Tige’s Column

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Tige was Warren’s American Staffordshire Terrier. Retired from his role as “Buster Brown’s Dog” he toured as the company’s mascot. Tige is no longer with us but with his great wealth of knowledge, his column will continue.

• Stress is a major cause of feather plucking and illness in our feathered friends. “Triggers” include moving, moving the cage, new additions to the family (human or animal), noise, sudden changes in routine and temperature, illness, etc. When changes are necessary, try to avoid stressing the bird by gradually making changes.

• When puppy proofing your home, be aware that the following items could contain lead and take steps to prevent your puppy from chewing on or ingesting paint, linoleum, lead weights or shots, insecticides, foil, batteries, solder, putty, roofing ot plumbing supplies and golf balls.

• It’s important not only to clean up your dog’s waste when out in the community, but also in your yard. Feces can contain intestinal worms, other parasites, germs, etc. that can spread health problems to dogs through their sniffing, eating or walking on contaminated feces.

• To ensure your caged bird is eating every day, it’s vital to check the bird’s food and water dishes twice a day and remove leftover cooked or fresh food before it spoils. Be sure to remove the empty seed hulls that could give the false impression that the dish is full of seeds while the bird is actually starving.

• Kittens and cats just love to play with yarn, string, rope or anything else that dangles. Too often owners encourage this and leave playthings around for a pet to play with even when he’s unsupervised. Be aware that in an instant a playing cat could become hopelessly entangled in a long strand of fabric, or in the case of kittens on a swing, could be trapped and strangled within moments. It sounds grim but accidents like these are a reality, and they happen more than people realize each and every year. Don’t let a cat’s frustration with yarn, hanging rope or the like bring him to an untimely death. He deserves better.

• Cats are carnivores, but often develop a taste for grass. Grass is a good source of fiber, so provide your indoor cat with some grass blades to munch. Many pet shops have kitty grass kits, or make your own indoor lawn! All you need is a stable pot with some clean (preferably sterilized) soil. Sprinkle some seeds of grass, parsley or thyme (try catnip for a true kitty high!). Water daily, without drenching the soil, and keep in a well-lit place.

• Dogs that are fed a regular diet of dried dog food are often thirstier than those fed canned or moist foods. This is not because dry food is saltier, but because there is less liquid in the dry vittles than in other forms of nourishment. So make sure that your dog has plenty of clean water.

• Trauma can cause serious injury to a puppy’s bones and joints. Take certain precautions so this won’t happen. Don’t allow your puppy to romp or be kenneled on a slick surface. Don’t encourage your pup to walk on it’s hind legs or to pull a heavy load. Obesity can also place stress on both puppies’ and dogs’ bones and joints.

• Over-feeding tropical fish is the biggest cause of fish dying. Only feed the amount that your fish will eat in a five minute span!

• Keep your birds away from drafts during the cold winter months.

• Did you know that stress affects pets as well as people; so “get off our backs!”

• Rebellious periods in a puppy often crop up by around six months of age and again around one year of age. In order to have a well-adjusted dog, during these periods it is beneficial to revert back quickly and reinforce your puppy’s basic training.

• If you would like to grow CATNIP for your cat, buy some seeds – fill several 4-inch pots with potting soil – plant 10 to 15 seeds in each pot, and water the soil. Place the pots in a warm, dark area for a few days until the seeds begin to sprout. Then move them to a sunny spot and let the palnts grow until there’s enough for your cat to start nibbling.

• For cats, feathers and bright ribbons are irresistible fun! Tie a feather or ribbon on a string and tie the string to a stick or short, rounded rod. Dangle the object near the cat, or scurry it across the floor and watch what happens.

• Birds should not be given toys that can be pulled apart. Any toys made of yarn, string or cord, are poor choices. Birds can swallow bits of these items and choke or they may become entangled in them or injure themselves. Select well made toys.

• If your dog is drinking abnormally large amounts of water, it could indicate the onset of diabetes. The disease can be diagnosed with a simple blood test by a vet and controlled with insulin shots at home.

• In an average year, cat owners in the United States spend $2.15 billion on cat food – and $295 million on kitty litter.

• In many cultures, dogs are considered powerful good luck charms with the ability to ward off demons. In ancient China, for instance, the sentinels responsible for guarding the imperial court dressed in canine costumes and barked away evil spirits.

• If your dog is small enough, weigh yourself alone and yourself while holding the dog. The difference is your dog’s weight.

• Rabies is on the rise in many types of wild animals in all parts of the country. Frequent wildlife visitors in your yard could expose your pets to rabies – there have been serious outbreaks in skunks, raccoons and bats.

To protect your dog and yourselves from rabies, keep your pet’s rabies immunizations up-to-date. This includes BOTH dogs and cats.

Keep your pets indoors or leashed and supervised when they are allowed to be outdoors.

Be sure to learn the basic signs of rabies so you can protect yourself and your pet from being bitten or know when to seek help promptly if bitten.

• Tropical fish should not be kept near windows. Sunlight can affect water temperatures and increase algae growth within.

• When shampooing your pets make sure you use a product made specifically for your pet. Puppy shampoo for for puppies and kitten shampoo for kittens.

Always brush your pet before bathing to remove dead hair, dander, and eliminate tangling.