share. The Brookshire's Blog

Family Matters: Man’s Best Friend as Your Walking Buddy


Just like humans, dogs need exercise too. When dogs exercise, their bone, joint and emotional health improves. Dogs make great walking and jogging buddies. Next time there is a sunny day, put a leash on your dog and take it on a walk or jog. This way both you and your dog are improving your health. Do not forget to bring water for you and your pet.



Family Matters: Stormy Weather Disasters


In this part of the country, it seems like it’s always storm season. Tornadoes, hurricanes, ice storms and thunderstorms give us more than our fair share of potential disasters. If you find you must evacuate your home, don’t leave your pets behind. They’ll be much safer with you….and after the experiences of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, most emergency management resources realize that pets need consideration, too.

Check with your veterinarian, animal hospital, kennel or shelter to see if you can board your pets during a disaster, or make an arrangement with someone outside your area that you’ll care for each other’s pets in a crisis.

If storms seem imminent, keep a container of extra pet supplies, including clean water and medications, for quick access in an evacuation.

If you are waiting out a storm or other disaster at home, keep pets inside and offer comfort during any noise or confusion. Just your presence will help them feel better!



Family Matters: How Do I Take Care of a Stray Cat?


If you find a stray cat hanging around your house, what should you do? First off, make sure the kitty is a stray. Some cats just like to wander and they have a permanent home somewhere else in your neighborhood. Give the cat a chance to go home.

If you determine that this cat has adopted your family, then you need to do some serious thinking about the responsibility. Just feeding it every once in a while isn’t doing the cat a favor, because you’ll create a dependency on your food that won’t be consistently met. If you feed a cat, you need to be prepared to do this permanently.

If this isn’t something you’re prepared to do, then you really shouldn’t start feeding the kitty. If no food is forthcoming, he’ll probably move along to a more receptive household. If you do end up feeding the cat, use good-quality dry food and provide fresh water as well.



Family Matters: People Food For Pets?


You hear it everywhere: Don’t feed people food to your pets. Some people foods are deadly!

But if reality means your dog or cat will indeed have a few people foods, here are some foods that are healthy choices for pets:

Green beans
Carrot sticks
Cucumbers
Zucchini
Apple slices (without seeds)
Cooked lean meats
Baked potatoes
Bread
Unsalted pretzels
Bananas
Unsalted almonds
Plain, cooked pasta

Source: ASPCA.org



Family Matters: Food Hazards


Pets are curious , and pets love to eat. That can make a dangerous combination any day of the year, but especially so around Christmas. With so many new and interesting scents and sights, most cats and dogs just have to investigate. Do you know what hazards to watch for? You might be surprised at the items that are dangerous for pets, but fine for humans.

 

  • Onions and garlic: They contain sulfur compounds that can cause digestive problems and harm red blood cells. While few of us would ever feed a cat or dog onions or garlic, they are often ingredients in many soups, roasts and casseroles.
  • Grapes and Raisins: Yummy and healthy for people, grapes and raisins can be deadly to dogs. They can trigger vomiting, diarrhea and kidney failure.
  • Macadamia nuts: Just a handful can cause real problems. There’s a toxin that can lead to muscle weakness, sometimes paralysis, vomiting and diarrhea. Macadamia nut poisoning isn’t fatal, though, and most pets recover within 48 hours.
  • Medications: Nobody would deliberately leave medications out for a  pet to eat, but if left out, dogs can crush the bottle easily and get to the contents inside. Keep pets away from all medications—keep the bottles in a drawer or cabinet.
  • Plants: a surprising number of plants are poisonous to cats and dogs, including lilies, poinsettias and others.
  • Sugar substitutes: Xylitol is a common sweetener used in many sugar-free candies, gums, baked goods and toothpastes (it’s sometimes listed as a sugar alcohol) and can cause low blood sugar and liver damage in dogs. Small amounts can cause big trouble, so resist the urge to give your dog a bite of Christmas cookie!

Often, pets find the dangerous materials by rooting through the trash. Make sure tempting scents aren’t available, and keep the trash can secured in an area where it’ll stay safe.



Family Matters: Kittens? What Do I Do?


You don’t know how or when it happened, but somehow your cat is expecting kittens. Mark your calendar for four months from now: your cat needs to be spayed! But in the meantime, what do you do to help things go smoothly?

Here’s the good news: you really don’t have to do much. Cats rely on instinct and they’re pretty good at just knowing what to do. Mother Nature is pretty amazing! It takes 9 weeks (rather than 9 months) from start to finish and in that last week, your cat will need extra food and water. You’ll also want to provide several secluded nesting areas, complete with soft, cozy towels. At the same time, be prepared for the fact that your kitty might prefer to make your bed her home base.

The birthing process usually only lasts an hour or so, but if you see any signs of distress, call your veterinarian for help. And once those kittens are born and weaned, be vigilant! Cats can mate several times a year; don’t forget to schedule that appointment with the vet!



Family Matters: Parakeet Health


Sometimes toddlers like to eat the same food, day after day after day. Mothers wonder what’s wrong with them—because most folks like a little variety in their diet.

It’s the same with birds, too.  If you have a parakeet, do you offer a variety of foods? It’s easy to fall into the pattern of the same foods, but your bird will thank you for switching things up a little.

Many experts say that instead of a seed diet, parakeets do better with a diet of special bird pellets. It’s a lower fat diet that keeps birds more active and healthy. If your bird is currently eating a seed diet, you may want to talk to your vet or pet care provider about making a gradual switch to the pellet food plan.

Pellets (or seeds) should make up about 60 to 70 percent of your parakeet’s diet. The rest can be a mixture of fruits and vegetables, including grated carrot, raw broccoli, apple slices and leafy greens. Vets recommend no fruit seeds, avocados, chocolate, alcohol or caffeine. Remove uneaten food every day and replace with fresh. Birds also need clean water, changed daily.

You’ll know you have a healthy parakeet if you see alert, sociable activity, dry nostrils and bright eyes, and a body full of smooth, well-groomed feathers.

(Material collected from the ASPCA Complete Guide to Pet Care)



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