Shake Your Booty! (Dog Booties, That Is)

Finding the Perfect Accessories for Your Pet
by John Malrubius

It seems like nowadays, simply buying food and providing a home to your pet is not enough. The store shelves are filled with different accessories that you can buy for your pet. The most popular pet accessories include carriers, collars & harnesses, jewelry, clothing, toys, and shampoos. It is completely up to you which accessories you purchase for your pet, but dog owners are more likely to purchase these items than are cat owners.
One of the first accessories that you will end up purchasing for your pet is a carrier. There are numerous times when you will have to take your pet places, such as to the vet, and a carrier is the best way to do so without them giving you a hard time. Usually, people with larger pets do not bother with them, but if you have a cat or a smaller dog then they are a necessity. Something simple and durable may be in your best interest, or you may prefer something classier. For example, there are designer carriers made with leather, backpack and shoulder carriers, classic handbags, casual totes, travel carriers, and even pet strollers.

If you have a dog, then a collar or harness is also pretty much a needed item. When picking out a collar for your dog, you can buy something that is cute and decorative, or something that is made stronger, such as for a larger dog. There are many different options available so make sure you look at a few stores first. The only problem with collars is that they put stress on your pet's neck. This is especially dangerous for smaller dogs. Because of this, many owners of smaller dogs are purchasing harnesses instead.

One of the more amusing pet accessories is pet clothing. This is usually only purchased for smaller dogs. While pet clothing is mostly for show, it also can help keep smaller pets warm when you take them out for walks. The many different types of pet clothing include tee shirts, hoodies, skirts, tank tops, dresses, even sleepwear and swimsuits. Finally, there are also costumes for your pets which are very popular during the holidays, especially Halloween.

Believe it or not, there is also such a thing as pet jewelry. This includes: charms, pendants, hair wear, purses, backpacks, belts, paw wear, eye wear, and safety items as well. They are completely unnecessary, but still a fun way to personalize your pet. Even Paris Hilton has her own line of pet jewelry produced by Little Lily.

Finally, remember to buy some toys for your pet. No matter what kind of animal you have, pets love to play with toys. Whether you have a cat or a dog, most pets seem to like small stuffed animals. Cats like things that they can bat around, while dogs like toys that they can chew on and carry around in their mouths. Pet toys are usually inexpensive, so you can buy a few to see what your particular pet likes best.

About the Author
HAL Woodworking handcrafts pet urns and walnut award plaques.

An Introduction to Pet Cremation
by John Malrubius

The loss of a pet can be a sad experience. While not as painful as the death of a person that is loved, it is still painful and can keep you feeling down for weeks or longer. While the topic is a difficult one, have you considered what you will do should a beloved pet of yours pass away? While burying them is a cheap and easy option, many people nowadays are looking into pet cremation as a way to keep the memory of the pet that had been loyal for many years.
When you have a pet cremated, you have the option of burying the ashes, scattering the ashes, or keeping the ashes in an urn. Many pet owners like the idea of keeping the ashes in an urn because that way if they move they can always make sure that their pets are with them. There are basically four different kinds of pet cremation ceremonies. These include: private cremation, viewing cremation, individual cremation, and communal cremation.

In a private cremation, your pet will be cremated alone, and the ashes will be returned to you when the procedure is over. In a viewing cremation the owners of the pet are allowed to be present when the animal is being cremated. This is only an option at a few crematories though. In an individual cremation, there will be several pets cremated at the same time, but they are separated beforehand so that the ashes are not interspersed. Finally, communal cremation will have multiple pets cremated together, but the ashes are not separated. Obviously, the ashes are not returned to the owners when this form of cremation is chosen.

After a pet has been cremated, its ashes are usually placed into a sealed bag and put into a temporary urn after they have been given back to the pet's owners. At this time, the owners can decide what type of urn they would like to purchase or have made for their pet. There are countess options available and it is really up to your personal tastes when it comes to which one to choose. There are the usual urns that are like ornate vases which many people prefer. The only thing people like about this type of urn is that it too closely resembles that of those used for humans.

The type of urn that many people like to use for their pets is a wooden box urn. There are some woodworkers that produce elegant, ornate boxes that are used to house the pet's remains. They even employ experts that can produce an accurate image of your pet for the urn that includes a photographic image, painting, or carving. This can be much more personalized than an urn that merely has a plaque featuring the pet's name and dates. It is up to you which type of urn you choose to house your pet's remains, but think it through carefully. Naturally, the price is a factor that you will have to take into consideration as well.

About the Author
Consider HAL Woodworking for handcrafted pet urns and wood pet urns.


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Soldier's Pet from Iraq Arrives in US
Gulf News

Chantilly: An Iraqi dog has arrived in his new home in the United States to be with his owner, a US soldier.

The dog, Ratchet, has been the object of an online petition urging the US army to let it come home with Sgt. Gwen Beberg from Minneapolis. Thousands signed the petition.

Beberg and another soldier rescued the dog from a burning pile of trash in Iraq. Beberg said she did not want to leave Ratchet behind, saying the dog may be killed.

"I'm very excited that Ratchet will be waiting for me when I get home from Iraq," Beberg said in an email to family and friends. She is scheduled to return home next month.

"I hope that Ratchet's story will inspire people to continue the efforts to bring more service members' animals home from Iraq and Afghanistan," she said.

Ratchet arrived at a Virginia airport on Monday and is spending a night in a kennel on Tuesday before flying to Minneapolis, where Beberg's parents will pick him up.

Baghdad Pups coordinator Terri Crisp, who brought Ratchet back from Iraq, said animals adopted by soldiers help them get through difficult times.

The military bars troops from caring for pets on duty or taking them home.

"I hope Ratchet and his story will lead to some dialogue with the military," Crisp said.

Pet Theories
Emine Saner The London Guardian

American researchers have discovered that owning a pet can significantly reduce your risk of a common cancer.

The body of evidence supporting the notion that pet ownership is good for your health grew even fatter this month. A new study, published in Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention, found that keeping animals can cut the risk of developing the relatively common cancer of the immune system, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, by almost one third.

"The idea that pets and good health are associated goes back 20 years or more," says Dr June McNicholas, a psychologist who has researched the relationship between people and their pets. The catalogue of health plusses can't all be attributed to regular dogwalking however. When a study suggested that people who own pets have better cardiac health, says McNicholas, "one of the significant factors in people recovering well from a heart attack was owning a pet, but it wasn't just dogs. It applied equally to cats." Here are some of the many ways in which pets have been found to strengthen our constitutions.

Pets are good for cardiac health
The Baker Medical Research Institute in Australia studied 6,000 people and found that those who kept animals had lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol - and therefore, a lower risk of heart attack. Another study, conducted at the University of Minnesota and published earlier this year, concluded that cat owners were 40% less likely to suffer a fatal heart attack than people who didn't have a cat. Adnan Qureshi, the neurology professor who led the study of nearly 4,500 people, said he believed that people who stroked their cat experienced less stress and anxiety and therefore were at a lower risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.

Pets boost the immune system
This month, a study by researchers from Stanford University and the University of California found that regular exposure to a cat or a dog could reduce one's chance of developing non-Hodgkins lymphoma. It is thought that exposure to allergens - from cats and dogs - could boost the immune system.

The immune-boosting power of pets is something that McNicholas has also investigated. In 2002, she studied 256 primary school children and found that children aged from five to seven from pet-owning households attended school for three weeks more than those who didn't. "We found that children brought up with pets had more stable immune systems. There have been other studies which suggest that children born into a household that already has a dog or a cat are less likely to develop asthma. Moderate exposure [to allergens] will prime the immune system." Meanwhile, a study in Japan found that pet owners over the age of 65 made almost a third fewer visits to their GP than people the same age who didn't have pets.

Dogs can act as a health warnings
After 20 years working for the charity Hearing Dogs for the Deaf, Claire Guest was struck by the story of a colleague whose dog had repeatedly sniffed at a mole on her leg before it was diagnosed as a malignant melanoma. Guest went on to work with researchers at Amersham hospital in Buckinghamshire, to discover whether dogs could be trained to detect bladder cancer in urine samples, and found that they could.

Similarly, in 2006, a cancer research centre in California published a study which found that ordinary household dogs could be trained to detect early breast and lung cancer between 88% and 97% of the time, by sniffing people's breath - it is thought that these particular cancer cells give off miniscule traces of volatile odours that dogs can smell. The idea is that, once they have worked out which odours dogs are detecting and which cancers emit them, a diagnostic machine could be developed.

Guest also trains dogs to warn owners with Type 1 diabetes of an impending hypoglycaemic, or low blood sugar, episode - they usually alert their owners by jumping up. "We don't know exactly how the dogs do it, but again they pick up on scent because they sniff the person before deciding whether to warn them or not. Because they also have a relationship with their owner, they may be able to pick up on other signs."

Pets can improve self-esteem and decrease the likelihood of depression
"There have been studies that have suggested pet owners are more likely to have higher self-worth and are less likely to suffer loneliness and depression," says Dr Deborah Wells, senior lecturer in psychology at the University of Belfast, who has conducted several studies on the benefits of pet ownership. "Dogs seem to bring people the biggest benefits - you have to get out and walk them every day, and they can act as a social catalyst."

Wells says pets are particularly useful for children. "Pets can become like a therapist, for want of a better word. If children are bullied at school, or their parents are getting divorced, children will often tell their pets their problems whereas they wouldn't always talk to a person."

The charity Pets As Therapy has been running for 25 years and has 4,000 dogs and 106 cats, which visit 120,000 people in hospitals, hospices, care homes, day care centres and schools for children with special needs every week. "We started taking dogs into nursing homes, because elderly people had had to give up their pets when they went in and it was making them depressed and in many cases ill," says Maureen Fennis, the chief executive. "At one nursing home, there was a lady who used to say the visits were her reason for staying alive."

The routine and "normality" of having a pet can help people suffering a traumatic event, such as bereavement or a diagnosis of terminal illness. In one study, McNicholas found that people with animals to care for adjusted far better after the death of someone close than those without pets. "We live in a society where we do not like to cry in front of people," she adds, "but there are a large number of people who can cry in front of their pets" ·

Pet Adoption: A Lifetime Commitment

How much will owning a pet cost? How much time do I really need to devote to a pet? These are questions potential pet owners should ask prior to adopting. However, not everyone takes the time to assess the responsibilities and requirements associated with pet ownership, increasing the likelihood a pet will be surrendered to an animal welfare organization. Sometimes a pet is given up for hardship reasons such as displacement after a natural disaster or home foreclosure. But one of the biggest and more controllable factors affecting pet relinquishment is a lack of knowledge on the owner's part.

The good news is pet relinquishment is often preventable through education. Potential pet adopters who truly evaluate their situations and get answers to important questions before bringing pets into their homes can increase their chances of a permanent pet adoption. is North America's largest non-profit pet adoption Web site, with more than 5,766 public and private animal welfare organizations posting information on adoptable pets. Their vast resource of shelter and rescue organizations provides thousands of pets with loving homes each year. These organizations serve as local experts to anyone in search of the perfect furry friend. Recently, Purina Pets for Pet People surveyed more than 180 Adopt-A-Pet animal welfare organizations nationwide to develop a "Permanent Pet Adoption" checklist of the Top 10 most important things pet adopters should consider to ensure they have a successful adoption experience.

Making a lifetime commitment is key

According to the survey, the number one thing a prospective pet owner should consider to ensure a permanent adoption is whether they're ready to make a real commitment to care for the new pet for its entire life, just as they would with a child. Another important factor to consider is that a pet affects other parts of their lives, such as housing and travel, for as long as they have the pet, up to 15 years for dogs and 20 years for cats. More tips from the "Permanent Pet Adoption" checklist can be found at

Victoria Stilwell, a respected dog trainer, author and host of the television program "It's Me or the Dog," believes that potential pet owners need to ask the right questions prior to adopting, so they are prepared for the rewards and challenges that come with pet ownership.

"Education prior to adoption is one of the best ways to reduce the number of pets surrendered by their owners," says Stilwell. "Prospective pet owners need to clearly understand how a pet will fit into their lives for the long term, and whether or not it's a good fit before they adopt. It's my goal to keep as many deserving dogs and cats in forever homes as possible, and it starts with proper education."

Deserving of a permanent home

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) estimates that 5 to 7 million pets enter shelters every year. They are not typically bad pets, but often victims of unfortunate circumstances or a lack of education on the part of their former owners. The solution for keeping pets in forever homes lies in education, and the "Permanent Pet Adoption" checklist can be a valuable resource for potential pet adopters. The National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy cites proactive educational efforts as essential to reducing the number of pets that are relinquished to shelters and rescue organizations.

"Selfless animal welfare organization workers are extremely knowledgeable on the pets in their care," says Brenda Bax of Purina Pets for People. "Whether they're mixed or breed-specific organizations, they can offer advice, resources and valuable information to anyone interested in adopting a dog or cat. The better educated prospective adopters are about the pet they are bringing into their lives, the greater the chances that the pet will have a loving permanent home."

Current and prospective owners can visit to search for adoptable animals in shelters and rescue organizations in their area. While visiting the Web site, potential pet owners can download the "Permanent Pet Adoption" checklist and watch a video featuring Stilwell offering pet adoption tips. Current pet owners, who have made the commitment to have permanent pets in their homes, can keep an eye out in their local papers for Purina Pet Lover Savings coupons on pet food and treats.

Permanent Pet Adoption Checklist

A Purina Pets for People survey of the Adopt-A-Pet network of pet-shelter employees and rescue workers revealed the Top 10 most important things pet adopters should consider prior to adoption to ensure a permanent match.

Before you adopt - give this list some thought:

1. When you adopt, you need to make a real commitment to care for your pet for its entire life, just as you would with a child.

2. Be prepared for a pet to affect other parts of your life for as long as you have the pet, which can be up to 15 years for a dog and 20 years for cat. Your pet's well-being will have to be considered in all decisions, including travel, social life, relocation, adopting other pets, having children, etc.

3. Verify in advance you're allowed to keep a pet where you live, especially if you rent or belong to a homeowners' association.

4. Make necessary modifications to your yard and fence, if you have one, to provide for your pet's safety and to prevent your pet from escaping.

5. Never give a pet as a gift.

6. Choose a pet appropriate to your living situation and lifestyle. Figure out what size, age and energy-level pet is most appropriate.

7. Never adopt a pet on a whim or because it's love-at-first-sight. Do research and carefully consider every aspect and implication of adopting before you make a decision.

8. If you're adopting a pet for your kids, understand the responsibility is yours. Kids often tire of things that were once new and exciting, and this includes their pets. You will most likely end up being the one who provides most of the pet's care.

9. Plan for a several-week adjustment period during which there will be challenges.

10. Provide sufficient exercise and stimulation. For example, walk dogs according to individual need, provide playtime and appropriate toys, spend time just petting and talking to your pet, and include your pet in family activities.

To download this Top 10 checklist, visit

Tests Should Explain Trembling
Bernhard Pukay, Ottawa Citizen Special

Q: Our two-year-old Spaniel trembles all the time. The trembling is generalized to a mild degree but the front legs seem to be affected most severely. The trembling is similar to what one would expect if she were cold or afraid but she will do this even when it is warm and when she is relaxed. We took her to our veterinarian who found nothing wrong with her on physical examination and has suggested that we do some laboratory tests. What could be her problem and how serious is it?

A: As you stated, trembling is not uncommon in dogs when they are cold, afraid or anxious. However, if these reasons are not present, then trembling may be a symptom of an underlying medical problem.

If trembling has been present since your dog was a puppy, the trembling may be due to some kind of congenital (i.e. acquired during fetal development), familial (i.e. a disease seen in a particular family or breed) or genetic disorder. Trembling of the front legs can be suggestive of a number of disorders. For example, if your dog had been exposed to the distemper virus as a puppy, this type of trembling could be distemper chorea, a type of muscular seizure that involves involuntary repetitive rhythmic contractions of a group of muscles in a limb. It is the result of distemper encephalomyelitis (i.e. inflammation of the brain) and persists for life with no other ill effects.

There are a number of muscle disorders (called myopathies) and neurological disorders (called neuropathies or polyneuropathies) that can also show similar symptoms. Lesions in the brain or spinal cord, including various forms of cancer, can cause trembling. These conditions are difficult to diagnose without an MRI or CT scan.

My advice would be to have the necessary laboratory testing done by your veterinarian. For example, dogs with polyneuropathies may be hypothyroid (i.e. abnormal levels of thyroid hormone). If your veterinarian feels that this is a possibility, a blood test can rule out this possibility. If your dog does have hypothyroidism, response to daily oral medication is good and the prognosis for a return to normal is excellent.

If your veterinarian is unable to determine the cause, ask for a referral to a veterinary neurologist. As a specialist, a neurologist is often able to do further testing that may not be available to a general practitioner, such as an MRI or CT scan.

Dr. Bernhard Pukay is an Ottawa veterinarian. Questions and comments are welcome. Address letters to Pet Care,

Ottawa Citizen, Box 5020, Ottawa K2C 3M4. E-mail: .

Pet Q&A: Specialists Can Make a Difference
The Sacramento Bee

My dog has had an ongoing problem with digesting his food. Working with my veterinarian, we tried a few different things, but now he wants me to take the dog to a specialist. I didn't even know there were specialist vets. Are they really needed?

– O.R., via e-mail

If you think about it, it's pretty difficult for a single person to handle primary care, anesthesiology, dentistry, surgery and more for all kinds of pets. So, yes, veterinary specialists do exist, and their expertise can make a difference.

The relationship between your regular veterinarian and a specialist is pretty formalized. You are being sent for the specialist's help, and then you, your veterinarian and the specialist will work together to resolve the issue.

Typically, a specialist does not continue care after the health crisis is over, but rather sends the client back to the referring veterinarian. For ongoing issues, however, it's not uncommon for a pet to see two veterinarians over a long period.

For example, my 12-year-old retriever sees both our regular veterinarian for traditional care and a veterinary acupuncturist who helps Heather with her arthritis pain.

Both veterinarians are aware of the situation and consult each other to be sure Heather has the best quality of life as she ages. This is the third aging dog I've used both Western and Eastern veterinary medicine with, and the integrated approach has worked well in easing the decline.

Veterinary specialists fall into two general categories: those who specialize in a kind of medicine, such as surgery, and those who specialize in a particular species or a related group of species, such as birds.

Information on all traditional veterinary specialists can be found on the American Veterinary Medical Association's Web site ( by clicking on the link to "Veterinary Specialty Organizations." For alternative veterinary specialists, visit the site of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (

– Gina Spadafori

Pet Gear: Break Out the Booties
Tails of the City - SF Chronicle

I've never been a gear head. Not when it comes to sports, or cars or electronics. And especially not when it comes to pets. The Doone has been known to wear a raincoat in the winter (and now has a whole collection of them thanks to her step mom's sewing talents), but when it's not raining, just a scrappy collar and leash will do.

Having spent some time wandering around the parks and streets of New York City this fall, I noticed many a dog decked out in booties. As someone who believes in leaving her own shoes at the door, this makes a lot of sense. (The dirt factor is one of my boyfriend's biggest arguments against having a dog in the city, so maybe booties are the answer?) Booties also help to protect little paws from rough terrain and sharp objects, especially in a place where there seems to be at least one construction site on every block.

I wondered though, if an older dog (The Doone is now the wise old age of six and a half) could get used to having her feet wrapped up in little waterproof sacks? With another Tahoe winter right around the corner, I did some research to find out:

Tips for boot training your dog

Start slow! As part of a grooming or training session, slip a boot onto one of her feet, but don't fasten it. Offer her a yummy treat, and then slip it right back off again and go on with your other activities.
Build up her footwear tolerance over time. Patience will pay off in the long run. For the next few days, try the same exercise with a different foot. Then, try two feet. The goal is to reach the point where your dog is happy to have her feet handled and slipped into the boots because she knows those yummy treats are part of the process.

Fasten, tighten and repeat. When your dog will allow you to put boots onto all four feet at once, go back to putting a boot on just one foot, but this time, fasten it loosely and give her a treat. Work up to the point where all four feet can be loosely fastened into the boots at one time. Each time you repeat the training cycle, fasten the boots more securely.
Non-slip floors are your friend. A carpet is the best place to start your dog off in her new boots. On tile or hardwood floors go back to one boot (securely fastened) on one paw, and let your dog walk around. Then work up to all four boots.
Keep her eyes on the prize. On the first few test runs (or walks), offer plenty of treats, a favorite toy, a ride in the car — whatever reward will distract her from the funny feeling of wearing boots.
Don't wait for mid-winter. Let your pooch get used to her new booties gradually, around the house and during short walks in the neighborhood before taking her on that big snowshoeing adventure.

How to choose the best booties for the job

If you're crafty, you can make your own duct tape or fleece paw protectors.
Can't be bothered to take on another D.I.Y. project? A lot of folks seem to like Bark'n Boots Grip Trex, complete with a Vibram sole. (Yep. That's right. A soled shoe for doggies.) The claim is that, once secured, they really stay on.
For camping and use on softer surfaces, try the fleece boots from PETCO. (They're cheap and are said to have good velcro action.)
Whether you're D.I.Y.-ing or buying, it's important to pay close attention to fit: if the booties are too small or too tight they can cut off circulation to the paw. Booties don't add warmth, so hindering blood flow, even a little bit, can cause permanent damage.
And here are a few other fun pet accessories I discovered along the way:

Neck tie collars

Come With Me Kitty Harness and Bungee Leash

Sun Shower Rain Jacket

What gear does your pet wear?

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5 Minute Guide To Choosing A Pet ID Tag
Author: D. Marie Ratliff

Buying a Pet ID tag is like buying insurance - you do so with the devout wish that you're never going to need it. The "possible cost" of not having a pet ID tag is more expensive than the "actual cost" of buying the pet tag itself.

The type of pet identification tag that you buy is important, so take 5 minutes or so to think it through. Impulsively choosing a collar tag because it's cheap or cute often proves to be unwise, long-term.

Consider the following before purchasing any pet id tag:
1.What is the level of risk to your pet?
Lost pets are certainly common - we've all seen "Lost Dog!" signs tacked around town, or dead pets lying by the side of the road. If your pet is a master at escaping the fence, or a breed of dog that cannot resist following a scent, or a young pet that's full of energy, or a new pet that isn't properly trained, the risk of a lost pet is high.

But losing your pet isn't the only risk.

Some pets are stolen. A pet thief may snatch Fifi or Fido in hopes of getting a reward for its return, or to use in dog fights (even small or gentle dogs are susceptible - they can be used as "bait"), or for use in cult rituals.

And what is the risk to your pet if something happens to you, its owner?

If you're a senior adult with a pet, particularly if you live alone or are in ill health, there's a good chance that at some point someone else will need to care for your furry friend, perhaps with little notice. And anyone can be struck by tragedy or disaster which leaves you unable to care for your companion.

In this instance, will your pet's new or temporary caregiver know that Rover hates cats, or that Fluffy needs medication, or even whether or not Max is housetrained? A pet ID tag that contains more than your name and phone number would be extremely helpful.

2.What level of risk are you comfortable with?
Some pets are simply more important to their owners, and the risk of losing that particular animal warrants a specific, more expensive type of pet ID tag. Risk is proportionate to value.

Note that there is more than one way to assess the value of your pet. It may be monetary (a rare purebred dog) or functional (a guide dog or herding dog).

But for most pet owners, the emotional attachment they have to a particular pet determines its value. For many people, cats or dogs are family members, dearly loved and impossible to replace.

3.Based on your answers to the two previous questions, what do you need in a pet ID tag?
Pet ID tags come in varying shapes, sizes and materials and hold varying amounts of information. Some contain logos or artwork, too. Most pet ID tags are designed to be hung from a collar.

At a bare minimum, a pet ID tag should contain the name, address and phone number of the pet owner in a durable, legible format. Plastic tags are lightweight but easily chewed. Stainless steel tags are durable and don't rust or fade. These traditional types of tags can purchased from any veterinarian or pet store. They're inexpensive but the amount of information they hold is limited to the size of the tag.

Fortunately, you have many more options in pet tags these days, such as microchipping, tattooing, digital display tags, pet registry web sites and voice recorded pet id tags.

One of the newest entries in the pet identification market is the high-tech USB drive that hangs from your pet's collar (or is attached to their cage) and which holds 64MB of data (including complete medical and diet information). The tiny USB drive is encased in a sturdy plastic case and can be plugged into any computer, where it is easily updated and easy to print sections for sharing with your vet or pet sitter.

No matter what pet ID tag you choose, making sure your pet wears some type of pet identification tag brings peace of mind that far outweighs its costs.

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Trick Or Tweet - Keeping Your Bird Safe on Halloween
By Tara Nemeth

It's that time of year when ghosts and goblins, fairy princesses and pirates are out roaming the streets asking for candy and playing Halloween pranks. While this is a fun and exciting time for children (and many adults too!), bird owners will need to take a few extra precautions to ensure that their bird enjoys the evening too.

Here are three crucial steps you can take as a bird owner to guarantee that your bird has a happy and safe Halloween night:

1) Keep your bird away from trick-or-treaters and Halloween festivities.

Birds have an incredibly keen sense of sight and are easily disturbed by changes in their environment. Keep your bird calm by keeping her cage in familiar surroundings and out of sight of trick-or-treaters. If you are having a party at home, keep your bird away from the festivities and occupied with some engaging toys. Lots of people, strange smells, and loud noises can spook even the most socialized of birds. Furthermore, stress and shock can cause diarrhea amongst other health concerns, so it's better to be safe than sorry.

2) Keep decorations out of your bird's reach.

Jack-O-Lanterns pose a real risk as birds are extremely attracted to the bright orange color (most birds also love pumpkin seeds). A curious bird could easily become stuck in one of the pumpkin's carved holes, or get seriously burned by a lit candle. If you have carved Jack-O-Lanterns for decorations, opt for a battery powered light (most drug stores carry them this time of year) instead of a live flame.

Your bird also runs the risk of getting tangled in decorations or receiving a deadly shock from chewing on electrical cords. To keep her safe, let your bird out of her cage only in rooms that are free of Halloween decorations.

3) Keep the candy for the kids.

Chocolate contains a lethal ingredient called theobromine, and the darker the chocolate, the more theobromine it contains. Candy wrappers can also be harmful if swallowed. If you want to give your bird a sweet treat, offer her a few of her favorite treats.

Tara Nemeth is the Director of Field Development for Petlane, a pet product company offering the best toys, treats, gifts, and health and safety items for dogs, cats and birds. People, pets and pet products are Tara's passions. She lives in California with her husband and her 6 year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Jade. She invites you to visit her company's website at and for great pet parenting ideas, see her blog at

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Franklin Pet Memorials
“Remember them with a custom solid bronze memorial.”

Contact: Cynthia Linnon
191 Howard Street Franklin, PA 16323
814-346-7205 ph 814-346-7047 fax

How to Stop Dogs From Digging Now!
By Lisa Gold

How to stop dog from digging is a very common issue among dog owners. When shopping for a new dog, did you look for the hidden price tag? It's the one that says the price of your new dog is the cost of the beautiful landscaping in your yard. But this doesn't have to be the case. I'm going to give you a few ideas that will help you to have a dog and yet still have a nice yard.

1. Minimize the time your dog spends freely roaming the yard. Less yard time means fewer holes dug. If you can, provide him with a penned off area that will keep his digging tendencies in check. If you can't do that, then shorten his time outdoors and try to keep an eye on him.

2. Dogs tend to dig in the same areas over and over. They do not like to dig where their feces are. Try transplanting some of their leavings onto the problem digging areas. Dogs won't dig there because they don't like to get their paws and coat soiled (apparently digging in the mud is a different kind of soiling that they don't mind).

3. If your dog loves to dig amongst your flowers, you don't have to sit back and watch your flowers get demolished. Stop a dog digging here by replacing them with thorny bushes such as rosebushes, and you and your dog can admire the roses from afar.

4. Some dogs just have to dig, so give him somewhere to do his digging. Place a bottomless sandbox filled with a combination of dirt and sand in an acceptable spot in your yard. With initial close supervision, you can train your dog to only dig in the sandbox, not the rest of the yard. Stand close guard in the beginning and praise him for digging in the sandbox and correct him if he strays. He'll get the hang of it.

5. If there is one particular area where your dog insists on digging, you can take up a couple of inches of the dirt or grass, lay down chicken wire, and then cover it back up. It won't take long for your dog to start digging there and deciding it's not worth it anymore.

To stop dog from digging in the yard, try one or a combination of the above ideas. If you need more help, and it's not wrong to admit it if you do, let's get you to the professionals. How to stop a dog digging and other challenging dog training issues are just a click away at

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