Pet Oxygen Masks (Photos)

Look! Up in the Sky! It’s a Cat!
by Pete Chianca -

If you think I'm coming down for that slop, you've got another think coming.

I’ve always wondered, how does a cat get stuck in a tree? If they can get up, why can’t they get down? My guess is they’re seeking attention. And if you don’t think cats like attention, you don’t have one.

Regardless, they had to call the cavalry out to get the latest victim of cats-traphobia off of a limb in Beverly. Disappointingly, the cat was snared by the Animal Rescue League rather than the Beverly Fire Department in full gear with sirens blaring. That would be so much more fun.

Top 5 Pet Tips for Happy Holidays

Sonya Fitzpatrick helps make the holidays happier and safer with some simple pet tips.

In the rush of holiday cheer and chores, it's easy to forget our pets are animals, not four-legged people. Here are five things to remember as we head into the holiday season:

1. Food
Pets cannot discern foods that are good for them and aren't. Remember to keep chocolate, coffee, tea, and other caffeinated food and drinks away from them. These items can cause seizures, coma, and even death. Just as with humans, dogs should not have excessive sugar in their diets. You may offer your dogs these human goodies: vegetables, lettuce, yams and carrots. Cooked turkey, chicken, lamb, beef and white fish are okay, but never raw products. To avoid the temptation of human food, make sure your pet has his or her own food.

2. Decorations
Make sure foil decorations are high enough that your pet can't reach them. Ornaments with wires or hooks also should be placed away from your pet's reach. Mistletoe, poinsettias, holly berries and ivy can be poisonous. Ribbons, yarns, strings, and other supplies used in gift wrapping should be off limits, too. If it makes you feel better, give your pet a holiday toy to keep it distracted.

3. Guests
A home full of loving and noisy guests, particularly young ones, can be frightening to a pet. Create a quiet area for your pets to be away from all the hustle and bustle, particularly if your pet normally spends all day home alone. You might want to move the pet bed from the living room or kitchen to an out-of-the-way bathroom or bedroom (not the one with all the guests' coats thrown over the bed). Even if your pet is guest-friendly, your guests may not be. A sudden screech or the pull of a tail could lead to unwanted results.

4. Travel
Traveling, particularly long distances in a car, can be very stressful to you and your pets. Make sure your pet is secure in a purpose-built well-ventilated cage or a pet safety harness. You can also bring along a blanket that has the scent from home on it for added comfort. Bring bottled water from home so your pet doesn't have to deal with strange water that might result in an intestinal upset. And last, make sure your pets have up-to-date identification with your cell phone numbers on the tags in case they wander away in unfamiliar territory.

5. Memories
If you have lost a beloved pet in the past year, it is helpful to hang a stocking for them or buy them a gift so you can honor their memory. You can also create a special place for their things if it is especially difficult to get through the holidays without your best friend.

The Top 5 Pet Tips for Happy Holidays are courtesy of Sonya Fitzpatrick, one of the most widely recognized and respected animal communicators in the world. For more information, go to

Advice To Pet Owners On Cleaning Carpet
by Brian Summers -

Pet owners have got their work cut out for them. The task associated with having a pet is nearly a full time job. You have to keep them fed, sheltered, cleaned, as well as loved. However, together with looking after man’s best friend or your finicky feline companion you also need to deal with your house.

By no fault of their own, pets can wreak havoc on your carpet. They don’t mean to. They just don’t know any better. So here are some tips on how to keep your carpet looking great even with pets in your home.

The very first thing you should do is to be sure to vacuum routinely. For non-pet owners it is strongly recommended to vacuum at least once a week. When you’ve got a cat or dog you might like to bump that up to 2-3 times a week. This will get all that pet hair up from the carpet. Always go over your furniture and tile also. Vacuuming is definitely the easiest and most effective task that can be done to regulate how much pet dander and hair your home can certainly acquire.

If your pet ends up having an accident you need to deal with the spot as quickly as you are able to. The earlier you deal with the area the greater possibility you have of getting it entirely clean. If your pet does a number two then be sure you pick it up with a paper towel first. In the event that urine is the problem then you need to start by extracting as much of the liquid as you possibly can. You can do this with a shop vac or a few towels. If you are using towels be sure to put a weight on top and allow the urine some time to soak up into the towels.

When you’ve finished extracting then you’ll want to work with a cleaning agent to clean the rest of the spot. There are a selection of over the counter spot removers which you can use or perhaps you may want to mix your own. Three parts warm water to one part white vinegar is a wonderful home solution for pet urine. Simply apply it on the stain and blot with a clean towel.

Blotting is essential. You do not want to rub at a stain in your carpet, ever. After cleaning with your solution remember to rinse the area with some clean water and extract again with the shop vac or some clean towels.

If there’s still some odor after the area has dried up simply put a bit of baking soda on it and then leave it there for some time to soak up the smell. Afterward simply vacuum up the baking soda and you should be all set.

These basic steps can go a long way to keeping your carpet looking good and neat even when you have pets.

Dog Offers Help With National
Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day
Today is National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day and I'm offering my canine services. Anyone?

Your Time: Passing the Pet Test
Dr Karen Budd - Herald Sun
You're ready to bring a new cat or dog into your life. Where do you start?

The first step is to do your homework. You might have a particular breed in mind, but consider how much time, energy and space you have, your family situation and your future plans.

These all need to suit the type of pet you choose.

Resist that impulse buy and research all your options.

Purebred, designer pet or mixed breed?

There are options to suit just about everyone.

Purebred pets are usually predictable in size, coat type and colour. However, it's important to learn about inherited health issues common to the breed and ensure the breeder has tested the parents where possible.

"Designer pets" are intentional crosses of two (or more) breeds. There are many designer dog breeds and designer cats are emerging, too.

Coat type, size and appearance can vary even within one litter, so ensure you like the qualities of the parent breeds. Designer pets can often cost similar amounts to purebred animals.

Mixed breeds, including the standard domestic cat, are often the result of unintentional breeding. They can be variable, but some of the hardiest and best-loved family pets are mixed breeds.

Choosing a puppy or a kitten: meet the parents

Temperament is inherited along with appearance. Your best insight into what that little ball of fluff will grow into is to visit the home where it was born and meet the mother (and the father, if possible). This gives you an opportunity to talk to the breeder and observe the conditions the puppy or kitten was raised in.

Look for:

Healthy environment: Puppies and kittens should be raised from birth in a clean environment where they are handled regularly and they are exposed to the day-to-day events that occur in a home.

A knowledgeable breeder: The breeder should be familiar with the breed and be willing to discuss with you not just the good points, but any potential problems in their breed.

A fussy breeder: A responsible breeder's goal is to place their pets in caring, long-term homes. The process involves questioning potential owners to ensure that the pet's needs are met. The breeder should know the personalities of individuals in the litter and help match you with a suitable puppy or kitten.

A supportive breeder: Discuss arrangements for the provision of ongoing advice and assistance, particularly if you have any problems with your new pet.

Health care records: Ask for details of health checks, vaccination, worming, flea treatment and microchipping, and expect to receive certification for these.

A new home: adopting an adult pet

Animal shelters around Australia have thousands of healthy dogs and cats waiting for a new home. You can reduce this number by taking one into your life.

With an older pet, what you see is what you get in looks, size and personality. Pets from shelters are ready to go: health-checked, vaccinated, wormed, microchipped and desexed.

Because each pet is an individual, look for a shelter that performs behaviour assessments on their dogs and cats, and ask the shelter staff to guide you in selecting a pet that matches you and your lifestyle.

It’s Out of the Bag:
Scientists Figure Out How Cats Drink

Fellow humans, mark this month of November, 2010. For it is on this month that our great science peoples have solved one of our centuries old mysteries, a question that have kept many a stoned person up at night. Last Thursday, November 11, the combined brain power of American researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Princeton University discovered, to their great astonishment, how domestic cats drink – they use their mouths. Seriously though, these scientists found out that when drinking, a cat moves its tongue very fast to form a column of liquid.

You see, unlike humans, cats can’t suck liquid. Dogs have the same dilemma, but they have a simpler and less elegant solution – they just scoop up the liquid, using the tip of their tongues as ladles.

The cat way of drinking is more awesome because a) this involves balancing gravity and inertia, which means cats know their physics, and b) it prevents their chins from getting wet. And no one likes wet chins. Except dogs. And toddlers.

An article detailing the research is included in the November 2010 issue of Science.

5 Insider Tips for Picking Pet Insurance
by Laura Bennett -

Squiggy the cat was hit by a car. We paid out a $10,000 for his injury claim

People ask me about pet insurance all the time. And I honestly don’t always know what to tell them. From my perspective, it’s fantastic: I don’t have to do anything, except maybe fill out a short form, and in return I see more pets getting the care they need.

People who actually have pet insurance, however, tell different stories. Some companies rival human insurance companies when it comes to red tape navigation; others reimburse pennies on the dollar spent. Still others are actually very good. I asked Laura Bennett, CEO and co-founder of Embrace Pet Insurance (one I recommend regularly, by the way) to give a bit more informed perspective about the pet insurance industry:

If you’d asked me 10 years ago what I knew about pet insurance, I would have snorted my coffee through my nose and said “is that like alien abduction insurance?!”

Times have changed since then! Now there are over 12 companies offering pet insurance in the US with all manner of products and service. The question I get now is what should one look for in a pet insurance company and their products; a much more interesting question to answer.

So, to help you answer that question, here are my top 5 pointers on choosing a pet insurance company and its policies:

1.What does the policy cover?
No pet insurer covers something that’s already shown symptoms before you buy your policy so that one is easy to answer. But what about hereditary conditions (many purebred dogs get these and they can be darn expensive), ongoing chronic conditions (some insurers stop coverage when you renew), and wellness care (it may be something you want included or not)? These can make or break a pet insurance policy when you come to a claim for one of these conditions.

2.How does the pet insurance pay its claims?
With a check – ha ha ha! (sorry, couldn’t help myself there)
Actually, this is more about what does the insurer base the claim payout on. For example, it could be a benefit schedule (a list by diagnosis), “usual, customary, and reasonable (UCR) charges” (a list by procedure that varies by region) or the vet bill you actually paid. There’s no right or wrong answer because a policy with a benefit schedule or UCR payouts often have lower premiums since their payouts are lower than if the payout is based on the bill you paid. But you should know what to expect come claim time to avoid disappointment.

3.How will your premiums and benefits change over time?
Your premiums may go up as your pet ages, with veterinarian inflation (currently about 5% a year but until recently, it was 7%), or with the insurer’s overall book of business changes. In addition, coverage may be automatically reduce over time to offset increasing costs. Be sure to read the fine print and ask a lot of questions on this one – no insurer guarantees their current premium or benefit levels. If they say so, get them to write it down for you.

4.What do existing customers think of their experience?
Every pet insurer is going to tell you its products and service are the best – of course they are! What you really want to know is what their customers really say. The most popular review website is Pet Insurance Review. Don’t focus on the actual scores the companies are getting. After all, the pet insurer could just be asking the people who got large payouts to go review them on the site and skew the result. I’d focus on the negative reviews; every pet insurer has them. What are the themes of the complaints? How are people treated? Is the complaint about something very specific to that person or common among other complainants? The answers to those questions will help you get a flavor of what you can expect as a policyholder of that company.

5.How financially sound is the insurance company behind the pet insurance product?
Features and service are great but if the company isn’t around in 10 years just when you need your policy, then it’s a moot point what you bought. Ask who is underwriting the insurance and what their AM Best rating is. There is no guarantee that a highly rated company will be around in 10 years but it is more likely than a lower rated company.

I could go on but that covers the main points to get you started on your research to find the best pet insurance policy for you.

Woman Raising Money for Pet Oxygen Masks

An Ottawa woman is raising money to equip fire crews with oxygen masks for pets.

An Ottawa woman is spearheading a campaign to equip the city's fire stations with oxygen masks for pets.

"If we can do anything to help them out in a fire I thought there was no reason why we shouldn't," said Andrea Cormack-Akeson.

Cormack-Akeson is currently raising money to purchase one pet mask for every fire station in the city. She hopes to prevent further pets from dying in home fires, such as the family dog that was trapped in a blaze in Arnprior Friday morning.

Currently, no fire crew in Ottawa has access to pet oxygen masks, which cost about $55 dollars. Fire services spokesman Marc Messier said they would be a welcome addition to the city's life-saving arsenal.

"We want to have these things on our trucks," he said. "It's another piece of equipment to help homeowners and their pets."

Donations for pet oxygen mask kits can be made at the Dirty Dog Gourmet Bakery display at the Carp Christmas Market (Dec. 3 from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Dec. 4 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.), Critter Jungle, the Ottawa Veterinary Hospital and online at

With a report from CTV Ottawa's Carol Anne Meehan

What a Scaredy Cat:
How a Jack Russel Chased a
Terrified Mountain LION Up a Tree
By Daily Mail Reporter

It was a David and Goliath style battle that few would have thought possible.

But with the odds stacked against him, Jack the plucky Jack Russel chased a deadly mountain lion high into a tree.

The cornered lion remained trapped above the ground before the Jack Russel was able to pounce a few minutes later.

Hound dog: A Jack Russel, like the one pictured, chased a terrified mountain lion up a tree before it was knocked down and caught

Jack's owner, Chad Strenge, witnessed the astonishing scenes while he was walking Jack on farmland in South Dakota.

The pair had been hunting when Mr Strenge heard Jack barking frantically several hundred yards away.

Thinking that his heel-biting Jack Russel - a breed known for their high energy levels- might have caught a squirrel, Mr Strenge raced to a patch of dense woodland.

Incredibly, the 150lb mountain lion was trapped high in the branches while 17lb Jack bayed for his blood below.

'He trees cats all the time. I suppose he figured it was just a cat,' said Mr Strenge.

'The lion very well could have lost a territory and decided to take off from the Black Hills and head this way.'

Brave: Jack, a 15lb orange-and-white cat, chased a black bear up a tree in a backyard in New Jersey in June 2006.

Mr Strenge shot at the lion which knocked it from the tree. Jack then chased the lion over a short distance before Mr Strenge killed it with his gun.

Professor Jonathan Jenks, an expert on cougar migration, said hunters usually needed two or three hounds to chase a lion up a tree.

He said: 'The cougar was probably not hungry enough to attack Jack.
'It very well could have lost a territory and decided to take off from the Black Hills and head this way.'

Arden Petersen, of the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks department, said that no charges would be filed for shooting the animal.

People in South Dakota have the right to kill mountain lions which they feel are a threat to themselves, their livestock or their pets.
The lion was taken to South Dakota State University, where it will be studied.

It is not the first time a potentially dangerous north American wild animal has been brought to heel by a family pet.

In 2006, a ginger cat - also called Jack - chased a black bear up a tree in West Milford, New Jersey.

When the bear eventually climbed down, Jack the cat chased it up another tree.

The bear only escaped when Jack's owner called him into the house.

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