Hairball Prevention, Not Just For Cats!

Pomeranian-RickieB20-Flickr

Pomeranians may develop hairballs, too. Image Copr. RickieB20/Flickr

Hairballs are the bane of cat owners but hairballs can also affect dogs. How many of y’all have discovered Fluffy’s “gift” by walking barefoot late at night? That cigar-shaped slick nasty “squish” disgusts pet owners, and though it’s quite common for cats to urk up the occasional hairball–it is NOT normal.

This Friday is National Hairball Awareness Day, and Dr. Jane Brunt of the Catalyst Council offers some good advice. “The cat has developed a digestive tract that, when it is healthy and working correctly, can handle normal amounts of fur without problem. Even long haired cats should not develop more than one or two hairballs a year,” says Dr. Brunt. “There have been a lot of recent scientific studies about vomiting in cats and that it may be an indication of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, which can progress to cancer.”

Yikes! Hear more from Dr. Brunt on the subject in this podcast.

Persian Show Cat

Persians potentially have more coat to choke on…but even the shorthair beauties can develop hairballs. Image Copr. Amy Shojai, CABC

Cats groom themselves, of course, by lick-lick-licking and subsequently swallowing some of the fur. This time of year when shedding takes place, there’s more fur to swallow. When it doesn’t make its way out the normal method and end up in the litter box, fur collects inside the cat and causes irritation and sometimes constipation and blockage. The lucky cats get rid of the mass (technically called a bezoar). It’s more than a nasty nuisance, so as Dr. Jane Brunt says, get your cat checked if your kitty’s “urking” more than normal.

This time of year, dogs also “blow coat” and end up shedding great wads of fuzz. Learn more about shedding here. With my black German Shepherd, Magic, we typically have drifts of dark fuzz left in hunks here and there. It must be itchy, too, because Magic does quite a lot more self-grooming through scratching and nibbling. While big dogs don’t typically hark up hairballs, smaller pooches with thick coats–like Pomeranians–can develop hairballs and either vomit them up or become constipated or even blocked.

So what can you do? With either dogs or cats, good grooming strips away the loose fur as it’s shed. That prevents it being swallowed, developing into painful mats, and helps keep your carpet (relatively) fur free. My fav grooming tool for both cats and dogs is the Furminator. Seren loves getting combed with this, and Magical-Dawg with his longer coat can lose half his body mass with one session! (Not really, but it does look like that…)

What are some of your grooming tips to prevent hairballs, mats and other “big hairy deals” in your pets? Do tell!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered–post in the comments. Do you have a new kitten and need answers? I’m a new Brand Ambassador for The Honest Kitchen and you can get FREE samples here, check it out! (Karma loves this!). Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Monday Mentions: Odd Couples & Bloomin’ Creativity!

Roses

Robin Hood pink clusters on each side of the overgrown path offer contrast to the Martha Gonzales crimson in front. Even the weeds look good! Image Copr. Amy Shojai, CABC

That picture is from last year’s garden, but this year promises to be even more spectacular. The roses have just now begun to bloom, and the wildflowers–blue bonnets and paintbrush–cover the banks along highways. All of Mom-Nature’s creativity has me inspired to create, too. How about you?

Monday Mentions is the mash-up-day of all the neato-torpedo writer links and videos, pet schtuff and bling and writer-icity crappiocca collected over the past week. Check out the amazing videos below, too! For new followers to the blog, welcome! and you can expect more cat and dog specific schtuff later in the week on Wednesday and Friday.

WRITER-ICITY SCHTUFF

 London Book Fair Recap

Writer Beware: Kerry Jacobson this so-called “book publicist” has stolen from lots of writers!

Open Letter to My Boobs just a wonderful post by a gifted (and brave) blogger

Misadventures in Research from Robert Liparulo, a fun (and scary!) quick read

Writer Beware: Silver Publishing Gone

PET-ASTIC SCHTUFF

CAT RABIES VACCINE ALERT! Production of Merial’s PureVax Feline Rabies vaccine has been put on hold due to a manufacturing discrepancy. The dry material of the vaccine comes in tiny vials that must be reconstituted (liquified) before injection, and some of these instead turn into a gel-like consistency or include precipitates (floating solid material). These vaccines should NOT be used–your veterinarian will have been advised about the issue. However, since PureVax is the only non-adjuvant “recombinant DNA” vaccine (in other words, one that greatly reduces the chance of injection-site sarcomas in cats) it’s often the vaccine of choice for our kitties. That’s the only one I want my cats to get. The vaccine is on backorder for 6-8 weeks probably until mid-summer. So check with your vet about alternatives to be sure your cats are protected, since rabies vaccination is often a matter of state and/or local law.

Bark & Paws 2014 in Denison Texas bring your pooch for this all day fun event!

Stem Cell Therapy for Feline Stomatitis

Unite To Fight Pet Cancer from the awesome Morris Animal Foundation–honor your cats and dogs and save the life of future pets. Blue Buffalo will match funds for the “virtual walk” up to $50,000–see the video, below.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered–post in the comments. Do you have a new kitten and need answers? I’m a new Brand Ambassador for The Honest Kitchen and you can get FREE samples here, check it out! (Karma loves this!). Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Real Easter Bunnies Need Care, Time & Love

BabyBunnies

‘Tis the season for Easter bunnies…real ones need lots of love, attention and proper care, and are not stuffed toys! Image Copr. Audrey/Flickr Creative Commons

Awwww…nothing sweeter than baby bunnies. Well, baby anything, right?

But Easter is not the time for a spur of the moment furry gift. Chicks and ducklings and baby bunnies by the score are purchased each year, some dyed in ridiculous colors, almost as gag gifts despite the fact they are living creatures with very specific care needs.

The House Rabbit Society has lots of great information about caring for a bunny. They do make wonderful pets–but you have to want them for more than a couple of weeks, or until the “cute” wears off.

Did you know that bunnies mark territory? Chew all kinds of stuff? (even more than dogs!). And unless you “fix” your bunny friend, aggression can become a problem. I wrote all about it here.

At my house, Magic already has his paws full playing with Karma. I hate to think what Seren would think were I to bring a bunny into the house–although cats do seem to get along well with rabbits when they’re raised together, introduced properly and socialized.

What about you? Have you ever had a bunny pet? We did when I was a child, but made lots of mistakes. *sigh*

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered–post in the comments. Do you have a new kitten and need answers? I’m a new Brand Ambassador for The Honest Kitchen and you can get FREE samples here, check it out! (Karma loves this!). Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Beware Easter Lily–And Other Seasonal Poisons

EasterLily

Easter Lilies are highly toxic to pets. Image Copr. Joe deSousa/Flickr Creative Commons

Easter is next Sunday, and with the season comes all kinds of wonderful traditions. Some of these, though, like Easter Lilies and chocolate eggs, can prove toxic to our pets.

Cats don’t tend to munch inedibles nearly as often as dogs do, in part because–well, dogs will eat anything! Heck, they drink out of the toilet and snack from the litter box, for gosh sake. But if it’s sweet, like chocolate, so much the better from the pup’s viewpoint. Dogs evolved to detect sweet, which helps detect ripeness in fruits and veggies (since they are, after all, omnivores).

SerenFlowers4While cats don’t have a “sweet tooth” per se (as carnivores they prefer the meaty tastes and just don’t have the taste buds to detect sweet), kitties can get in trouble with toxic targets, too. Cats that paw-play or claw the leaves of toxic plants can get the poison on their claws or fur, and become poisoned when they groom themselves. Simply drinking from the water in the lily vase can poison a cat. Believe me, if a delinquent cat (like Karma!) can get in trouble, he will.

So at my house, there are no indoor plants, period, not even the harmless ones. Oh, once the roses start blooming, I’ll bring some of those blossoms inside (roses actually are edible and with thorns removed they’re safe for both people and pets).

Learn more about toxic plants and first aid for poisoning here as well as more info on chocolate poisoning here. How are you protecting your cats and dogs this Easter?

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered–post in the comments. Do you have a new kitten and need answers? I’m a new Brand Ambassador for The Honest Kitchen and you can get FREE samples here, check it out! (Karma loves this!). Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Monday Mentions: Creative Birds, Thriller Inspiration & Pet-astic Links

FlamingoLast week I got a good start on the new thriller SHOW AND TELL, but then was sidetracked by STRAYS and getting the cast recording finished (you can listen to it here). I find, though, that any kind of artistic endeavor seems to whet my creative appetite. Whether I’m writing music or prose, cutting glass or carving wood, they all seem to make me hungry to make something happen.

My office is filled with whimsy, pieces of art and crappiocca and fun stuff that makes me smile or lights a fuse on my imagination. I’ve got a dragon, Bast statue, rooster who thinks he’s a parrot (with flapping wings and real feathers), carved wooden screen, green frog that thinks he’s a toad, bouquet of cat teases, cat-sculpted vase, and…Pink Floyd the Flamingo (above). Some or all of them may make an appearance in a future book. They’re my inspiration and a bit of a touchstone for me when I know they’re the “real” in my imaginary thrilling and sometimes scary world.

Do you have favorite items in your workplace, maybe that look like nothing special to others but mean the world to you? Is it because of where you got it, or was it a gift, or reminds of you of a time in your life? Do tell!

Monday Mentions is the mash-up-day of all the neato-torpedo writer links and videos, pet schtuff and bling and writer-icity crappiocca collected over the past week. Check out the great video below, too, from Stephen King! For new followers to the blog, welcome! and you can expect more cat and dog specific schtuff later in the week on Wednesday and Friday.

WRITER-ICITY SCHTUFF

2014 Thriller Award Nominees

Writers, Stand Up for Yourself! know when (and how) to say NO

Comprehension: Paper vs Screens yes, they are different–are you a “slow reader” able to savor?

 Ebook Pricing…Again

Ways to Improve KDP

PET-ASTIC SCHTUFF

P&G Selling Pet Food Brands to Mars

Veterinarians & Suicide when empathy becomes too much?

Chimera R Us! it’s not just for pets anymore…writers will like this!

Lawn Chemicals and Cats some good info and cautions

Mudslide Dog Reunited with Family

Dog Performs Heimlich, Saves Human’s Life well…not really a Heimlich but impressive nonetheless!

Doggy “Cleft Palate Gene Mutation” Identified

International Conference on Feline Health this looks PAW-some!

Diamond Pet Food Lawsuit Settlement

Only Natural Pet all-natural pet products sold exclusively at Pet360.com – introductory savings of up to 15%

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered–post in the comments. Do you have a new kitten and need answers? I’m a new Brand Ambassador for The Honest Kitchen and you can get FREE samples here, check it out! (Karma loves this!). Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!