Mom has not had a good day: my brother missed the bus, she had an encounter with a snake and her computer has a mind of it's own. All of this has made her very stressed out. When Mom gets upset, all my people tend to get upset. I'm sure your people have days like this too. I'm trying to do all I can to help my mom feel better by letting her pet me. Yep- petting a dog can release a chemical called Oxytocin. Oxytocin, sometimes called the Feel Good Hormone, is actually a powerful hormone that works as an antidote to depressive feelings, helps with bonding and decreases stress. Both humans and pets have Oxytocin so when people pet us we get a boost of Oxytocin in our system too. It's a win, win!
The next time your people seem to be sad, stressed out or anxious, encourage them to sit with you. Look into their eyes (that can stimulate oxytocin release too) and enjoy a good belly rub. It will make you both feel better!
The ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center released its 2016 list of top 10 toxins veterinary hospitals saw in their patients. The top 2 are very common and are often used by humans. Do you have a guess??
Number 1 was human prescriptions: heart medications, antidepressants and ADHD medications being most prevalent. Number 2 was Ibuprofen!
While it's true that some medications that people take can also be prescribed for pets, there are a lot of medications made specifically for people that we pets need to avoid. It is so important for our people to ask a vet before giving us any medicine that wasn't prescribed for us. More often though, we get these medicines by accident. Here are a couple things my Mom does to be sure I only get my medicines.
*Never keep pet and human medicines in the same place. Some pills look the same and it's so easy to grab the wrong bottle. (Especially before my people have their coffee!)
*Remember to take medicines immediately after getting them from the bottle. Pills left on the counter can sometimes fall to the floor and in my world everything is a treat. I promise I'll find it before Mom does!
*Mom also watches the kids to be sure they take their medicines and not hide them someplace that I can find them. It's important to do even with vitamins!
*Keep bottles up high. Left unattended we pets can get into things. It's best if we can't reach any medicines.
*Keep a log of when pets are given their medicines. Mom and Dad seem very busy and this helps to prevent miscommunications and keep overdoses (or missed meds) from causing problems. This was number 4 on the Poison Controls List!
*Don't ever give pets Ibuprofen. It can cause serious problems for us even in low doses. Vets have pain medicines that can help make us feel better and avoid the bad side effects.
* Missed a dose? Can't remember if you gave a dose? Accidentally gave too much? Check with the vet to see what you should do. Some medicines can be tricky so it's best to check.
*Don't give me medicine that was prescribed for my pet sibling. Medicines are dosed
carefully based upon weight and reasons for use. It's important to give me medicines that are prescribed specifically for me!
*Read the directions carefully. Mom hides my medicine in a little piece of cheese but some drugs can't be given with dairy products.
*Give all the medicine prescribed unless specifically told not to. Some medicines have a cumulative effect meaning if you stop the med before the entire prescription is gone it won't work the way the doctor wants it to. Some medicines can be dangerous to stop without tapering them off. Both of these situations can mean longer sick time for us, more vet trips and can sometimes lead to bacteria that's resistant! No one wants that to happen!
When used appropriately, medicines can be an important part of keeping your 4-legged family members happy and healthy.
Love and licks -
Who doesn't love a good spring storm? LOTS of us! Thunder can be very scary, especially for pets. I don't mind it so much but I have friends who are absolutely scared crazy by that noise. I thought I'd give you and your human family some ideas that may help ease your fear!
*Find your safe space. Some of us feel better in a closet, a bathroom, or in a room without windows. Let your humans know if you have a safe space by going there to hide. Once they know, they can put extra blankets in there for you, maybe some water or your favorite toys; anything to make it feel even more safe for you.
*Try white noise. Did you know that the pets that stay at Stone House can hardly even hear the thunder because of the special walls? There is less to be afraid of if you can't hear the scary noise. Maybe turning a fan on would help, or some white noise from an app on your humans smart phone.
*Anti-anxiety tools: body wraps or Thundershirts help some pets. I even had someone tell me that putting headphones on their dog helped. I don't know many dogs that would keep them on though. Personally, I'd just eat them :)
*Behavior therapy. Some people think that you can train pets to not be afraid. Mommy has never spoken to anyone that has tried this so we don't know how successful it would be. It may be worth a try though. When I do what I'm supposed to do I get a treat. Maybe when there is a loud thunder you could get a treat. After a while the thunder might not be so scary because you know it means something good. If this works for you I'd love to know!!
*Medications. There are some medicines that may help. The trick is that they have to be taken at least 30 minutes prior to the storm or they won't work. Call your vet and see what they recommend.
It's no fun to be scared and your humans don't want you to be scared either. I hope one of these ideas helps you!
Love and Licks
My cat brother thinks he's batman....see the picture above? He is very brave and doesn't want to come inside when it gets dark even though we live in the woods. Not me! I don't like it when the coyotes howl! Last night we had excitement. It was very late and so dark outside. Mom and dad were watching tv and my human siblings had been asleep for hours. I was asleep under moms feet when I heard the coyote. Mom made the comment that it sounded very close to the house and then we heard it. The most horrible, high pitched noise ever! It was my cat sibling outside! Mom flew off the couch and ran into the darkness screaming, clapping her hands and calling out for my brave cat brother. Dad followed and I barked. Within a few minutes mom carried my cat brother into the house. He was safe!
Do you know what to do if you see a wild animal? Wild animals should be scared of humans (and most dogs) and run away. If they don't, you need to be very careful. These animals could be sick and if they bite us, could make us sick too! Wild animals also have parasites and fleas so it's just a good idea to stay away. If you have an encounter with a wild animal you should go to the vet just to be safe.
I'm so glad my cat brother is safe and now I know just how fast and loud my mom can be!
Love and licks
Have you ever had a dream and it seemed to come true? The other night I was dreaming that I was chasing a bunny in our yard (mommy said I looked like I was trying to run in my sleep.) When I went outside a few mornings ago I heard my human siblings yelling that the Easter Bunny had come. I looked around and didn't see a bunny but did see strange things in the yard. You know what it was? Plastic eggs to chew on! And if that wasn't exciting enough, if you chew on them just right they popped open and yummy chocolate came out! Apparently they weren't for me because my human siblings got them all very quickly and my daddy took mine away. I felt kind of sad until he told me that chocolate (and plastic eggs) can make me sick. Did you know pets can't digest chocolate like humans can? It can cause us to be very sick! Depending on what you ate, how much you ate and how long ago you ate it, they may need to make you throw up or go to the vet. I know, it's a bummer that we can't eat chocolate or the plastic eggs. And apparently the crunchy grassy stuff in the baskets is off limits too. I'm not giving up on catching that bunny though :)
I hope you had a Happy (chocolate and plastic free) Easter!
Love and licks-
Who loves the rain? To be honest I'm kind of torn: playing in the water and mud is great but I just wish there was some way to prevent muddy feet! It seems I just can't keep my feet clean and that means I don't get free run of the house like usual.
I heard Daddy say that all the rain means there are going to be a lot of mosquitoes. Did you know that mosquitoes can transmit heartworms?
When mosquitoes bite, the heartworm larva can go from them into us and those larva are carried in our blood to our hearts where they grow up into heartworms. Gross huh!? People don't have to worry about this because the larva can't live in them. But they sure can live in pets!
The symptoms of heartworms don't become obvious until the heartworms have lived in you for a long time and have actually damaged your heart. That's why it's so important to get a heartworm test at your vet. It's just a quick blood test and you know the results within about 10 minutes. There are treatments to get rid of heartworms but they require hospitalization and lots of medicines so preventing them in the first place is so much better! There are lots of different heartworm preventions so you should ask your vet which one they recommend!
It's great to know heartworms are preventable. Now if only I could figure out how to play in the pond and not get muddy feet.
Love and licks -
This is my mom. I love to sit on her lap (even though she's says I'm too big.) Lately she's been sneezing a lot. She has allergies to different pollens. Did you know pet's can have pollen allergies too? They are a little different though.
Both pets and people have cells called mast cells. These cells release histamine which can be good; but it can be bad when it is release too quickly or there is too much of it. This is what makes having allergies so miserable!! Mast cells are present throughout our bodies but the big difference between people and pets is that in people, the vast majority are around their eyes, throat and nose. This is why Mommy is sneezing so much! In pets a lot of mast cells are around our feet, across the rump and under our legs. Allergies for us typically mean biting, scratching, and chewing on our rumps or feet. There are medicines to help us, just like there are medicines for my Mommy. It's best to get a prescription because some of the over the counter medicines work by making us sleepy, not less itchy.
As pets we have another potential allergy when it comes to spring: fleas! Those pesky things bite! The bites itch but if you have a flea allergy the rest of your body can itch because of a reaction to the flea saliva. Sounds unpleasant huh!? The very best thing to do is keep flea medication on at all times. Unfortunately just a single bite can cause an allergic reaction. Sometime it feels SO good to scratch that we can actually make bald spots and sores that can get infected. It's a good idea to see your vet if you start to feel itchy so they can help you before you make sores.
I hope this Spring you don't itch and can use all that energy to dig in the pretty flowers instead!
Love and licks,
Did you know there is not a single reason a cone should ever be put on a pet? Not one single reason!
Be honest pet friends, we lick and chew at things because they hurt. We're not trying to cause trouble. When our doctors give us the right pain medications we can stop hurting which means we can leave that ouchy place alone. I bet your people can't imagine having a surgery, or an ouch, and not get pain medications. So many pet doctors do that all the time. Instead of adequate pain medications, pets often get cones. This upsets the doctors and staff at Stone House because they believe this is poor care.
Stone House is a pain management hospital and the staff are patient advocates. Not one time in 40 years has Dr. Carder or his staff used a cone. Instead, proper pain medications are given and clients are educated. I hope your people will become educated about this too! No one should have to suffer with pain by being stuck in a cone.
Encourage your people to become educated so they can advocate for your best care. No more cones!
The other day my oldest human brother came downstairs and I heard my Mommy say. "Wow! When did you get so tall?" He's always been tall to me so I guess I hadn't noticed but how did mom not notice? I think it's because she sees him everyday and the change is so gradual that it just isn't obvious until...well, until it is. Has this ever happened to you? Maybe your human siblings are growing up and don't want to play fetch as much anymore. Maybe you don't want to play fetch quite as much anymore. Some days you're just too tired and maybe your hips hurt sometimes. Maybe it's a little harder to see the ball. It's probably nothing so you just play fetch less. It's not really that big of a deal. Right? Maybe your mom and dad don't even notice; it's just too gradual to see.
Growing up and slowing down happens to everyone - it happens even faster to those of us with 4 legs. My mommy has been working with the doctors at Stone House to create a Senior Care Package. It is a group of tests that will help your Mommy and Daddy know what's happening as you get older and help the doctors see any changes that occur over time. This way they can work together to make sure we are happy, healthy and pain free! (That means more games of fetch.) The package even comes with a big discount because the doctors understand how critical it is to monitor gradual changes before they become obvious!
This is a special new thing and I hope that your Mommy and Daddy will call and talk to Stone House about it. You can read more about it here: http://www.stonehousevet.com/senior-care-program.html
Wishing you many more games of fetch!!
Love and Licks - Kona
I like to give my cat brother a hard time and chase him around the house but I do love him. Really!! I tuck my tail when he gets ready to go on car rides because I know how upset he is going to be. I don't like to see him so afraid and neither do the people at Stone House. That's why there are a couple things that they recommend to make car trips a little less stressful for our cat brothers and sisters.
* Get the cat carrier out a couple days ahead of time. Cats aren't as afraid of it if they see it without having to get in right away.
* When it's time to go, bring your cat and the carrier into a small room so there isn't any chance of a hiding place. The bathroom works well.
* Sometimes it helps to stand the carrier up vertically and to put your cat in tail first.
* There are products to help your cat feel less stressed. Feliway is a spray that can be sprayed on a towel and put into the carrier.
* Move the bedding they know and love into the carrier.
I hope these ideas help your cat sibling!
Love and licks,
I'm Kona, a 2 year old Rottweiler. I love to run, play and give kisses....alot of licks means alot of kisses! Mom has worked at Stone House for almost 12 years and was just waiting for the perfect dog and I'M IT!! I also have a cat brother and 3 people siblings. I love them all (but the cat won't believe me!)