Cooper’s “Ruff” Week

Cooper sick
Cooper had a “ruff” week. He was scratching at his ears and shaking his head a lot. Off to the vet he went. It was a good thing his vet was able to see him so quickly because his ears were really warm and extra sensitive to the touch. Poor little guy.
His vet gently swabbed his ears and it turned out that poor Cooper had a yeast infection in both ears. His ears then got a good cleaning and his family was sent home with some drops. By that evening, Cooper was already feeling better as evidenced by the fact that he was running around chasing after his big brother Horton.

Short-Life Cat Breeds

These two breeds can pass away as early as only age 9!


Abyssinians typically tend to succumb to kidney failure. They are highly intelligent and inquisitive. He seems to be in constant motion and needs to be the center of attention. A medium-sized cat, he weighs 6 to 10 pounds. Abyssinians like to be up high, in fact, as high as possible. Their lifespan is between 9 to 15 years.


Balinese are helpful, frequently underfoot, highly intelligent, agile and athletic. He loves to play; keep his mind active too! He will fetch, walk on a leash and learn tricks. Balinese tend to suffer from liver disease., heart disease, neurological disorders or lymphoma. They tend to live between 9 to 15 years.


Short-Life Dog Breeds

These guys have the shortest lifespans.


The tallest (as high as 38″) dog breed lives the shortest life (rarely more than 10 years, averaging passing away at only age 7.) Irish wolfhounds are quite, loyal dogs with a deep love for people. They tend to develop cancer.


Originally from Switzerland, Bernese mountain dogs were effective herders for Bernese farmers. They make loving pets for both adults and children. They tend to suffer from cancer and typically live to 7 or 8 years, never more than 10.


These long-legged, tall, lean bodied dogs live to 7 to 10 years. Very friendly and affectionate, they grow to bond especially well to other dogs when socialized early. Commonly Great Danes succumb to bloat, hip dysplasia and congenital heart diseases.


These beautiful dogs with the distinctive red coat typically only live to 5 or 6 years old. They are the oldest breed in France, being traced back to the 14th century. French Mastiffs tend to develop genetic heart problems.


These massive dogs come from Italy. They have loose, floppy skin folds that cover their entire body. Neapolitan Mastiffs weigh 160 to 200 pounds. They are fiercely protective of their family and need to be socialized early to accept strangers and other pets. Neapolitan Mastiffs tend not to have strong immune systems, can suffer from thyroid disease, bloat, heart disease and various joint dysplasia. They tend to only live between 7 to 9 years.

Bad Breath

Tooth and gum problems are the most common health concerns for modern pets. Take care, however, because bad breath can go hand-in-hand with other more troubling or life-threatening health problems.

The most common cause of bad breath is tartar buildup on the teeth. As the leftover food particles decompose, it creates an ideal condition for oral bacteria to thrive. The bacteria grow into plaque on the teeth. It is this plaque and an associated oral infection that gives your pet its bad breath. Plaque can cause the gums to become inflamed and recede. The plaque buildup can become so bad that the gums recede past the tooth enamel and expose the soft dentin material near the roots of teeth. Once an infection reaches the dentin, it will stay there; dentin is more porous than enamel. Once the dentin is exposed, tooth loss will probably result. This is why early detection and daily dental hygiene is crucial for optimal pet health.

Immature pets may have bad breath while losing their baby teeth. This is normal and will go away. Brushing the mouth can provide them with relief.

In older pets, severe halitosis may signal diseases of the kidneys or the liver. Therefore, your vet will check before performing any dental procedure. With younger cats, they may also check for feline leukemia or feline immunodifficiency disease (feline AIDS). If these tests prove negative, your pet may suffer from resorptive dental diseases. Here, deep cavities form in the teeth for no apparent reason. This is a much more common problem in cats than dogs. Cats often lose incisor teeth for no reason: they just drop right out of their mouth. Teeth cleaning usually has little effect once a lesion takes root and, eventually, cats will end up losing the affected teeth. Fear not, cats can still lead long, happy, successful lives. The cause of resportive dental diseases is quite unclear. Cats are either born with susceptible teeth or perhaps there’s other undetected dental diseases at play.

Tartar on the teeth can cause kidney and liver problems. The bacteria can break loose from teeth and enter your pet’s blood stream; this can lodge in kidneys, liver crevices or in the valves of the heart. Severe dental disease can lead to heart murmurs. Once the dental problem is addressed, the heart murmur will go away. Chronic dental problems cause pets to drool. The wetness and infection then cause the lips to become inflamed. When the dental issue is addressed, this condition can be reversed as well.

Treatments for bad breath can vary depending on the problem and its severity, but, your best bet will be to change the food and provide chewy treats. You may want to try to start brushing your pet’s teeth or using a mouth wash or spray.  With the right pet (that will allow you to do this), you may be able to manually remove the tartar at home. Your vet may offer ultrasonic cleaning or removal of teeth.

Horton at the Beach

Horton is not much of a swimmer, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have fun at the beach. He will usually chase sticks, dig in the sand or “play” with the other dogs. If other dogs are chasing sticks that get thrown into the water, Horton waits on shore; then latches on to the other dog’s stick and attempts to steal it as the dog comes on shore; yes, he plays dirty. If he gets too hot, he digs a hole under Mom’s beach chair (especially while she’s in it) to lay underneath. All the while, he still ventures out to the beach to try to steal sticks and balls from his beach buddies, yapping the entire time. Then returns to the hole beneath the beach chair.

To enjoy the water, Dad will carry Horton out to the water. After Dad puts him in, Horton kicks his feet and swims back to shore. Once he is wet, he will rub on everything. (He does this after a bath at home too.) Unlike humans, he doesn’t mind being covered in sand (see photo below). When it’s time to go home, Horton has to get one last dunk (to clean him off) and get towel dried. His parents prefer that the sand stays at the beach. 😉

Sandy Horton

Reaching for Attention


I have seen all four of our Stars cats — Pippy, Socks, Nose and Peanut — all reach out for attention. The funny thing is though, that they all reach out to different things. Socks will only reach out and touch your face. Pippy always reaches out for your hand. Peanut will only reach (and stretch) against the wall. Nose will reach out for either your hair or your arm. They don’t reach out every time when they want attention –and you choose to ignore them — they only reach out when they really really want your attention and you’re just not responding. So cute!!

Long Life Cat Breeds

The record holder for oldest cat was Crème Puff, who was 38 years, 3 days old. The current oldest living cat is Pinky, currently 24 years old (verified by the Guinness World Rec ords in October 2013).

One of the oldest domestic cat breeds happens to live the longest, generally 15 to 20 years. Siamese cats make a wonderful family pet because they’re playful, affectionate and adore children.


Manx tend to have a life expectancy of 15 to 20 years and make great family pets due to their affectionate natures and the fact that they get along well with everyone.


Long-Life Dog Breeds

Love dogs? Want your pet to live a long life? Check out these breeds!

CHIHUAHUA (18+ years)

Typically, Chihuahuas aren’t prone to most genetic illnesses. They do suffer most from luxating patella (floating kneecap), hypoglycemia and teeth issues — none of these are fatal if addressed properly.

LHASA APSOS (18+ years)

The oldest Lhasa Apso died at 29 in 1939.

BEAGLES (15+ years)

The oldest living purebred Beagle was 27 when he died in 2009.

MALTESE (15+ years)

Maltese are another breed that tend not to suffer from most genetic diseases.

POMERANIAN (15 years)

The most common health problem to Pomeranians is a luxating patella (floating kneecap).


Their flat muzzles can lead to respiratory problems, but more common problems affect their eyes.

POODLES (15 years)

Both purebred Poodles and Poodle mixes live long lives.

DACHSHUND (14 years)

According to the Guinness World Records, one of the oldest living dogs was a 21-year-old dachshund that died in 2009.


Mini schnauzers make use of their long lives, they retain much of their puppy “spirit” well into their senior years.

PUGS (12 to 15 years)

Prone to overheating and respiratory illnesses (they do have flat faces), but few genetic disorders.