear anywhere throughout the body…”

Symptoms of FIV in cats (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus):

  • Diverse symptoms owing to the decreased ability to develop a normal immune response. Associated immunodeficiencies cannot be distinguished clinically from feline leukemia virus (FeLV)
  • Recurrent minor illnesses, especially with upper respiratory and gastrointestinal signs
  • Mild to moderately enlarged lymph nodes
  • Inflammation of the gums of the mouth and/or the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth is seen in 25 percent to 50 percent of cases
  • Upper respiratory tract disease is seen in 30 percent of cases – inflammation of the nose; inflammation of the moist tissues of the eye; inflammation of the cornea (the clear part of the eye, located in the front of the eyeball); often associated with feline herpes virus and calicivirus infections
  • Eye disease – inflammation of the front part of the eye, including the iris; disease of the eye in which the pressure within the eye is increased (glaucoma)
  • Long-term (chronic) kidney insufficiency (see more)

Next Article :Exercising Your Pets