Sunday April 20, 2014
As Easter 2014 draws to a close, I'm hoping that most people handed out stuffed bunnies and chicks instead of the real thing. Unfortunately, pet stores stock up on rabbits and guinea pigs at this time of year, and people buy them impulsively, only to balk when they realize that these cute little critters need a lot of care.
Bunnies and guinea pigs aren't "starter pets," even though they're often viewed that way, and they're certainly not toys. If you did add a new pet to your home for Easter, I urge you to do some research to make sure you care for it correctly. You'll find a lot of great rabbit care information in this video.
While bunnies are the most popular furry Easter gift, some families opt for guinea pigs, thinking they're smaller and can't hop around, so they're easier to care for. As the owner of two guinea pigs, including one that was an Easter cast-off, I can assure you that they're actually quite delicate and high maintenance. For example, there are certain things they need and certain things you should never give them, which you can learn about in this article. They also need more space than you might think, which you can learn more about here.
If you got a pet for Easter, I urge you not to dump it when you realize that it's a lot of work. All pets, even small ones, should be lifetime members of the family, not toys to be discarded when the novelty wears off.
Wednesday April 16, 2014
We've all heard tales that assure us cats have nine lives and that they can survive falls from great distances. It's not something I'd like to test out, but one cat in Celebration, Florida, seemed to bear those stories out as he made a leap of faith and survived a massive apartment fire.
The cat was in a third floor apartment, and the roof was entirely engulfed in flames after a lightning strike. Finally he jumped and miraculously survived with burned paws and other minor injuries. There's a photo below, and you can see the entire video, shot by John Cooke, on the News 13 website.
Happily, he was reunited with his owner. It was an even more poignant reunion because the entire 24 unit apartment building was destroyed, and the residents lost all their possessions. Material items can be replaced, but nothing can replace that special furry friend.
You can't predict a lightning strike, but Florida also has hurricanes and every part of the country has its own natural disasters, like earthquakes and tornadoes. Sometimes you get some warning, and that's why it's critically important to have an emergency evacuation kit if you have pets. Want to know what should be in it? Find out here.
Wednesday April 16, 2014
You may already know that your dog hates kennels, whether you put him in a crate overnight or when you go out or whether you have to board him at a kennel facility. My own dog, Bolt, went crazy in his crate when I first adopted him because he has such bad separation anxiety. Fortunately it's gotten much better now, and I don't need to crate him anymore, but it's a necessary evil for some dogs.
Researchers have found that kenneled dogs exhibit major signs of stress, and some even act mentally ill. You can read more about the study on the government's PubMed site. What do you do when you have to go out of town but don't want to kennel your dog? You can read about my solution here. I use Rover.com, a great online service that matches pet owners with people willing to watch them in their homes. Bolt stays with a Rover.com sitter who has a dog of her own, so it's more like an extended play date than boarding for him.
Other alternatives include looking for a pet sitter who comes right to your house or getting a friend to watch your dog in exchange for returning the favor later. Whatever you do, providing a more home-like environment will prevent your dog from being as stressed out as the canines in the study.
Friday April 11, 2014
The Robert Abady Dog Food Co. is recalling its Abady Highest Quality Maintenance & Growth Formula for Cats because of possible salmonella contamination. The food was sold in stores and online throughout the country.
The recalled product comes in two, five, and 15 pound corrugated boxes with plastic liners. They're marked on the top right hand side of the box with Lot # 14029/21.
If you have this food for your cat, return it to the store where you bought it for a full refund. If you have questions, call the company at 845-473-1900. They're open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET. You can read more on the Food and Drug Administration website.
I've got some good advice for how to deal with a cat or dog food recall in this article.