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Declawing-The Painful Truth

Declawing-The Painful Truth

By on Jan 10, 2016 in Education, Front Page | 0 comments

Raise Your Paw and Do Not Declaw! By: Jenny Whisenhunt One of the many questions asked of our staff all too frequently is, “Is the cat declawed?” While the answer varies depending on the cat, felines who are relinquished to the shelter from home environments are often declawed; sometimes, an adopter will only consider adoption if a cat is declawed. But as any cat owner knows, a cat with his or her claws in-tact make loyal and loving companions, as well. This month, we at PAHS would like to bring attention to the painful reality of declawing our feline friends; in addition, we want to offer alternatives to this widely-debated issue among cat owners, veterinarians, and non-profit organizations. To begin with, the term “declawing” is misleading. According to information provided by The Paw Project, a California-based non-profit whose mission is to educate the public about the painful truths of declawing, an onychectomy, or declawing, is a series of bone amputations. Declawing is more accurately described by the term “de-knuckling” and is not merely the removal of the claws, as the term “declawing” implies. In humans, fingernails grow from the skin, but in animals that hunt prey, the claws grow from the bone; therefore, the last bone is amputated so the claw cannot re-grow. The last bone of each of the ten front toes of a cat’s paw is amputated. Also, the tendons, nerves, and ligaments that enable normal function and movement of the paw are severed. If this procedure were applied to humans, it would involve cutting off each finger at the last joint. With felines, complications are not uncommon as bleeding, infection, arthritis, chronic pain, lameness, nerve and tissue damage can result from this procedure. While the physical effects of declawing are painful, more disturbing is the emotional and behavioral trauma that occurs frequently with declawed cats. As noted, the cat’s first line of defense—its claws—is gone; if ever let outdoors, the cat has no way to protect itself. The Paw Project cites veterinary studies that reveal how the pain of declawing sometimes causes cats to be reluctant to walk or play, and as a result, owners sometimes neglect them or mistreat them. In fact, what many supporters...

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Bringing Your New Cat Home

Bringing Your New Cat Home

By on Mar 13, 2014 in Education, Featured, Front Page | 0 comments

Top 10 Things to Know When You Bring Your New Cat Home                         (Courtesy of the ASPCA©) Congratulations, the cat’s out of the bag! You’ve just entered into a wonderful relationship that’s bound to be filled with fun and affection. By starting off on the right foot—that is, by being well-prepared for your new arrival—you can move through that rocky adjustment period most new relationships go through and get right down to the lovin’!   1. Make Sure Everyone In The House Is Prepared To Have A Cat Talk to your family members before bringing a new cat home. Make sure everyone knows that the fun begins only after kitty feels safe and her needs are met. Once you’re sure everyone is ready for feeding, litter changing and grooming, you can divvy up chores among family members so everyone is prepared to care for kitty before she arrives.   2. Do You Know What Your Cat Is Trying To Tell You? The average cat has a vocabulary of more than 16 different sounds, including purring, howling, hissing and meowing—not to mention a wide-range of playful and serious body language. Taking a glance at the ASPCA’S Cat Care section online will help you understand your cat’s behavior before you’re faced with her mysterious cat calls, pouncing and nocturnal romps.   3. Stock Up On Supplies Before Kitty Arrives Have all of your cat’s needs ready so she can get right down to the business of making herself at home. Kitty will need: * A litter box and the brand of litter she’s been using * Food and water bowls and the food she’s used to eating * A sturdy, rough-textured scratching post—at least three feet high—that allows her to stretch completely while scratching. * Safe, stimulating toys. Hint: If you give her toys that make noises, you’ll know when she’s playing. * A bed lined with a soft, warm blanket or towel * Grooming tools: a high-quality brush and nail clipper are a good start   4. Identity Is Key Proper identification is a necessity. If your kitty is indoors-only, an ID tag or implanted microchip will help ensure...

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Ordinary Items Can Be Toxic To Pets

By on Jan 15, 2014 in Education, Front Page | 0 comments

Keep dangerous foods, flora and other items are kept out of paws’ reach. Each year our poison control experts see a rise in cases around February 14, many involving chocolate and lilies, a flower that’s potentially fatal to cats. So please heed our experts’ advice—don’t leave the goodies lying around on Lover’s Day. Pet-Safe Bouquets  Many pet owners are still unaware that all species of lily are potentially fatal to cats. When sending a floral arrangement, specify that it contain no lilies if the recipient has a cat—and when receiving an arrangement, sift through and remove all dangerous flora. If your pet is suffering from symptoms such as stomach upset, vomiting or diarrhea, he may have ingested an offending flower or plant. Use our online toxic and nontoxic plant libraries as visual guides of what and what not should be in your bouquets. Forbidden Chocolate  Seasoned pet lovers know the potentially life-threatening dangers of chocolate, including baker’s, semi sweet, milk and dark. In darker chocolates, methylxanthines—caffeine-like stimulants that affect gastrointestinal, neurologic and cardiac function—can cause vomiting/diarrhea, hyperactivity, seizures and an abnormally elevated heart rate. The high-fat content in lighter chocolates can potentially lead to a life-threatening inflammation of the pancreas. Go ahead and indulge, but don’t leave chocolate out for chowhounds to find. Careful with Cocktails  Spilled wine, half a glass of champagne, some leftover liquor are nothing to cry over until a curious pet laps them up. Because animals are smaller than humans, a little bit of alcohol can do a lot of harm, causing vomiting, diarrhea, lack of coordination, central nervous system depression, tremors, difficulty breathing, metabolic disturbances and even coma. Potentially fatal respiratory failure can also occur if a large enough amount is ingested. Life Is Sweet  So don’t let pets near treats sweetened with xylitol. If ingested, gum, candy and other treats that include this sweetener can result in a sudden drop in blood sugar known as hypoglycemia. This can cause your pet to suffer depression, loss of coordination and seizures. Every Rose Has Its Thorn  Don’t let pets near roses or other thorny stemmed flowers. Biting, stepping on or swallowing their sharp, woody spines can cause serious infection if a puncture occurs. “It’s all too easy for pets to step...

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General Dog Care

General Dog Care

By on Jan 6, 2014 in Education, Featured | 0 comments

Experts say that dogs were domesticated between 12,000 and 25,000 years ago—and that all dogs evolved from the wolf. Since then, humans have selectively bred more than 400 breeds, ranging in size from four-pound teacup poodles to Irish wolfhounds, whose three-foot stature earns them the title of tallest canine. But the most popular pooches are non-pedigree—the one-of-a-kind dogs known as mixed-breeds. Cost The annual cost of a small dog—including food, veterinary care, toys and license—is $420. Make that $620 for a medium dog and $780 for a large pooch. This figure doesn’t include capital expenses for spay/neuter surgery, collar and leash, carrier and crate. Note: Make sure you have all your supplies (see our checklist) before you bring your dog home. Basic Care Feeding – Puppies 8 to 12 weeks old need four meals a day. – Feed puppies three to six months old three meals a day. – Feed puppies six months to one year two meals a day. – When your dog reaches his first birthday, one meal a day is usually enough. – For some dogs, including larger canines or those prone to bloat, it’s better to feed two smaller meals. Premium-quality dry food provides a well-balanced diet for adult dogs and may be mixed with water, broth or canned food. Your dog may enjoy cottage cheese, cooked egg, fruits and vegetables, but these additions should not total more than ten percent of his daily food intake. Puppies should be fed a high-quality, brand-name puppy food. Please limit “people food,” however, because it can result in vitamin and mineral imbalances, bone and teeth problems and may cause very picky eating habits and obesity. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times, and be sure to wash food and water dishes frequently. Exercise Dogs need exercise to burn calories, stimulate their minds, and keep healthy. Exercise also tends to help dogs avoid boredom, which can lead to destructive behaviors. Supervised fun and games will satisfy many of your pet’s instinctual urges to dig, herd, chew, retrieve and chase. Individual exercise needs vary based on breed or breed mix, sex, age and level of health—but a couple of walks around the block every day and ten minutes...

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Winter Exercize Guidelines

Winter Exercize Guidelines

By on Jan 6, 2014 in Education | 0 comments

Getting pets who dislike the cold to go outside in winter can be a challenge, but chilly weather or not, pets need fresh air and exercise. ASPCA experts assure us that while short-haired and smaller breeds may require cozy apparel to protect them from winter’s bite, others simply need a little training to learn how to enjoy a cold-weather romp.  “With a few simple training tricks—and the right attire—pet parents can teach animal companions to be much more enthusiastic about playing outdoors in winter,” says ASPCA Animal Trainer Kristen Collins. 1. Entice your pooch with off-leash exercise sessions, playing tug or fetch, or romping with canine buddies—the more aerobic the activity, the warmer the dog will be. 2. If your dog’s playing off-leash, you can use treats to reward her for fetching toys—even if you usually don’t have to. The extra incentive might further spark her interest in the great (and chilly!) outdoors. 3. Offer your pet special treats during outdoor excursions. While on a brisk walk, pop something delicious into her mouth every now and then—or feed her breakfast by hand while outdoors. 4. Winter is a great time to enroll in indoor training classes. Sports like agility and flyball are often taught in heated facilities and are excellent exercise for the canine body and mind—and you’ll enjoy them, too! 5. Walk your pet in wooded areas during the winter months. The forest not only provides protection from wind, but the rich smells, sights and sounds can be infinitely interesting for dogs to investigate, distracting them from chilly temperatures. 6. Many dogs dislike going outside during winter because snow, salt and chemical de-icers hurt their paws. Canine booties can protect paws, while keeping them warm—and disposable latex boots are available for dogs who don’t like the feel of thicker boots. 7. Musher’s Secret, a waxy substance that you can apply to your dog’s paws, can be an effective alternative to booties for protecting toes and paw pads in snow and ice. 8. Getting your dog to play outside may simply be a matter of keeping her warm: Dress puppies—who don’t have as much body fat as adults—in a coat or sweater. Get waterproof gear for wet days. Invest in a well-fitting coat that covers your dog’s back and underside. (Fleece...

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Life with your Newly adopted Dog

Life with your Newly adopted Dog

By on Jan 4, 2014 in Education, Featured |

Bringing a new dog home from an animal shelter is an exciting experience. Dogs can bring a lot of joy and energy into a household, quickly becoming a treasured member of the family. Adjusting to life with a newly adopted dog is not always smooth sailing, as members of the household often deal with a transition period as they grow more acclimated to the responsibility of pet ownership. Sometimes this transition is easy, while other times it can be more complicated. The following are a few tips to help new dog owners make their transition to pet ownership go more smoothly. * Emphasize routine. Routine makes dogs more comfortable, and this can make things easier on new dog owners. Get up and go to bed at the same time each day, and schedule walks and play time at the same time each day as well. As the dog grows more acclimated to your home, you can gradually vary your own schedule, but try to stick to the walking and playtime schedule for your dog as much as possible. Anxiety is a significant issue for many shelter dogs, but sticking to a routine can help lower that anxiety significantly. * Visit the veterinarian within days of the adoption. A visit to the vet is necessary even if your dog has received all of its necessary vaccinations. The vet can examine the dog and give advice on diet and exercise, which is especially valuable information for those owners who have never before owned a dog. In addition, a vet might direct men and women who adopted a purebred to a colleague who specializes in that particular breed. Such vets may be more specific when recommending a diet or exercise regimen, which can help the dog’s long-term health. * Gradually alter diet. Many shelter dogs were on poor diets before they came to the shelter, and the shelter or your veterinarian might suggest changing that diet. Adapting to a new diet won’t necessarily be easy for your dog, but gradual changes often ease this transition. For example, if the dog’s diet must change completely, don’t change it all in one day. Gradually mix old food with the new food over the course...

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