Similar to canine parvovirus in symptoms, the illness first appeared in Otsego County in northern Michigan, but has spread further north, animal experts in the state say.
Parvo is a highly contagious viral disease of dogs that causes acute gastrointestinal illness in puppies, according to the Baker Institute for Animal Health. The disease, often fatal, most often strikes in pups between 6 and 20 weeks old, but older animals are sometimes also affected.
The new unidentified virus is suspected to have come from Louisiana. It kills dogs within days of symptoms, Hicks told the outlet.
How many dogs died? What symptoms did they have?
More than 30 dogs had died of the disease in Clare County alone as of Thursday, Hicks said. It’s not yet known how the virus spreads.
“It is a virus much like parvo, possibly a different strain” said Melissa FitzGerald, director of Otsego County Animal Shelter in Gaylord, Michigan, about 50 miles south of Mackinaw City.
Symptoms, she said, include bloody diarrhea, vomiting and lethargy.
What dogs are affected by the virus?
The virus affects puppies and older dogs, and when the animals are tested by veterinarians, the initial test for parvo is negative, FitzGerald told USA TODAY.
Usually, the dogs die within three to five days.
As of Monday, FitzGerald said, no dogs at the Otsego County shelter, 70 miles north of Clare County, had contracted the virus.
Most of the dogs who have contracted the illness have been under the age of 2, the Otsego County Animal Shelter posted on Facebook, and some of the dogs were vaccinated.
FitzGerald said some of the dogs have been sent to The Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory for a necropsy.
“The necropsy does show parvo,” she said. “The State vets office is hoping to learn more and come up with a defense as we get more specimens (either necropsies or fecal matter).”
The shelter has been in close contact with veterinarians in Gaylord, Traverse City, Grayling, Mancelona and Indian River trying to find a solution, but there is currently no cure.
Jane Sykes, professor of medicine and epidemiology at University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, said that as of Monday she had not heard of any similar cases in California.
“However, there are outbreaks like this that occur periodically,” Sykes told USA TODAY. “Sometimes it is a new pathogen, sometimes a combination of pathogens together with stressors in shelter environments, sometimes it can relate to diagnostic test problems, or problems with vaccination protocols.”
How to keep your dog safe from a parvolike virus
In an effort to avoid the virus, FitzGerald said pet owners should get their pets vaccinated.
“If you don’t know if your dog is properly vaccinated or you don’t know what properly vaccinated is, contact a veterinarian,” FitzGerald said.
She also recommended keeping pets away from other dogs or areas where a lot of dogs have been, including dog parks.
Amy Shojai and her pets By Amy Shojai February 06, 2020
These are the behavioral changes to look for and what you can do to help, according to veterinary experts.
Today, advances in veterinary care mean our cats and dogs live longer, healthier lives than ever before. And just like in people, aging brains means some memory loss. But a percentage of old dogs and senior cats develop more severe signs of dementia, or cognitive dysfunction. These pets suffer from a condition that mirrors some aspects of human Alzheimer’s disease, including behaviors described as “sundowning.”
Signs of Sundowning
Signs of cat and dog cognitive dysfunction can be vague and confusing, and many of these symptoms mimic other disease conditions. Common issues fall under five broad categories listed in the acronym “DISHA.” Look for the following: disorientation, interaction changes, sleep changes, housetraining issues, and anxiety or compulsive behaviors. Disorientation means your pet wanders aimlessly, acts lost and confused, may not recognize family members or other familiar people and places, and gets “stuck” in corners or lost in the house. Interaction changes refers to behaviors such as your pet no longer greeting family members, dislikes or avoids petting, is not as interested in getting attention, and displays interaction changes with other pets. In terms of sleep changes, look for signs such as your pet being awake and active at night, meaning that sleep cycles are disrupted or reversed. Another sign is that housetraining has been forgotten—dogs forget to ask to go out and cats can’t find their litter box. Last, looking for anxiety or compulsive behaviors. Your pet may show tremors, howling, repetitive pacing, licking the floor or other objects, circling, or tail chasing.
When a Pet Might Develop Sundowning
Dr. Benjamin Hart, a veterinary behaviorist and Professor Emeritus at University of California-Davis, says that canine cognitive disorder has long been recognized. He explains that dogs, similarly to people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, develop a beta amyloid pathology in the brain. This is a starch-like protein that becomes waxy once deposited in the tissues. Thirty percent of dogs aged 11 to 12 had one or more symptom. Sixty-eight percent of the 15 to 16-year-old dogs had one or more symptom.
More recently, the condition has also been recognized in cats. “You’re more likely to see it in 15-year-old and older cats,” says Gary Landsberg, DVM, a veterinary behaviorist in Thornhill, Ontario. He authored one of the first research papers on cats that concluded, in part, that as many as 80 percent of cats he sees that are over the age of 16 show signs of senility. Like affected humans and dogs, cats with cognitive dysfunction also have deposits of amyloid material in the brain.
Diagnosing Cognitive Dysfunction
It’s important to diagnose cognitive dysfunction correctly. Behavior changes in your aging pet often have other causes. A break in housetraining might be due to kidney disease or diabetes. An old cat’s yowls could be due to age-related deafness, or hypertension. Disorientation and personality changes could also point to a brain tumor or neurological disruptions from liver disease. Diagnosis relies on eliminating other causes. According to a report by Washington State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital, veterinarians believe as many as 85 percent of pets suffering with age-related senility are never diagnosed. Sadly, many are euthanized when behaviors become unacceptable.
How You Can Help Your Sundowning Pet
There are veterinary prescriptions, over-the-counter diets, and pet supplements that may offer a reprieve. Memory games also help, as well as maintaining routine, reducing stress, and enriching the environment perhaps with a special bed for your aging dog. The human medicine selegiline hydrochloride (Anipryl) has been FDA-approved to treat canine cognitive disorder. Anipryl may work to prevent ongoing damage to the brain. It acts on one of the neurotransmitters responsible for nerve-to-nerve communication and slows the natural destruction of the chemical compound dopamine in the brain. Dr. Landsberg says the medicine works very well in about one third of cases, nominally well in another one third, and not at all in the final percentage of dogs. Although not FDA-approved for cats, it has been used off-label with some success in aging felines, too. Pets need to be on the drug for about four weeks before any results can be expected.
A natural component of some foods—called phospholipids—can help reverse signs of cognitive disorders by helping brain cells send and receive nerve impulses more effectively. Choline and phosphatidylcholine, two common message-sending compounds, are found in a dietary supplement called Cholodin, which is a less expensive alternative to Anipryl. The products are available through your veterinarian and come in a pill form or powder to be mixed into the food.
Some specialized therapeutic diets are now available that also help temporarily reverse brain aging changes. Diets containing alternative energy sources such as fatty acids from medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) may prove beneficial in offsetting cognitive decline. Hemp supplement products also may help dogs—however, they must avoid the potential toxic components of the herb found in some human products. Hemp can be used to aid in decreasing the severity of dementia. Ask your veterinarian if this supplement may benefit your pet.
As with humans, it’s important to keep dogs active and mentally engaged. That can help slow or even prevent some of the “brain rust” that slows down cognitive abilities. Teach tricks and practice obedience drills and offer interactive puzzle toys. That exercises not only his body, but his mind, and preserves the bond of love you’ve developed together. The old saying, “use it or lose it!” applies equally to cat brains. Offer stimulating views such as bird feeders outside windows. Teach your cat tricks, or to walk on a leash. And offer puzzle toys that reward the cat’s interest by dispensing food. This can mimic feline hunting behaviors and keep the cat entertained and mentally sharp. These options work best in combination, but still offer only a temporary fix, not a cure. Reversing the signs for months or a year or more is priceless when it extends your beloved pet’s life.
Since cats descended from desert wildcats, their thirst drive is naturally low, meaning they typically don’t drink enough water. These clever tips will get your furry friend hydrated in no time.
Just as your body needs enough water to function properly, so too do your four-legged companions. While dogs typically stay well hydrated, most cats don’t drink enough. “Our domestic cats evolved from Middle Eastern desert wildcats, so it’s likely their thirst drive is naturally low,” says Carly Fox, DVM, senior veterinarian at Schwarzman Animal Medical Center. She adds that cats are also very particular, and can sometimes be turned off to certain water sources, or even where the water is placed. Despite having low thirst requirements, it’s important for your feline to stay hydrated.
“Cats are prone to kidney disease, constipation, and urinary tract disease,” says Dr. Fox. “Keeping our feline friends hydrated can prevent the onset of these diseases.” Since cats don’t typically drink enough water on their own, Dr. Fox highlights a few clever ways to get your furry pal to stay hydrated.
If your cat isn’t drinking from their designated dish, try diversifying the way in which you’re providing them water. For example, perhaps one dish is filled with standing water and the other option is a fountain. “Offering cats running water can sometimes turn their water drinking habits around,” Dr. Fox says. “Even if your cat is not immediately interested, keep the fountain around so your cat can acclimate.” Pro tip: If they already have an affinity for your shower or running faucet, your furry friend will likely enjoy a fountain to drink from.
Place a bowl away from their food.
It’s possible your feline may not be drinking its water because he isn’t fond of its location in your home. “Some cats are turned off by water adjacent to food, since their instinct tells them that it may be contaminated,” Dr. Fox says. “Keeping another option in a different location gives them a ‘clean’ choice.”
Add food into their diet.
Have you ever wondered if you should be feeding your cat a mixture of dry and wet food? One reason feline owners do this is to increase their cat’s water intake. “Wet food is made up of about 70 percent water as opposed to dry food, which is only 10 percent,” Dr. Fox says. “This alone allows your pet to get a large part of their daily water needs through their food.”
In addition to giving them a can of tuna or salmon here and there, you can also add more water to their food—whether it is wet or dry. Additionally, Dr. Fox says you can make your cat’s water more palatable by adding a small amount of tuna water or chicken broth to it.
Keep their water dish clean.
You wouldn’t want to drink out of a dirty cup of water, and neither does your cat. Like people, cats are very discerning creatures, Dr. Fox notes. Hair or soaked kibble in their dish can easily turn your feline off—so keep it pristine. “The water should be changed daily, and more often if noticeably soiled. The water bowl should be properly cleaned one to two times a week,” she says.
Try a new bowl.
Some cats are particular when it comes to the type of water dish they drink out of. “I recommend a stainless or ceramic bowl. These are less prone to bacterial contamination,” Dr. Fox says. “Plastic dishes have also been linked to feline acne—a non-contagious skin condition—so they should be avoided, if possible.” Your four-legged friend may also not like their water dish if it’s too small and shallow, as drinking from it may constantly stimulate their whiskers and cause sensory overload. “If your cat seems reluctant to certain shaped bowls, you can try whisker-friendly bowls, which tend to be wider and shallower.”
Any dog food can contain hidden flaws and defects.
Too much of one nutrient…
Too little of another.
Or the food may contain hidden toxins or industrial contaminants.
Imperfections not yet discovered by the manufacturer.
Or the FDA.
And you’d never even know it.
The effect of consuming any defective food tends to be magnified… whenever you feed the same food… continuously.
Day-after-day. For a lifetime.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most common questions we get about diet rotation for dogs.
What is diet rotation?
Unlike a conventional feeding plan where the same food is served at each meal, diet rotation involves intentionally switching your dog’s food on a planned schedule.
Why should I consider diet rotation for my dog?
Since there’s no such thing as a perfect dog food, it’s reasonable to assume every product you buy is deficient (or excessive) in some crucial way.
By periodically switching dog foods, the unhealthy consequences of serving the same imperfect products can be minimized.
Isn’t changing my dog’s diet dangerous?
Diet rotation is not for every dog. That’s because some animals can’t tolerate diet changes as easily as others. While others are on special “prescription” diets that should not be switched without the advice of your dog’s vet.
In any case…
We’ve never been able to find a single scientific study proving diet rotation to be unhealthy or detrimental to a dog.
Does diet rotation mean mixing 2 dog foods and serving them at the same meal?
No. The benefits of diet rotation are optimized only when cycling between different products on a periodic basis.
How often should dog foods be switched?
There’s no rotation feeding plan that works better than the others. It all depends on your own personal feeding preferences.
Some dog parents switch foods monthly. Others more frequently. Most prefer to empty one bag of kibble before beginning the next.
Is there a downside to diet rotation?
There are 2 potential problems with diet rotation…
Maintaining product freshness
Since some dogs have sensitive stomachs, the potential for GI upset can be an issue for certain pets.
And because alternating between two or more kibbles can make each bag take longer to use up, it can be difficult to maintain the freshness of each product.
How can I switch to a new food without getting my dog sick?
In the following short video…
Dr. Gary Richter shares a simple feeding tip that can help lower your dog’s risk of getting sick when you switch to a new food.
It’s best to switch your dog to new food gradually.
Start by mixing 20% “new” with 80% “old” food. Then, slowly increase that amount to a full 100%… over the next 8 to 9 days. Schedule Old Food New Food Days 1 and 2 80% 20% Days 3 and 4 60% 40% Days 5 and 6 40% 60% Days 7 and 8 20% 80% Day 9 0% 100%
Be patient and don’t rush the process. Take your time to minimize the chance of GI upset.
The following top picks were selected from our best dog food pages. None are known as repeat offenders when it comes to recalls… or other matters of product safety.
March is National Pet Poison Prevention Month and also offers a good way to help educate pet owners on the dangers of accidental pet poisonings and how to prevent them.
Spring is in the air, and so are some hidden dangers lurking in your yard that could be deadly to your four-legged family members.
You know when warmer weather is approaching by the constant puppy-eye look begging for more time outside. And with thrills of chasing squirrels and warding off the mail carrier comes more danger from the ground they guard.
March is National Pet Poison Prevention Month and also offers an excellent way to help educate pet owners on the dangers of accidental pet poisonings and how to prevent them.
Every year the Animal Poison Control Center with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals compiles its data from the calls received about pets exposed to toxins and releases the top 10 categories of potential poisons.
One-tenth of those calls were related to indoor and outdoor plant ingestion. Rodenticides, insecticides and garden products were also most frequent.
Avoid toxic plants
Many common plants can be harmful to pets like azaleas, rhododendrons, yews, English Ivy, daffodils and tulips.
“Bulbs of tulips, daffodils, hyacinths can cause all sorts of issues from gastric upset to heart problems for our dogs,” said Lindsey Wolko, founder of the Center for Pet Safety.
If your dog likes to dig, you should keep bulbs out of the landscape.
Easter lilies are exceptionally toxic to cats. Their leaves, flowers, pollen and stems can cause kidney failure.
(Linda Davidson/The Washington Post / Getty Images)
Lilies will also start growing soon, and they are exceptionally toxic to cats.
“Their leaves, flowers, pollen and stems can cause kidney failure,” Wolko said. “Easter lilies will also be available at your local stores for those that celebrate the holiday. If you have cats, you won’t want to bring lilies home.”
Mulches and landscape invaders
“Some wild mushrooms are toxic, and yet somehow our dogs are attracted to dangerous fungi,” Wolko said.
If you see mushrooms growing in your yard, remove them promptly. Plants with thorns can also harm paw pads and result in eye issues.
Horticulture agent Dennis Patton of the Johnson County K-State Research and Extension recommends using natural wood mulches and avoiding cocoa mulches. Dyes can also cause issues depending on the pet.
Fertilizers, pesticides and compost
Springtime fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides used to boost blooming for flowers or lawn applications can be harmful to pets.
The chemicals can irritate your pet’s paws or nasal passages, or if ingested, they can be toxic.
“In some cases, when you’re not certain, it’s best to rinse and dry their paws at the end of the walk. The company that manufactures or applies these chemicals to your lawn should have material safety data sheets and guidance for those that have pets,” Wolko said.
You might consider avoiding using such chemicals if possible or using alternative controls.
You know when warmer weather is approaching by the constant puppy-eye look begging for more time outside.
(Paul Zinken / Getty Images)
“Make sure you secure the lid to any compost bins around your yard to keep pets out and potentially consuming materials in the bin,” Patton said.
Spring is also the time of year when neighbors may put out poisons for rodents.
“If your pet consumes a poisoned rodent, they too ingest the toxic substance. Be vigilant and inspect your surrounding yard and walking path frequently,” Wolko said.
Contact your veterinarian or emergency vet if you suspect that your pet has ingested a poison or toxic plant.
Ticks, misquotes and fleas
As spring arrives, keep the grass mown and remove any weedy growth and leaf litter around the yard. These conditions can increase tick and flea populations. You should also avoid any standing water which breeds misquotes.
Besides the obvious in providing plenty of fresh water and shade, you need to establish boundaries with pets and adequately train them to respect the landscape.
Patton suggests shielding or protecting any prized or toxic plants from pets and providing a safe space for play and exercise.
“Create pathways in the garden for pets, and you are a must,” Patton said.
Another area worth creating is an outdoor potty area using pea gravel which acts as kitty litter for your dog. It drains well and won’t wash away in the rain or blow away in heavy winds.
According to the Veterinary nurse’s website, CIRDC is a highly contagious disease transmissible via the oronasal route, inhalation, and direct contact.
“A disease that is caused by multiple viruses and bacteria that pretty much infect the respiratory tract of dogs and can cause pretty severe infection including pneumonia,” said Miami-Dade County Animal Services Chief Veterinarian Dr. Maria Serrano.
Recently there have been many cases of CIRDC reported throughout South FL. We urge dog owners to help protect their pets from the spread of the virus by visiting their veterinarian, keeping their dogs current on routine vaccines, & avoiding settings with multiple dogs. pic.twitter.com/7tTUlaxTwn
A recent increase in the number of Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex cases across South Florida has one county warning dog owners to be on the lookout.
Miami-Dade Animal Services is urging owners to help protect their pets from the spread of the virus by keeping dogs on current vaccine routines, avoiding dog parks or other areas with multiple dogs, and with visits to their veterinarian.
MDAS is also suspending spay and neuter surgeries along with vaccinations and microchipping at its Wellness Clinic, owner surrender and offsite pet adoption events.
CIRDC is highly contagious and can pose a serious health risk to dogs. The disease can spread rapidly among dogs that are housed together or those in close proximity to each other such as in kennels, dog parks or grooming facilities.
CIRDC is spread by direct contact with an infected dog and by contact with people who have been exposed to the virus. The virus can be carried on people’s clothing, hands, and on items such as food and water bowls, collars, leashes, toys, and bedding.
Coughing dogs produce virus-containing mists that can travel 20 feet or more. Symptoms include coughing, sneezing, and discharge from the nose and/or eyes.
If you think your dog is showing signs of CIRDC, contact your vet immediately. The virus is easily killed by most disinfectants, handwashing with soap, washing clothes and bedding, along with washing food bowls and toys.
Animalcouriers is offering free road transport for Ukrainian family pets from Poland to the UK (or to other selected locations on the route, such as Frankfurt, Brussels and Paris).
Our idea is to transport pets for owners who’ve had to leave Ukraine and are making their own way to the UK (or to other destinations on the route).
For all pets, we need to know what veterinary records are available. For dogs, cats and ferrets, we need to know if they have microchips and current rabies vaccinations.
UK entry requirements
To enter the UK, dogs, cats and ferrets will need microchips, current rabies vaccinations and EU pet passports. We can help organise all these steps. Once an EU pet passport is issued, the pet has to wait three weeks before it can enter the UK. We can organise boarding at Calais for those pets, and collect them once their passports become valid for UK entry.
Eurostar doesn’t take pets
Pet owners should be aware that pets aren’t allowed on Eurostar trains. For Ukrainian owners planning to use Eurostar to travel to London, we can offer collection of their pets at continental European locations for onward travel by road to the UK.
Make an enquiry
To enquire about this service, please email email@example.com and put ‘Ukrainian pet travel from Poland’ in the subject line of your email.
Information for people leaving Ukraine with their pets
The situation for people leaving Ukraine with their pets is evolving. Poland, for example, is allowing all pets into the country, whether or not they have microchips, rabies vaccinations or any form of pet passport.
Other EU countries are accepting pets at border crossings and many are taking the same approach as Poland. They’re making exceptions to their usual rules about dogs, cats and ferrets needing microchips, rabies vaccinations and pet passports. In some cases, the arrival country is microchipping and vaccinating such pets on arrival.
IFAW, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, is responding to the situation in Ukraine by providing emergency animal aid to the country. It’s also gathering and verifying resources for pet owners fleeing Ukraine.
Check back regularly as the situation is dynamic and resources may be changed or added.
UK entry requirements
Owners of dogs, cats and ferrets travelling from Ukraine should bear in mind that, to enter the UK, their pets will need microchips, current rabies vaccinations, successful rabies titre tests, and EU pet passports.
Eurostar doesn’t take pets
Pet owners travelling from Ukraine should be aware that Eurostar trains don’t allow any animals on board.
Ask if we can help
Animalcouriers is here to help. Families leaving Ukraine (or their representatives) can contact us for advice about their individual situation and to see whether our road transport services within the EU might be appropriate for their pets.
My name is Bella, and I am a Biology student who happens to be blind.
O’Hara is a guide dog, who helps me navigate daily life. We have been a team since 2018, and O’Hara has spent my entire 4 year college career with me and has attended every class and lecture that I did. We both graduate in May, 2022.
My hope is for O’Hara to receive an honorary degree from our college. This would not only have meaning to me personally, but it would also have meaning to her social media supporters who have been following our college life and are wondering if she will also get a diploma. It will also mean a lot to her puppy raisers and Guiding Eyes for the Blind, where she was trained. This would be a lighthearted choice for the school to show support for how hard service dogs work and a cute way to acknowledge her attendance.
Please help O’Hara receive her own little diploma this upcoming May!
December 1, 2021 — Livia Global, Inc. of Visalia, CA, is recalling two lots of its BioLifePet Liquid Probiotics due to the possibility of contamination with Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria.
The image above was not included in the company’s original recall notice. It is offered here in good faith by The Dog Food Advisor in an effort to help readers identify the affected product.
What Is Pseudomonas?
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a potentially dangerous, disease-causing bacterium found in the environment. If ingested, Pseudomonas can cause a life-threatening infection in immune-compromised individuals.
Pseudomonas infections are generally limited to hospital settings.
This recall event only affects the following products with the Lot# 001005-1 Best by: 04/2023 as well as LiviaOne Nasal Probiotics with Lot# 010620-1 Best by 08/2023 with the following ship dates:
Lot numbers are located on the side of the bottle and on the bottom of the outer container in which the product is sold. (See below)
No other lots or ship dates or any other LiviaOne products are affected by this recall.
These products are distributed nationwide through Amazon, wholesale, and direct sales from the company’s website.
Editor’s Note: We find this FDA announcement to be confusing in that it appears to contain both human and pet products together on the same page.
Message from the Company
The company discovered the potential issue during routine 3rd party laboratory testing, which is part of Livia Global’s quality assurance procedures and safety protocols and decided to take this precautionary measure.
Even though the company has not received a direct complaint from using their products, we felt compelled to do this out of abundance of caution.
According to Chief Operations Officer, Deborah Moreno…
“We apologize for any concern or inconvenience this situation causes our customers and are here to support them… Livia Global is dedicated to the safety, health and welfare of its customers above all else. We continue to invest in the safety and quality protocols to ensure we produce only the best products.”
What to Do?
The company is asking consumers who have product from the above-mentioned Lot and ship dates to dispose of products.
Impacted consumers may contact Livia Global Customer Care to request a full refund (please have order # available), see contact information provided below.
For more information, please contact Deborah Moreno, Livia Global via phone, 1-559-372-8593 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hours of operations are from 8:30AM – 4:30PM PST Monday – Friday.
Most of us look forward to the festive period, however, for cats Christmas may be a time of stress and risk of injury.
As a species cats enjoy routine and are sensitive to changes in their environment, making the celebrations challenging. In addition, the season means certain toxic plants and food may be accessible to curious cats. At International Cat Care we have consulted veterinary members to ask them what injuries they see at this time of year. Based on this information and with the input of the Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS) this article offers advice on what to keep out of reach and what to do to minimise the disruption to keep our cats happy this Christmas.
Poinsettia (Figure 1) is often mentioned as a potentially poisonous plant but its reputation is perhaps unfair. The Veterinary Poisons Information Service inform us that in over half the cases of pets eating Poinsettia plants reported to them, the cat or dog shows no signs of illness. Nevertheless it is still a good idea to keep the plant out of reach. In addition, Mistletoe, Holly, Ivy and Christmas Cherry can cause a tummy upset and should be kept away from inquisitive cats.
Figure 1: Poinsettia
Many cat owners have had the experience of their cat climbing the Christmas tree and it falling over. Usually both are unharmed but it is worth considering securing the tree to avoid this. Injuries are reported from falling from Christmas trees and from the resulting smashed baubles, with glass ones particularly sharp when broken. Ingestion of Christmas tree needles and the fake snow applied to them can cause stomach upset and other decorations can be ingested resulting in a ‘foreign body’ (see later – abnormal material that can get stuck in the cat’s digestive system). Chewing of lights and wires can be a problem, especially for nosy kittens and it is not uncommon for cats to pass urine just where you don’t want them to i.e. the tree, potentially a problem if electric plugs and wires are exposed. This can be a sign of stress so read on for techniques to reduce the anxiety cats may suffer at this time of year.
At this time of celebration food may be left out with left-overs within reach. We traditionally worry about dogs and chocolate toxicity, but what about cats? Chocolate is also toxic to cats, although the amount a cat needs to eat to make them ill is a lot higher than for dogs. Signs of chocolate poisoning including being sick and passing diarrhoea, drinking a lot, appearing drunk, trembling or even having a fit. Hopefully a cat’s lesser interest in sweet treats means this risk is small.
Similarly, grapes and raisins, known for causing kidney damage in dogs, may affect cats but poisoning is much less common. The VPIS would however advise treatment of cats known to have eaten these foods, and suggest that for example mince pies are not left out. If you think your cat has eaten such food, contact your vet and encourage them to call the VPIS for advice. On the subject of food it may be tempting to treat your cat this Christmas, perhaps extra cat treats or some scraps from the Christmas dinner. While a little left-over turkey will be enjoyed by the majority of cats without harm, excessive treats and human food could make a cat poorly so do try and stick to their normal feeding routine at this time of year; they won’t know they are missing out! Another hazard can be cooked poultry bones – they are hard for cats to digest and can get stuck in the digestive system so make sure your cats can’t raid the bin after the Christmas lunch.
One of our vets reported seeing a cat with a singed tail from Hannukkah menorah candles and certainly exposed candles can be a hazard to cats who tend to jump onto windowsills and mantelpieces where candles are placed. As elevated locations are still accessible to most cats, candles should be kept where you can keep an eye on them or left off the Christmas list.
Festive foreign bodies
‘Foreign bodies’ is the term used to describe non-food items that have become lodged in a cat’s body, often the digestive tract, and we have looked at them in a previous topic in our Keeping Cats Safe campaign. They are less common in cats than in dogs, but we were surprised by the number reported by our veterinary members. When we asked them about Christmas hazards this was the most commonly reported medical issue linked to the season. ‘Linear foreign bodies’, those string or string-like materials causing a problem, appear to be the most common and so tinsel, lametta (the long decorative strips of tinsel) and string (around meat or used to hang decorations) were common culprits. One of our vet members reported removing a sticky mass of sellotape from a cat’s intestine in June that had been there since Christmas, evidenced by the adhered Holly leaves visible in places! As mentioned above, cooked poultry bones may also result in injury. If your cat is seen chewing the tinsel or any other string like material, prevent their access if possible and keep an eye on your pet for signs of illness. These signs can be subtle in cats and include simply sleeping more, hiding away and being sick or refusing food. Consult your vet if you are worried about your pet and do mention any non-food material you have seen your cat chewing.
How to make Christmas less stressful for cats
This time of year means lots of changes to a home, and for cats who often thrive on predictability, routine and the perceived safety of their territory (their home and garden), this can be distressing. The furniture is often moved around, the tree is brought in, lights and decorations are put up, music is played, all making their home look, sound and smell different. In addition, unfamiliar people, and worse still unfamiliar dogs, may visit the house or even stay, again at variable times, interrupting the normal routine. In order to minimise distress during this season consider the following:
Ensure your cat has several safe and comfortable places to hide and get away from the noise and hustle and bustle. A cardboard box or igloo bed above the wardrobe or under the bed can provide security. If new beds are added to the home at this time, make them smell familiar by adding bedding already used by your cat.
Advise visitors not to approach the cat if it is in its bed, but only to stroke the cat if it initiates contact. Visiting children may be keen to see and cuddle the cat but gentle stroking on the cat’s initiation must be insisted upon.
Guests can be given cat treats and toys to help teach the cat positive associations with the new people.
Ensure there is always an open door to allow the cat to get away from any noisy parties or dinners to a quieter part of the home.
Consider plugging in a ‘Feliway’ diffuser into the room the cat spends most time in, several days before the festivities begin. This product (available from your vet) contains feline pheromones which can help the cat feel more secure. Ensure it is switched on continually throughout the festive season.
If visitors are sleeping in one of the rooms the cat usually uses, for example, for sleeping, eating or toileting, be sure to provide the required resources (beds, food or litter tray) in other, quieter parts of the house and, ideally, before the visitors arrive so that changes occur gradually and the cat is comfortable with the new location.
If the cat’s litter tray is positioned in a place that will mean more people traffic or noise during the Christmas period, it is good practice to provide an additional litter tray in a quieter part of the home.
If the cat is particularly sound sensitive, avoid crackers and party poppers.
If a dog is visiting it may be helpful to restrict its access to the cats retreat areas using, for example, baby gates on the stairs.
The Christmas season is a time for celebration but don’t forget your cat this year. Simple changes can keep them safe and make them feel more secure during the festive period.
Volmer PA. 2002 How dangerous are winter and spring holiday plants to pets?Vet Med 97 (12):879-884.
Marhold J. 1986 Prehled Prumyslove Toxikologie; Organicke Latky. Prague, Czechoslovakia, Avicenum, pp1372. Cited in: Theobromine. RTECS®: Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances. From MDL Information Systems, Inc. (electronic version). Thomson Micromedex, Greenwood Village, Colorado, USA.
Gwaltney-Brant S. 2001 Chocolate intoxication. Vet Med96 (2):108-111.
Catch up with our past Keeping Cats Safe topics here.
I am the feline behaviour specialist at feline charity ‘International Cat Care’. We are about engaging, educating and empowering people throughout the world to improve the health and welfare of cats by sharing advice, training and passion.
With the holidays coming upon us once again, and as such, I think it is necessary to remind guardians of their responsibility to keep their companions safe. With Thanksgiving meals, it’s wise not to give your companion any “turkey or chicken” bones. These items can splinter off and cause lacerations in your companion’s throat and stomach. Or will not pass through their intestine tract, causing severe blockages.
When it comes to Pumpkin pie, no companion animal should have any because it’s filled with sugar, which can cause stomach issues. However, if you want your companion to enjoy the holidays with you, there are plenty of safe food recipes for your companions to try.
Researchers have discovered that people may not recognize that their dog is stressed when exposed to common household noises. While it’s well-established that sudden loud noises, such as fireworks or thunderstorms, commonly trigger a dog’s anxiety, scientists now know that even common noises, such as a vacuum or microwave can be a trigger. Additionally, the research found that high-frequency, intermittent noises such as the battery warning of a smoke detector are more likely to cause a dog anxiety, rather than low-frequency, continuous noise.
Researchers conducted a survey of 386 dog owners about their dogs’ responses to household sounds and examined recorded dog behaviors and human reactions from 62 videos available online. The study found that owners not only underestimated their dogs’ fearfulness, but the majority of people in videos responded with amusement rather than concern over their dog’s welfare.
Some sounds painful for dogs
Because dogs have a wider range of hearing, some noises could also be potentially painful to a dog’s ears, such as very loud or high-frequency sounds. Minimizing exposure may be as simple as changing batteries more frequently in smoke detectors or removing a dog from a room where loud noises might occur.
Signs of anxiety
Some common signs of a dog’s anxiety include cringing, trembling, or retreating, but owners may be less able to identify signs of fear or anxiety when behaviors are more subtle. For example, stressed dogs could pant, lick their lips, turn their head away or even stiffen their body. Sometimes their ears will turn back, and their head will lower below their shoulders.
Families with dogs need to start paying attention to the subtle responses listed above to prevent their dogs from getting stressed out by household noises. Strategies include encouraging your dog to stay in a different part of the house while vacuuming and microwaving is going on; changing batteries in smoke alarms at the first signs of beeping; discouraging your dog from staying in small rooms where sounds from the television or music system may be loud; taking your dog to a quiet area when outdoor power tools are running or trash/recycling or other large trucks (especially with backup beeping noises) are nearby; keeping your dog in a quiet area during times you expect visitors who will ringing the doorbell; make a mental note of all the household products–like coffeemakers–that set off high-pitched beeping noises and encourage your dog to go to other rooms or outside when they are in use.
Journal Reference: Emma K. Grigg, Juliann Chou, Emily Parker, Anwyn Gatesy-Davis, Sara T. Clarkson, Lynette A. Hart. Stress-Related Behaviors in Companion Dogs Exposed to Common Household Noises, and Owners’ Interpretations of Their Dogs’ Behaviors. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 2021; 8 DOI: 10.3389/fvets.2021.760845
A high schooler from Minnesota is on a mission of providing mobility to animals with mobility challenges.
During her free time, Shaine Kilyun is building wheelchairs for animals in need. With no one to teach her, the 16-year-old relies on YouTube tutorials to perfect her technique. Her process and finished products become more refined as she makes more of these devices.
Each wheelchair is customized based on the animals’ specific needs. So far, Shaine has created customized mobility devices for dogs, cats, and, soon, a duck.
As she is self-taught, Shaine works on a trial-and-error basis. She has made wheelchairs for animals of all shapes and sizes—from a tiny Chihuahua to a huge Great Dane. She has also come up with a unique locomotion aid for a hedgehog!
As young as she is, Shaine is already doing fantastic work for these animals. The impact of her mission can’t be underestimated, especially because mobility can save animals from being euthanized. This young woman is literally saving lives, and she’s just getting started.
“I just love animals, and I wanted to make a difference somehow,” she told Fox 9. “I’ve saved a few lives, and I really hope to save more.”
Shaine has also launched Wheelies Dog and Cat Wheelchairs on Instagram to let the public know about her handmade and low-cost wheelchairs. Her main goal is to make these devices accessible, not to make a profit.
The teen charges only for the total cost of her materials, so her products are way more affordable than any of the mainstream wheelchairs you’d find on the market. On average, her wheelchairs cost only $300, while bigger companies offer similar devices for as high as $1,000.
Shaine hopes that the affordability of her creations will help pet owners provide their animals with a better quality of life. The teen has also been reaching out to shelters to see how she can help the animals there.
Before starting the build, Shaine needs to understand what the animal needs. Depending on their requirements, she provides front-support, full-support, and back-support models.
One of the recent recipients of Shaine’s custom wheelchairs was Scooter, a paraplegic dog who came here from Saudi Arabia via the Home For Life Sanctuary. The pup can’t use his legs, so he just drags his body forward, causing him to develop sores and lesions where his legs scrape the ground. This also puts him at risk of infection. Luckily, Shaine made him a special wheelchair.
Shaine shared photos of Scooter using his customized wheelchair on Instagram, and the pup was clearly loving it!
“This is absolutely INCREDIBLE!! I gave Scooter, who arrived from Saudi Arabia a special custom Wheelies wheelchair! It means the world to me,” she wrote.
Many people who have heard about Shaine’s mission for the animals are pitching in and helping raise funds for the teen so that she can continue her good work.
Lisa LaVerdiere, the founder and director of operations for Home for Life Sanctuary, said that the financial hardships caused by the pandemic have made it more difficult to raise money.
“It’s very hard to raise money in these times. So for her to make not one cart but two carts for us probably saved us close to $1,000,” LaVerdiere said.
She’s grateful to Shaine for the time and effort she has devoted into making these animals’ lives easier.
“A lot of people have reached out and donated, which is just incredible,” Shaine said.
If you want to help animals with special needs gain mobility, you can donate via Zelle to Wheeliesdogwheelchairs@gmail.com. Visit the Instagram page.
Thank you, Shaine, for this wonderful initiative! You can learn more about her project in the video below.
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Traveling with your cat can be a total pain, especially if she refuses to get inside her carrier.
All you want to do is make your cat comfortable in the very thing she needs for a safe ride in the car.
The Dodo spoke with Dr. Vanessa Spano, a veterinarian at Behavior Vets in New York City, to find out how to get your cat to actually enjoy her carrier.
Why your cat hates her carrier
The main reason your cat might dislike being in her carrier is because she associates it with things that aren’t exactly pleasant.
“Many times, it is because the only time they are placed in it [or] taken out of the house is to go to the vet’s, which is not always a fun experience for them,” Dr. Spano told The Dodo.
These negative associations could also include physical ailments, like car sickness.
“Additionally, if they are moved around a lot in the carrier or associate it with, for example, a car ride, and they experience motion sickness, they may associate being in there with not feeling well,” Dr. Spano explained.
It’s also possible that the carrier you have makes your cat physically uncomfortable.
So when you’re looking for a case, make sure you’re getting the right size.
“It should be large enough for your kitty to get up and turn around, or at least 1.5 [times] the length of the kitty from tip of the nose to their tail,” Dr. Spano said.
You also want to make sure your carrier will make your cat feel nice and secure.
According to Dr. Spano, the trick is to start with a clean slate.
“Get a brand-new, comfortable carrier, so that there are no pre-formed negative associations,” she said. “Associate this new carrier with only positive things, such as her favorite treats, toys, bedding, etc. This is to encourage her to investigate it on her own without being forced.”
As time has gone on throughout the pandemic, the chances are that your cat will have grown very close to you. This is because the transition towards working from home and the various periods of lockdown will have given you the opportunity to spend a lot more time together.
As such, now that more and more employers are starting to invite their employees back to the office, cat separation anxiety is a growing issue that many owners around the globe are likely to face over the coming months.
Whether you’re needing to leave them on their own for a few hours or over a much longer timeframe, separation anxiety can be a trying time for both you and your cat so we thought we’d try and help.
Join us as we run through some of the best ways to prevent your cat from feeling confused and disorientated after the pandemic, highlighting a few hints to keep separation anxiety at bay.
What is separation anxiety?
Before we get into the ins and outs of how to reduce cat separation anxiety, it’s important to first understand what exactly it is.
In simple terms, separation anxiety refers to the stress felt by pets when an animal is kept away from its owner. While it may bot rarer in cats than in other types of domestic animals, certain breeds – like Siamese, Burmese and house cats – are particularly prone to it.
What’s more, in light of the recent coronavirus pandemic, approximately 49% of cat owners are said to be concerned about separation anxiety becoming more and more of an issue moving forward.
This, coupled with the impact of COVID-19 on veterinary practices, is largely because of how overly attached and dependent their cats have become during the past few months, with many kittens bought during the pandemic unlikely to have encountered large periods of time without their owner before.
The key signs
Signs of separation anxiety can differ from cat to cat but, generally speaking, there are a few key ones to look out for. These include:
· Spraying. If your cat starts to feel stressed, they are more likely to start spraying – ejecting urine while having a rigid, yet slightly quivering tail.
· Constant meowing. If your cat is suddenly wanting a lot of attention and meowing more often than usual, this can be a sign of over-dependence, highlighting that they feel stressed when you aren’t at home.
· Grooming changes. When cats feel stressed, they will often change their grooming routine – either grooming themselves excessively or not much at all.
If you notice any of these changes in your cat’s behaviour, you should initially consult your vet for their advice. Then, using the tips below, you will be able to reduce the likelihood of separation anxiety becoming an issue moving forward.
1.Keep boredom at bay
While it may sound fairly obvious, the less bored your cat is, the less likely it will be to turn to its owner for stimulation. So, why not invest in a few ways to keep them entertained in your absence?
If your cat enjoys spending time outside, for example, encourage them to venture outdoors while you’re not there by investing in a cat flap.
When you think about it, how would you calm yourself down if you were stressed? Many of us would start by trying to create as relaxing an atmosphere as possible, so why not do the same for your cat?
In the same way lavender relaxes us, pheromone sprays and plug-ins are a great way of relaxing your pet. These devices use a man-made version of the substance that cats deposit when they rub their cheek on you or your furniture, helping them to feel more relaxed when they are surrounded by it.
3.Avoid getting another cat
While you may think that getting another cat will solve the problem of your cat feeling lonely without you around, it could actually make things worse.
This is because it can be difficult to confuse separation anxiety with loneliness – the reason for their stress is due to an over-attachment with their owner, rather than feeling lonely.
Therefore, regardless of whether there is another cat in the house or not, this feeling is unlikely to change. Plus, since cats are very territorial animals, they could become even more stressed with a new addition in their space.
While separation anxiety may be rare in cats, it’s important to be aware of the issue – especially now that the lockdown restrictions are being loosened.
However, as the points above should now prove, spotting the signs in advance and preventing the issue from manifesting into a bigger problem can be a lot easier than you might think.
If you’ve ever purchased a prescription for your dog at a regular people pharmacy, you might be in for a BIG surprise!
Many pet owners don’t realize that there are ways to save on pet prescriptions. Yes, and I mean WITHOUT insurance! You’ve probably realized that even if you have a good pet insurance policy, it’s unlikely to cover costly pet meds. This means that if you’re buying your dog’s prescription at a regular pharmacy, you’re likely paying a hefty price, since no insurance co-pays are involved. The iHeartDogs Rx Savings Card might just be a HUGE help!
What kind of medications are eligible for discounts?
Now let’s be upfront. The iHeartDogs Rx Savings Card will not help you if you’re buying a pet only medication (like flea or heartworm prevention) through an online only pharmacy or through your vet. However, a large percentage of pet drugs are available at your local pharmacy. If this is in fact the case, you may receive a substantial discount by using this card.
But wait, what’s the catch? Nothing is really free right?
Yes and no. The reality is local pharmacies want your business. (In fact, they make most of their money from other products people buy when they come in to fill prescriptions!) For this reason, pharmacies will pay a small fee in order to drive business into their stores. Because we can bring a large volume of customers to them, discounts are negotiated on your behalf, and you benefit from bulk discount pricing. This allows you to receive a price that in most cases is much lower than the usual and customary price your pharmacy charges when you are buying a pet prescription using no insurance.
Our Card Is Accepted by Nearly Every Pharmacy!
That’s right. Below you’ll see a sampling of the pharmacies that accept the card. You’ve got absolutely nothing to lose, simply present the card to see if the pricing we offer is better than what you’re normally charged.
Will the card ALWAYS save me money?
In most cases, our negotiated pricing will be cheaper than what your pharmacy’s cash price is. In some cases however, certain pharmacy chains will already have the lowest price available. If you present the card, you can be assured that you will ALWAYS pay the lowest price available. In some cases, your pharmacy already has a lower price in which case that is the price you pay. In other words, you lose nothing by at least printing the card and presenting it to your pharmacy.
How Much of a Discount Will The Card Provide?
The largest savings are realized on generic brand drugs and can be up to 80% off. The average savings is around 30%, with brand name drugs in the 5-15% range. You can use the price search tool on our program page here to lookup your pet’s drug price. Please be aware that savings do vary based on pharmacy location.
Introducing our ‘Warm Hearts, Full Bellies’ ornament collection! Each adorable character comes full of personality, and with an amazing mission: to feed hungry shelter pups this Christmas! discover more
Halloween comes with all kinds of fun, and it’s natural to want to get your pet in on the excitement — especially if it involves an adorable (or very, very scary) costume.
But with all that spooky fun comes its own set of dangers for pets — like the horror of your pet getting too curious about those flaming jack-o’-lanterns.
Fortunately, all of these dangers can be avoided by a little planning and some strategic placement.
“Whether it’s cats or dogs or even smaller creatures, hazards such as electrical cords, candles or other open flames pose a risk,” Dr. Paul Cunningham, senior emergency clinician at BluePearl Specialty and Emergency Pet Hospital in Michigan, told The Dodo.
Here are some tips for keeping your pets safe on Halloween, according to Dr. Cunningham:
1. Conceal electrical cables when possible
You can do this by hiding them under carpets, behind furniture or in cord wraps. “This helps to prevent chewing or tripping,” which are common causes of household injuries in pets, Dr. Cunningham said.
2. Avoid the use of open flame candles in spaces where your pets will have access
Their curiosity may lead to a waxy mess or, worse, a house fire, so Dr. Cunningham recommends keeping any sort of open flame away from areas where your pets will be — especially if the flames will be left unattended.
3. Keep Halloween candy out of reach
Since candy toxicity spikes around Halloween due to stealthy pets sneaking into your candy stash, it’s best to completely avoid this by hiding candy bowls and bags.
4. Keep pets in separate areas when needed
“And truthfully, the best advice of all is to keep pets in separate areas of the house if they cannot be supervised at all times,” Dr. Cunningham said. “No one wants to end a holiday with a vet visit or home damage.”
This is especially true if your pet is scared of costumes or strangers, and isn’t likely to react well to trick-or-treaters.
With these simple safety steps and precautions, you can rest easy knowing your pets are safe this Halloween — which gives you more time to hunt down the perfect matching costume (for pets who don’t mind dressing up)!nullnullnull
Audrey EnjoliSTAFF WRITER | LOS ANGELES, CA | CONTACTABLE VIA: AUDREY@LIVEKINDLY.COM 6-8 minutes
Colorful, iridescent betta fish are popular starter pets. Pet stores often market the vibrant swimmers as being easy to care for because they’re small—so they take up minimal space—and are inexpensive to care for.
But proper betta care is a bit more specialized than some pet stores lead on. And although they’re appearance may make them popular for display, they are actually one of the most exploited fish in the aquarium trade.There are more than 70 different species of betta fish.
What Is A Betta Fish?
Betta fish are small, freshwater fish. They are members of the Osphronemidae family and are native to Southeast Asia. They are relatively small, ranging anywhere from six to eight centimeters long.
There are more than 70 different species of betta fish in the wild. The fish live in shallow water, including ponds, flood plains, slow-moving streams, and marshes. They are carnivorous by nature. They have a wide-ranging diet that consists of small crustaceans, insects—including mosquito larvae, worms, and even smaller fish.
Store-bought betta splendens—also known as Siamese fighting fish—are one of the more popular species of betta fish because of their vibrant coloring.
However, these ray-finned fish look nothing like their wild counterparts. Wild betta fish typically have short fins and sport a dull grey coloring. The betta fish sold in pet stores are a product of selective breeding—the process of breeding animals to develop more desirable characteristics and traits, such as a particular color or size.
Store-bought betta fish have been bred to display a wide variety of colors. Betta fish sold in stores have also been bred to have different types of fins, such as a double tail, crowntail, delta, halfmoon, and more.Male bettas are highly territorial.
Why Do Betta Fish Fight?
Male betta fish are highly territorial, compared to their female counterparts. As such, they can become aggressive toward other male bettas when defending their territory. Male bettas will also attack similar-looking fish of other species of fish with flowing fins. When disturbed or threatened, they will often flare their fins in order to show aggression.
Male bettas are also fiercely protective of their offspring. They build bubble nests, which are formed by air bubbles that are coated with saliva in order to make them stronger, for their young. So they can also become aggressive when predators or other fish breach their territory.Betta fish are commonly kept in tiny containers in pet stores.
What’s Wrong With Buying Betta Fish?
A quick glance down the fish aisle at your local pet store will likely and you’ll likely see rows of small plastic containers filled with immobile bettas.
Some of these fish that are sold in U.S. pet stores are captured in the wild. But the vast majority are bred in countries like Thailand in Southeast Asia.
An investigation by the Asian branch of animal rights organization PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Asia exposed the ways in which bettas suffer in the global fish trade. The exposé highlighted Thailand’s betta fish industry. A video released with the investigation shows betta fish confined to small containers that were not filled with an adequate amount of water to cover their bodies.
PETA Asia’s undercover investigator visited ten different betta breeding factories and packing operations. Dead bettas were seen on the floor; some were seen left out of water for extended amounts of time while they were prepared for shipping.
Once shipped, it can take days for bettas to reach their destination. The investigation found tranquilizers are sometimes added to the bettas’ water to keep the fish from consuming their own tails out of distress. Some bettas are dead upon arrival. A company that supplies betta fish to Petco told the investigator that of the 100,000 bettas shipped per week to the U.S., up to 1,000 of them die before reaching distributors.Bettas require specialized care if kept in captivity.
What’s Wrong With Home Aquariums?
Bettas, and other fish, that are held in captivity in home aquariums can suffer from inadequate environments and lack of proper care.
Unlike some other types of fish, bettas require warm water and supple filtration. They must be fed and have their tanks cleaned on a regular basis. They also need environmental enrichment. This can be in the form of caves and plants that they can spend their time traversing. Too-small of a tank and poor water quality can impact bettas’ overall well-being.
Studies show captive bettas can suffer from a host of physical ailments. These include loss of color or appetite, listlessness, cloudy eyes, frayed fins, bloating, weight loss, labored reservations, and erratic swimming. They can also suffer from a number of other health issues like fin rot, bacterial infections, and fungus.
Similar to humans and other animals, bettas can suffer emotionally. They can experience boredom, depression, and stress due to being held in captivity. A 2017 study into the potential welfare issues impacting captive bettas found that most captive environments lack the complexities common to their natural habitat. This negatively impacts bettas’ wellbeing.
“We do know obviously that fish, in general, are more than what we thought they were, in a sense that their cognition is more developed than we previously thought and that they may even experience emotions, for example when in pain,” the study’s author, Christel P.H. Moons told the National Geographic.Bettas can suffer emotional and physical ailments in captivity.
Should You Have Pet Fish?
Although bettas may be regarded as easy to care for by some, they need highly specialized care. They also require an enriched environment similar to their natural habitats. This is in order to promote good health, both physically and emotionally.
Regardless—whether it be a dog, cat, rabbit, or fish—adding a pet to the family should be a decision that entails much consideration and deliberation. If you are dead set on keeping a pet fish, and already have an adequately-sized aquarium with a stimulating environment, see if anyone in your area is offering fish for adoption to avoid supporting the fish trade.
Fireworks & Lost Pets: How To Prepare For July 4th
As you prepare for the biggest celebration of the summer, you may not know that shelters across the nation are preparing for their busiest time of the year.
The number of missing pets skyrockets (no pun intended) in the days following July 4th. PawBoost can attest to this. On July 5th 2019, the number of lost pets reported to PawBoost was 117% higher than the daily average for the previous three weeks!
What is it about July 4th that has such an impact on the lost pet problem in the U.S.? Maybe unsurprisingly, it’s all about the fireworks.
Although the light shows are incredible for us to watch and see, for our furry friends the fireworks demonstrations can be a terrifying experience.
The resounding blasts and flashing lights can feel like a kind of attack on our pet’s senses – and such intense sounds and sights may be disorienting to dogs and cats, causing them to run off as they attempt to escape the noise and lights.
Tag – You’re It: Use the week or so in advance of the holiday festivities to check that your pet has securely fastened and up-to-date identification tags and is microchipped with a functioning implant. It’s always a good idea to do these things, but it is extra important around Independence Day because of the high risk posed to your pet.
Snap To It: Double check that you have access to an up-to-date, high resolution photo of your pet. The odds are good that your phone’s photo gallery is already filled with hundreds of adorable photos of your fur baby, but in the event that it isn’t, we recommend using a high-quality camera to snap several up-close and full body shots prior to the start of the holiday celebrations.
On July 4th
Give Your Pet the Run Around Before the Blasts: PetFinder recommends taking your pets for an extra-long walk or throw the ball around a bit longer than you normally would the morning of any holiday celebrations. A tired, de-stressed pet is more likely to sleep throughout the day rather than become overly excited by all the new stimuli in their environments.
Keep Your Pets Indoors During the Fireworks Shows: Going to a fireworks display? Keep your pets in the house and safely indoors, ideally in an escape-proof part of your home. The closer the pet is to the resounding booms of fireworks, the more likely they are to run off away from the direction of the noise if they become frightened.
Securely Fasten all Doors, Gates and Windows: Before heading out for any July 4 celebrations or evening shows, check to ensure that all windows, doors and gates are securely closed and locked. Turn on fans or the air conditioning to help keep pets cool while you are out – you want to avoid creating any accidental escape routes by leaving windows or doors open.
Create A Pet Safety Space: Create a small space inside your home where your pet can go if he/she becomes frightened. When pets are unable to orient loud and unfamiliar sounds, they may want to retreat to small, enclosed areas. So before any fireworks displays begin, move your pet’s crate or carrier into a central room of your house away from the windows. Closing all blinds and placing a curtain or towel over the crate can also help to reduce your furry loved one’s overexposure to unfamiliar stimuli during the fireworks event.
Keep Your Pet Calm by Using White Noise: You can create a “white noise” environment in your house by playing music or other sounds designed to calm your pet’s nervous system throughout the fireworks displays and up until bedtime.
Treat Yo’ Pet: While you are out enjoying the annual fireworks show, plan to leave something for your pet to enjoy (and stay distracted!) as well. Perhaps a frozen toy filled with your pup’s tasty treats or a toy with the preferred catnip for your favorite feline.
Consider Staying Home: If you have a particularly skittish pet, it may be best to opt for spending this year cuddling with your favorite four-legged friend on the couch instead of attending this year’s fireworks show in person. Your pet will feel more comfortable with the familiarity of your presence in the house and you can get some precious best paw pal time in – it’s really a win-win!
Despite careful preparation and planning, accidents can still happen. With all the overwhelming stimuli from the July 4th celebrations, you may come back from a day trip or fireworks display to discover that your pet is nowhere to be found.
If you find yourself in this situation, follow the steps found in this article on spreading the word about your lost pet. And of course, make sure you file a missing pet report with PawBoost!
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While doggy kisses are one of life’s greatest pleasures, getting close to a pup with bad breath is not.
And believe it or not, bad dog breath isn’t as normal as you’d think.
In fact, if your dog suffers from obnoxiously stinky breath, it’s a good idea to get him checked out by your vet for any underlying health issues.
Why does my dog have bad breath?
“A dog’s bad breath is not normal and may be a clue to underlying oral disease — such as periodontal disease or a tumor in the mouth,” Dr. Ann Hohenhaus, a veterinarian with Animal Medical Center in New York City, told The Dodo.
A serious case of bad breath should send you and your dog to the veterinarian’s office ASAP, she said.
While the issue could be a simple plaque buildup, it’s always better to make sure.
Your vet might check your dog for a variety of issues including:
If you’ve gone to the vet and your dog has been cleared of any serious underlying health issues, there are other ways that you can help get his breath a bit more tolerable. 1. Brush his teeth regularly “Veterinarians recommend daily brushing,” Dr. Hohenhaus said.
Just like with people, brushing your dog’s teeth will help to combat his breath. Find a toothpaste flavor that your dog will love to make it a better experience for you both.
“Chewing helps prevent plaque and tartar buildup and assists in boredom relief,” Dr. Stephanie Austin, a veterinarian at Bond Vet in New York City, told The Dodo. While there are a lot of dental chews on the market, make sure to look for ones that contain breath-freshening chlorophyll or delmopinol for the best results.
We recommend: McCormick Ground Cinnamon. Buy it now from Amazon for $5.78. 4. When in doubt: coconut oil Coconut oil isn’t just beneficial for humans — it can also help your dog’s breath! You can drizzle some over your dog’s food in the mornings, or even use it in combination with his toothpaste and brush his teeth with it.
“Just be careful of the fat content in any oil supplement!” Dr. Austin said.
We recommend: Zesty Paws Probiotic Bites. Buy them now from Amazon for $25.97. 6. Give your dog some wheatgrass A great source of chlorophyll, wheatgrass helps to neutralize odors to fight off bad breath. You can chop up some fresh wheatgrass to sprinkle on his food, or try a shelf-stable powder. You can even freeze some into ice cubes to use as a treat.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has released new guidelines for pet owners and coronavirus. After two cats tested positive for the coronavirus in different parts of New York, the new guidelines are out to share with pet owners how to care for pets in the pandemic and how to keep them safe.
Public health officials stated that there is “no evidence” that pets are part of spreading the virus. The CDC stressed the importance of the need for additional information and testing to be able to provide specific guidelines for pet owners. The CDC recommends treating pets like family members and to practice social distancing for animals too. In the meantime, the CDC has reocmmended:
“Do not let pets interact with people or other animals outside the household.
Keep cats indoors when possible to prevent them from interacting with other animals or people.
Walk dogs on a leash, maintaining at least 6 feet from other people and animals.
Avoid dog parks or public places where a large number of people and dogs gather.”
If you’re sick with coronavirus, suspected or confirmed, follow the CDC guidelines and let someone else care for your pet while you’re sick, avoid contact until you’re well and use face coverings and hand washing if you must care for your animal during your illness.
IDEXX Laboratories said it would be providing a COVID-19 test to veterinarians. The agency also said it would continue to provide updates as more information was available.
Scientists believe that the spread of COVID-19, or coronavirus, started at an exotic animal market in Wuhan, China. You can help stop the incidence of viruses like these by signing this petition to ban the wildlife trade.
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