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Pets Are Good For You - Veterinarians Agree!
by Terri Polk

As anyone who has ever loved a companion animal can tell you, pets make people feel good. In the past, however, there was no scientific evidence to back this up. Well now there is. Studies done in the last decade have proven that owning pets can be beneficial to human health in many ways.
As The Center for Disease Control's website states, owning pets can lower people's blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, as well as provide opportunities for exercise, outdoor activities and socialization.

There are other benefits as well. A 2002 study released by the American Medical Association stated that children raised from birth in multiple pet households may be less likely to develop allergic illnesses, such as asthma, allergies and eczema. Apparently, being exposed to the "germs" of dogs and cats early in life helps build the immune system.

A foundation called the Delta Society focuses exclusively on harnessing the power of the human-animal health connection. Their mission is to unite Americans with mental and physical illnesses and disabilities with trained therapy animals. A comprehensive collection of studies related to the health benefits of pet ownership can be found on their website ( These studies show that pets have helped people cope with a myriad of issues, from trauma to attachment disorders to autism.

Although veterinarians have probably always intuitively known that animals do people good, The American Veterinary Medical Association now recognizes the importance of the human-animal bond, and has issued a statement supporting the health benefits of animal companionship for people.

So, pet owners take heart - the next time you wince at Rover's vet bill or plop down a $50 bill for that kitty condo, look at it not only as a sign that you are a responsible pet owner, but as insurance for your future health.

About the Author
Corner Animal Hospital : Online Pet Pharmacy & LI Veterinary Service Buy the Medications Your Pet Needs With Confidence. Owned by Ivy League Educated Dr. Dorothy Hayes and Dr. Judith Lombardi Daniels. "We treat your pets as family members. Their health and comfort are our primary concern."

Houston Pets

Reader Wins Pet Quiz Consultation Prize
The Coloradoan
Christie Long • thepetdoctor

Colleen Fullbright wins a phone consultation with me on the pet topic of her choice.

Here are the answers to last week's quiz:

Question 1: If your dog is severely injured and in obvious pain, you should (correct answer B) use gauze bandaging to fashion a muzzle, then gently move him for transport. If your dog is severely injured, his first instinct is self-protection. Never lose sight of the fact that an injured dog is a scared dog. Use gauze, a stocking, necktie - anything you can find to first fashion a comfortable muzzle, then lift it gently and transport it for emergency care.

Question 2: If your dog ate a plate of fried chicken, you should (B) call your vet or an emergency vet clinic to ask advice. While hydrogen peroxide will make a dog vomit, we typically don't advise owners to make their dogs vomit chicken bones, which can become lodged in the esophagus on the way down or up. It's best to call a veterinarian and ask for advice. They might recommend taking X-rays to determine if your dog has an intestinal blockage.

Question 3: Sugar-free gum (B) can be toxic to your dog. If your gum of choice contains xylitol, keep it away from your dog, as it has been shown to cause liver failure and death when consumed by canines.

There was an Internet rumor about three years ago that Swiffer Wet Jet fluid caused kidney failure in dogs. But that's not true. Evian water is toxic only to your wallet, and Tylenol is toxic to your cat. Always remember to use any over-the-counter medication only on the advice of your veterinarian.

Question 4: Rat poison can kill your pet by (D) all of the above. The answers included causing mineral toxicosis due to reabsorption of bone, profound oxidative damage to brain tissue, and uncontrolled bleeding. The point is that there is more than one kind of rat poison out there. If your pet consumes it, grab the package and get to the vet quickly.

Question 5: The pet-safe home does not include (A) dieffenbachia and (B) corn plant, as both are toxic to cats. Easter lilies, not day lilies, are also toxic to cats, and can cause acute renal failure and death even if a minute amount is consumed.

Question 6: If your male cat is spending an inordinate amount of time in the litter box without producing much urine and is vocalizing painfully, you should (B) get him to the vet. This is a sign that he has a partial or full urethral obstruction, which is life-threatening.

Question 7: I hope we all know by now that trying to suck the poison from a rattlesnake bite doesn't work. Rattlesnake venom can cause deadly anaphylactic reactions, bleeding disorders and death. Get to the vet clinic immediately (C).

Christie Long is a veterinarian at the VCA Fort Collins Animal Hospital. Reach her at 204-4567. Once a month, she will answer questions from her readers regarding pet health issues. Send e-mail to thepetdoctor

When Disaster Strikes, Pop a Cat in a Sack
Los Angeles Times

Does this cat look happy? Maybe not. But he or she (we're not sure) might be protected from disaster.

That's what the creator of that orange mesh balloony thing called the EVACSAK thought when she had the brainstorm to create a carrier designed to evacuate small animals during a flood, fire, earthquake or other crisis.

Inventor Rebecca A. Rodriguez, an animal welfare advocate, hit upon the brainstorm while developing an evacuation plan for an animal shelter, she explains in an e-mail. She says it works for cats, small dogs, reptiles, rabbits, ferrets and rodents.

The device is described as sturdy and roomy yet easy to store. But the website warns: "The EVACSAK is not designed to house an animal for long periods of time." (No kidding, Sherlock. What cat would want to nestle in?)

We're not endorsing--or dismissing--this product. It hasn't been tested by our cats. (Well, mine is dead. But I can tell you he would not have liked it.) We just couldn't pass up the photo.

City Worker Caught on Tape Abusing Puppy

By Jennifer Fernicola - ZooToo

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- An Albuquerque city worker has been charged with animal cruelty, after a video of her throwing and kicking her recently adopted puppy was turned over to the Valencia County Sheriff’s office on Monday.

Yvette Tapia, who works for the Albuquerque City Attorney, was charged with cruelty to animals and failure to sterilize an animal by contract, according to Valencia County Animal Control.

“She most definitely abused the animal by throwing it, of course, and a couple of kicks involved and pulls and tugs on the leash,” said John Jaramill, of Valencia County Animal Control, who viewed the video.

The incidents were caught on videotape by a neighbor, who wishes to remain anonymous, but turned the video over to authorities.

After reviewing the tape, the Sheriff’s office notified animal control, which recovered the puppy and another dog from Tapia’s home.

Tapia recently adopted the puppy a Lab-Shepherd mix, named Buddy, from Valencia County Animal Control, which also operates as a shelter.

But, the shelter “has no screening process,” said Jaramill, who is also a certified cruelty investigator. “We give the majority of the people the benefit of the doubt. We assume they will be a responsible pet owner.”

“As a government entity, we don’t have the right to judge people or not allow them to adopt,” Jamarill said of why the abuse was not preventable. “I’m sure we’ll have something in place in the near future.”

While the case against Tapia is pending, the dogs have returned to the shelter, which has received more than 100 calls inquiring on adoption of the animals, says Jaramill.

Tapia was not charged with abuse with respect to the other dog, a Rottweiler cross, but the animal was removed for its own safety.

The charge of failure to sterilize an animal by contract relates to Tapia’s agreement with Valencia County Animal Control to sterilize the animal, but failed to do so.

Will My Cats Ever Accept a Kitten?
Houston Pets

I have 2 eight year old females. Almost 3 weeks ago I brought in a 3 month old male kitten who was abandoned. All they do is hiss and growl at him. The older cats are declawed but the new kitten isn't. What can I do to make the transition easier and have them all get along? All he wants to do is play all the girls want to do is hiss.


Dear K.P.,

Congratulations on your new addition! Introducing a new cat into a home can be a stressful event for all. Before anything else, make sure you get your new kitten to the vet to ensure that he's not bringing anything contagious into your house and that he is receiving the important vaccinations that young kittens need. Next, keep them separated and plan on doing a very slow introduction over the course of a few weeks. Allowing the cats to smell one another and gradually get used to the presence of the kitten before they even see each other will be helpful. One exercise you can do is called scent exchange - pet the kitten with a washcloth for a few minutes. Take the washcloth and allow the older cats to smell it and then pet them with it. Exercises like this and others are detailed in our handout on introducing a new cat into the family, which can be found by clicking here.

New Initiative Unleashes the Power of Paws(TM)
Market Watch

Effort Brings Together a Variety of Pet Partners to Educate Consumers about the Pet/Human Bond and Encourage Pets and Pet Parents to Get Active, Reduce Stress and Live Healthier Together

SAN FRANCISCO, Jul 16, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Pets and people getting healthy together. That's the heart of a new national initiative called Power of Paws(TM) that educates consumers about the mutual health benefits that both pets and pet parents enjoy and motivates them to spend time together and connect.

"Studies show there are significant physical, mental, and emotional benefits for both pets and pet parents," said Bill Pearce, chief marketing officer for Del Monte Foods, the lead program partner. "It's as easy as taking your dog for a walk. Researchers say you'll walk farther with your pet than you would if you were walking alone - an activity that benefits you both. Our family of brands, including Milk-Bone, Meow Mix, Kibbles 'n Bits, Pup-Peroni, and Snausages have always been focused on enriching the lives of pets and pet parents by encouraging them to enjoy active lifestyles together. We are very pleased to join with multiple pet partners to unleash the Power of Paws. We're excited to hear from consumers as they share the impact pets and people make in each other's lives."

Research Proves the Benefits of the Pet/Human Bond

New research is proving the physical and emotional benefits of pet ownership for adults, seniors and even children.

-- Studies have indicated that pet parents have lower blood pressure and plasma triglycerides than non-pet owners.
-- Heart patients are nearly five times more likely to survive a heart attack if they own a pet.
-- Just two brisk 15-minute walks with a dog each day satisfies the standard for aerobic exercise for humans and pets. Daily exercise can lengthen a dog's life.
-- Other research has connected pet ownership with better psychological health and enhanced self-esteem and social interaction.

Power of Paws(TM) Supports New Discovery Health Documentary Premiering Sunday, July 20, 2008

Educating consumers about the health benefits of pets is a key component of the Power of Paws(TM) program. That's why Power of Paws(TM) is supporting a new show called "Pets and People: The Power of the Health Connection" premiering Sunday, July 20 at 9 a.m. ET on Discovery Health. Hosted by Animal Planet's Jeff Corwin, the documentary explores the impact pets have on blood pressure, how assistance and therapy dogs can help wounded veterans and autistic children and the unwavering social support pets give their owners without asking for anything in return except love and affection. Encore airings of the show are scheduled through September on these dates and times: Sunday, July 27 at 8 a.m. ET; Saturday, August 9 at 8 a.m. ET; Saturday, August 16 at 9 a.m. ET; Saturday, August 30 at 9 a.m. ET; and Saturday, September 6 at 9 a.m. ET.

Consumers Invited to "Tell their Tail" and Raise Money for Power of Paws(TM) Partners
Power of Paws(TM) is celebrating the power of the pet/human bond by making pets more accessible to those who need daily assistance or a loving friend. That's why Bergin University of Canine Studies in Santa Rosa, CA, Animal Medical Center in New York City, Animal Friends in Pittsburgh, PA and Canine Assistants in Alpharetta, GA have joined this effort.

"The Power of Paws partners know that pets and people are better together," said Lisa Henriksen, Del Monte's vice president of innovation and business development. "Whether it's outreach and education, bringing pets to those in need or improving animal health, we're proud to help launch the Power of Paws initiative so people across the country can learn about and experience the mutual benefits of pet companionship."

It seems that every pet parent has a story to tell about the way their doting dog or cuddly cat makes their life more fulfilling and enhances their physical, mental and emotional health. Now consumers can watch more than 100 inspiring video testimonials about pets that have helped their owners get healthier, recover/cope with an illness, deal with grief or live independently by visiting These heartfelt stories told by diverse people from across the nation share one common thread: each person's life is better and healthier because of a pet.

More devoted pet parents can "tell their tail" by logging on to For every eligible person who signs up to share their story, request a Power of Paws(TM) DVD and brochure or receive a Power of Paws(TM) newsletter, the Power of Paws(TM) brand partners will donate $1 to the initiative's charity partners (up to $225,000). Visit for the terms and conditions of this offer.

Pets are "Paws-itive" for Kids and Seniors

Kids and seniors often benefit most from their relationships with dogs and cats:
-- Reading books to pets make kids more self-confident and improves their reading skills.
-- Kids who suffer from attention deficit disorder (ADD) learn to concentrate by focusing on a pet.
-- Children who own pets score significantly higher on empathy and pro-social orientation scales than non-owners.
-- Kids ages 11-16 with pets have better ability to understand non-verbal communications.
-- Autistic children reap the rewards of daily interaction with their furry friend. A pet helps facilitate social interactions plus it creates an emotional and educational "bridge" between a child and other people by becoming a modality for communication.
-- Seniors who have pets visit physicians 21 percent less often than those who do not have pets.
-- Elderly pet parents are less likely to feel lonely.
Pets Enjoy Health Benefits Too
Dogs and cats enjoy health benefits as a result of their relationship with their pet parents:
-- Studies show that 30 percent of dogs and 25 percent of cats are overweight which contributes to a shorter lifespan and an increased risk of arthritis, cancer, diabetes and other health concerns.
-- Walking is a great way for your pet to get exercise and achieve ideal weight. Studies show that dogs and cats who maintain their weight live a longer life.
-- Pets thrive with daily physical and mental stimulation from their owners because it builds confidence and trust.
-- Food and treats are great ways for owners to connect and bond with their pets.

Power of Paws(TM) Partners

The Power of Paws(TM) initiative is a joint partnership of Animal Friends, Animal Medical Center, Bergin University of Canine Studies, Canine Assistants, Milk-Bone(R), Meow Mix(R), Pup-Peroni(R), Kibbles 'n Bits(R) and Snausages(R) brands.

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Litter Training A Cat
by Samantha Matheny

Litter training a cat is quite easy if you follow a few simple rules of kitty litter etiquette. They are easy to remember and will make using the litter box much easier for you and your cat.

The Golden Rules:

Keep your litter box in a quiet and easily accessed location.

Keep your litter box clean.

Keep food and water away from the litter box.

Make sure kitty knows where the litter box is at.

If you have multiple cats, consider multiple litter boxes.

Make sure you follow these simple rules and litter training your cat will be a breeze. Cats are naturally clean animals and using a litter box generally comes naturally. If your kitty does have an accident, make sure you clean it up with vinegar and water solution.

If for some reason your cat will still not use the litter box, do everything in your power to figure out what is going on. Stress is usually the main cause but if nothing is out of the ordinary you may want to make a visit to your veterinarian.

For more information on training your cat, visit 4 Legs and A Tail .

About the Author
Samantha is an ambitious young woman from west Michigan who is dedicated to finding a better way to live. She has a wide variety of interests and is always seeking new knowledge. Samantha's love of writing has lead her to become an author of e books and articles in hopes of helping people to live a better, healthier life.

Arthritis Afflicts Older Dogs
by Rex Magnum

Have you looked into your beloved old pet's eyes lately and seen pain deep inside? Although arthritis is a very common affliction that affects older dogs, he's not able to tell you about his pain. You can notice it in his slower step and his lack of interest in playing and being active. Larger dogs are the most likely to get arthritis, but it can afflict any dog. Larger dogs also have much more trouble staying ambulatory when they have arthritis.
Arthritis affects dogs in much the same way it afflicts humans. It comes in a number of different forms, each of which can cause pain and joint damage. Inflammation in joints is the biggest cause of Dog Arthritis. Once the dog gets the disease, it's just a matter of time until his inflamed joints get worse. In a young dog, the joints are cushioned with cartilage. Arthritis destroys the cushion, and the dog experiences more pain just trying to walk around. Damaged nerve endings also contribute to the level of pain. Although he's still the same dog inside, his body is betraying him.

Coping with Your Dog's Arthritis

It's hard to see your faithful old pet sleeping all the time instead of being up and active the way he's always been. The more his joints deteriorate with the arthritis inflammation in them, the less he will want to move. Remember how he used to gallop up and down stairs so wildly? Now he won't want to try the stairs at all.

What about the way he used to hop in the car, tail wagging, ready to take a ride? You'll probably have to help him into the car now. In fact, you're probably doing more and more for him all the time. You've reached a point when you really should take him to the vet to find out what's ailing him for sure and what can be done to make him feel better.

Relief for your Dog's Arthritis

There's help for your ailing pet as near as your local vet. The vet will prescribe medications for the dog that will start taking care of the arthritis pains right away. Although they are effective in the short term, there is no cure for arthritis, and medications can cause side effects. The drugs can be pretty costly, too. But, when you think of the years of love he's given you, don't you think he's worth it?

Keeping your pet comfortable in his twilight years should be a high priority for you. Your vet will be able to advise you in the best ways you can help your pet. Keep in mind, though, that because pets don't live as long as humans, your dog is getting old long before you will.

About the Author
Rex Magnum helps household pets of their diseases, specially makes research to relief the pain cause by arthritis.

Walking Your Puppy Dog: Essential Pet Care Advice

When we walk our puppy dog, no matter the destination – on the city streets, in parks or in open spaces – it is necessary that he respects the disciplinary rules settled before and learned, to avoid getting into problems with other animals or people we meet.

So let’s see how our little friend will have to act in some situations:

1. Usually, in crowded places we will keep him in a leash, to always have him under control. So he will have to know how to walk in a leash, near your foot, without pulling.

2. The dog is not allowed to jump on people or animals met or to attack any of those, as long as he isn’t aggressed.

3. The dog shouldn’t run after bicycles, motorcycles, cars or people that are running. It is know that some dogs do that because of their hunting instincts.

4. When we let the dog free, to relax, it is crucial that when he is called he return on the shortest way and as fast as possible.

5. At a picnic, the puppy dog is not allowed to pass through other people’s carpets or to eat their food.

6. Wherever our puppy dog might be, he is not to be allowed to eat food given by someone else or food found thrown around.

7. Generally, small dogs are more spoiled than big dogs and they are more aggressive, anti-social and afraid of other people or dogs. The ones to blame are the owners that often amuse themselves when they see their dogs acting this way. This way the dogs get to barking and even biting their own owner.

8. The puppy dog must have the initial training learned and practiced, so we would have no problems when walking him.

9. All through the walk, the dog is not to chew on his leash or to pull it with his teeth, because it might happen that he is tied somewhere alone and he will chew on it until he becomes free and gets lost.

10. The dog is not allowed to jump up and out his front paws on us or others even if he is just playing.

11. Pay attention to drunken people! Many times the smell, the walk and the yelling of drunken people annoy the dog. Some drunken people are even aggressive to dogs. Stay away from them as much as possible.

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