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Pets rejoice! A recent survey shows that many pet parents are making New Year’s resolutions to spend more time with their pets and make sure they are loved even more than they were last year.
More than 1,000 pet parents, including hundreds of Kibblers, recently participated in the Halo, Purely for Pets Pet Parents’ New Year’s Resolution Survey.
According to the survey, many pet parents want to do a better job grooming their pets, with 68.1 percent resolving to trim their pets’ nails more often, 52.6 percent planning to give their dogs and cats more baths, and more than 80 percent committing to more frequent brushings. A little more than 35 percent plan to give their pets supplements to help their coat and skin. Finally, the pets may not like this, but a full 50 percent of pet owners plan to brush their pets’ teeth more often.
Interestingly, nearly 46 percent of respondents plan to help their pets lose weight. Considering that recent studies show that more than 50 percent of dogs and cats are overweight, this awareness and recognition among pet owners is encouraging in the battle against pet obesity.
The majority (68.7 percent) of respondents with overweight pets plan to help their pets drop pounds by increasing exercise and 44 percent are going to feed their pets better quality food. A little more than 35 percent are going to reduce the amount of food their pets eat.
An overwhelming number (94.1 percent) of those surveyed plan to help pets in need this year, with nearly 70 percent saying they will donate to a rescue or shelter. Other ways respondents say they’ll help pets in need include fostering (11.9 percent), adopting another pet (11.5 percent) and playing freekibble.com or freekibblekat.com to earn Halo Spot’s Stew donations for shelters (45.5 percent).
Survey respondents were invited to share additional resolutions. Among our favorites:
“Get an RV so we don’t have to leave them for vacation.”
“Train my cat to be a therapy animal.”
“More car and wagon rides.”
“To keep his wellness vet visits.”
“Attempt to walk my cats using a harness.”
“Not to shoo my cats away when I’m watching Ellen.”
“Take them to the beach.”
“Hand make toys and cushions for them.”
“Make sure he drinks more water.”
“Build new cat trees.”
“Train my dog to ride to the dog park in his Harley side car.”
Looks like it’s going to be a great 2012 for the pets!
By Caroline Golon – Kibbler
Pet parents of dogs and cats can relax for now, say ASPCA veterinarians. While the 2009 H1N1 virus—a faster moving and possibly more debilitating strain of influenza than the typical seasonal flu—has become an international concern, the virus, referred to as swine flu when first identified, appears to present little risk of infecting dogs and cats. However, viruses can mutate quickly and taking important preventative measures remains essential.
“Many species can become infected with influenza viruses, but the current 2009 H1N1 virus, which is a mixture of genetic material from different species, has not been identified in animal populations in the United States to date,” says Dr. Miranda Spindel, Director of ASPCA Veterinary Outreach. “These viruses are notoriously unpredictable, though, and it is important that we remain vigilant.”
In terms of other animals who are susceptible, Dr. Spindel warns that influenza or flu viruses are occasionally transmitted from people to pigs, and the 2009 H1N1 virus has also been identified in turkeys. Pet parents of Vietnamese Potbellies, African Pygmies and other pet pigs should monitor their animals’ health closely, notify their veterinarian of any signs of illness and speak to their veterinarian about influenza type A vaccines. And ferrets are susceptible to most human flu viruses, so pet parents should take extra care to prevent exposure of pet ferrets to people or other ferrets with flu symptoms.
Meanwhile, flu season is upon us and pet parents should take common-sense preventative measures to keep their dogs and cats healthy:
- If your dog is exhibiting flu-like symptoms, including coughing, nasal discharge or fever (normal dog and cat temperature is 101 to 102.5 degrees), play it safe and avoid taking him to places like dog parks, where he can pass on germs or come into contact with unvaccinated or sick dogs.
- Avoid letting your cat roam freely outside.
- If your dog comes into frequent contact with other dogs or is kept in a kennel, the ASPCA recommends that you discuss with your veterinarian whether vaccination against canine influenza may be appropriate. Note: canine influenza and H1N1 are not the same virus.
- Talk to your vet about what flu vaccines are currently available, and be sure all your pets get vaccinated!
- Don’t let your pet share water bowls, food dishes or toys with other animals.
- Make sure your pet is eating, drinking and playing as he normally does each day. If you notice your pet behaving unusually, or if he has flu-like symptoms, check in with your veterinarian immediately.
Do you Twitter? Use this hashtag to tweet on this article: @aspca and #PetsandSwineFlu
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Posted: Just One More Pet
Pedro and Princesa, a pair of very well-dressed Chihuahuas, scampered into Unleashed Indoor Dog Park like a couple late for the party.
After all, it was Mother’s Day, and Princesa and Pedro were here to celebrate with their “mom,” Betty Orellana.
Pedro, one handsome little dude, was decked out in a bright print shirt, khakis, tinted shades and the tiniest sandals imaginable – until you saw the shoes on Princesa, who accented her look with a sparkly frock that exactly matched mom’s vivid green blouse.
The oohs and ahhs followed in their wake – “Look, look!” and “Aww, how cute!” in several variations – and Orellana doted on her kids like any proud momma.
“Their father passed away about a year ago in a motorcycle accident,” said Orellana, of Mesquite, “and we didn’t get to have kids.
“Pedro and Princesa are my children. They’re the only kids I have.”
So she decided to go out with the kids, to a party with other moms and their “fur babies” to be treated and pampered and, for once, to feel they weren’t left out on Mother’s Day.
“It’s wonderful!” Orellana said. “When one of the ladies here told me they were having a special Mother’s Day, I couldn’t believe it!”
Kelly Acree, an owner and co-founder of Unleashed in Far East Dallas, said that when she and her partners assembled a business plan for the indoor dog park – the first of what they hope will be many – they noticed an interesting demographic development.
“We saw that young people weren’t getting married as early as they used to, and that a lot of single guys and girls have a pet as a ‘child,’ ” Acree said. “There’s a real trend in society – more humanization of pets. It used to be they spent their time out in the yard. Now they sleep in the bed with you.”
And the pets help meet basic human needs of love and companionship for people who often have no one else.
Call it puppy love.
“I don’t know what I would have done without Pedro when my husband died,” Orellana said. “He sure filled a void when I lost the man I loved.”
Across the room, new arrival Carrie Johnson of Dallas took in the scene – lots and lots of women and men and a whole bunch of dogs romping and wagging and having a great time.
The grown-ups carried gift bags and sipped wine and nibbled candy or cakes, or maybe enjoyed the ministrations of a masseuse. And the dogs were busy being dogs.
“This is so cool,” Johnson said, leading in Sebastian, a little fluff ball of a Shi-Tzu.
“Mother’s Day can be hard when don’t have children. You feel like it isn’t a day for you.
“But this is a day for all of us.
By: MICHAEL E.YOUNG / The Dallas Morning News
Reverse sneezing: Mechanosensitive Aspiration Reflex or Paroxysmal Respiration isn’t a sneeze at all and isn’t an illness, but it is a condition that small dog owners should be aware of.
If you have ever been startled by your dog or cat exhibiting snorting, honking and gasping noises you have probably experienced reverse sneezing. It makes you feel helpless while you watch your canine or feline friend appear to be struggling to breathe, but although alarming, especially to a first time pet owner, it appears and sounds much worse than it is.
There is no reason to panic. Reverse sneezing is not a serious condition andgenerally poses no threat to a dog or cat”s health or longevity. They are not having a seizure, and it also actually has nothing to do with sneezing, but is a spasm caused by an irritation of the soft palate. The soft palate is a soft, fleshy tissue extension off the hard palate, or roof of the mouth. Small dogs in particular can exhibit this behavior and certain breeds may be predisposed to it. It has sent many a distraught owner to the vet in panic.
Reverse Sneeze Videos:
Some animals can have this condition for their entire lives, or it may develop as the dog ages. During the spasm, the pet will usually turn their elbows outward and extend their neck while gasping inwards with a distinctive snorting sound. Gently massaging the throat area or pinching their nostrils shut so they must breath through their mouth can help shorten the episode. Sometimes taking the pet outside in the fresh air stops the spasm. Once the attack ceases, all goes back to normal.
(Another technique sometimes used to stop a bout of canine reverse sneezing by behavior specialist Sarah Wilson is to try to get the dog to swallow, touching the back of the tongue if that is safe. Sounds like it would work with a cat as well.)
It is thought that the pharyngeal spasm can be caused by a number of irritants, including dust and pollen, or household chemicals. Moreover, some dogs can launch an episode after eating, drinking or running around, becoming anxious or excited or while pulling on the leash.
If your pet (more dogs than cats suffer from it) experiences this behavior fairly frequently and the episodes are severe, a trip to the vet is in order to determine other possible causes, which can include viral infections, polyps, excessive soft palate tissue, and nasal mites. However, many cases of reverse sneezing appear to have no identifiable cause.
A small Chihuahua Beagle mix, Cela, was extremely prone to severe middle-of-the-night reverse sneezing episodes when she first came to her terrified then-foster mom (now adoptive mom) sending them both to the vet in alarm. The vet anesthetized Cela and explored the little dog’s sinus cavities as best she could to see if anything was embedded in her sinus passages. Nothing was found, and after a short course of anti-inflammatory drugs and antibiotics, Cela recovered completely.
In hindsight, it seems quite likely that the time of year, autumn, with its accompanying proliferation of allergens, combined with the stress of being in a new household, may have contributed to Cela’s pronounced reverse sneezing. Since the initial episodes subsided, the little dog has had only one or two minor incidences.
Reverse sneezing appears a lot worse than it is, generally posing no health threats whatsoever. Typically, an episode of reverse sneezing will end soon on its own. Nevertheless, understanding and recognizing the syndrome can go a long way toward helping pet owners and their dogs or cats cope with it. Reverse sneezing should not be confused with Collapsed Trachea, a congenital condition characterized by a frequent cough, a honking rather than a snorting sound, and shortness of breath.
Tracheal collapse is a progressive, chronic, debilitating disease occurring primarily in middle-aged toy-breed dogs. Pomeranians, Poodles, Yorkshire Terriers, and Chihuahuas are most commonly affected. The clinical signs of tracheal collapse are a chronic nonproductive cough, exercise intolerance, and varying degrees of dyspnea. The cough often resembles a “honking-sound.” Clinical signs are exacerbated by excitement or anxiety and may proceed to collapse and syncope. The dorsal membrane and cartilage rings are both involved in the degenerative process. The rings become hypoplastic or fibrodystrophic and cannot maintain the normal C-shaped configuration.
Dogs or cats suffering from a reverse sneeze may stand up, extend their neck, make snorting or honking noises, open their mouth, and appear distressed and frightened. Reverse sneezing is triggered by an irritant or activity that initiates the reflex. For some pets this can occur when they are excited, exercising or eating and drinking too fast. The pressure of a collar on the trachea during leash walking also can set off spasms. And reverse sneezing can be associated with allergies, viruses, pollen, foreign bodies, postnasal drip, perfumes, chemical odors, tumors or infections.
Another common cause of reverse sneezing in dogs is the nasal mite Pneumonyssoides caninum. These small mites live in the nasopharynx of dogs and are a source of constant irritation. The mites are extremely small and difficult to visualize, but easy to treat with routine anti-parasitic dewormers.
Brachycephalic animals, those with short noses, are more prone to reverse sneezing. Reverse sneezing closely resembles asthma, a common cause of respiratory distress in cats. Asthma can be life-threatening and should be ruled out in cats with respiratory signs.
For many dogs and cats reverse sneezing is a one-time or occasional episode that does not require any treatment. But if the problem repeats itself and becomes a ‘chronic condition’, treatment may be necessary. The first step to treating the spasms is to identify the underlying cause. Antihistamines work well for allergic reactions, while the removal of offensive odors and chemicals will help those animals with sensitivities. If the pet has a nasal discharge or airflow through the nostrils is reduced, then other measures will need to be taken.
Rhinoscopy is the diagnostic tool of choice when examining the nasopharynx. Foreign bodies, nasal tumors or fungal infections can be diagnosed with plain film X-rays of the head. For severe cases surgery is available.