Monday, December 12, 2011

Why Does My Cat Urinate When Sleeping?

Cats that pee in their sleep usually have an underlying problem causing the incontinence.  Treatments are available for urinary incontinence in cats.

Reasons Why Cats Pee in Their Sleep

Most cats hold their urine during the day but when they fall asleep, urine seeps out when their muscles relax.  This happens most often to aging female cats that were spayed.  According to the University of Tennessee, College of Veterinary medicine, the condition is known as “spay incontinence, hormonally-responsive incontinence or urethral sphincter mechanism incompetency”.

Lower urinary tract disease can also cause a cat to urinate in sleep. Overweight cats and middle aged cats that do not get regular exercise are apt to contract urinary tract disease. They urinate often outside the litter box and in their sleep. Veterinarians diagnose urinary tract disease with X-rays, blood tests and an urinalysis. If the tests are positive for urinary tract disease, antibiotics are prescribed to combat the disease.

How to Stop a Cat from Urinating While Asleep

  • Veterinarians prescribe hormone therapy to female cats that urinate in their sleep.  The usual prescription calls for phenylpropanolamine and estrogen hormone replacement.  About ½ to ¾ of the treated cats respond positively to the treatment.  
  • Many cats that urinate during sleep undergo surgical correction if hormone therapy is not effective.  Surgery is risky and often does not stop the incontinence.
  • Veterinarians also perform collagen injections to prevent urinary incontinence in cats.  They inject collagen into the urethra, which cause it to swell.  The swelling puts pressure on the urethra preventing the urine from leaking. Collagen injections are safe and effective but need to be repeated every 18 months.

What to Ask the Vet about Cats Peeing in Their Sleep

  • Treatment options available. 
  • Risks involved with each procedure and how effective the treatments are.  The veterinarian will often recommend a particular treatment depending upon the cat’s health, whether it is a male or a female, or the age of the cat. C
  • Cost of all medical procedures that treat cat incontinence.  If the cat is too old to risk treatment or the cost is prohibitive, try added measures to protect the floor, furniture, and carpeting from cat urine stains. 

How to Protect Furniture and Carpeting from Pet Urine

Cat urine smells and stains are difficult to remove.  Preventing the cat urine from staining furniture and carpets is the best thing to do.  Follow these tips for keeping pet urine stains and odors out of your house.

  • Keep a sheet of plastic or a waterproof pad under the cat’s bedding to prevent the floors from absorbing urine.  
  • Wash the cat’s bedding daily in an odor fighting enzyme solution that is available at pet stores.  Enzyme cleaners remove urine odors completely while other cleaners only mask the smell.
  • Cover furniture with waterproof covers until the cat is treated for incontinence or keep the cat confined to its own area.  It is difficult to contain cats because they jump over gates and high barriers.  It may be necessary to have the cat sleep in a crate during the night rather than risk ruining the furniture.  

Monday, November 28, 2011

Train Your Dog to Stop Pulling

Walking on a leash does not come naturally to your dog. Does your dog practically yank you off your feet whenever you take it for a walk? Are you thinking about just putting your dog in the back yard for exercise and giving up walking all together? Do not give up yet. A few loose leash-training tips and your dog will be walking by your side, so you both can enjoy each other’s company. Whether you are a professional dog trainer or an amateur dog owner, all it takes is time and patience for successfully learning how to leash train a dog.
Patience Is the Key to Leash Training

The most important thing you need to leash train your dog is patience. If you are having a bad day or if you are not in the mood to deal with your exuberant dog, put off training for another day.

Get a six-foot long leash for leash training your dog. Choose a leash that is comfortable for your hand, since your dog will be pulling. Avoid leashes that pull out to 15 or 20 feet. Extend-a-leashes make keeping your dog under control too difficult, especially if there are other dogs nearby. Keep the thumb of your right hand through the loop and then drape the rest of the leash through the left hand, giving your dog about two feet of leash from his collar.

Use a clip collar rather than a choke chain or pinch collar. Your dog will learn quicker through positive reinforcement rather than through pain and fear. Your dog will actually enjoy training when you offer treats for positive behavior instead of tugging a choke chain for negative behavior.

Become the Most Important Thing in Your Dog’s Life

The basis of successful loose leash walking is to have your focus only on you. You must become the most exciting thing in your dog’s life. You do this by holding the leash and luring your dog toward you as you back away from him. Have your dog’s favorite treat or toy in your hand and just play with him as he follows you. Your dog will thing it’s playtime instead of training. Be generous with the treats and the praise, using a happy, excited voice.

Start your loose leash training without any type of distractions for your dog. This can be in your backyard or even in the house. When your dog constantly follows you and keeps focusing on you, venture into your neighborhood. If your dog starts pulling you and cannot focus, go back to practicing in your yard again. Stay in the yard with your dog following you until he is doing this 100 percent of the time.

Keep Training Short

As your dog follows you, put him in a sit or down every few minutes. This keeps your dog guessing, so he has to stay focused on you. This is also a great way for you to take a short break, especially if you are losing patience.

After a few seconds of sitting, have your dog follow you again. You will have more control over your dog’s behavior by stopping and having him sit every few minutes.

Keep your training sessions to about 10 or 15 minutes. You want to end the training on a positive note while your dog is having a good time and before he loses focus on you.

Start Your Dog Walking Beside You
Is your dog following you consistently yet? If you answered, “Yes”, then it is time to begin having your dog walk beside you. Follow the same procedure as you did when your dog was following you. Begin in your backyard or in the house, away from all distractions.

With your dog at your side, stand still. Try not to move, even if your dog starts pulling you. This is a difficult thing to do if you have a large dog but try not to move too much. Soon, your dog will figure out that he is not going for a walk and will either stand still and look at your or he will sit.

 As soon as your dog sits or looks at you, take a step. Most likely, your dog will get excited and pull again. Immediately stop and stand still again. You have heard the saying, “Patience is a virtue”, well your virtue is about to be tested. Do not take another step until the leash is loose and your dog sits down, even if it takes the entire training period.
Repeat this step repeatedly until your dog understands that you will not take another step until he is beside you. Eventually, your dog will walk beside you in your back yard without pulling. The next test is to go out into the neighborhood and continue training.

No matter what you are training your dog to do, it takes patience and perseverance. If you keep up with your training for a few minutes every day, your dog will be walking calmly beside you whenever you go for a walk.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Do You Feed Your Dog Too Many Treats?

Do You Feed Your Dog Too Many Treats?
Personally, I have fed my beagle too many treats in the past. I didn’t even realize I was doing it until he went to his yearly veterinarian visit and I was told that he had to lose at least 10 pounds. For a beagle, this is a lot of weight to lose, especially when he has a ravenous appetite.
Everyone in the family had to cooperate with my beagle’s diet or he would never lose weight. We threw out the dog biscuits and purchased low-calorie dog food developed for dog weight loss. My dog didn’t notice the change of dog food and gobbled it down without a problem. He just did not understand why he was not getting more. I used to fill his dog bowl without measuring his food and when I put him on a diet, he only got two cups of dog food per day. I fed him one cup in the morning and one cup at night.
I began making homemade dog treats and feeding them to Hunter only when he worked either for them, doing a trick or for good behavior. I broke the treats into very small pieces, just enough to let my beagle get a taste. I made dehydrated dog treats out of liver, beef and hamburger. Try making some of my homemade dehydrated dog treats for your dog. Although making dog treats is extra work, dogs love them and you do not have to worry about pet treats recalls.
My beagle’s diet was a huge success and he even got his waistline back! On his next veterinarian appointment, Hunter had lost 12 pounds and he looked great.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Blue Wilderness Salmon Dog Food Review

Blue Wilderness Salmon is my new choice of dry dog food. My collie loves it and believe me, he is a picky eater. I had him on the Raw Food diet from the time he was a puppy until he was two years old. It became too difficult carrying raw food during the summer when we went camping or on other vacations. In addition, raw food wasn’t convenient if I had to bring my dog to the kennel.
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BLUE Wilderness Salmon
I searched all 100% grain free dog foods and tried Wellness Chicken first. Come to find out, my dog had an allergy to the chicken and ended up losing his fur, developing dry skin and constantly scratching. Once again, I went to the local Petco store and began comparing dog food labels. I read the Blue Wilderness ingredients and it came very close to the raw diet that my collie was used to. I liked the idea of the salmon, blueberry, potatoes and cranberry mixture for a balanced diet. Blue salmon also has fishmeal and chicken meal but the chicken in Blue doesn’t cause the allergic reaction of the Wellness dog food.
It took a couple of weeks to switch him completely to Wilderness dog food, mixing it with his other food so he wouldn’t develop digestive problems. After the two weeks, I fed my dog Blue Wilderness Salmon completely. Within one month, he stopped itching, his fur grew back and his coat is healthy and shiny.
My collie is still a picky eater and probably finishes about three cups of dog food every other day. I know this doesn’t sound like much but the vet said he’s healthy and he sure has the energy of a puppy.
Blue Wilderness Salmon works for my dog but if you are thinking of switching your dog to another dog food, watch for allergic reactions.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Raising a Choodle

Choodle (
A Choodle is a Chihuahua and a Toy Poodle mixed-breed dog. These adorable, little dogs are also known as Wapoo, Chipoo, Chi Poo, Poochi or Poo-Chi. Although the AKC does not recognize them as a breed, the Designer Breed Registry lists them as a Choodle or Wapoo. If you want your Choodle to be a good companion dog, you need to understand the both the Toy Poodle and Chihuahua personalities. Teaching your Choodle good manners and basic obedience will give you a loyal and friendly pet.

Read more: How to Raise a Good Choodle |

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Types of Betta Fish Diseases

A Healthy Betta Fish

Water Conditions

Many times when a betta fish loses its color, holds its fins close to its body and appears lethargic, it is not a betta fish disease but the water temperature that is the problem. Adjusting the water temperature to 78 to 80 degrees is a simple solution to the problem. If the betta fish does not respond to the correct water temperature, then a betta fish disease is the likely cause of the symptoms. Review caring for betta fish guides to ensure the health of the fish.

Fin and Tail Rot
Betta fish display very interesting features, especially their striking colorful, flowing fins and tails. Unfortunately, fin and tail rot often strike betta fish. The disease is the result of bacteria build-up from infrequent water changes. Leftover food and feces causes stress in bettas and their tails and fins begin to rot.

Jagged, torn fins and tails are symptoms of the disease. Eventually the fins and tail disappear completely and the betta is unable to swim, leading to death. The first thing to do when fin rot appears is to change the water and clean any ornaments or plants with hot water. Fin and tail rot is also contagious, infecting any other fish.

The most common medications for fin and tail rot are Tetracycline and Maracyn. These medications are available at pet stores. Adding about ¼-teaspoon aquarium salt to a one-gallon tank often helps with healing.

One of the most common betta fish diseases is constipation. It causes death in betta fish if left untreated. An inappropriate diet of too many bloodworms, not enough variety, or overfeeding leads to betta fish constipation. The symptoms of a constipated betta fish are an enlarged, swollen stomach and little fish waste appears in the tank.

Treatment of betta fish constipation requires no medication but a simple diet change and fasting. To cure betta constipation, do not feed the fish for one to two days. After fasting, feed the betta fish a tiny piece of a peeled pea until the abdominal swelling decreases.

When the betta fish is having normal bowel movements, feed a variety of betta pellets, brine shrimp, and flake food. A couple pellets or flakes in the morning and at night are all betta fish require. Fast the betta fish once per week to allow its system to remain clear and prevent constipation.


A small parasite causes ich in betta fish. Stress caused by changing water temperature is the most common cause of ich and it is extremely contagious. The symptoms appear as tiny white dots covering the betta’s body. The betta will hold its fins tight to the body, stop eating, and start rubbing against ornaments in the tank.

Treat the entire fish tank if ich is present. Ich is usually fatal but if diagnosed and treated soon enough, it can be cured. Begin treatment by raising the water temperature to 85 degrees and change the water throughout the 14-day treatment period. Coppersafe, Maracide, and Aquarisol are the medications needed to treat ich. Continue the medication for the full two weeks even if the white spots disappear.

Betta Fish Center: Betta Diseases
Healthy Betta: Fish Illness and Cure Information

Friday, July 22, 2011

Wellness Dog Food Review: Which Wellness Dog Food Is Right for Your Dog?

Wellness is a quality dog food containing natural, nutritious ingredients. Wellness is dedicated to providing pets with optimum nutrition in its simple solution products and core dog food diet. In a 2010 press release outlining Wellness dog food reviews, Dr. Shelly Rubin, the veterinarian used by Oprah for her own dogs, emphasized Wellness dog food as a nutritious pet food that is produced with “quality protein sources, wholesome grains, fruits and vegetables, and carefully chosen Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, with no wheat, corn or soy, and no added artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.”

Wellness Dog Food Company History
The Wellness dog food company was established over 80 years ago with the production of Old Mother Hubbard dog biscuits. Old Mother Hubbard began operations in Gloucester, MA baking sea biscuits for local sailors. After a seaman fed a dog one of the biscuits, the company began producing dog biscuits. Animal nutritionist, Jim Scott purchased the company in 1961, relocated it to Lowell, MA and dedicated the company to producing nutritious dog and cat foods under the trade name, Wellness.
Wellness Dog Food Products
Wellness dog food is available in a variety of products for every stage of your dog’s life, activity levels, dog size, health conditions, and preference for dry or canned dog food. Wellness dog snacks are also included in the product line.

Super 5 Mix – This Wellness dog food diet contains a balance of meat, grains and fruits providing necessary protein, carbs, and fat to your dog’s diet. Probiotics for digestive health, omega 6 and omega 3 are also added to the dog food. Wellness Super 5 Mix is available in these assorted varieties:
  • Chicken
  • Lamb, barley and salmon
  • Whitefish and sweet potato
  • Healthy weight for overweight dogs
  • Just for puppy
  • Seniors
  • Large breed
  • Large breed puppy
  • Small breed
Wellness Core - The grain free product line that focuses on nutritious protein, and reducing fats and excessive carbohydrates. The core diet includes antioxidants, omega 6, and omega 3. It is considered an alternative to the “raw meat” diet, following the natural diet of wolves in the wild.
Wellness Core is available in the following varieties:
  • Original recipe
  • Ocean recipe
  • Reduced fat
  • Salmon, whitefish and herring
  • Turkey, chicken, liver and turkey liver
Simple Food Solutions – This dog diet incorporates five ingredients that reduce allergic reactions in dogs including intestinal upset, infections, fur loss, itchiness, and skin problems caused by dog food additives. It is a complete, nutritious dog food diet for daily eating.
Wellness Simple Food Solutions in a variety of flavors:
  • Rice and duck formula
  • Rice and lamb formula
  • Rice and salmon formula
Wellness Snacks – Quality dog snacks are also available from Wellness. The snacks are ideal as training treats for both adult dogs and puppies. All Wellness treats contain healthy ingredients and are available in grain free, soft or crunchy treats, and puppy formula.
Wellness dog food is available at most pet supply stores. The average cost of a 10 lb. bag of Wellness dry dog food is $27 to $30 and Wellness canned food averages $2.50 per can.

Although this dog food is expensive, Wellness dog food reviews indicate that the entire product line is produced with all natural, human grade ingredients, offering high quality nutrition for all dog breeds. If your dog suffers from allergies or you are looking for a balanced, nutritious dog food for your pet, Wellness dog food is an excellent choice.
Image Credit:
Wellness Pet Food

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Australian Cattle Dog Exercise Ideas

Do you own an active Australian Cattle Dog?  The herding instinct in cattle dogs makes them crave exercise.  Cattle dogs need a job to do to tire them out in mind and body.  Cattle dog training should include not just obedience but physical activities requiring jumping and running.  Check out these exercise ideas for cattle dogs.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

About Elbow Hygroma in Great Danes

Great Dane Elbow Hygroma
If your Great Dane has a large, fluid-filled sac on its elbow, it could be an elbow hygroma.  The sac actually protects the elbow of giant breed dogs by cushioning the bone.

How to Relieve Pressure on an Elbow Hygroma in Great Danes

What is the Large Sac on My Great Dane's Elbow?

My daughter's Great Dane, Odin, developed a fluid-filled sac on his elbow when he was about nine months old. The elbow growth started small, about the size of a grape and rapidly grew in size. Within a few months, the elbow sac on the Great Dane was the size of a baseball.

Odin's veterinarian diagnosed the growth on the dog's elbow as an "elbow hygroma". The sac looks very uncomfortable but it does not seem to bother Odin at all. The veterinarian said that the biggest danger about elbow hygromas in giant dogs is an infection if the hygroma breaks open.

According to a report from Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine, "The hygroma is a fluid-filled cavity surrounded by a dense wall of fibrous tissue. Hygromas are seen in young large or giant breeds of dogs (e.g., German shepherds, Great Danes, bull mastiffs, and Irish wolfhounds)." The reports goes on to say, "The condition is often seen in large or giant breeds of dog that tend to lie in sterna decumbency on unpadded surfaces, thus placing pressure on skin over the olecranons."

Cause of an Elbow Hygroma

The veterinarian explained that Great Danes are prone to hygromas because when they lay down on a hard surface, it puts pressure on the dog's elbow and the hygroma grows to offer protection to the elbow. Odin weighs 140 lbs. and when he lies down, he crashes to the floor with his entire weight on his elbows. The elbow hygroma developed on the dog's left elbow because he favors lying on that side.

How to Alleviate Pressure on a Great Dane' Elbow

My daughter tried the following methods to take the pressure of the elbow hygroma and found that using a combination of the methods works well for her dog.

1) Memory Foam - a four-inch memory foam mattress provided support and extra padding for the Great Dane's elbow. Keeping a memory foam mattress in each room gives the dog somewhere to lay down wherever he is. My daughter's kitchen has a ceramic tile floor so she always keeps the memory foam in the kitchen for Odin.
2) Overstuffed Sheepskin Bedding - an extra large sheepskin dog bed prevents unnecessary pressure on the dog's elbow, preventing any chafing or irritation to the hygroma. Odin has a sheepskin bed in his dog crate for a comfortable night's sleep.
3) Turning the Dog - If you notice your Great Dane lying on the side with the elbow hygroma, turn him to his other side. Odin is a very mild mannered dog, so my daughter can turn him without a problem.
4) Donut Shaped Elbow Padding - This method is effective if you can get your giant dog to keep it on the elbow. Roll up a soft towel or foam tube into a donut shape. Use an ace bandage to wrap the towel or tube to keep its shape. Place the donut hole over the elbow hygroma and attach the donut to your dog's elbow. The hardest part about using elbow padding is preventing the dog from pulling it off. Try different methods to attach the padding to your dog's elbow: rolled bandage, bandage tape, sports tape, ace bandage, or Velcro strips
5) Keep the Elbow Hygroma Clean - My daughter checks her Great Dane's hygroma a few times every day. It is difficult to notice a break in the hygroma through the dog's fur, so thoroughly check the area for any inflammation. Washing the elbow hygroma also prevents germs and bacteria from infecting the elbow area.

All of these methods to relieve pressure from an elbow hygroma help prevent infection from ulcers and ruptures.

Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine
William Best, Jr., D.M.D., Foxboro Animal Hospital, Foxboro, MA
Personal Experience

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Mat Work Calms Down Reactive Dogs

Does your dog react to people entering the house, dogs walking down the street, or children playing outside?  Consider training your excited dog to calm down by going to his mat.  Read these mat training tips and see how quickly your dog will calm down when you need him to.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Massive Snow Banks a Danger for Pets and Children

The unrelenting snow has not only reeked havoc for commuters, school attendance, the homeless, and homeowners but for pets, as well.  Huge snow banks pose a serious danger to pets and children.  Drivers cannot see around corners for people walking their dogs or children playing in the snow.

Find out how you can keep your pets and children safe this winter.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Dog Chiropractor's Really Do Help

Canine chiropractic services can really help a dog with spine, hip, and rear end problems.  A few minor chiropractic adjustments can make all the difference in a dog's gait and comfort.

The reason I believe in canine chiropractic adjustments is that my own dog benefited from two short visits with a chiropractor. 

Find out more about the benefits of animal chiropractic services.

Dogs Can Suffer from Alzheimer's Too

Does your senior dog have symptoms of Alzheimer's?  The canine version of Alzheimer's is known as Canine Cognitive Dysfunction.  If your dog is afflicted with this disorder, he will display symptoms that are very similar to people with Alzheimer's:

    My 16 year old beagle
  • disorientation
  • depression
  • confusion
  • unable to recognize family members
  • incontinence
  • staring at walls
  • not responding to affection
  • develop compulsive disorders

If your elderly dog suffers from any of these symptoms, there are a few options for slowing down the affects of Alzheimer's in dogs.  Try a few of these doggie games and puzzles that help your dog exercise his brain and slow down brain disfunction.