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Monthly Archives: December 2014

Happy Holidays!

shutterstock_221904103Happy Holidays! Our furry friends are part of our respective families, so of course you want to include them in all the fun and festivities! Here are a few reminder tips to help your best friends enjoy the season:

Health
Be sure to keep mealtime and exercise as consistent as possible.

Steer clear of the sweets (especially chocolate), as well as other human foods. Leftover bones are also a no-no – they can get lodged and cause severe pain (and often surgery). And be sure to keep the garbages empty to avoid any rummaging by your furry friends!

If Aunt Sally and her five kids are heading over to celebrate, consider giving your furry friend a place of their own – away from the action. Setup a “no-kids-zone” in a room in your house, with soft lighting and a comfortable place for your pets to relax for a bit.

Safety
Christmas Trees: These suckers are heavy! So, be sure to secure it appropriately to avoid potential injury.

Decorations: We know that the glass ornaments can shatter easily, but don’t forget things like tinsel and those hand-crafted ornaments your kids made in school. Cats in particular love the sparkle from tinsel which is dangerous if injested, and that adorable cookie/playdough or macaroni ornament your kids made in school could be devastating to your pup.

Toys: Avoid toys that are easily torn apart – the stuffing and squeekers can be extremely hazardous, as can toys that have strings or other small parts.

Lights: Dogs love to chew…and a wire could shock and/or burn your pup. Be sure to keep wires and cords contained appropriately. Also remember to blow out those Menorah candles…a simple bump of the table by an excited pet could send candles tumbling and start of a fire. Never leave a flame unattended!

Have a safe and happy holiday season, from our AZ Pet Vet family to yours!

International Monkey Day – December 14th

shutterstock_67651108Throughout history people have been fascinated, entertained and even terrified by monkeys. (Who can forget the Wicked Witch of the West’s squadron of flying monkeys?) Monkeys have been featured in books, films, and television and have even gone into space! In general, outside of the famous sock monkey toys, they do not make good pets, however, Capuchin monkeys are often trained from birth in order to become service animals for the disabled.

In 2000, the Monkey Day holiday began as a joke by Michigan State University art student Casey Sorrow. Since then, the holiday has grown to be recognized and celebrated by people all around the world.

The term monkey applies to all primate species that do not belong to the human, ape or prosimian categories, and they all share common traits. Monkeys live mostly in tropical or sub-tropical climates, and are wonderful climbers. Generally speaking, most monkeys have tails while apes do not.

Monkeys fall into two major groups – the Old World Monkey, most commonly found in Southeast Asia, China and Africa, and New World Monkeys, found in Mexico and South America. Most New World species have prehensile tails that allow them to swing or grasp objects as they move through trees and branches.

The Pygmy Marmoset is the smallest known monkey, weighing from 3 to 5 ounces when fully grown. The Mandrill is the largest, with adult males weighing up to 77 pounds. Monkeys tend to live together in a communal family group known as a troop or tribe.

Currently, there are around 264 known species of monkeys, with new ones that are yet to be discovered. However, many species are in danger of extinction due to loss of habitats and illegal hunting.

Want to support a cause for our simian friends? Visit this link: http://monkeyday.com/links/

Famous Monkeys Throughout History: http://www.ape-o-naut.org/famous/

 

 

 

 

Festival for the Souls of Dead Whales

One of the strangest December animal “holidays” found in some calendars has to be the Festival for the Souls of Dead Whales. Supposedly based on an Inuit tradition, this made up holiday actually has some basis in truth.

Whales have been hunted throughout history, and by necessity the indigenous Inuit people of Northern Alaska eat a diet that consists primarily of whale meat, fish, seals, and walrus. In harsh climates, fruits and vegetables are not readily available. Meat from caribou, along with bowhead whales and other mammals from the Arctic Ocean provides the nutrition and sustenance people need to survive in the brutally cold climate.

According to National Geographic:

“Between 60 to 70 percent of the northern Inuit diet consists of whale meat. The Inuit people believe that the animals they hunt have spirits. There are many rituals associated with the hunt itself and three celebrations each year designed to show respect for the souls of the animals, bring luck to the hunt, and to give thanks to the spirits of the animals that have been killed for food.”

The Inuit hunt for bowhead whales during the spring migration, when ice begins to break, and again during the fall as the whales return to their winter grounds. The custom of whaling is a foundation part of the Inuit heritage, one that is based around centuries of knowledge and skills passed down through generations of whalers.

Historically, the whales were typically hunted close to shore from sealskin boats called umiaks. When whales surfaced, the hunters would strike with hand held harpoons. The wounded creatures were then towed to shore, where they were butchered to the bone, with every member of the community sharing in the bounty. Virtually every part of the whale is used, even the bones.

While today’s Inuit take advantage of some modern technologies like GPS and motorboats, they still use the handheld harpoon, albeit with exploding darts. Whaling in Alaska is regulated by the Federal government and overseen by the International Whaling Commission. It is allowed to continue as a subsistence tradition and there are strict quotas. While bowhead whales are an endangered species, their numbers are increasing and the Inuit peoples harvest less than one percent of them each year.