by Kelly Russ, Orlando Pet Health Examiner
With the economic downturn, unfortunately many animals are suffering, too. Here are just a few tips on how to avoid expensive vet bills.
Surprisingly to many people, the same things you would do to keep yourself and your family healthy are things you can do for your furry friends, too!
1. Maintain daily health. Just as it's important to live a healthy daily lifestyle for yourself, it is also important to a family pet. Shoot for good nutrition, plenty of exercise and stress management. Some of the same problems we as people suffer are also horrible for our pets: obesity, high blood pressure, poor nutritional balance and not enough exercise.
2. Take advantage of nutritional supplements. Some people take multivitamins, fiber supplements or certain oils to keep them healthy. The same can be done for a dog! Check out this article on how to give your dog more nutritional supplements, and avoid expensive vet bills over the life of your pet.
3. Keep up with annual exams at your vet. Again, the same reason it's important for people to have an annual physical exists for animals, too. Annual veterinary exams to update vaccinations, check bloodwork and monitor weight will alert you to any problems down the road. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! While an annual exam may cost a couple hundred dollars, early detection of an injury or illness may save you thousands!
4. Use premium dog food. While you think you're saving a few dollars buying the cheap food at the grocery store, your dog or cat may suffer for it. These foods often don't contain quality ingredients, and frequently are the cause of vomiting/diarrhea, which are top reasons for vet visits. A couple dollars more per bag of premium food will outweigh the costs of a vet visit for a sick or malnourished animal.
5. Take advantage of three-year vaccinations. You can now get a three-year vaccine for both rabies and for distemper, parvo and hepatitis. While the three-year vaccines are slightly more expensive than the former annual vaccine, you won't have to pay for them as often. Since your pet only gets the vaccine every three years, you also reduce the risk of any adverse reactions to the injections.
by Heidi Wiesenfelder, Tucson Pets Examiner
Many pet owners are aware that chocolate should not be given to pets, and is particularly dangerous for dogs. But would it even cross their minds to question the safety of using cocoa mulch in the garden?
Pure chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, which are both compounds called methylxanthines. They are hazardous to pets, causing seizures in severe cases. According to snopes.com, cocoa mulch has one of the highest concentrations of theobromine found.
It actually smells like chocolate, and is attractive to dogs. Reportedly most dogs will not actually eat it though. Cats are at lower risk mainly because they are even less likely to eat the mulch than dogs.
One study in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association confirmed that a dog died due to ingestion of a substantial amount of cocoa mulch. And in the Journal of Agriculturaland Food Chemistry, a scientist reports on the potential use of theobromine and caffeine for "controlling" (that is, killing) pest coyotes. Coyotes being close relatives to dogs, this should cause concern for anyone considering using cocoa mulch in an area their pets have access to.
For information about treatment options for an animal that consumes cocoa mulch, check out this ASPCA article. If you suspect your pet has ingested cocoa mulch, call your vet or an emergency animal clinic, or contact an animal poison control center. Note that it may be a few hours or even a few days before symptoms appear.
by Reed Coleman, Portland Dogs Examiner
The downturn in the economy has forced some dog owners to make the gut-wrenching decision to give up their dogs at local shelters, simply because they can’t afford dog food. In an effort to keep dogs with their families and ease the strain on pet food bills, a local group started a dog food bank.
Friends Involved in Dog Outreach, or FIDO, is a volunteer support group for Clackamas County Dog Services. In 2005, FIDO started its AniMeals program. Working with Meals on Wheels, and linked to 9 senior centers in the Portland Area, AniMeals brings pet food to Meals on Wheels participants.
“We just want to help dog owners keep dogs in their family,” says Chip Sammons, Vice President of FIDO. AniMeals was looking to reach more families, more hungry pets. The dog food bank was born.
Financially strapped dog owners may get one month’s supply of dog food for up to four dogs. FIDO asks that owners be prepared to show proof of residency, and they ask that all dogs be spayed or neutered. Owners whose dogs are not spayed or neutered will not be turned away, but they will be given information on low-case spay/neuter programs, microchipping, and rabies vaccine clinics.
People coming to get food from the dog food bank should bring their own containers to carry the food. Dogs should wait at home. Food is distributed on a first come/first served basis. The dog food bank is located next to the Clackamas County Dog Shelter in Oregon City: 2106 Kaen Road.
by Terry Monaghan, Seattle Dating Over-40 Examiner
Pet ownership is not for everyone. If you are never home, can’t establish a routine, or don’t want to be tied down to the responsibility, don’t have a pet.
It is seriously like having a two year old, for a decade or longer. But for those who have the time and energy, having a pet can be one of the best things a single person can do.
According to the Providence Hospital Animal Assisted Activities/Therapy Program, numerous studies have shown that interacting with animals can have significant physiological and psychological benefits for people. The presence of a friendly companion animal can help to lower blood pressure, reduce feelings of anxiety and isolation, and foster a greater sense of well-being. In fact, simply petting an animal can trigger the release of beneficial hormones that enhance mood.
I know that my dog makes me laugh at least once a day. And don’t they say “laughter is the best medicine?” That picture to the left - that was taken in December when Seattle got a crazy snowstorm that lasted for weeks. I started to go stir crazy (just like the rest of the city), but watching Karma run around the yard covered in snow cracked me up every time. The flip side - when I’m having a bad day, just sitting with my dog and petting him calms me down. Recently I got some bad news that had me sobbing. Karma came running to me with what I can only describe as a worried look in his eyes. He licked my hand and put his head in my lap till I calmed down.
Pet ownership is not all a bed of roses (just like human relationships).
A pet, especially a stubborn one like Karma, can sometimes be frustrating. For example, Karma often decides midway through our walk that he needs to rest. And he won’t budge till he’s ready. He outweighs me, so I spend the next 10 minutes trying to bribe him with treats. On the same walk he might discover a tennis ball hidden in a bush, and he gets so excited he can’t contain himself. That always makes me laugh.
If owning a pet is out of the question for you right now, consider volunteering at one of the many shelters or rescue organizations in the Seattle area. And who knows, you might just meet that special someone who also loves animals while you’re at it!
You can walk or run dogs, help with cat adoptions, or even foster an animal, helping to save the animal by giving them extra time for a good adoptive home to find them. Fostering is also a great trial run for you to see what it would be like to have your own dog or cat. Awhile ago I fostered two adorable puppies named Logan and Gambit. That's them just above. Cute, huh? While it was a lot of work, it was also very fun and rewarding. Who doesn't love a puppy? They are totally a chick/guy magnet in the park. But believe me, an older (housetrained!) dog or a cat is a much easier commitment.
Here’s a list of a few organizations to get you started if you want to volunteer:
While having a pet is no substitute for a boyfriend/girlfriend, partner or spouse, a pet can help fill the void of the single life in the meantime. And make you laugh every day.
by Bruny Hudson, Tampa Pet Rescue Examiner
Judy Stimson, Feline Folks’ secretary and treasurer, will give a presentation on the subject “How Pets Benefit Your Well-Being,” followed by a question and answer and a discussion session.
Everyone is welcome to attend the free program and has the opportunity to buy Paw pads and 2009 calendars. An additional cat food drive for all unopened dry and canned cat food and canned tuna will benefit the free-roaming cats, living in cat colonies managed by Feline Folks’ volunteers.
There are hundreds of cat colonies, varying in size from three to 30 cats, in the South Shore area alone. Monitoring the cats’ lives and preventing their breeding is the only humane way to fight cats’ overpopulation. Feline Folks’ volunteers care for the cat colonies, feeding the cats and keeping an eye on their health. Each cat in a managed colony is neutered or spayed, inoculated against rabies and ear-tipped as a sign of having undergone spaying or neutering.
Rita Bundas, who with her husband, Mike, is in charge of the Feline Folks’ operation, said they have 15 feline colonies registered and get daily notifications from friends about newly discovered stray cats. She said cats within a colony are very territorial and will chase off a newcomer that wants to join. An unneutered male, though, might fight its way into an existing colony and take over.
Once volunteers locate a new colony, they separate the kittens and try to find homes for them, handing them over to animal groups. Early socialization helps cats avoid spending the rest of their lives in the colony. The optimum age for pulling kittens out for socializing is when they are 6 to 8 weeks old, Bundas said. If they are older, they have hardly any chance of becoming house pets. Some of the older cats, though, accept petting, and a few enjoy it. Most volunteers taking over a cat colony give each cat a name. When volunteers notice a cat suffering from a serious health problem, they trap it and bring it to a vet.
Traps are also available free of charge for people who are interested in having stray cats spayed or neutered. Feline Folks has a contract with Critter Adoption & Rescue Effort (C.A.R.E.), a no-kill animal shelter in Ruskin, to use the shelter’s clinic for the low-cost monthly surgeries, called Operation Feral Fix (OFF). Individuals pay $ 10 per cat and Feline Folks covers the rest of the bill.
Supporting managed cat colonies not only benefits the animals but also the community. Neighborhoods, prone to attract rodents and snakes, are clear of any infestation in the area where cat colonies, controlled by volunteers, exist. Chasing the cats off, on the other hand, is a welcome sign for mice, rats and snakes to overrun the otherwise protected area.
By Dr. LOREN NATIONS - Veterinary Healthcare Associates/NewsChief
Have you ever been on a camping trip or overnight business trip and forgotten your toothbrush? By afternoon, your teeth have accumulated plaque and a Shrek-like slime layer. Ever wondered what would happen to your teeth if you did not brush for a few weeks, months or years? Welcome to the world of veterinary dentistry.
In our last discussion for February's Pet Dental Health Month, we are going to focus on the most important part of disease treatment: Prevention. Once your pet's mouth has been sealed and polished, even before they are recovered from anesthesia, several steps can be taken to slow the inevitable attack of bacteria and plaque. Fluoride treatments should be done to help control plaque and dental pain in sensitive teeth.
Another product useful in maintaining dental health is a plaque barrier called OraVet, which is applied as the last step in the dental prophy process. When the tooth surface is scaled and polished, it is like the hood of your car. OvaVet Plaque Prevention Gel (Merial) is a bonding agent that acts like waxing your car so the bacteria beads off the hood of your tooth, so to speak. The treatment comes with an at-home prevention gel care kit. The gel needs to be applied once a week to maintain the plaque and calculus barrier created by sealant in the clinic. The gel is odorless and tasteless, and pet owners can usually apply the gel in less than a minute.
A dental vaccine has been developed by Pfizer to decrease the amount of Porphyromonas bacteria in the mouth. This type of bacteria is found in more than 85 percent of the cases with severe periodontal disease. The vaccine is another tool in prevention, but it will not replace home care or even the need for dental cleanings. Your veterinarian can help decide if the Porphyromonas dental vaccine should be part of your pet's preventative dental health plan.
Once your pet has left the clinic with their new pearly white smile, it is your responsibility to maintain that smile. At-home care is based on the use of dental treats, diets and tooth brushing.
Dental treats are products that encourage chewing and exercising the teeth, periodontal ligament and gums. Dental diets have been specially designed to scrape plaque from the teeth when eaten. Unfortunately, most hard or dry foods for cats and dogs are very brittle and explode when bitten. Their small size also allows them to be swallowed mostly whole. Dental diets are made with a much larger kibble so they must be chewed. They are also slightly softer so the teeth sink into the kibble and the mechanical abrasion prevents plaque and tartar buildup.
There are many products on the market that claim efficacy against dental disease. The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) has established a set of standards in plaque and tartar prevention. A list of dental diets and products awarded the VOHC seal of acceptance can be found at www.vohc.org.
All of the previously discussed treatments and products are very important in maintaining dental health, but how effective would your mouthwash be without routine brushing? The most beneficial thing we can do for our pets' dental health is to brush their teeth. Daily brushing is best, but even two to three times a week will greatly reduce dental disease. Remember the Shrek slime layer that forms on your teeth? After three days, dental plaque hardens to form calculus or tarter. You cannot brush calculus away once it has cemented to the tooth. So, brush the slime layer away at least every three days and tarter will not be able to form.
To be able to brush your pet's teeth, it is important that the teeth and gums are healthy and pain free. Don't start a preventative plan until the existing dental disease has been treated. Select a toothbrush appropriately sized for your pet's mouth. Veterinary toothpaste should be used, as human products are fortified with fluoride. Pets may swallow toothpaste, and chronic ingestion could lead to fluoride toxicosis. Luckily, the veterinary toothpastes are flavored and chicken seems to be a favorite.
Actually brushing your pet's teeth can prove to be the tricky part. Start very slowly; most pets will accept brushing if they are approached in a calm and loving manner. Use a gauze or washcloth initially to gently wipe the teeth. After several sessions try using the toothbrush and then add the toothpaste when they are getting comfortable with the brush. Go slowly, be gentle and play a lot.
If you get discouraged or think you don't have time for your pet's or your own dental preventative health, remember a quote from our first president, George Washington: "Be true to your teeth or they will be false to you."
Dr. Loren Nations is the owner of Veterinary Healthcare Associates on Dundee Road in Winter Haven.
The Tampa Tribune
1. Deciding what kind of dog to get is as important as deciding whether to get a dog in the first place. Whether mixed or purebred, there are benefits to understanding your breed. Knowing what the dog was originally bred to do can determine how to structure life with it. For example, a herding dog will herd children if it doesn't have livestock, terriers will dig, and companion dogs don't like to be left alone.
2. You are going to be living with this dog for a long time. We often say, "You can't choose your family." Guess what? This is one time that you can choose. This is a family member. Make a checklist of the characteristics you are looking for.
3. Enroll your new family member in a puppy kindergarten class or basic behavioral training class. Temperament is inherited, but it can be modified or enhanced by the environment.
4. Consistency, consistency, consistency; it cannot be said enough. The more consistently structured you make the dog's daily routine, the more efficiently your new family member will adapt to his new life. Use the same door when taking your dog outside for potty breaks. Feed at the same time each day. Keep a consistent bedtime. A dog on a routine grows into a secure adult. You can be boring with dogs — do the same old things every time — they love it.
5. In general, there is no significant, consistent difference in temperament between male and female dogs. Most of the minor differences can be eliminated by spaying and neutering your pet.
6. All dogs need to be groomed regularly to stay healthy and clean. Long-coated dogs are beautiful to look at but require a lot of effort to stay that way. Short-coated dogs are easier to care for but may shed profusely. Decide how much dog hair you are willing to put up with, and how much time and energy you can afford, when you are deciding which breed is right for you.
7. Consider setting up a puppy-safe zone, a small, safe area in what you would consider an action center of your home. Kitchens often are a great place for a puppy-safe zone. You can use a baby gate to separate the area from the rest of the house. Keep water, toys, bed and wee pad there.
8. When you bring your new puppy or dog home, hand feed your new companion for the first week. It will strengthen and hasten the bonding process as well as establish pack order. A dog should be submissive to all the human members of your family, including children.
9. Always remember these three rules: Train your puppy with joy, not anger. Positive reinforcement is better than punishment. Love your puppy unconditionally.
10. Toddlers and puppies/small dogs have much in common, but the two must carefully mix. It isn't wise to allow toddlers and young children to play with puppies unsupervised. They can inadvertently step on puppies, causing arthritis and/or orthopedic problems in the pet's future. Allow young children to play with the puppy only when sitting down.
OPINION By LEE DYE - abcnews.go.com
Study Shows Flaws in Aggressive Dog Disciplining
People who are overly zealous in disciplining their dogs will probably make the animals even more aggressive, not less, according to a new study by veterinarians at the University of Pennsylvania.
The study involved 140 persons who turned to the animal behavior experts at Penn because their dogs needed help. The findings are consistent with other studies showing that discipline may not be the best way to correct an errant pet's attitude, but some of the statistics are a little surprising.
It's not startling to learn that kicking a bad dog will probably make him or her angry and likely to bite, but it turns out that even yelling "no" can have the opposite of the desired effect.
"This study highlights the risk of dominance-based training, which has been made popular by TV, books and punishment-based training advocates," said Meghan Herron, lead author of the study, published in the current issue of Applied Animal Behavior Science. "These techniques are fear-eliciting and may lead to owner-directed aggression."
In other words, if you kick your dog because he tried to bite you, he might end up owning your foot.
The study involved dogs that were so problematical that their owners were willing to seek professional help. A high percentage of the dogs became even more aggressive when they were kicked (43 percent), or the owner growled at the dog (41 percent), or something was physically removed from the dog's mouth (39 percent), or the dog was rolled onto its back and held down (31 percent.)
In many cases it didn't take much to make the pooch more agitated.
The researchers found that 30 percent of the dogs became more aggressive when they were "stared down" by the owner. That's defined in the study as "stare at dog until he/she looks away." Only 13 of the owners admitted they actually "growled" at their dog, and nine of those dogs (41 percent) "responded aggressively."
Pitfalls of 'Confrontational' Training
The vets describe that type of treatment by the owner as "confrontational," and in all too many cases, it backfires.
An aggressive response by the dogs ranged from zero percent for pooches who had their noses rubbed "in house-soiled area" to 43 percent of the dogs who were hit or kicked.
Apparently, what it all comes down to is dogs, like children, are more easily trained when rewarded than when disciplined. The researchers point out that too much discipline leaves the dog frightened and riddled with anxiety.
Frightened animals are often self-defensively aggressive," the study notes, so "it would not be unexpected, then, that dogs respond aggressively to such provocative handling."
Of course, an owner may not be able to talk a dog out of biting the hand that feeds it, and when all else fails, the vets concede, a muzzle might be necessary.
The study is the latest in a growing library of research into human interaction with canines, which began around 15,000 years ago, according to studies published a few years ago in the journal Science.
That's when man first domesticated the wolf, or as some researchers believe, wolf first domesticated man, who had a tendency to leave tasty scraps around the campfire.
Eurasian wolves, according to those studies, accompanied humans into the new world around 12,000 to 14,000 years ago, and became partners in the hunter-gatherer social order.
The animals probably didn't change all that much until about 500 years ago, when selective breeding started an avalanche of changes in the canine world, leading to everything from powder puff pooches to Doberman pinschers.
They have found their niche in everything from cheering the elderly to making their owners get out and walk, which by the way, is as good for the owner as it is for the dog, which is likely to be less aggressive if it gets more exercise, according to the Penn study.
Somewhere along the way, of course, the human-canine love fest got a little out of hand. Seriously, folks, one study out of the University of California, San Diego, confirmed a widely held belief that dogs and their owners do tend to look alike. Especially if the dog is a purebred.
But unfortunately, as the Penn study shows, the relationship is not always that harmonious.
A bad dog can be a serious threat to humans, especially children, and the vets caution that when a dog goes bad, professional help is essential. Kicking the animal won't help, and could make things worse.
Dear Pet Column readers, my name is Otis and I am currently awaiting my new love here at the Second Chance Humane Society Shelter.
As February is the Month of Love, and animals want to share in this love too, this month also marks National Pet Theft Awareness Day and Have a Heart for Chained Dogs.
Although these are both rather heartbreaking topics, Second Chance Humane Society and I ask you to take a moment to reflect on these issues so that you can educate others and become a force for change.
National Pet Theft Awareness focuses upon raising public awareness of a growing threat — pet theft. According to the organization Last Chance for Animals (LCA), nearly two million companion animals are stolen each year.
Some are taken under false pretense through "free to a good home" ads, abducted from their yards, or taken from animal shelters. These animals are then sold to research laboratories, dog-fighting rings, or puppy mills, where they are, at the very least, maltreated.
LCA states, "Researchers prefer to experiment on pets and other animals that have lived with people because they tend to be docile, accustomed to people and easy to handle." Check out Stolenpets.com to learn more about how you can help stop pet theft. And make sure you have proper identification on your dog and keep him or her at home.
As for the tragedy of tethered dogs, the organization Dogs Deserve Better is in the forefront of educating and activism around freeing chained dogs.
They are dedicated to bringing dogs out of the backyard and into the home as a part of the family.
Besides pushing legislation to prevent long-term dog tethering (meeting many successes, such as in California which has banned chaining dogs for more than three hours a day) they promote education of the physical, emotional, behavioral, and psychological damage that dogs suffer by being isolated and denied regular exercise. "Dogs are naturally social beings who thrive on interaction with human beings and other animals.
A dog kept chained in one spot for hours, days, months, or even years suffers immense psychological damage. An otherwise friendly and docile dog, when kept continuously chained, becomes neurotic, unhappy, anxious, and often aggressive" – Humane Society of the United States.
If you are concerned about a dog in your neighborhood too frequently tethered or otherwise left outside without proper shelter, food, or water, please contact your local animal control agency. Additionally you can become more educated about this issue by visiting www.DogsDeserveBetter.org which provides information on how you can get involved in freeing chained dogs. Also visit the Humane Society of the United States website (www.hsus.org) and read their "Facts about Chaining or Tethering Dogs."
In closing, I suggest you now take a moment to hug your dog, kiss your cat, pet your guinea pig, thank your parrot; the Month of Love is about so much more than chocolate and flowers.
It is about helping those who are feeling unloved to experience love (or adopting a lovable lover like me!). Remember, a pet's love will last longer than a box of chocolates and won't make you feel fat.
"Until you have loved, you cannot become yourself." — Emily Dickinson
Pet photo by Real Life Photographs. Call the Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS spay/neuter voucher, volunteer and foster care, or other Programs. Visit our shelter pets online: www.secondchancehumanesociety.org
By BRAD RHEN - Lebanon Daily News
ROCK — They’ve been through hell — what one official described as “kitty concentration camp” — and soon 46 cats being nursed back to health in a garage in Schuylkill County will be seeking homes.
The cats were rescued from a purported animal sanctuary in Pine Grove Township in late January after its operator and her boyfriend were arrested on drug charges. When investigators searched the sanctuary, known as “Cats With No Name,” they found dozens of dead cats and other animals, along with scores of malnourished animals.
Beth Hall, a volunteer with the Ruth Steinert Memorial chapter of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said it was the most horrendous situation involving animals she had ever seen.
“They were frozen; they were laying all over the place — stuck to sides of the buildings,” Hall said yesterday. “Some of them were stacked in laundry baskets. There were dead cats stacked in boxes. There were dead cats in empty dog-food bags. The only way to put it is, it was like a kitty concentration camp up there. It was horrendous. Absolutely heinous.
“The worst part was when we went into the back shed after trying to get all the cats together, and there was pallet after pallet after pallet of food,” she said.
In all, 83 dead cats were found on the property, and 13 more had to be euthanized shortly thereafter. Additionally, two dead ferrets and a dead deer were found
on the property at 33 Walmer Lane, near the junction of Route 443 and I-81.
Last week, the shelter’s operator, 50-year-old Virginia Justiniano, and her boyfriend, Andy Oxenrider, 38, were each charged with 118 counts of cruelty to animals in addition to previously filed drug charges, law-enforcement officials said. Justiniano and Oxenrider are in Schuylkill County prison and have been unable to post bail, officials said.
The cats now have names, such as Sarah, Lazy, Party, Lil’ John, Houdini and Mistoffolees. They are being nursed back to health in a makeshift shelter set up in a two-car garage at the home of Rennie Miller near Rock, a small village east of Pine Grove.
Miller, the owner/operator of Rockroad Trucking, said she got involved after reading about the case in a newspaper.
“Like I put it to my friends, if you were on a bank with a hundred people and you had a boat and you saw somebody drowning, would you not take that boat and go get the drowning person?” she said. “This is not about me. It’s about the cats.”
Hall credited Miller for stepping up and volunteering the space when the rescuers found themselves in a pinch. Hall said the owner of the property where Justiniano and Oxenrider ran the sanctuary ordered them to leave.
“She said we had until Saturday to get out or she said we were going to be charged with trespassing ,” Hall said. “We had nowhere to go. I don’t know what we would have done (without Miller). We were in an absolute panic.”
The cats are being cared for by a group of about 20 volunteers, many of them members of the Ruth Steinert SPCA. Because several of the rescued cats had feline leukemia, none of the cats could be adopted for 90 days.
“Because we had four that tested positive, everybody had to stay here for a three-month period, and we’re one month into it now,” said Stephanie Willey, a staff member with the SPCA chapter. “In two more months, they’ll all be retested, and those that are still negative will be able to be adopted, given that their medical conditions are all stabilized.”
Hall said there is a waiting list, and seven cats already have homes lined up. There will be no adoption fee charged, but donations will gladly be accepted.
“We just want them to go to good homes,” Willey said.
In the meantime, Hall said, costs are mounting to care for the cats.
“We would love it if we could find some sponsors for the kitties,” she said. “People who probably can’t adopt but would like to help. Eventually, we want to place all of them, and we want to find good, loving, forever homes.”
Anyone interested in adopting a cat, making a donation or volunteering at the shelter should call Miller at (570) 345-2574 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Among the items needed are cat litter, garbage bags and firewood. Monetary donations are also being accepted.
by Jana Lynch, Wilmington Parenting Examiner
You’ve heard the cries. “Mom, can we get a dog?” “Mom, I promise I’ll take care of it”. Eventually the pleas become too much to bear and you relent, choosing a dog or puppy to add to your home. But after the novelty wears off, it is often the parents who take the bulk of the responsibility for taking care of the dog.
However, it is extremely important that you sit down with your children prior to bringing the dog or puppy home and discuss these chores. If the child clearly understands what his responsibilities are with regard to caring for the dog, the transition will be much easier for everyone (including the dog).
All age groups (with the exception of newborn and infants, for obvious reasons) are capable of helping with dogs and puppies. Children as young as two can help with feeding the dog (my two year old gets a huge kick out of bringing the filled dog bowls to their crates).
As your children get older, they can help with such aspects of pet care as walking, bathing, grooming, administering preventative medications such as Heartguard, and participating in dog training. Make sure that your child participates in establishing the schedule for all of these tasks, and the schedule is posted somewhere in the house that everyone can see (such as the kitchen). That way, there’s no excuse of “I forgot”.
The Humane Society of the United States offers a lot of advice on how to prepare for bringing your new dog or puppy home. And by including your children in the preparation and care of a new dog or puppy, it helps the child learn to take responsibility for the animal and it helps to foster a bond between the two.
When bringing a new dog into a home, it is extremely important that you follow the following steps, provided by http://www.canismajor.com/dog/kidsdog1.html:
--The dog should never be left alone with a child less than five years of age
--The dog should have a place he can call his own, a retreat, a private room, a den
--If the dog has access to a fenced yard, owners should make sure that neighborhood children cannot accidentally or intentionally tease him.
--If the dog does not like the children, the children must change their behavior
--Teach children to leave Ranger alone when he's in the crate, to pat him gently--no squeezing around the neck, please--and to leave him alone while he's eating
--Provide a crate where the dog can escape the attention of boisterous or overzealous children
--Teach children not to run past the dog and scream
--Never tie a dog in the yard
There are also some great tips on introducing your dog to your new baby.
There are lots of benefits for a child growing up in a house with a dog. It teaches the child responsibility, compassion, and can even help with allergies! As a bonus, pet ownership can also make for better parenting.
If you’re considering bringing a puppy or dog into your house, please consider adoption first. There are lots of animal shelters in the area, including the Delaware Humane Association, the Delaware SPCA and Faithful Friends. If you’re looking for a specific breed, also check out www.petfinder.com
Thanks to Sharon from Bhc, Az