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Pet Owners Skipping Vet Visits as Economy Sinks
By Kim Campbell Thornton -

You can safely cut back on pet care, but not by skimping on meds, vets say.
Skipping checkups and cutting back on some medications may save money in the short term, but can put your pet at risk, say veterinarians.

Tim Parkinson knows his dog and cat are past due for teeth cleanings. But he isn't sure where the money will come from for the procedure. Parkinson, who lives in Lake Forest, Calif., is on disability and says rising prices are forcing him to look closely at how he spends his money on pet care.

As the country slips further into an economic tailspin, with unemployment rates at the highest in more than a decade, pet owners are trying to give their dog or cat the best care they can on a more limited budget. For some, it’s a matter of simply cutting out the extras by buying fewer treats and doing more grooming at home. But some veterinarians say they’re seeing some pet owners skimping on preventive care by skipping checkups and even cutting back on some medications — which cuts costs, but could be putting their pet at risk.

Judi Siler, a veterinary technician in Glendale, Ariz., says the clinic where she works is still very busy, but that some owners are skipping their well-pet visits.

“Our vet clinic is situated between a lower-income part of town and a fairly wealthy part of town. The people with less income have reduced their visits to us except for emergencies,” Siler says. “Our other clients are still spending quite a bit of money but are a little more cautious and want to know prices prior to procedures being performed.”

When the economy was healthier, Siler says, clients weren’t as concerned about cost.

“[Now] they might opt for a less expensive lab panel or maybe not have lumps or bumps removed during other surgeries because they don’t want the extra expense,” she says.

Risks of skipping pet checkups
Infectious diseases, parasitism and degenerative diseases such as heart problems, kidney disease and arthritis in pets can go untreated or unnoticed when people skip well-pet visits, says John Hamil, a veterinarian at Canyon Animal Hospital in Laguna Beach, Calif. That’s especially true in lower socioeconomic areas, he says, where pets might be more likely to encounter other animals that haven’t been vaccinated or given preventive medication for heartworms or fleas. And waiting until a pet needs emergency care can be far more expensive than taking steps to prevent a problem.

Most veterinarians say people are still taking care of their animals, but extras are going by the wayside. Some pet owners are buying fewer treats and toys. Becky Buffum of Austin, Texas, doles out fewer treats to her three rottweilers and looks for cheap toys at the dollar store. One of her friends rotates toys instead of buying new ones.

“We may hear a few more complaints about dollars, but people are still wanting to care for their pets,” says Mary Paige Corcoran, DVM, of Buttercup Creek Animal Hospital in Cedar Park, Texas. “We have, however, seen a decrease in boarding and grooming. Thanksgiving is normally booked, and we are only half full.”

Bob Vetere, president of the American Pet Products Manufacturing Association, says that even as the economy is sinking, people are reluctant to cut back on what they spend on their pets.

“No matter what they stop spending on, pets seem to still be a necessity to a lot of folks,” Vetere says.

Many pet owners wonder if it's ever OK to buy cheaper store brands of pet food, and experts' opinions vary on whether switching to a lower-cost food is the best way to go.

“As a rule, cheaper foods use lesser quality ingredients,” says Liz Palika of Oceanside, Calif., the author of "The Ultimate Pet Food Guide: Everything You Need To Know About Feeding Your Dog or Cat." “Instead of muscle meat, they may use meat by-products or by-products meal. Although in laboratory analysis, those foods might show the same levels of nutrients, such as protein, dog and cat foods are not allowed to post the digestibility of their foods on the label. That’s how melamine ended up in pet foods and now baby foods; it was added to boost the laboratory analysis of protein. So by using lesser quality products, the lab results may show good foods, but the digestibility may be in question and as a result the dog may be lacking certain nutrients.”

But Hamil, the Laguna Beach, Calif., veterinarian, says that paying more for food doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better. “You can buy a lot of relatively inexpensive foods and get perfectly adequate nutrition,” he says. “If you go with the larger, well-known, moderately priced foods, you’re in good shape.”

Haggling a deal
Ingenuity and smart shopping can help you save money and still give your pets good care. With the economy on the skids, the ancient practice of bartering is back in vogue. If you have a particular skill, consider offering it in trade for pet services.

“I bartered a basic dog training session with the guy who details my van,” says Palika. “His dog got some training, and my van got cleaned.”

Veterinarian Debra Eldredge of Vernon, N.Y., says one clinic she worked at traded vet care for handmade pottery. She suggests offering to mow or garden. If you’re not handy, Eldredge says, many clinics will offer a payment plan for regular clients.

Buying in bulk is another budget saver. Look for dog treats and chews from online dog supply catalogs and store them in the freezer until you need them.

Some cities offer free or low-cost rabies vaccinations. When pet sitter Terri Albert’s dogs and cats need their shots, she takes them to a vaccination clinic at a pet supply superstore instead of the vet’s office. She shaves her wirehaired dachshund’s coat herself, although the Shetland sheepdogs still go to the groomer.

“I got a call from my groomer, who offered a $10 per dog discount if I brought them all on a slow day, so I took her up on it,” says Albert, who lives in Poway, Calif.

But regardless of what other ways you cut back, don't skimp on preventive care such as heartworm medication, Eldredge says.

“With the financial problems many families are facing, it may seem like a great idea to drop heartworm preventive or stop using flea and tick preventives,” she says. “Unfortunately, those problems can be much more expensive to treat than to prevent. Look to cut corners elsewhere, such as fewer or homemade dog toys or purchasing old comforters at garage sales for comfy dog beds. Look for coupons. If a catalog has a low price for heartworm or flea and tick preventives, see if your vet will match it. Most do. Alternatively, try to get into group orders with a discounted bulk price.”

Owners put pets first
Most pet owners say they would decrease spending for themselves before they’d let their pets go without. In Fairview, N.C., clumber spaniel owner Kim Smith McLendon would do whatever was necessary to make sure her dogs were taken care of.

“My husband and I are lucky in that we only owe a mortgage. If worse came to worst, we could put the cell phones on hold, I could do without the Internet, and we’d have to cut out Blockbuster online,” she says.

Labrador breeder Diane Ammerman of Mahwah, N.J., has given up manicures and other luxuries and drives only one vehicle, a big van in which to haul her dogs.

“The dogs are better cared for than I am,” she says. “If a dog gets sick, I’ll rush it to the vet. Me, I get sick, it’s no big deal.”

Dog Training - Easy Dog Tricks
Author: John Williams

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Humane Society Offers Help With Pet Food Expenses
by The Ann Arbor News

Residents of Washtenaw County and Canton Township who are experiencing difficulty feeding a dog or cat due to financial burden can get food to supplement their pets' nutritional needs from the Humane Society of Huron Valley.

Food is distributed based on a pet's weight and the number of pets in a household. Food is provided once a month to approved applicants.

People seeking pet food must fill out an application and provide proof of residency, as well as documentation that pets have been spayed or neutered.

For an application, visit or the Humane Society of Huron Valley Adoption Center at 3100 Cherry Hill Road. For information, call 734-661-3525.

Become A Breeder Of Exotic Pets
by Joshua Simms

Are you fond of taking care of exotic pets? Do you have an intensive knowledge of animals and breeding it? If you do, you can consider being an exotic pet breeder. There are many advantages you can get from it.
Being an exotic pet breeder would give you these benefits. Read on.

1. It could be an added source of income for you. Imagine earning from your hobby. You can get profits from something you like doing. You can choose to sell the breed of animals that you produce to other people.

2. Breeding can save you on buying pets. Even if you don't intend to sell your pets, you can save a lot from breeding, because you don't have to buy the animals to add to your existing collection, if you are really a pet lover.

3. You have ready gifts to friends. If there are equally pet lover people you know of, you can give a pet to them as a gift. You can very well do that as a breeder. No need to find an expensive and interesting present, as you have the right one at your disposal.

4. You can help in preserving the species. Although it is illegal to take an endangered animal as a pet, you can help the environment by taking care and expanding the breed of the ones you own. That way, they will be further away from the possibility of extinction.

5. You will be able to enrich your animal knowledge. Being a breeder gives you the chance to know many things about animals, even if you didn't take zoology in college. Paying close attention to your pets will surely teach you a different thing or two everyday.

6. You can contribute to nature. Being a breeder enables you to contribute to the environment by propagating the species, or even experimenting on new breeds when applicable. These are really good roles to take on.

Being a breeder isn't simple. You can't become a breeder overnight. It takes knowledge, experience, and patience. You also may need to consult with an expert breeder or a veterinarian to help you out.

And it also entails responsibility. You might need to apply for a permit especially for that reason too. Of course, you have to follow all the legalities surrounding the transport of exotic pets for breeding purposes.

If you have dreams of becoming an exotic pet breeder, start today. Gather all relevant information about your pet. And learn everything you have to learn. Soon enough, you might just realize your goals.

About the Author
Read about lizard habitat and pet lizards at the Lizard Care website.

Fighting Like Cats and Dogs
By Brian Parkin

A couple of years ago, we decided to get a pet or two to give us something to care about, other than ourselves. Our intention was to get a couple of puppies, working on the principle that they would keep each other company while we were both out at work. At that time, I worked part time and would be home to look after them four or five days a week.

We bought a couple of harnesses and leads, a huge kennel and enough toys to keep a child care centre in business! We also added a pet flap in the large sliding glass door at the rear of the house to prevent us from having to keep getting up and down to let the animals out. We did the usual research on puppy types - what breed had the best temperaments, looked at issues such as low vet bills, low maintenance, and something that didn't cost the earth to buy. As we didn't want huge pets, we decided on the small or toy breeds. Surprisingly, the smaller the breed, the more expensive it seemed to be. Anyway, our first potential purchase was a miniature fox terrier puppy advertised in the local paper for $200.

We rang the owners up and arranged to come out to their property later that morning. It was a hobby farm just outside of Ipswich in Queensland. The place was a bit run down but it seemed clean and the people who greeted us were friendly enough. We stood in front of the wire enclosure which held several healthy, wriggle tailed, black and tan, floppy eared bundles of fun. The puppies were so excited to see us and it was a difficult choice indeed. As is often the case, the one that paid us most attention and had the cutest face won the day. We paid the agreed sum, collected our newest member of the family and drove home. We named her Moxie, the mini foxy, and thought she was just the best!

Another search of the local paper had us driving around pet shops and private addresses in the local area without much success. Eventually, we ended up at the local vets to buy some pet food for Moxie. Some kittens in the display kennel caught my eye and I asked my wife what she thought about having a cat and a dog. As she had been brought up with a cat and a dog, she thought it was a great idea. So, we ended up with a little female kitten which was mostly white with a saddle of tabby colour on her back, a smudge of brown on her cheek and little dark socks. After nearly as much soul searching as parents have in naming a child, we settled on Murphy.

From the very start, they were inseparable. They would cuddle up together, usually on my lap, and I often found them on the settee or on the bed grooming each other. Murphy had a particular penchant for physically restraining Moxie with her claws outstretched on either side of the puppy's face, while she assiduously licked out Moxie's ears! The vet, at a later time, said Moxie had the cleanest ears of any dog she had ever seen and that we must spend a lot of time looking after our pets. Moxie of course, picked up lots of both cat habits and human habits and we were sure she thought she was a combination of cat, dog and human. She would imitate us by using her paws like hands when eating a bone or a chew and we could see her getting frustrated trying to pick things up. She would also imitate Murphy in washing her face, cat-like, and she could do a pretty good cat leap. I've never seen any other dog but Moxie trying to pull her claws out just like a cat does when it's getting rid of old claw sheaths. One of her more endearing traits was to tear around the garden or house at top speed, while the cat attempted to ambush her from a bush or bedroom doorway.

Murphy is the original scatty cat. She pounces on the dog while she's sleeping; she has bursts of energy and speed for no apparent reason and at odd times of the day or night, but mostly she sleeps, eats, stretches and miaows to go outside. As my wife had lost a couple of cats when she was young, she was very loath to let the cat out unsupervised, fearing that Murphy wouldn't come back. My job was to supervise Murphy's visits to the back yard, making sure she didn't go over the fence. She attempted it quite a few times in her first year but, thankfully, each time I managed to grab her in mid leap or even on the top of the fence sometimes. It didn't take much for me to be distracted just a little bit for her to make a bid for freedom. I never quite understood why she wanted to as there were big dogs on two sides out of three. She was also a very timid cat and would jump at the slightest sound. I doubted very much whether she would survive away from our yard anyway.

Both Moxie and Murphy loved to sleep on the bed when we went to sleep. Murphy also liked to creep under the covers at night time forcing me into a much smaller area of our king size bed. I had always thought that cats didn't like to be confined in any way but Murphy was definitely an exception. Moxie, on the other hand, for all she was only six or seven kilos, could lie on the bed covers making it impossible for anyone to turn over comfortably without reefing the covers from underneath her.

One day, we were doing some housework, a very occasional, and only when we have to, practice, when my wife called me over to have a look in the bedroom. There was Moxie and Murphy lying on the bed with their heads on the pillow and their legs around each other, just as if they were cuddling. The expressions on their faces were priceless. Sprung! They were the guiltiest expressions I have ever seen. We can safely say that they are friends not fighters!

By the way, we only recently sold that huge kennel, which was completely unused, and we have a pet flap that only Moxie uses, much to the chagrin of Murphy!

About the Author:
Brian Parkin is an ex Geordie who lives in Brisbane, Australia and currently operates an online store called Parkin's Patch which promotes corporate promotional gifts and personalised gifts at

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

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

Fish Aquariums
By George Sandler

A few of these care measures need to be done on a daily basis but most of them you will need to do only once or twice a week. The everyday requirements for the care of your fish are not much. But do observe your aquarium inhabitants everyday to make sure they are cheerful and look healthy. You will find that fish that are emotionally disturbed will fall sick often and mental ill health is a cause of physical ill health in fish. The lights and filters are important to maintain the perfect equilibrium of the aquarium so do check them regularly to make sure they perform in peak working conditions. The necessity to feed them daily cannot be undermined. Only feed what can be consumed in the first two to five minutes. All food left over after the fish have consumed what they have to will account for waste debris in the tank and will pollute it by adding to the nitrite levels which will cause the fish to become sick. Perform a pH test every week to see if the water´s pH level is still good. It is a big mistake to delay making any changes where necessary. When you are buying your fish from your pet store, ask them what levels will be suitable. Every variety of fish can thrive in particular conditions.

Maintaining filter hygiene is vital. The waste materials that are produced in the tank due to excretion of the fish are collected in the filters. The filters will eventually fill with debris and be unable to do their job unless they are cleaned. In addition to removing the waste debris from the tank, some filters can also provide a circulation of oxygen into the tank. If the filters are clogged, circulation slows. This tampers with the oxygen supply in the aquarium. If left untreated, this could be deadly for your fish. You have to assess the need of the aquarium and accordingly change the filter once every couple of weeks. You will know when it needs to be cleaned because the water will become cloudy or smelly. There are two things you can do with your filter depending on its design you will either have to clean it with water or you will have to change to a new one.

The proper way to change water in a tank is to do it gradually. Before cleaning your aquarium, make sure to unplug all lights and other fixtures. Change only about one in three parts of the water of the fish tank on a weekly or biweekly basis. If you are adding tap water, you may need to treat it before putting it into the aquarium. The retailer at the pet store will guide you on the proper kind of water to be used. Some treatments allow the tap water to be ready in as little as an hour, while others need to sit overnight before being added to the tank.

There may be algal growths on the sides of your tank. Your fish should not be troubled in the slightest when you are cleaning the tank. Shift the rocks and other nonliving stuff in the aquarium to release debris held under them. When replacing the water, try to get this debris out using a small bucket or a vacuum siphon. Remove all dead leaves from the water plants. Use a squeegee soaked in clean water to clean the outer surface of the aquarium. Clean also the lid and the cover of the aquarium. Plug everything back into the aquarium, sit back and take the pleasure of your newly cleaned aquarium.

Visit and discover excellent tips, products, videos and more about Fish Aquariums.

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Couple Takes Love of Pets to the Internet

"Our business reflects who we are and have been for years," explains Ken Rasmusson. "We are passionate about animal safety and well-being and our product line reinforces those principles."

Forest Lake, MN (PRWEB) November 14, 2008 -- Sue and Ken Rasmusson have been operating since 2007, but it came into its HTML fruition last April when the website went live. Now the Rasmussons joins the online pet community, yet unlike other sites, they offer something of substance. The bulk of the products in their webstore are safe pet carriers - whether your dog is hurt or if you're traveling, a cheap piece of plastic is not the way to go.

"We're in the business to give people a better understanding about their pets, as well as provide them products to make everyday life enjoyable and rewarding," says Rasmusson.

Our business reflects who we are and have been for years
We are passionate about animal safety and well-being and our product line reinforces those principles.

We're in the business to give people a better understanding about their pets, as well as provide them products to make everyday life enjoyable and rewarding
Being that we have owned and worked with pets and animals most of our lives, we felt it was a natural choice to have a business along these lines
Through our own experiences of raising and training animals, we feel we can offer our collective information on what pet products are worthwhile, as which ones aren't.

The blog will contain articles and our dealings with animals
I hope people will find it useful in getting answers for health-related issues and training problems. We will also have other professions giving their advice, as well as product updates. We want to share this information to help others.

We will be adding to
We'll include some tracking devices, as well as handling supplies.
The foundation of their website was built from the Rasmussons long history with animals. They've trained horses on their farm and have spent countless hours with dogs and cats. "Being that we have owned and worked with pets and animals most of our lives, we felt it was a natural choice to have a business along these lines," Rasmusson says. "Through our own experiences of raising and training animals, we feel we can offer our collective information on what pet products are worthwhile, as which ones aren't."

Part of the Rasmussons goal to educate people is the launch of their companion blog,, a website that will no doubt feature much of the couples' collective expertise.

"The blog will contain articles and our dealings with animals," Rasmusson states. "I hope people will find it useful in getting answers for health-related issues and training problems. We will also have other professions giving their advice, as well as product updates. We want to share this information to help others."

The webstore will also be getting its own expansion as pet technology becomes affordable. "We will be adding to,"; says Rasmusson. "We'll include some tracking devices, as well as handling supplies."

The Rasmussons aren't trying to leave a large, indelible mark on the internet universe, but rather provide a service that pet lovers and constant travelers can benefit from. They have more experience than your average employee at a big box pet retailer and so that being said, their advice is something to be heeded.

Contact Information:

Sue & Ken Rasmusson
SMR Services, Inc.

iePlexus, Inc.

Click here to visit The EZ Online Shopping Network of Stores!

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