Dogs teach us to love; cats teach us to live.
Dogs teach us to love; cats teach us to live.
By ALMA J. BUELVA
ST. LOUIS, MO – Having a roof over their heads is not enough to make cats feel happy and at home. In fact, many household cats live in poor conditions that they are not exactly better off than cats staying in stressful shelter environments.
This is the reality imparted by the esteemed Debra Horwitz, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) and Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists (DACVB), to attendees of the recent Cat Writers Association conference here. As guest speaker, Horwitz shared valuable insights on how to improve the well-being of cats in the home, shelters and post-adoption.
“Feline well-being is improved by recognizing and understanding feline communication, and social behaviors and utilizing that information to create a better environment for our cats,” said Horwitz.
To assess a cat's well-being, Horwitz said their five freedoms must be satisfactorily met. These are:
* Freedom from hunger and thirst
* Freedom from discomfort
* Freedom from pain, injury or disease
* Freedom to express normal behavior
* Freedom from fear and distress
She said a lot of people, even self-professed cat lovers, don't want to see pet's normal but “unwanted” behaviors so they try to suppress those.
“When a cat can't express its natural self, it becomes depressed,” Horwitz said. She then went on to disprove that cat's are anti-social animals.
Aside from food to support good health, cats need healthy mental stimulation and social relationships in their lives. Sure, they want to eat privately and not share, but ethological studies show cats have social needs, too, said Horwitz. It's also ingrained in every cat to play, explore and engage in predatory behaviors.
“Cats are a-social not anti-social. They can live alone or in groups around aggregated food sources. We people are the ones who created their cat groupies that they can't escape from,” said Horwitz.
She said there are three groups of feline personalities: the sociable, confident and easy going; the timid, nervous, shy and unfriendly; and the active or active aggressive. Despite the personality differences, all cats need to feel safe and to avoid stress, Horwitz added.
Ethology, the scientific and objective study of animal behavior that is natural as well as adaptive, has noted how “cats domesticated themselves, unlike dogs which co-evolved with people”, Horwitz said.
“Household cats are unique because of all cats species, household cats are both predators and prey,” she added.
To properly respond to threats, cats depend on their olfactory sensitivities, hiding abilities and marking of territories.
NEW YEAR'S resolutions come and go but for dedicated pet owners, the incentive to achieve new goals could be stronger as it would mean better and happier lives for their pets.
Here are some recommended New Year's resolutions that people and their pets could commit to:
1. I will NOT leave my pet alone while it is being groomed. Given the number of accidents that occurred at pet grooming salons, pet owners should know best to keep an eye on their pet while it is in the hands of strangers. Do not use your pet's grooming time to do other tasks or to run errands. Grooming can be quite stressful for some pets, so be a good hooman--stick around!
2. I will keep a proper journal of my pets' medical records. You can use an app or an old-fashioned notebook to record your pet's medical information from vaccinations to pills they take for various conditions. The more pets you have, the more important it is to have some system of records in place.
3. I will exercise WITH my dogs. You can get a lot of physical workout just by playing with your pets, especially when done outdoors. Add regular walking, jogging, running or biking to the mix of cardio exercises that you and your dog can do when the weather is good.
4. I will teach or train my pet to learn more. Teaching a dog new tricks is always a good thing. It keeps dogs engaged, alert, not to mention smart.
5. This year, my pet and a toothbrush will be friends. Help your pet dog or cat to like or tolerate using a toothbrush. A lot of pets suffer from poor dental hygiene that gives them bad breath, gum disease and toothaches! But since they can't brush their own teeth, this New Year's Resolution depends a lot on you.
6. I will update my pet's ID tag or tracker information. If you have previously taken the step to get some form of identification tag or device for your pet, maybe it's time to check if there's a need to update the information already. What's the use of an RFID chip or tag if the data is outdated?
7. I will measure my pet's food intake and make sure it's age-appropriate. New Year means we will all get another year older, including our pets. What they used to eat may no longer be that appropriate, so kindly revisit a reliable pet food chart and see what applies to yours.
8. I will take my pet to new places. It doesn't have to be too involved and will take hours to reach. A new place could be a pet-friendly park you've never been to or grandma's house in the city. The idea is to give your pet "food" for the senses so they don't get bored just spending days at home. But grab the chance, too, to take your pet to new places of adventures that will give them new experiences and let you two bond even closer.
Do you have a New Year's Resolution for you and your pet (that's not on this list)? -- MetroPets
CATS PROTECTION, a UK-based cat charity, warns that chocolates are dangerous not just to dogs but also cats.
While a standard 45 gram bar of white, dark or milk chocolate is a tasty treat for humans, Cats Protection says just two grams is toxic for cats because they do not metabolize theobromine as well as humans do.
“Theobromine acts as a stimulant to increase the heart rate and as a diuretic to increase the loss of bodily fluids,” says Dr Vanessa Howie, the charity’s Head of Clinical Services.
“Human beings would have to eat around 35 kilograms of chocolate in one sitting before the theobromine became toxic.
“However, theobromine sits in the bloodstream of cats for much longer and quickly accumulates to dangerous levels.
“A tiny amount of chocolate – not ot even as big as a square – is enough to do serious damage.
“It’s important to keep chocolate out of your cat’s reach, and if your moggy has eaten any chocolate then they should be taken to the vet straight away.
“Symptoms of chocolate poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, excessive urination, irregular heartbeat and seizures.
“The severity of these symptoms will depend on your cat’s weight and how much chocolate they have eaten, but if you’re worried then it’s best not to wait for the signs to appear before taking them to the vet.”
Cats Protection says there are plenty of safe alternatives out there around if owners want to give their cat a treat.
“It’s fine to feed your cat a little boiled fish or boneless chicken, or indeed any treat that is specially formulated for cats. Keeping this in mind means we can all tuck into our favorite chocolate bar while making sure our pet cats remain happy and healthy.” says vet Howie.
A DOG is one of the best pets that you can have an incredibly tight bond with as it provides loyal companionship. Whether playing with them, taking them for a walk or simply relaxing with them on the sofa in the evenings, dogs can provide numerous hours of companionship for the people who care for them.
What may not seem so obvious from social media posts of people with their pooches is the level of responsibility that comes with caring for a dog. If you care for a dog, you are accepting responsibility for feeding it, spending time with it and keeping it healthy. This all comes at a cost, too, so make sure you have the budget for taking care of a dog before you claim ownership of it.
Some breeds will be better suited to you than others, depending on your domestic circumstances. If you have small children at home, they’ll love playful pooches like Boston terriers. If there’s an elderly relative in your household, they might enjoy the sedate companionship of a poodle or Yorkshire terrier. For people who like to bring their dogs with them while they exercise, a Labrador retriever could be a good match. If you’re planning to take care of a dog that will make your home feel more secure, a boxer or Rottweiler might be ideal, certainly far more ideal than they would be for a family with young children.
This infographic from Clippers Ireland gives a nicely simplified overview of the main things to consider before letting a dog into your life. If you know what you’re getting into, then your dog will make for a wonderful companion and he or she will love you back for the care that your give to him or her. -- Tom Melby for MetroPets
DOGS won't come out of their way to bite a person. When they do, they are usually scared, provoked or threatened. To avoid cases of dogs biting people, especially children, the World Animal Protection has identified four simple tips to remember when dealing with dogs, particularly those who are strangers to us.
The tips, which are actually part of a resource developed for primary school teachers teaching kids aged four to 12, focus on how to read a dog's body language.
STAY AWAY FROM A DOG THAT LOOKS SCARED OR ANGRY.
When a dog is angry it shows its teeth, and when scared it tucks its tail between its legs.
DON'T BOTHER A DOG THAT IS EATING, NOT ON A LEASH OR BEHIND A GATE.
Adult dogs like to be left alone, too, when playing with its puppies and toys. They want peace and quiet not only when they are sleeping, but also when they are sick or inside a car.
BE MOMENTARILY STILL IF AN UNKNOWN DOG COMES NEAR YOU.
A dog might come close to check you out but will soon leave you alone if you don't make unnecessary movements.
BEFORE PETTING A DOG, ASK ITS OWNER FIRST IF IT'S OKAY.
As a matter of courtesy (to the dog), let it smell your hand first and, if the signs are good, stroke its back first to establish how far you can go with petting it.
If a dog bites, wash the wound for 15 minutes with soap and water then see a doctor immediately. Do not hit the dog that bit; not only is it unkind but it might bite you again.
The World Animal Protection places the number of people that die from rabies each year at 59,000 globally. More than 99 percent of these cases are transmitted through dog bites. Vaccinating dogs against rabies once a year and learning to read their body language correctly can significantly help bring down if not end the spread of rabies. -- MetroPets
ULTRA VIOLET is the 2018 Color of the Year, so the fashion forecast is it will rain and flood the market with blue-based purple products, including those for pets.
Pet fashion designers and product manufacturers are all about embracing Ultra Violet, which the Pantone Color Institute chose as the 2018 Color of the Year as it supposedly inspires inventiveness and imagination. A quick search online showed exactly that: pet wardrobe, toys, accessories and whatnots inspired by the Color of the Year and treated with new artistic expressions.
Here are some of the things we found that could make your dogs and cats color-coordinated for 2018.
This bowtie with adjustable neckband is good for cats or small dogs. It is available in colors other than violet, but it is 2018, so why bother?
From PetLoversCloset in Shopee.ph
This personalized dog pet collar with crystals and rhinestones will give your dog the recommended ultra violet glow in 2018. Available in sizes from Extra Small to Large. The collar can fit up to seven letters and two crystal paw print charms.
HouseofFurbaby in Etsy.com
This 3/8” wide cat and dog collar features crystal glass rhinestones from Czech Republic. The buckle has diamond clear crystals. Making it more stunning is its violet ruffle with a centerpiece amethyst heart. Available in different sizes. Made and designed in the USA by Sugarlicious Pets.
GlamourbyKim in Etsy.com
This simple pet wedding party halter dress for small dog comes with a violet tutu skirt. It is cute enough to turn heads and quite affordable, too.
If you want to support local pet couturiers, Just One Of A Kind Handcrafted Products (JOOAK) can customize a pet gown or suit for your dog or cat like the one in the above photo. JOOAK also makes crocheted hats and costumes for pets in the style and color that owners want.
* Contact the artisans for pricing and other details.
Ultra Violet is said to be about originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us toward the future. One famous dog – Chloe – embodies all these and she has been sashaying in ultra violet colored gowns even before 2018! Here is Chloe in two gowns made by Aiza Cervo of Sketch and Stitch AC Pet Couture.
* Contact the couturier for pricing and other details.
Pet Jelly Shoes
These pet jelly rain boots for small to large dogs are available in different colors and from many different suppliers online, so you can choose the one that offers the lowest price. You should get the violet set for your dogs, of course, if you wish to make your pets color-relevant this year.
From P150 to P200 a set depending on the vendor
If you express yourself through art, a violet cat watercolor art print is one way to see your pet in the Color of the Year. This contemporary pop art makes for a good gift, too, for yourself or other pet lovers.
WildlifeGardenerArt in Etsy.com
If you don't wish your pet to wear violet, you can probably just let them sleep on it, literally. Here's the cat Shawn, resting on a fluffy bed with trimmings in lavender, a color "cousin" of violet and purple. If you wish to buy a pet bed in the 2018 Color of the Year, order it from Pillows and More Ph. They have beds in different sizes, fabrics, colors and patterns.
This is just a sneak-peak of the many pet products one would find in the market today that showcase the 2018 Color of the Year or at least close to it. To wrap up, here's a pet toy in the shape of the quintessential vegetable that is violet like no other -- an eggplant.
Hope you enjoyed this list!
#pantonecoloroftheyear #2018coloroftheyear #purplepetgowns #purplepetproducts #pillows&moreph #purplepetshoes #purplepetcollars #metro_pets
RESULTS of a Danish study that looked into ownership of four distinct pedigree dogs with high levels of inherited health issues revealed personal motivations outweighing concerns for the dogs' poor health prospects.
In the study, owners of Chihuahuas, French Bulldogs, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and Cairn Terriers were asked why they chose their dog and about the level of research that they carried out before buying the dog.
Chihuahuas and French Bulldogs have extreme body conformation, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels has inherited health problems not linked to body shape, and Cairn Terriers were chosen to represent a breed in the same size range but without extreme conformation, but with the same level of disease load. Out of the four breeds, French Bulldogs had the most health and behavioral problems, with Cairn Terriers having the least.
Those who acquired French Bulldogs and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel are more concerned with personality and appearance, the study showed. Those who own Chihuahuas appeared drawn to the world's smallest dog breed not because of how it looks but because of the ease of obtaining one. This also means they are the owners that made the least planning and research before buying their pets, the study showed.
Owners of Cavalier King Charles Spaniel indicated they considered the health of their preferred dog, but the owners of Cairn Terriers were found to be the most concerned with the health of their pets.
So why do people continue to have dogs with big health issues?
The study showed that some people choose these breeds because they are unaware of the health problems prior to purchase or due to more selfish reasons such as convenience, cuteness or fashion. Others regard the worrisome health conditions as “normal” for that breed. Meanwhile, others like the fact that the dogs share some of their own personal traits such as size, appearance and personality.
The study also underscored an owner's strength of attachment to its dog to be linked to appearance, “with those who favored physical characteristics and 'cuteness' having stronger bonds with their dogs.” In this regard, Chihuahua owners were found to be most attached, with Cairn Terrier owners (who were less interested in appearance) being the least.
It has also become “cool” to own extra small varieties of dogs such as Chihuahuas, with celebrities leading the fad that celebrates the fashionability of the dog rather than its functional attributes.
Finally, a dog’s physical appearance may influence social acknowledgment from other people, the study noted.
The study also noted that except in the case of French Bulldogs, experience of health and behavior problems did not reduce the owners’ desire to get the same breed again.
With these findings, research authors raise the need to find better ways to motivate people to get dogs that do not suffer from health issues related to extreme conformation and inbreeding.
Conducted between 2009 and 2014 in Denmark, the study randomly drew the names of owners of each of the four breeds (750/breed) from a nationwide Danish dog registry and invited them to participate. Of these, 911 responded, giving a final sample of 846.
Source: Sandøe, P., Kondrup, S. V., Bennett, P. C., Forkman, B., Meyer, I., Proschowsky, H. F.,& Lund, T. B. (2017). Why do people buy dogs with potential welfare problems related to extreme conformation and inherited disease? A representative study of Danish owners of four small dog breeds. PloS one, 12(2), e0172091.
By ALMA J. BUELVA
THE diet of a pet dog from an average Filipino household now consists of less rice, latest data from the Philippine Statistics Office show.
The steady decline in the amount of rice each Filipino household feeds to their pets annually was recorded as far back as 2010 when the annual average rice consumption of pets per household was at 18.42 kilograms. In 2016, it became 16.63 kilograms of rice, either leftover or purposely cooked for pets.
For 2017, the statistics agency estimates consumption of cooked rice that would be fed to pets at only 11.26 kilograms per household.
The trend favors commercial dog food (kibble) which pet owners, especially the younger ones, prefer because of the convenience it brings. A kilo of kibble is also seen cheaper in the long run than a kilo of rice with meat added.
LATEST trends in pet ownership in the Philippines find Fido and Kitty in a good place for the most part. Humanization of pets is one of the biggest trends out here and those who can afford it are definitely pulling out all the stops in the hope of raising their pets' quality of life.
MetroPets recently conducted a mini-survey of 130 pet owners to find out if they have embraced new concepts in pet rearing. A pets' lifestyle check, the survey aimed to gain a snapshot of current developments that are shaping the Philippine pet industry.
Responsible Filipino pet owners know that good pet parenting requires more than just providing food, shelter and necessary medical care. They also now appreciate their pets' need for extra comfort and recreation to be more happy.
As a result, it's now common for many people to travel near or far with their pets, to throw pet parties to mark birthdays or adoption/rescue dates, and to visit unique places that cater to four-legged clients.
REST & RECREATION
Based on the survey, 65% of pet owners have organized or attended birthday parties for cats or dogs. Majority (87%) have also taken their pets to out-of-town trips and vacations.
Pet cafes and pet hotels have also laid out their welcome mats.
Dog and cat cafes that mushroomed around Metro Manila can expect to be visited at least once or twice a year by almost half (43%) of the respondents. A good 10% expressed their desire to visit pet cafes at least six times or more in one year. But it's obvious that pet cafe operators still got their work cut out for them judging by the number of respondents (28%) who are yet to step into their establishments.
Pet hotels also seem to be enjoying the patronage of a steady clientele, even though a big number of respondents (84%) said they have not tried booking their pets for an overnight or longer period of stay yet. Because a lot of pets probably come from big households, their owners can afford to leave them with other family members at home instead of a pet hotel. However, highly mobile singles and couples living in condominiums are likely to send their pets at a boarding facility when they have to be away.
Dedicated pet owners are always looking for new time-saving services that result in better pet care. Shopping for pet food and pet items online is a growing trend with 44% of respondents already doing it. This number is expected to increase as more online pet stores open and try to win pet lovers with better shopping experience.
Pet salons and grooming stations are by now well-entrenched businesses. Although there are occasional disturbing reports of pet neglect and abuse in the hands of groomers, many continue to bring their pets to these specialized spas for some “pampering” which usually involves a good washing and a hair trim. Majority (61%) of the respondents said they feel safe to leave their pets alone for grooming at these places.
Lately, a lot of pet owners are also researching about health insurance for pets. Based on the survey, 68% said they are interested to buy an insurance plan for their pets. However, there remains no solid local insurance firm ready to deliver this most sought-after investment in pet care.
Cats have long dominated the Internet so it's not surprising to see them and the whole caboodle of pets having their own accounts in Facebook, Instagram and other social media platform. Thanks to their No. 1 followers, their owners, pets are now active in the social media circles, too.
Although the survey showed there are a lot of pets still without social media presence (62%), this could change rapidly as social media penetration worldwide increases by the day.
Meanwhile, what is important is that dogs and cats are being given something they need more: a bed. The survey showed that 82% of respondents have provided beds for their beloved pets. Let's hope the rest of the animals get their own personal beds, too.