National Geographic Complete Guide to Pet Health, Behavior, and Happiness: The Veterinarian's Approach to At-Home Animal Care
National Geographic Complete Guide To Pet Health, Behavior, And Happiness by Gary Weitzman, DVM, MPH, CAWA
This book is mostly geared towards dogs. Cats seem more like an afterthought & small critters are hardly mentioned at all. Some advice was just plain wrong. For example he states that you shouldn't purchase over the counter dewormers because they don't work. Really? Is that so? Funny, because I've been using them with excellent results for my cats, goats, & rabbits. There are great, affordable dewormers that are easily found online from a plethora of businesses both small and large. You just have to make sure you get the right dewormer for it to work. Telling folks they don't work is just plain wrong. I live on my own small family farm in rural Appalachia. A lot of folks don't have money. They want to do right by their pets. They may not be able to afford to take their pet to the vet for every tiny thing. And really, if you know what worms your pet has, you don't have to! So instead poor folks, may not bother to buy a dewormer because "it doesn't work" & also not take their pet to the vet because they are so strapped for cash & will only go for emergencies. Folks, over the counter dewormers work! Use them with confidence!
Another idiotic statement was that you shouldn't rub a cats tummy because cats don't like that. Really? I had no idea. My cats & kittens roll over for a tummy rub all of the time. They love it. There are other similar incorrect statements about behavior in the book that drove me nuts. I've never not had cats/kittens in my life. I have been surrounded by them since birth. Now I even rescue wee teeny things & bottle feed them. I know kitties. I get the impression that the authors only experience with cats is as a vet, not as a pet, that the author has only ever had dogs for pets & is clearly crazy about them. If you want great advice on how to care for kittens including bottle feeding visit The Kitten Lady.
Another problem with this book is how it constantly recommends you visit House Rabbit Society. Now, I'm not saying they are bad. They have the best of intentions, but everything isn't black or white. There are grey areas that House Rabbit Society doesn't seem to want to acknowledge. For example, Angora rabbits need to be kept on wire. Resting mats/pads are fine, but if you don't want wool full of urine & poop, you will put them on wire. Putting an angora rabbit on a non wire bottom all of the time is the real cruelty. Also, I'd like to hope that if you have an Angora rabbit or two or three... that you take them out of their wire bottom home daily for plenty of grooming & play time on the ground, grasses, wherever. They don't need to be on wire 100% of the time, but they do need wire bottoms. It's not mean, it's necessary. Take a look at an angoras feet, they have a crazy amount of wool on their feet compared to short haired bunnies, which means extra padding. You can provide your bunny with good care & still put them on wire. If you want great advice on how to care for angora rabbits visit my Angora Rabbit Care page.
I also would like to mention while I'm on the topic of wire floors (I know this is a hot button topic for many), that with proper care a pet angora rabbit aka a house rabbit can live almost entirely wire floor free. However, they need a wire floor litter box & when you lock them up for safety reason (sleeping at night, going to work, etc.), angoras need to be on a wire bottom cage with resting mat/s. If you don't mind constantly grooming your angora rabbit to keep it clean, you may be able to forgo the wire bottom safety cage. Remember, the responsibility to keep your angora rabbits coat clean & without mats is entirely your own. You know your personality & time availability. Don't let your angora rabbit suffer because of your own inaction's. Here are some examples of what not to do.
This book also assumes that everyone has access to the internet. I can tell your right now, that in this day & age, it simply isn't true. There are still a surprising amount of folks who do not have internet access & plenty who don't even know how to use it. They buy a book to care for their animals rather than searching on DuckDuckGo like those of us connected. Now the book tells them to go online rather than tell them what works in the book. Not helpful. Not helpful at all. Both my grandmother & my father for example, would be most disappointed with this as would many people here in rural Appalachia. Guess what? If I want internet I have to get satellite. It's slow, & really flippn' expensive or I have to drive over wrecked roads due to all the big Oil & Gas fracking traffic to get to the library that is over a half hour away. I understand that most people have internet, but most is not all.
If your bird breaks a wing feather & it is bleeding (a blood feather, this is the part of the feather that is alive, like how the pink part of your nail is alive & the growing part is not) the author says to get to the vet. If you don't panic & know what you are doing, you can easily avoid a trip to the vet. If the wing doesn't stop bleeding, get a pair of blunt tweezers or needle nose pliers. Grasp the feather as far down the wing as possible & yank it out quickly. Problem solved, no risk of your bird bleeding out. Just get it over with quickly. To reduce the likelihood of this happening, keep your birds wings clipped. I can't show you how here, so either find someone who does this or go to the vet to learn. Properly clipping the wings is 100% painless & harmless. It's just like cutting your hair or nails.
Okay, I feel a little better now that I got some of that off my chest. It's not a bad book. It's just not as good as it should have been. If you have never owned a pet & are looking for a dog or puppy, this isn't a bad book. If you are considering a cat or kitten or other small furred, feathered, or scaled creature, you will want to get a book about that type of critter, rather than this book. Buying this book for anything other than a dog is a waste of time.
This is a very basic book about a little bit of everything. It just gives you an idea of what you might expect but no real solutions other than to go to the vet. It is not in depth. There is really no how to. You know the saying about giving a man a fish or teaching a man to fish? This book doesn't teach you how to fish, it gives you a fish. The fish is the vet. Teaching you how to fish would be you learning how to deal with situations at home & going to the vet when this isn't realistic or possible.
The author clearly loves animals, which is great. He does have some good points, & the book does have good info. However, if I could have looked at this in a book store rather than online, I would have given it a pass. It is simply too basic for me, a woman who has not only had pets for the entirety of her life, but who also runs her own Eco farm & has had to deal with emergency situations without a vet & yes, the animals survived. I'm not saying don't go to the vet, please do. I have a beloved pet cat who is on compound immune suppressing medication thanks to an autoimmune disease more commonly known as Rodent Ulcer. There is no mention of this health problem in cats in this book. Perhaps if dogs got it, it would have been mentioned...
Overall, this book is just okay - for dogs.
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