Panties for Dogs? (Photos)

Dogasaur - Top 5 Grooming Tips for Dog Owners
by Dogasaur -

1) Regular nail trimming is essential for your dog’s walking comfort. Because cutting into the quick of the nail, the part with blood vessels, can hurt a dog, you should only trim your dog’s nails after learning safe technique with the proper tools.

2) Ear grooming helps keep your dog’s auditory organs free of infections. For short haired dogs, a regular bath may adequately clean their ears. Long haired dogs, though, are more liable to develop problems with wax build-up and in-growing hairs. Because a dog’s ears are so sensitive, and you could damage them with the wrong treatments, only undertake to clean your dog’s ears after an expert has taught you the safe technique for your breed of dog.

3) Haircuts. If you own a breed with fast-growing hair, it’s best to leave trimming and styling to professionals. If you’re very motivated to learn how to give your dog a proper haircut, however, you can acquire the proper tools and over time, the knowledge of how to cut your dog’s hair.

4) Bathing. Most dogs hate baths. Be sure to lavishly praise and fuss over your dog for every second it tolerates getting bathed. Only use vet-recommended doggy shampoos.

5) Brushing. Of all grooming activities, brushing is the one dogs tend to enjoy. Brushing your dog often not only strengthens the bond between you and your animal companion, it also helps to make your dog more receptive to other necessary aspects of grooming.

Two-Legged Dog Gets Help
from Celebrity Friends
By Sue Manning -

Like any good Hollywood transplant, Scooby-Roo went from a troubled past to rehab

The two-legged dog has celebrity friends such as Demi Moore and Alyssa Milano. He has a therapist and a personal trainer and can look forward to a masseuse and acupuncturist.

But it didn't start out that way. The 11-month-old mutt was born without front legs and dumped in South Central Los Angeles. He and his sister Sophie were found living in a wrecked, abandoned car near a freeway onramp. He was covered in blood from scooting around on the asphalt.

A pair of good Samaritans caught the dogs and took them to Sheila Choi, who runs Fuzzy Dog and Cat Rescue, Inc., in Santa Monica. While some shelters might have euthanized the dogs, Choi sent out a mass e-mail looking for donations and other support.

Demi Moore tweeted about Roo. Shannon Elizabeth sent money and tweeted for more dollars.

Alyssa Milano saw a YouTube video of the dog and fell in love, she said through her publicist. She called Choi, promised to help any way she could and became the dog's godmother. Their first get-together included a photo shoot.

Choi has also talked to the Jackson family publicist to try to work out a meeting among Roo, Paris and Prince.

The dog, named for his Scooby-Doo! coloring and kangaroo hop, got a therapist for his emotional scars and a personal trainer to help with the wheels. As he progresses, Choi said they are looking at hydrotherapy and massages. Milano thinks he should see an acupuncturist too.

With the celebrity help, Choi collected $2,000 for a set of custom wheels for Roo.

Top 10 Dog Medical Conditions of 2009
by Jennifer White -

Even the healthiest person can end up in a doctor’s office with an unexpected bout of stomach trouble or an ear infection. While these conditions are rarely life threatening, they can become chronic and expensive to treat. The same is true for pets.
Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI), is the USA’s oldest and largest provider of pet health insurance, receives more than a million claims annually for treatment of cats and dogs. This data reveals that just like people, many dogs in 2009 received treatment for non-emergency as well as ongoing disorders:

Top Dog Conditions
1. Ear Infection
2. Skin Allergy
3. Skin Infection/Hot Spots
4. Gastritis/Vomiting
5. Enteritis/Diarrhea
6. Bladder Infection
7. Arthritis
8. Soft Tissue Trauma
9. Non-cancerous Tumor
10. Eye Infection

“What we hear from many pet owners,” said Dr. Carol McConnell, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI, “is that nothing happens to their pet because the pet is with them daily and receives the right food and plenty of exercise, etc. Those things certainly go a long way in making for a healthy, happy animal. Despite a pet owner’s best efforts, however, VPI’s data shows that pets are still at risk for ailments that may require repeated trips to a veterinarian’s office.”

VPI received nearly 68,000 canine claims for ear infections in 2009 – with an average claim fee of $100 per office visit. The most expensive canine condition on the list (non-cancerous tumor) cost an average of $335 per visit.

A few of the top 10 dog and cat conditions can be associated with an animal’s natural aging process. However, many of the top 10 conditions can occur in any pet. No matter the age or breed, whether it be an indoor or an outdoor dog or cat, pet owners should familiarize themselves with their pets’ daily routine in order to identify abnormal behaviors that might indicate an injury or illness. In addition, regular semiannual physical exams can help prevent and identify certain conditions before they become serious or costly.

Hot Mess Amy Winehouse
Gets Rid Of Her 11 Cats
By Robert Paul Reyes -

"British singer Amy Winehouse has given away her 11 cats because they were getting out of control.

`Amy was pretty upset about it because she loved them dearly, but she had to give them up. They were climbing all over the place, breeding and generally getting out of control,` said a source."

*** Don't all cats climb, breed and get out of control? ***

How to Create an Evacuation Plan
That Includes Your Cats

Dear Most Esteemed and Knowledgeable Kitties:

I recently had to evacuate my apartment temporarily, with my two cats, as a result of a fire in the building next door. It occurred to me later that even though I got the cats out OK and I have an idea of how you’re supposed to prepare for evacuating with cats, I don’t know everything. I think it would be a great service to your readers (and to me, if I have to evacuate with my cats again) to write about what cat caretakers need to do in order to be prepared for disasters.


Siouxsie: You make a very good point, Adrianna. This is really important information, and very few cat caretakers prepare for evacuating with their cats, even if they do think about it.

Thomas: You’ll need to do some crucial planning and preparation long before a disaster occurs, because once that disaster is happening you’re not going to have the time or the ability to get this stuff together.

Dahlia: First, make sure your cats have collars with tags that include your current contact information. Mama put our names on the front of our tags and her cell phone number on the back. Better yet, make sure your cats are microchipped; cats can easily lose their collars because cat collars are designed to break apart if they get hung up in branches or other dangers.
Siouxsie: Modern microchip scanners can detect most types of chips, and most animal shelters in the US have microchip scanners. If you do have your cats microchipped, you must be sure to register your cats with the company’s registry (a lot of people don’t) and that you keep your registry entry updated with your most current contact information.

Thomas: Plan ahead for a safe haven for your cat. Many Red Cross shelters don’t accept pets. Talk to family members and friends outside your immediate area to see if you can bring your cats with you in the event that you need to escape from a disaster. Check for hotels and motels outside your immediate area that allow pets or ask your vet for references to preferred pet boarding facilities.

Dahlia: Get a free pet rescue sticker from the ASPCA to put on your front and back doors. Local pet stores may also sell these stickers. If you’re evacuating and it’s safe to do so, please write EVACUATED on your pet rescue sticker with a permanent marker.

Siouxsie: Make sure you have one carrier for each cat. This carrier should have enough room for your cat to stand or lie down at full length, and some rescue groups say your carrier should be big enough to keep a litter pan inside. We think it’s more important that the carriers are easy to manage, especially if you have more than one cat. Each carrier should have your cat’s name and your contact information written on it in permanent marker.

Thomas: Put together a “GOD (Get Out of Dodge) bag” for your cats as well as for yourself. Your GOD bag should be easily accessible, as close to the exit as possible, easy to carry, and water-resistant or waterproof. This evacuation kit should include:

--A list of emergency contact phone numbers and addresses of pet-friendly hotels and motels

--Photocopies of your cats’ veterinary records — or, at the very least, proof of vaccinations (if you need to board your cat, proof of vaccination will be required)

--Description of your cats’ feeding and medication requirements
Recent photos and descriptions (including any special markings or identifying details) of your cats, preferably with you or your family, in case you become separated

--Disposable litter pans, either with litter or without (if you get the kind without litter, be sure to include a small bag of your preferred brand of litter in your evacuation kit)

--Collapsible food and water dishes for each cat

--A seven-day supply of food for each cat (canned food should be in pull-top cans)*

--A seven-day supply of bottled water for you and for each cat*

--A two-week supply, in a waterproof container, of any medications your cat needs to take*

--A pet first aid kit (these are available at pet stores or through the ASPCA) and first aid manual

--Extra bedding

--Paper towels

--Hand sanitizer

--Liquid dish soap

--A blanket and a couple of toys for each cat

--Garbage bags (for clean-up)

* Food, water, and medications should be replaced every two months.

Dahlia: We know this seems like a lot of preparation to make, but trust us — if you ever need it, you’ll be glad you did!

Siouxsie: The New York State Emergency Management Office offers a printable PDF flyer with an excellent guide to pet safety in a variety of emergency situations. It’s free, and we highly recommend that all cat lovers download and print this document as a reference.

Thomas: We hope you never need to use your evacuation plan, but especially if you live in a disaster-prone area, it’s critical that you be prepared to get your pets safe as well as yourself and your human family. If a situation is not safe for you, it’s not safe for your cats, so please don’t leave them behind!

Dahlia: Thank you for bringing this up, Adrianna. You’re awesome!

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Hey, What Happened to My Dog?
Did a Cat Eat It?
by Barbara Hijek -

Did you see that cat? We mean a really big cat

Several bobcat sightings in areas around New Smyrna Beach are making people a bit nervous.

Bobcats were seen prowling on empty property off A1A, and all they'd have to do is cross the street to get into neighboring high-rises, reports

Officials warn that bobcats are known to go after pets -- especially cats and small dogs.

Just so you know, bobcats can grow to about 3 feet and can weigh up to 30 pounds. Though the cats do have very sharp claws and teeth, they're also protected animals, and the state won't remove them unless they're a nuisance or have rabies.

We've had worse neighbors.

Ringo the Cat Back with Maryland Family
After Months on Pittsburgh Streets

Ringo the cat is finally going home

Ringo was reunited Friday with his family, eight months after he wandered from his suburban Baltimore home, hitched a ride to Highland Park in the back of a moving truck and survived on the streets.

"I started crying when I found out he was found. Lately, I'd been thinking I'd never see him again. It's so cold outside, and there's so much snow," said Megan Brantley, 18, of Reisterstown, Md. "I'm ecstatic."

Only Ringo knows exactly where he was since May. The Brantleys and others prayed for his safety. Megan checked lost pet Web sites nearly every day.

"I was starting to get more and more discouraged. People on craigslist told me to 'give up. Your cat's dead.' But other people would e-mail to ask if he had been found," Brantley said. "But I never once thought he was dead. Nothing in my gut said, 'Your cat is dead.' "

And he wasn't dead -- just cold, hungry and meowing when Paul DePasquale found him under a car Sunday on Portland Street in Highland Park. DePasquale coaxed the black-and-white tuxedo cat out from underneath and took him inside.

"It was really shivering, so I got some cat food, and he started eating it so fast. I didn't want to see it suffer, so I picked him up and carried him inside," said DePasquale, 46, who works for the Allegheny County Airport Authority. He said his co-workers in the tile shop all hate cats, but he has three cats of his own.

It was warm and sunny in late May when the Brantleys' neighbor, Lela Arnold, 50, finished packing her moving truck and headed to Pittsburgh. She had watched the Brantleys' animals when they vacationed, so she was familiar with their pets.

Three days later when Arnold opened the truck to unpack at her new Highland Park home, a cat darted from the truck.

"I was so upset. I went looking for him right then, but I couldn't find him," said Arnold, who phoned her former neighbors to deliver the bad news.

A June story in the Tribune-Review chronicled Ringo's plight.

"When I would go to sleep, I would always say a prayer that if I didn't find Ringo that someone would take him in," Arnold said. "I was feeling so guilty. I felt like I should have known he was in the truck. Whenever it was cold or raining or snowing, I would think, 'Oh Ringo, where are you?' "

Arnold continued to search, posting online descriptions and answering ads about found cats. None was Ringo.

Brantley and her dad traveled to Pittsburgh in June to pass out fliers and search.

"We had to give up," said Larry Brantley, 44.

DePasquale posted a description of the cat he found on the Highland Park neighborhood e-mail service, and Arnold, who lives a few streets away, saw it. She went to see if the cat was Ringo and was fairly certain it was, so DePasquale e-mailed digital pictures and a short video of the cat to the Brantleys. They recognized Ringo's meow.

Ringo's white boots were gray, and he had a bite wound with an abscess on one leg, but otherwise he was healthy, Arnold said. DePasquale and Arnold took the cat to a veterinarian for treatment, and the Brantleys picked him up there.

"It's unbelievable," Larry Brantley said. "The irony of the story is that just recently, with all this snow, my wife said she hoped someone took Ringo in. But the fact that we had a blizzard made it possible for that guy to find him."

Tips For Feeding Your Pet Snake
By Irene Waftler -

Does your idea of feeding your pet snake consist of tossing some food in the tank every couple of days, closing the lid and walking away? Continue reading and you'll find that there is a lot more involved, and you may just pick up some useful tips to make your snake a lot happier.

It is best to start using the right techniques as early as you can with your snake, hopefully when they are still a baby. Although it may be tougher to instill the correct habits as the snake gets older it is not impossible. These methods will help keep you and your snake healthy and happy while avoiding any unnecessary accidents.

The first tip is to always use a separate container in which to feed your snake instead of its primary habitat. This will condition your snake to know that it doesn't get fed while in the main tank. Why do we do this? This method will help prevent accidental biting when you put your hand in the tank to pickup your pet snake. After years of dropping in its food, there is a chance that your snake may one day mistake your fingers for a frozen mouse when you reach in to pick him up and give you a nasty bite. If you train them to know they only feed after they have been removed from the cage and placed in the feeding enclosure, you limit this risk.

You can use a variety of things to use for the feeding area; it doesn't need to be a separate tank. You can use a cardboard box, a plastic storage, container, or any number of similar items. As long as it is large enough and tall enough walls, it should suffice for your needs.

The second tip is to always use a pair of snake feeding tongs. These are usually a long set of metal tongs and you can get them at most pet stores. These keep your fingers out of reach of your snake's mouth. You simply grab the frozen rodent by its hind quarters and lower it in front of your snake. You never want to offer your snake the back side of frozen mice first. The legs can splay out and cause difficulty in swallowing and even injury. When your snake eats the feeder head first, the legs fold back naturally, and this is the way they eat in the wild.

Those two tips should get you well on your way to creating good feeding habits for your pet snake. Creating these habits early will save you time and trouble in the long run.

If you would like some more tips on feeding your snake frozen mice or finding suppliers of snake food, head on over to

Article Source:

View Photos of Singles -
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Pet Talk: Pants for Dogs,
Safe Paw Products Go with the Flow
By Sharon L. Peters, Special for USA TODAY

For female poodles, the Pants for Dogs line has "thongs," inspired by the need of poodle owners to obtain panties that don't crush those hip poms called rosettes.

Dog lovers are a resolute lot when it comes to solving their pets' problems.

This is the tale of two of them: two dog lovers who got inventive — in very different ways — because of dog issues they were contending with; then they got entrepreneurial, and then the marketplace wound up with new products.

The results of their problem-solving imaginations have been on full display in recent days at two pretty darned high-profile events on either side of North America: one at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York this week, and the other at the Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Pants for Dogs are "panties with panache" developed by Neena Pellegrini of Seattle. They come in many sizes for all breeds. The pants for English bulldogs and French bulldogs have no tail hole, because a tail hole is irrelevent for that breed.

Pants for Dogs: For protective purposes

First product up: cute, comfy and — of utmost importance — absorbent doggie undies and thongs.

Sounds crazy to anyone who hasn't had a dog with a bit of an incontinence/dribbling problem, or a female dog that hasn't been fixed. But those of us who have owned and loved such a dog have spent more than a few minutes wishing Depends came in canine configurations.

Neena Pellegrini to the rescue.

She's the founder of Pants for Dogs (, a little Seattle-based cottage industry filling hundreds of orders for tiny- to massive-sized panties for female dogs, and, for male dogs, items she calls cummerbunds (although the waist isn't, in a precise sense, the true target, of course). Each garment in its own way protects rugs, floors and whatever else needs protecting from the drips and streams we'd rather not contemplate (and certainly not discuss).

The business started four years ago when Pellegrini's little male dog kept marking her little female dogs. A training issue, most would say. But improvement doesn't happen overnight. How do you protect the girls?

She found some canine "belly bands" marketed for more or less that purpose, but the fit wasn't great, the elastic chafed, and the durability was less than ideal. So Pellegrini re-thought the concept, came up with some design specifications and found a seamstress willing to stitch some up.

Folks started asking about them, and Pellegrini, a journalist by trade, decided to perfect the cummerbund design even further, get a few dozen made "more as an amusement, really, just to see what might happen," and came up with a design for girl dogs. Pretty soon she was plying her attractively patterned creations — into which a sanitary napkin is slipped — online.

Many of her customers are owners of female purebreds that need a little something when they come into season. So in recent days, during Westminster, Pellegrini has set up a booth in the dog-friendly hotel across from Madison Square Garden, joining a handful of other dog-products vendors.

Pellegrini recently applied for a patent and began selling "thongs," little wisps of protection for female dogs inspired by the need of poodle owners to obtain panties that don't crush those hip poms called "rosettes."

You might imagine only owners of froufrou dogs have interest in these things. You would be wrong. There's big demand for her products — offered in a colorful array of patterns, including dragonfly, flags and bones — in sizes intended for Great Danes and bull mastiffs.

Show dog owners are only half her clientele. The rest are owners of "pets with medical or age problems who are desperate" to find something with the right fit and functionality, she says. "They've seen those pet diapers in pet stores, maybe tried them, and they're just not right."

The cummerbunds go for $20 to $25, depending on whether you're attiring a terrier or a Saint Bernard; the female ones go for $25 to $35 (and you can get panties with ruffles for a little more if you think your dog would enjoy something more obviously girlie).

Some owners buy them in several colors.

Pellegrini regularly tweaks something here and there to fine-tune her offerings. She devised panties minus tail hole, for example, for English bulldogs and French bulldogs, breeds that, well, have no need for such an opening.

"My basement is filled with pants for dogs," she says with a laugh. Something she never anticipated when she set about solving a personal pet problem.

Cathy M. Rosenthal:
Collar Shows Pet Who's Top Dog
Cathy Rosenthal -

Dear Cathy,
We have a 5-year-old, 130-pound German shepherd named Buddy. Buddy is one of the sweetest dogs and has been our family pet since he was 6 weeks old. I take him for walks every day. He is not neutered and has not been formally trained. He acts on command by my soon-to-be ex, is fairly good for my son, but he pretty much "walks me." I am recovering from a fall I took when he bolted for another dog. Should we get formal training? Would he be better off at a ranch where he can run and be active? I am afraid of getting hurt again and worry this could happen to my son, too.

— B.C.

Dear B.C.,

Don't get rid of Buddy because he pulls on a leash. Take a dog training class instead. Dog training will teach you how to work with Buddy in all sorts of situations, including walks.

In the meantime, I don't want you or your son to get hurt during walks again, so buy a Gentle Leader head collar. Unlike regular neck collars or shoulder harnesses, which allow the dog to pull from the strongest part of his body, the Gentle Leader loops around the dog's nose and applies gentle pressure around the muzzle in the same manner that lead dogs communicate with dogs lower in rank. Created by a veterinarian, it actually looks like a horse head collar. With this collar, your dog should immediately recognize you as the pack leader and respond to your commands.

I have used Gentle Leader collars on large breed dogs and the effect on their behavior is immediate. They cannot lunge or pull away, so walks are instantly wonderful. You can find the Gentle Leader ( at local pet stores.

Still enroll Buddy in a dog training class. You don't want the big lug knocking down someone else, not even in play.

My final two cents: Get him neutered. I have heard male dogs can detect a female dog in heat up to a mile away, and that can make any male dog pull on the leash.

Bella beats Max

For six years in a row, Max ruled the top spot in the list of the top 10 most popular dog names. But Veterinary Pet Insurance crunched the numbers on its more than 475,000 insured pets to determine 2009's most common pet names, and Bella beat out Max by more than 400 dogs.

Max may have slipped in the polls with dog lovers, but that name still rules No. 1 in the cat world. Tigger dropped four spots to No. 7 for cat names, while Bella jumped five spots to No. 3 in 2009. The newcomer Angel edged in at No. 10, bumping Charlie from this year's list. Sorry, Charlie.

Here's the list of the most popular pet names for 2009:

Dogs: Bella, Max, Bailey, Lucy, Molly, Buddy, Maggie, Daisy, Chloe and Sophie.

Cats: Max, Chloe, Bella, Oliver, Tiger, Smokey, Tigger, Lucy, Shadow and Angel.

What about wacky names? That list includes Blue Man Chew, Fuzzbucket and Sergeant Pickles. What unusual name you have bestowed on your pet? Send me your pet's unusual names (and the reason for the name) for a future column.

Send your pet stories and questions to Cathy M. Rosenthal, c/o Features Department, San Antonio Express-News, P.O. Box 2171, San Antonio, TX 78297-2171, or Cathy's advice column runs every Sunday. You can read her blog, Animals Matter, at

Gary Bogue:
Do Cats Really Growl Like a Dog
and Guard Your House?
By Gary Bogue - Contra Costa Times

Dear Gary:

This is a new one for me!

My Maine coon cat Buffy was sitting in the front window next to me and she started growling. Then she jumped down and raced to the front door, still growling.

I thought what the heck and went to see if there was a cat there. No, it was someone passing out fliers on the door. If she knew how to bark, I think she would have done that too!

Anyone else out there with watch cats on duty?

Arlene, Concord

Dear Arlene:

Oh, yes, more than you would ever think!

A few cats (not all!) are just as protective of family members and the house as dogs, and even scarier. When a cat growls and threatens to attack, it really makes you think about it.

Longtime readers will remember my tortie point Siamese, Isis, bless her long departed heart. The two of us used to live together in a tiny rented house back in the early 1980s.

One morning the landlady brought by a potential buyer to check out the house (without telling me). Then I got a call at work from her saying Isis was in front of the door, frizzed up twice her normal size, growling like a BIG dog and refusing to let them in the house.

I had to drive home and spend five minutes calming Isis down before she'd even let ME inside the house.

Needless to say, my dear cat had fresh fish for dinner that night.

Dear Gary:

I was wondering if you've ever heard of some critters eating cymbidium orchid spikes and buds? This is the first year I have had this problem in over 30 years.

Once the buds open, the flower remains untouched. I have tried animal repellent pellets, with no luck. Am trying a live trap cage, using cat food as bait. The canned food goes untouched in the rear of the cage, but the cat treats have been eaten in the front, as well as leading to the cage. I have tried putting cymbidium buds inside the cage, front and back.

Where I live we have fenced yards, so it is not a dog or deer. I have seen raccoons, opossums, skunks and squirrels in the area, as well as cats.

The flower spikes are 1 to 2½ feet tall and plants are not damaged at all, leading me to believe he stands on hind feet to reach each spike. I have been given ideas to try, such as Listerine sprayed on the buds and cayenne pepper, but as I have over 500 plants, that would be difficult, especially if I have to reapply due to rain.

Any suggestions, please?

Debbie Brown,
San Lorenzo

Dear Debbie:

Don't be so quick to discount deer just because you have a fence. I've seen deer vault 6-foot fences as if they weren't there.

I get the feeling this is happening at night. If so, I suspect a roof rat. They like to nibble on fruits and garden vegetables and probably cymbidium spikes and buds. A lightweight rat could climb all over the plant to reach the buds without causing any damage. It might also be too small to get caught in your live trap. Call Alameda County Vector Control, 510-567-6800, or see

Dear Gary:

A few weeks ago, you said to give the dog a blanket on cold nights. I keep my house at 62 degrees at night and my dog sleeps on my bed. She has her own blanket that I toss over her but sometime during the night she ends up on top of it.

Would she still be warm enough lying on top of the blankets? She's a 50-pound boxer.

Leslie in cyberspace

Dear Leslie:

Not to worry. If she gets cold, she'll just roll up in all the blankets and get nice and warm. You, however, may have a problem keeping warm if she does that.

Cathy M. Rosenthal:
Wife Upset Over In-Laws' Pet Care
Cathy Rosenthal - Cathy Rosenthal -

Dear Cathy: My husband and I have been married for many years and have several "fur babies" that we give a pampered life. The problem is my husband's family keeps their dogs outside year-round in the heat, cold and rain. Some are infested with fleas. I can't stand going over there and seeing those poor animals. It not only depresses me, it infuriates me. There is little human interaction with the animals. I don't understand why they have them. My husband says he doesn't agree with it either, but says "that's just my family."

Granted his family does not have a lot of money, but where is the compassion for the animals they proclaim to love? I've brought the dogs bones and given the family information on low cost spay and neuter programs. I've mentioned bringing the animals in on extremely cold rainy nights, but they blow me off. It's driving me crazy and I'm about to go off on them. Even if the pet's basic needs, such as food, water and something that resembles a pathetic shelter is covered, should I report them? Please sign me .?.?.

Just another animal lover

Dear Animal Lover: I don't envy your position. If you say too much, you can alienate your husband's family. If you say too little, you harbor anger, which will result in a fight. Like you, I don't understand why they have pets if they don't want to care for them, but rather than judge the family too harshly, here are a few ways you can help these dogs.

First, advice needs to come from your husband, not you. Your comments will alienate them — his comments may not. If he truly believes the dogs should be treated better, he needs to speak up.

Second, offer to help rather than provide resources for them to act on. Most people don't like being told they "need" or "should" do something and their reaction is to close up. Instead, offer to bathe the dogs and apply the monthly flea treatment. Offer to take the dogs to get them sterilized. Offer to build the dogs a better outdoor shelter. Don't offer too much all at once. Take it step-by-step.

Finally, you and your husband should play with the dogs when you visit for two reasons: one, this may be the only play time the dogs get and two, people tend to imitate others. If they see you both giving the dogs attention and the dogs behave differently when you are around, they might eventually see the benefits of playing with their dogs.

They won't change their behaviors because you say so and they might not because your husband says so, but I do think your husband is the crucial link to helping these dogs out. As for reporting the family, if the dogs have the basic necessities, then there is not much an animal control officer can do other than offer some pet care advice.

However, if you feel they aren't listening, it might be an option for further down the road. You can't force people to play with and love their pets. All you can do is ensure these dogs have the basic necessities of life, which includes shelter, food, water and appropriate vet care. You may have to be the one that provides the love.

Send your pet stories and questions to Cathy M. Rosenthal, c/o Features Department, San Antonio Express-News, P.O. Box 2171, San Antonio, TX 78297-2171, or Cathy's advice column runs every Sunday. You can read her blog, Animals Matter, at

Choosing The Right Pet Bird

Having a pet companion at home can certainly be rewarding. Having pet birds can be both a rewarding and challenging experience. Birds are intelligent and fascinating to look at. But it is important to choose the right bird for you and at the same time prepare yourself for the responsibilities. Birds when properly cared for can live for a long time.

Before getting yourself a feathered friend, there are some things you need to answer first

• Can you still care for a bird? Birds are social creatures, they also need time. So make sure that you or your family still have the time to care for a bird.

• Is your home and your neighbours okay with some bird noise? Birds can be extremely noisy in several occasions. And can disrupt some neighbours. But you can pick a smaller bird which can still make some noise inside the house but not disrupt the neighbourhood.

• Do you have other pets? Some pets interact with each other easily posing no problems at all. But also there are some pets who may harm the new pet due to jealousy. Your pet bird can easily be killed by a jealous cat or dog. These are some factors you would have to consider.

Giving some thought over these questions and still able to identify that you would still like to have a pet bird, then let’s go over to the selection process. When choosing the right bird, make sure to do some research about the birds. There are some birds which are overly demanding in terms of social and physical needs, these birds are better kept in the wild.

Some good bird choices would be canaries, finches, cockatiels, parakeets, and lovebirds. These breeds of birds have long been bred in captivity and have already resulted into some domestic breeds. The good thing about these birds is that the supplies they need can readily be purchased.

On the other hand there are some birds which are better left alone in the wild, like some breeds of parrots, macaws, cockatoos, and toucans. These birds have not undergone the breeding process that the domesticated birds have experienced. These birds tend to be demanding to live with.

When choosing your pet bird, consider the following factors:

• Size – the rule is that the bigger the bird the bigger the responsibilities. If you are just starting to be a bird owner, then it would be best to start with a smaller up until to medium size. The size of your bird will determine how big will the housing and other physical requirements.

• Nutrition- a bird fed accordingly can live up to fifty years! It is important to provide the proper diet to your birds. Bird not only feed on seeds, they also require fruits and vegetables and lots of water. Bird seed are not enough for your bird.

• Housing - let us apply the rule again, the larger the bird, the larger the cage it requires. A proper cage should have the bars spaced closely enough, close enough so that bird heads would not get caught between bars and for small birds to escape the cage. The cage should be spacious enough so that the bird can move freely and have enough exercise.

• Budget and finance – birds, as well as any other pet, can pose some financial obligations. For birds, the cage, accessories, maintenance, food and veterinary care can be costly. When looking for a bird, then you should make yourself familiar with the cost of raising one. You want to have a pet that you can afford.

• Time and maintenance- unlike to what other people think, birds are not really low-maintenance pets. There are some pet birds which would require daily exercise and constant social interaction. Time and maintenance would include feeding, cleaning the dishes and the cage. Some parrots show some behaviour problems if they do not receive regular attention from pet owners.

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Why Do Sled Dogs Run?

At 10 degrees, the Minnesota air is just cold enough for the dogs with heavier coats, like the left wheel-dog, who dips his snout in the snow more often than the dogs ahead of him. I am seated in the basket of the sled, as stiff as a quartered moose. Behind me, riding the runner, is the musher, Kelly Murphy. We slow now and then to let the teams behind us stay close, and when we do, the dogs — seven of them, right and left of the gangline hooked to their harnesses — look impatiently at us, haunches quivering, ready to pull and pull again.

We have been sledding down an old portage road, along the lip of a beaver dam, through a tunnel of young white birch with rosy bark, all within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Now we break onto the open ice, wolf tracks looping away to the low, wooded islands in the distance. I take my turn at the handle bow — riding where the musher rides, minding the brake — while Murphy jogs ahead of the dog team. They follow him in a wide curve, cutting a new track that will eventually lead us back to the place on the portage where, overnight, the wolves reduced a deer to a few scraps of hide. We are six miles out from where we started, so this is only a sprint for the team.

I listen to the one-way singsong between Murphy and his dogs, encouragement and caution and admiration. I watch the driving legs ahead of me — 28 of them — on dogs whose frames are small and light, nothing like the creatures I’d imagined. And as we cut through the white ash swamp, hissing across the ice, I find myself wondering, why do sled dogs run?

It is not a matter of driving them. All the work is in pacing them, restraining them. When Murphy stands on the brake and sets the snow hook — a two-pronged anchor — the gangline quivers with tension. The dogs torque forward again before he can shout, “Let’s go!” All the one-word answers to my question are too simple: love, joy, duty, obedience.

The dogs were out yesterday, and they’ll be out again tomorrow. They don’t run for a reward or toward a goal — the greyhound’s mechanical rabbit. They get yelled at when they chew on the gangline and petted when the run is over. They don’t catch or flee anything. They would keep running if the musher fell off his sled.

The start is a mayhem of yelping and baying and yipping. The finish is 21 dogs, three teams’ worth, silently lapping the air with their tongues. And between the two — start and finish — is a reason the dogs describe in the only way they know how, by running and running and never letting the line go slack.

Learn More About Durable Dog Toys
Posted by: Pet Blogger -

Durable dog toys are a big hit with your dog. Lots of dogs like to chew and the majority of dog toys you can buy cannot stand up to the abuse. It is important to choose a toy that is the right size and density for your dog. You certainly do not want to be throwing a large rubber KONG toy to a miniature schnauzer. Not to mention that if a larger, heavy toy lands on the dog, he or she could get hurt. You also want the dog toys you choose to be easy for your dog to carry and chew on or they will choose your favorite shoes instead.

My dog loves to chase a Frisbee type flyer toy but the ones meant for people tend to get chewed around the edges and then they cut his lips and gums. The cloth flyers are good for the dog’s mouth, but don’t usually fly well at all and that is half the fun of throwing it for him. There are some made out of rubber that don’t hurt the dog and fly somewhat better than cloth, but they don’t soar as well as I would like and are fairly heavy to throw so I get tired of it before he does.
The best option I have used is one that has a hard plastic center with rubber edges for the best of both worlds. It flies, soars and floats. It is safe for the dog and we both spend hours of fun playing with it.

If you are thinking of getting your first dog, here are some points to consider:

Dogs are a perfect addition to any family. Over the years I’ve had several. Right now I have long haired (or Irish variant) Jack Russell Terrier named Fritzie he is a great dog. I’ve had him since he was a puppy, which was 5 years ago. There are a lot of things to remember with dog ownership; early training, exercise, discipline, feeding, grooming, shots, health care, what to do when you are away, waste removal, kids, and travel.

Early Training:

If you get a dog as a puppy you will have to learn patience. It can take them some time to learn and you will need to have a good plan for their training.

Bathrooms are for humans; your house is your puppy’s bathroom until they learn different. Some dogs like my Jack Russell take up to six months to gain control enough go out side especially in cold weather. Punishment never makes the process go faster. I have found my dogs respond to praise. When you bring a puppy into your home you will need to watch them as best you can. Take them out frequently and when they do their business outside praise them. Block off carpeted areas if you can’t keep an eye on them. If you see your puppy sniffing areas they have gone in before, take them outside. You may not make it but they’ll get the idea.

Beginning other types of training when your dog is young helps too. I started Fritzie on sit, lay down, etc. with voice and hand signals so he knew both and now will obey both. Snapping your fingers can get your dogs attention, it worked with mine when he was young so if I want him to pay attention or come I snap my fingers.

Chewing is another puppy issue that a can carry on into adulthood with some dogs. Giving them chewable dog toys to chew on will usually save your furniture, shoes, clothes, etc. Don’t give them personal items because this can confuse them and they will think they can chew your good items. Don’t give your dog anything they can choke on.


Exercise is essential for dogs. If a dog doesn’t get proper exercise they occasionally develop issues like excessive barking, chewing, and some dogs can become easily agitated, aggressive and can become unmanageable.

Exercising your dog can be as easy as throwing a ball or going for a walk. How long or how many times you exercise them depends on the dog. My dog needs, on average, to be quite a few different toys out there for you and your dog. I have a couple of KONGs which are a strong rubber dog toys that have a stepped shape so when the toy hits the ground it bounces in different directions to keep my dog busy. They can also be filled with treats to keep your dog occupied. KONGs also come in small, medium and large to fit your dog nicely. They are made in USA.

Balls are another wonderful toy to keep your dog happy. Tennis balls are probably the most common ball used. The problem with many tennis balls is when your dog bites down a tennis ball breaks, then the dogs chew them up. My dog can field strip a tennis ball in under 2 minutes. An Orbee tuff glow ball is a great choice because in the winter when it gets dark early you or your dog can find it. The reason I say you or your dog is because if they are like mine they can’t always see it in the dark and then end up hunting for it and the object is to burn off some energy. Another good bunch of toys are made of Zogoflex, a special compound which is durable for dogs, it is used to make frisbees, balls, and other assorted shapes. I like to use a Frisbee in the winter because they usually land on top of the snow or skip off the snow so he can find it.


Discipline is helpful for the future of your pet owning experience. Never hit your dog. This can cause nipping, submissive urination, or your dog may avoid you out of fear. Try having your dog sit and stay in one place for awhile or put him/her in their crate. Smaller may be harder to break. For example my dog barks until he sees who is at the door, dogs like people can have their quirks. If it is something you can’t live with then you will have to keep working at it.


The type of food you feed your dog and how often depends on the dog. Most of my dogs eat twice a day. You can use dry food only or a wet and dry combo so he gets the tooth cleaning from the dry food and the variety of canned food. Some dogs will eat constantly like my old lab did. With Fritzie I feed him twice and if he gets hungry he goes to his bowl and I’ll give him some more, which usually only happens when he’s been pretty active.


Depending on the dog grooming can be simple or a chore. On average, you should bathe your dog every two to three months, or any time they roll in something bad. Frequent bathing can strip the skin and fur of oils and create dry skin. Some dog’s fur needs trimming especially around the face. My suggestion is if you don’t know what to do, take them to be groomed by a professional. If you can’t afford frequent professional grooming watch what they do and do it yourself. Bathing your dog keeps them clean and reduces the problem of fleas and ticks. You should check your dogs ears frequently for ear mites and infection, ask your vet what they recommend for cleaning your dogs ears. Nail clipping is essential for a healthy, happy dog. You can trim your dog’s nails with dog nail clippers or a battery operated nail grinder, always use care with dogs nails not to cut back too far. If you look at their nail you will see what is called the quick, which is hard to see on a dog with black nails. When cutting the nail take off the tip staying a little away from the quick. If you clip the quick it will bleed so have a cloth handy to stop the bleeding.


Rabies shots protect you and your dog from rabies. When your dog is a puppy he should get the shots required in your area. Ask your vet how often your pet needs shots and for what. You may even do some research on this because some injections that were considered annual are now only given once, ask your vet.

Health care:

Check ups for your dog are worth it. If you notice something out of the ordinary, ask your vet. Most of the dogs I’ve had have been pretty healthy. Check your breed for issues. I had Dachshund/Chihuahua mix and he had spinal problems and ended up paralyzed. Issues like this should be investigated because it took a long time for him to be able to become mobile again and I wouldn’t want to go through it again. So do your research.

Leaving your dog at home:

Leaving your dog alone is stressful for both of you. Putting them in a kennel is one option. You are very important to your dog, when you leave he may act out. I have heard of dogs peeing on furniture or in shoes. Some dogs chew any number of things. Mine gets in the trash. This is fixed by putting the trash away before we leave. Locking your dog in a room may help but the bathroom is a bad choice. I have heard of dogs chewing the water line to the toilet and causing it to leak. I have also seen them eat the carpet away from the door area, so use caution on where you put them any where when you’re away.

Dog Waste:

When your dog is a puppy it is good to them to do their business in a particular spot. The reason is dog urine may kill your lawn, and you don’t want to always be looking for land mines.


Many dogs like to travel. This can be a heated topic, dogs over heating in cars is a big problem and can lead to death. You can buy solar window fans to help with this but it is never a good idea to take your dog with you during the summer months. In cooler months, always leave a window open enough for them to get fresh air. It is best to have your dog stay in the back seat or with the passenger. Never drive with your dog on your lap hanging out the drivers window, this is unsafe for you, your dog and any one else if your dog distracts you and you have an accident.

A dog is a bit of responsibility but can be well worth it. My dog is a very welcome addition to my family. Dog ownership takes some work in the beginning but is well worth it in the long run.

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