It’s National Pet ID Week

Standard
dog and boy

Make sure the family pet can find his way home by using pet identification.

So, it’s Pet ID Week – do you know where your pets are?

Just kidding. But are you prepared if you didn’t know where they were? Someone might have left a door open by mistake, or your dog saw something it wanted like a rabbit or squirrel while you were out on a walk, or it was bored and tunneled under or jumped over your fence – whatever the case may be, you’re pet needs proper identification. That way when a good Samaritan picks up your pet and takes it to a veterinarian, animal shelter, groomer, or elsewhere, you can be reunited with your pet that much sooner.

A scary statistic is that a family pet is lost every 2 seconds across the country. Another one is that a large, healthy dog can run up to five miles. Depending on where you live that could mean a whole lot of traffic or wildlife. To keep your pets safe, here are some methods of pet ID:

  1. ID tags. ID tags which are attached to the pet’s collar include the pet’s name, the owner’s name, and contact information. This method is also nice because the person who finds your pet doesn’t have to take it anywhere. They can contact you directly from the information on the tag. These are inexpensive and extremely helpful, but remember that your pet has to be wearing the collar for it to make any difference.  If you only put their collar on to go outside or for walks, you may want an additional form of protection.
  2. Like microchipping. Microchipping has become very popular in the last few years, and is a good back up plan if your pet escapes without its collar and ID tag. Your pet doesn’t need to be sedated for it to be implanted, and most veterinary practices and animal shelters now have scanners in order to scan your pet and bring up your contact information. Just remember that once your pet has had the chip implanted, you need to register that chip to your contact information, and if your information changes, you need to update that microchip account. Too often people change phone number, email, or move altogether without updating that information and then even though the lost pet is scanned, the person with your pet can’t find you.
Advertisements

A Day in the Life of Nikki Kline: Vacation

Standard
vacation dog

It’s vacation time!

As much as we enjoy our job, we occasionally take some time away and run off to new and exciting places. Sadly our own pets can’t always join us, which, at least for me, means that I’m getting a vacation from the “kids”.

My pre-vacation starts with a multiple page list of care instructions for my pet sitter. I should note, she probably would not need any instructions, as she has been watching my crew for multiple years, and they are pretty low maintenance (knock on wood). However, it makes my life less stressful to have: any number I can be reached at, at least two (usually more, I may be a bit compulsive) emergency contacts, all their microchip information, and feeding and medication instructions available. (Just in case my pet sitter comes down with amnesia.) As well as, god forbid, there be an emergency situation, I would prefer her not to need to search through her entire phone and have to guess which other people I have put on emergency standby.

During vacation, I go through a bit of pet withdrawal, because I am used to spending basically twenty-four hours a day with at least some sort of animal around me. What this means for anyone walking by with a pet ( I don’t specify dog, because I’ve also stopped to pet cats, ferrets and other exotics on leashes) is that I’m probably going to be asking them if it’s ok to pet them. And if they aren’t in a rush and I’m not getting to evil of looks from Kyle, I will get at least a few stories about them and play with them for a few minutes.

Also, I’m always on stray watch, which is particularly hard in different countries where they just have random animals wondering everywhere. In Belize, one particular dog chose wisely when picking his favorite chair to lay on, most people would be a bit grumpy if tackled by a 60-ish pound lab mix while sunbathing, but he picked the area with three vet techs who loved the snuggle time (please ignore the crazy tan lines you get when a dog is partially laying on you while sunning).
I also can spot veterinary hospitals like a champ. (This is a much more useful skill when I have one of my pets with me, but my brain doesn’t discriminate.)

Just because I’m not at work doesn’t mean I’m not looking out for a pet’s best interest. I have stalked in and out of restaurants while having dinner to make sure someone wasn’t leaving their dog in the car or tied to a post for more than a few moments. I had Kyle pull over the car to try to catch the cat that looked injured, (but could still seem to run well) and during our most recent trip, I tried to stop someone from putting the pet they brought on the plane in the overhead luggage compartment. (I will happily note the flight attendant was on the dog in the overhead luggage before I needed to say anything.)

Although I love traveling, I’m always excited to come home to my crew and, believe it or not, to work as well. It’s the best feeling in the world when you get home to a wagging tail and purrs when you walk through the door. I’ll even accept Norbert’s constant winding between my legs, begging for pets or trying to trip me with a smile. The first day back to work, I try to catch up on everyone that was in the hospital when I left. I want to see how they are feeling now or check-in on any of the “frequent flyers” to make sure they haven’t decided to have any new issues we will need to know about.

Nikki Kline, Veterinary Technician
French Creek Veterinary Hospital
www.frenchcreekvet.com

Have you thanked the animal shelter in your neighborhood lately?

Standard
Lucky

This is Lucky, a dog adopted from a rural shelter after he was found wandering in the woods on his own.

This week is Animal shelter & rescue appreciation week. November is also Adopt a Senior Pet Month. I love when things come together so nicely. Like we talked about in the last post on Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, there are many reasons to consider adopting a shelter animal. In addition to needing a good home and someone to love them, I genuinely believe that rescue animals are more appreciative. Like the memory of being in a run with a concrete floor and 95 dogs all barking at once or being a cat stuffed in a cage with 10 others doesn’t leave them once they get to their new home. 3 of the 4 dogs I’ve had in my life have been rescues, and they are totally worth it.

Maybe you don’t have time or room for a pet right now. You can always donate to the shelter of your choice whom you think is doing a great job or volunteer your time to help with the animals or answer phones.

To anyone who has adopted a senior pet from either a shelter or a friend, I salute you. These animals often get overlooked when people are shopping for a new pet because who doesn’t love a puppy or a kitten. But senior pets have a lot of love to give too, and you might be surprised how well they will blend into your home. They are already potty trained, leash trained, know at least basic commands and have probably calmed down a lot from their puppy or kitten-hood. In addition, they probably don’t even know why their in a shelter to begin with. Maybe their owner passed away, hit hard times or had to move away. There are many possibilities.

Here are some great links if you want to investigate a little more.

Top 10 reasons to adopt an older dog

Pet statistics in the US

Questions to ask yourself before adopting

It’s Adopt a Shelter Dog Month!

Standard
Guinness

Guinness, a former shelter dog rescued by a PVMA employee.

We’ve all seen them … those commercials that show dogs in need of a home that have you reaching for the tissue box. More often than not these dogs appear dirty, hungry, and massively depressed. While it does tug at the heart strings, it might not be the best advertisement for actually motivating someone to go out and adopt a shelter or rescue dog. All joking aside, visiting your local rescue or shelter is a great way to save the life of a dog who is looking for a good home. You’ll gain a faithful companion and I guarantee you they will enrich your life as much as you will theirs. Dogs reduce stress, and there’s nothing better than coming home after a stressful day to someone who is simply thrilled that you returned.

Something else to consider, especially if you’re a first time dog owner, is the cost associated with owning a pet. There are a lot of costs associated including food and snacks, grooming costs or grooming products, vaccinations, regular veterinary care, and possible costs associated with illness and medication or treatments. Then there is bedding, toys … the list goes on. Click here to view the ASPCA’s in depth examination of pet care costs. It’s a great guide! Plus, if you do get a dog, the ASPCA has presents for you! Sign up for their free Pet Safety Pack which includes a window sticker for emergency services and an ASPCA magnet with important information on it.

Maybe you want a pet but don’t know how to judge which individual animal might best suit your personality and lifestyle. Fret no more! Check out the ASPCA’s Meet Your Match page. For both dogs and cats, it gives you tips on decoding personality traits so you can pick the right pet before getting home and finding out it’s not exactly a match made in heaven.

So if you’ve been toying with getting a dog, consider visiting your local shelter or rescue and see if they have a dog that might be right for you. Click here to search on available dogs in a shelter near you.

September is Happy Cat Month!

Standard

Tabby kittenNo grumpy cats here!

September is happy cat month, and the CATalyst Council has some great tips for keeping your cat smiling all year long.

Go to the vet! It’s no secret that cats receive significantly less veterinary care than other pets, in part because it can be such an ordeal to get them there. Cat-friendly practices can share tips with you on making the trip less stressful for you and your cat. See if there is one near you here.

Preventive care. Even cats that stay inside can wind up with parasites that are carried in accidentally by other family members. Work with your veterinarian to come up with a treatment plan.

Get them microchipped. If your cat would get lost, there’s no better way to make sure they get returned to you than to have them microchipped. It’s important to remember to register the microchip with the tracking company once it’s implanted, and be sure to keep your information up to date if you move or your phone number or email address change.

Play! A cat with toys is a happy cat, plus it can help keep them out of trouble. Try more than one type of toy to see which kinds are their favorites.

Get to work. Training your cat basic commands or even a few tricks can be fun and stimulating for your cat, plus your getting to spend some quality time together.

Don’t overfeed. Feline obesity is a growing problem (no pun intended), and having an overweight cat can cause health problems. Consider toys that release small bits of food as the cat plays with it, or moving their food dish so they have to use their hunting instincts to locate it.

Keep the cat carrier out. If your cat only sees the cat carrier when it’s time to go to the veterinarian, they might not look upon it fondly. Keep it out with the door open where the cat can access it at any time. Put a blanket and toys inside to encourage them to spend time in there at their leisure. Hopefully with repeated access, it won’t be so scary when it’s time to travel.

Get some fresh air. Whether you let them roam the yard while you supervise or you invest in a harness and leash for a walk, any cat will benefit from a little fresh air and exercise.

Get a scratching post. Scratch the post, not your furniture! Stretching and scratching are normal behaviors – definitely provide an appropriate place for them to do it.

Get some company. Consider going to a local shelter and adopting a buddy for your cat. Having a playmate can help keep them happy and occupied during the day, and can encouragev exercise if they like to romp around together.

There are lots of great resources available for cat owners. Here are a few that we like.

5 Ways to Have Fun With Your New Cat!

Standard

June is Adopt-a-Shelter Cat Month! If you are planning on bringing home a new furry feline friend, here are some tips courtesy of the CATalyst Council on 5 fun activities to do with a newly adopted cat.

  1. kitten

    June is Adopt-a-Shelter Cat Month!

    Set up your cat’s first veterinary visit. Ensuring your newly found friend lives a long and happy life starts when you establish a relationship with your local veterinarian. While your cat may have received some basic vaccinations prior to its adoption, it is important that you see your veterinarian as soon as possible. At your first visit, discuss preventive healthcare. After your initial visit, make sure your cat sees a veterinarian at least once a year for a routine wellness exam. By starting right after you adopt your cat, you’ll establish a close and helpful relationship with your cat’s health care expert.

  2. Teach your cat a trick. While most cat owners will tell you how smart their cats are, many don’t realize that their feline friends can learn tricks. With a little patience and some rewards—treats or a favorite toy will work—your cat can easily learn to sit, roll over, jump, give five — your imagination is the limit! The activity will also strengthen the bond between you and your cat and exercise your cat’s mind.
  3. Get your cat to love its carrier. If your cat sees its carrier as a great place to hang out, it will make going anywhere—the veterinarian, a friend’s house, the pet store—pleasant for both of you. Follow the tips in this video and your cat will love the carrier.
  4. Take your cat outside (appropriately). While most veterinarians and cat experts recommend that cats live indoors, it can be good for your cat to venture outside as long as it is restrained on a leash with a cat harness or in a cat stroller. The fresh air and sights will invigorate your cat. Training your cat to be comfortable on a leash can take a little patience, but your cat will love these outings once it is used to the sensation of the harness.
  5. Play with your cat. Part of the joy of having a new cat is figuring out what makes it tick. All cats have a prey drive and are natural hunters, but figuring out which type of prey toy it likes best is great fun for both you and your cat. Try different objects—fishing-type toys, fake mice, a ball in a stationary round track, food reward toys — there are an abundance of cat toys on the market and you can even find sites online that can show you how to make your own. But be on the lookout and immediately remove a toy if it is destroyed or broken. Also inspect toys prior to purchasing for choking hazards.

Each of these activities will help to cement the bond between you and your new feline friend. Cats are wonderful companions and, when given proper attention and health care, can live for more than 20 years. From day one, ensure you are doing your part to help your cat live the longest and healthiest life possible.

###
The CATalyst Council is a national organization which includes a wide variety of animal health and welfare organizations as well as corporate members of the animal health industry that are working together to improve the health and welfare of America’s favorite pet. It was founded in response to troubling statistics released by the American Veterinary Medical Association that indicate an increase in our nation’s pet cat population coupled with a decline in veterinary care for those cats. More information about the CATalyst Council is available at http://www.catalystcouncil.org.

June is Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat Month

Standard

iStock_000005893587SmallJune is designated Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat month. I’m not sure when you last went to a local shelter, but I know the last time I visited my local shelter, the “cat room” was all but overflowing. Every color, age, shape or size you could think of – there was a cat to fit that bill. Or several. Why so many cats at the shelter?

Felines that have never been spayed or neutered are a big reason. Many cat owners don’t worry about an unexpected litter of kittens because they don’t routinely let their cats roam outdoors. Some of these same owners feel veterinary care isn’t a priority if their pet isn’t mixing with other cats or doesn’t appear sick.  But if your cat gets out unexpectedly, there are a whole host of issues to worry about.

Parasites like fleas, ticks, and many more are everywhere. Whatever your cat picks up on its outdoor adventure will be coming into your house when it returns. Likewise, if your cat isn’t vaccinated against rabies, heartworms, and other common ailments, it’s vulnerable when it’s outside on its own. Keep in mind that rabid animals aren’t always obvious. Most of think of foaming at the mouth and aggressive behavior, but these are the final signs of rabies. Until the disease takes hold, a rabid animal can look and behave like a perfectly healthy one, potentially exposing everyone in the household to rabies.

But more importantly, feral cats are everywhere, and your cat’s outdoor adventure can lead to an unexpected litter of kittens later. Unfortunately, more often than not, those kittens end up at the shelter. Some people also tire of their cats and surrender them, perhaps an elderly owner passed away, someone had a baby and doesn’t have time or money for their pet anymore, the list goes on and on. For some reason animals at shelters always seem to have a stigma attached to them like they are second class citizens. Like they’re not quite good enough or they would have a home by now. I’ve adopted two dogs from the pound over the years and both were the best dogs I’ve ever had. Shelter cats were just in the wrong place at the wrong time and are looking for a good home. Before you head to the pet store or a breeder, stop in your local shelter and see what they have to offer. No matter what personality type, color, age or size you’re looking for, chances are you’ll find it there.

Pet Finder can help you find a shelter near you.