Pet Advice - Pet News - Pet Info

How To Deal With a Jumping Dog
by Danielle Niesz

If you have ever had to deal with a jumping dog then you already know how tough it can be. Jumping dogs have been known to cause all kinds of havoc. Not just with their owners, but with guests as well. Jumping can often result in dirty or ripped clothes, or even scratches an bruises.
One of the main reasons dogs end up jumping, other than the fact that they love it, is because most owners encourage their dog to jump. When he jumps up to greet you what do you do? That's right, you scratch him and tell him what a good boy he is and how much you missed him. The problem with this is that your dog will now be associating jumping with you giving him praise. That's not good. You can't expect your dog to be able to know when it is okay to jump and when it is not. They just don't think that way.

Another, more serious reason dogs jump is to assert their dominance over others. Dogs are pack animals. Pack members will often jump on, or try to be on top of other members to show that they are dominant. This arises in your home if you are not giving your dog calm assertive pack leadership. In this case you will need to change your overall relationship with your dog, and learn to become the pack leader(Check out SitStayFetch for some great resources on how to deal with a dominant dog - there's a link at the bottom of the page).

The best way to deal with a jumping dog is to completely ignore him. Dogs do most things to get attention. Positive attention is good, but negative attention will often do just as well. This means that yelling at the dog is not a very effective way to teach him to stop jumping. How you react to jumping is he most important thing. You, and your family, must be consistent in dealing with a jumping problem. Don't let the dog jump sometimes, but not others. He's not gonna get that.

When he jumps on you, the best thing you can do is to walk away without so much as looking at the dog. Like Caesar Milan says, you gotta be like the popular kids in high school. You'll be amazed how quickly the dog stops jumping when it becomes boring because you're not responding. Don't try to ignore the problem and just stand there and let the dog jump on you either. Make sure to walk away and look like you are not even a little bit interested in him. Once the dog seems to get the picture and gets down into a calm, four legs on the floor, position you should let him know how happy that makes you. Praise him ONLY when all four paws are touching the ground. He will associate the praise with what he is doing when you are praising him, not the jumping, even though it was only seconds ago.

The final step is to teach your dog an anti-jumping command. I like to use the word "down", but you can make up anything you like. Just make sure you do not use the same word for any other commands or the dog will become confused. You need to teach this command to make sure the dog does not jump on anyone else. Its bad enough when your dog jumps on you. Ever had your sleeves ripped, or gotten scratch by the dogs nails. The down command can help to stop these problems.

For more information on understanding and solving canine behavioral problems, you'd probably be interested in checking out SitStayFetch. It's a complete how-to manual for dog owners, and is packed with just about all the information you'll ever need on dog psychology, canine communication how-to's, practical advice for dealing with problem behaviors, and detailed step-by-step guides to obedience training.


Two Sworn, Gun-Toting Peace Officers Protect the County's Animals
Houston Press

Boy Breaks Canine Tooth Biting Vicious Dog

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - An 11-year-old boy is enjoying a flash of fame in Brazil after biting a pitbull that attacked him as he played in his uncle's back yard, local media reported on Thursday.

Gabriel Almeida, who lives on the outskirts of Belo Horizonte in the state of Minas Gerais, broke a canine tooth when he bit into the dog's neck to fend off an attack. Since then, he has been pampered in the studios of several TV stations, where he has been recounting his ordeal.

"I grabbed him by the neck and bit," he told O Globo newspaper. "It's no big deal. It's better to lose a tooth than to lose your life."

He was freed when bystanders pulled the dog off him and needed four stitches in his arm.

(Reporting by Peter Murphy; Editing by Todd Benson and Sandra Maler)

Pet Doors Opening at Assisted Living Centers
The health benefits of an animal's companionship can be significant, experts say
By Kathleen Doheny - HealthDay News - U.S. News & World Report

THURSDAY, July 24 (HealthDay News) -- When the elderly woman first arrived at Brooke Grove Retirement Village in Sandy Spring, Md., some of the staffers were skeptical when they saw she had brought her cat along.

The woman, in the early stages of dementia, "floated in and out," according to Jackie Carson, the assisted living administrator at Brooke Grove, a center specializing in Alzheimer's care.

Staffers had to help the woman remember to feed the cat, and some were initially resentful, saying their job was to care for people, not animals, she added.

But slowly, the staff came around, when they saw all the benefits that the cat conferred on the residents, Carson, a registered nurse, said.

"The cat grounded her," she explained.

Brooke Grove is now among a growing number of assisted-living facilities that are actively encouraging seniors to bring along their well-behaved pets -- or inviting them to "adopt" resident pets.

The practise of encouraging seniors in such facilities to interact with pets has many benefits.

Just ask Loren Shook, CEO of Silverado Senior Living, the San Juan Capistrano, Calif.-based company that operates 17 assisted-living facilities in four states for residents with dementia.

"Pets are useful in reducing depression, anxiety and re-engaging people in life," Shook said. "We are committed to making it work."

Often, when a resident has seen many friends pass away, he or she considers their dog or cat a good friend and part of the family. "It is so important for a person's general happiness in life not to have to give up on one of their last friends," he said.

Pets offer proven health benefits. They can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, reduce feelings of loneliness, and increase opportunities for socializing, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

About 10 percent of Silverado's 1,030 residents arrive with their pets in tow, Shook estimated. Staff members -- Shook included -- often bring their dogs to work, and the facilities also have pets-in-residence.

Shook recalls one dog, a black lab named Asher, who lived at the Newport Mesa community in Costa Mesa, Calif. One resident there wasn't eating or communicating and was losing weight.

"Asher sees this guy walking around with his hands hanging down," Shook said. "He goes over and puts his head under his hand. In 15 minutes' time, that man is down on one knee, petting Asher and talking to him."

"The staff jumped in and redirected the man from the dog to them," Shook said, adding that the man was soon eating regularly, talking and engaging with other residents.

Another woman with dementia had stopped communicating. So staffers put a cat in her lap. "She began talking to the cat in about a week," Shook said. Not long afterward, she was accompanying her daughter to the race track, cheering on her favorite horse.

Dennis Hunter, vice president of Brook Grove Retirement Village, said it's important to keep the environment in a retirement community as normal as possible. "For most people that includes pets," he said.

And when a resident passes away? "We make sure the pet is taken care of," Shook explained. If family members can't take the pet, a staff member may adopt it, or the pet may become a "pet in residence." Or, the facility will find a good home elsewhere, he said.

More information

To learn more about the benefits of pets, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Governor Signs Bill That Will Legally Enforce the Pet Care Instructions of Deceased Owners
By Jeff Mitchell - PolitickerCA

Often, no matter how carefully deceased Californians may have planned for the future care of their pets, those plans are often dishonored or ignored, resulting in the animals being abandoned or turned over to public shelters for care.

But a bill signed into law this week by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will stop all of that.

Authored by state Sen. Leland Yee, (D-San Francisco), SB 685 will guarantee that the instructions found in people's wills as to the future care of their pets will be carried out.

"Pets are an important part of the American family," Yee said in a statement. "SB 685 will make pet trusts enforceable and assure that the wishes of pet owners are respected."

Jan McHugh-Smith, president of the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, applauded the legislation.

"This is a great step forward in protecting pets throughout California," McHugh-Smith said. "SB 685 will provide the legal basis to make certain that the careful planning of pet owners is carried out and that pets continue to be cared for and safeguarded even after the passing of their owners."

The law, once it goes into effect Jan. 1, will make pet care instructions legally enforceable. SB 685 addresses the present unenforceability in the administration of pet trusts by removing the discretion of trustees in fulfilling the trust. The bill also allows courts to appoint a caregiver if the trustee does not wish to arrange for the pet care.

PetFit Challenge Helps Keep Pets - and Pet Owners - Healthy

SCHAUMBURG, Ill., July 24, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- A new alliance of animal lovers is attacking one of America's most chronic problems -- obesity -- in pets and pet owners.

America is struggling with a weight problem. About one third of us are obese, including 9 million children. Unfortunately, our pets -- they really do look like us -- mirror us with similar health issues.

The Campaign to End Obesity, a public/private partnership that includes Harvard Medical Center, is helping people trim down, and the Alliance to Prevent Obesity in Pets (APOP) combats obesity through its PetFit Challenge. The PetFit Challenge's goal is to help pets lose more than 50 million pounds this year.

"We share our lives with pets, and sometimes that involves sharing some bad habits, too," explains American Veterinary Medical Association President James Cook, DVM. "One of the great things about the PetFit Challenge is that it recognizes the power of the bond between people and their pets. Due to the strength of the human-animal bond, many Americans worry more about the health of their pets than they do about themselves. The PetFit Challenge asks people to get healthy with their pets."

People interested in shaping up with their pets are invited to visit the APOP Web site at where they can take the PetFit Challenge. Challengers will make a commitment to feed their pets the right amount of the right foods, and to give pets regular exercise, something that will benefit both pet and owner.
The PetFit Web site also provides workout routines designed by celebrity trainer Gunnar Peterson, involving interspecies interval training, racing and obstacle courses.

The Alliance's program also includes the PetFit Tour, which has been visiting fairs and clinics from Chicago to San Diego, including upcoming state fairs in Missouri and Maryland in August. Visitors to the tour program can see if their pets are obese, get health information, and wear a weighted vest to simulate obesity. The "treat translator" is popular on the tour, giving pet equivalencies for common treats, explains PetFit spokesperson Dr. Heidi Hulon.

"People will give their pet an ounce of cheese as a treat and not think much of it. But for a cat, that's equivalent to a human eating three and a half hamburgers, and for a dog, one and a half hamburgers," she explains.
For more information, visit or
SOURCE American Veterinary Medical Association

Stray Dogs Along the Blue Line
by Lauren Williams - Los Angeles Times

The first time I commuted on the Metro, I was practicing how to get to The Times using public transportation. It was 10 p.m. and I was standing on the platform at the Imperial/Wilmington stop, where the Blue Line intersects the Green Line, and I remember a small, scruffy dog near the stop, walking uncomfortably close to the rail line. I figured it was a one-time occurrence and someone would surely pick up the lost dog.

As I later learned, loose dogs are a pretty common sight on the Blue Line, especially between the Florence stop (just past the intersection with the Green Line) and the Del Amo station. Regular riders probably see half a dozen dogs walking the streets each week.

Some have collars, although they often don’t, and usually the dogs look happy to be free, trotting down the street. In such cases I assume another Good Samaritan will stop and call the owner or a shelter and the dog will be back to regular meals and clean water in no time.

Such was not the case last week, when, riding the Blue Line, I saw a dog curled into a ball lying dangerously close to the tracks beyond the metal gate that, to humans, distinguishes between the safe side of the sidewalk and the all-too-close side, near the Metro’s tracks.

The dog was cute, medium sized, with longish black and brown hair lying in the shade under a tree — the kind of dog that looks like the ideal family pet. It looked as if though had been on the streets for a while and was ready to kick the bucket.

So, as I rode the Blue Line, near El Segundo Boulevard, just past the Compton stop, I decided I was probably the only person who noticed (or cared about) the dog and called information trying to reach animal control.

Other passengers looked at me like I was a lunatic. “She’s got to be kidding,” their expressions said. But the dog looked nice. After several minutes on hold and several transfer calls, the Blue Line I was riding had taken me several stops away from where the dog was and my description was shoddy.

I didn't see the dog on my way home. I assumed maybe it had been picked up — or he just wandered somewhere else. Either way I thought maybe I was on to something.

A few days later, though, a dead pit bull near where the black and brown dog had been proved to me that I wasn’t. Or, maybe, a few more calls to animal control were in order.

To report a lost dog, here are the numbers for different agencies in Los Angeles County:

City of Los Angeles: call 3-1-1,

Los Angeles County: The Downey shelter handles most of the area near the Blue Line; 562-940-6898,

City of Long Beach: 562-570-7387,

The other county shelters contract services to many of the other cities in L.A. County. Their numbers are:

Agoura Shelter, (818) 991-0071

Baldwin Park Shelter, (626) 962-3577

Carson Shelter, (310) 523-9566

Castaic Shelter, (661) 257-3191 or (818) 367-8065

Lancaster Shelter, (661) 940-4191

--Lauren Williams

Photo: Rick Meyer / Los Angeles Times


Advice for Pet Owners
Ask the Animal Doctor

Michael W. Fox
Veterinarian and Syndicated Columnist - Washington Post

Do you have a problem pooch or crazy cat? Are you trying to pick the best pet for your family? Are you alarmed by news reports about tainted pet food and looking for better options?

Michael W. Fox can offer advice on these quandaries, and other issues related to the care and feeding of our furry friends (as well as those with feathers or scales). He is a veterinarian and author of the syndicated column "Animal Doctor." He has written over 40 books, most recently "Not Fit for a Dog! The Truth About Manufactured Dog and Cat Food" and "Dog Body, Dog Mind," which takes a holistic approach to pet care and communication. He was online Wednesday, July 23, at 11 AM ET to answer questions on pet care and animal health.

The transcript Follows

Please join us again Wednesday, July 30 at 11 a.m. ET for a discussion on pet care with Dr. Paul Maza from Cornell University's Feline Health Center. And check out's new pets section anytime!


Dr. Michael W. Fox: Good morning everyone! Bright and sunny here in Minnesota, and I am ready to respond to as many of your questions as I can within the hour---typos accepted!


Baltimore: Sorry, this is a long question. But I would like to see what you think of this situation. I rescued a mixed-breed dog from the animal shelter two years ago (possibly part pit bull). At the time, he was very shy and afraid of people and dogs. He was probably abused by his previous owner. After a lot of work, he'll play with other dogs and will allow strangers to pet him, although he's wary around people he doesn't know. He's also fine with cats.

So, here's my problem: a few times, he has snarled at or bit another dog. No one has been hurt, and he has never snarled at or bit a human. Most of the time he's fine, so I don't know what sets him off. For now, I keep him on a short leash when we see another dog, and I carefully observe his reactions to determine whether he's excited and happy to see the other dog or nervous. If he's nervous, I have him sit and wait for the other dog to walk away. This seems to be working fine for him, do you think there's anything else I can do to help him?

I read about Michael Vick's pit bulls a few weeks ago in the Post, and one rescuer mentioned that some abused pits and pit mixes have a fight instinct that can be randomly triggered, so is this just something I should be aware of? (Because of this, I crate him when I'm not home so he doesn't attack my cats. He never has, and probably never will, but I'm cautious with my animals.)

I'm open to working with a trainer, of course, but I'm not sure how a trainer could get him to stop a behavior that is unpredictable and rare.

Dr. Michael W. Fox: Tricky, and I applaud your patience. These dogs can be wonderful, but it is people who have really screwed them up by selective breeding and training, and often, abuse when they are pups.

Do get a good trainer to help you out, and for liability sake, do not be afraid to put a cage-muzzle on your dog. Pit bulls can be aggressive toward other dogs.


Washington, D.C.: Dr. Fox: I adopted a rescue dog and she has been with me since Saturday. She is obsessively chewing on her paws. I can't find anything on them that would cause this. She doesn't have any fleas. My vet has suggested Benadryl, which doesn't seem to be solving the chewing issue. We have an appointment with the vet this Saturday, but do you have any suggestions in the meantime? I wonder if this is some sort of home, etc.

Dr. Michael W. Fox: Could be chemical allergy from floor cleaqner to food allergy or the beginnings of mange, so a vet check is called for. Glad you adopted!


Manassas, Va.: We have two rescued Labs (from different homes). My concern is our wonderful Yellow Lab. When we rescued him, he was under-nourished, shy and very afraid of loud noises and lightning. After a year of TLC, he's blossomed into a healthy, happy dog -- who still cringes and cries at loud noises. Any suggestions on what we can do to help him?

Dr. Michael W. Fox: Difficult phobia. check internet for info on desensitization training with tape recorder and sounds that you play intermittently at low pitch, then higher.

For bloody nights like the 4th of July, a tight cotton wrap or blanket can give dogs security. Turn up TV and radio, draw curtains, ask vet for xanax prescription -- and work to ban all bloody fireworks except between 7-11 pm July 4!


Rochester, N.Y.: Over a period of time I have learned more about the dangers of dry cat food. In the past I would feed a little bit of canned food morning and night and free feeding of dry food all the time. I believe the dry food may have played a part in the death of one of my cats from inflamed bowel disease, and I'm looking to change my feeding approach with my future cats.

My problem is that my schedule can be a bit unpredictable and I can be away from the house for 10-14 hours. Any suggestions on how I can offer healthy food to my cats if I'm going to be gone during the day? (Sure, I would like to win the lottery and stay home to feed them!) Thanks for any suggestions. April

Dr. Michael W. Fox: This is difficult -- cats like 8-12 little snacks/teaspoonfulls of wet food every day, so can you find a neighbor to come over to feed them?

Dry cat food sure is convenient, especially for those folks who leave their cats to the dispenser for the weekend. But that convenience can kill.

Do search the internet for a wet-food dispenser with a timer on it so cats can get several snacks throughout the day.


Columbia, Md.: Finding good resources: Do you have guidelines on choosing resources for pet care? There's so much info out there now, how does a layman figure out which is good info and which isn't? Case in point: Feeding my cats a bit of tuna daily to help with skin dryness (they love me!) -- but someone just pointed me to a source that says tuna is bad for cats. How do I find out what's reasonable and what isn't without calling my vet first with every question? Thanks!

Dr. Michael W. Fox: Tuna is bad for dolphins, for us -- too much mercury -- and for our cats. Give your cats any good brand canned food or my home-made diet on my Web site.

Plus a teaspoon daily in her food of cod liver oil. Their coats will shine, joints work smoothly -- happy cats!


Bellevue, Wash.: Dr. Fox -- Our 11-year-old Westy was diagnosed with stage-3 lymphoma. We declined chemo and took her off all dog foods -- she eats cooked vegetables, rice and chicken or lean beef. Is there anything that might make her last longer without suffering? She's like one of our children.

Dr. Michael W. Fox: Some super antioxidant supplements like CoQ10, selenium, vitamins A and C, and an organic diet. In my book, "Dog Body, Dog Mind,"( publ. The Lyons Press, Guilford, CT) I list several such nutraceuticals that help boost the immune system to help dogs with a variety of maladies. Good luck.


Reston, Va.: Any tips for helping my golden retriever/border collie mix deal with a two-hour car ride? He loves to ride in the car and is normally fine, but hasn't gone on that long of a ride and it will be in unfamiliar territory. Thanks!

Dr. Michael W. Fox: Hang a rag with ginger oil on it near the dogs in the car. Give them a piece of crystallized ginger or ginger capsule half an hour before trip.


Washington, D.C.: Good morning. Any reason why a 12-year-old Pomeranian would urinate in his crate at night? He's fine all day if no one is home and we are away at work (he is confined to the the kitchen). He does have diabetes that is well controlled. Any input you have would be very helpful. Thank you!!

Dr. Michael W. Fox: Your dog is drinking more because of diabetes, age, possible failing kidneys, so what else to do -- get a peepee pad. I hope he is not shut up in the crate all night but it is his open den.


Tucson, Ariz.: Hello. I am pregnant with my first child and have two dogs, a pit bull mix and a boxer. They have never been around small children other than seeing them during walks and at the park. How would you recommend I get them ready for the new baby?

Dr. Michael W. Fox: Get a fake baby that cries and get the dogs used to you pretending to nurse, swaddle etc. When the baby is born, let them sniff the diapers at the onset, and let them see and sniff the baby cradled in your arms. No quick movements -- and give them lots of praise and extra attention. They know what a baby is, but may see it as a rag-doll toy, hence the pre-conditioning -- some may see the baby as a puppy and try to lift it up and cause even fatal injury so never leave the infant on the floor unsupervised.


Washington, D.C.: Hi Dr. Fox. I recently took my 6-year-old Rottweiler on a hike that involved a great amount of rock climbing. As a result, the padding on her paws has torn and is quite raw. What do you recommend I do/not do to help her heal quickly and with as little pain as possible? Thank you! Worried in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Michael W. Fox: Poor dog! Simply clean well in warm water and Epsom salts, soak for 10-15 min and dry well. Stop the dog from excessive licking and she should heal very fast.


Sore German Shepherd: My 5-year-old German Shepherd over-did it at a party this weekend, and she was very sore in her legs and/or back for several days. I gave her dog aspirin for one day and she has improved nicely. Should I keep giving it to her for longer, in case of swelling? Also, I researched and am considering adding colostrum to her diet. Have you heard anything good about that? Thanks.

Dr. Michael W. Fox: No more aspirin -- Tylenol, advil, ascriptin etc all can harm dogs. Lots of rest, one tablespoon of flax seed oil in the food, and massage therapy as per my book, "The Healing Touch for Dogs" (new Market Press NY) -- this book is a MUST for older dogs especially.

Your dog could have seriuos conformation/structural problems associated with the ridiculous standards of the American variety of this breed, so look out for arthritic and dysplastic problems later in life. A nutraceutical supplement like Cosequin may help a lot.


Elder Dog: Our 12-year-old hound is becoming profoundly deaf. Is it possible for all of us to learn new methods of communication -- come, sit, stay, etc.

Dr. Michael W. Fox: Same with my old dog Lizzie -- lots of foot-stomping on floorboards to get attention through vibration! And plenty of hand and arm waving and signaling to come, sit, etc. Most dogs adapt well.


Marbury, Md.: My one-and-a-half-year-old Jack Russell has started snapping at us at night or in the morning when we are rubbing him. I've been just getting up and ignoring him when he growls (pre-snap). What should I be doing to stop this behavior? He started doing it in the past month or so (following neutering and two stitches he removed himself from his front leg). During the day, we can pretty much rub him at will with no problems.

Dr. Michael W. Fox: He is growling for attention as much as giving a threat/warning. So ignorehim. Re-motivate him by doing something different like giving a treat once he sits or making him sit, then throwing a toy to fetch.


Omaha, Neb.: My parents have an otherwise healthy 16-year-old cat. Recently, she's started peeing off the side of the litter box, and pooping in various places around the house. They've tried feeding her wet food (thinking it was constipation) mixed with laxatives. Their vet has given them these suggestions, but they haven't seen an improvement (and the cat won't eat the wet food). Any advice you can give them?

Dr. Michael W. Fox: Old cats get into such problems when constipated, have anal gland problems, or painful arthritis -- especially along the vertebrae. So a vet checkup is called for. Also, spread extra newspapers over a sheet of plastic around the litterbox.


Washington, D.C.: You mentioned a couple weeks ago that processed dog treats are terrible for their teeth. Are pill pockets OK? My dog doesn't willingly take her medication unless I camouflage it. Thanks in advance for any tips.

Dr. Michael W. Fox: Pill-pockets are fine. I use cream cheese for my dogs. Processed pet foods have micro-particles that stick to teeth and gums, so dental problems are common. Chewy raw beef soup/shank bones for dogs, and thin strips of raw beef shank bone meat are good natural cleaners, plus a whole-food diet. Same for cats who have serious dental problems in part because of being fed manufactured foods. Raw, scaled chicken wing tips with lots of skin, and slivers of beef shank bone or heart (raw) are good cat teeth cleaners.


Sterling, Va.: Our 3-year-old female lab loves people and other dogs, but is afraid of children. No aggression, just cowering and staying away from them and won't let them pet her. What would you suggest for helping her get over this fear?

Dr. Michael W. Fox: Desensitization -- have the dog sit with you on the leash and spend time observing children at play and reward your dog with treats. It may not work -- both my dogs are wary of kids. It is the bloody parents who are largely to blame these days who think it cute -- or they are brain-dead? -- to let their spawn scream, yell, and act like uncontrolled monsters even when animals who are sensitive, are close by. Children need, like pups, to be taught some self-control, but how can they when they start the day on a diet of sugarpops and diet soda? Ditto the parents!


"Pill-pockets are fine. I use cream cheese for my dogs." : I used to put the pill inside a grape and the dogs loved it. Then someone told me grapes are bad for dogs. Is that true?

Dr. Michael W. Fox: It will take more than one grape or raisin to knock out a dog's kidneys. Garlic is good in moderation for most dogs, but is bad for cats.


Laurel, Md.: Our new adopted dog seems to have a night/day problem -- he stays up all night barking and then sleeps all day because he didn't get any sleep at night. We're afraid he'll never get himself on the right schedule if he keeps sleeping so much, but we're having a hard time keeping him awake in the evenings after work -- he doesn't engage with his toys, he can't be outside for too long in the heat, he eventually ignores us trying to play with him around the house and just lays down. Will he gradually sort out his night/day mix-up on his own, or is some other action on our part needed?

Dr. Michael W. Fox: Time for valerian or valium at night to get the dog's diurnal rythm in synch with the rest of the family. Get a prescription from the vet.


Arlington, Va.: Hi Doc. About 6 weeks ago I adopted a sweet 3-legged mutt called Toby from a rescue org. He is docile and sweet, but seems never to have learned how to play, either with other dogs (who he is polite but aloof with) or with toys. His only real excitement comes from walks -- he will literally wear himself out on a walk, but at home he appears bored and sad. I've tried a Kong-type toy, squeaky toys, anything to get him excited, but he just sighs. Any tips on keeping him stimulated when we aren't walking?

Dr. Michael W. Fox: Probably had limited socialization as a pup -- best to accept this. Lie down on the floor and get him on top of you. This may help increase his self-confidence. And try gentle hand-jaw pulling and wrestling.


Bethesda, Md.: I have an elderly cat, 19, who is still very healthy for his age, but I realize his time is limited. I have another 7-year-old cat. I know what to do for my older cat when his time comes, but what should I do beforehand for the younger cat to get him ready for the absence of his friend?

Dr. Michael W. Fox: Nothing specifically.See how the cat reacts. Some cats mourn terribly, while others cope well. My new book "Cat Body, Cat Mind," (The Lyons Press, Guilford CT) will help you, and all readers, to realize that cats are aware very often of deaths of loved ones away from the home, yes, 'psychic' -- what I term the empathosphere. Cats are there! Your cat may need some Valerian or simply lots of TLC, and a companion cat a few weeks later.


Columbus, Ohio: It's great to have you answering questions. Our cock-a-poo was diagnosed with kidney failure of unknown origin when he was about a year old. We make his food and he's doing great. My question: is it safe to give him just one-half dose of his heartworm medicine each month? Thanks for your response.

Dr. Michael W. Fox: This should not harm the kidneys, so give a full dose, be sure to give your dog B complex vitamins, potassium supplements, Renegel prescription from the vet and a daily teaspoon of flax seed oil. Have his kidney function tested every 6-9 months and more often if he seems to lose his appetite or is drinking more than usual.


Iowa: I have a rather neurotic nine-year old male cat who is very well-behaved. My daughter-in-law has asked me to house her two cats (two-year old female and one year old male) while she and my son are away for about five weeks. I would have to confine the two visitors to the basement. Can you tell me if this a bad idea?

Dr. Michael W. Fox: Try them out together first. Get cat pheromone to spray around your room where the cats will meet, called Feliway. It can help cats get along, but is not 100 percent fail-safe.


Williamstown, N.J.: Do you know of any veterinary resources available to low income or disabled Americans to defray the cost of pet medical care? Thank you!

Dr. Michael W. Fox: Call your local humane society. Good luck! The public health-cost savings in medical services from the benefits of people having pets should be factored in, and retirees and low-income folks with pets be given a break! Such people tend to have to see doctors less than those who have no pets.


Dr. Michael W. Fox: Time to sign off -- so good to share what I can under the constraints of short responses and my lagging speed of typing!

Until next time -- please go easy on the chemicals on your lawns and gardens. GO ORGANIC for pets' and Nature's sake!


Are You Uptight About Boarding Your Cat?
by Stan Hjerleid

Are you planning to go away for several weeks and don't know what to do about your cat? Well help may be as close as your nearest cat boarding facility. If you haven't checked into this, this may be an answer to your plight.

First you should arrange a visit to the cat boarding facility. When you visit, keep these points in mind:

1. The cat boarding owners should ask for emergency numbers where you can be reached as well as your Vet's phone number. In addition they should have a plan on where to take the cat in case of an emergency.

2. Trust your senses (as well as your common sense) when visiting a cat boarding kennel as a possible "vacation" spot for your cat.

3. Make sure that the whole cat boarding facility, outdoor and indoor areas included, is clean and orderly.

4. Make sure there are no offensive smells. There should be adequate ventilation. A well-run cat boarding facility should not stink of kitty odors.

5. Make sure the temperature is adequate, not too warm and not too cold.

6. If the cat boarding facility has an outdoor enclosed area, ask to see it.. It should be clean.

7. The cat boarding facility should ask to see the cat's vaccinations and will require proof of certain shots.

8. All responsible cat boarding owners and operators will show you each area in which the cats are kept.

9. The outdoor area - and the whole kennel should be very secure. Many cats will attempt to escape, so talk to the cat boarding owners about this if you're worried.

10. If possible, try to drop in unannounced. See if you can tour the facility when you weren't expected.

Some last tips...

If possible, you may want to consider several short stays for your cat to get it used to the cat boarding. You could try an overnight or weekend stay. That way, both you and the cat are more at ease when the time comes for a longer stay.

Bring along your cat's bed and favorite toys. When you leave, be positive and upbeat. Keep the goodbyes short and sweet.

Ask for a phone number where you can call and check on how your cat is doing. This will make you sleep better. You may return and find that your cat enjoyed his cat boarding "vacation" just as much as you did!

About the Author
Stan and his wife Mary co-own for the last 8 years. They also blog about kitties at Stan raises parrots in his spare time and Mary is a budding romance writer.

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The Importance of a Filter
By Carl Formby

The filter in a fish tank is its life. Without it the water will turn stale and the fish will die. Filters keep the water clean enabling the fish and plants to survive. The relatively new salt water fish tank filter used nowadays, have been the product of long research work that has designed advanced technology to form sound filtration systems.

The Megaflow Sump filters are noiseless and efficiently clean both fresh and salt water tanks. The salt water fish tank filter is available in so many varieties that it is difficult for the fish lover to choose the best. Of late the EHEIM canister filters have reaped satisfying results. They come in a package that is easy to set up and the filter has a filtration process that includes three stages of biological, mechanical and chemical purification. Its unique feature is the multi purpose handle and the patent pending technology that has been used.

This fish tank filter has a locking and unlocking system, a handle to carry it and it can also be used for priming purposes. Filling the tank with fresh water is very simple. The input and drainage pipes need to be connected and with the handle bent to the start position, the salt water fish tank filter pump makes the water to flow into the tank. As soon as the water fills up in the tank, it needs to be plugged and at once the filter starts action.

The media baskets are instrumental in obstructing water flowing to the wrong places. With well interlocked media baskets the chances of cleansing are reduced to a great extent .One cleaning in 3 to 6 months would be enough. The tank filter comes with the media basket fittings and the various valves. The other advantage of the filter is that the input and output water pipes have a swivel capacity of 360 degrees so that filling in fresh water and draining out used water can be done without a hassle. Not just this, the o- ring that is integrated to the filter with a silicone base makes sure that there is no leakage of water during the process of filtration.

An added facility is the cover of the impeller that reduces maintenance cost by half. The impeller has a ceramic shaft and the bearing of carbon makes the filter soundless. The motor that is used for the fish tank filter ensures an effective function and low electric consumption. Life expectancy of these filters is long and efficiency is also guaranteed. The salt water fish tank filter prices range according to their capacity. With more water holding capacity the tank needs a high power filter and the cost goes up. Affordable prices are kept to suit the budget of all.

Carl Formby owns and operates, a site dedicated to Aquarium Supplies and Aquarium Lighting DIY.

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