Friday, August 19, 2011

Fluffy in Toyland

Years ago, cats were kept in the house or the barn for one reason and one reason only: to catch and destroy the mice that would inevitably find their way into the nooks and crannies of our humble and not so humble dwellings. Though these squeaky critters are still around (generally in the winter months) their prevalence in our homes have thankfully been reduced. Without a fulltime job catching mice, today’s feline has become an expert at the finer things in life, adopting the lofty role of supreme lounger and dainty self-groomer. Cats former mice-catching days become visible now and then when they pounce on random moving objects such as your fingers or toes. Meet your cat’s need for stimulation and play with an array of kitty toys. Since our frisky cats deserve the best, we’ve outlined a few toys that are proven feline crowd pleasers.

A staple for teaser sessions at Morris Animal Inn, feathers, particularly peacock feathers, with their beautiful iridescent green and blue colors are a wonderful and inexpensive option to keep your cat playing for hours on end. Dangle the feather in front of your cat, slide it back and forth on the floor, or dart it around, whatever suits your little cat on the prowl.
All it takes is a bright red dot of light. Shine the light across the floor and up the walls. Sit back on the couch, catch your favorite sitcoms and move your hand around to provide your cat with tons of fun while you relax. For something even less hands-on, try the innovative and distinctly modern Dart Interactive Pet Toy from Frontgate. With settings that allow you to program the laser toy for 15 minute plays sessions, you can get your chores done while Fluffy remains entertained all by him or herself. Cats enjoy this toy at Morris Animal Inn in our Kitty Playroom. We turn it on and watch as they stealthily pounce and bounce around, attempting to one up the mysterious laser device.

This toy features a colorful, fluffy mouse that dangles from a long bouncy string. The toy simply gets attached to the top of a door like an over-the-door full length mirror. This allows your cat to dance around and bat at the unfortunate mouse whenever the predatory yet playful mood strikes. This toy is available in our pet boutique. Ask our Guest Services Team for more information.

Crinkle Balls
Small, lightweight balls made of Mylar are a wonderful and effortless solution for hours of fun. Cats do not discriminate and can be just as entertained with a small rolled-up piece of paper or foil to bat to and fro. Just make sure to monitor your kitty and ensure Fluffy does not try to nibble or eat these small toys.

Butterfly in a Glass Jar
Pick from a selection of beautiful butterflies. From a Monarch to a yellow Swallowtail, these fake butterflies look realistic and fascinating. By tapping the walls of the glass jar, you can make the butterfly flutter around as though it were real. Cats are extremely amused by the frenetic motion of the fake flying insect and like to bat at the jar with their little paws. This is one of our favorite toys that we allow our feline guests to play with while lodging with us at Morris Animal Inn. Watch the video below to see our kitten guests enjoying the pleasures of the Butterfly in a Glass Jar which can be ordered from

Divulge and tell us your cat’s favorite toys; whether simple or convoluted, we want to hear about it!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Petnology: 5 Great Apps for Pet Owners with Smartphones

Chances are, Fido is not clamoring for the newest iPhone nor is Fluffy obsessed with playing Angry Birds all day.  You,  on the other hand, might want to tap over to the App Store as fast as your fingers can type, if you happen to be the lucky owner of a sleek Smartphone and a fluffy pet. You name it, there is an app for it. Unfortunately, many are frivolous and downright questionable. One app claims to be able to decode your dog's bark and tell you what Fido is thinking. That would indeed be amazing, if it were true! The following is a list of the best and most useful applications (with mention of their shortcomings) for pet owners with Smartphones.

Does your dog need a personal assistant? With all the pet play dates, Morris Animal Inn Doggie Daycare Parties, and vet appointments to attend, it’s enough to make any pooch’s tail spin. With the free PetMinder app for your iPhone you can keep track of all of your pets’ appointments and obligations by entering them into a calendar. An e-mail will be sent you provided as a reminder. Now you no longer need to remember when it is time to update your dog or cat’s vaccinations, simply schedule a reminder and PetMinder will make sure you are on top of it.

All Pets Radio Player
For anyone that can’t get enough information about pets, the All Pets Radio Play is an internet radio station for your iPhone that constantly streams juicy tidbits, facts, and stories about all things pet related. Tune in to this internet radio station at anytime of day to feed that insatiable appetite associated with all things furry, whiskered, and wet-nosed.

Use your iPhone or BlackBerry to locate your dog or cat if they are lost. You will need to buy the Spotlight GPS Pet Locator, (a collar with a tracker attached to it that uses GPS tracking information). Your dog’s location is updated every five minutes; however, it is important to note that a running dog or cat can cover a lot of ground in that amount of time. A good thing about the app is if you encounter any technical difficulties or other issues finding your pet, you can call AKC Car Recovery Specialists free of charge at any time of day to help you track down your pet. The team of specialists can provide you with turn by turn directions. If someone finds your pet, there is a Rescue button on the collar that they can press which will send you an emergency message alerting you that your pet has been found and where your pet is located. Critics of the app claim it is over-priced and won't help if you lose your pet in an area with no clear location indicators, such as the woods.

Pet Acoustics
If your dog has a tendency to get the jitters when riding in the car, at the vet, or during a booming thunderstorm, try playing soothing music for your pet. With the Pet Acoustic app, it can be played on your iPhone or iPod Touch. It is an easy solution for anxiety ridden animals. Specifically designed with the hearing sensitivities of dogs, cats, and horses in mind, the tranquil music should leave you and your pet relaxed, calm, and ready to handle any situation.

Photo Courtesy of Tobyotter
Vet DVM application for your iPhone allows you to ask a vet any question no matter the time. You send an audio, video, or text question which acts as a virtual office visit to any of their on-call vets. Unfortunately, there is no telling whether the response will arrive in minutes or 24 hours. The response time is based on the difficulty of the question, how many vets are currently volunteering to respond, and how many questions are coming in at the same time.

What are your favorite Smartphone pet applications?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Giant Puppies - Caring for Your Large Breed Dog in Their Formative Years

Photo Courtesy of amyrod
Giant breed dogs are unique in size and as a result require special care in their early years to foster their growth and tame the gentle lion within.

Health and Nutrition
Puppies are in their growing stage. Large breed puppies in particular experience the greatest amount of growth in a short period of time. Their joints, muscles, and bones are all forming and expanding at the same time. As a result, giant breed puppies have voracious appetites and require three meals a day of special food specifically designed for their growing needs. Check with your veterinarian about the proper diet and amount of food to feed your big fuzzball.

Large breed puppies have lots of energy! Support your puppy’s need for exercise by engaging in various activities. Throw a ball around on a non-slip surface like a carpet or a grassy backyard. Teach your dog to play with chew toys. Because your puppy’s teeth are coming in, he or she will be likely to start teething on anything that will relieve the discomfort of new teeth growth, including your hands and ankles. Discourage this behavior of turning your forearm into a chew bone by putting a toy in his or her mouth every time your pup attempts to gnaw on you. Take your dog on a walk around town which is a wonderful bonding experience for you and your puppy. However, do not allow your baby pooch to come in contact with any people or other dogs if your puppy has not yet completed their vaccination series. It is also important to make sure you don't over-exercise your puppy. Try to avoid letting your puppy jump on and off beds, or into and out of cars. Since their bones and joints are still forming, too much exercise or exertion can cause long term damage.

Photo Courtesy of Marta Pocztarska
Handle With Care
It is very important to adjust your large breed puppy to the human touch. This should not be difficult since it’s probably impossible for you to keep your hands off your adorable pup anyway! Make sure to touch your dog’s paws, their face, and open your puppy's mouth to check out their teeth. Though this might seem strange, it is an important step that will make grooming experiences and vet visits much easier.

Photo Courtesy of gardnernewf
Not only should you make your dog comfortable with the human touch but you should make sure your young puppy has lots of new experiences within the first couple of months in their lives. Familiarizing your dog with situations that seem strange and unfamiliar will help alleviate fears that could develop later in life over things as simple as skateboards and the sound of thunder. Bring your dog on trips in the car so he or she is accustomed to the sights and sounds. When your pup has completed their vaccination series, allow them to socialize and interact with other people and non-aggressive dogs. The more people, dogs, and situations your furbaby experiences as a puppy, the less mysterious and frightening life will be for your sizeable canine. Even dogs the size of Clifford can have fears!

Photo Courtesy of Orfgen
Basic Training
Teach your pooch basic obedience commands like sit, stay, and come. It is very important to teach large breed dogs these simple commands when they are young. Therefore, when they grow larger and stronger you have already established control and your giant breed dog won’t overpower you. Don't allow your puppy to engage in behavior that you will later regret when he/she more than doubles in size. Jumping on people or pulling on the leash will not seem nearly as cute when your giant breed puppy reaches the size of a small horse and is capable of dragging you and an entire sleigh down the sidewalk. Unless you are Santa, the heel command will become your best friend! Learn it and use it! For puppy training classes, visit Morris K9 Campus.

What tips have YOU found helpful when raising your large breed dog?