Pet Advice and Information

How to Deal With a Barking Dog
by Brett McGill

There are few things that are more annoying than a barking dog; especially one that barks incessantly, sometimes for no apparent reason. Stopping problem barking can be a real challenge but with the right approach it is possible to quiet your barking dog and in the process, your relationship with your dog will be made stronger. Many people seem to believe that the only good dog is a quiet dog. They think that barking is only excusable if there is an intruder breaking in the window or maybe if your house is burning. But the truth is that barking is part of being a dog. It is one of a his primary ways of communicating. A healthy, well adjusted dog will sometimes bark. It is our duty to figure out what they are saying and to set the limits on their "communication".

So what might your dog be trying to tell you? There are many possible reasons for barking. Some breeds of dogs were bred to bark. Guard dogs like Rottweilers or German Shepherds, for instance. Hunting dogs like Beagles and Bloodhounds were bred to "bay" when they are following a trail. Smaller breeds, like Chihuahuas, seem to bark and put on a big show to make up for their diminutive stature.

Aside from the breed specific characteristics, there are some other reasons that any dog may bark a lot. Sometimes they are anxious or afraid because they sense that something is wrong. Or they may see someone or something near their "territory". If your dog is barking for any of these reasons, it isn’t really realistic for you to try to stop him completely: he is, after all, a dog, and it's the nature of dogs to bark at certain times and in certain situations. It may also be that he is just bored, lonely or needing attention.

But, of course, sometimes barking is excessive and unwarranted. Many dogs use their barking as a way of manipulating their owners! For example, suppose you are lying on the couch trying to read a book. Your dog awakes up from his nap and decides its play time. He picks up his favorite ball, walks over, and drops it in your face. You try to ignore him and keep reading. After a few seconds he nudges your hand with his wet nose and barks once, loudly.

When you continue reading he barks again, now louder and, when you still don't respond like he wants he barks repeatedly and won't stop. Finally, you give up trying to relax, put down your book and take him outside to play ball. Now it is important that you spend quality time playing with your dog and giving him attention, but it should be on your terms. Your dog has just used barking to get you to do what he wanted. So you have reinforced the bad behavior. Dog ownership involves mutual respect between you and your pet, but it is not about equality.

It is about you being the boss and the dog following your leadership. Dogs, in fact, are the happiest (and best behaved) when they know that you are in charge. For a dog to be calm and well adjusted they need to respect you. In the above scenario the dog was not respecting you. He wasn't asking you to play; she was manipulating you into doing what he wanted. You taught him that if he barks long enough he get his way. So, how do you stop this manipulation? Simply ignore him. Easier said than done, I know? I don't simply mean passively ignoring him, where you pay no attention and just go on with what you are doing. You must clearly communicate to him with your demeanor and body language that his behavior is unacceptable.

When he starts barking, literally turn your back on him. Get up, turn away from him and avert your eyes. Don't look at your dog or even speak to him. Initially this will confuse him because this barking dog routine always worked for him in the past. He may even start barking louder! The important thing here is consistency. Don't give in after 15 minutes and give him what he wants. That will only teach him that he needs to be really persistent. “O.K.”, he’ll think, “it takes 15 minutes of continual barking to get my way. That's alright, I'm a dog. I've got nothing better to do”. But if you stand your ground he will in time figure out that barking is not the way to get what he wants.

But how about in other situations where it isn't simply a matter of the dog bullying you to get his way? If you want to communicate to them that they are to stop barking and be quiet, the most effective thing you can do is to use your hands. No, I'm not saying hit your dog!

But I’m suggesting a perfectly humane and pain-free method of demonstrating to them that what you require right now is peace and quiet. When your dog is barking, first give him a few seconds to get it out of his system (it's kinder, and a lot more effective, to give him a brief opportunity to express himself before asking him to be quiet). After a few seconds if he doesn't calm down on his own, reach over and gently but firmly clasp his muzzle in your hand. He will try to pull away or shake you off, so grab his collar with your other hand to give you more control.

This method works for two reasons: First, it effectively stops the barking and secondly, it establishes your authority. You are showing him through direct physical action that you're a kind, but firm leader who won't put up with his unwanted behavior. Continue holding his muzzle and collar until he has stopped trying to break free: only when he calms down and stops wriggling does it mean that he has accepted your authority. When he's still, hold on for one or two more seconds and then let go and praise him for being quiet,

There are also several important things that you can to do to reduce your dog's need to bark in the first place. The number-one reason for unnecessary barking (barking that is repetitive and is directed at nothing) is nervous, energy. That is usually because they just aren’t getting enough exercise. Most dogs function best with about one and a half hours of exercise every day.

Admittedly, that can be a major time commitment for you. Of course it varies from dog to dog, depending on things like breed, age, and health. You may think that your dog is getting as plenty of exercise, or at least as much as you can afford to give them, but if his barking is accompanied by an agitated demeanor (acting aggressively, restlessness, destructive behavior) then he almost certainly needs more. The solution to this problem is simple if not always convenient: you have to exercise your dog more. Try getting up a half-hour earlier in the morning. It can make a huge difference. If that just isn't possible, consider hiring someone to walk him in the mornings and/or evenings.

If that also is impossible, then you may have to resign yourself to having a frustrated, agitated and noisy dog. The second most common cause of excessive barking is loneliness. Dogs are social animals and need a lot of attention, interaction, and communication if they are to be calm and happy. If your dog is spending a good part of his day barking at what seems to be nothing, he is probably bored and lonely and the best remedy is a healthy dose of attention and affection.

If you would like more information on unwanted behaviors being exhibited by your dog you'll probably be interested in taking a look at "Secrets to Dog Training". It's a complete, A-Z manual for responsible dog owners, and deals with recognizing, preventing, and dealing with just about every problem dog behavior.

Brett McGill has been a lifelong dog owner and currently lives in south Florida with his wife, 2 kids, one dog and a number of cats and parrots. He sells gemstones and jewelry through his website

Flying With Pets - How Can You Keep Your Pet Safe and Healthy on Airline Flights?
by Dorothy Yamich

If you have plans to fly with your pet, you are part of a growing trend that has been increasing for the last number of years. Most airlines will charge a nominal fee to allow your small pet to accompany you, if it will fit into a FAA approved pet carrier that is small enough to stow under your seat. The following important info can help you keep your pet safe, healthy, and happy on airplane flights

When booking a flight, it is a good idea to make reservations for yourself and your pet as early as possible. You must let the airline know that you want to bring your pet with you. It is very important to tell them, as they will only allow a limited number of pets on each flight. Some airlines do not allow pets at all, especially on international flights. Always confirm your flight the day before you leave on your trip. If you are traveling internationally you need to confirm your reservation seventy-two hours before you go.

Before you fly into the wide blue yonder with your furry travel companion, you need to take him or her to the veterinarian for a checkup, to make sure he or she is healthy enough to travel. You will also need to take its health certificate with you, showing that your pet is up-to-date on all its vaccinations, including rabies. Your pet must wear its current vaccination tag when traveling. As well, your pet must meet the health regulations of every country that you will be traveling to. Bring along a copy of your pet's medical records listing its allergies, chronic medical conditions, and medications.

If you haven't done this already, you should have your pet micro-chipped. That way, if your pet is lost and taken to an animal shelter or vet, where its chip can be scanned, both can be reunited. Keep in mind your pet's identification tag will have both your home address and phone number on it. That won't be of much help if your pet gets lost when you are on vacation. It may be a good idea to get another tag made up that has your destination address and phone number on it. What happens if you pet isn't found until after you've returned from your holidays? It makes sense that you should leave both your home I.D. tag on your pet as well as attaching the new tag. That way you'll have all the bases covered and stand a better chance of being reunited with your pet

You should carry a picture of you pet with you when you travel. It will help you prove that you are the pet's owner if any problems of ownership occur. Also, the picture can be used to make some flyers up to post in the area where your pet was lost.

Flying with pets that are too large to fit into a FAA approved pet carrier is not a good idea as they will be stowed in the cargo hold. Putting your pet in the cargo hold of an aircraft is very traumatic and dangerous to its health. It makes far more sense to leave your pet with a friend, or a pet sitting service while you are vacation.

The American Veterinary Medical Association does not recommend sedating or tranquilizing your pet when flying, especially dogs. Dogs regulate their body temperature when they pant, so when they are tranquilized or sedated, they may not be able to pant. If this happens, it may leave them defenseless against the fluctuation of air pressure and temperature that occurs in the cargo hold of every flight. Also, keep in mind that pets do not enjoy flying, or being locked up in a cramped kennel and left alone in a dark and desolate cargo hold. It must be very terrifying for them.

There are a lot of websites that give additional valuable information in regards to traveling with your pet. Two excellent sites are the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) at, and the Department of Agriculture at, which has a great article entitled, Traveling With Your Pet.

If you want a great travel carrier for your small pet, you may want to consider the popular, FAA approved pet carrier, Sherpa On Wheels. This Cadillac of pet carriers can be a luxurious and comfortable home for your pet while flying. It has the convenience of a front and top entry, mesh ventilation panels, recessed wheels, as well as a detachable pull handle and a shoulder strap. It is available on line at

Medications for Cat Aggression
by Doris Canova

Products containing natural calming herbs such as valerian root, chamomile and passion flower help to sooth the nervous system. Flower essence (Rescue Remedy) has been used successfully for many years to reduce anxiety.
Medication is usually only used for a few months, though in some cases it is required for more than a year. Medication adjustments may be needed to get the correct dosage. Medicines were developed to treat symptoms, in much opinion; they will sometime completely ignore the cause of the disease or problem. Prevention of a disease did not factor into this reactive approach to medicine.

We should beware of all of the medications that our veterinarian may give your cat. You will need to ask your Vet as to any reaction that could happen there are many medications that often are ineffective and may have serious side effects. Medication for your cat should be only given only when it is absolutely necessary. Instead we should try and help our animal friends with natural solutions if possible.

"Tranquility Blend" is thought to reduce physical tension and bring about a more relaxed state without impairing motor function or mental alertness. Holistic veterinarians have been using this formula in situations where nervousness or nerve dysfunction plays a negative factor in the well-being of the animal. Tranquilizers may also reduce inhibitions, in your cat which can cause pets to scratch, bite, or pee on the floor when they wouldn't normally do these things. Additionally, when using tranquilizers in many cases reduce the effectiveness of helpful behavior modification techniques such as gradually exposing a phobic animal to a feared situation or individual.

In using some of this medication you will be watching for side affects that may include Symptoms that may include increased thirst, gradual weight loss, vomiting, bad breath, mouth problems and loss of condition. Anemia can also be associated with kidney disease. There are some medications that could possibly cause your cat to develop problems and become, disoriented and then have seizures and even could eventually lead to there death.

Animals need time outdoors where they can naturally seek out herbs that will help them maintain the health of their digestive system. All carnivorous animals, including dogs and cats, will naturally induce vomiting from time to time as a cleansing process to get rid of excess bile, mucus and other impurities. Research has shown that the medications have reassuring properties of these pheromones persist even into adult age.

About the Author
We plan to post articles that are informative and helpful to other cat lovers. Having been "owned" by cat for years, we know they can be demanding, but also be very entertaining and fun. Please visit our site for a wide array of products that will make "His Majesty" very happy - Best House Cat Care, or our blog for more information - Best House Cat Care.

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Looking to Buy a Horse? Here are a Few Tips
by Art Gib

Buying a horse is like finding a best friend. The first one you look at may not be the right one for you. Horses are beautiful creatures with their own personalities. Some like to run as much as they can. Some are jittery, nervous creatures that like to prance all day long. Others are gentle, good with kids, and calm in hectic situations.

You want to find a horse that matches your personality, the horse that feels like an extension of yourself. There are plenty of good places to look, such as the internet and horse classifieds. No matter where you're looking, there are a few guidelines you should follow when making your decision.

First off, remember that not everybody selling a horse is an honest seller, so make sure you ask the seller plenty of questions regarding the history of the horse, the age, how he is with people, loading into trailers, and the Ferrier. See if the owner has contact information for people that have worked with the horse, such as trainers and veterinarians. These people can give you a second opinion if you need it. If you don't know much about horses than take a friend or acquaintance with you that does know. He will be invaluable to you.

When you go to see the horse look at it from a distance and see if it looks healthy standing there and how it holds itself. Is its head held high and proud, or slumped over, as if aged or in pain? Does it look good to you? If so, keep going. One you are near the horse, ask the seller to show you its hooves, its hair, the inside of its mouth.

You want to make sure everything looks good, but you also want to see how the horse reacts to the touch of the owner. Does he shy away from it? Does he panic when he touches him in certain areas, or is he calm no matter where he touches him? Watch for his reaction. You want to know what he'll do before you buy him, not after.

And last, after you and the owner check him out and make sure everything looks good physically, walk him around and see how he handles the movement. Does he limp? Does anything seem out of place? If not, great. Now you can ride him. Definitely ride him before you buy him. You want to know how he feels beneath you and how he reacts to a stranger, you, on top of him.

If, after all that evaluation, you aren't satisfied with the horse, walk away. Keep looking until you do find one. The moment you decide he's not for you, whether it's at the beginning of the evaluation or the end, is the moment to leave. You'll find your horse. Just keep shopping in the horse classified, online, or wherever. When you finally buy a horse, you'll be sure to be thrilled with the purchase.

About the Author
Charmayne Horse Match ( has Horse Classifieds. Art Gib is a freelance writer.

Getting The Right Lighting And Plants For Your Aquarium
by Jeffrey Seymour

Aquarium plants are as important to aquariums as water is to fish. Aquarium plants add more life to aquarium and make it to look beautiful while completing the aquarium community structure.
The most important thing to bear in mind with plants is to form an attractive background, leaving ample space so the fish can swim undisturbed and be seen. The tall, grassy type is best planted at intervals in rows, while the feathery ones look better when they are bunched into small clumps, which makes them to appear like branching bushes.

When planting rooted plants, hold the tips of the bunch of roots between the thumb and second finger and rest them on the sand. Now with the first finger push the upper part of the roots (where they join the stem) about 2cm into the sand. Without moving this finger scrape with the thumb and second finger some sand over any uncovered portion of the root.

When putting in rootless plants in bunches, the method explained above is repeated, but this time the lower ends of the stems are placed together and treated exactly as if they were roots.

It is important that the water surface should be right up to the lower edge of the top angle iron of the tank, so that looking from the front the water surface can not be seen and the viewer gets the impression that there is no water in the aquarium. If the level is allowed to fall below the top angle iron the tank looks like a container holding water.

Aquarium Lighting is also important for aquarium plants

This depends greatly on whether you intend to successfully grow plants or not. Lack of light causes colorful fish to fade and clanch-reds to pink, green to white. The two main methods of lighting aquarium are by the INCADESCENT and FLOURESCENT.

The total amount of light required is a matter of trial and error. Too much light will turn the water green; too little will stunt plant growth.

The lighting can be natural or artificial or a combination of both. The best position is near a north facing window. This should provide the ideal amount of indirect lights which an be supplemented by artificial light.

The lighting should be housed in wood constructed stylishly with the furniture and placed above the tank. if there is no natural day light, the lights should be left on for approximately eight hours per day.

If the water turns green, you cut down on the light.

The best light for showing off an aquarium comes from behind.

About the Author
For tips on fertilizing lawn and lawn weeds, visit the Lawn Tips website.

Is Mold In Your Home Making Your Pet Sick
by Aydan Corkern

If you have a sneezing, cranky pet, do you realize that this pet could be having the same reactions to the mold you might have in your home? Sometimes you do not even know that there is mold in the home until these reactions show up in people or pets. Sometimes it will happen to some of you or your pets faster than others. As most of you treat your pets like your children, when they become sick you have to take them to their doctor. These professionals will be able to treat your pet with kid gloves.

As your pet can get some of the same types of illnesses as you, it is very important that you take your pet to his veterinarian for regular checkups. Did you know that your pet can get a foot fungus that is almost like our athletics feet? Have you seen your dog try to rub his eyes or hear him sneeze? If you have mold in your home your pet might find it first. If you have older carpets in your home and your pet were to put his nose down in the carpet and then sneeze if might mean that some of this stuff went up this nose. If he keeps this up this might mean that the mold could be really heavy and you will need to have this taken care of right away.

If and when you bring in professionals to clean these carpets with allergens and possibly mold, you will need to take your pet to his veterinarian so that he can help your pet get rid of his problem. When you have the cleaning company look for mold in the carpets, you might want them to take a look at your whole home to see if you might have this nasty stuff anywhere else. As you could have this stuff in your walls or under your floors, you might have to have some other professionals come into your home to help with the removal of this also. If this mold is left to grow it could become dangerous to your health and the health of the whole family as well as your pets.

You will need to do whatever you can do to keep this mold from invading your home by whatever means you can. You will need to do checks on your roofs and around your chimney to make sure that you have no holes or loose shingles. As these places will allow rain water to seep into the underneath beams of your roof and then the mold will set in next. Check plumbing parts frequently for leaks and note whether or not you have excessive moisture in the air of your home. This mold will keep growing and eventually it will get down into the rest of this home affecting you and also your pets.

About the Author
Aydan Corkern is a writer and you can visit his websites for more information on document drying and water damage boston.

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What's Your Pet Personality?
By Pierre St. La Croix

Potential pet owners spend countless hours researching the ins and outs of owning certain types of pets, trying to figure out which furry friend is perfect for them. Do you want a friendly feline to cozy up to after a long day of work, an energetic canine to keep you on your toes or a cheerful budgie to help you ring in the morning?

It's not easy trying to determine your pet personality; luckily, we're here to help. Choose the personality type below that best matches your own and see the corresponding description to find out which pet is perfect for you.

Personality Type: Outdoorsy, Active, Outgoing, Passionate, Loud

Perfect Pet: Dog. Dogs are the ideal pet for someone with a lot of energy and passionate. Choosing a dog for a pet means constant care - including long walks at least once a day. Your outgoing personality and passion for life will mesh well with a canine companion because you both need attention and you'll get it from one another. Unfortunately, with your personality, any other type of pet will likely leave you bored and disinterested.

Personality Type: Quiet, Home-Body, Introverted, Artsy, Quiet

Perfect Pet: Cat. If you're the type of person who likes to sit at home and cozy up with a glass of wine and a nice book, a cat will definitely be a good match for you. While a cat still requires care, felines are much easier to take care of compared to most other pets, but will still provide you with the companionship you're looking for in a pet. A dog will be too much work for what you're looking for - and a bird or fish won't satisfy your interests.

Personality Type: On-the-Go, Busy, Workaholic

Perfect Pet: Bird or Fish. Your personality type indicates that you have barely enough time to get yourself dressed in the morning and fix yourself a meal at night - let alone take care of another living thing. But, if you insist on having a pet, a bird or fish is definitely ideal. These pets don't require quite as much work as cats and dogs and can amuse themselves for a significant amount of time. They don't need to be walked or groomed like cats and dogs and have a more relaxed feeding schedule (we're guessing you're away on business quite a bit). But remember, if you've made a commitment to have a pet, it's your responsibility to make sure it has a fun living environment. Just because you're busy doesn't mean it's okay to neglect your pets - after all, they have feelings too.

Pierre St. La Croix is very concerned about proper pet care. He takes his pets to the veterinarians on a regular basis.

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Pet Hair and You - 5 Surprising Facts About Pet Hair
By Debbie Davis

If you have a warm-blooded and hairy pet you have pet hair. And chances are you have a lot of it. And even if you are don't own a pet; you may still be dealing with it in your home or office. Here are 5 facts that will surprise you about pet hair.

Pet hair is not usually an allergen. Even so, you are well advised to try to reduce the amount that you are exposed to particularly if you have allergies or asthma. It can and does attract other allergens such as pollen, mold and mildew spores, dust, dust mites, and pet dander that are so often triggers for allergic reactions. But, it is actually the protein in dander, saliva, and pet urine that is the inflammatory trigger. And whereas hair can easily be seen, dander is invisible with the human eye.

You may have it in your home or office even if you don't own a pet. Because pet hair travels easily on clothes, back packs, and is able to stick to upholstery, window treatments, and carpets, it has been found in schools, offices, churches, and homes where pets have never inhabited. And if the hair is there, it is likely that dander and other pollutants have also attached to it making it possible for it to exacerbate chronic respiratory conditions.

The thickness and length of the pet's hair is not related to allergen production. It is natural to assume that a pet with thicker, longer hair will produce more allergens than one with less hair that is shorter and thinner. This however is an erroneous assumption. Dander, which is the allergen that so many are allergic to, is produced based on the genetic makeup of each individual pet and is hard to accurately predict because even within the same species it will differ from one animal to another.

There are breeds that shed less hair. If you have serious allergies or asthma, rethink getting a pet with hair because getting one and then realizing you cannot keep it means heartbreak for all. And turning an animal into a shelter can often mean euthanasia for an otherwise healthy pet. With that said, there are breeds that do not shed. The Puli, Poodle, and Komondor are dogs that do not shed, and the Spyhnx cat is hairless. But choosing one of these breeds simply means you have reduced the hair rather than the amount of dander. And all warm blooded animals produce dander. If you really want to eliminate hair completely, fish are a good bet.

Bathing your pet will reduce the amount of hair able to go airborne. Check with your veterinarian for help with choosing safe products and deciding on frequency of baths for your pet as requirements for healthy skin care vary greatly, not only from one breed to the other, but between species as well.

An excellent HEPA air purifier to remove pet hair and dander from your air is offered by the Pet Dander Purifier See it now at

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Rabbits As Pets - Essential Know How
By Dl Hoh

Rabbits may soon be even more popular than cats or dogs as pets. Before you decided to take a rabbit as pet, there are many things that you should know. This article is a beginner's guide to those who are thinking of getting bunnies as pets.

The average life span of a rabbit is 9 years old. This should be taken into consideration if you are thinking of keeping rabbits as pet.

A bunny may be kept in a hutch or a cage. The best cage are those with wire floor and a pull out tray. Choose a cage that is at least four times the size of the bunny. The cage should be cleaned daily.

Many owners who have rabbits as pets are not even aware about this, but your pet may be litter-box trained. Rabbit's droppings should be inspected daily for any irregularity in shape and size as this can be the first sign that they are sick.

A pet bunny's diet can be made of commercially produced pellets, hay, greens and fruits. Younger bunnies less than 7 months old should be fed with pellets and alfalfa hay. Adequate fresh water is a must.

Rabbits will constantly groom themselves. Keeping them indoor will also means that you need to do vacuuming more often. Family with members who are allergic to fur may not be suitable to keep rabbits as pet.

Rabbits reproduce few times a year and therefore should be neutered or spayed. Neutering or spaying also helps prevent development of cancer in female rabbits and eliminate aggressive behaviour in male rabbits. It is easier to house train neutered and spayed rabbits.

When your pet rabbits get sick, they should be immediately brought to a savvy vet to be treated. Rabbits sometimes can't resist on chewing on furniture and electrical cables. Therefore, bunny proofing the house is important for their safety and to prevent damages. Adult rabbits tend to be more disciplined.

Pet rabbits love toys even though they may get bored easily with the toys Your rabbits will sleep through most of the daytime. This may suits working adults most as your rabbits will be active when you are at home.

The fact that more and more people keep rabbits as pet show that they are adorable pet to keep. Do not leave children to care for the rabbits by themselves as they may not know how to handle rabbits as pet

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The Best Exotic Pets
By Troy Foote

The term "exotic pets" leads many people to think of expensive, hard to manage and maintain animals that try hard to escape and want only to eat your family. This is not necessarily true; the category encompasses a whole lot of much smaller, and family friendly pets. Cats and dogs are nice family pets, but are not always a real viable option. Apartment dwellers might find it easier to keep a small, exotic pet, and in fact, in some buildings certain types may be the only ones allowable.

Some of the best exotic pets and ones that are popular for children are some of the simplest to care for. Look for the animals that are most child friendly, which would rule out any potentially poisonous, feistier than average or Houdini-esque pets. Keep to the ones that have at least a modicum of the cute factor to them, and always keep in mind that you are going to potentially be adopting this animal in a few weeks.

One of the best exotic pets is a Hamster, especially for an older child, as long as the child is capable of dealing with some simple rules. A quiet, gentle child will find a hamster becomes fairly easy to handle with regular handling and they rarely bite unless frightened. Hamsters are also fairly inexpensive, needing only a basic cage, some clean fresh bedding and an easy to find diet. They do require Vitamin C because they are prone to scurvy, but can get that from the same fresh fruits and vegetables that your family is already eating.

Other rodents are fairly good choices as starter pets, but each have their own benefits and drawbacks to consider. Rats might creep out some family members, but are remarkably intelligent and have been known to bond with their human keepers with consistent, gentle handling. Some rodents are best kept in a pair, while others are better kept as single pets, so make sure you know which is which.

If buying a rodent for a pet is just more than you can really handle, there are other exotic pet options that are still small and relatively easy to care for. Smaller birds like the finch and parakeet are very good starter animals, although are a lot more fragile than the rodent groups. Birds are best left for the older child. Another option is lizards and snakes. Some are kind of hard to maintain and need a lot of work to care for. Remember, the larger the reptile or amphibian, the larger the cage and the more intensive the "zoo-keeping." Keep in mind the snake's diet before you allow him to slither home with you.

Finally, if you truly want a low maintenance, nearly hands off pet, consider the hermit crab or the Madagascar hissing cockroach. Neither really needs a lot of human interaction, both only need a small space and will not pout if their keepers ignore them for days on end. Whatever choice you make for the best exotic pet, proper care and handling is essential. Learn how to properly care for your exotic pet before bringing it home.

If you do your research a head of time your exotic pet will live a long and happy life.

Written by Troy Foote. Pet advocate and owner of Pamper Pet Care Your online resource for pet health care and nutrition.

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Proper Turtle Care
By Matthew Kepnes

Like most amphibians and reptiles, turtles are an exotically, fascinating species that many folks raise as pets owing to their 'novelty factor' and the fact that they need little "love" and attention. If you have large furry animals as pets, the pertaining to their care in terms of immunization, shots, operation and expensive accessories like dog houses, toys and grooming products is an inevitable expenditure and costly. By contrast, turtle care isn't as time consuming, expensive, and complicated provided they too are looked after with utmost care in regards to their diet, habitat arrangements and treatment to ensure a healthy and long life.

To keep your pet turtles safe, secure, and comfortable, you have to undertake a few measures like providing ample of room space to survive in, appropriate lighting, clean water and a basking lamp. If you want to keep your pet turtle free from any disease or infection, three rules of the thumb must be regularly administered: proper temperature in the aquarium, good water quality and regulated feeding habits. Your turtle's aquarium must be filled 2/3rd with water for swimming purposes and the remainder 1/3rd should be spared for basking reasons that is inculcated by bringing in a full spectrum ultra-violet light source.

To ensure longevity and reduce the infections your turtle can get, it is very important to keep the water in the aquarium very clean and devoid of any contaminants with may be an aquarium filtration system. Algae can easy grow on a turtles shell. A strict regime must be followed when it comes to thoroughly cleaning the interiors as well as the exteriors of the aquarium. The very minimum is once a month but twice a month is much better.

When feeding your turtle, carry it out in another small holding tank, away from its normal enclosure as uneaten food and leftovers will invite disease causing microorganisms. If you are concerned about your turtles hygiene, rinse it's shell with slightly warm water after each feed. Make sure he is only feed proper turtle food.

Turtle care is a job for responsible adults. If not cleaned often and taken care of diligently, turtles emit a foul smell that can get unbearable. Avoid using tap water to fill your turtle's tank because tap water generally harbors chemicals like fluoride and chlorine which can cause the pH balance to go haywire. For swimming purposes, dechlorinated water must be utilized and filtered water for drinking.

Turtles are certainly interesting pets to raise, simply watch and interact with. They bring along a lot of selfless excitement and enjoyment for you and your family and in return expect a stable home and loads of love. However, it is important to care for them properly otherwise they will get sick and die. Without proper care, turtle shells will get bacterial infections. Be sure to take care of all the needs of your turtles.

Matt is the owner of many pet turtles and has been taking care of them for many years now. You can read more about turtle care and turtle tanks at his website on taking care of turtles.

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Protect Your Pet by Preventing Parvo

It was just two years ago that a major Parvo outbreak at the Lied Animal Shelter killed dozens of dogs. Now, valley vets are warning pet owners about the deadly virus since cases typically increase during springtime. News 3's Dan Ball explains what Parvo is and how you can protect your four-legged friend.

Kathi Milley's 18-week-old Doberman, Zora, is recovering from Parvo. Like many dog owners, Kathi didn't know what to look for.

"Later in the day, her eyes started rolling back in her head. I was heart broken. I didn't know if she was going to survive. Initially, I thought I would have to put her down. I had no idea what it was like. I've never had a dog with Parvo before."

Dr. Debbie White, owner of the Lone Mountain Animal Shelter, treats the highly contagious Parvo disease, which attacks a dog's digestive system.

"It's a virus that's passed in their fecal matter, so they actually pass it from dog to dog. And we can inadvertently pass it along as well, with our movements or wild animals and birds in our yard."

Parvo is typically seen in puppies and dogs that have not yet been vaccinated.

"The very early signs with Parvo are loss of appetite, a general lethargy, or inactivity. And it will be followed by vomiting, diarrhea, and sometimes bloody-looking diarrhea."

Dr. White says certain breeds are more likely to contract Parvo, such as Dobermans and Pit Bulls. She says she sees more cases during the spring and fall when dog owners are more active outdoors.

"(The) prevention of Parvo is very simple: We need to have our pets vaccinated. And it's important to follow protocol, so one vaccine isn't enough. You need work with your vet and follow through with a full series."

The disease can be fatal if it's not treated right away.

"We'll hospitalize pets - they'll be on IVs, antibiotics, vomiting medicine, and (we'll) mostly support them and keep them from getting dehydrated further while they're battling that disease. So there really isn't a cure for it."

After her scare with Zora, Kathi has advice for other dog lovers.

"I think that would be the most important thing - as soon as you see something wrong...take her in right away and have her looked at."

The best prevention against Parvo is vaccinations. If you think your dog has Parvo, go to the vet immediately. Just a few hours could mean the difference between life and death for your dog.

Project Runway's Collins Throws Cat at Fiance'
Teri Webster - Pet Examiner

Project Runway designer Kenley Collins had a cat fight with her fiance' -- literally.

During the spat, Collins threw her cat on musician fiance' Zak Penley, 27. She also threw water on him, hit him with lap top and threw three apples at him. Collins, 26, was charged with assault and criminal possession of a weapon, the New York Post reported.

On Wednesday, she was released without bail from Brooklyn Supreme Court without bail.

A Season 6 finalist, Collins is known for her flighty attitude and screeching voice.

"Zak blew this out of proportion in the police report," Kenley said. "It was a break-up that went badly. He got what he wanted. I broke up with him. I just thought that we weren't ready to get married."

Police escorted Collins as she returned to the apartment to get her belongings.

The couple were planning to get married in October. But they had been heard fighting for weeks by neighbors near the Herbert Street apartment.


Source: New York Post

A hunter drags away his dog from a wolf that was killed in a forest near the Belarussian village of Ratsevo, east of Minsk, March 21, 2009. Hunting wolves in Belarus is legal the whole year. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko

5 Tips for Finding a Lost Pet
Sharon Harleigh - LA Pets Examiner

Last week, I was walking Angel and found a dog who had apparently escaped from his home. He was clean, groomed, and well mannered, but had no collar or tag on him. Three of us stood there with our dogs, trying to figure out what to do. Several neighbors came out to see what was going on, but none of them recognized him as a neighborhood pet. Eventually, we found his owner, but this experience got me thinking - what would I do if I lost either my cat or my dog? Would I know what steps to take, or just become hysterical?

In the event your pet becomes lost, here are some steps to take:

1) Inspect your property thoroughly before panicking - pets can hide in the strangest places, and before you take the following steps, make sure Meowkins isn't just hiding in a shoe or behind a box in your closet.

2) Walk the neighborhood, and call the pet's name - this seems obvious, but pets do respond to their owner's voice, and may come running when you call.

3) Bring your pet's favorite squeaky toy with you while you walk the neighborhood - my dog comes running, even out of a sound sleep, when I squeak her favorite toy. My cat comes running when I pull out his favorite toy covered with catnip. Different things work for different pets.

4) Be sure to talk to everyone you see on the street - and have a picture of your pet with you - kids and mail carriers are great sources of information for finding a stray pet.

5) Visit your local Animal Control, and vet's office - again, bring pictures of your pet! Usually these locations will allow you to put up flyers asking for help finding your pet. Sometimes, Good Samaritans who find a lost pet will drop it off at the nearest vet's office instead of Animal Control out of concern for the pet's wellbeing

Remember: Once your pet has been safely found, thank everyone who helped you! Gratitude is in short supply and a thank you goes a long way.

To prevent loss of a pet... remember to microchip your pet, and have tags with current information/phone number. I know some folks feel microchipping is questionable, but my cat won't wear a collar (he's strictly indoor) so in the event of an emergency, that microchip will be the only way I am able to find him. My dog has both a microchip (put in at the shelter before I adopted her) and current tags. Take all the precautions you need to.... because there's nothing worse than losing your best friend and companion!

For more info:

Choosing the Right Dog for Your Family
Amy Yard - Pittsburgh Examiner

Are your children clamoring for a new puppy?

Dogs can be a wonderful addition to your family, but it takes some advance research and personal consideration in choosing the right breed for your family and your family's current living environment and lifestyle.

According to, here are some tips on choosing the right breed for your family.

1. Consult a veterinarian. They'll provide beneficial advice on a specific breed's behavior and temperament in addition to any medical problems that are common. A vet's opinion is unbiased. He or she will want the best for you and your new dog so their advice will be straightforward as opposed to that of a breeder, who is selling a particular breed.

2. Consider your daily routine. Are you or someone else home often enough to care for a dog? If not, consider adopting a more independent pet, such as a cat.

3. Think about your family. Do you have young kids in the house? If so, be sure to choose a breed that generally gets along well with children. (See the quiz below to figure out which breed suits your family.)

4. Evaluate your living environment. Is it rural or urban? Is it an apartment or a house? A small breed dog like a Chihuahua may love your one-bedroom apartment, but larger breeds like Labradors and retrievers need more room to roam. And plenty of exercise!

5. Supplement the information you receive from a veterinarian with further study about different breeds. Check the pet section of your local library, and talk to other dog owners. They can provide first-hand invaluable advice about their dogs.

6. Decide whether you want a purebred or a mixed-breed dog. If you want to show or breed your dog, then a purebred is for you. If not, keep in mind that mixed-breed dogs are just as loyal and lovable.

7. Decide whether you want a puppy or an adult dog. Many wonderful puppies and adult dogs have been abandoned or given up to animal shelters or breed rescue groups. By adopting a pet from one of these sources, you will be saving a life.

8. Ask the seller to tell you about particular habits or personality traits the dog exhibits. Pick their brains about the best ways to train and bond with that type of dog.

9. Ask the seller about the parents of the puppies when visiting a purebred litter. Be sure that each parent belongs to an entirely different family and has been screened for common genetic or inheritable diseases.

For more info: Not sure which breed is best for your family? Take this quiz...

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Hitting the Nail on the Head; Short Nails for Canine and Human
Sharon Sakson - Pet Life Examiner

The new canine nail grinders are a great relief to my dogs. Nail clipping time is always stressful in my house. As soon as I get out the nail clippers, you see ten tails as all the canines try to dive behind the refrigerator, completely forgetting that they have not fit back there since they were five weeks old.
They start moaning and groaning even before the clipper touches their toe, which made me think they are anticipating that it will hurt a lot more than it does. I have an old Dremel drill, which I use sometimes, but it makes a loud noise they don’t like, either.

My friend Loretta told me about the new nail grinders at her grooming shop, All God’s Creatures in Bristol, PA. She showed me how to use a cordless, battery powered, lightweight grinder. My Whippet looked slightly unsure, but when she touched the grinder to his nail, he did not even jump. To my surprise, none of my dogs minded having their nails done with this new tool.

Loretta has a special way of grinding a nail – side, side, and then center. This works very nicely to keep the nail short without canine pain, a welcome development.

On to a story of human nails. My Whippet puppy, Scout, was enjoying a scratch behind the ears from my left hand while I used my right hand to tap through pages on the Internet. He turned around playfully and without meaning to, cracked the nail on my index finger – possibly his way of telling me it was too long.

We were in Kentucky at the time, far from our home in New Jersey. Next morning, I made an emergency stop at a Louisville nail salon to get it fixed. The owner was a fashion-savvy Mexican-American transplant from Los Angeles. He moved to Louisville to escape the high prices and high taxes of his California. “My rent here is $1200 a month,” he told me. “It would be three times as much in LA.”

He wasn’t happy with my staid, conservative nails and kept exclaiming, “You have to have tips!” He showed me boxes of plastic tips in every color; purple, green, blue, red, orange. “For you I would recommend white,” he said. I thought, I don’t look enough like a corpse as it is?

He talked me into dark pink tips, squared off across the top. He was so enthusiastic that I liked them while I was in the shop but hated them when I got back to the dog show. Here I am now trying to type this report and my square tipped fingers keep hitting the wrong keys. Go for “l” and you get “o.” Go for “o” and you get “8.” I finally figure out how to use the fat part of my finger to type and keep the nails out of the way, which is a good thing because they don’t let you turn these blogs in written by hand on paper napkins.

Here’s what these squared off nails have to do with pet life – they’re tough! Care of pets is a dirty job. I spend a lot of my day picking up the puppies’ newspapers, pooper-scooping the yard, shaking out dog beds, popping open cans of dog food, mixing kibble with canned meat, brushing coats, cleaning grooming tools, pitching hay, carrying buckets. Those activities are hard on nails, so I usually keep mine pretty short. Even so, they suffer from wear and break and are constantly in bad shape.

But the squared nails have proven to be much tougher. After 10 days, I have had no breaks and no splinters. This sets a new record for me with a manicure. I checked with friends who are a lot more nail-conscious than I am and they agreed. Squared-off nails are a pet owner’s best bet against the work of a pet-filled day.

Oh, Baby: Sloth A Surprise For Pet Store Owner
By CHRIS URSO and RAY REYES - The Tampa Tribune

DUNEDIN - When Larry Lipke welcomed a baby into the world this weekend, he counted toes to make sure the newborn was healthy.



Pretty healthy—considering the newborn is a two-toed sloth.

Lipke, the owner of the Pet Safari store in Dunedin, discovered the baby sloth Sunday when two customers mentioned it. The two young girls told Pet Safari employees that they liked the baby sloth because it was so cute.

"We were pretty surprised," Lipke said, because he didn't know his adult sloths were a breeding pair.

Pet Safari has three adult sloths rescued from a rainforest in Guyana, South America. The animals are not for sale. The store uses the sloths for educational purposes and for raising awareness on deforestation, Lipke said.

Two-toed sloths are not an endangered species, unlike their counterparts, the three-toed sloth, according to the National Geographic Society. There are no restrictions on keeping two-toed sloths as pets, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Sloths, which grow to be about 18 pounds, are the world's slowest mammal. The animals spend most of their lives hanging from trees, and young sloths generally spend their first five weeks of life clinging to their mother.

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Travel, Your Pet & You
by deb walsh

I love traveling and I love my dog. Sometimes the two just do not go hand in hand, but I do try to take him with us every chance I get. Before we take off I do have a checklist that I go through so as to make sure our trip is a good one.
First, I make sure that I have a copy of his rabies certification. I have never had to produce it, but it is nice to know that I have it on hand in case of an emergency. I also go on the internet and look up locations of vet or emergency services in the area of our destination. Pets are like kids only with 4 legs instead of 2, one never knows when they will become sick or have an accident.

Second on my list is checking hotels in the area for their pet policies. The guilt one feels for having to leave a cherished member of the family sleeping in the car can cause a night of restless sleep, take it from one who knows.

Next on the list is car prep. We have leather seats in our car and nothing scares me more than having his claws rip the leather, so I have purchased a seat cover for the back seat and a pet barrier for between the front seats. He can put his head over the seat to nudge when he needs something, even if it is just a little attention, but keeps him in the back when we have to stop the car. Dogs, like kids, should be restrained while traveling in the car for their safety and yours. We also open the windows a little for fresh air, but never enough to allow him to put his head out the window. Sure, he loves to do that, everyone loves to do it! I remember doing it when I was a kid, the feel of the wind blowing through my hair, until that dang bug hit me in the face.

Dog supplies come next. I pack a backpack of dog supplies. One or two of his favorite toys, his brush, bag of snacks and his favorite dog food. I keep a jug of fresh water in the back of the car for a quick drink if he needs one. He has his leash, collar and favorite bandana. His collar has his ID on it. When he was a pup we had the microchip inserted, if you do not want to go that route they now have gps locators on collars, which I think is a great idea. Although, I do not think our dog would ever take off, you never know what could grab their attention and have them bolt away from you. I seriously thought about purchasing one for each of the kids.

After several hours in the car and countless Are we there yet?s, I swear the dog can say it, we arrive at our destination. I have found that the best thing to do is to find a location where they can all run loose. Some of the places where we have stayed had tennis courts, which is perfect because they are usually fenced in and the dog can be let off his leash. Some have a court area and others have parks nearby. Even just an empty field can make a great ball field.

During our stay if we have plans to visit attractions where our dog is not allowed I check with the front desk to see if they have a kennel or run available so he does not have to stay cooped up in the room all day. If not, I check to see if there is a doggy daycare nearby or perhaps someone on staff that would be willing to take him out for a walk. This should be a trip that he also enjoys. What fun would it be for him if he had nothing to tell his buds about when we get home?

Life experiences have taught me that traveling with a pet is no different than traveling with a child. But it has also taught me that it can be a rewarding experience for both of us.

About the Author
Deb enjoys writing articles for AZ Cargo Accessories. AZ Cargo Accessories offers competitive prices on cargo carriers, bike carriers, pet barriers, strollers & ramps,and truck tents. One of her other sites is Understanding Your Diabetes, a site dedicated to help diabetics understand their disease.

Tips For Training A Rescued Dog
by Stefan Hyross

Training a dog requires many hours of dedication and patience. A rescued dog will require double the patience and dedication to achieve the desired results. It's a lot of work, but in the end it will be worth the effort.

Unplanned litters continue to be common even though the practice of spaying and neutering has been around for decades. As a result of this there are just not enough homes for all of the puppies that are born. And if you combine this with dogs that are lost or have runaway, the animal shelters are spilling over. The sad truth is that a large number of these dogs end up euthanized.

Some of the lucky ones will get a second chance. They are either found on the street or adopted from a shelter and brought home to compassionate and caring family willing to give them a better life. The new owners, however, are often not quite sure how best to deal with the rescued dog.

Rescued dogs are often in poor shape when they are brought in to a shelter. They often have a history of abuse or neglect and sometimes lived in horrendous conditions. Other times, for a number of different reasons, these dogs were released into the wild to fend for themselves.

In nature a dog is a pack animal. Because of this dogs that are in the wild usually do not do well in isolation. Released domesticated dogs do very poorly in the wild, without any animal or human interaction. Dogs such as these can still learn to be less fearful with proper training.

A rescued dog will need a full examination by a vet as the first step in the rehabilitation process. A dog will not be able to respond positively to any training if it is in pain or sick. Take the time to restore the dog's health and bring it back to a healthy weight.

If possible try to get any information regarding the dog's history. Knowledge of past abuse, general temperament, or medical history will help you as your train the dog.

It is important to establish trust with a rescued dog slowly. Do not force yourself on the dog. They will need to learn that they can trust you before they seek you out. The use of treats is a good way to build trust. Place a treat on the floor and back away a few steps. Avoid direct eye contact. It is important to praise them once they take the treat.

A few dogs that are rescued look for physical interaction from the beginning. Some can take weeks or more. But once you have established it, try to roll the dog over onto his back and place your hand on their chest. Dogs that tend to be aggressive may resist but a passive, fearful dog may accept . Neither aggression nor fear is good. An aggressive dog would be forced into submission under normal training. This will not work with a rescued dog. Take your time and establish trust. Make sure that a fearful dog understands that being on its back is not a punishment by given it a belly rub and talking in a calm voice.

Be patient as it is often difficult and slow to train a rescued dog. They are often older dogs, mixed, and with difficult temperaments which makes training more challenging. Don't give up. The dog will reward you for your perseverance.

Avoid at all cost feeling sorry for the dog. This is counter-productive and will only hinder the training. Be patient, loving and understanding but don't let the dog have the run of the house. By letting the dog know that you are in charge you are establishing yourself as the pack leader.

It's a lot of sweet and hard work but you will have a companion for life.

About the Author
Stefan Hyross writes and provides information about dogs and puppies. Learn about dog behavior problems and how to solve them. Also visit the site for tips on puppy potty training and other lessons for dogs.

Tropical Fish Tanks That Delight The Viewer
by Joe Slavin

There is nothing quite like a well tended aquarium of fish to act as a major attraction. It seems to act like a magnet, immediately capturing people's interest and holding their concentration. Even after moving away from the aquarium they feel the urge to go back and look at it again and again. It seems to have a hypnotic effect on them and indeed it is recognised that by viewing an aquarium of fish for a period of time, is one of the best ways to relax.

If you are in the same room as a tank of fish, you find yourself drawn to viewing it time and again. It is little wonder why you will find attractive aquariums in eating houses and other public places. If you have ever had the chance of viewing an aquarium you may recall the experience of how you were transfixed by the various species of fish as they darted in and out of the plants and rocks.

You can totally switch off from your surroundings and immerse yourself completely while observing this watery habitat of these wondrous pet fish. You certainly have to experience it for yourself. You cannot convey to anyone just how wonderful this exhibition can be in the natural medium of water. The antics of the fish constantly vary and are never repeated exactly, putting on an ongoing show.

It does not matter whether it is a fresh water aquarium or saltwater aquarium, both can offer endless hours of entertainment for all the family, irrespective of age, young or old, who can take an interest in the fish. Indeed you will find in many families, three generations who all have their own fish tanks, the knowledge and enthusiasm being handed down from parents to the children. Keeping pet fish is a popular hobby as it can be enjoyed in your own surroundings where you can share your interest with other members of your family and friends.

An extensive range of aquariums allow you to choose the right one to suit both your pocket and your house. You can start quite modestly and upgrade as you gain experience and you are able to afford further purchases. It can be interesting getting to know the types of fish that are suitable, their species names, and how to look after them properly.

It is a fairly common practice for pet fish to be named by their owners. This can be as obvious as to name a gold coloured fish "Goldie" or a white one "Snowy" and can be lots of fun both to give the names and then remembering them. In many situations even fish of the same species will have some different marking or look than the others and will be distinctly recognisable and given an appropriate name.

About the Author
If you are one of the many people who are interested in starting out in keeping pet fish, then picking your aquarium will be your first step. If you visit there you will find a large selection of fish tanks ranging from "Starter Fish Tanks" to "Custom Built Aquariums" to suit all requirements.

Pet First Aide Kit

by Doris Canova

In this article we hope to give you some ideas on how to creating your own home first aid kit and the things that are needed inside the kit. These products as well as some medication also may be used in an actual emergency. NOTE: As to medications never! Give your cat aspirin or an aspirin substitute unless you have contacted our Vet, and then after calling your Vet, he will then direct you to do so as well as amount to administer.

Ant diarrheal medication: (Kaopectate) you may give your cat one tablespoon five times a day as a treatment for simple diarrhea. Call your Vet if the diarrhea persists longer then one day.

Bandages: Keep a supply of different sizes and sterile dressing as well as cotton swabs; also have a roll of adhesive tape. You also will want a pair of scissors to cut the tape as well.

Hairball remedy: This petroleum based medication this can be purchased at your pet store or even drug store as well. Ask your Vet to recommend a brand to you and then as always fellow the enclosed directions.

Hydrogen peroxide: You will use this to clean out cuts and disinfect small minor cuts, scratches and wounds. Caution! On wounds around the head do not get in the mouth of your pet at all.

Liquid antacid: (Maalox, Mylanta). You may give one tablespoon for every five pounds of your cat's weight to relieve an upset stomach. If the vomiting persists, for more then a day sees you're Vet for more information.

Mineral oil: You may use this to clean your cat's ears, NOTE: do not use ant Q-tip in the pet's ear. You may also mix one tablespoon with the cat's dry food once or twice a week to help relieve constipation, and also help with the cat hairballs problems as well.

Petroleum jelly: You can rub this over your cat's eyes area when you are bathing. When you do this it will keep the water and soap out of the eyes.

Rectal thermometer: When using the thermometer you must keep your pet still and relaxed as much as possible. The normal range for your cat's temperature will range from approx. 100 to 102.5 degrees. Consult your veterinarian if your cat's temperature moves from this range.

Tweezers and needle nose pliers: You can use the tweezers to carefully remove broken glass, splinters, or even ticks from the cat. Use the pliers to remove half swallowed objects out of the cat's throat if necessary. NOTE: While looking to remove something from the pet's throat look carefully for any tears in the lining of the mouth and into the throat.

We hope that you can see that if you can have these things in our first Aide kit we you just might see what it means when they say "Be Prepared" and your cat as well as a dog will love you for it as well. After all our pets belong to our families as well, and we want to take care for them correctly.

About the Author
We plan to post articles that are informative and helpful to other cat lovers. Having been "owned" by cats for years, we know they can be demanding, but also be very entertaining and fun. Visit our website for products your cat may enjoy and our blog

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Pet Advice, Pet News & Pet Information

Hope you enjoy today's post. I'll be heading south this week for some 'Fun-in-the-Sun'. New posts will resume on Sunday. Thanks for stopping by!

Tips for Getting Medication Down Easier
By Julie Damron -

Getting your dog or cat to take medication can be challenging. Not every dog or cat is willing to let you force a pill down his or her throat, and liquids may not be much easier. Some tricks may work initially but the process may become more difficult as products are repeatedly given. This makes caring for your cherished companion difficult and can be frustrating if the medication is needed long-term.

When concealing medication in foods such as cream cheese, peanut butter, or canned food doesn't work, try Pill Pockets. These are hollow nuggets of soft food in a variety of flavors into which a pill can be inserted. This product has been very successful in dogs and cats.

When crushing a tablet in canned food or liquid doesn't work, consider compounding. Our clinic has successfully used a local compounding pharmacy for several years. They are able to blend medications into a variety of flavored liquids such as chicken and bubble gum. Depending on the stability of the compound, this product can be mixed for a two-week to several-month supply.

When liquids are not a viable option, consider transdermal treatment. This process doesn't work with all medications, and your veterinarian can coordinate with the pharmacist for your companion. In a transdermal formulation, the medication is made into an ointment that is then placed on the inside of your pet's ear. When using this therapy, it is recommended to alternate ears with each treatment, and to clean your pet's ears at least twice a week.

A longer term veterinary injectable antibiotic, Convenia, is now available. This product is given in the clinic, and then no medication is dispensed to go home. It lasts for seven to 14 days, and has broad spectrum antibacterial coverage in dogs and cats. Currently it is approved to treat a specific episode of infection, as opposed to long-term chronic use. Your veterinarian can advise you regarding using this product for your companion.

Julie Damron is a veterinarian at Sierra Veterinary Clinic in Stockton. Contact her at

What You Can Do About Cat Overpopulation
Laurel Hodkin - Ithaca Journal

It's calm and very pleasant at our SPCA shelter these days. There are even some empty cages. Staff members have time to fulfill their duties and spend a little extra time with a scared cat or a rambunctious dog. New shelter management means friendlier relations with the public we are here to serve, improved volunteer training with an emphasis on inclusion and tender loving care for our animals. Our medical staff, led by a full-time veterinarian, provides first-rate medical care to our dogs and cats, and wonderful advice to the rest of us. Our supportive volunteer network maintains a brisk dialogue on our list-serv; this is where we swap tips, suggestions and worries about individual animals and shelter practices.

Staff members have painted walls, initiated hands-on trainings and instigated individualized behavioral plans and enrichment activities to perk up our dogs and cats. It's a grand shelter. This tranquility will soon be shattered by the onslaught of kitten season. Within weeks, our shelter will be overcrowded with kittens and cats.

As an adoption guarantee (no kill) shelter we do not euthanize any adoptable animal (no matter how crowded the shelter gets). We will need plenty of community help to get our animals through the hectic summer. Can you adopt, foster kittens, donate kitten supplies? In the coming weeks, we will need canned food for cats and dogs, kitten milk-replacer, and bags of Purina kitten chow and Iam's kitten chow.

Our kittens come from diverse sources, even Dumpsters. Perhaps the mother cat is unable to suckle her kittens so they are brought to the shelter and go into foster care to be bottle-fed, or they are rescued from barns and other feral colonies, or irresponsible caretakers abandon them. (If you need to rescue a litter of kittens, try to wait - leave them with their mother cat - until they are at least five weeks old. Mother cat's milk is always better than human substitutes).

Despite an aggressive spay and neuter policy by our shelter and others, we continue to have too many felines in Tompkins County. The larger, systemic strategy remains: Trying to reduce the number of cats and kittens in our county. Here is where we can all help by educating ourselves and our acquaintances with the following information:

* All cats should be spayed and neutered. It is not humane to allow cats to reproduce; nor is it ethical to purchase kittens from a pet store.

* Our shelter offers inexpensive spay and neutering for all low-income households.

* Our shelter supports Trap, Neuter, Release for feral cats and will alter any wild cat for free. They often return these cats to barn situations or other places that can agree to provide these feral cats with shelter and regular food.

* Don't turn your head away from cats living under abandoned trailers, your neighbors' deck, or wherever you see them. Abandoned cats suffer from parasites, dehydration, malnutrition and freezing temperatures. Help them out.

* For a $50 deposit, our shelter will loan you a trap to catch abandoned cats and bring them in to be neutered. We urgently need more dog and cat traps.

* Please donate traps or earmark shelter donations for Safeguard traps. Safeguard traps are structurally excellent and economical. To order Safeguard traps, go to The feral cat-raccoon trap is 30x11x12 with slide release back, code #NWS52830 and costs $38.95 plus shipping. The dog trap is 48x15x22 with slide release back, code #NWS52848 and costs $111.95 plus shipping.

* I know three women in our county who trap ferals in a housing project, barns and a mobile home park, respectively. On a regular basis, they take the time to catch these cats before they reproduce. We can't afford to be squeamish; we all can learn to trap. It's not very pleasant work, but it is very important and humane work. (Two tips are: Check the traps often and always keep traps covered with a sheet during and after trapping. Wild cats are less terrified and frantic when the trap is covered).

* The shelter telephone is 257-1822. Shelter hours are noon to 5 p.m. Friday through Monday, noon to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, and closed Wednesdays.

Thank you for whatever you can do to help.

Laurel Hodkin is a foster caretaker and volunteer at the Tompkins County SPCA.

Keep Your Pet Looking and Feeling Good
By Dr. Tracy Acosta - McClatchy Newspapers

Good grooming can help track your pet's health. Here are some basic pet care tips.
Proper hygiene and grooming have a number of benefits and are important aspects of your pet's overall health. There are definitely certain breeds of dogs and cats that require much higher maintenance than others.

In fact, daily and weekly grooming needs are important factors to consider when choosing a new pet. If you are truly not willing to or able to devote the necessary time to properly care for some of these high maintenance breeds, please choose one of the many other breeds that do not involve such a time requirement.

As a veterinarian, one of the most frustrating things I see are the pets that come in for an examination and are so poorly maintained with basic grooming needs, that it causes an unhealthy pet. As a responsible pet owner you must commit yourself to have your pet properly maintained throughout your pet's life. Most pet owners start off adequately, but often have a tendency to let this significant aspect of their pet's health wane, especially as they get older than 10 years of age. However, it is during those geriatric years that most pets deserve and require proper grooming more than ever.

The dogs and cats that need frequent grooming can often be done at home for routine daily care, but it is often quite beneficial to use the services of a professional groomer at least occasionally to truly keep your pet's grooming needs in check.

Grooming your pet yourself is a great way to keep tabs on what is going on with your pet's body. By establishing a grooming routine early in your pet's life, you will quickly learn what is normal for your pet. Anything unusual will stand out, often allowing you to catch problems such as ear infections, skin disease, parasite infections and skin growths before they become serious.

Following those few concepts produces a lifelong trust between you and your pet and also teaches your pet to be more comfortable about being handled by you, a veterinarian, a professional groomer and all who enjoy your pet's company.


Brushing is the foundation of good grooming for all pets of all coat lengths. It loosens and removes dirt, dead hair and skin cells, distributes the skin's natural oils through the coat and prevents tangles in long-haired pets. The type of brush you will use depends on your pet's coat. Be sure to brush down to the skin, not just over the surface of the coat. The amount and frequency of brushing depends on your pet's coat and lifestyle. Consult with your veterinarian or professional groomer on what is best for your particular pet.


For those pets whose coats must be styled, clipped, stripped or other complicated techniques, it is often best to leave the job to a professional groomer. The critical areas on all of these pets are considered the feet, face, ears and rear end. One particularly tough area to groom is the area around the eyes. If left unkempt, the hair can start irritating the eyes and cause numerous problems. Another example is the rear end section. When properly groomed, your pet will not bring in the feces that should have been left in the yard.


Use a shampoo that is formulated for pets. Your pet's skin has a different pH level than ours, so a human shampoo (even human baby shampoo) will strip away beneficial skin oils. You can find a wide array of pet shampoos available to suit any pet's particular needs. Consult with your veterinarian on what will keep your pet's skin and coat in top condition.

No matter what type of shampoo you use, thorough rinsing is a must. After bathing, you can towel dry or blow dry your pet's coat dry. Regardless, be sure to keep your pet from getting chilled after a bath.


It is important to check and clean your pet's ears on a regular basis. Obviously, some pets (i.e. spaniels and retrievers) will require more attention than others. Typically, pets whose ears stand erect have far fewer problems than those with floppy ears. Always clean and dry your pet's ears after bathing and swimming. Again, it is important to use a product that is designed for cleaning a pet's ears, since the ear canal and ear drum are very sensitive areas. So, it is preferable that you not use alcohol or hydrogen peroxide because they can be too harsh.

Certain dog breeds also need to have hair routinely plucked from the ear canals. Not properly plucking the hair on a regular basis can cause ear problems and infections.


Most pet's nails grow quickly, so regular trimming is a must. Puppies and kittens especially, have super sharp, fast-growing nails. So, keep them trimmed regularly to accustom your pet to trimming and to prevent painful gouges in your skin.

Nail trimming often involves much howling on the part of the pet and flinching on the part of the owner. With care and early training, you can accomplish this task without trauma for either you or your pet. If you cannot stand the fuss your pet puts up, have a groomer or veterinarian do the task.

Both you and your pet will benefit in many ways by keeping grooming an important priority. You will enjoy being around a cleaner and happier pet, while your pet's basic hygiene maintenance will result in better health as well.

Dr. Tracy Acosta is a veterinarian at Biloxi Animal Hospital.

How to Prevent Dog Bites in the Home
Stephanie Modkins - Dogs Examiner

Dog bite insurance claims are common amongst homeowners.

According to the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 4.5 million people are bitten in the U.S. every year. Why is this number of dog bites so high? People fail to do common sense things to prevent them. They are things we all can do to help decrease the risk of a dog bite happening in our home without spending a lot of money.

1) Make use of a good fence.

Fences do make good neighbors especially if you own a dog. Keep this in mind and put one up if you own a pet dog. It will help keep him from straying into a neighbors yard and attacking someone because he’s stimulated in a “new” or “wrong” way.

2) Take action if your dog is a bitter.

Let’s face it. Some dogs are bitters. Either it’s do to poor training from a prior owner or a past trauma. Regardless, once you see that your dog is bent in this way, you have to act. Contact a vet to see if his behavior has a medical basis. Move him to a less stressful environment. Do the unthinkable and put him down. (Yes, I said it!) You don’t want the moral or financial responsibility of owning a dog that may eventually mangle or kill another dog or human. It’s an awful burden to bear.

3) Teach your children “dog etiquette” early.

Kids are often the victims of dog bites because they don’t know “dog etiquette.” Toddlers don’t understand that it is aggravating to a dog if he’s grabbed and hung by the tail or pulled by the ears. So, it’s your job to teach your child. Start instructing your child as soon as he can crawl. It is the best way to protect him and your dog from an unfortunate incident.

4) Keep your dog away from “new” company.

Planning a 4th of July celebration? Inviting your long lost relatives over for Christmas? If so, set up a special place in your home to stash your dog. No, it doesn’t have to be for the whole visit. You just need to give your dog and company time to adjust to each other.

5) Select a breed that is “right” for your family.

Certain breeds don’t do well with children or big families. As a result, before you purchase your child his first dog, do your homework. Find out if the dog is compatible with your lifestyle. You can do this by “Googling” the breed on the Internet and finding out the details about it. Also, you can take the dog home temporarily for a day or two. These things will help you figure out how your potential new dog will fit in or out with your family.

These 5 tips will help you prevent dog bites in your home.

Aging Gracefully
By Jackie Loohauis-Bennett of the Journal Sentinel

Older dogs return love when care is tossed their way

Dee Dee has lost her hearing as she’s grown older but not her enthusiasm. Older dogs, if given the special care they need, will be your best friend forever.

Even at age 91, Dee Dee, a Bayside resident, refuses to retire.

She visits nursing homes and hospitals, comforting patients there.

She gives educational demonstrations at schools.

Dee Dee is a part-time therapist and full-time Brittany spaniel. She's 13 years old - nine decades-plus in human years - but she's ready to share play dates and companionship any time.

Her owner, Connie Peterson, says that Dee Dee is living proof that older dogs (age about 7 and up) can not only learn new tricks but also, with some extra care, take pride of pack in any home.

Senior dogs won the spotlight last month when Stump, a 10-year-old, fetched the best in show cup at the Westminster Kennel Club Show. The Sussex spaniel was the oldest dog ever to take the top title at Westminster, and he showed the pups how it's done by performing a perfect sit-up for the international cameras after his win.

Another elder dog was in the news just last week. Chanel, a 20-year-old dachshund in Port Jefferson Station, N.Y., was certified as the world's oldest living dog by the Guinness Book of World Records.

Chanel and Stump are the most famous senior dogs right now, but most others are heart-winners, too.

"Older dogs give back all the love you give them," Peterson says. "As a therapy dog, Dee Dee does bedside visits to hospice patients and oncology patients, and you can visibly see people relax when she curls up next to them. Also, older dogs move at a slower pace than young dogs, and a good walk is enough to satisfy them."

In fact, senior dogs have lots of great traits.

"They know the ropes," says Angela Speed, spokeswoman for the Wisconsin Humane Society. "They're patient and wise, making it easier to assimilate them into a new home. Their personalities are already developed, and their behavior is more predictable than a puppy."

Senior dogs are also more likely to be housebroken, and they love to learn. But they do require some care tailored to their needs.

For instance, Dee Dee is hearing-impaired, so on walks Peterson puts a vibrating collar on her to signal Dee Dee to follow hand commands.

To experience the joy of an older dog, pet guardians need to be aware of the special status of senior dogs. One of the most important is the need to remain a vibrant part of the family.

Teach your old dog new tricks, and buy it a new toy to keep its mind active. Keep your dog near you at home and praise it often to make sure your senior knows it's still part of the family.

• Sensitivity to heat and cold: "Always provide a comfortable, temperate space for them," says Jane Pohlman, Wisconsin Humane Society veterinarian. That may mean using a blanket or air conditioning.

• Arthritis: By age 12, 90% of dogs have some level of arthritis, says Nan Boss, veterinarian at the Best Friends Veterinary Center in Grafton. Dogs show early symptoms of arthritis if they're slow to stand up, have difficulty doing stairs, can't walk as far as usual and "just lope rather than run after squirrels," says Boss. Treatments options include medications, diet and holistic approaches.

• Dental disease: Bacterial buildup can mean big infection trouble for senior dogs. So "Flip the lip," says Boss. Pull your dog's upper lip back and check the back molars for brown tartar buildup. Bad doggie breath is another symptom. It may be time for a vet appointment where doctors can clean the dog's teeth after sedating the dog with the safe anesthetics available today.

• Organ dysfunction: "Often you don't see heart, kidney, liver or other problems until we do blood work," says Boss. Veterinarians suggest senior dogs get more frequent checkups, at least twice a year.

• Canine Cognitive Dysfunction: "As the brain ages, we start to see behavior changes: repetitive motion things, circling, forgetting their commands," says Boss. Your vet may be able to suggest medication to help. Experts also suggest you give older dogs fresh experiences - new toys, a new walk path - to keep their minds challenged.

• Diet: According to a recent study released by Purina, proper nutrition can add years to the life of your dog. Your vet can help you find the right food and supplements to maintain weight and help your dog's health in other ways. Omega3 fatty acids (fish oil) are particularly good for arthritis and other inflammatory diseases (these oils are best obtained through a pet's food).

• Sight and hearing: Because dogs can compensate with other senses, the loss of one of these abilities may not be as crippling as owners fear. Talk to your vet about ways to treat eye and ear conditions. Everyday tips include keeping your elderly dog's home and yard well-lighted, removing loose rugs and teaching hand signals.

• Cancer: "Fifty percent of dogs over age 12 are going to die of cancer," says Boss. Check your older dog for lumps and changes in behavior that might be early signs of cancer. If you catch the disease early, "half of all cancers in dogs can be cured by surgery," says Boss.

• Elevated dishes realign the dog's neck and spine to let arthritic dogs eat and drink without painful bending. Sources include: Elevated Dog Bowls at and, for fun designer bowls, check out Whiner and Diner at

• Dog lifts. These gentle, hand-held lifts support and lift arthritic and handicapped dogs and help them navigate steps. Available at pet supply outlets and online at such sites as

• Dog ramps. Can be used to help dogs up stairs and in and out of cars. Available online at such sites as

• Orthopedic beds. Available at most larger pet stores.

• Specialized boarding. If you need overnight or day boarding for your senior, try using a facility that specializes in canine geriatric service. For instance, North Shore Pet Connection, 5810 N. Green Bay Ave., covers geriatric needs with senior-appropriate exercise and bedding. Available by appointment only at (414) 352-8464.

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How Cats Age
Christine Church - Hartford Cat Examiner

Is your cat beginning to gray around the whiskers? Or lazing around the house more and more, eating less and becoming crankier? She may be showing the signs of old age. At one time it was unusual for a cat to live past the age of 10 or 12. But now, with modern medicine, more people keeping their cats indoors, proper care and love, it is not uncommon to see a cat that is 17 or even 20 years old.

Part of your responsibility when you acquire that cute little kitten is seeing her through her geriatric years. You lived with your cat, grew with your cat, shared happiness and tears with your cat. Now it’s time to share in her old age and provide her with extra care during these sensitive years. The old adage that one year of a cat’s life is equivalent to seven years of a human’s is a misconception. If that were true, a one-year-old cat would be the equivalent of a seven-year-old child. But a cat is psychologically and sexually mature at one year of age, while a seven-year-old child is not.

Rather, if you were to compare cat years with human years, you’d find cats age quicker than humans, and in stages. So a one-year-old cat is roughly equivalent to a human of approximately 18. A cat that is seven years old is reaching middle age. A 14-year-old cat is believed to be equal to a human in her 70s.

Although each cat ages at her own rate, just as humans do, an eight- to 10-year-old cat is considered at the beginning of her geriatric years. Cats over the age of 10 years should have yearly geriatric screenings, along with their inoculations. As their bodies change, older cats may develop problems with their bowels that can cause constipation, diarrhea or incontinence. If any problems should occur, take your cat to the veterinarian immediately.

Hearing and eyesight may begin to fail in an older cat, so steps should be taken to ensure the cat’s safety. Cats may lose their eyesight due to glaucoma or cataracts. Cats usually adjust quite well to blindness. There are precautions you must take, however. Sharp objects should be removed and access to high places should be secured or blocked off. Do not move things around; a blind cat will become familiar with the placement of things and may become confused if things are placed differently. My blind cat, Teisha, gets around fine as long as everything is kept in its place, but the moment something is moved she becomes disoriented. Before touching or handling a blind cat, let your approach be known by speaking to the cat softly beforehand.

Diet, exercise, grooming, nutrition, love, comfort and good medical care are all major factors for you to consider as your cat gets on in years.

Hyperthermia and Our Pets
Amanda Bussen - San Diego Pet Services Examiner

The commencement of spring is upon us and, already, the heat of summer is planning its invasion tactics. Will it creep up on us softly in the stillness of one morning, or will the sun’s beams bust through the sky in a sudden attack and scorch us where we stand? At any rate, one very significant issue is at hand, how will we protect our pets from this all-encompassing heat?

Hyperthermia, or the overheating of the body, can do tremendous damage to anyone. When a human being begins to heat up, we sweat. When the sweating starts, we tend to go into the air conditioning or drink a tall glass of ice water. But, our pets do not sweat; they can only cool themselves by panting and, in doing so, only heat themselves up more. Those pets whom are short-nosed, infant, geriatric, or obese will have an even harder time releasing heat through panting and that is why they are on the list of those most susceptible to hyperthermia (or heat stroke).

Once the body has reached a temperature of 105 degrees or more, systems begin shutting down in order to keep oxygen to the brain. In doing this, cells and organs become damaged or irreparable due to lack of oxygen. In some cases, the brain swells or begins hemorrhaging (bleeding). Ultimately, if an animal remains with a high temperature for too long, it will die.

At this point, you may be asking, “How do I know when my pet has hyperthermia?” and the answer is that there are several signs your pet will show and you need to be aware of what to look for. First, notice their breathing. If this is your feline friend, realize that they do not do much panting to cool down and if you see your cat panting, take it to the nearest Veterinary Hospital right away. If this is your doggy and they are panting, begin looking for further signs including a fast paced heart rate, red, white, or grey gums and tongue, a temperature above 104 degrees, lethargy, foaming at the mouth, vomiting, and possibly, seizure activity. Make a note of everything that you check and what time it was when you did so; call your Veterinarian while on route for treatment.

It is a good idea to have some cool cloths wrapped around your pet on the way to the hospital. Make sure nothing cold is used because cooling your pet down too fast will cause hypothermia, which is the other extreme. If you are using a cooling measure, make sure you are checking your pet’s temperature every few minutes, note any changes and stop cooling when your pet’s temperature reaches 102 degrees.

Please note that hyperthermia (heat stroke) is completely preventable and yet, it sadly seems to happen all too often in our pets. Prevent it by keeping your pets inside as much as possible during those heated months, make sure your pet has cool clean water at all times and a shady place to rest when outside. Check on them often during the day if they are outside alone or hire a local pet sitter to do the job for you. Visit the links below for more information and a pet sitting company that may be able to help if extra care is needed for your pets when you are not home.

Reese Witherspoon: Buys Pet Pig, Bans Pork from Diet
Tiffany Warner - LA Celebrity Gossip Examiner

Oscar winning actress Reese Witherspoon has been forced to ban pork from her diet, after buying her young daughter Ava a pet pig.

Apparently Ava, 9, named her new pet after civil rights leader Booker T. Washington and has fallen in love with him. The Reese mini-me has even pressured her mom to ban all pig products from their home.

The “Walk The Line” star explains, "His name's Booker T. Washington - my daughter is studying American history. She won't eat pork, she won't eat bacon, and I have to be very careful with what I eat."

How cute!

Jennifer Brown Column: Humans Find Delight in Pets’ Weird Quirks

My boxer moos. Oh, I guess technically you’d call it a moan or maybe a deep whine, but it sounds for all the world like a moo. It usually happens when he’s worried. He’ll come right up to my face, waggle his little boxer stub tail and… “mooof.”

I know that this may make me an anomaly in suburbia, but I like vocal animals. I mean, I really like them. Give me a barking dog over a droning lawnmower any day. Got a roofing project going on? The hammering of shingles will send me into fits long before a yapping yorkie. Vocal animals are cool.

It’s why I love basset hounds so much. Not only are they vocal, but they have such cool voices. Deep. Throaty. Half-howl, half-bark. I imagine if my basset hound were human, she’d sing Italian opera and would laugh in one of those hearty ho-ho-ho ways.

My cats are vocal, too. It’s a requirement. If I haven’t heard one of them meow in a while, I’ll say his name repeatedly until I get a response (I imagine that, translated, his response is, “What? Would you shut UP already, lady? Sheesh, I hate vocal humans!”).

But I never expected my boxer to be so vocal. He howls when the clock chimes. He howls at his toys, too. And whines at them when they squeak. He talks to the cats —“yip, yip, whiiiiine.” He does a little wookie-sounding growl when he plays (earning him the nickname “Chewie,” for Chewbacca, by the way). And he moos. It’s his little quirk.

Now that I think about it, that’s what makes us really fall in love with our pets, isn’t it? Their quirks. The way the cat will follow the kids around, pestering them for PopTarts. The way the basset will lie with her short, pudgy legs stretched straight out behind her as she happily chews on a rawhide. The way the boxer moos.

Our animals’ quirks give us something to do. We videotape them and send them to TV shows. We chat about them to our friends and compare our animals’ quirks to other animals’ quirks. We call the quirks “tricks” and enter our pets into contests.

Recently, Aragorn, our boxer, entered doggy adolescence. Which means there isn’t much he does that’s not defiant, disgusting, obnoxious, or annoying (much like many human adolescents I know, come to think of it). But it also means his quirkiness is front and center all the time. That makes him, aside from gawky and mostly destructive, absolutely hilarious.

Face it, it’s the weird stuff our pets do that keeps us entertained. Without pet quirks, life would be so boring. I don’t know about you, but I’d so much rather watch Aragorn try to walk past one of the cats (he’s deathly afraid of them) or chase his stub tail or run full throttle in circles when it snows than pretty much any of the reality shows that are on TV.

Quirks are the things we remember about our animals when they’re gone. Not the maddening stuff they do, like eat the couch cushions, potty on the new carpet or chew the fence to pulp, but the funny stuff like attack the vacuum, turn in circles while their dinner’s being prepared or… moo.

It somehow makes them more human. And, take it from me… sometimes being a quirky human with a quirky animal friend is a really good thing.

To reach Jennifer Brown of Liberty, send e-mail to

Follow Vet Advice on Anesthesia
Dr.Marty Becker - DailyGleaner

Q: Years ago, our family dog was hit by a car. But it wasn't the car that killed him - it was the surgery to fix his leg. He went under and never woke up. That's why now, I don't feel comfortable when my veterinarian tells me that my dog needs to have his teeth cleaned - while asleep. It just doesn't seem worth the risk, even though my vet insists anesthesia is safer now. What do you think?

- G.R., via e-mail

A: You could be shortening your pet's life - and keeping him in misery - by not addressing the problems caused by a mouthful of rotting teeth and gums.

And your veterinarian's correct:

Anesthesia is a lot safer than it was a couple of decades ago. No anesthetic procedure is without risk, but in the hands of a good veterinarian and his staff, anesthesia has become a routine and very safe procedure.

The risks can be greatly minimized by a veterinary examination and a few basic tests beforehand, including a laboratory evaluation of blood and urine, and possibly a chest X-ray. These tests enable your vet to fully understand and address the health status of your pet before anesthetizing him. During the procedure, placement of an IV catheter and administration of fluids further adds to the safety of the procedure. No discussion of anesthetic danger can be complete without a few words on your responsibilities where anesthesia is concerned:

* Follow your veterinarian's instructions on preparing your pet for surgery. If no food is specified, make sure that you deliver your pet with an empty stomach. Following this one piece of advice is one of the easiest and most basic ways to reduce risk. During anesthesia, the contents of a full stomach can be regurgitated with the unfortunate potential complication of being inhaled into the lungs. In general, you should completely withhold food the night before, but continue to allow free access to water until the morning of the procedure.

* Be prepared to provide special home care for your pet after surgery.

If your pet is released before the sedation wears off fully, he must be kept safe from hot or cold environments because his reflexes are reduced.

If you do not feel comfortable caring for a sedated pet, arrange for your veterinarian to extend the care.

If your veterinarian does not run a 24-hour hospital, be sure to have the number of your local emergency clinic handy in case there are any complications following your pet's anesthesia.

* Don't hesitate to ask questions.

Make sure that you understand what the procedures are and what to expect. Pets commonly have a cough after anesthesia, for example, because the tube used to deliver the gas may cause some irritation. If the cough does not clear in a couple of days, call your veterinarian.

No matter what the age of the pet, the chances are very high that the anesthetic presents no problem if both you and your veterinarian work to minimize the risk. And the payoffs, especially those involving dental care, can be significant. Ask as many questions as you can and make sure you are comfortable with the answers. Work with your veterinarian in the interests of the best health for your pet.

- Dr.Marty Becker

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Selecting a Pet for Your Children
Maria R. Burgio - NY Children's Examiner

Here is is a fun exercise for parents to do before selecting a pet for the children.

Make a list of all the pets you've ever had and how old you were at the time. Include fish, reptiles, rabbits and other rodents (like hamsters), baby chicks, piglets, and any others you can recall.

Next to each pet's name, put down who fed and cleaned the pet area? If you had siblings, did you share the work equally? If not, who ended up with most of the work and why? How did you feel about that pet and why? Lastly, what happened to each pet?

Now look at the record of your life with animals. Did you love a reptile more, less, or the same as the hamster? Did you love your dog more, less, or the same as your fish? Why did you love that animal more? Did you learn responsibility for some other living creature? What else do you remember learning?

Imagine how much is being learned when you bring a pet into your children's lives?

Remember that getting the wrong pet can be a terrible experience for your child. Some pets need a lot of space, they need more exercise, and are more emotional. Others are more loving, easy-going, and are content to stay by your side. For example, some small dogs look sweet, but they are nervous and may not tolerate visitors well. If you have a busy household, you may want a dog with an even temperament.

Getting a dog for your New York City apartment must be carefully considered. Is the apartment large enough? Are your neighbors okay with your having a pet? Who will walk the dog in the mornings and evenings? The type of neighborhood you live in is important.

ASPCA Lists Top 10 Pet Poisons
Reading Eagle

The American Society for the Prevention to Cruelty to Animals has an Animal Poison Control Center in Urbana, Ill. In 2008 it handled more than 140,000 cases of pets exposed to toxic substances, many of which included everyday household products, according to its Web site. Below is a list of the top ten pet poisons in 2008 reported to the APCC.

Human Medications

Last year, the ASPCA managed more than 50,000 calls involving prescription and over-the-counter drugs, such as painkillers, cold medications, antidepressants and dietary supplements. Pets often snatch pill vials from counters and nightstands or gobble up medications accidentally dropped on the floor, so it's essential to keep meds tucked away in hard-to-reach cabinets.


In 2008, ASPCA toxicologists fielded more than 31,000 calls related to insecticides. One of the most common incidents involved the misuse of flea and tick products - such as applying the wrong topical treatment to the wrong species. Thus, it's always important to talk to your pet's veterinarian before beginning any flea and tick control program.

People Food

People food like grapes, raisins, avocado and certain citrus fruit can seriously harm pets, and accounted for more than 15,000 cases in 2008. One of the worst offenders - chocolate - contains large amounts of methylxanthines, which, if ingested in significant amounts, can cause vomiting, diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst, urination, hyperactivity, and in severe cases, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors and seizures.


Last year, the ASPCA received approximately 8,000 calls about pets who had accidentally ingested rat and mouse poisons. Many baits used to attract rodents contain inactive ingredients that are attractive to pets as well. Depending on the type of rodenticide, ingestions can lead to potentially life-threatening problems for pets, including bleeding, seizures and kidney damage.

Veterinary Medications

Even though veterinary medications are intended for pets, they're often misapplied or improperly dispensed by well-meaning pet parents. In 2008, the ASPCA managed nearly 8,000 cases involving animal-related preparations such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, heartworm preventatives, de-wormers, antibiotics, vaccines and nutritional supplements.


Common houseplants were the subject of nearly 8,000 calls to the Animal Poison Control Center in 2008. Varieties such as azalea, rhododendron, sago palm, lilies, kalanchoe and schefflera are often found in homes and can be harmful to pets. Lilies are especially toxic to cats, and can cause life-threatening kidney failure even in small amounts.

Chemical Hazards

In 2008, the Animal Poison Control Center handled approximately 5,500 cases of pet exposure to chemical hazards. A category on the rise, chemical hazards - found in ethylene glycol antifreeze, paint thinner, drain cleaners and pool/spa chemicals - form a substantial danger to pets. Substances in this group can cause gastrointestinal upset, depression, respiratory difficulties and chemical burns.

Household Cleaners

Everybody knows that household cleaning supplies can be toxic to adults and children, but few take precautions to protect their pets from common agents such as bleaches, detergents and disinfectants. Last year, the ASPCA received more than 3,200 calls related to household cleaners. These products, when inhaled by our furry friends, can cause serious gastrointestinal distress and irritation to the respiratory tract.

Heavy Metals

Heavy metals such as lead, zinc and mercury, accounted for more than 3,000 cases of pet poisonings in 2008. Lead is especially pernicious, and pets are exposed to it through many sources, including consumer products, paint chips, linoleum, and lead dust produced when surfaces in older homes are scraped or sanded.


It may keep your grass green, but certain types of fertilizer can cause problems for outdoor cats and dogs. Last year, the ASPCA fielded more than 2,000 calls related to fertilizer exposure. Prevention is really the key to avoiding accidental exposure.

Poison Hotline

Contact the Animal Poison Control Center's 24-hour hotline at 1-888-426-4435.


What Not to Do With Your Pet
Susan NC Price - Chicago Pets Examiner

The first few stories that came to mind on this topic involved very small mammals. Maybe, being small, they’re too easy to do things to. Also, the owners of such are often fairly small—meaning young—themselves. Let the horror stories begin.

For instance, a young-at-the-time member of my husband’s family who shall remain nameless went through hamsters so fast they were given numbers rather than distinctive names: Hampy 1, Hampy 2, and so on. Apparently, the owner (or co-owner—he may have shared custody with his older brothers) of these poor critters would bring the latest tiny corpse to his mother with the plaintive announcement, “Sumpfin’ happened to Hampy.” After the second “happening,” the parents enquired more closely into the “something.” They found that their youngest son had been experimenting on their front stairs—proving conclusively that hamsters not only couldn’t fly but didn’t bounce very well either, by dropping them off a second floor landing into the front hall.

Or the mistake my mother made, of thinking young mice could be kept in a hamster cage. Note to all of you contemplating getting mice: a nice glass aquarium with a ventilated lid works very well. As my family learned by finding my brother’s three pet mice in varied and unexpected locations all over the house for a couple of days, half-grown mouse can easily squeeze through the bars of a cage made to keep a much chunkier adult hamster or gerbil in.

And speaking of gerbils … small animals and small children do not mix well when both are running loose in the living room. We lost our first gerbil when his new owner excitedly took the gerbil out of the cage to hold with no adult was present, a strictly forbidden action. Sadly, the gerbil paid the greater price. Of course the gerbil squirmed loose. While his panicked owner tried to catch the little varmint before Mother found out, the boy accidentally stepped on his beloved pet.

On the other hand, a glass box full of small moving things is a great cat amusement device. We called our gerbils “Cat TV.” And they didn’t seem to mind their starring roles. I never figured out whether that made them smart enough to realize the cat wasn’t getting in or too stupid to notice the potential danger lurking on the other side of the glass. But before you let your cat or cats watch the show, make sure the frame holding the screened top is heavy enough, and the screening material solid enough, that cat and contents stay separated.

My last incident for today is a cautionary tale for hot weather. We’ve all heard that you don’t leave children or pets in the car on hot days because the car heats up in the sun. A friend of mine can testify that leaving pet fish in the trunk is not a good idea either. Apparently her parents didn’t want to leave the family goldfish home alone, so they packed them in a plastic bag full of water to take along. Unfortunately, the fish were forgotten in the trunk over the course of a long summer day. When finally retrieved they were, my friend assures me, quite dead and somewhat cooked.

3 Tips For Finding Low Cost Vets in Your Town
By Crystal Jordan

With the rising cost of vet bills, finding an affordable vet makes sense. But sometimes it can be hard to know where to look. Here are three tips to help you find a low cost vet in your area.

One of the best places to look for an affordable vet is through the local humane society. They are very likely already working with a veterinarian that works at a reduced rate.

If they are not, they can likely point you in the direction that you need to go, or give you some additional resources.

The second way to find one is just to call around and ask what their prices are. If you call around to three veterinary clinics and ask what the average price of a spay is, then you can get a general idea of prices.

One potential downfall of this approach is that sometimes vet clinics charge a reduced rate for spays to get new clients, but overall their prices can be more expensive.

The third way to find one is by driving. Veterinarians set their prices by what the average income is of households in a 3 to 5 mile radius around the clinic.

Often times just by driving to an area of town where the level of household incomes is lower, you can find a vet that charges less.

Also remember to ask your current vet if you can get a break on prices. Sometimes they will give you one if they know you are a good client that pays right away.

Use these three tips the next time need to find a low cost vet in your town.

Benefits of Fresh Meat in Dry Dog Food
By Robert Playoll

As the quality of dog food products has increased over the past year since the recalls of 2007, so to has the amount of premium brands. If you scan the pet food store aisle, you will clearly see what I mean. The choices are endless. One brand that has been at the forefront in nutritional products has been Solid Gold. They have a wide range of solutions for small puppies all the way to large breed dogs. This is an outstanding food that incorporates fresh ingredients, utilizes a holistic approach and maintains a very good taste that you dog will enjoy. One reason why there dry dog foods taste so good, and have other benefits versus other brands, is the quality fresh meats they use.

With the exception of one product, the fish based Holistique Blendz, all of their dry pet foods contain fresh meat. They use fresh, never frozen meats like lamb, bison and beef that are USDA certified. It comes into the plant within twenty four hours of being processed and is used in the foods within twelve hours of arrival.

One benefit of using fresh meats is that they are much more palatable. A lot of dog foods use meals, which are cooked twice. Once by the supplier and once again by the manufacturer. The fresh meat used by Solid Gold is only cooked once. In addition to the taste, another reason why they use it is because in the heating process for meals, being cooked twice, almost all nutrients, enzymes and flavor are destroyed. Since the nutritional availability is higher in fresh, digestibility is also increased.

Another benefit of meat versus meal is the reduced amount of ash. The fresh meats used by Solid Gold go through a process that debones in a meticulous way therefore allowing very low bone content and extremely low ash versus other products that use meals.

By incorporating fresh meats in Solid Gold dog food, they are able to take advantage of several benefits that make it a much healthier food for your dog.

Ten Tips to Keep Kitty Safe at Home
By Dr. R.J. Peters

Cats are more sensitive to their environment than dogs and people, so we have to be mindful and aware of some basic safety issues.

While we, our children, or our dogs might suffer some discomfort from ingesting certain toxic items, cats are more likely to die, because they lack the liver enzymes that would process those chemicals from their bodies. Additionally, cats are a very curious bunch, and are thus more likely to find and get into certain products that the rest of us can learn to leave alone. This includes a wide variety of cleaning items, plants, and some foods.

In addition to a higher sensitivity, cats also are experts at hiding any discomfort, and we may not even notice they don't feel well until is too late. It is vital to their health and safety, then, that we take precautions to prevent poisonings and injuries, and to be observant of their health to note any changes that might warrant a veterinary visit.

These 10 tips can help make your home safe for your kitties:

1. Prevent access to any place you store cleaning supplies, yard chemicals, automotive products, insecticides, and plumbing chemicals, such as drain openers. These products are especially deadly to cats: antifreeze, powdered cleansers (Ajax, Comet, etc.), insecticide baits, traps and sprays, weed killers, and anything containing pine oil.

2. Keep cats away from, or do not even keep, certain houseplants, such as oleander, azalea and yew. Look for a toxic plant list for a more complete list of dangerous plants. There are many! If your cat is allowed outdoors, be certain to plant-proof your yard as well, growing only those that aren't deadly to cats.

3. Don't leave small items laying around. Think "toddler" and you will be able to protect your cats, too. Cats are very curious and, just like a small child, can swallow things like coins, string, buttons, nails, screws, paper clips, etc. Ingesting them usually requires emergency surgery to remove them before fatal damage has been done.

4. Keep all medications stored in cat-proof cabinets, drawers, or containers. Cats love to play with small items, especially anything that rolls in an interesting way, and makes noises, such as pills rattling around inside the little vials.

5. Do not let cats have access to anything consumable that you may enjoy but could cause them severe illness or toxicity, such as chocolate, coffee (especially the grounds), alcohol and tobacco. Keep them away from the trash, where they might also drag out and eat tasty wrappers.

6. Again, if they go outdoors, be watchful of any prey they might hunt, as a neighbor (or you) could have set out poison traps for mice or rats. Eating a poisoned mouse will poison the cat. Humane traps are available to catch mice, for example, and may be a good solution if you want to remove such pests.

7. Read labels on pet products. Never give something designed for a dog to a cat. They have different physiologies and do not process things the same at all. A good example is flea or tick products, such as collars, powders or sprays. Dogs can handle the ingredient, permethrin, a synthetic insecticide, but it can be fatal to cats.

8. Limit your use of scented candles and tobacco smoking inside the house. Some candles contain oils that can vaporize and then settle onto your cat's fur, where it will be licked off when they next groom themselves. Tobacco smoke contains nicotine, which is also oily and settles onto their fur, to be licked off later. Nicotine is definitely toxic, and many aromatherapy oils are as well, most notably, lavender.

9. Keep important phone numbers near the telephone, in case you need to call one for an emergency. The list should include your vet, the poison control center, and a friend in case you need help transporting your pet. If there is a need to hold your cat, it's best to let someone else drive.

10. A good rule of thumb is, if a product wasn't made or designed for a cat, don't let yours eat it or play with it.

March is poison prevention week, but it's important to be aware of these safety tips year round.

For a fairly comprehensive list of poisonous plants, visit:

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