Pet Advice, Tips and the Burmese Python!

PAWS Gives Tips for Keeping Animals Cool

With triple digit temperatures upon us and a long hot summer ahead, the PAWS animal shelter in Kyle urges pet owners to take precautions against the threat of heat stroke and heat exhaustion for pets. PAWS Humane Society offers these tips when the temperatures rise:

* If pets must be outside, make sure they are in a well ventilated, shaded area with plenty of fresh water. You might want to consider an “on demand” water source such as a hose bib” waterer.” Another tip is to add ice to your pet’s water to keep it cooler longer.

* If you will be walking with your pet, remember that their paw’s pads are sensitive and can be easily burned when walking on hot concrete or asphalt. If possible, walk on grass or dirt. Be sure to take along plenty of water for yourself and your pet.

* Never leave your pet in the car. Even with the windows open, a car can get hot enough to be fatal in a matter of minutes.

* Exercise your dogs or play with cats early in the morning or late in the day, when temperatures are cooler.

* If your pets enjoy water, consider hosing them off periodically. It’s a great treat for those who enjoy the water and will help keep their body temperatures down.

My Pet World: Treats Might Help
Lhasa Warm Up to Grandma
By Steve Dale -

Q. Boris, our Lhasa Apso, is the friendliest dog in the world — with our small children, our neighbor's kids, friends — everyone except my mother-in-law. How can I get Boris to like my mother-in-law? She's actually not so bad.

— S.J., New York City

A. "What's going on with your mother-in-law?" wonders Darlene Arden, a dog behavior consultant in Framingham, Mass. "Is she hollering at the dog without meaning to? (Sometimes, older people with hearing loss speak loudly.) Does she walk in a manner that the dog isn't accustomed to? Maybe there's a piece of equipment to assist her, such as a cane or walker, that's frightening Boris. Does she pay too much attention (to Boris)? Being over-solicitous can be frightening to some dogs."

Arden, author of "Rover, Get Off Her Leg" (HCI, 2007), suggests a training exercise: "Grandma should walk in the door, then ignore the dog, except to sit down and toss special treats to him each time she visits. If Grandma is able, she can also feed the dog when she visits and take him for walks. In other words, the dog will associate Grandma with fun."

Arden makes one more point: "This isn't an excuse for mother-in-law jokes. As far as I'm concerned, mothers-in-law are great. After all, without a mother-in-law, you wouldn't have your spouse."

Q. My life is crazy and there's never a dull moment with three cats, three dogs, three kids and one mother-in-law. She moved in a few months ago because she
has problems remembering things. I work during the day and can't be there to watch her constantly. She loves the animals but forgets she has just fed them. If she doesn't stop, I'll soon have six overweight but happy pets. Any advice?
— G.P., Louisville, Ky.

A. Just as you put away your pets' food when you're not home, you also need to hide their food from Grandma. My hope is she doesn't then switch to giving the pets chocolate bars or leftovers from the refrigerator just because she enjoys feeding them.

Social gerontologist Marcy Deen of San Diego says, "It may not sink in to give her specific times when the pets should not be fed or what the pets should never be fed. That's a lot to remember for a person with an impairment. However, telling her never, ever under any circumstances to feed the animals any food at any time is absolute. Having only one rule to remember may be more effective.

"Be clear without scolding her," Deen adds. "Because she cares about the pets, give her another responsibility, perhaps adding water to the water dishes or offering you a report when you return home from work about what the pets did."

Q. What kind of dog is Conan O'Brien's Triumph on "The Tonight Show"?

— S.T., Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

A. Triumph the Insult Dog has been appearing with Conan O'Brien since 1997, mocking everyone from celebrities to the perfectly coiffed canines at the Westminster Dog Show. The cigar-chomping canine puppet is a Rottweiler. And that foul yet funny mouth belongs to comic Robert Smigel.

Q. What is a tortoiseshell cat?

— E.D., Elkhorn, Wis.

A. Where you live, in the winter, it could be a cat that wears a turtleneck sweater. However, a tortoiseshell cat typically has both black and red hair, in a distinct pattern. The fur also may have other colors. I think torties are especially beautiful. Most are female. If you encounter a rare tortoiseshell male, he may not require neutering — because he's likely sterile.

Q. My 9-year-old dog has an enlarged prostate. The vet wants to neuter him, but I don't. I'd like to explore homeopathic options. Any recommendations?

— C.J., Peoria, Ill.

A.Internal medicine specialist Kevin Guilikers of Dallas explains that just as older men sometimes have enlarged prostates, so do many dogs.

"People take drugs that block testosterone, with a goal to help shrink the prostrate. The same drugs can be given to dogs," Guilikers says. "But for dogs, we have another option, and it's curative — and that's to neuter. Also, in a 9-year-old dog, an ultrasound to rule out cancer may be a good idea. I have no issue with homeopathic remedies, but I simply don't know of any for this problem."

Contact the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association ( if you feel compelled to pursue a homeopathic solution.

Write to Steve Dale at Tribune Media Services, 2225 Kenmore Ave., Suite 114, Buffalo, NY 14207. Send e-mail to Include your name, city and state.

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Pet Euthanizations Soar in May
Reporter: Iram Ali -

Animal shelters throughout our area can no longer afford to house all the animals they have....and they say the economy is to blame.

But that also means that if you drop off your pet to an already- crowded shelter, there's a good chance that animal could be euthanized.

Moultrie Humane Society Director Don Flowers says people are having a difficult time taking care of their own families and say there's no money left over to take care of the family pet.

They might not be able to speak the same language as us, but during tough economic times our pets need a voice.

"People are just dropping them off everywhere instead of bringing them to us they think if they drop them off on the side of the road, somebody will pick them up," Flowers said.

In May, the Moultrie Humane Society received 412 pets, 103 were taken by a rescue group, 20 were adopted and there wasn't anymore room for more animals, which means more than 200 had to be put to sleep.

Last month, someone dropped off 27 cats in one day, that same day more than three quarters of them were euthanized.

Moultrie Humane Society officials say pets are coming in with some of the worst conditions, starving, abused and malnourished.

"I had a cat come in the other day, it was barely breathing. It had fleas and-- the eyes had matter coming out of it and everything. We did have a puppy come in someone called about three puppies and it had maggots all over its tail," Moultrie Humane Society Employee Samantha Payne said.

Payne says she sees these types of stories everyday, and it's becoming more prevalent as the economy fails.

The Moultrie Humane society says there were 415 pets dropped off at the shelter in June, that's more than 800 pets just in the past two months.

FWC: Facts About the Burmese Python

The Division of Habitat and Species Conservation of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission provided the "Talking Points" about the Burmese python:

Related Links:Pythons: Docile, powerful - and closely regulated - The Burmese python is a nonnative species to Florida and to North America.

- Approximately 112,000 of these Asian snakes have been imported into the United States since 1990.

- Everglades National Park has been the site of suspected releases of these exotic pets, with population predictions in the tens of thousands. The National Park Service reported the removal of 311 Burmese pythons from the Everglades in 2008.

- Other pythons have been captured in Big Cypress National Preserve and Collier Seminole State Park, north of the Everglades; areas around Miami to the northeast; Key Largo to the southeast and other lands, both public and private, throughout the region.

- The FWC lists the Burmese python as a Reptile of Concern, which means it has habits that may adversely affect the environment or may be a threat to public safety. Other Reptiles of Concern are the Indian python, reticulated python, African rock python, amethystine or scrub python, green anaconda and Nile monitor lizard.

- As a Reptile of Concern, this python must be licensed by FWC’s Captive Wildlife Section in order to be kept as a pet. The license costs $100 per year and mandates specific caging requirements. Burmese pythons more than 2 inches in diameter must be implanted with a microchip that identifies the animal. This rule applies to all Reptiles of Concern. It is unlawful to allow to escape or to release it into the wild.

- The Burmese python is commonly kept as a pet because it is more docile than other large nonnative constrictors.

- There is a low risk of a human attack. Documented human attacks by pythons in the United States involve the snake’s owner or immediate family.

- A recent report from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) shows that the Burmese python could survive throughout Florida. The report states that other factors such as food and shelter need consideration, but the “Burmese pythons and other giant constrictor snakes have shown themselves to be highly adaptable to new environments.”

- A non-venomous constrictor, the Burmese python preys on native Florida species of mammals, birds and reptiles, as well as nonnative species including black rats.

- According to the National Park Service, the appetite of the Burmese python poses a serious threat to some of Florida’s already endangered species. Burmese pythons have eaten four Key Largo woodrats, a federally endangered species.

- The Burmese python may reach a length of 26 feet and a weight of more than 200 pounds. The largest Burmese python captured in the Everglades was 16 feet and 150 pounds. Its native habitat ranges from India to lower China, throughout the Malay Peninsula and on some islands in the East Indies. It usually lives near water.

- Although semi-aquatic, this snake is a good climber.

- Pythons lay eggs, unlike boa constrictors. A female Burmese python may lay 50-100 eggs and will wrap its body around the clutch to keep it warm and to defend the eggs against predators. The female python can raise its temperature by rhythmically twitching muscles which generates heat and helps incubate the eggs. This incubation process may last two to three months. Once the eggs are hatched, baby pythons are on their own to survive.

- The USGS and the Everglades National Park are investigating the behavior and biology of the Burmese python to get a better understanding of the snake’s requirements for survival. Their findings also assess the risk of invasion into other areas of the United States.

- Further information may be found on FWC’s Web site at To see the complete report from USGS, go to

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Excerpt: Dog Lady deals with owner's bone of discontent with dog's habit of stashing treats, as well as disgusted restaurant patron appalled at friend feeding his pet at the table - with a fork!

Dear Dog Lady:

We have an 11-year-old black Lab who has a peculiar habit of burying every toy or bone we give him. We brought him a meaty bone from a barbecue place we thought he'd like gnawing. The first thing he did was bury it - but only after watching us suspiciously. We don't understand what he's thinking when he does this. Should we stop giving him bones and toys or just give him really cheap ones? - Janet and Greg

Dear Janet and Greg:

You must understand the power of meaty bones. To a dog, these are the Holy Grail, and there's a whole Da Vinci canine code involved in stowing and hiding the priceless objects. Often, this involves burial because dogs' wolf forebears dug deep. Your black Lab's instinct is to save and protect.

It can be very frustrating dealing with this behavior. When Dog Lady gives her own darling a bully stick - a bit less desirable than a meaty bone but not as messy - he chases around the house whimpering for Dog Lady or Mr. Dog Lady to pursue him. He could play this game for hours. The dog then takes the stick and tries to bury it in the couch cushions, the carpet, the bed pillows, his own bed or anywhere he can get traction with imaginary dirt.

This ritual causes angst for those who love him. We imagine he's miserable and stymied in his quest. We go away every year to a house with a big yard, and we always buy him a bone to bury. This is the price of doing business with a house pet. He's never excavated any of these summer treats. In the moment, meaty bones will make your dog so happy. You could cut back on the pricey toys if you want, but don't give up on those juicy things that bring out the beast in your Lab.

Dear Dog Lady:

I saw an interview with Susan Boyle, the Scottish woman who silenced judge Simon Cowell with her singing on the British talent show. In the video, Boyle is asked how Pebbles, her cat, reacted to mistress' sudden stardom. "How did she take the news?" wonders the interviewer. Boyle seems surprised by the question. "How did she take it? The usual cat way, wanting to be petted."

I thought this exchange was ridiculous but I had to wonder: Do our pets ever get excited for us? - Malcolm

Dear Malcolm:

Yes, if you win the lottery and start hooting around the living room, your dog will definitely join in the merriment. The woofer won't have a clue why there's all the noise but will be only too happy to help you celebrate. Don't expect your cat to bestir herself to join in. Like Boyle's Pebbles, a feline wants to be petted in the event of a happy occasion and go back to snoozing.

Famous peoples' pets pique interest. No scrap of information is too trivial; no question too dumb. Look at all the hoopla surrounding Bo Obama. When first lady Michelle Obama told a group of children visiting the White House about Bo playing in the hallway at night and rousing the first couple, a nation couldn't wait to hear more. Asked for Bo details at a press conference, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said: "I don't know the exact movements of the dog. I know later this afternoon, weather permitting, the dog will be outside - if not, the dog will be inside."

E-mail to ask a question or make a comment. Follow Dog Lady on Twitter at

Buy the Right Bird Toys For Your Pet Birds
By Sunil Punjabi

Bird toys are probably not amongst the first things, which come to mind when considering what is required in the care of a parrot. However, research has shown that bird toys are very important for a parrot's development. Choosing the right toys would provide your parrot with a safe and engaging environment to play and exercise in, both when confined in its parrot cage and even when left to roam around the house. However, choosing the incorrect toys can lead to boredom and even worse, injuries or death!

Screaming, biting, charging and feather plucking are a result of a bored bird. This bad behaviour can be suppressed if a parrot is kept engaged and active; especially during the time they're in their parrot cage. One would expect the owner to let his parrot out of his cage a few times a day and interact with it and play with their toys, so one should think about toys suitable for both the parrot cage and outside.

Bird Toys should provide your parrot with multiple functions. It is a good idea that a parrot cage is stocked with different types of toys, which exercise and stimulate your bird's different inquisitive and curious needs. Some parrots like the idea of making noise and would play with different bells and other noise making toys for a long time. Others love chewing all day long and it is essential to provide these birds with bird toys, which offer breaking and chewing opportunities, or else they might chew on their cage or your furniture when roaming around the house.

Puzzle toys are great at enhancing a bird's problem solving skills. Mixing food with puzzle toys is a very good idea. One would find that birds will often abandon a dish full of treats in order to work one out of a treat puzzle. You'll find that the prizes worked out of puzzles are enjoyed and eaten more fully than food offered in bowls. Other bird toys, which allow climbing, are good to exercise and keep parrots in good physical shape. One thing in common amongst different toys should be color - birds love bright and colorful toys!

One should take great care in finding bird toys made of safe materials. Be careful as toys will not come with a label saying 'Contains lead or arsenic', so one should be careful and inspect before proceeding to the checkout. Preferably one should purchase bird toys, which are made of safe plastics or organic, although even some wood such as cedar and oak can be dangerous to your parrot. Toy durability is also of concern as in case of breaking down; parrots can choke on small parts. One must make regular checks on the bird toys state of deterioration, as like all other things, toys don't last forever.

Your parrot needs to be stimulated and have fun with a lot of different toys. Enriching bird toys provide captive parrots with activities and stimuli, which are similar to those, found in his natural habitat. By copying natural behaviors that promote mental challenge, parrots will be healthier and happier. It should be provided with toys, which won't risk its safety, and in return it would provide with lots of quality time and fun to all the family.

Shop and buy a small, medium, or large bird cages for you pet parrot and pet birds. All types and sizes of parrot cages and safe bird toys for your pet birds -

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Should I Get A Bottom Feeder For My
20 Gallon Goldfish Fish Tank?

I have 2 fancy goldfish in it. Those and bottom feeders get along right? The ones I’m talking about are the small black ones, that they usually have at pet stores to clean the tanks. I’m not sure what those are called.

6 Responses to “Should I Get A Bottom Feeder For My 20 Gallon Goldfish Fish Tank?”

Smartphone Themes says:
It is always a good idea to have bottom feeders, ESPECIALLY for goldfish! They are super messy fish and just two will outgrow that tank eventually. You are very smart about asking because many people mix different kinds of fish and that is not always ok.

The black fish you are talking about are probably plecostomus (algea eaters). They are sold when they are only about 2-3 inches, and they are awesome at eating algea, but beware! They grow to 2 feet or more, and they grow FAST!!! They will more then double in size in only 1 month. Plus, when they get that big, they no longer eat algea and they become carniverous.

For a smaller tank (your 20 gallon), I would recomend getting a couple cory catfish. they are sold at almost all fish stores, they do great at cleaning food out of the rocks, and they only get to be about 3-4 inches. 3 or 4 would do nicely. I would also recomend buy 1 or 2 otocinclus. They are tiny algea eaters that only get about 3 inches long so they wont outgrow your tank. sadly, your goldfish may eat them as they get bigger.

WP Robot modules says:
Let me address a few problems that you are facing already with your fancy goldfish:

1. One goldfish alone requires a 30-gallon tank Each additional goldfish that you want to add will need an additional 10-gallons. Since you have two, you will need a 40-gallon tank.

2. The reason for such a large tank is because goldfish do not have stomachs like other fish. This tends to cause them to create more waste than any other fish species. The more waste they create, the more you ammonia levels will increase to dangerous levels harming your goldfish themselves.

3. Since goldfish are coldwater species, the only tank mate that the goldfish could have is a Plecostomus. The Plecostomus is the small black fish that you are referring to. I would recommend the Bristle-Nose Plecostomus than the everyday Plecostomus that you see in pet stores.

ray says:
But they sometime may cause injury to your fish like bite the goldfish eye.
Or can cause damaged to the fin of your goldfish.
This is because they can grow really huge in size.
I would suggest you to buy corydoras another type of catfish.
This catfish has a very small average size that is only 7cm (2 1/4in) till 12cm (4 1/4in) depending on its size.
And they live well with the goldfish.
Hope my suggestion has help you.

Fish Freak says:
It might seem cruel to some people, but I keep cory cats solely because they clean up my tank very nicely. I purposely overfeed my fish so that my corys get something to eat (so I guess it’s not cruel?). Corys will go well with goldfish, but you might want to consider getting a heater, so your corys don’t immediately die.

"tomshep says:
plecos are exelelcent for goldfish. i had a pleco for the longest time with my goldfish and they were fine he just did his job and the goldfish destroyed my tank when they got bigger =P

Ryan C says:
Plecos? Loaches? Not good for your goldfish

Gary Bogue: Hot Dogs: Don't Leave Your Dog
in a Car When It's Hot Outside
By Gary Bogue - Contra Costa Times

Before you leave your dog locked in your car and go into a store, just for a minute, read this letter.

Dear Gary:

I read your recent column (June 30) about dogs left in cars when it's hot outside. I'm a retired animal control officer and we called them "Hot Dogs."

While on patrol in our assigned beat and especially during hot weather, we were always on the alert for our dispatcher getting us on the radio with a report of a hot dog. Here's the law side of this issue:

When I arrived on scene for this type of call, I would locate the car by the car's description. Once I found the car I had to verify several things, the first of course is that there is in fact a dog inside the car. Once confirmed I notified dispatch, took the outside temperature and if any windows were open and in these cases only about an inch, I would insert a thermometer to take the inside temperature.

If it was 80 degrees outside, the inside temperature of the car would usually read about 110 to 120 degrees. Once the temperature was confirmed, I again would notify dispatch. Then, I would make sure all efforts had been made to locate the owner either with witnesses, if any, and the store's security team, if any, etc.

I can tell if the dog is in distress by its obvious physical condition. My next step would be to get out my bowl and water I kept inside the vehicle with me and prepare that water bowl, leaving it inside my vehicle with air conditioning
running to keep the water cooled.

Then, and here's the part I really enjoyed, I had my dispatcher notify police I needed their assistance to extricate a hot dog. Police usually arrived within minutes and I would then go over my findings with the officer.

The officer would then use his baton to break a window farthest from the dog. I'd remove the dog and immediately offer it the bowl of water and I would time how long the dog drank. One hundred percent of the time they drank for several minutes and drained the bowl, sometimes draining the bowl two or three times depending on the size of the dog.

If no owner appeared, a notice was left on the windshield that their dog was seized and impounded. Many fees are associated when a call goes this way with a hot dog. They have to replace the car window and that's not cheap, they have to pay significant impound fees, and if deemed necessary they are issued a citation for their negligence, which in these cases is animal cruelty.

To this day, if I see someone leave their dog in a car and it's hot outside I approach them, identify myself as a retired animal control officer and advise them they are on the brink of animal cruelty. I then ask them what's more important: Going shopping or taking their dog home and avoiding serious legal issues?

They always leave and I hope, go back home.

Dog owners: If it's past 70 degrees outside, leave your pet at home. If you have to take your dog, take precautions! Park in a shaded area where the entire car is in the shade; leave all windows down at least 8 inches; leave several bowls of cold, iced water on the floor in the shade; and keep your visit inside the store to a few minutes.

If you have a small dog, put it in a pet carrier and bring it inside. If you have a large dog, leave someone outside with your dog in the shade. When we own pets, we are criminally and civilly liable for them and bad pet owners simply are not tolerated in today's society.

Laur Krebs, cyberspace

Dear Laur:

Thank you, thank you, thank you for telling it like it is. Hopefully, pet lives will be saved.

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