Blog Archives

Getting a Hold on Depression With Pets

As many people know, there have been many scientific studies as to having pets helps to curb depression with many individuals.  Being a dog parent is no exception.

For those of you who don’t know, you may be asking how can a dog help curb depression?  Well there are several ways.

The first is the unconditional love and bond that is formed with your dog.  You leave your home and come back, your dog is always excited and happy to see you with a wag of the tail, maybe a happy and playful bark.  This helps to form a connection, a social connection with a living being.  We all need connections to live happy and mentally healthy lives.

The next way a dog helps curb depression is exercise.  Your dog needs to go out for one long walk or several walks/jogs/runs/swims per day.  This gets you out of the house, into nature or out in fresh air at least, which helps lift our spirits and clear our heads.

Another way that animals help depression is that just by petting your dog, that can help release endorphins, which, in simple terms, help to keep us happy and healthy.  This also helps to lower stress and make us feel more like we can tackle our every day issues.

There are many benefits that dogs have in our lives, read here to find out more ways that dogs help with depression.  Of course this is not the be all, and end all.  If you are depressed, it is recommended that you go and speak to someone trained to help, such as a school counselor, a therapist, social worker, psychologist, etc.

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Petco Pet Food Bowl Recall

In writing another article for this blog, I came across this recall from Petco for some of their stainless steel dishes.  They are calling this a “notice” and not a “recall”, but I tend to think recall is a better word for it.  Here is the “notice”:

Stainless Steel Bowl Notice

Petco has determined that one of its foreign suppliers used stainless steel mistakenly containing small quantities of Cobalt-60 when fabricating certain orders of certain SKUs/models of stainless steel pet food bowls. Cobalt-60 is a radioactive material commonly used in industrial gauging equipment and other uses.

We don’t know for certain how it got into our product, but we believe it came from scrap metal that had some Cobalt-60 accidentally mixed in. The affected products were found to emit low levels of radiation.

The Cobalt-60 levels in the affected products are far below State and Federal regulatory limits. All of the expert testing conducted on these products to date indicates that there is no health risk to the public, to our associates or to pets.

To our knowledge, the affected products were limited to two cargo containers that entered the United States in late May and early June. We’ve also determined that the affected products pose no health risk, and were and are safe to be handled by our associates.

The issue was discovered by Customs and Border Protection agents during a routine import screening of one of the containers. That container was held at the port and never reached Petco. The second container had previously cleared Customs and reached Petco’s distribution network.

Upon learning of this issue following the delivery of the affected products to our distribution centers, we promptly retained experts to examine the potentially affected products, and those experts determined that the SKUs examined were safe for handling.

Out of concern that products from the second container reached our stores, we removed from our store shelves and from our website all products from the supplier that produced the bowls.

We have confirmed that the vast majority of all of the affected products remain at Petco distribution centers, are quarantined outside and never reached our stores.

We also confirmed that very few affected items were actually sold to consumers. We are working to contact those customers to inform them of the situation and to retrieve those particular bowls.

Petco has notified the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and a number of state governments, and is in the process of notifying other appropriate states as we continue to collect and verify information.

The Illinois state government did its own testing and issued a news release stating that “a person would have to hold one of the bowls against their chest for roughly six and a half days to receive a dose of radiation equivalent to a single chest X-ray,” and that “these bowls do not pose an immediate health risk.”

Petco tested other stainless steel pet products it carries from other suppliers and found no similar issues. The supplier that produced the affected products has told us that it has already instituted special screening procedures. We are in the process of reviewing those procedures ourselves, and we have put a hold on future shipments until this issue is resolved.

Customers who purchased these products between the dates of May 31 and June 20, 2012, should bring it to their local Petco store for a full refund. If you have any questions, please call Petco Customer Service at 877-738-6742.

SKU numbers can be found on labels inside and on the bottom of the bowls.

SKU 1047493
PETC-3.75C DEEP TWO TONE NOTIP
9.25” diameter; 3.75 cup capacity
SKU 1386956
PETC-3.5C NO-TIP SS HAMMRD BWL
9” diameter; 3.5 cup capacity
SKU 1047477
PETC-7C TWO TONE NONTIP BOWL
9” diameter; 7 cup capacity

 

Here is the link for this directly from the Petco Website.

Pets Passing Diseases to Humans

Yes you read the title correctly.  All of us who have pets, can get diseases from our furbabies.  One way to protect ourselves is to wash our hands after handling litter box issues, or vomit.  Also, keep your pets vaccinated.

If your cat scratches you, you are at risk of getting Cat Scratch Fever.  Make sure as soon as you can, you clean and disinfect the cut.

Do not worry too much about getting most diseases, as long as your pet is vaccinated against diseases like rabies, they usually get vaccinated for diseases that are common to your area.  Although the incidence of rabies is not that high, we must still be diligent and ensure our pets are on a regular vaccination schedule.  There are people who do not believe in vaccinations and that is fine, but if you are a vaccinating pet parent, please keep on schedule with them.

There is a wealth of information in this article about diseases that can be transmitted from pet to human.  Hopefully it will help in determining the best cause of action in keeping your family (pets and humans) safe from diseases and grow to be healthy and happy senior pets.

 

Coping and Help with Noise Phobias

Many pets get fearful and even stressed at the sound of a thunderstorm, fireworks or any loud noises.  If a cat or dog is phobic, they tend to run away, they can urinate, defecate, some will vomit (Isis will do this if there are loud trucks outside or a prolonged thunderstorm).  There are many symptoms of noise phobia, learning to treat it and get your pet used to the sound and not associating it with something negative is, at times, extremely difficult.

Noise phobias may not be able to be treated completely.  Some pets are more receptive to treatment, some, it is so ingrained in their psyche that they cannot process the sound any differently than associating it with negative aspects.

Changing the behavior usually comes in the form of medications, environment changes and modifying the behavior.  I am not particularly fond of medication, only for EXTREME cases in any situation.  I think a more natural approach to the other steps works better than medication.

One thing for sure, if your pet is running and hiding from loud sounds, do not pet them and pay extra special attention to them while they are running and hiding.  This only enforces the behavior and your pet will think this is the proper way to act when loud noises are occurring.

To find out how to work with your pet on their noise phobias, here is an article.  Just remember, this will not be fixed overnight, if at all.  In time, the behaviors may diminish some, but in some pets it may never go away completely.  Also, have patience in teaching your pets not to react negatively to loud sounds.  Always ensure your pet is in healthy condition and not ill.  Helping your pet get over phobias may be one of the most rewarding things you and your pet can do, and it can create a bonding experience like nothing else ever could.

Cats and Moving – Helpful Advice

So you’re ready to move into your new place and kitty is not so happy about it?  That’s because cats are territorial animals.  What’s theirs is theirs and what’s yours is theirs.  Cats thrive on routine and having their own space without people or other pets infringing on them, but when you have to move, a cat must relearn how to cope with this situation.  There are some helpful hints and advice on how to make the transition a little easier on your cat.

If at all possible, bring something from your new place to the cat so they can get used to the new scents, and new territory.

Along the same lines, take your cat’s scent to the new place so that it will help the stress level from skyrocketing.  Rubbing an old t-shirt onto your cat and then rubbing that scent most places in the house will help your cat’s anxiety level decrease.

Do not move the cat in first.  The cat goes last and keep them in a room at your old place with their bed, food, water and a litter box.

Once you have moved, cat proof your house, make sure there is no way for kitty to escape and nothing your kitty can get hurt on.

Once everything is in place, slowly introduce your cat to all areas of the house.  SLOWLY.  This will help ease the stress and changes your cat must make.  It’s also recommended to use a calming spray such as Feliway to ease the transition even more.

There is a great article that gives you pointers, as well as information on a person to contact if you are having severe difficulty with behavior issues with your cat.  I have not contacted the person, but I love the website the article comes from, so I am thinking the person is reputable and helpful!

Good luck if you are moving and keep the kitty stress at bay with patience and love.

 

Pets as Presents for Christmas – Just Say No

This is one topic that many people just don’t understand.  Buying or adopting a pet for someone at Christmas does not give that person the choice nor the idea of lifetime commitment that a pet truly is.

A pet is forever.  A pet is not an “until thing”, meaning that you don’t get a pet UNTIL you have a baby and then give it back, or UNTIL you get bored of the pet, or UNTIL you move.  A pet is not something to throw away when you feel like it.  When you give someone a pet as a present, even if they say they can handle it and they were going to buy themselves a pet anyway, it still is not a good idea.  What if that person doesn’t want the pet that you gave them, then the pet gets returned to the shelter, or they try to give it back to a breeder and what if they don’t take it back?  That poor pet is stuck without a home, without a family and without the love and kindness the pet deserves.

Christmas is not the best time of year to introduce a new pet to the house.  Everyone is too busy and the house is usually in chaos.  Animals don’t really enjoy chaos and this can cause them severe stress.  They can end up going missing and then you have two issues on your hands.  A missing pet and an animal that you really didn’t want in the first place.

Another thing to consider: would the pet get along with children in the home?  It is such a personal choice when choosing a pet, it’s better left to the person wanting the pet to begin with.

Christmas and New Year’s are one of the worst times for pets being returned to the shelters they came from. People say they didn’t realize the commitment and that they just don’t have the time for the pet, or that they didn’t get the chance to pick out the pet and bond with them.

Please reconsider giving a pet as a surprise Christmas present.  It’s always best for the whole family to find the pet of their dreams together, the bonding process is the most important aspect of the pet selection process.

I hope that everyone has a wonderful holiday season and that you take a look at this article.  Get a pet after the holidays, that’s when all the unwanted pets that were given as Christmas presents are now at the shelters.  You’ll give a very deserving pet a home that otherwise wouldn’t have one.  You can pat yourself on the back for taking in a pet that someone got as a present that they didn’t want.  That’s the greatest feeling of them all – taking in a pet that needs love and attention from people who have thought things through.  Happy Holidays to all.

 

The All Important-Food and Diet

*I am not a vet, the ideas on this blog are just for your own purposes, and is a result of 20 years of research.  Please consult your vet if you are looking into changing your pet’s diet.

For some reason, what to feed your dog or cat seems to at times, turn into a heated debate.  What I am about to say is not to put anyone down, but to hopefully educate those who are looking for good, healthy food for your fur baby.

Go and look at the bag or can of food that you feed your dog/cat.  I’ll wait…okay.  Is corn or corn meal any of the first ingredients on the list?  If it is, you may want to think about changing the food you are feeding.

Let’s look at it this way, cornmeal, or corn of any sort is a filler in your animal’s food.  Also, if any of the first 5 ingredients are anything like wheat, soy, anything ending in -meal (cornmeal, chicken byproduct meal), these are comparable to humans eating junk food.  A lot of those ingredients are high carbs and can lead to health issues in your animal, such as: diabetes or even heart problems.  It’s like us eating at Taco Bell or McDonald’s all the time.

The reason the first 5 ingredients are important is that those ingredients make up the bulk of the food that you are feeding your pet.  If you start feeding healthier food, it’s cheaper in the long run.  Your trips to the vet will be cheaper and less often, your animal’s teeth and bones will be stronger and healthier, and the overall health will improve.  My Sasha was eating Ol’ Roy dog food at the shelter, and was not very active or healthy.  We started to feed her healthy food and right away we noticed she is perkier, her coat is so soft and shiny, her teeth are wonderful, and she is a healthy weight.

Also, your vet may be trying to push you to use Hills Science Diet.  A lot of vets end up getting a kickback from that food.  And admittedly, several vets have told me that in all the years they go to school to become a vet, they DO NOT take any classes on nutrition.  If a vet wants to learn about nutrition, they must do it on their own time and do their own research.

If you are curious about what types of foods to feed your dog, this site is wonderful for telling you all the information you may want to know about the health of the food you are feeding your dog.

Dog Food Reviews

On that link you will also see reviews for wet food and even raw food.  What is a raw food diet?  Here is a link that explains more about what the raw food diet (also known as the BARF diet) is.

Raw Food Diet

Similarly, there is a good site to review all the kinds of cat food that is out there to ensure your cat is being fed a healthy diet.  Here is the site for cats.

Cat Food Reviews

There are also raw food diets for cats, the idea behind these diets is that what a cat will eat in the wild is prey and organs and basically raw food.  If you want a healthy diet to feed your cat and to understand the benefits of this feeding style, here is a link to give your more information.

Making cat food

It is important to note that if you are changing your pet’s diet, you must go SLOW and TRANSITION the diet, otherwise you may risk stomach/digestion issues.

I will never tell someone what to feed their fur baby, I can only help guide someone if they ask.  People have asked me what I feed my babies because they seem quite healthy.

Sasha’s Diet

  • Morning: 1/2 cup Wellness Core original recipe dry food, 1/4 can of Wellness Core Salmon, Whitefish and Herring.
  • Afternoon: 1/2 cup Wellness Core original recipe dry food
  • Evening: 1/4 cup Wellness Core original recipe dry food
  • Bedtime snack: 1/4 cup Wellness Core original recipe dry food
Isis’ Diet
  • Morning: 1TBSP. Wellness canned cat food (whatever flavor at the moment, we rotate among all the grain free recipes). Plus 1/2 TBSP. pumpkin (helps to aid with hairballs, it helps to reduce them by having them move through the digestive tract and evacuating the body through bowel movements instead of through vomiting.  If you purchase, make sure it is 100% pumpkin and NOT pumpkin pie filling).
  • Afternoon: 1 TBSP. Wellness canned cat food, 1/2 TBSP. pumpkin
  • Evening: Catswell Happy Hips and Vita Kitty treats (it’s jerky strips for cats, very tiny, and I just cut them up and give them to her, it’s like vitamins for her and helps her hips and joints. Since she has been eating these, she has turned into a kitten and runs and plays with vigor!)
  • Bedtime snack: 1TBSP. Wellness canned cat food, 1/2 TBSP. pumpkin.
Also, every once in a while, Sasha will get a treat.  We feed her all natural treats called Bully Sticks.  We order these online and they are delivered fast!
At the same Bully Sticks website, we order her Antlers as a chew toy, since she is in her chewing phase.  These are humanely harvested, since antlers are shed once per year.  If you are ordering these, make sure you order a large enough size so that your dog cannot get them in her back teeth, otherwise the antler will be gone within hours.  We order Sasha the Jumbo size antler and that lasts her about a month.  We may order her the Monster size for Christmas but sshhhh don’t tell her 😉

Here is the link to the food I feed both Sasha and Isis.

Wellness Dog and Cat Food

I feed both Sasha and Isis grain free diets, no gluten, no soy, no corn,no wheat, no grains.  These are the ingredients that cause the most allergic reactions in animals.  They would not be eating these things in the wild, so why feed that to them now?  I am a preventative person, so I make sure that I am not feeding them something that could potentially cause an allergy.

Some of the indications of an allergy to these ingredients include: diarrhea, constipation, constant scratching around the mouth or ears,scratching around the rump, skin rashes, indigestion and discomfort, sluggish behavior, irritability, constant scratching of the stomach area, as well as sometimes chewing of the paws.  There may be other reactions, it is best to ask your vet if you suspect your pet has an allergy.  They may suggest doing an elimination diet.

I am slowly going to transition them to raw food diets.  Since they are both shelter animals, the food they were fed was sub-par and I want to take it slow so that they do not get ill.  Right now, they are doing well and have had their wellness checks with the vet and passed with flying colors.  I always say to feed what you can afford, and to research, research, research what is out there for your fur babies.  I know I want mine to live long and healthy lives.  It’s not about quantity of life but quality of life.

I will probably write many posts about food here, but if you have questions, feel free to ask.  Like I have said, I have been doing research and I can find you the information you may need.