Pet Forum

How to Help a Stray Cat Transition to the Indoors

We cat lovers often see stray cats and kittens around our homes and/or business.  Sadly enough, some of the stray cats are usually abandoned or lost pets that now live outdoors fending for themselves. Stray cats are different from feral cats. Feral cats only know life outdoors and have never been domesticated.  If you want to bring a stray into your home to take care of either full time or until you can help find the cat a forever home, below are some tips that should help. 

Your first need to earn the cat’s trust which can always be done with food

Set out dry cat food and fresh water at the same time every day. Dry food is recommended because it won't attract insects, like wet food will, and it won't smell as much. Set the food and water as close to your door as you think the cat will come. If you follow a daily routine, that cat(s) will learn when "dinnertime" is and come to your door at the same time every day.

Help A Stray Cat

I’m sweet, just scared!

Shaking the bag of dry food every time you put it out will function as a reminder that it’s time to eat.  If they hear the sound from somewhere else, they'll come running because they'll know it's time to eat.  If the cat refuses to eat with you sitting there, go inside and let the kitty eat on his own.  If you do this repeatedly, the cat will likely let you sit down with them sooner rather than later.

Watch the kitty for a few days

Observe the cat for a few days. It is important to know if the cat is a neighborhood cat that likes to be outdoors, a feral cat or a stray cat. All cats will trust you if you feed them. To tell the subtle differences between the cats, you should keep in mind that neighborhood cats usually get feed at home so won't eat or eat much. Feral and stray cats are always hungry, but the stray cat is friendlier and will allow you to pet him or her whereas the feral cat is far more cautious or skittish.

     Take the kitty to the vet for an exam

Take the cat to the vet as soon as possible. A medical exam is important to rule out any contagious diseases that the cat can possibly spread to other animals in the home. Have the cat sprayed or neutered if it is not fixed already.

Treat the cat for any aliments he may have if you can afford to (hopefully). Most stray cats have fleas and/or tapeworms. The vet will diagnose any problems and prescribe a course of treatment. Keep the cat separated and in its own room until it is free of fleas and other parasites if need be.

Prepare a separate room for your stray cat if you have other pets at home.

Prepare a room in your room for the cat to live in as is a temporary measure.  Make sure that the room has fresh water, food, a litter box and a bed or blanket for the cat. Make certain no other animals are in this room.  This can even be a bathroom at least temporarily.

Allow the cat into the rest of the house once he or she is healthy. Only after the cat gets a clean bill of health from the vet should you allow it access to the rest of the house and the other animals

Try to confine your cat to the indoors

Confine your stray kitty to the indoors. Stray cats that are use to the outdoors will make numerous attempts to get back outside. Put secure screens on all windows. Make certain the cat is out of the way when opening or closing the front door. If your kitty runs outdoor and doesn’t come back, he or she might not be as lucky to find someone else to care for him or her.

With time and effort, you can get a stray cat to trust you and feel comfortable in your home.  You can then either have a great new family member or a more adjusted cat to foster until you help the stray cat find its forever home.

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Heartworm Disease in Dogs – Serious But Treatable

Heartworm disease in dogs is a dangerous disease that starts as a parasite that resides in a dog’s heart and/or arteries of your poor pup.  The parasite can travel through the bloodstream and harm arteries and vital organs as they move.  The parasite will usually spread throughout your dog’s bloodstream and infect the lung and the heart chamber about six months after the initial infection. Several hundred worms can live in one dog for five to seven years. Heartworm disease is serious, and can be fatal.  Yet, the good news is that heartworm disease can be detected in tests by your vet and be treated with medication.

The symptoms of heartworm disease in dogs

Some of the symptoms of heartworm disease in dogs can include labored breathing, coughing, vomiting, weight loss and listlessness, and fatigue after only moderate exercise. However, some dogs exhibit no symptoms at all until late stages of infection which is why testing is very important.

If you notice that your dog’s energy has decreased, he or she seems ill or is showing any of the general symptoms described above, please contact your veterinarian immediately.  It is always better to be safe and be on top of the disease before it infects your dog.

Heartworm disease is usually diagnosed by your vet

Heartworm disease is diagnosed by examination, radiographs or ultrasound, and a veterinarian-administered blood test. All dogs should be routinely screened with a blood test for heartworm either annually in spring, at the start of mosquito season, or before being placed on a new prescription for a heartworm preventive.

Heartworn Disease In Dog

Heartworm is caused by mosquitoes and is very unusual

Heartworms are transmitted from animal to animal by mosquitoes. The lifecycle of the heartworm is hard to gauge as an animal must carry at least two heartworms (a male and a female) in order for female heartworms to reproduce. When the mosquito next bites a susceptible animal, the infective larvae enter the tissues and begin a migration into the blood vessels.  And if it resides there long enough without being destroyed, it can start to grow.

Heartworms enter an animal’s bloodstream as tiny, invisible larvae, but can reach lengths of more than twelve inches at maturity.

Dogs that live in humid clients are more susceptible to heartworm disease

Heartworm infestation can happen to any dog (as well as cats and some wild animals), but since mosquitoes are their carriers, dogs who live in hot, humid regions—conditions in which mosquitoes thrive—are at the greatest risk. The disease has been seen in every state except Alaska, but is most common in or on the East Coast, southern United States and Mississippi River Valley.

Heartworm can be prevented by medication prescribed by your veterinarian

The good news is that heartworm is easy preventable with an inexpensive, chewable pill available with a vet’s prescription. The pills—highly palatable to most dogs—are usually administered monthly and manufactured by several companies. The pills can be given to dogs under 6 months of age without a blood test, but older animals must be screened for the disease prior to starting medication. You can opt to give your dog a pill only during mosquito season spring through winter but the most recent recommendation from the American Heartworm Society is to keep giving them all yea. There are also topical products available that you can apply to the skin.

Treatment for heartworm disease

If your dog is diagnosed with heartworm disease, a thorough examination of your dog should be taken to determine the best course of treatment and the potential risks involved. The most common course of treatment is a series of injections of drugs that are placed into the dogs’ muscle. This cure has a high success rate and usually requires hospitalization; in certain circumstances, however, it may be performed on an outpatient basis. However, all treatment of heartworm disease usually require many weeks of exercise restriction and might have side effects. Disease prevention is a much better and safer option. After treatment, your dog should be placed on a preventative medication to reduce the risk of infection so it does not reoccur.

If you take your dog to the vet for regular testing, heartworm disease can be prevented before it begins.

 

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How to Keep Your Pets’ Safe and Happy on the 4th of July

While we pet owners love the 4th of July and usually partake in the festivities, it can be a very scary time for pets.  It is fair to say that most dogs and cats are afraid of the fireworks and/or just even the loud sounds that they might hear outside.  And if you decide to take your dog with you to an outdoor event, you need to keep an eye on your dogs at all times.  The 4th of July is also a time when a lot of pets try to escape and/or get lost so it is important for pet owners to remember their responsibilities. 

Below are some safety reminders for you and your pets for the 4th of July holiday:

  • Make sure all pets, even indoor cats, are wearing a collar with an identification tag that includes your name and telephone number. A microchip is also a good idea. Terrified animals may end up miles from home or deep under a neighbor’s porch. This simple precaution will save a lot of anguish, time, and energy if your cat or dog gets out of the house.

  • Walk your dogs in the early evening, right before fireworks begin to prevent stress from noises and to tire them out so they can sleep the night away.  The calmer and more tired they are during the night will help minimize their stress.

Happy 4th of July Pets

Are the fireworks over?

  • During neighborhood firework displays, keep all cats and dogs safely inside. Dogs and cats who are scared of noises should be put into a bathroom or other room with a secure door no windows. A screen door will not keep a nervous dog inside. It is better not take a dog to watch a large commercial firework display as it only increases the chances of him or her becoming lost in an unfamiliar area.

  • It is safer to keep your pets at home during Fourth of July celebrations instead of bringing him to your neighbor's party. Keep your pets inside your home and not in your yard. Your pets will be a lot happier indoors, and not tempted to leap over a fence to find you.

  • Dogs can be startled by the loud noise of fireworks. Once the festivities begin, keep your dog or cat in a safe room where he can feel comfortable. If your dog is crate trained put your dog in his crate covered with a blanket to make him feel secure.  Make sure all your pets shave a go-to spot where they can feel secure aka their safe haven.

  • Try to block the outside sights and sounds by lowering the blinds and turning on the television. Play soothing music in the background to counteract the noise of the fireworks.  Put the air conditioning or fan on to help drown out the noise.

  • If your dog or cat seems overly anxious, spend some time with your beloved, speaking soothingly to help your dog or cat to relax. There are also some natural calming solutions on the market that you can give to your pet (but no sedatives)!

  • Make sure to keep all the sparklers, candles, insect coils and oil products out of reach.  If inhaled, the oils could cause aspiration pneumonia in pets and you will need to take your pet to the vet immediately.

  • Never use fireworks around pets! While exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns and/or trauma to the face and paws of curious pets, even unused fireworks can pose a danger. Many types contain potentially toxic substances, including potassium nitrate, arsenic and other heavy metals.  Another reason to keep your pets inside.

As much as you want to be with your pet(s) on the fourth of July, remember crowded fireworks displays are no fun for cats or dogs, so it’s best not to take them along to your 4th of July festivities.  Keep your beloved cats and dogs safe at home in a quiet, sheltered area where your cat or dog can’t escape.  They will be fine if you just make sure they have a safe place to reside during the short-lived firework celebration and a place to hide where they feel comfortable.

 

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The Maine Coon – A Big Bundle of Love

 

A Maine Coon is a big, rugged cat with a smooth, shaggy coat who looks as if he could take out a mouse with a simple paw tap!  But, don’t be surprised if this big cat is loving, loyal, sweet and good naturel.  The Maine Coon has beautiful, thick fur which makes them a good candidate for living in a colder climate and most are not afraid of a rainy day.  While they aren’t the most vocal breed for a big cat, they let out an adorable chirp and have a winning personality.

The Maine Coon has large, wide ears

One of the most defining Maine Coon characteristics is his or her ears. They are large and wide, with long tufts coming out of them and lynx-like tufts on the tips. The ears of a young Maine Coon kitten that hasn't quite grown into them are nothing less than adorable.

The face of the Maine Coon cat has an intelligent expression. When you look right into their large and round green, gold or copper eyes, it seems as if they really connect with you.  They are frequently described as having a feral expression. This term, meaning wild or untamed, goes completely against their actual temperament, which is mild, sweet and loving.

The Maine Coon

I’m big, beautiful and social!

 The Maine Coon is a big cat!

The most obvious and famous of a Maine Coon characteristics is his or her size. No doubt about it, they are certainly big cats. A male usually weighs in at thirteen to eighteen pounds and a female at nine to twelve pounds. There seem to be stories everywhere of cats weighing as much as twenty five pounds.  Those extra hefty cats are rare; any litter will have largerandsmaller than average kittens.

One of the largest domestic breeds, male Maine Coons weigh in at 12 to 18 pounds, while the females fall into a 'petite' 10 to 14 pound range. Slow to mature, the Maine Coon takes three to four years to fully develop. Although brown tabby is the most common color and pattern, Maine Coons come in a wide variety of colors.

The heavy all-weather coat, shorter on the shoulders and longer on the stomach and britches, makes the cat appear larger than he really is. The texture is smooth and silky rather than cottony, so the coat doesn't mat as easily as the coats of some long haired breeds. Breeders usually recommend a twice-weekly combing with a good steel comb.

The Maine Coon Personality

If you are just getting to know the Maine Coon cat, you will soon find out about his or her amazing personality. These friendly, affectionate, loving, goofy cats have a personality that is equal to their size. A big Maine Coon cat is large in size and personality.

The cool Maine Coon personality sets these cats apart from the crowd. It is the reason they have so many loyal fans.  Maine Coons usually enjoy a kittenish love of play well into adulthood. Males, especially, are prone to silly behavior. Females are more dignified, but they aren’t above a good game of chase. Not especially vocal, they make any requests in a soft chirp or trill.

The Maine Coon is a social cat

Maine Coon cats are very social.   A Maine Coon prefers to be in the company of his family, much like a dog.  You can count on your Coon to be there to greet you every morning and every time you get home. And yes, they come when called by their name.  And when your company arrives, he or she won’t run under the bed, but will be right next to you to greet the guests. They will be surprised to meet such a friendly cat.

The Maine Coon is great with children

The friendly, laidback Maine Coon is a perfect choice for families with children and cat-friendly dogs. He loves the attention he receives from children who treat him politely and with respect, and he doesn’t mind playing dress-up or going for a ride in a baby buggy.  The Maine Coon is an amiable guy.

Maine Coons also like dogs and usually get along very well with them. As always, introduce pets slowly and in controlled circumstances to ensure that they learn to get along together.

 

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Tips to Keep Your Dogs Cool in the Summer Heat

Summer is already heating up and most of our dogs don’t like the heat.  Or at least, they react to it by becoming lethargic and dogs don’t have the ability to cool themselves by sweating as we humans do.  Panting is their way to keep themselves cool.  But, in the hot summer months, it’s important to help your dog’s keep cools since they can’t on their own.

Below are some tips to help your dog stay cool during the hot summer months:

Keep cool water readily available for your pup

To keep your dogs’ cool in the summer, it is essential that you keep fresh, cool water available to your dog at all times. In hot weather, this is even more crucial. Make sure you keep the water dish in a shady location and change the water frequently. If you want to keep fresh water available outdoors, you might want to look into a watering system that hooks up to a faucet.

Make sure to take your dogs on shorter walks in early morning or evening

During the hot summer days, the best time to walk your dog is in the early morning or evening.  If you can, wait until the sun goes down to give your dog some relief.  And, dogs can feel the sun on their paws and can get sun burn.  If you are heading to the dog park, just let your dogs’ play for a short time.  They can’t tell us that they are overheated so it’s best to keep all sun exposure and outdoor time to a minimum.

dogs cool in summer

Hot?  I’m not hot!

Try a cooling dog bed since they sleep a lot in the heat

You might want to try a cooling dog bed where your dog can escape to during the day. While a dog bed is nice and soft, it might also be too warm. However, a cooling dog bed can offer the comfort and softness of a typical dog bed with the coolness your dog craves. Cooling dog beds often use a gel-like material or simply water to keep the bed feeling cool. These beds are especially great for senior dogs as an alternative for hard floors or even carpet.  

There are several other products out there designed to cool off your dog. Some work better than others, and often it just depends on the dog. If you decide to try out one of these products, just remember that nothing can substitute fresh water and shade. No dog should go for long without plenty of both.  There are a variety of cooling dog vest, collars and crates with cooling fans.

Try a misting fan, but not a regular fan

Misting fans and aerosols that spew water into the air also lower the temperature and can keep your dog’s fur damp.  When your dog gest misty, it also helps her or him cool off when the water evaporates. Misters can be placed on the porch, deck or near the puppy playpen and will keep your dog cool.  Pets respond differently to heat than humans do. (Dogs, for instance, sweat primarily through their feet.) And regular fans don't cool off pets as effectively as they do people.

Make sure your dog has shelter from the sun

Your dog might enjoy a little sunbathing, but he or she ultimately needs a cool, shady spot to relax. The best thing you can do for your dog is to offer shelter. Shade from trees works, but an actual structure is better. Consider getting an insulated dog house, but make sure it is large and well-ventilated or you can try an open-air tent or canopy. Of course, the most ideal shelter is in your home with a doggie door to allow indoor access.

Dogs love little kiddie pools to cool themselves off

If your dog loves water, then a large tub or kiddie pool (molded plastic, not inflatable) might be a great addition to your yard. You can find tubs or pools at most home stores. Many dogs enjoy playing and lounging in the cool water. Just make sure you supervise your dog at all times. Also, keep the pool in a shady spot and change the water frequently.

Never leave your dog in a hot car

We all know how hot it gets in our car, even when it is not even that warm out.  Therefore, don’t even think about leaving your dog in the car while you are running errands or any time during the summer.  It’s cruel and way too hot for our doggies and can cause heat stroke and death.

No matter what you do to keep your dog cool, the best thing you can do is to keep a close eye on your pup. When in doubt, get your dog to a cooler area. Be sure to contact your vet immediately if you notice signs of heat stroke or extreme lethargy.

 

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