Veterinary Compounding

At PharmacyMax., we compound customized medications and utilize novel delivery systems to meet specific needs of pets, exotics, livestock, wildlife, and zoo animals. We can prepare formulations containing the precise dose of active ingredient (s) which will be most effective, in dosage forms that can be conveniently administered, are well tolerated, and are appropriately flavored. Modified-release preparations can be placed into a single base for easy administrations.

Our state-of-the-art equipment, specialized training and extensive support network, combined with years of experience, make PharmacyMax Compounding Pharmacy unique. We will work together with the veterinarian and client, integrating each individual’s knowledge (and the animal’s response) to formulate creative compounds which can improve compliance, maximize the potential for therapeutic success, and reduce the overall cost of animal care.








Commonly Requested Veterinary Compounding Medications - Canine

Dogs Behavorial Issues Compounded Medications – Separation Anxiety, Thunderstorms, Fireworks, etc

  • Fluoxetine 10mg/mL Oral Syrup
  • Clomipramine HCL 5mg/mL Oil Oral Suspension
  • Clomipramine HCL 5mg/0.1mL Topical Cream
  • Amitryptylline HCL 10mg/0.1mL Topical Cream
  • Acepromazine Maleate 5mg/0.3mL Topical  Cream

Dogs Seizures Compounded Medications 

  • Potassium Bromide 350mg/mL Oral Solution
  • Phenobarbital 200mg/mL Oral Suspension
  • Phenobarbital 200mg Animal Treat
  • Diazepam 15mg/mL Rectal Gel

Dogs Urinary Incontinence Compounded Medications

  • Diethylstillbestrol 20mg/mL Oil Oral Suspension Concentrate
  • Phenylpropanolamine 12mg/0.1mL Oral Solution
  • Phenylpropanolamine HCL 25mg Capsules #3
  • Diethylstillbestrol 1mg Capsules #3

Dogs Acral Lick Granuloma Compounded Medications

  • Capsaicin 0.08%/Sucrose Octaacetate 1% Topical Bitter Spray
  • Sucrose Octaacetate 10% Topical Cream
  • Diphenhydramine HCL 2%

Dogs Otitis – Topical Antimycotic Compounded Medications

  • TRIS 0.3%/EDTA 0.12% Buffered Otic Solution
  • Chlorhexadine 0.5% Ear Cleanser

Dogs Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (Dry Eyes) Compounded Medications

  • Cyclosporin (A) 1% Oil Solution

Dogs Sedation/Restraint/Pre-Anesthesia Compounded Medications

  • Acepromazine Maleate 5mg/0.3mL Topical  Cream
  • Butorphanol Tartrate 20mg/mL Topical  Cream

Dogs Motion Sickness/Nausea Compounded Medications
*Ginger works well and can be compounded into an animal treat

  • Acepromazine Maleate 5mg/0.3mL Topical  Cream
  • Scopalamine 0.25mg/0.1mL Topical Lidode Creamrm

Suspensions for Vet Use

  • Fixed Oil Oral Suspension – General Formula
  • Itraconazole 150mg/mL Oil Oral Suspension
  • Doxycycline 10mg/mL Oil Oral Suspension
  • Chloramphenicol 250mg/mL Oral Suspension
  • Tetracycline HCL 100mg/mL Oral Suspension
  • Ciprofloxacin 50mg/mL Oral Suspension
  • Hydrocodone Bitrate 1mg/mL/Homatropine Methylbromide 0.3mg/mL Oil Oral Suspension
  • Gabapentin 100mg.mL Oral Suspension

Dogs Degenerative Myelopathy Compounded Medications

  • Amino Caproic Acid Syruo 16.7%
  • Acetylcysteine 5% Oral Solution

Dogs Lack of Appetite Compounded Medications

  • Cyproheptadine HCL 100mg/mL Oral Suspension

Dogs Diarrhea Compounded Medications 

  • Kaolin 195mg/Neomycin 25mg Compound Capsules #0
  • Loperamide HCL 10% Topical  Cream
  • Kanamycin Compound Antidiarrhea Mixture

Dogs Parasiticidals Compounded Medications

  • Ivermectin 0.1mg/0.1mL Topical  Cream
  • Ivermectin 1% Hair Lotion

Dogs Transitional Bladder Carcinoma Compounded Medications

Piroxicam 2mg/mL Oral Suspension



Commonly Requested Veterinary Compounding Medications - Feline

Cats Behavioral  Issues Compounded Medications

 Amitriptylline HCl 5mg/0.1 mL  Transdermal Gel (Vet)

 Buspirone 1.25 mg/0.2 mL  Transdermal Gel (Vet)

Cats Sedation / restraint / Pre-Anesthesia Compounded Medications

 Acepromazine Maleate 5 mg/0.3 mL Topical Cream (Vet)

 Butorphanol Tartrate 20 mg/mL Topical Cream (Vet)

 Naltrexone HCl 50 mg/mL Oil Oral Suspension (Vet-Feline)

 Amitriptylline 20 mg/mL Oil Oral Suspension (Vet-Feline)

Cat Transdermal Formulas:

Many drugs are requested for transdermal feline use.

 Methimazole 5 mg/0.12 mL Topical Transdermal Gel

 Tramadol Hcl 10 mg/0.12 mL Topical Transdermal Gel

 Acepromazine Maleate 5 mg/0.3 mL Topical Transdermal Gel

 Amitriptyline Hcl 10 mg/0.1 mL Topical Transdermal Gel

 Amlodipine 0.625 mg/0.2 mL Topical Transdermal Gel

 Atenolol 6.25 mg/0.1 mL Topical Transdermal Gel

 Buspirone Hcl 1.25 mg/0.2 mL Transdermal Gel

 Famotidine 2.5 mg/0.1 mL Transdermal Gel

 Ivermectin 0.1 mg/0.1 mL Transdermal Gel

 Methimazole 5mg/0.1 Gm Transdermal Gel

 Cisapride 2.5 mg/0.1 mL Transdermal Gel

 Phenobarbital 10 mg/0.1 mL Transdermal Gel

 Glipizide 2.5 mg/0.1 mL Transdermal Gel

 Enrofloxacin 25 mg/0.2 mL Transdermal Gel (Vet)

Cats Chronic Renal Failure / Hypoparathyroidism Compounded Medications

 Calcitriol 20 nanogram/0.2 mL Oil Oral Solution (Vet)

 Calcitriol 4 nanograms/0.25 mL Fixed Oil Oral Solution (Vet)

Cats Gastrointestinal Compounded Medications

 Famotidine 2.5 mg/0.1 mL Oral Suspension

 Cisapride 2.5 mg/0.1 mL Oral Suspension

 Omeprazole 3 mg/ml Oral Suspension

 Metoclopramide 2 mg/0.1 mL Topical PLO (Vet)

 Cyclosporin (A) 1% Oil Solution

Strengths, dosage forms, and bases can be easily changed to fit your needs!


Veterinarian examining the horse

Commonly Requested Compounding Medications - Equine

Horses Feed Formulations

Acetazolamide Feed Additive for Horses

Phenylbutazone Flavored Powder (Vet)

Pergolide Mesylate 1 mg/10 Gm Oral Powder Packets

Horse Treats

Oat Base Treats-

Horses Cushing-Like Disease Compounded Medications

Pergolide Mesylate 1 mg/mL Oral Suspension

Pergolide Mesylate 1 mg/10 Gm Oral Powder Packets

Cyproheptadine HCl 100 mg/mL Oral Suspension (Vet)

Poloxamer Gel

Poloxamer 407 20% Gel

Poloxamer 407 30% Gel

Poloxamer 407 NF Gel 20%

Poloxamer 407 NF Gel 30%

Horses Fly Spray 

Citronella Fly Spray

Horses Shampoo

Jojoba Oil 2%/Aloe Vera Oil 2%/Avocado Oil 2% Topical Shampoo (Vet)

Wheat Germ Oil 2% Topical Shampoo

Bloodroot 5%/Zinc Chloride 20% Topical Ointment - Vet (Equine)

Horses Hoof Rot Compounded Medications

Phenol 26.6%/Iodine 2.3%/Formaldehyde 9% Topical Solution (Equine)

Horses Hoof Care Compounded Medications

Neomycin Sulfate 0.5%/Zinc Oxide 5% Topical Ointment (Vet‒Equine)

Povidone-Iodine 10% Solution

Vitamin E Acetate 0.5% Topical Oil (Vet-Equine)

Triclosan 2% Topical Solution

Rifampin 0.96%/Ketoconazole 1.5% Topical Solution (Vet-Equine)

Camphor 5%/Spruce 5%/Turpentine 5% Topical Liniment (Vet-Equine)

Horses EPM Compounded Medications

Phenylbutazone Flavored Powder (Vet)

Sulfadiazine 333 mg/mL/Pyrimethamine 16.7 mg/mL/Trimethoprim 83 mg/mL Oral Suspension (Vet) (SF)

Sulfadiazine 333 mg/mL/Pyrimethamine 16.7 mg/mLOral Suspension (Vet) (SF)

Horses Compounded Oral Pastes

Flavored Apple Oral Paste (Vet)

Molasses Vet Paste

Flavored Cherry Oral Paste (Vet)

Azithromycin 200 mg/mL Anhydrous Oral Paste (Vet-Equine)

Trimethoprim 33 mg/Gm/Sulfamethoxazole 167 mg/Gm Oral Paste (Vet)

Chloramphenicol 500 mg/Gm Oral Paste (Vet)

Horses Worms Compounded Medications

Ivermectin 10 mg/mL Oral Solution (Vet-Equine)




The following is a list of the most common compounds requested. Please call our pharmacy at 407-270-5000 to see if other forms or combinations are available.
Commercially available equivalents will not be compounded. Most oral compounds

are available as flavored pet treats.

Acepromazine Maleate ProMACE Antiemetic, Tranquilizer, Phenothasine Tranquilizer powder, suspension, paste
Acetazolamide Diamox Diuretic powder, suspension
Acetylcysteine Mucomyst Mucolytic, Antidote capsules, suspension, oral solution, ophthalmic
Albuterol Ventolin, Proventil Beta-antagonist, Bronchodialator powder, syrup, oral solution
Aluminum Hydroxide Amphogel, Basalgel Antacid capsules, suspension, paste
Amikacin Amiglyde-V Antibacterial suspension, oral solution, transdermal
Aminocaproic Acid Amicar Antifibrinolytic suspension, oral solution
Aminophylline Aminophylline Bronchodialator capsules, suspension, topical ointment, transdermal
Amitriptyline Elavil Behavior Modifier, Tricylic Antidepressant capsules, suspension, oral solution, paste, transdermal
Amlodipine Besylate Norvasc Calcium Channel Blocker capsules, suspension
Ammonium Chloride Uroeze Acidifier powder, capsules, suspension, oral solution
Ammonium Sulfate Nervine Acidifier oral solution
Amoxicillin + Claculanate Potassium Clavamox Antibacterial suspension
Amphotericin B ABELCET Antifungal suspension, oral solution
Ampicillin Trihydrate Polyflex Antibacterial powder, capsules, suspension
Anti Bacterial Itch Cream Panalog Antibacterial, Antifungal topical cream, ointment and lotion
Apomorphine Apomorphine TT Emetic powder, capsules, suspension, oral solution, ophthalmic
Ascorbic Acid Vitamin C Vitamin suspension, injection, topical cream
Asprin Asprin Analgesic, NSAID powder, capsules, suspention, paste, transdermal
Atenolol Tenormin Beta-blocker capsules, suspension, dransdermal
Atropine Atropine Anticholinergic capsules, suspension, oral solution, injection, ophthalmic
Azathioprine Imuran Immunosuppresive capsules, suspension
Azithromycin Zithromax Antibacterial powder, capsules, suspension, paste, suppository
Benazepril Fortekor, Lotensin Vasodilator, ACE inhibitor capsules, suspension
Bethanechol Urecholine Cholinergic powder, capsules, suspension
Bismuth Subsalicylate Pepto Bismol Antidiarrheal powder, capsules, suspension, paste
Bromhexine HCL Bisolvon Mucolytic, Brochodilator solution
Budesonide Pulmicort Corticosteroid capsules, suspension, oral solution
Buprenorphine HCL Buprenex Analgesic, Opoid suspension, injection, transdermal
Busiprone BuSpar Behavior Modifier suspension, transdermal
Caffeine No-Doz Respiratory Stimulant powder, suspension, oral solution
Calcitriol Rocaltrol Calcium Supplement capsules, suspension, oral solution
Carbamazepine Tegretol Anticonvulsant powder, suspension, paste
Carbenicillin Carbencillin idanyl sodium - suspension
Caphalexin Keflex Antibacterial capsules, suspension, suppository
Chlorampenicol Chloroptic Antibacterial ophthalmic
Chlorampenicol Palmitate Chloromucetin, Chlor Palm, Medi Chol Antibacterial powder, capsules, suspension, oral solution, paste
Chlorpromazine HCL Thorazine Antiemetic suspension
Cimetidine Tagamet Antiulcer Agent powder, capsules, suspension, paste
Ciprofloxacin Cipro Antibacterial powder, capsules, suspension, ophthalmic, otic, suppository
Cisapride Propulsid Protokinetic Agent powder, capsules, suspension, transdermal
Cisplatin Platinol Anticancer powder, transdermal
Clemastine Contact Allergy 12-hour Antihistamine capsules, suspension
Clindamycin Antirobe, Cleocin Antibacterial capsules, suspension, topical cream, suppository
Clomipramine Clomicalm, Anifranil Behavior Modifier, Tricylic Antidepressant capsules, suspension, transdermal
Cromolyn (sodium cromoglycate) Intal Inhalant, NSAID capsules, oral solution, ophthalmic
Cyclophosphamide Cytoxan, CTX, Neosar Anticancer agent powder, capsules, suspensioon, injection, ophthalmic
Cyclosporine Optimuune Immunosuppresive suspension, ophthalmic sol / oint
Cyclosporine Oral Sandimmune Immunosuppresive powder, capsules, suspension, oral solution, paste, transdermal
Cyproheptadine Periactin Antihistamine
Dantrolene Dantrium Muscle Relaxant capsules
Dexamethasone Azium Corticosteroid powder, capsules, suspension, ophthalmic, topical cream and ointment, suppository
Dexamethasone Sodium Phosphate Decadron, Dexaject SP Corticosteroid powder, suspension, oral solution, ophthalmic
Diazepam Valium Anticonvulsant, Benzodiazepine capsules, suspension, topical gel, transdermal, suppository
Diazoxide Proglycem Thiazide Diuretic capsules, suspension, oral solution
Diclazuril Clincox Antiprotozoal suspension, paste
Diethylstilbestrol DES, estrogen replacement Hormone, Estrogen Replacement capsules, suspension
Digitoxin Crystodigin Cardiac Inotrope suspension
Digoxin Cardoxin, Lanoxin Cardiac Inotrope capsules, suspension
Diltiazem Cardizem Calcium Channel Blocker capsules, suspension, topical gel, transdermal
Dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA) DMSA Antidote for birds powder, capsules, suspension
Diphenhydramine Benadryl Antihistamine suspension
Domperidone Equidone Protokinetic Agent, Muscle Relaxer capsules, paste
Doxorubicin Adriamycin Anticancer agent capsules
Doxycycline Vibramycin Antibacterial capsules, suspension, paste
Edetate Disodium EDTA - powder, ophthalmic
Enalapril Encard, Vasotec Vasodilator, ACE inhibitor capsules, suspension
Enrofloxacin Baytril Antibacterial powder, capsules, suspension, paste, transdermal
Ephedrine Ephedra Adrenergic Agonist capsules, suspension
Erythromycin Erythro Antibacterial suspension, ophthalmic
Famotidine Pepcid Antiulcer Agent capsules, suspension
Fluconazole Diflucan Antifungal suspension, ophthalmic
Fluconazole + DMSO Diflucan Antifungal ophthalmic
Fludrocortisone Florinef Corticosteroid capsules, suspension
Flunixin Meglumine Banamine Analgesic, NSAID, Endotoxin Blocker powder
Fluorouracil Efudex, Adrucil, 5-FU Anticancer oral solution, ophthalmic, topical cream
Fluoxetine Prozac Behavior Modifier, SSRI capsules, suspension, topical cream, transdermal
Folic Acid Folic Acid Nutritional Supplement suspension, paste
Furosemide Lasix Diuretic capsules, suspension, paste
Gemfibrozil Lopid Antihyperlipidemic capsules, suspension
Gentamicin Garamycin Antibacterial ophthalmic, topical solution, surgical beads
Gentamicin + Betamethasone Gentocin Antibacterial ophthalmic
Gentamicin + Betamethasone + Clotrimazole Otomax - ophthalmic
Giipizide Glucotrol Antidiabetic suspension, transdermal
Griseofulvin Fulvicin-U/F Antifungal powder, tablet, suspension, paste, transdermal
Heparin Liquaemin Anticoagulant topical gel
Hydroxyurea Hydrea Anticancer capsules
Hydroxyzine HCL Atarax Antihistamine powder, capsules, suspension, oral solution, transdermal
Imipramine Tofranil Antidepressant, Tricylic; Behavior Modifier suspension, transdermal
Iodochlorhydroxyquin Ciloquinol Antiprotozoal powder, suspension, paste
Isoflupredone Predef 2x Steroid ophthalmic
Isoxsuprine Vasodilan Vasodilator powder, suspension, paste
Itraconazole Sporanox Antifungal capsules, suspension, paste, ophthalmic, transdermal
Itraconazole + DMSO - Antifungal ophthalmic
Ketoconazole Nizoral Antifungal capsules, suspension, ophthalmic, topical cream, transdermal
Ketoconazole +Rifampin Phycofix - oral solution
Ketoprofen Orudis, Ketofen Analgesic, NSAID capsules, suspension, transdermal
Levamisole Tramisole Antiparasitic powder, capsules, suspension, topical cream
Lidocaine Xylocaine Local Anesthetic, Antiarrythmic topical cream or gel, nasal spray
Lomustine CeeNU Akylating Agent capsules, suspension
Meclofenamate Meclofen, Arquel Analgesic, NSAID powder, capsules, paste
Medroxyprogesterone Depo-Provera Hormone capsules
Megestrol Acetate Ovaban, Megace Hormone powder, capsules, suspension
Melatonin Regulin Hormone pellets
Meloxicam Metacam Analgesic, NSAID suspension
Metformin Glucophage Antihyperglycemic suspension
Methimazole Tapazole Antithyroid Agent suspension, paste, transdermal
Methocarbamon Robaxin-V Muscle Relaxant powder, capsules, suspension, paste
Methyltestosterone Android Hormone, Anabolic Agent capsules
Metoclopramide Reglan Antiemetic, Prokinetic capsules, suspension, injection, transdermal
Metronidazole Flagyl Antibacterial, Antiparasitic, Antiprotozoal powder, capsules, suspension, paste, ophthalmic, topical cream
Mexiletine Mexitil Antiarrythimic capsules
Miconazole Monistat Antifungal powder, capsules, oral solution, ophthalmic, topical suspension/cream, uterine flush, otic
Milotane Lysodren Andrenolytic Agent capsules, suspension
Naproxen Aleve Analgesic, NSAID powder, suspension, paste
Natamycin Ophthalmic Natacyn Antifungal ophthalmic
Neomycin Sulfate Biosol Antibacterial suspension
Nitrofurazone Furacin Antibacterial (topical) powder, topical solution or ointment
Nystatin Nystatin Antifungal powder, capsules, suspension, ophthalmic
Oxazepam Serax Anticonvulsant capsules, suspension
Oxytetracycline Biomycin 200, LA 200 Antibacterial suspension, ophthalmic
Paroxetine Paxil Behavior Modifier suspension
Pentoxifylline Trental Anti inflammatory powder, capsules, suspension, paste
Pergolide Mesylate Permax Treatment for pituary adenoma powder, capsules, suspension, paste
Phenobarbital Luminal Anticonvulsant capsules, suspension, paste, transdermal
Phenoxybenzamine Dibenzyline Vasodilator capsules, suspension, paste, transdermal
Phenylpropanolamine Propagest, Dexatrim Andrenergic Agonist powder, capsules, suspension, transdermal
Phenytoin Dilantin Anticonvulsant powder, suspension, paste, topical gel
Phytonadione AquaMEPHYTON, mephyton Vitamin capsules, suspension
Potassium Bromide K Br Anticonvulsant powder, capsules, oral solution
Potassium Cirate Urocit-K Alkalinizing Agent powder, capsules, suspension
Praziquantel Droncit Antiparasitic capsules
Prednisolone Delta-Cortel, Cortisate-20 Corticosteroid powder, suspension, ophthalmic, suppository
Prednisone Deltasone, Meticorten Corticosteroid powder, tablet, suspension, ophthalmic, suppository
Procainamide Pronestyl Antiarrythmic capsules, suspension
Propantheline Bromide ProBanthine Antidiarrheal capsules, suspension
Pyrodoxine Vitamin B6 Vitamin suspension, topical cream
Pyrimethamine Daraprim Antibacterial powder, capsules, suspension
Pyrimethamine + Sulfadiazine EPM formula Antiprotozoal powder, suspension, paste
Ranitidine Zantac Antiulcer Agent capsules, suspension, paste
Reserpine Serpasil Treats agalactia powder, capsules, suspension, paste
Rifampin Rifadin, Rimactane Antibacterial capsules, suspension, paste
Selegiline Anipryl, Deprenyl Dopamine Agonist capsules, suspension
Silver Sulfadiazine Silver Sulfadiazine Antifungal powder, otic
Sodium Bromide Na Br - solution
Sodium Iodide Iodopen Iodine Replacement powder, topical solution
Stanozolol Winstol-V Hormone, Anabolic Agent capsules, suspension
Sucralfate Carafate Antiulcer Agent powder, suspension, paste
Suifadiazine + Trimethoprim Tribrissen Antibacterial capsules, suspension, paste
Sulfamethoxazole Gantanol Antibacterial capsules, suspension
Sulfanilamide Wound Cream Muromide - topical cream
Sulfasalazine Azulfidine Antibacterial, Antiinflammatory capsules, suspension
Tacrolimus in Aquaphor Prograf - ophthalmic
Terbinafine HCL Lamisil Antifungal capsules, suspension, topical solution
Terbutaline Brethine, Bricanyl Beta-agonist, Bronchodilator suspension
Tetracycline Panycin Antibacterial capsules, suspension, oral solution, topical cream
Theophylline Gyrocaps Bronchodilator capsules, suspension, transdermal
Thiabendazole Thiabendazole Antihelmintic, Antiparasitic suspension, paste, topical solution
Thimerosal Tincture Merthiolate - topical solution

















































































































































































































































































Learning about Reptiles

Children often, at one time or another, will have an interest in learning about reptiles.  Even if they are only vaguely interested, it is helpful to teach them should they ever encounter a reptile in the wild or at a relative or friend's house.  It is quite possible to encounter a reptile even if one has lived within the confines of the city one's entire life.

Children are not the only ones who can benefit from learning about reptiles, of course.  Adults should at least learn some basic information even if they never have the slightest desire to come in contact with a reptile.

You may be one of the fortunate people who enjoy animals of all kinds and soak up information like a sponge.  If you are planning a career in animal care or with some other form of contact, you would do well to learn about reptiles even if your specialty will not lie with reptiles.  You may be surprised when the information comes in handy later on in life.

If you've ever entertained the idea of owning a turtle, which is quite a common occurrence in children raised in the country setting, you may be interested in knowing there are several types to choose from.  There are four kinds of painted turtles in the United States for a good pet choice.  The Eastern box turtle is also a popular choice for people to have as pets.  Not all turtles are the same or require exactly the same care, but most turtles usually feed on snails, worms, and plants.

Country kids will often capture a garter snake at some point and try to keep it as a pet.  A garter snake needs access to water.  They like to eat fish.

Snakes often need less food than other reptiles, sometimes eating only once a year if it is a big snake and have had a big meal.  Of course, smaller snakes are not quite as fortunate as they aren't able to consume as much at one time.  But because the snake requires feeding less often, it takes a little effort on the part of the owner to remember to feed them because of the time lapse between feedings.

Obvious places to learn about reptiles are zoos.  This is certainly a much safer choice than deciding to take it upon yourself to get your experience first-hand by capturing a reptile in the wild!  The experts on television make it seem easy, but they also advise against trying such stunts at home for a very good reason.  Snakes are not the only dangerous reptile and not all snakes are dangerous.

Other places to learn about reptiles include museums, summer camps, books, vet pamphlets, bookstores, libraries, safaris, a trip to the jungle, and museums.  Natural science museums offer great displays and information about reptiles from long ago and those in the present.  You could encourage your child's interest in reptiles in many ways, but remember to educate them as to the possible dangers of close encounters.











Introducing the Reptiles!

The family of reptiles is made up of turtles, lizards, snakes, different kinds of crocodiles, and a small group in Southeast Asia called tuataras.  Some people think that snakes and lizards are slimy, but all reptiles are covered with dry, horny scales.   These scales might be hard to notice for animals like the turtle, whose large scales (or plates) have grown together into one hard shell.  Not only have the plates grown together, but the turtle's backbone has also grown into the shell!

All reptiles have to be really aware of how cold or hot they get, for their body temperature depends on the temperature of their surroundings.  They spend much of their time doing two things: looking (or waiting) for food, and moving between sunny spots and shady (or wet) spots to warm up or cool off.  If a reptile gets too warm, they can get very sick, and if it gets too cool, it is hard for the animal to have enough energy to move to a warmer spot.    These warm spots are often the places that you find reptiles: turtles that come out of the water to sit on a rock or tree branch, and lizards that sit on a fence or sunny wall in order to catch the rays of the sun.  Sometimes this search for warmth can dangerous, like the snakes that lie on a warm road at night.

Reptiles have some interesting ways to communicate with each other.  People communicate by talking, and reptiles also make all kinds of noises to each other.  Baby alligators start chirping just before they hatch from their egg, in order to tell their mother that it is time to dig them out of their dirt nest and bring them to the water.  Male alligators can make an enormously loud bellowing noise, kind of like a big engine!  They also raise their heads and slap the water loudly with their chins in order to chase other male alligators away.   Lizards also chirp and bark at each other, and some male lizards nod to each other, bobbing their heads up and down vigorously.  Snakes are generally silent, and use their tongues not to communicate but only to smell.  However, a frightened snake will hiss or rattle to as a warning.

How do reptiles defend themselves when they are frightened?  The biggest alligators don't have to defend themselves from anyone except man, but smaller alligators are defended by their mothers until they are more than a year old.  Many lizards have tails that break off to let the lizard escape when it is in trouble, and another tail regrows later.  One lizard even wiggles its tail, breaks it off himself, and the tail continues to wriggle for a few minutes to make the predator go after the tail rather than the lizard.  Many frightened snakes will play dead until they think the threat has gone away.  The Eastern Hognose snake is among the best at this playacting: when scared, it first flattens its head like a cobra and hisses loudly, then, if it needs to, rolls over, moves around as if it was wounded, sticks out its tongue, and plays dead.

These fun facts are just a glimpse into a whole world of fascinating behaviors and unusual animals in the reptile family.  Find out more information about your favorite reptile at the local library, or on the Internet!









A Day in the Life of a Fascinating Reptile, the Alligator

Let's travel to Florida to meet one of the largest of reptiles, the alligator.   Alligators live only in the southeastern states of our country, like Louisiana and Florida.   Most of the time alligators are pictured in swamps, but many people in Florida have reported seeing alligators in the lakes near their backyards.  Having a reptile the size of a lizard in the backyard is normal, but seeing an alligator in a pond is something to get excited about.  For such a big reptile, you might be surprised to find that it often isn't easy to spot an alligator in the water.

Alligators like to float just beneath the surface of the water, with only their eyes and nostrils breaking the surface of the water.  The rest of their big body just relaxes underneath the water, legs spread apart and the huge tail hanging partway down.  The alligator can float at exactly the right level by using his lungs as a kind of inflatable raft, and keeps just the right amount of air for only his eyes to stay above the water.   An alligator stays mostly under water for one of two reasons.

The first reason is to keep his body temperature cool. Like other reptiles, the alligator's body temperature depends upon the temperature of the air or water around him.   The sun can get very hot in Florida, and since the alligator does not sweat, there has to be another way for him to keep cool.  He first opens his enormous mouth, and that will cool him down a little bit.  If the alligator is still too hot, he will go into the water to lower his body temperature even more.

The second reason that an alligator stays in the water is to hide himself and wait for lunch to come by.  Alligators can catch an amazing variety of animals to eat, including birds, fish, turtles, and even deer.  They are quite at home in the water, swim very quickly, and can dive underwater and stay submerged for an hour, or even more.  An alligator usually catches birds sitting on the water, but can raise itself up with a few powerful strokes of its tail to snatch one flying near the surface of the water, or just taking off.

Female alligators use their formidable mouths for another reason, to protect her babies.  Baby alligators can already catch their own food and swim, but they stay near their mother for a year or more in order to be safe from predators.  Even before they are born, the mother alligator stays by the nest she dug in the dirt to keep others (like turtles) from eating her eggs.  When the eggs are ready to hatch, the babies inside the eggs start making noises.  Some babies come out of the eggs by themselves, but other eggs are taken into the mother alligator's mouth, where she gently rolls them around until the baby alligator can come out of the hard shell.

This brief introduction to one of the most ancient and interesting of reptiles can be used as a starting place to assemble your own collection of alligator facts.  Make sure to watch the next wildlife show about these big reptiles, and considering visiting one the next time you take a trip to Florida.



A Lizard's Eye View of Life as a Reptile


If you think of lizards at all, you think of those little reptiles that you see scurrying down a tree trunk or across your back door at dusk.  There are many different types of lizards in the reptile family, and the group as a whole has some very interesting behaviors.  The first unusual behavior, and the one most people know, is that they can separate from their tails when they are in danger of being caught.  You may have experienced this as a child when trying to catch one of the small lizards or striped skinks, and ended up with only a tail in your hand.

The Texas gecko actually uses his tail as a decoy when confronted by a predator, such as a snake.  The gecko makes his tail point straight up, waves it slowly from side to side, and then sheds the tail.  The tail itself continues to wriggle for several minutes, and is hopefully more interesting prey than the gecko itself.  Lizard's tails are made so that a wall of cartilage passes through several vertebra in the tail, and the blood vessels and muscles are modified at these points to allow easy breakage without much damage to the lizard.  It will grow a new tail, but never quite the same as the original tail.

A number of lizards also avoid being eaten by changing color, in order to blend in with the background.  It generally only takes several seconds for a lizard to expand the pigment in its skin to become more like his surrounding colors.    This color change is made even more effective if the lizard remains motionless.  Even without color change, a number of lizards can effectively play dead, or, as we normally call it, "play possum".  A number of predators need the vibration or sounds of movement to detect the where the lizard is, and so becoming entirely rigid can be an effective way of disappearing from the menu of the predator.

When a lizard is not being chased by a predator, it can do interesting and unusual things with its tongue.  The tongues of reptiles can come in a number of different shapes, and lizard tongues are usually either long and narrow with a forked tip at the end, or short and broad.  Both kinds of tongues are used to collect molecules from the air and bring them back to an organ in their mouth.  This is a sense different than either smell or taste, but somewhat similar to each in some respects.  Geckos use their long tongue to clean off their eyes, as many geckos do not have eyelids, and so wipe their eyes with their tongues.  One Great Plains lizard regularly licks her eggs while waiting for them to hatch.  In Australia, a skink with a bright blue tongue sticks out its tongue at predators, and lets it stay lolling out of its mouth.  Naturalists are not sure of the reason for this behavior.  Finally, chameleons use their long and sticky tongue to reel in their nightly diet of insects.

These behaviors are only the tip of the iceberg for this fascinating group of reptiles.  Make your own study of these beautiful and unusual creatures, whether capturing one in your backyard, or discovering those a world away at the library.







Choosing A Vet for Your Reptile


Carefully research your options for proper veterinary care before you decide to purchase a reptile.  Although the animal may be sold at a low-cost, the care it would take once you own it may be more than you bargain for!  A vet must be experienced in reptile care and medicine to make a good provider for your reptile pet.  Reptile care and medicine requires special education.

Although your sweet, jokester of an uncle may have thought it a hoot to give little Johnny that darling baby reptile for his first pet, the joke may be on you.  There is a list of vets you can access over the internet for the Unites States of America, International, and Canada.  Check with your local vets to determine their areas of expertise, experience, and limitations.

You must make sure your vet will be comfortable handling your reptile.  If the vet is uncomfortable, the animal will sense it and may become more of a problem.  Once you get your animal, take it to the vet for a check-up even if it appears healthy. You may not be able to detect the problems a trained professional can find.  Problems are not always readily seen by the eye.  Maybe your reptile has parasites that you can't see just by looking at it.

Your vet should be willing to help you find the proper care for your reptile if he or she is not properly qualified.  You will want to know this information before your pet becomes seriously ill or injured.  Even if your vet isn't qualified, he/she may be able to provide temporary care until you can get your pet to the right person for the proper care.

It is a good idea to purchase a reptile that is already well-known as pet material.  A pet that is new to the market will not be researched well enough yet.

Not many vet colleges offer the specialized medicine courses necessary for caring for ill reptiles.  Test your vet with questions about temperature or food to see if they even have basic knowledge.

If you try to treat the animal yourself with over-the-counter medications, you could be making your pet more ill.  The medication sold in pet stores often has ingredients like tetracycline that isn't good for your reptile; or the shelf medicines just simply aren't strong enough to do any good and are a waste of your money.  A pet store may sell certain items just to draw money, without properly researching the items themselves for their effectiveness.  After all, the clerks aren't pharmacists.

If your vet has had special schooling required for reptile care, has he/she updated their knowledge recently?  Are they aware of the latest treatments or medications?  Do they have an interest in reptiles, conferences, or belong to any reptile associations?

If you're unable to contact your vet, or are unsatisfied with the information provided, you can try asking zoos, other reptile owners, or local pet adoption agencies for references to reptile vets.  In any case, it will help for you to educate yourself in case of an emergency.  At least you could provide basic care until you could reach a qualified professional.







Dangerous Reptiles


When people decide to buy reptiles for pets, some inevitably cross the line of safety and wisdom.  Although it may seem thrilling to own a pet that is harmful, it's best left up to the experts and people who are trained to preserve wildlife.

Underestimating a dangerous reptile can mean a quick and certain death to the uneducated and careless pet owner.  But if you're determined to own a dangerous reptile, at least make sure you are aware of all the possible safety precautions.  Be fully informed as to what steps to take should you incur injury from contact with your pet.

A pet may harm an owner for several reasons.  A reptile has instincts that are inbred.  If you make the mistake of smelling like food, you will be in danger of being mistaken for food.  There's also the danger of underfeeding your reptile and having them strike out in desperation from starvation.  If you startle the reptile, you're likely to be harmed.  If the reptile is injured or ill, the pain may cause them to strike out.  Although it is easy to want to blame the reptile, you must take into account the reasons it may have chosen to bite, scratch, or otherwise harm someone.

Neglect to keep the cage, terrarium, or other enclosure secure at all times is crucial to your safety and to the safety of the reptile.

Some snakes have teeth, some have venomous fangs, and some have constriction to use as weapons.  Whatever the case may be, you can be certain it will be painful to the recipient.  Vipers and rattlesnakes are two dangerous snakes that use their poisonous fangs to inject venom into their prey or attacker.  Vipers can grow as long as 6 feet and don't need daylight to attack.  The pits between their eyes and nostrils alert them to their prey.  A beautifully dangerous reptile, the golden eyelash viper is a bright lemon yellow color.

Snakes aren't the only dangerous reptiles, nor are they the only dangerous reptiles chosen for pets.  Crocodiles and caymans are also big predators.  They latch onto their prey with their many teeth and powerful jaws, and then they drag the larger victims underwater to drown them.  Crocodiles have been known to gobble snakes for treats!

American alligators can be seen in many museums or zoos, live in exhibits.  Well known in the deep south of Louisiana, they are not only predators but also are hunted for food and to be cut up into trinkets sold to tourists.

The alligator disguises itself as a log in swamp water and is camouflaged very well.  They live in swamps and bayous from Texas to North Carolina.  Florida has an abundance of inland water that provides a perfect habitat for these reptiles.  Their diet of fish, birds, and small animals along with their size and vicious capabilities make them unwelcome to most as pet material.  Their habitat is hard to create as well.

You can tell the difference in crocodiles and alligators by the shape of their snouts and the way the teeth lay when the jaws are shut.  The alligator is able to conceal its teeth inside its mouth while the crocodile is not.






Gigantic Reptiles!    


Of all the reptiles, we are usually most interested in the largest ones - alligators, crocodiles, komodo dragons, and the big snakes.   These snakes have songs written about them, and the anaconda was even the star of a movie!  Not only are these reptiles amazing due to their size, they also have many other interesting points.

Let's begin with the standard question, exactly how big are they?  The largest of the big snakes is the anaconda, which has been reported to grow to thirty-seven feet long.  You can't realize how long a reptile this is until you measure from your room down the hallway, probably well into the living room.  A truly enormous snake, and one of the longest reptiles ever!  This snake spends most of its time in the water hiding in the water plants of South America.

The other four giant snakes are pythons, and are found in Africa and Asia.  They grow to between 22 feet and 32 feet, depending on the species.  If you see a python in a zoo or other animal show, it is probably a reticulated python from Southeast Asia, due to its beautiful color pattern and the fact that it does well living in captivity.  How do regular snakes compare with these giants?  Most other snakes are much smaller, and even few rarely even grow to twelve feet.

The giant snakes can live up to twenty years in captivity.  When they are young they can be eaten by hawks or other predators that eat smaller snakes, but no animal would try to threaten or eat a full grown giant snake.  The only real enemies of these great reptiles are intestinal parasites, diseases, and man.

The giant snakes really can swallow a man whole!  Very few cases of that have been reported though.  Once a giant snake has had a large supper, it would be the same as if it ate four hundred average sized meals.  This means that sometimes these reptiles might go a long time between meals, maybe as infrequently as once a year.

The giant snakes have extremely strong muscles, and use them both in movement and in hunting their prey.  Their jaws are also very strong, but that isn't as important as how wide their mouths open in order to eat their prey.  Generally the giant snakes kill their prey beflist area.



attlers - The Dangerous Reptiles!

Snakes are probably the reptiles that fascinate and repel us the most.  One of the most visited booths at any outdoor show is the reptile area, with the little kids standing around and squealing at one special area - the area where the rattlesnakes are kept.  Milking rattlesnakes has been a popular sideshow item for many years at local fairs and county shows.  There are about thirty different species of rattlers, and all of them live in America.

Let's look at these wonderful reptiles and get to know them a little better.  The two largest, on average, are the eastern and western diamondbacks.  The average length of an adult eastern diamondback is around four feet, and the average length of a western diamondback is about three and a half feet.  There are reports of diamondbacks that were more than ten feet, but facing a live rattler may add a few feet to the story.  The largest ones that have actually been measured have been just under eight feet long.   A six-foot rattler can weigh as much as 11 pounds.

Generally reptiles are not thought of as beautiful animals, but a rattler has many wonderful designs to look at. The eastern diamondback, with a general pattern of grey brown diamonds all along its body, has a raccoon-like black mask over its eyes.  The Santa Catalina rattlesnake (found only on Santa Catalina Island) has markings similar to heavy eyebrows above its eyes.  Another fascinating feature of a rattler is the pits seen on either side of the face.  These are not related to the venom glands, but are organs that detect radiant heat.  The snakes use these to detect things that are close by and are warmer than


Pet care books are available at local libraries.  But if you can't find the one you want, they cost less than $10 even in most pet stores and can be purchases at local discount stores.  Filters for turtle aquariums can cost from $18 to $30.  Food for iguanas can become costly as they need fresh fruits and vegetables on a regular basis in addition to food you can purchase in dried form.  A 40 ounce container of Iguana Juvenile pellets costs around $16.

Bedding for all reptiles must be kept clean to avoid disease from overexposure to its own urine and feces.  The cost can start at $2.50 and rise depending on where you purchase and what you prefer.  Just keep in mind that not all bedding is safe for all animals.  Replacement will depend on the size of the housing, the size of your reptile, and how many reptiles you own.

If you have a reptile that climbs, you may need a fresh air habitat with a mesh screen and water resistant bottom.  The small ones can cost around $30 for one that stands 20 inches tall or $80 for one that stands 30 inches tall.

Lighting costs about $18 for a 10 inch clamp-on lamp that dims.  A combination lamp can cost $48.  An infrared heater can cost $23.  There's also the cost of the electricity needed to run the environmental equipment.

Other items you may need to price are huts for hiding, chemical additives for the water-dwellers, pumps, liners, netting, stands, bulbs, sterilizers, and algae scrapers.  If it seems overwhelming, take your time to digest the information and make the best decision.  It's not fair to the pet to provide less than adequate housing and other needs.





























A Dog's Diet Influences Oral Health

Your dog is your very best friend. Every single time you walk through the door your dog is so happy to see you that he wags his tail and practically smiles at you. How can you show your pet how much they mean to you? Well, one way is to take care of that smile for your pet. Did you know that your dog's diet can influence their oral health?

Humans need to brush and floss their teeth regularly to keep their teeth, tongue, and gums in good condition. Research has recently shown a link between good oral health in humans and a lower risk of heart disease. If good oral health can have such a profound affect on people, then it only makes sense to consider the impact it can have on man's best friend.

It is important to brush your dog's teeth frequently to keep plaque and tartar from becoming an issue. Even wiping his gums with a clean, damp cloth can be beneficial.

Your dog's diet also plays a role in your pet's oral health. Do you typically feed your dog canned or dry dog food? What kind of treats and toys do you provide for your pet? All of these things can affect the likelihood of trouble with your pet's teeth.

When your dog's diet is nutritionally sound, containing essential vitamins, nutrients, and enzymes, your pet's oral health will be at its very best. Feeding dry dog food rather than a moist canned variety is best for your dog. The tiny kibbles' hard surface rubs against the teeth to remove and reduce plaque. The simple act of moistening the dry dog food with water or gravy eliminates this property from dry dog food.

The treats you give your pet are part of your dog's diet just like snacks are part of a person's diet. As humans, we tend to want to overlook our snacking habits, so it can be easy to overlook the treats you give your dog. This is not a good idea. Carefully consider any and all items your dog will consume.

Do you give your dog bones, rawhides, jerky treats, or dog biscuits? Maybe your pet prefers greenies or corn starch chews. You may not have considered it, but tossing Spot a rawhide chew is like giving him a candy bar. The rawhide, for example, contains calories and is often provided between meals.

Many of the treats and snacks you provide in your dog's diet can be just empty wasted calories. Some treats, alternatively, provide excellent opportunity to improve oral health. Greenies, rawhides, bones, and hard dog biscuits all help to keep tartar at bay. The softer snacks, such as jerky treats, do not provide much relief from plaque. The healthy treat, on occasion, will also prevent your dog from having bad breath.

Your dog's diet must be healthy to ensure excellent oral health. Dry dog food is best whenever possible. Don't forget to select treats for your pet that will enhance your dog's diet. Consciously monitoring your dog's diet will positively influence your best friend's oral health.


Avoid Table Scraps in Your Dog's Diet

We have all done it. Our cute, little furry friend is practically smiling at us from beneath the kitchen table. The ears are perked and the tail is wagging. We know what our dog is after. Just a tiny tidbit from dinner would be delightful, right? What could it hurt? It is just a bite or two after all.

Hold Fido's ears he won't want to hear this. A dog's diet really should not contain table scraps. People food is just that...for people. A dog's nutritional needs are not the same as a human's. Sure, we eat some of the same things, but feeding your pet from the table is one of the biggest mistakes for your pet. A dog's diet doesn't require all the added goodies we put into our meals.

People have problems with obesity. A dog can have this problem, as well. If your dog's diet consists mostly of scraps from the dinner table, chances are high that your dog will have trouble maintaining a healthy weight. Even a few pounds over weight can really make a difference in the quality and length of your pet's life. Curb the begging and stick to your guns.

When you have a dog who is not a picky eater, it can be tempting to let your pet be the garbage disposal in the home, but really, this is not a good idea. Certain people foods can harm your dog and should never be a part of your dog's diet. Grapes, for example, have been known to cause serious problems for dogs, even death. Chicken bones and popcorn can also be a problem for your dog. Permitting large quantities of chocolate can be dangerous in a dog's diet.

A poor diet even shows up out in the yard. When your dog's diet is not at its best, your pet's outputs will be greater in size, smell, and mess. Benefits of choosing a healthy diet for your dog will be noticeable in your pet's health, as well as, during those walks around the block.

There are a few occasions when a supplement or treat from the kitchen may be alright, but never in excess. Talk to your veterinarian about healthy snacks for your dog's diet. If you simply must continue feeding Fido at the table, many vets recommend you give your pet ice cubes or pieces of carrot to munch on between scheduled feeding times. Providing your pet these healthy alternatives to pizza and cupcakes gives you the freedom to choose a healthy and nutritious snack for your dog's diet.

So, the next time your beloved pet starts eyeing your grub, redirect his or her attention. Don't reach for your fatty steak or chicken leg. Instead, toss your buddy a cool, refreshing ice cube to bat around and munch on. A couple of baby carrots will keep Fido happy and leave you feeling good about your choices for the nutritional value of your dog's diet. You will know that you are doing your best to maintain a high-quality diet for your pet.



Bathing a dog

Bathing a dog needs to be given more emphasis. This is because of the fact that if you are careless in bathing, the animal may end up having some infections. For example, if you don’t close the ears with large cotton ball, the water may enter into ear canals and may cause some ear infections with signs like constant discharge from the ears and shaking of head.

Frequency of bathing actually depends on the breed of the dog. If the dog is of a hairy type like the cocker spaniel, then the bathing is to be carried out once in six to eight weeks. If these breeds are bathed too frequently, then the skin and coat loose the protective characters. However, when the dog has defecated on the skin due to the frequent digestive upsets leading to diarrhea, to avoid the bad smell, the dog may be subjected to frequent bathing some times by the owners.

Take more care in avoiding some irritant soaps or human soaps. The soap materials used for human beings are not suitable for dogs. Similarly, many human shampoo products are having some ingredients that are not suitable in the proportions that are to be used in case of dogs. Hence, always try to use the shampoo products that are mentioned mainly for use in dogs. Take more care in using any new product.

Always have good time and patience for products required for bathing in one place with availability of water source. Dogs love the sprinkling of water, river, and oceans. Even when you are using bathtub, have everything in one place and then start bathing of the dog. Try to have a leash, conditioner, towel, and shampoo in the bath place.

Conditioner is of helpful to make the combing activity easier later. Bathing should be a convenient activity to both the dog and the owner. This should not be a burden.



Benefits of Fiber in Your Dog's Diet

We know the benefits of fiber in our own diet, but is their any benefits of fiber in a dog's diet? Fiber was consider filler and bulk in year's past, but today, the nutritional value of fiber in the dog's diet is finally realized.

What exactly is fiber? It is a part of carbohydrates. Fiber is not highly digestible by the body. Your dog's diet can benefit from fiber in appropriate amounts. Just like humans, too much fiber in a diet can have negative effects on the digestive system. It is always important to monitor your dog's diet to maintain a healthy level of fiber to suit your pet's needs. Talk to your veterinarian about the benefits of fiber in your dog's diet.

Obedience is prevalent in both humans and pets. Too often, pet's become overweight. Fiber in your dog's diet is a terrific way to help your pet lose excess weight. Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial to the longevity and quality of your dog's life. We know that fiber cannot accomplish weight loss on its own, but it can truly make a difference. Fiber helps to keep your dog feeling full and content without large amounts of calories.

The pets who achieve the desired weight goal may need a little extra fiber in the dog's diet to maintain the desired weight. Combining fiber with strict portion control, you will be able to create a dog diet that is healthy and satisfying for your pet.

Again, similar to humans, constipation does occur in pets. Your dog's diet should contain fiber to help prevent this medical condition from occurring. As your dog ages, his or her diet should contain elevated levels of fiber. Senior dogs tend to deal with issues of constipation more frequently than their younger counterparts. For this reason, you will note higher fiber content in senior dog diets.

How does fiber help keep things moving? Fiber absorbs water. With the absorption of water in the fiber, the contents in the intestine have more bulk. This is what causes the movement along the intestinal tract. The passage time through the bowel becomes more normalized and regular.

Healthy amounts of fiber in your dog's diet will contribute to fecal consistency. You will know when your pet is getting the proper amount of fiber when your dog relieves himself regularly. Too much fiber in your dog's diet will result in loose and messy stools.

Some studies indicate that a slight increase in fiber can assist in the management of diabetes mellitus. The fiber helps to control blood sugar levels by slowing the absorption of sugar from the intestine.

Take note that excessive amounts of fiber can have negative affects on your dog's health. For this reason, it is important to buy high-quality dog food from reputable companies to ensure a healthy diet for your dog. Watch for these sources of fiber in your dog's diet. Beet pulp, soybean hulls, rice bran, apple and tomato pomace, and peanut hulls. Grain such as oats and rice are also examples of indigestible fiber.

Fiber does have benefits in your dog's diet when used in moderation. Talk to your vet about the best amount of fiber for your pet.



Boredom and variety

Boredom and variety are always inter connected in case of dog misbehaving. Yes. This is true. Many a times, boredom can be managed with variety of materials that will distract the animals to a greater extent. Hence, the dog may not do the abnormal or unwanted activity arising out of the boredom experienced by it.

Boredom experienced dogs may have different types of behavioral patterns. For example, some dogs will be seen barking continuously and some may be engaged always in some digging activities.

There are many ways to get your dog out of its boredom activities. Many toys are available which simulated duck, dog, rodent etc.

These may be kept inside the crate and in particular, puppies love these items. A buster cube with multiple treats may be placed in the dog’s shelter and the animal soon understands on how to roll the buster cube to get the treats it prefers. A Buster Cube is an ingenious toy use for simulating and activating your dog during play and feed time. Instead of placing the food monotonously in one place, change the place of feeding suddenly.

Such actions will be helpful for removing the boredom like activity in your dog. Activities pertaining to boredom need to be redefined well by the dog owners. This will help them to a greater extent to drive away the unwanted behavior patterns in their pet dogs.

For example, some dogs may often have destructive biting characters and will be seen biting chair, cloth, mats, and everything that can see. After ruling out the teething problem if it is a puppy, provide it with some large sized balls, mineral mixture based bone materials, etc. Such variety of materials help to reduce the boredom related activities.



Caring For Your Older Dog

 Once your dog becomes older it is time to take some preventative steps in order for them remain healthy, happy and active. Have your vet examine your pet annually or more often, if necessary.

As in humans, keep your dogs weight within the proper or optimum range. An overweight dog has far more health problems such as joint problems, arthritis, diabetes and liver or kidney malfunctions. Cut down on the amount of treats given to your pet. It is hard to resist their soulful eyes but always remember that it is for their own good. You do not want to kill your pet by thinking you are being kind to them. Feed your pet once a day or smaller amounts twice a day but remove the food if there is any left. If you have children, explain to them why they should not sneak food to the family pet.

As with dogs of any age, make sure there is always fresh, cool water available. Some older dogs have problems getting to the water bowl so either take the water to them or place bowls of water in several different places so they do not have to go far for a drink.

If possible take your dog for a short walk daily. This helps the dog's blood circulation and provides some new sights and smells to stimulate them and it gives you quality time to spend with your pet. He may be older but still curious.

You may need to switch from dry food to a moist or canned food as your dog ages.  His teeth may not be able to handle the hardness of dry kibbles. Looking after your older dog and taking him to the vet regularly helps keep your dog healthy and happy longer.



Clipping a dog

Many dog owners generally think of clipping as only a mechanical activity. Few understand that clipping a dog is an art. Clipping a coat or nail needs to be carried out in a careful manner to avoid the injuries to the skin or nail. Clipping of the coat is to be taken care of as per the breed characteristics. If the coat is not properly clipped, this may lead to the dust accumulation in the coat and the animal may start showing signs of skin diseases. This is true especially when the grooming activities are not done in a proper manner.

Clipping of coat helps to get rid of the parasitic burden to a greater extent and also, the clipping of your dog is of more useful to expose on the type of parasitic problem that the dog is likely to suffer. Many pet health parlors are available wherein the clipping of dog will be carried out in a more systematic manner.

Always make use of a sharp clipper and in the winter regions, avoid the close clipping. This is due to the fact that the closer clipping in the winter seasons may expose the dog to the environmental stresses like the cold climate. Hence, the dog may become more vulnerable to the frostbite. Avoid the close clipping of coat or nail because this may cause injury to the underlying tissues and may cause bleeding in the concerned animal.

Many pet owners need to avoid any clipping activity when the animal is not in healthy status. Clipping instruments are available to a greater extent in many pet shops. Avoid the blunt instruments because they may not clip well and hence, repetition is required often. Always use modern equipment for clipping activities.



Common questions about heart worm

The common questions about heart worm are often related to the
species affected by heart worms in addition to the dogs. One
should know that in addition to dogs, the cat, fox, wolf,
horse, sea lion etc. are also affected. Can this be cured
or not? Yes. This can be treated.

What is the drug used often for the prevention of heart worm in
dogs? Ivermectin is the drug used often to have preventive
actions for these heart worms. Dogs affected reveal constant
coughing, panting and dullness in many occasions.

What will be the size of the worms? In the case of the females, it is about twenty-seven centimeters and in the case of males, it is about seventeen centimeters in length. Is there any vector involve in
the transmission of the disease? Yes. Mosquitoes often get associated as vectors in which the early development of larvae of heart worms occur in them.

Is the prophylaxis meant only for heart worms or others also?
The prophylaxis is meant not only for the heart worms but also
for the hook worms, whip worms, and round worms. What is the
infective type of larvae that is associated with the transmission
of these heart worms? The third stage larva that is transmitted by
the mosquito bites.

This occurs through out the world. In some areas, the incidences
are less in colder months in which the mosquito breeding will not
be there and may be dormant during these periods. What is the name of
the drug used for therapy and prevention? Ivermectin and
milbemycin oxime may be used for both purposes. Ivermectin is
available in injection form and oral form.

Additionally, the forms for external application are also
available. The cost factor needs to be worked out for all these
treatments. What is the frequency of drug used for prophylaxis?
One month before the mosquito season and up to two months after the
mosquito season, ivermectin or milbemycin oxime may be given
once monthly for the prophylaxis. Diethylcarbamazine may be used
for therapy purpose.



Common questions about vaccinations

Common questions about vaccinations are to be understood by the dog owners, as a priority. One of the common questions is whether the dog needs to be given vaccination on the first week of age or not. The dogs need not be vaccinated within five to six weeks of age. But, if they did not receive vaccinations, then the vaccination against the parvoviral infections used to kill viral vaccines and measles disease may be given.

Another common question is whether dog is to be given bordetella disease vaccine and lyme disease vaccine. No, these vaccines are only optional. Can the parvoviral vaccine can be used in first week of life? No. This will interfere with maternal antibody levels.

Can a pregnant animal be vaccinated? Yes. Two to three weeks earlier to pregnancy activity that is expected, the pregnant animal may be vaccinated against viral diseases. This helps to provide maternal antibodies to the young one to be given birth. Is there any need to give rabies vaccine to dogs? Yes. It is a must to go for the anti rabies vaccine for dogs.

When this anti-rabies vaccine is given to the dogs, what precaution does one need to undertake in this regard? Rabies vaccine is given at age of thirteen to fifteen weeks of age and should to be repeated in fifteen months and then once in three years. It is important that the dog is given this vaccine.

However, this depends on the risk area. Is there any need for canine distemper vaccination in case of dogs? Yes. There is a specific requirement in the case of dogs for the vaccination against the canine distemper. This disease is more prevalent in most of the countries.

Is there any vaccination against leptospirosis and at what age, the dog is to be vaccinated? This is to be given at age of at six to eight weeks of age, again at tenth to twelfth weeks, and again at thirteenth to sixteenth weeks of age.



Cost of feeds

The cost of dog feed is one factor that is most important in the case of feeding of dogs with different kinds of food items. Yes. This is true. The cost factor needs to be looked into in various perspectives during the preparation of the food items, required for the balanced feeding of dogs with proper vitamin and mineral supplementations in the food.

Cost will not always matter much because the dog’s value is being assessed in terms of companionship and the happiness derived from the dog to the dog owner. Though the cost of the food items is comparatively more, many dog owners don’t mind much due to the increased benefits derived from their dogs in terms of protection, guiding, etc.

Selection of ingredients for the home made food needs to be however based on the quality factor. Even when the quality is more, general persons may seek some cheaper items only. Recommended nutrient contents may be obtained from the national nutrient academies in all nations and this will provide guidelines.

One can correlate the cost factor with items available in their own country. Generally, the commercial food items are expensive especially the ones that use the modern technologies of food preparation like oven-baking, sterilization of cans, air drying or freeze drying of contents etc.

Canned items cost more than the dry food items. However, the cost of the items depends on what kind of food item to be used for the dogs. Food allergies need to be monitored during usage of different food items in case of dogs due to the cheaper cost of the items. Often the quality need not be compromised because of the cost factor.

Most of the dog food items nowadays have mentioned their cost in the label itself. Hence, the dog owner need not have any problem in taking a decision on the purchase.



Disabilities in Dog Owners

Just because you are dealing with a disability does not mean you can’t have a dog in your life.  Studies indicate doing so will benefit you and the dog.  There are some things you can do to make the experience easier.

If you need help giving your dog medicine, fluids, or shots, ask your veterinarian if he or she knows of anyone who will make home visits. If not, contact local pet-sitters to find ones who will assist you. Many pet-sitters are trained to perform these functions for the sick pet for owners who cannot perform them for themselves or for owners when they are away.
To play with your dog, use flashlights or laser pointers. Dogs love chasing the light, and you won't have to make a move.  An alternative is a remote control car for him to chase.  He gets exercise and you do not get over-exhausted.

If you have difficulty performing basic functions for yourself, investigate the use of a service or assistance dog. Assistance dogs are trained to help people with physical limitations perform their everyday functions. Assistance dogs are accepted in public places just as guide dogs and hearing dogs are.

Divide large bags of food into smaller containers to help with lifting and filling dishes.  If you get large dishes, you will spend less time and energy filling them. There are dog food stands that raise the bowls above floor  so you won’t have to bend as much when you fill them.

Walking a dog when you are disabled can be difficult.  Consider hiring a neighborhood teen to do this or have a pet sitter come in and walk your dog each day.  Fenced-in yards are another alternative to consider.

Having a disability doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the companionship of a dog.  It takes just a little adjusting for you both to be happy.



Disorders Your Dog May Inherit

 A vital part of good prevention is to know the common types of illnesses and disorders associated with particular dog breeds. For dogs, the parts of their body that are most frequently affected by congenital problems are the central nervous system, the eyes, the muscles, and the bones. For instance, the Beagle, Collie, miniature Poodle, German Shepherd, and Keeshond are more likely to inherit epilepsy.

Different types of nervous system disorders are often passed on within certain breeds. Examples are paralysis of the front and back legs, which is common in the Irish Setter, a failure of muscle coordination common in Fox Terrier, and abnormal swelling of the brain is common in the Chihuahua, English Bulldog, and Cocker Spaniel.

A great number of common breeds suffer from congenital eye abnormalities including glaucoma, cataracts, and blindness.

Breeds such as Basenji, Basset Hound, Pekingese, Lhasa Apso, and Cairn Terrier have a high risk for inguinal hernias (gut protrudes into the groin). Umbilical hernias (gut protrudes through the navel) are inherited defects in breeds like Bull Terrier, Cocker Spaniel, Pekingese, Basenji, Collie, Weimaraner, Airedale Terrier, and Pointer.

In order to keep health problems in your dog from getting serious, you need to detect them early. Therefore, it is necessary to give your dog a basic check-up about once a week. This check-up takes no more than a few minutes, and it can help prevent problems as well as expenses down the road.

Start with a body rub. This makes your pet comfortable. While giving him his rub, check for any signs of flaking or scabs which can be a sign of parasites, a skin disorder, or allergies.

Also check for any lumps and bumps. Although they are a normal part of aging in dogs, they can also be a symptom that there is something wrong. Check for any swelling that could indicate parasites, heart trouble, or cancer.

His breathing should be smooth and quiet, unless he is panting. If his breathing is raspy or rattling, he could have a respiratory problem.

Your dog's heartbeat should be regular and strong. To check for his pulse, place your hand against his chest by his left elbow. Count the number of beats in 15 seconds and multiply it by four. The rate should range between 60 and 160.

Lastly, examine his ears, eyes, and mouth and check for any signs of abnormalities



Do parasites cause “Scooting”?

Parasites too cause the scooting. Scooting is a an anal sac disease. First let's understand what scooting is in detail. This is the dragging of anus with the hind limbs in an extended state. Parasites causing irritation in the anus regions lead to such type of actions in animals like dogs.

However, one should not be under the impression that it is the parasite that alone causes such scooting in case of dogs. There are many occasions in which the dog may have the scooting without any parasite based etiological agent. For example, the anal gland infections, tumors at the anus and injuries near the anal regions also may lead to such type of dragging of anus region, frequently by the affected dogs.

Flea bite allergy often causes irritation at the anus region and the animal may try to bite the anus region and the irritations due to these factors lead to the final dragging of anus region on the ground. Cestodiasis in dogs is the condition caused by tapeworms.

In such occasions, if the animal is not treated in time, the animal may be seen exhibiting the scooting activities. Tapeworm segments passed in the stool create crawling like activities near anus.

Such crawling activities of the tapeworm segments lead to severe itching at these regions. Hence, to make a relief from this type of constant irritation, the animal starts pressing the anus region on the ground first and then tries to drag it on the ground with typical extension of rear limbs.

Usually there is a packet of eggs when the fecal sample is examined by microscope. However, the flotation technique leads to breakage of these packets to burst and hence, diagnosis is difficult in such occasions. Scooting dogs need to be examined to rule out tapeworm segments, which look like rice like pieces.

These segments are white in color and turn yellow when taken from the body. Tapeworms themselves may be seen in the motion or near anus below the tail regions. Consult your veterinarian for specific cures for this.



Does Your Dog's Diet Need to Include Supplements?

A healthy, balanced diet is essential for a long and happy life with your pet. How do you know if your dog's diet needs supplements? What types of supplements should you add to your dog's diet?

In most cases, your dog's diet will not need to be supplemented. Assuming you feed your pet a diet formulated by a reputable dog food company, your dog's food is specially designed for a healthy balance to ensure excellent health for your pet.

Occasionally, some low-quality dog foods will increase the need for extra supplementation. Your vet may recommend that you give your dog's diet a little boost. Consider supplementing your dog's diet with a hard boiled egg a couple of days per week. This simple step will add extra amounts of vitamins A and D to your dog's diet. Such vitamins help to maintain good bone structure and healthy eyes.

If you have decided to personalize your dog's diet by customizing a raw diet, cooking at home for your pet, or just want to make sure your dog's diet is at its best, you will want to know about the benefits of other supplements. Your dog's diet can be supplemented with whole grains, green vegetables, and nuts. These items will increase your dog's intake of vitamin B. Other ways to supplement your dog's diet to increase the amount of vitamin B include beans, yeast, and liver. Your dog needs vitamin B in a healthy, balanced diet to support healthy skin and muscles.

To ward off immune system deficiencies, supplement your dog's diet with additional vitamin E. Good sources of vitamin E can be found in wheat germ, bran, and vegetable oil.

Vitamin K can be another important nutrient in your dog's diet. Liver, fish, leafy greens, and seeds can provide vitamin K to your dog's diet. This vitamin will help to enhance your dog's blood clotting abilities.

Glucosamine can be a great supplement in your dog's diet. Glucosamine has been proven to improve joint health and ward off arthritis in your pet.

Supplementing your dog's diet can be risky if not done correctly. You may think you are providing your pet excellent vitamins and low calories by tossing your dog a few grapes or raisins. Some dogs have been known to die from renal failure due to consuming such fruit. Always seek advice from a professional before supplementing or changing your dog's diet in any way just to be on the safe side.

Calcium supplements can be dangerous when used excessively in your dog's diet. Although calcium is good in moderation to form strong, healthy bones, too much calcium can create trouble. Large breed pups given too much calcium may grow large bones, but these bones lack the strength they need.

Always talk to your vet about the supplements you are considering. Your vet can advise you on the appropriate amounts of each supplement to add to your dog's diet. Both you and your vet care for your pet and want what is best for your dog. Providing a healthy and nutritious diet is one of the easiest ways to ensure good health for your furry friend.



Doggie First Aid Kit

As a dog owner, you may find yourself needing to give your dog first aid. Dogs are curious creatures and sometimes get into dangerous situations. When they get into trouble, it will be your job to help.  Many of the problems a dog faces are similar to those of our own. Until you can get your dog to a vet, he will depend on you. Having the supplies you need on hand will really help you to be effective.

Rolls of gauze and tape are handy to slow or stop bleeding and are necessary in your doggie first aid kit. You can also find some great blood-clotting topical products too. Hydrogen peroxide is important for cleaning wounds. An old clean blanket is essential for wrapping a dog in shock. A first aid kit should also include an antihistamine for bee or wasp stings, an antibiotic gel and an eye wash. Also, absorbent cotton, gauze rolls or pads, scissors (preferably with rounded tips), tweezers, a rectal thermometer; syringes (without the needle) for giving oral medications, elastic bandages.

Take time to learn the basics of first aid. Keep your vet's phone number handy in case you need him. If you think your dog may need professional care in the middle of the night or on a weekend, consider calling your vet and advising him. He may have some good advice or instructions to help you reach him.  Many cities now have pet emergency centers.  It is advisable to keep their number in your first aid kit as well.

Keep in mind that an injured dog is scared and may bite.  If you feel this is possible, a muzzle is another addition to your kit.  Avoid giving your dog Tylenol.  Ask your vet before it is necessary what kind of pain medication is okay and keep some of that with the rest.


Doggie Sit-Ups

 Ideal play or training sessions with your dog end with the dog feeling both tired and successful.  One method that accomplishes creating a sense of accomplishment in both you and your dog, as well as enforcing obedience, is doing a session or two of doggie sit-ups. It helps to have a lot of small treats on hand for these. At first, you may have to give a tiny bite after each part of the exercise.  Eventually, your goal will be to complete the entire set before a treat is given.

Start by having your dog sit.  Once sitting, have him lay, then sit again and finally stand.  This is one sit-up.  The ideal session will be to have your dog repeat this sequence of moves a total of ten times, but at first you may only be able to get him to cooperate for one or two.  That is fine.  Every few days add an additional turn before he gets his treat until he is doing the full ten.

This exercise reinforces the basic commands of sit, down and stay.  If your dog has yet to learn these commands, you will have to work on them at the same time.  This allows you to accomplish two things at the same time. Keep in mind, however, that trying to learn a new command is tiring in itself.  Adjust the number of sit-ups accordingly or you are bound to have a very frustrated dog.

Dogs love to feel they have made their people happy.  Allowing your dog to combine some of the simplest commands into your play session will make him feel he has accomplished this task and he will be all the more eager to do whatever else you have in store for him during this time.


Dogs and Cats Compared

Dog is essentially a servant. His feelings toward his master are comradely and his manner familiar; he enjoys the master's affection and regard.  He will go to any length to please and protect his people. He can be taught any manner of service tasks and will go about them with enthusiasm. His aim is to please.

The cat is different. She serves no one, knowingly or willingly. Her one accomplishment -- the hunting of mice, rats and other rodents -- is self-taught. The man does not live who can claim to have trained a cat to perform a task for human benefit. There are no police cats, no watch cats, no sled cats. The cat does not even come when she's called, unless it suits her.

Dogs are dependent upon humans.  They seek humans for companionship, play and care.  They enjoy the role of being part of the “pack” and will go to great lengths to keep that position.

Cats are also quite self-sufficient. You never have to entertain them. This is not to say that they cannot be entertained or that they themselves are not entertaining. It is just that their errands are many and their schedules full.  Cats prefer going it alone, depending upon their own wit to survive.

Whether you choose to share your home with a dog or a cat depends a great deal upon your own personality.  If you seek to be in charge, you will come to blows with cat every time.  She cannot be controlled.  If companionship and undying loyalty are what you seek, a dog will fill the position willingly.

There are homes and people for both dog and cat—examine what you expect carefully and choose accordingly.  Your home will be blessed with the presence of either.



Dogs and Cats Under the Same Roof

Dogs are often territorial and will fight not just new cats but other new dogs as well. They tend to mark their territory and will fight anyone who invades their space. Cats have the same tendencies and even if they are smaller than to dogs, they will scratch and fight for their territory.

The first step is obedience. This is necessary especially for the dog, which is usually the aggressor in this kind of situation. You have to train your dog to obey when you say "no".

Allow your cat to wander around the house. Cats love to roam and this will make her scent scattered in your home. After doing this, lock your cat in one room and let your dog wander around the house sniffing for the cat's scent. This will make your dog acquainted to your cats smell and train the dog that the cat is part of the household.

Dogs usually start barking whenever they see some other animals in their territory, hoping to scare them away. They won't really lunge at something immediately. Once he starts barking, this is where the obedience part starts to come in. Say "no" and make him realize that the cat is also a pet.

If your dog starts to calm down when in the presence of the cat, then it's the time to let him sniff the cat. Once your dog starts to decide not to bark at your cat you know that you've done the introduction part successfully.

The final step is making sure that both pets have the time to coexist. This part is usually the cat's fault. Cats have the tendency to be aloof and stay away from the dog and other people. It's not because they are afraid of the dog but more because it's their nature to be alone.




Dogs Can Suffer Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Some dogs are prone to becoming victims of obsessive-compulsive disorder when under stress. The stress can cause either a sudden or gradual onset of the condition. The behavior pattern that emerges will depend on the particular breed. In general, longhaired large breeds of dogs may over groom, herding breeds may chase or hoard and a pure predatory breed may bite, mouth or chase objects.  All these have human comparisons.

All the behaviors performed by compulsive canines are essentially normal behaviors. They are just performed over and over again and out of context. The same occurs with humans. There is nothing wrong with washing your hands repeatedly, but if you wash your hands several hundred times a day you have a problem. Psychiatrists treat the human problems on a case-by case basis. Veterinarians remain divided regarding the significance of canine overly expressed behaviors. Some feel it may be our attempt to humanize our pets, yet others are not so sure. Whatever the cause, it is very real in some dogs.

Lick granuloma in the canine is equivalent to hand washing in the human. Affected dogs lick their wrists or hocks excessively, over-cleaning or over grooming themselves until the skin in these regions is ulcerated. For years, no one knew why dogs engaged in this pointless, mindless behavior. Now, veterinarians are seeing the OCD link and with this understanding are able to treat the condition much more effectively. Lick granuloma primarily affects larger breeds of dogs such as Labradors, golden retrievers, Great Danes and Dobermans. Individual susceptibility and environmental influences are also required for the full expression of the behavior. Affected animals are usually anxious, sensitive, and high-strung and may give an impression of a generalized anxiety disorder. Environmental factors include various stresses and conflict situations, including separation anxiety or boredom.



Dogs need different diets at different ages

Dogs need different diets at different ages. Yes. This is true. For example, the puppy needs milk as the major food item while an adult dog may need beef or chicken in addition to the boiled egg and milk. So depending on the age factor, the diet schedule varies in reality for the dogs like any other species.

Puppies need greater amounts of protein, fat and carbohydrates than an adult dogs. Furthermore, puppies need more frequent feeding schedules in a day, unlike an adult dog. The movement based requirements of diet are more in the case of puppies, since they are often more active than the adult dogs.

Elder dogs need restricted protein but the protein needs to be easily digestible and easily assimilated in the body. The diet schedule should have ample supply of water for them. Feeding aged dogs too much protein may finally lead to over burden to the renal structures and ultimately, the dog may end up damaging filters in the kidney.

This is true especially when the immune system of these dogs is compromised due to many factors. Similarly, the elderly dogs need less food only because the movements of the adult dogs are highly restricted and hence, they have to spend a limited of energy.

Female dogs in the pregnancy stage need not be fed a full stomach since it may cause some discomforts to the animal. However, the pregnant animal and the nursing animal need special type of food items that deliver a balanced type of nutrition with proper supplementation of vitamins and minerals.

The nursing animal with puppies need to be fed with enough amounts of calcium and hence, there will not be any calcium based deficiency and the bones of the puppies will be strong without any curving.



Don’t Let Your Dog Walk You

 Be Unpredictable

Making quick and abrupt turns in the opposite direction anytime your dog starts to get ahead of you will teach him to pay attention to where you’re going. Praise him lavishly when he returns to your side and even reward with a small treat if your dog is food motivated. The idea is to stop the pulling before it even starts by catching him off guard. Be calm, no need to scold him, he’ll figure it out.

You may have to turn around forty times in the first session and barely make it half way down the driveway, but don’t worry, it will get better the more you practice. Many dogs catch on quickly to this game and start to watch their owner closely to see what they’ll do next. A dog that’s paying attention to you isn’t pulling on the leash.

Set The Rules

And stick to them! Decide once and for all that you will not allow him to pull and then react anytime he tries to move ahead of you. This means you’ll have to be watching him closely during the first couple sessions. Allowing him to pull sometimes but not all the time will only confuse your dog. Look at your next couple walks as training experiences, not exercise. Once your dog gets the hang of it then you can start to plan on moving past the driveway.

Practice, Distract, and Practice Some More

Teaching good leash walking skills is an ongoing process. You may always need to ‘be unpredictable’ every once in a while even after your dog understands what you expect. Keep him on his toes and keep practicing. Don’t be stingy with the praise, let him know when he’s doing the right thing and you’ll start to see more of that behavior.




Dry Vs. Canned food

These types of food materials are different with different grades of liking by the dogs. Dogs like dry foods only if they are tasty only and however, on comparison, the dogs prefer only the canned food items. Reason for such preference by the dogs is that in case of canned food items, the moisture is about seventy to eighty per cent but in case of dry food, it is only about ten per cent.

However, if you view it in terms of nutrients, often the dry food contains nearly ninety per cent nutrients whereas the canned food items contain only less per cent of nutrients and most of the times. It is only soy products that are structured so well to look like meat pieces.

Hence, to make up the nutritional balance in the body systems, the dog has to eat more amounts of canned food materials than the dry food materials. Hence, just compare the cost factor related to this feature by you. Many dry food items are soybean and rice based.

Now some dry food items are based on corn. Sometimes, beef based or chicken based food items come in the cans along with mineral and vitamin supplements suited for the upkeep of the dog’s health status. Larger dogs that weigh more than thirty pounds need to be fed with semi moist food items or dry food items in most of the occasions.

This is to satisfy the food receptors in the stomach. This is due to the fact that the larger dogs need to eat plenty of moist food or the canned food items to satisfy these criteria. But it may not be practically possible in these larger dogs. The small sized dogs may have a satisfactory level of nutrients if fed even the moist food items.
However, the caloric density of the dry food should not be forgotten. Enriched dry food items are highly welcome ones than the non -enriched food items.



Epilepsy in Dogs and Cats

Epilepsy in dogs and cats is similar to that in humans.  The main symptom is a type of seizure. Seizures can come in many forms and several of these are listed below:

Generalized Seizures

Generalized seizures are the most common type of seizures in dogs and cats. There are several variations of these seizures:

1. Absence seizures (petit mal): sudden brief loss of consciousness, rare in animals
2. Myoclonic seizures: muscle jerk of one or more muscles
3. Clonic seizures: rhythmic muscle contractions
4. Tonic seizures: increase in muscle tone in all skeletal muscles
5. Tonic Clonic seizures (grand mal): the most common form of seizure in pets

Tonic Clonic Seizures

Tonic Clonic (grand mal) seizures account for 60% of seizures in cats and 80% of seizures in dogs. They are usually accompanied by a loss of consciousness, and consist of a tonic phase, where the increased muscle tone causes the animal to fall on its side with its limbs extended, and a clonic phase, consisting of intense muscle jerking or paddling movements.

In order to diagnose true epilepsy, other causes of seizures must be first ruled out. Once a tentative diagnosis of epilepsy has been made (by excluding all the other known causes of seizures), the animal can be prescribed anticonvulsant drugs. These drugs are not appropriate for animals with seizures caused by a problem outside the brain. The overall goal of anticonvulsant therapy is to eradicate all seizure activity, but this is rarely achieved. A more realistic goal is to reduce the frequency of the seizures to a level that is acceptable for the owner, without having negative side effects for the animal.
Since epilepsy is not curable, the owner must be prepared to give the medication for the rest of the animals life.


First steps in grooming

Grooming is one of the important activities to be known well by the dog owner. If the dog owner is not aware of the grooming, then the dog may encounter many types of diseases. First steps of grooming consists of activities like maintenance of coat, nails and ears. The maintenance of the coat mainly consists of enrichment measures like proper bathing, combing, drying of skin by dryers, and more. The animal need not be bathed daily and this helps to protect the skin’s characteristics like insulation feature.

Use conditioners and shampoos that are meant for dogs. Combing needs to be carried out with a soft brush meant for use in case of dogs. There are varieties of brushes available and depending on the type of breeds, one can use the concerned brush. This grooming of the coat by a comb needs to be carried out daily and the fallen hair if any needs to be placed in dust bin always.

Otherwise, when the dog owners switch on the fan, the hair will fly and may enter the nostrils of persons. Always don’t clip too much because this may lead to injuries of nail always. Similarly, you need to carry all the materials required for the clipping with you before the start of the procedure.

Use a sharp clipper designed for use in case of dogs. It is better to have the dog on the raised place and hence, the control of the animal is easier. Ear canals are to be checked up frequently and sterile cotton may be used for cleaning purposes. Grooming associated guidelines need to be followed strictly by the dog owners.

Nail-maintenance is one of the first steps of grooming activities. Live nail areas can be easily clipped away and are always light colored than the reddish area of the nail in the higher position. During the holding of your dog's feet by you, always have a firm grip. If not, the dog will take an upper hand during the clipping and some injury may occur.



Flea Control

hether you have a dog or a cat, chances are you will find yourself in need of ridding them of fleas at least once.  Below are a few suggestions to help you with the task.

Keep an Eye on Your Pet
Watch your pet for commons signs and symptoms of a flea infestation such as excessive biting and scratching, particularly around the tail and lower back areas. Check for raw patches of skin where your dog or cat may have been scratching at fleas for some time. Another bit of evidence is "flea debris," specks of dried blood that are black in color.

Flea Collars and Powders
If you have caught the problem relatively early, it may be possible to eliminate fleas by simply using flea collars and powders. There are several brands and types to choose from, and many contain a special comb with fine teeth that is designed to remove fleas from fur.

Flea Baths
It's helpful to bathe your pet frequently using a specially formulated soap or treatment. It's necessary to take into consideration the type of fur or coat your pet has when bathing. This is particularly true for dogs as some breeds have essential oils that shouldn't be washed away with soap and water more than once or twice a year. If bathing in a flea bath isn't an option for your pet, consult your vet for other alternatives.

Monthly Medication
There are pills available for your pet to take on a monthly basis that will prevent fleas from reproducing, but they do not kill the ones that have already reached adulthood. There are also multi-purpose medications and products available that are designed to prevent fleas from reproducing as well as controlling heartworm, hookworms, whipworms and roundworms.

Fleas will always exist, but with careful planning and proper treatment, they need not become a problem for you or your pet.



Fleas and other parasites

Fleas and other parasites need to be given always a priority by the dog owners. The common incidences of flea bite allergy in case of dogs cause worries among the dog owners. Flea bite induces allergic reactions in the concerned area bitten by the fleas. Hence, the affected area looks like hairless area and the animal starts scratching.

Fleas cause severe dermatitis in dogs with severe flea infestations. Many times, the flea bite causes allergic reactions in the dogs. In many occasions, dogs experience severe discomforts due to these allergic reactions. Medicated collars are available to treat and prevent the infestation with external parasites like ticks or fleas.

Other parasites like ticks, lice in addition to the internal parasites like hook worms, round worms, whip worms etc. cause affections in the health status of the animal. For example, if hookworm affects the animal, most of the times, the dog has anemia. The anemic signs become more prominent depending on the degree of affection by the hookworm.

Hookworm larvae can pass directly through the skin and cause problems in the affected ones. Such dogs may reveal lesions pertaining to the dermatitis in the feet region and in the skin areas. Skin rashes may be seen frequently in such cases and the affected animal passes loose stool, which is of red tinged and mixed with blood material.

If the round worms are seen in more numbers, the affected puppies reveal a potbelly condition, which is easily recognized by the dog owners themselves. Piperazine salts are given by oral route for the treatment of this problem. However, broad-spectrum anthelmintics like pyrantel pamoate, fenbendazole etc. are given to treat these conditions.

Many drugs have come in market to treat the fleas and other parasites. Nowadays, the medical agent called as ivermectin is highly preferred by many dog owners to treat the fleas and other parasites in dogs. This drug is available in injection form and oral form. Even the drug is available for the external application also.



Food allergies

Food allergies are something that is difficult to identify unless one is well aware of the baseline information with regard to this type of allergy. The main symptoms of food allergies in dogs include the facial itching, limb chewing, belly itching, recurrent ear infections or skin infections.

Since the dogs consume lot of prepared food materials including various kinds of proteins, fillers, coloring agents and more; in the commercial food materials, the incidences of food allergies are more than one can imagine. Allergic reactions mostly involve the skin or the gastro intestinal tract.

If you come across your dog itching after the provision of specific food materials, then suspect the food allergy in this animal. However, conditions like fungal infections need to be ruled out in general before the conclusion of itching as a sign of food allergy.

There are many recorded incidences of allergies of dogs to corn or to wheat. However, the food allergies vary from dog to dog. Read the labels clearly before feeding your dogs with pet food materials, in such occasions. Too much colored food materials may be avoided since they may cause allergies to your dog.

Food allergies are often linked to the hyper active behavior noticed in the dogs. Added colors, preservatives, and high fat diet might cause such food allergies in the dogs and hence, one has to be careful in providing new kind of diet to their dogs and closely monitor the dog for any signs of allergy.

There are many occasions that food allergies might be diagnosed in the dogs but the dog may have other problems like pancreatitis. To rule out the food allergies, observation your dogs every time you feed them, look for reasons to link the signs of dog with food given, specific signs encountered, differential diagnosis etc. are the important features to be given emphasis.




There is no incongruity in the idea that in the very earliest period of man's habitation of this world he made a friend and companion of some sort of aboriginal representative of our modern dog, and that in return for its aid in protecting him from wilder animals, and in guarding his sheep and goats, he gave it a share of his food, a corner in his dwelling, and grew to trust it and care for it. Probably the animal was originally little else than an unusually gentle jackal, or an ailing wolf driven by its companions from the wild marauding pack to seek shelter in alien surroundings. One can well conceive the possibility of the partnership beginning in the circumstance of some helpless whelps being brought home by the early hunters to be tended and reared by the women and children. Dogs introduced into the home as playthings for the children would grow to regard themselves, and be regarded, as members of the family

In nearly all parts of the world traces of an indigenous dog family are found, the only exceptions being the West Indian Islands, Madagascar, the eastern islands of the Malayan Archipelago, New Zealand, and the Polynesian Islands, where there is no sign that any dog, wolf, or fox has existed as a true aboriginal animal. In the ancient Oriental lands, and generally among the early Mongolians, the dog remained savage and neglected for centuries, prowling in packs, gaunt and wolf-like, as it prowls today through the streets and under the walls of every Eastern city. No attempt was made to allure it into human companionship or to improve it into docility. It is not until we come to examine the records of the higher civilisations of Assyria and Egypt that we discover any distinct varieties of canine form.

The dog was not greatly appreciated in Palestine, and in both the Old and New Testaments it is commonly spoken of with scorn and contempt as an "unclean beast." Even the familiar reference to the Sheepdog in the Book of Job "But now they that are younger than I have me in derision, whose fathers I would have disdained to set with the dogs of my flock" is not without a suggestion of contempt, and it is significant that the only biblical allusion to the dog as a recognised companion of man occurs in the apocryphal Book of Tobit (v. 16), "So they went forth both, and the young man's dog with them."

The great multitude of different breeds of the dog and the vast differences in their size, points, and general appearance are facts which make it difficult to believe that they could have had a common ancestry. One thinks of the difference between the Mastiff and the Japanese Spaniel, the Deerhound and the fashionable Pomeranian, the St. Bernard and the Miniature Black and Tan Terrier, and is perplexed in contemplating the possibility of their having descended from a common progenitor. Yet the disparity is no greater than that between the Shire horse and the Shetland pony, the Shorthorn and the Kerry cattle, or the Patagonian and the Pygmy; and all dog breeders know how easy it is to produce a variety in type and size by studied selection.

In order properly to understand this question it is necessary first to consider the identity of structure in the wolf and the dog. This identity of structure may best be studied in a comparison of the osseous system, or skeletons, of the two animals, which so closely resemble each other that their transposition would not easily be detected.

The spine of the dog consists of seven vertebrae in the neck, thirteen in the back, seven in the loins, three sacral vertebrae, and twenty to twenty-two in the tail. In both the dog and the wolf there are thirteen pairs of ribs, nine true and four false. Each has forty-two teeth. They both have five front and four hind toes, while outwardly the common wolf has so much the appearance of a large, bare-boned dog, that a popular description of the one would serve for the other.

Nor are their habits different. The wolf's natural voice is a loud howl, but when confined with dogs he will learn to bark. Although he is carnivorous, he will also eat vegetables, and when sickly he will nibble grass. In the chase, a pack of wolves will divide into parties, one following the trail of the quarry, the other endeavouring to intercept its retreat, exercising a considerable amount of strategy, a trait which is exhibited by many of our sporting dogs and terriers when hunting in teams.

A further important point of resemblance between the Canis lupus and the Canis familiaris lies in the fact that the period of gestation in both species is sixty-three days. There are from three to nine cubs in a wolf's litter, and these are blind for twenty-one days. They are suckled for two months, but at the end of that time they are able to eat half-digested flesh disgorged for them by their dam or even their sire.

The native dogs of all regions approximate closely in size, coloration, form, and habit to the native wolf of those regions. Of this most important circumstance there are far too many instances to allow of its being looked upon as a mere coincidence. Sir John Richardson, writing in 1829, observed that "the resemblance between the North American wolves and the domestic dog of the Indians is so great that the size and strength of the wolf seems to be the only difference.

It has been suggested that the one incontrovertible argument against the lupine relationship of the dog is the fact that all domestic dogs bark, while all wild Canidae express their feelings only by howls. But the difficulty here is not so great as it seems, since we know that jackals, wild dogs, and wolf pups reared by bitches readily acquire the habit. On the other hand, domestic dogs allowed to run wild forget how to bark, while there are some which have not yet learned so to express themselves.

The presence or absence of the habit of barking cannot, then, be regarded as an argument in deciding the question concerning the origin of the dog. This stumbling block consequently disappears, leaving us in the position of agreeing with Darwin, whose final hypothesis was that "it is highly probable that the domestic dogs of the world have descended from two good species of wolf (C. lupus and C. latrans), and from two or three other doubtful species of wolves namely, the European, Indian, and North African forms; from at least one or two South American canine species; from several races or species of jackal; and perhaps from one or more extinct species"; and that the blood of these, in some cases mingled together, flows in the veins of our domestic breeds.



Glucosamine in a Dog's Diet

As you stand in the store pondering the plethora of varieties of dog food for your dog's diet, your mind can truly become overwhelmed. The numerous ingredients in dog food simply complicate things even further. Who really knows what all of those ingredients really mean? You see glucosamine on some of the dog food labels. That sounds a bit familiar. Haven't you heard of glucosamine in the news? What exactly is glucosamine and why should it be in your dog's diet?

You have probably heard of glucosamine in the news. Glucosamine has been beneficial to joint health in humans. Research has also shown that glucosamine in a dog's diet can be beneficial to your pet's

Glucosamine is a dietary supplement. Glucosamine has been shown to encourage good joint health. This supplement helps to maintain good joint cartilage. Glucosamine is one of the key building blocks to produce joint lubricants. The joint lubricant helps to keep the joints moving and functioning with ease. Glucosamine in your dog's diet will ensure your pet's joints work at their peak performance levels for years to come.

How does glucosamine work to help your dog's joints? Glucosamine hydrates and lubricates your pet's joints. The added hydration and lubrication will help to prevent arthritis in your dog. For this reason, glucosamine is a good supplement in your dog's diet. Pet owners of large breed
Dogs that are predisposed to having joint and hip problems should especially consider adding glucosamine to their dog's diet.

Shellfish is a good source of glucosamine. Another way to get glucosamine involves a unique process of fermenting corn. This method to produce glucosamine creates a vegetable based glucosamine.

Glucosamine is typically safe as part of a healthy and balanced diet. Your dog's diet should include glucosamine to encourage joint health. Your pet will not suffer from side effects or interactions with medications when glucosamine is part of your dog's diet.

Today, many high-quality dog foods, manufactured by reputable companies, have already added glucosamine to their food products. Animal nutrition reports have discovered the benefits of glucosamine in your dog's diet and dog food producers have quickly responded. If you find that your dog's diet does not contain glucosamine, or you feel your pet could benefit from additional supplementation in the diet, you should have no problem locating glucosamine supplements for your pet.

Glucosamine supplements come in numerous forms. You can even give your dog a treat specially designed to supplement your dog's diet with glucosamine. The tasty treat eliminates the trouble of dosing your dog with pills.

Of course, it is always best to talk to your veterinarian about any changes to your dog's diet. He or she can give you advice about what supplements should be added to your dog's diet and in what quantity. Ask your vet about the advantages of glucosamine.

As you consider your dog's diet and the ingredients, consider your dog's health. Glucosamine is often added to high-quality dog food. Talk to your vet to determine if additional glucosamine supplements would be beneficial in your dog's diet. Protect your dog's joints by monitoring the amount of glucosamine in your dog's diet.



Guidelines to Choose a Healthy Dog Diet for Your Pet

Choosing a healthy dog diet can be confusing and difficult if you let it. The pretty packaging and marketing can blur our perception of a product. Your dog's diet is the most basic way to keep your pet healthy and happy for the years to come. It is essential that you find a diet that will provide essential nutrients to allow your pet to thrive rather than merely survive.

Here are some simple guidelines to follow when you are selecting a food for your dog's diet. Know that every dog is different. A dog diet that is terrific for your neighbor's dog may not be exactly what your pet needs.

The first step when considering your dog's diet, is to talk to your veterinarian. This trusted individual has your pet's interest at heart, just like you. The vet's recommendations can steer you in the right direction.

Find a reputable brand of dog food to be the main component of your dog's diet. It is not impossible to stumble across a high-quality dog food that you have never heard of, but a well-known and prominent manufacturer provides an amount of safety and security about the decision to feed your dog a healthy diet. Recognized and reputable dog food manufacturers take the time to research the topic of animal nutrition. Allow your pet to benefit from the company's wealth of information rather than going it alone.

Select a dog food that is age appropriate. If your dog is older and shows signs of aging, consider a dog diet that is specially formulated for senior dogs. Puppies have different nutritional needs than do adult dogs. Find a variety of food that meets your dog's needs. Even the breed and size of your pet can make a difference in the type of diet you should feed your pet. Diets formulated specifically for small dogs and large breeds exist. You may want to keep this in mind when selecting your dog's diet.

Activity level and weight are other factors to consider when making the decision of what to feed your dog. If your dog is extremely active or overweight, you may need to pick a type of dog diet that accommodates such situations.

When you decide on a specific diet for your dog, pay attention to the portion size. Obesity is a serious problem in pets. It can lead to hip troubles and take years off your pet's life.

Table scraps are definitely out for a healthy diet. Your dog's diet should consist of a high-quality food specially designed to meet your pet's dietary needs. Begging is encouraged with table scraps and obesity is likely to result.

Only supplement a high-quality diet when recommended by a veterinarian. Giving your pet too many supplements in the dog's diet can lead to a lower quality of health.

Always consult your vet for advice on what to feed your dog. Your dog's diet will fuel his health, so choose your dog's diet wisely. Select a brand of food that is reputable and suited to your dog. Finding the right diet for your pet will promote good health and allow your dog to thrive.



Heart worm prevention

Beef flavored chunks are available in addition to the beef flavored tablets or solutions that can be given orally to the dogs as a measure against the incidence of heart worms. Avoid mosquito bites by providing proper mosquito-proof shelter facilities to the dogs.

Just plan whether there is any need to go for the heart worm prevention though out the year or only in some months of the year. For example, in case of some countries, the mosquitoes may be dormant in most of the colder months.

However, in some countries, this is not a position. Many a times, medications are available for oral administration to prevent heart worms along with hookworms etc. Such oral medications need to be taken as per the instructions. However, be cautious about the occurrence of any adverse drug reactions in the dog given with such prophylactic therapy.

Adverse event reports need to be sent if you come across any sorts of adverse drug reactions in your dog during the preventive treatment.
Soft beef flavored tablets are highly preferred by the pet animals as the preventive measure against heart worms. The pet owner needs to consult a veterinarian if the dose for the prophylaxis of heart worm is missed for few months. In such occasions, the pet animal needs to undergo the heart worm test.

Heartgard, sentinel, interceptor, revolution, etc. are available in the commercial fields as drugs for the preventive measure. Avoid water stagnation around the dog shelter and the bushes around the area that facilitate mosquito breeding. This test needs to be carried out in consultation with a veterinarian who is specialized in the pet animal health care and medicine.

As a preventive measure for the heart worms, the dogs need to be tested for the evidence of these worms at an age of six months. Real beef chew able tablets are available containing medical agent like ivermectin.



Heart worm, fleas and other parasites

Heart worm, fleas and other parasites in dogs need to be eliminated by following appropriate medications in them. Many products have come up in the commercial fields to protect the dogs from heart worms, fleas and other parasites like hook worms, whip worms, round worms, lice, ticks etc.

Among the heart worm, fleas and other parasites, the fleas produce the hyper sensitive reactions in the affected animals. Hence, the animals infested with fleas start severely scratching of body. Many times, the scratching is so severe and the skin becomes more hyperemic and dermatitis occurs in the affected areas.

Animal will not lie down or sleep comfortably due to the constant bites by the fleas. Hence, animal looks as if affected by some severe skin disease. If the animal is not properly attended for this tick bite problem, there will be often secondary bacterial invasions in these sites and there may even be a bad smell emanating from the skin areas.

Close observation of the dog is highly essential to rule out the occurrence of fleas disturbing the animal to a greater extent. Similarly, the skin of the animal needs to be tested for the presence of ticks, lice etc. For this, the hair materials need to be separated and the close observation with patience is required for the proper diagnosis.

In many incidences, if anemia is present, the blood protozoa need to be ruled out in addition to the hookworm problems. The clinical problems like anemia, loose motion, pot belly etc. might be recognized by the dog owners themselves and however, the dog needs to undergo the routine health related examination involving fecal examination, hematological examination and blood smear examination.

Many commercial products have come up in the market, which are useful to deal with all these conditions by single dose. Drugs like ivermectin are highly useful and are available in both injection and oral form in addition to the solution form that can be applied on the skin. These drugs in dogs can lead to the prophylaxis of these conditions also.



Home dental care

Home dental care is to be given more emphasis nowadays because of the fact that the dental diseases are emerging in the case of pet animals like dogs to a greater extent. Though you are giving home dental care, if you suspect on the extension of the dental diseases, then immediately approach the veterinarian for intervention.

Try to provide bone materials without very sharp points to the dogs and they may love to chew them and then swallow the bitten products. Such activities help them to go for the development of strong teeth structures in a natural manner.

Mind that the breeds of dogs like Pekingese, etc. are more prone for the development of teeth diseases because the teeth are closely crowned in the oral cavity be to the small size of the these dogs. Hence, these dogs need to be checked up for the excessive plaque formation in the home itself.

Recreational raw beef bones are wonderful materials to keep the teeth structures of your dog clean and free from formation of plaque with build up of bacterial organisms. Teeth brushes are available for use with care in case of dogs and one has to be careful during the usage of these brushes in dogs. Teeth brushes are to be used with special kinds of pastes recommended by the veterinarians for home use in case of dogs.

Specially prepared food materials are available in the pet shops to remove the tartar and the plaque materials from the teeth structures. Dry dog food and toys that are specially made to add strength to the teeth structures are often used at home for better teeth cleaning.

The plaque materials are intermittently to be removed at home to avoid any occurrence of the periodontal diseases, which are more common among the dogs. Dental wipes are available in the pet shops and they may be used carefully in the home. This helps to remove more plaque and the tartar like materials that are loosely attached.



Home made diets

Home made diets are important in the dog feeding. Many a times, the commercial diets consist of food items that have artificial coloring agents and flavoring agents that are harmful to the dog's body. Home made food items have the guarantee of freshness in the preparation unlike the ready-made commercial items.

The preservatives added in the commercial food items may not be the suitable ones to the dogs from the health point of view. Even in case of renal diseases in dogs, the home made diets may be made with ground beef, slices of bread, calcium carbonate, boiled eggs etc.

The purpose is to have the restricted protein supply in the feed items prepared. This should be carried out with home made diets prepared exclusively for the dogs suffering from renal diseases. Water is added in sufficient quantities to help the proper metabolism in the digestion-impaired renal cases.

The dog may have allergic symptoms like severe itching, which may not get corrected by different kinds of medications employed over a period of time. Such cases may get easily treated once the dog food is changed from the commercial type of food to the home made food items.

Often, the home made food items are prepared using the freezing procedures to kill the germs or by adding grape seed extracts to provide sufficient antioxidants to the home made food items. Food grade vinegar is also added in many times to the meat pieces prepared in a fresh manner. All these can be enriched with vitamin supplements that are available in fruit essences, fish oil etc.

Cranberry juice, bananas, fish and meat are prepared in a quality manner and no preservatives are added during the preparation of these kinds of food items and the dog becomes more active after the consumption of such food items.



Household Dog Dangers

Dogs have a tendency of trying to eat just about everything they come across.  In most cases, this causes some slight discomfort.  There are things, however, that can be dangerous enough to cause death to your dog if he eats them.  Following is a brief list:

1) Antifreeze: Many people do not realize it, but common antifreeze kills many pets each year. It smells and tastes very sweet to your dog and is very appealing to him.

2) Chocolate: Chocolate contains a substance called the obromine which is toxic to dogs. Baking chocolate and dark chocolate is especially dangerous.

3) Bleach: As you might imagine, household bleach is toxic to dogs. Keep all products containing bleach out of your dog's reach.

4) Tylenol: As little as two regular strength Tylenol tablets can kill a small dog.

5) Watch Batteries: If your dog ingests a watch battery, it can cause a potentially fatal ulceration in the stomach within 12 hours. All other alkaline batteries are toxic to dogs as well.

6) Moth Balls: Moth balls are very dangerous to dogs. They contain an insecticide that causes central nervous system excitement and seizures..

7) Fabric Softeners and other detergents: All sorts of household detergents are toxic to dogs at one level or another, but fabric softeners fall into the highly toxic category.

8) Mouthwash: Mouthwash can contain boric acid which is highly toxic to dogs. Symptoms of poisoning by mouthwash include vomiting, drooling, seizures, and coma.

9) Peach Pits: With most fruits, the pits and the seeds are toxic to dogs. Signs of poisoning include drooling, vomiting, and lethargy.

10) Household Plants: Many common and popular household plants are highly toxic to dogs. A partial list of toxic plants includes poinsettias, lilies, ferns, devil's ivy, aloe, and ivy.

If you think your dog may have eaten any of these substances, or anything else that could poison him, call a vet immediately.  It could save his life.
How much should I feed my dog?

Many people will give different types of answers based on their experience with their dogs. However, the scientific facts related to the feeding aspects in case of dogs need to be given emphasis during the feeding activities maintained in case of dogs.

Usually the puppies should not be separated before they are eight weeks old. However, some times the orphaned puppies may exist. Usually about five percent of the body weight may be taken as criteria for the quantity of food to be given to the puppies. However, the amount that is consumed by the dog varies with size of the dogs also.

However, one can have a thumb rule of feeding the puppy goes until you see visible fullness of the abdomen to a moderate degree. If you are going on feeding the animal without giving emphasis to the animal’s stomach appearance, then the puppy may experience some kinds of digestive upsets and the diarrhea may occur in them.

This may cause many inconveniences to the owner as well as the puppy. Unlike adult dogs, the puppies need to be fed with restricted amounts of food but in more frequencies. However, once the age advances, the amount may be increased to some extent but the frequency of feeding is often decreased in many occasions.

A dog on a raw diet may consume only two to four percent of their body weight. Just observe closely the feeding pattern of the dog and the body condition of the animal. If the dog becomes obese, just reduce the quantity of food and if the dog becomes thin, then have an increase in the feeding items.

As mentioned earlier, puppies and adolescent dogs eat more than the adult dogs. Likewise the geriatric dog eats less than the adult dog due to the reduced movements of the dog. However, remember to restrict the amounts of protein during the feeding of diet to the aged dogs.



How often should I feed my dog?

This often becomes an important question asked by many dog lovers and dog owners. If it is a puppy within age of the first six weeks, the puppies need to be given milk at the rate of five to seven times per day. The puppy will make some sound if it wants to feed in general.

However, the feeding frequency may be reduced when the dog becomes six to eight weeks old. By the time the dog assumes the age of four weeks, it may start taking of some solid food. Hence, mix the solid food with water in majority and feed your puppy once or twice in the beginning and if the dog develops some diarrhea, then delay the feeding.

Most of the times, it is due to trial and error but taking some basic steps in feeding, so you need to watch out. The feeding frequency may be changed to two to three times after the assumption of age of eight weeks. However, if the dog is seen hungry craving for food, then provide food once than the estimated numbers. This varies with different breeds of dogs.

However, avoid feeding too many times in this age group of dogs. Around three months to six months of age, the puppy will be teething. Hence, restrict the feeding to two times only but the balanced type of nutrition needs to be provided to the dogs of this age group to avoid the deficiency based symptoms in them.

From six months to one year, try using puppy food that is available commercially. However, from first year onwards, the adult food may be given gradually. However, when the dog becomes an elder dog, restrict the frequency of feeding since the movements of such adult dogs are highly reduced due to multiple reasons. However, the pregnant animal may be fed an extra time depending on the willingness of the animal and restrict the quantity of the food but without compromising on the quality of food.



How often should my pet be examined?

Most of the dog owners try to find this answer in a serious manner. Whatever the schedule we have for the examination of your pet animal, if there is any abnormality noticed in your animal, without delay, you need to subject the animal for a thorough clinical examination. It can be suggested that even before the purchase of a puppy, just consult a pet animal care specialist and try to understand about the schedules to be maintained for the examination of the animal. This will help a lot in solving many health related problems in the concerned animal.

Though once in two or three months is the general schedule for the examination of the dog, as soon as the puppy is procured the dog needs to be taken to the veterinarian for a thorough examination. Hence, the health care measures related program will be obtained in time. Most of the time, the dog is to be taken to the veterinarian at fifth or sixth week of age because in this period only, the vaccinations against diseases will be systematically carried out. The period of vaccination in the first year will be continued up to the sixteenth week of age and the schedule needs to be maintained accordingly.

However, if you have the pregnant dog, the dog need not be stressed by long distance based transportation for examination purposes. Hence, consult the veterinarian by phone and try to reduce the travel for the dog. However, the veterinary advice needs to be obtained in terms of health maintenance. If the dog has met with an accident either during travel or during routine movements, the animal needs to be taken to the pet hospital immediately.

Though no disease is evident, it does not mean that the dog is healthy. There are occasions wherein the animal may look like a normal dog but may have some diseases, which can be found out during the routine health check ups. Hence, the owner has to decide on when to take the dog to the hospital depending on necessity.



How to administer medicine

Most of the times, the dogs are so intelligent to find out the drug mixed water or food materials offered to them by the dog owners. Hence, often it becomes a headache for the dog owners to give medicines to their dogs. To the possible extent, the animal need not be forced for taking of the drug. If the medicine is to be given by mouth, first decide whether it is better to give it along with water or food. Many times, the medicines are mixed with food materials and are kept in concealed position by proper mixing of the medicine with the food materials.

Before administering the medicine, just delay the feeding time in the particular dog. Hence, the dog may be hungry to some extent. At that time, give little quantity of normal food without medicine and the dog may eat it well without any suspicion and now provide the medicine mixed food and the dog may voluntarily eat it most of the times. If the dog resists, first restraint the dog well and open the mouth. Place the tablet behind the fang teeth and almost behind the bulb of the tongue. However, take care that the medicine what you are administering in the dog should not enter directly into the respiratory organ like lungs.

If so, the dog will experience many bouts like activities and may end up in aspiration pneumonia with severe nasal discharge and panting like activities. In puppies, just swab the medicine around the upper lip. The puppy will lick automatically the drug by tongue. Hence, the administration becomes perfect in such cases.

If the medicine is in liquid form, don’t raise the head of dog too much and place medicine by a syringe. Just by using a dropper, fill the medicine in the lip pocket. The continuous rubbing at the throat side may stimulate the swallowing. Making the animal thirsty and then offering of medicine mixed water may many times help the intake of the medicine.



How to Deal With Separation Anxiety
Many dogs are put to sleep by owners who can no longer figure out what to do with a dog that barks or howls constantly when they are gone, destroys things in their absence and basically makes a nuisance of himself.  These people do not understand that the dog is not being disobedient—he is most likely suffering from separation anxiety.

Dogs are pack animals.  As his family, you are his pack.  When you leave him alone, he feels lost and scared.  Often loud noises will frighten him.  His howling and destructiveness are the only way he has of showing his displeasure.  You can help him get through this with patience.

Try to find a room where he feels comfortable—one that isn’t close to a street or other traffic.  If possible, buying a crate made specifically for the size of your dog will help him feel more comfortable.  Placing a loved toy and an item of clothing that smells like you inside with him will increase that comfort.

Start by leaving him only a few minutes at a time.  He needs to be confident that you will return.  You can gradually extend the amount of time as he becomes more comfortable. Praise him greatly for every time he waits quietly.  If all else fails, talk with your vet and see if he can prescribe some type of anti-anxiety medication to give your dog when you need to be away.

Your dog can’t help his anxiety.  You are his safety and he feels lost without you.  Give him time and patience and he will eventually learn to tolerate your absence.  There is no reason to have a healthy animal put down because he loves you so much he misses you when you are gone.  Work with him.  You and he will both benefit from this.



How to Know if Your Dog's Diet Contains Enough Fatty Acid

Does your pet's skin and coat look shiny and healthy, or is your dog's fur lacking the silky appearance you prefer? Could this indicate the need for more fatty acids in your dog's diet?

A dog's diet affects all aspects of his body including the skin and coat. If your dog's diet contains adequate amounts of fatty acids, his coat and skin should appear healthy. Fatty acids in your dog's diet will prevent trouble with dry skin and dandruff, for example. A dull coat may indicate a need for supplements of fatty acids in your dog's diet.

Studies indicate that essential fatty acids, called EFAs, contribute to healthy skin and coat, as well as general health. Omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, for instance, can play a critical role in your dog's overall well being.

Do not assume that adding fatty acid supplements to your dog's diet is always a good idea. If your dog's coat is in good condition, adding more EFAs will not automatically improve health. The fatty acid supplements, such as omega 3 and 6, are only for dog's with diagnosed skin problems. Always consult your veterinarian before adding a supplement to your dog's diet. Your vet will be happy to discuss with you the best form of EFAs and the appropriate dose to add to your dog's diet.

Fatty acids are not produced by your dog's body. For this reason,
You must provide EFAs to your pet through your dog's diet. If your vet recommends additional supplements of fatty acids, you may want to ask about linseed or sunflower oil.

Within as little as four weeks, you should notice an improvement in your dog's coat and skin. Watch the wonder of fatty acids at work in your dog's diet. By the time seven weeks have passed, you will notice a dramatic change in your pet's health.

High levels of omega 3 fatty acids are thought to ward off some forms of cancer. Cardiovascular health and joint health will improve, as well, with higher levels of omega 3 in your dog's diet.

Typically, omega 6 fatty acids are present in manufactured dog food at adequate levels. Supplementing omega 3 will help to improve the ratio and make the difference for your pet. Fish and flax seed are excellent sources of omega 3 fatty acids. Again, be cautious and ask your vet before supplementing. Some forms of fish may not be safe as part of your dog's diet.

Supplementing your dog's diet may or may not be necessary. The only sure way to decide if your dog's diet needs extra essential fatty acids is to schedule an appointment with your vet to talk about your pet's health. Never medicate your dog without advice from a professional because your dog's diet must contain the proper balance of nutrients. Sources of EFAs include flaxseed, linseed, and sunflower oil. Higher doses of essential fatty acids can improve skin and coat issues within several weeks. Your dog's diet is the first step in providing your overall health and a happy life with your pet for years to come.



How Treats Affect Your Dog's Diet

You know the importance of choosing a healthy diet for your pet. You have taken the time and effort to consult with the veterinarian about a healthy and nutritious dog food. Whether you choose dried food, canned dog food, or make it from scratch, you may be overlooking something extremely important in your dog's diet.

Do you occasionally give your best friend a treat from the table or a rawhide to chew? These treats may seem like a simple snack or tidbit, but they really can add up. You may not have considered it before, but any and all treats that you give your pet are a part of your dog's diet. The question now becomes, how significant are treats in your dog's diet? Do you give your dog a treat once a day in the evening while watching television, or do you scatter Milk Bones throughout the day for each cute look or adorable pet trick?

The type of treats you give your dog also makes a difference in your dog's diet. Do you pass out cookies and scraps from dinner, or maybe a piece of popcorn or two? Junk food for you becomes junk food for your pet. In fact, some healthy foods for you are not good for your dog. Raisins are a healthy snack for humans to munch on between meals, but they can be detrimental to the health of your dog. Keep your dog's diet healthy even during snack time with treats.

Rawhides are an area of controversy. Some pet owners and vets feel they do not make a good treat for your pet. Others feel that rawhides provide entertainment and good dental health for your dog. Find out what your vet recommends. If you decide to allow rawhides in your dog's diet, avoid them in excess. They can create thin stools and provide many empty calories.

Your dog views a treat as just that, a special treat between meals. For the most part, dog's don't care if you give them a baby carrot, rawhide chew, or Milk Bone. They are happy to get the snack. If you find you provide numerous treats during the course of the day, you may need to modify your dog's diet to avoid maintaining a healthy weight. Giving your pet a whole bunch of treats sure is fun for both you and your dog, but can lead to serious health troubles.

Consider altering your dog's diet by giving him or her less treats. Instead of a large Milk Bone, for example, break the treat into several smaller pieces and distribute them one at a time. This will have your dog eating less between meals.

Ice cubes, small bits of apple, and baby carrots are terrific healthy treat ideas to consider when choosing a healthy diet for your dog. Such treats make little difference overall and make monitoring your dog's daily intake much easier for you. This way, you can focus solely on the food consumed during mealtime. A dog's diet needs to be healthy to ensure a long and happy life for your pet.



How Your Dog's Diet Affects Outputs

If you are a computer guru, you may remember the term GIGO. This term stands for Garbage In. Garbage Out. So, what does this have to do with your dog's diet? Well, your dog may be no walking, wagging, and barking computer, but he or she works in the same way. What food goes into your pet will eventually come out in the end.

Your dog's diet will affect the outputs considerably. Other factors play a role such as illness, nerves, and the weather. You can tell a lot about the health of your hound by the outputs produced.

As any responsible pet owner knows, cleaning up after your pet is not the most pleasant job, but it is a necessary one. Being choosy and selective about your dog's diet will make cleaning up after your pet much easier.

When your dog is eating a diet high in fillers, your pet will show it. The excrement will be large in size and often runny and hard to pick up. You may notice when you give your pet leftovers from the table, he or she is really happy, but you aren't exactly smiling on the next trip around the block. The outputs of a pet eating an unhealthy diet is just plain messy, stinky, and large.

Even treats such as rawhide bones can change your dog's stool. Your dog's diet consists of everything your pet eats from treats to mealtime. Monitor how treats affect your dog's outputs to determine how healthy the snack really is for your pet.

If you choose to feed your dog a balanced diet that is high in quality, you will notice a particular difference in the outputs. Cleanup may not be placed on the top of your things to-do list, but it will be much easier and more tolerable. When the dog's diet is healthy and nutritious, you will have less mess in the yard or kennel.



Human Food Could Kill Your Dog

 Let’s face it—dogs are not known for being fussy eaters.  Some dogs will eat anything and everything they can get into their mouth.  This isn’t a big problem with many human foods, but there are a few that could be potentially fatal to your dog.

We are all aware that many dogs cannot eat chocolate.  While a tiny bite here and there may not hurt most dogs, it could kill others.  Dark chocolate and baking chocolate are especially hazardous.

Onions are another no-no for your dog.  There are chemicals in onions that turn to poison within the dog’s digestive system.  This is true of some strains of mushrooms as well.  Rather than take the chance, it is important to keep both these substances out of your dog’s reach. Garlic is another culprit.  The toxic effect of this spice is quick.

Any kind of seed could cause problems in your dog.  While most will only cause discomfort and possible vomiting, seeds such as apple seeds can be fatal.  If you have a dog that likes to investigate the garbage, it is important to make sure he can’t get to these.

Chicken bones are another hazard to dogs, as are those of turkey and duck.  These bones tend to shatter and the sharp pieces can poke a hole in your dog’s stomach or intestine.

Dogs are known for eating many things a human stomach cannot handle.  This, however, does not mean they can eat all a human can.  To be safe, make sure foods are not left where your dog can discover them.  The most innocent looking item could be the one that kills your dog. A few minutes of caution can save a lifetime of sadness should you lose your dog.



Importance of a Feeding Schedule in Your Dog's Diet

What your dog's diet consists of is very important. Your dog's overall health and well being is fueled by excellent food and resources. Did you know that your dog's diet should be following a feeding schedule?

Just as important as what your dog eats, is when you feed your dog. Similar to humans, your dog needs to eat regularly. Nutritious meals and snacks should be monitored as part of your dog's diet. Spacing out mealtimes and snacks or treats on a feeding schedule is a good idea.

Depending on your dog's age and health, you will want to devise a feeding schedule that supports your dog's diet and nutritional needs. Adult dogs may only need to eat at one time during the day, but two mealtimes are preferred.

Senior dogs rarely need to vary from the typical adult dog feeding schedule, although the dog's dietary needs change over time.

Puppies require more mealtimes throughout the course of the day. Nursing pups should be permitted to nurse on demand. As you alter your puppy dog's diet from milk to dog food, you will need to offer food four or five times per day. Once the puppy has become weaned and used to the new diet, you may reduce the feeding times to three occasions during the day.

Your dog's diet should be presented to your pet at regular times during the day. The specific time to present your dog's diet is solely up to you, but be certain to establish a schedule. Avoid dramatically varying your pet's feeding times. For example, if you feed your adult dog before work at about 6:00 AM and then again at 6:00 PM, try to stick with this schedule throughout the week.

Do not be surprised if your dog starts getting antsy at 5:45 in the morning in anticipation of breakfast. Your dog's diet is important to him and he is anxiously awaiting its arrival.

Even the treats you hand out as part of your dog's diet will become part of your dog's daily routine. If your dog knows that every morning just before your lunch, you offer a chew bone, he or she will await the daily ritual.

Establishing a feeding schedule helps to keep your dog's diet on track. It is easy to get in the habit of feeding your dog regularly. Plus, scheduled feeding times will help to predict your dog's elimination schedule. When you are potty training a puppy or housebreaking an adult, it can be helpful to have an idea of when your dog needs to go out. Maintaining a healthy diet and feeding schedule will make your job much easier. This is also very useful when traveling with your pet. If you know to expect your dog's elimination schedule, you will be able to plan appropriate potty stops. In addition, you will know if your dog is feeling stress by changes to his schedule. Try to maintain normalcy and routine as much as possible.

Probably when you think of your dog's diet, you consider what food he consumes, but remember when you present your dog's diet is just as important. A dog will come to expect his daily feeding schedule and routine.



Is There a Difference in a Senior Dog Diet?

You hate to admit it, but your furry pal is getting a little older. You want to ensure that your pet is happy and healthy for many years to come. You have heard all of the hype about the new dog diets for older pets. Is there really a difference between dog food for adult dogs and kibble recommended specifically for seniors? How do you know when to switch your pet to a different diet?

The best resource for information about dog diets is your pet's veterinarian. Only you and your vet know the specific needs of your pet the best. Discuss with your vet your concerns and questions. He or she will be able to advise you on what changes, if any, need to be made to your dog's diet.

If your older dog does not have any health problems and maintains a healthy weight, there is no need to change your dog's diet from adult to senior dog food. On the other hand, if your dog has trouble keeping the weight off or digestive issues, you may need to switch. If weight is the only issue, consider slightly lowering the amount of dog food you give to your pet. This may be all the change your dog's diet requires.

A senior dog is classified as a dog in the last third of their life span. Larger dogs, for instance a Great Dane, live to be about 9 years old. Around the sixth year of life, you may want to consider a senior dog's diet. A poodle, on the other hand wouldn't reach senior status until
About age ten due to the longer life expectancy. Primarily, the decision to change your dog's diet should be based on health condition rather than actual age in years. Your vet will help you to determine when the right time is to alter your dog's diet.

Dog food especially prepared for senior dogs typically has less calories. This helps to combat any weight issues. The senior dog food also contains more fiber for the different needs in your dog's diet. As dogs age, they tend to suffer from constipation. This extra fiber will help remedy this problem.

Renal failure can be another medical problem for senior dogs. How can your dog's diet help this problem? Reducing the amount of protein in your dog's diet will decrease the work load for the kidneys. For this reason, senior dog food frequently has lower protein content than regular adult formulas.

Whenever possible, allow your dog to eat dry dog food to encourage excellent dental health. The dry kibble helps to reduce plaque and tartar buildup. If your older pet refuses to eat the food dry, you may need to moisten it with water or purchase moist, canned varieties.



Keeping Your Dog From Jumping

 Dogs want to see and interact with people face to face.  This leads to many dogs jumping in order to have that face-to-face contact.  When your dog is small, this may not be a problem, but large dogs can be intimidating when they jump, not to mention it can be painful.

The first thing you can do to prevent jumping is to kneel down to the dog’s level.  This will allow him to see your face and eliminates the main reason he jumps in the first place.

Getting down on his level will let him know you see him.

Another method you can use if the above doesn’t work is to turn your back on your dog.  Look up toward the ceiling and refuse to acknowledge him until he settles and sits.  Dogs hate to be ignored, especially if that is the reason for their jumping in the first place.  For this method to work, you must be steadfast in not making any eye contact until he has calmed.  The slightest acknowledgment will get him excited all over again.

A third method that seems to work well with larger dogs is to wait until they jump and gently grab hold of their front legs.  Slowly walk the dog backwards a couple of feet then gently set his front paws on the floor, saying “down” firmly.  Dogs hate to walk backwards, and doing so will make him start to associate the unpleasantness with jumping.  Saying the word “down” as you place his paws on the floor will get him to associate it with keeping his feet on the floor.

It doesn’t take long to train a dog not to jump as long as you are consistent with whichever method you choose.  It also helps if you can enlist the cooperation of other family members so everyone is using the same method.  This creates less confusion and more success.


Keeping Your Dog Safe On the Road

Car rides are the favorite of many dogs.  There are some precautions you can take to make sure this activity will be enjoyable for both of you for years to come.

If you have any type of car with a trunk open to the inside of the car or with some other vehicles, you can have your dog ride in the back separated from you by a gate or a net. If you have a regular car, there are special dog seat belts and other types of restraints available. You don’t want your dog flying forward if you must stop quickly.  You also don’t want him trying to climb into the front and distracting you.

Dog owners who drive a pickup truck should not let dogs ride free in the pickup bed. This can create a dangerous situation for the dog and other drivers if your dog falls out or decides to jump out. Dogs that ride without restraints in the pickup bed may go flying if you stop short and suddenly. Tying the dog in the bed is not a good idea either as the dog may still jump or fall out and wind up being choked or dragged along the road The best and safest solution is to have your dog ride in the cab of the truck with you. .

Never leave your dog in the car with the windows completely up—especially in summer.  The interior of a car can heat up quickly, reaching temperatures in excess of 120 degrees in a very short time.  This could cause heat exhaustion and even death in your dog.  If you are going to have to leave the vehicle and can’t take your dog with you, it is best to leave him at home for this trip. It is better to have him disappointed today than not around tomorrow.



Little Known Dog Breeds

 We are familiar with such dog breeds as the poodle and Labrador retriever. There are other breeds less known, especially in this country.  Below, I have given a short description of several of these less-known dog breeds.

Affenpinscher  -- This is the smallest dog in the breed which also presented us the schnauzers. The affenpinscher is thought to be the most suitable for a family pet as it is very intelligent, easy to train of a good demeanor. They have a dark fur and have always shown affection to human beings.
Anatolian Shepherd -- This dog breed is of a medium size and has proved to be very courageous. This breed is very powerful and loyal and it is used for military and hunting purposes.

The basenji --These are medium sized muscular dogs and are also named the African Barkless Dogs. These dogs are able to bark, they just choose not to.  Their biggest skill is hunting.



Make a Natural Dog Diet at Home for Better Health

Who knows what is really in that bag of kibble at the grocery store? You have turned over the package and read the ingredients, but still it seems baffling. What do all of those long, scientific words really mean? The only way to really know what your dog's diet consists of is by making it yourself at home.

Is it difficult to make a natural diet from home for your dog? No, a little bit of time and knowledge will leave your dog's diet healthy and nourishing. And, the best part, you will know what your best friend is eating.

Creating a healthy diet for your dog at home will allow you the opportunity to take charge of your pet's health. Many options are available for you when selecting the specific amount and ingredients for your dog's diet. Always talk to your veterinarian about what to feed your pet. Your vet will help you to decide what products and foods are best to avoid and include in your natural dog diet. Also, they can educate you about any supplements that may be a good addition to your dog's diet to maximize health potential.

You may consider the raw diet for your pet. This dog diet consists of raw meat, vegetable juices, and grains. The philosophy behind this dog diet is to return to the diet nature intended. Getting your dog's diet back to the basics will help to encourage good health.

An organic dog diet is easily achieved at home with the purchase of organic meats, vegetables, and grains. If you have access to home grown organic goods in your local area, this may be the best option for your pet. If you have the time and space, consider growing your own organic vegetables for use in your dog's diet. What better way to keep your dog's diet on track?

So, you have decided to go natural? Good choice. Now that you have turned away from the processed food, what options are available for treats? You can make your own natural dog treats at home. Simply give your dog a baby carrot or piece of apple as a natural treat. Dogs love ice cubes as a snack. This will not alter his diet at all..

The dog's diet can include homemade treats such as frozen vegetable juice or dog biscuits made from organic ingredients. Do remember to subtract the amount of treats from the daily regimen at mealtime to keep the diet balanced properly. For instance, if the dog's diet typically includes five baby carrots a day, you may want to subtract this from the meal and use them throughout the day as treats.

Take control over your pet's health by making your dog's diet at home. Avoid processed food that is not as healthy for your pet. Many natural diet options are out there. Speak to your vet about which natural dog diet is best for you and your pet. When the quality of your pet's health is important, a natural diet for your dog is the best way to go.

The Bouvier des Flandres -- This dog is similar to the terrier one . Their fur is generally dark and they have proven to be very calm. At the beginning they were bred as herders in France but nowadays they are used for police and military purposes, as well as guidance for blind persons.

Asian Ovtcharka  --The Central Asian Ovtcharka are large and muscular dogs. They appear to be very loyal and fearless dogs with strong protective instincts which makes them perfect as watchdogs.

The Polish Owczarek Nizinny  -- This dog is of medium size and has long fur which covers its eyes. These are devilish dogs that are known for creating chaos when left alone.
The next time you are looking to add a new dog to your household, why not take a look at one of these?



Making Homemade Pet Food

We want our pets to have the best possible care—and this includes feeding them appropriately.  Below is a brief idea of what food is best for your pet.
Animals, because they are color blind, choose their foods by smell. Most dogs like liver, fat, garlic, onions, horsemeat, lamb, beef, cheese and fish. Cats enjoy chicken, liver, fish, turkey, lamb, and yeast, and prefer fresh to aged flavors.

Animals do not need salt added to their diet as the natural salt in the food is enough for them.

Dogs may eat any vegetable they want, but cats should not have any starchy veggies, like peas and corn. Some dogs and cats even enjoy fruits!

It's a good idea to always add a grain, such as Kibble, wheat germ, cooked oatmeal or whole wheat bread to meat dinners. For dogs use 75% carbohydrate foods (grains and vegetables) to 25% meat; for cats use half carbohydrate foods to half meat.

One way of making sure your dog or cat gets a healthy diet is to make it yourself.  This way you can be assured it is fresh and contains only healthy ingredients.  A very good recipe that can be adapted for either a dog or cat is:

Combine 1 chicken liver, 1 giblet, 1 chicken heart, 1 chicken neck, 2 cups water and 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley.

Cover and simmer until the giblet is tender.

Chop all the meat for dogs removing bones and mix with kibble; for cats, you may want to grind the meat in the blender.

Taking the time to prepare your pet’s food will not only save you money in the long run, but also provide them with healthy meals that can be adapted to add variety and account for personal tastes.  What more could your pet want?



Making Nail Clipping Less Stressful

While a vet can and will clip your dog’s nails for you, many times you will want to save the cost and trip by doing it yourself.  Below are a couple of suggestions to make this session less stressful for both you and your dog.

To clip your dog’s nails you will need some basic equipment that you can pick up at any good pet supply store. Special dog nail clippers have a different shape and are specially designed to make the clipping as fast and painless as possible. There are other items you can buy to make it easier to trim your dog's nails too - various products that encourage the blood clotting process are very useful in case of messy clipping accidents. .

When clipping your dogs nails for the first time its important to ask someone who knows how to do it to show you. If your dog has dark nails (as many do) you will want to watch to get an idea of where your dogs "quick" is located. Most veterinarians will clip your dogs nails for you and this is the best way to learn. Don't clip your dogs nails until you are completely sure what you are doing. Not only will your dog pick up on your anxiousness but he will most probably make things difficult for you.

Many people find that one of the best ways to ensure a calm and easy nail clipping session is by walking the dog before you start with the clipping. Tire your dog out well and he might not be able to make as much of a fuss as he'd like. Even the simple act of massaging your dogs paws for a few minutes every day to desensitize your dog to being touched there.



The dogs which take their name from the island of Newfoundland appeal to all lovers of animals.There are now two established varieties, the black and the white and black. There are also bronze-coloured dogs, but they are rare. The black variety of the Newfoundland is essentially black in colour; but this does not mean that there may be no other colour, for most black Newfoundlands have some white marks. In fact, a white marking on the chest is said to be typical of the true breed. Any white on the head or body would place the dog in the other than black variety. The black colour should preferably be of a dull jet appearance which approximates to brown. In the other than black class, there may be black and tan, bronze, and white and black. The latter predominates, and in this colour, beauty of marking is very important. The head should be black with a white muzzle and blaze, and the body and legs should be white with large patches of black on the saddle and quarters, with possibly other small black spots on the body and legs.

Apart from colour, the varieties should conform to the same standard. The head should be broad and massive, but in no sense heavy in appearance. The muzzle should be short, square, and clean cut, eyes rather wide apart, deep set, dark and small, not showing any haw; ears small, with close side carriage, covered with fine short hair (there should be no fringe to the ears), expression full of intelligence, dignity, and kindness.

The body should be long, square, and massive, loins strong and well filled; chest deep and broad; legs quite straight, somewhat short in proportion to the length of the body, and powerful, with round bone well covered with muscle; feet large, round, and close. The tail should be only long enough to reach just below the hocks, free from kink, and never curled over the back. The quality of the coat is very important; the coat should be very dense, with plenty of undercoat; the outer coat somewhat harsh and quite straight.

The appearance generally should indicate a dog of great strength, and very active for his build and size, moving freely with the body swung loosely between the legs, which gives a slight roll in gait. As regards size, the Newfoundland Club standard gives 140 lbs. to 120 lbs. weight for a dog, and 110 lbs. to 120 lbs. for a bitch, with an average height at the shoulder of 27 inches and 25 inches respectively; but it is doubtful whether dogs in proper condition do conform to both requirements.

When rearing puppies give them soft food, such as well-boiled rice and milk, as soon as they will lap, and, shortly afterwards, scraped lean meat. Newfoundland puppies require plenty of meat to induce proper growth. The puppies should increase in weight at the rate of 3 lbs. a week, and this necessitates plenty of flesh, bone and muscle-forming food, plenty of meat, both raw and cooked. Milk is also good, but it requires to be strengthened with casein. The secret of growing full-sized dogs with plenty of bone and substance is to get a good start from birth, good feeding, warm, dry quarters, and freedom for the puppies to move about and exercise themselves as they wish. Forced exercise may make them go wrong on their legs. Medicine should not be required except for worms, and the puppies should be physicked for these soon after they are weaned, and again when three or four months old, or before that if they are not thriving. If free from worms, Newfoundland puppies will be found quite hardy, and, under proper conditions of food and quarters, they are easy to rear.



Nursing a sick dog

Nursing a sick dog is one of the vital measures that a dog owner needs to understand. Similarly, when a dog becomes sick, the dog is in need of more care and affection based activities by the dog owners. Nursing a sick animal is often considered as an art and this should not be taken as a causal measure.

Yes. You need to take extra care to the dog when it becomes sick. For example, the sick dog with high fever needs to be given only some bread pieces and bulky non-vegetarian items may be avoided. Such dogs should be kept in some calm place after medications are taken and should not be disturbed. During the nursing of the dog who has taken the drug, the animal needs coaxing and stroking by the owner. Don’t raise the dog’s head too much to avoid the passing of drugs given by the mouth directly into the respiratory organs like lungs. During the nursing measures, take care by giving warm fluids.

Safety is to be given more priority during the nursing activity in any dog. When the dog has severe diarrhea, the animal may start showing signs of dehydration. Hence, the nursing care for dehydration includes an addition of small doses of salt and glucose to water in a careful manner.
Similarly, the vomiting dog also needs proper nursing care. Ice cubes may be given in such cases along with egg whites to smooth the esophageal passage.

Nowadays, a non-contact based infrared thermometer has come up in the market to obtain the temperature of the animal without much stress. Place the dog in a shaded place if the temperature is so high and provide good ventilation to the suffering animal. If the animal is suffering from hypothermia, provide warm blankets to given comfort to the animal.



Parvovirus in Dogs

Parvo is a serious viral disease that can be deadly even if treatment is given.  Parvovirus is a disease that attacks dividing cells. The most prominent location for dividing cells in your dog’s body is the intestinal lining or the lining of the digestive system. When this disease attacks and kills these cells it causes dogs and puppies to not be able to absorb nutrients or liquids. Parvo is seen more in puppies than in adult dogs, but both can catch the disease.

Symptoms of parvo include diarrhea, vomiting and lethargy. Most dogs stop eating or have a loss of appetite, diarrhea, high fever, and depression. Their stool can be very liquid, foul smelling, usually yellow in color, and contain blood. The secondary symptoms appear as severe gastrointestinal distress, which includes vomiting and bloody diarrhea. In the later stages of parvo dehydration, shock, and death.
Transmission of parvo from one dog to another occurs through their feces. Parvo can be carried in an adult dog that shows no outward signs, but the disease can be found in their stool. The disease is not an air born type, but can be transmitted through the sole of your shoe and even birds may carry this deadly disease into your yard if they have been in contact with the infected feces.
All dogs and puppies are susceptible to parvo but there are a few breeds that seem to be more susceptible than others. These include Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, and other black and tan breeds. These breeds usually are more prone to contracting this disease and not recovering.

Without treatment your dog only has a 20% survival rate and with treatment an 80% survival rate. So, of course, the best medicine is to prevent the exposure and to vaccinate your dog against this deadly disease



Pet Identification

Pet identification is highly required in these days because of the need for the licensing of the dog in a proper manner and to reduce the numbers of the stray dog menace in streets. Pet identification is done by many methods, which are different from each other. The cost factor for that also has variations accordingly.

The identification of your pet may be done by personalized tags, some times by the municipal license tag, rabies tag, and more. Most of the time, your telephone number and your name will be on a place in the personalized tags of the dogs. If any body encounters the dog accidentally during the event of missing of the dog will become capable of reporting the facts to the concerned officials.

Plastic and metal pet identification tags are available in multiple colors and the dog owners can choose the color they want. However, many select the reflective type of dog tags along with the collars. Hence, the dogs can be identified even in darkness to a greater extent.

Nowadays, many electronic gadgets are available like microchips which are embedded into the dog. However, these kinds of electronic chips need to be implanted behind the ears and once implanted, this will reveal all the data embedded in this in the computer. A collard and tagged animal makes an indication that it is not a stray animal and this gives more security to the dog.

Traditional forms of identification of the animal like tattooing is now a day not carried in dogs. Thus tracing the missed animal will become easier for the pet owners mainly due to the identification-based dog collars.



Pet Socialization

Socializing your pet to accept new dogs into the household is not always an easy task. The dog usually has its own ideas of its territory and home and is generally not a generous creature when it come to sharing but would much rather chase the intruders away. We have to reprogram the dogs thinking to make it understand that chasing the cat or iguana or whatever other pet you may have, is not acceptable.

To start, make certain that the new animal will be safe. Place the new pet in a pet carrier or some other sturdy structure that prohibits the dog from actually physically contacting the animal but still allows for both dogs to see, smell and hear each other. This provides a way for both dogs to acclimate to each other in a safe, though possibly a bit stressful, situation. In later steps, gloves might be advisable to avoid scratches from a nervous pet.

After the dogs have both calmed a bit give them each a small reward, such as a morsel of some favorite food. Be sure to give the dog lots of verbal praise and affection when it is not barking or trying to get to the new animal as this will show the dog that you are accepting of the new pet's presence and you expect him to be also.

One last point to keep in mind is that just like humans, not everyone is going to get along. There will be days where the dog and the cat are going to feud or the iguana will get cantankerous and slap the dog with his tail for the fun of it. Some dogs were just never meant to live in harmony but with a lot of patience and a little direction you can make your household fairly peaceable most of the time.



Preventing and Treating Heatstroke

Heat stroke, a condition that is caused when a dog is unable to purge unneeded heat from their bodies, raises the temperature of their delicate internal organs and causes massive damage to a dog's living tissue, This can kill the dog..
The signs of heatstroke are many, but varied and very easily discerned. Such signs include: increased panting or breathing (this sort of fast panting/breathing sounds more desperate than normal panting/breathing), heightened pulse rate, and bright red gums. Dogs also tend to look hot or as if they're wilting, just like humans do. If left untreated, heat stroke leads to shock or unconsciousness.

The dog will need to be moved into a cool area with good ventilation, as well as being soaked in cold water or gently sprayed with cold water from a hose if a tub of ice water isn't immediately available. Be careful however, as once the dog's temperature drops back down to a healthy 103 degrees Fahrenheit (39 degrees Celsius), leaving the dog in cold water any longer (the cooling process is very fast) risks causing hypothermia, so keep a close eye on your pet as he cools down after heat stroke.

Be especially protective of older and younger dogs, both of which suffer heatstroke more easily. Once your pet has stabilized and the situation seems to be over, you should still bring your dog to the veterinarian. Heatstroke has hidden effects, such as dehydration and brain damage, which may only show after the immediate danger of death is over. All in all, heat stroke is easy to prevent.  Keep plenty of water for him to drink and a shady spot to get out of the sun.  Avoid excessive exercising on hot days.  Simple steps, yet worth the effort to keep your dog healthy in the heat.



Preventing Arthritis in Dogs

Some dogs are more prone to arthritis than others. Arthritis and bone disease usually take one of several types. These include hip dysplasia, dislocation of the kneecap, arthritis of the elbow, swelling and pain in the leg bones, and degeneration of the shoulder joint.

Hip dysplasia is a malformation of the hip sockets that allow excessive movement in the joint. This condition causes chronic inflammation and calcium deposits. Dislocation of the kneecap is a malformation of the leg bones that causes the kneecap to continually pull out of its place and slip back and forth, creating a low-grade inflammation. Arthritis of the elbow is a hereditary condition caused by improper bone formation. Swelling and pain in the leg bones is caused by insufficient production of vitamin C, which results in poor nutrition and heredity. Degeneration of the shoulder joint is the breakdown of cartilage in the shoulder causing inflammation and pain when moving.

These conditions are mostly hereditary and could be prevented if the female dog were fed properly throughout her pregnancy. The period of growth inside the uterus is most vital in terms of the formation of structure and essential tissues. Proper nutrition is a must during this stage. Unfortunately, many people don’t consider the effects of poor nutrition on the unborn babies.

Giving your dog vitamin C on a regular basis also decreases or prevents some of these conditions from developing. Supply your dog with 250 to 2,000 milligrams of vitamin C per day, depending on the age and size of your dog. For example, a small Chihuahua puppy should get a dose of 250 milligrams per day and a large Doberman would get a dose of 500 milligrams per day. It is best to consult a vet who is informed in the use of vitamins. He will be able to help you find the correct dosage.


Preventing dental disease

Preventing dental disease is an important feature, which is to be paid more emphasis by the dog lovers or dog owners. Dental disease is given priority in the health schedule of the dog nowadays because of the association of the dental diseases with systemic diseases in the dogs.

Antibiotics need to be given in the initial stage of teeth infection itself and if not, this may cause specific infections and the organisms may spread to the other nearby regions like the oral mucous membrane and pharyngeal region etc.

More acidic or alkaline food materials need not be given to the dogs to avoid the possible teeth damage.  Antibiotics need to be given in the initial stage of teeth infection itself and if not, this may cause specific infections and the organisms may spread to the other nearby regions like the oral mucous membrane and pharyngeal region etc.  More acidic or alkaline food materials need not be given to the dogs to avoid the possible teeth damage.  If the dog is not given at its young age some bony material to bite on, the dog may develop some dental diseases later. The teething action often causes the animal to go for biting in an indiscriminate manner. Hence, the animal has to be given some biting materials to avoid the occurrence of dental diseases.

If there is an evidence of bleeding from the oral region, the dog needs to be examined thoroughly for any dental abnormality.  Mainly the puppies or some times, the adult dogs also may have teeth injuries. They need to be attended immediately as a preventive step. If not, the animal may end up in secondary bacterial infections.

Hunting dogs need additional care associated with the dental structures and such care is needed to avoid the future dental problems in such dogs.  Brushes are available to provide better dental care to dogs. However, one has to allot more time and should have patience to use such brushes in case of dogs.            This may lead into further problems. Centers for disease control and prevention are trying to put up guidelines to prevent the dental diseases in dogs in many nations.  However, the oral examination needs to be carried out frequently in dogs and such activities help to rule out the emerging problems pertaining to the dentine structures in the beginning itself.


Protein and Kidney Failure from Your Dog's Diet

Early research indicated that higher levels of protein in your dog's diet would lead to kidney failure.  Do you know if your dog's diet is safe?  Are you killing your furry friend by providing too much protein in your dog's diet?

The studies that showed a relationship to high protein levels and kidney failure that sparked concerns about protein levels in dog's diets were not sound.  The research was performed on rats, not dogs.  Rats primarily eat plants as their natural diet.  Naturally, rats biological makeup would indicate trouble digesting diets containing high levels of protein.  The rats have difficulty excreting protein due to their specific dietary needs, not because the high protein diet causes kidney failure.

Still, where do we stand on protein and your dog's diet?  Dogs are naturally omnivorous.  In the wild, dog's would hunt or scavenge.  The dog's diet would consist of both plants and animals.  Naturally speaking, dogs are meat eaters, too.  For this reason, a dog can easily tolerate a diet consisting of 30% protein or more.

When protein intake is reduced in a dog's diet, renal function does not improve.  Renal lesions are not less likely to form when a dog is fed with a low-protein diet.  It is not until a blood urea nitrogen, or BUN, test indicates a level of 75, that a reduction in protein intake be considered for your dog's diet.

If you have concerns about the amount of protein in your dog's diet, schedule an appointment to speak with a professional on the subject.  Your trusted vet can advise you on the specifics in regards to your dog's diet.

It is a myth that dog's cannot properly digest high levels of protein in their diet.  Kidney troubles do not result from high levels of protein in your dog's diet.  Large amounts of protein can be safely digested in your dog's diet, especially when they come primarily from animal origins.

Ten amino acids must be provided in your dog's diet through protein.  Only twelve of 22 amino acids can be manufactured in your dog's liver.  For this reason, meat such as heart, spleen, and meat by-products all have a place in your dog's diet.

A high-quality dog food should contain meat as the first ingredient.  This will provide the proper amount of protein for your dog's diet.  You know you are on the right track when you turn to nature for advice.  Do you ever recall seeing a wild or stray dog happily grazing through the cornfield at mealtime?

Senior dogs should not be automatically placed on lower protein diets exclusively based on age.  In fact, some older pets require a dog's diet higher in protein than during their younger adult stage.  Unless medically indicated, provide your pet the benefit of quality protein in your dog's diet.

Feeding your dog protein should not cause you concern.  You want what is best for your dog and nature tells you that protein will help your dog to thrive.  If you have questions about the myth of protein and kidney failure in your pet, speak to your vet about your dog's diet.


Signs of Ill health

Signs of ill health are the most important signs of the health status in your dogs. For example, if the dog has continuous nasal discharge, it indicates the presence of nasal congestion and if the discharge is thick, most of the times, the dog may have pneumonia.

If the dog vomits one or two times occasionally, this may not be taken as a serious sign of ill health but if the dog continues this vomiting, then this is something significant to be looked into.

If the dog has continuous itching, then one needs to check up the dog first by closer observation and examination of skin by separating the hair material especially in case of long haired breeds. You may also come across a lot of ticks or lice on skin, which may look apparently normal at a distance.

If the dog passes loose stool for one or two times, this need not be given more emphasis but if there is continuous passing of loose stool, then the dog is understood to suffer from bowel disorders. If the dog does not pass stool for two to three days, the digestive upsets needs to be ruled out carefully.

Just patiently observe the dog’s walking movements and rule out any abnormal movements in the dog. If the dog is limping, the animal may have foot lesions. Similarly, if the aged dog has reluctant walking and less feed intake along with repeated vomiting, then acute renal disorders like nephritis needs to be ruled out.

If there is whiteness in eyes, suspect the corneal opacity that may occur in diseases like trypanasomosis. When the dog becomes anemic, the mucous membrane of the eyes becomes paler and in severe cases, this may have wall white color. If the dog bites chain and owners or others, look for behavior disorders and rabies needs to be ruled out.


Skin Irritation in Dogs

Dogs can suffer from skin problems the same as humans.  How you treat the particular problem will depend on what is causing it.  Below I will cover the most common skin irritations in dogs.

One of the most common problems in dogs is the presence of fleas and ticks, which are parasites that live on the surface of the skin and feed on the dog’s blood. These parasites’ saliva causes skin irritation and results in intense scratching.
There are preventive products available for use on a monthly basis that will prevent this type of infestation.

Mange is a skin problem caused by mites that burrow underneath the dog’s skin, causing intense and even agonizing itching. Bald spots or inflamed red skin are common symptoms of mange. Two types of mange exist in dogs: sarcoptic mange and demodectic mange, depending on the kind of mite involved.

Mange or scabies causes intense itching in the dog as the mites burrow under the skin and even lay their eggs there. Scabies can infect humans as well and cause itchiness, although infection in humans usually disappears by itself after a while. However, it is still important for people to seek treatment if they get infected.
The best way to kill the mites is to soak your dog in a lime and sulfur medicated dip for 10 to 15 minutes a few times in a week. The dip should not be washed off, but left to dry on your dog’s skin and fur. During this time, it’s best to watch your dog closely and prevent him from licking himself dry.

It is best to check with your vet if your dog is itching and you can’t find any parasites.  It is possible he is experiencing an allergy or simply his coat is too dry.  The vet will be able to help diagnose his exact problem.


Spaying and neutering

Spaying and neutering of dogs are highly wanted if you don’t want to breed the dogs and however, these activities need to be carried out by qualified veterinarians specialized in pet care and management. Anesthesia is required along with due surgical procedures for carrying out the spaying and neutering.

One has to understand first the terms like spaying or neutering. Both are related to the surgical approaches of sterilization in case of females and males respectively.  However, the term neutering is also related to such procedures in both sexes.  Accidental pregnancies that are not wanted can be highly minimized by these procedures.

Spaying and neutering helps to prevent occurrence of pyometra, which is a common reproductive disorder-giving problem to the dog owners.  In male dogs, the neutering helps to prevent the occurrence of prostate enlargement or cancer.  Hence, these help to minimize the incidences of reproductive disorders in dogs.

By these spaying and neutering, the male dog’s desire in search of female dog in heat is highly minimized and hence, wandering of male dog is reduced. The animal becomes calm also by these surgical remedies. Territorial behavior of these animals is also highly minimized by these in case of male dogs.

Spaying of your dog before the occurrence of first heat is the best one to avoid the incidence of breast cancer. If the dog is spayed after the first heat, the chances of occurrence of breast cancer in them is more and has been proved by research. Younger group of dogs need to be subjected to these operations to avoid complications in future.

Many veterinarians prefer the spaying and neutering of dogs only at the age of five to six years. However, these can be performed even at the age of three to five years. Postoperative care needs to be followed meticulously to avoid the occurrence of infections by microbial organisms.



Spaying of the Female dog

Spaying of the female dog is undertaken to control the unwanted pregnancy by crossing of some unknown or country or non-descript dogs. The spaying of the dog reduces the aggressiveness of the dog. By spaying, one can reduce the incidences of the commonly encountered reproductive diseases like pyometra.

Spaying also helps to control the population in case of stray animals and many nations are doing these operations by removing the ovaries from the female animals.  Experienced veterinarians are required to do the spaying in case of female dogs and the postoperative care is to be given more emphasis.  If proper control measures are not taken after the surgical operation for the removal of ovary, then the infections may start setting in and the animal may end up in development of peritonitis and then toxemia sets in, causing unwanted health problems.

Death of the dog may finally occur, if the dog is not provided an effective and proper veterinary care.  A female dog that is spayed before the occurrence of first heat will have almost a zero chance of development of mammary cancer, which is more common with the dogs that are not spayed.

A female dog generally comes to heat once in eight months or so. During the heat occurrence, there is bleeding from vagina and the dog may cross with the unwanted male and the spaying activity prevents all these. In case of aged dogs, the dog may often get signs of increased thirst, anorexia, vomiting etc. that are so common with pyometra.

Pyometra means the presence of pus in the uterus.  Once pyometra occurs, it involves many discomforts to the animal in addition to the cost factor involved for the therapy also. Such pyometra is totally prevented by spaying because in the case of spaying, you are removing both ovaries and the uterus.


Surgical neutering of the male dog

Surgical neutering of the male dog is important in helping the dog owners to control the male dog’s aggressive behavior. Yes. By doing the surgical neutering, it becomes possible to control the dog’s restlessness, which might have caused so much agony for the owner and hence, neutering corrects such activity to the benefit of the dog owner.

When the dog is in puppy stage, the dog may be subjected to the surgical neutering technique. Hence, the hormonal impact is highly minimized in such male dogs.

The surgical neutering of the male dog helps to prevent the incidences of prostate gland diseases.  Generally, in case of male dogs, the prostate enlargement is more common.  In canine patients undergone the surgical neutering, the incidences of such prostate enlargement are totally minimized.

Sometimes, the adult male dog has more difficulties during  defecation. However, one has to rule out the feed borne constipation like lack of fibers etc. before resorting to the fixation of prostate enlargement as a cause for this.  Constipation is mainly due to the increased size of the prostate gland.  Neutering makes shrinkage of the prostate gland.  In surgical neutering, the incision is placed in front of the scrotum and the testicles are removed in a surgical manner using aseptic techniques.

The wound need not be closed except the tying up of the cord after cutting of the testicle.  However, in two to three days time, as a routine tissue reaction, some swelling may occur in the scrotum.  However, once you administer the antibiotic that has a broader spectrum of activities, the condition gets recovered in a satisfactory condition. Septic shock may occur if the surgical site gets infected with some microbial infections and in these cases, the wound needs a thorough dressing procedure and the patient needs to be continuously monitored in a clinical environment.

Take note that local animal organizations perform the surgical neutering when the stray male dogs are captured by them.


Teaching An Abused Dog to Trust


Often you will come across a dog that has been abused at one point in his life.  These dogs are difficult to deal with as the normal things we do causes them anxiety and fear.  You can, however, increase your chances of teaching an abused dog to trust with a few simple changes in approach and a lot of patience.

When interacting with this dog, bend down to appear less threatening.  When talking to him, keep your voice low and cheerful.  A loud or frustrated tone will cause him to fear.  Call him to you; don’t approach him.  If he makes an effort to obey, praise him.  Don’t wait for him to obey completely.  Remember, he may be used to getting hit when he approaches someone.

When you do get to pet this dog, avoid his head.  Keep your hand palm up as it approaches him and gently rub under his chin or on his chest.  Rubbing either spot tends to calm a dog.  If he moves to step backward, let him retreat.  In time, he will stay longer.

When a dog is nervous or scared, he will often wet the floor involuntarily.  If this should happen, it is important not to allow your frustration to show.  It is not a deliberate attempt at disobeying and will likely disappear as he gains trust in you.

Keep any sessions short, with just a few minutes of actual touch each time.  You can gradually increase the time as his trust grows.  Often, just sitting quietly and waiting for him to approach you will make him feel comfortable.  If your initial attempts fail, try this.

A once-abused dog can be as trusting and loving as any other.  All it takes is patience on the part of those in his life.  A crouching position, low voice and appropriate touch will win him over eventually.



The Collie dog makes an excellent sporting dog, and can be taught to do the work of the Pointer and the Setter, as well as that of the Water Spaniel and the Retriever. He can be trained to perform the duties of other breeds.  He is clever at hunting, having an excellent nose, is a good vermin-killer, and a most faithful watch, guard, and companion.

Little is known with certainty of the origin of the Collie, but his cunning and his outward appearance would seem to indicate a relationship with the wild dog. Buffon was of opinion that he was the true dog of nature, the stock and model of the whole canine species. He considered the Sheepdog superior in instinct and intelligence to all other breeds, and that, with a character in which education has comparatively little share, he is the only animal born perfectly trained for the service of man.

At the shows this type of dog is invariably at the top of the class. He is considered the most tractable, and is certainly the most agile. Second to this type in favour is the smooth-coated variety, a very hard, useful dog, well adapted for hill work and usually very fleet of foot. He is not so sweet in temper as the black and white, and is slow to make friends. There is not a more  graceful and physically beautiful dog to be seen than the show Collie of the present period. Produced from the old working type, he is now practically a distinct breed.

The skull should be flat, moderately wide between the ears, and gradually tapering towards the eyes. There should only be a slight depression at stop. The width of skull necessarily depends upon combined length of skull and muzzle; and the whole must be considered in connection with the size of the dog. The cheek should not be full or prominent.

The muzzle should be of fair length, tapering to the nose, and must not show weakness or be snipy or lippy. Whatever the colour of the dog may be, the nose must be black. The teeth should be of good size, sound and level; very slight unevenness is permissible. The jaws Clean cut and powerful. The eyes are a very important feature, and give expression to the dog; they should be of medium size, set somewhat obliquely, of almond shape, and of a brown colour except in the case of merles, when the eyes are frequently (one or both) blue and white or china; expression full of intelligence, with a quick alert look when listening. The ears should be small and moderately wide at the base, and placed not too close together but on the top of the skull and not on the side of the head. When in repose they should be usually carried thrown back, but when on the alert brought forward and carried semi-erect, with tips slightly drooping in attitude of listening.

The neck should be muscular, powerful and of fair length, and somewhat arched.  The body should be strong, with well sprung ribs, chest deep, fairly broad behind the shoulders, which should be sloped, loins very powerful. The dog should be straight in front. The fore-legs should be straight and muscular, neither in nor out at elbows, with a fair amount of bone; the forearm somewhat fleshy, the pasterns showing flexibility without weakness. The hind-legs should be muscular at the thighs, clean and sinewy below the hocks, with well bent stifles. The feet should be oval in shape, soles well padded, and the toes arched and close together.

In general character he is a lithe active dog, his deep chest showing lung power, his neck strength, his sloping shoulders and well bent hocks indicating speed, and his expression high intelligence. He should be a fair length on the leg, giving him more of a racy than a cloddy appearance. In a few words, a Collie should show endurance, activity, and intelligence, with free and true action. In height dogs should be 22 ins. to 24 ins. at the shoulders, bitches 20 ins. to 22 ins. The weight for dogs is 45 to 65 lbs., bitches 40 to 55 lbs. The smooth collie only differs from the rough in its coat, which should be hard, dense and quite smooth.



The Deerhound is one of the most decorative of dogs, impressively stately and picturesque wherever he is seen, whether it be amid the surroundings of the baronial hall, reclining at luxurious length before the open hearth in the fitful light of the log fire that flickers on polished armour and tarnished tapestry; out in the open, straining at the leash as he scents the dewy air, or gracefully bounding over the purple of his native hills. Grace and majesty are in his every movement and attitude, and even to the most prosaic mind there is about him the inseparable glamour of feudal romance and poetry.

From remote days the Scottish nobles cherished their strains of Deerhound, seeking glorious sport in the Highland forests. The red deer belonged by inexorable law to the kings of Scotland, and great drives, which often lasted for several days, were made to round up the herds into given neighbourhoods for the pleasure of the court, as in the reign of Queen Mary. But the organised coursing of deer by courtiers ceased during the Stuart troubles, and was left in the hands of retainers, who thus replenished their chief's larder.


The head should be broadest at the ears, tapering slightly to the eyes, with the muzzle tapering more decidedly to the nose. The muzzle should be pointed, but the teeth and lips level. The head should be long, the skull flat rather than round, with a very slight rise over the eyes, but with nothing approaching a stop. The skull should be coated with moderately long hair which is softer than the rest of the coat. The nose should be black (though in some blue-fawns the colour is blue) and slightly aquiline. In the lighter-coloured dogs a black muzzle is preferred. There should be a good moustache of rather silky hair, and a fair beard.


The ears should be set on high, and, in repose, folded back like  the Greyhound's, though raised above the head in excitement without  losing the fold, and even, in some cases, semi-erect.The ear should be  soft, glossy, and like a mouse's coat to the touch, and the smaller  it is the better. It should have no long coat or long fringe, but there  is often a silky, silvery coat on the body of the ear and the tip.  Whatever the general colour, the ears should be black or dark-coloured.

Neck and shoulders:-

The neck should be long that is, of the length  that befits the Greyhound character of the dog.  The nape of the neck should be very prominent where the head is set on, and the throat should be clean-cut at the angle and prominent. The shoulders should be well sloped, the blades well back, with not too much width between them.


Stern should be tolerably long, tapering, and reaching to within 1-1/2 inches of the ground, and about 1-1/2 inches below the hocks. When the dog is still, dropped perfectly straight down, or curved. When in motion it should be curved when excited, in no case to be lifted out of the line of the back. It should be well covered with hair, on the inside thick and wiry, underside longer.


The eyes should be dark: generally they are dark brown or hazel.  The eye is moderately full with a soft look in repose, but a keen, far-away gaze when the dog is roused. The rims of the eyelids should be black.

Body: The body and general formation is that of a Greyhound of larger size and bone. Chest deep rather than broad, but not too narrow and flat-sided. The loin well arched and drooping to the tail.

Legs and feet:-

The legs should be broad and flat, a good broad forearm and elbow being desirable. Fore-legs, of course, as straight as possible. Feet close and compact, with well-arched toes. The hind-quarters drooping, and as broad and powerful as possible, the hips being set wide apart. The hind-legs should be well bent at the stifle, with great length from the hip to the hock, which should be broad and flat.


The hair on the body, neck, and quarters should be harsh and wiry, and about 3 inches or 4 inches long; that on the head, breast, and belly is much softer. There should be a slight hairy fringe on the inside of the fore and hind-legs, but nothing approaching to the feathering of a Collie. The Deerhound should be a shaggy dog, but not over coated.


Colour is much a matter of fancy. But there is no manner of doubt  that the dark blue-grey is the most preferred. Next come the darker and  lighter greys or brindles, the darkest being generally preferred.  Yellow and sandy-red or red-fawn, especially with black points i.e.,  ears and muzzle are also in equal estimation.


From 28 inches to 30 inches, or even more if there be symmetry without coarseness, which, however, is rare. Height of bitches: From 26 inches upwards. There can be no objection to a bitch being large, unless she is too coarse, as even at her greatest height she does not approach that of the dog, and, therefore, could not well be too big for work, as over-big dogs are.




Foxhounds were the very first of the canine races in Great Britain  to come under the domination of scientific breeding. There had been  hounds of more ancient origin, such as the Southern  Hound and the Bloodhound; but something different was wanted towards the end of the seventeenth century to hunt the wild deer that had become somewhat scattered after Cromwell's civil war. The demand was consequently for a quicker hound than those hitherto known, and people devoted to the chase began to breed it.


Somewhat broad, not peaked like the Bloodhound, but long from the apex to the frontal bones, eyebrows very prominent, cheeks cut clean from the eye to the nostril, ears set low and in their natural condition thin and shapely, but not large, nose large, jaw strong and level, and small dewlaps, expression fierce, and with the best often repellent.


Very bright and deeply set, full of determination, and with a  very steady expression. The look of the Foxhound is very remarkable.

Neck Should be perfectly clean, no skin ruffle whatever. The length of neck is of importance, both for stooping and giving an air of majesty.


The blades should be well into the back, and should slant, otherwise be wide and strong, to meet the arms, that should be long and powerful.

Legs and feet:-

The bone should be perfectly straight from the arm downward, and descend in the same degree of size to the ankles. The knee should be almost flat and level; there should be no curve until coming to the toes, which should be very strong, round, cat-shaped, and every toe clean set as it were.


The coat is hard hair, but short and smooth, the texture is as stiff as bristles, but beautifully laid.


Belvoir tan, which is brown and black, perfectly intermixed, with white markings of various shapes and sizes. The white should be very opaque and clear. Black and white, with tan markings on head and stifles. Badger pied a kind of grey and white. Lemon pied, light yellow and white. Hare pied, a darker yellow and white.

Height: Dogs from 23-1/2 to 24 inches; bitches from 22 to 22-1/2 inches.



The importance of the physical examination

The importance of the physical examination need not be underestimated in case of dogs. Simple but systematic physical examination techniques may diagnose most of the disorders in dogs and hence, without physical examination of the dog, one should not resort to knowing the status of your dog's health.

Simply observe the dog with scratching. Catch the dog and simply separate the hair material from the itching site. To the surprise you may come across a big wound in the scratched site. The wound might be the main reason for the scratching of the dog at that site. However, one has to rule out the occurrence of wound by severe itching itself.

Many times, when the scratching dog is examined physically, one can come across plenty of lice infestation or tick problem in the skin and coat. The parasitic condition might not be diagnosed at all if one has not carried out the physical examination. Similarly, the dog may reveal the signs of pain when the physical examination is carried out by deep palpation technique.  The dog show signs of pain when the dog is examined at the stomach or the back regions.

Even if it is possible that by pressure based palpation, one can detect the acute renal disorders in the affected dogs turn to the examined site at the region of kidney or at the back region. The dog affected by the Cystitis with severe retention of urine is often diagnosed by mere physical examination.

The filled bladder together with signs of pain during the examination at the site of urinary bladder indicates that the animal is affected by Cystitis.  Auscultation of the heart in both right and left sides helps to rule out the abnormal heart sounds and the pulmonary area based auscultation reveals the respiratory system disorder like pneumonia.




The Poodle is commonly acknowledged to be the most wisely intelligent of all members of the canine race. There is a general belief that he is a fop, whose time is largely occupied in personal embellishment, and that he requires a great deal of individual attention in the matter of his toilet. It may be true that to keep him in exhibition order and perfect cleanliness his owner has need to devote more consideration to him than is necessary in the case of many breeds; but in other respects he gives very little trouble, and all who are attached to him are consistent in their opinion that there is no dog so intensely interesting and responsive as a companion. His qualities of mind and his acute powers of reasoning are indeed so great that there is something almost human in his attractiveness and his devotion. His aptitude in learning is never denied, and many are the stories told of his marvellous talent and versatility.

Not merely as a showman's dog has he distinguished himself. He is something more than a mountebank of the booths, trained to walk the tight rope and stand on his head. He is an adept at performing tricks, but it is his alertness of brain that places him apart from other animals.

The profuse and long coat of this dog has the peculiarity that if not kept constantly brushed out it twists up into little cords which increase in length as the new hair grows and clings about it. The unshed old hair and the new growth entwined together thus become distinct rope-like cords. Eventually, if these cords are not cut short, or accidentally torn off, they drag along the ground, and so prevent the poor animal from moving with any degree of comfort or freedom.

Corded Poodles are very showy, and from the remarkable appearance of the coat, attract a great deal of public attention when exhibited at shows; but they have lost popularity among most fanciers, and have become few in number owing to the obvious fact that it is impossible to make pets of them or keep them in the house. The reason of this is that the coat must, from time to time, be oiled in order to keep the cords supple and prevent them from snapping, and, of course, as their coats cannot be brushed, the only way of keeping the dog clean is to wash him, which with a corded Poodle is a lengthy and laborious process. Further, the coat takes hours to dry, and unless the newly washed dog be kept in a warm room he is very liable to catch cold. The result is, that the coats of corded Poodles are almost invariably dirty, and somewhat smelly.


Poodle's General appearance


Head: Long, straight, and fine, the skull not broad, with a slight peak at the back.

Muzzle: Long (but not snipy) and strong not full in cheek; teeth white, strong, and level; gums black, lips black and not showing lippiness.

Eyes: Almond shaped, very dark, full of fire and intelligence.

Nose: Black and sharp.

Ears: The leather long and wide, low set on, hanging close to the face.

Neck: Well proportioned and strong, to admit of the head being carried high and with dignity.

Feet: Rather small, and of good shape, the toes well arched, pads thick and hard.

Legs: Fore-legs set straight from shoulder, with plenty of bone and muscle.

Hind-legs: Very muscular and well bent, with the hocks well let down.

Tail: Set on rather high, well carried, never curled or carried over back.

Coat: Very profuse, and of good hard texture; if corded, hanging in tight, even cords; if non-corded, very thick and strong, of even length, the curls close and thick, without knots or cords.



The Proper Way to Switch Your Dog's Diet

Over the course of your dog's lifetime, there may be several occasions when you need to switch your dog's diet.  If is important to know the proper method to change your dog's diet to ease your pet through the transition.

Many reasons exist that may cause you to feel the need to switch your dog's diet.  A puppy, for example, must change from milk during nursing to dog food.  Your adult dog may need to transition to a dog food diet specifically designed for senior dogs.  Health reasons may be yet another cause for a switch.

After consulting with your vet about the change to your dog's diet, you will want to consider all of your options.  Upon making the final decision, you will want to make the change gradually and over time.  Do not stop feeding one type of diet on Sunday evening and begin a completely new regimen on Monday morning.  Such a drastic change will undoubtedly create some serious results.

Switching your dog's diet too quickly can result in your dog having an upset stomach.  Diarrhea is likely to result.

The proper way to switch your dog's diet takes several days.  Over the course of two weeks, gradually reduce the amount of the original diet and slowly increase the food for the new diet.  For example, if you typically feed your pet a diet of 3 and 1/2 cups of kibble per day, you will only want to change the diet at the rate of 1/4 cup each day.  Keep in mind if you feed your dog's diet twice daily, divide the amount in half at each feeding.

Day 1 of the switch you would feed your dog 3 and 1/4 cup of the original kibble and 1/4 cup of the new dog diet.  This total amount should be portioned between the number of meals during the day.  Day 2 you would feed 3 cups of the original diet and 1/2 cup of the new diet.  On day number 14, your dog's diet will have been completely changed over.

This gradual process may seem slow at first, but be assured, it is for the best.  A dog's diet is not like a human's diet.  People vary their diet on a daily basis.  Sometimes we stir things up from meal to meal.  Your dog's diet is best when it is consistent.  Do not change brands or feeding methods frequently.

Once you find a dog diet that works well to promote the health of your pet, it is best to stick with it.  In fact, you should allow several weeks, and preferably months, on a new diet before assessing the results.  This is true unless otherwise directed by your vet.  Some instances may arise when this is not a plausible plan.

Your vet can best educate you on when and why to switch your dog's diet.  Unless otherwise directed, proper method for changing your dog's diet takes time.  The gradual change will reduce the stress and change to your dog's system and digestive tract.  Whenever a diet is working well for your dog, it is best to leave your dog's diet alone.  Consistency is helpful to maintain your dog's ultimate health potential.



The Raw Dog Diet

Have you ever wondered why dog food comes in this huge bag filled with tiny kibbles of compressed unknown ingredients?  Much of what goes into dog food is not high-quality in nature.  Blood meal, bone meal, and fat frequently come from animal carcasses containing potentially harmful drugs or disease.  Is it time to consider something better for your dog's diet?

Before marketing and advertisers took over the world of big business, what did dog's eat?  We take a look at how dog's in the wild gain adequate nutrition.  A wolf, for example, survives from a kill.  The contents of the animals stomach are eaten first.  Doing this, the wolf takes in grains and vegetables, as well as, enzymes needed for good nutrition.  Next, the wolf devours the meat and some bones.  Protein and calcium have now been added to the diet.  This natural diet in the wilderness has been effective in maintaining quality health over the years.  Unlike the domesticated dogs of today, such animals generally have excellent immune systems.

When your dog's diet consists primarily of unhealthy animals, can you not assume that your dog will become unhealthy, as well?  Today, veterinarians have seen more health problems with dogs than ever before.

The natural raw diet feeds the immune system of your pet.  Your dog's diet will contain natural foods that provide the body what it needs to repair itself and perform at its best.

The raw diet is prepared one time a day.  It is not complicated and well worth the time and effort to ensure the excellent health of your dog.  Always consult your vet before altering your dog's diet.  The raw dog diet has helped many dog's combat health issues such as arthritis, skin problems, and weight trouble.

Ingredients of the raw diet include meat, veggies, and grains.  Approximately half of the diet is meat.  Vegetables, fruit, and grain cover the rest.

When preparing the dog's diet, feed the dog about the same amount of the raw dog diet as you would kibble.  This is a good starting point.  From here, you can adjust the diet as necessary to meet your dog's specific needs.

Contact a local butcher to purchase ground turkey, for example.  Each day prepare a bowl of 50% raw ground

Turkey with some wet oats.  Juice some vegetables such as carrots and swiss chard and add the juice to the mix.

Juicing the vegetables helps to digest the enzymes for your pet.  This is similar to the wolf consuming the contents from a stomach.  Your dog's diet will need a variety of different vegetables daily to maximize the potential for best vitamins and nutrients.

Carrots should always be the base and alter other veggies daily.  The carrots will regularly supply potassium, calcium, vitamin A, B, C, D, and E.  Greens offer vitamin A, C, and chlorophyll.  Apples are good for vitamin C.

Certain veggies have healing properties.  Kale, for instance, helps to remedy digestive disorders.  Watercress and mustard greens help to cleanse the intestines.  Parsley helps the metabolism and thyroid.  Celery has numerous advantages.  It helps with chemical imbalances, blood flow,  and is a natural diuretic.  Beets are good for the blood.  They offer copper and manganese.

Some foods to avoid include broccoli, cabbage, and turnips.  These create intestinal gas.  Cucumbers, onions, and potatoes do not digest well in a dog's diet.

Flaxseed is a fabulous addition to the raw diet to encourage healthy joints and coat.  The omega 6 and 3 fatty acids help with such conditions.

The raw diet for your dog can combat several health issues.  The natural diet allows your dog to eat what nature intended.  You know what foods are in your dog's diet.  The raw diet is high in quality and healthy for your pet.


The Role of Calcium in Your Dog's Diet

It is important for your dog's diet to contain all of the essential vitamins to ensure excellent health.  One of the important nutrients in your dog's diet is calcium.  When we think of calcium, strong teeth and bones come to mind.  Your dog's diet should be rich in calcium to support healthy teeth and bones, but a delicate balance exist in relationship to calcium and your dog's diet.

It is possible to have too much or too little calcium in your dog's diet.  When a dog's diet contains too little calcium, your dog may develop a condition called rickets.  This condition creates soft bones that bend under the weight of your dog.

In contrast, too much calcium can create bone abnormalities, as well.  Large breed dogs, for example, who are given too much calcium as puppies in their diet, will develop large bones that are low in density.  Strength is a problem with such bones due to the large amount of calcium supplements.

When your dog's diet contains appropriate levels of calcium, such bone abnormalities occur infrequently.  This is just one more reason to carefully select an appropriate diet for your dog.  Always consult with your veterinarian to determine the best amount of calcium in your dog's diet.

Calcium plays an important role in your dog's diet, but other vitamins and nutrients work hand in hand with calcium.  Some minerals are interdependent.  Calcium happens to be one of such mineral nutrients.

Calcium works together with phosphorus.  A balance of the two nutrients calcium and phosphorus must exist in a healthy ratio to ensure a dog diet that will maximize the potential advantages for your pet.  Studies involving animal nutrition show that a ratio of 1.0 to 2.0 parts calcium should be coupled with 1.0 part phosphorus.  When calcium and phosphorus ratios vary greatly from this range, bone troubles result.

Dog diets consisting exclusively of meats, will not provide the proper amount of calcium and phosphorus to create healthy bones.  Such a diet results in a ratio of about 1.0 part calcium to 18 parts phosphorus.  The range of absorption is where the trouble begins.

Vitamin D is another nutrient that influences the absorption of calcium and phosphorus.  If a dog's diet lacks the appropriate amount of vitamin D, the other nutrients will not provide all the benefits to your pet.  Excessive amounts of vitamin D can have toxic effects on your dog.  It is imperative to maintain appropriate levels of vitamin D in your dog's diet.  Again, feeding your dog food from a reputable company will allow you confidence in knowing that your dog's diet is healthy.

During pregnancy or when your dog is nursing, higher levels of calcium are important in your dog's diet.  At this time, feed your pet extra amounts of a balanced dog food.  You should not have to supplement your pet at this time.

Milk fever, or eclampsia, cannot be avoided with calcium supplements.  Eclampsia is not a nutritional deficiency, but a metabolic condition that affects the dog after the pups have been born and begin nursing.

Avoid supplementing your dog's diet with calcium or other nutrients without specific discussion with your vet.  When calcium, for example, is out of balance, health can truly be effected negatively.  Feeding your dog a balanced diet is essential.  Reputable dog food companies have researched animal nutrition to ensure the best possible health for your dog.  Providing your dog's diet in a healthy, balanced formula may be the best way to take care of your pet.



Tips to Consider When Determining Your Puppy Dog's Diet

You have recently welcomed a new cute and cuddly puppy into your home.  A healthy diet is essential for a long, happy life together.  What things do you need to consider when selecting your puppy dog's diet?  Always talk to your vet about a proper puppy dog diet.  Remember that a puppy dog's diet is not the same as an adult dog's diet.  Avoid a trip to the grocery store to grab a bag of adult dog food to feed your pet.  This will not meet the nutritional needs of a healthy puppy dog diet.

You can choose to feed your new puppy one of several options.  Natural and organic puppy dog diets have become more popular in recent years.  Some pet owners prefer to feed a raw diet to their puppy.  Most people choose to use kibble as the main component of the puppy dog's diet.  For this reason, I will focus primarily on this choice.

As you wean the puppy, a high-quality puppy food with tiny kibble is best.  A puppy dog's diet should include all the essential vitamins to create a healthy diet for excellent growth.  Feed your new puppy three or four times a day.  Your puppy dog's diet should consist of puppy food moisten with water.  Do not moisten the puppy food with milk.  The milk acts as a laxative in your puppy dog's diet.  The water will create a softer, more palatable cuisine for your pet.

As the new puppy grows and becomes accustomed to eating the kibble as a regular part of his or her diet, you will want to gradually decrease the amount of water.  If you plan to feed dry dog food in the future, expect to transition the dog's diet earlier than later.  Continuing to moisten the dog food may make transition more difficult later in life.  By six weeks of age, your puppy dog's diet can be solid kibble.

Your puppy should be permitted all the kibble he or she wants during the initial phase of the weaning process.  Make sure you present the puppy the new diet of puppy food at regular times.  Around five months of age, your puppy dog's diet should decrease to only two feeding time's per day.  By this time, you should establish a specific quantity of food per day to ensure a healthy diet and weight for your dog.

Talk to your vet about how much to feed your new puppy.  All puppies look cute, round and cuddly at some point during their first few months.  It can be difficult to know when your puppy is overweight.  Your veterinarian will help to advise you on this issue.  It is a good idea to open up the door of communication between you and your vet now.  Both vet and owner only want what is best for the new puppy.

Feeding your new puppy a healthy diet does not have to be difficult.  Talk to your vet for advice and information.  Always choose a quality food as the main source of nutrition in your puppy dog's diet.  A healthy diet for your puppy will set the stage for a healthy dog in the years to come.



Top Dog Diseases

Following is a list of the top diseases experienced in dogs.  Many are easily prevented with immunizations. Those that don’t have preventive shots can often be avoided with proper care.  Make sure your dog is up-to-date on all shots and make it a point to know the causes of these disorders in order to give him the best possible care.

Distemper is fatal in 80% of puppies and 50% of adults. All dogs are extremely vulnerable, and should be vaccinated, with subsequent boosters in keeping the recommendation of a Veterinarian.

Parvovirus (Parvo):

Parvo is extremely contagious, especially among puppies, and can lead to death within 48 to 72 hours after exposure. Symptoms include depression, loss of appetite, vomiting and severe diarrhea

Rabies is a virus and becomes fatal when symptoms appear. Because rabies can be fatal to humans and other mammals, state and local laws uniformly require rabies vaccination, many mandating booster shots yearly.

Kennel Cough:

This is a respiratory disease especially prevalent in kennels and shelters. Symptoms can include a dry hacking cough along with inflammation of the larynx, bronchial tubes and trachea. Vaccination, as often as every six months is recommended.


Symptoms of Leptospirosis include lethargy, kidney inflammation, low-grade fever, vomiting, reddening of the mucous membranes and conjunctiva, and blood clotting abnormalities.
Infectious canine hepatitis:

Lyme Disease:

Symptoms of Lyme Disease in dogs will include lethargy, joint pain, lack of appetite, lymph node enlargement, and fever.


Diarrhea and vomiting are symptomatic of this dog disease so it can be confused with parvovirus. Other indications are loss of appetite, smelly diarrhea, lethargy and dehydration..


Heartworms are parasites that grow and multiply, infesting the chambers in the heart, arteries in the lungs. Symptoms appear gradually, usually manifested in easy tiring, lethargy and a soft cough. If not treated, it eventually brings on death by congestive heart failure in a once active animal

How To Train Your Dog To Heel Off The Leash

Important - When you take the leash off, remember the following:

Your dog should not run off, with you chasing vainly behind, yelling for Fido to come back.

Yes, if you want Fido to free heal, you must have your dog trained to heal on the leash first.

This is how you need to start;

Take your dog off it's leash

Walk in a straight line. (Angling into your dog will cause her to heel wide.)

Walk briskly! Don't walk at the pace of your dog.

Don't wave your hands about - hold your LEFT hand close to your body!

Make sure you always give the first command in a happy tone of voice.(Your dog needs to know that you are happy – don't try to teach your dog anything if you are in a bad mood.)

Change your voice to a commanding tone or call your dog's name sharply if they don't keep up to your walking pace or if they amble away.

AFTER the second command, gently pat your side and give praise.(Give praise at every opportunity)

If forging (Fido tries to get ahead of you) is your problem, or if your dog attempts to dart off, you must stand still! Signal back with your left hand and repeat the heel command forcefully, then pat your side coaxingly.

Remember, training your dog is not unlike training your child to behave in a way society expects. Give them rules and bounderies. Be firm about what is right and what is not. Praise whenever you have an opportunity, That is, whenever you dog performs as asked.

When your dog is doing a good job of learning, give it the commendation it deserves! Praise it while it is actually learning and performing well.

If the dog you are training is large, make sure you carry the leash folded twice, with the snap end in your RIGHT hand. If the dog fails to pay attention, call her name loudly or reach out and "spank" her playfully on the hindquarters with the end of the leash. You should then coax your dog close by patting your side. (Never hit hard or in such a  way that you cause you dog pain. Just the LIGHT spank is all that's needed)

If all attempts to keep your dog at heel position fail, it's time to put the leash back on, give it ONE good jerk to bring the dog in close, and try again. The change in voice, followed by flattery, with the occa­sional use of the leash, should eventually teach your dog to stay at your side at all times. Especially if you make the heeling fun!



Traveling With Your Pet

Traveling with your pet can be hassle-free with a little bit of planning.  Below are some tips to help you with this.

If your pet is on medication, bring plenty of it so you’re not running out of medication when it’s needed. It would also be a good idea to have your veterinarian contact information in case you loose the medication, so the vet can call in a prescription should the other get lost.

Find out ahead of time that the hotel you make reservations at will accept pets. You don’t want to assume that there is a pet friendly hotel in a town you intend to stay in and when you get there, you’re turned away for having a pet or the one’s that allow the pets are all booked up.

Make sure your pet wears a collar with tags. One tag should be a current rabies tag and the other tag should have the dogs name, your name, address, town, state, and phone numbers. If you have a cell phone, add your cell phone number to the ID tag.  It wouldn’t hurt to get a microchip implanted either.  This is a much more reliable source of identification.

Bring along your pet’s food dishes, bed or pillow and a couple of its favorite toys. Having familiar items along for the trip can help ease the stress of traveling and make the trip more enjoyable for both you and your animal companion.

Stop frequently for exercise breaks.  A well-exercised animal will sleep and not be all over the place in a vehicle.  Most highway rest stops have places to walk your dog or cat.  Follow the guidelines and make sure to clean up after your pet.  Common courtesy will insure the facilities will welcome pets in the future.


Understanding ingredients

Understanding the ingredients of your dog's food items is a must for the dog lovers or dog owners.  Whenever you feed the dog with different kinds of food items, you should always read the label and understand the contents about the dog feed types that are being used in such commercial preparations. You should understand the ingredients while buying food for your dog and also know what to look for.

Feed items include dry and fresh food.  The fresh dog food that is prepared in homes generally consists of ingredients like freshly cut chicken pieces in addition to the cranberry juices, blue-green algae, etc.

If you come across any different kinds of preservatives and if the dog develops all of a sudden signs pertaining to the food allergy, suspect the unwanted ingredient in the feed items given. Similarly, understand about the moisture status. If the food item is having more moisture, then the dog may prefer this as well.

Beet pulp, pasta, Soy bean oil, wheat middlings, calcium carbonate, magnesium oxide, copper sulphate, iron sulphate, zinc oxide, choline chloride, etc. are often the ingredients in case of vegetarian based diet items offered to the pet animals like dogs.

Raw egg, chicken, beef, mutton, fish, quail etc. are often the preferred ingredients in case of dog diets that are prepared on the basis of the non-vegetarian items. Taurine is one of the essential ingredients for the dog’s nutrition.  Like wise, in the case of dogs feed with frozen fish items, the vitamin called thiamine needs to be supplemented as an ingredient.

Many premium type of dog food preparations contain essential fatty acids, carbohydrates with adequate fiber contents, vitamins like A, D, E and B complex vitamins.

Furthermore, minerals like zinc, is an essential ingredient for skin health status and calcium, which is an essential ingredient for bone growth, tonicity of muscles.  They should be enriched in these food items. However, the cost of those food preparations are comparatively more expensive than the food preparations with general ingredients.  Though it may be better for your dog's health.



Vaccinations need to be undertaken always by the pet owners and the dogs need to be vaccinated at the appropriate time. This helps to improve the resistance of the animal against some specific diseases causing frequently problems in dogs.  The dogs that are orphaned due to the death of the mother have lesser protection in their immune system.

Such animals are to be particularly protected against various diseases.

Vaccination is usually started at the age of five to six weeks and prior to this age, the maternal immunity will be helping the animal to have natural disease resistance.  It is always better to deworm the animal before the vaccination and this is given emphasis many times.  Vaccination against the parvo virus is done at an early age because pups are often being affected by parvo viral infections.  The booster dose for each vaccine needs to be given at appropriate time and this helps to build up the immune status to an appreciable manner.  Vaccination is carried out in many countries against rabies disease.

Hence, vaccination against rabies is given more emphasis always. Even rabies tags are fixed on to the dog collar of most of the dogs. Rabies vaccine is given at age of thirteen to fifteenth weeks of age and is repeated in fifteenth months time.  However, this depends on the type of vaccine used.  Once in three years, this is repeated.

In dogs that have not received colostrums or dogs at high risk areas, give measles virus vaccine and killed parvovirus vaccine before five weeks of age itself.  Leptospira serovar vaccine is given at six to eight weeks of age and again at tenth to twelfth weeks and at thirteenth to sixteenth weeks.

Then annually repeat this.  Bordetella and lyme disease vaccinations are only optional ones in case of dogs.  Vaccinations against the canine parainfluenza, canine parvovirus, and canine adenovirus type- two is similar to the schedule maintained with leptospiral serovars.



Vegetarian Dog Diet

You have recently welcomed a furry companion into your home.  Your four-legged friend has adopted you as her own.  Now that you have become a true pet owner, you need to decide what to feed your pet.  You eat a vegetarian diet, so you would like your new dog to follow these same guidelines.  Is a vegetarian diet right for your dog?

Let's take a look at what dogs eat in the wild.  A wolf or stray dog typically will kill an animal or scavenge until she finds an acceptable fare.  In the wild, a dog will consume grains and vegetables, but the dog's diet also contains meat.

Taking a look at your pet's teeth, you may notice that grinding and tearing surfaces are present.  This is one indication that dogs are omnivorous.  This means that dogs are biological meat and plant eaters.  Straying from nature can be a difficult task, but may not be impossible.

It can be possible to feed your dog solely vegetarian meals, but this type of diet is not typically recommended for your pet.  Your dog's diet must be well balanced and nutritious to support good health and optimal body function.  A completely vegetarian lifestyle may be perfect for you, but difficult to achieve for your dog.

A healthy diet should allow your pet to thrive not simply survive.  A vegetarian dog diet will, too frequently, result in a dog who shows signs and indications of a lesser quality of health than a dog fed a well balanced diet contain animal products.

Your dog's body requires high amounts of protein.  Protein is frequently provided through animal tissue and bones in the wild, as well as, in most varieties of manufactured dog diets.

Amino acids are also key to your dog's health.  Only 12 of the 22 essential amino acids can be produced by your dog's body.  The other 10 amino acids must be provided to your pet through your dog's diet.  A vegetarian dog diet has trouble meeting the requirements to allow your dog to thrive under these circumstances.

As with any change you would make to your own diet, you would want to consult your physician for medical advice.  Talk to a professional about the advantages and disadvantages of feeding a vegetarian dog diet to your pet.  Depending on your specific plan, he or she may be able to recommend some supplements to add to the prospective vegetarian diet that will create a healthy balance for your new furry friend.  If supplements are not available to create the healthy and balanced diet your dog deserves, then the two of you can discuss other options to determine a dog diet that works well for your pet and satisfies your lifestyle.

A vegetarian dog diet goes against nature so to speak and is typically not recommended for dogs.  Talking your situation over with a veterinarian will help you to determine the best way to achieve your dietary goals for your pet.  Your dog's diet must be well balanced and nutritious to provide essential nutrients and amino acids to your furry friend.  Supplementation may help you to achieve your goal.  Keep in mind that you and your vet both want what is best for your pet and you will undoubtedly determine a dog diet that works for your family.



Veterinary dental treatments

Veterinary dental treatments are more important. If the dental structures are not being looked carefully, there are more chances for the development of periodontal diseases in dogs.  Hence, the veterinary dental treatments need to be paid maximum importance during the life of your dogs.

There are many advanced systems that deal with dental treatments that have come up in the market.  Many systems are available with built in water spray systems, double filter systems, auto clavable clips, and more.

Many veterinarians use high speed fiber optic hand pieces with push button turbines, two hand piece water jet systems, soundless water compressors and more.  The diagnosis of a condition pertaining to the periodontal structure based diseases are more important before the treatment.

Periodontal diseases are graded into minimal and moderate and severe diseases.  Accordingly the therapy is carried out, it is impossible to check all teeth by basic oral examination in the dog patient.  Hence, general anesthesia is required before the examination of the teeth inside structures.  Surgical curettage is done in case of advanced periodontal diseases using flaps and the teeth extractions are also carried out using moderate force and more care is taken to avoid the continuous bleeding.

Oral surgeries are undertaken after obtaining of the dental radio graphs in the dogs and by comparing the tissue damage with normal teeth structures.  The concerned veterinarians assess the extent of damage in a systematic manner.

The periodontal diseases are controlled by administration of broad-spectrum antibiotics in an effective manner.  Along with the dental surgeries, the oral treatment is done with many products that are helpful to prevent the attachment of the tartar or plaque on the teeth. However, reputable products should be used in the veterinary practice and the dog owner’s satisfaction is given more priority during the veterinary dental therapy.



Vitamin and mineral supplements

Vitamin and mineral supplements are the most important components in any dog’s feeding. If there is a balance in the vitamin and mineral supplements, then the animal will have a healthy life and hence, the immunity is not compromised in an unwanted way.  This simply means that there the dog will be more disease resistance against various diseases.

Pet owners should know that vitamins A, D, E, and K are the fat-soluble vitamins and others are water-soluble vitamins.  Vitamins like thiamine, pyridoxine and cyanocobalamin are important for the functions of nervous system.  Deficiency of vitamin A leads to night blindness and skin lesions and deficiency of vitamin D leads to the softening and weakening of the bones.

These problems are many a time encountered by the dog owners. Among these, vitamin A toxicities may occur if you feed them in excessive amounts, like vitamin D. Hence, give emphasis on this while you are using these vitamins in the dogs. Cod liver oil from selected fishes has more vitamin A in them and are universally good feed for dogs.

All dogs may not need supplements of minerals or vitamins to live well for the moment, but it is important for their future.  If they become sick or aged or very young without proper feeding, supplementations are required for the upkeep of health status in them.  However, one has to follow the instructions of veterinarian in this regard.

If the dogs are fed with fish in frozen conditions, then they may be suffering constantly from vitamin B1 deficiency and hence, such dogs need to be given specifically B1. Careless supplementations of minerals may lead to diseases and hence, veterinarians always need to be consulted on the supplementation of minerals or vitamins.

Minerals like calcium, magnesium, zinc, manganese, iron, copper etc. are given more emphasis in addition to sodium and potassium. Zinc is related to skin health and potassium is related to the muscle health and calcium with phosphorus is related to the bone health.

However, if you feed the dog with chicken, mutton or beef along with required vegetables, artificial supplementation of mineral or vitamin tablets may be highly reduced but supplements need to be thought of when you are not able to maintain a balanced nutrition as this happens with most of the dogs, due to multifaceted causes.



What happens during an examination?

This question often looks so simple but holds more meanings in that. During the examination of your dog, first you need to prepare the dog first psychologically for a better-restrained status.  For this, you need to take a leash and place the dog on table by the careful delivery of suitable command.

When the dog is trying to avoid the thorough examination by the veterinarian, just try to distract the dog by simple scratching of your dog behind the ears, etc. Hence, the dog’s attention is some what diverted from the examination procedures that are carried out often in a systematic manner.

However, there are obedient dogs, which will remain calm during an examination.  Such dogs need to be given some patting on the shoulder or the body and praises.  Perhaps, many owners may try to provide some treats that are liked so much by the concerned dogs.  However, it all depends on the trainings offered to the concerned dog earlier and the effective follow up procedures by the owner for the maintenance of such reflexes during the examination.

Muzzles are required for some dogs if they behave in a different manner by objecting the examination procedures by the frequent movements of the body or trying to bite the veterinarian doing the examination of the dog. Hence, the owner needs to observe the dog closely during the examination to rule out any abnormal activity by the dog.

Restraining activities in a proper manner during the clinical examination of the dog are of highly appreciable if they are successful with the concerned dogs. Such control will be of highly helpful for the effective examination of the patient by the concerned veterinarian in the pet clinic.

If the dog gets more distracted during examination by means of restlessness, then one may even use the electronic equipments which will make some sound that are audible to the dogs’ ear. Such things will be helpful in the proper distraction of the animal during the examination.



What is Distemper?

 Anyone with a dog has heard the term distemper, but do you know what it is?  The following article will give you a brief overview.

Canine distemper is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus attacking the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems of dogs. Although dogs are the most commonly affected, Canine Distemper is also seen in foxes, ferrets, mink and many other carnivores. These infected animals are often the cause of the spread of this disease to domesticated dogs.

Canine Distemper is spread through bodily secretions (nasal fluid for example. The most common way it is caught is by breathing in particles secreted by infected dogs. For several weeks after recovery, a dog will still carry the virus that can lead to further contamination if not properly quarantined.
Upon contracting the virus, dogs often appear “normal” for several days. The initial symptoms of the disease are runny nose, water eyes and a sore throat. The dog’s temperature will increase to approximately 103.5°F (39.7°C). Over the next couple of days the symptoms worsen with the tonsils becoming enlarged, and the dog develops diarrhea. After approximately four weeks the virus begins to affect the brain. The dog will start twitching, which will gradually turn in to larger convulsions. The convulsions normally become so frequent and violent, that euthanasia is often carried out at this stage.

At this time, there is no cure for the actual virus that causes Canine Distemper. Treatment consists of controlling spread and severity of secondary symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea. Constant care is needed to make your dog as comfortable as possible.

The best thing to do is to have your dog immunized against this disorder.  This will make it unnecessary to put yourself and your dog through the hardship and heartache associated with Canine distemper.

What is the Green Bean Dog Diet?

For some time, people have tossed around the idea of the green bean diet for dogs.  You may have heard of this and considered trying it.  Let's look at the green bean dog diet and discuss some of the pros and cons.

If you choose to feed your dog the green bean diet, you must know that you cannot exclusively feed your pet green beans.  Only supplying your dog with this green vegetable will not be a healthy choice for your dog's diet.  Pet owners will need to find a balance between dog food, for example, and green beans that will produce the desired results.

The green bean dog diet involves standard kibble for your pet mixed with a portion of green beans.  The green beans are a healthy way to keep your dog full between meals.  For example, your lab may only need two cups of high-quality dog food per day to maintain a healthy weight, but he is always scrounging around and hungry.  Adding some green beans to  the food at meal time will help your dog's diet stay on track and keep your dog feeling full and happy.

Should all dogs be eating the green bean diet?  Not all dog's need to have green beans added to their meals.   Typically, the green bean dog diet is recommended for dogs who need to lose weight.  After the initial weight loss, many pet owners continue to follow the green bean dog diet to help maintain a healthy weight for their pet.

Both dogs and owners are often pleased with the results of the green bean dog diet.  Pet owners feel good about supporting the health of their dog.  Also, it is comforting for us humans to see a sizable helping for our pet.  Looking into the dog dish and seeing a few sparse kibbles totaling a half cup does not appear as generous as that same amount of kibble surrounded by a healthy helping of fancy cut green beans.

It is rare that your dog will turn his or her nose up at the green beans.  Your dog's diet is healthy and appreciated.  Dogs feel fuller and will respond with a more pleasant attitude and less scrounging around in search of some grub.


One negative factor to consider when changing your dog's diet over to the green bean diet, is the added fiber.  Some dog's systems react to this, so monitor your pet's outputs.  Begin adding the green beans slowly and gradually increase.  Some pet owners find it beneficial to only add the green beans to the dog's diet at one specific time during the day to keep the dog's potty schedule in order.

If you decide to turn your dog's diet over to the green bean dog diet, there are a few simple tips to keep in mine.  You won't be feeding your dog several cans of green beans a day.  Purchase a resealable lid to cover the open can of green beans for easier storage in the fridge between meals.  Measure the amount of green beans in your dog's diet just as you would measure kibble or treats.

If you notice the store has green beans on sale, by all means, purchase a few cans ahead and stock up.  Although green beans are not particularly expensive, it never hurts to save some cash.

Whenever possible, purchase canned green beans with no added salt.  This is a healthy option for your dog's diet, typically at no additional cost to you.

The green bean dog diet can have many advantages.  Monitor your dog's intake to prevent unpredictable outputs.  The green bean dog diet helps to properly lose and maintain weight while keeping you and your pet happy.



When to Change Your Dog's Diet

It is important to you to keep your pet happy and healthy.  How do you know when it is time to change your dog's diet?  Who can you talk to in order to learn more about your dog's diet and what needs to be altered?

It may seem that your dog is doing just dandy on whatever bag or can of dog food flops into your cart at the grocery store, but how do you know for sure that your dog's diet is right on track?  Take note of some simple things about your dog.  The dog's diet affects all aspects of life, so observe your dog before jumping to conclusions.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when trying to decide if your dog's diet needs a change.  How does my dog act?  Is your pet always scrounging around the house for crumbs and scraps?  Can your pet rest comfortably following a meal?

A dog who is full and content will be less likely to scavenge and will be able to take a nap after a good meal.

Are your pets outputs runny, thin, or firm?  A dog's diet will dramatically affect their outputs.  You will be able to tell if your dog's diet is appropriate for them by monitoring potty stops.

If your pet is routinely feeling under the weather or becoming ill, you may want to consider what is in the dog dish.  The dog's diet is what feeds the immune system and keeps your pet feeling healthy.  A diet lacking appropriate vitamins and nutrition will not keep your pet functioning at his best.

As your pet grows and matures, you may need to change your dog's diet.  A puppy has different health requirements in regards to diet than does an adult dog.  Older dogs may require senior diets to help combat weight or medical issues.

How is your pet's energy level?  Does your dog seem lazy or high strung?  The dog's diet may be influencing this fact.  If your dog and you take walks for several miles, you may need to adjust the dog's diet to suit the increased level of activity.

Whether you keep your pet inside or out may also make a difference in your dog's diet.  Pets staying outside in the winter may need extra food and more calories to stay warm during the cold winter months.

If you are ever in doubt about what type of diet is right for your dog, talk to a professional.  Your veterinarian should always be advised of any medical or health concerns.  He or she will be glad to discuss with you various dog diets and their specific advantages and disadvantages.  Nobody knows your dog better than you and your vet.  Work together to determine if your dog is showing signs that his diet needs a change.

Many factors can influence the need to change your dog's diet.  Health concerns, age, and even the weather can be cause for your dog's diet to require alteration.  Speak to your vet about the best diet for your pet.  Good observation and education will help you to decide if your dog's diet is right on track.




When to Stop Your Dog's Diet


There are times when you should stop your dog's diet immediately.  Although these situations occur rarely, it is important to know when and how to cease your dog's diet.

Typically, pet owners are advised to make changes to a dog's diet gradually.  Consistency is frequently the rule of thumb when it comes to your dog's diet.  Sudden changes to your dog's diet often cause your pet stress and trouble, but at times, stopping your dog's diet immediately is necessary.

If your pet will be having a medical procedure performed that involves the use of anesthesia, your vet may recommend that you stop feeding your pet for a period of time before the procedure.  As always, follow the advice of your trusted vet.  He or she knows the dangers to your pet regarding surgery with a full stomach.

If you expect sudden changes and stress in your dog's life, such as a move to a new location, your pet may refuse to eat his typical diet.  During the first day with a guide dog in training, trainers recommend to skip a meal to avoid stomach upset during this extreme time of stress for the dog.  If you have concerns about stopping your dog's diet due to stress and illness, consult your vet for advice.

In light of recent pet food recalls, you will want to be prepared should you need to stop your dog's diet suddenly for safety reasons.  In some cases, your dog may have already shown signs of upset or disinterest in contaminated food, but if not, take no chances with the health of your pet in the event of a recall.  If your type of dog food has been recalled, stop feeding it as part of your dog's diet immediately.  If possible, locate a new bag or can of the same variety of dog food that is safe for your pet.  This will reduce any disruption to your dog's diet and routine.

If you are uncomfortable or unable to locate dog food that is safe in the same variety, you may want to cook a meal for your pet to substitute as your regular dog diet until you can.  At this time, you simply may just have to switch varieties or brands of dog food.

As mentioned before, a sudden switch in your dog's diet is not typically recommended, but in the interest of your dog's health, it may be necessary.  Should this be the case, try to locate another type of dog food that is similar to your dog's diet in quality.  This will help to reduce any digestive issues.

Your vet will best be able to advise you, but expect some digestive trouble such as gas or diarrhea during a sudden diet change.  Of course, you will want to keep an eye on this situation, but it is not necessarily a sign of poor quality food.  Your dog's digestive tract is not used to significant changes, so it will take a period of time to adjust to the new diet.

A sudden switch or cease of your dog's diet is not typically recommended as the way to go, but in some instances, it is for the best.  Always talk to your vet about any change to your dog's diet and follow the advice.  Your dog's safety is the utmost concern.


When You Don’t Want to Medicate Your Dog

Sometimes you want to avoid medicating your dog if possible.  There are some easy home remedies you can safely use.  If a solution you hear does not sound safe it is better to consult a vet first.  The following can all be used safely on your dog.

Ticks or fleas
Make a paste of  orange rinds and apply it evenly on the fur of the dog. Let it remain there for five hours and then wash it gently. This is one easy and safe home remedy for helping your dogs get rid of ticks and fleas.
Dry, cracked paws
Take Vaseline or petroleum jelly and apply it to the paws for four to five days. You will find the expected improvement and the paw will heal.

Odor problem
Add a few drops of vinegar in the dog's bath water. If you have trouble getting your dog in the bath, using baking soda as a dry shampoo will work.  Sprinkle it on your dog’s coat and leave set for a few minutes and then brush out.

Insects and bites
Insect stings and bites are another common problem with dogs. As soon as you notice this, put adequate solution of baking soda and water on the stung area. Apply ice for any swelling.  If you notice any difficulty breathing after a sting, however, take your dog to the vet immediately as he may be allergic to the sting.

A word of caution is in order here.  Never give your dog anything involving onions or garlic, as these are toxic to a dog.  If your dog is experiencing vomiting, diarrhea or seems to be in pain, do not try any home remedies.  Call your vet immediately. It is better to be safe than to lose your beloved friend.



Where to Find the Best Food for a Nutritious Dog Diet

You want your furry friend to eat right.  You are very aware of the numerous benefits of a healthy and nutritious dog diet, but where can you find the best food for your pet?

So many excellent types of dog food are out on the market today.  You can purchase bags or cans of dog food simply and conveniently from your local grocery or department store.  Store chains are now beginning to offer varieties of dog food that are higher in quality and lower in cost.

If you don't want to risk purchasing dog food from the grocery store, consider stores that sell feed for other animals.  Companies such as TSC regularly deal with customers interested in excellent nutrition for their pets.  They would undoubtedly be able to help you decide on a specific brand of food to suit the needs of your dog's diet.  Some upscale dog foods are available at such stores that you may not find at your local Wal-Mart.

Several companies use the internet as a marketplace to sell their organic and natural dog diets.  Look online to locate a type of dog food that feels right to you.  Some merchants will even deliver the dog food right to your door.  Your dog's diet has never been more convenient.  The internet has opened the door for pet owners to expand their choices when it comes to their dog's diet.

Do not overlook the obvious.  Your veterinarian can consult with you about the best types of dog diets.  He or she may sell specific brands or varieties right from their office.  Once you have decided on a specific diet for your dog, consider picking it up when you bring your pet in for a checkup or while picking up your monthly heartworm medication.  A trusted vet would not offer you food that is not suitable for your dog's diet, so this may be a great place to start.  If the vet recommends a particular type of diet for your dog, due to health reasons, your vet may be one of the only places to find the exact food your dog's diet requires.

You may find the most nutritious dog diet fresh from the garden or your own kitchen.  Some pet owners prefer to cook specifically for their dog.  A dog's diet requires meat, vegetables, and grain.  Carefully selected meats, grains, and vegetables can be prepared at home to ensure excellent nutrition for your pet.  If you have green beans or carrots from your garden, consider adding these to your dog's diet.  You know right where the food has come from and how it was prepared.

A healthy dog diet may come from a butcher.  If you choose to make your own raw diet at home, you will be able to find the quality meats for your dog's diet from the local butcher.  Ground turkey or chicken breast fresh is always best.

Regardless of what type of food you choose for your dog's diet, always consult the veterinarian before making any changes or alterations.  Once you have decided on a specific diet for your dog, take advantage of the healthiest and most convenient method available to you.



Why are regular check-ups important?

Why are regular check-ups important?  Every dog owner asks this type of question, often. If you failed to do the regular check-ups, then the dog may end up having some major diseases that you don't know about.  Hence, you need to pay lot of money both to the veterinarians for consultancy and for the required drugs useful for the therapy of the clinical condition.

One may not be able to find out the very commonly occurring clinical conditions in case of their dogs because of less experience with dog diseases or dog rearing.  This is why check ups are important.   For example, if the dog has potbelly, the condition may not look abnormal many times. But if the dog is subjected to the regular check-up, then the veterinarian immediately finds it out and gives the appropriate therapy. If not, the animal may experience diarrhea and the dehydration.

If the dog has any signs of illness, then don’t wait for the regular check-up. Instead, you need to approach the veterinarian immediately. Check ups if done in a regular manner will help to give vaccinations against canine distemper, parvovirus, corona virus, rabies virus, hepatitis virus, and more.

Booster vaccinations will be carried out in such cases without any delay in the injections and this helps to improve the immunity level of the dog against such diseases in a remarkable degree. Regular check up is the essential one with proper stools examination.  Hence, the deworming may be carried out with drugs like fenbendazole, albendazole, etc.

Abnormalities like signs of pain may be ruled out during such  examinations.  If not, helminthiasis may affect the animal and diarrhea may occur in addition to the other types of digestive upsets and anemia. Regular examinations help to rule out the external parasitic conditions like lice or tick infestations.  Dental problems are also found out during the regular check ups in reputed veterinary hospitals.



Why is a Dog's Diet Important?

You truly love your dog.  He really is man's best friend.  Is there any doubt you want to keep your pet as healthy as possible?  There are many ways to keep your dog happy and healthy.  A nutritious diet for your dog is one of the best ways to positively influence the health and longevity of your pet.

If you consider how unpleasant a person can be when he or she is hungry or malnourished, you will undoubtedly se the importance of healthy choices when selecting your dog's diet.  You and your pet will not enjoy life at its fullest if your dog's diet is poor.

Selecting a high-quality diet for your dog will increase the likelihood of a long and happy life for your pet.  A healthy choice for your dog's diet will include the basic vitamins and minerals essential for your dog's health.  Also, your dog's diet should include some extra nutritional supplements.  Speak with your vet about your dog's diet.  They will be willing to help you make informed and educated decisions about your dog's diet.  Ask about glucosamine or fish oils to combat health issues such as arthritis and dandruff.

Your dog's diet will affect your pet's energy level.  If the dog's diet is lacking, your pet may be sluggish or unable to rest contently.  If your pet requires extra nutrition to run or walk considerable distances, a healthy diet is crucial.

Your dog's diet affects the amount and size of outputs.  When your pet eats a healthy diet with few fillers, the excrement is less.  This is important to lessen the cleanup of the kennel or yard.  Ask any handler who picks up after their dog and learn the importance of your dog's diet.

Obesity is not just a problem for people.  Weight is also a concern for your pet.  Your dog's diet plays an important role in maintaining a healthy weight for your pet.  Extra treats can seem like a simple luxury, but they can create serious health problems when given to your pet too frequently.

Finding the best diet for your dog can even help to reduce reactions to food allergies.  Decreasing allergy troubles will make your dog feel so much better.  Sometimes a simple change in the type of dog food can make such a difference to your pet.  Your dog's diet affects every aspect of your dog's health..

Your pet's coat will look and feel better with a healthy diet.  Good nutrition and adequate grooming will keep your pet's coat looking shiny and magnificent.

The type of dog food you select for your dog's diet can even make a difference with your pet's teeth.  Choosing a dry dog food can help to sharpen and polish your dog's teeth.  Avoiding canned food when possible will help to reduce tartar and plaque.

As you can see, a dog's diet influences everything from outputs to teeth.  Even your dog's energy level and attitude is affected by the dog's diet.  Selecting your dog's diet wisely and consulting your veterinarian is a fabulous way to improve the quality of your pet's life.


Why Your Dog Barks

Dogs bark because we humans want our dogs to bark. For years our domestication process and selective breeding has allowed our dogs to develop their barking abilities. Wolves don't bark Barking was further developed in dogs in order to scare intruders or to help the master out (i.e. on farms to assist in gathering the sheep).

Most dogs simply bark to communicate, to get attention, or simply to show their excitement. Training and lifestyle are important factors in teaching the dog how to communicate with its master. If you reward your dog for barking, he will continue to do so.  The best thing is to figure out what your dog is trying to tell you and go from there.

If you have a dog that barks excessively, try to figure out what he is trying to tell you.  If it is out of need for attention, the way to break the cycle is to wait for him to be quiet and then give him the attention he needs.  By acknowledging the barking, you reinforce it.  Waiting until he quiets will teach him that he gets attention when he is not barking.

Some dogs are extremely territorial.  They will bark at not only a person approaching, but someone they see walking across the street or on the next block.  The best way to stop this is to distract him when he starts to bark.  Catch his attention with a treat or by playing.  Every time the bark cycle is broken, it sends the message that quiet will get the most reward.

Taking the time to discover what your dog is communicating will result in less stress for both you and him.  He will get much needed attention and you will get quiet.  It’s a situation you both win.


Winter Safety Tips for Your Dog


Be aware of exactly how cold it is, including the wind chill factor. A doghouse is good to have but may not protect them from frostbite on their extremities. Be sure to bring your pet in out of the cold. Put down a warm blanket for them to sleep on, since tiles can be cold. You can also purchase beds made for dogs at your local pet store

Another misconception is that snow is a substitute for fresh water. Make sure that your pet always has fresh water available to drink, regardless of the weather conditions.

Fur can provide a measure of warmth for your pet, but fur that is long can also pick up clumps of snow and ice, making it uncomfortable for them. Trim the areas around the paws to keep this from happening. Dogs with short hair don't get the same level of warmth as dogs with long hair. Buy them doggie sweaters or knit one yourself. They will keep your dog warm and make them look even more adorable.

Many areas salt icy streets to provide traction. This salt or deicer can be painful to dogs, if they get into cracks in their paws. By rubbing a thin film of petroleum jelly on the bottom of their paws, it will lessen the amount of salt that sticks to them. When you get back home, be sure to clean their feet so that they will always be able to walk comfortably.

Damp fur can be uncomfortable for your pet. When coming back from a walk in rainy or snowy conditions, be sure to dry them off, preferably with a blow dryer.

The cold of winter can be just as dangerous to your dog as the summer heat.  Use common sense and keep him safe and warm.



Your Dog’s Ear Infection

Dogs are prone to ear infections because of the anatomy of their ears. They have a horizontal and a vertical component to them, so it is hard for anything in to drain out.

Signs of an ear infection include excessive head shaking, yellow to brown oozing in the ears, or a yeast-like smell. Additional signs of ear infections include redness and swelling.

There are several causes of ear infections. The most common cause of ear infections are due to allergies. Some dogs are more prone to allergies than others; therefore they get more ear infections.

If your dog does have an ear infection it is important to properly clean your dog's ears before applying any medication.

To clean your dog's ears, start by placing a few drops of an ear cleanser into the ear and massage the ear to help loosen any debris that is in there. Then use a cloth or cotton gauze to wipe the dirt out.

After your dog's ears are thoroughly clean, you can then apply your medication. Follow your veterinarian's advice about how much medication to apply to the ear, usually a few drops.

The treatment your veterinarian will prescribe will vary depending on the cause of the ear infection. For yeast infections, they might prescribe anti-fungal medication. For bacterial infections they will probably prescribe antibiotics. Normally, treatment is applied directly into the ears, but in severe cases systemic treatment may be needed. This usually means having to give your dog pills orally. .

Some breeds of dogs that are prone to ear infections include breeds with large ears that flap over the ear canal, and breeds of dogs that have a very small canal. These dogs need their ears checked often.

By knowing what to look for, you can detect ear infections early.



Your Dog's Diet:  Canned Dog Food vs. Dry Kibble

A dog's diet affects every aspect of their health and  well being.  You undoubtedly want only the very best for your furry friend.  When it comes to choosing the best for your dog's diet, you have so many options available.  It can be hard to determine which food will have the most positive effect on your dog's diet and health.  Which is better, canned dog food or dry kibble?

The debate between canned dog food and kibble has continued since the two varieties have been on the market.  What are the advantages of canned dog food as the main component of your dog's diet?  Is dry kibble superior to canned dog food?  Possibly, it is simply personal preference between the two varieties.

To help you decide, let's take a look at the advantages of each type of dog food as part of a healthy and balanced diet for your pet.  To get the best advice, schedule a visit with the veterinarian to discuss your dog's diet.  The two of you can talk about how each type of dog food will specifically relate to your pet.

Canned dog food, as the main component of your dog's diet, has gotten a negative stigma over the years.  Many pet owners feel that the cost of canned dog food is high and unappealing, especially for the larger breeds who require greater amounts of food daily.

A significant advantage of canned dog food is the quality.  Frequently, you will find that canned dog food offers large chunks of real meat for your pet.  Fewer additives and fillers are found in most brands of canned dog food.  Knowing the importance of high-quality ingredients, canned dog food certainly has its place in a healthy, balanced dog diet.

Another advantage of canned dog food in your dog's diet is palatability.  Dogs will commonly take to canned dog food quickly.  This can be a true advantage when you are dealing with a picky eater.

Dogs who have trouble with oral health and chewing will find the moist food easier to eat.  If you note your dog is struggling to eat the kibble diet, then canned dog food may be just the solution to your dog's diet problems.

Dry kibble also has advantages in a dog's diet.  The dry kibble helps to keep your dog's teeth healthy by removing plaque and tartar.  Excellent oral health for your pet can be easily maintained with dry kibble as the main component in your dog's diet.  The moist dog food from cans do not provide the same benefit.

Storage of the dry kibble does not require refrigeration after opening.  This can make traveling with your pet easier and more convenient.

Cost is yet another reason to consider dry kibble for your dog's diet.  High-quality dry dog food is available to pet owners at a reasonable price.

Whether you choose dry kibble or canned dog food, you will always want to talk over the issue with your veterinarian.  Canned food is great for picky eaters and pet's with difficulty chewing.  Canned food offers high quality ingredients for your dog's diet.  Dry kibble is inexpensive and helps promote good oral health.  Providing your pet with the best nutrition is the first step in caring for your pet.



Your Vet: The Perfect Resource to Educate You About Your Dog's Diet

Whether you have recently been blessed with a new puppy in your home, or you are a seasoned dog handler, it is wise to speak with a veterinarian about the best diet for your dog.  With so many ideas, diet plans, and dog food varieties on the market, how do you know where to start?

Begin with your vet.  A trusted veterinarian wants only what is best for your dog.  Just like you, he or she wants to find and discover what is perfect for your dog's diet.  Talk about all aspects of your dog's diet.

Your veterinarian can advise you on the basics of a dog's diet.  Often, your vet will recommend a dry dog food.  Dry food as the main component of your dog's diet, will increase the likelihood of good dental health for your pet, but this varies depending on specifics.

Treats are another area that you will want to discuss with the veterinarian.  Do they encourage specific types of treats?  What snacks are discouraged for your specific pet?

Each animal is different and you and your vet know your dog better than anyone.  Working together, you will find what aspects of your dog's diet work best, and what needs to be altered.  Some breeds, for example, will often have trouble maintaining a healthy weight.  For this reason, your vet may recommend a smaller portion for your dog's diet than the recommended amount on the side of a dog food bag.  If your older pet has trouble chewing, specific types of dog food may be beneficial as part of your dog's diet.

Your dog's diet plays a significant role in the health of your pet.  Your vet can inform you about any supplements needed to boost your dog's outlook for a happy and healthy life.  Glucosamine is one item that is recommended by most veterinarians to promote healthy joints.  This is especially true for dog's of larger breeds.

The next time you are in the vet's office is a great time to bring up your dog's diet.  Your vet will be able to weigh your dog to see if weight is an issue.  He or she can take a look at the overall health of your pet.  For example, if your dog has a dull coat, your veterinarian may suggest a different type of dog food or to add an egg to your dog's diet.

During the lifetime of your pet, your dog's diet may need to be changed to suit his or her needs.  Puppies and older dogs may require additional amounts of protein or  other vitamins and minerals.  If your dog is bred, your vet may recommend other changes to your dog's diet.

With all the hype about what is healthy for a dog's diet, do not decide to go at it alone and inadvertently choose a poor diet.  Speak to the vet about your dog's diet and educate yourself on what is best for your beloved pet.  A healthy diet is key to longevity.  Both you and your vet want to see your dog live to be happy and healthy for many years, and providing a nutritious diet for your dog is one of the best ways to accomplish this goal.


A Basic Introduction to Cat Eye Care

The eyes of your feline friends have often been used on horror films. But if you are a pet owner, you will know that the cat's stare is really the opposite of what's being portrayed on films. That is why you have to know the importance of cat eye care.

I Love You

How do cats say these words? Through their eyes, of course. That is why you shouldn't be frightened by that gaze. How does this work? First, the cat stares at you for a long while. And after that, it blinks its eyes slowly. Some people tag this as a cat's kiss. But you can also say that this is your cat's way of saying that it loves you.

But how do you return the favor? Easy, just follow your cat's lead. Stare at it for a long time and then slowly blink your eyes. See? Cats' eyes can also be used as elements for romantic films.

Not a Third Eye

Don't believe the horror films you see. Cats don't have a third eye. Their eyesight is really sharper than with humans. Instead of a third eye, what cats have is a third eyelid. This is called a nictitating membrane.

This inner eyelid protects the eyes of the cats from harm and also from dryness. You will notice that when a cat is sick, this membrane will somewhat close. This should alarm you to call the vet or get your cat to them fast.

But this third eyelid will also show once a cat is happy. So you will know what mood your cat is in just by looking at the membrane.


The Pupil

Your feline friend's pupil of the eyes should also be observed. A change in size of one pupil can be an indication of an inflammation. It can also be a sign of a kind of a disorder in neurologic called Horner's Syndrome. Or worse, it can also indicate tumors or injuries in the central nervous system.

The Nocturnal Vision

Do not believe what others say that cats are color blind. They see some. They may not see  as clear as humans do, but it's not like that they cannot see any colors at all.

Cats can also see clearly from afar. It's very different from people. They find it blurry to be looking at things that are so close to them.

Yes, cats have the nocturnal vision. But they can't see in complete darkness. Do you see the muscles on their iris that surround the pupils of their eyes? They are constructed in a way that it narrows into a vertical split when they are exposed in the bright lights. And it opens fully when the acts are in a quite dim light.

This feature of the cats may be traced back to their roots. They can use such to hunt for food during the night if they were left out in the jungle or left with no one to care for them.

So forget about the horror flicks. You've already got the thrills. Not it's time to put some effort into cat eye care. Do not let a minor thing worsen. Call the vet immediately when something's amiss. You don't want your cat to lose their sight or even lose their lives. It is always better to be safe than blind.


Retirement: Health for your Aging Cat

Age is just a number, right? A Human who is 60 years old may act like a young adult, while another human the same age may at like he or she is on a deathbed. Cats are the same way! Your pet may act like a kitten for many years or may be gray and achy quite young. Specific breed, environment, and genetics play a role, but in general, a well-cared for house cat usually lives to be at least 15 years old. Some cats live to be well over 30.

There are things you can do, however, to provide your cat with the chance for the longest life possible. For example, have your cat spayed or neutered. Statistics show that fixed cats live longer, because this causes the cat to stay closer to home and be exposed to few dangerous situations and disease. Good nutrition is also important. Make sure that you are buying cat food that is appropriate for your cat’s age.

As you cat ages, certain medical conditions may cause you to make special considerations for your cat. Examples include reduced tolerance to extreme temperatures, decreased sensory perception, susceptibility to infection, arthritis and joint stiffness, digestion problems, liver and kidney problems, weaker bones, cancer, muscle weakness, slow reaction, memory loss, high blood pressure, and irritability. As you can see, aging cats have many of the same problems as aging humans!

Along with a good diet, promote healthy amounts to exercise in your cat. You can do this by allowing your cat to go outside and by playing with your cat every day. Toys and environmental pieces, like scratching posts, are great for encouraging your cat to exercise. Remember, cats may spend a lot of the day sleeping, which is fine. If you are overly concerned, talk to your vet about your cat’s sleeping habits.

Preventative health care is, of course, important. Make sure that your cat has regular checkups with the vet to make sure everything is in check. You should also brush your cat’s teeth daily and have your cat groomed regularly to prevent skin diseases. As cats age, most grow to love grooming. Monitor your cat for diet chances, changing sleep habits, and unsafe water consumption. The key to graceful aging in a cat is and owner who is well involved in his or her life. Make sure that you provide advanced care for your cat as he or she grows, and your pet should be a part of your life for a very long time.

Aiming for Long Term Cat Care

If you are planning to be a pet owner, you must be ready for the long term cat care. That is if you are settled on having cat as pet. You must be off to a good start. Everything must be planned in order to avoid future mistakes.

Cats will be a nice companion. But you have to understand their needs. First, your cat has to eat. But you can't feed your feline friend your leftovers. It is better to look for the best cat food that can give your pal energy boost as well as good health.

You need to allot money for that. You can sacrifice some luxuries to be able to provide for your pet's needs. But that will all be worth it in the end. You will be happy to see your cat happy.

You also have to make sure that the surrounding your cat is living in is free from anything that can cause them accidents. Do not let anything that is lethal and poisonous hanging about. And when it comes to neatness, you have the right pet. Cats are known to take ample time in grooming themselves.

Although too much grooming can also be bad because they can hurt themselves in the process. And it is also a sign of fleas and therefore must be taken to the vet for a quick fix.

And because you have a vain housemate, you must also be tidy with everything. You need to keep their litter boxes clean and well maintained. Did you know that the cat's sense of smell is 14 times stronger than yours? You may not smell a thing but your cat will.

They will not do their thing on the provided litter box if it stinks. You may get the surprise of your life to see your cat's poops well hidden under your clean carpet or how about that basket of clean clothes.

Don't give your cat a reason to stray when it comes to those things. Give them what they want. And it's a clean and odor free litter box.

You also have to find a good doctor for your cats. The moment that you got a pet, start making friends with your local veterinarians. Be mindful of the simplest symptoms that your cat may show. Just by observing your pet, you will know if something is wrong. Call the vet immediately and ask their opinion.

Long Term

If you are settled at the thought that you want the cat to be with you for long, then you may really be the rightful owner of one. You cannot be act like you want it now and completely scrap the idea the next minute. It won't be good for your feline friend and it won't be good for you as well.

So before you welcome a cat into the household, think things through over and over again. Do not act on your impulse because once you are there, you must not back out. And you must be able to carry out the responsibilities of being a pet owner.

Aiming for a long term cat care is good. By doing so, you only need to match that goal with the right steps to enrich the lives of your pets as well as yours.

A Look-At- Cats- Breeds

Over the last thousands of years, cats have pretty much handled their breeding themselves.  In the beginning, they were used for one purpose - hunting and killing rodents.  As the years progressed, we began to breed cats more to our liking.  Now days, there are several different breeds of cats - which you can tell if you look closely.

These days there are over 70 distinct cat breeds, which are recognized through cat registries.  There are several registries that will recognize around 40 breeds or so, as they exclude the more domestic breeds such as tigers.  There are also many variations as well, including wild cats that have longer hair.

There are some cat breeds who have roots going back quite a bit in history.  Some Japanese breeds, such as the Japanese Bobtail, can be traced back more than 1,000 years in history.  These cats were very common and well known throughout Medieval Japan.  Now days though, they are all but a myth throughout Japan and the entire world.

The more common cat breeds that are found in North America include the alley cat, long haired cat, and Persian cat.  Siamese cats are also common, although they are well known to be destructive and to have a foul temper.  Persian cats are very popular, proving to be loving companions.  Persian cats can be very expense, depending on where you get it and what type of Persian cat it is.

Alley cats are the most common in North America.  There are actually several different breeds, although most of us just refer to them as alley cats.  They make good pets, although there are literally thousands of them in existence.  Cats are known to breed more than any other pet, and they will continue to breed until they are stopped.  Alley cats are among the most bred, as there are hundreds of thousands of cats that are homeless - and have nothing to do but breed.

The look of the cat is the easiest way to tell what breed he or she may be.  Some people choose to go by color, although color isn’t as easy to identify.  Different breeds of cats have different looks, such as the Siamese and Persian cats.  Siamese cats are almost always black, and easy to identify by their color and their eyes.  Persian cats on the other hand, are easily identified by their body type and their hair.

Over the years, there has been quite a few breeds come along.  Cats were one of the first pets, and easily one of the most popular.  Millions of people around the world own cats, with many people preferring a cat over any other pet - including dogs.  No matter breed of cat you get - you’re sure to get a pet who make for a great companion for years and years to come.



And the meows have it

Having a pet could surely help you live a better life. In even the simplest effect, it could not be denied that pets bring this different aura to lives of people and it brightens a home. Any pet may be that secret stepping stone in achieving a certain amusement or comforter but there is something that sets up all these benefits higher, and that is if you choose cats as pets.

What is with cats? What makes them so special?

Cats would really be great companions and friends.

Research shows that having cats as pets could really lighten up a person’s physiological, emotional and psychological side. This is very true. These benefits would really heal the wounds of solitude, age, stress and depression. In addition, cats are affectionate but less demanding, low maintenance and it would surely be very suitable for those who have a modern lifestyle.

Cats are confidence boosters.

It is believed that people who take care of pets are more likely to be caring than those who are not. When old or sick people have pet cats, it would surely give rise to their esteem they will not feel useless or unworthy. When a person feels being needed, it radiates a very optimistic mind. Kids or young people, when being entrusted to do the care for pets, they would feel confident and responsible as well. Another thing is that by taking care of cats and other animals, people learn how to take care of others too.

Cats as pets do also relieve you from stress

According to Medical studies, sitting on a chair, placing a cat on your lap and stroking its hair would let you feel comfortable and at peace.  This would make you feel relaxed and would make you feel relieved from stress caused by whatever endeavor.

Cats as health angels

According to the Society for Companion Animal Studies, patients recover or live longer through animals. It has been discovered that having pets would definitely ease the cases of physiological or psychological impairment in people.

Cats as social catalysts

Cats as pets could let you drop your hesitations and shyness. It would tech you what the essence of being with others and exploring the world is. When you go with you cat, people would be interested and as a cat-lover, you would not hesitate to show your pet off.


An In Depth Look At Siamese Cats

The exotic and somewhat mysterious Siamese cat hails from the country of Thailand.  They had always been a popular breed of cats, some even residing in royal palaces.  Siamese cats, in the past, were trusted to protect royal palaces and monasteries from evil spirits.  These cats were also thought of as bringing good fortune to their owners as well.

During the year of 1884, the very first Siamese cats began to make their way to England, when they were given as gifts to a British general.  After that, they eventually made their way over to America.  Now days, Siamese cats are one of the most recognized of the breed.  Siamese cats are without a doubt the most popular short haired cat and among the top 3 in the entire breed of cats.

Even though there are several different colors to this breed, some questions what makes a cat a true Siamese cat.  These cats have always been known for their bodies which are lighter in color, with darker areas throughout.  The more darker areas found on their bodies are normally around the feet, tail, legs, or face.  They can weight anywhere between 6 - 16 lbs, with bright eyes that are normally slanted - which is another clue that the cat is a true Siamese.

Traditionally, Siamese cats are robust, with round heads and a truly muscular build.  They are well known throughout the world for their color points and unique personalities.  Unlike other breeds, Siamese breeds have a talent for communicating with people.  If you are looking for a cat that is nice and quiet, you wouldn’t want a Siamese cat.  These cats love to play, love to make noise, and they also happen to be the most social breed of cats out there.

Siamese cats demand a lot of attention, because in their minds, they believe that the world revolves around them.  For this very reason, they can tend be quite dependant on their owners.  They love to play, and crave interaction.  If you leave them alone for too long, they won’t like it.  They like to get attention, love to play, and hate to be left by themselves.

Even though Siamese cats are emotionally high maintenance, they don’t need a lot of maintenance They need a minimum amount of grooming, which involves bathing every once in a while, and brushing maybe once or twice a month.  If you like cats with minimal maintenance, Siamese cats are perfect.  Their hair is short to their skin, so a gentle brushing is all you need.  They can get sick however, which is to be expected with any breed of cat.

Siamese cats have a life span that is similar to other breeds, which is normally around 15 - 20 years, sometimes even longer. As long as you feed him on a daily basis and take him to the vet for his regular checkups and shots, he will be around for years and years to come.  Most people who have their Siamese cat for over 10 years, find the cat to be more like a child than a pet.

No matter how you look at it, a Siamese cat is a great pet.  Although the Siamese breed does require a lot of attention, they are excellent pets that you can spend a lot of time with.  They are great for kids as well, simply because kids can spend a lot of time with them.  As long as you give your pet the attention he craves - he will be your life long friend for as long as you have him.


A Short History Of Cats

It seems strange that there was ever a time when cats were not a part of our lives.

It's been less that 10,000 years since cats swaggered into our lives. Hardly an eye blink in

the grand sweep of life on this planet. Why were cats so late to join our team? The simple

answer is they didn't need us to survive. Cats were surviving just fine on their own. Then,

people invented agriculture. Agriculture resulted in large scale storage of grains which

attracted the usual and well know group of freeloaders, mice and rats. Grain attracted

rodents. Rodents attracted cats who consider them tasty meals. The result was that cats

set up housekeeping close to human settlements. Eventually, cats being cats, moved right

on in.

Who were these first cats? The first clue lies in where agriculture was first

practiced. Agriculture first took root (no pun intended) in the Middle East in a great

sweep from modern day Turkey to Egypt. Within this area ranges the African wild cat,

Felis libyca. African wild cats are slightly larger that our modern house cats and are

yellow in color with muted stripes. These cats have a docile, almost laid back nature.

Interestingly, these cats still tend to live and hunt near human dwellings today. Locals

still like to catch and rear young wild cats as pets. When mature, wild cats raised by

humans tend to behave very much like our familiar housecats. A very good case can (and

has) been advanced designating Felis libyca as the principal founding population for

domestic cats. At least two other varieties of wild cat are speculated to have contributed

to the genetic make up of domestic cats. One is Felis silvestris, The European wildcat

who appears to have contributed darker markings and a peppery spirit to the African wild

cat base. Also, from Asia, comes the Pallas or Steppe cat (Felis manul) that appears to

have contributed long-haired coats to the mix.

The early period of domestication of cats is vague with only patches of evidence.

However, by 6,000 B.C. statues found in Anatolia (modern Turkey) show women playing

with domestic cats. Cats had clearly become common and affectionate pets by that time.

The earliest written records about cats appear by approximately 4,000 B.C. in Egypt

where they were frequently kept to hunt mice and rats from stored grains. It was a good

time to be a cat in ancient Egypt. Domestic cats were thought to be the embodiment of

the goddess Bast (or Bastet). There was a necropolis at her principal temple at Bubastis

that contained mummified cats.

Romans spread the domestic cat northward into central Europe and westward to

Britain during the expansion of their empire. Cats were quickly adopted and admired as

great hunters.  And they continued to move north and east in Europe.  The Vikings used

cats as both rodent hunters and pets. The Viking goddess of love and war, Freyja, was

associated with cats. Huge winged cats drew her chariot. It also became the custom to

give new brides a kitten in her name.

The Middle Ages it were a very bad time to be a cat. Cats were said to be witches

familiars, in league with the devil. Because of this superstition, cats were routinely killed

during festivals. Sometimes they were even burned alive or thrown off tall buildings. The

Europeans paid heavily for their cruelty to cats. The deaths of so many cats allowed the

rodent population to rise out of control, bringing in the Black Death which killed so much

of the European population. Eventually, the cats' cleanly ways and hunting prowess

redeemed them in the eyes of the people of Europe. By the 1600s, people in France began

putting little holes near the bottom of their doors to allow their cats to enter and leave as

they please.

In Asia cats continued to be familiar hunters and cherished pets. Cats were often

subjects for drawing and painting in China. In Japan, cats in the form of Maneki Neko,

usually portrayed as a sitting cat with one paw raised and bent, are considered good

fortune. They are often found in businesses to draw in money.

The history of cats is a fascinating one, worthy of much more in depth study. It

fosters an appreciation for the personalities and talents of our pets.


Asthma In cats

 sthma is not only a human disorder, but is also found in some cats.  You should have your cat checked by a vet if you suspect this disorder. Leaving feline asthma untreated can result in permanent damage to your cats lungs and heart.

Feine asthma is an immune-mediated disease characterized by symptoms ranging from infrequent, hairball-like coughing, to sudden onsets of respiratory distress (which veterinarians call "acute dyspnea").

Episodes are usually triggered by an allergen or stress, and can be accompanied or followed by vomiting, sneezing, or even wheezing like a human allergy sufferer. Respiratory signs may be slow and deliberate (more abdominal breathing), to fast and labored.

True asthma, as opposed to bronchitis, normally responds quickly to a combination of bronchodilators, oxygen therapy, and fast acting steroids. Diagnosis is usually confirmed with an x-ray, and possibly a slide cytology of the airway.

Because asthma can mimic other feline diseases (bronchitis, heart disease, pneumonia), a veterinary diagnosis assisted by an x-ray is essential. In many ways, feline asthma is very similar to human asthma, although our understanding of the causes of clinical feline asthma has been growing in recent years.

Long-term treatment of asthma usually includes short or long- term use of corticosteroids (such as prednisone), and bronchodilators (such as terbutaline or aminophyline). While severe "episodes" of dyspnea can occur, the long- term prognosis for this disease is generally excellent. If diagnosed early, any structural changes to the lungs and airway are usually reversible, and damage can be minimized.

Recent investigation into alternative treatments for asthma include injectable steroids (for that patient that simply can't be pilled), Cyproheptadine (formally used as an appetite stimulant), Cyclosporin A (limited to severe cases), and Anti-Interleukin-5 Antibody (still experimental).

Removing allergens from the environment (use of an air purifier, dust free and unscented litter, no odor controlling sprays, etc.) could possibly help to relieve symptoms.

Basic Nutrition For Cats

Cats are what are known as obligate carnivores. An obligate carnivore is one that

must east meat. You cannot just turn her out to graze in a pasture. The digestive tract of

cats has been shortened and optimized proteins from meat. They simply don't have the

dental or digestive apparatus to process plant materials. It's therefore surprising, given

their physical inability to process plants, that you will still find cats nibbling on plants

from time to time. There are many theories for why cats would nibble plants. They may

be trying to balance an upset digestion or add missing vitamins and minerals. Perhaps

they simply like the taste. Maybe it's a combination of factors. The jury is still out on this


Fortunately these days, we don't have to go out and hunt for food to feed our cats.

There are a large number of very good, nutritionally balanced foods available in pet

stores to satisfy any cats' tastes. Try to feed good quality food. It really does make a

difference in the health and appearance of your pet. Pick one that your cat likes and stick

with it. Cats don't actually need a lot of variety. Changing their food constantly tends to

just make them picky eaters.

Nutritional requirements for your pet will vary by age and size. What she needs as

a kitten will be very different than what she will need as an adult. Be sure to follow the

instructions on the bag to avoid feeding too much or too little. The average adult cat will

need about one cup of food a day. Cats appreciate consistency in their feeding schedules.

Try to feed them at the same time each day. Also, try to keep their bowls out of high

traffic areas. It's hard to eat your dinner when people are stepping on you!


Try not to feed your cat people food. Some things, such as chocolate and raw

liver, are actually toxic to cats. Others cause digestive upset.  Remove the bones from any

cooked meat you might want to give to your cat. Poultry and pork bones in particular are

given to splintering and can injure your cat.

When you need to switch from one type of food to the other, do so in a gradual

process. Shifting gradually from one to the other over the course of a week will help

prevent digestive upsets. You may need to switch foods because your store may stop

carrying the brand you like or perhaps your kitten has grown old enough to graduate to

adult food. Do the changeover slowly and your cat will thank you for it.

Feeding treats is something for you to decide if you want to do it. Some people

are dead set against them. Others lavish treats on their pets at every opportunity. There

are many good cat treats on the market today. Read their directions carefully. You don't

want to overindulge your cat and turn her into a furry beach ball with legs. The only other

thing that a cat requires is water. Do your best to keep a nice fresh supply of water

available for your pet. With a little thought and planning you can keep your pet healthy

and happy for a long time to come.


Benefits of Playing With Your Cat

Playing with your cat is the best possible way to build up a bond between the two of you. She will become more attached and you will feel closer to her.

The best way to ensure that your cat does not become overweight is by feeding him correctly with a balanced diet, but exercise also plays a part in keeping your kitty healthy. If yours is an indoor cat, then playing with you may be his only opportunity for exertion and staying trim.

Playing will help your cat to become confident. Also regular play periods, coupled with petting sessions, will get your cat used to human interaction, he will be less likely to shy away and hide, when visitors call.

Playing will help your cat develop his hunting abilities. Hunting is a natural instinct for all cats, a cat confined to indoors usually has little chance to express and develop this instinct. Encourage kitty to chase a toy mouse, allow him to pounce for the 'kill'. This will aid him should he ever get lost and need to find food.

Playing will help your cat release aggression. Cats often display aggressive traits through boredom. Tutor your cat not to scratch, bite or attack you with play sessions. Use praise to reward your cat for playing gently, as soon as he shows any sign he is about to use his teeth or claws - end the play session. This will teach your cat that aggressive cat behavior is best directed to his toys, and not you!

Cats need fun in their lives, just like humans need it. Relieve the monotony of eating, snoozing and using the litter box by putting a bit of fun in your cats life. You will have a happier, more confident and less aggressive kitty.


Biting the Hand That Pets You

Most cats will simply walk away when they have had enough attention from you.  Others, however, will nip at your hand.  Why do they do this?  You aren’t hurting him, just stroking, so it can get confusing.

Some cats become over stimulated easily.  The stroking gets them wound and the bite relieves some of that tension.  Others just never learned that biting was inappropriate behavior.  There is no consensus on exactly why some cats bite and others don’t, but there are some warning signs you can look for that may help you prevent being bit.

Watch your cat’s tail.  If the end begins twitching, this is a sure sign the cat is getting irritated.  Unlike dogs, cats do not wag their tails.  Another sign to look for is ear movement.  Every cat owner is familiar with the flattened ears of an angry cat, but by that time, it is too late and you are nursing a bite.  Watch for the ears to start turning to the sides.  This is an indication your furry friend is getting agitated.  Stop stroking now and you can prevent getting bit.

With cats that have a tendency to bite, it is good to follow what has been dubbed the seven-stroke rule.  Allow yourself to stroke your cat only seven times to start.  Then stop.  This is usually short enough not to create agitation.  Eventually you can add another stroke and then another, but do it slowly over time.  This will give your cat time to build up to being stroked.

Just as some people prefer not to be touched, some cats are also this way.  Learning to recognize the warning signs will help prevent anger on your part and irritation for your cat. This will make you both happier.


When to Call the Vet for Your Cat

The most important thing you can do when caring for a vet is make sure that he or she is healthy. When you have a cat, this is very important. Because a cat cannot tell you what is wrong, you must be alert to changes in your cat. Knowing when to call your vet is very important, but it can be hard to know if there’s really something wrong or not.

Knowing your cat’s normal behavior is important. First of all, what are his eating and elimination habits? Some cats eat their meals in one sitting, while others eat bites all day. If your cat has had a chance in appetite, this could indicate a problem. Your cat should also be using the litter box regularly, and diarrhea, constipation, and straining to urinate are all causes for concern. Ever cat is different, so make sure to notice how your cat normally eats and eliminates in order to notice when something is wrong.

Your cat’s daily activities should also be somewhat regular. If your cat is always playing and then suddenly seems less active, you may have cause for concern. However, slowly becoming less active is a natural part of aging, and some cats are naturally just not as energetic as others. Make sure you note sudden chances and call your vet if you are concerned. Watch for problems with gait as well, as this could indicate arthritis or injury, among other things. Along with activity, watch grooming habits. Cats are very neat and tidy creatures by nature, so your cat should be grooming him- or herself regularly. Over-grooming may also be dangerous to your cat’s health.

It is also important to know when there is an emergency situation. In general, if there is any doubt in your mind, call your vet or even take your cat straight to the vet’s office. For example, if your cat gets hit by a car, but is not bleeding, you should still have him or her examined, as internal problems could be of concern. You should also consider it an emergency if your cat suddenly has an extreme change in health. For example, if your cat suddenly begins vomiting frequently, he or she may have been poisoned, which can be fatal.

The important thing is to never take matters into your own hands if you are unsure. A vet can make sure that your cat is healthy and happy. As a guardian for your pet, it is your responsibility to provide this care whenever necessary, and its always best to be safe.


Health Care for Your Pet Cat

Pet cat health care may be similar to caring for other pets. But such care may also have its own differences. One of them is that pet cats may suffer from a host of different diseases that other pets may not go through. Here is a list of some feline diseases that pet cats may suffer from at some point.

Feline Distemper

This disease usually affects pet cats at a young age. Known medically as feline panleukopenia, this type of viral infection lowers down the immune defenses of young kittens by severely affecting the production of white blood cells. This infection can make young kittens pass, liquid stool with blood due to the severe hemorrhaging that happens in their small intestine.

Fever may also be expected and will lead the young kitten to become depressed and then refuse to take any food and water. It may seem to the pet owner that the cat has a temperamental personality, hence the name feline distemper. The infection actually has no effect on the cat's personality in any way. Sadly, recovery for such conditions is very rare for a cat.

Feline Infectious Peritonitis

This is another viral infection that is also fatal in cats. Once your pet cat shows signs of this infection, it can take years and years of trouble. This infection is usually common mostly in young adult cats and can be transmitted to other cats. There are two known types of this infection.

There is the "dry" type where the young adult cat is affected by high fever as well as problems with internal organs such as the kidneys, lungs and the intestines. With this type of infection, the cats never seem improve no matter how well the treatment is given.

There is also the "wet" type of the disease has the young adult cat having a fluid discharge within the abdomen. Occasionally the cat's chest displays a golden and dense liquid that contains flakes within. This infection makes the cat run a high fever and would usually not eat well.

The only protection that cats can have over the disease is vaccination. But vaccines should be given to pet cats prior to any exposure to the virus or else the vaccine would not be very effective to prevent any infection.

Feline immune Deficiency Virus

This disease is similar to the Human Immune Deficiency Virus or HIV in humans. This virus in only found in cats and is being spread mainly through a bite from an infected cat. This disease suppresses the cat's immune system and leads the cat to be more prone to all sorts of infection. There is an intranasal vaccine available to protect cats from the FIV infection although some veterinarians are not that convinced that it can protect  more effectively as compared to  other  vaccines.

Feline Leukemia Virus

This virus can severely limit an infected cat's immune system. With the affected immune system, the cat has limited ability to defend against all sorts of other infections. This virus can be spread from contact with infected cats. Many cats can become carriers of the virus for years without displaying any outside symptoms of the infection.

Cats harboring the virus may at times develop clinical signs of the infection if they undergo surgery, get injured or when they get lost outside their usual environment. These diseases may give pet owners an idea of how pet cat health care may be important to ensure that their pets live healthier and longer lives.


Caring For Persian Cats

These days, Persian cats are among the most popular breeds of cat.  Well known for their gentle and sweet personalities and their long hair, Persian cats have very attractive features.  They are great companions for virtually anyone, and not very demanding.  Unlike other breeds, such as the Siamese breed, Persian breeds need very little attention.

Although white is the color normally associated with Persian cats, they actually come in a variety of other colors as well.  During competitions, they are divided into seven color divisions – solid, silver and gold, tabby, shaded and smoke, particolor, bicolor, and Himalayan.  No matter what color of Persian cat it may be, they are best noticed during competitions by their long and flowing coats.

Persian cats should always be kept inside of the house, to protect their coat.  If they travel outside, they can easily damage their coat.  They will also need to be brushed daily with a metal comb, or their coat can become tangled, which will lead to hairballs.  You’ll need to bathe your Persian cat on a regular basis as well, to help protect his coat.  Bathing works best when the cat is young, as it will get him used to it.  Bathing should never be overlooked, as it will keep your cats coat looking clean and healthy.  Although some breeds can maintain their coats on their own, Persians can’t. Their fur is long and dense and you’ll need to groom them daily to ensure their coat stays healthy.

The Persian breed is gentle and sweet, getting along great with everyone – including kids.  They have a pleasant voice that is always good to hear.  Using their voice and their eyes, they can communicate very well with their owners.  They are very playful, yet they don’t require a lot of attention.  They love attention however, and love being admired.  Unlike other cats, they don’t climb and jump much at all.  They aren’t destructive either; they just love being admired and lying around.  A majority of the time, Persian cats love to bask in the sun and show others just how beautiful they truly are.

Although most breeds can be kept indoors or outside, Persian cats should always be kept inside and never allowed to go outside of the house.  Keeping them inside with protect their coats and also keep diseases and common parasites away from them as well.  You won’t have to worry about cars or dogs either if you keep your pet inside.

To ensure that your Persian pet stays healthy, you should always take him to the vet on an annual basis.  If cared for properly, such as grooming, shots, and checkups, Persian cats can live as long as 20 years.  One thing you’ll need to be aware of that’s common with Persians is their eyes.  Their eyes are very big and can sometimes be too much for the cat to clean.  This is a common healthy problem with the breed, and should be checked on a regular basis to ensure that it doesn’t get out of control.

When you compare Persians to other breeds, you’ll notice that the Persians are among the easiest to keep.  You don’t have to worry about things like jumping or climbing, as Persians don’t like to do either.  All you’ll need to do is feed your cat and groom him or him on a daily basis.  Even though grooming can be quite a bit of work in the long run – it’s well worth it when you have a healthy an beautiful Persian cat.

Cat Diabetes and how to Care for them

Cat care and diabetes go hand in hand to ensure that your pet cat can live an otherwise more normal life than usual. It may be unfortunate for pet cats to have their own version of diabetes, also a serious affliction among humans. It is also important for pet owners to know how feline diabetes affects cats and how they can help make life better for their pets by learning how to better care for them.

There are two types of feline diabetes that may affect your pet cats. Type 1 is caused by an insufficient production of insulin while type 2 diabetes is characterized by the inability of the cat's body to process insulin more effectively. And just like in humans, diabetes can also strike cats at any age but is more likely to affect older cats.

There is also a secondary feline diabetes that can be caused by drugs or by some diseases that may impair the natural processing of insulin in the body.

Cats also display symptoms that may tell veterinarians or pet owners of the onset of diabetes. These symptoms also have similarities with what humans with diabetes develop as the disease progresses. Cats may show frequent thirst and urination. With the body's inability to process or handle glucose, diabetic cats may also experience weight loss.

Other symptoms that may be associated with feline diabetes include vomiting, loss of appetite and general weakness. Diabetic cats may also have poor skin and coat condition as well as breathing abnormalities.

When a pet cat displays the symptoms mentioned above, it might be wise for pet owners to have their cats tested for sugar levels in the blood as well as in their urine. The reason why both tests might be required is that cats under stress may experience a temporary spike of their blood sugar levels. The two tests will help confirm if your pet cat really has diabetes.

Just like diabetes in humans, the feline version also has no cure yet available. Instead, feline diabetes can be controlled through a number of means. And for cats, it can be done through diet and weight control. A diet that is high in fiber and complex carbohydrates would be ideal for diabetic cats, especially the obese ones.

This type of diet is maintained not only to control the cat's weight but also to control the cat's blood sugar levels. There are also oral medications available that can help your diabetic  pet cat maintain a suitable blood sugar level.

Pet owners of diabetic cats may also need to carefully monitor their pet's glucose and insulin levels. For those pet owners who resort to giving their diabetic cats insulin injections for their diabetes, care to avoid overdose should always be maintained. An overdose of insulin can be a very fatal condition in cats. There are also some dietary supplements that can be used to help diabetic cats deal with their condition.

Cat care and diabetes always go hand in hand to ensure that your pet cat can lead a normal life. Providing the right care for diabetic pet cats can make sure that pet cat owners can enjoy the company of their pet for as long as possible.

The genuine concern that is shared through the care given to diabetic pet cats can show the love that pet owners may have on their dear animal companions.



Dental Care for Cats

Cat dental care is important to make sure that your pet  enjoys a clean bill of health among other things. Cats also need their teeth to be taken cared of because it can lead them to a lot of other problems concerning their general health. For instance, if your pet cat has periodontal problems, it might not eat well and experience poor health due to lack of the proper nutrients in the body.  That's how important dental care is for your pet cat.

Most cats may suffer from a wide range of dental conditions if they are not properly cared for. That is why it is the responsibility of the pet owner to make sure that his or her pet cat follows a regimen of good dental hygiene. It may be work, but it well serve you and your pet cat well in the long run.

One of the problems that cats experience with their teeth is plaque. Just like humans, cats also have tartar buildup in their own teeth called plaque. This is due t the many types of food that cats eat with some of the substances accumulating in their teeth that may further lead to the tartar buildup. If the accumulation of plaque continues on, it may lead  to gum problems and eventually the loss of your pet cat's teeth.

Not all cats have the same experience with plaque. Their seems to be some cats who are prone to tartar buildup while there are others that seem to do well even with little dental care. Some cats may require regular teeth cleaning in order to remove the plaque build up from their teeth. Plaque is a whitish yellow deposit that gradually develops on teeth.

In cats, the plaque usually develops in the exterior face of the upper teeth. If left to accumulate, plaque can cause gum problems in cats. This can be seen in reddened gum lines which can indicate that the plaque is already causing some irritation.

In order to prevent the over build up of plaque in your pet cat's teeth, an annual teeth cleaning may be suggested. Veterinarians usually put the cats under general anesthesia to have their teeth cleaned. But this service can come at some considerable cost. The next best thing would be to have your pet cat's teeth cleaned at home.

It might take some getting used to when trying to clean your pet cat's teeth at home. Cats do not usually like to have their teeth cleaned. In order to do this, you might need to have your pet cat placed in a bath towel straitjacket as well as a helper.

A child size tooth brush would work well when cleaning your pet cat's teeth. You can also make use of some edible toothpaste available in pet stores to make the task easier for you. Sometimes cats can get used to tooth brushing if done on a weekly basis.

Sometimes when you try to observe some pet cat dental care, you might find that your pet cat has a smelly breath. This can be caused by two things. One may occur when a young cat is teething. At around six months of age, cats start to lose their baby teeth with the permanent ones replacing them.

The odor on the cat's breath may be due to the teeth changing process. The odor on your cat's breath will eventually subside once the teeth come in.



Cat Sitter Tips

There will be times in your life when you have to leave home, and you can’t always take your cat with you, no matter how well behaved he or she may be. If you have to travel out of town, it is important to make sure that your cat’s health will be in good hands while you are gone. For this job, you’ll need a cat sitter. When hiring a cat sitter, make sure that you leave him or her with good information about your cats so that you can rest assured that they are safe and healthy.

In the best-case scenario, your cat sitter will be someone that you already know. Neighborhood teens make good cat sitters, as do relatives. You can also call a pet sitting company if you don’t have anyone else in mind. Whoever takes care of your cats, make sure that they are trustworthy and responsible to show up at your house every single day at the correct times. If you have multiple cats or other pets, or if you will be gone for over a week, it may be a good idea to have someone you know house sit and stay overnight in your home.

Before you leave, create an easy-to-read sheet of important information. Start by listing your cats—include their names, fur color, special diet and medication, likes and dislikes, and favorite hiding place. You should also include step-by-step detailed instructions for cat care and the number for you and for your vet.

Make sure that everything needed to care for your cat is out in the open and easy to use. For example, do forget to leave a can opener for your cat sitter! If any of your cats fall ill or are injured, your cat sitter will need to call a vet and possible even take your act to the vet’s office. Have the phone in an easy-to-locate place and leave cat carriers by the door. Also make sure that all cleaning supplies are easy for your cat sitter to find, including litter box materials.

If any of your cats need vet care, you will have to pay the vet bills, of course. Leave a $20 bill (or more if you’ll be gone longer) for your cat sitter to specifically be used for the cats. Beyond that, call your vet to alert him or her that you will be out of town. Given your vet your credit card number, the phone number where you can be reached, and the name of your cat sitter, with the assertion that he or she will act in your place until you return home. Doing this will help keep your cat safe and healthy even while you are away.



Cat Behavior

Cats are known as solitary animals. They don't hunt communally or share the

spoils of a hunt. Sometimes cats with adjoining territories will get together for a pleasant

evening grooming session, but on the whole they are not the most social creatures with

others of their kind. This general wisdom does not always seem to hold up.

My barn cats are a single family descended from a lone female who wandered

onto our place one day and decided to stay. She and her children and grandchildren police

the local rodent population. Their behavior doesn't always match the solitary hunter of

common wisdom.

The original female, Patch, used to like to take her kittens for daytrips around the

area. I've watched her bring her little brood back from wherever they've been in the

evenings. One evening I watched her stop and sit down near the edge of a small, lightly

used road running next to our farm. Two of her kittens stopped next to her. As she turned

her head one way and then the other, carefully looking for traffic, the kittens mimicked

her actions. The only one who didn't was the little orange tiger who became distracted by

a butterfly. Patch retrieved her wandering kitten and brought the whole family home.

Walks are still a part of kitten lessons.

I recently watched Patch, her daughter and three of their kittens taking a walk

around the boundaries of our farm. Patch and her daughter led the way. The two younger

kittens were in the middle. The oldest kitten, not quite a year old brought up the rear.

When one of the younger kittens stopped too long, he tried to move them along. If he

couldn't then one of the mother cats would come back and get the little guy moving. I've

wondered what this little jaunt was about. Possibly Patch was showing the newest

members of her family where their territorial boundaries were?

Some of the most interesting behavior I've seen regards family member who were

injured. One of Patches' sons is a big burley black and white adult tom. A very handsome

and friendly boy, he unfortunately has a talent for trouble. One day he came limping

heavily into the yard wailing at the top of his lungs. His mother and sisters raced up to

him as fast as they could. While he continued to cry, Patch began washing his face and

ears while his sisters lay down over top of him. They stayed that way for some time while

I called the vet. I'm happy to report that he recovered just fine with only a hitch in his

giddyup to remember his adventure by.

Another of Patches sons, a brown and white tom just under a year old, got into a

fight with his eldest brother. During the fight his foot was injured and began to swell. I

found him limping along on three legs the following morning. I brought him onto our

porch where I could keep a close eye on him and he could recover without further

injuring his foot. While he was recuperating, various members of the family perched

outside the porch windows, keeping him company.

These are just a few examples I've seen among my cats. Maybe they are unusual.

I've certainly never seen cats act this way before. Or maybe, just maybe, cats aren't such

social isolates as everyone's always thought!



Cat Care & Health

Owning a pet has certain responsibilities. You have to feed and groom it as well as keep them away from various diseases. This is what cat care and health is all about and by doing it correctly, they can live for 10 years or even longer.

Cat vaccinations are the most effective means of fighting a disease. This also prevents the cat from ever becoming a carrier.  Some of the common vaccinations given are for cat flu, feline leukemia or FeLV, Feline Chlamydophilosis and Feline Infectious Enteritis or FIE.

If your cat is given a vaccination, be aware that they may experience some side effects. This goes away shortly even if they develop flu like symptoms or fatigue in the next dew days. In rare cases, the cat may develop cancer where the injection has inserted that may develop in weeks, months or even years.

Cats just like humans experience allergies. This may come from pollen, dust, disinfectants and others. If you notice your cat experiencing any symptoms, you should stop using such products, keep them away from plants and make sure your house is clean.

Another problem that your cat may face is fleas and ticks. You will know they are there if they scratch more often than usual. You should check around the neck to see if there are any black dots using a special flea comb to look deeper into the fur.

Treatment against fleas and ticks is done by dabbing a small amount of liquid on to the back of their necks once a month. As for those that are already present, you can pluck them out one by one using a pair of tweezers or applying Vaseline over the affected area. Always wear rubber gloves when you are doing this so the bacterium does not transfer to your fingers.

Unlike fleas and ticks that you can see, cat worms are inside their digestive system. There are three of them namely hookworms, roundworms and tapeworms. If left untreated, they will have an upset stomach that at times can be fatal.

The best way to prevent this from happening is to give them worming tablets annually. But if it is already there, then you have to get a prescribed medicine from your doctor. Another option is to use a tick remover spray that is available in pet stores. You will notice a wound when the tick or flea is removed. This must be treated by bathing the area with salt water afterwards so no infection develops.

Cats can cause damage and hurt people. You can prevent this from happening by providing them a scratch pad to play with and trimming their nails on a regular basis.

Ever heard the line curiosity killed the cat? Well this also happens if they roam freely around your house. To prevent this from happening, make sure all cabinets are closed, the windows are shut, medicine and rat poison are hidden. You must never given them chocolate as a snack as this can be fatal.

Proper cat care is the most effective means of keeping them healthy. Studies have shown that cats that are kept indoors and loved by their owners live 5 times longer than those you see on the street. Since you decided to own one, you should cherish it.

            Cat Care Symptoms that You Need to Know

When we experience pain in our bodies, we can easily tell someone that there is something wrong and that person will be able to bring you to the hospital. Pets cannot do that but watching them can tell you a lot of things which is why owners should practice cat care and be aware of the symptoms.

Here are a few diseases you should watch out for and their symptoms.

Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is the most feared disease and in fact is the leading cause of death among cats. It is caused by a coronavirus infection and the worse part is that the symptoms are very common with other ailments so it is really hard to tell.

There is also Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) that is similar to HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). Just like the human version, it is a life long infection that progresses slowly and kills the cat.

Cats can also in infected by Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV). It is a retrovirus that causes fatal cancerous and non-cancerous diseases. Fortunately, it can be treated using some household detergents and bleach as well as warmth and drying. It is transmitted through the saliva, tears, urine and feces of infected cats. Unlike the other two, it cannot survive that long in the environment so it is only contagious when the infected cat stays with another cat for a long period of time.

Worms are also another threat to cats and this is caused by a fungal infection that is spread through the spores. Since it is a self-limiting disease, you don’t to do anything to make it go away. It will eventually clear up but it may just take a few months.

If you cat is overweight, chances are it already has feline diabetes. The symptoms of this disease include excessive urination and thirst as well as weight loss or gain. Vets are not yet sure what causes this but there have been a few research studies that have shown that there is a link between pancreatic disease, hormonal imbalance and certain medications.

The symptoms of most of the diseases mentioned are very similar. These include diarrhea, vomiting, lameness lasting for more than 5 days in one leg,   a decrease in vision, excessive panting, a seizure, blood in the stool or urine, hair loss, persistent coughing or gagging and breathing heavily or rapidly at rest. In order to find the answer, your cat will have to undergo some tests.

The vet will take some blood, urine and feces samples. Any input that you have observed and give will also be useful. When the tests come out, only then will the proper treatment be administered to the cat as each case varies so what worked for one cat may not have the same positive effect with yours.

Your cat could still be healthy if you gave it constant attention. This can be done by feeding it high quality food, giving it fresh water, allowing it to exercise, proper grooming, making sure it stays indoors and taking it regularly to the vet.

If you have missed any of these simple steps, something wrong is bound to happen and you will soon notice a change in the behavior of the feline and doing nothing about it just going to make matters worse. So observe proper cat care tips and look out for symptoms.



Cat Mythology

Cats as Deity

Cats as deities are most closely associated with ancient Egypt. The ancient

Egyptians had several feline gods and goddesses. Lions were said to guard the great god

Ra during his nightly journey through the underworld. The Egyptians had a fascination

with lions. They created their sphinx with the body of a lion and the head of Pharaoh.

Three lion goddesses existed in ancient Egypt. Sekhmet was a fierce and powerful

goddess. She was a war goddess who was sent by her father Ra to earth to destroy his

enemies. She is usually depicted as a woman with the head of a lion. Another lion headed

goddess was Tefnut whose name means moisture. She represented a primeval force of

nature. The third lion goddess was Mafdet who was the goddess of protection.

Among her fierce sisters, gentle Bast may seem a bit out of place. Often shown as

a graceful cat wearing bracelets a broad collar and earrings, Bast was the protectress of

domestic cats and those who cared for them. Her principle gifts to the world were joy and

pleasure. She was a much beloved household deity. Her principle temple was at Bubastis

and was said to be one of the most beautiful and popular in all of Egypt. She had a

secondary seat in Memphis as well. There is some evidence to believe that the ancient

Egyptians believed that Bast and Sekhmet were actually two faces of the same divine

force. Sekhmet representing the violent aspect of the divine, and Bast, the gentler


Egyptian children were often consecrated to Bastand placed under her protection.

Bast was considered a divine mother and was sometimes depicted with kittens. When a

woman in ancient Egypt wanted to have children, she would often wear a bracelet or a

necklace depicting the goddess Bast with kittens. The number of kittens shown with the

goddess represented the number of children desired by the woman.  Ancient Egyptians

seemed to consider cats to be the height of beauty. The styles of makeup they used,

especially around the eyes, tended to give them a feline look.

Cats were so highly regarded by the ancient Egyptians that the penalty for killing

one was death. When a family cat died of accident or old age, its' human family would

go into mourning. They would shave their eyebrows off to show their grief. Cats were

often mummified.  One royal cat was buried in a marble coffin. The hieroglyphs on her

coffin referred to her as "Lady Cat".

Bast was said to be the wife of the god Ptah. Ptah was the creator god of the

universe. Ptah and Bast were said to have had a son, the fierce lion god Maahes. Maahes

originated as a Nubian god. During the New Kingdom, his worship moved northward

where he was incorporated into the Egyptian pantheon as the son of Bast and Ptah. On

becoming a divine mother, Bast became associated with the protectress of Lower Egypt,

Wadjet. They became linked as Wadjet-Bast. A similar association was created in the

Upper Kingdom By the combination of Sekhmet and the Upper Kingdom protectress


The constantly changing nature of Egyptian religion can be rather confusing.

They had an inclusive attitude towards other gods and religions. The ancient Egyptians

freely adapted and adopted these others into their own cosmology. This attitude makes it

difficult for modern readers to understand. Most of us have been raised in religions

whose nature is highly exclusive. With an exclusive religion, outside influences are

rejected or even actively repelled. The Egyptians, as demonstrated by the story of Bast

and Maahes, had a very different way at looking at religion.



Cat Mythology

Cats as Familiars

Cats as familiars have a long and dark history in western mythology. These cats

often found their way into literature. One of the most famous was Grimalkin, the witches'

cat from Shakespeare's MacBeth. Cats as witch's companions are still a part of the

popular symbology associated with the modern holiday of Halloween.

What is a familiar? In western mythology a familiar was an animal companion

given by the devil to a witch in order to help her with her evil magic. These familiars

would have names just like any other pet. In the middle ages, if you were caught talking

to your pet (like a lot of people do) you were considered to be consorting with the devil in

speaking to w obviously your familiar. The Middle Ages were a very dark and violent

period in Europe. Their alternative name "Dark Ages" should come as no surprise.

Learning was confined to clergy and nobility. The general population was therefore quite

ignorant and prone to superstition.

A familiar could be any type of animal such as a toad, dog or cat. Black cats

became the traditionally cited companion and hence cats became particularly reviled. In

1233 Pope Gregory IX wrote in his Papal Bull "Vox in Rama" actually denounced black

cats as satanic. The Popes' proclamation began the persecution of cats all over Europe.

Thousands and thousands of cats were burned alive in the attempt to drive out the evil

Satan. Wild tales of these cats shape shifting into other creatures were common among

the populace and justified these terrible acts in their minds. When the power of the

Knights Templar was broken, some of the knights were said to have confessed to

worshipping cats. As these so-called confessions were given under extreme torture, they

would seem to speak more to the attitudes of their inquisitors than to anything the

Templars themselves had actually done.

Why were black cats in particular singled out? There are a couple of legends that

might explain this singular revulsion. In the first legend, so the story goes, is that cats

who were born at the end of blackberry season were called blackberry cats. According to

this legend, the end of blackberry season coincides with the expulsion of Satan from

heaven. When he fell he landed on a blackberry bush which he defiled with his urine and

spit. Thus, blackberry cats, especially black ones are associated with the devil in this tale.

The second tale comes from Italy. The Italian witches, called streghe, tell a legend about

Diana who is goddess of the moon and also called "Queen of the Witches". Her brother

who was known in ancient times as Apollo, is renamed Lucifer (Light Bearer) in this tale.

Supposedly, Diana wanted to have a son by Lucifer, so she attempted to trick him by

taking the shape of a black cat.

As you can see, these stories were pretty wild, and yet the people of those dark

times took them as the gospel truth. The irony of this superstitious hysteria against cats

was that by destroying the cats the Europeans nearly destroyed themselves. Cats had been

used for centuries to keep down the population of vermin, especially mice and rats. When

their predators were destroyed, the vermin population exploded. They ate large amounts

of grain that had been meant for human consumption resulting in widespread hunger

among the people.  Even worse than the hunger was that the enormous numbers of rats

became disease carriers. The worst of these diseases was the bubonic plague, otherwise

known as the Black Death. The Plagues of the Middle Ages are terrible instance of the

repercussions that can befall humans due to misplaced zeal.


Cats And Feline Diabetes

Cats are one of the most popular pets in North America.  They are loving pets, capable of providing you years of companionship.  Like other pets, cats can sometimes get sick.  There are several different types of ailments that cats can get, one of which is feline diabetes.  Feline diabetes is a serious disease, although it can be treated by a veterinarian.

Diabetes is more common with humans than with cats or other animals. The cause of diabetes is actually quite simple.  Sugar, or glucose, is found in the blood.  The level of blood sugar in the body or the animal is kept under control by hormone insulin, which the pancreas produces.  When the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin, diabetes is to blame.

The symptoms of feline diabetes will vary.  The most common symptoms include an increase in urine and an increase in thirst.  Other symptoms of feline diabetes include a loss of appetite, weight loss, and a poor coat.  An increase in thirst is easy to detect, as you can easily notice the water dish empty throughout the day.

If you don’t get your cat treated for feline diabetes immediately, the cat will eventually become inactive, vomit on a regular basis, and eventually fall into a coma.  On the other hand, if you get the diabetes treated in time, the cat will more than likely lead a normal and healthy life.  Keep in mind that treatment doesn’t happen overnight – it takes time and dedication.

Cats that have feline diabetes will need to be given food at the same time every day. They should be prevented from going outside as well.  If your cat has diabetes, you’ll need to give him insulin shots once or twice or a day.  Once your veterinarian checks your cat, he will tell you how many shots and how much insulin you need to give your cat.

Before you give your cat his insulin shot, you should always make sure that he has some food first.  If he hasn’t eaten and you give him a shot anyway, he could end up with a hypoglycemic shock.  This can also occur from too much insulin as well.  A hypo can be really dangerous, and should be avoided at all costs.  If your cat gets a hypoglycemic shock and you aren’t around, he may end up dying.

If you have to give insulin shots to your cat due to feline diabetes, you should always keep a watchful eye on him after you have administered the shot.  After your cat has been on insulin for a period of time, your vet may reduce the amount of insulin.  Even though he may have to stay on insulin the rest of his life, he will lead an otherwise healthy life.


Cats And Ring Worm

Ringworm is a very common form of skin disease that is found in both dogs and cats.  Although its name makes you think otherwise, this skin disease isn’t caused by any type of worm.  It’s actually caused by fungi known as Dermatophytes that feed on dead tissues found in the surface of the skin, spreading them around the skin of the animal.

With cats, there is a certain type of fungi known as M Canis that is found with nearly 95% of all ringworm cases.  Normally, cats will get the ringworm disease from contaminated objects like bedding, clippers, or another animal that already has the disease.  If there are animals in your home or around your house that have the ringworm disease, your cat could very easily contract it this way.

If you have kittens or cats that are under a year old in your home, you should always use precaution, as they are more susceptible to ringworm.  Kittens can easily contract the disease, especially if you allow them to go outside.  They can easily come in contact with a contaminated object or another cat that has the disease.  Kittens take a long time to build their immune system up, and in the meantime they are more apt to get common disease such as ringworm.

The most common symptoms of ringworm in cats are rough or broken hairs, or hair loss around the head or the paws.  Ringworm can easily be identified by a patch of scaly skin on the body that appears itchy and inflamed.  There will also be broken hairs around the patch of scaly skin.  This area is very sensitive, and you should never try to touch it, as it will hurt your cat.

If you notice any of the above symptoms with your pet, you should immediately schedule an appointment with your vet.  If the vet diagnosis your cat with ringworm, he may prescribe ointment or tablets.  What he describes however, will determine on how serious the ringworm is.  If he prescribes tablets to your cat, you should give them with meals.  Ointment on the other hand, is normally spread into the coat, topically.  You should always use what your vet prescribes on a daily basis, to ensure that your cat heals.  The healing process will take time, normally around six weeks or more.

Cats that have ringworm should be labeled as infectious.  If you have children in the house, you should keep them away from your pet. Whenever you handle your cat, you should always use gloves.  Ringworms are contagious, and you should always use caution.  Even though it’s a mild disease, ringworm can result in serious problems due to the slow recovery time and fact that it’s contagious.



Cats Bonding With Their Owners

There are a lot of experts out there who say that cats are strictly independent animals.  These very same experts state that cats have chosen to associate with humans due to their strategy of survival.  Although many argue with this statement, there are many who agree as well – although those that agree are normally those in the percentile who don’t agree with cats.

Anyone who has owned a cat will tell you that cats are great at bonding with people, although they are very particular.  Normally, a cat will choose someone in the home that he bonds with.  You’ll know when a cat wants to bond with you, as he will hop on your lap seeking attention or snuggle up to you at night when you are sleeping.  Purring is a strong sign of affections, especially with cats that are looking to bond.

Although many experts have tried to figure it out, no one really knows why cats choose a particular person whom they will bond with.  It could be the individual’s manners, voice, or simply how that person treats the cat.  Perhaps it may be the individual is really gentle, or maybe a little more forceful – bringing the best out in the cat.

There are a lot of ways that researchers have tried to take this subject, one of which being psychic.  Some say that cats bond with someone due to a “psychic aura” that is compatible with both the person and the cat.  If a cat feels that someone is giving them a bad vibe, they will simply ignore that person.  Although this can be true to a sense for some, a majority of those who own cats will tell you that this couldn’t be any further from the truth.

Even though there are a lot of theories and speculation out there, no one really knows why cats bond with humans.  There’s little to no proof available as well, other than cats and their natural instinct for physical survival.  Those who own cats know that cats crave attention, simply to make them feel needed.  They love to be pampered by their owners, and will shower you with attention and affection if you just give them the chance.

Those who are new to owning cats may find bonding to be very different.  Cats are different from other animals, including dogs, in the sense that they bond different.  Different breeds of cats will bond different with their owners, although most prefer affection and attention.  The more time you spend around your cat, the more he will bond with you.  Over the years, you’ll find that the bond you create with your pet has grown very strong – and simply cannot be broken.



Cat Skin Care Dandruff

Cat dandruff is common among diabetic cats. A study shows that happens in 1 in 200 cats have what is known as diabetes mellitus (DM) and if you want your pet to get better, here are some things you can do.

The cause of this problem is associated with poor nutrition. So, instead of buying one of those generic brands of cat food, maybe you should change it and go for one of those that are of good quality even if it may cost a little more.

You can also give food supplements that contain fish oil which have proven to correct the dandruff problem.  This may also come from canned tuna since it is rich in Omega 43 fatty acids that will improve their hair in about a week.

The symptoms that will tell you if your cat has a skin care problem like dandruff includes an increase in their appetite, excessive thirst or urination, dehydration, depression, muscle wasting, lethargy, weight loss and an umkempt hair coat that is a direct result of poor grooming.  It gets worse when the cat displays weak rear legs.

Aside from a cat being diabetic, other risk factors include certain steroid injections, neutering and old age. The cold weather could be another cause since it dries the cat’s skin. If your hunch is correct, you can fix this problem by buying a topical and oral treatment that is designed to treat dry skin.

Aside from dandruff, owners should also worry about allergies as this also causes skin problems among cats. This may come from cleaners, pollen, food and other sources and since it is hard to pinpoint the exact cause, owners are advised to use only natural care products in cleaning the home.

The cat should also be confined indoors to prevent them from roaming outside. Studies have shown that sunburn kills the top layer of their skin causing it to dry and flake off. Repeated sunburn may result to skin cancer so if you decide to let them go out, this should be done before 10 in the morning and after 4 in the afternoon.

During the winter, the cat should not be allowed to sleep near the fireplace as this also dries out their skin quickly. To keep them warm during the cold months, you should invest in a good humidifier.

The cat may also be infested with fleas and ticks. You can check the cat’s skin routinely to pull them out and use powder to flush the rest out. The hair should also be combed so this does not happen again.

If the cat’s skin care problem continues, it is best to bring it directly to the vet as over the counter medications and parasite treatments which you have tried are not good enough to do the trick. Some of the symptoms associated with dandruff could be something else like a skin disorder and one of them is Cheyletiella which requires the help of a professional.

Cat skin care problems like dandruff must be taken cared off immediately before it gets worse.  Proper hygiene, diet and grooming are the best ways to keep it away and if household remedies don’t work, you better get help so the exact cause can be determined and the proper treatment can be given.


Cat Viral Infections and Their Cures


Cats just like humans are prone to sicknesses. In fact, cats succumb to two cat viral infections that will be discussed shortly. The good news is that there is a cure.

These two common viral infections are Feline Herpes 1 virus known as rhinotracheitis virus and infection with the organisms called Chlamydia psittaci and mycoplasma.

When a cat is infected, they will experience a fever, have weepy eyes, a crusty nose and sneeze a lot. This can go away with or without treatment but this can come back.

When this happens, the condition is called Feline Keratoconjunctivitis the virus settles in the nerves around their face. Corneal scars can be seen to a little over a centimeter in diameter. This makes it hard for the cat to see and it usually happens due to stresses associated with boarding, weather change, a new pet in the house or as mentioned earlier other diseases.

Things are going to get worse as the outer coating of the cornea will be lost to the invading virus. Secondary bacterial and mycoplasmal infection of these areas may cause deep ulcers around the eye and in some cases damage the surrounding areas as well.

Fortunately, this can be treated using an amino acid called –lysine by reducing the amount of another amino acid called arginine that is present in the cat’s body. The vet will prescribe a dosage between 200 to 500 mg per day and sprinkled into their food. There are different brands available and when you look for one, make sure it is glycol free.

You can also try topical antibiotics that have also proven to be effective but they are only designed to quell secondary bacterial invaders.

Another option is for you to use topical anti-virals that are designed to directly fight the virus. Some examples of these include  Herplex  (idoxuridine), Viroptic (trifluorothymidine, and Vira-A (vidarabine).  These medications are relatively expensive and have to be given 5 times a day. Only when the cornea is indeed infection should this be given.

Something more affordable than the topical anti-virals is an oral solution called Oral Interferon. Although it has never been scientifically proven to treat cat viral infections, cat owners that have used this have claimed that it does shorten the length of the infection. The best part is that there are no known side effects so you don’t lose anything by trying it.

Vaccines seem to be the best way to prevent these diseases from happening. Ideally, this should be given to a cat during their 9th, 12th and 14th week of age. It should be administered using a 25 gauge needle on the anterior side of a rear leg and massaged afterwards to prevent tumors from forming in the injection sites.

There are other eye infections that mimic what was just mentioned. One example is eosinophilic conjunctivitis. So before any medication can be given, the vet will first have to do a test to make sure that the proper medication is given.

This is known as PCR or the Polymerase Chain Reaction test. It is a DNA test that amplifies the presence of viral DNA so that even one single virus can be detected in a sample from a conjunctival swab.

Cat viral infections are common among kittens but they can be prevented and cured. You have to know first which one you are dealing with so the proper medication can be given. For more information about them, do some research online and go talk to your vet.



Cold and your Cat’s Health

Although your cat may have a furry coat, cold weather can still be extremely dangerous. Imagine how you feel after being out on a cold day for more than a few minutes—even with your winter coat, you are probably still very cold. Cats are the same way, and if you leave your pet exposed to the cold for too long, he or she may show signs of hypothermia. In a worst-case scenario, hypothermia leads to death.

There are many different reasons why your cat could become too cold. If you typically let your cat outdoors, remember that he or she will need to come back inside more quickly during the winter. This is especially true for smaller cats, cats with short hair, or cats recovering from an illness. Also, never let your cat outside if he or she is wet, for whatever reason. In fact, if you bathe your cat or your cat otherwise gets wet, dry him or her immediately if the weather is cold, even if you are indoors. Make sure your cat cannot get outside in any way—your pet may not be able to figure out how to get back inside, and by the time you realize that he or she is missing, hypothermia could have taken hold.

Hypothermia is a medical condition when the body temperature drops too low for the organs to function properly. Frostbite often occurs in the extremities, because the body will begin to shut down unnecessary body parts in order to keep the vital organs as warm as possible. If you cat has hypothermia, you’ll see your pet shivering, moving slowly, and breathing shallowly. Eventually, your cat will become unresponsive and die. Therefore, it is important to warm up your pet.

However, if you warm a pet too quickly, the damage could be even worse. Resist the urge to dunk your pet in warm water! Instead, warm slowly. Bring your animal into a warm room and wrap in warm blankets. You can even throw a towel in the dryer for a few seconds. Or use warm water bottles wrapped in a washcloth. Hairdryers work well, as long as you don’t get too close to your cat and keep them on the low settings. Once your cat starts to warm up, a warm bath could be very helpful, although this is not a good idea if you plan to take him or her outside again to go to the vet.

Remember, calling your vet is always your best option. Animals simply sometimes get outside accidentally, no matter how caring you may be to your pet. If your cat shows symptoms of being too cold, you can use these warming techniques to save your pet’s life, and your vet will be able to get you on the right track to helping your pet recover.



Common Health Problems Of Cats

If you are new to owning a cat, you may be surprised to find that health problems are a common thing.  No matter what breed of cat you own, health problems are to be expected.  Some may be hereditary, while others can easily be prevented.


No matter what breed of cat it may be, worms are a very common and recurring problem.  Tapeworms, roundworms, and hookworms are among the most common that infect cats.  Cats who have problems gaining weight, problems with fleas, or if you find white specks in his stool, you should have your vet test him for worms.  Although they can be treated with medicine, worms can prove to be fatal if they are left untreated.


Hairballs are the most common health problem for cats.  All cats groom themselves on a daily basis, normally swallowing the loose hair that comes from their coats.  On occasion, this loose hair will gather into a ball and become lodged in the digestive tract instead of passing through in your cat’s stool.  When your cat starts to cough and hack, he is normally coughing up a hairball.  Although it can be rather disgusting in the end, most cats can dislodge hairballs without any problems.

In rare cases, a hairball can pass through to a cat’s intestine, creating a blockage.  Blockages are very serious problems, and can be life threatening if they aren’t treated.  If your cat becomes constipated, isn’t eating properly, or has a very dull coat, he could have a blockage.  If you notice any of these symptoms, you should take him to the vet immediately.  You can prevent hairballs and blockages by brushing your cat 2 – 3 times a week to remove loose hair.  You can also feed him food that is designed to control hairballs as well.

Urinary tract infection

Urinary tract infection is also a common health problem with cats.  Urinary tract infection is more common with male cats that haven’t been neutered, although females can suffer from this problem as well.  When a cat suddenly stops going to his litter box, this problem is normally the cause.  Another symptom is when the cat’s urine starts to smell really strong.  If you suspect that your cat has a urinary tract infection, you should take him to the vet.  Your vet can treat the problem with medicine, and make recommendations to help avoid this problem in the future.

Feline leukemia

In the past, feline leukemia was the biggest cause of death in cats. These days however, there are vaccines available that can treat the disease.  To treat the disease, your cat will need to be given the shot before he or she is exposed.  Even though death doesn’t happen immediately, cats that are exposed to feline leukemia normally don’t have a long life span.  If you know your cat has feline leukemia, you should never allow other cats around him, as the virus is highly contagious.


To protect your cat, you should always make sure that you take him to the vet for his regular check ups.  If you keep him up to date on his vaccinations, he should lead a healthy and productive life.  Although some health problems can’t be avoided, most of them can.  You can also keep your cat indoors as well, which will protect him from a majority of health problems.  If your cat is an outdoor cat, regular visits to the vet will keep him healthy.  As long as you take your cat to the vet and keep him healthy – he will be your companion for years to come.



Common Meanings Of Cat Behavior

A lot of people think that cats work on their own agenda, not paying much attention to their owner – provided they have clean litter, food, and water.  Cats can behave in odd manners at times, which can easily confuse their owners and make it really hard to determine what the cat wants.  As much as cat behavior can be confusing, there are some ways that you can solve common cat behavior mysteries.

A common behavior that almost all cats do is push their heads into any type of object that will allow them to do it.  You’ve probably seen your cat do this before, probably against table legs, TV stands, or another object.  This can be noticed more when you have other people who own animals or those with allergies over at your house.  When a cat notices this, he will rub his head against the person.  In doing so, he will put a touch of saliva on the individual.  In a cat’s mind, he owns what he puts his saliva on.

By putting his saliva on something, that object or person will have a familiar scent.  Although this can be very annoying, you have to understand that other people in your home are seen as odd or weird to your cat.  When a cat does this, he is simply trying to make the visitor belong.  When he brushes up against them and puts his saliva on them, he is trying to put his scent on them – which in his mind will mean that they belong in his territory.

Even though marking someone or something with saliva is beneficial to the cat, saliva is one of the most common forms of pet allergies.  When someone wipes the saliva off of them, the scent will be gone and the cat will go back and attempt to do it again.  Even though it may appear that cats target those with allergies, cats are actually just trying to make the visitor belong at the house.  If the guest simply cannot take the saliva, allow the cat to rub himself on their pants leg a few times.  Normally, this is all takes for a cat to leave the person alone.

Those of you who an indoor cat should expect the cat to spend quite a bit of time lying near windows.  During this time, you may hear your cat make very strange noises or weird movements.  You shouldn’t fear though, as he is simply acting out his hunting instincts.  Whether it’s another cat or object outside moving about, the cat will see it and simply go into his native hunting instinct.

As most already know, cats love to play.  They love to played with, especially with toys.  They will pounce on things on occasion, which should always be expected.  If you try to prevent this type of behavior, your cat will take a very negative approach and you’ll end up with a lot of broken things in your home.  You can always play with your cat using a string, as he will love to chase the string around the room.

The longer you own your cat, the more odd behavior you’ll see him exhibit.  Cats behave in strange ways, although they always have a reason for behaving the way they do.  If you can understand why your cat behaves like he does, you’ll have no problems keeping him healthy and happy.  If you simply pay attention to your cat and the way he behaves at times – you’ll be able to understand him better than ever before.



Curing Bad Cat Breath

Cat owners know for a fact that bad cat breath can be downright awful.  It isn’t that much different from bad human breath, as both are caused by bacteria found in the mouth that breaks protein down and releases the sulfur compounds out into the air.  Sulfur smells really bad on its own, which is why breath containing it smells bad as well.  The bacterium that causes bad breath with cats is normally associated with a buildup of tartar around the teeth.  Tartar is yellow in color, known as a coating of bacteria, food, and minerals.

To cure your cat from bad breath, you’ll need to remove the buildup of tartar.  There are several cat foods out there that are designed to reduce the buildup of tartar, many containing enzymes that will literally dissolve it.  You can also give your cat treats as well, as many of them will help eliminate and prevent tartar.  If the buildup of tartar is bad, you may need to have your cat’s teeth professionally cleaned.  Once the tartar has been removed, the bad breath will go away.

You may be able to clean the tartar off your cat’s teeth at home.  There are several toothpastes available for pets, available in several different flavors.  You’ll need to get a mechanical toothbrush, as the motion is very important for removing tartar buildup.  Toothpastes that contain enzymes will dissolve tartar, helping to cure bad breath.  If you start early with brushing your cat’s teeth, you can virtually eliminate any type of tartar buildup that will ultimately lead to bad breath.

Some bacteria that lead to tartar can be found in your cat’s diet.  When you feed him, you should always make sure that the food he consumes doesn’t contain a lot of bacteria.  If you shop healthy and feed him only healthy foods, it can help his bad breath a great deal.  When you give your pet a treat, make sure that the treat is designed to help with tartar.  After your cat has finished eating, you can brush his teeth or rinse his mouth out.  This way, you’ll get the bacteria out of his mouth before it has time to build up on his teeth.

Sometimes, cats may have a bad odor in their mouth that doesn’t come from tartar or bad breath in general.  In these rare cases, it can be either liver or kidney disease.  If you notice bad breath and it isn’t tartar, you should take your cat to the vet.  Even though it may be something to do with tartar, it’s better to be safe than sorry.  Your veterinarian can pinpoint the problem, let you know what the cause is – and how you should go about fixing it.


Dealing With Cat Allergies

Cats are one of the most loved pets in the world, no question about it.  More than 50% of all households in the United States own dogs and cats.  Although cats are loved animals, cat allergies are one of the common forms of allergies.  Statistics in the past have shown that over 10 million people in the U.S. alone have allergic reactions to cats - especially their fur.

The biggest cause of cat allergies is dander.  The dander, is dust that is produced by the body of the cat.  Dander is basically shed skin that comes off of cats, normally in the form of small flakes.  Although dander can irritate your skin, it can also get into your immune system as well, resulting in a variety of symptoms and almost immediate allergic reactions.

The dander, once in the immune system, is perceived to be a threat.  Even though it isn’t classified as a disease, it’s more of a reflex by your body and your immune system.  Cat allergies occur quite often due to cats having allergens that are spread throughout their blood, urine, and saliva.  Although a cat may not be present at the time, the excretions probably still are.

Cat dander, urine, and saliva, are found throughout the home of cat owners.  Cats constantly groom themselves, which involves rubbing their saliva into their fur.  When they do this, they spread their dander and allergens around.  Although you may try, there is really nothing that you can do about it.  Cats have a natural instinct to groom or bathe themselves, no matter how many baths you give them, you simply won’t stop them from grooming.

Normally, when someone is taking an allergic reaction to cats, he or she will wheeze, cough, sneeze, itch, have watery eyes, or a difficult time in breathing.  Different people react different ways to cat allergens, meaning that some symptoms may not occur at all.  Fever and chills is very rare, although it can happen.  If someone who has cat allergies comes down with fever and chills, you should contact a doctor immediately.  Chances are, it isn’t an allergic reaction to cats, but instead another type of disease that a doctor will need to identify.

Cat allergies are normally treated with antihistamines and decongestants.  Those that experience asthma attacks or other forms of allergies, normally take antihistamines.  Decongestants on the other hand, are normally used to cure coughs and swollen nasal passages.  Sometimes, doctors will recommend allergy shots as well.  Allergy shots can help to prevent the attack, especially if someone is really allergic to cats.  They are a good form of treatment and prevention, and they can also help to decrease the risk of allergies affecting the individual.

If you suspect that you have cat allergies, you should always make it a point to visit your doctor.  He will be able to further diagnose your situation, and give you the best options available for treatment.  If you do indeed suffer from cat allergies, the best way to stop the attacks is to get rid of your cat.

Getting rid of a cat can be a very tough thing to do.  If you have become allergic to your cat’s fur, there may be no other way to prevent attacks than to get rid of him.  Although doctors can give you medicine and shots, it will only do so much.  Cat allergens are no fun, especially if you develop them years after owning your cat.  Cats are great animals to own - although cat allergies are something we could all live without.


Taking Kitty to the Dentist

It is important for you to go to the dentist at least annually for checkups. This is, however, also important to your cat! Many people never think about it, but good dental health can keep your cat happy and disease-free. Whenever your cat goes to the vet, make sure that dental health is checked and discussed, and if your cat is acting strangely at all, especially with eating habits, make sure that dental health problems are not a concern.

Kittens, like baby humans, have fewer teeth than adult cats. Each kitten has 26 temporary teeth, which begin to appear at about three weeks of age. An adult cat will have 30 permanent teeth—16 on the top and 14 on the bottom. A cat usually begins getting his or her permanent teeth when he or she is three of four months old. Some of these teeth have two roots while others have three.

The most common dental diseases found in cats are resporption lesions and gum disease (gingivitis). Resorption lesions are also known as cervical line lesions or neck lesions and often result in tooth loss. These lesions are difficult to detect, as they often grow below the gum line. Gum disease is found in over 70% of cats by the age of three. You can tell if your cat has gum disease by looking for yellow and brown tarter build up along the gum line and over the tooth, red inflamed gums, and chronic bad breath.

Oral disease is often an indication of other more serious health problems. For example, it is common for a cat with feline leukemia virus (FeLV) to have oral health problems. Dental conditions are also commonly found with feline immunodeficiency virus and feline calicivirus. Therefore, if your pet is have dental problems, you need to see a vet right away about these conditions to make sure they are symptoms of a much more serious disease.

Cats can also accidentally break teeth. This can be a result of a fall, a fight with another cat or other animal, or biting into something too hard to chew. Usually, the upper canine tooth will be the tooth fractured. This is the tooth in your cat’s mouth that looks like a large fang. If this is fractured, your cat may or may not be in pain. The first symptom of this kind of a fracture is continuous sneezing.

Overall, oral health is important in all mammals. Cats are susceptible to a number of dental disease and problems, just like humans. By taking your cat to the vet often and asking about oral health, you can make sure that you are providing the best health care foods and tools for your feline friend.



Deworming Multiple Cats

Ah yes, everyone's favorite pet chore. One day you clean your cats' box and

discover little white chunks of what appear to be cooked spaghetti lodged in the feces,

that is, until one starts to move. You know then that it's time to deworm your cats. If your

veterinarian says that your cat doesn't have anything particularly tough or nasty then he

or she may recommend a regular schedule using commercial dewormers that can be

found readily in any pet store. Your veterinarian even may have a good general purpose

dewormer on hand for your use. Fortunately, there is a wide range of deworming

medicines available on the market. Most are liquid or pill form.

If you have only one cat, your task is relatively simple. Choose a dewormer that

your cat will find acceptable if not palatable. Many liquid dewormers claim to be very

tasty to cats. Unfortunately, many cats would vigorously disagree with that assessment.

In such a case, if you have access to a pill form of dewormer that your cat is willing to

swallow, you're in luck. If your cat won't swallow pills without major mayhem breaking

out and turns his nose up at every liquid dewormer you try, then you have a problem. If

you have more than one cat, it can become even more of an issue. If your cats will

happily take whatever you offer, then the only thing you have to worry about is keeping

the greedy guts from getting more than they should.  But, If each of them has a different

idea as to what is acceptable (or not) for deworming medicine, then you have a major


Rather than cater to each cats whims and maintain a veterinary pharmacy worth of

dewormers in your house or routinely running your finicky feline into the veterinarian

every to he needs deworming, you might try a different route. You will need a liquid

deworming medicine and a syringe. Syringes are readily available in the livestock

medication section of farm supply stores. You only need the section with the barrel and

plunger. No needles are needed or should even be used. Syringes in farm supply stores

usually offer the two sections separately. Select one of smaller size. Your cat won't need

large amounts of medicine at any one time.

Measure out the proper amount of dewormer for your cat into a measuring cup. A

measuring cup usually comes in the package with a liquid dewormer. Take one of your

syringes and place the open end (where the needle would normally attach) into the

measuring cup and draw the medicine up into the barrel by pulling upward on the

plunger. Try to get it all at one time. You could do this task by increments but trying to

manage a squirming cat while refilling a syringe really is more difficult than it is worth.

Now restrain your cat gently and situate yourself so that you can hold the cat and use the

syringe easily. It could require some experimentation to work out a suitable position for

the both of you. . If you keep one hand underneath the cats head and cradle his chin it

will make this part of the task go more smoothly. Slide the end of the syringe a little bit

into your cat's mouth and slowly depress the plunger This will empty the medicine into

your cat's mouth slowly enough that he can readily swallow it without choking. Repeat

for each cat.

Naturally, your cat will not be particularly pleased with this method. He may

object rather strenuously. With repetition, however, you will become much smoother

with the task. You don't need to rush during this task. Take your time to discover what

will work best for you and your cats. Your cats will become more accustomed to it

despite themselves. This method will ensure that each cat, even your most finicky, gets

the proper amount of medicine he needs.  And that, of course, is the whole reason for the

entire exercise.



Diabetes: Could it be Affecting your Cat?

Cats and humans may not look much alike, but remember, both are mammals. Therefore, there are a number of diseases, disorders, and other medical conditions found in humans that are also found in cats. One such disease is diabetes. If you believe that your cat may have diabetes, it is important to talk to your cat’s vet as soon as possible so that your cat can get the right medical treatment needed.

There are two types of diabetes in cats, just like in humans. Type 1 diabetes is caused by the insufficient production of insulin in the cat’s body. Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, is when a cat develops intolerance for handling the insulin. In both cases, diabetes can develop in cats of any age, but it is more common for cats that are old, male, or obese. There is what is known as secondary diabetes as well, in which a drug or disease causes diabetes, sometimes forever and sometimes for a certain period of time.

When caring for your cat, there are symptoms you can see that point to your cat having diabetes. These symptoms include excess thirst, vomiting, loss of appetite, weakness, loss of weight, breathing abnormalities, and unhealthy skin and coat. Your vet can then test your cat’s blood sugar levels and urine sugar levels. Both tests are needed, as temporary blood sugar levels may be high in cats that are stressed or nervous.

If your cat is diagnosed with diabetes, lifestyle changes are necessary to make sure that your cat’s health is restored as much as possible. Diet is very important. Remember, your cat should only get enough food during a meal as is necessary. Cats typically need food the size of one large mouse to be content—more will cause weight problems. Not only is the amount of food important, but you should also be concerned with your cat’s types of foods. Your vet can recommend specific cat food brands that are high in fiber and protein in order to control the diabetes.

Insulin, oral mediations, and supplements may also be necessary. Again, your vet can tell you what is needed, as well as show you how to administer treatment to your cat daily. It is important for you to monitor your cat’s health to make sure that the diabetes is in control and that he or she is staying happy, healthy, and comfortable. Diabetes is not the end of the world, in either humans or cats.


Disease watch and how to get rid of them

Cats are also vulnerable to some common sickness. As a cat owner, it is necessary that you observe the health of your pet. It does really matter. Just like us, cats would surely have these phases of their lives when they would get sick or show signs of weak health. When this happens to your pet, you have to be ready and you have to do what is indeed helpful for it.

There are different health problems common in cats and they are as follows:

  • Diarrhea
  • When your cat has diarrhea for a consistent number of times, do not be alarmed. The first thing you need to do is change the diet. When you know what your cat likes to eat, you better give it to him or she for it would surely help. When there is still a continuous diarrhea, it would be best to bring your pet to a veterinarian.
  • Diabetes
  • Not only common to people, but also to cats. This occurs when a cat becomes The more it grows old, the more it must stay at home. You have to watch its diet for improper food intake is what the real cause of diabetes is. When you notice signs and symptoms like the cat urinates always. You could obviously notice as well that it gets thirsty so fast.
  • Throwing up
  • This is a very common health phenomenon for cats. When this happens to your pet, you have to check the food you have fed to it. After doing so, it would be better if you try to change the food. As much as possible try a far different one from the food you have observed to cause such vomiting.
  • It has been discovered that the min cause of this is hairballs so as much as you could, brush or comb the hair of your pet.
  • There is also another angle, and that is allergic to food.
  • Meeting your veterinarian is the best move to make. Make sure that you give enough liquid to your pet, throwing up may lead to dehydration.
  • FIV
  • This cat disease has something to do with HIV and the best thing for you to do is to seclude your pet from foreign cats. It would be better if you keep it in your home. You have to protect your pet well.

You have to be cautious about these diseases for they would surely be a threat to the life of your pet. When you encounter such health problems, you have to seek the help of the expert, you must not let your insufficient knowledge let you lose your pet.



Does Your Cat Have an Allergy?

When a cat is allergic to something, common indications will be itchy skin, coughing and/or sneezing, or vomiting or diarrhea in the case of a digestive allergy. Allergies to fleas, foods, things inhaled, or something they have come in contact with are the most likely allergies in cats.

Contact allergies generally result in a fairly localized reaction on the skin. The cat may scratch a lot or there may be an indication of irritation at the place of contact. Most common causes of contact allergies in cats would obviously be items with which they come in close contact such as flea collars, bedding, toys, etc. The simplest cure is to remove the contact.

Flea allergies are very common in cats. A normal cat may simply bite or scratch for a while and then go on to other things, but a cat with a flea allergy may scratch, chew, and worry at the spot until large amounts of fur are lost.

Inhalant types of allergies are probably the most common in cats. Your cat can be allergic to the exact same allergens that you are. Tree pollens, grass pollens, and weed pollens along with the rest of the items we humans fear; mold, mildew, dust mites, and dust itself can all trigger allergic reactions in cats.

As in humans, true food allergies in cats can be extremely difficult to pinpoint. One reason is that they commonly demonstrate many of the symptoms of distress seen in the other groups. True food allergies in cats can cause itching and/or respiratory problems. Most food allergies will center around the type of protein common in the cat's diet, such as beef, pork, poultry, or lamb. Simply eliminating that type of protein by changing to another type of food will usually take care of the problem.



Facts about Cats: Do you know this and that?

Cats are very interesting members of the animal kingdom. Some of them stay wild in the thick forests while some of them stay tamed in our homes. Wherever they are, cats are very interesting and they possess really exquisite characteristics. How much do you know about cats? Well, we hope top add more information to you:

  • Did you know that cats could see 6 times better than human beings? Yes, according to studies, it is during night time when cats could really see more than we could.
  • Anywhere in the world, cats are existent from steaming Africa to icy cool Greenland; you could surely find them in different corners of the world. They may have varied looks or characteristics by counting in the different factors.
  • Just like dogs, cats could swim it just so happened that they are not into it that much.
  • An eighteen-hour sleep is achievable by cats in hot countries. These areas include desert-like areas and in some angles, the tropics.
  • There are different cats and most of them have rare characters.
  • One of them inspired ancient Egyptians. This is the Sphynx. Actually, it does not have any hair at all.
  • There are cats called Manx which originate from the Isle of Man and that they do not have tails. They just have this so-called stub.
  • Who do not know the fastest animal? The Cheetah is of course another member of the cat family.
  • There are also fishing cats which really show great skills in catching fish.

These tidbits are just some of those cool yet factual things about cats. When your aim is to explore more about these animals, you could always use the power of the internet in order to familiarize yourself with the world around you.

When you wish to have your own cat, you could also consider those factors that may make or break your choice. There are actually different choices of cats for pets. In general, cats are very good pets for they are very affectionate.

According to research owning cats as pets is most beneficial for ill or old patients. It has been found out that animals like cats could reduce their depression and other negative feelings brought by solitude and sickness.



Feeding Your Cat: Dos and Don’ts

Food for cats is of course one of the most important needs of cats and it has to be provided by the owner. I think everyone agrees that this is the number one need of animals like cats and the kind of food you feed them would also reflect the nutritional contents of the food intake.

We have to feed our pets with the most nutritious food so that they would be able to grow well and be free from possible sickness. There are guidelines to remember like giving a balanced-diet to your cat and as much as possible do not run out of drinking water. What then are those other reminders?  Those tips that would let us overcome wrong feeding of cats?


  • Avoid giving to cats meals that include By-products," "meat and/or bone meal," "animal digest," most other descriptions including "digest" or "meal," and added sugars. These won’t be good for them and would be of no use for them too.
  • Do not give food that includes corn meal as filler.
  • Avoid giving meals that conation like almost 50 percent of carbohydrates fillers.
  • Food with too much preservative is highly-discouraged.


These tips must be noted for if one does not know what to buy for his cat, he would surely end up giving the wrong food.

What then could be good for cats?

Always bear in mind the basic nutritional needs of your cats. This includes Protein from a meat, fish, or poultry source, Taurine, an essential amino acid, certain other vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and fatty acids and of course Water.

Do cats need carbohydrates?

Well, they do not need such as much as we do. We could not get away from those carbohydrates fillers especially in canned cat food but it has to be ensued that it does not reach or exceed 50 percent of fillers. One big tip is feed your cat varied food from time to time; cats could get easily bored if you feed them with the same food all the time. It would plunge down appetite and of course, the total nutrition of the animal.

We hope that with these bits and pieces you are able to take note of the important tips you need to do which would deal with the right food for your cats.

Enjoy growing pets.



Feline Leukemia Virus Disease: A Major Threat to your Cat

Just like in humans, cats can develop very deadly medical conditions. One of the most common and fatal kinds of disease a cat can contract is feline leukemia virus disease, known as FeLV. Leukemia, which is also found in humans, is a disease of the white blood cells. There are three major types of this leukemia. Today, we can protect our cats for FeLV with a vaccine, so it is important to have your pet up-to-date with medical care at all times.

With FeLV, there are three disease categories. The first are the leukemias, which are similar to what leukemia is like in humans. This is cancer of the white blood cells. However, not all FeLV diseases are cancer. Lymphosarcoma is the second category. Also cancerous, this disease begins in the lymphoid tissue around the lymph nodes. It affects the intestinal tract, kidneys, liver, spine, brain, blood, and bone marrow. The third category is the non-cancerous diseases that fall under the umbrella of FeLV and include immune suppression, anemia, and arthritis. Some of these medical conditions may also be fatal.

Cats are most commonly exposed to FeLV when they get into fights. FeLV is a virus that is spread mainly through saliva, and the wounds a cat receives from bites during a fight provide an entry point into the body. Cats can also get FeLV from sharing food or water bowls, grooming one another, and transmission from mother to kittens. If your cat contracts FeLV, there may be many possible outcomes. Some forms of the disease cannot be treated, however, so prevention is important. Remember, though, that a cat can live with the disease for many years and so your vet can help you choose the best course of action. Cats infected with FeLV are dangerous to other cats, and so they must live in confined single-cat homes, or you can choose euthanasia.

So far, there have been no studies that have found any correlation between this disease in cats and diseases in humans, so your family should be safe. That said, high-risk individuals should avoid contact with a sick animal. This includes newborns, senior citizens, AIDS patients, and chemotherapy patients. Because the virus cannot live for more than a few hours outside of the cat, you are safe in having cats return to your home as soon as two days after the infected cat is gone. Talk to your vet for more details.


When Kitty has the Flu

There are a number of medical conditions that affect your cat, and so having a vet that you can call for illnesses and injuries is best if you choose to keep a pet. Just like humans, cat can also get the flu. Flu in cats is due to an upper respiratory infection and can affect cats of any age, but is especially found in young or old cats. If you suspect that your cat has the flu, call your vet o get further instructions for nursing your cat back to health.

The flu in a cat will look similar to the flu in a human. Depending on what agent is causing the flu, there are a wide range of symptoms and severities. Major signs that your cat has the flu includes inflammation around the eyes and nose, discharge from the nose, a raised temperature, weakness and loss of appetite, sneezing, and coughing. It is important to get treatment for your cat immediately so that your cat is not left with chronic diseases.

Your doctor cannot cure the flu, as is also true for humans, but the symptoms of the flu can be treated. It is important for your cat to get plenty of nutrients during his or her illness, so that strength can be regained. Encouraging your cat to eat and drink is helpful, and if your cat is not adverse to water, gentle baths may be relaxing. Talk to your vet about specific treats you can use, like sardines, which will get your cat to eat more even if he or she is ill. If your cat’s condition worsens, or is very severe, it is extremely important for you to take your cat to the vet. A vet hospital stay may be necessary to allow re-hydration and feeding.

There are certain things you can do to prevent cats from getting the flu. Vaccination for the flu will drastically reduce the severity of the flu if caught. If you have multiple cats in your house, you should also consider isolation if a certain cat has the flu, since this disease spreads quickly. Clean the bowls often and disinfect your hands and clothing after handling the cat. You can also talk to your cat’s vet in order to find out other things you can do to help your cat feel better more quickly and to prevent your cat from getting the flu in the first place. Remember, vet care is always the best choice to keep your cat healthy and happy.


Foster Cat Care, What You Need to Know

Some animals have been abandoned by their owners. They end up in animal shelters hoping that someone will come along and given them a good home. If you are thinking of owning a feline, you better learn a thing or two about foster cat care.

When you bring home the cat from the foster home, this should first be left inside the cat carrier until they are already ready to be isolated in a small room. This will give them time to adjust to their new environment and one of the most ideal places in the house is the bathroom that must have a cat bed, litter pan, water and food.

If there are children in the house, they must be slowly introduced to the feline one at a time with adult supervision. They must be taught to treat it gently and speak to it softly but if you have infants or toddlers, you should wait till they grow older.

In case there is already a cat in the house and the one you adopted will add to the number of pets, you must plan a 2 week introductory period between them. Be aware that there will be a lot of hissing and you should be present at all times so that should a fight break out, you will be able to wrap a blanket around them and have these two separated. Naturally, both should have a separate litter box and bowl.

You must always use good quality cat food and not the cheap kind if you want to extend the life of your cat. Feeding is once daily and you have the option of giving them supplements like Omega 3 Fatty acids.

By law, cats are required to wear an identification tag so if you don’t have one yet, you better get one. Written on the tag is the cat’s name, your name, address and contact number so someone will be able to get in touch with you in the event it gets out of the house. Another option is for to install a microchip that is embedded under their skin.

Some cats have not been toilet trained. If this is one of your problems, you should teach them so they know that this is the place to go when nature is calling. The best step is to carry them to the box when you see that they are about to do it. If you see them doing, reinforce it by giving them food as a reward thus making this habit forming.


Aside from providing the adopted cat with food and shelter, you should also give them a scratch pad to curb the incidents of unwanted destruction of furniture. Ideally, this should measure 3 feet in height and installed near where they sleep or next to the furniture.

If ever they scratch on the furniture, do not scold them. Just carry them and direct their attention to the post.

Since their claws get sharp, you must also trim it every two weeks. If you have never done it before, ask your vet to teach you so this is done right causing no harm to the cat.

Foster cat care can be a challenge given that there are a lot of things to teach it. By giving your new friend constant love and attention, you will be able to enjoy each other’s company.



Giving Your Cat Medication


There are times in every cat’s life when he will need to take medication of some sort.  Cat owners who have been through this know how hard it can be getting the cat to cooperate.  Below are a few suggestions that may help in your endeavor.

The first choice is to hide medication in some of your cat’s favorite food.  This may not always be easy, as in the case of capsules or pills.  The cat’s keen sense of smell will also be a problem, so it is advisable to pick some of the smelliest food you can if you use this method.

Liquid medication works well mixed into food, especially salmon.  The liquid mixes well with the oils and is almost undetectable by your cat.  If at all possible, ask your vet for medication in liquid form.

Crushing a pill or emptying a capsule into food is risky.  The taste and smell is often bitter and easily detectable by the cat.  If you must use this method, make sure whatever you use is sufficiently strong in both smell and taste.  It will also be necessary to make sure your cat eats the entire portion in order to get all the medicine into his system.

If you must give medication to your cat without the benefit of food, pick him up by the back of his neck like a mother cat.  This will render him momentarily unmovable.  Gently pry open his mouth and place the medication as far back as possible.  Holding his mouth gently closed, stroke his throat.  This will cause a reflexive swallowing reaction.  Once the medication is down, give him cuddles.

If all else fails, you can talk with your vet and have him show you how he suggests administering medication to cats.


Giving Your Cat A Pill

Giving a cat a pill can be a nightmare.  No cat wants something shoved down his throat, and he will fight you tooth and nail to prevent it. Although most cats are small in size, you’d be quite amazed with how much power they actually have.  There are ways that you can get your cat to take his pills, which we will cover below.

The easiest way to give a cat pill is to crush the power into a powdery form by putting it between two spoons.  Once the pill is powder, mix it in with some wet cat food.  Cats that are used to eating dry cat food will see the wet food and think of it as a treat.  They will normally eat it up, unaware that they just took their medicine.

If the medicine happens to be in capsule form, all you have to do is pry the capsule apart then sprinkle the medicine on some wet food and serve it to your pet.  If the food also contains the pill or if your pet is sick, chances are he won’t eat it.  In this event, you should look into a pet piller.  You can get these handy devices from your veterinarian.  They are plastic rods that hold the pill until you press a plunger.  When you get one, you should always get a long one with a softer tip.

When you get your gun, your vet should show you how to use it.  The most difficult aspect of using the gun is getting your cat to open his mouth.  The gun will more or less shoot the pill in the cat’s mouth, and down his throat.  You’ll need to hold him tight, to make sure that he doesn’t wiggle his way loose.  Once you have his mouth open, you’ll need to squeeze the trigger and pull the gun away quickly.  After the pill has been inserted, make sure you give your cat a treat.

If you aren’t comfortable using the gun, you can always try giving your cat his pills by hand.  To do it this way, you’ll need to hold your cat still, and open his mouth with your hand.  Once you have his mouth open, you should aim for the back of his throat and throw the pill in.  Once it is in his mouth, you should close his mouth with your hand and hold it shut for a few moments.  This way, your cat will swallow the pill if he hasn’t already.

If you can’t get any of the above techniques to work, you can always go to a local pharmacy and get them to a make flavored gel or liquid using your cats medication.  You should use this as a last resort though, as it can tend to get expensive.


Great Gifts For Cat Lovers

There are a lot of great gifts that you can give to cat lovers, although photo frames are among the most popular.  Photo frames are very affordable, and make a great gift for anyone who owns a cat or other pet.  Those who own more than one cat will truly appreciate photo frames – as it gives them a chance to show off their pet.  Cat lovers can also frame pictures of their pet for memories as well – and keep them forever and ever.

Before you give a cat lover a gift, you should take into consideration what type of cat the person owns.  There are several breeds out there, including tabby, pure breeds, calico, Persian, and of course the infamous Siamese breeds.  Someone may own several cats as well, which is why you should know a little bit about the breed or breeds someone owns before you get them a gift.

You should take into consideration whether or not the cat lover has an outdoor or indoor cat.  Cats, unlike dogs, are more than happy to spend all of their time outdoors.  Outdoor cats can be a lot of fun, especially if the owner spends a lot of time outdoors.  Cats have a natural urge to go outside, even if the owner has an indoor cat.

Cats who reside indoors are less exposed to sicknesses and common health problems that outdoor cats are exposed to.  Indoor cats are almost always trained to use the litter box, which makes them easy to maintain for their owners.  Nearly all gifts that you can get for a cat lover are designed for those who keep their pet indoors.

If you’re looking for a humorous yet exciting gift, you can always give the gift of catnip.  Catnip is one of the most popular treats for cats, as it’s a naturally occurring plant that has a unique affect on a cat.  Catnip gives off aromatic oils that will often make cats appear to be drunk and very hyper – which is always great entertainment for both owners and guests.  Catnip is completely safe for cats to consume, often times being included with gifts such as chew toys and play balls.

Other great gifts for cat lovers include decorative mats with cat pictures, which you can get personalized for the owner if you prefer.  You can also give cat videos, musical cat dolls, cat shaped mail boxes, toys and treats, and various other goodies that are directed towards cat lovers.  If you do your shopping on the Internet, you’ll find that the possibilities are endless.  Cats are very popular pets – meaning that you’ll have no trouble finding the perfect gift for the cat lover in your life.


Grooming Your Cat

No cat wants to be dirty, and it’s up to you to ensure that your cat stays clean.  Grooming is very important, as it helps your cat remain clean and healthy.  Grooming starts with brushing, as brushing helps to keep the cats hair from becoming hairballs.  Brushing will remove loose hair, and help prevent the risk of hairballs.  A lot of cats have trouble dislodging hairballs.  If the cat isn’t able to get a hairball out, it could result in a blockage of the intestines.  Blockages are very serious, and can quickly become life threatening for your pet.

Cats that have long hair need to be brushed and combed on a daily basis, while cats with short hair need to be groomed on a weekly basis.  When you brush your cat, you should always watch for lumps in the coat and skin irritations.  You should start brushing along the cat’s back, going from his head to his tail.  Do this a few times on one side, and then switch to the other.  Each area should be brushed a few times in the direction of the way your cat’s hair is growing.

When you brush your cat, you should always avoid brushing his face and paws.  If a cat doesn’t like to be brushed, you can still groom him using another tool.  The grooming glove is an excellent alternative to the brush, as most cats don’t mind it at all.  Starting out young is the key to grooming, as it will get your cat used to brushing and grooming.  Some cats that have started grooming when they were kittens grow to love it, many of which often look forward to their grooming time.

When brushing your cat, make sure that you check his ears, eyes, teeth, and claws.  His eyes should be bright and clear with nothing residing in the corners.  His ears should be clean, pink in color, and no sign of ear mites.  Ear mites result from dirt built up in a cat’s ears, and can result in the ears shriveling up and your cat losing his hearing.  Ear mites are very annoying for the cat, and hard for you as an owner to get rid of.  The best way to get rid of them – is to ensure that your cat’s ears stay clean and healthy.

Each time you groom your cat, you should always aim to go a bit further with your examinations.  When your cat remains still, you should always praise him and give him a treat.  If your cat doesn’t cooperate and starts to struggle, you shouldn’t fight with him, but instead let him go and try the next day.  Once your cat gets used to grooming he will look forward to it each and every day.



Horrible Hairballs

Your cat’s health is important. Your veterinarian can teach you all about the many health conditions your cat could experience, but it is also important to learn about such things on your own. If you want to be sure that you cat is getting the best care possible, you need to watch for signs that something may be wrong with your pet. One common medical condition that affects many cats is hairballs. While hairballs are normal for a cat to some extent, you should contact you veterinarian immediately if you think the problem is out of control.

Cats get hairballs mainly because they spend so much time cleaning themselves. Although cats do not like water, they do like being very clean at all times, and they do so, of course, my licking their fur. You cat probably grooms many times every day. Because cats also shed, they swallow a lot of their own hair. Most of this passes naturally through the cat’s system, but occasionally the hair becomes matted and entwined in the stomach, causing a hairball that is too large to pass through the system. When this happens, the cat vomits the hairball.

If your cat seems to have an abnormally high amount of hairballs, you should talk to you veterinarian. About a quarter of all digestive blockages in cats come from hairballs that cannot pass or be vomited and this can make you cat very sick. Huge hairballs that size of baseballs have been known to form in a cat’s stomach. A hairball of that size can easily kill your cat.

There are a number of signs you will see in a cat having a problem with hairballs. If your cat is retching often, has a change in digestion, or has a swollen abdomen, he or she may have a problem with hairballs. Your veterinarian can give you cat flavored medication that your pet will love. Contained inside are non-digestible oil lubricants that will help your cat pass hairballs easier. Taking this medication regularly will prevent your cat from ever forming such hairballs. Another great way to prevent hairballs from forming is a high-fiber diet, possibly including a fiber supplement. Home remedies, on the other hand, are not a good idea, because they could cause other problems with your cat’s digestive system.

When in doubt, call your cat’s veterinarian. Animal doctors are specially trained to help you help your pets. When you report health abnormalities to your veterinarian, you are able to best keep your cat healthy and safe, no matter how many hairballs may form.


Health Care for Older Cats

It may be hard for a pet owner to notice a pet cat getting older. Outside, pet cats may show the same things- playing with toys around the home, taking naps sprawled on a favorite spot inside the home, snuggle up with you on the sofa. But inside, it might be a whole different thing.  And health care for cats as they get old may change a little bit.

When caring your an aging cat, there are some things that a concerned pet owner should know about. When a cat approaches somewhere between the ages of eight or twelve years, this is the equivalent of a human being approaching middle age. This will be the time that your pet cat may be needing a bit of extra attention.

Most veterinarian generally estimate that cats start their geriatric years when they reach twelve years. This will be the time that caring for your pet cat would have to change to accommodate the needs that aging brings.

A major part of caring for older pet cats involve feeding them. As cats get older, their digestive systems do not function as efficiently as before. Aging cats may need to eat smaller and easily digestible meals in a day rather than just two square meals. Try also to make sure that you give your cat a variety of food to eat to ensure that it gets a well balanced diet.

There are also a number of cat food now available as food for the different life stages of your pet cat. There is cat food that is specially formulated for older cats as well as for the less active ones. The best advice in feeding your aging pet cat would be to ask your vet about the nutritional needs of your cat.

When cats age, they also start to lead a less active lifestyle. Whereas cats enjoy playing around and hunting during their younger years, older cats seem to prefer spending more time quietly around the home. This would be a benefit for some pet owners since they no longer have to worry about their once playful cat overturning and breaking things around the house. But this sedentary lifestyle would not be good for the cat.


Even though your pet cat would  you may still need to keep them active since the exercise would help keep them healthy. Try to have them active as often as possible to keep them active. As they age, cats may also need to have their vaccinations up to date. Older cats have a less efficient immune system and may need vaccinations to keep them protected from diseases.

Dental problems may also become a concern for old cats when they become prone to having loose teeth, tartar buildup, and sore gums. This can have a big effect on your pet cat's well-being. Dental problems may be the reason why they are not eating well. A regular dental check up might be needed as part of health care for old cats.


Heartworm Treatment For Cats

As most pet owners already know, heartworm treatment for cats and dogs isn’t the same. Never, under any circumstances, should you give your cat heartworm treatment that is designed for a dog – or vice versa.  Even though you may own both dogs and cats, you should always give them medicine that is designed for their species.

No matter how you look at it, heartworm treatment isn’t easy.  Your goal is to get rid of the heartworms, although there are several factors that you’ll need to consider.  The first thing to do is take your cat to the vet, as he will be able to run tests to determine just how many heartworms your pet has.  He can also find out how the worms are affecting your cat and if your cat can deal with any side effects that the treatment medicine may impose.

Heartworms are a very serious condition, as the worms will feast on the vital areas around your cat’s heart.  Treatment can be serious as well, especially if something goes wrong.  Veterinarians are trained to deal with heartworms though, in both cats and dogs.  Even though you may be able to buy treatment medicine at your local department store, you should always consult with your vet before you give anything to your pet.

Treating your cat for heartworms may indeed be no treatment at all, as cats are extremely difficult to treat.  The dying worms have side effects as well, often times causing more than 1/3 of the treated cats to end up with serious problems.  Dying worms can become lodged in the arteries of the heart, which are already inflamed due to the worms being there.  When a lodged worm starts to decompose, it can lead to very serious problems.  Pets that have a serious infestation with heartworms may need to spend some time at the hospital, to ensure that they are properly treated.

Some cats may not be able to take a certain type of heartworm treatment medicine.  Depending on the side affects and how the medicine affects the cat, some breeds may not be able to take some of the better medicines.  To determine the best treatment options for your cat, your vet will need to run several tests.  Once the tests have concluded, your vet will be able to tell you the best options available for treatment.

With all diseases, prevention is a lot better and safer than treatment.  Be sure to talk to your vet and find out what heartworm prevention medication is the best to use.  Your vet can tell you what you need to get, and how to use it.  This way, you can prevent your pet from getting heartworms – and the serious side effects and life threatening issues that go along with them.


Hot Kitty! Cat Safety in Warm Weather

If you live in a climate that has sticky, hot, summer days, you may find yourself longing for cooler days. Your cat will definitely agree! In warm weather, it is necessary for you to care for your cat’s healthy so that he or she does not become overheated. Remember, a pet is like a newborn baby—your cat cannot tell you that he or she is hot or uncomfortable. You have to notice warning signs and provide a good living environment so that your cat does not get too hot.

When you take your pet places during the summer, never ever let your cat inside of a parked car, even for a short time. Cars quickly become ovens in the summertime, even when you park in the shade, or even if you have the windows cracked. Your pet will not be able to alert people in order to get out of your car safely. In as little as ten to fifteen minutes, your pet could die from the heat in a parked car, and parking in the shade does little good to prevent this, since the sun continuously moves and the heat of the air alone will be bad for your pet. If your pet will be going with you, make sure that cats are allowed wherever you will be.

When the heat index is high, keep your cats inside. Cats that are not outdoors most of the time won’t know where the cooler places to hide are, or they may find these cooler places and not return home. Hot asphalt can also wreak havoc on a cat’s health, as it can burn his or her sensitive paw pads. If your cat does not use a litter box and instead goes outside, make sure that he or she is let back inside after only a few minutes on the hottest days of the summer. Basically, if it is recommended that seniors and children stay inside, it is good for pets to stay indoors as well.

Keep your cat well groomed during the summer as well. Brushing you cat often will help get rid of the excess hair that has been shed and is weighing down the animal. If your cat has very long hair or is overweight, provide him or her with an air-conditioned room if possible. Preventing overheating is key.

As always, make sure your cat has access to clean, fresh water. This can be tap water, but should be cool and changed multiple times a day when it is hot outside. Your furry feline is very important in your life, so make sure that he or she gets proper care when the summer days make your sweat.


Helping Your Cat Survive Your Move

Moving into a new home is stressful for most of us.  Humans understand the reasoning, but cats don’t.  Changing your cat’s environment will need to be done gently and with patience.

It is normal for a cat to hide for a few days when moving into a new place.  He is nervous and unsure of where he can go and what is going on.  He may be worried that you will leave him alone and not return.  Some cats will act out aggressively at this point, showing their displeasure in hissing and biting.  Be patient, he will adjust.

It can help if you confine your cat to only one room when you first move.  Make sure he has food and water and his litter box.  Provide him with his usual sleeping blanket and some familiar toys.  All these will give him comfort and make the new environment more familiar.

Having more than one cat at a time like this is ideal.  They will stick together and find comfort.  You may find two cats who, until now, were barely tolerant of each other will become friendly and form a lasting bond.  Going through a confusing situation together will cement that bonding.

Make sure you give your cat extra attention during this time.  He will sense your mood and the stress you feel at moving may increase his.  Try to stay calm when interacting with him.  If possible, make the room he is confined to the bedroom.  This way, he will have you available at night.


In time, your cat will be back to ruling his domain.  All it takes is a little time and a lot of patience.  Following the above steps may make each of you deal with a move more effectively.


Helping Your Cat Stay Healthy

To keep your cat healthy a majority of time, all you really need to do is give him good shelter, food, and plenty of water.  Like other living things however, cats can get sick from time to time no matter what you do.

As a cat owner, you’ll want to ensure that you feed your cat only the best.  Premium cat food is the ideal for cats, as the food is designed to keep your pet happy and healthy.  You’ll also need to pay attention to his behavior, so you’ll know when he’s sick and when to take him to the vet.  Most of the more common ailments and sicknesses are minor, although there are some cases where a vet can be the determining factor between life and death for your cat.

Your cat’s behavior will be one of the most critical factors when you are trying to determine whether or not he is under the weather.  Acting sluggish, laying around all the time, lack of energy and not eating are all signs that you need to take him to the vet immediately.  His coat is also a good thing to watch as well.  If you notice his coat dull and patchy or notice him shedding abnormally, you should contact your vet as soon as you possibly can.

Diarrhea and vomiting are sometimes common, even with basic sickness.  On the other hand, if your cat seems to be doing either one of the two for more than a day, you should contact your veterinarian.  Coughing is common as well, simply because coughing will cats dislodge hairballs.  If your cat seems to be coughing for another reason, you should have him checked out as soon as possible.

To ensure that your cat isn’t subjected to various diseases, you should always make sure that he stays up do date with his vaccinations. There are several diseases out there that require vaccinations, including rabies and feline distemper.  Feline distemper is one of most devastating diseases a cat can get, yet it is also one of the easiest to prevent as well.  The disease strikes cats very fast, and leaves you as an own very little time to seek treatment.


Feline leukemia is another disease that is very deadly, yet can be prevented early on with the proper vaccinations.  Although the disease isn’t possible for humans to contract, it can be spread quickly among cats.  There are vaccinations that can treat the disease these days, although you’ll still want to be careful and not expose other cats around a cat you know has feline leukemia.

Another problem, which is very common with cats that stay outdoors, is worms.  Cats that have worms will normally have a lackluster coat and little to no appetite.   There are several different types of worms, including ringworm and hookworm.  Worms can come from fleas, lice, or even the organs of dead rodents that cats consume.  Normally, the cat will digest the eggs which will later mature and attach themselves to the walls of the intestines.  If you feed your cat garlic frequently during feedings, it can help to protect him against worms.

If you take care of your cat, chances are you’ll keep him healthy for years to come.  You should always make sure he has quality food, and doesn’t miss any of his scheduled checkups with the vet.  If he gets the proper vaccinations when he is required to get them, he should be safe against numerous pests and diseases.  Taking the proper steps with your cat now will prevent anything from happening in the future.


The Holidays and Your Cat’s Health

Keeping your pet safe and health at all times should be one of your major concerns, and this can be even more difficult around the holidays. There are a number of special considerations you must make for your cat around the holidays. Your vet can give you more specific instructions, but here are just a few of the things you need to consider.

Holidays are not festive without a little decorating, and this includes, in many cases, the use of flowers. If you have a cat in your house, make sure that flowers are well out of reach if they are toxic, remembering that cats can jump very high. Some of the most popular flowers that are harmful to your pet include bleeding hearts, calla lilies, poinsettias, daffodils, Easter lilies, irises, ivies, tulips (the bulb part), and a number of other plants. Most cats will not go out of their way to eat these things, but to be on the safe side, make sure you use them in a safe way in your home or, better yet, opt for faux versions instead. There are many kinds of plants that can harm your cat, so check with your vet to make sure before bringing new kinds of plants into your house.


The holidays also may bring a number of guests into your home for parties and gatherings. This can be very scary for your cat, unless he or she is used to high levels of traffic. It’s a good idea to keep your cat in a room away from the party with the door shut. This will prevent your cat from being scared. When people are coming into and out of your house, there’s also the potential that your cat could get outside, and there is also the danger that guests will feed your cat unsafe human foods. It is better to keep your cat away from the party.

Remember also that alcohol and animals do not mix well. Alcohol, in fact, is deadly to animals. Although you or (more likely) a guest might think it’s funny to slip a little vodka into your cat’s water bowl, this could prove fatal. When you have guests, put your cat’s food and water bowls somewhere safe where no one can tamper with them.

Candles and electrical lights could also be unsafe for your pet. Cats are attracted to bright lights, and a candle could not only burn your pet, but you may find that a cat knocking over a candle will start a fire in your house or, at the least, spill wax onto furniture or carpets. Use electrical lights instead, but remember to keep the cords covered and taped down so your pet isn’t tempted to play with them. Overall, keep an extra eye on your pet during the holidays to make sure they are staying safe at all times. You can have a good time without compromising your cat’s health.


Cat Care in your House

Cats are playful animals. If you are planning to get one, you should know the basics about house cat care.

The moment the cat is brought into the house, you should give it his or her own room for the time being with food, water and a bed. If it has not yet been toilet trained, you should start teaching it so there are no stains in the carpet.

Teaching the cat how to use the litter box can initially be done by carrying it to the box when nature calls. When you see the cat is able to do it, praise and reward your pet so they know that this is the right to do.

The exact dimension of the litter box depends on the size of the cat. This must be cleaned naturally using soap and water not disinfectant.

If ever they do something wrong like climb up on the table or scratch the furniture, you must never scold them as they are very sensitive animals. You can enforce discipline without causing any harm by squirting water on their face.

There must be food and water at all times. The feeding dish and bowl should be made either of plastic or aluminum and cleaned. Any unfinished food must be disposed of properly.

Their diet must come from high quality cat food and although this may be more expensive than the other brands, you know that it has the right vitamins and minerals to keep them healthy. Aside from food, you can also give them supplements. One example is Omega 3 fatty acids that are good for their nutrition.

For those that have other pets in the house, you should give some time for the two pets to be acquainted with each other. If you have a dog, make sure it is kept on its leash first. If you have another cat, be ready to break off a fight since this normally happens.

House rules must be set regarding what the cat can and cannot do in the home. For instance, you can decide whether or not the cat may be allowed out of the house even if the experts have said that they must always be confined indoors. There are other issues which you have to discuss among yourselves.

You must also provide a scratching pad so it can play around without causing any damage to your furniture. This should be 3 feet in height and placed either near the furniture or their bed. When their nails get too sharp, you better trim it so they don’t hurt you or themselves.

One of the most important things about cat care is proper grooming. You can bathe the cat by wetting their head and tail with shampoo. Never lather their ears or eyes and dry them using a clean towel. Brush the hair lightly and apply combing powder so it never gets tangled with each other.


Lastly, bring your cat to the vet regularly and when you see something new in their behavior as quick thinking could prevent a possible sickness from getting worse. If you don’t know any, get a recommendation from one of your neighbors.

House cat care is challenging but rewarding. You just have to put in the time and effort when you decide to bring a pet into your home.


How Important is Cat Teeth Care

You do not have to wait for the month of February to remember about cat teeth care. It is a part of your responsibility as a pet owner to be mindful about cleaning your pet's oral hygiene.

Why February, you may ask. The American Veterinary Medicine Association or the AVMA and the American Veterinary Dental Society or the AVDS join forces each February to give this month a different meaning. Yes, it is still about love. But now it is love for pets and their teeth.

These two groups tagged what used to be the love month as the Pet Dental Health Month. They both aim and do steps in educating pet owners like you about how to care for the dental needs of your pets every day.

But these groups know how important this is for the pets and their owners. They actually would want all those who are caring for any pets to consider each month as the dental health month for pets.

Did You Know?

Did you know that about 85 percent of the old pets have dental diseases? Did you know that this is one of the most common causes of health related problems with cats? And did you know that if you didn't pay any attention to those periodontal diseases, more problems may surface?


If such conditions will not be properly treated, such may cause harmful elements like bacteria from the dental cavity spreading all through the bloodstream. And as a result, this will infect other major organs that will cause more complications that may lead to your pet's death.


How to Care for the Teeth

As a pet owner, you have the responsibility to clean your cat's teeth every day. This could be tasking if you will imagine about it. But you can use some help from other household members to open kitty's mouth for you while you complete the task.

Your feline friend may not like the process at first. But it is for its own good. For this reason, you both need to get accustomed with it. You can try toothpaste that has a fish flavor for the experience to be more fun for your cat.

You must also have a regular appointment with your vet regarding the dental health of your pets. Aside from this, you have to check on your cat's teeth as well as the gums every day to see if they are clean. If you want, you can also floss your cat's teeth.

You have already provided a lot for your cat. Don't let it all go to waste. Take care of your cat's teeth as soon as you have them. You don't want further complications as they grow old. If you have experienced what it's like to experience pain because of your teeth. You can only imagine how a helpless cat can cope with it.

If you will not do something about it soon, your cats will be prone to diseases like in the heart, even their lungs and liver, as well as the kidneys.

Be mindful about cat teeth care. Just following the abovementioned simple rules will keep your cats smiling all the way into adult age. By doing the necessary actions, you are preparing your pets to have an easy life as it grows older.


How Kittens Learn to Hunt

Cats have been famous for hunting mice and rats for as long as cats and people

have been together. As strange as it may seem to some people, cats are not born knowing

how to hunt. It is a skill they learn from watching their mothers. If the mother cat is a

good hunter, then her kittens will learn to be good hunters. Interestingly, kittens seem to

learn the best from their mothers. They do not seem to learn as well or as quickly from

watching other adult cats.

At about five or six weeks of age, a mother cat will begin teaching her kittens

how to hunt. At first she brings dead mice to the kittens. She will eat some of the mice in

front of the kittens. In this way she is showing them that mice are their prey and that they

are good to eat. As time goes on the kittens begin to play with the dead mice their mother

brings them. Before long the kittens are flinging the dead mice around and pouncing on

them. It's a good idea to stand clear of them when they're at this stage. You might get

smacked by a flying mouse if you don't!


How to Take Care of Your Cat

Cats are cute creatures that can take care of themselves. But if you were to have one as a pet, you should know certain things about how to take care of your cat. It is different when you got this as a kitten to a full grown feline.

If you got this as a kitten, it will easily be able to adapt itself to the environment because it will allow itself to be ruled by other pets. This means there will be fewer incidents of fighting among themselves.

Lucky for you, kittens that often sold to owners are already litter trained. The only thing you have to do now is teach it where to go when nature calls.

Your kitten will follow you wherever you go and at times jump or climb up to the kitchen counter or table. This isn’t good if you have food there so discourage this habit by having a bottle full of water around so you can squirt it into their face.

It will also be a good idea to install a scratching post since this is their way of sharpening their nails. If they do this elsewhere, spray them again in the face.

Apart from working on the scratch pad, you should trim their nails before it gets too sharp that it could hurt someone or damage the furniture in the house. You do this by pressing down on each toe which makes the claws extend. This should be inspected regularly so they also get used to it as they grow older.

Kittens do not shed that much hair compared to bigger cats. But you should comb them anyway so they get used to it regardless if your pet is a short or long haired cat.

Don’t just give your cat anything to eat. They must be of good quality that can be found in the pet store. If you are not sure about which brand has the highest vitamins and minerals, go ask your vet for some recommendations. There must be a clean bowl of water as well so they don’t get dehydrated.

Aside from feeding the kitten, he or she should be brought to the vet for shots. They usually get a few while they are young but get a regular one annually as they get bigger. Be sure to keep a record of the shots so this can be shown to the doctor.

If you have a big cat, give them room to adapt to the new environment on their own. If your pets quarrel, don’t worry or get in between them because this is normal. But if things are really bad, then you have to separate them by confining both in different rooms.

An older cat also needs to be disciplined so they know what they can and cannot do. This is why you need to keep the squirt bottle handy as this is the best way to tell them it is wrong without physically hurting them.

House cats should always be kept indoors. Studies have shown that this extends their life for over ten years since going outside puts them at risk of being hit by a car or contaminated with a virus from stray animals.  Just so you know strays cats that live outdoors only live for a couple of years.

It doesn’t take much to know how to take care of a cat. Do some research and practice so both of you will enjoy each other’s company.
Is My Cat’s Aggression Normal?

Play aggression is defined as the stalking, chasing, pouncing, biting, and scratching behaviors, which normally occur when cats engage in play. Problems occur when these behaviors are directed against instead of with people in the household.

Another common cause for play aggression towards humans is when owners leave a single young cat alone for most of the day. Play aggression can also be triggered and reinforced by owners who insist on letting a cat "attack" their hands and feet.

Owners must learn to recognize the postures exhibited by cats engaging in problematic, as opposed to acceptable, play aggression. The typical play aggression cat will demonstrate predatory type of behaviors.

The cat will stalk the owners and pounce on moving body parts such as hands and feet. Growling and hissing usually does not occur, however, the cat's pupils will be widely dilated. Bites and scratches inflicted during a play aggression attack are usually inhibited and not severe.

All of the above types of aggression are normal for a cat.  There are, however, a couple circumstances when there may be cause to worry.


If a cat hisses and growls while attacking, he is not playing.  This type of behavior is intended to inflict pain.  It is important to find out what may be causing this behavior.  Reacting with physical punishment will only make the cat worse.  Try talking quietly and calmly to him until he has settled.

Medical causes for aggression should be pursued only if a cat exhibits behavior that is unusual for the particular cat, or behavior accompanied by abnormal clinical signs. If a cat that previously loved to be petted suddenly starts biting when stroked, you should look for a possible source of pain.

Knowing what is and is not normal for a cat will help you avoid problems in the long run.


Keeping Your Indoor Cat Happy

We all know that a cat that spends most of his time indoors is healthier.  Studies show that indoor cats live nearly twice as long as outdoor cats.  The risk of accidents and disease are reduced, or eliminated.  Your cat doesn’t know this, however, so how do you keep him happy about staying inside and not roaming the neighborhood.

First of all, spending time playing with your cat will make him feel loved.  It will give him exercise and help work off any excess energy he may be experiencing.

Cats like to eat green things.  Plant some cat grass in pots around the house and allow him to nibble from them.  This will help take care of his need to eat greenery.

Opening a window that has a secure screen will allow your cat to have fresh air.  If you hang a bir feeder within sight of this window, you will find your cat staying entertained for hours on end as he watches the birds come and go.


If you have a porch, tying your cat out on a leash will allow him to lie in the sunshine and breath fresh air.  The leash will keep him safely secure so he does not roam and get lost or hurt.  This is one instance when it is important to make sure he is up to date on his shots.  This will make sure he does not catch any airborne diseases.


Following the above suggestions will help insure your indoor cat stays both happy and healthy—and all those who share their home with a cat know that a happy cat makes for a happy home.



Keeping Cats Out Of Your Garden


Your first line of defense when keeping cats out of your garden is to make sure that you have your boundaries secure.  If there are any gaps in your fence, you should make sure that you block them to prevent any low access.  Cats are very agile animals, and can jump very high.  Normally they can jump a fence, which is why you should also invest in string or taut wire across the top.


If a cat has made his way into your garden, it may be hard to get him out.  Most people choose to use dogs, simply because dogs are known to dislike cats. There are several dog breeds out there that completely dislike cats, such as pit bulls and Dobermans.  Cats are completely fearful of these breeds, and will flee if they see them around.


All cats are known to despise water as well.  If you spot a cat in your garden, water almost always gets him out.  All it takes is a bucket of water or a well aimed squirt with a garden hose to make him run away.  After you have hit the cat with water several times, he should get the hint not to come back anymore.  If he comes back, simply squirt him or throw more water on him until he gets the idea.


Protecting your plants is a different story.  Mothballs are said to be very effective, as cats don’t like the smell.  You can use mothballs around your plants, garden borders, or even along the fence.  There are other repellents that you can use as well, such as cayenne peppers, tobacco, lavender oil, citronella oil, mustard oil, and even lemon grass oil.


If you visit your local hardware or lawn store, you can find motion activated sprinklers.  They work great in keeping cats out of your garden.  Once you install the sprinkler system and a cat comes into the area, the detector will pick up the cat’s presence and immediately shoot out a jet of water that will douse the cat.  In most cases, all it takes is a few times of exposure to the sprinkler before a cat learns to stay out of that area.


Sound devices that feature high frequencies are also a great way to scare off cats, although they aren’t annoying to humans.  You can find several different models, such as those that stay on all the time, and those that are motion detected.  To use this type of device, you’ll need to make sure that the model you have is strong enough to cover the entire area.  If you model you are using is strong enough to cover your entire garden, it should suffice in scaring off any unwanted animals.


You can also use commercial repellents as well.  Commercial repellents use scents to keep cats away, and shouldn’t be used near any food crops.  Due to their high chemical content, commercial repellents can pollute your crops.  You can find them at your local department store, with several varieties to choose from, many of which will fend off other animals from your garden as well.


If you have a garden, it can be very annoying if cats and other animals decide to make your garden their home.  If you stick to your guns and do your part, you can prevent them from bothering your garden or your crops.  Once you have secured your boundaries around the garden, you should try using water first.  If water doesn’t seem to work, you can look into another method, such as commercial repellents.



Newborn Kitten Health


Any pet’s health is important, but those who are new to the world may need extra care and attention in order to stay safe and healthy. If your cat has recently had kittens, you are a second mother to these new little additions to the family. It is crucial to make sure that you are providing the best living environment possible for the kittens as they grow during their first few weeks of life.


During the first few days of a litter’s life, your mother cat will spend most of her time lying with the kittens. This is a natural instinct. You should move the food and water to be very close to where the kittens are so that the mother does not have to move far to find nourishment. Check mom a few times a day to make sure that she is producing milk properly. If the mother does not stay with her kittens, something may be wrong. First-time mothers are especially prone to bouts of anxiousness. When a mother is worried about her kittens, she may move them t hide them form everyone and everything, even you. If she feels very threatened, she may kill her kittens as a form of protecting them. If you see your mother cat exhibiting anxious qualities, monitor her activity with the kittens closely and consider keeping her caged.


Kittens need a very warm temperature to survive. If the mother does not stay with the kittens, you may need to supply heat from an outside source, like a heat lamp. Large litters will typically stay warmer, using body heat. Make sure that the box where the newborn kittens are staying is about 85-90 degrees Fahrenheit for at least the first week of life. However, mothers may feel as through their kittens are in danger if there is too much light. You can calm an anxious mother by placing a blanket loosely over the top of the box.


Don’t be alarmed if the kittens are not moving around much at first. Newborn kittens sleep and eat 90% of the time for the first two weeks of life. Crying is common if the mother leaves for any amount of time, but if the kittens cry excessively, it may signal that they are not getting enough to eat or they are sick. Call your vet if this occurs. You can also call your vet for special instructions if there are more than 5 kittens in the litter, which may mean that the mother cannot supply enough milk. In general, it is simply best to talk to your vet about what to expect with your new kittens.



Leash Training Your Cat


You can train your cat to walk on a leash with a lot of patience and a few simple rules. A harness is best for a cat. Cat's won't respond well to jerking their collar so a harness is really best and should be loose and comfortable for the cat.

First, allow your cat to play with the new items so she gets used to them.  Try putting the harness on her and see how she reacts. This step is very important, if you force the cat to wear the harness, they are not going to be happy at all with the harness or with you. Take your time with all the steps. If your cat balks at any step, go back to the previous one. It is a lot harder getting a cat to cooperate than it is for a dog.

After the cat is wearing the harness loose, then it is the time to tighten the harness up until it is the right fit for the cat. At this point, you will want to give the cat time to wear the harness. Next attach the leash. Then you will want to start walking the cat inside, until the cat is doing well. Once the cat is comfortable with the leash then it is time to go outside for a walk.

When walking with the cat make sure there is not too much loose leash or they will be running in all random directions. There are many distractions for a cat outdoors - birds, squirrels and the neighbor’s pets might cause your cat to want to run around, but you must keep a tight leash so that your cat walks with you and is not dragging you all over the place. You will soon be enjoying your outings.


Litter Cleaning For Cats


Almost everyone, adults and kids alike have a natural fondness for cats.  They are loving, quiet, and very playful pets that can provide you with years of entertainment.  Although most of us have a fondness for cats, that fondness can rapidly diminish when it comes to the litter box.  Even the most hardened cat lover may get tired of litter box duty, especially when it comes down to scooping “you know what” from the litter box.


Cats are very intelligent, instinctively knowing how they should use the litter box.  After the cat has finished using the litter box, someone in the family will need to scoop the waste from the litter box.  This can be a very dirty and somewhat smelly job, one that is often overlooked during the day when the workload gets heavy. Cleaning up the litter box doesn’t take but a few minutes, although most would prefer not to do it at all.  Although the litter box will need to be scooped out daily, it will also need to be changed once a week as well, by throwing the current bag out and replacing the box with a new bag and fresh litter.


Those who don’t like to scoop out the litter box should invest in one of the best inventions ever – the self cleaning litter box.  These litter boxes are easy to use, and will keep the area clean.  After the cat has used it, the self cleaning litter box will automatically clean the litter either by sifting or using a device that resembles a rake.


Self cleaning boxes that use shifting will often times have a round design.  Once the cat leaves the covered box, the dome on top will revolve for the box to clean.  The litter in the box will be shifted with the waste being put below the litter where it is discarded.  Once the waste is properly disposed of, the litter will be returned to its normal position in the box for the cat to use again.


Boxes that have raking systems will often times sport a rectangular design.  Once the cat leaves the box, the rake will automatically come out and clean the litter.  The rake will clean all of the litter in the box, including the clumps of waste as well.  Rakes are popular, although the shifting litter boxes are by far more popular and more common.


Those who are often times away from home could greatly benefit from a self cleaning litter box.  They are great to have for cats that spend a lot of time by themselves, as they virtually eliminate any scooping of litter on your part.  You can find them at your local pet or department store, even online as well.  They are very affordable – and ideal for anyone who doesn’t like scooping waste from their litter box.




Long Term Cat Care


A cat can be a pet an also a friend. If you want the feline to be with you for the long term, it pays to know proper cat care.


Before getting one from the pet store or animal shelter, be sure to have a bed, dish bowl and litter box ready. By giving them their own space, they will be able to adapt to the new environment that you have made for them.


Since the cat will explore around the house and might even go out, it is advisable to put a collar around its neck which has your name, contact number and address so in case it wanders off, one of your neighbors will be able to return it.


Another option is to insert a microchip under their skin. Putting this device into the feline is very similar to giving it a vaccination. Aside from using it merely to identify the cat if it gets lost, it also has another purpose which is a flea deterrent because it has a chemical that helps keep these parasites away.


You must only buy high quality cat food for your pet. These should be rich in protein that may come from meat, fish or poultry. These are available either in canned or Kibble and most nutritionists agree that a combination of both is ideal so they do not develop food addictions.


One thing you must never feed a cat is chocolate because it has certain chemicals that could be fatal for them.


Aside from food, you can also give your cat food supplements such as Omega 3 Fatty Acids and Taurine which is an essential amino acid.


Don’t forget to bring your cat at least once a year to the vet. This is to check on your pet’s state of health as well as giving the annual vaccinations. You should know that the older the cat gets, such visits to the vet should be done every 6 months because they also get old.


If there is a problem or suspect that something is wrong, drive down to the vet even if you don’t have an appointment. Remember that when it comes to dealing with felines, this professional is the specialist.


Cats have the ability to clean themselves but they can only do so much on their own. While they are young, they have to get used to the idea of giving them a bath. Once dried, their hairs should be combed so it does not get tangled.


You should trim their nails so they don’t scratch too hard and hurt themselves or even you. Since they love to scratch and this may cause damage to your furniture, make sure to also have a scratch pad nearby positioned by their bed or the furniture.


House cats should always be kept indoors. This will prevent them from coming into contact with other animals that may be carriers of infectious diseases that may be fatal to them. If ever you go out, make sure all the windows and doors are locked.


Long term cat care may let it live for ten years or more. If others are able to do it, so can you. Just remember that it is a responsibility that you got yourself into so make the most of it.



Cat Breeds

Maine Coon Cat


Are you looking to get a new cat soon? Great! You may want to consider a

purebred cat. There are many breeds that can be found in this country, each with its own

characteristic appearance and temperament and history. Think carefully about what you

would characteristics you would like to see in your new companion. Perhaps you would

care to consider:


Maine Coon Cat


The ancestry of these big, hearty cats from New England is unknown. Most likely

they came across from Europe with the early settlers as working cats on the ships. Some

of these long haired ship cats apparently decided to disembark in the new world and

made their home there along with the new colonists. Winter in New England can be

extremely tough. Only the strongest survived those early winters, human or cat. Once

they settled in to their new homes, these long haired cats began to thrive. The Shaggies,

as they were called then, became a familiar part of colonial life throughout New England.


The Maine Coon Cat is a big, strong, intelligent cat. They are also very loving and

devoted family members and remain very playful into old age. Maine Coon Cats do not

seem to make snap decisions about people. They remain somewhat reserved when they

first meet new people or move into a new home. Once they have made their decision,

they become affectionate and devoted companions. Maine Coon Cats also have an

unusual fascination with water. They are known to dabble in their water dishes or play in

showers before the water has all run out. Once in a while, a cat will actually go



Maine Coon Cats are gentle giants in the cat world. Males can top out at 20lbs

while females can reach 12 lbs. The size difference between the sexes is unusually large.

The females are no pushovers despite their lack of size. They feel they are every bit as

strong as the males and aren't afraid to prove it. These ladies can be quite feisty. Maine

Coon Cats have broad chests with well muscled bodies and medium length legs. This

breed does not reach full maturity until they are four years old. This cat has an easy going

and affectionate temperament. The smallest part of this cat is its voice. Maine Coon Cats

speak with a high squeaky voice that seems entirely incongruous coming from such a

massive cat. These cats chirp, cheep, chortle, and trill as well as meow. It's quite an eye

opener to hear a Maine Coon Cat speak.


These cats have thick semi long coats which are all-weather and water resistant

as well. Fortunately, the Main Coon Cats coat does not tangle easily. The texture is

surprisingly silky. The most common coat color pattern is tabby though they can come in

a wide variety of colors and patterns.


The Main Coon Cat is a breed whose cheerful ways continue to charm people

every day. Give the Main Coon Cat a closer look. The breed is hardy and affectionate.

This cats' laid back temperament would make an outstanding family pet.  This cat may be

exactly what you are looking for in a new companion.




Cat Behavior

More Oddities


In my previous article on cat behavior, we discussed some interesting and unusual

behavior displayed by the family of cats that live on my farm. That was only the

beginning. These cats seem to delight in unexpected behavior. I thought I would share a

few more gems with you.


There are three female cats on my farm. They consist of matriarch, Patch, and two

of her daughters. There have been other female cats on the farm, but I have been able to

find new homes for all of them. Cats, being solitary hunters, are not expected to show any

kind of social hierarchy. My three female cats do have a definite hierarchy. The top cat is,

of course, Patch. It's the two daughters that have been interesting. The older daughter,

Calico, is from Patch's first litter she had on the farm. She is a sturdy, healthy calico that

has not had any real problems. The second daughter is Little Girl. Little girl is a couple of

years younger than Calico. She is the smallest cat on the farm. A black cat with flashy

white markings, little girl is active and elegant.




Moving and Cat Concerns


Moving can be a difficult situation with which to deal for all member of your family, including your cats. If you will be moving in the near future there are a number of things that you should consider in order to make sure that your cat’s health is not compromised. Don’t forget to think about your furry friends when moving!


First, when you are packing for the move, it might be a good idea to confine your cat to a single room or to have a friend of family member watch your cat for the day. Movers are often caring very heavy items, like sofas and refrigerators, so they shouldn’t have to watch where they step. Your curious kitty could also climb into the moving van or boxes and get packed away! If your cat is fully an indoor cat, the open doors while you are loading your belongings are also a worry, since it is easy for a pet to bolt out the door.


About a month before you move, have your cat wear his or her collar full-time, even if you do not normally put the collar on your cat. All of his or her information should be updated and the tags should reflect your new address. When cats are confused, they often run, and a lost cat in a new neighborhood may not be able to find his or her way home very easily. If your cat needs certain medication, this can be very dangerous. By having his or her wear a collar at all times, at least until he or she gets used to the new location, you can make sure that your cat is returned home if lost.


During the move itself, don’t forget to make special accommodations for your cat. A cat carrier that is well ventilated is a necessity, and if the trip will be more than a few hours long, you’ll also need to carry food, water, and litter box supplied for your cat. Cats that are not used to riding in cars may get sick, so talk to your vet about ways to prevent this. You can also cover the carrier with blankets to provide a bit of extra security for a stressed-out kitty when you’re in heavy, loud traffic or construction areas.


Remember, that you’ll need to find a new vet in your new neighborhood. This should be a top priority for you if you’re moving, and you should talk to your current vet about having your cat’s medical records transferred to a new location. If your cat is acting strangely at all, do not hesitate to call your vet to more tips about moving with your cat.





Naming Your Cat


With all apologies to T.S. Eliot, the naming of cats is not all that delicate a matter.

But some thought should certainly be given to it. Giving the cat a foolish or ugly name on

the spur of the moment because it sounds funny is no way to start a relationship. It

encourages a careless and disrespectful attitude toward the cat not only in yourself, but in

other people as well. A bad name encourages a bad attitude toward the cat. Fortunately,

coming up with a good name can be fun and there are endless possibilities for ideas.


One very popular way for finding a good name is to look up the names of stars,

galaxies or constellations. You don't have to stick with just the major ones. Look up

some of the minor constellations and stars as well. You could find just the perfect name

in a constellation you had previously never heard of. You too may find you have a

Dorado or Indus on your hands. Another popular means of naming cats is using human

names. Matilda, Annie, Pete and Bobby are all quite popular. Some people name their

cats after movie stars or characters in a favorite film or book. I'm certain that at this very

moment, there are a large number of Frodos purring contentedly on their favorite

windowsill right now.


Another good way to name a cat is by using something in their appearance to

name them. Many calico colored cats have been simply named Calico. Spotted cats of

any color frequently have the name of Patch. One cat was named Shadow because her

black and tan tiger stripes seemed to melt into the late afternoon shadows the first time

her new owner saw her. A gray kitten was quite suitably named Ash.


Sometimes it is something the cat did that suggested their name. One kitten had a

habit of scaring himself silly. When he and his siblings first learned to climb trees, he

became over excited and rushed up higher than he was brave enough to climb down from.

The poor little gay clung to a branch crying at the top of his lungs while the adult cats

rushed around trying figure out a way to get him down. It only required a stool to retrieve

the little guy, but he was sure he was stuck halfway to the moon. Another time he

managed to get his head stuck between the slats on an old corn crib. He was safely

rescued after considerable effort. Due to this undeniable talent for scaring himself, he was

named Spook.


Sometimes it is the cats' personality that suggests a name. A bold little explorer

who was the first kitten in his litter to explore the world outside their nest was named

Boone. A handsome brown kitten was so very fastidious in everything he did (one never

puts ones' paws in the food dish, that's dirty!) that he was eventually named Thomas.


Naming a cat can be a pleasant and entertaining task. It's often the very first thing

a person does when he or she picks out a new companion. Take a little time to select just

the right name for your new friend. A good name will set your new relationship off on

just the right foot.



The Advantages of Neutering your Male Cat


Most male animals that are not used for breeding purposed are castrated, neutered, so that they can no longer impregnate a female. For cats especially, this is crucial, since there are hundreds of kittens every year that go without homes. There are many advantages to neutering your male cat, and the process is quite safe, so you should consider it if your furry feline friend is male and not yet neutered.


Male cats that have not yet been neutered are called tomcats. Simply put, it can be difficult to live with a tomcat, no matter how well trained he may be. When your cat is not neutered, he will want to get outside as frequently as possible to mate with female cats in heat. This can be disastrous if you live in a busy street with lots of traffic or if your cat is not used to being outdoors. Tomcats also roam a lot, meaning that they may travel far distances in search of female cats, and it is possible for your cat to roam too far and not know his way home. It is also possible for him simply to resist coming home at all, since he will be shut indoors. To protect your male cat, neutering it the best choice.


Tomcats also fight and are generally more aggressive than neutered cats. Because they want sexual dominance in a particular area, they may seek fights with other male cats to drive them away. Cats will fight to the death if they feel threatened, and fights cause not only injuries, but also the spread of diseases like the FeLV virus, which can be fatal. Neutering your cat will not stop an aggressive cat from being less aggressive toward humans, but it will prevent your cat from actively seeking fights with other male cats in the neighborhood.


Vasectomies are not done with male cats. Rather, the simple neutering procedure will remove the male reproductive organs, which are easily accessible in most tomcats. In some cases, more extensive surgery has to be done, because they have not developed and descended correctly. The removal of these organs is what causes the changing in male hormones through a cat’s body, changing the cat’s behavior. Sterilization is not enough, because the cat won’t notice the difference and will still seek to fight and mate. Your vet can tell you more about this procedure, but all in all, it is the best choice for any cat, since there are already so many homeless cats in the world.





Recognizing and Treating Over-grooming


There are a number of medical conditions in cats that may seem like they don’t really harm the cat, but in actuality, they can really take a toll on a cat’s health. One such disorder is over-grooming, which is a stress-related condition that can be compared to obsessive-compulsive disorders in humans. Over-grooming can be very dangerous, so if you see symptoms of this disorder in your cat, talk to your vet right away to find out what you can do to help.


Over-grooming usually starts when there has been a big change in your cat’s life, such as a new baby or pet in the house or a move. Cats naturally groom themselves often, and this activity is like a massage that cats love to do. Therefore, if your cat is stressed out about a change in his or her life, your cat may groom as an attempt to remain calm. Over-grooming takes place with the cat excessively licks or pulls out fur, resulting in bald spots. Commonly, the areas affected by over-grooming at the inner thighs and forelegs.


If you see bald spots on your cat, your first step is to call your vet and schedule an appointment. There are, in fact, over things that cause balding in a cat, and these other medical conditions can become quickly fatal if left untreated. Thyroid problems, allergies, fleas, mites, ringworm, and bacterial pyoderma can all cause bald patches in the fur, which your vet can examine to diagnose your pet.


If your cat is suffering from over-grooming, there are a number of things you can do to her him or her heal. First, identify what has triggered this reaction in your pet and eliminate this if possible. However, this may not help, as the cat’s behavior may be a habit by now. Try to take your cat’s mind off of grooming by regular play and stimuli. Consider a cat video or a fish tank, which can entertain your cat when you have to leave for more than an hour, and when possible, bring your cat wherever you are going.


You vet can also recommend certain medications to help your cat stop over-grooming. Anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medications could do the trick, and your vet can help you learn positive reactions for your cat when you she that he or she is over-grooming. Together, you, your vet, and your cat can put an end to your cat’s health problems.



Cat Breeds



Are you looking to get a new cat soon? Great! You may want to consider a

purebred cat. There are many breeds that can be found in this country, each with its own

characteristic appearance and temperament and history. Think carefully about what you

would characteristics you would like to see in your new companion. Perhaps you would

care to consider:


The Persian


A very ancient breed of cat, the Persian was first mentioned in hieroglyphs

beginning at approximately 1684 B.C. The Persians' beginnings have long been lost to

time. The Persian was so named for their ostensible country of origin, the great ancient

empire of Persia which was located in around the modern country of Iran. The first

known Persian cats to arrive in Europe were brought by an Italian traveler, Pietro della

Valle, in the 1600s. Persians became very popular throughout Europe. At the first modern

cat show, held in 1871 in London at the Crystal Palace, Persians were a featured breed.

The show at the Crystal Palace, and the others that followed, served only to increase the

popularity of this already very popular breed. Queen Victoria herself adored blue



Persians are a wildly popular breed. They are, in fact, the most popular breed of

cat on the planet. Their long flowing coats and sweet faces immediately endear them to

so many people. Their personalities are gentle and affectionate. They are strong creatures

of habit and are most comfortable in secure environments with regular routines, but with

gentle support, they can adapt to a more lively environment if need be. Persians are soft

spoken cats with pleasant and melodious voices that many people enjoy. Their expressive

eyes charm people of all ages. Persians are built long and low with sturdy short legs.

They are not big jumpers but do enjoy lounging in their favorite strategic locations. They

can often be found beautifully draped on a sunny windowsill posing for sheer pleasure of

  1. Friendly cats, Persians will seek attention, but not demand it. Persians have long been

a fixture in artwork. Their great beauty has earned them frequent roles in commercial

advertising and in movies.


Persians need to be kept indoors, away from dirt and burrs that could knot up

those beautiful coats. Daily combing is a must to prevent snarled fur and hairballs. Those

huge beautiful eyes do tend to do a bit of tearing. Washing a Persians' face daily will take

care of tearing. A well bred Persian can be hearty and healthy. When properly cared for,

Persians can live to be 15 years old.


The Persian is an extraordinarily beautiful breed and comes in an amazing variety

of colors and patterns. The registry divides their colors into seven categories: solid color

division, silver and gold division, shaded and smoke division, tabby division, particolor

division, bicolor division and Himalayan division. Each color and pattern exquisitely



The Persian cat is an ancient breed whose winning ways continue to charm people

to this day. They appear in a rainbow of colors and patterns, one of which is sure to catch

your eye. Give the Persian cat a closer look. The Persian has long been a gentle, loving,

loyal companion to many people over the years. This cat may be exactly what you are

looking for in a new companion.




Care for Pet Cats


Pet cat care should be your responsibility if you have your pet cat at home. Knowing if you have a healthy cat would require that you know how to observe how your cat looks. You should be able to judge if your cat is too thin or too fat. The best thing to do it is to observe your pet cat and see how it looks.


When examining your cat, you may be able to see the telltale signs if it is either too thin or too heavy. Your pet cat may be too thin if the ribs are obviously visible on your short haired cat. The ribs may show or you may be able to feel it on a thick haired cat with seemingly no palpable fat anywhere. You may also observe some slight abdominal tuck as well as no visible fat on your pet.


A cat that is too heavy may have their ribs not easily obvious that may be covered by excess fat. If you observe your cat, you may notice that it might not have a visible waist that has become rounded with excess fat. Your cat would seem rounded with the prominent abdominal fat as well as with fat deposits over the back area. This would be one of the signs that your cat may be overweight.


One of the solutions to problems concerning your pet cat's weight would be the proper feeding regimen that you cat goes through. It is important that, as a pet owner, you will know the right proportion of food to give to your pet cat. At different points of their life, your pet cat would require different nutritional needs and therefore a varied feeding program.


When you have a pet kitten, you should know that they require twice as much energy per pound of their body weight as compared to a mature cat. Kittens need to be weaned for about the first six to eight weeks of their life and then they can be given a regular diet composed of a well balanced food that will ensure proper growth. Kittens should be fed three top four times a day with a source of clean water always made available for them at all times. This regimen is to help provide the cat's nutritional needs during its rapid growth.


After seven months to one year, you may now need to bring down feeding your cat to just twice a day. But this should be seen on an individual basis. The amount that you would eventually feed would depend on the level of activity and body condition of your cat. Your vet can assess and would be able to provide you with the right diet to provide for your pet cat.


When you have an adult cat that go through just the normal day to day activity, diet wold be to maintain that type of feline lifestyle. At this time, a cat food that is well-balanced for maintenance of cats in all life stages may already be used. Be also aware that cats are occasional eaters.


They do not seem to finish up their food at just one sitting. You may observe them to eat a bit of the food you serve but never seem to finish them. They usually try to eat at various times of the day when they feel like it.


For this reason, you might need to provide all-day access to food for your cat along with a clean source of water supply.




Pet Cat Care & Health


Proper pet cat care and is the only means of preserving its health. If you fail, your feline friend will get sick and die. Surely, you don’t want to happen so you should practice the ways of making this happen.


When you get a cat, it has probably had already one vaccination. If you are not sure, ask the seller about this and the documents to prove it so you need to bring this every time you go to the vet.


Most of the vaccinations given to the cat are injected into their system. There are usually some side effects that go with it like flue like symptoms or fatigue. If it lasts longer than expected, bring your cat back to the vet.


Cats also encounter ticks and fleas. You can remove them by hand and shampoo them. But if you want to hit two birds with one stone, tell your doctor to give your feline friend a microchip. The device inserted into their skin has a dual purpose. First, it makes your cat easy to identify if it leaves the house. Second, it is a coated with a chemical that acts as a tick and flea repellant.


Proper cat care also involves giving them the right amount of nutrients. Unlike humans that need carbohydrates, protein and fats, they only need only protein that comes from poultry meat or fish products.


These are available in can or in pellet form. So your cat does not get sick and tired of eating the same thing everyday, make changes from time to time or even mix it.


If you think that the food you are not giving is not enough, you can also give it some food supplements. You can buy these off the counter and the best ones to get are those that contain Omega 3 fatty acids and Taurine.


Cats also need a bath. When you do this, make sure that they are comfortably in the tub that has lukewarm water.  If it tries to escape, hold it gently on the neck. The shampoo you will be using on the cat should be the kind designed for them exclusively. Before you apply it, put lubricating eye ointment to their eyes to prevent irritations caused by the shampoo. After bathing the cat, dry it with a towel and comb the hairs to prevent entanglements.


Your cat will probably roam free in the house. They may not chew on wires but they may eat things that are left out in the open. To prevent this from happening, make sure no junk is left on the floor or on the table and that all cabinets are secured.


There is only so much you can do as the owner. When it comes to vaccinations and health related problems, make sure that this is handled by the vet. Be ready to answer any questions that are asked about the cat because this information is important in knowing the condition of your pet.


Taking care of your pet cat is a huge responsibility because their health rests solely in your hands. By practicing what was mentioned above, you will be able to spend many years with it by your side.


You might even want to add another cat later on just make sure they get acquainted first and there is no favoritism so no one feels jealous.




Pet cats against AIDS and others


With no specific cure for your ailment, no idea if when is the end, not many people who are willing to get close to you, no more time to be guilty then and now…


These are just some of the many uncertainties and pain a person with AIDS, HIV or any other STDs (Sexually Transmitted Disease). As a kind of sickness which the society feels less acceptable, any person who has it, no matter how callous he or she may be will really feel lonesome. According to a study published in the April 1999 journal AIDS Care, those who own pets such as cats are also less likely to suffer from depression, even as symptoms from this frightening disease become more severe


This feeling of solitude and helplessness will just worsen things. At this point of their lives, they need to be stress-free, guilt-free and so forth. Moreover, they must feel happy, accepted and loved. Being in their situation is difficult. If they do not find means of recreation, they would feel so much depression and anxiety. Thus, health hazards would be so strong to overcome.


Companionship and consistency are among the wonderful things pets could give AIDS or HIV patients and victims. These animals provide them pleasure, love, attention emotions which they cannot freely have from others due to the negative social stigma we have around. "The benefits of pet ownership especially these affectionate cats, are real -- physically, mentally and psychosocially," confirms Dr. Daniel Joffe, a Calgary veterinarian who specializes in companion animals. People need companion. If in the absence of a good friend or a loved-one, pets are the purest source of joy.


We do not have to insert coins just to be entertained. For animal-assisted therapy patients, they do not have to stay in bed, shedding all those tears at all times. As a medium of social interaction, pets help one patient feel better by easily linking him with other patients. Interacting with one another is not merely a way of meeting somebody who has the same situations like yours. Indeed, it helps you feel that you are not alone and that someone else could understand where you are coming from. A friendship may bloom and few know that friendships provide a lot of remedies to even deep pains beyond the treatment of chemicals.


Long time ago, pets such as cats graced our homes and we felt happy. Today, they grace hospitals and asylums: we feel safe and sane. We must consider them as blessings. Thus, encourage the rest of the world to take care of animals. The world needs them. We need them.




Coaxing Kitty to Swallow: Administering Pills


If your cat s sick, there are many things that you can do to help him or her regain health. A vet will be able to explain to you all of the treatment options available. Sometimes, this means administering medications to your pet, and pills can be especially difficult to get your cat to eat. In fact, many pet owners think that their cat has eaten a pill, but they later find it on the floor or in the food bowl! There are many ways you can ensure that your kitty is swallowing all of the proper medications in order to heal as quickly as possible.


Remember, no matter how old your cat gets, you’ll never be able to explain to him or her that a pill is the first step to feeling better. Therefore, in order to teach a cat the importance of pets, you must teach a pet to be nonresistant to pills—or things that look like pills! Many cat treats that you purchase are actually in a similar size to pills and can be given to your cat regularly to get him or her used to pills. That way, if your cat ever needs pills, he or she will not resist. When you do this, give your cat the pill, and then immediately give your cat the pill-shaped treat.


If your cat has not had pills before, don’t worry—you can still get them into your cat’s system. Most cats will not resist pills at first if they do not know what they are. Start with the pill-shaped treats—cat chocolate is a good place to start. You can feed the cat a few of these pill-like treats, and then the real pill. Follow up with the treats once again.


You can also hide the pill so that the animal swallows it without realizing what he or she is doing. Push your cat’s pill into a chocolate treat that is made for cats (never you chocolate made for humans), or talk to your vet about other appropriate ways to cover the pill. Some people coat the pill in butter. Make sure, however, that your cat can have the pill with food. In some cases, your cat needs the medication on an empty stomach.


If your cat still won’t swallow the pill, you can also push the pill down his or her throat. This may seem a bit cruel, but if your pet needs the medication, it is the best choice. You can purchase pill pushers, but it is usually more convenient and effective if you do it by hand. Your vet can demonstrate how to push up on your pet’s mouth to insert the pill without getting bit. Stroke the cat’s throat and insert some water into the cat’s mouth to make him or her swallow. Pills and medication are very important to your pet, so make sure that your pet is getting them to stay healthy.





Household Poisons to your Cat


If you seek to provide the best living environment possible for your furry feline friend, it is important to know about the different household items that could poison your cat. Remember, your cat cannot resist tasty-smelling or unusual substances, nor can he or she tell you what was ingested to make him or her feel badly. Therefore, know which items you own could hurt your pet and keep these items securely in cabinets and other places your cat cannot access. If possible, keep these items out of your home altogether.


First, many homes have bleach products. You’ll find bleach and Clorox mainly in the laundry room or in other cleaning supplies; however, you can also find bleach products in swimming pool supplies. In generally, household bleaches are fairly mild. Although they will make your cat feel ill, most animals are smart enough to not drink enough to kill. Signs that your cat may have drunk a bleach product include excess drooling, vomiting, and abdominal pain. If your cat seems to be in pain, smell his or her fur if possible to detect the scent of the bleach. In general, call you vet and have your cat drink large quantities of milk or water if you possibly can. Monitor your cat for bloody vomit and difficulty breathing, and wash the paws and mouth area thoroughly.


Mothballs and other products containing naphthalene and paradichlorobenzene can also make your cat sick. Ingesting this substance can cause live damage and seizures. Symptoms include vomiting, seizures, blue or brown colored gums, increased heart rate, loss of appetite, and diarrhea. If you cat has eaten mothballs or items like toilet bowl cleaner or bathroom deodorizer, call your vet immediately.


Citrus oils, which are found in shampoo, insect repellent, fragrances, and insecticide are very harmful to cats as well. Although these items can harm all pets, cats are more sensitive than dogs and if you treat a cat with dog products, the result could kill your pet. Signs that your cat has ingested citrus oils include that common citrus smell, drolling, falling, trembling, and weakness. Eventually, liver damage occurs, and many cats experience liver failure, resulting in death. If your cat is treated, the prognosis is good, but left untreated, this poison could be deadly.


Therefore, it is simply important to call your vet if you see anything wrong with your cat at all. Cats are creatures of habit, so if your feline seems to be acting strangely, it is best to schedule an appointment. Do what’s best for your pet and try to keep harmful products in places where they can’t be reached.





Raising Kittens


Your cat is expecting kittens. How exciting! Raising kittens can be a highly

rewarding and enjoyable experience. What should you expect? What will you need to

make sure the little tikes grow up happy, healthy and strong?


Let's start from day one. Most likely, you walk in and find your cat already

nursing her new litter. As there will be a bit of a mess where she is, you will want to

move her and her kittens somewhere clean and safe. Mother cats prefer a darkened den,

so putting a blanket over her box and lining it with nice clean bedding will do nicely for a

nursery. The nursery should be set up in a quiet area, away from traffic. Too much noise

and light can upset a mother cat and she may try to move her kittens if she doesn't feel

her they are safe. A sad fact is that sometimes there are one or two dead kittens born

along with the live ones. Remove them immediately along with the rest of the birthing

mess. The mother will be unlikely to show any interest them.


For the first few days the mother will be constantly with her kittens. They need

warmth and frequent feedings at this time which doesn't leave much time for socializing.

By the time they are approximately a week old their need for very warm temperatures

will begin to reduce. The mother will begin to leave them alone for longer and longer

periods. They will begin to huddle up together for warmth. If you peek into the nursery

and find a ball of kittens sleeping peacefully, rest assured they are doing just fine. Kittens

will sleep nearly all the time for their first two weeks. If the kittens are crying constantly

then they are ill or not getting enough milk. Call your vet immediately. Ill or starving

kittens can die very quickly without your help.


Assuming that kittens and mother are all healthy and content, you will need to do

very little during the first month. The kittens' care will rest primarily in their mothers'

capable paws. Normally, kitten eyes will open in seven to fourteen days. If they stay shut

for longer than that call your vet. Kittens often get a mild eye infection. The infection

results in the eyelids being gummed shut. A cotton ball that has been moistened with

warm water should be all you'll need to open the eyes again. If a kitten gets this eye

infection keep a close on her. The infection could build up behind those glued shut

eyelids and damage the eyeball. The infection usually clears up by itself in a few days. If

it turns particularly severe, take the kitten to your vet.


At about one month of age, the kittens should toddle around pretty well and will

want to start eating solid food. You may find one of your little tikes standing in his

mothers' food dish trying out the food. You will want to put down a plate of a good

quality kitten food for them to nibble on. Kitten food is formulated specifically for the

needs of growing kittens, where adult food is not. Poor nutrition while the kittens are

growing could result in health issues when they become adults. The trick will be keeping

the mother out of the kitten food. Most adults find kitten food absolutely delicious.


The first planned visit to the veterinarian for vaccinations should come at about

two months of age. By about 3 months of age the kittens should pretty independent and

ready to move to their new home if you are planning to sell or give them away. I've given

a general overview here. For a normal healthy litter and mother these guidelines should

serve you well. If there are any issues, rely on your vet to let you know the best thing to

do in any situation. Enjoy your kittens while they are with you. They grow up so

amazingly fast!




When is a Worm not a Worm? Ring Worm and your Cat


Ringworm is a typical skin disease that affects many cats. This medical condition is actually not caused by worms at all, but rather by a fungus. The sores on the skin due to ringworm fungi are circular, which led to the belief at once time that a curling worm under the skin caused this disease. However, there are no worms involved. If you believe that you cat may have ringworm, make sure that you have him or her see a vet to clear the problem.


Ringworm is also called dermatophytosis. There are four species of fungi that cause ringworm in a cat, and because some of these organisms are so well adapted to a cat’s body, about 20% of cats have ringworm and show no outward signs of the disease. Ringworm commonly infected the dead skin, nails, and hair on an organism, using the keratin in the tissue as food.


Both genetics and environment influence the development of ringworm in cats. For example, research has shown that certain cat species develop the disease more readily. Ringworm spreads quickly between cats, so those illegally or even legally breeding cats may find this a problem. Ringworm caused the hair to break off at the skin and may be itchy.


If your cat has ringworm, there are a lot of ways to treat it. First, medications can be given to clear up the fungi found in the body. These may or may not have side effects, so make sure your vet tells you they are safe for your cat. Anti-fungal shampoo baths may also work. These baths should be given every day regularly and are great for cats that don’t mind the water. Lime sulfur dips, done weekly, can also be affective. If you have other pets, they may need to be treated as well to prevent the ringworm from spreading. Vaccines are available to help build an immunization to ringworm. If you cat has extremely long hair, clipping it may be necessary.


Remember, ringworm can infect humans as well as cats, especially children. If your cat has ringworm, or if you suspect this is the case, see your vet immediately. He or she can recommend what course of action you should taken in order to help your cat overcome the ringworm as well as to help the fungi from spreading to other animals and people in your house.





Seizures and Your Cat


There are many reasons why human being experience seizures, which are convulsing fits. However, this medical problem is not subject to affecting only humans. Your cat may also experience seizures. As with any medical condition, you should see your vet is any health problems arise in any of your pets. When you have a cat for a pet, it is important that you are responsible for keeping him or her as healthy and happy as possible.


Seizures are not always the same in every cat. They can occur at any time, and often have symptoms like loss of consciousness, contractions of the muscles, involuntary bodily functions, non-responsiveness, hallucinations, running in circles, and viciousness. You cat may or may not recognize you if he of she is going to have a seizure or after the seizure occurs. There are three main phases of seizures. In the pre-ictal phase, the cat may “know” a seizure is going to happen. He or she may appear nervous, hide, or find you and cling to you. Your cat may also be very nervous and tremble. This may last for up to a few hours, but in some cases, only lasts a few seconds. The ictal phase is the actual seizure. In this phase, the cat usually falls to its side and seems paralyzed. The body shakes uncontrollably and the head sometimes draws backwards. You cat may lose control of bodily functions. Usually this phase will not last more than five minutes, and immediately afterward, he or she enters the post-ictal phase. You cat may experience temporary blindness, confusion, nervousness, and disorientation during this period.


If your cat has a seizure, do not panic. Unlike humans, cats cannot swallow their tongues, so keep your hands away from his or her mouth at all times. There is nothing you can do to stop the seizure, so simply prevent the cat from falling or otherwise hurting him or herself during the seizure and afterwards.


Immediately call your vet. In most cases, seizures are caused by epilepsy, which is treatable and usually not damaging to your cat, but other medical conditions may also occur. Your vet can help your cat by doing a physical examination, studying his or her blood and urine, and doing an electrocardiogram to rule out more serious liver, heart, kidney, and blood disease. Your vet can prescribe medications to help prevent future seizures and talk to you about ways to minimize the harm done to your cat during seizures. Even if he or she has seizures, you cat may be able to live  along and healthy life with the proper care.




Selecting Your Cat


It's a great day today! Today is the day you go out to find your new friend and

companion, your new cat. But where do you go to find her? What will you need to look

for? What would you be wise to avoid? Let's take a look at each question.


Where do I find my new cat? There are a large number of places where cats are

available for new homes. The local animal shelter is an excellent place to begin. They

always have a very good selection of cats and kittens to choose from. With so many

different breeds, sizes, colors, and ages to choose from you're almost sure to find a new

friend just waiting for you to come and pick her up. Farmers frequently have kittens that

are available to go to a new home. If you are interested in a particular breed of cat,

contact their registry. They should be able to direct you to a reputable breeder in your



Now that you have looked over the cats or kittens available, how do you select

right one for you? First and foremost, make sure the cat or kitten is healthy. Bright eyes,

shining coat and a lively manner are indicators of good health. Interact with the kitten or

cat. Does she hiss and pull away when you touch her or does she purr and rub her head

against your hand? Is she patient or happy to be picked up, or is she frantic to get away?

Does she walk away from people and sit down as far away as she can with her ears down

or does she hold her ground and let her curiosity draw her to the new person. It will

become obvious pretty quickly which kitten or cat will have the kind of personality that

you will enjoy. Avoid the cat or kitten with an ugly attitude or that shows poor health.

That will be the way to avoid heartbreak on down the road.


Another thing that you should consider is yourself. What do I mean? I mean that

you should take stock of yourself. Most people are a sucker for kittens. Those little fluff

balls with their sweet faces are nearly impossible to resist. Do you have the time and

energy to deal with a lively kitten and her antics? (Oh, you mean I'm not supposed to

swing on the drapes?) Perhaps you would be more comfortable with an older cat who

already knows all about litter boxes and not climbing on top of the counter. A quiet adult

who will sit on your lap and purr while you watch your favorite show may be more your

speed. Be honest with yourself. You and your new cat will be much happier for it.


Okay, you've assessed yourself and the kittens and cats available to you. You've

picked out your perfect new friend. On your way home think over what supplies you have

at home. Do you have everything you need? A litter box with nice fresh litter? Is there a

little scooper to clean her litter box with? A food dish and a water bowl? Do you have

good quality food for her? Is it the one she is already used to? No? Perhaps you might

want to stop and pick up a small bag of the one she's familiar with. It will be something

she already knows in a strange place and may help her become comfortable in her new

home faster. You can begin blending your preferred food into her old one in the coming

days, eventually shifting her completely to her new food by the time the small bag ends.


There is much to consider when getting a new cat. Take your time. Make sure all

your preparations are made. You will be well on your way to a happy life for you and

your new cat.




Senior Cat Care Symptoms


Advances in medicine have increased the mortality rate of humans. You can say that the same goes for animals that just like humans need constant cat care when they reach their senior years. These symptoms vary so you have to be ready.


Cats reach their senior year or are classified as such when they have lived for 10 to 13 years. You might think that is nothing but one year for a cat is already 5 to 7 human years for them. So, if your cat is 10 years old, he or she is 70 years old?


Chances are, you have probably lost track of how long your cat has been there but a regular checkup with the local veterinarian can tell you if things are beginning to change.


Samples will then be taken from your cat and everyone will have to wait for the results. These consist of a blood sample, urinalysis and feces. It is here that the doctor can tell if your cat is anemic, has leukemia, is a diabetic, have kidney problems or has worms in the digestive system.


Aside from the physical, the vet will ask if you have noticed any changes in their activities or behavior. Some of the things often associated with old age that you should be aware of is the loss of sensory perception. This means their senses do not respond that fast anymore even if you try your best to play and train them to keep these sharp.


Another indicator is when your cat gets into a fight with another cat and there are injuries, the healing time may not be that fast anymore.


Studies show that one of the first things to wear out in a cat is the kidney as a result of hormone imbalance. If you notice that urine comes out while he sleeps or he urinates more frequently, then there is something wrong. The good news is that this can be treated if this was detected early.


Senior cats can no longer eat the same high quality diet as they used to in the past. They require specially formulated food that keeps their weight under control and helps reduce the consumption of nutrients that are risk factors in the development of diseases.


Exercise is another way to keep your cat in shape. This slows down the deterioration that takes place inside their body. Cats don’t play catch like dogs so give them a ball of yarn or some other toy to play with.


If your cat is in pain and something has to be removed, you have no choice but to let it undergo surgery. You should check with the vet if they will be given anesthesia before hand so they don’t feel anything during the operation.


Other symptoms you have to be aware of once you cat reaches senior age includes a significant increase or decrease in appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, lameness lasting for more than 5 days in one leg,   a decrease in vision, excessive panting, a seizure, blood in the stool or urine, hair loss, persistent coughing or gagging and breathing heavily or rapidly at rest.


The second any of the above symptoms occur, you should bring your cat straight to the vet because just like humans who have reached the golden years, senior cats need more attention especially when any of the symptoms are present.


Cat Breeds

American Shorthair


Are you looking to get a new cat soon? Great! You may want to consider a

purebred cat. There are many breeds that can be found in this country, each with its own

characteristic appearance and temperament and history. Think carefully about what you

would characteristics you would like to see in your new companion. Perhaps you would

care to consider:


The American Shorthair


Originally known as the Domestic Shorthair, the American Shorthair is truly

America's cat. The Shorthairs' ancestors came to America from Europe with the early

settlers. Records show that the famous Mayflower had several working cats aboard her on

her famous voyage to the new world. Also, written records exist that mention the cats that

lived with the colonists at Jamestown in 1609. These cats were working members of their

communities and valued for their contributions to the well being of these early

settlements. Ever since that time, this breed has patrolled farms and stables for mice and

rats all over the country.


In the early 20th century, foreign breeds arriving on these shores threatened the

distinctive look and temperament of the native shorthair breed. Admirers of the American

Shorthair began acquire the finest examples of the breed that they could find. They set up

selective breeding programs based on these individuals to preserve this beautiful and

unique breed of cats. The breed was officially recognized by the Cat Fancier's

Association (CFA) in 1904 as one of its first five breeds. The very first registered

American Shorthair was named Buster Brown. In 1966 the breed registry changed its

name from Domestic Shorthair to American Shorthair. The move was made to accentuate

it all American heritage and to distinguish it from other shorthair breeds.


The American Shorthair is famous for its amiable temperament. Its' quiet

disposition toward children and dogs has made the American Shorthair a family favorite

for many years. This breed tends to be of moderate to large size, healthy, strong , well

balance and long-lived. They are independent, lively, playful cats that retain their

playfulness well into old age. The American Shorthair routinely is found in published

lists of the top ten most popular cats.


The American shorthair is an extraordinarily beautiful breed and comes in over

eighty recognized colors and patterns: solid colors, shaded colors, smokes, tabbies,

particolors and bicolors. One of the most beautiful color patterns is the silver tabby. The

silver tabby has dense black tiger type stripes over a clear silvery background. It way or

may not have white markings as well. So popular is this color pattern that more than one

third of all American Shorthairs are now silver tabby. This color is so striking that cats

that have it are often used in advertising or in the movies. The second most popular color

for American Shorthairs is brown tabby. A brown tabby has black tiger markings over a

brown background.


The American Shorthair cat is a sturdy American original with winning ways and

comes in a rainbow of colors and patterns. Give the American Shorthair a closer look. A

gentle, loving, loyal companion and also a fierce mouse hunter, the American Shorthair

can and has filled many roles over the years. This cat may be exactly what you are

looking for in a new companion.



Cat Breeds

The Siamese

Are you looking to get a new cat soon? Great! You may want to consider a

purebred cat. There are many breeds that can be found in this country, each with its own

characteristic appearance and temperament and history. Think carefully about what you

would characteristics you would like to see in your new companion. Perhaps you would

care to consider:


The Siamese

Famous in songs and movies, the Siamese cat was the Royal Cat of Siam. Though

their origins are uncertain, they were the companions of royalty and priests for centuries.

The cat was so highly valued that it was rarely given to outsiders. Siamese were first

exhibited at the famous 1871 London Cat Show at the Crystal Palace. People fell in love

with the new breed. Despite the difficulty in importing these highly valued cats, they

became wildly popular in Britain. The Siamese arrived in America in about 1890 and

quickly gained favor with cat fanciers here.

The Siamese cat is a real character. They are extremely lively, friendly, and

intelligent and they are very attached to their people. A Siamese cat is constantly in

motion. They seem to regard their people as belonging to them instead of the other way

around. They develop a lot of unusual skills. Siamese cats have been known to play fetch,

walk on a leash and chase dogs. One Siamese learned to play the piano. He sat on the

bench in front of the keyboard and used one paw to press each key to make a sound.

Siamese cats are also real chatterboxes and will talk to you about everything and

anything. When they are making a point, a Siamese cats' voice is powerful enough to

bend metal.

Siamese cats are sleek and svelte in appearance. Elegant and graceful they have

long bodies, long legs, and long tails as well. This breed has become divided into two

varieties: the extreme and the traditional. The extreme is a smaller, leaner, lighter animal

with males weighing 9 lbs at most and females 7 lbs. The traditional variety is rounder in

appearance than the extreme variety though still retaining the breeds' oriental elegance.

The traditional variety, also called the Old Style or Applehead is larger in size than the

extreme variety, with males up to 15 lbs and females up to 12 lbs.

Siamese are famous for their large, almond shaped blue eyes. The coat is short,

fine textured, silky and glossy. It lies close to the cats' body. However, the truly defining

feature of the Siamese coat is its color. There are four main colors: seal, chocolate, blue

and lilac. There is also one pattern called colorpoint. The points of the body, the ears,

face, legs and tail are more darkly colored than the body. There is a strong contrast

between the body color and the points. The color at all the points must be the same.

Interestingly, Siamese darken with age.

The Siamese cat is a breed whose noisy and cheerful ways continue to win

peoples admiration and affection every day. Give the Siamese a closer look. The breed is

intelligent and very affectionate.  This cats' friendly and confident attitude can make it a

highly amusing family pet.  This cat may be exactly what you are looking for in a new



Skin Disorders in Cats
Most cats are covered with a thick, protective fur.  This makes it extremely difficult to tell if a cat has a skin problem before it becomes extreme.  It is important to take time on a regular basis to examine your cat’s skin closely for anything that may be wrong.
Run your hand gently over his body and explore the skin for any unusual patches. If you find any, part the fur by brushing it slightly, so that you can see beneath the fur and have a better look at the skin. If you do this often enough and understand your cat’s body, you should be able to spot any irregularity easily. You will learn to know what looks normal and what doesn’t.

Cheyletiellosis  is a skin disorder in cats icaused by skin mites and is particularly contagious between cats as well as humans. In cats, the symptoms are itching and it usually results in heavy scaling and flaking of the skin, which is why Cheyletiellosis in cats is often known as “walking dandruff”. This skin condition is usually not deadly and can be easily treated with the right medication once the condition has been diagnosed and confirm.

Alopecia is a skin disorder in cats that will cause hair loss due to endocrine disturbances, localized infections, or generalized illnesses. The condition can also be a result of stress. The symptoms included bald patches on the skin and can be accompanied by reddened or inflamed skin. Not a deadly skin disease, and with proper treatment, the fur would most likely grow back.

While most skin conditions are cause by allergies to food and pesticides bite, and can be easily managed and treated, early detection is still important.  A few minutes each day could very well prevent days of discomfort later.



Socializing Kittens

Socializing kittens is probably one of the most enjoyable parts of raising cats.

Introducing them to people will make a huge impact on their lives. Even if they are barn

cats and never leave the farm they were born on. Being friendly and relaxed with people

will improve the quality of their lives. It will make it easier to find new homes for them

when it is time for them to move on. It will also make having them more pleasurable for

their owners.

Socializing is not only enjoyable, it is very important. Before a kitten is ready to

leave home she should have learned that people are good to have around. Petting, playing

and good food all happen with people. Purring, not hissing brings these good things her

way. Fortunately, cats are smart and observant creatures. It is really very easy to instill

this attitude in a kitten. It just takes a little bit of patience and perseverance on your part.

The socialization process can begin even before a kitten has opened her eyes. Pick

her up and pet gently for a few moments then set her back down where she was. Your

motions should be slow and gentle and your voice soft. Handle the kittens daily if you

can. The mother will generally allow your attention to her kittens, especially if you give

her petting and attention first. If she doesn't like your interest in her kittens, or if she has

hidden her litter somewhere so that you can't find them right away, don't worry. You can

begin the socialization process later when they are a little more independent and still get

great results.

As the kittens get older and start to toddle around under their own power,

continue to regularly pick them up and pet them. Playing with them can also begin now.

Slowly dragging a string will catch any kittens' attention. Continue these sessions on a

daily basis. You really don't have to make a big issue of it. Just go over to the kittens at

odd times of the day, whenever you have a moment. Be sure that each kitten in the litter

gets some attention.

Introducing the kittens to children and other adults is a good idea. Expand their

definition of people to be more than just you. Remind the children that the kittens are just

babies and need to be handled ever so gently. Always supervise children around pets until

they understand how to handle them properly.

By the time the kittens are old enough to leave for their new homes they should be

relaxed and happy around people. Purring happily when they are petted and reasonably

patient when picked up. If the kittens are to be indoor cats, then they should be

introduced to litter boxes and scratching pads or trees. A first visit to the veterinarian

should be accomplished in a calm sensible fashion that will not alarm your kittens. If

your kittens are young enough on their first visit, bring the entire litter along with their

mother in a carrier. It will reduce stress on both the kittens and their mother. This may

seem like a lot of extra effort but it will be worth it. What will be your reward for all of

your work? Your reward will be a well socialized kitten that will be a joy to her new




Spotted Cat Breeds

Are you looking to get a new cat soon? Great! You may want to consider a

purebred cat. There are many breeds that can be found in this country, each with its own

characteristic appearance and temperament and history. Think carefully about what you

would characteristics you would like to see in your new companion. Perhaps you would

care to consider something a little bit different:



The Ocicat were named after the Ocelot wildcat that is found from southwestern

Texas south to northern Argentina. The Ocicat, however, does not have any Ocelot blood

in them. They are entirely domestic bred. The first Ocicat was produced as a happy

accident in the early 1960s by breeder Virginia Daly who was was trying to breed a

Siamese cat with Abyssinian colored points. She did reach her goal, but in her second

litter she found a cream colored male with golden spots and copper colored eyes. She

named him Tonga. Her daughter called him Ocicat because he reminded her of a baby

Ocelot. Tonga was later sold as a pet and neutered.

Fortunately, the same breeding pair that produced Tonga later produced a second

spotted male. His name was Dalai Dotson who became the foundation for the Ocicat

breed. The first Ocicat, Tonga, was exhibited at a cat show in 1965. The Ocicat registry

was established in 1966. The Ocicat was so striking and unique that other breeders were

attracted and joined Daley in establishing this beautiful breed. The breeder continued to

focus ion Abyssinians and Siamese for their foundation stock, but some American

Shorthair was introduced as well. The American Shorthair bloodlines introduced a

beautiful silver color to the ocicat.

Ocicats are very lively and intelligent. They are also great talkers. They are loyal

and loving and tend to bond strongly to one person. Ocicats are very intelligent and will

make up new tricks to entertain themselves. Most of them know how to fetch. Ocicats are

another breed that doesn't like to be alone for long. Again, a feline companion will be

ideal for keeping your Ocicat happy.


The Bengal

Unlike the Ocicat, the Bengal has wild ancestry. The Bengal was produced by

crossing the Asian Leopard Cat, a small wildcat with domestic shorthaired cats. The

name Bengal was derived from the Asian Leopard Cats Latin name, Felis bengalensis. It

took the original breeder Jean Mill, several generations to produce a beautiful cat with

domestic and predictable personalities.

In 1985 Mill showed her cats for the first time. There was some controversy over

the new cats. Some people felt it was unwise cross wild cats with domestics since many

wildcats are threatened species. Most people, however, were very taken with the beautiful

new cats. Mill was able to recreate a number of new Bengal breeders.

The modern Bengal is a wildly beautiful cat with an affectionate personality and

great energy. Bengals form strong bonds with their owners and become faithful and

affectionate companions for life. Bengals love to climb and will do so given any

opportunity. You will routinely find them on top of bookcases, doors and dressers. They

are very curious and will rearrange the contents of any drawer the find open. Bengals are

playful well into old age and will pounce an anything that moves. From their Asian

ancestors, these cats inherited a love of water. Some will even join you for a swim in the

pool or hot tub.


These very unusual cats are not everyone's' cup of tea. Give these very different

cats a closer look. Their unique appearances and lively personalities might just make a

great pet.  These cats may be exactly what you are looking for in a new companion.



Stopping Your Cat From Spraying

Spraying is a behavior in cats, mainly males, which many owners confuse with urinating outside the litter box.  The difference between the two is that a cat will urinate on a flat horizontal surface.  Spraying is most often done on a vertical surface.  Female cats will spray on horizontal surfaces, but it is rare.
The primary reason a cat sprays is because felines are very territorial animals and like to mark their turf by spraying urine to let other cats know who owns that little piece of the world. If you notice things being marked near windows or screen doors where your cat can see outside it’s a pretty good chance there is a cat hanging around your house or passing by frequently.

Many times a cat will spray because of psychological problems such as anxiety, stress or a feeling of being threatened by something or someone. If personal items are being sprayed it is usually a sign that your cat has some issues with the person. The addition of a new cat or even having too many cats for the size of your house can cause spraying problems.
If the cat is put into a stressful situation like someone new moving in (a new baby) or being introduced into a new living environment they might feel the need to spray.

By taking time to examine the events going on in your cat’s life, you may be able to eliminate this behavior.  There are products sold at pet stores that contain odors only your cat can smell.  These are designed to comfort your cat.  Another thing that often eliminates spraying behavior is to have your cat neutered.  In most cases, this is the most effective method as it alleviates the territorial instinct in your cat.  This is yet one more argument for neutering.


Smooth Sailing Surgeries for your Cat

If your cat needs surgery, for whatever reason, there are multiple steps you can take to help your cat with this process. There are three main classifications of surgeries. First, elective surgeries are those that you choose to have done, but that do not have to be done. Spaying and neutering fall into this category. The second kind of surgery is called non-elective, and these are surgeries which have to be done for your cat’s survival, but which you schedule. Lastly, there are emergency surgeries, that are done quickly and as your pet needs them, such as if your cat is hit by a car. If your cat is having elective or not elective surgery, there are ways to prepare for this, and if your cat is recovering from any type of surgery, you can do certain things in your home to make this easier.

First and foremost, when your cat is going to have surgery, it is usually best for this to happen when your cat has an empty stomach, unless your vet indicates otherwise. The most common response to the anesthetics used is vomiting, so your cat will have fewer problems if his or her stomach has no food in it. If you deny your pet food for about 12 hours before the surgery, most of the food in the stomach will be gone. In most cases, your cat having access to water is fine. If you have other pets in the house, you may need to confine your cat to one room so that he or she doesn’t eat from other dishes, or you may need to withhold food from all of your pets.

When your kitty goes into surgery, remember that any number of things may go wrong. You’ll be responsible for the vet bill, even if it is higher than the estimate. After the surgery, it may take a day or even longer for your cat to be awake and functioning. You may also be looking at a few days—sometimes more—in the vet hospital for recovery. You should visit during the hours allowed, and volunteer to help feed or care for your cat. This will let your cat know that you have not abandoned him or her.

When you bring your cat home, follow all instructions completely. Your cat may need multiple medications daily or a special diet. Your cat may also not be allowed outside for a certain amount of time. For cats with any kind of incision, assume this to be at least a week or two, which may be difficult if your cat is used to going outside often. If your cat’s fur had to be clipped or shaved, keep in mind that he or she is probably colder than normal, so it may be a good idea to provide extra blankets warmed in the dryer or a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel. Remember, your other cats will need attention too. By making sure that your house is safe and loving, you can keep all of your cats happy after surgery.



Taking Care Of Cats

These days, cats are among the most popular pet you can own.  There are several breeds available, with the most popular being Persian and Siamese.  Cats are a domesticated animal, with origins dating back some 8,000 years and beyond.  Like any other pet that you may own, including dogs, cats cost money to take care of properly.

When you get a cat, you’ll need to think about the costs.  You’ll obviously need food, and you’ll also need to plan ahead for vet costs.  You’ll also need litter, which can tend to get quite expensive as the years go by.  Your cat will need a litter box, food dish, and water dish.  You should also invest in some toys as well, such as a scratching post, cat toys, a pet carrier, and a bed.  You should also look into getting an ID collar as well, just in case your cat ever gets lost.

Feeding your pet will depend a great deal on his age.  Older cats require two small meals or one large meal for the day.  Kittens on the other hand, require several feedings a day until they get around the age of 12 weeks.  Cats that are between three and six months of age need to be fed three times a day.  Canned food can be fed to cats, although any food that has been left out longer than 30 minutes need to be disposed of.  Canned food can get expensive fast, and you should always keep in mind that some may need to be thrown away when you buy it.  Cats loved canned food, although it doesn’t have any benefits to their dental health like dry food does.

As an alternative plan, you can always leave a supply of dry food out for your pet.  When you give your cat dry food, you should always make sure that he has enough water.  Dry food costs less than canned food, and it can also help to prevent the buildup of tartar on your cat’s teeth.  When you buy dry food, you should always look in terms of health and benefits, and stay away from generic food.  Even though generic food may be cheaper, it may not offer the nutrients your pet needs.

If you own a kitten, you should only give you kitten food designed for him.  You’ll also need to clean and refill his water dish every day.  Even though kittens and adult cats like cow’s milk, you should avoid giving it to them as it can cause diarrhea.  Treats are fine on occasion, although too many of them can cause your pet to get fat.  Feeding your kitten human food is good on occasion, although you may have to mix it in with his cat food.

By themselves, cats stay fairly clean.  Although you don’t have to bathe them that often, you’ll need to give them a brushing at least once a day.  Brushing will reduce the risk of hairballs and keep your cat’s coat nice and clean.  If you are keeping your cat indoors, you’ll need to have a litter box in an area that is easy for your cat to access.  You should always scoop it on a daily basis, and clean it out once a week.  Cats don’t like to use dirty litter boxes, they prefer for it to be nice and clean.


Although cats do require some work, they are great pets that will provide you with years and years of companionship.  As long as you take care of your cat and take him to the vet for his checkups, he should remain healthy.  Even though cats can get sick from time to time – knowing how to care for him will make a world of difference.


The Basic Know How's About Cat Care

Owning any pet is a big responsibility. You must know all the basic steps on how to groom and care for it. This goes for every animal. If you are favoring the feline types, you must know all about cat care.

Owning a cat and having it as a pet is not as easy as bringing home a stray one and feeding it every day. As a pet, the cat needs more than food for it to be happy and healthy.

Responsible Ownership

Just like you, your cats also have their basic needs. If you want them to purr to happily ever after, you've to work hard for your cats to attain it. Yes, caring for cats goes beyond the caring part. You have to know what to do and how to do it.

Here's a view of what you should be looking out after as a responsible cat owner.

Food Requirement

Some people feed their cats leftover foods. But you have to understand that those were intended for humans. It may not suffice to the needs of your feline friend.

So scrap the idea and look over at your favorite grocery store. Weight in what would be the best cat food that you can afford and that most cat owners would also recommend.

It will cost you about $8 to $13 a month to be able to give the quality ingredients to your pets. It can be affordable. Just make it part of the monthly house budget. Or you can opt not to go to the cinemas or what about lessening your smoking habits. This way, you will be able to allot the right amount for your cat food.

Shelter Requirement

If you will allow your cat to live with you, you have to make sure that the surrounding will be safe for your pet. It is just like when you have a baby at home, you don't want anything poisonous and hazardous lying around within easy reach.

You also have to provide a litter box for your pet. The price for this varies from $8 to about $200 for the superb deal and quality.

Make life easy for your pets. Provide warmth in the shelter. And add onto it with your care and affection.

Medicinal Requirement

Again, just like a baby, your cat needs to be checked up by their doctors regularly. You have to bring them to the veterinarian as needed. They have to undergo spray or what is also known as neutering. There are also core vaccinations that they have to be subjected with. Each vaccine will differ in cost so you have to save up for each.

To be prepared, consult with your vet how much the next one will cost so that you can save up for it while you still can. Aside from that, your cat has to see the vet for an annual examination.

You also have to keep some allowance for your cats for emergency needs. You really never know when they would be sick or might encounter some accidents. It is better to be prepared for the worst than to be sorry in the end.

Cat care may be easy to say but definitely hard to do if you are not prepared for the responsibilities it intakes. So before you dream of being a care giver to a pet, think hard about it and check your wallet if you can afford it.



The Case Against Declawing Your Cat

Declawing a cat is a major surgical procedure, performed under general anesthesia. It is actually amputation of the last joint on each toe, not a simple removal of the claw itself as many are led to believe.

Cats walk on their toes, unlike most mammals who walk on the soles of their feet. Their musculature, joints, tendons and ligaments are all designed to distribute their body weight to their toes. The claw is not a nail like human fingernails or toenails. It is actually a part of the last bone in a cat's toe. If you were to "declaw" a human in the same way a cat is declawed, you would be amputating all 10 fingers at the last joint!

There is a real possibility of complications after any major surgery, and declawing is no exception. There is the possibility of hemorrhage, infection, extreme pain and bone chips.

There is also the possibility of nerve damage.

The cat can become withdrawn, distant, fearful and/or aggressive, and often start biting, as this is the only means of defense left to them. Occasionally the cat will stop using the litter box because immediately after surgery it was painful to scratch in the litter box, and now they associate that pain with the litter box

Some countries have made declawing cats illegal.  They have considered it an abusive practice.  Getting a good scratching post for your cat and teaching him to use it will help save furniture.  Your cat needs his claws for defense and hunting if he ever gets lost.  Look for alternative methods to save things from your cat’s claws—just save your cat’s claws.  He will be happier and healthier from the choice and you will be happier knowing your feline friend has what he needs to survive.



The Cat and Child Connection

Cats are popular for the relief they could give to their owners or masters. With the numerous benefits cats could give to people, it would be very beneficial for your child if you are a parent to introduce the care of a pet; it would really lead to your child’s wellness.


Growing up with cats as pets is indeed great for your child. A different experience of learning respect for animals and the importance of affection is also learned. Buying cats as gift-pets would really make your child happy. When you do this, you would be able to give your child something not temporary.

When you are looking for tips on how to bring out the best between your child and the pet, this article is so helpful.

  • Show to your child the proper way of handling cats. Kids could be very excited and may be they will not be able to handle the cat well. Your role is to teach him proper way of caring the cat. With this, you would not only teach him or her concern for animals but beyond.
  • Be a guide especially if it is your child’s first time to have a pet. Explain to your child why a new pet acts so aloof so that he or she would understand.
  • Tell your child some facts about cats. This way could make your child understand what some important facts about cats are; this would let their care for their pets become well.
  • Do not encourage your child to have rough play with the cats. This would be entailing risk. Cats may find this hostile; it may use its paws and other parts of the body that may hurt your child. Introduce the use of cat toys for they are better than playing roughly with your cat.
  • Let your child understand what the importance of sleeping is and how he could help in giving this to his pet.
  • Remind your child the importance of not letting the cats stay inside homes. To keep their pets safe, it is a must that your child learns how to protect the cat from any untoward incident.


These are things you have to remember about building and keeping relationship with a possible source of emotional growth.





The Cat Care and Health Insurance Know How's

Many people love their pet so much they have them insured. Cat care and health insurance is not the same thing. The first is a must while the latter can be forgone.

In order to care for your cat, you must understand your pet as a pet. You have to be responsible once you have taken the steps to acquire a feline companion. There should be no going back. So think twice, thrice and a hundred of times before committing into becoming a parent to a pet.

Cats are special. They can see sharper than humans do. They can also smell a lot better. This is the reason why you need to arrange things in your home accordingly once you have decided that a cat will soon join in.

Do not let anything that may cause them harm lying around. This is the same concept that you must apply like when you have a child. You want to protect them. That is why you keep those harmful objects out, specifically the poisonous ones. You do not want to cause your own child and pet serious accidents.

You have to provide the right cat food for your pet. You cannot give them what you had for dinner. Your bodies and its requirements are not the same. So give them the food that is specifically made for them. This way, they will get all the necessary nutrition that they need.

So before you think about owning a cat, look over the prices of the food. It may take about $8 to $12 monthly to keep your cat purring happily. Can you afford it? You may have to make some adjustments with your lifestyle to be able to accommodate the need. Just think that it will all be worth it.

Recreation must also be given consideration when you own a cat. You cannot adopt one and think that it will be happy just by playing by itself. You have to find time to play with your pet and bond with it. In time, you will know what activities they enjoy. And so you will be able to make the necessary adjustments to make time for such activities.

Because of their strong sense of smell, budgeting must also be highlighted on the litter boxes of your cats. You have to give them clean and well-maintained ones. Your cat will not to their strut on an untidy litter box. Your regal baby cannot stand the stink. So be careful with how everything smells. What is okay with you may be abominable for your feline companion.

Finding the nearest veterinarian is also a must. You need them in cases when you think that something is not right with your cat. For this reason, you have to be very observant.

Yes, cats can groom themselves. But you have to help them in maintaining their teeth clean and strong. You don't want that factor to be the reason why your cat will be depressed on its old age. So develop a habit of cleaning their teeth through brushing, flossing and having a regular teeth check up with your vet.

Health Insurance

You can do without this. But if you really want to get one, see if your trusted vet is among the list of the recommended vets of your chosen insurance. You don't want to end up taking long trips just to be able to claim what the insurance promises to give.

It is better to hone your skills on cat care and health insurance can be put aside. But it all depends on you. There is nothing wrong with having one. Just make sure that you can afford it and it will not take toll on the monthly budget your family and feline friend require.



The Good Things Pet Cats Bring

As man’s best friend except for his dogs, cats have been a part of every family, be it poor, middle class or the super rich. Reasons of having pets such as these domesticated animals and other animals are mainly relative depending on the owner. For some, it is because they are inevitably- animal lovers, for others, they feel relaxed. And, for most, these make them happy.


Despite the advancement of technology, people will never find an alternative to the joys given to them by their pet cats. There are numerous benefits when one has pet or pets especially when you choose to have cats.

More than the activities they could share with you; pet cats are great source of comfort. It was found out in a study that pets like cats would be very helpful for the aged people. Most of them are in the dark age of their lives. All the fears and insecurities are there. At an old age, other people younger than you seem not to pay that much attention. Having a pet would enable you to touch, be touched and feel how it is to pamper somebody is. The activities they could share like walking around or having some jogging would be very healthful too.

Animals, especially these cuddly and affectionate cats as pets also keep us feel far from being lonely and bored. We could talk to them and express our deepest emotions, the words we could not tell to our fellow humans. Dogs and cats, also other animals, are now being trained and so they learn to do tricks and to entertain people. They are so playful and they could unravel the child in us. As a form of emotional outlet, they could ease stress and make us feel more relaxed.

Every pet could provide you with different positive feelings. Birds and fish are so attention-catching. Looking at them would get you feel at peace without exerting too much effort. Staring at fish in an aquarium or pond gives one the peace of mind and the relaxation against a stressful time. These pets could also help you build the focus or concentration you need to start a task or the like.

Humor is the best medicine. Animals are great source of it. Having pets at home gives you free shows. Yes, just looking at them would make you feel fun. Their actions are animated; they act and move so funny without the risk of hurting other emotions unlike people-comedians.

It is undeniably true that pets are saviors; they stretch our lips to smile, stretch our patience, stretch our peace of mind… and in the end, stretch the length of our lives. They give people relief and refuge. Having them around would give you a happier life and a happier life would be your ticket to a better self- in and out… a longer life ahead of you.



Taking Care of a Three Legged Cat

Ever dreamt of becoming a pet owner? How about taking care of a three legged cat? If you are serious about caring for a feline companion, you have to be ready for any comeuppance.

Being a care giver to a normal cat is also not as easy as you think it is. Responsibility comes with hard word, practice, learning and applying all those to the way you do things. But with a three legged cat, everything must be done with extra cautiousness and care.

If you know your pet's peeves, you might as well double the effort of avoiding such if you are taking care of a three legged cat.

The Pet's Peeves

More than the purring or meowing, you should be able to identify the body language of your cat to its mood. You must take note of the mood changes. What seems to be simple to you may already be a sign of something worse. So be in the know. And don't be the last to find out.

What are the things that may upset your feline friend? By taking extra care with such pet peeves, you will make your cat's life happier and more comfortable.

The Litter Box

Cats have very good eyesight. But they have better sense of smell. And they don't like anything that stinks. So watch out for those litter boxes. If you don't keep them maintained, your pet may opt for the laundry basket that smells a lot better.

You cat can smell 14 times better than you do. So you really need to do extra effort on the cleaning part. Because what may be good to you may still smell foul for your pet. Sounds like a lot? Just think of it this way. You will be doing your home a great favor. You will be doing your share to make the place smells nice and clean for your furry companion.


The Horror Medicine

Cats don't like the taste of most of their meds. But as their owner, you know that you can't do without it. So you have to find ways that your cat will be able to take the medicines without causing you too much trouble.

They particularly don't like those in tablet and capsule forms. Such meds can stay in their esophagus for five minutes or longer that may cause to more serious trouble. So take this task seriously. Ask your vet for suggestions on how to do so.

The Food

Watch out when you give your cats their food. Make sure that they don't eat spoiled food. It will cause you a lot of trouble because your cats are sensitive to such.

Petting Styles

You have to take note of your petting styles. Being too aggressive or too playful may irritate your cats. You have to treat them with care. And you have to know what tricks they like so that you can give them exactly that.

Jealousy Attack

If you will be introducing a new pet or a new member to the household, you have to integrate them slowly even with your cat. Cats tend to be jealous when they are being given less attention than what they were usually getting.


Taking care of a three legged cat is easy. You just have to know what to do and what to avoid in order to have a harmonious relationship with your feline friend.



The Proper Care for Cats

Just like us, cats have needs and their needs must be provide especially if you have them as pets. Their needs are just normal when it comes to the basic and as well as material. What matters most is the affection and care you share for these animals. When they feel that you are sincerely taking care of them, they would really feel it.


What do cats need?

The following are the things cats needs for better growth and development:

  • Cat food
  • Cats could be very greedy but you have to watch their diet. There is this right amount of food. When cats are younger than 12 weeks, they need to have 4 small meals but when they grow as old as more than 12 weeks; you could gradually trim down the number of meals to 2. Water must also be provided but milk is not encouraged for it would only cause diarrhea to cats. Feeding them with grass from time to time could also help out in their digestion of food.


  • Cat belongings
  • There are items you need to provide to your cat that would surely make it feel the comfort and in effect these things are sure help for you to have a clean and orderly home. One of the most important things you have to provide is the litter container. Well, cats may be clean animals but just to make sure, you place a litter container for your pet to use. This would let you overcome having a smelly home.


  • A post to scratch is another thing that must be provided by the pet owner. This would let the home furniture stay away from the scratches of cats when they are growing their nails.


  • Cat grooming
  • They also need to look good. Proper grooming must be given to cats. When they feel pampered, they would radiate it and echo it to you. When your cat is long-haired, see to it that you comb the hair daily and give your pet a generous bath from time to time. When your pet is short-haired, just see to it that you get rid of fleas and other parasites. They have to remove as much as possible for they may also go and stay in your belongings at home like carpets and others. Tooth brushing is also very hygienic.

These three important points must really be remembered for they would definitely make your cat pets live the best life with your care and your affection that they may also return the kindness back.



The Red Flags about Cat Heath Care

Owning a cat and treating it as a pet requires more than including your furry friend on your monthly budget. You have to be an instant parent once you become involved. You have to know their basic needs and all there is to understand about cat health care.

First, in order for your feline companion to be happy and contented, you need to provide them a home. Yes, it can be left to wander about your own house and treat it like their kingdom. But you have to make sure that the surrounding is safe. Do not hang about things that would cause injury and further mishaps to your cats.

Second, make sure that your cat gets the necessary nutrition that it needs. To do so, you have to give them only the best kind of cat food. The best will not necessarily mean expensive. You can ask your vet for recommendations given the amount that you can allot for this purpose.

And lastly, think about your cat health care. This is so vital because if you were caught unaware of a sudden incident, you may easily lose you beloved pet just because you didn't know what to do.

So know your cat. Observe it well. Know their usual interests, the way they eat, they way they interact with the other pets and also the people in your house. If you feel that something seems to be out of place, then call your vet immediately for advice.

So find a veterinarian nearest your place and get their contact information immediately. They are your lifeline whenever your cat's life seems to be in danger.

You will be the first judge if something seems to be wrong with your cats. Here are some indications.

Grooming Style

These creatures are known to be vain. They are always grooming themselves. If they are grooming too much on one side, they might be bugged by something like, yes, bug or fleas. The process may hurt them. So interrupt and act upon it.

Also beware if they are no longer cleaning up on their own. It may be a sign of depression. You also have to consult the vet about it if this happens.

Eating Style

If you know your cat very well, you will easily see if there are any changes to their eating habits. Don't let them go through the day without eating too much. This may be a symptom to something else. So this is also a good time to call on your vet.


The Behavior

If your cat is friendly and it all of a sudden becomes aloof, you need to raise the alarm level. This also goes with the way your cat walks. If it seems to be doing this thing just a bit too odd, it may be something to be concerned about.

As the owner, you need to be very cautious with everything that your cat does. You have to take note of their vowel elimination. Just like humans, they may sometimes suffer from diarrhea or the likes.


Although calling the vet is always the best choice for you to do, you can also search the web for quick solutions to minor problems. The Internet offers a vast resource for your every cat health care question. So take time to read some info and apply it on your own pets.




The Amazing Cat Species

We all know that cats are loving and truly wonderful creatures.  These days, it isn’t out of the ordinary to see a cat in virtually every other home, sleeping in the window or cuddling up on the laps of their owners.  Although cats have been popular pets for as long as most can remember, they weren’t domesticated less than 5,000 years or so ago.  Domestication took place in the valley of the Nile, which is what research tells us today.

In the beginning, people were very grateful to cats and encouraged them to stay with them by feeding them various scraps of food.  Once they were fed and perceived humans to be no threat, the cats would move in permanently with their human owners.  As time went by, even the wildest of cat would allows humans to approach him, often times even hold and touch as well.

In those days, cats were very loyal and endearing pets.  They proved to be great hunters, as they done their sleeping in short periods and were much easier to wake up than dogs.  Cats also have better night vision than dogs, and much better hearing as well.  If someone moved through the house or if they heard suspicious noises, they would wake while dogs would sleep right through it.  Humans loved having cats around, and they seemed to get along good with dogs as well.

These days, cats are used for both companionship and show.  They aren’t used much at all for hunting mice and rodent anymore at all.  There are a lot of breeds available, from the traditional alley cat to the well known Siamese.  All breeds are unique in their own way, and will provide you with years of companionship if you take care of them.

Before you get a kitten or older cat, you’ll first want to examine the source.  If you are getting the kitten from a breeder, you’ll want to make sure that the breeder has a reputable reputation.  You’ll also want to ensure that the cattery is clean and in good shape.  The kittens that are still there shouldn’t be overcrowded, and their surroundings should be clean.  The litter boxes there should be kept up and both the food and water dish should be clean and full.  The kittens shouldn’t be caged, instead free to run around.  All cats that are there should appear healthy, with shiny coats and none of their ribs showing.

When you get your kitten, it should be used to being touched and handled.  The kitten should be sweet, not afraid in the least.  Kittens that have been handled young normally have a better temperament.  The better breeders won’t allow their kittens to leave the nest until they are around 12 weeks old, with some waiting until the kittens are 16 weeks.  By doing this, breeders ensure that the kitten is in good health and his immune system has properly developed.

There’s no mistaken the fact that cats are great to own.  You can get a kitten from a reputable breeder, through a local newspaper, or an adoption agency.  Cats can also be obtained from a local pound, although people normally don’t like to choose this option.  No matter which way you decide to pursue, you should always make sure that your cat is healthy.  If you get a healthy cat, you won’t have a lot of problems later on down the road.  Healthy cats were taken care of – and normally have everything up to date – including their vaccinations.



The Cat Whisperer

A cat whisper is somewhat similar to a dog or horse whisperer, although cat whisperers relate quite well with cats.  These types of people are unusually lucky and very successfully with cats.  In most cases, a cat will be abandoned or just show up at someone’s door.  In this event, the cat will adopt this individual as the cat whisperer.

Often times, alley cats and black cats will show up at someone’s door and decide to move into their homes.  This can be a result of abandonment, or the cat’s family moving away and simply leaving the cat behind.  Sometimes, the cat may decide that he likes someone else’s home better and decide to move there instead of staying with his owner.


A lot of people will tell you that a cat whisperer can be thought of as a therapist for cats.  Almost all cat whisperers haven’t have any type of training, what they know just seems to come to them naturally.  These types of people understand the way a cat thinks and knows how to work with the cat to achieve the results they want.  Even though many think of a cat whisperer as a therapist, it actually couldn’t be further from the truth.

Cats who have been abused or mistreated, often times won’t respond to anyone but a cat whisperer.  Although others may have tried to help the cat, it will only make matters worse by making the cat feel scared and afraid.  In most cases, these cats will end up in a pound.  This is very tragic, as the cats have already endured more than they ever should have.  A majority of the cats who have been abused were once loved pets.  Along the way, they were abandoned, mistreated, attacked by dogs, and in some cases tortured.

Cats who have been treated unfairly often times won’t trust anyone. They are often times confused, in a lot of pain, and not sure what they should do.  Like humans, cats feel pain.  Those that have been physically abused are a sad sight indeed.  Emotionally damaged cats may appear to be in perfect health on the outside, although their emotions are a wreck.  Emotionally abused cats are much harder to get through to, especially if they were stray cats to begin with.

Cat whisperers on the other hand, can communicate with physically and emotionally abused cats.  Cats know who they will choose to be their cat whisperer, which is normally an individual they sense trust with.  Cat whisperers are common with cats, although most people have never heard of them before.  Even though a cat whisperer may be able to communicate better with cats, it will still take time to heal a cat that has been abused.



The Cruelty Of Claw Removal

Cats use their claws for various purposes.  The claws are important to cats, as they are an essential part of balancing.  If you’ve ever noticed a cat jumping and latching on to a high object, you’ve probably noticed that he uses his claws to pull himself up.  When climbing trees, cats tend to use their claws to latch onto the bark and climb towards their destination.

Cats also use their claws for stretching, walking, and running as well.  The claws are also a cat’s primary source of defense against other animals and humans as well.  Most cats keep their claws extremely sharp, as their claws and teeth are basically their only weapons.  The claws are also essential for using the bathroom as well, as cats use them to cover up their mess with dirt.

Cats also use their claws to scratch things, which mark their territory.  Their claws have glands, which contain a secretion.  When they leave their mark on something, the secretion is transferred to the area they scratched.  This is detectable to other cats although not to humans.  Sometimes, they will also scratch something to remove the older claw which will fall off and give them a brand new claw that resides underneath.

As sad as it is, a lot of pet owners choose to put their own possessions above their cat, such as their expensive furniture or carpets.  These cat owners are afraid that they cat will ruin their furniture or carpet, and therefore will choose to get their cat de-clawed.  Getting a cat’s claws removed is a surgical procedure, one that can only be performed by a veterinarian.  The owner will need a good reason though, as a vet won’t do the surgery just to keep one’s furniture or carpet protected.

If you’ve been thinking of getting your cat de-clawed, you should know that the process can totally change his personality.  Once the cat is de-clawed, he will be in pain and confused.  He may not be able to jump in the window or on the couch, and he may not be able to play like he once did.  Some cats, after being de-clawed, tend to get aggressive and bite with their teeth.  To make a long story short, the cat will be completely miserable – which is a tough thing to bear for those who love their cats.

Those who decide to own cats should know that a cat can scratch on occasion.  If someone isn’t prepared to deal with that fact, they shouldn’t own a cat in the first place.  Cats are great pets, although they do have claws and they will use them on occasion.  There are plenty of other great pets out there, if you aren’t up for handling a cat.  If you’re just worried about your furniture or carpet, there are ways that you can keep your cat from scratching on your belongings.

The first thing to do is to get your cat a scratching post and let him know where it is and how to use it.  You can also get a rush mat as well, which will help your cat with his instincts to scratch.  You may have to demonstrate how to use the mat or the post at first, although your cat should catch onto it quick.  Once you have shown him the ropes, he will scratch on the post or the mat – and not your furniture or your carpet.

Although many don’t realize it, there are other ways to protect your things other than getting your cat de-clawed.  Getting a cat’s claws removed is very painful and confusing to the cat, and may totally change his outlook on things.  Before you decide to take the inhumane path of getting your cat de-clawed, you should look into your other available options- your cat will like these options much better.


The Importance of Understanding Your Cat

Are you a new cat owner?  If so, there will come a point in time when your cat becomes “just like one of the kids.”  However, until that time arrives, it is up to you to understand your cat and the small signals that he or she may be sharing with you.

As important as it is to hear that it will be your responsibility to understand your cat and decipher the signals that he or she may be sending you, you may be wondering why.  Many pet owners often respond with something like “what the heck?”  If you are a new pet owner or a first-time pet owner, you may not understand just how much your cat relies and depends on you.

As for why it is important to understand your cat, doing so can be important to his or her health.  We humans are able to speak and seek medical attention when we develop a cold or suffer a debilitating injury.  Pets, on the other hand, cannot do so.  Just because your cat doesn’t outright tell you that she needs to go the vet, it doesn’t mean that a visit isn’t in order.

If you suspect that your cat is suffering from a medical problem, whether it be an injury or an illness, you will want to seek professional help right away.  Schedule a visit with your veterinarian.  The sooner you do so, the quicker you can understand what is bothering your cat.  If you must make your cat’s appointment an emergency appointment, especially if he or she seems to be suffering.

Speaking of suffering, many new cat owners wonder how they can tell when their pet is feeling ill or has suffered an injury that may not be noticeable to the human eye.  Whether you have only had your cat a week or five years, you should already start to notice habits that he or she has.  These habits may include greeting you when you walk into a room or sleeping in the same spot.  If these habits change, it may be due to an injury that is difficult to see or a medical illness.

In addition to knowing when your cat may be ill, understanding when your cat is hungry is also important.  Some pet owners will always leave food out for their pets.  This is doable; however, there may be some negative consequences.  For instance, your cat may eat too much and develop an obesity problem.  Bug and other rodents can be attracted to your pet’s food, especially wet canned food, regardless of how clean your home is.

For that reason, look for signs that your cat may be hungry.  Many cats will approach their empty food dish and start to cry out.  Others, may take steps to get human food or the food of other pets in the home.  Of course, you also don’t have to let it get that far.  Creating a set feeding schedule for your cat has a number of benefits.

Despite the fact that deciphering your cats every move may seem like an impossible task, it really isn’t.  Although your cat will have his or her own distinctive attitudes, you may be surprised just how similar cats occasionally react like humans.  When upset or frustrated, your cat may retreat to their own special spot.  When hungry, your cat may call out for food.  When your cat is excited, you should be able to tell right away, as he or she will likely be more active than usual.

The above mentioned reasons are just a few of the many why it is important for you to learn how to understand your cat.  If you are looking for helpful tips, consider speaking to your veterinarian.  There are also multiple book and online websites that are designed to help new pet owners develop a close and healthy relationship with their cats.  Having an attentive and close relationship with your cat is the first step in understanding their wants and needs.


Things To Know About Abused Cats

Cats that have been abused can appear severely maimed and damaged all over their exterior.  Some may appear to be in perfect shape on the outside, although all of the damage they sustained may be internal or emotional.  Even though physical damage is bad, emotional damage is much tougher to fix.  Cats who have physical abuse will still answer to a soft touch and soft voice, as long as they know that the abuse has come to an end.

When you have a cat that has been emotionally abused, you’ll need to wait until the cat comes to you.  You’ll need to use patience, as the cat will be confused and not know if you plan to hurt him or not.  If you take your time and let him know that you are nothing to fear, he will eventually come to you.  When he starts to come to you, you can let him sniff you and pet him.  After a while, he will learn that he can trust you and he will come to you when you call him.

Yelling, raising your voice, or using disciplinary tools such as flyswatters or water guns the wrong way can lead to emotional damage.  If you continue to use the wrong means of discipline on an emotionally damaged cat, the cat can become mean or lethargic.  When a cat turns mean, it’s not always a bad thing.  Meaner cats are easier to reach, as they still care a bit about what happens to them – while lethargic cats could really care less.

Cats that have become lethargic won’t play, take treats, or respond to anything you say to them.  With a lethargic cat, the ideal way to get him to respond is to bring in a companion cat.  Over time, a lethargic cat will eventually look for attention, normally a scratch or a pat.  When this happens, you should always use a soft voice and snuggle with him.  Never raise your voice at this point, and make sure you let the cat know that his behavior is a lot better.

You should make slow movements around a lethargic cat, as he is still quite traumatic.  Once he is coming around and letting you touch him again, he is getting back to his normal self.  Keep in mind that it may take some time, which is to be expected with this type of situation.  If your cat starts to get upset again or if you raise your voice, he will hide again.  If you continue to use a soft voice and have patience, your cat will eventually get past this.  If you get a cat that is lethargic, you should prepare yourself for a long and very intensive healing period.

Angry or mean cats on the other hand, will either fight and scratch with you, or simply run away from you.  With mean cats, the best thing to do is use gentle treatment with a soft voice.  You can never try to raise your voice or use strict discipline, as it will only make the cat meaner.  Never attempt to trap the cat either, as trapping it will only make the cat react.  If you take your time and let the cat know that you are there for him, he will eventually calm down.

Abused cats are truly a sad thing, although they are out there.  Abused cats can be a sad thing to see indeed, especially those that were physically abused.  Abused cats need a loving home and a loving owner who will give them the type of lifestyle they deserve.  Always remember that if you are dealing with an abused cat – you should always be as gentle as you possibly can.


Things To Know Before Breeding Your Cat

The population of cats is the United States alone is unbelievable.  Nearly all experts will tell you that you should spay your cat instead of breed it.  No matter what experts have to say, a lot of people want to have a litter of kittens from their cat.  Before you decide to breed your cat, there are a few things that you should think about.

The first thing you should know is that breeding cats takes time.  For the next two months after the litter is born, you’ll need to clean the area on a daily basis.  You’ll also need to watch over the kittens as well, and keep a close eye on how they are developing.  If you plan to breed a litter of cats, you won’t have time for much of anything else.

Breeding cats will also require a good degree of space as well.  If you have a small apartment, you shouldn’t attempt to breed a cat.  You should also make sure that your family agrees with the idea, as it isn’t good for the kittens if you keep them locked up.  Keep in mind that kittens like to see things; they’ll end up going all over your home as well.

Breeding cats also requires a degree of responsibility as well.  You should always have a plan of approach, including homes for the kittens to go that you aren’t planning to keep.  Keep in mind that things can change, someone who wanted a cat may change his mind once the litter is born.  In this event, you must decide whether or not you can keep a kitten that doesn’t have a home.

Breeding also requires some education as well.  You should be prepared for any problems along the way, as well as what takes place during birth.  From cutting umbilical cords to delivering early, you’ll need to be well prepared.  You should also have the proper supplies, and know how to handle things in the event of a c-section.  You’ll also need to know what to feed pregnant cats, as their diets are very important if you are breeding.

Breeding will also cost money as well, with kittens costing a lot more money than you may think.  The food isn’t the only thing that’s expensive, as the vet bills can also get expensive.  Even though you may go through the entire pregnancy without going to the vet, you’ll still need de-worming and vaccination medicines as well.

In short, there is a lot to think about where breeding is concerned. If you have your mind set on it and you want to breed, you should be sure that you have the proper knowledge and everything you need before hand.  You should always be ready to handle anything associated with breeding – and prepare yourself for the worst possible scenario.


Tips For Introducing Cats

When you decide to add a new cat to your home, it’s normally more exiting for you and your family than it is for the cat you already own.  Although most cats are solitary by nature, most will also come to accept or eventually tolerate any additions.  Cats can be very territorial, which is why you should always be careful when you introduce a new cat to your current cat.

If you are introducing kittens to one another, the entire introduction process can be short, lasting as little as 10 – 15 days.  Introducing cats to each other all depends on their temperament and their personality.  When you introduce a new cat to your current cat, you should always make sure that you give your current cat plenty of love and attention.  This way, your cat will feel secure and know that he isn’t in competition with your new cat for affection.

When you bring your new cat home, you should let him stay in a safe room until you have finished introducing the cats.  Your safe room can be any small room in your home, such as a bathroom or spare bedroom.   The key here is to use a room that your current cat doesn’t go in.  In the room, you should leave your new cat a scratching post, bed, water dish, litter box, and food dish.

At first, your current cat may howl and hiss when he stands at the door, trying to tell the other cat that he doesn’t belong.  When this happens you should ignore it, as punishing your cat for his behavior will only lead to more problems.  After a while, the first cat will start to act calm when he is near the new cat’s door.  As he starts to act calm, you should pet him and give him praise.

When your first cat starts to go by your new cat’s door and doesn’t howl or hiss; you can start introducing them to each other.  The best way to do this is to get them used to each others scent.  You can start letting them eat out of the same food dish, although you’ll want to feed them at different intervals at first.  This way, the scent of each cat will be present at the food dish, and each cat will get the scent when he eats his food.

Once both cats have got used to the scent, you can begin to feed them closer together.  To do this, you should keep your new cat in the safe room with the door closed, and your first cat on the other side of the door with his food dish.  This time, feed both cats at the same time.  After doing this a few times, they should start eating without any hissing or growling.  At this point, they are ready to be introduced to one another.

When you introduce them to each other in the same room, a bit of growling and hissing is to be expected.  Although they may be used to each others scent; your first cat will still feel a bit awkward with your new cat being in his territory.  You should play with them both at first, so they can smell one another and greet in their own way. If they start to fight you should break them up, and give them some time apart.

It may take some time to get them fully used to one another, although once they do – they will become playmates for life.  Cats love to be social, although it may be a bit rough at first, especially for your first cat.  Cats can be very territorial, especially if you have a kitten around.  If you get both of them used to each other early on – it will be a lot easier to add future cats to your home.


Tips For Stopping Spraying

Anytime your cat backs himself up to a door or other object in your house, lifts his tail, and releases urine – you have a problem.  This problem is known as spraying, and is very common with cats kept indoors.  Even though it is a very annoying problem, it’s a problem that can be solved.

Contrary to what many think, spraying isn’t a litter box problem, but rather a problem with marking.  Cat urine that is sprayed contains pheromones, which is a substance that cats and other animals use for communicating.  Pheromones are much like fingerprints with humans, as they are used to identify the cat to other animals.

When a cat sprays something, he is simply marking his territory through his urine.  The spraying is simply the cat’s way of letting others know that the territory is his.  Even though it may make you mad and annoy you, getting angry with your cat will solve nothing.  If you raise your voice or show angry towards your cat, it can very well result in more spraying.

Cats that are in heat are easily attracted to the odor of urine.  For cats in heat, spraying is more or less an invitation for love.  Often times cats that spray while in heat results in a litter of kittens that are born in just a few short months.  Keep in mind that cats not only spray during heat, as some will also spray during encounters with other cats, or when they are feeling stressed.

Although spraying is a way of communicating for cats, the smell for people is horrible.  The good thing here is that most cats will do a majority of their spraying outdoors.  If you have an indoor cat that never goes outside, spraying can indeed be a problem.  If you’ve noticed spraying in your home, you should take action and do something about it immediately.

The most effective and also the easiest way to stop spraying is to have your cat either neutered or spayed, which of course depends on the sex.  Most male cats that have been neutered will stop spraying the same day they have the surgery. If you don’t want to get your cat neutered or spayed, you should look into other options.  If you hope to one day breed your cat, you certainly don’t want to have him neutered or spayed.

The best thing to do in this situation is to talk to your veterinarian.  He will be able to give you advice, and possibly even solve the problem without having surgery.  There may be a medical problem present that is causing the problem, which your vet can identify.  You should always do something about spraying the moment it starts – simply because cat urine stinks and it can leave stains all over your home.


Tips for Understanding Your Cat

Are you a new pet owner?  If you have just purchased a new cat, you may be excited!  After all, you should be.  Owning a cat is a huge responsibility, but it is one that is filled with many great rewards.  There is nothing better than seeing love and compassion in the eyes of your cat.  In fact, that it not all that you will see.

When you and your new pet get to know each other more, you will begin to notice many traits and characteristics that your cat displays.  After all, all living animals have their own personalities.  In no time at all, you will be understanding your cat, just like he or she is one of the kids or another human being.

As nice as it is to hear that you may be understanding your pet in no time at all, you may be looking for more information.  After all, you may be curious as to how you will understand your pet.  No, you will not receive a human response when talking to your pet, but there are other signals that your pet may send you.  To be the best pet owner possible and to provide your cat with proper care, it is important for you notice and take action when these signals are displayed.

So, what signal should you look for when understanding your cat?  For starters, do you know when your cat may be ready to fight?  Whether your cat is ready to attack you, another person in your home, or another pet, this is a sign that you need to be on the lookout for.  Although cats are almost always safe and cuddly, some do have anger issues.  If your cat has his head down and is in a crouching position, he may be ready to pounce.  Many cats will also try to hide behind an object, such as a couch so that they cannot be seen.

Cats, like humans, and other pets can develop a wide array of emotions, including anger.  Even if your cat does not pounce or attack, he or she may still be upset.  Many cats will move their tail in a horizontal pattern.  In fact, it will seem like your cat is lashing his or her tail back and forth, not just moving it.  Some cats will also deal with their anger by hiding or retreating to an area that they feel comfortable or safe in.

Although some cats will pounce with the intent to play, many other cats will display other playful signals.  A happy cat and one who wants to play is usually very active.  Your cat, when happy and excited, may always be on the move.  He or she may be extra cuddly with you, hoping that you will provide them with extra attention and playtime.  Another sign of a happy and excited cat is one whose head, tail, and ears are straight up.

As previously stated, the reward of being a cat owner is seeing love and compassion in your cat’s eyes.  What you may not realize is that this is actually something that you may be able to notice.  It has been said that cats who squint when looking at you, are showing you that they do love and care for you.  It has also been said that biting and licking are additional ways that cats show love and affection.

The above mentioned examples, are just a few of the many that you will want to be on lookout for when trying to understand your cat.  As a reminder, the process of understanding your cat isn’t one that should be rushed.  All you need to do is give your cat the proper amount of love and attention, watch their reactions, and make note of any habits your new friend may develop.  In time, you will and your new pet will soon be understanding each other.


Cat Breeds

Turkish Angora

Are you looking to get a new cat soon? Great! You may want to consider a

purebred cat. There are many breeds that can be found in this country, each with its own

characteristic appearance and temperament and history. Think carefully about what you

would characteristics you would like to see in your new companion. Perhaps you would

care to consider:

Turkish Angora

Beautiful and rare, the elegant Turkish Angora is considered a national treasure in

its home country of Turkey. The breeds name came from the former Turkish capital,

Angora, now called Ankara. The Turkish Angora probably originated in the mountains of

Turkey. This graceful breed may have descended from the Manul cat, which was a small

cat domesticated by the Tartars. Turkish Angoras can be traced back in European

writings to 16th century France. The breed was enormously popular with French and

British nobility in the 1700s. Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI as well as King Louis

XV are said to have been Turkish Angora fanciers. The breed almost disappeared entirely

in the early 1900s due to indiscriminate interbreeding with Persians to the point where

nearly all longhaired cats were referred to as Angoras. Fortunately, Turkish breeders

continued controlled breeding of this lovely breed. In the 1950s, American servicemen

discovered Turkish Angoras at the Ankara Zoo. These servicemen reintroduced the

Turkish Angora to cat fanciers everywhere. All modern Turkish Angoras must trace their

ancestry to Turkey.

Turkish Angoras, though highly prized, are unfortunately rather rare even in their

lands of origin. They are loving, playful and very adaptable to many situations. This

breed is very friendly and outgoing. They coexist well with dogs. Turkish Angoras are

often the first to greet guests and are known to stick around to visit with them. Turkish

Angoras make outstanding family pets. This breed is also famous for its tendency to bond

strongly with one special human. Once that bond is formed, this cat will be an always

present, always affectionate companion.

Elegant and graceful, this breeds' most distinguishing feature is its beautiful coat.

White is the most popular color but many others colors are available and are becoming

more popular with time. The Turkish Angoras long haired, single layered coat is soft and

silky. It rarely mats or tangles and so requires little grooming. Most owners do use a fine

toothed comb their cats a couple times a week anyway, to get rid of loose hair and reduce

the likelihood of hairballs. Being a natural breed, they are also very healthy cats.

These cats are highly intelligent and need to have lots of interaction with their

people or they tend to get bored. It's a good idea to have another lively feline playmate

for The Turkish Angora to play with when you are away. Otherwise, she is liable to get

into mischief.

The Turkish Angora cat is a breed whose cheerful ways continue to charm people

every day. Give the Turkish Angora cat a closer look. This breed is considered the most

outgoing and affectionate of all cat breeds.  This cats' grace and energy would make it a

lovely and entertaining pet. This cat may be exactly what you are looking for in a new


Cat Breeds

Turkish Van


Are you looking to get a new cat soon? Great! You may want to consider a

purebred cat. There are many breeds that can be found in this country, each with its own

characteristic appearance and temperament and history. Think carefully about what you

would characteristics you would like to see in your new companion. Perhaps you would

care to consider:

Turkish Van

A rare and ancient breed of cat, the Turkish Van was depicted on ornaments as far

back as 5,000 B.C. The Turkish Van was so named for its region of origin, central and

southwest Asia. The area includes the modern countries of Iran, Iraq, Armenia, Syria, and

eastern Turkey. Van is a very common name in the area. There is in fact, a Lake Van

which is also Turkey's largest lake, so it is not surprising that Van was used as part of

this breeds name. In fact, this cat is known sometimes in its lands of origin as the

"Vancat". Turkish Vans were brought back to Europe by the Crusaders on their return

from the Holy Land. These cats were called several different names during that time

including; white ringtail and Russian Longhair.

The first Turkish Van cats to arrive in England were brought in 1955.The breed

was initially called the Turkish cat in England but this name was modified to Turkish

Van later to avoid confusion with the Turkish Angora. The various names under which

this breed was known in Europe created the misconception that is was simply a variant of

the Turkish Angora. They are, in fact, very distinct breeds with separate histories. The

Turkish Van is very much the new kid on the block in America having been here only

since a first importation of a few kittens in the mid 1970s, but the breed only began to

take off in this country with a second importation from France in 1983. The Turkish Van

has since attracted a loyal and spirited group of breeders and fanciers.

Turkish Vans are unfortunately rather rare even in their lands of origin. They are

large and strong cats that are very intelligent and are very curious. They are also very

healthy cats. Turkish Vans are unusual in that they require three to five years to reach full

maturity. There is one other characteristic that makes them highly unique. Turkish Vans

love water. In their homeland, Turkish Vans are sometimes referred to as the swimming


The Turkish Vans most distinguishing feature is his coat. The breed standard

requires that Turkish Vans have a white semi-longhaired coat with colored markings

confined to the head and tail. Cats of other breeds who display a similar color pattern are

often said to be "van-patterned". The coat lacks an undercoat and has a very unique and

beautiful texture similar to cashmere. This wonderful cashmere texture of the Turkish

Vans' coat makes it waterproof. Another plus to their unusual coat is that it doesn't easily

mat or tangle and so requires little grooming.

The Turkish Van cat is an ancient breed whose winning ways continue to charm

people to this day. Give the Turkish Van cat a closer look. These cats' great intelligence

and intense curiosity could make it interesting and entertaining pet. This cat may be

exactly what you are looking for in a new companion.


Understanding Your Cat

Cats are very good at communicating.  Taking time to understand exactly what your cat is saying will make your relationship stronger.

A bristling tail held straight up, or one that thrashes back and forth are warnings. If a cat is feeling defensive, the tail is usually arched. Hissing and backing away with ears flat against the head are other defensive poses. You can tell a lot about a cat's state of being from its eyes. Wide, dilated eyes communicate anger or fear. A contented cat slowly blinks its eyes, or keeps them half-closed.

When it comes to sound, cats say more than meow. Did You know there are at least nineteen different types of "meow"? Their vocalizations fall into three groups, murmurs, open/closed mouth and intensity sounds. Murmured sounds include the low sound cats make when treats are coming, as well as the famous purr. Purring is usually interpreted as a sound of contentment, but it is really more a vocalization of intense emotion. In fact, an injured cat, or one being handled by a stranger - like a vet - often purr.

Open/closed mouth vocalizations include all the variations and intonations of "meow" that a cat uses to greet you, or ask for food, or otherwise demand attention. Intensity vocalizations are created when the cat holds her mouth open the entire time she is making sound. These are the highly emotional vocalization of fear, anger, and extreme pain.

Some cats are more talkative than others. Many owners notice a difference in the types of noises their cats make for them as opposed to strangers or other cats. The more time you spend with your cat, the more she'll communicate with you and the better you will understand what she is saying. It is well worth the time to learn.


Understanding Your Cat’s 5 Senses

Are you a cat owner who is curious about your cat and how they function on a daily basis?  Of course, you cat likely cannot comfortably survive without the food and shelter you provide him or her with, but you may be curious about their senses.  Do you ever find yourself wondering how well your pet can see or what their tastes are like?  If so, please continue reading on.


As for your cat’s hearing, have you ever heard that your cat’s ears are similar to a satellite dish?  There are many pet owner and veterinarians who make this comparison.  What does this mean?  It means that your cat does have a relatively good sense of hearing.  You may notice your cat turn their head and move their ears when you start talking or when they hear a noise outside.  This provides cats with the ability to hunt mice and other small, quite rodents.


As for your cat’s sense of touch, all pets are just like humans.  They have a fine sense of touch.  Whether you touch your cat’s whiskers, her paws, or her tail, it is a movement that she can notice right away.  The most sensitive part of your cat’s body is their whiskers.  As a cat owner, you should already know how important a full set of whiskers are to a cat.  Your cat’s paws are also a sensitive area on their body.


As for your cat’s sight, he or she has good vision.  It has been claimed that cats see at 1/5th the intensity of humans.  Although cats cannot see perfectly in the dark, they are still able to make out distinctive shapes and movements.  Cats are also able to see movement quicker than humans are.  A movement that may appear as nothing to us, is a movement that a cat can notice.  However, during daylight humans do have a better sense of sight.


Depending on your cat and his or her eating habits, you may assume that cats have a sensitive sense of taste.  After all, many cat owners report their pets as being picky eaters.  Although it may appear as if your cat is a picky eater, they logically aren’t, at least for taste reasons.  In fact, cats are more likely to pick and choose their food based on smell, rather than taste.


Speaking of smell, this is the most heightened out of the five senses for your cat.  Cats have a much better sense of smell than humans do.  In fact, did you know that cats have about 200 million cells in and on their noses that are odor sensitive?  They do.  This is much more than us, humans, have.  In addition to using smell as a way to decide which food to eat, cats can also use smell to determine if an environment is safe to enter.  Smelling is also a method of communication for felines.  It has been said that cats can smell odors that humans can’t even detect.


Now that you know how your cat’s five main senses are, you may be able to better understand the behavior that your cat displays and the habits that they develop.  With that said, also be sure to use your best judgment.  If your cat is refusing to eat their food, it may be something more serious than them just not liking the smell of their cat food.  If your cat appears to lose or have problems with the above mentioned senses, you should consider scheduling an appointment with your veterinarian.


Understanding Your Cat’s Aggressive Behavior


Are you a cat owner?  If so, your cat may typically appear to be a calm, cool, and collected cat.  After all, many cats are content with lounging around all day with just a few hours of play.  Despite the fact that your cat may appear to be calm and mild mannered, there may come a point in time when you notice a change.  It is not uncommon for pet owners to report occasional aggressiveness with their cats.


If you have just witnessed your cat in an aggressive state, fear may be the first thought that enters into your mind.  Many cat owners have questions when they witness their cats attack.  Many owners want to know if something is wrong with their cat or if it is a danger to those around him or her.  In all honesty, you will find it depends.  Before deciding if you should contact your cat’s veterinarian, there are a number of important points you will first want to take into consideration.


First, it is important to know that cats, even domestic cats, can be considered predators.  The ancestors of your cat relied on hunting to survive.  This is not a trait or a characteristic that just disappears.  Your beloved cat will also have that need and desire to hunt.  This is one of the many reasons why cats occasionally display aggressive behavior.


Concerning natural aggressive behavior, many pet owners are concerned, as they provide their cat with enough food.  It doesn’t matter how well fed your cat is, he or she will always occasionally feel the need to hunt.  For example, has your cat ever killed a bird, mouse, or another rodent?  If so, did they consume their kill?  Chances are not.  This is proof that cats don’t just attack for the sake of food.


As for how you can determine whether your pet cat is just exercising his need to hunt, look at the attack in question.  Did your cat try to attack your foot as you walked by?  If so, this a normal occurrence and not a sign of something serious.


Jumping at your feet as you walk by was sited as an example above.  This can lead to another cause of aggression in cats; overexcitement.  Some popular cat toys on the market are those where balls are attached to a string and your catch chases it.  These toys are nice, but they can also lead to some confusion, as your foot may appear similar in nature to your cat’s favorite toy.  It is also important to know that cats are sensitive and their mood easily changes.  Is this why playtime with your cat can end with you having a scratch or a bite mark.


Cats, as with many other pets, are territorial.  This is another leading cause of aggression in cats.  Is your cat the only pet in your home?  If so, they may react with aggression when another pet enters into their territory.  The same can be said for children.  Do you have children?  If not, when a child visits your home, your cat may be frustrated, fearful, or angry with the change, especially inside their territory.  The quick movements of small children can also cause a cat to act out.  As an important note, cats are typically safe around children.  With that in mind, all small children should be watched carefully when around any kind of pet.


Unusual Cat Breeds


Are you looking to get a new cat soon? Great! You may want to consider a

purebred cat. There are many breeds that can be found in this country, each with its own

characteristic appearance and temperament and history. Think carefully about what you

would characteristics you would like to see in your new companion. Perhaps you would

care to consider something a little bit different:


The Munchkin


When you think of the Munchkin, think of a cat that is built like a dachshund. A

cat built with a long body and short legs. Munchkins are a very recently developed breed.

They have only been established since 1983. The foundation cat was a female named

Blackberry who was rescued from dogs by school teacher Sandra Hochenedel.

Blackberry was a black cat with very short legs. Found pregnant, she passed on her

unusual body type to her kittens. Blackberry's son, Toulouse, was left unaltered and it

wasn't long before there were a good number of short legged cats living around his

owner's home. Strangely enough, Toulouse and his short legged sons had no trouble

competing with standard toms for females.


In 1990 a study of the genetics of these short legged cats was conducted. The

study found that only one copy of the short legged gene to create more cats with the same

characteristic. The spines of these cats were also examined because there were fears that

they would have issues just like the low long bodies dog (e.g. dachshund) have. Though

nothing wrong was found at that time, judgment was reserved due to the extremely small

population that existed at that time.


Munchkins were named for the little people in Wizard of Oz that Dorothy met

when she first arrived in Oz. Breeders became interested in the quirky little Munchkin

and began controlled breeding programs. The Munchkin was first introduced to the

public at the Madison Square Garden Cat Show. The breed has faced some opposition.

There are people who believe that deliberately breeding for a mutation, even one that

occurred naturally, is ethically wrong. The cats themselves seem unaware that they are in

any way different from there long legged cousins. They self-assured, outgoing and

curious in nature. Munchkins tend to be people-oriented and bond easily with their

people. Munchkins leap and play just like other cats. The only difference is they can't

jump as high due to their short back legs.


The Sphynx


If you ever wondered what a cat would look like naked, look no further. The

Sphynx is virtually hairless. Sebaceous oils secreted by the skin are normally transferred

to the fur in other breeds. The Sphynx requires regular wiping down to remove these oils

to prevent skin infections.


This breed originated in 1975 as spontaneous mutation in a shorthaired litter. One

hairless kitten was born in that litter. She was named Epidermis. The following year a

hairless male was born. He was called Dermis. When bred to normal shorthaired cats,

Epidermis produced normal kittens. When Epidermis was bred to one of her sons, three

hairless kittens resulted. The hairless gene was a recessive. Both parents must carry it in

order for hairlessness to be expressed.


The breed was named after the great Sphynx monument of Egypt. The

Sphynx cats are devoted, loyal companions, who love attention and will purr happily if

their favorite person is near them. They are very athletic and like to jump to high places

or hang upside down from their climbing trees. Sphynx have strong personalities and

don't like being left alone. A feline companion will help to keep a Sphynx happy and

occupied while you are gone.


These very unusual cats are not everyone's' cup of tea. Give these very different

cats a closer look. Their unique appearances and lively personalities might just make a

great pet.  These cats may be exactly what you are looking for in a new companion.

Urinary Tract Infection in Your Cat

Possibly the single biggest cause of cats not using the litter box is a medical condition called Feline Urinary Tract Infection (UTI).  Your cat often may not display outward symptoms of discomfort and pain early on. It's only after your kitty feels significant pain, time and time again, that she stops using her litter box because she associates her urinary pain with the cat litter box.

However, there are a few signs you should be on the lookout for. While none of us really want to watch our kitty use the litter box, it's a good idea to observe her a couple times a week. This way, you can separate normal litter box behavior and habits from those that indicate something is not quite right.

First, we are looking to see if our cat cries or howls in obvious pain while she's urinating. If this is the case, run, don't walk to the phone, and call your vet immediately!

Next, even if kitty does her business in silence, look at the urine ball (or puddle) before she buries it. If you see any tinge of red or pink - get your cat to the vet as fast as you can, because she definitely has a UTI in full bloom.

After she uses the box and covers her business, if she licks her genitals
excessively, and meows, you can be pretty sure she has a feline UTI. Particularly if you see this behavior coupled with "accidents" around the house, you can be pretty certain you are dealing with a UTI.
A few minutes now can save both you and your cat discomfort later.  By knowing what is normal for her, you will be able to catch any problems early and get the UTI cleared up before it becomes too uncomfortable.



Let's Go For A Walk!


Why should dogs have all the fun? Many indoor cats would love to go outside and

enjoy the sun but it is often far too dangerous to let them simply wander about as they

please. Busy roads, large dogs and careless people are hazards many of us don't want our

cats exposed to. So why not teach him to walk on a leash?


But cats don't walk on leashes! That's the sentiment many people have when the

idea is first introduced. It's true that some cats will absolutely have nothing to do with the

whole business. They apparently think it is entirely beneath them to be seen out of doors

on a leash. What would the neighbors think! Fortunately, there are other cats willing to

entertain the idea and some who actually come to like their walks. There really isn't any

way of knowing which way your cat will turn out unless you try. Let's get started.


The first thing you will need is a properly fitting harness and a light weight leash.

It doesn't need to be fancy, just sturdy and well made. Trying to teach your cat with only

a collar is not a good idea. Pressure around their necks seems to make some cats freeze.

You want to teach him to move forward, not lock in place. The second thing you will

need is a bag of treats. Preferably something he really likes but doesn't often get. The

third thing you will need is lots and lots of patience.


Begin training inside your home. Do not take him outside until he is walking

freely and comfortably along with you on his leash. Place the harness on your cat and let

him get accustomed to it. If your cat is particularly timid, you might want to leave the

harness where he can investigate it and get used to seeing it first before you put it on him.

Leave the harness on him for ten to fifteen minutes a day for the first few days. After that

the period can be raised to fifteen to twenty minutes. Give him one or two treats during

the time he is wearing the harness so that he associates it with good things. When he is

fully comfortable with the harness, add the leash in the same manner, allowing him to

drag it around for a slowly increasing period over several days. Don't forget the treats.


By now, your cat is comfortable wearing both harness and leash. Pick up the end

of the leash and just hold it. Don't try to lead him anywhere. Follow him around if he

moves. Do this exercise for a few minutes a day until he is comfortable with it. Now

comes the big step, teaching him to follow where you lead. Place your cat to your left

side, your leash should be in your left hand. Let your arm hang relaxed at your side. Take

a treat in your right hand. Turn toward your cat and show him the treat. Now take a

couple of step forward, continuing to show the treat. If he follows you, take a couple of

more steps. If he follows to your new position, give him his treat and praise. If he is

reluctant to move forward, place the treat closer to him. Praise him if he takes a step

forward and give him the treat. If he doesn't want to move forward no matter what you

do, don't drag him. Pick him up and take him somewhere else to take his harness off. Do

not give him a treat since he didn't do as you asked. Here is where patience comes in.

Keep repeating the lesson every day, asking him to move farther each time.


When your cat is walking freely on leash with you all over the house, take him

into your back yard and walk him around in it. If he freezes and refuses to move, don't

panic. Reassure him he is safe and take him back inside. Try again tomorrow. If he tries

to take off on his own you can easily check him with your leash. Once he is comfortable

in the yard you can start taking him farther. Before long you will be able to take nice

walks wherever you choose.


What is in a name?



Being called by your name is very important and this importance really goes deep down to a person’s heart. This is also true for our pets. We give them names and we always see to it that it is dear, remarkable or something unique. What is the name of your pet?  If you are still in search for the right name for you pet, we would be glad to share to you some points to remember so that you would be really satisfied with the choice of name for your pet.


As you go through this whole process, you would surely be able to realize the importance of giving the right name for your pets.


  • The most basic thing to do is choose a name that would definitely be easy for the animal to remember. This is easy-to-remember. Those names that include only a syllable or two would definitely be memorized by the pet easily. When your aim is to get close with your pet, this is one of the first few means.


  • When you are not in a hurry in choosing a name for your pet, it would really help if you observe it first, you could base the name of your pet to a certain habit or characteristic it has or it shows.


  • In naming your dogs, make sure that you do not pick something that resembles the sound of some of the dog commands like no, go, sit, roll, get and so on. Jut like for example the name of your dog is Moe, so you would say things like, “Go Moe”. This may be confusing for your pet.


  • Choose a name for your pet that is less embarrassing and it is fun calling.


  • You could consider your cat’s breed heritage in naming names. With their breed heritage are some characteristics special for them.


  • Appropriateness is one of the most important factors to consider in choosing the name. It would definitely a big factor. Though a name may sound beautifully but if it would not sound well for you pet, it would be useless. For example, your pet grows up and the name is Puppy that would sound awkward.




Names are fun to think of. It is so funny that some even fight over it just to see to it that she or he gives the name for a family pet.


These tips are worth your consideration. Enjoy naming your pet but do not make it in such a way that you would regret it sooner or later.



What to Do With a Finicky Cat


There are many reasons your cat may not be eating. If she isn’t sick, you must do a little investigating to find the cause.

A cat may actually have trouble eating from a bowl that is too small or too light. If the bowl moves too much, your cat may find it not worth the effort. And some cats don’t like where their food bowl is placed – try simply changing its location.

If you have other cats or pets, other animals may intimidate your cat. A cat may find it difficult to eat from a bowl placed near a dog’s bed, near a noisy appliance or near a busy area of the house. Some cats will wait until a room is completely empty before eating. Many dogs will instinctively try to eat cat food when it is placed down.

And consider how long a bowl of cat food has been left out – food left out overnight or in hot weather may be unappetizing to your cat. And cats – even indoor cats - tend to eat less in warm weather.
Some cats don’t like changing food.  If you decide to change your brand of cat food, do so gradually over several days.  Mix a little more of the new food into the old food each day until you have completely changed over.
If your cat’s diet consists of mostly dry cat food, try giving it a treat of canned cat food occasionally, or add a little broth to its food. Some older cats or cats with sore gums or teeth can find dry food difficult to chew.

With a little investigation, you will be able to figure out just why your cat isn’t eating.  An adjustment here or there can turn your finicky cat completely around.



       What You Need to Know about Persian Cat Care


It may be fluffy but the way to do Persian cat care must also be according to how you do it with other cats. You have to perform the tasks with love and affection, just like being a parent to their child.


Where It Came From

The history of where this breed of cats came from is varied depending on who you are talking to. But most would say that the name has something to do with its origin. It is said that some of the early Persian cats do actually came from Persia. This country is now known as Iran.


These cats are also believed to have originated from Turkey, as well as England in the time of Crusades. This breed held a special spot in the royalties of England and even to the king of Persia during the early days. Such type of people valued the possession of Persian cats.


Maybe that's the reason why until now, Persian cats seem to walk the walk. They look like they have something classy about them.


The Breed

Persian cats' body built can range from medium to large. It may appear fluffy like a pillow but actually has a good muscle tone. The fluff or its coat has a fine texture and seems to be full of life. That is what gives the appearance of richness to this breed.


How to Care

Caring for your Persian cats need not be as regal as they seem to be. The idea is to be responsible and do your tasks accordingly.


You have to provide your pet with the best kind of food. They are not humans and their needs are a lot different from you. So do not give them your leftovers. Choose the quality cat food according to your budget. Make sure that you give them the food as fresh as possible. Don't let your cats touch spoiled food or else it may cause them sickness like diarrhea or upset stomach.


Always maintain their litter boxes. They have a sensitive smell. And they don't like anything that stinks. This will also do your house good because you will be able to keep things tidy.


And of course, know your pet. You have to observe them well. You need to know when something's not right. Have the veterinarian check them annually and whenever needed.


Just like a child, there are vaccinations that your cat needs to have. You have to include that on your monthly budget. So you better check your vet for some advice on how much you have to allot for each month's check up, if there would be any.


And, of course, you have to take time to really care for your pets. Take time to play with them. They need to feel that you love them. Spend quality time with your cats. If you will be having other pets at home, take time and strategize on including the new one to the whole system.


Your cats tend to get jealous when they don't get the attention that they used to have. It may lead to stress and depression. If you don't take notice, this may get worse. So you always have to be very cautious.


Get in the groove of your Persian cat care. And you will be surprised that through time, you will be able to develop ways to identify the signs and act on them before it becomes too late.



Where to Start When Looking for Holistic Cat Care in Florida


Are you searching for holistic cat care in Florida? Going back to the basics or being holistic and natural is not limited in Florida. You can be anywhere in the world and still find ways to go holistic.


Natural Caring


Everything must start from the heart. Cats are good pets to have. But it can be a lot of hard work. So as a pet owner, you must be ready for all the good and the worst case scenario.


You have to treat your cat part of the family and therefore part of the budgeting. You need to allot money for their food, for their maintenance and health concerns. So before even thinking of having a pet, check on your budget and see if you can afford it.


Do not think about having a cat because you are bored. How about on the days when you are no longer in the same state? With cats, you can't be all too sweet and hugging one moment and the next days, you don't even throw glances at them.


This will be taken seriously by your cat. This may even lead to depression and anxiety. You have to always put their feelings into consideration. Yes, they can also feel. They can love. And therefore, they can get hurt. Cats also feel jealous when the attention they were getting before suddenly shifts onto another pet or even another human being.


You have to slowly integrate the new face or the new pet in the whole system. You cannot act on an impulse and expect your cat to absorb everything. And be considerate. If the new pet is cuter, don't let it show. Shower all your pets with same kind of love as well as attention.


Going Holistic

This process must not replace the scientific ways of treating your pets. But it can be used alongside to ensure only the best kind of health for your pets. What are these so-called holistic procedures?


The more common ones are acupuncture, even massage therapies that you may also enjoy and other homeopathic kind of remedies. This also includes herbal therapies, even vitamin and mineral augmentation.


You can also target the diet if you want to opt for the natural way. How about turning to natural raw foods? Giving then raw meat will not be a problem since it is the cat's nature to hunt for such if they live in the wilds. Or if you still like to buy the available cat food at stores, you can check the ingredients and make sure that there are no added chemical additives.


You can also start the natural process of things by thinking like your pet cat. This way, you will know what they really like. You will be able to provide for them well and good. They are not humans so you don't have to treat them such. But how would you do it? You will learn that through time. Just be patient and observe.


So search on the Web for the holistic cat care in Florida or wherever else in the world. You can also ask other pet owners who have taken the transition. You will be surprised about the new information that you will gather. And you might just be swayed that the natural way is always the best.


Why Do You Need Cat Care Websites


The Internet has become a goldmine to information about anything and everything. This is also true if you are looking for cat care websites.


Cats can be a good companion. Be a good care giver to them by providing for your pets like you will do for your own children. You have to take note that cats have their basic needs that you must suffice.


Food Alert

Do not feed your cats your leftovers. The nutrient requirements of your pets are different from yours. So make them eat cat food. You need not be threatened by how much it would add up on your budget.


The idea is to find the right brand that is known for its quality as well as affordability. Allot about $10 to $13 a month for this purpose. This is just about the cost of a movie ticket for two. You surely can sacrifice some movie viewing habits to be able to give your cats what they need to stay fit and healthy


You can ask your vets for suggestions for this purpose. Actually, you need to partner with a good and reliable vet to be able to raise your pets well and good. So from the start of your venture in caring for cats, find the right doc nearest you.


Safety Alert

If you are used to clutter, then you better move fast in having everything in their proper places before you let your pet into it. You have to make everything safe for them. Do not let anything that is poisonous lying around.


You don't want to be the reason for anything dangerous that might befall on your pet cat. So make sure that you tidy up your place and that it is harmless for your feline friend.


And take note, you cat's sense of smell is 14 times sharper than yours. They are so sensitive to such and won't go on anywhere that stinks. This also goes to the litter boxes that you provide for them. You have to keep them cleaned and well maintained.


If you will not do that, your cat may then opt to look for better places to do their thing. Do you want them to hide their poops on your recently vacuumed carpet? You certainly wouldn’t want to find that kind of surprise on your basket of newly washed clothes.


Veterinarian Alert

Yes, you can always look up on the Web to find some quick fixes on your problems regarding your pets. But there is no better ally for simple to complex health situations for your cats than your trusted vets.


Aside from the annual physical exam, your feline friend must also have the required vaccinations. Plus, they needed to be examined by the doc whenever they show signs that they are acting far from the usual.


As its owner, you have to watch out whenever they are lacking their appetite. You have to be wary if there is something far from ordinary about their bowel. You need to be alarmed if they seem to be depressed. All these must be related to the vet for further diagnosis.


For the rest of your queries, you can always log in on the Internet to be enlightened. There are many cat care websites which were done by cat-loving people just like you. It will also be okay to learn from other pet owners' experiences. So explore the cyberspace and click your way through the vast resource it provides you for your cat care needs.


Why walk with your cat outdoors?



Our homes have been the homes of our pet cats. This does not mean however that you just have to keep them inside your house. You have to let them feel what is in the world outside. More than the basic needs of our cats, there are things like walking your cat outside that would surely help boost the total development of your cat.


When you take your pet for a walk, this would really be great for your cat pet. There are really great benefits from doing this activity. To do so would let your pet and you take a relieving break. Strolling around would entertain your pet and as well as stimulate it.


Another good thing about walking with your cat outdoors is that it would be able to overcome the boredom of being constrained inside your home. Just like us, cats also need to take some time and go outdoors. Being constrained may just make your pet depressed. It is really best to pamper your pet in the right way; to pamper your pet is not to keep him secluded from the outdoors.


Cats are not that expressive but studies show that behaviors of cats like scratching the furniture and others. This common behavior is one of the signs that may tell us that cats get bored too.


One thing more is that it could be the best form of exercise for your cat pet as well. There are cats which stay at home all the time that become overweight and to worse, become obese. We all know that this is not good and it could post a threat to the life of our pet.


Walking with your cats outdoors for it does not entail too much hassle, all you have to do is not only for your pet but it would surely entertain you as well. It would let you also spend some time outdoors, free from your busy schedule or the pressures of your tasks.


There are really good benefits when you walk your pet outdoors. You have to take time and feel the fun outside the walls of your home. It would definitely be a time to cherish, a time to savor.




Why Your Cat Won’t Use His Litter box


The biggest complaint of cat owners is due to having a cat that suddenly decides he doesn’t want to eliminate in his litter box.  Besides the smell, there is the added cost of ruined rugs and the embarrassment when visitors stop by.  Cats are, however, naturally clean animals and you will need to do some investigating to see what is going on that may have changed this habit.


The first reason cats stop using their litter box is cleanliness.  How often do you clean the box?  While one cat may tolerate once a day, others may insist the box be cleaned each time they use it.  In the latter case, it might help if you can invest in a self-cleaning litter box.  If cost is an issue, then try cleaning the box more often and see if this helps.


Have you recently changed litter brands?  Most cats prefer the brand they are used to.  This doesn’t have to be the most expensive; some actually prefer the cheaper brands.  If you find a litter that seems to make your cat happy, stick with it.


A more important reason a cat may stop using his litter box is illness.  A visit to the vet to have your cat checked for possible urinary track infection could be in order.  A cat with this infection may feel pain upon elimination and associate that pain with the litter box.


Keeping in mind that most cats will not stop using a litter box once trained should make it easier for you to understand.  Find the cause by eliminating things one by one.  Both you and your cat will be happier for the effort.  He stays out of trouble and you benefit by a cleaner-smelling house and nice carpet.



Win Over a Nervous Cat

When you first got your cat, you probably envisioned a cuddly little ball of fur that was ready and willing to accept affection whenever you chose to give it.  There are some cats who are, however, very shy by nature.  These ones will hide and act scared of you if you look at them.  Below are a couple suggestions to help.

It is usual for a cat to be cautious and timid for the first week or so in its new home. The more contact a cat has had with humans, the less timid it will be.  Give your cat a little space and don’t force the issue.  It is very likely he will approach you once he becomes sure of his new surroundings.
One way to gradually get a nervous cat used to petting is to gently wrap your pet in a thick towel, to prevent it from scratching you, and gently stroke its head. Talk to your cat softly as you do so. Set aside a time each day to perform this bonding ritual and your shy cat may grow to trust you enough to stroke it without the towel, remember patience pays.

Bribery can often work wonders with nervous cats. Try a offering a tempting healthy treat, if your cat is hungry enough to overcome its fear and stay still to eat its treat, stroke it gently, don't make sudden movements! You may have to persevere, but often your pet will eventually accept and enjoy your petting.

Never lose patience, and remember that your nervous cat is not rejecting you, it is just an in built protective reaction to something that has given kitty cause to be wary of humans. Love and perseverance will often win the day, and you will be rewarded by your cat's affection.


Your Cat’s Liver Disorder


Liver disease is more common in cats than is commonly realized.  It is important to recognize for leaving the disorder untreated will result in the liver shutting down and the cat dying.  Literally, your cat will starve to death.  One of the earliest symptoms is jaundice, which shows as a yellow coloring of the cat’s eye whites.

It is hard to identify a cat is suffering from liver disease because the signs and symptoms vary. Some might show decrease in appetite, weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, depression and jaundice. Other cats pass off pasty looking stool and display inappropriate urination and defecation behavior. This happen because fatty liver disease causes the liver to be is weighed down by rapid fat accumulation and simply shut down.

Immediate medication treatment is necessary for the recovery of liver disease. The treatment would depend on the cause and may include antibiotics, coagulation treatment for bleeding, intravenous fluid therapy, appetite stimulants, anti-emetics and diet management.

When preparing a diet plan for a cat with liver disease, note that he needs a high-quality protein diet in moderate amount, with most of the cat’s caloric intake coming from non-protein sources. If you are preparing your own food, it is recommended that the diet be based around eggs, cottage cheese, rice and liver. Your cat may also need multivitamin supplement.

Small, easily digestible and frequent meals are generally recommended. Many experts also recommend organic foods because they are not exposed to chemicals, artificial colors or preservatives.

It may seem like a lot of work, but preparing the special diet necessary is well worth the effort.  If you have more than one cat, it will be necessary to keep feeding stations separate so you can watch the cat who is ill.  You will need to keep a close eye on his eating habits.


Alternative Medical Care for your Horse


If you are looking to keep your horse happy and healthy, you might be looking into several different types of horse care. There are plenty of alternative medical care faculties besides for the normal, run of the mill vet.  You might be considering several of these other therapies for your horse, for whatever reason. If you are interested in these, it is usually best to ask your vet what they feel about them, and then be sure to do some research.  Usually the alternative medical care is given in cases where the horse’s life is not at stake because this is a situation in which the alternative care is helping your horse to have a better life, and not necessarily trying to save its life. There are some situations in which you might want to explore alternative care if your horse has been in an accident and your vet has said the best thing to do is to put the horse down. However, the most popular alternative care is care that you wouldn’t normally associate with horse care.


Like humans, horses have muscles that work very hard. In recent times, a movement has begun where people have gotten trained in animal massage and acupuncture. The idea is that these things can help human muscles in a variety of ways, so it might be a good idea to try them out on animals as well. You might find that with both of these your horse is generally more happy, because they are often helping your horse with things that your horse might not even know are wrong, and things that you might not be able to tell bug your horse or cause it discomfort.


With these therapies, it is important that you contact someone who has been trained in them, and someone who can do this very well, and who has done it for many other animals. This is a relatively new area, so you want to make sure that you are getting the best of the best, and that you aren’t running into problems by having someone who is not professional at what they do.


In other situations, ones that are more serious, a decision to explore alternative therapies is something that should be made between you and your family and your vet. There are alternative therapies that might help your animal if your vet has said there is no hope because of injury or sickness, but you always have to keep your animal’s best interest at heart and make sure that they aren’t going to suffer needlessly.




Arthritis and the Older Horse - Remedies


There are a variety of home remedies or treatments you can use for your senior horse companion if he is having a lot of pain and inflammation with his arthritis.  And several of them can be done at the same time.  The thing to remember is that your horse is an individual and may not take too kindly to some treatments, and be just fine with others.  Treat them accordingly and go with the flow.


If his joints are really swollen and painful and the Vet has suggested he be confined for a 24 hour or longer period, either use a box stall with lots of cushy hay or a small turn out pen with lots of soft grass underfoot.  If your horse is herd sour and pitches a fit when out of sight of its buddy, put the buddy someplace close.  The last thing you want is your sore horse to be fretting and pacing more trying to find his friend.


You can try using a flexible ice pack or even a bag of frozen peas tucked in a towel on the swollen joint for 5 minutes.  Remove for 15 minutes, repeat 3 times in a row.  If you can wrap the joint, then try a standing bandage to help reduce swelling and inflammation.   You can also try Neo-Ice Equine bandages or an ice gel that provides deep penetrating action to help reduce edema and inflammation.


Since he'll just get as stiff as all get out if left standing in a stall, take him out twice a day and hand walk him.  Remove his bandage first then walk for about 15 minutes to get limber.  When you take him back to his stall or pen, rewrap the bandage.  Every day gradually increase his exercise.  You will need to do this about four times a day as he progresses and then also reduce the length of time he is to be confined to about half the original period of time.


You'll be doing controlled exercises like hand-walking, ponying at a walk or slow trot or riding at a walk or slow trot.  These all depend on what condition your senior is in, so use your discretion.  If the swelling comes back, you need to slow down.


If there is no swelling an hour after the exercise session(s) you should be able to turn your senior back out into this regular pasture and then slowly get back into an easy exercise program.  If however there is swelling, you will need to call your Veterinarian to re-evaluate the situation.




Arthritis and the Older Horse


Just because your horse is older does not mean he is ready to retire and not get ridden.  Even aging equines need exercise.  Not to mention the fact that they get bored doing nothing if they were active in their day.  Aging horses still have sharp minds and although the body may not be keeping up as well as it once did - they appreciate being useful.  Being ignored and left alone can lead to depression in a once active horse.


With older usually come arthritis, and while it can slow them down, there are exercises to help him regain his condition.  Take him out of retirement and give him regular exercise - not the rodeo style kind, but gentle, tailored to his condition style exercises.  The muscles around his joints will benefit by being strengthened and help protect the joints from stress.  It's a known fact a conditioned horse usually has significantly thicker and healthier cartilage than an unfit equine.   The major reasons to take him out of retirement and give him some pep?  Regular exercise works wonders for his attitude, appetite, digestion and general well being.   He's been your companion for so long, he deserves the best.


Before you start your rejuvenation program, have your hose Vet checked and talk to your farrier.  This will give you and idea of any limitations you may need to work with.  Proper trimming and shoes are extremely important when starting the older horse on an exercise routine.  Preventive shoeing and trimming helps minimize concussive shock, aids flexion and extension, and alleviates lameness/ unevenness of gait.


Exercise should always start out slow and easy, a walk for 10 minutes, a slow trot, a walk, some turns and circles, some easy uphill work.  When you first take him out, it will have to be for a shorter period of time to get him used to being out again.  Over a period of time, based on his response, you can increase the duration of the exercises.  Even if you walk and trot him by hand, he will enjoy the change of scenery.


Throw in some passive stretching exercises as well.  For instance, pick up the affected leg, gently bend and straighten it - about ten times per joint.  Try to do this about 3 - 4 times a day.  This assists cartilage and soft-tissue healing and decreases scar-tissue formation.


Speaking of stretching, get your senior to do flexing exercises as well.  Encourage them to reach as far as they can to either side.  Tempt with treats and get them slowly into the longest neck stretch you can.  They will be stiff at first, but with persistence they will loosen up.


Check your senior's diet and make sure he's getting the right dietary supplements in the right amounts.  Don't assume his feed provides everything he needs.  Check this with your Veterinarian.  The large-intestinal function changes as your horse gets older, and they need higher-quality protein, alternative forms of roughage and supplemental vitamin B. Commercial senior feed is good for the older horse who cannot maintain weight.  Just watch the deadly mixture of not enough exercise and too much rich food or you may wind up with a portly horse.



Baby Horsies: Caring for Fouls


Whenever you have little ones that enter your life or the life of your animal, there is going to be some excitement. Caring for fouls is a very important part of raising horses, and it is something that you should know a lot about right form the get go.


First of all, you have to make sure that you have tended to the mother before she gives birth. You want to be sure that you are feeding her a food that is going to help her maintain good health, and that you are giving her things that help her to gain the strength as well as the nutrients that she is going to need to be the kind of mother she should be. You are going to want to make sure that you talk to a vet if you have never taken care of a mother horse before, and you are going to be sure that you get a vet’s advice if you have never had a foul before.


When the time comes for the foul to be born, you want to help as much as you can, but mostly you want to stay out of the way. There are some circumstances where you are going to have to help, which is why it is important that you talk to a vet about what is normal for a horse giving birth and what is not normal, and you need to make sure that you understand how to tell what is normal and not. Then, you want to be there, but at a distance, and you need to be ready to help if the mother needs it. You should have prepared for this by talking to your vet and by having things on hand that you might need.


When it comes time for the mother to give birth, if you don’t ‘need to help you still want to be on hand just in case. Then, you should be able to witness her and foul and watch what happens next. With fouls, as well as with other animals, if at all possible you want to leave the mother and the baby to do the things that they have to do. Animals have been doing this for a long time and it will often go best if you let them alone. If you have to help, try to be as discrete as possible, and be sure to do only the things that you absolutely know how to do.



Basic Horse Nutrition


While you might think this is a simple thing to do - feed your horse - you'd be surprised at the number of horse owners that don't know about the basics.  There is no real rule of thumb for feeding, as each horse's nutritional needs will vary depending on age, weight and level of activity.


To start with, your horse naturally uses forage as a primary component of their diets. It is one of the MAJOR necessities for a properly functioning digestive system. When we speak of forage, we usually mean natural pasture and cut hay.


Mature horses usually eat about 2 to 2.5 percent of their body weight in feed every day. So a 1,000 pound horse will eat roughly 20 to 25 pounds of feed per day. This means high quality feed, not low quality high fiber feed (which can interfere with proper digestion).


In a perfect pasture world, your horse should eat a minimum of 1 percent of his body weight in hay/pasture forage daily. If your horse doesn't do much work, they will do nicely on strictly forage, with no grain thrown in.  On the other hand, growing, breeding, or working horses must have supplements in addition to forage - such as grain or a supplement concentrate.  Think of it this way, forages should provide at least one half or more of the total weight of the feed eaten daily for optimum growth and development.


Before you can feed a balanced "meal" to your horse, you have to know the nutrient content and quality of your forage. Once you know that, you can figure out the right amounts of each to meet nutrient requirements.


The best source, and the least expensive one for summer feed is your pasture.  And, in most cases good pasture by itself can provide all the nutritional requirements your horse needs.  How do you figure out how much pasture is needed to feed a horse?  Here is a rough guideline to help you: (using a weight of 1,000 - 1,200 pounds)


Mare and foal 1.75 to 2 acres

Yearlings 1.5 to 2 acre

Weanlings 0.5 to 1 acre


Winter feed of course would be cut hay, and again, high quality if you can provide it.  It should be cut early, be leafy and green in color and as free as possible of dust, moulds, weeds and stubble.  This feed is usually rich in protein, minerals and vitamins.


Yes, you can use alfalfa hay, but be careful about the higher protein content if you are feeding to young growing horses, as it may contain an excessive amount of calcium in relationship to phosphorus.  Too much calcium is not good for growing horses.  If you're not sure about hay quality, have it analyzed.



Bones and Muscles: Horse Anatomy


When you have a horse, it is very important that you understand several basic parts of horse anatomy to be sure that you are caring for your horse in the best way possible. You can do this through studying on your own or you can talk to your vet to learn the very basics.


First of all, you should know that laying down is very hard on your horse. Horse’s bodies are not meant to lay down for long periods of time, which is why you need to know that if your horse is laying down, there is something wrong with him. If a horse lays down for any amount of time they are risking damaging their internal organs, so if you see your horse laying down, you have to be sure to call your vet immediately, because it is an emergency.


Your horse’s legs are the most important part of his body. Not only do they carry all of his weight, and support him while he is sleeping or while he is awake, but they are very thin and are easy to damage. If a horse gets a broken leg, there is going to be a lot of problems because he won’t be able to lie down to mend it, which means that the mending process can be quite painful. What this means for you is that you have to be sure to always, always take care of your horse’s legs and feet at all times. This is very important as a horse owner.


Another thing that you have to be sure to take care of when it comes to your horse’s anatomy is his skin and his coat. These are things that you have to focus on because they keep out a lot of problems and keep your horse happy and healthy. This means that you have to be sure to focus on these things. You should be grooming your horse each day, and especially should be grooming him after each time you ride him. You always want to be sure that you are doing the best that you can do to care for all aspects of your horse.


It is also important to note that a horse has a very advanced heart and lung system that can allow them to keep running or walking for along time. This doesn’t mean that your horse never needs to rest; it simply means that you can exercise your horse more than you are going to be able to exercise yourself! Keep all of these things in mind if you own a horse.




So, You Want To Buy A Horse - What Do You Need To Know?



Before you go to the great expense of buying a horse, you need to evaluate how good a rider you are, and just how much do you really know about horses and horse care.  Make no mistake, you need to really be honest with yourself as this is a huge commitment. Ask yourself what size and age of horse would work best for you as well.


Okay you have just fallen in love with a flashy looking equine and now what?  What do you want to achieve and is THIS the horse for you? Are you going to be hunting, driving, barrel racing, trail riding or jumping?  Are you going to ride at all?  You can get horses just to drive.


What about this horse's temperament?  Quiet, feisty, pushy, amenable, or grumpy?  If you aren't comfortable with horses, don't get a pushy horse, as you will find it ruling you and not the other way around.  If you are planning to just trail ride, don't buy an eventing horse.


If you don't have horse experience then do not buy a young horse and try to train it.  Two newbies who don't know much do not make a good mixture.  Wait until you have more experience or pay the price for your mistakes - such as injuries to you and your horse because you did not know what you were doing.


Take an experienced friend with you to check out horses.  Better they help you assess the horse so you don't wind up over horsed (buying a horse that is way too much for you to handle).  Your experienced friend can also ride the horse for you to assess if it would work for you.  If the current owner is riding the horse, and they insist you don't need to try the horse - run, don't walk as far away as you can, and keep looking.



Care For Your Older Equine - Part Two


Another fairly familiar problem with an aging horse is degenerative joint disease aka arthritis.  You most definitely can still work them and in fact should work them to keep them limber, active and alert.  You would just need to remember to warm them up gently and thoroughly before doing any work.  Many older horses, although they may be sore and stiff, still love to go out and do things.  Their minds aren't dead and they are still interested in life.


With an older pal you've worked, you will need to cool them down slowly by hand walking them and rubbing them dry with a towel.  You might even want to give them a warm bath if you have the facilities.  When you get to be that age, a little pampering is a nice thing.


Treat the feet and your older horse will still give you many more miles.  Work with your farrier and get regular trimming and shoeing to help reduce concussion.  If you keep them on pasture, then opting to go barefoot is good for their joints


Like humans, older equines do tend to put on weight if they are overfed and under worked.  Keep an eye on their feed intake and keep them mobile.  If your horse is getting a bit pudgy, adjust his feed.  If he's not keeping his weight or is losing it, also adjust your feed to include more protein and oils - for instance equine fish oil with Omega 3 and corn oil.  Also have alfalfa mixed into his diet, but don't over feed this.


And the other issue with older horses is colic.  Symptoms include: lack of appetite, pawing, kicking at the abdomen, getting up and down, rolling, restlessness, flank watching and/or biting, elevated skin temperature, sweating from pain and a sawhorse stance.  As you know, if you suspect colic, call your Veterinarian immediately.  Any delays can be fatal.


Why do older horses seem to have more difficulties with colic?  It's largely due to the fact they may be having difficulty chewing and swallowing and not being able to drink properly.  Too much food not washed down can lodge in the throat or cause a blockage elsewhere.



Care For Your Older Equine



Have an older horse companion in your pasture?  Bless their hearts they have such stories they can tell.  In terms of being considered a senior horse, if your equine is 20 or older he is a veteran or campaigner.  This age by the way would make him about a 60-year- old human.


Your horse's ageing process will vary, and will also depend on his breed, workload, conformation, medical history and the care he receives.   Each horse is an individual.  So how they age will be totally different. The thing you need to pay the most attention to as your horse ages, are his teeth.


Horses of course are grazing animals, and their mouths are set up just right for that angled neck hanging down to graze, nip and shear grass off and grind and chew it.  Over the years this constant grinding wears the tooth surfaces down, and they fall out.  This makes eating difficult for your horse and also means if he can't eat properly, he will start to lose condition.  And that brings with it a whole host of other problems.


The best thing you can do for your older equine is to have the Vet check his teeth twice a year for any abnormal wear, waves, hooks, or sore gums.  Dealing with these things quickly will keep your horse able to eat for a long longer.  In anticipation, start him on mashes slowly so if he gets to the point where he needs them on a regular basis, he is already used to them.


Between visits, check your horse's mouth and watch for problems with eating, like quidding, head throwing, choking or difficulty drinking. Older horses often have difficulty eating long fiber food.  You can solve this problem by switching to shorter cropped hay and/or add high fiber cubes as mash or straight.  If you keep on top of dental issues, you can save your horse a lot of grief, and you can save money and problems in the future.



Cleanliness and your Horse's Health


One of the most important factors in how healthy your horse ends up being is cleanliness. You might not believe it, but it is something that is completely true. In order to have your horse live a very healthy life style, it needs to be able to maintain a life in which it is clean and in which it can have access to all of the things that help it to be happy and healthy.


When you have a horse, you are going to want to work hard to make sure he is happy. This means that he needs to have fresh straw and food, as well as fresh water. You also have to be sure that you are providing your horse with plenty of room to run, and plenty of rest when he has been working. All of these things are important, but they are also impacted by one single factor – the cleanliness of the stable and your horse in general. Not having a clean area, and not having a clean life can lead to all kinds of problems within all aspects of your horse. If his food and water are not fresh and clean, he is going to have health problems. If his stall is not clean, he is in danger of developing other illnesses as well. Overall cleanliness is very important if you want your horse to be as happy and healthy as he could be.


Remember, there are many factors that you have to consider when you are looking at your horse’s cleanliness and his health. The food and water must be clean and fresh, but this does no good if you don’t provide them in containers that are also clean. If you are giving your horse clean food and water in dirty containers, he is going to get sick.


His stall also must be clean at all times, and this is something that only you can do. Even if you hire someone to clean out your stalls, you have to be sure that the person you have hired is doing the right work. It simply does no good for your horse to be living in dirty quarters.


Along with this, you have to be sure that you are grooming and cleaning your horse as often as he needs to be groomed and cleaned. This is something that is more vital than you could possible imagine, because if your horse isn’t clean himself, he isn’t going to be very happy.



Eating Manure - Natural or Not?


Well if you're a youngun eating Mom's fresh manure is normal.  It's called coprohagia and it gets the foal's digestive system in working order.

The manure provides "starter" bacteria baby needs for the system of fermentation and digestion that allows his intestinal tract to handle solid food. In addition, the environmental bacteria in the manure stimulates the foal's immune system, reducing the chances he'll get sick as he gets older.   If it's fresh manure, there is less of a chance the foal will be infected by his dam's parasites, as the eggs need to pass through to maturation in the manure before they're infective.   In any event, you will be making sure baby is wormed properly as well.

This behavior usually ceases by the time the foal is five months of age. But if you see this happening in adult horses, then alarm bells should be going off in your head.  If your adult horse is eating manure it has become a habit - and a very hard one to break.  If it is a habit, then it usually has to do with inappropriate feeding, boredom and/or a lack of exercise.

It seems studies have been done that show if a horse is not getting enough roughage he may eat his own manure just for something to do. The same studies say it's extremely important and necessary for a horse to use his lips, picking through grasses and other kinds of forage. If there's not enough forage, he'll start using his lips, picking through and eating manure.  Ewwwww!  Well, yes indeed.  There are other reasons for them eating manure though.

If a horse has been ill, and antibiotics have been used, the drugs may have killed off the good bacteria, present in the gut of all horses that help prevent invasion by harmful bacteria or fungi. Eating manure may help the horse replenish the good bacteria.  If the eating manure just doesn't do it for you then try feeding probiotics.  They're a source of live naturally occurring microorganisms.

Bottom line?  Always make sure your horse has enough forage to keep him happy, healthy and munching. Horses are grazers and if you have them in a pen all day with nothing to eat in between morning and evening feedings, you're asking for trouble.  Also make sure they have something to do and aren't standing all day doing nothing.  A horse is a highly social animal and needs the company and companionship of other horses.




Equine Colic and your Horse


If you have had a horse, chances are that you have heard of the term equine colic before. You have probably done some research into this term, and you have found that when you are talking about equine colic, you are talking about a sign or symptom, and not really an actual diagnosis. The term colic in horses refers to any different type of abdominal pain, and this is usually the result of some other sickness in your horse. So, if your horse is exhibiting equine colic, it means that something else is wrong with him. Some of the things that might be wrong with your horse are small problems that will pass on their own, but some of them might be more serious complications that could require surgery and, if left untreated, could result in the death of your horse.


If you choose to go with surgery you are going to find that it is usually very expensive. This is why colic results in death of so many horses, because sometimes you are not able to know what is wrong with your horse and you don’t get it treated. You have to be sure that you recognize the symptoms so that you and your vet can make a good decision regarding whether or not to do surgery.


There are several symptoms that are associated with equine colic, and it is important that you and anyone else who is working with your horses recognize these symptoms. Because of the wide variety of things that might be wrong with your horse, it is important that the colic is recognized right away and diagnosed so it can be treated.


Some of the symptoms include a horse’s reluctance to eat anything, which is going to indicate a problem. If your horse doesn’t eat, you need to talk to a vet. Also, if the horse is looking at their side, or even turning or nipping at their sides, it might indicate that they are trying to solve their own problems. If your horse is kicking at their abdomen, or pawing their front legs or stomping their feet, this is also indicating that there is pain in your horse and he doesn’t know what to do about it. If your horse looks like he is stretching abnormally while he is trying to go to the bathroom, there is also a problem. If your horse lies down and rolls and thrashes and then does not get up and shake off right away, this is indicating that there is a big problem with your horse. Also, if your horse is sweating after light exercise, curling his lip excessively, has cool extremities, lacks bowel movements, or has a higher pulse or respiratory rate, this is going to indicate that there is something wrong with your horse. See a vet immediately for treatment of colic.






Equine Flu or Allergies?


Did you realize your horse could have allergies?  It makes sense if you consider the type of environment they live in.  If they are not outside (and in some instances even if they are) they can have an allergic reaction to dust, molds, smoke, and other air borne allergens like burning smudges, bug spray and perfumes or medicinal odors.


The name for this condition is Allergic Respiratory Disease (ARD) and it shows up with flu-like symptoms rather than sinus or nasal difficulties.  The horse's lungs will get inflamed, making them far more susceptible to virus and bacterial infections.  This manifests as a recurring problem your horse never quite gets over.  You'll also likely see coughing, excessive eye discharge and discover they get tired easily.


It seems the most common cause of ARD is several types of mould spores and weeds in hay or straw.  This is a seasonal thing, so you may only see the problem popping up in the spring and the summer.  Problem is, winter and fall feed come from the same source, so what happens is the horse builds up sensitivity over time and their reactions increase.


You can keep them outside in fresh air to try reducing the symptoms.  If however your horse needs to be stalled, store your hay in a different location and make sure the airflow in the barn is good.  Soak your hay before feeding if there is a dust problem.


If your at home solutions aren't helping much, call your Vet and have her take a look at the fluid and cells in the horse's lungs to figure out how severe the allergy is.   There's also a new blood test that can tell the Vet precisely what the horse is allergic to.  Exciting news, because that means customized treatments for each horse.  Other treatments include corticosteroids (cortisone) and bronchodilators.


Figuring out what the problem is in the first place is half the battle and once you have that under control, your horse is well on his way to making a good recovery.



Equine Parasites

Internal parasites - out of sight, out of mind - can kill your horse.  While they may be out of sight, they are doing extensive damage internally.  At a minimum, parasites can steal nutrients from your horse and cause gastrointestinal irritation.  The bad news is, uncontrolled they can cause colic, intestinal ruptures and death.

The three top things you must provide for your horse for his good health are clean water, high quality feed and a good de-worming program.  And this will make you really stop and think.  Did you realize that are more than 150 parasites that infest horses?  The most common are large stronglyes (aka bloodworms), small stronglyes, ascarids, pinworms, bots, tapeworms, threadworms and lungworms.  And think about this, some of these species lay up to 200,000 eggs a day.  Those numbers are staggering.

The thing with all these parasites is that they may all be present in your horse at the same time, just in different lifecycle stages.  So yes, while your horse may look healthy and happy, you don't know what is going on inside.  These silent killers can damage tissues and vital organs, major blood vessels, cause obstructions and ulcerations in the digestive tract.  Pinworms can really irritate horses and cause intense anal itching.

Some signs of infestation may (and may is the operative word, since you won't always see signs of problems externally) include dull, rough coat, weight loss, tail rubbing (hair loss), colic, depression, coughing/nasal discharge, loss of appetite etc.   The best thing to do if you see some of these signs is talk to your Veterinarian about getting a fecal examination.

Won't I see them worms in the manure?  Answer is no, you won't, but the eggs will be visible to the Veterinarian under a microscope.  By counting the types and number of eggs, the Vet can then tell you which de-worming program will work.  This test in combination with a good worming program will keep your horses protected from the ravages of pests.

You can give wormer four ways, oral paste syringe, oral liquid syringe, nasogastric tube and as a feed additive.  In many cases horses will not eat something they smell in their feed, so if you can work with the other two methods, you'd accomplish worming effectively.  Nasogastric tubes are best left for a Vet to administer wormer.  Make sure you give the proper dose and at the proper time - usually every 6 to 8 weeks. (foals will differ, check your wormer labels)


All three methods are effective. The key is that the deworming product must be given in the proper dose (given by weight) at the proper time, and that they actually swallow the wormer.   To make sure they do swallow the dose, you can do one of two things - insert your thumbs into either side of their mouth to make them open their mouth and swallow the paste or liquid they were holding in their mouth, or put your hand under their chin and tip their head up so they must swallow.


For the best worming schedule, talk to your Veterinarian.  The requirements of the herd may vary if you have all ages and stages of equines from foals to old campaigners.



Fashion Statement? Horse’s Shoes


A horse’s shoe is something that is, of course, put onto their feet. The process doesn’t hurt the horse, because the shoes are attached to the hooves of the horses, and in this manner it doesn’t cause the horse any pain because the horse’s hooves don’t have feeling. They are kind of like our fingernails. The shoes are attached to the hooves, and then they act as the bottoms of the feet.


It is important that you realize just how vital a horse’s shoes are to their lives. In today’s day and age, there is a lot of stuff that can make a horse sick or injured, and a lot of it is going to be found where they are walking. No matter what surface they are walking on, there is going to be germs and other things that can get into their feet and cause them sickness. Also, no matter what your horse is doing for you, they are going to be working hard, and this might cause an un shoed horse to have a cracked hoof or another foot injury.


You should know that if your horse gets a foot injury or an illness in their foot, your likelihood of saving them is not good. Foot injuries are very bad for horses, and if they are too badly injured they are going to have to be put down. Because of this, it is very important that you take all of the precautions necessary to make sure that your horse has the proper shoes and that they are well taken care of.


If you are interested in learning more about your horse’s shoes, you need to be sure that you are contacted someone who can help you out. This is not something that you should be thinking you can take care of on your own, because a horse’s shoe is the best defense that he has against dying young. Because of how important shoes are to a horse’s health, it is never something you should attempt on your own. Be sure that you are finding a vet and someone who can help you with your horse’s shoes, and be sure that you know as much as you can about horse’s health before you get a horse. Remember to have your horse’s feet cared for often, and you will find that you horse will live a longer and happier life in general.


Healthy Foods for Healthy Horses.


Like any animal that you own it is very important that you are providing your horse with all of the nutrition that is necessary for good growth and good development. A horse is something that you invest a great deal of time and energy in, and it is something that is going to be very loving and loyal to you. This means that you have to be sure to provide your horse with not just adequate nutrition, but excellent nutrition.


Remember that having a good horse feed is something that is important. You want to research your particular breed of horses and see what kind of diet they will do best on. Another thing to keep in mind is not only what kind of breed of horse you have, but what their lives are like. Are they racing horses, or working horses, or are they just horses that you keep as pets to ride. Do you show them, or are they simply farm horses? These are all important questions to ask, because the answers to these questions will help you figure out what the best diet is to give your horse.


After you have determined what your expectations are for your horse, and what kind of lives your horses are going to be leading, you can pick out a great feed that is going to bring out the best in them, while giving them great nutrition. There are many places to buy horse food, so you have to be sure that you have a feed dealer that you can trust that will help you make great decisions about what is best to feed your horse. Then you can be sure that you have a good supply of food.


Also, remember that depending on what your horse is doing in his life, the different seasons are going to act differently upon his body. It might become important that you switch his feed or change what you are giving him as far as amounts go, during the different seasons. This is also a question you are going to want to discuss with your vet, and make sure that you are doing what is right for your horse.


An important part of both training your horse and bonding with your horse is what you are giving him for snacks. He will come to love the snacks that you give him, as long as they taste good and are good for him. This means that you should keep a great supply of the snacks that you know your horse loves on hand, and be sure to talk to your vet about what is appropriate for your horse as well.



Helping Mother and Baby: When your Mare has a Foul


Helping a mare through pregnancy can be any extremely rewarding experience, but remember that it is also a lot of hard work. If you’ve decided to allow your mare to become pregnant, make sure that you can be responsible for this medical condition, as well as an extra life. Breeding horses is a great career if you have the time and effort.


First and foremost, mares are pregnant longer than women. In general, a mare will carry her foul for about 11 months. During this time, care and regular checkups from a vet are crucial. You may even want to find a vet specializing in this particular field. As your mare’s due date approaches, make sure to keep a watchful eye. Keep your vet’s number on hand and call whenever the horse goes into labor so that the vet can arrive to help with the birth. In some cases, a vet may not be needed, but if you are inexperienced, or if the birth takes longer than a half hour, you vet should come to help with the birth.


Cleanliness is important. You don’t have to hose out the entire barn and use a disinfectant, but make sure that you can clean bedding in a clean stall available for your mare. Also, it is important to tie up the horse’s tail so that it doesn’t get in the way. Don’t tie this too tightly, and leave it free was soon as the birth is over. Of course, after the birth, rinse the mare’s hindquarters and remove any soiled bedding, replacing it with fresh bedding.


If you see anything unusual going on with the birth, it is best to call you vet right away. Remember, a horse birth will look very different from a human birth, so before you mare goes into labor, make sure that you talk to your vet about what to expect. Afterwards, it is also important to let the mare care for the foul. Instinct will lead a mare to do the proper things for her new baby, and interfering may confuse or anger the horse. Keep your distance, and if you think something may be wrong, call the vet.


You new addition to the family should be walking and drinking milk from the mare rather quickly. Remember, this is a very tender time in both horses’ lives. Keeping them away from other animals for the first week or two may be a good idea. Afterwards, it is best to talk to your vet about the vaccinations and special food your foul may need to grow strong and healthy.



Hormones and Drugs for Stallions


Knowing what to give your stallions when it comes to hormones and drugs is very important. You are going to want to know several things before you get started dealing with your stallions and hormones or other drugs, so you should be talking to a vet or another horse expert to see what they have to say about these things before you start. Hormones and other drugs can be very useful, but also unnatural and dangerous, so consider your options carefully.


First of all, it is important for you to think about what are good hormones and other drugs, and what are bad. If you are considering using hormones and drugs so that your horses are stronger or faster for racing or working, you should know that this is very dangerous to do and is going to have the potential of making your horse sick or even killing your horse. Also, if you are involved in horse racing, giving your horse drugs of any kind is usually illegal anyway.


However, there are good hormones and drugs that you might consider giving your stallion for many different reasons other than simply making them faster and stronger.


First, there are hormones and drugs that you can give your horses that will help them to replace something in their body that they aren’t getting from what you are feeding them. If you know that your feed has some kind of deficiency, you are going to want to consider giving them hormones or drugs to replace these. Talk to your vet first, to determine what is good for your horse, and if you can, you should change your food before you give your animals drugs to replace things. These types of hormones work in the same way that many supplements for humans work.


Also, you might sometimes need to give your stallion’s hormones or other drugs in order to keep them healthy. This should always be at the discretion of your vet, and you have to make sure that you understand why your horse is being given these drugs.


If your horse has a condition that requires you give him hormones or other drugs on a regular basis, you might want to learn how to do this yourself so that you can do it without a vet trip. Make sure that your vet shows you the proper technique, and be sure that you know exactly what you are doing before you do it.



Horse Language


Yes, horses have a language of their own, and unfortunately many of us are not as aware of it as we should be.  It's a big mistake to not to know their language, as it could mean problems for us in the long run.  Every swivel of the ear(s), hip movement, tail flick and facial expression means something.  This is the language horses use to speak to other horses and to us - if only we would listen.


We need to know what OUR body language says to them first before we can understand them.  Flapping arms while trying to get the halter on will cause concern. Running at them in a pasture rather than walking up to them calmly can make them think -  predator chasing me. We've all heard about bombproof horses - sorry, there isn't any such thing.  Something, some time will spook your horse - any horse.

In the meantime, keep your body language quiet, slow, easy and calm.  If you are calm, this helps your horse remain calm.


Horses speak to us with all body parts and that includes the front and back end.  Both ends can cause us untold grief if we do not pay attention to what they are saying.  For instance, most of us know that when a horse has both ears pinned back flat something is really wrong.  Chances are they are either frightened or angry.  In most cases it is anger.  So watch the front and rear very carefully.  Caution is best even if you think the horse may be listening to something behind them or bored.  Once you really know your horse well, you will know what the ears are saying.


Ears perked up and forward mean they are focusing their attention on something and are either up to some mischief or they are on high alert about something they see, hear or smell.  Remind your horse you need his attention, especially if you are riding and the ears whip forward.


Brushing and caring for your horse is THE major bonding experience between humans and equines.  Don't ever underestimate how powerfully you are communicating to your horse about YOU when you brush him.


Horses and the West Nile Threat


West Nile Virus is a very real danger for most mammals, including humans. If you have a horse, you could be at even more risk, since farm animals are very susceptible to this disease. In most cases, the West Nile virus is transmitted through mosquito bites, and in many cases, this disease is fatal. As your horse’s caregiver, it is your responsibility to protect your horse from the West Nile virus and to treat your horse is he or she becomes infected. Remember, owning a horse is a huge responsibility. Horses are just like children—they often cannot care for themselves, so it is your job to provide your horse with everything he or she needs, including treatment when sick.


First, consider vaccinating your horse to prevent West Nile virus. The vaccination for this disease was released in 2003 and can really protect horses, especially those at a high risk for contracting West Nile virus. There are some downfalls as well, however, such as the cost. By talking to your vet, you can learn how often your horse will need the shot and how much it will cost. If you have insurance for your horse, these costs may be covered.


Killing the mosquitoes found in your neighborhood is also a crucial way to protect your horse from developing West Nile virus. To do this without introducing harmful chemicals into the environment, discourage mosquitoes from breeding in the first place. Remove trash and other places where standing water is a problem, and talk to your vet about natural mosquito repellents. Fans also help to deter the mosquito population, and at the very least, don’t turn on lights in the bard or stables after the sun has gone down when possible.


Remember to protect yourself as well. Humans can also get the West Nile virus, and so if you take care of your horse, it is crucial to recognize this danger. Wearing long clothing and using bug spray, especially in the evening, can prevent mosquitoes from biting. You can also put up screens in the doors to the barn if the problem is very bad.


Mosquitoes are most active dusk to dawn, and so your horse will have less of a chance of being bitten if you stay inside during the evening and night. Although a night ride may be fun, if the mosquito population in your area is high, it is best to stay indoors. If you are unsure about how to prevent mosquito bites and your horse seems to have an abundance of them, talk to you vet. Keeping your horse safe should be a number one priority.



Hot Weather Cool Downs for Your Horse


It's over 40 degrees in the baking sun and you can't even walk outside without feeling like you've been drained of every ounce of energy you ever had.  If you feel this way, imagine how your horse feels.  Pretty much the same.  If you are hot, so are they.

Horses like weather in the 55-degree range and during the height of summer 55- degree days are fairly rare.  What can you do to help cool your horse down?

Always have plenty of fresh, clean, cool water on hand.  It's hard for them in heat like that to go too long without a drink.   It's usually a good idea not to work them too hard in high heat and humidity.  It's really punishing for their systems.  And if you do work them, be VERY careful about letting them drink when you are done.  Only let them have small quantities and space those quantities out over a period of time.  If you're working them slow and easy and they are not sweated up and heaving, give him a drink at least every half-hour.

You might think this sounds funny, but think about it.  Don't put your water bowl out in the full sun.  Why?  Because the water in it can get so hot it can scald your horses lips.  Put the bowl or bucket in the shade.

Another cool down tip, your horse loves cool bathes - not ice cold - but cool spray from a hose all over their back, legs and chest.  Some are fussy about water on their heads, so avoid that area.  The first thing a horse usually does after being sprayed is roll in the dirt and make themselves a nice bug screen coating on their coats.  The bugs are fierce in hot weather.  If you don't have a hose with a spray attachment, then sponge his head and face off with cool water.

Even if you have a salt block out, it's not enough for those brutally hot days.  You need to have extra salt available.  All you need to do is add some table salt to his hay or feed.  He will eat what he needs.  Most horses sweat about enough to need 4 ounces of salt daily in hot weather.


Hot, Hot Summertime: Heat and your Horse


When you own horses, you already know that there is a lot of stuff you need to be aware of, and a lot of different conditions that you have to be sure to watch for and to treat for. One of the problems with owning horses is that you can only do so much for them to get them out of the weather. With a dog or a cat, you can take them inside when it is very hot or very cold, but with a horse, you have to make decisions based on what you can do, and usually you only have a barn to take them into. That said, you always have to be aware of how the weather is affecting your animals, and along with other things, you have to be sure that you are watching for heat stress in your horse.


Like other animals, horses can be affected by the extremely hot weather. You want to be sure that your horse always has plenty of shade, and plenty of water, but sometimes this isn’t enough. If you are living somewhere that it is very hot, you have to be sure to take precautions so that your horse isn’t affected by heat stress. There are several things that you can do to make sure that your horse handles the heat as well as he can.


No matter what the temperature is, working is going to make a horse hotter because working makes them use all of their muscles and expand more energy. If your horse is working, he is going to get hotter. Therefore, on very hot days, you have to be sure that you are resting your horse. It is fine to turn him out to pasture, because chances are that he won’t work any harder than he should. However, you are going to want to avoid riding him or making him do any work on very hot days.


Like all other animals, horses need to have fresh and safe water that is there for them at all times. You have to be sure that you are refilling your horse’s water, and that it is kept cool. Warm water isn’t going to be as good for him as cool water will be.


Remember that your horse depends on you to protect him from the heat. Be sure that you have done your research so that you know what the best ways are to keep your horse cool and safe when it is hot outside, and be sure that you follow through with these things so that your horse remains healthy.



Keeping your Horse Safe when Riding


One of the best parts about owning a horse is getting to ride it. Horses that are well trained and happy are great to ride, and for the most part horses enjoy being ridden as well. You are going to want to spend lots of time working with your horse to make sure that he understands what you want and how it feels when you ride him. You are also going to want to spend a lot of time just being with your horse, because bonding is a great way to make your rides even smoother. However, while you are riding your horse, there are several things that you are going to want to do to make sure that he stays safe and healthy so that you can continue to ride him for a long time to come.


One thing that you have to be sure of when you are riding your horse, is that you are never asking too much of him. You have to be sure that he is always comfortable doing what you ask him to do, and you have to be sure that you are comfortable with what he does. This is very important, because if you are not comfortable you are going to find that both you and your horse might be forced to take chances, and this is not going to be good for either of you. It can be very dangerous, and so you want to be sure that you never have a horse do something he isn’t comfortable with.


When you are riding your horse, you are going to want to be sure to always only use the things that are sanctioned for use with horses. Be sure that the equipment you are using is strong and isn’t going to fall apart, and make sure that you are able to attach the saddle and the other pieces to him so that you know they are done correctly and aren’t going to hurt him at all.


The last thing that you need to do when you are riding your horse to make sure that he stays safe is to always be careful where you are going, and to always watch the terrain to make sure that you aren’t doing anything that might be dangerous for your horse. You always want to be sure you aren’t leading your horse somewhere that he could hurt himself.

 Looking For That Perfect (Cheap) Saddle

Cheap and saddle honestly do not belong together in the same sentence.  Why? Because quite literally, you DO get what you pay for if you buy a cheap saddle.  And it's not just that you will be uncomfortable, but it will not make your horse all that happy either, and may actually harm him.

Ok you've tried cheap and figured out that isn't the way to go.  You've tried expensive and, well, that worked, but holy smokes are the prices ever high.  So here are some tips on how to shop for your next saddle.

Saddles can be priced from several hundred dollars to more than $8,500, and specialty or antique saddles can easily range into the tens of thousands.  You're not going to be spending that kind of money, but you DO want to spend enough to get something decent and something that properly fits your horse.  You will want to look for value, fit, fit and fit.   Yes that's right, THE most important thing about your saddle is that it fits right.  Look at it this way, if you had a too tight or too big pair of underwear on you'd be downright squirmy.  Why would you want to saddle you horse with something that doesn't fit?

Before you go hunting, know the kind of saddle you want. Don't just have a vague idea of what might work, have in mind a picture of precisely what you want.  Then hit the road and start looking - for the right fit.

The saddle must fit you.  English or western, jumping or cutting, pleasure or gaming, you must be comfortable in the saddle all the time.  You don't want to be thinking about your saddle when you are riding.  The right fit makes your saddle seem like a natural extension of your butt.

If the saddle doesn't fit your horse, no matter how great the price, it was too much to pay.  If you're looking at ready-made saddles, then make sure you have the try it before you buy it option.  If they won't let you try it, don't bother - after all you don't need to ride the horse more than a few minutes to determine fit.  And if you put a pad under it and handle it carefully, you won't damage it.

If the saddle is custom built, the saddle maker will want measurements of your horse in order to determine the proper tree, skirt lengths, gullet, etc.   This is where you will be paying out good money.  Emphasis on the good, because what you get will be precisely what you need and what your horse needs.   Having said that, the price must fit your budget.  And just because your budget is low does not mean you can't find a saddle that has a proper fit.  It just means spending the time to find it.

Try this: if you are ordering a custom built saddle, tell the saddle maker the highest amount you'll pay, and then let him design to fit the budget. Saddle makers can be very creative and stay within the budget.  Or try buying a used saddle that FITS, and is eye-appealing.  That is often a better value than a new saddle.   Into silver?  Then only go with sterling because the silver-plated doodads and other imitations fade like crazy and are a waste of money.  Just remember the saddle you want needs to FIT.  Period!


Lunging/Longeing  - Part One

As with anything that you do with a horse, when you start lunging, start slow, smooth and easy.  Think young horse, short attention span, still developing knees and short sessions. (5 to 7 minutes).  This isn't to say an older horse would not benefit from lunging, but generally speaking you are starting this with a younger equine.

First and foremost, the horse must know what is being asked of them and ultimately, both of you need to be on the same page while "communicating" with each other.  So, we start with lunging to open the lines of communication, and create correct movement with your horse.  While it may sound bizarre to say working your horse in a circle actually teaches them something besides the fact that they can run in circles - this actually does work.  Why?  Because it sets up the pecking order between handler and horse by controlling the horse's space.  It also acts to condition your horse no matter what their age.

Pecking order communication starts with your horse reading your body language and vice versa.  Over time, and with lots of patience, the horse learns to wait for your signals rather than run like a basket case around in tight little circles.  Once commands are learned on the ground, it makes them easier for the horse to understand while you are mounted.

.And why the circle?  Why not a square or some other pattern, like a figure eight?  The circle naturally encourages your horse to use his legs correctly, pick up his feet and place them properly.  And, once you get to the stage where you bit your horse, it teaches them to give to the bit.  Of course you will have already done your prior ground-work with the horse, to teach them to give in the poll and drop their head to pressure. You will have schooled them give to the bit sideways (to the left and right) and down, with the least amount of pressure.  Again with horses, the least amount of pressure to get a response is the best (and this definitely depends on the horse) and in small learning increments.


Lunging/Longeing - Part Two

Lunge with the right equipment: splint boots with bell boots/wraps, a properly fitted halter, lightweight lunge whip and a lunge line you can work with in comfort.   Boots will protect their legs from injury if they happen to have an over reach.  What you don't need is for your horse to injure itself and then remember the experience as being a negative one.  The lunge whip by the way, is an aid only and not your primary training tool.

Try to lunge in a round pen or an enclosed area of some sort with rounded corners, and flat ground.  Remember the goal is to keep control of your horse at all times, so don't try this in an area without fencing.

When you start your lesson, always start with one direction and stick to it.  If you choose to work on the left side, then always hold your lead in the left hand with excess line in your right (and the whip as well, if you choose to use one) and keep all body positions the same.  You start to the left, pointing to the left, leading the horse's nose to the left and move your feet, swing your rope end (or lift the whip) towards the horses hip to ask for forward movement.  If you horse keeps facing you then guide them forward by swinging your rope/whip toward their shoulder.

Ok, success, your horse is moving in a circle to the left.  Move with him, staying in the middle of the round pen with sufficient line played out. Keep the whip low, or your rope end low and walk quietly.  The thing you want to teach the horse is, that if YOUR feet are moving, his feet need to be moving.  Keep your body behind his withers to ensure forward movement. If you get in front of the withers, your horse will stop.

If your horse does stop, calmly keep moving and touch the whip or rope end to his hind legs to keep him moving until YOU stop your feet. The major reason this approach will work, and work well, is that this is totally natural behavior for a horse.  Watch a herd in the field and see what happens when one stomps its feet and then moves off.  The rest follow, they don't stop to ask questions, they just go, and go at the same rate of speed set by the head horse in the pecking order.  If you lunge in this manner, your horse will understand your body language almost immediately.  First the body language, then add voice to the body language.

Lunging/Longeing - Part Three

Lunging in a circle, using the same body language horses use is natural to a horse, and they will easily see your intent.   You will of course have spent time with your horse to get them familiar with the lunging routine, and what you are asking of them - whether it's to go right or left, reverse, give face, give at the poll etc.

Once you have the body language aced, add voice commands to match the body language.   You've already laid the foundation for them to understand what you are asking with your body, by combining a command with the body language, it's easy for them to make the association between body and voice.   You're doing all the pre-preparatory work so that when you do saddle your horse, he can make the transition from ground body language and voice commands to the same language in the saddle.

Your body language and position are crucial when communicating with your horse.  Once you are in the saddle, if your body language matches what you gave your horse on the ground, you will build confidence in your horse that you are a trustworthy leader and he will listen to you.  Yes, it does happen that you get the occasional horse who figures they know better than you do.  These ones you really need professional help with.   But don't be discouraged, you can still lunge them and teach them the basics.

But, we're a little ahead of ourselves here, so back to the round pen to learn how to teach your horse to stop.  As simple as it sounds, all you have to do is stop all forms of communication.  Quit walking, lower your head, and softly say "Whoa!"  If you want a nice stop, quiet and relaxed, you have to give your horse the right language to do that.  If they don't stop, keep on walking and try it again.  They will get the idea so long as you have the patience.  Bottom line is if you want a nice quiet, obedient and great horse, you have to be all those things yourself in addition to a great leader.

Lunging/Longeing - Part Four

When lunging, remember to keep your horse on the fence, not into the middle of the circle with you.  If he drifts in, point the whip or swing the rope at his shoulder to move him back out.  Keep doing that until he does a few nice clean rounds staying in a circle.  Stop him and praise and pet him.  Once that is almost automatic, then change directions and work on the other side.  So if you started on the left, switch to the right and work on that side.

What you will be doing on the right side is exactly what you were doing on the left side.  And here's some good news, in many instances once the horse has already learned what you want on one side, they may not take as long to train on the other side.  Now, having said that, also note that many horses do have a good lead/side and a bad lead/side and it seems they have trouble with "getting it" on that bad side.  You will be able to tell if this is the case with your horse once you have had the chance to work with both sides.  This isn't something to be discouraged about.  It will just require a bit more patience on both your parts to work through it.

Once you have mastered the start, walk, and stop, add in the trot and move on to the canter/lope. To trot, raise the whip a couple of feet higher. Raise your shoulders and trot. If the horse doesn't trot, cluck to him.  If that does not work, crack the whip. Once in the trot (you and your horse - bet you didn't think you'd need to be in such good shape did you?), maintain your body and whip position. The horse will keep trotting until you drop your arm/whip position and slow your trot to a walk.

For the canter, raise the whip a bit higher than for the trot and kiss to the horse. And yes, you will be running as well.  The nice thing about this process, aside from the fact you will be in great shape when the two of you are done, is that the horse will have learned to listen to you and respond to body and voice commands.  It's always a very special feeling to see the end results of patient and loving training.


Packing on the Pounds: Healthy Horse Weight

There are many things that you have to be concerned with when you are raising animals. In general, animals should always follow certain paths and should do certain things, and as an animal owner you have to be sure that you are watching for these things and taking steps to correct things that might be going wrong. You want to be sure that you are doing whatever you can to insure that your animal is being raised healthily, and being raised in a way that makes him into the best animal you can have. A horse is something that you have to pay close attention to, because there are so many things that could go wrong. If you haven’t been around horses, you should get some horse books and read up on them because if you don’t’ know what things to watch out for, you might not be able to tell when something is wrong.

A horse’s weight is going to be an indication of how healthy they are. There are different breeds of horses, and different sizes as well, but whenever you have a horse at your home, you should find out what their ideal weight is, and then you should make a habit of weighing your horse about once a week or so. If your horse has any change in their weight, you might be looking at some kind of problem. If a horse drops a lot of weight in a week, it is going to mean that something is wrong, and you are going to want to seek vet attention right away.

With horses, sicknesses can happen very fast, and they can get too ill to save before you even have noticed that anything is wrong. Even a small amount of weight change during a week can indicate a problem before the problem is full blown, so if you are weighing your horse on a regular basis, you’ll be able to tell if there is a problem maybe even before you would be able to tell otherwise. If you are able to weight your horse regularly, you are going to have a much better chance of catching anything that goes wrong, and in this way you could actually save your horse’s life. It is very important to have a horse scale that you can have in your barn so that you can check your horse’s weight periodically. You should weigh him more often if you think there might be a problem.


Picking the Feet Up for the Farrier

We've all heard this one before:  "No foot, no horse."  How true.  Farrier care is one of the most important aspects of caring for your horse, and usually not all that easy unfortunately.

We've all had them - the squirmers who snatch their feet away, kickers, wigglers, stompers, lazy leaning horses that are the bane of a farrier's existence. Finding a good farrier is hard enough as it is, so you don't want him to refuse to trim or shoe your horse because your equine is being a total idiot.  Farriers are always busy and they don't have the time to train your horse to pick up their feet and stand quietly.  That is your job. So, train your horse to do this early and do it well.  Yes, it can also be taught to older horses. Just don't ask for too much too soon from them and it will all work out.

You need to understand some of the reasons a horse isn't a happy camper about picking up his feet.  A horse's feet are used to run to safety.  Holding his foot makes him feel vulnerable. It might be they have not even been shown properly how to lift their feet.  He might have been handled badly in the past when having his feet picked up, or there may be a physical problem - like a sore foot.

Here's how you start to teach a horse to pick his feet up and stand quietly.  You start with small bits at a time, about 5 to 15 minutes twice a day should work.  Having said that though, each horse is an individual so pace yourself accordingly.

Start in a safe place such as a round pen. Do not work with the horse tied for your safety and his. Start stroking his neck and work slowly down to the shoulder and then the leg. If he's happy, you're doing a good job.  If he fidgets, just slowly remove your hand at the spot he started getting jumpy at, and start over again until he settles.  Keep doing this until you touch the feet.  If you can't during the first session, it doesn't matter.  Just end things on a good note and try again another time.  This same routine can be used with the back legs. Just remember, slow, easy and calm.

Once you get to the feet, try picking one up and holding it for a mere fraction of a second and releasing it before the horse takes it away and praise and reward them.  Go on to another leg and so on.  When you are first working with them you don't want a long hold, you just want to be able to pick the foot up and put it down right away.  This teaches the horse you will not harm him.  Keep increasing the hold time over your sessions with the horse.  Eventually, and who is in a rush here anyhow, you will have a horse that stands quietly for not only you, but the farrier.   Trust is a major issue here, so treat your horse with respect and he will respond.


Protection for your Horse’s Health: Horse Insurance

When we get sick or injured, many of us find that the medical expenses are covered by insurance, which is typically through our employers. Medical insurance can also be purchased for horses. Horses are extremely expensive animals, and many of their medical treatments are even more expensive than the comparable treatments for humans, so insurance can really save you a lot of money. Avoid debt and care for your horse in the best way possible by getting medical insurance for your horse—just be sure that you learn a little about animal medical insurance before you sign any papers.

Because a horse is considered property, medical insurance for horses differs greatly from that for humans. It falls somewhere between the insurance you’d by for your own health and the insurance you’d buy for your home or car. There are many different things covered in horse medical insurance, so make sure you know what you are buying.

First, you have the kind of insurances that seem most to consider the horse as your property. Mortality insurance is common for horses that are very valuable, such as show horses or racehorses. This is a payment you get if the horse dies an untimely death. You may also buy loss of use insurance, which is coverage if the horse cannot perform its intended purpose. For example, a racehorse that breaks a leg and can no longer run would be covered under this insurance. Specifically under this category is breeding infertility insurance. In this kind of insurance, you will be covered if you purchase a mare or stallion for breeding purposes and they later are unable to do so.

There is also insurance that covers your horse like medical insurance. Most commonly, horse owners will purchase major medical insurance, which helps to pay for vet bills. Like human medical insurance, there is typically a co-pay amount or deductible and caps on how much can be spent in a year. Surgical insurance can also be purchased. This is like medical insurance, but only covers specific procedures.

Horses can be very expensive, and if you thought you had to pay a lot of money when you took a dog to the vet, you will be unhappy to see a horse vet’s bills! However, your horse does deserve the best medical care possible. Because horses are also such big investments, covering your property for losses is important as well. The bottom line is that you should consider horse insurance. It may save you thousands of dollars in the end.


Read The Feed Bag Tag

Don't really know what is in your horse feed in the bag?  Join the growing crowd of horse people who are confused about what is really in their horse's feed.  However, having said that, it's an easy problem to remedy with a bit of knowledge. Learn to read a feed-bag tag.  Find out how much protein your horse needs and learn to balance feed protein and forage (out in the pasture) protein.

Your equine needs protein for development and repair of muscle, healthy skin, hair, and hooves, for milk production, reproduction and the maintenance of healthy red blood cells and bone. This does not include weight gain or energy.

Here's an idea of the minimum daily crude protein requirements: mature idle horses 8.5%, mares in the last 90 days of pregnancy 11%, mares in lactation 14%, foals 18%, weanlings 16%, yearlings 13.5%, two-year-olds 10% and performance horses 10%.

The first nutrient listed on a feed-bag tag is crude protein, and you want it to be highly digestible. The best source of protein is soybean meal, because it's rich in lysine and other amino acids, meaning high digestibility. However, soybean meal is expensive, so lower quality feeds use corn gluten meal, linseed meal, brewer's grain and distiller's grain.   Hmmm, this means you get what you pay for, so beware.

Here's how to figure out if you horse is getting its daily protein requirement. If your horse is eating 5 pounds of 10% crude protein grain and 15 pounds of grass hay tested at 6% crude protein, do the math. Five pounds of grain times 10% equals 50; 15 pounds of hay times 6% equals 90. Add those together and you get 140 units of protein per day. Now add the total weight of the feed per day, 5 pounds and 15 pounds and you get 20 pounds per day. Divide the feed weight into the protein units (20 divided into 140) and you get 7% protein in the horse's diet.  Great, but what if your horse needs 10% protein per day?

If your horse needs more protein, then your option is to feed a higher protein forage or higher protein grain.  The preferred option is feeding a higher crude protein forage.  Do not feed more protein than your horse needs.  It's a waste of money and feeding excess protein can cause health problems. Horses purge their systems of excessive protein by drinking large amounts of water, which can result in kidney problems.

When in doubt about feed, consult your Veterinarian.


Sacking Out - Part One

The best thing you can possibly do for your horse, no matter what their age, is sack them out.  This is a little harder with older horses as they have already developed a set response to things that "spook" them - however, it can be done.

Sacking out simply means slowly and calmly introducing the horse to things they regard as scary - and - some things you wouldn't think would be scary, but are.  The problem with the previous sentence is this: YOU wouldn't think would be scary.  We don't think like horses for the most part, and there are times when they just go right off the rails over something they've seen hundreds of times before, didn't blink an eye at and then one day, the "object " didn't look the same and they pitched a hissy.  So what do you do?  You do your best to try and sack them out as well and as thoroughly as you possibly can.

Is sacking out a lot of hard work?  It can be, but the rewards are well worth putting in the time.  The main premise behind sacking out is, once the horse realizes the object that scares them is harmless, they will overcome their fear.   And again, this is a good theory and for the most part does work.  There are always exceptions to the rule, particularly if you are in a really tense situation.  It's always best to realize that and then you won't get a nasty surprise.

Every horse should be sacked out.  Period.  The thing to remember when doing this is that every horse learns things at a different pace.   Some may take several sessions to accept a blanket on their back, and some might wear it on their heads in no time flat.  Pace your sacking out to their learning curve.

You might to start your sessions by giving your horse some exercise in the round pen, just to capture his attention, or in the alternative, lounge/lunge them.  This will also calm them down so you can work with them.

Sacking Out - Part Two

When working with your horse make sure he has a halter and lead on, but keep him untied.  Why?  He needs to know that if things get too scary for him, he can leave. This reduces anxiety.  If you tie a horse and introduce scary things, the only thing he learns is he can't get away, not to not be afraid of the object.  And chances are when first starting your sack out routine he will get panicky.  So, tying up a horse and sacking out are counterproductive.

You can start your sack out with the saddle pad.  Let your horse smell it first to see what it is before you start tossing it about.  If most cases if they see the object first it helps them relax.  With some horses, this upsets them.  Gage what you need to do by the response of your horse.

Smelling all done, then start swinging the saddle pad all over the place and don't worry if they side step at first.  It's natural.  The pad should be moved around his body without touching the body at first - work where they can see the movement well.  As they get more and more relaxed, move the pad in closer to the body until you can then rub the saddle pad all over them - necks, legs, belly, back end, chest, and head.

Even make sure you throw it on the ground so they get used to things being down there.  This may take a few minutes or longer, depends on your horse.  When you think he's got this lesson aced, fling the saddle pad onto his back and see what happens.  He may step a bit and then stand still.  If so, great job!  If he takes a fit, start from the beginning.

By the way, you need to work with the horse until he does quietly accept the saddle blanket on his back.  Don't quit at a point when they are jumpy or they will learn being jumpy gets them out of work and away from scary objects.  So aim for the success of the saddle pad on their back and your horse standing quietly.  Then you can call it a day as a reward.

Sacking Out - Part Three

So, you've done the sacking out with the saddle pad, and your horse is doing well.  Next move on to a rope.  Like the maxim that all horses should be sacked out, all horses need to be sacked out with a rope.  Do not even think about getting on a horse without sacking them out with a rope all over their bodies.  And all over in this case, means some places you'd likely not even think about.  Such as the head, ears, rump, under the tail (yes, under the tail), around the legs, on the belly, the chest and the withers.  As an extension to this lesson, you can also teach them to stand still when you have a rope tied to their feet so if they ever get caught in wire or something else, they will know to stand still.

Back to the sacking out with a rope.  You do this because most of what you use to ride a horse has something on it that will bump, slap, slide down or get tangled in the legs and feet (long reins, cinches, etc).  They need to learn a rope will not harm them to start with, and that anything else under their belly, tangled in their feet (like a saddle that has slipped under them) - is not a cause for a rodeo.  Teach this lesson well, it may save your life and that of your horse.

Use a long soft cotton lead rope if you have one - if not - use something else.  You just want to make sure not to hit the horse.  When you first start using this rope, the horse may think you are asking him to move off.  Just stop them and quietly start over.  Start swinging it all over the place just like you did with the saddle pad.  Work away from the body for him to get used to the movement.  When he is ok with that, then start to throw it on the ground, over his body, under his legs, between his legs.  Go slowly when doing this as some horses just flip out when they feel a rope under their belly or around their legs.

You might be at this awhile, but the patience will pay off in the long run.  Once again, do not quit this lesson until the horse quietly stands while the rope is all over him.  Then call it a successful day with praise and a rest.


Sacking Out - Part Four

Once you have accomplished sacking your horse out with the saddle pad and rope you can then move on to the worst thing ever invented in the horse's mind - plastic.  That thing that blows across fields when he is walking along minding his own business.  The thing that makes crinkly, scrunching noises that scare the bejeepers out of him.

To sack your horse out with a plastic bag, hang one on the end of a buggy whip or longe/lunge whip.  Let him look at it then shake it.  Be prepared for him to take off.   This exercise is likely going to take awhile until he settles enough to look at the bag and stand still while you shake it.

Up until the time he did succeed in standing still while you shook the bag, you were working well away from his body.  You were flipping the bag on the end of the stick up and down and sideways, making arcs through the air.  Once he has decided he can handle standing there while you shake the bag, then bring it closer to him and let the bag lightly touch his back.

Just quietly stand for a short bit until he feels comfortable with the bag on his back, then let it touch his belly, sides, legs, rump, withers, head, ears and chest.  If you do this long enough, you might even find he will let you put the bag on his head.  Again, you may find this will either go fast or take a long time.  It will largely depend on your horse and their personality.

Always remember when working with horses, work safely, carefully and calmly.  Getting upset with the horse when working with them does not help either one of you, and will actually short circuit the learning process.  Like children, horses like to learn in a calm, loving, encouraging environment.  They did not come with manuals and if they did, they didn't read them.  It's your job to train your horse to the best of your ability and make them into calm, quiet and relaxed companions.  It's your job to teach them you would never harm them and will always treat them with respect.  End each session on a good note, with praise and rest - rewards for them doing a good job.

Shots and Pills: Vaccinations for your Horse

With any animal, there are things that you have to keep in mind. Every animal in our world is here for a purpose, whether it is to work for us, to be a companion for us, or to help us in another way. A horse can be all of these things and more for you, and it is important that you do all you can to make sure you have given your horse the best chance at a happy and healthy life. One of the things that you have to be sure to do for your horse is to make sure that he gets all of the proper vaccinations.

It can be difficult to make sure that you are getting your horse to have all of the vaccinations that he needs to be happy and healthy, so there are some things that you can do to make sure that this happens. First of all, when your horse is a colt, you need to make sure that your vet gives you a list of vaccinations that each horse should get in his lifetime. Then, you have to be sure that you are doing all of these on time and that you are keeping track of them so you know what your horse has had, and what he has not had.

A problem will arise if you have not had your horse since he was a colt. This means that you are going to have to figure out what vaccinations he has had, and make sure that he gets the ones that he needs as well.

If the person you buy your horse from isn’t sure what vaccinations he has had, you should talk to your vet about giving your horse a good vaccination cocktail. Most of the vaccinations aren’t going to hurt your horse if he has already had them, and they are all going to prevent him from getting all kinds of sicknesses. Therefore, your vet should safely be able to give your horse the shots that he hasn’t had, and make sure that he is going to be protected from all kinds of ailments.

The best thing that you can do is to make sure your horse has all of the vaccinations that he is going to need to live a healthy life. The easiest way for you to do this is to talk to your vet about what your horse needs, and then follow through with it to make sure that it gets done.


Snug The Girth Up Tight - or Not?

Reef really hard on the girth/cinch to tighten that saddle down right tight so it doesn't slip?  Not!  How about doing one thing at a time first - like correctly positioning the saddle.  Snug yes, tight no.

Horses girthed too tightly get cinchy and dislike being saddled.  Really, it's like wearing a girdle three sizes too small.  How comfortable do you think you would be in that contraption?  So if you do tighten it too much, chances are the horse will either reach around and bite you, blow or go down on their knees.  So, a snug girth is the ticket, just about right in the horse's book anyhow.  Just remember to position the saddle properly and you shouldn't have girth problems.

The saddle should rest solidly and be level on the horse's back. Now, having said that, there are so many variations to horses backs, withers and rump and in saddles themselves, that this is sometimes a challenge.  Anyhow, assuming you can level the saddle on the horse's back, it should now be on/in the rider's center of balance - just behind the horse's natural balance point at a standstill. As the horse moves, engaging the hindquarters, his natural balance point (just behind and slightly above his elbow) moves back and under the rider as the horse rounds his back upward. Now horse, saddle and rider should be in balance.

Put your saddle pad or blanket over the withers and well forward. Now place the saddle over the withers and forward. Slide the saddle and pad backward until they settle into position, behind the withers and level on the back. This might seem like the saddle position is too far back. It is not.

The gullet of the saddle will be somewhat over the withers.  The saddle will be level and the back of the saddle won't be pressing into the loin area. The girth will not be immediately behind the elbow, but several inches behind the elbow instead.  Hmmm, that sure sounds odd if you were taught otherwise doesn't it?

If the saddle is too far forward, well over the withers, and the girth is directly behind the elbow, the movement of the horse's shoulders is restricted. Stride and lateral action are adversely affected. Properly positioned, the saddle will not need to be tightly cinched, because it will stay in position naturally with only a snug cinching.

Once the saddle is on board, check the pad or saddle blanket and lift it up into the gullet so that at least two fingers slide easily between the withers and the saddle. If you've properly positioned the saddle, you won't give your horse grief on his withers or loins.

You can spot problems from the ground if you just stand back and observe the tacked horse.


The Importance of Choosing a Vet for your Horse

No matter what, having a horse means that you are taking on responsibility for another life. You are going to be in charge of how well your horse is living his life, what kind of stall he has, what he eats, and how much exercise he gets. You are also going to be in charge of making sure that if he gets sick, he sees a vet. In essence, you as the horse’s owner, are going to be in charge of your horse and his life, and so you had better make sure that you do well when it comes to choosing a vet for your horse. You always want to be sure that your vet is someone that you can trust, and someone that your horse can trust as well. There are many things that you should look for when you are choosing a vet for your horse, here are just a few.

First of all, you need to make sure that the vet you are choosing has experience with horses. There are many vets out there, and not all of them have experience with horses, so you have to be sure that the one you are going to choose is going to be able to handle your horse, and is also going to be knowledgeable about horses in general. You are going to want to go out of your way to find a vet that is knowledgeable about horses, rather than suffer through with a close vet that is not.

Next, you want to be sure that your vet has overall experience. With horses, it is very important that he knows a lot about the general life and care of horses and other animals.  You are going to want to pick a vet or a clinic that has been around for a long time and that has treated all kinds of animals during that time frame. You want to be sure that you are getting someone who is good at what they do, and who knows what they are doing.

Lastly, you want to pick a vet that is going to make you feel comfortable and at ease. This is something that is very important because as you know, many of the vets aren’t going to go out of their way to make you feel comfortable. This is something that you absolutely need, because you have to be able to feel comfortable with your vet at all times. This is very important.


The Skinny on Horse Skin Diseases

Horses are great animals to have around, and if you have had them for many years you have probably learned a thing or two about what it means to truly allow an animal into your heart. Horses make great companions for many reasons – you will be able to be happy with a horse for a long time, as long as you take care of your horse and are able to see it through many different points in his life. Most of the time, you are going to be doing general horse care, and this is very important because you need to be able to take care of your horse and make sure that he is happy. However, sometimes you are going to have to do extra things to make sure that your horse is living the kind of life that he is meant to live, and this might mean doing extra work as well.

Taking care of your horse’s skin is very important because there are a few common horse skin diseases that he might get without you even noticing. Most of these don’t appear to be very harmful at first, but if you leave them untreated you might find that they are going to be worse for your horse than you could ever imagine.

Most of the horse skin diseases are going to become apparent through the way that your horse’s skin looks.  You should be able to see them most of the time in the form of a rash or flakiness, and it is very important that you pay attention to these things right away because if you don’t treat them you could end up with more problems in the long run.

The best way to prevent all of the horse skin diseases from damaging your horse is to make sure that he is properly groomed and taken care of. This is something that you need to do each and every day, whether you ride him or not, and it is something that you have to get done even if you aren’t going to be available. Make sure that you are getting someone to do this often if you aren’t home.

Most of the common horse skin diseases are caused by excessive heat or excessive moisture, and by not being properly groomed. That said, the best thing that you can do to prevent them from happening is to take care of your horse in the way that you know is the best way possible.


To Bran Mash Or Not To Bran Mash

Bran mashes have traditionally been touted as being good for older horses to help them keep their weight on - the result of worn and aging teeth.  Now, it seems that feeding bran mash may dangerous for your horse's hooves.  The long and short of the information is, do not feed bran if your horse has any hoof problems.

Oats or other grain brans contain phytate, which is high in phosphorus and will block absorption of calcium in the small intestine, producing a systemic calcium deficiency.  Calcium is necessary for the strong bonding of keratinized cells to produce a strong hoof.

But, what about the fact you were trying to regulate stool consistency?  Try sugar beet pulp instead. If you are using bran to prevent sand colic, use psyllium.  Really, to be blunt, you aren't likely going to be feeding your horse so much bran mash that his hooves will be in trouble.  Bran mashes are not usually the sole food given, they are used in combination with other forage and pellets.

So if you do have hoof problems, what about using Biotin - a popular hoof growth supplement? Well, this is interesting, it seems research shows that if your horse has a normally functioning GI tract, a biotin supplement isn't needed.  And feeding more than the physiological amount of biotin does not improve hoof growth and strength.  Ok fine, so what it the point? Point is instead of biotin or mash, feed loose salt, vitamin C, copper and zinc.

Be sure your horse has access to loose salt and not just salt blocks. On the other hand, horses fed a premixed feed often get adequate amounts of salt, so you won't need loose salt.  Copper and vitamin C are catalysts for forming healthy, connective hoof tissue.  Make sure copper and vitamins are provided in adequate amounts. DL-methionine, praline, glycine and glutamic acid are major building blocks for healthy connective tissues.

Zinc is required for a healthy hoof. Without it, the hoof suffers parakaratosis, a defect in the maturation of keratin, leaving the hoof soft and structurally weak. Zinc and copper need to be in balance by the way.  Bottom line?  Don't feed supplements just for the heck of it.  Figure out if you really need them in the first place by talking to your Vet.   And if you do, only start with one at a time so you can see if it is actually effective.


Unfriendly Friends of your Horse: Parasites

When you own animals, your main responsibility is to make sure that they are healthy and that their lives are full of joy and happiness, and not sorrow and pain. One of the things that will allow you to do this with any animal is to make sure that you are providing them with a safe and comfortable place that is clean and free of germs to live their lives. With your horse, there is no exception to the rule. It is often hard for horses to get sick if they are properly taken care of, but if you find yourself or your horse with a dirty stall or a living quarters that is not up to snuff, you might find that parasites are abound, and when it comes to your horse, parasites are not good at all.


When you have a horse, you know that he is naturally strong, and usually won’t have any complaints for you. As long as he has a safe and warm place to live in the cold months, and shelter from the heat in the hot months, and as long as you provide him with food and water that is clean and safe, he’ll be able to be your companion and work for you for years and years. Horses can be very loyal and they can be great animals to keep, as long as you do it right.

However, if you aren’t providing your horse with a clean living space, you are going to find that your horse might have a problem with parasites. This is something that can be very real, and can be very dangerous for your horse. You have to be sure that you aren’t giving your horse any chances to get parasites, which is why it is so important to keep your horse’s living quarters clean and free of debris.

The most common parasites are going to happen when your horse is living in a place that is dirty or not cleaned regularly. These parasites are going to live in the feces of your horse, and if your horse steps in them, he will be able to bring them right back into his body. Also, if your horse’s stall is dirty and not taken care of, this is a breeding ground for parasites, and they will have a chance to attack your horse. If your horse gets parasites, you’ll need to talk to your vet about the best way to help your horse before they get really sick.


What To Watch For Buying A Horse At Auction

Buying a horse at an auction is a crap shoot at best, as usually there are reasons why the horse is there in the first place - reasons you might not want to find out if you take the horse home.

Generally, unless you happen to be a horse trainer or Vet, you won't have the chance to do a pre-purchase exam.  In that case, all you can do is try to pick up red flags from the horses you are considering.  Yes, they can be really subtle and may also be masked thanks to drugs or even the fact the horse was rested prior to you looking at it (which would not show some forms of lameness).

Start your inspection from nose to tail for any swelling or warm spots. Run your hand down all the legs (if the horse will let you and if not - red flag) and compare appearance and the feel of the left and the right. You might find a bowed tendon or a fluid filled knee  - an indication of arthritis.  Try flexing the joints if you can.  If there is arthritis they won't flex too well

Now take a good look at general body condition (good, fair or poor), hair coat (sleek and shiny or dull), foot quality (well trimmed or chipped and cracked), muscle development (well formed or wasted) and attitude (bright and curious, dull and depressed or scared). Many of these things will give you an idea of how well the horse has been cared for and you need to pay close attention to them.  They are things that will also tell you how much training the horse has and the amount of exercise it has had.

Watch the horse move - walk, trot and canter. Does he move well or are his ears pinned and tail on a switch? Does the head bob up and down (lameness)?  What about his breathing? Does he roar or whistle or wheeze?   Make sure you see the horse ridden under saddle to get an idea of his attitude and whether or not he and you will get along.  You need to take your riding experience into consideration for this decision.  And try not to over-estimate your skills or you will get a horse not suited to your level of expertise.

Take your time sizing up a potential purchase at an auction.  There is no need to be in a rush.  You may miss a few things, but the more horses you inspect, the better you get at it.


When Horses get the Flu: Equine Influenza

When it comes right down to it, taking care of your animals isn’t always going to prevent them from getting sick. Sometimes animals, no matter how well they are cared for, simply fall ill, and when this happens it is important that you figure out what is wrong and get a vet to treat them right away before it is too late.

A horse is going to be susceptible to equine influenza in much the same way that any animal is going to be able to come down with the flu. The equine influenza can pass from horse to horse quite easily, and your horse can get it from other sources, such as food that is contaminated, or other things as well. So, you can’t always protect your horse from equine influenza, but there are things that you can do to make sure that they recover.

First of all, it is important that you are always paying close attention to your horse and how he is acting. This is the first step in making sure that he doesn’t get sick, because you are going to be able to tell the minute that he isn’t’ feeling well. You should know your horse very well, and you should know his general patterns of behavior and the things that he does. You are going to want to be sure to watch him very closely and to make sure that he continues to do the things that come naturally to him, and that his behavior doesn’t change.

If he is sluggish, or if he doesn’t eat or drink like he usually does, you are going to want to call attention to this. These are things that indicate your horse might be sick, so be sure that you and the other people who care for your horse are paying very close attention to your horse and everything about him.

Next, you want to call your vet as soon as you notice that something is wrong with your horse. With horses, sicknesses like equine influenza come on very quickly, and your horse can get very sick very fast, so you have to be sure that you are calling your vet as soon as you think something might be wrong. It is simply the best way to make sure that your horse has every chance to get healthy. A vet is going to be able to treat equine influenza in the best way possible so call him if you suspect anything.


White Line Disease

Because of the interesting nature that horse’s have, they don’t get sick as often as other animals. However, because of the way that their bodies work, and the fact that they spend most, if not all of their lives standing, and aren’t able to lie down for lengths of time without getting sick, the fact remains clear that their hooves are very important, and most of the common horse diseases have to do with the horses hooves. This is why your horse’s shoes are very important, and why the most important part of horse care is making sure their hooves are able to withstand the normal wear and tear of life.

One of the most common ailments in a horse’s hooves is called white line disease. It attacks the part of the foot where the hoof actually meets the foot, and starts as a simple white line that might not look very serious. However, this white line is actually a deterioration of the hoof itself, and you are going to find that if you don’t notice this in time, it will start to eat away at the hoof of your horse, and will cause him great pain. If you still don’t catch it and fix the problem, your horse will go lame, and you might be forced to put him down.

The actual disease is bacteria that is slowly eating away at your horse’s hoofs. The only way to stop it is to apply medicine and make sure that your horse’s hooves are filed down to the point where they are no longer affected. If the disease has progressed, you will find that this is even harder to do.

One of the best ways to prevent this is the same way that is used to prevent the other common horse diseases, and that is to always make sure your horse is living in a safe, warm, dry and clean area, where they don’t have to worry about bacteria.

Of course, there are other diseases that are also common in horses, such as colic and other colds and flu that you might find your horse getting. As usual, the best way to care for your horse is to prevent your horse from getting sick in the first place, and the best way that you can do this is to make sure that they are living somewhere that is clean and comfortable, and that you are a diligent owner who takes the time to make sure there are no places bacteria can grow.



A Day in the Life of a Fascinating Reptile, the Alligator


Let's travel to Florida to meet one of the largest of reptiles, the alligator.   Alligators live only in the southeastern states of our country, like Louisiana and Florida.   Most of the time alligators are pictured in swamps, but many people in Florida have reported seeing alligators in the lakes near their backyards.  Having a reptile the size of a lizard in the backyard is normal, but seeing an alligator in a pond is something to get excited about.  For such a big reptile, you might be surprised to find that it often isn't easy to spot an alligator in the water.


Alligators like to float just beneath the surface of the water, with only their eyes and nostrils breaking the surface of the water.  The rest of their big body just relaxes underneath the water, legs spread apart and the huge tail hanging partway down.  The alligator can float at exactly the right level by using his lungs as a kind of inflatable raft, and keeps just the right amount of air for only his eyes to stay above the water.   An alligator stays mostly under water for one of two reasons.


The first reason is to keep his body temperature cool. Like other reptiles, the alligator's body temperature depends upon the temperature of the air or water around him.   The sun can get very hot in Florida, and since the alligator does not sweat, there has to be another way for him to keep cool.  He first opens his enormous mouth, and that will cool him down a little bit.  If the alligator is still too hot, he will go into the water to lower his body temperature even more.


The second reason that an alligator stays in the water is to hide himself and wait for lunch to come by.  Alligators can catch an amazing variety of animals to eat, including birds, fish, turtles, and even deer.  They are quite at home in the water, swim very quickly, and can dive underwater and stay submerged for an hour, or even more.  An alligator usually catches birds sitting on the water, but can raise itself up with a few powerful strokes of its tail to snatch one flying near the surface of the water, or just taking off.


Female alligators use their formidable mouths for another reason, to protect her babies.  Baby alligators can already catch their own food and swim, but they stay near their mother for a year or more in order to be safe from predators.  Even before they are born, the mother alligator stays by the nest she dug in the dirt to keep others (like turtles) from eating her eggs.  When the eggs are ready to hatch, the babies inside the eggs start making noises.  Some babies come out of the eggs by themselves, but other eggs are taken into the mother alligator's mouth, where she gently rolls them around until the baby alligator can come out of the hard shell.


This brief introduction to one of the most ancient and interesting of reptiles can be used as a starting place to assemble your own collection of alligator facts.  Make sure to watch the next wildlife show about these big reptiles, and considering visiting one the next time you take a trip to Florida.





A Lizard's Eye View of Life as a Reptile


If you think of lizards at all, you think of those little reptiles that you see scurrying down a tree trunk or across your back door at dusk.  There are many different types of lizards in the reptile family, and the group as a whole has some very interesting behaviors.  The first unusual behavior, and the one most people know, is that they can separate from their tails when they are in danger of being caught.  You may have experienced this as a child when trying to catch one of the small lizards or striped skinks, and ended up with only a tail in your hand.


The Texas gecko actually uses his tail as a decoy when confronted by a predator, such as a snake.  The gecko makes his tail point straight up, waves it slowly from side to side, and then sheds the tail.  The tail itself continues to wriggle for several minutes, and is hopefully more interesting prey than the gecko itself.  Lizard's tails are made so that a wall of cartilage passes through several vertebra in the tail, and the blood vessels and muscles are modified at these points to allow easy breakage without much damage to the lizard.  It will grow a new tail, but never quite the same as the original tail.


A number of lizards also avoid being eaten by changing color, in order to blend in with the background.  It generally only takes several seconds for a lizard to expand the pigment in its skin to become more like his surrounding colors.    This color change is made even more effective if the lizard remains motionless.  Even without color change, a number of lizards can effectively play dead, or, as we normally call it, "play possum".  A number of predators need the vibration or sounds of movement to detect the where the lizard is, and so becoming entirely rigid can be an effective way of disappearing from the menu of the predator.


When a lizard is not being chased by a predator, it can do interesting and unusual things with its tongue.  The tongues of reptiles can come in a number of different shapes, and lizard tongues are usually either long and narrow with a forked tip at the end, or short and broad.  Both kinds of tongues are used to collect molecules from the air and bring them back to an organ in their mouth.  This is a sense different than either smell or taste, but somewhat similar to each in some respects.  Geckos use their long tongue to clean off their eyes, as many geckos do not have eyelids, and so wipe their eyes with their tongues.  One Great Plains lizard regularly licks her eggs while waiting for them to hatch.  In Australia, a skink with a bright blue tongue sticks out its tongue at predators, and lets it stay lolling out of its mouth.  Naturalists are not sure of the reason for this behavior.  Finally, chameleons use their long and sticky tongue to reel in their nightly diet of insects.


These behaviors are only the tip of the iceberg for this fascinating group of reptiles.  Make your own study of these beautiful and unusual creatures, whether capturing one in your backyard, or discovering those a world away at the library.





Choosing A Vet for Your Reptile


Carefully research your options for proper veterinary care before you decide to purchase a reptile.  Although the animal may be sold at a low-cost, the care it would take once you own it may be more than you bargain for!  A vet must be experienced in reptile care and medicine to make a good provider for your reptile pet.  Reptile care and medicine requires special education.


Although your sweet, jokester of an uncle may have thought it a hoot to give little Johnny that darling baby reptile for his first pet, the joke may be on you.  There is a list of vets you can access over the internet for the Unites States of America, International, and Canada.  Check with your local vets to determine their areas of expertise, experience, and limitations.


You must make sure your vet will be comfortable handling your reptile.  If the vet is uncomfortable, the animal will sense it and may become more of a problem.  Once you get your animal, take it to the vet for a check-up even if it appears healthy. You may not be able to detect the problems a trained professional can find.  Problems are not always readily seen by the eye.  Maybe your reptile has parasites that you can't see just by looking at it.


Your vet should be willing to help you find the proper care for your reptile if he or she is not properly qualified.  You will want to know this information before your pet becomes seriously ill or injured.  Even if your vet isn't qualified, he/she may be able to provide temporary care until you can get your pet to the right person for the proper care.


It is a good idea to purchase a reptile that is already well-known as pet material.  A pet that is new to the market will not be researched well enough yet.


Not many vet colleges offer the specialized medicine courses necessary for caring for ill reptiles.  Test your vet with questions about temperature or food to see if they even have basic knowledge.


If you try to treat the animal yourself with over-the-counter medications, you could be making your pet more ill.  The medication sold in pet stores often has ingredients like tetracycline that isn't good for your reptile; or the shelf medicines just simply aren't strong enough to do any good and are a waste of your money.  A pet store may sell certain items just to draw money, without properly researching the items themselves for their effectiveness.  After all, the clerks aren't pharmacists.


If your vet has had special schooling required for reptile care, has he/she updated their knowledge recently?  Are they aware of the latest treatments or medications?  Do they have an interest in reptiles, conferences, or belong to any reptile associations?


If you're unable to contact your vet, or are unsatisfied with the information provided, you can try asking zoos, other reptile owners, or local pet adoption agencies for references to reptile vets.  In any case, it will help for you to educate yourself in case of an emergency.  At least you could provide basic care until you could reach a qualified professional.



Dangerous Reptiles


When people decide to buy reptiles for pets, some inevitably cross the line of safety and wisdom.  Although it may seem thrilling to own a pet that is harmful, it's best left up to the experts and people who are trained to preserve wildlife.


Underestimating a dangerous reptile can mean a quick and certain death to the uneducated and careless pet owner.  But if you're determined to own a dangerous reptile, at least make sure you are aware of all the possible safety precautions.  Be fully informed as to what steps to take should you incur injury from contact with your pet.


A pet may harm an owner for several reasons.  A reptile has instincts that are inbred.  If you make the mistake of smelling like food, you will be in danger of being mistaken for food.  There's also the danger of underfeeding your reptile and having them strike out in desperation from starvation.  If you startle the reptile, you're likely to be harmed.  If the reptile is injured or ill, the pain may cause them to strike out.  Although it is easy to want to blame the reptile, you must take into account the reasons it may have chosen to bite, scratch, or otherwise harm someone.


Neglect to keep the cage, terrarium, or other enclosure secure at all times is crucial to your safety and to the safety of the reptile.


Some snakes have teeth, some have venomous fangs, and some have constriction to use as weapons.  Whatever the case may be, you can be certain it will be painful to the recipient.  Vipers and rattlesnakes are two dangerous snakes that use their poisonous fangs to inject venom into their prey or attacker.  Vipers can grow as long as 6 feet and don't need daylight to attack.  The pits between their eyes and nostrils alert them to their prey.  A beautifully dangerous reptile, the golden eyelash viper is a bright lemon yellow color.


Snakes aren't the only dangerous reptiles, nor are they the only dangerous reptiles chosen for pets.  Crocodiles and caymans are also big predators.  They latch onto their prey with their many teeth and powerful jaws, and then they drag the larger victims underwater to drown them.  Crocodiles have been known to gobble snakes for treats!


American alligators can be seen in many museums or zoos, live in exhibits.  Well known in the deep south of Louisiana, they are not only predators but also are hunted for food and to be cut up into trinkets sold to tourists.


The alligator disguises itself as a log in swamp water and is camouflaged very well.  They live in swamps and bayous from Texas to North Carolina.  Florida has an abundance of inland water that provides a perfect habitat for these reptiles.  Their diet of fish, birds, and small animals along with their size and vicious capabilities make them unwelcome to most as pet material.  Their habitat is hard to create as well.


You can tell the difference in crocodiles and alligators by the shape of their snouts and the way the teeth lay when the jaws are shut.  The alligator is able to conceal its teeth inside its mouth while the crocodile is not.



Gigantic Reptiles!


Of all the reptiles, we are usually most interested in the largest ones - alligators, crocodiles, komodo dragons, and the big snakes.   These snakes have songs written about them, and the anaconda was even the star of a movie!  Not only are these reptiles amazing due to their size, they also have many other interesting points.


Let's begin with the standard question, exactly how big are they?  The largest of the big snakes is the anaconda, which has been reported to grow to thirty-seven feet long.  You can't realize how long a reptile this is until you measure from your room down the hallway, probably well into the living room.  A truly enormous snake, and one of the longest reptiles ever!  This snake spends most of its time in the water hiding in the water plants of South America.


The other four giant snakes are pythons, and are found in Africa and Asia.  They grow to between 22 feet and 32 feet, depending on the species.  If you see a python in a zoo or other animal show, it is probably a reticulated python from Southeast Asia, due to its beautiful color pattern and the fact that it does well living in captivity.  How do regular snakes compare with these giants?  Most other snakes are much smaller, and even few rarely even grow to twelve feet.


The giant snakes can live up to twenty years in captivity.  When they are young they can be eaten by hawks or other predators that eat smaller snakes, but no animal would try to threaten or eat a full grown giant snake.  The only real enemies of these great reptiles are intestinal parasites, diseases, and man.


The giant snakes really can swallow a man whole!  Very few cases of that have been reported though.  Once a giant snake has had a large supper, it would be the same as if it ate four hundred average sized meals.  This means that sometimes these reptiles might go a long time between meals, maybe as infrequently as once a year.


The giant snakes have extremely strong muscles, and use them both in movement and in hunting their prey.  Their jaws are also very strong, but that isn't as important as how wide their mouths open in order to eat their prey.  Generally the giant snakes kill their prey before the snake begins to swallow them.  The giant snakes rely on squeezing their prey (which is why they are often called constrictors), but they generally squeeze only hard enough to prevent the prey from breathing sufficiently, and eventually suffocate the prey.  They do not need or intend to squeeze hard enough to crush or break bones, as people sometimes think.


A constrictor throws several coils around the body of its prey, very neatly, and at each breath simply applies a little more pressure until the prey can no longer breathe.  There are stories of skulls of goats being broken, but this is not necessary and not even the way that the constrictors work.  One interesting behavior is that sometimes the giant snakes will break bones in order to "fold" a victim in two in order to swallow it more easily.


Many snake handlers consider the giant snakes to be quite intelligent, and find that the giant snakes are easily handled and come to recognize and accept their trainers.  They are among the most fascinating of reptiles, and make sure you visit them if they are in a nearby zoo or other naturalist area.






Introducing the Reptiles!


The family of reptiles is made up of turtles, lizards, snakes, different kinds of crocodiles, and a small group in Southeast Asia called tuataras.  Some people think that snakes and lizards are slimy, but all reptiles are covered with dry, horny scales.   These scales might be hard to notice for animals like the turtle, whose large scales (or plates) have grown together into one hard shell.  Not only have the plates grown together, but the turtle's backbone has also grown into the shell!


All reptiles have to be really aware of how cold or hot they get, for their body temperature depends on the temperature of their surroundings.  They spend much of their time doing two things: looking (or waiting) for food, and moving between sunny spots and shady (or wet) spots to warm up or cool off.  If a reptile gets too warm, they can get very sick, and if it gets too cool, it is hard for the animal to have enough energy to move to a warmer spot.    These warm spots are often the places that you find reptiles: turtles that come out of the water to sit on a rock or tree branch, and lizards that sit on a fence or sunny wall in order to catch the rays of the sun.  Sometimes this search for warmth can dangerous, like the snakes that lie on a warm road at night.


Reptiles have some interesting ways to communicate with each other.  People communicate by talking, and reptiles also make all kinds of noises to each other.  Baby alligators start chirping just before they hatch from their egg, in order to tell their mother that it is time to dig them out of their dirt nest and bring them to the water.  Male alligators can make an enormously loud bellowing noise, kind of like a big engine!  They also raise their heads and slap the water loudly with their chins in order to chase other male alligators away.   Lizards also chirp and bark at each other, and some male lizards nod to each other, bobbing their heads up and down vigorously.  Snakes are generally silent, and use their tongues not to communicate but only to smell.  However, a frightened snake will hiss or rattle to as a warning.


How do reptiles defend themselves when they are frightened?  The biggest alligators don't have to defend themselves from anyone except man, but smaller alligators are defended by their mothers until they are more than a year old.  Many lizards have tails that break off to let the lizard escape when it is in trouble, and another tail regrows later.  One lizard even wiggles its tail, breaks it off himself, and the tail continues to wriggle for a few minutes to make the predator go after the tail rather than the lizard.  Many frightened snakes will play dead until they think the threat has gone away.  The Eastern Hognose snake is among the best at this playacting: when scared, it first flattens its head like a cobra and hisses loudly, then, if it needs to, rolls over, moves around as if it was wounded, sticks out its tongue, and plays dead.


These fun facts are just a glimpse into a whole world of fascinating behaviors and unusual animals in the reptile family.  Find out more information about your favorite reptile at the local library, or on the Internet!




Learning about Reptiles


Children often, at one time or another, will have an interest in learning about reptiles.  Even if they are only vaguely interested, it is helpful to teach them should they ever encounter a reptile in the wild or at a relative or friend's house.  It is quite possible to encounter a reptile even if one has lived within the confines of the city one's entire life.


Children are not the only ones who can benefit from learning about reptiles, of course.  Adults should at least learn some basic information even if they never have the slightest desire to come in contact with a reptile.


You may be one of the fortunate people who enjoy animals of all kinds and soak up information like a sponge.  If you are planning a career in animal care or with some other form of contact, you would do well to learn about reptiles even if your specialty will not lie with reptiles.  You may be surprised when the information comes in handy later on in life.


If you've ever entertained the idea of owning a turtle, which is quite a common occurrence in children raised in the country setting, you may be interested in knowing there are several types to choose from.  There are four kinds of painted turtles in the United States for a good pet choice.  The Eastern box turtle is also a popular choice for people to have as pets.  Not all turtles are the same or require exactly the same care, but most turtles usually feed on snails, worms, and plants.


Country kids will often capture a garter snake at some point and try to keep it as a pet.  A garter snake needs access to water.  They like to eat fish.


Snakes often need less food than other reptiles, sometimes eating only once a year if it is a big snake and have had a big meal.  Of course, smaller snakes are not quite as fortunate as they aren't able to consume as much at one time.  But because the snake requires feeding less often, it takes a little effort on the part of the owner to remember to feed them because of the time lapse between feedings.


Obvious places to learn about reptiles are zoos.  This is certainly a much safer choice than deciding to take it upon yourself to get your experience first-hand by capturing a reptile in the wild!  The experts on television make it seem easy, but they also advise against trying such stunts at home for a very good reason.  Snakes are not the only dangerous reptile and not all snakes are dangerous.


Other places to learn about reptiles include museums, summer camps, books, vet pamphlets, bookstores, libraries, safaris, a trip to the jungle, and museums.  Natural science museums offer great displays and information about reptiles from long ago and those in the present.  You could encourage your child's interest in reptiles in many ways, but remember to educate them as to the possible dangers of close encounters.


Raising a Reptile as a Pet


You may have admired the unusual looking lizards at your local wildlife center, or perhaps a neighbor may have an iguana in their back room.  If you have not raised a reptile before, let me suggest that you start with a leopard gecko.  The leopard gecko has two very big advantages, and one of them is that it does not get very big. The other major advantage of a leopard gecko is that is has been kept and bred in captivity since the 1920s, and is among the healthiest lizards and easiest to



A juvenile gecko is quite active, but as they mature they become rather quiet and tame, and can be held and will take food from your fingers.  The adult gecko does not get larger than nine or ten inches, and can be handled by older children.  Even younger children can hold them, but make sure they are supervised to handle the gecko gently and to avoid picking them up by the tail, or holding the tail tightly.  As with other lizards in the reptile family, their tails can break off.  Actually, this might be an interesting occurrence for children, as the tail will be regrown, though it never looks exactly the same as the original tail


Leopard geckos are easily kept in an aquarium or other plastic cage, as long as each gecko has at least ten inches square of floor space.  The cage should be a minimum of twelve inches high. Have a shallow bowl for water that doesn't spill as the lizards crawl into or over it.  The food bowl for the gecko can be something about the size and shape of the lid for a gallon jar, a larger flat area.  You will be using crickets or other insects as food, and it is better if the food remains in the food bowl.  The bottom of the cage should have some kind of paper toweling so that it can be changed in order to keep the cage clean.


One really important point about raising reptiles is to keep the area sufficiently warm.  Geckos thrive best when the daytime temperature is in the eighties, up to eighty-eight degrees.  Nighttime temperatures can get to the middle sixties without causing any health problems.  If your house is normally cooler than that, a lamp with a forty-watt bulb over the top of the cage should create enough heat to keep the gecko warm.  There are also hot rocks that you can buy and put in the cage.  Keep the cage out of direct sunlight (because it will get too warm) and have a screen cover for the top if you have small children or cats in your household.


Once you have the environment, go to a reputable pet store and select your geckos.  Leopard geckos come in a variety of colors, and you can keep several in the same cage as long as there is only one male in the group (most geckos that are sold are female).  They eat mealworms and crickets, and correct care and feeding should be discussed at length with the seller.  A well taken care of gecko can live as long as twenty years.


Raising a reptile can be a fascinating hobby whether you are eight or fifty-eighty years old.  Leopard geckos are among the easiest to raise, are easily tamed, and are always beautiful and interesting pets.  Consider a gecko for your next pet.


Rattlers - The Dangerous Reptiles!


Snakes are probably the reptiles that fascinate and repel us the most.  One of the most visited booths at any outdoor show is the reptile area, with the little kids standing around and squealing at one special area - the area where the rattlesnakes are kept.  Milking rattlesnakes has been a popular sideshow item for many years at local fairs and county shows.  There are about thirty different species of rattlers, and all of them live in America.


Let's look at these wonderful reptiles and get to know them a little better.  The two largest, on average, are the eastern and western diamondbacks.  The average length of an adult eastern diamondback is around four feet, and the average length of a western diamondback is about three and a half feet.  There are reports of diamondbacks that were more than ten feet, but facing a live rattler may add a few feet to the story.  The largest ones that have actually been measured have been just under eight feet long.   A six-foot rattler can weigh as much as 11 pounds.


Generally reptiles are not thought of as beautiful animals, but a rattler has many wonderful designs to look at. The eastern diamondback, with a general pattern of grey brown diamonds all along its body, has a raccoon-like black mask over its eyes.  The Santa Catalina rattlesnake (found only on Santa Catalina Island) has markings similar to heavy eyebrows above its eyes.  Another fascinating feature of a rattler is the pits seen on either side of the face.  These are not related to the venom glands, but are organs that detect radiant heat.  The snakes use these to detect things that are close by and are warmer than the general surroundings.  In this way, the pits can help locate of small animals such as mice.  Since these reptiles have poor eyesight, they use the pits and their sense of smell to determine where their next lunch is coming from.


The most noticeable feature of the rattlesnake is the rattle itself, and rattles are not found on any other reptiles.  The rattles are made of the same material that forms horns, claws, and our fingernails.  The "fingernail" at the tip of the tail forms a rattle, and when the snake sheds its skin, this part does not come entirely off, forming a new rattle.  A few snakes have been found that have as many as twenty-three rattles on their tail.


Reptiles, and snakes in particular, have very unusual ways to get around.  A rattler can use the muscles in its body to push against small irregularities, or bumps, in the surface of the ground.  As the snake goes by, each part of the snake pushes against the bump so that it looks like the standard snake "wiggle".  The bumps may not seem very visible to us, and it might just be a slightly thicker than usual clump of grass in a grassy field.  But what happens if a western diamondback is caught on a flat rock with nothing to push against?  In this case, it uses the scales on its belly, and uses them in the same way a multi-legged caterpillar uses its feet. This motion is much slower, but is also quieter, and is used by rattlers to silently get their prey within striking distance.


This is a short introduction into one of the most absorbing of the reptiles, the rattlers.  Visit a rattlesnake exhibit at your local zoo or county fair, and look closely at them and watch their movements.  You will be delighted.


Reptile Accessories and Supplies


Large reptiles need large cages or other enclosures.  They will also need bedding, a water source, tunnel logs, rocks, trees, steps, plants, a ground cover of some sort for the bottom of their enclosure, and more food than a small pet.  The costs can add up before you realize it!  But once you have taken care of the initial investment, the big worry lies in being able to provide the proper amount and type of food and bedding.  Vet care should also be considered.  If you can't afford to have the reptile treated, you may want to pass on adding it to your home.


If you're interested in keeping a snake for a pet, you may want to consider the cost and accessibility of the food necessary for the reptile's survival.  Do you have freezer room and a strong stomach for the little frozen mice and rats you'll need to feed your pet?  Mice and rats can cost up to $1.50 each, with the average snake needing 4 a month.  Distilled drinking water costs from 58 cents to $1 per gallon and should last a month just for drinking.  Of course, if you have a large snake, you'll need a large source of water for its bathing.


You should plan on spending at least $100 for the corn snake aquarium, rocks, heat source, water dish, and two pieces of indoor/outdoor carpet for the floor.  The carpet is the most economical investment for bedding as it can be washed and reused, keeping one piece clean at all times.  The corn snake itself can cost from $20 to $350, depending on what type you choose.


Pet care books are available at local libraries.  But if you can't find the one you want, they cost less than $10 even in most pet stores and can be purchases at local discount stores.  Filters for turtle aquariums can cost from $18 to $30.  Food for iguanas can become costly as they need fresh fruits and vegetables on a regular basis in addition to food you can purchase in dried form.  A 40 ounce container of Iguana Juvenile pellets costs around $16.


Bedding for all reptiles must be kept clean to avoid disease from overexposure to its own urine and feces.  The cost can start at $2.50 and rise depending on where you purchase and what you prefer.  Just keep in mind that not all bedding is safe for all animals.  Replacement will depend on the size of the housing, the size of your reptile, and how many reptiles you own.


If you have a reptile that climbs, you may need a fresh air habitat with a mesh screen and water resistant bottom.  The small ones can cost around $30 for one that stands 20 inches tall or $80 for one that stands 30 inches tall.


Lighting costs about $18 for a 10 inch clamp-on lamp that dims.  A combination lamp can cost $48.  An infrared heater can cost $23.  There's also the cost of the electricity needed to run the environmental equipment.


Other items you may need to price are huts for hiding, chemical additives for the water-dwellers, pumps, liners, netting, stands, bulbs, sterilizers, and algae scrapers.  If it seems overwhelming, take your time to digest the information and make the best decision.  It's not fair to the pet to provide less than adequate housing and other needs.




Reptile Diseases


Dangers exist when keeping reptiles as pets, but not just as bites and scratches.  You can also contract salmonella disease from not washing your hands after coming into contact with the feces or urine or touching something that has.  It's important to keep your hands away from your face, food, or food preparation areas or utensils until you've properly washed and disinfected your hands.


Salmonella can be transferred to your countertops from the reptile's feet, so allowing the little bugger to walk on in your kitchen, on your dining table, or even near your toothbrush is inadvisable.  Mild infection of salmonella includes diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps.  More severe infection happens if the germs travel to the bloodstream, bone marrow, or nervous system.


Other diseases that can be passed to you from reptiles are toxoplasmosis, Lyme disease, rabies, or chronic fatigue syndrome.  These diseases are known as zoonotic diseases, those which can be passed from animal to animal or animal to human.  It is important to understand that reptiles are not the only animals that transmit these diseases, so there's no need to panic just because you weren't aware of them before you bought the reptile.  Lyme disease is passed by tick bites, and you can get ticks from walking through tall grass!


Proper handling of your reptile is the most important issue to keep diseases from being passed to you or your loved ones.  So, make sure you educate your children on the importance of proper handling and hand washing.  If you aren't sure they are old enough to understand, it is best if you keep the reptile away from the child's reach at all times.  The temptation of touching the reptile or putting their hands in the cage just might be too much for them to resist.


Besides the risk of diseases being transferred to humans, the reptiles themselves can suffer from several diseases.  Mites, ticks, worms, rickets, osteoporosis, fungal diseases, bacterial diseases, anemia, depression, or anorexia are just a few.  There's also a disease known to attack lizards called metabolic bone disease.  It's very painful for the reptile and is often caused by lack of calcium.  Improper ultraviolet radiation also causes the reptile problems because of the inability to release vitamin D3, which enables proper absorption of calcium.  The symptoms of this disease are brittle bones, swollen jaws, swollen legs, recessed jaws, and no energy.  Just imagine how horrible it must feel!


Other problems reptiles can encounter are mouth rot, skin disease from improper shedding, organ bleeding from an overdose of vitamins, colds, and respiratory infections.  Central nervous systems can suffer with vitamin B1 deficiency.  A female reptile can acquire overloaded ovaries or post ovulatory eggs, which could require surgery.


This is why you must take your animal's welfare seriously.  If you are well-armed with knowledge on how to care for it, the chances of it contracting or becoming worse from disease is much reduced.  Of course, you have much less control over something the reptile may have had prior to your care.  This is where it will help to have some background on the history of the pet shop where you decide to purchase.  It also helps to know what to look for to spot some problems before you purchase!



Reptile History


Many people overlook that dinosaurs were reptiles, as are tortoises and turtles.  Frogs are often lumped into the same category while they are, in fact, amphibians.


Reptiles evolved from amphibians because of their necessity to learn to adjust to life on land.  This brought about the need for legs and lungs to breathe air.  Yet snakes are legless, able to crawl along with their magnificent bodies.  The scaly reptile skin was necessary to protect the bodies from the rough surface of the ground, much different from the smooth water the amphibians were used to.


Science has described over 7,000 species of reptiles, even going so far as to claim birds as a part of the reptile group because of the inherited characteristics such as their skeletons, internal organs, and DNA.  There is a distinction besides feathers, though.  Birds are endotherms, meaning they must have food for energy to keep warm.  Other reptiles are ecotherms which need an outside heat source to help them retain proper body temperature.


Crocodiles are in the second oldest group of reptiles, perhaps resembling the dinosaur relatives more than any other reptile group.  Although, the turtle is the winner of the oldest proven reptile group, even older than the dinosaurs!


There are two groups of turtles, one  group fares best on land and the other in water.  The one that fares best on land is the terrestrial tortoise.


Success in keeping a reptile for a pet depends much on your climate.  You can forget sticking your pet snake, turtle, or lizard outside in a cage or pen or aquarium if you live in a cold climate.  Keeping the pet in a controlled temperature is essential to its survival.  Digestion depends on the right temperature and so does the animal's ability to move around successfully.


It may seem cute to see that little turtle basking in the sun on a log in a pond.  But the reptile needs the heat to stay alive. Too much heat is also as bad as too little.


Maybe the turtle's ability to live for so many centuries when other animals perished is because of its outstanding life span.  A turtle can live to 100 years old if the conditions are right!


Old temples have been discovered in Africa with snakes carved into the walls, giving pythons a sacred quality over the many years of its existence.  But the boas have been known to live over forty years at a time in zoos!  Anacondas have been feared in South America for a long time.  Any snake that can grow to over 35 feet deserves a wide berth!


An interesting reptile that's been around a long time is a native of Madagascar.  The chameleon exists in 120 different known types.  Oustalet's chameleon is about the size of a small cat.  It would give a domestic feline a definite scare to walk upon one of those!  On the other end of the size spectrum, the Dwarf Brookesia, also a native of Madagascar, is small enough to stand on the tip of a finger.




Reptiles Have Special Needs


People have all kinds of different pets.  Some people only feel safe with what is considered "normal" pets.  This usually consists of cats, dogs, hamsters, or birds.  Country folks may have farmyard animals for pets.  Horses, cows, goats, bunnies, and so on are typical.


Then you have the people who pride themselves on being "outside the norm".  These people may be the sort who likes to consider themselves and their pets unique.  Or maybe they just love animals of all kinds and welcome any and all types as pets.  Reptiles have been kept as pets for many years, but as the number of pet stores has grown so has the number of reptiles kept as pets.  Sometimes this is bad news for the reptiles.  If a dangerous reptile is chosen, it could be bad news for the owner as well.


Sometimes the type of pet a person has depends on the area in which they live.  Availability may make the choice for them.  Environment is also a consideration.  In south Louisiana, a child may be raised thinking an alligator is normal to keep for a pet!  It would be impractical for a child who lives in the midst of the city to own a pet cow.


What types of reptiles are popular as exotic pets?  Snakes, lizards and turtles make the choices wide.  There are some, however, of each type that makes some better choices than others.  Unfortunately, these types of pets are also the most often abused and neglected simply because of failure to learn about their proper needs prior to ownership.  Once the new wears off, they become forgotten.  Because reptiles are often quiet and contained, it is easy to forget they are around.


Corn snakes are often chosen because they are known to be easier to care for.  They are excellent escape artists, though, so great care must be taken to keep the latches tightly closed on their enclosures.  It may seem funny in the movies to see a snake escape and scare the family or guests, but it can cause great harm to your pet in reality.


Boas are a well-known reptile pet, but people often underestimate their lifespan and their great size when grown.  A snake kept in an area it has outgrown will not be a happy, well-adjusted pet.  It may cause the snake harm and you as well, should he choose to fight back because of his discomfort.


Those cute little reptiles grow up and will need different requirements for food and housing as they grow.  A responsible pet owner will be prepared for the changes and willing to accommodate.  Can you recreate the natural environment and maintain it?  Think of it as being a person from the country who moves to the city, unwillingly, and never learns to adjust because they just don't seem to fit into the new surroundings.  Except this person has the ability to move back to the country, while the snake is unable to make this choice on his own.  The right housing makes a happier pet.




Safety With Reptiles


Reptiles are animals to be respected.  Many people think it's funny to irritate a reptile to get a reaction.  These same people probably have the pet peeve of others irritating them to get a reaction.  It's the idea of dishing it out and not being able to take it.  Please put yourself in the reptile's place.  While they may not exhibit emotions other than what seems like anger, they are living beings that deserve to be treated in a kind way.


It is illegal in many places to hold a reptile captive, even if you consider yourself to be taking good proper care of the animal.  You may need a license or permit to be able to take care of it, even if you are trying to "save" it because of obvious injury or illness.  It is best to contact a wildlife rehabilitator any time you see a wild animal in distress.  If you can't find a wildlife rehabilitator, perhaps you could call a game warden or a nearby zoo or vet for further aid.


Collection and transport of reptiles can cause damage or trauma.  This may make the reptile more apt to strike out in defense upon any close contact.  Would you be a bit annoyed if someone removed you against your will to put you in an unfamiliar place?

It is best for the animal if it is allowed to stay in the environment to which it is accustomed when possible.


If you do happen to be unable to resist the urge to capture a wild reptile and later decide it wasn't such a good idea after all, please contact someone who would be qualified to take over its care.  Wildlife animal refuges and zoos are equipped for the care of reptiles and may be happy to assist to keep the animal alive and well.


If you know of a reptile that is being abused or neglected because of improper care or treatment, you could try contacting a society for the prevention of cruelty to animals.  Your local veterinarian's office, game warden, zoo, or animal shelter should be able to direct you to the right phone number or address of the nearest office for complaints.  Should you be uncomfortable with providing your name, make it known from the start.  It is understandable to want to keep yourself protected from an irritable owner caught by authorities for cruelty.  But please, don't let this stop you from helping the poor unwilling creature.  There are ways to protect yourself and reach out to help.


The exotic pet trade is big business that uses clever marketing techniques to snare people's interest in reptiles.  Some people want the exotic pet as a hobby, a novelty item, or a status symbol.  It may present the element of class or style they mistakenly wish to portray.  The animal is the one that suffers when the interest has grown dim, and the excitement has worn off.


Safety with reptiles is not just about safety for the humans who are interested in handling the reptiles.  It's also about the safety of the reptiles themselves.


Searching for Small Reptiles


Lizards are one of an interesting group of animals that you might not think about too much - the reptiles.  The biggest of the reptiles, the alligator, is hard to miss, but they live only in the southeastern United States.  Smaller reptiles, like lizards and snakes, can be found in your neighborhood.   If you want to go exploring to see these colorful and fascinating animals, here are some of the more common ones that you might find.


Let's begin with lizards.  Most common lizards are between four and twelve inches long, which is about the length of one or two of your hands.  If they see you looking for them, they will probably scurry away quickly, so approach them quietly.  Some lizards can go as fast as fifteen miles per hour, about as fast as you ride your bicycle, and very fast for a reptile!  One really interesting thing about lizards is that if another animal grabs their tail, the tail breaks off, and later the lizard grows a new one! All lizards have smooth dry skin, so do not worry about them being slimy.   One of the more common lizards all across the U.S. is the skink, which has a nice round body, short stubby legs, and is very shiny. Look for skinks during the warm part of the day in areas that no one goes near, like groups of rocks in a vacant lot.  Many skinks have long stripes along their bodies, and a solid color pink or blue tail!


Another wonderful group of reptiles is the snake family.  When you see a snake, think about how it uses its muscles to move so differently than any other animal.   Snakes can move very fast, so don't be surprised if it slithers off quickly as soon as it realizes you are there.  Be very quiet!  Two of the snakes that are found throughout nearly all of the United States are the garter snake and the hognosed snake.  Garter snakes are very thin snakes, about the size of two or three pencils, and about as long as your arm.  They have long stripes on their bodies, the stripes are yellow and dark green in the eastern US, red-orange in the western US.  Look for them in grassy fields or in grasses near the edge of woods, especially in sunny spots where they can get warm.


Hognose snakes have funny turned up noses that they can use for digging, and that is how they get their name.  They are big brownish or greyish snakes with darker colored blotches on their bodies.  They like open sandy areas, and areas with a lot of fallen leaves on it.  Hognose snakes have unusual behaviors when they feel threatened.  If you get too close to a hognose, it may try to scare you by hissing at you and puffing out its head.  If it feels really scared, it can flop over and play dead.


Go exploring to see what reptiles you can find in your area.  Look on the Internet or in a book to see a few pictures of snakes and lizards in your area, so that you will know what to look for.  Enjoy!



Setting Up A Terrarium for Your Reptile


A terrarium is similar to an aquarium except that it isn't full of water and fish.  It's a tank made of glass or plastic with a wire mesh lid.  The mesh allows air to come in and keeps the reptile from escaping.


Reptiles are cold-blooded, unable to make their own body heat, which is why it is hard for them to move around if the temperature isn't right in their environment. Reptiles lay eggs to hatch their babies.  Unlike human babies, which are dependent at birth, reptile babies are born ready to care for themselves.


A successful terrarium is set up with the proper heat source for temperature perfection.  A thermostat will ensure the correct temperature at all times.  Reptiles need a basking lamp to sunbathe and a light tube for ultraviolet rays.


It sounds expensive and complicated to a beginner, and it very well may be depending on what your idea of expensive is.  But once your terrarium is set up, the biggest hurdle is being able to afford the proper food and bedding.  The expense of bedding is reduced if you buy two pieces of indoor/outdoor carpeting to allow one to be cleaned while you use the other for your pet.


There are several ways to set up your terrarium, depending on the needs of your reptile.  The desert terrarium will need coverage over the inside bottom floor.  Most people choose sand or gravel for the desert appeal.  Plants will add a hiding place for your reptile and helps increase the natural look and feel of their environment.


You must provide water even in a desert setting for three reasons---drinking, bathing, and moisture.  Even in the desert a certain amount of water is necessary.  It should be kept clean and accessible at all times for your pet's comfort and to ward off disease from unclean water.  Sometimes a lizard or snake reptile will prefer a tropical forest terrarium setting.  You'll have to make sure you regulate the day and night temperatures.  Investing in some sort of timer will make this less of a chore and safer for your pet.


The tropical forest is kept damp at all times.  Provide a layer of wood chips and maybe some moss to hold the moisture.  Keep some sort of trees to allow your reptiles to climb among the branches.


Turtles and some snakes require a habitat that is part land and part water.  You must purchase a heater designed to control the water temperature.  Adding rocks allows the reptile access out of the water when needed.  The rocks should be free of sharp edges to avoid injury to the reptile as it navigates through its home.  Place a fluorescent light over the dry areas to allow sunbathing.


The last habitat choice is called a savanna.  You can consider it a medium ground between the dry desert setting and the very humid tropical setting.  It's also cooler than either and stays only slightly damp.  Shady areas should be included for the pet's comfort.  Plastic plants discourage the reptile from eating the scenery.  Coarse gravel is allowed in the savanna setting.


Snakes As Reptile Pets


Most common snakes kept as pets in the reptile category are the corn snakes and the Royal Python.  Pythons do have teeth and will bite even though they kill their food by constriction.  A python can possibly live to be 40 years old when conditions are right and has been known to be the longest snake on record, reaching well over 30 feet in length!  While this is the exception to the rule, it should still be a consideration when choosing a snake for a reptile pet.


You must know the proper requirements for your snakes before you commit to keeping more than one in the same enclosure.  All snakes are not the same!  Feeding them together is discouraged as well.  Some snakes eat other snakes, too, so be careful about your choices.  There are people who live in the country who will keep the king snake alive simply because it is known to kill other harmful snakes.


There are different types of corn snakes and different types of pythons.  Know your type before you purchase.  Some make better choices than others for pets.  Don't touch your snake if it's in the water bowl and has developed milky eyes.  This could be a sign of shedding.  Because the snake has limited vision, it could strike out at you in defense, not knowing you won't intend to harm it.


There are things that could make your snake reluctant to eat.  Force feeding is not a good idea.  Illness, stress, shedding, temperature, humidity, and occasional fasting may make your snake's appetite change.


The anaconda is not the longest snake ever known, but it is the heaviest.  Although anacondas have been kept in captivity, it is not advisable.  For one thing, it isn't fair to the snake.  Their natural environment is a river.  Some people have gone so far as to keep venomous or dangerous reptiles for pets, including rattlesnakes.  This is highly discouraged, especially in homes containing children or the elderly.


Wildlife shows make the adventures with reptiles seem fun and exciting.  But most people should note that these people who interact with the snakes and other reptiles are experienced, trained professionals.  They didn't become enlightened overnight.


Scaled reptiles are classified as Squamata, which includes lizards and snakes.  Detachable jaws are one of the fascinating talents of the snakes.  The other qualification to inclusion as a Squamata is the scaly skin or shields.


Snakes are thought to have evolved from lizards---but most people are far more scared of snakes than they are of lizards!  It's ironic that the snake evolved from the lizard, yet lizards are one of the small animals the snake is known to eat.


Some snakes can climb trees to steal eggs from the bird nests.  They've even been known to devour the unfortunate bird left guarding the eggs.  Because the snake swallows its food whole, digestion is more complicated and tiresome for the reptile.  This will cause the snake to regurgitate if disturbed during digestion so it can escape danger.


Yes, snakes can be interesting pets and interesting reptiles.  Just make sure you know what you're dealing with before you attempt to make contact!


The Responsible Reptile Owner


Many people think reptiles are cheap pets, easily accessible and easy to care for.  However, after purchasing or being given a reptile several things can happen.


  1. The reptile becomes ill and/or dies because of improper care.


  1. The person becomes bored with their pet and leaves it unattended or lets it go in an unsatisfactory environment.


  1. The cost of the reptile becomes overwhelming.


  1. The responsible owner enjoys the companionship of the pet for life.


A reptile in captivity depends on its owner completely.  While it may have defenses, it is still basically defenseless.  Unable to care for itself, it is at the mercy of the caregiver and every element of its care is important.


To neglect responsibility as an owner can mean torture for the reptile.  If you think it shouldn't matter because a reptile is incapable of emotion, maybe you should refrain from acquiring any pet.  Whether or not it does or does not show or experience emotion is irrelevant.  There is still the element of pain and suffering to be considered should it be neglected.


Any living being deserves to obtain adequate care, especially one held in captivity.  A reptile that has been provided for may not know how to adequately care for itself once it is put back into the wild.  Maybe the reptile is released in an environment that lacks the right food sources or temperature.  Protection from predators may be inadequate.


If you give your pet away or sell it, please make sure the person receiving the reptile has proper knowledge of what it takes to care for and shelter the animal.


If you decide to own a reptile for a pet and don't practice the proper handling, you could be attacked.  Who would be to blame?  You.


Reptiles can be interesting as pets.  The experience can be rewarding and educational.  The responsibility lies in the hands of the owner.  If you want a fulfilling and long lasting experience as a reptile owner, take the time and make the effort to learn about what's involved before you purchase or accept a reptile.


If you choose a pet shop, choose a reputable pet shop.  Don't count on their expertise.  Some pets unfortunately are sold merely as profit pieces.  It's often a wonder they even made it to the pet shop in one piece and alive.  Exotic pet sales have gone through the roof, so many of these wonderful creatures are handled wrong right from the start.  It pays to research how a healthy reptile should look before you make the commitment to purchase.  Just having a license to sell a reptile does not make the management responsible people with consciences.


A responsible pet owner is not just someone who loves animals.  It's someone who makes the effort to care for the animals properly.  There are many well-meaning people who call themselves animal lovers and still don't have what it takes to be the right caregiver for reptiles.  You may be the perfect match for a dog and far from the perfect match for a turtle or a lizard!  Know your limits before you commit.



The Slow and Steady Reptile: the Turtle


Of all the reptiles that can be found in an average neighborhood, turtles are probably the easiest to catch.  Let's take a tour of a turtle and see what we can learn from it.   One of the most interesting parts of the turtle is the most obvious, its shell.  The back of a turtle shell is formed from bones that have fused together into a hard structure.  On top of the bone layer are large scales that cover and protect the surface of the bone, and give the turtle its distinctive color.

Some sea turtles have shells with bones that are separated, and the leatherback turtle has no scales at all, just leathery skin with little bony plates distributed in its skin.   The shells of land turtles are typically quite high and round, in order to discourage predators from attempting to crush the shells in their mouths.


Water turtles generally have much flatter shells, in order to allow for faster swimming. The bottom of the shell, called the plastron, is also fused bone, but it is covered with a different kind of scale, in order for the turtle to move easily over its territory.  A few turtles, such as the American box turtle, have hinges on the bottom of its shell.  The box shell turtle can withdraw into the shell and then close the hinges, so that no predator can reach any of the turtle within.   These hinges also protect against moisture loss on particularly dry days.


Like many other reptiles, turtles lay their eggs on land.  Baby turtles generally grow rapidly until they reach young adulthood, and then the rate of growth slows.  Large turtles often keep growing at a slow rate for their entire life.  The shells of most turtles grow to at least five inches in diameter, and the monster of the turtle family is the Leatherback, which can have a shell six feet long and weigh up to fifteen hundred pounds.   One of the larger common American turtles is the Alligator snapping turtle, which can have a shell of over two feet in length and weigh up to two hundred pounds.  It is easier to tell the age of turtles than most other reptiles because the plates on their back often have growth rings, similar to trees.  Each time a turtle stops growing it creates a depression in each scale, and so these can be counted to determine the age of the turtle.


A number of turtles have lived for more than one hundred years, and turtles might be the longest-lived vertebrates, up to two hundred years old.  Some American families carved their names and dates into box turtle shells, and these markers indicate that even local turtles can live to be more than one hundred years old.


Next time you see a turtle, check it out carefully.  Watch how slowly it walks (generally at about one third of a mile an hour), and look carefully at the markings on its shell.  Turn it over to see the underside of the shell, and how the two connect.  See if you can see any markings on the shell to count how old it is.  Check out other interesting facts and behaviors about the turtles in your area at your local library or bookstore.

Understanding Reptiles


Did you think a frog is a reptile?  Maybe it would help to learn the difference in reptiles and amphibians.  Amphibians can't travel far from a water source because their skin would dry out.  Their eggs wouldn't survive either since they must be laid in water.  Reptiles, on the other hand, already have tough hard scaly skin.


Snakes are well-known and feared reptiles.  Many people simply misunderstand the snake.  It's a benefit to the balance of nature.  They consume rodents, amphibians, and insects as well as providing a source of food to other animals.  They're valuable additions to our animal world because of the importance as predators and as prey.


Many people kill snakes without knowing whether or not they are dangerous.  Some snakes are "good" snakes in the way that they kill the bad snakes.  Those annoying mice are controlled because of the snake population, too.  But before you decide that you'd rather have a bigger mouse population than snakes, you would surely agree that everything was created for a reason.  Just because you may be scared of something does not mean it is less important to our world.


Have you ever struck out in fear, by instinct or reflex?  Sometimes a reptile is forced to do the same thing in order to survive.  It doesn't stop to think first because the time could cost it a life.  Snakes do not strike out because they hate humans, lizards do not bite because they are holding a grudge, snapping turtles do not snap because they don't like the blouse you decided to wear today.  A reptile attacks because it feels threatened or because it is hungry.


If you live in an area where the venomous snake population is higher than normal or maybe your chance of coming into contact with such is higher, you may want to purchase a Sawyer Pump Extractor.  This handy little machine suctions out the venom from the bite, reducing your chances of more serious illness or death.


There are some helpful do's and don'ts to know once you've been bit.  Of course, you should get away from the snake first.  Although it is scary, you will less affected if you can make yourself stay as calm as possible.  Remove jewelry that may become binding should your arm or hand swell from a bite.  Wrap a wide band of material or elastic bandage above the bite area and leave in place until proper medical help is achieved.  Do not wrap this too tightly.  Alert an emergency center of your upcoming visit if possible.


Don't take any alcohol or drugs as this may interfere with your treatment once you arrive at the medical center.  It could also inhibit your ability to get there if you are forced to drive yourself.  Applying ice or electric shock of any kind is not advised.


It will help to pay attention to the reptile that bit you so that you can relate the information to the medical personnel when you get help.  It may help them identify your needs quicker.



Vacation With a Reptile!


Are you fascinated with shows on TV that show wrestling, wrestling between man and alligator?  Do snakes repel you, but you still dream about them at night?  Do you sometimes feel like a turtle coming out of its shell?  If so, you might want to head to the southern part of America and visit the alligators, and all of their reptile relatives.  The states of Florida and Louisiana have a spectrum of places to visit reptiles - from the traditional alligator farms that have been around for the last fifty years, to modern wildlife refuges with tour guides that have doctorates in ecology.


If you start in Louisiana, here is a sampling of places where you can see reptiles at their largest, best, and most active.   You can start with a boat tour given by Alligator Annie Miller Tours, who has been giving tours of the area by boat since 1979.  You can stay near Annie's at an alligator bed and breakfast in Gibson, La at Betty Provost's Wildlife Gardens.  Each cabin has an attached deck overlooking the water, and a number of reptiles swim up on the chance that you might throw out some small pieces of alligator chow.  These reptiles include small alligators, spiny soft-shell turtles, and red-eared sliders.   The bed and breakfast also has a mile of nature trails that truly have the sound and feel of a real Louisiana swamp.  Near Slidell, La. (close to Baton Rouge) is Dr. Wagner's Honey Island Swamp Tour, and is run by the wetlands ecologist.    He gives tours through a beautiful cypress swamp, and presents so much fascinating information about the alligators, other reptiles, and waterfowl that live in the area.


If you visit Florida, make sure to stop and see the alligators.  Two of the biggest and best alligator attractions in the state are Gatorland, and St. Augustine Alligator Farm.  The Farm is really a zoo that was started in the city of St. Augustine in 1893.  While there you will hear some amazing sounds, like the bellow of a large male alligator.  It sounds somewhat like an airplane engine, with a lot of vibration that you can actually feel in the air.   Bellowing helps the animals locate each other, and brings males and females together during courtship behavior.   The farm is also the only park to have all twenty-three species of the crocodile family, some having come from Asia.   One of their showcase reptiles was a crocodile brought from New Guinea who grew to nearly eighteen feet long, and weighed seventeen hundred pounds when he died.


As you go near Orlando you cannot miss the signs for Gatorland.  This is also a Florida institution, and has been open for fifty-six years.   Gatorland has boardwalks crossing over the area where you can watch alligators in their natural habitat.  Nearby is the area where you watch large gators propel themselves out of the water at feeding time to retrieve pieces of chicken.  Here you will also see alligator wrestling, which is something that was supposedly started by the Seminole Indians.    After selecting and wrestling his opponent, the gator handler asks the visitors which is the most dangerous part of the alligator.  It is a split decision between the tail and the teeth, but remember which part of the alligator the wrestler is holding shut!


Take a vacation with the animals and see reptiles like you never have before.  See them in their power, in their distinctive beauty, and take time to experience their native habitats, the ancient feel of the southeastern swamps.




Watch out for Reptiles!


Reptiles seem more like creatures from another planet than any other animal, and snakes even more so.  Snakes are cold-blooded, they move in very unusual ways, and they have more old wives' tales about them than nearly any other animal (except maybe the wolf).  This introduction to the behavior of the American rattler should de-mystify most of the ideas that you have about this fascinating group of reptiles.


Many of the smaller reptiles, like lizards, startle easily and are more difficult to observe in their natural habitat.  Observing a rattler might be easier than other animals, for its major senses are its sense of smell, detection of vibration, and heat detection.  Much of a rattler's waking hours is consumed by waiting for food.   They get their food by sitting and waiting, rather than chasing after their prey.  Several nights may go by when no potential prey comes near, and so a rattler needs to be patient.  He comes out as the sun is setting and the desert begins to cool, and slides across sand and several rocks until he finds an area that smells strongly of rodents, or perhaps a hunting area that has been successful in the past.  The rattler coils up in some low vegetation, or near the side of a rock.


The top several inches of his body are not coiled, but have a few shallow bends in his neck so that he can strike quickly when prey comes by.  His head rests on his coiled body.   If no prey comes by, eventually the rattler's body temperature gets low enough that he needs to make a return journey, and so the rattler will make the return journey at that time.


When a small animal appears, for example a desert mouse, the rattler may be alerted by the vibrations made as the mouse scurries along the ground.  Its tongue will pick up the scent of the mouse, and there are extremely sensitive organs of smell in the roof of a rattler's mouth.  In order to determine where to strike, the rattler uses the pits on its head.  These pits determine where the heat source, the mouse, is. If the mouse is slightly too far away to strike, the rattler will slowly and quietly move in a straight line toward the mouse, so that the mouse will not detect any sound or movement.  The snake normally does not use the normal side to side motion for stalking prey, as it attracts too much attention.  When the mouse is close enough, the rattler strikes.  As it strikes, its mouth opens wide and the fangs drop down and forward, so that the fangs point directly at the mouse.  As its mouth closes on the mouse, the venom is pumped through its fangs into the mouse.  The snake then reopens it mouth and lets the mouse go.


After a few minutes the snake assumes the mouse has died, and moves around using its tongue to smell for the location of the mouse's body.  If you look at a snake after it has eaten, you can usually see a small (or large) bump that gradually decreases as it progresses into the stomach.  The time the snake takes from first noticing the mouse to swallowing it may be as long as an hour.


Enjoy learning about rattlers, but if you see one, remember to watch it from a very safe distance.



What Types of Lizards Make Good Reptile Pets?


There is nothing wrong with wanting a reptile for a pet, provided of course you first arm yourself with knowledge.  Education is the key to being a responsible owner.  Of course, there are instances when you may not first get the chance.  Suppose your well-meaning relative decided it would be a good idea to give you an exotic pet for a gift, not thinking of the reptile's welfare should you be unable to care for it or uneducated about its care.  But, of course there are always exceptions to the rule.


There are ways of choosing your pet when you do decide to obtain a reptile.  You can choose to buy a pet to fit the cage you are able to get, or you can buy a cage to fit the pet you want.  Either way you go, please make sure you take into account that the reptile will grow and must be able to fit into the enclosure as it gets bigger.  Please refrain from purchasing the reptile if you will be unsure about being able to afford a larger cage later on or if you won't have the space.  There are plenty of other choices you can make that will fit into your budget.


A Leopard Gecko is a popular lizard choice for people who want a reptile that will be smaller than the Iguana.  The Iguana has been known to reach 7 feet in length!  A bigger lizard means a bigger cage and a bigger food bill.  The Leopard Gecko only reaches 10 inches.  There's obviously quite a difference there.  First time owners have more success when they start small and build up to the other interests.  This lizard also stays active at night, so night owls may get more enjoyment from it than someone who wants to interact or watch their reptile during the day.  The Leopard Gecko can live up to 15 years and is easy for a beginner to care for.


A Bearded Dragon is a popular lizard choice.  They're fond of crickets, but they also need fresh vegetables and fruits like the Iguana.  The Bearded Dragon looks fierce and beautiful when it fans out its spiky beard.  These reptiles can grow to 20 inches.  Blue skinks are known for their blue tongues.  Skinks can grow anywhere from 12 to 20 inches, depending on which type you get.  They enjoy a diet of earthworms.  This may be easier to stomach than the diet of mice and rats a snake requires!


Another common lizard choice is that of the Green Anole, also known as the American chameleon.  While it isn't actually related to the chameleon, it is able to change colors from green to dark brown.  This reptile only grows to 9 inches normally and eats insects.


Whatever your choice of lizard or other reptile as a pet, just make sure you do your research before you purchase.  If you are given the animal as a gift, please educate yourself as quickly as possible to prevent unintentional harm to the reptile.



Where to Buy a Reptile to Keep as a Pet


Reptiles can be intimidating.  They can also be great pets.  The key is in the education of the owner.  Many reptiles are purchased for pets for the wrong reasons.  Sometimes a reptile is bought out of spite towards another family member.  Sometimes a reptile is purchased as merely a show-piece to impress others.  Maybe owning an exotic pet makes the person feel more important somehow, more interesting, more dangerous.  But many people just don't know what they're getting into because they don't research properly beforehand.


First, you must know the laws in your state for owning an exotic pet.  In Australia, for example, you need a license to keep a native reptile in captivity.  You'll need to know if you're allowed to obtain a reptile from even your own backyard.  This is also considered the wild, as it is a natural environment.  A reptile keeper or a pet shop may be the only places to legally obtain a reptile to keep as a pet.


It's really better for the reptile as well to purchase one that is born in captivity than to remove one from its natural environment and thrust it into captivity.


You can, of course, take your chances and get a pet from an advertisement in a newspaper.  Many times this is a great way to get a good deal on the cage and accessories as well as starter food for the pet.  Some people sell their pets in garage sales.  Sometimes people set up an area in a parking lot to display their pet.  Remember you are taking your chances on the health of the pet, on any diseases the pet may be able to spread to you as well.  Hopefully, you will already have a good idea of what the pet and all it comes with would cost should you purchase it all new so that you won't get ripped off.


Big well-known flea markets have been known to carry reptiles and accessories.  Regulars keep booths on a regular basis, so that returning to ask questions may not be a problem.  Be sure to ask if the seller is a regular at the flea market or how you may contact him/her if not.  You could order your reptile from a magazine ad or perhaps from an online source.  Many times a popular mall will have a pet shop as well, or there could be one nearby.


To learn about the reptile and its needs, check out books at the local library.  Check for others in your area who may already own a reptile of your interest so that you can get pointers and advice from someone experienced.  There may be groups in your area for exotic pet owners.  You'll need to know who these people take their reptile to for injuries or illness, too.


Be aware that just because a pet shop has a certain pet for sale, does not mean the owner or salesclerk is an expert in the care and special needs of that particular animal.  Do your own research beforehand, no matter where you choose to purchase your reptile!



Which Reptiles Do Not Make Good Pets?


Basically, any reptile that is caught in the wild is discouraged for use as a pet.  It is cruel for a reptile to be removed from its natural environment, for it to be thrust into captivity against its will, just so someone can say they own it as a pet.  If you must have a reptile for a pet, buy one that was raised or born in captivity.


Compared to lizards and turtles/tortoises, snakes tend to be easier pets for kids to raise.  Just make sure your child is old enough to be properly educated in the handling of the reptile for the child's safety and the reptile's safety as well.  Because reptiles carry salmonella, it is essential that any person who handles the creature either wear gloves or wash their hands immediately after putting the reptile back into its housing.


But there are some lizards, turtles/tortoises, and snakes that are truly not suitable for pets.  Although it is possible to keep them in captivity, it is better for the reptile to respect that it is meant to be kept in the wild.


Burmese pythons can certainly become tame enough to make good pets; however, the cute little baby will grow into a very huge adult.  The size alone, once it is grown, will make it less suitable to keep as a pet.  The African Rock Python and the Reticulated Python have been known to be kept as pets, but their temperament makes it more of a challenge.  Just because they are so cute as babies, it doesn't mean they will still be appealing as adults.  The price should not be your only decision in owning one of these reptiles.  Pet shops will often sell low cost animals that often turn into high cost maintenance, which certainly enhances the chance of return business.  But it is really unfair to the unsuspecting consumer.


Imported reptiles such as the pythons are often sold with problems that occurred before or during transport.  The prospective owner must be well-educated to be able to spot any deficiencies in the animal prior to purchase.  Mites, ticks, dehydration and emaciation are some of the possible problems.


Green anoles are sold at a low cost, but their set up can be expensive.  Anoles tend to be caught wild which means parasite infestation is more likely; and they don't like to be handled.


Wild-caught ball pythons are known to have heavy parasite infestation and are picky eaters.  Their stress during shipping causes trauma, which affects their temperament, appetite, and overall health.  Captive hatched or farm raised are still imported and still suffer from shipping distress.


Wild-caught chameleons suffer stress, parasite, and crowding from being imported as well.  They are an antisocial creature even without the added negative aspects caused by shipping, so a beginning reptile owner would find this animal a disappointing challenge.  They don't react well to everyday household noises like children, other animals, vacuum cleaners, loud radios, and so on.  It's not a guarantee that they'll be happy when housed with other chameleons either because they aren't even sociable with their own kind.


Other reptiles which do not make good pets, especially for a beginner, are Tokay geckos, caymans, and alligators.  They are quick, aggressive, and very strong animals.  Make sure you know what you're getting before you invest your hard-earned money into the cute little pet shop reptile!




The Basics of Bird Anatomy


When it comes to bird anatomy, most pet bird owners have no clue about how the organs work and how the skeletal system is formed. You might not thing this topic is interesting, but it is very complex, and if you are going to know about birds, you are going to have a lot to learn!


First of all, you have the respiratory system of the birds. They have a high oxygen demand because of the high metabolic rate. This means that they have a respiratory system that is much more efficient than the one a mammal or reptile has. They can ventilate their lungs much more easily, and the lungs are the sites of gas exchange.


When it comes to their circulatory system, birds have a four-chambered heart, which is the same as most mammals. This means that they can get nutrients to their body as well as oxygen very easily. The bird’s heart is going to beat much more quickly that the mammals heart, due to what they have to do to survive.


The digestive system of birds is very interesting. Most of them have a muscular pouch that is called a crop which is formed along their esophagus. It helps them to soften food, as well as regulates the flow of that food through the bird’s system, because the food can be stored in this pouch and used as needed.


The Skeletal system of a bird is interesting as well. Because the bird is intended to fly, the skeleton is adapted for this. It is very lightweight, which would allow the bird to get off of the ground. On the other hand, it is very strong, so that it doesn’t break when a bird takes off or lands.


Birds also have a wide range of muscles, usually about 175, that are going to control how the bird moves. Birds also have very sharp eyesight, much better than that of humans. Birds are able to reproduce by making sperm and fertilizing eggs in order to breed.


All in all, the anatomy of the bird is very interesting and different from that of mammals. If you are going to be a bird owner, and if you are going to know everything there is to know about your pet bird, it is very important that you do all that you can to make sure you understand how the bird’s body works. This will help you to be a good pet owner, and it will help your bird to live a long and happy life.




Aspergillosis and Your Bird


We all love to have animals, but sometimes we need to be careful that we aren’t causing ourselves more pain and suffering by having them. No matter what pet you have, there are risks that are associated with having that pet, and you are going to want to be sure that you know what they are and that you do everything you can to make sure that they don’t’ happen.


First of all, when you have a pet bird or other animals such as birds in your yard or farm, you might run the risk of developing Aspergillosis. This comes from a fungus that can be found in compost piles or other areas where bird waste has collected. With your pet birds, there is little chance of getting Aspergillosis as long as you keep the cage clean, but if you have larger birds or if you have many birds on your property, there is a chance that you could see an outbreak of Aspergillosis if you aren’t careful.


There are several signs of Aspergillosis that you should watch out for. Since it is a general lung infection that comes from fungus, the clearest signs are going to be wheezing and coughing, as well as coughing up phlegm and an inability to breathe. You also might find yourself disoriented, and confused, or with a high fever.


The best way to avoid getting Aspergillosis or any other diseases is always to make sure that you are running clean and safe establishments. This is both for the humans as well as for the birds. You want to be sure that your animals are living in quarters that can be easily cleaned, and that are cleaned often, and you have to be sure that you dispose of the waste in a way that is not dangerous. It does no good to clean out the bird waste if it is still going to be left somewhere that humans might come in contact with it and become sick.


If you think that you or your family members have developed Aspergillosis you are going to want to be sure that you see a doctor right away. There are various stages to the illness, and the sooner you catch it the better you are going to be. You should always be sure that you are notifying your doctor about what is on your property and what you might have come into contact with as well.





Love Birds? Breeding Pet Birds


Everyone knows that to have a pet, you have to be sure you are following through with all of the things that you need to do to make your pet happy and healthy. Some people like to have animals and be involved in the breeding process, and this is a decision that you might decide to make. However, when you have pet birds, as when you have other animals, there are several things that you have to keep in mind before you begin breeding.


You should never get into the business of breeding your pet birds or any other animal unless you want to do good things for the particular breed. You should never get into the business of breeding animals for the money, or for the experience. If you want to be breeding your pet bird, you have to be sure that you are doing it so that you can help the breed of bird that you have, and that you can do good things for the birds. You want to be sure that your motives are completely genuine, because breeding for money always leads to problems.


After you are sure that you are breeding animals for the right reasons, the next step to take is to make sure that you have all of the knowledge that you need to be breeding that particular animal. With birds, this means that you have researched the type of bird you are breeding and that you understand what this kind of bird needs to thrive and what its breeding and producing of babies takes from the owner. You have to be sure that you have all of the things that are necessary, and that you have done all of the research that you have to do to make sure that the breeding can be successful.


The last thing that you have to be sure that you are doing is being a responsible breeder. This goes along with breeding of any animal, not just your birds. Being a responsible breeder means that you are willing to learn about the birds, and that you are willing to find homes for any offspring that you might have. Being a breeder that is responsible is something that you have to strive to be, and there are a lot of things that go along with it. This is why breeding of animals is something that you have to think about and make wise decisions about first.




Choosing a Vet for your Bird


Pet birds can be more complicated than you think they’d be. You might believe that pet birds are easy to handle, easy to train, and easy to own. However, the reality is that they are actually quite difficult because they take a long time to get to know and to train, and if you are going to own a bird and do it properly, you have to be sure that you know all about the bird beforehand, and that you are willing to take the time that is necessary to do all of the things that you have to do in order to be a proper bird owner. One of the things that you have to be sure you do as a good bird owner is to find your bird the right kind of vet that will help you in your bird ownership. There are several things that you can do as you search for vets to make sure that the one you choose is going to be best for you and for your bird.


First of all, most vets will claim to know a little bit about birds, because most vets are trained in all around animal care, so they have had a small amount of training when it comes to birds. However, if you are going to be having birds in your life, this means that you are going to invest in these birds. Therefore, you want a vet who has also invested a lot of time into learning about birds. The fact is that all birds are different from all other animals and all species of birds are different from one another, so you have to be sure that the vet you are picking knows not only about birds, but about the type of bird that you have. You want to know that your bird is going to be in good hands, and so you want to ask some questions of your vet to see if your vet really understands birds and not only that, but if he or she really understands your type of bird.


You can ask questions of your vet that you already know the answer to, in order to see whether or not your vet really knows what he or she is talking about when it comes to birds. Also, you should ask him or her how many birds he treats on a regular basis, and where he looks for information if there is something that he doesn’t know about. Remember, your vet will be one of the most important person in your bird’s life, so choose one wisely.




Cleanliness and you Pet Bird's Health


We all want to make sure our animals are healthy, and we especially want to make sure that any animals we have in our homes are going to be healthy and therefore are not going to be a danger to anyone living in our house. The fact remains that many times animals that live in our houses with us cause more disease and problems than we are aware of. So, it is important that your pet bird is kept clean, and that he doesn’t leave any diseases around for himself, or for you.


There are several steps that you can follow to make sure that your bird is clean and healthy. First of all, choose a good spot for his cage.  You have to be sure that this is a place that is away from directly sunlight, but where he can still see the sun and the changing of the day and night. You also want to make sure that this place is not going to get too hot or too cold, and that there won’t be any drafts.


The next step is to make sure that the cage has a liner that can be easily cleaned, and that there is something in the bottom that you can catch all of the debris in that can also be taken out and cleaned regularly.


Besides for whatever is in the cage, you have to have another layer to keep your home clean. This can be accomplished by getting a cage net, or hanging something underneath where the cage is to catch anything that falls out of it. No matter what, you are going to deal with some stuff on the floor beneath the cage, so you should have it in an area of the home that has a floor, which is easy to clean, and preferably not carpet.


It is important to make sure that you clean your bird’s cage on a regular basis because your bird is going to make a mess, and it is much more healthy for the bird if the cage is cleaned. Also, you are going to find that if you clean the cage on a regular basis, there is less of a smell, which is going to make your life better.


The key to keeping a bird healthy and happy is to keep his cage clean. This can be done by making sure that you empty the bottom of the cage on a regular basis, and that you are picking up anything that is a mess around the cage. This will keep your family safe and happy and healthy as well.





Is my Pet Bird Sick?


Having a pet can be a very good thing for you and your family. And pet birds are often among some of the most popular pets that you can get. They are great for families with children and lots of responsibilities, because as long as you do a few things for them, you will find that they demand less of your time than cats and dogs do. However, like all animals, birds might get sick, and because they are less common than cats and dogs, and because you are going to interact with your bird much less than your cat or dog, you might find it difficult to tell when your bird is sick. Luckily, there are a few things that you can do to make sure you are paying good attention to your pet bird, and to make sure that you notice when they are sick.


One of the best ways to tell when your pet bird is sick is to listen for changes in their song. Singing is the way that birds communicate with the outside world. You might think that they are just chattering, but if you really pay attention you will begin to notice that your bird has a distinct sound and makes noises at different times of the day. It will probably have one song that it has in the morning, and one in the evening. Also, your bird might make noises when it sees you, or sees other members of the family. There will be noises that it makes when you change its food or water, or when you put something in the cage. As a responsible pet owner, you should be aware of these noises. That way, you can notice when they change. If your bird stops making the noises that they have always made, or makes new noises you have never heard before, they might be sick.


Like sounds, your bird will develop movements that you should be able to recognize. You should be able to see where it likes to perch, and what kind of movements it likes to do during the day and night. If you see that your bird isn’t moving as much as it usually does, or is sitting on the floor of the cage instead of on its perch, it might be sick, and you should pay some attention to it. Also, if it is moving much more than usual, and trying to fly out of the cage, it also might be sick, and there should be something done about it. Talk to your vet immediately.




Is Your Pet Bird Losing Feathers?


If your pet bird is losing feathers, you may be concerned, and rightfully so. Losing feathers could be a sign of serious medical illness or behavior problems. Birds who are losing their feathers should be of concern, and you should call your vet immediately to determine the reason your bird is losing his or her feathers. In the most basic sense, feather loss occurs either spontaneously or is self-induced, but each behavior can cause real medical problems.


Molting is generally normal for a bird. As long as you see new feathers growing and there are no bald spots on your bird, there is usually no reason to worry. Your bird may pick out some feathers, but this is fine as long as your bird is generally in good health.


There are many medical conditions that can cause feathers to fall out or can case your bird to pull out his or her own feathers. Your vet can tell you about all of these diseases and determine what problems your bird may be having. Parasites are a common problem. They can cause your bird to pick at his or her skin and accidentally pull out feathers. They can also damage the follicles, preventing new feathers from growing.


Inflammation of the follicles themselves can also be a problem. You usually cannot see this by looking at a bird, but your vet can determine if this is a problem with your bird by doing a feather follicle and skin biopsy. This kind of inflammation is commonly cause be yeast and bacteria. If you do see something wrong with your bird’s skin, this could be dermatitis, another cause of feathers falling out. A bird will pick at this inflamed skin, causing the feathers to fall out. As the bird plucks the feathers, the condition only worsens.


Allergies are another common cause of feathers falling out in a bird. In fact, a number of thing in a bird’s environment can cause the feathers to fall out. If the cage is not clean, your bird may pick at dirty feathers. Zinc in the cage can also cause a chemical reaction in your bird, which may be a reason for a bird’s feathers falling out.


Feathers falling out can also indicate very serious diseases. Internal tumors can cause a bird to pick at a certain site, and problems with the thyroid can cause feathers to fall. In general, if your bird is losing excess feathers, it is important to call your vet to determine a solution to the problem.





Good Eats for your Pet Bird


It is hard to be  pet owner these days, because you have so many choices of food, and so little experience to tell you what the right types of foods are. There is also a lot of information out there, some of which is good, and some of which is going to lead you in the wrong direction. In order to really be a good bird owner, and to make sure that you have given yourself every chance to learn about good bird care, you really need to do your research when it comes to pet nutrition, to be sure that you are giving your bird the best life that you can possible give it.


When it comes to bird nutrition, the important thing that you remember is that there are certain things birds eat, and there are certain things that they cannot eat. Getting your bird a bird food from a store is going to be generally good for your bird, as long as you are sure that you are getting the right type. You need to be sure that you know what kind of bird you have, and that you make sure the food has your bird’s type on it, to provide your bird with the best nutrition.


Also, you can feed your bird other things as well. There are many things that are made that are good for birds, including millet sprays and food sticks that have been fortified so you can put them in the bird cage and therefore make sure your bird is getting the right nutrition. Another thing that you can do is make sure that you give your bird plenty of fresh things that they would find outside, grains and fruits, and other things that are good for your particular species of bird.


Remember that if you are going to be feeding your bird things that you aren’t buying as bird food, such as fruits or grains, you should research your type of bird and what you plan on giving it. Most of the fruits you will find are going to be good for birds, but you have to be sure that you look up your particular bird first, as there are some birds that cannot handle certain things. Above all else, you must find information that states that the food you want to give your bird is good for it. Otherwise, don’t give it to your bird. That could be very dangerous.





Obesity and your Pet Bird


It may not seem like a common problem, but obesity in pet birds can really take a toll of your pet’s health. In reality, many pet birds are obese. When your pet bird is obese, he or she is at risk for a number of medical conditions and may be more susceptible to diseases. If your pet bird is obese, it is important to talk to your vet about how to help your bird lose weight and begin to maintain a healthy body weight instead.


The first step to treating obesity is, of course, determining if your pet bird has a problem. Each pet bird species has a different target weight—you wouldn’t expect a macaw to weight the same as a lovebird! There’s also a range for bird weight, just like humans. Birds are typically weighed in grams, and this can be done at home if your bird is well trained or your bird can be weighed at the vet’s office. Either way, your vet should be able to tell you if your pet bird is of the right weight.


You can also look for signs of obesity in appearance. Like humans, birds can get a double chin, which is basically a roll of fat under the beak. Fat also causes the feathers to fall out, so bald patches indicate large deposits of fat. You should also be able to see depots of fat on your bird when handling him or her, and so you should look for yellow or white deposits under the skin, especially around the thighs and upper breast.


If your bird is obese, it could be because your bird is not getting enough exercise or is eating a diet that is high in fat. This is really a possibility if your bird is fed human foods, which are very inappropriate. You can help your bird with the obesity problem by stopped this kind of feeding, and you can add toys to the cage and play with your bird often to help him or her be more active.


You vet can also help you help your bird get back to a normal weight. Certain medications are possible if you bird is developing other health problems due to obesity. Low-fat diet food is also available for your bird. When you care about your bird’s health, you give him or her the best care possible. Talk to your vet about ways to keep your bird from getting obese and prevent disease.




Birds of a Feather Flock Together: Your Pet and Social Needs


Getting a pet bird is something that you might have thought of as a great first pet, or an easy pet for your family to get. However, you might not know that pet birds actually require a lot of work, and that in order to have a bird that is mentally and physically healthy, you not only have to make sure it has a good vet and a good diet, you also have to make sure that it is properly socialized.


Birds are very social creatures and they get lonely a lot. Most of the birds that you will find to have as pets are going to need a great deal of socialization. There are several ways for you to do this. Depending on the kind of bird you get, a good idea would be to train the bird to be outside of its cage and interacting with humans at least once every day. However, we all know that people have very busy lives and that this isn’t always an option.


If you cannot spend time with your bird every single day, the alternative is to make sure that you have two birds that can live together. This is actually the best way to have pet birds, because that way the bird is never going to be lonely and will always have something else to interact with. If you are getting a pet bird, chances are that you need a cage and all of the supplies anyway, so getting another bird is only a small amount of money more, and it is going to be the best way to keep your bird healthy.


The fact is that it is not just out of niceness that you should have more than one bird for yours to interact with. With most birds, if they don’t have interaction with people each day, or with another bird, they can actually go insane. This is something that is quite troubling, and is going to lead to many health problems. The best way that you can do it is to make sure you have a big enough cage and have two birds.


You should also have some mirrors for your birds to look into to make sure that they are thinking there is more to see. Many brightly colored toys are a must as well, and if you are going to leave your bird for a period of time it is always a good idea to leave a radio playing softly in the room that they are in so that they don’t get so lonely.




Toxic Household Items for Birds


If you have a pet of any kind, safety should always be your number one priority. There are so many things that humans use in their daily lives that are toxic to the animals we protect. No matter what kind of animal you have as a pet, you have to be sure that you are never allowing them to be harmed in any way by something that they might find on the floor or in your home. With birds, this is especially important.


For most birds, who spend a lot of their time, if not all of their time, in a cage, most of the items you have in your home won’t be able to hurt them. However, if your bird is allowed to fly around your house (and remember that it is good for all pet birds to spend some time each day outside of their cages) you have to be sure that your home is bird proof. All of your household chemicals and things that they might eat should be put away and put into cupboards that are shut where the bird can’t get. Remember, with birds, high shelves aren’t the option, unless your bird has its wings clipped and cannot fly. If your bird is allowed out in your house, you have to be sure that there is nothing that they could get.


On the other hand, you might think if your bird is always in its cage, you have nothing to worry about. This is true of anything toxic that might be laying around your house, such as bottles of cleaners or other things that an animal could get into, but that your bird can’t because it is in a cage. However, you would be wrong to assume that just because your bird can’t get out of their cage, they are safe.


Air fresheners, carpet sprays, and any other cleaner that can get into the air is going to be possibly toxic to a bird. You should never spray any of these near your birds cage, and you should take care so that the fumes from any of these cleaners don’t drift into the cage. You have to be sure that you remember that a bird is very small, and that it will only take a very small amount to kill a bird. No matter what it is, keep it away from your birds, and your birds will stay safe and healthy.  When in doubt, talk to your vet.





Trimming your Pet Bird’s Wings


There are a lot of things that you need to know about your pet before you become a pet owner. This is true no matter what kind of animal you have, and no matter what kind of situation you find yourself in what it comes to that animal. No matter if you have a dog, cat, or a bird, you have to do research before you make that animal a part of your life, and you have to be sure that you can do all of the proper things for that animal before you find yourself in a situation where you have to take care of an animal. If you can’t take care of an animal properly you shouldn’t have it, because it is not fair to that animal.


One of the hardest things about owning a pet bird is learning how to deal with its wings. There is no magic formula for what kind of birds need certain things done for their wings, and what you should be doing. Most of the time, you should buy the pet bird in the condition that you want it to stay in, because chances are that it was done correctly wherever you got the bird from, and it might not be done correctly if you try to do it yourself.


Trimming a bird’s wings is one of these situations. There are so many things that you have to know about it before you can consider doing it. First of all, you have to take into account what kind of bird you have, and if trimming their wings is even something that is good for that bird. Then, you have to see if the situation you have the bird in even makes it possible to trim their wings. Lastly, depending on what type of bird you have and what situation you are putting that bird into, there are certain ways that you have to go about trimming the wings and there are certain ways that might hurt the bird if you do them.


Trimming a bird’s wings is something that should always be done by a professional. You should not assume that you can figure out how to do it on your own, because if you don’t do it correctly, you can damage that bird forever, and might even cause it to die. If you are considering trimming your bird’s wings, be sure that you have talked to the place where you purchased the bird, as well as to a vet, and that they both agree it is a good idea. Then, be sure that you find someone who knows how to trim your particular bird’s wings.






Great Expectations: What Happens when you Take your Pet Bird to the Vet


Whenever your animal is sick, no matter what kind of animal you have, and you have to go to the vet, there are going to be lots of things that you are going to want to keep in mind. Of course, you are going to be taking your pet to the vet even when they aren’t sick, because in order to have a healthy pet you need to be getting it a check up, just like you would a person. So, no matter what your reason is for taking your pet bird to vet, there are some things that you should keep in mind to make sure that it goes the way you’d like it to go.


First of all, you should know your vet, and you should know what their policies are for taking your animals in. What kind of time frame do you need to make an appointment, and how long do appointments usually last? These are things that you can ask your vet before you bring any of your animals in, and these are things that you should be aware of so that you can plan your day accordingly.


Something else that you should be aware of when you are taking your pet bird to the vet is that not a lot of vets know a lot about pet birds. In fact, unless you have spoken to your vet before about your bird, you shouldn’t be surprised if your vet only has a brief knowledge about your pet bird. Therefore, you should bring in some information about your bird when you first go to the vet, especially if you have a rare type of pet bird, or one that you don’t’ think people around your area would know much about. If your vet says that he doesn’t know much about birds, it is perfectly ok to ask for recommendations of vets that know more about birds and that can give you more information.


Unless your vet mentions that he doesn’t know much about your bird, chances are that he knows more than you do. So he is probably going to handle your bird and do things to it that you might not feel comfortable doing. You have to trust your vet with your bird, just like you trust your vet with your other animals. Your vet is trained in animal medicine, so he should know all about what to do. Also, if your vet gives you advice when it comes to taking care of your pet bird, you need to be sure to follow it!



Acquiring the Bees


As long as you aren't allergic to bee stings beekeeping is a way for someone who doesn't have a great deal of money and acres of land to take an active role in agriculture. The start up expense of the average hive is approximately $300 per hive (you only need one to get begin with). Once you have purchased a hive it can be kept in a remote corner of your back yard, it is not uncommon to see some suburban homes with a bee hive.


If you are considering starting a beehive the first thing you should do is call your local Cooperative Extension office. They will be able to tell you if you live in an area that restricts keeping bees. They will also be able to give you the contact information of your states beekeeping organization where you can become a registered beekeeper.


The next thing you need to do is select a site for your potential honey bee hive.


Once you have selected a site for your beehive you will need to go about acquiring the equipment needed to successfully maintain a beehive. Some of the equipment you will need can be purchased used on EBay. If you are unable to find the equipment you need on EBay there are several on-line sites where you can purchase equipment. If you need further assistance finding and purchasing a beehive and other beekeeping equipment call your local Cooperative Extension office or the Federation of American Beekeepers.


Before acquiring bees for your hive it's important to make sure that you are properly protected, this means you have to purchase beekeepers gear.


Once your hive is in place and you are confident that everything is in working order it's time to order your honey bees. The easiest way is to order Honey Bees from an established Apiary. You should plan on placing you bee order early in the winter, the average beekeeper orders their bees in January and February. The order is typically shipped in March and April. Most Apiary's ship their bees through the U.S. postal service. When the bees arrive at the post office your mail carrier will call and ask that you pick up the bees. Very few mail carriers are comfortable driving all over the county with a car full of young angry bees in their car and most bees are healthier if they don't have to spend several hours in a hot car.


When you pick up your bees they should have been packaged in a special carrying case that is designed just for bees. This package will be a wooden framed "house" that has a screen covering the outside. This packaging allows air to circulate to the traveling bees and keeps handlers, such as post office employees, from getting stung.


When you get your bees, do not be surprised if you see a few dead bees laying in the bottom of the package. Traveling is hard on bees and they can't all be expected to live through the trip. The rest of the bees should be clutching the sides of the container.


You will notice that one bee in the container has been separated from the rest of the hive.This is your queen bee. The rest of the bees in the container will make up the rest of your bee hives hierarchy.  Some Apiaries ship the queen with a couple of nurse bees. The top of the queen's container will be covered with piece of sugar candy.


You should also see a container that is filled with a sugar solution. This sugar solution is what the bees feed on while they are traveling. Once you get your bees home offer them something to drink. You do this by taking a spray bottle and covering the container with a very fine covering of water.



Beekeeping and the Apple Orchards


The country is full of apple orchards. Apple orchards are where the apples you buy in the supermarket come from. Applesauce is made out of apples grown in orchards. People who drink apple juice and apple cider enjoy the produce provided by the hardworking orchard owners. Without apple orchards there would be no apple pies. The world would be a sadder place without apple orchards.


In the springtime people drive past apple orchards and see tidy row after tidy row of apple trees, their spreading boughs fragrant with the scent of delicate apple blossoms. In the summer they can drive past the same orchard and see the same trees, leaves shining in the sunshine. In the fall those same trees are laden with apples, crunchy and full of juice. In the winter, the spreading limbs of the apple trees spread wide and are blanketed with a layer of glittering snow. When they stop to admire the artistic trees they notice that unlike other types of agriculture endeavors the only time they see anyone working amongst the trees is when the trees are heavy with fruit and the farmers are picking the apples. It doesn't take very long for the passer bys to start thinking about how easy it would be to own an orchard. When the opportunity to purchase an apple orchard comes along, these people can hardly walk away from the opportunity.


The reality is that there is a lot more to owning an apple orchard then picking apples and pulling in money.


The casual passerby thinks that owning an apple orchard won't be much work, the reality is that a great deal of backbreaking labor goes into maintaining the orchard. The trees have to be pruned. The trees have to be sprayed to protect them from being ravished by insects. In addition to caring for the trees there is a lot of general maintenance chores that have to be taken care of. There is also the task of removing the old, unproductive trees and replacing them with young trees.


The next thing to consider when purchasing an apple orchard is the size of the orchard. According to the experts an apple orchard has to be at least ten acres large in order to break even. That's just breaking even. In theory a larger orchard means a larger profit margin for the orchard owner, but a larger orchard also means that the owner will have to buy more insecticide, rotate more trees, hire more employees, and spend more money on the equipment needed to maintain the orchard and harvest the apple crop.


Perhaps the biggest error newcomers to the apple orchard business make in the spring time when the apple trees are in bloom. In order for the trees to bear fruit the flowers have to be pollinated. Although the wind can help pollinate the flowers, honey bees are better. Many new orchard owners think that there are enough bees in the wild to pollinate the acres of apple trees. These owners are making an assumption that could harm their yearly yield. Experienced owners know that to ensure they get a profitable harvest they need to work with local beekeepers. They lease the hives and the honey bees from the beekeepers. The hive owners set up the hives in the orchards. The extra bees assist in the pollination.






Beekeeping Equipment


Like all hobbies, beekeeping requires some basic equipment before someone can establish a successful hive. This equipment should be bought before you get a call from the post office asking you to come pick up bees.


The most obvious piece of equipment you will need is the actual bee hive.


Your beehive should be have five supers. The supers are a very important part of the beehive because they are where the bees will be storing their honey. These five supers should be between the bottom of the hive and the hive cover. These supers are very important because they are where the bees will be storing their honey and raising their offspring. Once you have an active hive each of these supers will contain nine to ten frames. You can choose if you want a hive with shallow supers or deep supers. The advantage of deep supers is that they enable beekeepers to buy only one size foundation. The disadvantage is that, when full, a deep super can weigh one hundred pounds. Once you have a hive for your bees make sure you place is somewhere that has a flat surface so that the hive wont tip over in a strong wind. Also make sure that you place it somewhere that humans and pets aren't likely to disturb it.


A spacer is a piece of equipment beekeepers use to keep an equal amount of space between the frames while they are in the super.


The next piece of equipment you will need is a smoker. The smoker is what you will use to encourage the bees to leave the hive when you are getting ready to harvest the honey. The smoker is surprisingly simple in its design. The smoker consists of a funnel, a combustion chamber, and bellows. Many beekeepers claim that old, clean burlap is the best material to use in the smoker because burlap is easy to ignite and smolders and smokes. Other beekeepers prefer to use dried corn cobs. Once the fire has been lit in the combustion chamber the bellows will keep it going. The funnel directs the smoke into the hive, encouraging the bees to leave.


Another tool you will need is a metal hive tool. The metal hive tool is used to pry open the hive, separate the hive bodies, and to scrape the frames clean. Think of it as the all purpose tool of beekeeping.


No beekeeper is ready to receive their shipment of bees until they have a bee brush. A bee brush is used to gently brush bees out of the way so that the beekeeper can examine the frames.


When it is time to harvest your honey, you will need a fumer board. A fumer board is a board that is covered in bee removing chemicals and is then used to encourage the bees to leave a super and let you take their honeycombs.


If you don't mind getting using used equipment you can find some great prices on beekeeping equipment on EBay. There are several catalogs and websites that offer beekeeping equipment, and many of those offer beginners packages.





Beekeeping in different areas of the world


Many areas in the world are producers of honey and beeswax for medicinal and food purposes. You'll find a lot of beekeeping in the United States, Asia, Africa, and some parts of Europe. Since beekeeping had originated in Europe and had been modernized in the United States, the way it's done is different and the way it's taught is different as well. Yet this is a very interesting way to see how different cultures train someone to do beekeeping as a way of life and part of the culture. The cool thing is that honey is used for mostly food in so many cultures that use it in religious and celebratory occasions when preparing certain concoctions or meals and honey is used to sweeten it. Americans are usually in the business of beekeeping to produce honey for the supermarket and for shipment overseas to markets and countries that don't have beekeeping businesses that is advanced enough to mass produce the necessary amount to ship overseas to stores owned and operated in the United States like Whole Foods Market when they carry specific brands.


Most countries overseas don't have the system the way the United States does to mass produce a single product like honey since we managed to harvest effectively so we can produce enough to meet the needs of the market until the season to produce starts again in the spring since bees are inactive during the winter months and start again in late March early April when the mating season for bees is fresh and flowers are in abundance for them to feed and pollinate on. The U.S. alone turns out the majority of the honey that's used when they provide to supermarkets owned by American based companies to their stores and restaurants overseas.


Beekeepers could be observing hives every 7 to 8 days generally making it the ideal time on the weekend to pass time. Hives don't need a lot of maintaining just an hour a day between the peak season around May to September. A good season can produce for a keeper 60-100 pounds of honey and depending on how much the buyer charges by the pound that's what you go by to what you'll make for every harvest you get.


The most common annoyance to beekeepers during their harvesting and maintenance of the hives are bumblebees these are the big ugly black and yellow bees that are seen going through the flowers honey bees have already visited and these bees live underground so they can be an annoyance to beekeepers when they swarm from the ground up. Many beekeepers will move their hives around which is called migratory which is one of the secrets to increase honey production and giving bees a fresh supply of flowers to pollinate and feed from so they can produce different variations and batches of honey.


Each batch produced can differ with each pollination or when hives are rotated and bees go to different flowers so that's why sometimes honey may have distinct taste since it's the type of flowers available to them at the time of migration.






California's Almond Orchards


The California almond industry is attracting the interest of beekeepers all over the country. The almond orchard's demands for honey bees is so strong that many beekeepers in Florida have actually defaulted on their contracts with local watermelon producers to bring their bees to the west coast where they lease their hives and bees to the almond growers.


Almonds were first found growing a long way from California's sunny landscape. The first almonds were found in China and central Asia. Franciscan Padres first brought almonds to California in the middle of the 1700's, before the American revolution. Sadly Padres efforts were unsuccessful. It wasn't until the early 1900's that almond lovers discovered that California's Central Valley had perfect growing conditions for genetically improved almond orchards. Nearly a half million Californian acres are devoted to growing almonds. It is estimated that there are six thousand almond growers in the state.


Today, California is the only place in North America where almonds are successfully grown for commercial use. The reason that California is so successful for almond producers is the climate. Almond trees love hot summers and cool winters. Almonds don't like sub-zero temperatures. Because almond trees are not self-pollinating they require the use of bees in order to produce almonds. Every February,  when the almond trees are in bloom, beekeepers set up hives in the orchard so that the growers can enjoy a lucrative harvest. The inability to self-pollinate force almond producers to plant multiple variety's of almond trees.


Almonds are harvested when the split in the shell widens enough for the nut to dry. This typically happens between the middle of August and early October.When the hull is completely open its time for the almond harvest to begin.


When its time to harvest the almond crops, orchard owners have the orchards swept so that they are completely free of debris. Once the orchards are debris free, the mechanical tree shakers are brought in . The mechanical tree shakers gently shake the trees. The almonds fall from the trees. The almonds are left on the ground to finish drying. When the almonds are dry they are swept into rows where they are gathered by a machine and deposited in the huller.


Nutritionally almonds have a lot going for them. There are only seven grams of fat in one ounce (a single serving of almonds is one ounce). Almonds do not have sodium and cholesterol free. Almonds are an excellent way to get magnesium and vitamin E. Almonds are also a source of Riboflavin, Phosphorus and copper.


Seventy-five percent of California's almond crop is exported.





Curbside Honey Sales


The roadside stand is as common a site in rural America as the lemonade stand is in the city. Whenever a someones garden produces a surplus of produce the farmers drag out an old card table, load it down with baskets of fruit and vegetables and slap a for sale sign in front of it. The same roadside stand that you use to sell your extra fruit and vegetables can also be used to sell your excess honey that you've collected fro, your bee hive.


When you are getting ready to set up your roadside stand you need to make sure that you have a sign indicating that you are selling honey. The sign should be simple. The letters should be clearly printed with ink or paint the contrasts with he background of the sign. The sign should be large enough the people driving past your house should be able to easily read the sign as they drive past your roadside stand. Make sure that sign can be easily seen from the road. Keep the writing simple, the sign you are using to advertise your roadside stand is not the place to practice your writing skills. People who total their cars trying to read a long winded spiel on a piece of cardboard generally aren't good customers. Don't get cute and draw a picture of a bee on your sign, people might misunderstand and think that you are warning them of a potential attack.


Before you set out your honey take a second and examine it. Make sure that the honey has been strained. There shouldn't be any dirt, clumps of wax or other foreign materials in your honey. Take a minute and wipe the outside of the container with a wet washcloth and remove and indication of spills. Make sure that the container is dry before you expose it to dust.


If possible offer your customers various forms of honey. Give them the opportunity to purchase jars of honey that you extracted from the honeycombs and also invite them to purchase a honey comb that still has the honey entombed behind the wax plugs.


Offer your clients a variety of sizes of containers of honey. Some people will shy away from purchasing large containers of honey because they are afraid that the honey will crystallize before they have an opportunity to use it.


Don't be afraid to market other produce alongside your honey. Feel free to sell cut flowers, sweet corn, or banana peppers. Different foods, in a a variety of colors will give your roadside stand an artistic flavor.


If possible try to set up your roadside stand in a shaded section of your front yard. The shade will make your produce appear fresher and will also encourage customers to linger over the merchandise. If you notice that your merchandise is starting to look tired, replace it.


If you are selling vegetables don't be afraid to spritz the vegetables with a find mist of water. The water will look fresher if they are occasionally watered.


Feel free to mingle with your customers. Customers are more likely to make return trips to a roadside stand if the owner is cheerful and friendly.





Family owned beekeeping companies


Beekeeping isn't just something you go into it's something you're raised and brought up in. Most companies that deal with beekeeping and providing beekeeping supplies are family owned. Dadant and Sons, a company based out of Hamilton, IL has been in the business of providing beekeeping equipment and attire for the past 140 years. They sell everything from beekeeping attire from the head to the torso, and even full body suits with headwear. They also sell journals that are published about beekeeping and also selling copies from the archives as well.


They have a large selection of books for giving you a short course on beekeeping to candle making since many beekeepers also not only collect and sell honey, but they make things out of beeswax as well like candles. Most family owned beekeepers usually produce the honey and beeswax items on their farms and sell the products they make at local stores. Usually it's a family business that has been a long-standing tradition.


Most beekeeping families have been at this for several generations so it's not a new thing many families get into with this. A lot of children grow up making this into their livelihood since it's how their ancestors made their living. Many companies now are in fact commercially owned since so many family-owned businesses are forced out because of the rising cost of running a business and many mom and pop places that were not technologically advanced were the ones who suffered because those who had the resources to invest in websites and tools needed to stay ahead in the business were the ones who made the transition into the 21st century with their businesses. This was a business that began as a simple hobby and just a small way to make extra money on the side or to just have something extra for the dinner table since honey was super popular to be put on hot biscuits and toast for dinner and breakfast since it was used as a marmalade.


Honey wasn't really a huge resource at the time since people used sugar and other things like molasses to put in their food, but when it was discovered that honey was cheap and inexpensive to make that's when beekeeping had become a hugely popular and profitable business for many families in regions that beekeeping was a widely practiced activity. As a result of how inexpensive it was to produce honey, which became what beekeeping has developed into today. The only issues was in this day and age more pesticides was being used and the problems with having to treat much of the honey that was being made which left a lot of people wondering how safe it was to consume such a product.


It was a concern since you have the organic food movement that totally goes against the use of pesticides and any means to chemically alter or treat food or livestock used for food products. Today you have family owned companies at the commercial level that produce honey products and beeswax used in cosmetics and candle making.





Harvesting the Honey


Obviously the whole reason to set up, maintain, and stock a beehive is to harvest honey. You will know that it is time to harvest the honey when you look in one of your hives supers and find that the frames are full of honey combs that your bees have covered with wax caps.


Now all you have to do is remove the honey combs.


Harvesting your honey won't be a problem as long as your put on all your beekeeping gear, wear light colored clothes (beekeepers swear that lighter colored clothes have a soothing affect on bees) and stay calm.


When the super is full of capped honey combs you are going to have to remove the bees from that super. There are chemicals available on the market that will make this easier. One popular chemical that beekeepers use to remove bees from the super is Bee-Go. All beekeepers have to do is apply Bee-Go to a fumer board. When the bees smell the Bee-Go they head to the bottom of the hive, leaving the super full of capped honeycombs empty for you to harvest. Another product beekeepers use to clear out supers is one called Fishers Bee Quick. Neither of these products harm the bees, the bees simply find the scent offensive and move away from it.


Now that you are in possession of the honey comb you need to prepare it to be extracted. The first step in this preparation is to remove the wax caps the bees have used to seal the honey into the honey comb. Many beekeepers prefer to use nine frames instead of ten in their supers. By using nine frames they give the bees enough room to draw the comb out, placing the cap right on the very edge of the comb. This makes it easier to remove the wax caps. Beekeepers use a metal knife to remove the caps, the knife works best if the knife blade is warmed, after all its easier to cut warm wax then it is to cut cold wax. You can keep the knife blade warm with frequent dunking in a basin that is full of hot water. Many beekeepers like to use their bread knife to remove the wax caps from the honey comb while others prefer an electrical knife that is designed just for beekeepers. What do you think bee's wax candles are made out of. Removing the caps from the dripping honey is easy, just use a piece of cheese cloth to empty the contents into a second pot, the honey will drain through the cheesecloth and the bee's wax caps will collect on the top.


Once the caps are removed from the honey comb the honey is ready to be extracted.


As you remove the caps, let them fall into a pot, do not just through them away. You will notice that there is a surprising amount of honey attached to these caps, honey that can be processed and used. Also there is a market for the wax caps. Once the caps have been removed from the honeycombs the honey combs are ready to have the honey extracted.






History of Beekeeping


Beekeeping is one of the oldest forms of food production dating back as far back as 13,000 BC. The history dates back to ancient Egypt where it was modernized for that time until around the 1860s when the first system of beekeeping was brought to the United States by a 19th Century native Pennsylvanian named John Harbison. According to history beekeeping was practiced for the harvesting of honey, which is the mainstay of a beekeepers financial sustenance. Other items that are harvested from honey are royal jelly and propolis, which were derived for the use of medicinal purposes. The use of beehive products has changed little since ancient times.


Many different kinds of bees were brought over from places in Europe and even as far as New Zealand. Before the 80s rolled around beekeeping was in fact a hobby and not a means to make a living that was primarily done by farmers or relatives of a farmer who lived in a rural community where you could set up a bee farm and maintained it from time honored traditions passed down through the generations.


In the Asian culture beekeeping was done to produce honey and beeswax (which was used in candle making and other products), but when an American scientist named L.L. Langstroth took beekeeping to the scientific level in 1851 had innovated the bee space and the removable hive frame. It wasn't until 1857 that it was discovered that bees could be manipulated into building a straight frame hive by providing them with some wax for a foundation. Bees would proceed to use the wax foundation to build a honeycomb the octagon shaped holes that was used to store larvae and later honey once the bees had developed and hatched. Over the next few years' different techniques had been developed to continue modernizing beekeeping, but the most practical invention wasn't until 1873, which was the smoker, which was a helpful safety device for many beekeepers. Beekeeping is an art form, which takes a lot of time and practice to master because a skilled beekeeper will learn everything there is to know about beekeeping. Essentially you will be schooled into this way of life so that everything about beekeeping is like second nature to you so you basically eat, sleep, and breathe the art form of beekeeping.


Beekeepers have a term called Apiculturists because that's what the Department of Agriculture calls them when they're categorized for what they do. Beekeepers are just small offshoots of the agriculture world since it's pretty much a world of their own with the fact that what they do began as a hobby had slowly transformed into a way of life for people to earn a living at. Beekeepers that are knowledgeable in biology and entomology can prove to be valuable to the beekeeping market for those who are trying to improve even innovate and create their own unique system of beekeeping which can be passed down to up and coming beekeepers who want to learn how to do successful beekeeping.







Honey bees spend their entire life pollinating flowers and making honey. Bees use pollen that they gather from flowers to create honey that the bees use to feed themselves. Beekeepers are responsible for removing the honey from the bees and using for human consumption.


After the beekeeper has collected the honey from the bees, removed the wax caps that the bees use to seal the honey in the honey comb, and extracted the honey from the honeycomb it's time to process the honey.


Not all beekeepers have process their honey. Unprocessed honey is marketed with words like raw, areanic, unfiltered, and natural printed on the label. The words are different words to say unprocessed. Beekeepers that choose to process their honey, should have it done as quickly after extracting the honey as possible. The act of processing honey is making sure that the honey is heated and filtered. Processing honey is a sticky and hot process, it is important that the person is patient and diligent. The area where the processing is taking place should be kept clean and free of insects. Before you start processing the honey crop make sure that all your equipment is dry. Honey absorbs water. Honey that has to much water in it will ferment.


Experienced beekeepers can look at a vat of honey and tell you what type of flower the worker bees who were attracted to when they were gathering pollen. They can do this by looking at the honey's color. The type of flower the bees collected pollen from also affects the honey's flavor. Other factors like soil quality and honey comb quality can change the flavor of the honey. On the average lighter colored honey has a milder flavor then darker colored honey. There sre approximately three hundred different varieties of honey produced in the United States.


The plugs that bees use to seal honey into the honey combs can be used to make bee's wax candles.


For the health conscious, honey is a great substitute for white sugar.


Honey that is still in the honeycomb has a more natural flavor then honey that has been extracted. Extracted honey works best for flavoring teas and cooking.


Fans of natural healing have always bee big fans of honey for medicinal purposes. It is believed that honey is an excellent way to soothe sore throats, can help regulate blood pressure, burns, pressure wounds, and infectious wounds. Honey has been used by Chinese apothecaries to soothe aches and pains. The Egyptians favored using honey when they were treating wounds. Even the Greeks and Romans left behind literature that spoke of the medicinal benefits of honey for curing various forms of illnesses.


How to Make a Honey Extractor


In order to get honey from your beehive you have to be able to extract the honey from the honey comb. In order to do this you have to have to have a honey extractor. There are manufactured honey extractors available on the market, they typically cost approximately $200 to $300, the average cost of starting a new hive of honey bees. If there is a group of beekeepers in an area they will sometimes pool their money together to purchase a honey extractor that they share. If you are not in a large beekeeping environment and do not want to spend a few hundred dollars on a manufactured honey extractor you might want to make your own.


The materials you will need to build a honey extractor include; a metal rod that is at least one meter long and is thickly threaded, two bicycle wheel rims, two pieces of wood, one meter of 2-3mm fencing wire, a large metal drum, ten bolts for the metal rod, four 400mm sections of 8mm threaded rod, a self centering bearing, six coach screws, and one pillow block bearing. When choosing a large metal drum for your homemade honey extractor make sure that is was never used to store potentially toxic materials. The tools you will need for constructing your honey extractor include; an electric drill, a welding machine (and preferably some welding experience), a socket set, and a hack saw.


The first thing your going to do is remove the end of the drum that does not have two pouring holes, the newly opened end will be the top of your honey extractor. Use the coach screws to attach one of the pieces of wood across the bottom of the drum. Once the wood is in place use coach screws to secure the pillow block. After inserting the threaded rod through the center of the first bicycle rim, securely bolt the rim to the rod approximately ten centimeters from the end of the rod. At the opposite end of the rod you will want to thread a but for the other wheel, the second wheel will rest on this nut. When both of the wheel rims are in place you will want to drill holes in four spots around each wheel, when this task is complete you use the 8mm rods to lock the wheel rims together. Use two nuts onto the rod. Make sure that two cm of rod protrude.


When this is complete you are going to cut a slit that is10mm deep and 3mm wide into the end of the rod. After this thread the lock the nuts together at the end of the rod. After you think the nuts are in place use the welding machine to permanently lock them into place. Fasten the wire to the the spokes of the bottom wheel rim, approximately 5-8cm from the rim. You have now successfully made the basket of your honey extractor.


Take your newly crafted extractor basket and place it into the drum, settling it on the pillow bearing. Now you're going to want to bolt a second piece of wood to the sides of the drum and the self centering bearing.


After drilling a screwdriver bit into the chuck, place the chuck into the slit into the slot in the top of the threaded rod.


Detailed instructions and photos about making a homemade honey extractor can be found at





How to market your honey


Marketing honey in today's market is going to pose a bit of a challenge since you have so many commercial level sellers doing this with the resources to promote and market the product since not all places will purchase and carry your product. This is why many small businesses who do this sell to lower end stores and mom and pop places because when they get people buying that's how many of them end up in large scale stores like Whole Foods Market and other stores that carry name brand organic food. Part of the marketing strategy is to be able to utilize the internet as well since people can open up online stores to sell their products, but you also have to have an effective system in place to pack and ship items all over the world because you will have customers who will be buying your product as far away as England or even Japan.


Your business should reflect handling online orders or you can sub-contract a company to pack and ship your items and take the guesswork out of your hands so you're not stuck having to deal with lost or misdirected packages.


Starting at the bottom for marketing helps you to learn little things that will make your business successful and can thrive in years to come when you know what it takes to make it work. Promotion isn't a skill placed on auto-pilot you have to spend time working it every single day because a business doesn't run itself it takes a good deal of persistence and effort to make it work and to make it where you want it to be. It's easier for people who have prior experience in running a business to be able to effectively carry out a sure-fire way to market a single product and still gain revenue. It's just that when you market products you have to know what is actually the demand for that particular product in question.


Selling honey is always a product that people will buy and is in demand, but it's the companies that make it are the ones who are having to deal with a lot of competition since many small end businesses are extending themselves to the outside world and relying on larger companies to do the larger scale selling. Websites are effective because this is how many co-ops are formed because many food production companies try to find cost effective ways to produce a product through sub-contracting farms and contractors to handle the mass production of honey making and making products out of beeswax.


This is why so many small businesses are reaching out to bigger companies, but it's helpful to give small businesses the tools needed to increase their exposure for business and even clients with farmers and suppliers. Beekeeping is more than just a hobby it's a full time job and business. It may look difficult because it requires you to be in all kinds of weather wearing a puncture and sting proof body suit with a face net just to put that sweetener you use for your biscuits and toast in the morning or that cup of hot chamomile tea, remember the beekeepers who endured that to make it possible to have that sticky sweet indulgence you put in your food and drinks.



Packaging Your Honey


Large beekeepers can not turn a profit if they limit their market to their local community. Beekeepers who have several colonies must be able to sell their product at larger grocery stores and supermarkets if they want to remain financially solvent.


In order for beekeepers to sell their honey to a larger market their packaging must meet certain USDA standards.


The first thing beekeepers have to decide is what kind of container they want to use to hold their honey.  The standard size of containers used to sell honey are measured in pounds. The typical amount of honey offered to the customers can be as small an amount as a half pound or as large as five pounds of honey. Some stores perfect to sell honey that is measured in gallons, these stores offer their customers the option of purchasing a container of honey as small as a half pint or as large as one gallon. If, as a beekeeper, you are attracted to novelty containers you can choose from a variety of fun containers such as skeps, bears, and plastic squeeze bottles.


Once you have settled on the perfect bottle for your honey you have to design an equally perfect label. Before you start designing a label for your honey check with your state government, most states have several laws and requirements about how labels appear on products. Make sure that the word honey is written in bold letters across the label. The word should stand out and really catch the casual shopper's eye. Most graphic designers recommend that the honey should run parallel with the container's base. Do not authorize a label if the design does not incorporate your name (or your farm's name) and your address. If you use a packing or distribution company their name and address must also be included on the label. The final thing that needs to be clearly printed on the label is the net weight of the honey. If the honey you are marketing weighs between one to four pounds then the weight has to be written in both pounds and ounces. The print size used to show the net weight is not random, the font size is determined by the size and shape of the container.


If you are a beekeeper who harvests your honey more then once a season you might be able to write what flavor of honey you are selling. You might have honey that is flavored with clover, alfalfa, or apple blossoms.


Labels that have words such as unfiltered, natural, raw, and areanic refer to honey that has not been processed.


Beekeepers who have USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) grades printed on the label have passed a set of USDA grade standards. Honey that has a USDA grade of A has passed the exacting government standards. Honey that has a USDA grade of D has passed only a bare minimum of standards. The USDA grades honey based on the amount of moisture in the honey, clarity, flavor quality, and defects.



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