Pet Horoscopes

Pets: How To Keep Your Dog's Health Costs Down
American Kennel Club/MCT - Hartford Courant

According to the American Kennel Club "Cost of Dog Ownership" survey, each year the average dog owner spends approximately $2,500 on maintenance fees such as food and vet care. While the benefits of pet ownership far outweigh the costs, every responsible dog owner should know that along with love and companionship comes financial responsibility.

In today's challenging economic times, it pays to save wherever you can. But saving money doesn't mean you need to skimp on your pet. The AKC offers the following preventative measures to help keep canine health costs down without compromising the quality of your pets' care.

Schedule your dog in for his annual checkup. Many canines don't exhibit symptoms of illness until it's too late. Early diagnosis can prevent your pet's symptoms from becoming life threatening and keep your dog from picking up additional illnesses due to a compromised immune system.

Don't skimp on quality food. Contrary to popular belief, the best way to save on dog food is to buy quality items in bulk rather than purchasing cheaper items. Skimping on quality typically means missing out on many nutrients your dog needs.

Don't overfeed your dog or give him human-food handouts. If you insist on sharing your food with your dog then consider small portions of carrot, broccoli or apple chunks. These are all healthful low-calorie treats most canines love. You can also ask your vet for dietary recommendations.

Make sure Fido gets the proper amount of exercise for his breed. Activities such as taking your dog for walks, visiting your local dog run, or throwing a ball around will keep your pooch in shape and prevent obesity, which can lead to many health problems such as diabetes, arthritis, torn ligaments and heart problems.

Brush your dog's teeth. You should brush your pet's teeth a few times a week and get regular cleanings at the vet. This will prevent the build-up of tartar and gum disease, which can lead to kidney disease, liver disease and infection.

Look for discounts. While you should never skimp on visits to the vet, you may be able to reduce costs. According to Consumer Reports, more than 60 percent of veterinarians will discount services if you bring in three or more pets during one visit, while 50 percent will give discounts to senor citizens who own pets.

Invest in your pet. With healthcare being one of the most important aspects of responsible dog ownership, pet insurance allows owners to care for their pet's health in the same way they do for themselves and other family members. And, for the many dog owners who are put in difficult situations emotionally and financially when their dog becomes sick or is injured, it can help alleviative the heart wrenching decisions over whether they can afford treatment. A small, monthly fee covers the cost of preventive medicine and the treatment of illness and injury. Higher deductibles reduce premiums and make insurance a more viable option for many budgets.

Additional findings from the AKC's "Cost of Dog Ownership" survey can be found online

4 Things to Consider Before Giving a Pet as a Christmas Gift
by Connie Raines

The holiday season is here once again and often, people like to give puppies as Christmas gifts. The media, television shows and ads has given us the idea that puppies make heartwarming holiday gifts for children, spouses, and significant others, but experts agree, when people give pets as holiday gifts, the pet can pay an awful price. Everyone loves a new pet, but not everyone has the temperament or the responsible habits required to be a good pet owner. Too many pets given with good intentions get returned or worse, are neglected.

For people who are thinking about giving pets this holiday season-DON'T DO IT! Here are some things to consider first.

1. The decision to bring a pet into the family should be a family decision, not a surprise gift. Without the family making this decision together, the pet won't likely be welcomed as part of the family.

2. Matching a pet with a family takes the family's commitment to learning, not only about different breeds, but also the different characteristics of an individual animal. If you think that a friend or family member wants a pet, give them a book about pet care and training, or how to select the right pet, then they get to choose their new best friend.

3. Are they allergic? Household pets are the most common source of allergic reactions. Many people think that pet allergy is provoked by the fur of cats and dogs. Instead, it's the small, invisible flakes of animal skin dander that trigger the itchy, watery eyes, sneezing and stuffy nose in people with pet allergy. For those with asthma, symptoms will be more severe. The only effective way to alleviate the signs and symptoms of a pet allergy is to find a new home for the pet. Many of these will be taken to animal shelters where they will face an uncertain future.

4. If you are thinking of giving a pet as a gift, consider visiting your local animal shelter. Dogs and cats available for adoption are listed in an online database that includes photos and descriptions of each available animal. In an effort to match pets with people they provide as much information about the responsibilities of pet ownership, including the long-term emotional and financial commitment required for owning a pet.

So before you choose a puppy, kitten, bird, or any other animal to give as a gift, remember: Giving a new pet takes serious commitment for the recipient, and should be done for the right reasons and with plenty of forethought. From pure breeds to mutts, from large to small, there is sure to be the perfect match, this way the pet will receive all the attention it needs and can bond much easier with its new family!

About the Author
Connie Raines is a Registered Nurse and owner of two dogs,a Shih-Tzu and a Golden Retriever. Visit to view and purchase her selection of high quality gifts, collectibles, pet accessories, figurines, and more!

Vicky Katz Whitaker - Charleston Post and Courier
Copley News Service

More than half RV owners travel with their pets

Fido may be top dog among RV owners who take their animals with them when they travel, but no matter what type of pet you own, if you want to take it along on your next RV trip you'll need to plan ahead.

That's the word from animal experts backed by statistics that show 57 percent of the nation's 8 million RV owners travel with their pets, most of them dogs. Bringing along the family pet should not be a last-minute decision, they say. In fact, it may take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to make sure your dog or cat is ready for the trip.

Before you leave you may need to:

- Visit the vet.

- Buy special crates, water and food bowls that can withstand the rigors of being on the road.

- Teach your pet to relax on long rides.

- Get special identity tags, even a microchip to track your pet if it gets lost.

- Check out campsites and parks to make sure your pet will be welcome.

- Gather the names and phone numbers of vets and emergency animal hospitals along your route.

Visiting the vet tops the list, since you will need to know if your pet is in good health and is up to date on shots and medication to protect it from rabies, heartworm, Lyme Disease, even fleas.

"You want to make sure your pet is healthy to travel and that there are no medical problems," says Humane Society of America issue specialist Kelly Connolly.

Make sure to obtain and take along a printout from the vet showing when and what shots your pet has been given, she adds. You may be required to show it in order to park your RV at some campgrounds and parks.

"You'll also need it to cross into Canada, Mexico or another foreign country," Connolly points out.

Plan to keep your pet in a travel crate that can be strapped in when you're on the road. "It's a matter of common sense," says Dr. Greg Hammer, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

In addition to being a potential distraction to the driver, a dog or cat left to run loose in an RV can be tossed around and injured if you have to stop short or go around a sharp curve, he warns.

"Animals that are not prepared to travel can suffer sickness and anxiety," adds Hammer, a Dover, Del., veterinarian. He urges pet owners to spend adequate time readying their animals for long trips normally associated with RV travel. "Some animals are bad about travel, even driving a mile down the road, but you can get them used to it by traveling with them for short periods of time."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, in its online animal advice section on Pet Travel Tips ( says you can help your pet acclimate itself to its on-the-road home by letting it spend varying lengths of time in the carrier before you leave. Tossing in an old T-shirt you have slept in for a night or two may be one way to help calm the pet.

The American Society for the Prevention and Cruelty to Animals, with the help of its staff of animal behaviorists and pet experts, has developed a line of 22 pet travel and safety products such as collapsible food and water dishes, light-up dog collars, reflective safety leashes and a portable pet enclosure, all of which can be used by RVers aware of the potential of their pet wandering off at a campsite or park.

Once available only online, the collection recently became available at Shopko, a Midwest general merchandiser, which returns a portion of the purchase price to the Society to underwrite its work.

It's important to spend the time to plan your RV trip with your pet in mind, says Hammer, with the American Veterinary Medical Association. "Treat your animal like you want to be treated. Make your pet's trip enjoyable."


- The American Veterinary Medical Association offers a free and comprehensive six-page brochure, also available online, on "What You Should Know About Traveling With Your Pet."

- RV pet travel advice is available at the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association's Web site, www.gorving.>

- You can download a free list of pet-friendly campsites online at>

- The National Park Service provides RVers with a park-by-park list of pet rules and regulations. Just enter "pets" on its search engine at>

© Copley News Service


What are Pet Horoscopes?
Author: Nikky Hughes

You’ve heard of horoscopes, but have you ever heard of pet horoscopes? Many people believe that the position of planets and stars have a tremendous impact on the actions and events within our daily lives. Those who ascribe to this belief also understand that those impacts have an effect on all life, not just human life. This means that the position of planets and stars can impact the lives of our pets as well!

To determine the sign of your pet, just compare the month that your pet was born to the dates on the pet horoscope guide. Each range of dates has its own unique sign, identical to human astrological signs.

Where to Find Pet Horoscopes

Pet horoscopes are very unique because a pet’s life is obviously quite different than a human’s, with different concerns, desires, fears, and hopes. Reading your pet’s weekly horoscope can be great fun – just as much fun as reading your own. However, since pet horoscopes are not quite as common as human horoscopes, they can be a little more difficult to find. Below are several websites that list horoscopes for pets every week.

Petroscopes for Pet Horoscopes

Petroscopes for Pet Horoscopes is a great website focused solely on providing both weekly and yearly pet horoscopes. The main page features the yearly horoscope for each zodiac sign.

Here’s an example of a yearly pet horoscope from

“Taurus: Taurus is entering a difficult and tiring period. In spite of his natural cautiousness, your Taurus pet may seem so exhausted at times that you feel it necessary to take him to see the local vet. You may also notice your pet exhibiting signs of loneliness – try to give him as much affection as you can.”

This website features some great yearly pet horoscopes, but make note of the fact that the weekly horoscopes are not always updated in a very timely manner.

VPI Pet Insurance

The VPI Pet Insurance Company (yes, there really is such a thing as pet insurance!) provides timely and updated pet horoscopes. The page for 2008 summarizes the year for all pets as follows:

“This year, pets will discover their role as a constant companion is an important one. In 2008, Mother Nature will play a part in pets’ lives throughout the four seasons.”

The horoscope section of this website also offers a “Pet Education Center” that includes sections on “First Aid For Your Pet”, “First Time Pet Owners”, and “Pet Toxins & Poisons”. The website offers a brief horoscope blurb on the main page, and a link for each zodiac sign to a more comprehensive prediction page.

Clicking on the link for the prediction page for any of the signs brings you to a page that describes the personality of that sign (a very fun read, to compare it to your pet’s personality), as well as the effects of astrological events on the life of your pet during each season of the year. The website is laid out very well, organized cleanly and with very fun graphics.

Cat’s Central

Cat’s & Kittens Central provides a fun web page called Winky’s Pet Horoscopes, which is focused primarily on cats. The page touts Winky’s Pet Horoscopes as “The Internet’s #1 Feline Astrologer!” This web page allows you to view your cat’s monthly horoscope. If you don’t know your cat’s exact birthday, Winy says you can simply use the day your pet came into your life.

Each page for the monthly horoscope of each sign features an adorable photo of a cat given the title the zodiac sign “of the Month.” The horoscopes themselves are tailored specifically for cats and very fun to read. For example, Aries for this month reads:

“The moon is set to eclipse Pluto this month, but you needn't worry yourself about that - after all, Pluto was a badly drawn cartoon dog and you, being of the feline persuasion, are far removed from such things.”

The humor and wit is great. The website, overall, is somewhat amateurish in design, but it isn’t overrun by ads and it’s very easy to navigate. The well-written horoscopes are definitely the star of the show at this site.

Nikky’s Pet Profiles

Another unique way to commemorate your pet and his or her zodiac sign is through a painted pet portrait utilizing an astrology theme and integrating the pet’s zodiac sign..

Pet portraits are very popular and sweeping the country. Nikky Hughes, of Los Angeles, offers amazing pet portraits that utilize unique backgrounds and themes. She is always happy to do portraits on request, and a pet’s zodiac sign would easily fit into the creative and witty existing portfolio of pet portraits that are displayed at her website.

Nikky was classically trained at the Mission Renaissance art school, and she focuses on capturing not only the beauty, but the unique character of each animal. There are more ways to enjoy horoscopes than simply reading them each day – feature your cat in a beautiful painted portrait that incorporates the zodiac, and you have an astrological masterpiece that will last a lifetime.

Article Source:

About the Author:
I'm a Los Angeles based oil painter. I specialize in Pet Portraits. I currently teach art and paint for a living. I've enjoyed combining my love for pets, with my love for the arts. You can find my online portfolio at: Pet Portraits by Nikky

Today's Photos Received from Shannon S of Bullhead City, AZ -- Thank You!

Trimming Pet's Nails - Take Proper Care of Your Pet
By Jeremy Foster

Most pet owners understand how to take proper care of their pet. Many basic grooming procedures consist of brushing, bathing, and getting their hair cut. Some, however, overlook one of the most important tasks in keeping your pet well groomed. This part involves nothing more than keeping your pet's nails neatly trimmed. Believe it or not, this is very important for a pet's health and well being. Several benefits of this process include better mobility, less pain, bonding, and better health. These are all excellent benefits that make this process worth attempting.

Granted, trimming a pet's nails may seem like a difficult job, and it can be because many pets do not necessarily enjoy this and they are not afraid to let their owners know about it. Fortunately, there are some incredible tools available to make the job less painful for both of you. Using them and getting the job done correctly can have many benefits that are too large to ignore.

When you keep up with trimming your pet's nails, you can discover the following benefits:

Mobility - When a dog's claws are allowed to grow too long, basic tasks such as running and walking become painful and more difficult. This may even become a problem for very young dogs with a lot of energy. Dogs in particular, enjoy running and playing and by keeping their nails short, you can increase their comfort level while performing these activities. Keeping your pet's claws correctly and neatly trimmed can help ensure that he never suffers the unnecessary pain long nails can cause.

Better health - When claws are allowed to grow too long over an extended period of time, health problems can arise. An ordinarily healthy dog can become lame from favoring paws while walking. In some cases, broken nails can be an issue and can even cause infections in the paws. Long nails can cause problems for your pet including infections. These infections are caused by the nail cracking or splitting.

Increased comfort - If you do not trim a cat's nails often, they may begin scratching in an attempt to shorten their own nails. They may use a variety of surfaces including your furniture. Unfortunately, this also means that they may scratch you and other objects in your home.

Bonding - Nail trimming and other routine health care maintenance can be the perfect time to bond with your cat or dog. Try to make the experience as enjoyable as possible and it can pay off for both of you. When you begin the process by calming your pet and finish by giving your pet a treat, he or she may look forward to a weekly claw inspection and trimming. This is a great experience because you can tell that your pet is happy and you know they are healthy too.

Getting the Job Done With Ease

If you want to make sure your pet enjoys the benefits of routine claw trimming, you may want to learn how to perform the job yourself. Yes, you can go to a groomer for this, but it can prove costly to keep up with on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. There are several tools and tips for trimming your pet's nails. To trim a cat or dog's claws with relative ease, consider the following tips:

Getting a nail grinder - There are specialized tools for trimming canine and feline claws. Rather than technically cut, they grind. These devices make it easier for you to handle the job and less intimidating for your dog or cat. A nail grinder is a tool that grinds the nails rather than cut them. This can be less painful for your pet because there is a lower chance of cutting the quick.

Using rewards - Do not overlook the value of rewarding your pet for behaving well during a trim. When you reinforce that a treat is coming after a trim, your pet should respond well.

Taking it with a grain of salt - If you are new at trimming your pet's claws and find the job is a little difficult, do not sweat it. Rather than try to trim all four paws in one sitting, do one at a time. If your pet seems distressed, just back off for a bit and come back to the job later.

There are many benefits to trimming your pet's nails. The main benefits include better mobility for your pet, improved overall health, and less pain. These benefits are worth it and even though your pet may be uncomfortable with the process, you should try to find ways to help them get through it. Rewards are important because they show your pet that your care and they were good during the process. This helps them to behave in a similar manner during the next nail trimming.

About Author:
Jeremy Foster is a freelance writer who writes about pet care and pet products, focusing primarily on specific pet care products such as Pedi Paws.

Article Source:

Happy Holidays With Your Dog
by Joseph Sabol

The holiday season can be a fun and hectic time for the whole family, and just like young children, your pets will feel the effects of all the excitement. Cooking, shopping, relatives visiting and traveling will disrupt your pets comfortable routine. He will need to have his place, whether it be a crate or a room out of the way, where he can feel safe and secure. Remember, not all your guests will like dogs and your dog may not like all your guests! If your dog is going to be able to mingle with family and friends, ask them not to feed your dog any treats. Rich, spicy food, chocolate and fatty foods, can all cause gastric upset.

All the pretty ornaments and decorations can be very tempting for your dog, either to play with, chew on or eat. Keep live greens and plants off the floor and out of reach. It may be a good idea to tie your tree down so it cannot be tipped over. One year we had a 13 foot tall tree and while we were out, our Lab knocked it over...what a mess! Use unbreakable ornaments on the lower branches of your tree and avoid using tinsel or garland where your dog can reach it. Of course the best solution is to train your dog to stay away from the tree, but it may just be too tempting for even the most angelic of pooches.

If you have children opening presents with lots of parts, make sure they keep all the pieces together and off the floor. There are any number of toys or even socks and gloves that your dog can ingest. The last thing you want to do on your holiday is make a trip to the emergency vet. Another potential danger is your dog escaping out the door as guests are arriving or leaving. Be aware if your pup is likely to make a run for it and keep him safely secured.

If you are going to travel with your best furry friend, make arrangements well in advance. Have a copy of your dogs vaccination record and make sure he has a collar with a tag listing your name and phone number. Bring his bed or blanket and favorite toys. The best way for your dog to travel buy car is in a harness or in his crate. You should have his crate with your so he can sleep there or just hang out there if he needs quiet time. If you are not staying with family, there are now many hotel chains that are pet friendly. Look online and call ahead to find out the specifics. Do not plan to sedate or medicate your dog for travel unless your veterinarian recommends it.

Air travel with your pet has become easier, especially if you have a small dog that can travel in the cabin under your seat. Again, check with the airline for their rules and restrictions. Remember no one wants to hear your dog barking all the way to grandmothers house. If your dog needs to fly cargo, your flight plan will need to be made based on the airlines live cargo restrictions. Call ahead or look online for the airlines information on flying your pet in cargo. We have sent puppies to different parts of the country and have never had a problem. The airline we use is extremely capable and well organized and take good care of the pups. Size restrictions on the crate as well as temperature restrictions can impact your flight plans.

With some extra care and planning ahead, your holiday season can be safe and enjoyable for the whole family, four-legged members included.

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About the Author
Joseph M. Sabol is a world class Doberman breeder. Please go to or to for further information

7 Questions Cat Owners Need to Ask Before Purchasing Cat Health Insurance
by Mary Johnstown

Before cat owners purchase health insurance for their family cat there are a few questions they should ask themselves. Asking themselves these questions will give the cat owner a reasonable idea of what type of policy will best suit them.
1.The first thing they should consider is whether or not they would like a discount insurance plan or a comprehensive insurance plan.

2.The next question cat owners need to ask themselves is how attached are they to their local veterinarian. Some veterinarians will not accept pet health insurance from various pet health insurance companies for a variety of reason. If the cat owner does not feel comfortable taking their family pet to a different veterinarian they should look for an insurance company their veterinary clinic accepts.

Cat owners should also be aware that in certain instances the local veterinarian or animal hospital cannot help their pets and might refer them to the State University veterinary clinics.

3.When purchasing a health-insurance plan for their owner should double check and make sure that any expenses charged to the university veterinary clinic will be covered by the insurance plan.

4.Before cat owners purchase a health-insurance plan for their family cat they should decide if they would like to neuter or spay their cat. Some pet insurance companies offer health insurance plans for pets that will cover the cost to neutering or spaying. If the policy you are thinking about purchasing does not include neutering or spaying you might want to purchase an additional rider to help with the expense.

Remember that if you have adopted your cat from a local animal shelter you will be required to neuter or spay your cat if the shelter hasn't already done that. This is also a good time to get the first round of your cat's annual shots out of the way.

5.How much can you actually afford to pay in addition to the monthly or yearly cost of your pets health-insurance plan? If you have to bring your cat to the veterinarian will you be able to pay a deductible? A deductible is the amount of money you have to pay the veterinarian out of your pocket each and every time you visit them. The higher the deductible you carry the lower your monthly premiums are on your pet's health-insurance plan.

6.If your cat gets injured in a freak accident or suddenly becomes sick will you be able to pay for any medication that the veterinarian might prescribe. Prescription drugs are expensive whether they are for humans or for pets. If you are concerned about the potential cost of prescription drugs you may want to purchase a rider that will help cover the cost. Purchasing a co-pay option a prescription drugs get help lower your annual fee.Mary Johnstown is the webmaster of myspace proxy

7.Before purchasing a health-care plan for your cat find out if the plan just coverers your cat's immediate health care issues or if it will also cover the cost of the veterinarian's office visit. Cat owner should remember that the time to research the various types of pet health-care insurance is normally before they purchase their pet. Most injuries and illnesses occur during the pets early years of life.

About the Author
Mary Johnstown is the webmaster of myspace proxy

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