Boarding Your Dog PLUS Cold Weather Tips

Keep Animals in Mind
as Temps Drop
By Becky Graham -

EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - Temperatures are dropping, and that can be dangerous for pets kept outside.

Outside pets are often thought of as independent, but when the extreme temperatures move in, they rely on their owners the most.

"You know dogs and cats are affected like people are by the heat, they are affected by the cold," Miranda Knight with the Vanderburgh County Humane Society said. "Just because pets have fur coats, that doesn't mean they're any less susceptible to the cold."

So how can a pet owner create warmth in a frigid environment? Knight said you have to start by providing the animal with a shelter.

"If you have a garage they can stay in, that's great," Knight said. "Shed, something along those lines. If definitely, but nothing else you have to have a dog house of some sort."

Adding insulation, like straw, can also provide additional protection, but shelter isn't the only thing pet owners should supply this season.

"Say you have an outside dog that is fairly active, you might want to up their food intake a little bit just to make sure they are getting plenty of calories," Knight said.

All of these tips are important to follow. If not, your pet could be come sick or injured.

"But pets that come in and their owners have taken them outside or they've live outside and they've got ice or snow in their paws, that can do some damage that can cut them and really hurt them," Knight said.

Knight also recommends pet owners tap their car before turning it on during the winter. She said cats have a tendency to climb near the engine to get warm.

Steps in Choosing
a Family Pet
By Rebecca Froebell -

Adding your first pet to your family can sometimes be challenging. Each member of the family may find they appreciate an entirely different breed of animal then their sibling or parent. There is a great deal to take into consideration before purchasing your first family pet.

Bringing a pet home to learn to love you is not much different then bringing home a baby. Much though you may not like changing diapers and hearing it cry, you cannot give it back. A puppy or kitty must be potty trained and will cry when hungry too. Your house is now their new home and they will be very frightened if you send them away when you tire of them. Take the steps to ensure you really want, or can have that pet for the next fifteen years before offering it a home.

The first consideration, and one often overlooked is if allergies exist to cats, dogs, pet dander, hair or oils. These types of allergies are very debilitating to both the young and old. Breathing can quickly turn anaphalyxis if a severe allergy becomes apparent. The second consideration is if the family will continue the daily chores involved in owning a pet. Checking for pet allergies and owner responsibility is not always easy before purchasing your own pet, but a few suggestions used as tests are as follows.

1: Ask willing neighbors if you could borrow a pet for a few hours each day, or volunteer to baby-sit it while they go on vacation. You will find the dander, and other allergens will scatter about your home quickly. It does not take long for allergies to show in the form of sneezing, runny or blurry eyes, stuffy heads and even fever.

2: Each member of the family should take charge of feeding, walking, bathing and grooming the animal. Those are all chores, which must be performed on a daily basis. Yard waste must be cleaned up every day too. The water bowl and the animals bedding should be sanitized daily to keep germs and parasites under control. Flea and tick treatments will keep infestations down for both the animal and the human. Various worms or parasites can be transferred from animal to human, so it is imperative to keep your home clean when pets co-habitat in your home.

When the test is over and everyone appears to love the idea of all that is involved in keeping a pet, it is time to go find the one that gels with your family. The best advice is to locate a humane society or local veterinarian and allow them to help you find a healthy pet. It often takes two or three visits to a local animal shelter before it becomes apparent which pet belongs with your family. They just seem to come to you when it is right. Pets provide a lot of love and companionship, but also require the same from you. Test family pet readiness and then enjoy your new pet.

Choosing a family pet can be pretty challenging. Other animals, which you may enjoy are horses, but they also require grooming and care to stay healthy and happy. Pets are great, but young children may find owning a model horse is a better choice until they are ready for the responsibility of a real pet.

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Pets Welcome?
Make Sure First

A number of apartments have put out the welcome mat for small pets, including dogs and cats, but a bad choice could land you in the doghouse, angering your landlord and fellow renters.

Some pets, even if they are small, do not make good apartment companions, generating too much noise, ripping up the furniture, or leaving an odor.

Even a fish might be a problem if the tank leaks into other units, so no decision is trivial when it comes to pets. They have the potential to put you on bad terms with landlords, your neighbors and even consume your security deposit if left alone to do damage.

Yet many renters do have pets without serious consequences.

Justin Molnar, assistant manager of The Aquarium in Elmwood Park, said he has a fish tank in his Saddle Brook apartment but received his landlord's permission first. Because a fish tank could leak and cause damage, Molnar said, "They do encourage you to get homeowner's insurance for each place." The insurance policy often covers incidents such as flood and fire, and it could be structured to include the fish tank, too. If having a pet is important to you, Molnar said, make sure the lease addresses this so you are not disappointed later on.

While recommending any small caged creature, from reptiles to rabbits, Molnar said it's best to ask first. He recalled a friend whose landlord refused to let him have a small snake, although certain other pets were allowed.

Stacey Gelkopf, owner of Scuffy's Pet Store in Wayne, said: "Typically the best thing for renters is to get a quiet pet that won't disturb neighbors. Fish, hermit crabs, lizards and birds such as canaries and parakeets topped her list.
Birds might be a surprising choice but Gelkopf said the melodious tones of these smaller birds should not upset the neighbors.

"There are definitely a lot of apartments that allow cats or dogs but one has to take into consideration that they have enough space," she said.
If you're set on Fido, Gelkopf said that can be a gamble because there are "no dogs that don't bark at all."

Dottie Anderson, owner of Rockport Pet Gallery in West Milford, said a small fish in a bowl, like a beta, is a pet with few consequences. But not everyone is happy with a fish, so she also suggested small animals like rabbits, guinea pigs and cats.
Keep up with weekly or daily cleanings of cages or litter boxes because odor follows neglect. A stench will be a sure red flag to neighbors of poor housekeeping and may trigger a complaint to the landlord. For less effort, all of these small animals can be trained to use a litter box.

To have success with an apartment dog, Anderson recommends training.

"If they're going to get a dog, it will take a lot more training as opposed to a cat, which you really don't have to do anything to," she said.

Lisa Rose, a volunteer with The Last Resort, a West Milford-based animal rescue group, recommends crating your dog as a "simple precaution."

"If you're allowed to have dogs in your apartment, taking a simple precaution like crating your animal will benefit both the apartment and the dog,'' she continued. "Crates are like a den or cave to a dog and most feel secure there."
When he's not working as a police captain in Wanaque, Ken Fackina is known for training dogs. His recommendations for training an apartment dog include using a crate – especially the plastic variety like the Vari Kennel that's more of a den than a cage. "It's a safe zone for a dog," he said.

Fackina isn't sold on the belief that small dogs are best suited for apartments. Terrier breeds like the Jack Russell are known for high energy and could "wind up getting destructive because they're bored," he said.

Some of the toy varieties, such as the Yorkshire terrier, Maltese and pug, are better suited for apartment life, even gaining mention on the American Kennel Club Web site as "ideal apartment dogs." Fackina says if size is not an issue with the landlord, you might want to consider a midsize dog. Some German shepherds are less than 60 pounds and might fit the bill better, he said.

Puppies are usually a bad match with an apartment because they are big on energy and small on the manners needed for apartment living.

He suggested visiting an animal shelter to find a dog at least 3 years old, past its puppy years, and without a history of barking or aggression. Talk to the shelter volunteers about the animal's past as a gauge for whether it will be suited for apartment life. Most dogs bark in a shelter setting, so it may be hard to judge whether they have a noisy nature.

Once you have chosen your pet, make training a priority, go for regular walks, and provide toys to keep the dog entertained in your absence. Bark collars could be employed if noise becomes a nuisance, said Fackina.

Tenants will want to prevent damage so as not to lose their security deposit Some apartments also require a pet deposit to cover potential damage.
So if your new apartment is "pet friendly," look into your options carefully, to ensure Fido will be here to stay.

Cat Behavior And
All About Cats

People describe cats as tree climbing animals. Proailurus was the first true descendent of the cat that was found 33 million years back. Cats earlier resided in rain forests and were great hunters.

Their razor sharp claws helped them ascend deftly, hiding on trees to escape danger or climbing to wait for a prey. Climbing in other words was immensely helpful for survival and eventually became a way of life.

Domesticated cats have a general fondness for heights. A household cat will always feel very contented in an elevated part of the room be it a window perch or a high shelf. Instinctive knowledge plays an important role in verifying this standard feline desire. Cats instinctively search for hideaways, as it is their natural behavior for shelter and hunting. Do not be surprised, if a cat’s eyes are seen gleaming from some corner.

Theories For Fondness Of Heights:

Below mentioned are some reasons that state why a cat loves heights:

1. Height in some way signifies the rank of a cat. If there are many cats residing in the same household, the cat who reigns the topmost perches generally governs the rest. The governing cat is factually the ‘top cat’.

2. Height enables a cat to observe the surroundings effectively. The cat can thus be more vigilant about the activities of individuals and other pets. An upper position in the wild, functions as a hidden area from where the cat can hunt for its prey.

3. A cat may feel warmer, if it climbs a high place.

4. A high perch enables a cat to escape from any factor, which makes it scared or anxious.

Buy A Cat’s Furniture According To Its Lifestyle:

An individual may find out a pet cat’s character and personality by careful observation and accordingly select the furniture, which best suits the cat’s lifestyle.

1. A brave mountain lion keen to climb an apartment perch: Younger, energetic cats’ favor the highest perch one may provide preferably a ground to ceiling tree. An extremely tough mega tree is necessary for a cat, which likes to dash up the tree.

2. A temporary explorer who regularly occupies a secure middle position: Many segments between two to seven feet will suit the cat’s requirements. A 39″ tall curved penthouse will be suitable accompanied with an ideal observation deck.

3. A demure savanna occupant that prefers a soft floor level pillow: Older cats and those suffering from ailments will favor a comfortable pyramid bed.

Cats Survive After Falling From Great Heights:

Cats have survived falls from 32 stories. Humans die after falling from such a great height. Interestingly the rate of survival and the severity of damage were the same even if the cat fell from seven stories or from 32 stories. In fact, sometimes, the injuries were much less.

This is because cats achieve maximum speed at 60 mph or only after five stories. When a cat reaches this speed, its balancing organs become less functional. This causes the cat to relax, which distributes the collision force uniformly.

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Pets Can Be Tested for
Swine Flu, Too,
says Oklahoma Veterinarians
BY SUSAN SIMPSON - The Oklahoman

STILLWATER — The animal disease diagnostic lab at Oklahoma State University is offering swine flu testing of house pets.

Only one sample has been submitted, a cat that tested negative for H1N1 and recovered from illness.

Veterinarians from Oklahoma and surrounding states can send nasal or cheek swabs for testing to the lab, which is approved by the National Animal Laboratory System. The test will cost pet owners about $80.

Lab director and veterinary doctor Bill Johnson said the lab can test samples from dogs, cats, ferrets and birds.

Several cats and ferrets have tested positive for H1N1 in the United States, and China reported two dogs were infected with the virus.

"It’s a pretty rare event,” Johnson said.

Still, pet owners can take precautions. Family members who are sick with influenza should stay away from pets if possible, and wash their hands before petting them or handling their food.

Symptoms of influenza in pets include fever, lethargy and loss of appetite.

Johnson said there is no H1N1 vaccine for pets.

Rescue Animals Break Hearts,
Find New Homes

IRVINE – There's something about the bars and concrete at the pound that can make even a friendly dog look dangerous, Eileen Smulson once noticed.

So she decided to do something to make thousands of dogs more adoptable.

Tessa Gushue, 3, gets acquainted with Charlie, a one-year-old Dalmatian rescue at the "Home for the Holidays," adoption event in Irvine Sunday. Tessa's dad said the family was looking for 'the dog that wants us.' Charlie fit the bill and the Mission Viejo family took him home. MINDY SCHAUER, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

Smulson had one of 93 stands set up at the Home for the Holidays adoption fair at the Irvine Animal Care Center Sunday. More than half of the stands were for rescue groups, which displayed hundreds of dogs and cats to folks roaming the lawns.

Between the rescue dogs and cats and the animals already housed at the facility, there were "well over 600 animals" available for adoption Sunday, Animal Care Administrator Ron R. Edwards estimated. By 3 p.m., 52 had been adopted from the center, and Edwards expected the total to rise after they hear back from all the rescue groups.

"Last year there were 316 adoptions," Edwards said.

Smulson's big idea was to give blankets to impounded animals to lift their spirits and make them appear less threatening. At her Operation Blankets of Love stand, she had posters with stark before-and-after images; a sullen dog, head hanging, in a bare cell turns into a smiling dog snuggling with a blanket.

"You're saving lives by just giving us a blanket or a towel," Smulson said.

Jim and Patty Fusting brought three Great Pyrenee dogs down from their rescue operation in Devore to introduce people to the breed, which grows to over a 100 pounds.

"They're bred to guard cattle," Jim Fusting said. "They're very protective but very laid back."

Their association has been taking in more dogs lately, as hard times cause more families to cut expenses, he said.

Next to the Fustings, Lisa Trost was explaining her services as a dog listener.

There are four activities, Trost said, where most people unintentionally give their dogs cues to take over the lead: feeding, reuniting, barking and taking walks.

"I teach people how to behave like a pack leader," Trost said.

A volunteer at the center named Marilyn DeCesare watched with reddening eyes as a woman decided against adopting a bedraggled, 9-month-old, terrier mix named Elkie, who shivered from time to time under a sweater.

But the dog that really broke her heart, DeCesare said, was Toby, a part-German Shepherd whose family had lost their house to the bank.

"Toby came in totally happy with his family thinking it was an outing," another volunteer explained. Now the dog just laid there, not responding to anyone.

In one pen, Heidi Campbell of Irvine watched as a Scottie/terrier mix named Bosley chased Gertie, her Brussels Griffon. Campbell had been considering adopting several dogs over the last month for her autism nonprofit, Wonder Works Therapy.

"I lost a bloodhound in August and Gertie's been going through separation anxiety," she said.

While Bosley pursued her, Gertie played coy. Then a volunteer broke the ice with a game of fetch. Campbell decided the Scottie was just the sort of calm, clear-eyed pup the household needed.

"He's a bright boy, very sweet," Campbell said. "He needs a girlfriend though."

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When Boarding Your Dog

December is one of the busiest months for kennels. If your plans for the holidays include boarding your pooch for the first time, here are a few tips from the experts:

Try things out first.

A few initial overnight stays at the kennel might be a good idea if you are taking, say, a month off so your dog can get used to the place.

Don’t take your dog’s favorite toy.

Toys and even blankets are sometimes lost during a facility’s play time. If you take something to leave with your dog, make sure it’s something you can do without later.

You don’t have to feel guilty.

This may sound odd, but if you start overcompensating for your impending absence by being overly affectionate, your absence will be more strongly felt by your dog. Right before you board your pet, show him a bit less attention than you normally do.

Be calm.

Dropping off your pet at the kennel can be an emotional moment, so don’t make a scene. Your dog can sense your emotions, and you don’t want her getting stressed out as you leave her.

When you get back, let your dog relax.

Your dog has probably been up at night barking and has been spending the days you were gone playing with the other dogs, so he may sleep a lot for several days.


Pet Rabbit Care Is Even More
Important During
The Winter Months
By: Tom Jui Home

The cold winter months are here for a while and pets will need extra warmth and comfort until spring eventually arrives. This is the right time for owners of pet rabbits to think about stocking up their pet's rabbit food and ensuring they have appropriate shelter and accessories to stay cosy over the cold spells.

Rabbits are hindgut fermenters which means they look to bacteria in their intestines to break up fibre. The result of this process should be a healthy rabbit. Feeding a rabbit lettuce and a few carrots is not enough. Rabbits should eat lettuce and bits of carrots as a treat. Like humans, rabbits require a variety of foods which are balanced, including fibre, protein and fat.

Specially formulated rabbit food in the shape of pellets helps to build up your pet's bones and keep their teeth in very good shape. Pet rabbit care includes advice on giving your rabbit food that is full of vitamins to help them build up their immune system during cold and wet weather. Outside rabbit hutches should be checked to see if they are in good order and not likely to let in the cold wet weather. Eroded rabbit bowls should be replaced with new ones straight away and hutches need cleaning out very regularly too.

Warm living accommodation helps keeps a pet rabbit in good health. If your pet rabbit is too big for his rabbit hutch consider buying a larger one. Advertise your smaller rabbit hutch at your local veterinary surgery or online to help recoup some of the costs. Rabbits need exercise too, so a run is usually a must along with the hutch.

At Ideas-4-Pets we have a variety of pet rabbit supplies and rabbit cages or rabbit hutches to keep your pet warm, dry and well cared for this winter.

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