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Canines get creative September 12th in Sun Prairie

Friday, August 28, 2009 Comments

Does your dog yearn to be an artist? Probably not...but either way, dogs are sure to have a great time expressing their creativity as part of the Sun Prairie Art Fair on September 12th!

For a modest donation of $5.00 per dog, the staff of City Hall Pet Gifts will help your pooch paint their very own paw-print masterpiece, sign it, and even frame it. All proceeds will be donated to a local non-profit pet organization; voting is currently taking place on Facebook to decide whether Occupaws or Greyhound Pets of America will be the recipient.

A local pet sketch-artist will also be at City Hall Pet Gifts showing off her skills. She will be available to answer questions or to have your own pet sketch commissioned.

Where: City Hall Pet Gifts, 100 East Main St, Sun Prairie WI
When: Saturday, September 12, 2009 from 11:00 am-3:00 pm
For More Info: Visit City Hall Pet Gifts online, email info@cityhallpetgifts.com or call (608) 335-1917.

Hearing scheduled for tomorrow in alleged case of Madison cockfighting

Tuesday, August 25, 2009 Comments

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for tomorrow for Jorge L. Iglesias, 47, in an alleged case of cockfighting in Madison. On June 16, 2009 a City of Madison Building Inspector and a Humane Officer for the Madison and Dane County Department of Public Health were called to inspect the property at 1241 Moorland Road in the City of Madison in response to an anonymous report of rooster crowing coming from the address. Per Madison City Ordinance, residents are permitted to keep up to four chickens, but roosters are not allowed to be kept within the city.

According to the criminal complaint, no one was home when the humane officer and building inspector arrived. A chicken coop was visible and they were able to enter the coop through an open door. The humane officer reported several chickens going in and out of the coop, as well as a cockfighting rooster inside. She stated that the rooster was easily identifiable as a fighting bird due to the feathers being shaved on the legs, front, neck and head, leaving only wing and tail feathers. The bird also had its comb and wattles removed, as well as its natural spurs.
The humane officer also reported a fenced-in area on the property with rows of stacked pens and cages containing game cocks. In addition, the area contained cockfighting paraphernalia such as a blood iron booster, syringes and empty alcohol bottles.

The humane officer stated that she located in a separate area on the property a portable wood and carpet fighting pit that was disassembled near a fence. Near the alleged ring there were several lawn chairs, empty beer bottles, and additional cages containing fighting cocks, game hens and some chicks.

A search warrant was executed on the property, and a total of 35 game cocks and approximately 17 game hens (some with baby chicks) were reported seized. A Madison police officer stated that additional property was seized, including plastic cockfighting spurs, a folding knife, four syringes, and 2009 editions of Gamecock Magazine. The residence also contained multiple pieces of correspondence addressed to Jorge L. Iglesias, who was present on the property and acknowledged the property as his. Iglesias is currently being charged with one felony count of Instigating Animal Fights and twelve counts of Training for Instigation of Animal Fights.

Third Annual Capital K9’s Labor Day Dog Paddle

Thursday, August 20, 2009 Comments

On September 7th the Goodman Pool will be closed to human swimmers and open exclusively to canines. This can only mean one thing: the Third Annual Capital K9’s Labor Day Dog Paddle! The unique and fun event has returned again this year to benefit the Madison Police Department’s K9 Unit and give dogs and their owners a chance to enjoy the end of summer together.

“It's hard to tell who has more fun at the Dog Paddle -- the people watching or their canine companions who are participating,” says Dan McIlroy, President of Capital K9s. “We had such an amazing turn-out last year that we are expecting to see hundreds of people coming to unleash their best friends to play in the Goodman Pool.” The event features prizes, contests and of course dogs doing what they do best: having fun! More competitive canines can show off their skills in a battle for the farthest jump, fastest retrieval or participate in the wet dog parade. The Dog Paddle will also feature vendors of all kinds, from animal photographers to treats and nail trims.
All proceeds from the Dog Paddle go to benefit Capital K9’s. Formed in 2004, Capital K9s is a 5013C non-profit organization that supports the Madison Police Department K9 Unit through fundraising efforts. To learn more about Capital K9s, how K9 Units help the Madison Police Department, and specifics about this event, please visit the newly redesigned website.

Important Note: Please be sure to check out the participation rules and zero-aggression policy information for the safety of all participants.

Where: Goodman Pool, 325 Olin Ave, Madison WI
When: September 7, 2009 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
For more information or to register: Visit registration form or website, or by phone at (608) 839-3664.

Modern Designs for the Refined Feline

Wednesday, August 19, 2009 Comments

Gone are the days of tacky, circus-colored cat trees and floral beds. No longer do owners have to hide the cat's kitty-condo in the hall closet when guests come over for a dinner party. Designers have recently come out with cat furniture, beds and scratchers to match even the most modern, minimalist decor (and please the most refined feline tastes.) Almost resembling modern art, these items are designed to please the eye and conceal their primary purpose: making cats comfortable. Enjoy these selections representing some of the best in kitty urban chic:

The Atmosphere Bed- This spherical bamboo bed "ergonomically contours the natural curled sleeping position of the cat." The fluffy, overfilled cushions feature a golden ribbon look which nicely compliments the dark stain.

Price: $89.99

Lotus Cat Tree- Symmetrical and minimalist, the Lotus cat tree is a "flowering" tower meant to accent modern decors. It is available in Espresso, Honey and Mahogany finishes. The finish is coated with polyurethane to resist scratches. The Lotus features a sisel-weave panel for scratching and a hideaway cubby for kitties to snooze (or hide a litterbox.) The design is suitable for multiple cats, as each ledge can support over 50 pounds. Despite the towering appearance, the Lotus is sturdy and will not tip over.

Price: $349.00

Modern Cat Contemporary Litter Holder- This clever design can be used to hide a litterbox or as a pet hideaway. All the wood used is covered in a high pressure laminate finish making cleanup easy in the event of spills. The metal parts are finished in classy chrome, including the adorable "C" accent.

Price: $202.46

Modern Critter Bent Scratcher- This clever scratcher can be configured hanging, leaning or laying depending on the cat's scratching preference and the decor. It comes standard with two FLOR Terra carpet tiles made of 34% corn-basedr renawable material. The neutral colors match any decor, making it a practical, beautiful, and eco-friendly scratcher.

Price: $309.00

Podium Pet Bed- Reminiscent of the classic "egg chair" design, the Podium Bed cradles kitties with a Sherpa fleede-lined interior. The durable steel frame can hold up to 50 pounds. The rounded "pod" is made of molded soft-touch foam covered in laminated fabric. The raised platform truly makes this a bed with a view.

Price: $115.00

Itch Wall Scratcher- These completely inconspicuous tiles are barely recognizable as scratching pads, but cats certainly know they are! They feature removable and replaceable carpet squares and a rapidly renewable bamboo base.

Price: $55.00

Dream Curl Curved Scratcher- With a twisted, sculptural appearance, the Dream Curl is a unique floor scratcher. It features both carpet and sisal scratching surfaces to give cats multiple options. The clever curved design gives plenty of room for cats to fully stretch, plus the dangling toy encourages use of the scratcher through play.
Price: $29.99

5 Simple Ways To Slow Your Dog's Eating

Tuesday, August 18, 2009 Comments

Gas. Bloating. Choking. Vomiting. These symptoms could be linked to a common canine habit: eating too fast. If your dog has a tendency to eat like it’s going out of style, here are some simple tips to help slow him down (and relieve the associated and often unpleasant side-effects!):

1.Feed High Quality Food- It may seem expensive at first to buy higher quality food for your dog, but in the long run it’s actually cheaper. More expensive foods typically have higher quality ingredients with less fillers. Look for foods that list an actual meat product first on the ingredients list, rather than a filler like corn. With fewer fillers, your dog will be able to eat less and still feel full. The less your dog has to eat, the less food he’ll have to scarf down! Some good foods are: Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover's Soul, Blue Buffalo, by Nature Organics, and Eagle Pack. Ask your veterinarian for more suggestions and feeding instructions.

2.Make Food Less Accessible- When your dog’s food is available to him in a big heap in his dish, he’s likely to swallow mouthfuls of kibble whole. Though dogs tend not to chew their food, it’s possible to slow down how much they swallow at once. This can be easily accomplished by making the food less accessible to him. A simple method is to dump your dog’s food on a cookie sheet so it is spread out over a larger area. This will force him to eat several kibbles at a time, thereby slowing down his eating speed. If the idea of having a cookie sheet on the floor isn’t appealing, there are also specially crafted feeding dishes which accomplish the same idea by placing an obstacle in the dish. Your dog will have to work around the obstacle, making it impossible to eat more than a few pieces at a time.

3.Feed Smaller Meals More Often- Smaller meals throughout the day means less food will be ingested at once; therefore, the dog will have time to digest in between feedings. If your schedule allows for it, try feeding smaller meals every few hours rather than several large meals morning and night. Be sure to adhere to the feeding instructions on the bag or given by your veterinarian, as it can be easy to overfeed when multiple meals are given. Even if you’re gone during the day, timed feeders can be purchased to make multiple feedings practical.

4.Keep Feedings Separate- If there are multiple dogs in a household, it is important to feed each one separately. Even the most domesticated dog will instinctually eat his food at high speed to guard it from others. Keeping dogs separate at feeding time will make them feel less threatened and may allow them to slow their eating pace since they are no longer in “competition.”

5.Add A Little Water- Dry dog food expands in a dog’s stomach when it reaches the digestive liquids. When your dog eats too fast, he may eat more food than his stomach can handle when expanded. This leads to regurgitation of food and abdominal discomfort. An easy solution is to moisten dry food with a bit of water before feeding; the food will therefore be expanded before the dog eats it. This will give your dog a more accurate sense of when his stomach is “full”, and may actually be easier for some dogs to digest.

Besides employing these simple strategies, be sure your dog visits his veterinarian on a regular basis to check for other health issues. Symptoms like vomiting and bloat could also be related to intestinal parasites or other digestive issues. Sudden vomiting or bloating that are uncommon for your dog should also signal an immediate trip to the veterinarian, as they could be signs of a serious illness.

Join 20+ animal groups for Madison Pet Fair on August 23rd

Monday, August 17, 2009 Comments

Want to support local animal rescue efforts and have fun at the same time? Join over twenty pet-related organizations this Saturday at Madison’s Pet Corner for the second annual Madison Pet Fair! Each business in the Madison’s Pet Corner Complex will be holding a fun event with all proceeds going to benefit participating non-profits. Both people and pets are invited to attend!

The Madison Pet Fair is held as a way to introduce the community to local animal rescues and promote volunteerism, as well as to raise funds for these organizations. Attendees will learn about ways they can volunteer with animal-related group and meet representatives and adoptable animals. The event will also include exciting and family-friendly activities such as the adoptable dog parade, demonstration from Capital K-9s, doggie triathlon, kids’ activities, prizes and much more.

Just a few of the groups who will be present at the event are Capital K-9’s, Wisconsin Academy for Graduate Service Dogs, Greyhound Pets of America, Oolong Dachshund Rescue, Shelter from the Storm, and Occupaws. Concession stands will also be available with all sales going to benefit the twenty-plus non-profit organizations attending the event.

When: August 23rd, 2009 from 12:00pm – 3:00pm RAIN OR SHINE!
Where: Madison’s Pet Corner, 635 Struck Street, Madison, WI.
For more info: Madison's Pet Corner or call Kristine at (608) 271-5277

What is the best bedding for hedgehogs?

Friday, August 14, 2009 Comments

If you’re confused as to what bedding is appropriate for your African Pygmy Hedgehog, you are certainly not alone. It seems that every hedgehog enthusiast has their own opinion on the subject! There are many products available, and each comes with its own set of pros and cons. What is important is finding bedding that fits the needs of both owner and hedgehog, and above all is safe for your pet.

Commonly used types of bedding are:

Pine shavings- Pine shavings are an easily attainable and relatively cheap form of bedding for your hedgehog. There is some debate, however, on the safety of using pine. Pine contains high levels of abietic acid which could, after length exposure, heighten the risk of respiratory problems and certain cancers. The risk can be minimized by purchasing kiln dried pine and using a well-ventilated cage. Uncured pine should never be used as hedgehog bedding. Besides potential health risks, pine can be messy as your hedgehog may kick it out of his cage. The ability to simply dump it out when cleaning the cage makes it a popular bedding choice for many owners.

Paper Bedding- There are several types of paper bedding available commercially: pelleted and shredded. Both are typically made of recycled consumer paper. The pelletted type (such as Yesterday’s News) is made of recycled paper compressed into hard pellets. The shredded type (such as Carefresh) is a soft, plush paper product which comes in different colors. As with any bedding, there are drawbacks to these paper products. Pelletted litters are not generally considered comfortable for your pet. Some owners have also reported finding bits of industrial debris (such as metal and plastic) due to the product being made from recycled materials. The shredded paper bedding is comfortable for hedgehogs, but there is anecdotal evidence stating some hogs may be prone to consuming it and potentially becoming internally impacted. The soft material also has a tendency to stick to a hedgehog’s sharp quills which is rather messy when removing the animal from his cage. Paper bedding is generally very absorbent, making it easy to “spot-clean” between full cage cleanings by removing the soiled bedding and replacing it with fresh.

Aspen- Aspen bedding is a relatively safe bedding choice for many hedgehogs, especially those with allergies. It can, however, be messy unless purchased in the form of chips. There are also hedgehogs which may have an allergic reaction to aspen, though it is less common than with pine.

Corn Cob- Corn cob bedding is considered moderately comfortable for hedgehogs. Precautions should be taken when using corn cob, especially in adolescent males, as it has been known to become trapped in the penile sheath which can lead to discomfort, infections and urinary issues. This type of bedding does not dry particularly quickly, so it can form mildew if not spot-cleaned regularly. Moist bedding is unsanitary for hedgehogs, and the smell is also unpleasant for owners. Corn cob bedding is easy for owners to purchase, but is comparatively more expensive than wood or paper bedding. It is an acceptable bedding if an alternative is not available.

Fleece/Vellux Liners- Liners made of fleece or vellux can be purchased online or easily purchased and cut to cage-size from a fabric store. Many hedgehog enthusiasts find fleece liners to be the most economical and simple type of bedding as it can be re-used many times and cleaned by a quick run through the washing machine. Owners should always monitor the quality of their liners, as fleece has a tendency to pill over time. If the fleece becomes pilled, the liners should be replaced for safety. Fleece liners are considered very comfortable for hedgehogs, and many enjoy burrowing under the warmth of layered liners.

These types of bedding should NEVER be used:

Cedar shavings- Cedar is a very aromatic bedding which contains high amounts of a toxin called plicatic acid. Hedgehogs have delicate respiratory systems which could easily be compromised with asthma or upper respiratory infections caused by cedar bedding. Respiratory issues in hedgehogs are very dangerous and could result in severe illness or sudden death.

Newspaper- Though many newspapers have switched to more eco-friendly inks, some papers are still printed with ink that could be toxic to hedgehogs (particularly if ingested.) Newspaper is not considered particularly absorbent and would need nearly constant replacement. Newspaper ink also transfers very easily to skin which is unsightly and unsafe for hogs.

Cat litter- Clay cat litter is far too dusty to be used as bedding for hedgehogs. It can be used sparingly in litter trays, but should never be used as a full-cage bedding. In either case, clumping cat litter should not be used as it can compact and clump internally if eaten. Small-grained cat litter can also become embedded in the reproductive organs of both male and female hedgehogs.

Pillowcases and Towels- Loose strings from pillowcases or towels can easily become wrapped around tiny hedgehog limbs. Hogs cannot generally remove themselves when trapped in such a manner and may break a limb; tightly wrapped strings can also cause amputation. Towels are typically made up of millions of tiny loops for absorbency. This makes them great for human use, but very dangerous for hedgehogs. Their feet and nails can easily become entangled in the loops. Unfortunately, many hogs have lost a toenail or toes for this reason.

Madison man and woman charged in dog stabbing

Thursday, August 13, 2009 Comments

According to the criminal complaint, officers responded on the evening of June 21, 2009 to a 911 call in reference to the stabbing of a dog. Upon arrival at the scene on Trailsway in the City of Madison, a Madison Police Officer reported a large amount of blood in the kitchen and the living room, as well as scattered items such as cloth and paper towels apparently used to wipe up the blood. He also observed a young puppy bleeding from the neck area and in need of immediate medical attention.

The subject who initiated the 911 call was identified as 47-year-old Susanne Burgaz of Madison. The officer observed what looked like blood on her hands and clothing. Burgaz stated that the man she lived with, later identified as Richard J. Maier, had stabbed the 3-month-old German Shepherd puppy named Shep approximately 3 or 4 hours ago. She said Maier stabbed the puppy because it wouldn’t be quiet.

“(The dog) kept yelping and barking. Rick (Richard Maier) yelled at the dog to shut up, but the dog kept barking,” Burgaz stated. “He opened the door and took a knife.”

When asked to further describe the stabbing, Burgaz could not explain to the officer any more beyond stating that Maier had done it. She claimed that she had tried to help the dog by pouring iodine on the wound and gluing it with super glue. She also noted that she had tried to stop the bleeding by applying as much pressure as she could “short of strangling the dog.”

The officer contacted Richard Maier, 60, who stated that the puppy kept barking which angered Susanne Burgaz. He further stated that Burgaz yelled out “I’ve had enough!” and removed a red-handled kitchen knife from her purse. According to Maier, Burgaz ran over to the cage where the dog was located, pulled the dog out with one hand, and “stuck it once with the knife.” The dog was stabbed in the neck area.

Maier stated that Burgaz dragged the dog into the living room by a leash attached to the dog’s collar. Though the dog was bleeding heavily from the neck, Maier said that he believed Burgaz felt she could fix the wound.

“She thought she could fix it. She put iodine on it and super glue too,” he said. “I think the efforts to save the dog lasted until you got here. But before you got here, before you were called, she ran upstairs, called you guys, and said I did it.”

Maier further stated that 45 minutes to an hour went by before Burgaz called the police, and he believed the dog was going to die. He said that he felt the police should have been called earlier, because “the dog didn’t deserve that at all.”

The officer again questioned Susanne Burgaz regarding the incident. Burgaz stated that Maier had told her to “get the (expletive) dog to stop barking!” She further stated that Maier demanded that she kill the puppy and that she “had no choice” as “he’s bigger than me.” She claimed that Maier held a knife to her neck and made her stab the dog. When pressed for further details, Burgaz would only state to the officer “I can’t explain it. It was horrible.” She also could not explain how the knife got into her hand. The officer reported no noticeable marks on Burgaz’s neck.

A second officer transported the puppy to an emergency animal clinic where the knife wound was treated. The veterinarian described the laceration as being approximately two and a half centimeters wide.

A jury trial is scheduled for Susanne Burgaz on November 17, 2009. She is being charged with Intentional Mistreatment of Animals and Obstructing an Officer. Richard Maier is also charged with Intentional Mistreatment of Animals and scheduled for a settlement conference on August 21, 2009 in the Dane County Circuit Court.

For further info: Madison Police Dept Incident Report

Enjoy Yappy Hour with your dog August 15 in Sun Prairie

Wednesday, August 12, 2009 Comments

City Hall Pet Gifts and Cannery Wine & Spirits are again hosting their annual wine and beer tasting event for dog lovers, Yappy Hour! Canine guests can indulge in dog-friendly "wines" such as Pinot Leasheo (chicken flavored) and Barkundy (beef flavored.) For humans, a wide variety of dog-themed wines and beers will be available to sample.

Greyhound Pets of America will also be attending the event to discuss former racedogs up for adoption, answer questions about their rescue, and meet-and-greet adoptable greyhounds.

This popular event is held only once per year; don't miss it! Make sure you check out all the unique pet items available at City Hall Pet Gifts while you're there.

When: Saturday, August 15, 2009 from 3:00 pm- 5:00 pm ]
Where: Cannery Wine & Spirits, 240 E Main St, Sun Prairie, WI
(parking and event located at the back entrance)

Want to find out just what breed your "mutt" is?

Friday, August 7, 2009 Comments

Owners of mixed-breed dogs often cringe when asked the question “What kind of dog is that?” At the vet’s office, these same owners may draw a blank when they reach the “Primary Breed’ line on the patient information form. In the past, it was necessary to take an educated guess to answer these questions or simply reply “I guess I don’t know!” Modern scientific research has now yielded a solution to this problem: canine DNA testing.

Believe it or not, testing your dog’s DNA can provide clues to his or her ancestry. Scientists have discovered subtle variations in the DNA profiles of different dog breeds which make them distinguishable in a simple DNA test. As with determining human parentage, a dog’s DNA sample is quite easily attainable by swabbing the inner cheek to obtain skin cells.

Several companies offer at-home DNA testing kits for the modest price of between $50 and $70. Leading the pack are BioPet and DogDNA. Customers can purchase a kit containing the DNA collection swab, detailed instructions, and a tube to return the sample to the lab. After collecting their dog’s DNA sample as instructed in the kit, owners simply mail the swab to the company’s laboratory where the DNA testing is completed. In 2-6 weeks, the results will be mailed to the customer including a fancy certificate of heritage.

So how accurate are these tests? Well, it depends. Each company has specific breeds which their tests are capable of detecting. Every company’s list is different; some test for around 60 breeds, others test for over 100. BioPet estimates that around 92.5% of mixed breed dogs are covered by their 62 validated breeds. Depending on your dog’s specific heritage, the DNA profile could be very specific or rather vague. Results are typically divided into three categories: primary breed, secondary breed, and “in the mix.” Unless your dog had a purebred parent, it’s common for most mixes to be without a primary breed. If your dog has a long lineage of mixed breeds, his or her results may only provide a jumble of breeds considered “in the mix.”

Knowing what breed your dog is has many benefits beyond satisfying an owner’s curiosity. Some breeds are predisposed to certain health conditions or behavioral complexities; knowing a dog’s heritage can assist owners in preventing or dealing with these situations appropriately. It can also help owners to custom-tailor a diet and exercise program catered to their dog’s needs. Besides explaining why a game of fetch never really caught on, potentially discovering that a dog is a herder or runner by nature rather than a retriever can point owners to activites that will appeal to their dog's natural talents.

Celebrate Catapalooza in Madison on August 15th!

Thursday, August 6, 2009 Comments

Do you want to support the Dane County Humane Society? Are you looking for a new feline friend, or maybe just plain love cats? Then come out and enjoy Catapalooza, the Dane County Humane Society’s annual cat celebration and adopt-a-thon!

Catapalooza is a great way to support local rescue efforts and is fun for the whole family. For cat lovers and kids, the event features cat-friendly vendors and activities like face painting, prize wheel (where every spin is a winner!), and a bounce house. Attendees looking to find a new best friend or learn about the joys of cat ownership can meet adoptable animals and hear presentations.

Where: The Dane County Humane Society, 5132 Voges Road, Madison

When: Saturday, August 15 from 11:00 am- 7:00 pm

For more info: Visit DCHS online or call (608) 838-0413

Business Spotlight: Camp K9 Pet Care Center

Wednesday, August 5, 2009 Comments

Camp K9 owners Lori & Duncan Campbell and their daughters

Located at 4934 Felland Road, Camp K9 Pet Care Center has offered devoted service to Madison area dogs for over two decades. Just what makes Camp K9 so special, and how have they enjoyed such longevity? Owner Lori Campbell discussed these questions and more in an exclusive interview with Mad About Pets:

What animal(s) does/does your business cater to, and what kinds of products/services do you offer?

Camp K9 is a full service pet care facility. We offer boarding for dogs and cats, Daycamp (Mon-Fri for social dogs), Grooming, Training and some retail.

What made you decide to start up your business (how did your business come about?)

A lifelong passion for animals combined with a dream of starting a premier pet facility since the age of 16. Camp K9 started with the purchase of a home with a small kennel attached and turned a dream into a reality for myself and my husband Duncan. That was 24 years ago. The once small kennel has grown into the Madison area’s premier pet pamperer.

Please describe your facility or accommodations, and any special training or accolades you or your staff possesses.

Camp K9 is nestled in a serene wooded valley on Madison's east side. We offer accommodations to suit every taste and budget. From our classic rooms to our lavish Bed and Biscuit suites, all of which were recently remodeled, customers can have a choice of accommodations for their pet's visit. House -buddies, our newest overnight option, allows your pet a true "just like home" experience.

We are proud of our many acres of grass play yards for our guests to enjoy during their visit. Our customers always express that is one of their favorite parts of bringing their dogs here - because their pet's come home tired, refreshed and happy from these extra playtimes we offer and that we have such huge areas for their pet's to play in.

We offer multi-level custom designed Kitty condos with indoor/outdoor access and believe they are the largest kitty room accommodations available in the area. We are currently working on remodeling our activity and training center which rounds out our facility.

Many of our staff members have pet CPR certification. Our staff has more than 2 centuries of combined pet care experience; this may make us the most experienced facility around.

How are you different from other animal boarding/sitting services in the Madison area?

We really are Madison's premier pet spa. Camp K9 has been in the same location and under the same ownership for more than 24 years now. With this kind of experience and a commitment to Madison's pets and their people we are unparalleled. We also feel we stand out because of our country setting with lots of room to run and play for our guests. We have several acres of fenced in play yards, plus more acres of nature trails for pets to use. These big yards and fresh air make for a great vacation for any pet.

For more info: Visit Camp K9's website or call at (608) 249-3939

How to Leash Train Your Cat (yes, it is possible!)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009 Comments

Many cat owners believe that their cat is too stubborn to learn to walk on a leash. While this may be true of many cats, some may actually take to it easier than you would expect. Inquisitive breeds like the Siamese (who often enjoy dog-like games of fetch or follow their owners like puppies) have been known to walk on a leash nearly as well as a well-trained dog! However unteachable your cat may seem, there are some hints that could make leash training a reality.

The most important item to consider is the harness. A proper cat harness should fit snuggly around your cat. Too tight of a harness could be painful for your cat, but having the harness too loose risks the cat wriggling free. A rule of thumb is if you can slip two fingers between the cat and harness, it is probably secure. You should never use a regular cat collar when walking a cat, as most cats can easily wriggle out of it or cause injury to themselves in the attempt.

When you first place the harness on your cat, you are likely to encounter some resistance. Offer the cat a treat and speak with a calm, reassuring voice to let her know she is safe. At first your cat may act strangely while wearing the harness. She may stiffen up or even fall over. Don’t worry—this is normal behavior. Leave the harness on your cat for five or ten minutes, then take it off. While the harness is on, you may wish to hold your cat and walk to a window or onto the porch. This will create an association for the cat between the outdoors and the harness. Repeat this exercise several times per day for a week to ten days.

After your cat has become acclimated to the feel of her harness, it is time to attach the lead. Do not attempt to walk your cat right away; instead, allow her to drag the lead around behind her for a few moments at a time. This will get her used to the feeling of being attached to something. Repeat this several times a day for a few days until your cat becomes accepting of the lead. At this point, you can hold the lead while remaining stationary. Your cat will realize she is restrained to a certain area and learn to adjust her actions accordingly. During both of these exercises, continue to speak to your cat in a reassuring voice and offer her treats. A positive association with the harness and lead is the most important key to successfully leash training a cat.

After several days, your cat should feel comfortable with the feeling of a lead attached to her harness. You may now make the great transition to the outdoors! For your first walks, be sure to choose a time when there will be little noise such as the evening. It is unlikely your cat will go very far, as she will be too busy sniffing the grass and taking in all the sights. Your cat might pull against the leash or bounce around trying to get free; if this happens, simply stand still and let her realize for herself that she’s not going to get anywhere by struggling. Do not tug on the leash or attempt to force the cat in any direction; if she does not want to come, she is not going to. Go at your cat’s pace. After all, this is supposed to be fun for both of you! It will take several days or even several weeks for your cat to become accustomed to going for walks; however, if you take your time and are patient, your cat will form a positive association with walking on a leash.

Several tips to remember:

1. Be patient! Cats are creatures of habit, and it takes a while to teach them a new behavior.

2. Listen to your cat! If she is struggling against her harness or clearly in distress, do not attempt to walk her. It will not be fun for either of you, and you are likely to damage your training efforts.

3. Pay attention! Whether you’re in the training process or actually going for walks, always keep an eye on your cat. It only takes a second for a cat to become entangled in a lead or to be attacked by a neighborhood dog.

4. Be realistic! Not all cats will enjoy walking on a leash. If despite your best efforts the training just isn’t working, it’s okay to admit defeat. There are plenty of other activities you can enjoy with your cat like wand toys or laser pens that will be enjoyable for you both.

For more info: The Daily Cat, Pet Wellbeing, CatsPlay

Deer + tabby = LOVE!

Monday, August 3, 2009 Comments

Filmed at Arnold's Wildlife Rescue, this video captures an unlikely relationship between a deer and a tabby cat. Adorable!

Feliway Comfort Zone for Behavior Modification in Cats

Sunday, August 2, 2009 Comments

Anyone who has ever experienced behavior problems in cats knows that it can be a very frustrating experience. Seemingly simple changes like introducing a new cat into the home or moving to a new apartment can trigger unwanted and unpleasant changes in a cat's behavior. From urine marking to inappropriate scratching, these behaviors are a nuisance to owners and are also signs that a cat may be under considerable stress. Fortunately for cats and their owners, modern science has given us an ingenious product: Feliway Comfort Zone.

You may have noticed when your cat is happy, he or she will rub a cheek on furniture, your leg, or anything else in the vicinity. Besides being incredibly cute, this behavior is actually a cat's way of marking with a pheromone produced by glands in their cheeks. This pheromone is a "feel-good" pheromone for cats, producing a happy and calming effect. Feliway Comfort Zone is a scientifically engineered synthetic version of this pheromone. It's calming effects can be used to calm cats in stressful situations, as well as positively modify feline behavior. Best of all, it is undetectable to the human nose.

Feliway Comfort Zone is available in several different forms. For targeted application, the product is available in a spray or as wipes. These products can be applied directly to problem areas such as the litterbox. For cats needing modification of their litter box habits, the spray can be applied to the litter box making it a comfortable place for cats. It can also be applied to the scratching post to encourage use. Trips to the veterinarian can be an incredibly stressful experience for a cat; by applying Comfort Zone to their pet carrier, some of the trauma of the experience can be alleviated (the spray should never, however, be applied directly to a cat's body.)

Click photo for more info or to purchase

Another version of Feliway Comfort Zone is the plug-in diffuser. Much like scented plug-ins purchased to give a room an inviting scent for humans, the Comfort Zone diffuser uses an electrical outlet to diffuse the feel-good pheromone throughout the home. This can be useful for situations where the home environment itself may have become stressful to a cat. Introducing a new cat, moving to a new home, bringing home a new baby, or even getting new furniture can all cause upset to a cat's routine. Diffusing the pheromone throughout the home can make these transitional situations easier for a cat to cope with and may prevent unwanted behaviors from developing.

Click photo for more info or to purchase

There is also a Comfort Zone product available for dogs.

For more information on this product for cats and dogs: Comfort Zone

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