Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Night Before Christmas.

Hi my friends, here is my contribution to Christmas:
'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a kitty was moving, not even to catch a mouse;
The litter boxes were cleaned with care,
In hopes that the new kitten soon would be there;
The older cats were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of tuna and catnip danced in their heads;
And mamma in her chair, and I in her lap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a purring,
I sprang from the lap to see what was occurring.
Away to the window I pounced via the hall,
Tore down the curtains and threw up a hairball.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day do the intruders below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear there,
But a miniature litter box, and eight tiny creatures,
With all of them , so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment they must have a tick.
More rapid than eagles one after one, the kittens followed,
And they meowed, and hissed, and called, almost hollowed;
"Now, Kitty! now, Tabby! now, Calvin and Hobbes!
On Sammy! on Tommy! on Jerry and Dobbs!
To the top of the cat tree and down the hall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"
As little kittens that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with the dog, jumped to the sky,
So up the stairs the kittens they flew,
With the basket full of toys, and the catnip too.
And then, a tiny meowing I heard from a mitten,
The prancing and pawing of yet another little kitten.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Out of the mitten came another kitten weighing less than a pound.
He had stripes all over his fur, from his tail to his nose,
And his whiskers so pretty up in the air they rose;
A bundle of joy he was pouncing around,
And he looked like a tiger even though he was less than a pound.
His eyes - how they twinkled! his meow so tiny!
His jowls were round, his nose was shiny!
His cute little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And his whiskers were as white as the snow;
The tail of a rat he held tight in this mouth,
And he pranced around the entire house;
He was a tabby and had a little round belly,
That shook, when he pounced like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly young cat,
And I laughed when I saw him, because he was so fat.
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know there was another cat in my bed;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to work,
And used the litter box; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his paw aside of my nose,
And giving me a swat, up the cat tree he rose;
He sprang to the cupboard, to his litter mates he gave a hiss,
And away they all pounced in a big tizz.
But I heard him meow, as he drove them out of sight,
To all of my friends and their families: May you all have a wonderful Christmas!
Love and Peace,

Monday, December 6, 2010

Canine Degenerative Myelopathy part two

Hi my friends!

As promised, here is part two of my blog on Canine Degenerative Myelopathy where I go more into details about the symptoms, treatments, and care of the disease.

CDM or Canine Degenerative Myelopathy is a progressive disease of the spinal cord. The onset is usually between the ages of 7 and 14. The disease effects the hind limbs of older dogs with the result of paralysis. It is a chronic and progressive illness.

When the body's immune system attacks the myelin sheath around the neurons of the spinal cord, the communication between the lower body and the brain is disrupted. This results in a paralysis of the hind limbs. So far there are 79 breeds of dogs that carry the mutated gene. Some of the breeds affected are: German Shepperds, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Boxers, Standard Poodles, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, both breads of Welsh Corgis, French Bulldogs, Kerry Blue Terriers, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Collies, Irish Setters, and also mixes that are derived from those breeds. There is a test that checks for the mutated gene. The test consists of a cheek swab. Not every dog that carries the gene will show symptoms. Many dogs that have been tested positive for the genetic mutation are symptom free.

The symptoms of CDM are as follows:

  • muscle weakness
  • muscle loss
  • lack of coordination
  • dragging of one or both rear paws
  • worn down nails on the affected paws due to dragging
  • paralysis
  • incontinence

      CDM is a non-reversible and progressive disease. There are no known treatments that can cure or stop the disease. However, with good supportive care, physical therapy, and dietary supplementation, the progression of the disease can be slowed down.

      Lets start by talking about supportive care. An important part of supportive care is to keep your pooch free of pressure sores and skin ulcers. Dogs with muscle weakness or paralysis do not turn on their own, thus spend lots of time on one side of their body. This can result in pressure sores. You can avoid these sores by providing well padded bedding and also by turning your pooch from one side to the other frequently. By frequently I mean once every hour or two. When turning your dog, please never pull him or her up by the tail.

      Since many dogs with CDM become incontinent, skin ulcers can appear in areas that are soiled with urine or feces. It is important to keep areas clean. When you put your dog in diapers, make sure to check and change the diapers frequently. Never leave your dog in a soiled diaper. You can also ask your veterinarian to show you how to express the bladder and then do it several times during the day and night.

      There are many options that can be used to help your dog ambulate. There are slings that support the hind legs, wheel carts that are measured to fit your dog, and inflatable rubber peanuts in various sizes that can hold up your pooch while eating. When you place your dog in any of the devices, please never lift him or her up by the tail. A good point is also to keep your dog from being overweight. It is much easier on the dog's front legs and also on your back. There is a very good website that offers many of the items such as slings, beds, wheelchairs, and most anything that can make your and your pet's life easier. The link to it is:

      There are no known medications that can cure CDM but some people have reported very good results in slowing the progress of the disease down with dietary supplements. One of them is Aminocaproic Acid which inhibits the break down of the myelin sheath. Another one is Acetylcysteine which is a very strong antioxidant. Vitamin E, B, and C as well as Omega 3 Fatty Acids are also known to slow down the disease. Please contact your veterinarian for the correct dosage according to the body weight of your dog. Some veterinarians give steroids but steroids come with many side effects and can also lead to diabetes. In recent years there have been more and more promising news with the use of Acupuncture and Acupressure.

      Even though Canine Degenerative Myelopathy is a non reversible and progressive disease, there are ways to manage and slow down the progress of the disease. I hope I was helpful in showing you some of these ways.

      Love and Peace,


      Sunday, December 5, 2010

      Mandy's story

      Hi my friends!

      Today I would like to share with you the story about beautiful Mandy, a sweet pooch who is fighting a courageous battle with canine myelopathy. The story is told by her kind human, Mary.

      Our Spunky Hairball Mandy

      When we moved into our house it was a joyous time. Our two boys were so excited to move from our small townhouse into a big house with a fenced in yard to run and play in. At that time we had two dogs, Samantha and Molly. But within eight months of moving into our new home, tragically both dogs had passed away. We were devastated! Life was so empty without our cherished pets.

      We soon adopted a little hairball Border Collie/Sheltie mix and named her Mandy. The first few weeks she slept in a box with a blanket by our bed. I slept with my arm hanging over the bed into the box to help her adjust to her new home and let her know she was not alone. Life began to get lively! Being that Mandy was part Border Collie, she would run after the boys nipping their ankles to get them to behave. She was full of spunk and the boys loved it.

      Through the years she had several serious illnesses and we are so grateful she made it through with the help of our veterinarian. One illness we thought we were losing her. She wouldn't leave the bathroom, so I slept on the floor with her, praying she would pull through. She is a fighter and we were so happy that the next day she was a little better and several days after that, she was back to her loving self.

      Mandy is now 14 years old but still a big part of our life. Around five months ago she started having very scary and strange symptoms. Her eyes were moving rapidly as if she was speed reading. She had problems standing and she stopped eating. It was very scary. We contacted our veterinarian and after seeing her he said she had Vascular Vertigo. With several prescriptions and a special diet she started to recover.

      Just when we thought the worst was over, Mandy started new scary symptoms. She started falling over. Her legs would give out and her head had tremors. We drove to the veterinarian's office. We were sure this was the last ride Mandy would take in the car. We thought she would not be coming home with us. I sat in the back of the car trying to keep Mandy comfortable as Randy, my husband, drove the car sobbing all the way.

      When we got to the office, our vet came out and sat on the floor next to Mandy in the waiting room. He examined her as we watched his face very closely as if maybe we could read his thoughts through his face, looking for some hope. He looked up at us as we sat on the bench sobbing and the tears began to well up in his eyes. The seconds seemed to be hours till the exam was over. He began to explain that Mandy had Degenerative Myelopathy and explained that it's a disease of the spinal cord. He said there is no cure and will continue to progress but with steroids maybe we can slow it down a little. He said she is not in pain and if we are willing to help her through her days he does not feel euthanizing her is necessary. We were scared with the diagnosis but relieved that we had more time with her.

      We have a wonderful veterinarian. We have known him for 31 years and put our total trust in him. Mandy has good days and bad days. She can no longer go up or down stairs. At night time my husband and I take turns carrying her upstairs too bed. Some days she is able to take a slow walk around the house and other days she stays next to us in the family room. We don't know how much time we have with her. So we make sure to give her lots of hugs and kisses. She has given us so much love. So we will do whatever it takes to make her comfortable and the rest of her life filled with love. We are not ready to say goodbye to our spunky hairball.

      Wow, that is a beautiful story. Thank you so much Mary for sharing it with us. I hope that Mandy has many, many, many more good days and years to come.

      Well my friends, stay tuned for part two of this blog where I go a little more into detail about Canine Degenerative Myelopathy. I will talk about the symptoms, treatment, and care of the disease.

      Love and Peace,


      Saturday, November 27, 2010

      Pet First Aid

      Hi my friends,

      I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving with lots of good food. And speaking of good food, what would you do if your pet ate something that was not good for him or her? And what would you do if your cat had a seizure or your dog fell down the stairs and started limping? These are certainly scary thoughts, but panic is contraindicated in these situations. Having a first aid kit and some basic knowledge of pet first aid care can prepare you for a pet medical emergency and might save your pet's life.

      Let me start out by saying that any first aid administered to your pet should be followed by immediate veterinary care. First aid care is not a substitute for veterinary care but it may save your pet's life until your pet receives veterinary treatment. So here are the important things you need to know about pet first aid. We can break it down into two parts, supplies and procedures.

      Lets start with the supplies. Every first aid kit should have certain supplies in it. Most human kits have some of the same supplies. So that is where you can get them to stock up your pet's kit.

      Since I am a big fan of lists, I will give you a list of what should be in your pet first aid kit.

      Phone numbers: Make a list with important phone numbers of your regular veterinarian, a pet emergency clinic in your area, and the Animal Poison Control Center.

      Gauze Pads: You need gauze pads to cover wounds.

      Gauze Wraps: Gauze wraps can be used as a muzzle, to secure the gauze pads, and as a sling to keep a limb in place.

      Small towel: It can be used as a muzzle, protect wounds, calm your pet, and control bleeding.

      Adhesive tape: You need that to secure gauze wraps.

      Milk of Magnesia: This is used in absorbing poisonous substances from the system. Ask your veterinarian for the proper dosage.

      Hydrogen Peroxide: This is used when you want to induce vomiting. Once upon a time they sold Syrup of Ipecac at drugstores which works very well with inducing vomiting but it soon became the drug of choice for people suffering from bulimia and it is now no longer available over the counter. Again, ask your veterinarian on the proper amount for the body weight of your pet.
      Tweezers: You use them to remove splinters or foreign objects.
      Scissors: Use them to cut gauze, tape, and matted fur.
      Antiseptic wash and wipes: To clean wounds. It is best to use a non-stinging antiseptic such as chlorhexidine or betadine.
      Styptic pencil: You can use a styptic pencil or styptic powder to stop minor bleedings.

      Thermometer: It is used rectally. Never put a thermometer in your pet's mouth. The normal
      body temperature of a cat is 101.5 F and of a dog is 102 F.

      Large syringe without a needle: You can use it to flush wounds or to give oral treatments.

      Muzzle: Even if your pet is a sweetheart, when in pain or in shock, the sweetest pet can be unpredictable and bite out of fear. You can also use a towel or a necktie but make sure you leave an opening for the nose so your pet can breath. Importantly, do not use a muzzle if your pet is vomiting.

      Leash: You need that to keep your pet from taking off on you. Even if your dog usually follows you without a leash, in an emergency situation your dog might take off.

      Stretcher: That can be anything from a board, a floor mat, a door, to a blanket, depending on the size of your pet. It has to be something that you can use to carry your pet to the car if your pet is immobilized.

      Here are a few guide lines on how to handle an injured pet before we go on to the basic procedures of pet first aid. A pet with an injury or pain can experience a lot of fear and thus can be unpredictable. Even though your first instinct is to hug your pet in order to calm it down, you should never put your face close to the mouth. If necessary, apply a muzzle to your pet's mouth and leave the nose uncovered so your pet can breath. Remember to never apply a muzzle if your pet is vomiting. It is best to work in a calm and gentle manner. If your pet shows signs of agitation, stop whatever you are doing and stay calm. Contact your veterinarian, an emergency clinic, or the Animal Poison Control Center as soon as possible. If you are doing any first aid procedures, have someone else do the phone calls while you are helping your pet. First aid procedures are not a substitute for veterinary care. So please, follow up with a visit to your vet or during an emergency, visit the nearest pet emergency clinic. When transporting your pet to a clinic or veterinarian, do so in a calm and gentle manner. It is best to transport a pet in a confined space, such as a carrier. It is a good idea to always have a copy of your pet's medical records on hand. If you have to go to an emergency clinic or a veterinarian on call, you can bring the copy of the records along. This way the treating veterinarian knows about the pet's medical history and any lab work or procedures that have been done recently.

      So here are some of the most common emergency situations and a description of basic first aid procedures you can perform to help your pet in distress.

      Poison and toxins: Call the Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435 immediately or have someone call while you are assisting your pet. When giving information to the APCC know the specifics regarding your pet such as breed, sex, age, weight, symptoms, substance ingested, amount, and length of time ago. Also collect any discarded material such as vomit, feces, or urine. Read the label of the container the toxin was in. Often they tell you what to do about superficial contact or what to do if swallowed. Bring your pet to the nearest pet emergency clinic or your local veterinarian immediately.

      Seizures: Keep your pet away from any objects that can injure it but do not restrain your pet. Most importantly, keep your fingers away from the mouth. Time the seizures. The average seizure lasts between two and three minutes. Any seizure over five to seven minutes is of great concern. If a seizure lasts longer than five minutes, bring your pet to the nearest emergency clinic immediately. After a shorter seizure, keep your pet in a quiet, warm, and comfortable place to sleep it off. Follow up with a visit to your veterinarian.

      Fractures: Put a muzzle on your pet because fractures can be painful and a pet in distress can be unpredictable. Place your pet on a flat surface that you can also use for transport to the veterinarian. Make sure you secure your pet to the surface when transporting so it doesn't fall off. You can try to splint the broken limb but only if you can get your pet to see a veterinarian right away. The fracture needs to be properly aligned by a veterinarian or otherwise it will not heal correctly and your pet will end up limping. If it is a compound fracture (part of the bone exposed), do not push the bone back in. Cover it up with a gauze pad to keep it clean and seek veterinary care as soon as possible.

      Bleeding (external): Put a muzzle on your pet. Apply several gauze pads with moderate pressure to the wound for at least three minutes. If the bleeding stops, apply a new gauze pad and secure with a gauze wrap and medical adhesive tape. If the bleeding is severe and on a limb, you can also apply a tourniquet between the body and the wound. You can use a necktie for this. A tourniquet should be loosened for about 30 seconds every 15 to 20 minutes. It is important to mark down the time that you applied the tourniquet and also the times that you loosened it because a tourniquet should not be kept longer than two hours. When applying a tourniquet, bring your pet to the nearest emergency clinic immediately.

      Bleeding (internal): Be familiar with the symptoms of internal bleeding. The symptoms are: bleeding from the nose, mouth, or rectum. Bloody cough or blood in urine. Also pale gums, rapid pulse and/or collapse. If you suspect your pet having an internal bleeding, keep it quite, warm and bring it to the nearest emergency clinic immediately.

      Burns: Again, put a muzzle on your pet because burns can be very painful and agitating to your pet. A chemical burn can be flushed with water. To a severe burn, you can apply a compress soaked in ice water for several minutes. After several minutes soak the compress again and apply anew. When transporting your pet to the veterinarian, cover the burn area with sterile gauze to keep it clean. Seek veterinarian care as soon as possible.

      Chocking: Know the signs of chocking. Your pet might have difficulty breathing or make chocking sounds. It might also paw at the mouth constantly. The tongue and lips can show a blueish tinge. Try to look into the mouth by pulling the tongue towards the front of the mouth. If you see the obstruction, use tweezers or pliers to remove it and be careful not to stuff it down further. If you cannot remove the obstruction, place your pet on it's side and apply quick and firm pressure in the rip cage area. Use good judgement on the amount of pressure according to the size of your pet. If you are still unsuccessful, transport your pet to the nearest emergency clinic immediately.

      Heat stroke: The most important rule of pet companionship is: Never leave your pet in a car on a hot day. A car can get very hot in a very short time and it only takes a few minutes for your pet to become overheated. Heat stroke can be a life threatening situation. Bring your pet out of the sun and to a shaded area. Put a cold, wet towel around your pet's neck and head while leaving the nose free to breath. Re-wet towel every few minutes. You can also gently pour water over the abdomen and between the hind leg area. Bring your pet to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

      Shock: The symptoms of shock are as follows: weak pulse, shallow breathing, nervousness, and dazed eyes. If your pet shows any or all of these signs, keep your pet confined to a quite and warm place such as a pet carrier. The head should be level with the rest of the body. Seek veterinary care at the nearest pet emergency clinic immediately.

      Not breathing: I know it is hard but try to remain clam. Call your veterinarian over the speaker phone or have someone else call while you are attending to your pet. Grasp your pet's tongue and pull forward in order to check for foreign objects. If the trachea is clear, close the mouth and hold it close while you breath into the nose until you see the chest rise. Repeat the mouth to nose breathing every four to five seconds until your pet breathes on its own or your pet is seen at the emergency clinic.

      No heart beat: Again, try to remain clam and call your vet over the speaker phone or have someone else call while you are helping your pet. Place your pet on its side on top of a firm surface. Secure an airway and begin rescue breathing as described above. After four to five breath, start chest compressions. The heart is located in the lower half of the chest on the left side, behind the elbow of the front leg. This is the area where you apply the compressions. You do that, on a medium or large size dog, by placing one hand underneath the chest and the other hand above the chest and compress both hands at the same time. On a cat or small size dog, you have to cradle your hand around the chest and squeeze the chest between the thumb and fingers. A compression consists of a quick push down and a quick release. Use good judgement of the amount of pressure to use according to the size of the pet. Since cats and dogs have a more rapid heart beat than people, you should do about 100 compressions per minute. It is best to do this procedure with two people since you have to alternate between breathing and chest compressions. Give five chest compressions and on the 5th release, give one breath. When the chest goes down after the breath, start with compressions again. Continue until the heartbeat is restored and your pet breathes on its own or until you arrive at the emergency clinic and the veterinary takes over.

      As you can see, with the right supplies and some basic knowledge of pet first aid, emergency situations can be handled calmly and with confidence. And most importantly, remember that pet first aid can save your pet's life but is not a substitute for veterinary care.

      So, stay safe my friends,


      Thursday, November 18, 2010

      Tis the season.

      Hi my friends!

      This is the season for good food and lovely decorations. People decorate their homes with a tree, tinsel and pretty plants. They serve good meals, lots of cookies, and festive drinks, and also offer their canine and feline friends a taste of it, not realizing that it can be a poison to them. Today I would like to tell you about some of the things that can be a hazard to your best friend.

      Let me start out by saying that candles and furry creatures don't mix. Many of bushy tails have caught on fire just by strolling past a lit candle. As festive it is to have real candles on the Christmas tree, just imagine the surprise when Ms. Kitty gets the urge to climb up the tree. Next thing you know, the fire department is knocking on your door and Christmas is over.

      Speaking of Christmas trees, many of us canines and felines are intrigued by tinsel and shiny ornaments. If ingested, tinsel can cause an intestinal blockage in the same way as ribbons and rubber bands can. So, unless you want to spend an arm and a leg on a surgery to remove the blockage, keep those things away from your furry friends.

      With the holidays comes good food, lots of cookies, and eggnog. But be aware, some foods can be poisonous to your pet. Here are some of the most important foods that should not be given to pets.

      Chocolate: The theobromine in chocolate can cause seizures, coma and death in both, canines and felines.

      Grapes and Raisins: They can cause severe kidney as well as gastrointestinal problems in dogs and cats.

      Garlic and Onions: The sulfoxides and disulfides damage the Red Blood Cells and cause anemia in dogs and cats.

      Nuts: Nuts have a high fat content and can lead to pancreatitis as well as gastrointestinal problems and muscle tremors especially in dogs.

      Mushrooms: They can effect the kidneys, liver, and brain. If ingested in large amounts, mushrooms can cause shock symptoms and death. You should make sure there are no wild mushrooms growing in the back yard when Fido roams the yard.

      Tomatoes: The oxalates in tomatoes cause gastrointestinal problems, seizures, and tremors mostly in cats.

      Raw Potatoes: They have oxalates as well and cause the same problems in both, cats and dogs.

      Avocado: Very dangerous to both, canine and feline. They can cause fluids to build up in the chest and heart and can lead to acute heart failure.

      Xylitol: This is found in all sugar free products such as gum, candy, and some cookies. It is highly toxic to cats and dogs. When ingested, it causes the insulin in the body to drop to a very dangerous level and thus, lead to liver failure, brain damage, and death. Just 3 grams of Xylitol ingested by a 65 lb. dog can cause the insulin level to drop severely within 15 to 30 minutes and the damage is not reversible.

      Caffeine and Alcohol: Both can be toxic to the liver and brain and can cause death in dogs and cats.

      So please, keep this in mind when you share foods with your furry friends. Also be careful what you drop on the floor because most of us canines are like four legged vacuum cleaners. What's on the floor, is legally ours. That also goes for medications that you accidentally drop on the floor. Some human medications such as Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen, Decongestants, Cold Medicines, and Antidepressants can cause severe problems in both, canines and felines.

      Another problem is tobacco. Be very careful not to leave cigarettes or cigarette buds on the table. Tobacco can cause severe damage to the nervous system. Only 15 cigarettes ingested orally by a human will lead to death. You can imagine how little it would take to do the same in a small cat or dog.

      Common household products can be another hazard to us. Antifreeze, paint thinner, and drain cleaner when ingested, cause kidney and liver failure as well as neurological damage. Also be aware that toilet cleaner and pool and hot tub cleaners can cause problems with canines that like to drink out of the pool or the toilet.

      Fertilizers and cocoa mulch not only cause gastrointestinal problems but can also lead to seizures, kidney failure, and death. You have to be especially careful with the cocoa mulch because it smells good to dogs. The same goes for rodent poison. It smells good so the rodents eat it but unfortunately, the poison smells good to cats and dogs as well. It causes gastrointestinal problems, neurological problems, and can lead to seizures and death when untreated. Ingesting a poisoned rodent can cause the same problems in a milder form.

      There are also many plants that can cause mild to severe reactions in pets. Here is a long list of plants that should not be ingested by your furry friend. If you like to enjoy any of these plants, keep them out of reach, away from Fido and Ms. Kitty.

      Air plant, Aloe vera, Alocasia, Amanita, Amaryllis, American yew, Apple seeds, Arum lily, Autumn crocus, Australian flame tree, Apricot pits, Asparagus fern, Azalea

      Baby's breath, Balsam pear, Baneberry, Bayonet, Beech, Belladonna, Bird of paradise, Bishop's weed, Black laurel, Black locust, Bloodroot, Bluebonnet, Blue-green algae, Boxwood, Bracken fern, Broad beans, Broomcorn grass, Buckeye, Buckthorn, Buddhist pine, Bulb flowers, Burdock, Burning bush, Buttercup

      Cacao, Cactus, Caladium, Calla lily, Camel bush, Candelabra tree, Cardinal, Castor bean, Ceriman, Chalice vine, Cherry, Chinaberry tree, Chinese evergreen, Christmas rose, Chrysanthemum, Cineria, Clematis, Cocklebur, Coffee bean, Coral plant, Cordatum, Coriaria, Coriander, Corncockle, Cornstalk plant, Corydalis, Cotton bush, Cowslip, Coyotillo, Crocus, Croton, Crown of thorns, Cutleaf, Cycads, Cyclamen

      Daffodil, Daphne, Datura, Deadly amanita, Deadly nightshade, Death camus, Decentrea, Delphinium, Devil's ivy, Dieffenbachia, Drachaena palm, Dragon tree, Dumb cane, Dutchman's breeches

      Easter lily, Eggplant, Elaine, Elderberry, Elephant's ear, Emerald feather, English ivy, English yew, Ergot, Eucalyptus, Euonymus, Evergreen

      Ferns, False helleborne, False henbane, Felt plant, Fiddle leaf fig, Firethorn, Flame tree, Flax, Florida beauty, Four o'clock, Foxglove

      Geranium, German ivy, Giant dumb cane, Glacier ivy, Ghostweed, Glottidium, Golden chain, Golden glow, Golden pothos, Gopher purge, Ground cherry

      Heartland philodendron, Heliotrope, Hellebore, Hemlock, Henbane, Holly, Honeysuckle, Horse bean, Horse brush, Horse chestnut, Horsetail, Hurricane plant, Hyacinth, Hydrangea

      Indian licorice, Indian rubber plant, Indian tobacco, Indian turnip, Inkberry, Iris, Ivy

      Jack in the pulpit, Janet Craig dracaena, Japanese show lily, Jasmine, Java bean, Jerusalem cherry, Jessamine, Jimsonweed, Jonquil, Jungle trumpets, Juniper

      Kalanchoe, Kentucky coffee tree

      Lacy tree philodendron, Lantana, Larkspur, Laurel, Leucotho, Lily, Lily spider, Lily of the valley, Lima bean, Lobelia, Locoweed, Lords and ladies, Lupine

      Madagascar dragon tree, Malanga, Mandrake, Marble tree, Marigold, Marijuana, Maternity plant, Mayapple, Meadow saffron, Mescal bean, Mexican breadfruit, Mexican poppy, Milk vetch, Milkweed, Mistletoe, Mock orange, Monkshood, Moonseed, Morning glory, Mother in law's tongue, Mountain laurel, Mushrooms

      Narcissus, Navy bean, Needlepoint ivy, Nephytis, Nettles, Nightshade

      Oak, Orleander, Onion, Oriental lily

      Panda plant, Parsley, Peacy lily, Peach pits, Peires, Pencil tree, Peony, Periwinkle, Philodendron, Pimpernel, Pigweed, Pileweed, Plumosa fern, Poinciana, Poinsettia, Poison hemlock, Poison ivy, Poison oak, Pokeweed, Poppy, Potato, Pothos, Precatory, Primrose, Privet, Pyracantha

      Rain tree, Ranuculus, Rape, Rattlebox, Rattlebush, Red emerald, Red maple, Red princess, Rhododendron, Rhubarb, Ribbon plant, Rosary peas, Rubber plant

      Saddle leaf philodendron, Sago palm, Sandbox tree, Satin pothos, Scarlet runner, Schefflera, Scotch broom, Silver pothos, Skunk cabbage, Snowdrop, Snow on the mountain, Sorghum grass, Sorrel, Spindle tree, Spurges, Staggerweed, Star of Bethlehem, String of pearls, Striped dracaena, Sudan grass, Sweetheart ivy, Sweet pea

      Tansy mustard, Tansy ragwort, Tiger lily, Tobacco, Tomato plant, Thornapple, Tree philodendron, Tropic snow dieffenbachia, Tulip, Tung tree

      Vetch, Virginia bower, Virginia creeper

      Water hemlock, Weeping fig, Wattle, White cedar, Wild call, Wisteria

      Yam bean, Yews, Yellow jasmine

      Oh boy, that sure was a long list. I think my human deserves some credit for typing it all for me. If you think your pet ingested any of these potentially poisonous substances, please seek veterinary care immediately or call the National Animal Poison Control Center's 24 hour hotline at 1-888-426-4435. You should also be familiar with the symptoms of poisoning. Detecting the signs of poisoning can save your pets life. Here is a list of the symptoms you should look out for:

      • mouth irritation
      • skin rash
      • lethargy
      • vomiting
      • diarrhea
      • lack of appetite
      • drooling
      • staggering
      • hallucinations causing over-reaction to sound or light
      • breathing difficulty
      • bleeding disorders
      • muscle tremor and rigidity
      • seizure
      • heart failure
      • kidney or liver problems
      • coma and death

      If you find any or all of these signs, please seek help as soon as possible. If you would like to have more information on this subject, please visit the National Animal Poison Control Center website at .

      Well my friends, by keeping your furry friends save and away from any potentially poisonous substances, the holiday season can be a wonderful time of the year for you and your pets. So stay save and enjoy.

      Love and Peace,


      Wednesday, November 3, 2010

      Pesky Fleas

      Hello everybody!
      Oh boy, having a mad itch sure isn't fun. Often those mad itches are caused by fleas. Fleas are those small dark brown insects with very strong hind legs that enable them to jump from host to host. Since they prefer temperatures of 50 to 80 degrees F, we have to deal with them most of the year round. Fleas can cause minor to severe reactions in pets but with good prevention your pet can be protected against those nasty creatures.
      As always, if you are in doubt about the cause of your pet's itch, consult a veterinarian. Fleas can be easy to spot with a flea comb. Usually they hang out on parts of the body that are not reached easily by the pet. You can comb these areas and you will find fleas. Often you will see little black specs that look like pepper. That is the feces of the fleas also known as flea dirt. You can pick it up and put it on a moist tissue. Within a few seconds, it dissolves and looks like a blood stain. When you see that, you can be sure that there are fleas present.
      So, now you know that your pet has fleas, the next step is to get rid of those pesky creatures and also prevent them from coming back because they can cause mild to severe problems in pets. Some pets just itch and scratch the area where they have been bitten. This can result in hair loss and scabs. In some pets, it takes only one flea bite and they show allergic reactions to it and scratch themselves continuously. In severe cases of flea infestation, pets can become anemic and weak since the fleas feed on the host's blood. In a way the fleas are like miniature vampires.
      To keep those little vamps from sucking your pet dry, you have to get rid of them and keep them from coming back. There are many ways to do this and it can be very confusing. So, let me help you out with this by explaining the different ingredients of some of the products and what they do.
      Amitraz: This is an insecticide that is used in tick collars. It kills ticks but not fleas and it is not absorbed into the body. It has to be used in combination with other flea products.
      Etofenprox: Also an insecticide, is found in Bio Spot for cats and is used topically. This is a pyrethroid which is a longer-lasting, synthetic relative of natural pyrethrins. It kills and repels ticks, fleas, lice, and mosquitoes. It is labeled safe to use on cats.
      Fipronil: This is an insecticide found in Frontline and Frontline Plus. It blocks the passage of chlorine through cells in the insect's nervous system, causing paralysis of the insect. It collects in the oil glands of the skin and is then slowly released. It is water resistant and protects against ticks and adult fleas. Can be used on cats and dogs.
      Imidacloprid: This is an insecticide found in K9 Advantix and Advantage. It interferes with the nerve conduction system of insects by blocking the insects' nerve receptors. It kills fleas but not ticks and is not water resistant. Advantage can be used in dogs and cats. K9 Advantix is only used in dogs.
      Linalool: This is an insecticide found in many carpet powders designed to control fleas and ticks. It is a plant-derived and environmentally safe extract that affects the insect's nervous system.
      Permethrin: Found in K9 Advantix, Bio Spot for dogs and Bio Spot foggers. It is related to pyrethrins and permethrins and is a synthitic insecticide that provides a broader and longer killing action than natural pyrethrins. Used in flea and tick control products for dogs, it also kills and repels other insects such as lice and mosquitoes. It is also in many area treatments such as foggers and sprays. It should NOT be used on cats.
      Pyrethrins: This is the active ingredient of Natural Bio Spot foggers. It is a natural plant extract from the chrysanthemum flower and acts as an insecticide. It provides quick flea and tick killing action with a wide margin of safety and is used as an area treatment.
      Spinosad: This is found in Rx Comfortis and is derived from a naturally occurring bacterium in the soil. When the flea is exposed to this fast acting insecticide, it over-stimulates the insect's nervous system, causing death. It is effective against fleas only, used orally, and safe for cats and dogs.
      Lufenuron: This is an insect development inhibitor. It is found in Program and it inhibits the production of chitin in flea larvae. Chitin is a component of an insect's outer skeleton and it is necessary for the lea to live. It can be used in dogs and cats.
      Methoprene, Nylar: These are both insect growth regulators and they can be found in Bio Spot for dogs and cats, Frontline Plus, Bio Spot foggers, and Bio Spot carpet powder. It mimics the natural juvenile hormone in insects that prevents the pupa from molting into an adult and thus breaking the biological cycle of the flea. It is used in cats and dogs as a flea control product.
      If you still don't know which product to choose, consult your veterinarian. You also have to keep in mind that when your pet has fleas and sleeps on the carpet or sofa, the fleas will also be on the carpet and the sofa and they will lay eggs and multiply. So, often you will have to use an area treatment such as a spray or a fogger to treat the carpets, furniture and pet beds as well. With the spray, you and your pet can go back to the treated area shortly after the treatment. With the foggers however, everybody has to leave the area and stay away for a while. Make sure you read the instructions on the fogger carefully. It will tell you how long you have to wait before using the area again. Also make sure to remove all small pets such as hamsters, birds, etc. from the area and cover up fish tanks with a garbage bag.
      If your pets go roaming in the back yard, use an outdoor spray that hooks up to the water hose and treat the yard as well. Since fleas lay eggs, you might have to repeat the treatment after a few weeks when the eggs are hatched.
      When choosing a flea and tick product, keep in mind your pet's individual needs and read all directions completely before using the product. Follow the directions properly. Flea and tick preventives, properly used, can be a great help in keeping your pet in the best health possible and free from that mad itch.
      As always, Love and Peace,

      Sunday, October 17, 2010

      Kitties need good home ASAP

      Hi my friends!

      I am trying to help out some very sweet kitties whose owner past away recently and who now need a new home ASAP. So, here are some pictures and description of each kitty. All of them are currently in Walnut Creek and ready for good forever homes.


      Mitzy is a delicate little lady. She is five years old, healthy, and spayed. She has been around other cats all her life and especially likes male cats. But would also be fine as an only cat. She enjoys going outside on occasions but is also fine as an indoor only kitty.


      Coco is a handsome five year old male Siamese. He is drop dead gorgeous but his left eye has lost a little color during a fight with a raccoon. Coco has always been around other cats and he tolerates them but does not play much with them. He does not like to be picked up but sits on your lap on his own terms. He loves to be brushed. A healthy kitty, neutered and with all his shots.

      The two sisters

      Two 18 months old litter mates who had all their shots, healthy, and spayed. One is very friendly and lovable and will follow you around with the goal of you rubbing her belly. She will lay on your lap and sit on a chair with you. The other is lovable and great too but does not require the same amount of attention. They both like to sleep together and play together all day long.

      Savannah and her brother

      Savannah and her look alike brother are both around five years old. They are healthy, spayed and neutered, and had all their shots. They are alone for over six months now and have become a little shy but will get better and back to their normal selves if someone spends time with them. They both are great hunters.
      Those lovely six kitties are available and looking for wonderful homes right now because their owner past away. If you are interested or know someone that is interested, please contact my human and she will get you in touch with someone in charge. Please let all your friends know and their friends as well. We don't want any homeless kitties!
      Love and Peace,

      Tuesday, October 5, 2010

      Dental Care

      Hello my friends!

      Don't you just love this beautiful weather? It brings a big smile to my face. And speaking of smiles - make sure your pearly whites are healthy and clean because dental disease is a common problem in canines and felines which can be prevented with good dental hygiene.

      Dental disease starts when plaque accumulates on teeth. Plaque is a combination of bacteria and food debris. After a while, plaque mineralizes and turns into tartar. When tartar accumulates below the gum line it causes damage to the gums and can lead to gum erosion which results in loosening of teeth. Plague starts to form at any age and can be prevented by good oral hygiene.

      The first step to good oral hygiene is to get your pets teeth and gums checked by a veterinarian. The veterinarian removes the tartar and in case of gum disease prescribes an antibiotic. After that, it is your turn to keep your pets teeth and gums healthy.

      The best way to keep gums and teeth healthy is by daily brushing. Yes, you can brush your canine's and feline's teeth! You can use a soft toothbrush for humans or buy a special pet brush at the pet store. You can also get tooth paste for pets there. Don't use human tooth paste because we don't rinse afterwards. So the tooth paste has to be eatable. For cats and small dogs you can use the finger brush.

      At first, your pet might struggle a little until the brushing becomes familiar. Try to make it a routine. You can also give a treat as a reward after the brushing. That works very well with dogs. Every morning after breakfast I go to my human and let her brush my teeth as you can see in the picture. Then, I get a treat. I love it!

      And speaking of treats, there are special dental treats and chews as well as toys designed to keep the teeth clean. Pet stores have an entire section dedicated to such items. Ask a sales person and they will gladly advice you. And don't forget to follow up with yearly check ups by the veterinarian.

      As you can see, keeping your pearly whites clean and healthy doesn't have to be a problem. There are easy ways to do this with the right tools and the right routine. So, my friends, keep brushing daily and most of all, keep smiling!

      Love and Peace,


      Monday, September 13, 2010


      Hi my peeps, I would like to tell you about a great organization in Marin county by the name of LITA.
      LITA stands for Love is the Answer and indeed, it is.

      The organization was founded in 1975 by Mae Wygant, a wonderful lady who cared deeply about the needs of elderly people. The mission of LITA is to improve the quality of life for people living in retirement homes, residential care facilities, and nursing homes by providing volunteer visitors. They offer several different programs, suited for volunteers of all age groups and including pets.

      One of the programs is called One-to-One-Friends. Here the volunteers are matched with residents of different facilities for weekly visits. Another program is called Bridging Generation where elementary and middle school classes are matched with facilities for monthly visits during the school year. There is also the LITA Families program where entire families are matched with residents for weekly visits. During the holiday season they provide the Holiday Gifts for Elders program. Volunteers collect and wrap gifts for elderly people in nursing facilities or low income housing facilities who would otherwise be forgotten during the holidays. And last but not least, there is the Pet Connection program which includes the volunteer's pets during the weekly visits.
      The Pet Connection is very important because when people move to nursing facilities, most of the times they have to leave their pets behind. The separation from their pets can be very devastating. I am proud to say, me and my human are part of this program. Every Tuesday afternoon we go to the Senior Villa in Novato where we visit five lovely ladies.

      Before we started to visit the ladies, we went to the office of LITA and my human filled out an application. I had a bath the night before and looked real sharp. Gerrda Focardi, the director of volunteers, petted me, touched my ears and paws to make sure I am not vicious, and looked me over for cleanliness. I passed the test! We were matched with the ladies from the Senior Villa and ready to go. Since then, we have been going there every Tuesday afternoon and I get very excited when my human tells me: Lets go see the ladies! And the ladies are just as excited when I visit them.
      I have a great time when I go there not just because I get a lot of treats but also because I get a lot of affection. Mio pets me a lot. She is almost 100 years young and often sings and dances. Sometimes she wears a very pretty kimono since she is from Japan and I get to sit on her lap. Omi gives me 10 treats every time. I beg for more but my human says NO. Omi is from Germany and speaks German with my human. Betty is 98 years young and is a little fragile, so I just sit next to her and let her pet me. She doesn't always remember me but we have fun anyway. Anne is in a wheelchair and doesn't move much. My human lifts me up and holds me while Anne pets me. She is really happy to see me. The other Anne can move a bit more and she pets me and gives me treats. All the ladies there used to have dogs of their own and miss them very much. When they see me, it reminds them of their dogs and they feel happy.

      I am so glad that there is an organization like LITA and so many people that volunteer for it . It makes such a difference in people's lives. LITA also has a great website with lots of information on it. You can find it at . On the website you can read what LITA is all about and more about the programs they offer. You can also join a mailing list, make a donation, and become a volunteer. So, my dear friends, check it out and consider making a donation or becoming a volunteer. And make sure you tell all your friends about it.

      Love and Peace,

      Wednesday, September 8, 2010

      Urgent! Beautiful kitty needs home.

      Hello all my friends. I have an urgent message for you and your friends today.
      This lovely feline lady by the name of Jasmine needs a home. She is about four years young and very healthy. She is a petite brown tabby, short hair, no health or behavior issues and so adorable.
      Jasmine likes dogs and people but would prefer to be the only kitty in the household. My human told me that she likes to play and cuddle a lot. She likes interactive play as well as playing by herself with little catnip toys.
      She is a very special kitty and deserves a very good home. So only serious cat lovers who will adore her can apply.
      If you would like to have more information about this little sweetheart or would like to meet her, please contact my human and she will arrange it. You can contact my human via the form on her website. The link to the website is .
      I am keeping my paws crossed that this lovely little girl will have a wonderful home soon.
      Love and Peace to you all,

      Wednesday, August 25, 2010

      Tara & Bella - The Odd Couple of Animal Kingdom!


      Hello my friends!

      It has been a rough day yesterday. My human said that my toys are dirty and stinky and she gathered them up and put them in the big, noisy box that she calls washing machine. Well, I only had the toys left that I don't really like. But after a few hours, I got all my toys back and they smelled a lot better. And now the bad part, my reindeer that used to sing "Santa Claus is coming to town" did no longer sing. My human cut open its tummy and took a box out and sewed it up again. It's not fun without the music. My koala bear that laughs when I squeeze it, no longer laughs. But the worst, my favorite toy, the frog that goes "ribbit, ribbit" when squeezed, started to ribbit on its own and would not stop. I got really worried and tried to push it around the living room, hoping it would stop but it didn't. I cried because I was so worried that I had done something wrong while playing with it. So my human got out the scissors again and performed surgery on my favorite toy. Again, she sewed it up and gave it back to me but it was silent and that scared me even more. I worked on it all evening long but it remained silent. When it came time to go to bed, I tried again to make it go "ribbit" but only silence. It worried me so much that I crawled under the bed. I usually only do that when there is a thunderstorm or fireworks. My human got me out from under the bed and I fell asleep with my toy in my mouth. This morning I put it out in the back yard where it is sunny. That must have helped. When my human came home from work and let me in the back yard, my favorite toy looked like new, all clean, smelled fresh and was doing the "ribbit, ribbit" thing again. I was so happy and have been playing with it for hours. And that shows you that us animals have emotions too.

      Scientists have been studying for years and years on this issue. Some say yes and some say no. Some scientists call it anthropomorphism, that means "the ascribing of human characteristics or behaviors to animals". Others claim that animals only have primal emotions such as joy, grief, and empathy. There was an article once in a scientific journal that stated that rats can feel joy, elephants grief when they have a loss, and mice feel empathy for their cage mates. Scientists at the University of Vienna went even further and discovered that animals are capable of secondary emotions such as jealousy and guilt. They had two dogs that had to "shake". One of the dogs was rewarded with snacks every time he gave his paw and the other one did not get a snack but watched the first dog get his rewards. He then stopped giving his paw and turned away from the handler and also nipped the other dog in the ear. That sounds much like jealousy to me.

      Now, if you ask the humans that live with pets, they will tell you that their pets are very much capable of emotions. My human says that she is around me so much and that she knows my facial expressions and my body language and she can tell when I look happy or sad. She also claims that when I do something bad, I look guilty even before she reprimands me and at times I have a mischievous look on my face.

      Some people say it takes a certain amount of intelligence in order to feel emotions. Well, let me tell you, I am a very smart cookie. I know that when my human says "sit", that means my rear end has to go down to the ground. When she says "stay", I'd better not come running after her. And when she says "come", I get to run to her and she calls me a good boy. Now, most of my doggy friends know the same words and do what they are supposed to do. My vocabulary however, is much bigger. I know exactly that when my human uses the word "walk", that means I get to go outside and explore. I even know what "dog park" means. I run straight for the car because we have to drive to the dog park and I know the way there too because I usually have my head out of the car window the entire way there. I also get very excited when my human tells me "lets go see the ladies". That means I get to go to the nursing home and I get lots of back rubs and dog snacks. When my human tells me to "get a toy", I will get one and bring it to her because she will throw it for me so I can fetch it again and that is a lot of fun. I also know that "NO, NO, NO! #@%&*$#$@&!!!!" means I am in a lot of trouble like the time when I dug a hole under the fence, fell in the neighbors pool that hasn't been used in five years, the neighbor had to use a net to fish me out and shove me through the hole again, and my human yelled "that is not my dog, I don't own a green and slimy dog!". And also the time when instead of running straight to the car, I ran up the hill by my house and didn't listen to my human calling me back and when I came back I was covered from nose to tail in stickers and mud and it took my human over an hour to take all the stickers out, give me a bath and dry my fur.

      So, I know what all these words mean and I can often tell by the tone of voice if I am in trouble or if I make my human happy. I have also learned to mimic my human. She presses her mouth on my forehead a lot when I come to her. So I do the same to her, I press my mouth against her arm or leg and she gets very happy. I have watched her put her foot on my toy and it makes a noise, so I do that now too. I can make my toy make noises with my paw. When my human is happy, her mouth is slightly open and I can see her teeth. I do the same when I look at her and she gets happy every time.

      Well, my friends, I can tell you that I do get sad when I am alone all day and I get excited when I get to go for a walk or to the dog park. I feel jealous when my human cuddles with the kitty and not with me. I felt guilty when I thought I broke my toy and I am happy that it makes a noise again. I found this video that shows you how much us animals can feel and I hope you enjoy it. Oh well, I am having trouble attaching the video. You just have to go to the next blog and watch it. Sorry about that.
      Till next time, yours truly,

      Sunday, August 15, 2010

      The beautiful Lara

      Hello my friends, I have a very special surprise for you, an interview with the very beautiful Lara.

      Tiny: Hello pretty lady! What is your breed?

      Lara: Hello Tiny. My name is Lara and my breed is Borzoi. However, I have been referred to as a "Russian Wolfhound".

      Tiny: A Russian Wolfhound, that is very exciting. Can you tell us more about this breed?

      Lara: Gladly. The Borzoi are a sight hound, which means we hunt by sight rather than scent. We have this in common with other sight hounds like the Greyhounds, Salaukis, Afghan Hounds, Irish Wolf Hounds, etc. My breed dates back as far as the 12th century when Europe was overrun by wolfs. More recently we were kept by the Russian Czars and nobility prior to the revolution. It was common back then for these nobility to go on great hunts together. Because we can run faster than horses, it was the role of us Borzoi to go out in packs ahead of the hunt to catch the wolf and hold it down until the Hunt Master caught up.

      On occasion some of my breed would be gifted out to nobility in other countries who kept their own kennels. There are some very famous Borzoi kennels in Europe. It was because of this that my breed survived after the revolution because the Bolsheviks did not take too kindly to us because of our association with the nobility.

      Tiny: Your breed has a very interesting history my dear Lara. What do you like to do for fun?

      Lara: I enjoy going on walks and to the dog park. For the last two years I was also in the party scene of the Stapelton Ballet's Nutcracker. But mostly I love people and giving them love. That is why I am involved with the SHARE program.

      Tiny: That sounds like a lot of fun. Can you tell me a little about the SHARE Program you are involved with?

      Lara: The SHARE program is offered through the Marin Humane Society. SHARE stands for Special Human Animal Relations. Under that SHARE umbrella there are several services offered. The one I have been involved in for the past five years involves going to Assisted Living and Convalescent Centers and visiting residents there. Some of the other dogs go to oncology units and other area of acute care hospitals. I visit the Aldersly in San Rafael. I also visit the Redwoods in Mill Valley and Marin Convalescent in Tiburon with my cat pal Bocelli. We are really good pals and when Bocelli is sitting on a resident's lap I go up and lick his ears. This is guaranteed to bring smiles all around.

      I am also trained in the SHARE A BOOK program. Dogs are used in this program to listen to children who have issues with reading while they read a book out loud. This helps build the children's confidence in reading, and it is fun to listen to their stories.

      Tiny: That is a wonderful job you do there! And I am glad you have a cat pal just like I do. Tell me more about the felines you live with.

      Lara: I share the house and my people with six felines. Some of them don't care that much for me. Prior to my arrival in the household my people were showing Balinese cats. Currently there are still four retired Bali's living with us. They are kind of older and not so playful anymore. So just over two years ago they adopted Bocelli a red-point, blue eyed rescue. He was in rescue with several dogs so had no problem with me and we became good friends from the start. Since the older cats were not too inclined to play with him, the people adopted another rescue, Bojangles. He is a green eyed white kitty. The rescue lady was afraid she wouldn't be able to find him a home because he is blind in one eye. But he gets around with no problems and is doing well here. He and Bocelli have great times romping through the house. He hasn't quite taken to me yet but I keep trying.

      Tiny: Wow, that sounds like a wonderful household and you are a lovely lady. Thank you so much for the interview. It was very interesting and I am honored to have had you as my guest today.

      Well my friends, that is what I love about my job, I get to talk to lovely ladies.

      Be well! Until the next time. Yours truly,


      Friday, August 13, 2010

      Obesity in pets.

      Hi my peeps! Hope you survived Friday the 13th well. Today I want to talk about obesity in pets, to be exact - in felines and canines.

      Obesity is the most common nutritional disorder in pets. 25% of the pet population is obese. A pet that weighs 15% above the optimal body weight is considered obese. The best way to figure out what the optimal body weight for your pet is, is to consult your veterinarian. Below is a chart that shows what a normal weight, over weight, and obese cat and dog looks like.
      Obesity, due to several causes, can lead to many illnesses but can also be prevented or eliminated.

      Obesity can be caused by many things. Lets talk about what can cause obesity.

      Breed: Certain breeds are more prone to be overweight than others. In cats it's mostly the mixed breeds that draw the short stick. In dogs it's often breeds such as Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Beagles, Bassets, and I hate to say it, Cocker Spaniels.

      Life style: In nature, animals hunt for their food. Our pets get their food served to them and really don't have to do much in order to fill their tummies. Many pets have become couch potatoes. Their exercise routine is less than the calorie intake.

      Feeding: In nature, animals only eat what they need. Pets often get portions that are bigger than they need. Other times, the food we feed is not appropriate for the age or life style of the pet.

      Spaying and neutering: Spaying and neutering is absolutely necessary to keep the pet population under control and is very important but it does result in a decrease of the metabolism and thus, can cause a pet to become overweight.

      Diseases: Some diseases such as Hypothyroidism or Cushing's disease can cause a pet to gain a lot of weight. Luckily, they occur in small percentages only and can be controlled by medications.

      Medications: There are many medications that can lead to weight gain. For example, Corticosteroids, Anticonvulsants and Appetite Stimulants are just a few of them. Talk to your veterinarian about the side effects of the medications your pet takes.

      Obesity can also cause many unwanted diseases. Here is a list of just a few.

      • Arthritis
      • Heart Disease
      • Diabetes
      • Bladder Cancer
      • Fatty Liver (Hepatic Lipidosis)
      • Respiratory Issues

      These are all serious health issues that are a result of obesity and can be prevented. There are simple ways that can prevent your pet from gaining unwanted weight. It is always a good idea to ask your veterinarian what his suggestions are to prevent a weight gain. In general, it's best not to feed table scraps to your pet. Multiple small feedings are better than one large feeding. Measuring the food in exact amounts is very helpful. Make sure your pet is not eating too fast. And most of all, add in lots of exercise on a daily basis.

      Well, that all sounds great but sometimes the best intentions can fail and your pet still ends up being overweight. All hope is not lost! There are things that can be done to shed those unwanted pounds. Importantly, talk to your veterinarian about the issue. The goal should be a 1% weight loss per week. Don't over-do it and starve your pet. That could lead to other health issues all together. The way to lose weight is through diet and exercise. Let's talk about the diet first.

      Diet: We should feed a low calorie diet. Almost every brand sells a Low Calorie food and it is usually marked on the package or can as such. Most foods also have a chart on the package that tells you how much to feed. If you can't figure it out, ask your veterinarian for the correct amount you should feed your pet. Read the package. The food should have a slightly higher amount of protein, a low amount of carbohydrates, and a low to moderate amount of fat. And we all know that all good pets deserve a treat now and then. Well, veggies such as carrots and fruits such as apples make excellent low calorie treats.

      Exercise: A diet doesn't do much if your pet is lounging around all day. So, get your pets enough exercise on a daily basis. Cats exercise differently than dogs. It's easier with a dog. You can take your dog for long walks, play fetch the ball, or let your dog swim. There are also many interactive toys such as Kongs where the dog has to work on getting that carrot treat out of the Kong. They also make interactive toys for cats now where the kitty can chase a toy mouse in a circle or other varieties. You can throw a toy mouse to the top of the stairs so the kitty has to run up and down stairs to fetch the mouse or simply wave a wand with a feather on the end to get kitty running and jumping. You can serve the food on top of a cat tree so kitty will have to do some climbing exercise to get to the food.

      Once we have our pet down to an ideal weight, we have to make sure to maintain the weight. The best way to do this is to switch the food gradually to a maintenance diet and to continue with the exercise routine. Also, check the weight on a regular basis. You can do that with kitties or small dogs by holding them and stepping on your bathroom scale. Then weigh yourself without the pet. Subtract the last number from the first and you have your pet's weight. With larger dogs you might have to coax them to sit on the scale. Good luck!

      So, as you can see, there are many things you can do to prevent and eliminate obesity before it leads to unwanted health issues. Just remember - keeping your pet healthy and in good shape is rewarding in so many ways.

      Alrighty then, lets strap on the sweat bands and nibble on carrots. Till next time. Yours truly,


      Monday, August 9, 2010

      My human's worst night mare had a happy ending.

      Hello everybody!
      I would like to tell you about my human's worst night mare. As you all know, she takes care of all kinds of critters when their humans are on vacation. Well, she came to a place on the first day of a 10 day long assignment and there was no key at the spot were it usually is. HORROR! She got a really bad feeling in her stomach. When she tried to reach the owner of the two kitties, the phone said: "The person you are trying to reach is out of reach, call back later". She left a note on the neighbor's door, hoping she would have a key but the neighbor didn't call her. So, the only thing she could do was to call a locksmith. Many hours later and $250.00 later, the locksmith was able to open the door and replace the lock. HALLELUJAH!
      Everybody was fine and there was still a little food and water in the dish but it was a very scary situation for my human.
      This story inspired me to give you all some guide lines how to make my human's life much easier. So, here we go:
      If you go away, please let my human know at least three or four days in advance unless it is an emergency. And by the way, a good deal on a trip to Cabo is not an emergency!
      If you leave a day later or come back a day earlier or later, let my human know. There is nothing worst than walking in on someone taking a shower.
      If you told my human that you would leave a key at a certain spot, please leave it there. Don't change the location at the last minute without telling my human about it. Also don't forget to leave it! Otherwise, your vacation might cost a lot more than you expected (see above about the cost of a locksmith). And most importantly, make sure it's the right key and it works properly. I hate for my human to get arrested for breaking and entering.
      Please leave a payment on the counter so my human can pay her bills and buy me new toys. She remembers to show up, so please, remember to pay her. If you forget anyway, try to mail it to her as soon as you get back. Don't wait a month or two because we have to pay our bills and if we can't pay our bills, my human has to get another job and can't take care of your babies anymore.
      Make sure you have enough food, litter and if needed, medication on hand to cover the entire time you are gone plus a little extra in case you can't make it back on time. That includes bird, fish, hamster and any other critter food as well. My human hates to go shopping and besides, it cuts my walking time short.
      Let my human know if there are any changes in your pets health, behavior, food, medication, walking schedule, your contact information or anything else that is important. She needs to know that in order to do her job properly.
      And since we are talking about health, inform her of any contagious diseases such as ringworm, kennel cough, FIV and anything else that can be carried over to the next place. It's not fair to hide that and put the next kitty or doggy in danger of getting the same disease.
      If anybody else is coming to the house while you are gone, let my human know because it scares the living daylight out of her when someone is in the house that she didn't know would be there.
      Make sure your neighbor's know that my human is coming to visit your pets. I don't want them to call the police on her because they think she is a burglar.
      Please don't be upset when my human does not want to let your kitties outside. There is a reason for it and that is how she is running her business. She is not telling you how to do your business, so don't tell her how to do her's. Kitties can be attacked by other kitties, by dogs, can get hit by cars, and can encounter many other dangers on the street. If they come back injured, my human might not be around and bring them to the veterinarian right away. A lot can happen in 24 hours. By the time of her next visit, your kitty could be very ill. So, please don't fight with my human about that. She does not want to be difficult but only cares about your pet's well being.
      Let my human know if your doggy doesn't like other doggies or people. That is a very important thing to know when taking your pooch for a walk. We don't want any surprise attacks.
      Well, I think that'll cover about everything. If you keep those things in mind, it will make my human very happy. And if my human is happy, I am happy too!
      So, until next time, yours truly,