Read About the Foods That Can Kill Your Cat

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Many cat parents feed their cat the same food that they themselves eat. Some cat parents also have the habit of feeding their cat scraps from their plates. Although this may seem like an act of love, you may be slowly killing your cat by poisoning them. Is human food toxic for cats? Can food that is considered healthy for you actually make your cat sick? Are there human health foods that must never be given to your cat?

Foods you should avoid feeding your cat

Because cats are much smaller than humans are, they are also more sensitive to various substances contained in foods. It also means that everyday foods that are healthy for you can be toxic and even lethal for your cat.

  • Chocolate: Yes, your favorite treat might actually make your cat very sick. Theobromine, a chemical found in chocolate, can cause cats to have seizures, muscle tremors, and cardiac problems. Chocolate also contains caffeine, which is very bad for cats.
  • Alcohol: Even a single tablespoon can cause serious health problems in your cat. It can affect your cat’s liver and even lead to brain damage and prove fatal. That is because a cat’s liver is extremely small and sensitive and reacts violently to alcohol even in small amounts.
  • Dairy products: Although not toxic, most cats are lactose-intolerant and cannot digest milk and its derivatives. Feeding your cat milk or other dairy products could lead to indigestion, bloating, and nausea.
  • Garlic and onions: Both garlic and onions contain chemicals that can cause adverse reactions in your cat. These chemicals cause red blood cells to be destroyed, leading to a kind of anemia called Heinz body anemia.
    Coffee, tea, and other caffeinated drinks: You cat can have extreme reactions to caffeine that may cause temporary or long-lasting damage to the body. Your cat may experience muscle tremors, heart palpitations, and rapid breathing after caffeine ingestion.

Some other foods that are considered toxic or unhealthy for your cat are seeds of all kinds (fresh and dried), avocados, grapes and raisins, raw meat and fish, and the sweetener xylitol.

Healthy alternatives for cat treats

Catnip in small amounts, cat grass, and a few other plants that many cats love
Commercial cat treats that contain tuna flakes, mixed seafood, or catnip and some kind of meat
Homemade treats that are simple and easy to prepare and healthy for your cat

If you are unsure about any particular foods that you wish to feed your cat, it is best to have a chat with a qualified vet and understand what is and isn’t good for your cat. That will ensure you do not accidentally make your cat sick and you always feed your cat the right foods.

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5 Delicious Homemade Treats for Your Dog!

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All dogs love a delicious treat every once in a while. So instead of running off to the store to buy a commercially prepared treat, why not try one of these easy, lip-smacking dog treat recipes to please your buddy!

  1. Dog Bone Treat
    Ingredients:
    • Whole wheat flour- 2 cups
    • Peanut Butter-1 cup
    • Baking powder-1 tablespoon
    • Skim milk-1 cup

    Combine the flour with the baking powder. Take another bowl to mix the milk and peanut butter. This needs to be added to the flour mix. Make a smooth dough by kneading the mix and roll into a sheet (one-fourth inch in thickness). Use cookie cutters to create bone shape cookies and make for 20 minutes at 375 degrees.

  2. Cottage Cheese Biscuits
    Ingredients:
    • Cottage cheese- 2/3rd cup
    • Egg yolk-1
    • Flaxseed-6 teaspoons
    • Oatmeal-2 cups
    • Milk-6 teaspoons

    Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Combine all the ingredients to create small balls. Put the balls on a baking sheet (parchment lined). Bake for about 30 minutes or till you see a golden brown color on the edges. Place on a rack and allow them to cool completely. The cottage cheese biscuit treat is ready!

  3. Frozen Popsicles
    Ingredients:
    • Peanut butter (no added sugar or salt)-1/4th cup
    • Ripe banana-1
    • Unsweetened almond milk-1 or 2 teaspoons
    • Plain yogurt-1/2 cup (replace with Greek yogurt if preferred)

    Mix all the ingredients to a smooth consistency using a blender. Pour this mix into small bowls or an ice cube tray/s. Allow to set in the freezer till absolutely solid. Take out from the freezer five to ten minutes prior to serving.

  4. Bacon-flavored cookies
    Ingredients:
    • Eggs-2
    • Melted bacon fat-10 tablespoons
    • Whole wheat flour-5 cups
    • Milk-1 cup
    • Water-1/2 cup
    • Salt-1 teaspoon

    Set the oven to preheat at 175 degrees C (250 degrees F). Spray the cookie sheet with some butter. Take a large bowl to beat the eggs. Slowly stir in water, milk, bacon fat and salt. Blend till the mixture forms a smooth consistency. Now stir in the flour. This will help stiffen the dough. After pinching off the dough pieces, roll into small 2-inch balls and place them on the baking sheet. Put the tray into the oven and bake for approximately 35-40 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool on a rack. Keep in an airtight container in your refrigerator.

  5. Apple Caramel Cheesecake Smoothie
    Ingredients:
    • Chard-1.5 ounces
    • Banana-1
    • Chopped red apple-1
    • Soaked almonds/cashews (optional)-1/4 cup
    • Ice-1 cup
    • Water-1 cup

    Put all the ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth!

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How To Take Care Of Your Pet In An Eco-Friendly Way?

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Using eco-friendly products and doing activities that are good for the environment has become a trend. As more and more people become conscious everyday about mother nature, newer ways to protect the environment get developed. Even pet owners can do their own share of work by taking care of their pet.

Pet owners have been wary that throwing animal feces in the open can have negative consequences. Also, they have started using biodegradable materials as part of pet care. If you also want to make a difference to the environment, then here are some ways to do it.

Sustainable products
Use sustainable products like food and grooming for your pet so that they don’t harm the environment. Purchase food and other products that are sold in recycled materials. Also, use products which can be re-cycled later on. The same goes for toys as well. Avoid toys made of plastic or other products which cannot be easily re-cycled.

Make compost

Dog and cat poop contain different microorganisms which can contaminate drinking water or other materials if it comes in contact with them. Either turn them into compost or throw them in biodegradable bags. Never leave them out in the open or throw them in the trash can. Composting feces ensures that the resulting mix can be used later as a fertilizer. Nowadays, it has become one of the best ways to take care of nature.

Adopt from shelter

The next time you want a pet, try adopting one from a shelter home. Every year, thousands of stray cats and dogs are being euthanized due to lack of space. Throwing away dead animals affects the environment. Also, buying from a shelter home will be a cheaper option and the animal will also get a nice home to stay.

Reduce paper use

Often, pet owners use disposable plates or tissue papers frequently as part of the pet care. Disposing them becomes a problem and causes environmental pollution. There are biodegradable materials available which can easily replace paper and other materials. Also, instead of using and throwing, buy things which can be re-used many number of times. It will be cheaper and better.

Conclusion

An increasing number of people have become conscious about their environment. The list includes many pet owners as well. To ensure that the environment is protected from harm, pet owners have started adopting animals from the shelter. They are now using sustainable products which can later be recycled. Also, the food and toys they are purchasing are environmentally friendly. As a pet owner, it is your duty to follow the same trend as other owners to ensure that the environment remains safe from harm.

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Can Pet-Sitting Get You A Free Vacation?

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Are you someone who loves travel and animals a lot? Well, if you are, there is some excellent news for you. Thanks to a new service called TrustedHouseSitters, you might just be able to enjoy both, travelling and spending time with the cutest animals.

How?

Well, it’s simpler than you’d expect. What TusteedHouseSitters does is that it pairs pet owners with travellers who are willing to take care of pets in exchange for a free stay. Yup. You heard that right. You can stay for free as long as you’re willing to take care of the pets. Pet-sitting opportunities are plenty and the best part is that they are spread all over the globe. The Swiss Alps, Barbados, New York… you name it!

Currently, the service is available in over a 100 countries, with 60,000 members. As a traveler, you can pick the pet-sitting job you like. This job is made quite easy because the homeowners’ respective profiles provide all the information you need. This includes whether they have a dog, cat, or an exotic pet. In fact, there are profiles in certain locations such as rural France and the UK that even list chickens and horses.

There are plenty of benefits to such a service. As a traveler, you get to find accommodation for free and even get paid for your services, which can be used to fund your travel plans. Pet owners, on the other hand, can relax in the knowledge that their pets are in the safe hands of trusted individual and more importantly, someone who actually cares about animals. In fact, the service has become so popular that some professional pet-sitters have taken this up as a full-time job. They basically move from location to location simply taking care of pets and enjoying their new destination.

In fact, if you are fortunate enough, you could end up taking care of pets for the rich and influential while staying in their million dollar mansions. There are quite a few such properties listed on the service. For instance, there are castles and country houses in the UK, villas in Barbados and Spain, chateaus in France, and farmhouses in Tuscany.

Signing Up

The sign-up process is simple. However, there is a small subscription fee to be paid by both, the travelers and the pet owners. There are no additional charges after that. The pet-sitters/travelers will need to go through a criminal background check and ID verification process. This is, naturally, for the satisfaction of the pet owners. After all, they want to make sure that their little one is in good hands. At the end of the day, it’s a unique situation that benefits everybody.

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How Do You Treat Rabies In Your Cat?

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Introduction

Rabies is one of the oldest known diseases infecting both humans and animals. Although the diseases are mostly identified with dogs, it does not leave cats from its grip. Out of all viral infections that afflict cats, rabies is perhaps the deadliest as it affects the central nervous system of cats. The virus infects, replicates and survives within the animal’s body until it finally reaches the brain, when symptoms start to show. The virus is transmitted through salivary contact, entering through open wounds, which means cats can get it by means of bite from another infected cat.

What are the symptoms of rabies in cats?

To treat rabies in cats, you should understand the typical symptoms of the disease. Symptoms of rabies in cats appear in stages recognized by different behaviors. The worse part is the contagiousness of the disease; it can spread easily from animal to animal or animal to humans. The following symptoms will help you identify the disease and take actions immediately:

  1. Stage One: Prodromal phase This phase lasts for one to two days, and includes the following symptoms:

    • Erratic behavior
    • Fever
    • Mood changes
    • Excessive salivating
    • Pupil dilation
    • Fly biting
    • Solitary behavior
    • Appetite loss
    • Itching in wound

  2. Stage two: Furious Phase Beginning on the second or third day, the second stage makes the cat more erratic than before. It may start eating inedible objects like sticks or stones. Other symptoms include the following:

    • Loitering around
    • Change in the sound of the cat’s voice
    • Violent or aggressive behavior
    • Irritability
    • Disorientation and seizures
    • Loss of muscle coordination

  3. Stage 3: Paralytic Stage Also called the dumb face, this stage makes the cat unresponsive and depressed. Other symptoms include the following:

    • Protruding tongue and open mouth
    • Weakness
    • Foaming
    • Paralysis
    • Difficulty in breathing
    • Coma or death

Diagnosis of Rabies in Cats
If your cat has been bitten by an other cat that is suspected to carry the virus, but your cat does not show the typical symptoms of rabies, then it is quarantined for a period of 10 days and given anti-rabies injections. However, if your cat starts showing symptoms, then veterinarian assistance is needed for a faster treatment. The best way to tell if your cat is infected with the virus is by examining its brain. In severe cases, the cat is euthanized to prevent the disease from spreading to humans or other animals.

Vaccination for rabies
Vaccination of cats with rabies vaccines can prevent it from countering the disease. The vaccine is usually given when your cat is nearing three months of age. However, a regular vaccination schedule hereafter is needed to keep the disease at bay.

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All You Need to Know About Managing Diabetes in Your Cat

How is diabetes characterized in cats?

Diabetes is a silent killer that is affecting humans and animals, especially cats alike. The disease affects nearly 0.5% to 2% of the feline population. The condition in cats is characterized the inability of the cat’s pancreas to produce insulin for breaking down glucose in the blood to provide energy. In the absence of sufficient insulin, the body breaks down fats, carbohydrates and proteins to compensate for the lack of energy in the form of glucose. As a result, it loses weight and develops high sugar levels in the blood.

What are the symptoms of diabetes mellitus in cats?

Diabetes mellitus in cats is classified into two types: non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus and insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Cat owners identify the typical signs of diabetes in the following forms:

  • Insatiable appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Increased urination
  • Increased consumption of water
  • Walking flat on the hind legs
  • Lack of interest in or ability to jump
  • Lethargy and vomiting

How to diagnose diabetes in cats?

Diabetes mellitus in cats is diagnosed on the basis of the initial symptoms, results of physical examination and laboratory tests, and the presence of abnormal sugar levels in the bloodstream and urine. The presence of ketones, which are waste products of fatty acids in the bloodstream and urine of cats, also show signs of diabetes in cats. Ketoacidosis, a condition characterized by the presence of ketones require immediate medical attention.

How to treat diabetes in cats?

Different cats respond differently to diabetes treatment. Some cats can be administered oral medications; others need insulin injections. Irrespective of this difference in treatment reactions, diabetic cats react best to consistent medications and proper diet. Some options for treating diabetic cats are as follows:

  • Insulin

    Diabetic cats need insulin injections to be administered twice daily at home. The best part of insulin injections is they are painless, and the dose can be altered based on the specific needs of different cats. A consultation with a veterinarian helps in determining the correct dose to be administered.

  • Oral medications

    Oral hypoglycemic medications help in regulating the sugar level in the blood. Although side effects of these medications are uncommon, a veterinarian’s expert advice is needed to keep them at bay.

  • Diet

    A high-fiber, high-complex carbohydrate diet works best in some diabetic cats, but some respond even to high-fiber and low-carbohydrate diets. A balanced diet prevents obesity by keeping the cat’s weight in check.

How to prevent diabetes in cats?

The following are a few tips to prevent the onset of diabetes in cats:

  • Maintaining an ideal body conditions
  •  Feeding a balanced diet
  • Providing playtime to cats
  • Regular medical examinations

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Do Puppy Dog Eyes Cause an Oxytocin Spike in the Dog and the Owner?

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Unlike skunks, dogs are a paws-on species, both with us and one another. One doesn’t need to look further than YouTube for examples of dogs saying “Pet me please. Yeah, there you have it, just a little bit more”.

However, this is not a one-side relationship. Studies have indicated that a positive interaction between dogs and people can benefit both species. Researchers found an increase in beta-endorphin, dopamine and oxytocin – neurochemicals that are associated with bonding and positive feelings – in both people and dogs after enjoyable interactions like play, petting and talking. Spending time with a known dog activates the same neurophysiological markers as when two attached people spend time with each other. Now, the question is “Do certain interactions have more impact than others?”

Studies conducted to unravel the underlying neurological mechanism

Dogs pay close attention to human faces, and in certain cases, even facial expressions. Although your dog turning his face to gaze at you might seem benign and routine on the surface, it plays an important role in your mutual relationship. A new study in Japan found that dogs and owners that share a long gaze had higher oxytocin levels in their urine compared to dogs that gazed for a shorter period of time. Oxytocin, also known as the cuddle hormone, plays a key role in social bonding as well as prenatal and post-natal hormonal changes in women. So, according to the study, the gaze between a human and a dog has the same properties as that between a mother and her child.

The researchers also performed a second experiment to confirm the causal link between the act of gazing and the release of oxytocin. 30 dogs were administered an intranasal spray of either saline or oxytocin. They observed that dogs that were given oxytocin gazed longer at their owners compared to the dogs that were given saline. Moreover, this also stimulated more oxytocin secretion in the owners. These effects were not seen between the dogs and unfamiliar people.

Does co-evolution has a role to play?

This research feeds into the ongoing debate about whether biological synchronization between humans and dogs indicates a co-evolution of dog-human bonds. The researchers also investigated whether an oxytocin spike was also observable when wolf pets interacted with a known human. They noticed that the wolves did not hold their gaze for more than a few seconds. Testing co-evolution can be quite tricky. While it is an exciting idea to include wolves in the study, the differences do not necessarily prove co-evolution. Moreover, it is also a question of numbers. While 60 dogs contributed to the first study, there were just five wolves that were tested.

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Can Your Dog Survive on a Starch-Rich Diet?

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It is believed that the modern domesticated dogs evolved from wolves about 11,000 years ago. The evolution involved better adaptation of starch digestion. Genetic changes came into play for this to happen. Dogs nowadays can digest a wider variety of foods. Carbohydrates, in reasonable amounts, are good for dogs. However, in excess, can cause obesity and high blood sugar levels. It can also lead to a number of digestive problems as well. Your dog should be given a wholesome meal consisting of minerals, vitamins, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.

The science behind a dog’s ability to digest starch

The enzyme amylase helps to break down carbohydrates. It is produced in the saliva. The carbohydrates are broken down before they reach the stomach. Amylase is abundant in omnivores and herbivores, however, not in carnivores. (Starch is plant-based). Dogs are considered carnivores, this is affirmed by biology. This basically means that dogs cannot produce the enzyme amylase in their saliva. However, thanks to evolution, it is produced in their digestive system and added to the small intestine and in the pancreas. This helps dogs to digest starch.

All about carbs

Carbs can provide energy to your dog. (The carbs are broken down into glucose molecules in the small intestine. For the majority of the body cells, glucose is the primary energy source. Glucose is also required for the normal functioning of the nervous system and the brain. The stored glucose in the body is released in the form of glycogen). If your dog is very active, you can involve a moderate amount of carb in his/her diet. However, if your dog is not very active, then it is better not to include starch in his/her diet. The stored glucose can turn into fatty deposits, and this can make your dog obese.

Carbs can provide texture and structure to the dry kibble, which makes it easy to eat, as well as make it shelf stable. Starchy carbohydrates can keep your dog from being hungry for a long time. It also helps to abrade the teeth surface and thus prevent tartar build-up. The beneficial fiber present in the carbs can keep your dog full. It can help with weight loss and prevent obesity. Even though dogs do not require carbohydrates, including them in your dog’s diet in moderation can be helpful. According to Dr. Susan G. Wynn, grains contain certain fibers that help with the growth of probiotic bacteria in the gut, which is good for your dog. They also contain various essential minerals and vitamins.

Common carbohydrate sources such as barley, oats, potato, whole wheat/corn, and so on will usually be listed on the dog food bag.

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Can Your Dog Tell If Your Praise is Sincere?

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Your dog understands you more than you understand him. A recent study has shown that dogs know when they are being praised. Researchers were able to prove that dogs understand not only the tone of your voice, but can also distinguish quite well between neutral and positive words. This is the first study to provide conclusive evidence of language processing in a dog’s head.

In the study, the researchers scanned he brains of thirteen family dogs belonging to four different breeds while they listened to a series of neutral or praising words. They observed that different areas of their brains lit up depending on the meaning and the tone of the word.

To accomplish this, the researchers had trained all the dogs to lie completely still in an fMRI scanner for the brain scans. They did not restrain the dogs in any way and gave them the choice of leaving the scanner as and when they please.

Once the dogs were in the MRI machine, they were played a recording of Hungarian words spoken in both a positive and a neutral tone. They included positive phrase like “ well done”, “clever” and “that’s it”, as well as neutral sounding phrases like “yet”, “such” and “as if”.

Who’s a good boy?

The left hemisphere of their brains responded very strongly to the meaning of all the words, just like our brains do. Irrespective of the intonation, praising words were linked to a greater response in the left hemisphere. On the other hands, neutral words did not have any such variance.

Meanwhile, parts of their right hemispheres picked up on the emotional content conveyed by the word, regardless of what it actually meant. It should come as no surprise that words that were delivered with a positive tone were associated with a very strong coordination between auditory regions and reward processing centers.

Praising words delivered in an encouraging tone garnered the strongest responses. Not only does the dog brain seem to process the intonation and meaning of the word, it was also able to combine both of them for reward processing.

What’s the catch?

Although the difference between the involvement of the right and the left hemisphere is convincing, the results pertaining to the reward centers cannot be established as definitive. It is a very small area of the brain and overlaps with many others. So, that finding cannot be categorically stated as true with all conviction just because it rings true. Before the results are normalized, the study will have to be performed on a much larger sample set. The study also failed to check if individual dogs were prone to hemispheric biases. Studying the pattern of brain activation in wolves might shed more light on this.

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How to Help Your Dog Cope With Blindness

Dogs respond differently to blindness, depending on the condition and their nature. Dogs who lose their vision all of a sudden or at a latter part of their life, generally have difficulties with it. Dogs that are pack leaders also find it difficult to get accustomed to visual impairment.

Dogs that turn blind gradually, or who are younger, may be able to adapt to the situation much more easily. Let us take a look at how you can help your dog cope with the condition.

Is your pet depressed?

It’s natural for pet owners and pets to mope after the onset of blindness. In fact, some dogs slip into depression right after the episode. Understand that your dog needs to go through this phase of brooding before he starts accepting and adapting to his new life. While you’re on it, do not mope in front of your pet, regardless of how sad you feel about the situation.

Dogs are highly perceptive of your emotions, and noticing that you are sad will only make it worse for them. Stay positive, and talk to them as much as you can, so they know you are around and there for them.

If your dog has a reduced appetite and activity, and spends most of his time sleeping, then it’s likely that he suffers from depression. While you want to give your dog his space and time to get over it, you do not want him to withdraw and stay cooped up at home. Make sure your pet is on his usual routine regardless of his emotional state of being. Dogs like structure and routine in their lives. Maintaining a routine can help bring in some stability into your dog’s life, and make him happy.

Drawing the line on dependency

Some dogs grow dependent on their pet owner when blindness sets in. It is important to set the boundaries on dependency and helping your pet from the very beginning. Even the thought of climbing up the stairs or going into a different room can seem impossible without your help. Do not encourage dependency behaviors in your blind pet. You may be tempted to pick up your dog and help him get around, but don’t play the rescuer for your pet.

Encourage your blind dog to get around by himself, and you will notice how he slowly learns his way around the house, by using his other senses. Consistently work with your dog so he can get back to his confident self. While he may not be able to walk, run and play the same way again, staying connected with you and learning to do things by himself, will help him get his life back on track.

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