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November 2020 Newsletter



We may have to do things a bit differently this year, but I know we can all find something in our lives to be thankful for.

Thanksgiving is a time for friends, family, and holiday feasts - but also a time for possible distress for our pets. .They will not be so grateful if they munch on undercooked turkey or a pet-unfriendly floral arrangement, or if they stumble upon an unattended alcoholic drink

Most of us feel we want to share our holiday fare with our pets. If we are sharing a bit of turkey, make sure it is boneless and well-cooked. Raw or undercooked turkey contains salmonella bacteria. Also, the left-over carcass - the bones can be problematic for the digestive tract.

If you are a baker, refrain from giving pets bread dough. When a dog or cat ingests raw bread dough, the yeast continues to convert the sugars in the dough to carbon dioxide gas and alcohol. This can result in bloated, drunken pets, which could become a life-threatening emergency requiring hospitalization.

Likewise, be sure your pets keep their noses out of the cookie or cake batter, especially if it includes raw eggs - the batter could contain salmonella bacteria that may lead to food poisoning.

While you enjoy the holiday meal, give your cat and dog a small feast of their own. Add a few pieces of turkey, vegetables (try sweet potato or green beans), and dribbles of gravy into their usual dinner or inside a food puzzle toy. This will keep them away from your table, and everyone can happily enjoy their feast.

Happy Thanksgiving to All!

Tell Your Pets You Love Them In Their Language

Are you devoted to your dog? Do you cherish your cat? Of course, you do! We're sure your pets know how much you care about them. However, if you learn to speak a little dog or cat, you can strengthen your relationship with your best buddy. The truth is that dogs and cats show their love a little bit differently than humans do. So let's give them some puppy (or kitty) love! Here is a primer on speaking their language.

Try gazing deeply into your dog's eyes. Dogs don't give hugs as we do, but they are hugging you in their own way when they stare at you. Next time you're petting Fido be sure to look at him lovingly; he'll understand what you're saying, loud and clear.

When a cat greets another cat or a person with slow, languid blinks, it's communicating affection. ... Because in the feline world, closing one's eyes in the presence of another is the ultimate sign of trust. By blinking slowly at your cat, you communicate that you are aware of its presence, pose no threat, and are showing your kitty affection.

Foster your pet's food drive. Although cats can be picky about food at times, most pets will not turn down a premium treat. Play some hide and seek games with them and offer a yummy treat. Or hand-feed them, which shows how much you love your pets when you share your food with them.

Does your dog occasionally lean on you? That's his way of saying I love you, so turn the tables around and do some leaning on your pooch!

Scent mingle - cats like to leave their scent on their best friends, so let your cat rub your legs now and then. If your cat likes her face rubbed, do that too. Cats have scent glands around their whiskers, and they only leave their scent on people they feel secure with.

Show your emotions! Dogs are especially good at reading our emotions. Cats have this ability too. A Japanese study proved that dogs feel loving emotions when you raise your eyebrows (especially the left one). In the study, they didn't react the same way when strangers showed the same expressions.

Rub their ears and scratch their necks. Most animals love this because it relaxes them. Animals have nerves that run around their ears and neck that, when scratched, will send endorphins to their brain. Endorphins are our body's natural happy drugs that make us feel good.

Grooming both cats and dogs is a great way to show them how much you love them. Besides looking good, it creates a real sense of belonging to the family.

Talk to your pets! Many of us already do this (especially if you live alone with your pet) but may not want to admit it. Talk to your pets in a calm and happy voice, and they will pick up right away what you're trying to tell them.

Sleep and snuggle with your friend. That's a sure way to let them know that you love her and that you're all in the same pack. If you prefer sleeping alone, then spend some time during the day cuddling with your pet.

Respect your pet's rights to express themselves. If your kitty goes into another room for some quiet time, let her have it. The same is true with your dog; if he moves away from you, give him some space. Everyone loves respect!

These very simple actions express a lot of meaning to your pet, and any one of them says, "I love you" in pet speak!

FLUTD - A Serious Feline Problem

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease can be life-threatening, so it's important to know how to identify this problem. The term FLUTD actually covers a variety of conditions that affect feline urinary tracts. Because of this, it can be a bit tricky to diagnose.

Cases of FLUTD in cats have gone up since the beginning of COVID. According to the Tufts School of Veterinary Medicine, cases are up in some areas by 40% from previous years.

According to Tufts, feline stress is often the cause of FLUTD. New cases often happen around holidays or after a new baby is born. The current thinking is that the increase this year is due to stress over COVID. Although your cat may not be watching the news, you are, and when you're stressed, so are your pets.

The signs of FLUTD are:

  • Frequent trips to the litter box
  • In the box for a long time
  • Going to the box and trying but very little happening
  • Crying (in pain)
  • Excessive grooming
  • Accidents outside of the litter box
  • Blood in your kitty's urine

Expect your vet to do a physical exam and a complete urinalysis. If that doesn't indicate the cause, you'll see blood work done, possibly a culture, and an x-ray. But it's well worth doing - if your cat has a blockage; this is a life-threatening condition.

To prevent FLUTD from happening, talk to your vet about why it happened, and if a different type of food might help. Feed smaller meals, supply her with plenty of fresh water, add an extra litter box in a new location, and try and keep your cat's stress to a minimum. 

Should your kitty show any of these symptoms make a vet appointment pronto. Soon your cat will be back to napping, playing, and cuddling!

Counter Surfing!

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, your canine buddy may be looking up to your countertops for his next treat. Dogs are opportunists and scavengers, so it's no surprise that your pooch might jump up and grab yummy people food off your counters. Counter surfing is not only annoying; it can be deadly for your pet.

Often behavior (in both people and pets) is based on association and rewards. For example, if the local ice cream shop were giving away ice cream, many people would line up for a cone, and they would walk by that same ice cream store frequently to see if they were giving it away on another day. A counter-surfing dog reacts exactly the same way... if he investigates the countertop and finds a steak up there, he'll eat it, and Fido will be checking out the countertop frequently for more treats. Most dogs are pretty darn proud when they figure this out! The best bet is to stop counter surfing before it starts.

The most important thing you can do is food management - don't leave any food out on the countertops. If there is nothing scrumptious up there, your dog won't start the counter surfing habit.

Virtually every trainer we know says do not discipline your dog for this, as it rarely stops this behavior, and it could damage your relationship with your dog. Start right away when your dog is a puppy or when you adopt an older dog. When you're in the kitchen cooking, have a dog bed or mat nearby for your pooch. Teach them to stay on their mat and reward them with good treats (that don't come from the countertop!). In this exercise, you're teaching your dog to "go to your bed" and "stay," which are all tricks that will come in handy at other times.

Teach your dog the leave it command; it's one of the handiest things you can teach him. Anytime he starts sniffing at the countertop, say, "Leave it." This article will help you teach the leave it command.

So, what do you do if you have a dog who is already a successful counter surfer? First, work harder on the training steps we mentioned above. You may also want to invest in baby gates so you can completely block off the kitchen. When you have people over and can't closely watch the food, it may be a great time to put your dog in his crate with a toy or stuffed Kong. He can't get into trouble there.

We know some folks who have tried using a scat mat; this is a mat that delivers an electric shock when your dog jumps on the counter. We'd advise against it, truly nothing takes the place of training. We know of one dog that got shocked and would never enter the kitchen again, even though the only way to their back yard was through the kitchen!

Be consistent with your training, remove all opportunity, block off the kitchen if you must, and teach Fido that good treats come from you and counter surfing will soon be history.

Great Pet Links!

Jump into these great links we found around the internet this month.

November is:
National Senior Pet Month
National Pet Diabetes Month

November 13 - World Kindness Day
November 17 - Take a Hike Day
November 26 - Thanksgiving