Natural Dog Treats Print E-mail
Tuesday, 14 January 2014 18:01

If there is anything my dogs won’t eat I haven’t found it yet. If I eat it they will eat it, and with gusto. And then there are things that I wouldn’t eat, mostly involving the cats, that they consider a gourmet treat. The enthusiasm they show while devouring just about anything in the food category led me to write an article questioning whether they even had taste buds. Turns out they do. So as long as I avoid foods that is bad for them, such as onions, chocolate, grapes, etc., and they like it, I have no problem letting them have it. And I am more comfortable giving them natural food for treats than I am with the processed and packaged stuff the pet food industry offers.
I have had a healthy skepticism about the pet food industry for a long time, and the number of recalls of food and treats in recent years make me even more cautious. The melamine contaminated gluten disaster in 2007 only served to reinforce the belief that the stuff in the bag or can is not all it is said to be. Maybe the worst part, or perhaps the most enlightening, was the disclosure that the foods, from cheap store brands to premium name brands, were all made in the same plant from the same ingredients.
Anyway, I have found that my dogs are just as happy with a piece of fruit or vegetable as they would be with something that came out of a box, and it is probably better for them. Here are a few that we use.

Some Like It Hot Print E-mail
Thursday, 09 January 2014 16:53

There is no doubt about it, cats are gluttons for warmth. When the weather outside is frosty, you can probably find your cat curled up in front of its favorite heating vent. Why does an animal with such a nice warm coat seek out heat?

A cat’s body temperature stays at a toasty 100°-102° F, keeping the muscles warm and ready to spring into action on a moment’s notice, should any antelope, zebra or mice wander by.

For cats, as with all mammals, food fuels the body’s furnace, but this is just one way cats cope with the cold. As temperatures drop, a cat’s body can turn up the heat by increasing its basal metabolic rate – its rate of energy use. A cold cat may also become more active, since muscle contractions generate a lot of heat. In really frigid weather, even a combination of accelerated metabolism and increased activity may not be enough to sustain normal body temperature. Then a cat’s muscles will begin shivering. Shivering is the body’s last ditch effort to stay warm. If your cat goes outside and you see it shivering, bring it to a warm dry place right away.

If you are going to give, give locally Print E-mail
Monday, 23 September 2013 08:11

This is the time of year when people are in a giving mood, and it follows that charities and non-profit organizations of all kinds increase their requests for donations. Television, radio and direct mail are used extensively by large national organizations to ask for support for whatever cause they represent, and it seems to work. They take in millions of dollars in donations.

Closer to home, working without the big budget, small local groups are going about the actual work that the cause is all about, the hands-on, nuts and bolts, nitty-gritty stuff that goes unnoticed by everyone but the people doing it. They don’t take in millions or anything like that, and most just scrape by or get in debt trying to do what they do.

Since Critter Chatter deals primarily with pet and animal issues, the groups we most discuss are animal related, but the message applies to smaller local groups that work in all areas. You don’t have to look far to find a group that is active in a cause you are concerned with that is under-funded and/or understaffed and in some way in need of support. Any help you give these organizations, whether financially or by personal involvement, goes directly to help in the effort being undertaken.

Spaying and Neutering: It’s Not Just About Birth Control Print E-mail
By now most people are aware of the need to spay or neuter their pets in order to prevent unplanned litters that add to the pet overpopulation in so many places. But there are a number of reasons besides birth control that make it important that these procedures be performed, including, among other things, the health of the pet and the sanity of the owner.

At first the organs to be removed produce hormones that help puppies and kittens turn into adult dogs and cats. After that they only produce problems. Aside from the obvious benefit of preventing unwanted pregnancies, the reasons given for spaying and neutering fall into two categories – medical and behavioral. The medical problems come later, but the behavior problems usually start fairly soon.

Vets Need To Warn Dog Owners About Bloat Print E-mail

Every week we are contacted by people whose dogs have come down with bloat. Last week was no exception. Three e-mails came the same day from people whose dogs had come down with the problem. They had been looking online for information about the subject, and had found the article on our website. For two of them, it was too late; their dogs had died. The third person had come home from work to find the dog acting strangely. The dog was swollen and seemed to be trying to vomit but without success. Since her vet was closed, she went online looking for information. After reading the article on bloat she rushed her dog to the emergency clinic, where x-rays showed that the stomach was twisted. Immediate surgery saved the dog’s life. If she had waited until morning to see her regular vet, the dog would have died.

We received lengthy e-mail from each of the three people telling us the circumstances of their cases, and containing the same complaint—none of them had ever heard of bloat until it happened to their dogs. They are not alone. Since then we have spoken to dozens of people with dogs that fit the high risk profile for bloat, and most had never heard of it, or had no real understanding of how serious a threat it is to their dogs. Not one had been counseled about bloat by their vet or any member of the staff at the clinic.


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