Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Importance of Cat Grooming

Photo Courtesy of Mr.Guilt
Cat owners may have a tough time trying to comb through tangled, knotted or matted fur. Read on to discover how getting your cat groomed regularly can alleviate this issue and a host of other hairy problems.

Cough it Up!
When your cat starts making strange Gollum-like noises, you know it will be followed by a not so pretty hairball. (It generally happens right as your guests arrive for a dinner party.) Having your cat groomed regularly ensures the excess hair is removed. This prevents extra hair from being licked up by your feline leading to hairballs.
Photo Courtesy of ocean yamaha

Shedding and Matting
If you have a long-haired cat, then your feline is at risk for developing matted fur because it can get tangled or knotted. Brushing a long-haired cat like a Persian is extremely important and is the way to prevent matted fur from forming over time. When dirt gets trapped in their hair it becomes even harder to remove or brush out. Cat skin is very delicate, so pulling or brushing it over and over again can be very painful and uncomfortable for your feline. For removing matted fur like this, you need the help of an experienced groomer. Our groomers at Morris Animal Inn have tools to gently remove this fur painlessly from your cat. In addition, having your cat brushed rids him or her of excess hair, which makes it less likely to end up on your couch.

Photo Courtesy of rse75

Bath Time!
Sometimes your cat gets so filthy, no amount of self grooming and licking will rid them of dirt or that special stench they may have acquired after rolling around in their litter. Bring your cat to Morris Animal Inn for a bath to get their fur feeling silky soft again. If your cat has fleas, our grooming salon is equipped with a flea bath that will rid your feline of those pesky insects.

Don’t Forget the Nail Trim
Cats’ nails can grow very long and a cat with long nails knows how to use them. Trimming your cat’s nails regularly is important and will prevent them from getting too long and sharp. Keep their nails short and you will be happier too!

Though cats naturally have good grooming habits, some messes are far too big for their little sandpaper tongues to clean up. For all your cat grooming needs Morris Animal Inn has got you covered!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Seat Belt Safety - It's a Dog Issue Too!

Photo Courtesy of Emdot
Nothing spells carefree better than the image of a dog sticking its head out the window of a car and their ears flapping in the wind.

Safety First!
Though it may seem sad to harness and buckle your dog into the car, thus preventing the sensory overload they so dearly enjoy, the alternative outcomes are not in your fuzzy pal’s best interest or yours. Keep your pup as safe as you would your child!

Shopping for a Seat Belt
Luckily for us, nowadays, not only does every car come equipped with seat belts unlike your Grandpa’s stories of the old wide Lincoln with nary a buckle in sight, but there are a myriad of seat belt options for your canine companion as well. From harnesses to buckles to booster seats for little ones and even crates, there are many selections designed to keep a dog of any size safe and secure. Companies like Doctors Foster and Smith, Petedge, and offer quality dog seat belts.

Buckle Up!
Seat belt safety has long been an important issue in regards to children and adults. The second we get into the car, we ask the pivotal question, “Is everyone buckled up?” You would never let your child hang their head out the window of your car, with no constraints to hold them in. That is reckless, neglectful and dangerous. Why should it be any different when it comes to your fur child? Not only can things get in your dog's eyes when they lean out of the window, but if you are forced to stop short, your dog, if small enough, can fall out or jump out. Your dog can also become a projectile if you are forced to slam on the brakes too quickly. Many dogs would love to be the hood ornament on the front of the car and if given free rein of the vehicle, they can easily get in the way and be as distracting, if not more so than talking on the cell phone. Airbags also pose another risk for smaller, more delicate canines sitting in the passenger seat and when inflated, can seriously injure your pooch. We understand you can’t ask Fido to buckle up, so why don’t you strap Fido in yourself? 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sandy Paws: Caring for Your Dog at the Beach

For a typical day at the Jersey shore, you may be more concerned about keeping sand and its tell tale crunch out of your turkey sandwich or fitting into that itsy bitsy teeny weenie yellow polka dot bikini, but your canine has a few more issues to contend with before heading down the shore. We’ve outlined some hidden dangers you may encounter at the shore and share helpful tips to ensure the whole family has a safe and fun time at the beach, including the furriest!

Nature is Not Always Edible
Dogs do not have quite the same discerning, limited palate we humans do. It is pretty clear to us what is considered food and what isn’t. Not so for Fido. The world is a veritable smorgasbord that includes substances as varied as plastic and Styrofoam. Protect your dog’s digestive system by keeping close watch over him or her. Do not let your curious canine crunch on dune grass or sand or allow them to lap up salty sea water. All of these things, though natural, can upset your dog’s stomach. Too much salt water can also cause diarrhea. Click here for more information on salt water’s effects on your dog.

Creatures to Avoid
Though the expression is curiosity killed the cat, it can be easily applied to a dog. There are many nautical creatures both you and your dog should steer clear of at the beach. Though you can look at a safe distance, don’t touch! This includes crustaceans such as crabs and lobsters whose sharp claws can nick your dog and jellyfish that sting.

Yes, your dog can get sunburn! Dogs that are particularly susceptible are those with thin hair or white hair and dogs that have pink skin. It is a safe practice to use sun tan lotion on sensitive parts of your dog's skin like their nose, ears, and stomach. However, you can't use human sun tan lotion on your dog because it contains zinc oxide which, if licked off the skin, can be harmful to your dog. Try waterproof sunscreen for babies or speciality sunscreen for dogs. Ask your veterinarian about protecting your dog from the sun this summer.

Your precious pooch can easily become overheated or dehydrated at the beach in the hot summer months. Monitor the amount of your dog's activity and do not let him or her overexert themselves running on the beach or in and out of the water. Bring a beach umbrella and a collapsible water bowl and encourage your pooch to lie down in the shade and drink fresh water.

Just like small children, when you bring your dog to the beach, you must be prepared to supervise your dog at all times for their safety. Even if your dog is a good swimmer, you should never let your dog jump in the surf without your supervision. It is also important to note the rules of your dog-friendly beach and adhere to them. If that includes keeping Fido on a leash, do it! You don't want to be kicked off the beach, and most importantly, you don't want your darling dog or someone else's dog to get hurt. With these tips in mind, you and your dog are on your way to becoming the coolest and safest beach bums around!

What is your dog's favorite thing about the beach?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Thundershirt Experiment: Does it Really Work?
My dog Cassie had always been a curious and fearless explorer. She spent many vacations hiking with me, trailblazing new doggie paths off the beaten path through brambles and thickets. At the beach she would taunt the sea by racing in to meet the waves and then fly back at the last minute with sand and salt flying in the ocean breeze, her mouth agape in a mischievous smile, knowing she had just evaded Mother Nature.

Though I expected her physical strength to wane over the years, I was not prepared for the noise anxiety she gradually developed over time. The two boogiemen in her life became the oven with its high pitched chirping alarm and worst of all, a rainy thunderstorm that’s loud claps sent her running, tail between her legs behind my bed or to the bathroom where she would shake in fear.

Photo Courtesy of Bayasaa
A Season of Fireworks and Thunder
With summer under way and the threat of thunderstorms and fireworks in the picture, I thought it was time to give the Thundershirt™ a try. I’d heard about the phenomenon, but because it was just a shirt, I was skeptical. My dog tends to freeze in place and become as immobile as a statute when I put her raincoat or winter sweater on. However, since Temple Grandin, a doctor of animal science and an animal behavior expert, has touted the calming benefits of pressure for anxious animals, I was somewhat convinced of the methodology behind the seemingly simple concept. Much like you swaddle a baby in a blanket to calm it, theThundershirt™ fits snuggly over your dog, exerting soft pressure on your dog's body which soothes your pup and their anxiety. Not only does the shirt claim to help with your dog's noise phobia, but it's also helpful for pooches with separation anxiety.

Cassie in her Thundershirt
Week 1
With July 4 approaching, I attempted to suit her up in preparation for the big day. As suggested, I put the shirt on her at night during her treat and trick time, which happens to be her favorite part of the day. I wanted her to associate the shirt with pleasurable experiences and become accustomed to wearing it at non-threatening times. As per usual, after I finally managed to Velcro her in the shirt in all the right places by following the diagram, she froze in place. Once I got her interested in her treats, she loosened up and performed her repertoire of tricks with ease. Later, she lay down and fell peacefully asleep.

Week 2
After putting the Thundershirt on her every night for 10 to 20 minutes at times when she was eating, I noticed her grow comfortable in it. Often times she would simply fall asleep. Finally, the night of July 4th arrived, every dog’s nightmare. I swaddled her in her shirt and sat down with pen and paper in hand to observe her reactions to the loud pop, sizzle, and boom of the fireworks. Though her expression was fearful, and she kept to the corner of the bathroom, I noticed that for once, she did not shake incessantly. This was a huge step!

Cassie and Briana
Though it took longer for her to adjust to the shirt than I had originally suspected and putting the shirt on correctly can be a little bit confusing, in the end she was calmer than I had ever seen her during a thunderstorm or fireworks episode! In my opinion, the Thundershirt™ is worth it, but in the beginning you must be patient. Morris Animal Inn carries Thundershirts™  so stop by to test one out on your dog before the summer is over!
Written by Briana Falco
Morris Animal Inn Employee and proud mother of Cassie

Have you ever used the Thundershirt on your dog?
If so, what have your results been?