Which Dog Breeds Live the Longest?

What to Do if Your Dog Gets Away From You
by Talena Chavis - Dog.Suite101.com

Tips & Tricks for Getting Your Canine to Come Back Safely

It's a nightmare situation when your dog darts out the door or gets off its leash, but there are simple steps you can take to get your four-legged friend back safely.

Panic is the natural response to watching your dog take off, but instead of imagining worst case scenarios, focus on the present and choose a plan of action.

What Not to Do
Don't run after your dog! Dogs love to play chase. Taking off after your dog only encourages him or her to run farther. If you do decide to follow, walk casually as though nothing out of the ordinary is happening.

Don't call to your dog. Unless your dog knows and obeys "come" - shouting out commands or its name will only increase your anxiety as it ignores you. Plus, if it senses that you are angry then it will not want to come to you for fear of being punished.

Don't pretend to find something really interesting on the ground. Though often suggested as a means to bringing a dog to you - this option rarely works because a dog is not paying enough attention to notice this subtle shift.

Getting Your Dog to Come Back to You
Your dog may be enjoying his or her freedom, but the bottom line is that a dog's universe centers around one thing: you. Lost in the joy of the moment, a dog can quickly forget about home, so it's up to you to remind them what she/he has left behind.

Home is where the toys are. Does your dog like toys? Get their favorite toy and start playing with it. Toys that make noise work the best as most dogs will do a u-turn when they hear the siren song of a squeaker. If your dog loves to fetch, then a simple stick might be enough to get its interest.

Home is where the food is. Most dogs are heavily food motivated. Grab a bag or box of treats to tempt your dog to come to you. This works best if your bag or box of treats rustle or crinkle when you open it. This familiar sound will attract your dog even if it is too far away to smell the treats.

Ignore your dog. An adventure isn't half as much fun if you're not experiencing it too. Start walking home. Eighty percent of the time your dog will realize you're no longer there and turn around to come find you.

Lie down on the ground. For many dogs this signals that you are in distress, thus making them return to sit beside you and protect you. Even if your dog does not think you are hurt, he or she will likely still be interested enough to come see what's happening. This is an improvement on the "finding something really interesting on the ground" trick. Lying down on the ground brings you to your dog's level of attention.

What to Do Once Your Dog is in Range
The urge to grab your dog once its close at hand can be overwhelming. Remember, the best way to retrieve your dog is to act calm. Imagine that your dog is a wild animal and therefore easily spooked. If he or she sits in front of you and accepts being leashed, then all the better, but sometimes the best course of action is to go to your house and let them follow you inside. For example, a puppy might need to be picked up and carried inside where as an adult dog might trot up the steps and go straight to its water dish.

Never scold your dog once she or he has returned to you - they won't associate leaving with getting punished. They need to know that coming home is a good thing and that they will get rewarded with praise and affection for returning to you.

Preventing Your Dog From Getting Away Again
Consider your dog's habits to guard against future AWOL activity. If your dog is a determined door dasher, then making sure he/she is contained in another room or by its leash is the safest bet when anyone is entering or exiting the house.

If your dog slips its leash repeatedly, then it's time to invest in a martingale collar or slip lead. A martingale collar is most often used by greyhound owners since their sleek heads slip out of traditional collars. A martingale collar slips over the dog's head with two rings that cinch to the leash - the rings connect two extra sections of the collar that tighten when your dog puts tension on the lead. The tightening of the collar will make it difficult for him or her to slip it.

A slip lead works much the same way except that instead of being a separate collar and leash, it is a single leash with a metal ring at the end. Pull one end of the leash through the metal ring and then slip this "lasso" over the dog's head. This collar loop pulls taut when you walk your dog - preventing your dog from slipping its lead.

For the best in form and function check out the sturdy martingale collars and slip leads made by Premier. However, if your tastes trend more toward high fashion, then you may want to check out the the beautiful brocaded martingales made by 2 Hounds Designs.

Although these tools work well, the best investment for your dog's future safety and your peace of mind is to sign up for basic obedience classes. Teaching your dog to obey "come" or "stay" can prevent Fido from straying too far, plus training emphasizes what a dog relies on most for its well-being: you.

PETA Criticizes Jessica Simpson's
Plan to Purchase a Pet Pig

Jessica Simpson isn't winning over any fans at PETA after she made comment about getting a pet pig.

After the death of her pet pooch, Daisy, five months ago, Jessica Simpson is ready to get another companion.

"I'm thinking about getting a pet pig," she wrote on Twitter Monday. "Does this mean I'll have to give up pork?"

The 29-year-old singer has been trying to get over the bizarre and tragic death of Daisy (a gift from ex-husband Nick Lachey), who was snatched from her L.A. backyard by a wild coyote in September.

"I haven't really thought about another dog yet, but maybe sometime," Simpson told UsMagazine.com a month after the incident. "Daisy meant the world to me."

But not everyone is thrilled that Simpson wants a barnyard baby.

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) sounded off on the singer, telling the mag, "Pigs, who are smarter than dogs and every bit as sensitive to pain and stress, don't belong in Jessica's stomach or carted around as her latest accessory."

Simpson isn't the first Hollywood trendsetter to want a little piggy: heiress Paris Hilton adopted a teacup piglet last fall that reportedly cost $4,500, while David and Victoria Beckham are said to have spent over $2,000 on their own pair of designer swine.

Pet Pointers: Relocating With Your Pets
By: News 8 Austin Staff

Relocating can be an unexpected adventure. Whether you are moving across the country or to a new country, your pets are part of your family and taking them with you is what they would expect you to do. One woman did both and brought her pets with her every step of the way.

Tanya and her husband Rich first moved to the U.S. from Germany four years ago and her first thought was about preparing to move her pets.

"My first thought was I had to make sure it was okay for my pet to move too. So I went to the vet," said Tanya Wagner.

It's not unusual for different states or countries to need more documentation for some pets or quarantine them for a period of time. Dogs should be licensed. Pet passports may also be necessary, and you may also need a special permit to transport exotic pets.

Consult your vet and make sure your pets are caught up on all their vaccines, have their flea and tick control and make sure they are healthy enough to travel and be confined for long periods in a crate if you have to fly.

Now is also the time to have your pets micro chipped. If you are going to Europe, you'll need a chip that is "ISO Compatible."

You may also want to check out a pet moving company that will transport your pet for a fee and help you through the process.

Moving doesn't have to mean giving up your pets, whether you move to a new home across the ocean or across the street. Thousands of pets are abandoned each year because their families chose to move without them. So take your best friend with you, there's no place they'd rather be.

Vail Pets:
What Are You Really Feeding Your Pet?
Char Quinn - VailDaily.com

Always check the ingredients of pet foods

VAIL, Colorado — Proper nutrition is vital to optimize your pet's health. A poor diet can compromise your dog or cat's immune system and threaten your pet's overall health.

How do you know what diet is best for your pet? There is a tremendous variety of foods available to satisfy different dietary needs and the most discriminating pallets. As with people who love fried foods and sweets, cats and dogs may love a food that is not necessarily healthy for them.

Many pet food companies use ingredients to encourage pets to like their pet food like salt, corn syrup and sugar. Of course, our pets will probably choose the tasty pet food over the nutritious one.

There is only one place to look to determine if a pet food has the quality you are looking for, the list of ingredients. For our families we look at ingredients as we plan our meals, we should do the same for our pets. Just because one brand is more expensive, does not mean it has the best nutrition. Here are some things for watch for and why:

1. Corn, wheat and soy: Many animals have allergies to these ingredients. They are not necessary to your pet's health. Corn and soy are not easily digested.

2. Animal by-products. These are unspecific and unidentified parts of the animal and can be the scraps off the floor of a factory. These fats can contain heavy preservatives and are difficult to digest.

3. Food coloring. These are not necessary to your pet's health.

4. Sugar, corn syrup or other sweeteners. These can cause highs and lows in animals just like people and interfere with an animal's ability to absorb other needed nutrients. Sweeteners have been linked to changes in an animal's behavior and onset of diabetes.

5. Salt. This is used to make foods more palatable to animals. Consuming too much salt can cause numerous health issues. Some foods use small amounts of sea salt, a healthier alternative.

6. Meat or meat meal. When the meat is unidentified it calls into question the quality. Be sure the meat is defined like whether it is lamb, beef or chicken.

7. There are many more things to be aware of, and it is easy to do research online if you are concerned about certain ingredients.

Some ingredients are confusing, like chicken meal. The “meal” simply means that the meat has been dehydrated. Dehydrating the meat makes it higher in protein and lower in moisture. It is exactly the same quality as the “chicken” or “fish.”

There are so many diets ranging from dry kibble, grain free food, wet canned food, cooking your pet's food, and raw food. Always check your ingredients to determine if you are feeding your animal a healthy diet.

Do not be fooled by the price per pound of the food. Each food has its own feeding guidelines and you will find that with some higher quality foods food less is required for a meal. Also, with higher quality foods, you will see less feces because they are absorbing the nutrients they need, not just passing them through. This odor reducing feature is especially helpful when house training young puppies and for litter boxes.

Char Quinn is a certified professional dog trainer and executive director of the Eagle Valley Humane Society. Send comments about this article to cschnell@vaildaily.com.

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Wascally Wabbits

It shouldn’t be a mystery why pets are good for people. They encourage us to take them for walks or sit on the couch to pet them and relax.

But one pet you don’t hear much about is the rabbit.

I’ve never heard of a rabbit dialing 911 to save its owner, but they can still make great companions. Plus, they sure are cute.

Several weeks ago, The Sacramento Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals sent me an e-mail about the rabbit adoptions going on right now.

Their Web site states that May is “National Adopt A Rescued Rabbit Month,” and features a picture of an adorable rabbit with the phrase “Find Some Bunny to Love.” Each rabbit is $20 instead of the normal $45.

Since then, I’ve been dying to adopt a rabbit.

As a child I had chickens, goats, sheep, cats, dogs, mice, guinea pigs, fish and a rat, but I never had a rabbit.

I thought a rabbit might be a perfect pet for someone like me who is not home often. So I was surprised when Lesley Kirrene, director of public relations at the Sacramento SPCA, said rabbits prefer company.

“They can be quite social,” she said. “Any animal would prefer to be with another animal or a person (than alone).”

Because of their current promotion, Kirrene said she’s been spending more time with rabbits than usual and has found them to be sociable little creatures.

“I found that a lot were content to sit on my lap,” she said.

In fact, some of the rabbits they have for adoption are only adoptable in pairs because they’ve made friends with fellow rabbits.

That is incredibly humane of the Sacramento SPCA for recognizing that these little animals have feelings and keeping them with their friends.

However, rabbits do better home alone than dogs because they are not pack animals. Adopting a lone rabbit and providing it with a good home- even if you’re not there all the time- would benefit the little critter.

Kirrene also said rabbits can be house-trained.

Adding to my interest in getting a pet rabbit was the story that made the news last week about a 40-pound bunny in the U.K. named Ralph.

Ralph is a British Continental Giant Rabbit that the owner said she believes is still growing because he is only 18 months old.

Kirrene said they don’t have any giant rabbits, but they do have California rabbits that weigh on average about 9-10 pounds.

A survey by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) published in the Jan. 11, 2008 issue of Newsweek magazine noted that more than 57 percent of U.S. households own one or more animals.

I’m please to note that the survey also stated that almost half of respondents considered their pets to be companions; only about 2 percent considered them to be property.

Anyone with a pet will tell you that their pet is a member of their family.

On Catroulette, a Brooklyn Cat Entertains Chatroulette
by Daniel Terdiman news.cnet.com

On Catroulette, more than 70,000 people have seen Duck, a Brooklyn cat belonging to Becca Laurie and Andy Silva, hanging out on Chatroulette. This image of a kid on the other end of the camera cuddling his puppy as a greeting to the cat, is one of Laurie's favorite moments in the experiment. (Credit: Catroulette)

By now, just about everyone has heard of Chatroulette, the site where perfect strangers from anywhere in the world can interact with each other via Webcam. But how many people--outside of France and Quebec, at least--realized that in French, "chatroulette" means "catroulette?"

Becca Laurie and Andy Silva, two 24-year-old music industry professionals from Brooklyn did. And about a week and a half ago, the couple launched Catroulette: A site chock full of screen grabs of their cat Duck holding court on Chatroulette.

By now, having been called out on Perez Hilton's Twitter and on Boing Boing, more than 70,000 people have stopped by to see pictures of Duck making people smile, holding her own against dogs and even posing with the occasional other cat.

And for Laurie, who plays the role of Duck's spokesperson--it's hard to type accurately with paws, after all--doing Catroulette has become a way to enjoy Chatroulette without feeling personally exposed.

"Once we discovered Chatroulette, we were intrigued, but we didn't want to get in front of the camera ourselves," Laurie said. "Almost immediately, we made the connection--not only that chat equals cat in French [but that] since Duck entertains us every night,we thought we would see if she could entertain people on Chatroulette. And obviously, someone had to do it, and nobody had yet. Or at least nobody had compiled screen shots of their cat on Chatroulette on a Web site anywhere."

If you've spent any time on Chatroulette, you already know that it's a bazaar of very odd and usually very short glimpses into other people's lives. The site has gotten huge amounts of attention, and not just because many of the people on the other end of writer after writer's cameras are men behaving badly.

More often, though, what comes up when you click through to a new chat partner is someone sitting there, looking bleary-eyed and beyond bored, no doubt having sat in front of his or her computer for quite some time, robotically clicking "next," "next," next."

And for Laurie and Silva, that was what they saw when they first turned their Webcam on Duck. But almost immediately, they clicked through to someone who looked at what was coming through on their screen and was intrigued enough to stay connected long enough to figure out what they were looking at.

Not long after, Laurie said, she and Silva clicked through one of a kid who was behaving very oddly until he realized he was looking at a cat. And that's when he grabbed his laptop and moved over to where his puppy was sleeping and took a moment to cuddle with the dog to entertain Duck.

Indeed, for Laurie, the joy of putting Duck on camera is watching people's reactions. Of the many screen shots she's posted to Catroulette, two may best demonstrate the dynamic she and Silva see every night: In the first one, an extremely bored man in a Detroit Pistons hoodie looks on at a basically empty image from the other end of the camera. But then, seconds later, Duck walks into the picture and, in the second image, the man breaks out into a huge and surprised smile

Using software called InstantShot on both a MacBook and a MacBook Pro, Laurie and Silva are able to automatically generate screen shots every 15 seconds. So during the one to two hours a night that Duck entertains the Chatroulette universe, they rarely have to be seen on camera themselves.

Duck will "notice people sometimes, especially if they're really loud, but she doesn't really try to interact with them," Laurie said. "We usually use the 'cat dancer,' a little feather thing attached to a string and a pole, with her while she's on Chatroulette. We try to stay out of the scope of the camera as much as possible, though you can see my arm in a few of the shots."

One feature of Chatroulette is a text chat box that allows participants to type greetings to their chat partners. Often someone will type in something nice about Duck, and in those instances, either Laurie or Silva may type back, "thanks!"

"But that's the extent" of their human-to-human interaction," she said. "We like to let Duck speak for herself."

One obvious thing Laurie and Silva had to do with Catroulette was to allow viewers to submit pictures of their own cats hanging out on Chatroulette. So far, though, despite the 70,000-plus visitors, they've received just six submissions. That may be because, for most people, it's hard to take a screen shot without disturbing their cat.

But there are definitely other felines on Chatroulette.

"We thought it would be cool to have other cats involved as well," she said. "The thought of hundreds of cats just hanging out on Chatroulette is pretty awesome. And nice antitode [and] palate cleanser to some of the other stuff" on the site.

And though it's rare, Duck has encountered another cat on the other end of the camera.

"That happened [Tuesday night] for the first time," Laurie said. "It was a girl with a cat. But still, a cat. [The girl] was very excited. She stuck around for about two minutes. [The cats] were pretty disinterested in each other, so they were just being cats, basically."

But it's moments like that that make the Catroulette experiment gratifying for the Brooklyn couple.

"So far [the best thing has] been seeing and hearing others' reactions to Duck," Laurie said. "It's a nice combination of people being caught off guard and happy. Which is nice to come home to at the end of the day."

Daniel Terdiman is a staff writer at CNET News covering games, Net culture, and everything in between. E-mail Daniel.

Furniture That's Built for a Cat,
but Fit for a King

A sihouette pet charm, which can be personalized with your pet's profile, by designer Vincent Agor.

Cats may be content to curl up in cardboard boxes and piles of old newspapers, but these can clash with a homeowner's stylish sensibilities. Happily, San Francisco native Hitomi Yasuda has come up with a sophisticated alternative that can leave both pets and people purring. Calling on her extensive background in textiles (she worked as an international apparel consultant for more than two decades), Yasuda decided to create aesthetically pleasing pet beds after she was unable to find anything that suited her for her three rescue kitties, Tiger, Kobe and Swoosh.

"Everything was really frumpy or looked like shrunken down human furniture, which is gaudy," she said. Well-designed pieces existed, but tended to be astronomically expensive. She joined forces with an industrial engineer and created a collection of three kitty-approved designs: a wave, a platform and a cradle. Made of acrylic with stainless steel legs, the beds can accommodate up to 30 pounds (feline or canine) and cost $230-$250. Each comes with a polyfill cushion with a washable cover that has a pattern on one side and faux fur on the other. She named the company Neko Habitat, after the Japanese word for "cat" - and it's a lucky one indeed who has one of these to catnap upon. For store locations, visit NekoHabitat.com.

A special pet in silhouette
San Francisco jeweler Vincente Agor has created a precious and charming way to keep your four-legged friend with you at all times. He creates custom, hand-cut precision silhouettes (available in ovals, rectangles or circles of 18-karat gold or sterling silver) fashioned from a profile photograph you provide and that can be embellished with diamond accents. Definitely puts the WOW in bowwow! $310 - $1,440, VincenteAgor.com.

A treat for dogs with discerning palates
Bone appetit indeed! Give FiFi and Fido a four-star gourmet treat by picking up a few Pet Boulettes from exquisite eatery Boulettes Larder. The hockey-puck-size medallions are a savory blend of organic poached chicken, carrot and grains encrusted in raw sesame seeds. They're kept in the freezer; just thaw, serve and prepare for lots of smooches from a grateful pooch. $1.25 each,

Boulettes Larder, 1 Ferry Building Marketplace, San Francisco. BoulettesLarder.com.

Puss 'n books
A set of these sleek, Italian-made feline bookends makes a fine statement for any cat fancier, and at 7 1/2 inches tall will never lose their kittenish appeal. An acrylic menagerie of other animals, including dogs, kangaroos and crocodiles are also available. $250, Barneys New York, San Francisco and Barneys.com.

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Dogs and Life Span:
Which Breeds Live Longest?
By Sandy Eckstein - WebMD.com

WebMD discusses the factors that can impact the life span of dogs, including breed, size, and gender.

The joy of dog ownership is always tempered by one thing -- our beloved pets don’t live as long as we do.

But finding dogs with the longest life expectancy isn’t as easy as it sounds. That’s because, just as with people, researchers still don’t know what causes aging and why some dogs live longer than others.

“All dog breeds are of the same species, yet they age at apparently very different rates,” says David Waters DVM, PhD, professor and associate director of the Purdue University Center on Aging and the Life Course and director of the Gerald P. Murphy Cancer Foundation. “We still don’t understand why.”

Bruce Fogle, DVM, in his book Caring for Your Dog: The Complete Canine Home Reference, says the median life expectancy of dogs is 12.8 years. But dog life expectancies vary widely by breed, ranging from breeds that can live 16 to 20 years (the rare Mexican breed, the Xoloitzcuintle, has a life span of 15-20 years; the Irish Wolfhound has an estimated 6- to 8-year life expectancy.

But there is one concrete piece of advice experts can give people looking for a dog breed with a long life span -- think small.

Dog Life Span: Big vs. Small
Nearly 40% of small breed dogs live longer than 10 years, but only 13% of giant breed dogs live that long. The average 50-pound dog will live 10-12 years. But giant breeds such as great Danes or deerhounds are elderly at 6-8 years.

Kimberly Greer, PhD, an assistant professor at the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at Indiana University East, co-authored a study that showed that dogs weighing less than 30 pounds lived the longest. The study analyzed data from more than 700 dogs in 77 breeds.

“It’s the weight, not the height, that matters,” Greer says. “Some dogs are short, like the English bulldog, but can still weigh 60 or 70 pounds. They wouldn’t be considered small breed dogs.”

Mark Stickney, DVM, director of General Surgery Services at Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, says although it’s not unusual to see a 17-year-old miniature poodle, a 12-year-old Labrador retriever is considered old, and any dog in the giant breeds -- dogs weighing more than 100 pounds -- is considered geriatric at 6-7 years.

“Generally speaking, the larger your dog is, the less time it will live,” Stickney says.

Dog Life Span: Male vs. Female
Steven N. Austad, PhD, a professor and researcher on aging at the department of cellular and structural biology at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, says besides looking at small dogs, people looking for the longest-lived dogs also should look at mixed breed dogs and females.

“Female dogs tend to live a bit longer, although it’s not as pronounced as it is with humans,” Austad says.

Dog Life Span: Health Issues in Purebreds
Many purebred dogs come with a laundry list of health issues, which can cut into their life spans. Some are specific just to one breed, others can be a problem in many breeds.

“Mutts haven’t gone through the inbreeding, so they should live longer, or at least be healthier than your purebred dogs,” Austad says.

Cancer is very common in dogs, and some breeds, such as boxers, golden retrievers, and Rottweilers, have unusually high rates of cancer. It’s been estimated that as many as a third of all Bernese mountain dogs die of cancer.

Cancer is the most common cause of death in older dogs, and nearly 42% of dogs die of some form of cancer. When considering a purebred dog, experts say it’s a good idea to see what kinds of illnesses run in the breed. Many larger-breed dogs, such as Labrador retrievers, German shepherds, and Dobermans, can suffer from hip dysplasia, which can make a dog so lame it has to be put down.

Flat-faced dogs such as Pugs and Shih Tzus, known as brachycephalic dogs, are prone to breathing issues, which can cause overheating and even death. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are prone to a heart condition called mitral valve disease, and cocker spaniels are susceptible to recurrent ear and eye infections.

Stickney said other common medical problems that crop up as dogs age include kidney and heart disease, as well as various structural issues, including bone and muscle ailments.

Stickney advises pet owners looking for dog breeds with long life spans to find a small breed dog they like, research the breed’s health issues, and then find a good breeder who doesn’t have those problems in their bloodline.

But getting good stock is only part of the battle, Stickney said.

“Owners can play a big part in increasing their pet’s life span,” Stickney said. “Good nutrition, proper exercise, not letting our pets become obese; and good care, including regular veterinary care, will help our pets live healthier, longer lives.”

Dog Life Span: How Popular Breeds Stack Up
Here is a list of the American Kennel Club’s 20 most popular dog breeds from 2008 and their average life span, according to The World Atlas of Dog Breeds.

Labrador retriever -- 10 to 14 years

Yorkshire terrier -- 12 to 15 years

German Shepherd dog -- 10 to 14 years

Golden retriever -- 10 to 12 years

Beagles -- 12 to 14 years

Boxers -- 11 to 14 years

Dachshunds -- 12 to 14 years

Bulldogs -- 10 to 12 years

Poodles -- 10 to 15 years

Shih Tzu -- 11 to 15 years

Miniature Schnauzers -- 15 years or more

Chihuahuas -- 15 years or more

Pomeranians -- 13 to 15 years

Rottweilers -- 10 to 12 years

Pugs -- 12 to 15 years

German shorthaired pointers -- 12 to 15 years

Boston terriers -- about 15 years

Doberman Pinschers -- 10 to 12 years

Shetland Sheepdogs -- 12 to 14 years

Maltese -- 15 years or more

The Best Types of Pets for Apartments
Arthi Aravind - PetCare.Suite101.com

Fish, Birds, and Small Animals are Ideal for Small Spaces

Living in an apartment doesn't mean giving up on keeping a pet. Fish, birds, and small animals all make great pets for apartments and are fun and easy to care for.

Keeping pets in apartments is possible. These types of animals are the best for apartment dwellers.

Fish: The Easiest Apartment Pet
Fish are great for small spaces because the only space they need is their tank. Tanks that are smaller and and have freshwater species of fish are easiest care for, while saltwater tanks can take a considerable amount of time an expense. Most apartments do not consider fish as pets, so even if the apartment prohibits pets, it might allow fish. Fish are soothing to watch and can help brighten up a room, but they are not interactive. For those looking for an easy to care for, pretty pet, fish are an ideal choice.

Birds: Fun and Intelligent Companions
Keeping a bird in an apartment takes a lot of time, because birds are active, social creatures and need several hours of daily playtime as well as supplements to their diet in the form of fruits and vegetables. However, they do not require a lot of space since they will be spending most of their time in a cage. For those willing to put in a lot of time and wanting a interactive, playful, intelligent pet, a bird is a great choice. The best birds for apartments are budgies, cockatiels, lovebirds, parrotlets, finches, and some species of conures.

Small Animals: Furry and Adorable
All sorts of small animals make good pets for apartments. They require less care than birds but are still playful and like to be petted. Guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, rats, and rabbits are all very easy to care for but are still cute and fun to have around. Each has its own specific care requirements which must be seen to. All types of small animals need to be taken out of their cage to get exercise, and will appreciate having fresh fruit and vegetables. If well socialized, these pets can also be quite cuddly. They rarely, if ever, make much noise.

Are Cats and Dogs Apartment Pets?
The answer is yes. Even though they need lots of care and regular vet visits, cats and most breeds of small dogs (as well as large breeds such as Afghan Hounds which adapt well to apartment living) can be kept happily in an apartment. Careful research must be done on each breed to make sure it is right for an apartment. Some landlords may establish a weight limit or require an extra monthly fee for keeping a dog or cat, making them more expensive to keep than other types of pets.

Keeping Apartment Pets Is Possible
It's easy to find a type of pet that fits a particular lifestyle if thorough research is done into the matter. As long as an animal requires little living space and isn't too noisy, it can be ideal for apartment life. Apartment living does not have to limit anyone from keeping animals.

Siamese Fish

Siamese fish are quite popular because of their ease to handle and pretty looks. These fish doesn’t require much maintain and care, however it is important for owner to fulfill basic requirements of his pet Siamese fish in order to make them feel comfortable. Siamese fish are also known as fighting fish and betta fish. These fish are mostly found in Thailand and Malaysia. They are a member of Gourami family. Siamese Fish come in a variety of colors such as red, blue, orange, yellow, green or turquoise. This fish change its color according to lighting and different viewing angel.

Siamese fish can grow up to 6 cm in length. These fish have cylindrical shape, dorsal fin short with spins and approximately 10 soft rays. Caudal fin is rounded whereas anal fin is long and it includes two to five spines and approximately 21 – 26 soft rays. Male Siamese fish have larger fins and a brighter color combination whereas female Siamese has shorter fins and they are not extremely colored but it draws attention. This fish is very popular for its aggressive nature especially the male Siamese fish. When kept in small tanks, males usually fight with each other till one of them is killed. Some of the basic requirements of Siamese fish is mentioned below.

Siamese fish requirements:

1. Siamese fish aquarium: It is important for owner to provide spacious and clean aquarium to his pet Siamese in order to make them feel comfortable and secure. This fish are commonly found in stagnant and standing water bodies, rice paddies and aquatic vegetation. This fish can dig into mud and survive in a small cocoon for weeks when the water moves away.

2. Siamese fish food: This fish mostly survive on insects, larvae of the mosquito and other insects such as grasshoppers, crickets etc. You can also feed them with finely chopped high protein vegetables such as soybeans, green beans corn and carrots.

Siamese fish mate in different style that is known as nuptial embrace. During mating process male and Siamese spiral around each other. After that female Siamese will release 10 – 40 eggs and fertilize each embrace until it is exhausted of eggs. While the eggs are sinking they are cautiously collected by the male Siamese. Eggs should be kept in a bubble nest and ensure that no eggs falls of the nest. Hatching of eggs usually takes place after 24 – 36 hours at 29 C. After fourth day baby Siamese will become free o swim.

Siamese fish get easily infected with the common diseases like dropsy and fin rot. Therefore it is important for owner to provide healthy environment to his fish in order to make them survive for long. It is important for owner to consider these requirements when he will keep this fish in his home aquarium.

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Put Pets in Cargo Hold
'Where They Belong,' Doctors Say

Pets belong in the cargo hold – not in the cabin with airline passengers. At least that's the conclusion of a group of Canadian doctors. They argue that allowing pets in airline cabins can expose passengers to unnecessary health risks, The New York Times reports.

"The preferences of pet owners should not supersede the well-being of their fellow passengers," the group of doctors writes in an editorial in The Canadian Medical Association Journal. "Pets can be accommodated comfortably and safely in airplane cargo holds, which is where they belong. Airlines must choose to put the needs of their human passengers first, or be forced to do so."

The Times notes "the editorial was in response to Air Canada's decision last summer to start allowing small pets, including cats, dogs and birds, to travel in the passenger cabin. Many United States airlines have similar policies."

In their argument against allowing pets in the cabin, the doctors claim that about 1 in 10 people have pet allergies. "Many will have an allergic reaction when they're trapped in an enclosed space, often for hours, close to an animal," the doctors say in the editorial. "Although uncommon, severe allergic reactions, such as anaphylaxis or an exacerbation of asthma, are serious under the best of circumstances. On an airplane, at high altitude and isolated from access to emergency medical care, the consequences can be much more dangerous."

Travel blogger and USATODAY.com columnist Harriet Baskas also picks up the subject in her Stuck at the Airport blog. She notes that "the editorial points out that in January, 2010, the Canadian Transportation Agency ruled that people with allergies to nuts would be considered to have a disability and, under the Canadian Transportation Act, could request special accommodations. Now the CTA is also looking at whether or not those with allergies to pets should be considered to have a disability as well." Stay tuned…

Sniffer Dog Treo Given Top Honour

A LIFE-SAVING dog has been awarded the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross for his bravery while serving in Afghanistan.

Retired nine-year-old black labrador Treo, who has now returned back to his former unit at St George's Barracks, in Pennine Way, North Luffenham, received the Dickin Medal on Wednesday.

The heroic dog was presented with the medal for sniffing out bombs known as improvised explosive devices (IEDs) while working as a forward detection dog on two occasions in Sangin, Helmand Province, in March and September 2008. His detective work saved the lives of the soldiers he was patrolling with and innocent civilians.

Before Treo's deployment to the frontline, he and his handler Sgt Dave Heyhoe were based in Rutland with the 104 Military Working Dogs Support Unit, Royal Army Veterinary Corps, which has its headquarters in Aldershot.

Owner Sgt Heyhoe, Major Chris Ham, officer commanding the canine division at the Defence Animal Centre and the unit's current second in command Capt Fieke Taft, are pleased with Treo's success.

Capt Taft said it is fantastic for the dog to be commended. She said: "It is his work out in Afghanistan which has got him recognised for this medal."

Major Ham added: "If he had not indicated that the improvised explosive devices were there, casualities would definitely have been sustained as a result. He is a life-saving dog."

Sgt Heyhoe, who has worked alongside Treo for five years, is proud of his canine friend, who is now enjoying life as his family pet.

Treo started his training with the Army at the age of one, and Sgt Heyhoe said he is a born worker.

He said it is his eagerness which makes him stand out from the crowd and added: "Treo is a feisty dog. All dogs are eager to work, but Treo is a typical labrador and just wants to work. The unit is really pleased with the recognition which he's achieved.

"However, Treo's acceptance of this award is also on behalf of all the military working dogs - especially those in Afghanistan at the moment along with their dog handlers.

"Now he is retired, he can relax. This medal is a great honour for him."

Major Ham added: "It is also an honour for the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, other units and the Army in general - for all the work military dogs carry out in Afghanistan."

Treo, who has also carried out duties in Northern Ireland, was presented with the medal by Princess Alexandra during a ceremony in London.

The award recipients are chosen by the veterinary charity People's Dispensary for Sick Animals and the charity's director general Jan McLoughlin said the medal is recognised throughout the world as the animals' Victoria Cross. She said: "It is the highest award any animal can receive for bravery in the line of duty. Treo is, without doubt, a worthy recipient."

Treo is the 63rd animal to receive the medal for wartime service. Previous recipients include 32 pigeons, 18 dogs, three horses, and a cat.

The charity's founder Maria Dickin introduced the award in 1943 to honour animals displaying conspicuous gallantry or devotion to duty while serving with the Armed Forces or Civil Defence units during the Second World War. It is the first time the medal has been awarded since 2007.

The Defence Animal Centre, in Melton Mowbray, is where all dogs train for the Ministry Of Defence. New dog recruits are always needed in the Army, according to Major Ham.

He said: "They are very much in demand in the UK and overseas."

Labradors, springer spaniels and retrievers aged one to three are among those needed. They are trained in specialised searches. German shepherds, of the same age are also wanted for guarding and security duties.

Major Ham said if they are accepted into the Army, they would complete a vigorous training programme.

He added: "Then they would be teamed with a dog handler and posted anywhere in world to work."

Tiny Dogs, Might Have Middle Eastern Origins
By Ashley Hall - anc-net.au

It may be hard to believe, but it's likely the tiny chihuahua is a descendent of the Middle Eastern grey wolf.

Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles have discovered that a gene found in all small dogs is closely related to one found in wolves in the Middle East.

Researchers say the study findings may be useful for dog breeders. (File photo) (Reuters: Natalie Behring)

The team took samples from grey wolf populations around the world and compared their genetic markers to those in small and large dogs to find the link.

Earlier research had found that all small dogs carry the IGF1 gene, which controls their body size.

One of the study's leaders, Dr Melissa Gray, says there was a striking similarity between the gene variant found in small dogs and the variant found in the Middle Eastern grey wolf.

"We have had some other studies that have pointed to the Middle East as being involved in either domestication or body size," she said.

"For instance archaeological evidence has found that there are remains of small dogs in this region. So it's one of the first regions that has been identified with small dogs."

Those remains are dated back about 12,000 years.

Digs in Europe have found remains from 31,000 years ago, but they are from larger dogs.

It remains unclear exactly how or why wolves were domesticated, but Dr Gray thinks people may have adopted smaller wolves because they were easier to house.

"The grey wolves might have started coming around communities of people and raiding their trash sites and things like that." she said.

"Perhaps those that were smaller in size were able to be more integrated into the small, densely packed communities. The ones that were smaller in size would be more accessible and easier to keep in the households or keep in pens outside."

Dr Gray says the research suggests that small dogs evolved early in the history of domestic dogs.

"It just gives us a greater understanding of the history of domestic dogs, being that they're a close companion animal, and how they've evolved to have this great amount of variation," she said.

"Not only do they exhibit a great amount of variation in body size, but they have other different characteristics such as different coat colours and coat types and things like that."

She says the study findings may be useful for dog breeders.

"It could potentially be used as a way to select for small body size, or it could be used to do cross-breeding between dogs to create a new breed, if breeders wanted to do such a thing," she said.

The study has been published online in the journal BMC Biology.

Hero of the Day

A persistent dachschund saved a Washington family from a potentially damaging fire in their mobile home Sunday

A 3-year-old dachshund named JoJo — who the family took home after finding him as a stray — is being credited for trying to shove 11-year-old Kalen Huntley out of her bed and alerting her parents to an electrical fire smoldering behind an outlet on her bedroom wall.

“Our dog saved our house,” Diane Urquhart, who lives in a mobile home park in Kennewick with her husband, Colt, and four of their five children, told the Tri-City Herald.

The couple and three of the kids were home early Sunday when JoJo, who normally sleeps in their daughter Kalen’s room, began repeatedly coming out the room and approaching the adults.

“He came out to see us four times, then kept going back into our daughter’s room,” Mrs. Urquhart said. On top of that, his ears weren’t in their happy position, she said.

“These ears we did not recognize,” she said. “And his face, if a dog can look worried, he looked worried.”

When she went into her daughter’s room, she smelled burning rubber and saw the dog nudging her sleeping daughter with his nose.

They called 911, and got everybody out of the house, taking their two cats and JoJo.

Urquhart said the wall at the head of her daughter’s bed was hot. Firefighters told the family the outlet, which had a lamp and alarm clock plugged into it, was minutes away from catching fire. When the family removed the outlet the next day, one side of it was scorched.

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