Daily Walrus - Helping People Help Animals

Give Up Smoking To Give Your Pets Some Fresh Air

March 31, 2008
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A commenter named Moi directed us to the pet care section on gomestic.com.  One post in particular, by Dr Kristie Leong, caught our attention.  We have had plenty of friends in the past who loved their pets dearly, but lit up a smoke regularly.  It should be no surprise that second-hand smoke is dangerous to pets.  There is a long list of harmful side effects in humans – why wouldn’t pets face similar risks?

If you haven’t made the decision to give up smoking for your own health, Do it for your pets.  You may be harming your companion animals every time you take a drag of a cigarette or cigar.  You give them healthy food, clean water, brush their teeth and take them to the vet regularly.  Why pollute the air they breath with toxins?  It just doesn’t make sense. 

For more info, check out the links below…

http://www.gomestic.com/Pets/Can-Smoking-Increase-Your-Dogs-Risk-of-Cancer.96085

http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/156/3/268

http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/309/6959/960/c

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National Canine Weight Check Month

February 13, 2008
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According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, 40% of dogs in the United States are overweight or obese.  That is why many vets across the nation are teaming up this February for the National Canine Weight Check.  You can take your dog, possibly without an appointment, to the vet’s office to for a free weigh-in.  They will give you some info on canine obesity and a card to help you keep an eye on your dog’s weight.  Call your local vet to see if they are participating.  If not, ask if you can swing by to get your dog (or cat) wieghed for free anyway.  

Everyone loves their pets and wants to make them as happy as possible.  Often, we express this by giving them treat after treat or overfeeding.  While your pets (and you) may enjoy this feeling, you may be “loving your pet to death.”  Give your pets the right amount of food, limit their intake of unhealthy treats, and be sure they get plenty of exercise.  If you know of someone with a pet that is overweight, let them know about the National Canine Weight Check.  It may save their best friend’s life!        

For more info, check out stopcanineobesity.com.


Happy (late) Chinese New Year!

February 8, 2008
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So I got a bit excited over Operation Happy Sock and totally forgot to write about the Chinese New Year celebration yesterday.  I love this holiday because it gives me an opportunity to “revisit” some of the New Year’s resolutions I have slacked-off on.  This means getting my groggy ass out of bed early and taking our dog Luigi to the park every morning.  We’re pretty good about this- he goes almost every day.  But sometimes we just don’t feel up to it.  We can do better.  Another area that needs improvement is brushing the animals’ teeth every night.  Again, we do a pretty good job of this.  But we need a reminder or it’s easy to let this one slip. 

Even though it’s a day late, use the Chinese New Year celebration to restart your sluggish resolutions.  You can rededicate yourself to losing weight, exercising, or buying only cruelty-free products.  Whatever your resolutions, be sure to consider the impact you can have by promoting compassion and living an animal-friendly life during this Year of the Rat!  Happy New Year!   


Brushy brushy brushy

January 18, 2008
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Ryan and I brush our teeth at least two times a day for two minutes.  I can’t imagine skipping a day – yuck!  Can you imagine brushing your teeth zero times daily?  How about once every six months?  Once in five years?  Not only would your breath kick harder than Bruce Lee, but you would surely develop gingivitis and eventually need to have teeth extracted.  Unfortunately, this is what pets often have to face as they grow older. 

Many people have their pet’s teeth cleaned at the vet’s office.  Some sources recommend doing this yearly (though after talking with our vet, I got the sense that few people actually do this).  The procedure begins with dropping your pet off at the vet’s office in the morning.  When they are ready, the pet is put under with anesthesia and the doctor uses tools to scrape off the tartar and plaque.  At the end of the day, you pick up your pup or kitty and return home to play play play.

This sounds easy enough, but remember that anesthesia can be risky for any animal – particularly elderly pets or those with heart conditions.  Unfortunately, it is usually elderly pets that need the most dental care (thanks to a life of poor dental hygiene).  This makes professional teeth cleaning too risky for some to consider. 

You can avoid unnecessary anesthesia by taking care of your pet’s teeth at home.  Every pet store from the big chains to the posh boutiques sell toothbrushes and toothpaste made for especially for your cats and dogs.  It comes in different flavors (our guys prefer chicken flavor) and isn’t harmful if swallowed.  Don’t use human toothpaste – it isn’t meant to be swallowed by humans, much less pets!     

Remember that some animals may need you to ease into full on brushing.  Start by rubbing your fingers on their teeth for a few consecutive nights to get them used to the sensation of having something in their mouth.  Give them a treat afterwards as a reward.  Gradually work your way up, covering your finger with a gauze pad and rubbing their teeth in a circular motion, trying to cover all areas of the mouth.  Again, reward them afterwards.  Eventually you can upgrade to the brush.  Start off slow, gradually increasing to several times a week.  We try to brush our guys’ teeth daily.  Here is a nice article with tips on brushing.     

Your pets may never like this activity, but do not let that stop you.  Around our house, Luigi doesn’t mind having his teeth brushed at all.  Tito struggles a little but is fairly indifferent.  Wally, on the other hand, turns into a claw-weilding wiggle worm.  Despite the struggle (it takes both of us to corall Wally), the effort is worth it.  All is forgiven when he gets his post-brush treat (dry treats are better for the teeth than wet) and starts to purr.  It can be a challenge, but it’s reassuring to know that healthy teeth can add years onto an animal’s life.   

Luigi was the only one awake as we typed this blog post, so he was the lucky model:


About author

Hello - we are Jenny and Ryan, a couple living in Brooklyn, New York. We are both busy with school and work but try to take time to do something every day to make the world a better place for animals. Occasionally we may link to outside websites for additional resources, but we do not necessarily endorse all policies of these organizations. Despite the title of our blog, the focus is not only on walruses. So what's with the title? We named this blog after our cat, Wally, aka The Walrus. We are the proud parents of two cats (Wally and Tito) and one dog (Luigi).

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