Pet News: Pet Sitters, Heartworm, Fleas and Ticks (What Fun!)

How To Eliminate Pet Odors From Wood
Jeanne Huber - Washington Post

Q: When we bought our house last fall, we noted that the previous owner had left his dog indoors a lot and allowed it to do its business on the wood floor in the dining room. We thought that sanding, staining and coating the floor with polyurethane would take care of the problem, but the room still has a persistent odor. Any suggestions? We'd rather avoid sanding it again. The dining room, foyer and living room are connected, and it would mean redoing the entire first floor, which was expensive.


A: Unfortunately, when pet odors persist even after a floor has been sanded and refinished, that probably means the urine soaked through the flooring. Although enzyme products can neutralize pet odors, there's no effective way to get the liquid through thick wood. The only real solution is to replace the flooring.

But you may be able to do that in a way that minimizes your costs and doesn't require refinishing the entire floor. Tony Long, owner of D.C. Floors (202-291-1677), suggests contacting the company that did the refinishing. If it isn't equipped to do the carpentry involved in patching the floor, you may need to call another company, but the first company should at least tell you which stain and finish it used.

If you have an older house, search out vintage replacement flooring so that the tightness of the grain and width of the pieces will match. One source is Community Forklift (, a nonprofit organization with a warehouse in the Hyattsville area. The store generally has a supply of the wood flooring traditionally used in the D.C. area, including red and white oak ($2 and $2.25 a square foot), standard pine ($3) and heart pine ($5).

Removing the smelly boards and replacing them will cost about $15 a square foot, including materials, Long estimated. A good flooring company can probably blend the patch into the surrounding area without refinishing the entire floor, he said. But he cautioned that it is an art and is usually most successful with light-colored stains.

Send your home-improvement questions to Jeanne Huber at Please put "How To" in the subject line and tell us where you live.

Why Does Our Cat Like to Sniff Mint Plants?
By Gary Bogue - Contra Costa Times

I purr, therefore I am."

— Anonymous

Dear Gary:

We have some mint in a portion of our back patio in which Ebony, our beautiful black cat, has taken a great interest.

He will sit there for a long time, rubbing against it, relishing the fragrance and enjoying the taste.

He has been doing this for a couple of weeks and noticeably doesn't have any side affects. Is this latest fetish something to be concerned about?

Do you know anyone else who has a family pet with something similar to this?

Patrick Woods, Concord

Dear Patrick:

I know a lot of people who have cats that like to sniff "mint" plants.

I suspect if you check out that "mint" on your back patio closely, you may discover that it is really catnip plants.

Catnip is in the mint family, plus there's another mint called cat mint. Catnip and cat mint both turn on cats and they'll sit around rubbing on it, eating it, and sniffing it. It's harmless and those cats that are affected by it love it. (A cat's response to catnip is genetic, by the way. Some cats love it and some don't.)

Even if it turns out to be just plain old mint, it still wouldn't surprise me if your cat really likes to sniff it. Cats have this thing about minty smells.

Dear Gary:

I'm intrigued by the discussion of mourning doves' nesting inadequacies.

This house's resident pair has lost its last two nests to gravity and I'm wondering whether it's because the recent repainting of the house left the eaves too slippery? If so, is there something I could lay down that would help the nests grip?

Or should I try putting a shallow box on the relevant beam?

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Cosi Fabian,

San Francisco

Dear Cosi:

The new paint may be contributing to the problem by being slick, but mourning doves are basically just lousy nest builders.

I'd go with anchoring a shallow box or basket to the relevant beam. Mom and Dad Dove would probably appreciate it.

Dear Gary:

We are owned by two formerly-feral neutered male cats (ages 13 and 8) who are inside cats.

They get along fine with each other although acquired several years apart and they are fine (behaving quite normally, for the most part) with our family, but they immediately run and hide under the bed in the main bedroom when a nonfamily member enters our home.

This has really not been a problem until now.

Macmom, cyberspace

Dear Macmom:

This is pretty common with "former" ferals.

My Maine coon cat, Newman, and young orange cat, Jasmine, go POOF and disappear whenever the doorbell rings.

As these formerly ferals grow older and get used to humans, some of them will calm down.

Jasmine initially hides when a stranger enters, but she's already sneaking around the door a few minutes later to see what's going on. I suspect in another six months she won't even twitch a whisker when the doorbell rings.

Newman, on the other paw, has lived with us more than 10 years and he isn't going to change.

However it goes with your two kitties, you're going to have to live with it. But, hey, they're worth it.

Dear Gary:

Well guess what? I caught a blue-belly lizard and he's lived with me for 7 years and now I don't know if he is dead or not.

Max, cyberspace

Dear Max:

Why don't you pick him up and ask him?

Squirrels: Keep This in Mind If You Pet One
By Gary Bogue - Contra Costa Times

a wonderful show

polliwogs growing legs

baby frogs leaping

— haiku by Brian & Nona, Walnut Creek

Dear Gary:

Here's the latest from Squirrel Country, Kensington, CA, U.S.A.:

My favorite Peanut Monster has become so tame that he allows both my 20-year-old grandson and me to stroke his back (and ears) as he munches his peanuts.

He sits on the horizontal bar of the porch rail as he chomps away on a peanut delicacy, looking at us as he chows down. So at ease, so cute, so adorable.

It's amusing and endearing to be so close in spirit and harmony with this little guy. You would be filled with the same emotional high, Gary, if you could stroke his back as he enjoys his lunch.

Diane Severson,


Dear Diane:

I'm sure I would. I like squirrels.

I raised a lot of baby orphan squirrels and treated a lot of injured adult squirrels back in the days I was in the wildlife rescue and rehabilitation business. So I know a few things about those cute little characters that you may not know "... the most important thing being:

The tamest squirrels "... especially the ones that let you stroke their backs and ears "... will sometimes turn in a flash and take a BIG bite out of you.

Call it the nature of the beast. It's just the way they are. Kind of like the family cat that will sit purring as you scratch its head, and then suddenly turn and bite or scratch you.

So please be careful.

Dear Gary:

You are right about mourning doves nesting in hanging baskets.

My husband and I were delighted this last month as we watched doves nesting with two babies on our front porch in an empty hanging basket. We enjoyed seeing the babies come to life right before our eyes!

Here's the really exciting part "... two days after the family flew the coop, another female dove made her nest in the same basket! Does this happen very often?

I read on the Internet that the nest should be cleaned out after a dove family raises their young and treated with Sevin pesticide to kill any pests.

Renee Henry,


Dear Renee:

Take the used basket "nest" to the back of your yard and dump out the contents.

It is now ready to use.

Please do NOT use any pesticides in the nest. Residue from the poison will remain in the nest and can be absorbed by any new eggs, or chicks. That's not a good thing. No pesticides are necessary.

Also, the "new" female dove is/was probably the same mama dove that made the first nest. Doves will raise a nest full of babies 2-3 times a year.

Interesting pet stuff

ARF — Need a dog or cat? Visit Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation at the corner of Oak Grove Road and Mitchell Drive, Walnut Creek, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, and noon-4:30 p.m. weekends. Stop by to see their great pets and receive a free bag of beef-flavored Priority Pet Care Jerky Strips, courtesy of Safeway, while supplies last. See all adoptable ARF pets at

Save 5% on Pet Supplies Orders Over $75

Click on banner to visit this site.

German Shepherd Puppies, Cloned from Hero 9/11
Search and Rescue Dog, Come to L.A.
LA Unleashed

Last June, we told you about one of the strangest essay contests we've heard of yet. BioArts International, the California-based company known for selling the cloned copies of the dogs of deep-pocketed owners, famously cloned a much-loved Labrador retriever named Lancelot for the low, low price of $155,000. (The cloned puppy was dubbed "Lancelot Encore," and his human family, Edgar and Nina Otto, could afford it -- Edgar is the son of one of the founders of NASCAR.) But not everyone can afford that price tag, and so BioArts announced its Golden Clone Giveaway, through which one winner would be chosen to have their dog cloned free of charge.

The contest winner, it turns out, is James Symington, a retired Canadian police officer who now lives in Los Angeles. Symington wrote movingly about his dog Trakr, a German shepherd who participated in search-and-rescue efforts at the World Trade Center in the aftermath of 9/11. (Symington and Trakr eventually located the last survivor found after the attacks.)

"Once in a lifetime, a dog comes along that not only captures the hearts of all he touches but also plays a pivotal role in history," began Symington's essay about Trakr, who died at age 16 in April. In the years before his death, the dog had lost the use of his rear legs due to a degenerative neurological disorder that some experts believe was related to exposure to toxic smoke at Ground Zero.

Trakr's story "blew us away," BioArts CEO Lou Hawthorne said of the contest's selection process. "His many remarkable capabilities were proven beyond all doubt in our nation's darkest hour -- and we view the work of cloning him as a great honor." A few days ago, Symington was presented with five cloned mini-Trakrs.

Our colleague Shelby Grad has the details on the L.A. Now blog:

BioArts said in a statement that it partnered with South Korean cloning specialist Hwang Woo-Suk to clone the German shepherd. Woo-Suk is a controversial cloning pioneer who has been accused of faking human cloning evidence.

In a statement released by BioArts, Symington said meeting the new dogs was an emotional experience: "They're identical -- down to the smallest detail. Few dogs are born with exceptional abilities -- Trakr was one of those dogs. And if these puppies have the same attributes as Trakr, I plan on putting them into search and rescue so they can help people the way Trakr did."

Although Symington is clearly overjoyed about his five Trakr copies, L.A. Now notes that many animal lovers don't share his enthusiasm. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals issued a statement on the controversial practice of animal cloning: "Our current knowledge of animal cloning indicates that there are important welfare concerns at issue. Reports on the health and condition of mammalian animals produced by cloning have indicated a variety of anatomical and physiological problems."

BioArts doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon, so the debate is sure to continue.

Top 10 Most Unusual Dog and Cat Names of 2009

Nation's Leading Pet Health Insurance Company Reveals Wackiest Pet Names

BREA, Calif., June 17 /PRNewswire/ -- For many a pet owner, Max sounds mundane and Bailey is simply boring. In order to pay homage to those who take pride in their pets' unconventional names, Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI), the nation's oldest and largest provider of pet health insurance, set out for the second year in a row to find the 10 most unusual dog and cat names in the United States. VPI employees selected 50 unusual cat names and 50 unusual dog names from the company's database of more than 470,000 insured pets, and narrowed them down by voting for the 10 most unusual names in each category. Following are the results:

"Nearly every pet owner whose pet made the top 10 reasoned that a distinct name was only appropriate for their distinct pet," said Curtis Steinhoff, VPI spokesman. "Snag L. Tooth, for example, has a noticeable 'snaggle tooth' that juts out even when his mouth is closed, and Lunchbox the English bulldog has the stature of, well, a lunchbox. Whether a name reflected the appearance or quirky personality trait of the pet, each 'Wacky Pet Name' winner certainly earned or lived up to its clever name."

For the full lists of 50 unusual dog and cat names, pictures of pets who made the Top 10, and stories on the origin of each unusual name, visit

About Veterinary Pet Insurance

Veterinary Pet Insurance Co./DVM Insurance Agency is the nation's oldest and largest pet health insurance company and is a member of the Nationwide Insurance family of companies. Providing pet owners with peace of mind since 1982, the company is committed to being the trusted choice of America's pet lovers and an advocate of pet health education. VPI Pet Insurance plans cover dogs, cats, birds and exotic pets for multiple medical problems and conditions relating to accidents, illnesses and injuries. Optional Pet Well Care Protection for routine care is also available.

Medical plans are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. More than 2,000 companies nationwide offer VPI Pet Insurance as an employee benefit. Policies are underwritten by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company in California and in all other states by National Casualty Company, an A+15 rated company in Madison, Wisconsin. Pet owners can find VPI Pet Insurance on Facebook or follow @VPI on Twitter. For more information about VPI Pet Insurance, call 800-USA-PETS (800-872-7387) or visit

Deal of the Week 120x60
AmeriMark Direct is a leading direct marketer of women's apparel, shoes, name-brand cosmetics, fragrances, jewelry, watches, accessories, and health-related merchandise.
Click on banner to visit this site.

What Causes My Pet to Have Blood in Its Stool?
By Dr. Jennifer Broadhurst -

Many different illnesses can cause animals to pass blood with their stools. If your pet has persistent blood in its stool, you should take it to your veterinarian immediately for treatment.

Two of the most common causes of a bloody stool are intestinal parasites and intolerance to diet, particularly in dogs that like to get into the garbage. If you have a puppy, your veterinarian will need to check your pet for parvovirus. As we discussed in a previous “Ask the Vet” column, parvovirus is a serious and potentially fatal disease that is much more likely to occur in puppies.


Animals that have blood in their stools may also have other accompanying symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, listlessness and even decreased appetite and water consumption.


Your veterinarian may be able to determine the cause of your pet’s bloody stool through a simple fecal examination. However, if the fecal exam does not identify the cause of the problem, your veterinarian may need to do further diagnostic testing. The veterinarian will most likely run bloodwork on your pet, including a blood chemistry and complete blood count (CBC). Additional testing may include a urinalysis, rectal examination, abdominal radiographs or an abdominal ultrasound.


If your pet’s bloody stool is caused by parasites, your veterinarian may prescribe deworming medications. Because different dewormers treat different types of worms, it is important that your vet determines which type of parasite is infecting your pet before selecting the dewormer and giving you advice on prevention.

If your pet’s bloody stool is caused by dietary indiscretion, your veterinarian will most likely place him or her on oral medications (including antibiotics) and a temporary easily digestible diet.


Monthly heartworm prevention medication not only protects your pet from deadly worms that can infect your pet’s heart, it also guards against many intestinal parasites, such as hookworms and roundworms. Heartworms, as we discussed in a previous “Ask the Vet” column, can be fatal and are very difficult and expensive to treat. Heartworm prevention is vital to your pet’s health and should be given to your pet each and every month.

If your pet likes to get into the garbage, you need to take precautions to make sure your pet can not access the trash. If you have a tendency to feed your pet table scraps, it is time to stop. It is much healthier for your pet to be on a steady diet of a high quality pet food.

There are many other possible causes of blood in your pet’s stool that are too numerous to discuss in this column. Your family veterinarian can determine the cause of the blood in your pet’s stool and recommend treatment for your animal.

Spotswood Pet Sitter Treats Animals Like Her Own

SPOTSWOOD — It hasn't happened to Teresa Herrera yet, but she knows it might one day: A client's pet, one that Herrera looked after for some time, will die, and Herrera will be deeply saddened.

"It's going to be heartbreaking for me," she said. "It's going to be very hard for the owner to deal with (the loss), but me too, because that was a life I once looked after."

Animals are Herrera's life. Case in point is her business, Whisker Away LLC, which was officially established last September. The young business currently has more than 20 clients, most of whom are from neighboring areas like Monroe, North and South Brunswick and, of course, Spotswood, where her home office is located.
"I feel like they (pets) are kind of our babies," Herrera said. "We have to care for them and protect them, like our own children. We're the only ones they can depend on."

Herrera, 39, worked with animals in some capacity for several years before opening Whisker Away, a pet-sitting and dog-walking business.

In addition to working for a veterinarian — where she assisted with medications, injections and surgeries — she also worked in a veterinary hospital and a pet store.
Herrera began a pre-veterinarian technician program 20 years ago, but neither she nor her family could afford the tuition payments after one year.
Herrera said she is registered with the state and is insured via Pet Sitters Associates.

Because she has two dogs, a parrot and a cat at home — all of whom can get very jealous when Herrera's attention is on another animal — Herrera generally brings her business to her clients.

At her clients' homes, Herrera feeds, walks, plays and spends time with the owner's pet or pets in roughly 30-minute time spans. Herrera said she is willing to watch after dogs, cats, fish, rodents and even horses — but not reptiles, particularly snakes.
"If someone told me to feed their snake a rat, I think I would have a heart attack," Herrera said laughingly. "I just can't seem to feed them (snakes) that mouse or rat that they seem to need to eat."

Herrera — who also owns a horse in Monroe — said she also brings her business to her clients' homes because pets tend to get emotionally down when their owner is away.

"Pets miss the companionship they get daily when they're owners are gone," Herrera said. "Even though I try to keep them to the same routine they always had, it's sometimes not the same with me as it is with the owner. So keeping the pets in familiar surroundings helps ease them."

In general, Herrera offers her services seven days a week from 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Depending on the client and their circumstances, Herrera will accommodate overnight requests from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. and extending stay sitting.

Most of all, Herrera is available in the event of an unexpected emergency.
"If someone comes home from work, and they can't take their animal that's lying on the floor to the vet, for whatever reason, they can call me," she said.
To make certain the pet is familiar with her prior stay sitting them, Herrera visits the residence beforehand to meet the animal, to make certain she and the pet are comfortable with one another.

Herrera said she also tries to limit each visit to two to three cats or dogs, so that she can give each animal adequate attention.

Herrera — who holds fundraisers for pets during the winter holiday season — requires that all clients provide her proper medical documentation before she takes care of them.

"Dogs especially must have their rabies shot," she said.

Fighting Fleas the Natural Way
By Stephanie Ernst -

In May I strolled into a vet’s office and paid for a box of Frontline. The next day, I was looking at the unopened box when the obvious question suddenly hit me: What the hell am I doing? I get anxious about getting this stuff on my own skin, so why am I putting something so noxious and toxic on the skin of friends I love?

I’ve used Frontline and products like it ever since adopting Chance several years ago because, well, that’s just what you do. It’s what mainstream vets and pet stores and your neighbor tell you to do. And so without thinking, you do it, apparently even if you’re a tree-hugging hippie who generally avoids all pesticides and chemicals--that is, you do it until you have that "what the hell?" moment, or someone points out that there’s a problem here, and you have other options.

The ubiquitous chemical flea-and-tick treatments are not our only choice when it comes to keeping our companions safe and comfortable, and those treatments themselves are neither safe nor natural. They can make dogs and cats sick, and it makes sense that they would.

After locating some good tips via online research into natural prevention and remedies, I followed up with a visit to Pets in the City, where Vera--a two-legged fountain of information on this topic--graciously directed me to the various products and essential oils available and offered me advice. (Seriously, if you want one-on-one help in this area, call Pets in the City ahead of time, ask when Vera is scheduled to work, and show up while she’s there.)

Here’s what’s happening in this house: The dogs’ latest bath included a new conditioner: Buddy Rinse Flea Formula, with neem and cedarwood. The neem oil in the conditioner, it turns out, is a natural insect repellant, and it’s the same important ingredient in some natural sprays (e.g., Ark Naturals Neem Protect Spray) that you can work into your companion’s coat once every week or two, as well as after they get wet. (Shampoos including neem oil are available and recommended also, but Chance is on a medicated shampoo for a yeast allergy, so we stayed with the conditioner.) On its own, neem apparently smells almost awful enough to knock fleas dead with its stench alone, but in these products, it’s mixed with other ingredients more pleasing to the nose. After the dogs had dried off from their baths, I worked some diluted lemongrass oil--again, a natural (and fragrant) insect repellant--into their coats, from head to tail, and rubbed lemongrass oil into their collars too, a process we’ll be repeating periodically.

Around here, we’re starting out with just the combination of the oils and sprays (accompanied by regular vacuuming and bathing and conditioning as necessary), but for keeping ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes out of your yard--and from hopping a ride onto your animal roommates from there--Vera also recommends Mosquito Barrier, which is actually potent liquid garlic; the effort will involve mixing some water and possibly cooking oil and soap in with the liquid and spraying it around your yard.

With your companion animals’ health in mind, please do consider giving the toxic treatments the boot--a bit of research and, if possible, consultation with someone such as Vera who has deeper knowledge of these natural routes can get you quickly and easily on your way. Also keep in mind that what’s safe for humans isn’t necessarily safe for dogs and cats, and what’s safe for dogs isn’t always safe for cats either, so quick research is important.

Keep an eye on the Pet Set section of the Vital Voice website in the next couple months for a report back on what kind of results we see in this house. Wish us a flea-free summer, and we’ll wish you one too!

Click on banner to visit this site.

Click here for "Dating Tips, Relationship Advice and Intimacy"

Click here for "News, Commentary and Opinions"

Cat Health Warning Signs
Seattle PI

According to Arnold Plotnick, DVM, "Cats don't let anyone know that they're sick until they're really sick and can no longer hide it. At that point trying to rescue them from their illness becomes even more difficult. This is why examining cats regularly and performing routine blood and urine tests as necessary are so important. It is much easier to prevent illness and continue to keep cats healthy than to try to treat an illness that has already become well established."

The Morris Animal Foundation health warning signs are as follows:
• Changes in chewing, eating and drinking habits
• Drastic weight gain or loss
• Withdraws from social interaction or avoids touching
• Changes in activity level including sleeping more or hyperactivity
• Increased vocalization
• Increased urination and/or "accidents"
• Inability to urinate (emergency situation)
• Grooms less or grooms certain areas excessively
• Acts out of character

If your cat shows any of the above signs, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Do you have a story of how early disease detection made a difference in your cat's life?

Happy Purrs!

Can You Put A Betta Fish In With Goldfish?

I have a betta fish and 3 goldfish. Problem is the betta fish is alone and in a not so warm place, last year i lost a betta fish becuase it was in a cold place and it froze. So i was wondering if i could put my betta in with the goldfish since they have a bigger heated tank. Im just afraid either the goldfish or the betta will eat each other. Anyone know?

12 Responses to “Can You Put A Betta Fish In With Goldfish?”

Cooking Games for Kids says:

Ok, let me clear up some things. Betta fish are very territorial. They will not kill just any fish though. They only attack fish that have long or flowy fins. Yes, your betta will attack your gold fish, that is not a good idea. On the other hand Gold fish do not make good tank mates with all fish, there is something about them (I do not know what) that bothers the other fish. Good tank mates for your betta are quick fish that have small fins. I have a female that will kill guppies, but she does just fine with algae eaters (I have a yellow Chinese one with her right now)
Long story short, do not mix bettas with gold fish, but you could use a divider in the tank. Buy a divider from a fish store, but make sure that water can flow through it so the tank stays filtered and also make sure it is high enough that the fish can’t jump over it. Canvas (you know the plastic sheet with the square holes in it) make great cheap dividers that can be cut to size or easily sewn together with fishline to make them bigger. Good luck with your fish!

Cristina M says:

NO the beta would kill the gold fish

Betta baby says:

You should NEVER put a betta with another fish, even it’s with another betta. Even though your fish may seem lonely, it’s best to just keep it in it’s own tank. You can always put a heater in the tank. But, make sure that it’s safe for your betta! Thanks, and, good luck!

James says:

“algae eaters (I have a yellow Chinese one with her right now)” Cooking Games for Kids

Algae eaters actually are dangerous fish when they grow up they will no longer eat algae but eat the slim off your other fish including the Betta.

Goldfish and Betta, the Betta might attack and might not but they do not thrive under the same tempature Betta likes warmer water then a gold fish.

Funky Baby Clothes says:

if the gold fish are under 5 inches they will get along and the temp for the mixture will be 74 degrees fairenheight they love each other

Free Smartphone Themes says:

If your Betta is a female then it should do fine with the gold fish, but if it is a male, the males tend to get more aggressive with brightly colored fish. You could put a divider in the tank and have the gold fish on one side and the Betta on the other side. That is what I do with my Bettas and Guppies

Smartphone Software says:

Betta and Goldfish thrive in diffferent temperature ranges. They are not fit to go together. Even different varieties of goldfish should not be put in the same tank. Single tails are fast swimmer and double tails with other characteristics like telescope eyes are slow swimmer and cannot see as well and compete for the food.

Funny Car Videos says:

Betta fish are aggressive. But mostly just with each other. I think they should be fine in a tank with gold fish. Just one question, is the Betta bigger than the goldfish? Because that might cause some domination problems.

krabbitr says:

NO don’t put the betta fish in with the goldfish because betta fish are very dominant and if you do this it will think that that is its tank and the goldfish know that it is their tank and they will fight. The three goldfish will gang up on the betta fish and kill her. So whatever you do, do NOT put them together. What you can do is put the betta fish tank under a lamp that can be on 24/7. Good luck.

Gerard S says:

No fish gets along with betta fish

Leah Remini says:

the beta and the goldfish will get along. you just cant put 2 beta fish together because then you will find aggression issues. good luck!

Click here to visit The EZ Online Shopping Network of Stores

No comments: