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A Fancy Fish Tale

posted April 30th, 2016 by
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Nicole Castillo

A Fancy Fish Tale

FishHello, sweet pet lovers. This is the blog of a fish named Smaug. He is my new male double tale betta and a total delight. I named him Smaug after JRR Tolkien’s dragon from the Hobbit series. He is blood red and extremely grumpy looking. I knew by his sullen expression that he was going to be picky about his habitat. This was a fish that was not going to be satisfied by just a few pretty plants. I researched tank décor and was amused to see a product called a Betta Hammock by Zoo Med Laboratories. It’s basically a silk leaf attached to a suction cup. The thought of a fish needing or even wanting a hammock was comical to me, like a gag gift for your pet. I then looked at the reviews and beheld multiple pictures of happy bettas lounging on the leaves. I could not believe it. Those visuals sold me, and I ordered one at once. When it arrived, I followed the directions and installed in it Smaug’s tank. For the first few hours he relaxed under it, like a big umbrella on a bright sunny day. Then, quicker than I expected, I saw him resting over the leaf, his bottom fins laying on the hammock. So there you have it. Bettas enjoy a good hammock just like the rest of us. Probably more, because the experiences I’ve had with hammocks have not been pretty.

 

FishSmaug also has a floating jellyfish and two moss balls in his tank. The jellyfish is anchored to the bottom with a suction cup. It’s a fun decoration, unique and colorful. He loves to swim through the jellyfish tentacles and hide under it. The moss balls are good for the tank and Smaug likes to pick at them. Finding accessories for this little guy has been fun. Do you have a betta that likes his accoutrements? Is Smaug missing out on a vital betta luxury? We can’t have that! Let me know in the comments or email me at [email protected].

 

You can also contact me about any upcoming pet events. This weekend is the Thunderkatz Cat Show, Meowy May Day at the State Fairgrounds, Centennial building, April 30-May 1st, 9a to 4pm. There will be a variety of cats to see, vendors and hairballs. The Iron Thistle Scottish Festival is on Saturday, April 29th at Kirkpatrick Family Farm, 10am-5pm. This event is pet friendly and will have dog rescues, bagpipes, Scottish dancing, games, vendors and our friends at The Pet Food Pantry will be there.

Pet Overpopulation

posted April 30th, 2016 by
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Coconut Oil

Pet Overpopulation – What is the Answer?

By Kim Schlittler

Each week we hear about cats and dogs needing homes. Every cage and kennel in the animal shelters has a pet or two (or more) in it. Rescue groups and foster homes are full, so it’s difficult for them to take in another pet until one is adopted.
Pets are adopted every day. Some shelters and groups are very creative with their promotions seeking adopters. Mega adoption events are held several times a year with rescue groups and shelters coming together to find homes for hundreds of pets in a few days.
Yet the pet overpopulation problem continues. Last year, the Oklahoma City Animal Shelter alone took in 25,000 cats and dogs. More than 14,000 pets were adopted, reclaimed by their owners or transferred to rescue groups. Sadly, 10,300 pets were euthanized for various reasons. Pet owners failed to look in the shelter for their lost pets or, tragically, waited too long to look. Pet owners surrendered their pets, thinking a behavior problem was a lost cause. Not enough potential adopters thought of the shelter as a place to adopt a pet. And some pets were too ill or too aggressive to be adopted.
Of the 10,300 pets euthanized, 3,800—more than one-third—were puppies and kittens whose only crime was being born into a community where not enough people wanted to adopt young pets. These numbers are repeated on a lesser scale at animal shelters throughout the state.
With so many companion animals and too few adopting homes, what is the answer? The best answer is spaying and neutering.
Every pet lover likes to know someone is helping homeless pets. Best Friends of Pets seeks to prevent pets from becoming homeless and part of these statistics. Its spay/neuter program, which offers two low-cost, high-quality opportunities for pet owners to have their pets spayed or neutered, helps keep pets in their homes and prevents unplanned births of puppies and kittens. More than 6,000 cats and dogs were spayed or neutered in 2014 through the program.
SpayWay of Oklahoma City offers spay/ neuter, vaccinations, canine and feline tests, and microchipping. Spay/neuter fees are $30 for cats and $40 for dogs. Rescue groups and pet owners with a gross household income of $50,000 or less can call SpayWay at (405) 414-8142 for an appointment. SpayWay also goes mobile during the year and spays or neuters pets in towns throughout the state.
Cost is often the biggest reason why pets are not spayed or neutered. “We find people are tired of their pet having litter after litter of puppies or kittens, and they are excited when they can afford our services. One dog had eight litters of puppies—all accidents—in four years. Even the neighbor was excited when they found out about our low-cost spaying and neutering.”
Low-income pet owners receiving Medicaid, OKDHS or SSI (Supplemental Security Income) benefits, or meeting Best Friends of Pets’ income guidelines, can have cats spayed or neutered for $10 and dogs for $20 through its Spay/Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP).
General public assistance is also available based on income. Rabies vaccinations are $5 and are only offered when the pet is spayed or neutered. SNAP works with veterinary and nonprofit spay/neuter clinics throughout the Oklahoma City metro area. For more information about SNAP or to request a SNAP application, call (405) 418-8511 or visit www.bestfriendsofpets.org.
Puppies and kittens as young as 8 weeks or weighing at least 2 pounds can be spayed or neutered. In addition to preventing un-planned litters of puppies and kittens, spaying and neutering makes dogs less likely to roam or bite, ends yowling by cats in heat, and makes cats less likely to spray and mark their territory. Pet owners often find their pets are more calm and affectionate after being spayed or neutered.
Schlittler says now is a great time to have a pet spayed or neutered. Spring is just around the corner. With the flowers blooming, windy days and people enjoying outdoor activities also comes the arrival of stray and abandoned puppies and kittens.
Animal shelters and animal welfare groups refer to this as ‘puppy and kitten season,’ a heartbreaking time of year. Now is a great time to have a pet spayed or neutered to ensure that unplanned litter is avoided.
Best Friends of Pets is a local nonprofit organization that began in 1994 under a similar name to help increase pet adoptions and improve conditions for pets at the Oklahoma City Animal Shelter. In 2005, Best Friends of Pets started its Spay/Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP), the first year-round community spay/neuter program of its kind in the Oklahoma City area.
In 2006, Best Friends changed its adoption program to work with small groups and individuals who rescue and foster pets until they are adopted. Best Friends of Pets strives to reduce the pet overpopulation problem of too many homeless pets by helping pets, their owners and our community.

Spring Kittens

posted April 29th, 2016 by
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Spring Kittens

ALLEY CAT ALLIES

Five tips to Help Spring Kittens

Photo Gallery Demonstrates Each Tip

BETHESDA, Md., USA – April 12, 2016 – As springtime begins so does “kitten season” – when babies are born to cats who have not yet been spayed or neutered. People don’t always know the best way to help these kittens. Sometimes taking home a kitten found outdoors is the best way to help and sometimes it’s best to leave them outdoors with mom – it all depends on the situation.

“If you come across a kitten outdoors, you may be tempted to bring her home with you, but that may not be the best thing for the kitten,” said Becky Robinson, president and founder of Alley Cat Allies. “Deciding whether to take a kitten home with you or leave her where she is should be carefully considered based on the individual kitten’s situation and age.”

Alley Cat Allies, the only national advocacy organization dedicated to the humane treatment of cats, offers five easy ways people can help cats and kittens this spring. Visit www.alleycat.org/Kittens for a comprehensive guide to caring for kittens.

Tip #1: Leave kittens with mom.

Like all babies, kittens are best left with their mothers who instinctively know how to help their offspring grow up to be strong and healthy cats. Neonatal kittens, four weeks old or younger, need around the clock attention and depend on mom for 100 percent of their care. Kittens five to eight weeks old can begin to eat wet food but are still being weaned. (To determine the age of a kitten, use Alley Cat Allies’ Kitten Progression Guide at www.alleycat.org/KittenProgression.)

If you know the mother is present, it is best to leave kittens with her. To determine whether the mother is caring for the kittens, wait and observe for two to four hours to see if the mother returns. She could just be out looking for food. If she doesn’t return, the kittens could be abandoned. A young kitten living outdoors who does not have a mother present should be taken in and fostered.

If you are unsure, Alley Cat Allies has a number of resources available to help. The Alley Cat Allies’ National Cat Help Desk can provide advice and direction for a number of situations. Another option is the Alley Cat Allies’ Feral Friends Network – local individuals and organizations that may be able to help with hands-on advice, information about borrowing equipment, and veterinarians or clinics that can spay and neuter feral cats. To request a list of Feral Friends in your area, visit www.alleycat.org/FeralFriends.

Tip #2: Don’t bring neonatal kittens to an animal shelter.

Most shelters are not equipped or trained to provide the necessary round-the-clock care for neonatal kittens. If a kitten can’t eat on her own, she will likely be killed at the shelter. Realistically, it’s never a good idea to take a cat to a shelter, no matter the age or level of socialization. There are some shelters who have lifesaving programs for cats, but across the nation, more than 70 percent of cats who enter shelters are killed. That number rises to virtually 100 percent for feral cats. Killing is never the answer—it is inhumane and it fails to stabilize or reduce outdoor cat populations.

Tip #3: Volunteer as a kitten foster parent for a local rescue group.

There are kitten foster parent programs across the country. Though it is an investment of time and requires training, volunteering to foster young kittens is lifesaving and rewarding. To learn the basics of kitten care, register for Alley Cat Allies’ free “Help! I found a kitten!” webinar at www.alleycat.org/KittenWebinar.

Tip #4: Support and practice Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR).

TNR is the only effective and humane way of stabilizing and reducing community cat populations. In a TNR program, community cats are humanely trapped and brought to a veterinarian to be spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and eartipped (the universal symbol that a cat has been neutered and vaccinated) before being returned to their outdoor homes. Learn more about TNR at www.alleycat.org/TNR.

Spaying and neutering community cats prevents new litters, drastically reducing the impact of kitten season. Cats as young as four months can have litters, so it is important to spay and neuter kittens as soon as they are ready. A good rule of thumb is the 2 Pound Spay/Neuter Rule – kittens can be safely spayed or neutered at two months of age or as soon as they weigh two pounds. Learn more about pediatric spay and neuter at www.alleycat.org/spayneuter.

Tip #5: Advocate for policies and programs that protect cats.

Contact your shelter and local officials and tell them you support lifesaving policies for cats, including spay and neuter funding and spay and neuter before adoption. Write letters and call in support of community outreach and education programs that spread awareness about spay and neuter, community cats and TNR – you can make a big difference. Learn how you can help your local shelter save more cats’ lives at www.alleycat.org/HelpShelters.

Visit www.alleycat.org/5KittenTips for the Alley Cat Allies “Kitten Season” photo gallery and download high-resolution images for each tip.

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About Alley Cat Allies

Alley Cat Allies, headquartered in Bethesda, Md., is the only national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats. Founded in 1990, today Alley Cat Allies has more than 600,000 supporters and helps tens of thousands of individuals, communities and organizations save and improve the lives of millions of cats and kittens worldwide. Its website is www.alleycat.org, and Alley Cat Allies is active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and YouTube.

Ticks on Your Pets

posted April 29th, 2016 by
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Ticks

Ticks On Your Pets

How to check for and remove

Checking for Ticks on Dogs and Cats
Carrington.edu emphasizes the importance of regular, thorough tick checks to avoid potentially dangerous tick-borne diseases. The procedure is pretty straightforward:
Check the entire body, including between toes, inside ears, under armpits and around the face.
If you find a tick, prepare to remove it immediately. You will need alcohol, gloves and tweezers to do so.
Latch onto the tick as close to the dog’s skin as possible.
Pull the tick straight up.
Kill the tick and place it inside a dated jar in case you need to have it tested later.
Disinfect the area where the tick latched on.
Give your dog a treat as a reward for its patience.
Preventing Tick Infestation
While it is impossible to guarantee that your pet will never get ticks, you can prevent infestation by cutting the grass regularly, clearing brush from around your home and avoiding walks through the forest, according to PetMD.com. A variety of shampoos, topical treatments, tick collars and other treatments are available, which either stop ticks from latching onto your dog or kill them as soon as they do. Consult your veterinarian to see which treatment options he or she recommends.
Keeping your new pet tick-free will keep it healthy and happy and prolong its life. Make it a priority to do a tick checkup before you let your new dog in the house. The sooner ticks are caught and removed, the less likely your dog will be to contract a tick-borne illness.

Ticks

Dog Food for the Slow Cooker

posted April 29th, 2016 by
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Dog Food

Dog Food

Dog Food for the Slow Cooker

Written By Amica Graber

2016.04.20 – 4:45pm

The harmful impacts of processed dog food are frequently underplayed. Meat is often sourced from the abattoir leftovers, and according to one horrific exposé, even euthanized pets can sometimes go into the manufacture of dog food.

On the flipside, preparing your dog’s meals at home can save you cash, and some say that it can help your dog live longer.

I can barely throw my own meals together, so if you’re skeptical — I get it. Luckily, there has always been one invention in my kitchen that has been a godsend when I can’t get it together: the slow cooker.

Slow cooking your dog’s meals takes all of the hard work out of cooking. Have you got a refrigerator drawer of crumpled-looking carrots that you abandoned in favor of takeout? Throw ‘em in the slow cooker for your lil buddy! Didn’t get round to finishing that chicken? TO THE SLOW COOKER!

But, there are some caveats to DIY dog food. For some reason, feeding dogs cheese is pretty popular right now. I fed my dog cheese once, and perhaps he has a touch of Gwyneth Paltrow about him, but it made him sick as — well, a dog.

Dogs love eating cheese. So do I, for that matter. However, dogs don’t have the lactase in their stomachs to break it down efficiently, which can lead to diarrhea (check), odious gas (double check), and even long-term digestion issues.

To navigate the murky land of knowing what to feed your pet, we designed this nifty infographic to make it as easy as pie.

Slow Cooker Dog Food

The Intricacies of Pet Rescue

posted April 21st, 2016 by
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What's in Your Dog Shampoo

The Intricacies of Pet Rescue

By Pat Becker

 

The year 2014 seemed destined to race forward, pushed and prodded by the ever-increasing number of planned projects and events scheduled for all of the animal rescue and pet organizations in our state. The need for funds in our country to cover the cost of pet advocacy is growing daily, in part because of the awareness factor stimulated by national organizations such as the ASPCA and the Humane Society of the United States. More specifically, the people who run the pet help facilities in our city and state are desperate for financial help.

Every successful rescue has a leader—a CEO of sorts—with a board of directors and at least 100 volunteers. Some aid administratively; some assist at events and outreach projects, and some foster pets. “It takes a village…” is a trite phrase compared to the number of people involved in a truly successful pet advocacy group.

I have the heartfelt pleasure of knowing each of the folks who run these different organizations in OKC. I have witnessed their joy when things are going well and their tears when things seem futile. Statistically, the groups are run by women. Not so much of a revelation here; we are by nature, nurturers. The average age of volunteers is 45 to 65. (The “Empty Nest Syndrome” is a great recruiting motivator.)

It’s remarkable to me how these people can stay connected when they deal, from time to time, with the horrors of pet cruelty or the necessity for making the gut-wrenching decisions of pet euthanasia.

I volunteered at the intake desk of an animal shelter once, so I know firsthand what they encounter. A family came in with an older female Lab to “drop off” as they put it. I asked them if she was their dog. They confirmed they “had her from a pup.” Confused, I asked them if she was vicious, had she bitten someone. “Oh, no!” the father said. “She has been great, but she’s so old now. We’d like to trade her in for a puppy.”

Well, you can imagine how I “went off” on these callous, uncaring people. I couldn’t help myself! After the family retreated with the old Lab, the shelter director advised me that at the next shelter the family would probably just swear they had found her by the side of the road.

Needless to say, I was fired from my volunteer job. That’s OK. I could see that my “focus-connection” abilities were woefully lacking. Volun-teers must have an infinite amount of patience. However, the lesson I learned from that experience gave me insight into the dire need for education of pet owners.

I noticed in 2014 some of the pet advocacy groups seem to be more resourceful in soliciting and marketing—two of the most necessary abilities in running a 501(c)(3) agency. Basically,      to hold a financially successful fundraiser, most of the expenses incurred must be covered through donations. This means the organization must adopt a PR attitude and start creating contacts it can count on year after year.

Large firms which encourage employees to volunteer or contribute seasonably are a great place to start. Wealthy donors sensitive to animal causes, foundations that give yearly grants—these, along with other sources, are imperative to success. Each organization must have a person or group of people who can write grants and make personal calls and appointments… and do it all well!

Folks, it ain’t easy! There has to be a balance between the day-to-day “hands on” jobs of taking in the abandoned, abused and lost pets; having them checked by a vet, spayed/neutered, testing each animal’s temperament, placing them in hopefully forever homes; and the administrative responsibilities of judgment calls and decision making. Sound complex? You bet it is.

So visit one of your local rescues or shelters. If you can leave there after talking with a director or volunteer and not want to help in some way, well, that would disappoint me.

 

Many hugs!

Pat Becker

Dog Talk