Pet Care Tips PLUS What to Do With the Hair Your Pet Sheds

Beware of Dog: Five Things You Need to Know
Carrie Pollare - Huffington Post

How in the world do we navigate the current state of dogs in our country? When did the innocent question, "How Much is that Doggie in the Window?" turn into "Do you get your dogs from puppy mills?" Once upon a time, it was perfectly acceptable to buy your precious pup at a pet store. Not anymore. And, how did we allow the number of homeless pets to jump into the millions and then decide that it was okay to euthanize them just because there was "no room at the inn." How did we take something so simple -- the joy of finding and caring for a dog -- and turn it into such a mess?!

Let me be clear. Doggies rule. I've always been an animal lover -- but a naive one. In the last eight months, since we launched our I'm Tired of Animal Cruelty campaign and began to work with our charity beneficiary, Best Friends Animal Society, I've learned so much and it's quite scary out there. So, armed with my new found knowledge and the soap box to pontificate, here are five big issues facing dog lovers today.

1. 99% of puppies sold in pet stores come from puppy mills, according to the ASPCA.

Pet stores that still sell pets are notorious for getting their puppies from puppy mills. Worse yet, they are not above lying to you about it by telling you they get them from "reputable breeders." And, they're also not above doing whatever it takes to entice you to buy that sweet face you see in the window and all the accoutrements that go with it, even though the puppy could be seriously ill.

For those who don't know, a puppy mill is typically a commercial dog breeding factory, complete with filthy and inhumane conditions. Adult "breeding dogs" are often kept in wire-bottomed cages to do nothing but continue to produce puppies. These poor animals have little human contact, little or no veterinary care and once their fertility is gone, they are typically killed, making way for new dogs to continue the barbaric cycle.

The puppies, themselves, are kept in similar conditions until they are sold. Thanks also to in-breeding and over-breeding, these babies often wind up with serious health or behavioral issues that may not surface until much later, like heart disease, blood disorders and respiratory illnesses. And, there are thousands of puppy mills in our country, producing about one million puppies per year. While there are laws regulating puppy mill conditions, the enforcement is marginal at best.

The bottom line: In this day and age, we can't buy that doggie in the pet store window, no matter how precious. It perpetuates the criminal behavior of those who run these puppy mills and the pet store owners who turn around and deceitfully sell them. If pet adoption isn't for you and you want a purebred with papers, then make sure you do your homework and get your dog a reputable breeder. If papers aren't important, but you want a purebred, there are tons of breed-specific rescue organizations, as well.

2. There are millions of homeless dogs and millions more who are euthanized every day.

According to Best Friends, in the late 1980s, roughly 17 million dogs and cats were being euthanized in shelters every year. Today, thanks to programs like no kill shelters, pet adoptions and spay/neuter efforts, that number is down to approximately five million a year, but there is still so much more to be done. Finding these poor dogs and cats homes is further complicated by all of the puppy mills and even respectable breeders out there, churning out millions of dogs a year, and by people who impulsively get pets, without seriously thinking through what pet ownership entails, and then abandon them.

So, what can I say about this. If you truly have the time for a dog, can afford it and can be a responsible owner, then please adopt these fur kids and help the cause. If you want a purebred, find out about rescue organizations in your area for the breed you think you want. If you have pets, get them spayed or neutered, so we cut back on the vast numbers of new animals coming into the world.

3. There are criminals, who train dogs to be vicious, and fear-based vigilante attempts to ban entire breeds that are, as a result, deemed "dangerous."

Prejudice is not just reserved for humans anymore. Now, there is a huge movement, called BSL (Breed Specific Legislation) seeking to ban specific "dangerous" dog breeds from communities, cities and even whole states. You can guess which breeds they are... Pit Bulls, Rotweillers, Doberman Pinschers and even German Shepherds... Why? It's because irresponsible dog owners and the "lowest of the low" of our human species train their dogs to fight for entertainment and money or to serve as attack dogs, which then gives rise to irrational fear. So, it's decided that the entire breed must be bad because of the actions of a few. Not okay in my book because we are dealing with the wrong offender. Why aren't we bringing the criminals who are training these dogs to be dangerous to justice or taking dogs away from abusive or neglectful owners, who foster the animal's poor behavior? Sounds a lot like racial profiling in my mind...

4. There is a conundrum between the controversies over leash laws and the lack of dog parks.

Battles rage in many cities every day over the lack of good and plentiful dog parks, so that owners have a place to let their dogs run free and play with other dogs. Some deal with it by illegally letting their doggies frolic in non-designated parks or school grounds. Others respond by taking their dogs for walks leash free.

Owning a dog is a responsibility and leash laws exist to protect your dog, other dogs and people. While I strongly advocate for more dog parks or designated dog park hours in existing community centers, unless there is a designated area for a dog to run off leash, they simply shouldn't be allowed to do it. My dog has been attacked three times by careless owners who believe it's okay to let their dogs off leash when they're out in public and he has the scars from puncture wounds to prove it's not okay.

There are also those, who aren't involved in the dog park issue, but who let their dogs go without a leash because, in their mind, their dog is so well trained that nothing bad could ever happen. I think that, no matter how well trained your dog is, one quick distraction from a cat, for example, can cause them to bolt across the street with the risk of getting hit by a car. In my mind, the dog's safety should always trump the need to prove how well trained he or she is.

5. The doggy health care system has gotten incredibly expensive and pet insurance seems to mirror our own human health insurance issues. (Where's Obama when we need him?)

Veterinary healthcare has come a long way. Today, our pets can have MRI's, radiation therapy, root canals...and even organ transplants. Along with these advances come higher costs. I can't even take my dog to the vet for a minor issue without spending more than $100 for the office visit. On the other end of the scale, my dog has been unlucky enough to contract cancer with astronomical treatment costs. According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), veterinary care leads the way in owner spending for their pets, predicting nearly 10% growth to $12.2 billion in spending on veterinary care alone for 2009.

Pet insurance is also projected to grow from its current $271 million level into a $500 million business by 2012, largely due to the growth in pet healthcare costs. My experience with pet insurance has not been positive after two tries, so I abandoned it. If you are considering it, make sure you do your homework to find a reputable insurer and read all the fine print. The older your dog, the higher the premiums and pay attention to deductibles. You also want to avoid things like "limited payout per condition" or no coverage for breed-specific or hereditary types of disorders. Some companies have huge lists of conditions they don't cover. I've also read horror stories where an animal came in for an illness one time and when the policy was up for renewal, the insurance company excluded that illness in future coverage.

So, where is that "doggie in the window?" I want it back!

Carrie Pollare is the co-founder of the "I'm Tired of..." campaign, which was created to fight against the world's issues that we are all tired of, like animal cruelty, discrimination, world hunger, global warming, cancer, diabetes and so many more. I'm Tired of... raises money for many charities via fashionable eco friendly bracelets, made from recycled tires and metals, (creating a fun play on the word, tired), which cost just $10, so anyone can afford them.

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Finding Deals an Easy Way to Save on Pets

As a result of the economic downturn, many of us have trimmed spending — except when it comes to our pets.

While sales are anemic in most industries, spending on pet products remains robust. Consumer Reports Money Adviser recently reported that total sales topped $43 billion in 2008, and a 4.9 percent increase is expected this year, according to the American Pet Products Association. We spend an average of $1,035 on a cat and $1,580 on a medium-sized dog in the first year of ownership.

Consumer Reports Money Adviser offers tips on how to save money on your pet.
You can pamper your furry and feathered friends without breaking the bank.

Consumer Reports Money Adviser has come up with some ways to cut costs.

• Read pet-food labels carefully. A higher-priced brand of pet food could mean it contains better ingredients, but you might also be paying for pretty packaging, marketing or a fancy name. Consumer Reports Money Adviser suggests checking for the words “complete and balanced,” which indicate it can be the pet’s sole nourishment. Also look for a statement that the food’s nutritional adequacy was validated by the American Association of Feed Control Officials, a regulatory group. Compare pet-food prices on Web sites like Amazon, DrsFosterSmith,, and, as well as your local supermarkets, big-box stores and pet shops. Also look for coupons on manufacturers’ Web sites and on sites like CoolSavings, and And take advantage of store loyalty programs.

• Shop around for prescriptions. Compare your vet’s price to what you’d pay on such Web sites as 1800PetMeds, Costco, DrsFosterSmith, Eckerd, KVVet and PetCareRx. Make sure any Web site you use requires a prescription from your vet; if it doesn’t, that’s a sign it isn’t a legitimate site. Also consider a lower-priced generic medication if one is available.

• Cut the cost of supplies. Buy things like cleaning supplies, flea and tick medications, and litter in bulk when appropriate. Check out such Web sites as Craigslist, eBay and Freecycle for aquariums, bird cages, cat carriers, dog crates, kitty condos and similar items.

• Keep the toy count down. Buy a few pet toys and rotate them every couple of weeks. Before you buy, ask your vet about the kinds of toys that are appropriate and safe for your pet. Then compare prices at the same pet stores, department stores, and Web sites you checked for pet-food deals.

• Save boarding fees. Check with family and friends well before a trip to see if anyone can care for your pets. If you can’t find someone to trade, ask your neighbors and vet for the names of people or places they’d recommend. Vet technicians may do pet sitting on the side for a lower fee than you’d pay to board your pet. You’d get the added benefit of having someone with medical expertise, just in case. If you use a kennel, visit several in your area to compare prices and the quality of the facilities.

Blinded by Nazis, Guided by a Dog
By Sharon L. Peters, Special for USA TODAY


Service dogs aren't cookie-cutter creatures with identical personalities, says Guiding Eyes' Graham Buck.

They're bred and chosen for "even temperament, calmness, patience and their ability to keep themselves collected in various situations." They can range from 55-pound energetic Labs "great for the college person who wants to zip around" to "90-pound plodders," ideal for people with set routines.

"Some are enthusiastic people lovers that like a lot of interaction," he says. Others are more reserved.

So experts match the dog to the individual. "We can figure out what a dog's work style is and link that dog with someone who's a good match," he says.

Max Edelman, a sprightly gentleman with a potent laugh, huge social network and vast array of interests, surges through life. At 86, he figures he's got too much to do to slow down. Blind for decades, he receives a little help from Tobin, a placid black Lab.

Like each of the thousands of service dogs, Tobin has been bred and trained to help keep his owner safe and independent. And like the thousands of people who are paired without charge with a dog, Edelman has undergone training to make the most of the union.

But Edelman was far from typical when, in 1990, he traveled from his home in Lyndhurst, Ohio, to Guiding Eyes for the Blind in Yorktown Heights, N.Y., to get his first-ever guide dog. For one thing, he was nearly 70. Back then, says Guiding Eyes' Graham Buck, almost all clients were much younger, mostly kids blind as a result of premature births.

But it wasn't Edelman's age that was the biggest challenge. It was his back story.

The things he'd seen and endured would have destroyed most men — and did, in fact, kill millions. He suffered years of starvation and beatings and spirit-crushing cruelty, including an eight-day forced march just before the U.S. Army arrived to liberate the German camps. He spent 192 grueling hours without food or water, during which 1,700 of the 2,500 prisoners collapsed and were shot by the side of the road.

Somehow Edelman, a Jew sent to Nazi concentration camps when he was 17 and freed at 22, managed to survive. He was blinded in a vicious beating by guards —"for no real reason. It was sport for them, they enjoyed inflicting pain" — months before his rescue.

He was trained as a physical therapist, married and immigrated to the USA in 1951. He landed a job in the X-ray department at the Cleveland Clinic and built a life — more or less successfully moving beyond the memories of the camps, including the death of his father.

He coped reasonably well with survivor guilt and was largely able, except at night when nightmares invaded his sleep, to deflect the awful images that were the last he would actually see.

There was one thing he couldn't vanquish: the memory of one night in the camp.

The commandant was holding a party for like-minded people. As part of the evening's entertainment, he ordered that several prisoners be lined up. Edelman was among them. The commandant eyed the men, made a decision about who would die and ordered his massive German shepherd to attack. The dog lunged, grabbed the prisoner by the throat and killed him.

From that night forward, Edelman's fear of dogs was intractable.

But when he retired, he wanted to relieve his wife of the job of taking him everywhere he wanted to go. A guide dog would be ideal.

He mustered his courage, attended the 26-day Guiding Eyes training, was coached patiently through his dog phobia, and went home with Calvin, a chocolate Lab.

The two had the skills to mesh as a team, but Edelman couldn't connect, didn't really know how to trust the animal. He was appreciative of Calvin as a "tool to get around," he says, but formed no bond. Guiding Eyes experts provided additional help.

"If I failed at this, it would not be for lack of effort," he says.

But Calvin knew something was off. The dog had been around people all of his two years; he knew how things were supposed to be, and this wasn't it. He lost weight and was depressed. The vet said he sensed Edelman's emotional distance.

One day, at a crosswalk, Edelman heard the traffic stop and gave Calvin the "forward" command. A driver made a sudden, sharp right turn and was upon the two without warning.

Watchful Calvin stopped instantly, and the two returned to the sidewalk. "He had saved both of us from serious injury," Edelman says. He hugged Calvin, and the barrier dissolved. "From that day on it was love. We both blossomed."

Calvin served him well for nine years and retired with an adoptive family. Then came Silas, a yellow Lab who forged a solid bond with Edelman; he died last year. Edelman misses Silas deeply. "When we were on our 3-mile walks and I'd get lost in thought and have no idea where we were, he'd get me home."

But he and Tobin, who were paired earlier this month, are bonding. Last week, the dog accompanied Edelman to a college campus where he spoke about the Holocaust. Edelman accepts two or more such invitations most weeks, after decades of silence. "Survivors are few in number now," he says, "so we have to bear a larger load."

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Daisy's Pet Corner:
General Pet Care Tips From CFHS

Whether you're an experienced owner looking for new ideas or thinking about adding a pet to your family, the CFHS offers a wealth of information on responsible pet ownership and care. In this section you will find information on different types of animals that people keep as pets. From dog bite prevention, building your own scratching post or grooming tips for your bunny here you will find information to keep your pet happy and healthy.

General Pet Care Tips


It is important that pets have at least annual veterinary check-ups to ensure they are healthy and will live a good long life. If you are worried about your pet at any time, don't hesitate to contact your vet.


Regular exercise is very important for your pet. Make sure you know what the appropriate amount and type of exercise is for your pet's age and species and that you are mindful of how the weather, including cold or hot and humid days, can affect your pet. For example, schedule exercise times so that you do not take your dog for a walk at the hottest time of day. Swimming is also a great way to exercise your dog on a hot day; however, please be aware that dogs can still overheat in the water so keep an eye on them and don't overdo any physical activity.


It is important to groom your pet on a regular basis by brushing or combing their coat, keeping their nails clipped and brushing their teeth. Specific grooming requirements will vary from species to species, so check with your veterinarian to determine how to best take care of your pet. If needed, look for a good professional groomer with a clean location and quality references.


Some animals have special dietary requirements for the various stages of life and it is up to you to provide your pet with everything they need for a long and healthy life. Pet obesity is a serious health concern so please don't overfeed your pet. Check with your veterinarian to determine exactly what your pet's needs are. Fresh water should be available at all times and should be changed at least once a day.


The best place to house your pet is in your home with your family. When left outside for extended periods of time your pet may be deprived of the companionship necessary for its health and happiness. Dogs should not be tied up and left unattended - this can lead to behavioural issues, including aggression. Dogs living outside or left for long periods outside must be provided with shelter from the elements. Whether inside or outside, make sure your pet's housing and bedding is kept clean, dry and warm.

Pet insurance

Although pet owners hope their pet will always be healthy, unexpected accidents or illnesses can occur. Veterinary appointments and treatment required can get expensive very quickly, but pet insurance can make the bills manageable. Plan ahead and look into insurance plans for your pet.

Know and obey local Bylaws

Make sure you are aware of your municipality's bylaws, especially with regard to licensing. Respect local leash laws and remember that it is your responsibility as a pet owner to pick up after your pet.


Many pet owners enjoy taking their dogs with them on car trips. If you choose to do this, remember that dogs should not be left in vehicles during warm weather as they can quickly overheat or die from a rapid increase in the temperature inside the vehicle. This is true even on cloudy days. Chaining your dog while you go on errands is not a good idea as they can escape, be stolen, injure themselves or cause harm to people and animals passing by.

If you will be travelling by car, plan lots of rest stops to exercise your dog and provide water frequently. If travelling by plane, contact your airline for travel rules. Trains and buses typically don't accept dogs, except recognized service dogs. Today there are many different types of accommodations that accept dogs. The CFHS has partnered with Pacrim Hospitality Services Inc. to offer pet-friendly accommodations in Canada and the United States of America. For a list of participating hotels at your vacation destination click here.

If you are going on vacation, find someone who will take good care of your dog. Your veterinarian or local SPCA or humane society may have recommendations for pet sitters and reputable kennels.

Keep your pet close to home

You should always know where your pet is at a given time. You should not let your pet roam free without proper supervision. Dogs should not be chained for long periods of time. Your neighbours will appreciate this and it will help prevent your animal from being lost or stolen. Make your pet a part of the family by spending quality time with him or her!

Written by Canadian Federation of Humane Societies

Spinning a New Take on Pets that Shed
Elizabeth Razzi - Washington Post

Talk about perfect reading for the Dog Days of summer! I ran across a post at the L.A. at Home blog about a kinda-cool, kinda-creepy use for all that pet fur wafting around the house. There are people who will take the bags of fur that your cat, rabbit or dog has shed and spin it into yarn. They'll even hook you up with someone who will knit that yarn into an afghan or shawl. This is not just some wacky California thing, it's East-coasters who run the Pet Yarn Chic Web site.

Now, I have often brushed a Yorkie-sized mound of fur from my beloved Golden Retriever. To live with a sweet-tempered Golden is to live with fur. And he's an old fella, so I completely understand the desire to keep a special memento around the house. But dog-fur afghan on the sofa? I don't know; it might make me regret all the times I made him get down off the couch.

Safety First, Fido: Dog Poking Head
Through Car window is Dangerous
BY Jay Koblenz - NY Daily News

Tongue flailing, ears pushed back by the wind and its tail wagging happily. Driving down the highway with a shaggy dog poking its head out the car window is an iconic American image.

However, like the 70-mph lap-child, it’s an image that should be relegated to times gone by. People who would never consider Junior riding in anything less secure than a state-of-the-art child seat will still allow a 75-pound dog to roam free at highway speeds within a car’s passenger compartment.

Properly securing a pet while riding inside a moving vehicle not only makes it a safer ride for an animal, it helps keep the interior clean and avoids potentially hazardous situations. It may be exciting to see a flying squirrel or flying fish in the wild, but within the confines of an automobile, a soaring schnauzer is a danger to both man and beast.

According to pet safety Web site, when driving 35 mph, a 60-pound unrestrained dog can cause an impact of 2,700 pounds, slamming into a car seat, windshield or passenger. Keeping the animal restrained is the first step toward the comfort and well-being of all living things within your automobile.

For small dogs and pets, purchasing a portable kennel is the simplest answer, particularly a carrier that’s already familiar and comfortable to the pet. These can easily be securely strapped down in the back of a station wagon, minivan or SUV or, with appropriate fastenings, in the backseat of a passenger car. “In-vehicle pet restraints should be part of every dog owner’s safe travel practices,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States.

Going several steps further, Honda recently showed a concept version of its boxy Element crossover wagon that’s purposefully dedicated to hauling the family dog, right down to paw-print logos on the fenders. “In an interesting turn of events, cars are now chasing dogs,” said John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda. “Factory integration of a cushioned pet bed, restraint systems and other components are intended to transform the Element into the ultimate dog car.”

With its concept vehicle, Honda has paid dogged attention to canine comfort and safety. Older dogs, particularly those too big to be carried, can enter via a ramp into the rear cargo area.

Other features in the dog-friendly concept Element include a cushioned pet bed in the cargo area with an elevated platform, a rear ventilation fan, second-row seat covers, rubber floor mats and a spill-resistant water bowl.

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Calling All Cat Loving, Home Owning People
by misty

I’m a dog lover. But I know there are plenty of you cat lovers out there. According to the U.S. Humane Society, 39% of U.S. homes have at least 1 dog and 34% of homes have at least 1 cat.

For those of us who like to live with animals, we typically need to go to extra lengths in our homes to ensure that our living spaces are as inviting and appealing as possible.

We battle pet hair, fleas and odors. According to American Pet Products 2007-2008 National Pet Owners Survey, 91% of cat owners say that a fresh smelling home is of utmost importance to them. The survey also reported that multiple cat owners (which is more than 50% of households surveyed), have more problems with pet odor related accidents in the house.

So, if you’re into your cats, and you’re into your home, I’d like to offer a few tips for you to consider:

--LITTER DEODORIZER - Use between box changes

--SCRUBBING - Wash the box weekly. Don’t use a harsh soap, for obvious reasons; and rinse well

--FILL THE BOX - Keep 3″-4″ deep at all times

--QUALITY LITTER - Will soak and clump better

--SCOOP DAILY - To control odor

--CHANGE WEEKLY - To control odor and keep cat happy

--HAVE 1 BOX PER CAT - They don’t usually like to share; could cause problems

These little tips might help you to improve your existing space just a little bit more.

Tips to Potty Train Your Cat
By Emily E -

It's not an impossible feat to potty train your feline friend. Sure it will take time to do so, but you on the other hand can learn to train your cat in no time. Although there are numerous methods that work, you must remember to remain patience. If you can embed in your mind the fact that you won't have a toilet trained cat overnight, then you will most likely be successful.

Because cats are intelligent animals. But unlike humans, a cats behavior is dictated by its instincts. It is necessary to train out a cats instinct to scratch and cover the urine and feces. That is the first task at hand before toilet training your cat. There are a variety of products out there designed to aid you in toilet training cats. Although, you may do this without the need for monetary expenditure. It might take more time and stress your cat a bit more, but it is still possible.

Products that are designed to toilet train cats often come with inserts that fit into the toilet. The insert makes it possible for your cat to use cat litter. This insert will act as a litter box and will be treated like one by your cat when it becomes familiar with it. This is by far the most important step. Your cat will need to get accustomed to using the toilet seat while it does its business. Your system at home will have to allow for a similar kind of training. You may even place a shallow pail that will fit right under the toilet seat. If you are using a spare bathroom, you can even turn the toilet water off while you're training your cat.

You can turn it back on, once your cat has progressed. Once your cat is accustomed to your homemade trainer or the insert, you can move on to the next step. This will require you to place a hole on your device or the insert. Make the hole bigger and bigger as the weeks progress. While your progress in toilet training your cat, it will bet used to the lesser and lesser amounts of litter until it is completely gone.

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