May 7, 2013

Natural Flea Prevention and Treatment

natural flea prevention and treatmentFleas can be a particularly pesky and difficult pest to eliminate; they can jump around 100 times their own height, females lay 20,000 eggs in just a few months, and eggs take between 3 and 6 weeks to hatch.  All these factors make fleas versatile and elusive and as a result many pet owners turn to commercial flea products to kill the pets and prevent future outbreaks.  In some cases, you may have no choice but to seek stronger flea treatments but there are also a range of natural preventative measures that you can try to control the flea population in your home and pets.

One simple and natural flea prevention is garlic.  By adding garlic to your pet’s meals you may find that you have effectively prevented fleas.  In addition, there are many meal additives that can deter fleas; sulfur prevents fleas and can be added to your pet’s diet weekly, and black walnut hulls are available in capsule form at your local pet store and they repel fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes.  Typically, these kinds of remedies require 4 to 6 weeks to be completely effective.

Unfortunately, when it comes to fleas, prevention may not be enough.  Especially if your dog or cat is already infested with fleas, you’ll need to take some time to get rid of the infestation.  So it’s bath time.  There is a wide selection of herbal shampoos available at the pet store that help to kill and remove fleas.  Combinations of pine cedar, bergamot, rosemary, eucalyptus, citronella, juniper, lavender, or geranium (just to name a few) are especially effective when you’re dealing with fleas.

In addition, you need to remove the fleas from your home.  One natural treatment involves mixing 1.5 pounds of diatomaceous earth, 1.5 pounds of organic borax, and 1 cup of salt.  You can purchase the diatomaceous earth and organic borax at a garden supply store.  Sprinkle this mixture throughout your house and let it sit for a few days.  Finally, vacuum up the mixture and you should be flea free!

May 3, 2013

How To Prepare for a Kitten

Filed under: cats,Kitten Care — Tags: , , , — Dr. Amber Reed @ 10:25 pm

Prepare for KittenMaking the decision to bring a kitten home can be very exciting. Who wouldn’t want a small, cute, furry friend to join their home? Just keep in mind that your new friend is going to be completely reliant on you. Your kitten will be entering a new environment and must feel safe, loved, and taken care of. Use the following tips to help you prepare for a kitten, in order to ensure that you start your relationship off on the right foot.

1. Inform your household of the kitten’s arrival
Since the kitten will become part of your family, it is important to inform everyone in your home about your new furry friend. This will help ensure that everyone is prepared for the arrival of the new family member. It will also give a chance for others to lend a helping hand, to prepare for your kitten’s arrival.

2. Do some research
If you have never had a cat before, it is important that to understand cat behaviors. This will help you to not only better understand your cat, but it will help you take care of your cat. Once you have conducted research, be sure to share it with other’s in your household.

3. Choose a spot for your furry friend
Designate a certain spot in your house that will be your cat’s own space. This spot should be warm and secure. You should also “cat-proof” the space by making sure that objects, like plants that are poisonous to cats and cable wires, are out of the kitten’s reach.

4. Visit a pet store
There are important items that kittens need in their daily lives. Ensure that you have acquired these items before the arrival of your four-legged friend:

Litter box: A new, clean and comfortable litter box should be acquired for the kitten.

Food and water bowls: Opt for a ceramic or stainless steel bowl. They are said to be healthier for pets.

An identification tag: Whether you plan to have an indoor or outdoor cat, you want to make sure that your furry friend will be found if he ever gets lost.

Scratching post: Cats need to scratch themselves and a scratching post will prevent your kitten from using your carpet or furniture as his scratching stations.

Cat carrier: You’ll want a carrier in order to safely transport your kitten while travelling or even for simple visit to the vet.

Food: There are many brands of kitten food and it is important to do research on the best type of food before buying. Providing your kitten with a nutritious diet will prevent health problems in the long run.

Tools for grooming: Even kittens need good grooming. A comb, brush and shampoo can help achieve this.

5. Visit a veterinarian with your kitten
Upon your kitten’s arrival, it is important to visit a veterinarian. Your vet will check the kitten’s overall health while also offering you advice on how to care for your new friend.

After these 5 steps, you should be prepared and ready to welcome home your new friend.

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March 26, 2013

Unique Activities to Keep Your Pet Fit

Filed under: cat health,cats,Dog health,dogs,pets — Tags: , , — Dr. Amber Reed @ 9:08 pm

pet-activitiesWith the sunshine now peeking out from behind winter clouds, the birds chirping happily and baby animals coming out to play, now is the perfect time to experience the joy of spring and maybe even shed some of those winter pounds too.

And let’s face it: you’re not the only one who gained some extra hibernation weight over winter – your pet could use the exercise too!

But if you’re sick of the same old walk in the park, why not mix it up a little and try some of our unique ways to keep your pet fit this spring?

 

Star Jumps for Dogs
Who says star jumps are just for humans? Not so! Star jumps are a great cardiovascular workout for your pet. Just take one of their favorite toys and tap their nose gently with it, before lifting the toy up into the air. Your dog should follow your movement and leap into the air playfully.

Cat Cardio
The greatest investment you will ever make for your cat’s fitness is a mini torch. While you’re doing your own workout (or even making dinner, doing the chores or anything else around the house) you can entice your cat into exercise by turning on a mini flashlight and shining it against the wall and the floor. Your cat will chase after the light and unwittingly get in some great cardio.

Stair Work for Dogs and Cats
Just like a quick journey up and down stairs can leave you huffing and puffing, it can increase the cardiovascular health of your pet too. For dogs, why not run up and down some stairs at the local park? For cats, just trail their favorite toy up and down the stairs at home.

Walking the Cat
You read correctly. Dogs aren’t the only ones who can enjoy a pleasant walk outside. Plenty of pet stores have leashes and collars specifically developed for cats, so why not pick one up and try it out? Test it out in your backyard first as your cat will need to get used to the sensation of a collar and leash. If you have a kitten, try to train them to do this as young as possible and make sure you keep your cat away from parks or areas where dogs regularly frequent.

Ultimate Frisbee for Dogs
We have all seen the movies where the Golden Retriever leaps gracefully into the air and catches a Frisbee. But that’s just stuff of the movies, right? Not the case! You can teach your pooch to become an ultimate Frisbee pro in no time. Just pick up a Frisbee, walk down to the local park and start practicing!

And once you’re done trying out these unique exercises, why not create some of your own? Exercise should be as much about play as it is about health for your pet, so get creative. Your pet will thank you.

After all, according to the experts, over 35 percent of pets are overweight, which puts them at risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and breathing problems.

So this spring, make a pact with your pet to help them become the fittest pet in the neighborhood.

 

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March 20, 2013

Dealing With a Loss of a Pet

One of the saddest aspects of pet ownership is coming to terms with the death of a beloved pet. Our pets are part of the family and as such, it’s only natural that we mourn and grieve their loss.

What to expect emotionally

While some (mostly those who don’t own a pet themselves) scoff at the idea of mourning a pet, it’s actually a perfectly normal and natural response. The stages of grief for those who have lost a pet are in fact very similar to those who have lost a family member or loved one.

While the length of the mourning and grieving process is individual to each circumstance, the following emotions and stages are quite common:

Stage one: Denial – Typically, this stage lasts the shortest and occurs when the owner hasn’t yet accepted, or come to terms, with the loss.

Stage two: Anger – In the next stage, many pet owners channel their anger towards a third party for the loss of their pet.

Stage three: Guilt – There will always be the ‘what if’ component of any loss and it’s normal for a pet owner to feel guilt over what they could have done, even if there were no other options.

Stage four: Depression – The final stage of grieving is typically personified by a deep sadness that permeates the pet owner’s life and reduces their motivation.

Coping mechanisms

Thankfully though, there are coping mechanisms that you can put in place to help deal with the death of a pet, the first of which is to allow yourself to grieve. Whatever you are feeling, acknowledge the emotion and let it run its course. The following, lists some coping mechanisms you can try:

• Where possible, speak to friends, family and loved ones about your loss.
• Prepare a tribute to celebrate the life of your pet. This could be a scrapbook, a letter or a poem to your pet.
• Make a difference to the lives of other pets and either volunteer your time at an animal rescue organization or donate money on behalf of your pet.
• Seek the support of professionals, whether that is your own family therapist or an organization like The Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement. The American Veterinary Medical Association also has pet loss support hotlines available for your use.
• If the sight of your pet’s belongings upsets you, you can put them away during your mourning period or donate them to charity.
• You can organize a memorial or funeral for your pet. This is one of the more practical aspects to consider. Whether you choose to create a burial in your backyard, or plant a tree in your pet’s honor, the final resting place of your pet is a special and important decision.
Other tips

• If you have other pets, understand that they may experience grief too, even if it’s just in response to your own.
• Do not bring a new pet into your life until you feel completely ready. You must be emotionally up to the demands of a new pet and able to dedicate yourself to their upbringing.
• If you have children in your family, be honest and open about your pet’s death and support your children through their grief.

And finally, be kind to yourself. This is a difficult and emotional event in any pet owners life. Ensure that you take care of yourself and give yourself the time and the space to move on.

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February 25, 2013

The Best Toys for Your Cat or Dog

Imagine this: You are sitting at home with your family. Your dog is at your feet, and your cat is in your lap. Everyone in your house is enjoying time together. You notice that your dog starts to get restless and goes over to the couch and starts sniffing around. Before you even know what’s happening your dog is chewing the corner and your cat has jumped off your lap and joined in.

What the heck is going on?! You have never seen this type of behavior from either of your pets, and you are disgusted, to say the least. You send your dog to the kennel but can’t find the cat. The next night the cat and the dog start chewing and scratching away at your dining room table and chairs.
Your pets have always been mild mannered until now, and you can’t figure out why the change in behavior. Take a look around your house. Have you purchased any pet toys to help give them sensory satisfaction?Toys for your pets are not just something that you get them to spoil them. They are also used to help with sensory satisfaction and to help keep them engaged. When any kind of animal isbored, they tend to find the first thing that peaks their interest and typically that spells t-r-o-u-b-l-e for them and anger for you.

So what type of toys is best for your pets? If you have a dog that is a little bit more hyperactive, you need to find a toy that allows them to fun and play as much as possible. Balls or any type of toy that they can chase is often a good idea. The same goes for a cat. Cats are natural predators. They love to pounce, chase, and run around just as much as a dog.

 The best toys you can purchase for your dog include
Chew toys 
• Plush Toys

The best toys you can purchase for your cat include:
Feeders 
Interactive toys 

No matter what type of toy you buy for your pets it is important that they have them. They are not just a tool to help them be more occupied, they also help to increase brain function. Always ensure that no matter what type of toy you get for your pet it is safe for them. Consult with you local pet store owner to find out what your best options are and what toys meet the highest safety standards. Remember, always keep your pet engaged; have fun with them. Sensory satisfaction is important for your pet’s happiness and your peace of mind.

 

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February 12, 2013

Pet Health: Smoking and Your Furry Friend

Filed under: cats,dogs,pet health,pets,puppy health,Smoking,Uncategorized,Your Pet — Tags: , — Dr. Amber Reed @ 1:00 pm

At one point or another, we have all been told that smoking is bad for our health. We have been shown the impact of tar on human organs, we have been told about the many cancers that can result from smoking, and time after time we are informed of the dangers of secondhand smoke. Full of this knowledge on the health risks related to smoking, have you ever consider the impact that smoking may have on your pet?

Just as smoking may affect the people around you, studies have shown that it may also impact your pets. When someone smokes, toxins are released into the very same air that your pet breathes in. When breathing in air, the toxins move through your pet’s mouth, into their lungs, and throughout their circulation system. This process is repeated every time your furry friend takes a breath. Moreover, toxins that are released into the air come in contact with your pet’s fur and skin. When grooming themselves, pets lick their fur, fur on which toxins like nicotine and tar may collect. The nicotine and tar enters your pet’s mouth and digestive system each time they lick themselves.

Smoking effects and pet health

Studies have shown that a few effects that second-hand smoke can have on your pet are:

  • Cancers: lymphoma, lung, and nasal
  • Respiratory problems
  • Allergies
  • Skin diseases
  • Eye infections
  • Vomiting
  • Salivation

It is common for us to hear the effects that smoking has upon humans, that we may forget to think about how our pets are impacted. Next time you think of lighting up near your pet, think about the effects that smoking might have on their health.

 

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Disclaimer: CritterCures is an educational resource, and all information herein is strictly for educational purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure diseases, nor is it meant to replace the (prescribed) treatment or recommendations of your veterinarian or healthcare provider. Always inform your veterinarian or healthcare provider of any products that your pet are taking, including herbal remedies and supplements.