Monthly Archives: September 2012

Top 10 Toxic Plants for Cats!

1. Tiger Lilies

Tiger lilies are probably the most poisonous plants for cats. All the parts of the plant are toxic, and able to cause renal failure. Cats that have ingested this plant will vomit, be lethargic, lack appetite or have increased thirst. If left untreated, the poisoning will cause kidney failure within 24 to 72 hours after ingestion.

2. Raw Plants from Potato Family

The potato family of plants, scientifically known as Solanaceae or deadly nightshade, is potential poison for cats. The toxic substance is called Glycoalkanoid Solamine, and may be found in the leaves and stems. Some plants from this family are the potato, the tomato, the eggplant, chili pepper or paprika. If you grow these, keep your cat away from the garden.

3. Poison Ivy

Poison ivy causes ugly rashes and may be really toxic to cats. Not only poison ivy is poisonous to cats, but also Boston ivy, English ivy, Glacial ivy and heart ivy.

4. Mistletoe

Cats ingesting mistletoe may get poisoning. The berries are the most toxic part.

5. Chrysanthemum

The chrysanthemum is a common houseplant that may poison your pet. Even if the cat touches the plant with his skin or mouth, there will be allergic reactions.

6. Creeping and Weeping Fig

The creeping fig and the weeping fig are tempting for the cat and can be toxic if ingested in high quantities.

7. Azalea

Azalea is frequently used as a landscape plant. Ingesting leaves or flowers may cause vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, cramps or respiratory and kidney problems in your cat.

8. Juniper Shrubs

The ingestion of too many juniper shrubs can lead to abdominal pain and kidney problems.

9. Daffodils and Bulb Plants

Daffodils are poisonous for cats, especially the bulbs. They will cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and may be even fatal. Cats may be at risk when ingesting any type of bulb plants (i.e., tulips).

10. Onion Plants

If you grow onions in your garden, the cat shouldn’t have access to this place. The toxic substance in these plants is the N-propyl disulphide, which may cause Heinz anemia. Garlic is also toxic for pets.

Other toxic plants include aloe vera, asparagus fern, cladium, elephant ears, English holly and the umbrella plant.

Trimming Your Dog’s Nails at Home

If you decide on doing it at home, make sure you are all set for the task.

1. Get the Right Equipment

Have everything you need, especially equipments like dog nail clippers, styptic clippers and paper towels, in the event you clip your dog’s nails too short and there is bleeding.

2. Putting Him at Ease

Find a cozy place and position for you and your dog. You may have him lay down on his side or if he’s a small one, you may hold him on your lap. To make it easier for you, you may also have someone hold him.

3. The Actual Clipping

  • Gently grasp your dog’s paw in one hand and keep it steady.
  • Position the nail clipper under the nail by slipping the opening of the clipper over the tip of the toe nail. Be sure to stay on the white part, the pink part is the quick (where his blood vessels are).
  • Hold the clipper steady and squeeze firmly to make a 45 degree angle cut. The cut has to be made from the underneath of your dog’s claw upwards. Do not twist your wrist. If your dog has dark or black nails, it is difficult to see the quick. It would be best to snip bit by bit until you see a black dot surrounded by white in the center of the nail. The black dot is the quick, so you should stop right there.

4. Safety Precautions

Bleeding may occur if the nail is cut too short. Keep the paper towel pressed against the nail for a few minutes then apply styptic powder to stop the bleeding should it occur. Your dog’s nails tend to be sharp after they have been clipped. If your dog is still lying comfortably you may use a small file to file down jagged edges or you could take the dog on a walk on the pavement.

Some dogs may find clipping their nails a stressful experience and the grooming may cause them to behave differently. You may need to coax them into the grooming by giving them a treat. If your dog is too big and too difficult for you to handle, it might be best to leave the nail clipping to professionals.

Other Tips

It is best to clip your dog’s nails little by little and as often as you can. This will be easier for both you and your dog. He may even see it as a routine and be easier to handle the next time you manicure. The point of clipping is to remove the part of the claw that juts over your dog’s pad. When your dog stands, his nails should not be touching the ground. Trim slowly to ensure trimming without bleeding.

Dental Problems for Pets

Dental disease is one of the most common diseases diagnosed by veterinarians. Affecting both dogs and cats, it can occur in pets as young as 2-3 years of age. In fact, veterinarians report that the majority of the dogs and cats seen have some degree of dental disease by age three. Fortunately, proper oral care can help prevent your pet from having to experience the following types of illnesses.

1. Plaque and Tartar

Plaque and tartar begin to build up on your pet’s teeth, affecting not only the tooth itself but the tissue around your pet’s teeth. Tartar and calculi appears as tan or brown colored deposits on your dog or cat’s teeth.

2. Periodontal Disease

As your pet’s dental disease progresses, periodontal disease begins to occur and affects the tissues surrounding your pet’s teeth. Gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) is one of the first changes to occur. However, the majority of dental disease occurs below the gumline, where a pet owner is unable to actually see the damage being done to their pet’s teeth.

3. Toothache

Have you ever experienced a toothache? This is likely the type of pain that your pet is experiencing on a regular basis because of dental disease. In fact, the discomfort can be severe enough to cause your pet to stop eating and even begin to lose weight.

4. Systemic Illnesses

Besides being a persistent source of pain for your pet, dental disease can also cause more serious systemic illnesses, such as kidney disease and possibly heart disease.

5. Bad Breath

Bad breath (halitosis) is one of the first signs of dental disease in pets. If your dog or cat has breath that smells as though it could knock you over, it’s time to have your pet checked for dental disease.

6. Retained Baby Teeth

Also known as retained deciduous teeth, retained baby teeth are commonly seen in dogs, particularly in small breed dogs. If these baby teeth do not fall out normally and are allowed to remain in your dog’s mouth, they can cause crowding because of the extra teeth and can even make it difficult or impossible for the permanent teeth to erupt properly.

7. Stomatitis

The inflammation of a pet’s oral mucuous membranes, also known as stomatitis, can affect wide portions of the mouth and can be quite painful. Although dogs can suffer from stomatitis, it is more common in cats.

How to Socialize Your Dog

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1. Get Started Early

The earlier you socialize your dog, the better. It is never too late to socialize your dog, but an early start will make the job easier. Older dogs that have experienced isolation or trauma may need more time to develop confidence or trust, but a sensible, patient approach will improve their skills.

2. Take a Class

A group dog training class will expose your puppy dog to other people and dogs in a safe and structured environment. There are classes available for socializing puppies and teaching older dogs basic commands.

Most dogs end up at shelters because they have never been taught basic obedience skills. A dog training class will help you and your dog develop a successful relationship.

3. Seek Out Stimuli                     

Bring your dog to noisy, busy places. Shopping center parking lots, construction sites and softball games are a good start. With your dog on the leash, walk confidently along the perimeter of these areas. Offer an occasional treat when your dog is calm. If your dog is a bit shy or nervous, keep these outings short and upbeat. Extend your outings and increase the level of interaction as she gains confidence.

Work on some of your basic commands like “sit” and “heel,” offering praise and encouragement when your dog focuses on you.

4. Watch for Signs of Fear

Do not force your dog to approach anything that frightens her. Do not crouch to comfort her – it makes you look nervous, too! Stand tall and offer her a treat to distract her.

5. Go Easy on the Leash

When your dog approaches other dogs, try not to restrain her forcefully. When you pull back on the leash, it causes your dog to assume an unintentionally aggressive posture that can be misunderstood the other dogs.

Tip: When socializing older dogs, especially larger, stronger breeds, try using a harness rather than a collar. While proper leash techniques are the best way to control your dog, a harness may reduce pulling.

6. Socializing at Home

Dogs need to be socialized at home, too. Locking your dog in a back bedroom will only worsen behavior problems. To improve your dog’s social skills, enlist the aid of a friend. Arm them with a handful of dog biscuits for this exercise.

Keep your dog on a leash and set up some “visits” from your assistant. As they ring the bell or knock on the door, offer your dog a treat to distract him. When your guest enters the house, keep your dog on the leash, praising and rewarding good behavior. Ignore whining and barking. Once your dog is calm, have your guest offer a treat.