Pet Advice: The 'Yorkie'!

Strategies for Finding Lost Animals
By Linda Treml Hallam - Mercury News

IF YOU HAVE EVER discovered that your pet is missing, you know how traumatic it can be. At first, you are confused and often panic; then you search nearby, calling her name, asking neighbors and putting up fliers. But if that isn't successful, what should you do next?

This advice is offered by the experts: Put an ad in the newspapers (this is usually free). Check with the Alameda Animal Shelter at the address below. Check with other nearby shelters, local veterinarian offices and the Bay Area Emergency Veterinary Services in San Leandro. Show a picture to your mail deliverer and ask if he or she has seen her around. Put something with your scent on it outside your home as the pet may be able to follow the scent home. If you have access to the Internet, register with missing pet Web sites; and Do Not Give Up. It could be days or weeks before someone notices your pet and brings it to the shelter. Keep calling the shelter and vets and check the fliers often.

Prevention is the best remedy for this catastrophe. Make sure your pet is licensed and collared at all times, even if you consider it a house pet. People leave doors open, at times. And consider getting a microchip identification inserted in your pet. All shelters, vets and vet hospitals scan for this id when finding strays. The cost is reasonable and well worth the expense.

If you need to surrender your own pet to a shelter due to life
circumstances, please don't be shy about bringing it in to the shelter during business hours. There is no fee involved. The shelter understands that this action is sometimes unavoidable. It is much easier for the shelter to take proper care of your pet with information about its history.


MIMI, a very sweet spayed female black cat, has medium length fur and white on her undercarriage and paws. Our volunteers say she is the most mellow cat around, is extremely gentle and affectionate and loves belly rubs. She is a mature adult of 12, with many years ahead of her, and would love to make your house a home.

CAT LAIR: EMMA is a spayed female calico/tortoiseshell who has been in the shelter for over a year. This polydactyl beauty is sweet-natured and truly needs a real home.

BLANCA is a white spayed female adult and has been our guest since July. She likes people a lot and enjoys playing with toys with the volunteers. Her coat is of medium length and she has the face of an angel.

Big BILLY looks like a rough and tumble tomcat, but he's really quite shy. He's an orange, shorthaired tabby and when he's not with you, he tends to find a cozy, quiet place from which to observe the world. Billy is also really good with small children and kids. Billy will do best as an only pet, and is not suitable for a home with dogs. He is already neutered and can go home with you today! ELLNORE is a very gentle gray and white spayed female cat. She's a bit too shy to come out of the cage right now, but is thrilled if you give her some strokes. A very sweet cat who would be a lovely companion. Since Ellnore is spayed, she go home with you today.

DOG ALLEY: LUCKY is such a good boy. He's a neutered male mastiff/Lab mix with a brindle coat and soulful eyes. Even though he is big, he walks well on a leash, and is attentive to you. He has pep in his step, and at 7 years old, will give you pleasure for a number of years. Lucky is something of a water dog; on warm days he enjoys splashing in the kiddie pool, and even enjoys his bath. Don't be put off by his bark when you visit, he is just anxious to get out and get to know you.

LUNA, a spayed female pit bull mix, also has a brindle coat but with white markings as well. A sweet girl, Luna can be a little shy to know you at first, but after going on a walk she'll have a chance to size you up as a good person. Luna is active, but not crazy high-energy active. She should learn her obedience lessons quickly. Come meet Luna today!

Animal Shelter is located at 1590 Fortmann Way at Grand Street. Call (510) 337-8560. Linda Treml Hallam, is an Alameda writer and animal lover. The Alameda 337-8565 or visit the Internet at:; or

Scottsdale Pet Shop Goes Humane, Showcases Shelters and Rescue Animals
by Linda Francis, Phoenix Pet Welfare Examiner

A potential adopter and a puppy from MCACCAfter Oprah aired the first show about the horrors of puppy mills, you’d have to live under a rock not to know about the atrocities the animals suffer their whole lives. Adult females do nothing but produce one litter after another until they can’t produce; they are then destroyed. Puppies from these breeding facilities are sold in Pet Stores around the country, and are almost always unhealthy.

One of the positive side affects from all this publicity is that last Saturday, January 24th, Kim Sobotka, owner of the Posh Puppy in Scottsdale signed a Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) pledge to stop buying and selling puppy-mills dogs, and will begin showing shelter and rescue dogs exclusively and immediately.

This is the first venture of its kind in the Valley, and Kim will not request any portion of the adoption fee charged by County or rescue groups. This step most certainly sets a positive example for other pet shops around the Phoenix area, and hopefully around the country.

Maricopa County Animal Care & Control (MCACC) is scheduled to feature their dogs at the Posh Puppy every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Kim is negotiating with other rescue groups to fill the remaining slots Sunday through Wednesday.

Kim will continue to sell food, toys, collars, leashes, and other dog supplies, and will still provide grooming and doggy daycare services. Show your support to this gracious and humane woman, who learned the truth and changed her life, by visiting the Posh Puppy at 15060 North Northsight Boulevard (near Raintree and the 101), or online at

Change IS happening, one person at a time!

What's In a Name? Pets and Their Nicknames
by Sharon Harleigh, LA Pets Examiner

Does your dog have a variety of nicknames they respond to? Mine sure does. It's my mother's fault, really. When I was a kid, I rarely was called "Sharon" except when I was in real trouble, caught with my hand in the proverbial cookie jar. My mother called me "Sha", "Scooter", "Red", and various other nicknames which I will not share with you because I have had a lot of therapy to block out some of the more colorful ones. I'm kidding, but nonetheless, I had lots of nicknames and I still do. I respond, of course, to all of them.

When I brought my dog home from the rescue, I planned to call her just one name - Angel. I had considered many other names, but Angel seemed most appropriate because she is, after all, my angel. The rescue had named her Madison, but she really didn't respond to that name so I didn't feel it was a problem to change it to Angel. She took to the name immediately.

So for a moment, it was Eddie and Angel in my home. Two names. Two pets. That was it. Nice and simple, right? At some point, the wheels came off. Eddie became Edsel, Edison, and Eduardo (thanks to my friend Laura). Angel became Puppypaws, Angiepoo, and Scooch (not because she scooches her butt on the floor, just to clarify, but in reference to the Jason Mraz song). Amazingly, both the cat and dog respond to any and all nicknames and even more mysteriously, they respond to the nickname directed at them only, and not the other pet. How do they know when I'm calling to one of them and not the other, and how do they recognize their nicknames? This is a great mystery to me.

It could be said that it is tone which the pet is responding to, I suppose, and not the name itself. But I would think that my tone, directed in a happy time at my cat, is the same as that which is directed at my dog. If I happily yell out "Edison!", Eddie will come running, and Angel will sit quietly and continue chewing on her treat without any hesitation or interest. If I yell, "Scooch!", Angel perks up her ears and comes over, while Eddie continues napping (90% of the time, that's what he's up to). As I see it, this either makes my pets uniquely brilliant, or it means that animals in general recognize a variety of names and can distinguish one beckoning from another.

I read an article in USA Today sometime ago quoting an animal behavior consultant as stating that animals respond to their names and nicknames based upon association, in that the pets associate a certain name with themselves whether it is Angel or some other variation of that name. So, if the nickname is used often enough toward them, they realize that it is theirs and only theirs. For example, if I call out "Puppypaws!" as I'm putting down Angel's food bowl, she learns that name relates to her and not to the cat, and in fact very good things happen if she responds to that name.

Interesting, isn't it? Do your pets have nicknames, and if so, do you have multiple pets and also multiple nicknames? Let me know!

Pricey Parrot Pilfered from NY Pet Shop

WEST ISLIP, N.Y. - It's the case of the purloined parrot.

Police on Long Island are investigating the broad daylight theft of a pricey parrot from a West Islip pet store.

Police say a man entered BJT's Jungle pet shop on Jan. 19 and took a $1,399 baby black-headed caique bird out its holding tank and placed it inside his jacket.

He and an accomplice then bought crickets and left the store with the bird.

It's the second time in two months that animals have been taken from pet shops undetected.

In December, a man hid a foot-long baby nurse shark under his jacket and walked out. He was later arrested.

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Drug-Detecting Police Dog Dies of Nose Cancer From Sniffing Out Cocaine

Max, a drug-detecting dog in England, has died of a rare form of nose cancer which likely developed during his years sniffing out cocaine in the line of duty, his owner said.

"It is ironic the wonderful organ that made him successful in his work has been his demise,” owner Police Inspector Anne Higgins told the British newspaper the Telegraph.

He was a fighter until the end and always very dignified,” she said.

The nine-year-old Springer spaniel was put down last week after an aggressive tumor developed in his nose, Higgins said.

Max had retired for work as a dug-sniffer last year after arthritis in his back legs limited his mobility. He was fitted with a wheeled contraption so he could continue to move on his own.

Max’s veterinarian Kate Fairclaugh said death from nasal cancer is rare in dogs and that his police work likely contributed to the illness. "Sniffing drugs may well have been a factor. I certainly cannot rule it out,” she said.

Higgins said it was difficult to let Max go, but she will focus on his legacy of good deeds.

"He has had a good life and a successful one as a police dog. Just think of all the bad people he managed to put away," she said.

Boca Raton Couple Clone Family Dog

Lab Pup Looks Just Like Original

BOCA RATON, Fla. - Ed and Nina Otto knew that one day their beloved yellow labrador retriever Lancelot would pass away. Being self-confessed "sci-fi types," they became interested in the idea of cloning Lancelot.

"And I said, 'You know, it wouldn't hurt to have his DNA frozen,' and that's what we did," said Nina Otto.

Lancelot died in 2008 of cancer at age 11.

Shortly afterward, the Ottos learned of a California company that could take his frozen DNA and produce a cloned pup.

BioArts International created him in South Korea, where he was born 10 weeks ago. Scientists there took Lancelot's DNA, inserted into the egg of a Korean dog, and then inseminated another Korean dog with the fertilized egg.

The result: Lancelot Encore, who flew first class into Miami International Airport on Monday.

"He looks like him," said Nina Otto.

The cloning procedure cost the Ottos $155,000.

WPBF 25's Terri Parker asked the couple how they justify the expense when so many dogs are euthanized in the U.S. each year.

"He was a very, very, very special dog to us and we've given a lot more money to the humane society than we've ever spent on this project," explained Ed Otto.

The wealthy couple lives on a 12-acre estate in western Boca Raton with nine other dogs, four birds and several cats and sheep. So far, Lancelot Encore has fit right in, even though he wasn't raised with other dogs.

The Ottos say they're waiting to see if Lancelot Encore will share the same winning personality and smarts that endeared the original to them so much.

"When he crosses his front legs over each other while lying down, that's when we'll know he's the same," said Ed Otto.

"The only problem with dogs is they have such a short life," added Nina. "Doing this was right in line with what we wanted."

The couple has been beseiged with media requests since they announced Lancelot Encore is the first commercially cloned dog in the world.

And if he doesn't turn out to be exactly like the original? Ed Otto said: "We hope so, but we do realize if he's different we're not going to love him any less."

The Hidden Misery Behind Pet Shop Puppies
by Kate Woodviolet, LA Pet Rescue Examiner

You've probably heard stories or seen emails or flyers about the evils of buying puppies at puppy stores, over the internet, or via classifieds in even such reputable papers as the L.A. Times. You may even have seen protests outside puppy stores in Beverly Hills or Bel Air.

If you're like I was a few years ago you may wonder what all the fuss is about and how it could possibly hurt any animal if you buy one cute little puppy. After all, if you buy the puppy aren't you, in some sense, rescuing it?

The problem is so perplexing because the true victims aren't easily visible; in fact large-scale puppy breeders do everything they can to hide them, far from public view. But every once in awhile, despite lax enforcement of even the weak protections provided by states and the federal government, a puppy mill does get raided, and the abuses and horrors of dogs kept their entire lives in cramped, filthy, often hazardously decrepit wire cages just so they can breed litter after litter of puppies until they're spent, comes to light..

I can't write more eloquently than the following email, sent by Angel's Gate Animal Hospice to rescuers nationwide, in an appeal for support for just a few of the victims of the puppy mill trade. And nothing can convey why rescuers beg you not to buy puppies from stores, websites or classified ads more than these few pictures.

"On Jan 10 Angel's Gate adopted 12 Chihuahuas rescued from an Alabama puppy mill. The dogs were in deplorable condition and needed emergency treatment.

All the dogs spent three days at Jockeyport Animal Hospital where they were given emergency treatment. They are currently at home here at Angel's Gate where they will be given the nursing care they so desperately need. All were flea, lice and worm infested. All need surgery, many need multiple surgeries, but because of their weakened state surgeries cannot be done at this time. To date we have over $6,000 in medical costs.

Our mission is to make these broken spirits whole again. They have suffered a lifetime of neglect. You can see the pain and confusion in their eyes. For the remainder of their days we will show them the kindness and respect they deserve. We will care for their physical needs and also tend to the emotional scars caused by lifelong caging, starvation, chronic physical pain and lack of human touch."

The price of the cute puppy is a lifetime of suffering for his parents. A lifetime of no cuddling, no soft beds, and no love. Of ceaseless cycles of impregnation, nursing, then impregnation again, that end only when the dog can't "produce" anymore, at which point she -- and he -- are simply discarded.

These pictures are why people beg you not to buy puppies -- ever. Because every dollar that goes into the pocket of a puppy mill owner encourages that owner to buy more "breeders" and stick them in wire cages for the rest of their lives. The only one who can stop this is the person who refuses to put that dollar in the breeder's pocket.

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Pet Mange And How To Diagnose It
by Dwayne Coots

Mange is an unpleasant infection that can be very traumatic, and harmful for pets. It is not rare and is present in otherwise healthy animals, not just those that are poorly looked after. Mange spreads extremely rapidly and is highly contagious, but can be treated successfully and in good time and with full recovery the expected outcome.

Once diagnosed, mange should be treated straight away with the prescribed method, and the routine adhered to until due time has passed. Treating mange when it is yet to spread is the right way to keep the mites to a minimum and to ensure the pet does not suffer unnecessarily.

Read all the available advice that can be unearthed in order to make the correct choice and mange should cease to be a concern in a short time. You can make the difference in the life of your pet by getting the right help.

Mange Mites are the Cause

The requirements of knowing how mange is contracted cannot be stressed too highly.

Mange is caused by very small mites that live in the pet s fur, and the female mange mite will eat into the skin of the animal in order to lay her eggs. This can cause an unnatural reaction in the dog or cat, and leads to persistent itching and rashes as well as other symptoms that we will look at later.

The mites themselves have a life span of a short period but they increase in numbers at a rapid rate. It is when the number of mites increases without hindrance that the pet can become open to mange.

Simple Steps to Identify Mange Infestation

Recognizing mange is relatively easy as the signs are easy to see and not usual. The first thing that may be noticed is frequent scratching, primarily in areas where the hair is at its shortest these are where the mange mite chooses to live and this may be accompanied by loss of hair in these areas.

While in small areas in the first instance it is occasionally the case that mange spreads and in the worst cases can cover the body of the animal severely. Further symptoms can include poor sleep patterns, unusual behavior and red areas on the skin so called red mange that are painful and present great trouble for the animal.

If mange is detected it is best to commence treatment straight away, as keeping the infection under control is vital to removing the condition. Mange is rarely fatal but can be dangerous if allowed to get out of control. It is also very distressing for the animal, whose well-being should be considered at all times.

Mange in Humans? Yes it is Possible

Instances of mange transferring from any animals to humans are known to have occurred and the most frequently contracted form of mange known as sarcoptic mange is very contagious and occurs in humans as scabies.

It is so that mange mites are specific to different species a dog mite will live best on dogs only, a cat mite on cats but they can continue to breed for short periods on other than their chosen host. For this reason it is best to keep uninfected pets at a distance from those with the mange to be safe and sound.

The Process of Treating Mange

Treating mange is not difficult although there are a selection of alternative methods. The right one for a individual animal may depend on the species, on the health and on the age, and some breeds of dog, for instance, take better to certain treatments than others.

Advice is available from many places, and it may be that the best course of action involves using a lotion or cream, or sometimes a spray, to the area of the animal concerned. This concoction will eradicate the mites and, crucially, neutralize any eggs thus halting the breeding process quickly.

In unusual cases particularly those that are more severe a dip or bath may be the best treatment, and this involves immersing the animal in a solution thus giving it an all over body wash. This is, of course, a tricky procedure where cats are the infected animal although less so with smaller dogs.

All treatments for mange involve some form of pharmaceutical application and once the right approach has been decided on it is important that it is carried out quickly in order to control the spread of the infection.

About the Author
Dwayne Coots is an independent researcher and worked as a municipal Animal Control Officer. He writes for Q-Based Healthcare on many subjects, including Pet Health and Mange Treatment at

Popular Purebred Cat Breeds
by Raphael Cooper

All types of cats and no matter if they're purebred or not make wonderful feline companions. If you have your heart set on getting a purebred cat; below are some of the popular breeds you might want to consider. Some people might be surprised to know that you can find purebred cats and kittens in your local rescue centre. If you're looking for a specific breed you might want to call or go by the local rescue centre before looking for a breeder.

British Short Hair
British short hair cats are one of the oldest English breeds of cats and their ancestry can be traced back to Rome. This breed was first known for its hunting ability due to its physical strength. However, this breed is equally recognized for its calm demeanor and loyalty.

The British short hair has a short plush coach that is very soft and easy to groom. These cats are larger in size and they prefer to stay on the ground. They make great family pets and are very loyal companions. The original colour of these cats was a grayish blue now you can find these lovable animals in a variety of colours.

Birman cats are believed to have originated in Burma and they were considered sacred animals and belonged to the high priests. It is believed that this breed was established in the Western world around 1925. These cats are lovable companions and had very distinctive markings.

Birman cats are usually large long and stocky. They have long silky hair but it is not as thick as the Persian cat and does not mat easily. Their coat is usually light in colour with a golden cast. The points on the face, legs and tail are darker and are similar to the Siamese. They have big broad blue eyes and a strong looking face. The one distinctive thing about the Birman cat that makes them stand out from the others is their very distinctive white feet. These cats have great personalities which make them good family pets and companions.

Burmese cats get their distinctive colors from selective breeding to Siamese cats. They come in a variety of different colours including stable, champagne, blue and platinum. Their coats are very short and had a silk-like texture which means they need little grooming. Burmese cats are compact and have rounder heads and large expressive eyes.

These cats are quite lively and like to play even when they are adults. Burmese cats are very intelligent and they each seem to have their own distinct personality. Some people say they have dog-like tendencies because they like to shadow their owner and have a desire to give and receive affection. They love to be around people and our great companions.

Persian Long Hair
Persians were named for the country they originated in and their heritage is said to be traced back to 1600 B.C. but no one knows their exact beginnings. They have long flowing coats and very distinctive faces which make them a very popular breed. Persians are sweet and gentle and fit well in any family. They have short heavy legs to support their broad short bodies and like to have their feet firmly planted on the ground. They are not into climbing and jumping. They can be playful but like to lounge around in their favorite chair or a window.

Persians should be kept indoors due to their long flowing coats. They are high maintenance as far as grooming is concerned. They need to be combed daily to eliminate tangles and hairballs. When most people think of the Persian cat they think of the colour white but actually Persians come in and array of colors including solid colors, , tabby and bicolor.

These cats can easily live to be 20 years old with proper care and annual visits to the veterinarian. They are beautiful cats to look at and their gentle nature also makes them ideal for any type of family.

These are just a few of the more popular breeds that work well with families. There are many more types of purebred cats that are just as friendly and popular as those mentioned above including the Manx and the Siamese cat. Purebred cats can be expensive and you need to make sure that they had the proper nutrition and are kept healthy. This can be done by keeping them indoors and taking them annually to your veterinarian.

To make sure your purebred cat stays healthy and will enjoy a long life, you might want to consider getting cat insurance incase their will be unforeseen medical expenses in the years to come. You have health insurance on the rest of your family and for peace of mind you might want to get cat insurance on your feline companion.

About the Author
Raphael Cooper is a freelance author writes articles on Pet Health Insurance including pet cat insurance, Cat Health Insurance and pet insurance cover. To learn more about Pet Insurance Cover and Cheap Cat Insurance please visit

Correcting Aggressive Dogs - Nip That Bite!
by Amy Y.

Before we go on and talk about correcting aggressive dogs, I want to get this out of the way. Your dog is a dog first and foremost. I know that might sound rudimentary and so obvious, but aren't we all guilty of attributing human feelings to our dogs? When our dog begs at the dinner table, don't we feel sorry for him because he can't have that delicious food we are eating? And if our dog got attacked by another dog, don't we sometimes find ourselves excusing some of the aggressive behavior as the dog remembering a past experience and being hurt and defensive because of it?
It is important for our dog that we treat her like the wonderful dog she is, but a dog first and foremost.

As a dog, your dog will react to situations and after a while or after a traumatic experience, your dog will be conditioned to respond in a certain way in that same situation. Think of the dogs in Pavlov's experiment. They hear a bell and start drooling even if there is no food present. Because they had been drooling whenever they heard the bell, they soon became conditioned to the sound of the bell being tied in to their drooling and so whenever they heard that bell again, they would drool.

Now it is possible to correct a conditioned response, but that takes time. But it can be done!

The same goes for correcting aggressive dogs. In the dog's mind, whatever situation that initially caused them to react aggressively has been conditioned into them because time and again, they have found that aggression works to stop the situation that they don't like regardless of whether or not the situation is really lethally dangerous to them. They don't know that a harmless brush isn't going to kill them if every time that the brush got near them and they growled or whatever and the brush went away. To them, they succeeded in conquering the enemy and protecting themselves.

It is there that we can start correcting aggressive dogs. We need to nip their bite before it escalates into a doggy horror! We need to tell them that their aggressive behavior is unwarranted and completely unacceptable to us.

About the Author

Amy Y. has a list of the top 5 dog training guides that will help you in correcting aggressive dogs and more.

The Yorkshire Terrier - Intelligent and Loyal
by Jonathan Charles

Yorkshire terriers are considered by many people to be a very intelligent dog, and they are also considered to be extremely loyal to their owners. I'm sure that comes as no surprise to you if you already own a Yorkie. They are indeed a most wonderful dog.

Dr. Stanley Coren, an animal intelligence expert, determined that Yorkshire Terriers are above average in terms of intelligence. Out of 132 breeds tested, the Yorkshire Terrier ranked 27th. Yorkshire Terriers are so intelligent that they can do better than obeying one simple command at a time, like most breeds. The Yorkie can follow a series of long and complicated commands.

People have sometimes said to me that they believe their Yorkshire terrier understands everything that they say. My response is usually that you are probably quite right because they are indeed capable of understanding what you are saying and even sometimes what you are thinking.

Let me try and explain this a bit better. If you repeatedly give your dog a hug and at the same time tell him that you love him, he will associate those words with good feelings. Its the same as when you say the word Walkies, its a 'good feelings' word, and your dog responds accordingly.

Yes indeed. Yorkshire Terriers are very intelligent little dogs, but again, they are also fiercely loyal, even if it doesn't quite seem like it. You see, Yorkshire Terriers, as a breed, are somewhat independent. This means that they have minds of their own, and they don't feel the need to be in your lap, waiting for your command. They are curious, and they like to investigate, and sometimes their inherent instincts are stronger than your commands. If he sees a squirrel that he wants to chase, and you are telling him to come to you, there is only a 70% chance that your command is going to win over his instinct to chase the squirrel. For this reason, many people think that these dogs aren't 'obedient' or 'loyal' and this simply isn't the case.

Would you believe it if I told you that history is full of instances of brave Yorkshire Terriers defending their owners in the face of all sorts of dangers. Can you imagine the bravery of a little dog facing grave dangers and enormous opponents all to defend their owners? Well believe it or not, its true.

So, if you are looking for intelligence and loyalty, don't disregard the Yorkshire Terrier, mistakenly thinking that he is no more than a pampered lap dog. You will be pleasantly surprised to learn that he is among the most intelligent, and the most loyal, of all canines.

Now all that remains is for you to go out and get a Yorkie for yourself, but don't worry, I am not trying to sell you one, but I would ask you to act responsibly when you are purchasing a beautiful yorkie.

Only consider dealing with a known and responsible breeder. Enquire of the Kennel Club as to which breeders they would recommend.

Do not under any circumstance support backyard breeders, puppy mills or pet stores when you purchase your Yorkie. If you know someone who owns a Yorkshire Terrier you can ask them for a reference, and even Yorkshire Terrier breeders will direct you to other responsible breeders if they don't have the puppy that you are looking for.

About the Author
Did you find this article helpful? If you did then please make sure you visit John's Yorkshire Terrier Blog

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Pet Tips and Pet Advice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Essential Reality Check No. 3 – Ages of your Kids

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

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

,Essential Reality Check No. 4 – The Space Required

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

Essential Reality Check No. 5 – Time for your Pets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lesley and her husband are parents of 18 years to four great kids and co authors of
For more information on pets visit best-pets-for-kids

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Choosing Pet Clothes for Different Seasons and Occasions
by David Hensley

After a hectic and busy day, you will feel good when your pets with pretty gestures welcome you. Pet lovers always consider their pets as one among their family members and take a lot of care for their needs. One product which all the pet lovers show interest is the Pet clothes. When you clothe them, you protect them from the changing weather conditions. Even though the pets have natural fur and hair for protection from cold, clothes adds more beauty and the pets also look very cute by wearing varieties of pet clothes.

The pet clothing for your pet depends on your living environment. If you are residing in a cold region your pet may be exposed to cold climate for a long duration and hence you have to choose thick clothes for your pet. When you are residing in a place with temperate weather condition, you have to unbutton your pet clothes and so you have to buy thin coats for your pets.

Though there are multiple reasons for dressing your pet, you don't have to be worried about your pet clothes if any of the following fits with your pet. When the density of hair and fur is more on your pet, you don't have to additionally burden them with pet clothes. When you live in a hot climate your pet will not enjoy getting dressed. Lastly, if you’re pet refuses the pet clothes offered to it, don't force such clothes on it and don't ever try to make it wear pet clothes that it does not prefer. You can always beautify them by other means like hairstyles, jewelries etc.

Pet clothes are having increasing popularity as a lot of stores and suppliers now offer different ranges of pet clothes. Pet clothes are available in different varieties and styles for pet dogs when compared with other pets. This may be because the dogs show more of cooperation in getting dressed. Mostly sale of the pet clothes are focused towards pet owners who are fashion conscious and clothes are marketed with the multiple benefits your pet attains out of using them. Normally after winter walk, pets get tired and their body temperature undergoes sudden change and pet clothes can prevent them from catching cold. Another important benefit of providing clothing for your pet is to safeguard the pet's skin from scratching or aggravating any itching area. If your pet has undergone an invasive operation, then the pet clothes will protect the wound till it's healed. Some pet clothes are exclusively available for preventing family way in pets. Though it may look awkward but it prevents the number of pets in your home from increasing.

Most of the pet lovers choose sports style pet clothes like hooded tops, faux leather jackets, trendy vests, T-shirts and colorful knits as they add more of uniqueness in their appearance. Other fashionable clothes are pet's shoes and boots with matching pyjamas and there are also trouser suits that are waterproof available for your lovable pets. On special days if you don't want your pet to be left out, you can buy fancy costumes. The famous fancy pet clothes are bridesmaid outfit, wedding gowns, tuxedos, and seasonal costumes. When you love your pet and can afford more budgets you can buy fashionable pet clothes as a gift for your pet. and have exhaustive resources for pets' health and training and essential accessories for them.

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Top Five Dog Breeds For Senior Citizens
By Jennifer Andrade

Dogs are natural companions for seniors. Dogs are good company. They can help seniors feel secure by keeping the house under watch. They also have the added bonus of giving seniors a reason to be more active. But when considering a dog for a senior, there should be several things taken into consideration in order to find the best match.

First, the dog should be suited to living in an apartment or small space. They should be able to get most of their exercise indoors and grooming should not be too demanding, since most seniors are on a fixed income and cannot afford to pay for such services. I tried to stick with breeds that are relatively easy to train and don't need a strong pack leader.

Taking all those things into consideration, I've devised a short list of the Top Five Dog Breeds that would work best for Seniors.

The first on the list is my favorite breed; the Chihuahua. This breed is perfect for seniors because they are easy to keep and maintain and their exercise level will easily adapt to that of their household. They do need to be socialized thoroughly so that they do not become fearful or too yippy. They are a loving dog, but they need rules and boundaries, just like any other.

The second dog is the Chinese Crested. This may seem like an unusual choice, but they are very loving dogs and get along well with other pets. They are a true companion dog. As with the Chihuahua, the Chinese Crested needs to be socialized properly to prevent timidness and they do need to be protected from the sun and cold weather.

The third dog is the Pug. They are very happy and playful dogs and they get along well with other pets and people. They do need to be protected from the heat, as they tend to overheat quickly, but they do benefit from short walks. The fourth dog is the Lucas Terrier. This cute little terrier is sweet and easy to train. They are a very friendly terrier. They do require a weekly brushing, but they have a low doggie odor and shed very little.

Another one of my favorite breeds is the sweet little English Toy Spaniel (King Charles Spaniel), which ends the list at number five. This is a breed that LOVES to be around people. They get along great with children and are friendly with other dogs. They are happy and playful; a real treat to be around.

There is no reason why a senior cannot enjoy the companionship of a canine, but they need to be sure to choose a dog that will be happy in the environment and lifestyle that they live. Make sure the dog is easy to keep and maintain and both the dog and the senior will be happy for many years.

Written by Jennifer Andrade from A Dog for Life, LLC , which is dedicated to helping you choose and find the best dog for your family. My website features many other resources that can help you have a more positive and closer relationship with your canine companion.

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The Importance of Good Dental Health For Your Pets
By Ingrid King

Dental disease is the most frequently diagnosed health problem for pets. Dogs and cats are particularly prone to tooth and gum diseases. An astounding 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats show signs of oral disease by age 3, according to the American Veterinary Dental Society.

Normal teeth in both cats and dogs should be white or just a little yellow. Gums should be light pink and smooth (except in breeds with pigmented gums).

Oral disease begins with a build up of plaque and tartar in your pet's mouth. Without proper preventive and therapeutic care, plaque and tartar buildup leads to periodontal disease, which manifests in red and/or swollen and tender gums, bad breath, and bleeding. When the gums are swollen, they can be painful - a good rule of thumb is that if it looks like it might be painful, it probably is. Pets are masters at masking pain - when in doubt, assume that your pet is experiencing at least some discomfort.

The inflammation and infection associated with periodontal disease can lead to damage to other organs such as the heart, kidney and liver, and lead to other serious health problems. Dental disease can also be an indicator of immune system disorders, particularly in cats.

Common indicators of oral disease in dogs include bad breath, a change in eating or chewing habits, pawing at the face or mouth and depression. If you notice any of these, don't wait until your dog's next annual check up, take him to the veterinarian for a thorough exam.

Cats rarely show any symptoms at all unless the situation is literally life-threatening. They will eat even when their level of chronic mouth pain would send a person to the emergency room. They almost never paw at their face, even with loose or abscessed teeth. They get pretty smelly breath from eating cat food, so it's tough to tell by smelling the breath whether your cat has dental disease or just had breakfast. But even though they don't show us much in the way of outward symptoms, chronic dental/periodontal disease can cause severe and often irreversible damage to internal organs. So it's important to get regular veterinary exams at least once a year, and twice a year for cats six and older or for cats with a known history of dental problems.

Since our pets won't just sit still and open their mouths to have their teeth cleaned like humans, dental procedures for pets require general anesthesia, something that makes many pet owners nervous. While there are always risks with anesthesia, they can be minimized with a thorough pre-anesthetic check up, including bloodwork to assess kidney and liver function and rule out other underlying health issues. This will allow your veterinarian to customize the anesthesia to your pet's health status and potential special needs. Keep in mind that leaving dental disease untreated may present a far greater risk than anesthesia.

February is Dental Health Month, and many veterinary practices offer special programs and discounts on dental procedures and products. Contact your pet's veterinarian for more information.

Ingrid King is a Reiki Master Practitioner and owner of Healing Hands. Healing Hands provides Reiki for pets and people. Healing Hands also publishes periodic newsletters on alternative health topics for pets and people. For more information, and to subscribe to the Healing Hands newsletter, please visit

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World's Smallest Kitten - The Teacup Kitten is Tiny
By Bryan Burbank

Teacup Kittens are the smallest and cutest in the world and they can come in many different breeds. It is important that when you are shopping for a miniature cat that you do not just look at the weight because many breeders will tell you a runt cat is a teacup but in reality it is just undersized. An average cat will weight about 10-12 pounds and a miniature will be about 3-6 pounds. So make sure that you do not get fooled when looking for this type of cat because there are breeders that will try to pass of a small cat as a miniature.

Most Teacup kittens are made when there is inbreeding with the smaller kittens. By using this method of breeding you create dwarf cats and this is how they become teacup kittens. The persian and the exotic breeds of cat are the most common when it comes to teacup kittens. Primordial dwarves are known as MiniPers and these cats are small but there bodies are proportionate in every way. The MiniPaws have short legs and in many cases they can be deformed because of this. Napoleon is a new teacup bread and they have long beautiful coats and big eyes. They are a mix of a Persian and a Munchkin and are very beautiful.

When looking for this type of cat it is important to now that they are cute and small but they will become cats. With cats they will not act like a kitten forever so make sure that this is the type of cat you would like to own before making the commitment.

Bryan Burbank is an expert in the field of Animals and Pet Issues

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Teaching Your Dog to Perform Tricks
By Ian White

Teaching your dog to perform tricks can be great fun, but it does require plenty of time and patience. It is, however, important to remember not to spend more than around five minutes a day practicing a particular trick with your dog; otherwise it may become bored of the whole process and refuse to co-operate any further. You should also aim to end each training session on a good note, so that your dog always associates the experience with pleasure and not unhappiness. Providing you use a variety of tasty and healthy treats, along with plenty of praise, your dog should be able to learn new tricks very easily. Here are a few for you to try out on your dog:

This is something that many dogs begin to do automatically, and doesn't generally take any real training. Some dogs, however, may not do it so readily and may need a little assistance. Try making a small slit in a ball and then place some tasty treats inside. Let your dog sniff the ball before you throw it and then run with your dog to get the ball for the first three or four times. Each time your dog picks up the ball, encourage him/her to come to you and then release the treats. It won't take long for your dog to chase willingly after any object you throw for it, even when there are no treats inside.

Get your dog to sit facing you. Hold your dog's favourite treat up so that it can be seen and then say: "Say please." Your dog's automatic reaction will probably be to lift both its front feet off the ground to get to the treat. As soon as he/she makes any attempt to perform this action, you should praise him/her and reward immediately with a treat. This trick is all about good balance and may take your dog a little time to master. Do take great care, however, not to let your dog fall over onto its back when performing this trick.

Shake hands
Get your dog to sit facing you. Then gently lift up one of your dog's paws and hold it for a few seconds and say: "Shake hands." Let go of the paw and repeat the action. Each time you put the paw down, you should praise your dog and reward with a treat.

Roll over
Get your dog to lie down on its belly and then kneel down by its side. Whilst holding a treat in front of his/her nose, move the treat around so that your dog lies on its side and then rolls over. Once your dog makes any attempt to move over, praise him/her and reward with a treat. As hard surfaces may be uncomfortable for your dog, it is best to perform this trick on a carpet or outside on the grass.

Get your dog to lie down facing you. Hold a treat right in front of his/her nose and say: "Crawl." Gradually pull the treat away from your dog whilst keeping the treat close to the ground. Keep repeating the command until your dog begins to move across the floor. As soon as your dog makes any effort to crawl, you should praise him/her immediately and reward with a treat. You may find that your dog will try to stand up at some point during this exercise. If this happens say: "No" and gently coax him/her to lie down again.

Turn around
Make sure that your dog is standing facing you. Then place a treat in your hand and show it to your dog. Lead your dog's nose round clockwise with the treat until he/she has gone round in a complete circle. As you are performing this say: "Turn around" and then praise your dog and reward with a treat.

Play dead
Get your dog to lie down on its tummy and then roll him/her gently over onto their side and say: "Sleep." Encourage your dog to stay there for a short time and then say: "Wake up." Once your dog stands up, you should praise him/her and reward with a treat.

After teaching each trick for a period of time, you should find that your dog begins to respond quickly to your commands without you having to guide him/her into the correct position. You can teach both young and old dogs to perform tricks, but obviously your dog will learn quicker if trained from an early age. It is also important to remember to stick to the same commands whilst training, to avoid confusion, and only introduce one new trick at a time.

Copyright © 2009, Ian White

Author Ian White is founder of Petsitting Directory

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How to Take Care of a Saltwater Aquarium and Have Healthy Saltwater Fish
By Darin Sewell

If you are wondering how to take care of a saltwater aquarium its really pretty easy. Although there are a few things you need to keep an eye on in order to have a stunning marine aquarium and healthy saltwater fish.

Change The Water- Saltwater fish tanks need frequent water changes in order to keep harmful compounds to a minimum. It is recommended that you change at least 25% of the water on a monthly basis. This does not all have to be done at once and is better if you split it up into two or three water changes over the course of a month.

Salt Levels- Saltwater fish tanks will evaporate water just like a freshwater tank. The only downside is that in a saltwater tank the salt levels rise as freshwater evaporates out. You must make sure to replace any evaporated water every few days to keep your salinity levels constant and within range or your fish can get stressed out and sick.

Nitrate Levels- High nitrate levels in a saltwater fish tank can cause a lot of problems that will make keeping your tank much harder. These problems include sick fish and problem algae growth. By testing your water weekly you will be able to pick up on any increases in nitrates and take evasive measures before it becomes a problem.

Temperature- Saltwater fish are very sensitive to changes in their environment and the biggest change that can cause them to get sick is temperature swings. You will need to check the tanks temperature daily to make sure it is not to hot or cold. This is very important during summer and winter. If the temperature gets to hot the oxygen levels will drop and the fish can die. To cold and the fish will not be able to survive and will perish quickly in cold water.

To create a stunning and easy-to-maintain saltwater aquarium grab a copy of our Saltwater Aquarium Guide. This illustrated guide will show you step by step how to properly set up your aquarium. It's crammed with tips and secrets that the pros use to create stunning displays! Learn more at

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How to Ride a Horse - The Top 5 Mistakes Made by the New Rider
By Lisa Blackstone

It is hard enough to start out learning how to ride a horse. Do yourself a favor and take advantage of these five guidelines that will assist your efforts and make your goals attainable faster!

1. Start out with the right horse. So often it seems someone falls in love with a horse that they think is beautiful, or exciting, or loving and because of this unfettered commitment, continue riding a horse that is completely wrong for them. Horses come in all sizes, colors, breeds, and talents, just as humans vary in experience and talent. If you are riding a horse that is simply too hot blooded for you, or too rough gaited for you, or simply too bull-headed for your temperament, you will not be happy. Some things can be changed. Your horse's training can improve and your skills as a rider will improve. But, there is simply nothing that will change that rough gait of his that throws out your already-weak back. There is nothing that will change his hot blooded spirit that you find so difficult to control. Have the good sense to rethink your mount and consider trading or finding a horse more suitable for you.

2. Many riders do not know when they are getting into trouble. Riders can get into precarious situations simply because they lack the knowledge to know better. Take the time to learn about horse behavior, their instincts, their natural reaction to their surroundings and use that knowledge. I have seen a beginner riding a mare who was in season too close to a paddock in which a stallion was turned out. That is a potentially catastrophic situation! The old adage about rookies who "know just enough to be dangerous" could not be more true than with horses! You gain a certain comfort level after a short time of riding that gives one a false sense of competence. There is SO much to learn about horses and horsemanship. It is a lifelong journey to become the best horseman you can become.

3. One of the most frustrating things an instructor deals with is the new rider who has an excuse for everything they are being asked to change. It goes like this:

Instructor: "Lower your hands"
Student: "I can't because my reins are too long."
Instructor: "Well, shorten your reins"
Student: "I can't because ....blah, blah, blah"

You get the idea. I call this the "shut up and just do it" rule. There is so much to learn and so many things to think about at the same time "Keep your heels down, quiet your hands, sit up straight in the saddle, keep your chin up, keep a light contact with his mouth, now, heels down again!" Until it comes naturally, it seems to be a textbook of rules to remember! The more you hear what to do, the more stiff you become, the more difficult it seems and the more impossible to achieve. But just hang in there! Keep listening, stop talking and keep trying to do what the instructor is telling you. Have faith that it will all gradually become muscle memory and will come much more naturally after more and more hours in the saddle. It is certainly okay to tell your instructor if you are confused or have a question. Generally speaking, however, be quiet, keep trying, keep practicing, and keep the faith!

4. New riders are usually so enthralled with their new sport that they pay more attention to themselves than to what is going on around them. Everything is so new, they lose themselves in what they are doing and that is understandable. However, new riders will benefit so much more if they stop, listen, and learn from other professional riders, and I mean professionals. It is not going to help you much if you are trying to augment your equine education with a barn pal who has had all of three riding lessons more than you have. Watch the horsemen who have the skills and the knowledge of horsemanship you can truly learn from. I remember in my earlier days of showing horses, I would go to the warm up arena at the horse show, late at night and watch the professional trainers working their horses. Although I could not hear much, I could watch their techniques, their manner, their demeanor, their methods to communicate certain things with their horse. Even if I did not get it all at the time, their professionalism and their respect for the horse left an indelible impression on me.

5. Lastly, gain a realistic perspective of yourself, your goals and how to attain them. A frequent mistake made by new enthusiasts is to evaluate their progress based on how they placed in a horse show class. As with so many things, it is the journey that is worth while. Do not get caught up in who got first place, who got second place. It is only one person's opinion anyway. It is not an indictment of your ability or your horses' ability if you do not win a horse show class. Focus on the larger goal, the pursuit of excellence within yourself, achieving that union with your horse. Do not worry about anybody else, including your competitors and your fellow barn students.

For more information go to to or

Lisa B. Blackstone has been involved in the Arabian horse business all of her life. She is a practicing attorney in the Atlanta, Georgia area. Recently, Lisa launched two websites designed to teach the novice rider about horses and horsemanship. You can visit them at and She is the host of The Horse and Rider Radio Show at Radio Sandy Springs.

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How to Take Care of a Guinea Pig
By Jake D

Guinea pigs, or cavies, are cut, fun-loving, and clean animals. They make great pets. However, they aren't as easy to care for as many others. This article will teach you how to take care of a guinea pig.


First, you need to learn what to feed your pet guinea pig. Pellets made specifically for cavies should be the staple of your pig's diet. Make sure he has access to pellets throughout the day. It's also important that you feed him fresh fruits and vegetables. You can feed him kale, collards, apples, lettuce, tomatoes and others.

He will also need a constant supply of fresh hay. Hay helps them grind down their constantly growing teeth. If the teeth are allowed to grow excessively, it will be too painful for him to eat other types of food.


Guinea pigs can't make their own vitamin C, so they need to get it from their diet. It's very important that your pig gets this important vitamin, or he will develop scurvy. The brand of pellets you feed him may contain additional vitamin C, but this is often not enough. Give him either liquid or tablet supplements of vitamin C to be safe.


When learning how to take care of a guinea pig, it's important that you know you need to trim his nails regularly. If they aren't cut, they will keep growing and start cutting into your pig's pad. This may cause an infection. At the very least, it will be very painful for your cavy. Therefore, try to trim his nails about once a month.


You need to buy your guinea pig a cage large enough to give him ample room to move around. As a minimum, try to provide about four or six square feet of space. Make sure that the floor of the cage isn't raised. Cavies have very sensitive feet.


You will also need bedding for your pig's cage. Some of the most common bedding options include wood shavings, hay, and paper products. Make sure that you don't use bedding that's too hard on your pig's feet.

These are a few tips on caring for a guinea pig. If you're new caring for cavies, then there are many things you need to learn about proper guinea pig care. So, click here now to pick up even more tips to ensure excellent guinea pig health.

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Pet News - Pet Advice - Hope You Enjoy It!

Lancaster Mayor Decides Some Dogs Aren't Innocent Until Proven Guilty
by Kate Woodviolet, LA Pet Rescue Examiner

Rottweilers, Pit Bulls and dogs who just “look like” Rottweilers and Pits could be in significant peril if a proposed ordinance in the City of Lancaster passes this Tuesday.

As reported in the January 26 edition of the L.A. Times, the ordinance would mandate breed-specific spaying and neutering of Rottweilers, Pit Bulls and mixed breeds “that have ‘predominant physical characteristics’ of those breeds,” which puts the fates of multitudes of big dogs, black dogs, and dogs of various ancestries with appearances similar to Pit Bulls and Rottweilers in the hands of non-experts, in a city whose leader has made clear his intent to persecute dogs in an attempt to harass some of their owners.

On the face of it, mandatory spay/neuter seems a laudable goal, in fact it’s something many animal advocates have pushed for over the years to reduce the number of homeless dogs put to death in shelters every day. Los Angeles passed a mandatory spay/neuter law in 2008 with this goal in mind. The difference however, is that the L.A. law doesn’t discriminate according to breed.

Tellingly, the proposed Lancaster ordinance also links this breed-specific mandatory sterilization with provisions that “a single hearing officer could deem an individual dog to be potentially dangerous or vicious.”

According to the Times this is an admitted and open agenda of persecution against Pit Bulls, Rottweilers and dogs who “look like” Rotties and Pits, spearheaded by Lancaster Mayor, and personal injury lawyer, R. Rex Parris, who flatly states this crusade against certain dog breeds is simply an attempt to harass suspected gang members.

“’I want gangs out of Lancaster,’ Mayor R. Rex Parris said in a recent interview. ‘I want to make it uncomfortable for them to be here. Anything they like, I want to take it away from them. I want to deliberately harass them."

In response to opponents, including law abiding owners of the affected breeds (and any dog who may share a physical characteristic with either affected breed) who suggest that gang members deprived of Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, and dogs who bear any resemblance to these breeds could simply adopt another “status symbol,” Parris reportedly countered, “"If they move on to cats, I'm going to take their cats." Since the cases of cats who pose a danger to the public are vanishingly small, Parris is clearly stating his intent is not to reduce overbreeding or take action against proven dangerous animals, but to "take" pets regardless of whether or not they pose a threat to anyone in the community.

While it’s tempting to dismiss Parris as a small town despot, what he’s promoting is a dangerously un-American campaign of harassment and intimidation of the innocent in the vain hope of getting to (or simply annoying) the guilty, since even he isn't suggesting that his campaign against Rottweilers, Pit Bulls and visually similar dogs will actually be effective in eliminating the gang problem in Lancaster.

What’s more, breed specific legislation that targets one or two dog breeds (or in this case, breed-by-interpretation) can’t help but be inherently subjective – one person may see similarities to specific breeds in an individual dog, while another doesn’t. And since the AKC doesn’t even recognize the American Pit Bull Terrier among its catalog of breeds, what breed standard should an animal regulation or law enforcement officer use?

The arbitrary effects of such subjective interpretation can be seen in one episode of Animal Planet’s “Miami Animal Police.” In this episode, a Miami animal control agent prepares to impound a dog he insists is a Pit Bull, not because it has attacked anyone or any other animal, but because Miami-Dade County has breed specific legislation outlawing Pit Bulls. The owner protests that he has a note from a veterinarian stating that the dog is in fact an American Bulldog, which is a distinct breed recognized by various organizations across the U.S. and internationally.

The agent’s response? “You and I both know this dog is a Pit Bull.” Watching one man unilaterally overrule the verdict of a trained veterinarian and interpret the law to suit himself, with the result that the dog owner is forced to relinquish the dog to be killed by authorities, to find someone outside the county to take custody of the dog, or to move out of the county, is a genuinely frightening look at lack of legal due process run amok. And again, in this case the dog did nothing to warrant this legal action except to exist, and to appear – to one man – to look like a Pit Bull.

According to the Times, Lancaster mayor Parris has no compunction about violating on the rights of the innocent, both human and canine, to attack those who he thinks may potentially be guilty. When asked about the possibility that his proposed ordinance may result in unjust seizures of dogs from law-abiding owners, he “is unapologetic about his desire to restrict the dogs,” saying he is “willing ‘to bear the weight of some injustice’ against responsible owners.”

"Even if people who are not gangbangers have their pit bulls taken away, it means that these beasts are off the streets," Parris said. "And they are indeed beasts."

It’s frightening to realize any city in America has a mayor who is willing to “bear the weight” of any injustice against his fellow citizens (as if the weight could be his to bear), in a country whose very founding principles are justice and equal rights for all, not to mention the premise that we are innocent until proven guilty. But a man who can insist, on the record, that all members of any dog breed are “beasts” is significantly uninformed about Pit Bulls, Rottweilers and, let us not forget, any dog who “looks like” a Pit or Rottweiler.

Parris is also professedly uninterested in the rights of American citizens. Either way, here's hoping the people of Lancaster have enough understanding of their rights, the rights of their fellow citizens, and the rights of animals who have done nothing wrong to exist peacefully, to defeat this ordinance, and tell their mayor that despite his blind prejudice, justice does still exist in their city.

Dead Dogs, Cats Discovered
by Dave Thomas, San Diego News Examiner

Police in Temecula have arrested a man on suspicion of animal cruelty for allegedly mistreating his dogs and cats. According to authorities, more than 200 of the animals were discovered dead on his property.

Authorities say that Elisao Gilbert Jimenez, 66, was taken into custody last Friday after a search of his residence in the 39000 block of Liefer Road showed a number of dogs and cats "in poor health."

Deputies were dispatched to Jimenez's home to assist Department of Animal Services officers with a vicious dog, and when they looked in the back of the suspect's property, they discovered more than 200 dog and cat carcasses.

Animal Control Officers reported discovering 204 dead animals in plastic bags in different stages of decomposition. They also located more than 82 dogs and nearly three dozen ferel cats.

While everyone is presumed innocent, if Jimenez was indeed the main reason for these pets dying, the judge who sentences him should throw the book at him.

Better yet, maybe subjecting Jimenez to such conditions that his animals were allegedly left in would be even better.

Pets were put on this earth to be cared for and to be your best friends. Anything less should not be allowed.

Dogs Sniff Out a Gourmand Adventure
By Sandy Robins - contributor

Your pooch is welcome at the Oregon Truffle Festival in Eugene

Experts claim that any dog can be trained to hunt for truffles, such as this truffle dog Stella, a Labrador retriever.

If you enjoy traveling with your dog and also enjoy sampling gourmet food and fine wines, then take note of the upcoming Oregon Truffle Festival, Jan. 29 to Feb. 1 in Eugene.

The festival, now in its fourth year, draws gourmands and dog lovers from around the country to partake in a variety of activities that focus on this prized edible treasure.

“The reason why dogs are invited to attend is that they play a huge role in the truffle industry worldwide,” says Steve Remington, one of the event's organizers. “People tend to associate pigs with snuffling out truffles. But in fact truffieres started using dogs back in the 1800s because pigs tend to gobble up truffles as quickly as they find them. Dogs seem to enjoy them, too, but they understand commands like ‘No!’ ”

One of the highlights on the festival calendar is a workshop teaching dog owners to train their dogs to hunt for truffles. An actual truffle hunt also is included on the list of events over the weekend.

“I’ve seen everything from dachshunds to Labrador retrievers out hunting truffles, which, incidentally, can sell for as much as $800 a pound,” says mycologist Charles Lefevre of Eugene, Ore., who has been involved in the festival since its inception.

In search of truffles
It is people like Lefevre and fellow mycologist Tom Michaels of Tennessee who have managed to perfect the delicate symbiosis between this fungus and the roots of certain trees that has resulted in truffle farming becoming a viable commercial enterprise in Oregon, Tennessee, Washington and North Carolina as well as parts of Canada.

Apart from actually planting trees that have been specially treated to grow truffles for harvesting, Lefevre says that there are lots of natural truffles to be found. While black truffles usually are associated with Perigord region of France and white truffles with the Piedmont region of Italy, Lefevre points out that if you hunt for truffles, you will find various kinds all over the world — including many parts of America.

“Truffle season lasts approximately from November to February in North America and Canada. Mature white truffles are about the size of a walnut; black truffles can be the sizes of eggs,” he says.

For centuries, truffle hunting in Europe in particular has been cloaked in a veil of secrecy. Those who hunt for them, as well as those who savor their culinary delights, tell legendary tales of clandestine trips under the cover of darkness to scour muddy forests and of competitive rivalry to keep secret those special patches of earth that hide this delicacy beneath the soil. However, foodies and dog lovers attending the festival will literally have everything put on a plate for them.

A variety of packages are available for purchase online and include everything from cooking classes to gala dinners to a truffle hunt. The festival also features workshops, gastronomic events and a marketplace where vendors will be selling a variety of food and dog-orientated wares. Prices start around $475 per person.

Bred for the task
While the experts claim that any dog can be trained to hunt for truffles and will enjoy the adventure, those who are now starting to farm truffles commercially are importing an Italian dog breed called the Lagotto Romagnolo, which is actually bred to be a professional truffle hunter. This ancient breed of water dog looks similar to a scruffy poodle and has webbed feet.

The first trained working Lagotti in the United States were actually imported from Italy by Sam Beall, owner of the Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tenn. This luxury country hotel is in a farm setting where guests get to spend their time with the resort’s cheese maker, master gardeners and world-class chefs experiencing how the food served to them is cultivated and prepared from start to finish.

If you enjoy truffles and can’t make it to Oregon in January, consider Tennessee for your future travels. Unfortunately, pets are not allowed at Blackberry Farm because it is a working farm, said a hotel employee.

“We have planted our own truffle orchard, but we don’t expect to see the fruits of our labors for a few years,” says Beall. “In the meantime, our dogs are working with mycologist Tom Michael in a nearby cultivated orchard hunting truffles that we are serving to our guests.”

Packages to the Truffle Festival can be booked online at The hotel hosting many of the festival events, the Valley River Inn on the banks of the Willamette River, is pet-friendly.

Sandy Robins is an award-winning pet lifestyle writer. She is the recent recipient of the Humane Society of the United States' Pets for Life Award. Her work appears in many national and international publications.

Dealing With Red-Eyed Puppies
PC World

"Photographing Your Pets" was most informative for my future pet shots. But what do you do when you already have a photo with the dreaded "devil eye?"
--Richard "Doc" Wagner, Salisbury, North Carolina

There are very few programs that can deal with red eye in pets, Richard. The only program I've had satisfactory results with is Corel's Paint Shop Pro (you can find it for under $100 at PC World’s Shop & Compare), which has an amazingly comprehensive red eye reduction tool. It sports a full featured pet mode that allows you to choose from among several eye shapes, glint, and other details. If you take a lot of indoor flash photos of your pets, Paint Shop Pro is almost essential.

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Price Gouging of Pet Food?
Ukiah Daily Journal Staff

To the Editor:

Good people at Natura Pet Products, Inc., and Rainbow Agricultural Services:

As Joe Weinstein once quipped, "My dog is worried about the economy because Alpo is up to 99 cents a can. That's almost $7 in dog money."

In the spirit of the sense of responsibility ushered by the new Obama Administration, could you kindly explain to me how come a bag of "holistic" Innova dog food that cost $40 for a 40-pound bag a couple of months ago is now costing $45 for only a 30-pound bag?

Full story at:

In the New York Times of Jan. 18, (Business section, page 5), the giant Cargill, Incorporated, ran an ad that read: "Pet food companies are like any food company. Constantly fluctuating input costs can play havoc with margins and profitability. They need costs to stay predictable. Cargill helps a large global pet food company accomplish this by providing risk management strategies to hedge the cost of soybean meal and whole grain corn and wheat in commodity markets -- while supplying them with key ingredients. Our expertise assures that even if commodity costs rise or fall, the company can keep prices stable and the quality of ingredients high for products like dog and cat food. Because no one likes to raise prices on their best friend."

So, good people, what gives? You've just increased the price of your product by about 50 percent. Any "holistic" justification, or simple price gauging?

To say the least, and to use one of our former president's, George W. Bush, favorite expression, this is a huge disappointment (though not on par with the absence of WMDs in Iraq) -- a huge disappointment nonetheless.

I'd appreciate getting your side of the story before I stop shopping at Rainbow and start buying another brand of healthy food for my dog.

(Question to the Press: Could you take the time to cover the real stories out there? We are being pilfered left, right, and center...)

A puzzled and very "disappointed" customer.

Gilles d'Aymery


In response to Price gauging of pet food?'

To the Editor:

In 26 years of business Rainbow has never been accused of price gouging, but let me assure you I feel your frustration. Perhaps President Obama can help us here by lowering taxes on small business, lowering the cost of providing health insurance to our staff, eliminating needless regulation, allowing my staff a more flexible work week etc. etc.

Our local store has no control over the size of the bag, or the cost of the bag. While it is true that we do control the retail markup, the market retail price is usually set by the big box stores. As a local store we must stay competitive. I checked this product and we are marking up this item 25 percent. Out of this markup we must cover the cost of our entire operation.

Unfortunately the Natura company is not alone in this pricing strategy of decreasing the bag size and increasing the price. We have experienced dramatic cost increases from almost every company we buy from. In fact this behavior caused us to bring in several other lines of pet food that are more competitively priced. Next time you are in the store, please ask one of our associates to help you select one.

My advice is vote with your wallet. Don't stop shopping at Rainbow, but perhaps choose a different brand we stock to feed your pets. Our staff can help you with this selection, but each consumer must measure the price to the value of the product supplied. By the way, I feed my dog Dixie a Nutura product called EVO and it costs over $72 for 30 pounds; but she is worth it... oh, and she only eats 1/2 cup per day.

Our suppliers feel it and notice it when sales decline and that effect multiplied by consumers throughout the nation may have a chance to influence the pricing strategy of manufacturers and suppliers.

Jim Mayfield


Rainbow Agricultural Services


Motivational Book Uses Dog Stories
By LISA IRBY - The Bismarck Tribune

Title: "Be a Dog with a Bone: Always Go for Your Dreams"

Author: Peggy McColl

Pages: 95

Available: Booksellers and online

The catchy title of this little book caught my eye. And it looked like it was a quick read for a snowy afternoon.

Truth be told, I love my dog. I'm a sucker for a picture of a pooch. I cried unashamedly at "Marley & Me."

Peggy McColl uses dog stories that every pet owner can relate to as examples for the motivational steps she believes will lead individuals to success.

The analogies are familiar, such as relating how a dog takes hold of a bone and never lets go to having the "dogged determination" to attain one's goal, and how taking a puppy on its first walk is like the leash of limitations we put on ourselves, and how you can learn the behaviors that will guarantee your success (teaching an old dog a new trick).

While there were cute examples of dog behaviors, I had a hard time getting past all the cliches. Here are just a few to judge for yourself:

- "Drool unto others as you'd have them drool unto you."

- "What to do when you're feeling 'ruff'" (subtitle for Chapter 12).

- "'Paws' for a moment and give thanks for the many blessings in your life."

The motivational lessons, too, were a bit like attending a pep rally; you feel somewhat charged up, but the game plan was lacking depth. Perhaps, though, that impression is more of a reflection of my general opinion about self-help books that try to convince me I'm capable of doing anything - all in 14 chapters with fewer than 100 pages.

Strewn throughout the chapters are some amusing quotes by notables throughout history ranging from Miguel de Cervantes' "Every dog has his day," to Andy Rooney's "If dogs could talk, it would take a lot of fun out of owning one."

I am, however, reminded daily of one of the illustrations McColl uses to teach her readers to be happy and show appreciation. My dog, Flash, enthusiastically expresses his appreciation by jumping to greet me every time I walk through the door, even if I've only been gone for five minutes to check the mailbox. That's a gift we all can give - gratitude to a loyal friend.

(Lisa Irby is Conservation Services Manager for Ducks Unlimited. She lives in Bismarck with her husband and three of four sons.)

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How to Stop a Dog On a Leash From Lunging

A dog that pulls on the leash can spoil more than a nice walk, and Emily Pelecanos of Silver Spring, Md., has the photos from her 50th birthday party to prove it.

Her husband had ordered a limo to take them downtown to a fancy restaurant - but of course, first the dogs needed to be walked. While she chatted with a neighbor, her dog, Buster, saw a dog that she didn't see coming — and he lunged for it.

"I hit the pavement with my hands and my face," she recalls.

Determined not to cancel the party, Pelecanos iced the emerging bruises. "Then I put makeup on and big sunglasses," she says, "but you should have seen everyone in the restaurant whispering."

Even if your pulling dog doesn't stop a party, the problem can be a vicious circle. A dog that's difficult to walk gets walked less, so he doesn't get enough exercise and socialization. Then he becomes more excitable and difficult on each walk.

There are a number of special harnesses and halters that are designed to solve the leash-pulling problem. (Don't confuse these with regular harnesses, which actually make pulling easier: There's a reason that dogs are attached to a sled with a harness instead of by their collars.)

But even if a no-pull harness helps, it's best not to rely on it as a permanent solution, if for no other reason than that it may not last. For Buster, a front-attaching-style harness worked — until he grew bigger and more accustomed to it.

So trainers recommend that you view these products as a tool that allows you to give your dog enough exercise and exposure to new situations that he'll be able to concentrate on training.

To start training your dog not to pull, first, recognize that lunging in reaction to something exciting, like Buster did, and constantly walking at the end of a taut leash are different problems. Some dogs do both, and owners may describe both as "pulling."

For a dog that lunges, try what trainers call "training an incompatible behavior." The idea is simple: "Instead of lunging at the bicyclist, you sit and get a treat," says trainer Victoria Stilwell of "It's Me or the Dog" on Animal Planet.

Make sure your dog can reliably sit for a treat at home. Then, start by having him sit for a treat on walks when nothing is happening to distract him.

Next, when you see an exciting dog or squirrel before he does, get him to sit and keep sitting as the distraction passes by. Most dogs catch onto this quickly, especially for a desirable treat.

If you don't react in time to get a sit before your dog lunges, it's best not to ask him to sit afterwards; it's easy to accidentally train the dog that lunging and then sitting is what gets him a reward. But do your best to prevent the lunge in the first place, because it's "self-reinforcing" — that is, it's so rewarding to the dog that it easily becomes a habit.

If your problem is a dog that's always dragging you down the street, try what behaviorist Emily Weiss calls the "red light" method: "When the dog hits the end of the leash, you stop. When the dog relaxes and there's slack in the leash, you start walking."

As Stilwell says, the basic idea is "teach the dog that it doesn't get to where it wants to go when pulling." And remember that you're not teaching him to heel at your side, which is different, and much harder. He can walk ahead of you, as long as the leash is loose.

Make sure to do this training when the dog is fairly well exercised, so he's worked off enough energy to concentrate — that's what your no-pull harness can help with.

With enough patience, your dog will catch on. "You're going to look silly when you're walking down the street, and it can take a while," says Weiss, "but your dog will eventually learn the connection."

No Such Thing as 'Seeing Eye Cats'
By MIKE REDDING / Carolina Traveler

(WARNING: I'm a dog lover. Cats bore me. I get that some people love cats. That's fine. I'm just not a cat person. Cat lovers please know my dog bias will surface from time to time in the following story.)

You never see a blind person walking through the mall with a seeing-eye-cat in a harness leading the way. The reason for that is cats aren't as smart as other animals, which can be trained to become a person's eyes. Cats are mostly useless. They make acceptable company and all. But they really are not utilitarian. You can't even play fetch with one.

Dogs, on the other hand, can do dozens of jobs. Helping the blind go from shut-ins to socially active has to be the most amazing. Think about that. A dog can change a person's life. And not just in the, "No matter how awful my life is when I come home he's always there wagging his tail and making me feel good!" way.

How a dog gets to the "guide" stage is an interesting story. A story of sacrifice and love. I'm sure you've seen them around -- young playful Golden Retrievers or Blonde Labradors at the end of a harness with that red or blue vest on their back stating, "Don't pet me. I'm in training." Or "I'm working." Or words to that effect. I can't tell you how many times I've simply refused to see those words and started playing with a guide dog. I'm just not right. I swear I'm not as smart as the guide dogs themselves. I'm probably closer to a cat when it comes to my usefulness.

Anyway, there are families out there called "puppy raiser families." They take a young pup into their home, love it, feed it, play with it, train it and then about 20 months to two years later have to part ways with this amazing dog. That would break my heart. And it breaks theirs, too. Each puppy raiser told me they cry the day they have to give up their dog. To a person, they added, how proud they are in that moment knowing all their love and attention will go to changing the life of a blind person.

Muffin is just such a dog. And Hope Klontz is just such a blind person.

"The first time I ever walked with Muffin I felt free," Hope told me, smiling ear to ear. "Muffin has really changed my life because I feel so much more independent. If I want to go somewhere I have Muffin. Muffin is my eyes."

Wow! I need to say that again, WOW! Just Wow!

Hope was matched with Muffin when she was 17. And here's the payoff: Hope immediately enrolled in college and four years later graduated from Wingate University and is looking to do social work professionally. What cat on earth can help a person get through college?

In case you're wondering, Southeastern Guide Dogs is always looking for "puppy raisers," among other things. Enjoy our story and then check out their website:

Ask the Vet's Pets: Dog Boots and Paw Pads Aid Traction
By Dr. Lee Pickett - Reading Eagle

Berks County, PA - Dear Daisy Dog: Our elderly dog, Leland, has arthritis, and his back feet slide out from under him on the kitchen's slick linoleum floor. Arthritis medicine helps, but we think rubber boots might give his paws added traction. Have you ever seen such things?

Daisy Responds: Yes, boots to help Leland maintain his footing on slippery floors are available from some pet supply stores and on the Internet.

Our favorite online site for such products is

When you visit there, click on Help Pets Walk and then on Pet Boots. You'll find several types of boots as well as a product called Paw Pads.

Paw Pads provide traction without interfering with normal movement. Made of a thin, textured, rubberized fabric, they attach to the dog's pads with a medical-grade adhesive that lasts up to three weeks.

To find similar products and other boot designs, search "dog paw pads" and "dog boots" through your Internet browser.


Dear Christopher Cat: We just adopted our first cat, Simba. What advice do you have for us?

Christopher Responds: Congratulations! To ensure that you are as happy with Simba as I know my humans are with me, follow these guidelines:

•Have your veterinarian neuter and microchip Simba. The microchip provides permanent identification, essential if Simba ever escapes from your home.

•Plan to visit your veterinarian once or twice each year for a physical examination, vaccinations and fecal and other lab testing. Regular veterinary visits help prevent problems and let you address small concerns before they escalate.

•Keep Simba inside your home, where it's safe, but be sure he gets adequate exercise. Environmental enrichment is important, too, so offer a kitty condo, toys and stable places to scratch and stretch. If Simba wants to spend time outside, install cat fencing to keep him safe.

•Feed Simba a balanced feline diet and keep him slim. Treats should comprise less than 5 percent of his diet. Cats' nutritional needs change through life, just as they do in humans, so ask your veterinarian for advice during Simba's wellness visits.

•Maintain good oral health by feeding dry food, preferably a dental diet, and forgoing canned food. If you and Simba are up to it, brush his teeth with pet toothpaste. Have professional dental work done when your veterinarian recommends it.

•Prevent attacks by internal and external parasites. Some feline parasites infect humans, too, so it's important to have your veterinarian test Simba's fecal sample at least once a year.

•Make an appointment with the vet if Simba develops any problems, including coughing, sneezing, vomiting, diarrhea or changes in energy, appetite, water consumption or litter box use.

•And don't forget to allow plenty of time for playing and cuddling.

•Ask the vet's pets appears Wednesday. The animal authors of the column live with veterinarian Lee Pickett, V.M.D. Write to them at P.O. Box 302, Bernville, PA 19506-0302, or visit

Military Pet Owners Can Set Good Example
by Sandy Britt - The Leaf Chronicle

I received a lot of supportive e-mails for a recent column I wrote about a military wife who wanted to get rid of two cats because her family was moving on post. The cats weren't altered, she didn't want to take them to the county shelter, and she was extremely rude when given advice she didn't like. She said she'd "leave them at the farm and cross her fingers."

The column focused on military members, a big part of the animal problem in the county because moving is a top reason given for relinquishing pets, and they move the most. But there also are scores of wonderful military pet owners like the Daleys, who always do the right thing.

Terri Daley wrote: "I told my husband when we got married (I had my two pugs, Loki and Cybil, since before we were dating) that if the Army put him on orders for somewhere that dogs were not permitted that I would see him when he returned. I was not leaving my dogs. I made a commitment to them when I got them, and I took it very seriously. My husband quickly fell in love with them, and he now feels the same way as I do about dogs."

It's not always smooth sailing when military families move pets, as the Daleys discovered when they were returning stateside from Germany.

"We were in the air on Sept. 11, 2001 ... our flight was turned back around to land in Ireland. It was chaos at the Dublin Airport. The dogs were sent out on the luggage belt and then had to be quarantined while we were in limbo, unsure when we could go home. It was four days until we could fly back to the U.S.," Terri said.

Loki and Cybil lived happy, long lives with the Daleys. Today, the family has two other dogs, Piper, a pug mix adopted from Second Chance and Happy Tails, and Leo, a pug adopted from the Montgomery County Animal Shelter. Terri says Leo and Piper will always go wherever the Army sends them.

Roxanne Birdsong, who posts on the Pet People blog, always felt the same way about her cat, Skeeter, who she and her husband Mark took along on every move. When Mark separated from the Air Force in Louisiana, they drove with Skeeter to Mark's parents' house in Virginia, where they lived until the Army offered Mark a job near Denver. With Skeeter in tow, they drove to Colorado, then Texas a year later. Roxanne and Mark lived in three different rental houses during their five years in Texas and never would consider housing that didn't allow pets. (Another excuse shelter workers hear when people want to give up pets). A stint in Germany followed.

"We never thought for one minute about leaving our baby Skeeter behind. He was our responsibility and had to go with us," she said.

Mark even negotiated with his boss to include Skeeter-related expenses as part of the relocation package he was offered for the job in Germany.

A few years later, Mark turned down a job in England because of the long pet quarantine period. I know several military families — with no choice in assignments — who pay this expense to move their pets.

"We had (Skeeter) for 16 years and made sure he was comfortable with every move and decision we made in our daily life. Isn't that what any good parent does?"

Yes, that's exactly what a good parent — and good person — would do. Anyone not willing to do those things should never get a pet, only to later abandon them, which ends up hurting the animal, the community and the shelter workers who struggle to fix the broken hearts of those left behind.

Sandy Britt is an animal-welfare advocate who lives in Clarksville with three dogs, two cats and one husband. Join other pet lovers on the Pet People blog at Contact her at

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