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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Allergic to Cats Again

Yesterday Tux and Buffy came out for some quality time and by the end of the hour FiveCatsDad and I were sniffing. 

He speculates it could be mites from Buffy's leg but could be just their fur in a closed environment. 

The children were ok though. Their immune systems are stronger and with each exposure they'll be stronger. 

FiveCatsBaby is very thrilled with them and rushes to pet them, much gently this time.

Tux looks more interested in something else than the dinosaur book I put beside him as a prop. :)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Does Your Dog Have Allergies?

The human animal isn’t the only one affected by allergies. Like you, your adult dog can suffer from allergic reactions to any number of things — in the air, on his skin and in his food. Allergies must be diagnosed and treated by your veterinarian, but first, you must know what to look for.

The most common signs and symptoms of allergies include:
-                persistent scratching, licking and skin chewing
-                face and ear rubbing
-                inflamed skin patches, hair loss and foul odor
-                coughing, sneezing, watery eyes and runny nose
-                frequent vomiting or diarrhea
The most common allergy symptoms in dogs are the skin reactions, regardless of the cause. And they can they can crop up at any age. Just because he didn’t have allergies as a puppy, doesn’t mean your dog won’t have them now that he’s an adult. Four of the most common types of allergies that might affect your dog are inhalant, food, contact and flea allergies.

Inhalant allergies in dogs are caused by the same common allergens that affect you — dust, grass, trees, mold, pollen, ragweed, etc. They can be seasonal or persistent and, while some breeds (especially short-snouted breeds) may experience the same sniffly, sneezy symptoms you might suffer, skin reactions are most common. Inhalant allergies can often be treated with the same medications you take, but please don’t treat your dog’s allergies without veterinary supervision.

Food allergies can be the most difficult to diagnose and manage. Treatment involves a hit-and-miss approach involving a restricted diet and the gradual reintroduction of possible allergens to determine the culprit. Skin reactions to food allergies are common in dogs, but frequent vomiting or diarrhea can also be a sign. Keep in mind that if there is a change in your dog’s diet (or he just ate something he wasn’t supposed to), he may experience an episode of vomiting or diarrhea — this doesn’t necessarily mean your dog has an allergy. Watch and see if it becomes a persistent problem before scheduling a costly trip to the vet.

Contact and flea allergies generally cause skin irritation and are treated topically. You might be surprised to learn that most dogs are only vaguely bothered by fleas. But those that are allergic can suffer — and so can their owners. Dogs with contact and flea allergies often chew their skin raw, leading to hair loss, odor and infection, so fastidious flea control is a must.

Allergies can vary from dog to dog, so it is important that you work with your vet to make sure YOUR dog gets the best possible treatment. You’ll both be happier for it.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Keeping Your Dog Safe on Your Vacation

Being able to take a vacation is a treat for most people. It is even more of a treat for your dog. It is rare that your pet will be able to get out of the same area and explore new regions of the world that he has never seen before. However, keeping your pet safe while taking a vacation is very important. Planning ahead for any potential problems can keep everyone happy, your dog safe, and your vacation fun. There are steps that can be taken to ensure this is taken care of. Making sure that your dog is in perfect healthy and fit for travel is at the top of the list of things you need to do before leaving.

Any lengthy trips can mean a lot of travel. If you plan on traveling by car, there are fewer issues that can arise, but it is still good to be prepared. Making sure that your dog is up to date on all of his shots and vaccinations will prevent the possibility of him contracting a disease while he is with you on vacation. It is also good in case you need it for proof of vaccination. In order for a pet to travel by plane a recent update in their vaccinations is needed upon boarding. Having this certification performed no more than two weeks before traveling is needed if you are taking your pet out of the country.

Other ways to ensure your dogs' health and well being on a vacation trip is to make sure that you travel safe. Do not leave your pet in the back of a pick-up truck during the trip as he can be injured if you need to stop suddenly, or if you get into an accident. Also, a dog can jump out of the back of the truck if they are left in the back for too long. Keeping your pet in the back seat of a car is a good idea, but make sure that your pooch has an empty stomach before you leave. Feeding your pet just before, or during the trip can lead to car sickness. However, keeping a bottle of water around is a very good idea. It is important that your dog has plenty of water while they are traveling.

A bored dog can become a distraction for a driver, making him rather dangerous to have in the car. It is very important to keep your dog well entertained during the trip. Stopping every so often to stretch your own legs, as well as to let your bridled buddy out to go to the bathroom, can give you an excuse to play a game with your pooch and make the remainder of his trip as enthusiastic as possible. It is also a smart idea to keep a few of his favorite toys and plenty of tasty treats on hand to keep his mind busy. This will help ease his boredom and make him a little easier to have in the vehicle.

If your dog does not particularly care for car rides, you may need to have dog crates for your pet to stay in while on the road. This will make him a little less of a danger to himself, and to his owners. Make sure that you buckle in the crate to ensure that it does not slide in the vehicle, or can be thrown free of the vehicle in an accident. There are special seat belt attachments for cars and mini-vans that work for this purpose. It is much safer to have your pooch tied in then to be free in the vehicle, where he can be thrown about and receive serious injuries. Simply being prepared for everything that may come can help you keep your pet safe and happy on your vacation.

Article by Kelly Marshall of Oh My Dog Supplies, your top spot for metal dog gates online.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Helping Your Cat Express Its Creativity Through Scratching

Most cats enjoy scratching, there's no question about it.

And indoor cats are no different. Just because a tree is not available, it does not decrease their desire to "leave a mark on the world" by scratching. From a cat's point of view, chairs, sofas, and even the woodwork can serve as a good substitute. But cat owners often take a different view. They see scratching as a destructive behavior, and seek to redirect or stop it. In many cases, a scratching post can be a good compromise.

But even better, why not help your feline pal create original pieces of art you will be proud to display in your home or office?

Ever since he was a kitten, my cat Henry has always loved to scratch. He soon grew tired of the scratching post I bought him and went on to create interesting textures on the living room sofa and chair. I was determined not to have him declawed. So what was the answer?

I remembered hearing that a friend's cat liked to scratch a piece of carpet she had nailed onto the wall. So I went to the surplus store and bought a few pieces of carpet remnants.

It did not take Henry long to catch on. Almost as soon as I nailed the carpet up on the wall, he discovered that he really enjoyed scratching it. He was very pleased that it didn't turn over with him like his old scratching post sometimes did, and he enjoyed working with the

A few months later, when Henry had nearly scratched the carpet remnant to pieces, I decided to replace it with another strip of carpet. But instead of throwing the scratched carpet away, I decided to put a hanger on it and display it. After all, it looked like a modern piece of fiber art. It had long, fluffy loops of all lengths, and it looked like someone had spent a great deal of time creating it. (Actually they did -- only the "someone" happened to be feline!)

Last summer when I was exhibiting some of my own fiber art at the Bangor Public Library in Bangor, Maine, I decided to include a few pieces of Henry's work. The library patrons enjoyed viewing it, and were surprised to learn that a cat had created it! Within a few
months, Henry and his work were also featured in the Bangor Daily News.

If you would like to help your feline friend express their creativity, all you need are a few nails or screws and a strip of carpet that's at least 5-6 inches across and at least a foot long. Make sure that the carpet does not have loops that are cut, or your cat will only be able
to pull out clumps of fiber, and cannot make the beautiful loop-covered wall hangings he or she would like to create. Nail it securely to the wall, and watch what happens! If your cat needs a little encouragement, you can always rub the carpet remnant with catnip, or spray it with catnip spray.

Who knows what wonderful masterpiece your cat might create!

Anita Louise McCormick is a writer, editor, artist, and Reiki Master. She is also the agent and personal assistant of a very creative cat, Henry the Feline Fiber Artist! You can visit the website Anita created for Henry at to read his story, see a few of the wall hangings he created, and view a short video documentary about his work. Anita also has a website about her writing at