When you visit this page, the first post you will see is Pet Peeves Unmasked Blog Mission. That’s because the whole purpose behind each and every one of the posts I write is to push you gently to become the best pet parent possible! That’s the blog mission. And, that’s my personal mission.
“Perfect” Pet Parenting
Furthermore, I have written a book entitled “Perfect” Pet Parenting that covers all aspects of caring for dogs and cats. It is based on my personal experience as a pet caregiver and incorporates the expertise of professionals who focus on specific areas of a companion animal’s wellbeing. This blog site contains extracts from my book.
One of the biggest advantages of managing a blog site is that posts can be edited, updated and published at any time and as quickly as needed. Blog followers are hungry for knowledge and like to have access to the latest information in a matter of seconds. Consequently, they are faithful followers when they have sources they can trust that give them the tools to improve their life and the life of those close to them.
Pet Peeves Unmasked Posts covers a very wide range of subject matter that is organized into groups. Each blog is then filed in a specific category which is located in the right hand column of this page.
As you will notice, group topics are extremely diverse. Animal rights and adopting. Breeds and body language. Gentle leaders and leashes. Dry food and water bowls. Vaccinations and CPR. Walking and dog parks. Pet sitting and pedicures. Car rides, air cargo and boarding. And, I mustn’t forget to mention the heart-warming stories of some amazing, heroic dogs and cats.
Lastly, I want to encourage you to leave comments and suggestions because when we all work together, we can all keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!
Just like a mother monitors her child’s health, dog and cat parents can also learn to check their pet’s vitals at home. Your cat is vomiting. Your dog is panting excessively. And, you’re not sure what’s wrong. Certainly you are concerned and probably thinking, “Will it pass?” “Is it serious?” “Should I take it to the vet?”
However, before you call the animal hospital, prepare yourself to tell the nurse or doctor what the vital signs are. And, if you are able to do that, it will save time and enable the experts to quickly advise you on what you should do next.
Monitoring Pet Vital Signs
In my most recent blog entitled Three Pet Vital Signs, https://petpeevesunmasked.com/three-pet-vital-signs/, I lay out the American Red Cross norms for measuring pet temperature, pulse and respiration. And, importantly, it shows how the rates vary between dogs and cats. So, if you missed the article, or want to refresh your memory before we move on, please take a look.
As you will see, this is an introduction to what follows now. Right here is the information that will give you the knowledge to do these basic checks yourself. It’s concise, easy to follow, and will empower you to handle a situation calmly and effectively.
Tips To Always Home Check Pet Vitals
Keep An Eye On Pet Heart And Pulse Rates
The first option to check your pet’s heart and pulse rates is place your hand on the left side of your pet’s chest, where the heart is located. Time the number of beats for a period of 15 seconds and multiply it by four. That will give you the number of beats per minute (bpm).
There are times when you may experience difficulty detecting the heart beat this way, but don’t worry. Try checking the pulse instead. You can do this by placing two fingers together on top of the femoral artery. This major artery passes through the groin, in the thigh area where the elbow meets the chest. But, please note that it can be quite difficult to feel a cat’s pulse in this manner.
Monitoring Pet Breathing Rates At Home
To measure the breathing rate, count the number of times the chest expands in 15 seconds and multiply by four. This will give you the number of respirations per minutes (rpm). You can either watch the chest rise and fall or else feel it take in oxygen by resting your hand on the pet’s chest. Taking a breath should not make any noise and, at the same time, should require hardly any effort.
Detect Abnormal Pet Body Temperature
There are two ways you can check your pet’s temperature. The first is by inserting a thermometer rectally. However, if you or your pet aren’t comfortable with this method, try an ear thermometer.
Ideally, you will be able to count on having another person there to hold your pet and help keep it relaxed while it is either standing or lying down. Use either an old-fashioned glass thermometer or a newer digital kind that is easy to read and beeps when it is ready to be removed.
Lubricate it with a water-based medical lubricant, or else a generic product such as petroleum jelly. Carefully insert it into the rectum—at least 2cm and no more than 1 inch— and leave for about two minutes until you get a good reading. When you remove the thermometer, make sure to thoroughly clean and disinfect it with ethyl alcohol. You could also use a disposable thermometer cover each time, which is very practical.
Definitely easier to use and less uncomfortable for your pet is the hand-held digital ear thermometer. The marketing pitch for the one shown in this photo actually focuses on pediatricians and mothers, but I have successfully used it for pets in my care.
Firstly, you need to make sure the probe tip and lens are clean and then put on a new disposable lens cover. Push the start button and wait for the ready signal beep. Next, fit the probe tip snugly into the ear canal and release the start button. A long beep will let you know when the measuring process is complete and the result will appear on the display screen. It’s that simple!
To Sum Up
Invest a little time to learn these techniques to monitor your pet’s vital signs at home, and put them into practice periodically. Depending on the circumstances, this knowledge will either help keep your pet well, or stable, or, simply put, out of danger.
Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!
Whenever you take your dog or cat to the animal clinic, there are three pet vital signs your vet will want to check out first. These are the heart rate, respiratory rate, and body temperature.
Even though there are well-established norms, which I will share with you momentarily, what’s “normal” for your particular pet may differ slightly from another. For that reason, it is helpful for a pet parent to establish what’s typical for their dog or cat and use it as a point of reference for potential situations in the future. These could apply when there is an illness or an accident.
Pet Temperature Pulse Respiration (TPR) Norms
In this section you will see the first aid norms that the American Red Cross has published in their guidelines for canines and felines. They make the point that the TPR norms for canines and felines do differ. And, in addition to that, they draw your attention to the fact that rates outside these ranges could signal a medical emergency.
The Three Pet Vital Signs To Watch
Pet Pulse Norms
Normal Heart and Pulse Rates for Dogs
Puppy (less than 1 year old):
120-160 beats per minute
Small, miniature or toy breed (30 pounds or less):
100-140 beats per minute
Medium to large breed (greater than 30 pounds):
60-100 beats per minute
Normal Heart and Pulse Rates for Cats
160-220 beats per minute
Pet Breathing Norms
Normal Breathing Rates for Dogs
10-30 breaths per minute
Up to 200 pants per minute (breathing with its mouth open and tongue out)
Normal Breathing Rates for Cats
20-30 breaths per minute
Pet Temperature Norms
Normal Temperatures for Dogs
A temperature of 100º-102.5ºF is normal
A temperature lower than 100ºF or greater than 104ºF is an emergency
Normal Temperatures for Cats
100º-102.5ºF is normal
A temperature lower than 100ºF or greater than 104ºF is an emergency
To Sum Up
The logical next step dealing with this topic is to explain how you can check your pet’s three vital signs at home. Actually, it’s not as complicated as it may sound. Moreover, it’s well worth investing a little time to learn these techniques and put them into practice periodically. It will give you peace of mind knowing that your pet is well and stable.
Totally mystified by this curious sight, these two dogs discuss human muzzles and try to figure them out. So, it’s the puppy who starts the conversation by asking, “What in the world is going on?” As you can see, mom simply gives her offspring an abbreviated, no-nonsense answer. However, a fuller explanation would probably go something like this…
Mask-Wearing People Confuse Puppy
“Well, first of all, I feel rather bad for our two-legged companions. The thing is, one day they’re told they don’t need to wear these weird things they call masks. Then a few weeks later, someone says they absolutely must put them on to stay safe from dangerous germs. It’s sad, really. That’s why they don’t know if they’re coming or going!
What People Did
“But, the important part I need to share with you, little one, is that they disobeyed orders. Oh, yes. They were told to stay at home in case they caught this horrible virus and spread it around to other humans. Not only here, but everywhere on earth. Just think about that for a moment.”
Eyes And Nose
However, still eager to talk more about muzzles for humans, the brave little dog approaches one of these strange mask-wearing people. “Hey! You look a bit scary. I can only see your eyes. But, I have an awesome nose and I will know right away if I’m going to like you or not. Please tell me, is this the new norm?”
“Yes, it is, little Laz. You look Hungarian, so I’m going to give you this nickname. I hope you don’t mind!
What Doctors Are Doing
“We need to protect ourselves and other people. For now, this is the best we can do. But the doctors are working hard to make a vaccine. You know, like the one the vet gives you to keep you safe from parvo, and rabies, and diseases like that. And then, only then, will you be able to see our faces again, little Laz.”
“Woof! Woof! Thank you, ma’am. I like you. You smell okay and my mom agrees. We have to go now. It’s dinner time. Bye! Stay safe!”
Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!
It already has 40 million views on YouTube, but do you think Kitbull, the animated animal Oscar nomination, actually has a chance of winning? The fans certainly believe it’s possible. Well, very soon we will know which of the five contenders in the category Best Animated Short Film came out of top. And, in the meantime, millions of us are anxiously watching the countdown to the 2020 Academy Awards ceremony that will take place this coming Sunday.
Kitbull Is An Animated Animal Story
This short is very special for a number of reasons. Primarily, it tells the story of a distrustful stray kitten struggling to survive alone. We see a dog (pitbull) suffering at the hands of a sadist. However, their fates take an unexpected turn. Viewers witness an unlikely friendship developing between the two. Then, finally, human compassion shines through. All of this in the space of just nine minutes!
Interesting Facts About Kitbull, The Impactful Oscar Contender
1. Pixar Animation Studios are renowned for their pioneering digital animation. However, for this film, a product of their SparkShorts program, every single frame is hand-drawn and hand-painted.
2. Kitbull features 2-D animation instead of the usual 3-D.
3. There is sound but not a single spoken word.
A Voice For The Vulnerable
Through no fault of their own, community cats and kittens, also known as feral cats, are homeless. Nevertheless, they deserve and have the right to live. Rounding them up for slaughter, or poisoning them, are barbaric solutions to prevent population explosion. The Trap/Neuter/Return program is humane and, what’s more, it works. Also, another reason why animal lovers and activists are outraged is because of laws stating that to feed these defenseless creatures is a crime.
As you may or may not know, Pit Bull is not a recognized breed. Now, what commonly occurs is that any dog with a bulldog- or bull terrier-like head, pure bred or otherwise, is discriminated against and horrendously abused. “Pit Bulls” are exploited to satisfy human greed in the form of dog fighting. It is our duty to report such operations so they can be shut down. Without exception and whenever rehabilitation is possible, these fighting dogs, breeding bitches and bait dogs absolutely deserve a second chance.
Animal Oscar Nominee Kitbull Is A Call To Action
There is no doubt that the purpose behind Kitbull, this impactful Oscar contender, is to create greater awareness of the tragic circumstances that affect the dogs and cats in our very midst. What brings about change. And how everyone can help right these wrongs in our society.
To Sum Up
Kitbull teaches us about selflessness and compassion as well as making a connection and having a relationship. Animal to animal. Between the same kind, or a different species. Animal to human. Human to animal. Enjoy the film! Spread the word!
From sadness to happiness. From anxiety to confidence. This image shows how just adopted dogs react when they realize their life is going to change. Words are barely necessary because the transformation is plain to see.
We don’t know for sure why these two sweet souls ended up in a shelter. Had they lived together before? Or did they become bonded when they were put in the same cage because the shelter had run out of space?
Whatever the circumstances, these homeless dogs realize that adoption is now a done deal. At least, for them.
Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!
People get it! They understand how stressed homeless pets become. And, that’s precisely why they are knitting kitty cuddle blankets for felines of all ages to use while they wait to get adopted.
Did you know that if a cat (or dog) is able to relax and snuggle in something soft and soothing, its anxiety level drops? Well, when that happens, its personality starts to shine. And the benefit is that these pets have a far better chance of getting noticed by potential adopters and transitioning to a loving home.
What To Expect
For this article we go first to a small rescue in Canada and after to a much larger organization in England. Then finally we are delighted to share with you a very special knitting pattern. And we’ll also talk about a long established business that’s known the world over for its high quality, innovative yarns.
Feral To Friendly Cat Rescue, Canada
In Brantford, Ontario, Celena Brooks-Ferraro and her team of dedicated volunteers rescue abandoned and lost cats. However, most of their work revolves around the local feral population. And this effort includes making sure that all the roaming cats and kittens benefit from the Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program.
Hand Knitted Cat Bedding
When it comes to the feral kittens, they are placed in foster homes for socialization so they can be put up for adoption as indoor cats. And to help in this transition, a local resident, who posts on social media under the name Five Petal Lane, got involved in another way. She uses her crocheting skills to make bedding that helps fulfill the tiny felines’ comfort needs. Initially the blankets line the crates that the kittens are held in temporarily and then they are put out in other sleeping areas. That way, the little ones are sure to feel snug and safe all year round.
On The Other Side Of The Atlantic
As I mentioned, we’re also paying a visit to England. It’s pretty obvious that the title of this article focuses on kitty blankets. However, we thought you’d be interested to hear about two other aspects that are directly related to today’s main topic.
So, please read on to learn what a shelter and a yarn manufacturer have been doing for quite a while. They care about animal welfare and make sure that knitters have the tools and the opportunity to make lots and lots of kitties happy. And, by the way, they’ve both been household names for around a century and a half!
Battersea Dogs And Cats Home, England
Just south of the river Thames, not too far from where I grew up, is an institution that few Londoners have not heard of. And, it was established back in1860 as a temporary home for lost and starving dogs.
Battersea Dogs and Cats Home is a shelter that cares for over 8,000 animals every year. Of this number, approximately 5,000 are dogs and 3,000 are cats. Importantly, all of them stay here until they are either reunited with their owners or are rehomed.
Some Battersea Stats
This organization, which, by the way, is not subsidized by the government, has a staff of around 300, in addition to 1,000 volunteers.
They operate at three different locations, namely, London, Old Windsor, and Brands Hatch.
The average stay for a dog is 36 days, and for a cat it is 27 days.
State Of The Art Cattery
In 2011, and at a cost of £2 million (2.5 million US dollars), Battersea inaugurated its new cattery. And, what can a cat expect to find? It’s own private room where it is free to roam. A floor-to-ceiling window, heated flooring and full-size door so staff can walk right in. No more staying in a cage. No more being let out and put back in. And, last but by no means least, most of the beds have hand knitted snuggle throws. The whole purpose is to create an environment with the feel of a real home. And now this brings us back to knitting.
Knitting Kitty Cuddle Blankets At Knitting Kittens Club
Whether you’re a novice knitter or someone with considerable experience, it makes no difference at the Battersea London Cattery. Everyone has a great time at the monthly knitting events, sharing a common interest — to create blankets and toys for the felines. What’s more, the kitties can roam around the same specially designated area. They actually supervise the knitters and make sure they don’t dropped a stitch!
At the three-hour sessions, visitors bring their own wool and needles as well as share patterns, ideas and skills with the other participants. They are free to take their work home for their own pet to enjoy or else donate to the ones awaiting adoption. And, by the way, when a cat or kitten is adopted, it can take the hand knitted cat bedding with it to the new home.
What a great way to spend an evening. Knit for a while. Take a break to play with a kitty. Pick up the needles again. It’s a win-win situation for everyone, those with whiskers and those without!
When I was growing up, Sirdar was a household name, that is, if anyone in your family knew how to knit. So, when I was looking online for a knitting pattern that could help illustrate this story, I was delighted to find a great example.
But before you get out the needles, let me tell you a little about this great company that was founded in West Yorkshire, in the north of England. And, for those of you who may not know this, it’s a region renowned for raising sheep for wool, and spinning and weaving.
Known today as Sirdar Spinning Ltd, the company started off as Messrs Harrap Bros. Ltd in 1880 and was founded by siblings Tom and Henry. Tom’s son Fred took over in 1934 at a time when the company was selling its hand-knitting yarns to independent wool shops.
Then, beginning in the 1960s and throughout the following three decades, Fred’s daughter, Jean Tyrell, grew the company (then Sirdar) by adding patterns to its product line. Notably, she was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for her contribution to the industry.
Three years before she passed away in 2010, the company was taken over by three of its directors. During that time the expansion continued and the range of yarns and patterns became available all over the world.
In 2017, Sirdar became a part of DMC which is the largest needle-craft group of companies in the world. And thanks to the fashion-forward designs and yarns that are launched each season, this English brand continues to maintain its position as a market leader.
How To Knit the Fish Pattern Blanket and Garter Stitch Pattern Blanket
Here are the two patterns you’ve all been waiting for! And, when your work is complete, please take a photo of it being used so we can publish it here for everyone to see. Good luck and have fun knitting for the cats and kittens.
To Sum Up
Doing whatever you can to help the less fortunate dogs and cats in your neighborhood is a wonderful thing. And, because the interest in making bedding and toys for them is growing, more articles like this will be published soon. So, please stay in touch.
Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!
Tara first gains fame on YouTube. But after this feline hero meets Jackson Galaxy, she becomes even more of a celebrity. Here’s why.
Pet Parents Learn About Animal Heroism
If you’ve never seen a cat bodyslam a dog that is harming a child, you’re about to. This is an incident I wrote about last year but it actually occurred in May of 2014, several years before I even thought about launching a blog site. Although the main purpose of this endeavor is to help people caring for dogs and cats become the best pet parent possible, the range of topics has widened. I decided to introduce a little humor, as well as talk about working dogs and animal heroism.
Now, when it comes to saving human lives, we usually think of dog heroes. However, what totally surprised me was discovering the stories of cats and their amazing heroic actions. And this brings me back to the story at hand.
A Timeline Of Tara’s Counterattack
But before I show you the video of when Jackson Galaxy visits cat hero Tara, let me fill you in briefly about what Tara did exactly.
Four-year old Jeremy Triantafilo was happily riding his bike in the driveway of his home in Bakersfield, CA. A neighbor’s dog suddenly appears and is seen running up from behind the boy. It bites him in the leg and starts to pull him backwards.
Adopted, indoor/outdoor tabby cat Tara hears the commotion and races into action. At full speed she runs towards the much larger canine and bodyslams it. Tara chases the dog away. Jeremy’s mother rushes outside to rescue her son. The little boy requires emergency medical attention. He needs 10 stitches to his left calf. But let’s remember one thing; the outcome could have been much worse.
Tara’s YouTube Sensation
As the above incident unfolded, it was all captured on the home surveillance video. Two days later, Jeremy’s dad decided to post it on YouTube and it was seen by viewers across the globe. In fact, it became a viral phenomenon for being the first video in YouTube history to reach 20 million views in just five days!
Renowned cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy was one of those viewers and saw the video multiple times. I am guessing he was so impressed by Tara’s split-second reaction and determination, that he decided he had to meet her. It was just a question of how to fit the trip into his exceedingly busy schedule. Finally he was able to work something out so that he and his crew could go to southern California.
Cat Hero Tara Meets Jackson Galaxy
So, eventually, three years later, Tara and Jackson meet and together they film a segment for the phenomenally famous television show on Animal Planet. Of course, Tara was not included in the behavior rehabilitation series called My Cat From Hell. Rather she now forms part of an exclusive roster of animal heroes in the section entitled My Cat From Heaven. It, too, is available on YouTube and here it is for all to see. Enjoy!
Since 2006 she is on a mission. Susan Thixton exposes pet food industry injustice and is a fierce advocate for all pet food consumers. That was the year she launched her website TruthAboutPetFood.com. And, in order to stay up-to-date on all aspects of this sector and keep us informed, she regularly attends industry seminars across the USA.
From A Personal Mission
When I met her recently, I asked why she is such a fighter. This was her answer. “When my Rottweiler, Sam, died from bone cancer in 1991, my vet Dr. Bruce Catlett said that the probable cause was her food.” He had mentioned the chemical preservatives in the food, principally ethoxyquin.
“Sam and I had a mutual worship, we were best friends,” added Thixton. “One of those extra special dogs that could see into your soul.”
To A National Platform
When Thixton speaks, people listen. That’s because she is a pet food advocate who demands the truth. While traveling across the country she is educating pet guardians. The wide range of topics she covers includes harmful ingredients, production failures, manufacturer coverups, associations interference and government indifference.
High Profile Expo Participants
So, why do people listen to her? Because she has earned the respect of her peers. For example, she’s speaking at the next HealthyDogExpo to be held in Albany, N.Y. on April 4, 2020. Susan Thixton and others like her are determined to empower pet food consumers. By fighting for industry transparency and putting an end to negligence and deception, more companion animals will stay healthier longer. That is their goal.
She will be participating at this natural dog health education event together with well-known personalities such as:
Dr. Karen Becker, holistic veterinarian, the first vet in the world to give a TEDx talk on species appropriate nutrition
Rodney Habib, film maker, award-winning blogger, founder of Planet Paws, the most followed pet health page on Facebook
Dr. Kendra Pope, veterinary oncologist with extensive training in holistic modalities, and
Susan Garrett, world class trainer and agility competitor, and pioneer of online dog training
Pet food consumers are worried, and they certainly have every reason to be. When our companion canines and felines ingest contaminated food —dry, canned, raw and treats — the health risks are real. And, sadly, they are also rampant.
It’s an ongoing discussion I will be presenting to you in the coming weeks and months. For now, however, here are some snippets that will make you reflect and want to learn more. Because, if I haven’t already got your attention, that’s all about to change.
Food Or Feed?
All states in the USA regulate pet food as feed, yet Federal law says it’s food. For it to be called food, however, it must be human grade food made under USDA inspection.
How do contaminated grains find their way into pet food? Quite simple. They can lie in a mound in an open field for three weeks, exposed to the weather, birds and animals.
Consumers Group Files Citizen Petition
The Association for Truth in Pet Food (ATPF) has filed a Citizen Petition in the regulatory system. It has requested that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stop allowing illegal ingredients in pet food.
In 2017 and 2018, the recalls of canned pet food that contained the euthanizing drug Pentobarbital amounted to more than 30 million pounds. Shockingly, this means that the ingredients came from animals that had not been slaughtered.
To Sum Up
Due to the fact that pet food is such a hot topic, please look out for many more articles like this on a regular basis. That way you can stay informed with news you can trust.
What better way to introduce today’s topic of dry pet food fiction than show you the first of two videos. This is because I believe in setting the stage so that pet parents can decide for themselves. It’s not an attempt to persuade. There is no marketing agenda.
All pet caregivers are faced with the same decisions when it comes to choosing what to give their dogs and cats to eat. Being informed helps you decide what is best and what is affordable. Each family has its own unique circumstances. Nevertheless, I’m sure you all want your pets to be happy and healthy, and lead the kind of life they deserve.
THE REALITY BEHIND PET KIBBLE
What Are The Ingredients?
Let’s take a look at what actually goes into making pet kibble. The following list shows the main ingredients.
meat by-products (parts not generally for human consumption, by-product meal either named or unidentified)
grains (corn, wheat, rice)
pulses (chickpeas, beans, lentils, soybeans)
Please take note that this type of dry food is high in calories. As a result, it’s very easy for a pet to become overweight. This usually occurs if it free feeds (grazes) and doesn’t get measured quantities at specific meal times.
Exactly How Is Kibble Made?
After studying the manufacturing process in considerable detail, I have been calling the marketing and sale of these products dry pet food fiction. That’s because they have really low nutritional value and frequently contain ingredients that cause harmful health effects, both long term and short term.
As you may have already realized, dry food for both dogs and cats is highly processed. That translates into a diet that does little to provide the body with the nutrients it needs to function properly.
With the exception of a very small number of businesses that make commercial oven-baked dry food, around 95 percent of all kibble is manufactured by extrusion. Prepare yourself for what comes next! This is the reality behind pet kibble!
The Extrusion Delusion
In the extrusion process, the dry and wet ingredients are mixed together and pulverized to form a dough-like consistency. It is then fed into an expander for cooking and subjected to extreme pressure and high temperature.
In the next step, the dough is extruded (forced) through a specially shaped die, cut into pellets, and passed through a dryer. The pellets are then sprayed with fats, oils and synthetic additives such as vitamins, minerals and amino acids. This step is aimed at replacing these natural substances which the food will have lost during the manufacturing process.
Finally, the finished product is packaged ready for shipping to stores.
Why Is Dry Pet Food So Popular?
Despite the fact that kibble is not the best option out there, these are the main reasons why people choose to give it to their pets.
convenience…open the bag, scoop and serve
time-saving…no preparation required
relatively long shelf life before spoiling
can be used in automatic feeders
can usually be left out in the food bowl all day before it starts to go rancid
generally more economical than other food alternatives
To Sum Up
This article is just one of many more I intend to write on the topic of mealtime foods, snacks and treats. In a couple of weeks you’ll be able to read about a presentation I attended in Florida given by a nationally-respected advocate for pet food transparency. Her name…Susan Thixton. What she told us is life-changing!