Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Importance of Antioxidants in Pet Feeding

Antioxidants are finally getting the respect they deserve. When appropriate amounts are included in pet food, antioxidants serve two important functions, keeping food fresh and keeping pets healthy.

Health Benefits of Antioxidants

Antioxidants play a major role in maintaining your pet's health. They are beneficial in large part because they counter the effects of damaging free radicals in the body.
Free radicals are a natural by-product of metabolism and are produced in greater than normal amounts when pets are sick, elderly, exposed to toxins, or suffer from poor nutrition. Free-radicals contain oxygen and are missing an electron, which makes them highly reactive. They attack and take electrons from cell membranes, proteins, and DNA. The molecule that loses an electron to a free radical often becomes a free radical itself, continuing the cycle.


Antioxidants are different, however. They can donate electrons to free radicals without becoming free radicals themselves, thereby breaking the cycle of molecular and cellular damage. Therefore, an ample dietary source of antioxidants is essential if a pet is to maintain a strong immune system throughout its life and age in a healthy manner.

Dangerous Foods for Cats

While we may consider cats to be members of our family, treating them as such at mealtimes can cause more injury to them than just spoiling their dinners. Here’s a look at the five most dangerous foods for your cat, how they affect their bodies, and what to do in case of an emergency.

1. Onions/Garlic

Onions and garlic can cause the destruction of red blood cells and lead to anemia in cats.
“Cats tend to be much pickier eaters as opposed to dogs, but we’ve seen cats eat an entire cup of caramelized onions.”


Although the size of the dose determines the level of poisoning, lethargy and a reduced appetite can be symptoms of a toxic reaction. The sooner you diagnose potential poisoning in cats the better, so if they’re acting strangely don’t hesitate to call your veterinarian.

Australian Shepherd

Bred as an all-purpose herder and farm dog, the Australian Shepherd lives for the enjoyment of its job. It’s an intelligent, obedient, and agile breed.

History and Background

The Australian Shepherd is, in fact, not Australian at all. A popular theory states that the Basques herders who emigrated to Australia in the 19th century brought their sheep and their sheepdogs, some of which were Australian Shepherd dogs, with them. Others believe the guardian breed, which is known for its versatility, originated in Turkey more than 5,000 years ago.


What is certain is that the Australian Shepherd Club of America was established in 1957. These dogs soon adapted themselves to the harsh conditions of the United States; some were even featured in film or used as trick dogs in rodeos. The American Kennel Club formally recognized the breed in 1993.

Black Russian Terrier

The Black Russian Terrier is a solid, large, powerful dog. It was developed in Russia as a guard dog. Today, the Black Russian Terrier is well known for its courage and strength, as well as its endurance.

History and Background

In the mid-20th Century, the Soviets had to find the right working dog for their military. As there weren’t good qualified dogs to suit their purpose, they imported mostly German breeds to their state Red Star kennels. Roy, a Giant Schnauzer born in 1947, was the most impressive import. This dog was mated with other breeds like the Moscow Water Dog, Airedale Terrier and Rottweiler. All the successful resultant crosses were black and could be differentiated from other breeds as the Black Terrier group. However, the best dogs were then inter-bred and by the late 1950s, the public could obtain the second- and third-generation dogs.


The principal criteria for breeding were versatility and working ability and steps were taken to improve the form. The functions of the Black Russian Terrier were performing military tasks like detecting explosives and mines, pulling sledges, transporting supplies, finding wounded soldiers, and border guard duty. The dogs were also used for military operations in Bosnia and Afghanistan.
A standard was registered in 1968 and, in 1984, the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) recognized the breed. The popularity of the dog increased as Black Russian Terrier breeders were taken to other countries. The AKC accepted the breed as part of the Miscellaneous class in 2001 and it became a part of the Working Group in 2004.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Birman Cats

Also called the Sacred Cat of Burma, the Birman has been around for centuries. Its true origin is shrouded in mystery; few breeds have the aura of enchantment that this breed enjoys. The Birman's beautiful colorpoint pattern, long, silky fur, brilliant blue eyes, and pure white gloves make the breed a lovely addition to the cat fancy. The sweet, devoted personality makes the Birman a terrific companion as well. The breed is often favored by those who love the pointed pattern of the Himalayan but don't care for the flattened facial type and grooming needs.

History and Origin

The breed has been around for centuries. According to the story, pure white amber-eyed cats resided in the Buddhist temples of Burma (now Myanmar) and were revered as the feline carriers of the souls of priests who had departed the mortal plain. The Goddess of transmutation, Tsim-Kyan-Kse, was worshiped in these temples, represented by a golden statue with glowing sapphire eyes. Each evening Mun-Ha, High Lama of the temple of Lao-Tsun, prayed in front of the statue of Tsim-Kyan-Kse with one of the sacred temple cats, Sinh, as his faithful companion.
One day, marauders raided the temple and struck down Mun-Ha. As Mun-Ha lay dying in front of the statue, Sinh climbed onto his chest and purred to comfort and prepare him for his soul's journey.


When Mun-Ha died, his soul flowed into Sinh, and a miraculous transformation took place. Sinh's amber eyes changed to the sapphire blue of the statue's. Her white coat turned a golden hue like the statue's gold. Her face, ears, tail and legs darkened to the color of the earth on which Mun-Ha lay. Where Sinh's paws touched the priest, however, there remained a dazzling white, a symbol of Mun-Ha's pure spirit. The next morning, all the temple cats had undergone the same transformation. For the next seven days Sinh refused all food and finally died, carrying Mun-Ha's spirit into paradise.

Exotic Shorthair Cats

The Exotic cat (also called the Exotic shorthair by some cat associations) is a cross between Persians and American Shorthairs. The Cat Fanciers’ Association, the world’s largest registry of pedigreed cats, lists the Exotic cat as the third most popular cat breed based on their 2007 registration statistics.

Exotic Look

Exotic cats are bred to meet the Persian standard in almost every way with one exception: their coats. Exotics, unlike their Persian counterparts, have short, thick, dense coats, making them popular among people who enjoy the Persian personality but don’t want the hassle or the time required for daily grooming.


Exotics are affectionately referred to as “The Lazy Man’s Persian” because of this. 
Exotic cats are available in a rainbow of hues, ranging from solid to tabby to bicolor. 

Temperament

The Exotic personality tends to mimic that of a Persian: sweet, affectionate and playful. Exotic cats are known to show more affection and loyalty than other feline breeds, and commonly follow their owners throughout the home.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Ragdoll

Surrounded by myth and mystery, the ragdoll is a large, laid-back, loving cat with a long, beautiful coat, lovely pointed pattern and big brilliant blue eyes. A hybrid breed, the ragdoll was developed by years of selective breeding, but exactly which cats were used in its creation remains uncertain. While controversy kept the breed from achieving quick acceptance in cat associations, the breed is popular with cat lovers for his beauty and trusting, playful personality.

History and Origin

The ragdoll's origins cannot be established with certainty. The only detail of the breed's creation that is not subject to debate is that the ragdoll was created in the 1960s by the late Ann Baker of Riverside, Calif. All genuine ragdolls can be traced back to the bloodlines she developed.
The breed was probably created by crosses between unpedigreed longhaired cats that possessed the recessive gene for the pointed pattern, although some believe that the breed was created by crossbreeding Persians, Birmans, and Burmese cats with random-bred domestics.


The foundation cat from which the breed originated, Josephine, was a semi-feral longhaired white female cat of unknown parentage.
The colorful stories and rumors that surround the breed's creation lend an air of mystery. As the story goes, Josephine produced unremarkable kittens until she was struck by a car in the early 1960s. Allegedly, after the accident Josephine was taken to a facility where she was genetically altered in an experiment conducted by the government. This genetic alteration caused Josephine to produce kittens with the traits for which the ragdoll is so famous – non-aggressive temperament, beautiful color pointed coat and the tendency to go limp like a rag doll when held.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Maine Coon

One of the oldest natural breeds in North America, the Maine coon is second only to the Persian in popularity. This made-in-America breed is prized for his large size, sweet personality and silky all-weather coat. Considering the breed's intelligence and clown-like antics, it's no wonder that this cat ranks No. 2 among America's top favorites.

History and Origin

Maine coons have been on this continent since colonial days. They probably came over from Europe with the first settlers of the New World, since cats were often kept on sailing ships to control rodent populations. While there exists no actual evidence of where and when they arrived, some entertaining myths surround the breed's arrival. One such tale claims that Maine coons are descendants of longhaired cats owned by Marie Antoinette.


According to the story, Captain Clough smuggled the queen's cats and other belongings to America in preparation of the Queen's rescue from her rendezvous with the guillotine. Unfortunately, he was only successful in rescuing her cats.
However they arrived, Maine coons carved their place in the New England countryside alongside the early colonists. Given Maine's severe winters, those initial years were hard on both felines and humans. Only the strongest and most adaptable cats survived. Through natural selection, the Maine coon developed into a large, rugged cat with his water-resistant coat and hardy constitution.
The Maine coon was an early favorite in the emerging American cat fancy in the late 1800s. In the early 1900s, however, cat fanciers of the era abandoned Maine coons for Persians, Angoras and other exotic imports. By 1950, the breed had all but vanished. Fortunately, a small group of breeders kept the breed alive.

Persian Cat

The most popular cat on the planet, the Persian, is a hairstylist's dream - or nightmare - depending upon your enthusiasm for fussing with a cat's locks. Undeniably beautiful, elegant and regal, the Persian is ideal if you want a cat that's sweet, devoted, docile, affectionate and laid-back.

History and Origin

Persians were prominently featured in 1871 at the first modern cat show held at London's Crystal Palace. By the early 1900, the Persian had become overwhelmingly popular in the United Kingdom. Persians have been around for much longer than that, however. The ancestors of the modern Persian were first introduced by Roman and Phoenician caravans from the province of Khorazan in Persia (now Iran) to Europe. Later caravans traveling from Persia and Turkey reintroduced the longhaired cats to Europe in the mid to late 1500.


These cats would later become the Angora and Persian breeds. Persians were imported to North America in the late 1800s, where they quickly took their place as top cat. Over the years, American breeders have bred for a more extreme facial type, longer fur, shorter ears, and a boxy design. More than 100 years of selected breeding evolved the Persian into the breed we know today.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Siamese

The Siamese is the most universally recognized domestic cat breed on the planet and one of the oldest, with a history as colorful as the cat herself. These sleek, vocal cats with big baby-blue eyes and striking pointed pattern originated hundreds of years ago in Siam (now Thailand), where they were held in high esteem. According to legend, for generations the kings of Siam kept Siamese cats in the royal palace. Siamese were considered worthy companions for Siam's royalty and religious leaders.

History and Origin

The Siamese has been around for many centuries. The Siamese is described and depicted in the Cat-Book Poems, a manuscript written in the city of Ayudha, Siam, sometime between 1350 when the city was founded and 1767 when the city was destroyed by invaders.


The illustrations in the manuscript clearly show cats with slim bodies and legs and pale-colored coats with dark coloring on the ears, tails and feet.
In 1871, Siamese cats were first exhibited in Britain in the first modern-day cat show at London's Crystal Palace, where they were disparagingly described as an "unnatural, nightmare kind of cat." Nevertheless, the Siamese rapidly became popular among British fanciers. By the early 1900s, the Siamese had made the move to America, where the breed quickly became popular with American cat lovers as well. The breed is now the most popular shorthair in America, and third most popular breed overall, according to CFA's registration statistics.

Dachshund

The dachshund is a short-legged long-bodied breed affectionately referred to as a "wiener dog". (The nickname gained notoriety after an American artist drew a dachshund in a hot dog bun in the early 20th century.) This breed is very popular and is typically within the top 10 most loved breeds. Playful but stubborn, the "doxie" is a member of the hound breeds.

History & Origin

In the 15th century, a short legged, long bodied dog with hound ears was used to chase and hunt badgers in Germany. The name "dachshund" means badger dog. In addition to badgers, dachshunds were originally bred to hunt wild boar, foxes and rabbits. The dachshund's long body allows the animal to chase these adversaries underground.


In Germany, this breed is often still employed in this capacity.
Today, in America, the dachshund enjoys a different lifestyle as a companion animal. The existence of other hunting breeds allows dachshund owners to appreciate their pets' faithful, fun-loving and energetic nature in their home. The dachshund was officially accepted into the American Kennel Club in 1885.