Pet Advice - Pet News - Pet Photos

Dog's Destructive Chewing May be Separation Anxiety
By Steve Dale - Tribune Media Services

Answers to pet questions about problem chewing, feline AIDS and mast cell tumors.

Q: Our 16-month-old Miniature Dachshund is housebroken — if we keep her in her kennel. Left to roam free, she'll chew on the bottoms of doors or on woodwork when we're gone. But caging her bothers us. She never chews on things she shouldn't when we're home. Can you help us to correct the problem?

— K.S., Peoria, IL

A: Either your pup just hasn't earned her independence yet — not knowing how to deal with boredom in your absence — or she suffers from separation anxiety. The next time you depart, try leaving her a sterilized bone or Kong toy stuffed with treats that are a challenge to remove, so she'll really have to work at it.

"As long as there's space to stand up, comfortably lie down and to turn around, leaving the dog for a reasonable period of time inside a crate is not inherently cruel," says Dr. Barbara Sherman, associate professor at North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Raleigh.

Sherman, also president of the Diplomates of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, suggests you videotape your pup while she's in the crate. You might be surprised to learn that she's vocalizing and/or pacing, indeed mourning her separation from you. The good news is, separation anxiety is treatable with a behavior modification program and sometimes, psycho-pharmaceutical drugs.

Q: In December, we discovered a suspicious cyst on our Miniature Schnauzer, which our veterinarian called mast cell cancer. We were all ready to have the surgery when the tumor pretty much disappeared, going down significantly in size. It shrank from ping-pong-ball size to less than the size of a quarter. How could this be? Maybe switching diets or another option now makes more sense than surgery. Any recommendations?

— T.Z., Cyberspace

A: The appearing-and- disappearing act you describe is the peculiar nature of some mast cell tumors. "As a result of granules associated with the tumors which act on inflammation, they may wax and wane in size," says San Diego, CA-based veterinary oncologist Dr. Blaise Burke. "Mast cell cancer is almost always a surgical disease. Depending on the grade of the tumor, the margins accomplished during surgery and the overall health of the dog, chemotherapy and/or radiation may or may not be advised following surgery. The good news is that often with successful surgery, a solitary mast cell can be removed without additional treatment, and the animal may never have another problem associated with this type of cancer. However, there's no data to show that changing the dog's diet will matter."

Q: We're thinking of adopting a feline AIDS-positive cat. Should we be worried? This cat would replace Chuckles, who passed away at 19 last year. We have no other cats and no children. The animal shelter isn't sure of the cat's age, probably around 5 or 6. Should we take in this cat?

— P. A., Jackson, MI

A: Related distantly to the humane AIDS virus, feline AIDS, or the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is not transmittable to people. The virus is generally passed from cat to cat via bite wounds. Feline veterinarian Dr. Lori Coughlin, of Oak Park, IL, says "FIV cats may be more susceptible to infection so proactive veterinary care is important." Since cats typically hide illness, it's especially important to learn about the subtle signs of illness in cats; check out www.healthycatsforlife.org.

"When their owners seek regular veterinary care, FIV cats generally do very well," says Coughlin, who has two FIV-positive cats herself. "In fact, many FIV cats live well into their teens, and ultimately die of kidney disease or another condition not related to FIV."

The only real concern is adopting an FIV cat into a home where there are other cats who don't have FIV. That's why testing any stray cats is important before integrating them into the home. Of course, any FIV-positive cat should stay indoors. I'm sorry for your loss last year, but congratulations on your new addition!

Q: Our cat is apparently a hockey fan — pushing anything small enough around on our wood floors. She's 9 months old and never seems to stop playing. Sometimes, out of breath, she finally stops. Can a kitten play too much?

— S.J., St. Paul, MN

A: Your kitten sounds perfectly normal, albeit active. It's likely she gets out of breath just as any young child might after running around the house. However, shortness of breath and wheezing are potential signs of heart disease. While this is unlikely to be a problem in such a young cat, tell your veterinarian what's going on. (All cats and dogs should see a veterinarian at least twice a year for life.)

Generally, even active kittens play only in spurts. While some dogs can play fetch forever, cats more easily become winded and likely bored. If you have a rare marathon cat, good luck, and try to enjoy her fun-loving nature by creating new games for her to play. Your cat sounds like a wonderful prospect for clicker training — teaching her "tricks" to impress your friends and relatives.

Steve Dale welcomes questions/comments from readers. Although he can't answer all of them individually, he'll answer those of general interest in his column. Write to Steve at Tribune Media Services, 2225 Kenmore Ave., Suite 114, Buffalo, NY 14207. Send e-mail to petworld@steve dale.tv

Unlike Marley, Most Labs are Easily Trainable
By Brian J. Lowney - South Coast Today

If you aren't familiar with Labrador retrievers, don't judge them by the unruly behavior of Marley from "Marley and Me."


Most experts agree that the Lab is one of the most easily trained and versatile breeds in the dog world.

"Actually, with three small kids, my wife and I haven't been to the movies in ages, so I haven't seen the movie or read the book," says Jake Smith, editor of Just Labs magazine in an e-mail interview. The magazine, published in Traverse City, Mich., is one of the most widely read, breed-specific magazines in the country.

"From what I have heard and read about it, I would say that Marley is not representative of the Labrador breed as a whole, though there certainly have been other Labs like him, and some worse."

John Grogan's best-selling memoir, upon which the hit movie was based, recounts life with the yellow Lab named Marley, who got kicked out of obedience school and resisted any kind of training, but was a devoted and loving pet.

According to Mr. Smith, Labradors are extremely intelligent animals.

"It's really not that hard to train a Lab to perform basic obedience and be an all-around good citizen who can follow the rules you set forth in your house for acceptable behavior," Mr. Smith says. "It just takes commitment — both to teach the dog and also to take the leadership responsibility in the family, instead of leaving the dog confused about who's in charge. And you can do that and not be demanding about it, either."

According to Mr. Smith, the Labrador retriever has been the nation's most popular breed for almost two decades, according to American Kennel Club breed registrations.

"I think there has been some indiscriminate breeding for some time, as people have tried to capitalize on the Lab's popularity and turn a fast buck," Mr. Smith says. "That's why we're always encouraging people to do serious research if they intend to get a puppy, checking for proper health clearances, and that the dog has been bred for the types of things that the owner wants to do, such as hunting, agility, obedience or companion."

Mr. Smith advises prospective owners "who don't want to go the breeder route" to contact a breed rescue group and "give a second chance" to a retriever needing a good home.

"I've heard so many wonderful stories about rescued Labs, many of whom go on to lead active lives in service roles such as search-and-rescue dogs and drug-detection canines. People may not realize that adult Labs are just as much in need of homes as puppies when it comes to investigating rescue groups."

Mr. Smith emphasizes that Labs, like all dogs, need to be trained and socialized.

"Whether it's a puppy you bought from a breeder or adopted from a rescue, or even if it's an adult from a rescue — training is the key," he stresses. "Give the dog a chance to learn, and be consistent in your training. Follow a program and spend the 10 minutes a day, every day, that it'll take to develop a good canine citizen. You really owe it to the dog, and your bond will be all the stronger."

Longtime dog fancier Polly Ryan says that Labrador retrievers are always trying to win their master's approval. The Swansea resident owned more than a dozen Labs before turning her attention to Sussex spaniels several years ago when she moved to a smaller home.

"Labradors are forever trying to please you," she says. "Their tails are harmless weapons; they are forever wagging."

Her dogs were generally well behaved and she firmly believes all dogs should be trained, recommending that young dogs attend puppy kindergarten classes.

"When you train Labs, they learn easily," she says. "They're smart dogs. Just look at the number of Labs and golden retrievers that have earned obedience degrees."

Mrs. Ryan notes that most of her dogs earned AKC Canine Good Citizen titles, and two became champions in the show ring. "My dogs were like rugs," she says, smiling. "If you walked into my house, you'd see black and yellow rugs on the floor."

According to the Labrador retriever breed standard, the three acceptable colors are yellow, black and chocolate.

"I just think that Labs are fun and lovable dogs," she concludes. "They are great companions."

Swansea resident Brian J. Lowney has been writing about pets for more than a decade. He is a past president of the Wampanoag Kennel Club, an active dog show judge and shares his home with two shelter-adopted cats. All of Brian's columns are available online in our new pet section. Visit http://pets.SouthCoastToday.com

Your Pet Likes to Feel Cozy, Too
LANIE WAGENBERG • Visalia Times-Delta

It's darn cold out at night, and snuggling up under a warm blanket really feels great. A good bed provides us with insulation, support for our backs and joints, warmth and a feeling of security.

The right pet bed can provide your companion animal with these benefits. And that's especially important considering the average dog sleeps 10-14 hours daily while cats snooze 12-18 hours.

A number of us have furry friends who think our beds are their beds, too. Whether that's OK with you or not, many dogs and cats really enjoy having a bed all their own. Pet beds come in many styles and sizes including pillows, mats or pads, cuddlers and bolsters. Consider the type that is right for your dog based on size, age, personality and other needs.

Pillows are basically just big cushions and often contain fluffy polyfil. Mats are usually foam-constructed, which feels good and provides solid support. Smaller dogs and cats love to curl up in cuddlers, which have high-sides that provide reassuring support all around. Bolster beds are ideal for a big dog or any dog who enjoys stretching out with his or her head cradled on an armrest or pillow.

Older, arthritic pets can benefit from egg crate foam pads that can be placed inside beds with removable, washable covers (which all practical beds should have). There are even special insertable heating pads and heated blankets available.

Cats need a quiet, safe place to retreat, away from the hustle and bustle. Some prefer cup-shaped beds in which to curl up, while others are content with a basket or plastic container that has a cozy blanket or pillow.

If your dog lives outdoors and you can't bring him or her inside for some reason, be sure to provide shelter and protection from the elements with an insulated dog house that includes blankets and a nice, warm bed.

Style, construction and filling determine the quality of dog and cat beds, which range from $10 to $200. Most pet supply stores welcome dogs, so your pooch can accompany you to help decide what size and shape would be best or actually pick the one they want! If you prefer shopping online, there are myriad Web sites to check out.

With so many to choose from, you'll find a bed that's affordable and most importantly, one that your pet will love and be grateful for.


Lanie Wagenberg is outreach coordinator for the Valley Oak SPCA. Her column appears twice a month in Living.

Never Bend to Feed Your Pet Again: an Exciting New Locally-Made Product!
by Laura Kepner, Tampa Pet Services Examiner

If you or someone you know has difficulty bending to pick up dog or cat bowls, the Lazy Bones Pet Dish Lifter makes filling water and food bowls quick and easy.

This fantastic new product for pet owners happens to be made by locals, in Tarpon Springs.

When a stray cat showed up at Henry Batman’s mother’s house, his wife Carlene told him that she wished there was an easier way to lift the food bowl. Even though Carlene wanted to help the stray, she had injured her back, so bending was difficult.

Their business idea was instantly formed. Now, Henry’s mother carries the Lazy Bones Pet Dish Lifter on her walker, making feeding her cat an easy task.

The Lifter comes in a variety of shapes and colors with a long-lasting steel construction. The base sits on four rubber bumpers and has a black mini-texture powder-coated finish to blend with almost any d├ęcor. To see the products and prices, visit their website, www.thelazybones.info.


Save 5% on Pet Supplies Orders Over $75


Advice: How to Treat Inflammatory Bowel Disease
By Dr. Michael Fox - UNITED FEATURE SYNDICATE, INC.

DEAR DR. FOX: I have a 5-year-old Yorkie/Maltese. She was recently diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease. She is on a strict venison diet, and gets half of an Imodium daily and 2.5 mg of prednisone every other day. She also drinks distilled water. I tried taking her off the prednisone, but the urgency to defecate and mucus in the stool returned. I've come to believe that long-term prednisone is potentially harmful.

Do you have any other suggestions for controlling this chronic disease? -- K.B., Arlington, Va.

DEAR K.B.: Inflammatory bowel disease in both dogs and cats seems to be more prevalent than ever. I suspect that genetically manufactured (GM) corn and soybean in pet foods that contain lectins and other foreign proteins may be a contributing factor. Laboratory tests on animals fed GM foods develop similar symptoms. Soy, corn and wheat gluten are a major concern; cats and dogs, just like many people, develop gluten sensitivity and a host of associated health problems.

I would put your dog on a homemade diet or find organically certified dog food. Up to a tablespoon daily of aloe gel orally (by using a syringe if he fights the spoon) can help soothe the bowels. A strong tea of chamomile and peppermint may also help. Get your veterinarian to back off the prednisone and explore safer alternatives like turmeric, fish oil, glutamine and lecithin supplements that help heal the gut.

DEAR DR. FOX: We have a 3-year-old Ragdoll cat, Gus, who is an extremely fussy eater. When we first got him, we fed him soft food and bit of dry/hard as a supplement. When so many cat foods were recalled, I tried making his food, but he wouldn't eat it.

His teeth are not healthy. Not long ago, our veterinarian had to pull four teeth and prescribed a special diet of dry food by Science Diet formulated for cats with bad teeth. Knowing what we know about nutrition for cats, we were uncomfortable feeding him only dry food, so we introduced him to Spot's Stew, and he is wild about it. We feed him the stew once in the morning and once in the afternoon. We do not give him the recommended amount for his size, but we do give him the prescribed dry food as a supplement. On average, he eats about a 1/4 cup of the prescribed food daily.

How can we to help him maintain the health of his teeth? We've tried many methods for brushing his teeth, but none have proven successful. -- R.G., Woodstock, Md.

DEAR R.G.: Dental problems are common in cats and can be linked with other health problems, including diabetes mellitus and underlying chronic viral infection.

I don't see how a hard/dry food can benefit a cat with bad teeth, gum disease and recent tooth extractions. High cereal content in the dry food could bring on diabetes, obesity and liver disease.

Add a few drops of cod-liver oil -- it has anti-inflammatory effects and will help the gums -- to his food. Try getting your cat used to having his teeth rubbed with a piece of gauze that has been dipped in a mixture of baking soda, salt and a few drops of oil of cloves or thyme and propolis (available in many health stores). A piece of raw chicken wing tip or thin strip of beef shank bone meat will also help clean his teeth.

To order Dr. Michael W. Fox's newsletter, Animal Doctor, on providing the best care for your animal companion, send a check or money order for $2 and a long, self-addressed, stamped envelope to Newsletter, P.O. Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092. Send your questions to Dr. Fox in care of this newspaper. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns.



Internet Scam Promises Pets, But Fails to Deliver
GoodNewsforPets.com

Schaumburg, Ill. — The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is warning potential pet owners not to fall for Internet scams that bilk victims of hundreds of dollars and fail to deliver the animals they promise.

Dr. Walter Woolf, owner of Air Animal Pet Movers, a pet moving service, has researched these scams after his company began being mentioned in recent postings by Cameroon-based scammers promising pets at below-market prices.

The scammers post on popular Internet market sites offering the pets to buyers who wire money to Cameroon or a money-drop in the U.K. Air Animal Pet Movers and other animal transport companies in the United States are listed as carriers in the postings, Dr. Woolf says, to add a layer of legitimacy, even though they are not actually involved.

After sending the initial amount to the scammers, pet owners are then asked for follow-up sums for insurance costs, unexpected veterinary services, permits, or transportation costs, Dr. Woolf says. This continues until the victims realize they have been scammed and stop sending money, and no pets are ever delivered.

Dr. Gail Golab, director of the AVMA Animal Welfare Division, says that potential pet buyers should know who they are purchasing their pets from and should meet with the breeder directly before finalizing a purchase; this allows the buyer to see the conditions under which the pet has been bred and raised.

"Many reputable breeders, who are concerned about making sure the pet receives a suitable home, will not sell animals unless they are able to meet and interview their potential owner or owners," Dr. Golab says. "If extenuating circumstances prevent you from meeting with a breeder face-to-face, you should check references and credentials first, and never send money without speaking to the breeder."

If you believe you have been the victim of a scam, you should contact local authorities and file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org).

In the end, Dr. Woolf says that the best advice to remember is the old adage, "If it's too good to be true, it probably is."

For more information, contact Michael San Filippo, AVMA media relations assistant, at 847-285-6687 (office), 847-732-6194 (cell), or msanfilippo@avma.org.

The AVMA and its more than 76,000 member veterinarians are engaged in a wide variety of activities dedicated to advancing the science and art of animal, human and public health. Visit the AVMA Web site at www.avma.org for more information.

Contact:
Michael San Filippo
Phone: 847-285-6687
Cell: 847-732-6194
msanfilippo@avma.org

Cancer in Cats and Alternative Treatments
By Janet Markowitz - DogsandCats.com

It is hard for cat owners to see their friend suffer from any disease, and the side effects of the medications for treatment. A campaign for awareness of side effects of chemotherapy and radiation is currently being conducted.

As with any disease, cancer has a cause, even though medical science does not know what that cause is. Suspected causes are environmental, vaccine related and diet is concerns for cancer in cats. Certain drugs for autoimmune diseases in cats are even seen to partially be to blame, as they are metabolized in the liver into cancer causing agents.

There are 3 conventional treatments available for cancer in cats. These include chemotherapy as well as radiation and surgery. The chemo and radiation are seen to most as a type of poison that has far reaching side effects. Surgery may not be an option for every case, as cancer is not always detected in time. Once it is diagnosed, it is normally too late to use surgery as an option for treatment.

Natural approaches and alternative medicine says that conventional drugs only treat symptoms and do nothing to aid the cause of the cancer, which is generally a weakened immune system. These holistic approaches say that the healing must come from within, and so they treat the animal completely, and not the cancer alone. Alternative remedies help internal healing and stimulate the self-healing while recharging the cat.

900 cats took part in a 10 year study with a natural diet for health and production of healthy offspring. One set of cats took in only milk and raw meats, while another set was given only cooked food. The set that took in cooked food developed allergies and many other health problems while the next generation was not able to reproduce. If giving only cooked food makes this wild a change in cat health, there is no telling what commercial diets with added stimulants and preservatives will show.

The number one killer of pets is now cancer. The need to understand the internal and environmental agents that cause cancer continues. It makes sense that corrective measures and preventatives should be taken so that the environment favorable to the carcinogens is not able to survive long.

Homeopathic or herbal cancer treatments for dogs and cats as well as other alternative medicines take a holistic or natural approach, and insist on natural diets. The idea behind this is all species have average body conditions that need a certain diet so it is best suited to health. Their vulnerability to disease is aided by feeding them what is easier and more convenient for us.

Janet Markowitz has been a German Shepherd Breeder for over 20 years. She has always been interested in using natural and holistic remedies for her Shepherds whenever possible. She has found that by using natural Remedies in conjunction with conventional medicine, she has achieved great success in the health and longevity in her dogs.

http://www.PetsNaturalChoyce.com/ccaps.htm

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Janet_Markowitz

Randa

P.S. Don’t forget to visit us at dogsandcats



Things to Consider When Hiring a Pet-Sitting Service
by Susan St. Pierre, Phoenix Pet Services Examiner

You have a trip to take and have decided that a pet-sitting service sounds like a good idea for your pets. The following are some steps recommended by the Humane Society that you should take before hiring a pet-sitter.

Interview the candidates over the phone or at your home. Find out the following:

* Can the pet sitter provide written proof that she has commercial liability insurance (to cover accidents and negligence) and is bonded (to protect against theft by a pet sitter or her employees)?

* What training has the pet sitter completed?

* Will the pet sitter record notes about your pet—such as his likes, dislikes, fears, habits, medical conditions, medications, and routines?

* Is the pet sitter associated with a veterinarian who can provide emergency services?

* What will happen if the pet sitter experiences car trouble or becomes ill? Does she have a backup?

* Will the pet sitter provide related services such as in-home grooming, dog walking, dog training and play time?

* Will the pet sitter provide a written service contract spelling out services and fees?

* If the pet sitter provides live-in services, what are the specific times she agrees to be with your pet? Is this detailed in the contract?

* How does your pet sitter make sure that you have returned home?

* Will the pet sitter provide you with the phone numbers of other clients who have agreed to serve as references?

Make sure the prospective pet-sitter comes to your home prior using the service. Does your pet seem comfortable? Do they get along? It's a good idea to use the pet-sitter for a shorter, say, weekend excursion first. That way, you can make sure all goes smoothly and make any changes that might present an issue on a longer trip.

Pet Food Costs on the Rise
By Carol Fletcher, The Record

HACKENSACK, N.J. — Hill's Science Diet, a popular brand of dog and cat food, won't be on the shelves much longer at Allwood Pet Center in Clifton, N.J. Store owner Lydia Grossman said she plans to stop selling the food because Hill's has raised its price “a few times” over the year and a 7.4 percent jump was scheduled Jan. 1. Nutro, a dog-food brand, boosted its price 26 percent in three phases since fall 2007 while the company reduced bag sizes. The price increases have come more often and in larger amounts than previous years, store owners say.

“I'm making less to absorb some of the increase,” Grossman said. “I cannot keep raising it [price] the way they raise me.” Sales for her store and grooming business combined are down 20 percent since last year, she said, and the food-price surges have forced profit down to 20 percent or 25 percent from about 40 percent.

Gregg DePhillips, director of operations for J-B Wholesale Pet Supplies Inc. in Hackensack, Hawthorne and Oakland, N.J., said manufacturers used to raise prices only 5 percent to 7 percent once a year or every 18 months. “I've been in industry for 25 years and I don't remember this happening like this before,” he said.

Surging pet-food expenses are pinching the profit margins of pet-store owners and many say the cost increases and the declining economy are driving customers to cheaper supermarket or price club brands. With Americans expected to spend $16.9 billion on pet food this year, it is the biggest slice of the pet-products industry, estimated to be $43.4 billion in 2008 by the American Pet Products Association Inc. in Greenwich, Conn.

Pet-food makers point to rising costs of energy, ingredients, packaging and transportation. Corn, a main ingredient in many dog foods, climbed to a record $7.99 a bushel on June 27, abetted by the push to use corn-based ethanol in gasoline. Oil prices surged to more than $147 a barrel in July, driving up transportation costs.

“If our input costs increase, sometimes there's a need to increase prices of our products,” said Keith Schopp, a spokesman for Nestle Purina PetCare in St. Louis. Other manufacturers either declined comment or didn't return calls for comment.

Industry experts and analysts have cited the pet-products industry as one of the few to be insulated from economic troubles. “Even during these tough economic times, pet food is no longer considered a discretionary purchase, because pets are considered members of the family,” said Kurt Gallagher, communications director for the Pet Food Institute, a Washington D.C.-based association representing companies that manufacture in the U.S.

But many small pet store owners think the economic slump has finally caught up with pet owners and that they are shifting to the cheaper supermarket and price club brands.

They could be right. Earlier this year Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in Bentonville, Ark., said it would invest in its pets segment, a leading category, by increasing the visibility of the products.

At discount retailer Target Corp., dog and cat food sales have been up in the past 12 months and “are performing above our projections and exceeding expectations,” said spokesman Joshua Thomas.

Montvale, N.J.-based supermarket chain The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Co. said dog and cat foods are getting more space and the chain is focusing efforts on pricier natural and organic dog and cat pet food because of customer demand.

Bergenfield, N.J., Pet Center owner Mitch Markowitz thinks higher prices and the economic slowdown are why his regular customer traffic has stopped recently. Until this fall, customers swallowed food-price increases all year because of brand loyalty. But sales have tumbled 50 percent and food profits are down 5 percent to 10 percent. “I eat it [the price increases] when I can and when I have to, I increase,” Markowitz said.

Pet-store prices are higher than most brands sold in supermarkets and price clubs — $10 or more depending on the brands — because they sell “super-premium” dog and cat foods, where meat is the largest ingredient.

As if rising food prices aren't enough, owners are paying more in fuel surcharges on deliveries. Markowitz said he now pays $3 and $6 more per delivery, depending on the distributor.

Janet Kaine, owner of Oak Ridge Pet Food and Supply in Newfoundland, N.J., said the higher prices drove some customers away so she offers specials and gives away sample food of customers' pets' brand to lure them back. She's trying to keep her profit margins the same, but it's difficult, she said. “I can't make money if people stop coming in because things are too expensive,” she said.

Store owners say they sell food to attract pet owners to toys, accessories and other pet supplies, but store owner Susan Boudrot said customers are cutting back on treats and toys at Westwood Pets Unlimited in Westwood, N.J. “They do take it personally,” she said. “We're trying to not go any higher than we absolutely must.” But prices of super-premium dog foods have risen twice in six months and even the price of rabbit food has gone up, she said. Profit margins are down 5 percent to 8 percent, she said, so she can stay competitive with the price clubs. She doesn't see customers shifting to lower quality foods.

The outlook is not so bleak at The Wayne Pet Place in Wayne, N.J., where owner Sal DeMenna said he is selling more food and has lifted stock minimums despite a $10 price increase on larger bags. He attributes that to customers shifting to higher quality foods after the 2007 pet food recall and the closing of three other pet stores.

But in Clifton, N.J., Grossman is considering consolidating her two storefronts into one because sales have declined over the years. “Pets are a luxury, and they're not going to go the extra mile for their pets,” she said.

Click here to visit The EZ Online Shopping Network of Stores

No comments: