April is Heartworm Awareness Month. Is your pet heartworm free? Dogs are considered the definitive host for heartworms (Dirofilaria immitis). However, heartworms may infect more than 30 species of animals (e.g., coyotes, foxes, wolves and other wild canids, domestic cats and wild felids, ferrets, sea lions, etc.) Feline heartworms are more deadly and difficult to treat.
In case you haven’t noticed, I don’t have much of a tail. The verdict is still out as to whether it was docked, intentionally, or if it has something to do with genetics. Bobbed tail is not a trait usually associated with my breed; Great Pyrenees/Border Collie mix. It’s difficult to know because I was rescued and my humans didn’t meet my canine mom and dad. Nevertheless, I don’t miss it. Mom says she doesn’t either. It’s just less of me to get dirty! However, she hopes that it wasn’t intentional because she is not a fan of cosmetic tail docking and neither am I.
Many of us have pets that suffer with some form of anxiety. Experts say canine anxiety falls into three categories; noise anxiety, separation anxiety and social anxiety. Canine anxiety has a myriad of symptoms from barking, pacing and panting, hiding, climbing on you for safety, and the list goes on.
Guess what day it is? No, not hump day. It’s April Fools’ Day; sometimes called All Fools’ Day and one of the most light-hearted days of the year. Its origin is uncertain. Some see it as a celebration related to the turn of the seasons, while others believe it stems from the adoption of a new calendar. Whatever the origin, have fun with it, but be kind to one another!
Most of you have heard Baylie’s rescue story but may not be aware of how Baylie’s feline sister, Smoki, became a member of our family.
Smoki came into our lives on June 15, 2001. She is a Southern Belle born in Mobile, Alabama, to a cat of a family acquaintance. Obviously, they knew no more about cats than we as they misjudged her age as being much older. When Smoki was brought to us, I knew right away she was very young; probably no more than four weeks old and not yet weaned. We knew she should not have been taken from her mother at such a young age but were determined to make sure she was healthy, well fed and happy.
Cats can become ill with many of the same ailments as humans. However, symptoms can be much different in humans and even dogs. Since our pets can’t tell us what hurts, they depend on us to figure it out.
I realized right away that it is much easier to determine what was ailing Baylie than our cat, Smoki, resulting in me becoming one of those helicopter pet parents to our 14-year-old cat. When Smoki was a young kitten, I took her to the vet because she just wasn’t behaving like her normal self. I was very green in the kitty parenting department and had no clue as to what was wrong. I found out that there is actually an acronym in the world of veterinary medicine for this condition in cats called “DAR” aka, “Doesn’t Act Right“. That pretty much summed it up with Smoki. She had no visible symptoms, but I knew something wasn’t quite right. She was a bit lethargic, didn’t want to play and preferred to hide underneath a living room chair; a place she never goes. If you are a cat parent, I’m sure you have seen this behavior.
Our friends at PetCareRx provided us with this interactive symptom checker for monitoring your cat’s symptoms. Just hover over the red dots on the kitty to display more information
This symptom checker is a good place to begin in identifying symptoms of illness in your cat. However, it is not intended to be a replacement for medical treatment. Always consult your veterinarian if your cat should become ill.
When you hear “Mardi Gras” or Fat Tuesday, you immediately think New Orleans. Right? But for this native Alabamian, I think, Mobile, Alabama. Why, because Mobile’s Carnival celebration began in 1703; 15 years before New Orleans was even founded. It began as a French Catholic celebration beginning on or after Epiphany and culminating on the day before Ash Wednesday or Fat Tuesday (Shrove Tuesday).
Brushing your dog’s teeth isn’t just about fresh breath. It’s an essential part of good oral care, and good oral care is important to your dog’s overall health. Although most people aren’t aware of it, periodontal or gum disease is a common, serious problem in dogs. Here’s a quick guide from our friends at Hill’s Pet Nutrition:
House training a new puppy requires commitment, patience and consistency/routine. Your puppy will do best on a schedule. They will soon learn when it is time to eat, sleep play and potty. The following are a few tips that I followed to successfully train my four-week old great pyrenees/border collie mix. It was trial and error but with minimal mishaps along the way.
Congratulations to our winner, Sheila K! Thanks to all who entered!
According to the Drake Center for Veterinary Care, while cats confined to an indoor environment generally live longer and are at less risk for contracting infectious diseases or injuries due to trauma, they are at greater risk for a variety of behavioral problems. These problems include litter box issues, anxiety, eating disorders, aggression, self-injury and compulsive disorders like excessive grooming and scratching. Providing an enriched environment can increase activity, decrease mental stagnation and prevent many of these issues.
Baylie Dog here. I believe every dog should have its day. And, for the first time since 1884, the breed known in polite company as an All-American (a.k.a. mutt) was hobnobbing with the purebreds at a Westminster Kennel Club Agility Championship event. As a non-purebred, All-American, mutt, Great Pyrenees/Border Collie mix, I say, it’s about time! Now we’ll focus our sights on Best in Show; All-American Mutt!
Good friends are loyal and stick by you no matter what, and that’s true when it comes to man’s best friend. We’ve all read about faithful dogs — from courageous canines who saved their owners’ lives to dedicated dogs who stayed by their loved ones’ sides even after death. There’s a fascinating article in the New York Times by “neuroeconomics” professor Gregory Burns where he describes his latest work studying dogs. After training and scanning the brains of dozens of them, he says he’s left with the inescapable conclusion that “dogs are people, too.” Brain scans show that dogs are as conscious as human children.
It’s very unusual for it to snow here in the deep South, but it does happen. Our last significant snow event was 2010 with some four inches of the white stuff. It’s usually a wet, heavy snow that rarely lingers for more than a day before turning into a sloppy mess. Nevertheless, we are ecstatic when the forecast calls for any semblance of snow. In fact, we experience a fair amount of jubilation when just a miniscule chance of snow is in the forecast.