Pet News - Pet Photos - Pet Advice

By MARY FYE - Glasgow Daily Times

“We need to talk.”

I peered over my laptop to find three sets of eyes fixated on me. Oliver, Harry and Nutmeg were here for business. It’s not often that my dogs choose to talk to me and less often that I write about it. You might, after all, think me mad.

“So, what is it guys?”

“I told you, she’s doing it already. See? I can tell that she already wants to write about us,” said Oliver. He is our cantankerous terrier and shi-tzu mix. I ignored his rude comment.

Harry, the youngest of the bunch and self-appointed peacemaker, promptly shushed Oliver. Nutmeg is quite deaf to all but the loudest sounds, so she just added her aura of wisdom to this intervention.

“Well, it’s about this commercial,” began Harry.

“Look, I already apologized about the pedicure debacle. Who knew it wouldn’t feel like a spa treatment on your toes? Forgive me, already!”

“No, it’s not about that. And most of us have forgiven you,” replied dear Harry.

“I haven’t,” barked Oliver. “You and your impulse buying from commercials is a travesty.”

Quite used to Oliver’s grumpiness and perpetual growling, I simply fired back with, “You seem to enjoy the pet stairs a great deal. And didn’t you ask me for a ShamWow for your water bowl just the other day?” Oliver sulked back, realizing his insolence.

“Anyway,” Harry continued, “all that is beside the point. The commercial I’m talking about is that one for the movie with the dog in it: ‘Marley and Me.’”

“Oh yeah! I think we might take the girls to see it on Christmas Day.” My only hesitation was that movies featuring animals tend to make me sob at the end. We’d probably end up seeing “The Spirit” instead.

The dogs conferred with one another in their silent “read my pheromones” fashion before continuing. Harry was again nominated spokesdog.

“Here’s the thing. We don’t want you to see the movie for a couple of reasons. One, it will make you cry and you don’t look so good when you cry. Two, it will make us look less entertaining.”

Oliver piped up, “Yeah! Remember after ‘My Dog Skip’? I wasn’t quite smart enough for you after that now was I?”

“Hey! I never said that!”

“You thought it.”

“Did not!”

“Did so.”

“Stop it both of you!” Nutmeg, although unable to hear, had evidently picked up on our vibes and decided we were being rude puppies. She was a sweet but sometimes crotchety lady, and at the ripe old age of 105 in dog years, was also surprisingly convincing with her sonic barks. We stopped the bickering.

“Thank you,” said Harry. “Where was I? Oh yes. Third, we’re afraid you’ll jump on this current trend of animal stories by writing about us.”

“What he’s saying,” said Oliver “is that we want you to respect us by respecting our privacy.”

“Respect you? Who has his very own water dish that has to be filled with fresh water every time a speck of dust falls in it? Who fills it for him? Hmmm?”

“Guys!” Harry was starting to lose his temper – a rare thing for a puggle. “We see how you treat your friends and family. You just wrote that scathing Christmas memory of your poor father. And I don’t think I should even mention the story you wrote about the unsavory Christmas traditions your in-laws have! People are afraid to talk around you now. We just want you to know that we do not approve. No writing about us.”

“Uh huh. No one’s afraid to talk around me. And how do you read my articles anyway? I thought you had an aversion to newspapers?”

“They’re on the Internet,” said both dogs in unison.

“Yeah, if you were smart, you would put a password on your login screen,” chimed in Oliver.

“You HUSH!” barked Harry.

I should never have let Oliver sleep on the computer table when he was a pup. A second thought hit me: “Wait just a minute! Hey, did you just take up for my father? And my in-laws?”

Harry gave a blank look and said simply, “They feed us when you’re not looking.”

Pets Left Behind
Ashley Wiehle • News-Leader

About 2,000 animals were surrendered in 2008 due to money.

Economic troubles across the country have led more families to say goodbye to their beloved pets and leave them in the care of overburdened shelters and humane societies.

At the Southwest Missouri Humane Society, the percentage of animals coming into the facility because their owners can no longer afford them is staggering.

Between 90 and 95 percent of pets dropped off by owners are given up because of financial reasons, said Bonnie Miller, executive director of the Humane Society.

That means about 2,000 animals this year were surrendered because their owners can't afford them.

"We get a lot of that where they're moving and from the way we hear the stories, it's because of financial reasons," Miller said.

Owner surrenders inspired by pocketbooks started rising in December 2007 and continued to climb through the summer months, Miller said.

She said the percentage of financial-driven dropoffs has plateaued, but the vast majority are still motivated by money.

"It has leveled out, but unfortunately, it's leveled out at a pretty high level," Miller said.

The percentage is high particularly when contrasted with previous years. About three years ago, Miller estimates only 30 percent of animals were dropped off by owners who could not afford to keep them.

Many animals coming to the Humane Society aren't neglected dogs who spent their lives in pens. They were family members who have been cared for, posed for pictures and gotten shots at the vet.

That means they are easier to adopt, Miller said, but economic strain means fewer people are willing to adopt them.

The city of Springfield has not seen an increase in owner turn-ins, said Randy Barnts, animal control supervisor for the Springfield-Greene County Animal Shelter.

"We get a lot of owner turn-ins, but we always have," Barnts said.

The Ozarks is not the only region where more people are changing animal habits and giving up family pets due to financial constraints.

An Associated Press- poll found that one in seven owners nationwide reported reduced spending on their pets during the past year's recession. Of those cutting back, more than a quarter said they have seriously considered giving up their pet.

The average annual cost to own a dog is about $1,400, while the average annual cost of a cat is about $1,000, a survey by the American Pet Products Association found. The survey suggests there are some 231 million pets -- excluding fish -- in more than 71 million U.S. homes.

Funny Pet Stories
by Michelle Rauch.

Kid’s may say the “darndest” things, but pets DO the “darndest” things!

Case in point: This Thanksgiving Brownie and I visit my dear friend Suzanne and her West Highland White Terrier, “Lady Bird.” And Yes, that is Lady Bird as in Johnson- Suzanne is originally from Texas too!
Lady Bird is just shy of her 1st birthday. She is a typical terrier in that she does things at her pace and hasn’t decided she is ready to learn commands like “sit”.

We were in the kitchen and I told my sweet 7 month old, Brownie, to sit and he did and he was rewarded with a treat. Lady Bird stood next to him and I kept telling her over and over to sit so I could give her a treat too. Brownie sat patiently next to her and finally in frustration, lifted his paw and conked her on the head! As is to say “hey! It’s not that hard, just sit and you get a treat!”

Last update Lady Bird is doing much better and learned it’s a pretty good deal.

I just learned about the amusing antic of another friends cat. Apparently this feline has a thing for answering the phone. When it rings, she jumps up and knocks the receiver off the hook! Now that is clever.

British Vets List the 10 Weirdest Items Eaten by Pets
Lindsay Barnett - Los Angeles Times

Britain's People's Dispensary for Sick Animals, a charity that provides free veterinary care to the pets of low-income Brits, has released a list of the weirdest items its vets have removed from pets' stomachs.

The top 10 items, according to the Telegraph:

1. Ten-inch tent peg
2. Christmas decoration (star-shaped)
3. Kitchen knife
4. Alphabet fridge magnets
5. Man's wig
6. Ann Summers underwear
7. Bell
8. Fishing hook
9. Socks
10. Rubber duck

So just how big a deal is it when a pet ingests a foreign object? Very big, says, which offers this advice:

Intestinal obstruction is an emergency that requires immediate veterinary attention! Make sure to give your veterinarian a complete history, especially if your pet has eaten any foreign material. Your vet will perform a physical examination and take x-rays to look for signs of obstruction. Treatment consists of abdominal surgery to remove the obstructing material and to examine the full length of the intestine. Sections of intestine that appear dead will need to be removed, with the healthy ends sewn together.

To prevent future rubber-duck-and-underwear-eating calamities, the People's Dispensary offers a handy downloadable PDF of common (and less common) indoor safety hazards and ways to protect your pet. Pet safety: It's not just for Europeans!

From the White House to Your House: Pet Sitters International Offers Tips for Selecting a New Dog


For families not set to occupy the White House, the decision to bring a new pet into the home is still one that can benefit from outside expertise. But where can everyday families turn for advice on pet-related decisions? The answer may be as close as their local pet sitter. These dedicated professionals spend a lot of time with pets and pet owners, likely more than any other professional in the pet industry.

Their familiarity with their clients' pets and families make them well-suited to offer advice on decisions such as bringing a new pet into the home.
Bringing a new pet into the home goes beyond selecting a suitable breed however
A new pet means training and housebreaking issues and families should have a plan to address these needs and what will work best for them.

King, NC (Vocus/PRWEB ) December 30, 2008 -- President-elect Obama has, perhaps, received greater scrutiny over no other plan than his much-covered search for a dog for daughters Malia and Sasha. Luckily for Obama, he has expert advice at his fingertips. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and countless national surveys have chimed in to offer opinions on the best breed to assume the role of the nation's "first dog."

For families not set to occupy the White House, the decision to bring a new pet into the home is still one that can benefit from outside expertise. But where can everyday families turn for advice on pet-related decisions? The answer may be as close as their local pet sitter.

"These dedicated professionals spend a lot of time with pets and pet owners, likely more than any other professional in the pet industry," says Patti Moran, president of Pet Sitters International (PSI). "Their familiarity with their clients' pets and families make them well-suited to offer advice on decisions such as bringing a new pet into the home."

What breed do PSI members suggest for the Obama family? The majority of respondents to PSI's survey felt that a poodle would be the ideal choice to serve as the nation's next "first dog," but members overwhelmingly urged the President-elect to consider adopting from a local shelter or rescue group. A recent AP Poll reported that 27% of pet owners who have cut back on pet expenses have also considered giving up their pets. This reinforces the need for new owners to consider adoption.

Despite the economic struggles, pet ownership is at an all-time high. With studies reporting that dogs reduce stress, combat depression and even lower the risks of high blood pressure and heart disease, there is no wonder the popularity of pets remains strong. For families looking to add their first, or a new, pet into the home, selecting a dog that is a good match for the family and other pets in the home is paramount.

Theresa Hunter, owner of McKinney, Texas-based All Creatures Great to Small Pet Sitting, often consults with families looking to introduce a new dog into their home. Hunter encourages families to closely examine their lifestyle and what they would like to be able to do with the dog, from simply having a good family pet to one that can participate in showing, agility or ability demonstrations.

"Bringing a new pet into the home goes beyond selecting a suitable breed however," explains Hunter. "A new pet means training and housebreaking issues and families should have a plan to address these needs and what will work best for them."

PSI offers these tips for families to consider before bringing a new pet into the home.

Take a close look at your family's lifestyle. Is your family very active? Or do you prefer to stay indoors? Are other pets already in the home? Whether you prefer a lap dog or a hiking companion, there's a perfect dog for you but you'll want to research a suitable breed.

Determine how much time you have to spend with a pet. Do you work long hours or travel out of town often? Be realistic about the time you can devote to a new pet and take advantage of pet care assistance. Professional pet sitters can offer daily visits, as well as vacation sits, to ensure your pet receives care and attention in your absence.

Check your budget to ensure a pet is affordable. According to the 2007-2008 American Pet Products Association National Pet Owners Survey, basic annual expenses for dog owners exceeded $1400. This total includes all pet-related expenses, including veterinary visits, pet care and food and treats.

Seek the assistance of a professional pet sitter. PSI-member pet sitters perform more than 17.4 million pet-sitting engagements annually. This first-hand experience enables them to advise you on breed selection, as well as preparing your home for the arrival of a new pet.

Current or prospective pet owners currently not using the services of a professional pet sitter can locate pet-sitting businesses in their area at

About Pet Sitters International
Established in 1994, Pet Sitters International (PSI) is the world's largest educational association for professional pet sitters, representing more than 8,000 independent professional pet-sitting businesses in the United States, Canada and abroad. PSI provides members with access to affordable bonding and liability insurance and educational resources such as PSI's Accreditation Program, The Pet Sitter's WORLD magazine and PSI's annual Quest convention. PSI provides pet owners with The Pet Owner's WORLD magazine and For more information, visit, home of the Official Pet Sitter Locator™ or visit the PSIStoreOnline to select from more than 2,000 pet sitter and pet owner products.

Contact: Beth Stultz
Phone: (336) 983-9222 ext. 323
Web site:

Cloned Pups: Similar but not Identical
By ERIC KONIGSBERG - Seattle Times

The most difficult thing about the cloned puppies is not telling them apart, but explaining why they don't look exactly alike.

FAIRFAX, Calif. — The most difficult thing about the cloned puppies is not telling them apart, but explaining why they don't look exactly alike. This was the problem Lou Hawthorne faced on a recent hike with Mira and MissyToo, two dogs whose embryos were created from the preserved, recycled and repurposed nuclear DNA of the original Missy, a border collie-husky mix who died in 2002.

To be sure, they have a very strong resemblance to each other and to Missy. It's just that sometimes, as soon as people hear that the dogs are clones, the questions start:

"Why is one dog's fur curlier?"

"Why aren't the dogs the same size?"

"Why is one of them darker?"

"Why does this one have a floppy ear?"

Hawthorne, 48, is invested in the notion of likeness. With clones, after all, what good does similar do? It is Hawthorne's biotech company, BioArts — which is based in the Bay Area but has arrangements with a laboratory in South Korea — that performed the cloning.

He also has particular reason to be sensitive to questions that touch on the authenticity of the clones, given the history of his chief geneticist, Dr. Hwang Woo-suk, of the Sooam Biotech Research Foundation in South Korea.

Hwang is perhaps best known for fraudulently reporting in 2004 that a team he led had successfully cloned human embryos and stem cells. After the false claims were unearthed, he was fired by Seoul National University, where he did his research as a professor. But he is also widely acknowledged for having been involved in successfully cloning an Afghan hound in 2005.

"Dr. Hwang's past is obviously controversial, but we feel that his lab and his record when it comes to dog cloning are the best in the field," Hawthorne said.

Elizabeth Wictum, associate director of the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory at the University of California, Davis, said that earlier this year, she and her staff had taken sets of DNA extracts from Hawthorne's puppies and compared them with stored samples of Missy's DNA and concluded the results were "consistent with clones."

"The puppies had the same nuclear DNA as Missy, and different mitochondrial DNA, which is what you get from a cloned animal," Wictum said.

4 clones of Missy

Missy 1.0 — Mira and MissyToo's "genetic donor," as Hawthorne calls her when he's speaking technically — was his mother's dog. To date, he said, there are four Missy clones running around, all born between December 2007 and June 2008. Mira lives at Hawthorne's house in Mill Valley and MissyToo between homes in Mill Valley and San Francisco, both owned by his mother's boyfriend; clones No. 3 and 4 were given to friends and live in Phoenix and Boulder, Colo., respectively. (Two others were produced but died of parvovirus as newborns.)

In July, Hawthorne held a series of online auctions, offering his services to four high bidders who agreed to pay from $130,000 to $170,000 for clones of their dogs. (To offset accusations of elitism, Hawthorne also held a search for a fifth, pro-bono client.) In the past few weeks, the first three puppies from this group were born in South Korea.

Hawthorne claims Missy's clones are the world's first commercially cloned dogs, although RNL Bio, a Korean company with which he is embroiled in a legal dispute over patent rights — and the chance to dominate the dog-cloning market — also made this claim. Between 2004 and 2006, another company Hawthorne ran cloned cats for a handful of paying customers.

Dogs are among the most difficult mammals to clone, scientists said, because their reproductive systems are highly atypical.

"An amazing dog"

When Hawthorne recalls Missy, he tends to wax eugenic. "She was an amazing dog: superior intellect, incredibly beautiful, obedient, a phenomenal temperament," he said. "I especially loved her majestic plume of a tail." In the clones, he said, "all those qualities are represented."

As for some of the discrepancies, the clones vary in size and color, Hawthorne said, primarily because they were born months apart, and none are fully grown. "The dark part of their fur starts out reddish-black and gets blacker over time," he said. "Except on the faces, which start out black and go white within the first year."

Each clone's embryo was created by joining Missy's nuclear DNA with the enucleated (which is to say, DNA-stripped) egg of a different dog. The eggs, with their new DNA from Missy, began to grow and divide. After that, each was carried to term in the uterus of still another dog, a step which, though it has no bearing on the dogs' genetic makeup, can affect such external traits as the waviness of fur and the up-or-down pointing of the ears. (It has to do with different levels of collagen.)

On his afternoon trek around Lake Lagunitas, Hawthorne did his best to explain these matters to his audience, picnicking families that sat transfixed as the two dogs he calls "clisters" — his made-up word for clone sisters — took turns chasing each other off leash.

"Can they clone coconut?" a girl asked.

"Sorry, we don't do vegetables," Hawthorne said.

A parent clarified: Coconut was the family dog's name. "Can you clone a three-year-old housebroken dog?"

Hawthorne went on gamely. "Learned behavior, no. But a lot of behavior is hereditary," he said.

Mom's not sold on her

Living with a clone, Hawthorne claims, is a lot like living with the original dog. "It's totally as if I've got Missy in my house, once you get over the 'wow' factor," he said. He, son Skye, 8, and Mira inhabit a two-story "1950s futurist house" built into a hill in Mill Valley.

And MissyToo? Hawthorne gave her to his mother, Joan Hawthorne, who still misses the original Missy. She has yet to take a liking to Missy's clone, and the dog has lived primarily with paid "handlers" in the Mill Valley pied-à-terre of her longtime companion, John Sperling, the billionaire founder of the adult-education institution University of Phoenix.

"They're not at all alike," Joan Hawthorne said of the old Missy and the new one. "In looks, they are a little bit, of course. But, I mean, the puppy is delicate and aggressive. Missy was robust and completely calm." She added, "Missy wouldn't come through my home and knock over every wineglass."

Besides, she adopted another puppy not long after Missy died. "I already have a dog — a real dog."

Seattle Times Photos of the Year, 2008
April 27 - Standing only one-hand high, Chihuahuas show a lot of spunk for their size. But even the toughest need a little nudge when the doors open and hundreds of fans are screaming at them. The 188 dogs at Petco's Seattle Chihuahua Races in Kirkland were both excited and terrified. Arriving early I sat down next to lane No. 1 at the starting line and photographed with the camera placed on the ground for an eye-level view of the action. -- Alan Berner

Ask the Vet's Pets: Teach Kitten to Cuddle Without Biting
By Dr. Lee Pickett - Reading Eagle

Berks County, PA - Dear Christopher Cat: Our 5-month-old kitten bites our hands - hard - when we hold her. How can we teach her to cuddle without biting?

Christopher Responds: Many kittens playfully bite their people, just as they would their litter mates. Less commonly, they bite to say, "Leave me alone."

If your kitten is play biting, she's got way too much energy on her paws, and you'll need to tire her out. Entice her to chase the dot from a laser pointer, bat at a feather on a toy fishing pole or retrieve a cat toy tossed across the room.

Just keep your hands far away from her when she's playing.

Even better, adopt another kitten who will roughhouse with her. The four cats in my family play hard with each other, and afterward, we're content to snuggle quietly with our humans.

Once your kitten is tuckered out, pet her gently, so she associates your hands with tenderness. Reward good behavior with praise and cat treats.

If she'd rather not sit on your lap, pet her when she's next to you on the couch.

If she begins to tense her body, twitch her tail or show other signs she's about to bite, move away before she can nip.

If these approaches don't work, seek advice from your veterinarian, who can ensure that she's healthy and free from any pain that might trigger her biting.


Dear Daisy Dog: Freud, my terrier mix, was diagnosed with anaplasmosis, a disease I've never heard of. What can you tell me about it?

Daisy Responds: Anaplasmosis was first recognized in dogs and humans in the mid-1990s, so few people know much about it.

The disease is caused by two species of Anaplasma bacteria, which are carried by ticks that transmit them to dogs, humans and other mammals.

One species causes joint pain, limping, fever, lethargy, swollen lymph nodes, loss of appetite and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea - much like Lyme disease.

These bacteria, called Anaplasma phagocytophilum, also may persist in the body without causing any significant clinical signs, producing a chronic carrier state.

The other bacterial species, Anaplasma platys, infects platelets, the blood cells that aid in clotting.

In addition to fever, lethargy and swollen lymph nodes, these bacteria cause nosebleeds, bruising and other signs of diminished clotting capacity. The bleeding problems recur cyclically, every one to two weeks.

Anaplasmosis is best prevented by controlling ticks with a topical product like Frontline Plus or K9 Advantix. No vaccine is available.

Veterinarians use a simple blood test to diagnose the disease.

Doxycycline is the antibiotic of choice for Anaplasma. It's usually quite effective, so I'm sure Freud will feel better soon.

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

Examiner Dog Found. Services Locate Missing Pets
by Michelle Critchell, DC Dog Examiner

Annabelle the puppy went missing for almost a week. She had escaped the fenced yard of Karen Harper, the Birmingham Progressive Politics Examiner. Luckily, Harper was registered with the online service AlaPet (Alabama Pet Registry) is an all volunteer, not-for-profit service that provides twenty-four hour lost and found pet recovery services. AlaPet also sponsors the nationwide site, America's National Lost & Found Pet Database, for those of us not in Alabama.

Harper started her search for Annabelle by listing her missing on the AlaPet website. She posted a photo, description, location where the dog was last seen, etc… Harper also followed Ala Pet suggestions to conduct a search.

Harper said, “They had really great advice. One of the things we did was walk all over the neighborhood every day to spread our scent around.” “The website also told us that the vast majority of missing dogs are found within one week and they are almost always found close to home,” added Harper. Almost a week after listing her dog as missing, Harper got a call from AlaPet. Annabelle had been found less than one block away!

Want a service that calls 10,000 people in your area? has been in business for a year and has helped locate 800 pets. Fees range from $125-$445 to make automated phone calls about your missing pet. 10,000 to 70,000 people receive vital statistics about the lost pet. Sound too expensive? The DC Dog Examiner spoke with Joel Moenkhoff of Tennessee who used FindToto to locate his missing dog. On December 26, while visiting relatives in Williamsburg, Virginia, Moenkhoff's dog ran away. FindToto was employed and within a day, Moenkhoff had a happy reunion with Smokey the Labrador Retriever. The neighborhood phone calls by FindToto helped lead to the missing dog.

“We started getting calls from neighbors right after we signed up with FindToto,” said Moenkhoff. “Several people told us they would not have gone up to Smokey if they had not gotten the calls."

The DC Dog Examiner used more traditional methods to locate her missing cat, Cassiday. Cassiday was lost for almost a week. At least a hundred flyers were plastered all over the neighborhood. (Tip: Put the flyers in a plastic sleeve—it is bound to rain). Local vets and the local shelters were also called. The flyers produced calls. “That cat was at our block party…” “That cat went jogging with us.”

Cassiday is now back at her job. Knocking everything off this Examiner's desk.

More Tips for Locating a Lost Pet- Check out these sites:

America's Lost and Found Database
Washington Humane Society
Washington Animal Rescue League

Three Tips That Make Setting Up Salt Water Fish Tanks Much Easier
By Darin Sewell

Setting up a new saltwater aquarium is a straight forward task as long as the tank was planned right.But like anything setting up salt water fish tanks can be made easier with some simple tips like the ones listed below.

Simple Tips To Make Setting Up a Saltwater Tank Easier

Dry Fit Your Equipment- Test fitting all of your support equipment on the tank before you fill it with water can help you identify and find any potential fitment problems that may occur. Nothing is more frustrating then finding out your new tank is to close to the wall after it is full of water.

Double Check Location- Before you start to add the water to your new saltwater aquarium sit back and make really sure where you are setting it up is where it will make you happy. While not impossible to move a tank once it is set up it is just a lot of messy time consuming work that can be avoided with a quick minute of double checking with yourself.

Avoid Cloudy Water- Whenever you fill any aquarium with water it will kick up dust from the gravel no matter how good you wash the gravel before you put it into the tank. A trick to having salt water fish tanks fill crystal clear is to take a piece of aluminum foil and cover the inside bottom of the tank.

Then fold the sides up to a height of about 2 inches to make a rectangular box, pour the water right onto the aluminum foil. As you fill it the foil will rise with the water and the gravel below will be totally protected from being disturbed by the water you are adding to the tank. The result will be in instantly crystal clear beautiful saltwater tank.

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

Article Source:

Learn to Ride a Horse - The 6 Expenses to Know Before Buying Your First Horse
By Lisa Blackstone

Parents always ask how much they should spend on a horse for their child when they learn to ride a horse. There is not one answer. It entirely depends on what you want to do. Buying a top level show horse can cost over six figures! But, when you first learn to ride a horse, you need to find an older, retired, gentle trail horse which can be found for $1,000 or so.

One important thing to know is that the initial purchase price of the horse is just the beginning. You will have ongoing, monthly expenses that you need to expect that I am listing for you here:

1. First there is board, lodging. This can range depending on what you want done. If you are willing to do the daily work, you can board a horse and pay for only the stall the horse stays in. That may run only $200 a month. You, then, would pay for the feed and bedding and YOU would perform the daily routines of cleaning and feeding your horse. Then there is full board that includes not only the stall but the cost of the feed and bedding and the manual labor to perform the daily tasks. This would be more in the neighborhood of $400-$600 per month. Remember, boarding rates are highly dependent upon the local market in your area. If you are in an area, for example where you must import your hay, it will be more expensive than if the hay is grown locally. Call around and just ask the different barns in the area what they charge and what that fee includes.

2. Lessons are an important part of the continued education of your child to learn to ride a horse. Even if your child already knows how to ride, I would advise that you continue in a lesson program. You can NEVER know it all. Having an ongoing relationship with a professional instructor can help your child avoid problems with their horse and promote safe practices in the barn.

3. Horse hooves grow at a rate that will require you to have him trimmed and reshod about every 6 to 8 weeks. Assuming he is wearing shoes, at least on the front end, this will cost between $75 and $125 dollars each time. If any corrective shoeing is required to keep your horse sound, this may be somewhat higher.

4. Routine veterinary costs will include several things. Shots are given about twice a year and a de-worming program should be in place approximately every two months. The other routine care he will need is having his teeth "floated". That means having his teeth filed so that sharp edges do not hurt him or cause him bridling problems. This is usually performed about once a year. All in all, a typical, normal, healthy horse will cost about $500 per year.

5. When you learn to ride a horse, you will want to get your own saddle that fits both the horse and your child. A good, used kids saddle can be found for a few hundred dollars, but be sure it fits. New top-end saddles can cost a few thousand dollars. But, that is certainly NOT necessary and not recommended! You will also want to purchase a bridle and two or three different bits. All together, expect to spend around $750. You should not have to buy another saddle until it is outgrown. Then, there is always another parent looking to buy a good used kids saddle for THEIR child!

6. Daily equipment will include grooming supplies, brushes, hoof picks, fly spray, ointments for small injuries, leg wraps, shampoos, supplements, blankets and sheets. Usually in a boarding barn, you will keep your things separate from others. You may want to purchase a tack trunk to keep your for your things that can be locked, so you are not hauling all this stuff out to the barn each time. Consult your trainer before buying.

There always seem to be some unexpected expense that arises. It is just part of horse ownership. Your horse gets a cut that needs stitching, he somehow gets his blanket off and chews it to shreds, or something similar. It's like having is always something!

For more information refer to or

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

Article Source:

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

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