Friday, June 27, 2008

Pet Advice for June

How much is too much chocolate for your dog?

Any of you who owns a dog has heard the saying “don give your dog chocolate or it can kill him”. I have grown up hearing that constantly from my parents. I remember being absolutely scared to death when my childhood dog got a piece of my candy bar. I hid the fact that she got a hold of the candy bar, but I was extremely worried that I was going to kill my dog.

Now, as an adult, my dog snuck one of those big Hershey candy bars right off of the table. My daughter was so upset, because it was the first time she was able to get one of those 7 oz. candy bars. However, my dog, which was an 80 pound German shepherd, started to feel sick. It scared me to death once I realized she ate the entire candy bar. This was not one of those King size bars, but much bigger. I knew something was wrong when I went to offer a treat and she refused it. Then a few hours later she seemed like she was in a drug like state. It terrified me. I called the vet and they said that a dog that size eating that much chocolate is not toxic. It would have had to be 40 ounces that she ate. He told me that she would likely feel sick, but that these levels would be okay.

Chocolate contains theobromine that is toxic to dogs in huge quantities. It is like caffeine and is in the same family as Xanthines.

The toxic levels are measured by the dog’s individual sensitivity, animal size and chocolate concentration. These are general levels:

Milk chocolate that has 44 mg of theobromine per oz. Semisweet chocolate that has 150mg/oz. Baker's chocolate 390mg/oz.Using a dose of 100 mg/kg as the toxic dose it comes out roughly as: 1 ounce per 1 pound of body weight for Milk chocolate1 ounce per 3 pounds of body weight for Semisweet chocolate1 ounce per 9 pounds of body weight for Baker's chocolate.

How does chocolate affect the dog?
It affects the nervous system, cardiovascular system and peripheral nerves. It also acts as a diuretic.

What are the symptoms of toxic chocolate?

Hyper excitability Hyper irritability Increased heart rate Restlessness Increased urination Muscle tremors Vomiting DiarrheaHow is a dog treated who has toxic levels of chocolate?
This type of poisoning does not have an antidote. Usually the toxin will remain in the dog for 17.5 hours. You should have your dog induced vomiting for the first 1 to 2 hours. Activated charcoal could inhibit the absorption of the toxin. An anticonvulsant could be needed if neurological signs are indicated. Oxygen therapy, intravenous medications and fluids could be needed. They will help to protect the heart of the dog.

I was lucky that my dog did not need any of the above treatments. I just watched her and she was up and back to her sweet self the very next day. Ready to go for our daily walk. I was grateful to be able to grab that pet stroller, since she usually runs herself ragged. Then she comes home to her favorite place in the entire house, her pet bed.

If you suspect your dog has eaten chocolate, don’t hesitate to call your vet. They will have the necessary information for you.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Furry Friends Tidbits for June

Enjoy our monthly little tidbits on your furry friends. Here you will find interesting fun facts on dogs and cats or any other little tidbits of information from delicious pet recipes to fun facts to fun games to play with your pet. You never know what you will find, so join us each month for some fun and exciting tidbits!

Five Fun Facts

Pets help to decrease the feelings of isolation and feeling lonely because they promote social interaction. They also help to increase morale.

70% of people put their pet’s name on a greeting card and 58% of people include a picture with their pets in Christmas cards.

Female dogs have 310 bones; male dogs have 311.

Cats begin puberty at about four months old.

95% of cats that are solid white and have two blue eyes are deaf. This is due to a dominant genetic trait that is linked to the white fur and blue eyes.

Popular and Unique Names for your Pets

Dog Names:

Cat Names:

Games to Play with your Pet
Doggie Says:
This is a game that you can play that also helps with obedience training. When you say sit, then you sit. When you say down, lie down. Get creative and close your eyes, turn your back to the dog. Of course, remember this is a game and it is just ways to enhance training. You could even stand on your head. Just make sure your dog is doing the correct moves, so you don’t confuse him!

Get a small box and punch several holes in it. Then place a small piece of ham or chicken in it. Let your cat play with it on the floor.

Pet Products
Pet strollers are a great way to take your dog or cat out for a walk or to give them a break on the way back from a long playtime in the park.

Pet beds are wonderful to have for your pets to have a special place to sleep after that long walk or playtime in the park!

Pet costumes or clothes are great for cold weather or simply for fun. Check out all of the cute costumes and coats available these days!

Dog Recipes – Warning these can be too tempting for humans!
This section is dedicated to all of those who like to make your own natural dog food or treats.

Chunky Peanut Butter Molasses Cookies:
4 cups whole wheat flour2 cups oatmeal½ - ¾ cup chunky peanut butter2½ cups hot water2 Tbs molasses
Preheat oven to 350° F (180° C).
Mix all ingredients together, adding more hot water if dough is too sticky. Knead well. Roll out to ¼" and cut into shapes with cookie cutter. Bake on greased cookie sheet for 40 minutes. Turn off heat and let cool in oven overnight.

Your furry little friend will love these delicious and homemade treats made from the heart!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Pet Tips for June, 2008

Tips on how to tell if your cats are playing or fighting

If you live in a household with more than one cat, then you have likely witnessed your cats playing or fighting. The question is, “Are they playing or fighting?” This can be hard to determine as they tend to seem like they would be fighting when they are actually at play.
Here are some tips to help you tell if they are playing or are indeed fighting.

Tip #1 - The first thing you need to take into account is how they have behaved towards each other in the past. If they have never gotten along, then chances are they are fighting. It is important to stop the fighting by distracting them. Cats that fight can lead to disease transmission and/or wounds and infections.

Tip #2 - When cats play they will usually chase, swat, hiss or nip.

Tip #3 - When cats scream, they are likely fighting.

Tip #4 - One cat that is dominant over another cat to an extreme suggests fighting. Usually when cats are playing the dominant role will shift between the cats, giving them both dominancy at one point or another.

Tip #5 - Cats that continue to hiss for a longer period of time suggest fighting. Some hissing is normal during play, but if it continues for a long period they are probably fighting.

Tip #6 - During cat play, neither cat will get hurt. If one is hurt, this was obviously a fight.

If you find that your cats are fighting, you must find a way to distract them. You can make a loud noise by clapping your hands or dropping something heavy on the floor. A sudden loud noise will usually startle the cats and they will get out of there pretty quickly. You can also shake their can of treats if they are familiar with that sound.

If the cats are playing, you shouldn’t get involved. Let them play their games and have fun. However, if they are fighting it is recommended that you do try to distract them. NEVER try to physically remove one cat from a fight. You will likely be hurt in the process.

Tips on dog fights – canine rivalry

Dogs are pack animals. Pack animals have leaders. If your household has more than one dog, you will sometimes see rivalry between the two dogs. This is normal. The fighting will usually occur when one dog tries to move up into the higher dogs rank.

Here are some tips to remember when living with two dogs

Tip #1 - Although dogs think of humans as the highest rank, the dogs also think of the highest rank dog as second in command.

Tip #2 - As the owner, you should respect the ranking of dogs and treat the dogs as they should be treated as in a pack. For example, you should pet the highest ranked dog first, and then go down the line. The highest ranked dog should be fed first and given treats first. The highest rank dog should have the nicest dog bed.

Tip #3 - The ranking occurs through behavioral gestures and body postures. These behaviors include growling and snarling.

Tip #4 – Fighting can happen at any time. Sometimes a lower ranking dog will try to move into a higher ranking dog’s territory. When this happens, dogs will fight. Some of the signs that a dog is intending to fight to protect its rank is licking of the lips, one dog leaning over another, one dog rolling on its back, etc. The signs could escalate into snarling, growling or even a full fledged fight.

Tip #5 – If a full fledged fight occurs; you must stay out of it. NEVER try to physically get involved. If you are concerned that a dog will be hurt badly, you can try to distract them by making a loud noise or by squirting them with water.

Tip #6 - Aggression can be lessened by spaying or neutering.

It seems that same sexed, same breed and same aged dogs will tend to fight more. If you notice that the dogs are fighting more and more frequently or if a dog EVER directs its aggression towards a human family member, then you must contact your local vet for a referral to a good dog trainer.

Dogs are happiest when they know what is expected of them. Sometimes they just need a little help along the way.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Pet’s How to Column for June

How To Travel With Your Pet

It is that time of year. Summer is here and many people are taking vacations with their pets.
It is important to make sure that you are aware of how to take care of your pet while you are vacationing to ensure your pets safety.

Before you leave, make sure the hotel you are planning to stay at accepts pets. You can do this by either checking out their website or calling them direct. When you call, you should find out if there are any restrictions or extra fees.

Before you go, you should find out where the Emergency Veterinary Clinics in the area in which you are going. Anything can happen at any time, and if you are on the road and have no idea where to go in case of an emergency, the results could be devastating.

Even if your pet is completely comfortable with you, they may be frightened because they are not in their own familiar territory. Always have a leash on them before the door is opened to avoid any lost pets.

Many pets tend to get sick while on the road. It is a good idea to keep their food to a minimum and bring along ice instead of water. It is easier on their stomachs rather than huge amounts of water. When traveling by car you should feed your pet a small meal two to three hours before leaving. If you are traveling by airplane, you should feed them a light meal four to six hours prior to traveling. There is also medication that can be given to help with nausea.

You should have a special identification just for traveling that includes its name, your name and address, phone number, the place you are heading and a phone number of someone who knows where you will be in case of a lost pet.

Remember the temperatures could be very hot, so never leave your pet in a closed vehicle, even on cool days. A closed up vehicle is like an oven. Temperatures build up in minutes. Do not think your pet will be okay, even with the windows down. If you are traveling with your pet, you need to be sure that your pet is allowed every where you go. Otherwise you may as well have left your pet at home where he will be safe.

You will meet a lot of strangers on your travel. Be very careful when introducing your pet to strangers because they are out of their comfort area and could be agitated and scared. Even the sweetest pet can be a whole different pet when he is frightened. Do not allow people to approach your pet without supervision.

Never let your pet approach an animal in the wild. Wild animals can be fierce when they feel threatened– even wild animals that have a reputation for being tame. Plus, they carry many diseases.

Don’t forget to stock up on the flea and tick medication.

If you are going on a vacation where you will be doing a lot of walking, it is wise to take along your pet stroller. Remember to take many breaks if you are going on long walks as your pet will need to be rehydrated and rest.

Do not forget his pet bed. This will help him feel more secure at night.

Have a great time vacationing with your pet.