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Bringing Home a New Kitten: Item Checklist

Excited to bring home your new kitten? Make sure that you are prepared for your new kitten’s arrival and that you have all the necessary supplies before bringing him or her home for the first time.

Below is a list of items to help you prepare for the arrival of your new kitten.

□ Kitten food. Make sure that the food you purchase is specifically designed for kittens and
    that it is the same or similar to what your kitten is currently used to eating. A change in a
    kitten’s diet can cause an upset stomach as well as vomiting and/or diarrhea. In the case 
    that you must change your kitten’s diet, be sure to make the change slowly so that his or 
    her stomach can become accustomed to the new food. Diet change is not recommended
    for at least one to six months.

□ Food and water dishes. Stainless steel is suggested as plastic dishes may harbor bacteria.

□ Kitty litter and a litter box. Clumping cat litter is not recommended for use with new
    kittens. A non-clumping litter is suggested (for example, try WC Cat Kitty Litter). It is 
    important to show your kitten where the litter box is and to place him or her in it in order
    to show them what it is for. One litter box per floor is recommended for homes with 
    multi-levels. In order to help keep your kitten’s litter box area clean, the EazyZorb Pet Mat
    is also a great product to have at home for your new pet’s arrival. Place the EazyZorb Mat
    under the litter box to help trap litter particles that are brought outside of the box on your
    kitten’s paws and to absorb any messes or accidents that your kitten might make outside
    of the litter box.

□ A bed.

□ Toys. Kittens are like babies therefore it is important that their toys do not have moving or
    easily removable parts or strings. Items such as shoe laces, tinsel, lace, ribbon, yarn and
    thread are not safe for kittens. As well, any item that can be easily swallowed is not safe
    to have around your new kitten.

□ A collar and name tag. Identification information, including your pet’s name, your name,
    address and telephone number is important in case your pet gets lost or runs away.

□ A scratching post. A scratching post is needed in order to help prevent your kitten from
    scratching other things in your home such as furniture and carpet.

Other products such as grooming tools (a brush or comb and nail clippers) and cat treats (such as catnip) may be purchased as well.

In addition, a harness and leash as well as a cat carrier may be needed, especially if you plan on traveling with your pet. When purchasing a cat carrier keep in mind that your kitten will grow. Buy a carrier that will be big enough for your fully grown cat to be able to sit and stand upright and to be able to turn around.

Please consult the breeder, shelter or pet store for recommendations of other items you may need.

Image by One From RM

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Pet Care: Signs of Dehydration

What is Dehydration?

Dehydration results from a lack of water in the body and can cause serious health problems. Some of the most common causes of dehydration in animals are severe vomiting and diarrhea, as well as a lack of access to or consumption of fresh potable water.

What are Signs of Dehydration?

An animal that is dehydrated may:

    • Be lethargic

    • Look droopy

    • Pant heavily

    • Sprawl out

    • Roll their eyes back

    • Lose their appetite

    • Have difficulty breathing

    • Have sunken eyes

    • Have raised veins (this can sometimes be seen on animals like horses or dogs with very
       short coats)

    • Show signs of depression (i.e. a lack of interest in what is going on around them, treats, 
       etc.)

    • Have pale lips and gums and a hot, dry nose

    • Have a dry mouth

    • Lose skin elasticity. To test this, gently pinch and lift the skin between the animal’s
       shoulder blades. Healthy, elastic skin with bounce back into place while a dehydrated
       animal’s skin will stay up in a ridge.

    • Have an elevated temperature

    • Show signs of shock, including collapse (in severe cases)

What to Do If Your Animal is Dehydrated

If you suspect that your animal is dehydrated, he or she should receive veterinary attention immediately. If he or she is still mobile and alert, you may want to provide a small amount of water. However, be sure that your animal does not consume too much water too quickly, as this can also result in health risks. It is important to note that any sick animal, including one who is dehydrated, may act irrationally. He or she may become confused and distressed, urinate or defecate uncontrollably, snap or behave irregularly. Once at the vet, you animal will receive fluids, including a balanced mixture of electrolytes. If the animal has a high temperature, which can indicate heatstroke, cooling blankets and/or a cool bath may also be used to get the animal’s core temperature down.

If your animal is not vomiting and likely is only mildly dehydrated, provide him or her with an electrolyte solution. According to WebMD, in addition to Gatorade, balanced electrolyte solutions for treating dehydration in children are also suitable for dogs. In any case, however, it is important to first contact your vet in order to receive further instruction.

Tips to Prevent Dehydration

    • Provide fresh, clean water at all times.

    • Be sure to change your animal’s water frequently to keep it fresh.

    • Wash your animal’s bowl every day to prevent the growth of bacteria.

    • Monitor your animal’s water intake to be sure that he or she is drinking an adequate
       amount of fluid. If you not, contact a veterinarian immediately.

    • Try to prevent your animal from knocking his or her water bowl over. Often a dish with a
       weighted bottom will help.

    • Be sure to bring water for your animal when you are traveling or exercising with him or
       her.

Image by  Angelo DeSantis

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Using Stall DRY as Kitty Litter

As with most of our environmentally friendly products, Stall DRY can be used for many purposes. With its ability to absorb moisture and odor and neutralize ammonia, Stall DRY works well not only in animal stalls and cages but also in litter boxes.

To use Stall DRY as cat litter:

    • Put approximately 5-7 lbs of Stall DRY in your litter box.

    • Clean the solids out of the litter box daily (or as needed). When removing the waste you
       will also be helping to mix wet spots with the dry material, keeping the litter box fresh
       and eliminating ammonia.

**Depending on the number of cats per litter box, 5-7 lbs of Stall DRY should last between 4-6 weeks.

For other Stall DRY methods see: Providing a Clean and Safe Environment for Your Animals: The Stall DRY Method

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Winter Hazards for Pets

During the cold winter months it is important to protect your animals from the dangers caused by the cold.

Freezing temperatures can be just as hazardous to your pets as extreme heat in the summer. If exposed to freezing temperatures, animals are particularly at risk of suffering from frostbite. Their ears, toes and nose are especially vulnerable. Short haired animals are also more susceptible to the cold and a special effort should be made to keep them warm when exposed to cold weather. While it is possible to keep your pets warm with coats and boots, puppies and kittens as well as older dogs and cats and those that are ill should not be outside, no matter how well-dressed. These animals don’t have the fat, metabolism, or the full fur coat they need to stay warm. Rule of thumb is that if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet.

Cats are particularly at risk during the winter months. They may climb up under wheel wells or under the hoods of cars to stay warm and can be injured or die when the driver pulls away. You can protect your and others’ pets by checking for small animals by banging around the hood and wheel wells of your vehicle before starting it. Also, try giving your vehicle’s horn a quick honk or two in order to warn the animal.

Salt, often used for de-icing, is also a hazard. It can irritate your pet’s paws, drying out their skin, burning the pads of their paws and causing cracked, sore areas. Boots or balms are suggested in order to protect your animals’ paws from exposure to salt. Certain balms can be applied to your animals’ paws that will harden in the cold and then can be wiped off upon returning from outside.

One of the most dangerous hazards to pets is anti-freeze. Anti-freeze is often used with salt as a de-icer and can attract animals due to its sweet smell. It can cause kidney failure and can be deadly. In fact, it doesn’t take the ingestion of much antifreeze to kill an animal. Cats can be poisoned just by walking through antifreeze and then licking their paws. Any animal that you suspect has ingested antifreeze should be immediately taken to a veterinarian for treatment. In order to prevent antifreeze poisoning in animals, be sure that all antifreeze containers are tightly closed and put away on a high shelf and that your car is not leaking antifreeze.

With numerous health hazards threatening animals during the winter months, it is important to take preventative steps in order to ensure their safety.

Additional hazards are presented during the holidays. For a list of these dangers and how to protect your animal check out Pet Care: Holiday Safety Tips

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Pet Care: Signs of Hypothermia

Cold winter weather can be very dangerous to humans and pets alike if they are exposed to it for long periods of time. In fact, even though their coats may seem warm, when dogs and cats are exposed to the cold for too long their body temperature can drastically drop, leading to hypothermia. In addition to prolonged exposure to the cold, hypothermia can occur as the result of wet fur and skin, lengthy submersion in cold water, shock and anesthesia.

What are some signs of hypothermia?

Symptoms to watch out for include:

    • violent shivering

    • lethargy or slowness

    • paleness

    • weak pulse

    • stiff muscles

    • breathing problems

    • loss of appetite

    • temperature below 98°F (average normal body temperature is usually between 101°F and 
       102.5°F)

    • frostbite

    • coma

    • heart failure

What do I do if I suspect my pet has hypothermia?

If you think your animal may be showing signs of hypothermia it is important to contact your veterinarian immediately. In addition:

    • Wrap your pet in a warm blanket or coat or place a warm, towel-wrapped water bottle

       against your pet’s abdomen, armpits or chest, then wrap him or her in a blanket. Please

       note: Do not use the water bottle unwrapped, hair dryers, heating pads or electric
       blankets to warm up a hypothermic pet. This can burn your pet’s skin or cause surface
       blood vessels to dilate, which may compromise circulation to vital organs.

    • Bring the animal into a warm room

    • Provide warm fluids to drink

    • Boost your pet’s energy by giving him or her a solution of four teaspoons honey or sugar
       dissolved in warm water to drink. If your pet is too weak to drink put 1-2 teaspoons of
       corn syrup on the gums

The best way to manage hypothermia is to avoid it. Hypothermia can be prevented by avoiding prolonged exposure to cold temperatures and providing warm, dry shelter for your pets when they are outdoors. As well, pet clothes, boots, and other accessories can help animals with thin fur to keep warm. Very young and old animals, those with low body fat, thyroid gland problems and those that are under anesthesia are particularly at risk of hypothermia. It is important to keep a close eye on these animals and to take all step necessary to prevent hypothermia.

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Pet Care: Frostbite

cat walking in snow

Freezing temperatures can pose many threats to your pets, including frostbite. With a little knowledge and preparation you can protect your pets from the dangers of the cold.

When does frostbite occur?

Frostbite can occur when pets are exposed to freezing or even subfreezing temperatures, particularly when it’s windy or humid outside.

What causes frostbite?

In addition to supplying oxygen to tissue, blood provides heat. When the body becomes very cold, blood vessels will constrict in order to conserve heat. This however, can pose a risk to tissue with fewer blood vessels. This tissue, if cold enough, may freeze, resulting in frostbite.

What areas are most at risk for frostbite?

Frostbite most commonly affects an animal’s paws, tail and ears.

What are frostbite symptoms?

Initial signs of frostbite include:

    • Tissue that appears pale, gray or blue in color

    • Skin that is cold and hard to the touch

As the area thaws you may notice:

    • Red, puffy skin

    • Pain in the affected area when touched

After several days, if severe frostbite has occurred, you may notice:

    • Tissue that appears black in color

What should I do if I think my pet has frostbite?

    • Apply warm (NOT hot) water to the frostbitten area for at least twenty minutes. Use 
      warm compresses or soak the affected area. For example, put the animal’s foot in a bowl
      of warm water. Do NOT use direct dry heat such as hair dryers, heating pads, or electric
      blankets, as this may cause burns.

    • After you have warmed the area, dry it gently and thoroughly.

    • Do not rub or massage the affected area, as this may cause permanent damage.

    • Call your veterinarian immediately.

How can I protect my pets from frostbite?

    • Provide your pet with warm, dry shelter.

    • Rule of thumb: If it’s too cold outside for you then it’s too cold for your pet

    • The risk of frostbite increases when an animal is wet. Make sure your pet is dry before
      going outside into the cold.

Enjoy winter and keep your pet safe during cold weather with these tips!

 

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Lost or Stray Cats and Dogs: What to Do When You Find a Lost or Stray Animal

Not sure what to do if you come across a lost or stray animal? Here are some important things to know:

Safety First

When you find a lost or stray animal it is important to consider the safety of the animal, as well as your safety and the safety of others.

The animal may be scared, injured, feral or rabid. If the animal poses a threat to your safety do not approach it, rather, call a local animal shelter or animal control. If possible, stay at the scene until they arrive.

If the animal is friendly, carefully approach them. Speak calmly and make sure he or she can see you at all times. If you believe you can take the animal with you, try to direct them into your vehicle.

 Please note: it can be dangerous to attempt to drive somewhere with an unfamiliar and unsecured animal in your car, as they may become frantic or aggressive. Be very cautious and call or consult a shelter if you are not comfortable with the situation. In the case that you are not able to safely secure the animal while transporting them, contact your local animal shelter or animal control for assistance. Please stay with the animal until they arrive. Try to keep the animal from leaving the area by creating a barrier or using a carrier, leash, etc. Finding a lost or stray animal near traffic can be especially dangerous. Try not to spook the animal, as this may cause them to dart into oncoming traffic.

If you’re in a vehicle

If you notice a lost or stray animal while in your vehicle it is important to stay calm. Pull over safely, in order to avoid causing an accident or scaring the animal into traffic. If you aren’t able to pull over safely, take note of the location so that you can return or alert animal control to the area once you are able to safely pull over. You may be asked to describe the animal, the location and the time at which you saw the animal.

Once the animal is safely secure

Once the animal is safely secured, you can either take him or her to your home or to an animal shelter. If you take the animal to a shelter please ensure that it is a no kill shelter. If you decide to take the animal home, be sure to contact your local animal control office or shelter. It is important to let the appropriate agency know that you have the animal and to provide a description, in case the owner contacts them. Having the animal scanned for a microchip at your local veterinarian or shelter will also help you find the owner. Please note: be sure to keep identification tags or collars in case any questions should arise later.

Before bringing the new rescue home, make sure that you are able to keep your other animals separate. It can be dangerous to introduce the new animal to your pets right away, as he or she could be sick or fearful and become aggressive towards your animals. It is also a good idea to have the animal checked out by a veterinarian.

If you plan on keeping the animal, in the case that the owner is not found, it is important that you check your local laws and contact your local animal control agency, Humane Society or SPCA. Even if you are unable to find the animal’s family, this does not necessarily mean that you become his or her new owner. Particular requirements may need to be fulfilled. This includes a holding period during which you must attempt to locate the animal’s family.

How to find the animal’s family

“Found Pet” flyers posted in the area where the animal was found are often helpful in locating an animal’s family. Notices posted at your local veterinary hospitals and on websites such as Petfinder and social media are also useful.

Other resources

For more information on helping lost or stray animals or reuniting an animal with his or her family, please check out the following sites:

SPCA / Humane Society Canada

British Columbia – BC SPCA

Alberta – Alberta SPCA

Saskatchewan – Saskatchewan SPCA

Manitoba – Brandon Humane Society

Ontario – Ontario SPCA and Humane Society

Quebec – SPCA of Western QuebecMontréal SPCA

New Brunswick – New Brunswick SPCA

Nova Scotia – Nova Scotia SPCA

Prince Edward Island – PEI Humane Society

Newfoundland and Labrador – SPCA St. John’sNewfoundland and Labrador Humane Society

Nunavut – Iqaluit Humane Society

Northwest Territories – NWT SPCAYellowknife Humane Society

Yukon – Humane Society Yukon

SPCA / Humane Society US

ASPCA

Humane Society

Other

Petfinder

Alley Cat Allies

The Shelter Pet Project

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Pet Care: How to Get Rid of Fleas and Bed Bugs

Food grade diatomaceous earth is a popular, effective and environmentally friendly way to kill insects. In the case of a flea or bed bug infestation in your home, here are some helpful hints for eliminating the problem.

   • Thoroughly dust animals’ sleeping area with food grade diatomaceous earth (for a safe and 
      natural product check out Last Crawl Diatomaceous Earth Insecticide Powder)

   • Dust other areas in your home that may be infested including – behind appliances,
      cabinets, along baseboards, along edges and underneath carpets and rugs and bed frames,
      paying careful attention to cracks, crevices and other places where insects may hide or
      crawl

   • Organize clutter and mess

   • Wash all laundry, bedding, cushions and fabrics in hot water and dry for an extra 20
      minutes on hot

   • Shampoo your pet weekly (see homemade recipe for weekly shampoo below)

   • Vacuum everything

   • Wash items and walls with a mixture of rubbing alcohol and soapy water

Create your own spray mixture by combining:

• 40% rubbing alcohol

• 40% water

• 20% soap

Pet shampoo recipe:

• 1/2 cup lemon juice

• 2 cups water

• 1/2 cup pet friendly shampoo

Please note: Last CrawlTM Insecticide Powder is currently available only in Canada. Information regarding this product is therefore applicable only in Canada.

Image by Chuck Abbe