Author Archives: Kristi Eaton

Your Cat May Not Be Sick

posted January 10th, 2011 by
Dr Bailey 3

Story by Kristi Eaton

If your cat is exhibiting classic symptoms of an illness – vomiting and refusing food, for example – you may want to look at your home and daily routine before you take Tigger to the vet.

A new study shows that stress from disruption in their normal routine can make otherwise healthy cats experience problems normally associated with a sickness.

Researchers at Ohio State University discovered cats experiencing “unusual external events,” like a change in feeding schedule, showed symptoms of sickness, just as the chronically ill cats in the study did. The study examined healthy cats and cats with feline interstitial cystitis. Previous studies have shown that feline interstitial cystitis can cause many other health problems. The fact that healthy cats exhibited some of the same behaviors as those with feline interstitial cystitis is noteworthy, and shows that vets should consider living situations during the diagnosis, the researchers say.

“For veterinary clinicians, when you have a cat that’s not eating, is not using the litter box or has stuff coming up out of its mouth, the quality of the environment is another cause that needs to be addressed in coming up with a diagnosis,” said Tony Buffington, professor of veterinary clinical sciences at Ohio State and senior author of the study.

The researchers concluded that the best way to keep otherwise healthy cats from experiencing some of the sickness behaviors is to follow a set feeding routine every day; keep the food and litter boxes in the same place; keep cages, toys and litter boxes cleans; and allow cats time to play each day.

“I think a huge part of this is giving cats resources they can interact with and control. Litter boxes and food bowls go without saying, but I also think that equally important are predictable schedules and some semblance of control so they don’t feel trapped.

And their humans can focus on quality interaction rather than the quantity of interaction. Understanding how they live in the world can allow humans to interact with them more effectively,” said Judi Stella, a doctoral candidate in veterinary preventive medicine and a lead author of the study.

-Kristi Eaton

Feliz Navidad for Fido & Tigger

posted December 16th, 2010 by
Lhasa apso puppy at Christmas

Story by Kristi Eaton

Don’t worry if you haven’t gotten Fido or Tigger the perfect Christmas gift yet; there’s still plenty of time left.

And don’t think you’ll have to break the bank either. PetSmart is offering 20 percent off hundreds of items through Jan. 4 if you order online. The offer ends Jan. 2 in stores.

Here are some possible gift items you can still get your hands on. But hurry before it’s too late for shipped packages to arrive before Christmas.

For the dog who’s been good all year long: PetSmart has holiday rawhides for dogs of all sizes. The decorative treats come in a variety of shapes like gingerbread men, trees and stars. Each package, priced at $1.99, contains two rawhides.

For the elderly canine: PetSmart’s Canine Cushion Super Thick Orthopedic Dog Bed. Think cushion and softness in this bed filled with orthopedic foam. Billed as the thickest dog bed around, the 48 inch by

36 inch bed is the perfect  place for Spot to rest after a long walk.

The price is $79.99.

For the playful kitty: Buy Petco’s Star Chaser Turbo Scratcher Cat Toy to give your feline hours of fun while keeping her from damaging the furniture in the house. A motion-activated LED ball and catnip also is included in the toy, which can be order for $16.49.

For the thirsty pet: Head to Dog Dish, 6502 E 51st St., for a hand painted bowl. Try an elevated feeder to help protect your four-legged pet’s spine.

– Kristi Eaton

Take Better Pet Pics

posted December 10th, 2010 by
Canine filmstrip illustration

Story by Kristi Eaton

Just in time for holiday picture-taking, TulsaPets Magazine offers some tips

on getting the best shot of your companion:

Lighting is crucial. No one wants their lovable pooch to look like

he’s evil or possessed due to red eye. recommends not

using the camera flash, instead using natural, outside light if

possible. But avoid direct sunlight. If you must use a flash, try to

get one that is not on the camera so it doesn’t reflect directly from

the eyes of your pet.

Try a new angle. Many people will take photos of their pet from above

looking down, but try getting at eye level so you get Fido from his

perspective. Also consider using a zoom lens to get up close and


Try to get your pet’s personality to show through. Instead of holding

your pet, try to take their picture in their natural element. Do they

enjoy lying on their back, basking in the sunlight from the window?

Shoot that. Do they enjoy walking along crumpled wrapping paper?

Capture that moment. Look for unposed photo opportunities to truly

capture their personality.

Is your pet not of the four-legged variety? For fish, turn off the

flash to take a photo through the tank’s glass. If you do use a flash,

take it at a 60 degree angle to avoid the glare of the glass.

For birds, try to get them to sit on your finger and with a plain

background so the colors of their feathers will stand out.

Reptiles offer unique photo opportunities with their scales, mouths

and eyes. Zoom in on those areas to capture their uniqueness.

– Kristi Eaton

It’s Getting Cold Outside

posted November 18th, 2010 by
Cute Chocolate Labrador in White Ear Muffs

Story by Kristi Eaton

After weeks of 70-plus fall temperatures, mother nature has finally decided it’s time for the colder temperatures.

For many, this means two things: layered clothing and breaking down and turning on the heater. But there’s one more thing that you should be thinking about right now: your pet.

Below are guidelines from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to keep your pet healthy and warm as we head into the cold, soon-to-be winter months.

Make your outdoor cat an indoor one for the next few months. Cold weather can be deadly for cats. Not only is freezing to death a possibility, but many outdoor cats seek warmth under the hood of a car. When the car is started, however, the cat can be seriously injured or killed from the fan belt. If there are outdoor cats in your area, bang loudly on the hood before starting the car so any cats that might be hiding there have a chance to escape.

More dogs are lost during the winter than any other season, so it’s imperative to keep them on their leash when going for a walk, especially if it’s icing or snowing out.

If your dog has been in ice, snow or sleet, clean him off when he gets inside. Salt, antifreeze and other dangerous chemicals likely made it onto his body while playing.

Don’t shave you dog’s coat during the winter months. His coat will give him added warmth – just like our jeans, boots and hoodies keep us warm.

Don’t leave your dog or cat in the car unsupervised, as the car can act as a refrigerator, keeping in the cold air and freezing them to death.

If your dog can stand the cold weather and wants to continue to enjoy activities outdoors, increase his food supply – especially his protein intake – to keep him, as well as his fur, healthy.

– Kristi Eaton

Feliz Navidad For Our Four-Footed Friends

posted November 15th, 2010 by

Christmas is just around the corner, and that means it’s time for presents, decora tions and food — not just for humans, but for Fido as well. The holiday brings with it traditions and customs some new, some old, some quirky. Below, six pet own ers share how they extend the holiday spirit to their animals.


Over the years, Pam Smucker has had many dogs, and each year she has done many things with them at Christmas. Sometimes they will each get a stuffed toy and a box of treats, she says. “If I wrap it, it is wrapped in tissue paper, and I have had many of them enjoy tearing the paper off of the gift. They seem to know it is for them and what they should do with the gift, and they are usually quite excited,” she explains.

She also dresses the pups up in colorful bandanas and adds collars with jingle bells on them. “Someone even gave me a leash with jingle bells to match,” Smucker says, “and I have put reindeer antlers on some of them.”

She recalls that one year she made doggie bones from a special dog bone mix for them, which they enjoyed. But aside from the gifts and treats, Smucker says there’s something else they get a lot of that they love: extra hugs and kisses for Christmas and any other special holiday throughout the year.


Speck and Tuffy, Kari Carlile’s two dachshunds, get extra clean for the big day in order to open their stock ings. Carlile says she gives both dogs a bath before letting them open their presents and eat their treats.


At the Finlayson house, one Christmas tree belongs to the dogs. Of the handful of trees displayed each year, Lori Finlayson says one is strictly for dog ornaments. “It is almost exclusively Dalmatian ornaments with a few exceptions for the wire Dachshunds and daughter Lindsay’s Beagle,” she says. The numerous ornaments have been collected through out the years or been given as gifts by friends.

“Every year it has required a bigger tree,” Finlayson adds. “I think this year I will get a lighted black tree to show off the bright white and spots.”

In addition, Lori and her husband, Mac, spoil their Dalmatians with gifts. They head to Southern Agriculture and fill up a large cart with toys and treats.

“I have gotten calls from girl friends on several occasions through the years telling me that they saw Mac with this huge cart full of toys and rawhides,” Lori says. The treats continue through out Christmas day, as the dogs are given leftover meat and gravy with their din ner. Then, Finlayson says, if weather permits, they all head outside for a walk.


Each year, Dolores Proubasta and her husband try to dis play a Christmas tree in their home. Each year, one of their pets will try to pull it down. The Christmas tree usually ends up on the floor, Proubasta says.

“There was always one acci dent, ornaments were always breaking,” she says. When Proubasta’s husband recently asked if they were going to attempt to display the Christmas tree this year when their adult chil dren visit for the holidays, Proubasta got an idea. She recalled a trip she and her husband made to a Spanish village two years ear lier. Walking into the local church, she spotted an upside down tree hanging from the ceiling over the alter. The tree was decorated with a few ornaments, apples and some large cookies, and displayed until January.

Jokingly, Proubasta told her husband that the only way they might be able to put out a tree this year is if it’s hung upside down, like the one they saw in Spain.

His response? “You know, that will be fun.”

Now, the couple is beginning to plan for the big event. They have a fairly large liv ing room, Proubasta says, so space should not be a problem.

Family and friends have been keen on the idea, she says, although she admits some people might think it’s a big unorthodox.

“Some people will hate it. Some people will laugh at it, but we’re going to give it a whirl,” she adds.


Tulsan Audrey Knott enjoys spoil ing her cat, Taco, on Christmas. Like her family mem bers of the human variety, Taco gets a stocking full of treats, Knott says. But it may not be the presents that Taco is most fond of — rather it’s something else.

“He also loves the crinkly sound that wrapping paper and tissue paper makes, so he helps us ‘unwrap’ presents Christmas morning, which basically means he rips the used paper to shreds,” she says, laughing.


Stockings and treats are popu lar ways to cel ebrate the holi days for many pet owners. Like Knott, Charlotte Hines gives each one of her cats their own sock full of treats and toys. “Of course, they would rather play with the ribbons than the toys on Christmas morn ing,” she adds.

Hines’ sister has a horse, and to celebrate the holidays she’ll decorate his stable. She places pumpkins around his stall in the fall and hangs a wreath at Christmas time.

“They string lights around the barn and have ‘horsey treats'” Hines adds.

– Kristi Eaton

Dog Bites

posted November 11th, 2010 by
Bite in the making

In the past few years, news of bites from rabid and mistreated dogs

have made the headlines. But a new study from researchers in Colorado

says it’s the family pet that people need to be most concerned about.

Moreover, it’s young children that are particularly vulnerable to a


“People tend to think the family dog is harmless, but it’s not,” said

Vikram Durairaj, MD, associate professor of Ophthalmology and

Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Colorado

School of Medicine in a release. “We have seen facial fractures around

the eye, eye lids torn off, injury to the tear drainage system and the

eyeball itself.”

The study – the largest of its kind – looked at 537 children treated

for facial dog bites at The Children’s Hospital on the University of

Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Campus between 2003 and 2008. Sixty-eight

percent of the bites occurred in children under the age of 5, with the

highest incident rate in 3 year olds.

In most of the cases the child knew the dog in some way – through

friends,family or a neighbor. In more than half of the cases, the dog

was provoked by the child, either by patting too aggressively,

startling it or stepping on it, Duriraj reported.

What’s surprising is that the bites did not occur only with the breeds

usually associated with attacks. In fact, mixed breeds accounted for

23 percent while Labrador retrievers were responsible for 13.7 percent

of the attacks. Rottweilers trailed with 4.9 percent of cases,

followed by German shepherds at 4.4 percent of the time and Golden

retrievers with 3 percent. The study was done in the Denver area where

pit bulls are banned.

“What is clear from our data is that virtually any breed of dog can

bite,” Durairaj said. “The tendency of a dog to bite is related to

heredity, early experience, later socialization and training, health

and victim behavior.”

He stressed that just because a dog is familiar it does not guard

against a potential attack. Moreover, if a dog bites once, it is

likely to bite again. The second time, though, it will be more

vicious. He said the dog should be removed from the household the

first time a bite occurs.

– Kristi Eaton

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