Have You Considered a Pet Hedgehog? (Photo)

Things to Know If You're Contemplating a Pet

(HealthDay News) -- President Barack Obama and his family took their time selecting their new dog Bo, and that's something everyone should do when considering a new pet, says a University of Maryland School of Medicine expert.

"There are many health and safety concerns that should be addressed before bringing an animal into the home," Mary Beth Bollinger, an associate professor of pediatrics and interim chief of the pediatric pulmonology and allergy division, said in news release from the American Osteopathic Association.

"Individuals and families who are well-prepared will get the most enjoyment out of owning a pet," she said.

Bollinger suggested that anyone thinking about getting a pet:

Consider different kinds of animals and breeds and select the one that's best for your home and your family's needs. Carefully assess your family's routine of work, school, social activities and travel and choose a pet and breed that can live comfortably in your home and neighborhood.

Understand how to properly interact with your pet. Different kinds of animals and breeds have different traits and temperaments and need to be handled and cared for appropriately.

Realize that there are no truly hypoallergenic furred pets. Even single-coated or hairless dogs promoted as being hypoallergenic produce allergens -- allergy-triggering proteins found in the animal's dander, saliva and urine.

Remember that good hygiene is crucial for families with pets. Everyone should wash their hands after playing with or handling a pet.

Homes should have pet-free zones, including bedrooms and any rooms where infants or small children are fed or left alone, such as nurseries and play rooms. Wash furred pets regularly to reduce the spread of germs and the amount of dander they produce. Reptiles can carry salmonella and other potential infections and shouldn't be in homes with children younger than 5 years old or children with weakened immune systems.

Buy pets only from reputable breeders or shelters. This helps ensure that you get a healthy animal that's had all its recommended shots.

Once a pet has joined the family, remember that annual checkups with a veterinarian reduce the risk of fleas, parasites and infections that can spread in your home.

When Planting a Garden, Consider Pet Safety
By Niki Laviolette - Special to the Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — This is the time of year to be thinking about what type of plants you are going to plant in your garden. If you have pets, it’s important to consider their safety when deciding on which plants to put in the ground. People (and pets) are naturally attracted to the appearance and fragrance of various plants. Often, pets are drawn to eat the foliage and flowers, which can lead to life threatening side effects. Be sure to select non-toxic plants when planning your garden.

If your garden location gets four or more hours of direct sunlight a day, consider annuals, such as zinnia’s, snapdragons, cosmos, calendula, and petunia’s or perennials, such as, bee balm, phlox, roses, catmint/catnip, and coneflowers. If your garden spot receives less than four hours of direct sunlight per day, consider annuals like primroses, butterfly flower, spider flower, and nasturtium. Perennials include columbine, coral bells, turf lily, and goat’s beard.

If your garden receives little to no direct sunlight each day, consider annuals such as, begonias, impatiens, New Guinea impatiens, violets, or coleus. Perennials also include hosta, bugbane, yellow corydalis, astilbe, and queen of the meadow.

Some plants to avoid due to their toxicity are: castor bean, oleander, morning glory, Japanese yew, Jerusalem cherry, foxglove, nightshade, lily of the valley, precatory beans, and the trumpet vine.

If you want to plant a vegetable garden, you will need four or more hours of full sun each day for most plants. Keeping your pet out of your garden may be a difficult task but fencing may help. Stay away from hardware cloth as your pet can become entangled. An effective and safe way to keep pets and wildlife out of newly planted gardens is to use motion detector sprinkler systems. Except for onions, chives, and garlic (and pets like these!), most vegetables are non-toxic. The potato plant leaf and the green section of the potato skin are toxic if eaten in sufficient quantities. Fruits have toxic chemicals in their seeds. Apple, plum, cherry, apricot, and peach seeds contain cyanide that can cause fatal seizures.

Use safe alternatives when planning to use chemical pesticides, fertilizers, or fungicides.

Poisoning of pets is all too common; read all manufacturers’ instructions when applying any chemical to the lawn or garden. A pet can be exposed days or even weeks after the initial application of a chemical. Damaging insects such as, aphids, spider mites, or thrips can be eliminated by spraying water. It may take one or two days but an infestation can be cleared with a shower.

If you have a more serious insect problem, add a teaspoon of dish soap to a gallon of water and use it in a garden sprayer. Soap is an irritant and it helps to break down the protective barriers of their external skeleton. Commercial insecticidal soaps are available that are less toxic than many chemical alternatives.

Recycled kitchen and yard waste combined makes the best garden fertilizer. Applied to the lawn and garden twice yearly can replace the essential nutrients necessary.

And don’t forget to put your pet inside while you’re mowing the lawn or applying any chemicals!

A lawn mower can project a rock or stick that can injure pets. Painting garden tools a bright color will enable you or your pet to see them out in the yard. Store any chemicals in their original containers and out of reach of children and pets.

If your pet consumes any chemicals or is exposed, call your veterinarian immediately with the information from the product label.

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Give Your Pet a Chance

I have seen a couple of times in the newspaper about animals who have either been abused or abandoned. I just wish people would really have a heart and do the right thing and give their pet to the animal shelter where at least the animal has a chance at a loving home, than to dump the poor thing somewhere to fend for itself. I mean how would you feel if that happened to you.

I really don't understand people sometimes, that they can be so heartless and cruel.

So please, if you can't take your pet with you when you move or you can't afford to take care of your pet anymore, please do the right thing and either find your pet a home or take your pet to the animal shelter. Every animal deserves a loving home.

And please consider going to the animal shelter if you want a new pet. They can bring so much joy in your life and you will have a lifelong friend. I adopted my cat from the animal shelter six years ago.

Carla King

Tips on Preventing Rabies
By Carl Hessler Jr - pottsmerc.com

NORRISTOWN — The most important thing people can do to protect themselves against rabies is to make sure their domestic dogs and cats have been immunized against the acute viral disease, according to health officials. However, officials of the Montgomery County Health Department recently offered some tips on rabies prevention.

They are:

--Never befriend or feed a wild animal or stray animal no matter how cute or cuddly they may appear.

--Never let your dog or cat roam unleashed. That only increases your pet's chances of coming into contact with a rabid animal.

--Do not provide food sources for stray animals. Store trash in durable containers with tight-fitting lids in place.

--Pets that have been wounded should be taken to a veterinarian immediately.

--Report all animal bites, or licks to exposed tissue, to the health department so officials can initiate an investigation.

--Call the local police or county health department if you see an animal acting strangely. If the rabid animal can be captured, it should be killed without damaging the head so health officials can examine the animal's brain to determine if the rabies virus is present.

--Avoid touching dead animals. If you must, wear gloves.

--Immediately wash a bite wound with soap and hot water and seek medical attention.

Rabid animals are better recognized by unusual or abnormal behavior. Rabid animals, wild or domestic, may stagger, appear restless, be aggressive or appear to be choking.

Powerloo Dog Toilet Won't Teach Fido to Flush

I've always figured that aliens looking down at Earth must conclude that the dogs are in charge, as it is us humans who walk behind them picking up their poop. The Powerloo doggie toilet from Michigan inventor Curt Fournier doesn't do much to change that, but at least you'll have a place to put all that smelly dog doo-doo.

The Powerloo is a complete outdoor flush toilet that connects to your home plumbing and sewer lines, sucking down the poop after you've deposited it in special biodegradable bags. You still need to pick it up first, which I suppose is why I tend to prefer cats.

Now, if only we could teach dogs to wipe, flush, and put down the seat themselves.

The Powerloo will be available starting in June for about $1000, or about 10 times the cost of a regular human toilet.

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Planes, Trains and Automobiles: Keep Your Dog safe While Traveling
American Kennel Club - bradenton.com

As the value of pets in our lives rises, many people now consider their dogs to be part of the family and want to include them in family vacations. Whether you're heading out to the beach or to a neighboring state for a dog show, the American Kennel Club offers the following tips to keep your travel days as comfortable as possible.

By Car

- Secure your dog in a crate, carrier or harness that attaches to the seat belt. Pet supply stores sell harnesses, and carry a range of sizes that will fit most breeds, from Pugs to Great Danes! No animal should ever ride loose in the bed of a pick-up truck, which can lead to serious injuries or death in the event of an accident.

- To prevent ear and eye injuries, do not allow your pooch to stick his head out the car window.

- Stop regularly to allow your dog to relieve himself and take a drink. A familiar toy or bed can also make the trip more comfortable.

- Do not leave your pet unattended in the car on hot days ever. Temperatures can rise quickly, causing heat stroke and other problems even with windows open. Stop immediately if your dog begins to pant excessively, drool or act sluggish and unresponsive.

By Plane

- Pet travel policies vary by airline, so check requirements before booking your flight. For a list of carriers and their guidelines, visit http://www.akc.org/airtravel/

- Reservations are required for dogs traveling in-cabin as well as excess baggage or cargo. The number of pets allowed on each flight, the dog's age and breed, and crate size all factor into the reservation process.

- Your veterinarian must verify your pet's health and ability to fly no more than 10 days before the date of departure. Schedule a visit a few days before your trip to pick up a health certificate. Also request proof of rabies vaccination and other inoculations, which you may be required to show at various points during your journey.

- Weather can impact your dog's travel. Federal regulations prohibit shipping live animals as excess baggage or cargo if an animal will be exposed to temperatures that are below 45 degrees Fahrenheit or above 85 degrees Fahrenheit, for more than four hours during departure, arrival, or while making connections.

- Travel crates should be sturdy; large enough for your pet to stand up, turn around and lie down; and must be airline approved. Remember to have your name and contact information attached.

Additional tips can be found on the American Kennel Club Web site at www.akc.org.

Pet Owners Urged to Make Sure Animals Have Identification
by Jill Burke - ktuu.com

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- The people who look after lost and stray pets are urging owners to make sure their animals have identification on them.

Summer is the time when more pets are likely to become separated from their families -- whether because they wander off, or are given up.

The more animals that fill up the waiting rooms at Animal Care and Control, the more space at the shelter becomes an issue.

And when space is tight, the staff is forced to make some tough decisions.

"We try to be flexible and use everything we have to handle as many animals as we can," said Brooke Taylor, a public relations coordinator with the city's Department of Health and Human Services. "But again, especially when it comes to cats in the summertime, our numbers go up and there are times when we have to euthanize cats that might otherwise be adoptable."

About 8,000 animals come through the shelter each year, and Animal Care and Control says of those about 2,000 animals are euthanized.

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Cathy M. Rosenthal: Pets Feel Loss When Owner, Friend Gone
Cathy Rosenthal - mysanantonio.com

When Suzie told me her 9-year-old dachshund Daisy died, she said her other dog, Mixie, stopped eating and started acting clingy. "She slept more and moped around the house," she says. "Is she grieving? Does Mixie know that Daisy is gone?"

People frequently ask me if dogs and cats can understand when a pet or person in the family dies. Pets don't understand why the pet or person is not returning, but they know when a friend is gone and feel the ache when that pet or person doesn't return as expected. Daisy knows Mixie is gone and is mourning the separation from her friend.

If I am gone for a few days, my husband says our pets search everywhere for me. Because they can't be reassured I will return, they begin mourning my absence. They eat less, walk around with their heads dropped down and often don't sleep in my room (like they always do), preferring instead to sleep near the back door where I would usually enter. They are waiting for me to return, and each day I am gone builds more sadness in their hearts.

When I return home, Brinkley celebrates by jumping and tail-chasing; Miss Kitty screams at me demanding to know where I have been; and Maggie vocalizes a strange sort of talking sound that is as much relief as it is joy. If I didn't return, though, their grief would grow and it could take weeks or months for them to fully recover. Anyone who has ever left their pets to go on vacation knows what I am talking about. They can become very sad when you're gone.

Many years ago, the ASPCA conducted a study on companion animals that revealed 66 percent of dogs exhibited four or more behavioral changes after the death of a canine companion. About 36 percent of participants surveyed said their dogs ate less than usual and more than 10 percent stopped eating altogether. About 63 percent of dogs changed their vocal patterns, vocalizing more or less than normal. Almost all dogs and cats changed their sleeping habits, sleeping more or less often and in new places around the house.

Pets grieve in many ways. They may search the house, sniffing out the last places their friend slept or, sensing your sadness and grief, may try to comfort you by staying close, keeping quiet or even staying more out of your way. Animals do have feelings and can feel the pain of loss and separation and even grief when their best friend, either pet or human, never returns.

If your pet is grieving, give them attention and affection and know that, as with people, "time heals all wounds." Be respectful and allow time for healing before introducing a new pet into the family. Together, you can comfort each other. Grief is usually lessened when shared.

Send your pet stories and questions to Cathy M. Rosenthal, c/o Features Department, San Antonio Express-News, P.O. Box 2171, San Antonio, TX 78297-2171, or e-mail them to cathy@petpundit.com. Cathy's advice column runs every Sunday.

How To Cook Healthy For Your Pet?

I’ve decided I want to start cooking meals for my dogs and cats. I’m not sure how to go about doing this. I feel it would be healthier than pet food though. I want to give them the best of everything, including diet. I really could use some advice. What should I cook for dogs? Cats? I’m sure I will have to cook something different for each. I’d appreciate any tips and suggestions.
4 responses to “How To Cook Healthy For Your Pet?”

May 24th, 2009 at 22:28

The best resource to start with is Dr. Pitcairns “Complete Guide to Natural Health for your Dog and Cat.”
Feeding a balanced diet isn’t easy but it isn’t rocket science, either. Dogs need protein/ carbs/ fats just like we do and vitamins and minerals. (Hey, didn’t we just figure all of this out on the human front about 50 years ago? We haven’t always known about low fat or good fats or “low glycemic” foods for people!)
Given the astronomical rate of cancer in animals and the warnings we humans get: Eat 5 veggies per day. Low Fat. Cut back on sugar. Maintain a healthy diet. Whole grains … Everything we’re told to reduce our own chances of cancer - doesn’t it make sense that a boring diet of processed food might not be the best for our pets?
Sorry, but the AAFCO doesn’t have ALL of the answers, nor are their recipes a magic formula for health!
Another great book: “The Whole Pet Diet” by Andi Brown (with foreward by Dr. Pitcairn.)

May 24th, 2009 at 22:28

feed them pet food it has all the nutrients they need and vitamins there is no way that you can prepare nutritionally balance meals that provide that. is not practical, Yes I am a pet owner and breeder of chihuahuas and i tried it myself and I will never go back to it I feed all of my dogs Black Gold in the black bag it is championship quality and grade nearly all of the breeders I know that love and care for their pets like their children feed them this I also fry and drain several pounds of ground beef 90% lean and mix it 50 - 50 with rice for them every day. I feed the meat and rice in the AM and they have black gold the rest of the day to eat at their leisure.

I also give them (per 4 dogs) 1 12-oz can of evaporated milk with 1 egg every 3rd day. it is excellent for their coat and they love it. this was suggested to me by 2 different veternarians
I am sorry I do not raise felines so I cannot comment on them

Everybody's Favorite
May 24th, 2009 at 22:28

Wow, I envy your cats and dogs.
They are carnivores, so they digestive system is different than ours. They do not need veggies. In the parasite-free world, it is best of you give raw meat to dogs and raw fish to cats. But if you’re worried about parasites you’ll have to boil their food. Don’t put any salt or pepper.

May 24th, 2009 at 22:28

Oh PUHLEEZE cooking healthy for your pet? Why dont you just ask them what they want to be fed.

Hedgehogs as Pets

Hedgehogs are not the perfect pet for everyone, so before you get one, you need to make sure that you are ready to have a hedgehog as a pet. It's best that you do your research so that you can avoid having to give up your pet because you get bored with it or tired of caring for it after a few weeks or a few months.

Disadvantages to having a pet hedgehog:

* It's cute. Just because it's cute, it doesn't mean that you have to have it, and if that's your only reason, then you don't need a hedgehog as a pet. Pets equal responsibility.

* They don't play fetch, games, or anything at all. Hedgehogs prefer to just eat and run around. You won't find a hedgehog who will cuddle up to or play game.

* They will bite you when they're upset, and because they have sharp teeth, it can be a little painful. Even socialized hedgehogs will bite under certain circumstances, especially if you ignore the huffing and puffing that signal irritation.

* They have short lifespans of only three to five years, so if you're looking for something that lives a little longer, then you'll have to find another pet.

* They can be expensive, depending on the breeder and the color or pattern that you choose, and for only three to five years of companionship, you'll have to weigh if the $200 or more will be worth it.

Advantages of having a pet hedgehog:

* They're plain cute, which is the obvious factor in wanting a hedgehog.

* They don't spread dander, which is great for people who may have cat and dog allergies. You may find that you're allergic to a hedgehog related supply, like the bedding or food, but you will not have a reaction to the animal, itself.

* They are quiet. You may hear them breathing heavily, scuffling noises as they walk around, or noises from a hedgehog running on his wheel, but for the most part, they're pretty quiet.

* They are small, which makes them great for apartments and rental homes that only allow small pets. Just remember that just because they're small, it doesn't mean that they can thrive in a small cage.

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