|The Pet Stop
A New Family Member For Christmas?
Posted Monday November 25, 2013 8:30 AM
By Local Resident Samantha Garrison
It’s that time of year again! Children everywhere are excitedly digging out their
notepads and crayons to write their letters to St. Nick. Through various revisions
and as new toys become popular, those lists are bound to change at least a few
times. There is always one item that many children leave on their list consistently
through the years, that one thing most every child longs for: a new pet.
Yes, the image of an adorable warm and fuzzy kitten sitting under the tree
awaiting your sweet baby is a precious one. Perhaps the vision of a big red bow on
that tiny little fluffy puppy makes your heart swoon. The picture of your little tyke
bounding down the stairs to find those furry babies waiting, well, that’s just
priceless! However, before you grab your keys and jet off to the pet shop, here are
a couple of things you need to take into consideration.
Bringing home a new fluffy family member is just that. You are adding a new
member to the family. A pet needs love, care and attention. They require training,
midnight potty breaks and a lot of time in general. You need to consider whether or
not your child is prepared to handle such a large responsibility. If not, are you or
someone else in your home willing to pick up the slack? Remember, a pet isn’t like
a sweater you can just take back if you decide it isn’t right for you. You are dealing
with a life, one that deserves the best of you.
A new pet is also a financial commitment. Food, immunizations, grooming,
boarding and vet visits all add up over time. Not to mention bedding, feeding bowls
and toys. After all, your pet will need toys, unless you are cool with Rover eating
your new shiny red high heels. Take some time to go out to price all the equipment
you will need for your new fur baby. Research veterinary clinics as well as boarding
facilities to choose one suitable for your needs.
One big concern that can be easily overlooked is allergies. It is important to
make sure that no one in your household has an allergy or sensitivity to the type of
pet you are planning to get. There are several different hypoallergenic dog breeds,
such as Schnauzers and Yorkshire Terriers, that would be suitable for a family with
If you are looking at the above considerations and are thinking maybe it’s not
the best time for a dog or cat, you may consider getting a low maintenance animal.
For example, my son is absolutely obsessed with fish. Every time we walk into the
doors of Walmart he automatically starts chanting “Sishy! Sishy!” (He’s 22 months
old, so we’re still working on the correct “fishy” pronunciation) He also loves
puppies and all things fluffy. However, for his age and responsibility level, we have
decided on adopting a fish for Christmas. He will still be excited over it, name it
“Dog”, wave to it, blow it kisses and absolutely love that fish to pieces. The beauty
is that even though there is the responsibility of cleaning the tank and buying 52 cent
food, we are okay with that amount of responsibility.
Do not get me wrong. Having a dog or a cat is a wonderful and amazing
experience for a child. Having a pet of their very own will no doubt teach them
about responsibility and will give them a companion to love. Pets become a part of
the family and your child will have a new best friend who they will cherish forever.
If you are ready to take on all the commitment that comes with a new pet, then I
say go for it! They will most definitely be a blessing to you and to your family.
Cats & Bite Wounds
Bite wounds are a common occurrence in the animal world. Cats get into fights
with other cats or with dogs and if you allow your cat outdoors, raccoons and
many other animals. Many bite wounds turn into abscesses, which can make your
cat very sick.
Signs your cat might have a problem abscess include if your cat runs a high
fever, stops eating, and becomes lethargic. Some bites are big enough to require
skin and muscle repair with stitches, but other bite wounds heal up quickly so it is
not always obvious that your cat has been bitten. If your cat is showing these signs
it might be a problem abscess, in which case you need to make an appointment to
see your vet as soon as possible.
If you do see the initial bite wound, you should clean it with Betadine, or soap
and water and make an appointment to see your vet within the next 18-24 hours.
Bite wounds in themselves are not life-threatening, but left untreated they can be.
Always remember to keep your cat current on its rabies vaccine. If your cat is
bitten by an unknown animal, get him or her a rabies booster immediately.
How To Read Pet Food Labels
Just like food labels for people, pet food labels can be extremely confusing and
sometimes misleading. When trying to make a good decision about which pet food
is best, pay careful attention to the way the product is worded. At first glance
“Salmon Cat Food “ and “Cat Food with Salmon” seem like the same product.
However there is a big difference between the two cans of food. For a product to
be named “Salmon Cat Food” the product must contain at least 95% salmon.
When products use the word “with” it means the product only has to have at least
3% salmon - a BIG difference.
If there is a combination of meats in the name, the meats combined must be
95% with the first meat listed as the larger portion. When the words “Dinner”,
“Platter” and “Formula” are used, then the meat content is required to be less than
95% but more than 25%. Learn to read the product names carefully. It could mean
the difference between a container of salmon or a spoonful of salmon.
Ingredients describe the product’s components and are listed by weight in
descending order. The first five ingredients listed on the label typically make up the
majority of the product and also tell you which nutrients are in the food. For
example, if multiple meat products are listed first, the food is high in protein.
Only four nutrients are required on every label: proteins (shown as a minimum
percent), fat (shown as a minimum percent), fiber (shown as a maximum percent),
and moisture (shown as a maximum percent). These amounts are not exact
percentages. The minimum amount only provides the lowest amount of the nutrient
allowed in the product, and the maximum lists the highest amount allowed. The
maximum protein guarantee could be 6% but the product may only contain 1%.
Be sure to read the feeding instructions on all pet food labels, as not all
products have the same recommendations. Feeding instructions vary from one daily
meal to multiple meals throughout a 24 hour period. The instructions will help
ensure you are properly feeding your pet so that it remains at a healthy weight and
has the needed nutrients.
Gentling The Puppy
Unless you teach your pets good manners, puppies can develop bad habits
just like children. Gentling is a basic tool that teaches puppies to be gentle and
accept positive leadership. For this training, the puppy should be 6 to 14 weeks
Start by handling your pet, running your hands over its body. Ignore casual
resistance, but stop if it panics. Next, gently move the pet’s skin and appendages.
You are demonstrating leadership in a safe place and your puppy should receive
food treats for compliance.
Once you manipulate its body, hold your puppy in lateral recumbency. Ignore
minor struggling and reward submission with release and a food treat. Repeat the
restraint. This exercise sets the stage for future exams and restraints in a veterinary
Gentling accomplishes important goals. It establishes you as bigger and
stronger - the pack leader. Because you are the pack leader the puppy will want to
follow your instructions. During gentling, the puppy develops trust because nothing
The puppy will - and should - experience slight stress. Dealing with mild stress
builds your puppy’s self-confidence and a friendly personality. Before you start
teaching your puppy commands, show it that you, and all people are leaders.
First start by handling. Gently rub your hands over the puppy’s entire body
and move its head and limbs in every direction. Your friendly touch shows the
puppy you are a trustworthy leader. After the puppy is comfortable with this take it
up a notch by looking at its teeth, ears, nails, belly and around the tail. The goal is
to have your puppy completely relaxed while you are “examining” it
Next step is mild restraint. Gently hold your puppy against its will, such as a
hug. Do this daily until your puppy develops trust and relaxes like a rag doll. If your
puppy shows fear or panic, proceed in small steps or put it down and walk away.
Otherwise, comforting might be mistaken for praising panic. Later, start again more
slowly. Only allow mild fear, then hold the puppy still until it relaxes. The goal is to
When your puppy relaxes, release and praise it. You are building the puppy’s
trust and confidence in you as a leader. The puppy should learn that relaxing brings
freedom. Hold the puppy in different positions until it relaxes each time.
These handling and restraint techniques establish you as the pack leader
without any punishment or aggression. Besides gentling the puppy, these behavior
exercises will bond you and your pet stronger than anything else.
The Big Snip
Nowadays, most pets adopted from rescue groups are spayed or neutered
before adoption. This is due in large part to increased efforts to control the pet
population numbers. However, there is an accumulation of data regarding the health
and behavior benefits of spaying or neutering your pet.
Spaying a female dog BEFORE her first heat cycle lowers the chances she will
develop mammary tumors later in life to almost zero. Compare that to a 25%
chance of developing tumors for an unspayed dog - 50% of which will be
Spaying eliminates the chance of a female dog developing pyometra - a
potentially life threatening infection of the uterus that often occurs in middle-aged
Neutering a male dog virtually eliminates the incidence of prostrate disease,
and prevents certain types of tumors.
Spaying and neutering BEFORE a pet is sexually mature can help to reduce or
avoid many hormone driven behaviors such as aggression, roaming, fighting and
Bob Barker of “The Price is Right” was right on target when he reminded us at
the end of each show to “spay or neuter your pets”.
Local Dog Trainer Shares
Knowledge With Shelter Volunteers
Contributed by Angela Zumwalt
On a hot August morning, volunteers gathered at The Animal Center of Moore
County in Carthage to learn how to improve their dog handling skills. Their
instructor was Abby Ganin-Toporek, Head Trainer with Sandhills Dog Training
LLC (sandhillsdogtraining.com). Back in early June, Abby was appointed to the
Animal Operations Advisory Board, a County Commissioner appointed committee
focused on supporting the county shelter in its efforts to reduce euthanasia through,
primarily, the prevention of unwanted litters and an increase in adoptions.
Vice Chairperson of the Board, Barb Ross, recently spearheaded the launch of
a “formal” volunteer program at The Animal Center. As a part of this, Animal
Center volunteer, Betsy Ficarro schedules volunteers to spend time with the shelter
dogs and cats, showing them love and attention and helping to socialize them for a
better chance at securing a forever home.
Betsy ideally strives to have all the dogs and cats at the shelter get some sort of
exercise and human touch daily.
As a Board member, Abby offered to leverage the volunteers’ time with the
dogs by taking them through tips and information that will help them. She covered
tips on safely and confidently removing dogs from their kennels, how to engage
them outside, how to walk them on a leash, how to get their attention and then take
them through some basic training. A small amount of socializing and training can
mean a new life for many of the shelter dogs. Abby’s training techniques focus on a
positive reinforcement approach which has proved to be the most effective method
for both handler and dog in providing long-term learned behavior.
Advice shared included how to stop a dog jumping; when a dog tries to jump,
turn away and withdraw attention, always rewarding "four feet on the floor".
To lure a dog into a sit, put the treat by the dog's nose, slowly raise the treat so that
the dog tilts its head back (do not raise the treat as this will make the dog jump up).
This forces the dog's bottom down. As soon as your dog sits, give the reward, pet
To stop a dog pulling on the leash, stop walking and "Be a Tree". After a short
time, the dog will look back at you; praise and show the dog a treat. It will come
back to you, creating a loose leash and then you can walk on. Asking for lots of
“sits” with rewards will also stop or reduce pulling.
With the formal volunteer program newly launched, additional volunteers are
sorely needed for a variety of functions at The Animal Center. Administrative help,
creative projects, time spent with the shelter pets either at The Animal Center or at
off-site events are just a few of the opportunities available. Please call 910-692-
2188 if you are interested in volunteering and making a difference for shelter pets.
Current adoptable pets at our county shelter can be viewed at
YUMMY PET TREAT RECIPES
2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup dry milk powder
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 bouillon cubes; dissolved in 3/4 cup boiling water
1/2 cup shredded carrot
Preheat oven to 300 F. Mix all ingredients into a ball and roll
out to about 1/4” thick. Cut with bone shaped cookie cutter,
or into strips or the shape of your choice. Place on an
ungreased cookie sheet and bake 30 minutes.
DOGGY CHEESECAKE BISCUITS
2 cups pureed blueberries
8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 cup oatmeal
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix pureed blueberries with softened cream
cheese. Add other ingredients and knead until dough is formed. On
floured surface, roll dough to 1/4” thickness and cut into shapes
with cookie cutters. Place the treats on a greased cookie sheet and
bake 15-20 minutes. Cool and refrigerate.
The Dog Days Of Summer
As much as dogs seem to love the sun and being outside, summer can pose
grave health risks, such as heat stroke or hyperthermia. Heat stroke in dogs is
extremely dangerous and can be fatal. A dog’s normal temperature is around
102.5 F. However, if it reaches above 105 F it can lead to a coma with possible
permanent brain and organ damage.
Hyperthermia happens because, unlike humans, dogs lack the ability to sweat.
Since dogs can’t sweat, panting achieves heat loss by the exact same mechanism as
sweating. However, the surface area of a dog’s mouth is much smaller than that of
a body, making panting much less effective.
Some common sense safety steps for pets in the summer are as follows:
Limit exercise during peak times of the day. Plan outdoor activities with your pet
before 11 AM or after 6 PM.
NEVER leave a dog outside in hot weather without adequate shade and water. In a
few hours time a shady spot can change into full sun.
Water, water everywhere. Always have fresh water available during hot days.
Remember to take ample water along when embarking on outdoor activities - as
well as a small bowl for your pet.
And finally, NEVER EVER LEAVE A DOG UNATTENDED IN A CAR, even
on days that don’t seem so hot. The temperature inside a car, even with the
windows cracked, can rise 40 degrees in an hour.
If, despite your best efforts, you suspect hyperthermia follow these first aid steps:
Move your pet to a cool shaded place with a fan blowing right on your pet.
Start to cool your pet down by placing cool wet towels on the back of the neck, in
the armpits and in the groin area. Direct the fans onto the towels. This will help cool
the major blood vessels carrying blood back to the body core. Do NOT use ice or
submerge your pet in cool water as this can actually constrict the surface vessels
which is the opposite effect.
If possible take your dog’s temperature every 10 minutes - aiming for 103 F
Seek veterinary care as soon as possible. Even if your pet shows significant
improvement with the first aid you have provided, he will still need intravenous fluid
therapy and professional monitoring.
Four Tips to Lead Your
Dog to Better Health
Just like people, dogs feel much better when they are healthy. But unlike people,
dogs can't take care of themselves. To keep your favorite furry friend on the track
to wellness and better living, follow these tips:
* Exercise builds efficient bodies. Nothing makes a pooch happier than a stroll
through the neighborhood. And while your dog's satisfying his curiosity by sniffing
trees and bushes, he's also burning calories. For more intense physical activity, try
throwing some balls or frisbees. This should make your dog run a little harder,
helping expand lung capacity and tone muscle. No matter what activity you choose,
your canine companion will enjoy the benefits of regular exercise while forging a
stronger bond with you in the process.
* Protect your smiles. You probably remember to brush your own teeth, but
doggie dental care often goes by the wayside. For dogs that are temperamental
about pet owners or vets touching their teeth, a simple and effective solution can be
found using a new type of probiotics, called Teddy's Pride Oral Care
(www.MyTeddysPride.com), that has been designed specifically for the oral care
needs of dogs and cats. These probiotics can be used in addition to brushing or as
a stand-alone oral care routine.
* Read food labels. Unlike people, dog's can't read food labels. They are
dependent upon their owners to give them the best possible nutrition. For dogs,
make sure that the first ingredient listed is, for example, "Chicken," not "Chicken
Flavor" or "Dog Food with Chicken" -- items that list the name of the meat contain
95 percent of that ingredient, while the "with" designation means that the food only
contains 3 percent of chicken or beef.
* Visit the vet regularly. Similar to people visiting the doctor, dogs need regular
veterinary care. Every dog has potential health risks it must guard against -- and
many risks vary according to dog breed. Your dog's veterinarian will let you know
when recommended vaccinations are due, give proper care to keep your dog
healthy and notify you about potential health risks and treatments.