8 Fun places to take your cat

You love your cat and she loves you. You enjoy each others company, spending time at home and perhaps outside, but do you ever think about what else there is to do with your furry feline? There are many ways to have fun with your cat and in many different places. Our pets are like our family members, right? So why not plan a family vacation with your pet? Below are a few great places to take your cat.

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Our most popular posts about dogs

Are you a pet lover like us? Do you own a dog or just happen to love them? Below are 6 of our most popular dog blog posts. From why pets eat their own feces (yuck), to the many reasons to love a mixed breed dog, we cover a wide range of topics to help pet parents and their furry friends!

Click on the links below to enjoy our most popular dog blog posts.

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Ways to Show Appreciation to Animal Shelters

girl in animal shelterDo you have a favorite animal shelter in your area? Did you get your best friend from a local animal shelter and want to show your support? There are many ways to show your appreciation for the animal shelter you love. Take a moment to read these tips for ideas that might strike up unique ways to offer gratitude.

Some people might think that the only way to show appreciation is by giving money. However, there are other ways to give back – there really are. Of course most animal shelters run off of donations and need the monetary offerings, but other ideas can lead to this type of donation in the end. Everything you do is a step in the right direction. If you can’t give money at this time, take a few of these ideas below into consideration.

5 Ways to Show Your Appreciation to Animal Shelters

  1. Use social media to spread the word – Social media and the internet is a powerful thing! Have you liked your favorite animal shelter’s Facebook page yet? If yes, take it a step further and start to share and comment on their posts so all your Facebook friends can see that you are a fan. Many companies (for profit or non-profit) spend money on Facebook advertising to reach people in their areas. You can actually save them money by sharing their important posts for others to see. This is called organic reach. It will also help them get their name and cause out into the community. This is a great way to give back without spending money. Give it a try!
  1. Become a volunteer – A lot of animal shelters run on the help and work of volunteers in the community. Some shelters state that they couldn’t run without their volunteers. Become a volunteer today. Start off slow and decide the best days and times that work for your schedule. Don’t take it too fast and burn yourself out. The experience that you take with you might fuel other people to give back in this important way.
  1. Write a review – Another excellent way to show appreciation is to share your story online with a company review. Many people read reviews before considering adopting a pet or supporting a shelter. They might read several online reviews before even entering the location. By sharing your positive story, it could encourage others to visit. It will also help future donors feel positive about supporting this particular shelter. You can find review options on most Facebook pages, company websites and even Yelp!.
  1. Talk about it with friends – Share you story with friends and family as often as you can. When someone expresses their love for your pet, tell them where you got him or her. Share your experience and it could have positive results. How many times has someone talked about how great your cat is? Have you told that person that you wouldn’t have her without the help of ZYX Animal Rescue? It’s time to spark up that conversation!
  1. Attend their events and fundraisers – Many animal shelters will have an annual fundraiser or community event to celebrate their existence and to raise funds. By attending, telling your friends and just being there, you are offering a huge amount of support. The last thing an animal shelter wants is to put time and effort into an event just to have low attendance. Follow them on social media and you can stay abreast of what is going on there. You can also set up post notification from that particular page. This way you’ll never miss anything they have going on.

Thank you for taking the time to show your love and support of an animal shelter. Pets are beautiful creatures, aren’t they? It’s wonderful that there is a place where pets can go when they have not other option. Show your support today. Keep the conversation going!

Cats are Great, but Dogs are Better

National-Dog-Day-2by Sparky the dog

Hello Friends and Furiends. So, Simon wrote a post on the Paw Print blog stating that international cat day should be every day of the year. So what about us dogs? Are we just chopped liver? I think not!

August 26th is “National Dog Day” and I think it’s well earned. Don’t you? I have full intentions of taking advantage of this upcoming holiday. Us dogs work hard to be great, upstanding petazins. We greet our owners with the wag of the tail and cuddles galore. We offer love and affection that some humans or fellow pets wouldn’t get otherwise. I think that entitles us to at least one dog appreciation day a year. Sorry cats, we’re stepping in!

The title of this blog post might be a bit misleading. I don’t particularly think that dogs are better than cats, we just sometimes offer more. Take Simon, for instance. Simon is smart, yes, but she’s always sitting around on the windowsill or out being curious about something. When a human comes along she doesn’t get as excited as I do. Humans appreciate my excitement! I know! I can tell! I show that human (or fellow pet) that I love and care for them. Some cats just don’t do that as good as dogs. It’s a fact. But perhaps I’m a little bias (being a smart canine myself).

I have a few suggestions on how you can celebrate this wonderful holiday that’s all about dogs. Right, Simon?

First, treats are always a good idea. Dogs love treats. We love food. That’s all I have to say about that.

Secondly, give us some extra attention on this special day. I recommend a long walk so we can sniff around. A nice game of fetch or just some extra long cuddles. You should also let us sleep on your bed. At least for one night. It’s so cozy and we like to lick your toes.

Lastly, consider taking us to a store and getting us a new toy or a healthcare item we’ve been needing. It’s just so much fun to shop with you!

It’s not a bad idea to spoil all dogs on this day with extra yummy treats, love and toys. It’s all a good idea. Any additional attention or love you can show us on this day and any day is highly recommended.

I also love to get a nice grooming in for my special day, so that I can look my best and Essential Pet Salmon oil products help my coat to really shine on a daily basis.

As a final note: I would like to personally thank the 21st Century Animal Healthcare team. Thank you for the love you’ve shown me over the last year. I’m excited to be a part of this team. I hope that many of our blog readers will continue to follow me on the Paw Print Blog. If you ever have any questions for me or my co-working pet friend, Simon, just let us know. We would love to help.

Happy National Dog Day on August 26, 2016!

Lost in the Alps? You need a St. Bernard

Saint Bernard dogs are said to have originated in monasteries located in a pass through the Alps between Italy and Switzerland. This pass is now known as The Great Saint Bernard Pass. There are great tales of rescue by the Saint Bernard, but their original purpose was more likely companionship for the monks, both at the hospice and on their own searches for people who were lost or injured in the snow. It was said that the Saint Bernard could sense avalanches coming, so they were able to warn the monks of impending danger.

These dogs eventually learned to do the rescue work on their own and would travel in packs of two or three looking for those in need of help. Even if someone were buried in the snow, the Saint would sniff the person out, dig to him, and lie beside him to keep him warm, while the other dog would return to the hospice for help. Smart dogs, those Saints!

Saint Bernard Characteristics
The Saint Bernard is known for its loyalty and vigilance and is tolerant of both children and animals. Because of these traits, it has become a family dog. They also make good watchdogs, as their size can be startling to strangers, though their temperament is mild. Today, everyone easily recognizes the Saint Bernard at first sight! The AKC standard for the Saint Bernard calls for the Saint to stay true to the original standard of the hospice dog. The Saint is a large breed, a member of the working group. They are strong and muscular, with a powerful head. Males should be at least 27½” tall, females at least 25½” tall. They weigh between 120 and 200 lbs.

The Saint Bernard muzzle is short, and his jowls hang slightly (yes, they drool). Their eyes should be medium sized, dark brown, and deep set. They should hold an intelligent, friendly expression. The Saint’s ears are medium-sized and hang close to the head, though they may perk up when the Saint is interested in something.

The long hair Saint (rough coat) should resemble the short hair Saint (smooth coat) in every way except for hair length. Interestingly, the longhaired Saint Bernard was created by outcrossing to the Newfoundland, but rather than keeping the dogs warmer, the weight of the snow hanging on their coat hindered their progress.

Saint Bernard Temperament
The Saint Bernard is one of the gentle giants of the canine world. They are docile beasts that are good around children (who are old enough to handle the Saint’s size), and though they aren’t overly playful, they are sweet and affectionate and like to be around their people. They are smart and extremely loyal. Saints can have a stubborn streak, so puppy-training classes are recommended for every Saint Bernard; but they are also very eager to please and respond well to positive, consistent training. You won’t have a better friend than your Saint!

 

Does your pet have tangled or matted fur? Here are some reasons to do something about it.

Dreading the next brushing session with your dog or cat? Many owners of dog and cats with long fur struggle with tangles and knots that create mats, and sometimes it feels like an unending job.  Essentially it is, if you’ve chosen a long furred friend, but the effort is worth it.  Constantly matted fur can create great pain for your pet and can lead to other health and behavior issues.

When an animal’s coat is matted down to the level of the skin, each time a dog or cat scratches, the nail catches the matted hair or fur and tears at the skin. This creates discomfort and often pain as the scratching pulls the tangled knots away from the skin and may even lead to actual rips in skin that require stitches and antibiotics after the animal is completely shaved down by a professional. Eyes, ears, mouths, paw pads and sterile areas are increasingly prone to serious infection with an improperly managed coat.

Aside from developing open wounds, dirt and bugs and feces can be enveloped into the matted mess and cause infestation or infection within a short period of time, as well as skin rashes and other complications. Aside from the physical effects, an animal’s behavior can change drastically due to the pain and discomfort they experience with a matted coat. Dogs can tend to get very snappy and bite without provocation and cats may disappear in their occasional hiding spots for days on end and even stop cleaning themselves.

Underlying Conditions
A matted coat on a cat can also mean that they are severely nervous or not being treated properly by their owner and have stopped grooming themselves. Usually, a strong comb out is required, rather than a shave down and also a serious look at the factors and environment contributing to the cat no longer cleaning himself or herself, as was the case with Coco who was a special needs (fearful) case adopted by a woman who never took the time to introduce her into the household gradually or develop a one-on-one relationship as instructed (and supposedly understood) at the time of adoption. After a period of time, Coco had to be removed from the home and the adoption rescinded. Coco has a new mom and is doing wonderfully because the owner took the time to develop the relationship and introduce her to the new environment properly. She sleeps and snuggles and greets mom when she comes home from work and cares for her beautiful coat with no more matted fur!

It’s recommended that anyone considering adopting that fluffy little ball of fur in the window to please educate themselves on all aspects of a breed, and the cost and time of proper grooming, before choosing a pet. Additionally, be sure to find a professional groomer that has a solid reputation and has extensive experience or specializes in the particular breed or coat of your pet. Check out this LINK for more information on preventing matting in your animal’s coat.

Fashion or function? Choosing the right dog collar.

When you go to the pet store to purchase a collar for your dog the selection can be overwhelming. Friends, family, and neighbors, as well as the clerk at the store you shop in, may have advice as to what type of collar and leash may work best. But in the end it’s up to you to make the right choice for you and your dog. There are certainly many colors, materials, and styles available to select from, so finding the safest and best dog collar should be easy if you stop to consider a few factors before you buy. And that starts with measuring the diameter of your dog’s neck before you head out to collar shop.

The four most desirable features when shopping for a dog collar are size, ability to clean, durability and safety. Depending on the size of your dog, especially if your dog is a puppy, you may need a collar that adjusts easily as he grows, or you might choose one for him as a puppy and another for him at his adult size. Look for dog collars that can include your pet’s name and your contact number just in case he is lost or gets away from you. Consider reflective materials if you plan to walk your dog at night.

The ideal fit should allow for one to three fingers to fit between your dog’s neck and the collar, depending on the size of your dog:
• If your dog is very small, (under 20 pounds), leave only one finger’s width between the collar and his neck.
• If you have an average, medium-sized dog, go for a two-finger fit.
• If your dog is very large, a three-finger fit may be better.

Dog Collar Styles
“Slip” or “choke” style dog collars consist of a length of leather, nylon or chain link, with rings on each end. They are used as training collars, and the concept is to snap the collar to “correct” the dog. Choke collars work on the principle of punishment, and many trainers now recommend a purely “reward-based” training. They are NOT to be used as everyday collars. Choke collars should NEVER be used on toy dogs or dogs weighting less than 20 pounds.

“Pinch” or ”prong-training” dog collars are appointed with blunt prongs that face the dog’s neck. They are controversial because they dig into the dog’s flesh, although some experienced trainers find them useful in dealing with large, powerful dogs. NEVER use a pinch or prong collar as an everyday collar or put one on your dog because you think it makes your dog look mean or tough.

Electric “shock collars” are NOT recommended for puppies. While useful in specialized training environments, such as field training of gun dogs by experienced handlers, shock collars should NEVER be used by inexperienced or impatient pet owners as a substitute for proper training, discipline, or socialization. Improperly used, they can do more harm than good.

Head halters and body harnesses are similar to what you’d find used on a horse. Head halters wrap around the dog’s mouth just in front of his eyes like a muzzle. However, the dog is still able to drink water, bark, and bite; it doesn’t keep his mouth closed. Body harnesses wrap around the body rather than the neck. Some people consider this to be a more humane dog collar, however, you should consider how well it will work in helping you to train your particular dog. Body harnesses are ideal for small or toy dogs.

The traditional body harness fits across the dog’s chest and the leash hooks on his back between the shoulder blades. This type of harness stops the dog from coughing and choking because it takes the pressure off of his trachea, but the pressure is still felt at the dog’s chest and that reflexive instinct is still there. With the pressure distributed across the chest most dogs pull harder. The body harness that works best is a front-clip harness. This harness easily slips over the dog’s head and buckles behind the front legs, the difference is that the leash hooks on the front of the dog, at the middle of the chest. This simple change in design changes the pressure from the front of the dog to the side of the dog removing the natural feeling for the dog to lean into the pressure.

Leather is a good choice for a dog collar; however, many dogs are dedicated leather-chewers. If your dog spends a lot of time around other canines, check the collar frequently for signs of chewing damage and replace right away if necessary.

If you choose the right collar or harness for your dog walking him will be more fun for you both. Now go get that leash, put your new collar on your dog, and enjoy a walk with your pet!

Time for your dog to have a shampoo and hairstyle? Pick your groomer carefully.

Whether you have a Chihuahua, a St. Bernard or a Yorkie, chances are you’ll have a reason to take your dog to the groomer on occasion. Finding the right groomer is important, especially if you don’t want to have to drag your dog through the grooming salon door clawing and crying because of a previous bad experience.  Getting it right the first time can make all the difference for you and your dog.

Do Your Research
Finding a dog groomer is not much different from choosing a preschool teacher. You want someone who is kind, knowledgeable, trustworthy, and easy to communicate with. But in the groomer’s case, you also want someone who has the artistic skill to make your dog look awesome.

The pet-grooming profession does not require licensing, so you’ll need to verify a groomer’s credentials. Groomers work in a variety of places: salons, kennels, pet supply stores, veterinary clinics, mobile vans, and in home-based businesses. If yours is a breed that requires expert styling—a Poodle, Bichon Frisé, or terrier—get a recommendation from your breeder. Word of mouth is a groomer’s best advertisement, but before you make that first appointment, investigate some more. Visit several groomers to determine which is best for your pet. It’s a good idea to call ahead because skilled dog groomers are in demand and on a tight schedule. The prospective groomer should welcome your visit, answer your questions courteously, and assure you that if your dog has special needs he or she will do their best to accommodate them. If your dog is a puppy or senior, a good groomer will work to get him finished quickly. He or she will go over your dog’s coat and discuss styling.

The groomer may have a portfolio or website available to see his or her work. The shop should look and smell clean, and you should be able to observe the staff caring for their canine clients in a kind and respectful way. For your pet’s protection, a conscientious groomer will request you provide vaccination records.

Is the Groomer Certified?
Three national organizations offer this credential: the National Dog Groomers Association of America, the International Society of Canine Cosmetologists, and the International Professional Groomers Inc. Certification is earned through a series of hands-on and written tests, and judged by accredited professionals. Does the groomer participate in grooming competitions? These rigorous contests take place nationwide and dedicated groomers vie for trophies, cash prizes, and grooming equipment, and most important, respect and recognition from their peers.

Professional dog grooming is demanding work, but it’s a labor of love for the vast majority of its practitioners. A groomer needs many skills: animal handling, brushing, de-matting, clipping, bathing, blow-drying, scissoring, and hand-stripping. He or she must be able to visualize the way a dog should look to execute the required trim. If the groomer is unfamiliar with your dog’s breed, he or she should have reference books to help properly style your dog in a show or pet trim, depending upon your preference. If yours is a mixed breed, the “standard” is a piece of cake: The groomer should make him look adorable!

Lastly, when it comes time to bring your four-legged best friend in for a shampoo and style, make your goodbyes short and sweet. As with leaving home, your dog may get stressed with a long, tearful departure. When he is done, you both will take pleasure in his shiny coat and sweet smell.

 

How old is your dog? Your dog’s ancestors date back millions of years.

Dogs have been a best friend and  companion for millennia, but they weren’t always the cute, waggy-tailed creatures whose company we enjoy today.  [Excerpted from About.com Science Corner]

As far as paleontologists can tell, the very first carnivorous mammals evolved during the late Cretaceous period, about 75 million years ago. However, it’s more likely that every carnivorous animal alive today can trace its ancestry back to Miacis, a slightly bigger, weasel-like creature that lived about 55 million years ago, or 10 million years after the dinosaurs went extinct.

The First Canids – Hesperocyon and the “Bone-Crushing Dogs”
Paleontologists agree that the late Eocene (about 40 to 35 million years ago) Hesperocyon was directly ancestral to all later canids–and thus to the genus Canis, which branched off from a subfamily of canids about six million years ago. This “western dog” was only about the size of a small fox, but its inner-ear structure was characteristic of later dogs, and there’s some evidence that it may have lived in communities, either high up in trees or in underground burrows. Hesperocyon is very well-represented in the fossil record; in fact, this was one of the most common mammals of prehistoric North America.

Another group of early canids were the borophagines, or “bone-crushing dogs,” equipped with powerful jaws and teeth suitable for scavenging the carcasses of mammalian megafauna. The largest, most dangerous borophagines were the 100-pound Borophagus and the even bigger Epicyon; other genera included the earlier Tomarctus and Aelurodon, which were more reasonably sized. We can’t say for sure, but there’s some evidence that these bone-crushing dogs (which were also restricted to North America) hunted or scavenged in packs, like modern hyenas.

The First True Dogs – Leptocyon, Eucyon and the Dire Wolf
Shortly after the appearance of Hesperocyon 40 million years ago, Leptocyon arrived on the scene. Leptocyon was the first true canine, although a small and unobtrusive one, not much bigger than Hesperocyon itself. The immediate descendant of Leptocyon, Eucyon, had the good fortune to live at a time when both Eurasia and South America were accessible from North America via land bridges. In North America, about six million years ago, populations of Eucyon evolved into the first members of the modern dog genus Canis, which spread to these other continents.

Although canines (including the first coyotes) continued to live in North America during the Pliocene epoch, the first plus-sized wolves evolved elsewhere. The most famous of these canines was the Dire Wolf, Canis diris, which evolved from an “old world” wolf that colonized both North and South America.

The end of the Pleistocene epoch witnessed the rise of human civilization around the world. As far as we can tell, the first domestication of the Gray Wolf occurred somewhere in Europe or Asia anywhere from 30,000 to 15,000 years ago. After 40 million years of evolution, the modern dog had finally made its debut!

Is your pet chewing and scratching all the time? Maybe it’s fleas.

If you have a pet, at some time or another you’ve probably had to deal with fleas. And now that the weather is warming up,  flea season is in full swing. Arming yourself with knowledge about fleas, can help you make your life, and your pet’s, much more pleasant.

Pets become infested with fleas when they live in an area that is conducive to the flea life cycle and appropriate flea preventative steps are not taken. Fleas thrive in warm, damp climates. An average temperature in the range of 70° to 85°F, in a moist environment, is optimal for these parasites. From a flea’s perspective, the hotter and damper, the better. Accordingly, dogs living in hot, humid areas tend to develop more severe complications from flea infestation than do dogs living in cold, dry climates. Dogs and cats can also get fleas by coming into contact with other animals that have a flea problem.

Fleas only spend a small part of their lives on the skin of a host animal. Adult fleas mate after they eat a large blood meal. Females lay their eggs within 1 to 2 days; they can produce upwards of 2000 eggs during their short 4-month lifespan. Fleas tend to like deep pile and shag carpeting, floor cracks, furniture and bedding.

Behavioral Signs
In severe infestations, it’s easy to spot fleas jumping and moving on and off your dog’s body. In less obvious situations, you may notice that your pet is restless and is scratching, licking, or chewing more than normal on certain areas of her body. Shaking the head often and scratching at the ears is another indication of a possible flea infestation in your dog.

Check the Skin and Haircoat
In order to see actual fleas on your pet, you may have to look fast. Fleas can jump very fast and very high, and even at their adult size they are very small (1/16-1/8 in.). They are flat-bodied and dark brown, almost black, in color. The more blood they ingest the lighter in color they may appear.

To inspect your pet, turn her onto her back and check the areas that allow fleas to hide best. The armpits and groin are two areas that tend to be warm and protected, making them preferred spots for large flea populations. Check the ears carefully for signs of scratching, redness, blood, or dirt. These can all be signs of fleas. The skin on the belly, groin, or base of the tail may appear red and bumpy, especially if your pet is doing a lot of scratching. Hair loss may occur in certain areas that are being scratched excessively, and there may be black spots on the skin along with scabbing.

Get a flea comb (a specially-made comb with closely set teeth) and run it through the hair on your pet’s back and legs. The comb’s teeth are designed to catch and pull fleas out from under the haircoat where they are hiding. Make sure you get close to the skin when running the comb through the hair so you have a greater chance of getting to where the fleas are hiding out. Have a bowl of soapy water on hand to throw any live fleas into as you comb.

One trick that may help you if the fleas are hard to see is to place a white piece of paper (or paper towel) on the floor next to or beneath your pet while combing through her hair. Flea dirt (flea feces) will fall off of the your dog or cat’s skin and land on the paper.

Check the Environment
Fleas don’t just stay on your your pet. They can also be found all through your house, and especially in areas where your dog spends a lot of her time. Closely examine your pet’s feeding area, bedding, and her favorite locations for signs of flea dirt (black specks), or for the fleas themselves.

Get a Veterinarian’s Advice
If you can’t find any signs of actual fleas on your pet or in your living environment, or if you have done the full flea eradication treatment on your pet and home but your pet is still scratching excessively, it’s time to ask your veterinarian for advice. He or she will help you determine the cause of your pet’s discomfort and suggest treatment options. For more information on checking your dog or cat for fleas, visit this link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sR327d4z2Wo&feature=share&list=PL1D28B88A265DDDEF