Are You Struggling with Pet Allergies?

June 19, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Cats, Pet Dogs

Are You Struggling with Pet Allergies?

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

Depending on whether you have a dog or a cat, these tips can help more or less.

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?

References

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.

Traveling with your Pet

June 10, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Cats, Pet Dogs

Traveling with your Pet?

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!

Pet Supplements for Optimum Health

June 1, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Horses, Pet Cats, Pet Dogs

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: Choosing the Best Pet For You

May 25, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Cats, Pet Dogs

Types of PetsTypes 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

personality!

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

More on The Blue-girdled Angelfish!

Should You Sleep With Your Pets?

May 23, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Cats, Pet Dogs

Should you sleep with your pets?

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?

The Threat

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

May 16, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Cats, Pet Dogs

Pet Loss

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.

Crate Training your Dog

May 3, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Dogs

Crate Training Your Dog

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.

Common Dog Behavioral Problems

April 16, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Dogs

Common Dog Behavioral Problems

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.

Should You Invest In An Animal Tracking Chip?

March 1, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Cats, Pet Dogs

Animal Tracking Chips

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.

Pet Vaccinations for Dogs

February 16, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Dogs

Vaccinations for Dogs

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.

Canine Vaccinations

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.

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