Have You Taught Your Dog to Swim?

Are Treats Making Your Pet Fat?
by Daphne Sashin - PawNation.com

We love giving our pets treats, whether to reward good behavior, keep them occupied or because we simply can't resist their plaintive stares or begging. But all those jerky treats, dental chews and milk bones are making our domestic animals fat.

"If I could only point to one factor causing the modern-day pet obesity epidemic, it would have to be treats," says veterinarian Ernie Ward, founder of the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention and author of "Chow Hounds: Why Our Dogs Are Getting Fatter – A Vet's Plan to Save Their Lives."

Vets and animal-nutrition experts point the finger at fattening pet snacks: Packed with sugar and carbohydrates, even the tiniest packaged cheese or bacon snack becomes what Ward calls "calorie grenades."

"It's that seemingly innocent extra 50 calories a day in the form of a chew or cookie that adds up to a pound or two each year. By the time a dog or cat reaches mid-life, it's overweight and health risks begin to skyrocket," Ward says. Obesity is being blamed for health problems such as diabetes, joint pain and breathing problems in pets.

That doesn't mean the snacks have to stop, but experts say treats should make up no more than 10 percent of your pet's daily calories. That's not much, considering a 10-pound cat needs less than 300 calories daily and a 40-pound dog should only get about 1,000 calories.

Making things trickier, manufacturers don't list calorie contents on their packages, and they don't have to.

Some of the worst offenders tend to be the newer "dental chews" for dogs, Ward says. One Purina BusyBone Dental Bone (Large) has a whopping 600 calories, while a Pedigree JumBone (small) has 297 calories, nearly an entire day's calories for a small dog.

Other popular treats and their calorie counts, according to Ward's research:
--Pup-Peroni: 24 calories
--Purina Beggin' Strips: 30 calories
--Milk-Bone Biscuit (Medium): 40 calories
--Purina Chew-eez Beefhide Chew Strips: 60 calories
--Pedigree DentaBone (Medium): 188 calories

Experts recommend replacing processed treats with crunchy veggies such as baby carrots (only two or three calories per carrot), cucumbers (one calorie per half-inch slice) and celery (around six calories per stalk). For owners desiring a commercial dog treat, Ward likes Liver Biscotti, which deliver less than one calorie per piece.

No single treat is the culprit, however. The biggest problem is quantity, says animal nutritionist Susan Lauten, Ph.D., owner of Pet Nutrition Consulting in Knoxville.

"A family of four could be each giving the dog three treats a day and they don't know what the other person is doing," she says. She recommends that you measure out the amount of food that the dog or cat is going to receive per day, put it all in a freezer bag and only give treats out of that bag.

As for cats, the risk of packing on pounds is so high that Ward recommends avoiding treats altogether. If you must, give a pinch (3/4-inch flake) of salmon or tuna.

12 Hour Pet

Last night I went for a run and, as I am wont to do, perused my path for lizards along the way. It's one of my little known foibles: I like to catch lizards. And frogs. And, on occasion, snakes. I do draw the line at spiders, though. They're creepy.

At any rate, I saw him by the wall: stiff, cold-blooded, not at all pleased by my advances. But I picked him up and took him home anyway.

Backtracking a good five minutes of my run, I might add.

What can I tell you? Some moms help their kids with math homework. Some moms sew. Some moms give their kids advice on how to be popular at school. Some moms help their kids avoid library fines. I am, regrettably, not that mom. But I am the mom who brings a lizard home to her children and tells them they can keep it overnight.

When I got back from my run, the girls were still undecided on a name. Sophie wanted to call him Agent X. Caroline wanted to call him Old Joe. Izzy wanted to call him The Dean. I have to tell you I was impressed. I was expecting some frilly, lavender-ish name that would make my face twitch, when in fact even I couldn't decide which name was best.

After enduring their heated debate awhile, I shut things down with denunciations of pettifoggery. Such a great word, so many applications around these parts. I've taken to singing it like a Bach fugue as of late.

The next morning we released him into the wilds. Two minutes later, we saw a black cat climb over the wall. As you may imagine, I spent the rest of our walk to school reassuring Caroline that Old Joe was probably halfway to The Strip by now.

Which she thought was pretty funny. But she worried all the same.

Simple Updates and Regular Cleaning
Keeps Homes Healthy for People and Pets
By (ARA) - CrestonNewsAdvertiser.com

(ARA) - Family pets cherish the home environment - it's where they curl up on the living room floor, wait patiently for a treat in the kitchen, and patrol the halls making sure loved ones are safe and sound. Although pets are undeniably loveable, the animal dander and other allergens that accompany these furry friends can jeopardize the well-being of those in the home.

If pets are an integral part of your family, take note of a few tips to keep your pet and home environment healthy.

Many of the same volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and irritants found in home air affect the health of your pet as much as they affect your family. Adding an air purifier will reduce the amount of pollutants and irritants circulating through the home, allowing people and pets alike to breathe a little easier (and cleaner). Air purification systems like the Idyllis line from Lowe's also have added benefits for pet-loving households - they dilute odors that may result from a wet pet, accidents around the home, or other pet smells.

"Family pets bring great joy to a household," says Clint Davis, senior vice president of merchandising for Lowe's. "You can optimize the quality of life for everyone living under one roof by routinely cleaning your home and adding an Idylis air purification system that will reduce the amount of pet dander and other allergens that circulate from your pet."

Many of the most popular pets have the potential to aggravate allergies. Even if you aren't allergic, animal dander (hair or skin flakes) can be a bother. Pet dander can remain on floors, walls and ceilings months or years after the animal has left the house. Frequently vacuuming the home will eliminate some of the dander and allergens left behind. The Electrolux 12-Amp Versatility Bagless Upright vacuum cleaner has HEPA filtration that helps to keep the air in your house clean and a hand-held wand that can be used for picking up pet hair.

If allergies are an issue in your home, there are steps you can take to curb the problem. Regular baths and grooming for your pets will go a long way in keeping family members healthy and allergen-free. While you're washing your pet, start to think about cleaning other parts of the home pets may inhabit. Throw your pet's bed and toys in the laundry once a week to keep away fleas and dust mites and to cut down on dander.

Pay attention to your floors, where dirt can get ground in or collect in corners. Scrub the carpet with a carpet shampoo to remove any pet stains and wipe down wood floors with Method Wood for Good Floor Cleaner to eliminate bacteria, add shine and cover paw and claw marks. After you are done cleaning, be sure to seal and store cleaning products and potentially harmful household and garden products that your pet's nose might find appealing. For more ideas on maintaining a healthy home with pets, visit Lowes.com/HealthyHome.

Taking a few extra steps to clean up after your pet will keep your furry friends where they love to be - at the heart of the family.

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Dealing With The Loss Of Your Pet

As a society we know that with all life comes death, it is inevitable. When the death that occurs is a spouse, family member or close friend it is natural to feel sorrow, express grief, and expect family and friends to provide understanding and comfort. The same does not always hold true if the death that has occurred is that of a pet. You as an owner may experience the same feelings of loss, but encounter less support dealing with the loss of your pet in some instances because others might not understand how important the pet really was. People love their pets and some even consider them immediate members of the family, which depending on the type of animal, may have been for years.

Pets provide companionship, acceptance, emotional support, and unconditional love during the years they share with you. If you understand and accept the bond between pets and owner, you can take the first steps toward dealing with the loss of your pet by knowing that it is okay to grieve when a pet dies. The next step is to understand how you grieve and find ways to cope with the loss so it can bring you closer to the day when the memories of your pet bring happy thoughts instead of tears of sorrow.

Children And Pet Death
When the loss of a family pet occurs with children involved, it is important to remember that this loss is probably one of the child's first experience with death and as such should be handled with great care as they can be far more sensitive than an adult would be. With children and pet death the child may blame themselves, the parents, or even the veterinarian for not saving the pet. They may feel guilty, depressed, and frightened that others they love may be taken from them.

Never try to protect your child by saying the pet ran away because honesty is important for their future development. This may cause your child to expect the pet to return or even wonder what they did to make it leave. This will extend the grief period even longer than usual, or even instill a feeling of parental betrayal if they do discover the truth. It will also make it harder for a child to accept a new pet in the future, because they may believe that loving a new pet would be a betrayal to their old friend.

If you had to put the pet to sleep, make sure your child understands the difference between ordinary sleep and death, or you risk the child themselves being fearful of going to sleep and not waking up. Make it clear that the pet will not come back or wake up, but that the pet is happy and free of pain.

Expressing your own grief with your child will reassure them that feeling sadness at this time is okay and help them work through their own feelings.

Pet Loss And Grief Recovery
Finding a way to say goodbye and remember your pet is also important for yourself and your family during the grieving process, and there a number of things that you can do to honor their memory.

--Write About Your Memories And Shared Experiences. Compose a eulogy or elegy about what made your deceased pet special to each family member. You can then read it at a special memorial service or submit it to us to be posted within our Online Pet Memorials section, which is also featured on the main page of Pet Memorial Urns Online.

--Put Together An Album Of Memories. Creating a photo album, scrapbook, or collage of your pet allows you to focus more so on the good times and can be very therapeutic for dealing with the grief and loss.

--Plant A Living Memorial. Let others know how much your pet was loved and cared for as well as help restore greenspace by planting a tree in their memory.

--Provide A Special Place For Your Pet's Ashes. Keep the ashes of your pet in a beautiful pet urn or within pet keepsake jewelry. You can also get weatherproof pet cremation urns if you intend to bury your pet in a special place on your property.

--Hold A Memorial Service. One of the most important steps in grief recovery is to hold a memorial service so that you or your family can say goodbye to your pet. This is also the perfect time to share the memories you wrote about or the album you put together.

Introducing A New Pet Into The Family
After the grieving process is over and enough time has passed, pet owners usually ponder whether or not they should get a new pet, especially if children are involved or how to go about introducing a new pet into the family. It is important to remember that children need more time to adjust to the loss because getting a new pet too soon can cause feelings of disloyalty or guilt and create problems in bonding with the new pet. Depending on the age of the child, they may also think that if something were to happen to them, they would soon be forgotten and a replacement found. They need to understand that friendships cannot be immediately replaced. Another important thing to remember is that you are not replacing your old pet, and as such you should avoid getting a look-a-like or the exact same breed.

A new pet should only be introduced when everyone in the family is ready to move forward and build another new long lasting bond with a new friend and member of the family. If it was a family pet, plan an outing to a local pet store, or even animal shelter to pick out your new pet together. You will be surprised at how this as well helps even further with the grieving process and moving on.

How Did I Do?
by PJ

The Things Pets Do, Four-Legged Friends

Maci seeking Lilly's approval of her baby crying imitation

Tips On Training A Dog

Among the several key responsibilities dog owners have, training a dog is among the most essential. A dog that has been trained properly will be able to form a more fulfilling relationship with its owner and other people or pets. This article will give you some tips and advice on how to train your dog.

First of all, you need to realize that training a dog is not simply about telling your dog what to do and expecting it to follow suit. Training your dog will require you to first understand how dogs behave. The behavior of a dog is the outcome of several factors. These will play a role in affecting the outcome of your dog training.

Some Advice On Understanding Dog Behavior

-Note that dogs are individually different. Thus, you should get to know your dog as much as possible before training. For instance, try to find out why your dog keeps barking. There are numerous reasons for excessive barking, and these include separation anxiety, protection of territory, fear, and so on.

-Observe your dog in social settings. Behavior is never completely acquired or inherited, but rather progressed based on the merged influences. Socialization is important in a sense that you’ll be able to observe how your dog will adjust in a dynamic environment and effectively handle unacceptable behavior.

-Know that dogs are thinkers as opposed to animals that simply behave. While dogs are unable to solve complex problems, they are not behavioral robots, either.

Steps To Training A Dog

Understand that there are 2 parts to training, and these are behavioral training and command-response training. The first part is to correct behavioral problems (such as aggressive behavior) and the latter is to teach a dog to obey commands.

Prepare a quite place that has minimum distraction. During training, state your command in a loud (but not frightening) and firm manner. The usual advice is to use the same hand movements together with each command. Repeat yourself until your dog obeys your command. Every time it does, reward with a tidbit or nice pat. Of course, you should already have an idea what type of reward your dog is most motivated by. Maintain 10 to 15-minute training sessions at least twice a day. As you go along, work your way to training your dog in more public, less-confined locations.


Generally, reinforcement through consistency and repetition is key in training any dog. Both good and habits are developed when an activity is repeated over and over again consistently. So while training your dog, it’s important to be persistent and even if your dog already excels, training should be a continuous practice.

Tips For Training An Aggressive Dog

Behavioral training is slightly different in a sense that you’re attempting to modify your dog’s behavior. In any case, the very first thing to do is to spot exactly what is causing your dog’s unacceptable behavior and eliminating it or slowly turning it into something positive. For instance, if your dog has a fear of strangers, properly socializing it with other humans or dogs may help. Of course, this needs to be done with safety precautions, by using a muzzle first for instance. Behavioral training can be extremely challenging, thus, an advice would be to check out some dog training schools for assistance.

Want to read more articles, please visit http://www.dogtraining888.com.

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The Dog Poop Count Continues in Boise Foothills
- Idaho Statesman

Red flags at Corrals trailhead mark piles of dog poop counted in mid-February by city staff.

For the past three years, city officials have flagged dog poop at three Foothills trailheads in February.

How did it go this year? "Corrals is just gross," said Foothills Open Space Manager Julia Grant, who was disappointed. "When it snows you can't always see everything. Everything we saw was pretty fresh."

What was the count?

- 109 at Corrals (142 in 2009, 115 in 2008)

- 92 at Lower Hulls (49 in 2009, 141 in 2008)

- 50 at Table Rock (82 in 2009, 66 in 2008)

What are the flags for? To educate people. "(Dog poop) is still a big problem," Grant said. "We need to reach the people who think the Foothills are their dogs' toilet."

When is the next poop count? September.

Victoria Stilwell’s Puppy Training Advice

Victoria Stillwell, star of Animal Planet’s “It’s Me or the Dog”, was on the Martha Stewart Show to teach us some great tips for how to train our puppy dogs. Stillwell was also recently featured in Modern Dog Magazine. She brought such darling puppies on Martha’s show, and all of them are up for adoption. With spring right around the corner, there will be many puppies around… so please consider adopting one!

Victoria said that the best time to train a dog is between 8 and 16 weeks old.

Victoria Stilwell’s Tips for Potty Training Your Puppy Dog:
Line your entire puppy-proof room with Wee Wee Pads, which have a special scent to them so that your puppy will know that it should pee on it. Every day, take away one of the Wee Wee Pads to start teaching your puppy to only go on the section of your room with Wee Wee Pads. Eventually, you will get down to just one Wee Wee Pad and then you can take it outside to your yard to start teaching your dog to go to the bathroom outside only. It should take you 2-3 months to train your dog to to go the bathroom outside, and once your puppy has not had an accident for six weeks, Victoria Stilwell says you should be good to go!

Victoria Stilwell’s Tips for Teaching Your Puppy Dog Not to Chew:
Victoria said that puppies discover the world through their mouths. If your puppy bites you then put him on the ground and walk away or make a little squealing sound. Another tip from Stilwell is to get a Kong Dog Toy, which you can place in the freezer to help soothe your dog’s gums. Plus, you can place a tiny bit of peanut butter with a piece of their kibble into the hole on the side of the Kong Dog Toy, so that your dog will chew on the toy instead of your clothing, furniture, etc. It will be the best $8 you have ever spent!

Victoria Stilwell’s Tips for Teaching Your Puppy Dog Not to Cry At Night:
If you teach your puppy from a young age that it will sleep in its crate, it will be so much easier (and I am speaking from experience with two husky dogs). My dogs actually love their crates now. If they continue to cry, you can try petting your dog while they are in their crate, just until he quiets down.

Sharing a Meal Together
by rhonda

The Things Pets Do, Four-Legged Friends

A better picture of Lucy and Scooter.

Two Bonded Dogs Need a Home Together -- Sad Story

From rescuers Rick and Kathy Mello:

A bystander witnessed two dogs (a lab mix male and a mixed breed female) get dumped from a car. Unfortunately, with the economy being what it is, we are seeing more of this than ever before. The dogs were frantic and the male dog kept going up to every stopped car on Krome Avenue and 248th Street trying to find their owner. The female dog was behind him every step of the way. By the time Kathy got to them, they were very scared and running in the street aimlessly looking for someone to take them….when she got them in our truck, they ate a little bit and immediately fell asleep from exhaustion.

The reason I am passing this on is that we are trying to adopt these dogs together. When they are separated from each other, they cry and become very upset….the two are in love and inseparable. There is no question if someone had not gotten to them they would have died together on highway; now, we are going to try to help them live the rest of their lives together. As you know, it is very difficult to adopt out two dogs together, but in all of our years of doing rescue, we are certain that if there were ever two dogs that needed to stay together, it is these two.

We have received some assistance in the way of temporary boarding since we are beyond full at our place have no room for them. Also, we are working mightily through our network of friends and co-rescuers to find them a home. Ellie, any help you can give us in getting the word out would be greatly appreciated. We really appreciate you and what you do for the animals. If you need more information, please call us at 786-243-3557 or 786-251-8050.

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Pet Bite Etiquette 101:
Who Pays When Teeth Fly?
By Patty Khuly, Special for USA TODAY

It's not just the perfunctory fang bang sustained during a brief brawl at the puppy park. Consider also the crushing injuries, the broken bones and the bleeding lungs that sometimes result when pets get into it.

The worst cases fall under the category of BDLD (big-dog-little-dog) interactions, or else they happen when cats end up on the business end of a dog's maw. In these cases, the aggressors are usually out to kill — and they can make pretty neat (and expensive) work of it.

Then there's the adverse human-animal event we occasionally observe — as in, you're taking in a civilized tea at your neighbor's house and the egregiously dominance-aggressive cat hurls itself at your daintily outstretched pinky finger.

In my experience, it's cases like these that bring out the best and worst in humanity.

Two recent examples from the annals of Dr. Khuly's diverse and interesting clientele:

• The owner of a Presa Canario (insanely big dog) whose notoriously dog-aggressive female got out last month and crushed the neighbor's (also inadvertently-free-roaming) bischon in her mouth.

In the end, the bischon didn't make it. But the Presa's owner handled everything with the kind of grace all humans involved in these sad cases should. What with our initial work-up and transfer to the specialists (which this dog's non-owner handled personally), $10,000 must have changed hands over the course of three days. And the Presa guy didn't blink. Not once. Bless him.

It's at this point we can only hope he applies more of his financial wherewithal to fencing instead of financing my profession's continued existence in cases whose outcomes I'd rather not revisit.

• How about the owner of a trained attack dog purchased exclusively for family protection? Two weeks ago, the mail carrier ignored the prominent "Bad Dog" sign, bypassed the mailbox at the curb, and let herself into the gated yard, package in hand. When the sleeping dog awoke to find the potential evildoer in his yard, he managed to claw a leg. No bite. Just a rough scratch and a frightened mail carrier.

Three police cruisers and one disgruntled postal worker later, this dog had been branded "dangerous." He got the first of a three-strikes-you're-out (as in, euthanasia) violation for doing pretty much what he's supposed to do, after the owner followed every single regulation pertaining to the keeping of such a dog.

Then there was quarantine for rabies (as if you could get rabies from a scratch) and the expense of veterinary visits for pepper spray inhalation — all because some humans feel pet owners and their pets deserve to be punished when animals act like animals, regardless of the circumstances.

Clearly, animal aggression has a way of eliciting a wide range of human behavior. Which is why I'd like to offer my advice for pet-bite etiquette on both sides of the equation:

1. Stay cool and keep it civil.

I tend to think simple bites between friends, family, neighbors and even strangers should be settled amicably (non-legally) with the biter's family offering to pay for any reasonable expenses incurred.

Nonetheless, if your pet injures a human in any way, legal experts say you should talk to a lawyer. You may be liable for damages present and future. This is what my client in the above example should have done to attempt to resolve his dog's "dangerous" distinction.

•2. Determine what is a "reasonable" expense.

Paying for "reasonable" veterinary costs is the norm for adverse pet-pet interactions. But this gets murky. How much is "reasonable" given the widening gap between what's doable and what's affordable? Ideally, the offender's owner should be willing to pay for whatever costs the affected pet's owner thinks is fair — and that might amount to $60, $600, $6,000 or $60,000, depending on the situation. The top end is why lawyers sometimes get into it.

•3. Go ahead, call the cops.

It's OK to call the police if your pet gets bitten out in public by an owned animal unknown to you. How else to be sure if the animal has been vaccinated and that you'll be compensated for your "loss" (i.e., veterinary expenses)?

•4. Choose the vet.

The afflicted pet(s) should go to the vet of the owner's choice. I've seen plenty of situations where the owners of the animals argue over which of their vets should handle the case. And that's not right. You wouldn't take your kid to another's pediatrician just because his patient treats the kid who bit her on the playground, right? Plus, there's a saying about foxes and henhouses that fits in here somewhere.

•5. Take responsibility for your own role.

If you're injured by an animal, you shouldn't expect compensation in a setting where the animal was justifiably defending himself or his property (and the property was so marked in accordance with the law). Similarly, assessing your own role in allowing your Chihuahua to go off leash and attempt to befriend a leashed Rottweiler is critical to determining your right to compensation in the event of an attack.

Accepting responsibility for our pets foibles — and our own — is part of belonging to a civil society. If only more common sense and civility were applied to our pet-on-pet and pet-on-human interactions, I wouldn't have to write a column like this.

Francesca and Pals
by lewis

The Things Pets Do, Four-Legged Friends

Francesca is on the right. The great dane is not only the biggest I've ever encountered, but the sweetest as well.

Pet Travel:
Safety Tips to Prevent
the Loss of Your Animal
By Gabrielle Jonas - ZooToo.com

For Dixie, a 4-year-old Chocolate Labrador, the trip last September from the Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina turned out to be no vacation.

As baggage handlers transported Dixie between the cargo facility and the airplane, the frightened Lab popped several bolts from her kennel and bolted. Baggage handlers chased Dixie, watching helplessly as she scooted under the airport perimeter fence.

An 11-day search ended when a local animal control officer shot Dixie with a tranquilizer gun. But the dart hit several organs, including Dixie's spleen, and emergency surgery could not save her.

Northwest Airlines reprimanded the Worldwide Flight Services handler who received the kennel for not securing its door with zip ties. The airline also retrained its employees on the airline's animal acceptance procedures, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Indeed, securing the animal's kennel after reception or inspection with zip ties is a major factor in preventing animal loss at airports.

Failure to examine zip ties was also a factor in the loss of Moya, a gray and orange Tabby traveling with her owner on Hawaiian Airlines from Hawaii to Los Angeles last July.

A porter took the kennel to the bag room. "The cat's kennel was inspected by Transportation Security Administration inspection, but not properly secured thereafter," according to a DOT incident report.

Moya bolted. But even worse, no one reported the escape. Moya's owner did not know her cat was missing until after takeoff. Neither the porter's ban from HA contract work, or the $225 pet fee refund could have made up for the loss.

Fastening carriers adequately is one way to reduce the chance of loss. But so is reducing the number of flights taken over one journey, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. When Horizon Air lost a Blue Heeler, the 45-lb. dog had already traveled from Anchorage to Seattle to Portland. He was overdue for a walk, but the trip still wasn't over.

While the Blue Heeler was waiting in his kennel for the next leg of his journey to Medford, Oregon, a Horizon Air employee took pity on him and opened the kennel to take him for a walk.

Unfortunately, the American Kennel Club identifies the breed as one that is naturally suspicious of strangers, and the Blue Heeler bolted.

Horizon Air's policy states that if its employees believe the pet needs attention, they should locate the owners.

"The employee was trained on this policy, but was trying to be helpful and kind to the dog and opened his kennel," the airline reported in its incident report to DOT.

The Blue Heeler was missing for four days before his owners found him.

Pet owners can learn lessons from this herding canine, whose instinct was to make a break for open space.

"Book a direct flight whenever possible," advises the ASPCA. "This will decrease the chances that your pet is left on the tarmac during extreme weather conditions or mishandled by baggage personnel."

The ASPCA also cautions owners to purchase a USDA-approved shipping crate large enough for a pet to stand, sit and turn around in comfortably. Some airlines even sell the USDA-approved shipping crates.

Make sure the crate's door is securely closed, but not locked, so that airline personnel can open it in an emergency. Affix a current photograph of the pet to the top of the crate for identification, added the ASPCA.

"Should your pet escape from the carrier, this could be a lifesaver," an ASPCA spokesman said. "You should also carry a photograph of your pet."

But the ASPCA urges pet owners to think twice about flying their pets on commercial airlines, especially if they plan on checking them in as cargo. "Unless your animal is small enough to fit under your seat and you can bring him or her in the cabin, the ASPCA recommends pet owners to not fly their animal."

But for those pet owners who have already committed to transporting their pets on commercial airlines, the ASPCA suggests some common-sense precautions.

If owners must fly their pets, in addition to a collar and ID tag, invest in a microchip for identification. Breakaway collars are best for cats. The collar should also include destination information in the event of escape.

This article is Part Two of a Zootoo Safety Series on pet travel. Check back next week for more tips on keeping your pet protected while in transit.

Pit Bull Romeo with BF Jake
by paula

The Things Pets Do, Four-Legged Friends

"Vicious" pit bull Romeo with his best friend hyacinth macaw Jake riding on his shoulder.. Remember not to judge a book by its cover.

Tips On Teaching A Dog Swimming

Although some dogs are natural swimmers, not all are, which makes it important that you take the time to teach your dog to swim. Not only is it good for bonding but can be fun for both of you. Here are some useful tips on teaching your dog to swim.

1. Making use of a life jacket.

Using a dog life jacket serves two main purposes. Firstly it will give your dog buoyancy. This buoyancy will help your dog to float and make learning to swim a lot easier for him. It will also reduce the amount of fatigue your dog experiences and keep him warm in the water. Most dog life jackets also have a carry handle at the top. This enable you to grab the handle and help lift your dog out of the water. This is vital if your dog gets panicked or becomes fatigued.

2. Getting in the water with your dog.

Being in the water with your dog helps you with keeping a close eye on him whilst in the water. it very much the same way as if you were teaching a young child to swim. Being in the water at the same time allows you to encourage your dog more and guide them. It also enable you to quickly lift him out of the water if he runs into difficulties. Large dogs may need more than one of you in the water at the same time to help lift him out.

3. Start small initially.

If you have your own swimming pool, then this is an ideal way of introducing him to water. He can go in feet first and slowly move out until all his body becomes wet. Throwing your dog into water and hoping for the best is a very bad idea. This can lead to a life long fear of water in your dog.

4. Short periods of time.

When swimming, a dog uses a lot of energy and also loses a lot of heat in the water. Dogs that are bred to spend a lot of time i water usually have thick fur and a large. This minimizes their heat loss. To prevent your dog from developing hypothermia, keep swimming sessions short, dry your dogs fur afterwards and follow up by wrapping in a blanket.

5. Have fun.

Dogs love nothing more than joining in with his family, jumping and playing about in the water. Make the whole water experience fun. This can be achieved by playing games in the water, giving encouragement and even giving treats. This will encourage him to spend time in water as he will associate the experience with having a good time.

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