Pet Advice - Healthy Pets

Pet Trusts: How Does a Pet Trust Work?
Author: Kevin Von Tungeln

When hotel heiress and billionaire Leona Helmsley died in 2007, her pet Maltese, Trouble, became the beneficiary of a $12 million pet trust that Helmsley had established as part of her estate plan. Mrs. Helmsley cared very deeply for her animal companion. Although she left money in her will for Trouble, she failed to secure a legally enforceable pet trust to ensure that her beloved Trouble would be provided for even after her death.

Most pet owners won't have the resources available to provide for their pets to the extent that Mrs. Helmsley did. In fact, according to Lawyers Weekly USA, the average amount left to pets is closer to $25,000. But, like Mrs. Helmsley, most pet owners are concerned about providing long-term care for their pets, and want to make sure that their wishes are carried out in the event of their death or disability.

As a pet owner in California, you can create a pet trust that will provide for the care of your "beloved pet" when you are no longer able to care for the pet yourself. Pet trusts are more secure than simply leaving money in your will, and provide specific instruction for the caretaker and beneficiary of the trust. To begin planning for the care of your pet, you should identify a family member or friend who you would trust to care for your pet and who would be willing to provide for the animal's care. A pet trust allows you to designate this trusted person as your pet's trustee. In California, your trustee will be legally obligated to make arrangements for the proper care of your pet, according to your instruction. They will also hold the money and/or property that you transfer to the trust for the benefit of the pet. In addition to the pet's trustee, you may also designate a caregiver, or beneficiary, who will be responsible for caring for the pet over the lifespan of the animal.

Because California pet trusts are legally enforceable arrangements, as a pet owner, you can be assured that the instruction you provide regarding your pet's care will be carried out. A trust can be very specific, so it is important to discuss your pet's health needs, care, and routine with your designated caregiver. For example, if your cat is allergic to a particular brand of food, or your dog needs to be bathed once a week, this can be specified in the trust agreement.

As a pet owner, you know your pet's particular habits and needs better than anyone else. With a pet trust, you can describe the kind of care your pet should have, and you can list the trusted people who would be willing to provide that care. If you are a pet owner who wants to establish a pet trust, or otherwise provide long-term care for your pet, a qualified estate planning attorney who has experience creating pet trusts in California will be able to help you understand your pet trust planning options, and will be able to assist you in designing a pet trust that meets your needs and those of your pets.

How To Pick The Perfect Dog Breed
Author: Kelly Marshall

There are so many factors to picking the perfect dog breed and everyone will emphasize one factor or another in their selection process. Generally it is recommended by most breeders and professional trainers to try to match a breed to your lifestyle, rather than simply choosing a dog and trying to match your lifestyle to their needs and temperament.

There are general characteristics that each breed has although not all dogs within the breed will exhibit these characteristics to the same degree or in the same manner. Mixed breed dogs are more challenging when trying to predict the various attributes as there is no way to know which breed characteristics they will favor for each trait.

Generally the most important considerations for choosing the right breed of dog include:

Size - avoid getting a dog based on his or her size as a puppy. Many of the very large breeds are relatively small as puppies, but quickly grow much larger than your house or apartment can manage. If you have a large fenced yard and a bigger living area either a large, medium or small dog would be fine. If you live in an apartment or smaller house perhaps a medium to small dog is best. For those that live in very small spaces a toy or miniature breed is likely the best choice.

Breed type - various breeds have been bred and developed for hundreds of years or longer to perform various tasks for humans. Don't expect to choose a breed that is a hunting breed and not expect some difficulty in helping it understand not to chase the cats or other pets in your yard. In addition working, herding or guarding dogs will also have natural tendencies that may or may not work with your lifestyle.

Exercise level - each breed has its own general exercise level that is not necessarily based on size. There are some small to medium breeds that require a lot of activity and exercise whereas some of the larger or giant breeds are very sedate and calm dogs requiring little exercise.

Health concerns - almost all breeds have some genetic health concerns but clearly understanding all the issues before deciding on the breed is important. Buying from a reputable breeder will eliminate most of the issues but there is still the chance that health conditions may arise with the breed.

Experience with dogs - some breeds tend to do better with a more experienced dog owner as they may be stubborn, headstrong, or even naturally very dominant. Breeders and information from breed associations can help you decide if the breed is right for you if it is a challenging dog to train or work with.

Tolerance of children - if you have children in your home or are planning on having children it is very important to ensure the breed you are selecting is a "child-friendly" breed. Some dogs just naturally love being around kids whereas others are less likely to be a good combination or match.

Research the breed of dog that you are interested in looking for both challenges and benefits to raising the dog. Pay close attention to the temperament of the dog as well as if the breed tolerates being left alone or if it requires constant attention. Doing your homework and selecting the perfect breed of dog will ensure a good fit and will help you find just the dog you are looking for.


5 Crucial Steps You Can Take to Keep Your Cat Healthy
by Merle Zunigha

Cats are affectionate, warm, and independent creatures. They are generally easy to take care of and who can resist those beautiful eyes. No wonder they often become a member of the family. Even though cats may be easy to take care of, do not ignore your cat.

Your cat's habits and behavioral tendencies are important for you to know. Nowhere is this truer than when it concerns your cat's health. Knowing your cat's habits and tendencies can help you detect when something is wrong with your cat. If you know your cat well, you can see if there is a lack of energy, a reduction in appetite or if their bathroom habits are going bad. These all may be early signs of cat illnesses. Here are 5 steps you can take to help identify health concerns in a timely manner.

Step 1 - Don't Let Your Cat Become a Fat Cat

Keeping an eye out on your cat's weight is an important part of caring for your cat. Obesity leads to other cat illnesses like diabetes. This is true in cats just as it is in people. Regularly weigh your cat. You can do this at home or at your veterinarian's office. Bathroom scales are the perfect thing to use to weight your cat. It won't necessarily give you as accurate measurement as you might find at the vet's office, but it will help you notice any unhealthy trends in your cat's weight. If you have a hard time getting your cat to get on the scales, weigh yourself holding the cat and then weight yourself without the cat. Any difference in weight would be the weight of the cat. Significant changes in weight and shape of your cat signal that something is not right with the health of your cat. You should notify your vet if this should occur.

Step 2 - Regular Grooming

Your cat should be groomed on a regular basis. Cats are experts at grooming themselves, but there are times when they may need your assistance. Regular grooming removes loose hair, helps eliminate matted hair and helps keep the skin free from parasites like fleas and ticks. Besides, this practice can be as soothing for you as it is for your cat.

Step 3 - Medications Can Be Deadly

Cat owners will naturally seek medication and other solutions to get a sick cat back to normal. It is extremely important that you follow your vet's advice in this area. People sometimes attempt to administer their own medication to their cat. If you don't know what you are doing you may discover too late that even seemingly harmless medicines for people or other animals can have a fatal effect on cats. For example, dog owners may be advised to give their hound half an aspirin but this should never be attempted with a cat. Aspirins can be fatal to your cat. Make sure your cat receives yearly vaccinations or other medication from the vet. There are home medications that can work, but make sure you talk to a veterinary professional before you try such actions. Also, your veterinarian can show you how to safely administer any medicine.

Step 4 - The Litter Box

Learning to use a litter box is a skill most cats can readily make. There are times, however, when cats may suddenly stop using the litter box. Sometimes this occurs because of an aversion to the litter box. But if your cat is no longer using the litter box, it may be a sign of a urinary tract infection. This can be a condition that can escalate into a serious health problem for your cat. Check with your vet if your cat suddenly stops using the litter box.

Step 5 - Dinner Time For Your Cat

A proper diet is an essential element in your cat's good health. It is often recommended that your cat should be fed canned food and not dry cat food. There are three reasons for this. First, dry cat food has more plant protein (as compared to animal protein) than your cat needs. Cats are strict carnivores. They need a lot of animal protein. They cannot take plant protein and use it effectively like dogs or humans do. Second, there are too many carbohydrates in dry cat food. And finally, dry cat food does not contain enough water content for your cat.

Early detection of potential concerns can help you address any health problems your cat may have before the problem becomes serious and develop into any of a variety of cat illnesses. This is best accomplished by being aware of your cat's habits and behavior. Using these 5 steps can help assure that your furry friend is with you for a long time.

About the Author
Merle Zunigha has owned, or rather more correctly has been owned by, cats for over 30 years. His first cats were two stray kittens that had been chewed on and had whiskers singed. His latest cat, Nibbles, recently passed away after 18 years of friendship. If you would like more information on preventing cat illnesses,go to his website Common Cat Illnesses at

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The Bird House - Nature in Your Own Back Yard
Author: Bird Brain

Want to enjoy nature more? Do you love the beauty of nature? Many, many people do. They enjoy going to an aquarium, the local zoo and even the pet store. Hiking, climbing or perhaps a car ride are wonderful ways to be a part of nature.

But is there a way to enjoy nature in ones own backyard? How about getting a bird house. A bird house is not only a great addition to ones yard but for very little money can bring the excitement of nature home. And if it's in our own back yard we can enjoy it anytime; right?

How to Pick Out a Bird House

The size of the yard is a main consideration when picking out a bird house. Simply the larger the yard the larger the bird house can be (or the more bird houses can be used). Too large a bird house for the space can result in too much nature. Of course personal preference always reigns. For instance, it may or may not be your preference to have the bird house close to your patio. Many people enjoy them near the patio because the maid or gardener will clean up after the birds; but, on the other hand, others don't seem to have this kind of help and depend on their cat. Something to think about.

Where you plan to put the bird house is another major consideration. If the spot is pre-existing, such as a tree, the spot may determine size. If it is to be free standing then the size can vary with taste.

The next consideration about size goes to the bird seed budget. Since part of the use for a bird house is to feed the birds the cost of the bird seed can become a factor. Chances are the bigger the bird house or the more bird houses you have the more bird seed used and the more expense involved.

After making a size decision, model comes next. The style of house can be determined by the kind of bird you want to attract. Of course, the type of bird seed you use will attract different birds. Most pet or bird stores have a wide variety of seed mixes that will attract different birds. But remember you will only attract first the birds that are common to your area so plan accordingly and remember that certain birds like certain types of houses and seed.

Now the fun part comes in. Once the bird house is installed and filled with seed it is time to watch and enjoy. The wide variety of species that are attracted by regular bird seed is always a surprise.

Some More Options

Build your own. Many people don't like the commercial options available or think they are boring. Design your own or buy a set of plans? Elaborate or simple? Bird houses can be built to whatever size, style and design excites you. Not only is a bird house for the birds but it is also for the people who enjoy them. However you choose to go, once the bird house is done, nature and beauty brought close to home can be enjoyed by everyone.

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Unique Aquariums: Popular Styles
Author: Brittney Foster

Are you looking to update your aquarium? If you are, you may be thinking about purchasing a traditional acrylic aquarium, one that is in a rectangular shape, but you may also be interested in thinking outside of the box. What you may not know, when it comes to buying an aquarium, is that you literally have an unlimited number of choices. In fact, if you are looking for something unique, you should be able to find it, as a many fish tank suppliers carry a large selection of unique aquariums. Just a few of those aquariums are outlined below.

One of the most popular, yet unique types of aquariums are known as table aquariums. As the name implies, these unique aquariums serve as tables. When it comes to purchasing a unique table aquarium, you will also find that you have a number of options. For instance, there are numerous aquariums styles that are used for coffee tables, end tables, or even dining room tables. As you likely already known, unique aquariums, like table aquariums, can be fairly expensive, especially if they are large in size. While the prices that you will find will vary, it is not uncommon to see unique coffee table aquariums selling for five hundred to seven hundred dollars. Large dining room table aquariums can sell for much more money, but they tend to start retailing at around seven or eight hundred dollars.

In conjunction with the above table aquariums, there are also a number of other unique aquariums that can come in the form of other furniture pieces. In addition to traditional table-like structures, like coffee tables or dining room tables, furniture aquariums can also come in the form of headboards or wall units. If you are looking to spice up your bedroom, a unique aquarium headboard may be just what you are looking for. Unique wall unit aquariums are perfect for both homes and businesses. As with table aquariums, most unique aquarium pieces are expensive in price. Whether you are looking to purchase an aquarium headboard or an aquarium wall unit, you should be prepared to spend a couple of thousand dollars, if not more.

Another unique type of aquarium that is unique, but still highly sought after is aquariums that are in the shape of columns. Column aquariums are often thin in width, but tall in height. For instance, it is not uncommon to find unique column aquariums that are six or seven feet tall! It is also not uncommon to find column aquariums that have built in clocks towards the top of the aquarium. For this reason, column aquariums are highly sought after by business owners or by office decorators. Due to their beauty and their compact size, these unique column aquariums, however, can also be found inside many homes. Since column aquarium come in all different sizes, you should be prepared to spend anywhere from five hundred dollars to one thousands dollars.

If you have purchased an aquarium in the past, or at least researched all of your options, you are likely familiar with BiOrbs. BiOrbs are small, compact acrylic aquariums that are ideal for homes and offices; just about any place that is limited on space. If you enjoy the compact design and the beauty of most BiOrbs, you are also urged to examine SeaVision Orbs. SeaVision Orbs are unique aquariums that are rapidly increasing in popularity. One of the reasons for that is due to their design. While SeaVision Orbs are similar to BiOrbs, there is a small difference. That difference is a large bubble shape. That bubble shape actually acts as if it was a magnifying glass! What does that mean for you? It means that it is much easier to see the contents of your aquarium! How unique is that?

If you are interested in owning one of the above mentioned unique aquariums, you are urged to contact a reputable and well-known fish tank supplier, like By visiting, you can examine a large selection of aquariums, including the previously summarized ones.

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Horses For Beginners - Your First Horse
Author: Eileen Childs

If you are interested in learning more about horses for beginners or are looking for your first horse, then this article is for you. This article discusses the types of things you should look for when looking for a beginners horse.

Time dedication

Horses require a lot of maintenance. If you think you can just turn your horse out to grass in a field and not worry about it, you are wrong. Horses need to have their feet trimmed and may need shoeing depending on the amount of work they do. Like people, they need to have exercise, or they can get out of shape and fat. Some horses can eat so much that that they founder, which means their fee hurt so much they can't walk. Horses that have a tendency to gain weight should wear a grazing muzzle when turned out to grass, to prevent overeating. Ponies are especially prone to founder. Horses need to be checked every day to make sure they are not sick or injured. If you board your horse at a boarding facility, your horse is usually checked every day, which helps if you can't check on him every day.

Your Ability

The horse's amount of training and your ability are a big consideration when looking for a horse for beginners. If you have no riding experience, it is best to get a well trained quiet horse. These horses are sometimes called schoolmasters. It means they know their job. They are good horses for beginners to learn on, especially if you find one that is very forgiving. This means they don't get upset when beginners do things wrong.

Your Finances

There are a wide range of prices related to horses. Fancy, flashy show horses can cost thousands of dollars, whereas horses that are less fancy can be more moderately priced. The amount of training a horse has can also affect its price. For example, if a horse is young and has a little bit of training, it will not cost a lot. Unfortunately, horses with little training are not good beginners horses. A horse that is between 6 - 8 years old and has good training is usually more expensive. These horses are in their prime. A horse that is over the age of 10 or 12 years old usually is well trained, but health and the condition of the horse's joints is a consideration. Older horses are usually great beginner horses, but they may have more associated vet expenses due to their age.

Choosing Your Horse

It is advantageous to have someone experienced go with you when you are choosing your first horse. It is best if you have a trainer, who will not only give you lessons after you buy the horse, but help you choose a horse that will be suited to you.

Buying vs. Leasing

You don't always have to buy a horse. You also have the option of leasing one. There are a lot of different lease arrangements available including half leases and free leases. Free leases basically mean that you don't have to pay the owner to use the horse. In this arrangement you are responsible for the horse's care and living arrangements. Half leases mean that you may use the horse a few days a week, while the owner or someone else uses the horse the other part of the week. If you do have a lease a horse, make sure you have a written agreement, so you know who is responsible for all of the expenses related to the horse, like vet bills.

As you can see, there is a lot to consider when getting your first horse. Before you jump into a purchase or a lease arrangement, make sure you do a lot of research first, so you get a horse that is well suited to your individual needs.

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