Friday, April 30, 2010

Hairball Awareness Day

I'm serious. Today is Hairball Awareness Day.
In honor of the day, I've learned one new fact about hairballs: Popular Science tells us that in 11th century Europe hairballs were used to cure poisoning, epilepsy and the plague.

While hairballs are generally a feline condition, some cows and goat also get hairballs. And, while the word may sound funny and be the butt of numerous cartoons and gags (pun intended) it's no laughing matter. Hairballs can be serious if stuck in the throat or lodge in the intestines.

Here are five things you can do to help prevent or treat hairballs:

1. Brush your cat daily.

2. Use a "hairball control" variety of cat food.

3. Ask your veterinarian about mixing 1 tsp mineral oil with your cat's food.

4. Make sure your cat has plenty of water.

5. I've been told that offering cat a small amount of butter or mashed pumpkin twice a week can help lubricate the intestinal tract.

Check for hairballs if your cat has lost interest in food, has trouble in the litter box, or has a hacking cough, or is vomiting.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hero dog Buddy leads troopers to fire

I was working out at the gym the other day, when I saw this clip on the news. Because I didn't have my headphones, I couldn't hear what the story was about. Why was that car chasing that dog?

When I got home and did some research, I discovered that the car wasn't chasing after the dog, but the dog was leading a police car through confusing back country roads in Alaska. Here's the amazing story:

On Sunday April 4th, Buddy the German Shepherd and his owner, 23-year old Ben Heinrichs were in the workshop of their home in Caswell Lakes, Alaska when a heater ignited chemicals in and started a raging fire. The owner, who suffered burns to his face, called 911.

Trouble is, the home was located in a forested area with many forks in the roads, and difficult to locate. Buddy took off, found a trooper responding to the call, and led him back to the house.

Buddy is being lauded as a hero.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Monday Pet Roundup

Hi and welcome to Monday Pet Roundup!

*Did you know this week is Rabbit Awareness Month? The focus of this year's campaign is rabbit obesity. Even too many carrots may not be a good thing. Visit this site to learn more about rabbit obesity.

* Top Ten Pets. Does it surprise you that rats are on the list? Live Science shares the list, including my favorites (dogs, guinea pigs) and my not-so-favorites (tarantulas).

* I hate reading about animal cruelty, but glad to learn that some laws regarding animal cruelty are being strengthened. UPI's spotlight on animal abuse reports that in the United States, dog fighting is illegal in all 50 states, and it's a felony to attend dog fights as a spectator in 20 states. More than 46 states currently have felony laws against certain acts of animal cruelty. In China, a proposed "Anti-Animal Cruelty Act" would pose penalties for starvation of animals, and ban the slaughter of animals in the presence of minors. And in New Brunswick, Canada new laws for the licensing and inspection of pet shops, animal shelter and kennels will be in place starting June 1st.

These laws are important. According to UPI, "Animal welfare experts caution that cruelty to animals often is a precursor to violence against humans..."

* Does your dog like to run, I mean really run? Would your dog benefit from some strenuous exercise? Learn more about Flyball. Behind the Behavior blog posts a really good overview of the sport, the benefits of flyball, and how you can get involved.

Has your dog participated in flyball or other agility sports? What are your views on the cruelty to animal laws? And, if you have a rabbit, do you find that rabbit obesity is a problem?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Did your dog really eat THAT?

One day I came home to find a Diet Coke can, shredded into tiny bits. I expected to see my dog's tongue in bits too. Luckily she was fine. Since then, however, I've been careful about where I store our recyclables.

It's important to keep objects out of reach of dogs once you know they are chewers...and potentially, swallowers. A certain German shorthaired pointer ate my friends wallet; money, credit cards and all. Dogs have been known to eat anything and everything. lists some of the weirdest items ingested by dogs, with x-rays to prove it!

Above, x-ray of a rubber ducky ingested by Ozzie, a 7 month old Staffordshire Terrier.

Here are a few more:
Nails ingested by a Basset Hound.
Engagement ring, ingested by a Labrador.
Rocks, golf balls, sticks, fork, knife, mobile phone and various toys were also culprits. Check out the complete list of weird objects ingested by dogs. Fortunately, all the dogs cited made full recoveries.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Dog Training only a click away!

I'm embarrassed to admit, but my dog Kelly still only comes when I call her about 50% of the time...when she feels like it. What are your dog's behavioral challenges? Does he jump up on visitors at the door? Does she bark when left alone? Refuse to walk calmly on a leash? One solution for handling these issues is obedience classes. This is a great option, because it gets your dog out and around other dogs and in a new environment. In addition to typical classes, you can supplement with lessons and practice at home.

Dr. Ian Dunbar of Dogstar Daily hosted the British TV show Dogs with Dunbar. Now he's tackling behavioral problems, socialization and obedience exercises on a Web-based companion dog training program, America's Dog Trainer. Photograph above is of Rikke Broggard, one of the featured dog trainers.

According to the website, "America's Dog Trainer or (ADT) is innovative because it features a different trainer each week and because today's technology makes the program available worldwide 24 hours a day. So you can find the dog trainer (or trainers) that best suit your personality and goals and watch wherever or whenever you have the time or need. Solutions and educational entertainment are always just a click away."

In an interview conducted by Dogstar Daily, Dr. Ian Dunbar says, "New technology gives us the opportunity to bring some of the best, most vibrant trainers we know to the public right now, and, on an affordable budget. By hosting the show on our very own website, Dog Star Daily, we're not beholden to the rules and constrictions of traditional television producers, directors and program planners. Each trainer may present their episode exactly as they want it to be. And of course, there's a huge advantage to web-TV. Whereas cable and network shows have a restricted local or national audience, the web-TV audience is worldwide and all the shows are archived and available to watch forever - anytime and anywhere. This makes education and entertainment so accessible. It allows us to bring the best and the brightest of dog trainers to dog lovers, no holds barred. This is the future of dog training - the new generation. It's happening right before our eyes and I'm just so thrilled!"

Check out America's Dog Trainer webisodes for teaching your dog to fetch (not all dogs do this naturally!), special techniques for training big dogs, working with kids and dogs, introducing two dogs to each other, and more!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday Pet Roundup

Hi and Welcome to Monday Pet Roundup!

*This great photo was taken by Caroline Benzing. Thank you Caroline!

*Recently we inquired about an elderly friend and learned that she'd been injured, and pretty well banged up, because she'd tripped over her dog. Turns out this is not that uncommon. Fox News reports that there are more than 80,000 reported incidents of tripping over pets a year. Dogs were involved in nearly 7.5 times as many injuries as cats.

*In Farsley, UK, a cat is creating havoc of another kind. Digital Journal reports that, when the postal worker comes to a particular Farsley house to deliver the mail, the cat jumps through the cat door and attacks him! Mail has been suspended to this address.

*Dog Star Daily reminds us that this month is National Stress Awareness month. Stress can affect our pets too. Some pets are stressed at being left home alone. One solution is to leave the radio or calming music playing while your gone. Dog Star Daily also suggests training classes and learning how to become the benevolent leader to help calm dogs.

*I've asked this question myself: Does my dog's warm, dry nose mean that he's sick? Find out from Dr. Lauren Brickman on Petfinder's blog.

*Enter here to win handmade Benevolent Bakery Dog Biscuits! Contest closes April 30th.

Do you have a technique for calming your pets? And, have you ever tripped over your pet?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Pet Blogs to Pet Books

We've all heard of blogs that were made into books. Waiter Rant. PostSecret. Julie and Julia.
Here are several pet books that started out as blogs too:

1. I Can Has Cheezburger, A LOLcat colleckshun by Professor Happycat and
Check out this book of cat pictures with funny captions. Okay, so I don't understand the title, but I know this blog has millions of fans! The success of this book has made way for another LOLcat book, How to Take over Teh Wurld.

2. Dear Sparkle: Advice from one Cat to Another by Janiss Garza
This is Sparkle the cat's advice column to help "distressed felines deal with the problems humans couldn't solve." Dear Abby of the feline world!

3. Am I Boring my Dog? by Edie Jarolim
A funny guide to the title question, and "99 other things your dog wishes you knew."

4. Bad to the Bone; Memoir of a Rebel Doggie Blogger by Bo Hoefinger
"Written by" a golden retriever mix and popular doggie blogger.

5. Cute Overload 365 Days of Impossibly Cute by Meg Frost
While technically not a book, Cute Overload website has expanded into "impossibly cute" page a day desk and wall calendars. With some of the most charming photos of pets anywhere!

So, do you have a pet blog that would make an awesome book? Well, it's not enough just to write a cool pet blog. You have to have a great following. And you have to know how to submit to agents and publishers. Usually you will need to write a fantastic book proposal first.

This topic was recently discussed at BlogPaws conference. There, a talented panel of authors and marketing experts shared information on their books and tips on how to get your blog published. One piece of advice, from Blogpaws website:

"Janiss (Garza) shared her fabulous book proposal with us. It
was for the second Sparkle the Cat book, and displayed
Sparkle's whimsy, her wit, and her unique ability to communicate
her cat needs to humans. Janiss was smart to focus on using the success
of Sparkle the Cat's blog persona to create a book proposal editors fell
in love with. She included pictures of Sparkle - always a plus. That's not
necessarily the way to go for all books - adding humor and pictures - but
it worked for Janiss because her book is a humorous book about/for
pets and their people."

Who knows, maybe your pet blog will someday become a book. Or maybe a blog you're reading now is destined to print. What do you think? Do you know of a pet blog that you'd like to see become a book? Let us know which ones you like!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I Do Dog Tricks

In honor of all the tricks you've tried to teach your dog, here is a dog who is waiting and willing to please you.

I do dog tricks.

He couldn't be any cuter! Just click on the link and type in any command, such as:
roll over
and don't forget, Kiss!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Monday Pet Roundup

Hi and welcome to Monday Pet Roundup!

*Last weekend was the big event, Blogpaws, for pet bloggers and pet lovers. Held in Columbus, OH. Check out more information and Blogpaws updates, great wrap-ups including this heartfelt video on About Vet Med, and more on Pawcurious.

*Last Thursday and Friday was another great event, with Frankie the Walk 'n Roll Dog and Sparkles the Fire Safety Dog getting together to help kids.

*Several readers brought to my attention this kitty with an unusual ability to stand like a human, for a long time. It's all over the web, including video of The Standing Cat here on Petopia.

*Love this! From dogsters for the love of dog blog, 7 Fashionable products for scooping poop!

* My dalmatian ate my wedding shoes before the ceremony. Have you got a problem chewer? Dog Spelled Forward offers 5 ways to stop your dog from chewing.

*Speaking of chewing, this lovable lab has a serious problem. Pethealth, Inc. shares the story of Shredder, the dog who ate, among other things, 100 tealight candles, metal base and all.

*Cute video on Petblog where you can watch the action of photographer trying to get that perfect shot. You've probably been there too! Now I don't feel so bad, after what I go through trying to photograph Kelly!

*Cute photo of the day, a case of tub floof. My dog Kelly gets this!

Did you attend Blogpaws? If so, what did you like best?
And do you have a problem chewer at home? What is the worst thing he ate?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Mouth-to-muzzle first aid

Do you know how to do CPR...on your dog? Could you administer your cat?

April, National Pet First Aid Awareness Month, is the perfect time to brush up on your first aid skills and learn the valuable procedures that could save the life of your pet. You might check with your local veterinarian for classes or lessons.

Or, website 910 Pets offers instructions on canine and feline CPR.

If you need a more hands-on approach, consider lessons from Pet Tech, a training center dedicated to First Aid, CPR and care for dogs and cats. They offer two levels of training. The Pet Saver class is an eight hour course to teach you how to assess your pet's health, rescue breathing on pets, shock management, canine and feline CPR, and more. The Pet Tech Instructor training is a three-day program which extends the scope of the Pet Saver class, and teaches you how to teach others about pet first aid and CPR. You can find a Pet Tech instructor in your area.

The American Veterinary Medical Association also offers first aid tips for pet owners.
However you do it, take the time to learn first aid for your pet. I hope you'll never need to use it, but you'll be glad you're prepared, just in case.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Spotted Dogs on Broadway

Take some adorable highly trained, spotted dogs, cue music by one of the creative minds behind such musicals as Cabaret and Spamelot, add some live actors and actresses, put them all together on a stage and what do you get?

101 Dalmatians, the musical. Running April 7-18 at Madison Square Garden, NYC.

Check out this clip of Rascal by the movie's dog trainer, Joel Slaven.

The concept for the stage production is explained by the show's bookwriter, BT McNicholl. "Typically," he says “stage productions present animals or exotic creatures using some form of puppetry (as in THE LION KING) or dressing actors in animal costumes (CATS). But here, given that our premise is inside-out, we invert the equation: The animals are human and it is the humans that are exotic.”

The human actors are on stilts to make them appear how the dogs would view them.

One more thing I discovered on the website, which is really cool to me. You might think that one black and white spotted Dalmatian looks pretty much like another, but as you look at the different canine actors in the show, you see they are all pretty different. That's why took a second look when I came upon this photo of of Lacy (left). Look at her compared to the picture of our old pet Dalmatian, Schuyler (right). Holy spots!

Here's how to get tickets to 101 Dalmatians, the Musical.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Buy Stamps, Help Pets

Sometimes I complain about the price of postage. The older we get, the more we can remember a lower price of a stamp: 37 cents...22 cents...10 cents! I'm not saying I'm old, but I looked it up, and the cost of mailing a letter the year I was born was 4 cents!

Well, here's a postage stamp that I don't feel bad about buying. The USPS new Animal Rescue: Adopt a Shelter Pet stamps! Not only will these pets help raise awareness for adopting shelter pets, but also during the stamp launch Halo pet foods, along with animal advocate and Halo Co-owner Ellen DeGeneres, is donating a million meals to shelter pets around the country.

The adorable 44 cent stamps feature 5 cats and 5 dogs who were adopted from shelters.

Teddy, a wire haired Jack Russell Terrier who was given up when she had puppies.

Willow, a gray Maltese cat who was left in a box at the door of the shelter.

Buddy, a golden retriever who was purchased from a pet shop and given up due to health problems.

All these pets were adopted and joined happy, loving families. Visit the Stamps to the Rescue site to purchase stamps, or to learn more about pet adoption.