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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Creative Ways to Entertain Your Cat

Originally posted on
August 14th, 2013

When most people think of entertaining their dogs they can come up with a host of possibilities. Walks, new toys, swimming, jogging, doggie play dates – but if you ask those same people how they entertain their cats they end up drawing a blank. Here are a few creative ways to get your cat to act like that fun playful kitten again:

Invest in good scratching posts and cat houses

This one goes without saying, but a cat tree is a much nicer place for your feline to climb than your couch or heaven forbid, your curtains! A cat tree or even a simple cardboard scratching post can make all the difference to a bored cat. Plus it gives them the opportunity to use their natural climbing instincts and to roost up high where they can sit and watch all the household activities.

Supply a variety of treats

Rather than the typical dried catnip (which to be honest, the cat has no complaints with), add a little variety to your cats diet and try something new such as wheat grass, a catnip plant, cat treats, or even canned tuna. Find what makes your cat come running when you open the bag and you will have one happy kitty.
Once you know what they like you can turn it into a game of hide and seek and hide treats in their beds or by their toys, or you can throw them and have the cat “fetch” them. Just don’t expect a return!

Switch up the toys

You should switch up the toys every now and again to create more of a natural environment for your cat. They are habitually predatory animals and love having something to chase, paw at, and bite. This is especially important for kittens as they develop. The more you play with your kitten, the less likely it is to get into something it shouldn’t in your house.

Get them a friend

If your cat seems sulky and lonely, it could be worth trying to add a new feline to the mix. While they may hiss at each other momentarily, chances are they will wind up being very close and keep each other company while you are away.

Create an outdoorsy experience

Cats are endlessly fascinated with the outdoors, and who can blame them? Birds, insects, leaves, and new noises are all big stimuli for them. If you’re able to build an outdoor cat enclosure to keep them safe they may enjoy some time outside. If that’s not a possibility simply try opening the window or building them a spot to sit by a window ledge.
Brett Packer owns and operates At Home Veterinary Care since 1997. He is an avid dog lover and enjoys helping other people's pets achieve the best health possible.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Conquering an Illegitimate Fear of Large Birds

by Claire H. Originally posted on January 22, 2014
Cabela and meCabela and me
Working here I have had the chance to see a lot of things, but this morning I had a new first, which was actually a big deal for me. I just happened to have stepped into the photo studio when I saw Jeff with a carrier containing something. “Oh, I want to see whatcha got,” I told him. “Well, which something are you wanting to see,” was his response. That’s when I realized there was quite a few different containers in the studio. A lady followed behind with one last carrier and the fun began… and my fear kicked in a little.

There was birds; nine of them total! I almost died laughing when Gayle, their mom, went to open one of the carriers and the Blue-and-Gold Macaw inside sounded like a growling dog. Once all the birds were out of their carriers I was in awe at the beauty before me. There was a variety of birds, and they were all doing their own thing. I was looking at the Blue-and-Gold Macaws while kneeling down, resting one hand on a tote with a Military Macaw (Cabela) perched at the other end. I turned to see her headed my way but assumed since I was a stranger she would probably have no interest in coming right up to me, let alone ON me. Boy was I wrong.

A few of Gayle's birds
A few of Gayle's birds

Cabela walked right up to me, got onto my hand, and then proceeded to walk up my sleeve onto my shoulder. I was paralyzed in fear. I’m not proud to admit it, but it’s the truth. I have never handled a bird larger than a Cockatiel and didn’t know what to do. I’m sure to those around me my face was priceless, since they started talking about how you can tell when a person has never held a larger bird before. Cabela spent a few minutes on my shoulder, and then Gayle came and took her, placing her with the Blue-and-Gold Macaws.

I came back to my desk to grab my phone for a few photos, and when I got back Cabela climbed down to the floor and walked over to me, stepping on the foot of my boot. Candi, our animal charmer, has told me many times that birds choose their people, so I knew I was in the clear to not be so afraid. I also felt honored that Cabela picked me to befriend on such short notice. After she was back by the Blue-and-Gold Macaws and I had taken a few photos, she kept scooting across the edge towards me. I said, “I think this is your way of telling me that you would like to come back up.” Her mom told me that it was so I offered my hand to Cabela to climb on and she climbed up to my shoulder no problem. We took a few photos with my phone, and she was definitely posing for the pictures and moving to make sure she could see herself in the frame.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Brace Yourselves (and your pets) for Record-Breaking Low Temperatures!

Brace yourself… Winter is coming!

Winter Tips for PetsI heard on the news this morning that by tonight, here in Central PA, we’ll be experiencing record-breaking low temperatures well below zero. The wind chill will be below 20 degrees fahrenheit! Brrr!
It seems like an opportune time to go over some basic safety tips for pets when we’re dealing with drastic temperatures. Pets, even those bred for winter weather (like Huskies) are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia if not given adequate shelter in frigid temperatures.

My Top 10 Tips for Pets During Cold Weather

  1. Bring Pets Inside: It’s a common belief that dogs and cats are resistant than people to cold weather because of their fur, but it’s untrue. No pet should be left outside for long periods of time in below-freezing weather.
  2. Provide Choices: If you’re able to, provide different choices in shelters so that pets can move if they’re too cold or too warm.
  3. Make NOISE before starting that car: Many feral and stray cats will make temporary homes under the hood of your car when it is cold outside. Bang on the hood, honk the horn, make some NOISE before you start that car to try to get those furry hitchhikers outta there before the road trip turns deadly.
  4. Provide Shelter for outdoor pets: We wish you’d bring all your pets inside, but sometimes that isn’t possible. When it isn’t, be sure to provide warm, dry, protected shelters for your pets. The floors should be raised off the ground and the bedding should be thick and cozy. Make sure that the bedding stays dry, too. Wet dogs are even colder than dry dogs.
  5. Play Dress Up: Coats aren’t just for fashionistas. A pet coat or blanket protects cold-sensitive, short-haired breeds, or older pets from the bitter temperatures when they have to go outside to do their business.
  6. Be Prepared: Bitter cold temperatures often mean blizzards, ice storms, and power outages. Get yourself and your family prepared, but don’t leave out the pets! Keep enough supplies to last at least 5 days on hand. See our post on creating a pet emergency kit for a comprehensive list of what to include.
  7. Cold Cars Pose Risks Too: Hot cars get all the attention in the summer, but cold temperatures can act like a refrigerator in winter. Never, ever, ever leave your pet unattended in a car for long periods of time, especially in extreme temperatures.
  8. Puppies Need More Warmth: Puppies don’t tolerate the cold as well as adults. Keep snowy playtimes short and warm that baby up with some snuggles once you get inside!
  9. Fatten them up: I’m usually a big proponent of slimming DOWN your pets, however feeding some extra calories during the winter, especially in the form of protein, can help keep your pet warmer by helping fur growth and providing extra energy to burn for heat.
  10. Lock up that Antifreeze: Antifreeze is lethal to pets. Many places now only offer pet-safe varieties, but better safe than sorry! Keep it out of reach, out of sight and don’t let your pet lick up any unidentified puddles in the driveway or street. Contact a vet immediately if you think your pet has ingested anti-freeze. It is a matter of life and death.
I hope you’re all able to stay warm and snuggled up with those dogs and cats while we weather this artic blast. Who else is looking forward to spring? I know I am!

Be sure to share this post with your friends and families so that everyone’s pets are safe, sound and most of all WARM this winter.

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Currently an owner of 3 dogs and 2 cats, I’ve gained a plethora of pet-related experience over the years. I strive to provide the best home I can for my little terrors, and you’ll read all about our trials and tribulations as I continue down the rewarding yet rocky road of pet parenthood.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Should I give a Vitamin B12 supplement to my dog?

Sick DogHi Pet Blog Readers! Please welcome Erica, a veterinary clinic technician, with this guest post about the possible uses for vitamin B12 supplementation for your dog. I’d like to preface this by saying that you should always consult with your veterinarian before starting any new supplements, and definitely get your pet to the vet right away if they are showing signs of lethargy (periods of time lacking energy, excitement or extreme weakness).
The vitamin B12 is not only important for the human body- it is also important to the health of a dog or cat’s nervous system and the growth of red and white blood cells. Lethargy, weakness in the legs, or a lack of appetite in a pet may be a result of a vitamin B12 deficiency. This common deficiency may be a result of insufficient levels of the vitamin in the pet’s diet, or of an inherited condition that makes it difficult or impossible for the pet to absorb it through its regular diet. A vitamin B12 deficiency that goes untreated may lead to more serious problems, such as serious gastrointestinal diseases and weight loss. A B12 vitamin supplement is a very effective and simple solution to the problem, whether the problem stems from insufficient dietary levels or from an inherited condition. B12 supplements can also help pets that suffer from gastrointestinal ailments or kidney disease.

How is Vitamin B12 Administered to Pets?

B12B12 vitamin supplements may be administered to pets by a variety of methods, just as it can for humans. The most common method is by oral supplement, which can be administered by crushing a tablet and mixing it into the pet’s food, or by mixing the supplement with water and administering it directly to the mouth by syringe. Increasing meat in the pet’s diet will also provide more of the vitamin. Because many pets have difficulty absorbing the B12 vitamin, injection is a commonly used method of administering the supplement. Some will want these injections to be administered by veterinarians, but the process is simple, and with the veterinarian’s approval, the injections may often be done at home by the pet’s owner. Typically, B12 injections are reserved for serious deficiencies, and they are recommended if the pet has a gastrointestinal illness or an inherited condition that prevents it from absorbing the vitamin through food. Injections are typically administered to a dog’s hind leg. Cats receive the vitamin through subcutaneous injection. B12 injections are typically given once a week for the first five or six weeks, bi-weekly for another period of weeks, and, eventually, on a monthly basis.

How Long Until My Pet Shows Signs of Improvement?

Dog TiredAs the pet is taking the vitamin supplements or injections, the veterinarian will test the pet’s blood regularly, until the B12 level is acceptable. While the pet is taking the supplements, improvements in appetite and energy, weight gain, and improvement of any gastrointestinal problems should be noticeable. For the majority of pets, a few weeks taking the supplement will begin to show improvements in the problems associated with the deficiency, but the breed and medical condition of the pet will ultimately determine whether it will need the supplements in the short or long term.
The potential side effects of a B12 vitamin supplement are minimal. B12 is a safe, non-toxic vitamin. While it is possible for a pet to have too much of certain vitamin supplements, taking too much of a B12 supplement will very rarely harm the pet, because it is not stored in the body. The bloodstream will only absorb as much of the vitamin as it needs at a time, and discard the rest through urination. Vitamin B12 is truly a safe solution for pet lethargy, so talk to your veterinarian today about Vitamin B12 injections or supplements for your pet.

Erica Anderson has spent ten years as a Tucson veterinary clinic technician. She loves writing about pets, parenting, and gardening.

So, have you tried B12 for your dog? How did it work out and what were you treating? I’ve used B12 myself in the past to supplement my diet and increase my energy and I think it worked pretty well for me! Share your stories in the comments!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Is a Vet just a Vet? Top Services You Didn’t Know Your Vet Provided

not going to the vet!Everyone has a vet that they see regular for unexpected illnesses and regular exams for their furry family members, but did you know that your veterinary clinic might provide these additional services for caring for your pets? Cutting back on the number of places your dog goes for services can help alleviate their stress, turn the vet into a more positive trip than usual, and can help them socialize (an important part of overall wellness).
If you are a pet parent, you are probably already aware of how important your dog’s or cat’s health to you. Your pet is  like a family member to you, so you may want to be sure that your best buddy receives a high quality and proper health care services. It is important to find right veterinary hospital for your furry friends.

Whether you have just adopted a new pet and you need them to bring them in for vaccinations as well as proper checkup, or you require bringing your pet to an animal doctor for any kind of medical emergency, these veterinarian hospitals delivers variety of services. As these services vary from one place to the other, one will find some type of common services offered at veterinary hospitals. The varieties of services offered at different veterinary clinic are as follows:

Exams and vaccinations:

vetPreventative medicines such as vaccines are a great way to keep you pets healthy as well as free from various unwanted diseases and parasites. Most of the veterinarians advise that the pets should be examined at least once a year. During this examination one can discuss any of the doubts or concerns that one have about the pet with the vets. Also you can discuss about the pet’s dental needs, exercise needs as well as issues regarding what type of diet would be appropriate for the pet’s health. Also the veterinarian would be pleased to give you advice on the proper vaccinations. [Many veterinarians recommend a checkup every 6 months for senior pets – so be sure to schedule your senior pet’s checkup today!]

Behavior counseling:

If your pet is not obedient and behaves disobediently for any of the reason, your veterinarian can help you with that matter. Veteran can guide you what is the cause of this behavior and also he/she may be able to conduct an examination for resolving the cause of the problem. [Most behavioral issues do not need to be treated by a veterinarian, but rather a trainer using positive reinforcement can show you how to improve your pets behavior: from barking problems to housetraining issues. Some behavioral issues require medications from your veterinarian. Your trainer will be able to tell you if medication may ease severe anxiety or if inappropriate chewing/elimination is occurring due to illness so that you can get treated by your vet.]


If in certain situation you plan to go somewhere out of the town for a long period of time, you can board your pet at a veterinary hospital where they can be taken care of. Majority of these clinics have their separate boarding places for the pets and especially for cats and dogs. The pet would be able to fully enjoy the exercise as well as fun along with other pets and toys and feeding every day. The technical clinic staff of animal professionals will more often tend to dogs or cats for their special required needs.

Dental care:

Dog TiredAs we humans visit to a dentist place for good oral care, the dog or cat can also get a comprehensive dental care at the veterinary hospital. Most of animal clinics provide these kinds of services at the clinic or in your home. Choose an animal clinic which offers comprehensive and detailed preventative care for the pet’s oral health. [And don’t forget to brush those teeth a minimum of 3 times per week for great dental health]


Most veterinarians offer grooming as well. You can bring your pet to the vet for having its nails trimmed, hair trimming as well as for bathing services. If your vet does not do grooming, they will be able to recommend a groomer nearby.

Dog training:

a well-trained dogAll dogs need professional training, so if you are looking for a trainer, you may be able to get these services from your local veterinary hospitals. Training provides your dog information on how to communicate with you, other dogs as well as with other people.

Author’s Bio:
Charlie is famous veterinarian in Farmington..  He is a passionate blogger and likes to write about different services provided by veterinarian hospitals.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The First Care Guide for your Whiskers

by originally posted on January 17, 2014

You might have noticed a lot of times that your kittens snuggle around you and keep their tails quivering, that’s their way of telling how much they love you. Sweet isn’t it? Although saying I love you too kitty isn’t enough as these loving felines need more care and affection than any other pets. Here are a few general guidelines for you to ensure that your cat lives a good healthy life.
  • Vet Checks
You should take your cat for a regular check-up and vaccinations to keep a tab on their health. If any change in cat’s meowing, acting, eating, walking etc is noticed you should take him in for a check-up as soon as possible.
  • Grooming
Your cats should be groomed regularly as it helps in preventing hair balls, increases blood flow, and keeps the coat shiny and quoted. The more you groom less are the chances of hair being left on your palm when you pet or snuggle them, thus increasing the bonding time.
  • Feed
You should feed your cat the right food at the right time. Always consult your vet before giving or changing the meal. Adult cats are lactose intolerant, and hence dairy products should be avoided. You can get online pet food and products, but you should always counter check with your vet for the correct cat food.
  • Bonding
Grooming, feeding and vaccinating are not enough to ensure a loving relationship between you and your feline. A cat needs a little snuggle once in a while. Chasing together a ball of fur, scratching around their neck (they really love being scratched), or even petting their nose is a gesture well understood by the cat and by this way you will surely have a long loving relationship
  • Cleanliness
Their litter box should be cleaned everyday and for each cat , there should be different litter box. Cats are very peculiar and choosy as some prefer an open litter box while some dislike the texture or the filling you keep inside.
  • Exercise
Cats give  humans a tough competition when it comes to be a couch potato. The cats can keep lying lazily all day long at their favorite spot, but it is your responsibility to be their personal trainer. Tossing a toy in front of them ensures your feline moves and will play with their toy and you.

Anti – Feline Ingredients
Cats are very picky eaters and at times we unknowingly feed them food which turns to be poison for them. Here is a list of must avoids at any cost or condition as they are poisonous for your loving cats:
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Candy
  • Chocolate
  • Dairy Products
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Yeast Dough
Cats are wonderful domestic animals, and to be true no animal is as affectionate and elegant as a cat is. They have always served as humble companions for the human beings. Their purring and twitching tails are enough for any cat lover to understand how affectionate they are, when we are around. Love conveyed in form is love and all you have to do is love them back.

Devika Sharma

Devika Sharma is an active author and blogger who loves to share her information and experiences to the world. She is also an avid pet lover and writes blogs about pet foods, products and accessories. You can follow Devika Sharma on Google+ .

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Why Do Horses Sleep Standing?

by on January 10, 2014 (original poste date)
in Horses

All it takes is sleeping on one international flight to convince anyone that lying down is the only way to get a good night’s sleep. However, not all mammals sleep lying down. Horses, despite the tiring look of their heavy, long bodies, actually do most of their sleeping standing up — and it’s more than a quirk of the species – there’s a scientific reason why.

It’s part of their survival

The root of horses sleeping while standing comes from their days in the wild and their “fight or flight” response. Rather than fight like some animals do when attacked, horses, being herbivores, are more inclined to flight, or run, from their predators. Since they have a difficult time standing up once they lay down, standing gives horses a higher chance of survival.

Horses can relax while standing

Remarkably, their bodies are also biologically designed to sleep while standing. Horses have a “stay apparatus”, which is a system of tendons and ligaments that keep the horse in the standing position while their muscles are able to relax. In their front legs the stay apparatus is always intact, but in their hind legs a horse has to rotate their hip and hook one bone over a knob of another bone to put the stay apparatus into effect. The stay apparatus not only allows the horse to stand for long periods of time, but to stand comfortably — a radical difference from our muscles that contract and ache after standing thirty minutes too long.

They still need to lie down sometimes

However, horses aren’t devoid of the need to lie down and sleep, as horses — just like us — need rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, and without it, it will eventually lead to their death. Yet the average eight hours of REM sleep we need a night is hardly the same for a horse, who on average needs 15-20 minutes a day, or an hour or two every few days, depending on their age and if they’re domesticated.

Horses will always wait to get their REM sleep until they feel safe, which is why domesticated horses often get more REM sleep than wild ones. Though you still won’t see your average family horse lying around for too long, as horses who spend too much time lying down can constrict blood flow to the large muscles in their legs, making standing up again very difficult.

In the wild, where horses get the least amount of REM sleep, it’s common for other horses to sleep while standing, allowing one horse to sleep lying at a time and ensuring they’re ready to run if a predator gets near.

Sleeping while standing has its benefits

The next time you pass a horse standing up he might be sleeping. And don’t feel too bad that they have to sleep standing, in fact, maybe you should even feel jealous, as who wouldn’t want to take a quick snooze while waiting in a long line at the DMV or grocery store. 


Judi, Senior Editor at PetsBlogs
Devoted pet owner and now, devoted pet editor, Judi spent her time working in traditional offices, keeping the books and the day-to-day operations organized. Taking her dog to work every day for over a decade never seemed odd. Neither did having an office cat. She knows what it's like to train a new puppy and she's experienced the heartache of losing beloved companions.