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Make Meals a Treat for Your Pet
The Washington Post / Indy Star

A Feeding your dog can become a monotonous chore that you perform on automatic pilot. But consider a few of these tips before just dumping the food into your dog's bowl tonight. He will appreciate it.

It is best to feed your dog in glass, stainless-steel or ceramic bowls, not in plastic. Plastic sometimes transfers a bad taste to whatever is served in it, especially water. Another reason to avoid plastic is that if your dog chews a piece off the bowl, the crack might encourage the growth of bacteria or leach chemicals.

Replace scratched ceramic dishes as soon as possible as bacteria might grow in the crevices. Use separate bowls for food and water as opposed to a one-unit bowl with a divider in it.

Wash your pet's bowl in hot, soapy water, and rinse well every time before filling it again, just as you would your own plates.


Mary Madigan, a Buffalo senior citizen who lives alone, was thrilled to take in Muffin, a stray orange kitten who looked a lot like Morris The Cat. “I was tickled to death to get it,” she says. Over the next five months, Madigan and Muffin bonded. Although Muffin was a stray who’d been found by a friend’s brother, he adapted well to living with her. She also wondered what Muffin’s story was. Because he’d been neutered before Madigan took him in, she figures he had a previous owner.

“I live alone and they’re a lot of company,” she says. “They’re part of the family.”

Then Muffin started to get sick. He wouldn’t use the litter pan for two days at a time.

But Madigan, living off Social Security, couldn’t afford to take Muffin to the veterinarian for what potentially could be expensive treatment. She called some vets to see if any offered payment plans — none did. She contacted the SPCA to see if they could help with Muffin’s treatment — they couldn’t unless she gave up the cat.

So Madigan made a hard — and upsetting — choice last month. She turned Muffin over to the SPCA.

“There was nothing more I could do,” she says. “I really do miss the little fur ball.”

Pet care can be expensive, from routine costs like food, flea treatments and grooming to higher-priced items, like medical care.

With the stock market in turmoil and fears growing that the economy is headed for a recession, family budgets are getting squeezed, and that could leave less money for pet care.

Amherst veterinarian Dr. James Brown of the Blue Cross Animal Hospital says the first thing to do, before you even get a pet, is to decide how many pets you can afford to care for, not how many you’d like to care for.

“A lot of people’s hearts are certainly bigger than their pocketbooks,” he says.

Local veterinarians say some of the best things pet owners can do to save money in the long run is to spend a little on vaccinations, flea and tick treatments and other preventative care.

“It’s not immediately cost effective, but it is going to be in the long run,” says Dr. Stephanie Wolf from the Cheektowaga Veterinary Hospital and the president of the Niagara Frontier Veterinary Society.

“It’s like buying a car and saying, to heck with it, I’m not going to do oil changes,” she says. “Down the road, you’re going to need a new car.”

These are their Top 10 money-saving tips:

• Buy big. Those smaller bags of cat and dog food might be more convenient and easier to store, but they’re also much more expensive than the larger sizes. Going with the bigger bags can save a bundle.

Consider this: A mid-sized bag of Science Diet dog food costs a third less per pound than a small one, and the even bigger, 40-pound bag costs almost 60 percent less per pound, although that much food may go stale before your dog can eat it all.

It’s a similar story for dry cat food. An 18-pound bag of Friskies costs 60 percent less per pound than a 3-pound bag.

Because storing the food in the bigger bags can be messy, try using a plastic storage container with a sealable lid instead. That also will help the food stay fresher.

Wolf recommends spending a little more for a higher-quality food, which typically has fewer fillers and offers better nutrition. “It’s like eating junk food, versus your Grade A quality stuff,” she says.

And lay off the table scraps, Brown says. Obese pets are prone to many more costly health problems.

• Spay or neuter your pet early. Vets typically charge more to spay a pet once it’s been in heat. It also reduces the risk — and added expense — of unwanted pregnancies, as well as the chances your pet will contract certain types of cancer and infections.

Spaying or neutering pets also will reduce their urge to roam, which lessens the chances they’ll be hit by a car or get into a fight with another animal — encounters that would lead to significant vet expenses.

The state Department of Agriculture offers vouchers for $20 spaying or neutering to low-income pet owners. Vouchers for $30 spaying and neutering often are offered when pets are adopted through pet rescue groups.

Dogs and cats adopted through the SPCA (kittens cost $100; $185 for dogs) come with spaying or neutering included in the fee, as well as with initial shots, 30 days of pet insurance and four obedience classes for dogs, says Gina Browning, an SPCA spokeswoman.

Browning warned that “free” kittens can end up being far from free after sterilization costs, shots and other important initial expenses are added.

• Take advantage of free rabies clinics. Free rabies clinics are offered periodically by the Erie County Health Department, with help from the SPCA and the Niagara Frontier Veterinary Society. While no clinics are scheduled for the rest of this year, the program gives pet owners a chance to get one of the mainstay vaccinations without paying a visit to their vet’s office.

• Keep up with vaccinations and parasite prevention. Vaccinating your pet for diseases, such as distemper, rabies, feline leukemia, parvo and hepatitis costs much less than the vet bills you’ll face if they contract one of those preventable diseases.

“Some of the best ways to cut costs are routine care,” says Nancy Fredrickson, a spokeswoman for the Niagara Frontier Veterinary Society. “Some of the best ways prevent small problems from becoming big problems.”

• Shop around for flea and tick medicine. If you’ve ever had a pet infested with fleas or ticks, and seen how they can quickly infest your entire house, then you know how hard it can be to get rid of those pests once and for all.

But the popular — and highly effective — flea and tick treatments aren’t cheap, easily topping $10 per dose in some cases.

Wolf recommends applying flea, heartworm and worm treatments year-round. Brown says pet owners can start flea treatments when they take the lawn mower out for the spring and stop once they put it away for the winter. He recommends worm treatments year-round, but says heartworm treatments can stop once winter hits.

Yet prices can vary widely, so it’s a good idea to shop around. Compare the prices at your local vet with the cost of similar products at U. S.-based online stores, like Before you order, do an Internet search with the online store’s name and “coupon code” to see if there are any shipping deals or coupons available to further reduce your costs.

Some of the cheapest prices often are available from Australian-based Web sites, such as and . But the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency also has issued warnings for consumers to be wary of counterfeit products, especially under the Advantage and Frontline brands. • Join a shopper’s club. Like grocery stores, big pet store chains like PetSmart and Petco have their own loyalty programs that offer consumers additional discounts on some items, as well as discount coupons.

PetSmart, for instance, occasionally sends its Pet Perks members coupons offering $5 off a $25 purchase or similar discounts. Try to bunch up your purchases to take full advantage of those coupons when they’re available.

• Be creative with pet-sitting. Boarding your pet while you’re on vacation can quickly add up to big money. So can hiring a pet-sitter. Try to work out a mutually beneficial deal with a fellow pet owner to watch each others’ pets when one of you is away. Maybe a friend or a neighbor will be willing to step in while you’re away.

• Brush your dog’s teeth. Poor dental hygiene can cause tooth decay and gum disease in pets, just as it can in humans, Brown says. Those problems in the mouth also can spread, causing problems in other parts of the body, such as the liver and kidneys.

While it might not be your dog’s favorite activity, brushing teeth every three or four days can help avoid those problems, and the need for potentially expensive teeth cleanings by your vet, which can run upwards of $400, Brown says.

• Exercise your pets. Like humans, an active pet tends to be a healthier pet. Regular walks are important for dogs. “It’s great for their brains. It’s great for their bodies. And it’s free,” Brown says.

• Keep up with grooming. Some pets require more grooming than others, but something as simple as combing them regularly can ward off mats that can require more costly grooming later on to repair.

New Yorkers Go from Stock Trading to Pet Grooming

A franchise broker first presented the idea of opening a franchise of Aussie Pet Mobile, an international company that originated in Australia, about a year and a half ago, about the same time Cocomero and Quinn were watching an increasingly computerized system phasing out their jobs.

"We saw the writing on the wall," Quinn said. "We trusted franchises more than starting our own business."

Cocomero and Quinn, who were laid off in February 2007, traveled to Aussie Pet's U.S. headquarters in California for training. They interviewed and trained groomers and bought their first truck in June 2007, the same month they opened for business. They soon realized there was a demand for their services.

Within three months of starting the business, their sales revenue more than doubled.

"Living on Long Island, both husband and wife are often working, and the kids don't want to do anything to help with the dog," Cocomero said. "People are willing to pay $20 to $30 more just for the convenience."

They pride themselves on using environmentally friendly products and on offering an array of special treatments -- for dogs and cats -- like the aloe wrap.

"When the dogs have really dry skin in the wintertime, they love the aloe wrap," Cocomero said. "It's a wrap with warm towels so it sinks into the skin, and it relaxes them."

Neither makes grooming calls themselves, instead employing four groomers.

The gasoline bill is high, but there is no storefront. The three full-time groomers (the other works part-time) keep the vans at their homes, eliminating rent, electricity and heating bills. Cocomero and Quinn found the perfect manager in Cocomero's sister, Autumn Donnelly, an animal lover. A dispatcher in Minnesota takes care of all the appointments.

As it turned out, the pet grooming business suits them well, they said.

"Grooming is more of an essential for people, like barber shops and getting your hair cut," Quinn said. "You can only stand your dog smelling for so long."


Dog Training - Easy Dog Tricks
Author: John Williams

There are plenty of dog tricks around to choose from but starting off with your first puppy or dog and knowing which dog tricks are easy can be a bit of a challenge. If you have a puppy then training them will be a lot easier than an older dog because of the habits dogs fall into when they are brought up.

Older dogs will have different habits and a strong personality by then so they may find some advanced tricks easier than basic tricks because of the way they have been brought up.

Although the same as above can be true for puppies also, this is more likely to be because of the breed of dog you have and the different general personalities that go with them breeds.

In this article we assume you have taught your dog the basics or sit and stay etc and now you want to teach your dog a fun ‘show-off’ type trick to impress your friends or family when they visit. There are many tricks from bringing you the TV remote to riding a skateboard, but to start off I recommend something simple like the figure of eight around your legs.

This is similar to other commands you will have taught your dog and involves you using treats to encourage your dog to perform actions. To do this trick you simply have hold a treat in one hand and guide your dog through one side of your legs, through the middle then around to complete a figure of eight motion. Try to hold the treat close to your dog’s nose to keep them interested and always reward them with praise afterwards and the treat afterwards.

After you have mastered this and can get your dog to do it on command you’re ready for your next trick and one step closer to the skateboard. Good luck!

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How the Experts Deal With Cats That Do Not Like to Eat Cat Food
By Paul Kramer

Your cat has the same sensory organs that you do eyes, ears, nose, taste buds, and the organs of touch. But her senses work differently than yours do and a normal healthy cat have a better sense of smell than you have.

In fact, she lives in a much richer world of scent and uses scent to communicate with other cats, to sense danger, to navigate, and to locate prey. Certain smells undoubtedly give her pleasure as well.

On the other hand, you are much better equipped than your cat is to distinguish different flavors. The average person has some 9000 taste buds on the tip, sides, and back of the tongue, 18 times as many as the paltry 475 on your cat's tongue.

So, fragrance plays a much more important role than taste in stimulating your cat's appetite. As she ages, your cat may lose some of her ability to sense smells, and food may lose some of its appeal.

If she becomes finicky about her food as she advances in age, you may be able to revive her appetite by increasing her food's fragrance. You can do this by adding warm water or salt free broth to dry food or by warming wet food slightly, but do not make the water or broth too hot.

Cats with certain medical conditions often benefit from specific dietary changes. Specially designed foods are available that are designed to help cats with a wide variety of health challenges, and your vet may recommend such a food at some point in your feline's life.

Throughout your cat's life, a good quality food is one of the best investments you can make in her health and well being. Your cat is indeed, at least in part, what she eats. Your nose has about 5 million odor sensing cells. Your cat's nose is about 40 times as well equipped, having about 200 million of the odor sensing cells.

During the supposedly humorous photos we see of fat cats, excess weight is no laughing matter. Studies show that obesity is hard on the heart; lungs, pancreas, kidneys, joints and muscles, and it can lower your cat's life expectancy by 30 to 50 percent.

To learn more about the different types of Pet Food for your dogs, cats, horse, etc., and how to get discount and cheap pet medications, make sure to visit where you will find everything on getting quality yet affordable pet medications as well as tips on how to take care of your pets like the experts.

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Caring For Angelfish
by Naomi West

Saltwater Angelfish are beautiful and exotic animals that can be found in almost every ocean of the world. Some of the more exotic species live in the Indo-Pacific Ocean. What makes them exotic are the brightly colored bodies. The colors form spots or stripes across them and give them an exotic look. Because they are so exotic many people covet them as pets.
Food For Saltwater Angelfish

Saltwater Angelfish have a very unusual diet - but they can usually eat different kinds of plants and animal materials. Unlike most fish they prefer more then just the usual fish food that you can buy at your local grocery store in the size of small pellets. Instead they love things like jumbo krill freeze dried jumbo shrimp. This type of food are whole, freeze-dried shrimp and have a good source of protein, vitamin E, and fat.

For those of you who want to be more traditional with your fish can purchase the Flake Formula One Flakes for them. These flakes are made with extra algae and fresh seafood making it perfect for exotic fish. Even when you feed them this it is still good to feed them a source of live food like the shrimp.

Housing For Saltwater Angelfish

Angelfish can be very picky and territorial about their living space. They prefer to have as much as you can give them. Some species can grow to up to 16" so you should take this into account when looking for the right saltwater fish habitat. Unless you have purchased a pygmy angelfish you should make sure that the tank you buy is no less then 75 gallons.

Having a large saltwater fish habitat allows you to have other fish besides the Angelfish without them getting angry over their space. However, it is important to keep in mind that they can be territorial so do not be surprised if they kill off some of the other fish.

About the Author is a great site that helps you to learn how to care for your saltwater fish. Learn what food to give them, what tanks they should live in, and how to keep them healthy.

Tips to Solve Your Dog's Barking Problems
By Daniel Waser

Having a barking dog is not easy to deal with and it can put the dog owner into embarrassing situations. You don't want to be known as the neighbor whose dog keeps everyone awake at night. There are many other negative side effects of having a dog bark all through the night (and day). No matter how much dog owners love their dogs, loud and constant barking becomes irritating.

One way to stop a dog from barking is to use a barking collar. It's a gentle and humane way to correct the barking problem. But before you begin a barking collar treatment, you must understand why your dog is barking in the first place.

Things to be Aware of Before Beginning a Stop Dog Barking Treatment:

A dog can bark for several reasons. If you keep your dog in a fenced off area that has a clear view of the street, loud cars, animals or noisy children, the dog will inevitably bark. If a neighbor regularly walks by and yells at the dog or scares him, your dog will bark even more. If this happens, you should try to talk to the neighbor and request that he treats your dog with respect. You can also fence off the area of the yard that offers a view on these people, animals or things.

Your dog can also bark if he is hungry, thirsty or excessively hot or cold. Dogs are like us and they need food and water. During extreme weather they also need to be able to stay indoor. If your dog has physical needs such as those just mentioned, he will keep barking until his needs are met. If your dog keeps barking after you've checked and dealt with all of the above possibilities, you may have to get a barking collar.

3 Types of Barking Collars to Solve Your Dog's Barking Problems:

We'll talk about three types of barking collars, some of which may be considered humane or inhumane.

The first one is called a spray barking collar and it is one of the most popular types of barking collars. They consist of a regular collar with a device attached in the front, directly beneath the dogs' chin. Whenever the dog barks, an unpleasant scent is sprayed. Dogs don't appreciate being sprayed in the nose, and the sound made by the device when it sprays may also startle them. That being said, there is no pain associated with this treatment and it is considered humane.

Choke barking collars are a different type of collars that may scare your dog, but they are considered safe to use. The collar is designed to automatically constrict the throat whenever the dog barks. This type of collar has a sensor that detects the proper width at which to close. Although not typical, bruising has been reported in some cases. There is also a serious problem associated with collar malfunctions. Should the collar be defective, it could choke your dog to death.

Shock barking collars are the third type of collars and they are considered inhumane and cruel. They are therefore not commonly used today. In addition to giving shocks, these collars force the dogs to develop an association with the barking cause, whether it's a thing or a person. For example, if the presence of a child causes the dog to bark, the dog associates looking at the child with receiving pain. The dog doesn't know that it's his barking that gives the shock, he thinks that it's the presence of the child near him. Should the collar be taken off, the dog will remember the child and associate looking at him with the pain he received.

A Few Final Words on Barking Collars:

You already know that people don't like barking dogs. If your dog barks too much and you've already tried other techniques to stop your dog from barking and all those techniques failed, then you should consider investing in a humane barking collar such as the spray barking collar. These collars won't cause physical harm to your dog. Keep in mind that it's in your dog's nature to bark, so don't punish him for barking, simply help him correct his behavior.

Getting rid of your dog's barking problem can be done once and for all. The spray barking collars used in combination with the owner treating his dog in a proactive way can help put an end to incessant barking.

Daniel Waser is a dog lover since his childhood. Visit his website for more information about Dog Health Care and download the free report "The Secrets to Raising a Happier Dog" or grab his latest Dog Training Tips.

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