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PAW PRINTS: Take a Look at These Summer Safety Tips for Your Furry Friends
By Niki Laviolette - Special to the Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — The ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) wants to remind pet owners to keep their pets safe during the summer months.

“Summertime is a wonderful time for family and friends to get together and enjoy themselves, often with a beloved pet by their side,” says Dr. Steven Hansen, senior vice president of the ASPCA’s Midwest Office. “However, it’s important to consider the hidden dangers that can harm our favorite furry companions.”

This is the perfect time of year for parties and barbecues but remember that some food and drinks can be poisonous to pets. Do not serve your pets alcoholic beverages as they can cause intoxication, depression, comas or death. The snacks you serve your guests should not be treats for your pets. Human snacks or changes in your pets’ diet can cause severe digestive ailments.

Your pets can get dehydrated outdoors quickly. Give them plenty of water and make sure they have a shady area to be able to get out of the sun. Keep your pet indoors when it’s extremely hot. Never leave your pet alone in a parked vehicle. Even with the windows open, a vehicle can rapidly become a furnace, causing a heatstroke, which can be fatal.

Keep your pets free of pests. Some flea and tick products, rodenticides (rat and mouse bait), and insecticides can be harmful to cats and dogs if ingested. Keep these out of reach. There are flea products that can be safely used on dogs but which can be deadly to cats, particularly if they contain the chemical permethrin. Be sure to read the directions on these products carefully.

Not all dogs are good swimmers. Do not leave pets unsupervised near swimming pools. Gradually, introduce pets to water and make sure your pet is wearing a flotation device while on boats. Attempt to keep your dog from drinking pool water, as the chemicals can cause stomach upset.

There is an increase in the number of injured animals during the summer months due to “High Rise Syndrome” (when pets fall out of windows, doors or off balconies and are seriously or fatally injured). It’s important to keep all unscreened windows or doors closed and make certain the adjustable screens are tightly secured.

When taking your dog outdoors, make sure he is safe and secure around other animals and strangers. With more people and pets out enjoying the warmer weather, tempers can flare.

Never attempt to use fireworks around pets. Lit fireworks can potentially cause severe burns or trauma; even unused fireworks are hazardous. Many fireworks contain potassium nitrate, copper, chlorates, arsenic and other heavy metals, which are potentially toxic. Keep your pet away from citronella candles, insect coils and oil products, as well. Ingestion can cause stomach irritation and even central nervous system depression. If the oils are inhaled, they can cause aspiration pneumonia.

If your pet should ingest any potentially harmful product, immediately call your veterinarian. For a fee, you can consult the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435.

Unleash Planner Inside Before Bringing Pet on Plane

CABIN OR CARGO? Learn rules of your specific carrier

NEW YORK -- We dress them up. We feed them gourmet foods. We treat them like family. So when we have to fly, our pets are often a first-class priority.

Bringing animals on flights has become more common in recent years, but some airlines now have strict regulations -- and even stricter prices -- to pack a pooch or carry a cat.

Rules for the cabin
AirTran, Spirit and JetBlue allow pets to fly only in the cabin. That's great for animal lovers who argue that pets shouldn't be relegated to the cargo hold, but not so great for owners with large dogs. Pups in the cabin must be able to fit (read: stand up and turn around) in a carrier that can slide under the seat in front of you. Generally, this means under 20 pounds.

US Airways allows pets only in the cabin, but it will permit them as checked baggage for some nonstop US Airways Shuttle flights.

Airlines often limit the number of pets that can be onboard a flight. Book early.

JetBlue is the only U.S. airline that allows animals in the cabin on international flights.

For pets traveling in the cabin, AirTran charges the least among big carriers at $69. Most U.S. airlines charge between $100 and $125, but bringing a pet in the cabin on Delta and Northwest flights costs $150.

Traveling as cargo
For those traveling as checked baggage, Delta and Northwest are the most expensive at $275. The least expensive in this category are Alaska Airlines and Midwest at $100, and Frontier, which prices its checked pets fees between $100 and $200.

Frontier allows pets only as checked baggage. Southwest doesn't allow pets at all, except for service animals.

In all cases, the airlines won't charge you a first or second bag fee for your dog on top of the pet fee. But some airlines will count the kennel as a piece of checked luggage, so if you have more than two bags, you might get slammed with another fee.

Aside from the fees, traveling with a pet can sometimes be a frustrating and even scary experience. Although it's rare, a handful of pets get lost or killed each year on airlines.

Bon voyage tips
Here are tips for happy trails in the air:

- Have a veterinarian examine your pet and give a clean bill of health before the flight. Most airlines require health certificates.

- If you have a snub-nosed dog or cat, like a pug or Persian, check with your vet to make sure it can fly. Some of these types of animals can't handle high altitudes.

- Consider microchipping your pet. The tiny device can be implanted for less than $100. And the process gives the pet a unique ID that can be accessed if your cat or dog gets lost. Make sure all tags and licenses are up to date with your most recent address and contact number.

- Opt for nonstop flights.

- If you are flying during the summer and your pet is traveling in cargo, try and schedule the flight in the early morning or evening, when temperatures are lowest. If you're heading out in the winter, aim for a midday flight. Because the temperature in the cargo areas can be extreme, most carriers allow pets on board only if the air temperature is greater than 45 degrees or less than 85.

- Don't feed your pet two hours before departure to ensure it will be comfortable with the lack of potty breaks ahead. Try freezing water in a dish to fit in the carrier, so it will melt gradually during flight and avoid spillage.

- Exercise with your pet a couple hours before flight to tire it out and help it relax. Some experts recommend against the use of sedatives because the pet won't be able to protect itself if the carrier shifts during flight.

- Secure pertinent information to your pet carrier such as the flight number, destination and your pet's name if it is traveling below deck. "Live Animal" and "This End Up" stickers are recommended by the American Humane Association. Carry a recent photo in case your pet gets lost.

- Consider putting a harness on your cat if it won't be with you in the cabin. If security personnel remove the cat from the carrier, it will lessen the chance the cat will get loose.

There are also other options popping up for pet lovers. Pet Airways, which launches next month, will send your pet between Chicago (Palwaukee Airport) and New York, Washington, D.C., Denver and Los Angeles for $250 one-way (an introductory fare of $150).

Dogs and cats will fly in a main cabin where seats have been replaced by kennels, and pets will be escorted to the four-leg-only flight by attendants who will monitor them during flight.

Camp Sites Now Friendly to Pets in New Jersey

TRENTON - Three of the state's public camping sites - including one in Salem County - are now "pet friendly."

Under a pilot program launched Monday, campers can bring along their dogs and domestic cats when they book accommodations at the Brendan T. Byrne State Forest in New Lisbon, Parvin State Park in Pittsgrove Township and Wharton State Forest in Batsto, Department of Environmental Protection Acting Commissioner Mark N. Mauriello announced.

No additional fees will be charged for using a pet-friendly campsite.

Dog and cat owners must comply with people-friendly guidelines, including leashing, proper cleanup and disposal of pet waste, and discouraging barking and other noise. Owners must be able to show proof of required pet licensing and necessary vaccinations.

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Teaching Dogs Some New Tricks
By Lorraine Mirabella Baltimore Sun

Competition measures control and attacking bad guys on cue

Ronan, an 18-month-old Belgian Malinois, bolted from his owner's grasp and charged across the open field toward a guy waving a stick and screaming, "Get that dog out of here." The dog lunged toward the man, bit into his arm and held on.

"Good grip," said a man with a clipboard.

As a judge for the Protection Sports Association, he made note of it as part of the dog's ability to take commands from his owner, ignore all distractions and hang on to a "decoy," a person outfitted in a thickly padded bite suit. Ronan and his owner, Mike McMahon, competitors in a canine obedience and controlled protection trial Saturday, passed the trial. Ronan earned a Protection Dog Certificate.

McMahon, 23, from New Jersey runs his own dog training business called Total Control Canine. He spends time training his dog in obedience and protection and then traveling to such competitions sanctioned by the association, a national group based in Glen Burnie. Most of the competitions, at local, regional and national levels, are sponsored by local PSA clubs.

"It's a chance to do something with your dog that they enjoy," McMahon said. "It's a sport for you and your dog."

This weekend, some 50 competitors from all along the East Coast gathered for a local, two-day competition sponsored by the Metropolitan K-9 club on the grounds of St. Philip Neri School in Linthicum Heights.

Interest in PSA competitions has grown each year since the association was founded in 2002, participants said. The PSA, which has about 550 members, describes its mission as offering an outlet for civilian competition in canine obedience and controlled protection and recognizing achievement with titles and prizes.

David Pappalardo, from Fort Lee, N.J., has run a club and business for 15 years called K-9 Unlimited that trains and sells police dogs. He came to the Linthicum Heights competition with his German shepherd, Car, and passed the trial he entered.

In the training scenario, the dog was put into an SUV and was approached at the window by a decoy, who rattled a jar of coins. The dog was supposed to ignore the noisy distraction and follow commands to attack.

Training not only helps the dog get better but also improves its owner's relationship and communication with the dog, Pappalardo said.

People often have the idea that protection-sports enthusiasts are merely training attack dogs, said Christopher Smith, a Belgian Malinois owner from Long Island, N.Y., who came to Saturday's event as a spectator.

"These are the friendliest dogs - just don't hit their owner," he said.

Pappalardo agreed that it takes a special dog to do well in the competitions.

"We're not looking for dogs that go out and bite," he said. "We're looking for dogs that have control. It takes a confident dog, and a social dog."

How To Choose A Pet Rabbit
by Michael Fargo -

Are you thinking of getting a rabbit for a family pet? There are a number of things to take into consideration before picking a pet for kids. Take into consideration the size, habitat, and eating habits of any animal before you take it on as a family pet.

A rabbit may seem ideal for some families because of its size and eating habits. However, take into consideration that rabbits can be a little difficult because of their natural reactions and inclinations. For example, rabbits are a pet that doesn’t like to be held or touched.

When you try to hold a rabbit against its will they may try to bite, kick, or scratch trying to get free of your grip. Young children who want to hold and play with a pet shouldn’t be given a rabbit. Rabbits just aren’t social in nature, like cats and dogs.

Rabbits can also take a long time to adapt to a new environment and to bond with their owner. The time and patience required to domesticate and acclimate a rabbit make it a difficult pet for children to deal with. They aren’t good pets for children because rabbits require more time and attention than children are usually able to give.

Another consideration when choosing a rabbit as a pet is that rabbits can be destructive. Rabbits don’t destroy things to irritate you, but it is just their nature to chew up things that are around them. If you don’t put them up a rabbit will chew cables and electrical cords, or anything of interest they find in their surroundings.

The last thing to consider is that rabbits require a lot of time, attention, and patience. They have to be fed regularly. Their cages have to be cleaned every day, and they must be provided with appropriate food and fresh water every day. As herbivores, rabbits will only eat fresh fruits and vegetables or specially formulated rabbit pellets. Despite the amount of attention rabbits require they may be the perfect pet for certain individuals who can click with their natural animalistic behaviors.

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Protect Yourself, Your Pets
By William Johnson • Daily World

Free rabies clinics offered throughout area this month

St. Landry Parish Animal Control, with support from the Louisiana Department of Health, is once again offering free rabies vaccinations to all dogs and cats.

The vaccination clinics will be held in various locations throughout the parish between June 17 and June 26.

"There are two big reasons to get your pet vaccinated," said Dr. John Fontenot, one of a several local veterinarians volunteering their time and skill to the program.

"First, it's the law. All dogs and cats are supposed to be vaccinated annually," Fontenot said.

State law requires that all dogs and cats three months of age and older be vaccinated. The other reason is even more important.

"Pets are our companions. They act as a buffer between us and the native pool of rabies. If they encounter a rabid skunk or raccoon and are bitten, they can transmit the disease to us," Fontenot said.

To receive their free shots, dogs must be on a leash or restrained by their owner. Cats must be in a carrier.

Dr. Robert Speyrer, who has volunteered his time to help with the program for more than 30 years, said even a smarter idea is to bring your cat in a sack or pillow case.

"There are often a lot of dogs around. The cats can get scared, possibly escape or bite their owner who is trying to get them out of the carrier," Speyrer said. "We can also give them the shot right through the pillow case."

Speyrer said the clinics, most of which last about half an hour, tend to run very smoothly. "It is a simple procedure, just an injection," Speyrer said.

In addition to getting the required vaccinations, pet owners will be presented with a certificate for their files and a tag for their pet's collar confirming the shots are up to date.

According to the federal Center for Disease Control, rabies remains a problem, especially in rural areas such as St. Landry Parish.

Bats, raccoons, skunks and foxes are all common carriers of rabies, though any mammal can become infected. Experts say if you are bitten by an animal, precautions need to be taken immediately.

While a serious problem in neighboring states like Texas, Speyrer said there hasn't been a confirmed case locally in four or five years. "That's because we vaccinate," Speyrer said.

While different doctors will be at different locations, it is the parish that will be providing the vaccine to all of them.

"It has always been our policy to pay for this," said Jessie Bellard, St. Landry Parish administrator. "It cost about $4,500 last year. We expect about the same this year."

"This is a wonderful public health initiative. Cost-wise, it is well worth it," Speyrer said.

For more information on the rabies vaccination clinics, contact the St. Landry Parish Animal Control at 948-6184 or the Opelousas Health Unit at 948-0220.

Wildlife Managers Ask People to Control Dogs
By Cory Hatch, Jackson Hole, Wyo.

Wildlife managers around Jackson Hole are asking people to use extra caution when hiking with their pets during the next few weeks because baby moose, deer and elk have been seen around the region.

Linda Merigliano, recreation program manager for the Jackson Ranger District of Bridger-Teton National Forest, said hikers recently encountered a cow moose and her calf near Crater Lake on Old Pass Road. U.S. Forest Service officials are asking that people not take their dogs above Crater Lake to give the mother and her baby the space they need.

“Dogs and newborn critters don’t mix well,” Merigliano said. “The moose is probably going to move off as soon as they regain a little strength.”

While wildlife managers say people should use extra caution just about everywhere in the region, some of the hot spots for newborn animals are Teton Pass, Hagen Trail, Game Creek and, for elk calves, Munger Mountain.

Merigliano said keeping dogs away from newborn wildlife not only protects the wildlife but also the dog.

“If you see a moose, don’t approach it,” she said. “It’s best to turn around and take another trail. You don’t want to risk your dog attacking a calf or the mother moose killing your dog or injuring you.”

“Many people aren’t aware that moose are very strong and their kicking ability is amazing,” Merigliano said. “There are many instances of dogs being killed by moose. It happens every year.”

Wyoming Game and Fish Department spokesman Mark Gocke also stressed that dogs should be kept under control in the wilds.

“It’s that time of year when the young are being born and they’re instinctively staying still,” Gocke said. “Even if they do get up and run, a dog can catch them. It’s just really important that we keep control of our pets just for everybody involved.”

Gocke also reminded people not to pick up a baby animal, even if it looks like the mother has abandoned it.

“That’s a common thing mothers do to try and draw predators and other things away from their babies,” he said. “That doesn’t mean they’ll be abandoned. Often, the mothers come back. Our instinct is to pick it up and try and care for it, but the best caregiver is its natural mother.”

Grand Teton National Park spokeswoman Jackie Skaggs said dogs pose a danger to ground-nesting birds, as well.

“Young sage grouse could be vulnerable to something like that, too,” she said, adding that people in the park need to comply with rules that require dogs to be on a leash at all times and restrict their movement to park roads and parking lots.

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Bazooka and the Skateboard: a Dog's Tale

TOKYO (Reuters Life!) - He's just a bulldog with stubby legs, but that hasn't prevented Bazooka from becoming Japan's top, and probably only, skateboarding dog.

Demonstrating that every dog has his day, the two year-old pure-bred Old English Bulldog rolled down a Tokyo park on Monday, pushing his board with his hind feet and shifting his weight on all four to steer, just like two-legged riders.

It was love at first sight between the dog and his board, says Bazooka's owner, Yoshio Ishikawa.

"When he was 5-months old, he saw someone skateboarding in the street, and that must have switched him on," Ishikawa, who designs canine clothing, told Reuters. "After that it was 'I wanna skate!'."

While he has yet to learn 180-degree-turns and kickflips, Bazooka appears very comfortable on his board, relishing the attention he gets from humans and other dogs.

Ishikawa has boards custom-made, ensuring that they have no toxic varnishes and are of an appropriate length.

And Bazooka expresses his appreciation in the way most dogs know how -- he chews his boards to shreds.

"He bites and just keeps gnawing on them, so we're actually on our 15th custom-made board as of now," Ishikawa said.

(Reporting by Chris Meyers, Editing by Miral Fahmy)

Dog Fetches Live WWII Grenade

A dog in Erkrath discovered a live World War II-era hand grenade while on a walk this weekend, police in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia told The Local.

The dog – a boxer – was out for a stroll on Sunday with a 40-year-old neighbour and her white German Shepherd in the Neandertal valley – known for the discovery of the eponymous Neanderthal prehistoric skull specimen found there in 1856.

“The two dogs were playing off leash when the boxer – a normal family dog called Boogie, as in ‘boogie woogie’ – found an object and brought it to the woman,” Erkrath police spokesman Ulrich Löhe told The Local.

The woman immediately recognised the object and commanded the dog to set it down, which Boogie did admirably, though she is not especially well-trained, Löhe added. Meanwhile the woman called police and waited by the grenade so that others wouldn’t be endangered.

Officers from the explosive ordnance disposal unit secured the object at around 6:20 pm and identified it as a live American hand grenade from WWII. They transported it to their headquarters where it will be defused or detonated, Löhe said.

“We have at least one or two old unexploded ordnance calls in our county each month – we wouldn’t have the ordnance clean up unit if we didn’t need them,” Löhe said. “They are responsible for the entire Düsseldorf area, and they have a lot to do.”

Erkrath, in the rural district of Mettmann in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, did not have any significant battles during the Second World War, he said.

"But many soldiers likely tossed their weapons aside in the area as the war ended and they made their way home," he added.

More than 60 years after the end of World War II, weapons recovery remains an important task for police throughout Germany. Allied forces dropped more than 2.7 million tonnes of explosives across Germany during the war. Some of the ordnance did not explode and has become increasingly dangerous with time and corrosion.

Entire neighbourhoods are frequently evacuated for bomb removal, and most are safely defused. Construction and road workers are trained to call emergency services the moment they suspect they've found unexploded ordnance, but accidents still occasionally happen.

In 1994, three construction workers were killed and eight bystanders injured when an unexpected bomb detonated, tearing through nearby buildings and cars in Berlin. In 2006, a road worker was killed near Frankfurt when his excavator hit a bomb.

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