"Make Your Home Cat-Safe - How To Keep Your Cat Happy and Healthy"
By ContentMart Editor

* Lock things up that could cause harm
* Keep the washer/dryer door closed at all times
* Honk the car horn before starting it up
* Use fire carefully
* Keep all upstairs windows closed or screened
* Store string away tidily
* Keep floors free of small things
* Be constantly aware of what your cat is doing

Curiosity gets most cats in trouble at some point in their lives. As your cat's caregiver, keeping her safe sometimes seems like a "mission impossible." With a little foresight and action, however, you can create a "home, safe home."

When you're trying to provide the best home possible for your cat, it pays to think like her. Put on some old clothes and get down on hands and knees and take a look around. Is that shiny crystal vase on the shelf a tempting target? Remember that cats will jump onto shelves and tables.

That dangling drapery cord would be fun to leap and grab. What's in this big pot? In case you need help identifying what might catch a cat's eye, here's a list of common household items that are often the cause of cat injuries:

* Roach and ant traps
* electric and phone cords
* cigarettes in ashtrays
* open doors and windows
* rubber bands
* housecleaning chemicals
* lit candles
* Christmas trees
* ornaments
* paperclips
* rocking chairs
* uncovered toilets
* trash cans
* human medications
* chocolate
* anti-freeze
* unattended boiling pots
* electric stove burners
* plastic bags.

Cats find plants irresistible as playthings. They love to pounce on them and shred them with both their claws and teeth. Although they are carnivores -meat eaters-they sometimes eat plant material. For these reasons, it's important to make sure the plants in and around your home won't pose a health risk. The following are some common house and landscape plants that are toxic to cats:

* Philodendron English ivy
* caladium dieffenbachia "elephant ear"
* poinsettia
* mistletoe
* azaleas
* holly
* berries
* boxwood
* wisteria
* hydrangea
* oleander
* chinaberry tree

If you live in an area prone to natural disasters, keep an emergency pet supply kit with your own. Include a week's worth of food as well as any medication your cat takes on a regular basis. A photo of your pet is also good to keep with your emergency supplies, in case you are separated from your cat during the event, you'll have a way to get the word out to locate her.

A collar with an identification tag is one of those things that you might never need, but will wish you had if you need it and don't. Even if your cat is strictly and indoor pet, the unexpected could happen. A door or window is left ajar, or a natural disaster creates an opening in your home through which your frightened feline escapes.

Your cat's identity tag should include the following information

* Pet's name
* Owner's name and address
* Telephone numbers (day and evening)
* Medical problem requiring medication
* Veterinarian's name and number
* Current Rabies vaccination information
* Reward offer should pet become lost

Many people have their cats micro-chipped for identification. A small silicone chip containing the owner's contact information is painlessly inserted under the cat's skin. Most animal shelters automatically scan lost pets to read the owner contact information. However, if your cat is found by an average citizen an identification tag will speed up your reunion.

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Heartworms In Dogs - What They Are & What To Do
By Kirsten Hawkins

Heartworms (Latin name Dirofilaria immitis) are parasitic worms that are common in both dogs and cats. Like their name suggests, they live in the dog's heart, normally free-floating in the right ventricle and nearby blood vessels. The worms are transmitted from dog to dog by mosquitoes which pass the worm larvae through their saliva. The presence of heartworms can be very dangerous to the dog's health. Although the dog will not display signs of infection until it has progressed considerably, heartworms can be life threatening and are sometimes difficult to detect and diagnose.

Signs of Heartworm Infection

When a dog is first infected with heartworms, there are literally no signs and the presence of heartworms can not be detected even with a blood test. Once the worm larva reaches the heart and matures, however, signs that are detectible by X-ray start to develop almost immediately. These include damage to the blood vessels around the heart and lungs. It is rare that a dog will be infected by only one worm and as the mature worms in the heart grow in size and number, the conditions worsen, eventually causing a blockage of blood flow. It is at this point that the dog will start to display physical signs which can include pain, hypertension, difficulty breathing, lethargy or even fainting. In extremely progressed cases the dog can suffer from heart failure and death although by the time the heartworm disease has reached this stage the owner has probably realized that something is going on and sought veterinary care.

Treating Heartworm Infection

Once a dog has been diagnosed as having heartworms, treatment must be started. What this treatment is and how it is administered is dependant on the stage of heartworm infection. Generally, there are four stages of heartworm disease.

- Stage One - Dogs at the lowest risk - heartworms are detected in X-rays but all other tests appear normal.

- Stage Two - Dogs are moderately infected, may have some difficulty breathing and be demonstrating coughing

- Stage Three - Dogs are severely affected & may display weight loss, have difficulty breathing, blood tests likely show kidney and/or liver damage

- Stage Four - Dogs have Vena Cava Syndrome and are in shock, essentially dying - surgery may be undertaken to remove worms, but there is no guarantee that it will save the dog.

When it comes to heartworms in dogs, prevention truly is the best medicine. The best time to begin a preventative treatment is early in puppy-hood, before the dog is seven months old since dogs older than seven months are at a great risk for adverse reactions to the preventative treatments.

About The Author:

Kirsten Hawkins is a dog lover and animal expert from Nashville, TN. Visit http://www.doghealth411.com/ for more information on dog health, the care of dogs, and dog travel.

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Dallas Dog and Cat Owners Object to Proposal to Curb Pets
Dallas Morning News

How to Avoid Those Costly Dog Training Bills by Misty Cote

Having grown up in a very small town in eastern Canada, I had always been around dogs and they have always captivated me. There has always been something about the way they interact with each other that attracted me to learn more about them.
It is interesting to know that all dogs from all over the world, whether it is from China or England, they all speak the same language. All dogs communicate using mostly their body language, voice and smells.

As dogs are more observant to details than humans, they can recognize the simplest things like a squinting of the eyes, looking in another direction or hair rising on the scruff (back) of the dog.

This brings us back to the studies of wolves and how their hierarchy affects how they interact with each other. But now that dogs are living in a completely new environment, say in a suburban area with little or no nature around them, we must begin to start taking into consideration their emotional needs. Dogs that are having behavioral problems most often do not need to be trained or even hire a dog training expert. They usually just simply have too much energy store up into them and they cannot burn that energy locked up in a house or apartment. The best ways to exercise your dog are:

1. Play a retrieving game like fetch or Frisbee. Lots of running is involved and it will get your dog in an extremely great state of mind.

2. If you are familiar with dog training techniques, you and your partner can stand at opposite ends of a park and practice name recalls, or the come command.

3. Take your dog jogging, biking or rollerblading with you. Please take the necessary precautions for these sports, but if you live in the country where nobody can bother you and your dog, then go for it!

4. Walk your dog! It is sad to know that the majority of dogs do not even get a formal walk every day. Their owner simply does not take them outside, other than the backyard, so a walk would be tremendous to get your dog active.

About the Author:
Jean is the owner of the Dog Trick Academy. Read more about his dog training techniques.

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Her Dog's Aggression Is Worse After In-Kennel Training
By ContentMart Editor

A Bull Mastiff owner wrote me, with the following question:

"My problem comes in a 147-pound package. Mack is a 15 month-old Bull Mastiff. He has been in and out of training since he was 10 weeks old.

He was starting to show dominance aggression at around nine months, so I found a training facility that would in-kennel train him. He was there for seven weeks. When I got him back he seemed to have a bigger problem than when he left. I was told by the trainer that he showed no signs of aggression there. He also said that he would have to schedule an in-home session which would run me another $250+. As it is, I expected a whole lot more for my $1200.

He also told me I have to take him through the whole training course again myself starting at day one in order to establish my leadership role in the pack. I have done this and he does great when there are no strangers around but if a neighbor goes out into his yard or one of my brothers stops by, forget it. He goes into attack mode. No fear in it by the way. I'm at my wits end. My brother is telling me I'll have to have him put to sleep before he hurts someone. I definitely do not agree with this; I just need to know EXACTLY what to do.

Its hard to desensitize him to strangers when the ones that know him won't come around and if I take him out around people I have a hard time controlling him because he out weighs me by about 30 pounds. If you have any suggestions I would appreciate any.

Thank you for your time.


Dear MaryAnne:

What your trainer said is right, and should have probably been done the first time. Your dog is seeing the kennel trainer as the Alpha and obeying him, but has no working relationship with you as the Alpha. This is the problem with in-kennel training, in that the dog gets no one-on-one work with the owner, who is supposed to be the Alpha and have that position firmly established through obedience and the Nothing In Life Is Free program.

For now, you will want to start from square one as though he has never been trained and teach him what the commands are. This might go a bit quicker than normal because of the previous obedience experience. Use a prong collar on him: it has been referred to many times as a hearing aid collar and used on dogs that outweigh their owners, much like your situation.

When you reach the correction phase, where you teach the dog that each and every command MUST be obeyed, be very firm. If he is out in the yard, don't give him freedom off-leash until he can be under control. Work obedience with him in the yard so he learns that even in that area, he should listen to you. This applies too when the neighbor appears on the scene. With the prong collar, you will be able to give motivational corrections, even though you are outweighed by the dog.

About the Author: Adam G. Katz is the author of the book, "Secrets of a Professional Dog Trainer: An Insider's Guide To The Most Jealously Guarded Dog Training Secrets In History." Get a free copy of his report "Games To Play With Your Dog" when you sign up for his free weekly dog training tips e-zine at: http://www.dogproblems.com

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Keeping Tropical Fish In An Apartment by James Dorans

As a working professional and a kinda hectic commute and living in the city of New York it would really be unfair for me and other people to have cats or dogs. Don't get me wrong I know a lot of people that do and god bless them. Well even though rent has sky rocketed a lot of places still do not allow cats or dogs. So a great alternative that is relatively easy, own tropical fish.
If you don't have a lot of time I would get very easy care level tropical fish which are as followed; Swordtails, Danio, Platy, Betta, Guppies, Tetras, Goldfish. I would also recommend getting an algae eater or two for the tank so you have to do less cleaning such as a snail, suckermouth cats or Plecos. Plecos for bigger tanks of course even though they could go in a 10 gallon tank since they only grow to the size of there environment.

Now depending on your apartment size is the size tank you should get, but also remember that the bigger the tank more problems could come up. So in general I would not get a tank any bigger then 30 Gallons. That could be still a nice amount of fish you could get between 22 to 30 fish. Also most landlords do not mind tropical fish since they do not damage furniture or walls. Well that being said if you have a small apartment like I do I would only get an up to 10 Gallon tank which could have up to 10 fish. I also have a 1 and an half gallon but that has my Betta in it.

Also when buying a tank now a days I would get an aquarium complete kit, which comes with a heater, even though you should buy two. I would explain in a later article why you should do that, a fish net, and a filter and hood with lighting.

What is also great about owning a fish tank there is no smell, and it would add light and a nice relaxing atmosphere to the apartment.

Also remember to get an electronic vacuum they are great. You do not need a bucket like the hand types or air type aquarium vacuums. Even though you should still have a bucket when you do your water changes for your aquarium.

Also get live plants into your tank that would help keep is oxenize the water and if you are gone to long the fish could eat the plants. If you are gone for a long time unlike dogs and cats you do not need a sitter there are long time feeders available to place in your tank depending if you are gone to long. Also when you are not there for a while if you keep the lights off the fish would not eat as much.

Also you don't have to walk your fish. By the way the only tropical fish that could last more then 8 seconds out of fish is the Betta but not much longer so you can't even if you wanted to sorry. Hey at least you do not have to scoop up the poop off the street either.

About the Author:
Your Fish Tank Guru information on Tropical Fish from Bettas to Zebra Danios. Also information on maintaining a healthy aquarium.


Check A Dog's Personality Before You Buy by Sylvia Dickens

You already know that people have different personalities, and that sometimes they can clash. It's no different with a dog. They have their own personalities, too. It's possible whichever dog you choose just might be prone to "disagree" with your methods.
Knowing a puppy's personality before you commit to buying or adopting him will help you to make a wise choice in selecting the right puppy for you. If you already have a dog, doing a personality test will help you better understand why he does certain things or why he can't seem to learn certain rules or commands.

Checking your puppy's personality starts with understanding his breed, because many of his characteristics will be inherited. If you don't know the specific breed, try to determine what breed cross he might be and refer to those personalities to see if they fit.

There are some excellent books in the library to help you figure out how your particular breed of dog thinks and reacts. Alternatively, you can ask a breeder or your vet.

As long as your puppy is over seven weeks of age, you can get a good result from a personality test. The main personality types are responsive, strong willed, energetic, timid, easygoing and aggressive although you're likely to see a mixture, depending on the mixture of breeds and the circumstances. For instance, a dog might be easygoing around the family, but aggressive around strangers. This is common in dogs that are protective, rather than social and friendly.

Friendliness Test

The friendliness test will determine if your dog is a socializer.

Take the puppy into a quiet area, free of other distractions and whine like a young puppy or talk to him in a friendly, affectionate voice. You're trying to see what kind of response you get. If he cocks his head to one side, becomes alert and happy, then he has a responsive personality.

A high-energy dog might ignore you at first, but will soon be running and jumping around barking and trying to nip at your hands or feet in a friendly manner.

A strong willed dog will become alert and will away again barking and eventually come to you. A timid dog will whine back and bark before crawling up to you with his tail down and his ears pulled back.

An easy going dog will show be more laid back and seem not to care. He is quick to lose interest in your whining, most likely because he's decided it really doesn't matter to him.

If the dog lunges at you and growls with his ears and tail standing straight up (rather than curled or dropped and relaxed) he is an aggressive dog with dominant qualities. If he barks, backs away and crouches down yet remains defensive, he is showing fear aggression. Fear aggression is common in dogs that have been abused.

You can do other tests as well. You can test a dog's sensitivity to noises, how he reacts to discipline, and how tolerant he is to pain and discomfort.

Sound Test

For the sound test, put some pennies into a tin can and shake it to see how your dog responds. Keep in mind that dogs have sensitive ears and are able to hear sounds humans can't. This test could reveal that your puppy might have hearing problems or that he is "gun shy".

Move away from distractions and, from half a dozen feet distance from the dog, shake the can to make a noise. Try to hide the can behind your back as seeing it might clue him in to what's causing the noise. We want the noise to be unexpected.

A responsive dog will perk up when he hears the noise and become inquisitive about its source. If you had rolled the can on the floor to make the noise, he would see it as a toy and begin playing with it.

A high-energy dog will respond to the noise, but will become easily distracted. He might even bark at the noise as if trying to scare it away.

Shy dogs will back away and lower his ears and tail while raising the hair on the back of his neck. This is a submissive posture. It's common for shy or timid dogs to run and hide from loud noises.

An easygoing dog will saunter up to the noise, check it out but will soon return to whatever he was doing.

An aggressive dog backs away, growls, curls his lips and will make direct eye contact with you as if in defiance. A fear aggressive dog, on the other hand, will crouch and take a submissive stance. Such dogs often will urinate as a sign of submission.

Discipline Test

The discipline test can be helpful when you think about how easy it might be to train this particular dog. Understanding this aspect of his temperament can be useful in determining the methods you'll need to use during the training process.

Be careful when issuing this test as an aggressive dog might try to attack you or bite you. If you suspect that the dog is aggressive, you might want to skip the first version of this test. Do not continue this particular test if the dog demonstrates that he is fearful.

Version 1: With your hand raised, make it appear that you are going to hit the dog to get his response. If he shows curiosity and stays happy or ignores you, he has either a responsive, easygoing or a high-energy personality. A timid, shy or insecure dog will be more jumpy and will duck, flinch and cower in response to your fake threat.

A dominant dog will growl, curl his lips, snarl and perhaps bite. If this happens, it's best to stop the test for your own safety. A fear aggressive dog will respond in a similar way, trying to bite as a way to protect himself. A dog that responds this way, in all likelihood, has been abused or mistreated in the past.

Tolerance test

This test will be beneficial if you have children around. By knowing how much your dog can tolerate, you will be better informed whether this dog is a good choice for you and your family. This test isn't so much to discover his personality as it is to determine how much discomfort your dog can tolerate.

A dog that is pain intolerant might be suffering from a disease such as arthritis or Hip Displasia, from previous mistreatment or simply from its breeding. Children, for example, tend to like pulling a dog's tail or ears or riding the dog, which can be painful to the animal.

There are three areas you can test (tail, toes, skin), but for this article, we'll discuss the tail, since that's an easy target for many children and even some adults.

Keep in mind that you don't want to hurt the dog. Pull his tail gently and see how your dog reacts.

If he turns and mouths your hand without really trying to bite and even becomes playful, it's evident this puppy has a safe tolerance level. If the dog tries to stop you or tolerates it for a short time and tries to move away, he has an average tolerance level.

If the dog yelps, growls and snaps while trying to get away, he has a poor pain tolerance. If he bites and growls, the dog has very little or no tolerance whatsoever. If you have children, you might want to choose a different dog, or teach your children not to pull the dog's tail.

Knowing a dog's personality and temperament before he comes to your home is helpful in making a wise decision in choosing a suitable pet for your family.

About the Author:
Sylvia has been a dog lover for many years and shares her knowledge with you in her new book, "Unveiling the Myths & Mysteries of Owning a Puppy". You can get your complementary copy at http://www.ebook-haven.com/PuppyGuide1-signup.php

Picking Up A Horse's Hoof
By ContentMart Editor

The idea of picking up a horse's hooves can intimidate some owners since a well-placed horse kick would really hurt! Such caution is good, but in reality if you pick up a horse's hoof properly you provide him with no leverage or ability to kick you. This is a situation where a person's worst fears can cause him to imagine an incident that is highly unlikely to occur with careful handling.

Here's how to safely pick up a horse's hoof:

Starting with the front hoof, approach your horse diagonally from his front so that he clearly knows you are there - you don't want to surprise him. Place yourself even with his shoulder and make sure to face his rear; you will both be facing opposite directions during the hoof picking process.

Making sure that your feet aren't too close to the horse's hoof, start running the hand parallel to him down his shoulder and along the length of his leg, finally stopping just above his ankle. Gently grasp the ankle portion and click (or otherwise verbally cue him) to ask him to raise his leg. If he's well trained, that small cue will be more than enough and he'll do just what you requested. You're now free to begin picking his hoof.

If your horse is being a bit stubborn or hasn't learned how to pick up his legs yet try leaning into his shoulder as you run your hand down the back of his cannon bone. You can also gently squeeze/pinch the tendons to further cue him to what you would like. As you perform these physical cues make sure you provide a verbal one also (I make a clicking sound) so the horse later associates your sound with the requested response. Increase the weight you push against his shoulder until he finally lifts his leg as requested.

When picking a horse's hoof you want to remove all debris from the hoof clefts as well as the rim and frog. Be careful around the frog because it can sometimes be a bit sensitive, particularly if the horse has thrush.

Once you have finished cleaning the front hoof carefully guide it back to the floor; you don't want to allow the horse to slam it, potentially hitting your foot in the process. Praise your horse and pat him on the front shoulder a bit so he understands that you are pleased with his cooperation, then run your hand along his back to his rear leg. Place yourself in the same position as you did with his front leg and do the process over again.

There is a slight difference between lifting a rear foot and front foot, even though your basic positioning and actions are nearly identical. When you lift your horse's rear foot he will probably give a little jerk that you might misinterpret as a kick. This is a common reflex reaction among horses and nothing for you to worry about.

Secondly, when you raise your horse's rear leg you'll want to step into him a bit so that your hip is underneath his leg. Rest his leg on your thigh, grab his hoof and gently flex it upwards. By doing this you lend him some support and more importantly the position of his leg and his flexed hoof will prevent him from being able to kick you.

Clean the hoof, lower it cautiously as you did the first and praise him. Congratulations - you're halfway done! The opposite side will be done exactly the same way, but try to return to his front and start the opposite side rather than move around his rear. It's bad practice to approach or circle all but the most trusted horses via the rear in such close quarters since a horse would be within range to strike.

When lifting any hoof try to make sure your horse is properly squared (balanced evenly on all four legs) so that when you lift one hoof he can easily balance on his remaining three. At no time should the horse actually lean his weight on you! Even when you rest his rear leg on your thigh you're not allowing him to use you as a crutch.

Once you have picked your horse's hooves a few times it will probably become very simple and take less than 5 minutes to clear all hooves.

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Have Pet ... Can Travel
By ContentMart Editor

If you are reading this, I guess you have a pet, need a holiday and don't want to waste your next hard-earned break watching round-the-clock rubbish on televsion. In days gone many pet owners simply did not go on holidays! "Why", I would ask them, and the answer was always the same: "Because we own a pet."

Fortunately pet owners have more options than they used to. These days you can often take your pet with you. Otherwise you can leave it in a secure boarding kennel or cattery, or even commission a pet minding service to visit and service your pet in its familiar environment. But which option is right for you and your pet?

So now you've taken the first step and put in for some annual leave. Your vacation is coming up... but what are you going to do with the family pet?

Option One: Pet Friendly Holidaying

Taking your pet with you on holidays is an option particularly popular among dog owners whose charges travel well. Gone are the days when travelling "pet friendly" meant rotting linoleum and a leaky roof. Many holiday venue operators now recognise that most pet owners are responsible adults who will look after a nice house in order to be invited back.

When travelling don't forget to take frequent rests, pack water for the travel along with your dog's water bowl, and don't leave your dog to bake in your car! You'll generally also be required to bring your pet's bedding, food and food containers.

Your pet should also be fully vaccinated, wormed and on a current flea treatment program. A first aid kit including tweezers or tick removers as well as antiseptic makes good sense, especially if there are likely to be ticks in the area.

Other pets can make excellent travel companions - cats and horses, for example, are welcomed at many holiday venues these days.

FOLLOW THE RULES: If you will be having your pet with you on holidays there are likely to be conditions. Find out what they are and follow them or you will not be welcomed back!

AVOID THE TELEVISION. Hopefully there isn't a TV there, but if there is, don't turn it on. You can watch TV at home and there are too many exciting things to do with your pet, friends and family, like bush walking, swimming... no, don't reach for the remote control. Make the most of your holiday and enjoy the Great Outdoors!

There are times when you can't take your pet with you, such as overseas holidays, business trips and when you are holidaying in regions that don't permit pets. So what are your options?

Option Two: In Home Pet Minding Services

If your pet is unlikely to fret excessively in your absence it can make sense to leave them in their familiar territory. A Pet Minder can visit your pet in your home or garden, supplying food, entertainment, a walk and maybe even a bath in your absence.

Leaving a pet in the house can even assist with security - who's going to break in when Cujo's guarding the front door?

As an added bonus a pet minder will often undertake additional duties including collecting mail, putting out the garbage and watering the plants. They can often attend to the other members of your family including fish, mice, birds etc.

Keeping up your dog's exercise regime is important. If your chosen pet minder cannot exercise your pet then arrange for a family member or professional dog walker to look after this for you.

When interviewing for a pet minder, it is OK, and expected that you will ask for references.

Not all dogs and cats are suited to staying home while you're away, especially if you'll be gone for an extended period. If your pet is likely to fret terribly, howl through the night, disturb neighbours or go wandering, then a boarding facility might be a better option for your pet's safety and security!

Option Three: Boarding Kennels and Catteries

A boarding kennel or cattery can provide a safe environment in your absence. Your pet will be fed according to the diet that you have prearranged - many boarding services can cater for the fussiest of animals.

Most boarding kennels have excellent exercise options available.

Ruling Cats and Dogs
The Demand For Luxury Dog Beds
By ContentMart Editor

A pet can be as important a member of the family as a child to some owners, and making sure they sleep well is a way to express that affection. In the past several years, manufacturers have started to fill a growing demand for luxury dog beds for pet owners who wanted to lavish something special on their pets. With the advent of organic pet foods, pet clothing and nutritionally balanced pet treats, designer dog beds seemed like an idea whose time had come.

Do you share your pet with someone else or move her around to different locations? Try the Botanical Bed, a portable pet sofa with lockable wheels, reversible blanket and a flower-patterned pillow. Need a fancy dog bed for a big guy who likes to loll around in different positions, flopping his head and tail over the edge as he does? Try an extra large donut bed in any one of dozens of easy to clean, designer fabrics and a variety of fills from gel to memory foam to cedar. Does your large dog stretch out on your favorite sofa, especially during your favorite prime time TV shows? Induce him to change his ways with the European Sofa Luxury Dog Bed complete with throw pillows and maybe he'll leave your sofa to you.

Then there are designer dog beds with industrial strength canvas covers stretched over high-grade 'memory' virgin upholstery fiber with advanced Velcro systems to remove, wash and transport your dog's bed wherever you may go. They come with polypropylene insert liners in case of any accidents, and are completely machine washable to keep them soft and clean for your pet's entire life.

You'll find luxury dog beds with multiple use features and more accessories than you could possibly imagine at many of the better pet shops around your town. Or if you can't find that perfect designer dog bed around your town, there are even more options if you check the Internet. With the vast selection out there, chances are you'll be able to find just what you are looking for.

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Teach Cats To Use Scratching Posts
By Marilyn Pokorney

Cats love and need to scratch. When they live in a house or apartment they will scratch whatever is available which usually turns out to be their owners best piece of furniture.

Here are some tips to help teach your cat to use a scratching post instead of your favorite couch.

Cats don't understand physical punishment. Punishment only breaks the trust that your cat has with you.

It feels good to cats to scratch. Scratching serves as exercise to keep your cats muscles in shape.

Don't try to show your cat how to scratch the post. The cat knows how to scratch and will do so when they want to.

A good scratching post should be tall enough for your Kitty to fully stretch the body, usually around 3 feet tall and should be very stable. If it falls over, even once, the cat won't go back to it. A resting place on top is even more attractive.

Cats like rough surfaces that they can shred to pieces. Choose material as close as possible to the item that the cat is now scratching on. The reverse side of rugs provides a good texture for clawing.

Cat's mark their territory by scratching. The paws also have scent glands that leave their own special scent on their territory, so a scratching post should be in an area that's used by the family.

Encourage the cat to use the post by feeding and playing by the post. Rub dried catnip leaves or powder onto it. Attach toys to it, such as a catnip mouse, which causes the cat to grab the post attempting to catch the toy.

Put a post near where the cat sleeps. Cats like to scratch when they awaken, especially in the morning and the middle of the night. If possible, place a scratching post in every room of the house.

For more information on how to prevent cats from scratching furniture visit:


About the Author:

Marilyn Pokorney
Freelance writer of science, nature, animals and the environment.
Also loves crafts, gardening, and reading.

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Funny Pet Pictures

White Spot (Ichthyophthirius) in Tropical Fish
By Nate Jamieson

One of the most common diseases encountered by tropical fish hobbyists, is the common parasite known as "ick" or "ich", for ichthyophthirius. In most cases, white spots on a fish's scales are the first sign noticed, although it's possible fish may begin rubbing themselves against objects as well, since it's a very irritating condition.

In severe cases, the fish may even have a gray slimy appearance to their body. By the time obvious symptoms develop, your tank would be well-infested. In the initial stage, the parasite will burrow under the fish's scales and skin, where it lingers, feeding off the skin cells and blood of its host until it's fully developed.

The Ich then breaks through the skin of the fish and falls off into the water, landing on the substrate where it forms a cyst, and begins to multiply, producing up to 1,000 new parasites. The entire life cycle can take as little as 4-6 days.

Because the most vulnerable stage is when they are free swimming, it will be necessary to treat the entire tank, because once a parasite has started to replicate, the tank is already contaminated. You can however, remove severely infected fish to a hospital tank for some extra, topical treatments to try and help it recover, and to prevent secondary infections.

The home tank should be treated by raising the temperature four degrees, and adding a small amount of aquarium salt. Any inhabitants that can't tolerate the salt, should be moved to their own, separate tank until the original one is free of parasites. Medications for adding to the water are available at your fish supply store. Remember that because of their life cycle, and needing to treat the free swimming stage, you will need to medicate the tank every few days, and the entire course of treatment can take up to three weeks.

About The Author:

Nate Jamieson

Love Tropical Fish? Find out how to create a beautiful, low-cost tropical fish aquarium with complimentary tips at http://www.TropicalFishIsland.com.

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Considering a Pet Bird? Ask Yourself These 7 Critical Questions
By Simon Blake

Birds can make wonderful pets and companions and there are many different birds to choose from. Two of the most popular are cockatiels and parakeets. Cockatiels and parakeets make wonderful pets that only require simple daily care. They don't take up a lot of space, they eat small amounts of food, and they don't require a daily walk outside. They love being around people and often want out of their cages just so they can be closer to you. Some even learn to talk.

You're not alone in considering a pet bird. In fact, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association (APPMA), birds are the 3rd most popular pet behind cats and dogs.

It all sounds great doesn't it? Slow down a little bit, before you rush out to buy a cockatiel or a parakeet, take some time to think about whether or not you are ready for a bird companion. There are a few things for you to consider before you decide if you're ready for the responsibilities that comes with parakeets and cockatiels.

Do yourself a favor and don't buy a parakeet or cockatiel until you ask yourself the following questions:

Do I have enough patience for a bird? Cockatiels and parakeets are social animals and they like attention. You should give them at least a half an hour of attention a day to keep them happy.

Am I a neat freak? All birds (not just cockatiels and parakeets) can be fairly messy. You're probably going to have some feathers and bird seed to pick up around the cage.

Can I care for my bird properly? You're taking the right first step by looking for information about birds. It's important for you to know all of your cockatiel's or parakeet's needs before you bring him or her home.

Don't make the mistake of assuming that since you already have a dog, cat or some other pet, that you know how to take care of a bird. Birds have very different needs than other pets. I'm afraid it's a little more complicated than sticking your bird in a cage and giving it water and birdseed.

Do I have room in my house for a bird cage and other 'bird accessories"? You need to think about where you're going to place the cage in your house before you walk in the door with it. And remember, the bigger the bird, the bigger the cage. (Be sure to study the do's and don't of cage placement. There are places in your house that are very dangerous for your bird.)

Do I have the time to give my bird what it needs? In addition to the time you should spend with your bird giving him or her attention, you should spend some time preparing meals for your bird. A proper diet for a healthy cockatiel or parakeet includes fresh vegetables and fruits - not just seeds.

Exactly what type of bird (and how many) do I want? Decide whether you want a female or a male bird. Maybe you would like to have a pair of birds so that you can breed them. It's easier to think through these types of questions now instead of waiting until you're talking to a breeder.

Am I ready for a long-term commitment? As I said above, it's not unusual for cockatiels to live 15-20 years and parakeets can live 12-14 years. Getting a pet bird is a long-term commitment. Please don't get a cockatiel or a parakeet thinking that you're going to "try it for a while". There are already too many birds in rescue and adoption centers.

Pet birds can bring a lot of fun and happiness into your home. If you don't know what to expect before you bring one home, you may be in for a surprise. However, if you've gone through the checklist above and decided that you're ready for a new feathered family member, then congratulations! Get ready for a long, loving and happy relationship.

About The Author:

Simon Blake is a bird lover and the author of Cockatiel Secrets and Parakeet Secrets. Discover how you can have a happy, healthy and well behaved pet bird.

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Twenty days-old red Mangalitza piglet Radieschen rests in the living room of a farmhouse in the small Austrian village of Scheffau around 54 km south of Salzburg, Austria, April 22, 2008. The farmer had to bring Radieschen into human care after birth because its mother didn't have enough milk. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Test Your Canine Acumen
By ContentMart Editor

1. According to tests made at the Institute for the Study of Animal Problems in Washington, D.C., dogs and cats, just like people:
A. Worry about what they will wear to work in the morning.
B. Enjoy reading while eating breakfast.
C. Need a retirement plan.
D. Are either right-handed or left-handed-or rather favor either their right or left paws.

D. Are either right-handed or left-handed-or rather favor either their right or left paws.
TBD: Very, very, interesting, don't you think?

2. Jackals are different from dogs and wolves in what way?
A. They live on a different continent.
B. They are really alien life forms.
C. They are canids.
D. They have one more pair of chromosomes.

D. They have one more pair of chromosomes.
TBD: Even though they may look like alien life forms, they are Canids just like dogs and wolves.

3. Most dogs have about 100 different facial expressions, most of them made with their ears. However, a few breeds have only about 10 expressions. Can you name those breeds?
A. Bulldogs and Pitbulls
B. Labrador and Golden retrievers
C. Poodles and Dachshunds
D. Beagles and Chihuahuas

A. Bulldogs and Pitbulls
TBD: Due to their breeding, dogs such as Bulldogs and Pitbulls have fewer facial expressions and so are often misinterpreted by other dogs which leads to fights. Poor misunderstood pooches.

4. The fear of dogs and/or rabies is called what?
A. Rabodogophobia
B. Dogophobia
C. Cynophobia
D. Canophobia

C. Cynophobia
TBD: Hey, don't blame us, that's what the research says!

5. Of the more than 300 breeds of dogs that exist worldwide, how many does the American Kennel Club recognize?
A. 300
B. 212
C. 145
D. 101

C. 145
TBD: Gee, I wonder why you would have answered 101?

6. Jack London wrote this story about a dog named Buck. Can you name it?
A. A Dog Named Buck
B. Buck's Marvelous Adventures
C. Don't Pass the Buck
D. Call of the Wild

D. Call of the Wild
TBD: Gosh, we tried to make it easy for those nonliterary types out there. After all, there is even a movie! We read the book, however.

7. The Dalmation was named for the place where the breed first originated, can you name it?
A. Mount Dalmation in Africa
B. Dalmation coast of Croatia
C. Dalmation Island in the Thousand Islands
D. The tiny country of Dalmatia

B. Dalmation coast of Croatia
TBD: The other places are only a figment of our imagination, so far as she knows anyway.

8. Can you name the dog featured in the Grinch Who Stole Christmas?
A. Who
B. Max
C. Rudi
D. Suzi

B. Max
TBD: Phllllbbbttt! To those who didn't know. It was Max who stole the show, don't ya think!

9. The English Romantic poet Lord Byron inscribed this passage on a gravestone "Beauty without vanity, strength without insolence, courage without ferocity, and all the virtues of man without his vices." Can you name the object of his tribute?
A. His beloved Newfoundland Boatswain.
B. His wife Anna Isabella.
C. His daughter Augusta Ada.
D. His granduncle William.

A. His beloved Newfoundland Boatswain.
TBD: Come on, be real! This is a quiz about dogs!

10. Can you name the dog who caused so many problems for Foghorn Leghorn in the Looney Tunes?

A. Rufus Wufus
B. Barnyard Dog
C. Just Dog
D. Spotted Dog

B. Barnyard Dog
TBD: That was news to us, too.

11. Which animal was first domesticated by humans?

A. Goat
B. Cat
C. Dog
D. Horse

C. Dog
TBD: Apparently some argument can be made that the goat might have come first in some areas, but the dog is Numero Uno for most evidence of early man!

12. Ralph and Sam, the Looney Tune wolf and sheepdog cartoon character adversaries, would engage in what activity between their bouts?

A. They would punch a time-clock.
B. They would have tea.
C. They would play bridge.
D. They would roller-skate.

from Got Pets Online.com

How Long Will My Cat Live?
By Larry Chamberlain

The answer to that depends upon several factors.

The care that you give your cat, the quality of the food that your cat eats, the kind of lifestyle that your cat lives. All these things play their part in the chances of your cat enjoying a long life.

Veterinary medicine has made some great advances in recent years, and this is one of the reasons the average age of domestic cats is increasing. A well cared for cat that is kept indoors and is fed a good nutritional diet, would be expected to live for about 15 years.

Some cats do live to 20 plus years and there are records of a few cats reaching over 30 years. These sort of ages for a cat are very much the exception however.

The genetic make up of a cat can be a factor in determining its life span. Some breeds of cat appear to be more resilient than others. Selective breeding can have the effect that some breeds are genetically prone to ailments which shorten their life expectancy. Mixed breeds, the typical moggie or mouser, is usually more vigorous in its genetic make up and may expect to live slightly longer than a pure breed cat.

Cats that are kept strictly as indoor only cats stand a better chance of living to a ripe old age than cats that are allowed outside. The reasons for this are many. Outdoor cats face danger from traffic, from being attacked by other cats or by other animals. They run increased risk of being accidentally poisoned by pesticides or deliberately poisoned by malicious humans. Outdoor cats are also at risk from catching feline diseases particularly from the feral cat population.

The are many things to consider in deciding to keep your cat as an indoor only cat or an outdoor-indoor cat, life expectancy is only one of them.

Overfeeding your cat is a good way to shorten its life. An overfed cat stands more chance of health problems than a cat that is weight controlled. Diabetes, arthritis, breathing difficulties, heart and liver disease can all result as a consequence of overfeeding. All of these conditions may mean your little pet not living a long and healthy feline life. Your veterinarian can advise on the best diet for your cat.

Exercise too, is important for your cat's health and in maintaining its weight. Healthy cats mostly exercise themselves of course, but the playtime you enjoy with your cat can contribute to keeping kitty healthy. Elderly cats particularly benefit from gentle play-exercise.

Regular visits to the vets for routine checks will give your cat the best chance to live a long life, and to live that life healthily. Many life shortening problems can be tackled successfully if detected early.

Neutered or spayed cats often enjoy a slightly longer life than unaltered felines. This is particularly so for male cats as an unaltered male will often receive injuries defending his territory. There are many other good reasons for spaying and neutering of course, aside from extending the life of your cat.

About The Author:

Larry Chamberlain

If you have a pet related web site and you wish to reproduce the above article you are welcome to do so, provided the article is reproduced in its entirety, including this resource box and live link to http://www.best-cat-art.com. Cat art posters, art prints, cat calendars and cat collectibles. Great cat gifts for yourself or your cat loving friends.

from Ruling Cats and Dogs

Monday - Wednesday - new post Thursday

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You Can't Fool A Horse
By Jeffrey Rolo

In the dating world many men and women put their potential partners to a "dog test," whereby they introduce their date to their dog and see how the dog reacts to the stranger. If the dog reacts badly towards their date then a red flag is waved, whereas if the dog accepts the stranger instantly the opposite holds true. While many people look upon this test in a tongue-in-cheek manner, many dog owners actually do take it seriously. As they probably should!

Many animals, including horses, possess an uncanny ability to detect emotion as well as the inner nature of an individual. Whereas you may be able to slap a forced smile on your face and hide powerful negative emotions such as stress or anger from fellow humans, you won't find it as easy to fool a horse! In fact I consider horses to be natural truth detectors due to their ability to read a person's emotional state as well as their sincerity when it comes to a love for equines.

If one of my naturally friendly horses takes an instant dislike to someone out of the blue, 9 times out of 10 I'm going to respect my equine partner's instincts. Horses generally do not possess vendettas or have reason to target anyone for no real reason - they tend to call them as they see them. If a horse usually takes a liking to visitors but holds a sudden aversion to one in particular, clearly the horse sees or detects something that I may not have initially caught.

When a horse enjoys your company, you'll know it. When a horse trusts you, you'll know it. And when a horse actually dislikes you, he will make sure you know it. I often state that the world would be a much better place if people were as brutally honest as horses. But I digress...

A proficient horseman at work should be cool, calm and collected, three essential qualities to maximize the productivity of a training session as well as create an all-around positive aura over human-horse interactions. Keep in mind that you are the horse's leader, and as such the horse will take his cues from you. If you are agitated the horse will recognize something is wrong and either feel you are angry with him or you are annoyed with something else he cannot detect but probably should be also be concerned about. The horse will not be able to focus on the lesson or your requests well at all, nor will he be able to draw strength from you when he becomes concerned about a foreign object or behavioral request.

It is essential that you try not to visit or work with your horse when you are in a negative frame of mind since these undesirable emotions will disturb your equine partner. Try to take a few minutes, or even hours if necessary, to collect your emotions and clear your mind of life's daily irritants.

When we see a loved one is feeling down, it often puts a damper on our day too since negativity tends to breed negativity. The same will happen with your horse, so do not underestimate your horse's ability to detect your feelings.

Jeffrey Rolo, owner of AlphaHorse and an experienced horse trainer and breeder, is the author of the above article. You will find many other informational articles dealing with horse training and care as well as games and other horse fun on his website: http://www.alphahorse.com.

Got Pets Online

Three Simple Steps For A Healthier Dog
By James DeFazio

We all want what is best for our pet. Yet sometimes because of your hectic schedules, we tend to put our dog's care at the bottom of the list or it just becomes a habit of chores we perform every day without giving it much thought. We stumble out of bed in the morning, let the dog out, fill the water bowl, dump some food in the dish and go on with our daily routine. Let's face it this can get very boring for you and especially for your dog.

In order to maintain your dog's health there are really only three simple steps you need to follow:

1. A good diet

2. Plenty of fresh water

3. Exercise

A good diet is essential to your dog's health. Be careful what you buy! Read the ingredients label not just the name of the dog food. An all natural dog food is what you should be looking for, not one that contains filler and by-products. Remember you get what you pay for. Although an all natural dog food may be more expensive, studies have shown that your dog will in almost all cases eat more of the 'bargain brand' than the all natural, nutritious dog food. The 'bargain brands' will pass through your dog more quickly because they do not contain as much of the daily nutrients your dog requires. This leads to your dog being hungrier more often and thereby eating more. Your dog will retain more of the nutrients contained in the all natural food which means they will be less hungry, have healthier coats, more energy and better overall health.

Give your dog plenty of fresh water. Change it as often as you can. A good rule to follow is that every time you get yourself something to drink, add new water to your dog's bowl.

Exercise your dog daily. This is good for you also. Take long walks, throw a ball or stick around the backyard or park. Remember your dog's cardiovascular system, heart and muscles need exercise just like yours.

These 'Cornish Rex' cats are 'hypoallergenic' allowing people who have allergies, but love cats, to still be loving Pet Owners. Thanks to Ginger & John from Houston for that tip. They also recommend "The Sneeze-Free Cat Owner" by Diane Morgan.
John L. in Houston with Lenny & Kravitz

By Dean Erickson

How to choose the perfect cat breed for you is easy if you do your research first.

Cats are the world's most popular pets. They are independent but at the same time make for great company. The have minimal maintenance needs but they satisfy any pet owner's need to cuddle.

There are many different domestic cat breeds, but less than one percent of all cats have pedigrees or are pure breeds. All in all there are about 70-odd breeds. The rest of the cats fall into two main groups: domestic longhair and domestic shorthair. Cats that have a long slender build, almond-shaped eyes and sleek fur are often characterized as Oriental.

For potential cat owners there are many breeds to chose from ranging from a pure cat breed to your standard non-purebred breed, often called an alley-cat.

Exotic cat breeds include the Bengal (a relatively new breed; a cross between the Asian Leopard Cat and the domestic shorthair), Scottish Fold (its ears are folded forward and down), Egyptian Mau (resembles ancient Egyptian cats) and the California Spangled Cat. The most popular longhair variety is the Persian. In fact, Persians are probably the most well-known of all cat breeds, probably because of its long coat. Potential buyers should know that their coat demands a daily program of grooming. But they'll make up for that with their gentle temperament.

The most popular shorthair variety is the Siamese. The Siamese has blue eyes and colored ears, face, tail and paws in contrast to the rest of the body. This breed has a long and slender body.

How to choose the breed you want?

Although all kittens and cats can have very different personalities, breed specific characteristics can aid in making your decision. Attending a cat show is an excellent way to get a real life idea of what you may expect and to find out what you are really looking for.

Consider the length of the coat, the size of the adult cat, what some of the breed traits are. Does this breed of cat generally need a lot of grooming, are they a family oriented breed or do they bond better with one person? Is the breed more active as an adult or more of a lap cat?

Every different breed of cat has its own personal needs, but generally they are flexible and can be accommodated in various homes and apartments and don't mind being left alone. That's what makes cat the all-time favorite pet for people with demanding lifestyles and long work hours.

About the Author:

Dean Erickson. Journalist, and web site builder Dean Erickson lives in Texas. He is the owner and co-editor of cat-breeds-directory.com on which you will find a longer, more detailed version of this article.

How To Train An Abused Dog
By Adam G Katz

Many people who've adopted older dogs-- especially stray dogs or dogs from the animal shelter-- assume that their dog has been abused in the past.
So, how do you train an abused dog?

Let's get right to the heart of the matter and state that-- in order to learn how to train an abused dog, we need to first define what an abused dog is:

Of course, there are all types of different abuse. Everything from a dog being hit with a hammer to a dog simply being left and ignored in the back yard for months or years can constitute abuse.

But for the purposes of this article, we're going to define an abused dog as any dog that shows specific signs of extreme timidity in response to regular behavior by you. I.E., Petting, grooming, feeding, walking, etc.

These are what you might call "high-functioning" abused dogs. In contrast to dogs that have been used (for example) in laboratory experiments. Or dogs that have been physically scarred and wounded. Working with such dogs is (or should be) clearly outside of the scope of this article.

So-- How do you work with a "high functioning" abused dog? And how do you teach your dog to relax and enjoy life?

The answer can be found in starting obedience training along the lines of the principles I've outlined in my book (which you can read more about at): http://www.dogproblems.com/secretsbook.htm

I can hear it already, "But Adam--you advocate using a leash and training collar when you train a dog, and my little, shy "Muffy" already wets himself when I bend over to pet him."

[ALERT: I'm about to make a broad GENERALIZATION:]

In general, most "high functioning" abused dogs continue to display timid behavior because they are unclear as to when they're doing the RIGHT thing and when they are doing the WRONG thing.

If you follow my approach to dog training, your dog quickly learns-- or more specifically, you learn-- how to communicate with your dog in a way that will make him relax and know when he's doing something wrong and when he's doing something right.

And what I've found with these dogs is that they quickly learn to become much more confident and self-assured through the process. Why? Because when you use intelligent dog training techniques, your dog is now clear about what's going to happen and when, in a world he formerly had no guidance or clear leadership. He learns what is good behavior and what is bad behavior--instead of having to guess!

You read that right: The #1 Reason That Dogs Who've Been Abused In The Past Continue To Show Extreme Timid Behavior Is Because They Are Confused.

Once your learn how to communicate with your dog, and take away the confusion, you will see all the extreme timid behavior disappear! And the way to do this is to start intelligent obedience training.

"But should I use the leash and collar to correct my dog, if he's got such a soft temperament?"

The answer is: Yes.

Which begs the question of how firmly you should correct your dog--which is something that differs from dog to dog.

Here's a hint: You'll figure it out by practicing with your dog. (If you haven't already, please review the: Three Keys To Successful Behavior Modification chapter in my book). However, the issue is not "Should I correct a dog that has been abused in the past" but rather "When I'm communicating to my dog when he's done something incorrectly--how firmly should I correct him?"

And the answer to this question is: Only firmly enough to extinguish the unwanted behavior and communicate to the dog that he shouldn't do it again. Like I mentioned: You'll learn this by practicing with your dog. If you employ the concepts of timing, consistency and motivation--you'll have nothing to worry about and your dog will gain confidence and self-assuredness from your efforts.

Our Thanks to Mr. Katz for his Dog training hints.

This beautiful kitten is graceful and athletic in this great photo by Peter Hasselbom on Flickr.
Marooned Pup Rescued by Cruise Ship - USA Today

Where's the Meat in my Pets Food?
By ContentMart Editor

Today we hear all the Whole-Health buzzwords like functional foods, nutraceutical, organic, natural and holistic ingredients. Every natural, holistic, and organic ingredient we use has been researched for safety and efficacy. Natural, Whole-Health Holistic ingredients in our formulas use meat as the first ingredient because cats and dogs are primarily carnevors. All meats have different grades depending on the source, look for the best sources for your pets.

Regular meat meals are cooked to almost burning temperatures at many manufacturers, which greatly reduces nutrient values. They do this to increase the production speed, and then add back nutrients near the end of their process. We use moderate temperatures to insure that the natural nutrients aren't destroyed in the manufacturing process.


Our Chicken Meal originates in facilities handling chicken for our dinner table. Our Chicken Meal is antibiotic free and has no added hormones. It is an excellent source of Omega 6 fatty acids, a natural coat and skin conditioner.

Pork is the most consumed meat in the world. Pork Meal digestibility is second only to Fish Meal and far more digestible than beef. Fat levels are about the same as our fish meal. Our Pork Meal comes from facilities preparing meat for your dinner table, and is shipped fresh. Parasites are non-existent in the U.S. hog industry today. Pork Meal, unlike bacon, is very low in nitrates. Pork Meal is an expensive ingredient so you seldom see it in other pet food brands. It is a hypoallergenic ingredient. It has an excellent amino acid and Omega fatty acid profile.

Lamb Meal is imported. The sheep are free range and grass fed. Lamb Meal is a hypoallergenic ingredient and is used in several of our hypoallergenic formulas. Lamb is also a very lean meat.

Anchovy and Sardine Meals used in our formulas are harvested from pure, cold, Antarctic Ocean waters and put on ice. We buy a special premium grade that is cooked at moderate temperatures. Our darker fleshed fish are high in Omega 3 fatty acids, so beneficial to coat and skin health. 'Whitefish' (not used in our formulas), is a generic name for a number of species of white fish used in some brands. The species will vary bag-to-bag, formula-to-formula. They have minimal Omega 3 fatty acid levels. Most fish meals are preserved with ethoxyquin; our meal is preserved naturally.

Duck Meal is a protein rich, hypoallergenic meal, imported from Europe. If you appreciate the natural, holistic approach to nutrition, you will appreciate how these ducks are raised. Use of medications of any kind are highly unusual. No hormones are added.


The benefit of three animal protein sources is that there is less protein from any one source and therefore less chance of an allergic reaction, or at least a less severe reaction, to any specific protein in the diet. Allergies are caused primarily by the protein content of an ingredient. Fats have no protein content. Thus, a pet could be allergic to chicken, but not chicken fat. Beef is not used in any of our dry formulas because it has been found that along with wheat, pets have developed allergies.


We use a very concentrated form of meats known as meals, which are 11 times more protein-concentrated than "meat". Foods that list "real chicken/beef" or chicken/beef first include the water weight in this ingredient. Chicken/beef in this form consists of 70% water. Other manufacturers count the weight of the water, and lists chicken first. With the water removed, your pet is getting 70% less "chicken" than you were led to believe, and it is probably the fourth or fifth ingredient.


Used in some brands, "Whitefish" is not a specific fish species. Merriam-Webster dictionary and the human and pet food industry define Whitefish as "any of various market fishes with white flesh that is not oily".

Rabbit As Pet
By Amanda Gates

Rabbits are one of the most popular pets, apart from dogs and cats. They look attractive, lovely, gentle, friendly and cute. They are easy to take care and undemanding in terms of care and housing. They will settle well either indoor or outdoor, at home.

There are 40 species of rabbits and hares worldwide. All domesticated rabbits are originated from European rabbits. The scientific name for domestic rabbit is Oryctolagus cuniculus.

Typically, domesticated rabbits weigh between 2.2-221lb (1-10kg). The domesticated rabbits can be fed on commercially produced rabbit food, pellets, hay, green food, root vegetables, tree bark, herbs and apple.

The gestation period of a rabbit is 31 days and the typical litter size ranges from 6-8 young. The lifespan varies with breed.

Keeping a rabbit as pet requires a good training system to prevent unnecessary destructions or hassle. For example, furniture and carpet chewing problems, pseudo pregnancy symptoms, litter problems, fights, behavioral problems, rabbit-house worries, sickness, fleas, predators and etc. Nevertheless, these challenges can be overcome when the owners have the knowledge and experience to deal with them. Thus, one of the recommended ways to acquire the important knowledge is to read widely and exchange practical information with experienced rabbit owners.

It is important to watch out for any abnormalities in your rabbits as rabbits are susceptible to various digestive ailments and other life-threatening diseases. For example, rabbits are vulnerable to myxomatosis and VHD viruses. These are the killer viruses!

There is no universal system of classification for rabbit breeds. Some popular breeds of rabbits include:

--American Fuzzy Lop
--American Sable
--Belgian Hare
--Champagne D�Argent
--Checkered Giant
--Dwarf Hotot
--English Lop
--Flemish Giant
--Florida White
--Jersey Wooly
--Holland Lop
--Mini Lop
--Mini Rex
--Netherland Dwarf
--New Zealand
--Silver Fox
--Silver Marten


About the Author:

I am Amanda Gates and I have been a rabbit lover since young! In my eyes, rabbits are simply lovely, sweet, cute, soft and gentle. It is my hobby to care for my rabbits and I spend most of my free time doing research, collecting rabbit's beautiful pictures and reading lots of books about rabbits. Currently, I have two rabbits, a Florida White and a Polish, named Barbie and Ken.

Dogs Beg - The Question: Is There Training Available For Our Human Friends?
By Content Mart Editor

The focus of many pet owners seems to be directed towards their animals, which makes a great deal of sense in most cases. However, when trying to correct unwanted behavior in your dog you might want to point that finger inward sometimes and have a little glimpse in the mirror. It is easy to become annoyed with your pet when you feel as though you have tried everything and nothing seems to work.

Maybe your Boston Terrier continues to chew on your shoes or other objects while you are not at home. Perhaps the Maltese in your life still has accidents in the house rather than letting you know she needs to go outside. On the other hand, possibly you have a Yorkshire Terrier that snips at strangers, even guests in your home when they try to pet him. All of these and many other undesirable behaviors that dogs may possess can leave a pet owner feeling frustrated and at their wits end with their furry little friend.

Have you ever considered though when faced with one of these situations that the dog is trying to communicate something to you? Is it possible that Sparky just feels neglected during those long days alone at home while you are at work? Sometimes we can have a big impact on our dogs if we look at our own behavior and consider what the pooch may be trying to tell us through their difficult behavior. Obviously dogs can not talk or speak with us as a human can when they need to communicate their feelings. That is not to say that canines are not vocal because as many of us know they can express quite a lot at times through their barking, growling or whining. However, to really pinpoint what the issue is for your pet you may find that you are the one that actually holds the answers.

Dogs have a very keen awareness for their surroundings and the people in their environment. As most dog owners come to realize, the bond between your dog and you can be extremely strong. There are people who report that during a challenging illness or devastating time in their life that their dog responded as though they knew what was going on and they helped their owner through the rough time. Sometimes by just sitting near their owner or laying at their feet, other times dogs may whine and pace back and forth, especially when other people are around because they are trying to indicate that their owner needs help.

Experts have even confirmed that dogs do have an ability to detect several human emotions and many of them will respond in unique ways. For example: when there is a lot of anger or arguing occurring within a household your dog may respond by acting up in a number of ways, which is not a problem with the dog but rather your pet is responding to the hostility and unpleasantness it senses in the house. Everyone goes through difficult periods in their life and it is obviously impossible to avoid exposing your dog to any anger or hostile situations throughout their life. The important thing to remember is that your situation and how you handle it is not your dog's choice or within their area of responsibility.

Dogs deserve and hopefully get, the majority of times anyway, a good, loving and stable home. They respond well to a structured environment, complete with rules and routines. If you typically get up each morning and walk your dog before you go to work and then you suddenly stop doing it all together, your dog will respond in some way, possibly a negative one. It is not the dog's fault that you changed your behavior and they have no other way of communicating other than to chew up stuff or have an accident in the house as their way of saying, "hey what is going on." In some cases dogs can even become depressed, this happens most frequently in situations where the dog was once loved and well cared for and then suddenly became ignored and forgotten about. It is really sad to see a dog that is in this form of doggy-depression because again, they did not ask to come to live with you, you chose them.

The Right Cat Litter Box For Your Cat
By ContentMart Editor

Your cat will develop and keep good cat litter box habits with the right cat litter box. Here are your choices for different cat litter boxes, and how you can determine which ones are right for your cat.

If you receive pet product catalogs, you'll see there are several different types of cat litter boxes you can choose for your cat. However, since "The Cat" is the boss, and you are the cat staffer who answers to The Cat, she'll tell you what she likes.

How does she do that? Usually in the most direct way that's guaranteed to get your attention - by not using the current cat litter box in your house! Since we don't speak meow, and cats can't talk, the process to discover what kitty likes can be determined by how she eliminates, how big or small she is, and whether or not she likes separate cat litter boxes for liquid and solid waste elimination.

Open cat litter boxes:

Also referred to as cat litter pans, these are the simplest and cheapest kind of cat litter box to use. Several factors may dictate if your cat prefers this type of box.

First, if your cat doesn't squat down very well and urinates almost standing up, the cat urine is probably going to end up anyplace but in the box. Many cats like to aim for the corner or the short walls of the open cat litter box as well, and this also decreases the chances of the cat urine being contained within the box.

But if your cat aims for the middle of the pan, and squats down low, then this is an excellent choice for her and you. But if she doesn't, here's an alternative open cat litter box solution -

High-sided, open-top cat litter boxes:

You can best find one of these by purchasing a plastic storage container bin with the removable lid. When you get this home, you won't use the lid to close off the top of the container box. Instead, you'll hack or cut out a U-shaped opening at one end of the storage container. Cut the U up high enough (4 - 5") to hold in the cat litter, but make it down low enough for the cat to enter and exit easily. You can often find these storage containers that are 14 - 15", which is usually high enough to contain the cat urine stream when kitty eliminates standing straight up.

Hooded, or enclosed cat litter boxes:

Many cats like privacy when they're eliminating. If this is your cat, a hooded cat litter box offers her the privacy she needs. In addition, if she also likes to urinate standing up, the top enclosure effectively captures the cat urine stream and contains it within the box. Nothing escapes...including the cat urine and feces smell.

Automatic, or mechanical cat litter boxes:

If your cat likes an open cat litter box, but you're not wild about checking the box hourly for her deposits, this is a great compromise for cat and owner alike. These are large, open, shallow cat litter boxes with a motor assembly that drags rakes, or tines across the cat litter field once kitty has exited the box, following her elimination act.

While some cats are scared off by the motor noise and action, others are fascinated by watching the rakes move across the litter field. If your cat is brave and curious, this box offers a wonderful two for one: a great cat litter box, and entertainment for your cat as she watches the motor in action.

How do you figure out if she'll use the cat litter box you've chosen?

Simple - you do a comparison test. Put down two boxes for her to use, side by side. One cat litter box can be an open pan, and the other can be either the high sided box, an enclosed cat litter box, or the automatic cat litter box.

Use the same type cat litter brand for both boxes. Leave them out for at least two days. Compare the amount of deposits left in one cat litter vs. the other. She'll indicate to you which one she prefers. At the end of your test, the one with the most deposits wins!

If you don't want to keep the rejected cat litter box, donate it to your local feline rescue organization.

A Few Simple Facts About Purple Martins
By ContentMart Editor

A Few Simple Facts About Purple Martins
Purple Martins are the largest member of the swallow family. However, in flight their wings are more triangular than other swallows.
Males are a handsome lot having a violet head and body with black on wing and tail. Females, youngsters, and first year males are light bellied and look very similar to smaller swallows.

The song of a martin is a distinctive, low pitched liquid
rolling twitter and is unmistakeable.

Purple Martins have been known to build their nests in cavities of dead or dying trees, holes in cliffs, or just about anywhere from 3 to 30 feet high. But the most popular nesting place for the martin is in your own back yard int the houses you construct and put up for them. Their nests are made from leaves, grass, straw and twigs and the eggs are white and unmarked.

Purple Martins feed on a variety of flying insects, flies,
bees, beetles, flying ants and moths, and here in the south, the dreaded mosquito!!

Many people build Purple Martin houses to attract martins early in the spring, which are generally
well liked by the birds. They prefer the wooden condominium type houses. Most people like to paint there bird house white as white keeps the house cooler and is attractive to the birds. Aluminum and plastic is used also in the commercially built bird house, but wood is by far the best choice for keeping cool. The best height to mount your bird house is from 15 to 20 in the air, but lower heights to 10 feet will work in wide open spaces. Always be sure to put a predator guard on the pole to prevent predatory cats or other vermin from raiding the nests.

You can find just about any type of Purple Martin bird house made of Western Red Cedar at Cedar Creek Woodshop. Give it a look, won?t you? Thanks

What Are Bottom Water Tropical Fish?
By Nate Jamieson

Bottom water fish are those that prefer living at the lowest level of the aquarium. It's not that they can't swim into the upper regions, they will when spurred by a fish that pesters them, or just for the sake of a quick dash around the tank. But for the most part, they live on the bottom, which is where most of their food comes from.

Tropical fish that prefer the bottom of the tank, usually eat algae that grows there, as well as leftover food that falls on the substrate or the broad leaves of some plants. In a way, the bottom water fish are the housekeepers of your aquarium, cleaning up scraps and preventing the build up of algae. But this is not always a sufficient diet, and they need to be given food that comes in a form or shape specifically designed to reach, and appeal to the bottom feeder.

This is usually a wafer shape, dense enough that it sinks past the top and middle feeders, to rest on the bottom and soften. The bottom feeders can then browse at their leisure, returning later to clean up the remains. In that respect, they are not like top and middle feeders, where food is given a pinch at a time, and feeding should stop as soon as they lose interest. Those tropical fish that hang around the bottom tend to be "grazers", and not the gulpers that you'll find dashing for the surface when they see you coming.

Some of the better-known bottom water fish are the loach, and catfish. There are also algae eaters, Botia, Corys, Knifefish and the more unusual specimens like Goby and Needle Nose.

About The Author:

Nate Jamieson

Love Tropical Fish? Find out how to create a beautiful, low-cost tropical fish aquarium with complimentary tips at http://www.TropicalFishIsland.com

Wooden Bird Cages
By ContentMart Editor

Gone are the days of boring bird cages. Today's bird cages are trendy. They are stylish. They make a statement about the owner's taste and lifestyle. Bird cages can blend in artfully with the decor or they can stand in bold contrast. Bird cages are available in many different themes and styles.

Modern, whimsical, simplistic, Victorian, Oriental, Tuscan, Arabian -bird cages are available in these styles and more.

Some of the most beautiful cages in any style are wooden bird cages. They can be made of most any wood-cherry, oak, pine, maple, and even laminate. For most any wood decor, there is a wooden bird cage to match. And, if you can't find an existing bird cage, one can be made to match.

For all their beauty, though, there are some things to consider before buying a wooden bird cage. For example, wooden bird cages are difficult to clean. They can be very challenging to disinfectant and sanitize, as germs and bacteria can get into the grains.

If you own a parrot, it is definitely best to avoid wooden bird cages. Parrots enjoy chewing the wood.

Wooden bird cages are available online in a variety of sizes. They can also be custom ordered to your exact specifications. Though used wooden bird cages are available, they should be avoided. These cages could pose a significant health risk to your bird and your family.

To view Bird Cages click here.

To have or Not to have: How Many Pets should an Owner own?
By ContentMart Editor

Many potential pet owners think that owning a puppy is cute -- or that having a puppy is all fun and games; when in fact, puppies grow up to be sometimes very big dogs. All pets, whether it be a cat, a dog, a ferret or a bird, animals need lots of love, undivided attention, continuous maintenance, healthcare, and training.

Canis Familiaris - also known as the common and tamed family dog, is quite the remarkable creature. Down to his furry coat (and in some cases, not-so-furry coats), his adoring eyes, white dagger teeth, four stubby paws and tail; dogs have long known to be man's best friend.

It is, in fact, this reason, why I am continually adopting "rescue mutts," and puppies who need a good home. Just the other day, I made the mistake of shopping in a local natural pet supply shop. Not a large store, (about the size of a Dollar General), I strode inside. With merely the intention of purchasing natural dog food for the other five dogs that reside with me, I happened to pass by a small enclosure at the very front of the store.

Inside the pen were 6 butterball-sized pups. Only 6 weeks old, they had the charm of a panda bear and the personality to match. Peering over the litter, I saw a small sign that the store owner had erected describing the age, litter parents and information about their shots, etc. Of course, what made matters worse was the fact that my 13-year old daughter had tagged along and had fallen in love with the huddled brood.

There, in the midst of the slumbering pups, was one in particular that we took to immediately. A white dog with black cow markings -- both halves of his face were black with a white streak down the middle. And in the center of his forehead was a distinct, black ink blot. On his pudgy back was a long and wide, ebony patch that indented in areas. He lay there, grunting as he snored; and was simply adorable.

Now, my first thought was to head to the other side of the store, away from these incredibly cute pups. However, my heart melted at the site of them. Making certain that my husband and children were in complete agreement (as dogs are a BIG responsibility), we decided to add yet another new member to our very-growing family.

With a long and satisfied sigh, my daughter retrieved the pup who was later to be named "Thor." A rottweiller/bluetick hound/lab mix that was positively irresistable, was officially adopted and a permanent family member. When we brought "Thor" home, our gamut of dogs came running to see their newest "brother."

Sniffing him from head to toe, our Chinese Sharpeis, our rottweiller-shepherd dogs, and our rottweiller-doberman dog all welcomed "Thor" with remarkable acceptance. Having had him in the house now for just two days, Thor has adapted well to his new surroundings and family. He is a quick learner and follows the lead of the rest of our pack when it comes to house training, and eating routines. Play is always abundant as the other dogs, myself, and my other family members are always at Thor's and our other "childrens" disposal.

This doesn't go without saying that all of our pets are neutered or spayed, receive all of their necessary vaccinations, routine heartworm medication, flea & tick treatments, weekly baths, monthly nail trims and deworming meds. Each week, our pets eat an average of 50lbs of natural dog food, (and of course people-food for treats), have a very large, enclosed yard to run and play in, our house to slumber in, and individual collars, leashes, pet toys and food bowls. Not only this, their toys are always stored in a box where they can retrieve them at will.

Many potential pet owners think that owning a puppy is cute -- or that having a puppy is all fun and games; when in fact, puppies grow up to be sometimes very big dogs. All pets, whether it be a cat, a dog, a ferret or a bird, animals need lots of love, undivided attention, continuous maintenance, healthcare, and training.

Listen Up to Raise a Great Pup
By Jillian Gregory

The cute, loveable puppies you see prancing down the street with their owners has got you thinking. You want a puppy. You want the unconditional love and happiness that caring for a puppy can bring. However, you are not quite sure where to start your quest to find the perfect puppy. Friends and family have told you that different types of dogs are appropriate for different life styles. How can you figure out how a puppy will fit into your life? It is as simple as listening to the following audio books and podcast for guidance.
You might be tempted to buy the first puppy you see and not take the time to prepare yourself for the process. You could spend time reading books on various puppies, but why not listen to advice from the experts instead? You can listen to dog related audio books when you are commuting in your car, riding on the train, or walking in the park. You could even head down to your local dog park and listen to the audio book while you observe the behavior of many types of dogs.
Begin your pooch quest with the audio book, "The Art of Raising a Puppy" by The Monks of New Skete. This audio book provides guidelines for every stage in the puppy raising process from adopting your puppy to watching them grow into healthy adult dogs. This comprehensive guide details how a puppy can fit into your life and the proper care you should engage in to keep your puppy in peak spirits.
After you have learned the physical aspects of raising a puppy you can explore the mind of your pooch. Check out, "The Hidden Lives of Dogs" by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas. This audio book discusses the ages old mystery of how dogs think. Do they dream? What goes on between their perky ears and black noses?
Any dog aficionado loves to listen to amusing dog stories. Listen to "Tales from the Barkside" by Brian Kilcommons. Delight in stories about the love and courage of dogs as told by two dog trainers. As a new dog owner you will create stories with your dog that will unfold as you bond. The relationship between pets and their owners is strong and at times moving.
You have the comprehensive dog guide, understand the mind of your potential puppy, and have listened to amusing stories by dog trainers. This information will help you to become a wonderful dog owner. Why not add to your inventory of knowledge weekly by listening to the "Pet Talk Radio Podcast" by Dr. Harry Cooper? This show originates in Australia and can now be heard around the world. Listen about many different pets for fun and entertainment.
Have your puppy listen to these audio learning resources with you or at the very least snuggled up to your feet while you listen.

About The Author
Jillian Gregory writes for LearnOutLoud.com, an online portal for educational and self-development audio and video material which can be found at http://www.learnoutloud.com/ For the HTML version of this article complete with links to the titles that were mentioned, please visit http://www.learnoutloud.com/puppy01.

Finding the Best Pet and Best Friend
By Dakota Caudilla

With the current number of puppy producing mills everywhere in the world, it's an understatement to say that it's DIFFICULT to find a genuine pet dog belonging to a genuinely friendly breed. Today, we have all kinds of mixed breed dogs, Great Danes with Golden Retriever legs, snippy headed American Eskimos, etc. The point is that we are looking for a pet dog, a family pet dog, not a show dog! But the inbreeding programs by puppy breeding mills continue to flush the market with such incredulous mix breeds of dogs. Therefore, if you're looking for a pet dog, a man's best friend, it's best that you learn how to find answers and ask the right questions at the pet shop.

Going to a shelter or rescue home for dogs is always a good idea if you're looking for puppies in need. There are many advantages of owning a pet dog as compared to owning a cat. After all, it's a fact that dogs make better pets & they didn't get the name "man's best friend" for nothing. The key to finding the right dog for the family, especially if you have kids, is to do some homework before you go dog-shopping. It's easily to get emotionally deterred when you see the dogs on display. A particular attractive dog may not be suitable to your needs and it's not a good idea to get emotionally attached to the wrong pet dog.

Despite the fact that it takes more effort and time to have a pet dog (compared to cats and other types of pets), they are still the most popular types of pets. Pet dogs must be walked, brushed, exercised, talked to, stroked, and loved unconditionally. Pet lovers treat their dogs like human beings. Pet dogs will thrive on your attention to it and they will give you their unconditional friendship and companionship. Imagine coming home to a best friend who will do anything for you, with you and to you, irregardless. It's not the same as having other types of pets. A pet dog is capable of unconditional love and devotion.

Puppies are adorable, that's for sure, but if they are not allowed to socialize with as many human beings and dogs of other species outside its home as possible, they will grow up with a kind of fear that could transform into something more serious later on in its life. For instance, dogs that fear other human beings and other dogs can behave erratically and have unpredictable temperament. The constant socializing must take place consistently and regularly during the first 5 months of its life. Taking your best fiend pet dog to training classes at an early age will be extremely beneficial to your relationship immensely.

Pet dogs are like kids too & kids have their teething problems while growing up (some have problems all through their lives), so, we should not expect any less from our dogs. Be patient in teaching them how not to chew, scratch and vandalize everything in your home. With your guidance, love, supervision, socialization, gentle and human attention, your pet dog can be trained to grow into your best friend for the rest of its life!

About The Author:

Dakota Caudilla, journalist, and website builder Dakota Caudilla lives in Texas. He is the owner and co-editor of http://www.great-pets.info on which you will find a longer, more detailed version of this article.