Monday, 27 February 2017

Some Pretty Unusual Differences Between Cat And Dog People

I've been digging through my research material this week to bring you a few of the lesser known differences between cat and dog people according to studies made.

The Beatles
Believe it or not, a study showed that dog and cat people had a marked difference to which of The Beatles they preferred! Dog lovers showed a preference for Paul McCartney whilst feline fans were more in favour of George Harrison.

Research has shown that cat lovers are more likely to be Atheist than dog lovers!

Dog lovers were shown to be more extroverted and dominant than their feline loving counterparts. Studies have shown that cat lovers have also shown a greater preference to being alone and view themselves as less conformist than their canine-loving counterparts.

According to research, if you're a dog lover you're more likely to fall about laughing at slapstick comedy. Cat lovers on the other hand show a preference for puns and more ironic humour.

One poll involving 200,000 pet owners in the US showed that dog owners were fifty per cent more likely to be conservatives than their cat loving counterparts.

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Saturday, 18 February 2017

Why Your Cat May Not Be Drinking Enough Water

Many cat owners perhaps don't realise that cats don't voluntarily drink water as naturally as dogs do. A cat's lower thirst drive can leave them open to conditions such as urinary tract infections and it is very important that we encourage our feline friends to drink enough water to avoid potential problems.

Apart from the natural tendency to have the aforementioned lower thirst drive, cats can display some unusual tendencies and preferences when it comes to taking in enough hydration. Understanding how cats relate to the drinking of water can help our cats immensely.

Canned Food Versus Dry Food
It may be useful to know that many canned cat foods contain about 75 percent water whilst dry food contains around 10 percent. Feeding a cat at least some canned food ensures not only better hydration but has been shown to help lower the incidence of conditions such as diabetes, hyperthyroidism  and constipation too.

Change Water Regularly
Cats don't like 'old' water as it can appear stale or infected to them. Change water daily and make sure that drinking bowls are very clean.

Cats Prefer Running Water
A throwback to when still water signified potential contamination means that many cats are more comfortable drinking from a running water source. The modern cat fountains available are an excellent way for many cats to indulge in their preference and help make sure that they are motivated to drink enough.

Whisker Sensitivity
An often overlooked factor in cats is their 'whisker sensitivity'. If a water bowl (or food bowl) is too narrow then this can affect a cat's desire to use it. It has been said that cats show a preference for shallow glass bowls.

Levels And Location
The ideal scenario for cats is that they have more than one 'drinking source' located 'out of the way' thus ensuring them choice and privacy. One factor that is often overlooked is that our sometimes finicky friends actually prefer a constant level too. If you don't use a fountain then it's a valuable tip to not over or under-fill your cat's water bowl as they prefer consistency.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Canine First Aid - Why It's So Important

As a former Pet First Aid Instructor I am often asked "Do you think I should enrol on a course in Pet First Aid?" I am still surprised to hear this as I consider it the single best cost/reward ratio act a pet owner can undertake.

Imagine if you were walking with your dog and a situation occurred whereby a little gained knowledge may influence the outcome. Working with dogs has put me in situations where I have had to deal with cut paws, a CPR situation, a dog that got a bone splinter lodged in it's mouth on a Sunday with the nearest Veterinary help over an hour away, seizures, strokes and a few more situations that could have had a more serious outcome but for a little canine first aid knowledge.

I remember delivering a course at an animal rescue centre and a lady telling the class that her St. Bernard dog simply 'dropped dead' on a woodland walk. If that wasn't sad enough, the poor woman had 'beaten herself up' emotionally as she had played back a scene in her head whereby she had administered CPR and her dog had recovered.

I'm not telling you the above to be dramatic or over-concern you. It's an event that you are unlikely to encounter and even with CPR training there's a high likelihood that the poor dog would still have been lost but it's not hard to empathise with the poor owner replaying the event in her mind.

If, in any capacity, you work with dogs then holding a certificate in Pet First Aid should be something you should either have or aspire to getting. It was the single biggest home visit thumbs-up from pet owners for me when I ran a dog walking/pet-sitting business as experience/insurance/testimonials etc were simply business expectations for them but training in Pet First Aid was seen as a high value attribute.

If you're concerned at the potential cost/time commitment in gaining a qualification/training you may be surprised at how inexpensive it is to complete an online course. The courses I have seen are pitched at a comfortable level for pet owners and many owners have told me that it is the best money they have spent on pet care.

There is an online course advertised at the bottom of this post that promotes very low cost training and it is available to my readers worldwide. I do receive a tiny commission for recommending the courses but the cost of this is not passed on to you. I have done the course myself and it's great value, certificated and informative. It is the only online pet first aid course that we personally recommend.

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Monday, 6 February 2017

Getting To The Point About Cat Claws

I’ll bet there isn’t a single cat owner among you who, at this very moment, isn’t bearing visible proof that your cat has claws.  Those crusty streaks on your arms and legs; those pastel pink “neener neener” streaks that prove she barely laid a glove on you.

And in most households, furniture, carpets and door and window casings also bear visible proof that your cat has claws.  But, I didn’t call you here today to tell you that.  Instead, I invite you to join us as we take a look at these interesting anatomical features.

While the claws are keenly capable of slicing you and your household to shreds, that is not their main purpose.  Claws were in place long before we became BFF with them because the cats had to get along in a pretty tough world.

Their claws provide traction that enables them to evade danger and chase prey, climb trees as required by both those pursuits, and maintain a grip on narrow branches until their tormentors move on.  They use their claws to scatter debris to cover up their scent when they answer a nature call, and, of course, the one we all think of first:  dispatch and tear into prey.

Like our fingernails, toenails and hair, a cat’s claws are composed of a protein called keratin.  But the similarity pretty much ends there.  There’s also a layer of dead keratin, called the sheath, which coats the cat’s claws.

That’s why house cats scratch on carpets and furniture while outdoor cats use trees and rocks.  That activity removes the sheath, leaving a freshly sharpened claw that’s ready for action.  You probably find them around the house from time to time.  I have a sheath from an African lion’s claw that a zookeeper gave me many years ago.  Pretty impressive weapon.

Cats claws also contain a “quick,” appearing as a pink streak in the center of the claw.  That contains the claw’s blood supply.  You have to be careful when clipping your cat’s claws.  If you cut the quick, it’s painful to the cat and it bleeds generously.

But the biggest difference between our nails and their claws is that the claws are retractable.  When not in use, the claws are held in place by tight, elastic ligaments.  When she needs to use her claws, to climb up your leg for instance, she employs a muscle (if you’re taking notes, it’s the deep digital flexor) that defeats the ligament, keeping the claw retracted. When you gingerly remove her from your leg, she relaxes the muscle and the claws retract. 

Medical problems with the claws aren’t too common, but they can happen and often involve bacterial, viral and fungal infections or injury.  One of the most obvious signs of a problem is if the cat starts limping.

A little more subtle symptom is when the cat constantly licks her paw.  That’s easy to ignore because licking the paw is such a routine part of grooming.  You might note if the cat pays particular attention to a certain digit or if the licking is uncharacteristically frequent. 

While the cat usually maintains the claws, owners sometimes have to clip them.  I’ll bet a tech at your vet’s office will teach you.  When you can hear them clicking on a bare floor, it’s time for a manicure…or is it a pedicure?

Bob Bamberg has been in the pet supply industry for more than a quarter century, including owning his own feed and grain store in Southeastern Massachusetts, USA. He writes a weekly newspaper column on pet health, nutrition and behaviour and his articles appear on  and

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Obscure Dog Trivia

One of the pleasures of researching the canine and feline world are the seemingly never ending occasions when I say to myself "Well I didn't know that!"

Today I have compiled five lesser known pieces of canine trivia that I have stumbled upon.

The Wagometer
In 2003 a canine behaviourist by the name of Dr Roger Mugford created a device known as a Wagometer. Dr Mugford claimed that the small device when strapped to a dog's tail could help interpret a dog's mood. 
An interesting article containing more details about the wagometer that was  published in 2003 by The Evening Standard in London can be found here 

The Year Of The Dog
Those of you born in 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982 and 1994 take a bow! In the Chinese zodiac you were born in the Year Of The Dog. 
You are considered, in Chinese astrological terms, to be both loyal and discreet but also slightly temperamental!

Aztec And Mayan Dog Symbolism
The Mayans and Aztecs considered dogs to be important too and every tenth day was symbolised with our canine friends. Those born under the sign of the dog were believed to possess outstanding leadership skills.

A Dog Church Actually Exists
Stephen Huneck, a children's book author, built a Dog Chapel in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, USA in 2001. The inspiring story of Huneck's Dog Chapel and some great pictures of it can be found here

A Lesser Known Collective Dog Group Name
When I was a boy I remember being impressed at finding out that the collective name for a group of crows is a murder. You may have known that little fact but did you know that the collective name for a group of Pugs is known as a grumble?

The Dog Solution