Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"Cat fleas" on dogs?

Dogs have fleas, as you probably know. But did you know that those fleas are often referred to as "cat fleas?"  Suppose the very first flea was found on and taken from a dog?  Then it would have been known as a "dog flea." This distinction probably doesn't bother a lot of pet owners, as a flea is a flea is a flea. As a rule, fleas need to be destroyed, whether they are found on cats or dogs.

But the thing about dogs is that they suffer more from fleas than cats do, for some reason. I'll have to try to remember to ask my vet why this is so next time I visit. Anyway, I always felt that fleas bothered cats more than dogs, but I've now learned that the opposite is true. Interesting.

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Monday, November 29, 2010

The "inner dog" matters more than a dog's looks

One of my sister's dogs, Aries, is very laid-back and would rather sleep on her bed than going out to do his business or take a walk. When he is called, he takes his sweet time responding. He is probably regarded as threatening to people who see him for the first time. In fact, before my sister agreed to give him a home, Aries was going to be euthanized, simply because a home could not be found for him.

Anyway, he has a very sweet personality. He enjoys treats and good food. My sister sometimes cooks especially for her dogs and they look good.

I like Aries too, and think that his looks are rather endearing. I also think that with a dog of his temperament, looks really don't matter. It's the inner dog that counts the most. A dog who looks beautiful may have a rotten temper and scare the bej---- out of anyone who dares to approach him or her. On the other hand, a dog who appears downright homely or even ugly can be the most friendly, loyal, sweet pet if given the chanee by a loving owner.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

when a dog or cat has cancer

I read an article by an owner whose schnauzer, Ruby, died of stomach cancer recently. The owner's attention was drawn to Ruby's vomiting. At first, he and the vet thought that the dog was experiencing an upset stomach. However, Ruby began losing weight at a rapid pace. She was diagnosed with a large tumor in her stomach. The owners spent well over a thousand dollars in vet bills until they figured that since Ruby was terminal, she should  be put to sleep. What else could they do?

Indeed, what could any owner do for a pet with a terminal disease?

There is, after all, a time in which spending even more money on a pet's treatment stops providing the desired results. Ulltimately, the pet is going to die. You hope and pray for the best. I did that when one of my cats, Leo, was diagnosed with stomach cancer. Leo not only lost weight, but lost control of his bladder, as did another cat, Columbus, who lost weight and yowled pitifully when he was picked up.

To be honest, there's nothing an owner can do, except to keep the pet comfortable for as long as possible and then consider euthanizing a pet who is too ill and experiencing too much pain.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Adopting a shelter dog

Adopting a shelter dog is important. You not only save a life, but find a friend for life. When I get a dog, I plan to adopt one from a shelter.

Just as I would do before adopting a cat, I would visit the shelter and look at each of the dogs housed there. Then I'd gradually narrow my search to two or three possible dogs and remember to ask the shelter assistants important questions, such as how well a given dog might adapt to a multi-cat household or if the dog could even live and thrive in such a household. I'd also would want to find out something about the dog's history and health. Plus, I'd want to pet and maybe even walk the dog to see how he or she responds to me.

Sometimes in adopting any pet, but particularly a cat or a dog, you just know that this is the right pet for you. The animal responds to you in a positive manner and seems to be friendly. Of course, if the animal seemed hyper, I'd reconsider.

I would also appreciate suggestions regarding feeding and veterinary care for my new dog. If I had any further doubts or questions, I'd let the shelter people know that I have some things to think about, but would definitely visit the dog or dogs I've chosen.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Cooperative dogs, uncooperative kids

I sometimes fantasize about my future dog starring in one of those pet-food commercials, like the cute dog featured on Beneful (?) commercials. That dog looks so eager for whatever his master is about to offer him, although he can't really understand or tell which meals he prefers. I don't think that any dog can, or cats for that matter.

This is so unlike a young child who is hungry, but rather fussy when it comes to meals. Its lofty highchair seat with its little table becomes a platform for a child who isn't hungry or doesn't like the food he's served and is not going to eat, period. The food gets thrown or spilled out, one way or the other. In a dog's case, the dog will usually eat a little at a time before sauntering off. It doesn't show its displeasure by dumping the food out all over the floor. But a child who's determined to spite or become uncooperative has to bife his time. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Day with all kinds of dogs

For much of this past week, dogs figured into much of what I saw. For instance, photos and pictures of cartoon and real dogs appeared on pet greeting cards as much as they did on Christmas and Thanksgiving Day cards. These cards were cute and sometimes very funny. I know that a lot of dog owners got a big kick out of seeing and sending them to friends and relatives.

But today especially went to the dogs. I saw the dog show on tv that featured the creme de la creme of prize-winning breeds, even a few breeds that were fairly new and ones that I had never heard of. Same went for the dogs themselves, who behaved beautifully. None of them barked or seemed to mind having someone expose their clean, gleaming white teeth. Larger dogs as boxers, dalmatians were featured, along with poodles, collies, and terriers. It was hard to choose the winning dog from all of the fine specimens, and I didn't envy the judge.

And during dinner, my sister's dogs begged for samples of turkey and other good stuff and got it eventually. Who could blame them?  Even though the weather was rather dank and crappy, we all had a good time eating.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Dogs smarter than cats?

Well, scientists are now saying that dogs are smarter than cats, simply for the fact that dogs are more sociable than cats. Ok, I'll give them that. Dogs are smart, as are other animals. But saying that one species is smarter? What other evidence shows this?

For my part, I feel that all species is intelligent. It has to be in order to survive. Each species has its own way of communicating and managing in the world. We humans still have a lot to learn about the way animals think and act. So to say that one is "smarter" than the other is not really fair.

Ok, time for me to get off my soapbox.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Lost and hopefully, found

I saw another poster advertising a lost dog and a reward for its return. I hope that the dog's owners get their pet back. If I were one of those owners, I would always wonder what happened to my dog and where it was. Truth be told, I doubt that I would be able to get the dog out of my mind.

At the same time, I think that it's very sad to be missing a dog, especially around the holidays. You look at dogs you see, wondering if it's your dog, as it looks so much like your lost pet. You check shelters and lost-and-found items just in case. .....

Going directly to various shelters, however, is the most effective way to find a lost dog, or cat, for that matter. That's how I found my two last cats. Posting signs didn't help one bit. Asking neighbors didn't help either.But visiting shelters just may help to find that lost dog. You don't know until you try.




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Sunday, November 21, 2010

dogs doing tricks

In one small part of the movie, Momma's House 2, one of the characters pours some liquor, either wine or whiskey into a chihuahua's water dish. So the dog drank practically all of it and did this crazy dance that amused the audience. That dog hopped around on its hind feet, spun a few times before resuming its little jig. That scene cracked me up, as did another scene showing the dog humping a larger dog.

In real life, though, I doubt that anyone in his or her right mind would actually give a dog liquor or somehow train it to hump another dog. Training a dog so that it seems to do certain things naturally is much harder than it looks. The trainer has to be patient and keep trying over and over and over again. And bribing the dog with little treats. A little dog such as a chihuahua probably doesn't eat a lot in the first place, but still and all. After spending so much time and putting so much effort into a stunt like that, surely the dog in its mind, has to be thinking, just do the trick already!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

on Mike Vick's mistreatment of pit bulls

A question about Mike Vick's completion of his jail sentence for killing pit bulls came up during a radio talk show. Callers to the show said that they would have a hard time forgiving Vick for what he did.

As a matter of fact, I would not be able to forgive him at all. The dogs he mistreated and ultimately killed could have lived a better life with a loving owner or owners. Vick is lucky that I wasn't there to witness what was happening to those dogs. I would have probably killed himself without feeling one bit of remorse.

Now, Vick probably only has his conscience bothering him, if at all, for what he's done. Even worse, he's denied a number of loving dog owners pets that would have been appreciative in good homes.

Don't know how else to express my outrage. Abandoning a dog or any pet for that matter is wrong, to be sure, but to do what Vick did is even worse on so many levels.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Adorable dogs

Today, I took one of my cats for her yearly checkup and on the way out, I saw a young woman holding two small gray poodles in her lap. Both dogs wore little sweaters and sat patiently as the receptionist got out the paperwork and talked to their owner. Neither dog barked either. The funniest part was that the owner could not tell one dog from the other (apparently, her mom owned the dogs and the girl was not around them often enough to tell them apart).

I glanced at the dogs and couldn't tell which dog was which either. They looked like twins. Quiet twins. Maybe the dogs were frightened, though they and their owner were the only other people in the waiting room. Wished I had a camera and an opportunity to take their pictures.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Choosing a dog at last

The other day, I found a book on the various dog breeds and paged through it. I imagined that I could have just about any dog I wanted with no hassle. I looked again at the smaller dogs such as the chihuahua before moving on. That dog was cute enough, but not quite what I was looking for. And dalmatians and huskies were out of the question.  Ditto for collies and German Shepherds.

I did like the rottweillors, though. Their photos reminded me of Roxie, my sister's rottweillor, who died of natural causes about ten years ago. Roxie was the sweetest, best behaved dog I ever had the pleasure to know and walk. She never pulled at her leash, but walked nicely. Then one week, Roxie became ill and my sister took her to the vet. A few days went by, with Roxie's condition worsening. Visiting my sister one day, I expected to see Roxie and called her. Roxie never came. Little did I know that the poor dog was already dead. My sister had wrapped her body and hid it in the car for burial.

So ultimately, I think I would now consider adopting an adult rottweillor. I love puppies too and think that they are cute, but they take too long to train.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

those barking dogs

I love to ride my bike early on Sunday mornings, as the roads are quiet except for an occasional car. Very few other cyclists are around and even fewer people are on the street.

A few times, I've heard dogs bark as I ride by. Usually, one dog starts barking, followed by another dog and so on. To be honest, I don't know how my riding past could start dogs barking, as I'm quick and quiet. But hearing that makes me smile. I also hope that those barking dogs do eventually get quiet, if not for their owners, then for their neighbors. Also makes me wonder what I would do if I owned a dog and that dog awakened me so early in the morning with its barking. I'd probably wake up and find out what the problem was and if it was nothing, I would ignore the dog and go back to sleep.

Monday, November 15, 2010

How much does a dog eat anyway?

There's a lady who lives on the next corner on the opposite block who owns a rather fat black dog. Every time I see her walking her dog, I see a well-behaved animal walking next to its master and dutifully stopping briefly to relieve itself. It has never, to my knowledge, pulled the lady so hard, forcing her to run. She probably couldn't or wouldn't run, as she is quite heavy also.

Both the lady and her dog appear to be well fed and comfortable, which is all good.

But sometimes I wonder how much food a dog of that size eats. Does that lady only feed it at certain times or does she feed her dog during meal times?  Does she give her dog extra treats like Frosty Paws? 

This aspect brings up a few more questions, such as does a dog eat in proportion to its size?  For example, would a smaller dog such as a chihauhau eat less than a boxer?  I'm only addressing these matters because I know that pet food is rather expensive. I would want to treat my dog well, of course, but feed it sensibly.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Window scene

Waiting at the bus stop today, I saw a little gray and white terrier peek out from between the curtains of a nearby apartment and stare at the waiting bus passengers. He wore a fire-engine red sweater and a fancy black collar.

I tried to guess what the dog's name would be and thought of a few possibilities, including Reginald, Reggie, Oscar, Prince, Curly, Dexter, Roscoe, Frankie, George, Harry and Duke. I would hope that the dog's name would be as funny as he looked, but I'll never find out. I don't know the dog's owner, although maybe someday I'll meet him or her stepping outside of the apartment with the dog.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Dogs in movies and on tv

I/ve seen another movie today that featured three dogs. One was rather small and all white, another looked like a regular mutt and was brown, and another that was probably a German Shepherd. I'm afraid that I haven't yet learned about all the breeds and can identify only a few of them, although poodles, collies, dachounds, terriers, and German Shepherds.

I think that featuring three dogs where appropriate in a movie plot adds interest. I, for one, am always amazed at the dogs' fine acting and can appreciate the effort and time taken to train them. The tv series featuring Lassie was a classic, as far as I'm concerned and watching it, I gained a real appreciation for dogs. How nice it would be to have a trained dog like Lassie!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Adult dogs or puppies

I would consider adopting an adult dog, as opposed to a puppy. Puppies  are cute, but can be a lot of work. They have to be trained not to chew items as shoes and not to pee anywhere they feel like it. And then their crying has to be dealt with in a positive manner.

Usually, all of that extra work isn't involved with adult dogs. Their personalities are established. They may have preferences in food and other matters. But usually, there aren't big problems unless the animal is ill and that all brings up a whole new set of problems and veterinary expenses. At the same time, there is the age of the dog to consider, because older dogs have a different set of problems and health issues.

I'll admire puppies and smile at their cute faces and playful ways. But I'll opt for an adult dog any day and will likely adopt one from a  shelter.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Dogs living in apartments

A lot of apartment owners still don't allow pets. An apartment that I lived in about ten years ago had a similar policy, but its landlord had at least one cat in his apartment. And when my sister lived in her apartment, she owned owned a cat, while two of her friends owned cats also.

Personally, I feel that there is nothing wrong with pets living in apartments. When my dad was a landlord, he allowed his tenants to have pets. One of those tenants was a woman who lived alone and owned a big police dog named Rusty. Rusty was a well-behaved dog who never left his master's side. He would sit next to his master at the window and watch what was going on outside. At no time was there any problem with Rusty or his owner.

Most important, I feel that pets such as dogs provide needed companionship for their owners. That comparnionship could be lifesaving for the dog and its owner. Of course, every so often, there would be an irresponsible owner. But I'm sure that he or she would be dealt with. The only question I'd have is what would become of the dog, or cat, for that matter?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Adopt another dog?

I know that caring for one dog is quite a job. Right now, I'm thinking that one dog for an inexperienced owner such as myself would be plenty!  I'm limiting myself to one dog for now.

But I have to realize that there is always a possibility of taking another dog in for whatever reason and caring for it. My sister, for example, had one dog and found herself taking in another dog, Aries, that was going to be put to sleep. I'm glad that she decided to take Aries in. He's entirely black and he looks fierce, but he is the sweetest dog ever!  He reminds me of Ferdinand the bull, who preferred to sit under a tree smelling flowers to making a rush at matadors in a bull ring. That's how laid-back Aries is.

So I guess that the question comes down to whether circumstances would force my hand and have me consider taking in another dog. I guess that would depend, but I'm such a softy that I would wind up taking in another dog ---- and saving another life in the bargain.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

dogs that bark and those that don't

In choosing a dog, I don't think that I'd consider getting a small dog, such as a chihuahua. Dogs that size tend to be frequent barkers. Mind, I have nothing against dogs that bark frequently, it's that once they start, they tend not to stop right away.

I read somewhere that this nonstop barking may be due to the fact that such dogs like to hear themselves bark. That may be true, but I think that the jury is still out on that one. Usually, dogs have a reason to bark, such as they're being ill or bored or lonesome.

I know, for example, that my sister's two dogs almost never bark, which may be a good thing for her. But when I asked her about the possibility of my taking one of them home with me to mind the house, she nixed that idea. The reason was that her dogs don't bark. Back to the drawing board.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Dogs and furniture

From what I've seen, there is no way to keep dogs off furniture such as sofas and beds. Of course, you might be one of those lucky owners whose dog or dogs sleep on a regular dog bed. Then you get to relax more on your sofa or bed without worrying about your dog jumping on and curling himself or herself next to you.

I think that is so because a dog probably feels secure and comforted by blankets and other items that have his owner's scent on them. The other thing is that dogs, like cats, tend to keep returning to the same comfortable place to relax and sleep as cats do. And just try to change their mind and ways, lol!

As to the question of whether allowing dogs (or cats) to sit or sleep on your furniture, I can only answer by saying that I don't know. Somehow, it feels cruel to shoo the animal off, so you let him or her remain sitting or sleeping. On the other hand, a few experts would argue that allowing a pet to sit or sleep on your furniture is just a bad idea. It isn't very healthy and so on. I don't know about that either, as my sister allows her dogs on her furniture. Nothing bad has happened and her health is just fine, thank you. She doesn't mind her dogs jumping on the furniture either.

I think that whether you allow your dog on your furniture (or not) has everything to do with preference. Either you mind it or you don't.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Dog owners' most annoying habit

A lot of drivers don't realize that allowing their dog to hang its head out the window is the biggest mistake. Instead, those drivers travel blithely on, ignoring the potential for problems along the way. The problems that disgust me the most involve dogs who bark loudly at cyclists and other drivers. These dogs' owners probably find that amusing, but it can be deadly.. A distracted driver or cyclist suddenly loses his or her focus on the road and unwittingly cause an accident --- all because of a dog's sudden barking.

On the other hand, there is nothing wrong with a dog sitting in the front passenger seat next to a closed window. Actually, it's kind of cute!  My dad, for example, always allowed his dog, Princess, to sit next to him in the minivan when he traveled. And that dog rarely barked. Instead, she sat quietly watching the traffic ahead. As the years passed by and Princess became old and sick, she preferred to lie down on the back seat.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Would you risk your life to save your dog?

I think that a lot would depend on the situation. Say that my dog fell into the ocean and couldn't swim because of the enormous waves, I would be inclined to call for help, quick. Had I jumped in the water to get the dog, I would have been the first one to drown, as I can't swim.

Basically, I would try desperately, most definitely. But if I thought that I would die in the process of making a rescue attempt, I wouldn't go out of my way. But this is me sitting in the comfort of my home hemming and hawing. Perhaps my being involved in the actual situation, things would be different. I'd work up so much adrenaline that I would wind up saving the dog as Superman would and think nothing of it.

Kids begging for a dog - should you give in?

Every time I hear a child beg for a dog, I have to laugh --- not because I think that a child's plea for a dog is funny. Not by any means! The part of the plea that tickles me is the promise that the child makes. You've probably heard these before:  "I'll walk the dog every day, I promise!"
                                             "I'll take care of the dog. Ple-ase!"
                                             "I'll do the dishes every day if I get a dog."
                                             "All of my friends have dogs. I want one too."

Hearing this, you almost feel tempted until you remember the last time your child had a pet and you wound up taking care of the animal. No amount of begging or bribing the child to keep his or her promise of taking care of the pet helped. The child lost interest, period, and you were stuck caring for the pet.

But this time is different and you've put your foot down. NO! You say, only to hear something like "That's not fair!" There are other excuses, but you get the idea.

I know one thing:  I wouldn't think of putting the idea of getting a dog in a child's head. I think that if my child wanted a dog, I'd tell him that he will be able to get one as soon as he earns some money to afford the dog. I'm talking about items as food, brushes, treats and toys.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What will a dog do next? Sometimes you just never know.

Sometimes, dogs act in a way that we do not expect. Things seem to be fine, and then, all of a sudden, something happens and you have no choice but to act right away.

Here's what happened to me.

About four years ago, on a hot, humid June afternoon, I had to change my sister's husky-mix, Chloe, from one leash to another, a simple task. Chloe was outside on an outdoor leash. Once at her side, I unhooked the first leash and was getting ready to hook it on Chloe's collar and bring her in the house. I've changed leashes before and felt comfortable doing that now.

I was nearly done unhooking one leash and about to hook it on the dog's collar when she suddently took off. Afraid that the dog would race across the street and get hit by a car, I raced after her. Long story short, I ran after her across five or six lawns. Everytime Chloe saw me get a little closer to her, she took off again in the opposite direction. Then I happened to see a neighbor and called out to him to stop Chloe in her tracks and thankfully, he did. He caught and held on to her until I arrived. My sister had driven over there and was getting ready to get Chloe in her car.

Anything could have happened during the chase. And it's true that Chloe was "playing." But all turned out well. I calmed down, washed my face and hands and changed my sweaty top.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Dogs at the vet's office

On occasions when I had to bring one of my cats to the vet's office, I've had a chance to observe dog owners and their dogs. Many of those dogs seemed to be obedient and loving toward their owners. Even the boxer-type dogs tended to sit quietly with their owners.

It couldn't have been an easy task to bring a dog to the vet. Somehow, dogs have an uncanny way of sensing that something different is about to happen and the time to escape is now. Cats are especially prone to that and will try to hide or stand their ground, ears down, claws out. But with dogs, things just seem to be different. For the most part, they're usually too ill to worry about getting away or resisting their owners' attempts to get them in a car or van. At least, the owners do not have to worry about coaxing a dog into a carrier. I've not seen this happen at all. Maybe dogs trusting their owners matters the most.