Pet News - Pet Advice

Pets Feeling Hard Times, Too
By Lynn Thompson - The Seattle Times

As the region's economy falters and layoffs and housing foreclosures rise, animal advocates say pets can be unseen victims.

A rescued cat watches from a Pasado's Safe Haven cage. The owner no longer could afford cat food.

Disabled Gold Bar resident Kurt Meehan asked Pasado's Safe Haven for help. He said he'll miss his cats but that he's facing eviction and can no longer afford to keep them.

The Seattle Humane Society will hold a pet-food drive at Sunday's Seahawks game to fill the shelves of its pet-food bank. Volunteers will be in the southwest corner of the Qwest Field parking lot from 9 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. The Humane Society distributes pet food to low-income seniors and AIDS patients. Animal Rescue

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GOLD BAR, Snohomish County — With just $600 a month in disability payments to live on and mounting bills, Kurt Meehan faced a difficult choice: feed himself or feed his eight cats. His weekly trips to the Sultan food bank yielded little for his animal companions.

Workers at Pasado's Safe Haven, who rescued the cats earlier this week, said the pets seemed to be surviving on peanut butter and not much more.

"I had problems finding money for cat food," said Meehan, 48. "I had to make a decision to find help."

As the region's economy falters and layoffs and housing foreclosures rise, animal advocates say pets can be unseen victims. In the past few months, pets here have been found abandoned on the front porches of empty houses, pushed from cars on remote roads or in the case of some horses, left to starve in muddy fields.

The problem is worse in parts of the country with higher foreclosure rates, according to the American Humane Association. Allie Phillips, director of public policy for the organization, said more animals are being abandoned at shelters and more are being found — alive and dead — in foreclosed-upon homes in regions with high rates of defaults.

"Nationally, 20,000 homes a day are being foreclosed. About 50 percent have at least one pet, and many are being left behind. Do the math. It's a huge crisis," said Phillips.

Locally, shelters haven't been inundated with abandoned animals, but workers say more people admit to dropping off dogs and cats because they can no longer afford to keep them, or because they've been forced to move and either can't afford a pet deposit or can't find housing that accepts pets.

Displaced families

"We're seeing people surrendering well-loved, well-cared-for pets because they're being forced to downsize or are no longer able to provide care," said Brenda Barnette, CEO of the Seattle Humane Society. She said that just as food-bank donations are down, so are donations to the Humane Society's pet-food bank, which provides pet food to low-income seniors and AIDS patients.

"Our food-bank shelves are empty," she said.

Workers at Pasado's Safe Haven say the number of neglect and abandonment cases here started to rise in spring, as gas prices climbed above $4 a gallon. Angel Light, animal-cruelty investigator for the Monroe rescue group, said people began to pay for gas with food money, and for groceries with what they had left, leaving some without enough for pet food and veterinary care.

A former animal-control officer in Sultan and Index, Light said she began to see stray dogs that witnesses said had been pushed from cars that then drove away. Last week in Granite Falls, a family evicted from a rental house left behind a dog, cat and chickens. Neighbors spotted the dog and cat on the porch, without food or water. They brought a blanket and fed them until Pasado's was finally contacted to pick the animals up.

"We're getting more calls for abandoned animals," Light said.

Horses in Western Washington are also at risk for neglect and abandonment, animal advocates say, because the price of feed has nearly doubled in the past two years and the costs of boarding and grooming have also climbed.

"We're getting almost a call a day for horses who have been left at boarding facilities, left behind when a house is abandoned, or whose owners can no longer afford to keep them," said Jenny Edwards, founder of Hope for Horses, an equine-rescue organization between Monroe and Woodinville.

Edwards pointed to the case of Jean Marie Elledge, who in October was sentenced to nine months in jail for allowing several horses to starve to death on her Carnation farm. Edwards said many horse owners, such as Elledge, think they will be able to pay for their horses' upkeep by breeding and selling foals, and instead find themselves unable to pay for the animals' daily needs.

Horses that might be able to survive on pasture grass in spring and summer, she said, begin showing signs of malnutrition in winter unless they're fed high-quality grain. The price of Timothy and orchard grass, two types of livestock feed, has climbed to more than $21 a bale, up from $11 a bale two years ago. Some horse owners, trying to keep costs down, feed their horses bedding straw, which has almost no nutritional value, she said.

Horses, donkeys and burros also need regular hoof care, which can cost between $35 and $100 per farrier visit, Edwards said.

"We know more animals are going to be neglected because of the economy," she said.

Some owners sacrifice

But not everyone abandons animals because of economic hard times. Hannah Evergreen, a Snohomish veterinarian who specializes in the holistic care of large animals, said most of her clients will "eat ramen" rather than sacrifice their pets' well-being.

"They'll put their horses before themselves, in some cases," she said.

But Evergreen said there has been a rise in the number of unwanted horses as the economy worsens and people struggle to pay for their animals' upkeep.

"It's harder to place horses and harder to find foster homes. People trying to downsize can't afford the expense," she said.

Pasado's Safe Haven has also recently investigated several cases of equine neglect. Among the most egregious were those of donkeys and burros hobbled because their hoofs had not been trimmed, possibly for years, said Light, the animal-cruelty investigator. She said hoofs should be trimmed every six to eight weeks.

In Gold Bar, Kurt Meehan said he didn't have money to have his cats fixed, and then didn't have money for food as they multiplied. The cat urine and feces got out of control, exacerbating his own respiratory problems.

Earlier this week, as Pasado's workers trapped and loaded his cats for transport, he said it was hard to lose his companions of many years.

"It hurts to see them go, but I've got to do something. I don't have the money for food."

Lynn Thompson: 206-464-8305 or

Beyond Puppy Love: Old Animal Care is a Pet Project
By Peter King / Newsday

Beyond puppy love: How to care for your older pet

Caring for an older family member takes time, love and devotion.

It's no different when that family member has four legs and a tail.

For some boomers and seniors, their cat or dog was adopted several years ago as a companion. For others, that kitten or puppy brought into the home for their children is still there even as the kids have gone off to college or to a place of their own.

There are things you can do to keep your older pets healthy. And it starts with the scale. "It's detrimental to your animals' health to have them overweight," says Dr. Babette Gladstein, a Manhattan-based veterinarian. "For instance, they get diabetes much faster than a human would."

One way to control your pets' weight is by cutting down on dry food. "I have found that dry food tends to make animals fat," Gladstein says. "You want to keep your animals' diet as close to what it would have in nature." Dry foods are often loaded with carbohydrates your carnivore dog or cat doesn't need in abundance.

In her practice, Gladstein uses holistic medicine and procedures such as acupuncture, ultrasound and massage to keep older pets spry. (For more information, see her Web site, She is also a believer in nutritional supplements. "Some of the things are fundamental, like giving your dog or cat vitamins." Vitamin sprays can be found in most pet stores.

You may also want to consider omega-3 supplements. "They help to cut inflammatory cycles in the body and also help with cognitive function," Gladstein says. "This can keep your pet from becoming intellectually and neurologically dysfunctional and keep them aware and alert." Make sure you use omega-3 supplements that are formulated for pets, not humans. "For humans, they tend to add orange or lemon flavor," Gladstein says. "That citrus enzyme is not digestible and will actually prevent an animal from using those omega-3 protections."

Also consider making your home senior pet friendly. "Just like you have to be sensitive to an older person falling and breaking their hip, slippery floors can lead to your older pet splaying their legs and hurting themselves," she says. A solution? "Put down some runners so your dog or cat can still run around the house."

Gladstein says a wellness program could mean fewer trips to the doctor.

"You will save a tremendous amount of money on vet bills," she says. More important, "your pets will live longer and healthier and, hopefully, disease-free."

Urban Pet Owners Facing Challenges
by Pedro Arrais, Canwest News Service/Calgary Herald

Housing restrictions limit animal lovers

As more people find downtown living a better match to their lifestyles, many are unwilling to compromise when it comes to their pets.

Attitudes toward dogs in the city have changed, and owners are including pets in their active lifestyles.

Pet owners are willing to go to great lengths to accommodate their four-legged room-mates.

Louise Smith estimates housing for her dog, Blanche, cost her $290,000.

That's how much she paid for her new townhouse after she had to move from the condominium that she had lived in for 15 years as it did not allow dogs.

Smith's story is not unique. Finding housing for urban dog lovers can be a challenge, as almost all condominiums have some sort of policy that prohibits or limits pet ownership.

"Most places I looked at had some sort of restriction," says Smith, a 53-year-old legal secretary. "Either it was a straight-out, no-dogs-allowed policy, or there would be a restriction to the size and weight of the dog."

While many smaller toy breeds, such as chihuahuas and dachshunds, would satisfy some condo councils' demand for pint-sized pets, not every dog-lover wants a small breed as a companion.

The size restriction meant Smith, who had her heart set on a border collie, a medium-sized dog, had to look for something other than a condo.

She considered but rejected a stand-alone house because she did not want to spend her free time maintaining a full-sized lot.

For Smith, a townhouse with a small yard was the perfect fit.

She has a courtyard where Blanche can relieve herself and another closed-off section where she maintains a garden.

Smith's experience is common, say real estate agents. People often compromise on what they are willing to accept in living quarters to accommodate a pet.

Victoria realtors have a computer program that allows them to search for properties that are pet-friendly.

But even with this tool, it can be a daunting wait for buyers with specific pet needs.

"I find the market less accommodating for people with pets," says Don Beckner, a real estate agent with Royal LePage. "Properties that accept pets can be hard to find."

While many properties advertise they will accept pets, Beckner says in his experience, he has to check them out before he takes his client to view.

Sometimes the suites that allow pets are all on the main floor, or the dog has to be a certain size -- which may be counter to the buyer's taste or breed of dog.

Beckner says it took 10 months to find a suitable unit for a senior with a small dog because she wanted a place that offered independent living and would allow a pet.

She had been looking for a one-bedroom unit, but decided to settle for a bachelor suite when faced with few options.

Even homeowners with yards have to make adjustments.

Urban lots are smaller, and the value of land means the house takes up a larger percentage of the property and less green space for Rover.

Sales of doghouses have dwindled as the family's four-legged companion moves into the house. But that is not a bad thing, some dog lovers say.

"Dogs are, by nature, communal animals," says Lisa Nitkin, owner of Pets West, a Victoria pet store. "They thrive on being part of the family and not big on being left out 24/7."

She says while doghouse sales in her store are down, the sale of accessories, such as beds, has climbed.

She attributes the increase to a population that has become more urbanized, with less open space to leave the dog all day.

Active dogs get dirty and are not shy about sharing the dirt with their owners and surroundings.

Some owners of custom homes have designed their houses to take into account the habits of their four-legged inhabitants.

A no-step shower in the mud room beside the back door makes for a useful feature for dogs that like to romp in the mud.

As some condo corporations require owners to pick up their pets when travelling through common areas, sales of raincoats, boots and other wet-weather protection for pets have risen.

"Consumers are constantly looking for conveniences that make cleanup easier," says Nitkin.

Finding pet-friendly housing is one thing. But proximity to dog-friendly outdoor areas is just as important for dog fanciers.

After being cooped up inside while their owners work, Rover is usually in need of a bit of exercise.

Some parks even offer free doggy bags and convenient garbage cans for used bags.

"We wanted to live in an urban setting," says Gerald Campbell, 50, who shares a three-year-old pug, Oliver, with his wife Shelley.

"But we decided on renting at Dockside Green because there is a park just across the road and the Galloping Goose Trail is right in front of the apartment. It's just a three-storey elevator ride and we're there."

© The Calgary Herald 2008

Readers Barking Up Same Tree Over Pet Drugs
David Baines, Vancouver Sun

In Wednesday's column, I noted that my 16-year-old standard poodle had developed arthritis. Our veterinarian, Dr. Terry Lynn Grise of Richmond, had prescribed an anti-inflammatory called Deramaxx, which is specially formulated for dogs.

Realizing this was a chronic condition, I asked Dr. Grise for a copy of the prescription so we could look at generic alternatives or other sources of supply, such as online pharmacies. She refused to provide it.

When I advised her that, according to the B.C. Veterinary Medical Association, she is obliged to give it to us, she summarily dismissed us as clients.

Dr. Grise's stated objection was that we were intending to take the prescription to an online pharmacy, which she distrusts.

I say it's our business where we take it, not hers. Her professional association agrees with us. Also, the B.C. College of Pharmacists says we can put as much trust in online pharmacies as conventional pharmacies, as long as they are licensed. And finally, there are substantial savings to be had, savings which your vet may not be telling you about.

My column sparked a flood of reader responses, nearly all echoing my sentiments. Here is a sampling:

I could not believe you were not talking about my vet in Vancouver! I had almost the exact experience you did while trying to get my prescription for Metacam filled elsewhere for $25 less than she was charging me.

Even though we have taken our 14-year-old poodle to her since he was one year old, I was told through her receptionist, after asking for a price match, that I could either pay her the $25 higher rate, or pay $25 to have my files transferred to another veterinarian of my choosing! I was absolutely floored.

- Eileen Stuart

Online pharmacies would not be such an issue if veterinarians did not apply ridiculous mark ups to medications. Due to a move, I recently had to find a new vet and required them to call in an ongoing order for an arthritis supplement for my dog. The vet wanted to charge me 100-per-cent mark up, a dispensing fee and an administration fee, just for placing a phone call! After a rather frank conversation, they agreed to only charge me a 40-per-cent mark up and the dispensing fee.

Many medications prescribed for pets are human medications which vets will obtain from human pharmacies and, of course, apply their ridiculous mark up. An ethical vet should share this info with their client.

- Colleen Wilkinson

Your story on the prescription for your dog is excellent, but only goes so far. When I was CEO of the B.C. Pharmacy Association, I regularly received complaints from member pharmacists about prescriptions dispensed to pet owners by veterinarians.

Recently, a friend purchased meloxicam drops, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug for his dog, who was suffering from osteoarthritis. I was appalled at the price [charged by the veterinarian] -- something like $80.

The price for tablets prescribed and dispensed for humans, but that could be crushed and put in the dog's food, is about $12. But the veterinarian would not provide a prescription for meloxicam tablets, no medical doctor would ethically prescribe for a patient's pet, and the drug was not on the list that could be dispensed for veterinary purposes without a prescription. The choice of going to on-line pharmacies is because retail pharmacies cannot obtain these drugs.

BCVMA deputy registrar Dr. John Brocklebank is certainly correct in stating that pet owners have a right to obtain a prescription for their pets rather than having drugs dispensed by a veterinarian. This is probably causing no end of concern for veterinarians profiting from this secret, but I doubt he can personally see that this happens. It's up to pet owners.

- Frank Archer, BSP, RPh.Former CEO of the B.C. Pharmacy Association

I want to thank you so much for your article published today. With health care for dogs being expensive as it is, most pet owners have to do whatever they can to save money. Knowing that these online pharmacies are available and that vets are legally obligated to give you the prescription to take elsewhere if requested is a huge benefit for pet owners. You have just made it much easier for pet owners to give their dogs the best care possible at a price that won't bankrupt them.

Hopefully your article makes the rounds to most of the local vets as I know several of them refuse to write out the prescription for most medications they sell.

- Shawna Rogowski

Glad to see someone taking on an issue with vets as I believe they abuse their power by playing on people's emotions and are able to maximize their bucks at our expense. I believe the vets' agenda does not always align with the public seeking their help. Thanks for exposing this.

- Fred Halldorson

After watching a CBC Marketplace show last year on the cost of pet prescriptions I was shocked to see that some vets are charging a 400-per-cent mark up.

It's not just prescriptions that are marked up indecently. I purchase the product Advantage for flea protection for my Bichon. I thought I would phone around to find the best price within a 10-minute drive of my North Vancouver home. The price ranged from $56 to $90 for the same box!

Until I saw that CBC show it never occurred to me that there could be such spread in prices.

- Victoria Anderson

Next week, we will take a closer look at the CBC Marketplace story on pet drugs, which aired last November. It lays bare the inherent conflict of interest in veterinarians prescribing and dispensing drugs. We will also look at what the BCVMA is doing, or not doing, to manage that conflict.

© The Vancouver Sun 2008


Pet Therapy
KXMBTV Bismarck

Nobody enjoys being sick or being in a hospital-but at some point in our lives, we've all been under the weather and we might have to stay at a place like Med Center One. While being in a hospital isn't all that funthere is a unique group of volunteers who work like dogs and are trying to make the stay just a little easier and a little happier. Jason Torreano has the story.

"It adds a little extra happiness to the day when you're sitting here all day by yourself all day long," said Moses Bullbear, a Med Center One patient.

Patients like Moses get by with just a little help from our four legged friends. They can't prescribe drugs. They know nothing about insurance-but they have a way of just making you feel a little better.

"They just look at your, comfort you, lick you, make you feel better," said Bullbear.

A dozen of these canine companions and their two-legged owners make rounds at Med Center One every Tuesday and Thursday. It's all a part of pet therapy.

"Just last week we had Logan, who's a Burmese mountain dog," said Deb Kinzler, an escort with the program. "He's a 125 lb dog. He went into a little boy's room on the 6th floor and the little boy had stuffed animals he was squeaking and 100 lbs of that 125 lbs dog was on the bed, and that little boy just squealed and giggled. He just loved it and then he turned his light off. It was night night time and he wanted Logan to sleep with him."

Doctors and medicine might heal the body-but these hospital volunteers heal something just as important: the spirit.

Lyle Kruschwitz is a Med Center One patient and says the dogs brighten his day. "I think they're an essential part of man's existence here on Earth. There's something cheerful about man's best friend."

Cheerful-and something happy about these underpaid, overworked hospital mainstays.

"The kids love 'em and it brightens everybody's day, including mine," said Kinzler. "It's fun and it's therapeutic for everybody."

One of the dogs who still makes rounds has been working at the hospital since the program began 10 years ago.

Patti Page Re-records "Doggie" Hit to Promote Humane Pet Treatment
CMT News

In a bid to promote the adoption and humane treatment of pets, Patti Page has recorded a new version of her 1953 hit, "Doggie in the Window." The veteran pop star, who will turn 81 on Nov. 8, is contributing the song to the Humane Society of the United States for use in its campaigns to save and care for homeless animals and stamp out inhumane "puppy mills." New lyrics for the familiar tune were written by Page's publicist, Sanford Brokaw, and Chris Gantry, composer of the 1968 Glen Campbell classic, "Dreams of the Everyday Housewife." The revised song will be used in public service announcements and can be downloaded from the Humane Society Web site. Currently celebrating her 65th year in show business, Page will release a new album, Best Country Songs, on Nov. 22. Her autobiography, This Is My Song, is due out in January.

Pampered Pets Helping the Economy

Organization: estimates Americans will spend $43.4 billion this year on pets

ROSEMONT, Illinois (AP) -- Emilie Wilson's menagerie includes 15 ferrets, two dogs and four cats, including a hefty gray feline named Tonie Stewart who rides in style inside a pet stroller during family outings.

Harry Barker, a pet supply company in Charleston, South Carolina, is stocking up on holiday pet treats.

Wilson spent $300 on Christmas gifts for her brood last year and figures she'll exceed that sum this year. And despite the recession-like economy, the suburban Chicago woman has no plans to scale back pet presents anytime soon.

"I couldn't care less if there's anything under the tree for us, as long as there's something for Tonie," she said.

Retailers may be worrying about the possibility of the worst fourth quarter in generations, but those in the pet products industry are finding themselves in a veritable oasis among much of the gloom of American business. Companies that sell everything from organic dog treats to couture-inspired pet toys say business is up even as economic indicators show shoppers are pinching pennies during one of the worst downturns in decades. Watch $10 million cat that's saving town's economy »

"I think they're buying nice dog collars instead of remodeling their kitchen," said Fiona Tavernier, whose Lollypadoodle business near San Francisco sells wool stuffed dog toys and is going strong.

It may sound counterintuitive -- even to some in the pet industry who say they're surprised business is robust -- but experts say many pet owners are as dedicated to their animals as parents are to children. And that means they're willing to sacrifice on themselves before trimming back on their four-legged friends.

"You know, for some families, the pet comes first," said Carol Perkins, president and co-founder of Harry Barker, a Charleston, South Carolina-based pet toy company whose sales are up 40 percent this year.

"The dog goes to the vet first and the dog gets organic food. Maybe some people will cut back on a dog bed, but they'll still buy dog treats, toys and collars and leashes."

The American Pet Products Association estimates Americans will spend $43.4 billion this year on their pets -- a figure that includes everything from treats to training -- despite the dramatic slowdown in discretionary spending. That's 26 percent higher than what U.S. consumers spent in 2004, the group said.

Market researcher Euromonitor International, which tracks sales of pet food and accessories but excludes the cost of animals, grooming, training and other expenses, puts this year's animal expenditures at $23.9 billion.

But the group forecasts the segment's sales are still on pace to grow more than 13 percent by 2013.

"It's definitely more resilient than most categories tied to discretionary spending," said Morningstar analyst R.J. Hottovy. "It's one of the last categories (people) cut out of their budget."

Backing that up is a poll earlier this year in ShopSmart, a publication from Consumer Reports, which says female shoppers are more likely to buy cheaper brands of everything from medication to milk, but are digging in their heels when it comes to switching to less-expensive pet food and personal care items.

Some parts of the pet food industry, particularly gourmet and organic pet food, will likely be even more insulated than the sellers of pet carriers, clothing and outdoor gear.

That's because many pet owners, who upgraded their kibble after contaminated pet food killed or sickened thousands of animals last year are leery of switching back, a move that could cause digestive problems.

"Once people have their pets on a certain pet food, there's health risks to switching over to another," Hottovy said. "As soon as they've moved up to the premium brands, they're kind of locked in, so it's hard to trade down."

Still, there are signs that the most extravagant expenses -- such crystal bowls and custom-made pet beds -- may be sidelined amid growing economic uncertainty.

"Gone are the days when people would buy $100 collars and fake fur," said Claire Chew, of Venice, California, who founded Luxepets, a line of pet keepsakes.

American Pet Products Association spokeswoman Leah Nelson said the group doesn't release industry sales projections, but that it is "eyeing the future" with caution.

That's why Paige Ormand, the owner of the Doggy Style Pet Shop in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood, is ordering more products that are less expensive -- for example, $5 toys instead of $20 models.

But she's not removing expensive gifts from her store shelves, either.

"This industry is way more insulated than other businesses," she said. "But I wouldn't say it's recession proof."

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Dog Training - Low Maintenance Dog
Author: John Williams

There are so many different dog breeds and dog crossbreeds around the world now that finding the perfect dog for you can seem a hugely daunting task. Sure, your perfect dog is probably out there somewhere but finding that dog is a completely different thing.

To help you narrow your search down I have taken the time to put this article together and give my best advice on which dog will be best for you if you’re looking for a low maintenance dog for your new home, family or any other occasion.

Ok, you want a low maintenance dog breed so what is the answer? There are many aspects to this question and many dogs to consider, some are realty energetic like the Labrador, border collie and Irish setter but other breeds just seem to be pretty much as energetic as each other.

Maintenance may not mean weather the dog you want is energetic and needs lots of walks and exercise and it may be other forms of dog maintenance like grooming, dog training and bathing etcetera. These differences in dog breed personalities and care are very hard to determine and sum up into a final list of perfect dog breeds as all dogs will need time and care.

The main question here ids weather you are really ready for a dog in your home or place of residence. Dogs do take lots of time especially when they are young and impressionable puppies or dogs. If you want a low maintenance dog then the option for you is to not have a dog at all. Dogs take a big commitment in your life and need to be cared for appropriately in order to be healthy and happy. If you are unsure take more time to ponder your choices and priorities, it will save you a lot of time and unwanted effort in the long run.

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All About Traveling With Cats
Author: Tristan Andrews

If you are planning to travel with your cat, first ask yourself these questions: Are cats allowed at my destination? If so, will my cat adjust to conforming to regulations concerning pets and really be happy away from home? Cats tend to be creatures of habit and it is important that your cat can adapt to change.

The pets who travel best are those who have been trained to ride in a car. If you would like to include your cat in your travel plans, accustom it to riding in the car. Ideally this training begins in kittenhood and it should be a happy experience for the kitten. Dont make the kittens first car ride a trip to the veterinarian. Begin by allowing the kitten to sit in the car to become familiar with the surroundings. Then take it for a short drive each day, even if it is only around the block.

If your cat seems unable to adjust to travel, you may decide that you and your cat will be happier if it stays home. Search out a responsible sitter or a boarding facility. If you choose to board your cat, make reservations well in advance of the trip, particularly during summer months and around major holidays.

The policy regarding cats varies with motels and hotels. Contact the reservations department in advance of your trip to determine if your cat will be welcome. Do not leave a cat unattended in a room. If a maid were to enter, the cat could become frightened and might run from the room. If, for any reason, you must leave the cat alone in the room for a short period of time, place it in its carrier or post a do not disturb sign on the door. If your cat is not in a carrier or in a secure location at your travel destination, keeping it on a leash is recommended.

When you travel with a cat, a change in its environment and routine may be a jolt to its feeling of security. Your love and understanding are needed to reassure your cat and to help it become a good travel companion.

Preparing for the Trip: If you plan to take your cat with you, be certain its vaccination shots are up-to-date. Your veterinarian will also issue health and rabies certificates which may be needed if you fly and will certainly be needed if you cross international borders. Carrying these certificate with you is a good idea. If you should have to board your cat during the trip, the kennel may require proof of immunization.

Your cat will also need its grooming equipment and its regular grooming schedule should be maintained. This is particularly true for longhaired cats to avoid tangled and matted hair which can lead to skin infections.

Do not feed your cat for at least three hours before leaving on a trip. Feed it shortly after arriving at your destination unless the trip is a long one. In that case, provide a snack and water during the trip. If the cats usual diet is not available at your destination, take a supply with you so no digestive upsets will be caused by a sudden diet change.

If your cat is accustomed to wearing a collar (a stretch collar designed for cats) be certain an identification tag is attached to the collar. The ID tag should give the cats name, your name, home address and telephone number including the area code, and, if possible, your vacation address and telephone number. Take pictures of your cat and write a description of your cat, including its height, weight, color, and any distinguishing marks to take with you. If your cat should become lost, these identification aids could make the difference in finding it.

Traveling By Air With Your Cat: If you are traveling by air with your cat, ask about what health certificates are needed. They vary with airline and your destination. There are usually two basic options for air travel. Some airlines allow cats to travel (generally for a fee) with their owners if a carry-on carrier fits under the passenger seat. The other option is to rent or purchase a flight crate which meets airline regulations and the cat is transported in the crate in the baggage compartment.

Because some airlines have limited space to accommodate pets, always make reservation well in advance.

On the day of the flight bring a cushion or blanket to put on the crate floor. Check to see if the water cup is attached to the crate door. The cup should be deep and not too full of water to avoid spilling. On a short flight, you may wish to detach the cup and store it with your luggage and provide water for drinking at the end of the flight.

To reduce the risk of air travel for your cat, try to avoid peak travel periods when delays and stopovers are longer. Traveling in extreme cold or hot weather could be dangerous if your cat must wait very long before loading and unloading. Plan the trip with as few stops and transfers as possible. Pets in transit tend to sleep the hours away, but during stops and transfers they may become frightened. Airport facilities vary and, as a result, pets may be left in the sun or rain without adequate protection or inadequate food or water during long waits between flights. At the end of your trip, pick up your cat promptly.

Plane travel is the fastest way to reach your destination, but some risk is involved for kittens, older cats or cats with health problems. If you have doubts, consult your veterinarian.

International Travel: If you are planning on international travel or relocation or a trip to Hawaii, keep in mind that certain countries require a quarantine at the owner's expense. When you return, a quarantine office at customs will check documents and inspect your pet. The official may require confinement of any pet you have purchased abroad. Normally this is in your home rather than in official quarantine. Pets purchased abroad all require proof of immunization, certificates of good health, and payment of import duty.

Traveling By Car With Your Cat: If you are traveling by car, a carrier is a must. It should be strong, well-ventilated and one the cat cannot escape from. Before traveling, place the carrier where the cat can become acquainted with it. Placing a favorite toy or blanket in the carrier may help accustom the cat to the carrier. Take the cat for several rides around town in the carrier before attempting a longer trip.

While you are driving, always keep the cat confined in the carrier. This ensures safe, comfortable driving for you and your cat. Place a soft mat or cushion on the carrier floor. During hot weather never put the carrier on the sunny side of the car where it will become overheated.

One of the greatest dangers to a cat is leaving it in a closed car, even for a few minutes during hot weather. Cars heat quickly and leaving windows open a few inches does not always provide sufficient circulating air to keep you cat cool and comfortable. Insufficient air can lead to heat stress, suffocation and death.

If it is necessary to leave your cat in the car for a short period of time, choose a shaded area. Leave the windows open as far as safely possible to provide air circulation. Keep the cat in the carrier. Check the car frequently and never leave your cat for an extended time. Motion sickness may be a problem with your cat. If this occurs and if taking your cat with you is essential, discuss preventive measures with your veterinarian.

If the drive is eight hours or longer, give the cat an opportunity to use a litter pan every three or four hours. If the cat is inclined to have accidents along the way, put newspapers on the bottom of the carrier and sprinkle cat litter on them. The newspaper and soiled litter can be removed as needed.

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Tristan Andrews writes useful articles about cats and kittens. Discover and explore the feline world. Find out how to better care for, train and live with your cat at the cat forums at

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Choosing The Right Size Fish Tank
Author: Mark Fazoli

Have you recently decided that you would like to take up fish keeping as a hobby? If so, have you already developed of collection of fish to display in your home or in your office? Regardless of which type of fish you would like to purchase, you will need to buy an aquarium, if you haven't already done so. Unfortunately, when it comes to purchasing a fish tank, there are many individuals who make a costly mistake. That mistake is purchasing a fish tank that it is too small. In addition to wasting money, by purchasing a fish tank that isn't want you need, you may also be endangering the lives of your fish. That is why it is extremely important that you choose the right fish tank for your fish and their needs.

When it comes to choosing the right size fish tank, you may find it a little bit difficult to do your own research. Despite being difficult, it is possible to do. For example, you can examine the type of fish that you would like to purchase, namely their overall size and their swimming habits. If you purchase a type of fish that is expected to grow in size or one that likes to swim all over the tank, you are advised to purchase a large fish tank. A large fish tank, such as a large acrylic aquarium, will give your fish the room that they need to swim, socialize, and grow. If you are unsure as to what size aquarium you should purchase, it may be best to seek professional assistance.

When it comes to obtaining professional assistance, when choosing the right size fish tank, you have a number of different options. One of those options involves speaking to the individual who you are purchasing your fish from. Most fish store employees are educated on the fish that they have available for sale, as well as their needs. It is also possible for you to acquire the same type of information by speaking to a fish tank supplier or a fish tank manufacturer. This is because there are some manufacturers who develop fish tanks specifically for a certain type of fish. That is why most fish tank manufacturers, as well as their suppliers, are more than familiar with most fish and the tank sizes that they need.

Although it is advised that you keep your fish in mind, when choosing which size fish tank you need to purchase, you may also want to think big. If you are unable to find the answers to your questions, as to what size aquarium you need to purchase, you may have better luck going with a large, oversized aquarium. When many fish keepers think of oversized a 1000 gallon fish tank comes to mind. In reality, a 1000 gallon fish tank is huge. In fact, these 1000 gallon fish tanks, which are often referred to as ultaquariums, are sometimes only sold as custom built aquariums.

For those are just starting to experiment with the fish keeping hobby, 50 to 100 gallon fish tanks are often considered the most sought after or most purchased sized aquariums. This is because smaller fish tanks are more affordable than larger fish tanks, such as a 150 gallon fish tank or a 300 gallon fish tank. However, as previously mentioned, you are advised to keep your fish in mind. If you have your heart set on purchasing large tropical fish, a 50 to 100 gallon fish tank may not be enough room. What is nice about aquariums is that they come in a number of different sizes, shapes, and styles. There are so many different sizes, including 50 gallon fish tanks, 90 gallon fish tanks, 100 gallon fish tanks, and 300 gallon fish tanks, that you are sure to find exactly what you need.

To ensure that your fish are living as comfortably as they possibly can, you need to make sure that you are about to purchase or did purchase the correct size aquarium. The wrong size aquarium, especially if it is too small, can have dangerous and deadly consequences for your new pets.

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About the Author:
We searched long and hard for the perfect acrylic aquarium and we couldn't find a better company than Tenecor. They specialize in custom acrylic fish tanks for the home or office application. Stunning and beautiful!

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