If Our Pets Could Talk – December 2021

If Our Pets Could Talk

By Jackie Kellum

White dog


Part of this month’s article is about Sex. There is always something to learn.   Well, that got your attention. Since this is a family magazine and this column is about pets, this topic is about puppy and kitten litters and their creation.

 A friend and I are pet foster parents at times.  She for puppies and me kittens. We both had litters to care for about the same time. Each of us noticed that within our respective litters, there was one very large litter mate who was more ‘mature’ compared to the others. We knew that unless there is a planned breeding, many times there are multiple fathers producing a litter. This multi-father conception produces at times a litter with a ‘variety’ of mixtures in different sizes, ’breed’, coloring, etc. When the Vet examined the puppy litter for a well-check visit, it was mentioned that the larger puppy was ‘several days older’ than its litter mates, even though they were all born at the same time. But the ‘age’ difference was something new to my friend and me. So, Mr. Google helped with research about this. I will not make this explanation very technical or risqué.  A cat can have a ‘heat’ that may last from one day up to three weeks. A dog can have a heat that can last 2- 4 weeks. Although there are days when the animal may be more fertile, they can become pregnant at two different times, during the heat cycle with days and possibly weeks apart from each other. As soon as the kit/pup is conceived it starts growing.  If a sibling gets conceived after the first conception, it most likely will be smaller at birth. Never thought of that. 

Although humans may find essential oil aromatherapy very pleasant, the oils may pose a possible safety risk to pets.  Many essential oils, including: eucalyptus, tea tree [melaleuca], cinnamon, citrus, pennyroyal, peppermint, wintergreen, clove, pine, sweet birch, thyme, oregano, lavender, and ylang- ylang are toxic to pets.  Essential oils are concentrated making them especially hazardous if the pet inadvertently inhales, licks the oil, or if the oil gets on their skin and is absorbed. If you use an infuser be careful where you place it, so your pet does not have access to it in any way.

We love our pets and we like to give them people food, especially as ‘treats’.  However, there are some people foods that present great risk to them. These items include: any and all sugar free items that contain Xylitol – read the label for ingredients!  Food items that are also harmful: raisins and grapes, plant foods in the Allium genus – onions, garlic, leeks and chives. Macadamia nuts, avocados contain persin, a fungicidal toxin. Corn on the cob, cooked bones, chocolate, coffee and caffeine all contain substances called methylxanthines. Raw meats, raw fish and raw eggs can contain bacteria such as Salmonella and E. Coli.  A website from the American Kennel Club has a long helpful list of ‘can’ and ‘cannot‘ eat, fruits & vegetables for dogs. Fruits and Vegetables Dogs Can or Can’t Eat – American Kennel Club (akc.org)

Keep in mind that snacks are ‘nice, but they do add calories to the pet’s daily caloric intake. This can easily contribute to their obesity, which creates many other serious health problems. Obesity has been attributed to the development of: diabetes, insulin resistance, respiratory disorders, renal dysfunction, high blood pressure, increased joint wear and tear leading to osteoarthritis, chronic low-grade inflammation, diminished quality of life and reduced life expectancy. The question is: does your pet really need that treat?


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