Thursday, December 16, 2010

Season's Greetings!

Wishing all animal lovers a wonderful holiday season!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Fall Leaves in Horse Pastures

Fall Leaves In Horse Pastures

Prepared by Dr. Ann Swinker, Extension Horse Specialist, Penn State University

Dispose of Fall leaves properly or compost in an area outside of the horse’s pasture. Horses like the taste and smell of recently fallen leaves. However, the leaves are dense and can compact in the horse’s digestive system and cause compaction colic.

The horse’s GI tract is a delicate system. Therefore, feeds should be selected not only for their ability to meet the animal’s nutrient requirements, but also for compatibility with the horse’s GI tract. Feeding dense leaves and grass clipping can result in ―choke.

If feed becomes lodged in the esophagus, the end result is called choke. Choke in the horse occurs in the esophagus and, although it is painful and uncomfortable to the horse, it is not life-threatening as in humans where the airways are cut off.

Feed in the esophagus can only move in one direction – toward the stomach. A choking horse often presents itself with its head hung low with saliva and masticated feed coming out of the horse’s nostrils. A choking horse requires immediate veterinary attention and is usually treated with minimal complications.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Amazing Cat Story

Double Tuff by Karen A. Lynch

The dictionary defines courage as, “the quality of mind or spirit that enables one to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc. without fear “bravery.” Simplistic in its meaning and mostly attributed to people…soldiers, policemen, firemen, or women, as the case may be, but hardly ever to a kitten the size of the palm of your hand.

The stray cat business had been slow this particular spring, with only the regulars making their appearances at my outside feeder I call The Hovel. One day, a short-haired, grey, tabby, sporting only three quarters of its tail appeared. After observing the cat for a day or two, I noticed that it was definitely a “she” and that she was nursing kittens.

The usual procedure with stray mother cats is that when the kittens are old enough to eat real food, the mother cat will lead them to The Hovel. Since this mother cat came on her own, I knew her kittens were too young to travel.

It was spring, so I named my new dinner guest, Lily, after the quintessential spring flower. I knew it was useless to search for her kittens, as I was sure she had hidden them well, so that when she left to eat, they would be safe. But, I ventured a guess that they were not very far away.

It wasn’t long after Lily arrived, that my neighbor, Joe, who lives across the street, informed me there were kittens in the yard backing up to his. One, he said, solemnly, was particularly mean as it had hissed at him.

I followed him back to his house and into his backyard. It was separated from his neighbor’s yard by a solid six foot fence. I peeked through the crack, and saw three, very small kittens playing in the tall grass.

Now I know where your kittens are, Lily, I thought, but, how to get them? The backyard they were in belonged to a vacant house, surrounded by this six foot fence and whose gate was locked. This would take team work. So, I enlisted the aid of two neighbors, who conveniently owned stepladders.

I went back home to get my large cat carrier. On my way out the door, I encountered Lily sitting on my front walk. She looked at me as if to say, “I know what you’re doing.”

“It’s time to bring the kittens inside, Lily,” I said to her, because knowing cats as I do, I knew she would understand what I was saying, “where you and they will be safe. Come on, let’s go get them.”

Lily took off and I gathered my cat rescue team and entered Joe’s back yard.

Using the ladders provided by my neighbors, I climbed over the fence and went about looking for the kittens.

“Be careful!” Joe warned. “One of them is mean.”

I didn’t have to look far. There in the tall grass were the three kittens. None of them were bigger then the palm of my hand. Two of them were dark brown, long-haired tabbies with white markings. They were huddled close together. It was clear they were scared to death.

In front of the two stood the third kitten, this one was also long-haired, but it had beautiful blue-point coloration and startling Mediterranean blue eyes and it was clearly in charge.

How big do you think a kitten the size of your palm, with a tail the length of the first digit of your little finger, can blow itself up to be…not too large, you say? Really! In spite of my huge frame looming over him, I sensed that he pictured himself the size of a mature lion facing off a gladiator in the coliseum. The only way to the two kittens cowering behind him was through him. And I was daft if I thought that was going to happen.

He hissed his best hiss, growled his best growl and leaped forward in defiance and distain.

What, I ask you, does one do in the face of such out and out heroics?

First, I smiled and marveled that something so small, so young and innocent was willing to give it his all to save his siblings. I had never known a greater feat of bravery. Then, I scooped the feline Sir Lancelot up and held him close and said, “My brave one, I assure you that you and your family are safe.”

I turned and saw Lily standing a short distance away. I scooped the other two kittens up with my other hand, kissed them all gently on the head and placed them in the carrier.

“Time to take your family home, Mama Lily,” I said, and she followed the kittens into the carrier.

When I got home, I showed the Lily family to my husband, Gray, and told him how brave the blue-point kitten had been.

“I’d say he’s Special Forces material,” he said, having been a US Army Special Forces soldier himself, he new one when he saw one. “I think we should name him Tuff Tuff, for double tough, because that’s what he was.”

Over the years, Tuff Tuff made sure he did not miss any meals. Rather than being double tough, he grew to be 26, not fat, just big, pounds of double sweet cat.

But don’t let that sweet demeanor fool you. The other day, a security system’s salesman came to my door. He argued, and I do me argued, the benefits of installing his security system in my home. Despite my telling him repeatedly my house was already well guarded, he continued his sales pitch.

Suddenly, he stopped mid-sentence and said, “I guess you don’t need a security system. That cat’s bigger than most peoples’ dogs.”

I looked down and there sat Tuff, Tuff, in his full Sir Lancelot mode.

“I laughed and replied, “He’s just the backup.”

The salesman turned and walked away.

No one knows when they will be called upon to act with courage. It is instinctive in all creatures to defend what they love without regard for their own safety or well being.

Tuff Tuff, at 14-years-old, is still Special Forces material, for sure!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Another Pet site

Here's a link to another site about pet care, including some exotic ones -

Friday, August 20, 2010

Helpful Link

Above: Our terrier, Woogie, loves to go for truck rides! He has his cozy "perch" complete with his blanket! Note his window seat!

I just found out my local Country station - US 103.5 - has a Pet Tips link on their site. Check it out at

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Wonderful Link

This is a great article from the Humane Society on a timely reminder - Pet Care During Summer!


Monday, July 12, 2010

Shave Downs

Small non-shedding dogs (such as Lhasa Apso, Shih Tzu & the Bichon above) are sometimes clipped shorter for the summer - even shaved down. But large dogs with thick or long hair sometimes need a shave down, too.

Like the black Chow above, the double coat makes him overheat easily in the Florida summer climate. Plus, the extra long hair he had on his legs and belly was attracting debris on walks and some tangles.

Some thick coated dogs (that also shed) benefit from a shave down to solve problems of flea, tangles and matted hair, especially on the hind end of bushy breeds like Aussies and Shelties.

As a bonus, the new hair that grows in will be healthier and softer.

Have a professional groomer give you advice, and clip or shave your dog. Never try to give him a scissor cut!

Saturday, June 5, 2010


That's me on my beloved Fawn, swimming in the Atlantic off the Delaware shore. She was the only horse from my stable to swim past the breakers and over her head in the ocean. We took a trailer load of horses twice a year for 20 years, yet even if a horse (like Sonny and Farewell) went often, they would not go further than chest deep!

Water Tips:

It’s a fact: all life needs water.

Pets need to stay hydrated to stay healthy, but how much and when?

A rule of thumb is that dogs, cats and horses must have fresh water available all day, except after strenuous work. Make sure your pet has its heart rate and respiration back to normal after exercise before offering water.

Monitor the normal amount consumed. If the animal is drinking more than usual (or less) he may be unwell (such as diabetes) and his veterinarian should be contacted.

Playing in water – Dogs and horses are often willing to swim, but be aware of dangers such as rough currents, water menaces such as snakes (alligators in Florida) and thick mud. We know a dog that was killed in the creek after a bad storm; she wasn’t aware of the sudden strong current. For horses, thick mud will suck the shoes off, and may cause leg injuries or a fall. In Florida, alligators have been known to eat small dogs!

Dogs & Cats

They drink more when eating dry food over canned.

They like cold water but don’t put ice cubes in the water bowl. (?)

It’s hard to monitor intake if using a pet water fountain.


They can drink from 10-25 gallons a day. According to Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, a horse needs at least a gallon of water per 100 lbs of body weight. For your average horse, this equals 10 gallons a day. Water requirements vary greatly according to the weather and the level of work that the horse is doing. For instance, if your horse is exercising in hot, humid weather, he may need 2-4 times the minimum amount.

At rest, in a stall, offer two buckets, filling them fresh in the morning and evening; more changing/refilling when a hot day.

Outside with turn-out, keep the water trough clean and full. In hot weather, change water when needed so it’s not too warm to drink. During a freeze, make sure no ice forms.

Offer free-choice salt blocks to encourage drinking water.

More Tips from Tufts University:

Getting your horse to drink more

  • The first, and most important thing, is to make sure that your horse has continual access to water!
  • Horses tend to drink less water in the winter if the water is cold. Studies have shown that horses will drink more water if it is warm or tepid. So, get yourself a water heater, and don't expect your horse to drink the icy cold water!
  • Some horses are very picky about 'foreign' water. Tips from experienced competitors include bringing enough water from home, and getting your horse used to drinking flavored water. Many horses enjoy water flavored with apple juice.
  • Horses will drink more when it is held up to them after and during competition.
  • Try to offer your horse water in a quiet area, where he will not be disturbed by all the action around him.
  • One wet-down flake of hay can absorb 1-2 gallons of water. If you feed your horse well-soaked hay, you can make a real impact on his fluid consumption. Endurance riders take advantage of this by feeding horses soaked hay before long rides.

Treating a horse's fluid and electrolyte losses after competition

  • Horses that have done short, extreme bursts of exercise need to be carefully cooled down, and should be given frequent, small sips of water.
  • Horses that have done long, moderate exercise (such as endurance horses), should be allowed to drink water during and immediately after competition.
  • Although electrolyte solutions are not the best way to deliver electrolytes on a daily basis, they are appropriate after competition. As a matter of fact, your horse will be much more likely to drink an electrolyte solution during or after competition, rather than before. However, your horse does need water, not just electrolytes.
  • Horses that are moderately to severely dehydrated need veterinary attention. The attending veterinarian will treat with intravenous fluids and fluids given with a nasogastric tube.

Visit to learn more.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


This is the time of year that many pet owners find their dog or cat scratching and chewing because of fleas. Here in Florida, it is a year round problem.

I often find flea infestations in dogs and cats with thick coats (like the Chow cross above - the red spots are flea nests) or with heavy matts. Even cats can have fleas - one cat I shaved with the Lion Cut had such bad fleas in the tail that I could not leave a tassel at the end.

Shaving the animal and then bathing is one way to quickly rid your pet of fleas. Active fleas may not wash off easily. I usually wash with a thick solution (either shampoo or aloe) that I leave on for 10 minutes and massage in well, especially around the tail and ears. This will drown active fleas and then they will rinse/dry off.

Treating with a monthly spot-on or pill will still be required to control flea infestations and break the cycle. Examples of treatments include Frontline. Advantage and Revolution. See your veterinarian for the initial diagnosis and then some flea treatment can be purchased at a discount online - just input a search and a selection will pop up.

If you have multiple pets or see fleas on you and around the inside of your house, you will need to wash all the bedding where the pet sleeps, or spray will a chemical flea killer. Sometimes, professional help is needed for a complete house fumigation.

I just learned that dogs and cats have different fleas, thus, need different flea preventive measures.

Take care of the fleas before they become a serious problem for both you and your pet. He will thank you with less annoying scratching and a happier attitude.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Helping the Gulf after the Oil Spill

Animal hair can help clean up the Gulf oil spill! See

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Aussie Pet Mobile!

I'm having so much fun grooming dogs and cats in the Aussie Pet Mobile, that I thought I'd share a photo of it!

I travel around the Tampa Bay area and my boss, Mary Newman, has 3 vans in the franchise.

Call 1-800-PET MOBILE and give your zip code to find an Aussie groomer near you!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Other Breed Cuts

Here's a variety of dog cuts!

TOP: Shih Tzu - 1/2" Puppy Cut with a Teddy Bear face; Note the fan tail and ears even with the beard.

# 2 : Yellow Lab shave down

# 3 : Standard Poodle with shaved muzzle and Pop-pom tail. Body is about 1/4" blended into 1/2" legs. She is one of a pair I do - the male has a goatee!

# 4 : Pair of long-haired dachshunds; in winter I leave their hair about 1/4" while in summer I may shave them.

# 5 : Three Cuties! Yorkie on left and the other two are Shih Tzus. All with the popular 1/2" Puppy Cut.

Friday, January 1, 2010

More on Non-Shedding Dogs

This Cocker Spaniel cross shows how their hair grows, and grows and grows.

If left too long, the hair may become extremely matted, the hair on top and under paws (especially on a Cocker I noticed) attract sticky stuff and burrs etc. and the hair around the ears becomes very dirty (often from them falling into their food & eater dishes).

I trimmed this dog into a 1/2" Puppy Cut. The owner wanted the ears full and long so I just trimmed the edges round, but shaved the inside near the ear canal. I pluck any inside hair using ear powder.

For the paws, I use a #40 blade to clean under the paws and scissor the top, rounding them as well.

The standard Cocker cut has a skirt, and I'll explain that grooming trim when I take photos - I have a client with a pair of Cocker Spaniels due to be done soon.