Do you dread the Fourth of July for fear of how your pet will react to loud noises and bright lights?
Many people can attest to having their dogs and cats go bonkers while fireworks are going off, and then having to deal with the “damage” afterwards. In addition to having a scared or injured dog or ruined furniture and broken windows, there are other, less obvious hazards to watch out for this July 4th.
Keeping your Pet Safe
1. Keep them away from the noise. This is probably the most important thing you can do for your pet. The best idea is to keep them indoors in a familiar and safe place. Close all doors and windows to reduce noise. Consider even turning on music or television to keep things feeling normal to them. Don’t bring them to festivals where there will be lots of other people and fireworks going on. This will also prevent them from running away or getting lost. Fact: Did you know that after the 4th of July, there is a 30% increase in lost pets? That’s scary! Do what you can to prevent losing yours!
2. Don’t let them near fireworks You may get a great YouTube video, but the risk is not worth it. Not only can your pet become burned or otherwise injured by getting too close to the fireworks, they can also suffer serious internal damage from eating them. If you do decide to let your dog outside while letting off fireworks, it is advisable to keep them on a leash and far away from where the fireworks are being stored and let off.
3. Keep them away from other pets. This is especially true if you will be celebrating with other people who will have their pets around. Fireworks can make your dog on edge and be more prone to getting in fights with other dogs. This can result in injury or even death for your dog.
4. Keep non-pet items out of reach! This includes alcohol, lighter fluid and matches, oils, and anything else that could be hazardous if ingested. Many animals are poisoned or injured from ingesting chemicals.
5. Don’t use non-animal approved items on your pet. Many people like to dress their pets up on holidays. This can be fun and safe! However, don’t put items on them such as glow sticks which could be harmful to their health if ingested. Likewise, don’t put substances which are safe for human use, such as sunscreen, on pets. This is because they could lick and groom themselves and ingest the substance. This is not good for your pet!
6. Don’t give your pet human food! Just because you are eating barbecued hot dogs and s’mores doesn’t mean your pet should! It can be tempting to “celebrate” with your pet by allowing them to eat unhealthy human food. But this is just plain unhealthy for pets and could cause bigger health problems for them.
7. Consider using anti-anxiety medication. If you know that your pet is one of those who becomes terrified with 4th of July fireworks, it might be a good idea to plan on giving him some anti-anxiety medication to help him get through it.
8. Act normal! Signs that your pet is feeling anxious and scared include them howling, shaking, running around frantically, and trying to hide. If your pet is obviously having a hard time, remember to act normal around them. Show them you aren’t scared by petting them, talking soothingly to them, etc. If they see you acting normal and unafraid, it will help them to calm down.
What are some experiences and tips you have to share on keeping your pet safe and healthy this 4th of July?
The Jaguar Panthera onca
The jaguar gets its name from an old Latin American word ‘yaguar’ which means ‘he who kills with one leap’. This refers to the fact that they kill their prey quickly, sometimes instantaneously with only one bite. They are at the top of the food chain, and are vulnerable only to Anacondas or Caimans when young. Jaguars are very large exotic cats. In fact, they are the largest cats that inhabit North, South, and Central America! They are the third largest cat species in the world, being smaller only than tigers and lions.
It is believed that jaguars will become endangered if conservation efforts are not undertaken soon. Right now, they are listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) Red List.
The Jaguar Panthera onca is one of several large cats belonging to the Panthera genus. Other commonly known cats in this genus are lions, tigers, and leopards. The Jaguar and the Leopard look very similar and it can be hard to tell apart. The Jaguar is the only one living in the Western hemisphere however. So if you run into a large spotted cat in North America, you can be sure it is a jaguar and not a leopard!
Jaguars can reach 350 pounds, 6.5 feet in length (excluding their tail), and 2.5 feet in height. Being great swimmers and loving water, these cats usually prefer humid environments, such as rainforests and swamplands. However they can also be found on grasslands and in drier forests. An Interesting Fact: Jaguars have very strong jaws! Even for large cats, these guys have quite the bite. This enables them to easily and effectively kill their prey. These powerful jaws are also useful in piercing the shells of reptiles, such as tortoises and alligators. They are carnivores and their diet consists of just about any animal they can get their jaws on. Larger prey is usually preferred if available, however. Jaguars are solitary creatures as adults and spend most of their time in territory they have staked out for themselves.
Concern for Jaguars is steadily increasing. Three main problems are the cause of declining Jaguar populations.
1. Their natural habitats are shrinking. This is mostly due to fragmentation of their environments. As deforestation happens more and more to create room for agriculture and homes, and more major highways are constructed, the jaguars’ homes are compromised. They are no longer able to travel over large areas or breed as effectively because their access to other jaguars are restricted. This also leads to not as much diversification in the gene pool. In the United States, most Jaguars are already gone. However, there is believed to be a breeding population in Southern Arizona. In 1995, Jaguars became protected under the Endangered Species Act in order to stop people from shooting them for their pelts.
2. Their supply of natural prey is shrinking. People hunt many of their prey animals, such as deer and pigs, which reduces their availability to the cats. The prey animals are also losing their habitats, for much the same reasons as the jaguars are.
3. Jaguars are being killed by people. The reasons vary, from farmers/ranchers killing them for preying on their livestock, to Jaguars being deliberately poached to sell their pelts for profit. But these deliberate acts of killing jaguars are contributing to their decline.
Some organizations have recognized a need to project large cats everywhere and have taken steps to set up programs to do just that. One such organization, Panthera, has set up a program called the Jaguar Corridor Initiative. The primary purpose of this Initiative is to provide “corridors” or protected areas through human developments to connect one wild area to another. These corridors can be through a variety of different areas. Agriculture plantations, ranches, and people’s personal properties can all act as corridors. So far, this program seems to be producing positive results. Jaguars are able to safely pass through developed areas to hunt, breed, and live.
Panthera has another program, the Pantanal Jaguar Project. This one primarily focuses on educating local farmers and ranchers who reside in the Pantanal flood lands to help them reduce conflicts between the Jaguars and the cattle. This theoretically helps reduce the rates at which the cats are killed. Panthera is working with many of the South and Central American governments to monitor Jaguar populations and take motions to conserve them. The Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary and Jaguar Preserve was opened in 1986 in Belize with the help of its government. This sanctuary helps protect around 200 Jaguars who live in the area.
Jaguars, like all large wild cats, are part of this world and help keep our ecosystems in check. There is great benefit in making sure they are protected and do not go extinct!
1. Kollus, Brad. “Corridor to the Future.” Cat Fancy March 2013: 28-29. Print.
If so, you may be searching for some remedies to help deal with them. It is estimated that as much as 10% of the United States population suffers from animal-related allergies. And many of these sufferers love animals, which often makes it difficult or impractical for them to own pets.
What Causes Pet Allergies?
Allergies in general are caused by your immune system reacting to perceived irritants in the world around you. Besides pets, irritants such as pollen, dust, and chemicals can all cause a flare-up in allergies.
Allergy symptoms from dogs and cats are very similar to allergies arising from other irritants. These usually include a range of symptoms from itchy watery eyes, runny nose and sneezing, an itchy throat and coughing, to even rashes breaking out wherever your skin is exposed.
Dog allergies are actually caused by the dogs glands releasing a certain protein rather than from their fur or dander. This protein is called Can f 1 (Canis familiaris). This protein shows up in a dogs dander, urine, and saliva.
Cat allergies are caused by a similar protein secretion in their saliva. It is called fel d 1. Cats love to groom themselves by licking their fur. This then spreads the fel d 1 to their fur and dander. The dander flies off and can accumulate on surfaces all over the house.
Tips to Help Reduce Allergic Reactions
1. Groom your dog or cat outside daily. In the case of dogs, plan on bathing them regularly as well (twice a week would be optimal). Brushing your pet everyday can significantly reduce the amount of dander which accumulates on their skin and then is released into the air. Another good idea is to make a habit of wearing a mask when bathing or grooming your pet.
2. ALWAYS wash your hands immediately following any contact with your pet. Try to start washing them more frequently throughout the day just in general and especially before you touch anywhere on your face.
3. Keep up on housecleaning. This includes washing bedding frequently, washing surfaces that accumulate dust regularly, and cleaning and vacuuming floors, sofas, and curtains/blinds. Consider covering couches and chairs with easily washable covers or make it a rule that pets are not allowed where people sit and sleep.
4. Replace carpets and rugs with vinyl or tile. If this is practical for your home, it might be a good idea – especially if your allergies are particularly bad. This will keep allergens from accumulating on these hard-to-clean surfaces.
5. Designate certain areas of your house as pet-free areas. I would recommend declaring your bedroom a pet-free area. Because you sleep in there (which is a significant amount of your life!), this is a great place to keep allergen-free. It is also not a good idea in general to sleep with your pets. As an extreme to this, you may also consider keeping your pets primarily outdoors. Depending on where you live and varying weather conditions, this may or may not be an option. But the less time they spend in the house the less dander is going to accumulate.
6. Consider buying and installing vacuum and air filters. High-efficiency particulate air filters (HEPA filters) in particular really help people with pet allergies. Purchasing them for your vacuum is a must. If you have the money, buying them for your home as well can provide even more benefit.
7. Consider getting treatment. Many people will take over-the-counter antihistamines. In addition to this, some people with pet allergies can enjoy long-term relief by receiving allergy shots from their doctors.
Do you suffer from pet-related allergies or know someone who does? Do you have any helpful tips on how to reduce or eliminate them?
1. Wargo, Meredith. “Clean Getaway.” Dog Fancy March 2013: 30-34. Print.
2. Shirreffs, Annie B. “Keep It Clean.” Cat Fancy March 2013: 22-23. Print.
You may have heard the term before but weren’t sure what it meant. Here are some facts about feral cats and how to recognize these felines.
Domestic cats have been around for centuries. They have been revered by rulers who worshiped their kind. To modern humans, they are treasured companions. But not all cats fit into this category.
To put it plainly, a feral cat is one that has never been socialized into society with humans. In fact, they avoid humans if they can. Not having the social skills to deal with people, they act wild and untamed when people try to get close to them.
These cats, as you might have guessed, live on the street as strays. In fact, many strays have turned into feral cats as a result of many unfortunate circumstances. Here are a few:
1. Family moves away and leaves the animal behind
2. Unwanted new kittens
3. Cats that have run away
4. Cats that have gotten lost and never found their way back home
It’s to be understood that kittens, after a certain age, will shy away from humans if they are not properly introduced to people. Pet owners will not be able to socialize them to a home no matter how hard they try.
This can become even more of a lost cause when the cat joins in with an established cat group called a “colony.” It is a community of feral and stray cats that live together. Often they are drawn together in an area that has been good for acquiring food, water, and other needs.
The Problem with Feral Cats
Because these cats can’t be tamed, they may cause something of a problem for people. They are often found outside of businesses and on the streets. Coming in contact with people can lead to a less than happy confrontation.
The existence of feral cats is less than ideal. They spend their lives dodging cars, avoiding fights with other cats, trying to survive illness, and giving birth to more unwanted kittens. This has fueled a lot of talk about what to do with them. There are definite benefits to feral cat programs.
The biggest issue is the birth of more animals that will also not be socialized to living with people. A cat can give birth to as many as three litters a year. Living on the street for several years can result in ten or more litters in a short life span. Most feral cats don’t live long because of the rough conditions.
They may look sweet and innocent when you first meet them but animal instincts can kick in. Bites from cats are particularly dangerous to humans. Infections that are not taken care of can lead to a spread of disease.
How can you tell a feral cat from a lost one? Well, a feral cat will be quite skittish around areas where people dwell. A lost cat, on the other hand, will seek out human companionship as they try to get back to their home.
Feral cats are not sociable and interacting with them can be difficult or dangerous.
When it’s time to hit the road, what do you do with your pet? Some board at kennels but others like to have their favorite four-legged companion by their side. Here are some tips to help you have the best trip possible when traveling with your pet.
Pets make great companions. They love to be with the people who care for them and care about them. But, what happens when it’s time for a trip? Most pets are not used to going from one place to another unless they are on the end of a leash or being carried in your arms.
Unfortunately, many pet owners find out that their pet doesn’t have their “traveling legs” the hard way. Cleaning up vomit is not a pleasant thing to do. And, there is often a lot of red tape when it comes to traveling by airline with pets.
Tips for Making the Trip
Here are a few tips to help you prepare your pet for that trip you have coming up. Take them to heart because they may help you avoid a lot of trouble.
1. Take a test run – Before the big day, help your pet become acquainted with traveling. Even if you are going by train, a car will simulate the same type of movement they will experience. Take a few short trips in the car. Situate your pet the way they will be positioned – in a pet carrier in the back seat, on a pet mattress or even in a crate. Practice traveling with your pet in the crate or carrier at home first before putting it in the car.
2. Talk to your vet – If you really want your pet to learn to travel, maybe your veterinarian can help. Nausea medication or sedatives can help your pet travel better without harming them.
3. Develop a feeding schedule – Feed your pet several hours before travel so they won’t have a heavy meal on their stomach. Also, this may help them feel sleepy and rest during the majority of the travel.
4. Make plans in advance – If pets need vaccinations or paperwork filled out for overseas trips or domestic plane rides, take care of it so there are no surprises on departure day. Carry a copy of vaccination records in case they are needed.
5. Travel with care – Bring along a first aid kit and care package for your pet. Have everything you might need if your pet gets injured. Include any medication they might be taking at the time. Consider a microchip for their collar in case your pet gets lost.
Many of the tips we could give are common sense but often we don’t think about them. Do all you can to make your pet comfortable on a fun family trip! Traveling with your pet can be a great experience!
Guest Post by Drew Kobb
We love our pets; let us all just admit it. A pet is not merely some animal. Pets are part of our family. We love them, we play with them, and they help us when we are sad or distressed. They keep us company, and we take care of them. We want what is best for our dogs and cats, but sometimes we do not always know what all we can do to make their lives better.
Did you know that one of the best things we can do for our furry friends is to give them pet supplements? Just like humans, sometimes animals’ diets just aren’t giving them all that they need. Different breeds are susceptible to different injuries and sicknesses, and they may need just a little extra help to keep them healthy.
There are many different types of supplements you can get for your pet. There are specific types for each stage of life: puppy/kitten, adult, as well as senior, with a specific recipe of nutrients for growth and development and maintaining overall health. For your brand-new pets, supplements can help with proper joint and cartilage formation and good mind development. Taking supplements will also strengthen their immune system, and give them a good foundation of health. Then, just like humans, pets need a little extra care when they get older. Supplements can keep old joints lubricated to help them move easier, boost the immune system, and give them the extra vitamins and minerals they need.
If your pet has a specific need, there are supplements for that too. You can get pet supplements for bone and joint health, heart and lung health, digestive health, and cognitive health. There are also some made specifically for those who are quite athletic to help with stamina, more intense muscle and joint support, and a recovery aid to help avoid injury. Some help to reduce the symptoms of allergies and skin conditions, as well as boost the immune system. There are supplements to help calm your pet, whether they are prone to anxiety or are just having a time of stress. There are also weight management supplements to keep your pet at a healthy, happy weight so that they can get the most out of life.
Many pet supplements are very easily mixed with your pet’s regular food, which makes it simple to give your pet the nutrition they need. You can start giving your pet supplements as soon as they are able to eat solid food as well as start supplementing your pets food at any time during their life. It is never too late to start. Supplements are not only used as a preventative measure either; they can help existing problems as well.
There are not only pet supplements for us and our dogs and cats, but also for our beautiful horses. Our horses need supplements to give them the health, strength, stamina, and performance agility that they deserve. The supplements for horses have the same options as cat and dog supplements, with a few extras, such as hoof support. While the supplements are very similar, they are created with the genetic makeup of each species in mind so that it has a greater effect than if it were a “one size fits all” supplement.
We care about ourselves and want to have the best life we can, so we take vitamin, mineral, and other types of supplements. Why not do the same for our four legged family members? We all need them for a little health boost to keep us living long happy lives. Cat and dog supplements and horse supplements can be one of the best things to give our pets.
Drew Kobb loves long distance running and considers himself a health and fitness enthusiast. His interests range all over the medical field, and Drew highlights that range on his blog, Dr. Ouch.
Types of Pets
“What’s your lifestyle like? There is a type of pet for you no matter what type of life you lead!”
Having a great pet experience depends a lot on finding the perfect pet for your
Many pet animals make wonderful pets, but different types of pets can suit different personalities. You will want to find a pet that is a perfect companion for your lifestyle. Your age, home environment, and activity level are all considerations when deciding what type of pet could have your needs and wants met.
Read through this guide if you are looking for a pet to share in your life but aren’t sure yet what type of pet would best suit you. Once you identify a good pet for you, you will find that owning that pet can be rewarding and fun! So many people have reported how they ended up with their particular pets and how they truly changed their lives in a positive way. Most people feel their pets are a integral part of their family and couldn’t imagine their lives with out them. Pets usually enhance their owners lives, and deciding to own one will most likely be a very good choice!
Now on to how to choose between all the different types of pets available to you! Not all animals will suit who you are, so there are questions you should ask before venturing forth with a particular pet. Different animals have different temperaments and specific needs, in much the same way that people differ. Examples are some animals do very well living in small apartments, whereas others need huge areas to roam around in. Some animals may need a very specific diet, while others could thrive off a simple commercially prepared meal… Read More
Many things that pets do are thought to be cute behaviors. But, are they all as beneficial or innocent as they seem? One such activity is to sleep with your pets. Should you or shouldn’t you engage in a snooze?
For pets, sleep is just as important as it is for people. This is a time to recharge and refuel from the day’s activities. There are many pet beds and sleeping carriers available for use. But, sometimes, Fido or Rags may want to snuggle up with you for their afternoon or evening nap. Is this wise?
It seems harmless to sleep with your pets, especially if they are small. But, that’s not necessarily true. And, many pets, especially dogs that sleep with their owners, are medium to large size animals. Owners with more than one pet may allow the others to follow suit after the first has been allowed to rest in the family bed.
Have you ever heard of zoonotic diseases? These are conditions that can be transmitted from animal to human and cause major problems. Your pet could be carrying one of those diseases.
Here are a few reasons why it is not healthy to allow your four-legged companion to share the sheets.
1. Dangerous to immune-compromised people and children – Pets can pick up parasites from out of doors and bring them into your home and into the respiratory tract of those living on the house. For people who are sick or children with undeveloped immune systems, the parasites can make them very ill. Death is not common but it can lead to serious health consequences for all involved.
2. Can cause blood borne illnesses – It seems like a case of concern when your pet licks your wounds but bacteria in their saliva can enter your bloodstream. Untreated, it could lead to kidney or renal failure.
3. Scratches can cause damage – Have you ever rolled around in your sleep wildly? Pets can do it too. They may scratch or bite innocently during the night. Those scratches can become infected if not treated. For pets that have infections from fleas and worms and such, it can lead to further illness in their human owner.
Not to alarm you, but zoonotic diseases are real and pet owners may want to take precaution. Here are some tips to help you keep yourself and your pet safe.
1. Keep pets in their beds – Train pets to sleep in their designated areas. If it gets cold or hot, move them to a better climate but not your bed.
2. Be proactive – Keep up with pet vaccinations and follow veterinarian suggestions to keep pets free from parasites. Have cuts and wounds on your pet treated right away. If your pet licks any open wounds on you, wash them right away.
3. Keep pets groomed and clean – After a day on the beach or in the field, make sure your pet is checked for any noticeable parasites and remove them.
Protect yourself by keeping sleeping quarters separate for pets and people!
Pet Loss: When to Buy a New Pet
Pets are not just animals to most people, but a member of the family. The loss of a pet can be devastating. If you are thinking of buying a new puppy or kitten for a friend or family member, who has suffered a loss, keep reading this first.
More than a pet
It is a fact that pets can add years to your life. They have been shown to lower stress levels, blood pressure and risk of disease. Pets have improved the constitution of residents of nursing homes with regular visits.
Dogs and cats, among other animals, become our best friends and constant companions. For the animal’s part, they enjoy a family that loves them and provides for their needs. It can come as a great shock when that pet passes on. Not just children are saddened by the death. Adults, who may have had their pet since they were kids, mourn the loss.
Some think that buying another pet shortly after will help the griever cope with the loss. This is not always the case. We’d like to offer some guidelines to help you know when it is time to bring a new pet into your home.
Guidelines for New Pets
1. Learn to grieve fully – When you experience a loss, there is no telling how your emotions will play up. There is no time limit on grief. A favorite toy on the floor, a pet bed, or even a certain route that you walk could all bring up painful memories. It is natural to feel such things. Don’t rush yourself with the process. Take as much time as you need.
2. Consider the household – Are the other members of the family ready for a new addition to the home? What about your pets? If you have more than one pet in the home, it may not be easy to assimilate another one into the group. They are suffering a loss as well. Take into account the length of time it will take for dogs and/or cats to adjust if a new pet is introduced.
3. Say goodbye – Saying what you want to your deceased pet has a big impact on how you will get on without them. Have a burial service; have a cremation service where you spread their ashes in a treasured place. Both give each family member a chance to say last words.
4. Know when it’s time – Over time, the pain will grow less even though you will never forget your beloved pet. When it doesn’t hurt so much to look at their things or remember them fondly, you are getting closer to the day when you can choose another companion.
Losing a family pet can be hard. But, buying a new pet right away is not usually the answer. Before you add another pet, be sure that you are ready.
A Beautiful Snow Leopard!
I came across this Snow Leopard Video not too long ago and I wanted to share it. I think it is neat and somewhat magical when we are given the chance to glimpse something in nature that is not part of our everyday norm. This snow leopard video was caught by Matse Rangja on one of his hidden cameras in China. Matse Rangja is a wildlife photographer who has been tracking Snow Leopards for over eight years. This one specifically comes from the Burhan Budai Mountains.
Snow Leopards are actually an endangered species and their populations continue to be on the decline. They are on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as Endangered Status. There are only estimated to be around 6,000 of these leopards left in the wild. Reasons they are struggling to survive include changing habitats, less available prey, and poaching by humans. These large cats are native to Central Asia and live primarily in the high alpine and sub-alpine mountain areas. They will eat almost any type of animal they come across, however some of their more mainstay foods include bharal (blue sheep), mountain sheep, markhor (a wild goat species), and Himalayan Tahrs (related to wild goats). If they come across small animals or birds they will also eat those. Some people have a difficult time with them raiding their farms and eating their livestock.
Due to where they live, Snow Leopards have very thick fur coats to keep them warm from the cold. They also have large, wide feet which act similar to snow shoes, allowing them to cross deep snow rather easily. These leopards are considered large cats, but they are some of the smaller of the big cats. They only reach 60 to 120 pounds and about 2 feet in height. But they are still quite powerful and have no trouble taking down their prey! I don’t believe Snow Leopards are kept as pets other than in zoos or other wildlife sanctuaries, but there are some Exotic Cats which are. It takes a special type of person to want to keep an essentially large wild cat in their home!
Enjoy the video!