Friday, July 31, 2009

Dogs and cats everywhere-how many are too many?

Dogs and cats deserve to have a living arrangement that is not harmful to them. Most people who are pet owners care for their cats and dogs in a way that will keep them healthy.

When dogs or cats are living in a home that has dozens of other animals, is the pet safe? Is the dog or cat even a pet at that point?

Some animal owners feel they are doing a service by taking in more animals than most would think is normal. Who should decide when dogs and cats are at risk? How do we determine when a neighborhood is overloaded with pets?

In some municipalities, there is a limit of one or two pets per home. By requiring each animal be licensed, a community will find it easy to determine who has too many animals according to the limits. What is done about a situation where someone owns more animals then the limit allows?

Every community is different. Because of the concern that animals must be cared for, some towns may look the other way unless someone complains. What, then, of the pets who are living in cramped and dirty spaces, and perhaps not receiving correct veterinarian attention? At what point should someone report what seems to be a bad situation? The animals are then removed to a pet rescue or animal shelter. What is next for the former pets, who are now up for grabs? Most would like to tell themselves that someone would open their home and provide space for these cats or dogs.

People who take too many animals don't usually have the intention of foolishly breeding pets for money. It turns out it is often a case of attempting to house the unwanted dogs and cats.

Is there an answer to this problem? If there is, I have not heard it expressed.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Finding a veterinarian while traveling.

A veterinarian may be a life saver for your dog or cat if you are traveling, and your pet becomes ill. When we travel with dogs, we bring all papers that pertain to the animals with us. This is very important. A veterinarian needs to know any health issues your dog or cat has been treated for. A vet also needs to know what your pet typically eats, and any preventive products you are using, including flea and tick products.

To find a veterinarian when you are in a town you are not familiar with, ask anyone you have contact with. This can be a person who works in a local pharmacy, or someone who works at the hotel where you are staying.

If you are using pet insurance, you should be able to call the insurance company you use for a name and phone number. Sometimes this in itself makes the fees for pet insurance worth the money.

Next, check the phone book. Don't be attracted to the biggest advertisement. Go with your instinct. All veterinarians who treat small animals have been trained for years to do just that. Some veterinarians will advertise that emergency visits are an option. Also, some veterinarians specialize in emergency treatment, and you will see this in the ad. Usually there will be a separate phone number for calls when the office is closed.

Still not comfortable with what you are finding? Call your pet's current veterinarian. He or she may have a suggestion for you. The important thing is that your find someone to treat your sick pet as fast as you can. Don't put treatment off until you return to your home territory if you feel something unusual is happening with your cat or dog. Especially when you are traveling, animals can come in contact with something they should not have, and thinking quickly can save a pet's life.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Getting the fleas out of your house!

Your dog had fleas! Your cat had fleas! You handled that, and your pets are flea free. But, what about your house?

Some feel the best thing to do after a the flea circus has been banned from dogs is to treat the area with a anti-flea bomb. How will you know what will work until you try something?

Never having to deal with this problem, I can't tell you what will be the best for your situation. What I can tell you is, one of the reasons we might not have fleas in our home is that our pets are treated to prevent an infestation. Also, we do not have carpets because we have pets. I do understand that fleas and ticks are a common problem in whatever area I happen to travel to. I imagine it is just part of living on earth, and it happens to be that where animals, grass, or sand is part of the landscape, fleas and ticks will remain.

When deciding to use a preventive treatment for your pets, do so with caution. The intention is to protect the pet from the misery of being a host to uninvited guests. Keeping the house flea free will be easier if you follow some of these steps:

1) Bathe dogs before applying a preventive treatment.

2) Wash all of the dog's bedding, blankets, and towels the same day. This will at least give you a jump on anything not seen by you, but that is waiting to attack your clean pet.

3) If you have seen fleas in your home, use a flea bomb or whatever is recommended by your
pet's veterinarian or by a trusted employee at a pet supply store.

4) Brushing your pets daily will help you determine if something is living on your dog or cat.

A flea or tick concern is not new to anyone with cats or dogs. These pests can make our pets miserable, and cause serious illness. Do your best to keep fleas out of your house, and away from your furry companions.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Handling jealous dogs.

Jealous dogs can keep their owners busy. What causes a dog to become jealous, and demand more attention from it's human?

If you share your home with another human, or have other pets, you already know why your dog may be jealous. It won't take long for you to realize your dog needs more from you.

Jealous dogs behave in such a way as to let you know something is wrong. Some will bark continually, demanding extra attention now, not five minutes from now. Others will look they are sulking, and seem lethargic.

Jealous dogs can usually be soothed with some extra pats to the head. While you are talking with humans, pat the dog occasionally to assure it you are aware they are there. If you have more than one pet, you may need to have the jealous pet sit on your lap while you are giving attention to another pet.

Sometimes jealous pets can be trained to stop the disruptive behavior of dancing for attention, crying, or barking by keeping it busy. If the dog can get involved with a game of fetch, or be taken for separate walks, it may soon behave as if it has enough attention. There are always dogs that will want to be leader of the pack, demanding more attention from you. We would enjoy hearing comments on how others handle this.

Jealous dogs probably should not be scolded for such behavior. They have feelings they need to express, and without words, how would you know they need more of you? So, when you hear the familiar groan, see the dance, or low waging tail, consider giving extra brushings or other attention to satisfy the needs of the dog.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Choosing the best dog breed for a family.

Choosing a dog for your family can be fun or be stressful-it's up to you! To make a choice when picking a dog, decide how you will be able to care for a dog. Do you have room for the large dog you really want? What about a budget? Can you afford a large dog, or does your budget require you to skip having a pet for now?

Before you do anything, consider the fact that a living, breathing being may become a part of your life for 15 years or more. How will this work with the life you have now? If this thought scares you, don't add a dog or any other pet to your family.

If you choose a dog that is small, realize it may have it's own set of issues. Some small dogs tend to have illnesses and frailties larger dogs do not. However, smaller dogs cost less to feed, are easier to tend to, and may be the answer.

When choosing a dog, also consider the personality of certain breeds. Some professional breeders, trainers, and veterinarians will tell you to avoid high maintenance dogs if you have children at home. If you do choose a dog that is protective of you, and considers you to be it's master, it may continually bark and attempt to bite anyone who comes near you. Can you survive living with a dog like this.

Once you have decided which dog breed you want, decide where you will get your dog. There are many pet rescues that offer dogs of all breeds. Usually animal rescues have older dogs that have been trained. Getting an older dog allows you to enjoy your pet immediately without the burden of having to deal with house breaking your new friend.

Dogs are always available at local shelters. Think about the fact that you may save a dog's life by taking it into your home from a shelter. Shelters often have enough information about the dog you choose to make you comfortable with you decision.

Remember, you may want pet insurance for your dog. Consider a crate for training. What about bowls, food, a lead, toys-an appointment with a groomer, and a visit to the veterinarian. You'll be a little busy in the beginning.

No matter which dog breed you choose to bring into your family space, remember, a house is just a house without a pet.

Photo property of Tas Anthony

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Helping pets by donating.

Helping pets by donating to an organization is not a new idea. Here's the challenge when trying to do this: How do we know who will do the best job with the money we want to give?

We can always search online to see who helps pets the most with the money received. There still may be questions, as we may think we want our money spent a certain way. So, what will you do with the dollars you are giving? Which pet group will you help?

Some feel helping pets by donating to a pet rescue is the best way to go. Others want to donate to a county or city run organization. Of course, a small group that is not run for profit may not give you as many answers about what the plan is for you tax deductible donation. If this doesn't matter to you, then don't give it a thought.

Helping pets by donating money or products is a great thing to do no matter where you donate. If you are not certain about a group, donate elsewhere. Understand your donations of pet products or food will always be used on behalf of the pets. Cash is another story. You don't have as much control over what is done with money once it leaves your hands. However, know that none of these groups can operate without electricity, water, a veterinarian, and square footage.

After you have searched online, and checked within your community to see where the places are to donate, make a choice. Helping pets by donating is only one way to make a difference. You can also adopt a pet, or foster a pet. If this is something you might like to do, check with a pet rescue to see where the need is. You will never be sorry that you helped a furry friend.