This blog is for informational purposes only. Please consult with a veterinarian if your pet is ill.

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Ins and Out of Animal Shelters - They Are Not All the Same

Recently a well meaning friend rescued a young cat from certain death on a very busy road in Maryland only to find out later that the cat was put down by the shelter he brought her to. Obviously he was very upset but didn't know that all shelters have different policies.

Your local Animal Control is usually considered to be a high-kill shelter. When an animal is turned in to them or picked up by them, they only hold the animal so many days before they are euthanized. Other animal shelters follow this policy as well, only keeping cats and dogs that are healthy, well behaved and easily adoptable. All others are euthanized. Feral cats and stray dogs are of questionable back grounds will usually be euthanized in high-kill shelters and that is unfortunately was what happened to my friend's rescued cat.

Other animal shelter are considered to be low-kill shelters, meaning they will put down cats or dogs that have serious health issues, are injured or test positive for chronic diseases like Feline Leukemia or if they have serious behavior issues.

The best option would be a no-kill shelter. These shelters will go great lengths to get medical treatment, correct behavior issues - anything it takes to spare the life of a cat or dog brought in to them. Or they will find another shelter that can deal with whatever issue the pet has and then find a forever home for them.

A very serious note about euthanasia - shelters vary on their means of putting  the animals down. Many use lethal injection - the most humane way to euthanize but many shelters still use the gas chamber which is a very stressful, horrible way to die. There are other even more barbaric forms of euthanasia used in shelters, so again - be sure you know what form of euthanasia the shelter using or take the animal to a no-kill shelter - the best way to go! Do not be mislead by the misnomer Humane Society Shelter - their policies may be anything but humane!

Helping a stray dog or cat is a wonderful thing to do but please make sure you know the policies of the shelter you are surrendering them to - it could mean the life of that very animal you wanted to rescue!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

SeaCure Protein for Digestive Issues in Pets

This is not a paid advertisement or endorsement. 

I have been using this product recommended to me by my vet for many years off and on as needed and think it is worth talking about.  Years ago when one of my cats had intestinal cancer my vet suggested using SeaCure to help his digestion and add nutrients to his diet.  Being pure fish protein, it is easily digestible.

Using marine micro-organisms that digests whole fish fillets into protein fragments that are mostly 2 and 3 amino acids long (di-peptides and tri- peptides). This predigested protein is very soluble and very easy for the human digestive system to absorb.  From my understanding, this product was invented to treat humans suffering from malnutrition. Many vets now use it to treat pets for the same issues.

Mainly SeaCure helps the digestive tract repair itself.  It alleviates nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.  It helps irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, ulcers and leaky gut syndrome.

I have been using this on my cat Minnie who has suffered for years with irritable bowel.  She vacillates between constipation and diarrhea.  Often she strains so hard to go, she vomits her food.  After a few weeks of being on this product, Minnie is doing so much better with regular bowel movements and no vomiting.

I also give this to my elderly cats who have lost weight and muscle tone in old age.  SeaCure  helps the elderly to maintain their strength and stamina by providing them with a easily digestible protein in their diet. 

Besides adding digestion, SeaCure also speeds the healing of wounds, reduces the side effects of chemo and helps those with HIV/Aids (or FIV in cats) to maintain weight, avoid muscle loss and diarrhea.  I give this to my cat Ivy who has FIV.

There are many sources online to purchase SeaCure.  Some offer a pet version but I buy a human supplement and open the capsule, sprinkling it on their food.  My rule of thumb is to give 1/8 to 1/4 of the human dose to pets, depending on size and weight.  Both cats and dogs can benefit from SeaCure.

We give this product 40 thumbs up!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Drug Free Solution for Dog Anxiety!

Does your dog hide and shake during thunder storms, have anxiety when you leave home or get very upset when fireworks go off?

My vet has recently added Thundershirt to her inventory of products for sale.  She claims this is a great drug free solution for dogs who suffer from anxiety of any kind.

How does it work?  The keyword is pressure. Pressure is used to treat both human and pet symptoms:

  • TTouch dog trainers use pressure for a variety of anxieties
  • Veterinarians use pressure to calm cattle for vaccinations.
  • Pressure is used with autistic people to relieve anxiety.
  • Infants are swaddles as newborns to calm them and give them comfort.

The Thundershirt fits snug and in most cases calms the dog right away.  Over 80% of dog owners report significantly reduced anxiety symptoms when using Thundershirts.

They can be used for thunder, fireworks, separation anxiety, travel, barking, jumping and more.  The shirts are easy to put on, have no side effects and are affordable at $39.95 a shirt.

I researched and read many reviews online and most people found it to be helpful - some more than others but almost all found it did take the edge off a dog's anxiety and made them calmer than without the shirt.  The only drawback it seems is that it is a heavy fabric and can be warm for the pet so do not put on in a warm house or car - use with A/C or in cooler weather. Make sure the Thundershirt fits properly in order for it to work - they give direction on the website to measure your dog for the shirt.

For more information about Thundershirts or to order one, please visit  Thundershirts. here.  Now all we need is a easy simple solution for anxiety in cats!  Any ideas?

I am not paid for this review.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Chicken Feed as Cat Litter

I have been using World's Best Cat Litter for quite a number of years and even sold in in our shop before we changed careers.  I love that it clumps, is made of a natural ingredient, corn, has no dust....but the price is just too much.  They used to offer coupons but have done away with that and at almost $9. for a 7 pound bag - it is overpriced especially, if you multiple cats like we do.

A friend tried corn chicken feed and aside from the fact that wildlife was trying to get in her outdoor pen to eat it, found it to be a great replacement for WBCL!  Another friend with many cats tried it as she could not afford WBCL anymore at the new price and was converted to chicken feed as cat litter.

We bought a ten pound bag of Dumor at Tractor Supply and it works fine!  There are several brands - we got Dumor affordable, and has no dust.  We add baking soda for odor control and the cats seem to accept it readily.

Here are some things about buying chicken feed so you know what to get if you want to save money and still use a safe affordable cat litter instead of clay or any others with dangerous additives.:

  • Buy corn feed for layers or chick starter without additives or medication in it.  Make sure it is corn and states no additives on the bag. 
  •  It comes in pellets or crumbles.  Both work but crumbles looks most like WBCL and seems to have more clumping qualities.
  • Many feed stores have their own brands - some big name brands that make quality feed are Dumor, and Layena.  Just buy the smaller size to try it out.  The bags range in price from 10 pounds for $3-5. or 25 pounds for $8-10.  You can't beat the price.
  • One issue other forums on this subject have brought up is that the chicken feed can get moldy and make your cats sick.  The solution is to buy fresh feed only in the amount you need and store it in plastic bins.   The conditions needed to grow the aspergillus fungi which cause aflatoxin are very specific - the mold prefers a moisture level above 18% and  higher temperatures.
  • Some folks have found that adding some baking soda to the litter deodorizes the box and helps with odor control.  I had to do this with WBCL anyway.
  • As far as clumping - the WBCL performed good but not great - I still had to scrape the pee clumps off the bottom of the litter box.  This happens as well if the chicken feed litter amount is too low in the box. Keep the box full and you can prevent this from happening.

Online I found many cat owners who have used chicken feed  as litter for years and loved it.  Even suggests chicken feed as a homemade alternative to buying cat litter.  Properly stored and used, it is much safer than some of the commercial silica, and clay litters on the market.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Indoor Pets Can Still Have Ticks!

Tick season is here and even if your dog or cat is an indoor pet, they can still get ticks.  Ticks can hitch a ride inside on your clothing and make their way onto your pet.

Deer tick

Brush your cat or dog daily, especially after each visit outdoors to dislodge ticks.  Make sure your human family members do a daily head-to-toe tick check as well. 

Deer ticks carry Lyme disease that can cause chronic symptoms in humans and and pets, even with treatment. Lyme disease is found in all 50 states and is caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, corkscrew-shaped bacteria that live in the gut of deer ticks and western black-legged ticks. When an infected tick feeds on a dog, person or other mammal, the bacteria are transmitted and can cause an infection.

Always, always talk to your vet before using any flea/tick treatment on your pet and in the yard. Purchase these treatments from you veterinarian and not over the counter.  Over the counter products may have toxic ingredients than can harm or kill your pet. And finally never use products made for dogs, on cats.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

If Something Happens to You, What Happens to Your Pets?

So many times we hear about someone passing away and the dog or cat got left unattended in the house or yard for days or even weeks before someone rescued them. This happens more than we would like to think.

If you live alone and have pets, you need to be thinking of what would happen to them if something happens to you. Here are some simple tips to provide for your pets:

  • Carry a Pet Alert card in your wallet with detailed information about how many pets you have and a contact number for a friend or veterinarian. You can make up your own card or buy one. 

  • Tape up a new pet In Case of Emergency sticker on the front or back door of your home. This will alert emergency personnel about how many pets you have and what kind. Make sure you keep this updated - use your own tape to allow for changing it if needed. The self stick ones will not come off easily. ASPCA offers a free decal online - just go to their website.

  • Give two or three people close by who know and like your pets, keys to your home with pertinent information concerning pet medications, and veterinarian phone numbers. Make sure each person knows who the others are with contact numbers for all.  If you are not in good health, set up regular check-in times  with these people so they know how you are doing.

  • Make up a list of all your pets, their ages, medications, names with photos, emergency contact numbers and veterinarian numbers and post in a visible spot in your home. If you have a lot of pets, create a binder with all this info at your fingertips.  Leave on in a visible spot in your home.

  • If you are traveling with your pet in a car, RV or truck and you have a serious accident, make sure you have information in your vehicle about your pet - contact numbers, vet number to prevent rescue crews from placing them in a shelter. 

  • Provide for your pets in your will. Choose a primary beneficiary and alternative one from people who you know will take care of your pets. You can even name your pet as beneficiary in your will. Some states will allow you to set up a trust fund for your pets.

  • Lastly, give all the emergency contact information to your veterinarian so they have this on hand should someone contact them first.

I found a great website  that offers a complete packet of emergency decals, placards etc. called Pet Alert Info System.  This will give you a good idea of the kinds of things you should have on  hand and set up for pet emergencies.  If you do all of these things, your pets will have a stable future in the event that something should befall you.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Cats Need Sunshine Too - True or False?

I was talking to a friend today and she told me something interesting about cats needing sunshine for vitamin D like we do. I looked this up online and found out that it is false.

People make vitamin D from being in the sunshine but cats are one type of animals that does not. In fact, cats require very little vitamin D, unlike other animals.

In the wild, cats get  vitamin D through eating their prey - felines normally  hunt at night, then sleep during the day. Domestic cats get their  vitamin D from cat food, which is why it's important to feed your cat high quality cat food. If cats were kept indoors with no sunlight at all and they would not be ill from being without it.

Cats love the sun and spend all their time soaking it up.  If you have a white cat, be very careful because they can get skin cancer from too much sun exposure especially their ears and noses.

Cats always seem to want to sit in the window or lay out on the floor where the sunlight is coming in. So while cats don't need sunlight to be healthy, you should try to have a sunny window available for them to sit in.
Make a comfy seat in a sun facing window or let them follow the sun puddles around the house as the sun moves.


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