Strange Pet Accessories

Pet Safety Tips
During the Holidays

Holidays are a great time for friends and family but we should also remember to take care of our furry friends! Pet safety tips are always good to know, but during the holidays pet owners need to be especially mindful of our pets. Animal hospitals and veternarians see a surge in animal injuries during the holiday season, but with a few safety tips we can keep animals safe.

Food & Candy

Candy, and especially chocolate, can be fatal to animals – especially cats. The wrappers can also be fatal to animals since they are sharp and can do internal damage.

Holiday leftovers, or “scraps” are high in fat and are too rich for pets. These foods can cause digestive turmoil for animals that are not used to these foods. In addition, this can create bad behaviors, such as begging during mealtimes.

Bones can be very dangerous for dogs. Bones can splinter easily and when ingested can be fatal!

Be mindful of pets that sneak up under your feet while carrying hot plates around. Hot drippings can scald animals.

This should go without saying but, animals should not be given any alcoholic beverages at any time – save the libations for your guests!


Certain decorative items can be harmful to your pets, such as candles, tinsel, and ornaments.

Small ornaments and tinsel can be ingested and cause obstructed airways and choking.

Animals can be attracted to light in a dark room, be sure that candles are placed high enough that a pet will not get burned.

We all know presents look great with ribbon but ribbon can also be chewed on causing the same obstructions in the airway that tinsel would cause. Also, try to refrain from tying ribbon around your pets neck, it could cut off their airway or they could get caught on something that would cause suffocation.

Many plants can be toxic if ingested. Check this list to make sure your plants are non-toxic.


Frenzied schedules and new house guests can put stress on animals, so try to keep your animals routine the same. However, be mindful of constantly open and closing doors as animals can slip out easily. Be especially mindful of black cats during Halloween. They should be kept inside for their safety.

Follow these simple tips and you’ll keep your furry babies safe and happy through the holidays!

Protecting Your Pet While Selling Your Home
By Sking -

Your pet is your pride and joy, and is considered a member of the family. It is therefore extremely important to take precautions throughout the home-selling process to ensure that your pet remains safe and protected, and that your buyers aren’t turned off.

The number-one problem with pets when selling your home is what to do with them during a showing or open house. It is important to not only consider the comfort and safety of your guests, but the comfort and safety of your pet, as well.

The following tips can help you protect your beloved pet while showing your property:

--Consider a back-up location during showings and open houses. Ask a neighbor, friend or family member to take care of your pet during these times, or simply set up kennel time. Although this may not be the most ideal situation, it eliminates any problems with those buyers who may not like animals or those that are allergic to animals.

--If your pet must remain in the house during showings and open houses, put it in an area of the home where it can’t escape. A laundry room, spare bedroom or the garage are good spots to keep Fido or Fluffy, as long as you aren’t keeping potential buyers from seeing the main areas of your home.

--Post a sign on the door to the room your pet is staying in to discourage visitors from opening the door.

--Keeping your pet safely locked in a room - or keeping your pet completely out of the home during the showing or open house - will prevent your guests from tripping over your pet and becoming hurt, and will eliminate the chance of your pet escaping from open doors.

--If you can, simply take your pet with you during open houses and showings. A walk around the neighborhood or a drive around town during these times is often a convenient and practical solution.

Pain Patch For Horses, Dogs,
And Cats: HealFast
by Lady Bee -

If you've ever had to give your dog, cat or horse pain medicine, you don't want to keep them in the resulting state of mind and body very long. As alternative medicine for humans, the PEMF, Pulsed Electro-Magnetic Field, is a non-drug treatment that has been used to treat pain by alternative medicine specialists with reported success.

PEMF equipment is large, cumbersome, and expensive. It is not easily accessible by an animal, and treatment usually requires several visits. But BioElectronics Corporation has developed a use-at-home electro-magnetic field within a patch, called HealFastTM. The patch provides therapy for pain and/or swelling between visits to the veterinarian.

There are two types of HealFast patches available: One is a post-operative patch, designed to reduce pain and swelling after surgery and help wounds to heal. The other version, more for chronic soft tissue pain, enables the pet owner to turn the patch on and off, depending on when pain relief is needed.

Van E. Snow, D.V.M. of Equine Veterinary Asociates, has been testing the patch, successfully. "I have found the patch to reduce pain and inflammation which therefore promotes a healthier environment for healing to take place. The patch is more user friendly than other pulsed electromagnetic field modalities that are available today."

For dogs and cats, HealFast makes a special pain relief patch that you can place directly over a sore area without it adhering to their fur.

The HealFast website provides good information on the treatments available through patches. If and when your cat, dog, or horse is in need of pain relief, you may want to ask your veterinarian about HealFast. Maybe pain drugs should be your pet's last resort.

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Thanks to Kathy in BHC, AZ

Finally, a Grateful Cat

A cat died and went to Heaven. God met her at the gates and said, 'You have been a good cat all these years. Anything you want is yours for the asking.'

The cat thought for a minute and then said, 'All my life I lived on a farm and slept on hard wooden floors. I would like a real fluffy pillow to sleep on.'

God said, 'Say no more.' Instantly the cat had a huge fluffy pillow.

A few days later, six mice were killed in an accident and they all went to Heaven together. God met the mice at the gates with the same offer that He made to the cat

The mice said, 'Well, we have had to run all of our lives: from cats, dogs, and even people with brooms! If we could just have some little roller skates, we would not have to run again.'
God answered, 'It is done.' All the mice had beautiful little roller skates.

About a week later, God decided to check on the cat. He found her sound asleep on her fluffy pillow. God gently awakened the cat and asked, 'Is everything okay? How have you been doing? Are you happy?'

The cat replied, 'Oh, it is WONDERFUL. I have never been so happy in my life. The pillow is so fluffy, and those little Meals on Wheels you have been sending over are delicious!'

Thanks to Bonnie in BHC, AZ

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Strange Pet Accessories

The pet business just doesn't stop growing, but sometimes we are surprised by the sorts of accessories that come out for pet and owner.

Some of these inventions are really useful, like the cat bathroom. This invention teaches cats how to take care of business. It seems to work, but you'd have to ask the cat if it is scared to position itself in the cup.

Another invention which seems a bit silly is the portable fish tank. Using the portable fish tank you can take you fish for a walk. But, we all know that goldfish have no memory, so maybe going for a walk is a bit ridiculous. Then there is another invention which is supposed to translate a dog' bark, but how does anyone really know if the translation is correct?

The umbrella leash is one of the inventions we think could be useful. Using it, you can take your dog for a walk and it won't get wet. And what do you think about this beer for dogs? It is made from water, malt and vitamin E and doesn't have any alcohol. According to its creators it is a healthy beverage that dogs love to drink.

Gary Bogue:
More About Cat Who Kept
Coming Home from 3 Miles Away
By Gary Bogue - Contra Costa Times

Silken-soft cloud scarf

Wraps around Diablo's head:

Jaunty fall fashion.

— haiku by Lura Osgood, Pleasant Hill

Dear Gary:

Thanks for taking time to address my concerns in your Sunday column about my daughter's cat, who keeps coming back to my house from three miles away! I wanted to give you an update on the cat since I wrote to you.

Sure enough, he came back two more times and I just can't stand the thought of him crossing those two busy streets.

I talked to my daughter and she is good with it, too, so the cat is back home to stay.

As much as my daughter will miss him, she agreed that thinking about him trying to get to my house was more nerve-racking.

At least she has two other cats at her new place to keep her company and she knows her kitty is in good hands with "grandma."

Kathi J., cyberspace

Dear Kathi:

That was a good decision.

The cat survived and is now living where it obviously wants to live.

Thanks for doing that.

Dear Gary:

My husband and I are wondering if we should take our pumpkins out to a pasture or an open space so that the cattle, horses, or other wildlife can feed on them.

Or should we just toss them into the recycling container (green container)?

I am sure my husband would love a pumpkin pie, but baking is not my forte (smile!). We look forward to hearing from you!

Joe & Lori Pino,

El Sobrante

Dear Joe & Lori:

Ranchers probably wouldn't like you to feed their livestock and I'm not sure there are any wild creatures that would think pumpkins are all that tasty.

It would be a shame to have to toss your pumpkins out, so why don't you donate them to some pie-loving humans?

The Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano County, 4010 Nelson Ave., Concord, accepts nonperishable food and produce donations. You can call them at 800-870-3663, Ext. 213 to find out more about what times and days they're open, etc.

Anyone living in Santa Clara County can call the Second Harvest Food Bank at 408-266-8866 to see if they'll take your garden produce. If you're in San Mateo County you can call the Second Harvest folks at 650-610-0800.

I'll bet your husband is drooling just thinking about all those soon-to-be pies.

Dear Gary:

I read about the cat returning to his former home in Sunday's column (Nov. 15), and remember reading about a cure.

Put butter on his paws at the new location, and he will lick away the scent of the old home.

I don't know if it works or not, but it should be worth a try.

Anonymous cat lover, cyberspace

Dear Anonymous:

Bonnie Brewer of San Lorenzo also sent me an e-mail on this.

Putting butter on a cat's paws so it will lick away the scent of its old home is an urban myth that doesn't keep these cats from finding their ways home. Ever seen a cat taking its daily bath? The first thing it licks off is its paws. It doesn't need butter to do that.

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Pet Talk:
Canine Companions Boost
Readers' Confidence
By Jacques Von Lunen, Special to The Oregon

Olive, a therapy dog, volunteers at the French-American International School as a reading companion. During a recent visit, students Youssef Boshra-Riad, 8 (left), and Spencer Schuh, 8, show the book Spencer wrote to Olive and owner Julie Dubansky.

The little voice barely carries past the brown-haired girl's lips.

"I have a pet. It is a cat." The girl reads the staccato phrases from a thin book in her lap. She doesn't look at her audience; she knows Olive is right next to her, sprawled out on a blanket.

The girl, like the other children waiting their turns, prepared all week for this moment; now she's making sure her reading is spot on. Not that she has to worry about being embarrassed or corrected -- Olive is a retriever-shepherd mix.

Students in this second-grade English class at the French-American International School in the Cedar Hills neighborhood read to the young dog once a week. Teachers and school officials say the new canine visitor will help the children's learning, a safe assumption given the experiences of other Portland schools.

The French-American students' first assignment this year was to produce books about their animals. They wrote stories, drew pictures and sewed pages into bindings to make the small volumes.

That's an involved project for 7- and 8-year-olds. But when their teacher said they'd have a four-legged regular visitor soon, the kids set a deadline.

"It was the kids' idea to read (their own) stories to Olive," says Robin Faltersack, their English teacher. "It motivated them to finish their books."

Both the dog and the humans learn something in their weekly meetings. Olive, much like the students -- for whom second grade is the first time they encounter a strict regimen in English reading -- is a newbie in her field. The dog has garnered fans in her other volunteer jobs at a pediatric dentist's office and in the healing garden at Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital. But she wasn't used to being surrounded by children excited to touch her.

On her first day at the school, Olive was distracted, sniffing and peering out the window, says Julie Dubansky, who adopted Olive as a puppy last year and, with the help of two local trainers, turned her into a registered therapy dog.

The dog's presence calms the children. "They seem to be considerate of Olive," Faltersack says. "They appreciate that she's here and want her to come back." The results were obvious last week: For second-graders just back from recess, this group was very disciplined.

Olive also makes them practice harder. The children's daily homework is to read, which can be laborious for beginners. But "now it's not just about becoming a better reader, but to read (fluently) to Olive," Faltersack says.

She admits she was reluctant initially to give up precious class time to telling stories to a dog. But she has seen motivation go up already; time with Olive is time well-spent for this class.

That matches observations at county libraries and public schools around Portland. The Multnomah County Library's reading-to-dogs program is a hit; kids often sign up weeks ahead of time. Several other schools have brought in dogs over the years, too.

At Gilbert Heights Elementary School in Southeast Portland, Jasper, a yellow Labrador retriever, has visited the library every other Tuesday for the past six years. Librarian John Wolfgang lets teachers choose which kids can read to Jasper.

"It's safe, secure fun for the students," Wolfgang says. "It's for the kids that need a little extra attention, be it for reading or for social one-on-one time."

Walt Morey Middle School in Troutdale has had a dog help out with its literacy-intervention program in the past, says Kevin McCann, the school's reading specialist.

Kids who struggle with reading have experienced a lot of failure by middle school. The lack of confidence can cause, or at least exacerbate, behavior issues and turn kids away from wanting to learn. By the time McCann sees them, students have tested below benchmarks for reading. He uses a national program called Read Naturally to get them back on track.

The program requires students to read a story over and over. "It works perfectly for reading with dogs," McCann says. Last year, when he announced that students could have a canine companion for reading, "some of our most challenged students expressed interest," he says. He plans to request canine assistance again.

For middle school students, getting to pet a dog probably just provides added incentive and rewards them for trying in school. But for younger kids, such as the second-graders at the French-American School, the roots of success run deeper, says a researcher who's written about this topic.

It's easy to see that dogs are nonjudgmental, making it easier for kids to read out loud. But that doesn't tell the whole story, says Gene Myers, an associate professor at Western Washington University who wrote "The Significance of Children and Animals."

Children learn to interpret body language, tone of voice and signs of stress long before they learn English -- or French or Mandarin. But when they do learn the spoken language, they find that adults don't always mean what they say, that their words don't match their nonverbal language.

With dogs, children don't have this problem. Dogs have one way of communicating -- body language -- and children pick it up with ease. "The animal's activity is perceived as especially authentic by children," Myers says.

Also, with adults, children find that words' meanings are narrowly defined; with animals, children are free to interpret words. That would explain why the students at the French-American School have taken to reading to their own pets since Olive came into their lives. It's liberating to find a communication partner who speaks one's own language.

And young children don't find anything wrong with talking to a dog.

"Young kids don't put animals in a category distinct from humans when it comes to language," Myers says.

The librarian at Gilbert Heights can confirm that. The kids there are free to choose which books they read to Jasper; many bring books on dogs. But Wolfgang remembers one student who clearly thought of Jasper as an equal.

"One of the kids brought a knock-knock-joke book to read with Jasper," Wolfgang says, chuckling. "I guess he didn't realize someone would have to answer the knock-knock line."

Or maybe he did.

Advice For Buying A Rabbit

Choosing the right rabbit for you and your family can be a very exciting process. There are currently over 40 recognized breeds of rabbits. There are also many different coloured rabbits, so it is interesting to see which ones appeal to your family the most. In addition to these facts, the size of the rabbit in general can vary greatly and you may find that they can be weigh over 10 pounds, in which case you will need to make sure you know what you’re doing with rabbits and have a good understanding of general rabbit care.

Many breeders give different answers regarding the preferred gender for a pet rabbit. A lot of the differences are dependent on how people look after their rabbit. A good example of this is with a doe, as she will become much more territorial as she gets older if she hasn’t been spayed when younger. She may nip at you when reaching for her or even her food or water dishes. However, if a familiar face does the feeding and suchlike, they should calm down considerably. Some does can be non-aggressive, and yet others can become territorial towards everybody, but that is very rare. If you still favour the idea of having a doe, but want her purely as a pet, the best thing to do is to get her spayed. This is a good long-term plan for your rabbit care approach.

Another important thing to consider when it comes to rabbit care is the art of grooming. If you have a luxuriously soft angora rabbit, grooming will become part of your everyday agenda. The wool rabbit breeds will need quite a bit of time spent on them to ensure their grooming is properly done.

There are some recommendations that rabbit owners would suggests, and one is to make sure you don’t buy a rabbit without seeing it first, either at a pet store or from a breeder. Once you know which breed of rabbit you would like to buy, do an online search for a breeder in your local area. Then you can pay the breeder a visit. See what the conditions are in the barn. It is also a good idea to see if you can hold a rabbit whilst you are there. Watch the rabbit’s reaction to their cage being opened. Those happy rabbits in the hutch will come hopping forward hoping you will pick them up. Other rabbits will immediately go to the back of the cage. Look out for these signs as they could indicate that the rabbit won’t make a good pet.

Whilst you should always consider the in depth details that rabbit care involves, the important thing to remember is to enjoy your search for that perfect rabbit. There are many sizes, colours and choices and finding the right one for you can be time consuming but will be very rewarding in the end.

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