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Traveling With Pets

Traveling with a pet can be difficult therefore it is essential to plan well in advance in order to prevent any major problems . Here is a checklist to help you prepare the items you will need to take with you as well as the steps you should take before leaving.

Be sure to pack:

Food and water bowls as well as food and treats. Note: be sure to pack a can opener if your pet eats canned food!

Medications – have your pet vet checked before leaving on a trip. Be sure that you have a sufficient amount of any medications your pet requires as well as any area specific medications including heart worm pills and flea and tick control.

Kennel/crate – this is a safe way for your pet to travel. Some places may also require that your pet be in a kennel or crate.

Any grooming tools that may be necessary. For example, a comb or brush, shampoo and nail clippers.

An extra towel, old blanket or sheet and an absorbent mat. These items can be used to wipe muddy and wet paws and bodies and to keep your accommodations clean.

Collar and leash. You may also want to bring an extra in case one breaks.

Bedding. Take along any bedding that your pet is accustomed to in order to make him or her feel more comfortable.

Chew toys.

Stain remover, lint brush and any other cleaning supplies that may be helpful if your pet makes a mess.

Plastic bags (to clean up after your pet).

Identification. Be sure to bring a list of identification numbers such as license numbers, tattoo numbers, microchip numbers, etc as well as a recent photo in case your pet is to get lost.

An animal first aid kit along with the number for a veterinarian near where you are staying are also important to take with you in case of an emergency while you are away.

Make sure to check for country specific requirements prior to leaving. For example, certain countries may require specific, up- to-date vaccinations. Be sure that your pet receives the up-to-date vaccines and that you carry a record with you. As well, make sure to check local pet laws and by-laws to ensure that your animal will be welcome when you arrive. Some areas have specific breed bans and therefore it is best to check ahead of time to be sure that your pet will not be affected.

Before you leave you may also want to clip your pet’s nails to help prevent damage to accommodations. As well, make sure to give your pet a thorough brushing to help prevent fur from getting everywhere while you are traveling. If your pet has fleas, make sure to get rid of them before leaving in order to prevent the spread of an infestation.

Finally, always be sure to check with your accommodations to ensure that your pet is welcome and to verify any pet rules, restrictions and fees.

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What is Leptospirosis?

Leptospirosis is an infectious disease caused by a type of bacteria called a spirochete. It is one of the most common zoonotic (transmittable from animals to humans) diseases in the world. In dogs it is known as Canicola Disease while in people it may be known as Swamp Fever, Mud Fever, Swineherd’s Disease and Rice Field Disease. Leptospirosis in humans that is associated with liver and kidney disease is known as Weil’s syndrome. Weil’s syndrome is characterized by yellowing of the eyes (jaundice) and can lead to kidney disease and other serious organ conditions.

There are over 200 strains of Leptospirosis, 4 of which commonly infect dogs. According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 100-200 cases of leptospirosis are reported each year in the United States, with about 50% of cases occurring in Hawaii.

The disease is transmitted by an organism that is passed in the urine of infected animals. The infectious organism may be passed for weeks or months and infects a victim when they come in contact with infected soil or water. People can contract the disease by ingesting contaminated food or water, through skin lesions and mucous membranes (eyes, nose, sinuses, and mouth) and even sniffing contaminated soil can cause infection. The risk of infection is greatly increased with the presence of breaks in the skin, as this allows the bacteria to easily enter the body if contact with infected soil or water occurs. The Leptospira organism thrives in moist areas with mild climates and can be transmitted by animals such as rats, skunks, opossums, raccoons, foxes, and other rodents.

Symptoms of the disease may become noticeable from two to 25 days after the initial direct exposure. Symptoms in dogs may include depression, fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, weakness, muscle aches, stiffness, abdominal pain, bloody urine, meningitis, eye inflammation, abortions, infertility, jaundice and even shock and death. In people, these symptoms include fever, chills, headache and muscle aches, vomiting and diarrhea, and even spontaneous abortion in pregnant women. Most at risk are veterinarians, pet shop owners, sewage workers, and farm employees as well as people participating in outdoor sporting activities such canoeing, rafting, hiking, and camping, as they may come in contact with contaminated water or soil. It is possible for human patients to recover and then become ill again. Fortunately, only a small percentage of cases (10%) result in serious illness such as liver failure, kidney failure, or meningitis.

Dogs that have contracted Leptospirosis are often misdiagnosed due to the fact that symptoms may mimic other common ailments. As well, some dogs may never show obvious signs of the disease. Therefore, multiple and repeated clinical test may be required in order to receive a positive diagnosis for the disease.

The best prevention for dogs is vaccination (cats are not often affected and so no vaccine exists for them). However, protection against one strain does not mean protection against another strain. As well, being vaccinated does not guarantee protection. Certain vaccines may provide protection for only two strains while others for all four common types. The protection that is provided by a vaccine will last only 6-8 months therefore dogs should be re-vaccinated every year or, in the case of a high risk area, every 6 months.

The best overall protection for both animals and people is education and vaccination of pets. As well, it is important for pet professionals and owners with an infected animal to clean and disinfect all surfaces frequently and to wash their hands and arms after handling an animal.

If you suspect your pet has contracted Leptospirosis, be sure to take him or her to a veterinarian for testing and treatment, as early antibiotic treatment can limit or prevent organ damage.

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Remove Skunk Odor with Stall DRY

Stall DRY Absorbent and Deodorizer is used in animal stalls, pens and cages to absorb ammonia, moisture and odors. It has been suggested, however, that Stall DRY has various other uses including as a way of removing skunk odor! Our customers tell us that they have used the product for this purpose with great success!

Below is the application method for removing skunk odor from a dog, as suggested by our customers.

1. Totally wet the animal’s fur.

2. Sprinkle a generous amount of Stall DRY on to the animal.

3. Rub the product in to the animal’s coat.

4. Leave the Stall DRY on the animal until it dries (he or she will then shake most of the product off).

5. Repeat if necessary, depending on the severity of the odor.

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Creative Uses for Kitty Litter

Being creative with what you have in the house can result in ideas that save time and money! Check out these clever ways to use non-clumping cat litter for more than just a litter box:

1. Spread a thin layer of  kitty litter in the bottom of your trash can to prevent dampness and mildew.

2. Get rid of spray paint (graffiti) on sidewalks by sprinkling cat litter over it and grinding the litter into the sidewalk (using your sneakers). This will absorb the paint, removing it from the sidewalk.

3. Reduce ash tray odor by putting litter into the tray.

4. Dry fresh flowers by placing them between two layers of cat litter.

5. Use bags of kitty litter as sand bags to improve traction in the winter.

6. Put cat litter in the bottom of your drip tray (located under your grill) to absorb drippings. This will keep the grill clean and reduce the danger of flare-ups.

7. Make your own deodorizers by filling old socks with kitty litter. Deodorize your shoes by stuffing the filled socks into them.

8. Clean up pet accidents by absorbing them with cat litter.

9. Remove musty smells from your boat or cabin by placing a box of kitty litter in the area for a few days.

10. Remove oil and grease spills by sprinkling litter on the spill. Once absorbed simply sweeping the spill up!

11. Improve traction and increase safety on snowy and icy sidewalks and driveways by sprinkling down cat litter.

12. Put kitty litter in your garden to promote growth by improving water retention and soil aeration.

Note: Do not use clumping cat litter as a traction aid, it becomes slippery when wet.

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Why Does My Cat Eat Kitty Litter?

“A cat that suddenly starts eating litter is almost always sick,” says Jane Brunt, a veterinarian from Towson, Maryland.

Most often when a cat begins to eat kitty litter it is due to a health condition. The cat’s instincts drive him or her to consume the litter in hopes of compensating for or correcting the condition.

Most often, the consumption of kitty litter is a symptom of anemia. Anemia is a disease in which there is a lack of red blood cells and hemoglobin in the body.

Another indicator of anemia to look for is paleness. You can check to see if your cat is pale by looking at his or her gums. If your cat’s gums are white or bluish, rather than the healthy pink color that they should be, he or she is exhibiting paleness.

Cats that begin eating kitty litter or who show signs of paleness should be taken to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Cats with a vitamin or mineral deficiency may also begin eating cat litter. Natural clays are contained in kitty litter and are rich in minerals therefore a cat may eat litter in order to try to compensate for this lack of nutrients.

As well, cats with kidney disease or feline leukemia may eat cat litter on occasion.

Kittens on the other hand most often eat cat litter only out of curiosity. Much like a child, kittens are intrigued by their surroundings and will not hesitate to put anything in their mouth.

It is important that you do not allow your cat or kitten to eat clumping cat litter therefore it is advised not to use clumping litter until your cat is old enough to know not to eat it. If your grown cat begins eating litter you may want to replace it with non-clumping until you can fix the problem.

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Pet Emergencies: How to Be Prepared

An emergency can happen at any time and it is important to be prepared! Knowing what to do in an emergency situation will help you to act fast and could potentially save your pet’s life!

Common emergency situations with pets include the ingestion of foreign materials or poisons, paw lacerations, dog fights, seizures, overheating and accidents with cars. Below are some tips on what steps can be taken in the case of each type of emergency. Please note that in any emergency it is important to contact your veterinarian or a pet hospital in order to receive personalized instruction. Therefore having emergency contact numbers on hand at all times is important and could save your pet’s life.

Paw Lacerations

If your pet’s paw has been cut it is important that you disinfect and flush the area (with saline or clean water) and apply firm pressure (for example, a tight bandage) until you can reach a veterinarian. Your pet’s wound should be looked at as soon as possible in case stitches are needed.

Ingestion of Foreign Objects or Poison

In this type of emergency situation it is important to contact a pet hospital immediately therefore, having emergency contact numbers on hand is very important in order to act quickly.

Dog Fights

It can be very dangerous to put yourself in the middle of a dog fight therefore never try to stop a dog fight by getting in between the animals! Rather, break up the fight by spraying or dousing the animals with water.

Seizures

Do not try to restrain the animal or put your hands in their mouth. Instead, keep them safe by removing any nearby items that may cause harm during uncontrolled movement.

Overheating

Overheating is a very common issue. Be sure that you always have enough water for your pet. In the case that he or she does overheat, have them lie in a pool of cold water or eat ice cubes to help bring down their internal temperature. In such cases it is also important to contact a veterinarian.

Car Accidents

If your pet is struck by a car it is important to have them checked out by a vet, even if there are no visible wounds. Often internal damage may have occurred therefore it is important that they are treated immediately!

First Aid Kit

pet first aid kit is a great idea to have on hand in case of an emergency. Important items to include in the kit are gauze, bandaging tape, antibacterial ointment and wipes or saline (contact lens solution), gloves, tweezers and clean cloths.

As well, emergency numbers such as poison control hot lines and animal hospitals are also a good idea to include in the kit.

In many communities animal first aid and other emergency preparedness classes are offered. By educating yourself on how to react in an emergency situation you can greatly increase your pet’s chance of survival in a life-threatening situation.

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Cat Litter: Traditional vs. Clumping

Believe it or not cat litter products have only been around for approximately 63 years! Traditionally people used any material that was readily available to them including sand, garden dirt, ashes, and shredded newspaper. Then, in 1947 in the UK, a young man by the name of Edward Lowe gave his neighbor an absorbent called Fuller’s Earth. Edward worked for his father’s company Fuller’s Earth Union (FEU), later to become a part of Laporte Industries, which sold industrial absorbents. Edward began marketing this clay as “kitty Litter” and its popularity quickly grew, creating a brand new industry.

Scoopable clay cat litters made with sodium bentonite entered the market about forty years later and instantly became a success.

Today, approximately 69% of the cat litter market is clumping cat litters.

Traditional cat litter is made from very absorbent clay minerals that also help to bind the odors found in cat urine. Clumping kitty litter, on the other hand, is made from sodium bentonite clay. The benefit of sodium bentonite clay is that it clumps together when it is moist, allowing only the soiled litter to be removed and replaced.

The reason that most people prefer clumping litter is due to the fact that traditional litter must be replaced frequently while scoopable cat litter allows the solids and clumps of urine to be scooped out and discarded and a small amount of new litter to be added each time. A cat litter box using clumping litter may last up to a month without the litter being completely replaced.

Although there is no scientific data or study to prove this, there is discussion surrounding potential risks involved with the use of scoopable litter for kittens. There are some reports that clumps can lodge in kittens small digestive tracts and cause health problems. Kittens can ingest the granules during routine grooming and develop intestinal blockages. Dehydration and lack of nutrient absorption have been reported in kittens that have accidentally eaten clumping litter. For this reason many people tend to avoid clumping kitty litter however the lack of scientific data to prove these claims leaves the decision up to each individual’s judgment.

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The Invention of Kitty Litter

George Pitt was the first to begin packaging the ashes from burned wood for use in cat litter boxes. This worked, however, cat owners found that this product created quite a mess, as their pets tracked the ash all around the house.

When asked by his neighbor for a replacement for these ashes, Edward Lowe suggested the use of an absorbent clay. This worked wonderfully, and so, kitty litter was born!

In 1947 Edward Lowe, who, after serving in the US Navy from 1941 to 1945, worked for his father selling industrial absorbents. He began packaging absorbent clay in 5 lb bags to sell in a local pet store as “kitty litter”. While the store owner was not convinced that the product would sell, especially for 65 cents per bag, Edward was a determined man who believed that this product would be successful. He talked the store owner in to displaying his “kitty litter” and giving it away. As Edward expected, the customers soon began coming back to purchase more!

After this first success, Edward Lowe continued to distribute kitty litter from the back of his car while traveling around the country. Edward would even clean the cat boxes at cat shows in exchange for booth space in order to demonstrate his kitty litter at the shows.

Eventually, Edward Lowe Industries, Inc. was founded to mass produce and distribute Edward’s successful kitty litter products.

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Fleas: What You Need to Know to Eliminate & Prevent an Infestation

Over 2,000 species of fleas exist! Of these species there are a few common types, all of which have nearly the same life cycle. In order to understand how to effectively eliminate an infestation, it is first important to understand a flea’s life cycle, what it needs to survive and where fleas can be found. Upon learning this crucial information you will be able to better treat an infestation or prevent one from developing.

An animal may pick up fleas when he or she comes in contact with another infested animal or an infested environment. Adult fleas live in the animal’s fur, where they feed on their host’s blood, mate and lay eggs (female fleas lay a few eggs per day and several hundred over the course of their lifetime). These eggs do not stay on the animal, but rather, they fall off and remain in the environment near the host animal until temperatures are suitable for them to develop in to larvae. This development often occurs during Spring or inside your home when the central heat has been turned on.

Flea eggs and larvae can be found both indoors and outdoors in carpeting, animal bedding, furniture, under porches, in dog houses, in cracks at wall-floor junctions, floor crevices and in other protected areas with high humidity where the infested animal may have been resting or playing.

Flea larvae feed on fecal pellets of dried blood that are excreted by adult fleas. These pellets of digested blood are excreted by the adults into the host’s hair where they eventually fall off into the environment. Due to the fact that the larvae depend on these fecal pellets for survival, they are unable to live in places that do not supply them with enough of these pellets. For example, flea larvae are unable to live in lawns or other outdoor areas unless the infested animal is present in these areas often enough to provide the larvae with a sufficient amount of food.

Once the larvae become adult fleas they leave their resting place and jump on to another animal to begin the cycle again. However, if a host is not present, adult fleas are able to live inside their cocoons for up to several months until they sense the presence of a host.

The complete life cycle of a flea from egg to adult can occur in as little as 12 days, allowing large infestations to occur in a very short period of time.

It is very important to treat both the infected animal as well as the environment when trying to exterminate an infestation. Without proper treatment to both the animal and the environment simultaneously, a flea infestation cannot be eliminated. Exterminating an infestation of fleas takes time, patience and planning. Along with treatment of both the animal and the environment, areas frequented by the infested animal must also be regularly cleaned and sanitized in order to minimize the amount of eggs and larvae that are present and prevent re-infestation.

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Fleas: Common Types

Fleas can be very destructive and frustrating pests. In many parts of the United States fleas are active all year round creating a constant problem for pet owners.

Although there are over 2000 species of fleas in the world, only a few common types affect domestic animals in the US.

Below is a list of host animals and the most common species of fleas that affect them.

    • Swine – Cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis)

    • Chicken – Sticktight flea (Echidnophaga gallinacean)

    • Ferret – Cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis)

    • Dog – Dog flea (Ctenocephalides canis) or Cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis)

    • Cat – Cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis)

Cat fleas are the most common type of flea found on both cats and dogs in the United States. Reports indicate that 95% of fleas found on both dogs and cats are cat fleas. Very few differences exist between the two species, in fact, they are so similar in appearance and biology that they can be treated as the same pest.

Cat fleas can be very harmful to their hosts. When a heavy infestation of cat fleas occurs on an animal, blood loss may be great and can lead to negative health effects and even death (especially in young animals).

Flea bites are very irritating and itchy, causing the animal to scratch and adding to the irritation. Sometimes continuous scratching can create open wounds that are susceptible to infection. Many dogs and cats develop flea bite dermatitis, an allergic condition that can be brought on by a single flea bite. When extreme infestations occur, animals may develop “hot spots” or “acute moist dermatitis”. These “hot spots” are highly inflamed areas that the animal is continually scratching, creating conditions for bacterial infection.

Sticktight fleas most commonly affect chickens and other birds however they can also occasionally infest dogs and cats as well, especially those which have come in contact with barnyard fowl. On poultry, these fleas will sometimes be found in clusters around the eyes, comb, wattles, and other bare spots. On dogs and cats they will commonly be found around the outer ear or between the toe pads. Both horses and humans have also reported being affected by sticktight fleas.

Sticktight fleas are dark-brown in color, have their heads embedded in the host’s flesh and cannot be brushed off.

The attachment of these fleas can lead to secondary infection and irritation produced by feeding. Infection from the fleas along with the large number that may be present can cause the host’s eyes to swell shut and may even cause the animal to starve to death. Young animals, especially, can develop anemia produced by the fleas’ feeding.

For more information on the lifecycle of fleas and how to exterminate an infestation, please see: Fleas: What You Need to Know to Eliminate & Prevent an Infestation

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