Don’t forget to clean your ears!: The importance of hearing health in dogs

It seems that all those years your mother told you, "Be sure to clean your ears!"-- she was right. Clean ears are the key to good hearing health, not just in humans, but in canines as well. Keeping your furry friend's ears clean is just as vital is brushing his teeth or his yearly veterinary check-up. Under normal circumstances, your dog's ears shouldn't have any problems as long as they are kept clean. And, cleaning is, in most cases, quick and easy. True, some dogs resist their weekly ear cleaning. But, in most cases, their reaction is to the stinging that comes from alcohol based cleansers.

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Operation stray cat: Rescuing a little lost feline

It was a rainy afternoon in mid-March when I first saw her—just a little blackish shape huddled under a bush in my yard. I peered out the window, wondering if she were real or just a bit of foliage pushed down by the rain. "Is that a cat?" my husband asked. "It think it is," I said. But, when I opened the door to investigate, the tiny form ran into the trees at the end of the yard. I called, thinking she might be one of my neighbors' roaming cats, but she never came.

The next day, I set out cat food and water in bowl by the garage. I never saw her, but in the morning the food was gone. Of course, it could've been birds, I thought, or Ryder, my neighbor's fat orange Tom, who reckons any food left standing out belongs to him by right. But, after a week of leaving out food and water, I began to see a pattern. The food was only eaten after 7:00 PM. And, sometimes, later, when I was walking my cocker spaniel Lady, I would see a tiny shape at the end of the yard with big, golden eyes. When Lady and I advanced, she ran into the tree line. Still, I could definitely see that she was a cat and a very small one at that.

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Lady’s ACL odyssey

It all started with a tiny limp. Not much to notice really. I thought she'd bruised her paw pad or twisted her ankle chasing squirrels. Nothing out of the ordinary--nothing that had not happened before. But, the next day, the limp was worse--much worse. Lady had trouble getting out of the cushioned round of her dog-bed. She kept her right back paw practically off the ground when she walked.

I took her to the vet and after a series of x-rays and a thorough examination, the doctor determined she had an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tear. The veterinarian told me that this is an injury common to dogs and that golden retrievers and cocker spaniels, of which Lady is a mix, are especially susceptible to ACL injuries. Rottweilers and cocker spaniels are the most genetically inclined to ACL tears and ruptures. However, Labrador retrievers, German shepherds, mastiffs, golden retrievers, miniatures, and toy poodles also are more frequently affected by this injury than other breeds of dogs.

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Don't be a Fraidy Cat! - Taming pet anxiety

Ailurophobia is the fear of cats. As strange as it may seem, some people are actually afraid of those sweet, cuddly little fur-balls. Napoleon, who conquered half of Europe, couldn't bear to be in the room with one and Julius Caesar was said to shy from a whiskered face as well. I've known people who believed having a black cat cross your path was unlucky (or a white one depending on which part of the world from which you hale). And, my Grandmother always told me that finding a cat's whisker was good luck.

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Introducing a new cat to your home

I didn't mean to bring home another cat. Really, I didn't. I just went to the Cat Shoppe to get a bag of Weight Management Cat Food. But, how could I help myself when that tiny orange-gold body twined herself around my leg and then locked on with both claws? I looked down and she gave me the Puss in Boots eyes and before I knew it I was leaving the store with one 15 pound bag of cat food and one 6 pound cat named Crunkers.

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Give Your Pet a Valentine: Cooking for your Pet

Your pet is a hunter. Mine too. It’s hard to believe, I know, looking at my pet cat, Tig, lying on a pile of cushions watching a fly land on the wall with disinterest. Tig’s only experience with chasing things extends to laser pointers and remote control mice—and admittedly she’s a little afraid of the remote control mouse. Although she has been known to swat at my legs from her hidden nook under the stairs, my cat has no real hunting experience. But, it is there. Cats and dogs, even the most pampered, bow-wearing of the lot, are carnivores. They are related to the wildest of wolves and the fiercest of lions, although I think Tig’s lineage must be very distant. And, while canned food and its dry equivalent do provide all the vitamins and minerals your pet requires to be healthy and strong, they may not provide him with all the excitement their carnivorous self craves. You could survive solely on Protein bars and tofu, but what about the cheeseburgers, the candy bars, and the thick chocolate milkshakes? Sure, we could definitely live without them, but would you really want to live on cereal and the occasional can of something mushy, but nutritious? Maybe you cat or dog feels the same way!

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