Of Cats and Dogs and Turtles(?)

More Cat Owners 'Have Degrees' Than Dog-Lovers

What do you prefer? Dogs, cats... or maybe both

People who own a cat are more likely to have a university degree than those with a pet dog, a study by Bristol University suggests.

A poll of 2,524 households found that 47.2% of those with a cat had at least one person educated to degree level, compared with 38.4% of homes with dogs.

The study said longer hours, possibly associated with better qualified jobs, may make owning a dog impractical.

It also found that UK pet ownership was much higher than previously thought.

Cat and dog numbers were last estimated in a scientific peer-reviewed journal in 1989, which said there were 6.2 million and 6.4 million respectively in the UK.

Our best guess is that it's to do with working hours and perhaps commuting to work, meaning people have a less suitable lifestyle for a dog.

But according to Bristol's Department of Clinical Veterinary Science, the populations today are likely to be about 10.3 million and 10.5 million.

Overall, it estimated that 26% of UK households owned cats and 31% owned dogs.

The study, published in Veterinary Record, suggested a number of other characteristics, aside from education level, were associated with either cat or dog ownership.

Of those surveyed, dog-lovers were more likely to be male, living in rural areas and under the age of 55.

Age of children

But cat owners were more likely to be female and living in smaller or single-person households.
The age of children in a family also appeared to make a difference, with cats being more common than dogs in homes with children under the age of 10.

However Dr Jane Murray, a lecturer in feline epidemiology at Bristol University, said the variation in education level between owners was the most striking difference.

"We don't know why there is this discrepancy," she told the BBC News website.

"We did look at average household income but that wasn't significant.

"Our best guess is that it's to do with working hours and perhaps commuting to work, meaning people have a less suitable lifestyle for a dog.

"It's really just a hunch though."

Dr Murray, whose post is funded by the Cats Protection charity, said researchers hoped to repeat the study using the results of the 2011 census to get a clearer idea of trends in UK pet ownership.

I Won't Buy That Doggie in the Window -- But . . .
BY DR. PATTY KHULY - khulyp@bellsouth.net/Miami Herald

A frisky Jack Russell might not be the right choice for a small yard or a busy young family. CANDACE BARBOT / MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Q: If I've learned anything from your column it's that I shouldn't buy a puppy from a pet shop. So how can I find a healthy pet if I really want a purebred?

A: Though I'm big on mutts and think there's nothing better than a Heinz 57 dog or cat for most families, I understand that knowing what you're getting at the outset is important for some people.

That said, I'm also big on informing my clients of what they're getting into when they take on a purebred.

It's not just about where a pet comes from, but about genetic diseases and their propagation and about behavioral traits that may not mesh with your household.

You need to do your research and consider whether that Jack Russell pup really is best for a small yard and a busy young family. Can you really handle that Lab's shedding and mouthiness? That beagle's bay?

Finding the right pet takes time, especially if you have your eye on a certain breed. Here are tips:

• Research prospective breeders and demand personal references.

• Avoid breeders who advertise multiple breeds. (Code for puppy mill.)

• Visit the premises. No exceptions.

• Beware of Internet sales. ``Returns'' just don't happen.

• Ask to see the parents -- in person, no pictures.

• Know your breed's genetic issues and ask for health clearances on the parents.

• Ask if the breeder shows the parents in any way -- breed ring, agility, obedience or hunting sports. This is not strictly necessary but I wouldn't consider a purebred of highest quality without this credential.

• Never buy from pet stores. Those puppies and kittens may look cute in the window, but the suffering that goes on behind the scenes is well documented.

There are no guarantees that even the most well-researched pet will be healthy, but your odds will improve if you follow these steps.

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

Should It Be a Crime to Operate on Your Dog?
Posted by James Hart - KansasCity.com

A Rhode Island man pleaded no-contest to criminal charges after he reportedly removed a cyst from his dog's leg. (The dog had to be operated on again, by professionals, to deal with infection from the first procedure.) The man said he tried to operate himself because he didn't have money for a veterinarian.

Exotic Pet Owners Turn Over
Animals On Amnesty Day
Jasmine Kripalani - cbs4.com

The exotic pets and animals arrived in crates and boxes.

They had one thing in common – their families could no longer care for them. And they wanted to be responsible by turning them in to someone who could.

Saturday, Miami Metrozoo accepted them with officials from the Florida Fish and Wildlife -- no questions asked and no penalties assessed.

It was Nonnative Pet Amnesty Day at Metrozoo and those efforts garnered about 70 nonnative animals – among them 16 red eared slider turtles, 10 ball pythons, eight Burmese pythons and three African spurred tortoises, according to CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald.

It was the third year in a row that Metrozoo has hosted the event, which this year featured a crew from National Geographic documenting the exotic animals' arrival.

During the amnesty day, exotic reptiles, amphibians, birds, fish and mammals will be accepted; domestic pets (dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets) will not be accepted. All surrendered pets will be examined by a licensed veterinarian and if they appear healthy, officials will try to place them with willing, qualified adopters.

When Have You Taken a Roller Coaster Ride
of Emotions with a Sick Pet?

Leaf's Close Call

As with many people reading this newsletter, when your beloved pet becomes ill, everything that took up time and space and seemed to be so very important is pushed to the background. All your focus goes to how to help your pet heal.

Last week was like that with Leaf. He was sick dog. He barely ate and when he did, he couldn't keep the food down. Among other symptoms he showed signs of lethargy, depression, and physical pain. He would look at us with his wide-open, innocent, childlike black eyes as if to ask, "What is happening?"

After phone calls to the veterinarian, we thought he might have eaten something that didn't agree with him. He likes to sample the rich cat food and this time, we thought he might have managed to do that without our knowledge. Something had caused his bodily functions to close down, and he was bleeding. We took him to the vet for tests.

Normally, Leaf is not a dog who likes visiting the vet. In the past, with his annual checkups, he let it be known he can't tolerate being touched all over his body. Vet visits are always stressful with Leaf not cooperating, especially after the exam begins. Trying to get a blood sample has proven to be an impossibility. Normally Linda tries to keep eye contact with him, and Allen stands nearby so Leaf will be reassured.

This visit to the vet was different from EVERY other time. Clearly, Leaf knew he was in trouble. He had so much pain around his middle section. Without hesitation he walked into the lobby, sat quietly, and waited for his appointment without any attempts to head for the front door.

A vet tech escorted us to the examining room. With no prompting but with painful effort, Leaf jumped up on the examining table. He appeared to be exhausted after the exertion. He spread out on the table with all four legs going in different directions and waited for the vet.

The vet examined Leaf and took blood and other samples for tests. Leaf handled this level of invasion like a trooper. This time, he didn't object to being probed even as we worried about his pain level, since we knew how much he was hurting.

Soon, the vet returned to the examining room with the test results. She told us that Leaf has pancreatitis. We're still trying to understand what this means and have read the literature the vet provided about it. It's clear that this is a serious, life-threatening condition. He could have died from this attack.

With a restricted diet, he'll stay with us for what we hope will be a very long life. For now, we're not leaving him alone for any extended periods of time and making sure he gets plenty of rest and liquids.

Those of you, who have been through this type of experience, know the feeling of dreading that you'll get the worst news. Sometimes, you (and we) have heard the test results for our beloved pets and felt as if the world was collapsing. This time, for us, thank God, Leaf is still with us.

When have you taken a roller coaster ride of emotions with a sick pet?

Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network

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Cat Breeds – Choosing The Best Breed

Which types of cats are right for you and your family? There is a large number of different cat breeds that one can choose from. Many of these breeds can easily adapt to home living, and make excellent pets for you and your children. So how do I find the best breed that is appropriate for me? Here is an excellent list of tips that you can use before making your final decision.

Some cat breeds can be very loud and noisy. you will want to consider this when choosing your pet cat. you and your family will need to determine if you can handle a vocal type of cat within your home, or would a quiet cat be more enjoyable. A number of cat owners don’t usually have any issues with a more vocal cat, although if you live in an apartment, then you might have to reconsider choosing a loud cat. some of the more loud or vocal types of cats include: the Korat, Siamese Cats, or the Burmese. If you are in the market for a quiet cat, then the following breeds may be more to your liking: Scottish Fold, Somali, or the American Curl.

The next decision that you will want to make is to determine whether you want a cat that is more of an aloof breed or one that is more affectionate and cuddly. some of the considerations to keep in mind are the amount of free time that you can spare. If you have a lot of available time then a cuddly cat who craves attention may be a great choice. Affectionate cuddly cats are also a great choice for those with children.

Friendliest Cat Breeds:

--Maine Coon
--Himalayan Persian

--Russian Shorthair
--Norwegian Forest

If you are looking for a cat breed that will not get into constant mischief, and ones that can amuse themselves, then the following breeds may be a bad choice:

--British Angora

These cats have a lot of energy and can be very inquisitive. these breeds are an excellent choice for someone who has a lot of free time and is home-bound. They can be a great source of entertainment; in fact the Rex can be enjoyable and silly to watch as he attempts to amuse those around him.

There are also other important features that you want to look at in addition to the right temperament of the cat. An important feature to consider when choosing the right cat is whether you want a long haired or short haired breed. This is especially important to those owners who do not have a great deal of time to devote to a pet. these owners may want to opt for a short haired breed. The attraction of a fuzzy ball of fluff may look great, but grooming adult long haired cats can be very time consuming. A cat’s coat of hair can tangle and matt up right down to its skin at an alarming rate if you do not provide proper grooming. If this should happen, your only choice is to have him completely shaved, which can be very traumatic. Your cat would need to be sedated, and this could pose some potential health risks.

Making The Final Choice

Having looked at the many different cat breeds and their unique features, you are now able to begin selecting your new cat. you should first ask yourself a few questions such as: should I get a baby kitten, or start with a feline that is somewhat older or even one that has been abandoned.

There are many new kittens available at various cat shows, and you might want to check out your local listings. there will more than likely be a number of cat exhibitors who are looking at selling some of their kitten litter. A great place to find an older feline would be at the humane society, or possibly the animal shelter in your town.

How to Turn a Stray Kitten
into a Household Pet
Kimberly Rebovich - Suite101.com

Tips for Adopting a Feral Kitten and Adapting It to a Home

Wondering what to do with the tiny kitten under the porch? With proper consideration, examination and preparation a lost little feline can become a part of the family.

Feral or stray cats exist in just about any neighborhood, and while it might seem enticing to bring them inside, integrating a stray kitten into a home environment can be tricky.

The circumstances in which a feline is found outdoors determines how to physically move the animal inside. Once inside, the steps required to adapt the animal to the indoor environment are critical to ensure a successful transition from wild and woolly stray to warm and fuzzy pet.

Observe the Stray Kitten's Outdoor Environment
Whether it be one kitten or several, getting close to the little feline is challenging, particularly if the mother is nearby. A feral mother cat moves its kittens frequently. Spend about an hour watching the kitten to see if a mother cat returns. If she does, call the local Humane Society before attempting to snatch-up the kitten.

As a kind gesture, a little food could be left for the mother to keep her healthy and strong enough to continue to care for her babies. If the kitten appears to be abandoned, it is safe to coax him or her inside.

A friendly feral kitten, about the age of six weeks, is old enough to walk and playfully prance and will usually approach a human when called. Having some soft food available will help lure the animal if he or she is apprehensive. If a kitten's eyes and ears are open but it is unsteady on its paws, it is probably about two to four weeks old. A kitten with closed eyes and ears is in its first two weeks of life.

Preparing and Executing a Kitten Rescue
Nutrition, hygiene, and social interaction differ depending on a kitten's age. A veterinarian is the best resource for determining a kitten's age. Depending on the information provided to determine the kitten's age, a vet can offer guidance to prepare a home for a feral kitten and for caring for a kitten in its earliest stages of life.

1.Kitten Food. Kitten replacement milk, fed with a bottle or dropper if the kitten is less than two weeks old, is needed. Never give a kitten cow's milk in its first two weeks of life. By the fourth week, a kitten can be given soft food and water.

2.Warmth and grooming. A kitten that is 1-14 days old should not be bathed, but needs to be kept warm, The feline needs to be swaddled against bare skin to share body heat. This is a simulation of the exchange of warmth between a mother cat and her baby. A rectal thermometer will calculate a kitten's body temperature. It should fall between 100-102 degrees. If it has, then a kitten can be bathed, but a phone call to a vet would not hurt before immersing a kitten in water, particularly if the kitten has any visible wounds. The kitten can however, be combed with a wide-tooth comb to detangle the hair.

3.A safe sleep/play area. A hot water bottle or heating pad set to low and wrapped in towels should be placed in a box on one side. The other side should have a soft blanket for the kitten to snuggle. Once a kitten reaches four weeks of age, the heating pad can be removed and some kitten-specific toys can be placed in the box for stimulation.

4.A litter box. A litter box with kitten-safe litter can be set up next to the sleep/play box. A kitten under two weeks old requires anal stimulation (rubbing the anal area with a warm wash cloth) to teach them to pass waste. A kitten about five to seven weeks old already has the instinct to use a litter box properly. Just place him or her in it once and don't move the box.

5.Other pets. Socializeing a stray kitten should not begin until about five weeks of age. Some experts believe a feral kitten can never be completely socialized. Others believe a "cat role model" provides all the guidance necessary for deomestication.Five to seven weeks is also safe age to introduce the kitten to other animals like dogs, birds, hampsters, etc.

6.Schedule a visit to the veterinarian. Stray kittens are prone to fleas, ticks, parasites and worms. A prompt visit to a veterinarian shorty after taking the kitten into the home will ensure the stray's good health and protect the health of other animals that may be in the home.

Once the steps for nursing and socializing a stray kitten are settled, the end result should be a loving new addition to a household. The best way to protect against additional stray kittens in the neighborhood is to have the new family member either spayed or neutered as soon as a veterinarian provides proper clearance for the surgery.

Help - My Neutered Cat Sprays!
By KAREN STEINROCK, For The Patriot-News

Dear Karen:

I’ve owned cats for over 70 years, all rescues, strays and wonderful pets. We now have five cats, the most recent “Mac” whom we rescued at our vet’s office a year ago where he was severely injured after being dragged by a car. He is now neutered, gets along well with the others but continues to spray and mark.

I never had a cat spray in my home and have tried many kinds of sprays, neutralizers but nothing works. Please help! We bonded and can’t part with him and he won’t survive outside. What can we do?

Dorothy – Bath

Dear Dorothy:

While neutering usually curbs spraying behavior, there are exceptions. Felines typically urine mark and spray to establish territory, targeting vertical surfaces at kitty nose level with the message “this is my space”, or “I am here” to attract mates.

Since he’s neutered, it’s likely a turf issue.

Mac had a rough start in life. One would understand why he may be more easily stressed than the other kitties, all of whom leave friendlier messages at nose level by applying pheromones emitted from their cheeks. But he’s the new kid on the block and something is threatening him. He may have a bone to pick with one of the other cats, feel crowded in his environment, or perhaps seen (or smelled) feline intruders outside the house.

Depending which products you’ve tried, here are some suggestions:

* Spray Feliway on marked areas and install a Feliway diffuser in rooms he’s soiled

* Add some multi-tier cat trees to open up vertical living space for the kitties.

* Assure you have enough litter boxes – in your case six

* Check the outdoors for roaming cats – block his view if necessary and use a commercial cat repellent, citrus rinds or mothballs around the exterior of the house

* Play interactive games using feathers, wands with the cats as a group

* Use enzymatic cleaners/neutralizers such as Nature’s Miracle to remove odors

* Have him vet checked to rule out an underlying medical condition

Enriching his environment will help remove insecurities he has about his “space”. If none of the above works, your veterinarian may recommend a behavior-modification drug. Anti-anxiety medications such as buspirone can take the edge off, but is a last resort. Good luck!

Natural Cures for Cat Coughing

Asthma is caused when pathways in the lungs are constricted and inflamed. According to most veterinarians, coughing and wheezing is sign of asthma in cats. It is usually caused by pollen and dust in the air that collects in the lungs, making it difficult for air to get through. While it is sometimes possible that a cat may need medication, there are some natural cures for cat coughing that you can do at home to make sure your cat breathes a lot easier.

If your cat is overweight it may worsen its’ coughing brought on by asthma. Cats that have been spayed or neutered have a greater tendency to become obese, but if you slowly decrease the volume of their food intake, it will help them lose weight and help control the cough.

Felines that are “indoor cats” seem to be affected less by cat coughing from asthma. If your cat is allowed outdoors during the spring , or the heavy pollen season, then hayfever may be making your cats’ asthma worse. Try to keep them indoors more, at least in the early morning and late afternoon, when the amount of pollen in the air is at its’ highest.

Humidifiers and air purifiers may also help with cat asthma, especially if someone in your home is a smoker. Most pets are very vulnerable to the effects of smoke, cats included, so either confine your smoking to an area of the home with an air purifier, smoke outside, or quit altogether. Also use a humidifier or vaporizer to get your humidity levels between 30 and 40 percent. Be careful not to exceed those levels though, too much humidity may cause the growth of dust mites and mold, which may also cause asthma attacks.

Controlling what products you use in your home may also help lessen cat coughing. Using dust-free kitty litter or sandbox sand would cut back on airborne particles, as well as using vinegar or baking soda based cleaning products. If you’re cleaning an area that may have mold spores, use a diluted bleach solution and then rinse it well. Also try to clean and dust more, but keep your pet out of the area until you are done.

If your cat just recently started having symptoms of asthma, you may need to see if you recently changed perfumes, shampoos, or detergents on yourself, or have recently purchased furniture that may have some chemical on it that is affecting your cat. Felines have sensitive noses, and may be affected by very subtle changes. One of the most natural cures for cat coughing is for the owner to change or replace some everyday items around the house.

Susan Boyle Turned Down LA for Her Cat
Press Trust Of India

Scottish singing sensation Susan Boyle turned down a chance to join other Hollywood A-listers in Los Angeles because she refuses to uproot her beloved cat Pebbles.

Sony Music executives offered to rent her a 10 million pounds mansion in an exclusive Californian community after learning her council house in Scotland had been broken into but she refused their offer, Daily Express reported.

"Susan told us she couldn't possibly be happy without her cat with her, even though we told her we'd fly Pebbles over here too. She seemed terribly sad but said she feared her pet might not survive the flight and, even if it did, might not settle by the ocean," a Sony source said.

"She blew us away. We even offered her a housekeeper, assistant and a chauffeur but she stuck to her guns," the source added. The 48-year-old singer became Sony's golden girl after selling more than eight million copies of her debut album 'I Dreamed A Dream' and has always been worried that a move would upset her 10-year-old cat.

"Pebbles doesn't want to move. She's lived there all her life and cats hate upping sticks," Boyle had said in an earlier interview.

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Pets' Teeth Need to Be Brushed Too
By George Messenger Monitor columnist

Hopefully most of you go to the dentist regularly, brush your teeth at least once a day, floss and use mouth rinses. Twice a year you have a professional dental cleaning done, right? Even if you do all that, your dentist will sometimes find cavities and other problems that need expert attention.

Our pets have teeth too (unless you own a bird), and none of them brush their own teeth, that's for sure. The ancestors of our domesticated dogs and cats used to roam the Earth, fending for themselves and eating natural foods. Their teeth were designed for this purpose, and they got the job done nicely. Cats, for example, are supposed to eat birds, mice, chipmunks and other animals. These tasty morsels are not only high in protein and low in carbohydrates, but they require a lot of chewing and gnawing. This goes a long way to prevent dental problems.

Most of us feed our pets canned or dry formulated diets. These are highly processed and very digestible; they require little to no chewing. When cats and dogs eat these foods, some food particles remain in the mouth. This provides food for bacteria, which, when combined with saliva and food debris, form plaque on the teeth.

Plaque is soft and removable by brushing or other means. However, in time it becomes mineralized and cemented to the teeth - it is hard and more difficult to remove. It also causes the gums to become irritated (gingivitis) and allows for the formation of more pockets for tartar to develop, as well as the onset of periodontal disease. Teeth can become loose in their sockets, which will lead to the loss of teeth as well as difficulty eating and oral pain. The inflamed gum-line will bleed, allowing for access of bacteria into the bloodstream. This can cause problems with internal organs such as the heart, liver, lungs and kidneys.

Animals with good oral hygiene tend to be healthier and live longer. Some pets are much more prone to dental problems than others. The small breeds such as poodles, dachshunds, terriers, schnauzers and Chihuahuas are more likely to have problems with their teeth than larger breeds such as German shepherds, labs and goldens.

Eighty percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have some degree of oral disease by the age of 3. Veterinarians usually make dental care recommendations to their clients; some people do everything as directed, and many don't. But since it is National Pet Dental Care month, I thought I would outline the general recommendations. If you do these things, you can rest assured that you are doing your best to maintain your pet's oral health:

1. Visit your veterinarian. Every veterinary exam should include an examination of the teeth. If signs of disease are found, a treatment plan will be recommended.

2. Start an oral care routine at home. This involves brushing the teeth before the plaque can turn into mineralized tartar. This should be done every day (or at least as often as possible). If you are unable to brush your pet's teeth, there are dental products, including tartar-control diets as well as chewy treats, that can reduce plaque and tartar formation.

3. Schedule regular dental checkups. Remember that people are supposed to have a twice-a-year dental checkup. It is equally important to have your pet's mouth examined, especially if your pet has a history of dental disease. At these dental checkups, it can be determined if cleanings need to be done. Dental cleanings are done under general anesthesia. This allows for thorough cleaning as well as detailed inspection of every surface of every tooth.

That's enough about teeth. I don't usually want to bore you with all this technical medical stuff, but what the heck - now and then I have to get serious.

10 Tips On How To Take Care Of Your Dog
by Cristian Stan - Article-Niche.com

Dogs are giving their owners unconditional love, friendship and loyalty. All they ask in return is water, food, a safe shelter, veterinarian care and companionship. Take care of these most important 10 things and the dog will love you for it. If your dog is sometimes snappy when you touch his ears, he may have an ear infection

1. External identification. Place a collar or an ID tag on the dog with the address, the name and telephone number. Sometimes, no matter how careful you are, the dog can get away from you and he can get lost. So it is best to have that identification data at hand. You can also try microchip identification. This is usually done by a vet and it can cost a lot of money.

2. Make sure you follow the local news and get the dog vaccinated for various diseases, including rabies. The local pet society can help you with this step.

3. When you’re off your property, keep the dog on a leash. If the dog is on a leash, then he will be safe and not roaming around. It is best to do so when you are in the community.

4. Protect the dog. Put a fence around the doghouse, especially if you have a big dog. Also, do not leave the dog outside for long periods of time. And do not leave the dog all alone for many hours. Just like humans, dogs need companionship.

5. Take the dog to the vet on regular intervals for check-ups. If you do not have a vet for the dog, talk to someone at the animal shelter.

6. Neuter or spay the dog. This routine surgery is for the dog’s protection and also for your own.
7. Diet. Make sure the dog has a good diet with plenty of nutritional elements. Water must also be present at all times. If the dog is older, then the diet should be adjusted to his needs. Talk to the vet about a dog’s nutrition.

8. Train your dog. Untrained dogs bring a lot of complications, for themselves and also for their owners, so it is best to keep the dog safe and trained. A dog trainer is not hard to find.

9. Exercise your dog. This helps him stay healthy and happy. You will allow the dog to stay in shape and also to exercise its instincts. You can do this by playing various games with your dog.
10. Be patient. If your dog is sometimes snappy when you touch his ears, he may have an ear infection. So treat all the symptoms with patience and care for your pet as much as you can.

Knowing the Dogs' Names...
but Not the People's

On Saturday, I took Belle to our 3rd flyball class. As I entered the room, I greeted all the dogs by name. The people I greeted with a friendly hello and a comment about their dog, but quite honestly I didn't remember all their names.

We talked about the new coif Collette (black poodle) had just gotten, which lead to a discussion amongst many of us on the cost of hair care and manicures for people vs. our pets. I asked Zodiak's mom, if he had any children read to him this past week – he happens to be a Pet Partner. I learned he had an exceptional week as parents brought their younger children to the library for a special session and Zodiak just relished in this new group – his mom beamed with pride.

Then on Sunday, Belle and I had an outing to the park. The muddy, soggy, grassy park. I couldn't believe I was walking through all the muck, but Belle was having a ball, so of course I kept going. We came upon many of the regulars. There was Heidi (Dachshund), Bella (Labrador), and the always energetic Duncan (mixed breed). Each of their humans and I exchanged pleasant conversations centered around the dogs – and we greeted each others' dogs by name, but no person's name was ever verbalized.

Also in the park were a couple of people without dogs that I frequently see. As we came upon each other, a different thing happened, we just nodded and walked past each other, except for the one who stopped for a bit to talk about how Belle looked like she had been having fun – my white dog now had a brown underbelly and legs.

Isn't it interesting how having a dog with us provides that 'safety net' for interacting with other people. And that so many of us have the ability to remember dog's names but not people's. I asked a few friends why they thought this happens. Here's what they said.

"Connecting with a dog, more often than not, results in an unbridled, positive reaction. A dog is curious, attentive, and selflessly interested in you. People, on the other hand, are trickier. So meeting someone on the street has risk. It's easier for people to greet the dog rather than the person with them. Then, once that happens, changing the greeting to include the person takes effort on someone's part. And, we know that humans will often do almost anything to avoid expending that sort of effort unless absolutely necessary."

One of the most social people I know commented, "We go to the park on a regular basis. We know people by their pets. Quite honestly we aren't interested in the people, only the pets -- we just want the opportunity to pet them, give and get a little love with no commitment."

Another noted, "When we are together with pets we say, "What's your dog's name?" easily but not "Who are you?" and the dog parent is always saying, well Rudy does so and so..." repeating it so often we remember!"

The mere presence of a dog (or other pet) makes us feel good. Their non-judgmental being makes it easy for us to connect – and want to connect – with them. But to get to know more about the dogs, we need to ask their human – so we start up conversations. The dogs become our bridge to human communication. Knowing we already have a common interest – dogs – makes it easy for two strangers to start up a dialogue. We remember the dogs' names as they are center of these conversations - often there is no reason to know the person's name until maybe later in the relationship when other common interests may be discovered.

Meeting new people and feeling a stronger sense of being engaged in our community is just one more way our pets help us live happier lives. The world is definitely a more congenial place because of the animals in it.

Belles' Mom (JoAnn)

Caplin Rous: World’s Largest Pet Rodent

It’s not unusual to have a pet rodent, but Melanie Typaldos’ pet Caplin Rous is no ordinary rodent. See, Caplin is a Capybara, the world’s largest rodent:

The second part of his name, which Typaldos pronounces like "rose," stands for "Rodent of Unusual Size" (a reference to the movie "The Princess Bride"). He’s also a rodent of unusual abilities. He can walk on a leash and even do some tricks, but Typaldos says it’s important not to exaggerate any similarity to a dog doing tricks.

"Dogs have thousands of years of being trained to be subservient to people," she says. "A capybara will not do a trick just to make me happy. The quality of the trick is very dependent on the quality of the treat."

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What Do Painted Turtles Eat -
Guide To Safe Turtle Foods

Painted turtles are popular house pets. Most people recognize these turtles from their red and yellow markings, but when asked what do painted turtles eat most people aren’t sure. Turtles are not as widely understood as dogs and cats and this can lead to confusion about feeding.

Turtles are versatile animals for the most part. They can eat a wide variety of foods. There are on certain foods that must be avoided, but more on that later. The first thing to know is that what turtles eat changes as it grows.

Baby Turtles

When the painted turtles are juveniles they tend to be more carnivorous. This is logical as protein is essential for development of strong muscles and early brain development. Packing in excess protein when young is a turtles way of bulking up for their maturity to be more formidable animals.

As the painted turtle reaches full maturity about 60% of its diet consists of vegetation and leafy greens. They will still eat protein as a regular part of their diet, but not nearly as much as when they were younger. As the muscles have become developed, it is now more important to store vitamins and nutrients from vegetation.


When captive as house pets turtles will need calcium supplements. Calcium is also an important part of what painted turtles eat as this is what gives them their strong durable shell. Once a turtles shell has weakened to the point of cracking open, its only a matter of time before infection kicks in. This usually leads to premature fatality.

You can buy calcium supplements at the pet store. The best supplement for painted turtles is a powder supplement that you “dust” their food with. Being a house pet your turtle will not have access to deposits, natural vegetation and other calcium sources in the wild. Calcium must be supplemented for the health of the turtle.

There’s the broad overview. What do painted turtles eat? There’s a lot of room for personal preferences. Here’s a list of the most common foods to feed the painted turtle:


-Earth worms
-Blood worms
-Cooked Beef and Chicken
(small bits)

Fruits and Vegetables:

-Leafy Greens (Mustard, Collard, Dandelion)
-Green Beans
-Sweet Potato

Turtle Food

Pet stores sell pellet turtle and reptile foods. Most of these are fine to use as a staple for your turtles diet. It doesn’t have to be the largest portion of food they get, just what they are fed in between the vegetables, fruit and protein. You may not have a constant supply of live proteins such as insects. When you run out, these foods will be there to fill in the gaps.

You do not need to feed your turtle all of these different foods in a month! As time goes on, try new things so your turtle has some variety in tastes, textures and for nutrition as well. The above list just gives examples of all the different types of foods that owners feed their painted turtles.

Hard foods, such as carrots should be cooked until soft and easier to digest. It is recommended that baby painted turtles be fed everyday while adults can feed every other day. Do not over feed your turtle as this leads to poor health and a weak immune system.


A good rule of thumb on how much to feed your painted turtle is as much as it will eat in fifteen minutes. After a fifteen minute period, if your turtle continues to eat, take away the food (unless it is sick). By that point they have had enough for one meal. Another way to look at this is to feed them a hunk of food that is the roughly the size of its neck and head.


There are a few things to watch out for to avoid feeding your turtle something that will give it health problems. Not everything is alright for a turtle to eat.

Try to avoid feeding your painted turtle spinach. The pesticides and the nutrients in spinach is suspected for a string of intestinal track problems. This led to several turtle fatalities that went unnoticed by the owners. Leafy greens are great turtle snacks, just make sure there is no spinach. Turtles will eat spinach if you put it in front of them.

Also avoid ice berg lettuce. There is very little nutritional value in iceberg lettuce. If you feed this to your turtle it won’t hurt them, but it won’t do them any good. fill their diet with foods that serve a purpose and make their health and condition better. Ice berg lettuce is a waste of tummy space and money.

Finally, a bit of a disclaimer on the above statement about feeding your turtle cooked chicken and beef. This is not an all the time meal. Once in a while this can be done with no side effects and makes a tasty turtle treat. If you constantly feed these things to your turtle it could have adverse effects on their health and their organs. A little dab will do, so offer supermarket meats no more than once a week if at all.

So to answer the question of what do painted turtles eat… a little bit of every thing. Some leafy greens and veggies, some proteins in the form of turtle pellets and/or insects and most fruits. The average adult is fed every other day, and for some every three days depending on the turtles size and age. Mix and match all these foods, but try to provide a balanced diet. Make sure in a week your painted turtle has had some protein, some vegetables and some fruit.

Fish Antibiotics – Helpful or Not?
by Quinn Baker - Your-Cats-Health.com

If you own a pet fish or have an aquarium you have probably had to deal with the issue of disease. Keeping the tank clean and balanced helps but even this is no guarantee against the development of disease. Multiple products have been sold to help cure diseases in fish, some good, some not so good. Here I would like to explain the possible uses for antibiotics to treat fish disease.

Antibiotics are powerful medications which should be used cautiously and generally speaking should be reserved for problems that cannot be controlled or cured using other treatment methods. Remember too, that antibiotics are useful against bacterial infections - NOT viral infections. I would also only recommend using them under the advice of a specialist with experience dealing with fish diseases. A hospital tank is recommended so that the medication will not harm the beneficial organisms in your main tank and you should not use a carbon filter during treatment as it will filter out the medication. There are several classes of antibiotics used for treatment of fish disease. The following is a list of medications along with diseases they may help treat.

1) Penicillins: The most common medications in this class include penicillin, amoxicillin, and ampicillin. The penicillins are broad spectrum antibiotics which are effective against gram-positive and some gram-negative bacteria. They can be effective against a number of pathogenic bacteria associated with marine and freshwater ornamental fish diseases including Infected eyes, Fin and Tail Rot, Skin ulcerations, Pop-eye, Columnaris disease, Gill disease and White Body Slime.

2) Tetracyclines: Several commonly used medications in this class are tetracycline, minocycline and doxycycline. These are broad spectrum antibiotics most effective for gram-negative organisms. Often used to treat Gill disease, Fin and Tail Rot, Pop-eye, Anorexia or other Unusual Behavior, Internal infections and General Listlessness.

3) Macrolides: The most commonly used medication in this class is erythromycin. The macrolides are broad spectrum antibiotics with a similar but broader range than the penicillins. They are also effective against some atypical bacteria. The macrolides are useful for Clamped fins, Swollen eyes, Heavy or Rapid breathing and Patchy coloration.

4) Quinolones: Ciprofloxacin is the most well know quinolone. The quinolones inhibit DNA repair and block bacterial replication and can therefore be effective against bacteria resistant to other antibiotics. Quinolones are particularly useful against Aeromonas, Vibrios, Furunculosis, Flexibacteria and Columnaris infection.

This has been a very brief synopsis of the possible uses for antibiotics for the treatment of common ornamental fish diseases. Please consult your local aquatic specialist for proper diagnosis and treatment if you are concerned with the health of your fish or the health of your tank as a whole.

For a great selection of fresh quality fish antibiotics, visit our site at www.aqua-mox.com for the fish medications you need.

Sick Pet Bird Care
Author: Jill Patt - Article Source: EzineArticles.com

This article is directed specifically to pet bird owners and is intended for their use as a basic how to guide on caring properly for a sick or injured bird. Please always follow the advice of your veterinarian & do not use this article as a means of avoiding a hands on veterinary examination. The key idea of this article is to reduce any and all stress to your recovering bird.

1. WARMTH: Ill birds will sit with their feathers fluffed in an attempt to conserve heat. The effort to conserve heat places an additional burden on the already debilitated bird. Your veterinarian will determine if your bird requires hospitalization, but if home care is acceptable, I recommend creating a tent to keep your bird warm. A birds natural temperature is much higher then ours at anywhere from 103F-106F. Therefore, what often feels warm to us can be chilly to them and this is particularly true in sick birds.

A simple way of providing heat is to cover 1/2 of the cage with a blanket and place a heat lamp on the other side as a heat source. Generally speaking we keep our sick birds at environmental temperatures ranging form 85-95F. This will vary greatly with the individual bird so it is important to monitor your pet to ensure that you are providing the correct temperature and of course seek your veterinarian’s advice. A bird that is too hot will have very sleek feathers held tightly to the body, will hold its wings (shoulders) slightly away from its body and may pant. If you see any of these signs your bird is much too warm and the environmental temperature should be reduced accordingly. For night warmth I recommend using a red light. Ill birds, just like ill people, require rest and if kept under bright lights all night they will become sleep deprived.

Also, during the day it is important to provide light so that they may be encouraged to eat and can be monitored. Therefore, the entire cage should never be covered during the day. I don’t recommend heating pads because it is very difficult to regulate the temperature. If a bird is not perching and sitting directly on the pad they can easily become overheated or burned. And in my experience baby birds that are raised on heating pad quickly become dehydrated and again are subject to burns.

2. STRESS: Debilitated birds must be kept in a stress free situation. Often what appears normal to us can cause stress in our feathered friends. I suggest taking a close look at your bird’s environment with a critical eye to determine what may be stress factors. Some common ones include, the bird in the center of house traffic with no chance to rest, cigarette smoke or aerosols in the birds environment, lack of darkness/sleep time at night, other pets, small children, too much visual stimuli (cage directly in front of a window), competition from cage mates, too much handling, poor nutrition and temperature extremes (such as birds kept in kitchens).

I recommend that sick birds be left in their cage and allowed to calmly recuperate. Think of this as bed rest for your pet! Too much handling can stress the bird and will require the bird to use additional calories. If the bird is housed with other birds, it is usually best to remove the bird to a single cage. Some birds can become too stressed when separated from the colony so you should seek your veterinarian’s advice on how to cage your sick pet. However, generally removing the bird from the group will reduce the stress of competition for nutrition and allow for medicating easily and better monitoring. Of course, if infectious disease is suspected, then the pet must be moved into an isolation cage and at least a separate room – preferably a separate house with no other birds.

3. NUTRITION: If your doctor made dietary recommendations, now is not the time to implement change. Changes in the type of diet will cause enormous stress to your bird and should be started when the bird has recovered. Always discuss how and when to made dietary changes with your pet’s doctor. Generally, I recommend offering all the bird’s favorite foods during illness because many ill birds become anorexic and can be lost due to starvation. If your bird is normally a seedeater but not currently eating, try placing millets sprays in the cage which most birds enjoy. The important thing to remember is that it has taken months to years for the bird to become malnourished and this cannot be corrected in a day or a week. Slow changes are essential for the ill bird. If you are unable to get your pet to eat he/she should be hospitalized for gavage feeding and further care. Birds have a high metabolic rate and can quickly starve. Thus, a pet bird that stops eating should always be assumed to be critically ill, certainly the potential for fatality is present.

Lastly, if your bird is a hand reared baby and is not eating due to illness, you can often revert them back to hand feeding (syringe feeding) during the convalescent period. A good hand rearing formula should be used. The formula should be mixed with hot water as directed on the bag and offered to the bird. Do not force the bird to eat. Pet owners should never force feed their birds. A bird can easily aspirate (inhale food) and develop pneumonia and force-feeding causes enormous stress to your bird. Reverting to hand feeding is only of use for those birds that willingly accept feeding from the syringe. Also, if hand feeding, the formula must be warmed correctly (follow the advice on the formula bag and that of your veterinarian) to avoid food burns from too hot formula and crop stasis from formula fed at too cool a temperature.

4. MEDICATING: Routes: 1. Injectable, 2. In water or Food, 3. Topical, 4. Oral I prefer not to medicate in the pet’s water or the food. Medication given in this way often causes a change in the taste and can potentially cause the bird to reduce their food and water intake. Also, when medication is placed in the food or water it is very difficult to determine how much of the medication the pet has actually ingested. Thus, in my opinion the best routes are injectable and oral. Topical medication often is not of use to the pet and will cause oily feathers.

Prior to taking your bird home, you should be shown how to appropriately medicate your bird by the doctor or technician. Briefly, the patient should be held in an upright position and the syringe containing the medication should be gently introduced from the left side of the mouth and angled to the right side. Most birds will attempt to bite the syringe allowing it to be easily introduced into the oral cavity. Slowly depress the plunger on the syringe to dispense the medication into the lower portion of the beak. If the pet struggles while medicating, stop for a few moments and then try again. You should advise your veterinarian if you are unable to medicate your pet. Medication can be mixed with a flavoring agent (FlavorX), which will help to reduce some resistance. Occasionally, depending on the reason for treatment, your doctor may be able to give a long acting injection in place of oral medication but this has limited uses and thus is not available for every pet.

5. FOLLOW-UP EXAMINATIONS: As soon as illness was detected in your pet he/she was taken to the veterinarian for a through physical examination and diagnostic work-up including laboratory testing. Unfortunately, many people will see that their pet is improving and don’t realize that a follow-up exam is necessary. I always suggest rechecking the patient at variable intervals depending on the state of debilitation. The recheck exam allows your doctor to assess the patient’s response to treatment and the owner’s compliance with instructions. Many times in the course of treating an exotic pet the treatment must be altered somewhat to ensure the best response.

These rechecks are also used as a way of reinforcing the changes needed for the bird to remain healthy. Additionally, lab values can be rechecked to ensure that the patient is truly recovering and not just feeling well enough again to resume hiding any weakness. I can’t stress the importance of this follow up enough, it is extremely important to the health of your bird.

Most importantly, follow the advice of your veterinarian and ask questions to ensure that you completely understand what is needed of you to get your pet back to health.

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