Thanks for dropping by The Fox Dog Blog, a blog about pets. Check out the About section and see what its all about, head over to the Residents page and meet the pets, or learn about the blog author at the Behind the Fox page. Or just dive right in to the posts! They’re not all about my pets; there are posts about pet care and information as well as stories from the pet world and more. I hope you enjoy the blog!
Two weeks ago today I adopted my first horse. I have also gotten another life lesson about not judging living books by their covers! In short, I grew up with Quarter Horses and crosses thereof, and never had much experience with Thoroughbreds. My basic knowledge of these horses was that they are magnificently beautiful athletes that are difficult for the novice horse owner to handle. Their lineage going back to Arabians, this combination of beauty and potentially fiery temperament never surprised me.
Like their Arabian ancestors, I had always loved the look and spirit of these horses but never thought one would be for me. My horse knowledge, experience, and my health just do not align with such a creature no matter how much my mind might like it to be otherwise! Like owning a Siberian Husky or a Belgian Malinois; magnificent dog breeds that I positively love and know I cannot in any way handle. No, those breeds, like the Thoroughbred, have been resigned to my dreams and ownership only happens in online gaming. No, surely I needed a nice, old, lazy Quarter Horse gelding until some miracle comes along and my spine works right again.
So, I was surprised when I first met Jumbo. Jumbo is a big horse, a very tall horse, as were all of the other rescue horses in the same pasture run by the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation. Driving into a herd of horses, having them trot alongside the truck and surround me with curious affection was a truly special, honestly magical, experience. Other than looking like the equine equivalent of ballet dancers, these horses were…well, horses. Some extremely affectionate, some a bit shy, all of them curious about their visitors. The way people speak of this breed you’d think there would be a lot of flailing about, almost feral behavior, and some manner of drama. Of course, being a reasonable person with a lot of experience with animals in general, I didn’t expect that! I’m ashamed to admit though, I was surprised by how calm and kind they all were. After all, these are all rescued horses from one of the worst animal industries to ever exist in modern times. The things that many of these animals have been through would send a human being straight to a mental institution.
If this doesn’t prove that horses can be just as forgiving as our dog and cat companions, I don’t know what does. Just like our more common animal friends, they may never forget, but they can forgive, they can start over. Continue reading
If you live with a cat you are familiar with the fact that cats are the world’s leading vomiters. When it comes to throwing up cats win. Thankfully, it is rarely anything serious that is the cause.
Some things that commonly cause our feline friends to throw up are:
- Food. Particularly the inhaling of the food as though the cat is starving.
- Lack of food-many cats have digestive upsets if their eating schedule is broken.
- Stress. Despite appearing relaxed most of their lives cats can easily become stressed, leading to digestive problems among other things.
So, I was not too concerned when my cat Renfield threw up all over my pillow. I became concerned when he did not stop, and we made a trip to the vet. Poor Ren is a highly anxious guy and will pluck himself like a chicken sometimes (even with medication), so I correctly assumed that the problem was indeed with the copious amount of fur he had ingested.
Don’t get me wrong, hairballs can indeed be serious and life threatening! If you suspect your cat has serious problems with this you need to see your vet. They can lead to constipation and impaction…and then to surgery, or death if not treated.
Let’s say you’re like me, and most pet parents, and you brush your cat, even Furminate your cat. You are rewarded with a lot of cat hair in your trashcan and less everywhere else. So, why is your cat still having these issues? I think it’s part of some strange cat stomach vortex personally, but truly it just happens. You’re not a bad pet parent! So, when I explained to my vet that I’m a freak about grooming (as if he were not aware of this) and that I give all the cats a hairball remedy just in case, he gave me a great suggestion.
I’m not the only one who has noted that hairball remedies-such brands as Petromalt-are not only difficult to convince some cats to take, but not as effective as you’d think. My vet had the same issue with his cats, and he went on to say that the following product works wonders on dogs and horses as well. Of course, with both dogs and horses the digestive issues were not related to hairball vortexes.
The product? Metamucil.
Yes, that “cute little blob” commercial product for humans with regularity problems. While I don’t think the blob is anything but straight out creepy, the product works! Within twenty-four hours Ren had stopped vomiting. After a week of having to isolate him to my bedroom and sleep on the couch so as to both contain the vomit-fest and prevent being a part of it…it stopped that quickly. I expected to hear the trumpeting of angels, but even without that it was a miracle.
Consequently, I tried adding it to the food of my shared cat, Cuss Cuss, who is sixteen and has some digestive issues occasionally. Without surprise, it has improved his issues as well! It is indeed amazing what a little fiber can do.
I now give approximately half a teaspoon of the product twice a week in super stinky, shrimp filled, wet cat food. After all, the only flavor is orange, and cats are not fans of citrus. I’ve since read many accounts of how well it works in dogs with constipation issues, and in horses. I’d like to say again, for the record, that my licensed veterinarian recommended this treatment. After looking around the internet I have seen that he is certainly not the only one to do so! Many vets recommend it, and I am one of the thousands of pet parents who do too.
So, if you’re having repeat issues with your pet you may want to give it a try. It’s much better than a suffering pet, and a suffering caretaker who gets the joy of clean up. It’s also very easy to give, my cats think it is just an awesome treat from their awesome human! Win for everyone.
Before I link you to a dosing page, I’d like to note something about Metamucil. Actually, a few things about that brand.
Firstly, it does contain aspartame. If you’re not knowledgeable about human or pet food additives you may not know why that is bad, so, in short: it’s bad. It is a known cancer causing agent that is a sweetener. However, unless you are allowing your pet to consume an entire package of the stuff (or yourself) I highly doubt that any ill will come to your pet, it does take a large quantity over a large period of time. (If you drink a six pack of soda every day for twenty years you will probably have some manner of issue.) I purchase an off-brand version that is free of aspartame, in addition to being a dollar cheaper. There is absolutely no difference in this off-brand other than that! Simply check the label-which I always encourage you to do regardless.
Secondly, don’t buy Metamucil. Do buy the off-brand. Metamucil is apparently really offended that we are giving it to our pets, despite a bevy of professionals attesting to the safety and effectiveness of it. They will get down right nasty with you about it. Personally, I’m not supporting anyone who wants to yell at me over the recommended use of their product. I get it that if something went wrong they could be sued as it has not been approved for use in pets, or rather was not made for use in pets. I doubt this stopped them from testing it on animals to have it approved for human consumption. In any case, I’m not doing them any favors by recommending that you buy specifically that brand! Please do not. There are many other brands, and I only used Metamucil here because everyone is familiar with that product. It was used as an example only! Please buy the off-brand(s) which don’t think you are a moron for using it as per your vet’s recommendation in addition to being aspartame free.
Though I recommend you see your vet for any potentially serious problem as well as proper dosage, I’m providing you with this link to dosing information and other suggestions. Click here for cats. Click here for dogs.
There are so many sites with information about using this product for your pets that I can’t link you to all of them! So, please do go run a search for your pet’s issue and Metamucil. For example: cat vomiting metamucil should get you a million results. The above links pertain to constipation, but their dosage information and other suggestions is pertinent, and hey, who doesn’t have that issue every now and then? By the way, the site is a great one all around for pet parents wanting to learn about pet health care solutions, so check it out!
I hope that this post helps someone as much as the suggestion helped me. It’s such a small thing to add to my pets’ weekly diet, but it has made a huge difference in all of our lives!
I love my vet, he’s not only done amazing things for my pets, he has never done any of the things that are my “vet peeves”! Like most pet parents though, I’ve been through many vets. It seems unfair to me that new parents, or those who have newly relocated, must go through a potentially life-threatening trial and error process in finding one of the amazing vets out there. A lot of the time we find ourselves feeling like we are overreacting, or being too picky, until something terrible happens.
That’s why I was so pleased to see this article from Dogster. Not only does it detail things that should be red flags, but explains why they are reasons to look for a better healthcare provider for your furry child. Additionally, I completely agree with the entire list! In fact, these are topics I have addressed in articles I’ve sold, and with friends and family.
I highly recommend that you read this article, and share it with other pet parents! I’m so happy that the barrier of speak-no-evil-of-vets is being broken more often. Just like your doctor, your pet’s is not infallible, and neither are they all equal.
Before you read the article, or send me hateful comments (like those I read from supposed vet techs and vets in reply to the article) please realize that I’m not implying that I think badly of veterinarians! I’ve met many who were simply amazing all around. Unfortunately, there are also many I’ve met with the same attitude as myriad human doctors; that your ideas, feelings, opinions, and/or personal experience/education is invalid because they are the one in charge. This god-like, condescending attitude is unacceptable in any profession! The only way to send a message that we do not have to tolerate it is to give business to the veterinarians who are the polar opposite of this…and this article will help you to make that choice.
Of course, there are many things that pet parents do that really drive vets crazy, and-unlike this article-there are loads of articles and outright rants about that subject. While some of those things are ridiculous and should receive some seriously nasty rebukes, some points are valid. Please treat your good vet like what she or he is: a hardworking, dedicated, and caring person who does have a stressful and important job. Let your vet know how much you appreciate them by not having no-show appointments, keeping your pet well behaved and restrained, and following up on serious issues/communicating.
Remember, you are not a slave to your vet or their opinions! Neither is your vet a slave to you! It’s a two way street, but it’s nice to finally see an article addressing the issue from a pet guardian’s point of view!
Please enjoy this article and share it…and definitely check out Dogster.com for great articles like this one, hilarious pictures, and much, much more. For the kitty in your life, head over to Catster.com for the same great experience. I’m on both and loving it for a few years now!
The above article is the property of its author, I have no affiliation with Dogster or Catster and own nothing on either site.
Cocoa mulch…I know I see a problem with this situation. I didn’t know this product existed until I got an email alerting me to the dangerous subject, but I don’t have any landscaping I can do either. Before reading the text I was having thoughts of seizures and dead dogs, but I can’t say that the bereaved owners are entirely at fault.
If you questioned the safety of the product, you would look on the package wouldn’t you? That is the most disturbing thing about this whole lethal screw up: there is no warning on the label.
It does state that it repels cats, however, so Hershey’s apparently bothered with that. Why not that it contains highly dangerous amounts of a substance that is deadly to dogs? According to the company, that is because their tests showed that 98% of dogs will not eat the mulch. Perhaps they tested sick dogs, or dogs without a predisposition to mouth/eat random objects we wouldn’t consider edible. Regardless, it is unbelievably irresponsible that a major company would not put a label warning of something this serious. Were it children, Hershey’s would already be in court.
Because I am in the middle of moving I cannot relay as much information, or investigate, as much as I’d like to. Consequently, I’m going to cheat and post the email I received 🙂
Cocoa Mulch from Target
Over the weekend, the doting owner of two young lab mixes purchased Cocoa Mulch from Target to use in their garden. The dogs loved the way it smelled and it was advertised to keep cats away from their garden. Their dog (Calypso) decided the mulch smelled good enough to eat and devoured a large helping. She vomited a few times which was typical when she eats something new but wasn’t acting lethargic in any way. The next day, Mom woke up and took Calypso out for her morning walk. Halfway through the walk, she had a seizure and died instantly.
Although the mulch had NO warnings printed on the label, upon further investigation on the company’s web site,
This product is HIGHLY toxic to dogs and cats.
Cocoa Mulch is manufactured by Hershey’s, and they claim that “It is true that studies have shown that 50% of the dogs that eat Cocoa Mulch can suffer physical harm to a variety of degrees (depending on each individual dog). However, 98% of all dogs won’t eat it.”
*Snopes site gives the following information:http://www.snopes.com/critters/crusader/cocoamulch.asp .asp>
Cocoa Mulch, which is sold by Home Depot, Foreman’s Garden Supply and other garden supply stores contains a lethal ingredient called ‘Theobromine’. It is lethal to dogs and cats. It smells like chocolate and it really attracts dogs. They will ingest this stuff and die. Several deaths already occurred in the last 2-3 weeks.
Theobromine is in all chocolate, especially dark or baker’s chocolate which is toxic to dogs. Cocoa bean shells contain potentially toxic quantities of theobromine, a xanthine compound similar in effects to caffeine and theophylline. A dog that ingested a lethal quantity of garden mulch made from cacao bean shells developed severe convulsions and died 17 hours later. Analysis of the stomach contents and the ingested cacao bean shells revealed the presence of lethal amounts of theobromine.
It is an unfortunate fact that black or dark-colored pets are far less likely to be adopted at animal shelters. Many times this is simply because they don’t photograph as well as other pets, but there are still a lot of people out there that just do not want a black cat in particular. For cat lovers this is just outrageous, and many will say that a cat’s coloring is irrelevant and shouldn’t be a real factor in picking a best friend. While that is somewhat true, many studies are proving that there is a relation between your kitty’s coloring and her behavioral tendencies. For black cats, that is actually great news! Here are some reasons why black cats are amazing.
Black cats are friendly.
If you want a cuddly, snuggly, attention seeking cat you have a higher chance of getting your wish with a black cat. Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s a promise! Coloration and behavior appears to be a lot like breeds and behavior: you may think of it as a “blue print” of likely attributes. Many things go into the result of an adult cat’s attitude. A cat that was abused, raised feral, or that has developed certain phobias may not ever be as friendly as a cat who was more fortunate during their formative weeks. Yes, weeks! Cats have a very brief period of time in which they learn nearly all of their social interactions. It’s important to remember that with dedication and proper techniques many things can be overcome, and that an animal shelter is a stressful place in which a pet’s real personality may not shine through. Still, it is recommended to adopt an adult cat in most cases, as you will have a much better idea of the cat’s personality.
Renown animal behaviorist Temple Grandin said, in her book Animals Make Us Human, that if you want a friendly cat “Adopt a black cat.”
They’re more social and less aggressive.
I’m going to quote Temple again (because she is amazing, like black cats), again from Animals Make Us Human:
“Black cats especially are friendlier than other cats, are better able to deal with crowding and urban life, and have greater aggregative tendencies, which means they’re more inclined to live in groups of cats. Black cats are more social overall, whether it’s with other cats or with humans.”
If you already have cats living in your home, or other pets, you may want to consider a black cat for their ability to integrate with others. I haven’t introduced my cat yet on this blog, so telling a brief bit of his story here is very applicable to demonstrating the gregarious, mellow, and friendly nature I’ve been talking about.
We first came across Ren (or Mr. Fields, or Sir Francis Bacon Ear) in early September of 2012 while walking Pif and Vitaly around the Garden District and surrounding areas. There are several black kitties in that area, thankfully most are owned and well cared for, and that makes my dogs extremely happy because they love cats…and these black cats will come right up to them and interact nicely. I also like to walk that route because it’s beautiful and I’ve found several lost pets and gotten them back to their owners (including a huge Californian rabbit). Around Seventh Street there is an abandoned church, and that night a vocal cat popped out of it and loved all over both dogs and humans with abandon. Since he didn’t look hungry or sick, and casually decided to wander off again when he was done with us, I assumed he had a home. The next time I passed by he saw us coming from a block away and began to vociferously demand attention, and I was happy to see him again until I really saw him. He was too friendly with either another cat or a dog, he was missing hair, covered in cuts and bruises, and had a large, weeping puncture wound in his neck. He was also very thin, and I’m not sure how I missed it the first time around, but he had a crumpled, flattened ear. In the dark, on the black cat, I couldn’t tell if it was a wound or not. With minimal encouragement he followed us all the way back the car, which was a mile or more. He was only displeased when shut in the car. So much so that he turned into a clawed missile! He then seated himself between the dogs and was happy as could be for the rest of the drive.
No owner was located, not that I was that upset about it after the first week, his wounds healed with proper care, and the ear turned out to be one of many odd deformations he has. (Hence the Bacon Ear nickname, as it resembles crumpled fried bacon.) He plays with Vitaly the Pomeranian daily, and is happiest sleeping with his very long body draped across my larger dog Pif. He also loves to visit with people, often going across my partitioned balcony to invite himself into my neighbor’s apartment. I was even able to completely forego the proper introduction, since he screamed bloody murder until he was let back out of his room to be with the dogs! Renfield is one seriously friendly cat.
He isn’t alone in being so friendly, myriad black cat owners report the same sort of behavior. Even now while I’m in the process of moving he is unaffected by the chaos that is so stressing me, greets everyone helping me, and even tries to comfort the stressed dogs. He really is a perfect example of why black cats are amazing!
They’re not “scaredy” cats.
Quick, when I say Halloween Cat what image comes to mind? I bet it was a black cat with his hair on end, puffed up, and hissing in fear fueled anger. While that may look more spooky (Ren doesn’t hiss, but he does threaten the vacuum cleaner by puffing up, and it is both amusing and vaguely creepy) it would be more accurate to depict an orange tabby in this way. Of all the cat colors studied the orange cats are more prone to nervousness, fear, and aggression.
What was that, you have a super friendly orange (or ginger, or cream, or that peculiar apricot color that looks pink) kitty? So does my mother! In all fifteen years of his life he’s been a total attention seeking guy, and I don’t think he has ever lashed out at a human. His name is Cuss Cuss, he happens to be that aforementioned “pink” color, and he is addicted to cuddling. However, Mr. Cuss does not care for other animals. He lived with many cats and dogs throughout his life until making a move from Oklahoma to New Orleans to live with his “aunt.” He didn’t appear to pick at anyone, but he didn’t seem to like any of them either. He downright hates Vitaly, which is probably because my small dog is easy and safe to pick on, and provides entertainment by being a drama queen about it. Cuss is alright with Pif, but takes out any annoyance he has on her if she is close enough. Particularly though, he doesn’t like other cats. This should be interesting since Ren and I are moving in with him…I foresee a long and dedicated introduction process. So, you see, Cuss Cuss is a great example of how genetics are a blue print for behavior: while he has some of the not so great tendencies there, he is a furry pink ball of human loving goodness.
Because black cats tend to be more easy-going and friendly they tend to outnumber other colors in urban environments. If you visit a city you are likely to see far more black cats. If you visit the countryside you are far more likely to see lots of orange cats. Growing up in rural Oklahoma I always attributed that to the often brown, golden countryside. While that does probably have a serious effect on feral cat population colors, a completely different set of factors has been scientifically found. Orange cats do better in the country because they are more aggressive in fighting for territory, and more flighty around threats. Meanwhile, in a city they are busy fighting for territory and a female and the laid back black toms take advantage of that and get to the females while the other guys are busy scrapping. Therefore, the genes for one or the other are more prevalent depending on what situation is more advantageous for the behavior. Pretty interesting huh?
In fact, even in tact male black cats are less aggressive than any other color variety of cat. If you’ve ever made a tom cat angry you know how impressive that is!
Though there needs to be further studies conducted, the Feline Genome Project has some really interesting results that imply black cats may be immune or more resistant to viruses in the HIV family. These viruses are serious business for cats just as they are in humans, so do not assume your black cat is protected without vaccination and being kept away from outdoor cats who may carry the virus. I’m still excited about the implications of this though, and I can’t wait to see what further research shows. Perhaps black kitties hold some genetic key to combating these insidious viruses.
In most westernized countries black cats have a bad reputation for being bad luck, and, though we haven’t had witch trials for a long time now, some even believe them to be evil. Sometimes when Ren runs across me while I’m sleeping, repeatedly, in a ploy to be fed early I am tempted to think of him as an agent of the devil, but truly pegging any animal as evil is ludicrous. Many eastern countries have the reverse theory though, that black cats are lucky and you will be blessed by caring for them. I feel blessed that I have my cat!
There are so many reasons why cats in general are amazing creatures that we should be thankful for sharing our homes with. I hope that you’ve found these black cat facts interesting, and that one day they will no longer be the last adopted in shelters and rescue groups.
If you are working at a shelter or rescue place, or just want to help out, there are some great ideas to make black and dark-colored pets stand out. Don’t just take pictures! It is hard to get good pictures of dark-colored animals. If you record even a short video of them playing or interacting with others their personality and beauty has more chance to show. When taking pictures make sure there is good lighting (no glowing eyes or the pet looking like a black blob) and place a brightly colored bed, cloth, or towel in with the pet. Giving the pet a bandanna or bright collar to wear can really help as well! Yes, cats will wear bandannas, there are even specially made ones just for kitties. Talking with your local shelter, donating brightly colored things for this use, and/or offering to take pictures and video is a great way to help out. You can even do something simple from home by posting the pictures and information for black pets on your Facebook, Twitter, or blog to increase the attention given to them…giving them a better chance to find a forever home.
Thanks for reading! I will post pictures of Ren and Cuss very soon. Have any black cat tales or facts you’d like to share, additional ways to help dark-colored shelter pets, or kitty talk? Please do comment, I’d love to read them!
If you’d like to see a whole lot of Renfield, please visit his Instagram! http://instagram.com/renfieldthecat
Hi everyone! I’m deeply sorry for the delay in any awesome posts here. I’ve been very busy promoting my business Fenris Fiasco Designs, working on a web site for another business, and trying to hatch out some angel fish eggs! I’ve also been gathering a lot of information for several future posts, so please come back soon! Also, enjoy this humorous “Beware of
Dog Hen” picture I took in the Marigny.
Saint Patrick’s Day is almost upon us! Every year at the Irish Channel, New Orleans, Saint Patrick’s I see a lot of dogs dressed up…and a surprisingly large amount of Irish breeds.
Though not all breeds hailing from Ireland make this list from the American Kennel Club, they’re not all accepted by the AKC after all, it’s a pretty good one. Unusual breeds like the Red and White Irish Setter as well as those recently gaining popularity like the Wheaten Terrier.
I hope you enjoy this short, shared read.
Yes, it’s depressing and sick…that’s why I’m sharing it. At the Fox Dog Blog-and Fenris Fiasco Designs-we support wolves. Please check out this blog for information on how to help!