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.
Dogs are pack animals that like to live as a family. When you buy a puppy, you become its family. One way, to help your new dog know how to act, is to crate train them.
What is Crate Training?
First, let us say that crate training is a temporary tool. It is not meant to be used as a long term measure to help with your dog’s behavior. So, let’s learn how and why it works.
Crate training uses a cage to help your new puppy adjust to life in your home. Once they are weaned from their mothers, puppies need support and guidance so that they are socialized to humans and living in a home.
The crate allows you to help them with such skills as:
– House breaking them
– Avoiding unwanted behaviors
– Provide a safe place to sleep and rest for your pet
Your dog is housed in the crate for a certain amount of time each day. The crate should be appropriate for the size and age of dog. Any pet put in one should have room to stand up and move around and lay down comfortably. Crates that are too large can encourage soiling. One that is too small can cause anxiety.
Since the crate is to act like a temporary home within a home, fill it with a cozy mat for napping and some toys for your dog to play with. Positioning the crate so the dog can interact with the family can ease anxiety.
To get your dog used to the crate, place them in with the door open. Let them know that they can come and go. Shutting the door lets them know that they must stay there for a while, such as with disciplinary action.
Why Crate Train?
Crate training is important at the beginning of your dog’s stay with your family. Here are a few reasons. One, it can help other pets get used to your new dog. Your new dog can have time alone when they don’t want to play anymore. It also gives them a chance to slowly integrate into the family dynamic.
Two, crate training can help with house breaking your new dog. Create a schedule with it. According to different ages, dogs are not to be crated past a certain bracket of time. For instance, a new puppy that is about ten weeks of age shouldn’t be crated for more than an hour at a time. Since pups have little bladder and bowel control, they should be ready to go outside after their hour in the crate, provided you feed them before crating time.
Three, unwanted behavior can be managed with a crate. They learn to associate spending time in the crate with the door closed with unwanted behaviors like chewing on the furniture, urinating throughout the house or barking loudly.
Crate training is meant to be helpful for you and your dog.
Dogs are often misunderstood. Their needs are different from those of humans yet we attribute many of our habits to them. This can lead to dog behavioral problems. Here are a few of the more common “dog behaving badly” situations and how you can deal with them.
Have you ever heard someone remark that they don’t know what has gotten into their dog? The behavior comes as a surprise to them. But, dogs don’t usually do things without a reason. When they act out, something is wrong.
Here is an interesting fact: Dogs are not people. When we treat them as such, that is when trouble begins. Dogs are pack animals. They like living in groups with others.
Dogs also like a leader. Whomever the leader of the pack is, they will look up to and try to please that dog, or in the case of pet ownership, that human. It takes a strong and firm leader to keep a dog happy and satisfied.
With that said, there are only a few reasons why dogs exhibit behavioral issues:
1. Lack of proper leadership by their owner
2. Confusion with commands given by owner
3. Lack of proper training
Common Dog Behavioral Problems
You may have already experienced some of these. If not, consider yourself lucky and keep reading to learn how to continue to avoid them.
1. Digging – Dogs love to dig to bury bones or to discover already buried treasure. It can ruin your lawn if you’re not careful. One way to stop the behavior is to give a strong “NO” command when your dog is in the act of digging the hole. Another solution: build a special digging area like a sandbox for them to explore as freely as they like.
2. Chewing – Dogs like to chew. It can help them to relieve stress. But, chewing on your furniture is less than appealing. For your dog, eating decorations, yarn, socks and other small items can cause them to choke and become seriously ill. Provide your dog with plenty of chew toys to sharpen his teeth.
3. Poor manners – This centers on your dog not coming when you call him. For whatever reason, the dog doesn’t want to mind your command. It could be the way that you are giving the command. Keep it simple so as not to confuse him. The last thing you need to do is go to the dog. Instead, try moving a few paces further away and calling him again. If all else fails, run and he will follow.
4. Begging – It’s not polite to beg at the table. A good way to discourage this is to refuse to feed your dog table scraps. Don’t allow others to feed him from the table either. This will only encourage more begging.
Is your dog behaving badly? Curb that undesired performance right away. Most dog behavior problems can be cured by adhering to one or more of the guidelines above.
Do you know where your pet is? If you don’t, there is one way to help locate them if they ever get lost. Animal tracking chips are a fairly new thing. Should you invest in one?
What are animal tracking chips?
Just like the name implies, these chips make it easy for you to find your pet if he becomes lost. Sure, you can use a collar with your residential information, but a chip can be an easier and quicker way to find your pet.
Veterinarians can implant the chips under your pet’s skin. The information that is recorded on the chip can then be traced by a company that registers the chips. If one is in the area, it can be located.
What are these chips made of? They are microchips that are small enough not to be detected under the skin. Your pet won’t be hurt by the insertion which is done through a needle and it can be easier to keep up with than a collar. Any discomfort that your pet feels initially should go away quickly.
Each animal tracking chip has a different frequency, a radio frequency referred to as RFID (radio frequency identification technology). The chips are read by a specific type of scanner. Whenever you update information about your pet at your vet, it is automatically sent to the registry company.
These types of devices are also used for large livestock to tag them for ownership purposes. They can be tagged in the ear and it is easier and less traumatic than branding.
Benefits of the animal tracking chip
These chips are good for relaying information about your pet. If it is ever lost and taken to a shelter, they can use a chip reader to find out if the animal has one and who it belongs to. Your pet can be returned to you more quickly. This cuts down on unnecessary expenses at shelters to house lost animals.
The chip is easier to keep track of than a device implanted in a collar. Collars even with devices can be lost off of the pet’s neck. If you choose, the chips can be used in conjunction with other systems to keep your pet safe.
Lots of lost animals are not reunited with their owners because they can’t locate them. Even with a collar, someone has to report your seeing your pet. You can give your pet a chance with a chip.
Do you need an animal tracking chip?
While these chips are handy they will cost you. They aren’t often cheap. Your veterinarian can enlighten you as to what you will pay.
Also, if your pet is an indoor animal, there may be no need for a chip. You can also take into account your pets personality. Certain animals are more likely to run away or escape than others. Dogs are probably the most lost pets. If you have an outdoor pet, a chip could be a preventative measure.
Animal tracking chips are useful and have several benefits. The decision to get one is up to you and should be based on several considerations.
The best defense is a good offense. Keeping your dog healthy from the start can ward off a lot of trouble down the road. Vaccinations are recommended for pups and dogs throughout their life.
Just like children, vaccinations are important for pets. They help them to avoid common diseases and illnesses that could afflict their species. Each breed of dog is different and some may need additional vaccinations as they age, but there are certain ones that all dogs are recommended to receive. Check with your veterinarian for specific details.
When should your dog be vaccinated? As soon as recommended by your vet. If you adopt an older dog, a schedule can still be designed to help them stay protected.
There are two types of vaccinations that your pup or dog can receive: core vaccinations and non-core vaccinations. The core are the ones that are usually required by law to be given. Again, this depends on your dog breed and their specific health issues.
Let’s begin with parvovirus. It is a highly contagious dog disease that can lead to bloody diarrhea. It can even kill your pet. The first vaccination for dogs is recommended around five weeks of age for pups. The shot is efficacious for less than a year so they will need to be re-vaccinated around 10 to 12 weeks of age and again around 16 weeks.
Another core vaccine is canine distemper. Distemper is akin to measles in human children. It mostly affects pups which is why it is important to be vaccinated. The schedule is much the same as for the parvovirus. The first vaccination for dogs is around 5 weeks of age, with a second and third round at 10 to 12 weeks and 16 weeks, respectively.
Rabies shots are recommended for obvious reasons. It can make a dog really sick and aggressive. Also, they can bite and infect humans with the disease. This is one shot required for all pets by law. When a puppy is around 12 weeks of age, they are often given the vaccine.
Hepatitis is an infectious disease in dogs that causes liver damage. It is either the CAV-1 or CAV-2 strain. This vaccination for dogs can be given at around 5 weeks along with distemper and parvovirus.
Non-core vaccinations are important for many dog breeds but not all and the risk of the condition is lower than the others. You can consider these vaccines and discuss them with your veterinarian: Leptospirosis, coronavirus, Lyme disease, Parainfluenza and Bordetella.
Some vets also offer combination vaccines. There are five way and seven way combination vaccines. These combine core and some non-core vaccines in one shot. Boosters for the core vaccines are given to adult dogs to further their protection.
You want to give your pup every advantage in life. Talk to your vet about a vaccination schedule for your dog.
Pets get sick too. When they do, it is important to have a resource for medications that will help them to get better. Once they are sick is not the time to investigate the resources available to you for purchasing your pet medication.
Just like people, pets get sick and need treatment. Knowing the signs of illness in your pet can assist with the best possible outcomes for their ailment. To that end, visiting your vet at the first sign of trouble is best.
Veterinarians are doctors for animals. They can prescribe medications for your sick pet. But, did you know that you don’t have to get all of your medications from them? Consider all of your options so that you are getting the best and most effective medication as well as products that are offered at the best price.
Resources for Pet Medicationss
1. Veterinarian’s office – This is often the first resource but not always the best. It all depends on the ailment and the medication needed to heal your pet. If it is a prescription medication, ask for a generic brand. Generics are cheaper but with the same ingredients as the name brand. The problem comes in when there is no generic. The prices can be astronomical. If you have pet insurance, check the fine print to see if your policy covers co-payments for medications. Ask your vet for samples so that you can try the medication before investing in an entire prescription.
2. Look online – You can find just about anything that you want on the Internet. This includes pet medications. You may have seen commercials for sites like 1-800-PetMeds. They offer discounts on everything from flea and tick collars to medications for heart worms. Other helpful sites to research are: PetCareRX.com, Vet Depot and DiscountPetMedicines.com. Check with your vet first to see if these sites are reputable and which they would recommend.
3. Holistic approach – Again talk to your vet. Their interest is in getting your pet well. Ask if they subscribe to using alternative remedies for certain conditions. You may be able to create a home remedy that works just as well as prescription pet medications but for a fraction of the cost.
When shopping for pet medications, do a little homework of your own. There are many online pet medication sites but all are not reputable and some sell products that don’t contain the same efficacious ingredients as the ones you acquire from your vet. But, this is not always the case so you will need to check.
Also, verify with your veterinarian if pet allergies prohibit you from purchasing certain medications online. If you are ever unsure, talk to a customer service representative before making any final online purchases.
Pet medications keep your pet healthy and well.
When it comes to your pet, you want the best care for them that is available. That begins with your choice for a veterinarian. Here are a few things to ask to make sure you are getting the best person for the job.
It is the job of the veterinarian to work with the pet owner to keep their beloved animal in great health. While we treat our pets like members of the family, they are first and foremost, animals. This means that they have different health needs and concerns than we do. In order to meet all of their needs, we need the help of someone who knows all about pets.
When do you choose a veterinarian? Well, this process begins before you even adopt or buy a pet. As soon as you acquire a new family member you will want them to see a vet right away to make sure that they are okay. Even if you don’t have one at the beginning, waiting until your pet is sick is not a good idea.
Finding the Right Person for the Job
So, what are the criteria for choosing a good vet? That depends on the type of pet that you have and their unique needs. Keep reading to find out a good place to start.
1. Ask for referrals – If you have friends who own pets, they more than likely have a veterinarian. Pick their brains to see who they would recommend for your pet.
2. Call around – If you don’t know anyone who can help, look in the phone book. Start with vets in your immediate area. Ask about the types of animals they see in their practice. Some vets, believe it or not, may specialize in a certain type of animal or large animals as opposed to everyday house pets.
3. Make a few visits – Before signing up with someone, check them out. Visit the office and look around. Is the waiting room clean? Do they require cages for certain pets to avoid commotion? Is the staff pleasant and friendly? Do they take drop-in appointments?
4. Schedule a time when you can take a tour – Ask to have a tour of the facility. Visit the kennels and the wards where they would care for your pet. Are they clean? If pets are there, are their cages clean?
5. Ask for credentials – What type of schooling does your vet have? Ask them about any professional organizations that they belong to and if they are board certified. It is not necessary that your vet be board certified but if they are it says that they have taken the extra steps to specialize in a certain area of veterinary medicine.
6. Ask questions – If you have any concerns about your pet’s needs, ask. This is the time. Don’t be afraid to get the information that you need. It’s for your pet.
A veterinarian is your partner in the care of your pet. Make the right choice by being informed.
Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Shih Tzu!
Shih Tzus are a toy dog breed, and a cute one at that! My father and mother-in-law have a Shih Tzu, named Max. They got him as a puppy and he is now 4 years old. Max is absolutely adorable and he is a playful and personable little dog! He is small and loves to hang out on everyone’s laps during family gatherings. You really couldn’t ask for a sweeter dog.
Shih Tzus are actually ornamental toy dogs and are one of the oldest small dog breeds around. Other names for these dogs are the Chinese Lion Dog, the Chinese Shih Tzu, and the Chrysanthemum Dog. They make wonderful pets and are great show dogs. Because they are small they don’t need a lot of room they make good indoor dogs (especially good for apartment dwellers). They are happy, energetic little dogs who simply love their human companions! They have long beautiful fur coats. The one initial drawback of these dogs is that they can be quite expensive to purchase up-front. They range from around $300 to $1,000 depending on the area and the breeder.
Shih Tzu Background. It is known that these dogs came from China originally, and is agreed upon that they probably date back to the 7th century. Possible ancestors for the Shih Tzu include the Lhasa Apso and the Pekingese. The Chinese were quite proud of this breed and they did not start exporting them to other countries until the 20th century. Many people today will create mixes with the Shih Tzu by breeding them with other dogs. Common dogs they are crossbred with include the Maltese, the Poodle, and the Bichon Frise.
These dogs only reach about 11 inches in height and weigh from 9 to 16 pounds. They are often shown at dog shows, where you can see a large variety of colors they are available in. As I said before – they are happy and generally love human companions! They can make a good childrens dogs as long as the child is responsible and knows not to be too rough. They also usually get along well with almost any other pet! Because of their long hair they do not do well in hot temperatures. This makes it essential that they be allowed indoors if you live in a hot climate.
The Shih Tzu can be a stubborn dog. Anything you want to train them will have to be done consistently and you will need patience. I remember first-hand how difficult it was for everyone during the house-training of Max. It seemed like he was always having accidents! But now, he is fully trained and a great house dog. So don’t despair! Make sure to walk your dog regularly. That can be a great time to work on training them as well.
Shih Tzu Care and Feeding. These are typical dogs and so need mostly animal fats and some protein in their diets. Purchase a good quality dog food for them or make your own with poultry, rice, and soy. Keep their teeth clean as they are prone to dental problems. Just giving them teeth cleaning chews can help out in that regard. They also have long hair that should be brushed regularly to keep it free from tangles and mats. If you have a show dog this is especially true. If you don’t plan on showing your dog feel free to have your dogs hair groomed and cut for easier care!
Health problems can be common with the Shih Tzu. They are prone to respiratory diseases, eye and ear problems, spinal disc disease, and dental problems. First of all, make sure your dog or puppy appears healthy before purchasing him. Next, make sure to give all of the recommended vaccinations on time and to give the appropriate boosters. Bring your dog to the veterinarian for yearly check-ups and this would also be a good time to have his teeth checked and cleaned if necessary. One last note. They don’t do well in dusty areas because of their proneness to respiratory problems. So just make sure to keep the area they are living in as clean and dust-free as possible!
The Shih Tzu really is a great dog. More information is available on Shih Tzus if you have any questions or would like more details!
Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.
Want a dog that reminds you of your favorite teddy bear or stuffed animal? Then a Chow Chow may be the right breed for you. Here is some information you might find helpful before you buy your next pet companion.
Chow Chows are an old breed of dog. It is believed that they originated in Asia millions of years ago. Many fossils from that time show bone structures similar to the modern species. One thing that makes them distinctive is their blue or black mouth. This is a quality that is shared with the Chinese Shar-Pei, leading to the conclusion that they are somehow related.
Originally, this dog was put to work in many areas. They made great hunting dogs, finding sables, wolves and pheasants. Because of their muscular build, they were also used to pull carts and sleds. It was also not unusual to find them herding other animals or protecting an owner’s property and family.
In a good environment, a Chow Chow displays obedience and manners. They get along well with other animals in the household as long as they are socialized from pups.
This dog can have behavior issues if he sees that his or her master is not behaving as an alpha in the family. In order for the dog to know his place, he has to recognize that all humans in the pack are higher up than he.
A Chow Chow will readily challenge and usurp power in the pack if they see that their master is faltering. These dogs are strong willed and will become stubborn to a fault in these situations. Their actions will come off as mean to their owners but is their way of showing that they decide what to do and not the humans.
A Chow Chow is a large thick dog. Their most common colors are black, cream, blue, red, and cinnamon. It is also not uncommon to see them in tan or gray coats. Their telltale feature is that they have a blue-black tongue in a black mouth.
They maintain a dense coat that can either be coarse or smooth. Regular brushing is important to maintain the coat, especially in the seasons when they shed heavily.
This dog is also prone to a few health issues. They have eye irritation due to entropion, a condition where their eyelids roll inward and their eyelashes end up scratching the surface of the eye. You will also find that they deal with hip dysplasia, cancer, and ear infections.
A Chow Chow needs a firm hand in order to be trainable. They can be difficult and require a strong dominant owner. For this reason, many people give up this breed, because they were not able to handle him in that regard.
When properly trained, these dogs are quite intelligent. Given a task, they will continue to perform it until they have pleased their owners. It is not unheard of for Chow Chows to learn to “shake hands” with people, jump around on their hind legs, and perform other tricks.
These gentle lion-like dogs are playful and obedient when trained well. If you have a firm strong personality, a Chow Chow may find a home in your household.