February is National Pet Dental Health Month.
Dental disease can be quite painful for pets and they won’t usually show signs of distress until the disease is quite advanced. That’s why we need to pay attention to our pets’ mouths before they let us know something is wrong.
Dogs and cats need to have their teeth brushed 3 times a week with dog or cat toothpaste. Don’t use human toothpaste; their digestive systems can’t handle it. Gradually teach your pets to let you open their mouths, insert a foreign object and apply toothpaste. See Brushing Your Pet’s Teeth for advice on how to do this without getting bit.
Cats are prone to inflammation of the gums which may be a result of plaque build-up. Bad breath in cats can be attributed to this problem, but can also be a symptom of more serious diseases such as FIV. If your cat’s breath changes, a visit to the vet is in order.
Horses’ teeth never stop growing, so dental problems are common. The best way to prevent dental disease in horses is to make sure your horse gets a dental check-up every six months. The vet will use special instruments to examine the teeth and file them if necessary. Signs of dental problems in horses are trouble eating, weight loss, poor coat condition and fighting the bit.
Rabbits’ teeth continue to grow throughout their lifetimes. If the top and bottom teeth don’t meet, they can overgrow, causing difficulties in eating. This is a common problem among older rabbits. A trip to the vet for clipping or filing can solve the problem.
Wishing health and happiness to you and your pets this February!
Hurricane Sandy has caused havoc all over the Northeastern US and beyond. We hope that all of our friends over there have been able to stay safe throughout this devastating time. Animals have a sixth sense about these sorts of things. Make sure to give them plenty of reassurance that things will be OK. Our prayers are with you.
November is the month to celebrate senior pets. It has been designated as National Senior Pet Month. It’s no secret that senior pets are often well-trained, already vaccinated, spayed/neutered, and likely to be calmer than younger animals. If you are looking to adopt a pet this month, you are in luck. Shelters are focusing on finding homes for the senior pets in their care. Senior citizens and working families can benefit greatly from a less energetic pet.
Older dogs need more regular check-ups at the vet, more relaxed exercise and possibly a change of diet. Groom your dog often and check for lumps and bumps that shouldn’t be there.
Cats are likely to get less active as they get older. You can encourage them to jump by placing a stool or other surface below their favorite perch. If your cat is having trouble chewing its food, wet the Kibble before placing it in the bowl. Although cats generally groom themselves, an older cat may need you to take over the job occasionally.
Older horses need to be checked daily for health problems. Early detection is extremely important in horse illnesses. Pay special attention to their teeth. Continue to exercise your horse (lightly) and cover him with a blanket in cold weather.
Obesity is a big problem for aging rabbits. Special care must be taken with their diet, so they don’t overeat. If your rabbit becomes less mobile, it may be due to arthritis and joint pain. Put extra padding in the cage and lower ramps. Make sure he has easy access to the litter box.
Senior pets develop close relationships with their humans and are usually more affectionate than younger furry friends. Spend some extra time cuddling your pet and don’t be surprised when he cuddles back.
This blog has always been written in Omer’s voice. Since he is no longer with us, I want to use this blog to honor his memory. Instead of being about our family of pets, it will be about pet issues that affect pets and and their humans all over the world.
We brought Omer home a week ago from the hospital, and buried him in our backyard. He is buried near a tree that he used to use to sharpen his nails. We put him in a place that gets sun in the morning and cool shade in the afternoon, just like he would like it. Our family had a little ceremony where we were able to say goodbye. We placed little notes in his grave expressing our love for him and buried him with his favorite toy. I hope that he rests in peace.
A pet is not just an animal, it is a member of the family. When you bring pets into your home, you open up your heart to them and create a special bond. The loss of a pet can make a huge impact on an individual or family. It’s important to realize that it is okay to grieve.
The five stages of grief are:
- Denial – shock and numbness
- Anger – rage at everyone and everything and pain beyond belief
- Bargaining – promising to do anything to spare a loved one or bring them back, “if onlys,” unbearable pain of loss
- Depression – withdrawal from life, intense sadness
- Acceptance – not that the loss is okay, but the reality of it so we can resume our lives
A few hours ago, Omer passed over the rainbow bridge. I feel a deep sense of loss and sorrow at his passing. I don’t have words to describe the way that I feel.
Omer was one of the sweetest animals that I had ever known. He was empathic. Although a lot of the time he was aloof, when someone was down, he would instinctively go to and try to absorb their pain.
When we started The Pet Wiki, Omer was our only pet. We had other pets over the years – guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils and rabbits, but Omer was different than all of them. His personality was much stronger than any other animal that we had known. He was a lover that bonded strongly with my youngest daughter, He was her companion through thick and thin.
When we got home last night, we could tell immediately that something was wrong. Omer was crying to us in a way that he had never cried before. It was a profoundly sad cry. When we found him under my daughter’s sleeper couch in her room, he could barely move. He was drooling and was clearly upset.
Immediately we rushed him to the animal hospital, where we were told he needed an operation because of an infection in his stomach and that is chances were 50-50% at best. After doing more blood tests, they found out that his blood wouldn’t clot because of his weak state, and they gave him plasma before the surgery to help.
After the surgery was completed, I got the call from the surgeon saying that they didn’t find anything in his stomach and that they were having problems with his blood not clotting. At that point, she told me that he would have a 5-10% chance for survival. A few minutes after her first call, the doctor called again to let me know that Omer had passed.
I have no idea how a cat that seemed healthy a day earlier deteriorated so quickly. A month and a half earlier he was ill with a fever, but he was treated with antibiotics, and he seemed to have a full recovery. Animals are really good about hiding their pain. Our cause for concern a month earlier - loss of appetite – did not return. He was eating and drinking, so I really had no signs to let me know about the state he was in. It all seems to have happened so fast.
I have a lot of guilt that his final days were less than happy. We recently got a new dog and he did not like the change in our family. He spent a lot of his time in fear during the day. I made sure to take him into secluded rooms, whenever possible, and spend one-on-one time with him, so that he knew he was loved. I’m going to miss our time together.
In the evening, he always found his special little girl, and would snuggle with her to sleep. It was very sweet to see them together. My daughter is still sleeping and doesn’t know that Omer has passed. I don’t know how I’m going to break it to her.
Omer, I only hope that you knew what an important member of our family you were. There really are no words to describe how much you will be missed. I hope that you are playing around with all your pals on the other side of the rainbow bridge. We hope you now feel strong and safe and happy. You were, and are, loved.
Some photos of Omer:
Goodnight, sweet prince.
About a month or so ago, mom took a friend to the JSPCA to get her dog neutered and maybe adopt a new dog. Well, they didn’t have the type of dog that mom’s friend was looking for, but a different dog did find a home that day – with mom.
The creature was four-year-old pug named Dora. Mom and the rest of the family couldn’t get into the name Dora, so they are calling her Pugsley. (Mom wanted to call her Bisli, because of her curly tail, and thought that it would go well with Pretzel, but the kids overruled her.)
I know that I should be more like “Welcome to the family” and all, but this little creep barks at me. Mom has been trying to train her not to chase me and Snoopy, and she’s been pretty successful, but I still don’t like her.
Snoopy is doing much better than I am about the whole thing. She’s not crazy about Pugsley either, but she’s willing to ignore Pugsley and if Pugsley get too closes, she has no problem using her claws to let Pugsley know to keep her distance.
I’ve been spending most of my days hiding in the closet. I come out in the evenings to hang with my special little girl. Mom makes sure that she spends time with me in a closed room, so I know I’m still loved.
I wish that I could find a way to get over my fear. I don’t ever need to love the new dog, but if I could just get used to it being around, things would be much better. I was able to get used to Pretzel. I just need some courage to get used to Pugsley as well. I now know how the cowardly lion felt. Where’s the Wizard when you need him?
I am yellow. When I say that I mean that it’s not only the main color of my feathers, but it’s also my nature. Even though I’m a Sun Conure, I sometimes act more like a chicken than any other species of bird. It’s really only my nature when I am in a place that I don’t know all that well. Why am I telling you all this? I flew away a couple of weeks ago. It’s not something that I’m proud of. Mom was almost as scared as I was. After the initial flight away from my cage, she spent hours looking for me. She went home devastated and thought that she would never see me again. (Spoiler alter: I’m happily in my cage now!)
This is how it all went down: We are painting our house. The fumes are very dangerous for birds. In order to keep me safe, mom took me to Softa’s house, away from all the fumes. When she got there, my cage got stuck in the car. In an attempt to dislodge it from its place, one of the doors popped open. My toys were clanking around, and dogs in the neighborhood were barking. With all the ruckus, I decided to take my chances and find a nice place to hide in a tree. Everything seemed to happen in slow motion. I glided up to the top of Softa’s neighbor’s tree, just out of mom’s reach.
Mom tried to talk me down, but there was just too much going on for my comfort. Not only did I not come down, I decided to take a bit of a stroll around the neighborhood. Mom spent hours walking around and calling for me, but it was dark out, and I just wanted to hunker down for the night. Mom gave up and went home for the night. There was nothing else she could do.
The next morning, mom got up at 5am, before the sun went up, in order to search me out. It seems that it’s best to look for missing birds right before sunrise and right after sunset. We birds like hanging out at those times. Mom was so surprised how loud all the birds were in the neighborhood. She never realize that that’s our special time of the day.
Lucky for me, I decided to go back to that neighbor’s tree. When mom came looking for me, and started to sing my favorite whistle, I couldn’t help but sing along. Once she had me in her sights, she wouldn’t leave until I was safe in my cage. It took a bunch of hours to coax me down, but mom was there for all of it. My pal Tweety helped too. After mom took out Tweety, Softa’s cockatiel friend, to talk me down, I started to feel more confident that being lower down wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. Even so, I only came halfway down on my own.
As practically a last resort, mom took a hose, and wet me down a bit. That made it a bit harder for me to fly. When I did fly, I could only get to a shorter tree, and only on some of the lower branches. The contractor that is painting our house was nice enough to climb into the tree and bring me down the rest of the way. Don’t get me wrong, at the time, I didn’t think that Liran, the contractor was all that nice. Lucky for him, he was wearing gloves because I tried to take a chunk out of his hand. Mom was less lucky and has the beak marks to prove it. No matter how hard I tried to get away, mom wouldn’t let me go, no matter how hard I bit her. Now that’s love.
Quickly they put me into a smaller cage and brought me into Softa’s house. If anything like this happens again, mom is going to make sure that she takes a pillowcase with her. It’s much harder to bite through one of those. Hopefully, we will never be in this situation again.
I’m back in my cage. I have a couple of feathers that I still can’t get back into place, but other than that, I’m no worse for wear. Mom is seriously considering clipping my wings. It’s a very hard decision for her to make. After all, we are a house with 2 dogs and 2 cats in it. Mom likes that I have the ability to fly away from dangers in the house. What she didn’t count on is the dangers outside the house.
I’m not back at home yet because we are still painting, but I’m back in my cage, happy to be with all my toys and bed. Mom came to visit me tonight, to check me out and make sure that I am doing OK. It was really nice to see her. She didn’t take me out of my cage – I had enough of that until I get back home – but she pet me through the bars, and I must say, I was in heaven.
Hi Guys! This is Pretzel again. Did you know that February is National Pet Dental Month? I didn’t either! I had to find out the hard way. Mom had the vet clean my teeth. Not the most pleasant experience, but something that was very necessary. My teeth have been gooky since I came to my forever home. Mom is embarrassed to say that that was over a year ago. Nothing to be embarrassed about any more. I can now show my pearly whites.
Humans are not the only ones that need to take care of their teeth. You need to keep an eye on us pets too. It’s a good idea to get your pet started young with teeth brushing. As we get older, we get stubborn and don’t like people poking around in our mouths all that much. I’m sure that you can understand that.
One thing that is very important is to make sure that when you brush our teeth you use special pet toothpaste. Unlike humans, we don’t have the disgusting habit of spitting. That means what goes in gets swallowed. Human toothpaste is bad for us.
Chew stuff also helps to keep our teeth nice and shiney. There are all sorts of bone out there for us doggies to chew that can help get rid of plaque and tartar build up. They are also really yummy.
My pal Rocky the gerbil, like lots of little animals, needs stuff to gnaw on to make sure that his teeth don’t grow too big for his mouth. Lola, our bunny that passed over the rainbow bridge a few years back, was very careful about her dental care. She was so motivated to keep her teeth in perfect condition that she even chewed the wall. Now that’s dedication!
A word of caution to all you pets out there that think that you don’t need to worry about your teeth – just like in humans, there is a link between gum disease and heart disease. Your teeth don’t just make you look good and help you eat, they are important to your overall well being. Mine now make me look great!
Remember Pretzel, that pesky little mutt that mom got for her birthday a couple years back? That’s when she met the wonderful people at the Jerusalem Society for the Prevention of Cruelty Association, like Eve, Gadi and Sharon. They are so dedicated to helping animals in need. Since then, she’s been doing what she can to help them out. Since we don’t live in Jerusalem, she had to figure out a way to help them that doesn’t involve commuting. Since mom is a huge geek, she decided to build them a website.
The JSPCA’s website has been a labor of love for her. She’s so happy that she is able to help this wonderful organization get pets in need of a home adopted by their forever families. The JSPCA has low cost spay and neuter clinics. They also have a wonderful trap/neuter/release program to help keep the feral cat population down. Mom feels really strongly about that!
The biggest problem that I have with mom spending so much time on the site is that she sometimes gets distracted and starts looking at other animals that need homes. Unfortunately, there are a lot of them. I just hope that she realizes who’s house this is and doesn’t decide to bring anyone home without my permission.
It’s been about a month now, and Twitch hasn’t come home. She left and didn’t tell any of us where she was going or what she was doing. Mom put up signs around the neighborhood hoping that someone would see her and call. One person did, but she wasn’t sure that it was Twitch and by the time mom got there, the cat was gone. Mom doubts that it was Twitch because it was far away from her turf. We cats can get pretty territorial and don’t like hanging out in places that we don’t belong.
Mom still hopes that Twitch will come back. She’s heard of stories where cats have returned home after months or even years of being lost. I hope that Mom’s right because I kinda miss Twitch too. I know that we never really hung out together all that much. She was a different generation than me. I mean, after all she is 8 years older than I am.
You know how I have my special girl? Well mom won’t admit it to the rest of us furry and feathered beings, but Twitch is really her baby. Twitch slept next to mom every night. Mom’s been having a hard time going to sleep without her.
If anyone thinks that they might know where she is, please let me know. We all would like her home, safe and sound. Even Pretzel would be happy to see her again, and he’s a dog.
Hellooooooooo everyone. Pretzel here again. Can you believe that it’s my one year anniversary of living with my forever family? I know, it’s gone so fast. It’s one year in people years, that means that it’s so much longer for me, but it doesn’t feel that way. It’s not that I don’t feel completely at home, it’s just that time flies when you’re having fun.
I remember the first time that I met my new family. I was being fostered with a bunch of other dogs at Eve’s house. Eve runs the JSPCA and not only cares about all the dogs and cats at the shelter, she opens up her house to some hard cases, like me. She was so nice to me after my original home left me out in the yard and didn’t pay attention to me. I was totally unsocialized. Eve took me in and taught me how to behave with humans. I have to thank her for making me the dog that I am today.
Not only has Eve been really special to me, my family has shown me so much love and affection that I can’t imagine living anywhere else. That’s why it’s so important for me to celebrate this date. I am love and I can give love. You might think that is something that anyone can do, but I have to say, it’s harder than it looks. I came from a bad situation. I wasn’t a puppy when I was adopted. I was actually adopted twice. The first time, I was returned after a week because that family didn’t like me. I was nervous to be in a new situation and they didn’t have the patience and understanding to give me a little bit more time to warm up. My forever family gets me. They weren’t worried when I was a bit nervous about being in a new place. They accepted me with open arms.
I still have cat issues. I mean, I love the cats, but they don’t seem to care all that much about me. Omer is nice to me, but won’t play with me. Twitch tolerates me. Snoopy is just nasty. It’s lucky that Snoopy has 9 lives. Perhaps we can be friends in the next one or two of them.
Mom doesn’t know when my birthday is, so we’ve decided to celebrate this day as a sort of birthday celebration. I’m sure that it will be the first of many happy years together!