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Traveling With Your Pet
by Alex McGabe

Although thousands of pets experience the excitement of traveling each year, you should ensure that you do your part in making the trip as enjoyable as possible for your furry, scaly, or feathered pet. Traveling with your pet can be as daunting a task as traveling with a child, and thoughtful preparation is the key to overcoming this challenge.
Pet Travel by Car

Just as you wouldn't want a pesky child to be testing your patience while you drive, it would be prudent to put your pet at a safe distance from yourself and the pedals. While you wouldn't allow a child to even roll down the window, you definitely shouldn't let your pets stick their heads out of one. Riding in the back of a truck is no-no too.

Long car rides can be quite boring, and although your Beach Boys albums will get you singing until you're parched, you should find another way to keep your pet occupied (unless you have a parrot). Bring along their favorite toys and snacks, and also talk to them about your day at work. The sound of your voice will help to relieve anxiety from your traveling pet, and ranting about that frustrating coworker is a surprisingly effective way to release your own stress and anger.

Other Goodies to Bring

Pet travel preparation should include the necessary documentation for your pet - especially if you're traveling across state or country borders. Documentation should comprise of both identification and certification. Ensure that your pet is wearing tags with their name and your cell phone number, since your answering machine at home isn't the ideal conversationalist.

Examples of certifications are things like a rabies tag, inoculation papers, and other medical documents. Check with your vet if you are going to any countries or areas where you are not familiar with their laws. You may need additional information or documentation for your pet to even enter the country.

Traveling Abroad

If you are traveling abroad, you should be aware that many countries have strict requirements and prohibitions concerning health, agriculture, and wildlife. Many countries, such as the UK, have adopted Pet Travel Scheme ("PETS") , which allows pets to travel to neighboring countries without being placed in quarantine. This is as long as long as it is free of rabies, and you have been in a qualifying country for, at least, six months.

Before 2001, the UK had strong regulations that included a compulsory 6 month quarantine period on the import of many animals However, not all countries have the same new regulations and some still automatically insist on animal quarantines as part of their customs requirement. You should check with the embassy of the country you are planning to go, well in advance of bringing your pet along.

If you are going somewhere that is not welcoming to pets, you may want to look into boarding your pet. Or perhaps, you can have family or friends look after him or her until you return from your adventures.

About the Author
For additional information about Pet Friendly Hotels or Dog Boarding, please visit or

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Beginner Horseback Riding Lessons - Read This Before Taking Lessons
by Sara Diamond

Read on for things that's essential to know before you take Beginner Horseback Riding Lessons.
So you want to learn how to ride a horse? Well, there is something special about the human - horse relationship. No doubt about that. Here are some things you should know before you take Beginner Horseback Riding Lessons.

It's a big plus if you can get to know horses - their breeds, colors, height and recommended uses. You'll need to understand the differences between English & Western styles of riding. Also, before you start riding a horse, it's best if you get to know the horse - they have personalities too! Likewise, the horse should get to know and trust you.

Learning to ride a horse can be a fun & rewarding experience for people of all ages. However, if the proper skills and safety techniques aren't learned beforehand, you can end up taking many hard falls. That's a big reason many beginner horseback riders end up quitting. Falls and injuries can be avoided if the beginning horseback rider takes the time to study the proper horseback riding techniques prior to riding a horse. Just like with learning to ride a bicycle; you first had to fully understand your restrictions, and what the bicycle is capable of. Same goes with learning to ride a horse. Did you know that 90% of falls and horse related injuries result from an inexperienced rider?

If possible, it is beneficial if you can read some horse-related books before taking beginner horseback riding lessons. That way, you know basic horse - related information. You wouldn't want to begin taking lessons knowing nothing about these beautiful animals. Some of the basic things you need to know are before taking beginner horseback riding lessons are: What you should wear when riding and what not to wear, how to mount & dismount, the various gaits of the horse, understanding the mind of the horse, how to stay in control, etc.

Also, it's good to know that it's natural to be scared the first time you ride. But don't let the horse know that. Horses are like children; they sense when their rider is insecure. So even if you're afraid, act relaxed. Fake it till you make it!

Riding a horse can be one of the most thrilling experiences of your life. Stick with it. Learning to ride a horse can be slow & hard work. Don't give up. Knowing that lots of experienced horse riders did not grow up around horses and also took beginner horseback riding lessons can be reassuring.

About the Author
Sara Diamond likes to write about her interests. Horses are one of her loves. Read Horseback Riding - The Complete Beginners Guide to learn all the basics before taking Beginner Horseback Riding Lessons.


Tips For Keeping Your Dog Healthy
by Joseph M. Sabol

Your dog can be the best thing that can happen to you and your family. It brings in a different kind of joy and unity for all family members. And while pet dogs give you their unconditional gift of joyfulness, you need to take proper care of them. Caring for your pet dog takes more than just feeding and training. Your pet dog needs a balanced diet, happy lifestyle, proper exercise, and regular visits to the veterinarian.
The foremost consideration when having a pet dog is the careful choice of veterinarian. Your dog's vet should be trustworthy and likable. Just like your children who are afraid of dentists, your pet dog may feel estranged and intimated by his doctor. While still a puppy, bring your pet to a vet. Also, it helps if you retain the same veterinarian all throughout his lifetime. Your dog develops a level of familiarity with his vet and staying with the same doctor makes him feel comfortable at every visit.

During a visit to a veterinarian, discuss with your doctor the potential risks or problems that your pet might acquire. State to the vet everything what you give to your dog including food, training, medicine, food supplements, and even his shelter if he has one.

Diseases are very common among dogs. Check on the skin and fur-related problems of your dog, such as ticks, fleas, and worms. You may even ask your doctor to conduct a stool test and examine if there are viruses and worms inside the dog's system. With this, it would be best if you take a stool sample of your pet with you when visiting the vet.

From time to time, the doctor may prescribe medicines or food supplements. Vets apply syringe administration, especially if there is a serious illness, or if your pet dog needs vaccination. Oral administration of medicines also requires careful methods.

Your best care efforts for your dog happen at home. Always feed your dog a balanced meal but avoid overfeeding, as it will cause obesity that can lead to sickness and other health problems. As your pet dog ages, his exercising needs also increases. But make sure the physical activity is appropriate for his abilities. Dietary supplements like chondroitin or glucosamine help in preventing arthritis.

Your pet dog also has needs for his social life. Take him regularly to parks where he can meet other dogs. And most importantly, make him feel that he is a big part of the family. Hugs, strokes, tickles, and playful memories mean so much to your pet dog.

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About the Author
Joseph M. Sabol is a world class Doberman breeder. Please go to or to for further information


Getting the Right Cat Flap
by Derek Rogers

If you own a cat then you may have noticed that letting them in and out all of the time can be a nightmare. It is not always as simple as letting your cat out during the day and keeping them in at night. Your cat will meow when they want to go in and out and this can occur throughout the day and night. It really can drive you insane having to constantly get up and open the door. However, there is an easier way and that is to install a cat flap.
What is a Cat Flap?

A cat flap is installed at the bottom of your outside door and it allows your cat to come in and out whenever it feels like it. There are a number of different designs available so you should easily be able to find one to suit your needs. However, there are some concerns regarding cat flaps and one of them is that many allow not only your cat to enter your home, but other cats too!

Luckily, there are alternatives available to stop stray cats from wandering into your house. So just what options are available to you and how do you choose the best one to suit you?

How to Choose a Cat Flap

The main points to keep in mind when shopping for a cat flap include:

o Are there many other cats in your area?

o Do you want a basic flap or would you like added features?

o Do you want to be able to control the flap yourself?

o Do you want a particular style?

o What is your budget?

The above are just a few things that you should think about before purchasing a cat flap. Your budget will play a big part in the one you end up with. So before you do start looking, decide how much you can realistically afford to spend and then stick to it. Obviously if you want a flap which has many different features, you will have to expect to pay a little more than you would if you just bought a basic flap.

The features that you can choose from include a locking fixture, cat flaps which only allow your pet to activate the flap. Locking cat flaps allow you to close the flap whenever you need to. You can choose from 2 way or 4 way locking method. 2 way flaps allow you to simply lock from both ways; ensuring that your cat stays either in or out of the home when it is locked. 4 way locking cat flaps allow you to manually select whether you want it to stay locked from the inside, the outside or both. If you lock the flap from the inside then your cat will not be able to go back outside. However if you own more than two cats then your other cat will still be able to get in from the outside.

Overall, there are many options that you can choose from. Basic ones do work well, but obviously the more advanced options will allow you to control your cat's movements more.

About the Author
Derek Rogers is a freelance writer who represents a number of UK businesses. For information on pet supplies, he recommends Seapets, one of the UK's leading suppliers of Cat Flaps.

Can You Really Be a Dog's Best Friend? A Top 10 List
by Jay Gaulard

I think that's a valid question, and I don't ask it lightly. The short answer is yes. The long answer may be no, and let me tell you why.
I think I'll start things off with a short story. It's interesting and I think it will shed some light on what I am thinking.

Way back in 1999, I was attending graduate school at Binghamton University. I lived on the third floor of an old house in a very small apartment. The house was in a rather congested part of town, so all of the residents could get a very clear picture of what was happening in the neighborhood around them. From my apartment, I had a pretty good vantage point of a few backyards that were close by.

As you could imagine, while attending graduate school, I was required to study for a good portion of the day and night. There was no way to get around it and much of it had to be done in my apartment. In order to have a good studying session, I needed quiet. Thinking back, I should have moved into a more sparse part of town.

The day after I moved in, I remember looking out the window into the backyard across the street. There were two dogs lying down on a dirt area. They were tethered together by the same dog leash, a piece of one tied to the other. Their heads were about a foot apart and they had no where to go. Every time someone passed on the sidewalk, they would stand up and run to the chain link fence, barking. This went on day after day. Eventually, someone from the neighborhood called the ASPCA and had the dogs removed. The owners were charged with having the dogs outside without shelter and a few other things.

This brings me to the point of this piece. Why do people bring dogs into their homes, when they clearly don't have the means to properly care for them?

I'm sure we have all seen it a thousand times; the messiest house on the road with three viscous dogs chained to a stump in the front yard, the college students who thought it would be fun to get a "house" puppy, the overworked parents who thought it would be a good idea to get their young children an active puppy to play with.

What's the common theme that runs across all three examples above? Bad choices. I think the mistakes many people make are 1) they don't understand that owning a dog is a huge responsibility and 2) dogs can lead miserable lives, if not taken care of properly.

Here is a (hopefully helpful) list of reminders that you should consider before bringing a dog into your family:

1. Dogs bark. If you like your neighbors and want them to continue liking you, be sure to consider this when choosing the breed of dog you get.

2. Dogs eat. If you have trouble paying your own grocery bill, think about the extra expense of a big bag of dog food once a month.

3. Dogs need to go to the doctor. If you are having trouble paying for your own health care, think about what you are going to do the day your dog needs to have an operation.

4. Dogs need to relieve themselves. If you like to snuggle under your warm covers at 5AM in the middle January, think about the feeling you will have when your new dog starts barking to go outside at that time.

5. Dogs need to play. If you work late and no one is home, who will be there to take the dog outside to burn off all the energy they have?

6. Dogs need love. Are you ready to spend at least two hours a day with your dog?

7. Dogs need space. Do you have the room for a dog that may become hyper when it gets excited?

8. Dogs are not welcome in many rental units. Do you rent? Be aware that by having a dog, you are limiting yourselves to about 10% of available units for rent.

9. Dogs require patience. Take a good look at yourself. Have you ever lost your temper? Many dogs may do things that will upset you.

10. Dogs need to be licensed. What are the rules of your area when it comes to dog ownership?

The above list is not meant to be depressing. It's meant to give you a realistic view of what you can expect after you bring that cute, cuddly little puppy into your home. I have owned many dogs and I write from experience.

A good friend of mine owns two rather large dogs that he adopted from a friend during his senior year of college. They are both about five years old now. He loves the dogs, but feels he may have made a mistake. He may not have been ready for them. I remember asking him how he feels about owning the dogs, to which he replied, "Yeah, that was pretty much the biggest mistake I ever made."

Now, let's discuss the brighter side of things. If you have looked over the above list and think you might be ready to give a dog a new home, good for you. Just be sure to look for that dog in the right places. There are many dogs in shelters across this country that are just waiting for someone like you to walk through the door. Do the right thing and adopt. You'll be glad you did.

About the Author
This article was written by Jay Gaulard on behalf of , a popular pet classifieds website.

The Classification of Animals
by Andrew Tomkinson

How many different kinds of Animals are in existence? The figure may be thirty million with 1.5 million new animals being identfied every year. Scientists use a classification system to organise these animals into groups; each type of animal is then given a species name and placed into the most closely related group.
Modern scientific classification dates back to the work of a Swedish botanist and explorer called Karl Linnaeus (18th Century). He devised a system whereby all organisms are classified by two part scientific names written in Latin. The first part of the name refers to the genus to which the animal belongs and the second part denotes its species; Scientists all over the world understand this system which remains in force to this day. As well as labelling all living things it shows exactly where a species fits into the living planet.

Species is the base unit in scientific classification. Species are organised into groups called genera and these are organised into families. This system of groups continues working upwards through orders, classes, phyla and finally into kingdoms. Kingdoms are the largest group and also the highest level in the hierarchy.

Each of the groups in the hierarchy has a common ancestor, which becomes increasingly remote from a species with each higher level of the hierarchy. Identification of the groups is an important part of the classification process and often involves difficult and complicated research.

Traditionally species are defined as groups of living things that share a set of characteristics and that are able to interbreed in the wild. It is sometimes difficult to determine if a group fits the definition so scientists prefer to determine species by examining genetic data. However genetic data does not solve all the classification problems because it still has to be decided if two animals' genes are close enough to warrant their being classed as one species.

Nearly all of today's animal groups were identified before genetic analysis became available. The groups were established on the basis of anatomical evidence both in living species and in those species preserved as fossils. The path of evolution is better understood by anatomical studies which show how certain body parts have been changed for different uses.

The limbs of four legged vertebrates or tetrapods are an example of this kind of evolutionary modification. The basic limb pattern dating back over 300 million years is built around three main sets of bones. The single bone where the limb meets the body, two bones further away and five sets of smaller bones at the limbs outermost point. As tetrapods spread to various habitats the limbs of the different groups become specialised in shape, size and the way they worked. The underlying pattern of bones was preserved in the different groups. This is because evolution changes what already exists. For classification specialists this is one of many pieces of evidence that shows that all tetrapods evolved from a shared ancestor.

In classification, tetrapods are said to form a natural group or clade. A clade is made up of an ancestral species and all of its descendants. Together they form a complete and self contained branch from the evolutionary tree of life.

The clade concept has had a large impact on the science of classification because it helps to reduce the confusion that evolution leaves behind. Convergence is the greatest source of this confusion. It is a process that results in unrelated species develop in a particular way to be suit similar ways of life. Cartilaginous and bony fish are a typical example of this. The fact that both have streamlined bodies and fins testifys to a very active life in the water. There are many underlying differences between bony and cartilaginous fish. This is obvious when they are examined closely resulting in them being placed in separate branches of the evolutionary tree.

A specialist is unlikely to be confused by these two kinds of fish but with animals that are already related, convergence can make relationships difficult to decipher. An example of this is walruses, seals and sea lions. These animals have traditionally been classified in a single and separate order of mammals - Pinnerpedia - but a study of their anatomy suggests that pinnerpeds may consist of two or three separate lines of animals that have evolved independently from different kinds of carnivores. If this is true then pinnerpeds are an artificial grouping instead of one that actually shows the path of evolution. Thus they can easily be divided into separate clades.

As scientists apply cladistics to the animal world, many of the established groups are being shown to have been built on loose foundations. A re-examination of animal groups is part of a constant process in classification science. This results in an even more detailed picture of how animals are related to each other, providing a better understanding of how the animal kingdon came into being.

About the Author
This Article has been written to provide a better understanding of Animal Classification

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