Meko the Miracle Dog

The Hot Dig-Kitty-Dog Blog

Petpourri

Animal news, product reviews, and other useful information for pet owners.

My sister and her husband, both animal lovers, always had dogs in the home. When their daughter was old enough, she wanted a cat (even though she was allergic). Adding a cat to a dog home could have opened up the proverbial can of worms, but what happened was, the dogs came to accept the cat as one of the pack. And the cat happily took its place among the dogs. Of course, they had little dogs, Shelties and a Lhasa Apso at the time, but I doubt if the size of the dogs makes a difference. I think that they all just learned to get along.

Our three dogs, having never been around cats, are on their guard for anything smaller than them that runs around. Our Min Pin in particular, a ratter, spends the majority of her day watching one of our many chipmunks running back and forth under the bay window that she lies in. And once when we passed a dog-friendly cat on one of our walks, they all pulled and lunged to get at the cat who observed them as if they were insane, and decided to keep her distance. 

But animals, in particular domesticated ones, are adaptable and accepting of their situation. I have no doubt that if we brought a kitten into the home, and we spent our time 'educating' our dogs about being gentle, they would soon come to accept the cat as one of their own. But until then, they might get a few scratches across their nose. They can be fast learners! 

 

 

Meko and Kitsu going for a ride

I read an article in the latest issue of one of my favorite non-art-related magazines, called Scientific American Mind that discusses the intelligence of our best friend, the dog. The interview was with Brian Hare, an associate professor at Duke University and also the author of a book called "The Genius of Dogs". There was a lot of fascinating information found out about dogs in various studies, such as, dogs prefer to spend time with humans rather than their own species, something that is unusual for an animal. Personally, I find that to be true with my own dogs, Kameko and Kitsune, both Pomeranians. Sometimes it seems as if they don't even see each other because they are always only interested in what I am doing. Makes sense, though, since I am their caretaker. You want to know that the person who provides you with food and water, who gives you treats, who cleans the gunk out of your eyes and the poop off your bum, is always available and ready to take care of you.

Another interesting observation is how much dogs read our gestures, which "allows them to be incredible social partners with us, whether it's hunting or agility or just navigating everyday life. Their ability to interpret our gestures also helps them solve problems they can't solve on their own."

Although Brian Hare was unable to confirm the level of empathy our dogs feel for us, I can attest to my dogs' behavior when I am upset and crying. Whether or not it is empathy, it most certainly is concern. They want to be as close to me as possible or they watch me from a distance, shaking and obviously stressed. Our first Pomeranian, Sammy, would go into another room and start digging, scratching at the carpet, as if she was trying to dig a hole to crawl into whenever Jim and were yelling. And often we were just talking loud but she interpreted loud voices with anger.

Although I already knew how special my dogs are, reading an article like this proves, scientifically, that dogs are even more intelligent and more special than a lot of people realize.

 

The majority of Americans take care of their pets sometimes even better than they take care of themselves, running to the vets when their pets show the smallest sign of illness. According to the Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI), in 2012 policyholders spent more than $58 million treating the ten most common ailments affecting their pets. Below is their list of the top ten medical conditions that were treated in 2012:

 

Dogs:

  1. Skin Allergies
  2. Ear Infection
  3. Skin Infection
  4. Non-Cancerous Skin Growth
  5. Upset Stomach/Vomiting
  6. Arthritis
  7. Intestial Upset/Diarrhea
  8. Bladder Infection
  9. Periodontitis/Dental Disease
  10. Bruise or Contusion

 

Cats:

  1. Bladder Infection
  2. Periodontitis/Dental Disease
  3. Overactive Thyroid
  4. Chronic Kidney Disease
  5. Upset Stomach/vomiting
  6. Diabetes
  7. Intestinal Upset/Diarrhea
  8. Skin Allergies
  9. Lymphosarcoma (Cancer of Lymph Node)
  10. Upper Respiratory Infection

 

 

 

If we are at all interested in saving our planet, there are a few simple things we can do that are also ways that we can protect our pets and wildlife, as well.

  1. First and foremost, clean up your dog's poop. It can be harmful to water sources. Dispose of it wrapped in a bag into your trash. Or drop it in the toilet. Never put dog or cat poop into your compost, particularly if you plan to use the dirt in your compost on your garden. The temps in the compost do not get high enough to kill bacteria.
  2. Clean up anti-freeze spills in your garage. Your pets are attracted to the sweet smell and may lick it up. Anti-freeze is highly toxic and if you suspect your pet has licked some up, contact your veterinarian immediately.
  3. Keep cats indoors. In the country where I live, we have fishers, raccoons, coyotes, foxes, hawks, and other wild animals that could easily snatch up a cat. Also, cats kill millions of birds yearly, so save the birds and keep your cat indoors.
  4. Invest in a natural lawn. If you use chemicals to keep your lawn perfect and bug-free each year, you are exposing not only your children but your pets as well to whatever toxins are in the pesticides you are using. Our lawn has been chemical free since we moved here, nearly 13 years ago, and we are happy with the green we have, whether it is from grass or a variety of weeds.
  5. Spay and neuter your pets to avoid an overpopulation problem.
  6. Adopt from a shelter. There are plenty of cats and dogs looking for homes. Think about adopting before going to a breeder. And never, ever purchase a pet from a pet store. Pet stores are notorious for getting their pets from puppy mills where the safety and health of the pet is of little concern to the breeder. Always go to a reputable breeder where you can see the conditions where the pet was bred. But first, check out your local shelter - they often have puppies that need good homes.
  7. Avoid using salt for ice. If your dog licks too much salt from its paws, it can become sick. If you live in an area where they use salt, you can either train your dog to wear booties or wipe your dog's feet when you get home from your walk.

There are many more tips for keeping your pets healthy and living in a greener world for you and your pets. We will feature more in other blogs, so stay tuned!

 

 

It is the time of year when we are thinking spring (despite having just had yet another winter storm here in the northeast!) and want to bring the promise of warmer weather and flowers into our homes. With Easter just around the corner, we often purchase the traditional Easter Lily or other seasonal plant and set it on the table as a center piece or on the floor. But what you might not know is how toxic this beautiful and seemingly innocent plant is to your cat or dog.

The Easter Lily is especially toxic to cats (other poisonous bulb plants include: daffodils, hyacinths, and tiger lilies) and can cause kidney failure and death. Eating any part of the Easter lily will cause vomiting and severe depression in cats. The vomiting may subside but the cat will continue to become more depressed and will refuse to eat. If you suspect that your cat has eaten a part of an Easter lily plant, it must be treated within 18 hours or the damage to the kidneys will be irreversible. A better idea would be to pass on the Easter lily and purchase a silk Easter lily plant, instead.

Variety of Tiger Lilies
A variety of lilies from my garden.