10 Most Expensive, Popular or Loyal Dogs (Photos)

Meet the Dog That Lives on Viagra

A dog in Long Island, New York, is sustaining its life on Viagra.

The 6-year-old pit bull, named Ingrid, is dependent on the sex boosting drugs for a life-threatening heart condition it suffers from.

The Little Shelter Animal Rescue and Adoption Center in Huntington has been asking people to donate Viagra to save the dog, since the past two years.

A veterinarian had diagnosed the dog with heartworm disease and recommended Viagra.

“She's the first, and the only, dog that I've ever known that needs Viagra,” the New York Daily News quoted Jodi Record, a spokeswoman for the shelter, as saying.

She added: “If she didnt have it, she”d most likely go back into heart failure.” Many people have come forward to donate the pills. On many occasions the shelter has received anonymous letters with a single pill enclosed.

That Darn Cat: Winners are Strays No More

Trouble and Bettie Page both triumph over tough start on the street.

They made us laugh; they made us cry.

Mostly they lounged and were clueless to all of our emotions.

Vote winner(372,550): Trouble was found sick, malnourished and flea-ridden in a Bakersfield motel by Melissa Power's sister-in-law and her family. They smuggled Trouble into their hotel room, then drove him back to Orange County. Because they already had enough cats, Trouble went to Powers' home. After a precarious kittenhood, he's well and healthy and living up to his name.PHOTO COURTESY OF MELISSA POWERS, HUNTINGTON BEACH

The felines of That Darn Cat inspired hundreds of pet lovers to participate in our annual photo contest. Friendships were formed and networks stretched from Huntington Beach all the way to the Netherlands.

In total, 1,450 cats participated, unwittingly, for sure.

They are special, our cats – aloof, playful, sneaky and affectionate. In the end, they all are winners because they are family.

Trouble and Bettie Page, the winners of That Darn Cat, both were rescued from the street and now live in the lap of cat luxury.

Trouble is a Maine coon "mutt," as described by his owner, Melissa Powers. He was found sick and scrawny outside a Bakersfield motel a year ago. Powers' sister-in-law brought the ailing kitten to Powers and her family in Huntington Beach.

During Trouble's sickest months – when infection threatened one blue eye and a virus wracked his tiny body – Powers created a forum thread at the James Randi Educational Foundation. Forum members from around the world read stories of Trouble's illnesses, offered support, and ultimately celebrated the cat's rebound.

When Powers decided to enter Trouble into The Register's photo contest, she again sought help from her forum.

Powers says she only wanted to get Trouble's photo in the newspaper, but her team had other ideas.

"They really took on Trouble as their own."

Team Trouble, as they are called, contributed the contest's most votes: 372,550. The team also shared votes with several other contestants, including Cookie, a vote finalist in fourth place.

Powers, her three teenage sons and her husband, all "live for the comfort of our cats," she says. Trouble and three feline companions enjoy an outdoor cat run and lots of lap time with their family.

Not far from Trouble's home is a curious cat that isn't afraid to get her feet wet – at the beach.

Bettie Page, who has no fear of water or sand in her paws, was chosen as the contest's second winner by a panel of judges at The Register.

The 3-year-old cat is the social feline in a family of three cats. Owner Dave
DeMaio, a video producer who lives in Costa Mesa, spends a lot of time at the beach, and one day decided to take along his curious cat. It was off-season and the beach was empty. Bettie never ventured far from her owner and didn't mind stepping through the salt water.

The setting and the cat all made for a picture perfect moment.

"Being a guy who works with images, the natural light and California lifestyle just said it all," DeMaio says of Bettie's beach photo.

DeMaio went about 30 years without a cat before Milton, Bettie Page and Dottie Von Valentine came to live with him, all strays found or abandoned by other owners. He says he can't imagine life without them now.

"It's nice to have that unconditional love," he says, "That's what I was missing."
Each winner claims a $100 cash card and both say they will buy food and treats for their cats.

To see all of the cats from That Darn Cat go to ocregister.com/pettales.
Contact the writer: 714-796-2310 or sgowen@ocregister.com

Drowning Eagle Rescued By Fisherman

Eagle Was Suffering from Hypothermia, Wildlife Official Says

ASTORIA, Ore. -- A bald eagle drowning in the Columbia River was rescued by a fisherman in Astoria, Portland television KPTV reported.

David Myers said he noticed the bird floundering in the river on May 9. He called the Wildlife Center of the North Coast and a sheriff's office boat was sent.

Before deputies arrived, the fisherman scooped up the drowning eagle and rescued it. Myers captured photos of the rescue east of the Megler Bridge.

Sharnelle Fee, director of the Wildlife Center of the North Coast, examined the bird and found it was suffering from hypothermia from struggling in the water, but it had no other injuries.

Fee said the eagle had a brood patch that indicated it was helping incubate eggs. After recuperating overnight, the eagle was released back into the wild as soon as possible so it could return to the eggs.

It's unknown how the eagle ran into trouble on the river. Fee said eagles sometimes drown if they get a fish that is too large or if they get thrown in the water during a fight.

Pet Scam
by Jamie Quinn - HypoAllergenicDogFood.net

Pets are great friends and companions for people of all ages. This is carried over into adulthood and, at one time or another in life, almost everyone has a dog or cat. Unfortunately, pet scammers take advantage of these feelings to cheat people.

A lot of these scam artists run puppy mills around the world. Brokers handle the shipment of the animals and distribute then to a variety of sellers. Internet ads are then put up by the sellers, attracting buyers who take their word for it.

On the Internet they will often show a picture of a very attractive animal. This animal is offered at a very high price as a purebred of championship quality. If you want to buy, money is always required up front. However, the animal you pay for is far from the animal that you get in the end.

Another problem with pet scanners is that they state that the animal has all its shots and is in good physical condition. Many of the buyers who fell for this game got a puppy that was sick and/or died soon after. Buying from any source that is not certified is not a good idea.

For the most part, a buyer of a pet is paying for a specific pet that has a picture on the website. However, the buyer receives no dog and they can’t get their money back. Due to the large amounts of money paid for what is claimed to be a championship dog, many people have lost small fortunes. Stay aware of this potential problem and always take the time to check with a service such as cheap-lookup.com/603/860/ to verify the person who calls you is truly who they say they are.

There is one variant of the pet scam that claims that the dog has to be shipped from out of the country, and asks for money to cover shipping. The scammer then keeps the money and never sends a pet. The buyer can do absolutely nothing to recover the money.

There are a lot of detailed stories told by pet scammers to engender sympathy. Sob stories abound about pets who were abandoned and are just looking for a good home, which you might provide. There are other stories about people who go overseas and have to abandon the pet they own. No matter the story, they ask for cash up front.

Being aware of who you are buying the pet from to start with is the best defense for not being scammed. As a buyer, you have the right to see what you’re buying ahead of time, and even the pet’s parents, if possible. The idea of buying any unknown animal, either overseas or here at home, is setting yourself up for trouble. It’s not hard at all to get in contact with perfectly legitimate breeders. Also, you should be seeing red flags anytime someone requests money be paid before you see what you’re buying.

Save 5% On 1st Order at Only Natural Pet Store

Click on banner to visit the Only Natural Pet Store

Top 10 Most Dangerous,
Expensive, Loyal,
Fascinating Dog Breeds
by bugy220 - PetFoto.com

Calling them “man’s best friend” may be a clichĂ©, but no description is more apt to describe the relationship of humans with these fascinating creatures. Loyal, smart, protective, fun and playful, dogs have served as man’s ultimate companion since time immemorial. What other “mosts” are there when it comes to these canines which man has considered to be his best friend since time immemorial? How about the world’s most expensive dog breed? Or the most dangerous? Or you probably are hoping to own a canine breed which is considered to be one of the most fascinating.

1. Dog Breed: Doberman pinscher

Distinction: One of the most dangerous dog breeds in the world
The Doberman Pinscher or simply Doberman is a breed of domestic dog originally developed around 1890 by Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann. Dobermann Pinschers are among the most common of pet breeds, and the breed is well known as an intelligent, alert, and loyal companion dog. Although once commonly used as guard dogs or police dogs, this is less common today. In many countries, Dobermann Pinschers are one of the most recognizable breeds, in part because of their actual roles in society, and in part because of media attention. Careful breeding has improved the disposition of this breed, and the modern Dobermann Pinscher is an energetic and lively breed suitable for companionship and family life.

2. Dog Breed: German Shepherd

Distinction: One of the most dangerous dog breeds in the world
The German Shepherd Dog is a breed of medium-sized dog that originated in Germany. German Shepherds are a relatively new breed of dog, whose origins date to 1899. As part of the Herding group, the German Shepherd is a working dog developed originally for herding sheep. Because of their strength, intelligence and abilities in obedience training they are often employed in police and military roles, in forces around the world. Due to their loyal and protective nature, the German Shepherd is one of the most registered of breeds.

3. Dog Breed: Rottweiler

Distinction: One of the most dangerous dog breeds in the world
The Rottweiler is a breed of domestic dog known for its medium to large size and its strength. They originate from Rottweil, Germany and were known as “Rottweil Butcher’s Dogs” because they were used to herd livestock as well as pull carts laden with butchered meat and other products to market. Some records indicate that earlier Rottweilers may have also been used for hunting although the modern Rottweiler has a relatively low hunting instinct. It is a hearty and very intelligent breed.

4. Dog Breed: Samoyed

Distinction: One of the most expensive dog breeds in the world
The Samoyed dog takes its name from the Samoyedic peoples of Siberia. An alternate name for the breed, especially in Europe, is Bjelkier. These nomadic reindeer herders bred the fluffy, white, smiling dogs to help with the herding, to pull sleds when they moved, and to keep their owners warm at night by sleeping on top of them.

5. Dog Breed: English Bulldog or British Bulldog

Distinction: One of the most expensive dog breeds in the world
The bulldog is a breed with characteristically thick shoulders and a matching head. There are generally thick folds of skin on a bulldog’s brow, followed by round, black, wide-set eyes, a short muzzle with characteristic folds called “rope” above the nose, with hanging skin under the neck, drooping lips, and pointed teeth. The coat is short, flat and sleek, with colors of red, fawn, white, brindle, and piebalds of these.

6. Dog Breed: Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Distinction: One of the most expensive dog breeds in the world
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a small breed of Spaniel-type dog, and is classed as a Toy dog by most Kennel Clubs. It is one of the most popular breeds in the United Kingdom. Since 2000, it has been growing in popularity in the United States. It is a smaller breed of Spaniel, and Cavalier adults are often the same size as adolescent dogs of other spaniel breeds. It has a silky coat and commonly an undocked tail. The breed standard recognizes four colours, Black and Tan, and Ruby. The breed is generally friendly, affectionate and good with both children and other animals.

7. Dog Breed: Labrador Retriever

Distinction: One of the most popular dog breeds in the world.
The Labrador Retriever is one of several kinds of retriever, a type of gun dog. A breed characteristic is webbed paws for swimming, useful for the breed’s original purpose of retrieving fishing nets. This and their subsequent use as hunting companions, gave them the name retriever. The Labrador is the most popular breed of dog (by registered ownership) in the world, and is, by a large margin, the most popular breed by registration in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

8. Dog Breed: Golden Retriever

Distinction: One of the most popular dog breeds in the worlds.
The Golden Retriever is a breed of dog, historically developed as a gundog to retrieve shot waterfowl such as ducks and upland game birds during hunting and shooting parties. As such they were bred to have a soft mouth to retrieve game undamaged and an instinctive love of water. Their intelligence and versatility see them employed in a variety of roles including illegal drug detection, search and rescue, as hunting dogs, and as guide dogs. They possess a friendly, eager-to-please demeanor, and are the 4th most popular family dog breeds in the world.

9. Dog Breed: Yorkshire Terrier

Distinction: One of the most popular dog breeds in the world
The Yorkshire Terrier is a small dog breed of Terrier type, developed in the 1800s in the historical area of Yorkshire in England. The defining features of the breed are its small size and its silky blue and tan coat. The breed is nicknamed Yorkie and is placed in the Toy Terrier section of the Terrier Group by the Federation Cynologique Internationale and in the Toy Group or Companion Group by other kennel clubs, although all agree that the breed is a terrier. A winning showdog and a popular companion dog, the Yorkshire Terrier has also been part of the development of other breeds, such as the Australian Silky Terrier.

10. Dog Breed: Dachshunds

Distinction: One of the most popular dog breeds in the world
The dachshund is a short-legged, elongated dog breed, of the hound family. The standard size was developed to scent, chase, and flush badgers and other burrow-dwelling animals, while the miniature was developed to hunt smaller prey, like rabbits. In the American West, they have also been used to hunt prairie dogs.

View Photos of Singles - Match.com
Click on banner to visit Match.com

When Do Puppies Lose Their Teeth?
by Drs. Foster and Smith/By Marty R. Smith, DVM - dfs-pet-blog.com

One of the biggest challenges in raising a puppy is dealing with all of the chewing they do. It can be a bit less frustrating if you consider that for almost the first year of his life, your puppy is dealing with some big changes going on in his mouth.

Dogs have two sets of teeth: 28 deciduous (baby) teeth, which will eventually be replaced by 42 permanent (adult) teeth. When a puppy is two or three weeks old, the deciduous teeth begin to erupt through the gums, starting with the incisors, followed by the canine teeth, and finally the premolars. All of the deciduous teeth should be in place by about eight weeks of age. These first teeth are small, and painfully sharp, as owners of young puppies know. This is part of the reason most mother dogs begin to wean their pups at 5 or 6 weeks of age.

By eight to twelve weeks of age, the roots of the deciduous teeth are starting to resorb and the teeth begin to loosen and fall out. This makes room for the permanent teeth to erupt normally. As with the deciduous teeth, the permanent incisors are the first to come in, followed by the canine teeth, and the premolars. The last teeth to erupt in the adult set are the molars. Puppies do not have molars, which is why there are fewer deciduous teeth. In most breeds of dogs, all of the permanent teeth should be present by about 8 months of age.

Just as you should begin an at-home dental care program as soon as you get your new puppy, this is also the time we recommend you start observing his teeth to make sure they are coming in normally. Any baby teeth that don’t fall out to make way for the adult teeth are called retained deciduous teeth. Having two teeth crowded into a space meant for one can cause dental problems. Food can be caught between the teeth and cause periodontal disease. The pressure from the retained deciduous tooth can push the adult tooth into an abnormal position, where it may push against the lip or gum causing an ulcer, or prevent the upper and lower teeth from coming together properly, which may cause chewing problems. Retained deciduous teeth need to be removed surgically. Ideally, this should be done as soon as they are noticed, so that the adult tooth has the best chance of coming in normally. At the time the dog is neutered, typically around 4-6 months of age, any retained deciduous teeth should definitely be removed.

Dog's Tricks Teach Owner a Few Life Lessons
By John Kelly - WashingtonPost.com

Washington Post reporter John Kelly thinks of his black Labrador retriever, Charlie, as a human-training device. (John Kelly/the Washington Post)

Mine is not the brightest dog in the world, but that's okay with me. After all, we humans don't praise our pooches by saying "smart dog" but "good dog." And Charlie is a good dog.

That doesn't mean he is completely without sin. Dogs, I've decided, are morally complex creatures, and although I don't think Charlie would ever launch a huge Ponzi scheme with the express intent of bilking investors, he does sometimes lie. For example:

The first thing we do every morning is let Charlie out for a pee. He finds this irritating, since the first thing he wants to do is eat. As soon as he hears us stirring upstairs, we hear the click of his nails on the floor downstairs and know that he's at the foot of the staircase, rigid with anticipation. When we descend, he starts doing that enthusiastic Labrador retriever tail wag that involves oscillating the entire rear half of his body as if he's unhinged his hips.

Oh, how he would love for us to go immediately to his kibble and scoop out some breakfast. Instead, we unlock the backdoor and order him out.

I didn't used to watch what he did out in the back yard, busy as I was getting his food and starting my coffee. But when I noticed that he was back at the door more and more quickly, I started peering out the window to see what he was up to. He was doing a quick trot around the back yard and then padding back to the door. In other words, faking it.

Sorry, Charlie.

He was lying -- I peed, honest! -- and the interesting thing is, when I caught him, he knew that I knew that he was lying. And he felt guilty. His shoulders went a little slack, and he wouldn't make eye contact. All I had to do was say, "Go on, Charlie," and he slunk off to relieve himself. Now, I stand at the door to watch him pee -- not every day, but often enough to let him know that he has to keep his end of the bargain.

The other time Charlie dissembles is when he finds something interesting to eat while I'm walking him. I wouldn't mind so much, except that what Charlie finds often came out of another animal. He knows I don't approve, but he can't help himself. I could keep him on a tight leash, literally, but I don't want to crimp his sniffing. Like all dogs, Charlie lives to sniff. But I have to be vigilant, lest a nasal inhalation turn into an oral one.

Charlie knows this, and he has started positioning his body so that it obscures whatever it is he's sniffing. He figures that if he can briefly block my line of sight, he might be able to get in a quick gulp. Sometimes he can.

Charlie has one other unpleasant trait: If he thinks we've wronged him in some way, he can be truculent. He does not dig up flowers. He does not steal food from countertops. He does not chew couch cushions. But if he thinks he's been ignored, he will destroy the one thing in our house that he knows we love more than any other: paper.

If we rush out of the house without giving him his afternoon walk, upon our return that evening we'll probably find something pulled from the paper recycling bin and reduced to moist confetti. He once chewed the corner off my W-2 and another time ate my daughter's allowance, a $20 bill she'd left on the stairs. She did not want it back. (I was curious whether he'd poop out a 10 and two fives.)

I hope I'm not making him sound like a bad dog. No, Charlie's a good dog. But in the end, he's a dog.

Not everybody likes dogs. Not everybody likes pets. I once heard someone ask what was the point of a pet: What can they do for you?

People probably have all sorts of answers to that question. Here's mine: Even the smartest dog can't speak English. But every dog can tell you something, if you're willing to listen.

I think of a dog as a human-training device. I might teach Charlie to sit or to shake, but he's teaching me, too: to be observant, to pay attention, to discern through the wag of a tail, the cock of an ear, the look in an eye the thoughts of a living being who shares time with me on this all-too-imperfect planet, in this all-too-finite life.


Pets fill very quickly their place in our hearts and families and we enjoy having their pictures framed on our desk or wall! However taking pictures of your best friend is not always easy. Pets, unlike humans, do not understand what we are trying to do and won’t just pose for the camera! Here are 9 tips that will help you help you get the most of your photo session

1. Use Natural Light

If possible always use natural light when taking your pet in picture. Avoid flash, as flash burst can, not only cause red-eye, but also frighten the animal. Instead try to go outside or, if it is not possible, in a room well lit by a large window.

2. Keep the Eyes Sharp

Having sharp eyes is important in any kind of portraits photography. As they say, “Eyes are the Window to the Soul” and pets eye can be very expressive. So make sure to focus on your pet’s eyes and keep the tack sharp

3. Go to Them

It is very important that you pet feels comfortable and at ease, so instead of forcing him to come to you go to him. Most important is to get down to his level; We all know how a dog looks when viewed from above, this is the way we always see them. Show us the way they see world! Sit on the floor or lie on your belly and remember to shoot from HIS eye level or below.

4. Give Value to their Character

You know your pet better than anyone else, and a successful picture is one that conveys the character of its subject. If you have a lazy cat show him yawning, if your animal is of a playful type show him in action performing his favorite trick.

5. Go Macro

Put on that long lens and fill the frame with your pet’s face and fur, close up shots often make beautiful animal portrait.

6. Surprise Them

One of the most difficult things is to let your pet hold still. An easy trick is to let him play quietly and, once you have everything ready, let someone call for him or whistle. This will surprise him and caught his attention and you will have a few seconds to capture him in a nice and alert posture

7. Schedule your Session

If you are longing for a formal pet portrait shot, try to schedule the photo session when you’re animal is somewhat sleepy or has just woke up it will be much easier to keep him still then. If you want a more dynamic shot then pick up a time when your pet is energetic. If he is sick it is better to just postpone it for another day.

8. Be Patient

Pet photography requires a lot of patience. No matter how excited your furry friend is, if you are patient enough, he will end up by relaxing and you will have the opportunity to get a decent shot.

9. Experiment

Take your time and enjoy the session, try different approaches, angles and compositions. Shoot a lot you will have time to worry about the results later.

Article by Digital-Photography-School.com

Shop www.Pet-Source.com
Click on banner to visit Pet-Source.com

The Urban Parrot

Dedicated to the joys and frustrations of apartment living with pet birds.

Poop on the Floor, Part II
As we recently moved into our new apartment, Dan and I considered the floors. (Ok, I freaked out over the really old wooden floor with giant gaps between some of the planks. Images of fat mice waiting in the shadows beneath the floorboards for bird crumbs plagued my thoughts.)

We knew we wanted to make a bird room out of one of the two upstairs bedrooms. Since the neighbor with sensitive ears "suggested" though the wall that we move the birds to the other room, they have made their home in the slightly larger, carpeted room on the other side of the apartment.

Carpet + bird poop = big mess

Dan and I bought melamine-coated sheets of MDF and plywood, and 1"x2" strips of pine. The coating on the plywood is durable and water-proof, and kind of has the feel of formica counter top material. We constructed giant floor protectors beneath each grouping of cages. The pine was attached to the sides and acts as a lip to help contain all of the seeds, crumbs, and feathers. I plan on using silicon caulk to seal the inside edges, but haven't gotten around to this yet.

It's already been helpful with weekly bird cleanup! I can easily scrub away stray poop, and splashed water is contained within the area. It's much easier in my opinion to sweep away debris below the cages instead of getting out the vacuum several times a week.

Most Americans Would Choose
a Shelter Pet Over a Store
Gabi Moore - GlobalShift.org

A recent poll shows that fifty-four percent of Americans said they would get their next dog or cat from an animal shelter, compared to twenty-three percent from a breeder and only eight percent from a pet store. The poll reported that almost fifty percent of people surveyed said that they thought store pets could have hidden medical or psychological problems. Generally, pets from pet stores come from puppy mills where they are mass bred and treated poorly, only for profit and not for quality. The difference between a puppy mill and a breeder is that a breeder will breed high quality dogs and carefully monitor their breeding practices. However, both of these practices involve creating new pets that need homes when there are already millions dying each year because they don’t have homes.

This trend, of understanding where pets in pet stores actually come from and choosing dogs that need homes over dogs that are bred to make money, seems assisted by the many campaigns to encourage adoptions. There’s the new Adopt a Shelter Pet stamps, and one of my favorite campaigns by Pedigree dog food, which has created an organization focused on helping shelter animals find loving homes. You may have seen some of the Pedigree commercials on TV. “Don’t pity a shelter pet, adopt one,” one of the commercials says.

A spokesperson for A Dog’s Life Rescue had this to say, “In the United States 4 million dogs and cats are killed every year merely because there are not enough homes for them. With the current economic struggles the number of pets being left behind in foreclosed homes, abandoned on the streets and left at shelters is growing which means the death toll is rising. Our fight to save their lives continues every day.

Puppies, kittens, dogs and cats of all breeds are abandoned in shelters by the thousands every day. There they sit in a cage awaiting death, not because they did anything wrong, BUT just simply because they were born and there are not enough homes for them. We strongly encourage people to help us stop this crisis and adopt an animal in need. Please carefully research what breed or breed mix would be best suited for your lifestyle and make sure you have the time and resources to bring a new addition into your household.

If you have specific needs it may be helpful to go directly to a rescue organization who can help you pick a pet who will match you and your family’s lifestyle. A pet is a lifelong responsibility, no excuses! And please, most importantly, spay and neuter your pets.”

If you live in Los Angeles, consider being a Foster Pet Parent through A Dog’s Life Rescue. If you’re outside of the area, check Petfinder.com for a shelter or rescue organization near you.

Click here for "Dating Tips, Relationship Advice and Intimacy"

Click here to visit The EZ Online
Shopping Network of Stores

10 Basic House Cats (Photos)

Meet the Canine Lifeguards

Every year the Italian coastlines are swarmed by tourist from all around the world and the Italian Coast Guard estimates they rescue an average of 3,000 people a year.

Working with the coast guards is a team of specialized lifeguards who are responsible for saving many lives during the summer months- the graduates of canine lifeguarding school.

“ Dogs are useful in containing the physical fatigue of the lifeguard, to increase the speed at which casualties are retrieved, to increase the security of both the casualty and of the lifeguards,” Roberto
Gasbarri, coordinator of the Italian School of Canine Lifeguards, told the Associated Press.

The three year program trains dogs to rescue swimmers in trouble. They lifeguard pups wear buoys or a two raft of which the victim can hold onto.

They canines are even jumping out of helicopters and fast boats, considering they are much more capable to function in extreme situations.

“The dog becomes a sort of intelligent lifebuoy,” said Gasbarri. “It is a buoy that goes by itself to a person in need of help, and comes back to the shore also by himself, choosing the best landing point and swimming through the safest currents.”

Italy currently employs 300 life-saving pups, most of them retrievers. Yet the only requirement to become a life-dog is to weigh more that 66lbs.

“Being retrievers, they set out to pick up anything we tell them, be it a human being, an object, or a fish, and they bring it back to the shore,” said lifeguard Monia Luciani. “They do not associate it with a physical activity, but it is rather a game for them.”

To find out more about the Italian School of Canine Lifeguards, visit www.canisalvataggio.it

What Happens When Airline Loses Your Dog?
Jill Rosen - BaltimoreSun.com

When the airline loses your luggage, you get a credit.

And according to Delta, that's what you get when they lose your beloved dog, too.

In a heartbreaking story told the other day on The Consumerist, a guy named Josiah tells a horrifying tale of packing his dog Paco onto a Delta flight from Mexico and then arriving back in Detroit emptyhanded.

When a frantic Josiah called the Delta crew, they told him his dog was safe in Mexico, having somehow been left behind. They said Paco would be on the next flight to Detroit. Except he wasn't.

More calls revealed that Paco had "escaped" his crate in Mexico. He was gone and all Delta could offer was a credit. Like he was a missing Samsonite.

Josiah and his girlfriend had found Paco, which they guess is a cross between a Jack Russell and a dachshund, a stray that locals told them had been running all over town. They fell in love with the little guy and made arrangements to take him home to Canada.

Wondering what you think of this appalling service by Delta. What is proper compensation for an airline losing a pet? I can't even imagine.....horrifying....

Less-Than-Fetching Pet Names
Can Reflect on Owners
By Patty Khuly, Special for USA TODAY

What's in a (pet's) name?

Whether it's the twentysomething's Rottweiler named "FUBAR" or the newlywed couple's first kitten registered as "Emma," veterinarians usually get the picture. We know that what you name your pets speaks volumes about what they mean to you.

Sure, it's different for every generation, ethnicity and subculture, but it's not hard to extrapolate animal-oriented attitudes based on these differences. It's a fun exercise we sometimes engage in when things get too heavy at the hospital. A bit of lighthearted gossip is always a welcome thing, right?

In case you've never had the opportunity to ponder animal nomenclature, here are some basics you might want to acquaint yourself with:

• Human names are usually reserved for personal companions or child-pets. Yes, I get a little concerned when people start using names like Stephen, Kaitlin or Susan. They're too boringly close to humanity for comfort. But otherwise, people names are my favorites. Oscar, Bruno and Max are popular in our hospital, as are Maggie, Brandy and Morgan.

• Then there's the fashion factor. The same trends in people names seem to occur in pet names, especially for dogs. One year the Star Wars names are hot (Luke, Darth, Leia), next year it's the soap stars (Phillippe, Gabriella, Luz Clarita) — or worse (consider Shrek, Britney, BeyoncĂ©).

• Drama, anyone? Regardless of what prudence might dictate, pet owners always seem to go with dramatic names for their pets. Maybe they represent names they are unwilling or unable to name their children. After all, our pets are immune to what anybody thinks about them outside their households. Hence, a justification for ridiculous naming (think Ghetto-Fabulous, Shrapnel, RazzleDazzle).

• Still, there's no excuse for rudeness. I always worry when I see a pet named something rude, demeaning or devised to congratulate the owner on his dry wit. Infidel, Slut, Saddam, Fidelita and Stalin are all names I've seen come out of the label machine. What does that say about your relationship to your animal? I guess that all depends on how you feel about the namesake in question … but still!

For my part, I worry these latter people will abscond without paying their bills, at the very least. But you never know … after all, I get funny looks whenever I call my dog in public (but Slumdog came by his name honestly, I can assure you).

• For some reason, cats tend to get the most whimsical, "out there" names. They're also less likely to get named after humans. Pyewacket, Manzanilla, Zoom, Sharpie (white cat with a black tail, of course). And when they do get people-named, it's often after some histrionic personage: Beelzebub, Persephone, Calliope, Cassandra … you get the picture.

What does this say about dogs vs. cats? I'm open to your suggestions, but my take is that cats, as close as we get to them, always seem a little beyond our reach in some way. Consequently, dogs earn themselves less creative appellations.

Maybe it's also because cats don't absolutely need their names as much as dogs do. Dogs' names get used so often during the course of normal life: "Fido, sit!" "Fido, come!" "Fido, no!" By contrast, cats just have to hear the sound of the correct cabinet opening or your car pulling up in the drive and — instantly they're there (or not there, depending on your cat, in which case no name-calling is going to make a difference anyway).

• At the vet hospital, names mean everything … to the owner, anyway. The pet could care less — he's likely to be equally pleased or freaked out regardless of what you call him. However, if the veterinarian gets the name wrong in front of the owner, all bets are off. I might as well have called him a her (the worst kind of transgression). Which is why I consider my trust level ratcheted down a couple of notches should a naming error occur (hopefully restored by the end of the appointment, but this is highly unlikely).

Though I may make fun, I do understand that our pets' names are justifiably sacred. The bond we share with them gets its early start when we offer them a denomination (or epithet, as the case may be) and is constantly reinforced with each call and response.

Still, when it comes to naming a submissive cat after a totalitarian dictator or a dog a word otherwise punishable by a sound mouth-washing, I think I can be forgiven for taking exception.

Save 5% On 1st Order at Only Natural Pet Store

Click on banner to visit the Only Natural Pet Store

Top 10 Basic House Cat Breeds
by bugy220 - PetFoto.com

We decided to start a cat? In the world of so many species, you sometimes do not know what to choose. Here’s a brief guide to the most popular of them. Which breed would you choose, remember that all cats are good in their own way. Even the “backyard basement, which also needs a home and human care.

Persian. Although cats of this breed and look luxurious and expensive, they are not demanding. Rather, the Persians, gentle and playful with soft melodious voice. Their long hair and big eyes require careful regular maintenance, but if they are to teach the children to the bathroom, they quickly become accustomed.

Exotic. Sometimes representatives of this breed is called “lazy Persians. They have all the qualities of the Persians, only without the long hair. Since the age later than other exotic species, adult males and females quite playful, and some are so friendly that they will embrace you when you are petting them.

Maine Coon. Once the cat breed Maine Coon named Cousy won the exhibition of cats in the U.S. in 1895, this breed has become very popular. Maine Coons are excellent tolerate cold. These giants are very clever and know how to love, which makes them excellent friends for children and dogs.

Siamese cats. In the Disney cartoon had two Siamese cats Si and Am, who sang that better than them cats do not. Many agree with this statement: huge blue eyes of these cats are very popular.

Abyssinian cat. An ancient breed Abyssinian cats – a powerful, big “rabbit” ears. Abyssinian cats are among the most intelligent, they like to be among the people. Once your pet this breed will examine your schedule, it will follow you closely.

Ragdoll. For those who want a cat, more like a dog, Ragdoll – an ideal option. These cats will be happy to meet you from work to run after you at home t sleep with you. Many can even teach basic commands such as “me” or “Oporto”. Another advantage – they have little shed, respectively, and take care of their hair much easier.

Sphinx. As soon as people learned that the lack of hair – a spontaneous mutation in cats, there were bald cats. Perhaps, sphinxes and no wool, but they have a lot of personality. These cats always know what to do with his master, with never a dull moment, but they are not suitable for permanent tiskany and weasels.

American Shorthair. Though these gluttons, and may gain weight to 6 kg, they have excellent health and live longer than other breeds.

Burma. If you want your pet was more “divine”, pay attention to the Burmese breed. Silky Burmese cats perfectly adapted to the schedule of his master: it will be quiet when you are busy and playful when she sees that you are willing to give it time.

Oriental. Those who need a companion for all 24 hours a day, your only Oriental. This highly flexible cat sticks his nose everywhere: she will steal your lunch, dig into things. She can not even keep one for a long time, but it may take offense. But do not worry, she quickly forgives everything, one has only to scratch behind the ear.

View Photos of Singles - Match.com
Click on banner to visit Match.com

Tips for Cutting Pet Care Costs
Posted By: Petango

Owning a pet is a rewarding experience, but it can also be an expensive one. According to the ASPCA, the annual cost of owning a cat is $670, and if you have a big dog, you could be paying up to $875 a year. Add in grooming, spaying, neutering, and other incidentals and you’re up to more than $1,000 for a cat and $1,800 for a large dog in just the first year. However, there are many ways to save money without compromising on care. Here are a few tips for cutting pet care costs.

Buy pet food in bulk
Don’t buy the small bag of kibble or dry food because it’s convenient. Buy the large bags and store them. Canned food can sometimes be purchased at a discount if you buy a case.

Coupons and loyalty cards
Many pet supply stores send out newsletters with coupons, and pet food is advertised in grocery store flyers. Take advantage of any offer you can. Be sure to sign up for loyalty cards that give you cash back or discounts on future purchases.

Buy the good stuff
It might sound silly to suggest buying the more expensive food to save money, but providing your pet with the right nutrition will help cut down on medical bills. Cutting pet care costs begins with ensuring that your pet is receiving the right vitamins and nutrients from a healthy diet. Be sure to read pet food labels and talk to your vet about your pet’s specific needs.

Don’t overfeed
Be sure you’re giving your pet the right amount of food. Just like humans, pets can become overweight. Not only are you wasting money on extra food, but you’re also exposing your pet to potentially serious medical issues.

Cut down on treats
Excessive treats aren’t just expensive, but they can cause weight issues. Basic treats that help protect your pet’s teeth are the best way to go.

Don’t skip the vet
Preventative health care can save you a bundle in the long run. Take your pet to the vet for regular checkups. Catching problems early can help in cutting your pet care costs and extending the life of your pet.

Spay and neuter
The short-term cost of spaying or neutering your pet will be more than made up for in cutting pet care costs in the future. Spaying or neutering not only eliminates the cost of unwanted pregnancies, but it also eliminates the potential for diseases and tumors of the mammary, ovary, and uterus in females and prostate in males.

DIY grooming
Teach yourself some basic grooming skills. Brushing, nail clipping, bathing, and even brushing your pet’s teeth yourself can save lots of money.

Pet toys
Pets don’t need fancy toys, people do. Old tennis balls and empty boxes are just as much fun for your pet as that $20 store-bought toy.

Consider pet insurance
Shop around for a good pet insurance policy. Paying the low premiums now can save you from huge medical bills in the future.

Shop around
The number-one tip for cutting pet care costs is to shop around. For basic care such as vaccinations, look for affordable clinics in your area; some pet supply stores have weekly or monthly low-cost vaccination clinics. Compare different vets and their costs. Shop around for medications: There are several reliable online sources for most pet medications. Don’t be afraid to look around, but also read online reviews and talk to everyone you can so you're sure that cutting costs won't mean cutting the quality of your pet care.

Pet Problems Aren't Always Expected or Common
by Allison Dascoli - Charleston Daily Mail

Furry companions can have complex, worrisome afflictions

Seven years ago, I agreed to write a bi-monthly column on veterinary topics for the Daily Mail. I figured I would write until I ran out of questions or topics. Well, that has yet to happen. Just when I think I have covered all common questions and ailments, something new comes into my exam room and slaps me in the face. This time it was a Lhasa Apso with two very worried owners in tow.

It seems he had been sick for a couple of days and was limping to some degree on his right side. Could he have suffered a stroke? He was an older pet with a history of seizures, so a stroke was a possibility. But he was sick. His gums were pale and had evidence of bruising. He also had a slight fever and did not try to bite me when I checked his gums. He must have been feeling awful. I had to get the spunk back in this little guy, so I got started.

Laboratory tests over the next few hours raised my suspicion for lots of things including a tick-born disease. But he was an indoor dog. When I asked the owners about ticks, they said they had pulled a tick off him way back in November. He usually didn't get ticks, and it was only one.


In the next few days his tick titer test came back positive for Lyme disease. That is right - Lyme disease right there in St. Albans. Now that we had our diagnosis, treatment was started and he should make a full recovery, fortunately. We really don't live in a Lyme area. Unfortunately, this tick didn't know that.

So, let's talk about this disease to educate and also stress the importance of tick control as we go through the spring and summer months.

Lyme disease is caused by an organism called Borrelia burgdorferi. This organism is commonly carried by the deer tick. But it also can be carried by the brown dog tick and other ticks depending on what part of the country you live in. It is common in the eastern coastal states and southern and western states. West Virginia is in the middle of all those, with a relatively low incidence of the disease. Dogs become infected when a tick carrying the organism bites him and injects the disease.

Polyarthritis, or limping on one or more legs, is the most common clinical sign reported in dogs. They can also show lack of interest in food, lose weight, and experience fever and swollen joints and lymph nodes. The bull's-eye rash on the skin is not always present in Lyme disease and can be impossible to see under a full coat of dog fur.

The good thing about Lyme disease and other tick-born diseases like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Erlichia is that they can easily be tested for by a yearly heartworm blood test at your veterinarian's office. Most veterinarians are using a type of test now called a 4DX that picks up these other diseases in addition to testing for heartworm disease. Interestingly, this patient's heartworm test in January was negative. Lyme disease can take two to five months after a bite to show a positive test.

Treatment for Lyme disease is simply a good antibiotic for two to four weeks. But prevention is the key in keeping pets healthy. A brand-name, veterinarian-approved flea and tick medicine is critical to prevent ticks. It must be applied once every month to be effective and used all spring and summer. There are also tick collars available for pets that are more at risk of ticks than others, but these are only effective against ticks, not fleas.

Another good preventative is that once-a-year heartworm test. A lot of owners decline the test and say their pets are on preventative all year, which is great, but heartworm preventative does not stop tick bites. A heartworm test will find these tick disease dogs so treatment can be started sooner rather than later.

If you get your dogs tested with the 4DX heartworm test regularly and practice good flea and tick control this summer, you should have a healthy and fun-filled time together.

Send questions for Dr. Allison Dascoli to "Ask the Vet," Charleston Daily Mail, 1001 Virginia St. E., Charleston WV 25301 or e-mail them to askthe...@dailymail.com. Comments or suggestions can be submitted the same way.

Hints From Heloise

Vehicle Restraint

Dear Heloise: I read your column regularly and especially enjoy Saturdays, when you dedicate the column to pet issues.

I would like to add to comments about RESTRAINING DOGS WHILE DRIVING. I was rear-ended while driving to work a few years ago, and the only thing I could think of after it was all over was: What if my dog (70-pound Lab mix) had been with me? To put it simply, she either would have gone through the windshield or hit the dashboard hard. Although I was on the freeway, the person who hit me was not fully up to freeway speeds; either way, the injuries to Hannah most likely would have been life-threatening. Before Hannah was allowed to ride in the truck with me again, I went and found what I call her "seat belt." She can continue to sit in the front passenger seat with me, but the harness she now wears has the vehicle's seat belt running through it, keeping her on the seat.

It works great (had to slam on the brakes once when someone cut me off) at keeping her on the seat and not flying around the vehicle's cabin! Thankfully, I have never had to "test it (the harness) out" in a significant way, but at least I know I have done my best to protect her while riding in the car, as a crate for a dog her size is not feasible in my newer car. For your readers who are unfamiliar with these harnesses, they are available in most pet-supply stores. -- Jean M. Barrett, via e-mail


Dear Readers: Dan Thomas of Van Wert, Ohio, sent in a photo of his 10-year-old light-blond Lab-shepherd mix, Bailey, sound asleep on the couch. He looks adorable with his head on a pillow, and Dan says it's another hard day at work for him! To see the sleeping beauty, visit www.Heloise.com. -- Heloise


Good morning, Heloise: I've just read your weekly pet column in the Kerrville (Texas) Daily Times, which reminded me that from time to time, you've posted unusual pet names.

My two littermate cats are Rosemary and Thyme, adopted from a groomer's offering. They are 11 "people" years old, both calico; Rosie is long-haired and Thyme short-haired. For sisters, they tolerate each other, but each tries to be the alpha one -- and they seem to alternate in that endeavor. I'm widowed, so these two girls are a great comfort to me as they vie for my lap and attention. -- Phyllis Mullins, Kerrville, Texas


Dear Heloise: I took my Chihuahua to get her annual shots. When we got home, she was having a reaction. It was late in the day, so I took her to a closer vet. She was given two injections.

I have learned to always get my pet's shots earlier in the morning and not wait until around closing time. My vet also said to spread smaller dogs' shots out and not give them all at the same time. -- Annette Cruse, Huntsville, Ala.

Tips for Pet’s Photography

Having snaps of your pets with digital camera is much difficult for you as pets cannot understand your directions regarding pose setting. It is also very important to keep pets calm and happy during their photo shoot. Here is some very nice information to make unique and interesting pets photography. Keeping these tips in your mind you will enjoy photographing pets as a fun and rewarding experience.

•It is always recommended to use natural light for pet’s photography. Also avoid red light as it can frighten the pets.

•Focusing on eyes is also considered the best for portrait photography regardless of this thing that you are taking photo shoot of your pets. It is said that “eyes are the windows to soul” so you should try to have snaps of sharp eyes of pets.

•In order to keep your pets calm and easy during photo shoot is also very important. So you should go to them instead of forcing them to come to you. If you want to capture natural and true gestures of pet’s movements, let them do as they wish.

•A successful picture is that coveys the right image of character of its subject. For instance if you have lazy cat in your home and want to have its snaps, show its yawning. On the other hand show your pets in action or performing its favorite trick if they are playful and active.

•Try to have close shots of pet’s face and fur as it looks very beautiful and is very important in pet’s photography.

•As it is difficult to keep pets in still posture so play them quietly and give a sudden call to them or whistle. This action will alert surprise them and you will be able to have a quick shot of pets in alert and natural posture.

•You will have to schedule your time for pets photo shoot. Taking shoots at the time of sleep and awake will provide you better opportunities to capture interesting gestures of your pets.

•Be patient during pet’s photo shoot and this attitude will allow you to have nice and decent snap of your pets.

•Experiments, trying different approaches, angles and composition will make you take good and result oriented snaps of your pets. Pet photography requires lot of experiments to get master piece of your pet’s photography.

Follow the tips as they are perfect for making your pet’s photography very interesting and look like professional.

Shop www.Pet-Source.com
Click on banner to visit Pet-Source.com

Keeping a Predator Fish

Keeping fish can be lots of fun, but no one wants to buy a new fish just to have it eaten or have it eat your other fish, so here is a guide on things to do to ensure this does not happen.

Many people like to have fish for pets because they are low maintenance, and can be very relaxing to watch them swim. Most first time fish enthusiast like to keep cold water fish, because they are cheap and most of the different types of these fish will get along together. These fish have some bright colors and have some very fancy fins, but they are mostly large goldfish, and eventually switch to tropical fish to get a larger selection of fish. But keeping tropical fish can be a bit of a gamble, the fish cost more and some of them are very aggressive and will eat your other fish.

There are more different types of tropical fish for you to choose from, and they have a larger variety of colors then cold water fish and keeping them in an aquarium together with other tropical fish does not have to be a gamble, it is not like a trip to the casino to play blackjack, if you do things right there is no gambling involved at all.

The first thing you need to do is some reading before purchasing any fish for your tank. Reading about fish will give you an idea of what species of fish eat other fish, and which ones do not. It will also let you know which meat eating fish will live with what other fish, and make it less of a gamble that you are just buying one fish an expensive meal.

Cichlids are a type of fish that eat other fish but they are a school fish and prefer to be in a tank with other Cichlids, but you want all the other Cichlids to be about the same size, or one day you will come home to find several fish missing and one fat fish swimming around slowly.

Cichlids are a surface to medium depth fish. This means they will swim on the top and middle of the tank and will generally not go to the bottom of the tank for very long.

Keeping fish can be lots of fun, but no one wants to buy a new fish just to have it eaten or have it eat your other fish, so here is a guide on things to do to ensure this does not happen.

So many people with Cichlids will get a bottom swimmer to fill the tank out. A very popular type of bottom swimmers is catfish. There are many different fish in the species of catfish. Some of these fish are non aggressive and do not get very big, but a fish like this may not be aggressive enough to be in a tank of Cichlids.

You may want to get a more aggressive type of catfish, but if you get a large one it will surely eat the Cichlids, but if it too small you are gambling that the Cichlids will not pick its eyes out.

Just remember that no matter how much you read each fish does have a personality of their own..

There is always the possibility that some of your fish will get eaten, but the only way to make keeping fish not a gamble is to keep each fish in their own separate fish tank in the hope that this will keep them all safe, but this will not make for happy fish. With trial and error you will learn what can live with what types of fish.

Owner Says Dog Can Count To Ten

Aussie Shepherd Barks Numbers

The owner of an Australian shepherd says that the dog, named Sydnee, can count to 10, KCOY-TV in Santa Barbara, Calif., reported.

When given a number, the Sydnee barks that many times. She then gets a reward of raisins from her owner, Maxine Davis.

Davis got the dog when she was 10 months old from a soldier on his way to Iraq. She quickly learned typical tricks such as sit, shake and roll over.

Then, Davis realized the dog had a special talent when barking.

"I thought, 'That dog, she's just adding one finger, she's counting.' So apparently, she could count," she said.

The station reported that Sydnee can go up from one or down from 10, or in any other order.

Davis said the dog is so smart that she must sometimes spell things out to keep Sydnee from knowing what she is saying.

Click here for "Dating Tips, Relationship Advice and Intimacy"

Click here to visit The EZ Online
Shopping Network of Stores

How to Be a Better Pet Parent

Terrier That Saved Owners
from Coyote Named 'Hero Dog'

The wire fox terrier was bitten by the coyote, but he fought back and scared it away.

Ronnie the wire fox terrier gets a look at his new award in the yard of his Rossmoor home. (The OC Register)

LOS ANGELES -- A 9-year-old wire fox terrier named Ronnie has been named Hero Dog of the Year for chasing away a coyote that threatened his owners and a fellow canine.

Ronnie received the honor on Tuesday by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Los Angeles.

The brave pooch generally has a calm disposition, but showed unusual courage when the coyote jumped over a backyard fence on Aug. 1 and confronted owner Janis Christensen and her husband, Eric, along with another family dog, a Yorkie named Annie.

According to the spcaLA, Ronnie jumped between the animal and his family.

Ronnie was bitten in the process, but charged back and bit the coyote, which eventually ran away.

Ronnie's owners say the behavior was uncharacteristic for their typically laid-back pet.

"Ronnie has always been extremely timid," Janis Christensen said.

"Yesterday we had a repair person in our house and Annie was barking and growling and trying to get at him, and Ronald put his tail between his legs and ran."

In honor of being named the organization's 28th annual Hero Dog Award, Ronnie and his owners received a commemorative plaque.

"Ronnie's personality was such that you wouldn't think he would spring into action like he did," said spcaLA President Madeline Bernstein.

"This shows that treating your pet with love and respect can be returned by an amazing heroic act. Coyotes wandering into backyards looking for food is becoming more and more prevalent."

Ronnie and his owners also won a year's supply of California Natural brand pet food and a weekend getaway at Hotel Maya in Long Beach.

Man Marries Dying Pet Cat

Berlin: What can be termed as one of the strangest marriages ever, a 39-year-old German postman married his terminally ill pet cat after vets told him that his beloved cat is going to die soon, media reports said.

Uwe Mitzscherlich tied the knot with his overweight pet, Cecilia, who was suffering from asthma and was dying.

According to media reports, Mitzscherlich paid 300 euros to an actress to officiate a fake wedding ceremony, as marriage between an animal and human is illegal in Germany.

Talking about the unusual wedding, Mitzscherlich said that he wanted to marry his pet, who had been his companion for the last 10 years, before it dies from asthma.

"Cecilia is such a trusting creature. We cuddle all the time and she has always slept in my bed," he said.

The actress, Christin-Maria Lohri who officiated the marriage said that she thought that the request was a joke.

"At first I thought it was a joke. But for Mr Mitzscherlich it's a dream come true," she said.

Pets At Home Alone -
How You Can Help Them Stay Safe
by Linda Kemp at ActiveRain.com

The other day I was out in my neighborhood helping hand out garage sale flyers for our subdivision's upcoming community yard sale. I had a great time talking with people and meeting more of my neighbors. But the one thing that has stayed with me all week is a simple note that was affixed to the front door of my neighbor's home. The note read:


It is so simple and yet this simple note can mean the difference between life and death. It moved me so much that I felt that this information needed to be passed on to everyone reading this blog who loves their pets.

This is especially true when both owners work full time and the house is empty during the day. If there is a fire or any other type of emergency where the fire department needs to get into your home, they will be alerted to the fact that animals live there too! When there is a fire or other similar emergency it is not too unusual for pets to seek shelter under a bed or a piece of furniture. So flagging the fact that a dog or cat or any other animal is in the building will give firefighters a head up.

Animals are an important part of our families. Spread the word!

Ferrets: the New Celebrity Handbag Pets?
By Pete Wedderburn Health - Telegraph.co.uk

Ferrets - not everyone's choice of pet.

A report published recently suggested that ferret ownership is on the increase, especially amongst female owners, after Paris Hilton was spotted cuddling her pet ferret in public.

Ferrets are one of the new pets to emerge in recent decades. Although they’ve been domesticated by humans for thousands of years, for most of this time they’ve been utility animals, used to hunt rabbits and rodents, both as a pest control measure and as a sport. They’ve also been kept for fur production and for other reasons (for example, they’ve acted as cable-runners for telephone companies and in other industries). It’s only in the past twenty years that ferrets have become popular simply as pets. They’re small, easy to look after and they have entertaining personalities.

Most people who aren’t familiar with ferrets find them a little frightening. Their long slinky body, small beady eyes and sharp front teeth give them the appearance of an unpredictable predator who might attack at any moment. It is true that some ferrets can give a sharp nip, but like most pets, ferrets respond well to gentle care and consistent training. The late Phil Drabble, the “One Man and His Dog” star, knew a lot about ferrets, and he said “If a ferret bites you it is nearly always your own fault.

An ancient English “sport” called “ferret legging” has contributed to the myths about ferret behaviour. The contestant had to tie his trouser legs around the ankles, then place two ferrets down his trousers before tying the waist closed. The object was to be the person that keeps the ferrets in his trousers the longest. Many people only lasted a few minutes before the ferrets nipped them, causing them to release them in a panic. The poor creatures must have been terrified, and it is no wonder that contestants were often bitten. Fortunately, ferret-legging has waned in popularity as awareness of animal welfare has increased.

There are also myths about ferrets having a strong, skunk-like smell. While it’s true that male ferrets that rarely have their cage cleaned out can be whiffy, the strong smell is easily prevented. If ferrets are neutered, and if their bedding is changed frequently, the odour is a faint, inoffensive muskiness.

Ferrets tend to be healthy pets, as long as they’re kept in the right sort of environment, with the correct type of diet. A vaccine against Distemper is recommended if they are going to be out and about at all, but most ferrets are kept in the confinement of their owner’s homes and so the risk of picking up a viral infection is very low.

Ferrets aren’t an ideal pet for everyone, but if you want a quirky pet with a different personality to dogs, cats or rabbits, then maybe a ferret is the one for you.

Dr. Ernie's Pet Health Tips

The Tip-Off shows have everything you need for organizing your home, baking cakes, and looking good ... but what about your pets? Our favorite vet Dr. Ernie is back to serve up some practical advice for your pooches and feline friends!

• Moods: Before you head out the door for the day, leave soothing music playing to keep your dog calm. "Studies show that dog brain waves and human brain waves are about the same, so they respond to the same types of calming music that we do!" Dr. Ernie says. He suggests pieces by Brahms, Mozart or Bach with 50 to 60 beats per minute. "It kind of mimics your heartbeat and it soothes the dog."

• Oral Hygiene: "Eighty percent of all dogs and cats have periodontal disease and basically the mouth is the gateway to the rest of the body, so if you've got an infection in your mouth, and that's all this is, then you've got an infection in your blood. This can lead to heart valve problems, kidney problems and worse," Dr. Ernie says. He suggests brushing their teeth with pet toothpaste and a finger brushette that slips over your finger. "When it comes to brushing your dog's teeth, don't worry about scrubbing the whole surface of the tooth, just focus on the outer surfaces," he says. "It uses a different principal [than our toothpaste] these are enzymatic and so that means you just apply it and let it do the work!"

He also recommends adding a powdered supplement called Clenz-a-Dent to their food. "It actually contains a form of seaweed .... that seaweed helps break apart plaque and tartar!"

• Medication: If your pet is reluctant to take its medication, Dr. Ernie suggests trying a different form of the dosage to find the one it is most willing to ingest. "Almost all medications can be made in a liquid, so that makes your job easier. Some of my favorite flavors are tuna for kitty cats and beef for dogs ... the other thing you can do, especially for a cantankerous kitty cat, is get a trans-dermal form, that's simply a little bit of liquid that you rub inside their ear and that's absorbed in the skin." You can also get edible Dog Pill Pockets to encapsulate a pill so it is more appetizing for your dog.

• Nails: "While you're trimming their nails, make sure they've got a plate of goodies - of course I like vegetables for treats - but whatever it is, it's a distraction technique," he explains. If you're concerned you will cut your pooches paw, get a pen light and point it at their nail so you can see clearly where the nail ends and their skin begins. "After you do this, reward them with play or take them for a walk so they start to associate trimming their nails with something fun!"

Labradoodle Pioneer Regrets
Fashioning 'Designer Dog'
Caroline Overington From: The Australian

THE man who bred the first labradoodle - and in the process made the mutt a desirable accessory - says it's the great regret of his life. The coveted accessory has pushed out other breeds in terms of desirability.

Wally Conran, 81, coined the term labradoodle in 1988, when he was the manager of the puppy program at the Royal Institute of the Blind.

He received a letter from a woman in Hawaii who needed a seeing eye dog, but her husband had allergies. She wanted a dog that would not shed hair.

Mr Conran crossed two popular pedigree dogs: a labrador from breeding stock at the institute and a poodle owned by his boss to create the labradoodle.

The puppies were supposed to have the best traits of both dogs: the affable, controllable nature of the labrador, and the curly, non-shedding coat of the poodle.

"But now when people ask me, `Did you breed the first one', I have to say, `Yes, I did, but it's not something I'm proud of'," Mr Conran said.

"I wish I could turn the clock back."

The labradoodle is now recognised as the first of the so-called "designer dogs", selling for more than $1000 a puppy. In essence, it is a mutt, or mongrel, yet it has raced ahead of pedigrees in terms of price and desirability.

Some pet shops report mongrels outselling pure-breds three to one, despite the high price of both.

As a result, labradoodles and their cutely named cousins -- spoodles, schnoodles, cavoodles, moodles, groodles and roodles -- are being pumped out across the nation, to meet demand

"I'm not at all proud of my involvement in it," Mr Conran said. "But the genie's out of the bottle, and you can't put it back."

His dismay isn't shared by breeders of the curly cross-breeds, who say they are merely meeting demand for a family-oriented, non-shedding dog of compact size, and happy temperament.

Nicolette Gallagos, of Australian Labradoodle Association, said: "Labradoodles are family-oriented dogs. They are perfect for families that want a dog that is good with children."

The association has set a breed standard for itself, and hopes the dog will soon be recognised as a breed by the Australian National Kennel Council.

The process may take 20 years. It has been so long since a new breed has been added to the Kennel Council's register that nobody can remember when it last happened.

Once recognised, the labradoodles will be able to enter shows, and win prizes.

The rise in popularity of the mutts angers pedigree breeders, who complain that cross-breeders are exploiting the fad for money, and forcing pedigree bitches to give birth to dozens of cross-bred pups every year.

Feline Food Tips:
Are Vegetarian Diets Safe for Cats?
By Gabrielle Jonas - ZooToo.com

Though most vegetarians feed their pets meat or fish without flinching, some vegetarians abhor the idea of their animals eating other animals.

"A vegetarian diet for your companion animal is ethically consistent with animal rights philosophy," says People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Though forcing pets to live by their owners' philosophy is unprecedented in the 15,000 years humans have been caring for pets, some vegetarians want even their pets' nutritional supplements to be plant-based.

"If vegetarians can feed their animal a healthy diet that is vegetarian, they feel more comfortable," says Kathy Guillermo, vice president of laboratory investigations at PETA.

But at the heart of PETA's support of vegetarian pet diets is its objection to meat-based pet food companies conducting research on animals. Vegetarian pet food does not involve animal testing, Guillermo said. "PETA’s primary concern regarding food for companion animals is the many currently available products which are needlessly tested on animals," she said.

But that very lack of testing is a sticking point with some veterinary experts, who argue that without such testing, the diets cannot be properly evaluated. Makers of vegetarian pet food should be willing to submit to the Association of American Feed Control Officials feeding trials for evaluation, they say.

Though vegetarian diets for dogs can be nutritionally complete, animal welfare advocates, and even some vegetarian groups, say feeding vegetarian diets to cats cannot be done correctly.

"At first, cats may appear to be doing satisfactorily on vegetarian or vegan diets," says the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. "But over time nutritional deficiencies may occur. When it comes to felines, it really is best to provide a diet that includes meat."

But James Peden, a leading proponent of vegetarian pet diets, and author of Vegetarian Cats & Dogs, says nutrients missing from vegetables can be added through dietary supplements — his, for instance.

Peden's company, Harbingers of a New Age, sells Vegepet supplements. Their nutrients are derived from plants to compensate for the nutrients plants lack. Its Vegecat KibbleMix uses vegetarian sources for the essential nutrient taurine found in mollusks, as well as for the vitamin A and arachidonic acid found in liver and fish oils.

Though cats are unable to convert the beta-carotene in plants into vitamin A, they can from Vegepet supplements, according to Harbingers. "The vitamin A that we use is the synthetic acetate form is easily assimilated," Peden said.

Research into whether cats can thrive on vegetarian diets has been contradictory.

A 2006 Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association study found that all the cats fed a vegetarian diet had adequate Vitamin B12 concentrations, and most had adequate taurine levels.

And yet another study published in the journal two years earlier found that both Vegecat KibbleMix and another vegetarian pet food had multiple nutritional inadequacies, particularly taurine.

Harbingers attributed the test results to manufacturing error during mixing as well as to an inaccurate nutrient profile of a food yeast, and corrected the problem.

"We've never had a recurrence of that incident, which most likely only affected 14 pounds of supplement, caused by operator error," Peden said.

The oldest vegetarian organization in the world, The Vegetarian Society of the United Kingdom, advises caution when feeding dogs a vegetarian diet, and downright warns against feeding vegetarian diets to cats.

The high fiber content of vegetarian cat food can be filling but not adequately nutritious, the society says. The polyunsaturated fatty acids in the vegetable oils can cause a vitamin E deficiency related illness, as well, it says.

"Consider carefully before changing your cat to a vegetarian diet, says The Vegetarian Society. "Cats require certain nutrients that cannot be obtained in sufficient amounts from plants."

When it comes to feeding pets — especially cats — a vegetarian diet, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration puts it more plainly: "They simply are not intended to eat only plants."

Save 5% On 1st Order at Only Natural Pet Store

Click on banner to visit the Only Natural Pet Store

Top 10 Most Beautiful And Colorful Fish
by bugy220 - PetsFoto.com

The mesmerizing feeling of warm sun rays leaning down into tropical waters, and breaking back through the water’s vivid facade as it rebounds off the glistening scales of a rare fish provides an experience that stays in one’s memory for a lifetime. I thought I’d share some of the most beautiful species that I know in the waters. There are in the order i consider them the most vibrant and beautiful, since, beauty is, ofcourse, in the eye of the beholder.

The Mandarinfish or Mandarin dragonet , is a small, brightly-colored member of the dragonet family, which is popular in the saltwater aquarium trade. The mandarinfish is native to the Pacific, ranging approximately from the Ryukyu Islands south to Australia.

2.Juvenile Emporer Angel Fish
The emperor angelfish, Pomacanthus imperator, is a species of marine angelfish. It is a reef-associated fish, native to the Indian and Pacific Oceans, from the Red Sea to Hawaii and the Austral Islands.

A Lionfish is any of several species of venomous marine fish in the genera Pterois, Parapterois, Brachypterois, Ebosia or Dendrochirus, of the family Scorpaenidae. The lionfish is also known as the Turkey Fish, Scorpion or Fire Fish. They are notable for their extremely long and separated spines, and have a generally striped appearance, red, green, navy green, brown, orange, yellow, black, maroon, or white.

4.Clown Trigger Fish
The clown triggerfish, Balistoides conspicillum, is a triggerfish from the order Tetraodontiformes. This reef-associated fish is commonly found in the tropical Indo-Pacific.

A nudibranch is a member of what is now a taxonomic clade, and what was previously a suborder, of soft-bodied, shell-less marine opisthobranch gastropod mollusks, which are noted for their often extraordinary colors and striking forms. The clade Nudibranchia is the largest clade within the heterobranchs, with more than 3,000 described species.

Symphysodon are a genus of three species of cichlid freshwater fishes native to the Amazon River basin. Discus are popular as aquarium fish and their aquaculture in several countries in Asia is a major industry.

7.Mantis Shrimp
Mantis shrimp or stomatopods are marine crustaceans, the members of the order Stomatopoda. They are neither shrimp nor mantids, but receive their name purely from the physical resemblance to both the terrestrial praying mantis and the shrimp. They may reach 30 centimetres (12 in) in length, although exceptional cases of up to 38 cm (15 in) have been recorded. The carapace of mantis shrimp covers only the rear part of the head and the first three segments of the thorax. Mantis shrimp appear in a variety of colours, from shades of browns to bright neon colours. Although they are common animals and among the most important predators in many shallow, tropical and sub-tropical marine habitats they are poorly understood as many species spend most of their life tucked away in burrows and holes.

8.Moorish Idol
The moorish idol, Zanclus cornutus, is a small marine fish species, the sole representative of the the Family Zanclidae in order Perciform. A common inhabitant of tropical to subtropical reefs and lagoons, the moorish idol is notable for its wide distribution throughout the Indo-Pacific. A number of butterflyfishes closely resemble the moorish idol.

Clownfish or anemonefish are fishes from the subfamily Amphiprioninae in the family Pomacentridae. About twenty-nine species are recognized, one in the genus Premnas, while the remaining are in the genus Amphiprion. In the wild they all form symbiotic mutualisms with sea anemones. Depending on species, clownfish are overall yellow, orange, reddish, or blackish, and many show white bars or patches. The largest reach a length of 18 centimetres (7.1 in), while the smallest barely reach 10 centimetres.

10.Rainbow Parrot Fish
Named Parrot fish because of their calcareous bird-like beaks. Parrot fish use these beaks to crush and eat the small invertebrates that live in coral. Much of the sand and sea floor of coral reefs are actually remains of meals from the parrot fish, they chew the coral, eat the invertebrates and spit out the leftover calcium. In most species, the initial phase is dull red, brown or grey, while the terminal phase is vividly green or blue with bright pink or yellow patches. The remarkably different terminal and initial phases were first described as separate species in several cases, but there are also some species where the phases are similar.

View Photos of Singles - Match.com
Click on banner to visit Match.com

Pet Sounds:
4 Animals That Could Really Talk
by Rob Lammle - MentalFloss.com

There’s no need to page Doctor Doolittle for this case. Here are the amazing, true stories of four animals that could speak for themselves.

1. Hoover the Seal
In 1971, George and Alice Swallow found a baby seal just off the coast of Maine. The little guy appeared to be orphaned, so they took him home and kept him in their bathtub. For the first few days, they tried to feed him ground mackerel, but he refused to eat. Once he trusted his new parents, though, he began eating so voraciously they compared him to a Hoover vacuum cleaner and the name stuck.

When he got too big for the tub, Hoover was moved to a small pond behind the Swallows’ house. After only a few months, Hoover was eating more fish than his human caretakers were able to provide, so they contacted the New England Aquarium in Boston, hoping the facility had room for him. When introducing the seal to the aquarium, George mentioned that Hoover could talk. Of course no one believed him at the time. A few years later, though, researchers at the aquarium noticed that Hoover’s guttural sounds really did seem to be forming words and phrases. He was often telling people to “Get outta here!” or asking, “How are ya?” He could say his name and a few other phrases, all with a thick Bostonian accent. Once the word got out that the Aquarium had a talking seal, he became a media sensation, making appearances in Reader’s Digest, The New Yorker, National Public Radio, and even on Good Morning America.

Sadly, Hoover died of natural causes in July 1985 at the ripe old age of 14. He was so admired that he received his own obituary in the Boston Globe. He left behind several offspring, but none possessed his unique gift for gab.

2. Blackie the Cat
Search YouTube for “Talking Cat” and you’ll find thousands of videos of fluent felines. But in 1981, a talking cat was a bit harder to come by. So when Carl Miles of Augusta, Georgia, trained his cat Blackie to say, “I love you” and “I want my mama,” they took their act on the road. Throughout the early 1980s, Blackie made paid appearances on local TV and radio programs, and even hit the big time with a spot on the network TV show That’s Incredible. However, as the novelty wore off, Carl and Blackie ended up performing on street corners, asking for donations from passersby. After some complaints from locals, police informed Carl that he would need to get a business license in order to keep up Blackie’s street show. Carl paid the $50 fee for a license, but something about it rubbed him the wrong way.

So Carl sued the City of Augusta, under the pretense that the city’s business license code mentions many types of occupations that require a license, but a talking cat show was not one of them. But that wasn’t the only issue Carl had—he also claimed the city was infringing on Blackie’s First Amendment Right to Free Speech. Carl lost his case, but he appealed the ruling until it came before a federal court. The argument was finally closed when three presiding judges declared that the business license ordinance allowed for other, unspecified types of businesses to require a license, which would encompass a talking cat performer. As for the First Amendment violation, the courts said the law did not apply because Blackie was not human, and therefore not protected under the Bill of Rights. Furthermore, there seemed no good cause for Carl Miles to be the one to bring the suit in the first place. If Blackie felt his rights were being violated, as a talking cat, he should have been the one to say something.

3. Alex the Parrot
Alex, an African gray parrot, was purchased from a Chicago pet store in 1977. Dr. Irene Pepperberg bought the one-year-old bird to see if she could teach a parrot to understand language in a similar manner to chimpanzees and gorillas that had been taught American Sign Language. At the time, it was believed that a large brain, like a primate’s, was necessary to acquire language. By comparison, a parrot’s brain is about the size of a walnut, so it was believed that mimicry was the best we could hope for. Instead, the work of Pepperberg and Alex (an acronym for Avian Learning EXperiment) before his sudden death in 2007, has changed the perceptions of many in the scientific community.

According to Dr. Pepperberg’s research, this avian Einstein could identify 50 different objects, knew seven colors and shapes, and many different kinds of materials like wool, paper, and wood. For example, hold up a blue block of wood and Alex could tell you the shape, the color, and even what it was made of. However, he also grasped more complex concepts that required a higher level of thought and understanding. Put a handful of red and yellow blocks on a tray and ask him how many were yellow, he could tell you the correct answer. If you then asked him how many of those same blocks were green, he would say “none.” Furthermore, hold up two blocks of different colors and different sizes and he could tell you which was bigger. Maybe the term “birdbrained” isn’t such an insult after all.

Despite the loss of Alex, the Avian Learning Experiment goes on. Dr. Pepperberg’s latest feathered pupil is Griffin, another African Gray, that was born in 1995. In 2007, Animal Planet tested Griffin against kids at a Boston preschool on the basics of object recognition, colors, and shapes. It was determined that Griffin was about as smart as a three-and-a-half year old human. Not bad for having a brain the size of a walnut.

4. Lucy the Chimp
When she was only two days old, Lucy, a chimpanzee, was purchased by the University of Oklahoma and sent to live with Dr. Maurice Temerlin, a noted psychologist, who, along with his wife, raised the little chimp as if she were their own human child. Lucy was taught how to eat normal meals at the table using silverware. She could dress herself, often choosing to wear skirts just like her “mother” did. She could even make tea for her “parents” and the team of researchers who trained and cared for her. Dr. Robert Fouts, one of the groundbreaking psychologists who taught American Sign Language (ASL) to Washoe the chimp in 1967, helped Lucy learn to communicate using around 250 ASL signs. Lucy could not only give the signs for objects like airplane, ball, and food, but she could also express her emotions with her hands, often “saying” when she was hungry, happy, or sad. Lucy had become so close to human in most every way that she only found human men, not male chimpanzees, sexually attractive. It was pretty clear that, in her mind anyway, she was the same as her parents.

It’s a sad fact that once a captive chimp has reached about four or five years old, their immense strength can become a danger to their human caretakers. Often they need to be placed in a zoo, a lab, or some other facility better equipped to handle primates. In this case, the Temerlins raised Lucy as their daughter until 1977, when she was almost 12 years old, before they finally felt like they had to find her a new home. After much deliberation, they decided upon a nature preserve in Gambia on the west coast of Africa. They, along with research assistant Janis Carter, flew with Lucy to her new home to help ease the chimp into the wild. However, it was not going to be as simple as they’d hoped.

At the preserve, Lucy was put in a cage at night to protect her from predators. She had only ever slept in a bed inside a nice, quiet, suburban home, so the jungle was a completely new and frightening environment for her. She was also scared of the other chimps, strange creatures she had only encountered a few times before in her life, preferring to stay close to her parents and Janis whenever she could. She wasn’t eating because her food had always been delivered to her on a plate; she didn’t even understand the concept of foraging. When her parents suddenly became distant and weren’t providing her with the life she had always known, Lucy became confused and sad. She would often use the sign for “hurt.” And she lost much of her hair due to the stress of her new situation. Realizing that Lucy would never move on if they stayed, her parents left her behind after three weeks. Janis agreed to stay for a few weeks longer, but it was soon clear that Lucy couldn’t change who she was.

And so, Janis never left.

Janis helped found a chimpanzee sanctuary on an abandoned island in the middle of the Gambia River. She took Lucy and other chimps that had been raised in captivity and lived with them on the island, teaching them skills they would need in the wild, like finding food and climbing trees. For most, the new lifestyle quickly became second nature. But for nearly eight years, Lucy refused to give up her human ways. She wanted human food, human interaction, and to be loved by, what she considered, one of her own kind. It wasn’t until Janis stopped living on the island that Lucy was finally able to accept her new life and joined a troupe of chimps. Whenever Janis visited the island, Lucy was still affectionate, still used sign language, but thankfully, she always went back with the chimps into the forest.

Sadly, Lucy’s decomposed body was discovered in 1987. Her exact cause of death is unknown, though some believe she was killed by poachers. Others say it was probably something less spectacular, like an attack by a dominant male or an illness. There’s one thing that no one who knew her wonders about, though, and that’s the fact that Lucy never really believed she was anything less than human.

Shop www.Pet-Source.com
Click on banner to visit Pet-Source.com

Tips for Traveling with Cats

It may not be a regular occurrence, but there comes a time in every cat’s life when he, or she, will need to take a trip in the car. Whether it is to visit the veterinarian or if you plan to include your cat in family vacations, it is wise to prepare yourself for the journey. Understandably, some cats are very nervous about traveling, but with a few helpful hints and a little patience, you can desensitize your reluctant passenger.

1. The first step to a successful car journey is to ensure that you have the correct equipment.

It is crucial that every cat has a suitable travel carrier. Even if your cat is very tame and calm, he, or she, should never be allowed to remain loose in the car. Principle, this poses a danger in the form of possible distractions for the driver, but it could also entail the risk of serious injury to the animal.

2. A travel carrier should be large enough for your cat to comfortable turn around, stand up and lie down. Depending on the length of the journey and the possibility for breaks, you may like to consider placing a water bottle in your ca’s travel carrier.

A bottle is preferable, because a bowl could easily spill and cause your cat distress.

3. If your cat suffers from severe anxiety while traveling, you might like to consider paying a visit to your veterinarian who may be able to prescribe an oral medication that will help to ease your cat’s nerves.

4. Like some humans, cats can suffer from motion sickness and vertigo when traveling by car. There is a range of medication that is intended to reduce these symptoms. The oral medication can be administered to the cat in its drinking water shortly before travel.

5. Before taking your cat on a lengthy car journey, it is wise to allow the animal to become accustomed to traveling over smaller journeys. Therefore, you may like to begin with, pet, a 5 to 10 minute trip, then work your way up to 20 to 30 minute trips and so on. If your cat appears particularly anxious, you may wish to begin by sitting in the car, but not actually going anywhere.

6. During a particularly long car trip, it may be necessary to make an overnight stop. Some owners find that once a cat has become comfortable in a hotel or motel he, or she, is unwilling to leave.

Often cats, particularly nervous ones, will hide under furniture and be reluctant to immerge. Therefore, it is wise for cat owners to wake up early to give themselves time to coax the cat from its hiding place.

7. Obviously, traveling with a cat does not require the frequent stops that traveling with a dog would. In fact, if your travel carrier is large enough, you can place a small litter tray inside it.

8. If your cat is anxious or motion sick, you may find it helpful to take a few breaks in your journey.

However, when letting the cat out of a carrier it is important to ensure that he, or she, is not able to run away. A cat leash, which can be purchased from pet stores, may be useful in this instance.

9. Well before the date of travel it is advisable to acclimatize your cat to any new equipment you plan to use, including leashes, carriers, water bottles and litter trays.

10. Be prepared to take baby steps with your cat. Some cats are more highly strung than others, and it may take some time and patience before your feline friend is ready for a long car journey.
Samantha Markham is a professional freelance writer, based in the UK.

Garden Tips on the Cheap
By Tara McAlister - CharlotteObserver.com

A garden is a great way to save on the grocery bill. Here are a few tips on how to save money when actually planting the garden:

Dryer lint: Use dryer lint when lining new pots. To avoid possible contamination, be sure the lint is collected from loads of clothes where dryer sheets were not used. If you are concerned about possible fabric softener or detergent residue, rinse the lint and then add. Dryer lint at the bottom of a container prevents soil from leaking out and holds moisture better. (Another great use: Dryer lint as a fire starter in your grill or next campfire.)

Pet hair: Use all that shedding pet hair to keep pests out of your garden. Pet hair and hair clippings around your garden can deter skunks, rats, rabbits, deer and raccoons. Pet hair is also biodegradable and acts as mulch in the gardening bed.

Vinegar: A mix of vinegar and water can kill weeds. Vinegar will also keep cats out of your garden.

Plant bug repellent: Mix 1 tablespoon of dishwashing soap with 1 cup cooking oil. Using a ratio of 3 tablespoons to 1 gallon of water, put in a spray bottle and mist leaves.

Fertilizer: Create your own compost with coffee grounds (nitrogen) and crushed dried eggshells (calcium) as a slow-release fertilizer.

How to Be a Better Pet Parent

We jumped on the bandwagon and want to promote responsible pet ownership. We dug up some ideas on how you can be a better parent to your pet.

Don't get a pet just to have one or because you hope it will fill a void. Dogs, cats, hamsters, birds...all require a lot of time, money, care and love. If you can't commit to a pet, then don't get one until you can promise those things.

Take care of your animal's coat and nails with proper grooming and at-home attention. Trim nails, and wash and brush fur often. If you aren't comfortable doing those things or need help on what to do, talk to your veterinarian's office for a groomer recommendation.

Vet Visits
There's a reason God created veterinarians. Your pets can't always tell you when they need medical attention. Regular vet check-ups are important for vaccinations and preventative care like fleas and heartworm. This goes for all pets, not just dogs.

ID Your Pet
Things happen...but registering and making sure your dog or cat has ID tags is super important. Oh, and also make sure that your pet wears them. Lost owners cannot be found if an animal's tags are sitting on the kitchen counter.

It's true what they say, training a dog takes time, but it's also true that a trained dog is a happy dog. Training a dog to obey simple commands sets boundaries and ensures a less-frustrated human-animal relationship. You don't have to shell out lots of money to train your dog, there are reasonable training options, or you can always get some books at the library. If you need a recommendation, ask your vet's office or doggy daycare.

All animals need exercise. Exercise not only gives animals a way to use their energy, it also helps create a well-rounded, healthy and happy dog or cat. Exercise doesn't have to mean just walking, think of other fun ways to exercise, like games to exercise the mind or alternative activities like swimming (mostly applies to dogs, but I applaud anyone who can get a cat to swim).

Animals like to protect their owners from harm, and as a pet parent, you have a responsibility to protect your animal is ways that they cannot protect themselves. Everything listed above helps you protect your pet.

Now that all the serious stuff has been mentioned, I happen to think that spoiling your pet is an important part of being a pet parent. Shower them with hugs, kisses, toys, gifts, treats and all that fun stuff.

Give love
Remember you are your pet's world. Give them back all the love they give you and then some!

Tips for Trimming Your Pet's Extra Pounds
by Karen Hutchins - Denver Pet Examiner

Overweight is more than aesthetics; it can increase the risk to health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, respiratory distress, and lower urinary tract diseases. Carrying that extra weight also takes a toll on their joints.

In a dog or cat with an ideal body weight, the ribs should be felt easily and the waist should be seen easily when the pet is viewed from above. In dogs, there will be a tuck in the abdomen which raises upward toward the legs. In cats, there will be a minimal fat pad over the abdomen.

The most common cause for weight gain is overeating. Their nutritional needs vary according to their life stage. As they age, their metabolism slows down, so even eating the same kind of food and the same amounts they are used to will end up expanding their waistline. It is also important - and many times overviewed by the owners- to count the calories in the treats.

It is important to consult a veterinarian before putting a dog or cat on a diet, and rule out weight gain due to diseases, such as hypothyroidism and Cushing's disease. Losing weight too quickly can trigger hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver disease) in cats, and this is potentially deadly. Cats are not candidates for The Biggest Loser. It is advisable to control a cat's access to food by providing several small servings throughout the day instead of free feeding. Sometimes they eat out of boredom, so increasing their activity with a little more exercise (playing time) is a good idea, and a great opportunity for bonding.

Dog owners can try substituting a portion their meal with green beans. There are also great commercial diets lower in calories, especially formulated to help pets feel full while losing weight. These changes in their diets should be introduced progressively, mixing increasing amounts of the new food with decreasing amounts of the old food over a 7-day period, so they don't get digestive issues (they have a sensitive gastrointestinal system).

They key to a successful weight loss plan is consistency and patience.

Click here to view all of Karen Hutchin's Pet articles

Click here for "Dating Tips, Relationship Advice and Intimacy"

Click here to visit The EZ Online
Shopping Network of Stores