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My Favorite Pet Sitter


January 2010 Newsletter

Will Your Pet’s Microchip Bring Him Home?
Dr. Nancy Kay
Specialist, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicin


Other than hanging identification tags on collars, I’ve always thought (and advised my clients) that microchipping our dogs and cats is the best way to ensure that we will be reunited should circumstances separate us. As it turns out, microchipping is not nearly so foolproof as I’ve believed- not because the chips are defective, but rather, because of human error. Have a look at what I just read in the November 1st edition of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA):

“A limitation of the microchip registry system is than many pet owners do not register microchips in their names according to ‘Characterization of animals with microchips entering animal shelters’ (see JAVMA, July 15, 2009). In that study, shelters contacted microchip registries regarding 1,943 animals but found registrations for only 58.1 percent. The registries were unable to find any information on the owner or on the person who implanted the microchip for 9.8 percent of the animals. Among other recommendations, the study’s authors suggested that veterinarians and shelter personnel should not only register pet microchips at the time of implantation, but also remind the pets’ owners to update information in the registry.

Jason Merrihew, American Animal Hospital Association spokesman said, educating pet owners is a key step to improve microchipping as a form of pet identification. ‘Every time that they change their address or change phone numbers, then they need to update that microchip information,’ Merrihew said.”

So what does all this mean? Here’s the bottom line in terms of achieving the intended purpose of your pet’s identification microchip: At the time your dog or cat is microchipped, be sure to complete the registration materials and have them processed with the appropriate microchip registry. Be sure your veterinarian (or whoever it is that implants the microchip) does the same. Additionally, update that registry whenever your contact data (telephone number, address) changes. I haven’t moved or changed my phone number (or my name!) in well over a decade, so my pets and I are in good shape. How about you and yours? Will your lost dog or cat be able to find you again? If you know your contact information is not current, or you are unsure, pick up the phone or go online today. It could make all the difference.

Work with Your Cat to Refocus Scratching
Dr. Marty Becker and Gina Spadafori

We don't like declawing, and we don't recommend it as a first reaction to any behavior problems in cats.

That said, we understand how in some cases it's a cat's last chance to stay in a good home rather than face uncertain prospects at a shelter. And we know, too, that a well-done veterinary declawing with full pain control is no worse in the short term than many other surgeries. But we still don't recommend it as anything except a last-chance alternative to losing a good home. In other words: It shouldn't be a preventive or immediately reactive approach to a behavior problem that can be dealt with in other ways.
That's because scratching is a natural and satisfying behavior for cats. It provides a good stretch, marks territory and keeps the claws in good shape. If at all possible, we'd rather a cat be allowed to be a cat in all ways, and that includes enjoying the pleasures of scratching.
If you absolutely, positively have no tolerance for scratching, one great alternative to declawing is to adopt a cat who has already been declawed rather than taking home a kitten and having it declawed. If you already have a cat that's driving you crazy clawing your couch, try the carrot-and-stick approach to changing the behavior to one you can live with.
• The carrot: Offer your cat alternative places to scratch.
• The stick: Make your furniture unattractive to a clawing cat.
The best investment you can make for your pet's enjoyment – and your furniture's preservation – is a cat tree with a high perch for your pet to look down on the family. (Cats like being above it all!) Sisal, a natural ropelike covering, is a good covering for cat trees, as is carpet with loops that aren't too shaggy. If you're even a little bit handy, you can make your own cat tree by using scrap lumber, sisal or carpet remnants.
You can make a cat tree more appealing by playing games with your cat on the tree and by petting and praising him for scratching there. Some cats may enjoy having fresh catnip rubbed onto the cat tree as added enticement.
Cat trees aren't the only options. Add other approved places for your cat to scratch, such as vertical or horizontal posts, scratching trays filled with corrugated cardboard or scratching pads hung from doorknobs. Experiment to see what your cat likes best.
Once you have approved scratching areas in place, make the places your cat shouldn't be clawing unattractive by putting double-sided patches (such as Sticky Paws) or tape on the furniture. If the furniture fabric is too delicate, put the double-sided material on a piece of cardboard that wraps around the corner of the furniture. Cats hate to touch anything sticky, and so anything mounted sticky-side out will discourage scratching.
Start with your scratching alternative near the problem area. Your cat may shift his attention away from your furniture to the scratching post or tree. Offer praise and treats for good behavior.
Once your cat understands what the scratching post is for, you can slowly move it to the part of the room where you'd like it. Leave the sticky deterrent on the furniture during the retraining and be patient.
Keep the tips of claws blunt to minimize damage from clawing. It's best to start clipping nail tips when your cat's a kitten, but most adult cats can learn to tolerate the procedure. Use a regular human nail-trimmer, and be patient as your cat learns to tolerate having the very tip nipped. Treats and praise are a must!
Declawing shouldn't be the first strategy for solving a scratching problem. Give your cat a chance to learn and follow the rules, and you will likely be pleased with the results.

Pets of the Month

Congratulations to January’s pets of the month: Rosie and Gerry! Rosie is a Visla and Gerry is an English Pointer. They were recently interviewed by their moms, Marilyn and Vicki, and had this to say.




How we met our family:

Rosie:  My mom Marilyn flew all the way to Michigan to get me. It was snowing and cold there when we went outside. It was a little scary but my mom took really good care of me. We flew on two planes and when we got home it was warm and sunny. I found out I got to be a California girl! I know Mom really loves me because she came all that way to get me.

Gerry: I was just one in a large kennel of hunting dogs, nobody special until I found my home with Vicki. I had lived 3 different places but nobody wanted me. I was trained to be a hunting dog but my last owner said "I couldn’t sniff the bird". It wasn’t my fault that my ears are sensitive to the sounds of guns and my allergies kept me from smelling very well. I was dropped off at Vicki’s late in the evening when I didn’t work out at yet another home. I was accepted with open arms. I got a bed of my very own, toys, and a yard full of squirrels.

What we have to say about the companion human(s) we share our home with:

Rosie: My Mom spends most of her time entertaining me. Isn’t that the way it should be? She takes me for walks, tries to teach me manners, and is very good to cuddle with.

Gerry: Vicki takes such good care of me and always worries about whether I’m happy and healthy. I’m going to be 15 next year so she’s doing a good job.

Our favorite hobbies:

Rosie:  Long walks, hikes in the mountains, swimming in lakes, playing with my friends

Gerry: Chasing balls and squirrels & then chasing more balls and squirrels

Our favorite foods:

Rosie:  Food, anything, I’ll do anything for food

Gerry:  Chicken, Tiny Tots

Our favorite toys:

Rosie: bumi

Gerry: ball

Our most exciting adventures:

Rosie: My biggest adventure so far was flying across the country. When I was 8 weeks old I flew on 2 planes, took a shuttle, rode an escalator, an elevator, and then drove home in the car. What a day!

Gerry:  I love running on the beach. I could chase sea gulls all day! Once in Carmel I ran all the way down the beach and I almost ran up to the golf course at Pebble Beach.

Our idea of a perfect day:

Rosie:  Riding in the car to a new place to take a hike and maybe a swim too

Gerry: Chasing birds and squirrels to my heart’s delight

What we like most about our pet sitters:

Rosie: Sandy is just the best. She started coming to see me when I was just a baby. I get so excited to see her I just have to jump, high! She takes me for the greatest walks and gives me lots of treats. I’m so happy when she comes.

Gerry:  I love the walks and tummy rubs. I get really excited when they come too a rooooo!

Service Announcements

Can you believe it’s a new year already? Where has the time gone?

We hope that you and your pets are happy and healthy in the new year!

Overnight visits are being scheduled through December 2010 right now and several dates are booked. If you need overnight visits, please let me know as soon as possible, preferably at least a month in advance.

Payment in advance is always appreciated. Please mail your check to my prior to your departure.

Pet Humor

The ten pet peeves dogs have with humans.....
Blaming your farts on me.....
not funny.... not funny at all !!!

Yelling at me for barking.

Taking me for a walk, then
not letting me check stuff out.
Exactly whose walk is this anyway?

Any trick that involves balancing
food on my nose. Stop it!

Any haircut that involves bows or ribbons. Now you know why we chew your stuff up when you're not home!
The sleight of hand, fake fetch throw.
You fooled a dog! Whoooo Hoooooooo, what a proud moment for the top of the food chain.

Taking me to the vet for 'the big snip',
then acting surprised when I freak
out every time we go back!
Getting upset when I sniff the crotches of your guests. Sorry, but I haven't quite mastered that handshake thing yet.

Dog sweaters. Hello???
Haven't you noticed the fur?
How you act disgusted when I lick myself.
Look, we both know the truth. You're just jealous.

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