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Cat Biting Toes
by Luke Blaise

Does your cat bite at you, or nip at your heels when you are relaxing in the morning eating your breakfast? For many cat owners this is a daily occurrence but with a few changes you can change how your cat behaves.
Cat biting is one of the most common cat behavior problems right next to cat urine issues. A cat biting at you is seen as an annoyance by many cat owners, but for many it can be a very scary if you have a particularly aggressive cat.

One of things you can do to stop this behavior before it occurs is to start observing your cat's behavior more closely. Many people state that their cats are acting friendly and then just suddenly bite them. Well the truth is your cat is probably giving you subtle clues that it is about to bite you.

For instance, does your cat become more active all of a sudden before biting you? If you start observing your cat you can pick up clues about when your cat will bite you. By studying your cat closer you can tell when they might bite, and if you break the habit enough eventually your cat should stop doing this behavior because it is never rewarded for it.

About the Author
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What You Should Know About Feeding Your New Best Friend
by Joseph M. Sabol

You just brought home your new puppy, now, what should you feed him? There are a million types and brands of dog food, from canned to kibble. How do you know how much you should feed your puppy? For medium to large size puppies, they need to be fed a well balanced, quality, dry, puppy formula, 4 small meals a day, up to 4 months of age. They are growing so fast and using up so much energy, they need to be refueled frequently. From 4 months to 8 months of age, they should be fed 3 meals a day, and from 8 months to 12 months, feed 2 times a day. If puppies are started on dry kibble from the time they are weaned, they will have no problem eating dry puppy food.

Treats can be given in moderation, especially small treats for reward during training. Table food and leftovers should be avoided, although the occasional piece of apple or carrot is okay. Certain foods are not safe for puppies or dogs to eat. Most people know chocolate can harm dogs, but raisins, grapes, onions, garlic and certain nuts are also harmful.

It is important for large breed puppies to be fed a dry puppy food specially formulated for large breeds. Also, do not overfeed your puppy to increase or speed growth. This is especially important for large breed puppies because rapid growth causes improper skeletal development, which leads to bone and joint problems. A slower, steady growth rate is better. You should not encourage your puppy to become an oversized adult to make him look more impressive.

There are some key ingredients important for your pups diet. DHA, which is a fish oil has been shown to promote faster learning in puppies. Protein is important for muscle, skin, coat and organ development. Calcium and Phosphorous are needed in the proper ratio for teeth and bones to grow correctly. Omega-3 fatty acids help develop a healthy immune system.

Dogs do not naturally produce all the nutrients they require so a quality dog or puppy food is crucial for healthy growth and development. An all natural, human grade pet vitamin is also beneficial because it provides an important digestive enzyme lost during the processing of dog food. A quality pet vitamin also provides Essential Fatty Acids not produced in the body. A good pet vitamin also helps protect against allergies and immune disorders, such as Irritable Bowel Disease.

With the proper care and nutrition, your puppy will grow to be strong and healthy. You will be able to enjoy your new best friend for a long time.

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


Florida Grocers Join Pet Food Recall
By Nadia Vanderhoof - TC Palm

Pedigree maker cited salmonella risk in recalling several brands

At least one Florida grocery store has issued a voluntary recall for pet food following a recall by Mars Petcare U.S. because of possible contamination with a strain of salmonella at its manufacturing facility. Mars Petcare manufactures several well-known pet food brands such as Ol’ Roy, Pedigree and Special Kitty.

“We take the safety of our customers and their pets very seriously,” said Joshua Whitton, communications manager for Winn-Dixie Stores. “Upon receiving information about potential health risks associated with these products, we immediately implemented a voluntary recall in our stores.”

Kimberly Jaeger, a spokeswoman for Lakeland-based Publix Super Markets Inc., said the only product Publix carried from the manufacturing plant in question was the Pedigree Large Breed Dog Food. Other brands at Publix were produced at other Mars Petcare facilities, she said.

“On Friday, stores were instructed to immediately remove from shelves and discard all 720 Pedigree Large Breed Dog Food 30-pound bags that were produced in the Everson facility in Pennsylvania,” Jaeger said. “The plant is currently closed so we are working with another plant to make this product available to customers as soon as possible.“

Jaeger said Publix has other sizes of the brand available in stores. Publix will refund the full purchase price of the product to customers.

“Thus far, there has been no reports from customers of any human or pet illness related to this recall,” Jaeger said.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. did not return calls by deadline.

A full list of recalled products is available on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Web site. Purchasers can return the products to their retailers for a full refund.

The recalled products were produced at Mars’ Everson, Pa., plant between Feb. 18 and July 29. Mars stopped production because it was alerted of a possible link between dry pet food made at the plant and two isolated cases of people infected with salmonella.

Pedigree brand pet food being recalled will have PAE in the bottom line of the date code as the sixth, seventh and eighth digits. Other brands have 17 as the first two digits on the second line.

According to the FDA Web site, the company is working with the agency to determine the nature and source of salmonella at the Everson facility.

Animals infected with salmonella may be lethargic and have diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Some have decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Some animals could be carriers with no symptoms with the potential to infect other animals or humans.

Humans with salmonella poisoning have some or all of those symptoms including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

On the Web, 

Call Mars Petcare U.S. Inc. at, (877) 568-4463 for more information. 

Letter: Don't Buy Your Pet from a Puppy Mill
Salem News
To the editor:

Millions of people unknowingly buy puppy-mill puppies every year. Through knowledge and education, this "unknowing" can be avoided, with the ultimate goal of closing down puppy mills.

A puppy mill is a large-scale dog breeding facility. Puppy mills have anywhere from 25 to more than 1,000 dogs. They may advertise themselves as a backyard breeder, but that can be misleading. Raising a healthy litter of puppies in a humane, healthy way costs time and money. (Think of the time, money and effort you expend on your own dog).

So, in order to make a profit, puppy mills cut major corners. Dogs have one litter after another like breeding machines. They live in small cages for their entire lives, often in squalor and filth.

Puppies are sold too young (8 weeks or younger) and therefore do not receive the proper teaching and socialization from mother and litter mates that is necessary for a healthy and balanced animal. There is no screening for genetic defects, and the dogs are not loved, touched, played with, walked, or even let out of their cages.

Imagine your dog being treated this way! But this is how many of the most popular breeds such as Yorkies, Bichons, Labs, Shepherds, Pugs, and Bulldogs are bred. That is a cruel and neglectful life for millions of puppy-mill dogs, but the demand for such breeds is so great that it continues.

Puppy mills sell an estimated 4 million puppies every year to people who believe they are getting a puppy from a good place. Millions of the rest of them are euthanized or die from sickness and disease.

To help advocate for laws to make these facilities illegal, contact your local lawmakers or such organizations as Last Chance for Animals, Animal Legal Defense Fund, The Human Society Legislative Fund or Best Friend's Society, to name a few.

These puppy mills are not illegal. So until they are, you the consumer must do your homework. To be certain you do not get a puppy from a puppy mill:

1.) Never buy a puppy from a pet store, no matter how much they tug on your heartstrings;

2). Use extreme caution when buying over the Internet or from a classified ad. Insist on seeing where the dogs live, do not meet the seller at another location or accept pictures as evidence.

3). Ask questions. If you are met with resistance you are probably dealing with someone who is not a reputable breeder; and

4). Adopt your next pet from a shelter or rescue group and still use caution and ask questions. Many shelters label themselves as "no kill," but that is not always accurate. Millions of animals are euthanized every year simply because they exist. If your heart is set on a particular breed, look at a shelter (25 percent of shelter dogs are pure bred), or search for local breed rescue groups online or for a local small breeder you can visit.

For more information go to;;;; or come to Puppy Mill Awareness Day from noon to 4 p.m. this Saturday, Sept. 20, at Salem Common. (Rain date is Sunday, Sept. 21, noon to 4 p.m.)

Natalie Femino

Pet Owner's Loss Leads to Changes in Trapping Rules
By JEANNINE AQUINO, Mpls Star Tribune

The Rosemount City Council voted to restrict where traps can be set after dog suffocated in trap.

Dan Babich was walking his 11-month-old yellow Lab Bella along the south shore of Lake Keegan in Rosemount last November when the dog caught a whiff of something.

Because Babich had been training Bella for hunting, he allowed her off the sidewalk about 100 yards to investigate.

After exploring, the two started to walk back and passed a metal post. Babich heard Bella yelp and thought at first that she was tangled in some barbed wire in the grass. When he looked closer, he realized that a metal trap was around her neck.

As Babich frantically struggled to remove it, Bella began to suffocate, her eyes wide and tongue turning blue.

"By the time I figured out how it all worked and where the release was, it was too late," Babich recalled this week. "She was gone."

Babich immediately notified the police, thinking there was "no way" trapping could be legal so close to a residential area. The trap was for coyotes and raccoons. He soon found out that Rosemount had no rules on trapping and started writing letters to city officials.

His efforts paid off. The Rosemount City Council on Tuesday night passed an ordinance 5-0 restricting where traps can be set.

State law sets trapping season, types of animals that can be trapped and what sorts of traps can be used. But further restrictions are left to local jurisdictions.

The Rosemount ordinance limits trapping to areas currently open to bow hunting and firearms -- agricultural and rural residential land of 2.5 acres or more. Trapping also will be limited to parcels that contain at least 5 acres east of County Road 71 in areas zoned as heavy industrial.

Traps would also have to be set within a buffer of 25 feet from the property line and 50 feet from the edge of a public road, said Police Chief Gary Kalstabakken.

In Bella's case, the trap that killed her was on private property, and the person who placed it had permission to do so. Yet Babich said he didn't see any buildings or a fence indicating it was private property: "For all I knew it was city land."

A state Department of Natural Resources investigation found that no laws were broken in Bella's death.

Babich, who likes to hunt and fish, said he thought that trapping would have as many restrictions as hunting because both are dangerous.

"And trapping, in a way, is even more dangerous because the person doing the trapping is not there with the trap. They set it and walk away. They don't have control whereas a hunter can decide which animal to pursue," Babich said.

Kalstabakken said the city wanted an ordinance that would satisfy both sides. "We don't want to totally restrict trapping in areas where it can still be done safely or there may be a need to control some animals," the chief said. But, he said, the city did want to "take precautions to try to limit the things that can go wrong in those situations."

Mayor Bill Droste said the ordinance reflects the city's considerable growth. "You need to make certain as housing encroaches or as development occurs or agricultural areas continue to move out that ordinances protect residents that move into new homes," he said.

Babich said he and his wife, Kathleen, don't want anyone else to experience what they did.

"It's just a dog, but at the same time, they become your family," he said. "Especially the trauma of seeing it happen in front of your eyes. It's tough to deal with."

The couple now has two dogs: Bella's sister Kolby and Maia, a Brittany spaniel-lab mix. Babich no longer throws a toy around for the dogs to fetch during walks as he did for Bella. He now keeps both dogs close and on a leash at all times.

"It's probably overkill, but I don't know what's out there," he said. "I couldn't go through what happened again."

Jeannine Aquino • 952-882-9056

Pets Are Living Longer With Advancements in Veterinary Medicine
Market Watch

Aging Animals Can Lead Healthier Lives By Increasing Frequency of Exams

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Sept 16, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Like humans, animals go through different life stages, and their needs will change as they age. From being a puppy or kitten through a juvenile to adult, each phase of an animal's life requires regular veterinary check-ups and consultations regarding vaccinations, nutrition and exercise.
According to the California Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA), younger and otherwise healthy animals should get a veterinary exam at a minimum every year. Most dogs and cats are considered senior at seven years of age. For senior pets, exams are recommended more frequently to catch early signs of medical problems. However, individual animal needs are different, so you should consult with your veterinarian to learn what schedule is best for your pet.
"Animals age more rapidly than humans, especially large breed dogs," said CVMA President Dr. Bill Grant II. "One year to a human can be as many as seven years biologically for a pet. Due to this relatively rapid aging, postponing a veterinary visit for just a couple of months could be the human equivalent of delaying a potentially life-saving test for years."
A slight change in appetite or activity may be the first sign of what could become a serious health issue for an aging pet. Some owners are unaware that their pet's changing condition may be a symptom of a treatable medical condition rather than related to old age.
The following tests are recommended for older pets:
-- Complete blood count to diagnose anemia, inflammation, infections and blood disorders.
-- Urinalysis to diagnose urinary tract infections, diabetes and kidney disease.
-- Blood-chemistry panel to evaluate kidney, pancreas, liver and thyroid functions.
-- Parasite evaluation for roundworms, tapeworms, heartworms, fleas and ticks.
With frequent, regular exams, your veterinarian may be able to detect and treat diseases early on, and sometimes prevent them, as well as suggest life-stage-appropriate changes in your pet's needs.
The California Veterinary Medical Association is the largest state veterinary medical association in the United States, with more than 6,200 members. For more information, visit
SOURCE California Veterinary Medical Association

How to Travel Distances with Cats
By Karen Steinrock - The Morning Call

Dear Karen: We may relocate to California in a year and wondered if you have any advice on cross-country traveling for our cats -- two 6-year-old littermates (male and female) who get along great.

They never travel by car except to the vet; consequently, they dislike car rides. Until recently, we assumed we would fly the cats with us but with the cutbacks in number of flights, delays, smaller planes, bumpier flights, this has become an unappealing option.

So now we are considering driving cross country (5 days or so), as that might be less stressful on the cats. We thought we'd buy a large dog-size crate and start taking the cats for rides several months ahead of time to get them used to it.

Do you think driving is feasible and preferable to flying?

Thom Bettinger, Harrisburg

Dear Thom: The prospect of a five-day road trip with two frenzied felines is daunting indeed. Test drives around town may not be a true measure of their ability to handle such a long trek.

Few cats enjoy travel by car, let alone relocating to a new home. Checking into strange hotels every night would be like moving them five times.

As much as I hate flying, it would cut the trip time down to one day, one journey, so I'd seriously look into it. Overall, I believe air travel would be less stressful for them.

You want the most direct route possible and an airline that allows pets in the cabin. Many have a one-pet-per-passenger rule, and limit the number of animals on a flight, so you'd need to book well in advance. The pet must fit in a carrier that can be stowed under the seat.

A better option may be to crate them together and fly them in the pressurized, temperature-controlled cargo hold. That way they have each other, which may be more of a comfort than peering up at you from beneath a seat. Either way, it's a much shorter trip.

My experience flying pets is limited to transporting the Newfs here from Canada, and what a contrast. Hannah flew with a littermate and was happy as a clam when I picked her up at the airport. Barney wasn't so lucky. He rode solo -- the only pet in cargo on a small plane for five hours and was terrified. But would driving a puppy 1,800 miles over three days have been any less traumatic? I'll never know.

Fortunately, you have plenty of time to prepare. Keep the carriers out so the kitties can come and go comfortably and don't associate them with a ''bad trip.'' That would include the large dog crate if you go that route.

Whatever you decide, acclimating them to car travel is a good idea. If they start yowling, try covering the crate(s) so they can't see scenery whooshing by. Good luck with the trip!

Dear Karen: In a recent column you mentioned that Feliway could be used to deter a male cat from scenting in the house. My cat Bear started doing this when males began spraying the exterior of the house. The odor drifted into the house causing Bear to get protective of his turf.

I was seriously considering removing Bear from our family until the day you recommended Feliway. I installed diffusers in the two rooms where he sprayed and he hasn't sprayed since. His disposition has even changed -- he has become very lovable. Now we have a very happy household.

Thank you for mentioning this product and please be sure to recommend Feliway to other cat owners who are desperate for a happy solution.

Rosemary Blaszuk,
Lehigh Valley

Karen Steinrock is a writer based in Grantham, Cumberland County. Readers may send questions or comments to or P.O. Box 306, Grantham, PA 17027. Please include hometown and phone number.

Adopt-a-Pet: East Valley Shelter
L.A. Unleashed

Friends, today we've found a veritable goldmine of adoptable pets (from cats and dogs to turtles and lizards to parakeets -- and even a peacock!) in L.A.'s East Valley shelter...
...but blowing my mind more than any of the rest is this adorable character (above), Henry (ID No. A0979277). Those pleading brown eyes! Those roguish whiskers! I am wishing I could leap through the computer screen to give little Henry a hug. He's listed as a three-year-old unneutered terrier mix and he is making my heart hurt.

This handsome devil (above) is Goober (ID No. A0863384). He's a neutered male American shorthair who's about six years old. Might we suggest that, should you adopt Goober, you give this dignified-looking kitty a more dignified name? (Just sayin'.)

Reilly here (above)is listed as an unneutered male Cardigan Welsh Corgi mix (and we're willing to bet there are at least a few other breeds thrown in for good measure -- let's just call him an All-American Mutt). He's about two years old and he sure looks like a character! Reilly is ID No. A0977423.

Awww! This little lady (above) doesn't have a name yet , so we'll just have to refer to her as ID No. A0980767 for the time being. She's an unspayed terrier mix who's approximately a year and a half.

All these great pets (and many more where they came from!) are available at the East Valley Animal Care Center, located at 14409 Vanowen Street in Van Nuys. You can inquire further about any of the animals listed here by calling 888-4LAPET1 with the ID numbers listed here.

--Lindsay Barnett

Photos: Los Angeles Department of Animal Services

P.S. Just to prove we weren't kidding about the peacock...

(He's ID No. A0978460 if you're interested!)

Your New Puppy - How to Properly Socialize
by Geoffrey English

Properly socializing your puppy is all about exposure.
Dog ownership can sometimes be related to experiences that we have as humans. For instance, when a child is going to the dentist, to school, a zoo, or any other environment for the first time, or meeting someone new, there can be apprehension and discomfort; even fear, as a result of experiencing these new events. However, we do not shelter our children from these events: we encourage them to interact with the world, and we encourage the world to interact with our children. This is known as socialization, and is a vital part of healthy functioning in any social hierarchy- including in the world of dogs.

Numerous studies have shown repeatedly that there is a peak period for socialization in puppies, typically from three to twelve weeks of age. Although socialization is a lifelong necessity, it is during this important time that a majority of the behaviors your dog displays in social situations will be determined. So how do you socialize your puppy? You take them everywhere with you, and you introduce them to as many different sights, sounds, smells, and other creatures that you possibly can.

Even the first few days with a new puppy are about socialization. They will be investigating their new home, getting to know you, and coming to understand their role in your family hierarchy. During this time, and over the next several weeks, slowly expose your puppy to everything in and around your home. Run household machinery like the dishwasher, vacuum cleaner, a hair dryer, or a generator. Introduce your puppy to your other pets and family members. While experiencing these things, try not to focus on your pup too much. Act as you normally would when around these people or pieces of equipment. Be certain to give lavish praise when the encounter is over and your puppy acted favorably.

Take your puppy for frequent walks, both on a leash and off, depending on the safety of your environment. Brush your puppy on a regular basis, and handle his feet, tail, ears and lips. Expose him to a crate or kennel, and encourage him to sleep or simply relax in it.

Bring your puppy out into the world. Take him for regular car rides, and expose him to the radio, to the beep of a horn, and to the sound of wind rushing in through an open window. Your pup should be exposed to a farm, and be introduced to various farm animals. City parks, walking trails, dog parks and beaches are all great places to expose your dog to a wide variety of stimuli. You should beware, however, to keep your puppy away from strange dogs, or dogs that appear wounded or ill. Remember that your puppy's immune system is still quite young, and that not everyone vaccinates their dogs.

Socialization with your puppy should never be rushed or forced. In addition, you should be mindful that you are rewarding the right behavior, and correcting undesired behavior. Your pup should never be soothed when it is acting unfavorable. Soothing is a form of praise, and therefore there are situations where you can actually be "praising" your dog for being neurotic, fearful or aggressive.

Like humans, dogs go through different psychological phases as they grow older. Their personalities change, and the way they respond to their environment can change. This is why it is important to continue your dog's socialization for its entire life. Besides, that's what your puppy wants anyway- to go with you and experience everything you do!

About the Author
Geoffrey A. English is the Founder of, the internet's premiere online magazine dedicated to bird dogs. Visit their site for a large selection of products from Tri-tronics, SportDOG, Innotek, and Dogtra.

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How to Stop your Pet from Ruining your Furniture
by Derek Rogers

One of the biggest worries that pet owners have is how to stop their pets from ruining their furniture. Often, you do not realise how at risk your furniture is of being scratched, chewed and even urinated on. It isn't until you bring your pet home that you see just how much pet proofing you still have to do around your home.
Cats are the main culprits when it comes to ruining your furniture. This is because they instinctively need to sharpen their claws. If an alternative is not given then they will use whatever is nearest to them and that does often end up being your furniture! Dogs mainly chew the furniture and male dogs could use it as a territory marker. So just how do you stop your favourite pets from ruining your furniture?

Preventing Furniture Damage

There are a number of ways in which you can stop your pet from ruining your furniture. If you own a cat then the best way to prevent it is to provide them with a scratching post.

Scratching posts are designed to be appealing to your cat and they can use them instead of your furniture to sharpen their claws. You can purchase several different types of scratching posts and ideally, you want to choose one that will be appealing to your cat. You can purchase plain ones or posts that have toys attached to them. You can also purchase scratching posts that have additional levels for your cat to climb on.

Basically, it would be a good idea to get the post with as many features as possible as that will gain your cats attention. Posts with toys are a great option because it is often after your cat has been playing that they need to scratch their claws. So even if you purchase a plain post, placing it close to their toys is definitely a great idea.

If you own a dog then to prevent chewing, it would be a good idea to make the furniture taste uninviting. Generally, most dogs do not like bitter tastes sousing a bitter apple spray should stop the problem. You should also provide them with plenty of toys to chew on instead. That way if you catch the dog chewing the furniture you can say a firm "No" and then place a toy that they should be chewing in front of them. You will need to keep a close eye on your dog if you want to successfully stop them from chewing the furniture but your persistence will be worthwhile!

If your pet is allowed to sleep on your sofa then there is a large chance that they will ruin it as they get on and off it. Placing a cover over the sofa will not only protect it from scratch marks, but it will also prevent it from getting covered in pet hair.

Overall, it isn't overly difficult to protect your furniture from your pets. You just have to keep a close eye on them and provide them with something else to keep their attention on. If you follow these tips then you should end up with clean furniture that remains in excellent condition for years to come!

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 Scratch Posts.

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