Monday, April 30, 2007

What Is The Endocrine Dog Health Problem

Dogs affected by bacterial, fungal and viral infections may see some form of hormone changes that affect specific organs by way of the bloodstream. The pituitary gland, adrenal and thyroid glands are the typical endocrine glands that affect the body of the dog. One endocrine dog health problem is Cushing's disease.

What Is Cushing's Disease in Dogs

The medical terminology for this disease is hyperadrenocorticism. When excess cortisol is present in the bloodstream, circulates through the body, and can be deathly if the levels are high. Known also as a steroid, normal levels produced by the body, do no harm. Younger dogs are not affected by this condition, but as the dogs age, any breed can become affected.

What Causes and Symptoms of Cushing's Disease in Dogs

The pituitary gland is the primary cause of this condition in dogs. For most causes diagnosed, the non-cancerous tumors produce the excess circulation of the cortisol, which in turn leads to the disease. Endocrine dog health problem arise because of the adrenal glands located near the kidneys and produce adrenaline as well.

The number one symptom is extreme thirst and appetite. The belly will extend outward along with hair loss, increased urination and laziness. These symptoms usually appear after a few months of having the disease, which sometimes is to long for some dogs if they are not completely healthy before the disease circulates through the body. The Endocrine dog health problem needs early detection as well as treatment.

Let the Vet Diagnose the Disease Correctly

If your dog shows any symptoms of Cushing's disease, and the dog's age is over the four-year mark, blood tests can confirm if the disease is this disease or some other dog health program. One test that determines what gland is showing signs of abnormalities are the high dose dexamethasone, which determines whether it is the pituitary or adrenal gland. The two other tests that a vet will run are the low dose dexamethasone suppression and the ACTH stimulation test.

Treating Cushing's Disease in Dogs

Because the endocrine dog health problem has no preventive treatments, the dog must undergo treatment with lysodren medications. The medication attacks and destroys a portion of the adrenal gland reducing levels of cortisol. Other drugs used have a lower efficiency for treating Cushing's disease are ketoconazole and anipryl. If the tumor tests negative for being cancerous, it can be removed by a surgical procedure.

In all, dogs that come down with symptoms of Cushing's disease need to be tested and diagnosed before any treatments can be rendered. The most important thing to remember is if it is not caused by a cancerous tumor, surgery can help eliminate the symptoms. Not all symptoms mean Cushing's disease has, many aliments to dogs show the same signs. This is why proper diagnosis is required before any type of treatment can be given to the dog. Always provide plenty of food and water to your dog, even if these symptoms arise.

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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Worms That Can Threaten Your Dog's Health

The dog is a very active and a curious animal. This often digs around trash and comes into contact with other animals. Though this may seem fun, people do not notice that this can lead to problems in the health of the pet.

Worms are considered to be internal parasites. Some people will notice this immediately when the dog excretes this in the stool. However, this isn't always the case. There are some that can only be seen using a microscope once a blood sample has been taken.

Once these parasites have entered the dog's digestive system, the chances of survival are very slim. The only thing the owner can do is offer liquids and some medicine which will hopefully strengthen the pet's immune system and hopefully kill the worms.

Worms have been classified into 5 types.

The first is called the hookworm. The dog can get this by walking in the garden and once these are on the foot of the pet, these will slowly move inside and multiply causing much havoc in the digestive system.

These usually grow from 12 to 15 and suck on the blood. The dog can die even before this come out in the feces which is why puppies during this stage in life should be regularly brought to the vet.

The person should be aware that this isn't only contagious to dogs but to humans as well.

The second is called a tapeworm. People will not mistake seeing this since this type of worms is long and usually live in the intestine of the animal. These can also be found in the anus and comes with fleas that suck on the blood of the animal. This can be killed using prescribed medication since ordinary vaccination does not work.

The third type is called the roundworm. These look like spaghetti noodles when it comes out of the feces of the dog. Though some may come out, there are still some inside and can multiply some more if proper treatment isn't administered. The only way to fight this is also using prescribed medication.

The fourth type is called a whipworm. The parasite is called this way because these appear to be a combination of both the tape and the round worm. These are usually found in the colon area and have an incubation of three months before coming out.

The fifth type is the heartworm. These usually stay near the heart and only a blood sample can reveal its existence. It is better to prevent this from happening since most pups that are infected die from this disease.

The best protection against these parasites will be to bring the dog to the vet and having vaccinations done. The person can also try getting some disinfecting pills. These can be purchased without a medical prescription and should be used using the proper dosage.

At home, the person can start by making sure the dog house or bedding is clean at all times. The pet should also be given a bath once a week and tied to a leash to prevent this animal from digging in the yard or eating from the trash since this is where germs and other contaminants grow.

When a dog is struck by worms, the immune system may either fight or give up. A lot of dogs will die while those that do survive will have some side effects that will affect the dog health for the remainder of its life.

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

African Grey Parrot - The Roget's Thesaurus On Wings?

The African Grey parrot has been deemed the best speaker of all the parrots. In fact, the Guinness Book of World records has listed an African Grey parrot named, Prudle as the most talkative parrot world wide. Prudle and other African Grey parrots like her have helped bring light to the amazing abilities and qualities these birds possess. Though it is common knowledge that parrots speak, the African Grey parrot delivers a vocabulary unlike any other parrot and they are not limited to mimicking human speech either. In fact, you may be familiar with one very famous African Grey parrot named Alex. He has been the subject of scientific studies and many television programs and documentaries. As of current testing, it has been determined that Alex has the same mental capacities of a two-year-old child. It is no wonder so many bird fanciers are racing to own African Grey parrots.

It is because of their incredible abilities, intelligence, and personalities that those considering owning an African Grey parrot should be prepared to devote as much time and attention to their new pet as they would a young child. The African Grey parrot requires plenty of stimulation and interaction and will easily bond with its new owner. Many people prefer to buy their African Greys through a breeder. This ensures that the bird is acclimated to human touch and will be more dependent upon their owners. This is especially true if you purchase your African Grey parrot at a young age and hand feed it. It is also important to realize that it is illegal to capture African Grey parrots in the wild and sell them.

If you are going to purchase an African Grey, you should ensure that you would be able to devote plenty of time to him or her and make sure that your pet will not spend its day without adequate stimulation. Since the African Grey parrot has a lifespan of fifty years and more, it is imperative that you realize your new parrot purchase is a lifelong commitment. However, many people who own African Greys readily admit that their pet is a beloved member of their family, and the bond between these amazing birds and their owners is one full of love, happiness, and enjoyment.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Favorite Large Dog Breeds

There are many people who love large dogs. That is obvious by the number of large dog breeds listed in the AKC top ten favorite dog breeds. The Top Ten list includes Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherd Dogs, Golden Retrievers, and Boxers. And since Poodles are eighth in the list, you could say that five large breeds are in the top ten since Standard Poodles average over 50 pounds.

Why are so many large dogs found in the top ten when they can appear so intimidating, cost a lot more to feed than smaller dogs, require more room, and require firmer training than, say, a Pug or Pomeranian?

There is something special about having a large dog. Unless you have owned one of the large dog breeds you might not understand the feeling owners get calling this large dog "friend" and "companion." Many of the large breeds are also among the most gentle breeds.

With the exception of the German Shepherd Dog, Weimaraners, Rottweilers and the Doberman Pinscher, every large dog listed below is extremely affectionate (rating four or five stars out of a possible five). Many of the largest breeds seem to be the most affectionate and gentle, while others among the largest breeds, such as the Rottweiler and German Shepherd Dog, are terrific guard dogs.

The top ten favorite large dogs are not, for the most part, the giants of the dog world. After all, Irish Wolfhounds and St. Bernards, among the biggest and heaviest dogs, are 39th and 77th on the AKC list of favorite dogs. Still, Great Danes, only a few inches smaller than the Irish Wolfhound, occupy the position of 24th favorite, and Mastiffs (a breed that can weight about 190 pounds, just below the St. Bernard) are 32nd favorite.

Here is the list of top ten with 11th and 12th thrown in for good measure:

Labrador Retriever (1st) German Shepherd Dogs (3rd) Golden Retrievers (4th) Boxers (7th) Rottweilers (17th) Pointers, German Shorhaired (19th) Doberman Pinschers (21st) Great Danes (24th) Siberian Huskies (25th) English Springer Spaniel (26th) Weimaraners (30th) Mastiffs (32nd)

Considering that there are 155 dogs listed in the American Kennel Club (in 2006), it is a significant achievement to be listed in the top 30. Eleven of the large dog breeds accomplish this, with Mastiffs coming in close behind at position 32. And note that large breeds occupy three of the top four positions, which is really impressive.

But why are these large dogs so popular even though they require more space, more food, and often more energy to control than little Chihuahuas (number 11) or Pugs (number 13)? The fact is some people prefer large dogs over small. Who can argue that a Mastiff or Great Dane does not elicit awe and admiration from everyone who sees one? They are very imposing dogs.

Yet despite their size most of these large dogs are very gentle and affectionate. Imagine a Mastiff with the temperament of a typical Chihuahua. Just the thought is frightening. Instead, the Mastiff is among the most lovable and gentle dog breed.

The Labrador Retriever is so far ahead of all the other breeds in popularity that it will be awhile before any other breed overtakes them, if it ever happens at all. No matter how you look at it, large dogs are among the most favorite dog breeds in the United States.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Small Dog Breeds

Small dog breeds are increasing in popularity every day, and not just because of Paris Hilton. Small dogs have a lot of great attributes that many people want in a dog without any of the size problems.

Small dog breeds are great for several reasons. Of course they are small, so if you live in a small apartment a small dog is ideal. Also, it is much easier to travel with a small dog because they can fit easily in a bag around your shoulder or in a small carrier, and don't they don't take up much space in the car.

Caring for small dogs is a lot easier and cheaper as well. They eat a lot less than a normal sized dog and also most of them shed less than a normal sized dog which is good for people who want to avoid allergens.

There are many small dog breeds that are in the top 10 in terms of popularity in the AKC list of breeds. These include the Shih Tzu, Miniature Schnauzer, Yorkshire terrier, Dachshund, and the Toy and Miniature Poodle. These small dogs keep moving up in popularity and push even more familiar breeds out of the top ten list. The trend looks to be continuing this year and at least for the near future they will continue to gain in popularity.

Often times people think that small dogs are not as aggressive as large dogs. Don't underestimate small dog breeds; they can be just as aggressive as large dogs. Most make great watchdogs, and will let you know the minute something is not right. A lot of small dogs will even try to attack larger breed dogs!

Always be sure to purchase your dog from a reputable breeder. Check with other people and see where they purchased their dogs from and ask for buying tips. Often times buying from a pet store is the worst place to buy your small dog breed from. Small breed puppies can be prone to many medical issues like hypoglycemia and congenital defects so it is important to have you new dog examined by a veterinarian soon after purchase.

Small breed dogs offer a lot of advantages leading to an ever increasing popularity. There are many different Toy and Miniature dog breeds to choose from, but do your research and ask around. Whether it be a Shih Tzu or a Miniature Schnauzer, you'll find many small dog breeds that are right for you.


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Understanding Iguana Health Care

In trying to discover the proper iguana health care it is essential to understand that in large part, the iguana's health is completely dependent upon the environment that they are in as well as the nutrition that is available to them. This is the also true of the iguana that is kept in captivity, as it is highly imperative that it has a proper and adequate habitat and this fact alone can play a monumental role in the iguana health care. Lets take a look at the various factors that can play an important part of the health of this fantastic creature.

Compromising Iguana Health Care

There is a pivotal part of feeding the iguana because there are some foods that include toxic chemicals for an iguana and can cause serious harm. One of those foods is spinach because they do cause acids that can be potentially harmful to an iguana as well as brussel sprouts because they are infamous for carrying salmonella. Some other food things that are potentially dangerous to an iguana health care regime are things such as swiss chard, cauliflower and beets as these can also contain mild traces of acids and toxins that can harm the iguana.

Another pivotal part of keeping a good iguana health care regime is that iguanas that are held in captivity do not get the required amount of sunlight which is how they absorb vitamin C as well as other nutrients and in that manner, it is highly important that the pet iguana receives vitamin as well as calcium supplements at least two times a week as well as supplying the iguana with the essential UV lighting as this is one aspect that an iguana cannot thrive or survive without.

Iguanas In Captivity

For a final few statements regarding the iguana health care, it is equally as important that the habitat it lives in is clean and well kept. Often new iguana users will line the cage with substances such as wood chips or lizard litter and although one is made to believe that this is the appropriate kind of litter for an iguana, it is not! It is wise to use something that can be easily thrown out and that the iguana will not ingest as this can cause serious health problems. Some kind of butcher wrap that can be easily thrown out and replaced that the iguana will not ingest is ultimately the best kind of cage litter.

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Dog Breeders: A Good Way To Buy A Dog?

Purebred dogs are all the rage. For many people who are looking to purchase a purebred dog, they do a dog breeder search in order to buy it. Before you rush out and plop down several hundred dollars for your pure breed pup, there are a few things that are important to know. It is very important to educate yourself BEFORE you buy your puppy from a breeder.

You can find breeders by searching the newspaper or using the Internet, and a number of different places. But what do you really know about the breeder? Some breeders are nothing more than "puppy mills" or farms. Since you don't have to be licensed to be a breeder, the backyard breeder - the dog owner who decides to raise puppies for sale as an income generally has little knowledge – or do they bother to understand – the genetics of the breed or proper nutritional requirements to keep the dog healthy. And it's not uncommon for puppies that come from unlicensed breeders to be sickly and harboring diseases. And puppy mill puppies frequently turn up in pet stores.

Ironically, pet stores are the WORST place to buy a dog. These dogs come from puppy farms where they are often abused, neglected and inbred. Dogs from pet stores are many times nearly impossible to train, prone to illness and disease, prone to behavioral problems like compulsive chewing or barking, as well as being almost impossible to crate train.

Believe it or not, practically any breed that you could want to purchase is available in your local area. Purebred dogs are increasingly found at your local animal shelter. And there are breed specific rescue
organizations. Of course most of these dogs are no longer young puppies because people turn them in once the fad has worn off - generally that happens around 6 months to one year from the time they got the pup.

If you are insistant on getting a puppy, the safest route is to find a dog breeder who is licensed. Some of the best options for finding a professional dog breeder would be to attend local dog shows, visit pet
supply stores, pet expos or ask a veterinarian for recommendations. However you still need to do your own homework.

Ask lots of questions about the dog you're getting, expect the breeder to ask you questions about yourself and your lifestyle as well. If they don't, be cautious. Good breeders don't want their dogs to end up in homes where the potential owner doesn't have time for the dog or doesn't understand the work involved in raising one. A store clerk or amateur breeder who simply hands you a dog in exchange for your money is not doing you any favors.

Many people buy their puppies over the Internet via some sort of dog breeder directory, but it is highly recommended that you buy from a breeder that you can visit. You can never be 100% sure of what you're getting over the Net. You need to be able to see the facility where the dogs are being bred. Is it clean, is the breeder a caring person, do the mothers look healthy, do the puppies have room to play? These are just a few things you'll need to see with your own eyes. And the answers to these questions will determine whether or not you buy your puppy from that breeder. Don't neglect this vital step. It could mean the difference between getting a healthy pup and a pup that may have eventually have problems.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

How To Make Safe & Healthy Food For Your Dog

Are you like me and afraid to feed your dog ANY commercial dog food? How can we trust the dog food industry now? How do we
know if any of the dog food on shelves in the stores is safe?

I've been feeding my dog, Puddles, those small cans of chicken and small can of sausages. I've also been feeding her bologna and
hot dogs.

Frankly, this is getting too expensive for me. Puddles is a big dog with a big appetite! I've been searching the internet for information on how to make my own dog food, and I found a great source! His name is John Miller, and you can immediately download tons of healthy recipes. I am so relieved I found this! Have you been reading the labels on all the dog food bags in the stores to check for wheat gluten like I've been doing? What about just wheat? Wheat is in many of the dog foods.

Are you thinking that the dog food industry is maybe not telling us everything? I don't want to give my dog any food that has any kind of wheat in it at all! That's why I wanted to find recipes to make homemade food for Puddles, so I can feel good about what she's eating and I know she's safe and healthy. I know it's takes a little more time and effort to make your own dog food, but I feel like my dog, Puddles, is worth it. Isn't yours?

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Tricks For Getting Macaws To Stop Biting

My all time favorite species of parrot is the Macaw; more specifically the Blue and Gold Macaw. They're the most vibrant colored parrots, have an amazing ability to mimic joises with supreme clarity and if raised correctly, their temperament is right up there with the Cockatoo's. But unlike the Cockatoos, the Macaw doesn't become obsessed with human interaction and is MUCH more manageable.

On a quick side note, if you're interested in finding out more information about the quirky behaviors of Cockatoos, you might want to check out my newsletter on the topic at my website.

But that doesn't mean Macaws don't come without their problems… they do. And as long as you know how to handle a Macaw, they'll turn out to be one of the most affectionate breeds of parrot you could ever own.

So if your new to macaw ownership, or looking to purchase one, this one quick little tip could save you TONS of trouble in the future.

Without knowing what I'm about to tell you a Macaw will quickly be able to control you, and everyone in your home. Macaws have a very annoying ability to figure out how to get you to do what they want.

They are easily taught that if they scream you'll come over and give them attention, or maybe even feed them… because YOU think it's quieting them down… even though they think you're just playing.

They'll learn that if they're standing on your hand, and you go to put them back into their cage – where they don't want to go – that if they bite you, they won't go back in the cage as fast. Heck, they even learn that sometimes biting you will cause you to drop them, giving them a chance to escape for just a few more minutes of playtime OUTSIDE their cage.

These birds aren't stupid. And therefore, you can't afford to be either. Instead you need to constantly be thinking about ways your parrot might be trying to get his own way.

Here's another example...

Macaws are notorious lungers. They're famous for sitting quietly on top of their cage until you decide you want to walk by. If the Macaw isn't quite sure about how he feels about you, it is very common for him to flare out his wings, scream at the top of his longs, run across his cage, and aggressively lunge at you, getting as close as possible to your skin.

This is an incredibly intimidating, and requires nerves of steel to not be scared right into submission by your macaw. However, I think you'll find it extremely interesting to know that most macaws if you'd just stand there and let them lunge at you, actually WON'T bite you. It's all a big show to try to gain the upper hand and prove his dominance over you so he can get his way. As long as he has you scared, he wins.

So the next time you're confronted with a Macaw who's showing these types of behaviors, stand your ground. Let him attack and see what happens. He probably will grab hold of you, realize you aren't leaving, and back off. And even if he is a bit aggressive, just hold a wooden dowel in between you and your bird. The macaw will keep attacking the stick, and quickly realize that he can't use aggression to get his way with you.

For more tips and tricks on how to handle Macaws, go to

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Small and Large Dogs- How Size Variations Can Help Us Learn More About Diseases We Share With Dogs

Dogs are descended from wolves but the domestic dogs of today are quite different from the dogs of long ago. The largest variation in size of any animals that live on land is found among the various breeds of dogs. Because dogs and humans have more than 200 diseases in common and humans share about 85% of our genetic makeup with canines in general, it is important to study the variation of size found in dogs. There were probably smaller wolves in ancient times but we have no way of knowing for sure. These smaller canines would have been more likely to have been treated as pets by ancient men. This was the beginning of man wanting to breed smaller dogs for different uses, such as hunting, herding and watching for intruders.

The reason that we have dogs of such varying size is that breeders started using selective breeding hundreds of years ago. The smallest dogs from each litter were mated together, resulting in smaller and smaller dogs. Purebred dogs became less pure and finally the bloodlines were diluted to the point that the purest animals of each breed became almost extinct. It is for this reason that we are able to learn so much from the diseases we share in common with dogs. These diseases include cancer, high blood pressure and arthritis.

Small dogs have a mutation in one of their chromosomes that accounts for the growth sequence from birth to adolescence in mammals. By studying this gene and the hormone it controls we can put the pieces of the puzzle together in a way that was previously unknown.

By learning more about the similarities between humans and dogs we can find out new ways to treat and prevent many diseases that we have in common. This is just one more way that dogs are truly man's best friend.

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

How to Stop Your Cat from Chewing on Electrical Cords and Other Objects

Chewing on electrical cords can burn or shock your cat causing respiratory problems, cardiac arrest and even death. Cats' sharp teeth and their inquisitive nature can put your cat at high risk. This is especially an issue with kittens.

Here's what to do to:

1. Tape cords to the wall with electrical tape to help prevent your pet from gaining access to them.

2. Stow excess lengths of cord behind furniture or appliances, hidden from your cat's view. Cats are attracted to dangling cords and may think they are toys.

3. Block access to visible cords by wrapping flexible safety cable (available at hardware stores) around them. Tin foil works well too, or even a thicker model or extension cord (that is too big for a cat to chew on)

4. Place contact paper, sticky side up, in the general area of electrical cords to discourage your pet from approaching them.

5. Apply unpleasant-tasting substances to exposed cords. These could include bitter apple spray, menthol, toothpaste, mouthwash or lemon juice. Experiment with different flavors, since cats' taste aversions vary. You can also use Crittercord... It's a cord cover with a deterrent infused in it. Be sure to use a product for Cats though- similar products are available for killing rats so be careful what you buy!

6. Have favorite toys available to distract your pet from the cords, and rotate toys every few days to prevent boredom.

7. Keep your pet out of any room with exposed electrical cords until your furry friend loses interest in chewing on them.

My favorite solution is rubbing the cords with a bar of soap.

Moisten the soap, it makes application easier. The soap will last longer than the Bitter Apple sprays and is more effective than hot sauce (even habanero, which incidentally can get in the cat's eyes and be really painful). This works so well that you will probably see a reluctance to even reach for untreated cords, like a mouse or keyboard cord, where the same cat consistently would bite these before.

You need to understand that cats are smart creatures though they are also creatures of instinct. If you have something dangling around, such as a cord for a fan, your cat will naturally want to swat at it. She may even chew on it as it moves (literally moving your cat around like in old cartoons, just a bit slower).

Every interaction with your cat trains her. If she does something you don't like, and you pick her up and tell her she's naughty and put her in another room etc she's actually learning that if she does that bad behavior, she'll get attention from you! Which means she'll do the bad behavior more and more.

It's far better to ignore bad behavior and reward good behavior. To stop bad behavior interrupt her pattern with a squirt of water or use the above methods to make the experience not as pleasant as she thought it would be. (For example, chewing on cords might look like fun, but if they taste terrible, she'll soon learn that it's better to chew other things).

You should also know that problem behavior in cats is often a sign of stress, boredom or bad socializing when they were a kitten. To deal with stress and boredom provide lots toys, perches and places she can get away and relax and remember that love is the best medicine so give her plenty of attention.

If your cat is out of control due to bad socializing when she was a kitten, you can fix her behavior, though it may take longer. For example, giving her attention needs to be on HER may only be able to pat her for a small amount of time in one go, though over a few months she'll gradually allow you to pat her more and more as she gets used to it.

It's better to give her some attention and leave her wanting more then over doing it and only stopping when she scratches you and runs away.

Cats are amazing creatures, and once you understand their psychology, you'll get along with them like never before, enjoying perfect behavior from them and an even deeper bond.

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Canine Pregnancy Guide

In many ways canine pregnancy is not that different from human pregnancy, although it is somewhat shorter, averaging sixty-three days. A dog's diet, as well as their consumption of medicine needs to be monitored during pregnancy, just like a woman's should be, and you may notice changes in your dog's emotions and social behavior. She can even experience morning sickness!

Most dogs will gain 15-25% of their original body weight during pregnancy, although this does depend on the number of puppies they are carrying and some do not put on noticeable weight until the last week before whelping.

Nutritional intake needs to increase during canine pregnancy and lactation; your dog may even double the amount she eats. During lactation she will need a high protein puppy food, and you may want to gradually introduce this during the last two weeks of her pregnancy, or even earlier. If you are concerned about providing the right pregnancy diet to meet your particular dog's needs you should consult your veterinarian.

You should try to avoid nutritional supplements during canine pregnancy, even though these may seem like a good idea. Your dog will naturally produce everything her puppies need to thrive during lactation, and supplements may interfere with this process. This is particularly applicable to calcium supplements. If you use a good quality, high protein dog food, supplements will not be necessary.

A lot of canine medication is safe to use during pregnancy. If you give your dog regular preventative medication for heartworm you should continue this throughout pregnancy and lactation. Some medicines to get rid of other types of parasite, such as hookworms or roundworms, can be used but you should consult your veterinarian before administering these. It is important that your dog does get treatment for these conditions as otherwise she can pass them on to her unborn puppies.

Vaccinations should not be given during canine pregnancy. However, if possible, it is a great idea to have your dog vaccinated just before becoming pregnant as this will ensure she has a high level of antibodies to pass onto her puppies during lactation.

About halfway through her pregnancy you should take your dog to the veterinarian for a wellness check and to confirm the pregnancy. The veterinarian will be able to do this by examining the stomach, but a blood test can be done to provide a conclusive result.

You may want to have a radiograph done three weeks prior to the deliver to count the puppies. Knowing how many puppies to expect will help you to prepare for the delivery. Remember that your dog can become pregnant by more than one male during any one heat stage so you may be surprised at the number of puppies she is going to produce.

During the last three weeks of your dog's pregnancy you may want to isolate her completely from contact with other dogs. This will ensure she does not pick up the herpes virus. While this is usually harmless in adult dogs, it can trigger a miscarriage in your pregnant dog.

You may find she wants to stay close to you during this time anyway. She may dislike being left alone and will probably become more affectionate, if a little irritable. As the delivery date approaches she will start to look for a safe place to give birth, and you should give some thought to where this will be.

As with human pregnancy, it is important to remember that canine pregnancy is a natural process, and your dog has been blessed with the natural ability to carry it through. With a little extra attention to nutrition, and some protection from common diseases, this should be a stress free time for you and your dog.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Preventing Parvo With Parvaid And Vibactra Plus

Parvo is a viral disease that attacks the immune system and intestinal tract of dogs. It was first identified in 1978 and can be transmitted by direct or indirect contact with vomit, feces or diarrhea from an infected dog.

Incubation & Indications

When a dog has been exposed to Parvo, the virus will enter the dog's lymphatic system and incubate. Once the virus has completed the incubation stage, which can take anywhere from three to fifteen days, it will work its way into the intestinal tract and bone marrow. At that time the puppy will begin to show symptoms, which can include diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, depression, dehydration, high fever and even sudden death.

Traditional Treatment

Historically, treatment has required taking your dogs to the vet where they will be kept for two or three days and given IV drips and anaesthetics. What's more, they will be all by themselves in a strange environment, which can only cause your pets yet further distress. This treatment is not guaranteed to be successful - the only thing you can be certain of is that it will cost you hundreds of dollars in vet's bills.

Natural Treatment

However, new, safer and more cost-effective all-natural solutions can now be obtained, thanks to the hard work and dedicated research of a handful of companies, one of which is Amber Technology from Utah.

Not only are these products safe (there are no known side-effects), but you can treat your dog at home in its every-day environment for a small percentage of the cost of the traditional treatment at a vet's.

Clinical Trials

Amber Technology has tested two of its products, Parvaid and Vibactra Plus, to see if the virus could be prevented at the incubation stage (i.e. before the dog begins to show any symptoms). The results of the study prove that using Parvaid and Vibactra Plus before the puppy becomes symptomatic results in 90% of dogs not showing any symptoms.

However, if they have been wormed or vaccinated within seven days of the onset of Parvo, the numbers are less. If the dog has been exposed to Parvo AND has another illness, such as coccidia, the percentage numbers decline. (Amber Technology does not have an opinion as per the maintenance of vaccinations. Amber Technology suggests that you do your own research and make your own determinations as to whether or not you will vaccinate.)

Parvaid As A Preventative Measure

It takes an average of three days for the incubation process to take place. Let the puppy expose itself to the virus and allow its system to build its immunities for a couple of days. On the second day, begin giving your puppy Parvaid and Vibactra Plus. This process gives your puppy a greater chance of stopping the virus from reaching the intestinal tract (nine times out of ten, according to studies). The puppy can contract the illness if the exposure is not allowed because the puppy does not have the opportunity to build immunity to the virus.

This process is not a guarantee, however. As soon as the preventative treatment has been completed the puppy can contract the illness, either immediately afterwards or in the future. If this occurs, you should begin the full dose recommended for the treatment of Parvo.

There are a few other things to consider:

** Adult dogs can also become infected.

** If you have multiple dogs, there is a high risk that many will become infected if the virus is present.

** Parvovirus can be spread via vectors such as flies, mosquitoes, and other animals, making it nearly impossible to keep your yard virus-free.

** Since the virus multiplies easily and likes to hide in the ground, it can be all around your dog's environment; therefore it is best to use Parvaid as a Preventative rather than trying to eradicate the virus from your yard.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Pet Food Recall Grows

The tainted food recall grew again on Saturday, March 31, as Nestle Purina Pet Care Co. added Alpo Prime Cuts in Gravy wet dog food to the list of growing pet foods being recalled. Purina said a limited amount of food contained wheat gluten from China.

Hill's Pet Nutrition, late Friday, March 30, recalled its Prescription Diet m/d Feline dry cat food that contained the same allegedly contaminated wheat gluten. Hill's is the only company so far that has recalled a dry pet food.

It appears that even the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other experts don't understand the real cause or full extend of the problem as concerned pet owners seek answers from both their vets and pet food suppliers.

The same US supplier of wheat gluten, a protein source, also sold to a Canadian company. So far Menu Foods recalled 60 million containers of wet dog and cat food it produces for sale under nearly 100 brand labels.

To date, the Chinese company that supplied the allegedly contaminated wheat gluten remains a mystery as Menu Foods refuses to name the company.

Last week, the New York State Food Laboratory identified aminopterin, a cancer drug also used as a rat poison, as the likely culprit. The FDA said that it could not confirm that finding.

Federal testing of some of the recalled pet foods, and the wheat gluten used in their production, resulted in the finding of the chemical melamine. Melamine is used to make kitchen ware and other plastics.

According to Fox News, Menu Foods, said the only certainty was that imported wheat gluten was the likely source of the pet deaths, even if the actual contaminant remained in doubt.

What's the bottom line to pet owners who are unsure of what to feed their pet? The best thing to do, at the current time, is to check the ingredients and if your pet food contains wheat, think seriously before you serve it to your beloved pet.

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Monday, April 09, 2007

Training Your Cat to Sit

While there are many reasons to love your cat, obedience is probably not one of them. We all love watching our cats bounce around and play, but have you ever wished that you could get them to sit still? It's easier than you might think; cats can be trained, just like dogs can, but it can take a bit longer and be a little more work. It can certainly be done, however, and you may be surprised by the results.

There are many benefits to training your cat to sit. First, it's just nice to be able to get a little stillness from a cat that's making you tired just from watching him run around. Second, if someone like a vet needs to take a look at him, the vet will appreciate a cat that knows how to sit still. Third, when your cat starts sitting, there's a good chance he'll stay sitting, and there's nothing relaxing as nice as your cat purring in your lap, after all.

As with most cat training, this starts with a bribe. Make sure your cat is aware that you have one of his favorite treats in your hand. When he shows interest, slowly raise the treat over his head and slightly behind it, not high enough that he has to reach up. This should make your cat crane his head up and back.

The moment your cat is in a sitting posture, reward him with the treat and give him lots of praise. This is the first step to getting your cat to make the link between the command and the treat.

The key to this exercise is isolation of the command and repetition. Don't reward the cat whenever he shows up, sits down and looks up at you expectantly; you're training him, not the other way around! Don't try to force your cat into this activity if he's not interested in the treat. This will probably just annoy him and make him hide, and it is important to keep the good association in his head.

Try to get family members and friends into the act. This can especially help in making shyer cats used to other people and encourage them to socialize rather than hide.

After a few sessions, your cat will learn to sit when your hand alone is in the right position above his head. While you don't need to use to the treat to get his attention anymore, do continue to reward him. As you may have noticed, cats tend not to do things for free. Soon enough though, you should be able to eliminate the treat entirely, though it is still very much worth it to reward your cat for good behavior from time to time.

Remember not to use the word "sit" too early, because if the cat has not yet learned to associate the motion with the verbal command, you may confuse him. After all, you don't want your cat to start believing that "sit" means "look at my owner in confusion before walking away.

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Saturday, April 07, 2007

Make Your Cat an Internet Superstar - Give Him His Very Own Webpage

Nowadays, just about everybody's "connected", as the internet spreads in popularity. Every interest has its own niche on the worldwide web, including cat fanciers. is a website that will allow anyone who loves cats to admire others' pets, or show off their own. Here are a few highlights.

First of all, sign up for a free account at Catster. This enables you to set up your own webpage, or pages (you can have multiple pages for more than one pet). Take a look around the site to get accustomed to it. There are a large amount of cat themed groups you and your pet can join. Also, look at other members' beloved cats. It is fun to see the variety of shapes, sizes and personalities. It also gives you ideas on how people write their pet pages.

Make your pet pages, using your favorite photos of your cat doing funny things or just posing. You will be assigned a web address for this page, so you can give it out to friends and family to see. The prompt for the page will guide you to explain your cat's age, favorite toys, likes and dislikes, among other things. Your kitty can even have its own diary (written by you).

Notice the virtual cat treats you can give to yourself and other peoples' pets. The cat corral is to bookmark cats you find interesting, so you can see them again later. Inviting another cat to be friends will allow you to get to know other pet owners and tell them that you admire their cats. You will recieve emails there at the site from others wanting to be friends with your cat as well (unless you turn the email off in Preferences).

Also, if you have a cat you need to find a home for, make sure to mark your page to say so. There is an area you fill out if the kitty being profiled needs a new home. This is great exposure to other cat lovers and rescuers. Also, participate in the groups that are active in finding pets new owners, post the kitty's photo on there for all to see. The more you expose the cat's photo and tell his story, the faster you'll find him a forever home.

In general, this is a large site with many participants, and they are a dynamic group of cat lovers. They have a virtual cat show every year. along with other cat competitions. It's all done in good fun, and there is even another site for dog lovers called owned by the same people who own Catster. Give it a try and begin showing off your furry friends to the world, who would love to see them.

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Friday, April 06, 2007

Is Your Dog Not Eating Properly Lately?

Is your dog not eating properly lately?

If yes, then you'd want to take every little caution and find out more about this situation. Due to the degree of danger involved, this is a concern that most dog breeders will be paying extra attention to look after their dogs with care.

One of the reasons for dogs not eating properly can be due to what is known as "kennel cough," which happens often when the pet has been in contact with other dogs in some confined environment such as kennel, alley, etc. All it takes to clear this up is to keep the dog away from others for a while, and at the same time, use some home remedies for kennel cough such as cough syrup. Very quickly the dog will start its normal appetite again.

Another reason for dogs not eating properly can be due to abscessed teeth. This is made more evident if the dog makes noises in its throat and refuses to eat. Usually, taking antibiotics for 2 weeks will help the dog overcome such suffering and normal eating should resume very quickly.

A more serious possibility is indicated when the dog has a dry cough and is trying to vomit in vain. A heart problem could be the reason behind the cough as the heart is pressing on the esophagus and thus triggering the cough. Home remedies are not sufficient in this case and a visit to the vet is highly necessary. Often times, professional intervention that gives rise to a better prognosis can save lives when it is carried out early enough.

When the dog gets an upset stomach with diarrhea and vomits, it might have irritable bowel syndrome. Boiled chicken and rice cooked in a very plain manner, or beef broth poured over dry dog foods, might do the trick given a bit of time. A special blend the vet usually recommends for dogs that won't eat is called Prescription diet, which is Hill's Science Diet Advanced Protection for adult dogs and served mixed with dry dog foods. This will work in most cases.

It is important to start feeding the puppy with the right diet early in life. One of the largest dog guide schools in the country instructs their dog-breeders to feed Pro Plan chicken and rice puppy chow until 4 months and then switch to adult Pro Plan chicken and rice. Quite a number of owners of trained dogs from different service dog schools are known to continue this Pro Plan, while some of them are feeding other premium commercial chows, including Iams and Eukanuba.

In conclusion, any dog owner who wish to have a healthy, long lived dog can very easily apply this regimen, leaving themselves with more time to spend on the dog. Besides, it is also relatively economical too. Therefore, when the dog is not eating properly, the signal for extra care has been ignited. Attending to situation like this will ensure that the dog will enjoy better health for life.

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Tips on How To Pick A Kitten From The Litter

Looking at a pen full of kittens, it is hard to make a choice which one to take home. It is an exciting process to choose the kitten you want, and looking at each and every kitten in the litter is a fun experience. Observe the litter, and watch their reaction as they see you. Take note of their behavior, whether if they're playful, energetic and confident, or slow, unenthusiastic and lazy.

Get to know to the kitten group as a whole after you have observed the entire litter. Then, watch out for the one whose personality matches your needs. This should be considered slowly. Take as much time as you need, have fun playing with the kittens and interact with each of them, while at the same time make note of what you notice.

While you mingle with them, single out the kittens that appear to be more active than others and pay a lot of attention to you. Choose the kitten that seems to enjoy hanging around you if you want a pet that has energy and is attentive or pick a shy one if you would just prefer some quiet company. Most pet owners love attention from their pets and these furballs will make very good company for cat lovers, even after they have grown up.

If there are no kittens in the litter that caught your attention or strike you as energetic, talk to the breeder about the reason behind the sluggish behavior. Perhaps they have eaten something before you came which would cause drowsiness, or are tired from a previous feeding. It would be better to come back at a time where they would be more active to make a better choice.

If you do not have the opportunity to assess a whole litter in a sitting, it is alright. Some kittens might be the ones that remained after other kittens in the litter were sold, or in another case, kittens in animal shelters are not usually related. But one can still enjoy a kitten's personality by interacting or playing with it and from there, you can still decide if you find the kitten good enough to bring home and join your family. See below for more information on Choosing A Kitten from the Litter.

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Cat Care And Your Home

Cat care can make a big difference on the look and atmosphere of your home. When you provide great cat care, you are ensuring that your home will look and smell clean and welcoming to visitors, and will be a place that you enjoy relaxing in. If you neglect cat care, your home can start to feel more like a prison than like an oasis. A cat is meant to make your household a more pleasant place to be, because the love and affection that a cat provides, not to mention the entertainment and refreshing energy, sweeten any environment. However, if you aren't providing adequate cat care, the joys of cat ownership can become buried underneath layers of odor and grime. Luckily, in just a few minutes every day, you can offer your pet the best possible cat care. Great cat care doesn't require expense or a lot of time or effort, and it can have tangibly positive results when it comes to your home's environment.

The overall impact of better cat care on your household atmosphere can be quite powerful because different aspects of cat care have many different effects on how your home feels. One important part of cat care has to do with hygiene and taking care of any messes that your cat creates. This side of cat care will keep your home smelling fresh and looking its best. Another part of cat care has to do with the love and affection that you give your cat. Showing your pet that they are safe in your presence and that they are loved is an important aspect of cat care that can have many different benefits.

Peace and quiet are two important parts of a relaxing atmosphere, and they are the core of a pleasant home environment. A cat's plaintive mewling can add an air of anxiety or tension to your home's atmosphere. Luckily, cat care can help you minimize this aspect of pet ownership. When you spend a lot of time making your cat feel safe and appreciated, it is less likely to whine or screech. Indirectly, cat care can actually help your furnishings and decorative items stay looking newer for longer. When you provide your cat with ideal cat care, it is less likely to indulge in destructive behaviors like scratching your furniture, climbing the drapes, and other activities that can take a toll on your home's appearance.

Cat care is often a matter of routine, and can sometimes feel like a burden. When cat care feels like work, it is tempting to avoid it, or to procrastinate for day after day. Nobody looks forward to dealing with cat care issues like a messy litter box or scruffy fur that is just asking for a bath. However, changing your attitude towards cat care can make these tasks much more enjoyable. Every time you take a step towards a healthier, happier, or cleaner cat you are taking a step towards making your home a better place to be.

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Sunday, April 01, 2007

Selecting Your Puppy

Dog training actually begins before you have the dog. When selecting a puppy, there are several considerations to keep in mind. First, you must decide why you want a dog. That is different than deciding why you want a puppy. Puppies are cute and cuddly and masters at capturing your heart. But puppies turn into dogs—little dogs, big dogs, hairy dogs, hairless dogs, high maintenance dogs, attention seeking dogs, independent dogs, lap dogs, herding dogs, roving dogs, digging dogs… In other words, you need to consider your final desires for a companion versus the breed's natural characteristics. You also need to consider what you are able to commit to as far as dog training in youth and dog training throughout life. Do some soul searching and research to determine what you really want up front and what the requirements for dog training will be. Will you be doing the training or will you hire it done? If hiring a dog trainer, have you determined if there is a qualified dog trainer in your area? Do not begin an earnest search for a puppy until you have decided on your dog. That doesn't mean don't look, just don't decide. Resist the urge to give in to impulse.

One of the best places to do research is to talk with a vet and with a reputable breeder about dog characteristics and what to look for in the breed. Keeping in mind that the puppy becomes a dog, also talk with a dog trainer who can tell you the quirks of the breed when it comes to dog training. If you have accessibility to dog show judges, they can be invaluable. Always buy from a reputable breeder. You will find that the few dollars more up front may very well eliminate greater expenses or heartache later.

Do you want a male or a female. Remember, males mark their spots in the yard frequently and tend to take longer to dog train. Males tend to be larger than the females and they mature more slowly. Dog training can take a little longer with males. Some of the male dog's natural tendencies are to be dominant and more aggressive; and to run off seeking a female. Neutering can reduce this. Also consider other dogs in the home. Same sex dogs in the home may work out fine…but it may result in one trying to dominate the other. You could inadvertently cause the latter years of a faithful home companion to become miserable by bring in another pet…or you could be giving it more vitality. Often an older dog can actually help with the dog training.

Females tend to be smaller. The female dog training is normally a bit easier. She does not mark her territory, but her urine can be a bit stronger and if she potties in the same area of the yard often, she can kill the grass. Females come into heat; some are rather messy which is not a good thing for a family house companion. Spaying can eliminate this issue if you are not planning to breed. There are products at the pet store to aid during this time if you plan to breed the dog.

Part of selecting a puppy is selecting the breeder. Do your research. Once you have at least one trusted breeder on your list, you need to focus on the individual puppies. Tell your breeder exactly what you are looking for in a pup. The breeder has lived with them for at least 8 weeks and has insight into the individual personalities. Watch how the breeder interacts with the puppies. Check on the puppy's health with the breeder. Ask for the vaccination records and any other treatments (i.e. worms). Also ask to see both parents if both are on site. Ask for names of owners of related dogs and contact them to ask about their dog's behavior patterns and health and ease in dog training. If this is a first litter, still contact people who have purchased from this breeder. Good breeders are already contributing to the dog's training during these early weeks. Notice how well trained the mother is.

There are also some tests that you can do while interacting with the puppies. Observe the litter for a bit. Watch for signs of the pack order. Which is the dominant or alpha dog? Which is low man of the pack? Without coaxing them to you, crouch to their level and watch for their reaction. Is the litter generally fearful, friendly and outgoing, curious? If they shy back and fearfully stay away, this may not be a good litter from which to make your selection. They may not socialize or train easily. It may take a bit, but the normal behavior for puppies is to be attentive to your presence and begin to approach you. Some may be more timid at first, but should show interest. Talk softly to them. Watch to see which ones focus on your voice and face and are obviously listening. (You know, that cute little "cock of the head" puppies do that pulls you in!) This willingness to listen and interact with people is a good sign that they will be more receptive to dog training and be more sociable.

Now remember, you first decided why you wanted the dog. Is it as a companion? If so you may want to select one of the pups in between the dominant dog and the most submissive.

A word of caution, unless you are excellent at dog training, you may not want the alpha dog. Alpha dogs may decide to train you and rule the house! They take a knowledgeable, patient dog trainer, but can make excellent dogs. There are some tasks for which you may wish to select an alpha dog, such as herding or guarding.

If you want a quiet, reserved dog that responds well to your voice commands quickly, is eager to please, is good with small children or the elderly, the ultimate lap puppy, you may want to select the more submissive pup. A rambunctious house is not for this dog.

When you think you have a candidate, do some testing. Take the puppy to a testing area where there are no other distractions. Back away from the pup and call her to you. Walk away from the pup. Does she follow? If she does not, this may indicate independence. Carefully, roll the pup over on its back and hold it there for 30 seconds to test the degree of submissiveness and willingness to be dominated by you and to be receptive to dog training.