Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Cat Behaviorist Jackson Galaxy Gets inside the Feline Mind

By Julia Williams

Have you noticed that “cat guys” are everywhere these days? They’re turning up in funny YouTube videos and TV commercials. British animator Simon Tofield produces the very hilarious Simon’s Cat cartoons featuring a guy and his quirky kitty. A pet food company conducted a nationwide search for a cat correspondent, and chose a man from hundreds of thousands of applicants. A kitty-lovin’ man hosts the hit new series Must Love Cats on Animal Planet, and now their newest show – My Cat From Hell – features yet another “cat guy.” Apparently, real men do love cats, and they’re not afraid to admit it!

My Cat From Hell premiered on May 7. It showcases cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy, who works with problem kitties and their owners to resolve serious issues that threaten to tear the family apart. From aggressive cats that scratch and bite, to skittish kitties that cower in fear, to curious cats prone to mischief and mayhem – Jackson has seen it all. In many cases, the families are on the verge of giving up their cats, and Jackson is their last hope. He uses his unique understanding of the feline mind to analyze their behavior, assess the situation and recommend some solutions.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Garden Plants That Repel Ticks

By Linda Cole

Garden plants are a safe and natural way to control fleas and mosquitoes, but they can also be used to help repel ticks and keep tick carrying animals, like deer, out of your yard. I'd like to thank Frankie Furter, a very handsome black and tan dog, for inspiring this post. When I wrote my article on Garden Plants that Repel Fleas, Frankie asked if there were any plants that could help repel ticks. This article is especially for you, Frankie! I hope it gives you some ideas to help keep those nasty ticks out of your yard and your fur.

There hasn't been a lot of research done on ticks and garden plants, which is odd considering how much harm ticks can cause not only pets, but people too. Wild animals, especially deer, can carry ticks into your yard when they visit a garden for plants they are attracted to. Ticks can also be carried in the wind from a nearby grassy or wooded area, and they love moist and humid places. Finding just one tick, even on your pet, can give you that creepy feeling that something is crawling up your leg, into your hair.


There are many varieties of lavender. It's a perennial with a very nice smell that most people are familiar with. But as beautiful as this flower is, ticks, moths, mice, the pesky black fly, mosquitoes and fleas can all do without it.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Dogs are People Too!

By Suzanne Alicie

If you’re not a dog lover, then more than likely you are a little overwhelmed when you visit the home of someone who considers their dog a family member. I encounter this regularly. It’s almost funny to watch how other people react to how we treat our dog. Julia Williams has written a great post about being a Crazy Cat Lady, so I figured this would be a look at things from the doggie side of the fence.

Our dog truly thinks she is a person most of the time. When I chat on the phone with people and mention needing to run the vacuum again because Bear is shedding, I hear comments like “Dogs belong outside. How can you stand having all that hair everywhere?” or “Put her out until she stops shedding.” These people don’t understand that she’s never lived outside and she would be miserable if she wasn’t in the house with her people.

When I cook, she stands guard to make sure that no crumbs or tasty bits of our dinner hit the kitchen floor and yes, sometimes I drop a morsel here and there for her. Once the food is ready and we are all eating, she usually positions herself as close as she can get to me, often drooling on my leg while she waits for me to finish. She knows that I will save her the last bite and give her the plate to lick clean. Some people have serious issues with that too. It’s not something I even think about.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Pet Grooming Mistakes

By Julia Williams

We all want to take great care of our pets, because we love them. Our pets depend on us to do the things they’re unable to do for themselves. They count on us to make good decisions for their health and longevity. Choosing a nutritious pet food (like CANIDAE and FELIDAE, of course!) is one of the more obvious ways to contribute to your pet’s wellbeing. Another vital aspect of responsible pet ownership is grooming. Whether you have a dog or a cat, not paying careful attention to certain grooming needs can lead to more serious problems later.

Proper Coat Care

Regular brushing or combing is essential for all long-haired dogs and cats. However, short-haired pets benefit from brushing too, because it lets you examine their bodies for fleas, ticks, lumps and anything unusual. Brushing removes loose fur, dirt and irritants, and distributes natural oils throughout your pet’s coat. Regular brushing also reduces the likelihood of matting, which can cause pain and may lead to infection. Brushing long-haired cats helps to cut down on the formation of hairballs.

Depending on your pet’s breed and their coat type, regular brushing can mean anything from once a day to once a week. It’s up to you to determine the best schedule. It’s equally important to choose the right grooming tools. There are countless options available; which one is right for your pet’s coat is something you might want to discuss with your vet or a grooming professional.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

On The Job with Guido the Italian Kitty

My job has no formal Job Description – it’s just my job and I’m fortunate to just wing it at work. People are curious as a cat about what I do as an Animal Assisted Therapy Cat, so I’m gonna give you a real PURRsonal insight to my having fun on the job with the fantastic seniors at The ARC of San Francisco.

Commuting to my job on a San Francisco cable car is a good way to start my day, (of course I hum the Mice a Roni tune up and over the hills). Sometimes I visit little groups of 20 or a larger group of 55 seniors, all with mental or physical challenges. There’s so many meowvalous activities going on, and I purrticipate in them all!

When they sit in chairs at the activity tables, I purrfur to forego the chair to sit on their table, like the crafts table where I check out their balls of colorful yarns and great artwork they’re making. I might put my paw in the watercolor paints (I’ma an artisticat doing paw print paintings) or play hockey with their crayons.

Dominos at the game table are my favorito – just paw tap one and bamzatini they all go down! The clients giggle or say “Oh NO Guido!” Some days I join in card games – just putting my paw on the card they should select. So you see, my job can’t have a job description cuz I always changes what I do on the job.

Monday, May 23, 2011

A Pit Bull and a Man on a Journey of Discovery

By Linda Cole

We never know from where or when a friend will come. And sometimes that friend has four legs and needs a friend of his own. Seven years ago, Ara Gureghian lost his 26 year old son, his only child, to cancer. And that crossroad is where a grieving father and a broken down dog named Spirit found each other. Spirit was as much in need of a friend as Ara was. Together, they began a journey of healing and discovery.

When life throws challenges at us, we deal with them in our own ways. For many of us, our pets play a role in helping us get through an emotional or tough period in our lives. Their unconditional love is always constant, and we know our pets won't judge us unfairly. In our time of need, a pet can be the most stable thing in our lives. Ara didn't have a pet until a year after his son's death. He was down to his last $1,000 after spending his life savings trying to heal his son, Lance. We know we have to move on after a devastating loss, but it's not always easy. For Ara, dealing with his loss set him on a path to try to make sense of things and rediscover what was important to him.

Ara's chosen profession is as a Gourmet Chef, and after graduating from a culinary school in Switzerland, he immigrated to America to follow his passion for food, cooking and adventure. Life was good until his son died. To heal his broken heart, Ara knew the best way for him to make sense of what had happened was on the open road, so he began to prepare to hit the road with his best friend, Spirit, at his side.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Diary of a Bad Housecat

By Rocky Williams

I would be the first to admit that I’m a bad, bad cat. Apparently when I was made, they were all out of the “good” attributes like self-control, willpower and obedience. All attempts by the Warden to train me have been futile, and I pretty much do what I want, with WHATEVER I want. I just can’t help it. Yeah, that’s my defense and I’m sticking to it.

When I see something I covet, I go after it with no thought to the consequences. Usually, what I want is the Warden’s food. It perplexes her, and she says things like “Rocky, I feed you two square meals a day, plus a handful of those scrumptious TidNips™ treats at bedtime – why do you always act like you’re starving?” Well…allow me to explain.

You see, I absolutely love my FELIDAE cat food, and those TidNips are the tastiest treats I’ve eaten in all my 8 years of cathood. But those things are for CATS, and I want what the Warden is having because it’s for people and thus, it’s forbidden. We all know that when something is forbidden, it becomes infinitely more desirable. It doesn’t matter what the Warden is eating, really; I stop at nothing to get my paws on it.

And that, my friends, is what led to the fateful day the Warden screamed the most awful sentence at me. “Rocky!! I don't want to EVER see your face again!” she yelled. Oh my. I was in big trouble.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Meet Emma Zen, Fundraising Canine for Pet Oxygen Masks

Editor’s note: Emma Zen is the newest canine to be welcomed into the CANIDAE Special Achievers, a sponsorship program created to support exemplary pets and their responsible owners.

How does a dog become a fundraiser? Well, this dog seems to have been born with what it takes. She has a story, a unique trait, and a dream! Emma Zen is a fire survivor; the Labrador Retriever was found running out of the hills near Santiago Canyon in October of 2007. Fire fighters turned the lost old soul into the Orange County Animal Shelter. Three days later, she met her human! Together and inseparable, Emma Zen and Debra Jo Chiapuzio began a long list of training regimens.

Obedience, Agility, Trick, Tracking, CGC, Therapy, Stage & Film, and Service... Emma Zen seemed to be a dog capable of doing it all. Yet it was when she sat in her Harley Davidson Sidecar that she shined! She personally doesn’t act as if this is a unique trait – if you ever saw her you would just think it’s her thing. Trademarked as “the Canine Ambassador for Biker Dogs,” Emma Zen now hosts a yearly Biker Dog Rally in, of all places, South Dakota during Sturgis Rally Week. And with her “why think small” attitude, the biker dog turned all the attention she was receiving into a full size fundraising adventure. Her dream is now a reality; what started as personal social and media attention is now used as a tool for bringing public awareness to household animals and their safety!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Pets Are Wonderful Support (PAWS) & a Special Kitty

By Suzanne Alicie

If you’re a pet lover, you’ve more than likely heard of Pets Are Wonderful Support (PAWS). This fantastic organization provides for the needs of companion animals to low income people with HIV/AIDS, other disabling illnesses and senior citizens. Volunteers provide essential support, educate the community and advocate for disabled individuals to have the right to keep service animals. PAWS is not just support for the health and well being of animals though; the organization also contributes to improving the quality of life for disabled individuals and their furry companions.

Thanks to the wonderful mom of Guido the Italian Kitty, we were able to get the inside scoop on some exciting news from the PAWS camp. Guido is a certified “Animal Assisted Therapy Meowster,” and PAWS is one of his very favorite organizations. Before I share their big news, I want to tell you a bit about the PAWS program and the work they do. I was lucky enough to be able to discuss PAWS with the President of the San Francisco organization, John Lipp, who filled me in on the details of PAWS and its presence across the country. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tips for Preventing Dog Bites

By Julia Williams

Since this is National Dog Bite Prevention Week, we thought this would be a good time to discuss why dogs bite and offer some tips to avoid getting bitten. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs every year, and one in five dog bite injuries require medical attention.

One very important part of responsible pet ownership is doing everything you can to make sure that you, your family, visitors to your home and strangers on the street are all safe in the presence of your dog. Although there is no way to guarantee that your dog will never bite someone, there are things you can do to lessen the probability. First and foremost, it’s vital to arm yourself with knowledge about dog behavior.

Learn to “Speak Dog”

A good place to start is the educational website Doggone Safe, which has a wealth of information about dog bite prevention, including recognizing signs of anxiety, arousal, aggression, signs that a bite is imminent, and signs that a dog is happy. The site also has photos and a slideshow of different canine body language signals, which can be a very useful teaching tool for parents. Since dogs can’t verbalize how they feel, they use their body language to tell us whether they want attention or to be left alone. Learning to recognize signs of aggression will help prevent dog bites.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT)

By Linda Cole

The APDT is an organization made up of professional trainers who are dedicated to educating dog trainers on how they can be better trainers. Most of us who own dogs understand the importance of training them. For those of us who take on the job of teaching our dogs basic commands, a good supply of CANIDAE TidNips™ treats, positive reinforcement and plenty of love can help our dogs learn what we want them to know. Sometimes, however, a dog owner may not have the time or knowhow to teach a dog, and that's where the Association of Pet Dog Trainers can be of service. If you are looking for a qualified dog trainer, the APDT is a good organization to start your search with.

The Association of Pet Dog Trainers is the brainchild of Ian Dunbar, a well known veterinarian, animal behaviorist, dog trainer and writer. The Association of Pet Dog Trainers was founded in 1993 with a goal of helping dog trainers learn how to do their job better with continual education. If you are a dog trainer, APDT can help you build contacts and improve your dog training business by associating with other professional dog trainers you can network with. They also conduct seminars and conferences where trainers can share ideas and learn from each other. Membership in the organization is worldwide, and their mission statement is: “To represent and advance the dog training profession through education and advocacy.”

Friday, May 13, 2011

Dusty the Cat Burglar (Klepto Kitty) Atones for his Crimes

By Julia Williams

When Jean Chu and Jim Coleman visited their local animal shelter five years ago, they were just hoping to find a friendly feline that would fit nicely into their family. Little did they know that the handsome kitty they chose would eventually become one of the most famous cats in America!

Dusty’s penchant for prowling the neighborhood and carting home his prey led to him being featured on the popular Animal Planet series Must Love Cats, which catapulted him to fame. What’s so unusual about a cat bringing home his kill? Unlike most feline hunters, Dusty doesn’t catch mice or rats – he goes after towels, gloves, shoes, socks, children’s toys, swimsuits, bras, and anything else he can find! He then carries his loot home and deposits it proudly on the lawn or driveway.

Dusty’s thieving ways were captured on tape for the show. The sight of a cat waddling up the driveway with a bra in his grasp was hilarious. Millions of people fell in love with the quirky cat burglar from San Mateo, California and “Klepto Kitty” became the talk of the town. News stations clamored to interview Dusty, and he even appeared on David Letterman.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

How Peanut Sniffing Dogs Help Kids With Allergies

By Linda Cole

We use a dog's nose to find lost people, hidden explosives, termites, drugs and other contraband. Now we can add sniffing out life threatening allergens to the list. People with food allergies spend hours reading labels and questioning a waitress about what’s in a particular dish. For those with a peanut allergy, even a minute amount of peanuts can cause a severe, life threatening reaction. One solution to help those who suffer from peanut allergies is Allergy Alert Service Dogs – canines trained to search for and find hidden allergens in food or on everyday objects.

One of the more common food allergies is peanuts. In children, peanut allergies tripled from 1997 to 2008. A severe allergic reaction to peanuts is responsible for an estimated 100 to 150 deaths every year. Millions of kids and adults have to be vigilant about making sure they don't come into contact with peanuts in any form, in their food or on everyday objects. They have to constantly stay on alert to what's in food. Even if there are no peanuts in the food, traces of peanuts could have been introduced without anyone knowing about it.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Is Your Dog Digging up the Yard?

By Suzanne Alicie

Dogs dig! Puppies dig, middle aged dogs dig, and even old dogs dig if they’ve never been taught not to. Some dogs dig even if they know better. Trying to stop your dog from digging up your yard may just end up being a test of wills.

There are a few tips and tricks you can use that may help your case, but in reality it’s hard to break centuries of nature. Dogs smell things constantly and will often dig for the item they smell. This comes in handy if your dog is an Avalanche Rescue Dog – like the CANIDAE-sponsored Scout, who works at Colorado’s Copper Mountain Ski Resort – but if his digging place is your flowerbed or the center of your lawn you may not appreciate it quite as much.

I have a digger. My dog digs up roots and usually eats them. She’s not a puppy and she hears the word “no” quite often when she is digging. After trying all the methods below I’ve finally given up. Instead of trying to change her and make her stop digging, these days I just make sure she has an area to call her own where she can dig without messing up my flowerbeds or the lawn.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Creating a Pet-Safe Garden

By Julia Williams

It’s that time of year again, when warmer temperatures and longer days lure us out of our caves into the fresh air and sunlight. It’s also the time when a gardener’s thoughts turn to creating lush landscapes and veggie patches overflowing with fresh produce. Although the backyard can be a great place to relax and play, it can also be dangerous for our dogs and cats. Creating a pet-safe garden is not an impossible task, however. As responsible pet owners, we just need to take a few precautions to ensure that our outdoor space is safe for our four-legged family members.

Avoid Poisonous Plants

The most obvious way to create a pet-safe garden is to choose the right plants. Not all pet owners realize that a great many garden plants are toxic to dogs and cats, including popular varieties such as azalea, rhododendron, oleander, foxglove, lily of the valley, sago palm, tulip and daffodil. Pets that chew on poisonous plants can experience everything from an upset stomach and diarrhea, to seizures and liver failure.

Before you plant anything new in your garden, it’s a good idea to consult the ASPCA’s comprehensive list of toxic plants. You should also try to avoid trees, shrubs and plants that contribute to allergies. Many of the same plants that cause allergies in humans will affect your pet. Use pollen-free plant species whenever possible, and if you already have a tree or hedge with a high allergy potential, keep it heavily sheared so it will flower less, and don’t plant it directly under a window that you’ll have open in the summer.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Pilots N Paws: Pilots Saving Shelter Pets

By Linda Cole

Nonprofit organizations across the country help pets in a variety of ways. Pilots N Paws is an online organization with a unique transporting program that has given rescue organizations, shelters and people who foster pets the ability to move unwanted and homeless pets to locations around the country where a new home is hopefully waiting for the pet. Pilots and plane owners who want to help improve the chances that a pet can find a forever home are offering their planes and time. They fly pets from an area where there's little chance a pet can be placed in a home, to another area where the pet's chances of being adopted are much better. Pilots are also flying pets who have been adopted to their new homes around the country. Pilots who want to help rescue shelter pets can get together with shelters and rescue organizations to plan their own special way of saving a pet's life.

Pilots N Paws is a volunteer organization that doesn't ask for donations. It's a website that was started by Debi Boies who was involved in Doberman rescue in upstate South Carolina and her friend, Jon Wehrenberg, a pilot, who had volunteered to fly a rescued Doberman from Florida to Debi's home in South Carolina. After the flight, the two began to discuss the need for a better way of moving homeless pets across the country besides the traditional way of setting up car transports. They began on February 8, 2008 with their first official life-saving flight. To date, the volunteer pilots number over 1,800 and there are 8,100 registered users with more registering every day who use the Pilots N Paws website to connect with each other. Debi and Jon are shooting for 10,000 pilots to make sure there are enough planes to transport homeless pets wherever they need to go to help them find a new home.

Friday, May 6, 2011

What’s Love Got to Do with It? Everything!

By Julia Williams

I know that’s not a grammatically correct title, but if it's good enough for the legendary Tina Turner, then it’s good enough for me. This post is about pets and love – a pet mom’s perspective on Mother’s Day.

I don’t have human children, but I still consider myself to be a mom. I didn’t consciously choose cats instead of kids. My life just worked out that way, but I’m perfectly fine with it. I realize some people don’t believe you are a parent if you just have pets, but I think that’s just silly. I still laugh when I recall the indignant man who, years ago, said I had insulted all children when I wrote that my cats were “like children.” His response is one of the most absurd things I’ve ever heard. I also think it speaks more to his own insecurities than to how I feel about my beloved pets. 

Motherhood may mean different things to different people, but we can all agree that it involves love, and the desire to nurture and protect your child. Motherly devotion then, is the same regardless of whether the child is human, cat, dog, horse, rabbit or rat. Good mothers want the very best for their children, and they go to great lengths to see that the child is healthy, happy and safe. Good mothers also want to provide their children with nutritious food that feeds their bodies and helps them live a long, healthy life. As a cat mom, I’m proud to feed my kitties a premium quality, natural food like Felidae Grain Free Pure, because I know this wholesome food keeps them in tip-top shape.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Why Do Dogs Chew on Their Feet?

By Linda Cole

Since dogs can't tell us when something is bothering them or they don't feel well, we have to figure it out ourselves by observing what they do. Sometimes when we see them doing certain things, we ignore their behavior as long as they aren't getting into trouble. However, dogs do things for a reason and although chewing on their feet may be nothing to worry about, there could be a medical reason or simple boredom.

Arthritis or some other type of pain could be causing enough discomfort for a dog that he tries to relieve it by licking or chewing his foot. A dog's paw pads are not immune to picking up rocks, thorns or other foreign objects they step on. They can cut their pads while romping in the backyard or playing at a dog park, and a hot sidewalk or road can burn their pads. Snow, road salt and ice can build up between their pads during the winter months. When the hair in between the pads of some breeds (like Siberian Huskies) becomes too long, a dog might bite their paws if ice, rocks, burrs or other irritants become tangled in the hair. Lumps (interdigital cysts) can form in between their toes. Allergies to the cleaner you use on your floor, yard or flower garden can cause a dog to react by chewing his feet. It's possible he's allergic to his food, the carpet in your home or rugs he lays on. A dog will chew on his feet for all of the above reasons.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

How to Find Reliable Pet Information Online

By Suzanne Alicie

In this day of instant satisfaction and technology, a responsible pet owner can find the answer to just about any question online. But how will they know if the information is reliable? After all, you don’t need to have a degree to post something online about animals. All sorts of people offer their experiences and answers to pet questions on message boards, social networks, websites and blogs. There are a few ways to make sure that you are finding legitimate and reliable pet information online. When it comes to questions about our pets’ health and wellbeing, it’s important to use common sense and seek out reliable sources.

Ask Your Vet

Your veterinarian can direct you to reliable online sites for pet information. While this isn’t necessarily proof of a certain site being a good source, it is a good endorsement. Of course, information gleaned online should never take the place of your veterinarian.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Meet Boo, the Most Popular Pup on the Planet!

By Julia Williams

Nowadays, it’s not unusual to learn about cats and dogs that blog, tweet, write books and entertain their Facebook fans with funny status updates. As intelligent humans, we know the animals aren’t really the ones doing such things, but we play along because it’s harmless fun. In the past few years I’ve become “friends” with quite a few cats and dogs on Facebook. Until recently I thought Giant George, with 65,000 fans, and CANIDAE Pet Foods sponsored Surf Dog Ricochet, with 23,000 fans, really had it going on.

Ha ha! Those numbers pale in comparison to “Boo,” the impossibly cute Pomeranian who, as of this writing, has amassed a staggering 1,109,355 fans! What’s more, Boo gains fans at the rate of about 4,000 every day! When Boo posts a photo or video of himself doing what he does best – looking incredibly adorable – as many as 17,000 people click the “like” button, and 700 to 1,000+ people leave a comment.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Five Uncommon Giant Dog Breeds

Mioritic Shepherd, by Caronna
By Linda Cole

This year's winner at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show was a Scottish Deerhound named Hickory. The Scottish Deerhound is one of the giant dog breeds of the world. Most of us know about the St. Bernard and Newfoundland, but have you ever heard of the giant breed that originated from Romania, called the Mioritic Shepherd dog? Here are five giant dog breeds that most people are not familiar with.

The Mioritic Shepherd has its origins in the Carpathian Mountains of Romania. Standing 25-29 inches, males weigh 120-150 pounds and females 100-130 pounds. This is a fierce, brave and agile herding and guard dog that was bred to protect sheep against bear, wolf and lynx. Their coats are so white, predators mistake them for sheep which gives the dog the advantage by surprising a would-be attacker. Great with kids and extremely loyal to his family, the Mioritic Shepherd doesn't accept strangers well and will keep a watchful eye on anyone they don't know. They are well suited to cold weather with a long shaggy coat that gives them protection from hot weather as well. Medieval kings used these dogs in their armies because of their courage and strength.

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