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Where You Can Go For Answers to Your Pet Health Questions
by Mikael Rieck

As a pet owner, you are no doubt concerned with the health and well being of your pet. Sometimes our pets have health issues that we do not have the answers for, and do not always know where to turn to find advice and answers on these pet health questions.
If you are concerned about your pet's health and are not sure if it is something that should require a trip to the vet or medical attention, you are not alone. Many pet owners have questions on the health of their pets and it is hard to tell when your pet really does need medical attention. Pets have a way of hiding their symptoms and illnesses from us because they do not want to seem weak or hurt. Because of this, we as pet owners need to be responsible for getting them the care that they need when they need it.

Although you may not always be able to tell when your pet is hurting or not feeling well, there are some indicators that he or she may be sick. If your pet is exhibiting changes in the way they act and the amount of attention that they want from you, it could indicate there is trouble. Pets who are normally very affectionate and suddenly seem to be shying away from you, could be hiding the fact that they do not feel good. Pets who are normally very independent and who suddenly want to be around you more and need more attention could also be showing signs that something may not be right.

Other pet health questions owners typically have are in the eating habits of their pets. While it is common from time to time for pets to have different eating habits and some changes are normal, if your pet is showing extreme changes such as not eating hardly at all, or eating all of the time, this could be cause for alarm. If your pet is eating a lot more than normal but not gaining any weight, it could be a sign of worms or other digestive issue that they are experiencing.

Changes in the elimination habits of your pets can also be indicators that a sickness or problem is present. It is important to always keep an eye on the elimination habits of your pet so that you will be able to tell the difference between normal and when something may be wrong.

Changes in the appearance of your pet such as changes in the luster of the fur, texture of the fur and sudden bald spots could indicate ticks, rashes or other skin lesions that may not be visible to the naked eye. Cats who overly groom a particular area and create a bald spot could be exhibiting signs of sickness or even stress. If you notice any behaviors like that in your pet, you should talk to a vet to find out what could be causing it.

Pet health questions can be confusing, and you may not always know where to turn for accurate and helpful answers. There are many pet sources on the Internet that offer advice and information on anything from pet health to pet behavior. There are also sites that offer answers to any questions that you may have that you can ask a professional vet for a small fee and also catalogue previous questions and answers from pet owners that are relevant to your concerns for your pet. You can also check with your local vet to help answer any questions as well.

About the Author
Visit the authors website at for more valuable information on pets. Also download a free pet health report. Read the latest reviews on pet insurance companies like ASPCA Pet Insurance, Banfield Pet Insurance and VPI Pet insurance.

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This Canine's Not Lamenting the Dog Days of Summer
L.A. Unleashed

Barkle Up: Protecting Pets on Board
Los Angeles Times

Sometimes, the roadkill is inside the car.

That's the sad truth about pets and driving. While every state but New Hampshire has laws mandating the use of safety belts for human passengers, and all 50 states require child restraints, there are virtually no statutes requiring protection for our furry companions while in the car (there are some laws requiring restraints for dogs in pickup beds).

The California State Senate is considering legislation that would prohibit people from carrying dogs or other animals on their laps while driving. That bill, as discussed here, already passed the State Assembly. It mandates a $35 fine for violators.

But even its passage may not be enough, says Christina Selter, co-founder of Bark Buckle UP, a San Diego-based non-profit that educates drivers about safely transporting pets in vehicles. The only real solution, she says, is tethering.

Not only can untethered dogs get seriously injured in accidents, but 80-pound Dobermans and 4-pound Chihuahuas alike can become fearsome projectiles upon impact, hurtling through the air and possibly hurting passengers. (We're not even going to mention the perils of flying pet porcupines.) On top of that, Selter says, "in a crash, a big problem is that first responders open the door, the pet runs out, it can bite someone, cause another crash or get hit by a car."

Who knew driving Miss Fido could put so many lives on the line?

To address the species safety gap, Bark Buckle UP has been touring the country offering clinics, giving away pet safety kits that include critical data such as allergy information and veterinarian contacts, and letting pet owners play with a range of harnesses, pet seats and tethers.

Selter says she will meet with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration next month to discuss adding pet-related statistics to the agency's data on crashes resulting in property damage, bodily injury and death. Currently, there are no such statistics, governmental or otherwise.

What is known is that very few people restrain Rover in the car. According to a survey by the American Pet Product Manufacturers Assn., 21% of pet owners restrained their pets while driving in 2006, up from 20% in 2004, but only 12% used restraints that buckle up, a critical safety component. And, says Selter, those statistics appear generous at best. A survey performed by Bark Buckle UP showed that only 2% to 3% of pet owners safely restrain their pets while driving. Yet traveling with pets has exploded in recent years as hotels have begun widely accepting animals.

So what can be done? Open your wallets, of course. The pet car safety industry is small, but fast growing, and a gallery of harnesses, doggie GPS systems and cat car seats are coming on the market. There are even goggles for dogs who prefer riding with their heads out the window.

Note that government crash-testing doesn't cover pets, so very few of these have been tested in an official capacity.

Bark Buckle UP pays some of its bills from advertising by many such product manufacturers, and relies on Volvo, which produces the XC90, Bark Buckle UP's 2008 Petsafe Vehicle of Choice in America, to host its educational tour events.

The Bark Buckle UP tour hits Valencia on Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Galpin Volvo. The following Saturday, it will be at Volvo of Santa Monica, and, Selter says, most likely at a Volvo dealership in Orange County the following weekend.

Perhaps the safest (though least fun) option? Leave your mutt at home. According to the pet product makers group, 16% of pet owners don't put their animals in the car at all. Maybe it's because they have white interiors.

Hot Dog! How to Protect Your Pet from the Sizzling Heat
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer

With temperatures expected to climb into the 90s, this weekend's looking to be a scorcher. And Fido will need to cool down just as much as you do.

To protect your pets from the heat, the City of Seattle is offering a few tips. Pet owners can be held criminally liable for committing cruelty to animals if their pet dies from the heat, so take these to heart:

--Avoid leaving your pet in your car - even with the windows cracked. "In direct sunlight cars turn into lethal ovens, reaching fatal temperatures of 130 degrees or more within just a few minutes," said Don Jordan, director of the Seattle Animal Shelter.

--Bring plenty of water. If you're traveling, make sure you carry along a supply of cool water for your pet.

--Stay cool indoors. Open the windows, turn on a fan and make sure your pet is in a cool location.

--Easy on the exercise. Too much exertion can be unhealthy on hot days, especially for older, obese pets.


Cats in Shelter Comforts
by Debbie Foster

Have you ever gone to a humane society where the cats are treated like kings and queens? Me neither. Most shelters have stacks of cat carriers as well as a playroom with cat beds and cat furniture. The playrooms are crowded with cats, some of which don't play well with others. I thought this was pretty much the norm until I read about the Washington Animal Rescue League.

This place is a true utopia for cats who have been abandoned. Their philosophy focuses on recovery and adoptions. Each cat has their own space made of bacteria resistant material and no bars. Instead, tempered glass doors are used. This not only promotes recovery for the cats, but also allows superb viewing for the people who pass by. Each condo also has a couple of ledges so the cat can have different vantage points. Additionally, each has a private area for their bathroom needs. What I thought was the most extraordinary feature was the air system. They pump fresh air into each living area every four minutes. Nicely done!

Of course there is a playroom, but not just your typical cat playroom. This one has a ceiling to floor waterfall! Can I come stay there? There are various levels on both sides for cats to climb and play. Did I mention that only cats that are compatible with each other are put in the playroom at one time, and then only eight per play shift? These people thought of everything. They have big tree branches running throughout the playroom that get replaced a couple of times a year. Volunteers spend time with them in the playroom to assist in their socialization. If I were a cat guest, which is what they really are, I might not want to leave this place!

The peaceful surroundings has paid off in numerous ways. They state the cats are less anxious. Also, with their state of the art ventilation system, they have seen a 95% reduction in airborne diseases. This goes hand in hand with their philosophy of recovery and well-being. The facility also reported a marked risein the number of adoptions. It seems people like to spend a few hours there as well ... go figure.

It appears to me this place is a great model for other facilities to replicate. We all want to promote a healthy environment and caring atmosphere for cats in transition and this seems to be the cat's meow.

About the Author
Debbie Foster is the owner of where you'll find a wide selection of quality pet beds, dog crates, dog carriers, dog pens, large dog beds, cat beds, cat carriers, pet strollers and more.


What If Your Pet is Caught in a Fire?
Posted by PetDish - Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Fires are the worst. We all fear burglaries, but a fire wipes out everything — including pets. But I take some comfort in knowing that firefighters do look for those little window stickers indicating if pets are inside, what kind and how many. And ADT Security Services, the alarm company, is giving away handy pet stickers (left) to anyone who visits the site. Get one.

Does your fire emergency plan include your pets? Any tips on ways to protect them? Have you had to use the plan?

Unfortunately my brother and sister-in-law’s Jack Russell Terrier was killed in a fire that started in their house while they were not home (it was a short in the electric stove– they were renovating the kitchen). They had kept the dog at her uncle’s house while renovating every day prior to the fire and for some reason left him in the house that day It was smoke inhalation that killed him (as is generally the most deadly aspect of a fire), and the safest place he could have been was the basement– but he would have had to go through the burning kitchen to get there.

The firefighter who found him wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in the dining room, which hadn’t been damaged that badly. I remember how devastated we all were. Now, is there anything that could have been done? In that situation, not likely, since he couldn’t have gotten out another door or window. Maybe if they’d had a doggie door… But chances are it would have been in the back door, which, again, would have required that he go through the burning kitchen.

I’m afraid my dogs would hide– one in particular goes and hides whenever we burn toast or turn the oven on. Many animals have a tendency to hide in situations such as fires.

My best guess other than the window sticker is to have a good escape plan in place for yourself– like an emergency ladder for any upstairs rooms. That way you have a chance at grabbing a pet or two (or more) on the way out. Make sure your smoke detectors are either hard-wired or have good batteries in them (in other words, test them). Have a plan in case you cannot escape– wet towels at the bottoms of your doors, wet distress towel out the window, stay low to the ground, etc. If you can be saved, it’s a lot more likely that your pets can be, too.

Also a tip I didn’t know until recently from a firefighter friend– if you wake up to the smell of smoke, try to resist the urge to sit up. Chances are there is a lot of smoke above your head, and one or two breaths of it may cause you to pass out. Stay low and slide off the bed to the floor, if you can.

I’m sure others have some more fire safety ideas as well… I know I didn’t cover all of it.

Good tips. I also lost a dog in a house fire (not my house, and dog was not being cared for me at the time). It was devastating. The “caretaker” of the dog (my ex) said that the dog’s barking woke her, and she was able to get out safely. But the dog could not. She died of smoke inhalation. To make matters worse, my ex was completely responsible for the fire. I was angry at her for a long time, and still get teary when I think of that sweet dog letting her know something was wrong, and then being left inside.

I know that the instinct to survive made her get out as quickly as possible, but I have a hard time believing there was no time to get the dog. The fire was actually minor (though it ruined the house).

But what I really wanted to say is that those stickers may not do any good–human lives always come first. And, if your dogs are with you when the fire starts, the firefighters might risk their lives looking for your pets (because they know they hide).

if your pets never leave your home, the stickers might be a good idea. But I take my dogs with me a lot, so I don’t have one.

Another good thing to do is to teach your dog to come to you, or go to his crate, if he hears the fire alarm (instead of hiding).

A moment of silence for all who have lost loved ones in house fires. Losing my dog was horrible, but I cannot imagine losing family members, and losing your home on top of it.

David S.
If you are not making plans for your pet in an emergency then you should not have pets.

We have a similar sticker from PETA that lists our pets and we have always provided access to the outdoors for our dogs through a doggie door. Can you protect against every tragedy - of course not. But if you regard your pets as not worthy of consideration, then please give them to someone who does.

In a calamity, you can always count on the government to make matters worse. Yes, there were people in Katrina who abandoned their pets and one can hope there is a special place in hell for them. Others however were forced to leave their homes without their pets because of moronic rules and regulations. Shelters are paid for by us all. Pet owners do not receive an annual subsidy (oops, I mean tax break) for their pets as parents do with kids. There is no reason why accomodations cannot be made for pets and people alike. Government (well, useless and heartless FEMA prevented rescue boats from saving thousands of pets and people too. Thankfully the outrage was so great that now all communities are being told to make animal accomodations at shelters, etc. Its about time.

Dogrealist, you’re right. Human life comes first. But I’ve talked to a number of different fire departments (Gwinnett, Fulton, Atlanta, DeKalb) and they’ve all told me they do look for pets if they see those stickers. And most local fire trucks now carry the pet oxygen masks. Departments have become much more aware that pets are now a part of the family and are going to great lengths to save them. That’s why I’m encouraging my readers to get the free cling and use it.

I gave a description to our home security system provider of our cat puff in case of emergency but I know that she would hide under the sofa. I told my husband, the whole house can burn to the ground for all I care, just as long as he and my Puff kitty get out safely. I would never be able to forgive myself if she perished in a fire.

My parent’s neighbor’s lost all 4 of their Brussels Griffon’s in a fire, along with another dog and 2 cats that were some friends.

During the recent tornado warnings up here in N. Fulton County this past spring, I would always put Puff in our powder room (our shelter) when it started storming, so that she was already safe and I wouldn’t have to hunt for her. When the last tornado came through Cherokee County and was heading straight for us we didn’t even know about it until the TV warning went off. We decided it was best to leave the house (we live on slab and fear tornadoes) and head away from the storms. The sirens went off and we had to pick up the couch to grab Puff. There was no way I was leaving her behind. Of course, we were stupid and ended up driving directly into the storm just off Mansell Road. We pulled off super fast into the Home Depot Expo parking lot, grabbed Puff in her carrier and ran into the store and joined the rest of the customers who were all huddling in an interior hallway. She never made a peep! She snuggled close to us that night after we got home. It was like she knew we were working to keep her safe.

Way to go David S!! I agree! The government shouldn’t punish people in already difficult situations just because they have pets. Those heartless jerks caused a lot of grief and needless suffering because of their stupid rules. I would rather stay and die with my pet then leave them behind!!

I was living in Charleston SC during the big evacuation for Hurricane Floyd. I was in college so didn’t have any pets with me but I had local friends that spent 24 hours in the car with their cats stuck on the highway! I would have done the exact same thing!

Dogrealist, you’re right. Human life comes first. But I’ve talked to a number of different fire departments (Gwinnett, Fulton, Atlanta, DeKalb) and they’ve all told me they do look for pets if they see those stickers.

That’s good to know. Certainly makes me feel better.

of course my evacuation plan includes my dog!snatch him and go to basement!

HS Teacher
I keep my cat carrier on the front porch. My cat is 17 years old and very dear to me.

I have an evacuation list and she is # 2 on that list, after my pocketbook with keys, ID, and cell phone in it.

But, if I am at school, maybe the carrier and sticker would serve as a visual reminder to look for a cat. ADT does know I have a pet. The sticker is good too.

Dog lives outside.
Cat lives outside.
Turtles live outside.
Chickens live outside.
In case of disaster they will be referred to as SPERs rather than pets. Self Propelled Emergency Rations.

Of course we’ve included or pets in an emergency plan. Everything else is stuff. Some of it is very sentimental stuff, but it’s still just stuff. Tags & Microchips

Bob - if you obviously don’t care about pets then why are you even blogging? Take your negativity elsewhere. You don’t deserve the love of a pet.

Oh, people like Bob just think they are so clever. Sometimes, they are. But other times, they are just trolls who like to get people riled up. I’d venture to say that 99% of them don’t believe–or do–any of what they write.

Don’t believe most of what you read online.

Watch the Dogs
Washington Post

The Aug. 11 Metro article "Neighborly Ties Gone to the Dogs," recounting the story of a Calvert County woman who was arrested, shackled and charged with trespassing after letting her dogs use a neighbor's lawn, really hit home for me. I am the proud owner of two adorable canines, and I must admit that sometimes they do their business on another lawn. It's my good fortune to have nice and tolerant neighbors, except for one, but the one irate neighbor is right.

I need to be more vigilant about my dogs. People in my neighborhood take great care of their yards. Lots of money and work go into making this a beautiful area. It is disrespectful to believe that it is all right to burn someone else's grass, even if it is just a small spot. The arrest of Linda Johnson may have been a bit harsh, but maybe other dog owners will take notice and rein in their pets. I know I will try to be more careful. And I hope my dog-owning neighbors will be more considerate of my lawn, too.


I, too, have dogs and walk them in my neighborhood. Some of my neighbors have requested that we not let our dogs walk on or soil their grass. We honor their requests. We just pull the leashes closer to keep the dogs on the sidewalk when passing those yards. In fact, I make sure my dogs do not urinate on anyone's flowers or garden areas.

To me, this is just common courtesy and a way to keep the neighborhood dog-friendly. How much time or effort would it have cost Linda Johnson to do the same? And then there would have been no dispute and no arrest, just neighborliness.


Choices For Names For Your Pet Birds
by Mikael Rieck

The sky is the limit when it comes to finding creative names for your pet bird. The name you choose to give your pet bird could range from something silly to something serious and everything you could imagine. Some bird owners opt for sticking with traditional bird names, while others choose names that are off the wall. If you are unsure what to name your pet bird, there are some ideas that might help you decide.
Some birds' names are derivative of the kind or type of bird they are. Other ideas for pet bird names are descriptive of their feathers or colors. Whatever scheme you want to go with for choosing a name for your pet bird, there are plenty of good ideas for names available. Here is a list of some of the most common bird names for all types of pet birds:

A-B Pet Bird Names: Abercrombie, Acadia, Achilles, Adonis, Adriel, Amadeus, Ami, Ari, Aria, Ares, Arcadia, Amber, Adonis, Banana, Bam Bam, Bilbo, Berrie, Bernie, Brahms, Baby Beak, Barnabas, Bailey, Billabong, Binky, Brady, Boyd.

C-D Pet Bird Names: Chico, Chaso, Clyde, Cole, Conga, Conrad, Sparrow, Candy, Canoli, Caper, Captain Jack, ChiChi, Chelsie, Cherrio, Coco, Callie, Conrad, Dafney, Daisy, Dakota, Dali, Dania, Dinah, Dinky, Destiny, Dora, Doohicky, Dudley, Demeter, Dude, Darcy, Diego, Doozer.

E-F Pet Bird Names: Echo, Elan, Elgar, Emily, Emerald, Eve, Ernie, Elmo, Eggbert, Elsu, Euterpe, Feathers, Folly, Frank, Fern, Fanfan, Fallow, Faith, Falco, Fred, Frank, Fletch, Finesse, Frazier.

G-H Pet Bird Names: Gandolf, Gar, Gill, Giligan, Georgia, Grady, Grace, Goldie, Ginger, Gimli, Gallant, Goliath, Geebers, Hamham, Happy, Harry, Hailey, Hillary, Hermes, Hera, Hombre, Honey, Horatio, Homer.

I-J Pet Bird Names: Ian, Icebreaker, Ichabod, Illy, Inca, Indi, India, Indigo, Iris, Isaac, Isabeau, Isabelle, Isis, Ivy, Jake, Jay, Jo, Jewel, Jerry, Jude, Julia, Jumbo, Java, Jamie, Julius, Josetta, Jose.

K-L Pet Bird Names: Kade, Kya, Keeter, Kiara, Kamie, Kalypso, Kally, Kirby, Kip, Kira, Kiwi, Koko, Kako, Karma, Katie, Lacey, Lily, Lime, Lizzie, Lulu, Luke, Luca, Louis, Leah, Lanie, Larka, Leelu.

M-N Pet Bird Names: Maggie, Maddy, Melody, Max, Mo, Molly, Monet, Misha, Maya, Monroe, Melody, Maya, Maude, Nate, Neva, Nibbles, Nissa, Niko, Nero, Neptune, Norton, Nanny, Nessie, Newton, Nimbus.

O-P Pet Bird Names: Ocean, Odin, Olive, Ollie, Onyx, Opal, Oscar, Ortega, Olivia, Oedipus, Odilon, Pandora, Paco, Pepe, Percy, Polly, Pippin, Plato, Pip, Pluto, Poochie, Pascal, Pappy, Paloma, Petry, Priudence, Pickles, Pika, Pearly, Peedie.

Q-R Pet Bird Names: Queen, Qunicy, Quentin, Quennell, Querida, Radley, Rhett, Rocky, Rodin, Raven, Robin, Rosy, Ricky, Ruffian, Rowan, Rockey, Remus, Reed, Raphael, Rhianna, Rhona.

S-T Pet Bird Names: Sandy, Sierra, Sidi, Spud, Squek, Sparrow, Sparky, Shonna, Shylee, Sangria, Samson, Salterella, Sam, Sammy, Sahale, Sidian, Spike, Tiki, Tuck, Tweeky, Tweeter, Tao, Tico, Tia, Thor, Tequila, Taco, Teila, Tarma, Tansy, Tango.

U-V Pet Bird Names: Uh-oh, Ulani, Unity, Uriah, Uranus, Ulysses, Urania, Val, Virgil, Violet, Verdi, Vixen, Venus, Vesta, Voltaire, Verdis, Vaughan, Vanilla, Verne.

W-X Pet Bird Names: Wanda, Willow, Willy, Winter, Wriggley, Winnie, Winslow, Worple, Wanda, Xaviera, Xenos, Xerxes, Xylia.

Y-Z Pet Bird Names: Yale, Yancy, Yannis, Yasmin, Yetta, Yoda, Yvette, Yves, Yoshi, Yates, Yodel, Xena, Ziggy, Zoe, Zola, Zippy, Zorro, Zazu, Zen, Zeus, Zelda.

As you can see from this list of common bird names there is no shortage of creative and fun names, and names that have special meaning. Pet bird names are varied and you be as imaginative as you like. One thing to keep in mind when naming your parrot is to keep it something shorter and that is easy to mimic to help your parrot pick up on it faster and be able to repeat it.

About the Author
Visit the authors website at for more valuable information on pets. Also download a free pet health report. Read the latest reviews on pet insurance companies like ASPCA Pet Insurance, Banfield Pet Insurance and VPI Pet insurance.

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