Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – 1st -7th August 2021- Pattie LaBelle, Short stories, Health, Pet Health, Book Reviews, Music and Humour

Welcome to the posts you might have missed this week on Smorgasbord..

Hope all of you are doing well.. I know that some people have had a challenging time with Covid and sending love and wishes for a full recovery.. The cases are on the rise here too as expected with the opening up of various indoor spaces… and now that travel is back on the agenda we hope that the high rate of vaccinations in Ireland will soften the response.

On a brighter note.. there is a new short story series starting and over the next two weeks I am sharing stories from the original series I recorded on radio in 2004. There are details of how to participate at the end of this first story today and I will share another next week. Then I hope I will have received your stories to share.

I have not forgotten the fact that there are some wonderful non-fiction memoir stories that need to be shared and that series will follow this one.

The added feature to this new series is that I will put every participant’s name in a hat and draw out three names. I will record those for the podcast and to share here as well.

Here is this week’s story with details on how you can participate.

New Series Authors in the Sun – #Retirement #Sunshine Blue Jay Cay by Colin Peck

As always my gratitude to William Price King (hopefully enjoying his summer break) D.G. Kaye and Daniel Kemp – the blog would not be the same without them.

On with the show….

The Breakfast Show with William Price King and Sally Cronin – Chart Hits 1975 Part One – Labelle, 10CC, Bee Gees, Gloria Gaynor

George – Courting danger by Sally Cronin


Grace the Gift

Book Marketing – Who Are you writing your book for.


Book Marketing and PR for authors- Blogging and Watering Holes Part One

Book Reviews Rewind – #WWII #VichyFrance- Where Irises Never Grow by Paulette Mahurin

Book Reviews Rewind – #Family – My Baby Wrote Me A Letter: An Inspirational Women’s Fiction Short Story by Jacquie Biggar

Smorgasbord Coffee Morning – Bring a Guest – Authors Jane Buckley and Eamonn Lynch

Down in the Dumps? Perhaps some Pseudoscience might be the key! – Biorhythms by Sally Cronin

Bacterial and Interstitial Cystitis – Causes and Treatments by Sally Cronin

Pet/Human Health – #Cats #Foodsafety – Toxoplasma Gondii by Sally Cronin

Baie dankie my vriend Linda Mooi from Sally aged Ten. Capetown 1963 #Influencers by Sally Cronin

#Hearingloss Dawn Doig, #Seadog Patricia Furstenberg, #Environment Kathleen Jae

New Book on the Shelves #Poetry – Behind Closed Doors by Robbie Cheadle

#Reviews – #WWI #Family Judith Barrow, #Thriller Mark Bierman, NorthernIreland #Thriller Jane Buckley

– #Reviews – #Romance #Mystery Mae Clair, #Truecrime Sue Coletta, #SouthernCulture Claire Fullerton

#Reviews – #MurderMystery Sharon Marchisello, #Romance Lizzie Chantree, #Paranormal Roberta Eaton Cheadle

#Reviews – #Poetry Colleen M. Chesebro, #psychologicalthriller Lucinda E. Clarke, #Memoir Brigid P. Gallagher

Monday 2nd August 2021 – #Facebook #Marketing Jan Sikes, #Masks A.C. Flory, #PaneerBhurji Sowmya’s Spicy Corner

Tuesday August 3rd 2021 – #Vella D.Wallace Peach, #Update Mary Smith, #Roses Rebecca Budd

Wednesday August 4th 2021 – #Youth #Age Stevie Turner, #Dumfries Robbie Cheadle, #Tartine Dorothy’s Vintage Kitchen

August 3rd 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Television and Alligators

August 5th 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Sound Effects and Abstract Art

August 6th 2021 – Another Open Mic Night with author Daniel Kemp – Doctors and Online shopping


Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you have a wonderful weekend.. See you again next week I hope…Sally.

Smorgasbord Pet/Human Health – #Cats #Foodsafety – Toxoplasma Gondii by Sally Cronin

Today a disease that can be transmitted from our pet cats to its human family unintentionally.

image Sally Cronin

Cats – Foodsafety – Toxoplasma Gondii

Handling food safely is of vital importance to our health. As children it is instilled in us that we must wash our hands after going to the toilet and also before eating but it is one of those rules that every generation learns but is seldom explained in detail.

As a living organism we are host to parasites. Whilst we might like to think that it is only animals and particularly our pets that have worms and harmful bacteria, we provide just as welcoming an environment in our own bodies.

The real danger occurs in the very young and the elderly who tend to have either immature or repressed immune systems. The parasites or pathogens are able to take hold and overcome the bodies weakened defence systems.

Toxoplasma Gondii

There is one particular parasite that can not only cause problems for children and adults but also to an unborn foetus as well. This is Toxoplasma Gondii and the condition is called Toxoplasmosis.

Anyone who has been pregnant will have been asked by their doctor is they have a cat, as this is the main source of this parasite. Cats are predators and they catch and eat infected rodents and birds. The parasite is then carried in the cat’s faeces and out into a litter box or soil. Kittens and young cats are the most likely to be infested with the parasite and they can eliminate it for as long as three weeks after infection.

It is estimated that over 80% of household cats carry the organism, with no signs or symptoms of the parasite infestation The parasite is then passed to the human through contact with the cat and then touching a hand to the mouth or by emptying the litter box without protective gloves. Also gardening without gloves if you have a cat can expose you to the risk of infection as you work in soil they have contaminated. If food is then prepared the parasite will be passed onto the rest of the family.

Feral cats who might visit our gardens and domestic cats both roam freely, particularly in the countryside. Feed for animals is also grown in contaminated soil and then fed to pigs, sheep and deer, which become infected with Toxoplasmosis.

We then handle and eat raw or under cooked meats becoming infected ourselves. We can also come into contact with the parasite on unwashed vegetables that have been grown in contaminated soil and then eaten raw in salads.

The great majority of us carry the Toxoplasma parasite, but very few of us have the symptoms because the immune system, when healthy, keeps the parasite from causing illness.

Symptoms of Toxoplasmosis

Some people who have Toxoplasmosis may feel as if they have the ‘flu’ with swollen lymph glands or muscle aches. These symptoms can last for about a month. If you are concerned then do go and see your doctor and he may suggest a blood test to check for the parasite.

If a mother is infected before or during her pregnancy she may not show any symptoms and neither will most babies at birth. A small percentage may be born blind or with some brain damage but these usually develop over a period of time and if there is a cat in the family extra care should be taken around newborns particularly. Cats make great nannies and are loving but babies tend to grab fur anywhere they can and whilst indoor cats tend to be reasonably clear of the parasite, if it is allowed to road free then it could be infected.

How to protect yourself from Toxoplasmosis.

In the first instance it is about maintaining a healthy immune system. This comes from eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, protein with some carbohydrates most of which should be unprocessed. Processed foods including refined sugars should really only make up about 20% of your diet. The Immune System – Smorgasbord Health Column

There are a few basic hygiene guidelines that can minimise your chances of becoming infected with any parasites.

1. Always wash your hands with hot water and anti-bacterial soap after any exposure to soil, sand, litter trays, raw meat or unwashed vegetables.
2. Cook your meat completely so that there is no pink and the juices are clear.
3. Freeze any meat that you buy for at least three days before cooking as this will help kill any parasites.
4. Wear gloves when gardening or emptying litter boxes and always wash your hands afterwards.
5. Wash all surfaces such as cutting boards, knives and utensils used in the preparation of raw meats and unwashed vegetables in very hot, soapy water.
6. Make sure that you thoroughly wash and if possible peel all fruits and vegetables before consuming. This especially applies to salads and it is something worth considering when you are eating in a restaurant. Most will be complying with health regulations but if you are in any doubt about the cleanliness of an establishment then perhaps better to eat a cooked item on the menu. Also beware of a salad buffet where many hands may be touching the serving spoons before you.

If you are owned by a cat!

It is not necessary to give up your pet if you get pregnant but if possible get someone else to change the litter box every day, as the parasite does not become infectious until 24 hours after elimination. Make sure to wear gloves when handling the litter and wash the box in boiling water frequently.

Your cat’s chances of becoming infected are reduced if you feed it cooked home prepared food or high quality tinned food. I am afraid I am not an advocate for dried food for cats or dogs.

Do not be tempted to pick up stray kittens or cats if you are pregnant and wait until after the birth to get a new cat. Keep all your pets as parasite free as possible by using one of the number of natural products available. Check with your vet if you are at all concerned about the health of your cat.

©2021 Sally Cronin

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-three years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here: :Sally’s books and reviews

Thank you for dropping in today and your feedback and questions are very welcome.. thanks Sally.


Smorgasbord Pet/Family Health – Ticks – What, When and How to remove safely by Sally Cronin

Today something a little different as ticks are a problem for both humans and their pets.

Pet/Family Health – Ticks – What, When and How to remove safely

Ticks are nasty little blood suckers officially part of the arachnid family in the sub directory of parasitiformes. They may be small only a few millimetres in length, but once they attach themselves to usually warm-blooded mammals (although sometimes reptiles) they swell up to many times their original size.

You have to give them some merit since apparently they have been around for over 100 million years and usually inhabit the warmer parts of the globe, and unlike most of us they like it humid. They come in two main forms – hard or soft.

  • Both have a beak either as part of their mouth at the front of the body in the hard variety or their underbelly in the soft ticks.
  • They have great hunting skills and are attracted to their prey by smell, body heat and vibrations.
  • Because they are blood ingesting and move freely between their hosts, they can infect both animals and humans with dangerous diseases.

The ticks we come into contact with are usually female and the male dies after mating. Unlike fleas they do not jump onto their hosts, but reach out and crawl on or in the cases of dogs and cats, onto the fur and then attach themselves to the skin.

We used to go to the beach twice a day for long walks. But it was the sand dunes which was where the danger lay as there was an active colony of rabbits which were tick magnets. We learned the hard way and with Sam’s shaggy coat he had a number of encounters in his first year before we realised where he was being infected.

People too get tick bites and I had one when I was walking a lot in the hills in Wales when I was in my 20s. Luckily I spotted it early and removed it and that can be tricky when they have their beak embedded in your flesh. Great care has to be taken to remove all the tick to avoid infection. (More about safe removal later)

  • It is best to avoid high grassy areas especially if they are grazed by sheep for example particularly between May and September.
  • Walking on trails through woods also needs care as there are quite a few smaller mammals such as squirrels, rabbits and weasels that are ticks main diet. Dogs and children for example do love to leap around in leaf piles and other tick hiding places.
  • Always wear protective clothing.. long sleeves and trousers and avoid open-toed shoes; which were how I got bitten.

Some tick bites are harmless and if you make sure the head is removed from the bite and treat with antiseptic there should be no side-effects. There are however some more serious complications including Lyme disease. Although post is primarily about pets because you tend to frequent the same areas as your dog, you are also at risk.

About Lyme disease

  • The disease is a vector-borne disease which means that is passed to the host by another living organism such as a flea, tick, mosquito, flies etc.
  • The early symptoms of the disease is a red rash around the site of a bite about a week after you have been targeted as the infected mouth parts of the parasite come into contact with the blood of its host.
  • Some people are severely allergic to insect bites and would experience swelling around the bite site and shortness of breath that needs to be treated immediately.
  • As well as a rash some people will experience a fever, headache and extreme fatigue.
  • More severe infections can lead to some temporary paralysis, joint pains and heart palpitations, sensitivity to light and brain fog.
  • Unfortunately for some the symptoms become cyclical and return months or even years later, particularly if the immune system becomes compromised.

Children tend to be at greater risk of getting a tick bite and also of an infection and particularly if they live in a rural or wooded area. Always a good idea to check them daily when they come in from playing to make sure they have not picked up a tick…

The treatment is by antibiotics and if you have been bitten by a tick and have removed all of the body and head, put in a container, as it might be helpful to have tested to determine the bacterial profile. With a child who has been bitten I suggest going to the doctor immediately.

The treatment is currently a number of weeks or oral anti-biotics but in some cases where the disease returns it will require further doses.

How to safely remove a tick from your pet.

  • Unfortunately finding a tick on your dog or cat can be a challenge as the parasite can hide in a number of fur covered places on their bodies.
  • They usually have their faces down in to grass or bushes so start at the nose end and run your fingers under the chin, inside the lips, up to the ears and check inside too.
  • Splay your fingers and run them through the fur all around the neck and down the chest checking the junctions of the forelegs.
  • Down the front legs and then check between the toes.
  • Back up and check the stomach and junctions between the body and back legs.
  • Down the back legs and check the toes.
  • Then check all along the back and sides and the tail.

How to remove the tick

  • You should be wearing gloves so you do not pick up an infection through a cut etc.
  • You can use eyebrow tweezers or there are specialised tweezers for ticks.
  • Wash the site with soap and water
  • Add antiseptic lotion to clean the wound. I used iodine which is great for disinfecting skin infections.
  • Antibiotic ointment.. I used hydrocortisone cream
  • A jar containing surgical spirit to keep the tick in should you vet need to check at some point.

It is easier to show rather than tell …. So here are some videos for human tick removal from neil fisher 

and for dogs thanks to  Top Dog Tips 

©2021 Sally Cronin

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-three years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here: :Sally’s books and reviews

Thank you for dropping in today and your feedback and questions are very welcome.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – July 18th – 24th 2021 – The Three Degrees, Podcast Round Up, Relationships, Interviews, Reviews and Funnies.

Welcome to the round up of posts you might have missed over the last week.

It has been summer here this week and like many of you very high temperatures. Even I have had to wait until early evening to sit out but that has been lovely.. Australia however has been enduring the lowest temperatures for a very long time with – 4 expected in the Sydney region.. That is cold for Australia.  Certainly the weather is very unpredictable at the moment.

Opportunity Knocks

A few things going on at the moment and here is an opportunity for poets and flash fiction writers from Judith Barrow and here is her facebook link to DM her if you are interested..Judith Barrow Author

“Hi Everyone, I’m putting feelers out for poetry readings ( your own work ,any subject) and a hundred word flash fiction pieces (subject “Harvest”) for an online festival to be held by Showboat in September. Showboat is an online TV company I sometimes volunteer at. It would be on Zoom and pre-recorded in a couple of weeks’ time. You’d be dealing directly with them, but I said I would ask those of you I know here. Anyone interested can DM me on FB and I will pass on your details and what you would like to do. It would be a great place to showcase your writing” Judith Barrow Author

I have been out and about this week with the lovely Marcia Meara, who has a series running ‘Ten things you may not know about me’  and if you have not seen the post you might like to pop over to discover a few more of my quirks and past shenanigans.

Head over to  join us Marcia Meara – Then things you may not know about Sally Cronin

I have also released my latest poetry collection this week. The 50+ poems have accumulated over the last year, with some that share memories of my childhood and teen years lying in a drawer for many moons. I have a number of writing projects on the go at the moment but I felt the need to finish one and get it out there.. I must admit I did take a screenshot of my orange flag #1 release in poetry and nature… I am sure fleeting but a little boost.

You can find out more about the collection here: #Poetry – Life is Like a Mosaic: Random Fragments in Harmony by Sally Cronin

This week I have uploaded the audio for some of my current and previous reviews plus my new book promotion as an example as I will be adding new books in the Cafe and Bookstore to the podcast menu soon.

Also a Short Story from Flights of Fancy – The Psychic Parrot.

You can select the track you would like to listen to by going to my profile page: Sally Cronin on Soundcloud

Or on my recording platform: Anchor FM Sally Cronin

William Price King is on his summer break until September with grandchildren but he has left his selections for the Breakfast Show and sends his best wishes. This week D.G. Kaye, Debby Gies is back with a new Realms of Relationships about Kindred Spirits who enter our lives at times when they are needed most. On Friday Daniel Kemp added his special brand of humour to the Laughter Lines.

My thanks to William, Debby and Danny for their wonderful contributions and to you for your support during the week..

Chart Hits 1974 Part One – Barbra Streisand, Barry White, The Three Degrees, ABBA-

– July 2021 – The Universe Brings us Kindred Spirits

What’s in a Name? Volume One – Fionnuala – The Swan

Tales from the Spanish Garden – Chapter Eleven – The Last Summer Ball and the Winter Fairy – Part Two

#Salmon #Scotland – A Speyside Odyssey by Norman Matheson

Book Reviews Rewind – #Poetry – Minus One: With Haikus and Other Poems: The Story of a Life by Elizabeth Merry

Book Reviews Rewind -#Cancer #Journal – Apple Blossom: my Hope…my Inspiration by Jaye Marie

Author Sue Wickstead brings Elizabeth Wickstead and Rose Powell -#100th Birthday Celebrations.

Neutering – The side-effects including to longevity

Calcium Oxylate dihydrate Kidney Stone -2

The Kidneys – Function – Disease – Kidney Stones

– Thank you Mrs Miller – luv Sally age four ‘n’ haf – #Influencers by Sally Cronin

Monday 19th July 2021 – #Handwriting Robbie Cheadle, #ALS Pete Springer, #Interview Allan Hudson

#Funnies The Story Reading Ape, #Canoes #Invitation Rebecca Budd, #Salad Dorothy New Vintage Kitchen

#Fantasy Charles E. Yallowitz, #Crime Fiona Tarr, #Family Christa Polkinhorn

#Romance Linda Bradley, #PsychicThriller GG Collins, #OrganisedCrime John L. DeBoer

#Poetry Leon Stevens, #Shortstories Pamela S. Wight, #Thiller #Romance Jane Buckley, #Biographical #Fiction Roz Morris

Meet the Authors 2021 – #Childrens Norah Colvin, #Horses Deanie Humphrys-Dunne

#Shortstories D.L. Finn, #Safety Miriam Hurdle

#Reviews – #Prehistoric Jacqui Murray, #Horses Jan Sikes, #Romance #Paranormal Marcia Meara

July 20th 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Summer Water and Exam Answers

July 22nd 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Variety and Icelandic Nights

July 23rd 2021 – Another Open Mic Night with author Daniel Kemp – Football and Tech repairs


Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will join me again next week… thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Pet Health – Neutering – The side-effects including to longevity by Sally Cronin

These days it is more common to find that domesticated dogs and cats in the US and Europe have been neutered.

Image by Gerhard G. from Pixabay

You cannot adopt a dog over a few months old who has not been neutered, and you are encouraged by both government advisories and veterinary recommendations to do so as a matter of course.

Apart from the ever-growing pet population there are officially documented and therefore touted medical benefits to having your dog or cat neutered.

Of course there is the toll that repeated unwanted pregnancies take on the health of a female dog or cat or any other mammal including humans; but some of the responsibility for that is down to ownership issues.

Recent research is indicating that if you neuter a cat or dog or other types of mammal, when they are very young, it may severely impact their health and also their lifespan. For most of our dogs and cats, reaching the ripe old age of 13 or 14 years old in good health is fantastic. But all too often we are losing them much earlier than that.

This makes some sense as we only have to look at the health issues that can occur in humans because of early onset of menopause or through the removal of ovaries during a hysterectomy and the reduction in protective hormone levels. Similarly, men are also prone to higher rates of disease as their hormones reduce in middle-age.

A great deal more research is necessary, but I suggest that you read the article I have linked to, so that you are fully informed about the risks. If this research is validated over time it might be something that all the rescue agencies and veterinarians might take into account.

Part of the problem is that they are insisting on complete removal of the reproductive organs, rather than using a tubal ligation to sterilise a female or vasectomy for a male. Both procedures leaving the endocrine system and therefore hormonal balance functioning. Neutering risks particularly in young animals

Sam was five years old when he developed a prostate problem that required that he be fully neutered, but after that age there is far less of an impact on hormonal levels and indications are that it will not impact their longevity

I appreciate that this goes against every form of governmental information and vet advice for many years. But, is this a drastic solution for all, because of the irresponsibility of a percentage of owners or because the other options are not demanded by us as owners.

These are the various options for neutering of cats and dogs, some of which may be more common in different countries.

Female Dogs.

There are birth control pills and medications specifically for use in female dogs but most, like the human varieties, can have some serious side effects and are not usually recommended for extended periods of time.

The most common procedure is surgical sterilisation, which is both practical and permanent without attendant side effects. There are three options for the female dog.

An ovario-hysterectomy involves the complete removal of the entire reproductive tract including the ovaries, uterine horns and uterus. Not only does this prevent the animal from becoming pregnant but also stops the normal six monthly reproductive cycles.

  • The heat cycles or oestrus every six months does involve behaviour problems including the bitch straying to find male dogs, putting them in physical danger of traffic accidents and fights with other dogs.
  • The scent given off by the female usually attracts a great deal of unwanted male attention to the door-step resulting in a great deal of pooping and spraying of urine in the area in their efforts to impress.
  • Additionally the female will experience vaginal bleeding for between 4 to 13 days that can leave unwanted stains around the house.

Oestrogen is one of the primary causes of canine mammary cancer and is the most common malignant tumour found in dogs.

However more recent research throws some doubt on whether there is a substantial difference in occurrence of this cancer with or without neutering.

Whilst dogs can be prone to tumours in the ovaries and uterus and obviously complete removal will eliminate any possibility of that; this could be inbreeding and breed specific. For example Boxers, Rottweilers and German Shepherd are at the highest risk of cancer.

Tubal ligation involves the cutting and tying off of the oviducts which prevents the eggs from being released into the fallopian tubes to be fertilised by sperm.

Hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus but leaves the ovaries untouched and in both the ligation and the hysterectomy the hormones are still produced.

Here is an interesting article on both sterilisation and vasectomies for dogs written by a vet and I was interested to note the reasons given why vets are not offering them. Some are down to their own views on the subject but mainly because these procedures are not taught in Vet school. Ligations and Vasectomies for dogs – Why Vets are not doing them!

The Male Dog.

The neutering or castration of male dogs is far more straightforward than for the female as it does not involve surgery within the body cavity. The testicles are both removed under general anaesthetic and the recovery time is much faster. This of course stops the production of testosterone and can reduce some more antisocial behaviours such as straying and mounting legs. Some believe that it alters a dog’s personality but in fact that is not the case but you do have to be careful about their weight after-wards as the sexual urge appears to be replaced by appetite!

Neutering a dog, however, will have some long-term health issues. As with humans, male dogs are prone to prostate problems including enlargement and cancer. They can also suffer from testicular benign and malignant cancers, both of which will be avoided by the removal of the testes.

However, this too is not a given. If a prostate problem does occur, as it did with Sam at four or five years old, then a completely neutering the dog will have health benefits. However, a vasectomy when young will not impact the endocrine system and you can always opt for the castration due to health requirements if necessary.


What about cats!

Unless you have an inside cat the options are limited. Cats are free spirits and are far more likely to roam far and wide and get themselves into trouble. Again the health benefits that are given for neutering early are still to be fully identified. Since the majority of domestic cats of responsible owners, are neutered, it would take a long-term study of both un-neutered and neutered cats to determine if there is in fact a health benefit.

Female Cats

Like young females of many species, sexual maturity can happen early in cats, and female kittens should really be kept indoors, or in a safe outside area, until they can be neutered at six months old. With outdoor cats there is really only one option and that is the removal of both the ovaries and the uterus, which will prevent the development of uterine infections and mammary cancer if that is a risk for a particular pure breed.

Male Cats

Male cats have the endearing habit of spraying urine around the house and garden when they get to six months old. They are also likely to be both aggressive and have a tendency to roam over large areas in search of females in heat, so are prone to road accidents and fights with other toms.

Like male dogs the operation is more straightforward than that for the female cat and there is some concern that without supervision, such as with a male dog, a vasectomy might not be sufficient as not all work.

Obviously this post is likely to be controversial. But at the end of the day, as pet owners, we need to be responsible for making informed decisions about their health. We also need to ensure that even more puppies and kittens do not end up in sanctuaries or worse in the position of being euthanized because of over-crowding in shelters.

©2021 Sally Cronin

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-three years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here: :Sally’s books and reviews

Thank you for dropping in today and your feedback and questions are very welcome.. thanks Sally.


Smorgasbord Pet Health – Massage for your pet that benefits you too by Sally Cronin

I first discovered that Sam our rough collie enjoyed a massage when he was still only a few weeks old.

I would lie on the floor on my side and he would come and lie down in my arms resting his head on my shoulder while I gently massaged his shoulders, back and down his legs. He would fall asleep and be totally calm and relaxed when he woke up.

Even when he was ten years older and weighed 40 kilos he still loved his daily massage. Whilst out on our daily walks he would run in front of me and almost somersault into a prone position. A rolling eye was the clear invitation for me to begin a laying on of hands and he would be more than content to lie there for 20 minutes receiving this lavish attention.

His favourite spot for his spa treatment, was down on the beach front, under the trees in the late afternoon with a lovely sea breeze cooling him down. Now tell me it’s a dog’s life.

In fact his massages benefited me too. Apart from laughing at his antics as he threw himself to the ground in his attempts to get his massage, after only a few minutes of working to relax his muscles a number of physical changes would be occurring in my own body.

Heart rate would decrease, as well as blood pressure levels. Muscles would relax and after about 20 minutes I would be as relaxed as Sam was. Apart from the carpal tunnel syndrome that is.

As an added benefit, if you begin this massage routine when your dog or cat is young, you will find that it strengthens the bonds between you as well as offers another way to communicate. If your pet is not well you will be able to spot this much quicker if you have built up trust in your touch..

As dogs and cats get older they don’t move around as much and a daily massage can be very effective in preventing stiffening joints and muscle strains. You need to be aware of a few social dos and don’ts when massaging a pet, particularly if your dog or cat rules the roost and thinks you are taking liberties.

A mother animal uses the skin of the back of the neck, not only to carry her young but also to chastise. Gently massaging this spot releases endorphins in the same way as they would have been released during their very early weeks but they can also see this as an effort to dominate them. If you watch dogs meeting on a walk, one will always try to put his neck over the other animal’s to tell him who is the boss.

Massage techniques are very similar to acupuncture in as much as they stimulate certain energy points and channels in the animal and release pain relieving endorphins into its system. There are some very simple ways to ensure that both you and your pet get the most out of what can be a very relaxing and rewarding experience.

First choose a place that you are both going to be comfortable.

  • Don’t lie on the floor if getting up is going to cause more damage to you than you need.
  • My advice is to start slowly. Each day spend a little longer rubbing and massaging your pet.
  • Perhaps if you normally share some quality time on the sofa in the evening, or when you are out in the garden or on a walk where you can let you dog off the lead safely away from distractions or traffic.
  • You can sit down and have them sit between your legs with their back to you.
  • Start gently moving your hands down from their neck along their spine to the tail. Apply gentle pressure and you will soon know if your pet is enjoying the sensation as they will usually push back into your hands.
  • You know your pet well, some do not like their heads being touched, but most love to have a gentle movement from above the eyes, over the head and down to the neck.
  • The velvet edges just on the inside of the ears are also a favourite spot and will also reflect different areas of the body that are being affected.
  • Also as in humans the area each side of the neck gets tense and a gentle massage either side is bliss for them.
  • If they are lying on their side you can gently take their leg in one hand and with the other gently run your hand down the front side and backside of their leg.

When you are moving your hands across your pet’s body learn to feel areas that are either hotter than anywhere else or produce a reaction in your pet. This could be an indication, particularly around the joint areas that there is some arthritis or inflammation that you need to take care of.

If your pet begins to hiss or snarl then leave your hand gently in place and let them settle.

Avoid that particular spot and begin to massage another area that is less sensitive such as the length of the spine. This may be an indication that there is a problem in that area and a visit to the vet might be in order.

Regulate your breathing so that it is deep and slow and make your movements slow and deliberate.

You can use your fingers gently to relax any particular knots that you find but do make sure you are very gentle.

Sam was very partial to music at any time including on long car journeys when he slept soundly all the time it was playing and often waking up and complaining if it stopped!

Soothing music and low lights are not only for romantic evenings with your partner they also encourage your other pets to relax too.

Things to avoid when massaging your pet

  • Do not massage an animal straight after it has eaten it needs to digest its food and needs a couple of hours of quiet time.
  • Do not massage the back and stomach of a pregnant dog or cat because you might paws rubbed gently.
  • If you are feeling stressed and irritated do not think about massaging your pet. They pick up on it and will be stressed to

You may find that you simply have to ask other members of the family to take on the therapy if you are too busy and as you can see they too will have just the right touch.

©2021 Sally Cronin

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-three years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here: My books and reviews 2020

Thank you for dropping in today and your feedback and questions are very welcome.. thanks Sally.


Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – 4th – 10th July 2021 – 1970s Music, Green Kitchen, Poetry, Short Stories, Book Reviews, Children’s Books, Health and Humour

Welcome to the round up of posts you might have missed during the week.

I hope you are all well.. as in the UK, Covid cases are on the increase here as expected, although they have been quite strict about non-essential travel. That all changes later in July and thousands of Irish families are heading off on holiday… long awaited. I think we will be sticking around in our coastal backwater and keeping out of the way.

The garden has been watered naturally for the last two weeks without my intervention and despite the sparcity of sunshine…has continued to blossom.. I have a number of lilies that I have cultivated from bulbs over the years and then divide and repot at the end of the season. This last two weeks has seen them bloom and this year I used a different potting soil and instead of orange they have emerged as dark red…

I was delighted to be invited to join Rebecca Budd on her podcast Tea and Trivia to talk about memories, writing and book marketing. It was a wonderful experience and Rebecca did a wonderful job of making it seem like a chat between two friends. Her husband Don is also a technical genius who edits and produces the broadcast.  I hope you will head over to join us.

I invite you to put the kettle on and add to this exciting conversation on Tea Toast & Trivia: Sally Cronin on Writing, Marketing and Telling your Story.

Recently I ran a series Public Relations for Authors which focused on how we are perceived by those who view our profile photographs, biographies and presence on social media. This included guest posts on other writer’s blogs. Here is an opportunity to not only promote your own blog or books, but those of someone you admire as well. Instead of Sunday Lunch with a guest, this year I have cut back a little on the food side, but you will get a slice of cake!!

Is there an inspiring individual, blogger or an author you would like to give a boost to who might enjoy joining you for a coffee and a piece of cake with us all?

 For the first post in this new series, editor Alison Williams has brought author Norman Matheson as her guest. Norman as you will discover, is an inspiration to all of us who might think we are too old to take on a new challenge.

Details on how to participate are at the end of the first post in the series on Tuesday.

This week I was joined by my friends and collaborators William Price King, D.G. Kaye, Carol Taylor and Daniel Kemp and my thanks to them for their wonderful contributions.

William is off for the next few weeks on his annual summer break with family but he will be back in September. In the meantime he has left his selections and thoughts on the chart hits which will go out as normal on Tuesdays…Wishing him a wonderful summer.

Time to get on with the show….

Chart Hits 1973 – Part One – Billy Paul, O’Jays, Elton John and Helen Reddy 

Carol Taylor’s Green Kitchen – July 2021 – Plastic Free, Buttermilk Bread, Buying Bulk, Stuffed Mushrooms, Grow Your Own, Conservation. 

Elaine, A Shining Light

Chapter Nine – The Boy, his Dog and a Fairy Princess

#Historical – Sheep On The Somme: A World War I Picture and Poetry Book by Frank Prem

#Dystopian #Scifi – Megacity (Operation Galton Book 3) by Terry Tyler 

Book Reviews Rewind – #1960s #Thriller – Paris Escapade by Ted Myers 

Book Reviews Rewind – #Teaching #Memoir- They Call Me Mom by Pete Springer

Choka… Spices

Hip Dysplasia – A good reason to meet your puppy’s family  

Antibiotic, Antioxidant, Aroma

Family Health – Nothing more common that a cold

#Poetry Balroop Singh, #Shortstories #Crime Jane Risdon, #Thriller Gwen M. Plano 

#YAFantasy Deborah E. Bowman, #Psychological #Thriller Lucinda E. Clarke, #Adventure Audrey Driscoll. 

#Contemporary Anne Goodwin, #Historical Joyce Hampton, #Family Saga Margaret Lindsay Holton 

#Adventure Annika Perry, #Bears Sue Wickstead

#Biographical #Fiction – Ever Rest by Roz Morris 

#NorthernIreland #Thriller #Romance – Stones Corner Turmoil by Jane Buckley

#YA #Magic #Mystery – Bloodstone (The Curse Of Time Book 1) by M.J. Mallon 

#Fantasy K.M. Allan, #Fantasy C.S. Boyack, #Poetry Colleen M. Chesebro

July 6th 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Handwriting and more Oddities 

July 8th 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Senior Jeopardy and even more oddities

July 9th 2021 – Another Open Mic Night with author Daniel Kemp – Brooms and Coffins


Thanks very much for dropping in today and I hope you will join me again next week…Sally.

Smorgasbord Pet Health – Hip Dysplasia – A good reason to meet your puppy’s family by Sally Cronin.

Hip dysplasia is a skeletal defect in dogs and cats. It is far more common in dogs and it is usually an inherited problem.

Dogs have played an important part in our lives for thousands of years and certain breeds that were developed for specific tasks such as herding, guarding, hunting and pulling were inbred to strengthen certain positive traits. Unfortunately this also strengthened certain negative traits and hip dysplasia is one of these characteristics.

Larger dogs tend to suffer the most from this condition including Boxers, Huskies, Great Danes and German Shepherds. The more active breeds also tend to be at risk such as sheep and police dogs.

How does the dysplasia occur?

At the top of the leg or femur is the femoral head and this normally rests in the socket of the joint called the acetabulum. We normally refer to this as a ball and socket joint.

Although usually inherited, it is not often evident at birth and you might only discover that your puppy has the problem at 6 or 8 months depending on the severity of the condition.

In a puppy with the potential for dysplasia, bones will mature faster than the surrounding muscles that normally keep the two components of the joint in contact. Additionally, the ligaments that assist the muscles in this role are stretched, as the puppy becomes more active. The ball and socket pull further and further apart and the socket is unable to develop fully, resulting in a shallower cup than normal. The cartilage attached to the femoral head now receives more wear and tear as it moves freely in the socket, which leads to degenerative joint disease such as Osteoarthritis. Finally the joint parts as the femoral head disconnects completely from the joint.

Some of the symptoms that you will notice in your dog include:

  • Lameness after exercise
  • A swaying walk or waddle
  • Morning stiffness
  • Difficulty when standing up.
  • Reluctance to move.
  • Irritable temperament
  • Does not like being groomed or brushed around the hip area.
  • Symptoms worse in wet or damp weather.

You might find this video helpful courtesy of Bug and his owner.

Are there any preventative measures you can take?

  • Do your research on susceptible types of dog before you buy your puppy.
  • It is important to always see a puppy with its mother and to buy from a registered breeder.
  • If your chosen breed of dog is susceptible to hip dysplasia then seeing the mother and finding out about the father will be of help.
  • Your breeder should also be able to show you other dogs, possibly related to your puppy that are healthy and without the condition.
  • You could insist on a Vet’s examination, as there are certain techniques available for determining the risk of the puppy developing the problem as it matures.
  • Watch your puppy very carefully as it becomes more active and pay attention to any stiffness or lameness in play.
  • With larger dogs it is a good idea to avoid agility training or mountain walking that are likely to put additional strain on their back ends.
  • After 18 months old, when their joints and bone growth is mature enough you can introduce them to a higher level of activity. Obviously some breeds are adapted for mountain work but the majority of dogs are not.
  • Do not try and train a large dog to sit up and beg or to stand on their hind legs for extended periods of time.
  • Exercise is important however as it is crucial that you develop the muscles surrounding the joints.
  • Walking and running for a ball is healthy, just avoid anything that requires the dog to twist and turn.
  • Swimming is often used as a therapy – if your dog enjoys the water then there are a few dog pools around. It is a gentle exercise that strengthens the muscles around the joints.
  • If your dog is still young when the problem becomes apparent then you need to explore the various options available with your vet. This might include surgery and even hip replacement.
  • If you suspect that you puppy has this problem then seek veterinary attention straight away.
  • Diet and a healthy weight is vital to reduce the strain on the joints as in humans and as dogs with this condition invariably suffer from arthritis they may need to be on anti-inflammatory and pain relieving drugs.

The alternative therapies that may help.

As our pets get older, dogs and cats alike, they are going to suffer as we do from age related degenerative joint disease. Feeding the appropriate food is essential but you can also add certain supplements into their diet. To be honest although it is convenient and allegedly a complete ‘food’, dry dog food is not a natural diet. First post in the series on allergries and dry vs. wet or homecooked pet food

  • I have had a number of canine clients and as a preventative you can add cod liver oil, Glucosamine and Chondroitin sulphate to their diet.
  • Turmeric has been used for a long time to ease inflammation and pain but do check with your vet if your dog is on other medication. There are specific canine formulations available.
  • Because many dog foods do have these already added, consult your vet before supplementing your dog and also make sure that the brand that you are using is pet friendly.
  • Chondroitin helps develop the synovial fluid in the joint and the Glucosamine encourages cartilage renewal, both of these improve flexibility and improve pain levels.
  • Cod liver oil is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids and may relieve pain and inflammation. It also contains Vitamin D which helps keep bones healthy.

NOTE. While these may help prevent the onset of joint disease they will not be able to reverse any substantial damage. Always consult your doctor for other pain relief alternatives and never, every give your pet human painkillers.

Grooming and massaging your pet pet not only keeps their skin in good condition and strengthens the bond between you but also offers you an opportunity to check their entire body out for soreness or unwanted lumps. Their reaction to you touching certain parts of their bodies will enable you to catch certain conditions early and to deal with them as quickly as possible. More next week.

©2021 Sally Cronin

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-three years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here: My books and reviews 2020

Thank you for dropping in today and your feedback and questions are very welcome.. thanks Sally.


Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – June 27th – July 3rd – #Celebrations, #Music Al Green, PR for Authors, Health, Reviews, New Books and Funnies

Welcome to the round up of posts you might have missed this week on Smorgasbord.

I hope everyone is well despite the rising cases of Covid…our cases are on the increase here in Ireland too and not sure that is going to impact the lifting of restrictions in coming weeks. Not that we will be sunning ourselves on the beach for the next ten days.. but the grass is staying lovely and green this ‘summer’!

But today I would like to focus on the positive as one of our long term supporter of the blog and resident in the Cafe and Bookstore, Judith Barrow has been shortlisted for The Rhys Davies Fiction Award for The Memory.. a book that I can highly recommend – my review

This prestigious award is part of Wales Book of the Year People’s Choice Award 2021 and is dependent on public votes. It is very easy.. all you have to do is click on The Memory and your vote is counted.

Here is a screenshot of the listing of Judith’s book… and below is the link to the page where you will find the voting panel for the books… I hope you will head over to support this amazing author and friend to so many. Just wonderful to see Judith receive the recognition she deserves..

Here is the link for the rest of the article…please take just a minute of your time to head over to cast your vote – thanks Sally: Wales Book of The Year 2021 – Article and Voting panel

And I know many of you will be celebrating July 4th this weekend and I hope you have an amazing time and are able to meet up with friends and family

Independence Day » Free animations , animated gifs

My thanks to William Price King, Debby Gies and Malcolm Allen for their posts this week and to you for your support, likes, shares and comments..

On with the show..

Chart Hits 1972 Part Two – Staple Singers, Al Green, Don McLean, America 

Volume One – David – In Remembrance 

Chapter Eight – The Goose and the Lost Boy by Sally Cronin 

#Military #Romance The SEAL’s Temptation: Wounded Hearts- Book 7 by Jacquie Biggar 

Smorgasbord Book Reviews Rewind – #Thriller #Sci-fi- The Hitman and the Thief by Richard Dee 

Smorgasbord Book Reviews Rewind – #Fantasy #Adventure – Voyage of the Lanternfish by C. S. Boyack 

#Haiku with a twist 

Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook 2022 (Writers' and Artists') by [Bloomsbury Publishing]

Part Five – Who else might your Public Image impress?  

The patter of tiny paws!  

Home Remedies for Bruises

Bruises and when to check them out 

#Fantasy Lorinda J. Taylor, #Memoir Pete Springer, #Historical J.E. Spina 

#Historical #Paranormal Roberta Eaton Cheadle, #Metaphysical James J. Cudney and Didi Oviatt, #Poetry Natalie Ducey 

#Fairystories D.L. Finn, #Vaudeville Elizabeth Gauffreau, #Historical Andrew Joyce 

#Romance Jacquie Biggar, #Fantasy C.S. Boyack, #Romance Lizzie Chantree 

#Invitation Beetley Pete, #Doglove D.G. Kaye, #FamilyHistory Antoinette Truglio Martin 

Tuesday June 29th 2021 – #Luck Suzanne Craig-Whytock, Book Reviews Vashti Quiroz-Vega, #Funnies The Story Reading Ape 

Wednesday 30th June 2021 – #CoverReveal Sarah Brentyn with Marcia Meara, #Review Jacqui Murray, #Inspiration Rebecca Budd 

#Romance #Mystery – Secrets, Lies & Alibis (Wounded Hearts Book 8) by Jacquie Biggar 

#Comingofage #Crimethriller – Just Before Sunrise by Carol Balawyder 

#Scifi #Crime – Falling and Uprising by Natalie Cammaratta 

#Contemporary Anne Goodwin, #Fantasy D.Wallace Peach, #Crime #Thriller Fiona Tarr 

#Chocolate Robbie and Michael Cheadle, #Poetry D.L. Finn 

June 29th 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Reading and Trivia 

July 1st 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Fitted Sheets and Oddities 

– July 2nd 2021 – Malcolm Allen – Enunciation and Beavers 


Thanks very much for dropping in today and I hope you have a great weekend, particularly those of you celebrating July 4th… Look forward to seeing you again next week.  Sally.

Smorgasbord Pet Health – The patter of tiny paws! by Sally Cronin

I am an advocate for adoption for both dogs and cats. There are so many needing homes.

However, accidents happen and when it does then there are some simple things that you can do to ensure the health of your pet as well as give them a stress free pregnancy and delivery.

The patter of tiny paws!

Image by Gerhard G. from Pixabay

As with human pregnancies sometimes our pets and their resulting offspring are also accidental.

Cats are pretty organised and their gestation period (pregnancy) lasts between 63 and 65 days whilst dogs can be a little more varied, dependent on breed, and can have a pregnancy lasting between 56 and 72 days.

Unless you catch your pet “in the act” during a receptive period (heat) then you may have to ask the vet to verify the pregnancy at about a month. If you need to know how many there are going to be in the litter you can also splash out for a scan at about 45 days and this might be important if you are concerned for the health of the dog or cat.

Before  a planned pregnancy

All pets should be eating healthily anyway but this is particularly important during their pregnancy.

For dogs and cats it is important that their vaccinations are up to date and that they have been wormed regularly.

During pregnancy

  • In the second half of pregnancy you need to gradually increase the level of your dog’s food day by day until at the end she is eating about twice her normal amount.
  • Divide the meals into five or six smaller meals per day, as this will be more comfortable for her. She will need a balanced diet that is appropriate for pregnancy and you can ask your vet for recommendations on what natural foods should be included.
  • As you know I am not a fan of dried food, particularly in this important phase in your dog or cat’s life. However, you cannot suddenly change your pet from dried food that it has eaten since weaning and substitute home-cooked or wet food.
  • Do so gradually over a period of around six weeks. If your dog is used to eating healthy home prepared meals then continue that way, with additional lean poultry and fish as well as vegetables.
  • Make sure that she stays hydrated as her needs for fluids will increase as the pregnancy progresses.

Image @S.G. Cronin

Cats are usually very self-sufficient and will probably supplement the food you give them with fresh caught! But they too need regular small meals later in pregnancy, along with plenty of fresh water.

A dog should have moderate exercise throughout pregnancy and this will help her keep supple and flexible for the birth. It is a good idea to keep your cat indoors during the last two weeks of pregnancy as she may discover what she feels is a suitable place to give birth in your neighbour’s tool shed.

You need to make preparations around three weeks before the litter is due and a whelping box is the safest for both the mother and puppies. The puppies or kittens need to be clustered as closely as possible together, for both warmth and safety, but the mother should be able to lie outstretched to enable her to nurse them comfortably.

If you are building the whelping box yourself it should have sides between 4 and 8 inches high, depending on the breed of your dog. Encourage her to sleep in it up to the birth so that she is used to it. Use shredded newspapers as bedding, or smooth sheets that can be washed easily. Place the box in a quiet place away from the family and noise so that your dog associates it with a safe place to deliver and keep her babies.

Image by Franz W. from Pixabay

Cats like a slightly higher whelping box with sides about 6 to 10 inches high and they too like a secluded corner where they can nurse in safety. Cats may turn their noses up at your efforts and find their own haven – usually in inconvenient places such as the airing cupboard or under your bed – but you will have to leave her alone at least for the first ten days to avoid stressing her unnecessarily. They usually like their boxes to be covered with a towel or something similar so that it is dark as well as quiet.

Signs of impending labour

The mammary glands in both dogs and cats will engorge in the last two or three weeks and milk will become available in the last two to three days and is a good sign that they are about to begin labour. If you are brave enough (my dog likes to try and rip the arm off the vet at the sight of a thermometer) take your dog’s temperature once the milk appears and you will see that it drops to 99F within 10 to 24 hours of labour starting.

If you are not planning on having the vet assist at the birth, which to be honest is unlikely for most domestic pets, then be prepared to help out if necessary. Usually you will come down in the morning and find a proud mother with her litter tucked up and already nursing.

Both dogs and cats will begin to exhibit nesting or nursing behaviour and I have seen dogs and cats start to mother anything from an old slipper to a hairbrush. The maternal instinct is very strong and it is not a good idea to fuss around them unless they come to you specifically for comfort.

This stage lasts from 6 to 24 hours and they will eventually seek seclusion, either in the whelping box they have become used to or their chosen spot. They will start to have contractions and their cervix will dilate as during a human birth but it will not be visible to you.

During labour

  • Contractions will become stronger and will be accompanied by abdominal contractions pushing out the puppies or kittens.
  • If you are present during the birth you will notice a small, green sac visible at the vulva before the puppy or kitten arrives.
  • The placenta will follow each individual birth and the mother will lick and bite the sac to release the baby before cleaning it and biting the umbilical cord.
  • With an inexperienced mother, you may need to help nature along by gently rubbing the kitten or puppy with a towel to stimulate its breathing.
  • This may also happen if the mother begins the contractions for the next member of the litter immediately following the birth of the last one.

There a number of things that you need to look out for during the last stages of pregnancy, and during labour, that might signal that your pet is having difficulties.

If the mother has been having strong contractions for longer than ten minutes and it looks as though the kitten or puppy is lodged in the birth canal, gently grasp it around the shoulders with a thin towel and gently rock back and forth. Without grabbing the legs pull towards you carefully until it is freed.

After the birth, if the mother does not sever the umbilical cord then tie a piece of strong cotton around the cord about an inch from the body and then cut on the side of the knot away from the baby. Dip the end in a little iodine to prevent infection.

Usually there is a ten to thirty minute rest between individual births – but this might vary, particularly with cats.

When to call the vet

  • You should have taken your pet to the vet for a check-up during the pregnancy so they will be expecting to be called out it there are problems.
  • If the pregnancy lasts more than the usual 65 days or 71 days in the case of a dog then take them to the vet to be checked.
  • If after the stronger contractions begin and the mother is having abdominal contractions but no births then you need to call the vet.
  • If there is a lapse of more than two hours between puppies, or four hours between kittens, and you are sure that labour is still in progress then you will need help.
  • If after gently moving the kitten or puppy in the birth canal you still cannot deliver it then you again will need assistance.
  • If the mother has been in labour for over three hours and develops a greenish/black discharge but no babies there is a problem.
  • Sometimes a placenta is not delivered for each individual birth and leaving it inside the mother is dangerous and needs to be dealt with.


Having new kittens or puppies in the house is as miraculous as human birth and if you have helped your pet through the process it makes it even more meaningful.

I hope that has not put you off midwifery duties for your dog or cat.. I have been present on a couple of occasions and it is amazing. Thanks for dropping in and as always look forward to your feedback.  Sally

©2021 Sally Cronin

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-three years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here: Sally’s books and reviews

Thank you for dropping in today and your feedback and questions are very welcome.. thanks Sally.