Kara's Critter Care, LLC



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Covid 19 and Pets

Posted on May 5, 2020 at 2:40 PM Comments comments (3073)

Covid 19 and Pets

By: Allison Kane



The Coronavirus has turned our lives upside down.

What started out as a typical year brought with us resolutions to stay healthy and active.

Normal goals like going to the gym or starting a diet was high on the list.

However, all of that has changed in the midst of a global pandemic that has everyone looking to create a “new normal.”

There most likely is no set timeline of when it will be over.

Not everything will go back exactly to the way it was before.

Across the country, state regulations have changed people’s routines with traveling, going to the gym, going out, and going to the office for work.

Other guidelines include social distancing up to six feet and staying home.

We can think about what is more important and take advantage of what resources we still have to work with.


But what about your pet?

According to the CDC it is rare for pets to transmit the disease or even get infected themselves, however, there has been a small number of cats and dogs worldwide to become infected after having close contact to people with Covid-19. The first cats to become infected in the US were from New York state.

So what can you do just to be safe?

The CDC recommends the following:

-Wash your hands before and after handling animals, their food, waste, or any other supplies

-Practice good pet hygiene and clean up after pets properly.

-Take pets to the veterinarian regularly and talk to your veterinarian if you have questions about your pet’s health.

-Treat pets the same as you would people with social distancing, making sure to not allow interaction with pets and people outside of the household.

-Keep cats indoors to prevent said interaction.

-Stay away from dog parks.

- Isolate anyone in the household that becomes sick from not only the people, but also the pets.

-Please keep in mind that information will be updated as it becomes available.


There are many theories as to how the virus started, but the source is yet to be determined.

It is recommended if you do get infected to avoid contact with animals as you would with people.

Being confined to the house may not be exciting to you, but it can be the most exciting thing to ever happen to our animal companions. Even though many businesses are closed temporarily and we are ordered to stay home, it doesn’t mean we can’t go outside!

We can still be active and enjoy the outdoors while walking our dogs around the neighborhood or at a nearby park!

As social creatures, being isolated at home can lead to feelings of loneliness and uncertainty in times like this.

Animals are a great stress relief.

They are proven to help lower blood pressure and can add years to your life.


Fleas, Ticks and Mosquitoes.

Posted on June 30, 2019 at 9:20 PM Comments comments (739)

Fleas, Ticks, and Mosquitoes.

With the snow gone and the flowers are in full bloom, it is a time of year to enjoy the park with your dog along with many outdoor activities the season offers.  The sunshine is an invitation to get out and to get active. However with the melting of the snow comes the many tiny pests that come with it.

Common insects such as mosquitos, fleas and ticks carry harmful diseases. Without proper protection your pet can get ill.

A lot of flea and tick medication do protect against mosquitos, another common blood-sucking parasite.

Dogs and cats if bitten by a flea for instance can become infected by the disease, Bartonella. Major side effects include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and swelling of lymph nodes. Another concern is anemia.

The tick is more well known for its association with Lyme disease, but also carries Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, anaplasmosis, tularemia and babesia. Lyme disease is one of the most common transmitted diseases and its most common symptom is recurrent lameness due to joint inflammation. It is however not transmitted from pet to pet or pet to human, it is however obtained through the bite of the insect.

Heartworm is a serious disease that is transmitted by mosquitoes. These are round parasitic worms that effect the heart. Common symptoms include, cough, fatigue, decreased appetite, and weight loss. The most popular heartworm medicine is heartgard. Prior to giving any heartworm medicine, a veterinarian will test the dog’s blood to make sure the dog is negative for heartworms first.

Most popular medications on the market for fleas and ticks are Frontline, K9 Advantix, NexGard, Seresto and Advantage. Some of these are topicals that go on the skin and some are ingested.  Some use flea and tick collars, but be careful with those, some only protect the neck from these pests.

The best resource to help you find what works best for you pet and peace of mind is your veterinarian.

A veterinarian typically spends a total of seven to nine years to learn the science of animal health.

Prior to administering any medication the animal should be examined for proper diagnosis.

When setting up an appointment with a veterinarian they can answer any questions or concerns for proper patient education.

With their skills and background they can run tests and help in anyway if there are any complications with the medicine.

They can show you how to properly apply topical medications or give advice on how to feed oral medications as well.

We all know how easy and convenient online shopping can be too and there are a lot of online retailers that sell flea and tick medications for pets.

There are several disadvantages to buying medication online. Some things to think about is how safe is the product? Where did the product come from? Does it require a prescription?

Online stores can drive up clinical costs for professional services and harm small practices.

According to the FDA and the Center for Veterinary Medicine indicate that it may appeal to pet owners but it can be risky. It is best to get all flea/tick and heartworm meds from a veterinarian.

By: Allison Kane


Why dogs are amazing!

Posted on April 10, 2019 at 3:20 PM Comments comments (445)

Why dogs are amazing!


Why are dogs amazing?

Their bravery shines working with police officers sniffing out drugs and finding criminals or lost victims in search and rescue.

They are an extra set of eyes leading the blind as guide dogs, or various other services to help people, such as alerting an owner to a seizure coming. Or they can be a pillow for a shoulder to cry on as an emotional support animal.

They are very helpful for farmers by herding or guarding the barnyard animals.

One role that has always been synonymous is their companionship.  Dogs' desire to be with people have allowed people to enjoy doing these with dogs such as obedience, rally, agility, tracking, lure coursing, or just being their best friend. 

Dogs are amazing for a number of reasons and here is a personal story of mine as to why.

When my father was a young boy he and his German Shepherd, Sam, were inseparable as a young boy and dog could be. Sam accompanied my dad on his paper routes and slept by his feet at night.

Through my Dad’s stories about his boyhood dog, I developed a love for German Shepherds.

When I lost my father to a horrible boating accident seven years ago, a part of me died with him. He was my best friend and mentor. He helped me make sense of life’s difficulties. His profound wisdom melted away my worries.

As well as new things like how to ice skate, ride a horse, and to enjoy the companionship of a good dog, this man taught me to follow my life’s passions.

I often reflect on what he missed out on in my life.

He never got to walk me down the aisle or share a father-daughter dance. I have been married for three of the seven years he has been gone. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of the life lessons he taught me.

Coping without my Dad used to be harder than it is now all—because of my dog Jesse.

The one piece of Dad’s advice that stuck with me was valuing the companionship of a dog. It brought me the comfort of knowing he would still be with me.

So two years ago in May of 2017, I called my cousin who owned a pet store in Archbold, Ohio. I was picky in searching to find my “Sam.” Of course, my fingers were crossed in hopes of finding a German Shepherd—the icing on the cake.

My Dad died on June 2 around Father’s Day. It usually was a sad time for me.

And throughout the month of May, I wasn’t having any luck with my quest to find a puppy. Every time I came close, a scheduling conflict with meet and greets stopped me, or someone paid to take the dog home the same day.

I feared my luck was running out, not only with my goal to change my sadness at this time of year, but I started to think I wasn’t meant to have a dog.

Every negative thought in my head sounded like a broken record.

The only thing that kept me positive was looking at it from the perspective that when I did find the pup it would be the right one for me.

Finally at the end of May leading into June, I got word from my cousin about two puppies, both Australian Shepherd mixes. After many corresponding texts, I learned the parents were both Aussies with the mom being mixed with German Shepherd.I was eager to see the dogs. We arranged to meet on the afternoon of June 1.

When that afternoon arrived, I remembered not being able to concentrate at all at work.

I remember telling everyone things could go either way—for better or for worse.

As I was leaving work, my cousin texted that one dog was not ready, so I would have to wait a day or two. She did not explain the delay, and I began doubting adopting a dog.

When June 2 arrived, I felt low because I missed my Dad.

That afternoon when I clocked out at 4 p.m., I got a text inviting me to meet the puppies. I was so excited that I fumbled the phone when I called my mother, whom I thought should share the day with me, since it was the anniversary of my Dad’s death.

With in a matter of minutes we were off to Archbold.

That evening we gathered together in a play pen outside of the pet store, the Savvy Dog. For the first time I got see these two puppies up close and in person, and I was ready to take both of them home.

However, I could only take one.

Needles to say the one who would be named Jesse, for my father, ran up to me and jumped in my lap. I looked into his little brown eyes and knew at that moment he had picked me and he would be special.

June 2, Jesse’s adoption day is no longer a day filled with remorse, but now my husband and I celebrate Jesse’s gotcha day!

By: Allison Kane




Rabbit Care

Posted on March 3, 2019 at 9:40 AM Comments comments (384)



When we think of pets we typically think of dogs, cats, and hamsters. Also, many exotics come to mind like reptiles and birds. There are a variety of animals out there that match a lot of the criteria people are looking for in a pet. Have you ever thought about a rabbit?

Here are 10 facts that you should know!

1. They can live 7 to 10 years.

2. Rabbits are social creatures.

3. Hay and pelleted food are their favorite.

4. A damp cloth is best for spot cleaning. A fully submerged bath in water is not necessary.

5. Adopting should be a family decision, they are not low maintenance.

6. Always provide a safe chew to help maintain healthy teeth: apple, ash, birch, hawthorn, hazel, juniper, maple, pear, poplar, spruce and willow twigs are safe to munch on. Card board and pine cones are safe too.

7. The following items are poisonous: bread, rice, potatoes, biscuits, chocolate, suckers, chips, and avocados.

8. Safe veggies for them to eat are: basil, Bok choy, broccoli, carrots, cilantro, clover, collard greens, dill, kale, mint, parsley, and lettuce.

9. Their skin is very sensitive and a rabbit’s eye sight is best in the early morning and at dusk.

10. Rabbits are very fragile as a “prey animal” you don’t want to startle them. The best to hold them is to support there back, hind end, and to hold them close to your body. Never pick them up by their ears. Always supervise children when interacting with rabbits.

When considering a rabbit, you need to plan their housing. Inside is best, even an approaching animal outside while they are in an outdoor hutch can cause your rabbit to have a heart attack. You can bunny proof a room and give them free reign in that room. You can use dog kennels/runs that the bunny cannot fit head and limbs through, or there are various types of rabbit hutches that can be bought from a pet store. Avoid wire bottom cages which can cause problems with their hocks.

In addition to this list of fun facts, rabbits are very trainable. They can learn a variety of tricks. Some popular ones are to come, sit up, and to jump. They can also be litter box trained. Keeping them entertained is great way to bond with your rabbit and is great exercise.

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By Allison Kane

The bark about Bark box!

Posted on February 5, 2019 at 9:05 AM Comments comments (92)

The bark about Bark box!

The first Bark box I received six months ago was everything I expected. Inside were two bags of treats made in the U.S.A or Canada, one natural chew and two squeak toys. Every box featured a different theme.

Their website walked me through step by step on how to customize a box. When customizing the box, it allows you to pick the size and durability level to match your dogs needs. Box pricing varied, but included free shipping.

Every month I received an email notifying me the next shipment for my subscription.

Online shopping opens a treasure trove of endless possibilities, I took pride in taking advantage of this opportunity to spoil my favorite dog.

Working 8 hours a day, at my former job, I found peace of mind knowing a box of goodies would arrive with everything my dog loved saving me time.

My dog Jesse thought the boxes were put together especially for him.

However, with each package, I found his stock of toys accumulating. We ended up with more toys than we could keep up with. Living in a one bedroom apartment, good storage is hard to come by. For the treats and chew on the other hand, Jesse couldn’t get enough!

All good things must come to an end. After I lost my job tightening my finances took the front seat. I had to say goodbye to my monthly subscription to Bark Box. Yes, the website offers individual purchases. You don’t have to commit yourself to a monthly subscription.

Mind you, it did save time, and it was affordable. However, what online shopping lacks is the in person experience.

With my new schedule of my new job I am rewarded with shopping at my local pet store. Asking an employee on their expertise and trying things out before purchasing is a greater peace of mind.

There are so many ways to spoil our four legged friends and these days it seams endless. What works for one person may not work for another. Just as long as the toys we provide them are safe and healthy.

By: Allison Kane

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How to train your dog to walk on a loose leash.

Posted on January 10, 2019 at 10:45 PM Comments comments (554)

It is a beautiful summer morning, the sun is shining, and you and your faithful dog are walking at your favorite park. With slack in the leash, it is a peaceful walk. Suddenly, a deer takes off running while another dog approaching is lunging and barking at your dog, but you still have slack in the leash. No this is not a dream, this can be your reality. Loose leash walking is possible with training and patience.

If you don’t want your dog to drag you around on leash, the rule of thumb is to never go in the direction your dog is pulling. There are many methods to accomplish this, I am going to share some that I like, and have worked for me.

First method, I call be a tree, is whenever there is tension on the leash, stop walking. Most likely, Fido is going to continue trying to pull for some time. Wait him out until he releases the tension himself trying to figure out why you’re not moving. At that moment, praise, treat, and walk on.

The next method is be sporadic. This helps keeps Fido guessing where or what you are going to do next which will help keep his attention on you. If he gets ahead of you, turn and go the other way, praise and treat every time he is next to you, right by your leg. Make circles both away from your dog and towards your dog, but keep your dog on the same side so if he started on your left, he stays on your left. I also like to run sometimes, walk slow others, run backwards, and stop. When you stop, ask Fido to sit. Always remember to treat and praise when there is a loose leash. Always give Fido a treat when he looks up at you, it is important to keep him checking in with you. You can even give a jackpot when he does this, this means give a few treats for the behavior.

Last but not least, have a treat on a plate or a bowl of food on one end of the yard/driveway/hallway while you and your dog start at the other end. This gives your dog motivation to go forward but he must learn self-control to get what he wants. Tell your dog walk, and start walking. Most likely your dog will rush forward to get his treat. Be a tree and wait him out. He must have a loose leash to get to his treat. As he starts getting good at this, make him start over at the start every time he starts to pull. I also like to say “OK” to release him to eat his treat once he gets there. You may even like to add stopping right in front of the bowl and asking him to sit before being released to get the treat. This helps add more control.

There are other helpful tools to teach your dog to make walking a more enjoyable experience. Heel is very important when in crowds, or on a tight trail while passing someone. It is very precise walking, the dog’s neck should be in line with your hip while the dog is looking up at you the entire time. It also includes an automatic sit every time you stop. Watch me is used to ask your dog to look up at you. This can get his attention on you and not the dog you are walking by. Leave it is another great one and is used when you want your dog to leave something alone like the squirrel or food dropped on your path.

Training your dog should always be fun and rewarding. You will get more from your dog if you keep it fun, so happy training and keep up the good work to get the dog of your dreams. With practice and patience, you will be enjoying your walks in no time.

By: Kara Zapko

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Why cats and dogs don't always get along.

Posted on June 21, 2015 at 10:40 PM Comments comments (726)

Cats and Dogs.

Ever wonder why cant and dogs seem to hate each other?  Cats have a very different way of using body language than dogs do, so much of the trouble comes from miscommunication.  Misreading the other species can lead to an attack on either end.  Here are some examples of how the body language differs.

Tail Height:

For cats, a high tail means they are friendly, relaxed, and confident.  High with fur puffed out can mean alarm and aggression.  The tail being low usually means they are unsure or fearful.

For dogs, a high tail usually means arousal and possible aggression.  If the dog is agitated the tail may flick back and forth vigorously.  Neutral position (differs by breed) means they are relaxed.

Wagging Tail: 

For cats, a wagging tail is seen in an unfriendly encounter and the cat may attack.

     For dogs, a loose wag at medium height is a friendly dog.  (Note, not all tail wags in a dog equal a friendly dog).

Closed Mouth:

For cats, a closed mouth is a relaxed cat.

For dogs, a closed mouth or partially opened mouth can be a relaxed dog, however a tightly closed mouth means the dog is tense.  


For cats, ears forward means the cat is confident and if the ears are backwards the cat is uncertain and a greeting is not going well.

For dogs, forward ears may be a dog standing his ground, ears slightly back is a friendly dog, and ears all the way back is a fearful or submissive dog.

Turning to side:

For cats, they may try to look bigger so they are threatening.

For dogs, they are trying to show they are no threat.

Belly Up:

For cats, this is a self defense position with all 4 paws ready and the cat will attack.

For dogs, this is usually a submissive position or the dog just wants a belly rub.

Even though these differences

can cause confusion, there are

still some similarities in body


a)  Ears:  All the way forward if there is excitement or interest and all the way back for fear.

b)  Hackles:  Up when frightened, overstimulated, and ready to react.

c)  Eyes:  Pupil dilation shows fear or aggression. Blinking shows         peaceful greeting.  A direct stare is a threat.

d)   Compacted body: Appear small and tail tucked when scared.

e)  Stiff whiskers:  Stimulated and ready to react.

f)  Panting:  Heavy panting can be from a stressed or frightened animal. When a cat is not communicating, see a vet while panting heavily.

g)  Yawning:  A calming behavior in conflict situations.  


By: Kara Zapko

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Found on vetstreet

The dog's tail is wagging, must be friendly...not always.

Posted on February 23, 2015 at 8:40 PM Comments comments (278)

What does the dog's tail really mean?

Many people believe that a dog that is wagging it's tail must be friendly.  This is a common misconception that unfortunately leads to a bite sometimes.

Tail positions have different meanings.  


  1. High tail:  A dog that is carrying a high tail can mean the dog is feeling confident, powerful, secure, or dominant.  This high carriage also allows the dog's scent to be exposed.  
  2. Horizontal to the ground:  Not submissive or dominant.  Might be more curious.  A slow moving tail at this height may mean the dog is feeling insecure.
  3. Between the legs: Submissive or fearful.  This also covers the dog's scent to go unnoticed.
  4. Relaxed:  Tail in natural position for the breed.
  5. Happy:  Usually in relaxed position but moves side to side,  the faster it goes, the more excited the dog is.  A happy dog's tail may even go in a circular pattern.
  6. Alert/Aroused:  Tail higher than normal and stiff.  The dog may be threatening and standing it's ground with a high, stiff tail that is moving rigidly.  This usually gives the appearance of a vibrating tail and is an active threat.
  7. There is also evidence that a tail that is swinging more to the right is a happy dog and a tail that is swinging more to the left is an unhappy dog.

It is very important to read the whole dog.  The dog uses the entire body to portray different meanings.  A tail wag that is accompanied by a stiff body, dilated pupils, and ears pushed forward or backwards is a dog you don't want to mess with.  
 By: Kara Zapko

Image and info found on Psycholoy Today.

Bad Food for Cats

Posted on February 9, 2015 at 5:30 PM Comments comments (443)

Here are a few foods to avoid giving your cat.


  • Tuna:  Some tuna is fine, but as its only diet it can cause mercury poisoning, malnutrition, and addiction to tuna.
  • Onions/Garlic/Chives: Cause gastrointestinal upset. Onions can break down red blood cells causing anemia.
  • Milk: They are lactose intolerant so it causes upset tummy and diarrhea.
  • Alcohol: Damages liver and brain. 2 tsp of whiskey can cause coma in a 5 pound cat, 1 more tsp would kill the cat.
  • Grapes/Raisens: Small amount causes vomitting and hyperactivity. Can kill due to kidney failure. Not sure why this is.
  • Caffeine: High quantities can be fatal. Causes restlessness, rapid breathing, heart palpitations, muscle tremors, and fits.
  • Chocolate: Theobromine in chocolate causes abnormal heart rhythms, tremors, seizures, and death. The darker the chocolate the worse it is. Unsweetened is really bad.
  • Candy/Gum: Xylitol found in these causes increase in insulin, liver failure, vomitting, lethargy, lack of coordination, and seizures.
  • Fat trimmings/Bones: Fat causes pancreatitis. Bones can splinter and cause obstruction or laceration.
  • Raw eggs: Food poisoning from Salmonella or E. Coli. Protein in egg whites (avidin) interferes with absorption of B vitamin Biotin which causes skin and coat problems.
  • Dog food: Not enough protein so the cat will be malnourished. Can cause blindness as the main diet.
  • Liver: Small amount is ok. Large amount causes Vitamin A toxicity. This causes deformed bones, bone growths, osteoporosis, and death.
  • Too many treats: Obesity and diabetes.
  • Yeast Dough: Swells and stretches the abdomen. Yeast ferments and can cause alcohol poisoning.
  • People meds: One of the most common causes of poisoning in a cat. Acetominophen and ibuprofen can be deadly.



ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center: 888-426-4435. There is a fee to call them, but it is worth it if you suspect poisoning.


Info found on WebMD


By: Kara Zapko

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Hazardous Foods For Dogs

Posted on January 26, 2015 at 1:10 PM Comments comments (3957)

Most everyone likes to give their dog treats, but here is a list of foods to avoid giving your dog.


  • Avocado: Contains persin that can cause vomitting and diarrhea.
  • Alcohol: Can cause intoxication, coma, and sometimes death.  They can handle less alcohol than you.
  • Bones: Can cause obstruction or laceration of the digestive tract.
  • Chocolate/Coffee: Contains theobromine which can cause vomitting and diarrhea, and be toxic to the heart and nervous system.
  • Fat trimmings: Can cause pancreatitis.
  • Fish: Raw salmon can contain a parasite that can be fatal to dogs. Fish fed exclusively or in high amounts can cause thiamin and vitamin B deficiencies.  Can cause loss of appetite, seizures, and death.
  • Raisens/Grapes/Currants:  For an unknown reason will cause kidney failure. Small amounts can be fatal.
  • Milk: Dogs are lactose intolerant.
  • Candy and gum: The sugar and xylitol found in these can cause an over release of insulin and kidney failure.
  • Corn cob: Causes obstruction.
  • Appleseeds: The casing is toxic and can release cyanide when ingested.  Must eat large amounts and chew seed up for there to be a problem.
  • Baby food: Stay away from onion powder.  Baby food is not nutritional enough for a balanced diet.
  • Hops: Ingredient in beer. Causes panting, increased heart rate, fever, seizures, and death.
  • Human vitamins:  the iron can damage digestive system lining and bad for kidneys and liver.
  • Liver: Large amounts of Vitamin A can affect pups muscles and bones. (Small amount is ok)
  • Macadamia nuts: Inhibits locomotry activities, results in weakness, panting, swollen limbs, tremors, damage digestive, nervous, and muscle systems.
  • Marijuana: Affect nervous system, heart rate, cause vomitting.
  • Mushrooms: Some can be fatal.
  • Onions and Chives: Causes anemia and damages red blood cells.
  • Persimmons, Peaches, Plums: Seeds/pits can cause obstruction.
  • Rhubarb/Tomato leaves: Affects digestive, nervous, and urinary systems.
  • Salt: Dehydration and diarrhea.
  • Sugar: Dental issues, obesity, and diabetes.
  • Tobacco: Nicotine can cause digestive and nervous systems to be affected. Increases heart rate, pass out, and sometimes death.
  • Yeast:  Expands and rises in the tummy.  Mild will cause gas and discomfort.  Too much will cause a rupture in stomach and intestines.
  • String: While not a food, ingested string can get stuck in the intestines and tear the digestive tract lining.


By: Kara Zapko

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(Information found on Canine Journal)