Do You Love Your Pet?

Pet Issues
BY: JUDI RUSSELL - New Orleans Magazine

If they tell the truth, more than one person will admit that their pets are their best friends. In good times or bad, pets give unconditional love and most of us are so attached to our animals that we’ll think twice about evacuating for a hurricane if we can’t take them with us.

If you’re thinking about adding a pet to your household, or if you are already caring for Fido, Fluffy or another critter, here’s some advice from local veterinarians and animal care specialists on how to give that bundle of fur or feathers a better quality of life.

Can I get a quality pet from the Louisiana SPCA?
Last year, more than 1,500 cats and dogs were adopted from the Louisiana SPCA, says CEO Ana Zorrilla. What many people don’t know is that lots of the cats and dogs at the shelter are purebred and those that aren’t still make terrific pets, she says.

The SPCA is open for adoptions seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 1700 Mardi Gras Blvd. in Algiers, and also holds off-site adoption events to make it easier for potential pet owners to find just the right animal. The process is easy. First, staff members find out what type of pet would fit best with your lifestyle. Next, they let you visit with the animals so you can find the one you like best.
The adoption fee is $90 for puppies and kittens, $75 for cats and dogs, and $10 for rabbits, guinea pigs or rodents, and includes spaying or neutering, vaccinations, de-worming and microchipping. The pets come with a 14-day health guarantee and some pets require a yard check.

Are certain breeds of cats or dogs better for families with children?
If you are buying a purebred dog, it’s important to know how the dog was bred, says Dr. Stephen Bryan, a veterinarian with Audubon Veterinary Hospital. Some German Shepherds, for example, are bred to be working dogs and they will be much too high-strung to have around children. Other breeders breed their German Shepherds to be family pets and they will be wonderful with children. Another tip is to check out the animal’s mother and father and see if they’re at ease around youngsters. If possible, bring your kids to help pick out the dog and watch how the dog interacts with them.

No matter what type of dog you choose, don’t leave your pet alone with small children. Even the most easygoing dog can react sharply if a toddler pulls his tail or tries to grab his food dish. Caution children not to go near strange dogs, Bryan says. Often youngsters assume that if their dog is friendly, all dogs are friendly. “Things happen,” he says.

Cats are chosen mostly for their appearance, Bryan says. Because cats are so independent, it’s more difficult to predict whether a cat will be playful or not; the individual cat’s personality seems to matter more than the breed.

What does it take to set up a freshwater aquarium?
Fish make entertaining pets, especially for households that can’t handle larger animals. You can get started with a 55-gallon tank, some fish and a few other supplies for between $400 and $500, says Steve Alberti of 50 Fathoms Pet Shop. Care is minimal, he says; feed the fish, turn the lights on and off as directed and once a month change about 25 percent of the water and the filters (you can use conditioned tap water). Saltwater aquariums are dramatic, Alberti says, but they cost thousands of dollars to set up.

Does it really matter which type of pet food I use?
It sure does, says Dr. Christian Charlton, a veterinarian with Prytania Veterinary Hospital. More expensive pet food brands, such as Science Diet and Purina One, have better ingredients and are more nutritious, he says. The nutrients are better absorbed, the food has less filler and fewer stools are produced. You can use a cheaper food, especially if your pet is healthy, but pets with health problems really do better on a higher-tier food.

It is all right to feed cats either wet or dry food because they chew very little, Charlton says. Dogs, however, should always have dry food. “It’s so much better for their teeth,” he says.

Table scraps are off limits for all pets, the veterinarian says. “People food” is too rich for pets and can lead to diseases such as pancreatitis. It also has too many calories, and obesity has become a problem for pets just like it is for pet owners. Carrying too much weight can lead to arthritis issues later in life, Charlton says. If you give your pets animal treats – and everybody does – just be sure to lighten up on the amount of food you put in the pets’ food bowls to compensate for the extra calories.

How often should my dog or cat be groomed?
Dogs generally should be groomed every four to six weeks, says Judy Bourgeois-Bruzeau, owner of Pet Palace in Metairie. A good groomer will bathe and brush the dog, trim the nails, express the anal gland and give the animal a good going-over, looking for growths or skin problems.

“Cats try to keep themselves clean,” says Bourgeois-Bruzeau, who has cared for animals for more than 27 years. They should receive a professional grooming four times a year. Grooming a cat is no easy feat, she says – it takes one person to hold the cat while the other does the bathing and trimming. And yes, cats are bathed in water, despite their dislike of dunking.

Fees for grooming begin at $37 for dogs, $45 for cats, and go up depending on the breed. Bourgeois-Bruzeau says it’s worth it because clean animals not only look better, they feel better, too.

Is it ever appropriate to de-claw a cat?
In some situations de-clawing a cat is appropriate, says veterinarian nurse Lauren Wade with The Cat Practice on Magazine Street. Sometimes, the cat’s owner is a diabetic and can’t risk being scratched. Other cats persist in scratching walls, furniture or drapes. Wade says she de-clawed her own pet cat for that very reason. Cats who spend part of their lives outdoors should never be de-clawed, because it takes away one of their primary defenses.

If you don’t want to de-claw your cat, you can try a few tricks to deter scratching. Special sprays can discourage a cat from its favorite scratching spots, as can double-sided sticky pads that cats find uncomfortable. Cats also like scratching on sisal mats, which can divert them from your furniture.

Are cats dangerous around babies?
The old wives’ tale about cats “sucking” the breath out of an infant probably arose from the fact that cats like warmth and have been known to jump into cribs and snuggle up to babies. Although they don’t belong in your baby’s crib, cats don’t suffocate infants, says Wade of The Cat Practice. They just find cribs and bassinets cozy spots to hang out. Occasionally, a cat (or dog) can be jealous of a new baby, so owners should be careful about leaving their pets alone with small children.
One tale about cats and babies is true, Wade says: Pregnant women should not handle a cat’s litter pan. A disease called toxoplasmosis can be spread through cat stool, so moms-to-be should leave emptying the litter pan to someone else until baby is delivered.

Can young children handle small pets safely?
If your child wants a hamster, gerbil or guinea pig, it’s best to wait until he or she is at least 5 years old. Younger children can be too rough with these “pocket pets,” says Dr. Gary Levy, a veterinarian at Lakeview Veterinary Hospital. These pets don’t have a very long lifespan, he adds; most live only four or five years.

Should I have my pet micro-chipped?
Locals have embraced micro-chipping their cats and dogs in a big way since Hurricane Katrina, says Dr. Daryl Haydel, a veterinarian at Metairie Small Animal Hospital. The procedure is quick, inexpensive and relatively painless; the chip is inserted via a syringe needle. If your pet is lost, the person who finds it can bring the animal to a vet and have it scanned. The scan reveals a number to call to find out who owns the pet. Many facilities that board animals require microchipping, and all pets adopted from the SPCA are chipped.
Does my pet need a buddy? In general, a cat or dog left alone at home while its owner works is just fine, Levy says. Sometimes a companion works well but other times it just “doubles the trouble,” he says.

Cats generally do well having the run of the house. With dogs, some can be left to roam the home, while others do better in a crate. Dogs are den-like animals, Levy points out, and they find the crate calming and soothing.

How can I preserve my memories after my pet has died?
Losing a pet can be just as traumatic as losing a beloved human, says Jennifer Melius, president of Heaven’s Pets at Lake Lawn Metairie Funeral Home and Cemeteries. Heaven’s Pets provides internment for cremated remains, as well as urns for people who want to take their pet’s “cremains” home.

Since it opened in 2006, Heaven’s Pets has handled internment for dogs, cats, hamsters, gerbils, pet rats, goats, parrots, flying squirrels and a pot-bellied pig. They also hold grief groups and bereavement services. The cost to cremate an animal up to 19 pounds is $150 and includes an urn, a certificate, a personalized poem and a lock of hair.

People turn to animal cemeteries and mausoleums because they want to honor and respect their pets after death, Melius says. Burial in a backyard is illegal in some areas, and the remains have to be left behind when you move. Sometimes the idea of a pet’s body going to landfill is too upsetting for pet owners to contemplate. “[Pets] are family members,” she says.

Pet Safety Tips from Acclaimed Veterinarians at encourages pet owners everywhere to add "pet safety" to their holiday list and make sure to check it twice.

Los Angeles (PRWEB) November 2, 2008 -- As families all around the country start pulling out their favorite holiday recipes, and shopping lists, and decorations, it's easy to overlook one hairy detail: the family pets. Between vacationing out-of-town and readying the house for a veritable invasion of friends and family members, it is really no surprise that pets feel left out, but more than that, the general upheaval of the holidays can be a dangerous time for cats and dogs.

Nationally recognized veterinarian Dr. Bernadine Cruz, DVM, and one of the resident veterinarian advisors on, encourages pet owners everywhere to add "pet safety" to their holiday list and check it twice.

Year-round every room in a house can pose a potential threat to pet health when human foods, cleaning products, insecticides and rodenticides, and medicines meant for people are left out where pets can get into them. During the holidays inattention to things left unattended can double. Everyone is busy, caught up in the celebration of good food and good company: house guests may unwittingly allow the dog into a room he is usually forbidden to go, or feed the cat a "treat" to which he is allergic. The holidays bring out so many more potential hazards to pets than we may think. Pets may ingest tinsel, ribbons, and string, harming their digestion and intestinal tract. Especially harmful is fertilizer used in the water of Christmas tree stands which can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

To pass the holidays in celebration, companionship, and good health, Dr. Bernadine Cruz and offer these tips to add to every pet owner's list:

--Remind houseguests not to feed the pets human food, especially fatty foods and candy.

--Restrict pets to "safe areas" or outdoors during dinner parties when you are too occupied to watch them.

--If you have not already, install child safety locks on cabinets that contain cleaning supplies, paints, and medicines. Even hand soap and toothpaste can harm dogs and cats.

--Try to give your pet some focused attention each day to keep her or him calm, relaxed, and less likely to misbehave.

--Be sure pets wear identification tags at all times. That includes indoor pets, because with the hustle and bustle of having visitors, pets can wander outside without their owners being aware of their escape.

--To protect curious pets, be sure to keep candles safely out of the reach of paws, whiskers, and tails.

--Pets, especially dogs, tend to eat first and think later. A dangling, shinny tree ornament or holiday table decorations may be more than your pet can ignore. A nibble of a plant can lead to an upset stomach or worse. Decorations can lead to an obstruction in the digestive tract and require a visit to the veterinary emergency room.

Many people include their pets in holiday travel. Dr. Cruz suggests to keep the following tips in mind when traveling with the family pet:

--Pets should always wear identification when traveling indicating their permanent home and where they are visiting. Owners should also have a copy of their pet's medical records, vaccine history, and a picture of the pet in case they are separated.

--If you are traveling by car with your pet, plan ahead to insure that you can find hotels that accept pets. AAA can usually direct you to these establishments. Be sure to bring your pet's usual diet and water. You don't want "traveler's diarrhea" to put a damper on your road trip.

--If traveling by air, try to get a direct flight. Losing your luggage is one thing, but it could be a disaster if it is your pet. Check the expected temperature of your destination airport. If you need to have your pet travel in the cargo hold, bitterly cold temperatures may not be tolerated by your pet. We have all seen luggage carts stranded on the tarmac or sat in a plane for hours while it is delayed. Your pet could become fatally hypothermic.

Though you may be welcomed with open arms when you go visit, your pet may not be. If you are staying with friends, make sure your pet is welcome.

If you are staying at a pet-friendly hotel and you need to leave your pet unattended in your hotel room, place a "do not disturb" sign on the door. You do not want housekeeping to accidentally let your pet out. Be sure your pet is a good neighbor and does not bark excessively. Bring along an extra sheet for your pet to lounge on.

More than 71 million American households have at least one pet. That is sixty-three percent of U.S. households, many of whom consider the pet or pets integral members of the family. Owners spend time and resources to feed, house, groom, and keep them in good health. They take pride in their pets, find comfort in their company, and companionship with other pet-owners.

Pet owners can go to and post more questions and suggestions about celebrating a safe and healthy holiday season with their pets. Dr. Cruz is available to answer questions and talk with pet owners on the site. Membership is free. brings pet-owners and veterinarians together in a all-in-one free online resource. With features from social networking to health advice from peers and professionals, is Facebook for pets, inviting owners to be a friend to their pet and find community for themselves.

About Dr. Bernadine Cruz
Bernadine D. Cruz, D.V.M., is an associate veterinarian at Laguna Hills Animal Hospital, Laguna Hills, Calif. She specializes in companion animal medicine and has been practicing veterinary medicine for more than 20 years. Dr. Cruz received her doctor of veterinary medicine degree from the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

She is a nationally active speaker on general pet care, emergency preparedness and her passion…pets in pain. Dr. Cruz is a veterinary consultant for several national television programs, and has extensive experience across all media. She has hosted a one-hour live pet show on Southern California television for five years. Dr. Cruz has appeared on "Cats" on the A&E Network, "Petcetera" on the Discovery Channel, "Smart Solutions" and "Help at Home" on the Home and Garden Channel. She has addressed pet health concerns on local as well as national television news broadcasts. Dr. Cruz was the source of pet care education to listeners on KKGO in Los Angeles for over two years. She also graced the airwaves on the CBS radio affiliate in Los Angeles, "KNX 10.70 News Radio" with pet health tips. She presently can be seen in thousands of veterinary offices coast to coast on the educational DVD series "PetCare TV," and provides answers to internet using pet owners on "MyPetCareTV.Com."

Dr. Cruz assisted in the development of the "First Aid for Pets -- Dogs & Cats" course endorsed by the American Red Cross and the Humane Society of the United States. She is the author of "the Secret Sex Life of Dogs and Cats"; a text for pet owners that entertains and at the same time educates them on the reproductive behaviors of their pets. Among other distinguished roles, she is chair of the American Veterinary Medical Association's Council on Communications and a member of the Iams Pet Wellness Council.

Dr. Bernadine is a veterinarian who takes it to the people. She has served as a volunteer veterinarian for the Iditarod Dog Sled Race, "The Last Great Race" in Alaska. You can find her in late winter along the North Shore of Lake Superior, serving the needs of the canine athletes in the John Beargrease Sled Dog race. Her two cats, Bogie and Divot aren't impressed with her credentials…they just call her 'Meow-om'.


Mandatory Spay/Neuter Laws of Dubious Value
By Steve Dale - TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES / St Louis Today

Q: I work for a state representative who was approached about the idea of mandating spay/neuter for all dogs and cats by six months of age in our state. What do you think of this proposal? -- C.S., Cyberspace

A: Let me begin by pointing out that, in general principal, I'm absolutely for spay/neuter. Without question, spaying or neutering prevents irresponsible or accidental breeding and is a good idea to benefit health. Therefore, you'd think the next logical step might be to mandate spay/neuter of all dogs and cats. However, the truth is mandatory spay/neuter is not only ineffective, but worse, contradicts its very intent.

Among the many unintended consequences of mandatory spay/neuter is that visits to veterinarians decline. The fact is, not all the people who don't spay/neuter are negligent, allowing accidental or on purpose reckless breeding. They care about their pets, visiting veterinarians just as often as clients who do spay/neuter -- but many don't want to hear a hard sell about spay/neuter, or worry they may be turned in to authorities if they decline the procedure. When vet visits fall, the general well-being of pets is impacted. Also, rabies vaccine compliance plunges, creating a public health risk.

Mandatory spay/neuter laws are written to lower euthanasia rates, primarily at municipal animal control facilities. A Best Friends Animal Society survey of shelters in 1992 determined that 15 million pets were euthanized nationwide that year. The good news is, due to voluntary spay/neuter, breed rescue and the 'no kill' movement, that annual figure has dipped to around 5 million. Clearly, that's still too high, but we're moving in the right direction. Do we even need mandatory spay/neuter?

The dirty little secret is that if you take away pit bull-type dogs, many communities have so few dogs available for adoption that they're forced to 'import' canines from elsewhere. Animal welfare expert Mike Arms, president and CEO of the Helen Woodward Animal Center, Rancho Santa Fe, CA, concurs. "Greatly, the overpopulation pet problem is about cats," he notes. Mostly these are stray/feral cats or loosely owned indoor/outdoor cats.

"Mandatory spay/neuter laws do nothing to address cats," adds Arms. Besides, most estimates indicate that 90 percent or more of indoor only cats are already spayed/neutered.

Alley Cat Allies, the leaders in TNR, or trap, neuter, return of feral cats, does address the feral cat issue - and opposes mandatory spay/neuter. It's curious how the Humane Society of the United States can push for mandatory spay/neuter laws and also say it supports TNR. It's like being for both Barack Obama and John McCain. By the way, the ASPCA, Alley Cat Allies, and most national welfare groups are opposed to mandatory spay/neuter laws.

I have additional practical questions about mandatory spay/neuter laws. For starters, how do local governments pay for implementation and enforcement? Chicago is one city considering mandatory spay/neuter. Given the rise in murders in the Windy City, I believe police officers have more important matters to worry about than checking our pets' sexual status.

As it happens, researchers recently discovered that for some dogs, under some circumstances, spay/neuter after a year is best for their long-term health. When to spay/neuter, or whether to do the procedure at all, is a medical choice between client and veterinarian. I say, keep government out of our pet's private parts.

For additional information on mandatory spay/neuter, check my home page:

Q: We've been administering subcutaneous fluids for six months to our cat, and he's been doing fairly well. He's always slept with my husband, but in the past few days he won't come into our room. He's acting well and seems active but just won't show us any affection. Do you think he's associating us with the fluids we give him? -- K.B.P., Churchville, PA

A: "I assume you may be administering fluids to treat kidney failure," says Houston, TX-based veterinary behaviorist Dr. Lore Haug. "I mostly worry that the disease has somehow worsened. Cats are subtle about showing signs of illness, and any change in their interaction with us may be a sign. Please see your veterinarian. What's going on may be clear to your veterinarian, or maybe it's something less obvious, perhaps high blood pressure affecting your cat's vision, for example. If everything physiological is ruled out, or not, it can't hurt to offer your cat a treat (something your veterinarian approves) right as you give the cat fluids. Perhaps he'll associate the treat with getting the fluids."

Q: My 20-year-old cat had big bumps, the size of golf balls, on her leg and stomach. The bumps, tender to the touch, burst open. There was no puss or anything. I put some Vitamin E oil on the area and the sores healed. Around the same time, the cat had a few pea-sized bumps on her neck that never got any bigger and eventually went away.

I can't afford to take my cat to the vet, and besides, the trip is extremely traumatic for her. The last time she was at the vet, for a urinary tract infection, she had to be sedated to be examined. I don't want to put her through that again. Any advice? -- D.B., Las Vegas, NV

A: The good news is, genetics has been on your cat's side, and you certainly must have been doing something right. For a cat, reaching age 20 in relatively good health is quite an accomplishment. However, Dr. Debra Eldredge, co-author of "Fully Revised and Updated Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook" (Wiley Publishing, Inc., New York, NY, 2008; $34.99), is concerned.

"You definitely need veterinary advice," she says. "I understand that putting the Vitamin E on helped, perhaps. But you were also lucky your cat didn't lick off enough Vitamin E to suffer Vitamin E toxicity. Whatever is going on doesn't sound good. I do understand the trauma involved in taking the cat to a veterinary clinic. Perhaps, you could ask your vet if a veterinary technician could come to your home to take a needle aspirate of the growth. While it's true that due to finances and the cat's age, you may not be able to treat - depending on what the problem is - it's also possible that these growths can be treated so they don't become infected. That may be all you have to do. After 20 years, it's only fair to your cat."

(Steve Dale welcomes questions/comments from readers. Although he can't answer all of them individually, he'll answer those of general interest in his column. Write to Steve at Tribune Media Services, 2225 Kenmore Ave., Suite 114, Buffalo, NY 14207. Send e-mail to PETWORLD(at)STEVE DALE.TV. Include your name, city and state. Steve's website is; he can be heard Sundays on WGN Radio, 8 to 10 p.m. CST ( to listen live), and hosts the nationally syndicated "Steve Dale's Pet World" and "The Pet Minute." He's also a contributing editor to USA Weekend.

Author Gives Every Dog Its Day
By LISA CRAWFORD WATSON - The Monterey Herald

Animal advocate Colleen Paige screening Carmel dogs, owners, for new book

Colleen Paige is looking for a dog. Actually, a lot of them. They didn't get out, they aren't lost and they're not even hers. In fact, they're yours; the Carmel canines she is hoping to meet, to interview, to photograph for her upcoming book, "Beneath the Fur — The Real Dogs of Carmel."
Paige wasn't necessarily aware of Carmel's canine calendar. Or the posh pet portraits or pampered pet boutiques. Or, in recent years, the Canine Companion sculpture competition, a fundraiser originally designed by local artist Gerrica Connolly.

Yet what the celebrity animal behaviorist did understand about the city by the sea is that it caters to canines. She noticed that certain restaurants accommodate them, and so does the Cypress Inn. Various shopkeepers hide a cache of biscuits at the counter and, while some have miniature hitching posts outside, others don't mind if the dogs escort their owners in.

Paige was particularly enchanted by the social dynamic and spectacular diversity of dogs and their owners who frequent the beach; the regulars who show up on the sand after the tides but before the tourists, to converse or cavort along the shoreline. If you don't bring your dog to the beach, she found, you really aren't a member of the club.

"I've always been fascinated with Carmel; it's just a magical place," said Paige. "Everywhere else you go, there are so many restrictions when it comes to dogs. Places that have no sophistication, no beauty, no culture, impose all these
restrictions on dogs. They won't even pick up their own trash, but they regulate the animals.
"Yet here, in one of the most prestigious, sophisticated, beautiful places on the planet, you say, 'Run on our beaches, walk up and down our streets, here are restaurants that will welcome you.' The aura of Carmel just seems to work. There are so many dogs, and everyone seems happy. I realized my next book should chronicle Carmel."

Paige, who is temporarily living in Carmel and plans to relocate permanently to the canine community by January, is already seeking subjects for her fine art photography. Her intent is not only to recognize the beloved in her book but to reveal how people feel about this environment on behalf of their dogs, to find out why they came to Carmel, to see if there's more to this dog town than clear light and broad beaches. That, and to give these resident dogs a little celebrity.

Born and raised in Southern California to actors, the late Robert Paige and Joanne Ludden, Paige grew up roaming the Beverly Hills and befriending lizards and quail, raccoons and deer, bobcats and feral cats, tarantulas and just about anything else that had fur or fuzz. She swears she'd save a moth from a spider web if she thought she could pull it off.

She was 4 years old when she saved her first animal, a Bengal cat she saw through the kitchen window, curled up on the hill, with a damaged eye and dim prospects. "I came screaming into the house," she said, "begging my mother and father — major animal people — to help him. We took him to the vet, got his eye all fixed, and he became our second cat."

Never mind that she's mildly allergic to dogs and cats, horribly allergic to bunnies and, if she spends more than 15 minutes in a pet store with guinea pigs, she runs out wheezing and sneezing and vowing never to do that again. Until next time.

"I think I have forced myself to become less allergic to dogs and cats," she said, "by exposing myself to them over and over again. I can't stay away from animals; that's how God made me. I refuse to let my allergies get in the way of helping animals. I have a 15-year-old son, who is a huge animal lover, just like me. I couldn't deprive him of that, either."

Paige, reportedly one of America's foremost experts on animal behavior and living with pets, is the editor-in-chief of her own magazine, "Pet Home," and the author of "The Good Behavior Book for Dogs." She offers advice on "everything animal," from dog and cat training to nutrition, fashion and interior design with pets in mind.

Her work has been chronicled in talk shows and TV magazines, as well as numerous print publications. As a former paramedic, she spent six years rescuing people and pets from car accidents and home fires, while volunteering for various animal shelters. As an artist, she has created whimsical works to raise funds for animal-welfare projects. She also has spent considerable time in the classroom, training children — her other passion — and their parents on how to approach, train and care for dogs.

"If I hadn't had a career, I would have been 'John and Kate Plus 8'," she said of the reality TV show chronicling a couple and their twins and sextuplets. "I love children and have a lot of patience for them. I love to teach kids to train their dogs and be safe around them."

For now, Paige is focusing on the canines of Carmel, as she endeavors to give every dog its day. "I definitely need all the dog owners in Carmel to contact me and set up an interview, to talk with them about their dogs and take pictures. I don't know how many dogs there are in Carmel, Carmel Highlands, Carmel Hills, Carmel Valley, but it will be fun to find out." And how.

To book a photo shoot for your Carmel canine, call 949-226-9436. To find out more about Colleen Paige and her pet projects, visit

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Dog Training: Frequently Asked Questions
By: Susie Aga

I frequently get asked the same questions by different clients all the time. Here are the questions and the solutions.

Why won't my dog come to me when I call them?
First of dogs with out a fenced in yard are the harder to teach come to, because they do not have enough time off leash and will not give that up when they are loose. If you give your dog ample exercise off leash in an enclosed park or some other area on a regular basis then it is no big deal for them to come to you when they are loose because they are not giving anything up. Also you MUST be exciting no one wants a boring dog and no dog wants a boring owner. I can teach you 3 tools that will get your dog to come to you first their name means come to me, then "come" as an emergencies command and then I have a secret weapon that is fool proof.

Why does my dog tear up paper, eat Kleenex and sticks?
When dogs tear things apart or eat strange things it usually an instinctual behavior passed down from the wolves. Most of the time it comes from when wolves would hunt for food and tearing the meat off the bone is satiating to them. Kleenex eating is a mystery to my vet and myself. I think it just tastes good. A lot of dogs will sit down and eat a whole toilet paper roll or Kleenex box. If your dog does this the best advice I can give is to keep these things out of reach. If they can't reach it they can't chew or eat it!

How to get rid of urine smells in carpet?
There are many different products out there; personally I have not found one that is 100% effective. Natures Miracle seems to have a good reputation. There are many home remedies like a dilution of vinegar and water to get the smell out but this solution can also stain many surfaces and carpets so do a small test site first and wait 3-4 days to see if the color changes. The professional carpet cleaners sometimes guarantee to get the urine smell out of surfaces, make sure so you're not wasting your money on another useless method.

Why should I get my dog spayed or neutered?
The number one reason is that there are more than 5000 homeless dogs in the metro Atlanta area alone not to mention the surrounding counties. There are some dogs prone to testicular and other forms of cancer by neutering/spaying them you could be saving there life in the future. Dogs that are spayed/ neutered seem to have less behavior problems then dogs that are in tact. The health of the dogs is also better and you will have fewer visits to the veterinarian.

Where should I get a dog from? A breeder, a pet store, or rescue group?
If you get your dog from a rescue group (Golden Retriever rescue / Lab etc.) you can get the breed you are looking for and save a life. The humane societies and shelters always have a lot to choose from. If you must go to a breeder or pet store do some back ground checking and make sure you are not buying from a puppy mill.

What are some poisonous things I should be aware of around my house and yard?
Some command foods that are poison to dogs are chocolate, grapes and almonds. Just a few teaspoons of anti freeze can kill a dog in the matter of hours. Pesticides can be very harmful to animals as well rat poisons, bug repellents and moth ball. Some house plants such as poinsettias and mistletoe, azaleas and tulip bulbs are also poisonous.

Author Bio
Susie Aga, Atlanta Dog Trainer
Susie is a Certified Canine Behavior & Training Specialist and a member in good standing with the Association of Pet Dog Trainers. She has four rescue dogs and donates much of her time and services to Rescue Organizations and hosts The Animal Hour Radio Show which can be heard through her site.

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10 Cat Care Guidelines
By: Dave Markel

There area many common sense rules to follow when caring for your cat. These rules are simple and will ensure your cat will be healthy and happy.

When your cat arrives at home:
Bringing your new cat home can be frightening for it. Be prepared by having a food and water spot already set up. Also have a litter box setup in a quite spot away from the food. Your new cat should be transported in a cat carrier. When you bring the cat inside set the carrier down and open the door. Let the cat come out and explore on its own. Confining the cat to a quiet room for a day or two will make the experience less overwhelming.

Going Outside:
Before letting your cat outside for the first time be sure it is comfortable with you and its indoor surroundings. There are many dangers outside so let your cat have an escape route in case it needs it. My cat uses a cat door and it has save him a few times.

Judge the risk to letting your cat outdoors. If you live close to lots of traffic having an outdoor cat may not be a good idea.

Litter Boxes:
If you are using a cat box it should be cleaned daily. Clumping cat litter makes this easy. Simply scoop out the clumps and you're done. Put the litter box in a place where the cat will not be disturbed.

Food and water:
Your cat should always have a supply of fresh food and water. I prefer to use a heavy ceramic bowl to prevent the cat from pushing it or tipping them over.

The water bowl should be changed daily and food should be added to maintain a good supply.

My cat is now on a high quality dry food. I found feeding him can food was a waste. He generally left some behind at each meal regardless of the portion. At 15 I weaned him onto dry food only.

Scratching Posts:
Any cat is going to have the urge to scratch. The question is where is it going to do it? Best to have a scratching post that is safe and secure. Play with your cat on the post so it gets used to being allowed to scratch there. Rubbing a bit of cat nip on the scratching post will encourage your cat to scratch.

Cat Toys:
There are so many different cat toys on the market these days it is hard to choose a toy your cat will like. After much trial and error I determined my cat likes the string attached to the toy much better then the toy. Whenever I want to play I get a string, or better yet, my gold necklace (his favorite).

Sleeping Places:
A cat always needs a quiet, out of the way place to sleep the day away. A bed near a heater or furnace vent is ideal. In the winter most of the vents in my house have a cat bed near them. If you have small children make sure they can't disturb your cat when it sleeps

Care for eyes and ears:
When cats get a build up of discharge around the eye simply clean it with a damp cloth. A small amount of discharge is normal for a healthy cat but if there are excessive amount then consult a vet.

Regularly check your cats ears for dirt or ear mites. Any dirt can be removed with a damp Q-tip. If you spot small brown clumps of discharge you should consult your vet. This is a sign of ear mites.

Care for the claws:
If you have an outside cat, claw care is less important. Climbing trees, and other outdoor stuff helps to keep claws well maintained.

An inside cat has far less need for its claws. There is really no environment where your cat needs to use its claws. You should trim your cats claws once or twice a year. Clip the very tip of each claw. Taking any more then just the tip can hurt your cat. It is recommended that you have a vet show you how to clip their claws properly.

Care of the mouth and teeth:
As cats age their teeth start to get calcium build up which can cause gum inflammation. Check your cats mouth every 6 or 8 weeks. Find and remove and calcium build up before deposits get too large.

Caring for a cat is quite simple, common sense really. I believe that good food, fresh water, lots of love and exercise is best for a cat. By following these 10 simple guidelines your cat can live a long and healthy life.

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Picking Out the Best Types of Freshwater Aquarium Fish
Author: Sam Noel

If you are thinking of starting an aquarium, then a few basic facts are essential. Deciding whether you want to have a saltwater or freshwater aquarium is the first step. Because of the many different types of freshwater aquarium fish, this tends to be the most popular choice as a starting point for this wonderful hobby.

There are two types of freshwater aquarium fish from which to choose, coldwater and tropical. Because the coldwater aquarium needs less in the way of equipment, heaters for example, they are a common starting point.

Some of the more popular types of freshwater aquarium fish for coldwater tanks are goldfish, koi and some of the tetra fish species.

But of the types of freshwater aquarium fish, the most sought after by far are tropical fish. These colorful and beautiful fish need a heated aquarium to survive and therefore cost a little more to maintain, but the sheer beauty of some of them make the expense worthwhile.

If these are the types of freshwater aquarium fish you decide to keep, then the choices you make can make this a cheap and satisfying hobby or a very expensive one indeed!

When you're first setting up your freshwater aquarium it's a good idea to buy young and healthy fish to start off with. If you choose to add more mature fish as you become more established, that's fine as long as your aquarium has had time to stabilize.

Selecting the proper species of fish is essential to the success of your aquarium. The types of freshwater aquarium fish for the tropical tank should be hardy and able to withstand variations and fluctuations of ammonia and nitrite as your aquarium becomes established.

Without proper guidance of an expert to guide you in which types of freshwater aquarium fish to introduce into your tank initially, your beautiful new acquisitions could very soon become ill and die.

Some recommendations for the types of freshwater aquarium fish to start off your tropical tank with include Tetras, Danios, Barbs or Cichlids.

When choosing tetra fish for starting up your aquarium, choose those with round; large bodies over the thin, torpedo shaped ones such as neon tetras as these tend to be hardier.

Danios are an excellent type of freshwater aquarium fish. They include zebra danios, leopard danios and giant danios.

Barbs are a good choice of tropical fish for the beginner although you have to be careful about the fish you put them in with as they can a bit temperamental and nip the slower moving fish.

Cichlids are a very large and diverse group of tropical fish and African cichlids are an excellent choice for starting a new aquarium, but should not be kept with other fish, as they can be aggressive.

As there are countless types of freshwater aquarium fish from which to choose each with their own behavior patterns, it is always a good idea to take the advice of a professional before making your choices.

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Soup Kitchen Opens for Dogs
by Josie Cox - Reuters

BERLIN (Reuters) - A soup kitchen exclusively for dogs has opened its doors in Berlin providing pets of the homeless and unemployed with a free meal, the director of the establishment said on Friday.

Despite the looming financial crisis, director Claudia Hollm dismissed criticism that it may be more sensible to collect money for humans than for dogs.

"Nowadays people underestimate dogs. They are incredibly important for those who lack social contact with other humans," Hollm told Reuters.

"Making sure dogs don't go hungry is just as important as making sure that people don't starve," she added.

Hollm, and her company "Animal Board," gets sponsorship from companies, including animal food manufacturers.

One woman who uses the free service said she had two dogs, four cats, a rabbit and some guinea pigs.

"Without this animal bread line, I'd probably starve to death," the 20-year old told German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

The opening of the soup kitchen follows last month's launch of a new bus service in Berlin for dogs, which shuttles their furry friends to a luxury dog day-care center.

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