Pet Photos: Who Needs a Babysitter? Part 1 PLUS The Debate Over Hybrid Dogs

Pet Tree House Brings
the Outdoors In for Your Cat
Barbara Kohn - Cats Examiner

If your indoor cat is longing for a taste of the outdoors, the Pet Tree House – a feline twist on a child’s playhouse –may be just the answer. Created with the visual appeal, sound and smell to stimulate a cat’s senses, the Pet Tree House is a unique, green alternative to a conventional cat-scratching tree. Each tree features a small house for hiding and sleeping, carpeted perches, scratch-able bark posts and decorative tree leaves.

Pet Tree House founders Shelley and Joe DelRocco, who live in Lake Mary, Fla., came up with the idea for the novel cat playhouse after shopping for cat trees for their own family of cats. They thought by using real tree limbs, they could not only captivate a cat, they could draw its attention away from human furniture.

“Our goal was to make something that would be pleasing to the eye, so cat owners would be able to attractively "green up" their homes,” said Joe DelRocco. “We wanted something natural that a cat would enjoy and an owner could easily maintain.”

DelRocco explained that the ‘real’ trees are left intact and the platforms and perches are integrated around it. “We hand select all of the trees and custom build or "grow" each house to compliment the tree’s natural growth.”

Silk foliage provides visual and audible stimulationThe trees move as they would in nature, which provides a great exercise platform for the cat, according to DelRocco. “Our research indicates that the natural movement of the ‘real’ trees encourages the cat to climb and jump in response, providing it with a good workout and helping maintain its flexibility. Also, the foliage, which is silk, provides cats with visual and audible stimulation.

The Pet Trees are easy to maintain. The carpets are stain resistant and removable. In the event the cat does what cats do, you can remove the carpet, clean it, and Velcro it back in place. The foliage is removable too, so if it gets soiled or dusty, simply remove the stems, clean them with water and re-install.

The Pet Tree has already met with industry approval. At the Global Pet Expo in February, it won an award from the American Pet Products Association in the Cat Category.

Pet Tree Houses are available in extra small (Seedling), small (Sapling), medium (adult) and large (Mature), ranging from four to seven-feet tall. An extra-small Sprout Tree House is also available in custom sizes.

For more information or to order a Pet House Tree, visit

Tips for Transporting Your Pet in California

SACRAMENTO, Calif., If you are going on a road trip and bringing along a pet, you should be aware of California's laws on pet safety. The California Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) also has a few tips to make your travel experience safe.

"There are a lot of things to consider when traveling with pets," says Mark Nunez, DVM, president of the CVMA. "By taking a few precautions, travel with your companion pets can be both safe and enjoyable."

Dogs are often transported in the back of pickup trucks. California law requires anyone carrying a dog, or any other animal, in the back of a pickup to protect it in a secured container or cage, to cross tether the animal to the vehicle, or to have side and trail racks at least 46" high. The goal is to prevent animals from falling, jumping or being thrown from the vehicle. Fines range from $50 to $250.

In California, it is also against the law to leave an animal unattended in a vehicle under conditions that endanger the animal. Law enforcement officials are authorized to break into a motor vehicle to rescue an animal if they determine the animal is in danger. Fines begin at $100.

The CVMA recommends the following:

-- Protect your pet in a car. Everyone has to hit their brakes from time to time to avoid a road hazard; when that happens, an unrestrained pet may get hurt. At high speeds, a pet could become a flying projectile. Pets also can get in the way of rescue workers or can escape and cause additional accidents. Keep your pet in a secured crate, car seat, or soft carrier for smaller dogs and cats. Also consider a pet buckle, which works with a human safety belt. Never place your pet in the front seat because airbags are unsafe for them. The CVMA also recommends against having a pet in your lap while driving.

-- Never leave pets unattended in vehicles, as they can get injured, stolen or suffer or even die from temperature extremes.

The California Veterinary Medical Association is the largest state veterinary medical association in the United States, with more than 6,000 members. For more information, visit

SOURCE California Veterinary Medical Association

Can’t Afford Your Pets? There are Options
By Thema Ponton - WBTW News 13 Reporter

At the Murrells Inlet Veterinary Hospital, manager Jennifer Hoffman said they have not seen a lot of people who have come to the point where they cannot keep their animals due to foreclosure or other financial issues, but they have seen a number of people who cannot provide as much veterinary care due to the economy.

Hoffman said if you find yourself not able to provide for your pet, your local humane society may offer lower cost hospitals and care.

But Hoffman said the veterinary hospital may be able to work with you and keep your animals healthy by doing a few things every couple of months, you just have to communicate with them.

Hoffman said what they don’t want are people just leaving their pets. The veterinary hospital has had people leave pets on their doorstep and the outcome has not been good. Hoffman said more often than not, the animals that are left behind are scared and hot, if they are left outside in the heat in carriers or cardboard boxes and sometimes the animals escape.

“A lot of times we come across animals that are very sick and we don’t have the option to treat them without the owners and owners permission to go ahead and treat them due to the degree of illness a lot of times humane euthanasia is necessary for those animals and we feel really bad for them because their last moments are with us, strangers, rather than with their family who’s cared for them their whole lives.” Hoffman said you need to have a plan, in case caring for your pet becomes too much of a financial burden.

“You do need to think of you animals in your plan as well, doing planning for family and friends to see if someone could adopt or even provide foster care for your pets while you get yourself back on you feet is a great option, probably the best option.”

Another option may be a bulletin board like the one at the Murrells Inlet Veterinary Hospital; it is filled with advertisements from people looking for a place for their pets. Hoffman said people have come into the hospital just to check the bulletin board because they know there are people out there willing to take care of their pets.

Michelle Lopinto, director of the North Myrtle Beach animal shelter said the shelter is overwhelmed with the number of animals they have right now. Lopinto said the shelter is only taking animals from the city limits that animal control officers bring in. She said if you can’t take care of your pet, for whatever reason, do your research before taking your pet to a shelter, it might not be the best option.

A rescue organization may be another option.

Bob Checkaneck, president of South Carolina Greyhound Adoption Program (SC GAP) said the group works to find foster homes for greyhounds and dogs less than thirty pounds. “We try to work with the shelters and help the shelters, not try to do anything else, there’s no competition here, we’re out for the best for the animal.” Checkaneck also said if you have the foggiest idea that you cannot keep your animal, SC GAP, try to get in touch with them or another rescue group as soon as possible. He said the more advance notice they have, the easier it will be for them to work with you and find the right temporary home for your pet.

You can find more information about foster care and adoption by logging on to

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Who Needs a Babysitter? Part 1
Thanks to Kathy in BHC, AZ

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Baby's Injuries Spark Debate Over Wolflike Dog
By Amy Wilson, Greg Kocher and Emily Ulber -

Dakota, the animal that badly injured 3-day-old Alexander James Smith on Monday, is at the center of a now national discussion that isn't likely to end soon.

Is she a bad dog who should be destroyed? Or is she a dog acting on a dog's instinct and unfairly taking the blame for what was, essentially, human fault? And, now because of her complicated breed and background, has the matter become so incomprehensibly muddled that she is no longer considered a backyard dog at all?

When Michael Smith, Alexander's father, spoke to the media Tuesday, he said Dakota was "a Native American Indian" breed and said the breeder told him the dog's grandparentage as "90 percent wolf."

How to acclimate your dog to your new baby

■ Make sure the dog is house- and obedience-trained, with reward and motivation, not punishment. Make sure it understands sit, stay, off, leave it, and lay down.

■ Address any possible "sibling" rivalry by rewarding the dog with attention while the baby is present. Try not to push the dog aside but occupy it with new toys and equal time.

■ The dog should be not allowed too close to smell or lick or lay down with the baby. The dog should not be allowed in the baby's bedroom, even if others are present, nor in any place when the child is not supervised.

■ Teach the dog to ignore the baby scent with deliberate training. For example, lay a blanket or used diaper on the floor and keep the dog from going near it.

■ Allow suitable time for the baby and the dog to get to know one another. Don't expect them to be best buds overnight.

■ If there is any concern about the obedience and control of the dog at any time the baby is present, it should either be on leash or in a crate. This includes any mouthing or biting behavior, even if playful.

For more information, go to or

Source: Mary Ann Zeigenfuse, Best Friends Obedience, Lexington; Dr. Andrew "Butch" Schroyer from the Animal Care Clinic, Lexington.

Critics argue that hybrids are unpredictable and dangerous, that they make poor pets and that there is no rabies vaccine available for wolves or their hybrids. Proponents claim the hybrid wolf is a good companion and is useful in educating the public about wolves. Many claim "once you have had a wolf hybrid, you will never own a dog again."

Mary Ann Zeigenfuse, a Lexington dog trainer and owner of Best Friends Obedience, said if Dakota is part wolf, she is no expert.

"If this is a wolf-hybrid, this is not a dog," she said. "It is still partly undomesticated. It may, in some cases, have no fear of humans."

When asked if she and loving pet owners could domesticate a wolf, she responded, "if I had 10,000 years."

There have been numerous reports of wolf hybrids injuring people, sometimes fatally. In 2002 in Ballard County, a wolf hybrid killed a 5-year-old boy; the animal's owner pleaded guilty to a charge of reckless homicide.

Janece Rollet, a certified canine behaviorist in Georgetown, is among the people who say that wolf hybrids are potential trouble. She said they are essentially wild animals.

A wolf hybrid "is not an animal you want living in your house," Rollet said. "Because you're dealing with the basic tenets, the basic behavior of a wolf, not the basic behavior of a dog."

David Wise of Frankfort is among those who defend wolf hybrids.

"It's probably one of the most loyal animals I've ever had," Wise said. "I had one for 15 years, and it was the most docile animal you ever had. He never once snapped at a child."

So how does Wise respond to reports of wolf hybrids biting and injuring people?

"It's all in how they're raised," Wise said. "When they're pups, pups are going to be rough. But as they get older, you show 'em more affection than the rough-housing, and they're gentle as a lamb. They're no different than any other breed of dog in that respect."

A matter of controversy

Michael Smith says they have had Dakota and Nikita, her sister, for four years — since they were pups. They got the dogs from a Michigan breeder.

But are Dakota, and her sister who still remains in the Smith home, wolf hybrids?

The dog breed itself is a matter of some controversy. Is it the same as a Carolina Dog or an American dingo?

Depends on who you ask.

Spokesmen for the American Kennel Club and United Kennel Club said Wednesday that those registry organizations do not recognize the Native American Indian dog as a breed.

However, do an Internet search and you will find sites that refer to Native American Indian dogs. According to Web sites devoted to the dog, there are only five breeders in the United States, and there's much discussion about their position and whether they have any verifiable claim to a dog with a specific native American origin with wolf ancestry.

Apparently, even the legal status of the dog has been challenged by some Native Americans.

Sherman Jett, supervisor of Jessamine County Animal Control, said he has never heard of a Native American Indian dog, nor has his predecessor. Beckey Reiter, director of Boone County Animal Control, also said "that's not a breed I'm aware of."

Jett said he could not say with certainty what type of animal Dakota is. "I honestly don't know," he said.

There are animals known as Native American dogs, "but they do not contain wolf," said Rollet. Native American dogs, she said, "are a combination of multiple, larger dogs: husky, German shepherd, malamute and so on."

A classic mistake

Dr. Andrew "Butch" Schroyer from the Animal Care Clinic in Lexington said that in 25 years of practice, he has never seen nor treated this breed of dog.

That means it's hard to talk about its predilections. Still, he added, if it is a wolf hybrid, it is unpredictable, which is not good in a pet. And, he cautioned, like any exotic pet, "just because you can have one, doesn't mean you should have one."

The disposition of the Native American Indian dog is being hotly defended this week.

Karen Markel, a breeder at Majestic View Kennels in Lowell, Mich., said that in general, Native American Indian dogs are social and get along well with children. "Any dog trainer will tell you it's negligence" to leave a small child alone with any kind of canine, she said. "Of course the dog will suffer as a consequence."

Ray Coppinger, a biology professor at Hampshire College who studies canine behavior, said the dog's history — where it came from, what it has experienced — is exponentially more important than what breed it is. He's seen similar incidents happen with dachshunds, he said.

Coppinger said that although what happened to the Smiths is tragic, it's a relatively common problem.

The Smiths made a "classic mistake, out of ignorance, and now they're suffering badly for it," he said. Dogs like Dakota don't recognize infants as people, Coppinger said. "It's no more of an act of violence on the dog's part," he said, "than you eating a steak."

Herald-Leader staff reporter Greg Kocher contributed to this story.

Is Cruelty Different When It's Not Deliberate?
By Peter Wedderburn -

You must have heard about the two police dogs that died after being left in a car during the heat wave at the end of June. I’m sure that the police officer involved is devastated at the loss of his dogs, but the consequences of the event for him are going to continue for some time.

Yesterday it was confirmed that he’s going to be prosecuted for cruelty to animals. He faces up to six months in jail, a £20,000 fine and a lifetime ban on keeping or working with animals if he is convicted.

Cruelty can be shockingly deliberate. Individuals have been known to torture animals, choosing to inflict pain on them, perhaps gaining some sort of bizarre pleasure from their suffering. Other examples include cats being thrown on bonfires and dogs being forced to fight with each other for human entertainment. Deliberate cruelty of this type needs to be dealt with severely under the law, both to deter other potential wrong-doers and to send out the message that our society will not tolerate abuse of animals in this way.

Other wilful acts of cruelty include pets starving after being shut in sheds with no food. Such cases may be marginally less appalling, in that the perpetrator may not revel in the suffering of the animal in the same way. But they cannot deny knowledge of the consequences of their actions in depriving animals or food. The suffering of the animals is a predictable result of their decision to withhold nutrition.

What about the cruelty involved when dogs are left to die in a hot car? Clearly, nobody would choose to cause the deaths of their dogs in this way. Yet the suffering of the animals is as severe as if the person who shut them into the car had done it for their own entertainment. Is the guilt of the humans involved any less because they did not wish the adverse consequences to happen? Is irresponsibility as culpable as willful cruelty?

Co-incidentally, a similar case has just been reported in the USA. A police dog died in New Orleans after being left in a car on a hot day: the report shows photographs of the car afterwards. The dog had tried to escape, destroying the interior of the car in his effort to survive. His body temperature was 109.8’F by the time he was taken to the vets, and he died shortly afterwards. A poll on the news site shows that 84% of the voting public believes that criminal charges are appropriate, with only 2% stating that “accidents happen and while it was tragic, it was just an accident”.

I’ve no doubt that a similar sentiment would apply in the current case in the UK. With hindsight, of course the policeman would not have followed the same course of action, but like any dog owner, he was responsible for the care of his dogs. If an act of cruelty followed his actions, then it’s unarguably his fault, and like any other individual, he needs to face the consequences.

Babies Can Understand Dogs, Study Finds
By Jeanna Bryner -

Dogs may be man's best friend, but babies might also really understand Fido.

A new study found that 6-month-olds can match the sounds of an angry snarl or friendly yap with photos of dogs showing the corresponding body language.

The results, published in the July issue of the journal Developmental Psychology, suggest that babies can decipher emotions even before they learn how to talk.

"Emotion is one of the first things babies pick up on in their social world," said lead researcher Ross Flom, a psychology professor at Brigham Young University in Utah.

Barking dogs

The study involved 128 infants, with 32 from each of four age groups (6, 12, 18 and 24 months), who had little or no exposure to dogs.

The babies first looked at two images of the same fluffy canine, one showing the dog in an aggressive posture and facial expression while the other showed the dog in a friendly stance.

The researchers wanted to figure out whether infants had a preference for one expression over the other before including the dog barks. They didn't.

Then, the researchers played a 2-second sound clip of either a friendly or threatening dog bark while the child viewed the two images. In the next trial, the other sound clip (aggressive or friendly) was played.

The researchers videotaped the young participants as they looked at one or both of the dog images (or glanced around the room, at a parent, or elsewhere).

The 6-month-old babies spent most of their time staring at the matching photograph, so a mean bark would garner a stare at the dog with the vicious facial expression.

"The six-month-olds would look in that direction and kept looking in that direction," Flom told LiveScience. "The older kids would glance at it and then kind of look away as if to say, 'Oh yeah, I get it, it goes with that face. The task is ridiculous. I'm going to move on and look somewhere else around the room.'"

Baby smarts

The results suggest both 6-month-olds and babies up to 2 years old could distinguish a rowdy bark from a benign one. But the older babies just showed their correct responses differently than the 6-month-olds.

Past research in the field of baby smarts has relied on the proportion of time a baby looks in a certain direction or the proportion of time he or she exhibits some other signal of response to show a baby's skills in distinguishing facial expressions or intonations in speech patterns.

These studies have suggested that while 6-month-olds are experts in verbal and facial perception even when it comes to monkeys, as they get older they lose this ability.

The idea is that babies are born with a full toolbox of broad abilities. Over time, as they experience the world, the toddlers refine their abilities and focus on what's really relevant, say, human faces rather than monkey or dog mugs.

But according to the new results, perhaps the little ones don't lose the ability, Flom said. They just show it differently. So instead of calculating the time spent looking in a certain direction, researchers could take into account a baby's first glance, he added.

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Unusual Things Happening
Amongst the Bird Population - Staff reports

Have you seen a cardinal with a white stripe on its chest? How about two birds' nests welded together?

Helen Peacock, a bird aficionado, recently witnessed both at her residence in Salisbury.

"I have never seen anything like it in all the years I've lived here," Peacock said.

Peacock found the unusual bird's nest lying on the ground outside her home Thursday morning after spotting a bird resembling a cardinal eating from her bird feeder earlier in the week.

"I think the warmer weather is causing some birds to alter their migrating habits," Peacock said.

While birds in North America typically fly south in the winter, warming climate changes can cause birds to migrate south earlier than usual.

According to an Audubon Society analysis examining four decades of Christmas Bird Count observations, bird populations grow most in the states experiencing the greatest warming.

"We're seeing compelling signs that climate change has been with us and having serious biological consequences for the past 40 years," the Audubon Society stated. "This means that even small shifts actually have an impact on many species."

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10 Parenting Lessons You Can Learn from Your Cat


COOL canine Fei Fei left other dogs in the shade after his owner bought him a pair of sunglasses as a joke.

But now the fashion mad mutt refuses to leave owner Bo Lee's home in Chongqing, central China, without being given his wraparound shades!

"I think he likes all the attention he gets on the street," said Lee.

"I bought them to protect his eyes but now if I try to leave the apartment without them he howls the place down," he told the Austrian Times.

5 Simple Tips How To Take Care Of A Hamster
by: Michael Kinney

Are you looking for tips on how to take care of a hamster? If your answer is a yes, this is the right article for you.

You will discover the 5 simple tips how to take care of your little cutie hamster in your home. Just like every other pet, your hamsters need proper care from their owner even though they are as small as the size of your palm.

Once you are ready, here are the 5 simple tips to take care your hamster

* Make sure your hamster is living in a suitable cage and do not use an aquarium to keep your hamster. Do you know that an aquarium will trap the moisture of the air in it and make the inside space a damp environment? So, use a suitable cage as the house for your lovely pet and make sure it has enough space so that your hamster can move around freely. Ample space is very important if you have more than just one hamster.

* Second, no one can live without drinking any water, and so do your hamster. Provide fresh water for your hamster all the time. For instance, you can use the hamster water bottle hanging upside down on the side of the cage. Do not use water bowls if possible as this will cause your cute pet to fall into the bowl and spill the water all around.

* Your hamster is the same like other pet, it needs something to chew to prevent its teeth from growing constantly. Try to get your hamster a chew toy. You can find these kind of chew toys anywhere from your local pet store or you can also get it from the internet. But make sure that you check for the cleanliness of this toy everyday.

* Hamsters are small animal that always hide from dangers. They like to stay in someplace where they can hide around. And because of this, you will have to provide a place for your hamster to nest and rest in their cage. For this purpose, you can use tubes and bedding to keep them hiding and resting.

* And finally, get your lovely pet some toys to play. You want to enjoy your life as well and so do your hamsters. Get them some hamster balls and exercise wheel if possible. However, you have to make sure that they have both the time for exercise and rest as well. Avoid playing with your hamster during daytime as this will irritate it.

Taking care of your hamster is not something difficult. As long as you follow through the tips from the expert, you will never go wrong. The first and the most fundamental step to take care your hamster is to educate yourself and to learn more about these little animals.

About the Author
Are you looking for any hamster caring tips? If you are serious about taking care of your hamster, How To Take Care Of A Hamster will definitely be the perfect website for you. You will discover all sorts of reviews, special offers, deals and information about how to take care of a hamster. Go to the website right now to learn everything about your cute hamster.

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The Right Aquarium
by: Trevor J Rockberry

Finding the right aquarium is not that difficult.

What affects a persons choice in aquariums is their own personal preferences. Some choose aquariums as a decorative complement to their homes or as a hobby.

If someone has an aquarium to add ambience to a room, special care should be taken with the tank design. Consider the tank's shape when picking one. The size and shape of your fish tank can dictate the color of your fish and their breed. The location of the aquarium would be important to owners who practice things like Feng Shui. It's important to note in Feng Shui that aquariums should not be placed in the center of the house.

Think of the right size and shape to match your house.

If the prospective buyer has an open mind, then finding the right aquarium could be an easy thing to do. Consider the scale of the tank to its final location. When selecting a tank size, keep in mind the amount of space you have available. If your are creative, you can turn your aquarium into a beautiful work of art that will impress all your guests. It is best to discuss the elements that make a better aquarium better with either an aquarium expert or interior designer. Professions consider both the design and ease of care. Though a tank may be an attractive addition to a room, it is important to consider how easily it can be cleaned. You should not go out and buy an aquarium tank before you've clearly thought about everything that has been discussed here.

If you intend to keep our aquarium as a hobby and not merely decoration, make sure to balance functionality with looks. If you clear enough space, you might be able to move your crafting supplies into the den instead of cramming them in your bedroom. An aquariums are for show and considered as show piecies only so there is no need to hide them from public. And it can be made according to the demand of the customer whether they prefer it to be of glass or of special plastic.

In fish tank a balanced ecosystem must be sustained for fish to survive. The tank should be structurally strong so that a mild to moderate impact will not shatter it. Only put items in the tank that will be of some significant benefit to the creatures inside. This is not something you should use just for a filler. With a little imagination, an aquarium can mimic the wild, lively, and beautiful underwater world.

About the Author
Before you decide to set up an aquarium and buy one online, make sure you check Trevor Rockberry's excellent aquarium website that is resourceful, and offers a variety of ofaquarium tanks to choose from.

10 Parenting Lessons You Can Learn From a Cat
Darryle Pollack - The Huffington Post

I always thought I was a dog person.
But nothing in life goes the way we expect. So of course, I ended up with cats.

After we got our first cat 20 years ago, I found out I was allergic. I learned to live with it. And it turns out I learned a lot more than that.

Since my son went away to college, leaving us with an empty nest, I've been more involved with his cat, Peppy. And now I wish I'd paid attention to her years ago. I could have saved myself a lot of aggravation.

Here are just 10 parenting lessons I've learned from our cat:

1. Actions speak louder than words:
Neither of them are listening most of the time anyway.

2. Their actions speak louder than words too.
Peppy communicates perfectly when she wants something. She gets it, too.

3. You can't change their essential nature.
Neither cats or children change their personalities much from the moment of birth. You can, however, observe a cat before choosing to take it home.

4. Sometimes they don't want to be with you.
Everyone needs his or her own space sometimes. The trick is to learn to enjoy it.

5. Sometimes you don't want to be with them.
Unfortunately, timeouts don't work very well with a cat.

6. You can't make them eat what they don't want to eat.
Although you might have better luck with a child.

7. If you don't pressure them, they come to you.
Guilt doesn't work on a cat, either.

8. Sometimes they hurt you.
Peppy still draws blood almost daily. With kids, it's usually an accident.

9. Sometimes you hurt them.
I got divorced. And once I slammed a door on Peppy's tail. At least eventually the kids forgave me.

10. Once you have them, it's hard to imagine life without them.

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Tips for When You Take Your Pet on Vacation
McClatchy Tribune Newspapers

More people are traveling with their pets than ever before. As a result, an increasing number of hotels are allowing owners to travel as a pack with their dogs.

Here are a few courtesy tips, from the American Kennel Club, to ensure that you and your pooch will be able to find a home away from home on your next trip:

— Book your reservations at a pet-friendly hotel. Few things are more stressful on a trip than trying to sneak a dog in and out of the hotel.

— Familiarize yourself with the hotel's policies before you arrive. Typically, hotels that require a deposit will refund your money at check-out after a room inspection. Deposits and fees can vary by number or size of the dogs. Some hotels have size restrictions so be sure to ask before you book your room.

— At check-in, ask where you should walk your dog, and make sure you clean up after him. Don't allow male dogs to lift their legs on trash cans or other items on hotel property.

— Dogs should be confined in a crate when you are not in the room. If housekeepers stop by to drop off extra towels or to turn down the bed, they won't be expecting a dog and could potentially allow your pooch to escape. Hang the "Do Not Disturb" sign on your door to ensure that no one enters your room.

Do not allow your pet on the beds or couches unless they are covered by a blanket. Bring your own blankets and towels -- don't use the hotel's supply on your dogs. And remember, hotel bathtubs are for humans only!

— A noisy or destructive dog should not be left unattended in your hotel room. It's common courtesy to keep your pet as quiet as possible and not disturb any of the other guests. Try leaving on the television or radio. Not only are they good "company" for your dog, the noise will also muffle the sounds of people in other rooms or walking down the hallway that may put a barker on the alert.

— Set a good example before leaving, and clean up any stray hair and spritz the room with air freshener. Your actions will reflect positively and help protect the rights of all dog owners.

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

Get a Handle on the Fleas
Tara McKnight -

I have been getting calls from many pet owners with flea problems this year. Fleas aren’t just a problem on your pet. They can also infest your yard. Since no one likes to deal with fleas, either inside and outside, let’s talk about how to control them.

There are several types of flea treatments, available either through your vet or at a store that carries pet products. You can get a product that is a slow-acting growth regulator or a residual (spray) insecticide. You should know a little more about each type before you choose a product.

An insect growth regulator is slow-acting and keeps the insect from reproducing. You can get these in either a pill or a product to use on your pet. Insect growth regulators are best as preventatives since they are slow-acting and work mostly on eggs and immature fleas. If you use them as a preventative you may not need to spray outdoors or indoors for fleas. If you are interested in this type of product look for products containing lufenuron, methoprene, fenoxycarb or pyriproxifen. You can find these in sprays, collars, shampoo and pills. Pills are only available through your vet.

If you already have a bad flea problem at your home, you will want to use a combination of an insect growth regulator and a spray insecticide. Do not use the toxic sprays on your pets! The products you can use on your pets include citrus oils (limonene and linalool) and pyrethrins. You can also use shampoos or an herbal treatment on your pets. These will reduce but not eliminate bad flea problems. You need to apply an insect growth regulator to your pets at the same time you treat indoors and outdoors.

Here are a few tips on the three areas that you need to treat:

•Make sure that you get rid of any rats, mice or other animals that carry fleas up to your home.
•Do not let your pets under your home as this can lead to an infestation under your home.
•Use a spray insecticide in garages, under porches and decks, and outside where your pet sleeps and plays.

•Before treating, clean your home well. Vacuum under and around any furniture where your pet sits, sleeps or plays to remove any fleas and their eggs.

•n Wash and air-dry you pet bedding material.

•Apply a spray insecticide or dust to pet bedding and areas where a pet sleeps and plays. Only use products that say they are safe to use indoors.

•Use only products that are labeled for use on your pet. Some insecticides can be used on dogs but are deadly to cats, so read carefully.

•Treat your pet thoroughly around ears, between legs and around its tail.

•Wear gloves when applying treatments to your pets.
Fleas reproduce very quickly. With the proper control, you can make sure they do not take over your yard, your home or your pet. Be sure to read next week when we will discuss how to control ticks in your yard and on your pets.

Tara McKnight is horticulture Extension agent for Wichita County. Call her at 716-8610 or by e-mail at You are always welcome to visit the Wichita County Master Gardner Web site at Another great Web site to visit for very useful garden hints and answers is

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Talkin' 'Bout Cats

Cat Lady wants to share some favorite cat quotes:

I would gladly change places with any of my cats. ~ George Ney

Cats' hearing apparatus is built to allow the human voice to easily go in one ear and out the other. ~ Stephen Baker

Time spent with cats is never wasted. ~ May Sarton

A cat's name may tell you more about its owners than it does about the cat. ~ Linda W. Lewis

My little grandson is a darling, but he can never take the place of my cats. ~ Anonymous Grandmother

People who love cats have some of the biggest hearts around. ~ Susan Easterly

Cats are dangerous companions for writers because cat watching is a near-perfect method of writing avoidance. ~ Dan Greenburg

A cat can purr its way out of anything. ~ Donna McCrohan

A dog is a dog, a bird is a bird, and a cat is a person. ~ Mugsy Peabody

Cat people are different to the extent that they generally are not conformists. How could they be with a cat running their lives? ~ Louis J. Camuti, D.V.M.

Cats never strike a pose that isn't photogenic. ~ Lillian Jackson Braun

A cat sees no good reason why it should obey another animal, even if it does stand on two legs. ~ Sarah Thompson

Dogs come when they're called; cats take a message and get back to you later. ~ Mary Bly

There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats. ~ Albert Schweitzer

There is, incidently, no way of talking about cats that enables one to come off as a sane person. ~ Dan Greenberg

Cats always know whether people like or dislike them. They do not always care enough to do anything about it. ~ Winifred Carriere

If cats could talk, they wouldn't. ~ Nan Porter

Even in a Recession, We Pamper Our Pets
By JOYCE SMITH - The Kansas City Star

While Lacey and Sadie needed a little help opening the festive packages at their party, the golden retrievers didn’t need any help finishing off the goodies from pet shop Land of Paws.

Othic and Younghanz are among the two-thirds of Americans who own pets and also among the majority that still pamper their pets — even as they cut back on their own expenses.

“We make sure they have treats, new collars, healthy food,” Othic said. “They give to us.”

A new survey by WSL Strategic Retail indicates that only 19 percent of pet owners are scrimping on pet spending, with the majority buying not only nice things but top-of-the-line products as well, such as premium pet food.

Turns out, pet supplies are often at the bottom of the cutback list, along with human essentials such as prescription medications and toothpaste.

“Pets are just a key part of the family,” said Shilpa Bharne Rosenberry, senior consultant with WSL. “About 68 percent said they treat their pets as well as their children, and half said it just makes them feel happy to buy nice things for their pets.”

Industry sales are expected to reach $45.4 billion in 2009, compared with $28.5 billion in 2001.

Land of Paws, which opened in 1994 and now has three area locations, sells pet extras such as leopard print collars, polka dot life jackets, birthday hats and Jayhawk-shaped cookies.

PetSmart Inc., one of the nation’s leading pet store chains, with more than 1,135 locations, offers basics such as pet food, treats and toys, but it has expanded into veterinarian, boarding, grooming and training services. Pet lovers also can treat themselves with pet-themed picture frames, mouse pads, magnets, travel mugs, Monopoly Cat Lovers Edition, even pet gift cards.

PetSmart’s net sales for the first quarter of 2009 came in at $1.33 billion, an increase of 9.5 percent from the first quarter of 2008, and the Phoenix-based company plans to add about 40 stores a year for the “foreseeable future.”

Since Doctors Foster and Smith was founded in 1983, it has grown into one of the nation’s largest pet supply online and catalog retailers, with annual sales of more than $230 million and 16,000 products — from spot and stain removers to a strap-on, infant-style pet pouch.

“During this difficult time, people don’t stop taking care of their kids and they don’t stop taking care of their pets,” said Gordon Magee, spokesman for the Wisconsin-based company. “We’re not high ticket, so sales are OK and still growing.”

But even retailers not in the pet business can make an “emotional connection” with pet owners, said Bharne Rosenberry of WSL Strategic Retail. She cited banks that keep dog treats at the drive-through, shops that let customers bring their pets into the store, and stores that keep a pet on the premises as sort of an unofficial greeter.

Hallmark Cards has seen steady sales for “From the Dog,” “From the Cat” and pet sympathy cards, although they are just a very small percentage of the company’s offerings. Cards that feature pets and animals in general have historically sold very well, and the sales of these cards are increasing.

“Cards use the connection with pets as a vehicle to convey emotions to friends and family,” said Sarah Kolell, spokeswoman for Hallmark. “(The) cards are often warm, playful, and make us realize how humanlike our pets really are.”

Still, for some Americans, pets are not the priority when it comes to purchases.

Take a couple of recent shoppers at PetSmart in Ward Parkway Center. One said she never buys pet toys and was just looking for essentials such as pet carriers for her two cats. Another was taking his indoor cats for their first vet’s visit in five years.

One shopper thinks it’s OK to splurge now and then with pets.

“My wife gets them Christmas stockings every year,” Tim Southwell of Mission Hills said of his five cats and dogs. “But some people treat their pets better than their children.”

To reach Joyce Smith, call 816-234-4692 or send e-mail to

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Top 10 Animals That Will Attack Your Pet

Water and Swimming Safety Tips For Our Canines

Following these guidelines and using some basic common sense will help keep your dog safe in the water.

Teaching your dog to Swim

1.Just like you would never do this with your child, do not throw your dog into the water and expect them to swim. Start out in shallow water and coax with treats or a toy. Some dogs will swim when there is peer pressure. Bring a doggy friend along who loves the water.

2.Respect that your dog may not love the water. Some dogs will even panic. Don't push it if your dog does not like to swim.

3.Breeds with short legs like Pugs, Dachshunds, and Bassets may not be able to swim. If in and around water, make sure they wear a canine flotation vest.

Lakes, Streams, and Ocean Safety

1.To be on the safe side it is always good to have your dog wear a flotation vest. Flotation vests for dogs also have grab handles so you can pull your dog out of the water.

2.Be aware of your dog's physical condition and look for signs of fatigue. Dogs, like us, can get tired, get cramps, or caught in a current.

3.Dogs with low body fat do not float as well and have less protection against the cold. Keep those factors in mind around cold water and in strong currents.

4.If throwing sticks or flotation toys in the water, check the surrounding shore line for submerged small trees and branches that can trap your dog. Make sure to pick an area where it is easy for your dog to get out.

5.There are many toxins around lakes and streams. Bird feces, blue algae and dead fish can contain very dangerous toxins, and some can even be deadly. Avoid these areas and keep an eye out on what your dog is consuming. At the beach, look out for jelly fish.

6.At the beach, sand can get very hot. Dogs need to stay hydrated and avoid direct sun to avoid heatstroke. Don't allow him to drink sea water since it can make them sick.

Boating Safety

1.Make sure your dog is wearing a flotation vest at all times.

2.Keep your dog cool and hydrated while on the boat.

3.Boating surfaces can get very hot. Consider having your dog wear protective booties, similar to booties worn in ice and snow, and found at many pet stores and outdoor shops.

Pool Safety

1.Pools should be fenced so your dog does not go in unsupervised.

2.Too much chlorine can make your dog sick, so try to keep him from consuming a lot of pool water.

3.Teach your dog to climb the pool ladder or consider buying a Skamper Ramp, a product that allows dogs and children to more easily climb out of a pool

4.Consider having your dog wear a flotation vest while in the pool.

5.Don't expect a pool cover to be safe. If the pool cover is not nice and tight, dogs can slip under.

Enjoy the dog days of summer with your canine family.

Meredith Gage
Pawsitive Experience

A Final Goodbye To Our White Ball Of Love

Our family dog, Coquito, had been really really sick lately and we had to take him to the animal hospital again on Sunday night and finally put him to sleep.

Losing a pet that has been a part of your heart for 13 years really is like a relative dying.

Our heart aches.

We are thankful for the time we had with our little coconut.

We are thankful that Teddy, mom and sis are all still with us and in good health.

So sad.

Top 10 Wild Animals That Attack Pets

BREA, Calif., July 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Sometimes our pets go looking for a fight, but other times the fight comes to them--from land, sea, and even air. Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI), the nation's oldest and largest provider of pet health insurance, recently reviewed more than 500 laceration/bite wound claims in search of animal-inspired incidents to determine which wild animals most frequently attacked and injured companion pets in 2008. In addition to the usual suspects--snakes, coyotes and raccoons--VPI received claims for pet injuries caused by a squirrel, scorpion, javelina, porcupine, ground hog, skunk, rat, goat, beaver, woodchuck, black bear, mountain lion, hawk, rabbit, sea urchin, and jellyfish. Following are the 10 animals aside from dogs and cats that were most responsible for pet injury claims in 2008:

Top 10 Animals To Attack Pets
1. Snake
2. Coyote
3. Raccoon
4. Squirrel
5. Scorpion
6. Javelina
7. Porcupine
8. Ground Hog
9. Skunk
10. Rat

Wild animal attacks typically result in pet insurance claims for treatment of lacerations, bite wounds, puncture, and soft tissue trauma. Snakebites may require antivenin and scorpion stings may cause allergic reactions requiring antihistamines. Treatment protocols vary depending on the severity of the attack and costs can range from hundreds of dollars for bandages or stitches to thousands of dollars for surgery for damaged organs or broken limbs.

Though animal attack claims came from all areas of the country, javelina and scorpion claims were exclusive to the state of Arizona. Javelinas, or peccaries, are feral pig-like omnivores native to the southwestern United States. They have been known to viciously attack both pets and people. For a detailed account of a javelina attack on a VPI-insured pet, visit

"Whether in urban or rural areas, pet owners should be aware of the danger posed by wild animals," said Dr. Carol McConnell, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI. "VPI's data reveals that not all members of the animal kingdom observe backyard fences, or appreciate the curiosity of a pet that may enter their territory. Always make sure that a pet's rabies vaccine is up to date and if you know that potentially dangerous wild animals are present, or you're in an unfamiliar area, take extra care to keep your pet close and secure."

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

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10 Tips For Keeping Your Pets Safe in the Summer
By Julie L

Ah, yes. It's summertime. That means barbecues and picnics, trips to the local park and beach, and lots of time spent out-of-doors for both you and your pets. Although it's wonderful to take your furry friend outside when the temperature rises, there are numerous perils that can occur. Here is a list of 10 great tips to follow so that your pet can have a fun and safe summer!

1. Always provide fresh, cool water to keep your pet well hydrated. Take water with you if you're on-the-go.

2. Provide your animal with plenty of shade. Since the sun moves across the sky during the day, the shady areas will change. Therefore, keep an eye on your furry friends.

3. On hot days, make sure your pet doesn't overdo the exercising, running around, playing, or other activities.

4. Consider keeping your pets indoors on humid days. High humidity interferes with your animal's ability to cool itself.

5. Keep your dog off fertilized lawns and away from insecticides and dangerous, toxic plants.

6. Swimming in a lake, pond, or even a pool is a great way for your pet to stay cool. Just make sure you supervise your dog in the water. A doggy life jacket is an important safety item.

7. Traveling with your pet can be lots of fun. Just make sure you spend the time preparing the travel plans including car or airplane arrangements.

8. Never, ever, ever leave your pet in a parked car. Even if you park in the shade and leave the windows down somewhat, the temperature inside your car will rise so quickly, your pet can be dead in minutes. Don't ignore an animal in distress even if it's inside someone else's car.

9. Just like humans, pets can get sunburned, too. So, don't forget to apply sunscreen on your animal's nose and ear tips. Pets with light colored noses or fur are more susceptible to sunburns and skin cancer.

10. Watch for signs of heat stroke. Heat stroke can be fatal and can occur quite quickly. Signs include (but are not limited to): body temperature of 104-110F degrees, excessive panting, dark or bright red tongue and gums, staggering, stupor, seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomiting. These can lead to coma and death. Dogs with the highest risk are short snout, elderly, or heavy-coated breeds as well as those with predisposing illnesses. If your dog is suffering from heat stroke, seek veterinary attention immediately! Remember, prevention is key.

Head over to our website,, to find great products for keeping your pet safe during the summer and throughout the whole year. Thanks for reading this article.

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When to Breed a Dog
By Clint I Jackson

An interest and love for pooches has created a desire for you to want to be a breeder. So, you have decided on a dog to breed and your waiting for the best time to begin breeding, but your question is when to breed a dog? Read through and know when to breed a dog!

Female dogs will generally start being in heat as it approaches its six months. However, every dog is differnt, some may begin being in heat in the 7th month or maybe even 8th. No matter when it begins, it will always reoccur every 6 months. Generally most breeders will wait for the females third cycle of being in heat before they will begin to breed. Typically the femail would be around one and half years old and would be an adult that is ready to mate.Always consult your local veterinarian before deciding to allow your dog to mate.

One very important thing to do is make sure your dogs, male and female, are in the greatest of health.A part of keeping them healthy is keeping all of their vaccinations up to date. You should also check to see if your vet recommends for your dogs to be a certain diet.Your veterinarian's advice is always superior and better than any other information you can receive from the Internet or books. Information collected from books or the internet still provide great information and should not be discredited. The information you receive from these sources will help you when talking with the vet.

To know when to breed a dog there are signs you can look for. }Checking her vulva is one sign. It should be noticeably swollen up to one week before her bleeding finally begins. It is very crucial to call the vet on the first day of the heat cycle. It is also very important to get the service of a vet if you want to have artificial insemination done. In case of emergency, you should choose a vet in your local area.

Know when to breed a dog with more of the following signs. Another sign to know when to breed a dog is when it is getting close to the time of breeding you see her licking herself more frequently than before.Feeding her will also be harder. Another sign is flagging.The time the female dog holds or reaches her tail from one side is known as flagging. You may also see changes in her behavior or personality.

One thing you can do to check your female dogs fertility is to have your veterinarian do blood tests. If the male dog is present, he will also let you know. The male dog will frequently check on the bitch to check if it is already the right time.

Your female dog should be ready for mating after the 12th day her bleeding began.Her flow will slow down and become lightly pink. She will stand still for the male dog.

I hope the tips above have given you a better understanding of how to know when to breed a dog.

When it comes to breeding your dogs, grab all the info you can and Click Here. to get The Top 10 Most Important Questions to Ask When To Breed a Dog. I'm a dog breeder too and I benefited from this guide, but more importantly, the families loved how I had set things up (all found in this guide) and the puppies and dogs got the best treatment possible. In any event, the best of luck to you!

I love animals, especially dogs. I love to breed and want to share my experience and knowledge with you. Learn everything you must know before beginning to breed a dog.

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3 Simple Steps to Cure Cat Urinary Infection
By Laura Ramirez

A cure for cat urinary infection is simple, painless and effective. In this article, you will learn three simple steps for relieving your cat's misery, curing the infection and preventing it from ever coming back.

The first step in the "cure cat urinary infection" program is to feed your cat healthy, organic food. The reason for this is that most cat food is full of chemicals and fillers that can compromise the pH level of the bladder. When the pH level is out of whack, bacteria can proliferate and grow and bladder stones can form. Keep in mind that processed food is to cats as junk food is to humans.

The best way to find healthy cat food is to read the label. You can purchase organic cat food from your grocery store, local pet store, vet or health food store. Look for brands that contain real meat, not byproducts or cheap grains. Although organic cat food is more expensive than processed brands, your cat will need to eat less to get much needed nutrients, so in the long run, the cost will even out.

The second step in the cure cat urinary infection program is to give your pet plenty of fresh, clean water. Water flushes out the urinary system and prevents toxins from building up. Make sure you give your cat filtered water rather than tap water (you can purchase an inexpensive tap filter) because tap water is full of chemicals and as you learned in the paragraph above, chemicals compromise the pH of the bladder which creates an environment that allows bacteria to proliferate.

The third step is to give your cat a natural remedy designed specifically to heal urinary tract infections. These remedies contain proven herbs like Uva Ursi and Cantharis that soothe inflamed tissues, restore the proper pH to the bladder stopping infection in its tracks and flush toxins from the bladder. These remedies cure cat urinary infection by giving the body the nutrients it needs to heal itself quickly, safely and effectively. Better still, they have no side effects. Since they are gentle, they can also be used as a daily prevention program for cats who are prone to urinary issues.

So there you have it: a simple, safe three step cure for cat urinary infection program that does not involve drugs or painful procedures and will not cost you a fortune in vet bills. Take action now and get your beloved cat on the road to health and wellness.

Laura Ramirez is a longtime researcher of holistic remedies which heal disorders and keep pets vibrant and healthy. Find out more about safe, effective ways to maintain your pet's urinary tract health at

Also an advocate for children, Ms. Ramirez is the author of the award-winning parenting book, Keepers of the Children: Native American Wisdom and Parenting which shows parents how to raise children to develop their strengths and lead meaningful and productive lives.

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Pets Advice and News

Common Types of Pet Arthritis
By Jade A. Voldstrom

Even if you haven't exercised arthritis personally, you know it's painful, right? Well, your beloved pets can experience arthritis as well. And you might be surprised at how many types of arthritis they can suffer from. Here are some of the different types:

1. Inflammatory Arthritis
Typically as this type of Arthritis advances in a canine or feline, Osteoarthritis-type conditions happen more often. Besides contagious agents causing this type of Arthritis, experts are uncertain about the other causes.

2. Infectious Arthritis
This type of arthritis results in painful joints and the creature becoming crippled. Usually a joint's infection or trauma causes this type of Arthritis. Antibiotics are the best treatment for this illness.

3. Osteoarthritis
This type of pet arthritis advances slowly. It occurs as the cartilage of your canine or feline buddy begins to break down or becomes damaged. Results are inflammation, lower flexibility, and less mobility.

4. Osteochondrosis
When your beloved dog or cat acquires this type of pet arthritis, the state of the cartilage declines, creating a condition that is similar to Osteoarthritis. The result is that tissue in the joint becomes inflamed and painful. Experts believe that both genes and nutrition could influence an animal acquiring this type of Arthritis.

5. Rheumatoid Arthritis
The immune system of your animal attacks the joints, which can impact multiple joints simultaneously. This results in less mobility and inflammation.

6. Traumatic Arthritis
This type of pet arthritis involves any arthritis that results from trauma impacting the joints. Traumatic Arthritis is typically acute and oftentimes leads to Osteoarthritis.

If your dog or cat is suffering from any of these types of arthritis, then relieve his or her pain with Pet Bounce. This all-natural product will help to ease the symptoms that your pet is suffering from. Help to put the bounce back in your animal's life!

Jade Volstrom is an expert on pet arthritis and the director of PetPainReliefInfo.Com. She provides honest information and advice on matters like pet pain relief and more. For free tips on how to give your pet arthritis relief, check out the website today!

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5 Ways to Care For Your Dog's Eyes
By Brandon James

When it comes to caring for your dog or puppy, do not ignore proper eye care and safety. Some dog owners forget the little things when it comes to their dog's eye health and this can result in health problems in the future.

Below are a few dog eye-care pointers:

1. Many dog owners overlook the importance of guarding your dog's eyes from injury. I would advise that you be overly conscious of your dog's head when you are playing games that could injure their eyes. Some examples of games to beware of: kicking a ball around with your dog, playing fetch with a stick, or simply play-wrestling by using your hands.

2. Every morning, you want to examine your dog's eyes and wipe away any of that "morning crust" that builds up overnight. If this crust is left unchecked and builds up, your puppy can experience a very irritating and painful reaction. Use warm water and a soft cloth to wipe the eyes clean.

3. If your dog is of a breed that has very long hair, trim his hair carefully around his eyes. While some breeds are supposed to have long hair covering or overlapping the eyes, this can still cause irritation if the hair is constantly rubbing inside of the eyeball. Use your best judgment and try to err on the side of your dog's health as opposed to his appearance.

4. When bathing your dog, do not squirt shampoo or flea treatments on top of his head. Even if you are extremely careful, some of these liguids or chemicals might spray in his eyes. Gently rub the shampoo into your hand and then apply it carefully over your dog's scalp and surrounding face areas. This will avoid irritating your dog's eyes.

5. When driving with your dog, avoid the temptation to let him hang his head out of the window. I realize that it is a joy to watch your pet enjoying himself and having so much fun as you are driving along, but there have been many serious eye injuries, (and even the loss of an eye) due to a small pebble or rock hitting the dog's face. I'm sure that is not something you'd want to risk at all.

Keeping your dog's eyes health is important and following the steps above, along with other precautionary measures can ensure that your dog lives a healthy and hearty life as your best friend.

Brandon James is the main writer for, an educational resource for owners of blind dogs. When you visit, you'll also discover the helpful ebook: Living With A Blind Dog.

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Caring For a Goldfish in a Tropical Fish Tank
By Stephanie Ybarra

Having Goldfish can be a fun and rewarding hobby. As with any new hobby, especially one that involves living creatures, always consider the maintenance that will be involved. If you care for your tropical fish tank correctly, you will be sure to maintain happy and healthy Goldfish for many years. Goldfish have a life expectancy of five to ten years. If you do a first-rate job Of taking care of their fish aquarium, you should have fun, beautiful fish for a long time. Be sure to feed them appropriately and keep their water fresh and clear.

You shouldn't buy your fish until your have everything place first. If you are going to set gravel on the floor, you may want to put only a slim layer. This will make it easier to keep clean, as Goldfish tend to be messy. Make certain that you wash the gravel totally beforehand placing it in the floor of the aquarium. If you have some decorations, you should add them at this point. Make sure that you clean them well before putting them into the tropical fish tank. Also be certain that the goldfish have ample room to swim, as they are active fish. Provide them a place or two to hide, and that ought to do nicely.

Now that you have everything in place, you can add in the water. You will need to use a dechlorinator, as the chlorine in tap water is fatal to fish. When the fish aquarium is filled up, you can turn on the filter. Exchange it as often as recommended to keep your fish healthy. Goldfish live at room temperature, so you will not need a heater. They are quite comfortable in temperatures from 68 to 80 degrees. However, they should not be exposed to rapid temperature changes. You might wish to let the filter run in the new goldfish tank for a day or so to filter out any chemicals or dyes that might have been left on the gravel and decorations that you just added. Waiting to purchase new fish can be one of the hardest things about fish keeping!

You need to add fish slowly. Fish excrete ammonia. If you add too many fish at once to a new fish tank, the water will not be seasoned Sufficiently to dissipate it. As the water in your Goldfish tank ages, it builds up beneficial bacteria that turn hurtful chemicals excreted by the fish into harmless ones. However, this will take some time. Begin with a single fish. The nitrogen cycle will not begin until you add the fish, so running an empty tank for several days will not help. Since your tropical fish tank is brand new, you might want to consider making partial water changes of about 25 per cent of the total water volume every few days for the first week or so.

Gold fish food is very easy to find and is in almost every pet store. Make sure to buy some when you purchase your first fish. Feed only a small amount. Especially at first. Any uneaten food will sink to the floor and rot. Keep this to a least amount. Watch your fish the first few times that you feed them. Feed only as much as they will eat in two to three minutes twice a day, or as recommended on the Goldfish food label. Be especially cautious not to overfeed when the Goldfish aquarium is new. This will cause surplus build up of toxic chemicals and can kill your fish quickly.

As the water in your fish aquarium cycles through the nitrogen cycle, you may notice that is becomes very murky. This is a normal process and should clear up in a few days. Do not add any new fish until the water is crystal clear again. Clear water will show that the nitrogen cycle is working and that the toxic chemicals are being converted to good ones. Remember as the Goldfish grow larger they will need a bigger space. Don't overcrowd the aquarium if you would like to keep healthy fish. If you stick to this little guideline, you will be certain to have a healthy goldfish fish tank.

Having a Tropical Fish Tank can be one of the most rewarding and amazing hobbies especially when you add goldfish to it. Goldfish come in many colors and sizes and are very easy to keep, so having them in your aquarium will just make your tropical fish tank that that much more beautiful and rewarding.

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3 Fun Games to Play With Your Cat
By Christian Mahoney

In this busy day and age most people struggle to find time to do everything they want, and quite often spending time with the family cat is sacrificed for other things, such as TV and work. This is not only bad for your owner-cat relationship but also for your health and the health of your cat as pet owners who frequent with their pets are generally more healthy than non pet owners.

There are however some simple games that you can play with your cat that are fun for both of you, and don't require too much of your time.

3 Fun Games To Play With Your Cat

1) Cat's love to chase things, we all know this and know that they cannot help themselves. Using either a torch or preferably a laser pointer, start waving the light in front of your cat and watch them chase after it. You can run the light in circles, across the room, up the walls and the cats just love it. Whenever i pick up the laser pointer they get really excited and start purring, it's great fun and lets you bond with your cat.

2) Another chasing game that gives you some exercise as well is to get piece of string and move along with one end trailing behind you on the ground. Most cat's can't resist the urge to chase it and enjoy being able to pounce on it.

3) One game that younger cats enjoy is what i like to call hide and seek. Basically you hide behind something, get their attention, then duck back down and hide again. It's a bit like peek-a-boo with a small child but some cats enjoy it just as much.

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Top 6 Tips to Consider Before Purchasing
a New Puppy Dog
By Kate Brielle

Taking on the responsibility of bringing a dog into your house needs to be a thorough and carefully thought out decision. This responsibility of a living, thinking and caring animal who is willing to spend the rest of his life with you is not a responsibility to be taken lightly.

A dog or puppy should never be purchased on a whim, it is always paramount to think long term when purchasing any animal that could be with you in 20 years and over. Therefore, you need to think thoroughly and take your time over the decision.

Let's look at some of the key responsibilities, which will be required of you in looking after your new puppy dog;

1. Are your home and surroundings suitable for a dog, will they be welcome?
If you do not own your own home, and you are tenant, do you have the blessing of the owner of the property to keep a dog on the premises?

2. Do you have sufficient time to spend with your dog?
Dogs and especially puppies require lots of time in your relationship to develop and require plenty of affection, play and constant learning. This is therefore, not a situation which can be rushed.

3, What other animals do you already have in your household?
How will the other animals react to the introduction of the new puppy? Have you considered any other animals, especially other dogs, and how they would react to the new resident?

4. Have you ever owned a dog previously?
Are you fully aware of the pressures on your time and your pocket? Dogs will hunt and kill prey which they will bring indoors to you with a proud look on her face. They will shed plenty of fir, they will bring in dirt and debris from the outside, are you house proud?

5. Are there any children in the house?
Significant consideration should be given to the presence of children in the household and the breed type of dog you are looking to purchase.

6. Do your personal finances support having a new dog?
There are significant costs over the term of a dog's life which need to be provided for. Vaccinations and emergency care and ongoing veterinary bills would accumulate into a significant amount over the dogs lifetime and additional expenses will include of course, dog foods collars, leads and general grooming.

All the above factors are very important when considering introducing a new animal into your home. However, the benefits that a dog will provide to you will far outweigh the costs. Dogs are lifelong friends and will be loyal and honest to you. However, you should only take on the responsibility of owning a new dog once you are satisfied you have the time, money, patience to care for a new dog appropriately.

Before you take the plunge and purchase your new puppy why not become fully accustomed to what is expected of you, Puppy Training Dogs would like to invite you to learn all about the fun and rewarding pleasures which are involved training your new puppy within the first few weeks of bringing him or her home. This unique technique, perfect for first time or experienced dog owners, has been developed specifically for puppies and has helped thousands of people housetrain their puppy successfully. Visit Puppy Training Dogs to obtain your free house training tips and to learn more.

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5 Simple Cost-Cutting Ways - Save Money
on Your Pets During This Economy Crisis
By Alexandra Vrugt matter what you call your pet, there is one thing that you can be sure of. At some point, your favorite animal creature will require some cash output on its behalf. During this economy crisis, pet owners everywhere are looking for opportunities for saving, cost-cutting, and getting the best possible deals.

With limited budgets, it's only natural for the average pet owner to start to take stock as to what they can do differently with regard to the amount of money that they spend on their pet, without making their pet's life completely miserable. Well, there are plenty of ways for pet owners to save and still make their little sweeties happy. Of course, this takes a little creativity, resourcefulness, and ingenuity. Try these 5 simple strategies for saving:

Pet food should be bought in bulk in order to buy for cheap. The bigger the bag or package, the lower the per ounce or per pound cost. So, while those huge sacks of kibble may be great for helping you to physically build up muscle when trying to carry them off of the shelf, they are also helping your piggy bank to build up a little financial muscle of its own.

Stretch everything! When it comes to using certain pet "toiletries", you may be able to stretch out the use of some by using a little less than normal. This is one way to realize a significant long-term saving. Cost-conscious pet owners can try this for themselves with products like pet shampoo and kitty litter. To become a little more methodical with it, start measuring out exactly how much you want to use each time. This will allow you to gauge your usage better and could really curtail any unnecessary usage and waste.

Don't buy the name brand pet food. Check out the ingredients of the food that you use or select a generic brand of food when you first start with your pet. The ingredients and nutritional percentages should measure you very well to the national brands. But, you will save because the generic, or store-brand, pet food, and even other products, you can buy for cheap. So, before you pay for the high priced can of specialty food, do a little research on all of the money saving, cost-cutting alternatives. Never forget that most animals cannot read!

Groom your pet at home for a big cash save. Pet grooming is a big business, and for pet owners the expense of it can be burdensome. Before you jump right in with grooming your pet at home, do a little research by watching free pet grooming videos on a site like or Google. Ask your pet's vet for some advice. Buy for cheap the supplies that you will need. Remember, you are trying to save, so you may not want to buy the most expensive shears that are available. Keep your safety and your pet's safety in mind at all times. Grooming your pet yourself is probably not as hard as you may think, it just takes a little effort so that you can do it right and cheaply!

Use online resources for people giving away pets and pet supplies! Sites like Freecyle and Craigslist are the perfect place to find pet items from cages to pet toys to the pets themselves for free! Many times, if someone is relocating or can no longer care for a pet, they will list them on these websites. Instead of paying big money for a puppy or kitten, you can simply get one that has already been cared for as well as spayed or neutered for free. If the items are not 100% free, they will be so reasonable that you will be able to buy for cheap and save considerably over the retail price.

Pets don't have to turn your finances into a menagerie of trouble. With a little research, resourcefulness, and willingness to find alternatives your family can enjoy your pet and still enjoy saving, cost-cutting, and all of the great perks of having a few extra dollars in the bank!

Alexandra Vrugt, a recognized expert on saving money in daily life, has written many articles on how to manage on less. You can get free copy of her Ebook '15 Top Ways To Save Money' by visiting her website

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The Minneapolis Lake Creature PLUS Questions to Ask a Pet Sitter

4 Tips to Fight Your Pet's Blues
When Kids Go Back to School
Reported by: Jennifer Harrington -

The kids will be headed back to school in just a few weeks.

After months of having the kids around to play with, your dogs and cats could find themselves sad and lonely once the children head to class.

Melissa Gable Executive Director of FACC's - Friends of Animal Care & Control says your pet may appear upset, sleep more than usual, or may even become destructive.

She says you may find they start chewing, digging or having accidents inside the house.

These types of behaviors are commonly referred to as separation anxiety.

Gable offers these suggestions to cure your pets back to school blues:

•Exercise! Just like humans, physical activity releases endorphins – feel good chemicals in the brain. Also, keep in mind that many animals can pick up on your feelings … if YOU are depressed about your child going off to college, your dog may sense that.

•Soothing Scents! Have your son or daughter leave behind a t-shirt or blanket that has their scent on it.

• Desensitization. Think about all the “cues” your dog reacts to – such as putting on school clothes, or picking up keys to drive your kids to school. To desensitize your animal, pick up your keys 10 times in an evening without actually leaving – the dog will eventually no longer associate keys with leaving. This will reduce their level of anxiety.

•Play down your departure. Ignore your dog or cat 15 to 30 minutes prior to leaving and arriving; resist long drawn-out goodbyes. Only give your animal attention when they are calm and relaxed.
Finally, your veterinarian may be able to help you with behavior modification, or refer you to a trainer or animal behaviorist. They may also suggest medication for your pet.

The Origin of the Short-Legged Dog
By Sarah Arnquist - The New York Times

Dachshund owners may love their little dogs’ short legs. But to scientists, this trait is just a developmental disorder.

This week a group led by Heidi Parker, a geneticist at the National Institutes of Health’s National Human Genome Research Institute, reported in Science that they have identified the single evolutionary event that created the modern short-legged dog. It’s an extra copy of a gene that was acquired by mutation at least 300 years ago, when modern dog breeding began.

The extra gene is the reason for the stubby legs of dachshunds, basset hounds and other short-legged breeds. It causes the overproduction of a protein that disrupts their growth during fetal development, the scientists say.

Having joined the genetic repertoire of dogs, the gene was available for selection by dog breeders whenever they wanted to develop a downsized breed. The basset hound, for example, was bred for its short legs so people on horseback could keep up with it during hunting, Dr. Parker said.

The Dachshund’s long body, short legs and flexible spine make it ideal for wriggling into tight spaces to follow badgers and other burrowing, according to the author of “Dachshunds for Dummies.” The breed’s short legs give it other advantages, such as the ability to move briskly through thick brush, to dig holes and to catch and follow a scent due to its closeness to the ground.

In exploring why some dogs have short legs, the researchers sifted through a database of more than 40,000 markers of genetic variation from DNA samples of 835 dogs, including 95 with short legs.

Dog owners may adore their little down-sized pets. But to the wolves who are the ancestors of all canine breeds, short-legged dogs and all other quirky deviations from the wolf form must seem like freaks of nature.

What Are Some Tips For Keeping A Garage Cat?

This cat was our lovable outdoor cat. We tried bringing her in the house b/c of mice issues. Even the smell/presence of a cat keeps mice out. But, none of us are really enjoying the cat being in the house. We’d like to try to keep her in our attached garage. Will it work to allow her outdoors during the day and bring her in at night? We’ll have litter, bedding, food, water in the garage.

5 Responses to “What Are Some Tips For Keeping A Garage Cat?”
danl747 says:

Some basic tips:

1. If she is not already, GET HER SPAYED! If you don’t you will have more than 1 cat! If cost is an issue talk to your local shelter or rescue about low cost spay/neuter services.

2. Make sure she’s up to date on shots. Since she’ll be outside full time she’s that much more likely to encounter another cat or another animal.

3. Sounds like you have the basics covered in the garage. Just make sure you keep up with it. Change the water daily, keep food in the bowl, etc. She’ll be depending on you for that.

4. Extreme weather. You should bring her inside during extreme weather events, especially winter storms/very cold weather, etc.
Good luck with your little friend

The_Pet_ says:

Think of the cat the same way you would of a garage band!
Plenty of beer and/or whisky. Lots of pizza and cheese doodles!
And you will have a kitty that still can’t sing any better than the garage band in your mind, but the cat will be happy and fat!

Unless it tries to sing the blues. In that case, give the cat some bologna and banana sammiches, the same thing that Elbis used to eat a lot of.

Though Elbis was the King of Rock and Roll (read this as King of the Rockabillies, because some stupid head dummy tried to make Elbis the King of Rock and Roll, and I do hate the thought of Elbis trying to claim that title), he ended up dead on a toilet. I do believe that Elbis mainlined one too many Twinkies.

So make sure there is no toilet in the garage. Elbis would insist on no toilet! And make sure that you check up every once in awhile on the Kitty of Rock and Roll and/or Blues. We wouldn’t want the Kitty of Fame to mistakenly think that a shotgun is a nice bong, do we? Kurt Cobain…where are ya now?

So make the cat think that you really care about it. And don’t be disappointed if the cat says that you don’t love it anymore. Or that it hates you. And that the cat uses your cell phone minutes as if they were free. And likes to go around with a mohawk haircut.

It will grow out of this!
The Pet Ponderer

harold. says:

I would say yes bring her in at night and keep her there for the night and then let her go out in the morning….and keep repetting it until a regular routine is there.

Alexa's mommy ? says:

just have a cat door for her to go in and out when she pleases. she’ll come in at night if thats what she wants. as long as she knows where her bed and food are she’ll keep coming back

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Keeping Exotic Pets is Lighting Fuse for Danger
By Jennifer O'Connor -

A toddler is strangled to death by her family's pet python. A woman lies in a coma, her face and hands ripped off, after being attacked by her friend's pet chimpanzee. A 9-year-old girl is dead after an attack by her stepfather's pet tiger. Thousands of people all over the country - most recently in Florida, where the horrific python attack took place - have been bitten, mauled and killed by exotic pets.

How have we reached the point at which lions and tigers live in basements, monkeys are diapered and alligators are walked on leashes?

Every year, countless people succumb to the temptation to purchase "exotic" animals such as monkeys, macaws, lizards - even tigers, lions and bears - to keep as "pets." Unbelievably, there is no federal law prohibiting the private ownership of wild or dangerous animals. But captivity is often a death sentence for exotics and, in too many cases, for the people who "had" to have them.

The ugly cycle begins when breeders remove newborn animals from their mothers within hours or days of birth so they can be "hand-raised" and acclimated to human contact. Big cats, bears and primates all have close bonds with their offspring, and such traumatic separations leave both mother and infant emotionally scarred for life. Birds and alligators are extremely nurturing and will fight to the death to protect their babies. Being bred in captivity doesn't negate the instincts and desires of these animals.

Dealers market exotics as if they were little more than stuffed toys, and they downplay their extremely specialized needs. Because exotics are sold at flea markets and auctions, in classified ads and on the Internet, it's all too easy for people to buy them on a whim.

But exotic species have precise dietary needs and require specialized veterinary care that even zoos, with their vast resources, have a difficult time fulfilling. Reptiles need technical spectrum lighting, big cats require a specialized fortified diet or their bones become deformed, and tropical birds need high levels of humidity in order to thrive. The thrill of owning a novelty pet can wear off before the check even clears, once the burdensome level of care becomes apparent. Many animals are quickly relegated to life at the end of a chain or in a tiny cage; others are passed from one owner to the next.

Many simply are dumped, left to succumb to hunger, terror and thirst. Some animals, such as pythons, adapt and overtake ecosystems in which they don't belong. Florida officials estimate there may be as many as 150,000 Burmese pythons (snakes native to Southeast Asia) living in the Everglades - descendants of "pets" who were discarded and now are reproducing. The effect these invaders have on native wildlife is staggering.

Denied everything that is important to them and forced into close contact with humans, stressed and agitated animals frequently lash out. Countless people have suffered devastating injuries, and many have lost limbs or their very lives. But why is anyone surprised when a wild animal behaves as nature intended? Tigers are genetically designed to hunt. Alligators have remained unchanged for 200 million years. Yet when wild animals follow their instincts, it's usually their death sentence: Most captive animals who cause injuries are killed.

Keeping tigers, reptiles and bears in cages is like lighting a fuse and pretending it won't go off. How many people and animals must pay with their lives before we acknowledge that exotic animals don't belong in private homes and backyard menageries?

• Jennifer O'Connor is a captive-exotic animal campaign writer with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Write her at PETA, 501 Front St., Norfolk, VA 23510.

Walking the Dog, Cat, Bird, Ferret, or You Name It
Seattle PI

One of the true pleasures of having an animal companion is being out in nature with your pet. We receive letters from people who walk their cats regularly. That's a sight we haven't had the pleasure of seeing yet.

We have observed people walking a family of ferrets on leashes. One woman carried her multi-colored bird -- squawking and talking -- on her shoulder around the lake.

It's delightful for us to take our cocker spaniel Leaf for walks around the wonderful lakes and ponds here in Minnesota. He picks up what one of our friends calls his "pee-mail" report while sniffing every tree, trashcan, and blade of grass he passes. People stop to pet him. Sometimes, he's receptive. Other times, he just wants to be left alone to enjoy his communion with nature.

Last week, while we strolled along the path surrounding beautiful Lake Harriet in Minneapolis, we spotted a new addition -- the Lake Creature.

Passersby told us that this prehistoric creature was first spotted on July 8, 2009. Fortunately we had brought our camera, so we were able to take pictures.

The Lake Creature is not as scary as the Loch Ness monster but he reminded us that dinosaurs roamed this area millions of years ago. Perhaps the Lake Creature is our own Jurassic Park remnant of that bygone era.

Visit to view the pictures. Also visit to read about this interesting and fun Minnesota project that causes lake walkers to do a double take and children to say, "Ooooo!"

What creatures have you seen on your walks with animal companions? What types of unusual pets have you observed people walking?

Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network

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PET CORNER: Place ID on Collars
By Laverne Hughey, Humane Society of Harrison County

Yes, another article about lost dogs or cats not wearing proper identification on the animal's collar.

No doubt, a lot of readers are weary reading about animals being out in the heat, the cold, or not wearing I.D. on their collars, but when animal guardians start placing I.D. tags on animals, I will be happy to stop writing about this problem.

Last weekend, a friend of mine mentioned that she saw a Chihuahua and a larger dog walking along her street, headed toward U.S. Highway 80. Not a good thing. So, being the thoughtful person she is, she prepared a bowl of water and another bowl with dog food and set it down for them. They were obviously well-cared for and were not hungry or thirsty. It was one of the very hot days that we have been experiencing lately, but they took only a sip of water and a bite of food, looked around, and turned in the opposite direction, away from the highway. What a relief.

Then, a neighbor came out and told my friend she would put the dogs in her fenced yard to keep them safe. Later, the dogs somehow escaped from that fenced yard. The lady picked up the Chihuahua with the larger dog following along. Soon, a man drove by in his car and said he had just arrived home from work and noticed the dogs were missing. He put the dogs in his car and headed home, about two blocks away. The dogs have not been seen since, so perhaps they are totally secure in their own fenced yard, never to escape again.

The man and his dogs were very lucky they were noticed by my friend and her neighbor and they were willing to take the time to help the dogs. The man did seem to appreciate it, as he should have.

Most people ignore dogs or cats that roam the streets and perhaps visit their yard. They don't want to be bothered and hope the animal will eventually go home. No one knows that dogs or cats that are out of a fenced yard or home can often give chase to another animal and run so far that it becomes lost and does not know where home is. Or, the animal may be chased by another animal and become lost. These dogs or cats are fortunate if someone notices them and gets involved.

How the process of getting the animal's guardian and animal reunited would be so simple, if only the animal had an I.D. tag on its collar. One quick phone call, and that's it.

My friend's sister who lives in Denver, Colo., noticed a dog in her yard one day, it was wearing a tag on its collar. Unfortunately, it was on a Saturday when most veterinarian's offices are closed. This can present a problem if the animal is wearing only a rabies tag. This particular dog was wearing a tag with a company name and microchip number. She called the company, gave the clerk the chip number and was advised of the dog's caretaker and telephone number. Animal and family reunited, end of that story.

How many people do you suppose would go to that much trouble? Probably not many. A lot of people do not know what a microchip is and would not pursue it.

The lady called the owner and told her that she had the dog, and to please put the home phone number on the tag. The woman said she thought it would be "dangerous" to put her own phone number on the tag. She said she was concerned someone might steal the dog. How a phone number could cause someone to steal a dog is strange.

Whether you have a dog or cat in the family and the facility the dog or cat came from does not place a collar and I.D. on the animal before it leaves the shelter, humane society, or whatever, please take the animal to its new home, placing it safely inside the home or garage, and go immediately to purchase a collar and I.D. tag. Some stores have name tag machines and the tag can be completed in a matter of minutes.

Bone Up on Pet Sitters
Sara Irvin Special to the Reporter-News

Questions to ask a potential pet sitter:

1. How much notice does the pet sitter need to schedule services? Many request two weeks notice.

2. How much do you charge? Sitter should have a published list of fees.

3. Is the pet sitter bonded and insured? Ask for proof of coverage.

4. Does the sitter have a clean criminal history? Ask for third-party credentials that verify the sitter has a history of honesty and integrity. Official verification documents will contain current annual dates (within one year) and certified seals.

5. Does the pet sitter meet with you and your pet in advance? Is there a charge for this meeting? Some sitters offer this for free. Others may charge.

6. How much experience does the sitter have with your type of pet? Experience in caring for special needs pets or unusual types of pets is helpful if that is what you need.

7. Can the pet sitter provide references?

8. Does the sitter have a service contract spelling out the terms and conditions?

9. How much time will the pet sitter spend with your pet? The average in-home visit to care for one pet is 30 minutes,

10. What will the pet sitter do in a medical emergency for your pet? Arrangements should be made with your veterinarian to allow the sitter to seek care while you are away. This may be covered in the contract you sign.

11. Will the sitter provide updates on your pet’s well being while you are gone? Some sitters offer this service, such as a e-mail updates.

12. Is the sitter willing to do other small tasks, such as collect the newspaper or mail or water plants? Some sitters may offer this in addition to pet sitting.

Source: Pet Sitters International

For many families, summer is a time of rest, relaxation and vacation, but for some, summer can have an added anxiety of how to care for their pets in their absence. Despite a growing trend of motels now being “dog-friendly,” bringing pets along on trips isn’t always an option, many find soliciting friends and family to check on pets too taxing to ask, particularly those in rural settings.

Often pet parents opt for boarding their animals in kennels. Leslie Reyes, office manager at Abilene Veterinary Clinic, says summer is the clinic’s busiest time of year. “Christmas and Thanksgiving are our other two biggies,” she said. The clinic’s rates for boarding are $13-$22 per day based on weight.

One good reason for choosing a boarding service such as Abilene Veterinary Clinic, 1365 S. Danville Drive, is the access to immediate medical attention should the pet need it, Reyes said.

“We have one boarding tech at all times and two vets on staff,” she said.

The clinic also provides food and litter, unless the owners have their pets on a special diet, and ensure dogs get play time outside three or four times a day, as well as a bath before going home.

“The kitties also have their play area as well,” Reyes said.

While dogs and cats make up the vast majority of animals boarded, the clinic has also had more exotic animals, such as birds, rabbits and ferrets, in their care.

Still, those with more tightly wound animals may worry about the stress of a foreign environment and hire a pet-sitter.

Judy Bialik of Critter Sitters has been pet-sitting in Abilene for eight years and considers the service a necessity for pet owners’ peace of mind.

It’s important that pets have a sense of familiarity, Bialik said. Different surroundings can be unnerving, especially for cats and small dogs.

“Cats are unnerved if you just change the furniture,” Bialik joked.

Bialik, who says she has about 100 clients, charges $10 for the first visit, and $5 for each additional visit per day for clients in town, with adjusted rates for those farther flung about the Abilene area. Bialik said these rates are per household, not per animal.

“I don’t do barnyards,” Bialik laughed. “It has to fit in your back yard.”

And dogs and cats aren’t her only game.

“Vets often recommend me to clients who have a dog, but also have birds, rats or ferrets to care for,” Bialik said.

In addition to caring for the pets, it’s not unusual for a sitter to tend to other needs of the house.

Bialik has no qualms about watering plants or fetching mail and newspapers in her clients’ absence. She asks that they leave not just contact information for veterinarians but also emergency numbers for issues of the home such as plumbing problems or a fire.

Whether immediate medical attention or familiarity of surroundings is more important to a pet owner, the knowledge of their pets’ well-being can make all the difference in a summer vacation.

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Housebreaking: Advice To Ease The Process
by Bella Holly -

Housebreaking a dog or puppy is often the most stressful aspect of owning a pet. However, the process can be less challenging if you have a few tips to help you out. This article will give you pointers on dog potty training based around the concept of accident prevention rather than punishment.

Puppies are a lot like children in that their minds are like sponges, which is why most people begin obedience and potty training when during puppyhood. The main thing which you must understand before beginning the training process is that a puppy does have limited control of his bladder, so it is best if you admit to yourself that accidents will happen, and come to terms with the idea. A good thing you can do for your puppy is to buy him a crate or similar place that will be his own “personal” space. That way, if you’re unable to watch him for a time, the accident will be in the crate and not somewhere around the house where you may not notice for a while.

One of the best things you can do for your puppy (and your sanity!) is to develop a regular routine as soon as you can. Try to feed him, take him outside, and put him down for bed around the same time every day. This will get his “body clock” set to the routine and he will eventually learn to rely upon this, as long as you follow through on your part and keep the routine as constant as possible, at least until your pup gets a bit older and develops more bladder control and adaptability.

When an accident does occur, don’t get upset or hit your dog. If you didn’t catch him in the act, simply put him in his crate while you clean up the mess. There is no point in trying to punish him, as he will not know why he is in trouble. If you do catch him in the act, giving him a firm ‘No!’ will let him know you are upset. Immediately take him to the proper spot outside and praise him if he goes again.

Potty training your puppy can be a trying time, but a bit of patience and determination will see you through the process. Just remember: develop a routine and take your puppy outside about 15 minutes after meal time. Soon, you will find that training becomes even easier, at which point you’ll want to start training him not only for obedience, but also for using items such as pet stairs instead of jumping onto furniture. Pet steps are much better for your dog’s joints and reduces the likelihood of your dog developing arthritis or sustaining an injury from falling off of high furniture.

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Pet Travel: Put Safety First

Summer is the peak family vacation season, and more families than ever are taking their pet along on summer vacation. Let's try to make this travel safe and happy.

The major travel risks for your pet are injuries, exposure to unfamiliar viruses and becoming lost.

Basic precautions for your pet's safety include a visit to his doctor before leaving home, updating immunizations and loading up on flea and tick preventatives.

Check with the Department of Agriculture in the areas where you will travel, or ask your veterinary practitioner which other vaccines may be required in that area and ask that your veterinarian administer them to your animal at least 10 days before your planned departure. This 10-day span is aimed at allowing your pet's body to develop the new antibodies required to protect him against unfamiliar diseases.

To lessen the chance of digestive upset, take along some water from home and pack your pet's usual food.

Once your pet has been protected against new diseases, it is time to move on to other safeguards.

Contrary to what Walt Disney would have us believe, animals are not all created with an instant homing device implanted in their brains. Dogs have a slight advantage over cats in their ability to find their way home, but even a bloodhound can become lost if far enough from familiar territory.

Dogs recognize and remember things and places by their scent, while cats focus on vision. A dog taken a couple of miles from home might be able to get back home by searching for familiar scents.

A cat, taken even a block from home, may be permanently lost unless he is able to see familiar places. Animals lost away from home, frightened or injured, may never be able to get home again. So it is up to you to keep them safe.

State law requires that dogs wear a collar with identification tags at all times. One hopes no one would ever leave a training (choke) collar on a dog at any time the dog is not actually being trained. These collars are not intended for everyday wear; they are dangerous.

Many dogs have been killed by one of these collars getting stuck and strangling the dog. But, you are way too smart to ever leave a choke collar on your dog, right?

So, to comply with state law, your dog will wear a strap collar when outdoors, and the collar will hold an identification tag with your contact info, plus the dog's rabies and license tag. Any dog can be traced to its owner through the numbers on these tags, if they are current.

Additionally, if your dog is registered with the American Kennel Club, you can request a tag from them containing the dog's registration number and the toll-free 24 hour phone number for the AKC Companion Animal Recovery Service.

AKC's CAR is not limited to dogs; they accept microchip registration numbers for any animal, from a pet mouse to a horse or cow or a pet rabbit. Further information about AKC and CAR can be found at

Smart owners provide additional protection for their pet dog or cat by having a microchip implanted under his skin, at the base of his neck. The number is then registered with one of the national services, or it will provide no protection. All shelters own microchip scanners, as do many vet hospitals and police departments. The service you choose should be available 24 hours a day, all year long, and should not require that you pay an additional annual fee to renew your protection.

Unless things have changed, AKC's CAR is the only service that provides this full level of service.

When planning travel with your pet, there are some special deals available. One recently announced is for the Motel 6 chain; they have announced that anyone traveling with their AKC registered dog is eligible for a special 10 percent discount.

The Motel 6 Pet Policy is: They will allow one well-behaved pet per room, except in states where this is prohibited. Service animals are always allowed, in every state. The pet must be declared when you check into the motel.

In consideration of other guests, the pet must be attended at all times. Pets should never be left alone in the room or your automobile.

Pets must be on leash or carried when outside of the room. Due to safety concerns for motel employees, they will not clean a room containing an unattended pet.

Pet owners may be asked to vacate the property if their pet becomes a nuisance to other guests. Owners are expected to clean up after their pets both inside and outdoors.

Sounds fair to me. Happy travels.

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