Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Christmas and Pets.

         The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree
         is the presence of a happy family wrapped up in each other.
             -  Burton Hillis

We want the holidays to be a happy timer for you and your pet. Keeping your furry family members safe during the holidays can be difficult task.

There are the ornaments, plants, the food, presents, lights, and who could forget the Christmas tree?
Join the family in the holiday fun this year, while avoiding any animal emergency trip to a veterinarian. 

·   Place your Christmas tree in a corner away from your pet’s wanting eyes. This will keep your dog or cat attempting to jump onto the tree.

·   Tinsel adds a nice sparkling touch to the tree, but make sure to hang it up out of your pet’s reach. Ingesting the tinsel can potentially harm your pet.

·   Do not put lights on the tree’s lower branches. Not only can your pet get tangled up in the lights, they are burning hazard. Additionally your dog or cat may get shocked by biting through the wire.

·   Broken ornament shards may injure paws, mouth or parts of your pet’s body. In addition to chocking, it could result in intestinal blockage.

·   If you’re putting up a live Christmas tree this year, keep the area free of pine needles. While they may not seem dangerous, the needles can puncture your pet’s intestines.

·   Mistletoe, holly, and poinsettia plants are poisonous to dogs or cats.

·   Edible tree decorations whether ornamental, cranberry or popcorn strings are just too enticing for your pets to tug at them, and knocking down your wonderful decoration down.

·   Place burning candles on high shelves or mantels, there’s no telling where a wagging tail may end up. Homes with fireplaces should use screens to avoid accidental burns.

·   All exposed indoor or outdoor wires should be taped to wall or sides of house to prevent any accidental electrocutions.

·   Scissors are a hazard, and should be kept off floors or low table.

·   When gift wrapping, be sure to keep your pet away. Wrapping paper, string, plastic, or cloth could cause intestinal blockages.

What is Christmas? 
It is a tenderness for the past, courage for the present, 
hope for the future.
It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with 
blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace.

Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and 
love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year 
for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.

A Christmas candle is a lovely thing;
It makes no noise at all,
But softly gives away;
While quite unselfish, it grows small.

Heap on the wood – the wind is chill;
But let it whistle as it will,
We’ll keep our Christmas merry still.

Every year, when you gather around the tree, 
you always want to have a dog by your side.

Christmas is so much better with a man or a woman’s 
best friend at your side.

I looked up my family tree and found the cats using it.

If it weren’t for WW-II, you’d all be German Shepherds.

Deck the hall with Catnip Mousies… Fa la la la

Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.

Watching your dog open presents on Christmas morning 
is a gift that cannot be measured.

Ho Ho Ho

It's Santa Paws...


               Merry Christmas
                Happy Holidays…


Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Meat & Veggies For Pets.

People make decisions about what to eat based on their beliefs and backgrounds, including health, political, environmental, cultural, or religious ideals.
For some people, that carries over into what they choose to feed their dogs and cats.

“Concern for animal welfare has to include a biologically-appropriate diet. You can't force your ideology on the cat or a dog”


Dogs out in the wild scavenging for food will eat pretty much anything including fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, poultry, and raw meat. 
Unlike humans, a dog’s body can handle large variety of foods to ensure they adapt to their hunting lifestyle. 
Study researchers were amazed to learn the tie between human and dogs is so strong that both species developed same seating habits over time 

Cats are strict carnivore; they primary eat small rodents, birds, and bugs. Because hunting is such a big part of a cats’ life, even indoor cats want to engage in hunting.
They must have animal source of protein in their diet


From the wild to luxury diners…

Dogs have been around for about 15-30,000 years, according to the fossil record.

Dogs have survived for many years on their hunting skill and whatever they could eat and later what was tossed to them by their masters from fire and the pit-stove.

In the latter half of the nineteenth century, pets came to be regarded as luxury items. This sparked new interest in canines.
Victorian kennel masters took pride in their own dog food recipes, some handed down from generation to generation. 

The world’s first manufacturer of dog biscuit in 1860 was an American, 
James Spratt - an electrician and a lightning rod salesman from London. 

He saw dogs being fed left-over ship biscuits and decided he could do better. With a carefully compounded preparation of wheat meals, vegetables, beetroot, and meat, the Spratt Company was in the right direction selling food to English country gentlemen for sporting dogs.
Early improvements to provide nutritional pet food went into creating healthy food and a result of pets living long.

Canned horsemeat for dog food was introduced in the United States after World War I.
Canned cat food and dry meat-meal dog foods were introduced in 1930.
The 1950s expanded to dry pet foods and introduction of breakfast cereals. 
1960s marked diversification in different types of food available to pets with vitamins and minerals. Many more companies with varieties of canned products were introduced

Pet owners at this time were beginning to understand the importance of balanced diets for dogs and cats, with proper weighting of protein, fat and carbohydrates, and the inclusion of essential.


The 2007 notorious Chinese milk product contamination fiasco in North America, Europe and South America came from a single Chinese company with reported increase in renal failure in infants associated with ingestion of infant formula.

Soon after, numerous media reports on animal deaths followed as a result of kidney failure which was mostly associated with wheat gluten, rice protein. Contaminated corn gluten which was associated with kidney failure of pets came from South Africa.


This decisive change took place when pet owners, animal lovers and celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres,  Russell Simmons, Alicia Silverstone, and a host of others  extolled the benefits of plant-based diet to give the notion of a holistic approach that gives pet owners more control over their pet’s diet.


The origin of the English term vegetarian is unknown.

The earliest known use is attributed to the actress 
Fanny Kemble, writing around 1839 in Georgia in the United States.
Vegetarian practice can be traced to Pythagoras in the 6th century BCE Greece. 
Greek Philosophers Empedocles and Theophrastus were vegetarians.

Vegetarian Resources states that ‘Vegans’ in addition to being vegetarian, do not use other animal products and by-products such as eggs, dairy products, honey, leather, fur, silk, wool, cosmetics and soap derived from animal products.


The debate rages everywhere, with many veterinarians opposing vegetarian diets. 

Dogs and cats are built to handle bacterial loads from food that would cause significant illness in you and me. Your pet’s body is well equipped to deal with heavy doses of familiar and strange bacteria because nature built him to catch, kill and immediately consume his prey.

Cats are one of four creatures in the world who are obligate carnivores; they need to have meat protein in their diets. Cats are designed essentially to eat carbohydrates.

In retrospect, concern for animal welfare has to include a biological appropriate diet. You cannot force your ideology on your pets.


The diet your dog should be eating is that of a grey wolf in the wild. If you dissect a dog and a grey wolf you’ll find that their digestive systems are identical. The two animals are essentially the same species and so closely related that they can interbreed.

Grey wolves live on prey such as deer, rabbits and mice, and eat everything including the bones, from which they get about a third of their nutrition.

They also eat fruit and vegetables.

In short, their diet consists of raw meat, raw bones and raw herbage. This, then, is the diet that allows dogs to achieve optimum health and longevity.


Biological Appropriate Raw Food (BARF) 

Remember, dogs ate raw meat for thousands of years before “dog food” was invented.

Raw meat and raw vegetables are healthier for dogs than cooked food because cooking destroys the enzymes needed for superior digestion and nutrient absorption.
These enzymes survive the freezing/defrosting process just fine.


Dogs have actually eaten vegetables the whole period of their evolution, and that’s a long time! 
As such, vegetables, particularly green leafy vegetables should form part of the domestic dog’s healthy diet.
Dogs need vegetables because they contain many important health promoting nutrients.
The fiber your dog obtains from raw vegetables includes both soluble and insoluble fiber. Vegetables supply many other nutrients.

Many of those nutrients are the ones that have been found to be in short supply in the modern dog’s civilized diet. This includes the difficult to obtain omega 3 essential fatty acids.

Shinier coats
Healthier skin
Cleaner teeth
Higher energy levels
Smaller tools

Threats to human and dog health from bacteria in raw meat.
Potential for whole bones to choke an animal, break teeth or cause an       internal puncture.
An unbalanced diet that may damage the health of dogs if given on an        extended period.

Muscle meat, often still on the bone
Bones, either whole or ground
Organ meats such as livers and kidneys
Raw eggs
Vegetables like broccoli, spinach, and celery
Apples or fruit
Some dairy, such as yogurt

The nutritional requirements for dogs and cats are very different from those for humans.
Thus, a vegetarian diet perfectly suitable in meeting a person’s nutrient needs may be grossly deficient where dogs or cats are concerned.
The decision to feed a dog or cat a vegetarian diet is not one to be taken lightly.
There is a lot of room for error, and these diets probably are not appropriate if they contain least animal protein.

Trying to feed a cat a vegan diet would not be appropriate.  It goes against their physiology.
For dogs, certainly vegetarian and vegan diets can be done, but they need to be done very, very carefully.


The key word here is ‘survive’.  To survive is not to thrive.  To thrive is grow vigorously and flourish. Survive simply means to stay alive.

Both cats and dogs are carnivores. 
Felines are obligate carnivores, meaning they must eat meat to sustain life.

Dogs are scavenging carnivores.
In general terms this means they are primarily meat-eaters, but can survive on plant material alone if necessary.

They have evolved biologically as omnivores, meaning their system can derive nutrients from a wide variety of sources, including fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes and animal products.


First of all speak to your vet and ensure that there are no health issues or nutritional imbalances which may mean that a vegetarian diet is unsuitable for your particular dog.

Ask for your vet’s advice on how you can ensure that any vegetarian food that you feed is complete and fit for purpose, and how to introduce it into the diet.
Make the transition gradually, and monitor your pet closely in both the short and medium term to ensure they are making the transition well.

It is important to remember that feeding a vegetarian diet to your dog is a choice, and one which may have to re-assess if your situation changes, or your dog fails to thrive, or shows any signs of nutritional imbalance.
It is important to reiterate…

“Concern for animal welfare has to include a biologically-appropriate diet. You can't force your ideology on the cat or a dog”

Good luck with your decision…

Monday, 7 September 2015

Couple Divorces and Pet Dogs.

Here comes the bride 
All dressed in white
Sweetly serene in the soft glowing light…

This bridal march, a staple at weddings and by far more brides have walked down the aisle to this piece of music than any other.  While the walk down the aisle ends in marital bliss for many couples, for an equal number the end of the aisle is a place far, far from happily ever after.

And for divorcing parents, they are usually concerned about their welfare of their children during this troublesome process. Some parents are so worried that they remain in unhappy marriages, believing it will protect their offspring from trauma of divorce.

Divorce can be hard on anyone. There is property, furniture, art collection, cars, bank savings etc. to be divided and child custody issues, but what about the dog(s)? Yes, dogs are family too, and with so much lost in divorce cases sometimes, losing a treasured pet can be a terrible blow. 

Welcome to the tricky and highly emotional world of pet custody with more and more couples ending up in courts fighting over access rights to the dogs and even demanding pet maintenance to look after their pampered pooch. Many dog owners now consider signed agreement to avoid battles over pets.

In the past, the issue of pet custody was never thought of and almost never emerged in divorce proceedings. Now it comes up in about half of divorce cases. About 15% of divorces end up ‘getting rough and rocky’ over dogs and cats.

A survey by American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, the most desired animal is the dog with 88%. Cats were much less sought-after with 5%. Even iguanas, pythons, African grey parrots and giant turtles have been fought over.

Why have we become so willing to go to war over a pet? 
Experts opine what is happening today is that lots of people are choosing not to have children, but they are getting pets earlier than ever, therefore pets become like children – and people will fight  over them. If a couple does have kids, the typical arrangement is that the dog or cat will go wherever the children go.


They say a dog is a man’s best friend. It’s not surprising that in a ‘canine-centric world, dogs play an ever more important role in our emotional lives’. 
So let’s sniff out some truth in custodial battles fought by divorced couples over their pets.

                                               Craig & Sara in good times

A 34 year-old New Yorker, CRAIG DERSHOWITZ, says he hired two private investigators to track down his ex-girlfriend, SARA BREGA, whom he accused of 'dognapping' his puggle (Half pug, half beagle)... 
Sara Brega in court said - Dershowitz had unconditionally gifted 'Knuckles' to her. Brega has since hired a lawyer to fight her case.

So far, Dershowitz alone has spent over $60,000 on cross country legal fight against Sara Brega.

Romanian pensioner ELIZA BARBU, 70, has filed for a divorce after 50 years of marriage from her husband MIRCEA,  who spends all his pension money in feeding his dog and more than 20 other stray dogs.

The Times of Israel’s daily edition ‘Maariv’ reported an unnamed man divorced his wife this week because she had brought 550 cats into their home.
The husband complained to the Rabbinical Court in Beersheba that he was unable to sleep in his bedroom. The cats blocked his access to the bathroom and did not allow him to prepare meals in the kitchen. The couple attempted reconciliation at the behest of the Rabbinical Court.

The wife, however, was unable to part from her cats… and preferred to part from her husband 



Celebrities are known for excess and exaggeration, and unfortunately for them their divorces are often extreme as well. The common divorce may be just as nasty, of course, but with intense media scrutiny, we are privy to the dirty details of many stars’ marital troubles.


                                         Zsa Zsa Gabor & Macho
When hotelier CONRAD HILTON married the younger Hungarian actress and beauty queen ZSA ZSA GABOR in 1942, the union raised some eyebrows.  Eventually, Gabor got tired of Hilton and began sleeping with her stepson, Nicky.  Hilton and Gabor ended up divorcing in 1947.  Gabor picked up $275,000 in the process.  Gabor later joked Conrad Hilton was very generous in the divorce, he gave me 5,000 Gideon Bibles.

The breakup of this marriage was without a doubt one of the ugliest Hollywood has ever seen. After three years of marital bliss, Richards filed for divorce in 2005 alleging that Sheen was unfaithful, abusive and addicted to both pornography and prostitutes. Sheen’s voicemail message record said to his estranged wife to rot in ******* hell and called her a sad jobless *****

This split got nasty even before the divorce papers were filed.  Less than two years into marriage, Gest sued Minnelli for $10 million, alleging that his estranged wife had beaten him so badly during rages spurred by alcohol that he had suffered neurological and severe headaches and had to be hospitalized.
Minnelli counter sued accusing Gest of stealing at least $2 million when he produced several of her shows.  

November 2009, during their divorce proceedings, both TIGER WOODS and NORDEGREN allegedly wanted custody of the pooches. While Nordegren reportedly received $110 million and joint custody of their two children and her dogs in settlement, Tiger Woods retained his visiting rights with the pooches.  

BRITNEY SPEARS has amassed a fortune of $50 million. In her divorce with KEVIN FEDERLINE a meager settlement of just $1 million was received by Kevin because of a pre-nuptial airtight deal which was devised by her lawyers. Spears fought to gain custody of their dogs, in spite of her reputation as a subpar owner. She was voted the worst celebrity dog owner. PETA even wrote an open letter to Federline encouraging him to file for custody of his dogs. 

HEATHER MILLS, an English entrepreneur, environmentalist and an animal activist came to public attention when a collision with a police motorcycle resulted in amputation of her left leg. She married Beatle PAUL McCARTNEY in 2002.
In 2008 when their divorce became final, Mills ended up with $48.7 million, which sounds like a lot to most of us, but is considerably less than the chunk of McCartney’s $800 million assets she had been asking for, and many think this is because of her attempt to drag Sir Paul’s name through the marital mud.

HUGH HEFNER let playboy bunny CRYSTAL HARRIS keep the ring when she broke off their engagement in 2011 – but he wanted to keep their dog, Charlie.  The couple vied for ownership of their cavalier King Charles spaniel, with Hefner saying, ‘We both love the puppy. I told her if she wants to keep the ring and the Bentley, then maybe I can keep the puppy. I hope we will work it out.’ And work out they did, the pair have since reunited and tied the knot. 

Twilight stars ROBERT PATTINSON and KRISTEN STEWART initially agreed to share time with their dogs, Bear and Bernie, after they split up in 2013. But it was reported last summer that Kristen had taken legal advice about pursuing sole custody, after Rob left them with friends while filming in Canada. 

CHERYL COLE won custody of dogs Buster and Coco after her divorce from footballer ASHLEY COLE.
They reportedly agreed to split their fortune equally, but Cheryl insisted that she keep the two Chihuahuas full time. Cheryl had said of them earlier: There’s nothing like the comfort of your animals… They are definitely more mine than Ashley’s but he does love them really. 

The UK’s most controversial and public doggie custody was between former Big Brothers stars MELANIE HILL and ALEX SIBLEY.
The pair spent more than a year, and an estimated $ 38,000 fighting over Staffordshire bull terrier Poppy after their relationship ended. The court awarded Alex the right to see the dog for two out of every five weeks and ordered Melanie to pay 80% of his costs. Alex said Poppy is a dog in a million. She is absolutely the best dog
in the world. 

LIAM GALLAGHER reportedly consulted lawyers last autumn to seek access to the two dachshunds he shared with NICOLE APPLETON, which stayed in the marital home after the couple split.  Liam was particularly upset to be separated from chocolate-brown Bridgette Bardot.
A civil case was pending for custody by Liam. He wanted to share the custody of the two dogs. No way was he prepared to lose them. It was breaking his heart, he said.

After golfer RORY McLLROY and his childhood sweetheart HOLLY SWEENY ended their six-year relationship, the pair agreed a special custody arrangement for their dogs Theo,  a Labradoogle and Gus, a cocker spaniel. Holly said ‘He got to keep the dogs. It’s unfair for them to run around in an apartment rather than the many acres of land there is at his house, I’ll have my visitation rights’.
Rory also shared a dog called Bruno with recently jilted fiancée CAROLINE WOZNIACKI.

Although it can be difficult when your life is already going through a rough time to agree to let go of a beloved pet, sometimes it can be for the best.

Many divorces end up with the family home being sold and at least one, if not both, parties living in a small apartment or with a family for a while until they get back on their feet.

Depending on the situation, it is not always in the animal’s best interests to have them live with you.  Recognizing and accepting that is sometimes a much better measure of how much a pet is loved.

Either way losing one’s dog adds to the pain of divorce.
It takes a commitment to help a dog through the changes divorce brings.



Sunday, 16 August 2015

Overweight Dogs.

Yes, it sounds funny to say my dog is pleasantly plump, or cute and cuddly, or any of the other euphemism we use to describe our overweight pets, but the hidden truth and health risks are serious and pet owners should know.

Did you know you may be literally killing your pet with kindness? That’s right, those daily treats you give your pet or a bite or two at the table to a begging, drooling dog. It may give you the illusion that all is well, but the reality is the extra treats and the resulting extra weight are causing lasting damage to your pet’s internal organs, bones and joints – some of which can never be remedied even with a change in diet and exercise.

As your pet’s waistline grows, his lifespan shrinks.

Lean dogs live longer, healthier lives than those who are overweight. Study showed that dogs fed 25% fewer calories than free-fed litter mates lived nearly two years longer and showed fewer visible signs of aging.

Because we’re so used to seeing overweight dogs, many owners think a dog at his proper weight is still too skinny. As many as half of pet dogs are overweight, but the majority of owners are in denial. If veterinarians considered 50% of their patients to be overweight, only 15% owners agreed.

As in people, dogs carrying extra pounds of weight place extra demands on virtually all the organs of their bodies. When we overload these organs, disease and sometimes death are the result. The health risk to overweight dogs are serious and every dog owner should be aware of them.

Some of the conditions that can occur as a result of excess weight are:
Diabetes Mellitus (Sugar Diabetes).
Damage to joints, bones (Osteoarthritis).
Blood Pressure.
Heart Disease.
Breathing difficulty (Respiratory).
Decreased Stamina.
Heat intolerance.
Decreased Liver function.
Reproductive problems (Pregnancy)
Digestive disorders.
Decreased Immune function.
Skin and Hair Coat problems.
Increased risk of Cancer.
Decreased quality and length of life.
Increased Surgical and Anesthetic risk.

3 Simple Checks.

Rib Check:
Place both your thumbs on your dog’s backbone and spread both hands across his rib cage. Actually feeling your dog is important as the coat of many dogs will make a visual check difficult.-

Profile Check:
Examine your dog’s profile – it’s best if you are level with your dog. Look for the abdomen to be tucked up behind his rib cage, this is ideal method.

Overhead Check:
Looking at your dog from overhead, identify whether you can see a waist behind his ribs. Most dogs at healthy weight should have an hourglass figure.
If you find that your dog’s ribs and waistline aren’t where they’re supposed to be, adjust the amount of food offered accordingly. If in doubt, consult your vet.


Certain medical conditions can cause obesity in dogs, and any dog with a weight problem should be examined by veterinarian prior to initiating weight control program.

Certain groups of dogs appear more prone to obesity than others.
The veterinarian will determine if there is an underlying cause for the obesity or if there are other medical conditions present, which could complicate weight reduction. When starting a weight reduction program, your veterinarian can help you determine a realistic weight goal and timeline.

One of the main reasons weight reduction program for dogs fail is that one (or more) members of the household or even neighborhood is not following the program. Everyone must agree that the program is essential for the life and health of the dog.

Regular assessments by your vet. are recommended.  It is relatively simple to weigh a small dog at home using bathroom scales.  First weigh yourself, then pick up your dog and get back on the scales to measure the difference.  This is obviously more difficult for a large dog, for which you may need your vet’s scale.

Never starve your dog in an attempt to lose weight quickly. It’s not safe to reduce food intake by more than 15%, as your pet won’t get the right balance of essentials minerals and vitamins and could run the risk of becoming seriously ill. This is why veterinary supervision of a diet is important.

If your dog fails to lose weight despite increasing activity and cutting out treats, speak to your vet again, who may want to investigate for underlying medical problems that can cause weight gain? 

It is not just the human world that is fighting against the growing problem of obesity, our dogs are facing the same battle. Even more distressing is the fact that the number of obese dogs is growing. Obesity is the most common canine nutritional disease.

While the many problems associated with weight gain are frightening, it’s reassuring to know that by keeping your dog at a reasonable weight, you can reduce his chances of diabetes, orthopedic problems, cancer and other diseases.

Try to exercise your dog as much as he is able. The more muscle he maintains, the more calories he’ll burn and less fat he’ll carry. Not only that, but when you fill his time with fun activities, he’ll spend less time hanging around the food bowl. 

Food plays a very important role in treating an overweight dog. Along with exercise, a low-calorie food is essential in helping your dog lose weight and stay fit.  Fiber is also a key ingredient since it helps your dog eat less while keeping him full.


  • To keep him from begging for food, feed your dog before your own meals.
  • Instruct family members and visitors not to give your dog any treats or table scraps.
  • Remove the pet from the room when the family eats.
  • Start keeping a record of your dog's weight. If possible, weigh him once a week.
  • Don't give your dog one heaping bowl of food that he can eat whenever he wants.  Instead give him two to four 'small' measured meals a day so you can regulate his portions.
  • Feed all meals and treats in the pet's bowl only.
  • Reduce snacks or treats.
  • If your dog spends a lot of time outdoors, make sure that all of your garbage cans have a secure covers. This applies to indoor garbage cans too.
  • If you have more than one dog, feed them separately. That way, your overweight dog won't have access to that 'second helping'.
  • Keep lot of clean, fresh water available. 

Finally, be sure to take your dog to your veterinarian for a checkup and expert advice.
Your vet may give you guidelines on exercise appropriate for your dog’s age and health as well as specific advice on how much he should be eating. He can also check for, and treat, any weight-related problems.