10 Great Tips for 2010 (Photos)

Two Cats, One Less Fat
by Keri K. - dfs-Pet-Blog.com

Pan (left) and Dozo at dinnertime

A couple months ago, I blogged about our two cats and our new living situation. Now that we were settled into a new home, it was time for a new diet for the kitties! Pandemonium was too picky, and Dozo was too chunky.

My idea from that first blog post was to feed the cats separately. That would allow Pan the peace to nibble, and keep Dozo from wolfing down whatever Pan hadn’t. So for a few nights, Pan got shut in the downstairs bathroom with his bowl, while Dozo ate in the kitchen as usual.

Maybe that will work for other cats – it didn’t for us! Pan would only sit and howl in despair at the door, and Dozo was certain that Pan got locked up because Pan was the bad brother. I’m not kidding – Dozo would flaunt his “freedom” of the house, smug that he was now the favorite cat. It was cute, but it wasn’t helping.

So, for a few more nights, we swapped them: Dozo in the bathroom, Pan in the kitchen… and the results were the same, no good.

Instead of close to bedtime, I began feeding them at the same time we made human dinner. That way, I could keep an eye on them, and keep shooing Dozo away from Pan’s bowl. He’s known for a long time that he’s really not supposed to steal, but now I was enforcing the rule. Soon he would only sit and watch Pan eat but not interfere, and a stern word was enough to make him back off if he tried to nose in.

Then, as soon as Pan decided he was done, up came his bowl. If there were any leftovers, I put them in the fridge. That way nobody could come around later that night to polish them off. That also taught Pan that if he was going to be too fussy, he was going to be hungry by the time breakfast rolled around. It didn’t take long for him to realize that he wasn’t as picky as he thought he was, and he hasn’t turned up his nose at anything for weeks now. I no longer have to tempt him with Tuna Flakes or crumbled Liver just to get him to taste, or stir up just the exact ratio of canned/kibble/water.

Now that the cats are accustomed to this pattern, they’re a lot calmer at dinnertime. I also portion a little more carefully. It’s working, because sometimes Dozo will even walk away from the bowl with a tablespoon still in it! I believe he’s no longer compelled to finish everything he sees. And our last weigh-in put him at fourteen pounds, a loss of a pound and a half. You can see the difference in his shape – he actually has a waist again. And while he’ll never be the slim, 11-pound Olympic jumper that Pan is, he’s noticeably more spry.

It’s now up to me to make sure everybody stays on track. It’s only too easy to dump a bowl full of kibble in front of them as I rush out the door in the morning, but I know that risks falling back into their old habits. A fat cat is an unhealthy cat, and I want these two in our lives for a long, long time. Keeping them fit now will hopefully keep them out of the vet’s office down the road.

Ask a Vet:
What's the Best Way to Monitor
the Health of a Dog with Cysts?
Los Angeles Times

Have a non-emergency question about your pet's health? Dr. Heather Oxford of L.A. veterinary hospital California Animal Rehabilitation (CARE) is here to help! In this installment of Ask a Vet, Dr. Oxford has some tips for reader Jane about caring for a dog with (maybe benign, maybe not) cysts.

Jane's question: I adopted an adult dog who is about 6 years old and has some lumps and bumps on her body. She has a what appears to be a cyst on her forehead and also hard lumps near her nipples. Should I get these removed? My vet said to monitor them and if they change or get bigger to give her a call, but what if it's too late by then?

Heather Oxford, DVM: This sounds like a reasonable, conservative course to minimize unnecessary growth-removal procedures. Growth removal might sound minor, but it involves general anesthesia and there is always a risk of an adverse event, so waiting until it is warranted is sound advice. Since at least 50% of lumps and bumps on dogs are benign, or non-cancerous, you might not have to put your pet through surgery.

But if you are concerned, you can request that these be aspirated. A fine needle aspirate is a minimally invasive and relatively quick test that can be done by your vet. She will simply insert a needle and syringe into the growths and then place the contents that get sucked out onto microscope slides. The slides usually then get sent to a laboratory to be examined, and a report gets sent back to your vet within a day or two.

If the slides contained cells that are cancerous or look questionable, your vet can then remove the growths surgically.

About our vet: Dr. Oxford received her bachelor of science degree at Bowling Green State University, Ohio. She also received a master's of public health degree in epidemiology from Emory University and went on to work at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. She then went to the University of Tennessee, College of Veterinary Medicine, where she received her doctor of veterinary medicine degree. She practices at California Animal Rehabilitation and is also certified in veterinary rehabilitation and acupuncture. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Wade, and German shepherd, Tess.

Is Your Dog Really
a Member of Your Family?

Dogs are descended from wolves that live in packs as a family. American Indians modelled their family after the wolf.

Dogs like wolves need to be in a family unit, they cannot survive on their own, if isolated, segregated or cut off from the family, it will end up having behavioural problems, as its instinctual needs are not being met. In other words the natural instinct of a dog is to be or live within the family unit.

We are not so different, dogs and people. Dogs occupy a special place in human hearts, and not so different when it comes to genes either, they sit at a key branch point in the evolutionary tree relative to humans. Just like us, dogs have emotions and feelings.

Dogs like humans, are highly social animals and this similarity accounts for their ability to fit into human households and social situations, all it takes is a little training and patience.

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Ten Great Tips For 2010
Thanks to Bob in BHC, AZ

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Two-Legged Dog Gives
Hope to Disabled Army Vets

LOS ANGELES — For several years, Jude Stringfellow and her Lab-chow mix have toured the country with a simple message: Faith walks.

Born without front legs to a junkyard dog around Christmas 2002, Faith the puppy was rejected and abused by her mother. She was rescued by Reuben Stringfellow, now an Army E-4 specialist, who had been asked to bury other puppies in the litter.

"Can we fix her? Stringfellow, then 17, asked his mom. "No, but maybe we can help her," she said.

So Reuben turned Faith over to his mother, English professor Jude Stringfellow. At first the family had to carry Faith to keep her off her chest and chin. But with peanut butter and practice, Faith learned to walk on her two hind legs.

Since that day on March 22, 2003, Faith has done the talk show circuit, gone on tour with Ozzy Osbourne and been named an honorary Army sergeant. Jude Stringfellow has become a motivational speaker, written two books about Faith and is working on a third, "Faith Walks."

They get more than 200 letters and e-mails a day, run a Web site and make dozens of appearances every year, including stops at veterans' hospitals across the country to cheer injured soldiers.

That mission is special for Stringfellow, whose son left Iraq in September and is stationed in Alaska. He is scheduled to get out of the Army and head home on Jan. 1.

For many, Faith brings a powerful message about overcoming adversity. "Faith has shown me that different is beautiful, that it is not the body you are in but the soul that you have," Jill Salomon of Montreal, Canada, wrote on Faith's Web site.

Stringfellow will never forget a woman from New York who happened to see Faith on a street corner. She was depressed and had lost both legs to diabetes.

"She was in her wheelchair and saw us. She was crying. She had seen Faith on television. She just held her and said she wished she had that kind of courage." Stringfellow said. "She told us: 'I was on my way to pick up the gun.' She handed the pawn ticket to a police officer and said she didn't need it anymore."

That sense of hope is especially important for Faith's visits to Army bases. Last weekend she headed to Washington state, where she met with as many as 5,000 soldiers at McChord Air Force Base and Fort Lewis. Some of the soldiers were headed to war, some were coming back.

"She just walks around barking and laughing and excited to see them all," Jude Stringfellow said. "There is a lot of crying, pointing and surprise. From those who have lost friends or limbs, there can be silence. Some will shake my hand and thank me, some will pat her on the head. There is a lot of quiet, heartfelt, really deep emotion."

Faith never fails to bring a smile to a soldier's face, said Patrick Mcghee, general manager at Fort Lewis.

"To see the children interact with Faith is simply priceless," he said.

But Faith's most emotional reunion — with Reuben Stringfellow, who rescued her 7 years ago this Christmas — will have to wait for January. He's already gotten Faith a birthday present: a peanut butter cookie with her name on it.

Taking Your Dog
on the Road
by Donna Hull - MyItchyTravelFeet.com

Are you a baby boomer dog owner? Do you wish that you could share travels with your furry friend? Today, Edie Jarolim, author of Am I Boring My Dog: And 99 Other Things Every Dog Wishes You Knew, gives us a few tips for traveling with your dog.

Dog Guard Booster Seat from http://www.canineconcepts.co.uk

Baby boomers whose kids have flown the coop are often described as “empty nesters.” In many cases the term isn’t really accurate. Those of us who have dogs — a majority, by most estimates — are hardly free from caretaking responsibilities.

The good news: Those responsibilities no longer have to mean staying at home or entrusting your pup to others. Pet travel is booming among boomers, as more and more destinations put out the welcome mat for furry visitors (who, granted, are more likely to chew than wipe their paws on it).

What’s the best way to travel to the many pet friendly destinations? Consider the options:

Planes: Unless you have a dog small enough to take into the cabin or can afford a charter (see the Dogtravel Company; www.dogtravelcompany.net), air travel is not ideal. The pressure and temperature in the hold vary, making a noisy, noxious, and already terrifying experience even more terrifying and uncomfortable for your dog. And dogs can’t even take chill pills. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, sedatives and tranquilizers can create respiratory and cardiovascular problems at increased altitudes.

Yes, on the new PetAirways [www.petairways.com], your dog travels in the cabin. But not with you. Pets are booked on separate flights. I think it’s stressful to try to coordinate your flights with your dog’s — even if you can afford the additional flight cost and even if you are on one of the few routes that PetAirways currently offers.

Trains: Sorry, no go. Dogs are not allowed on Amtrak. Frankly, I think the company could solve all its financial problems if they allowed pets on board — I’d be the first to shell out for a sleeper compartment that I could share with my dog — but no one asked me. The pup prohibition is true for bus companies, too, even Greyhound — its name notwithstanding.

Automobiles: This is, hands down, the best mode of travel for most people who have pets (RV and motor homes are even better, but I’m not going to suggest you go out and buy one just for your dog). And unlike those earlier family excursions you used to take with your kids, there’ll be no one in the back of the car nagging, “Are we there yet?”

For tips on traveling safely with your dog, see Buckle Up for Dog Safety: http://willmydoghateme.com/2009/10/20/buckle-up-for-dog-safety/.

Edie Jarolim’s most recent book is Am I Boring My Dog: And 99 Other Things Every Dog Wishes You Knew (Alpha/Penguin, 2009). She is the Pet Travel Correspondent for KVOA TV in Tucson and blogs about dogs (and especially her dog, Frankie) at http://willmydoghateme.com. Read more about her at www.ediejarolim.com.

Plants For Your
Freshwater Aquarium

If you are going to start up your own freshwater aquarium, you have to consider some very important things in order to make your fish happier and aquarium environment healthier. You would probably ask now, how you can do it. Well, there are several tips we are going to share with you. The first and the most important one is how to choose the weeds and plants suitable for your aquarium. You have to note several things here. The first one is the compatibility of plants and your fish. As you know, every fish has its natural habitat important for it.

Plants are the most important part of this habitat. Of course, most fish that you can buy in pet shops have never seen their natural habitat. His is because they were multiplied in artificial conditions, including artificial plants and artificial food, they would normally eat. This food is usually dried plants and organisms, whereas in their natural environment fish would normally eat plankton or small organisms, living in seas, oceans or lakes and ponds if we are talking about freshwater fish. However, it doesn’t mean that fish wouldn’t know that it lives in its natural conditions.

Every living creature possesses a genetic memory, so your fish always know what is better for them. They will obviously appreciate your efforts and feel much better in natural habitat unlike the artificial environment.

There are several types of plants, which can be very good for your aquarium. The first type of plants are floating plants, feeling better on the water surface. They absorb sunlight growing fast. Hatchings adore this type of plants because due to their vulnerability, they can use it as a way to hide themselves from a larger fish that can damage them. Moss is the most popular plant here used by experienced aquariumists and beginners.

The second type of freshwater aquarium plant is a rosette. This plant is similar to a crown having roots underneath. The two most popular types of rosette used for aquariums are sagittaria and Amazon saber. These plants have a well-developed assembly of rootlets and cover the water surface of your fish tank. The last two types of rosettes tend to blossom with beautiful flowers.

Water wisteria is another popular plant cultivated for freshwater aquariums. It also has well-developed roots, helping it to grow good. Water wisteria proved to absorb a large part of nutrients, existing in aquariums. It may harm other plants, fish and organisms inhabiting your aquarium.

Of course, it is just a mere example of plants that can grow in your aquarium. Before choosing the right plants, you have to consult specialists and read some aquarium guides to have a healthy and beautiful environment for your fish.

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Best Beagle Dog
Training Suggestions
Posted by Royal Oak Bloods

Beagles are wondrous, wonderful, fun, energetic, social creatures that are filled with curiosity. At the same time, these beautiful pets can also become quite destructive without proper beagle dog training advice.

Before training Beagles, you must understand that they are scent hunters and are easily distracted. Naturally, they are intelligent creatures but when natural instinct kicks in, such as catching a scent, it makes them difficult to train because they are predisposed to track that scent.

So, to counter this innate behavior, you must train them in a fenced area where there are few distractions. This can be quite a challenge because Beagles have excellent noses.

Your first beagle dog training tip should be to understand why they do some of the things that they do. Some beagle behavior is out of boredom, some out of transitional changes as they grow out of puppy stages into adulthood, and some can be a symptom of impending or ongoing illnesses. Knowing which is which can help you to avoid potentially dangerous problems before they become life threatening.

Once you have a basic understanding of the why of beagle behavior, you can start working on the things that he will need to change. Make sure that you have a list of the poor behavior, and start with the worst offender first. Try to teach new behaviors one at a time, because too many changes will make the beagle confused and potentially worst behaved than before. If a beagle is doing something that is possibly dangerous that problem should be addressed first, otherwise, it is at your own discretion.

Remember that training a beagle is a matter of patience triumphing over frustration. Shouting at a beagle does not work at all, and in fact will bring up a whole new set of issues. Timid beagles will become even more fearful, and aggressive beagles may take your shouting as an actual threat, so remember that a startled beagle will not always react with James Bond coolness - sometimes they can bite.

Do not bother with reprimanding your beagle, as it is often an ineffective maneuver as well. Beagles will learn that getting caught doing the targeted behavior brings about some horrible reactions, so they will simply learn to hide better. This is seen frequently with toileting issues. Finding beagle messes after the fact is a pain, but it will not do you any good to rub its nose into its messiness. Unless he is a brand new beagle or you have moved homes recently, he knows full well where he should do his business. Find out why and the behavior should be stopped. Eliminate all causes, including sickness, and then work from there.

Travel Stories Wanted!

Have we got a deal for you! In our recent annual meeting, held in the back of our CEO’s Jeep, we decided to give away a lot of free stuff. Here’s the deal.

Send us your best pet-travel story and if it’s interesting, we’ll be happy to publish it on our blog. Tell us when, where, and how you went with your pet. Feel free to name names.

For the first 10 stories we publish we’ll send you a copy of the Merck Manual for Pet Health, with over 1,000 pages of health information for your dog, cat, horse, and any other pet. Along with that we’ll also send you a petswelcome.com hat and shirt, so you can blatantly promote our site. After the books are gone, we’ll still have plenty of hats and shirts, and we’ll keep sending them until they’re gone.

Just send an email to ontheroad@petswelcome.com with your story, and be sure to include your full name, mailing address, and email.

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