When it comes to pets, vets know it best. So we take a look at some useful pieces of advice that vets would like to give pet parents, based on what they’ve learned from years of practice.
A healthy weight could mean adding more years to your pet’s lifespan
Obesity can accelerate conditions like diabetes and arthritis. Pets can turn obese due to lack of exercise or over-indulgence in treats. Your pet may have a healthy lifestyle with a daily exercise routine, however, a calorie-high diet can make him overweight. The calorie requirements of pets are very different from that of humans. You should be talking to your vet about the specific calorie requirement of your pet, as it depends on their size, age, weight and level of activity.
It may take many tests before we diagnose what is wrong with a pet
Veterinary science is especially tricky because the patient cannot pinpoint what exactly is wrong or the symptoms of a health issue. Of course, you may notice certain symptoms like vomiting or loss or appetite, but these symptoms could point toward many medical conditions. It usually takes quite a few tests before the vet is able to identify what is the problem with your pet. Multiple and repeated medical diagnostic tests are often required.
There are no dumb questions
You may refrain from asking your vet about something just because you do not want to end up sounding dumb, but this may shed some light on an underlying medical condition for all you know. Do not hesitate to ask your vet questions, most vets are glad to help. Also, do not be scared to ask your vet any questions about a diagnosis, medical condition or treatment if you do not understand. Wouldn’t you do the same if you were consulting a doctor about a family member’s health situation?
Don’t always trust Dr.Google
Self-diagnosing is not the smartest idea. While there are authoritative and informative resources online that can help you understand your pet’s medical condition, you do not want to blindly use them to treat your pet. Many pet medical conditions have similar symptoms, and jumping to conclusions and treating your pet based on this can worsen the condition due to a misdiagnosis. Your vet has the experience and training, and is better-equipped to understand and treat the medical condition.
Spay/neuter your pet
Millions of pets are dropped off at shelter, simply because there are not enough number of people to adopt them. Spaying or neutering your pet can help keep the pet population numbers in check. It also has other benefits such as cutting down the risk of cancer, or your pet’s tendency to wander off.
Traveling with your cat for the first time? We recommend starting off the prep work by making a detailed list of the things you might need to make the travel comfortable for your pet. After all, you don’t want to go around fetching things while on the road. Here is a list of the five traveling must-haves that will keep your cat happy and safe throughout the trip.
First-aid kitPreparing a first-aid kit is non-negotiable when traveling with your cat. In case there is a minor accident, causing injury to the animal, you will be equipped to handle it without having to make costly trips to the vet. In fact, a vet might not even be accessible in that particular location. The first-aid kit must include antiseptic, tweezers and gauze. Consider downloading first-aid apps for pets that might help you find the nearest local vet.
Food suppliesYou definitely cannot travel with your cat without adequate food supplies. If you have a sufficient stock of cat food, you will not have to run around to refill the cat food stash.Carrying food supplies is especially useful for cats that have specific dietary needs. Your cat might be consuming wet or raw food as a part of its daily diet. In such case, you will have to pack the food in an ice-filled cooler. Carry additional dry food to ensure that there is a sufficient stock for your trip.
Pet identificationIt is crucial for your cat to adorn a proper collar that has an identification tag throughout the trip. Ensure that the tag has your contact number, address and other details that might help a stranger connect with you during your trip (hotels, lodges, traveling number, and so on.) In addition to this, also keep an up-to-date photograph of the cat with you at all times. In case your cat gets lost, it will be much easier for somebody to assist you in finding your pet.
Travel carriers/harnessesMake sure that your cat stays in a secure carrier if you’re traveling by road. For air travel, carriers are mandatory for cat safety. Keep in mind that the pet carrier needs to be smooth-edged and durable with a grill door, ventilation holes, secure latch, and opaque sides.
Miscellaneous suppliesOther important miscellaneous traveling supplies for cats include water bowls, food dishes, litter box, bedding, grooming supplies, tags, and collars.Try avoiding the summer heat and wait till fall if you wish to travel with your cat. After all, you want to ensure that your beloved kitty is comfortable and safe throughout the duration of the trip.
Dogs are essentially pack animals and their early survival was dependent on scavenger food hunts. But cats have emerged from smaller desert felines which hunted birds and mice. The natural prey for cats was available in abundance and was not very challenging to catch. Therefore, they did not develop the need to gulp down any food that was given to them. So it is not unnatural for your kitty to refuse a bowl of food that is laid down in front of it and walk away simply uninterested. Here is some help in understanding the foods that cats love and will never say no to.
Top foods for feeding your pet cat
Include these delicious delights in your cat’s daily feed and keep them healthy and happy!
TunaAs soon as you open that can of yummy tuna, you will know why it’s ranked high in the ‘favorite cat food’ list. There is no need to do anything fancy with the canned tuna. You simply have to offer some pieces to your cat to earn the brownie points from them. Alternatively, you could also prepare tuna cakes. But you have to be careful because several cats are intolerant towards mayo. Also remember to avoid spicy tuna as it might not go down well with your cat. Plain tuna is ideal for serving to your kitty.
HamFor those who like eating ham, be prepared to serve some bites to your cat too. It is not advisable to offer them the typical meat ham as it has a high amount of harmful nitrates and other additives, which might not be good for the cat’s health. If your cat savors ham, give it fresh ham instead.
Even though cats love milk, very few people know that these animals also like yogurt and ice cream! These are milk-based products and therefore offer the same kind of pleasure to the cat’s taste buds as dairy milk. In addition to this, the probiotics present in yogurt help in easing the digestion process in case the cat is lactose intolerant.
It is a good idea to serve plain yogurt to your cat, instead of picking artificially flavored varieties. Similarly, if your cat is an ice-cream lover, try giving it coconut milk-based varieties or organic ice-creams. These not only taste good but are also very healthy for your cat.
Other foods that have been ranked popular among cats include eggs, canned salmon, sardines, chicken, fish sticks etc. Some cats also love food prepared in coconut oil. It is important to remember that your cat’s daily feed should be nutritionally balanced in addition to being tasty.
The first interaction that occurs between the new kitten and the other resident cats is extremely important as it sets the tone for their relationship in the future. Cats are territorial creatures, and if your residential cats have not been around kittens before, they may not take well to one, depending on their disposition. Some cats, for instance, will be more than glad to slip into the role of a mother when they find the kitten, while some others, may react hostilely perceiving the kitten to be an intruder. Here is a step-by-step guide on how you should be introducing your new kitten to the household cats, with gradual introduction being the key.
Separation: Your new kitten needs to feel safe and at home before you make any face-to-face introductions with the other cats, else it can get stressed. Same goes with your residential cats, they may not take it well if a new kitten decides to just walk up to them, disregarding traditional cat manners when they meet strangers. You want to separate the new kitten from the other cats at home for the first few days. Make sure you assign a separate room for your new kitten, where it has its bedding, litterbox, food, and toys. Keep the door to the room closed, so it does not trot out of the room and run into the other cats while exploring the house.
Familiarization: While your new kitten and cats may not have met either at this point, they are sure to have taken note of each others’ scent. The more they get accustomed to each others’ scent, the better. You can even let the cats into the kitten’s room and vice versa when the other party is not around, so they grow familiar to each others’ scent.
Association: You want the new kitten and the residential cats to make a positive association with each other even before they meet face to face. One of the best ways to do it, is to give them food or treats at the same time, when they are in proximity of each other, without allowing any physical contact. Feeding them on either side of the door, so they can acknowledge each other’s presence through the gap or crack in the door, is a good idea. If your kitten and cats take to each other, you may notice some paw interaction at this point.
Supervision: This is where you let your kitten meet the residential cats one on one, and it should be done under strict supervision. Place the kitten in a carrier before you let the cat in. If you notice any signs of fear or hostility immediately separate them, and go back to the first step. You can try introducing them face to face again, in a day or two. Ideally, you should not let your kitten to freely mingle with the other cats until it is at least 16 weeks old. It may take anywhere between two and three weeks before the residential cats and new kitten grow comfortable with each other.
Don’t forget to give both your residential cats and kitten a lot of affection and love, as they may get insecure due to the sudden change.
Abbie, the 17 year old Chocolate Lab of Ken and Trisha Gowins, is a good dog. How good? You tell me.
After Trisha’s mother passed away in February 2010, her father was grieving and lonely. While Trisha wanted to be there for her dad, she had to leave for four months to finish her Tech School for the Air Force.
Not wanting to leave her father all alone, Trisha left him with Abbie, hoping that they would keep each other company. As it happens, the pair became fast friends. 14 years old at the time, both Abbie and Trisha’s father had more in common than they realized…
Nap time with grandpa
Abbie was adopted when she was 9 weeks old, and even at that young age, it was clear that she was especially empathetic. During her puppy training classes, Abbie would lay down so as to make herself smaller and less threatening to the smaller breed dogs.
Abbie gets along with everyone — people and pets alike. Because of her heightened amicability, she has earned herself the loving nickname of ‘Ms. Congeniality.’
But Abbie is much more than friendly face — she also has a bit of a wild streak! She has been known to play head games in order to get her way, pretending to be preoccupied when asked to do something she doesn’t enjoy — like getting her nails clipped.
She also has a penchant for people food as well, loving everything from spaghetti and meatballs to salad. In fact, the only thing she turns her nose up at is celery!
Abbie loves to go swimming, enjoys camping, and has even been known to rock out on a white water raft! However, now a remarkable 17 years of age, her radical activity days are in the past.
As also happens with advancing age, Abbie eventually started to show signs of sickness. Trisha first noticed something was wrong when Abbie started losing hair and gaining weight, even though nothing had changed with her diet. After a trip to the vet, she was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Now taking Soloxine to manage her low thyroid, Abbie has returned to a healthy weight and is keeping her hair where it belongs.
Beside the Soloxine, Abbie also takes Glyco Flex III, a joint supplement that helps her regain some of her mobility. As is often the case, when dogs get older, their joints start to hurt and make moving difficult. Supplements containing glucosamine and chondroitin (like Glyco Flex III or Dasuquin) are a great, over-the-counter way to help your dog move free of pain.
As long as Abbie gets her medications and supplements, she is a happy pooch. But for Trisha, the cost of these meds is a real factor — which is why she signed up for PetPlus. “PetPlus allows me to get [Abbie’s] Soloxine, along with her flea and tick preventative, heartworm preventative, and Glyco Flex III, at a fraction of the cost.”
Beyond the savings, PetPlus helps take the work out of getting your pets medications. “I know when my supplies are running low all I have to do is order it on [PetPlus.com] and it is shipped directly to me.”
PetPlus can save you money, make your life simpler, and help keep your pet healthy — it’s a win, win, WIN! “I don’t have to worry about paying full price, I get the convenience of ordering online, and it saves me time — it is a tremendous freedom!”
WHETHER YOUR PET IS FIT AS A FIDDLE OR DEALING WITH A SERIOUS CONDITION, PETPLUS IS A GREAT WAY TO MAKE SURE THEY ARE HEALTHY, HAPPY, AND PROTECTED WHILE SAVING A CONSIDERABLE AMOUNT OF MONEY ALONG THE WAY.
Silky and Mystic may live together, but personality wise, the could not be more different. Mystic is a healthy Border Collie/Australian Shepherd firecracker while Silky is a Leonberger/Poodle/Shepherd mix that likes to nap more than anything else and suffers from food and skin allergies in dogs. They get along, but only insofar as Mystic lets Silky be when she has finally had enough.
True to her breed(s), Mystic is full of energy and smart as a whip. She can open doors, knows to wait before crossing the street, and is especially aware of her surroundings in general. She just learns incredibly fast.
Silky, while still clever, has none of the energy that her sister does. “She doesn’t like to play ball. She doesn’t like to play with toys. She doesn’t like to do any dog things,” says her mommy, Julie, “Silky is 100% lay-on-the-bed, don’t-bother-me most of the day.”
Another stark difference between the two — Mystic is healthy as a horse, while Silky suffers from a slew of life-threatening allergies.
From the moment she was adopted, Silky was not well. At first her intestines were twisted and gangrenous, which required immediate treatment. It was then that her owners discovered that she suffered from skin allergies in dogs, reacting to a wide array of irritants; everything from grass and fleas to many different kinds of food.
So while Mystic is your standard “go-anywhere, do-anything” kind of dog, Silky needs to be well looked after and requires a lot of special care. Everything from monthly allergy shots to hand-crafted, allergen free food are essential to keep Silky healthy.
How They Are The Same
While Silky and Mystic have drastically different health requirements, they are both covered by PetPlus, saving their owners a lot in pet health care. Everything from discounts on Silky’s booster shots to their flea and tick medication are helping Julie cut down on her pet care costs.
Whether your pet is fit as a fiddle or dealing with a serious condition, PetPlus is a great way to make sure they are healthy, happy, and protected while saving a considerable amount of money along the way.
After his return home, Army Staff Sergeant James Harrington hoped to one day reconnect with his ex-partner. Two years later, Sgt. Harrington got his wish.
Standing at the entrance to Concourse B at Armstrong Intl. Airport, in New Orleans, Harrington waited with bated breath as Ryky, the 8-year-old Belgian Malinois, trotted through the terminal. And, as if their time apart had never even occurred, Ryky leapt right into Harrington’s arms. “She remembers my voice,” he exclaimed.
After serving together for four years in Afghanistan, it is no surprise that the old bomb sniffing dog would remember Harrington. In fact, before their deployment, Harrington and Ryky both trained together at the Lackland Air Force Base for 19 weeks, more than enough time to forge a lifelong bond.
During their time in Afghanistan, Ryky and Sgt. Harrington served as a bomb detection unit, leading the charge on missions to protect her unit against deadly roadside explosives.
In one especially harrowing encounter, Harrington’s convoy came under attack. Rather than remain in the safety of his armored vehicle, he and the bomb sniffing dog set out and cleared a path to the wounded, allowing medics to give them the first aid they so desperately needed. To commemorate their bravery in the face of danger, Ryky was awarded the K-9 Medal for Exceptional Service.
Part of Harrington’s initial reservation over whether Ryky would remember him is due to the fact that the dog remained in service two years after Harrington came back to the states. In that time, Harrington took up work as National Guard Military Police. But even when they were apart, Harrington made a point to keep tabs on his favorite girl.
After her second handler was injured and opted to leave the service, it was decided that Ryky’s years of service were finally at an end. The call was put in to her previous handlers, and Harrington jumped at the opportunity to take her home. Personally dealing with PTSD and having some difficulty returning back to civilian life, Harrington hoped that Ryky’s presence would act as a therapy dog, helping him cope with life outside the service.
Now officially reunited, Harrington’s exuberance can hardly be contained. “I got my partner back. It’s too good to be true,” said Harrington as they left the airport together. “Somebody pinch me.”
Nikki Attree, co-author of the dog-perspective memoir Nobody’s Poodle, is originally from the UK. Since moving to Tenerife of the Canary Islands, she’s been producing calendars and educational poster campaigns to help local animal rescue centers.
Nikki also runs Wooftastic Books, a web site that features dog-friendly authors and books in a wide selection of genres, from memoirs, to children’s books, to non-fiction and fiction – the unifying theme of all the books featured being DOGS in all their glory.
We interviewed Nikki to learn more about her and her mission.
1. Where did the inspiration to start Wooftastic Books come from?
The idea came about as we (myself and my husband) were thinking of ways of marketing our own book, Nobody’s Poodle, and we realized that perhaps if we pooled resources with other authors we might reach a wider audience. So we set up the website WooftasticBooks.com to promote authors and books that feature dogs in an ethical way.
Our aim is to get together a group of authors online to collaborate on promoting their books and to tap into the huge potential market of dog-lovers worldwide. It’s open to any author with a wooftastic dog book, whether written to inform, educate or entertain; factual or fiction; for children or adults.
Membership is free and all that we ask is that our authors agree to the principle of pooling resources to promote ethical dog books, and will help to spread the word via their own networks. As you might expect, once the site was up and running we had a lot of requests from authors wanting to join, but not all of them fully got the idea of reciprocal promotion, or the importance of social networking, so occasionally I have to remove a book if I see that an author isn’t pulling their weight, so to speak!
As the site starts to generate more interest and traffic we’re hoping for wooftastic media coverage, best seller rankings, block buster movie deals, dog biscuits for life sponsorship … The sky’s the limit. 🙂
2. Can you tell us more about the community of authors on Wooftastic Books?
It’s a very international community. Authors come from all over the world: UK, USA, South Africa, and we ourselves are based in the Canary Islands, Spain. Their books are the result of the authors’ experiences with dogs in many different ways: helping in refuges, being a search-and-rescue team member, running educational programs, and even rescuing dogs from war zones.
From canine celebrities such as Uggie — star of multiple-award-winning movie The Artist, Haatchi (hero of the hugely popular Haatchi and Little B), to real-life stories of rescuing dogs from Afghanistan’s killing fields, these books are all, in their own way, about our special relationship with man’s best friend.
3. How did you come up with Nobody’s Poodle and the heroic Gizmo?
Well Gizmo is a Labradoodle that we adopted from a local rescue center here in Tenerife, and Nobody’s Poodle is his story. He’s really more street Doodle than swanky Poodle, and he’s very much his own dog. He’s all about standing up for the underdog, and it gets him into a fair few scrapes on the mean streets of Costa del Scorchio.
I am involved with helping the refuges here and Gizmo became the poster pooch for (local dog rescue) Accion-del-Sol’s educational program. This involved visiting local schools, telling the children about the plight of stray mutts in Tenerife, and teaching them how to look after their pets properly. Before you could say “wag a tail” he’d been signed up by one of the local newspapers, Island Connections, to be their intrepid news hound – doggedly sniffing out the breaking news and giving the pooch perspective in his regular column “Life According to Gizmo (It’s a Dog’s Life)” and this gave us the idea for a book.
4. What advice would you give to pet lovers who want to break into books?
Don’t expect to earn a lot of money from your book. Do it for love, not money. Make writing a passion. There will be readers for your book, but to reach them, you should expect to spend many hours marketing it, so engage in that passionately as well.
Many authors now self-publish, as we have done with Nobody’s Poodle. This is a wonderful way to get your book out there, and it does give you total control of the book, the marketing, and in fact a higher portion of the royalties. Of course you don’t have the back-up of a publisher to help with editing, designing and producing the book or marketing it. Having said that, I have seen many published authors complain about their publisher’s lack of interest in promoting their books, so even if you do manage to find a publisher, I don’t think you can just sit back and wait for them to make you the next best seller. You still have to be very pro-active in bringing your book to your readers’ attention and selling it.
Anyhow most of the authors on wooftasticbooks are not concerned with sales or being a famous author; they just love writing. Saying that, one of the authors on wooftasticbooks is an international best-selling writer.Wendy Holden has written Uggie the Artist and Haatchi and Little B, and she obviously makes a very good living. However, most have other employment and what they do have all in common is a love of dogs, which shows through their writing.
5. Finally, what are you working on now?
Well besides my ongoing promotional work for the local animal refuges and Wooftastic Books, we are working on our next novel, Somebody’s Doodle. Gizmo appears in it, but not this time as the narrator. It’s more of a comedy crime thriller about a bungled dognapping set in North London (rather than Tenerife) and the human characters are as, if not more important, than the dogs. I felt it was important to move on from purely dog stories. After all, how many ways are there of describing the world from dog’s point of view?
Thank you Nikki, for all you do for dog-book lovers the world over! For the dog in your life, sign up for PetPlus. PetPlus is a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more. Learn more and register at PetPlus.com.
While working at a pet store back in 1997, Janet Huey — a long time Houston animal rescuer — had a thought: where do pet supplies go when a pet dies or outgrows them?
“This was way before eBay, Craigslist, etc.,” Janet says. “There was no niche anywhere.”
She decided to leave her job and start Pet Resale Stuff, a mobile microbiz serving the huge pet community in Houston, TX. Pet Resale Stuff does just what it says — resells discarded pet stuff. Janet’s inventory is made up of items that pet owners trade in, items found at thrift stores, and items that she collects through referrals from veterinary clinics.
“Recycling pet items is increasing in popularity,” Janet says. “Younger people are really liking the ‘green’ aspect.”
At any given time, Janet may be selling crates, beds, leashes, toys, grooming supplies, pet clothes, and more at deep discounts. She also sells non-pet items that become pet items with a bit of imagination.
“Sleeping bags make great, inexpensive beds for big and little dogs,” Janet says. “And pillow shams with a thick piece of foam make inexpensive beds, as they usually come in pairs.”
Because Janet cares about the safety of her two-legged and four-legged customers, she makes sure to clean and disinfect anything she plans to resell.
“For cat trees, for example, I replace the sisal and let the tree sit out in the sun before using lots of carpet cleaner,” Janet says.
And if an item doesn’t meet her standards for reselling, she’ll keep it for herself if she can use it for her own dogs, cats, or cockatiel.
Pet Resale Stuff is mobile and sells at the Westbury Animal Hospital in Houston on weekends. Janet also makes deliveries. Her client base is made up of employees at vet clinics, loyal shoppers who like the delivery option, and a spay/neuter clinic that buys up every crate Janet can find.
“I love everything about my job,” Janet says. “I get the most joy out of keeping a dog in a home when the humans were ready to give up on them. And I’m able to save Houstonians money while keeping stuff out of landfills.”
And if you want to save on pet care and you don’t live in Houston, sign up for PetPlus! PetPlus is a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more. Find out more at PetPlus.com.