What Pet Suits You Best?

Dog Town: Carmel Redefines
Dog-Friendly Vacations
By Ann Tatko-Peterson - Contra Costa Times

This was not a typical girls' trip

My sister-in-law Lisa and I were going on vacation, not with our daughters but with Daisy and Misty — our dogs.

Daisy is Lisa's 10-year-old miniature poodle; Misty is my 5-year-old Lhaso Apso-poodle mix. Both have gone on long car rides, camping trips and visits to Lisa's vacation home in Angel's Camp. But this was to be the first trip designed specifically with them in mind.

Lisa and I picked Carmel-by-the-Sea, a charming artists' enclave that embraces its eccentricity. This is, after all, the town that doesn't have street addresses, once tried to ban ice cream cones to keep the sidewalks clean and requires a permit for residents and visitors who want to wear high heels. But it's also the town that loves its dogs — even those visiting with tourists — which prompted DogFriendly.com to select it as the country's most dog-friendly resort region.

Accommodating pets is big business in the tourism industry these days. A 2008 TripAdvisor survey found that 61 percent of 1,600 pet-owning travelers polled have brought their pets on at least one trip. About 29.1 million Americans regularly take their pets on trips of 50 miles or more, says the Travel Industry Association of America.

Carmel doesn't just pay lip service to its claim of being dog friendly. It has 25 hotels, inns and bed-and-breakfasts that welcome pets of all sizes, and 44 restaurants, bars and coffee houses that offer seating where dogs are permitted.

Carmel has one of the few remaining leash-free beaches in California. Shops and galleries welcome canine customers with water dishes and biscuits. (On our visit, we saw only three shops or galleries with signs indicating dogs were not allowed inside — and one of those because, as the sign read, "My dog barks louder.")

Even City Hall opens its doors to dogs; Carmel Mayor Sue McCloud often brings her Dandie Dinmont terrier, Robbie, to work. And a painting of Pal, the "town dog" until his death in 1943, hangs in the entryway of the City Council chamber.

Michael Merritt, owner of the floral design gallery Twigery, said it best: "When I die, I want to come back as a Carmel dog."

Yes, Carmel seemed the ideal spot for a rookie pooch-vacation experience.

Down by the sea

Our trip didn't exactly have an auspicious start. We had placed both dogs in the back seat, nestled into their respective beds, but within two minutes, Daisy attempted to climb into Misty's bed, tipping it over and sending both dogs sprawling.

It didn't help that our trip coincided with one of the relentless January storms that pounded through California.

Yet, as we pulled into Carmel, the dark clouds suddenly shifted. With a welcome respite from the rain, we drove straight to Carmel Beach. Who knew if we'd have another opportunity to let the dogs wander on the sands during our three-day visit.

High tides had brought out a "beach closed" sign, so we stuck to higher ground. Daisy remained on her leash — her old-dog hearing and love of water were a risky mix. I unhooked Misty, and she bounded across the sand like a puppy to greet a handful of other visiting dogs and their owners.

As we would learn later, the beach is usually crowded with dogs of all sizes and breeds — "It's like walking at the Westminister Dog Show," explained local Gale Wrausmann. It's also a popular site for dog parties, even an annual corgi convention.

Lap of luxury

Size and breed are not issues at Cypress Inn, either. The hotel began opening its doors to pets when actress Doris Day came on board as a co-owner in 1986.

Today, general manager Nancy Slade estimates that one-third of the hotel's guests bring their pets — not that you can tell by the rooms. The 44 well-appointed rooms and spacious suites look practically brand new and bear not a single hair from or scent of the previous canine guests.

The trick: dry cleaning, one staffer confided. Plus, each pet gets its own blanket.

We arrived during the hotel's signature afternoon tea (1-4 p.m. daily), where, a sign boasted, "Husbands and pets welcome." Much to our chagrin, Daisy and Misty barked to make their presence known to the five dogs in attendance.

Two regular guests — Mollie, a West Highland white terrier from Carmel, and Tasha, a Pomeranian from Seaside — gave our pooches no more than a passing glance. They were too busy helping their owners nibble on tea sandwiches and homemade scones.

On the hotel's front desk, a giant glass jar of dog biscuits dwarfed a smaller bowl of candy.

For our first night, we opted to dine at Terry's Lounge, the hotel's restaurant, where a special indoor seating area off the lobby allowed us to keep the dogs with us while we ate. Lisa and I enjoyed a meal of scampi with large prawns in a white wine sauce over angel hair pasta ($22) and a pan roasted Alaskan halibut ($26) that, more than once, had Daisy standing on her back legs for a peek.

Back story

Such curiosity marked most of the trip for Misty and Daisy.

They especially enjoyed sniffing the low tins of biscuits and rawhides at Diggidy Dog, a dog-and-cat boutique designed especially for spoiled pets, with everything from homemade treats and toys to pet strollers, shades and backpacks. Misty even dipped her head into the Fountain of Woof, a three-tier fountain for dogs at Carmel Plaza, a shopping and dining establishment.

Lisa and I had our curiosity filled, too, thanks to the Carmel Walks tour provided by Gale Wrausmann. For 15 years, Wrausmann has taken visitors into some of Carmel's 60 hidden courtyards and secret passageways, detailing the history and little-known facts about the town on her two-hour walking tours.

Along the way, we saw some of Carmel's fairy-tale cottages, the window of artist Salvador Torres' studio, the courtyard through which Clint Eastwood (former Carmel mayor) ran while starring in "Play Misty for Me" and the old theater-turned-bank where a mock movie theater, complete with popcorn, sits in the lobby. She also brought us inside the dog-friendly Church of the Wayfarer to see the stained glass windows.

"You can sit the dogs in a pew and take their picture," she told us.

When I gave her a skeptical look, she just laughed and explained that pets often sit in the pews at Christmas Eve Mass.

"Everyone loves dogs in Carmel," she added later. "Dogs feel loved and accepted here."

Warm welcomes

Everywhere we went, that became abundantly clear.

At Galante Vineyards, Misty and Daisy were free to explore the tasting room. That gave me time to work my way through a tasting menu of eight wines — including the first-rate Blackjack Pasture cabernet sauvignon — and learn more about the family-owned winery and working cattle ranch.

At Cima Collina, the lineup of rich pinot noirs also left room for Howlin' Good Red, a blend whose sales benefit the SPCA. The winery's rat terrier, Sweetie, inspired the wine's label.

A number of shops and galleries have their own dogs on-site. At Wellington's gallery, a special cutout in the door allows Lord Wellington, an English bulldog, to stick his head out and greet visitors. At Chapman Gallery, several pieces of art bear the image of Marisa, a rescued Borzoi, who strolls from room to room.

Special attention

Nowhere was the hospitality more abundant than at the Carmel restaurants.

We arrived for lunch at Bistro Beaujolais as the rain was falling. Usually, customers with dogs are confined to the partially covered patio area, but the manager took pity and sneaked us into a back corner of the restaurant. There, as we were enjoying our club sandwich and chicken panini, another couple was secreted in with their dog, setting Misty and Daisy into noisy, naughty dog mode.

The server shrugged off our apology a few minutes later. "Everyone heard them, but no one complained, so no big deal," she said.

Later that night, we dined at Porta Bella restaurant. A peek inside the door revealed an elegant and intimate Mediterranean restaurant. No way were they letting our damp dogs in here, I thought.

Wrong. General manager Luiz Ferreira ushered us through the restaurant to the Garden Room, an enclosed and heated patio where two other dogs were waiting as their owners dined.

The service was exceptional and the food divine. The grilled pork tenderloin with a grain mustard demi sauce ($23.95) was melt-in-your-mouth tender; the roasted corn and crab bisque ($7.50) was brimming with real crab meat; and the freshly baked warm apple tart ($7.75) was a perfect blend of sweet apples in a flaky pastry. Meanwhile, the dogs had their own bowl of water, served on a plate draped in white linen.

But it was Ferreira who blew us away as he crouched down to pet each of his canine guests, heedless of the eager paws brushing against his nice suit.

Later that night, back at the Cypress Inn, Lisa and I sank onto the comfortable sofa in our sitting room. The dogs fell asleep instantly. We wouldn't be far behind them.

Where to Stay: Cypress Inn "” 7th Avenue and Lincoln Street, 800-443-7443, www.cypress-inn.com. Rates start at $165 per night and include breakfast. Pet fee is $30 per night for one pet and $40 for two. On-site restaurant is available with special seating area where pets are permitted. Yappy hour with discounted drinks runs 5-6 p.m. daily. Note: Pets may not be left alone in the hotel rooms, but pet sitters are available. Lamplighter Inn "” Ocean Avenue and Camino Real, 831-624-7372, www.carmellamplighter.com. Rates at this bed-and-breakfast start at $185 a night and include a light breakfast. Pet fee is $30 a night for one and $45 for two. Facilities include an outdoor pet shower.

Where to Eat: Porta Bella Restaurant "” Ocean between Lincoln and Monte Verde, 831-624-4395, www.carmelsbest.com/portabella. Serving Mediterranean cuisine for lunch and dinner. Heated enclosed patio seating available for guests with dogs. Bistro Beaujolais "” Carmel Plaza, 831-624-5600, www.dagiovannis.com. Serving a bistro-style blend of Italian, Mediterranean and French cuisines for lunch and dinner. Patio seating available for customers with dogs. Casanova Restaurant "” 5th Avenue between Mission and San Carlos, 831-625-0501, www.casanovarestaurant.com. Serving rustic French and Italian cuisine. Covered patio seating available for guests with dogs. Forge in the Forest "” 5th Avenue and Junipero, 831-624-2233, www.forgeintheforest.com. A casual restaurant serving American cuisine and featuring a low-carb menu. It also has heated outdoor seating for guests with dogs and a special "Dog Pound" menu featuring everything from kibble ($2.50) to the Good Dog New York steak ($12.95) for dogs.

What to Do: Carmel Walks with Gale Wrausmann "” 831-642-2700, www.carmelwalks.com. Two-hour walking tours are available 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m. Tuesdays-Fridays. $25 per person. Private group tours available by request. Dogs welcome. Galante Vineyards "” Dolores between Ocean Avenue and 7th Street, 831-624-3800, www.galantevineyards. Wine tasting 1-6 p.m. Sundays-Fridays and noon-6 p.m. Saturdays. Eight tastings $10 per person, refunded with purchase of $50 or more. Cima Collina "” San Carlos between Ocean Avenue and 7th Street, 831-620-0645, www.cimacollina.com. Wine tasting 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursdays-Mondays. Seven tastings (includes a dessert wine) for $5 per person, refunded with purchase of $40 or more. Diggidy Dog "” Ocean Avenue and Mission Street, 831-625-1585, www.diggidydogcarmel.com. A dog and cat boutique open daily from 10 a.m. Carmel Beach "” Leash-free beach located at the end of Ocean Avenue. Free parking available.

More info: Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau at 877-666-8373; www.seemonterey.com

Toothbrushes, Army Men and Batteries
- These Pets Ate Them All

Jody Grimmett's 8-year-old tabby, Bobcat, licks his chops after getting a bite out of his favorite treat, powdered doughnuts.

Not long after adopting a 6-month-old lab/German shepherd mix named Libby, Erin Truter of Springfield started noticing things were missing from her family’s home.

“It started about three weeks after we adopted her, the kids toys started missing,” Erin said. “It wasn’t until I took the pooper scooper in the backyard and realized that in one pile we had G.I. Joes; in another pile, there were magnetics; and then in another pile were two of their Nintendo DS games.

“The last pile was classic. I found two ink pens and my husband’s toothbrush.”

Erin’s family eventually found a home better suited to Libby. But the family was among a number of readers of The State Journal-Register who learned that the saying “This too shall pass” holds new meaning when you consider the variety of items some pets have eaten ... and passed.

SJ-R readers told us their pets have consumed all kinds of things not meant for animal consumption. Socks proved popular with the canine crowd. But so did Halloween candy, a bag of brown sugar, Hostess Suzie Q’s and one family’s Thanksgiving pumpkin pie.

Humans might understand why Rover would eat those tasty items. But other household companions have swallowed all kinds of hard plastic items, decorative lights and the aforementioned oral hygiene product.

“Puppies like to chew on things with human scent on them, like TV remotes and glasses,” says Dr. Chris Curry, veterinarian and owner of Laketown Animal Hospital in Springfield.

That might explain some of the things Curry has seen consumed by pets over the past 14 years of treating animals: underwear, a leather boot (surgery produced the tongue of the boot with the tag still intact), straight pins off a new men’s dress shirt, corn cobs, tampons, rings, hair holders, towels and carpeting.

Shanny, a Siberian husky, clearly concerned about saving for the future, ate a $100 bill.

“After waiting a day or two (and being prepared with a lot of rubber gloves), she gave it back to me,” said Shanny’s owner, Springfield teacher Lindy Wilkinson. “Someone had said to keep it and try to send it to the U.S. Treasury to see if they would exchange it. I cleaned it up (again with the rubber gloves) and sent it in, figuring ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’ I wasn’t going to use that money anyway. A few weeks later, I received a check from the U.S. Treasury for $100.”

Stephanie White’s chow/Shar-Pei mix, Winston “Winnie” Dale, ate a cassette tape of a popular movie soundtrack when she was 2. After taking her to the vet, who gave her a liquid treatment to induce vomiting and bowel movements, the family settled in to wait.

“Poor baby was ill the rest of the day. Late into the evening, she finally passed the whole bound-up wad of cassette tape,” said Stephanie, of Riverton. “We just couldn’t believe that she ate the whole thing. She must not have liked ‘Footloose.’”

Watch what they eat

While these stories may seem funny in retrospect, they illustrate how seemingly innocent household items — or even simply giving Fido a nibble off your dinner plate — could lead to a medical emergency for pets.

“Many things people may not be aware that are dangerous to dogs are grapes, apple seeds, raisins, onions, chocolate, anti-freeze, sugar-free gum, bread dough and some household plants,” Curry said.

And it doesn’t even need to be edible. Grant Walker of Springfield wrote in about his dog, Buster, who liked to consume the batteries inside television remotes. It didn’t help that in his younger years, the now 18-year-old Grant liked to take apart remotes, leaving the batteries exposed.

“Whenever the remote would fall to the ground, Buster would eat the batteries,” Grant wrote. “This led us to buy a new remote, and we never found any more batteries. Luckily, Buster swallowed the batteries and didn’t chew them.”

Curry says cats are generally more discriminating than dogs.

“But cats do eat things, linear foreign bodies,” he said. “Things like yarn, thread, dental floss and string can have a damaging effect in the small intestines and can be fatal.”

Jody Grimmett of Rochester wrote in about a feline with a Homer Simpson-like preference: “My husband’s cat, Bobcat, decided he likes powdered-sugar doughnuts,” Jody said in an e-mail.

“If he smells them, he will actually jump on the table and try to snatch one. He is relentless, so when offered a bite, he gobbles it up. He won’t eat any other sweet or type of doughnut.”

Keith and Linda Gray of Carlinville came home from a vacation in 2003 to find that their cat, Bob, had broken into the kitchen cabinets and ate the Wilton’s candy chips used for making candy.

“He also loved to eat corn on the cob and pork rinds,” Linda added.

Casey Mayfield of Springfield raises Labrador retrievers and asked this e-mailed question: “What haven’t they eaten?”

Her list proved extensive. Her dogs have eaten bungee cords, coax cable, tree bark, electrical cords (plugged and unplugged), snow fence, solar lights, aluminum or tin cans, lawn chairs, hot tub covers, garden hoses, Styrofoam, siding, softballs and/or footballs, cheesecake wrappers and peanuts in the shell.

Of course, a curious, hungry pet doesn’t necessarily mean a pet behaving poorly.

“Compiling this list makes it sound like we have really horrible dogs, but honestly we don’t,” Casey said. “Our dogs are very well-behaved — they don’t jump, they respond immediately to the command ‘kennel up,’ and they are excellent retrievers as well as family pets. Almost all of the destruction of the items listed above occurred when the dogs were between 6 and 24 months of age.”

No matter what type of situation, when it comes to your pets, Curry offers this piece of advice:

“When in doubt, call your vet.”

Dangers to your pets

According to the American Animal Hospital Association, these are just a few of the foods, plants and other common household items that can cause serious problems for your pet if Fido or Fluffy eat them.

Azaleas and other rhododendron family plants, chrysanthemums, hydrangeas, hyacinth bulbs, milkweed, most species of lily bulbs, holly berries, tobacco products, oak, rhubarb leaves

Avocado (in dogs), chocolate, eggplant, tomato leaves and stems, onions, garlic, grapes, raisins, castor beans, alcoholic beverages

If your think your pet has eaten these items, or if your pet is vomiting, has diarrhea or is staggering, call you veterinarian right away.

Other pet temptations

◦Mikki Buhl’s terrier mix Belle once devoured over half a loaf of bread. She and her housemate, a maltipoo named Maize, also raided the Halloween candy bowl, leaving wrappers strewn around.

◦Lola Lucas’ black standard poodle Finnegan (now deceased) wrote that her dog could have “easily been voted Least Likely to Die of Old Age with his unfortunate penchant for eating fabric.” Favorite items included underwear, dress socks, athletic socks, upholstery stuffing, tights, contact lens foil, plastic containers and Berber carpet. Despite three surgeries to remove offending items, Finnegan did indeed die of old age.

◦Tricia Patterson’s Siberian husky Boscoe shreds stuffed animals, wood trim, carpet and assorted other items. “He really loves the outdoors more, and I would never bring him back in the house unattended.”

◦Adele Malerich’s Boston terrier Lou Henson (now deceased) ate an uncooked rib-eye steak. Upon being chased, Lou swallowed the steak whole. When owner Adele called the vet’s office to ask if the steak could hurt him, the staff replied: “Not that dog.”

◦The Hatfield family’s Jack Russell named Maggie is sneaky. The 11-pound dog waits for the kids to set down their Halloween candy buckets so she can rummage through them sniffing for Tootsie Rolls.

◦Jennifer Keith tells us her golden retriever Chipper and Great Pyrenees Pepper are the Butch and Sundance of the canine set. These two partners in crime devoured an entire box of Hostess Suzi Q’s at Christmas.

◦Anne Stombaugh’s pet Bootz ate a Greetings Workshop compact disc. “I had to feed him about a half a loaf of bread so it would bind around any sharp edges, but he was fine.”

◦Owner Sheryl Wells wrote in about their standard poodle that, as a puppy, ate a disposable razor. The poodle enjoyed a full recovery after surgery.

◦Tammy Moody’s terrier eats clipped off toenails.

◦Former Springfieldian Keith Moore, who now lives in Arizona, e-mailed about his dog Trixie eating desert landscaping rocks after he accidentally dripped steak juice over the rocks after grilling. “No more cooking over rocks … the grass will do just fine.”

◦Denise James’ puppy ate most of a two-pound bag of brown sugar and a box of tacks. “Thankfully his appetite for the odd calmed down as he got older,” Denise wrote.

◦Kerry Rinker’s dog Lou once ate an entire tub of Vaseline. Dog Pete ate an entire bowl of Halloween candy bars. “They went in wrapped and came out the same way,” Kerry’s e-mail said.
◦Labrador mix Lincoln ate pine cone bird feeders. Owner Lori Reardon noted that Lincoln “didn’t learn his lesson the first time he ate one. We eventually moved the pine cone feeders to higher spots on our trees.”

◦Derry Dalby’s Labrador Lucy ate a sterling silver earring and a cell phone.

East Bay Cat, Owner to Be
Reunited After Three Years
By Doug Jastrow - Contra Costa Times

An implanted chip helps a Contra Costa County shelter find a pet's Texas owner.

Chester the cat lets out a big yawn as Contra Costa Animal Services employee Debi Hahn looks on.

Despite overwhelming odds, a cat and its owner will soon be reunited — thanks to an implanted microchip and the efforts of Contra Costa County Animal Services.

The pet is a long-haired, orange tiger-striped cat named Chester. The owner is a woman in Austin, Texas, who received a call Friday from Debi Hahn, a senior clerk with the county's animal shelter. Hahn told her the cat she lost three years ago has been found — more than 1,500 miles away.

"She was very shocked," Hahn said. "And she was absolutely ecstatic."

It all began Tuesday when a couple who had lost their jobs came into the animal shelter to surrender their 10-year-old cat. They were moving out of the East Bay and could not take their pet with them.

"Unfortunately, that is extremely common," said Cindy Smith, a volunteer program manager with Animal Services. "It's due to economics, foreclosures and people having to leave the area."

After Chester's arrival at the shelter, the staff scanned him, looking for an implanted microchip. When they found one, the information it contained did not correspond with the family that had abandoned the cat. It belonged to a woman in Austin, Texas.

It turns out the cat had been reported lost three years ago in Texas and ended up being adopted through a shelter in Austin. For some reason, according to Hahn, the microchip was not detected at the time of adoption. The cat's new family then moved to the Bay Area, which eventually led to the involvement of Hahn and the volunteers at Animal Services.

"I really wanted to see this woman get her cat back," Hahn said. "If I was in her position I'd want someone to do this for me."

To help facilitate the reunion, Animal Services waived more than $100 in fees and Hahn began calling airlines to see how they were going to bring Chester and his owner together again. Eventually she found an airline that would transport the cat for about $200, which the cat's once and future owner agreed to pay.

Hahn said the expected happy ending could never have been possible without the owner's original decision to microchip her pet. Animal Services, located in Martinez, can implant microchips in pets for about $15.

"Microchips work," Hahn said. "If it hadn't been for the microchip, she would have never seen her cat again."

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Pet Friendly Houseplants
by Susan Walsh - Houseplants.suite101.com

Tips For Choosing Houseplants that are Safe and Non-Toxic

Houseplants are beautiful but many of them are also dangerous and some poisonous. Here's a guide to plants that can safely share a home with most pets.

There are thousands of houseplant varieties out there, each with beautiful and unique features. While they can add beauty to a home and even clean the air, some of them can be toxic and even deadly to pets. Here’s a guide to what plants should be avoided or kept out of reach.

Buying Tips
Avoid unfamiliar plants. Many nurseries sell houseplants with a generic tag that says “Tropical Foliage” and very little information. Think twice about purchasing such plants unless their identity can be confirmed.

Watch out for berries and spines. Houseplants like Coral Berry (Ardisia crenulata) produce bright fruits that are often irresistible to curious pets. The spines on Cactus plants can cause great pain to inquisitive noses, tongues and paws. Avoid such plants or keep them out of reach.

Lilies and Cats don’t mix. If there is a cat in the home, Easter Lily (Lilium longiflorum) should be avoided. They are extremely poisonous to cats. Ingestion causes kidney failure, and if not treated in time, death. Oleander (Nerium oleander) is another deadly plant. One of the most poisonous plants in the world, ingesting a single leaf can kill a pet-or a child.

Most other houseplants known to be toxic aren’t deadly but they can cause injury or illness. For example:

The sap of Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia) causes irritation and swelling to the tongue, mouth and throat if ingested and can cause temporary voice loss. The sap can also cause a mild skin rash.

The leaves of Philodendron can cause irritated and itchy skin if ingested.

Pothos (Golden, Marble, Neon, Satin, or Jade) will cause vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea and other gastric upsets if ingested.

English Ivy can cause a variety of reactions from a blistering rash to vomiting and difficulty breathing.

Calla Lily leaves can cause burns to the lips, mouth and throat if ingested.

Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta) can cause gastric upset and renal failure to cats and dogs if ingested.

While the gel in the leaves of Aloe Vera have long been prized for their skin healing qualities (no kitchen should be without one), ingestion will irritate the intestinal tract and result in vomiting and diarrhea.

Safe Plants
Some plants that are non-toxic and safe around pets include:

•African Violets (Saintpaulia)

•Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata)

•Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

•Swedish Ivy (Plectranthus australis)

•Zebra Plant (Calathea zebrina)

•Wandering Jew (Zebrina pendula)

•Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura)


•Jade Plant (Crassula argentea)

Safety Tips
Keep plants off the floor and up out of pets reach. Remember, cats are excellent climbers so it may take a little extra effort and creativity to keep a plant away from them. Keep hanging and climbing plants trimmed and /or tied back to prevent a curious cat from playing with it. To distract a determined, plant loving cat, give him his own pot of cat grass or catnip. Seeds and plants can be purchased at most pet stores and garden centers,

Wash hands after handling plants to avoid accidentally transferring any sap to pets. Dispose of any cuttings promptly and in a sealed receptacle.

If a pet is acting strangely and plant ingestion is suggested, or if the animal was caught munching on a plant, call the vet immediately. In many cases the affects, though unpleasant, will be mild and the pet will recover, but sometimes poisoning can become a true medical emergency. Never take chances!

“Teaching Your Dog To Play Nice”

If you’ve never seen a dog with serious food-guarding problems, it’s difficult to appreciate the potential severity of the problem. Food-guarding problems aren’t essentially a mirrored image on the temperament or coaching level of the dog: it’s an instinctive factor, and though dogs with a general aggression problem are naturally a lot of prone to demonstrating the condition, it’s additionally exhibited by otherwise-sweet, well-behaved, well-adjusted family dogs.

Like an evil djinn, the matter can rear its ugly head solely when food (or the food bowl) is gift: a real case of Jekyll and Hyde. A dog with serious food-guarding issues will be a true danger to anyone who ought to approach her during a meal: it’s not a scenario in which you can expect to coach your dog to “play nice”. Instinct is what’s compelling her to act in this undesirable, and even dangerous, manner – you need to take steps to flip the behavior around before your relationship along with your dog suffers or somebody gets hurt.

There are totally different degrees of food guarding. In the mildest case, a dog will simply tense up a little or freeze if somebody approaches her whereas she’s trying to eat. She could even continue eating, but her posture can be rigid and stiff: she’ll clearly be uncomfortable. Signs that the problem is a lot of severe would include a marked increase in eating speed, an instantaneous, hard stare right at you (usually among a still, tense, “watching” posture), a lifted lip, a snarl, a snap, and at last a real bite.

NOTE: A dog exhibiting any of those last three symptoms includes a pretty severe case of food-guarding aggression, and could be prepared to inflict actual harm.

If this is the case together with your dog, hiring a hands-on trainer may be the most effective answer for you: it’ll ensure your safety, and they’ll be able to look at your overall relationship with your dog and see if there are more areas contributing to the problem.

A food-guarding dog is a pretty confused one. In her mind, she’s got your role mixed up. She fails to acknowledge that you’re the dispenser of food (which should accord you automatic alpha-dog status, making certain your immunity from any kind of aggression or dominance), and instead is viewing you as a threat: a blackguard who may be going to take away her precious food. Hence, the possessiveness. The degree of aggression that a food-guarding dog is capable of would possibly be arduous to understand, till you think about the fact that food is one of the best pleasures of your dog’s life.

Dogs are scavengers by nature: they’re programmed to eat simply about anything they will get their jaws around. As well because the instinctiveness of this gluttony, most dogs conjointly merely get pleasure from the tactile and gustatory sensations that come with a good meal (or an indifferent one .. and generally even a bad one). They merely … prefer to eat. And it’s this overwhelming importance that’s placed on food that gets some dogs a small amount involved: their grasp of things gets a bit thrown off, and they begin to surprise, miser-like, who would possibly happen upon them and take away their cherished food.

The plain conclusion: you. Or anyone else who comes along at meal-time. To cure her of this frustrating and antisocial habit, you would like to remind her that you’re really the purveyor of that that she holds so pricey: to form it clear to her that you simply’re the one in charge of the kitchen, and of all the pleasant morsels contained therein.

Dogs can develop food-guarding instincts at any point in their lives: some will have had the problem since puppyhood, except for others the tendency lies dormant until it’s woke up by an item of particular juiciness.

For many dogs, the deciding factor is meat, in some shape or form – whether it’s a marrowbone, a mutton hock, or cast-off scraps from the dinner table. Meat to dogs is like cash to humans: it will amendment them, make them do things they otherwise wouldn’t do. Thus it’s not entirely stunning that the intrinsic price of meat-connected foodstuffs can provide our dogs a new, unpleasantly skewed perspective on the sanctity of the food-bowl. Because of the likelihood of food-guarding becoming a problem in your dog’s behavior at any point in her life, prevention is obviously the best path to take: whether you get your dog from puppyhood or adopt her as an adult from a shelter, you must build a purpose of approaching her during mealtime.

Have you ever ever heard a follower with dogs raise you to “leave her alone when she’s eating”? This is often a short-term answer at most: it’ll prevent something untoward from happening, provided that all the humans play by the rules and guarantee that they don’t disturb the dog – but the dog remains the one calling all the shots. And what will happen if the surprising happens? What if a toddler charges full-tilt towards the dog and makes a playful grab for her bowl?

During a wolf-pack, the alpha dog is never disturbed when she or he is eating. Not only does she get to eat 1st, and eat the lion’s share of everything; however she additionally eats undisturbed. This is often why a dog that’s permitted to eat in solitary splendor will truly become additional food-aggressive, not less; while not anyone to require her down a notch, she begins to assume more authority than she actually has. To stop your dog from getting an overinflated sense of her own importance, create positive you disturb her masses whereas she’s eating. Don’t build a point of tiptoeing around whenever the food bowl’s out; it’ll simply accustom her to solitude and silence when she eats (that are things that solely the alpha wolf or dog is entitled to).

At the other end of the spectrum, don’t build these disturbances a negative expertise for her either, or else you may actually create a drawback where none previously existed. All you’ve got to do is approach her occasionally while she eats – beginning from the very day you bring her into your home – and add something tasty (and little!) to her dish while she’s eating, to create the affiliation in her head that ‘humans approaching food bowl = sensible news‘. A spoonful of scrambled egg, a chunk of liver treat, some chunks of cheese – something that she’ll relish, and that features a greater “food price” than the kibble she’s eating, will work perfectly.

In fact, if it’s too late for preventatives and your dog already has a problem, you’ll want to adopt a very totally different approach. Here’s what to try and do: – The dog bowl goes to be put away for the following seven to 10 days. Over this point, you’re visiting be feeding your dog by hand – one little handful at a time. Yes, I understand this is visiting be time-consuming, but the choice is even worse: a dangerous dog that can’t be trusted around food. So feed her by hand for the subsequent week or so. Be sure not to encourage any greedy snapping or grabbing for the food: solely permit her to require the food from your hand when she does so gently. Remind her that bite inhibition is necessary to induce what she desires!

Once a minimum of every week has passed and she or he’s eating politely from your hand, you’ll be able to reintroduce the food bowl, with one slight modification: it has to be empty. And it stays empty until you pass by and drop a little handful of kibble into it for her to eat. When that’s been polished off, wait at least a full minute before adding another, small, few kibble.

Keep doing this till the entire meal’s been consumed – this is a terribly effective method of teaching your dog to actively long for your presence near her food bowl!

When she’s graduated to a higher stage, you’ll begin setting down a 0.5-empty food bowl for her. Don’t let her lunge at the bowl and begin gobbling: holding the bowl out of reach (or putting it on a handy counter), build her sit and wait before you permit her to eat. Don’t place the bowl down till she complies. Sit or crouch beside the bowl and continue to feature little handfuls of kibble, simply as you did in step 2, till a full meal’s been eaten.

The fourth, and final, step is to permit her access to a full food bowl. Again, it’s terribly necessary that you do not allow her to decision the shots: she must sit and wait until you unharness her with an “OK!” before she’s permitted to eat. To keep the message clear in your head that you are in charge of the food during this house, apply calling her off from her food a few times a week and rewarding her with a super-tasty treat for her exemplary obedience whereas she’s attempting to eat.

If at any time your dog’s behavior gets shaky on any of these four steps, backslide till you’ve reached the stage at that she is one hundred% reliable. Wait at this stage for at least 2 or three more days before making an attempt to progress once more. As with any training, it’s essential that a solid foundation is built before moving on to the next level – she must be utterly comfy with every step before making an attempt a replacement one.

As Economy Falters,
Shelters See More Abandoned Animals
By Tom Dalton - SalemNews.com

SALEM — Five cats were stuffed into a pink plastic tote container a few nights ago and dumped in the middle of a busy Market Basket parking lot on Highland Avenue.

Two weeks ago, in the middle of the night, four cats were left at the door of the Northeast Animal Shelter in Salem, also inside a plastic tote bin with no air holes. By the time shelter officials arrived in the morning, one of the cats had escaped.

There was a note pinned to the box: "Hello, my name is Shaggy. ... I and my friends don't have a home anymore. ..."

Area shelter officials and animal activists say incidents like these appear to be signs of pets paying the price for a faltering economy.

"I think it's just desperation," said Betsy Tufts, the Marblehead animal control officer who responded to Market Basket on a mutual aid call. "But (the pet owners) are doing the most stupid and heartless thing they can do."

"People are starting to abandon more animals due to the economy," said Brian Adams, a spokesman for Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals-Angell. "Unfortunately, these pet owners are not taking the proper precautions for their animals' health, which includes surrendering them to the proper animal welfare agencies."

Fortunately, dumping pets in boxes or outdoors is the exception, officials say.

However, shelters are encountering more owners who are giving up cats or dogs because they can no longer afford them.

The Boston office of the MSPCA-Angell keeps records of when pet owners cite economic factors as the reason for their decision. In 2008, they added foreclosures to the list.

The numbers have risen in recent years.

Last year alone, more than 350 pets were turned over to that center due to foreclosures, the expense of owning a pet or because the owner no longer had a home.

The Salem shelter got a call recently from a man who was losing his home and had to give up a dog he had for five years.

"He was crying the whole time," Laurie McCannon of the Northeast Animal Shelter said. "It was not a choice he wanted to make ... but what could he do? He was losing his home."

Heidi Roberts of the Friends of Beverly Animals took in two cats last month from a woman who was being forced out of her residence.

"The woman is homeless," she said. "She ended up in a rooming house."

It is one thing, officials said, for someone to turn a pet over to a shelter, and quite another to leave it in a box in the middle of a supermarket parking lot. Those owners may think they're doing the right thing, but too often they're putting those animals at risk.

In the Market Basket case, some of the cats got out and were running around the lot between cars, according to Tufts. They appeared to be indoor cats, she said, and were terrified.

"This was probably the first time they were ever outside ..." she said. "Thank God they didn't get hit."

Tufts credited a store employee and the manager, Robert Gallant, with taking the cats inside and caring for them.

If pet owners don't know what to do, they should contact their city or town animal control officer through the local police department, or call an animal shelter or veterinarian for advice, officials said. Several local communities, like Marblehead, have volunteer organizations that can help owners pay for medical care or other services.

Dumping pets is not only wrong, officials said, it's illegal.

"Animal cruelty abandonment is a felony in Massachusetts," said Adams, the MSPCA-Angell spokesman. "If someone is found guilty of animal cruelty, they can serve up to five years in prison and be fined up to $2,500."

Tufts asked anyone with information about the Market Basket incident to call the Marblehead police at 781-631-1212

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Removing Home Pet Odors--
4 Ways to Get Rid Of Pet Odor
In Your New Home
By : Debbie Davis - ArticleBliss.com

If your new home looks wonderful, but the pet smell is less than thrilling, you'll be relieved to know that you can eliminate the pet odor. The following 4 tips will help your home smell just as new as it looks.

Have Your Home Professionally Cleaned -- Hiring a company to clean before you move in will allow them to clean everywhere rather than having to ignore areas that are behind or under furniture. This should include the entire house-steaming carpets, wiping down walls and surfaces, cleaning windows, sanitizing the inside of cabinets and drawers, and vacuuming. This gets rid of many of the odors left from the previous owners including their pets.

Remove Carpets - If cleaning doesn't work, removing the carpet and the padding is the next and more expensive step. It's important to wait for several days to see if this clears the smell. If you are still able to smell odor, it may be coming from the sub flooring. Contact a contractor or home builder to determine if a new sub floor will solve the problem.

Paint - Sometimes a pet's aim can be bad and urine and other unpleasant and odoriferous things can wind up on the wall. If a favorite spot on the wall was chosen, it can be pretty tricky to pinpoint the exact spot. Painting is an inexpensive way to give the room and new look and smell. Use paint with low volatile organic chemicals so that you don't exchange pet smells for chemical ones.

Filter Your Air With A Pet Odor Air Purifier -- Opening your door to unpleasant odor can make coming home less than appealing. Filtering the air allows your home to smell clean while you continue to search for problem spots. Using an air purifier that is specifically designed to remove pet urine odors is an immediate solution. Continuously filtering the air buys you time to find and neutralize the offending spots.

An air cleaner that has multiple filters will remove not only odor but fine particulates that are common in the cleanest of homes. So by selecting a filter that has a HEPA or high efficiency particle arresting filter you will also be removing airborne dust, dust mites, mold and mildew spores, as well as bacteria and viruses as small as.3 microns. Once you've solved the pet problem, the filtration needs in your new home may change. Dust, dust mites, allergies, or chemical sensitives may become an issue. An air purifier whose filters can be interchanged will simply mean buying a new filter rather than a new purifier.

Finding, removing, and neutralizing pet odor in a new home or any home is far from an exact science, but by using a combination of these 4 suggestions you will be able to enjoy your new home without the pet odor.

Today's Rescue Riches:
Her Best Friend and Running Partner

Lola didn't have much time left at the shelter before she was going to be euthanized. Now Kim takes her everywhere.CAPTIONHandoutOne of my favorite features in the community is letting readers tell stories about pets they've rescued from shelters. This tale of a first-time pet owner does show how we get back as much or more than we give. Not only does Lola bring Kim, her human, joy and motivation to stay fit, but she also spreads the joy in Kim's office. At the bottom of this post, I'll tell you how to send stories and photos to me.

Kim writes:
"About four years ago I adopted a shy, emaciated Labrador mix who had been abandoned and tied to the fence at the Perry County Humane Society in Pinckneyville, Illinois. The shelter had no room for her, so she was staying at the local pound and didn't have much time. While I wasn't looking for a dog (and had never been a pet-owner), something about her story caught my eye and I drove over two hours from St. Louis to pick her up the day before she was scheduled to be euthanized.

Kim says Lola is her best buddy. She takes her to work, where she's been dubbed the office mascot. Lola wakes her up in the morning, eager for their morning run. Today, Lola is the not only healthy, but also one of the happiest dogs you'll meet. She is my best bud and trusty side-kick, as she accompanies me to work on a daily basis. My colleagues make a point to stop by everyday for a visit with Lola and she has been dubbed the office mascot.

Lola's love of the great outdoors has inspired me to get healthy myself and take up running. She serves as motivation to drag myself out of bed in the wee hours of the morning for our daily run. Lola often accompanies me at 5K community events, and last spring I completed my first half marathon, with Lola supporting me from the sidelines.

I knew we could both stand to use a few pounds, and my endurance had really suffered since I was an athlete in high school and college. I decided in January of 2007 that my goal for the year would be to run a 5K. We started out mostly walking, until we built of enough endurance to start jogging. Eventually I achieved my goal of jogging our first 5K in July of 2007, and we've kept it up ever since! We ran another one together last week, and I finished top in my age group."

What Pet Suits You Best?
By BRETT ANNINGSON - Times & Transcript Staff

Make Sure Your New Pet is a Good Fit for Your Family, Lifestyle

It is said that over 60 per cent of homes have at least one dog, cat, bird, or other companion animal and that many have more than one.

Pets are popular because they provide companionship, joy, unconditional love, a sense of safety, and often a service.

Pets make us feel good.

In Emma Dodd's children's book "What Pet to Get," Jack asks his mother if they can get a pet and she says yes. What follows is a list of every animal Jack wants, and a reason not to get it.

Should we get an elephant? No, it is too hard to take on vacation. How about a bison? It is too smelly. A Polar Bear would not like the central heating and a Tyrannosaurus Rex has been extinct for 65 million years.

Their decision is a bit of a surprise but the book, for all its humour, does ask a very relevant question to anyone in the market for an animal companion: What pet to get?

"The most popular pets we sell are kind of a toss-up, usually fish, cats and dogs or hamsters," says Ryanna DenOtter of Pets Unlimited here in Moncton. "Fish are really popular because it is an easy first pet, like a goldfish or a beta fish. (It's an) easy one to keep if you have small children, easy to replace if you have an accident."

The SPCA in Moncton also has a variety of pets available for adoption.

"We currently we have guinea pigs, rabbits, cats, kittens and puppies, but we also get all of the birds, rodents, turtles and some exotic pets as well, but not every often," says Nanette Pearl of the SPCA.

The thing is that sharing your life with an animal has great benefits and can bring you great joy. But there are different families, different people, and different pets.

If you are thinking about adding a pet to your family, it's best to learn about the needs of different types of pets to find which will best suit your lifestyle. Each type of pet is different in terms of care, feeding, behaviour, cost, housing and demands on your time.

"You have to do the research," says Nanette. "People love their pets and what is a pet to someone may not be a pet to someone else. There are many people that could not understand why you would have a spider as a pet, but the guy that has the spider loves it very much...there are as many reasons for choosing a specific pet as there are pets."

"We really do sell almost everything," says Ryanna, "from fish and lizards, snakes, tarantulas, turtles, also exotic cats like Bengals. Then there are chinchillas and budgies and African greys, and everything in between."

"The thing we do is ask the person what they are interested in," she says. "They usually have something in mind before they get to the store. But once we know the general type of pet, there is still a lot to narrow down.

"If you are asking to start an aquarium, it is a matter of commitment level. Cats are easy, but not all cats. Rats and mice are easier and less nippy than a hamster.

"The thing is to try and match each pet to what you are looking for."

Your pet-owning experience will be most enjoyable if you take the time to consider which animal best suits your family. You can start by answering some easy questions and gathering sound information and advice.

Three simple questions to ask as you start looking are: "Do you have room for a pet?" Active dogs, for example, need more space and more daily exercise, while some pets can get plenty of exercise in the confines of an apartment. Cats and birds seem to adapt to any size of living space, so they might be a good choice if your space is limited.

Next ask yourself "What activities do I enjoy?" It is important to think about what you want your pet to do with you. Most people keep pets as companions, whereas others enjoy animals for showing, breeding, hunting, or other reasons. Be sure to know the reasons you want the pet and then do the research.

"How do you spend your day?" No matter what pet you choose, it will depend on you for daily affection and attention. Young puppies and kittens require time for housebreaking, training, and feeding. Are you gone all day? Do you frequently work late? What will you do with your pet during long absences? These are all important things to take into consideration.

Last but certainly not least, "How much will your pet cost?" Here we are not just talking about purchase price, which can be steep enough; but all pets need food and shelter, and most should have regular visits to a veterinarian for health checkups and vaccinations. Don't forget toys, boarding, grooming, and a myriad of other things you might be forgetting.

Some estimates say a dog will cost you $20 a week where a cat will cost you $10 and a rodent more like $8.

There are other things to keep in mind, like longevity. If you buy a parrot, for example, it may well outlive you. What provisions are you going to make for its future care?

Or how about allergies? If you have never had a pet, you should spend some time with other people's pets and see how you do.

"The thing is that ultimately, it is a family decision," says Nanette. "Don't just go out and get a pet and surprise them with it. You have to discuss ahead of time who is going to walk it, who is going to feed it. They all need to want the pet."

It is not just about getting your needs met, it is also about the needs of the animal you choose to make a part of your family.

"And make sure to spay and neuter your pet," says Nanette. "There are thousands of unwanted pets just in our Metro Moncton area each year, so you could also consider adopting as an option."

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50 Great Tips To Give Your Dog
A Longer, Healthier, Happier Life
Submitted by Jennifer White - DogMagazine.net

We all know the expression, most of us know the maths – 1 human year = 7 dog years (roughly). When you put it into a different context and say; ‘for every day you live, your dog has lived the equivalent of a full human week’ it’s quite a frightening thought. Especially when you consider how much can happen in your life and with your health over the course of a week. Never fear, we’ve come up with 50 great hints and tips to keep your dog in top-shape and hopefully keep their tails wagging deep into old age…

1. Feeding raw, fresh foods on occasion can really invigorate your dog’s diet. Commercial pet foods have come along way but, like us, dogs benefit and thrive on variety.

2. Believe it or not, all supplied pet food should be fit for human consumption therefore you should look out for food which may contain unwanted by-products. By-products include intestines, which carry diseases.

3. Garlic occasionally given in your dog’s diet can improve heart condition and has some other healthy side-effects. Don’t be fooled into thinking this herb is a cure-all though. Garlic does have some very beneficial effects on health but, contrary to some opinion, it will not remove worms if your dog is infected. Instead, go to your vet and he or she will more than likely supply you with a pharmaceutical solution, which will clear your dog of worms.

4. Valerian Root is wonderful for animals that are stressed or hyperactive. This herb is naturally found in pastures and animals love it.

5. Tooth decay and diseased gums produce bacteria that get into the animal’s bloodstream. It can result in problems to any of their organs but in particular, the valves in the animal’s heart can be damaged. Kidneys are also very vulnerable and this could be one of the major killers of older dogs. Don’t use human toothpaste but entice your pet with the beef or chicken flavoured varies because you need to keep your dog’s teeth clean for more reasons than ‘the dog-breath issue’

6. I would never have thought of applying sunscreen to a dog, but pale or white dogs are very susceptible to skin cancer. A quick smear of sunscreen on the vulnerable areas; tips of ears and nose, could be a very simple way of saving your animal’s life.

7. The health of a dog is based on a lot of factors including genetics, exercise, and regular checkups, to name a few. But the number one factor affecting the health of a dog is the kind of food that it consumes. There are many types of commercial dog foods and diets on the market today, from BARF (bones and raw food), to steam-extruded products. Get to know your pet food labels, read the label and avoid products with chemicals and unnatural additives. You will likely avoid allergic reactions and skin problems in your dog.

8. Health begins in the kitchen. I believe the single most important thing you can do, after loving them, is to feed your companion animals fresh, wholesome, human grade, preservative free foods daily. Feeding companion animals an all natural diet will, most certainly, improve their overall health and increase their longevity.

9. Dogs like to play all types of games and have loads of energy to burn off. It’s important though that your dog learns to calm down and “chill out” as much as how to burn off energy. Otherwise they get stressed with the constant anticipation and over excitement. So, teach your dog the equivalent to sitting down and having a cup of tea by putting a command on quiet and relaxing times.

10. A fit dog lives longer. Obesity amongst pet dogs is a growing problem. If a dog is overweight it puts extra strain on various parts of the body and may well shorten the dog’s life.

11. Dogs kept in a one dog family with perhaps older owners seem to age more than dogs in two dog
households and/or younger owners. To keep your dog mentally active try to involve your dog in training or agility classes or, if your dog loves people and is of a calm disposition, apply for him to be a PAT (Pets
As Therapy) dog so he can visit people in hospital.

12. Chewing a long lasting bone or non-chemical dog chew is an excellent way for a dog to burn calories, keep teeth healthy and, very importantly, keeps the dog happy and occupied.

13. Groom your dog regularly. At least once a week with a good ‘massaging’ rubber dog brush. This will help stimulate circulation and manipulates weary muscles.

14. Toys are a great way to entertain a young dog. As your dog gets older you may find their choice or even desire to play with toys declines. If this is the case, look for new products that come on to the market which are likely to appeal to your dog’s personal sense of fun, whether it be tugging toys, hollowed out toys in which food can be placed or funny-noise making toys. Dogs love toys, you might just have to shop around to discover exactly which ones your dog likes as they grow up.

15. Happiness – make your dog happy! It sounds so simple but with a ‘holistic’ viewpoint on health means a happy, active, joyous mind will have positive effects on the physical well-being. Scientifically proven. So you can either take your dog to see Cannon & Ball in concert at Blackpool Pier or play with them several times a day, whichever they’d prefer.

16. Glucosamine – a tablet or two a day (depending on how big the dog is). This will help the cartilage develop and could help stave off arthritis and other problems.

17. Keep teeth healthy with regular chewing of a good chunky bone at least once a week. Knuckle bones are ideal, most pet shops will sell bones that are suitable for dogs – beware of bones that could splinter or cause choking. Marrow is good for dogs and there are few dogs who don’t enjoy gnawing down on a solid bone once in a while. Be careful where they bury their bones though, beautifully maintained flower beds are not appreciated as much by a bone carrying dog as the keen gardener who created them!

18. A good bed – sleep is undervalued by people if not by dogs. Somewhere warm and comfortable and out of draughts – even if it is your sofa – a dog knows the benefits of sleep so make sure they have somewhere ultra-comfy, warm and dry to enjoy this most beneficial of canine pastimes.

19. Training – not only will regular dog training sessions keep a dog’s mind active, it will improve your relationship with them. No dog is ever too old to enjoy being challenged. Find out what your dog enjoys and work with it. Play and training should be pretty much one and the same thing if you are doing it right.

20. Water – free and unrestricted access to water – clean water should ALWAYS be available. Some people have, in the past, suggested that water should/could be given at regular intervals and water in-take monitored – this is universally regarded as incorrect now. Clean, fresh drinking water should be on-hand whenever the dog needs it. Monitor if you think your dog is drinking excessively and speak to a vet.

21. A natural diet can do wonders according to Jacki Bunn, HNC Canine Behaviour and Training. Plain and simple foods such as chicken and rice and vegetables, with as few additives as possible. It’s true for you so it’s equally applicable to your dog.

22. Mental stimulation through training can greatly reduce the symptoms of dementia in old age. Although it may not seem obvious to go back to basics with a dog who’s been there, seen it and eaten the t-shirt, regular training exercises with adult dogs can do them a power of good.

23. Too much stress in the home can affect the dogs’ health as much as any other family member. Keep stress in the household to a minimum or make sure you have your domestic disputes outside the earshot of Fido.

24. Be choosy about treats. If your dog is overweight take some food from his daily ration add a clove of garlic and keep in a little pot.

25. Regularly check you dog for lumps and bumps. Cancer is a big killer in dogs the same as it is in humans. If any unusual lumps are found don’t be afraid to take your dog to the vet to have them properly looked at. Early detection of cancer is key to successful treatment so don’t worry about appearing over concerned when you find something on your dog’s body which wasn’t there before.

26. Teeth which are not used are not cleaned and consequently plaque accumulates. Poor teeth and gums can be prone to more serious diseases. If your dog, like many, is one of a growing group of pets who is only ever exposed to commercial pet food, treats and snacks etc, then their oral health could be at risk. Bones, chews and toys will put your dog’s teeth to good use.

27. Supply raw chicken wings, chicken necks or ox tail to young/small puppies when they most want to chew and explore. This will reduce the risk of gingivitis, which lasts into old age and makes eating too painful.

28. Use Arnica at times of stress. This homeopathic remedy called Arnica Montana to be given orally at a dose rate of 30C – three doses every four hours for two days. Arnica Montana is very well known. It is often used for some kind of trauma, emotional or physical. It is good for muscle aches, sprains, strains, and injuries. Arnica is given to patients prior to coming to the surgery for examination or operation. The vet must be told of any drugs your dog has had. The Arnica will produce a calmer dog that settles quickly and is less anxious. Especially good for highly strung dogs.

29. Spaying and neutering can prevent testicular tumours amongst male dogs and a series of health problems in females. The procedure can also reduce a dog’s desire to roam. Castration is not a behavioural cure-all. If you don’t intend to breed from your dog then consider this option on medical grounds. Poor behaviour should be addressed by a suitably qualified dog trainer or behavioural expert not the surgeon’s knife.

30. Stop your dog becoming over-weight by feeding raw chunks of carrot instead of fattening treats. Dogs seem to love the crunchiness and raw carrot is not only healthy, it keeps their teeth clean – an ideal reward/treat.

31. D.A.P diffuser will reduce levels of stress which will help your dog live longer. DAP stands for Dog Appeasing Pheromone. Pheromones are natural chemical messengers which bitches with puppies produce from the mammary glands. These pheromones re-assure the pups that the breast area is a safe area. Pheromones are released into the dog’s environment via a plug-in diffuser. It does have an obvious calming effect and is good to use at times of stress i.e. house move or if you leave an anxious dog home alone. They are available through Vets.

32. Secure your home against dog escape. It sounds obvious but no matter how secure you think your garden might be, until it’s been put to the test by a truly determined escape-minded animal, it could always be more secure. Consider an extra set of gates if possible whereby a dog would have to escape through two sets of gates rather than one, which could lead directly to freedom if they are left open by mistake. Consider high fencing. Again, until the day arrives when your garden security is actually put to the test by the dog, you may never know how safe it is – really study your garden and ask some searching questions; “Could he clear that wall if he really wanted to?”, “Could she dig her way under that fence if she was absolutely determined to?” – remember, one escape could be the last time you ever see your dog.

33. An eggshell contains lots of calcium and if given in a dog’s food once in a while can provide a crunchy little extra that will do the dog some good. Eggs themselves contain protein which is essential to maintain a healthy immune system, essential fatty acids for hormonal, skin, kidney, heart, liver, reproductive, coat and brain health. They also they contain vital anti-oxidants, which help protect the eye and reduce the effects of ageing. Use very occasionally amongst older dogs, more frequently with a puppy’s diet but remember – they can cause laxative like effects.

34. Be alert when it comes to your dog’s health. Some conditions, such as gastric torsion can take fatal effects within hours. If your dog is behaving oddly, take the ‘better to be safe than sorry’ approach and call the vet.

35.Use Vaseline to help maintain healthy pads and noses. In the winter and summer dog’s noses and pads can become dry hard and cracked. (Just like ours) Vaseline moisturises and cares for keratinised areas really well.

36. Dogs will eat grass if they feel nauseous – the grass makes them sick then they feel better. Some dogs eat grass anyway even when they feel well – it does them no harm but excessive grass consumption could be a warning that your dog may have a gastro-intestinal upset.

37. Insure your pet. Simple. Do your research on policies by all means but don’t consider insurance as an option. Unless you don’t think your dog is worth more to you than your car, you should insure every year, without fail.

38. Tailor your dog’s exercise regime to his age. An old dog will not benefit from too much exercise, in fact when winter comes, old dogs will benefit from having a little extra bulk on them.

39. Learn as much as you can about the dog you own. Whether you own a Pedigree Poodle or a rescued ‘bits n pieces’ dog. Learn what you can about the breed, learn what you can about parents (if possible), learn what you can about known health problems within the breed, known health problems within the family line and so on. A little acquired knowledge and the dog you share your life with can go a long way to you having a happier co-existence.

40. Surveys show that about 50% of dogs get lost every year. Most are quickly found but over 100,000 end up in stray pounds. Many cannot be returned to their owners as there is no identification on the dog. Permanent identification with a microchip allows dog wardens to find a stray dog’s owner quickly and is an essential supplement to the legal minimum of a collar and tag. -

41. Bones can harbour harmful bacteria, always boil any bones before you give them to your dog to chew on.

42. Plastic feeding bowls are more difficult to clean thoroughly. Bacteria can remain and cause the dog to become ill. Food odours can remain on the plastic for longer, if you have a fussy dog, the lingering smell of decaying food stuffs can cause him to be even fussier.

43. Antifreeze has a very tempting smell for dogs. Be mindful during the winter months of areas where it may have leaked onto the ground. Your dog may lick it and the effects of the substance can be fatal.

44. Never feed a dog chocolate. It contains theobromine, which is a potentially fatal toxin to dogs and is also high in sugar. There are plenty of chocolate alternatives.

45. Many dog owners make the mistake of giving commands in long sentences that only another
human being would understand. You get certain inflections in the dog’s bark or whine, but only another dog understands “dog talk.” Why should you expect your dog to understand all the words you use? True, your pet will love to hear you talk. Still, it is your tone that reaches and pleases him. Make sure commands are short and sharp, like ‘’sit” and ”down”.

46. A spot of rubbing alcohol on the paw pads is an excellent way to cool down an over exerted dog.

47. Nails must be kept short for a dog’s paws to remain healthy. Long nails can affect a dog’s gait, which can lead to hip problems. Regular walks on concrete usually keep nails in trim naturally. If you dog’s nails do become over-grown, a trip to the vets or dog groomers for a quick trim could also be the ideal time for a general K9-MOT/Health Check!

48. If you are going to trim your dog’s nails yourself, always use a specialist clipper as they have a device which prevents trimming above the ‘quick’, which is where the blood vessels are located. Never use normal household scissors for this job. If you do accidentally cut to the quick, Styptic powder is useful as it helps to stem the bleeding.

49. As a guide to nail length, if you can hear the nails clicking on the floor they are too long.

50. If you lead a busy life with little or no spare time – make sure your dog doesn’t suffer. It might sound daft but here is a great tip for professionals or people with hectic schedules – enter times each week called ‘dog time’ time that you must spend playing, fussing or relaxing with your dog. You are lucky that a dog will work to your schedule so whatever you do, don’t leave them off it all together.

The Not-So-Cowardly Lionfish
by Felicia M. - dfs-pet-blog.com

If you’re an aquarist, you probably have a preference for a certain type of fish. Some people like little peaceful fish, some like big aggressive fish, and others like rare oddball fish. I’ve always been inclined toward small, weird, peaceful fish like Seahorses and Curious Wormfish. I never imagined myself wanting a large predator like a Lionfish until I met “Serendipity.”

Serendipity is a Yellow Dwarf Fuzzy Lionfish (Dendrochirus brachypterus). I know Serendipity is a female because she has only five bars on her pectoral fins; males have more. Yellow is a rare color for this type of fish, and she is a gorgeous shade of yellow. In addition to her yellow fins, she has beautiful blue eyes and reddish-brown bars on her body.

Serendipity is the only fish in the coral tank I keep in my kitchen. I think she likes being in the kitchen as she gets lots of attention and can be where the action is. She has been outgoing and friendly since day one. If I am looking into the tank, there is usually a curious little Lionfish face right in front of what I’m trying to look at. I suppose I wouldn’t be afraid of anything either if I were that venomous. I have to be careful when I work in my tank so that I don’t bump into her venomous spines. If I am stung, I’ll put the affected area into water that is as hot as I can stand it, and that may help deactivate the venom. If not, I’d have to take a trip to the ER.

Serendipity is also unusual for a Lionfish because she eats frozen food. Most Lionfish will only eat live foods. The “fish guys” here at LiveAquaria’s Aquaculture Coral and Marine Life Facility do their best to try to train the large predatory fish to eat frozen foods like frozen silversides and krill before being sold on Diver’s Den. I was lucky that Serendipity learned to eat frozen food.

I feed her a diet of mostly thawed, cut up silversides three times a week. Sometimes she gets a piece of krill as a treat since a diet of krill only has been reported as a cause for lockjaw in large predatory fish. I use a blunt bamboo stick to transfer the food to her. I impale the food on the end then wiggle the food in the water to entice her. She swims up to the food and pauses for a moment while flaring and vibrating her fins before striking. I try to let the food go off the stick in front of her face right before she strikes so she doesn’t hurt her mouth on the stick. We both have to have perfect timing or else the food floats to the bottom of the tank where she won’t eat it and I’ll have to get it out.

Do you have a Lionfish or other large predatory fish in your aquarium? We’d love to hear about it!

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