Pet Care during Cold Weather

Pet Care during Cold WeatherAs we find ourselves closing to winter, it’s important to pay particular attention to our pets when they’re outside. When temperatures get into the twenties and below, with whipping winds, pets can suffer serious health problems. Besides not leaving your dog, cat or other animal outside for too long, there are several other precautionary measures you can take to care for your loving pet.

I generally don’t favor going nuts over buying every trinket imaginable for my pets, but there are a few that make a lot of sense when it’s cold and windy out. For dogs and horses, it’s a good idea to purchase a coat. This provides warmth as well as protection from the snow and rain. It attaches via one Velcro strap that goes from one side to the other side of the dog around his or her belly.

As for cats, they don’t often take kindly to coats, but do your best to keep them inside during winter storms. They can easily get disoriented under very bad conditions. I’d rather have more litter box duty to handle, than find myself driving around the neighborhood trying to track down a cold, wet cat!

Some people actively use boots or shoes for their cats and dogs. For the most part, this is only necessary for animals that have very sensitive paws. These booties slide on the animal’s feet and keep them warm and dry. As you can imagine, going to this extreme isn’t necessary for most animals, just don’t leave them outside for very long, use a coat and try to keep them off heavily salted streets – which can badly sting paws.

Lastly, I wanted to provide a few quick comments about fish and bird care. You may think that since your fish and birds are always in the house, you don’t need to take any precautions when it’s very cold – not true. Despite keeping the heat level in your house at the usual level, cold weather outside may create colder temperatures inside.

Make sure your fish tank water is at the normal temperature, and hasn’t fallen due to the cold. If you have a pet bird, make sure he or she is out of any draft and is nice and warm – especially at night. Extended periods of cold temperatures for pet birds can be fatal. You probably do this already, but put an extra warm towel or sheet over the bird cage when it’s particularly cold.

If you follow these few basic tips, you are more likely to have happy, healthy pets amidst the winter time cold!

Some Pets Will Eat Grass For Their Health

Cat Eating GrassMany pet owners, especially the new one are wonder and concerned when their dogs or cats which are carnivorous is eating grass, then throws up afterwards. You need to know and understand that these animals are eating grass because their bodies need it.

Dogs, cats and other carnivorous mammals such as bears and lions have been eating grass for a long time. In fact, grass is so popular among dogs that one species, dog grass, is named after them. Dog grass is also known as couch grass and quackweed, and it grows in all but the southern-most states.

You can think of grass as an herbal medicine. It acts as an internal cleanser, expelling excess mucus, bile, and other impurities. It also cleanses the bowels and expels worms. Cereal grasses contain enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Grass also contains chlorophyll, which was used for relieving pain, treating infections, ulcers, skin diseases, and anemia prior to the use of antibiotics.

Some pet owners grow grass specifically to give to their pets to prevent or treat diarrhea, anemia, cataracts, fleas, tumors excessive shedding, and other pet health problems. Pets that are fed grass on a regular basis are less likely to crave outdoor grass. So, if you don’t feel comfortable with your pet eating the grass in your lawn, you may want to grow your own grass for them to eat.

Try growing rye or barley sprouts. These sprouts are preferred over wheat grass because some animals are sensitive to wheat.

Follow these instructions to grow rye or barley grass. Soak one cup organically grown grain in one quart water for 8 to 10 hours. Then drain the container and leave it on its side in a warm place, away from direct sunlight. A tiny white rootlet will sprout from each grain within 24 to 48 hours. Caution: If you don’t see these rootlets, your grain isn’t viable and should be thrown away.

Next, spread the sprouting grain on one inch of moist potting soil or top soil in a plastic garden tray. For drainage create a one inch channel around the soil.

For two days, cover the tray. Then uncover it, and water thoroughly. Place the tray in direct sunlight or under grow lights. Keep the soil moist by watering when needed.

When the grass is 6-8″ tall, cut it with scissors or a sharp knife. Place grasses in a ziploc bag, along with a damp paper towel. Be sure to expel air from the bag before sealing. Then store the grass in the refrigerator.

When feeding the grass to your pet, cut or mince it into tiny pieces, or place a small amount in a blender or food processor with other foods. To be sure your cat or dog will accept the grass, begin feeding just a fraction of a teaspoon. Increase the amount gradually to approximately one tablespoon per 50 lbs. of body weight.

Once your pet is given the amount of grass his body needs, you probably won’t be seeing him eating the grass in your lawn. And you can feel relieved knowing that you’re feeding him something that he craves and that his body needs.

What You Must Know About Cat Foods

What You Must Know About Cat FoodsWhat should you feed your cat to make sure he or she will have the necessary nutrition? What is the ideal mix of food to help your cat live to the limit of its life span?

To answer these questions, one should look at the diet of a feline in its natural habitat. In the wild, a cat eats almost exclusively animal tissue. However, they would normally eat the entire body of the animal, including its stomach contents, which has many nutrients that are simply lacking in an animal’s muscle tissue.

Another question some cat owners have is: Is fresh meat the best possible food for cats? Not necessarily. Fresh meat will not provide a balanced diet for a cat, as they are extremely protein dense while being very low in vital nutrients such as calcium.

Conversely, some cat owners have asked, “Is it alright to feed my cat a completely vegetarian diet?” The answer to that question is definitely a big NO. Cats cannot produce the nutrients it needs from an exclusively vegetarian diet in the same way that humans can.

Being a very specialized hunter, it has actually lost that ability during the course of its evolution. Certain skin problems are sometimes the result of a deficiency in certain essential fatty acids which can be found in animal flesh alone.

Another problem is that a deficiency of the amino acid taurine, a major building block for proteins of the body, which can cause both blindness and heart failure. Cats are simply born carnivores.

Is it o.k. to give a cat only dry food? The answer is yes, however you must ensure that fresh water is available at all times.

Dry food is generally more convenient, hygienic, and affordable than canned or fresh food. It also exercises the teeth and reduces the buildup of tartar, which can grow into a severe problem in cats that are fed a soft and mushy diet.

Basic Tips for Dog Grooming

Basic Tips for Dog GroomingIs your dog due for a makeover? Has she been enjoying the great outdoors a little too much? Grooming your dog is not only for the purpose of improving your dog appearance, but also improve their health especially against thick and fleas. Here are some simple tips for helping your dog put her best paw forward.

Brushing the dog hair

Brush your dog regularly. Daily is best. Be sure to also brush against hair growth direction to check for fleas and ticks.

The right tools. For short-haired dogs, most groomers recommend stainless-steel combs because they slide through coats very easily. For medium to long haired dogs start with a slicker brush and then follow with a stainless steel comb. In hot months consider investing in a flea comb to make sure your dog has not become a flea hotel. To make your dog’s coat really shine, finish with a soft bristle brush.

If your dog hates being brushed it sometimes helps to brush after play time. Start by brushing in the hair growth direction. When you are finished, reward your dog with a treat. Each day brush your dog a little longer. And if you are lucky, your dog may even begin to like being brushed.

Bathe the dog

Brush your dog from head to toe making sure all mats are gone. For small dogs a sink works great. For medium to large dogs, a tub or shower works best. Use only warm water and a good shampoo made for dogs. People shampoo is too harsh and can irritate your dog’s skin. Most groomers recommend working from the back end forward, lathering the head last.

Rinse, rinse, and rinse again to make sure you have removed all shampoo.

Short-haired dogs dry quickly and only need to be dried off with a towel. If your dog has long hair, you may need to brush him while he’s trying to avoid tangles.

And for the finale, you should finish by giving your dog a treat to encourage and train your dog for the next bath session. Then celebrate! You and your dog survived the bath, and you have a clean dog.