Happy Thanksgiving!

A turkey named Pumpkin stands in the Rose Garden before U.S. President George W. Bush granted it a pardon during the annual White House Turkey Presidential Pardon presentation in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, DC. Later today Pumpkin will be flown to Disneyland and be an honorary grand marshal of Disney's Thanksgiving Day Parade in California. The annual White House tradition that has held strong since President Harry S. Truman first pardoned a bird in 1947. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)(November 26, 2008)Getty Images

Mars Extends Pet Food Recall
By Lisa Wade McCormick - ConsumerAffairs.com

Salmonella found in more pet food samples

Mars Petcare US is extending a recall of dry pet food after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported finding Salmonella in additional samples of the company's SPECIAL KITTY Gourmet Blend cat food.

The earlier recall, issued October 27, was for cat food produced at Mars' Allenton, Pa., plant on August 11, 2008. The recall is now being extended to cover all dry pet food produced at the plant with a "best by" date between August 11, 2009 and October 3, 2009.

The recall affects only products sold at BJ's Wholesale Club, ShopRite Supermarkets, and Wal-Mart locations in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, and West Virginia. No other customers and no other states are affected.

Retailers have been notified of the recall and asked to remove the products from their shelves. The recalled pet food should not be fed to pets and should be handled carefully by consumers. Consumers should wear disposable gloves and wash their hands carefully when handling any food product thought to carry Salmonella.

Mars makes a variety of pet foods, including Nutro dog food, which has been the target of hundreds of complaints from angry pet ownes who have written to ConsumerAffairs.com.

Eric of Lowell, Mass., said his dog became ill when he switched to Nutro.

"We rushed him to the vet who initially thought it might be leptospirosis, but those tests came back negative," Eric said. "After four days at the vet, with IV's, a negative Lepto test, and multiple medications, he was sent home and seems to be doing much better."
"Bottom line? He became sick after eating Nutro. He got better after stopping eating Nutro," Eric said.

Salmonella can cause serious infections in dogs and cats, experts say. People can also be infected if they handle the tainted food. Children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems are especially vulnerable.

Symptoms of Salmonella infection in humans include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Salmonella can, in rare cases, cause such serious illnesses as arterial infections, arthritis, muscle pain, and urinary tract symptoms.

Pets infected with Salmonella may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets, however, may only have decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain.

Pet owners whose cats ate the recalled food and have these symptoms should contact their veterinarian.

Mars said it was trying to get ahead of the problem.

"We are continuously monitoring and updating our processes to be at the forefront of product quality, innovation, customer responsiveness, and manufacturing efficiency. In recent months, we have invested tens of millions of dollars in plant upgrades, new testing protocols, advanced associate training, and a new state of the art testing facility that will open in mid-2009," the company said in a statement.

For more information about the recall, pet owners can contact the company at 1-877-568-4463 or visit the company's Web site.

Surprising Dangers for Pets During the Holidays
By Melissa Tarkington - Special to CNN

Holiday food items and exotic plants can be toxic for your pets

Grapes, raisins and macadamia nuts are dangerous for dogs

Mistletoe, holly and Amaryllis bulbs should be kept out of reach of pets

(CNN) -- Our dog Tilly loves the holiday season. Turkey for Thanksgiving. Brisket for Hanukkah. Ham for Christmas and pot roast for New Year's. With so much food moving around the house and visitors who generously -- and covertly -- feed her under the table, Tilly has always been a happy dog during the season of giving.

Not anymore.

After we spent much of one holiday season at the animal emergency center trying to keep Tilly alive, our holiday celebration turned into a hunt for household toxics.

Tilly was diagnosed with severe anemia, which could have been caused by any one of numerous toxic items found in the refrigerators, cupboards and medicine cabinets of most homes.

Now, Tilly's kibble and treats practically need their own passport to reach her mouth; human food is out of reach; visitors are asked to put away any medications and shown where the "approved" treats are kept.

It may sound extreme, but veterinary medical experts say this type of preventative behavior can keep pets safe. This is especially true during the holidays, when family chaos increases and your pet's environment may change from day to day with the arrival of family and friends bearing gifts, holiday food items and exotic plants.

"Dogs and cats do not know what is bad for them," said Dr. Cynthia Gaskill, associate professor and veterinary clinical toxicologist at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. "If there is medicine on the bathroom counter or food left on the table, that is irresistible to them."

Keep out of pets' reach
• Antifreeze
• Chocolate
• Acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories
• Prescription or illegal drugs
• Rodenticides
• Xylitol
• Grapes and raisins
• Onions and garlic
• Lilies
• Macadamia nuts And unless your houseguests are conscientious pet owners themselves, chances are they aren't aware that they may be creating a toxic environment for your pet. Gaskill says it is important to let guests know not to leave their medications in an open suitcase or otherwise exposed.

Over-the-counter and prescription medications can kill small animals.

Because metabolic systems vary between species, a drug that may alleviate pain in humans can easily induce a toxic reaction in a dog or cat. For example, ibuprofen ingested by a dog can cause gastrointestinal damage and kidney dysfunction. Cats are especially susceptible to even small amounts of acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol); ingestion of just one tablet can result in anemia and potential liver damage.

Dr. Robin Van Metre, a veterinarian at the Fort Collins Veterinary Emergency Hospital in Colorado, says that many of the emergency calls he receives involve pets that have accidentally ingested prescription medications or been given an over-the-counter medication by well-meaning owners who believe that their animal is in pain. Van Metre says these calls increase significantly over the holidays.

"Dogs will eat almost anything," Van Metre said, "and there is no such thing as a dog-proof cap."

Take care in the kitchen, too. Typical holiday staples such as grapes and raisins have been shown to cause renal failure when ingested by dogs.

Although small amounts of onions and garlic are often used in pet foods and treats to add flavor, ingestion of large amounts can cause severe red blood cell damage; cats are especially sensitive.

Macadamia nuts can cause a short-term hind-limb paralysis, and bread dough, if eaten before baking, can expand rapidly once ingested and cause ethanol poisoning.

Sweets, gum and hard candies are often problematic depending on ingredients. Chocolate contains a theobromine, a chemical that can affect the heart, kidneys and central nervous system. Dark chocolate and baker's chocolate contain higher concentrations of theobromine and are more toxic than similar amounts of milk chocolate.

Sugar-free gums and candies that contain the sugar-substitute xylitol can lead to quick onset of toxic clinical signs that may include a rapid decrease in blood sugar and possible seizures.

Think carefully before placing mistletoe or holly in low-lying areas, but put poinsettias anywhere you like. The effects of the poinsettia, long believed poisonous, are generally benign, says Dr. Anthony Knight, author of A Guide to Poisonous House and Garden Plants and professor of clinical sciences and toxicology at Colorado State University School of Veterinary Medicine and Biological Sciences.

Exposed plant bulbs such as Amaryllis and all species of lilies should be placed out of reach of pets not only during the holidays but year-round, Knight says.

Lily toxicity in cats can reach critical levels almost immediately after ingestion and lead to acute kidney failure within 48 hours or less.

"Lilies are one of the most poisonous houseplants that exists," Knight said. "It's not just the flower but also the leaves. ... If a cat eats any part of the plant, it would need to be treated immediately."

What should you do if your pet ingests a toxic holiday treat?

"Do not wait," Van Metre said. "Most people wait too long to call us, and that reduces our options for treatment."

Van Metre recommends calling a local veterinarian or animal emergency hospital first, or the ASPCA national animal poison control center (888-426-4435). The ASPCA charges a $60 veterinary consultation fee, but information about toxins is free on the ASPCA Web site.

Gaskill does not advise calling human poison control centers or attempting to diagnose your pet on the Internet.

Human poison control "is often not aware of the species differences and could inadvertently give the wrong advice," Gaskill said. "When doing a general Internet search, make sure the site is backed by a recognized veterinary organization or veterinary medical school. If it is not referenced, it is just someone's opinion."

Van Metre and Gaskill both warn against inducing vomiting in your pet before speaking with a veterinarian. Getting appropriate background information about the animal is critical to preparing a treatment plan for a particular toxin, they say, and every case -- every animal -- is different.

Tilly never recovered from her anemia, but she has been in remission long enough to create another toxic scare.

After learning that Tilly had ingested an entire bag of Hershey's kisses, we called our local animal emergency hospital in Atlanta. They did a quick calculation using Tilly's weight to determine whether a one-pound bag of milk chocolate would reach toxic levels in a dog of her size. It would not, but we were forced to clean up the silver-streaked evidence for many days afterwards.

Melissa Tarkington is a former journalist for MSNBC, CNN.com and The Moscow Times. She is a second-year student in the professional veterinary program at Colorado State University.

Pet Pointers Include Choosing the Right Bed, Bird
JURA KONCIUS; The Washington Post / The News Tribune

Sure, you could cut down on the number of pet toys you buy, but there are many other practical ways to cut the cost of pet care in these challenging economic times.

We called California pet expert Warren Eckstein, who has a new Saturday radio show on Sirius, to get some ideas:

• If your vet prescribes medications such as antibiotics or anti-inflammatory drugs that are used for humans as well as animals, don’t always fill the prescription at the vet’s office. Try going to a low- cost pharmacy such as Costco or Walmart.

• Don’t forgo taking your pet for annual checkups. Early diagnosis of a condition or serious disease is so important for your pet’s well being and it can also save you big money.

• Consider feeding your dogs or cats a nationally advertised brand of dog food available in supermarkets or pet super stores instead of the more expensive or designer varieties. Check with your vet first, of course, before making any changes in your pet’s diet and get their advice. Look for the AAFCO label (Association of American Feed Control Officials) on the pet food packaging; they test the nutritional value of pet foods.

• Fresh air and exercise go a long way in saving money because your pet will be a whole lot healthier in general. Eckstein also likes to give dogs a daily massage.


Your pet deserves as nice a bed as you have.

Today, stores are filled with dog and cat beds made of trendy fabrics with cushy fillings. But what is really the most comfortable sleeping spot for your pet that is easy for you to keep clean?

A new book “Clean Home, Green Home” by Kimberly Delaney (Morris Book Publishing/Globe Pequot Press; $20) has some great common sense ideas for pet beds that also make good eco-sense.

• The most important consideration in choosing a bed is washability. Beds can harbor pets and also fleas and dust mites, so washing the covers frequently is important. Between washings, shake the bed outdoors on a regular basis. This can keep dander and dirt from spreading around the house.

• Try to find bedding that is filled with natural materials and covered with natural fibers. She suggests hemp, wool and organic cotton for exteriors. Natural fillings include kapok, buckwheat and recycled soda bottles. Avoid beds filled with petroleum based polyurethane foam – it is flammable and might contain formaldehyde.

• Cedar chips are a good choice for a filling because they deter fleas and naturally absorb odors.


More than 6 million American households have birds as pets. In fact, there are more than 16 million pet birds out there, according to the American Pet Products Association.

If you are considering buying a bird, here are some things to consider:

• Study the different characteristics of each breed and make sure the bird you choose will fit in with your lifestyle. Some birds like a lot of attention and need toys and interaction to prevent from becoming bored. Some love to chatter, and others love to scream, so decide whether you and your family (and neighbors) are comfortable with that if you choose something like a noisy macaw.

• Buy only from a specialized breeder or a reputable pet store.

• Make sure the bird looks healthy; check out if its eyes are clear.

• Take your bird for a checkup at your vet as soon after you get it as possible.

For more information, contact your local veterinarian and local clubs of bird fanciers.


Pet Project — These Animals Older, Wiser, Calmer

Older animals — especially the senior citizens of the pet world — often get passed by when people come to the Humane Society/SPCA of Bexar County to adopt.

And the shelter staff thinks this is a shame.

Mature dogs and cats have a lot of love left to give and many wonderful qualities that shouldn't be overlooked.

As a rule, pets that have celebrated more than a few birthdays are calmer, better behaved and easier to handle than their younger counterparts. Many snooze most of the day and, therefore, can make ideal companions for busy folks who work.

Training needs also are less because older dogs often know basic commands and older cats have long since learned to use the litter box.

Seniors are pros at being pets, in other words. They just need an opportunity to prove how loyal and loving old friends can be.

Here are details about the seniors shown here:

Kylee and Bear Fields: Kylee is a 10-year-old Labrador/Doberman mix. Bear, a purebred American blue heeler, is two years younger. The senior sweethearts are kennel mates who rely on each other and must be adopted together.

Bear's caretakers call him a “fluff ball” because he's so furry (and great to pet, by the way).

Kylee's coat is sleek and shiny, like smooth chocolate, and she sports stylish white markings.

Both dogs, though older, are playful and walk well on a leash. They respond to commands, are gentle creatures by nature and get along great with kids.

Hailey: This Maine coon cat has a mellow disposition and long brown/black/gray fur with white accents. Having her head gently scratched by a kind human is her idea of heaven. She also enjoys sitting in sunny windows and watching the world go by.

Hailey ended up at the shelter because her owner could no longer care for a pet. The pretty kitty hopes for a second chance — and, though 11 years old, still has plenty of purrs and promise.

Tiger: The orange and cream kitty with green eyes is 91/2 years old. He was brought to the Humane Society when his family moved and couldn't take him along.

An investigator, an explorer and the kind of pussycat who just can't get enough affection, Tiger thinks petting is the coolest. And he's quite the conversationalist. He likes to chat away with mews, asking people about their day and telling them about his.

Recently, Tiger learned to use a scratching post to rub hard-to-reach spots on his back. Caretakers say it's cute to watch this. Goes to show that older felines can learn new tricks!

Where to find the super seniors: Kylee, Bear, Hailey and Tiger are hanging out at the Humane Society/SPCA of Bexar County, 4804 Fredericksburg Road. Call (210) 226-7461.

To learn more about the shelter and its goals, visit www.humanesocietyspca.org.

Rose Mary Budge

Christmas Puppy Scam Alert
4NI News

Consumers are losing out financially and emotionally to unscrupulous con artists, offering non-existent pets for sale online.

That was the message from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment's Trading Standards Service (TSS) today, as it issued a warning to any consumers thinking about buying a puppy from the internet this Christmas.

Kevin McNamara, Trading Standards' Inspector explains how the scam typically works: "An online advertisement will offer a puppy free for adoption, accompanied by a photograph of the cute pet.

"Upon responding, the buyer is provided with its background story, which normally states that the puppy is from outside Northern Ireland and so the buyer is required to pay its shipping costs.

"However, as soon as payment is sent, usually by wire, instead of receiving the puppy in the picture, the buyer will simply receive more stories, accompanied by more requests for money for necessities such as customs duties, vets' fees, inoculations and insurance.

"The scammers are taking the hopeful buyer for a financial and emotional ride over a puppy that never existed to begin with," he explained.

TSS has received a number of complaints about these online pet scams and as Christmas approaches, wants to warn consumers to be on their guard.

Kevin McNamara continued: "TSS have received complaints about these scams and some people have paid out hundreds of pounds, before realising the pet they thought they were buying never existed.

"With Christmas approaching, now is a good time for everyone to be aware of these pet scams and to be on the look out for their tell-tale signs. The emails are often written in poor English and there is usually a heart-breaking story behind the reason the puppy is being offered for sale or adoption in the first place," he said, noting that TSS advises everyone against buying a puppy, or indeed any pet, online.

"Consumers should ensure they see the pet in advance in order to satisfy themselves as to its general health and suitability. In addition, never, ever wire money to a stranger overseas."

KOLD Takes You Inside the Animal ER
Posted by Martha Serda - KOLD News

It's a place you hope you never have to take your pet, but in an emergency it's a life saver.

KOLD News 13 goes behind the scenes of an animal emergency room.

Our pets are part of our family and we'll do anything to protect them. That's where the professionals at the Veterinary Specialty Center of Tucson come in.

Most pet owners only get to see the lobby, but now they can see the action as we take you inside the animal ER.

It begins with the welcome, "Thank you for calling Veterinary Specialty Center of Tucson, this is Erica, how can I help you?

This 24-hour emergency room sees its fair share of trauma.

Audra Skiva, ER Swing shift Supervisor, "She was making noise with another dog like they were fighting outside and I ran out. And they looked fine. She came in to lay down and she's got this big hole in her chest."

Paulie is just one of the stories we encountered while inside the ER. After an examination the doctor determines the dog's reason for coming into the emergency room.

"Well she appears to be stable despite her impaling."

Technicians in triage take over to determine her vitals before a doctor can prescribe the course of treatment. On any given night, this emergency room is full and these professionals rely on each other and their love of animals to handle it.

"It's hard sometimes most of us are in this because that's what we want to do. We want to help."

There are no shortage of patients.

Rocco Deconcini was in and out. He has a virus and possibly a heart problem, but his owner is hopeful.

"The care has certainly been worth it. We have a whole new outlook that he's got a life ahead of him."

For this staff, it's on to another patient.

"She just has not been acting herself, she's a little older, she's been slowing down, she's tired. Not acting as perky as normal."

Little Susie's owner noticed something was not right at home. Susie will be staying overnight for observation.

"Every owner thinks of their pets differently, some owners it's a pet, it's a friend who's there. And some owners it's their children, they don't have kids, those are the ones it's the hardest."

Technicians here say,"It's not just about pets, its about owners."

Professionals at this 24-hour emergency room know how critical their job is. They comfort pet owners while caring for injured animals.

"We try not to get too attached because they're not gonna be here for very long and they're not coming back for regular checkups."

Pets checking into this facility typically are in and out, but they do get the occasional overnight guest for more serious cases and this one is about as serious as it gets.

Kandis Meinel, Cat Owner, "I went to pick her up and she just had a meltdown, just real agitated and I looked at her and saw the dried blood and her face was really puffy."

The ER Swing shift Supervisor asks, "Have you given her anything over the counter since you noticed her swelling at all? Owner: No."

Kandis Meinel brought her four-year-old cat Jete here today because of a predator near the yard.

"I just called them in like I normally do and she didn't come right away. I wandered out there and that's when I heard the rattlesnake."

Jete is taken to the emergency ward right away for stabilization. Then comes the consultation on treatment options.

"That we'd like to give the anti-venom and leave her in the hospital overnight."

Jete's owner has to make a serious decision about the treatment -- it's going to be cheap.

"Is this one fee here, this large figure here, is that a given is that something you determine is that staying her overnight and what she looks like in the morning?

But for this owner, the decision comes easily and with some humor.

"I understand she's gonna be here so I just have to leave her in your care

"Okay that's a lot of shoes and purses."

That's not all tonight -- meet Lucia.

This french bull dog went up against two bigger dogs and was outnumbered.

So during treatment, Lucia's owner sent in a sweater for Lucia to lay on.

Vets here say it's typical for owners to send in personal items -- it help them too while they wait.

"Their dog's favorite things. Their toys, their blankets, just to smell home to make them feel a little bit more comfortable."

Just when one crisis is averted, another set of doctors are handling another pet.

Heather Rowe inside the Animal ER, "It's 7 o'clock on Monday and they're getting read for a major surgery they see only 1 in a thousand, but to them it's an ordinary day."

That wasn't the only surgery going on here today.

Max is also going into surgery to remove a tumor, this invasive surgery will require some of his ribs be taken out.

After nearly two hours, Max's doctor comes out of the operating room and makes a call to his owners.

Dr. Shields, "Hi, Ms. Peters this is Dr. Shields at Veterinary Specialty Center. We just finished with Max. He's doing just fine. We got off to a little bit of a late start and it went a little bit longer, but everything went very well."

Then there's Katie. She's a Labrador Retriever with quite an appetite for metal.

Her owners brought here after she ate two sets of car keys, a coin, a magnet, a plastic toy and a thumbtack.

Doctors treated her and she gets to go home with only a thumbtack to pass.

The 24-hour Veterinary Speciality Center of Tucson is of the three in Southern Arizona.

Pets for Kids – “10 Essential Reality Checks!”
Author: Lesley Munnings

Essential Reality Check No. 1 – The Type of Pet for kids

The type of pet you can take into your household will depend on a whole host of things such as follows: How much will the pet costs be - not just to buy - but to care for on a daily basis? The ages of your kids - a two year old child will probably not be able to handle a pet gently and certainly won’t be able to care for the pet….. What size of pet does your child want? - What space will be needed? A hamster does not take up much space but guinea pigs, ferrets and rats need much larger cages. How much time do your kids and you as a family have to give to the pet? Will your family be safe with the pet?

Will the pet be safe with your family? If you have a larger pet such as a dog, cat, or goat what effects will it have on your family, friends and neighbours? How will your pet be cared for during your holidays. Will your family be able to cope with the eventual death of a pet? Some pets will sleep most of the day and be awake at night. Hamsters can be very noisy at night! If your child wants a dog you will need to look into the breed, size and exercise needs of the dog. Do you already have another pet, what effect will it have on that pet. For instance will your dog be ok with a cat or rabbit or bird? .

Essential Reality Check No. 2 – True Costs of Pets for Kids

Some pets are very cheap to buy for instance hamsters, guinea pigs, goldfish. gerbils, fancy rats, fancy mice and rabbits and even ferrets. You will still need to consider: The cage set up ( this can be very expensive when looking at the cage sizes that most pets need) in fact they need the largest cage you can manage Food costs per week Bedding Vets bills if your pets become ill. e.g. Ferrets need a yearly injection against canine distemper. Holiday care - you will need to pay for this of course if you cannot rely on friends and family.

Bigger pets such as goats, and dogs and pedigree cats are far more expensive to buy initially, some costing hundreds of pounds. You will need to consider: Bedding and a cage (if buying one for your dog or cat) Leads and collars for dogs. Food bills Vets bills (dogs should have yearly check ups with a vets) Toys Holiday care (kennels can be very expensive) Flea treatment Ongoing veterinary costs if your pets becomes chronically ill.

Essential Reality Check No. 3 – Ages of your Kids

As the parent or carer you will need to decide if your child is old enough to handle and care for a pet. How often have parents heard the cry “oh but we promise we’ll take it for walks everyday” Or “we’ll clean it out mum, we promise”. How will you feel in a years time when you find yourself caring for the pets because the kids are busy with friends or away on a school trip or inundated with homework or just plain bored with the poor thing You will need to decide on a pet that is suitable for the age of your kids. For instance in most cases it would not be wise to buy a hamster for a two year old child who is still adapting to the world around them and may not know or be able to handle the hamster gently.

Do you want to give your kids some responsibility in caring for an animal. Some kids are very responsible and will be able to manage this. Other kids, well the sight of a baby animal is just too appealing, after all who can resist a cute puppy or kitten or baby hamster? At first you may need to help your kids, as caring for a pet is a very responsible job. As a parent or carer you will always need to oversee a pet’s care.

,Essential Reality Check No. 4 – The Space Required

Even small pets for kids such as guinea pigs, fancy rats and ferrets need a lot of cage space for a happy life. They will need the biggest cages you can find space for. These pets also need space to exercise out of the cage. Cats take up very little space, as do small breeds of dogs. Dogs will need a decent sized garden as well as walks to keep them well exercised.

Essential Reality Check No. 5 – Time for your Pets

Do you and the family have time for a pet. For smaller pets for kids you will need to have them out of the cage and being handled daily for at least 2 hours a day. Do you have time to clean out your pet at least once or twice a week, or even daily? Some pets will certainly need the toilet corner of their cage cleaned more often to avoid a foul smelling cage and pet. Water bottles and food bowls will need cleaning and refilling every day.

Will you be able to walk your dog at least once a day? - dependent on the breed some need more! Are you willing to look after your pets for the many years some can live? (From 18 months to 2 years for a mouse up to 15 years for a dog) If you are out at work all day and the kids are at school all day your pets will need and will demand attention when you return home

Essential Reality Check No. 6 – Your Pet and Family Safety

You will always need to ensure your kids safety when they are spending time with any pets for kids. Even little pets can bite and leave a wound. Dogs should not be left unattended with your kids as they are unpredictable. Even a faithful dog will bite and even attack a child if they are in pain or afraid. It happens rarely - but it does happen. You will also need to ensure your pets safety: Is your child able to handle a pet safely without hurting it. Is your pet safe with any other pets in the home? - if you have young children and a dog …. you will need to make sure the dog cannot escape because a door is accidentally left open.

If you have a dog you need to ensure visitors safety as you can be sued if your dog bites someone on your property (or even off your property) Make sure that when pets are having free time out of cages that: Other pets cannot hurt them They cannot chew electrical leads They cannot fall into toilets or baths of water. They cannot escape through gaps in walls or floors They cannot get outside without supervision

Essential Reality Check No. 7 – Effects on Family and Neighbours

The whole family needs to be in agreement if you are getting pets for kids. Pets can be noisy and messy having an effect on family living. What effect will a pet such as a dog have on Granny who suffers with an allergy - will that mean she cannot come to visit anymore? If you get a dog will it bark and howl when you leave them for any length of time and will this annoy your neighbours. Will the dog bark when your neighbours are in their own garden. How will your neighbours take to having your pet cat mess in their garden? You will need to keep your yard free of dog mess to ensure it does not smell -particularly in summer months.

Essential Reality Check No. 8 – Holidays and Care for Pets

If you have pets for kids what will happen to them during your holiday times. Do you have family or friends who can care for your pets while you are away. If not you will have to pay for your pets care. This will be expensive for dogs, cats and larger animals. Even for little pets, holiday care can be expensive.

Essential Reality Check No. 9 – Loss of a Pet and Grief

Some children are really sensitive and will be distraught when their beloved pet eventually passes away, or is lost in some way. This is especially distressing if the pet has died as a result of an accident or illness. How will you manage this? The kids will need to grieve, grieving is a healthy part of a loss reaction. We can suffer losses every day in a small way such as not getting something we want, this causes a loss reaction and part of the healing for this is grief. If your child or other family member struggles with the grieving then look at the following and see if it applies. The grieving process has seven stepping stones through which people move. Your family member may not go through them in order or spend long on any one.

The stepping stones are: Shock, Denial, Guilt, ,Anger, Depression Bargaining, Acceptance Your child may want another pet this is called bargaining and is one of the stepping stones through the grief process. If your child cannot have another pet, break down the hidden losses that the death of their pet has caused. Could there be a loss of your child’s self worth or self esteem. Have they lost their only companion. Has your child lost the only one who listened to them. By chatting try to find out how your child is feeling and help them to work out their losses and then work through to acceptance by doing some healthy bargaining.

Would your child be able to regain their sense of worth or self esteem another way? Perhaps helping out with a friends pet for instance. For some children it may be helpful to have a burial service, so they can say goodbye properly. (My son kept some hair from his beloved dog) Our kids have managed the deaths of their pets really well and have gone on to have other pets, for other kids though it has more of an effect so you will need to decide when or if to replace your child’s pet.

Essential Reality Check No. 10 – Pets for Kids are GOOD FUN!!!

Pets for kids are for the most part a great addition to the family.. They are often good company for your kids especially if the kids are lonely. Kids can learn a lot from caring for pets and by having pets even when they are lost naturally. Dogs can encourage the family out to get exercise as they walk the dog. All our kids love their pets and they are an important part of the family. So whatever pet you decide upon have fun and enjoy

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/pets-articles/pets-for-kids-10-essential-reality-checks-547459.html

About the Author:
Lesley and her husband are parents of 18years to four great kids and co authors of parenting-our-kids.com
For more information on pets visit best-pets-for-kids

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