Archive for the ‘Dogs’ Category

Sun, sand and the 22nd Annual Galveston Home and Garden Show brought people to Galveston Island.

The Galveston Home & Garden Show is an event that directly benefits the Galveston Island Humane Society where it makes it possible for them to provide many services to the public such as: adoptions, medical care, humane education and prevention of animal cruelty. Without these types of fundraisers it wouldn’t be possible!

Even thought it was the first weekend of Spring break in Texas, over 3,500 people attended the Galveston Home and Garden Show on March 13th-14th to raise funds and awareness for the many of the lost and unwanted animals that are brought into GIHS annually.
All proceeds from the show supports the day to day operations of the GIHS. There were over 130 exhibitors offering special show discounts on merchandise and services. GHIS had a pet adoption center where many dogs and cats were available for adoption. There were many volunteers helping in the adoption center. The PetangoStore.com set up an adoption area at our booth to help find new homes for a couple of kittens. GIHS adopted total of 7 animals by the end of the show.

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Those of you who are regular readers of the PetPoint Journal will recall that in our first issue, published August 21 st 2007, we indicated that the intake of animals through shelters using PetPoint was generally evenly split between cats and dogs. While shelter staff generally acknowledge the existence of a “Kitten Season” and the impact that has on intake levels of cats, fewer seem to acknowledge the fact that there is a “Dog Season” as well.

The following graph represents the percentage of dog intakes versus cat intakes on a month by month basis from January 2006 to October 2008. For the purposes of this graph we have used intake data from animals that were surrendered or returned by their owners together with those that were stray; we have not included animals that were designated transferred in, seized, clinic, wildlife or service at intake.

The most noticeable facet of the graph is the regularity of the pattern.

The chart demonstrates a cyclical pattern with higher dog surrenders and returns during the colder months December, January, February, and March (“Dog Season”) and higher cat intakes during the warmer months May, June, July, August, September, and October (“Cat Season”). November and April are the “Cross Over months” where we see equal intakes of cats and dogs.

Animal welfare workers who are responsible for planning, purchasing and staff information sessions can use the cyclical nature of species intakes to plan ahead more effectively.

The winter Cross Over month – November – is the perfect time to remind staff and volunteers of your intake protocols for dogs, including medical and behavioral assessment, preventative care, warning symptoms for communicable diseases, vaccination, identification, quarantine, spay and neuter. Check out your supplies to make sure that you have sufficient supplies and prepared housing facilities for an increase in dog intakes.

Similarly the summer Cross Over month – May – is the perfect time to remind staff and volunteers of your intake protocols for cats, including medical and behavioral assessment, preventative care, warning symptoms for communicable diseases, vaccination, identification, quarantine, spay and neuter. Check out your supplies to make sure that you have sufficient supplies and prepared housing facilities for an increase in cat intakes.

With Dog Season now upon us, don’t forget to check that you have adequate supplies of our Dog-Eared product to make your life easier when cleaning the new dog intakes.

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Naturally hairless cats and dogs are a rare and, to some, unsettling sight. Wrinkled and bald they look like extraterrestrials set adrift on an alien and inhospitable planet. These unusual animals are so vulnerable to extremes of temperature and excess sunshine that hairless cats are almost always kept indoors and hairless dogs are usually only let out under carefully monitored conditions.

There are a number of recognized varieties of both hairless dogs and cats, and while most of the dog breeds have long and well established histories, the hairless cats are relatively new breeds developed through selective breeding during the past century. For many people their only exposure to the world of hairless cats and dogs is through watching Mr Bigglesworth, Dr Evil’s Sphynx in Austin Powers and Fluffy, the Crested Chinese dog in 102 Dalmatians.

The recognized breeds of hairless cats include:-

Sphynx (Canadian Hairless Cat) first bred in 1978
Don Sphynx (Donskoy) first bred in 1987
Peterbalt first bred in 1994

Hairless cats are said to be unusually social with humans, demonstrating little of the aloof independent nature commonly associated with domestic cats. They usually have soft warm skin coated in downy “peach fuzz” which generally has many wrinkles. Hairless cats are expensive and those who choose them tend to take care of them. However hairless cats may still end up in the care of the animal welfare community due to the fact that two well known ‘facts’ about hairless cats are actually unfounded myths.

Myth #1 – Hairless cats are hypo allergenic – while they are less likely to induce allergic reactions due to the lack of hair and dander, their skin produces large amounts of oil that may also trigger strong reactions in allergy sufferers;

Myth #2 – Hairless cats are easy to care for – although these cats do not require brushing and combing, they do require weekly bathing to remove the oil and dust that builds up on their skin. Their ears need regular cleaning as they have no hair to stop dust and dirt from entering their ears. They have a comparatively high metabolism and require a lot of high quality food to enable them to keep their core temperature up.

The recognized breeds of hairless dogs include:-

Mexican Hairless Dogs (Xoloitzcuintle, Xolos), evidence suggests that their history stretches back thousands of years
Peruvian Hairless Dogs, similarly they are believed to have originated prior to the Incas
Chinese Crested Dogs –they are thought to have arrived in China on trade ships from the African coast, in which they were used to kill rats
American Hairless Terrier – the only “new” hairless breed of dog, first bred in 1972

Hairless dogs may find their way into the safety of the animal welfare community due to a mixture of both health issues and character traits that may not have been properly considered by new dog owners.

1) Both the Mexican and the Peruvian Hairless Dogs demonstrate strong personalities that require training from a young age if their negative traits are not to become a problem. While both breeds are good family dogs they can be overly protective of the family. In addition the hunting instinct is quite strong and may result in the dogs running away from home to chase other small animals;

2) While hairless dogs do not require such frequent bathing as hairless cats, it is recommended that they be washed twice a month to avoid skin irritation. They also need to have moisturizer applied to their skin to keep it from drying out and sunscreen to avoid sunburn;

3) Many hairless dogs have problems with their teeth which can be crooked, crowded, prone to decay or in many cases they will not have a full set of teeth, which can lead to problems eating;

4) Hairless dogs do appear to be less likely to cause allergic reactions in allergy sufferers than hairless cats.

Should one of these cats or dogs end up at your organization we hope that you will find the special someone who will take care of their unique needs and make them part of their Forever Family.

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The animal welfare community has to deal with many highly charged and emotional situations during the course of their everyday working lives and one that is particularly hard on humans and animals alike is the intake of blind animals.

While blind cats and dogs can live happy and fulfilling lives as part of a family in their own home, the entry of a blind animal into a shelter is particularly overwhelming. At intake blind animals do not know where they are or who they are with, it is more than likely to be very noisy for their sensitive ears and their fear may turn to aggression if not handled properly. In many cases the animal will calm down quickly once given their own safe space within the organization.

Cats and dogs may be born blind or may lose their sight due to an accident or illness including glaucoma, cataracts and untreated entropion (inturned eyelashes), brain damage or poisoning. Similar to humans the degree of animal blindness ranges from total blindness to partial blindness (cloudy sight, ability to differentiate between light and shade and tunnel vision). You may be able to tell that an animal is blind by examining their eyes; the eyes of a blind animal will often be cloudy or their pupils may remain dilated even in bright light.

Often the reasons for blind cats and dogs ending up in the care of the animal welfare community are heartbreaking: animals that have illnesses that have been left untreated, animals that have been wounded by abusive humans and breeders that cannot sell a blind puppy/kitten and so do not want it. Whatever the cause of the animal’s blindness or the reason that it has ended up in your care, it will take a special adopter to provide a truly Forever Home.

The kindest and safest home for a blind animal is usually one in which there are no children and where the owner is well prepared for the special needs of their newly adopted pet. We have prepared a short tip sheet that all are welcome to download and give to new adopters of blind cats and dogs to help them cope with their special needs and to give the animals a better chance of finding their Forever Home [click here to download].

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