Thursday, December 31, 2009

Colored Pencil Pet Portrait

Just gave this colored pencil portrait to my grandson for Christmas. It took me about one week to complete. I used Prismacolor colored pencils and worked from a photo of Jo Jo (that's his cat's name).

My grandson was thrilled with the portrait and wants one of his other cat, Zoey.

If anyone is interested in a pet portrait, just email me for pricing at

A high quality photograph is all I need to get started.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

New Herbal Tea Offers Relief for Aging Dogs

I find myself steeping a hot cup of herbal tea to relax my nerves and warm my bones on cold, winter nights. I never thought about making a cup for my 15 year old beagle! Then I saw an advertisement for The Honest Kitchen’s new Herbal Tea for dogs. The Honest Kitchen makes holistic pet foods with human-grade ingredients.

This herbal tea for dogs is named Lithe and it is the first of its kind. Honest Kitchen’s tea recipe was developed to stimulate healthy bones and joint mobility in older dogs. The loose leaf tea is made by steeping in hot water just like you make your own herbal tea. The dog tea can be served at room temp or warm. It is also ideal for moistening dry dog food, especially if your dog has trouble chewing crunchy food.

The herbal tea for dogs is blended with anti-inflammatory ingredients that also promote a healthy circulatory system. These ingredients include:

*White willow bark
*Red clover

The cost for Lithe tea for dogs is $16 for 6 ounces and can be ordered online at The Honest Kitchen. I haven’t tried the tea yet but I’m planning on buying 6 oz. for my old beagle. He has trouble walking up and down the stairs now and is really lame when first waking up from a nap. Hopefully, the tea will alleviate his joint pain during the cold, winter months.

Next time you make yourself a cup of tea, include your dog as well.

Resource: Pet Gazette, Dec. 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Swine Flu H1N1 in Cats

Did you know that cats can be infected with H1N1 flu, as well as dogs, ferrets, and people? Does Your Cat Have Swine Flu written by Deborah Maher that tells you what to look for if you suspect your cat has the swine flu - H12N1.

This is good information to print and keep a copy for referring to if your cat becomes ill. Pass the link along to other cat owners you know.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Pig's Ears and Cow Hooves Recalled

The following pig's ears and cow hooves have been recalled. You might want to check to see if you have purchased any of these particular dog treats. They are packaged under various names, so check them out.

Pet Carousel, manufacturers of pig ears and beef hooves, has begun a recall of these products because the products may be contaminated with the bacteria Salmonella.

The affected pig ear products were packaged under the brand names Doggie Delight, Pork Tasteez and Pet Carousel.

The beef hooves were packaged under the brand names Choo Hooves, Dentley's, Doggie Delight, and Pet Carousel.

Your Dog Health Authority

Thursday, November 19, 2009

November is National Pet Diabetes Awareness Month

This article about diabetes in dogs was taken from The Edmund Sun. It is of great interest to all pet owners and makes us all aware of the symptoms of Diabetes in pets.

The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — Today 50 percent of our pets are overweight or obese, which certainly can predispose them to developing diabetes. Both dogs and cats develop the same two types of diabetes seen in humans. The greater majority of dogs develop Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus where the body simply does not produce any insulin.

Most cats, on the other hand, develop Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus. In cats the disease is due either to not producing enough insulin or an inability to utilize the insulin that is produced in the body — the same as Type 2 diabetes in humans. We know the obese cat is certainly more prone to developing diabetes. This type of diabetes also may develop secondary to another disease such as pancreatitis.

With either form of diabetes, and in both cats and dogs, insulin is the primary means of control. Oral hypoglycemic medications may work in a few cats but only in 25 percent to 30 percent of cases. Giving a once or twice daily pill to a cat is way down the list of fun things to do for most cat owners.

It is essential to achieve good control of blood glucose levels as soon as possible and to maintain them by checking on a regular basis. Injectable insulin, professional care and in-home monitoring can help ensure a good maintenance of blood glucose levels. Your veterinarian will want to initially regulate your pet, but easily can teach you how to better maintain your pet’s glucose level at home on a daily basis. This is a disease that will require close contact and an open channel of communication between you and your veterinarian.

Treating and caring for a diabetic pet takes a huge commitment in both time and dollars. Regular administration of insulin is a must, so sacrifices may need to be made to get the pet an injection at 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. everyday, or 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., or just once in the morning but on a regular basis. This is another reason that in-home monitoring can be so helpful in that exact insulin needs can be met. There is a new in-home kit made by abbott that is specific for cats and dogs, has a lancet that can be used on the ear vein and does not have to be converted over from the human glucose meters.

Initial symptoms of diabetes are excessive thirst and urination, possible sudden weight loss and frequent urinary tract infections. Lack of energy and listlessness also are on the list. If you are having your pets checked by their veterinarian every six months as is recommended, the odds are you will find out about the disease early and be able to provide for a longer, more comfortable life with great diabetic control. Remember, pets age about seven years for each calendar year, so a once a year examination is like us waiting seven years for a check-up. A lot can happen during this time. As with all diseases or bodily changes, the earlier we detect a problem, the better chance we have of fixing it.

The ounce of prevention applies here also in that you must find ways to keep your pets’ weights down in a normal range. A change in diet to lower calories, fewer treats, a feather on a stick for playing, a laser light to chase or a good walk around the block for your special canine buddies will help a lot. Simple changes in lifestyle can make a huge difference with time and by making it a habit, it is good for you and for your pet. If you need help with any of these preventive measures just ask your veterinarian.

DR. M. MARGARET KING, a longtime Edmond veterinarian, is a guest columnist. If you have any questions for her, send them to 1900 S. Bryant, Edmond, OK 73013.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Qualities of a True Working Dog

In today's world of small, newly bred dog breeds like the Cock- a- poo (Cocker Spaniel and Poodle), Puggle (Pug and Beagle), and Peekasso (Pekingnese and Lhasa Apso), Labradoodle (Labrador and Poodle), there aren't too many true working dogs. The cities are full of popular, small to medium breeds dressed in hats and sweaters, or rolled around in strollers.

True working dogs are hard to come by, but when you see one, you will know it. They are focused on the work ahead, not distracted by the world around them. Three of the breeds, easily trained in K9 police work, Seeing Eye dogs, herding, and narcotics are the German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, and Border Collies. The photo on the right shows a military dog in Afghanistan preparing to be lifted by helicopter.
All of these working dog breeds are highly intelligent, loyal, have social temperaments, and are easily trained. Their lives are focused upon getting the job done. These dogs are in their glory working, rather than in the show ring.

The German Shepherd and Labrador Retriever are usually chosen to work in drug or explosive searching, police work, military, disasters, and search and rescue, not to mention they are terrific family dogs. The Border Collie's specialty is herding. They are extremely intelligent, and can figure out a course of action on their own, not needing human guidance for herding.

They have strong work ethics, and can work all day without tiring. They thrive on work.
Many of the miniature breeds are fidgety and nervous. You won't find this in the working breeds. They are intense, enthusiastic and dignified, never unpredictable. German Shepherds sometimes get a bad rep. People think the shepherd is aggressive and may possibly turn on its master. This is far from the truth. The German Shepherd dog is an excellent family dog. They are protective, but extremely loyal and friendly to family members. If trained socially as a puppy, this breed makes an excellent family pet.

These large working breeds should never be trained with physically harsh methods. The training can make or break a dog. The intelligent working dogs are trying to please and enjoy learning. There is no need for negative reinforcement, or abusive methods of using prong collars or choke chains. This type of training will only lead to an aggressive or submissive dog. The working dog looks forward to training exercises, enjoying the challenge and learning at the same time.

Jon Katz, author of "A Dog Year: Twelve Months Four Dogs and Me", said in a recent interview, "It’s been quite a revelation to see the power of the working dog, especially when the owner (me) goes to some lengths to give the dog an opportunity to work. You really see why dogs and people got together thousands of years ago, and why they have such a powerful relationship. Now, it makes me a bit sad to see all these proud gorgeous working dogs who never get to work."
German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, and Border Collies are happiest when working. These breeds should not be left to sit in a pen, inside an apartment or chained to a tree. They need stimulating work, exercise, and the satisfaction of helping the pack: humans.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Pet Emergency Supply Kit

Everyone knows that all families should prepare a plan in case of emergencies. Many times, people forget to include their pets in the emergency plan. Hurricane Katrina was proof of what disastrous things can happen to people when a real emergency occurs. Katrina also made the public aware of the plight of thousands of abandoned pets left behind who starved, contracted diseases, and died. A family pet should be considered during an emergency also.

I realize that not all pets can be saved during a fire, hurricane, terrorist attack, or flood and that the members of the family come first, but an emergency plan for pets would certainly give pets a chance.

The Department of Homeland Security released a pamphlet that describes the steps that should be taken when preparing a pet for emergencies. The first step is to prepare a Pet Emergency Supply Kit.

  • Make an Emergency Pet Supply Kit – If possible, prepare two kits. One of the kits should contain enough food and water to stay at home until help arrives. The other pet supply kit should contain about three days worth of food and water. These should be packed into airtight containers that can be easily carried with you in case you have to leave home.

  • Medicine – If your pet takes any kinds of medication, pack this into an airtight, waterproof container also.

  • First Aid Kit – A first aid kit for pets includes just about the same supplies you would pack for your family. These items include: rolls of bandage, bandage tape, scissors, antibiotic cream, flea and tick prevention, gloves, and alcohol swabs.

  • Leash and Collar – Make sure you pack and extra collar with ID tags fastened to it and a leash. Make copies of all your pet’s vaccinations and license number in a waterproof container. If your pet has a microchip, include the microchip number in the bag. If you haven’t done so already, it is a good idea to have your pet micro chipped. It is inexpensive and can be done right at your vet’s office.

  • Crate and Carrier – Have an extra pet carrier ready in case you have to move fast. Have a crate ready for larger animals and take them with you if you can.

  • Pet Litter and Trash Bags – Prepare a portable litter box and bag of litter. For larger pets, pack trash bags for disposing of waste. Include a small bottle of bleach for sanitation purposes.

  • Photo of Pet – Put a picture of your pet in the supply kit. If you should get separated, it is easier to show a photo of your pet than try to describe it.

  • Favorite Item – Choose your pet’s favorite small item and include it in the emergency kit. Having something familiar relieves your pet’s stress and excitement.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Ugliest Dog Crowned in California

Pabst beat the Chinese Cresteds this year to win the World's Ugliest Dog award at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in California. He is a four year old mixed Boxer. Read all about Pabst!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Preventing and Removing Ticks

Most people have a natural aversion to ticks. If one of the disgusting, blood sucking creatures (they belong to the spider family – arachnids rather than insects) lands anywhere on the body, you’ll see uncontrollable jumping, slapping oneself, brushing the clothing wildly, and cringing, possibly even screaming. “Ugh! A tick…get it off…get it off!”
(Pictured at right: Dog Tick, Deer Tick)

Ticks are not only gross, but they are dangerous to both humans and pets. They carry a number of diseases like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Ticks are perfect breeding grounds for disease that can be transmitted with one tick imbedded into the skin.

Ticks don’t fly but they wait for a blood transfusion at the top of grass, bushes, shrubs, and plants. They crawl into trees and climb out on limbs waiting for an innocent child, dog, or other warm blooded animal to pass by. There are two things that attract ticks, one is body heat and the other is the carbon dioxide we exhale. It’s impossible to disguise these things as you’re walking or running through a grassy area.

Once the tick senses a warm body approaching, it moves its front legs into the air, getting ready. As you or your pet walk by, the tick grabs on and climbs onto the fur or skin. What is so disgusting is that the tick will crawl around for hours without you even knowing, looking for the perfect spot to dig in and start blood-sucking!

You probably don’t really want the gruesome details but here goes…once the tick finds a nice spot, it digs into the skin with its mouth. It has barbs that prevent the tick from falling off which is why it’s so hard to pull them off and usually the skin is pulled off with the tick. The tick not only has barbs but it makes its own glue that sets it into the skin. Gross…you bet!

Now that the tick is all settled in, it feeds on the blood of the unsuspecting pet or human for several days until it is a ‘bloated blob of blood’. Once the tick is totally bloated, it drops off the victim. You may have found a bloated tick on your kitchen floor after it is accidentally stepped on. It looks like a mashed up blueberry.

The reason ticks engorge themselves on blood is so than can make those wonderful tick babies. The tick lays tens of thousands of eggs before it dies. The eggs develop into larva, the nymph, and then the adult tick. Some ticks are miniscule and can only be seen with a magnifying glass while others are the size of a flat baby pea.

Most ticks found in the US are one of these types:

  • American Dog Tick (pictured above)

  • Lone Star Tick

  • Deer Tick (pictured above)

  • Brown Dog Tick

  • Preventing Against Ticks
Make sure your lawn is mowed and pull any weeds growing in the area.
When walking your dog, keep to the middle of a path or trail. Try to avoid brushing against shrubs and bushes, especially when you’re in the woods.

When you get home from your walk, check your pet and your children for ticks. Start at the nose of the dog and continue all the way to the end of the tail. Make sure you check the ears. Ticks love ears, necks, and throats. Under your dog’s belly is another favorite tick spot.

If you find a tick, remove it right away. Don’t touch the tick. If it is not imbedded yet, use masking tape to get it off the body. Just fold the tape over the tick and throw it away. Don’t try to squash the tick; it could be carrying dangerous infections that are contagious.

An embedded tick is a little trickier to remove. Use tweezers to get a hold of the tick. Grab it as close to the skin as you can and pull it straight out. Avoid twisting it because it could break open and leave the mouth under the skin. If you don’t have tweezers, use paper or cloth to keep your fingers from touching the tick. The best way to get rid of a tick after you pull it out is to flush it down the toilet or put it in rubbing alcohol.

After removing the tick, wash the area with soap and water. Be sure to wash your hands, as well. In the past, people used to try and burn the tick or suffocate them with nail polish. These methods should NOT be used. They do not work effectively and they could harm the skin of your pet or child.
The best way to prevent ticks is to use a flea and tick product sold at most pet stores and veterinarian offices. I recommend Frontline. I use it for my two dogs every year and I haven’t seen a flea in years. Frontline also kills ticks if they do land on your pet. They will drop off and you’ll never have to touch them.

As far as people go, there isn’t a flea or tick product that lasts for a month, but a strong insect repellant with DEET will repel ticks and flying insects. Also, wear long pants when walking in the woods and keep the pant legs tucked into your socks. Most importantly, wear a hat to keep ticks out of the hair where they are hard to see. Wearing light colored clothing is also a good idea, so you can see the tick if it lands on you.

Hopefully, these suggestions will help keep your family and pets safe from the dangers of the blood-sucking ticks.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Cattle Dog Stranded on an Island for Months

I just read about an Australian Cattle dog who fell overboard in rough seas off the Queensland coast. The pet dog managed to swim 5 miles to an island and survived for four months. He was recently reunited with his family. This is a real life "Lost" story. Read more about the Stranded Dog.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Poisonous Plants and Fruits That Can Kill Your Pet

It came as a surprise to me but the fruits that are most likely to poison and even kill your pet are grapes and raisins which cause kidney failure in dogs and cats!

The Veterinary Pet Insurance Company released the updated list of the top ten poisonous plants, vegetables, and fruits that are poisonous to your pets.

  1. Grapes and Raisins
  2. Mushrooms
  3. Marijuana
  4. Lily
  5. Walnuts
  6. Onion
  7. Sago Palm
  8. Macadamia Nut
  9. Azalea Plant
  10. Hydrangea Plant

Friday, March 6, 2009

These Poor Cats Have Been Through Hell

They’ve been through hell — what one official described as “kitty concentration camp” — and soon 46 cats being nursed back to health in a garage in Schuylkill County will be seeking homes.

Read more about the horrendous condition of these abused cats. Many of these cats are up for adoption, if you have room in your home for a cat that needs some extra care to get well.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Latest Pet Treats Recalled

Just when you thought it was safe to feed your dog store bought treats, a new batch is recalled. The following site has a list of the latest recalled dog treats announced by American Health Kennels, Inc. Recalled Dog Treats

Don't let your dog become deathly ill from these dog biscuits and treats. Check out the list for your pet's safety.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Research Says that Dogs Are Losing Intelligence

Take a look a recent article about research that suggests dogs are becoming stupid due to breeding for looks rather than the working qualities of the breed.

"Dogs Are Getting Dumber Says New Research" by Karen Curley

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Raw Feeding My Dog

by Karen Curley

My 14 month old collie has always been a very finicky eater. He will go three or four days without eating anything and when he finally does decide to eat, he will only pick at his kibble. I would say he averages a half cup of kibble a day. Not only that, but he would vomit bile every day because his stomach was empty but still, he wouldn’t eat any more.

I have changed his food twice, introducing new kibble gradually but to no avail. You would imagine that a $40 bag of dog food would be delicious, but I guess not!

My pup is very bony and thin, although he is full of energy, so everyone says that I shouldn’t be concerned. Even the vet said that he was fine but will probably always be small for his breed. I figure a dog should enjoy his food, not just pick at it to sustain himself, so I decided to switch to a Raw Diet.

I read a lot about the raw diet before I decided to give it a try. It makes perfect sense to feed a dog raw meat. After all, they are
carnivores. From what I read, kibble is not healthy for a dog. It contains a large amount of grains and vegetables, both of which a dog (or cat for that matter) cannot digest. Kibble is also the cause of many allergies and medical problems in dogs or cats.

So, I took the plunge a month ago, feeding Brodie raw chicken quarters, oxtails, beef gullet, pork necks, chicken hearts and gizzards, green tripe and raw liver. Today, for breakfast, he ate a whole Cornish hen. These are just of the few raw meats I have tried. I must say, at first, I was a little worried about the chicken bones but they were no problem for him.

My dog loves mealtime now. He thoroughly enjoys his raw meats, crunching the bones and tearing the meat. Isn’t that what a carnivore is all about? He hasn’t vomited since he started the Raw Diet and his coat seems brighter and shinier. I feel guilty now because I let him go on for a year not enjoying his mealtime.

I joined the yahoo group: which is full of tips and ideas for raw feeding your pet. Everyone on the group is very helpful and supportive, answering all the newbie questions I have had.

As I was researching the Raw Diet for dogs, I found that there are two groups of thought. One is the BARF Diet group and the other is strictly Raw Meat Diet:

The BARF Diet consists mainly of raw meaty bones, organs, and pulped vegetables like: carrots, kale, zucchini, romaine, and celery, to name a few. The BARF Diet also adds yogurt for the probiotics and supplements. There are quite a few sites online that have BARF recipes if you are interested in starting raw with your dog or cat. I tried the BARF diet with my dog the first two weeks but he really didn’t like the vegetables at all, so I went with all raw meat and organs.

The Raw Diet is just what it says, all raw meat, meaty bones, organs, and raw eggs with the shells for added calcium. This is the diet my collie loves. Here is a great site that lists all kinds of raw meats you can feed your pet:

How much raw meat to feed your dog or cat depends on body weight? The rule of thumb is to feed 2-4 percent of the body weight of the dog. I’ve been feeding about 3 percent to my collie because he needs to put on a little weight which equals roughly 1 ½ lbs. of meat per day. If he starts to gain too much, I’ll cut him back to 2 percent. Here is a handy site for calculating how much meat to feed your dog:

Another issue to consider when switching to the Raw Meat Diet is the dog treats. I used to buy dog biscuits and various other treats at the pet supply store. Treats are not cheap these days either. Now, I dehydrate fresh beef liver or green tripe, and then break it up into bite sized pieces. These are the only training treats I use for my dog. He absolutely loves them! They are also cheaper than the store bought treats. He will work hard just for a small nibble of these.

Here is a list of a few more raw feeding sites, if you’re thinking about giving it a try. I know my dog loves his food now and his teeth are glowing ( an added plus to feeding raw meaty bones is clean teeth – no more struggling with that doggie tooth brush.)

Some companies offer prepackaged raw food for dogs, cats, ferrets, and even horses. This is handy if you are traveling or didn't get to the meat store. Keep it frozen as a handy meal in case you run out of meat or you can bring it to the kennel if you need to leave your dog.