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Resolve to Get Pets in Better Shape
by Deb Wood, Special to The Oregonian

Carol Helfer is a friendly, athletic sports medicine specialist who works with clients to develop their cardiovascular health, strength and flexibility. What makes her different is that she motivates her clients by holding a doggie cookie in front of their noses -- or maybe playing fetch.

Helfer is a veterinarian, and she practices her brand of sports medicine and physical rehabilitation at Canine Peak Performance in Raleigh Hills (

Losing weight and getting back into shape may be your New Year's resolution. Helfer says it should also be your dog's -- and even your cat's. Here's her advice on getting your pet healthy and fit in the new year.
Weighty matters: About 40 percent of dogs and 25 percent of cats are overweight. Make no mistake -- this excess weight is dangerous. A study by Purina showed that dogs that were kept slim lived an average of two years longer than dogs that ate whatever they wanted.

"A lot of us suspected that weight made a big difference in a dog's health; this study proved it," says Helfer.

Overweight dogs are also more likely to have arthritis, heart disease and diabetes than their slimmer counterparts.

Cats are hurt by extra pounds, too. Overweight cats are more than four times more likely to develop diabetes than slender kitties. They also have higher rates of arthritis, muscle injuries and skin problems. Obese cats are twice as likely to die in middle age than normal-weight cats.

While reducing portions and eating high-quality food is important, weight control for pets, like people, is easiest when it's accompanied by exercise.

"There haven't been a lot of specific studies, but we know it's true in mice and humans. It's not a stretch to say it's true in dogs and cats," says Helfer.

A word to the wise: Of course, talk with your veterinarian before starting any exercise routine, especially if your pet is older or overweight.

Even if your pet is young and slender, look to see if he's telling you that he hurts when he exercises. Cats usually just won't play if they aren't comfortable. Because dogs try to please us, it can be harder to tell if your dog is in pain.

If your dog balks or lags behind you, that may mean he's hurt. If he moves with short, choppy strides or holds his head low, that could be a sign of hip or back problems. If your dog turns away rather than joining you, that can be a sign, too.

"Having the dog not want to be with you is a perfect example of when to see the vet," Helfer says. "It can be a sign that the dog is in pain. It could be anything from a joint problem to a heart problem, or even dental disease, that makes the dog feel rotten."

Exercises for dogs: Step one for most dogs is cardiovascular -- going for a walk.

A leisurely stroll doesn't cut it. If most of your dog's time is spent sniffing the bushes, the walk isn't doing her heart a lot of good.

Start with about 5 minutes of slow walking, then pick up the pace. Most dogs should be moving at a trot to get maximum benefit.

Helfer says a reasonable guideline for most healthy dogs is a brisk walk of at least 20 minutes three times a week. If your dog's not comfortable going that long, that fast, work him up to that level gradually.

On bad-weather days, Helfer plays "doggie StairMaster," tossing a tennis ball up the stairs for her dogs to retrieve.

Next step: As with humans, it's good for animals to build up muscle mass. Strengthening exercises can include gentle, modified weight pulling and tug of war with dogs that aren't too possessive of their toys.

One exercise good for building abdominal core strength is "sitting pretty." (That's what we used to call "beg" -- but that just sounds so negative.)

Ask your dog to sit, then hold a treat a bit above his nose. When he sits up, reward him. It can take a while for dogs to develop the muscles to "sit pretty" for long. Remember, he's building his abs -- you know how hard that is for you.

While this exercise can strengthen a healthy dog's back, it isn't good for animals with back problems. If in doubt, talk with your veterinarian.

Step three: Flexibility. Dogs are less prone to injury if they stretch. Helfer stretches only warmed-up muscles and never causes pain.

Side stretches are a simple exercise most dogs can do. They stretch the side of your dog's back and improve her flexibility and agility.

To lure your dog into a stretch, take a doggie cookie and lead her nose toward her hips, forming a "U." Ask her to hold the stretch for three seconds before giving her the cookie. Work up gradually to having your dog hold the stretch for about 30 seconds. Each time you practice, do both sides.

Exercises for cats: Indoor cats sometimes get out of the habit of exercise and may enjoy being lured into fun.

"People need to be open-minded about what their cats can do. ... It's part of safeguarding their physical health," says Helfer.

Different cats like different games. Experiment. Some love feather toys. Others love to chase pingpong balls. Some will chase you.

Exercises for disability: There are even options for animals that can't run and jump. Two veterinarians in Portland specialize in rehab for animals. Helfer is one; the other is Bianca Shaw, who owns Back on Track Veterinary Rehabilitation Center ( in Southwest Portland.

Whatever your pet's physical condition -- or species -- this is the month to resolve to help him be healthier. And who knows, with all those walks and games, your pet may even get a pretty buff human partner, too.

Learn more: The book "Peak Performance: Coaching the Canine Athlete" by M. Christine Zink (Canine Sports Productions, $24.95, 228 pages, second edition), is a primer on canine structure and conditioning.

The DVD "Building the Canine Athlete: Strength, Stretch, Endurance and Body Awareness Exercises," by M. Christine Zink and Laurie McCauley (Canine Sports Productions, $39.95, 68 minutes), provides a "how to" for stretching, strength training and conditioning.

Deborah Wood is the author of 11 books, including "Little Dogs: Training Your Pint-Sized Companion." You can view her blog at or you can reach her by e-mail at or by mail at Deborah Wood/Pet Talk, The Oregonian, 1320 S.W. Broadway, Portland, OR 97201

Plainfield Sun

Vet Urges Pet Owners to Plan Before a Crisis

When Michelle and Ronnie Carr of Channahon began dating 15 years ago, they opened their hearts to a dalmatian puppy named Jasmine.

Jasmine was in their wedding photos, every Christmas card photo and even visited Michelle's parents when she and Ronnie vacationed. The recording on their answering machine said, "You have reached the Carrs. Please leave a message for Ronnie, Michelle or Jasmine."

Usually, pet owners are faced with three options for a terminally ill or dying pet: euthanasia, hospice care or doing nothing at all to relieve an animal's pain or suffering.

Then Jasmine went into kidney failure and the Carrs rearranged their lives so one of them would always be with her. As Jasmine's health declined, the couple hoped that she would fade away in her sleep.

It never happened.

The Carrs eventually had Jasmine euthanized in their home, a decision filled with emotional turmoil for them. Three times Michelle scheduled, then cancelled, the appointment.

"It was a very hard thing," Michelle said. "Who wants to hold their pet and watch it die? It was one of the saddest days I ever had. Afterward, a friend actually said to me, 'It's just a dog. You can get another one.' I thought, 'You have no idea what you just said to me.' "

Early preparation
No one likes to dwell on a pet's eventual demise, which is why the best time to prepare for it is during the puppy or kitten years, said Dr. Karen Becker, owner of Natural Pet Animal Hospital in Bourbonnais.
"I've had clients come in here with healthy, bouncing pets and say, 'I can't even imagine what I'll do when this dog dies,' " Becker said. "But you want to make your arrangements before you have a crisis, instead of getting stuck in the cycle of grief with overwhelming guilt and feelings of confusion.

"But the sad truth is most people can't make those decisions. It's too overwhelming. They would rather see their pet suffer to the bitter end so they can be with it two more hours."

Usually, pet owners are faced with three options for a terminally ill or dying pet: euthanasia, hospice care or doing nothing at all to relieve an animal's pain or suffering.

The last option spares the owners the stress of feeling like they're "playing God or making an irrevocable mistake, but it is just plain cruel to the animal," Becker said.

"Pets are a part of our family -- for some people they're children -- and nobody wants to say good-bye," said Dr. Sharla Thill, veterinarian at VCA Animal Hospital in Channahon. "But when you have a very sick pet and you have gone through all the options to make them better, you have to figure out best how to make it comfortable.

"I've had to put down two of my own pets, an 18-year-old cat with kidney failure and a 12-year-old dog with liver disease. I've asked myself, 'Is there something else I could have done?' They had their good days and their bad days, and on bad days I wondered if they might get better tomorrow."

'Autumn file'
The first person an owner might turn to for advice is their pet's veterinarian, but sometimes even the vet is uncomfortable discussing the issue.
"They may say the pet is in liver failure or kidney failure or that the cancer is incurable or inoperable," Becker said. "There is this vague understanding that the progression cannot be stopped and we leave it at that."

She suggests creating an "autumn file" for your pet when it is still quite healthy.

Perhaps you are against euthanasia, but what if your dog is hit by a car? Or what if your visually impaired kitten is faced with surgery or a limb amputation? Is there any circumstance where you would want a necropsy (animal autopsy) of your pet?

"Some people see their pet's body as sacred and would never consider it, but sometimes an animal is only 4 years old and it just dies and people really want to know what happened," Becker said.

"How much you can afford to pay is also a big issue. Disease creeps up on owners. All of a sudden they're faced with a $2,800 procedure and they need a credit card now. If they can't afford it, then this is as far as they can go."

Include in the autumn file the name and number of an emergency clinic and the names and numbers of an accountability team, those people who will remind and support the decisions made in calmer times. Consider also the benefits and disadvantages of cremation and burial.

"If you want cremation, do you want the ashes returned to you?" Becker said.

"If you don't, you should make arrangements at a pet cemetery. If you want to bury your pet at home, make sure it's legal where you live."

Euthanasia vs. hospice
As a pet's life winds down, it may exhibit certain specific signs that provide concrete information about a pet's overall health general and quality of life. Maybe it's not eating or drinking or it's struggling to lift its head or even breathe. Perhaps the animal is in pain or cannot move around enough to relieve itself.
"That's when many people make the decision for euthanasia," Thill said. "It's something they can do for their pet, and I think that in a lot of cases it's the most humane thing they can do for their pet."

Yet, if done correctly, providing hospice care for your pet is also possible, Becker said.

Pet owners must be prepared to execute a 24-hour commitment of high-maintenance nursing care to their pet or pay another qualified individual to do so. Frequent contact with the pet's primary health care provider is crucial to the animal's care.

"Quite honestly, most people don't have that commitment and the animal dies a slow, painful death," Becker said. "To be able to do hospice care just right for animals you need more than blankets and soothing music. You need fluid therapy and pain management. I've had people tell me, 'My dog's not drinking, so I've been giving him water with an eyedropper.' You will never maintain hydration with an eyedropper and water."

When an owner opts for euthanasia, there are still a few more decisions to make. Should the procedure be done in the vet's office or can it be performed at home or in a pet's favorite location? The veterinarian should also explain the procedure thoroughly to the owner before it occurs.

"In my practice, every animal receives a sedative before the heart-stopping medication," Becker said. "We want the animal to be really at peace and not stressed. There are candles in every room and we lay down blankets and the owners can sit with them as long as they need to."

Thill firmly stresses that euthanasia is meant for very sick and/or dying pets only, not for the convenience of their owners.

There are a few exceptions to that rule. Occasionally, she said, it is the only option for a very aggressive animal, especially one that has a history of biting children.

"Many people now are losing their homes and they have no place to take their pets," Thill said. "It's very hard. More and more shelters are filled. So far, we have not been in the position of having to put down a healthy animal. Unfortunately, that may be something we will one day be presented with."

Are Chihuahuas the New Pit Bulls?
By Jennifer Viegas, Studio One Networks - Montanas News Station

Holding Lily the Chihuahua required a gentle touch recently at a hair salon, for fear of breaking one of her bird-like bones that could be felt through her thin fur and skin. Sitting still on my lap, she stared appreciatively into my eyes as she waited for her owner, Allison Lindquist, executive director of the East Bay SPCA in California. When finished, Lindquist told me, "I'm worried about all Chihuahuas now. They're on their way to becoming the next pit bulls."

She explains that dog breed popularity can follow trends. Due to the latest breed "fashion" and Disney's movie Beverly Hills Chihuahua, more people have been bringing home tiny breeds, particularly Chihuahuas, and then dumping them off at shelters not long afterwards. The same thing has happened to pit bulls over the years, since they have an established "tough and cool" image. She says, "Sadly, many people do little research into breed characteristics and don't understand and commit to the responsibilities of lifetime ownership of a puppy or dog."

The Good and Bad of Chihuahuas
Every good quality of a person or pet can be perceived as a negative, depending on one's perspective and situation. For example, a friend who phones you night and day might get on your nerves. But then that same person could be there for you when other friends aren't available. The same yin and yang balance of characteristics applies to Chihuahuas, too:

Good: They are fiercely loyal, intelligent and full of personality.
Bad: This loyal, protective nature can lead to excessive barking and even occasional nipping. A study conducted earlier this year by the University of Pennsylvania's Center for the Interaction of Animals and Society and National Taiwan Normal University found that Chihuahuas and other tiny breeds can be aggressive toward both human and canine strangers.

Good: The life expectancy of a Chihuahua is around 20 years, Lindquist says.
Bad: As pets get older, they often require more medical treatment. According to PetPlace, the cost of owning a small to medium-sized dog over an average life span of just 14 years is $7,240 to $12,400.

Good: Chihuahuas love to burrow, so they often snuggle into everything from your shirt to your bed blankets before resting and sleeping.
Bad: Not everyone wants an ever-present dog buddy.

Good: Their size and overall good manner when not feeling threatened make them ideal for outings, such as to a restaurant or hotel that allows dogs. They fit well in lightweight over-the-shoulder carriers.
Bad: It's recommended that children be school-aged or older before a Chihuahua is added to their home. This is for the safety of both child and dog.

The Pitfalls of Pit Bulls, Chihuahuas and Other Pets
If you're still considering adding a Chihuahua to your home, perhaps after having admired one on TV or in a film, John Dauzat, director of Fremont Animal Services in California, offers some words to chew on. "A puppy that looks cute in a movie may not seem as cute when it chews a favorite shoe or cries to go out at 3 a.m. in the morning," he says. "Rather than work through the issues, it is often easier to dump the animal."

"Sadder yet," adds Adam Parascandola, director of California's Oakland Animal Services, "is when a family realizes a poor fit and relegates the innocent animal to the backyard. That is when we get calls for barking or neglected dogs." He continues, "Many times help reaches these animals too late -- some are too antisocial and fearful to ever enjoy life with a family again."

How to Avert a Chihuahua Disaster
Despite the potential problems, countless Chihuahua owners can attest to the fact that this smallest of breeds makes one of the sweetest and most loving of pet companions -- for the right individuals and families. To avoid Chihuahuas going the way of pit bulls (becoming home rejects at shelters), Linquist offers the following advice:

Resist the impulse buy of a dog: These animals are solely dependent upon us, and their lives are completely in our hands. That is a huge responsibility for a long, long time.

Do your homework: Research various breeds to determine which best suits your own particular lifestyle. You can do this online, by reading books, or by talking to neighbors, co- workers, veterinarians and other animal experts.

Volunteer at a shelter: Most could use the helping hands, and it will allow you to see what's involved in pet care, how different breeds behave and how many dogs, like pit bulls, wind up in rescue facilities through no fault of their own.
Consider your living situation Do you plan to stay in your home for a while, or could you move in a few years? If you rent, will your landlord allow pets, even small dogs like Chihuahuas? All of these factors, and more, could affect what happens to your dog in the long run.

Be honest about your financial ability: Take a hard, detailed look at your income and savings to make sure that you'll be able to afford pet care costs now and in the years to come.

Consider saving a shelter dog: While many reputable Chihuahua breeders exist, check with your local shelter first to see if they have what you are looking for. You could save a life while saving money.

Lily is proof that loving little Chihuahuas can be found at animal shelters, and that caring homes can break the pit bull shelter cycle. Is she here to stay? Just ask one of Lindquist three additional dogs, all pit bulls, which have grown very protective of Lily and have voted that she's a keeper.

Copyright (c) 2009 Studio One Networks. All rights reserved.

About The Author: Jennifer Viegas is the managing editor for The Dog Daily. She has authored more than 20 books on animal, science and nature topics.

Fido? He's in Rehab -- for His Knee (or is it his elbow?)
Newsday - Los Angeles Times

A Santa Monica clinic provides physical therapy for dogs, cats -- even a rabbit. The regimens and treatments look familiar to anyone who's undergone rehabilitation.

They come in with arthritis, back pain, sore elbows. Some are recuperating from car accidents or surgery or just bad judgment (a leap off a balcony). Others are coping with the ravages of old age. The most common problem: a tear of that pesky knee ligament, the ACL. They work out on treadmills, strengthen their core muscles, get their joints manipulated and undergo acupuncture.

They are patients of California Animal Rehabilitation, seeking physical therapy for pain relief and better mobility. They are mostly dogs, but the current clientele includes a few cats and a rabbit that lost its hop.

The clinic, which opened a year and a half ago in Santa Monica, is the brainchild of veterinarian Jessica Waldman, 33, and physical therapist Amy Kramer, 40, who holds a doctorate in her field. Technically, in California, what they do can't be called "physical therapy" -- that's only for humans.

But the big rehab room will look familiar to anyone who's been through a regimen of physical therapy: mats on the floor, colorful medicine balls in jelly bean shapes, meditation music wafting through the sound system.

Of course, other veterinarians in Southern California are doing acupuncture. And there are some area vets doing underwater treadmill work and rehab. But the two founders and owners say their facility is a unique combination of rehabilitation, acupuncture and nutrition counseling all under a vet's supervision.

"There are veterinarians that do acupuncture and there are people who like pets who do swim therapy, but there are no physical therapists that are doing rehab with veterinarians," said Waldman, who, like Kramer, has certification in canine rehabilitation.

"I would agree that what they are doing is unique in California," said veterinarian David Bruyette, medical director of the VCA West Los Angeles Animal Hospital, which engages a chiropractor three days a week. "There are some places in other parts of the country doing this, but there are no other places like this in Los Angeles."

In an era when people pack their dogs off to day care, consult veterinary behaviorists, put cats on Prozac and agree to aggressive surgeries to prolong their pets' lives and limbs, physical rehab may be uncommon. But it's not extraordinary.

Nor is California Animal Rehab the pet equivalent of a day spa, despite the pan-flute music. The majority of its dogs are suffering pain and compromised mobility. Some come in barely walking at all. Sonny, a yellow Lab who has been boarding at the facility since a car accident two weeks ago left him unable to move, can now walk with a harness on his hindquarters and staffers helping him along. "Pretty soon he'll be up and on his own," Waldman said.

This kind of care doesn't come cheap. An eight-week, twice-a-week treatment program at the clinic -- accompanied by a two-hour initial consultation -- costs a little over $2,000. (They say they try to work with pet insurers.) A $275 fee will get the consultation and a personalized home exercise and nutrition plan.

"People are demanding better care for their animals," Kramer said. "It makes people feel better knowing they did as much as they possibly could for their animals."

Both women have pets. Waldman and her husband have a dog, Tate, who often can be found curled up in the facility's office. Kramer has a dog and two cats.

On a recent day, about half a dozen dogs were being put through various stages of therapy. While Maggie, a trembling 10-year-old Chihuahua-terrier mix, was receiving acupuncture in one room, Nixon, an 8-year-old pit bull-beagle mix, walked on a treadmill submerged in a foot of water, heated to a balmy 85 degrees. Kramer says water therapy puts less stress on joints while building leg muscle strength.

"Some think it's fun, some think it's not, most are ambivalent," therapy assistant Dave Cardena said as he gently coaxed a succession of dogs through the routine.

Nixon was ambivalent this day, dutifully plodding ahead, calmed by the rubber cow toy he clutched in his mouth. His tail slapped the water like a wayward oar.

Corine Redmon, the owner of both Maggie and Nixon, was walking her two dogs in September when all of them were struck by a car -- and all suffered ACL tears. "I'm in physical therapy three days a week and they're in physical therapy two days a week," said Redmon, a massage therapist.

"He's like a puppy again," she added, marveling at Nixon's improvement.

Veterinary referrals account for most of the business at the clinic, sometimes known by the acronym CARE.

"We send a great deal of patients to CARE," said Bruyette, "especially postoperative orthopedic and neurological patients that are going to require long-term physical therapy. The folks at CARE know what they are doing."

As this kind of therapy becomes more common, Bruyette said, he's concerned that people offering it be properly trained. Veterinarian Bill Grant, president of the California Veterinary Medical Assn., echoes that: "As long as there is veterinary supervision on site, I think these ancillary treatment modalities are fine."

Earlier, Nixon lay prone on a mat as Kramer massaged his muscles and stretched his back right leg to improve flexibility.

"The first time I walked in, I thought, 'How is this going to work?' " said Jan Wieringa, a commercial producer and owner of Alaska, a Siberian Husky who's nearing her 12th birthday. "All these dogs together? But I haven't seen one skirmish."

Alaska, bedeviled by back pain, cancer in her front left leg and recuperation from surgery for an ACL tear, was gamely walking on an inclined dry treadmill. She's also carrying an extra 10 pounds.

"It's so hard to lose weight," Wieringa -- herself tall and slender -- said with a sigh. "She just lives for food."

Waldman's and Kramer's most delicate task involves jolting the egos of sensitive owners when they tell them that their pets with sore joints are, well, fat. "Ninety-five percent of the pets that come in here are overweight," Kramer said.

Most owners accept that diagnosis. "We do have a few clients who are actually appalled that we tell them that their pet is overweight," Kramer added. "They're like, 'Nooo, he's just a big boy!' "

Back in the water therapy room, Blackjack, a 2-year-old Bernese mountain dog, confidently trod on the treadmill, his plume of tail held high above the 20 inches of water in the tank. After an eight-week course of rehab, his arthritic elbows -- yes, dogs have elbows -- are better, and he's shed 10 pounds from his massive body.

"I have some relatives visiting and I said, 'I have to pick up my dog from physical therapy,' " said Sharon Graves, a venture capitalist, as she waited in the reception area for Blackjack. "And they started laughing and said, 'That's such an L.A. thing.' I said, 'You don't understand. It's helping!' "

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Kirby: Take This Test Before Getting a Dog
By Robert Kirby - Salt Lake Tribune

My daughter and her husband recently approached me for advice on buying their first house. I readily gave them the entire benefit of my financial wisdom.

"I'm not co-signing for a damn thing," I said.

When they explained that no financial help was required, I quickly added some stuff about homeownership being an excellent investment even in these troubled times.

"We just want a dog," my daughter said. "But we can't find an apartment that will let us have the kind of dog we want."

They don't want just any dog. Not a lap yapper, ankle biter, or a mop mutt. They want a yard shark. In fact, they specifically mentioned a breed of dog I once watched pull the bumper off a Ford.

Since I know a lot more about stupid reasons for getting a dog than I do about mortgages, I gave them some fatherly advice.

I said owning a pet was a major commitment. In many respects, it was a lot more responsibility than owning a house. A house won't get bored. It won't go next door and eat the neighbor's cat, chew a sofa in half or mistake the UPS guy for a burglar.

I know these things because the first thing my wife and I did when we got married -- OK, the second thing -- was get a puppy. We stopped at a "free puppies" sign and my wife fell in love.

My thoughts on the matter were that a puppy might help forestall any maternal instinct for a baby. I was wrong, of course, as I have been about nearly everything since.

I have nothing against pet ownership provided that it's well thought out, affordable, and due consideration is afforded everyone who might come into contact with the beast.

Such is rarely the case because unlike home ownership, pet ownership is far more often based on emotion than logic. No one ever buys a house because, "Oh, you're just SO cute!"

My daughter's retort was that there are no bad dogs, only bad owners. It wasn't much of a defense because I agreed with her, especially since we were talking about her.

Everyone says they'll take care of a dog (or any pet), but it's usually someone else who ends up doing it for them. Ironically, it's nearly always someone who didn't think they should have the pet in the first place -- parents, neighbors, the police, etc.

I suggested a pre-dog test. My daughter and her husband should chainsaw their furniture, use the kitchen floor for a spittoon, empty the vacuum cleaner dust bag onto their bed, and go to the bathroom in the yard themselves.

If at the end of a month they were happy with the way things were, then they could have a dog.

Robert Kirby can be reached at

Outgoing Mayor Pardons Pet Pig
By Dave Frank - Nevada Appeal Staff Writer

Judge Todd Russell read Marv Teixeira’s last, and disputed, mayoral proclamation minutes before swearing the mayor-elect into office.

Arnold, the pet pot-bellied pig that new Mayor Bob Crowell had to give away last year, is pardoned, Russell read Monday.

The arthritic senior citizen “in pig years” should be exempt from city code, returned from a rescue group and be allowed to spend his last years with the Crowell family, the judge read to a crowded room in the Carson City Community Center.

“Now, therefore, I, Marv Teixeira, Mayor of Carson City, Nevada, do hearby proclaim Jan. 5, 2009, as ‘Arnold’s Plight’ Awareness Day in Carson City,” Russell read, “and acting in the capacity which I was elected by the citizens of Carson City and as my final act in such capacity, do hearby grant a full, complete and unconditional pardon to Arnold, the pot-bellied pig.”

“Let’s bring Arnold home,” Russell read.
Though the Carson City District Attorney’s Office said the pardon has no legal power, Teixeira said he was “very sincere” about his proclamation.

“Did I have the power to do that?” the former three-term mayor said. “I didn’t even check. It was the right thing to do and I did it.”

The city can issue special permits and make other rules, Teixeira said, so supervisors should be able to do something for Crowell’s pig.

Crowell and two other candidates for mayor learned in June they would have to give up their pets under a city code preventing livestock in most parts of the city.
But Arnold can’t go home without a change in city code, said Chief Deputy District Attorney Melanie Bruketta.

Crowell said he appreciated the good intentions of the pardon he called “ceremonial.”

Teixeira’s proclamation does bring up the serious subject of reforming the city code that forces owners to get rid of their livestock pets, he said.
Code changes should be considered carefully and not driven by what happened to Arnold, he said.

Gov. Jim Gibbons, a member of the Nevada Board of Pardons Commissioners, does not plan to look at the pig’s situation, according to Dan Burns, a governor’s office representative.

“The government closest to the people and the pig should handle the issue,” he said

Common Natural Supplements and Vitamins For Pets
By Karen Corey

One thing to keep in mind is that our metabolism and animals are different. There are some supplements that are fine for a human but can cause damage to a cat or dog. Always consult your vet before giving vitamins or supplements to your dog or cat.

Remember, vitamins and supplements for your pets shouldn't be used to replace seeing a vet. Your cats and dogs should have regular checkups and be taken to a vet if they appear to be ill. You should make sure you always inform your vet of any type of vitamins or supplements you are giving your pet. This is especially true if you cat or dog is being treated for a condition which requires medication. This is because some medications will act adversely when taken with other types of medication or supplements. Always consult your veterinarian and ask for their recommendations before starting your pets on vitamins or herbal supplements. Listed below are some of the common vitamins and supplements that are being given to pets to promote health and treat ailments.

Glucosamine and Chondroitan- These are well known and are commonly prescribed by veterinarians to treat pets who are suffering from arthritis and joint pain. They are known to help rebuild cartilage and thicken joint fluid which cushions and protects the joints.

Milk Thistle- This has been used for pets with liver problems such as hepatitis. It is suppose to protect liver cells from toxins.

Ginger- This has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries as an anti-inflammatory and also for stomach problems. It has been known to help animals with car sickness and with digestive problems, including diarrhea and gas.

Vitamin C- This vitamin is a powerful anti-oxidant which is said to help combat the aging process and cancer. It has also can be used for hip dysphasia, arthritis and urinary tract problems.

Echinacea- This supplement is said to improve the immune system and helps to fight off infections and diseases.

Slippery Elm- The bark of this tree is used to help the digestive system in pets who suffer from upset stomachs and constipation. It has also been known to be used as a cough suppressant.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids- The oils from cold water fish have been known to be beneficial to pets. They have been used to aid in treatment of heart disease, cancer, allergies, arthritis and kidney disease.

Choline- This supplement can be helpful to pets that have cognitive disorders and seizures.

There are certain vitamins that seem to help different parts of your pet's body. For example Vitamin A is used for healthy skin and coat. Vitamin E helps to ease the discomfort of arthritis and cancer. Vitamin D is essential for bone development, and nerve and muscle functions. Vitamin B helps with growth and metabolism.

Make sure you read the directions thoroughly and always give the recommended dosage to your pet. You might want to consult with your vet on the dosage for your particular pet. Remember, even though a vitamin or supplement is considered natural that doesn't necessarily mean it is safe. Always closely monitor your pet after you have given them any new type of vitamin or supplement to watch for signs of an allergic reaction. The items listed above are just a few of the different varieties of supplements available for use on pets. Your veterinarian will be able to advise you on which type of product will work best for your four-legged companion.

To make sure your pets stay healthy and will enjoy a long life, you might want to consider buying pet insurance in case there are 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 pet insurance on your four-legged companions.

So please visit us to see how we can help protect your pet - you can buy online easily too at Pet Insurance by Animal Friends or simply call our friendly staff if you prefer on 0844 55 70 300; the policies won't cost you more and you won't be disappointed!

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Buying Necessities at the Exotic Pet Supply Shop
By Yazid Avicenna

George was fascinated with reptiles at a very young age. This all started when the school went on a field trip to the zoo and was immediately followed a book entitled "Creepy Crawly Things" given at the end of the tour. This fascination became a reality when George's parents purchased a tarantula at the local pet store. This creature belongs to the arachnid family because of the venomous fangs that are used to kill prey.

The tarantula loves to eat fresh meat. Unlike other spiders that usually eat whatever gets trapped in the web, this one waits in a certain spot and ambushes the prey. The victims are usually insects, other spiders, birds and amphibians. Since it is quite difficult to catch these creatures, the best place to get them is from an exotic pet supply shop.

The first thing any owner must provide is shelter for the pet. The tarantula should be placed in a glass aquarium with some rocks or old wood to make it feel comfortable in its environment. This will cost an average of $40 and is very easy for anyone to set up. Some jell should also be purchased to give the spider some liquids together with live insects such as crickets or worms as part of its diet. This doesn't hurt the wallet that much since the tarantula is only fed once a week.
Tarantulas are nocturnal animals so having a small lamp installed will be just right to give it some warmth in its home. The owner should make sure that it doesn't exceed 30 degrees, which could be too much for the spider to handle. Even if many Americans prefer to have dogs, cats or fish as pets, there are many who prefer to have spiders instead. These eight-legged creatures are not noisy compared to other animals, don't produce any harmful odors from urine or feces and are easy to maintain.

The price for a tarantula on the market ranges from $20 to $50. This will depend on the type, the gender and age when it was purchased. The exotic pet supply store also carries books of how to take care of this kind of spider. Deciding to own a tarantula or any other exotic pet is a huge responsibility. It will be a good idea to do some research first and know the dos and don'ts in order to have fun with this creature around.

Avicenna has written various articles about exotic pets related topics, including Pet snake, and pet turtles.

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Clipping a Dog - What's the Best Way to Clip Your Dog?
By Cliff Stone

Very few people see clipping their dogs as an art form. Instead, they just tackle certain areas, such as scraggly fur on the feet, to keep their dogs from tacking in mud. In an effort to get rid of undesirable hair, however, many owners forget that clipping their dogs can actually cause damage.

When you decide to clip your dog's fur, keep his breed in mind. If you clip a longer haired breed incorrectly, dust accumulates in the coat, causing skin problems. In addition, parasites like ticks and fleas can move and breed more freely if your dog's coat isn't card for or clipped correctly.

You need to trim your dog's nails to avoid breaking, splitting, and pain while walking. That's because overlong toenails cause the nail to turn sideways, or even to dig into the foot. When a dog has claws that are too long, it becomes easy to catch them on hard surfaces or to break or split them.

Injuries also easily occur during clipping of nails. The quick of the nail will bleed it it's cut. This is the source of blood supplying the nail, as well as where the nerves are located. This keeps the nail alive and growing. However, this area is situated far back inside the nail, and will only be exposed if you cut the nail too short or if it splinters. This can be sensitive or painful.

When cutting your dog's nails and hair, make sure you always use very sharp clippers. For nails, make sure you get the right tools for the job - nail clippers for people just don't work for dogs. There are lots of new types of nail clippers out there that are made to cut down on pain and damage.

If you live in an area that's cold in winter, don't clip your dog during the cold months unless you have to. The winter can be very stressful for your dog if his coat isn't long enough to protect him. Remember that dogs can get frostbite the same way we can.

In the summer, make sure you don't clip your dog's hair too short. If you do, you'll be exposing his skin to the sun - a dog's fur helps keep him cool in hot weather. Shortening the hair is okay, but don't cut the hair so short the skin shows.

If your dog is sick or otherwise unhealthy, avoid clipping him. That's because it can cause more stress. Only clip a sick dog to remove broken nails or dirty fur that can't be cleaned.

Walking your dog on concrete daily can help keep your dog's nails worn down in a more even, gradual way. This helps you avoid having to deal with clippers.

Of course, for the best results, talk to a professional dog groomer with the experience to clip specific breeds.

It's also important to look into the right dog training tools to make sure your pooch behaves like you want him or her to.

Click Here for a proven dog training program that you can start using today to improve your relationship with your pet!

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

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