A step closer to closing down puppy mills

Best Friends Animal Society in Utah has been doing some great work with their campaign to close down puppy mills. I don’t know the numbers on how many have been closed down throughout the country this past year, but they state on their website that there is one closed almost every week.

And eBay Foundation has pledged $330,000 in seed money to set up a puppy care center at Best Friends. Puppies and their mothers will be able to go to Best Friends puppy care center to get healthy and socialize so that they can be adopted into good homes.

When I keep my attention on all the positive things that are happening in animal welfare, it is really heartening. It feels like there is a momentum that has been created and will keep growing.

Our volunteer spay/neuter group here in Fairfield is growing too. It’s like we had to struggle all these years to lay the ground work and now bigger organizations and groups are catching on and providing some support.

I wonder if we will ever be able to figure out how to get people to fix their animals BEFORE they breed. We get so many calls from people who just don’t get it. They wait until they are overwhelmed with animals and then call for financial help. It gets very frustrating.

When our pets have skin diseases

Skin problems are one of the imbalances that a pet home urine health test will not be directly helpful with, unfortunately. Usually the problem becomes apparent when the dog or cat is itching like crazy or developing bald spots or scabs somewhere on their body.

My cat Oliver used to have some problems on his paws years ago–he would lick and pull at the hair creating bald spots. I changed the kitty litter and the problem went away.

I did lots of research on skin problems during that time and learned some basic things:

1. The first outward sign of something wrong is excessive licking…so it is best to take action as soon as you notice that change in behavior.

2. A good diet (no animal byproducts) is critical.

3. The immune system is weakened during this time, so find a good supplement that will support the immune system and give it regularly.

4. Administering a vaccine during this time can make the problem worse.

5. Study some of the natural remedies for fleas and ticks and start them early before the flea season starts. I am investigating some of these now and hoping to find something that is effective. I will keep you posted.

The search for natural flea remedies continues: nematodes

As spring is potentially arriving (we are getting about an inch of snow or slush today!), I have been doing more research into natural flea remedies. There seems to be several new products out there.

One is Nematodes..which are actually naturally occurring predators that live under the soil’s surface. They are not harmful to people or animals, or birds, plants and the rest of the environment, and I have read that they kill fleas in the yard or garden.

Nematodes start killing fleas within a day of their application, but it takes about 2 weeks for them to reach their full effect. An application lasts about 90 days and there are specific ways that they should be applied.

Has anyone had any direct experience with Nematodes? I like that each application lasts for 3 months and it seems like a safe way to keep fleas out of my enclosed cat pen in the summer and early fall.

Big win for feral cats in Randolph, Iowa

There was some great news yesterday regarding the feral cat situation in Randolph, Iowa. There are so many amazing people working in animal rescue and I hope that those involved in this situation will take a moment to appreciate their great success in this town which is only about 2 hours from where I live.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Cats may be breathing a bit easier in a tiny Iowa town after officials rescinded a five dollar bounty on their heads.
Instead, Randolph, Iowa, has agreed to work with animal rescue groups on a catch, neuter and release program.
The City Council signed off on the bounty after numerous complaints about stray cats. Under the initial plan, cats without collars would be taken to a vet and euthanized if they weren’t claimed. The policy drew protests from animal lovers.
The 200-person town ended the bounty this week and has voted to form a task force involving animal rights groups.
A spokeswoman for one of the groups says feral cats will be returned to the outdoors, while strays will be adopted into homes.

Celebrating our bond with animals

I mentioned in a previous post last week (Vote for Roxsy!) about the photo contest that the Humane Society is having in honor of February Spay/Neuter month. The contest goes on until March 6th.

Whenever I have a few minutes, I go on to the site (http://www.spaydayusa.org/) and read some of the descriptions written by people who posted pictures of their pets (there are now over 18,000 pictures posted).

What a love fest it is to read these descriptions. I highly recommend checking it out. Just mouse over the picture to read about the animal and also see a picture image.

Senior Living facilities make pets mandatory

I read the neatest story about a senior living facility called Silverado Senior Living, which has locations throughout California, Texas and Utah. They care mostly for seniors with some type of dementia and attribute the health gains that they are seeing in the residents to their mandatory animal rule:

The rule requires atleast 1 dog and one cat for every 25 residents, 1 bird for every 4 residents, and an aquarium for every 40 people.

Part of everyone’s daily schedule involves grooming, walking, feeding and caring for the animals. Noticeable benefits among the residents include heightened self-esteem and lessening of depression. This contributes significantly to improved mental and physical well-being.

The majority of the animals who live at the facilities are adopted from rescue groups. Very cool.

Preventing Dog Urinary Tract Infections

There are some really basic things that every caregiver can do to help prevent canine urinary tract infections:

** provide plenty of fresh water and make sure that your dog is drinking enough every day

**allow frequent access outside so that your dog can urinate and prevent bacteria from building up in the bladder

**walk at least once a day as this will stimulate your dog’s bladder

**bathe with a gentle, high quality shampoo with natural ingredients

Despite the best of care, the truth is that urinary tract infections (UTI’s) are quite common in dogs — and they can exist for sometime before anyone notices signs of illness. And the longer the infection lasts, the more severe it can become…sometimes infecting other organs. So your dog may be very ill by the time you are aware that something is wrong.

Using preventative health care measures (like ThePetCheckup monthly) can avoid many of the problems associated with urinary tract infections.

Good news in the war against fleas

I just read about an interesting study on flea control done by Ohio State University.

In studying the cat flea, the researchers found that 96 percent of adult fleas and 100 percent of younger fleas are destroyed by vacuuming.

Pretty amazing statistics for those of us who do not want to use chemical flea control on our dogs and cats. The study was repeated several times and they got the same results each time.

Apparently, the brushes on the vacuum damage the waxy outer layer of the fleas–they become dehydrated and die.

Vacuuming, flea combing and the use of diatomaceous earth are the cornerstones of my flea control in the summer and fall.

Looks like I will be doing even more vacuuming this summer!!

Vote for Roxsy

In honor or February Spay/Neuter month, the Humane Society of the U.S. is sponsoring a pet photo contest.

Among other prizes, the winning entry gets to award a $5000.00 grant to a humane organization.

Our spay/neuter program (CCSNAP) is represented by Roxsy. Check out http://www.noahsark.org/
for instructions on how to vote for Roxsy.

We can really use the grant to help animals in need in southeast Iowa.


Dog and Cat food recalls update

It looks like there are still recalls out on some dog and cat foods. This is a link to the latest list that I have been able to find. It was updated the end of January 2008.