Pet News - Pet Advice - Pet Photos

Take a Bite Out of Pet Costs
By Amy Howell • Cincinnati Enquirer

Without compromising on health matters, you can shave dollars off everyday expenses

Most families are looking for ways to shave dollars off their budget. And for 63 percent of U.S. households, that includes care for cats, dogs and other pets, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association.

Last year, families spent an average of $453 on surgical care for dogs and $363 on surgical visits for cats. Food and treats added up to $283 for dogs and $228 for cats.

But skimping on medical care or quality food today could lead to costly consequences in the future.

"When you have a living creature, that makes it different from saving in other areas," says Andy Mahlman of SPCA Cincinnati.

Here are a few ways to cut costs that won't jeopardize your pet's health. Talk with your vet before making any diet or health care changes.

Vet care
Consider a low-cost clinic. For routine vaccinations, healthy adult animals can visit clinics where a registered technician administers the vaccines, says Dr. Peter Hill of PetCare Animal Hospital of Blue Ash and Loveland. The cost is lower and, because there's no consultation with a veterinarian, there is no fee for the visit.

Ask about vaccination options. A rabies vaccine is required, but others might not be necessary, depending on your pet's age, lifestyle and overall health.

An adult indoor cat, for example, might be able to avoid a vaccination for diseases that are spread between cats, says Dr. Sarah McNamee with the Animal Care Center of Forest Park.

Get on the mailing list. The Animal Care Centers often mail coupons for $5 off heartworm medication or $10 off a vaccination.

Ask about interest-free financing. Before you grab your credit card for care or emergencies, ask about interest-free financing programs like CareCredit that have 0-percent-interest repayment periods of up to 18 months.

Buy quality food. "The cheapest is probably not the best in the long run," says Dan Evans, director of the Kenton County Animal Shelter. "You're probably going to have more (health) problems."

Buy bulk. To get high-quality bird food for the lowest price, Gail Boise of Cold Spring buys 50-pound bags at local bird fairs for her nine parrots and two canaries, and freezes the food until it's needed.

Check the ingredients. Corn is a common filler in food and can cause a common allergic reaction in dogs, leading to gastrointestinal issues and high vet bills, McNamee says.

Tynia Johnson of Forest Park discovered her Rottweiler's eye problems were due to a chicken allergy and switched to beef.

Dyes and food coloring - often found in multi-colored food - also can cause diarrhea and upset stomach, Evans says.

Check the protein. Dogs who are high-stress and prone to irritable bowel may just need more protein, Evans says. For active adult dogs, quality food has a protein content of 21 to 27 percent or greater.

Buy age-appropriate food. Hill recommends dogs and cats make the switch to senior food between the ages of 6 to 8. Active-adult foods have more protein and fat, which can lead to kidney disease, Hill says.

Cut coupons. Kroger recently had $6 off the 20-pound bag of Iams Chunks, which retails for about $20.

Show loyalty. Petsmart's PetPerks Visa earns three points for every $1 spent in Petsmart stores, or Banfield clinics. So 2,000 points - or about $67 - yields a $20 gift card.

Shop in unusual places. Plush dog toys that cost $6 to $8 at a pet store are $1 or $2 at Walgreens.

Rotate toys. Keep your pets' interest by changing the toys that are out for them to play with every week, the Humane Society of the United States recommends.

Make your own toys. Cats at the Kenton County Animal Shelter like to play with lids from milk jugs, and Boise makes toys for her birds using untreated leather strips, wooden blocks, large beads, sisal rope and cotton rope.

Practice prevention. Ridding your pet and home of fleas, ticks and heartworms can have huge costs. "Tick-borne diseases and heartworm, that can kill," McNamee says.

Know what you're buying online. The FDA issued a warning about counterfeit medications from outside the U.S. that are placed in boxes for Frontline and Advantage flea and tick products and sold online. Other sites offer name-brand treatments that are from Australia and formulated for fleas and ticks in that region. Although companies say the ingredients are equally effective in the U.S., "I wouldn't believe it," McNamee says.

Online pharmacies should require a prescription; directions should be inside the box.

Ask about matching online prices. Many veterinary offices will match online prices for flea, tick and heartworm products.

"I'd much rather have them get it from me," McNamee says.

Home care
Groom. At-home grooming can mean significant savings, especially for long-haired cats and dogs prone to skin problems.

Brush teeth regularly. It will help prevent gum disease and dental cleanings at the vet, which require anesthesia and cost up to $200, according to the ASPCA.

Trim. Trimming a dog's nails can save $15 or more, and clipping birds' nails, beaks and wings can save much more.

Create first-aid kit. Prevent infection and minimize bills by creating a first-aid kit to care for minor injuries. Johnson has a fanny pack with vet wrap, skin cleanser, antibiotic cream and aspirin.

Learn pet first aid. The Cincinnati chapter of the American Red Cross offers Pet First Aid classes every month for $35. For dates and registration information, visit First-aid guide books are $16.95 at

Eternal Memories for Beloved Pets

There is good news. Fluffy won't be spending eternity in an unmarked grave.

Wealthy pet lovers are memorializing their beloved companions in style, spending big bucks on high-end silk-lined caskets with foam mattresses, chiseled-edged stone markers, cemetery plots, private mausoleums and urns topped with hand-carved figurines of the pet's image.

"For a lot of people, their pets are part of their family," said Pat Norris, who runs the Garden of Our Little Friends pet cemetery inside Cadillac Memorial Gardens East in Clinton Township. "Money is not the object. It's about unconditional love."

LAP OF LUXURY: Americans spent $43 billion last year on products and services that ensure their pets live the good life. Now those who have the means are making sure their dogs, cats, birds, lizards, rabbits and ferrets are properly laid to rest.

One local family doled out more than $40,000 for a private mausoleum at the Garden of Our Little Friends in Clinton Township with spaces for 12 pets. Seven dogs and cats are buried inside. Another pet lover spent more than $10,000 on a granite bird bath doubling as a tomb for his beloved bird.

ETERNAL LOVE: A crematory urn with an LCD screen showing pictures of a pet costs about $500. A wooden casket, lined with linen, starts at about $750. For $1,000, you might consider displaying your pet's urn in a columbarium at a pet cemetery.

"This is a huge business, and it is going to get bigger," Norris said.

WANT IT? The average cost of a pet funeral at one of four Garden of Our Little Friends' cemeteries throughout metro Detroit, which includes gravesite, opening it, lowering the casket and a marker, is $2,000. Starting price for a small silver hand-carved figurine for an urn designed by jeweler Link Wachler is $1,500. A small figurine carved in gold could top $4,500. Go to Contact Norris at 586-286-7500.

Thieves Steal Puppies from Pet Store
Tampa Fox 13

TAMPA -- Police are looking for two thieves who broke into a pet store and stole two puppies valued at $4,000.

The theft happened at the All About Puppies store at 13705 North Dale Mabry Highway.

Surveillance video shows two thieves breaking into the store, looking around at the dogs, and taking two puppies from their cages.

One was a black and brown English Bulldog puppy valued at $3,000; the other was a Pug/Beagle hybrid, also brown and black, valued at $1,000.

The suspects were dressed all in black, wearing black gloves and ski masks.

Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the suspects' arrest. Anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS.

Pet Loss. Tips for Coping.
by Michelle Critchell, DC Dogs Examiner

You know how it is, the dog you had for twelve years gave up a valiant fight from illness. You go to work and want to tell people, “My dog died,” and you even feel a little foolish saying so. You may even feel foolish you are so sad about the death. And does anyone really care? Some might. Others think it was just an animal- get over it.

If you are like me, animals are an integral part of the family. We recently went to visit our older son at college and he called several days before we left, asking us to bring the dogs. The dogs, not four cases of soda from Costco, but the dogs that get so excited to see him and make every family member feel as if they are the favorite person. The loss of those dogs would leave an emptiness for each of us.

I know others love their pets, too. How many holiday cards do you get with a photo of the kids with the dog? Or is it the dog with the kids?

The Humane Society suggests that the grief process is as individual as the person, lasting days for one person or years for another. The Humane Society also lists ways to explain the loss of a pet to a child, when to get another pet, and if your other pets will feel the loss of their companion.

There are several pet bereavement groups in the area. If you have ever lost a pet you know the sadness one can feel.

You can post a memorial of your dear pet on If you are a sap like me, this is a not safe for work (NSFW) site.

There are also many books written on the topic. Here is a list of several about pet loss.

Do reach out to others when you have lost a beloved pet. You may be helpful to someone else's grief, as well.


Tipping Advice for Dog Owners
Staff Times Free Press

Dog owners who spare no expense for their furry friends will want to show their appreciation for those who care for their “best friend” with an appropriate tip this time of year.

Here are some tip guidelines from the American Kennel Club:

Dog walker — A tip or a gift equal to two weeks’ service is appropriate for a regular walker. Gift suggestions include a down vest for chilly walks or a gift certificate for a massage to soothe their welltraveled feet.

Dog sitter — These professionals come into the home and care for your dog when you are away on a vacation or business trip. Because they help you at various times, unlike a regular dog walker, tipping can be hard to judge based on what you spend in a year. A cash tip equal to your most expensive service would be appropriate. Also, a smaller gift from the dog, such as a framed photo might be appreciated as well.

Dog groomer/trainer — If the same person grooms or trains your pet all year, a tip in the amount of the cost of one visit or a gift of the equivalent value is appropriate.

Experts: Think Carefully Before Giving Pet as Holiday Present
By Jennifer Burk - -

That doggie in the window might look adorable, but it might not make the best Christmas surprise.

Animal advocates warn that gift givers should exercise caution before giving pets as presents to unsuspecting friends and family members, who may not want or be ready for the responsibility of having a pet in their home.

To prevent unwanted animals from being orphaned after the holidays, the state Department of Agriculture urges Georgians to think twice before buying or adopting a pet for Christmas.

“A dog or cat is not like a sweater that you can return or stick in the back of the closet,” state Agriculture Commissioner Tommy Irvin said in a statement.

Animals never should be given to anyone unless that person wants, expects and is prepared for it, he said.

Animals are a big responsibility that require years of commitment, including time and money.

A pet can make a nice gift if given responsibly, said Brenda Robinson, owner of Pet Land in the Macon Mall. Recipients should have plenty of time in advance to think about whether they can accept an animal into their home, she said.

Parents who want to give their children a pet should educate themselves about an animal before they buy or adopt, she said.

Some animals, such as puppies, need their own space. They shouldn’t be handled all day or fed table scraps, which can be tempting for children and visiting family members, Robinson said.

To avoid introducing an animal during the hectic holidays, the Heart of Georgia Humane Society offers gift certificates for pets.

“After Christmas when the holiday season has calmed down and the household is not as crazy, you can bring a pet into a calm situation,” said Donna Conaway with the Humane Society.

This also gives recipients a chance to pick out their own pet and prepare for it.

“A lot of times, I think you have to see the animal to fall in love,” Conaway said.

People also may want to give pet toys and supplies, instead of the actual animal, she said.

People and Pets: A Two-Way Street
By Sandra Boydston -News Advance

Great things we can do for our pets

-Spay or neuter your pet. Spaying and neutering helps dogs and cats live longer, healthier lives. You will reduce or eliminate the occurrence of cancers and other diseases, and your pet will be more affectionate and less aggressive.

-Take your pet to your veterinarian for regular check-ups. Be sure his vaccinations are current, and pay special attention to his weight and to the health of his teeth.

-Be sure your cat or dog wears a collar and an ID tag that includes your name, address and telephone number. Losing a pet can be heart-wrenching; an ID tag greatly increases the chance that your companion will come back home.

-Exercise your dog. Playing with your canine companion, along with walking him daily, provides enough exercise. Don’t forget to clean up after your dog when you go for walks.

-Play with your cat every day. Your favorite feline needs physical exercise and mental stimulation, and the interaction will strengthen the bond you share.

-Keep your emergency/disaster kit up to date. Call Lynchburg Humane Society if you need a list of items to include in your kit.

-Groom your pet often to keep his coat healthy, soft and shiny. Problems created by shedding dogs and cats are greatly reduced by regular brushing, and brushing your cat prevents problems such as matting and hairballs.

-Let your child share pet-related responsibilities. Children, depending upon their ages and abilities, can take responsibility for exercising, feeding, and/or grooming the family pet.

-Make provision for the care of your pet should you suddenly become ill or die. Learn what steps you can take to plan and provide for your pet’s future without you.

-Get stickers for your windows to alert fire/rescue workers of pets in the home. Check with LHS for locations to get stickers.

Great things our pets do for us

-Research shows that pet owners have fewer minor health problems, such as headaches, colds and hay fever, and that they visited their doctors less frequently than those patients who did not have animal companionship.

-Studies have also shown that having a pet can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, thus making pet owners less prone to heart attacks and stroke.

-Dog walking, pet grooming and even petting the cat may not seem like exercise, but any activity that gets you up and moving makes for a healthier body.

-Caring for a pet is good for our emotional health. Even watching a feathered friend or an aquarium of fish can reduce our feelings of stress.

-Companion animals are natural teachers. They help people of all ages learn about responsibility, loyalty, empathy, sharing and unconditional love.

AKC Finds Dog Owners Willing to Sacrifice for Pet’s Welfare
Pet Product News

Many pet owners are willing to sacrifice luxuries during the tough economic climate in order to provide for the needs of their canine companions, according to a survey released on Dec. 8 by the American Kennel Club.

The AKC polled more than 1,000 people on its website for a one-week period from November to December, asking participants questions about what they would give up or cutback on for their dog.

The survey found that more than 96 percent of those polled would forgo gourmet coffee to save money for their dogs’ expenses. Ninety-seven percent said they would give up massages or spa treatments in order to afford a veterinarian bill, and nearly 79 percent said they would cancel a teeth-whitening appointment so that Fido could have his annual teeth cleaning.

The survey also found that with the holidays coming up, 69 percent of respondents said they would cut back on gifts for their friends or extended family before skimping on gifts for their dog. Nearly 9 percent said they would scale back on gifts for their spouse before cutting back on gifts for their dog.

The only item that gave dogs a run for their money was the Internet, with more than 70 percent of those polled indicating they would not be able to give up access to the Web. According to the AKC, one respondent would give up “pretty much anything. I need the gym and I need the Internet, everything else is fair game.”

In addition to the survey, PetPartners Inc., provider of the AKC Pet Healthcare Plan, reported sales rates are holding up and pet owners are renewing their polices in consistently high numbers. The AKC attributes those results to pet owners viewing insurance as a way to manage their pet’s health-care costs.

Other survey results reported by the AKC included:

Holiday Gifts

--81 percent of respondents said they purchase gifts for their dogs during the holidays
--69 percent spend up to $50; 24 percent spend $50 to $100; 3 percent spend more than $150
--59 percent expect to spend the same amount on gifts for their dog as they did last year

Money Saving Practices

--52 percent of those polled said they look for sales and/or clip coupons before shopping for pet products
--48 percent are purchasing fewer toys/treats and other non-essential dog supplies
--34 percent have begun buying dog food in bulk

Giving Up Like for Like

--67 percent would cancel their travel plans if they could not afford to pay to board their dog
--65 percent would regularly eat ramen noodles before they would skimp on their dog’s high-quality food.
--59 percent would perm or color their own hair to keep their dog’s appointment at the groomers

Cutbacks Owners Are Willing to Make to Ensure the Basic Welfare of Their Dogs

--97 percent of those polled said they are willing to eat more meals at home
--72 percent would cancel their gym membership
--50 percent would cancel cable or satellite service
--94 percent would curb spending on new clothes
--89 percent would push back plans for home remolding
--88 percent would forgo buying a new car or buy a less-expensive model

Hospice Pets are Friends Til the End
by Connie Cone Sexton - The Arizona Republic

Louis Garno lifted his hand and began to pat the soft fur of Riley, a golden retriever that owner Diane Elliott had brought to the Gardiner Homein Phoenix.

"He likes that," Elliott said recently as Garno gave a little tap on Riley's head. Soon, the Hospice of the Valley patient was smiling and thinking back to a dog his son had owned.

That gentle nudge of Riley's paw was all it took to brighten his day, he said. Elliott was making the rounds at Gardiner as part of her volunteer work with Pet Connections, an animal therapy program at the hospice organization.

Visits from friends and family are welcome sights, but there's something about an animal that brings a little joy into the room, says Katie Howland O'Brien, Pet Connections director.

Most of the visitors are dogs, but there is one cat and even one bunny. And waiting in the wings? A miniature horse that probably will be certified by spring.

Howland O'Brien, a former investment banker, began the therapy program at the hospice organization in June 2006, after running her own similar program. She came on board at the request of Dr. Gillian Hamilton, administrative medical director at the organization.

The benefit of sharing an animal with patients is something Howland O'Brien has experienced, firsthand, in the visits she has made with her dog, Mr. Sundance. She brought the yellow Labrador in to see a woman who hadn't spoken in months.

"But she looked up at me and said, "Can I see your beautiful dog?" The nursing staff just gasped. She put her hand on my face and said, "thank you.' "

The Pet Connections program has nearly 120 volunteers, some with more than one pet they bring around. "Some of these animals have lived interesting lives, many are rescue pets who now give back to us." Volunteers in the program must have registered therapy animals.

On Thursday, volunteer Linda Hueftlein brought her 11-year-old Yorkshire terrier, Cissy-Meri, to Hospice of the Valley's Sherman Home in northeast Phoenix. Patient Ann Minnigerode's eyes widened when Cissy-Meri came onto her lap.

"She's so adorable," she said, her face beaming.

After several minutes, she and Hueftlein slipped into a friendly conversation, all the while Minnigerode giving the dog her attention.

For Hueftlein , it was a typical experience - one that always gives her joy.

"This means so much to me, to make someone feel just a little better."

Pets Love to Be Groomed
By Tana Rigets

Cats even love to groom each other, or their favourite dog. Dogs enjoy being groomed and will line up with their tail wagging, waiting for their daily brush once they get a routine established. Training them to tolerate the grooming should (ideally) start early, but with gentle persuasion and patience, almost all pets will tolerate at least a short beauty session!

Grooming is a great way to bond with your pet. Apart from becoming "best pals", grooming keeps your pets' skin and hair coat healthy. It is also a good opportunity to give your pet a daily "mini-check up". If you notice any unusual lumps, bumps or swellings, or changes in the hair coat or skin, let an adult know so it can be checked further by your veterinarian.

Before you begin, you need to know your pet's grooming needs. A good routine for a longhaired shaggy dog is not idea for a short haired dog, or a cat. Ask the person who sold you the pet to demonstrate proper grooming routine. If they are not available, ask your favorite groomer to show you the tools you will need and how to use them. They will be happy to get you started!.

Be patient when starting your pet's grooming routine. Pets that have not been groomed regularly have to get use to it!. Start slowly, and if your pet gets restless, give it a break. Start with only a few brush strokes if necessary. Start with the back area. Some pets are ticklish in their armpit or tummy areas so leave these for last!. Some pets (especially some cats) have a "limit" to what they will tolerate. If you groom them too long, they will strike or bite, so make sure you watch for signs that they have had just about enough this includes restlessness, tail twitching and the ears going back. Have somebody help out at first so they can help to steady and praise the pet while you brush away.

A sample grooming kit might include a soft brush, a shedding brush (for certain breeds), a fine-toothed comb, a metal coarse-toothed comb, clean cotton balls or Kleenex for wiping the eyes or cleaning ears, nail trimmers and facecloth dampened with warm water.

How to trim nails: Have a veterinary technician or vet teach you how to trim nails before you begin. Light coloured nails are easiest because you can see the end of the blood vessesl that runs up the inside of the nail. Trim to leave a few millimeters of nail past that point. If you look at the underside of the nail, a bulge goes up to meet the overlying shell or hard nail. Where this disappears is usually close to where the food vessels end. If in doubt about how far to trim, remove small slivers at a time, and then if you do go too short, there will only be a tiny oozing of blood. If you trim the nail too short, have a cotton ball handy and apply it with pressure to the nail tip and count slowly to 100. This will stop the oozing almost all of the time. Remember to count slowly!. Some people also use a bar of ivory soap to make a waxy sealing cap. If bleeding persists, contact your Vet. do not worry if this happens. The pet will not lose too much blood. Just place and absorbent wad of cotton and an old sock on the foot until you get to the Vet.

How to wipe eyes: a cotton ball with a bit of lukewarm water or moist washcloth is fine for routine wiping away of discharge (goop) that tends to sit at the inner corners of the eye. If the skin under the eye has become irritated due to the eye discharge sitting in the skin for long periods, and ointment may be needed to clear up the dermatitis or skin infection. Avoid touching the cotton to the eyeball itself. It will scratch the surface and irritate the eye. If you see a flap of tissue come up as you press on the eyelid don't worry!. It is just the third eyelid that flips up to help protect the eyeball.

Tana Rigets

Article Source:

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

No comments: