Pet Advice, News and Information

Money Saving Tips for Pet Owners
Posted By: Angela Spears -

JACKSONVILLE, FL -- Every year, Americans spend $3 billion making sure their pets look their best. Sometimes finding the right products for dogs can be hard.

Are the products good? Are they worth the price? Are they safe? Two experts in the dog grooming industry talked with First Coast News Anchor/Reporter Angela Spears Thursday on First Coast News at Noon on NBC 12.

Bill Jividen, a Doggy Groomer, and Joey Villanie, a judge on the reality show "Groomer Has It," talked about the show. They also had tips to help pet owners save money when it comes to grooming their pooches. You can watch the interview by clicking on the video tab.

"Groomer Has It" premieres Saturday night at 9 on Animal Planet.

Tips on Co-Existing with Coyotes

The distinctive call of the coyote or "song dog" echoes across our state, from the more welcoming rural areas of wooded forests and open fields, to the less inviting backyards of metro Atlanta neighborhoods.

Rapid human population growth across the state coupled with the coyote's unique ability to adapt and thrive, contributes to today's increased observation of coyotes in urban settings.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources' Wildlife Resources Division encourages residents to educate themselves and take the proper precautions essential in co-existing with coyotes.

"Historically, coyotes were most commonly found on the Great Plains of North America. However, their range has expanded greatly. They are one of the most adaptable species on the planet. In fact, coyotes have adapted quite well to living in suburbs and cities like Los Angeles, New York and Atlanta," says John Bowers, Wildlife Resources Division assistant chief of Game Management.

"Preventive methods are the best solutions for residents to reduce the potential for human-coyote conflicts," explains Bowers.

Though the coyote's principal diet typically consists of small rodents and fruit, they are characterized as opportunistic and will prey on small, domestic animals if given the opportunity. Because of this, small house pets (especially cats), young or small livestock and poultry are vulnerable and susceptible prey. The division advises landowners and homeowners to heed the following precautions to ensure the safety of their animals:

..Take pets indoors during the night, as this is the coyote's primary hunting time. (In addition to coyotes, small pets may fall prey to free-roaming dogs and great horned owls.)

.. If the pet must be kept outside, install fencing and flood lights to discourage predators.

.. Small livestock or poultry should be kept in an enclosed or sheltered area. Coyotes rarely bother larger livestock although they are often blamed for such nuisance instances. (It should be noted that free-roaming dogs, rather than coyotes, are notorious for harassing, damaging or killing livestock.)

The division encourages residents to also heed the additional following tips in an effort to minimize coyote habituation to humans and ensure public health and safety:

.. NEVER, under any circumstances, feed a coyote.

.. Keep items, such as grills, pet food or bird feeders off-limits. Clean and store grills when not in use, keep pet food indoors or feed pets indoors and refill bird feeders infrequently and in small amounts.

.. Make trashcans inaccessible. Keep lids securely fastened or store trashcans in a secured location until trash day.

Additional solutions for managing coyotes and the problems they may cause include trapping and/or hunting. Coyotes are not native to Georgia and may be hunted/trapped year-round. The division does NOT provide trapping services, but maintains a list of permitted and licensed trappers across the state. Residents interested in hiring a private trapper may contact the local Wildlife Resources Division office or call 770-918-6416 for a referral.

"The division receives numerous calls each year. Most callers report the sighting of a coyote or request coyote relocation," says Bowers. "Relocation is not a solution. Relocating coyotes only moves the problem into someone else's backyard. It also usually means a slower death resulting from the stress of being released into unfamiliar territory. Trapping and killing habituated or problem coyotes is the only reasonable way to keep them out of backyards."

While coyotes closely resemble a small dog in appearance, the distinctive characteristics that set the species apart are upright, pointed ears, a pointed snout, low forehead, a mottled color fur pattern ranging from black to reddish-blonde and a bushy tail that is generally carried straight out below the level of the back.

For more information regarding coyotes, visit , contact a Wildlife Resources Division Game Management office or call (770) 918-6416.

Proper Planning Can Make Traveling with Pets More Enjoyable
By Matt VanderVelde - desotoexplorer

Taking a drive with your pet can be an enjoyable experience, or, for some, a nightmare. Let me entertain you with a experience and an observation.

Recently, I was preparing to return to work from my noon break when I noticed how dirty my dog Minnie looked. Having compassion and realizing it had been nearly all winter since her last bath, I scooped her up and placed her in my front passenger seat. But as I sat down, she scooted over to me. Like past dates with my beloved wife, she occupied the center console and began to wag her tail affectionately. The next thing I knew, she was licking my cheek with such excitement I nearly drove into a ditch.

I fended her off softly, and she moved over to the passenger side arm rest, rising up to look at the country scenery as we drove down Loring Road. All the sudden, I felt a rush of cool air. I looked over to Minnie, realizing she had placed her paw on the electronic window control and was inching her nose out the window as if it was all planned. She came back to rest her head on my arm. She then rolled over on her back, which is an invitation for me to gently rub and scratch her belly. She closed her eyes in ecstasy. Soon after I closed the window, she was back on the arm rest looking out through the closed window. Soon, she managed to roll the window down even more and nearly had her whole body outside the car as windsurfed near the side mirror. “What a talented little pooch,” I thought.

I love taking my dog(s) for drives and have noticed many love taking their cats for an outing, also. On a recent trip to Colorado, my wife and I saw two older folks driving down the interstate at 70 mph with a feline wrapped around their neck and shoulders. Once again, we are sharing that human-animal bound across the board.

I must play the devil’s advocate (although I don’t give the devil much credence, mind you) and admit animal restraints are an important consideration when you venture out. For cats, a small carrying case or box is of importance when considering safety. Like unsecured people in a car or truck, we all become speeding projectiles in the event of an accident. Most pet stores and online pet catalogs sell harnesses that safely secure pets in a passenger seat. I advise using either box or harness methods for restraint (even if I don’t follow my own advice at times).

A client once retold an episode in which his cat freaked out and attacked him while out for a cruise. I have lost dogs or had them jump out of a pickup bed before. Once I secured a dog to my spare tire, thinking all was well. But was soon informed by another motorist that my dog was swinging from a lead on the truck’s fender. Luckily, injuries were minimal. But be wise even if you are traveling a short distance with you pets.

When traveling long distances, one should consider the following need for your traveling pet companions.

• Get a carrier and one large enough to allow your pet to sleep comfortably.

• Request your vet prescribe a mild sedative if your pet gets car sick or anxious if going farther than the local vet’s office. These are very safe and inexpensive.

• Remember, just like people, pets need “potty” breaks, so bring a lead and secure collar so you can give your dog a short stroll and use the proper designated area when available.

• Bring pet food and a fresh water supply with the pet’s bowl. Let the pet have a chance to eat and drink. If it doesn’t, don’t worry just continue the same routine. Remember sedated pets might not eat and drink while under the influence.

A caution to pet owners about letting their dogs and cat hang out the window or along the side panel of a pickup. They are breathing in a megadose of pollens and potential airborne allergens. This is a sure way to get a known allergic dog itching. Be careful, or you may have to visit the animal doctor soon for treatment.

Fortunately, my dogs are not prone to allergies and enjoy hanging their heads out in the breeze. I enjoy seeing them doing this because it reminds me of riding with my head out of one stationwagon — what fun we had on those rides to nowhere as our parents let out the steam of a workday.

Driving with my pets is a real joy even at the age of 54. I get a childlike thrill from the experience and it seems my cares fly out the window. But as we enjoy the rides, remember safety first. Treat your pets like children — buckle up and box up and bring them back save and alive.

Six Steps to Help Homeless Pets

Ways animal lovers can contribute to the homeless pet population in their community.

Rescue groups struggling to stay open, people who no longer can afford their pets, shelters that can’t keep up with the high intake of animals, and reports of cats and dogs left behind to fend for themselves after a foreclosure can all take advantage of the tips offered by a national animal group.

The following steps can help people contribute to the homeless pet population in their community:

--Make a small donation to a local rescue group or shelter and get five friends to do the same.

--Volunteer at a local shelter or rescue group.

--Foster a homeless pet and promote him or her for adoption.

--Spay/neuter cats and dogs. For those who can afford to do so, donate the cost of a spay-neuter procedure for a neighbor who cannot pay to have a pet altered.

--If possible, consider adopting one more dog or one more cat.

--Donate to a local pet food bank.

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Could Your Pets Be Outlawed?
Laura Kepner - Tampa Pet Services Examiner

If you own a hamster, gerbil, lizard, ferrets, exotic fish, snakes, birds or most any pet other than a dog or cat, your rights as a pet owner could be seriously affected. On April 23, Congress’ National Resource Committee will hold a hearing on The Nonnative Wildlife Invasion Prevention Act, also known as H.R. 669.

Under H.R. 669, animals not native to the U.S. would be required to be placed on a list of ‘approved’ or ‘unapproved’ species. The lists would be created by the Fish and Wildlife Service. This already undermanned organization would be required to complete the lists within a short period of time.

If this bill passes, some of the implications would likely include:

--The inability to take your pet across state lines, even when moving or traveling to a specialized veterinarian.

--A ban on breeding, selling or trading your pet. This would include most birds, fish, lizards, many small pets, such as hamsters many rodents, guinea pigs, reptiles, etc.

The costs to the American public would be extravagant. The money needed to fund such an undertaking would come from our tax dollars. (Aren't we supposed to be fiscally responsible right now?) Pet stores, specialty veterinarians, feed stores and pet boutiques would certainly see a loss of profits and many would be forced to close.
Unfortunately, I believe there would be no other choice but for animal service organizations to euthanize animals classified as nonnative, because it would be illegal to rehome banned animals.

Although there are intelligent ways to control and prevent the release of nonnative animals into the ecosystem, this bill is not well thought out or planned. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission lists 118 native species currently endangered, threatened or of special concern. Most responsible Florida citizens care about our wildlife, but there has to be another way to protect our natural habitats without banning our pets!

To contact the Representatives involved:

House Committee on Natural Resources
Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans & Wildlife
187 Ford House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
202/226-0200 (Tel.)
202/225-1542 (Fax)

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Visit the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council’s website or, for a complete version of the proposed bill, check out the page on H.R. 669 at

Laura can be reached by e-mail at

A Pet's 10 Commandments
Meg Wittenmyer - Denver Alternative Pet Medicine Examiner

1. My life is likely to last 10-15 years. Any separation from you is likely to be painful.

2. Give me time to understand what you want of me.

3. Place your trust in me. It is crucial for my well-being.

4. Don't be angry with me for long and don't lock me up as punishment. You have your work, your friends, your entertainment, but I have only you.

5. Talk to me. Even if I don't understand your words, I do understand your voice when speaking to me.

6. Be aware that however you treat me, I will never forget it.

7. Before you hit me, before you strike me, remember that I could hurt you, and yet, I choose not to bite you.

8. Before you scold me for being lazy or uncooperative, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I'm not getting the right food, I have been in the sun too long, or my heart might be getting old or weak.

9. Please take care of me when I grow old. You too, will grow old.

10. On the ultimate difficult journey, go with me please. Never say you can't bear to watch. Don't make me face this alone. Everything is easier for me if you are there, because I love you so.

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Ask Yourself These Five Questions Before Adopting a Pet
By Pamela Dickman - Loveland Reporter-Herald

Contemplating adding a kitten, puppy or bird to your family?

Would you prefer to share your home with a mature dog or cat?

The Larimer Humane Society, Fort Collins Cat Rescue and breed-specific rescues have a variety of animals looking for homes.

“Anyone that has pets knows what they add to your life,” said Sarah Swanty, one of the founders of the Fort Collins Cat Rescue. “I look forward on my day off to snuggling with the cat or going outside and taking the dogs for a walk.

“It is just stress relief.”

But with the fun and unconditional love comes responsibility, cautions Cary Rentola, spokeswoman for the Larimer Humane Society.

So before you take an animal into your home, make sure you are a yes-man or a yes-woman.

Ask yourself the following questions — inquiries posed by the experts at the Larimer Humane Society and the Fort Collins Cat Rescue — before bringing home a new pet.

1. Are you willing to make a lifetime commitment to this animal? If your circumstances and/or locale change in the next 15 years, will you take your pet with you?

Many people adopt the cute, furry animal then surrender it to a shelter a year or several years down the road when school or work takes them to another city, country or even non-pet-friendly apartment.

“Life happens, and there are times people can no longer care for them,” said Rentola. “That’s why we’re here.

“But ask yourself, is this really a good time?”

If the answer is yes, or heck yes, move on to question number two.

2. Can you afford to adopt and care for a pet?

This is a big one, especially with the recession.

“We’re seeing more animals surrendered because people lose their job or their home,” said Swanty.

Prospective pet owners should calculate what it will cost them in food, toys, veterinary care, litter in the case of cats, and other needs. They also should consider if they can afford to pay pet deposits or additional pet rent.

“An average, young healthy dog, basic supplies and toys, can cost $950 to $1,200 a year,” said Rentola. “That doesn’t include training classes.”

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has a chart on its Web site (
tion/pet-care-costs.html) that estimates first-year costs for many pets including rabbits and goldfish.

If, again, the answer is yes, I can afford and am willing to spend the necessary money on a pet, proceed to question 3.

3. Can you give your pet plenty of attention and exercise?

Different pets need different levels of attention and exercise, but you should be willing to take those walks your dog craves, enjoy those snuggles or wave a laser pointer around the room for your cat to chase.

The need for attention lasts beyond cute puppy and kitten months, so make sure you are really ready to offer your time consistently, even as the cat, dog or guinea pig ages.

Animals, Rentola said, need to be included in the family.

If you firmly believe you can incorporate a pet into your family, move on to question 4.

4. Are you willing to provide the proper training and facilities for your pet?

It takes time, and sometimes classes, to teach your dog to sit, roll over, behave on walks, not jump and maybe even to fetch the newspaper. Will you take the time to work with your dog?

Other animals, including some cats and birds, also thrive if their owners train them and teach them tricks, according to Rentola.

Plus all pets have specific facility needs that range from the size of cage or aquarium to yards and scratching posts.

The proper training and care result in well-mannered pets you can love for life.

So if you are willing to provide the scratching posts your feline needs, the room to frolic and the time to play, pet and love, move on to question 5.

5. If you are adopting a companion for your child, are you willing to take on the responsibilities of the pet yourself?

Sometimes children forget to feed, water, play with, walk or clean up after the animal, and sometimes they get busy and those chores slip. If that happens, their parents should be willing to step in, Rentola said.

Also, some tasks such as veterinary appointments and paying for food automatically fall to adults.

If you answered yes five times, you are now ready to move onto the bigger question — what type and breed of pet will fit into your family?

Rentola recommends research before choosing a pet. And most animal rescues will interview prospective pet owners and help them find the perfect match.

If you answered no, even once, think twice before adopting a pet. Experts would say you’re just not ready.

Pet Talk: Stem Cells Can Help Pets
By Rene Knapp - The Norwich Bulletin

Stem cell therapy — we all know about the controversies that arise when anyone brings up the subject. But have you ever thought what it might do for your pets?

Exactly what are stem cells? They are a building block of bone marrow and blood foundation that becomes white and red blood cells and platelets. They are cells that have the ability to make exact copies of themselves indefinitely. They can also produce specialized cells for various tissues in the body, such as heart muscle and brain or liver tissue.

Two types
There are two types of stem cells. The embryonic stem cell which is obtained from unborn fetuses or fertilized eggs from invitro fertilization. These are the best for research or medical purposes because they can produce cells for any tissue in the body.

The other type is the adult stem cell, which has more specific research uses, and is not as helpful in research.

In 2003, animal stem cell treatments began to be used for the treatment of tendonitis in horses. Research has grown to include other animals.

Once they find a potential candidate, tests are done, which includes medical history and other tests.

The stem cells are then collected from the candidate animal. These cells are their own natural healing cells and help regenerate injured tissues. The cells are very smart and know what to differentiate — tendons, ligaments, cartilage, cardiac muscle, liver and so on.

The fat samples (stem cells to be) are collected from the groin area, close to the inner thighs. They are sent overnight to a stem cell lab, such as the Vet Stem Company. Forty-eight hours later, the cells are returned to your vet and the stem cells are injected into the patient the same day so the natural healing can begin.

Many vets are presently utilizing stem cell therapy for the treatment of osteoarthritis in animals. While dogs and horses receive great benefits from this, there are only a few cats benefiting from this treatment because they hide their pain so well. Owners are not always aware their cats are in any kind of pain.

Cat owners are being encouraged to have their pets examined thoroughly to see if they might benefit from cell therapy to cure or control diseases.

Watch older cats
If you see your older cat get up after resting and appear stiff, maybe walking differently, start paying attention.

If your cat is reluctant to jump or has a pained expression, it might be signs of arthritis. If tests show osteoarthritis, look into the therapies available to relieve some of the pain (this goes for dogs, too). While stem cell therapy is not going to be right or affordable for everyone, there are options, such as glucosamine or chondroitin, which are deemed safe for the cats. Dogs have even greater choices for their therapy.

And you, as a pet owner, can make life easier. Keep the weight down, don’t make them perform strenuous exercise, give them warmth and massage them gently. If you suffer from arthritis, then you know the pain they are in.

For more information about stem cell research, go to

Rene Knapp writes Pet Talk, which appears in The Sunday Bulletin. Reach her at

Learn More About What Dogs Are Telling Us With Their Body Language
Andrea Mckeeby - LA Pet Care Examiner

It’s not hard to figure out what your dog is telling you when it meets you at the door after you have been out for awhile–the joyful grin, madly wagging tail and running around you say it all. Most of us quickly learn our pet’s basic over all body language. But some of the signals dogs give are subtle.Being able to read a dog’s body language is necessary for all pet dog owners. You want to be able to interpret your own pet correctly in your home, around other people and animals, on the street etc.

Here's how to learn more about what dogs are telling us:

1. Hostile tail-wagging. Wagging tails don’t always mean friendliness. Say your dog meets a strange dog off the leash. The other dog approaches with great interest, ears alert and tail wagging. But this dog is giving out signals that spell hostility. The wagging tail is stiff and held high. The eyes have a hard expression and stare into your dog’s eyes. The animal’s whole posture signifies aggression. Even without growling or showing its teeth, a dog behaving like this has a chip on its shoulder. You should walk away with your dog quietly and quickly.

2. Friendly tail-wagging. A friendly or curious dog’s tail will be wagging in wide sweeps, hanging down. Its ears are down and its fur is smooth along its shoulders and back. The dog will not attempt to look you or your dog in the eye. It will go through the typical sniffing pattern with your dog–first nose to nose, then the genitals. Offer this dog the back of your fist to smell, and then you can probably pet it if you wish but all ways take care.

3. Play position. Let’s say your dog, after the usual preliminary sniffs, suddenly bounces down on its chest and elbows with its ears flattened and its rear end in the air. Unless the other dog’s owner recognizes your dog’s body language, he or she may snatch the animal away misinterpreting your dog’s behavior as aggression. Your dog was giving off perfectly clear signals–”Let’s play“–yet was misunderstood. A dog that merely wants to play may also jump excitedly and bark, grin and wag its tail, run around in circles, and roll over.

4. Submissive postures. Sometimes a dog will lie on its belly with its ears flattened and the fur along its back flat and smooth. It looks away and may roll over onto its back. Is it afraid, a coward, a wimp? In most cases not–it may well only be showing submission. It is probably saying, “I am recognizing that you are the (pack leader).” Or it could be telling the other dog, “I’m not into power–I don’t want to fight.”

5. Signs of fear. A frightened dog lowers its body, with its tail hanging low or tucked between its legs. Its head is down, its ears are laid back. The dog may instinctively crouch close to the ground to protect its belly, and it may approach you and your dog in circles. Because a scared dog can quickly become a fear-biter, the best course is to stand still with your hands by your sides and refrain from looking the animal in the eye. Don’t corner it or turn your back on it, but speak to it in a soothing voice. Unless it gets over its fear, relaxes, and shows friendliness or submission, it’s best to move away quietly.

Hopefully these tips help you to understand your pet better as well as other animals. Just always keep in mind that keeping calm is the most important thing you can do for the safety of you and your pet pal.

When Good Dogs Eat Bad Things
American Kennel Club -

Dogs will eat just about anything they can get their teeth onto and even the most scrupulous pet-proofing doesn't guarantee that your dog won't scarf down something - like a chicken bone or sock or piece of string - that could endanger his health, or even his life.

When dogs eat bad things, it can cost somewhere between $1,000 and $3,000, but some veterinarian procedures can add up to much more. Pet health insurance claims for "foreign-body ingestion," as clinics call these potentially life-threatening incidents, are ranked amongst the top-10 claims by PetPartners, Inc., provider of the American Kennel Club Pet Healthcare Plan. According to case files, some of the strange household items dogs swallow and the average cost of removing them, include:

Corncob - $1,915

Chicken bone - $2,700

String - $5,000

Socks - $2,205

Threaded needle - $2,329

Toy - $2,436

Kitchen towel - $3,738

Glove - $1,138

Doll head - $1,014

Lobster tail - $1,310

Hand warmer - $1,424

Rubber ball - $1,418

To keep your dog out of the emergency room, animal behaviorist Mary Burch offers the following tips to keep your dog from eating household items and other foreign objects.

-Prevention is the key. If the items aren't accessible your dog won't eat them. Take extra care to dog-proof your house by making sure you secure the garbage, keep food out of reach, put clothes and shoes away, and make sure children's toys are not left on the floor.

-Provide an acceptable alternative. Make sure electrical cords and other household items don't attract your pet's attention by giving your dog chew toys large enough so they can't swallow them. Make a good selection of these easily accessible to help keep them busy.

-Supervise playtime. It's best to supervise your dog during playtime with toys. Within a month of enrolling in the AKC Pet Healthcare Plan, the owner of a French Bulldog was recently reimbursed with more than $660 for the removal a piece of toy from her dog's stomach - a bill that could have been much higher if not for the owner's quick action. She was supervising her dog with the new toy when she noticed a piece of it was missing. She immediately took her dog to the veterinarian where an X-ray showed a piece of toy in the dog's stomach. A specialist was called in to remove it by endoscopy. Had the owner not been around to act so quickly, the piece may have moved into the colon, with potentially serious consequences requiring much more expensive and complex surgery to open up the dog.

-Schedule regular exercise. Well-exercised dogs get into less trouble. Obedience, rally or agility classes offer a fun way to work out together and socialize your dog while meeting other dog lovers.

-Train your dog. Training will give your dog something to wrap his mind around and keep him out of trouble.

Additional tips can be found on the American Kennel Club Web site at

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