Beach Balls

Why Dogs Pant.

Black dog panting

You do not have to own a dog to know that they pant.  And you, like most people are accustomed to seeing dogs pant if they are hot and/or the dog has exercised.  And you probably also know that the reason that dogs pant is to cool off or lower their body temperature.  But did you know that fat dogs and dogs with pushed in faces (like pugs and bulldogs) pant more than lean dogs and dogs with “normal” snouts?  Panting can also mean something bad. If your dog is panting without being hot or exercising you should probably take it to the vet as it might have a disorder or can be in distress.  If your dog has a respiratory disorder you can tell because the panting will be loud and the gums might have a blue tint.  No doubt if you see these signs in your dog you should take it to the vet immediately as this may result in collapsed trachea and in some cases death.  Some other things that you have to look out for are abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration.  Another serious problem is hyperthermia.  Basically the opposite of hypothermia, if your dog has hyperthermia you might notice that the dog is very hot, weak, confused, has dark red gums, and may become a little unresponsive.  If you see these things in your dog you should obviously take it to the vet because it will have to get cooled immediately so that heat stroke won’t set in.  Just like humans, dogs can get a fever too.  Your dog has a fever when it’s rectal temperature reaches 102 degrees Fahrenheit, if your dog has a fever gently rub it with a cool sponge on the paws and abdomen.  Even though dogs are open to these risks, it is rare that a day in the sun with plenty of water and rest would get your dog seriously sick.  So go for that run on the beach and always remember to bring a tennis ball or frisbee, and have fun.

Happy Purring?

Why and How Cats Purr

Did you know that cats are not the only creatures that purr?  Mongooses, hyenas, racoons, civets*, and even Guinea pigs have been known to purr.  Another interesting fact is that while mountain lions and bobcats can purr, they cannot roar.  And creatures that can roar (like lions and tigers) cannot purr.  The reason for this is that most big cat’s laranxes are not stiff enough to purr and cats which do purr have the opposite problem.  While most people think that cats only purr when they are happy or content, that might not always be the case.  Sometimes cats purr when they are in distress such as going to the vet or recovering from a wound or illness.  Also, Queens with kittens tend to purr more than usual.  All cats tend to purr more when in contact with humans.  So pet your cat and especially kittens in order that they can be happy and sociable.  Plus you get to hear them purr.

 (*A lithe-bodied, mostly nocturnal mammal native to tropical Asia and Africa,)

Enriching Years

The Meaning of Horses.

One of Emperor Taizong's horses from Zhaoling

One of Emperor Taizong’s horses from Zhaoling (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For thousands of years horses have served us in war, mobility, and productivity.  For many people groups, horses have had special meanings as well.  For the Celts and Romans, horses were a symbol of war, triumph, and longevity.  Whereas for the Chinese, horses represented love, endurance, and devotion.  While the Native Americans thought of horses as helpers and an emblem of freedom.  Throughout the years not just horses but also their colors have had meanings too.  Black horses symbolize mystery, night, secrets, and death. White horses are a symbol of light, sun, day, vitality, and illumination.  Horses have enriched many people’s lives over the last couple thousand years, and I hope they enrich your life as well.

Ultimate Friends

The Meaning of Cats

A beckoning cat in typical tricolored coat.

A beckoning cat in typical tricolored coat. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cats have many different meanings.  In the United States, cats are simply good pets, but in Ancient Egypt cats were seen as gods and even mummified.  Japanese people have thought cats were good luck for thousands of years, and invented the Maneki Neko*  which sits on window ledges and store windows to bring good fortune. Since it takes responsibility to care for a cat, in India korats** are given to newly married couples. Whereas in Korea you can find cats roasting on the barbeque.   Ultimately, if you want to get a good friend get a cat.  With a good diet and plenty of exercise, they will be with you for a long time.

(*beckoning cat) (**A breed of house cat in India)

Special Love

How Horses Age.

An equine version of Tom and Snaps! shire hors...

shire horse and miniature shetland pony (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Horses start slowing down at about 15 years of age, but there are some horses that can still compete in high level competitions at age 20.  How can these horses stay so youthful?  It can have something to do with the breed or the lifestyle of the horse. Usually, the ponies live longer than horses and it is obvious that the horse with the better lifestyle will most likely live longest.  The oldest horse on record is a barge horse named “Old Billy” who lived to be 62 years old.  The oldest Pony on record is Sugerpuff, a Shetland pony who lived to be 56 years old.  Here are some of the signs that your horse is starting to get old.  Gray around the muzzle and eyes, (and courser hair in general) a choppy gait because of weaker muscles,  minor scratches and cuts take longer to heal, a change of appetite, long front teeth and worn or missing back teeth, it’s back might start to sag and overall energy decreases.  So if your horse is showing signs of aging, take care of it and remember that like all old creatures, your horse will need special care and lots of love.

Old Respect

How Cats Age.

St Peter's Church - the churchyard cat, maybe

Assuredly, cats can and will get old.  If your cat reaches seventeen years of age it would be doing pretty darn good.   Undeniably, the record for the longest living cat (which is thirty-four years) was obtained by a tabby queen in England.   When cats age, they usually get scrawnier with an increased or decreased appetite.  Because of  their old digestive systems and the relative pickiness old creatures seem to have, you will have to change the amount and sometimes the quality of food.  Also cats might get a little ugly as they age but that is no excuse for not taking care of them.   Respect the old, cats deserve it.