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Wondering what to get your cat or kitten to keep him or her active and healthy? These are the top 10 cat toys with rave reviews from cats, kittens, and their owners. What you will notice is most of these best cat toys are cheap and simple. #1. The Cat Dancer The #1 top selling...
Just like humans, cats need to pay attention to their teeth. However, because their paws can’t hold a toothbrush, humans have to do it for them.
Why do you need to keep your cat’s teeth clean?
68 percent of cats have dental disease by the age of 3 reports Banfield Pet Hospital. Just like in humans the buildup of plaque quickly progresses into gingivitis and gum diseases.
This can lead to:
Bacteria from the gums gets into the blood stream and can cause health problems throughout the body.
Chronic pain making it difficult to eat.
Increased risk for heart, liver, and kidney diseases.
Brushing and caring for your feline’s teeth at home will help keep your cat healthy. Here are some of the best cat teeth cleaning products you can buy to help keep your cat’s teeth healthy at home and save on veterinary costs.
Nylabone Oral Care Cats Dental Kit
This Nylabone cat teeth brushing kit contains a small toothbrush angled to best be able to brush a cats teeth. The toothbrush has soft nylon bristles and rubber tips to get in between the teeth. In addition to a regular pet toothbrush is a finger toothbrush. This fits over the finger and the bristles clean teeth and massage gums. The kit includes a two and a half ounce of toothpaste specifically for pets, and formulated to reduce bad breath and improve dental health. Pet owners can also use this kit for small dogs.
Antiseptic Oral Gel
Biotene oral gel reduces oral infections such as gingivitis. Apply the gel to inner lip and saliva will distribute it around the mouth to the gums and teeth. Helps reduce bad breath and promote oral health. Pet parents report cats like it, or at least, don’t protest too much.
Cat Treats that Clean Teeth
These cat treats brush and clean cats teeth and gums to help reduce brushing. Made from freeze dried fish and owners report their cats love them and the chews improve dental health and breath. One or two chews daily are all it takes, although your cat may think he needs more than that.
In this video a veterinarian shows you how to brush your cat’s teeth –
Choosing a fish tank and setting it up is a process that requires some thought. It depends on how much space is available, the amount and type of fish you want to keep. Setting up a freshwater aquarium requires a heater, filter, substrate and maybe plants to keep the fish happy and healthy.
This article is for freshwater tanks, but the basics apply to saltwater aquariums also.
Stores and manufacturers offer kits for first time buyers or someone that wants to add another setup. These kits normally contain everything needed to set up an aquarium and even come with a stand. This would include a heater and filter. Some kits also include a stand, air pump and gravel. This is a good way to get everything needed in one package. The drawback is, the heater and filter might be borderline for the aquarium size and there might not be quite enough gravel. A knowledgeable aquarist will evaluate the kit before they buy.
Or you can choose a more unique type of fish tank and stand:
This wall mounted aquarium that you buy on Amazon is low maintenance and comes pre-assembled with filtration, heater, air pump and more. It even has a touch screen remote control to adjust the lighting and other features.
Wall Mounted Aquariums
You don’t actually need a stand for some fish tanks. You can get a wall mounted aquarium instead. Some wall mounted aquariums have custom or unusual shapes. A long narrow one is fine and has a large amount of surface area and are common designs for wall mounted aquariums. They come with mounting accessories and instructions and may come with accessories such as filters and air pumps. The narrowness may limit the types of fish that can be kept in the tank. These are often used in offices that have a contractor come in and maintain the tank.
Aquariums like this may require different care. While aquarium maintenance is the same for all tanks, the procedure may be different on these depending on the design which may restrict access to the tank. Water changes may require vacuuming alternate sections for water changes every two weeks.
Coffee and End Table Aquariums
These aquariums serve a double function as aquariums as well as end or coffee tables. The same rules for maintenance and fish capacity are the same as other aquariums. These are kits with the necessary accessories and sometimes decorations.
A good rule of thumb for aquarium is one inch of fish per gallon. Subtract the tank gallons by 10 percent. Calculate a 20 gallon tank at 18, or 18 inches of fish. It’s best to under populate than over populate a tank.
An important consideration is the water surface area. The larger the surface area, the more fish can populate the tank. For example, a tall round or octagon type tank with a small surface area will keep less fish healthy than a rectangular tank with the same amount of gallons because the rectangular tank will have a larger surface area. This is because a larger surface area allows the water to have more contact with the air to absorb more oxygen.
Whenever a pet has a medical procedure there is a danger they will lick their wound, open it and delay the healing, or cause an infection and require further medical attention. An Elizabethan collar for dogs and cats will help prevent this, and there are alternatives to dog cones when an e-collar just isn’t enough. This review shows you various options, but you should choose the best Elizabethan collar based on your veterinarian’s recommendation.
Types of Elizabethan Collars for Dogs and Cat
The standard e-collar is plastic and ridged. It will do the job and is usually cheap. However other alternatives to the old fashioned dog cone of shame might be more comfortable for the finicky pet.
The cone of shame is the time honored way to prevent pets from licking their wounds. It looks awkward and the pet may hate it, but it is generally effective for protecting the sore. The cone comes in different sizes and is adjustable for a more perfect fit. While restrictive, it allows eating and drinking without problems. This comes in white, black and transparent colors. It is made with plastic and flannel around the neck for comfort.
Cloth Comfy Cone for Dogs and Cats
This cloth Comfy cone comes in a wide range of sizes. Because it’s made with foam backed nylon, it’s more comfortable for the animal. It can be folded back for eating and drinking. This cone uses a Velcro fastener. Because it’s soft, it bends to allow comfortable sleep and movement, but is sturdy enough to prevent licking. The outer edge is reflective for night safety. Comes in tan or black.
The inflatable e-collar is like a small inner tube around the neck. It is fabric and machine washable, and comes in a range of sizes. It fastens with a Velcro strip and adjustable for a snug fit. This type of collar allows more movement and flexibility. While this is generally more comfortable, it does have drawbacks. It doesn’t restrict mobility enough so that some areas can still be licked, so it depends on the location of the wound if this would be best or not for your pet.
Recovery Suits – An Alternative to the Cone
A recovery suit fits over the body to prevent wound licking. These come in various sizes, and are available for both cats and dogs.
Black Camo Suit for Cats
This camo recovery suit comes in different sizes, and one should fit your cat. It also comes in different designs and colors that your cat will like. While it is a body suit it allows using the litter box normally. This suit uses snaps to attach to the cat. Users report that some cats can get out of this like Houdini did a straitjacket. If your is so inclined this might not be for him.
Blue Surgi Snuggly Recovery Suit
The Surgi Snuggly suit comes in a variety of sizes and colors. While primarily for dogs, there are some small enough for cats. It attaches with straps and made with material that stretches slightly for a good fit and thin enough to allow for ventilation. Wash and dry the Snuggly in a washer and drier. Can be worn as a full or half suit. A drawback is that some dogs can get under the straps and lick their wound.
Cuckoo clocks are a common clock where a cuckoo pops out of a door and sings on the hour. Now, there are several charming clocks with a variant on that theme. Each of these animals mark the hour with their appropriate sound. These whimsical clocks are about 12 inches high x 9 wide x 4 inches deep. A battery powered pendulum adds to the charm. The quartz clocks are accurate and take three D size batteries and one AAA battery. The batteries aren’t included.
Don’t like the sound of a cuckoo on the hour? How about Smilin’ Sam the Orangutan saying oo, oo every hour. He pops out holding a banana while he tells time. Sam’s domicle is white and black striped with a dark roof. A light sensor shuts off Sam when it’s dark so as not to disturb ones sleep.
A clock for the horse lover. This cuckoo clock features Lightnin’ Les who gallops out hourly and whinnies. The goofy looking horse lives in a yellow and green stall. Light sensors prevent Les from galloping out in the middle of the night.
Ewenis Wooley, the wooly sheep, lives in a blue house and comes out on the hour to baa. This sheep clock is a charming variant on the standard cuckoo clock. For those who like Shaun the Sheep this may be the perfect ewe clock.
Elle the elephant comes out of her pink house to come out every hour to trumpet the time. This charming clock is perfect in kid’s rooms, kitchen, living room or workshop to remind you of the hour.
All of these cuckoo clocks sound every hour on the hour. It does have a light sensor; if the room is dark it will not make the cuckoo noise. They are battery powered and will last a long time before the batteries need changing.
In out, in out; if your dog or cat is constantly dissatisfied where they are, one of these pet doors for cats and dogs might be the answer to save you from constantly getting up and down. With a pet door the pet can go in and out as much as they want without the owner having to get up and down to open the door.
The ideal door is one that lets the pet in and out easily, but keeps the weather out and the heated or cooled air in. Most come in sizes from small to large which will work for most any cat or dog, large or small.
Pacific Patio Endura Flap Pet Door for Doors
This pet door is made for extreme climates. It’s insulated and you can order it with a double flap. This is a durable and quality pet door made with an aluminum frame can be installed in the front of back door for your pet. This insulated door is available in single and double flap doors. Made in 4 sizes, the smallest is 6 x 10 and the largest is 12 x 23 inches. Designed to keep the weather out, it locks with adjustable magnet strength. As soon as your dog or cat is through the door, the flaps lock back into place minimizing how much air passes through the door. This is an energy efficient award winning door that will stand up to years of use.
See how the Endura Flap Pet Door compares in energy effiency to windows in this video:
PetSafe Collar Activated Dog or Cat Door
Keep raccoons, opossums, and other wild critters out of your house with this collar activated dog door. This door is for large dog breeds up to 100 pounds. The flap size is 11″ W x 16″ H. One of the attractive features of this door is the electronic lock which requires 4 D cell batteries. A signal from the pet’s collar unlocks the door when he approaches it, and locks it when they get out of the 3 foot range to keep unwanted critters from coming in. It’s easy to install. You can use it with up to 5 pets as it be set to recognized 5 different collar signals.
Stylish Pastel Pet Door
Charming and cute! This door will blend nicely with your décor without being too expensive. This custom pet door comes in 4 colors: white, mint, yellow and very pink with sizes in small, medium and large. Opening size for small is 5 x 8 and a quarter. Large size opening is 9 and three eights by 16 and a quarter. This decorative pet door features a magnetically sealed silicone flap. Some users found the animals use it quicker without the magnetic locks as the locks make it harder to open for a hesitant animal.
In addition to the small, medium and extra-large sizes, the Ruff Weather pet door makes a super large size for bigger pets. The super large size measures 15 x 23.5 inches. It is an energy saver by using two silicone flaps to minimize cold or hot air from escaping. It is made of molded plastic with clear vinyl flaps for easy exit and entry.
Cheap Pet Door for Cats and Dogs
This is a simple pet door that fulfills its function. It’s plastic construction with a telescoping feature to adjust to the wall thickness. A flexible polyvinyl flap allows the animal in or out and a slide closes the opening whenever the owner wants. It comes in small, medium and large sizes. Installation takes about 20 minutes to complete 4 steps.
These hooks have multiple uses. These are useful for coats, hats, clothes, towels, keys or anything they are sturdy enough to support. These animal racks will find good ways to use them in any home.
For kids, putting up a cute animal coat and hat rack might help get kids to hang up their coats. An optimist will think if starting young, the habit of hanging up clothes will carry through when they are older. Hopefully, that theory will work.
While the picture shows the mouse with keys dangling from his tail, this can be used for coats, clothes or hats. This is made from cast iron and measures 6.5 inches long. Could be good for a boy that likes the gross out feature of a mouse running up the wall.
These animals with cute expressions are perfect for children’s rooms. This is a handmade fair trade item, and will fit into a room with an animal or jungle décor. They are approximately 12 inches high and suitable for hanging clothes or other things. Each animal has 2 hooks for hanging.
The kangaroo rack has 6 hooks to hang stuff on. It is about 15.8 inches long and sturdy enough to support a fair amount of weight. It is made of manganese alloy steel with a baking piano varnish. This rack is good in children’s rooms or as part of the décor.
Awwww, puppies. Who can resist cute puppies? This black iron coat hanger is approximately 15.7 inches. It has 4 hooks for children to put scarves, hats, coats and other things on. It’s also perfect to hang your dog’s winter coat on.
This powder blue owl is made of polyresin with a metal hook. Attaches with screws which aren’t included. It is 7 inches long and sturdy enough to hang clothes or other items. It is useful in a bedroom, bathroom or closet. Great for a child or someone that collects owls.
Any horse lover would be excited to hang their hat or coat on this rack. This horse is very realistic and works as a decoration to fit in any horse décor.
This horsehead hanger has 2 hooks to hang hats or coats. It is cast resin and features great hand painted detail. May be used as decoration. It is heavy, so keep that in mind for where you plan to hang it on the wall.
Cats must scratch, but you don’t need to spend a lot of money to keep your kitty happily scratching on his own furniture. Ultimately the best cheap cat scratching post is one that your cat will use and even prefer over your own furniture. These are favorites of both cats and their humans. Some you can find for less than $10.
Corrugated cardboard is one of the best options for a cheat cat scratching post. Since cats tend to destroy their posts, these are cheap enough that you can just toss it once it’s been well used and buy a new one. This one has a neutral color design and shaped like a bed may interest your cat in a nap too. It comes with cat nip in a separate baggy so you can sprinkle a little or a lot on to entice your kitty. This scratcher has cardboard on both the bottom and top. You really get more than your money’s worth as you can turn it over once one side is used up. Looking for something a little fancier? Then you might like this red kitty bench scratcher, still priced well within anyone’s budget.
This has cardboard on both sides for your feline to shred. Comes with a toy and catnip. Bonus is that it is made of recycled materials and you can buy refills as needed to save when it needs replacing. Some cats may not like that this one can move around so easily; some may find extra delight in a scratcher that seems to come to life. If your cat is of the mindset that his scratch should not move, you can put something heavy on the inside to weigh it down.
Kittens will spend hours chasing the ball that never runs out of energy. As the ball runs around and around, your kitty can use the scratcher in the middle. This may be one the best, yet simplest, cat toy idea ever.
Style and function for cheap. Like the others above, this is made of corrugated cardboard and comes with catnip. It’s very durable; it will hold large heavy cats. In fact, it is rather large and many large cats prefer this one. If you want extra-large, buy two and connect them with tape or rubber bands to make a double size bed for your cats.
Cats need to scratch upright to stretch out their back and work their back muscles. This scratching post is 21 inches tall so your cat can reach up for scratching. The top is made of sisal rope and the bottom half carpet. Once shredded it’s easy to replace the rope or carpet yourself.
This is surprisingly well made for the price. The two posts are wrapped with sisal rope. The bed and floor are soft and fuzzy. The bed is hammock style rather than flat and hard making it a cozy spot for a cat nap after a hard day’s play. It’s short enough that cats can jump into it and sturdy enough for large heavy cats.
Did you know?
Cats scratch for many reasons, including playing, mark their territory, exercise and remove the outer layer of their claws as they grow.
The Merck/Merial Manual for Pet Health is an excellent resources for pet parents. You can buy it on Amazon.
What is Metabolic Acidosis?
Learning that a cat or dog has something as dire sounding as metabolic acidosis, can make any pet owner concerned for their pet’s health. Metabolic acidosis is a complicated diagnosis because it is actually is a symptom of many other pet illnesses. Metabolic acidosis itself refers to the cat or dog’s body having an imbalance of acids and bases. Kidney damage, congenital kidney disease, diabetes, snake bites, and the ingesting antifreeze can all lead to metabolic acidosis and overall poor pet health.
Metabolic Acidosis Symptoms
Often owners are unaware that their cat or dog has this condition in the early stages as it can be a silent illness with no symptoms. In later stages of the disease, pets (both cats and dogs) may vomit, be lethargic, and stumble when walking. Pets may also have weight loss without explanation.
Metabolic Acidosis Treatment
Knowing the cause of the condition will help your veterinarian know how to treat your sick dog or cat. By treating the cause, the metabolic acidosis should correct itself. Supportive care such as intravenous (IV) fluids can be administered while other testing is done. For cats or dogs in kidney failure, an oral solution of sodium bicarbonate may be given to treat the metabolic acidosis reports The Merck Veterinary Manual.
Preventing Metabolic Acidosis
Preventing metabolic acidosis in cats and dogs will also help prevent the disease or condition that causes it. Prevention includes feeding your pet a healthy diet, keeping dogs and cats well hydrated by providing access to fresh water 24 hours a day, and keeping antifreeze and other toxic substances in cabinets where pets cannot get into. Also, make sure to completely clean up any spilled antifreeze as it only takes a minute amount to make a dog or cat very ill. If your dog or cat has diabetes, treat the disease as per your veterinarian’s directions.
Lastly, take your dog or cat to the veterinarian every 6 to 12 months. Regular veterinary exams, that include blood tests to monitor organ function, will help detect early stages of metabolic acidosis in pets. If found in the early stages, before symptoms develop, it can be treated before more serious complications occur.
In the event of an emergency, pet insurance may be a life saver. Photo by chalabala/Bigstockphoto.com
Pet insurance for dogs, cats, and even parrots are offered by several companies. This allows you to buy private pet insurance. Some people even have the opportunity of buying into a group veterinary plan through their employer. The big question when deciding if you should invest in a veterinary pet insurance plan is—will it save you money? Is pet insurance really worth the cost? And what is the best pet insurance for dogs and other pets, and your budget? With high monthly premiums and limits on coverage, you need to look at your own pet family and current medical costs to determine if pet health insurance is right for you.
Do the Calculations
Calculate what you spend at the vet’s office in a year for one pet. Then determine the average monthly cost by dividing this amount by 12. This is the basic place to start. Compare this amount to the monthly cost of pet health insurance.
Carefully read the fine print in the policy that you are considering. Know exactly what is covered and how much. For example, are accidents, surgeries, cancer treatments, your pet’s pre-existing conditions, breed related conditions and dental care covered? What amount will be reimbursed—80%, 100%?
Add up any yearly veterinary expenses that you foresee incurring that are not covered by the pet plan such as dental care. Divide this number by 12 and add the result to the monthly insurance premium amount. Now again, compare this monthly amount to what your current veterinary costs are on a monthly basis (from step 1).
Is Your Pet High Risk?
Take into consideration large unforeseen veterinary expenses that the pet health insurance will cover. For example, if your cat goes outdoors you are more likely to have more veterinary bills because of cat fights or if your cat is hit by a car. Other considerations are if your pet gets cancer, would you want to treat it? There’s no right or wrong answer to that question. For a young cat, with good chances of living a full life after treatment, you may say yes. But for an older pet, where the treatment may last the rest of the pet’s life, you may say no. In cases of potential veterinary bills running in the thousands, pet health insurance may be a bargain even if the monthly premium exceeds your regular monthly vet costs.
Getting the Best Pet Insurance for Your Budget
If you have decided to get pet insurance for your dog, cat, or other pet, then to get the best plan you will need to complete these steps for each plan you consider. No two veterinary pet insurance plans are the same. And no two household will have the same veterinary costs. You may find great variations in your premiums when comparing various pet insurance companies.
Where to Find Pet Insurance for Dogs, Cat, and Other Pets
Pet health insurance is common enough now that you can easily find several companies to choose from. You can speak with your insurance broker, veterinary office, or just do a general internet search to find dozens of companies offering pet health insurance. To get some feedback on the best companies that are reliable and provide what they promise, ask your veterinary office staff as they will have experience through clients with a variety of companies.
Snake bites on dogs can range from being nothing more than a nuisance to being a fatal injury. For those that live in rattlesnake territory, or regularly hike where rattlesnakes live, with their dog, an encounter with these reptiles is inevitable. You can take steps now to prevent a deadly encounter between a rattlesnake and your dog. But even with preventative measures, you should also know what to do if your dog is bit by a snake.
Discourage Snakes in the Yard
If you live in snake country, especially if you have venomous rattlers, make sure your dog’s yard is not snake friendly. Snakes hide in debris piles and tall grasses, so keep your yard free of debris and keep the grass mowed short. Also, keep the yard free of food for the rattlesnakes. Rattlesnakes eat lizards, rodents, and rabbits. Removing woodpiles, debris, and fallen fruit will discourage rodents from moving in. You can also install a rattlesnake proof fence, which is a short fence partially buried in the ground and a top that angles towards the outside of the yard. Close off any holes or other entrances to under the house and porch.
Keep Your Pooch on Leash
The easiest and most effective way to prevent snake bites to dogs is to keep your dog on a leash, especially if you know he has an affinity for snake holes and wiggly creatures. Keep your dog next to you at all times while hiking and the only rattlesnakes he can come in contact with are ones you inadvertently get to close to. Stay on cleared hiking trails and paths and you will probably see the rattlesnake long before you and your dog get too close. Leashing your dog will also protect him from encounters with other wildlife, a safety benefit for both your dog and the wildlife.
Encountering a Rattlesnake with Your Canine
If or when you and your pooch do encounter a rattlesnake, first freeze and identify where the snake is located before making a move. Then move you and your dog to give it a wide birth of at least 10 feet. You can then back away. Loud noises won’t chase the snake away because they do not hear sounds through the air, but rather feel vibrations from the ground. Stomping on the ground as you move away from the snake or making other ground vibrations may help the snake to move away from you. It helps to carry a walking stick when hiking in rattlesnake territory. Then you can bang the ground with your stick to scare it off. Snakes are not known to chase anything larger than them.
Rattlesnake Vaccine for Dogs
The rattlesnake vaccine for dogs, made by Red Rock Biologics, protects dogs from Crotalus atrox, the western diamondback rattlesnake venom. Because other rattlesnake species have similar venom to the Western diamondback, the vaccine may also protect against related rattlesnake species, including Crotalus viridus (western rattlesnakes), sidewinders, copperheads, timber rattlesnakes, and massissauga rattlesnakes reports the manufacturer’s website. However, it will not protect against the Mojave rattlesnake, coral snakes, or water moccasins because the venom of these snakes is different.
Like any vaccine, the rattlesnake vaccine stimulates the dog’s immune system to make antibodies to specific snake venom. If bitten, the dog’s immune system should trigger a response to attack and neutralize the venom. However, since any vaccine is not 100%, if your dog is bitten by a rattlesnake, do take him to the veterinarian immediately as a precaution.
When first getting the vaccine, dogs will need 2 to 3 shots within a 4 to 6 week timeframe. After the initial vaccination serious, it’s recommended that dogs receive a booster every 6 to 12 months.
Rattlesnake Aversion Training
Also referred to as snake avoidance training, this dog training technique teaches a dog that rattlesnakes are dangerous. Through professional training, the dog learns that the sight, sound, and smell of a rattlesnake are to be avoided. Because dogs have a much greater sense of smell, a well-trained dog may even warn you of an unseen rattlesnake along the path.
Professional dog trainers experienced with aversion training should only do this type of training. If you are interested in rattlesnake aversion training, seek out a trainer that uses live snakes and training techniques that are human to both the canine and the snake. The use of live rattlesnakes, preferably of the species your dog is likely to encounter at home or when hiking, is necessary to teach dogs what they smell like. Each snake species, dead snakes, and live snakes all smell different. Therefore, rattlesnake aversion training needs to involve live rattlesnakes and be taught only by professional rattlesnake avoidance trainers.
Dogs and Snake Bites: Treatment
Fortunately, many venomous snake bites to dogs (and humans) are “dry bites.” This is when the rattlesnake bites but does not inject any venom. The most serious complication of a dry bite from a non-venomous snake is infection from being bit by another animal. Venomous bites can cause swelling, pain, disrupt circulation, uncontrolled bleeding, and in some cases (depending on the species of snake) paralysis.
Also fortunately, most dogs that receive veterinary care do survive rattlesnake bites. If your dog has been bitten by any snake, do take him to your veterinarian as soon as you can; do not try to treat the wound yourself. You can wash it with soap and water if necessary. Any snake bite to dogs will at a minimum need cleaning to prevent infection and a quick check to determine if a fang was left in your dog (Yes, that does happen). Canines bitten by a venomous snake, even those dogs that are vaccinated will need veterinary monitoring and possibly further supportive care, such as IV fluids or antivenin and an e-collar for dogs if they can’t leave the bite site alone.
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