Stress-Free Holidays for Pets

Stress-Free Holidays for Pets

 

The holidays have arrived, and if you are one of the fortunate ones with  friends and family that you like to spend time with, the holidays mean parties,  dinners, gift exchanges and get-togethers. Whether you will be the host of one  of these fetes, or whether you’ll be packing up the family and pet for a  cross-town trip to visit family and/or friends, know before you go how you are  going to keep everyone calm and comfortable, so that everyone has  a good time.

Visiting …  Visitors

If you are the “visitee,” you will want to do a little preparation before the  guests arrive. Many of us consider our pets to be members of the family, and we  enjoy having them with us in as we celebrate good times. But, when our pets are  not used to have more than a few people around, they can get overly excited, and  things can stop being fun. The jumping, the grabbing food from hands and tables,  the barking … all of these things can lead to some embarrassing situations, and  can even frighten some guests who are not accustomed to having animals around.  In the weeks before the event, take some time to work on your pet’s manners and  reinforce obedience training. You might try some small gatherings with some pet  friendly people who can help you to reinforce your pet’s manners, so that when  the bigger party night comes, your pet will already be prepared.

If, on the other hand, you know that your pet will not be able to hold back  his exuberance, set aside a safe room where he can stay for the duration of the  event. Make the space comfortable with a bed or rug, water, toys, and maybe some  treats. Close this area off to the guests so that you can be sure that your pet,  and your guests, are safe. Remember to either tell your guests that your pet  should be left alone, tape a sign to the door saying “do not open,” or place a  hook and eye lock on the door so that people know that it is not to be opened.  The last thing you want is for a very excited pet to dash through the house, and  possibly out the door to the outside of the house.

Traveling With Your  Pet

Leaving the familiarity of home can provoke anxiety in people and animals. If  you are traveling by car, be sure to bring along some of your pet’s favorite  toys, a blanket or pillow bed, and his regular food. If your pet is used to  sleeping in a crate, bring it along so he can sleep in his familiar space.

We advise keeping pets in a travel safe crate so that the animal is not able  to move freely though the car. This covers a few bases. Keeping animals in  travel crates prevents them from getting underfoot or on your lap while you are  driving — an obvious hazard — it prevents them from being thrown from the car  should an accident occur, and it prevents them from getting free/running away  during rest stops or after minor accidents have occurred. We can tell you that  these unhappy events do occur and are reported in the news frequently enough to  make them worth noting. If you cannot fit a crate into your car, you can use a  pet approved safety belt/harness to keep your pet in her seat, where she  belongs.

On that note, make sure your pet is wearing identification at all times, and  pack an emergency first aid kit for pets in case of an emergency. And don’t  forget to take frequent breaks to allow for rest and relief.

If You Leave Your Pet  Behind — Boarding

Before choosing a boarding facility for your pet, take a quick tour of the  facility to check out the accommodations. You will want to be sure that it is  clean and well kept, and that there is ample space given for the animals to  exercise daily.

Have your questions ready before you go. Things you may want to know are: how  many animals are kept together in one space; can you bring your pet’s food so  that his digestive system will not be upset by an abrupt change in food; will  you be able to bring along toys and other familiar comfort objects from  home?

If you do not feel comfortable with a boarding facility, whether for your  pet’s emotional comfort or because of health concerns, and you do not have the  option of taking your pet along with you, give yourself plenty of time to ask  around the neighborhood for someone to pet-sit in your home or theirs, or do  some research into local pet-sitters that will come to your home to check in and  care for your pet, or will take your pet into their home. The better prepared  you are, the less stress there will be for you and your pet, and the better your  holiday celebrations will be.

Keep to a  Routine

One of the best things you can do throughout it all is to stay to a familiar  schedule. This means taking walks at the same time that you always do, and  feeding at the same time as usual. It might help to create an alarm system on  your mobile phone to remind you of your pet’s daily routine. Also, don’t forget  to take time to play and show affection, so that your pet does not feel thrown  off balance by all of the activity and distractions.

 

The Baneful Herb, Pennyroyal

Pennyroyal

The oil is poisonous, even in small doses. Pennyroyal oil is traditionally used to treat digestive problems, but it has been shown to damage the liver and can be fatal in large doses. This herb should never be used internally. It is also dangerous for your pets, as they lick their fur and ingest the Pennyroyal.

Finding a Familiar on the Astral Plane

Finding a Familiar on the Astral Plane

Begin your meditation the usual way. Cross the bridge and drop the  stones into the stream. This time, when you travel into the astral plane, be  sure to remember why you are there. Keep your eyes open for creatures. The  animal you encounter will most likely be a worldly animal. One will approach  you. You will not have to seek it out. You may be discouraged when you find that  the animal that approaches you may not be your favorite. It could be any  creature: a cat, fox, rabbit, bird, owl, horse, turtle or even an insect. Do not  turn the animal down, even if you feel disappointed. A specific animal will have  a specific lesson to teach you. When you have learned all you can from the  animal, it will leave you. These spirit guides may remain with you for years or  longer. Remember always to listen to what they have to say and explore  thoroughly what they have to show you. Some of the more common animals seen are:

Wolf – knowledge and companionship

Owl – wisdom, silence, solitude

Turtle – patience, humility

Hawk – watchfulness

Horse – nobility and fidelity

Cat – cleanliness

Bear – strength and play

Fox – cunning, thinking through actions

Dolphin/Whale – love, compassion

Rabbit – nature and wariness

Top 10 Signs of Cancer in Dogs and Cats

Top 10 Signs of Cancer in Dogs and Cats

by Nicolas, selected from petMD

Many people do not realize that cancer is not  just a human condition — it  affects our pets as well. In fact, cancer is  the number one disease-related  killer of dogs and cats.  Dr. Lorie Huston tells her clients to be on the lookout for  the following signs.  While these symptoms are not purely indicative of cancer,  if a pet  begins to exhibit them you should visit your veterinarian immediately.  Just like with people, the earlier cancer is caught the better.

10. Lumps and Bumps

Not all lumps and bumps on or under your dog or cat’s skin will be  cancerous, but there is no  way to know for sure without getting your  veterinarian involved – this  is especially important if the lump is not  resolving itself or is  growing in size. A needle biopsy is commonly done and a  veterinary  pathologist can let you know if the cells are cancerous or not.

9. Abnormal Odors

Offensive odors from your dog or cat’s mouth,  ears, or any other part of  your pet’s body, should be checked out.  Oftentimes cancers of the mouth, nose,  or anal regions can cause such  foul odors.

8. Abnormal Discharges

Blood, pus, vomiting, diarrhea,  or any other abnormal substance being discharged  from any part of your  pet’s body should be checked out by your veterinarian. In  addition to  that, if your dog or cat’s abdomen becomes bloated or distended it  could  be a sign of an accumulation of abnormal discharge within the body.

7. Non-Healing Wounds

If your pet has wounds or sores that are not healing, it could be a sign of  infection, skin disease, or even cancer.

6. Weight Loss

Cancer is among the list of diseases that can cause weight loss in a pet. If you notice sudden weight loss in  your dog or cat (and it  is not currently on a diet), along with other signs  from this list, be  sure to mention it to your veterinarian.

5. Change in Appetite

Dogs and cats do not stop eating without a cause. While a lack of appetite does not automatically indicate cancer, it  is still something to be  discussed with your veterinarian. Oral tumors can also  cause difficulty  or pain when eating or swallowing.

4. Coughing or Difficulty Breathing

Coughing or abnormal breathing can be caused by heart disease, lung  disease, and also cancer. Cancer  can metastasize through the lungs and cause  these symptoms.

3. Lethargy or Depression

If you notice your pet is not acting like itself –  sleeping more, less  playful, less willing to go on walks or to exercise  – this can also be a sign  of cancer. Once again, lethargy or depression  is not a symptom confined to  cancer, but an accumulation of any of  these signs is reason enough to speak  with your veterinarian.

2. Changes in Bathroom Habits

Changes in your pet’s urinary or bowel habits –  difficulty using the  bathroom, frequent bathroom use, blood in urine or  stool – these are all  potential signs of cancer.

1. Evidence of Pain

Limping or other evidence of pain while the pet  is walking, running, or  jumping is mostly associated with arthritic  issues or joint or muscle diseases,  but it can also be a sign of cancer  (especially cancer of the bone).

 

Are Pets A Luxury?

Are Pets a Luxury?

by Nicolas, selected from petMD

Ever marveled at how much more livable your life is now that you’re  lucky  enough to have pets in it? Wondered how you could function without  their  presence? Yet you constantly field annoying comments questioning  how much you  spend on them, right? As if keeping pets was a mere luxury…

Driving to work early Sunday morning I caught a snippet of the American  Public Radio show, On  Being.  Among other ontological tidbits, the guest, celebrated poet and  scholar  Elizabeth Alexander, addressed the following question: Is poetry a  luxury?

Her answer, a thoughtful “no” to the notion of poetry’s ready dispensability  for its elite or cushy connotations, was based primarily  on its permanence as  cultural touchstone through the ages. When did we  not have poetry? This form of  communication is purportedly as old as the  earliest civilizations. Hence, it’s  posited, we must harbor a  quintessentially human need to engage in it.

Which, of course, got me to mulling over much the same with respect to our  pets: Are they a luxury?

Excessive, indulgent, inessential, hedonistic, frilly, sumptuous,   extravagant. Such are the adjectives the word, “luxury” denotes. None  of  which, I’d argue, apply to my own conception of the animals I keep as  pets.  Nor is it likely to jibe with your worldview of petdom — not if  you consume  animal infotainment, like this blog, on a regular basis.

After all, some of us don’t necessarily see animal keeping as a personal   choice. We view animals among us as the result of the millennia old  process of  domestication — a complex, symbiotic relationship that serves  as a significant  measure of our humanity.

Which is perhaps why so many of us feel almost compelled to live  alongside  animals. This, despite the fact that with all our modern  advances we’ve mostly  “aged out” of keeping pets as ratters, hunters,  and defenders (among other  survival-based uses). Because, as the  argument goes, there’s something so  fundamentally co-evolutionary (about  dogs and cats in particular) that we  continue to forge lasting bonds  with them in spite of the less pressing need to  keep them close.

No, pets are decidedly not luxuries — not any more than  anything  else we might consider “essential” to our quality of life that  can also be said  to be a luxury. After all, we humans need no more than  food, water, clothing  and shelter to survive. All else is luxury, by  that standard.

Yet I’m also convinced the same cannot be said for all pet owners (we all know who they are). Nor do I expect everyone to agree that pet keeping can possibly be essential. Pets, they’ll say, are nothing more than a self-indulgent drain on personal resources.

Though, to rebut the naysayers, I might offer the case of the old woman   whose only reason to get out of bed is to feed her cat. I do understand  the  reasoning of those who wonder how far we as a society should go to  shoulder the  expenses not only of our human citizenry, but that of their  animals as  well.

Because if animals are deemed essential, non-luxury goods, our social   services would surely expand to meet the demand for low income pet care. Which  is sort of where we’re headed… for better or worse.

Then there’s the other end of the spectrum within the animal crowd: The   puritanical animal rightists who believe pets are the ultimate luxury, and that  keeping them “enslaved” to humans is no less morally egregious  than wearing  their fur or killing them (in the case of wolves) from  helicopters for  sport.

Moreover, the fact that we can and do subjugate them to our will and  call  them essential to our personal psyches and to our need to thrive is an affront  to their own physical and psychological welfare.

High-volume arguments from both camps aside, it’s clear the case is  thick as  mud. All of which only serves to make me ponder this gem all  the more: If  pets are a luxury, what does that say about veterinary medicine?

Lighten Up – Keeping Summoned Beings as Pets is a Bad Idea

Keeping Summoned Beings as Pets is a Bad Idea

by Faerie K. with thanks to viii on chat for ideas and comments

Why keeping summoned beings as pets is a bad idea…

They may be cute and cuddly when they’re little, but they tend to grow. Fast. To something large.

You can’t flush your overgrown summoned pet down the toilet and no pound will take one. (Trust me on this one.)

Unless you spay or neuter them, they will breed, quickly.

Good luck trying to find a vet that will spay or neuter one…

The feeding costs are astronomical. New Age shops are very expensive. Oh, sorry, I meant “astrological”.

An exotic summoned pet is very difficult to feed. Museums start suspecting your interests in ancient cultures rather quickly.

Getting them used to gourmet food is a bad idea: there aren’t that many virgins around, you see!

Cats sitting on the chest of a sleeping child sucking their life-force out may be a myth. With summoned pets, it isn’t.

No insurance will cover it if your summoned pet bites your guests.

They may even eat your guests while you pop into the kitchen for tea.

When they nibble your toes on Sunday morning, it does NOT feel nice. Besides, you need those toes for proper balance.

Clipping their toenails to save your sofa from being torn into shreds is pretty damn hard.

You think a pet stealing your stuff is bad? Summoned pets steal your stuff and hide it to the astral plane!

Summoned pet dung is difficult to get rid of. They won’t accept it at the toxic waste plant anymore …

Cat’s hairballs are easy to clean away. Try dealing with astral slime puke.

They don’t stay in their cage unless you remember to seal it magickally properly. Every single time.

It also gets a bit tedious to keep that triangle of salt intact in the corner of the living room.

A summoned pet possessing your grandmother is NO fun, I can tell you!

A summoned pet possessing your  stereo system  may be painful.

Having them play with your altar tools is not cute.

Having them play with your Book of Shadows is even less cute.

Smell of sulfur wafting in the apartment tends to deter Jehovah’s Witnesses and other pests, though… But it does make breathing labored in the long run.

Landlords tend to dislike the “things that go bump in the night” routine you have going on in your flat.

Landlords will detest finding out that paying residents in your block are disappearing as if by magick.

On the other hand, the police may become a tad too interested in the very same phenomena.

It’s not fun to have your pet deciding to “hump” your neighbor’s dog in the middle of your daily walk.

It’s practically impossible to find new, caring homes for the resulting Cerberoses, too.

While it may be cute to have a pet that actually does talk back to you, it’s not nice when they start throwing curses.

It may be nice to have a pet that can retrieve your e-mail along with regular post, but it’s NOT fun having them actually posting replies…

Advanced summoned pets may summon pets of their own. That means BIG trouble.

Last but not least: If you’re not quite careful, you may one day wake up realizing that it is in fact YOU who are the pet in this deal.

Lighten Up – Keeping Summoned Beings as Pets is a Bad Idea

Keeping Summoned Beings as Pets is a Bad Idea

by Faerie K.

Why keeping summoned beings as pets is a bad idea…

They may be cute and cuddly when they’re little, but they tend to grow. Fast. To something large.

You can’t flush your overgrown summoned pet down the toilet and no pound will take one. (Trust me on this one.)

Unless you spay or neuter them, they will breed, quickly.

Good luck trying to find a vet that will spay or neuter one…

The feeding costs are astronomical. New Age shops are very expensive. Oh, sorry, I meant “astrological”.

An exotic summoned pet is very difficult to feed. Museums start suspecting your interests in ancient cultures rather quickly.

Getting them used to gourmet food is a bad idea: there aren’t that many virgins around, you see!

Cats sitting on the chest of a sleeping child sucking their life-force out may be a myth. With summoned pets, it isn’t.

No insurance will cover it if your summoned pet bites your guests.

They may even eat your guests while you pop into the kitchen for tea.

When they nibble your toes on Sunday morning, it does NOT feel nice. Besides, you need those toes for proper balance.

Clipping their toenails to save your sofa from being torn into shreds is pretty damn hard.

You think a pet stealing your stuff is bad? Summoned pets steal your stuff and hide it to the astral plane!

Summoned pet dung is difficult to get rid of. They won’t accept it at the toxic waste plant anymore …

Cat’s hairballs are easy to clean away. Try dealing with astral slime puke.

They don’t stay in their cage unless you remember to seal it magickally properly. Every single time.

It also gets a bit tedious to keep that triangle of salt intact in the corner of the living room.

A summoned pet possessing your grandmother is NO fun, I can tell you!

A summoned pet possessing your  stereo system  may be painful.

Having them play with your altar tools is not cute.

Having them play with your Book of Shadows is even less cute.

Smell of sulfur wafting in the apartment tends to deter Jehovah’s Witnesses and other pests, though… But it does make breathing labored in the long run.

Landlords tend to dislike the “things that go bump in the night” routine you have going on in your flat.

Landlords will detest finding out that paying residents in your block are disappearing as if by magick.

On the other hand, the police may become a tad too interested in the very same phenomena.

It’s not fun to have your pet deciding to “hump” your neighbor’s dog in the middle of your daily walk.

It’s practically impossible to find new, caring homes for the resulting Cerberoses, too.

While it may be cute to have a pet that actually does talk back to you, it’s not nice when they start throwing curses.

It may be nice to have a pet that can retrieve your e-mail along with regular post, but it’s NOT fun having them actually posting replies…

Advanced summoned pets may summon pets of their own. That means BIG trouble.

Last but not least: If you’re not quite careful, you may one day wake up realizing that it is in fact YOU who are the pet in this deal.

The Morality of Sacrifice

by Efun Moyiwa

This article can also be found on Efun Moyiwa’s World Wide Web page, OrishaNet (http://www.seanet.com/~efunmoyiwa/welcome.html).

Animal sacrifice is just a small part of the much larger definition of ebó (sacrifice or offering) in the Santería religion. There are many categories of ebó. There are offerings such as addimú, which can include candles, fruits, candy or any number of items or actions that may be appreciated by the deities or orishas in the religion. In divination, the orishas may ask for a favorite fruit or dish, or they may call for the person to heed advice given. At times, they may ask that a person give up drinking or other practices that are unwise for that individual. They may request a person to wear certain jewelry, receive initiations or any number of other things. Or they may request an animal, usually a chicken or a dove, so the orisha will come to that person’s aid. As a rule, animal sacrifice is called for only in major situations such as sickness or serious misfortune. Animals are also offered when a new priest is consecrated in service of her or his orisha during the birthing process of initiation. In every birth, there is blood.

In our modern society, we have become separated from the concept of death. Even our dead are embalmed and made up to appear living. When we purchase meat to eat or leather to wear, it is preprocessed to remove the shopper from the fact that a life was taken in order that another may live. Meat is wrapped in plastic with a little paper towel to soak up any blood that might remind the buyer of the fact of the animal’s death. The buyer is also kept unaware of the circumstances surrounding the poor animal’s life and, of course, its death. When animals are killed in the slaughterhouse, there is little respect or regard for that animal, the only matter of importance being that the animals are killed cheaply and in great quantity to supply an ever-growing market. In other words, these animals too are sacrificed, though the only deity revered here is greed. We should also take into account that the poultry industry alone kills more animals in one day than Santería has sacrificed worldwide in the last several hundred years!

On the other hand, when an animal is sacrificed in La Regla Lucumí it is first and foremost done with respect: respect for the orisha being offered this life and respect for the little bird whose life is taken in order that we may live better. The animal must be well-cared-for, because it is the property of the orisha. In fact, sometimes the orisha will state that the animal must not die but live with the person, and the orisha expects that animal to be well-cared-for and pampered as theirs.

At the beginning of the sacrifice, when the animal is brought forward, there is a song and action that we perform in acknowledgment that one day our lives will be taken suddenly in much the same way as the animal’s. In this way, our religion differs little from the beliefs of the Native Americans. Here there is a respect for all life, and a respect for the death that must come to all, including ourselves.

Afterwards, if the animal wasn’t used to cleanse a person of illness or misfortune, it is eaten by all the participants. If, on the other hand, it was used for a cleansing, the animal is taken to the place requested by the orisha to complete the offering. These animals cannot be eaten, as we would be eating the sickness or misfortune that was removed from that person.

Whether the ebó is a simple apple or a little chicken, it should always be offered with both hands and an open heart.

Vets Share Worst Things Their Pet Patients Ate

Vets Share Worst Things Their Pet Patients Ate

  • Nicolas, selected from petMD

Every year Veterinary Practice News holds a contest called “They Ate What?” in which veterinarians and clinic staff send in X-rays and case descriptions of the craziest things their patients have swallowed. The contest is a fun way to share offbeat incidents from the trenches of veterinary practice, but the stories do serve as a reminder that our pets need to be protected from the consequences of their dietary indiscretions. Here are a few highlights from the 2011 “They Ate What?” contest. Click through for the runners up and grand prize winner.

Honorable Mentions:

Melissa Seavey, Healthy Paws Veterinary Center, Westborough, MA

Ten baby bottle nipples were removed from the stomach of a 4-month-old golden retriever.

Stephen Crosby, CVT, VTS, New Haven Central Hospital for Veterinary Medicine, New Haven, CT

An owner was feeding peanut butter off a spoon to her Alaskan malamute, who managed to gulp down the treat while it was still attached to the spoon. X-rays showed that the dog had previously also eaten a piece of a collar and a toy.

Caitlin Fickett, Alaska Veterinary Clinic, Anchorage, AK

A dog came in for vomiting and eating grass. X-rays revealed a foreign body in the stomach. The next morning, an additional X-ray better showed the object — a hard plastic dinosaur.

Patti Klein Manke, DVM, Woodstock Veterinary Clinic, Woodstock, NY

Prince Edward, a 9-year-old bulldog, ate his owner’s false teeth after finding them in a bowl of ice cream. The teeth were returned to the owner. (Hopefully they were cleaned well before being put back into duty!)

 

Runners Up:

Lisa Anne Attanasi, DVM, Eaglewood Cliffs Veterinary, Eaglewood Cliffs, NJ

Wailen, a 12-year-old beagle, presumably was brought into the clinic with symptoms of gastrointestinal distress. His veterinarian ordered abdominal X-rays, which revealed a hodgepodge of foreign “stuff” in his stomach. During surgery, the doctor removed shoe laces, mulch, a knee high stocking, a plastic plant, plastic ties, and the bristles of a car snow-cleaning brush.

Jenny Yanson, practice manager, Suburbia North Animal Hospital

Tinkerbell, a 6-month-old bulldog, ate a metal slip collar, became ill, and was brought into her veterinarian’s office. X-rays revealed that this was not her first offense. Two slip collars were surgically removed from her stomach.

 

Grand Prize Winner:

Vanessa Hawksin, DVM, Bayshore Animal Hospital, Warrenton, OR

A dog came into the clinic because of hind leg lameness. The doctor ordered radiographs to look for musculoskeletal abnormalities, and found nine handballs in the dog’s stomach instead. (I assume these were unrelated to the dog’s lameness.)

****

Does Your Pet Know When You’re Sick?

Does Your Pet Know When You’re Sick?

  • Melissa Breyer

An acquaintance of mine recently posted a picture on Facebook of his son, suffering from strep throat, and Happy the cat curled luxuriously around the boy’s neck. I could practically feel the warmth, weight, and goodness of Happy’s body as we joked about the Happy cat cure.

It was an exceedingly cute picture, for sure, but it got me thinking about my old kitty, Serena, and what seemed an infallible instinct for illness or general blues. The minute anyone plopped on the bed with pain or malaise, Serena would be there, hop upon the chest, and assume ‘the position’…a long straight-out stretch punctuated with her legs and paws wrapped around said sufferer’s neck. I’m not sure if she ever cured my strep throat, but she certainly melted away sorrow like there was no tomorrow. I really can’t say for certain whether or not she had some instinctual sense, or if this was a usual cuddling configuration that I only noticed when I was not 100 percent.

I have heard of dogs being able to detect cancer, but what do you think? Are our pets so in tune with us that they can tell when we are not well? And if so, do they act on it? I think there’s something to it. Share your thoughts in the comments.