Friday, May 30, 2014

Happy Birthday to Poppy, world's oldest living cat!

Image from
The world's oldest living cat is named Poppy and lives in Bournemouth, England. She recently had her 24th birthday party, and celebrated together with her family consisting of four humans, four other cats, a rabbit, and a hamster.

At her venerable age Poppy has become both blind and deaf, but she is still feisty. She eats dry and canned food, and loves KFC chicken and fish and chips.

The oldest cat overall was named Creme Puff and lived in Austin Texas. Creme Puff lived for 38 years, more than twice the average life span for an indoor cat.

Happy Birthday, Poppy, may you have many more!

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Are you a cat person or a dog person?

 Stereotypes might be a silly way to label people, but the concept of "cat person" or "dog person" might not be as farfetched as one might think. Samuel D Gosling is the author of Snoop: What your stuff says about you, and he claims that there are statistically significant differences between cat and dog people. 

Gosling's research measured openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism, and found that dog or cat people fell on opposite sides of the spectrum.

Dog people tend to be more extroverted while cat people prefer the company of a few friends and their cats. This shows in everything from how we act in public to how we decorate our homes. A dog person would be more likely to set their home up for entertaining and parties, while cat people might decorate for quiet conversations and relaxing spots for reading a book.

According to Gosling, dog people tend to be more organized than cat people, while the latter are more interesting in diversity and unconventional solutions. A cat person might want to decorate with interesting things they've gathered while traveling, while a dog person might want sports memorabilia.

Do you believe that you fall into one of the categories? Does the description seem to fit?

Do you think it is possible to categorize a person as "cat person" or "dog person?"

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Five things that can increase a pet's life

One of the biggest downsides with having, knowing, and loving cats and dogs is that their life-spans is so short. A pet owner has to feel the pain of losing a loved one many times during one of our lifetimes. On the upside, there are things we can do to improve the odds of a long and healthy life.

According to Canadian veterinarians, the five top most important things a pet owner can do to increase the length of their pet's life are:
  1. Weight control and management
  2. Dental care
  3. Regular exams and checkups
  4. Exercise
  5. Proper/appropriate food for life stage
The top five indicators of good overall pet health a pet owner can see at home are:
  1. Pet's weight
  2. Pet wants to play and exercise
  3. Pet has a healthy skin and coat
  4. Pet has consistent overall behavior and mood
  5. Pet has clean teeth and fresh breath.
Overfeeding is the most common mistake pet owners make when it comes to pets' health. Pet owners are also likely to consider the pet's food preference over what's really good for them when it comes to picking a pet food.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

PlexiDors visited PIJAC in Canada

PIJAC Western Pet Expo is the only all inclusive pet industry trade show in British Columbia, Canada, and this year it took place May 4 to May 5 in Richmond, BC. PlexiDors were there and had a great show.

PIJAC stands for the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, and PIJAC Canada are a national non-profit dedicated to ensuring the highest possible level of pet care, and to representing the Canadian Pet Industry.

Around 56 percent of Canadian households have at least one dog or cat. PlexiDors dog doors and cat doors are perfect pet doors for the Canadian climate; a PlexiDor keeps cold weather outside, does not let rain, wind, or snow enter the house, and provides an efficient barrier against summer flies and other nuisances.

The PlexiDor catalog is available in French as well as English, and Canadians interested in the door can download a copy here.

On this image we see, pictured from left to right:

  • Tamara Webster, Triton Sales Representative
  • Nicole Scheming, Owner Triton Animal Supplies
  • Robert Wollet, PlexiDor Sales Manager
  • Hardy Scheming, Owner Triton Animal Supplies
  • Judy Muirhead, Triton Sales Representative
  • Jessica Aldridge, Triton Sales Representative
To read more about PIJAC, visit

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Monday, May 26, 2014

Rare Breed Monday: Hamiltonstövare

Image from
The Hamiltonstövare is a Swedish hunting hound, developed by Count Adolf Hamilton - founder of the Swedish Kennel Club in the late 1800s. It is also called Hamilton Hound and Swedish Foxhound. 

The Hamilton Hound is a popular breed in its native country, but rarely seen abroad. The dogs are designed to only hunt fox and hare, and they have an extremely high prey drive for both sight and scent. This makes them excellent at certain sports, such as lure coursing. The breed is a mix of English Foxhounds, Harriers, and now extinct breeds from Germany; the Holsteiner Hound, the Curlandish Hound, and the Heiderbracke.

Sweden has many forests and mountains, so the terrain can be difficult. The country is on the same latitude as Greenland, but has a somewhat milder climate due to warm ocean currents. Large parts of the year are still very cold, and a suitable hunting dog had to be flexible and tough. Hamilton Hounds possess great endurance and intelligence, and they can be quite independent and stubborn.

These dogs are known for being sweet and friendly, and they make great pets happy to be with the family. They do, however, tend to do what they want instead of what a human might ask. Training requires a lot of enthusiasm and praise. In return, the Hamilton Hound will be a wonderful companion.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Win hand-drawn art of your dog breed!

We have a fun contest going on our Facebook page. Answer a simple question and win a hand-drawn piece of art of your dog breed! The prize also includes a bottle of Deidre's K9 Naturals shampoo. This is really great shampoo made in the USA with ingredients from the USA.

Follow this link and enter the contest on the page! The artwork the winner receives will be in the style below.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Dogs in fiction: Dean Koontz's books

Many authors incorporate dogs or cats in fiction, but few are as well known as Dean Koontz. His books has been published in 38 languages and sold over 450 million copies. A number of his books feature dogs in leading roles.  Many more of his books have dogs as strong supporting characters, and three are written from the point of view of his Golden Retriever, Trixie.

Whether a person likes horror or not, Koontz writes wonderful dogs that find life on the pages. His pooches are well-rounded, intelligent, and often hilarious. They are also generally protectors of the weak with a supernatural sense for who is good and who is bad. They bond with children and benevolent aliens, and are portrayed in a way that would make the most heard-hearted person love them.

It's not Christmas time right now, but the book "Christmas is Good" by Trixie Koontz encompasses the idea of dog so well. Trixie says, "Form group to sing carols. People will yell 'shut up' and throw things. Some things might be food."

Another great example from the book is, "Make extra pumpkin pies. Dad loves 'em. Remember when Dad ate two whole pies last Christmas Eve? Yeah, it was Dad. Bad Dad. He had amnesia caused by pumpkin overdose, but it was him."

Have you read a book by Dean Koontz that featured dogs? What did you think? Do you have a favorite?

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Watch out for heatstroke in your pets

The heat is on in large parts of the USA. Here in Florida, pavements are scorching and it is definitely too hot for pets to be outside in the middle of the day. Dogs are more susceptible to heat stroke than humans; they can't sweat like we do, and panting is the only way they have to cool off.

Heatstroke is a severe condition that can lead to brain damage, kidney failure, liver failure, lung damage, bleeding disorders, swelling of airways, muscle damage, and death.

Here are some common symptoms of heatstroke to watch out for:

  1. An anxious expression, or a blank stare
  2. Heavy panting and raspy breath
  3. Open mouth breathing
  4. Bright red gums
  5. Salivation
  6. Vomiting
  7. Collapsing, stumbling, or falling down
  8. Elevated temperature
  9. Lying flat on cool surfaces
  10. Skin feels warmer than normal
  11. Seizures

In order to avoid this, make sure your pet has access to a cool area. If you don't have air conditioning, use fans to increase circulation. You can spray small animals with a spray bottle of water set at a fine mist.

Things to do if you suspect heatstroke:

  1. Hose down your pet so their panting slows down. This helps prevent their body temperature from rising any further.
  2. Call the vet. Don't take a "wait and see" approach; call the vet
  3. Keep the AC on in the car to keep your pet cool. If you don't have AC, keep the windows down and create a cross draft.
  4. When you reach the vet, treatment for heatstroke may include intravenous fluids, oxygen, and a blood test to see if there is any organ damage
  5. Severe cases can require hospitalization for up to ten days. 

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Philadelphia dogs get protection from the elements

Dogs in Philadelphia will soon be able to rest easier in extreme weather; owners will face fines for leaving their dogs outside during extreme heat or cold. A new bill makes it illegal to tie or chain an animal outside during extreme weather.

The bill will bring legal protection and the ability to fine owners, but is also hoped to raise awareness amongst dog owners. Many still believe that dogs can handle heat and cold better than humans, but the opposite is true.

If the bill passes, it will be illegal to leave a pet outside in temperatures below 32 F or above 85 F - or in sleet, snow and/or wind that can threaten the health and safety of an animal. The bill excludes taking an animal outside for brief walks and exercise, but includes dogs left in doghouses.

Dogs can't sweat like humans do; they can just pant to try to cool off. They are also so eager to please their owners that they won't stop playing or show that something is wrong until it's too late.

The pets most susceptible to heatstroke include:

  • Short snout dog breeds, such as Pugs and Bulldogs
  • Elderly and ill pets
  • Pets with heart conditions
  • Cats with shortened faces, such as the Persian
  • Dogs who exercise excessively in hot weather
  • Dogs who snore or have airway problems
  • Pets who are overweight
  • Pets who have recently been relocated to a hotter climate
  • A pet that has had heatstroke before can be at higher risk of getting it again

~ Maria Sadowski ~ 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

New gadget to keep pooches entertained

Many pets spend most of their days home alone. Some adapt to the pace of working owners and nap through the day, but many more energetic breeds can invent a task for themselves. For instance, chewing up chews, carpets, tearing up sofa pillows, breaking into kitchen cupboards... You get the idea.

CleverPet is a new gadget designed to entertain dogs during their time alone. The toy stimulates the dog's mind, and dispenses treats as a reward. Doggie parents can fill it up with dry dog food, and it will spend the day playing games with Fido.

The device is made out of silicone, which feels inviting to touch and helps distinguish between things that are allowed - like the CleverPet - and things that are not allowed - like a cell phone or remote. It can't be knocked over, and it has a soft, rounded design that makes chewing it up nearly impossible.

So, how does it work?

It has three touch-sensitive pads that light up in colors visible to a dog, and a microphone to detect barks. To start with, hitting any pad dispenses a treat. The challenges soon grow more difficult, teaching the dog to detect changes in color, pressing a sequence of lights, and responding to commands that can be pre-recorded by the owner.

CleverPet connects to Wifi, and owners can monitor the pet's progress through an app.

The CleverPet is not currently in production; the company runs a kickstarter campaign to raise funds for production.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Monday, May 19, 2014

Rare Breed Monday: Pyrenean Shepherd

The Pyrenean Shepherd, or Berger des Pyrénées, has herded sheep in the south of France for centuries. It is mentioned in medieval writings, and is called the "constant companion," always by the shepherd's side. When herding it is traditionally paired with a Great Pyrenees that would act as the flock's guardian. Two Pyrenean Shepherds are enough to handle a flock of 1,000 sheep.

Herding dogs are generally energetic and intelligent, and the Pyrenean Shepherd is not an exception. During a day's work, a dog covers around 25 miles while doing chores with the shepherd. If it's not working with sheep it needs another job to do, and these smart and agile dogs excel at flyball, competitive obedience, and agility.

During World War One, thousands of Pyrenean Shepherds were used as couriers, search and rescue dogs, and for accompanying guards on their rounds. They were considered the most intelligent, able, and fastest of all the breeds used.

The breed comes in two varieties: rough-faced and smooth-faced. The breed is generally healthy with a life span of at least 15 years.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Friday, May 16, 2014

Dogs on TV: Porthos from Star Trek Enterprise

Porthos is a Beagle accompanying Captain Jonathan Archer aboard the Enterprise. Porthos was played by three Beagles: Prada, Breezy, and Windy. 

Prada played the role for the most part and Breezy and Windy were called in when needed. The show also had a prop dog for shots unsuitable for a real animal.

The fictitious Porthos is a boy dog, as is actor Prada. Both Breezy and Windy are girls.

Star Trek Enterprise is set in a time-frame before the other Star Trek shows, at a time where humanity has yet to grow used of aliens. He plays an important part in letting his Captain know how wrong or right he is about intergalactic intrigue and adventure. Porthos is one of only four characters besides the main cast that appeared in every season of Enterprise.

As any good dog, Porthos has quirks, and he loves cheddar cheese.

According to, the producers held casting sessions for Porthos, and Prada contested with a black and white Boston Terrier. Prada also played Lou, the main dog in Cats and Dogs.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Thursday, May 15, 2014

How do you teach a dog to swim?

Yesterday we talked about dog breeds that can't swim, such as the Bulldog. When discussing breeds physically able to do it, how do they learn to swim?

Some dogs plunge in and love the water. Others are reluctant. Some dogs are scared of water, especially if they meet the ocean for the first time. It smells and sound so differently from what they're used to.

Encourage your dog by going out and calling for him or her. If they follow, reward with praise.

Many dogs love to play fetch and will follow a tennis ball or other floating toy even if they wouldn't plunge in on their own. Don't throw it far; let the dog get comfortable at a certain depth and go gradually deeper.

Some dogs will join in if other dogs or people are having fun in the water. There are dogs who will never enjoy being in the water, and it is important to respect that.

If your dog loves swimming, you still need to keep an eye out for safety. Puppies and older dogs tire quickly, and often don't realize how fatigued they are until it's too late. Strong currents can pull in humans as well as dogs, and it is wise to stay away from areas with underwater debris that can catch around the dog's legs.

Even if your dog never takes to the water, he or she might still like hanging out on the beach with you. Non-swimmers should wear a doggie life vest. If the sand is hot, booties can be a good idea to protect the sensitive paws. Dogs can't cool off like humans do, so there must be access to shade and cool drinking water.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Not all dogs can swim

Beach and boating season is near, and it is important to know that not all dogs can swim. It's not just that they don't want to swim; they really can't do it.

Dogs will do "the paddle" when they are in water, but that doesn't mean that they like being in water, that they're good at swimming, or that they can even stay afloat. Even amongst breeds intended for swimming - like the Labrador Retriever - some individuals will dislike being in the water.

The breeds having problems staying afloat is generally the ones with large, heavy chests and short muzzles. They might swim well enough to splash around in shallow water with a life vest and careful supervision, but some breeds can't even do that.

Bulldogs are the worst breed when it comes to water. They sink no matter how much they struggle to stay afloat, and many breeders and rescues require home checks to make sure that any pools or ponds are fenced off. Some also require an emergency monitor that will alert when something breaks the surface of the water.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Things are looking up for LA strays

The massive city of Los Angeles doesn't just have a lot of people. Around 173,000 animals enter shelters every year. Around half are adopted, and the rest are killed. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals are now rolling out a project where $25 million will be put to work to save these tens of thousands of dogs and cats.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony for a free spay-and-neuter clinic in South Los Angeles kicked off the project. This particular area is riddled with poverty and stray dogs roam the streets in large packs. The clinic plans to sterilize at least 4,000 dogs and cats this year.

The ASPCA aims to get all dogs of Southern California spayed or neutered. They also want to boost adoptions, help people keep their pets when behavioral problems or lack of money cause trouble, help animal rescue groups, and move animals from overcrowded shelters to areas where they might be adopted.

The ASPCA is a New York based 148 year old non-profit, and this is one of the most expensive projects planned to date. The $25 million is budgeted to last for a five year period, but the campaign as a whole will take longer.

The target area encompasses Los Angeles city and county, Long Beach, Burbank, Pasadena, Upland, and parts of Downey.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Monday, May 12, 2014

Rare Breed Monday: Jindo

The Jindo is an ancient Korean dog breed that gets its name from the Jindo Island. It was originally bred for hunting, and it known to be fiercely loyal and brave. 

These dogs are sometimes confused for a Shiba Inu - which are smaller than the Jindo - or an Akita - which are larger than the Jindo.

Korean owners divide the breed into two groups:

  • Tonggol or Gyupgae - muscular and stocky with a deep chest. This body type has an equal proportion of length and height at the withers.
  • Hudu or Heutgai - slender with less depth of chest. All features tend to be longer than in the Tonggol.

The Korean National Dog Association also recognizes a third body type called Gakgol. This is a gradually emerging combination of the two traditional body types. 

Jindos are known for their independent minds, intelligence, and strong wills. They like to get things their own way. They are loyal and affectionate to the family, suspicious of strangers, and protective of their families and territory. Since they were originally bred to hunt, they also have a strong prey drive. 

Taking all these traits into account, the Jindo requires early socialization, ample training, and is not the best breed for a first-time dog owner. Many adopt or buy a Jindo dog because of their high intelligence, and quickly learn that raising a really smart dog takes a lot of effort and time.

A Jindo likes to have room to move and investigate. They don't need extensive amounts of exercise, but should get at least two brisk 30-minute walks a day. These dogs need a lot of interaction with the family and is not the kind to be happy living by itself out in the yard.

The breed is considered healthy, with a life expectancy of 12-15 years.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Friday, May 9, 2014

Five Fun Facts about dogs

Did you know these five fun facts about dogs?

1. No one knows exactly how many dogs there are in the world, but estimates say well over 500 million.

2. The Labrador Retriever is the most popular dog around the world, counted by registered ownership. They are wonderful pets and reliable workers often used as guide dogs.

3. A dog can differentiate odors in concentrations nearly 100 million times lower than humans can.

4. Experts disagree on how long dogs and humans have wandered side by side, but it might have been over 30,000 years ago.

5. A dog's whiskers are touch-sensitive hairs. They can sense tiny changes in airflow and help the dog navigate the world.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Poo detective will make residents scoop their poop

No one likes stepping in dog poop. It spreads germs, smells and looks bad, pollutes water... There are all sorts of reason for picking it up instead of leaving it along city streets and in parks. Unfortunately, many dog owners don't want to deal with it. In the small Spanish town Colmenar Viejo, the mayor's office has tired of the mess.

Dog walkers will now be spied on by a professional Canine Detective, whose job is to find the culprits, and leaving poop behind will be fined with up to 150 euros ($200) with higher penalties for repeat offenders.

The campaign is incited by health concerns. The city says most dog owners are responsible, but those who don't pick up after their dogs leave piles outside schools, at children's playgrounds, and at other inappropriate places..

The new detectives will film owners who don't pick up after their dogs, and this evidence will be handed over to the police along with a report.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Sunshine story: family reunited with dog lost in 2012 superstorm Sandy

Image from
During monster storm Sandy in 2012, mixed breed dog Reckless got out of the family's back yard. They searched for him for months with no result, and kept calling shelters. No trace of Reckless. 

Besides losing their dog, the house was damaged - it is still being repaired - and the family has lived in a hotel for a long time.

Last week they decided to surprise their daughter through getting a new dog. They headed to the Monmouth county SPCA, and the first cage along their path contained Reckless!

The SPCA officials asked if they could prove that he was his dog, and a friend sent over a photo with the family and Reckless before Sandy hit New Jersey.

The dog was recently picked up as a stray, and the family is finally reunited.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Five interesting comparisons between dogs and humans

Here are some interesting fact about dogs you might or might not know.

  • A human has 20 milk teeth and 32 permanent teeth.
  • A puppy has 28 milk teeth, and most adult dogs have 42.

  • Most humans can't hear beyond 25 yards.
  • Dogs can hear sounds 250 yards away, and they have twice as many muscles for moving their ears as people do. 

  • Humans have a visual range of 180 degrees.
  • Dogs have a visual range of 250 degrees. On the other hand, we have a larger range with clear focus, and less peripheral vision.

  • A normal breathing rate for an adult is 8 to 16 breaths per minute.
  • Dogs take between 10 and 30 breaths per minute.

  • Most humans' hearts beat 70 to 80 times a minute.
  • A dog's heart beats between 70 and 120 

  • Humans cool off by sweating.
  • Dogs cool off by panting, and through the pads of their feet.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Monday, May 5, 2014

Rare breed Monday, Black Russian Terrier

The Black Russian Terrier was developed in the Soviet Union after the second world war. It is considered a working dog, and the breed is robust, large and powerful.

After WWII, it fell on the state operated Red Star kennel to provide dog for the Soviet Union's armed services. They needed strong, large, and unpretentious dogs to serve the country's needs. The dogs also had to be intelligent and easy to train, and they could not require extensive coat care. The result turned into the Black Russian Terrier, believed to stem from a mix of Rottweilers, Giant Schnauzers, and Airedale terriers.

The breed has a strong instinct to guard and protect. They are typically loving towards the family, but reserved with strangers, and due to the strong guarding instinct early socialization is a must.

The Black Russian learns easily and has a great memory capability. For better and for worse; they might remember how to do stuff you don't want them to know. Like raiding cupboards or the fridge... This is a working breed with strong work ethic, and the dogs need something to do. They excel at agility and obedience.

While the breed can have a few gray hairs, their coat is supposed to be black and coarse. These are large dogs, males normally weigh in between 110 and 130 lbs, but some are even larger.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Friday, May 2, 2014

PlexiDor in the news

PlexiDor pet doors have made the news lately. The Bradenton Herald Tribune writes, "A better pet door, from Bradenton to the world" and tells the story of pet doors designed to resist damage from sunlight, extreme temperatures, and high impacts.

The doors have also been featured in the Toronto Sun, reporting that "pet door sizes range from kitten to pony and are made from durable products warrantied against failure." The PlexiDor is popular in Canada; in cold climates it can shave 10 percent off an energy bill.

We also made it to SNN Local News 6. If you want to read more about the PlexiDor pet doors, visit

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Dog of the Month: Border Collie

The Border Collie is a herding dog from United Kingdom. These dogs are intelligent, energetic, acrobatic, and athletic. They are often referred to as the smartest of all dogs, and one Border Collie has been tested on over 1,000 words.

Border Collies require daily exercise as well as mental stimulation. Deprived of this they grow bored and usually make a chore up for themselves, which might include re-shaping furniture and shoes.

A Border Collie might start herding everything that moves, including children, bikes, and cars. This is a fantastic companion for the right owner, but they need interaction and something to do.