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  • Behavior Problems? We have answers.Behavior Problems? We have answers.

    Behavior Problems? We have answers.

    Learn about behavior from our team of experts. Whether you have cats, dogs, reptiles, horses or birds, we can help you learn to live with them. Read More
  • All About HorsesAll About Horses

    All About Horses

    Learn about equine science, whether you're an aspiring rider or a long-time owner, we have the latest in products, breeds, and more. Read More
  • Traveling with PetsTraveling with Pets

    Traveling with Pets

    Be sure to check this section out before you hit the road with your pet! We've got a look at pet-friendly hotels, the guidelines of air, train, bus and auto travel, and much more. Read More
  • All About CrittersAll About Critters

    All About Critters

    Take a look at what it means to have ferrets, rabbits, mice, rats, guinea pigs, and more. Read More
  • All About ReptilesAll About Reptiles

    All About Reptiles

    A look at our cold-blooded friends and discovering how to care for these fun loving creatures! Read More
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  • How to Keep Your Dog Out of the Koi Pond

    I know I’m not alone in slowly assembling a veritable menagerie. Most animal lovers would have a zoo if it were practical!

    But sometimes our pets aren’t excited about making friends with other animals. When it comes to dogs, their natural prey drive can cause some problems in our pursuit of a peaceful co-existence.

    Dogs enjoy chasing cats, pouncing on rabbits, snatching birds out of the air and diving for fish in the pond.

    So can you enjoy other pets if you have a dog? Of course! In particular, let’s take a look at how you can have the koi pond of your dreams without your dog snacking on those beautiful fish.

    Read More
  • How Tabby Cats Got Their Forehead "M"

    Tabby cats have a rather unique history. If you have seen a tabby cat, you've probably noticed the distinguished looking “M” pattern on their forehead. Due to this marking, most have enjoyed special privilege over the years as being favored by  religious leaders.

    While there are dozens of legends about how Tabby Cats received this special marking, today we're exploring those based on Christian and Muslim faiths.

    There are many beliefs about how this cat received their marking that span multiple religions and mythos, but those of the Muslim faith seem to be the most committed to their feline friends.

    Read More
  • Tabby Cats and Their Patterns

    Tabbies are a big part of our lives.

    If you follow us on Instagram, you probably know that we have three beautiful full-time tabbies: CassieKyra The Cog and Alexandra. We also have one vocal foster cat we call Kreature. Each of these cats is magnificent and it's about time someone came up with a holiday celebrating their beauty.

    And so, in Celebration of #NationalTabbyDay, we're talking about a few fun facts you may not know...

    To begin, a tabby is not a breed of cat, but a general way of referring to a coat pattern. In fact,  usually “tabby” means stripes, swirls or spots on a cat that is orange, brown, white or grey colored cat.  In fact, the word tabby is often used as a generic term for "cat" (just like "hound" is often used as a general term for dogs). Tabby cats are found in a variety of different breeds.

    Let’s take a look at the four basic types of tabby coat patterns.

    Read More
  • 10 Steps for Keeping Your Birds Toys Clean

    If you're new to bird-keeping, you may not know how important it is to keep your birds toys clean. This is a very basic "how to" list for keeping your birds toys free from diseases that may be transferred to other birds (or you) and ensuring your bird's cage is kept as sanitary as possible.

    Keeping bird toys clean and sanitary can be a challenge as they come in so many different types and sizes. However, it’s very important to keep them clean since your bird often has so much beak contact with them. 

    Birds are well known for being the most sensitive animals of the animal kingdom. They are highly sensitive to cleaning supplies, and in some cases, cleaning solutions can be toxic to birds. We suggest you move your birds to a new cage while you embark upon cleaning their current home. 

    Read More
  • Top 5 Alternatives to Catnip

    Catnip (Nepeta cataria) is an amazing plant. It’s been grown for centuries because it has a sedative effect on humans and acts much like chamomile. Best of all, the concentration of its active chemical nepetalactone is reported to be 10 times more powerful than DEET when used as a mosquito repellent! (But sadly, that insect-repelling property only lasts a few hours).

    Many cats love catnip, but the sad fact is that not every cat will react to it. In fact, only about 50% of cats have a reaction to catnip; and if your cat’s under three months old, they will have no reaction at all because they haven't developed the equipment to respond. In addition, the reaction to catnip is an inherited trait and if your cat doesn’t have the gene, well, they just won’t respond to the plant.

    But not all is lost. If you have a cat that doesn't respond to the favored nip, you simply find an alternative that does work. Here is a roundup of our top five favorite alternatives to catnip:

    Read More
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5 Questions to Ask Before Getting Chickens

There is a lot of interest in chicken keeping these days. With the cost of food skyrocketing, chickens can be Read More

Keeping Pets Safe from Coyotes

No matter where you live, you’ve likely had to deal with wildlife. Whether its mountain lions and coyotes, or squirrels Read More

Getting Old Sucks - Cognitive Dysfuntion in Dogs (CCD)

As most of you know, we have a dog who has just turned 15 years old. He’s half blind, almost Read More

Teaching Children to Approach Horses

I have a problem with parents who just allow their kids just run up to strange animals. In fact today, Read More

Disaster preparedness with pets

September is National Animal Preparedness Month. Some natural disasters require that you evacuate your entire family, pets included. Wildfires, floods, Read More

5 Ways to Help Birds in Winter on #NationalBirdDay

January 5 is officially National Bird Day and we're looking at ways that we can help our feathered friends during Read More
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When it comes to making critical care decisions, committed pet parents have asked that dreaded question for years: “When is it time to let my beloved pet pass on?” In an effort to assist you in answering that question, Tufts veterinary school has developed a “Quality of  Life” measurement tool that will guide you through the evaluation process with your veterinarian. Known as “FETCH” (Functional Evaluation of Cardiac Health) and “CATCH” (Cats’ Assessment Tool for Cardiac Health), these surveys ask owners to rank aspects of their dog’s or cat’s health on a scale of 0 to 5. Veterinarians are then able to assess the animal’s perceived quality of life, which may inform decisions and open discussion about treatment, nutrition or possibly euthanasia.

While the tool was initially created to assist in evaluation of quality of life for cats with cardiac disease, veterinarians and pet parents will find the tool useful for other illnesses as well. “Studies have indicated that pet owners value quality of life much more than longevity in their animals,” said Professor of Clinical Sciences Lisa M. Freeman, board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Nutrition . “We want our dogs and cats to have happy lives, and we believe this tool is helpful in evaluating whether our pets still do.” The survey tools were developed by Freeman and Professor of Clinical Sciences John E. Rush, board-certified cardiologist and criticalist at the veterinary school’s Foster Hospital for Small Animals. Freeman and Rush set out to create and evaluate a tool for pets similar to the Minnesota Living with Heart Failure Questionnaire, one of the most widely used evaluation tools in human cardiology. The work on the tools will continue to measure their responsiveness to medical treatment and create a clinical and research tool for clinicians, Freeman said. Download the FETCH evaluation tool by clicking here

Download the CATCH evaluation tool by clicking here

For additional information, visit the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University: Founded in 1978 in North Grafton, Mass., Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University is internationally esteemed for academic programs that impact society and the practice of veterinary medicine; three hospitals and two clinics that combined log more than 80,000 animal cases each year; and groundbreaking research that benefits animal, public, and environmental health.

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stacymantlestacymantle
Author: stacymantle
About the Author

Stacy Mantle is a freelance writer who currently resides in the southwestern deserts of Arizona with a few dogs, several cats, and a very understanding husband. She is a regular contributor to Pet Age Magazine, Catster, Animal Behavior College, and of course, PetsWeekly. Many of her stories and articles have been translated into several languages, and now reach an international audience. She is also the author of a bestselling urban fantasy/thriller, Shepherd's Moon; a humor book entitled, Conquering the Food Chain: Living Amongst Animals (Without Becoming One), and a line of Educational Activity Books for children.


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