August 2009
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postheadericon For as long as i can remember, clay based cat litter was the standard

For as long as I can remember, clay based cat litter was the standard. Clay based cat litter was always inexpensive and reasonably effective. The trick was to keep the nasty bits scooped out and change the litter at a reasonable interval. When to change the litter was fairly easy to figure out since the clay would absorb only so much urine. Several cats I have had the pleasure to own over the years were not shy about telling when they thought it was time to clean the litter box.

Prior to the introduction of clay cat litter, owners of inside cats relied on a wide variety of materials. Shredded newspaper, sand, and even plain dirt served the purpose but had some obvious drawbacks. None of these materials was very absorbent and needed to be changed often. As any owner of an inside cat will tell you, controlling the inevitable order from the cat box was difficult.

As with most product inventions and improvements, the inventor was responding to a need. The introduction of what came to be commonly known as kitty litter was not much different. Introduced in the late nineteen forties, clay based cat litter changed the way people, and cats, thought about controlling cat waste. Compared to other soil types, the composition of clay soil makes it naturally absorbent. In its natural state, clay has a very high moisture content, sometimes to the point of saturation. Now this hardly sounds like a substance that would make a great filler for the cat box.

What makes clay based cat litters work is what happens between the time the clay is collected and when it lands in the litter box. Raw clay would be dried, usually in a hot kiln. The process of kiln drying and baking is used in the production of clay pottery and the drying of milled timber. Baking the clay removes a significant amount of moisture. As water is removed from the clay, the volume shrinks and what remains is a substance that is once again capable to absorbing moisture. Its as simple as that and an entire industry sprang up around that one simple fact.

So for almost fifty years, clay based cat litter ruled the cat box. Along the way, attempts were made to add odor control ingredients, including aftermarket products. Since cat urine would turn mildly acidic over time, many folks would combine simple baking soda with the clay litter. The baking soda acted to change the Ph of the urine, neutralizing the acid and reducing odor. Other aftermarket products used combinations of various chemicals, including perfumes and odor neutralizers. These products were easy to use and were just sprinkled into the litter.

Just as we thought the science of cat litter had reached its zenith, along comes scoopable litter. It clumped, it lumped and turned the undesirable chore of cleaning the cat box into something almost bearable. Loaded with deodorizers, this unique product remained in granulated state until being used by the cat. The granules adhere to the urine and feces, encapsulating it in a clump. Using a common litter scoop, the waste is easily removed, leaving the clean litter behind.

The convenience of scoopable cat litter does come with a price. While clay based litter is relatively inexpensive, some brands of scoopable litter can be pricey. The added expense is mitigated somewhat since less scoopable litter is needed to keep the litter pan clean. Still, there are some cat owners who are concerned about the chemicals used to in the production of scoopable cat litter.

In response to some of those concerns, a market has sprung up for scoopable cat litter that uses natural enzymes to control odor. New brands of natural litter stress the low dust and absence of strong chemical deodorizers. Clay is a very rugged substance and will not break down.

Without clay as a base, producers of natural cat litter advertise their products as biodegradable and even flushable. While filling the local sewer system with used cat litter would not be my first disposal choice, it is nice to know that it will breakdown naturally.

postheadericon Should dogs have treats

Should dogs have treats? Will they make your older dog overweight? Are any dog treats really healthy? Are there dog snacks that are dangerous? Where can you find these treats? Could you make your own dog snacks? These are questions you may be asking yourself if you own a dog or are considering a gift of treats for a favorite canine.

There are tons of treats that are especially made for dogs. If your dog eats a healthy, balanced diet there is no reason that your dog can not enjoy a snack or two from time to time. Some dogs have medical issues and should avoid snacking but this is something you can discuss with your vet.

You may have a dog who is allergic to some foods. If this is the case you may still be able to find a treat that will not trigger problems for Fido. Be sure to ask about any health or allergy concerns if you are thinking of presenting a sack or box of treats to a dog that you do not own.

As an owner of an older dog or a dog who is not exercised on a regular basis you may need to limit the treats to special occasions or use them as a reward. When canines age they can experience weight gain just like their adoring owners.

One good place to shop for dog treats is online. You will be able to find sites that feature all kinds of special treats for that wonderful dog in your life. You will want to check out the ingredients of any dog snacks you plan to purchase.

As you may already know, the dog biscuit is a favorite treat of many dogs. Not only can you buy dog biscuits in many sizes you can also find them in lots of various flavors.

If you are looking for something a little more extravagant than the regular dog biscuit you may want to start shopping around for gourmet treats. These treats are made in fun shapes like fire hydrants, cats, hearts and bones. Some even come frosted or with sprinkles.

You will also be able to find cupcakes made just for man’s/woman’s best friend and while you are at it don’t miss the doggy doughnuts, tarts and cookies. There are even muffins, sushi rolls and steak bites. For those vegetarian types you can stock up on veggie treats, too.

Those in the mood for baking their own doggie treats are in luck. Recipes abound and you will be able to make treats that have liver, peanut butter, cheese, chicken, oatmeal, or a tasty combination.

Dog treats are made for the most discerning of dogs. Give your dog the gift of a special treat today and watch those eyes light up and that tail wag!

postheadericon Beagles are wonderful family companions

Beagles are wonderful family companions. But, is it following its beagle training? We know that not all dogs are absolutely obedient no matter how hard you tried to teach them techniques especially using the bathroom in the proper areas.

Some people think that animals are not following instructions to show vengeance in your beagle training efforts. It’s just a misconception! It’s just that, dogs are only capable for simple, direct emotions, such as being happy, sad or scared. They don’t have the mind and the heart to seek revenge for every pain coming from your hand or from every verbal punishment you issued when he accidentally dropped his dirt into your spotless floor in the living room.

However, dogs remember and draw upon past experiences that they associate with current situations. But you should understand that these associations only create an emotion in which they will feel when going through a similar experience.

Just like the previous example, you punish your beagle for dropping his dirt somewhere in your living room area. If you continue to scold him for this behavior, then he may eventually develop bathroom problems. Your dog might think that letting out his dirt will mean punishment from you.

That is why it is important to avoid punishing or yelling at your Beagle when he accidentally drop his thing inside the house. Housetraining problems are usually the result of owners instilling fear in their pets when they go potty on the floor. This causes strain that could possibly halt your training efforts.

The best thing to do is trying not to react to what happened. Just remove your dog from the area and calmly take him outside. Do not let him see you cleaning up his mess. Quietly clean the area using products specifically made to remove animal stains. You can also use an enzyme-containing cleaner, a vinegar or a liquid soap. It is important to remove all the odor so that you dog will not urinate and mark the same spot again and again. Just a tip, avoid using ammonia because its has the same smell as that of a dog’s urine and can stimulate him to pee in the same area.

Despite your best Beagle training efforts, if he is still unable to follow, the best solution is to visit your veterinarian for a complete check up of your dog to find out the reason for his inability to become trained. There might be some health-related reasons for this problem.

postheadericon Keeping your pet well groomed is an essential part of being a new pet owner

Keeping your pet well groomed is an essential part of being a new pet owner. We have compiled a few tasks that each owner should do on a regular basis. If you make sure these things get done, you will keep your pet happy and healthy.

Trimming your dogs’ nails is critical in keeping your pet free from toe infections. You should always keep your pet dogs nails trimmed to the proper length. Taking a daily walk with your pet will help wear down their nails. If trimming their nails doesn’t make you queasy, you can pick up a pair of nail clippers at your favorite online pet store and trim them yourself. You want to be sure not to cut them too short as their nails will bleed and cause them discomfort. If you don’t feel that you can trim their nails or that your dog might be aggressive when you’re trying to trim them, you can take your pet for a minimal charge to your groomer or veterinarian.

Keeping your dogs ears clean is necessary to prevent excessive wax build up and prevent diseases or pests from settling in. Since most dogs’ ears lie down and cover the bigger opening they aren’t susceptible to most ear problems. However, dos with ears that stand up are especially vulnerable to many dangers. Most online pet stores carry a variety of dog-ear cleaners, which are very simple to use. In most cases, you simply put a small amount of ear cleaner on a cotton ball and swab the outer surface of the inner ear. Regular cleaning of your dogs’ ears will reduce the chance of ear infections and help eliminate pests such as ear mites.

If you’re not comfortable cleaning your dogs ears, you can always take your pet dog to your groomer or veterinarian and they will clean your ears for you. If you’re cleaning your dog’s ears and notice that they have long hairs you can remove those gently by using a set of hemostats. In most cases, we believe this to the groomers or veterinarians’ job.

Giving your dog a bath is a great way to bond with your pet. You can purchase shampoos and conditioners designed and formulated specifically for your pet. It is not recommended to use flea and tick shampoos unless your pet absolutely needs it to get rid of those nasty pests. One of the most important things you should be aware of when giving your pet a bath is to make sure you thoroughly rinse your pet so that it does not cause any skin problems. Leaving the shampoo on your pet can cause extremely dry skin, which will cause your dog to scratch and ultimately end up in a nasty skin infection. Any dog that has a thick or matted coat should always be brushed out before giving them a bath. This ensures that you can adequately bathe all layers of your dogs fur. Bathing them before you do this will only make the problem worse Towel drying your pet dog is recommended, but you can use specially made doggie hair dryers. Be careful not to bathe your pet too frequently, only once every couple of months unless they are extremely dirty.

Brushing your dog regularly will keep shedding at bay and also help the coat to shine. Regular brushing of your pet stimulates natural oils in the skin and help to keep it healthy in shining. Frequent brushing will also help eliminate problems such as matting and tangles. While brushing you also get hands-on time, which keeps you well informed of your dogs health. This allows you to notice if there’s a new growth, cut or bite that you’ve never noticed before. If you see anything unusual, be sure to inspect it further and take your pet to the vet if necessary.

These simple tasks will keep your pet healthy and free from major medical problems. It is important to be diligent about the things you can control, because there are always circumstances you can’t. Take care of your pet and they will reward you for years to come.

postheadericon Description: the weimaraner is a fairly large, athletic hunting dog

Description: The Weimaraner is a fairly large, athletic hunting dog. The dog will be found to be 24 to 27 inches at the shoulder and the bitch 22 to 25 inches. The Weimaraner weighs between 50 and 70 pounds, depending on sex. The tail of the Weimaraner is generally docked (as is the practice with many hunting dogs). The coat of the Weimaraner is very distinctive and elegant, being various shades of grey from mouse-grey, charcoal-grey, or silver-grey. The eyes of this dog are widely set and amber in color. There is also a long haired Weimaraner, but it is not recognized in America. The Weimaraner generally lives for 10 to 12 years. It is also called the Grey Ghost or the Weimar Pointer.

History: The Weimaraner is actually a descendent of the Bloodhound. This breed was really developed in the 17th century, but dogs with similar attributes were known in 11th century in France at the court of King Louis IX. The dog eventually made its way to Germany where the breed type was refined and perfected at the Court of Weimar by local noblemen. It developed into a hunter of birds and small game after its original quarry, boar, wolves, and elk became scarce.

Temperament: The Weimaraner is a fearless, protective dog that has been developed not only for its hunting abilities, but for its affection for its human family. The Weimaraner gets along very well with children. For the Weimaraner to be a really valued member of the household, it should be well trained and provided with plenty of exercise. It can be socialized with cats and other dogs in the household, but should probably never be trusted with pet rabbits or hamsters, its prey drive is just too strong.

Health Issues: The Weimaraner, unfortunately, can be subject to bloat. This twisting of the stomach is a life-threatening condition that must be dealt with immediately. Smaller meals and a quiet time after eating can help. This dog can also suffer from hip dysplasia. Von Willebrand’s Disease, a form of hemophilia, is sometimes present in this dog. These last two disorders can be largely eliminated by intelligent breeding. This dog is also subject to tumors.

Grooming: The short coat of the Weimaraner is easy to keep in top form, all that is needed is a twice weekly brushing, and perhaps a ‘polishing’ with a chamois cloth. It is probably best to use a dry shampoo on this dog, to help preserve the natural oils. If the Weimaraner has been hunting in the field, be sure to check for ticks, and for plant seeds between the toes.

Living Conditions: Although the Weimaraner is a keen hunting dog that needs a lot of exercise, it is also a devoted companion dog that needs to be with its human family. This dog will suffer from separation anxiety if left alone. In part, because of its strong bonding to humans, the Weimaraner can live in an apartment, but it must be given sufficient exercise. This dog needs a long walk every day and the chance to experience a free run now and again.