7 Signs of a Cat Emergency

Dec_2013_3Breathing problems, drooling, diarrhea… when do you know if it’s a cat emergency? If you notice the following signs, it’s time to visit the vet stat.

Abnormal urination: This is a very severe condition that can be fatal. It’s caused by a urethral obstruction and happens most often in male cats. Cats with this condition suffer pain and can experience kidney failure, bladder rupture and/or cardiac arrest. The first signs include urinating outside the litter box, straining for small quantities of urine and grooming genitals excessively. Cats with irregular urinary habits should see a vet immediately.

Difficulty breathing or choking: Fluid in the lungs or the chest cavity can cause breathing problems. If it goes untreated, cats might even go into respiratory or cardiac arrest.

Unconsciousness: Poisoning or airway obstruction are a few reasons why your cat could lose consciousness. If you get no response when you call or touch your cat, check her breathing and take her to the vet immediately.

Excessive drooling: While it may be normal for a dog to drool heavily, cats don’t drool this much unless there’s an issue. Mouth burns from electrical cords, contact with poisons and nausea from other illnesses can cause this.

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Should You Crate Train Your Puppy?

Mar_2014_1If you’re a new dog or puppy owner, you might think crate training is unkind or unnecessary, but there are many positive benefits for both you and your dog.

With the right training, your dog will view his crate as a shelter or safe haven, similar to a den used by his wild ancestor. It will also serve as your safety net for training and housebreaking. Read on for reasons why and how you should crate train.

Why Crate Training Works
When your pup is trained to love his crate, he will:

Learn bladder and bowel control

Feel safe and secure while you’re away

Have a safe haven to go to during stressful situations

Limit his destructive tendencies to toys, not furniture

Travel with less stress

You’ll also get peace of mind knowing your dog is comfortable and safe while you’re away.

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Keeping Cool on the Dog Days of Summer


Dog parks, beach outings, barbecues and long walks… summer time is for enjoying the outdoors with our pets. It’s also a time to be alert to summer hazards. Keep your pet’s play time fun and safe with these tips:


Lawn and garden products
Do you have a green thumb? Fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides might help your garden grow, but they can be toxic to your pet. Use pet-safe products or keep your dog out of the treated area until it’s safe.

Unlike humans, dogs don’t have sweat glands all over their bodies. They pant to cool down, but can still overheat and have heat stroke if they’re out too long on hot days. Dogs with flat faces, like pugs, boxers and bulldogs are especially vulnerable, because they can’t pant very well. Make sure your dog isn’t overdoing it outdoors, has shade and water, and is never left alone in a car, even with the windows down.

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Speaking Pet: Instinctual Rabbit Behavior

Sept_2012_1Because they are a prey species, rabbits show behavior that is mostly dictated by instinct. Read on for a list of the top instinctual behaviors you’ll see from your rabbit and our tips.

Instinct 1: Digging – Rabbits love to dig holes and burrows as safe havens. The key to handling this behavior is to channel it away from your rugs and carpet and onto items meant for bunny digging. Your rabbit will enjoy scratching at and chewing untreated grass mats and tunnels, like the Hide-A-Way Hut.

Instinct 2: Burrowing – Your rabbit is a natural burrower and loves to create cozy spaces underground. Recreate an underground environment with grass tunnels for your rabbit to run through and relax in. We also suggest offering a large nesting area using a Giant Igloo.

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All About Cats’ Tails

Mar_2014_2Your feline can be aloof and mysterious, but there’s one way to decipher her mood… by watching her tail. Your cat’s tail has both physical and emotional uses. It’s up to you to learn how to read the signals.

Your cat’s tail is used for…
Balance – Like a counterweight, her tail helps her balance when she walks, jumps or sits, especially in tight spots like window ledges. It also helps her make sharp turns when she’s running.

Communication – One of the best ways to judge your cat’s mood is to watch her tail. Here are a few signals your cat may give you with her tail:

  • A tail held straight up in the air shows confidence, excitement or contentment.
  • If your cat holds her tail high with a rounded hook at the end, she’s likely feeling friendly or playful.
  • Your cat is focused and getting ready to pounce if she slowly swishes her tail back and forth.
  • If her tail whips side to side quickly, however, she is likely annoyed or fearful and may get aggressive.
  • When your cat assumes the classic Halloween pose—an arched back and a spiky or fluffed up tail—she’s facing a perceived threat.
  • A tail tucked under her body shows fear or submission.

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Jet Set Fido: Traveling with Dogs

Dec_2014_1If you’re planning to take to the skies this summer, consider taking Fido along for a fun family experience.

There will be a few limitations when traveling with him, but our tips will help you prepare.

Check the Airline’s Rules
Traveling by plane isn’t extremely comfortable for humans OR pets. If your pet isn’t small enough to be carried on or taken in the cabin, be prepared for extra steps and concerns. First, check the airline’s rules for bringing your four-legged friend on board. American Airlines, for example, will not accept brachycephalic or snub-nosed dogs, due to possible breathing complications.

Book as Early as Possible
Very few pets are accepted on each flight, so book as early as you can. Also, be sure your dog can get on the flight before you book your own tickets.

Get the Vet’s OK
Before taking off, take your pooch to the vet for a checkup. Make sure all vaccinations are up-to-date and be sure to get a health certificate within 10 days of your flight. It’s mandatory for air travel.

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Tips for Keeping a Fish Tank

March_2013_1As a hobby, fish keeping is relaxing and rewarding. But if you’re just starting out, it’s best to start small. Begin your new hobby with a small aquarium of 30 gallons or less in size. This will allow you to learn proper fish care. You can later transfer your knowledge to a larger tank.

How do you take care of a small aquarium? Here are some tips that will help you create a healthy fish environment.

Start with a Kit
Aquarium kits are a great choice for beginners because most come with filtration, lighting and heating systems included. Just add gravel and decorations, which you can get with the help of an associate in your local store.

Pick an Appropriate Space
Although your aquarium may look magnificent on a table behind your sofa, this may not be the best location. Remember, even a small, 12-gallon aquarium will weigh more than 120 pounds when filled. Instead, choose a stand designed to accommodate the weight of a tank, as well as the humidity it will produce.

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Different Types of Cat Toys

Dec_2013_3Is your bored cat getting into mischief? Like people, cats need to stay active both physically and mentally. Various toys will encourage your cat to use her natural instincts, like stalking and chasing prey.

Here are a few toys that will get her moving…

While “fetch” is not in your cat’s vocabulary, a ball is sure to be one of her toy favorites. A rolling ball looks too much like a running rodent. How can she resist chasing it? To make it even more fun, buy balls stuffed with catnip or other enticing aromas, balls with bells inside or balls that light up.

Wands are one of the simplest cat toys, yet one that promotes the most activity. A wand is a stick with a piece of fabric, ribbon, yarn or even feathers hanging from it. To encourage your cat, wave, flutter, twitch and circle the wand around her. She will instinctively want to pounce on what looks like a bird or insect.

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Fighting Fleas Indoors & Out

Mar_2014_1The battle against fleas has begun and this battle can’t be won unless you treat your home and yard as well as your pet.

Here are our top tips for products that fight fleas at home…

Fighting Fleas Indoors

Your best bets for the indoor battle are carpet sprays, upholstery sprays, foggers and good cleaning. Kill adults and flea eggs with indoor sprays. These sprays work to kill fleas in two stages of the flea life cycle. They contain adulticide flea killers, which kill adult fleas shortly after contact. They also use insect growth regulators to target flea eggs and pupae. The adulticide has a residual effect that kills emerging adults for a few weeks as well. For the best results, use sprays on floors, carpets, rugs, and along baseboards and walls, as well as on upholstered furniture, drapes and pet bedding. Once the application is dry, it’s safe for pets to be in the treated area.

For severe home infestations, foggers are best. Foggers also use adulticides and insect growth regulators to kill fleas, flea larvae, and flea eggs (not to mention ants, roaches and other pests), but can last for up to seven months. All people and pets must be out of the home for one hour while the fogger is spraying. Air out your home for two hours afterwards.Don’t forget to clean before and after. While these products are effective, it’s important to clean and vacuum frequently and wash pet bedding as well to remove as many fleas and flea eggs as possible. Repeat the entire spray and clean process again in two weeks to be sure you catch fleas that have hatched since the first spray.

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How to Keep Your Ferret from Biting

Mar_2014_5Does your ferret bite during play? Nipping or play biting is natural when ferrets play together, especially among young kits. But when playing with humans (who have thinner skin), they don’t realize it can hurt.

Ferrets bite for various reasons: out of fear, to get attention, to initiate play or because they’re not socialized. It’s your job to train your ferret out of biting and socialization, good training and consistency are key. Use one or more of these methods to train your little friend.


This is the easiest way to show your displeasure. Pick him up by the scruff or skin on the back of the neck and say “no” firmly. This is how mother ferrets pick up their babies and it will show your dominance. There are few nerve endings in this area, but you should still be firm and gentle.

Distract with a Substitute

Another method is to use a toy to distract him when he starts biting. Get him to bite or wrestle the toy instead and help him learn the difference between toys and your fingers. A young kit will almost always bite while playing, but you can show him not to bite unless he’s just mouthing your skin or lightly nipping it.

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