Sailors and Cats: A History Together on the High Seas (Photos)

Plant City Firefighters Use
Pet First Aid Kit to Save Dog
By DAVE NICHOLSON The Tampa Tribune

Hillsborough Community College veterinary technician instructor Carrie Jo Anderson and veterinarian John Gickling show how to administer oxygen to a pet. HCC's vet tech students recently gave a pet first aid kit to Plant City firefighters, who used it to save a dog.

PLANT CITY - Firefighters used a new pet first-aid kit to save a 4-year-old dog that was trapped in a burning home.

Plant City Fire Rescue crews used the kit to give the Australian shepherd/border collie mix oxygen after she was pulled from her hiding place under a bed.

Plant City received the animal first aid kit two weeks ago from the veterinary technology class at Hillsborough Community College.

Students in the class based at the Plant City campus raised the money to furnish the kits, which included oxygen, to Plant City, Temple Terrace and Hillsborough County.

"They said they wanted to make a difference, and they certainly did. They saved this dog," said Jim Wilson, emergency medical services chef in Plant City.

Firefighters were called to the home 4727 Westwind Drive in the Country Hills subdivision about 4 p.m. Thursday. The homeowner told firefighters that everyone was out, but the dog was still inside, Wilson said.

Despite thick black some, "they followed her whimpering until they found her," Wilson said.

The dog was groggy, and firefighters administered oxygen using a mask in the kit designed for an animal's snout. They gave the dog water and checked her over and determined she wasn't burned, Wilson said.

"Before we left she was playing with her owner," Wilson said.

The home had extensive fire damage but the only injury was to the dog's owner, who tried to break out a window to rescue her.

Tripping Over Pets Sends Thousands to ER
By Bill Hendrick - WebMD Health News

Taking your faithful pet dog for a stroll may be good for cardiovascular health, but it can also be dangerous. According to a CDC report, many people get hurt every year when chasing or tripping over their pets -- cats as well as dogs.

The study, published in the Journal of Safety Research, shows that dogs and cats contribute to injuries that send an estimated 87,000 people to emergency rooms every year.

The study also shows that:

--Dogs are more dangerous to their owners than cats, associated with 7.5 times as many injuries as felines.

--Women are 2.1 times more likely to be injured by pets than men.

--Injury rates are highest among people age 75 and over, but pets are a hazard for people of all ages.

--Fractures and contusions or abrasions are the most common pet-related injuries.

--66.4% of falls associated with cats and 31.3% associated with dogs are caused by falling or tripping over the animal.

--21.2% of falls linked to dogs were caused by being pushed or pulled.

The statistics come from a study of nonfatal injuries in the U.S. that examined 66 emergency departments between Jan. 1, 2001, and Dec. 31, 2006.

Falls and ER visits suggest the need for more pet-obedience training for dogs, but basic prevention strategies should be implemented to help people reduce their risk of injury when walking Rover or reaching for the cat, says Judy A. Stevens, PhD, a senior epidemiologist for the CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

The researchers identified 7,456 cases of pet-caused ER visits, and estimated an average of 86,629 fall injuries associated with cats and dogs occur in the U.S. every year.

The researchers found that:

--Injuries are most frequent among children up to age 14, and adults between 35 and 54.

--Fall rates increase steadily with age, after people get past the 15-24 age group.

--The highest fracture rates occur among people 75 to 84.

--Among patients hospitalized due to accidents with their pets, 79.9% were for fractures.

--Injuries to extremities accounted for 51.8% of injuries with dogs and 47.6% with cats.

--Among falls caused by dogs, 61.6% occurred in or around the home, and 16.4% in the street or another public place.

--26% of falls involving dogs occurred while people were walking them, and the most frequent circumstances were falling or tripping over a pooch (31.3%) and being pushed or pulled by one (21.2%).

--8.8% of injuries were caused by people falling over a pet toy or food bowl.

"The report provides the first national estimates of fall injuries associated with cats and dogs and supports anecdotal evidence that pets can present a fall hazard," the researchers write. The study also shows that walking dogs and chasing pets cause the greatest number of injuries.

Comparing Cats and Dogs

Sandra Adamson Fryhofer, MD, an Atlanta internist and past president of the American College of Physicians, tells WebMD she sees pet-caused injuries quite often.

Dogs, she says, cause more problems to her patients than cats.

"I tell patents to be careful, make sure you walk the dog, not let the dog walk you," she says. "People of all ages can fall and skin knees or hands, but older patients are more likely to have weaker bones due to osteoporosis and suffer fracture if they fall."

Gail Hayes, a spokeswoman for the CDC Injury Center, says dogs may cause more problems when being walked simply because of their size.

"About 19,834 falls resulting in injuries each year happened while people were walking dogs, whereas a very small number of such falls happened while people were walking cats," Hayes tells WebMD in an email. "About 16,137 falls each year happened as a result of being pushed or pulled by dogs," compared to 91 for cats.

Stevens and colleagues caution that the number of pet-related injuries is likely higher than the 87,000 estimated in the study, because many people do not seek help in emergency departments.

The problem isn't insignificant, the researchers say, because 43 million American households own dogs and 37.5 million cats. And nearly 64% of households have more than one pet.

The report also details causes of injuries involving pets, reporting that:

--19,834 injuries involving emergency room visits occur when people are walking dogs, compared to 40 for that reason for cats.

--3,373 occur while people are playing with dogs, compared to 232 for cats.

--3,779 occur while people are chasing dogs, and 1,182 while chasing cats.

--449 occur when people are breaking up a fight involving a dog, compared to 18 for cats.

--23,886 occur with people falling or tripping over a dog, compared to 6,727 with cats.

Kim Kardashian Lets Cat Out of the Bag
Luke Dennehy -

Animal activists were outraged that Kim Kardashian picked up a kitty by its neck. Source: The Daily Telegraph

WHEN American reality TV star Kim Kardashian tweeted a photo of herself holding a cat by the scruff of its neck during the week, she caused an internet sensation.
Animal activists were outraged that she picked up the kitty by its neck, with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals admonishing her for not supporting it with her other hand.

Kardashian was posing for a fashion shoot for an issue of the Sunday Herald Sun's Sunday magazine, while she was in Sydney.

Kardashian defended her actions, saying: "The cat was not harmed in any way and is perfectly fine! I love animals and would never do anything to harm any animals."

Cute kitten Bindi, 11 weeks and rescued after being abandoned on the steps of a Sydney animal hospital, was a key accessory in the shoot.

RSPCA spokeswoman Kylie Hughes said while its not necessarily cruel to "scruff" a cat, ideally Kardashian should have been supporting its bodyweight two-handed.

Kardashian, who has 3,451,000 Twitter followers, was happy to chat with fans during her five-day trip for sponsor Optus, but she was more tight-lipped with the media when it came to her personal life.

Kardashian has made a living out of her reality show Keeping Up with the Kardashians, which follows her everyday life.

The Sunday Herald Sun had a video interview lined up with the reality star, but she cancelled at the last minute.

Apparently she was upset about some questions that were asked in Sydney about her former boyfriend Reggie Bush and rumoured flame Christiano Ronaldo.

A little hypocritical we think, of someone who is famous for being a reality television star.

American Airlines Pet Travel Guidelines
by Joshua Duvauchelle, Demand Media/

Flying with your pet can be a challenging, and often confusing, ordeal. To guide you through the process, American Airlines provides its ticketed passengers with specific policies and guidelines to help protect your pet's health and safety and the comfort of the flight's passengers. Your pet will not be accepted onto any American Airlines flight unless you follow these procedures.

Restriction on Species
Your dog or cat is welcome to travel with you on American Airlines. However, all other animal species, including rabbits, ferrets and exotic reptiles, are not allowed on any American Airlines flight.

Cabin Policies
You can bring one carrier per passenger, with a maximum of two pets of the same species in each carrier. The carrier counts as one of your carry-on bags. Your pet must be weaned and at least eight weeks of age, since you cannot remove your pet from its carrier while it is on the plane. Only five pet carriers are allowed in the general cabin and two in the first class cabin. Book your pet's travel as far in advance as possible or your flight's cabin allowance may fill up and you'll be forced to send your pet as baggage.

Baggage Policies
If the cabin is full or your pet is large, you can ship your pet as checked baggage. Each ticketed passenger can check-in a maximum of two pets, though there is no limit on the total number of checked pets per flight.

For in-cabin travel, the pet carrier can be a maximum of 19 inches long, 13 inches wide and 9 inches high. It can only weigh 20 lbs. or less with your pet in it. If you're sending your pet as baggage, the kennel must be made of rigid material, like hard plastic, and can be a maximum of 40 inches long, 27 inches wide and 30 inches high. The maximum weight allowed is 100 lbs. with your pet inside. Whatever your carrier size, your pet must be allowed to stand and turn, and the kennel must be leak-proof.

Distance Restrictions
Carry-on pets cannot be taken on transpacific or transatlantic American Airlines flights. Checked pets cannot be shipped on flights that have a duration of 12 hours or more. In addition, the airline will refuse all pets if the temperature at the arrival or destination airport is greater than 85 degrees F or lower than 45 degrees F.

Health Documentation
No certificate of health is required, but you must submit proof that your pet is current on its rabies vaccinations. If you're sending your pet as baggage, attach a signed note to the outside of your pet's kennel stating the time that your pet was last given food and water; it must be within the four hours preceding check-in.

Buddy the Dog Hailed as a Hero

Buddy the German Shepherd has been hailed as a hero for guiding an Alaskan State Trooper through back roads to a fire at his owner's workshop in Anchorage.

Owner Ben Heinrichs was working on parts for his truck when a spark hit some gasoline and ignited, setting his clothes on fire.

The 23-year-old ran outside to put out the flames by rolling in the snow.

But his dog ran off to get help, found the puzzled Alaskan Trooper Terrence Shanigan at a crossroads, and guided him to the blaze.

"Buddy was able to connect with me, giving me a lot of nonverbal cues, kind of loping, and wanting me to speed up at times.

"And when I finally pulled in, Buddy greeted me at the driver's side door and kind of nudged me towards the house. It was surreal," the Trooper told reporters.

Mr Heinrichs suffered minor burns on his face and second-degree burns on his left hand.

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Cats in the Sea Services

Sailors and cats have a special relationship that dates back thousands of years. It is likely that the ancient Egyptians were the first seafarers to realize the true value of having cats as shipmates. In addition to offering sailors much needed companionship on long voyages, cats provided protection by ridding ships of vermin. Without the presence of cats, a crew might find their ship overrun with rats and mice that would eat into the provisions, chew through ropes and spread disease. The more superstitious sailors believed that cats protected them by bringing good luck. It was also common for crews to adopt cats from the foreign lands they visited to serve as souvenirs as well as reminders of their pets at home.

Apprentices aboard the USS Pensacola pose with mascot cat and dogs in February 1888. The Pensacola was a screw steamer that participated in Admiral David Farragut's capture of New Orleans in 1862.

Crew of the USS Nahant with their two cats, ca 1898. The Nahant was an ironclad monitor that joined the fleet of Rear Admiral Samual Francis du Pont (for whom Washington, DC's Dupont Circle is named) in the attack on Charleston Harbor in 1863.

Crewmen on the deck of the USS Olympia using a mirror to play with their cats in 1898. The Olympia served as Admiral George Dewey's flagship at the Battle of Manila during the Spanish American War. The Olympia currently is docked in Philadelphia and is the world's oldest floating steel warship, but is in desperate need of restoration.

Crewman of the USS Texas pose with mascot dog and cat on the muzzle of one of the ship's 12"/35 guns, ca 1900. Built in 1892, The Texas was the first U.S. battleship and gained a reputation for being jinxed because of a series of accidents. The crew probably hoped the cat and dog would change the ship's luck.

"You may fire when ready, Muffin." Two cats pose in the breech of a 4" caliber naval gun of an unidentified ship prior to World War One.

"I'll be in my bunk." The cats of the USS Mississippi climb ladders to enter their hammock, ca 1925. The Mississippi was involved in several fierce battles in the Pacific during World War Two and was hit by kamikazes twice. It survived to be among the ships in Tokyo Bay that witnessed Japan's surrender.

"Do not want!" USS Flusser cat 'Wockle' on the capstan in Venice, Italy, 1924-25.

"Waiting instructions in the briefing room, pilots on a US Navy aircraft carrier relax by playing with the ship's mascot. Shortly after this picture was taken they were flying far above the Atlantic on a battle-mission." Probably the USS Ranger, July 1944.

"Why don't you leave me alone so I can get some shut eye?" New mascot 'Saipan' of the USS New Mexico tries to get comfortable. The New Mexico provided support during the U.S. Marine invasion of Saipan in 1944, so it is likely the cat was rescued after the battle.

"After the smoke of battle had cleared on Betio Island, Tarawa, this tiny kitten crept out from beneath a wrecked Japanese tank, to receive a drink from a U.S. Marine." Tawara Invasion, November 1943.

"Here is 'Bilgewater', the mascot of the Coast Guard Academy, circa 1944. He's modeling the new wartime grey cadet uniform."

"War Veteran - 'Pooli', who rates three service ribbons and four battle stars, shows she can still get into her old uniform as she prepares to celebrate her 15th birthday. The cat served aboard an attack transport during World War II." Los Angeles, 1959.

"I demand your terms of surrender!" French sailors play with a cat as they wait to take over six LSSLs (Landing Ship Support, Light) being given to France by the US Navy under the defense aid pact. Seattle, 1950.

"Accepting her fate as an orphan of war, 'Miss Hap' a two-week old Korean kitten chows down on canned milk, piped to her by medicine dropper with the help of Marine Sergeant Frank Praytor ... The Marine adopted the kitten after its mother was killed by a mortar barrage near Bunker Hill. The name, Miss Hap, Sergeant Praytor explained, was given to the kitten 'because she was born at the wrong place at the wrong time'." Korea, circa 1953.

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Pet Vet:
Canine Cataract Surgery Usually
Performed After Blindness Sets In
McClatchy Newspapers; By Jeff Kahler, D.V.M

Cataracts are one of the leading causes of blindness in dogs.

And like many dogs with cataracts, Bernie has simply adapted, so much so that he is commonly mistaken for a sighted dog.

Tom and Madeline, Bernie's owners, are considering having the 7-year-old schnauzer's cataracts removed and wonder about the possibility of regained sight for him. According to them, Bernie developed cataracts in both eyes when he was about 2 and eventually became totally blind.

A cataract is described as any opacity that develops within the lens of the eye. These can be focal changes that only obscure a portion of the lens, leading to some degree of blindness, or they can completely opacify the lens and cause total blindness. Dogs can be born with cataracts or can develop them at an early age, as I suspect is the case with Bernie. He may have started to develop his cataracts earlier in life, with Madeline and Tom noticing the change as his sight became affected.

There are cataracts that occur as a result of underlying metabolic disease, such as is diabetes mellitus.

Treatment is available for dogs. It involves a specialized surgical procedure and usually results in complete resolution.

I am sure there are many of you who have had cataract surgery and can attest to its merits. In humans, of course, the surgery is most often done well before blindness occurs. In dogs, the opposite is usually the case.

Cataract surgery in dogs is usually done by a specialist in veterinary ophthalmology. One point to consider before surgery is whether the eyes are able to function behind the cataracts, because if they are, removal of the cataracts can restore vision. There is a significant cost involved. Still, it is certainly worth discussing with your veterinarian.

Beyond the cataract removal, Tom and Madeline will have the option of having the ophthalmologist implant a lens replacement in one or both of Bernie's eyes, which then will allow for more normal visual acuity.

— — —

Jeff Kahler is a veterinarian in Modesto. Questions can be submitted to Your Pet in care of LifeStyles, The Modesto Bee, P.O. Box 5256, Modesto CA 95352.

Is Your Pet a Lemon?
By Lora Pabst, Minneapolis Star Tribune

State law was supposed to help consumers with refunds, but it can cost big bucks to enforce.

Danielle West's puppy was six months old when he started limping last October. A few hours later, he couldn't stand up. A veterinarian gave West the bad news: Henry, a $375 golden retriever, needed surgery for an improperly formed bone in his shoulder. The cause appeared to be genetic. The cost of the surgery: almost $3,000.

West and her boyfriend, Will Oosterman, did some research to find out whether their breeder could be held responsible. That's when they learned about Minnesota's "pet lemon law," which requires pet sellers to compensate buyers if their dog or cat develops a hereditary or congenital defect up to a year after purchase. Pet owners can recover as much as the original purchase price if they obtain a supporting letter from a vet.

Though West and Oosterman met all the criteria, their breeder disputed the genetic link. Now, the couple's only option is conciliation court, an expensive option for such a small claim.

"We were just hoping they would stand up and be accountable," West said. "We weren't asking them to foot the bill. It's just $375, but every little bit helps."

In theory, vets say, the law is a great tool for pet owners and breeders, but they admit it can be difficult to enforce. Often, pet owners must spend more to prove their case than the animal originally cost.

Dr. Ned Patterson, an assistant professor of small animal medicine and genetics at the University of Minnesota, said he has signed letters for just two pet owners who successfully used the law.

"A number of other cases, I suspected it, but there wasn't enough [research] literature to prove it," he said.

Patterson declined to discuss Henry's case without seeing the medical records, but he said the dog's condition is generally considered congenital.

'We felt so bad for him'

When West and Oosterman decided to get a puppy, the Minneapolis couple looked for a common breed that wasn't prone to major health problems. Almost immediately, however, Henry developed severe allergies. When the shoulder problems cropped up, they worried their pup would never have a normal life.

"He had been living in pain," West said. "We felt so bad for him. He's this little guy and he's been to the vet more times than we could count."

Henry, whose medical bills now top $5,000, has recovered and is "doing great," West said. Because the bone condition sometimes runs in litters, their vet suggested warning the breeder.

When reached by Whistleblower, Joan Ryan, the Hastings breeder who sold Henry, said she discussed the situation with her veterinarian and determined the condition was "not genetic." She declined to comment further.

"At the end of the day, if the breeder says no, there's not anything you can do about it unless you want to go to court," West said.

Some problems show up later

Patterson said the one-year claims deadline makes it difficult for some pet owners to use the law, since some inherited diseases don't show up until later in life. That was the case for Ashley Hildebrand, a college student, whose dog Bentley started having seizures when he was almost two years old.

Bentley's veterinarian suspects that he has a liver shunt, which hinders the flow of blood to the liver, but she can't confirm the diagnosis without performing a $3,000 surgery. Hildebrand, who has already paid more than $1,500 for an ultrasound and other tests, said she can't afford it. She is trying to raise money for the surgery through a Facebook page and neighborhood fliers.

Kristin Smith, who owns Four Paws and A Tail in Blaine, said she will work with Hildebrand if the dog turns out to have a liver shunt, even though she is no longer obligated to reimburse her $800 purchase price under the refund law. She agreed that liver shunts are typically considered a birth defect.

"We're not about making our customers jump through major hoops," Smith said.

State law requires pet dealers to provide a pet's birth date, pedigree and health status. A buyer may seek redress if a pet shows an undisclosed health problem within 10 days or dies or becomes ill from a hereditary or congenital defect within a year. Owners can get a refund or exchange their pet. Read the statute at www. Find information on health issues by breed at or • JANE FRIEDMANN

The 10 Commandments From a Pet's Point of View

1. My life is likely to last 10-15 years, any separation from you will be painful for me. Remember that before you buy me.

2. Give me time to understand what you want from me, don't be impatient, short-tempered, or irritable.

3. Place your trust in me and I will always trust you back. Respect is earned not given as an inalienable right.

4. Don't be angry with me for long and don't lock me up as punishment, I am not capable of understanding why? I only know I have been rejected, you have your work entertainment and friends I only have you.

5. Talk to me sometimes, even if I don't understand your words I understand your voice and your tone, "you only have to look at my tail".

6. Be aware that however you treat me I'll never forget it, and if it's cruel it may affect me forever.

7. Please don't hit me I can't hit back, but I can bite and scratch and I really don't ever want to do that.

8. Before you scold me for being uncooperative, obstinate, or lazy, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I'm not getting the right foods or I've been out in the sun too long, or my heart is getting old and weak, I may be just dog tired.

9. Take care of me when I get old. You too will grow old and may also need love, care, comfort, and attention.

10. Go with me on difficult journeys, never say, "I can't bear to watch" or "Let it happen in my absence". Everything is easier for me if you are there. Remember, irrespective of what you do I will always love you.

Thanks to Kathy in BHC, Az

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Top 10 Reasons Why a Bird Could
Be the Best Choice for Your Family
By Alyson Burgess,

If you are thinking about adding a pet to your family, it's important to keep in mind your lifestyle and living situation so that you can choose a pet that will be compatible.

Perhaps you are live in an apartment, are unable to take a pet outside for daily walks, or simply crave a companion that will be a little less common than a cat or dog. If you feel like a furry friend might not quite fit what you are looking for, read on for the top ten reasons that a bird would make a wonderful pet!

1. Birds are intelligent animals.
In the animal kingdom, birds rank near the top when it comes to smarts. Their capacity for learning and inquisitive nature makes them facsinating, captivating pets. Birds that are bonded with their owners constantly learn from the person's behavior, and often delight them with surprisingly human-like antics. Think about it: when is the last time a dog looked up at you and said "Hello"?

2. They are relatively easy to care for.
As opposed to four-legged pets that typically roam free within their owners homes, birds are much easier to care for. They can be placed inside their cages when you are at work or busy, they don't require daily walks outside, and housebreaking is not an issue. Many people prefer the convenience of cleaning a cage once daily to scooping a litter box or having to go for walks outside every few hours.

3. Birds are fairly simple to train.
Because of their above average intelligence, birds can be a joy to train and are typically eager to learn new things from their owners. Since birds are relatively small, training them can be less physically demanding than working with larger creatures, making them a good choice for the young, elderly, or disabled.

4. They require minimal grooming.
Birds are naturally very hygienic animals, and they preen their feathers daily to keep them shiny and clean. Rather than having to deal with smelly shampoos, flea baths, and expensive haircuts, bird owners can usually maintain their pet's health and good looks with a quick nail trim now and then and a shower of plain water once or twice each week.

5. Birds are extremely social creatures.
If you want a pet that will bond strongly with you, a bird is a wonderful choice. Given proper training and socialization, birds can be every bit as loving and affectionate as a cat or dog. Many pet birds are inseparable from their owners, some even accompanying them on daily errands such as trips to the bank or grocery store.

6. Birds are fairly inexpensive to feed.
It's important to provide pet birds with a high quality pelleted diet, but they can also benefit greatly from foods that their owners share with them. When you serve fresh fruits or vegetables in your home, you can set a portion aside for your bird's meal. This provides the pet with additional nutrients and variety, and allows owners to "stretch out" the commercial diets they buy. Just make sure that the foods you share with your pet aren't toxic to birds!

7. They can be kept in a small space.
Small bird species, such as budgies, canaries, and finches, make wonderful pets for those who live in apartments or condominiums with limited space. While larger pets require extra room to romp and play, a small bird's cage can easily fit into a cozier living space.

8. Birds are not considered "pets" at most rental properties.
Owners of rental property often impose monthly "pet fees" on tenents that have cats and dogs. Most landlords, however, do not consider birds to be pets, effectively relieving bird owners of the extra charges. For this reason, a bird can be a very economical choice for renters who wish to adopt a pet.

9. Pet birds are attractive to look at.
Obvious as it may seem, the aesthetic value of owning a bird should not be underestimated. It was, after all, a bird's beauty that attracted mankind to them in the first place. Birds display beautiful colors and comical behavior patterns that are interesting to watch and have even proven to lower stress levels in individuals! It can't be denied that birds bring a certain life and vibrance to the homes that they grace.

10. They are long-lived companions.
Those who have experienced the heartbreak of losing a long time pet are often not eager to repeat the process any time soon. Many bird species live extraordinarily long lives, some living more than 100 years! This often eases the concerns of people who want to make sure they adopt a pet that they can love and enjoy for a very long time.

Choosing a Fish Tank Heater

Aside from the condition of the water there is probably nothing as important to properly maintaining a fish tank then keeping the temperature of the water at a set level. Both salt water and fresh water fish thrive best in warm water that stays constant. They are after all tropical fish. Gold fish on the other hand are cold water fish and can handle fluctuation in temperature.

The temperature of the water is important for the health and welfare of your fish. If the temperature drops by one degree over a twenty four hour period it can leave many fish susceptible to diseases such as “Ick”. If not caught soon enough it can create irreversible damage and kill any and all the fish in a tank. This is why it is doubly important to keep a close eye on the water temperature during the change of season, particularly as winter approaches and temperatures drop.

There are a variety of different fish tank heaters on the market and depending on how much you are willing to spend will determine how functional the one you get may be. The cheaper ones may save you money but they are more likely to break or malfunction, thereby endangering the investment you have made in your fish. Many times the cheap heaters also do not have an accurate heat setting, which makes dialing in the temperature difficult.

For most people a mid priced heater will do the job they are looking for. Their thermostat controls are reliable and they maintain a constant temperature without having to make adjustments all the time. It is important to check your fish tank heater periodically to make sure it is operating correctly and after about a year of use there is a good chance that it may need to be replaced.

The best way to make sure your fish tank heater is working properly is to invest in a thermometer. These days you can purchase thermometers that stick to the outside glass of the fish tank. This makes it easy to monitor the temperature because it is always in a conspicuous spot. You can use the type that float around inside the fish tank but they are not always as easy to read and more often then not they float behind a filter or some other obstruction making it impossible to see what the temperature is.

Once you have your heater it is best to place it near a filter. This allows the heated water to be distributed throughout the tank keeping hot and cold spots to a minimum. A heater is an important part of any fish tank ecosystem and by keeping the water temperature at a constant level your fish will be disease free and entertain you for many years.

Pet Talk: Know Your Famous Cats and Dogs?
By Rene Knapp - For The Norwich Bulletin

There are so many cat and dog characters that have been in books, comic strips, cartoons, movies, television and on stage, that I thought it would be fun to see who knows their feline and canine stars. Now — no cheating allowed — see how much you can do on your own. Feel free to e-mail me your list when you are done or wait for the answers next week at the bottom of my column.

1. These two cats are in one of Disney’s best animated films. One has a penchant for talking in riddles and disappearing, and the other is a little black and white kitten who refused to go down into a rabbit hole.

2. Since her debut in 1977, Strawberry Shortcake is never seen without her little pink cat.

3. These two sinister Siamese prowl as one and wreak havoc on a home and a pretty cocker spaniel.

4. The sarcastic, lazy kitty who plays evil tricks on his owner and loves lasagna.

5. Since 1945, this black and white tuxedo cat has been chasing poor little Tweetie bird all over the world.

6. The 20 pound black cat who helps his human, amateur sleuth Temple Barr.

7. The nasty cat belonging to the wicked Lady Tremaine in “Cinderella.”

8. Dr. Seuss’ mischievous cat known best for his red and white striped hat.

9. Since 1973, this cat has pushed over trash cans, romanced his Persian girlfriend and enjoys making Spike the Bulldog’s life miserable.

10. The oversized, furry orange vegetarian cat who refused to eat Fieval.

11. One of the first silent film cats, this black and white cat really seemed to interest moviegoers.

12. Shirley Rousseau Murphy’s trio of feline detectives that can communicate with humans.

13. This kitty liked to insert meows into her sentence and adored children — but tended to be obsessed with her beauty while living in the neighborhood.

14. This not-so-smart Manx has a habit of getting into trouble with a crazy Chihuahua named Ren.

15. A novel by Paul Gallico with a young girl and her cat, later turned into a Disney movie.

16. One of my favorite book series involves two Siamese cats who help their mustachioed owner solve mysteries.

17. The cat who shared his life with three “charmed” sisters.

18. The witches’ cat from “Bell, Book and Candle,” often played by a Siamese.

Going to the dogs

1. The vicious St. Bernard who caused fear and terror in a young boy in this Stephen King novel.
2. Two great dogs on two sides of the fence so to speak, when it came to befriending a little red fox, in this Disney animated tale.

3. The three-headed boar hound and/or Hagrid’s pet in the “Harry Potter” series. (Two answers)

4. A white dog from the planet Krypton that was shot to Earth by Jor-el and found by his original owner on Krypton, Clark Kent.

5. The nurse dog of the children who end up following Peter Pan to Never Land.

6. The little terrier dog who belonged to Nick and Nora Charles from “The Thin Man” series.

7. The rottweiler employee of the Hammerhead in the movie “Barb Wire” that was trained to go for the groin (ouch).

8. The Great Dane in an ever-popular movie, cartoon and comic series.

9. The “biggest and meanest dog in the USA” from the Soupy Sales show.

10. Donald Duck’s dog (it is not Pluto).

11. The vampire Pomeranian in the move “Blade: Trinity.”

12. The dog who lived in the Old West at a fort and watched over a boy named Rusty.

13. The golden retriever Wonder Dog on “Punky Brewster” in 1984 and the cartoon series in 1985.

14. Bart Simpson’s dog for one episode who ended up with the Springfield Police as a drug- sniffing dog.

15. A beautiful collie whose opening scene was her jumping over a fence.

16. The beagle owned by Captain Archer in “Star Trek: Enterprise.”

17. The ghost dog with a jack-o-lantern nose from “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”

18. The other Great Dane who lives with a family and appears in a daily comic strip.

19. Of course, we can’t forget the popular beagle from Peanuts.

20. The little dog that shared an adventure with Dorothy in the land of Oz.

And the combined cat and dog question is: What is the name of the dog and cat from the Dilbert comic strip?

Have fun — I sure did.

Rene Knapp writes Pet Talk, which appears in The Sunday Bulletin. Reach her at

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UPDATE: Army Dog is Found at Dulles
by Lori Aratani -

Qondor has been found. The dog was found at about 3 and reunited with his owner. They were scheduled to depart on a 5:15 flight.

Original post: A Norwegian Army patrol dog somehow escaped his crate before a flight at Dulles International Airport, and has been spotted running around the more than 12,000 acres of ground at the complex, NBC 4 reports.

Qondor, a 21-month-old Doberman, is a specialist in the Norwegian Army. He focuses on patrols and is being trained in explosives detection.

Qondor and his handler, Captain Gunn Anita Fossli, flew into Dulles last Wednesday for a dog training course in northern Virginia.

Their original flight back to Norway was canceled because of the volcano in Iceland. On Wednesday night they were offered a flight on Iberia Airlines. That was the last time Fossli saw her dog.

He somehow escaped from his crate at about 10 p.m.

Airport officials drove Fossli around to the places Qondor was spotted Wednesday night, but "they weren't willing to do more than that," Fossli said of Dulles officials. "It was dark and the fog was coming."

"I don't really understand why he was able to escape," Fossli said. "His crate is OK. I'm really very worried about what will happen if I can't find him now."

There was a glimmer of hope Thursday morning. Fossli and airport officials drove around the southern end of the airport and spotted Qondor. They weren't able to catch him, however.

Officials said they don't believe the dog will be in any danger in that area, and they said no flights are expected to be delayed because of the search.

Dog Has No Business Doing the People's Business

As good an idea as it seems on the surface, a Canadian town says a dog cannot run for mayor.

Genny, a black labrador, was all set to run for office in the town of Clarington, according to the Toronto Star. But when her person/campaign manager tried to register, the municipal clerk put the kibosh on the three-year-old pup's political plans.


"She's not a person," the picky clerk told Genny's person, Marven Whidden, who has not ruled a write-in campaign.

Whidden apparently wanted to get Genny into the mix to shake up an otherwise boring election. It's unclear what the dog's platform would have been. (Dog parks? End to leash law?) No matter, when Whidden floated the idea on his blog, he got a small flood of positive feedback.

Hints From Heloise

Vetting a Vet

Dear Readers: How do you FIND A VETERINARIAN if you move or have a new pet? According to our friends at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals -- and I agree -- ask friends, family and neighbors for a recommendation.

The other advice from the ASPCA? Try to make an appointment with a potential DVM without your pet. See how you feel about the front-counter personnel and vet techs, how clean the facility is, and if it has up-to-date equipment. Ask these questions:

--Does the vet have a partnership with other doctors?

--What if your animal needs to stay overnight?

--Is there a yard so that the dog can go outside?

--Does the vet board animals for people on vacation?

--Does the vet have a referral system if your dog needs to see a specialist?

--How does the vet manage pain with your animal?

You will feel more at ease with your new vet if you ask the right questions. Or, take your pet for a visit or "meet and greet" to see how well he or she adapts, and how you feel about the experience. -- Heloise


Dear Readers: Don Davison of Grand Marais, Minn., sent a photo of Weasley, his yellow tiger-striped cat, with his mouth wide open, enjoying his new bed, placed in a cardboard box top. Don says: "Weasley weighs 22 pounds, so the box top is for reinforcement. He looks like he's smiling with delight, but actually he's just yawning!" To see Weasley in his new bed, visit -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I have come up with a great way to give our elderly black Labrador her daily medications. I take a piece of soft white bread, cut the crusts off and then cut the bread into fourths. I make a tiny sandwich by putting a small amount of margarine or peanut butter on one small piece of bread (so the pills will stick), put the pills on and then cover it with the other piece of bread. Then I smoosh it flat. That seals the pills inside so they won't slip out. Carly loves getting her little sandwiches and doesn't even know that her meds are inside. -- Debbie Carlson, Omaha, Neb.


Dear Heloise: We recycle our square clay pots into frog houses. An overturned corner piece makes a nice frog house, and the frogs eat the slugs in my garden. Much safer than using slug bait, which my dog might get into. -- K. in Houston


Dear Heloise: When I'm walking my dogs, I don't like the neighborhood kids to run up to us. The dogs are very protective of me, and they don't understand that the kids just want to pet and play with them. And guess what? If the dogs bite the kids, it's my responsibility.

Parents, please teach your kids not to approach dogs unless the owner says it's OK. -- B.H., via e-mail

7 Medical Reasons
Your Pet May Be Gaining Weight
Posted by Caroline -

So, you’ve been cutting back on your pet’s food, but he’s still gaining weight? What other reasons could there be for putting on weight besides overeating and not enough exercise?

Here are seven likely culprits to discuss with your veterinarian:

1. Hypothyroidism - Dogs and cats may develop a sluggish thyroid gland, a condition called hypothyroidism. When the glands do not create enough hormone to regulate the metabolic rate, animals tend to become less active and put on weight, even with a reduced appetite. Blood tests will help your veterinarian decide if your pet needs medication for this condition.

2. Cushing’s Disease (Hyperadrenocorticism) - Often seen in older animals, Cushing’s disease is a disorder that affects the adrenal glands (found near the kidneys), which are chiefly responsible for releasing hormones into the body. Excessive levels of steroids can cause muscle weakness, extreme thirst, increased appetite, and a potbelly. If you suspect your pet has Cushing's disease, a veterinarian can confirm the diagnosis with blood tests.

3. Prescription Drugs - Prescription medication can also lead to weight gain, especially if taken over a long period. If this occurs, you may consult with your veterinarian to see if a different medication or a lower dose can prevent further weight gain.

4. Fluid Retention - Dogs and cats with heart disease usually develop ascites, a condition where fluid builds up in the abdomen. Ascites can also be caused by tumors or diseases of the internal organs. In very young animals, abnormal blood flow in the heart (congenital defect) or liver (portosystemic shunt) can lead to abdominal fluid buildup. In addition, cats with feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) may develop fluid in the abdomen, giving them an enlarged belly.

5. Bloat - When a dog eats too rapidly and gulps too much air, the stomach fills with air and fluid and bloat (GDV) can occur. This condition is life-threatening and needs immediate medical attention. It often occurs in large, deep-chested dog breeds.

6. Parasites - Another possibility for a potbelly appearance, especially in young animals, is a heavy load of internal parasites. A stool sample will help your veterinarian determine the proper treatment.

7. Pregnancy - This one may seem obvious, but any female dog or cat that has not been spayed may become pregnant. Your veterinarian can diagnose pregnancy by several methods.

If you suspect there may be more to your pet's weight gain than just his penchant for table scraps, then don't wait to make an appointment with your vet. Many problems, when caught early enough, can be remedied.

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Experts on JustAnswer Share
Five Life-Saving Pet Care Tips

PRNewswire/ -- According to an American Pet Products Association (APPA) survey, 62 percent of U.S. households have a pet and more than half of all owners identify their pets as a member of their family. The survey also found that in 2009 Americans spent $45 billion on their pets – nearly half of that was for vet care, supplies and over–the-counter medicines. But was this money well spent? And how much do people really know about their pet's health?

JustAnswer is a website connecting people to thousands of verified Experts in over 100 categories including Pet & Veterinary. These Experts provide answers to pet owners' most important questions, helping them become savvier about their pet's health. According to the Experts on JustAnswer, there are a handful of common household items that can be extremely dangerous for animals and can cause costly situations for owners. To help pet-proof a home and avoid spending a fortune on unnecessary vet bills, here are a few life-saving tips from an Expert on JustAnswer that could help keep your pet safe and healthy:

Q: What fruits and vegetables can be toxic for my pet?

A: Onions and garlic contain the toxic ingredient thiosulphate and are harmful to both cats and dogs. In general, onions are more of a danger and poisoning occurs a few days after the pet has ingested it. Pets affected by onion toxicity will develop haemolytic anemia, which causes red blood cells to burst while circulating in the body. Also, watch out because as few as two to three grapes can lead to kidney failure in dogs. Turns out you need to be extra careful when throwing away those table scraps!

Q: Which flowers are deadly for my pet to eat?

A: While they may be pretty to look at, Lilies and Geraniums can be extremely toxic for your pet. True Lilies, such as Easter, Day and Oriental Lilies, cause kidney failure in cats. Calla Lilies are also toxic for cats and can cause intense burning and irritation of the mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing. For both dogs and cats, Calla Lilies and Geraniums are toxic. To avoid problems, it's best to keep such flowers out of reach altogether.

Q: Are human medicines safe for animals?

A: When it comes to human medicines and dogs, aspirin is the only over-the-counter pain killer that in some situations may be safe to use. Other pain killers can be dangerous to dogs and can quickly cause gastric ulcers or liver failure. For cats, NO pain killer or fever reducer is safe and if your pet swallows a prescription, be sure to get help for your pet immediately. Adderall, for example, can be very dangerous while birth control usually doesn't cause any lethal problems.

Q: What household items are hazardous for pets to swallow?

A: String of any kind is one of the worst types of foreign objects a cat can swallow. If consumed, it can cause a linear foreign body condition in the gastrointestinal tract – the most dangerous type of GI obstruction a cat can have. Sugar free gum is also a common, yet dangerous object as it causes hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in cats and sometimes in dogs. Other common and hazardous ingestions include batteries and loose change.

Q: What items should be in a pet emergency kit?

A: It would be great if every newly adopted pet came with an owner's manual and an emergency kit, but that's not the case. Pet owners should keep an emergency kit with hydrogen peroxide, allergy medicine, antiseptic wound and skin cleanser, mild dish soap (to remove oily substances from hair), antacid, histamine-2 blockers, and tweezers. It's also useful to have handy phone numbers for a family veterinarian and emergency veterinary services including ASPCA's 24 hour poison hotline for pets.

JustAnswer is the first resource that pet owners should look to in non-emergency situations. Experts on JustAnswer are available 24/7 and can save time and money providing information about common pet related issues. This is especially helpful when questions arise in the middle of the night or on weekends when vet care can be extremely expensive.

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JustAnswer® is a website where people go when they want an answer from a Doctor, Lawyer, Mechanic or one of thousands of third-party verified Experts one-on-one. Millions with questions come to the site for affordable and fast answers in more than 100 categories, ranging from Medical to Legal. Experts typically provide answers within minutes. For more information about the company, please visit the top 200-ranked JustAnswer website or view real-time questions online now.

Pet First Aid:
What to Keep in Your
Dog or Cat First Aid Kit
by Kirsten Taylor -

We all know that curious pets can wind up in sticky situations from time to time, but by putting together a first aid kit in advance you can be ready to react the moment an emergency arises.

Susan Nelson, an assistant professor of clinical sciences at Kansas State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, agrees that "You never know when something is going to go wrong. But if you have everything together and in a certain place, you won't be worrying or wondering where it's at when something does happen."

We've broken the first aid supplies into several categories but you may also choose to buy a commercial pet first aid kit such as the one offered by the ASPCA which contains 126 items including a pet first aid guide. Whether using a commercial kit or creating one based on the suggestions here, you should personalize it based on your pet's needs, the number and type of animals you have and your own vet's recommendations.

The following items, however, are considered must-haves for your dog's or cat's first aid kit, according to Nelson and New Jersey-based veterinarian Jill Richardson.

Basic Medical Supplies

- Antibiotic ointment

- Gauze pads, gauze rolls, and medical tape

- Styptic powder to stop bleeding

- Hydrogen peroxide, 3% (to induce vomiting if a professional recommends)

- Saline solution (for flushing out eyes)

- Isopropyl alcohol

- Iodine (antiseptic)

Basic Equipment

- Muzzle (When a pet is in pain, it may bite.)

- Absorbent maxi pads (for absorbing any kind of liquid)

- Towels

- Tweezers (good for removing splinters and ticks)

- Scissors

- Rectal thermometer

- Book on pet first aid (such as the Red Cross first aid books for dogs and cats )

Other Things You May Not Have Considered

Make sure your pet sitter or pet hotel has a signed treatment authorization form so he/she can take the animal to a vet or hospital for treatment. Also have numbers for a vet, an emergency clinic, and ASPCA Animal Poison Control handy, says Richardson, who is also a co-owner of the dog-walking service My Dog Walks. Program the numbers into your cell phone, leave a copy with pet sitters, and stash another copy in your first-aid kit.

Also be sure to check out another article in Paw Nation's first aid series entitled Pet First Aid: 5 Things Every Dog and Cat Owner Should Know.

Most importantly in an emergency situation, remember, you are your pet's best ally. "Try to keep calm when an emergency happens," Richardson notes. "Take a deep breath and contact your vet right away for detailed instructions." Also remember that avoiding problems in the first place is the best strategy of all. "Make sure to be familiar with pet dangers," she says. "Preventing an emergency is much better than dealing with one."

“Dog Care” –
The Reason For Dog Training
Charles Neshah -

The only way to keep up with the latest about “Dog Care” and dog training is to constantly stay on the lookout for new information. If you read everything you find about “Dog Care” and dog training, it won’t take long for you to become an influential authority.

Dogs have always been called man’s best friend. However, we all know how best friends are made. People who arrive at being best friends go through a lot of conflicts and troubles before they understand each other enough to stand on a common ground. A dog and a human being are no different, especially with them being poles apart in language and origin. If you want your dog to truly be your best friend, then you are going to have to train it.

Dog care – To get started, think of your dog as your child. I know it might sound strange, but I’m serious here. You see, a child needs to be trained well to be able to grow up and function effectively as a productive member of the society. Can you imagine what you would have on your hands if you fail to train your child? A wild rebellious teenager! A dog is pretty much the same when it isn’t trained properly. It can be infuriating to have a dog that does not seem to care about a single thing you do or say.

Dog care and training are processes that binds you and your dog. Without it, there would be no sense in having a dog. The fact that you are a human being and your dog is a dog automatically demands dog training. Both you and your dog speak different languages. Your dog is not a verbal creature but you are. Without dog care and training, you will be unable to communicate your needs and desires to your dogs and your dog will be unable to understand you too.

Dog care and training are much for your benefit as it is for your dog because you get to learn the best way to read your dog’s non-verbal signals and teach it to understand your own verbal messages. Without dog training, both you and your dog will practically have your wires crossed!
Apart from the fact that dog care and training helps both you and your dog understand each other, it also helps to bring out the best in your dog. Dog training helps to enhance a dog’s innate abilities and makes it a better dog. In essence, dog care and training enables you to enjoy your dog to a considerable extent and for your dog to enjoy you as well. It also helps you find that common ground with your dog that fosters the best of relationships between man and dog is dog care.

There’s no doubt that the topic of “Dog Care” and dog training can be fascinating. If you still have unanswered questions about “Dog Care” and dog training, you may find what you’re looking for in the next article.

Charles Neshah writes insightful articles on dog obedience training at How To Train A Dog And Definition Of Cross-Contextualization In Dog Training.

Dogs For Children –
5 Tips On Choosing Your Kids' Best Mate

We present some practical and expert tips on choosing a dog for your children and ensuring a happy home is possible with happy children and their chosen pet; we hope these help you make the right decision about your dog and your children’s healthfulness, too!

• Apart from the fun and love factors of owning a dog, many parents consider keeping a dog for the added security a dog can provide for the kids, especially when playing outdoors, being home alone or when a parent is not around for supervising the activities as dogs make great protectors!

• Of course, the companionship provided by a lovable four-legged furry friend that a dog can be is not to be ignored either, but choosing the right kind of canine pet is very important to ensuring both good dog health as well as children’s health. so, learn as much as you can about the natural temperament of the dog you like before brining one that is only tame-looking, but not necessarily mild-natured enough to be kept along side kids.

• A puppy is a good choice for a household with children as they can both grow together and get into scrapes and make lasting memories of a happy, natural and innocent childhood the likes of which is forgotten today in the mad rush for materialistic pleasures or even modern distractions like TV, electronic games etc. as having a dog will ensure kids get exercise walking and playing with the pet! Of course, you have to ensure that the dog you choose has reduced predatory tendencies to avoid the children getting nipped or attacked as they have a tendency to tug at their tails or tweak their ears, so obedience training is a must for the dogs to be housebroken and remain child-friendly.

• A good choice for a child-friendly environment is the Golden Retriever, which is a breed that is adaptable, has oodles of energy needed with children and also has a calm temperament to play and protect your kids. there are lots more breeds that are fairly adaptable with children; however, you may have to consult with a professional dog breeder or vet to determine your specific needs and that of your child for the ideal canine pet.

• It is recommended that parents looking out for a suitable dog breed for keeping along side children in their homes do their homework on the various kinds that are compatible with kids, how much their care and training will cost them in terms of money, energy and time besides also planning out additional safety features around the house for both child and dog to stay safe.

So, while temperament and youthfulness may be the two most important traits in looking for a dog for your child, it is equally important to hone your knowledge of the right furry friend for your child so as to make an informed decision on choosing a child-friendly, non-aggressive yet protective canine companion for kids.

The Ragdoll Cat Breed Is Ideal For Families
by admin in Cats -

The ragdoll cat breed is among the most well-liked with families. This strikingly good looking, long-haired cat is docile and friendly. They don’t have the fighting instinct and they love attention. This means families with other pets and kids will find the ragdoll cat breed a ideal addition to the family.

This breed of cat is famous because they are both social and relaxed. They do love attention and like to be where the action is. This makes them easy to train. All you’ve to do is lavish them with attention when they scratch around the cat post rather than the couch.

This breed is really a larger breed. The males can weigh in excess of 20 pounds and the females are merely slightly smaller. Their stunning rabbit-fur like hair is extended and typically does not matt.

The ragdoll cat breed is definitely an indoor cat breed. Since they lack the fighting instinct they would not defend themselves when attacked. Though several owners train them to walk on a leash for the most part you will desire to keep them indoors.

This breed comes in 3 patterns and four colors (seal, chocolate, blue and lilac). The three patterns are:

Colorpoint - a lighter entire body shade, dark points for the ears tail, face and feet, as well as the nose and paw pads match the idea color (the darker color).

Mitted - dark points and a lighter body similar for the colorpoint with white mitts around the front paws and white boots around the back legs.

Bi-color - dark points within the ears and tail and an inverted “v” on the mask that runs from between the eyes into the muzzle. The entire body color has a “saddle-like” appearance.

This is usually a great pet health care cat breed that you ought to think about in the event you like big, docile, affectionate cats.

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Choosing A Dog Breed -
3 Steps You Must Know
By Sandy Griffin -

So your ready to add a four legged friend into the family, but which of the over 143 breeds go you pick? Some people will look for size, shape, color, and long for short hair. Others will look for temperament of the breed. But before those there are a few other thing you should think about before you choose the right dog breed.

Here are a few things that you should think of first:

1) House or Apartment.

This is something that some people tend to forget about when choosing a dog. Make sure that your dog will have enough room to roam. If you have a small house or apartment then a large dog may not be best for your. They will need to be able to move around the home and also need a place to run. A better breed for you may be the smaller size dogs. They will not need as much room to raise them.

2) Do you have Kids.

If you have children then choosing a dog breed that is delicate like a Chihuahua may not be a good choice. They can be very frail and a child may be too rough on them. Choosing a dog breed that is large can have the opposite effect. The dog does not know it's own size and can knock over your child. It really depends on how old your children are, as to what size dog breed you chose.

3) How much do you work.

You should know how much time your will be able to devote to your dog. Larger dogs will need a lot of exercise and some may need more grooming than others. Your dog will also need time to be around you and your family. So if you have a family on the run, make sure you chose a dog breed that can travel with you.

Choosing a dog breed that is correct for you be sure to think of all the things listed above and you will be able to make a informative decision.

You can find even more information at Dog Breeders Directory [] and also receive a free Dog Health Book []. Much more information all for free.

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Monday Pets:
Why Do Dogs Push Their Food Bowls Around?
by Jason G. Goldman -

Dog owners have a way - sometimes within DAYS of first becoming dog owners - of becoming EXPERTS on animal behavior. It blows my mind. These are people who observe their animals displaying interesting or curious behaviors and make up things like "dogs like being put in tiny cages, actually, because of when their ancestors were pack animals and lived in caves."

That said, a reader sent me an email inquiring about a particular behavior that she has observed in her female poodle. This reader is not one of the above-described self-proclaimed experts. This reader is generally awesome.

She writes:

My dog is pushing around her food, her food dish, or anything in the area. She noses it around every time before she eats, sometimes for a significant period of time. This video is of her pushing the towel under the dish around (which I put there to stop her from pushing the dish entirely across the tile floor and spilling food everyone). Sometimes she noses the food around and doesn't even bother to eat any.

What is this all about?

One day she decided to set up a spycam so she could catch her dog in the act. She sent me the video and permitted me to upload it for the world to see:

It turns out that this behavior appears fairly common, and inquiries abound online in various forums and whatnot. Enter the self-proclaimed experts. One offers:

Many dogs push their food bowls around; it might be vestigial to the dog's foraging instinct. Many dogs also pick food out of the bowl and carry it to another location to eat it.

Another suggests:

Depending on the breed of your dog, and dominance level, it's food looks rather bleak. Meaning that it's looking for something more alive; this would be the hunter in them call out. Ever wonder why dogs love a good squeakier? It's because it resembles a dying animal.

Here's a selection of other gems from the interwebz:

Maybe try switching food brands.

Maybe, just maybe, she doesn't like the shape of the bowl it may be not the most convenient shape for her to eat out of. Having just a dog brain she doesn't know it is a permanent shape. But more than likely it is just an inherited behavior left over from before dogs trained humans to be pet owners. Back then the dog (or dawg, or even dogg, spelling having not been domesticated yet) ate things it killed or found already dead. Sometimes the prey might not be quite dead yet and might try to bite back so Dog would need to check and one way to check was just give it a push and see if it moved.

I think they want you to pay some attention to them....They can't speak so we have to listen to them without hearing words...If I were a dog pushing my bowls around I would be saying..I am bored..I am lonely eating alone every night, no one valadating me...I am tired of this same ole' crap all the time...

He's trying to get on your nerves, or he wants attention. Both ways are the same. Your dog and my dog know that once he does something bad, he'll get your attention and you might scream at him or maybe slap his nose for him to stop, but he/she thinks it's fun.

I think perhaps they feel they are "hunting" the food and then eat it.
If I was going to make up a hypothesis, I might conjecture that pushing food around with the nose will indicate if the food is beginning to rot, as bugs and other critters that munch on dead flesh tend to be found underneath the food item.

Time for some actual research.

How about first we knock down all those lay explanations:

In wild animals, food selection begins with foraging (or hunting, for carnivores) behavior, and ends with food consumption. Through domestication, however, hunting behavior in dogs seems to have been genetically modified if not entirely eradicated. Some evidence that this is so comes from studies of "village" or feral dogs. These are dogs that generally survive by scavenging, raising the possibility that domesticated dogs have not maintained a fully functional repertoire of hunting behaviors. It should be noted, however, that not much is known about how wolves decide what is palatable (e.g. appearance, odor, texture, flavor), so it is hard to determine if dogs' preferences in that respect have changed in domestication. So it is unlikely that any food-related behavior you observe in a domesticated dog is "leftover" from their wolf ancestors. Possible, but unlikely.

Then, I asked this reader a few questions: are there other dogs in the house? Yes, a male dog. Does she generally feed the dog the same food every day? Yes.

I could not find anything in the literature directly addressing this issue. Here are some things we do know about food selection in domesticated dogs, and my best guess as to the explanation of this particular dog's behavior:

(1) It is certain that odor plays a strong role in food selection, because anosmic dogs (who can't smell) show significantly reduced discrimination between types of meat that are otherwise highly discriminable.

(2) Dogs combine olfactory information (smell) with social information to select what type of food they want. In this study, dogs preferred eating something that smelled like the breath of another dog who had recently been fed.

I wonder if perhaps Shug (white poodle) smelled something on the other dog's breath, and was looking for it. This reader insisted that the two dogs are fed the same foods. It is possible that there is some odor produced by the interaction of the other dog's saliva and the food that Shug was trying to find in her food bowl.

One other bit of interesting information that I stumbled across concerns laterality in dogs. Laterality is an observable measure of functional asymmetry in the brain. The human brain, for example, is strongly left-lateralized for language. This means that much of language processing occurs on the left side of the brain. Human handedness (whether you favor your right or left hand) has to do with laterality as well. Human handedness may be a topic for another day - this day, we shall focus on dog paw-edness. Do dogs favor one paw over the other?

So the answer is yes, and is actually related to their sex. Females tend to prefer the right paw, and males tend to prefer the left paw. What is most interesting to me is that task #3 was a food retrieval task.

I am well aware that I might be reaching here and over-interpreting - but I wonder if perhaps Shug, if she is right-pawed like most other female dogs, is simply trying to move the food away from the wall. Kind of like, if you're at a restaurant, and you're right handed, it totally sucks to be the guy at the end of the booth with your right hand against the wall.

So, there you have it. Both may be stretching it a little, but you've got two workable hypotheses that are totally testable. Oh, and I promise, we'll do one for the cat people next week.

Bradshaw JW (2006). The evolutionary basis for the feeding behavior of domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) and cats (Felis catus). The Journal of nutrition, 136 (7 Suppl) PMID: 16772461

Wells, D. (2003). Lateralised behaviour in the domestic dog, Canis familiaris Behavioural Processes, 61 (1-2), 27-35 DOI: 10.1016/S0376-6357(02)00161-4

Do Birds Make Great Pets?
by admin in Birds -

A lot of people imagine getting a pet at one time or another. Sometimes it will be the children that swear that their lives is not going to be complete without a pet to have fun with. Other times it is the parents who recommend that adding a family pet would bring focus and accountability. No matter who desires the pet the most, it is confirmed that adding a pet can be a source of fun, learning plus household bonding. Most families immediately think that they can make a choice from getting a cat or a dog simply because those are the preferred animals to own. Prior to running out and buying a perfect kitten or puppy, contemplate selecting a bird to be your family pet.

Conceivably many people imagine that having a bird is reserved for the wild at heart or certainly for those living within a tropical climate. You would be shocked, however, to find out that all kinds of people in just about every climate in the world are proud bird owners.

Feel just a little unsure? Take a little time to learn about the different kinds of birds that might be the right kind of pets for your family. Going to a local pet store can be a excellent place to start gaining information. Do not be afraid to ask the shop personnel any questions you have regarding owning a bird or regarding the differences between kinds of birds. Gather as much as it is possible to before you make your ultimate decision.

Take into consideration the ability of your family to take care of a pet and then just pick out a bird that you could in fact take care of as well as enjoy. One kind of bird could need more attention than you can provide while a different species of bird is perhaps perfect to suit your family’s active schedule. The worst thing that can be done is to bring home a bird which may be inappropriate for your family. No one is going to be happy with a bird that must be cared for by the hour and creates loud noises every night. Consider all of these particulars thoroughly.

If you choose a bird as your initial or next family pet, take the time to educate your entire family about the bird. After you have taken some time to learn, instruct your family on the important facts about the bird and about the requirements the bird will have when it turns into part of your family. Be honest from the start regarding the serious responsibility and privilege that comes with having a pet. Mainly your children need to have a proper understanding of the needs as well as care requirement of your pet bird.

Picking a bird for a family pet can be a unique and fun way to bring an animal into your home. Many varieties of birds are simple to maintain and will result in hours of laughter as well as fun for your

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World War II Museum Presents Animals of War

New Orleans - Smoky the Yorkshire terrier, Lady Astor the pigeon and a host of horses and mules whose individual stories are lost to history are among war heroes and heroines featured in the latest exhibit at the National World War II Museum.

“Loyal Force: Animals at War” will run July 22-Oct. 17, featuring the four kinds of animals most often brought into the war.

“There was a great love and loyalty between the soldiers and the animals they worked with,” said registrar Toni M. Kiser, who created the exhibit with archivist Lindsey Barnes.

The exhibit opener may seem odd to people used to thinking of the Coast Guard as offshore duty in cutters, patrol boats, helicopters and airplanes.

In the mezzanine, where a Sherman tank and a half-track represent the period’s most common cavalry, will be a figure of a Coast Guardsman on shore patrol with his horse. The shore patrols were set up after German saboteurs twice landed on American beaches.

Nearly 3,000 horses, provided by the Army Quartermaster Corps, let the shore patrol cover much more ground. “The U.S. Coast Guard used more horses than any other branch of the U.S. Military during WWII,” the title panel notes.

The first thing visitors will see in the special exhibits gallery is a German reconnaissance horse and soldier, representing the Europeans.

Germany’s 1st Cavalry Division pursued the Soviet Army through the northern marshes of the Soviet Union, but was disbanded and mechanized in November 1941, largely because horses needed extensive supplies and attention, and Adolf Hitler considered them outmoded.

But most supplies and a great deal of artillery were still horse-drawn, and a mounted infantry squadron patrolled about six miles in front of every German infantry division.

“These mounted patrol troops were referred to as the ‘eyes and ears of their units,’” an exhibit panel explains.

The museum’s artifacts were part of the reason for including the German horse, Barnes said. “We have a really great saddle” and a dagger from the infamous 8th SS Kavallerie Division Florian Geyer.

North Africa and the Mediterranean are represented by pigeons such as Lady Astor, which brought an urgent message to Allied forces from the front lines in North Africa in spite of pellet fire that broke one leg and took half the feathers from one wing.

An oral history from Hiram Boone, a muleskinner for the Army’s Mars Task Force, informs the China, Burma and India exhibit.

For the Pacific front, there are the dogs.

Smoky, found in a foxhole in New Guinea, was a mascot who became a war heroine when engineers needed to run 70 feet of telegraph wire through an 8-inch culvert under an airfield.

Cpl. William Wynne, who had adopted Smoky and taught her many tricks, tied one end of the wire to Smoky’s collar and had his buddies hold Smoky at one end of the culvert while he called her from the other.

Her story is among a half-dozen featured on a touch-screen display, as is that of Kurt, a Doberman Pinscher who alerted his handler to Japanese soldiers lying in wait above the Asan Point beachhead on Guam, but was killed by a mortar shell.

Bronze statues of Smoky in a “pot” helmet and Kurt, lying down but on the alert, also are part of the exhibit. Kurt’s statue is a replica of one at the United States Marine Corps War Dog Cemetery in Guam.

Sculptor Susan Bahary also put Barnes in touch with the widow of Lt. William Putney, commanding officer of the 3rd U.S. War Dog Platoon, who led 110 Marines and 72 dogs from Camp Lejeune and Camp Pendleton to Guadalcanal and Guam. His veterinarian’s kit, donated to the museum by Betsy Putney, is set up in the sort field hospital used for dogs.

“A lot of stuff they had was the same as for humans,” Barnes said. “It took a while for the Army to get around to having special supplies for dogs.”

There’s also a mascot slideshow and a narrated “slideshow movie” about servicemen’s encounters with exotic animals — playing with monkeys, riding on elephants and camels. One photo, from the Pacific, shows eight men holding the skin of a python. “The expressions on their faces are pretty telling — how foreign and exciting this was,” Barnes said.

They had to omit lots of stories, such as that of the bear that carried artillery ammunition during the battle of Monte Cassino (it had been enlisted into the Polish Army because the soldiers weren’t allowed to have mascots).

“We really wanted to concentrate on the animals that were used by the thousands to help the military,” Kiser said.

Luntik the Four-Eared Cat

In the far eastern Russian city of Vladivostok, lives a unique feline name Luntik who at 3-months of age is drawing a lot of attention to his community.

Luntik is a stray cat who lives in an auto service station where he spends his days lounging around while motorist curiously come over to see his four ears.

The unique genetic traits are simply for viewing purposes only, because the vestigial ears do not contain an ear canal or anything else to make them functional.

The small pair of ears which are slightly in front of the main pair are somewhat of a blessing for an otherwise lonely cat.

Now with so much buzz going on about this adorable four eared cat, Luntik will be lucky if he gets any time to lay around by himself.

While the world gets to know Luntik, he is slowly becoming a celebrity with the British press is naming him the “Jedi Cat”, while others on the web speculate that Luntik’s conditions can be a genetic hangover from the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown of 1986.

But the reality is that Luntik is unique, not one of kind. In 2004 a German cat named Lilly made the press with her four ears and Yoda a cat from Chicago also became famous for his genetic trait in 2008.

Luxury Pet Resort Opening at Disney World

Pluto never had it so good: The next major attraction to open at Walt Disney World won't be for the kids - it will be for the dogs. Best Friends Pet Resort, scheduled to open Aug. 27, will offer not just boarding, but also bedtime stories and a water park for dogs.

The luxury facility will accommodate way more than 101 Dalmatians. With more than 50,000 square feet of space, half of it outdoors, it has room for 270 dogs, 30 cats and assorted other animals, including birds, potbellied pigs and small mammals like hamsters and guinea pigs. (Sorry, no turtles, snakes or lizards.)

Standard indoor boarding for dogs runs $37 nightly. Upgrades for dogs include vacation villas with outdoor patios and flat-screen TVs for watching videos like "Homeward Bound" ($59), or 226-square-foot luxury suites ($76) with private outdoor play yards and personal pet concierges.

Cats can choose between two- and four-story condos.

How to Bring Pets Along
on the Family Trip

Planning a family getaway is fun, but the mere thought of leaving behind our furry friends can be painful. Fortunately, pet-friendly lodging and restaurants are plentiful. You'll also find a slew of gear and other pet products making it easier than ever to take your cat or dog along. Here are tips:

1. Plan ahead. You may need to take a few extra steps to include your pets in the fun. Don't let that dissuade you from taking your pet. Let your children help make a list of the extra gear and supplies you will need as well as advance reservations you may require. Airlines can refuse your reservation if there are already too many pets scheduled for a flight, so let them know as soon as you decide to take a pet.

If you travel by car, pack your animal's food, litter, waste disposal bags, leashes, toys, beds, medications and pet carrier. To be on the safe side, include notes regarding your pet's medical history as well as your veterinarian's contact information.

2. Practice round. If your dog or cat isn't accustomed to car or plane travel, introduce him to the pet carrier well before your departure date. Toss a favorite toy or familiar object into the carrier and take a spin within familiar territory. Be sure the carrier is airline-compliant and sturdy enough to make the trip.

3. Keep moving. Just like humans, your pets need as much exercise away from home as they do in their own environment. On the road, make plenty of stops to allow every member of your family to stretch their legs and breathe fresh air. At your destination, include your pet in hikes, walks on pet-friendly beaches or visits to local parks.

4. Drink up. Make sure your pet has access to clean, fresh water throughout your travels. Just like our body, a pet's consists of 80 percent water. Proper hydration is key to good health at home and on the road.

5. Have fun. Enjoy this extra-special time with your family and pet. Take photos and include your cat or dog in your vacation photo album. Visit a local dog park. It's likely that your pet will introduce you to new friends on the way.


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Hints From Heloise

Pet Peculiarity

Dear Readers: If you find that your beloved pet is ACTING ODDLY, he or she may have eaten something toxic. Do not hesitate to call your vet or take your pet to an after-hours emergency clinic if you suspect that something is wrong. Keep these hints in mind for your pet's health and your peace of mind:

- Know your pet's normal behaviors, routines and habits.

- Observe the animal and write down unusual behavior.

- Feel the animal's belly. Is it bloated?

- Be a detective, or pretend you are an investigative reporter: Follow the trail of food or meds that your pet might have eaten.

- Note any vomiting that may have occurred -- time of, amount, anything recognizable in it.

- Bring packaging that your pet might have gotten into.

- Write down a timeline of events. When did your pet eat, and when did he or she begin acting erratically?

- Bring a blanket, pillow and toy for your pet in case there is an overnight stay.

- Always keep a copy of the animal's medical records handy.

- Take notes while you listen to the doctor.

- Consider pet insurance. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, it runs between $300 and $400 a year, with a $100 deductible.

-- Heloise


Dear Readers: Dan and Shawn Thomas of Van Wert, Ohio, sent a photo of Spike, their 1-year-old bearded dragon, taking a bath. To see Spike, visit -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: We have three very active dogs. Their feet are rarely clean when they come in the house, and using regular rugs did not do the trick. I bought a bunch of inexpensive comforters, and I fold one up and put it by the door. It is great -- it soaks up the mud and water from rain and helps keep the dirt to a minimum. I also use these comforters to cover the couches, put in their crates and even under their crates to keep them from scratching the floor. When they are dirty, I just pop them in the washer -- easy! We have a few so that we can rotate them when we need to. -- Penney, via e-mail


Dear Heloise: I have a new addition to our family, Jewels. Jewels is the cutest kitten, with the best personality. She is constantly getting into and wanting to lick everything! This concerned me, because I don't want her to "taste" anything that would harm her. One of the ways I alleviated this is I switched to vinegar and water to clean my house. It is a great disinfectant, and I don't worry about her "tasting" anymore. -- Alexis Smith, via e-mail


Dear Heloise: When I brush my dog, I do it outside. There's no hair flying around the house, and I put the fur in a flowerpot for the birds to use in their nests. An old pot holds my supplies. -- J.S. in Indiana

Why Should You Groom Your Dog?
by Richard Perkins -

Most people who own dogs always create time to groom them and will give you reasons for doing this. For some, grooming is about making sure the dog looks good, others do it to ensure the dog stays healthy while others are motivated by a desire to bond with the dog. On the opposite extreme are those who do not groom their dogs either because they are busy, or do not see the need for doing it, or any other reason. So, why it is important to groom your dog?

Let us start by defining what dog grooming is. Dog grooming basically refers to the process of cleaning and making the dog tidy. This includes all activities that you do to remove dirt, and improve the appearance of the dog in general. Why is this process important? The most important reason why you should groom your dog is the fact that it helps keep the dog healthy. Ask any veterinarian and you will be told that your dog needs to be bathed regularly to stay healthy. Bathing helps remove dirt but more than that, it prevents the dog from developing skin infection.

When a dog goes without bathing for a while, the dirt will cause it to start itching and scratching which in turn leads to skin abrasions that can become septic. And if a dog has infection such as thrush for instance, it is easier to prevent further infection if it is clean than if it is dirty.

Besides bathing, other grooming activities are also quiet beneficial. Brushing and combing for instance makes a dog look more attractive. This again is not the only reason why you should brush or comb it. When a dog is not brushed especially if it has long hair/fur, the fibers get intertwined, a condition commonly known as matting. Matting would not have been much of an issue had it not been that it creates its own problems. One of such is that it locks dirt in and increase chances of your dog itching. It is also quiet hard to wash a dog when there is matting.

You are probably asking, suppose my dog already has matting, what should I do? Brushing will help if the tangles are not very tight. However, if matting has gone on for a while without remedial action, then you will only hurt the dog as you attempt to brush or comb. The solution in this case is to undertake a different grooming activity: hair clipping.

Hair clipping is the best option when your dog’s hair/ fur is very tightly intertwined. But clipping has other benefits including making it easier to clean the dog and improving the looks of your dog. There are hair clippers specifically designed for dogs. Besides clipping of hair/fur, it is also recommended that you trim the nails. Long nails when unchecked will curve inwards and may result in injury as the dog walks by piercing into its feed pads.

Finally, nothing will bond your dog and you than grooming. The prolonged, massage like touch will increase the faithfulness of your faithful friend!

The Disappearance Of Princess Tia
By Tricia Deininger -

My precious Chinese Shar-Pei, Tia, is one of those irresistible “wrinkle dogs” who melts my heart at the sight of her. The sweetest of the litter when I found her, I knew she’d be a true love bucket. Unlike the other pups, she wasn’t shy. To my delight, she trailed the breeder’s toddler, licking his hands and feet. Tia was certainly worth the six-hour trip to bring her home.
I’ve always been a fool for animals, once adopting an orphaned cat and her entire litter. So, I am naturally pet friendly, though not particularly God friendly, considering the untimely loss of my only child. I suppose I was angry with God, whoever I thought Him to be.

Such reasoning would be challenged one afternoon when Tia slyly slipped through a door left ajar, sprinting toward a busy boulevard.

I panicked, of course. My stomach churned and my head spun, much like a sucker-punched fighter. Dreading a horrific ending, I raced out in a mad effort to find her.

Chasing her on foot is futile, I’ve learned. After the first unheeded command, it’s useless to try anymore. Petite for the breed, she is a lean, well-muscled mass of rich sable wrinkles, and a two-time award winner for obedience.

But Sister, let me tell you! Off the leash, she’s a headstrong problem child and absolutely schizophrenic if given the chance to run free. Yet, on the leash, Tia is an angelic icon of obedience—gifted, alert and smart. Sadly, she has a dark side–an even greater gift for escape.

This escape marked the first away from home in busy traffic where she’d gained a substantial lead. Immediately abandoning the foot chase, I drove toward a neighborhood of suburban homes near the boulevard and aimlessly turned one corner after another.

Then I spotted her! Yup, there she was hanging with the “wrong kind”— the roaming neighborhood mutts. How could I possibly beat such fun? Expectantly, I resorted to the only thing in my bag of tricks. Since Tia is allergic to every common dog food or treat except mixed fish and potato, I always carry thawed, store-bought French fries as an inducement.

Putting along, I finally pulled over as she caught sight of me. I opened the car door and waved French fries at her coaxing in my sweetest voice. Bounding to within two arm’s length of me, she stopped abruptly as if thinking it over. Obviously deciding the price of freedom to be much higher than a few measly fries, she bolted hard and fast. This time I lost all hope.

In the clinches, I’m easily given to hysterics and wild fears. “She’ll be run over and die. Someone will find her, keep her, but not give her needed medicine. I’ll never see her again! Oh no, I’m going to die!” This went on and on while blinding tears rolled down my cheeks. Frantically posting hand-scrawled signs and aimlessly looking everywhere, I finally stopped. Defeated, I pulled over and sobbed uncontrollably.

The shift in my spiritual values occurred at this—the second-most lowest moment in my life. Endless, utterly futile hours spent scouring neighborhoods only left me distraught, confused and at the end of my human resources. I’m not sure what came over me as the scales of spiritual resistance fell from my eyes. Humbled and broken, I looked to the sky and asked for help.

Suspending my disbelief, I pled with the God of my limited understanding, “Dear God! Please help me! I don’t know what to do anymore. This isn’t working. Please, please don’t let anything happen to my baby. Please tell me what to do next.”

Both dazed and amazed at my earnestness, I stayed behind the wheel feeling lost and useless. There was no burning bush, but something happened. In a still, small voice that I heard in my head, I was told to keep doing what I’d been doing–driving up and down neighborhood streets, stopping residents, grownups and kids, asking if they’ve seen a wrinkle dog. I took this instruction with a grain of cynicism, though more hopeful than ever.

Certainly, Tia was worth the exhaustive search as I followed the guidance, repeating everything as before for quite a while. Randomly, I turned down a street and saw a man standing in his yard.

“Are you going to ask every single person you see?” I asked myself. Intuitively it felt right, so I haphazardly stopped the car.

“I think you’re looking for something wrinkled,” he said, eyeing my stricken face.I must have mumbled something such as, “Oh my God….thank you!” He continued to explain.

“Yeah, she just came up and started playing with my kids. I figured she didn’t look like the kind of dog that should just be wandering around so I tied her up in my back yard. I’ve been trying to reach your home for about two hours.

Today, I no longer believe in happenstance or coincidences. I could have explained Tia’s rescue as an alignment of time or something mysterious. Instead, I know it to be Divine Intervention–an answer to prayer. What a landmark on my spiritual journey!

Nonetheless Tia, the predictable princess that she is, still has that rebellious streak. Through my gate she sneaks, streaking around the block from time to time. Tried and true, I just drive up and down streets asking strangers if they’ve seen a wrinkle dog, holding on to the faith that I’ll find her eventually. I’m delighted to report that I do every time.

Easy Tips To Economize On Bird Food

If you’re pet bird owner, it goes without saying that the bird food comes at quite a cost. It is simply ready to burning a hole in your pocket making you arrange your financial position now and then. However, it is not compulsory the bird food can cost a bomb always. There are a few measures that may help you maximize your savings all the while providing your bird with the right food. Let’s take a look at some of the measures that can help you with the same.

One of the best techniques by which you save on your bird food costs is by buying it in large quantities. Bulk buying is often more cost-effective, especially in the case of products like bird food. Most people tend to buy small packets of bird food when they need it. While this is undeniably more handy, bulk purchasing is more cost-effective. You can buy bird food in quantities from wholesale markets in your locality.

Bulk buying of bird food comes with its own share of flipsides too. One difficulty that bulk buying poses is the issue of easy storage. The most suitable option to store the bird food is the plastic boxes which come in the galvanized form. Also ensure that you use only the air tight and water proof containers. This can circumvent the moisture from entering the container and hence will not spoil the food in any way. Additionally store your food in a very dry and cool place.

Another effective option in this context is to make purchase online. All you need to do is to log in to the net and you can easily get in communication with 1 or 2 online vendors that will supply you with the very pocket friendly bird food options. Unlike the regular stores, the net sellers do not have to worry about the costs of a store. Here it is quite obvious that you need to foot in the bill of the shipping charges. However the overall cost still comes out to be really less. Do not settle in for any online seller. Research your option and keep the prices in consideration before you settle in for any specific online vendor selling bird food.

You may save money spend on bird food by curbing waste. Try and decide whether or not you are filling the feeders too frequently. Also, when birds are given food at too frequent intervals, they have an inclination to spill over the further portion. So do not fill the feeder for 1 or 2 days. This could inspire your bird to eat the extra food that has fallen inside the cage floor.

Another great way to save on bird food is to simply grow it. Try and grow sunflowers as they not only make your garden look beautiful but also provide you with affordable bird food. The head of the sunflower seed may be used as bird food. So while you economize, your bird gets to enjoy a great sunflower seed meal.

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General Information

The origin of the canine can be traced back with some certainty to the Eocene Miacids that existed nearly 55 million years ago. The modern day dog evolved from the Canoidea line (a coyote type of dog) that existed around 38 million years ago, which again evolved into a fox-like animal (the Leptocyon) and then into a wolf-like animal (the Tomarctus) about 10 million years ago. The Tomarctus was apparently native to the North American continent, and from there began expanding throughout the various parts of the world. The dog like Tomarctus was a dog-like carnivore that eventually evolved into the modern day dog.

Modern day evidence suggests that the dog is the closest relative to the wolf – experts have deduced this information based on genetics and behavior patterns.

These wolf like animals became domesticated as humans began raising the wolf pups as tame and social animals. Humans probably interacted more with these animals because of the shared interest in the same types of prey and habitats. Eventually these pups became dependent on the humans for food and adapted to living with humans. The modern day domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris) is a descendent of these early wolf-pup domestications beginning around 10,000 BC.

DOG Scientific Information

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Canidae
Genus: Canis
Species: C. lupus
Subspecies: C.l. familiaris

DOG Character Information

The dog has long been considered as “Man’s best friend.” When dogs are properly cared for from the time they are puppies, they will grow to live a good healthy life. Proper care and attention will earn you undying loyalty from your canine friend.

Dogs are primarily different from other household pets for two main reasons: social attachment to humans, and physical temperament

Dogs are social creatures – they bond they form with humans is uncommon to other domesticated animals. Their friendly and protective natures make them ideal companions to humans.

Dogs are varied in their temperaments and have been bred to enhance specific characteristics. Because of their varied physical sizes and temperaments, it is very common for a pet owner to find a type dog that meets their emotional needs – there is pretty much a dog for any type of personality out there.


General Information

Cats are believed to have first been domesticated by the ancient Egpytians around the year 4500 BC, although some evidence suggests that cats were part of Egyptian culture as early as 7500 BC. The Egyptians used cats to defend their grain storage from rats and mice and eventually began to revere the cats. The Egyptian goddess of love and fertility, Bastet, resembled a cat. Throughout time, cats have also been revered by the Vietnamese, Japanese and Islamic cultures.

During the 15th century in Europe cats were considered evil and cat owners were persecuted by declaration of the Pope. Cat lovers were accused of witchcraft and burned at the stake. Because of this belief, the European cat population decreased causing an increase in the number of rats – it is believed that this increase in the rat population contributed to the rapid spread of the bubonic plague – also known as Black Death.

Cats today are considered playful, loving companions and are well adapted to home life.

CAT Scientific Information

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae
Genus: Felis
Species: F. Silvestris
Subspecies: F. s. catus

CAT Character Information

Cats can be described as loving, playful, highly intelligent and extremely observant. Cats learn quickly and can be very curious about new or exciting things around the home. When provided with lots of love and good care, cats can become loyal companions throughout their life.

While lovable and playful, cats can at times be described as moody, schizophrenic, and even downright strange. It is important to remember that cats like to spend a lot of time on their own. Although they can form strong social bonds with their pet owner and other cats, they can be completely happy on their own. Because cats come from a species that is largely solitary and highly territorial they prefer to have their own space and territory. Cats, from time to time, will scratch, spray urine or rub their fur on things to mark their territory. Pet owners will notice that cats will become more active in “marking their territory” when the cat feels insecure or threatened in its living space – this type of behavior will be especially noticeable when other cats come around.

Cats like to nap throughout the day causing pet owners to think that cats are inherently lazy. In reality, cats rest during the time when the pet owners are awake and are more active when the pet owners are resting. Cats are active during their hunting time – evenings and mornings – when their prey (probably rodents) are most active. Because of this late to bed and early to rise schedule, cat’s prefer to sleep during the day.


General Information

Some experts speculate that horses were first domesticated almost 10,000 years ago. Throughout time, these sturdy and resilient animals have been used for transportation, to transport cargo, and sometimes for food. Around 2000 BC, historical records indicate that horses were used by many different cultures and societies.

Once domesticated, horses began to be bred for their specific abilities and characteristics. As humans began to find various uses for these animals they began to breed certain horses for pulling plows and wagons, for riding (with and without saddles), and as mentioned before, some cultures used horses as a source of meat and milk. Modern day horses are used mainly for recreation, although in some areas of the world horses are still used for work.

HORSE Scientific Information

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Perissodactyla
Family: Equidae
Genus: Equus
Species: E. caballus

HORSE Character Information

Depending on the breed, horses’ behaviors and characteristics vary from being subdued to very spirited animals. Horses are very intelligent can be taught to obey and perform specific tasks when trained to do so. If you have any experience in riding or working with horses, you can attest to the fact that at times they can also be very stubborn animals.

Horses require special attention and care and should be taught to trust their caretaker. Horses that are neglected or not well cared for can become wild and unruly creating an unsafe environment for anyone in this large animal’s vicinity.


General Information

Modern pet birds were first domesticated thousands of years ago, with some species being domesticated as pets within the last several hundred years. Canaries were first bred into captivity in the early 1600s, while the parakeet, with its varied and diverse classes, is believed to have been domesticated for thousands of years.

Birds have had an enormous impact in human life serving as a primary source of food and also in performing important tasks. As a source of food, recent estimates indicate that every year more than 9.8 billion birds are raised, slaughtered and consumed for human consumption in the United States alone. In addition to food, birds have performs such tasks as carrying communications (Homing pigeons), hunting (falcons), scientific research (chickens and pigeons), and protecting miners from poisonous gasses (canaries).

Pet birds provide lively, constant companions that can fill a home with relaxing chirps and singing. Additionally they can bring vivid color and life into quiet corners of the home. Some species of birds can live well into their 60s and 70s creating a life long bond with their owner.

BIRD Scientific Information

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Cordata
Subphylum: Verebrata
Class: Aves

BIRD Character Information

Birds are wonderful pets that can liven up any home or apartment with their high energy and beautiful songs and can add a wide array of color to any environment they live in. Birds are intelligent creatures that are easily trained and are relatively easy to care for. They can be extremely social and can live long, healthy lives providing years and years of companionships.

For the budget conscious, birds are not expensive to feed and can live in a small inexpensive cage. When considering becoming a bird owner, it is important to think about your current living condition, whether as a renter you can have such a pet, and about how long you are willing to have the bird as part of your home. Some types of birds can live well into their 70s if well cared for. But whatever your motivation, you can expect to have the happy sounds and colors of your bird brighten your home every day.


General Information

The modern day pet hamster was first discovered in Syria in 1830. An Israeli Zoologist working in the Syrian desert brought the hamster back to his lab and was successful in breeding them. Later, in 1839 a British zoologist named George Waterhouse gave them their modern day name – the Golden Hamster. All common household pet hamsters are descendents of the Syrian desert hamsters.

Hamsters were shipped all over the world arriving in the United Kingdom in 1931 and later in the United States in 1938 for use in lab research. Hamsters are healthy, disease free animals and have the potential to have a new litter of babies nearly every month.

HAMSTER Scientific Information

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Suborder: Myomorpha
Superfamily: Muroidea
Family: Cricetidae
Subfamily: Cricetinae

HAMSTER Character Information

The Golden Hamster is a nocturnal animal, but occasionally will be active during the day. Pet hamsters can be very tame, but should always be handled with care – if frightened, they can become very aggressive. Although they are domesticated, hamsters are adept at chewing on and escaping from their cages. Once they escape they will not readily return to their home and must be trapped to be put back in their cage.

Hamsters enjoy exercise, especially wheel running. In fact, pregnant females have been known to run up to 5 miles per day!

Female hamsters are known to be more aggressive than males, and depending on her sexual cycle may attack new males that are introduced into her cage. Additionally, females will readily defend her young. If the mother feels threatened she will either attack the intruder or hide her babies in her mouth in her cheek pouches. Female hamsters with new litters should be disturbed as little as possible.


General Information

The history of domesticated rabbits began about 3000 years ago in Spain – in fact the word Spain is derived from the Latin word “Hispania” which is the Latin translation for the word “i-shephan-im” or literally “the land of the rabbits.” Rabbits were brought to this area in Europe by the Phoenicians and were later further domesticated by French Catholic Monks.

Throughout the known history of rabbits they have been associated with bringing good luck, fertility, and folklore (the Easter Bunny). The term “bunny”, referring to young or small rabbits, is believed to have its origins from the Gaelic word for “root” or “stump”. The “ny” is a diminutive suffix that means small and cute. The use of the word “bunny” first appeared in the English language around the year 1700.

Modern day pet rabbits or “European Rabbits” are descendents of these first domesticated rabbits from Spain. Rabbits and humans have a diverse history as rabbits have been used to control pests, for furs and other clothing accessories, for food, or as household pets. Rabbit waste, both feces and urine have proven useful as nitrogen-fixing fertilizers for gardening.

RABBIT Scientific Information

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Lagomorpha
Family: Leporidae

RABBIT Character Information

Rabbits are increasing in popularity as household pets because of their quiet and unassuming behavior. They are generally easy to care for, can be litter box trained, and are healthy and disease free for most of their lives. Because of their easy going temperament rabbits fit well in multi-pet homes as they tend to get along well with both cats and dogs. The average life expectancy of a pet rabbit is about 10 years.

Rabbits that are kept indoors, rather than in outdoor cages, will become more social and will be better protected from predators and disease. Rabbits are naturally curious and love to chew on anything that looks appealing – it is important that if you let your rabbit roam your home that you keep a close eye on them to prevent them from nibbling on electrical chords or toxic household plants.

Rabbits are typically not aggressive animals and at times will run and hide rather than engage in a fight. If your rabbit feels threatened, expect a fast and agile escape to a safe place out of the way of the danger. It should be noted that rabbits can become aggressive if they become upset.


General Information

The Guinea Pig has its origins in the high mountains of South America. Natives of modern day Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador domesticated the Guinea Pig for use as food. To this day, Guinea Pigs are still raised for food in certain areas of South America.

In the 1600s Spanish sailors were the first to adopt Guinea Pigs as pets and brought them back to Europe from South America. Since that time, Guinea Pigs have been bred to produce a wide variety of types of Guinea Pigs.

These small furry creatures came to be known as “pigs” because of the squeaking noises they make – Guinea Pigs are not related to pigs. The name “Guinea” is believed to have been derived from the route that was traveled to bring these furry animals to Europe – by way of Guinea. Many other cultures throughout the world have also adopted a derivation of the “pig” name for these animals. The scientific name for the Guinea Pig is Cavia porcellus – translated in Latin to mean “little pig.”

GUINEA PIG Scientific Information

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Caviidae
Genus: Cavia

GUINEA PIG Character Information

Guinea Pigs are nosey, friendly characters that are easily frightened and always rummaging around for something to nibble on. These furry companions generally weigh between 1 and 3 pounds and can grow up to as big as 15 inches long. The average life span is between 4 and 8 years. Unlike other rodents, Guinea Pigs find a mating partner and stick with that partner throughout their lives.

Guinea Pigs are not as agile as other members of the rodent family – they shy away from jumping, climbing and heights. When they get excited, they will “popcorn” – do little jumps up and down. When necessary, Guinea Pigs will do limited climbing such as going up and down stairs.


General Information

Whether as pets or unwanted pests, mice and rats have lived with humans for thousands of years. These small furry creatures have survived throughout the ages because of their ability to adapt to almost any condition and their incredible ability to reproduce – one pair of mice and their descendents can produce over a million offspring in just two short years!

Mice and rats have an extended history of use in laboratory experiments and are considered a great test for chemicals and substances that may eventually be used on humans.

These rodents are adept hunters, spending most of their lives in the wild searching for and capturing food. Mice and rats are mostly nocturnal, gathering food during the night and showing signs of activity at varying times of the day.

MICE & RAT Scientific Information


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Superfamily: Muroidea
Family: Muridae
Subfamily: Murinae
Genus: Mus


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Superfamily: Muroidea
Family: Muridae
Subfamily: Murinae
Genus: Rattus

MICE & RAT Character Information

Mice are social creatures that are well adapted to handling by both adults and children. As social as mice can be, they can be very timid and if scared or handled roughly can become aggressive and territorial. When handling a pet mouse or rat, children should always be supervised by an adult.

Mice are small rodents, measuring only 3 ½ inches from head to bottom (tails can vary in length), weigh only an ounce and typically live to be one to four years old. While white is the most popular pet color, mice and rats come in a variety of coat colors and hair lengths.

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Tips for Taking Terrific Photos of Your Pets
Karen Steinrock -

Getting the perfect shot of Fido and Fluffy has become an obsession, whether for pet photo contests or local media-sharing sites.

I should know. After 18 years of agonizing over the annual Christmas pet photo, I've learned a few tricks -- though the digital revolution threw me a curve. I'm a lot better with pets than cameras.

In the old days, I'd run back and forth to have film developed five or six times before making a final choice. I always pitied the guy who ran the shop. He had this look of ''Oh no, not you again'' in his eyes.

One year I took four rolls of the three dogs sitting at the keyboard of the baby grand as though they were singing. This required rotating the piano 180 degrees to get it near a window. No easy chore. It weighs a ton. I even borrowed lights from a pro, but none of the 60-plus photos was any good. I stink at indoor photography.

Nowadays I upload photos onto my computer with high hopes. But when the images come up I'm usually disappointed and start over. Shutter delay and red eye are the big enemies. Many newer cameras have corrected these issues, but I'm still learning how to use this one.

Like most amateurs, I've never advanced from the point-and-shoot club, so my main expertise lies in getting the pets to cooperate. The only technical tip I offer is to use natural lighting whenever possible. Flashes can really screw things up. That's my excuse anyway.

When it comes to posing, some pets are born hams. I've been blessed to own several who almost fought for time in front of the camera, to the point of shoving each other out of the frame. But there are those who get spooked, simply won't sit still, or try to pummel the photographer. Look at it from their perspective: ''Why are you pointing that thing at me?''

Hence trick No. 1. Make photo time ''happy time.'' When you pick up the camera, they should greet it with the same enthusiasm as a leash. Keep your camera handy at all times to capture that perfect moment.

The best shots are often impromptu. Of the hundreds of Barney photos taken in four years, the most adorable was spontaneous. He was just 3 months old, heckling Hannah out in the snow, when she'd had enough and stuffed his head in it. His snow-covered muzzle and woeful puppy expression said it all. I got lucky … that one time.

Happiness Is Giving
An Adopted Dog A Good Home
by Gina Meyer -

Regardless of the presence of many animal shelters and pet rescue groups, many pet owners still buy their dogs from pet shops, not knowing that adopting a dog from a shelter is a better option. Why would you pick your pet from an animal shelter? Here are the top reasons:

You're helping the canine community.

Dogs are homeless for many different reasons. Some are not wanted by their families, others were left to stray the streets. Regardless of the reason, these poor creatures deserve homes that can provide them a loving environment and a caring family.

You are giving a dog a second chance to live a good life.

Even dogs deserve a second chance. Dogs are often left in the streets for faults they did not commit. Their previous owners, for example, have no time to take care of their dogs or are moving to another city. There are also dogs that were left because their owners died and no one is left to care of them. Other owners can't handle the financial expense of owning a dog, and thus surrender them to shelters. Sure, some dogs are guilty of misbehaving, but that does not make them deserve being homeless. By giving a homeless dog another chance, you are also giving them another shot at being loved, and for yourself, a chance at being loved unconditionally.

You're assisting the shelter.

Even if they want to take care of all dogs in the street, they only have resources for a limited number of stray dogs. Help them out by extending your hand to one of their dogs. Whenever you adopt from a pet shelter, it's as if you are giving the shelter extra bed, food, and medical supplies.

You get a dog at a bargain price.

Dogs can cost as much as several hundred dollars. Getting a dog from dog shelter, on the other hand, can only cost you as much as $100. This fee covers for the maintenance cost of the dog, for spaying or neutering fee, and for other expenses. There are, in fact, plenty of animal shelters that are happy to give their dogs for free. Though it is not always advisable to take a dog home for free.

You can also save on training expenses because most dogs in animal animal shelters have been housebroken and trained. There are, in fact, dogs in animal animal shelters that have been trained for specific functions. If you need an assistance dog such as a guide dog, a service dog or a hearing dog, you can begin your search in animal shelters.

You can save the life of a poor dog.

Because of overpopulation, some pet shelters euthanize their dogs - mostly senior and adult dogs. They do not want to do this but it is often necessary to give a possibility to younger dogs. Save a dog's life by adopting one.

You are bringing home a new friend.

Dogs understand and forgive you even when others cannot. If you want a constant companion that is trained, has received the necessary medical attention, and is old enough not to cause you problems, you can adopt a dog from an dog shelter.

Good Tips For Feeding Pet Snakes

There are some things that it is best to know in case you are a brand new pet snake owner about how ideally to feed your snake. There are just a few tips and tricks that will make life loads easier. Once you understand them, it would make feeding time a whole lot simpler.

As a way to have a healthy snake, they need to have an excellent diet plan, similar to humans. They should have a good food supply and be be given food on a frequent basis. The exact necessities are going to be specific to the type of reptile you own. But it doesn’t matter what breed of snake, there are some common issues it’s good to know.

One of the crucial frequent debates is whether or not it’s better to feed your snake live or frozen rodents. Some folks believe it is better to make use of live prey as a result of it is more life like to what would occur in nature. Nonetheless the ease, comfort, cost effectiveness of frozen prey often wins out. If correctly raised there is no distinction in the health and nutritional worth between the two.

One of the first tips is to make use of a separate feeding space than your snakes predominant habitat. It may fluctuate relying on the dimensions and breed of your snake. With child snakes you’ll be able to often just use a cardboard box. This serves the purpose of conditioning your snake to solely assume it is feeding time when it’s moved. This helps prevent unwanted bites if you put your hand within the cage and he thinks it’s his next meal.

Another good concept to keep your fingers secure at feeding time is to use feeding tongs. These are lengthy steel tongs that you should utilize to drop your snakes meals into the feeding area. Once again, it helps stop your reptile from delivering an undesirable bite if you happen to have been attempting to feed it by hand.

One other thing that you simply need to be aware of is how snakes feed in the wild. They take their pray in head first. This is due to the truth that if ingested from the tail up, the mice’s legs can spread out and trigger problems or injury swallowing the prey. Snakes will often regurgitate the mouse and then eat them once more head first. It is good technique to hold your frozen pinkie mice by the hind quarters and display it to your pet head first.

These are just some of the ideas that a new pet snake owner must be taught before they go to feed their reptile. They’re really easy to implement, and might cease injuries from happening to both you and your pet. It’s always a good suggestion to learn as much as attainable in case you are a new pet owner, as well as getting recommendation from your vet or breeder.

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