Pet News - Pet Advice - Pet Photos

Rabbit Advice: And the Bunny Born Without Ears!
by Lauren v., Dallas Pet Scene Examiner

The House Rabbit Society is an international organization that works both as a rescue and strong advocate for educating the public on the care and behavior of rabbits.

On their website, visitors can easily navigate through topics such as litter box training, interpreting behavior, behavior modification, health, and recommended veterinarians all over the country. They even have a kid's corner and photo corner.

The Society is working hard to educate America about proper rabbit care so that more people recognize them as a house pet that deserves to be part of the family.

Readers might also enjoy the blog My House Rabbit which includes a story about a bunny born without ears!

How Can I Save Money on My Pet?
By Denise Davidson - SignonSanDiego

Our animal friends depend on us for food, water, shelter and love. When money is tight, there is plenty of love to go around, but the other essentials may be a little harder to come by. This doesn't mean you have to live without your four-legged buddies. Here are a few ideas to try, many of which will save you money in the long run.

— Quality food is better than the cheap stuff. Pay now for premium food or later with vet bills. Higher nutrition, plus no filler, equals better health. That is money in the bank.
— Have you ever baked your pet treats? Try it. You're in charge of the ingredients and you'll save bucks on packaging. Your “friend” will love you for it. Two good Web sites to check out for pet-treat recipes are and
— Grow it. Or buy it in the vegetable section. Grow a garden for your family and give treats to your four-legged pals. Carrots, broccoli and apple chunks are low in calories and make healthy snacks, but check with your vet first for appropriate foods.

— Never skip your pet's semi-annual or annual physical exam. Sometimes, animals may not exhibit illness until it's too late. A checkup from nose to tail is the best preventive answer.
— Exercise, exercise. Avoid obesity in your pet by giving it daily walks or playtime. Obesity can translate into diabetes, arthritis, joint problems or heart trouble, which are painful and expensive to treat.
— Deter costly diseases by vaccination. This includes shots for feline leukemia, feline panleukopenia, canine distemper and canine parvo virus. Inoculate during the kitten or puppy stage.
— Buying prescription drugs is expensive. Once you obtain the initial dose from your vet, compare future costs at local drugstores and online pharmacies.
— To insure or not insure? Pet insurance can help with peace of mind. But do you really need it? Not all procedures or illnesses are covered. Before buying, look over plans carefully and reread them annually for changes.
— Look for low-cost spay or neuter clinics in your neighborhood. Getting your pet spayed or neutered will help prevent future health problems, such as uterine or testicular cancer.
— Ask for discounts at the veterinarian clinic. Sometimes, vets will offer discounts to senior citizens or owners who have multiple pets.
— What about free medicine for your pet? Vets receive samples, as do human doctors. If Fifi needs meds, ask for a free dose or two.
— Set aside an emergency fund for vet bills. Make monthly contributions to it.
— Invest in obedience training. Check local trainers for deals and competency. Decide which training environment is most suitable to your pet's disposition. Is one-on-one or a class setting more beneficial? Call the Humane Society or county shelter for classes or referrals. (Numbers include: San Diego Humane Society & SPCA (619) 299-7012; North County Humane Society & SPCA (760) 757-4357; El Cajon Animal Shelter (619) 441-1580; Chula Vista Animal Shelter (619) 691-5123; Escondido Humane Society (760) 888-2275; Helen Woodward Animal Center (858) 756-4117.)

— Brush them thar' fangs. You'll want to prevent major dental bills by maintaining your pet's teeth. Brush them a few times a week, as well as regular cleanings from the vet. Some toys promote periodontal health. Consider these as smart purchases.
— Give Spot a bath. Not only will you save on a grooming bill, you'll save on the gas to get there. Use warm water and make sure your pet is comfortable during the washing. Dry immediately afterward.
— Stretch the shampoo. Dilute it with a mixture of half water and half shampoo.
— Home manicures. Ask your groomer for advice on the proper nail clipper to purchase. There are several models available, so do your research. Be careful not to clip too close, as bleeding may occur.
— Limit pet and owner stress by performing grooming duties over multiple days. Clip those nails one day and bathe the next.

— Visit garage sales to find toys. Buy used stuffed animals that are cheap and easily discarded. Remove all buttons, eyes, or other potentially harmful digestive decorations.
— Homemade toys can be fun for your friend. What about a paper bag or crumpled newspaper for your cat to play with? Fill a rubber Kong-type toy for your dog with peanut butter, broken kibbles, or both. This can help prevent boredom, too.
— Pet beds don't have to come from a store. If you've got a blanket that's seen better days, use it for padding. Make sure it's machine-washable. Or, there is always your bed.
What are your tips for frugal pet care? E-mail them to



Come on Denise. This is a joke right. Buy fresh veggies for the dog? or, better yet, grow them in "the garden". Some of the tips are OK, like home grooming and brushing teeth, but most are crazy. Annual checkups???? Obedience training!!! Money don't grow on 'dem 'dar trees. Once poochie can't walk anymore we give him a nice tasteful ceremony under the 'ole Oak tree out back, right next to Fluffy. Also teaches the kids that life is precious, and impermanent.

Dogs are like are what you eat. More to the point, fresh veggies for the dog is an excellent nutritional treat. Fresh carrots are full of beta carotene and beta carotene is converted into Vitamin A by your dogs digestive system. Carrots are a powerful antioxidant that is able to reduce the effects of premature aging...your dog will live a longer stronger life.
Since money "does not grow on trees", it may be an affordable opportunity to learn more about pet food nutrition and the value of feeding a holistic pet food. Save $money$ by feeding healthy pet food and avoid costly veterinarian visits. I suggest visiting the web sites of pet food companies and educate yourself on the value of holistic pet foods. Read the ingredient sections and learn what is in your pet's food.

Doggone Story Has Happy Ending for Bulldog's Owner in Indian Hills
By JULISSA McKINNON - The Press-Enterprise

Three months after thieves swiped Santino, an English bulldog, from his owner's backyard, a Riverside County sheriff's deputy returned the wrinkly-nosed pooch home.

The happy ending was the result of a $2,000 reward for the missing dog's safe return, an anonymous caller who reported the dog's whereabouts in exchange for the money, and fast work by Deputy Dave Wright, according to Amber Sosa, Santino's owner.

"I'm ecstatic. My nightmare is finally over. I feel like I can get on with my life," she said at her Indian Hills home. "There's no longer a piece of me missing."

Tammy Hernandez, a Riverside bulldog breeder who has tried to help retrieve six local bulldogs who disappeared recently, said Sosa is the only owner she has heard of recovering a stolen dog.

Hernandez chalked up the joyful outcome to Sosa offering a reward and a recent newspaper story about stolen bulldogs that featured Santino's picture.

At 8 p.m. Tuesday, Sosa received a tip from an anonymous caller who claimed to know her dog's whereabouts and would reveal the address in exchange for the $2,000 reward. Upon hanging up, Sosa called the Jurupa Valley sheriff's station to speak with Wright, who had previously obtained a search warrant to try and recover Santino.

"I felt 'Oh my God, this is the call I've been waiting for.' It was excitement, terror, anxiety, all wrapped into one," she said.

The next day Wright visited the suspect's address where the homeowner agreed to show him the bulldog in the backyard. The dog's markings resembled those of the photographed Santino, said Sgt. Gilbert Gonzalez.

"The homeowner told Deputy Wright he had bought the dog on the street recently," Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez said the homeowner willingly handed the dog over to Wright. The deputy then took Santino to a veterinarian who scanned the dog's microchip, a computer chip surgically inserted under a pet's shoulder, to verify that Sosa was indeed the rightful owner.

Hundreds of Dogs Take Part in Nickel City Show
By Maki Becker - Buffalo News

More than 800 dogs compete in show at Hamburg site

Fiona, the English toy spaniel, stared blankly ahead, looking bored and a little annoyed as her owner and handler, Caleb Williams, painstakingly blew dry her auburn hair.

“She was the No. 1 bitch in the country in this breed last year,” Williams shared as he brushed the fur on Fiona’s ear over and over at his cramped prep station inside the Agri-Center at the Hamburg Fairgrounds on Friday.

Williams, of Lisbon, Conn., said Fiona lives up to her title.

“She lays on the couch at home and doesn’t let anyone else sit on it,” he said.

The lovely Fiona was one of more than 800 dogs who were vying for the coveted title of Best in Show at the Nickel City Cluster Dog Show. Hundreds more are slated to compete today and Sunday, in events put on by the Kennel Club of Buffalo and McNulty Dog Shows.

Dog lovers and well-heeled canine companions have traveled from throughout the region to compete in the three-day competition in the Town of Hamburg.

Even the lake-effect snow that was blanketing the region couldn’t keep away diehard doggie fans.

“Today was probably the worst trip I’ve taken in my 39 years [as a dog handler],” said an owner and handler from Pittsburgh, who goes “From 25 miles south of Erie to 35 miles into New York State, it was a whiteout.”

But Tommy O said there was no stopping him from bringing his prize-winning pooch, Benson, to the dog show.

He said the Siberian husky, which won best working dog, is his best friend. “He sleeps in the crook of my legs every night,” he said.

The weather presented an assortment of challenges to the dogs and their handlers.

Lindsay Moore of Albion hovered helplessly over her long-haired dachshund, Savvy, who padded around in the snow outside the Agri-Center.

“She hasn’t pottied since 6:30 this morning,“ said Moore, who shivered as big, fluffy flakes of snow fell all around.

The show drew a few dozen spectators Friday, mostly friends of owners, breeders and handlers. Many more were expected this weekend.

Vendors for every dog and dog-lover need turned out as well, hawking wares from stained-glass doggie doodads to handmade, all-natural doggie treats. There was a photographer on hand who specializes in taking portraits for dog show competitors. And one woman offered to spin dog hair into yarn, which she would use to make keepsakes, like hats and heart-shaped pillows.

“Dog hair is eight times warmer than wool,” said Doreen Kelly of Custom Dog Hair Spinning in West Seneca.

But the big attraction of the day, of course, was the competitions as dogs competed first within their breeds, then their groups and finally for the coveted Best in Show category.

Judges thoroughly examined each dog, checking their teeth and bone structure, then watched their gait as they were trotted around a course by their handlers.

Taking the crown Friday was Trudy, a Labrador retriever bred by June Miller of Hamburg.

Miller, who has been breeding dogs for 30 years, burst into tears when her yellow lab took the top award. It was her first Best in Show.

“You’re such a good girl!” she gushed as she pet her elated- looking dog.

“You can do what you want,” she told the dog. “I don’t care.”

She said Trudy was going to be treated to whatever she wanted for dinner Friday night.

“If she wants prime rib, she can have it tonight,“ she said. “Right, babycakes?”

Dirty Dogz Kennel is in Another Dog Fight
Tamara Dietrich - The Daily Press

The Dirty Dogz kennel is back in the middle of yet another dog fight.

I wrote about this Hampton boarding facility last August after a dog left in its care vanished from the property and staff never noticed. The dog's vacationing family returned and was devastated to learn the facility had lost its pet. Luckily, the dog was rescued off a busy street and eventually reunited with the family.

Soon after, Dirty Dogz owner Deborah "D.J." Rice was cited for animal cruelty after city Animal Control officers inspected the place and reported finding two "extremely emaciated" dogs.

According to Rice, one of the dogs was already in bad shape when it was dumped on her doorstep.

There was no evidence otherwise, says Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Gregory Bane, so last November the cruelty charge was dropped.

But officers had also instructed Rice to get that starved dog veterinary treatment, Bane says, and instead she handed it over to the Peninsula SPCA, which nursed it back to health. As a result, Rice was charged with failing to provide care.

For that, she was ordered Nov. 14 to pay court costs and cover the dog's medical expenses. If she does, and remains on good behavior for two years, the judge agreed to withhold a finding.

As for the second dog, Rice claims it wasn't emaciated at all. She says it was a biter that had mauled her badly three months earlier. After she was cited, she took it to a veterinarian to be euthanized. The vet didn't agree with the plan, however, and instead adopted the dog out.

Finally, Rice was charged, convicted and fined $250 for failing to provide written notice to customers.

All told, it's not a promising track record for any boarding business. In fact, Rice closed the place on Dec. 1 — she says because of the mauling and her lingering injuries. Bane says the consensus among city officials is that she just "got in over her head."

But the reason is irrelevant to Nadine Braggs, a physician's assistant in Newport News and the latest client with a major bone to pick with Dirty Dogz.

Braggs told me last week that she took her year-old Great Dane, named Phantom Kane, to Dirty Dogz last June after she became ill, had to move in with her daughter in Virginia Beach and needed a place to board him long-term.

Like others I've spoken with in the past about Dirty Dogz, Braggs was leery at first about the unkempt condition of the place on Copeland Drive. But like others, she gave Rice the benefit of the doubt. And like others, she regrets it now.

"I'm 51 — a grown lady who probably should have known better," Braggs says.

The monthly boarding fee was $300, and Braggs claims Rice told her she could pay it off at the end of the boarding term. She says she began sending $50 to $75 a month after Rice asked her to.

She called every couple of weeks to check on Kane, but didn't visit on the advice of breed experts who told her that it would only upset him.

"He was crazy about me," Braggs says. "I didn't want to hurt him. I called all the time. I trusted that he was OK."

In early November, she says, she mailed a camera to Dirty Dogz and asked a staff member to take pictures of Kane and mail the camera back. She never saw the camera again.

Soon after, she called the facility and got a recording saying it was closed.

Unable to reach Rice, Braggs sought help from Animal Control, where an officer contacted Rice on her behalf and asked her to give Braggs a call. Braggs says she hasn't heard from her.

Rice, meanwhile, claims she knows nothing about a camera, she "fully notified" Braggs about the closure, and Braggs can get her dog back once she pays about $1,500 in boarding fees.

She also claims, in an odd bit of deja vu, that Kane is a biter. Pressed further, she adds, "We don't know if he's actually bitten anybody. But because he tried to bite, we have to be very careful."

Rice says she's actively looking for an adoptive home for Kane and his "attitude issues."

"But so far," she says, "we haven't been able to find anybody who wants a big dog who might bite them."

Braggs bristles at that contention.

"Kane has a home," she says. "And if he has an attitude, she could have called me waaaay back."

Now the two animal-lovers are locked in a stalemate over Phantom Kane, each threatening to sue the other.

"He's a wonderful dog," Braggs says, "and all he ever did was love me. I can't see him there another minute. Please help me. I just want him home.

"I guess we're going to end up being like Solomon here with the children."

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Her Pet Project is Part of Life Goal to Help Others
By Sasha Heller - Baldwin County Now

Fifth-grader’s community service a labor of love, precursor of aspirations

DAPHNE, Ala.—Many 11-year-olds care about video games, pop music and fashion trends.

Caroline Slaughter, 11, spends time with a kitten at the Daphne Animal Shelter, having delivered cat and dog food she obtained from area businesses, as part of her community service project. (Staff photo by Sasha Heller)

But Caroline Slaughter, a W.J. Carroll Intermediate fifth-grader, lives to serve.

As part of a community-service requirement of winning the Red Ribbon Leadership Award for her school, Slaughter has worked to ensure animals at the Daphne Animal Shelter have enough food and blankets.

For her project, Slaughter—who has two dogs of her own, Sophie, 2, a springer spaniel; and Taz, 1, a sheltie—visits local pet-related businesses and requests donations on behalf of the shelter.

“At the beginning, I was kind of shy,” Slaughter said. “My (step)dad was going in there with me at first. But then, I began feeling more confident.

“After I went to different stores, it got easier and easier.”

Slaughter—who enjoys riding horses, writing and drawing—began the project on Dec. 1. She’s brought dog and cat food, linens and a dog house to the shelter.

“I’m really involved with animals,” Slaughter said. “I think helping animals is something more people should do. People don’t help out often enough.”

Slaughter’s heart extends to two-legged beings; she wants to be a family doctor when she grows up.

“I’ve always wanted to be someone who takes care of people,” she said.

As for their furry counterparts, Slaughter's love of animals comes from time spent at her grandparents' Monroeville farm, which has horses, geese, chickens and goats.

"I just always loved animals," Slaughter said. "We always had dogs in our family."

Slaughter’s had some help in raising awareness of her cause as Mayor Fred Small drafted a letter of invitation that she presents to all store owners she visits.

“As Mayor, citizen and a father it makes me proud to know young folks like Caroline who take it upon themselves (at) a very early age to give back to the community where they live,” Small said in a statement.

Small isn’t the only one proud of Slaughter; so are Anthony Burdine, the 11-year-old's stepfather, and Tracy, her mother.

“She was very shy in the beginning, but now, she’s developed a voice,” he said. “She was very proud when Mayor Small got behind her. Her mom, Tracy, is just as proud of her as I am.”

Slaughter—whose favorite subjects are social studies and history—will continue her animal assistance project at The Haven in Fairhope.

Daphne Animal Shelter employees are grateful for the help.

“We appreciate what she’s done for the animal shelter, all the food and supplies she’s given us,” Linda Mathews, animal control officer at the Daphne Animal Shelter, said.

Dogs wrapped in blankets as they dine on kibble in their cages also enjoy her efforts.

For Slaughter, there's no place she'd rather be.

“I’d rather be outside with the animals any day,” she said.

Helping Older Pets Enjoy Their ‘Golden Years’
Ask Dr. Watts - Dr. Michael Watts - Star-Exponent

Happy New Year! In my practice, our resolution for 2009 is to celebrate senior pets. Exciting advances in veterinary medicine are helping pets live longer, happier lives than ever before.

Pet life expectancy has doubled in the past 50 years, due in large part to vast improvements in nutrition and the development of vaccines against common diseases. I firmly believe that modern veterinary medicine holds the keys for adding significantly more quality time to pets’ lives. One of the keys is early detection programs for senior pets.

The purpose of a senior early detection program is to diagnose medical conditions as early as possible. Almost every pet will develop at least one serious condition in their senior years. Our
chance of successfully and economically addressing a problem depends directly on how early we catch it.

Most people understand this concept from their own medical care. Cholesterol screening can lead to treatments that prevent heart attacks. Regular mammograms, colonoscopy, and prostate evaluations can catch cancer in very early, treatable stages. Thanks in large part to the success of routine screening, people are living longer, healthier lives than ever before.

Regular screening tests can have the same benefits for our pets. The major questions are when should we start screening older pets, what tests should we run, and how often should we run t
hem? My answers to these questions are based on guidelines published by the American Animal Hospital Association, the American Veterinary Medical Association, and the American Association of Feline Practitioners. Of course, they are also based on my personal opinion and experience.

Pets should begin regular senior screenings when they reach the rough equivalent human age of 50. There have been several “senior at seven” campaigns to improve awareness of senior pet care.

The age of seven is similar to a 50-year-old person for many dogs. However, giant breeds age more quickly and toy breeds age more slowly. Cats reach a similar age equivalency around age ten.

When pets enter the “over 50” crowd, pets should graduate to more thorough laboratory screening tests than younger pets. Complete blood counts can detect chronic inflammatory conditions, platelet problems, anemia, and even some cancers. Serum chemistries can detect diabetes, liver conditions, kidney impairment, digestive problems, hormone imbalances and more. Frequently, a thorough serum chemistry panel will be our best chance of catching illnesses in their earliest stages. A urinalysis provides important information on kidney function, bladder health, and can even detect liver problems or diabetes.

Specialized screening for high risk problems should also be a part of any early detection program. Abnormal thyroid levels are common in older pets. It is simple to add periodic thyroid testing onto your pet’s regular laboratory panel. Both dogs and cats can develop high blood pressure as they age. They can also suffer from increased eye pressure, or glaucoma. Regular measurement of blood pressure and eye pressure should be part of a thorough physical examination in older pets.

Every major professional organization that publishes guidelines for senior pet care recommends thorough examinations and laboratory tests every six months. Older pets age the equivalent of four to seven years in each twelve month interval. An issue that begins to develop a few weeks or months after a veterinary visit is likely to become an advanced problem before the next annual visit.

Experts agree: a year is often just too long.

Many early detection programs also include chest x-rays and electrocardiography (EKG). In certain breeds, or in pets with certain medical conditions, these tests may be recommended on a regular interval. In my practice, I recommend a screening x-ray and EKG when a pet first enters the “senior” years. I like to have a baseline on file for every pet. It is extremely helpful when trying to read future tests to have a baseline measurement to compare. Unless there are abnormalities to follow, I generally do not repeat these tests on a predetermined interval.

Resolution: Protect Your Pet from Obesity in '09
by Judy Elliot, Boston Dogs Examiner

Just as susceptible to obesity as we are, our pets are increasingly showing signs of carrying way too much weight and not getting enough exercise the keep the balance.

Far from the norm nature intended, our pets - because of our busy schedules, lack of understanding, or indulgent modern life-styles can often be as much as 20 pounds overweight. Recent studies show that about a third of American pets are overweight. This extra baggage places a hefty burden on major organs: heart, lungs liver, kidnesy and even the skin. Joints become affected causing osteoarthritis and diseases like diabetes or pancreatitis. The result is more visits to the veterinarian, more expensive drugs and reduced quality of life for the animals that are in our care.

The good news is that with some minimal concentration on prevention, you can keep your pet lean, active, happy and healthy for an increased life span.

To determine if your dog is packing pounds either check with your veterinarian for a complete physical examination or use elements of a system developed by Purina researcher, Dottie La Flamme DVM,Phd. that helps owners identify potential obesity in their pets. An animal in ideal condition the ribs are easily felt and the waist and tuck-up (the belly area between the ribcage and bottom) are discernible without being prominent with just a thin layer of fat over the ribs.

Overweight pets have visible amounts of fat over the ribs, along the spine and around the tail. The more weight they carry, the less you can discern a waist or indentation beneath the ribcage. Excessively fat cats and obese dogs have protruding abdomens and fat deposits on the neck, chest, under the chin and around the tail.

Resist the temptation to show your pet affection and demonstrate your willingness to extend their life span by:

--controlling the amount of food and snacks your pet gets
--feeding healthy snacks like carrots, apples, sweet potatoes, pretzels, or small pieces of bisquits
--balance food and snacks with appropriate exercise - at least 15 minutes a day 3 times a day or similar exercise
--choose carefully what you feed your pet. Learn to be a label reader. Natural foods with fewer additives are best
--No pets at the dinner table, no table droppings, and no begging allowed

Not surprisingly, in January, 2007, a major drug company announced that the US Food and Drug Administration had approved a drug that assists with canine obesity. Available through veterinarians, the drug suppresses canine appetite and blocks fat absorption. Named Slentrol, it is the first drug of its kind currently on the market and can be prescribed for dogs that need more than a diet and exercise to reduce their weight.

7 Keys to Successfully Adopting and Living With a New Pet
By Gayle Irwin

Most of us know that warm, fuzzy feeling of seeing a puppy or kitten at play. Pet lovers all know that tug at our heartstrings when we visit a Humane Society or animal shelter and see the numerous animals looking at us sadly through their cages. We also know the quiver of our lip when we look on the Internet and view the photos and read the stories of all the pets needing new homes and looking to be placed through the hundreds of pet rescue organizations. Many of us, in turn, respond by adopting a pet or two. There is little else that lifts one's spirits than to come home from a tough day at work or school and be happily and lovingly greeted by a four-footed friend. If you are thinking of adding a pet to your home, seriously consider adopting verses buying - there are SO MANY animals in need of new, loving homes that are available through animal shelters, ASPCAs, Humane Societies, and rescue groups. Each year, nearly 5 million dogs and cats are euthanized because there are not enough homes. Be a hero - ADOPT! As you consider adopting a pet, here are seven tips to help insure you and your new pet will spend many happy years together:

1. Don't adopt on a whim - seriously think about this important decision. Consider your lifestyle: do you travel a lot or gone to work for several hours a day? Do you have children, and if so, are they younger or older? Are you really ready for the responsibility of a pet, and if so, what type of pet best fits your family situation and lifestyle? Dogs require a great deal of exercise; cats are more independent-natured, and fish don't shed or whimper when they're lonely.

2. Never give a pet as a gift! Your lifestyle may be different from the person you're thinking of gifting with a living creature and that person may not want a pet. NEVER give a puppy, kitten, dog or cat as a gift to a child and expect that child to be the pet's caretaker - things may go along smoothly for awhile, but within a few weeks or a month you as adult parent will be the one taking care of the pet - just accept that fact and if you're okay with it, then adopt a pet as a FAMILY.

3. Research! Various breeds of dogs, for example, have different personalities and needs; research the many breeds to help find the best fit for your family. Most shed, that's a fact of life, so if you or a family member has allergies, you should look at the breeds that shed the least. Cats also come in a variety of breeds and personalities; maybe one suits you better than another.

4. Consider your finances. Pets require annual medical care (vaccinations) and, like people, can develop medical issues due to genetics or accidents. For example, most cats are litterbox-trained at a young age, but later in life they can develop kidney failure and may not use the box as regularly. Medication can help keep the infection at bay, but like all prescriptions, regular medication costs money. You may consider acquiring pet insurance, but that too costs money. Remember: nothing is free, not even a "free pet"!

5. Think about the future. Are planning to have a baby in the next few years? Do you think you might be moving soon? The number one reason people give for relinquishing a pet to an animal shelter is "I'm moving". That's a lame excuse - pets can move with you just like children. It may be a bit traumatic on them at first, but they will be fine, just like people eventually adjust to a new home and neighborhood. It is more traumatic for them to be left by their family. If you are a person who would move without your pet or who would consider giving up your pet because of having a baby, it would be best for you to wait and adopt a pet after you are more settled.

6. Meet the Newbies! If you currently have pets in your house and are thinking of adding another, make sure the animals currently living in your home have opportunity to meet the new potential four-footed member on neutral ground. It is much better all-around to know the animals won't get along BEFORE bringing the newest member into the household. Most animal shelters provide visiting rooms to which you can bring your current pets in to meet their potential new companion. After you bring your new pet home, be prepared for some jealousy and minor fights as all the animals become accustomed to each other and their place in the household "pack". Sometimes this can take a few weeks or even months.

7. Train your pet! Puppies often need to be housebroken, and all dogs need to know the basic commands of sit, stay, come, and no. No pet is perfect, just as no child or adult is perfect. You may want to work with a professional trainer or take your dog to community dog obedience classes or train the pet yourself and learn a bit more right with your new furry friend! Training helps insure safety for your pet and helps your new pet more closely bond with you. Even cats can learn a few things from their human, whether they like to admit it or not! And remember: train lovingly, not harshly! Harshness and cruelty do not bond pets to people - instead, it makes animals fearful - and it's immoral! Adopting a pet is a wonderful experience, and having a pet in the house makes the dwelling a cozy, warm, and loving home. Our pets love us unconditionally, and, like children, they depend on us for care. Follow the above-mentioned tips and you and your pet will live happily ever after!

Gayle Mansfield Irwin is an author and journalist with a strong background in animal welfare, including work as an environmental and humane educator. She is the author of Sages Big Adventure: Living with Blindness (Xlibris, July 2007), an inspirational book about her blind dog which incorporates the themes of courage, overcoming challenges, and self-esteem. Visit or to learn more.

Ms. Irwin conducts speaking engagements in elementary schools and libraries with presentations on disability awareness, the pet-human bond, and respect for self and others. She has served as educator and public relations coordinator for the Bozeman, Montana Humane Society, the Casper, Wyoming Humane Society, and as education coordinator for the Grizzly Discovery Center in West Yellowstone, Montana and the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center in Casper, Wyoming. Her journalistic credentials include reporter, editor, and freelance correspondent for several newspapers in the Rocky Mountain region. Provide your child or another dog lover (yourself perhaps!) with Ms. Irwin's unique inspirational book about her blind dog!

Testimonial: I received a copy of your book yesterday and read it in one sitting. It was so touching and such a great story about Sage. I loved it! Nadine Van Alstine, Special Education Teacher and Volunteer Coordinator - English Springer Spaniel Rescue, Rocky Mountain Chapter - Colorado.

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The Best Way to Prevent Struvite Stones in Dogs
By Darlene L. Norris

It may come as a shock to you if your canine friend is diagnosed with struvite stones in dogs. Most dog owners aren't aware that dogs can even get canine bladder stones until it happens to their buddy. After reading this article, you'll understand how canine bladder stones form and how you can prevent them.

How Do Bladder Stones In Dogs Develop?

In the vast majority of the cases seen by your vet, a dog that has struvite stones has a bladder infection caused by Staphylococci bacteria. Why is this?

Time for a short biology lesson. Your dog normally excretes urea in her urine. Staph bacteria thrive on urea, so if these bacteria somehow gets into her bladder, life is good for them. Staph bacteria digest urea and produce waste products that include ammonia, which causes the urine to become alkaline. Other waste products are magnesium and phosphate.

This ammonia, along with the infection itself, irritates the bladder walls, which in turn causes the bladder cells to release a certain type of protein. Remember the magnesium, phosphate and ammonia mentioned above? These minerals crystallize around the protein molecules to form struvite stones in dogs.

It's pretty simple really; a canine bladder infection must be present for this type of bladder stones in dogs to develop.

Won't It Help To Give My Dog Something To Acidify Her Urine?

Not really. As we talked about earlier, staph bacteria give off ammonia as a waste product, which is what makes your dog's urine alkaline. If you get rid of the staph infection, you get rid of the problem causing both the alkaline urine and the struvite stones.

So Preventing Canine Bladder Infections Is The Best Way To Prevent Canine Bladder Stones?

Yes. Prevent the infection, and you prevent the stones. Is there an easy way to do this? Again, the answer is yes.

People have been using herbs like uva ursi and barberry to treat bladder problems for centuries. More recently, the homeopathic remedies Staphysagria and Cantharis have been added to the arsenal of natural treatments for urinary problems.

Now these treatments have been combined into one easy-to-use natural remedy for urinary tract infections in dogs. This product is gentle enough to be used every day to prevent bladder infections in dogs. It's very easy to give to your dog. Just sprinkle a few granules on the back of her tongue and let them dissolve.

Natural treatments for dogs are safe and effective. It's also OK to give this remedy right along with antibiotics, since it doesn't interfere with the medication in any way. You can continue the remedy after the antibiotics are gone, to support bladder health in your dog.

You need to be careful which remedy you purchase for your dog. It's extremely important that the remedy is made specifically for pets, not for people. You should only deal with a reputable company that is well-known for its long history of manufacturing only the highest-quality products for pets.

Check for testimonials from other satisfied pet owners who have used the product. This is probably the most important piece of information you need when choosing which product to buy for your best buddy.

Now that you have this information, struvite stones in dogs will never be a problem for your pup.

Darlene Norris has combined her long-time interest in natural healing with her experience working at a vet clinic to bring you her new website, Natural Pet Urinary Health. Discover how natural remedies for dogs can prevent canine bladder infections, and find the best place to buy these remedies at

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