Pet News - Pet Advice - Pet Photos

Company Looks for Next Celebrity Dog or Cat
The Dog Channel

Dog and cat owners invited to participate in photo contest.

Cats and dogs have a chance to show off their star qualities in the second annual Most Valuable Pet Contest.

In BISSELL Homecare Inc.’s MVP photo contest, one pet gets to be featured on a Pet Hair Eraser vacuum package. Beginning Jan. 1 through March 27, 2009, pet owners can enter their most valued dog or cat by e-mailing a photo of their animal to

In addition to being featured on the Pet Hair Eraser vacuum packaging, the grand-prize winner receives the vacuum, along with a $10,000 donation to their favorite pet cause.

Throughout the contest, consumers can visit the company website to vote for their favorite pet photo. The winning pet will be chosen based on expression, overall appearance and condition of coat.

Brewster, a Bernese Mountain Dog from Anchorage, Alaska, was the grand-prize winner in 2008 and was featured nationally on the Pet Hair Eraser vacuum packaging. The company said that it received more than 62,000 entries and nearly 7 million page views of pet photos during the 2008 contest.

Removing Airborne Pet Hair - 5 Reasons to Use an Air Purifier to Remove Airborne Pet Hair
by Debbie Davis - Pill Free Vitamins

Removing airborne pet hair is probably one of the biggest issues that comes with having a pet as part of the family. Whether your pet is a dog, cat, bird, guinea pig or some other adorable creature, pet hair can cause a lot of headache. Of all the solutions you can try, here are 5 reasons to use an air purifier to remove airborne pet hair for good.

1. Saves Time--Using an air purifier whose motor is designed to run 24 hours means that airborne pet hair is never allowed to build up in your air. This means you'll spend less time cleaning up after your pets and more time enjoying them; and since the hair is removed from the air before it falls, there is less hair to send airborne from the furniture and floor as you move about the house doing normal activities.

2. Cleans Pollutants That You Can't See--Not only does an air purifier removes dog hair that may be visible, but a high efficiency particles arresting cleaner will remove airborne pollutants that you can't see such as pet dander, dust, sand, dirt that goes airborne after a romp in the yard, or the tiny pieces of kitty litter or wood chips that go airborne after your cat or guinea pig romp in their respective boxes.

3. Improves Your Health--Pet hair and dander are often triggers of allergy, and asthma-like symptoms such as sneezing, watery eyes, and worse still full blown asthma attacks. By constantly reducing the level of airborne particles that your pet creates-dust, pollen, feathers, dander, kitty litter, sawdust, you create a safe space where both your family and pets can co-exist happily.

4. Economical--In many cases filtering your air with a purifier costs no more to operate that a 60 watt light bulb, so operating the purifier costs minimally more in electricity each month and saves gas because you are not having to continually drive to get other products to deal with pet hair that may not provide a solution to the problem.

5. Safe to Use--If you're like me, you are continually on guard about everything that you introduce into your home because of the adverse effect it may have on your family and your pet-whether it's the food, toys, treats, cleaning solutions, lawn care products-anything and everything. A well-made air purifier provides only fresh, pollutant free air as a by-product, and is safe for pets and small children because pieces are less likely to be chewed, cause choking, or other injury.

Cat Dander Problems? - 5 Ways to Reduce Cat Dander
By Debbie Davis - Pill Free Vitamins

Cat dander (tiny flakes of dead skin) is constantly being shed by your cat. Dander is invisible to the human eye because it is so tiny-approximately 2.5 microns, with a micron being defined as 1 millionth of a meter. Cat dander is light-weight so it travels easily and once airborne becomes a trigger for those with dander related allergy and asthma. What a choice to have to make---keeping your cat or being able to breathe! But whether you are allergic or not, here are 5 ways to reduce cat dander so you and your cat can co-exist and live happily ever after.

1. Select a Short-Haired Cat--If you have not already adopted a cat, choose a short-haired cat as they tend to produce less dander. Burmese, American Shorthair, British Shorthair, and the Shorthair American Curl are all breeds with short hair. Even if you are already in love with a long-haired cat, keep the shorthair breeds in mind when adding to the family. Shorthaired cats should be bathed only once every six weeks to keep their skin from becoming too dry.

2. Groom Regularly--Give your cat a bath once a week with a shampoo that your veterinarian approves. Baths not only reduce dander, but remove excess hair. Brushing you cat outside daily will also improve the overall health of the skin, remove lose hair, and reduce dander. If you are sensitive to cat hair and dander, when brushing your cat try using a high efficiency particle arresting mask that can be bought from most hardware stores; and if it helps, use the mask when bathing your cat as well. If grooming your cat causes you too much discomfort, think about asking a friend to do it in exchange for a favor from you; pay a high school or college student to help, or even an assistant who works at your veterinarian's office who might want to make extra money. Before creating a grooming schedule, check with your veterinarian to make sure it is best for your particular cat.

3. Feed a Nutritious Diet--Feeding your cat a healthy diet specific to his needs as determined by your veterinarian will enhance your cat's skin, and coat, and allow your cat to more successfully fend off disease. In general, since cats are carnivores, they need a meat-based diet to stay healthy. Healthy skin and coat go a long way towards reducing cat dander and shedding.

4. Reduce Fabric-Covered Surfaces--This piece of advice can be used as an excuse to redecorate or it doesn't have to be. Overstuffed sofas and chairs, draperies, and carpet are all havens for cat dander. And once there, the dander is tricky to remove. As you replace furnishings in your home, think about replacing carpet with hardwood floors, drapes with shutters, shades or blinds, and overstuffed furniture with leather, wood, or rattan. These are all surfaces that are easier to wipe down, and you are more likely to be able to remove more of the cat dander.

5. Use a HEPA Air Purifier--A high efficiency particle arresting or HEPA air purifier is designed to remove airborne particles as small as .3 microns. Most cat dander is approximately 2.5 microns in size so this type of purifier will easily remove cat dander and hair. The advantage of a well built HEPA purifier is that it is designed to operate 24 hours and will constantly filter the air of the dander that your cat is constantly producing.

Homeopathy, Naturopathy, and Your Pet
by Carol Alexander, NY Pets Alternative Health Examiner

Many years ago while vacationing in Europe, I went to a pharmacy to buy something for a headache. While I was browsing the shelves, I noticed that many of the medication were homeopathics. Europeans are as likely to use these preparations as to pop antibiotics. Alternative medicine, however, is still controversial in the United States. There are people who are horrified at any departure from traditional medicine, considering homeopathy and naturopathy as species of dangerous quackery. Holistic treatments do not always provide a quick fix. Maybe that is why some are suspicious of their efficacy.

Yet, alternative medicine is a growing field throughout the world. More and more people are turning to holistic doctors for the human and animal members of their families. There are several reasons for this shift. As one alternative practitioner explains, high-tech surgery and super drugs can save lives in emergency situations. Conventional medicine may be less successful at maintaining bodily health over the long run because of side effects and treatment failure, not to mention the cynicism of pharmaceutical companies, which sometimes fiddle data to make products more marketable.

Alternative treatments tend to focus on improving the biological terrain so that it becomes stronger and more resistant to inflammation and infection. Homeopathy works by introducing into the body tiny amounts of substances that would produce symptoms of illness in a healthy organism. In the sick, these highly diluted medicines encourage the body to fight the illness. Naturopathy involves the use of foods, supplements, and herbs to maintain health and fight infection and other imbalances. Naturopathic treatments can be used on their own-- with professional supervision-- or as adjuncts to conventional medicine. I am a great believer in complementary medicine, on drawing on those treatment modalities that have demonstrated success.

If you look online you will most likely find several holistically-inclined vets in your area. You can also find some vets who offer phone consultations. If you choose to take this route, first have your pet examined by a local practitioner to make sure you’ve obtained an accurate diagnosis of the animal’s health issues. Then you can explore both conventional and alternative treatments. Always tell all the professionals involved in your pet’s treatment plan exactly what you are using – you don’t want to risk your animal’s health by doing too many therapies at once, as drug interactions are always possible, even when using herbs.

Remember, long before there were antibiotics and super drugs, people and animals had recourse to natural healing in the forms of diet, teas, poultices, and purges. Animals have always instinctively looked for ways to self-heal. When your cat eats grass and vomits to cleanse its system, this is a naturopathic treatment—and no one had to tell the animal what to do.

Pet Care's a SNAP
By Joe Tash - SignOnSanDiego
Clinic on wheels offers neuter, spay services for low-income owners
Foxie, a 7-year-old Pomeranian-Chihuahua mix, trembled in her owner's arms on a recent chilly morning in the parking lot of a Petco store in Chula Vista.

Whether the shivers were because of the cold or because the dog sensed that she was about to visit the veterinarian was unclear. But Foxie's owners, George Valenzuela and Corie Ferguson, were happy to bring their pet in for a spaying operation two years after rescuing her from the street.

“We've been wanting to do it for a long time, but it's expensive and we're tight on money,” Valenzuela said.

The couple were taking advantage of a service offered to low-income residents around the region by the nonprofit Spay Neuter Action Program, also known as SNAP, for the past five years. The 40-foot mobile clinic, dubbed the Neuter Scooter, travels throughout San Diego County to offer a dozen or more spay-neuter clinics each month.
Inside the converted diesel bus, steel cages of various sizes line one side of a corridor that runs the length of the vehicle. Across from the cages are stainless-steel tables and a sink where veterinary technicians prepare the animals for their operations. At the rear of the bus is the operating room.

During each clinic, a team of one veterinarian and three technicians spays or neuters about 30 dogs and cats, or 50 or more animals during special cat-only clinics.

“This is more like a MASH unit; you have to be quick on your feet,” Dr. Dorothy York said.

York, wearing scrubs, a surgical mask and latex gloves, stood before the operating table awaiting her next patient, a young male chow.

SNAP is “the single most important program helping to address the unwanted-pet population in San Diego,” said York, who recently retired as director of the Chula Vista Animal Care Facility.

According to county statistics, about 47,500 dogs and cats were brought to the region's animal shelters in the fiscal year that ended in June, a slight rise over the previous year's 45,000.

Dawn Danielson, director of the county Department of Animal Services, said the problem would be even worse without the efforts of SNAP.

“I think they've had a huge impact,” said Danielson, a member of the program's advisory board. “It's a great service. There's no doubt in my mind there would be a lot more unwanted animals coming into our three county shelters if it wasn't for SNAP.”

The Spay Neuter Action Program was formed in 1991 as an advocacy group by Candace Schumann, a La Jolla resident who serves as the group's volunteer executive director. Schumann, a former Child Protective Services worker with the county, became an advocate for animal rights after rescuing a dog from traffic near her son's elementary school. Later, she volunteered at county animal shelters before launching SNAP.

The group began offering low-cost spaying and neutering services from its mobile clinic in 2003. Since then, about 15,000 animals have been “fixed,” Schumann said.
SNAP has an annual budget of about $300,000, which comes from donations and grants. The group has two full-time employees and is overseen by a volunteer board of directors. Medical staffers, schedulers and a driver are paid on a contract basis. Community volunteers also help run the group's programs, which include information sessions at local schools.

SNAP's Web site lists income eligibility limits for those who want to bring their pets in for spaying or neutering. The top income for a family of four is $43,200. The cost of the service is $20 for cats and $30 for dogs, and the price covers the surgery, pain medication, a nail trim, a dose of flea-control medication and a rabies shot for dogs. Depending on where the pet owner lives, a one-year dog license also could be provided.

San Diego County veterinary clinics quoted fees of $200 to $500 for canine spaying surgery and related services during a random survey. Those who don't meet SNAP's income requirements are given a list of clinics offering reduced spaying/neutering fees or provided a county voucher for a $75 rebate for the cost of pet alteration.
The program's popularity has stretched its resources to the limit: Those who call for an appointment must wait 1½ months or longer, Schumann said.

To help handle the demand, SNAP has bought a second mobile clinic, which it plans to have on the road early this year. The group is also in discussions with Price Charities for a storefront in City Heights, where it hopes to start a stationary clinic.

Schumann, who said she logs 70 to 80 hours per week running and organizing the clinics and handling administrative duties, helps with tasks ranging from checking in pets for surgery to taking calls on a special emergency cell phone from the owners of postoperative animals.

“A lot of it's just reassuring people, but we're glad to get the calls,” Schumann said.

At a recent clinic, she even jumped into her SUV to chase after a man who snatched a jar containing the morning's receipts – about $350 in cash and checks.
As Schumann drove through several shopping centers in an unsuccessful effort to recover the money, her cheery demeanor momentarily gave way to melancholy.
“It just makes everything harder,” she said. “The worst part of it is the disappointment in humans that it happens.”
Her good spirits quickly returned, and she said, “I just have to keep going forward.”

Joe Tash is a freelance writer in Oceanside.

This New Year, Set Your Pet Straight
By Susan Thurston, Tampa Bay Times Staff Writer

A local animal shelter wants those common people resolutions to also become your pet's resolutions.

The SPCA Tampa Bay says exercising together is a good way for man and his best friend to shed unwanted holiday pounds. For the dog that doesn't walk well on a leash, an obedience class can help.

The new year is a great time to get started, said Marissa Segundo, public relations manager for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Tampa Bay in Largo. "People are going to the gym. They get motivated and they want to do something for themselves and their pets.''

Like in humans, pet obesity can contribute to various health problems, including diabetes, kidney failure and degenerative hip disease in dogs. If left unchecked, it can shorten a pet's lifespan.

For dogs, the SPCA Tampa Bay has two-hour and six-week obedience classes to help owners better understand and communicate with their four-legged friends. For cats, the shelter offers a two-hour cat talk and cat care class, which covers nutrition and playtime. It also has a behavioral hotline at (727) 586-3591, ext. 133.

Classes strengthen the bond between owner and pet and help pets stay in homes. About 70 percent of animals returned to shelters are sent back because of behavioral problems, Segundo said.

Mary Birrell, a dog behavioral therapist for Bark Busters in the Tampa Bay area, said January and February are typically busy months for trainers. People got puppies for Christmas and now need help training them.

Birrell works with dogs wherever they may need assistance, such as a dog park where a pet might act like a bully. Common problems include ignoring commands, jumping on guests and tugging on the leash.

Some issues are resolved in one visit; others take several. For $500 to $700, Bark Busters offers a lifetime support training package for problems that arise throughout a dog's life.

"A lot of times, it's not the dogs that are digressing,'' Birrell said. It's the humans."

Taking Pets for a Ride
BY MIKE HANLEY Tribune Media Services

Traveling with your pet is as American as owning one.

According to IBISWorld, 71.1 million U.S. households own a pet, mostly cats and dogs. Compared to a parrot or piranha, it's relatively easy to take a cat or dog for a car ride, but there are a few steps you can take to make the trip safer for your pet and easier on you.

Securing your pet

Just as it's necessary to make sure passengers are buckled up when riding in a car, it's important to make sure your pets are secure when you take them on a trip.

"The No. 1 thing you have to do when you transport your pet is have them restrained," said Lisa Peterson, spokeswoman for the American Kennel Club. There are different ways to do this, including a pet crate, a dog harness connected to a seat belt or a divider to keep your pet in the cargo area of a wagon or SUV.

"You don't want to let an animal roam loose in the car," said Kelly Connolly, an issues specialist with the Humane Society.

Even if your dog is secured by a harness, make sure his head remains inside the car, Connolly said; if it's hanging out the window, his eyes and head are at risk of being injured by debris. It's also inadvisable to leave your dog wandering loose in the bed of a pickup truck, Peterson warns.

However you secure your pets, always take them with you when you park. Do not leave them in the car.

Keeping it clean

Besides protecting a pet when traveling in a car, a pet crate can help keep messes from spreading around the interior of your car, Peterson said. If you use a harness instead of a crate to transport your pet, covering the seats with something that can be easily removed and washed, like an old blanket, is a good idea, Connolly said.

Luxury options also can appeal to pet owners concerned with keeping their interiors clean.

"Leather seats are obviously much better" than cloth ones, Peterson said. Leather's smooth surfaces make it easier to remove fur and hair, as well as less, shall we say, appealing substances.

Yes, pets get carsick, too. One way to deal with the problem: Take increasingly longer trips with your pet to make them more comfortable, Peterson said.

Where your pet sits in the car can also play a role

"The closer your dog is to the front of the vehicle, the less motion there is, [making it] less likely to get carsick," she said. Your pet's veterinarian also may be able to provide medication to make traveling easier, Connolly said.

TV Show Features Ike Pet
By Leigh Jones - The Daily News

Rescue teams from the Houston Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals arrived in Galveston after Hurricane Ike almost as soon as the National Guard and the Red Cross.

The emergency response teams saved hundreds of cats, dogs and other pets abandoned when their owners evacuated before the storm made landfall on Sept. 13.

On Monday, the cable television show “Animal Cops: Houston” will feature their story.

Teams from Houston, Los Angeles and other cities spent about two weeks in Galveston after Ike combing neighborhoods looking for abandoned animals.

Many people left their pets behind with enough food and water for a few days. But when the mandatory evacuation dragged on for 11 days, they called the Galveston Police Department asking for someone to rescue their animals.

Some of the more than 800 animals saved had to be pulled from locked homes through broken windows.

Almost all of them were taken to Houston shelters, where they were either reunited with their owners or adopted by new families.

The Galveston Island Humane Society still partners with the Houston SPCA, which helps relieve overcrowding in the island’s temporary shelter facility by taking adoptable animals to shelters in Houston.

Your Dressed-Up Pet Photos - Part VI
The Boston Globe

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