How Much is a Dog's Love Worth?

Study: Dogs Beat Humans
as Walking Buddies
The Baltimore Sun

A woman walks her dogs through the snow in Richmond Park on December 16 in London. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Researchers are saying it's clinically proven that if people want the best walking partner, they should choose a dog over a human companion.

According to this research from the University of Missouri, written about in the New York Times, people who walk dogs are more consistent about it and show more physical improvement than folks who take their walks with other people.

The study happened over 12 weeks at an assisted living home. Researchers were surprised when the dog walkers were soon able to walk faster even as those walking humans started making excuses to get out of the exercise.

Protect Your Pup:
Dog-Napping on the Rise
Posted by Hannah HC

Though pet thefts aren't common, the American Kennel Club has reported a rise in missing pets in the last year. This article from the AKC offers information about keeping your pet, well, yours:

The American Kennel Club continues to remind pet owners to heed warnings about an alarming rise in pet thefts. State houses across America have taken notice and are proposing laws to toughen penalties for those who steal pets.

Through Nov. 30, the AKC has tracked more than 115 missing pets via incidents reported by news media and customer reports. In 2008, the AKC tracked a total of 71 thefts.

The FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC), which tracks stolen property nationwide, currently lists 200 stolen dogs. In response to this continuing trend, AKC offers the following advice to stop your “best friend” from being the target of a crime.

Don’t let your dog off-leash or unattended in your yard. Keeping your dog close to you reduces the likelihood it will wander off and catch the attention of thieves. Dogs left outdoors for long periods of time are targets, especially if your fenced-in yard is visible from the street.

Never leave your dog in an unattended car, even if it’s locked. Besides the obvious health risks this poses to the dog, it’s also an invitation for thieves, even if you are gone for only a moment.

Don’t tie your dog outside a store. If you need to go shopping, patronize only dog-friendly retailers or leave the dog at home.

Protect your dog with microchip identification. Collars and tags can be removed so make sure you have permanent ID with a microchip.

If you suspect your dog has been stolen. Immediately call the police / animal control officer in the area your pet was last seen and file a police report. If your dog has a microchip, ask to have that unique serial number, along with the dog’s description, posted in the “stolen article” category on the National Crime Information Center.

Canvass the neighborhood. Talk to people in the immediate vicinity where your pet went missing for possible sightings of the actual theft.

Don’t buy dogs from the internet, flea markets, or roadside vans. There is simply no way to verify where an animal purchased from any of these outlets came from.

Seek out reputable breeders or rescue groups. Visit the home of the breeder, meet the puppy’s mother, and see the litter of puppies. Contacting breed rescue groups can also be a safe alternative if you are looking for an adult dog.

Demand proper papers on your purebred puppy. Ask for the AKC Litter Registration Number and contact AKC customer service at 919-233-9767 to verify registration authenticity of your purebred puppy.

Additional tips can be found on the American Kennel Club Web site at

What Is a Dog's Love Worth?
Court Asked to Decide
USA Today

This is undated photo released by the Scheele family of their pet dog Shadow, killed when he wandered onto someone's property and shot.CAPTIONAPThe Vermont Supreme Court started hearing the case today of a couple who says their dog should be treated as a "member of the family and not mere property."

According to a story on, Sarah and Denis Schleele of Anapolis, Md., lost their dog Shadow when he wandered into a man's yard and was fatally shot. Lewis Duston of Northfield, Vt., pleaded guility to a misdemeanor charge of animal cruelty, was given a year's probation and ordered to perform 100 hours of community service. He also paid the Schleeles $4,000 to cover Shadow's adoption fees, medical bills and cremation.

That's not enough, say the Schleeles. A decision is not due until Spring. For more details and what appears to be unlikely chances of the Scheele's case passing the court, here's the story. Courts across the USA have traditionally treated pets like property and prevented plaintiffs from collecting damages from emotional loss.

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Oscar the Cat and
the Science of Kindness
Kenneth Kidd - The Star

Oscar the cat, famous for comforting dying residents of a hospice in Providence, R.I. Oscar seems to act intuitively on his empathy for the dying, raising questions about his, and our own, motivations. STEW MILNE/AP

On the third floor of a geriatric hospital in Providence, R.I., lives Oscar the cat.

He makes regular rounds, entering each room to smell and look over the patients. If all is more or less well, the white-breasted tabby moves on to the next room.

If he instead snuggles up to a patient, purring and nuzzling, the nurses immediately start calling relatives. Oscar won't leave until the patient has breathed his or her last.

Now, the intriguing question is not so much how Oscar can make such accurate prognoses, but why he lingers, holds this vigil. Is Oscar comforting himself or the patient?

If he were upset, sensing a bad situation, wouldn't Oscar be better off elsewhere, getting petted?

And if he's not upset, why is Oscar so generous, receiving nothing in return? Oscar not only appears to feel empathy, but to act on it, to show kindness.

The ballad of Oscar, which first appeared two years ago in the New England Journal of Medicine, serves as a kind of proxy for a debate that has bedevilled humans for thousands of years, and which now seems to be attracting renewed interest.

In a world filled with overwhelming selfishness, schadenfreude and cruelty, why is there still empathy, sympathy and kindness? There must be some evolutionary advantage, otherwise those traits would have long since vanished.

And yet we are so often squeamish when faced with acts of kindness, as if they were soft-headed embarrassments and signs of weakness. Or worse: mere narcissism and self-interest masquerading as something else.

Why this ambivalence?

A spate of recent books and studies is once again tackling that question, perhaps evidence that we, collectively, have become ready to address what U.S. President Barack Obama has called the "empathy deficit" of our times.

This is no simple query. Our sometimes-conflicted feelings about charity and kindness hail from a complicated mix of anthropology, religion, psychoanalysis and history.

In The Age of Empathy, primatologist Frans de Waal explores how our closest evolutionary relatives engage in many acts of kindness – not always, but routinely.

Like us, primates are mostly social animals, given to sharing, consoling each other in the wake of violent exchanges, and quick to protest any unfairness in the distribution of food.

By studying them, de Waal argues, we might become more comfortable with our own true nature, our mutual inheritance.

One of his experiments, for instance, involved capuchin monkeys who were taught to exchange plastic tokens for small pieces of apple. But there was a twist. One colour of token was "selfish" and the other, "pro-social."

Two monkeys were set up as partners. If a monkey handed in a selfish token, it got a small piece of apple and its partner got nothing. With the pro-social token, however, both monkeys were equally rewarded at the same time.

You can see where this is going. They tended to share, be kind to each other, especially if the monkeys already had strong social ties. But something else also happened. The dominant monkeys in the group, the ones who had the least fear of reprisal, proved to be the more reliably generous.

The monkeys clearly possessed both the "self-awareness" and "perspective-taking" that de Waal sees as prerequisites to empathy and compassion. Yet he also knows that primates are not uniformly like this, which is why he ends up describing humans as a kind of bi-polar ape.

Part of us accords with what de Waal calls the "gentle, sexy bonobo," the mostly pacifist primate that used to be called a pygmy chimpanzee. We might want to emulate them, but not too much, lest the world turn into "one giant hippie fest of flower power and free love."

We might be happy, in other words, but not terribly productive. We'd also be defenceless. This is where the sometimes brutal, dominating nature of regular chimpanzees comes into play. For de Waal, we have strains of each in our evolutionary nature.

As it happens, this is what a team of researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, is indirectly trying to prove. They want to resuscitate the empathetic side of our nature from a genetic, neurological point of view. The Berkeley crew have had some success.

One study notes that many of us may be genetically disposed to kindness, because we have a heightened response to oxytocin, a hormone which, when released into the bloodstream and brain makes us more nurturing and romantic, seeking the company and comfort of others.

Those with a particular variation of the oxytocin gene receptor are also more adept at reading the emotional state of others, a key to empathy.

We all know people like that. They're part of everyday life. So how to explain why we're still so conflicted about expressions of our inner bonobo?

We might find part of the answer in psychoanalysis. Naturally – this is the Freudian crowd, after all – it has to do with sex, something Adam Phillips and Barbara Taylor explore at length in their recent book, On Kindness.

The story line gets a little tortured, tangled and Oedipal. But at the risk of doing violence to psychoanalytic theory, it ends badly. Our first experience of kindness occurs in childhood, at the hands of our parents — who not much later become the initial objects of our sexual awakening.

Kindness and incest end up occupying the same emotional space, at least unconsciously. No wonder we feel awkward.

Yet that only gets us so far. What psychoanalysis doesn't fully explain is why kindness nevertheless persists, where it fits.

This is something Western philosophy and religion have been struggling with for thousands of years. It's a kind of fault line.

Are we naturally kind or selfish egoists at heart?

Much flows from how you answer that question, how, on balance, you view human nature.

Consider, for instance, the Christian tale of the Good Samaritan who helps out an injured Israelite, someone he doesn't know, even though Samaritans and Israelites are long-standing enemies.

This is arguably the pre-eminent tale of Christian kindness. It seems to imply that empathy, compassion and caritas, or brotherly love, are natural human dispositions.

But then, as Phillips and Taylor note, St. Augustine happened along with a profoundly different view. Rather than being native to humans, caritas was deemed to be divine, bestowed by God.

Without God, there could be no kindness or other virtue, because we'd lost the possibility of being naturally good with the expulsion from Eden. Left to our own devices, we'd simply descend to our true nature, red-toothed and selfish..

This was a much darker view of humanity, one that would reverberate through the ensuing Protestant Reformation and inform a lot of political philosophy, not least Thomas Hobbes, whose Leviathan takes humankind's "warre of alle against alle" as its starting point.

This wasn't the last word, of course. By the 18th century, the big guns of the Scottish Enlightenment — Francis Hutcheson, David Hume and Adam Smith — were all fighting to restore kindness and compassion as something natural to the species.

Smith is today best known as the father of laissez-faire capitalism, although that's always been a simplification. But during his own lifetime, Smith was far more famed for penning The Theory of Moral Sentiments, which he built on a foundation of sympathy and fellow feeling.

As Smith writes:

"How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortune of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it except the pleasure of seeing it."

Kindness seemed to be making a comeback, with a big assist from Jean-Jacques Rousseau, whose Emile attempted to enshrine the idea that children are naturally kind, and adults are the problem.

But we know the kindness revival didn't last, and we can thank or blame the Industrial Revolution, which so effortlessly equated selfishness with progress. By the Victorian era, kindness was retreating to the wings, becoming, in the words of Phillips and Taylor, "ghettoized into a womanly sphere of feeling and behaviour."

This was not a novel thought. A century earlier, Bernard Mandeville had famously claimed that pity was most strongly felt by those with the weakest minds, "for which reason none are more compassionate than women and children."

Yet Mandeville also goes on to note how, "without a considerable mixture of it, the society could hardly subsist."

So, yes, it's a sort of grudging, if-you-must admission. But that might, in its way, lead to the crux of our own awkwardness around kindness.

We can look outwardly, as Mandeville did, and see both selfishness and compassion at play in the world, recognize how the two might often be opposed, but are also needed.

It's when we reflect back on ourselves at individuals that this clinical distance dissolves, and the guilt and discomfort arises. Seeing kindness in others, even Oscar the cat, may just bring us too close to judging our own angels and demons.

The Jury's Still Out
on Letting Pets Hop in Bed
BY DR. PATTY KHULY - Miami Herald

Q: My wife's mother says that pets can spread diseases to our children when they sleep on their beds. I say it's an old wives' tale.

A: It's been reported that up to 79 percent of pet owners allow pets to share their beds. Despite the popularity of the practice, physician and veterinary groups have taken turns speaking out against human-pet bed sharing for a variety of reasons.

In the case of some physician groups, the warnings are human health-based. Confirmed transmission of MRSA skin infections and H1N1 influenza, for example, gives fodder to the speculation that humans who share the covers with their furry friends are more likely to become ill.

While this is certainly more of a possibility with immunosuppressed humans (HIV-positive, transplant recipients or chemotherapy patients, for example), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer no explicit advice on this issue beyond the standard warnings for these immunocompromised groups of people.

In fact, when it comes to infectious disease transmission, physicians and veterinarians agree there is scant evidence that healthy, well cared-for pets are detrimental to human health under these circumstances. Indeed, human family members are much more likely to transmit diseases than are our pets.

Though disease transmission may be rare, vets don't always agree that allowing dogs to sleep on human beds is a good thing, behaviorally speaking. Puppies predisposed to dominance or aggression may develop these behaviors when allowed to sleep with humans. Housebreaking may also be affected if beds take the place of crates.

It's also argued, however, that pets confer psychological and safety benefits when they sleep with their owners. Some studies even show that pets can help insomniacs sleep more deeply.

Dr. Patty Khuly has a veterinary practice in South Miami and blogs at Send questions to, or Dr. Dolittler, Tropical Life, The Miami Herald, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, FL 33132.

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Chinese Put These Dogs
on Pedestals
By Calum MacLeod, USA TODAY

An employee at the Oriental Treasure Tibetan Mastiff Breeding Center near Beijing shows off one of their most prized dogs.


History: Ancient breed from the high Tibetan plateau, guarded yak, sheep and Buddhist monasteries. Genghis Khan organized an army corps of 30,000 mastiffs.

Traits: Can reach heights of 31 inches, weigh 180 pounds and live 10-14 years.

Estimated total: Several hundred thousand in China, compared with tens of thousands five years ago.

Purebred: Number more than 10,000, and registered with the China National Kennel Club.

Cost: More than $150,000 is rare, though the record is about $600,000.

Sources: China National Kennel Club; breeders

SHUNYI, Beijing — One is named Obama, another goes by Son of Bush. They charge tens of thousands of dollars for sex. Convoys of luxury cars, driven by fans, greet the most expensive studs at airports. Meet the canine gigolos — the purebred Tibetan Mastiffs that have become the latest symbol of China's growing wealth.
Pet ownership is booming in a nation where dogs and cats are featured as part of meals and animal abuse remains widespread. But none carries the cachet of the Tibetan Mastiff, one of the largest dog breeds, which can weigh 180 pounds.

Last month, a Nanjing breeder paid $234,000 for his purebred pooch, reported the Yangtze Evening Times. In September, a young woman in Xian paid $600,000 for her pet, according to the Xian Evening News. Both led airport welcomes with long convoys of pricey automobiles.

"It's like gambling, as people think they can earn large sums from expensive dogs, but the reality is that it's very hard to breed a top quality purebred Tibetan Mastiff," Beijing breeder Zhao Yanjun says.

Others buy to show off their status. "Like men around the world, Chinese like to own big dogs as it shows 'I am successful, I want to dominate more women and big dogs,' " Zhao says.

In the USA, $5,000 is the upper limit for a show quality puppy, says Martha Feltenstein, president of the American Tibetan Mastiff Association. In China, prices have leapt this year amid a nationwide "Tibetan Mastiff fever" that shows little sign of cooling.

From the frozen steppes and remote monasteries of Tibet to the gated communities of China's urban rich, this guardian dog has come a long way. Movie stardom beckons, too, in two feature-length animations. Tibetan Mastiff, a Sino-Japanese adaptation of a popular novel, premieres next year. In 2011, Tibetan Rock God, based on rock star Zheng Jun's comic book, will follow the hero, Metal, from a Tibetan temple to the Chinese capital.

The dog has changed breeder Zhao's fortunes.

The former chicken farmer, 48, bought his first Tibetan Mastiff in 1990 and earns up to $440,000 a year at his Oriental Treasure breeding center near Beijing.

"They are beautiful, loyal, fierce and run like a lion," he says of the breed, which has a bear-like head and shaggy mane.

Despite enticing offers, Zhao promises never to sell Son of Bush, out of loyalty to his favorite, Bush, who died last year at 11.

"I will never be a high official, but I had fun shouting 'Bush, over here!' " jokes Zhao, who also named and raised Putin, Sharon and several others named for world leaders.

Obama, worth almost $300,000, was born to a dog Zhao sold to Chinese actor Wang Fei. Zhao says Wang charges up to $30,000 per breeding session with Obama.

The top dog among breeders is a celebrity himself. With his "Ma Family Army" of record-breaking female runners, track coach Ma Junren conquered the athletics world in the 1990s. As he pushed his charges through midnight marathons on the high-altitude Tibetan plateau, Ma discovered the region's native Mastiffs.

Ma is still trying to represent his country by pushing for China's full membership in the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI), the World Canine Organization. It's a tough sell, Ma admits, as the FCI is concerned by China's low level of vaccinations, the culling of dogs to prevent rabies and the eating of dog meat.

Those worries are well-justified, says Jeff He, China communication manager for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), an advocacy group. Culling continues in some areas, he says, even though vaccination and education are more effective. "The No. 1 threat to companion animals is the lack of animal welfare legislation in this country," he says.

Respect for animal rights is growing, says Qin Xiaona, chairwoman of Beijing's Capital Animal Welfare Association, but the absence of laws slows progress, she says. Last month, Qin rushed to nearby Tianjin to help rescue 800 mostly stolen cats that were locked in cages en route to diners in south China's Guangzhou.

Qin opposes the "Tibetan Mastiff fever."

"They are wild animals, it's cruel to let them leave their habitat," she says. "We should send all of them back to their habitat."

In New York, mastiff owner Feltenstein complains that Chinese traders are importing the large breed into the USA for new owners who simply find them "too much dog," leading to a "huge rescue problem," she says.

"It's unfortunate that the Han Chinese are profiting from these dogs and exploiting them, and breeding in other breeds to make them more ferocious," Feltenstein says.

At American Tibetan Mastiff Association shows, winners parade before a large snow lion flag, a symbol of the Tibetan independence movement that is banned in China.

In response to reports that the purebred Tibetan Mastiff was under threat in its homeland, the China National Kennel Club (CNKC) has sent dozens back to Qinghai province since 2005 and encouraged local authorities to stop their annual cull, says Zhang Xiaofeng, CNKC representative in Beijing. Market forces are helping increase and improve the Mastiff population, he says.

Owner and breeder Zhang Liyan rejects any argument against domesticating the breed.

"Unlike other dogs, the Tibetan Mastiff can be like your son, not just a friend," she says at her Big Sister Zhang breeding center near Beijing. "I can't sell my bigger dogs as they become part of the family," says Zhang, 50, a former restaurant owner who travels to the Tibetan plateau each year.

"When I was young, no one could afford to raise pets, or have a big enough house. But now society has developed, and people are richer."

How to Get Over
the Loss of a Pet
by Mary Kirkland -

Losing a pet can be hard since they are a part of the family. The pain of losing a family member can be severe and we all need to know how to deal with loss.

Is The Pain I feel Normal?

Severe pain over the loss of a pet can seem silly to people who don't have pets and won't or don't understand. They may tell you to just get another animal but we know that it's not that

You should know it's absolutely natural to feel so much pain after the loss of a pet. You shouldn't hide your pain that is the worst thing you can do. Feel the love and loss of your pet and grieve for your pet.

I've had several hamsters die after a long happy life and it never gets any easier. I've learned throughout the years that after the loss of a pet you need to let yourself feel the strong emotions from that loss.

If you had to take the animal to the veterinarian's office, you should take the advice my vet gave me when she saw how upset I was. She told me to remember how much happiness my little friend gave me and remember she were very happy with me and I did the right thing by ending her suffering.

When I took my hamster to the vet's office and had her euthanized it was one of the hardest things I've ever done, but it was also the right thing to do since I didn't want her to suffer.

You might feel guilt or anger after a pet's loss. The best thing is to examine what you are feeling instead of denying your pain, only then will you be able to work through your feelings.

What Can I do to help get through the grief of losing a pet?

I found that talking to others who have had to deal with the loss of a pet can help because they understand how you are feeling. There are any number of websites that have message boards and other people who are going through the same loss. For instance the Pet Loss Grief Support website is just one place online that would help others who are dealing with the loss of a pet.

The best way I found to deal with a pet's loss, is to have a small funeral for my pet. Whenever one of my hamsters died I would put them in a small box and me and my daughter and I would find a nice place for him, say a few words and bury our little friend.

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The 5 Best Cat Grooming
Tools that You Should Buy
by Bryan Mckinley -

Pets make great companions, but other than just receiving our love, there are a few more things we have to do for them. Grooming is one of the most important activities you can do for your pet and is a great way to bond with your animal. Cats are the most common pets in the world, and although they can groom themselves, if you want a cleaner house, it is advised you help them out a little bit. The most important parts of grooming cats is taking care of their coat and trimming their nails. Here are the best 5 grooming tools that you can use to keep your kitties and your house looking great.

Slicker Brush - This brush is a great way to help with matted fur. The best slicker brush I've found out there so far is the JW Pet Grip Soft one. JW has some great products and this brush can be found online for around $8.

Furminator Deshedder - The corny name aside, the Furminator Deshedding Tool is a must have for any cat owner. The grooming tool reduces shedding by up to 90%. It works wonders whether your cat is long or short haired. It can be found at any Petsmart or Petco across the United States.

Grooming Mitts - These grooming tools are placed over a large surface of a cat's fur. It softly massages the cat, while removing loose hair. One of the best grooming mitts out on the market is the Love Glove. It can be found for as little as $5 on the internet.

Mat Removers - Four Paws Ultimate Touch Instant Mat and Tangle Remover is another great cat grooming tool to have lying around the house. This product can be had for as little as $6.19 at Any cat lover will know that every cat gets mats and tangles in their coat and this tool is great at gently removing them.

Nail Clippers - Nail trimming is a huge part of the cat grooming process. Cats need their nails trimmed every 10-14 days. One thing you can do to relax your cat before trimming its' nails is to pet and massage it. Something so simple will really help your cat be a little more acceptable of you trimming its nails. A really nice pair of nail clippers will set you back around $13 and can be found at any pet store.

The Reasons To Choose
Aquarium Fish

Aquarium fish are very easy to take care of, moreover, you will get great enjoyment from observing fish’s life, their habit. You will get a great relaxation due to your aquarium as well. Many people use aquariums not only to get a visual joy from them, but also for decoration of their houses, because aquariums are both very useful and beautiful. Aquariums are used with different medical purposes, beginning from the reduction of blood pressure to reduction of stress levels. Starting up your own aquarium, you have a great opportunity to create your own small water ecosystem, which can be easily supported and provided with innovation that will help your fish to feel much better. This process is very satisfying, and many people are great fans of aquariums. It has been already scientifically proved that one tenth of world’s population have aquariums at home or in their offices.

If you are a busy person, spend most of the time working, and want to have a pet, aquarium is a great option for you. The thing is, cats, dogs and hamsters require much attention and care. You have to take your dog for a walk, hamsters and cats have to be regularly fed, whereas fish are not so difficult to care for. All you need to do if you have an aquarium at home is to feed your fish once or twice a day. One time feeding is usually sufficient sometimes.

Fish are also used as first pets for children. They can feed fish under your control. You will teach your child to be responsible and satisfy his or her desire to have a pet altogether. You have to clean your aquarium once in two weeks or even rarer, so all you need is to spend an hour or two in your weekend to clean it. It is not as much time, as other pets require, isn’t it? Aquariums are also great to keep your children busy. They adore watching fish swimming in their tanks.

Aquariums are also irreplaceable for decoration of different premises. You can often see aquariums in schools, where they are used for classrooms decoration, in wards and medical halls. It is because aquariums are extremely useful for curing people with Alzheimer’s disease and different attention disorders. Aquariums are also perfect for people having disorders of musculoskeletal system. Such people are incapable of interacting with other pets, so they can admire aquarium fish swimming. So, as you can see, aquariums find one of their greatest application in medicine, where patients sometimes cannot do without them.

If you decided to start up an aquarium, you will necessarily have a hood to it. It is used to protect fish from the outside impact. The water will not be polluted with dust. The hood will also keep your children out of the fish tank, so that you can avoid possible troubles.

So, You’re Thinking
About Getting a Bird...

Great! For some people, a bird can be a fantastic pet. However, for any potential bird owner, there are several things that are important to think about.

In the wild, birds thrive on a great deal of territory and many birds also thrive on a large community. In other words, most birds live to fly and to socialize. Unfortunately, these are often the very things we take away from a bird when we choose to have them live in captivity. Birds are intelligent, emotional animals with very specific needs different from cats and dogs. If you are thinking of getting a bird, please make sure you are prepared for a needy, long-lived (in some cases, over 50 years!) animal.

Much in the same way new parents buy all the baby supplies they can think of BEFORE the baby arrives, the same strategy is best for birds. Pre-purchasing will also decrease the likelihood of impulse buying. Make sure you have the set up, and then look around for your perfect feathered companion. It can be much more difficult to purchase a bird and then realize how many more dollars are needed just to house, feed and entertain this new pet.

First off, most pet stores do their best to not sell dangerous or unnecessary products to bird owners. However, some sales personnel may be under-informed or not as up-to-date as one would like. Make sure you do the research first and go into the store with a list of things you’ve decided you need. Better yet, consult with your veterinarian about what is best for your new bird! For example, did you know most birds do not actually thrive on an all seed diet? That some metal-based toys can be very dangerous? That adding vitamins to the water are not likely necessary? The good news is that there are many valuable resources available, especially if you are willing to take your time.

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