Sunday, November 25, 2012

Advice for Pregnant Dogs About to Have Puppies

Question:  Hi, I am tired of carrying these puppies in my belly, I do not have much energy, when will my puppies be born?
Signed Expectant Mom

Dear Expectant
Hopefully your owner has kept track of when you were bred and knows your due date. Dogs are pregnant for 57 to 65 days, with puppies often being born around 63 days along. If your owner did not know when you were bred they may have taken you to a vet to get a better idea of when your pups will be born. Your owner should have started to feed you puppy food around day 45 and prepared a whelping room with whelping box for you long before your due date.

To know more about when your pups are due your owner might be taking your temperature on a regular basis. They should know your normal temperature, which is often 100 to 102.5 F or 38 to 39 C. When your temperature drops to 97-99 F or 36 to 37 C it means your pups should be born within 24 hours.

Pregnant dogs often not feel like eating on the day the pups are going to be born, or maybe even the day before, and you will probably start to be drawn to the whelping box where you may have a “nesting” behavior, circling and preparing the area. 

Your owner should be keeping a close eye on you, possibly even take time off work around your due date. Your owner should not let you go more than three days past your due date without calling your veterinarian, and should keep your vet's phone number handy at all times.

Question:  Hello, I am a very pregnant dog, at first I did not know what was going on, today I think is the day I am going to have my pups, what can I expect?
Signed Too Excited to Give Birth

Dear Excited
Labor in dogs is a three stage process. In the first stage your temperature drops (as mentioned above) you will probably be restless and may even vomit. 

In the second stage you may shiver or pant. You will feel contractions and may think you need to go outside to go to the bathroom.

Your “water” will break and your contractions will be stronger. Within a short time your pups will be born, one at a time. Your owner should not help but should supervise (sometimes people want to help but pull at the wrong time). Pups are normally presented with one paw just ahead of the other (to keep the shoulders narrow) and the head resting on top. Sometimes they are presented backwards, with the two hind paws. This is okay, but any other delivery presentation is a problem.

Your owner should have your veterinarian's phone number handy in case of whelping problems but in most cases birthing of pups goes smoothly.

Pups are usually born within 2 hours of each other. If your owner knows how many pups you are expecting (an earlier vet exam would have determined this) and more than four hours pass without other pups born and you are expecting more – they need to call the veterinarian. If a dog is having contractions and trying to push a puppy out, for more than 2 hours, with no puppy being born, your owner needs to call the vet immediately.

After the pups are born their placentas will come out, this is actually your “third stage” but sometimes placentas come out between pups. Some dogs will eat their placentas but owners should try to count to make sure all came out.

Hopefully all things will go well for you and your pups.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Shopping Advice for Pets

Hello, I am a wonderful cat but my owner is just so cheap and lazy (he never wants to go shopping), where can my owner get good prices on pet supplies so I can get more toys, more cat nip, a bigger cat tower, and an nice warm cat bed?
Signed, Scrooge's Cat

Dear Scrooge's Cat
Your owner can find good deals online. Online shopping is very popular for people who are busy or who just do not want to go out. Often times the prices online are lower than in stores because some companies do not have store locations, so they do not as much overhead.
Most online companies have sale sections, and sometimes you can even get free shipping - which saves the cost of gas and time, I am sure your owner is concerned about saving both!
There are many companies that offer excellent discounts too – even more than their regularly low prices. Your owner can take advantage of discounts and deals offered by online companies.

Hello, I am an older dog, but I am pleased to announce we have a new addition to the family, my owners are have adopted a young puppy. The problem is that they were not really aware of how many toys and things a puppy needs and he is chewing so much that they do not know what to do.  He has even chewed their shoes.  They want to get him more chew toys, but we do not have a good pet supply store near us.  What can they do to help this puppy?
Signed, A Big Brother

Dear Big Brother
Congratulations are in order for your owners adopting another dog, I am sure you two will get along just fine.  Perhaps you remember your days as a puppy too.  Puppies chew a lot.  Some breeds chew more than others but also when teething all pups want to chew.  A puppy who does not have enough toys will chew anything he, or she, can get their mouth on.  

Your owners should consider getting several chew things of different textures, soft chew things, medium chew things, and hard chew things such as KONGS and Nylabones.  They might also want some edible chew things too.  I suggest saying away from rawhide, but bully sticks might be okay (just not too much if the pup is under 3 months or he can get an upset tummy).   There are actually quite a few healthy chew things for pups that they may want to consider.  

Your owners also might want to consider getting a crate for when they cannot watch the pup, or even a puppy exercise pen.

Your owners can find all your new little brother's toys and chew things at Pet Super Store.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Help for Dogs with Training Problems

Question:  I am a border collie, my owner is mad at me, he calls me stupid, and is threatening to get rid of me unless I learn what ever it is he is trying to teach me, however I really do not know what he wants from me.  I like it here and do not want to go to the animal shelter or a strange home, can you help me to learn?
Signed, Confused and Stupid

Dear Confused
As you are a border collie you are very intelligent.  Border collies are one of the easiest dogs to train IF the owner is consistent.  Sadly a lot of people only think they know how to train a dog and make many mistakes, often sending conflicting messages to their dog.

In other words it is probably your owners fault that you cannot learn what ever it is he is trying to train you to do.  Your owner would benefit from taking you to proper obedience lessons where your owner will learn how to train you correctly - and should practice at home too.  Consistency is the key, and your owner should try to find an obedience school that focuses on positive reinforcement (often known as clicker training).  I am sure you will learn all kinds of things in no time - and your owner will learn some things too!

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Question:  I keep running away from home.  I just do not understand where my boundaries are and where I am suppose to be and where I cannot go?  How can I learn my yard boundaries?
Signed, Runner

Dear Runner

Some dog breeds just love to run and explore and have a hard time knowing their limits.  A fenced yard is best, or even a dog run, but if your owner has neither they might want to look into getting you an in-ground fence system.  Some owners chain their dogs but this is never a good idea (read here to learn why) and is actually not allowed in some cities.

There are many good in-ground systems for keeping dogs like you in their yards.  One is the Innotek SD 2000 Basic In-ground Pet Fence.  This system can work for yards up to 5 acres in space (which will require one system and 3 boundary kits), but one system is enough for up to half an acre of space. This system is available from Pet-Super-Store. Have your owner click above to get deals and discounts.

This system is good but with all in-ground fencing systems (also known as invisible fences) training is also important.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Advice For Dogs About Toys and Natural Foods

Question: I am an active dog, I love to carry things around, play fetch, and play tug of war, but my owner is having a hard time finding a good toy that I would like, what can you recommend?
Signed Rolly the Dog

Dear Rolly
Rope toys are very popular for dogs who love to carry toys around or play tug of war, and they work okay for playing fetch but an even better toy for this is the Shifting Gears 2 Ball Toss & Tug Toy. This toy is environmentally friendly too. The Shifting Gears 2 Ball Toss & Tug Toy is made from reclaimed and repurposed materials such as tennis balls and climbing rope, keeping those things out of the landfill. These fantastic dog toys are made in the USA.  Click on the picture to learn more (or have your owner do so).

This toy is a better dog toy than a standard rope toy or tennis ball. By having a ball at each end it works well as a tug toy but is great as a fetch toy when your owner throws it. This dog toy has my full recommendation and is available from Only Natural Pet Store. I am sure you can convince your owner to spend more than $69.00 so they qualify for free shipping on most items.

Question: I am a easy going dog but my owner is all uptight about things being natural, I am really not sure why she cares so much, but it is annoying she changed my dog food to natural food and changed my treats to natural treats. Some of these are more expensive than the food and treats I was on, so is it worth it?
Signed Naturalized Dog

Dear Naturalized Dog
Your owner is very right to be concerned about buying natural dog food and natural dog treats. Some of the chemicals and chemical preservatives used in low priced food and treats are not really good for you. In some cases these chemicals, such as BHT, BHA, and Ethoxyquin (which is in by-products) have been linked to health concerns including cancer. I realize you are an easy going dog but is that worth the risk?

Some of the low priced dog foods are low priced because they lack quality ingredients. Also your owner may find that you have to eat a lot of the low priced dog food just to stay feeling full, but with a better dog food you will eat less, poop less, and hopefully have fewer health problems. I would certainly have to say that switching to all natural dog food and natural dog treats (or holistic products) is most certainly worth it, in fact it may even cost less in the long run!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Advice for Indoor Only Cats?

Question:  Hi, I am a sweet little kitten, sometimes I look outside and see other cats playing and cannot wait to get out there myself, when will my new owner will let me go outside to play?
From Anxious Kitten

Dear Anxious Kitten
Do not be surprised if your new owner decides to keep you indoors a little longer, or if they decide to keep you indoors for the rest of your life.  Many new cat owners ask "When can my kitten go outside?"  and learn that their new kitten should not go outside until it is fully vaccinated and spayed or neutered.  Kittens who are not spayed have many risks, cat sexually transmitted diseases are common and pregnancy in a kitten (if you are female you might go into heat as early as 5 months of age) is very dangerous - cats in heat should never go outside.  You should have also been kept indoors for at least a month so you are familiar with your home. 

New kitten owners are usually told not to let their kitten outside, there are lots of risks to kittens who go outside, including bigger cats, eagles, foxes, traffic, and neighbors who hate cats.  I know the outside looks fun, but it can be a dangerous place for a little kitten.

Question:  I am a big cat, big because I am getting fatter everyday. I like being indoors but have nothing to do except eat.  What can I do to keep thin and trim as an indoor only cat?
From Fat Kitty

Dear Fat Kitty
Do be aware that your size might not be related to being indoors, some outside cats are fat too, in fact obesity is a common problem in cats and is often related to being fed a poor quality food (one with very little meat and lots of filler and fat to add flavor). You might need to be put on a kitty diet.

Of course your weight could be due to lack of exercise as you said you do not really do much other than eat.  This is your owner's fault.  They should try to give you more cat toys and spend more time playing with you to keep you active.  Cats like toys they have not seen for a while so your owner should have a lot of toys but should keep some hidden from you and switch them around regularly.  Your owner can even move your cat furniture around too and should try to engage you in playing more often.

There are many ways to keep an indoor only cat happy and healthy.

Question:  Hello, cats are suppose to be outdoors right, so why does my stupid owner keep me inside all the time?
From Frustrated Cat

Dear Frustrated Cat
Cats were domesticated thousands of years ago, nobody wrote any rules up saying they had to be outside.  In most areas domestic cats are healthier, and safer, if kept indoors only.  Some people hate cats and have found ways to hurt them if the cat comes into their yard.  There are risks of diseases from other cats (even if you are vaccinated) as well as fights.  Plus many cats who go outside become lost, or are stolen.  Many cities actually have laws saying that cats must be kept on their owners property, but problems occur because cats do not follow rules too well.  Sadly when they stray some cats end up in shelters and if not adopted they are euthanized.  Cats are often hit and killed by cars, even if they have gone outside and crossed the road safely hundreds of times before.

Maybe your owner is not so stupid after all, maybe they are keeping you indoors because they love you.

If you can manage to convince your owner to let you outside they would be best to build you a catio or cat enclosure first so that you can remain safely enclosed.  Or they can train you to walk on a leash and as such can take you out safely.