Saturday, 11 July 2009

Dogs and Puppies


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Cats and Kittens

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Your Cat's Health


Cats need only be provided with decent shelter, food and water
and they will be quite healthy most of the time. Like any other
living thing, however, they can get sick and can come down with
anything from a minor cold to a major ailment.
As a responsible pet owner, you want to make sure you feed your
cat premium cat food so he can be his healthiest and also watch
your cat closely for signs of sickness so that you can get him
to a vet right away. Hopefully most ailments will be minor, but
in some cases getting your cat expedient veterinary help can be
the difference between life and death.


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Some things to look for include:

Your cats coat - is it full and shiny or dull and patchy? Is he
shedding abnormally? If so get your cat scheduled for a vet
visit.

Behavior - is your cat acting sluggish and not eating? Any
change in behavior warrants a trip to the vet as it is better
to be safe then sorry!

Diarrhea or vomiting - If your cat is doing either of these for
more than a day, I would get him to the vet as soon as you can.

Coughing - Some cats routinely cough up hairballs, but if your
cat is coughing for no reason then you should have this checked
out.


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Swelling or lumps - when you pet your cat, take the time to
feel around for any unusual lumps or swelling.

To insure that your cat doesn't fall victim to disease, you
should make sure he has all of his vaccinations as recommended
by your vetrenarian. The most devastating but easiest to
prevent disease that affects cats is infectious enteritis, or
feline distemper. This is a virus disease that strikes quickly
and leaves little time to enact treatment.


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Feline Leukemia or FeLV is another deadly disease that can be
prevented through early vaccinations. This disease poses no
threat to humans but can be spread between cats. These days, it
is treatable and some cats can live a long life with Feline
Leukemia although you would want to be very careful to keep
them away from other cats so as not to spread the disease.

One health problem in cats, particulary those that go outdoors
is worms. A cat with worms usually has a lackluster coat and
can either have a large appetite or none at all. There are many
kinds of worms, and cats are susceptible to all of them. Cats
can get worms from lice or fleas or in the organs of the
rodents that the cats eat. Typically the cat ingests the eggs
which mature and attach to the intestinal walls. Feeding your
cat a bit of garlic every once in a while can protect him
against worms.


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Keeping your cat happy and healthy is really a simple matter of
caring for him properly and making sure he gets the appropriate
veterinary care. Make sure your cat gets all the recommended
vaccinations and you give him the proper treatments to repel
fleas and other pesky pests. These simple steps will keep your
cat happy and healthy for a lifetime!


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Puppy Training Tips for the First Week

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Bringing home a puppy and introducing her to your home is very
exciting for everyone. The only one who may be anxious about the
situation will be the puppy. If you handle your puppy properly
when she arrives, she will quickly relax and want to settle into
her new home.

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Prior to bringing your new puppy into your home, you should puppy
proof it. Take a look at your home from the puppy's viewpoint.
Does that potted plant sitting in front of the glass door look
tempting? You may want to consider moving it to a higher place.
What about your favorite collection of teddy bears, or magazines
you have in a basket by the sofa? They will most certainly raise
the curiosity of your new puppy. As you move these things out of
your puppy's reach, remember it is only for a short time. Once
your new puppy has learned her place in the family, you can put
your things back where they go. Your life should never be
dictated by your puppy. However, by removing these curiosity
objects from the start, it will allow you to work with your puppy
on the basic training she will need to learn.

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It is important to understand that as much as you want your new

puppy to be a part of your family, your puppy is still an animal.
She will take her cues from her environment. If she is allowed
to have free run of the home and access to everything, you are
teaching her that she is in charge. Dogs have instincts. The
main instinct of dogs is to live in a pack. Your new puppy will
assume her new family is her pack. If she picks up the clues that
she is her own boss and she can do what she wants, whenever she
wants, she is being taught she is the leader of her pack. It is
much easier on everyone, including the dog, if she learns from
the moment she enters the home that she is not the leader and
dictator of the family.

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One mistake people make is letting their puppy sleep in a utility
room, or kitchen. Dogs are from the wolf family, and really
prefer to have a den all their own. Some people assume placing a
dog in a crate is cruel. On the contrary, if crates are
introduced properly, they will be much loved by the puppy. When
planning for a new puppy, do not go out and buy the biggest crate
you can find for your puppy thinking she will grow into it. This
is the worst mistake owner's make. A crate should be large
enough for your pet to stand up and turn around in. Puppies
usually learn from their mothers to not soil in their bed area.
If the crate is too large, your puppy may designate a portion of
her crate for sleeping, and the other half for soiling. You
should also never place your puppy's food and water in her crate.

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When your puppy is first introduced to the crate, do not simply
put her inside and lock the door. This will greatly disturb her.
(You should place the crate in a room in your home where the
family gathers. You should not expect the puppy to walk through
the entire house to the back guest bedroom to nap. By having
the crate in close proximity to the family, the puppy will feel
as if she is still hanging out with her pack, even if she is
inside her crate sleeping.) Place the crate where it will stay,
and simply open the door. You can place a towel in the bottom,
and a chew toy inside if you want. Some puppy's are very curious.
They will simply walk inside. Others may be a little more shy
with the crate. Give your puppy time to warm up to the crate.
Once she does enter the crate, praise her. You may want to give
her crate a name. When she enters the crate, you can repeat the
crates name, and give her a treat.

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After your puppy has warmed up to her crate and has entered and
exited it a few times, you can close the door. She may whine and
paw at the door. She may even start yelping and barking. This
is okay. Do not let her out. After about ten minutes, you can
open the door and pick her up. Walk her directly to the area
designated for pottying. You should never let your puppy out of
her crate and allow her to follow you through the house to go
outside. Most puppies will simply squat and go where they
please. Once you are outside, set her down. You would then
encourage her to potty. Choose a couple of words such as, "Go
potty," of "Do your business." She will not have a clue as to
what you are saying, at first. But, after repeated attempts and
with being given a puppy treat and praise, she will learn what
those words mean. Most puppies will need to go out at least every
hour during the first few days to familiarize them with their
potty area. This is a chance for you to catch them doing their
business where they need to. Lavish them with praise.


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The first few nights may make you wonder why you even brought the
puppy home. The repeated yelping and whining coming from the
crate can seriously upset many adults who need their sleep. You
should look at your new puppy as the baby in the family. Puppies
less than four months of age may need to go out once during the
night. When she does, pick up your pup and take her to her
designated spot. After she has relieved herself, place her
promptly back into the crate. You should never play with your
puppy during the night time hours. This will only encourage her
to keep the yelping up. After a few days, your puppy will adjust
to the night time patterns of her "pack" and everyone will get
more rest. Most dogs are able to make it through the entire night
without a potty break around 18 weeks.


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Some individuals may think it is harsh to scold a puppy. These
individuals may be the same people who have a dog running wild in
their home within a year. Dogs which aren't disciplined can wreck
havoc on a home. You may return to find a shredded couch, chewed
up shoes, and garbage strewn all over the place. If there are
other pets in the home, you should also consider their feelings.
They will most likely be intimidated by such a tyrant, and fights
could commence while you are away.


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If you catch your puppy chewing on something she shouldn't, a
firm "no" is usually enough to stop her antics. As with other
forms of training, this may take a few days for her to learn.
This is why you were advised to move precious things away. Some
people have a rolled up newspaper to swat the puppy with if they
refuse to heed a "no." The rolled up newspaper does not hurt. It
is simply loud, and it teaches the dog you are the alpha in the
family, and not her. If she were truly in a dog pack, her alpha
would nip her soundly. So, don't feel as if you are mistreating
her. In fact, most puppies seem to feel more secure when they
know their place.

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The most important thing you can do with your puppy besides
introducing a crate immediately, instilling a potty routine, and
teaching her what "no" means, is to build the relationship with
your new puppy. Get on the floor and play with her. The bond
will grow between you and she will love you. This will make your
puppy want to please you and be obedient as well. This goes a
long way when you start teaching her other basic commands such as
"stay" and "come."


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How to Select the Best Dog for Children

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Are you preparing to bring a dog home to your children? Did your
neighbor tell you they have free puppies, all you have to do is come
over and choose one? Or did your children see an adorable puppy in
the pet store and are now begging you to let them bring it home? How
do you select the best dog breed for children? Does it matter?

Since having a dog is such a common thing, do you really need to
know anything more than how much it costs?

Well, how did you choose your car, or your home? Did you consider
the cost, safety and suitability for your family? Of course you did.
If you heard stories of a particular car that was susceptible to
causing accidents or that a neighborhood was known for its rough
occupants you would find something that was safer.

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If the car or home was too expensive to maintain, it would impact
your decision, as would the size of the vehicle or how many bedrooms
the house had.

However, many people bring home a dog that they have spent no more
time in choosing than selecting oranges at the grocery store.
Although we hear stories of dogs attacking children and perhaps know
of people who got rid of dogs after they grew too large for the
apartment or destroyed property, as a group, parents still choose to
bring dogs into their families with little instruction or research.

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The truth is, most families with a dog will never deal with the
terrible situations we hear about on the news. Dogs love people.
Most dogs love children. Children and adults love dogs and it is
very doubtful that after thousands of years the connection between
canine and humankind will be broken.

What does need to be considered is how to make the best possible
environment for your children and dog so that you don't need to
worry about unexpected tragedy or the sad disappointment of giving
your children's pet away.

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There are many experts with various views, but several points can be
generally agreed upon when choosing a dog for your family.

Find a dog that is good with children.

Don't all dogs love children? The answer is simple – NO. Some
breeds, and even individuals within a breed, are more or less
tolerant of children and the rough handling that usually ensues.
Selecting a breed that enjoys the rambunctious atmosphere of a
family home will go far in ensuring that the children have a willing
playmate and the dog is happy.

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Choose a dog that is the right size or energy level.

Do you live in an apartment? Do you have a large, fenced yard?
Considering the size of home or yard you have should influence your
choice of dog. Some breeds are naturally larger than others. Some
smaller breeds (like Jack Russell Terriers) are small but have an
enormous amount of energy that can be difficult to control in a
small home.

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Decide on a trained or untrained dog.

Perhaps you plan to train the dog yourself. You may choose a puppy
so the children participate in the training process. But how much do
you know about training dogs? Are you ready for the hassles of
housebreaking and obedience training? Perhaps selecting an older,
trained dog might suit your family better.

The decisions you make before bringing your dog home and selecting
the best dog breed for children will help your family enjoy their
new pet for a very long time.

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The Pomeranian Dog

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The Pomeranian is one of they toy breeds and weighs between 3
and 7 pounds (there are larger poms, and although not to the
breed standard, they still make wonderful loving pets!).
Intelligent and vivacious, these little dogs will steal your
heart, but don't let them get away with too much as they must
be properly trained or they will become too demanding. With
proper care your Pom can live to about 15 years old.


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History

Did you know the Pomeranian was once a much larger dog that
weighed around 35 pounds? A cousin to the spitz type dogs,
this pampered lap dog once called the arctic home.

Bred down to it's tiny size over the centuries, the Pomeranian
became popular in the late 1800's when Queen Victorian brought
a 12 pound Pom back from Italy. This vivacious little dog soon
became a favorite of European royalty and was bred to be even
smaller until it reached the average of 5 pounds.

Historically, the Pomeranian has been fancied by many famous
Europeans. Michelangelo had a little Pom that sat on a silk
pillow and watched him while he painted the Sistine Chapel.
Martin Luther, the great church leader had one of these little
dogs that he mentioned often in his work. Mozart had a
Pomeranian that he dedicated an Aria to and Chopin composed the
Valse des Petits Chiens for his girlfriends Pom.


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Care and Grooming

Pomeranians are easy to care for but do need some special
attention. They can be easily groomed in less than 1 hour a
day, but I am sure you will want to spend much more time than
that bonding with your pet!

Brushing your Pomeranian every day is a good way to bond with
your pet as well as insure his coat is healthy and looks good.
Poms have a double coat that can easily become matted so
brushing is necessary. A once a week - or every couple of
weeks - bath is a nice way to keep your Pom smelling and
looking good! Don't forget to groom around his paws and tail
area as well as clip his nails.

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Unfortunately, Pomeranians can be prone to tooth problems.
Tooth loss and bacterial buildup is not uncommon in these
little dogs so you should take extra care to make sure your pet
has the proper dental care. Brush your dogs teeth daily with a
specially formulated enzymatic tooth paste that fights bacteria
and have yearly dental checks and scaling if necessary. Tooth
care is quite important to your dogs overall health as if
bacteria is left unchecked in the mouth, it can spread
throughout the dogs body and cause health problems for your
pet.

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The Pom's eyes are another area where you should pay some
special attention. Like most small dogs, discharge from the
eye can accumulate causing staining and, sometimes a goopy
mess. Clean the area around the eye daily with a Q-tip (be
careful not to get too close to the dogs eye). If the fur
around the eye becomes stained, you can buy a special liquid
that helps remove the staining.
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Health Problems

Luxating Patellas or a knee that slips out of place is common
in Pomeranians andin some cases this may require surgery. Many
Poms suffer from hypothyroidism which can cause other problems
and should be checked by your vet. Some Poms lose patches of
hair as they grow older. This usually starts at the back and
moves forward. If your Pom sounds like he is coughing then he
may have a collapsing trachea which is not uncommon in this
breed. An xray can determine if this is the problem and
medication can be given to reduce coughing. Tooth loss and
bacteria build up is a problem in Pomeranians as well as other
small dogs.

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Training Your Dog to Sit


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A poorly trained dog is a nuisance and can even be a danger to
himself and others. A properly trained dog, on the other had,
is a wonderful and pleasant companion. In addition to helping
you bond, it can even protect your pet from being hurt if he
listens and will come when called.

When training always remember that dogs respond best to
positive reinforcement - yelling at your dog and hitting him
will not accomplish the task, instead use rewards such as
treats and your approval - this will make the task much more
pleasant for both of you!


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There is a common "process" to training, no matter what you
want the dog to do. They key is to get the dog to perform the
action and at that exact moment give the command for the
action, then praise the dog and reward him with a treat. After
a while, he will catch on and associate the action with the
command.


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Here's some steps you can use to train your dog with the most
basic command - Sit.

1. The first thing you need to do is to get your puppy or dog
to associate the act of sitting with the command. To do this,
simply hang around with your dog and when he sits give the
"sit" command.

2. Getting down to your dogs level will allow you to present
his reward (treats) quicker so grab a handful of bite sized
treats and get down on the floor.

3. Bring the treat up over the dogs head. He will smell the
food and follow it with his nose. This action will cause him to
sit (or backup, but obviously we are hoping for the sitting
action).




4. The key to the training is to present the reward at the
exact moment the dog sits, but you must also give the command
at that moment as well so that he associates command with
action. So as the dog sits, say "sit" and then immediately give
him the treat.

5. Give the dog praise - show joy in your voice and he will
really respond.

6. Repeat three to five times at each session but no more than
that. Training should be fun and not a boring chore so don't
overdo it in one sitting. You may have several sessions
throughout the day.


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When you spend the time to train your dog, you get much more
than just a dog that does some tricks. He loves to do things
with you. He learns to listen when you say his name. He gets
used to being with you and doing things on your initiative.
Through good training your position as leader is strengthened.
You should plan to spend a couple of minutes every day on
practicing his "tricks". This type of repetitive reinforcement
will help him to remember and also create the bond between you.


Cat Scratching Solutions


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For a cat, scratching is a natural, necessary act. Besides keeping her claws in top shape, the stretching involved in a good scratch keeps her upper body strong and loose. Also, every time a cat scratches a surface, scent glands between her toes leave her signature smell for others to find. In this way, she marks her territory, even if that happens to be in your living room.

Just because a cat must scratch doesn't mean she must destroy your furniture. Redirecting a cat's scratching to an appropriate object simply requires patience, flexibiity and time. To keep your cat from grooming her claws on your couch, you must give her some furniture of her own.

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Scratching posts come in a wide variety of sizes and textures. If your cat doesn't use the scratching post you have purchased, observe what she does scratch. Most cats have a preference as to the texture they scratch on. Experts discourage providing carpet-covered posts, especially if you have carpeting in your house. Your cat won't
understand the difference between the carpet on the scratching post and that on the floor. They both feel good to her.

Some cats like to extend their entire bodies when they stretch to scratch. Others just work their shoulder muscles. If your cat is one of the former, you'll need to provide a tall, sturdy scratching surface. No matter what height your cat likes to use, be sure the scratching surface is stable. If your cat begins scratching and the post or board falls, it will frighten her and she will likely not use it again.


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Another important factor to consider when providing scratching surfaces is their location. If you watch your cat, you'll notice she will tend to look for a scratching spot wherever you spend a lot of time. That is why so many cats ruin their owner's easy chair or couch. She is marking your spot as part of her territory, claiming ownershipover you just in case some other cat comes in and gets the wrong idea. Putting a scratching post beside your favorite relaxing place will let her do her job without annoying you.



Remember, too, that your entire home is her territory. For that reason, it is a good idea to place scratching surfaces throughout the house, in places where you tend to linger. Bedrooms, kitchens, home offices are all places that are important to your cat because that is where you are likely to be.

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If your cat persists in scratching furniture instead of the appropriate surface, you will have to retrain her. When you catch her
about to scratch inappropriately, say "no" in a loud voice. Pick her up and carry her to her scratching surface. Some experts suggest gently taking her paw and simulating scratching to give her the right idea. If your cat only attacks the furniture when you are out of sight, it might be best to confine her to one room when you can't supervise her. Be sure to put food, water, a litter box and, of course, a scratching surface in the room with her. Once she seems to have gotten the hang of only using her scratching posts, she can have free run of the house again.