If your dog is seemingly lethargic and/or not acting like his usually upbeat self, he or she could be sick. As an owner, you are probably aware of your dog’s behavior, so if he is not quite himself and doesn’t want to go on a walk or eat, he could be “under the weather”. However, you don’t have to always run to the vet at his or her first sign of illness. Sometimes this affliction (or whatever it is) can pass in a day.
Do an overall glance at his body
Similar to human’s, if your baby or child is sick, you take his or her temperature and check their overall condition. In a dog, you can check his or her whole body, from nose to tail, and look for signs of illness such as matted fur, swelling or unusual discharge. There should be clear fluids form his nose and a normal pulse for a pup is within the range of 50 to 130 beats per minute, depending on the breed. In addition, check for dehydration by twisting the skin of his shoulder. A healthy dog's skin will snap right back.
Next step if your pup seems sick
While some signs of illness are general and can be indicators of any number of dog diseases or problems, other symptoms point to specific, common illnesses. Try to write down everything you see and hear down in your dog's medical diary and get to the vet as soon as you spot a real problem. If you take your dog for a checkup every year and generally keep up with normal preventive care, you'll usually be able to get him or her feeling normal in no time.
When to Call the Vet
There are many common canine ailments, some more likely to afflict certain breeds than others. Although vaccinations will generally keep your dog safe from infectious diseases such as canine distemper, parvovirus, Lyme disease and rabies, there are times when disease will get through to your pup. You should always be on the lookout for signs of illness, no matter how many booster shots your dog gets.
Parvovirus (known as parvo) is a disease that damages your dog's intestinal lining, and is often fatal to young or unvaccinated dogs. The signs are usually a fever, weakness, a poor appetite, depression followed by vomiting and severe diarrhea. If you suspect it is parvo, take your dog to the vet right way. Because parvo is picked up via the stool of an infected dog, keep your dog away from the feces of others.
Canine distemper is a highly contagious and dangerous health condition in a dog so make sure your dog is vaccinated. The signs are usually loss of appetite, nose and eye discharge, neurological problems such as drooling, head shaking and even seizures. Look for hard skin patches on the feet or nose.
Viral or Bacterial Infection
This used to be called kennel cough and can be treated by a vet with medication. The signs are usually coughing, hacking, listlessness and poor appetite, followed by a recurring cough.
Of course there are many other infections or illness that can afflict your pup, but the above are the most common. If you do keep up with your dog’s annual vet visits and shots, he or she should not be sick for too long. Try not to wait for more than a couple days to take your pup to the vet if his or her behavior isn’t normal. Good luck!
When I came home the other day, Sammy, my cat, was sleeping (big surprise). However, instead of greeting me at the door, as he usually does, he let out this loud yelp-meow. He then shook his head and realized I had just walked inside. I figured that he must have been in the middle of a dream. It is a well known fact that cats do sleep a lot, but do they sleep enough to dream?
Our cats are usually only half-asleep
When our cats are awake, their brain broadcasts little bunched-together irregular peaks. But when napping, the cat's brain produces long, irregular waves called slow-wave sleep which usually lasts fifteen to thirty minutes total. As he or she sleeps, a cat generally lies with his head raised and paws tucked beneath him. Sometimes he actually sleeps sitting up, in which case his muscles stiffen to hold him upright; this way our kitty is ready to spring into action at a moment's notice.
More than a catnap
As it turns out, cat dreams occur during rapid sleep. This happens when they twitch their paws or have a sudden quick, almost startled reaction.
When our cats move from light into deep sleep, their bodies relax. They stretch out and roll onto their side. Their brain patterns change and become smaller and closer together, and are very similar to his or her waking patterns. However, cats are fully relaxed and hard to awaken during deep sleep (referred to as "rapid sleep" because of the quick brain wave movement). This phase usually lasts only about five minutes, and our cats return to slow-wave sleep-and thereafter alternate between the two until he or she wakes up.
Cats sleep shorter sessions
The cat's senses continue to record sounds and scents during up to seventy five percent of sleep, so the kitty can awaken quickly at a loud sound of his owner calling him or her. Slower wakeup times are characterized by a predictable pattern of blinking, yawning and stretching. First the forelegs, then back, and finally rear legs each in turn are flexed. Most cats also groom themselves briefly upon first awakening.
While we, humans, may sleep seven to eight hour sessions, cat sleep more commonly consists of short and long naps throughout the day. Habits vary between cats but very old and very young kittens sleep more than robust adults. Sleep time increases on cold, rainy or cloudy days.
Cats are nocturnal
Most cats are really active at night as they are nocturnal animals. However, they can also be active in the early morning before the sun rises. That’s why most of our cats either keep us up at night or wake us up in the morning. However, they do usually adapt and sleep on their owner’s schedule and spend more time with us when we are home.
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Take a look at this great precedent for Los Angeles regarding rescue dogs and cats. It will be interesting to see if other cities and/or states will follow their example. I do feel for the smaller mom and pop pet shops that have good, well-behaved pets from good breeds; however, I do think this is a big step in the right direction. There are too many dogs, cats and pets euthanized each year.
Los Angeles lawmakers on Wednesday voted in favor of an ordinance that will make L.A. the largest city in America to ban pet stores from selling dogs, cats and rabbits obtained from commercial breeders.
The ordinance, which the City Council voted 12-2 to approve, targets puppy mills and is designed to cut down on the tens of thousands of animals euthanized each year in city shelters.
Under the law, individuals will still be allowed to buy directly from breeders, and pet stores will be allowed to sell animals that come from shelters, humane societies and registered rescue groups. Stores found to be selling animals from breeders may face misdemeanor charges and a first-time penalty of $250.
Animal rights activists hailed L.A.’s approval of the ban as a signal to other large cities to follow suit. Irvine, Hermosa Beach and West Hollywood are among the more than 30 cities across the United States and Canada that have passed similar measures in recent years, according to Elizabeth Oreck, who has been leading the legislative effort on behalf of Best Friends Animal Society.
As a pet owner, we love our cats and dogs and sometimes don’t recognize when things are, well, not right. I was visiting and petting one of my neighbors dog, Lucy, and I almost had to jump back. Her breath was horrendous! Her owner sort of laughed it off, but I sensed there was a bigger problem than simply smell.
There are many reasons, besides hygiene, that your dog has bad breath. As always, bring your dog to your veterinarian, if you think your dog’s breath is unusually bad.
If your dog has “doggy halitosis” – the first place to look is in his or her mouth. If your dog’s teeth are not white, but have yellow and brown marks, this usually means that there is plaque build up that needs to be scraped off. If your dog’s plaque is dark yellow and hard, he or she could have a type of periodontal disease. The bacteria that harbors in the plaque and calculus can cause bad breath and if left untreated can multiply and migrate.
Other Common Medical Conditions Caused by Bad Breath
If your dog’s breath has an unusual smell, it is important to look out for some other medical conditions. Sometimes an unusually sweet or fruit smelling breath is indicative of diabetes in dogs. Your dog might also be drinking and urinating more often than usual.
Breath that smells like urine can be a sign of kidney disease. An unusually foul odor accompanied by vomiting, lack of appetite, and yellow-tinged corneas and/or gums could be symptomatic of a liver problem.
Preventing Bad Dog Breath
Many people assume that bad breath in dogs, especially at a certain age, is normal, but that’s not the case. In fact, being proactive about your pup’s oral health will not only make your life together more pleasant, it’s smart preventive medicine.
Bring your dog in for regular checkups to make sure that he or she has no underlying medical issues that may cause halitosis. It could be as simple as brushing your dog’s teeth and/or your veterinarian can give you a plaque remover. If you do try to brush your dog’s teeth on a daily basis, make sure that you use toothpaste that is formulated for dogs and not humans.
Feed your dog a high-quality, easy-to-digest food. As in children, if you give them high –sugar content food, it is more likely they will have dental issues and/or other medical ailments.
Try giving your dog a hard, chew toy that allow your dog’s teeth to be cleaned by the natural process of chewing. You can purchase chew toys at your local pet store.
Give your dog high quality treats that are formulated to improve his or her breath. Again, there are many treats on the market that can help your dog with his ‘breath’.
I hope the above tips help. Just remember that occasional bad breath in dogs is normal. However, if the bad breath lasts for more than a couple days, make sure to bring your beloved canine to the vet.
We know that our beloved cats are not fond of changing their normal routines. Therefore, moving to a new home can be very stressful for you and your cat. However, if you prepare for the move and are patient with your feline friends, the transition can go smoothly.
Preparing for the Move
The first thing to remember when you move with your cats is that no matter what you do, it will be stressful for your cat. Therefore, you should try to keep your cats routine as normal as possible until moving day. Make sure to feed your cat at the normal times and try not to pack everything with your cat’s scent on it until right before you move.
When you’re packing, remember that cats are very curious and might want to climb on top of stacked boxes. This could lead to injury if your kitty knocks the boxes down, so don’t stack them too high and make sure the stacks are stable. Your cat might choose to hide in or behind things that are now exposed because of the move, such as ovens and refrigerators. Be careful when you begin to move these items.
On the day of the move, it is best that you place your cats in a secure room that people will not be continuously going in and out of. It should be as far away from the commotion as possible and have a litter box, food, water, and a hiding spot available. A kennel carrier with a blanket with your scent is a good place as well.
Move your cats last if possible after everything else has been moved. Place your kitty cat in a carrier for safety in the vehicle. Make sure to have your cat drive with you and not in a moving van. If you are moving a long distance, make sure to have plenty of water and a litter box available.
Make stops every few hours and allow the cat out of the kennel (but not out of the vehicle) to drink, use the box and stretch. If your cat is likely to be extremely stressed, you might be able to get a mild sedative from your veterinarian.
Introducing Your Cat(s) to Your New Home
When you arrive at your new home, choose one room as the “safe room”. This will be a quiet area away from all the noise and commotion where your cat can hide. Provide food, a litter box, water and a hiding place (again a cat carrier is a good start). Once safely in the room, open the door to the carrier, then leave the room and shut the door behind you.
For several hours, leave your cats in the room alone and let them come out when they are ready. Constantly coming in and out of the room to check on your cats could cause more stress and make the adjustment process longer.
Gradually you can let your cat explore other areas of the house. Allow access to only a few rooms at a time taking notice of any tight places your cat may hide but could get stuck. Try to keep the same feeding schedule you had before. Also spread items with the cats’ scent, such as toys and blankets, throughout the house so the cat knows that it is allowed to be in certain areas.
For an outdoor cat, let your cat out at the same time every day. When it is time to let your cat out, start with short, supervised trips around the immediate area of the house and yard. You can put a harness on your cat (at first) then work up to letting the cat off the leash while you walk with her as she explores.
If you follow the above steps and watch your cat for signals as to how he or she is adjusting, the transition should go smoothly. Some cats will adjust instantaneously while others might take a little longer. But, soon enough, your cat(s) will love their new home and new places to explore.
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