Adoptive Homes for Hospice Patients' Pets--Can You Help?

You may already know that the goal of the Pet Peace of Mind program is keeping hospice patients and their pets together. But what happens when the patient doesn't have an adoptive home for their pet when they are admitted to hospice? The Pet Peace of Mind program encourages hospices to network with local pet adoption agencies and to develop their own networks of volunteers, staff and community members interested in providing adoptive homes for patients' pets.  This month's story comes from Hospice of the Ozarks in Arkansas. Kathy Weaver, Pet Peace of Mind Coordinator and Volunteer Coordinator tells the story:

"When we admitted this wonderful 75 year old lady, Mrs. C., into hospice care, the first thing she wanted to know was if she would be able to stay with her dog. Her ten year old Pomeranian, Rusty, is the light of her life. This little dog is the reason Mrs. C. gets out of bed in the morning. The main worry in her life, despite being terminally ill, was what would happen to Rusty when she was gone. Mrs. C. is the first patient enrolled our our Pet Peace of Mind program and she is thrilled with what it has done for her and Rusty. We found an adoptive home for Rusty and Mrs. C. has been able to visit and see exactly where her beloved dog will live. She tells everyone that the Pet Peace of Mind program has lifted her worries and given her peace of mind about Rusty. She says that she feels that she will be able to 'let go' without hesitation when her time to leave comes."

Can you imagine any greater gift you can give to a hospice patient than a home for their beloved pet? These pets may be older animals, or pets that have only known one home, so they need owners that can allow them time to adjust, to grieve, to get settled. Do you have what it takes to give a grieving pet a new forever home? Please consider adopting a hospice patient's pet!

Unique Pet Names and What They Mean

By Linda Cole

Naming a pet takes time. You want to see what their personality is like so you can pick just the right name, but it's not always easy. You want a name that says something about your pet. A name that's unique yet easy for your pet to learn. When naming a pet, one or two syllables work the best. With the myriad of names available, it's impossible to list them all, so here's a brief list of unique pet names and what they mean.

Unique pet names: A through H

Ani - pronounced ah-nee, this is a female name with origins in Hawaii. It means wave, blow softly or beckon.
Audie - an English name meaning noble strength. It’s a female name; however, Audie Murphy was a famous male soldier who became the most decorated American of WW II and a celebrated movie star after the war.
Beamer - comes from the English and is a male name meaning trumpeter.
Burel - a male name from the French that means reddish brown haired.
Codi - English female name meaning cushion or helpful.
Cormic - Irish male name meaning charioteer.
Daijon – this American name for males means God's gift of hope.
Devan - female name from the French meaning divine.
Eth - Irish male name meaning fire.
Finn - male name from the English that means blond.
Fresco - Spanish male name meaning fresh.
Garda - comes from an unknown origin and is a female name meaning protected.
Garin - means guards or guardian and is a male name from the French.
Hudson – English male name meaning son of the hooded man.
Huxley - male English name which means, from Hugh's meadow.

Unique pet names: I through P

Ida - female Irish name that means thirsty. It's also German and means hardworking.
Ivo – this male name means archer's bow, and comes from the English.
Jalen - an American female name meaning bird of light.
Jayce - female Cherokee name that means strong.
Kaira - female name meaning peaceful, it’s Scandinavian in origin.
Kianni - Irish female name meaning ancient.
Lexy - female Greek name that means defender of mankind.
Lowe - means little wolf, and is a male name from the French.
Murry - male name from the Irish that means lord of the sea.
Malvin - English male name meaning council friend.
Norton - means from the north farm and is a male Anglo-Saxon name.
Nevada - female Spanish name meaning snowy.
Orin - male Greek name meaning son of fire.
Oswin - English male name that means God's friend.
Pax - female name meaning peaceful, it comes from the English.
Phelan - an Irish name for males that means joyful. It's also a Celtic name that means wolf.

Unique pet names: Q through Z

Quarrie - male Scottish name meaning proud.
Quin – of Irish origin, this male name means intelligent and wise.
Riley - Irish female name that means island meadow.
Rooney - means hero and is a male name from the Irish.
Sage - English male name meaning wise one.
Seth - male Hebrew name meaning anointed.
Tate - English name meaning brings joy, and female name from the Irish meaning measure of land.
Teagan - female name from the English that means good-looking.
Valdeze - means fierce one and is a male American name.
Verina - is a German female name meaning protector.
Wyatt - French male name meaning guide.
Yancy - a male Native American name that means Englishman.
Yedda - female name from the English meaning beautiful voice.
Zoey - means life, and is a Greek female name.
Zina - a variation on Xenia, this female name comes from the English meaning welcoming or hospitable.

I like to give my pet's personality time to develop before I settle on a name. Sometimes a name comes to you in the middle of the night or during a phone call. Names can also come from ordinary things like food and drink, pop culture and even garden plants. It doesn't matter where the name comes from; if you're happy with it and won't be embarrassed if you have to wander the neighborhood calling the name out loud, it's the perfect name for your pet.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

How to Find Pet Friendly Rentals

By Julia Williams

It can be a challenge to find pet-friendly rentals in any city. Many landlords have a firm “no pets” policy, while others only accept some animals. They may allow cats but not dogs or vice versa, or they may only allow small dogs. Sometimes, a landlord’s reluctance to accept pets is a result of a bad experience. Unfortunately, those who aren’t responsible pet owners muddy the water for those who are.

That being said, animal lovers can find a pet-friendly rental. It might require a little more effort, but it’s not an impossible feat. Be sure to give yourself enough time – you need to start looking for a pet-friendly rental at least 6-8 weeks before your current lease expires.

How to Sell Yourself

Don’t waste your time trying to convince anti-pet landlords to rent to you, because they typically won’t, no matter how stellar a tenant you might be. For landlords who are unsure about allowing pets or for rentals listed as “pets negotiable,” there are a few things you can do to sway them in your favor.

Smart landlords choose people who can prove they’re good tenants, e.g., they pay their rent on time and take good care of the property. Pet owners need to go the extra mile and prove that their dog or cat is a great tenant too. One of the best ways to do this is with a “pet resume” of sorts. This might include reference letters from current or past landlords stating their positive experience with you and your pet. It could include vet records confirming that your pet is spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and in good health. 

Demonstrate that you’re a responsible pet owner by signing a statement that your pet is well trained and will be picked up after. Another good thing to include in your pet’s dossier is a document showing that your dog has completed an obedience training class or is currently enrolled in one. These are just some examples of what to provide prospective landlords; include anything else you can think of that proves you and your pet can be trusted. When you go to check out a pet-friendly rental, you might want to bring along your dog, provided he’s well trained and will make a good first impression.

What to Know Before You Sign a Lease

Once you find what appears to be the perfect pet-friendly rental, there are things you need to do before signing a lease and preparing to move in. First and foremost, read the lease carefully, paying particular attention to sections that pertain to pets. Make sure your pet satisfies the requirements set forth in the lease, such as size restrictions and the number of pets allowed. If the lease specifies “small breeds only” but you have a Labrador, or it specifies one cat and you have two, you might be able to get an allowance. In this case, make sure this is written into the lease and initialed by you and the landlord or rental agency. You’ll also want to be sure that policies about nuisance behavior such as barking or digging won’t be a problem for you.

Next, be prepared to pay a security deposit with your first month’s rent; the maximum security deposit allowed by law varies by state. Some landlords may also require a cleaning fee, which is usually non-refundable. This one-time fee goes toward the extra cleaning that may need to be done after you and your pet vacate the rental. 

Before you move in, be sure to do a walk-through with the landlord to establish the condition of the premises. If you see things like stains on the carpet or chew marks on the doors, write them down. Photographs are also quite helpful, especially if you need to prove your case in court.

Resources for Finding a Pet Friendly Rental

Many animal shelters have programs designed to help pet owners who are looking to rent. Prospective renters are shown how to write a resume that presents their pet in the best light, and are provided with a list of pet-friendly apartments and landlords in the area.

The internet is also an extremely useful resource. There are literally thousands of websites that can help you find pet friendly rentals – permanent housing as well as vacation rentals. Some of the sites have national listings while others are local. A good place to start is, which not only has a long list of sites for pet friendly rentals, but helpful descriptions of each.

Renting with pets can present certain difficulties, but the joy of having a furry best friend makes it all worthwhile. Pet friendly rentals are out there – you just might need to search a little longer for the perfect place to call home!

Read more articles by Julia Williams

Kitties Gotta Play

Today, Guest Blogger Kate Fenner and her kitty Cinnamon take on Big Orange Fish and Lazy Lady Bug with this pet toy review. Imperial Cat generously provided the toys from their Cat 'N Around collection.

Kate: A few days ago I received a mysterious package in the mail. I had a suspicion it contained the much-anticipated Imperial Cat toys even before I opened the package, because I heard the contents jingling. So did Cinnamon! Just after I opened it, she moseyed into the living room to check things out.

Inside were two adorable toys, one shaped like a fish, and the other like a ladybug. Each has a little bell inside, which makes a light jingling noise when tossed around. Both are filled with feline friendly organic catnip.

When I first opened the envelope, the scent of catnip was extremely strong. However, once being removed from the envelope and tossed around the house by Cinnamon, it didn't bother me anymore. And as you will later see, the scent was not a negative issue for Miss Cinnamon.

When she was a young kitten, Cinnamon didn't care too much for catnip. But recently, we've discovered that she now really enjoys it, both on its own and in toys. So when I placed the toys on the ground, and she started investigating them, I could tell she knew the catnip was there, and she was thrilled!

She had a great time batting both the toys around, rubbing up against them with her head and body, and most amusingly, grabbing one of the toys in her two front paws and then scratching at the toy with her back paws, all while rolling onto her back.

Cinnamon definitely enjoys both of these toys. I think the orange fish tends to get a little more use, simply because it is a little larger of a toy, which makes it easier for her to grasp. These Imperial Cat "Cat 'n Around" toys have both certainly become welcome additions to her toy box.

Can You Register Mixed Breed Dogs?

By Linda Cole

For decades, only purebred dogs could be registered. Now, kennel clubs around the country are opening up their doors to mutts, giving every dog his chance to shine and show off. A mixed breed dog may not have papers, but he can still run, jump, sit and run a trail with the best of them. Is there an advantage to registering a dog with mixed lineage, and what are the benefits to the dog and its owner?

Every dog lover who shares their home with a mixed breed can picture their furry friend standing in the winner's circle at a dog competition. However, the purebred dogs strutting their stuff are well trained dogs, and their trainers spent hours working with them. You can also have a well trained dog, and that's one of the benefits to registering your mixed breed dog. In order to join in on the fun, your dog has to mind his manners and it's up to you to make sure he's properly trained. All of the organizations promote responsible dog ownership to help teach owners how unique and special their mutt is.

The AKC Canine Partners Program was launched in October of 2009, allowing owners of mixed breed dogs to register them and participate in various activities throughout the country. All dogs have to be spayed or neutered before they can be registered. Vaccinations need to be up to date, and dogs need to be somewhat trained. Dogs and their owners can participate in rally trials, agility and obedience competition. Dogs can also show off their training by earning a Canine Good Citizen title. With that title under their collar, they're ready to move on to Rally Obedience, where they'll compete with other dogs and show off their agility and obedience. Rally-O, as it's also called, is an exciting event that has traditional obedience and dog agility. Signs along a course instruct the dog owner what to do and he/she then gives the command to the dog. They must do this with a clock running and judges watching how smoothly the course is run. To register your mixed breed dog with AKC's Canine Partners Program, visit their website for instructions.

Mixed Breed Dog Clubs of America is a national registry for mutts, with local clubs throughout the country. They are dedicated to providing owners and their mixed breed dogs opportunities in venues around the country. The dogs can compete and earn titles in tracking, versatility, lure coursing for sighthounds, obedience, rally, conformation events and retriever instinct. Registering with the MBDCA does require your dog to be spayed or neutered and you also have to sign a Code of Ethics promising to be a responsible pet owner and a good sport. For more information on MBDCA, click here.

United Kennel Club is the second oldest dog registry and the largest all breed performance dog registry in the world. Mutts can be registered in their Limited Privilege program which is open to any dog that's been spayed and neutered. They accept purebreds who can't qualify as show dogs because they don’t meet UKC standards, and purebreds whose pedigree can't be verified. The Limited Privilege program includes family obedience, obedience trials, dog sports, weight pulls, agility trials and a junior program to encourage kids to learn more about how to be a responsible pet owner and how to handle dogs by participating in events. For information on registering your mixed breed with the UKC, visit their website.

If you're interested in registering your mixed breed dog, but don’t know if you and your dog are up to the challenge of competing, find a local club near you and go to some of the events. You'll have a chance to meet other dog lovers who can help you get started. Registering and competing in sponsored events isn't just for purebreds. Mixed breed dogs can show just how versatile, smart, well behaved and athletic they can be. The programs are meant to help dog lovers learn responsible pet ownership by competing in fun activities with their mixed breed dogs while earning recognition and bragging rights. A dog could care less whether his lineage is mixed or pure. Being with the person he looks up to and doing things he loves are all that matters to him. Besides, competing in events is a great way to keep you and your dog in good mental and physical shape.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

How to Stop Your Dog’s Excessive Barking

By Suzanne Alicie

You love your dog, and you love knowing when there is danger or something lurking on your property; what you don’t love is when your dog barks excessively or for unknown reasons. Excessive barking is something that can be trained away. The secret is to make your dog understand that there is a time when they need to bark, and a time when they should be quiet. Keep in mind that your dog cannot read your mind, so it is your job as a responsible pet owner to teach him how you expect him to behave.

The sooner you get started on curtailing this excessive barking problem, the easier it will be to train your dog to stop the barking habit. The best way to begin is to dedicate yourself to consistently teaching your dog two basic commands: “speak” and “quiet.” It may be quite frustrating for you to break your dog’s excessive barking habit, but by remaining consistent and not allowing the dog to bark continuously for no reason you are slowly teaching him that barking is a method of communication and shouldn’t be used unless there is something important to “say.” For more on consistent dog training, be sure to read Linda Cole’s article, “Dog Training with Consistency and Patience.”

Some dog breeds bark more than others, some hardly bark at all, and each and every dog has different barks that convey just as strongly as a human tone of voice. By listening when your dog begins barking, you will learn the different barks and what they mean. This will help you understand some of the triggers for your dog’s excessive barking, and allow you to determine which barking behaviors need to be trained away.

Dogs commonly bark for the following reasons:

Danger/stranger - When someone comes into your yard or home that the dog does not know, and sometimes even if the dog does know the person, they will bark to alert you. This is a regular occurrence around my house. We have two inside dogs. One will bark as soon as she smells or hears someone on the porch; the other will wait until she hears a knock on the door. This usually stops as soon as someone opens the door and allows them to see who is there.

Anxiety - Some dogs have attachment issues to their owners and will be extremely vocal if they suspect their human is getting ready to leave. This is often in the form of a high pitched barking or whining.

Excitement - When I leave my house and come back, my dogs hear the car pull into the driveway and dance and bark at the sliding glass door until I come in. They are simply excited to see me and are letting me know. Yes, at times it is annoying, and can be a real challenge when I come in the door needing to race for the bathroom but they won’t stop barking until I speak to them and pet them.

Boredom - Have you ever seen a dog that just seems to bark for no reason at all, just a continuous and nerve grating bark droning on and on? This is a dog that is bored. It’s basically the dog barking to hear his own voice. Some activity and interaction will usually cause this barking to stop.

Response - This is one that drives me crazy! When I take my dogs for a walk there is a large pen in my neighbor’s yard with two beautiful large black labs. Those dogs bark at us, and my dogs bark right back. I am sure they are just greeting each other and being sociable, but it is so annoying and I know the other neighbors don’t appreciate it either. If you have an outside dog, the excessive barking you hear may actually be your dog responding to other dogs around your neighborhood.

Understanding your dog’s barks and what is causing the barking is the key to being able to train the excessive barking away. All the consistent “quiet” and “speak” command work won’t matter if you don’t address why your dog is barking. Some simple things you can do along with the training include:

• Exercise your dog regularly so they don’t feel the need to bark off excess energy.
• Avoid leaving your dog alone for hours on end.
• Don’t give attention to your dog when he is barking just for attention or out of anxiety. That would be giving in to the demands of the barking, and will negate your training.
• Avoid being loud and shouting over the barking. The louder and more stressed you are, the more your dog will bark. Maintain a calm, firm voice, and if you have to get your dogs attention in order for him to even hear your commands, try a whistle or a clap.

Remember that your dog is just that, a dog. He isn’t going to know what you want him to do until you teach him. Be patient and use consistent training methods to ensure that your dog learns how to behave in any situation he is faced with, and will look to you for instruction.

Photo by ems van goth.

Read more articles by Suzanne Alicie

No Fluff Zone

Dogs love to play with their toys, not the stuffing inside, so SPOT Pet Products showed their stuff by getting rid of the stuff(ing) to create unique and easily identifiable pet toys called Skinneeez. Reflecting the recent trend toward more floppy pet toys, Skinneeez have a more realistic appearance that is more attractive to dogs, and brings out the hunter in domesticated companions.

Skinneeez toys are easy to distinguish from other pet toys on the market because of the way they look – they appear to be soft-sculpture toys that have not yet been filled with polyester fiberfill. But that is by design – Skinneeez toys are flat, easy to grab, hold and carry for any dog or cat, and despite their super-soft fur-like fabric exterior, Skinneeez are amazingly durable and last longer than regular plush dog toys, because of the lack of stuffing. Realistically made to look like favorite backyard critters and have the mouthfeel of real prey, Skinneeez allow dogs to indulge their inner hunters, an instinct that never goes away, regardless of how domesticated they are, reminding them of a day in the field and why fetch games are so much fun.

Skinneeez reflect on the recent trend in pet toys towards floppy toys, but Skinneeez takes this trend a step further and leaves out all the stuffing, creating a toy that flops even more than some toys designed to be floppy with more room inside for squeakers in the head and tail. The lack of stuffing also means that there won’t be any bits of fluff for the owner to pick up. Also, unlike most fiberfill stuffed toys, Skinneeez are washable, and have securely sewn-on eyes, ears and tails for added safety.

Skinneeez for dogs come in two sizes – regular and mini – and several different varieties, including Mallard Duck, Chicken, Jungle Cat, Pink Flamingo, Ostrich, Beaver and Flying Squirrel.

The SPOT brand of pet products is a division of Ethical Pet Products, a Bloomfield, New Jersey company dedicated to serving pets and pet lovers since 1952. SPOT’s product line includes innovative dog and cat products, such as toys, dishes, waste management products, apparel and other dog and cat accessories. SPOT is committed to providing its customers with the best value and service in the pet industry, while keeping quality, safety, honesty and humanity in mind. SPOT pet products are available at retailers nationwide.

Monday Pet Roundup

Hi and welcome to Monday Pet Roundup!

* Collars on cats--Choking hazard or crucial means of ID? The NYTimes reports on the findings of a new study.

* How about a new source of energy fueled poo. The Miami Herald has the story.

* A less-effective use of dog poo: The Chicago Sun Times reports that a Naperville women got into trouble for exacting creative revenge after her neighbor's dog left its calling cards on her lawn.

* I have to get off this subject. Okay, here's a new iphone and ipad app: ilounge reviews "iKnow Dogs HD+" dog breed guide ($8, Alphablind Studios). See how they rate it.

* Finally, for your chuckle for the day, TODAY Pets alerted me to this great site, 103 Pugs in Little Jackets. Irresistible pugs all dressed up for the fall weather. Click and get ready to smile!

What about you? Do you put collars on your cats? Sweaters on your pugs?

Saluki, the Royal Dog of Egypt

By Ruthie Bently

The Saluki is one of the oldest known dog breeds in the world, named for the ancient southern Arabian city of Saluq, which no longer exists. The breed is known as the “Royal Dog of Egypt,” since the nobility were the only people allowed to own them. Their mummified remains have been found in the tombs of pharaohs as well as many tombs of the Upper Nile, and there are several carvings of King Tutankhamen with his favored Salukis. Some Saluki likenesses have been dated back to 2100 B.C. More recently excavated tombs dating between 7000 and 6000 B.C. Sumaria also contain Saluki carvings. The Saluki is known by other names as well: the Arabian Hound, Persian Sighthound, Gazelle Hound, Persian Greyhound, and the Tanji.

The Saluki is native to eastern Turkestan to Turkey, though due to the nomadic existence of their owners they ranged from the Caspian Sea to the Sahara desert. Historians believe they are related to the Afghan Hound and date back to Alexander the Great’s invasion of India in 329 B.C. Considered a sacred gift from Allah, they were only offered as gifts and never sold. Bedouin tribes regarded a Saluki with a white forehead patch as special, and it was believed that they wore “the kiss of Allah.”

The Saluki is a member of the Hound group; they were recognized by the AKC in 1929. Salukis may be shown in two varieties: smooth or coated (with leg feathers). Allowable colors are black and tan, grizzle and tan, golden, tricolor, white, red, fawn and cream. Males weigh between 29 and 66 pounds and are between 23 and 28 inches tall at the withers, with females being slightly smaller. Health problems may include eye ailments and cancer, and they are susceptible to sunburn. Their life expectancy is between ten and twelve years.

The first Salukis imported into England in 1840 were known as Persian Greyhounds. After seeing Salukis while on a tour of the Nile, the Honorable Florence Amherst imported the first breeding pair of Salukis from Arabia, which came from the Transjordanian kennels of Prince Abdulla. She tried unsuccessfully to improve the popularity of the Saluki for almost thirty years, and got assistance from Brigadier General Frederick Lance and his wife Gladys, who brought home two Syrian Salukis from Sarona, Palestine where he had been stationed. The Lances’ Saluki “Sarona Kelb” significantly influenced the Saluki breed. 

Salukis are equally at home in both the show ring and at lure coursing events, and have also been used as racing dogs. They are avid sight hunters and their stamina and tenacity belie their fragile appearance. Salukis can run at 40 mph in short bursts, and are not allowed off lead in some countries. They are best known for hunting gazelle due to their ability and speed over rough terrain, and they have been used to hunt hare, jackal and fox. Due to their strong hunting instincts, they may injure or kill other small pets in the home, though they may get along with cats.

Salukis do best in a fenced yard with some space to run. They should not be let off lead due to their tendency to chase what they see; once a Saluki sights prey they will give chase and will ignore commands to return. They need the equivalent of a five mile walk or run daily and since they love to run, will happily jog alongside a bike. Salukis are not recommended for apartments.

A Saluki needs a firm hand during training and does best with patience, compassion and consistency rather than severe methods. They make an obedient dog, are independent and can become distracted from time to time. They are affectionate and may bond to one family member; multiple Salukis in a household do well together. If you would like to live with a dog of truly royal lineage and love exercising, the Saluki may be right up your alley. 

Picture courtesy of Cori Solomon.

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

How to Trim Your Cat’s Claws

By Julia Williams

Trimming a cat’s nails regularly is an important aspect of responsible pet ownership, because it can keep them from injuring themselves, other pets and you. Trimmed nails are also much kinder to your furniture, curtains and carpeting. Left untrimmed, a cat’s razor-sharp talons are capable of inflicting serious damage, both intended and accidental. Trimming your cat’s claws is not terribly difficult, but there are things I’ve learned that can make it easier, especially if your cat doesn’t like to be messed with.   

Tools for Trimming a Cat’s Claws

There are several different styles of trimmers available, so check them out at your local pet store. Some people find that regular human nail clippers work too. I have a pair of small scissor-shaped trimmers with a sliding “guillotine” blade. I prefer them to nail clippers because they’re easier to hold and don’t slip out of my hand if my cat squirms.

You’ll also need a nail file for smoothing jagged edges, and styptic powder in case you accidentally cut into the quick (more on that later). An optional accessory that’s good for feisty cats is the Klaw Kontrol Bag. It’s basically a kitty straight jacket that keeps everything except the paw you’re working on tucked inside a zippered bag. You can also burrito-wrap your cat in a towel or blanket, leaving one leg out. 

Tip #1: Condition Your Cat

The ideal time to start trimming your cat’s claws is when they’re young. Kittens become acclimated to the procedure and rarely put up a fuss as they get older. If that’s not possible, you might need to do a little “conditioning” before attempting to cut the nails. Conditioning helps your cat get used to having its paw held. When grooming or petting your cat, stroke their paw and hold it lightly in your hand. Once they’re comfortable with this, move on to massaging their paw and eventually, giving it a gentle squeeze to push out the claws. When you can get to this stage without a major freak-out, you’re ready to move on to the trimming.

Tip #2: Timing is Everything

The best time to trim a cat's claws is right after a nap, when they’re relaxed. In fact, I often sneak in with my trimmers while my cats are asleep on the bed, and usually get at least one paw done before they realize what I’m up to. Sometimes they let me do both paws and if not, I just come back later. Since cats sleep 14-18 hours a day on average, there are plenty of nail trimming opportunities.

Tip #3: Find the Right Position

The position that works best for nail trimming varies from cat to cat, and from human to human. If I’m trimming nails when they’re awake instead of half asleep as above, I usually have them on my lap facing away. Some people like to have the cat on the floor or a table, so experiment to discover what’s most comfortable for you and your cat. You can also have someone hold the cat facing you; just be sure that you hold the paw you’re trimming so you can sense if the cat is about to pull it away.

Once you’ve “assumed the position,” take your cat’s paw in your hand and use your thumb and index finger to apply gentle pressure to the joint just behind the claw. This causes the claw to extend so you can trim the sharp tip.

Tip #4: Don’t Cut the Quick

Take the time to become familiar with your cat’s claws so you can identify the quick, the pink area near the core where blood vessels and nerve endings are located. Trimming too far up the nail can cut into the quick, causing pain and bleeding. If you’re unsure where the quick starts or how to trim your cat’s nails, ask your vet or a professional groomer to show you.

Clip only about halfway between the quick and the tip of the claw, or take the safest route and just clip the very tips, what I call “taking the edge off.” You’ll need to trim more often that way, but you won’t cut the quick, unless your cat suddenly jerks its paw when you’re clipping. If you do accidentally clip the quick and it bleeds for more than a minute or two, touch a styptic pencil to the claw or apply styptic powder to help stop the bleeding. 

Tip #5: Just the Front Claws, Ma’am

The back claws of most cats don’t become razor-sharp like their front claws do, so they rarely need to be trimmed. When you’re clipping their front claws, you can simply examine the rear claws to make sure they haven’t gotten too long or too sharp, and clip when necessary.

When trimming your cat’s claws, orient the clippers so that the nail is cut from top to bottom instead of across the nail, which will help prevent splitting. Using sharp clippers also helps. Lastly, be sure to give your kitty a tasty treat when you’re done! 

Read more articles by Julia Williams

50 Terrific Tips (& Tricks) for DIY Pet Grooming

With the economy the way it is, people have to try to save where they can, and one such way is to groom your pets yourself. Here is an article on pet grooming courtesy of

Is Your Puppy or Dog Chewing Out of Control?

By Linda Cole

Puppies are so cute, you can't help picking one up and giving it a big hug. But they aren't nearly as cute when you find them chewing their way through your home. Even an older dog is capable of destroying your shoes or that heirloom quilt passed down from your great grandma.

A puppy or dog chewing on your things or furniture isn't doing it to make you mad. They're just doing what's natural for them. Since dogs can't pick things up and see them like we can, they use their mouths to investigate what they find. Sometimes an interesting smell on something causes them to chew. Others chew because they don't know what else to do. A bored dog can dismantle a chair in a single afternoon. I know because I had a really comfy chair that fell prey to a bored dog one day. She completely destroyed my favorite chair.

A puppy or dog chewing on furniture is a serious problem. Not just because they can destroy what they're chewing on, but because it can be dangerous for them if they swallow fabric, small nails, or pieces of the wood. Power cords are extremely dangerous and can cause damage to the dog and your home. Bored dogs have been known to jump through the glass in windows if they see something outside that stimulates them. Any home with a puppy or an adult dog should be dog proofed to avoided unnecessary accidents. Even older dogs can become bored and head for the nearest table leg, couch or laundry basket.

Punishing a dog for chewing up something while you’re gone does no good. He has no idea why he's being punished. If he cowers, it's because he knows you're upset by your tone of voice, the expression on your face and your body language, but he doesn't know it's because of what he did. Just let it go, and find a room that would make a safe area for him to lounge in when you're not home. Responsible pet ownership means providing pets with a place in the home where they can't get into trouble or get hurt.

Puppies chew to make their gums feel better when they're teething. They also use their mouth to learn about things they find while exploring. Adult dogs chew out of boredom, because of separation anxiety, fear, or as a way to get attention. If you have an older dog who has suddenly started chewing, it could means he's developed a behavior problem that you need to deal with or he needs more exercise to help him get rid of excess energy. If it's separation anxiety or fear that causing his chewing, you may need to talk to your vet or an animal behaviorist.

If you have a dog chewing problem, consider a new routine that includes a walk or some playtime before you leave him alone for the day. Leave treat toys filled with CANIDAE Snap-Bits™ to give him something to do while you're away. You can find a wide variety of stimulating toys that can give your little chewer plenty of proper things to chew on that won't get him into hot water. If you allow him to roam freely while you're gone, make sure to keep anything you don't want destroyed picked up and put away. Make sure treat toys are durable enough to hold up to his chewing, and safe with no loose parts that can be swallowed. Anything you give your dog to chew on should be an appropriate size he can easily handle. Chew toys should be avoided when you aren't home to supervise, unless you know your dog won't eat them. For the best chew toys, click here to read Suzanne Alicie's article.

Spending some extra time with a puppy or dog gives them more attention, and even five minutes can make a difference. Take ten minutes to work on basic commands or reinforce what he's already learned. Get up a little earlier so you can take him on a walk. It's a good way to wake up and work off some of your dog's energy. We are the ones who have control over how our dogs behave. Puppy and dog chewing can be controlled. If you can teach your dog to sit, you can teach him to leave your things alone. After all, it's your house, not his.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

Practicing our Good Manners

Has your dog earned his Canine Good Citizen degree? Kelly hasn't yet, and one of the reasons is because she still isn't reliably friendly around other dogs. That's something we're going to have to work on.

Canine Good Citizen is sponsored by the American Kennel Club (AKC), and rewards dogs (purebred and mixed breed) who display good manners at home and in the community. That's why I want to participate, because I think this is a worthy accomplishment.

In addition to basic commands such as sit, stay and come, here are some of the things your dog will have to know to be a Canine Good Citizen:

1. Behave politely around people. Allow a friendly stranger to approach. When your dog is being petted, he shouldn’t spin around like a top, but he shouldn’t shy away either.

2. Behave politely around other dogs. Your dog should never show signs of aggression. It’s acceptable to show interest in the other dog as long as she remains in control.

3. Cooperate for veterinary examinations and grooming. It’s not easy to be poked and prodded, but no nipping!

4. Walk on a leash without tugging or pulling ahead like a Greyhound at the races. He will not have to heel perfectly, just walk with you evenly.

5. Remain calm when she is left with someone else and you are out of sight. We know she loves you. But she should be able to separate from you for a short time.

Has your dog participated in the Canine Good Citizen program? If not, what are the tasks that you and your dog find most challenging? One thing for sure, Kelly and I have some work to do!

Pet Shot While Owners At Work

There has to be more to this story, but another weird act of animal cruelty...

Pet Shot

How to Install a Pet Door

By Tamara L. Waters

If you have a dog or cat that is inside but enjoys going outside, you might get tired of going to the door to let them out or back in. Installing a pet door can make it easier for you, and is a great DIY project.

Choose a pet door that is appropriately sized for your dog or cat. Check the size recommendations on the pet door packaging.

To begin the installation, you will need to do some measuring. Start by measuring the height of your pet's chest from the ground. You don't want to position the door too high or too low. If the floor inside is at a higher or lower elevation than the ground outside, you will need to average the measurements to settle on a height that is comfortable for your pet. Use masking tape to mark the elevation on the house door. This will be the mark for the bottom of the pet door.

Measure and mark the center of the house door. Run a piece of masking tape from the bottom of the door upward to intersect the masking tape that marks the elevation of the pet door. Measure and mark the center point on the intersecting tapes.

The pet door will have a security panel frame. Measure and mark the center point on the bottom of this security panel, then match it up with the center point marked on the masking tape. Trace around the security panel to get the correct measurement and dimension of the pet door.

Use a drill to create starter holes in the corners of the traced rectangle. You may need to start with a smaller drill bit and then use a larger drill bit. To keep the wood from splintering, you can finish the pilot holes from the opposite side of the door.

Use a jigsaw to cut an opening along the traced lines. Be sure to use eye protection. Make sure you cut the corners carefully and at right angles (not rounded). You can now remove the masking tape you used for marking the opening.

Before putting the security seal of the pet door into place, run a bead of exterior caulking around the inside edge of the opening. This will create a watertight seal and help keep the wood of the door from rotting. Put the pet door frame into place, press and wipe off excess caulk. Use masking tape to help hold it in place.

Position the interior and exterior frames of the pet door. Make sure the hinge for the pet door is up, then screw the frames into place. Attach the pet door to the hinge and re-attach your people door. You can now introduce your pet to their new door; this article has some helpful tips on teaching your dog or cat how to use their new pet door. Be sure to install the security door at night or at other times when you don't want your pet to go outside or don't want wild animals to come inside.

Read more by Tamara L. Waters

Online Resources for Responsible Pet Owners

By Julia Williams

Like many people, I use the internet daily, and sometimes I wonder how I ever survived without it. The internet is extremely useful for information gathering – whatever you need to know can be found in seconds. We have a wealth of helpful information at our fingertips on proper pet care, training, health issues, behavior, nutrition and many other things that can help us be responsible pet owners. In fact, this blog is a great place to find those very things! I may be biased, but I highly recommend it for advice on how to keep your pet healthy, happy and safe. Here are some other online resources for responsible pet owners.

Information Sites

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is our nation's largest and most effective animal protection organization. Their site offers pet adoption resources, helpful tips and comprehensive, well-written articles on a wide variety of pet care issues. 

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) was the first humane organization established in North America and is one of the largest worldwide. They offer moderated discussions, articles, and Q & A columns on everything pet-related. You can also see videos of adoptable animals, and get freebies such as desktop wallpaper and a “pet safety pack” that includes a window decal and poison hotline magnet. The ASPCA also has an online store stocked with cat and dog toys, pet bowls, books, apparel and more.

ASPCA Kids is a wonderful animal-related site for children. Along with kid-friendly information on pet care, finding a lost pet and lots of different ways children can help animals, the site has cartoons, photos, fun pet facts, games, and details on animal related careers. is the sister website of Cat Fancy, one of my favorite magazines about felines. Not surprisingly, is also my favorite online site for “all things cat” with news, advice, breed information, videos, photos, kitty quizzes, games, ringtones, a forum, and so much more.

Pet Adoption

Want to add a new furry friend to your family? Petfinder is a comprehensive searchable database of animals who need a forever home, as well as a directory of 13,000+ animal shelters and adoption organizations in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The site is updated daily, and currently has around 350,000 adoptable pets listed. If you’re not looking for a pet to adopt, Petfinder has how-to videos, helpful articles about adopting, pet news, free games, contests, e-cards, widgets, graphics and the Adoptable Mutt Maker, which lets you create your own cool new dog breed!

The Oregon Humane Society in Portland has an innovative online service called Find Your Match, which helps people find the “pet of their dreams.” Borrowing a page from online dating services, the OHS database has an extensive search function that lets you look for dogs and cats with the physical characteristics and personality traits you desire. For more on this unique pet-matching service, read How to Find Your Dream Dog or Cat.

Breed Profiles

The American Kennel Club (AKC) is a great go-to site for learning about all of the different breeds of dogs. Conformation and temperament requirements are detailed for more than 150 breeds, from Affenpinscher to Yorkshire Terrier. The site also has information on breed clubs, breed rescue, dog news, and listings for AKC sponsored events such as obedience, rally, tracking, lure coursing and agility.

The website for the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) offers information and insight into the world of pedigreed felines – with breed profiles and histories, breeder search, Top Cat Awards and photos, cat show schedule, and articles on feline health issues.

Traveling with Pets is a great site for information on places that people and pooches can enjoy together. They have listings for dog-friendly cities and resorts, lodging, beaches and parks, campgrounds, restaurants, attractions and events in the U.S. and Canada. and its sister site, provides searchable listings for all sorts of pet-friendly lodging and dining in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, including hotels and motels, vacation rentals, campgrounds, resorts and spas, restaurants and even dog-friendly wineries that offer “yappy hours.”

Pet Airways is the first “pet’s only” airline where four-legged friends ride in the main cabin of the plane instead of the cargo hold. Launched in 2009, Pet Airways currently serves airports in Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Ft. Lauderdale, Los Angeles, Omaha, Phoenix, New York and Washington DC. For more information on Pet Airways, click here to read our blog article.

Pet Sitters International is a terrific online resource for pet owners who travel. Here, you can find a qualified pet sitter to take good care of your furry friend while you’re away. The site also has lots of helpful information for pet owners on a variety of topics, such as heat stroke, disaster preparedness, traveling tips, and how to interview a potential pet sitter.

I could easily make this article go on into infinity, because the number of great websites for pet owners is astounding; I simply can’t cover them all. However, if you want to discover even more online resources for responsible pet owners, just visit your favorite internet search engine and start typing. You’ll be amazed at the bottomless pit of information available online for pet lovers.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

Kelly Tests Toys

Kelly roots through her basket of toys like a truffle pig, searching for just the right one. Why does a particular toy catch her fancy at any given moment? Who knows. She has her favorites, like the pink bunny (now decapitated and dismembered.) She loves toys!

Recently generously gave us the opportunity to test a few pet products. Kelly and I selected two toys and a pet food placemat. Testing products is fun!

Kelly loves Nylabones, and I love the fact that they are practically indestructible. We chose the Nylabone Galileo Dog Chew Toy, "Souper" size, for powerful chewers 25 lbs and over (Nylabone $17.48). This bone is huge! And heavy. Even so, Kelly loves to toss it in the air and fling it about (thunk! crash!). She was immediately attracted to the scent and flavor. The lumpy shape is pretty cool too, reminiscent of a real bone.

I was really excited to try out the Dog-E Logic Interactive Dog Toy (Ware, $27.95). The idea is to hide a treat under the pegs and sliding discs, and see if the dog can deduce how to remove the obstacles to get to the goodies.

But could she figure this out? See for yourselves.

Kelly seemed to have fun playing with this toy, but I think it was more knocking and pawing things until she got what she wanted. Not sure if there was really much reasoning going on.

The last item we tested was the Doggie Butler Indoor/Outdoor Rug (No Trax, $28.99). When this arrived, it smelled strongly of rubber and carpet, so I had to put it outside to air out. But now it's fine. The mat has raised edges which help keep the bowls, and stray food in place. It sops up sloppy water dribbles well. The backing is thick rubber, so it doesn't skid around or budge on the tile floor at all. Overall a great pet food mat.

If you have any pet supply needs, I would recommend these products, and They have hundreds of different items, from dog beds to crates, leashes, travel bowls, pooper scoopers, grooming needs and of! Kelly says toys are the best!

Training a Sensitive Dog

By Linda Cole

Dogs have different personalities just like we do. Each one is an individual who does show us how they feel, as long as we pay attention. Dogs can be confident, laid back and eager to please their owner. Others show a more sensitive side. It can take a little more prodding to train a sensitive dog, because you first have to gain his trust. If your dog seems hesitant, he may be sensitive.

We've been taking care of a friend's dog since late winter. Dozer is a gentle and loving dog who acts like he wants to do what we ask, but he's sensitive. Because he belongs to a friend, we were hesitate to get too involved with training him, but he needs to know basic commands whether he's here or with his owner. We began a normal training program with him and failed miserably. Since conventional methods weren't working, we needed to change tactics to gain his trust and help him find his confidence.

Sometimes we need to be more determined and committed without becoming frustrated. We need to stay calm, patient and consistent always. An eager dog makes training easy and fun, but a sensitive dog can present challenges that require a slower and gentler approach.

You can't give up on a dog for any reason. As responsible pet owners, sometimes we need to take a deep breath and think about how we can best help a dog who doesn't respond to normal training techniques. Some sensitive dogs are skittish around loud noises and may have issues with touch or be easily distracted. Some become emotional if we use the wrong tone of voice or may be apprehensive of other pets in the home. Yelling or rough play with another dog or person can send them scurrying away to hide because they're unsure how to handle the situation, and running away helps them handle their frustration.

A sensitive dog can develop behavior problems if they're mishandled. They may be fearful, hard to manage, shy, have neurotic tendencies or get their feelings hurt and react to any negativity by refusing to move, running away, hiding or acting confused. Training a sensitive dog can challenge an owner to the point of giving up, but don't. Go with what works, even if it's unconventional. I've learned to use a soft voice when talking to our guy and discovered that sometimes a whisper gets his attention better than a normal voice.

Take your time with training and be extra patient. Reward any achievement no matter how small with lots of praise and treats. Keep him motivated by giving him easy challenges he can accomplish to help build his confidence. Just like people, dogs are individuals who respond to different types of stimulus, motivation and training. They don't all learn at the same speed and training a sensitive dog should be done carefully to keep him from developing behavior problems.

You can't strong arm a sensitive dog. If you show frustration and get upset, it's apt to counter any progress you've accomplished. Yelling will only send him in the opposite direction or leave him confused. Corrections that work for other dogs may not work on a sensitive dog. He needs lots of patience and understanding for you to earn his trust and respect.

You may never know why a dog is sensitive, aggressive or scared. Adopted dogs from shelters can have a history no one knows about, and even a family pet may have had a run in with another pet or person you’re not aware of. It's worth your time and effort to gain the trust of a sensitive dog so you can help him learn basic commands that could save his life one day. Helping a dog become more confident is a good thing.

Dozer loves attention and lays his head on my knee for a good ear scratching, but he gets a look in his eyes like he's not sure if it's alright. He loves the training sessions and the attention, and has responded well to every command except to come when called. After watching him interact with the other dogs, I discovered his reluctance to come is due to one of our dogs who wants to play with him all the time. They get along well, but he doesn't know how to deal with her when they're roughhousing. She gets too rough, which causes him to withdraw until she settles down or we confine her away from him. He's a good dog who's trying to understand. Time, lots of praise, patience and understanding is what he needs from us. It's all about trust and commitment, along with a pocketful of CANIDAE Snap-Bits™ treats for rewards.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

Working Dogs on the Farm

By Suzanne Alicie

Dogs are known as man’s (or woman’s) best friend, and they are excellent pets and companions. However, many dogs are also hard working family members who more than earn their room and board. Farm dogs are one of the many working dogs that have a lot more to do than be a playmate. 

Originally, most all dog breeds were trained and bred for a purpose other than being pets. There were guard dogs, hunting dogs, herding dogs, and dogs that pretty much did it all. Farm dogs fall into the last category, as they often have several jobs they are responsible for.

There are many working farms still around today which utilize these special dog breeds to herd, to protect, and to perform other important tasks. These working dogs have the natural instincts bred into them over the centuries, and go through extensive training to become trustworthy farm dogs.

Some of the breeds that are familiar with farm work  such as herding livestock and guarding herds include Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, Kelpies, Belgian Shepherds, Sheepdogs, and even several mixed breeds such as the German Shepherd/Rough Collie hybrid.

These working dogs get plenty of exercise as they help round up and move herds of cattle, sheep and other herd animals. They also work as guard dogs for chicken coops, herds of animals and the farm in general. A typical day for a working dog begins early and ends late, but a farm dog always has energy to play fetch, show some affection and be a pet as well as a hard working dog.

Farm dogs do face some dangers on the job, though. They are at risk of being trampled by livestock, getting snake bites, fighting with wild animals to protect a herd, and disease from other animals. These hard working dogs should be vaccinated thoroughly, examined regularly, and treated for fleas and ticks on a regular basis. A farmer is more than a responsible pet owner – he or she also has to be a good employer. More often than not, a farm dog is a common sight around the farm but is seldom found indoors. Their job isn’t over when the family turns in for the night; even when sleeping a farm dog is ready to sound the alert if something or someone trespasses where they shouldn’t be.

Problem solving and intuitive skills make farm dogs easy to train, and gives them the ability to easily and quickly decide when they are needed to round up a stray cow or save a chicken from a predator. A good farm dog that has been trained will perform their job, whether their human tells them to or not. That is the dedication and the work ethic that makes farm dogs reliable guardians of all you hold dear. They are paying attention whether you are watching them, or not even on the premises.

If your children are interested in dogs and other farm animals there is a wonderful website called Kids Farm that will teach them all about farm life, farm dogs and other animals that are found on farms. This site is a wonderful way for children and adults to learn about the type of jobs working dogs have on a farm.

Read more articles by Suzanne Alicie

Monday Pet Roundup

Hi and welcome to Monday Pet Roundup! The model today is my daughter's cat, Cinnamon, playing with some new toys.

* Election season is upon us. Maybe we should consider this way to vote: According to the AP, the Washington (DC) Humane Society held an election that went to the dogs. Bone-shaped dog biscuits with each of the two mayoral candidates names were placed in front of canine voters. The dogs voted by choosing which bone to eat. Some (hungry) dogs voted more than once.

* In more political news, USA Today reports on an adorable rescue mutt Hewitt, who "helps" County Councilman Dave Somers work in his office in Everett, Washington. Wait until you read how Somers acquired the dog.

* Firefighter Dayna Hilton and her dalmatian are doing great work educating children about fire safety. If you know any kids who like to color, check out her new Sparkles the Fire Safety Dog Coloring Book . It's a great way to spread the fire safety message to children. Congrats on the book, Dayna and Sparkles!

* Love cats? I hope you've seen this UK Ikea advertisement, gone viral on You Tube with more than 600,000 views so far. These are some beautiful cats. Check it out here:

* I think a parrot would make a great pet, but I have no idea how to care for one. Here, Martha Stewart and an animal expert offer a brief introductory video about owning an African Grey Parrot. Did you know they like to be misted with water?

* If you enter this contest, you could win $500 worth of pet care services. Just send Fetch Pet Care a paragraph and/or photos or video to show "How far would you go for your pet?"

What about you? I think we all would do just about anything for our pets, but can you go too far? How far is too far?
And do you think dogs can do about as good job selecting a politician as anyone? lol

Pumpkin - The Diva Emerges!

Here's a scrapbook page that I created in Digital Scrapbook Artist2 that I'm calling "Pumpkin - The Diva Emerges!" No surprise there, anyone who knows Pumpkin has known forever that she's a diva!  And she's known it, too!

I used a digikit called "Puss" from Lindalou's Scrap Spot - love the kit, there's so much to it and it's in such pretty colors!

Canine Liver Disease: Causes and Symptoms

By Ruthie Bently

Canine liver disease is the fifth leading cause of death for dogs, and it’s estimated that three percent of all diseases veterinarians see are connected to the liver.

Canine liver disease has many causes, such as physiological, physical and chemical. It can be called “prior” or “after” liver disease. An example of “prior” liver disease would be a cancer; an example of “after” liver disease is a blocked bile duct.

The liver is the second largest organ in a dog’s body (after the skin) and is the workhorse of their body. It’s a specialized manufacturing and pollution control center, and is what makes the body function properly. The liver processes food eaten, manufactures the necessary building blocks, detoxifies and recycles the blood, and gets rid of the waste created. Since the liver is connected so intricately to the biochemistry of an organism, it can make diagnosing canine liver disease difficult. Liver disease can affect many body functions and in turn the liver can be affected by many other organs and systems of the body.

If not too far advanced, the symptoms and disease may sometimes be reversed due to the liver’s ability to completely regenerate. However, the disease must be managed properly to allow this to happen. A dog’s liver can be damaged up to 80% and still function normally due to its reserve capacity; because of this capability, the disease may be too far advanced and untreatable by the time it’s diagnosed. The largest challenge facing veterinarians diagnosing canine liver disease is that the symptoms are not predictable and may not be specific. Due to the paradoxical attributes of the liver, diagnosing and treating the disease can be exceedingly difficult.

Canine liver disease has a myriad of causes, and what follows is only a partial list. Any number of traumas to a dog may result in liver disease: a hernia to the diaphragm, being hit by a car, a bruise or heatstroke. A diet that’s too high in fats can affect the liver; females are more prone to this than males. A dog with chronic infections (i.e. tooth problems) can contract liver disease. Fungal and bacterial infections can cause liver disease, as can parasites like heartworms and roundworms.

Certain drugs can cause side effects that result in liver disease, including acetaminophen, anabolic steroids, antibiotics, anesthetics, ASA, chemotherapy drugs, cortisone, corticosteroids, glucocorticoids, certain parasiticides given over extended periods, phenylbutazone and Phenobarbital.

Contact with toxins from pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, bleach, household cleaners and paint chips that may contain lead can all cause liver disease. Your dog could contract hepatitis, which is an inflammation of the liver. Cancer can overwhelm a dog’s system or metastasize directly to the liver itself and lead to issues.

Certain dog breeds are hereditarily prone to copper storage disease (a.k.a. canine copper hepatotoxicosis), a form of liver disease. An exaggerated amount of copper accumulates in their liver and if left untreated can be fatal. There’s also a chance of these breeds developing cirrhosis or chronic hepatitis.

There are numerous symptoms for canine liver disease. Jaundice is the most recognizable; a tint from yellow to orange will appear. It is most easily seen in the sclera (white) of the eye, but is also visible in the gums and skin of an affected dog. You may see more frequent urination which may also be tinged between lemon yellow and bright orange. Your dog may be thirstier or have an unquenchable thirst. Their abdomen may look distended and be uncomfortable to the touch. They may have a lack of appetite, chronic weight loss, recurring gastrointestinal issues or bloody vomiting. Their feces may be yellow or orange, a paler color than normal, or they may have bloody diarrhea with the above characteristics. You may observe strange behavior, circling, lethargy, no interest in playing or walks, or accelerating depression.

If your dog is diagnosed with canine liver disease, you should remove any toxic agents that could be involved. This includes any drugs that may harm the liver further.  If your dog is on medications with sodium or potassium, your vet may change or decrease those medications to eliminate the intake and retention of those minerals. If your dog is on Phenobarbital for seizure management, your vet may change their medication to decrease damage it may cause. Your vet may suggest distilled water to lessen the effect of minerals in the water. They may also put your dog on a special diet or prescribe a diuretic to control water retention. Your vet may suggest rest and confinement which will allow the body to focus needed resources on the healing process. If caught early and the liver isn’t too compromised the condition is reversible. Being alert to symptoms of canine liver disease, a responsible pet owner can save their dog’s life.

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

Cats and String – a Dangerous Duo

By Julia Williams

We’ve all seen the classic image of a cute kitten playing with a ball of yarn. I’m not sure why, but most cats seem to really enjoy chasing string as its being dragged across the floor by their human playmate. Mine love a simple piece of string more than any fancy store-bought cat toy. Mickey is a couch-potato kitty, and if I can’t get him off his duff to play with the cat toys, all I have to do is dangle a string in front of his face and he’s off and running.

A piece of string or yarn is a cheap cat toy, and they can be great fun as well as good exercise for felines. However, what many owners don’t realize is that string can also be quite dangerous for their cat, and can even result in death. If the string is left out for the cat to find between playtime sessions, many kitties will start eating the string. Unfortunately, once they start swallowing the string, they can’t stop – they can only swallow more.

A cat’s sandpaper-like tongue has small backward-facing hooks called papillae that assist with grooming, eating and hunting. As useful as those uniquely designed tongues are, they make it nearly impossible for the cat to spit the string or yarn back out once they start swallowing it. The more string they swallow, the more life threatening the situation becomes.  

Why is Swallowing String Dangerous for Cats?

Swallowed string can cause strangulation, and it can also become wrapped around the cat’s intestines. Sometimes the string is able to pass through the digestive tract without harming the cat. Other times, the intestines can become blocked, pulled or torn by the string. Surgery might be able to save the cat’s life, but if the string cuts the intestines it can cause fecal matter to contaminate the abdominal cavity, resulting in a life threatening inflammation called peritonitis.

In addition to string and yarn, common household items such as embroidery floss, sewing thread, curling ribbon, rubber bands, tinsel, Easter grass, window blind pulls, and even dental floss can also be extremely dangerous if a cat ingests them.

What to Do If Your Cat Swallows String

First and foremost, if you see your cat eating string or see the string dangling from your cat’s mouth or rear end, DO NOT pull on the string in an attempt to remove it. This can make the damage much worse as the intestines can bunch up accordion-like around the string, and pulling on the string could cut the intestine or the esophagus.

If you know for certain that your cat swallowed string, yarn or something similar, it’s important to take them to your vet right away. If the string can be removed before it enters the intestines, your cat stands a much better chance at survival. If there is any string present in the gastrointestinal tract, the longer you wait, the more serious and life threatening it becomes.

If you suspect your cat has eaten string but don’t know for sure, the safest thing to do is to have your vet look them over and help you determine the best course of action. Because ingested string is so dangerous for cats, most vets don’t recommend a “wait and see” approach; however, if you do decide to take that route, be alert for the appearance of clinical signs. Usually, but not always, these will appear in one to two days. 

Possible clinical signs from string ingestion:

• vomiting or dry heaves
• anorexia or decreased appetite
• straining to defecate or diarrhea
• painful abdomen
• fever
• depression
• dehydration (from vomiting)

Kitties do love playing with string, and it can be a safe, fun and super cheap cat toy. Just remember that cats should not be allowed to play with string on their own. Being a responsible pet owner means never leaving string, yarn, ribbon, thread and similar items lying around the house, and if you have cat toys with string attached, be sure to put them away in-between supervised play. Your cat’s life may well depend on it.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

How Far Would You Go For Your Pet?

How far would you go for your pets? Your story could land you a prize.

Did you recently spend your daughter’s college fund on a five-star celebration for Fido’s birthday? Do you have more photos of Fluffy in your home than of everyone you know combined? If so, Fetch! Pet Care wants to hear from you as part of their new online contest, “How Far Would You Go for Your Pet?”

Fetch! Pet Care, the nation’s largest provider of professional pet sitting and dog walking services, will reward one lucky winner who goes the absolute farthest for their pet with a well-deserved grand prize: One week’s worth of Fetch! Pet Care services valued up to $500. The contest concept mirrors the company’s culture of truly understanding the pet parent relationship, always going above and beyond for the pets they care for, and believing that no pet’s need is considered too frivolous.

To enter the online contest, go to Contest Starting September 13, 2010, pet owners are encouraged to get creative and post videos, photos or short descriptions that illustrate how far they have – and will – go for their beloved pets. Posts must include pets and their owners. Did you recently give that fire hydrant a second glance? Have you found yourself catching Frisbees out of mid-air with your teeth? If so, Fetch! Pet Care wants to see it. One winner will be selected based on online votes and will be announced October 22, 2010.

Can Dogs and Cats Live Together in Peace?

By Linda Cole

We've all heard the old saying, “Fighting like cats and dogs,” but is it true? In all the years I've lived with both, I've never had any serious incidents with dogs and cats living under the same roof. Sure, they've had their little turf wars when one of the dogs wants a spot on the couch and the cat won't move. Dogs and cats can live in peace, but you do need to be mindful of certain dog breeds that may not be as accepting of cats, and proper introductions need to take place before they can become house mates who won't demolish your home while you're gone.

Dogs and cats are both territorial, and we have to be respectful and understanding of their right to protect what they feel is theirs. In your pet's mind, a newcomer is trespassing, and even a cat will defend her space, toys, bed and human. A new dog or cat may also be dominant, which is why you need to take charge and defuse any confrontations from the start.

When adding a new cat to a home with a dog or vice versa, always introduce them slowly and never leave them alone in the same room unsupervised, especially if you have a dog breed who is known to not like cats. It doesn't mean they can't live together; it just means you need to keep a specific dog breeds' temperament in mind when it comes to the dog living with a cat.

It's best to put a new cat in another area of the home to allow her time to learn new smells, sounds and activity in the house. Don't forget to give her attention while she's confined to one area. When she's feeling comfortable in her new surroundings, then you can introduce her to other pets in the home. Put your dog on a leash and have him sit. Bring in the cat and let her wander around at her leisure without having to deal with an inquisitive dog trying to smell her. When the cat's ready, she'll check out the dog if she's interested, so don't force an introduction. It can take a couple weeks or more, so be patient.

The Siberian Husky is one of the dog breeds that may not get along well with cats. However, I had a male and female Husky at the same time and never had problems with any of my cats getting along with them. Jake, my male, would let his favorite cats curl up in his tail. My female, Cheyenne, wasn't as friendly towards them. She never tried to hurt any of the cats, but she always had a look in her eyes when any of them ran around the house. Two individual dogs of the same breed – one accepted the cats as buddies and one only tolerated them. I always made sure to keep the cats and Cheyenne separated when I wasn't home.

The responsible approach to take with any dog and cat relationship is to make sure the cat has a place where they can get away from the dog, just in case. It's also important to remember that just because dogs and cats get along when you're home, doesn't mean they do when you're gone. Dogs with a high prey drive like Huskies, sight hounds, Akita, Malamute, Basenji, Beagle, Border Collie, Bullmastiff, Doberman Pincher, Terriers, Elkhound, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Samoyed and Weimaraner are all on a list of dogs who may dislike cats. But since dogs are individuals, it's unfair to say none of these breeds will peacefully co-exist with cats. Some dogs on the list become great friends with cats, and dogs and cats can also get along well with other species, as evidenced in this article on interspecies animal friendships.

To know how your dog will respond to a cat, you need to understand and know them as individuals and not as a collective group in a specific breed. The same goes for a cat. Some cats will attack dogs!

Regardless of which dog breed or mixed breed you may have, not all will like cats and not all cats like dogs, no matter how much time you give them to get to know each other. Even though dogs may have been raised with cats as puppies and kittens, some dogs have a hard time resisting their prey drive that's hard wired in them. Dogs still act like dogs with the right kind of stimulus. It's always best to know your pets well, to keep everyone safe when you're away from home. Unless you know for certain, never leave them alone together.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

Write a Blog Post, Feed a Shelter Pet

Things We Can Do to Help Shelter Pets:

1. Adopt pets from shelters or rescue groups. Give a homeless pet a chance.

2. Support shelters by donating your time, resources, food, blankets.

3. Blog about Pedigree's Adoption Drive.

Kelly is a rescue dog and I'm grateful to the rescue group we got her from for saving her and keeping her safe until we found each other. Shelters and rescue groups are run largely on donations and need our help to make things more comfortable for these beautiful pets while they are waiting for their furever homes.

Why write a post?

* Each year, more than 4 million dogs end up in shelters and breed rescue organizations. Pedigree created The PEDIGREE Adoption Drive to help shine a spotlight on the plight of these homeless dogs.

* This year the PEDIGREE® Adoption Drive is raising awareness for homeless dogs by donating a bowl of food to shelter dogs for everyone who becomes a "Fan" or "Likes" the PEDIGREE Adoption Drive on Facebook. So far more than 1 million bowls have been donated.

* For each blog that posts about the PEDIGREE® Adoption Drive through September 19, PEDIGREE® will donate a bag of its new Healthy Longevity Food for Dogs to shelters nationwide. It's simple: Write a post, help a dog.

When you are finished, join the special PEDIGREE® Blog Hop!

Eight Great Dog-Friendly Cities in America

By Tamara L. Waters

Whether you are planning a permanent move or a vacation, knowing which cities are friendly and welcoming toward your pooch can make things easier for you and Fido. Before you go, it pays to do a little research, and the site has made it easier for you. They've  compiled a list of cities in America that are the most dog-friendly, which you can read here

When you’re looking for a city or town that is dog-friendly, you hope to find a number of businesses and attractions that will welcome not only you but also your pet. Whether the businesses allow you to bring your pet shopping or visiting with you, or they simply provide kennels or other amenities to your four-legged friend, being dog-friendly comes in many forms.

According to, eight of the best dog-friendly cities in the United States are: San Diego, California; Portland, Oregon; Austin, Texas; San Francisco, California;  Boston, Massachusetts; Orlando, Florida; Salt Lake City, Utah and Charleston, South Carolina.

What makes these cities so dog-friendly? It's a combination of things. These cities feature hotels and other accommodations (like resorts and vacation home rentals, as well as RV parks and campgrounds) that allow you to bring your pets on vacation.

If you are planning a longer stay in these cities or even a relocation, there are plenty of other things that make them dog-friendly. There are attractions like Sea World in San Diego that provide kennel services for guests who are vacationing and visiting with their dogs. Other attractions that welcome dog visitors include Ziker Botanical Gardens in Austin, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Barbary Coast Trail in San Francisco, and the Freedom Trail in Boston.

When it comes to dining and shopping, many of these dog-friendly cities have outdoor restaurants as well as shopping centers, stores and public transportation that allows your pooch to tag along.

Whether you are just visiting or you plan to become a permanent resident, visiting the beach and local parks for fun and recreation with the family can turn into a great day with your dog as well. Many of these dog-friendly cities have beaches that are open to canine beachgoers, and parks that welcome four-legged friends. Some cities even have off-leash dog parks that will provide an opportunity for fun, frolic and socialization.

If you plan to visit a vineyard or winery, there are a few that will let you bring your dog with you. Check the site for each individual city to get the pertinent information.

What else makes these areas dog-friendly? Some of these cities have events (check out Portland's Dogtoberfest, the Bark and Wine Ball in San Francisco, and a whole list of dog-friendly attractions in Boston) and rescue groups which show that the residents of these cities love dogs! In addition, dog-friendly cities have emergency veterinary hospitals available in case there is a medical issue with your dog.

Be sure to make a phone call or two to verify all information and ask about any policy changes regarding pets. Check out the following related articles on our blog: Dog-Friendly Beaches; Pet Friendly Businesses and Fun Destinations; Dog Parks: What to Know Before You Go; and Camping With Dogs. You might also want to ask your veterinarian for tips and recommendations when traveling with your dog. After all, you want your visit to a dog-friendly city to be enjoyable for everybody!

Photos by David Shankbone

Read more by Tamara L. Waters