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Furry Friday: Spay & Neuter

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It has been quite a week–and I’ve gotten snowed under with a number of challenging issues both professional and personal. So today’s post is a bit late because (confession time!) I took the day off and went for a LONG walk with the Magical-Dawg and then took a nap with Seren-Kitty.

June is Adopt-A-Cat Month and all the kittens “littering” shelters need your love and care. But don’t neglect the adults and older felines–or the dogs, either. Today’s “Ask Amy” offer some basics you already know about spaying and neutering pets and here’s more details for fixing puppies.

Are you in the market for a new furry friend? Will you adopt this month? How did you find your special cat friend? How do you feel about adopting “older” pets?

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with excerpts from the forthcoming THRILLER, LOST & FOUND, and pet book give-aways!

Woof Wednesday: Making Fleas Flee

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magic in paintbrush 2

I couldn't resist another Magic picture (when he was much younger) in spring Paintbrush.

It’s time for my annual flea rant. This year the terrific rain that made wildflowers resurrect in drought-parched North Texas also provides lush habitat for bugs. Magical-Dawg has been scratching like crazy, even though he’s on a flea preventive. There’s just too darn many bugs out there. The cat flea (also infests dogs) can cause allergies, anemia, and transmit tapeworms as well as the agent that causes cat scratch disease. And even though Seren-kitty doesn’t go outside, Magic generously shares any hitchhikers with her.

KEEP REFILLS A-COMING!

I’ve also had some frustration getting refills on Magic and Seren’s medications. It used to be that the monthly spot-on or oral heartworm medications could be picked up from my veterinary office. For convenience sake they’ve gone to an online website with a “store” that keeps track of the pets’ Rx which can be refilled with the click of a button. Only the past couple of times the pets have been ready for a refill, their meds either were “unavailable” or missing from the online store. Grrr!

So instead of a separate heartworm preventative along with a flea medication I finally broke down and purchased Revolution, a product formulated to take care of most all available parasites. Hopefully that will quell Magic’s itch–I do believe that the fleas build up resistance to certain treatments and it’s not a bad idea to rotate products when possible.

FLEA PRODUCT DANGERS!

Choose flea and tick products with care. Even those that ARE safe (when used according to directions) can cause problems if you fail to use good judgment. Age of the pet, health status, and species determines the type of product you should choose. Look at the label to make sure the flea or tick protection says it’s safe for your individual pets.

Dogs tolerate certain types of pesticides better than cats. Products containing permethrin or phenothrin labeled for dogs can kill your cat. Kittens and puppies must be old enough to tolerate the treatment (the label will say the best age). And using more than one product at a time on your pet can add up and poison him when one alone might be fine.

NATURAL FLEA PREVENTION

The safest and most “natural” flea control technique involves using a flea-comb. Frequent vacuuming of the carpet removes up to 90 percent of flea eggs and 50 percent of larvae, and gets rid of incidental ticks, too. Don’t neglect washing pet beds, carriers, blankets, and throw rugs as well as any sofa cushions or other favorite dog and cat resting places.

For outdoor habitats, cut the grass short to allow sunlight to shoo away the bugs. Remember all those wildflowers and waist-high grass in the pictures on Monday Mention blog? Yesterday the fields were mowed, and that should cut down not only the pollen count but reduce parasite habitat. Keeping your pets from problem areas and treating the bug habitats helps reduce the pest population. Nematodes—worms that eat immature fleas—are available from lawn and garden supply outlets.

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Can you see the flea in the picture? Yes, it's there! Ewww!

FLEA BIOLOGY BITES

The adult flea you find crawling through Fluffy and King’s fur represents only the tip of the buggy iceberg. Adult fleas don’t hop on and off your pet. They stay there unless involuntarily dislodged, but they represent only five percent of the total flea population. The remaining 95 percent composed of flea eggs, larvae, and pupae lurk in the environment poised to belly up to the furry banquet.

Fleas can lay 20 to 40 eggs per day, and ten female fleas can create almost a quarter of a million different life stages in a month. Newly emerged flea larvae can survive two weeks without a blood meal, and pre-emerged (pupae/cocoon stage) can survive six months without feeding.

Flea products may address the egg, larvae and adult stages, but no insecticide can kill the cocoon stage. You must wait until it hatches to kill it. It takes fourteen to twenty-one days for the lifecycle to be complete.

Consult with your veterinarian to decide how best to protect your furry family in the bug wars. Some products only are available by prescription. If you choose an over-the-counter product, look at the label and follow product instructions to ensure the health and safety of your pets. You can learn more about fleas and appropriate products in this article, and learn more about ticks here.

How to you keep your dogs itch free and safe from parasites? Do you use “natural” methods along with preventatives? What tips can you offer to others dealing with these nasty vampires? Please share.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with excerpts from the forthcoming THRILLER, LOST & FOUND, and pet book give-aways!

Woof Wednesday: How To Talk To Dogs

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Puppy

"Say, what? I don't get it..." Image copr. Lewis Gardner

Once you understand the language of dogs and what your puppy “says” with his barks, wagging tail talk and other body language, you’ll know how to talk to a dog with effective puppy communication. Remember that your puppy is not a mind reader and what’s “normal” behavior for people may be a totally foreign language and offensive to dogs. Instead, you can use “dog talk” to get your message across. Here’s an article with some detailed “do’s and don’ts” about how to talk to your dog.

Are there certain words, phrases or silent signals (hand gesture commands?) that you’ve taught your dog? Did you teach them, or did the dog simply pick them up? Magic understands “car ride” and “Frisbee” and learned on his own, but I taught him hand signals for sit, down and wait. Here’s the first in what I hope will be a series of Ask Amy videos on how to talk to your dog. What else would you like to see?

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Monday Mentions: Hill’s, KWA & Avalanche SAR Cats!

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Hill's Global Pet Nutrition Center hosted our Tuesday evening dinner at the Kansas Historical Society Museum--a lovely venue with even better dinner companions!

I’m just back from a week of two major trips, and playing catch-up for the work ahead. Last Tuesday and Wednesday, the great folks at Hill’s Pet Nutrition invited more than a dozen pet bloggers and journalists, offered lectures on cutting-edge nutrition science, gave us a tour of the facilities in Topeka, KS, and answered all our questions–some quite hard-hitting, indeed. I’ll soon have some updated (and brand new) articles and blogs here and at my Puppies Site sharing what I learned.

Writing nutrition articles was delayed while I attended the KWA Scene Conference in Wichita on Friday and Saturday (just returned late Sunday). The event was everything a writers’ event should be–congenial well prepared hosts, terrific speakers, and eager and talented attendees. I was honored to present two sessions, one on my Kindle-ization journey, and the other on Media Training for Authors (yes, I’ve shared some of this on previous Tuesday Tips blogs).

Finally, stay tuned for some audio and perhaps video of the performance of KURVES, THE MUSICAL sometime this week. Oh, and I’ve got news on the thriller writing front, too! Whew!

Meanwhile, Monday Mentions is the mash-up-day of all the neato-torpedo links and videos, pet schtuff and bling and writer-icity crappiocca collected over the past week. Some of this “schtuff” can be hard to categorize and may fit more than one topic so I urge you to at least scan them all.

WRITING SCHTUFF

Your Brain On Fiction A very interesting post about how specific words affect the reader’s brain, from DP Lyle, MD

Writing Contests with Hidden Agendas from the always awesome Writer Beware

Agent Weighs In on Repping Self-Pub’d Authors And I heard the same from agents this past weekend at the conference. Sales numbers must be substantial–used to be at least 5000 in a year, now more likely 10,000 (and going up!)

Smashwords Removes Censorship Policy

Facebook Timeline Tips it’s gonna happen, folks, by end of the month. Yes, I need to do this, too, arg!

Cautions about LinkedIn and Hackers

PET SCHTUFF

Highly-trained search-and-rescue cats save avalanche victims--meeeeWOW!

SAR Cats Save Avalanche Victims! Move over, dogs, the cat-heroes are leaping ahead!

9 Dental Issues You Share with Pets, my latest Hufffington Post article

Kitten Rescue Tips from Examiner.com writer Stacey Ritz

AKC Announces Most Popular Dog Breeds

Scott’s Miracle Grow Bird Seed Poisons Birds! fined $4.5 million, sheesh…

Pet Services Industry Poised to Grow despite the economy

Julian: Throw-Away No More, a touching story of a rescue cat, from a guest blogger at Sally Bahner’s Exclusively Cats blog.

Shoes with Dog Lovers In Mind Amore Dei Cani features breeds–and donates to a good dog cause.

Zen Cat Greeting

Catalyst Council Warns About Cat Poisons during National Poison Prevention Awareness Month. Many of the same poisons affect dogs and puppies–learn about common puppy poisons to avoid here

Thanks to Elena Aitken for sharing this hilarious video:

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Monday Mentions: Writer-icity & Pet Talk

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Monday Mentions is the mash-up-day of all the neato-torpedo links and videos, pet schtuff and bling and writer-icity crappiocca collected over the past week. Some of this “schtuff” can be hard to categorize and may fit more than one topic so I urge you to at least scan them all.

Awesome Shirt Folding Tips! from Margaret Miller’s Blog, this is amazing, you gotta see!

Own Your Beauty–It’s Contagious from the awesome blogger Myndi Shafer

Facebook Timeline Tips from Lorie Huston

WRITER SCHTUFF

Kansas Writers Association “Scene 2012” Writer Workshop, and yes, I’m a speaker offering sessions on “kindle-ization” and “media training for authors.” Come say howdy…I’ll be wearing the sparkles (surprise!)

AgentFest, a part of Thrillerfest with some awesome opportunities for writers (yes, I’ll be there)

Branding For Sissies Hey if I can do this so can you. Just sayin’ . . .

Book Club for Authors/Readers a fee-based sign up for authors to get works-in-progress in front of readers for feedback.

RWA®’s Kiss of Death Chapter presents~~ The 2012 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery Suspense

Heightening Suspense from Guest Blogger Jodie Renner

Gorgeous Mousepads! for spiffing up you office decor (yes, I want one of these…)

Writer Beware on Trusting Sources (or Not)

Turning Author Site Into A Store tips from Jen Talty

Tribr How-To from the awesome Jenny Hansen

PINTEREST SCHTUFF

Pinterest for Biz

How Pinterest Engages Better than Twitter Et Al,

How Random House Uses Pinterest

Pinterest Boo-Boos to Beware

Embrace Your Inner Doberman from Sonia Medeiros, good info for anyone including writers

PETS & ANIMAL SCHTUFF

VAFA Shelter Now on PetFinder yeee-haw! This is the FIRST animal shelter in Iran, and dogs fostered in the US now can find their forever-homes via PetFinder connection. Here’s a video you MUST SEE of two rescue GSD-mix pups on grass for the first time.

Pet Industry Estimates $53 Billion Spending

9 Dental Issues You Share With Pets, my latest at Huffington Post

Zero Odor Wins Product of the Year Award! If you haven’t tried this product, check it out

A Beloved Horse Lost–and Found! this is a 3-hanky story you’ll love!

Lost Woman’s Cat Never Leaves Her Side

Australia’s Love-Hate with the Dingo

Greyhound Races Thing of the Past?

Animal Sounds Around the World you say toMAtoe, and I say meow…

NPR Transcript Discusses Animal-Human Bond Benefits

So…what’s the cat saying? And does the toddler understand? Are both “learning” from the communication?

Totally tongue-in-cheek how animals talk (or beak in feathers…)

Westchester Cat Show Interview

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Woof Wednesday: Puppy Love & Valentine’s Day

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Puppy Love...it's ALL it's cracked up to be!

Magic runs to me with his ears down and tail a-wag, wanting attention. He rolls on his back for a tummy rub or brings me a treasured toy to share. How do your dogs show love…or do they?

Dogs have well-known reputations as loyal, loving companions—the quintessential “man’s best friend” and deservedly so. Dogs thrive on social interaction. Heck, Magical-Dawg even enjoys the cat’s company (he won’t admit it!). With Valentine’s Day in the offing, I’d love to hear from y’all the various ways YOUR furry wonder’s show love.

To get you started, here’s what I’ve come up with — 12 ways puppies show love.  And on a related note, here’s a fun article on a GREAT way for you to offer the ideal Valentine’s gift to your pet-loving significant other.   If’n your Valentine would like a pet book, well you’ve come to the right place!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Monday Mentions: Cat Lit, Hero Dogs, Pet Pix & George Carlin On Pets

Higgins--an "accidental dog" that became a beloved family member.

Monday Mentions is the mash-up-day of all the neato-torpedo links and videos, pet schtuff and bling and writer-icity crappiocca collected over the past week. Some of this “schtuff” can be hard to categorize and may fit more than one topic so I urge you to at least scan them all.

Today tickets go on sale for KURVES, THE MUSICAL. If you’re in the N. Texas region I hope you’ll join us for this fun time. My voice is nearly back so rehearsals should run smoother.

This past weekend I spent a lot of time on the thriller WIP edits, going over notes from my copy editor and some beta readers. Work yet to be done before submission but now it’s so close I can taste it!

And as if I didn’t have enough to do, I was just introduced to Pinterest where you can “pin” photos that you like. It’s addictive. Gulp. But feel free to check out my meager “boards” and re-pin if you like them. I’ll add to them as I can. I’m at http://pinterest.com/amyshojai/ and (go figure!) I have pictures of pets, flowers and shiny objects–oh, and books. 🙂

WRITER-ICITY SCHTUFF

BARNES & NOBLE, TANTRUMS R US? Maybe not. They’re just playing hardball by refusing to stock amazon.com-published books in their physical stores. After all, amazon.com pulled titles from publishers who refused to play ball on some things. Makes you wonder, who will take their Playdoh and go home next?

Kitty Lit — Cats Rewrite the Classics. Abebooks has out cat-egorized themselves by making sure cat-lacking literature got the paw-stamp it deserved. Now you can read such classics as “Furenheit 451” and “Lord of the Fleas” and even (cue scary music) Paws –Don’t go in the litterbox. Don’t go near the scratching post. Don’t sit on the sofa. And now, for the first time….don’t go in the water. With razor sharp claws and a thirst for vengeance, Kitty is back, and this time….she can swim!

THE DANGER OF “TRENDY” WORDS in your novel from Jennifer Eaton’s blog

THE VALUE OF CRITIQUE GROUPS from novelist Beth Groundwater

SWEET SPOT TWEET TIPS some data that reveals the secrets to effective twitter-icity

DIRTY HOTEL ROOM SECRETS for those writing bedroom sagas…wait, no, that’s not right! Actually blogger Marcia Richards has some great info you’ll want to know before you book your next holiday. Or put a holiday in your book.

IS YOUR BOSS A PSYCHOPATH? and is this wrong? Betcha a lot of you fiction writers can take tips from this to build your next villain. Or hero? Bwaaa-hahahaha!

CREATESPACE VS LIGHTENING SOURCE which is better for your self pub’d work?

DOG SCHTUFF

THE ACCIDENTAL DOG brought boatloads of love. Had to share, this is from my brother. Did you ever have an “accidental” pet?

INSPIRING HERO DOG HELPS FETAL ALCOHOL SYNDROME BOY  Read this with tissues, folks. It’s long but worth the read.

McDONALD’S APOLOGIZES FOR DOGGY GAFF

DOG WITH CANCER STILL A CHAMPION! and inspires others

CANINE SNAKEBITE SURVIVOR from “down under” vet Dr. Rayya, wow!

CLOMICALM MEDS CONTAIN WRONG TABLETS? This common medicine prescribed for dog and cat anxiety MAY have been dispensed in some cases with the wrong tablets. Click the link and read the release from the manufacturer Novartis for guidance.

HOARDING VS FOSTERING the thin furry line, a heartbreaking but enlightening article

ANIMAL LAW 101, some good info here for folks who need to know

PET FOOD POLITICS, interesting article from Dr. Marion Nestle and the great writing team at PetConnection.com

CAT SCHTUFF

FELINE WISDOM & POSSIBILITIES a simply lovely post from Angie Baily, you’ll want to read this and be inspired!

SHELTER STATS well, as close as they can get, perhaps.

MAN FIRED FOR FEEDING FERALS AT 7-UP PLANT

CAT MAN DREW feline artwork right in time for Valentine’s Day

MY NAME IS PEANUT has some lovely kitty photos

STOOPID CAT PICTURES–“BREADING” CATS

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!