Keep your cat safe today

Black catHalloween is a favorite holiday for many humans, but it also brings a number of dangers for pets. Here are five tips for keeping your cats safe:

1. Keep black cats indoors.

This is a time of the year when superstition runs high. Some people are outright cruel to black cats, and others are just thoughtless. This has escalated to a point where some shelters won’t adopt out black cats during the month of October. It also happens that people take black cats indoors as a neat decoration, not giving a second thought to the cat’s wellbeing or home. Keep your black cat indoors until the holiday is over.

It is also wise to confine cats. Ringing doorbells, people shouting “trick or treat” and the front door repeatedly opening and closing can be scary to a cat. It’s better to keep kitty locked in a back room than a panicked cat rushing through the door.

2. Hang decorations high

Candy wrappers, tinsel, and decoration are irresistible to cats. Keep decorations out of reach and throw all candy wrappers away at once. Cats might not immediately want to eat wrappers, but if they play with them they might accidentally ingest one anyway. Wrappers and tinsel can cause intestinal blockage and require surgery.

3. Keep human candy out of reach

Human candy is bad for cats and dogs. Chocolate, xylitol, and other substances that we enjoy are highly toxic to pets. Also watch out with the carved pumpkin. Unsweetened canned pumpkin is great for pets, but the carved pumpkin that’s been on the porch for days can be rife with bacteria.

4. Be careful with candles

There are many fun and cute Halloween candles. Don’t keep lit candles in the same room as the cat – cats and fire make a recipe for disaster.

5. Watch out for electric cords

Many halloween decorations come with lights, and electric cords can seem like a lot of fun to a cat. Chewing on cords can cause electrocution and burns. Also keep batteries out of reach and sight. Cats love to swat batteries around, but that game can get really dangerous if they bite they battery.

Stay safe, and Happy Halloween!

Do you want an intelligent dog?

Most Afghan Hounds do well with a Large PlexiDor Dog DoorWhen posed with the question if you want an intelligent dog or not, most are bound to answer “Yes.” Of course everyone wants a smart companion that can solve problems and figure things out just like in the movies. Right?

To be able to answer the question, we first have to define intelligence – there are different types of smarts, both in people and in pets. When it comes to dogs, we normally classify three types:

Instinctive Intelligence is what a dog is bred to do, and does naturally without special training. Herding breeds, for example, will often herd without being trained to do so.

Adaptive Intelligence is what a dog can learn by itself.

Obedience Intelligence is what a dog can be taught to do.

Most people think of obedience intelligence when discussing dog smarts, but there are more factors that weigh into that category than just brainpower. Some breeds are, for instance, more willing to please humans than others, and they will be easier to train.

Dogs with a high adaptive intelligence are good at figuring things out. That can be great in many situations – and not so great when the dog teaches itself to open doors and drawers.

When you decide what breed to get, think of what you really want from your dog. Do you want a high-energy brainac, or someone that will learn tricks and do what you tell them?

Which breed is smartest?

Border Collies are generally considered the smartest dogs. They rank high in all three forms of intelligence.

Afghan Hounds are considered the least smart when it comes to obedience intelligence. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re the dumbest when it comes to adaptive intelligence.

Cats are generally smarter than dogs when it comes to adaptive intelligence, and they’re really good at using their paws. Dogs are more willing to be trained and score higher on obedience intelligence.

Just how smart is a dog?

The average pooch can learn 165 words. The smarter breeds can learn around 250 words, and the smartest (Border Collies) over 1,000 words. On top of that, dogs have an understanding of basic arithmetic. Depending on breed they can count at least up to four or five, and they understand addition and subtraction.

Many believe that dogs don’t understand time, but that’s not entirely true. We haven’t been able to measure a dog’s perception of time, but they certainly know that some events happen in order.

Can I make my dog smarter?

Yes, a dog’s brain needs training just like a human’s. Dogs raised in a stimulating environment will learn faster and become smarter than dogs that are raised in a boring environment. New challenges and experiences help develop the brain.

Will you celebrate cat day?

Cats have personalities just like peopleToday is cat day – a day dedicated to the celebration, worship, and adoration of cats. If you have a cat, today is a great day to spend some extra time with your feline friends. If you don’t have a cat, there are many waiting for adoption in shelters and rescues around the country, and cat day might be a good excuse to welcome a kitty home.

The Cat Fancier’s Association has made a list of most popular cat breeds. The number one spot has been held by the Persian cat for over 30 years! Here is the top five:

1. Persian

This breed is named after its home country – Persia. (Today’s Iran.) They are known for being friendly and calm, and make great indoor cats.

2. Exotic Shorthair

These cats almost look like teddy bears. They are easy-going, affectionate, and generally get along well with other pets.

3. Maine Coon

This is one of the oldest breeds from the USA and it is known for its fantastic hunting abilities. It was bred as a working cat able to withstand harsh wether. Main Coons are generally friendly, love children, and love water.

4. Ragdoll

The Ragdoll was developed to be a companion, and these cats love being near their humans. They are large, sturdy, and have bright blue eyes.

5. British Shorthair

The British Shorthair are calm and affectionate. They generally go along well with other pets, but they dislike being carried.

Are there hypoallergenic cats?

Russian Blue
The Russian Blue produces little allergens

Many believe that a cat or dog breed being hypoallergenic means they can’t cause allergies. That’s not entirely accurate – hypoallergenic means that something has a smaller risk of causing allergies, but it can still happen. There are no non-allergenic cats or dogs, but there are hypoallergenic cats breeds.

Many also believe that allergies are connected to the cat’s coat, but that’s not always the case either. Most people are allergic against proteins from the cat’s skin oils and saliva. These proteins are in turn distributed on shed fur. This means that some cat breeds – with fur – are gentler for persons with allergies than others.

The Balinese is a good example. These cats are sometimes called the “longhaired Siamese,” but despite their coat they produce little of the protein that causes allergies. This is also true for the Russian Blue and the heavily coated Siberian.

Bengals certainly aren’t hairless, and they produce just as much of the protein as many other breeds, but their coat is so fine that they don’t have to groom themselves as much as other cats. That means their hair carries less of the protein. Another upside of the Bengal is that they shed little, so what allergens are present won’t be spread around as much as with other breeds.

Cornish Rex is another breed that works well for many with allergies. They’re not entirely hairless, but they only have an undercoat. Since they’re less hairy than other breeds they also shed less, and cause less allergies.

The Sphynx cat is completely hairless. They have no fur that can trap allergens and shed around the house, and the allergy-causing substances stick to the cat.

Hurricane and Jordan protect the White House

The Secret Service has previously had problems keeping fence jumpers away from the White House. It’s hard to stop a runner without shooting them, and as recently as September a person managed to jump the fence and med it all the way inside the Executive Mansion. Someone tried again a few days ago, but this time, four-footed officers Hurricane and Jordan were there to thwart the attempt.

Hurricane and Jordan might not be the kind of Secret Service heroes Hollywood shows us on the silver screen, but they are real, fast, and efficient. The two Belgian Malinois dogs caught the intruder within seconds and held him until human agents caught up with them.

The intruder tried to kick and punch the dogs, and they were slightly injured in the line of duty, but received swift veterinary care. Attempting to injure law enforcement animals is a bad idea – the intruder may now be prosecuted not just for illegally enter the White House grounds, but also be prosecuted under the Federal Law Enforcement Animal Protection Act. The act makes it illegal to even try to inflict injury upon animals used by federal law enforcement.

Hurricane is a six year old Belgian Malinois, and he likes his Kong toy. Jordan is a five year old Belgian Malinois, and he likes walks around the White House.

 

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Keep Halloween candy away from the dog

Joy!Halloween is just a week away, and while dogs may dress up and go trick or treating, we have to be cautious with what we feed them. Many children want to share, and this is a kind side that should be rewarded, but pets should not eat human candy – or decorations. 

If you will have plenty of candy and/or children in your house, or take your dog trick or treating, it’s a good idea to bring some safe dog treats.

The four most common hazards around Halloween are:

1. Chocolate

By now most people know that chocolate is dangerous to pets. It holds a strong allure and many dogs will go to great lengths to get to chocolate, so keep it safely out of reach.

2. Overindulging in treats and candy

Human candy in general isn’t good for pets – it contains too much sugar and artificial substances. Sugar-free candies often contain Xylitol, which is potentially lethal to pets.

3. Raisins

Raisins and grapes can cause kidney failure in dogs. Treat raisins like chocolate and keep them in a safe place.

4. Wrappers

Wrappers smell and taste like candy. Eating cellophane and foil can obstruct the bowel and require surgery. Get rid of all wrappers at once so they don’t pose a temptation.

 

Five common mistakes amongst dog owners

There are many health benefits to petsDogs and humans are so different, and even though we want our dogs to be happy, there are some common mistakes that are stressful for dogs. Small changes can have a big impact on the dog’s well being, and in the long run make the whole family happier.

1. Dogs need exercise

Most people have crammed schedules and it can be hard to find the time and energy to exercise the dog. It’s wise to choose a dog breed with energy needs that fit your lifestyle, but even breeds that are mostly inactive and content with being indoors need some exercise.

Letting the dog into the yard isn’t enough. Take your furry friend for a daily walk, or play ball together. There are many ways to make sure your dog gets sufficient exercise, and you can have fun while doing it together.

2. Don’t take your dog’s food bowl away while their eating

Many people think they need to take the dog’s food away in the middle of each meal, or take the toy the dog is playing with. If your dog is properly raised and socialized he will share food and toys with you if needed, and you don’t have to keep taking it away to prove the point. Your dog won’t understand why you keep taking it, and there’s a big risk he will end up stressed, anxious, and even aggressive from knowing the food will disappear.

3. Crates are not meant for punishment

A crate can be a great training tool and your dog’s sanctuary. It needs to be a safe place where your dog can rest and feel secure. Many owners use the crate for time-outs when the dog has done something wrong, but dogs don’t understand that. Using the crate for punishment won’t solve the problem with whatever the dog did wrong, and it can ruin the dog’s safe place.

4. Teach your dog what’s right instead of yelling

It’s human to raise one’s voice when someone doesn’t listen, but it doesn’t work on dogs. If your dog doesn’t have basic training, he won’t understand to come to you because you shout louder. Watch yourself during a day – if you yell a lot at your dog, you might need to take him to doggie school, or at least look over your methods of training. Make a point of rewarding the right behavior instead of scolding the wrong.

5. Is your dog alone too much?

Dogs are social, and many dog owners work more than eight hours a day or travel a lot. If you have a dog it’s important to fit in time for exercise and play. If you can’t do it yourself, consider finding a dog walker or daycare. If your dog is alone to much they’ll be sad, stressed, and unhealthy.

Did your dog eat something he shouldn’t?

There are many stories about dogs eating everything from stuffed toys to gravel. Some dogs never get into trouble, and others eat everything they can get a hold of. If your best friend falls into the latter category it’s wise to dog-proof your home. If doggie can’t get to something, he won’t eat it.

If your dog still manages to eat the remote control or something from the laundry pile, go see a vet. If your normal vet is closed, call the nearest emergency animal clinic and tell them what happened. Some objects will pass on their own, but others can create great damage.

Many pet owners are tempted to wait and hope for the best – even if the dog ate something toxic – but it’s not a wise course of action. Call a veterinarian. The more time that passes, the costlier it will be to fix the problem – and the more dangerous to your pet.

Common signs that your dog ate something he shouldn’t have include vomiting, gagging, stomach pain, lethargy, loss of appetite, changes in bowels, and changes in behavior.

 

Choosing a dog toy

Labrador RetrieverBuying a toy for the pooch can be much like buying a present for a toddler – the box turns out to be more interesting than what’s in it. 

We’ve written several posts about dog toys before, discussing examples of good dog toys, whether dog toys are important, and how to get the most out of dog toys, but there’s still one aspect to cover: what dogs like.

Dogs are very much individuals, and toys that appeal to one dog might do nothing for another. Some dogs think a tennis ball is bliss, others find it completely uninteresting. Personal preferences aside, most dogs agree that toys that taste good, make noise, or can be torn apart are interesting. Hard and quiet toys are less interesting that soft and noisy toys.

Dogs need mental stimulation as well as physical exercise, and new toys are more interesting than old toys. For that reason it can be a good idea to keep most of your dog’s toys tucked away and rotate them on a weekly basis – that way they will stay interesting longer.

Dogs are more interested when their person plays with them. If we’re exceed, they’re excited. Playing alone is pretty boring, but playing with their human is the best thing ever.

Naturally, keep an eye on your dog when playing with toys that can be torn apart and swallowed.

Australian cat bumps up house price

Real estate agents see and hear a lot of things, but Australian cat Tiffany might still be something new. Or rather, the commotion around her. 

Tiffany’s owners sold their home on an auction, and the top bid came in at $2,060,000 Australian. The top bidders had an unusual request; their daughter fell in love with Tiffany when touring the house and they offered to raise their bid with $140,000 Australian if Tiffany would come with the house.

The owner’s 19 year old son is not happy about losing his pet. Thus far, Tiffany herself hasn’t voiced an opinion.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLM9sonzedc

The PlexiDor is a Fave Find in Modern Dog Magazine!

Modern Dog Magazine is a fabulous lifestyle magazine for modern dogs and their companions, and we are thrilled to be listed as a “Fave Find.”

MDM writes, “If you’re in the market for a pet door, we’ve found the perfect one for you.” and follows with “Not only will your pet have the freedom to go in and out as he pleases, you’ll save money on your energy bill too. Win-win!”

Thank you Modern Dog Magazine!

Click here to read the article.

PlexiDor is a Fave Find in Modern Dog Magazine!

PlexiDor dog doors featured in the Edmonton Journal

PlexiDor dog doors were recently featured in the Edmonton Journal. The paper wrote, “Doggie doors eliminate middle man. Let your pet hit the yard without the need for a human gatekeeper.”

The feature goes on with asking, “How many times a day would you use the door if your bathroom wasn’t inside the house? Now add the times when you leave to get some fresh air, a change of scenery, or to greet someone.”

This is exactly what the PlexiDor is about – freedom for the pets to go outside or come in without having to wait for the humans to get home from work or out of bed, and freedom from worry for pet lovers.

To read the story, click here to visit the Edmonton Journal’s website, or Read the PlexiDor article as pdf.

 

PlexiDor dog doors in the Edmonton Journal
PlexiDor dog doors in the Edmonton Journal

PlexiDor featured in Petsguide Magazine

The PlexiDor Pet Door was recently featured in Petsguide Magazine under the headline “Cool Pet Stuff – Things You didn’t Know You Wanted to Know.” This is an online guide for pet lovers in orange county and long beach. 

The feature describes key features of the PlexiDor pet door and mentions, “Their product development team has worked closely with pet owners around the world to design and engineer a strong, safe, energy efficient and dependable product designed for years of trouble free use.” This is a very important point, because the door has to work as well in a hot desert climate as in the frigid air of Canada or Scandinavia.

To read the full article, click here or on the banner below.

PlexiDor pet doors were featured in Petsguide Magazine

Five energetic dog breeds

When choosing a dog it’s wise to get a breed whose needs fit with the family’s habits. A family that values sofa time above everything else will likely run into trouble with a high energy dog that needs a lot of exercise and mental stimulation, and an active family that’s always on the go might be disappointed if the dog isn’t up to hiking, bike riding, or whatever it might be.

As a rule of thumb, working breeds are energetic, need a lot of activity, and are happiest when they have a job to do. This is particularly true when it comes to the herding breeds, because they’re bred to act individually, to make decisions, and to run non stop day after day.

If you’re considering an energetic breed, think about the following two questions:

  1. Can you handle a dog with endless energy that’s rarely tired or interested in a nap? Many intelligent dogs are also “teenagers” longer than other breeds, which can mean puppy energy in an adult body for years.
  2. Do you want an independent thinker that can draw conclusions – and gets bored quickly?

Here are five of the most energetic dog breeds. They’re all beautiful and make great family friends, but without ample exercise and mental stimulation they will all invent something to do – like remodeling all your furniture or checking what’s behind the wall paper.

5. Jack Russell Terrier

You might not think such a little and charming dog can get into much trouble, but Jack Russells were bred to work and can be very intelligent and active. If left with too much time on his paws, the Jack Russell is likely to find a stimulating task. Like, excavating the garden – these dogs love to dig.

Jack Russell Terrier

4. Dalmatian 

These are wonderful dogs for the right family: loyal, friendly, intelligent, playful, and energetic. The breed originally guarded stables and fire houses, and ran with coaches and horses all day. This required a lot of energy and stamina. Dalmatians require a lot of exercise and continuous mental stimulation.

Dalmatian

3. Australian Cattle Dog

These dogs are also known as red heelers or blue heelers, and they’re known for impressive stamina and endurance. They’re amazing if you’re looking for a running buddy, or plan to work or compete with your dog. If you only have time for a short walk each day and the rest of the time will be spent in an apartment, this might not be the best choice.

Australian Cattle Dog

2. Australian Shepherd

While the Australian Cattle Dog is a breed from Australia, the Australian Shepherd comes from the USA and got its name from herding Australian sheep. This is a devoted breed who loves the family, but they’re also really smart and energetic. Like the other dogs in the list, the Aussie does best when there’s plenty to keep him occupied.

Australian Shepherd

1. Border Collie

The Border Collie constantly tops lists with smartest dogs, and this isn’t just because they’re easy to train – they are masters of independent thinking. Match that with explosive energy, and the Border Collie can be a handful for the wrong family. While exercise is great, just running won’t make the Border Collie tired – mental stimulation is required.

Border Collie

Maintain the litter box

maine coon catCats are naturally clean and hate dirty, stinky litter boxes. If the box isn’t squeaky clean, your kitty might search for a substitute, and whether that’s a corner of the carpet or a basket of clean clothes, you don’t want it to happen.

If the litter box is squeaky clean and your cat still avoids it, consider seeing a vet – it might be a sign of a physical problem.

The box itself

Some cats are picky about the box itself. It needs to be large enough to scratch, dig, and turn around in – and it has to be easy to get in and out. Many cats don’t like covered litter boxes, because they trap the smell. Cats have 14 times the sense of scent we do, and they don’t want to smell their own waste any more than we do.

Many cats get along fine with automatic litter boxes, but others don’t like them at all. In that case, a large plastic box scooped manually a couple of days is the best choice, even though it requires work.

A box for each cat

Many multi-cat households only have one box, and this can also lead to problems. A rule of thumb is one box for each cat, and maybe one extra. It’s okay to have the boxes side by side.

The litter

Some people like to use a liner in the box. That’s a personal preference – the cats usually don’t care. Most litter manufacturers recommend using 2″ to 3″ of litter, but if you have a deep scratcher you might want to use up to 4″. It’s easiest to use clumping litter, because it’s easy to scoop.

Pick a scoop that fits your litter – large particle litter requires larger holes to sift the clean litter out, while fine-grained litter needs smaller holes.

The box should be scooped at least twice a day.

Clean the box

Regular scooping and replacing the litter will keep the box clean and smelling fresh for quite a while, but eventually you’ll need to empty it and clean it. Depending on the type of litter you use this might need to be done weekly, or monthly. If you don’t like the smell, you cats won’t like it either.

Wash the empty box thoroughly with hot water and detergent. Rinse well and spray with a mild bleach solution. Make sure you don’t use a cleaner with ammonia, because this smells a little like a cat’s pee, and might make them avoid the box.

Did you know there’s a rattlesnake vaccine for dogs?

Every year, around 300,000 dogs and cats are bitten by venomous snakes in the USA. While many dog owners may know they live in an area with rattlesnakes, they might not know there’s a vaccine available for dogs.

The vaccine has been developed to provide protection against the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake’s venom. While it is most effective against bites from this particular snake, it also gives some protection against similar venoms through generating protective antibodies that can neutralize the venom.

Dogs with the antibodies experience less pain and have less risk of permanent injury from a bite. Vaccinated dogs typically have less swelling, less tissue damage, and recover quicker. If the dog is bit it should still see a veterinarian.

How often the dog should be vaccinated depends on how big the risk is, how big the dog is, and other factors.

If your dog is bitten by a rattlesnake or other snake, it is always an emergency. Even a vaccinated dog needs to see a veterinarian for evaluation – the dose of venom can be more than the immunity from the vaccine can handle. Bites from non venomous snakes are also serious, because they can lead to infections, and the dog might need antibiotics. If your dog is bit by a snake, time is of the essence. Go see at vet at once.

To learn more about rattlesnake vaccine, click here to visit Red Rock Biologics.

Rescue dog saves family from fire

A couple of years ago, Teddy the Golden Retriever was alone in a state park in Livonia NY, slowly starving to death. Teddy was lucky – he was rescued, and adopted by Ms Vanzandt who nursed him back to health.

When Teddy’s owner headed out of the country for a short trip, she dropped the dog off with her son and his family. Little did they know how important the dog’s stay would be: he woke them up in the middle of the night, just in time to escape a blazing fire.

The fire started downstairs when flames in a fireplace melted through the mortar between the bricks. Without the dog, the family sleeping upstairs would probably never have woken up. Just minutes after everyone made it out of the house, the building was a ball of flame.

All their belongings are gone, but thanks to Teddy no one in the family was hurt.

Ten signs you’re a dog person

Girl and dogIf you have a dog – or several – life tends to revolve around the furry friend. Here are ten signs you’re a dog person.

1. Your house is littered with old tennis balls, chewed toys, squeaky stuffed animals, rawhide bones, and maybe even sticks from a nearby tree.

2. All efforts to keep windows clean fail – the nose art just keeps reappearing.

3. You know the names of dogs in the neighborhood, but not of the people.

4. You’re always finding empty plastic bag in your pockets and purse.

5. People with dogs are more attractive than people without dogs.

6. If someone says they don’t like dogs you don’t find them trustworthy.

7. You don’t care what happens to people in movies, but you worry the dog might die.

8. ASPCA commercials make you cry.

9. Your dog gets wrapped Christmas presents, and maybe even their own birthday cakes.

10. When you travel, you miss your dog more than your family.

Did we miss any points in the list?

What would it be like to be a cat?

Black catHave you ever wondered why it would be like to be a cat?

While no one can truly experience the world like another species does, here are some highlights of the differences between humans and cats.

A cat’s vision is quite different from a human’s. Cats see colors, but not in the same way we do, and the muted colors make it easier for them to see movement. They also see well in light conditions that would render a human virtually blind.

On the other hand they can’t focus on anything that’s closer than a foot away, and they use their whiskers for detecting objects close the their bodies.

Cats also move quite differently from humans. They have a unique skeletal structure that lets them scale vertical walls, balance on the top of fences, and land on their feet. Their posture allows them to move quietly as well as absorbing the shock of falling from heights many time their size. In addition to all this, their back legs work almost like springs and can propel them upwards and forwards at great speed.

The cats’ ears are also different from a human’s. They can rotate their ears independently up to 180 degrees, and they can hear a wider range of sounds than we can. A cat with normal hearing can detect 11 octaves, which is two more than a human and even more than a dog. They also have a much larger number of neurons between the ear and the brain than most other mammals, so they can decipher all this information quickly.

So, what about the sense of smell? A cat has a sense of smell at least 100 times better than a human, and it can distinguish between thousands of smells. They also have a secondary scent organ above the roof of their mouths to help them detect odors when they breathe.