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The Season of Sensuality

Posted: Friday, August 3, 2012 at 11:24:23 AM EST by Cam Day

Making Scents

Spring is nearly upon us and summer is just a sniff away. The days are getting longer and the animal kingdom is waking to a new 'season of sensuality'. I find that the start of the Ekka in Brisbane marks the start of this season of sensuality. It's not only the flowers that blossom and send out their wonderful perfumes at this time of year but many species of animals also send out their own seasonal scents in spring. The most important of these scents are pheromones.

Pheromones Cats sniffing each other are extremely widespread in the animal kingdom. They are like hormones in some aspects. However, while hormones stay within the body of the animal that produces them and thus affect only that animal's behaviour, pheromones are released from one animal and, when detected by another animal of the same species, have a significant effect on the behaviour of that receiving animal.

Pheromones come in many forms. Some relate to sexual identification, some help animals to mark territory, some serve as warnings to other animals and some relate to familiarisation and attachment.

They are released from various glands of an animal's body, including those around the face and on the footpads, from sweat glands (especially on the abdomen) and from the animal's anal sacs. In cats, three main types of pheromones have been studied - those relating to territorial marking, alarm warnings and to familiarisation with others of the same species.

In dogs, the dog appeasing pheromone is one that has been studied extensively. This pheromone is normally produced in bitches three to five days after they have whelped. It is secreted by the skin around the bitch's mammary glands and serves to create attachment of the newborn puppies to the dam.  A similar pheromone is also released by adult dogs from the skin around their ears. When released by pack leaders, this pheromone has a similar role, but on a wider basis, to the pheromone produced by a dam - it creates attachment of young animals to the leaders and makes the pack cohesive.

While that may sound complicated, the good news is that cat, and more recently, dog pheromones are now produced synthetically and placed in bottles to help pet owners better manage their pet's behaviour. This is a very new and exciting form of science. With dogs the dog appeasing pheromone (DAP or Adaptil) is used to aid the treatment of anxiety disorders and fears. For cats, the pheromone Feliway is readily available and is used to stop cats spraying, as well as in assisting cats to become comfortable when moving into a new residence.

Using Pheromones to Improve a Dog's Behaviour 

The dog appeasing pheromone aids in the treatment of fears and anxieties in dogs and can be part of the therapy for:

Complete range of Adaptil products
  • settling a new puppy into a home

  • separation anxieties or similar disorders

  • noise fears and phobias

  • treating fears from various origins.

For instance, to determine the effects of the dog appeasing pheromone, a study was conducted on 26 dogs where 20 were destructive, 18 were vocalising excessively and 12 were house-soiling. After 28 days of pheromone use, the behaviour of approximately 75% of the dogs had either improved or resolved.

The commercial version of the dog appeasing pheromone has just been released and while that's good news, it's the method of delivery that really makes this product shine. It is simply delivered via a diffuser that is plugged into a power point in a manner similar to air fresheners.

Used for a month or longer, this pheromone can be very important in helping a dog resolve its anxieties.

Using Pheromones to Improve a Cat's Behaviour

The feline pheromones that are associated with familiarisation help to convey a message of well being and a feeling of security to cats.

The Feliway Pheromone range.The synthetically manufactured version of this pheromone (Feliway) helps when moving house with cats, or when new cats are introduced to a cat household. The pheromone also helps to reduce spraying behaviour and to calm aggressive cats when many cats are present in the same household.

The pheromones used to achieve such changes in behaviour are synthetic versions of a cat's facial pheromones. These are the same scents that a cat rubs on its owner when 'bunting' in greeting.

For cats that spray urine inside their owner's homes, cleaning the soiled area and then marking the area with the synthetic pheromone helps to solve the urine spraying behaviour. The calming function of the facial pheromones has a preventative effect on urine marking,

In addition, these facial pheromones help to settle cats into new homes, promoting exploration and calmness and establishment of normal feeding behaviour more rapidly than when the cat is placed in a new home with no pheromones.

Just like Adaptil's dog appeasing pheromone, Feliway's cat facial pheromone is now also available in a plug-in diffuser that makes it very easy to use.

These products are now available but for more information click here.

Spring has Sprung

Posted: Friday, August 31, 2012 at 4:35:35 PM EST by Cam Day

Spring Care of Pets 

Spring into action now that spring has sprung to ensure your pet is prepared for the warmer weather

Now is when you need to groom your pet to remove the remains of its winter coat and you should watch for the hundreds of fleas and ticks that are organising their assault on your pets. These nasty parasites are on the march now and have you noticed that Mosquitoes are all a buzz?  They are ready to spread heartworm disease. Even flies and worms are set to worry your pets.

But, pounce on prevention and you can be done with the cure!

The Hair of the Dog

Have you noticed the tumbleweeds of cat and dog hair wafting over the floor lately? It's a sign that you need to get into grooming to make your pet more comfortable and to prevent further fur balls making a mess in your house. 

Dog sittingAt present, you should be grooming your pets on a daily basis to remove their winter coat.

A visit to your vet or pet shop will reveal a fascinating range of products designed to make grooming easier.

Look for a Zoom Groom. This is a nylon brush with large, soft fingers which will gently strip the dead hair from your pet's coat. Zoom Grooms are available for dogs and cats and come in several forms. An added advantage of the Zoom Groom is that, being nylon, it can also be used to massage shampoos and flea rinses into your pet's coat - just the thing when you are planning your pet's Spring clean!

Also, look for Slicker brushes. These brushes have dual level pins on a cushioned pad with a curved head. The long and short pins work at two levels to remove the mats and the dead hair that make your pet shabby. Slicker brushes are available from good pet shops.

For long-haired pets or those with thick hair, now is a good time to have them professionally clipped. They will feel so much more comfortable after the removal of their hot coat of heat-trapping hair. Clipping will allow them to cool down much easier and will lessen the chance of heat stroke in the coming summer months. Ugly mats of hair that trap foreign bodies and that pinch your pet's skin will also be removed 

Hop Into Flea Control

Now that the warm weather is with us, the creeping, crawling, gnashing, nasty, nibbling, bloodsucking, ferocious Aussie flea is on the prowl!

Thankfully, there are lots of 'state of the art' flea control products available which are effective and safe.

groomingaburmese200'Spot on the back of the neck' preparations are popular and easy to use, safe and effective for both dogs and cats. These products come in small vials that you squeeze onto your pet's neck. Frontline, Advantage, and Revolution are commonly known brands.

Fleas can also be controlled with tablets . 

Sentinel is a popular monthly tablet (for dogs), that not only controls fleas by stopping flea eggs from hatching, but it includes a once-per-month heartworm preventive and an intestinal wormer which will give intestinal worms a headache. Its flea control effect relies on preventing flea eggs from hatching.  Sentinel cannot be used on cats.

Comfortis and it's bigger brother, Panoramis, are once per month chewable tablets that kills fleas on your dog in 30 minutes and is not affected by your dog swimming or being bathed.

Capstar is another tablet that kills fleas and does it very quickly. It is suitable for both dogs and cats. It has no residual action and is useful if you want to quickly eliminate a new flea infestation before using a long term preventive.

All of these tablets are available from your local vet.

Flea shampoos deserve a mention. There are many on the market including Fido's Free Itch Shampoo. Such shampoos will clean your pet and will kill fleas present at the time but usually will not give any residual action.  Most are safe for cats but be sure to check the label first.

Make Mosquitoes Buzz Off

Mosquitoes spread heartworm disease and are much more prevalent in warm weather - not that they are a scarcity in winter either. Many pet owners incorrectly stop their pet's heartworm preventive in the cooler months thinking that their pet is safe. This is not so.

If you have missed you pet's heartworm preventative, contact your vet and ask for a heartworm test. If it shows that all is clear, place your pooch (and puss cat) onto a heartworm preventive medication.

Most dog owners are now using the Once-A-Year heartworm preventives because while other alternatives are very effective, they are also very easy to forget.

Flies are a Worry

Bengal_Green_eyes-200w-SMLWhile talking about things that won't buzz off, a variety of flies also cause pets problems. Dogs regularly suffer from fly bite dermatitis on, off all places, their ear tips. Similar problems can occur when flies are attracted to discharges that are present around the eyes, mouth and nose of pets.  This is not such a common problem with cats.

The stable fly is the most common culprit. It rasps away at the ears of dogs and causes crusty, bleeding sores to develop.

This problem can be prevented by spraying the dog with Permoxin as needed, or by mixing the Permoxin with Vaseline, baby oil, or a mixture of both, and smearing that onto the dog's ears.

Various fly repellent ointments are also available.

Around Worm Control 

Lastly, the beginning of a new season is always the best time to ensure your dog and cat has been wormed. Roundworms, hookworms and tapeworms are a problem for dogs and cats during the warmer months and dogs can also be infected with whipworms.Yorkshireandownertiny

As a routine, adult pets should be wormed every three months. Look for an all-wormer medication as this is likely to eliminate all types of intestinal worms your pets may have.

Also note that many spot-on-the-neck flea preparations also control worms.

Choosing the correct combination of parasite control preparations for your pet can be complex.  So be sure to consult with your veterinarian for a parasite control problem that will keep your pets up to scratch.

So, having attended to the above, you will not be wondering whether your pet will weather summer weather well!

 

 Click to go to the Spring Has Sprung Pet Pick

Pheromones for Pets

Posted: Friday, September 7, 2012 at 3:40:41 PM EST by Cam Day

What are Pheromones?

contentkittiePheromones are extremely widespread in the animal kingdom. They are like hormones in some aspects. However, while hormones stay within the body of the animal that produces them and thus affect only that animal's behaviour, pheromones are released from one animal and, when detected by another animal of the same species, have a significant effect on the behaviour of that receiving animal.

Pheromones are important to many living creatures including insects and mammals. For instance, queen bees produce pheromones that inhibit other queens from developing.  In insects and animals pheromones also act as sex attractants and have many other functions.

Pheromones come in many forms. Some relate to sexual identification, some help animals to mark territory, some serve as warnings to other animals and some relate to familiarisation and attachment.

They are released from various glands of an animal's body, including those around the face and on the footpads, from sweat glands (especially on the abdomen) and from the animal's anal sacs.

In cats, three main types of pheromones have been studied - those relating to territorial marking, alarm warnings and to familiarisation with others of the same species.  

In dogs, the dog appeasing pheromone is one that has been studied extensively. This pheromone is normally produced in bitches three to five days after they have whelped. It is secreted by the skin around the bitch's mammary glands and serves to create attachment of the newborn puppies to the dam. 

A similar pheromone is also released by adult dogs from the skin around their ears. When released by pack leaders, this pheromone has a similar role, but on a wider basis, to the pheromone produced by a dam - it creates attachment of young animals to the leaders and makes the pack cohesive.

Availability in Australia

The Feliway Pheromone range.Synthetic pheromones are now available in Australia for dogs and cats.

The dog pheromone is known as the Dog Appeasing Pheromone (Adaptil) and the cat pheromones in known as Feliway.

Adaptil is available commercially in Australia as a plug-in diffuser.

Feliway is available as a plug-in diffuser and as a spray bottle.

Are pheromones suitable for your pet?

Pheromones such as the Dog Appeasing Pheromone (Adaptil) and Feliway are wonderful products because they are easy to use and side-effect free.

But they certainly are not a cure for all behavioural problems. 

If you are uncertain about purchasing pheromones for your pet, complete our Pheromone Inquiry Form and we will review your submission.

We will then respond to that by email or by telephone as needed.

Click here to inquire if pheromones are suitable for your pet's behaviour

How to Purchase Pheromones

Pheromones can be purchased from our office or, if you are certain the are correct for your pet, the can be purchased online here.

Click here to purchase pheromones


More information

Fun Fact about Cats

Posted: Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 5:00:45 PM EST by Cam Day

Ten Fun Facts about Cats

bigstockphoto_group_of__cats_in_a_row__nor_5081821
  1. A group of cats is called a 'clowder'.
    (Ed.  I am sure that's a condensation of 'crowd', 'clawed' and 'louder'  - which fully describes the turmoils of owning a group of cats.

    A cat vet friend says 'Owning more than 4 cats means you have a mental disorder'!  We have 4 cats - am I on the edge of insanity?
    )
     
  2. In Ancient Egypt, cats were worshipped as Gods, and punishment was severe for injuring a cat in any way.
    (Ed. OK so I live in Egypt because our cats are worshipped as gods. And my cats punish me if I hurt them in any way.)
     
  3. Cats' paw pads are as remarkable as their coats: the same pigments that determine the colour of a cat's coat also determines the colour of their paw pads. 
    (Ed. Really? Where did that come from? Must look at the colour of my cat's paws when I get home. So, do tortoiseshell cats have multi-coloured paws? Cat owners - inspect your cat's paws and leave a note in the Comments. I want to know if this is true!)
     Bengal_Green_eyes-200w-SML
  4. Domestic cats aren't the only purring felines. Cheetahs, Pumas, Ocelots and even Tigers purr. Lions, Panthers, Jaguars and Leopards do not purr.
    (Ed. Yeh ok. But why doesn't my cat purr when I want to hug him? Oh - of course he's a Panther, Jaguar or Leopard. Now I'm worried!)

  5. Ever notice your cat pull its lips back (without hissing) and opens its mouth slightly? That's called the 'Flehmen Response' and happens when your cat wants to examine a scent more closely.
    (This is often seen in non-desexed cats when detecting the scent of a mate. Occurs in many other animals including the Giraffe and Rhino. Occur with my cat when he is going to bite me.)
     
  6. When a cat rubs against you, it is marking you. A cat has scent glands either side of its face - the cat uses these glands to mark its territory.
    (There are several pheromones in a cat's facial rubbings. One is the main ingredient of Feliway.)
     
  7. Whiskers are very important for cats that hunt. Whiskers allow the cat to identify precisely where their prey is so they can attack more efficiently.
    (Ed. So Desmond, my Rag Devil, uses his whiskers to determine where I am so he can attack me with more precision - is that's what's happening?)
     
  8. A mother cat commonly chews her kittens' whiskers off.
    (Ed.  Who says so?  Never heard of that!  Cat breeders please advise - or is that the cat version of the 'hair of the dog that bit you'?)
     
  9. Kittens generally have 26 teeth while adult cats have 30.
    (Ed. Simple science!  Adult cats need more teeth to bite their owners. Thus it's evolution at its best. )
     
  10. A cat has between 230 - 250 bones in its body, compared to the 206 bones a human has.
    (Ed. So where are the extra 40 or so bones?  Are you sure the researcher didn't measure a cat that had just eaten a mouse?)
 

Crucial care for curious cats

Posted: Friday, November 2, 2012 at 1:45:05 PM EST by Cam Day

Smitten with Kittens

Smitten with KittensThey are cute, cuddly, fuzzy, furry little buzz-balls. Kittens are a delight and a joy, but they do need proper care. As there are lots of kittens around at the moment, let's go through the basics of kitten care to make sure you're doing all that is necessary for your purring puss. Each topic listed, will be dealt with in this column in greater detail over the next few weeks.

Vaccinations

Your kitten should be vaccinated against the disease Feline Enteritis, and for infections caused by the Feline Rhinotracheitis virus and the Feline Calicivirus. The latter two infections cause Cat Flu. You can also have it vaccinated against Feline Leukaemia.

The first injections are due at six to eight weeks of age. I recommend that it be done again at three months of age, and that the cat flu vaccinations be repeated, again, at four months of age.

Vaccination schedules vary considerably, so please seek the advice of your veterinarian.

Worming

It is common for a kitten to be infected with hookworms and roundworms. These worms are dangerous and can cause bowel disease, anaemia and even death. Tapeworms can also be a problem and, although these worms are not usually as dangerous, your kitten is better off without them.

Your veterinarian will advise on a reliable wormer, but I advise using a medication that includes the word allwormer. This word shows that the medication will deal with all worms that your kitten can suffer from.

Reinfestation with worms is common. Therefore, I suggest you worm your kitten every two weeks until it is three months of age, then every month until it is six months of age and after that every three months.

Heartworm

We now recognise heartworm disease as a problem for cats. It is extremely difficult to diagnose and even more difficult to treat. If you want to do the best for your kitten, then you should put him or her onto a monthly heartworm preventive.

Ask your veterinarian to discuss this with you when you have your kitten vaccinated.

Coat Care

Regular brushing of your kitten's coat will not only keep it looking slick but will also prevent tangles developing if it has long hair. For Persians and similarSmitten with Kittens long haired cats, daily brushing is essential.

Personally, I use a Zoom Groom to keep my cats' coats looking good. A Zoom Groom is a nylon grooming mitt with soft, gentle teeth that will massage your cat's coat and remove dead hair and tangles. Zoom Grooms are available from veterinarians and pet shops.

Skin infections are sometimes a problem in young kittens, especially the fungal infection Ringworm. Watch for any areas of baldness or broken hair and especially if you can see a 'cigarette ash' like dandruff in the kitten's coat.

The ferocious and fearsome Aussie Flea will get your kitten hopping mad. Be sure to use a reliable flea control preparation. There are many suitable products and Advantage and Frontline can be used on kittens, but check with your veterinarian first.

Litter Tray Training

Although you may want your kitten to soil outside, it is still important that you train your kitten to use a litter tray from the start. Most responsible cat owners curfew their cats at night to prevent wildlife predation and to keep their cats safe from other evils. When inside at night, your cat will obviously need a litter tray to prevent any wee problem.

For the privacy conscious puss, you can buy litter tray hutches shop to conceal the tray.

Diet

Your kitten will be reliant on you for all the food it eats. That's a big responsibility, so you need to ensure you are feeding your cat a balanced diet.

I suggest you base the cat's diet on a reliable brand of dry or canned cat food with some fresh food, such as meat, for variety. Many cat owners are moving to the 'super-premium' dry and canned foods that are available from veterinarians and pet shops. These foods are designed for different stages of the cat's life and a specific food is available for kittens.

You should feed your kitten three to four times a day up to three months of age, reducing to twice daily by six months of age. Most cat owners will leave dry food available for their cats during the day.

Desexing

Unless you are a committed and dedicated cat breeder, it is essential that your kitten, be it male or female, is desexed by the time is it six months of age. Your cat will want to breed in spring and summer and it will actively seek likewise-inclined mates at such times. If you have not desexed your kitten, it is bound to catch you out.

 

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