Before You Bring Your Dog Home
You will need food, water and food bowls, leash, collar, training crate, brush, comb and canine chew toys.

Cleaning Up
Keep your dog on a leash when you are outside, unless in a secured (fenced-in) area. If your dog defecates on a neighbor’s lawn or any other public place, please clean it up.

Feeding
Puppies 8 to 12 weeks old need four meals a day. Puppies three to six months old need three meals a day. Puppies six months to one year need two meals a day. When your dog is one year old, one meal a day is usually enough. For some dogs (such as larger ones or those prone to bloat), it’s better to continue to feed two smaller meals. Premium-quality dry food provides a well-balanced diet and may be mixed with water, broth or some canned food. Your dog may enjoy cottage cheese, cooked egg, fruits and vegetables, but these additions should not total more than 10 percent of your dog’s daily food intake.

Puppies should be fed a high-quality brand-name puppy food (avoid generic brands) two to four times a day. Please limit “people food,” however, because it can cause puppies to suffer vitamin and mineral imbalances, bone and teeth problems and may cause very picky eating habits, as well as obesity. Have clean, fresh water available at all times. Wash food and water dishes frequently.

Exercise
Every dog needs daily exercise for mental and physical stimulation. The proper amount depends on the breed type, age and health status of your dog. Providing enough exercise will improve your dog’s health and prevent household destruction and other behavior problems common in underexercised dogs.

Grooming
You can help keep your dog clean and reduce shedding by brushing her frequently. Check for fleas and ticks daily during warm weather. Most dogs don’t need to be bathed more than a few times a year. Before bathing, comb or cut out all mats from the coat. Carefully rinse all soap out of the coat, or dirt will stick to soap residue.

Housing
You will need to provide your pet with a warm, quiet place to rest away from all drafts and off of the floor. A training crate is ideal. You may wish to buy a dog bed, or make one out of a wooden box. Place a clean blanket or pillow inside the bed. Wash the dog’s bedding often. If your dog will be spending a great deal of time outdoors, you will need to provide her with shade and plenty of cool water in hot weather and a warm, dry, covered shelter when it’s cold.

 

Before You Bring Your Cat Home
You will need food, food dish, water bowl, interactive toys, brush, comb, safety cat collar, scratching post, litter and litter box

An adult cat should be fed one large or two smaller meals each day. Kittens from 6 to 12 weeks need to be fed four times a day. Kittens from three to six months need to be fed three times a day. You can either feed specific meals, throwing away any leftover canned food after 30 minutes or free-feed dry food (keeping food out all the time).

Feed your cat a high-quality, brand-name kitten or cat food (avoid generic brands) two to three times a day. Kittens can be fed human baby food for a short time if they won’t eat kitten food softened by soaking in warm water. Use turkey or chicken baby food made for children six months and older. Gradually mix with cat food. Cow’s milk is not necessary and can cause diarrhea in kittens and cats. Provide fresh, clean water at all times. Wash and refill water bowls daily.

Grooming
Most cats stay relatively clean and rarely need a bath, but they do need to be brushed or combed. Frequent brushing helps keep your cat’s coat clean, reduces the amount of shedding and cuts down on the incidence of hairballs. scents in the litter or litter box (especially avoid lemon scent).

Housing
Cats should have a clean, dry place of their own in the house. Line your cat’s bed with a soft, warm blanket or towel. Be sure to wash the bedding often. Please keep your cat indoors. If your companion animal is allowed outside, he can contract diseases, get ticks or parasites, become lost or get hit by a car, hurt in a fight or poisoned. Also, cats prey on wildlife.

Identification
If allowed outdoors (again, we caution against it!), your cat needs to wear a safety collar and an ID tag. A safety collar with an elastic panel will allow your cat to break loose if the collar gets caught on something. An ID tag or an implanted microchip can help insure that your cat is returned if he or she becomes lost. When the cat starts to scratch furniture or rugs, gently say no and lure her over to the scratching post. Praise your cat for using the scratching post or pad. A sprinkle of catnip once or twice a month will keep your cat interested in it.

 

Pet Care Articles

5 Steps to a Better-Behaved Pet

Want to live a healthier lifestyle? Get a dog. Studies show that pet ownership helps reduce stress, lowers blood pressure and fends off feelings of loneliness and depression. While nothing can top the love and companionship of a dog, there are some unpleasant behaviors that just won’t do – from barking all night to wetting the floor to chewing on your shoes when you’re not looking. If your dog is exhibiting this type of behavior, it may be acting out due to boredom, pent-up aggression or because of lack of training. With proper lifestyle adjustments and diligent training, you’ll be on your way to having a happy, well-behaved pet. The following tips will help your furry friend become more obedient: * Spay or neuter. The Humane Society of the United States says that this common procedure can help your dog live longer, be healthier and have fewer behavior problems. * Help your pet relax. Just like people, dogs can get anxious, agitated and stressed. That’s why some veterinarians suggest giving your dog a calming product, such as Pluto Pet’s Pet Calming Spray, to help relieve hyperactivity.Made with natural ingredients, Pet Calming Spray acts quickly to relieve restlessness, fear, nervousness and aggression and helps antsy pets sleep through the night, according to the manufacturer. The spray meets all Food and Drug Administration guidelines for good manufacturing practices. * Have a workout routine. Provide your canine companion with regularly scheduled walks twice a day. This will help your dog avoid boredom, which can lead to destructive behavior. * Go to school. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, enrolling your dog in an obedience class will teach you how to control your dog’s behavior both safely and humanely. * Be patient. Though teaching your furry friend to be more obedient may take determination on your part, it’s worth it. After all, as man’s best friend, your dog will appreciate bonding with you during the process. Courtesy of NewsUSA

A Tale Of Four Dog Foods: Finding The Best Chow For Your Hound

We all love our dogs and want to give them the best life has to offer. But with so many variations of dog food in the market, it isn’t always easy to identify the best food for our dog. Who can possibly feel confident when so many brands trumpet buzzwords that hit the human aisles not long ago, such as “rich in antioxidants,” “highly digestible,” “Omega-3 fatty acids” and “Ultra Premium Formula”? What we can do, though, is to conduct a simple dog food comparison to determine which foods best fit our dog’s requirements and our personal schedule. After all, some foods offer much greater convenience than the more natural, less processed types of food which may require freezing, thawing, cooking and preparation. Convenience aside, the best food to give your dog depends not on the brand or the style, but rather on your dog’s age and any special requirements he might have. For example, older dogs require food containing a careful balance of protein, fat and fiber. Most commercial dog food companies address this need with offerings such as senior dog food, containing about 18 % protein, and food for dogs diagnosed with renal failure, containing about 14% protein. Dare to Compare Dry Dog Food The vast majority of dog owners go for dry dog food. Between the supermarket and specialty pet stores, owners enjoy many brands to choose from. Dry dog food consists of kibble typically made from one primary ingredient such as chicken, beef or lamb. More specifically, the main ingredient is usually a meat byproduct that’s been processed, dried and sold in packs or bags for easy dispensing. Needless to say, meat byproducts are far cheaper than meat, so this type of dog food is not only easy to store, it’s much less expensive than other types. Hard kibble comes with some advantages. For example, it gives your dog’s mouth some exercise, and kibble’s less likely to contribute to plaque than softer foods. When comparing brands, it helps to remember that there are essentially two types of dry dog food on the market: premium dog food and economy dog food. A smart owner will avoid purchasing the economy food, which is made from lower grade ingredients (for example, economy dog food will often substitute cheap corn for the more expensive meat byproducts). The “end” result, as it were, is that your dog can’t absorb many nutrients but simply passes the food through his body. So in addition to enjoying less nutrition, your dog will produce larger stools — and you might find yourself with more frequent vet bills. Other Popular Contenders: Canned, Semi-Moist and More Other categories of dog food include the semi-moist type and canned food. Many owners like to mix in some canned food with dry food, to potentially cover more nutritional bases without taking too big a hit to the pocketbook. Semi-moist food is attractively convenient to owners, and dogs love it. Unfortunately, it may cause dental problems in the mid-term and worse in the long term, because semi-moist food is loaded with corn syrup and other sugars, which dogs just aren’t designed to process. Recently, more natural, “premium” dog food has been introduced to the market, in which higher quantities of quality, nutritious ingredients are used to manufacture the food — often human-grade, in fact. Since vegetables, fruits, real meat and quality grains are used as the primary protein source in the highest-quality dog foods, these foods are a fast route to healthy skin and beautiful fur. For the most part, they contain no artificial coloring and preservatives, but are chock-full of vitamins and minerals instead. Although this food costs more, you can feed your dog less of it, because it’s more nutritionally dense. So in terms of both convenience and nutrition, a premium, natural dog food is one of the best choices available to your dog, whether off-the-shelf or purchased online. Courtesy of Nathan Fischer

Airedale Terrier - The King Of The Terriers

The Airedale Terrier is a medium 45 to 65 pound dog that usually reaches between 22″ and 24″. Known as the King of the Terriers, they are largest of the Terrier breeds recognized by the AKC. It is a compact little powerhouse that is all terrier when it comes to chasing little animals or appeasing its curiosity. Airedale Terriers are typically tan on the ears, head, chest, undersides, legs, and sometimes on the shoulders. They are black or grizzle on the sides and upper parts of the body. Sometimes they have a red mixture on the black or white markings on the chest. Certain strains of the breed also have a small white patch on the chest. Their wiry, dense outer coat requires regular grooming. If you are looking for a dog with plenty of stamina and energy, look no further. The Airedale Terrier is full of energy and needs daily exercise and play. Generally speaking, they do best with older well behaved children and are not ideal for homes with smaller pets as terriers have the tendency to chase small animals and vermin. They can do well with other dogs, especially if they are socialized from puppyhood. They are loyal and protective if their family. They love to learn and can be trained easily provided training is fun and not monotonous. The breed dates itself back to 18th century England. The breed is a cross between an Otterhound and a Waterside Terrier. They were bred for hunting small game and were later used in big game hunting, police work and as an army dog in WWII. The Airedale Terrier is now considered more of a family pet than working dog. However, they do love to work and have tasks to do and still make good hunting and tracking dogs For a family that enjoys outdoors and exercise, the Airedale Terrier is an excellent choice. Although they can work with other pets and dogs, a one pet household seems more ideal for their needs unless they grow up with other family pets. The Airedale Terrier is a great pet for the family on the go. Courtesy of Dakota Dog

Alaskan Malamute - The Nordic Sled Dog

The Alaskan Malamute is a medium-large to large dog that weighs between 70-95 pounds and measures up to 25″. They are best known as sled dogs and are used to hard work. They ideal for cold climates or homes that will keep them cool and hydrated in hot summers. The Alaskan Malamute has a thick, coarse outer coat and wooly, dense undercoat. They are dressed for cold weather. If you own an Alaskan Malamute and live in a warmer climate, you need to make sure that they have a place to get out of the sun and plenty of water. They come in a variety of colors including solid white, shadings of light to medium gray, black, sable, and red. In animals with shadings, parts of legs, feet, the underbody, and part of face markings are predominantly white. The AKC does not recognize any other solid colors than white. Alaskan Malamutes are independent, friendly and loyal. They are more active as puppies and tend to mellow when they get older. They are chewers, diggers and explorers. If you don’t want it played with, than put it away. When your Alaskan Malamute is outside, make sure that they can’t dig out of the yard or jump over they fence. They are not good apartment, small home or city dogs. They love to be outside and need plenty of room to play. Because they are extremely playful as puppies, they would be better for older children until they become calmer. They work best with other animals and pets when they are socialized at a young age. They can be aggressive towards other dogs and can consider small animals prey. This is an ideal dog for a family home that allows plenty of outdoor time to play and explore The breed dates back over 2000 years and is a native of Alaska. They were originally used as sled dogs by the Alaskan Malamute Eskimo tribe. In addition to a companion dog, the Alaskan Malamutes are still used as sled dogs for racing, exploration and families living in arctic regions. As hardworking sled dogs, they are important household pets for families living in cold, snow covered areas and imperative to their way of life. If you are looking for an independent but loving companion, the Alaskan Malamute is a perfect dog for you. Courtesy of Dakota Dog

Basenji - Egyptian Dog

The Basenji is a small to medium sized dog weighing between 22 to 25 pounds. Their height is around 15″ to 17″. Known as the bark-less dog, the Basenji (bah-SEN-gee) makes a low howl/moaning/yodeling sound instead of barking. They are also called the Congo Dog. The smooth, shiny, dense coat is short and lies flat against the body. AKC acceptable colors for Basenjis are black, chestnut red, tricolor or brindle all with white on chest, feet and tip of tail in any color including pinto, white or brindle. The coat is easy to care for. Basenjis are also known for licking and grooming their hair like a cat. This high energy dog makes an excellent watchdog. They are slow to warm up to strangers and will alert you if they see a stranger. They need a lot of exercise and play. Since they are a little on the independent side, they also enjoy some alone play. Chewing is one of their favorite pastimes, so load them up with toys so they don’t pick your favorite pair of shoes as a chew toy. They tend to no do well with non-canine pets. With early socialization, they can do well with children and other dogs. Because they possess a little bit of an independent nature, early training is recommended to help curb any unwanted behaviors. Originating in Africa, the Basenji dates back to ancient times in Egypt. Pictures of the Basenji are on the walls in ancient Egyptian tombs. They are mainly used as watchdogs in Africa to warn others of the presence of wild game and they often hunt wild game as pack dogs. Just because the Basenji does not bark, does not mean that they are a meek, quiet lap dog. They are very energetic and need plenty of play and exercise. They are perfect for homes that enjoy outside activity and will make sure that their Basenji has time to run and roam. Courtesy of Dakota Dog

Boxer Dogs: Clowns Not Guard Dogs

Boxers have been traced to exist for over a hundred years now. They are said to have originated from Germany as the crossbreed between the Brabanter Bullenbesser (from Belgium) and the English Bulldog. Boxer dogs are known for their intelligence, hardiness, loyalty and its being family-oriented which makes it a great family pet. It is often commented that a family with a boxer is one that is filled with laughter and joy. Boxer dogs have the natural tendency for learning new things and mental stimulation. It is widely recognized that bored boxer dogs make bad dogs. They need to be constantly trained, just like with other dogs. Contrary to popular beliefs, boxer dogs are not guard dogs, they can be excellent watchdogs though as they will bark at any strangers if need be. However, they don’t like isolation and are not naturally aggressive or viscous. Actually, the majority of boxers are known to not stand a time separated from their owners. They need continuous interaction with the family and are very affectionate to their owners. In fact, one of the most difficult training exercise for this breed is not to attack their own owners. Because of their sturdiness and other “strong” physical features, they are mostly trained to become guard dogs. Sadly, many are left into abandonment due to their owner’s dissatisfactions. In actuality, they cannot be easily trained for attack and they are abused for such. Boxer dogs are overwhelmingly playful. On a poll survey conducted, dog owners described boxers as clowns, contradicting the aggressive portrayal widely accepted today. They are exuberant from day one to their senior years. Boxer dogs is an entertaining breed and always have the knack for making unique tricks like the “kidney beaning” and the “woo-woo”. These two are often manifested when they are excited or overly happy (which is true in most cases). Kidney beaning is a dance, which is characterized with a semi-circle turn then a turn for a full circle. On the other hand, “woo-woo” is a distinct sound they made which appeals like a bark but is actually not. Boxer dogs have the personality that is unique in their breed, but this does not apply with all dog owners. They need to be constantly fed with physical and mental exercises to spend their high resource of body energies and add to it the attention they require. Boxer dogs are not known of sleeping the whole day away or go off on their own. If they are not sufficiently exercised, they may be very destructive, this they do to amuse themselves. For at least twice a day, they must be exercised or jogged. One good way of providing worthwhile activities for boxer dogs is the obedience training. In fact, it is a must for all owners of this breed but to be sure, obedience training is both a win-win situation for both the owner and the dogs. During training, it is not unusual to see stubborn boxers. Due to their intelligence, they tend not to listen to commands given to them. But above this, they are quick to learn and are eager for further learning. A Boxer dog is an outdoor pet, nor can it tolerate extreme weather conditions. They have short coat and a short nasal cavity; both are not apt for cold weather and hot weather respectively. Additionally, these are lap dogs however large they get. Courtesy of Dana Goldberg

Breaking Your Pit Bull Terrier's Jumping Habit: Dog Training Help

As you have probably already learned, Pit Bulls are highly energetic animals. They love to run and play, and get excited easily. One of the more annoying habits they develop at a young age is jumping. Jumping can be particularly annoying when they do it as a way of greeting, especially if it is young child or someone who is afraid of dogs. Teaching your Pit Bull to curb this behavior is not an easy task, but is your responsibility as a Pit Bull owner. Many people have stopped their Pit Bulls from jumping on them by using treats. When they come inside, they throw some treats on the floor, and then greet their dog while his attention is fixed on the treats. The treats usually work as a good distraction to pull your Pit Bull’s attention away from jumping on you. If you don’t like using treats to train your Pit Bull, or if the method just doesn’t work well for you, then you have to try other ideas to train your Pit Bull not to jump. One thing you can try is teaching your Pit Bull that it is nicer to sit than jump. Go outside, leaving your Pit Bull inside, then come back in and calmly greet him. If your Pit Bull starts to jump on you, turn your back to him, and ignore him. When your Pit Bull puts all four feet back on the floor, turn back around and pet him. If he starts to jump on you again, turn back around and ignore him. This will teach your Pit Bull that when he jumps, he doesn’t get any attention, but that if he sits nicely you will pet him. This technique may take quite a while for your Pit Bull to learn, especially if he is a very excitable dog. But, if you stick with it long enough, he should learn that jumping is not going to gain him anything other than losing your attention. Once you get your Pit Bull thru this step, try to teach him to sit still for a few moments before you acknowledge him. If he gets up, use the same routine of ignoring him, and then when he sits down, pet him again. This would also be a good time to try to teach him to shake hands when he greets people, rather than jumping on them. You can also further entice your Pit Bull to not jump by tempting him and then rewarding and praising him for his good behavior. Hold treats up in the air so that your Pit Bull will have to jump to get them. If he jumps, ignore him, and when he is calm try again. When he is able to remain seated, praise him, give him the treats, and some extra attention. He will soon learn that by behaving the way you want him to, he will not only get extra attention, but some extra treats as well, which is double incentive for him to obey. Another method that tends to work well in teaching your Pit Bull not to jump is to have a designated place for your Pit Bull, and teach him to go there when you need him to, for example, when someone is at the door. To start this training, you will need to pick the spot, and put maybe a bed or blanket and some of his favorite toys there. When the spot is ready, spend some time with him while he is there. Giving him special attention and treats will help him attribute the spot as a good place that he wants to spend time at. As your Pit Bull becomes accustomed to his place, start sending him there occasionally. At first, you will want to be close to the spot, and eventually move farther and farther away from it as your dog learns. Make it a point to give him special attention and treats each time he goes to his spot when you ask him to. Eventually, your Pit Bull will learn that by going to his spot when you ask him to, that you will reward him for it. The biggest thing you can do to help your Pit Bull learn not to jump is to keep your own greetings calm. I know it is hard when you have been away from him all day not to come in and play and wrestle with him, but this will only get him more excited, and he will expect this same attention from everyone that enters the house. Until you can completely break the jumping habit, it may be best to ignore him for the first few minutes you come home, and then play with him once he settles down. It may take a little time, but your Pit Bull will soon learn how to tone down his excitement. Courtesy of Tim Amherst

Choosing The Right Dog Bed For Your Pit Bull Terrier

When you bring your Pit Bull puppy home, it is important that you provide him with the things he needs. You will probably purchase a kennel, food and accessories, toys, etc. To ensure he is comfortable and help give him a sense of security, you should also purchase or provide him with a bed. Your Pit Bull will probably prefer sleeping with you, but that is not always a good idea. You shouldn’t give a new pet free reign of the house, for both obvious reasons, and for your pet’s safety. Most puppies are not fully housebroken for quite some time, and no one wants to wake up in a wet or smelly bed. It is much better to provide your Pit Bull with a bed, maybe even in your room if that makes you both happier. Before purchasing your Pit Bull’s new bed, you should think about the best type of bed for him. One big thing to take into consideration is how big you think he will be when he is full grown. You will want to try to get a bed that will be big enough for him when he is an adult, so you don’t have to spend money on a new one every time he hits a growth spurt. Your veterinarian can help with trying to figure out how large your Pit Bull may be. A bed that isn’t big enough won’t be comfortable for him, and he will most likely not sleep in it, choosing to sleep somewhere else in the house, probably your bed. Purchasing a bed that is considerably too large will likely make your Pit Bull feel insecure, and again, he will probably find another place to sleep in. The bed should consist of materials that are able to hold up to your dog. It should also be hard for your Pit Bull to chew and shred into pieces, as eating the bedding material will likely cause him digestion problems. You should try to train him not to chew his bed, and provide him toys instead. The cover should be easy to remove, because you will likely want to launder it every couple of weeks. If your Pit Bull is a puppy, you will likely have to teach him where he is supposed to sleep. It is important to develop a routine and stick to it. One thing that will help is keeping the bed in the same place all the time, your room may be the best place as Pit Bulls tend to crave a lot of attention from their owners. Much the same with children, putting your Pit Bull to bed each night at around the same time will help him adjust. Try not to place your Pit Bull’s bed in a noisy, high traffic area. Keep in mind, that like you, your Pit Bull will most likely sleep better in a quiet room with little light. Puppies more so than adults, tend to have security issues, so placing the bed in your room may help him accept it better. Do some research and shop around so you can buy the best bed for your Pit Bull that you can afford. It should be considered an investment, as any other furniture purchase. You should consider your Pit Bull’s own individual needs and try to accommodate him. Courtesy of Tim Amherst

Cold Weather Tips

The following guidelines will help you protect your animals when the mercury dips. 1. Keep your cat inside. Outdoors, felines can freeze, become lost or be stolen, injured or killed. Cats who are allowed to stray are exposed to infectious diseases, including rabies, from other cats, dogs and wildlife. 2. During the winter, outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars. If the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt. If there are outdoor cats in your area, bang loudly on the car hood before starting the engine to give the cat a chance to escape. 3. Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm—dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure yours always wears ID tags. 4. Thoroughly wipe off your dog’s legs and stomach when he comes in out of the sleet, snow or ice. He can ingest salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking his paws and his paw pads may also bleed from snow or encrusted ice. 5. Never, shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. When you bathe your dog in the colder months, be sure to dry him completely before taking him out for a walk. If you own a shorthaired breed, consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. For many dogs, this is regulation winter wear. 6. Never, leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death. 7. Puppies do not tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs, and may be difficult to housebreak during the winter. If your puppy appears to be sensitive to the weather, you may opt to paper-train him inside. If your dog is sensitive to the cold due to age, illness or breed type, take him outdoors only to relieve himself.\ 8. Does your dog spend a lot of time engaged in outdoor activities? Increase his supply of food, particularly protein, to keep him—and his fur—in tip-top shape. 9. Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol. 10. Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.

Different Kinds Of Cat Collars

Although collars are generally thought to be for the canine kind, many cat owners choose to purchase collars for their favorite felines. There are many different kinds of cat collars on the market, so it is imperative that you choose the best option for your cat’s needs and body. Consider taking your cat along on a shopping trip to your local pet store—most welcome animals of all types—and try on different models to find the perfect fit. Keep in mind that although color, material, and style is important, these aspects should come second to the fit of the collar. Traditionally, cats wear collars that hold their identification information and a bell. Ensuring your pet is properly identified is critical for any animal, especially one that you intend on letting outside. In case your cat becomes lost, you will have a much better chance of finding your lost loved on if he or she has the appropriate information securely attached to the collar. Most cat owners choose to attach a small bell or another type of noise making device in order to make small animals or birds aware of a predator’s presence. Cats tend to have retained more hunting instincts than domesticated dogs, so this is a viable concern with many cat owners tired of finding their feline bringing home helpless animals. A buckle collar is the easiest type for a cat to wear, since it can be put on and taken off quickly and easily. Try the collar on your cat to ensure he or she cannot wiggle out of the collar. Just as a loose collar is unacceptable, having a collar fitted too tight can cause discomfort or even pain in your pet feline. For a younger cat that will need a collar that grows with them, consider choosing an adjustable collar to save you from purchasing new ones in the future. Some owners choose elastic collars that slip on and off over the cat’s head. These are great for cats that do not need the extra weight and bulk of a buckle. Keep in mind that any elastic collars should be fitted to your cat to ensure the collar is not too loose or too tight. For indoor cats, consider choosing collars with breakaway panels or buckles that will immediately free the cat if he or she becomes caught on something inside your house. Similarly, you should choose collars made of materials that can easily be cut in case the animal becomes caught. If you have an outdoor cat, look into a collar that uses reflective materials. These reflective materials will keep your precious feline safe at night. This is quite important, since animals are more likely to become injured or even killed since they cannot be seen. A reflective collar is also a good idea for indoor cats, since you can see the animal in the dark to avoid stepping on your pet. Some cats enjoy taking walks in the great outdoors, but owners do not want them to be outdoors unattended. Outdoor cats can easily become lost, stolen, injured, or even killed. To solve this problem, some cat owners choose to walk their cats on a leash just like a dog. Instead of a regular collar, leash walking cats require a harness to prevent spine issues. If you are in the market for harnesses, there are two main types: the figure eight and the H-style. Depending on your individual cat and the fit, these harnesses are excellent for any cat that enjoys a walk in the park! Once you have determined the specific type of collar for your cat, choose a color that fits his or her personality. Whether your feline wants a rocker look with black leather and metal studs or a pretty princess with pink rhinestones, the options are limitless! Courtesy of Mike Barus

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Many years ago, when I lived in South Africa, I used to argue with my brother, a very intelligent, smart engineer, about this. He would shoot at any stray cat who came into the yard. He said the pellet just “stung” and the cat would not come back. It is amazing how many people believe this, or perhaps don’t care if the cat does get hurt. Rich Stallcup of the Point Reyes Bird Observatory advised his readers to “try a BB or pellet gun. There is no need to shoot toward the head, a good sting on the rump seems memorable for most felines, and they seldom return.” The reason they “seldom return” may be because they are dead or severely injured. The National Rifle Association says: ” AIR GUNS ARE NOT TOYS! Improper handling due to carelessness or ignorance can cause injury or even death. ” In 1995, Newsweek reported that teenage boys had killed a girl with a BB gun. They also reported that a Chicago children’s hospital had a number of injuries where the BB had penetrated the skull and the brain. Another organization advocating the use of pellet guns for cats is the United States Armed Forces Pest Management section. BB guns CAN inflict lethal wounds. Even if the animal does not drop down dead after being shot, the pellet can eventually cause infection and a slow, agonizing death. Courtesy of Alley Cat Rescue

Dog Grooming Made Easy

One of the most asked questions that I get before someone buys a puppy is does the breed require much grooming. Some potential owners don’t mind and the others do. This article is for the latter and how you can make pet grooming easier. In order to groom your dog you have to get you dog use to water. There are several steps that you need to take in order to accomplish the task. Dogs do not like to take baths. Lets face it you are going to groom your pet properly you are going to have to give him the dreaded bath. One of the ways you can start getting your dogs to like water is to introduce your dog to it. If you have a swimming pool take your dog out there with you. Depending on the size of your dog you can sit the dog on your lap as you float around. You can also have a friend stand at one side of the pool and you at the other and put your dog in there. Both of you can encourage the dog to come to the other. Take the dog to the lake for the day and get you dog in the water. If you do this often you will find it easier to get your dog in the bathtub. In fact some dogs do like to take baths. One word of caution is don’t just throw the dog into the water as that may scare him badly and then you’ll have to start from square one. In the bathtub your dog should feel relaxed. If he isn’t quite use to the water yet you can say soothing words to help him. The sound of your voice can reduce tension in your dog. You dog loves you and loves to hear your voice of calm gentle words. Make the bath as comfortable as possible. If you’re scratching, scraping and pulling his hair out he will be on the edge. When you were a kid did you like it when your mom washed your own head? Enough said. Keep the water out of his eyes if you can and their nose away from the faucet. They will feel like they are drowning. Another relaxer for your dog is to take your time. Give your dog a message. Talk to them while you are doing it. Nothing like have fingers rubbed all over your back and it’s real easy with the soap on your dog. Grooming does take patience. You can incorporate the kids help as they love to do it when they are little. Consistency is the key. It may take up to six months to get your dog use to the water. It doesn’t have to be a chore when you get the whole family involved. If after trying these suggestions and you dog does not respond well, you may need to go to a professional. Courtesy of Gary Allison

Dog House Building and Buying Guide

Dog owners have to consider several factors when buying or building a house for their pets. As a true member of your own family, providing your pet with the best home possible is of the utmost importance. Size A German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Rottweiler and other large dogs should have large houses, while the Chihuahua and smaller breeds will need smaller houses. The door of the house does not need to be based on the height of the dog from the ground to the top of its head, or even taller, as it will lower its head to be able to enter the house. The width of the door should be just enough to accommodate the dog. These height and width measurements can be adjusted if there is a physical requirement to do so. The house should also be large enough for the dog to stand at full height inside, move around and lie down. Owners should remember that a larger-than-needed home will compromise the dog’s retention of body heat during the winter or colder months. Weather Conditions Some dog houses are made with hinged roofs, a feature that allows owners to raise the roof during hot and humid weather. This flexibility provides adequate air flow to flush out warm air and allow fresh or cool air to enter. In some cases, these roofs can also be lowered, creating a smaller space for the dog and enhancing its ability to retain heat during rainy or cold weather. Asphalt shingles should be used only if there is an adequate insulation barrier separating the roof from the main area of the house. Many house models also come with slanted roofs, ensuring that water drains away during rainy days. Owners should avoid building or buying houses with barn-type or peak-style roofs, as these would attract hornets, wasps and other insects and prevent heat retention. Another option is wind walls, which can be inserted into the dog house to break the wind and keep the house warmer. The house should also be a reasonable distance off the ground to keep it dry. For owners with bigger budgets, some house manufacturers offer provisions for heaters and air-conditioners. These climate control systems help ensure comfort for the dog regardless of weather conditions. Doors The front door of the dog house should be located to one side instead of in the middle. This will prevent the dog from being directly exposed to extreme weather conditions and other harsh environmental elements. Some models are designed with removable doors, or with no doors at all. Using a door will help keep the dog house warmer during cold months. An awning type cover can also be used over the opening for added shade and protection. Easy To Clean And Maintain – Removable or adjustable roofs – Doors, partitions – Wind walls – Flexibility in cleaning – Restrict use of paint, stains, or water sealers for the outside of the house Use Wood Plastic and metal houses are not a good idea, as they are either too hot during summertime or too cold during the winter. Some market experts say that houses made from natural western red cedar wood offer the best insulation for dogs during winter while making them cooler during summer. Red cedar wood oils are also natural repellents of ticks, fleas and termites. Houses made from this material are also maintenance-free on the outside, although owners have a choice of finishing it to complement their property. Sprinkling red cedar wood chips or shavings in the bedding also helps prevent infestation. Owners should also remember that wooden roofs help cut down heat build-up from the sun while helping to maintain reasonable heat retention levels. Keep The Dog House Elevated For legless houses, the owner must remember that having it directly on the ground increases the likelihood that the pet would be exposed to cold and wet weather. This also raises the possibility of infestation from flea eggs that hatch in the soil. The owner can use bricks, rocks or stones arranged in a level and stable manner to elevate the house. The elevation will allow air to flow beneath the house and prevent moisture from forming at the bottom. Courtesy of Paul Graham

Dog Obedience: A Quick And Easy Way To Train Your Dog To Obey The Wait Command

How many times have you tried to teach your dog or puppy to obey the WAIT command, only to discover that your dog doesn’t want to WAIT? Training your dog to WAIT can be very challenging because most dogs are easily distracted. Dogs are also naturally energetic and inattentive. Your dog may have difficulty comprehending the WAIT command because it necessitates inactivity. As we all know, it doesn’t take long for a dog to become restless and bored! That is why the WAIT command is so difficult to teach! Here is an easy way to train your dog to obey the WAIT command: Put your dog on a short leash and walk him to the front door. Using a leash will allow you to control your dog better when he doesn’t respond to the WAIT command at first. Open the door just enough for you to squeeze through and go outside, leaving your dog on the inside. Now your dog will be one side with you on the other and the leash hanging in between. You might try giving your dog the SIT command at first. A dog that is in a sitting position will tend to be still a bit longer than if he were standing up. Slowly open the door just a small amount. Hold up the palm of your hand in a STOP position and say WAIT! Don’t be disappointed if your dog tries to shove open the door and come rushing toward you! Your dog, not knowing this command, is probably going to scramble to push through the door. Shut the door quickly as soon as your dog starts to move toward you. This will halt the dog in his tracks. Okay, now repeat step two. Now watch your dog closely. The first time that he doesn’t try to rush through the door may only last a mere second! When your dog finally comprehends the WAIT command and pauses, lavish him with praise and give him a release command (OKAY!) to let him come through the door. Practice, practice, practice! Keep repeating the steps described above. Your dog will eventually learn that when he mellows out and WAITS that you will allow him to pass through the front door. Once your dog learns to obey the WAIT command from the SIT position, try teaching him the command while he is standing up. This is a much harder position for your dog to master the WAIT command from. He is going to want to move around or even SIT. Be consistent with your training and practice this routine at every opportunity. Be sure to give your dog lots of praise and positive reinforcement. Soon, your dog will understand what you want and will easily respond to the WAIT command! Training your dog to obey the WAIT command takes time, patience and practice. But the end result will be worth it! Eventually, you will be rewarded with a dog that no longer bolts out the door every time you open it! Courtesy of Caroline Kent

The Wait Command

How many times have you tried to teach your dog or puppy to obey the WAIT command, only to discover that your dog doesn’t want to WAIT? Training your dog to WAIT can be very challenging because most dogs are easily distracted. Dogs are also naturally energetic and inattentive. Your dog may have difficulty comprehending the WAIT command because it necessitates inactivity. As we all know, it doesn’t take long for a dog to become restless and bored! That is why the WAIT command is so difficult to teach! Here is an easy way to train your dog to obey the WAIT command: Put your dog on a short leash and walk him to the front door. Using a leash will allow you to control your dog better when he doesn’t respond to the WAIT command at first. Open the door just enough for you to squeeze through and go outside, leaving your dog on the inside. Now your dog will be one side with you on the other and the leash hanging in between. You might try giving your dog the SIT command at first. A dog that is in a sitting position will tend to be still a bit longer than if he were standing up. Slowly open the door just a small amount. Hold up the palm of your hand in a STOP position and say WAIT! Don’t be disappointed if your dog tries to shove open the door and come rushing toward you! Your dog, not knowing this command, is probably going to scramble to push through the door. Shut the door quickly as soon as your dog starts to move toward you. This will halt the dog in his tracks. Okay, now repeat step two. Now watch your dog closely. The first time that he doesn’t try to rush through the door may only last a mere second! When your dog finally comprehends the WAIT command and pauses, lavish him with praise and give him a release command (OKAY!) to let him come through the door. Practice, practice, practice! Keep repeating the steps described above. Your dog will eventually learn that when he mellows out and WAITS that you will allow him to pass through the front door. Once your dog learns to obey the WAIT command from the SIT position, try teaching him the command while he is standing up. This is a much harder position for your dog to master the WAIT command from. He is going to want to move around or even SIT. Be consistent with your training and practice this routine at every opportunity. Be sure to give your dog lots of praise and positive reinforcement. Soon, your dog will understand what you want and will easily respond to the WAIT command! Training your dog to obey the WAIT command takes time, patience and practice. But the end result will be worth it! Eventually, you will be rewarded with a dog that no longer bolts out the door every time you open it! Courtesy of Caroline Kent

Dog Training Aids

You may think that dog training aids are out there for you to spend money and not actually reap any benefits from. That is not the case. Dog training aids are there to help you succeed in teaching your dog, this could be teaching him obedience, agility or any other type of teaching you want to do. There are many aids available but only a certain few will work with your dog and his temperament. I find the best training aid to be treats, small pieces of human food chopped up and given to him when he has done something good has always worked wonders, that is unless your dog doesn’t really have an interest in treats. This is a really cheap method of a training aid but if you want to blow some cash there are hundreds of options available for you. For dog agility training aids that are available are things like anti bark collars, many dogs have a problem when they do dog agility that they bark constantly basically because of the hype involved. Anti bark collars do one of two things or sometimes both, they give a small electric charge when your dog barks and spray some water up into their face. People may think this is cruel but it is completely harmless it just lets your dog know that barking is not acceptable. These collars are available at pet shops and on the Internet and are not too expensive. For dog obedience some dog training aids that are available are dog clickers, the newest craze out on the market which allows owners instead of associating sit with a word they use a click instead and reward with treats, no punishment allowed. Another aid available is a harness; this gets fitted around your dog’s upper body so when you are teaching him to heel a slight tug on the harness pulls him back completely. The harness is a widely used obedience aid and is greatly used for bigger dogs such as German shepherds and Rottweilers. There are also dog training aids available for around the home and are simple and effective. Many people turn to dog training aids when nothing else has worked but they don’t have to be the last thing you try, with aids so cheap these days there is no reason why you can’t invest in something that will make your dogs learning process a lot more exciting!

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Does your dog seem to spend an infinite amount of time licking himself? Why is he doing it? And how do you, as a dog owner, correct that annoying licking habit? Here are five of the most common reasons why your dog might be incessantly licking himself and the solutions to correcting the habit. Your dog might have developed an unrelenting licking habit because he needs a bath. If your dog spends alot of time outside, romping through the woods, tramping in the mud, rolling in the grass or wading in the nearest stream or pond, he is probably dirty. So, your dog may be constantly licking himself because the dirt is irritating him! Plus, all that outdoor activity may have gotten him infested with ticks, fleas, mites, or lice. Your dog’s incessant licking may be an attempt to rid himself of those nasty varmints! Give him a bath with a veterinarian-approved flea and tick shampoo. Before bathing him, make sure you brush out all the mats and tangles from his coat or the bathing will make them worse. Your dog might have developed a chronic licking habit because he has a skin disorder. Some common skin disorders that a dog may develop are mange or dermatitis. Mange is a skin disease in dogs that is caused by various types of mites. The dermatitis could be caused by an allergic reaction to fleas, dust mites, mold or a certain brand of dog food. If you suspect that your dog has a case of mange or dermatitis, your veterinarian will be able to diagnose what the disorder is and prescribe a course of treatment. Your dog might have developed a persistent licking habit because he is under stress. The stress may be a result of a new adoption, physical abuse, separation anxiety, or even a reaction to a new food. If you think separation anxiety might be the cause of his stress, there are several methods for solving the problem. Try exposing your dog to being alone for very short periods of time. When your dog has adjusted to being alone for that duration of time, gradually increase your departure period. If you must be away from your dog for a long period of time, while you are away at work, try to find a friend or neighbor who could come over and take him for a walk a couple of times during the day. Perhaps a new dog in the family is causing the stress? It is very common to experience a period of stress and adjustment when a new dog is brought into a household that has an established pet. One way to help make the transition a little easier is to give your older dog a lot of attention and love. It will let him know that he’s still a vital part of the family. Just remember that it will take time for your dogs to adjust to one another and be one happy dog family! Changing your dog’s diet can also cause stress. If you’re thinking of feeding your dog a new brand of dry dog food, do it gradually and over a period of four days or longer. On the first day that you change the food, feed your dog one quarter of the new food with three quarters of the old food. Add in another quarter of the new food after a couple of days or so. After another two days, add in another quarter of the new dog food. Finally, after another couple of days or so, you will be able to leave out the old dog food entirely! If you cannot determine the cause of your dog’s stress, talk to your veterinarian. He’ll be able to refer you to a dog behaviorist who will be able to determine the cause of your dog’s stress. If your dog has severe separation anxiety, an anti-anxiety medication might be considered to alleviate the anxiety. Drugs are not a complete solution, however, and should be used along with a treatment program. Your dog might have developed an incessant licking habit because he has an injury that has resulted in an open wound. A dog that has developed an injury that has resulted in an open wound will lick himself incessantly in an attempt to clean the wound and keep it free from bacteria. Dog saliva has been proven to kill some germs and when your dog licks an open wound, it will aid in keeping the wound infection free. Veterinarian treatment may be required if your dog appears to be in pain, the wound contains a foreign material and is deep enough to require stitches, is bleeding excessively or becomes infected. Your dog might have developed a relentless licking habit because he has developed the bad habit of doing so. Some dogs develop the habit of licking their paws incessantly despite them being clean, uninjured and parasite-free! Your dog may develop the habit of constantly licking himself because he has a lot of nervous energy and no way to alleviate the stress. He also may have learned this behavior because he is bored and this is a way to entertain himself! Give your dog lots of time to play and run and work off any excess energy. If your dog is well-exercised and happy, he won’t feel the need to relentlessly lick himself to relieve stress or boredom! The information detailed above will help you discover and correct your dog’s habit of chronic licking. With careful observation and a little attention to proper grooming, training, along with regular veterinarian visits, you can ‘lick’ your dog’s incessant licking habit! Courtesy of Caroline Kent

Dogs and Fleas

At some stage of your pet’s life span every pet owner will have to deal with the problem of fleas, ticks and mites. If left untreated they can take over your pet’s skin and coat so it is really important to keep it under control. It’s best to stop the problem before it gets out of control. Rather treat your pet for a few fleas than treat the whole house for an infestation! There are some misconceptions about fleas. It is not something that only happens to dirty animals! In fact it is probably more common in clean animals because fleas prefer a clean coat. Coming into contact with other animals also causes exposure to the problem and can start a flea problem in your home. Fleas, mites and ticks are parasites with a short life span so they reproduce quickly. Female fleas can lay up to 25 eggs a day. So you can see just how quickly the problem can get out of hand! They tend to prefer warm conditions so summer and spring are the most troublesome times for pets and owners. The main thing is that you want to catch the problem early! This means brushing your dog often and inspecting their coat. Fleas, ticks and mites are tiny black, brown crawling creatures that can even look like dirt. It may help for you to examine the fur under their ears and arms/legs. Fleas like warm places. You can also sea flea egg sacks and flea droppings in their fur if you look closely. If you still cannot see the fleas try combing your dog on a bright surface, something like a piece of paper should work well. This is a problem that needs to be treated right away. Instead of heading for the pet store to buy expensive over-the-counter treatments, sprays or dips you should rather seek professional help right away. It will save you time. Your vet should have some pamphlets or handouts about flea control. Some vets even prescribe oral treatments if the problem is out severe. If you choose to shop for the products yourself you will need to read the labels carefully to check that you are not inadvertently poisoning your pet! Never allow your pet to ingest any of the products you use; they are highly poisonous. It’s also important to protect their eyes from these harsh chemicals. There is a lot of disagreement about whether or not flea collars work. They tend to kill fleas in a localized area around the collar. It is important to treat your home for fleas as well. Fleas can survive in almost anything in your home-furniture, rugs and bedding. Any flea treatments will be pointless if the flea’s eggs or fleas themselves remain in your living space. To clean your home properly you will need to sanitize and clean the areas where the pet sleeps. Depending on the severity of the problem you may need to throw away blankets that have become infested with eggs. Often – just washing the affected bedding in hot water and some flea shampoo should do the trick. Rather safe than sorry though – if in doubt toss the bedding. Having to have your home fumigated will cost a lot more! Fleas can become a nightmare for any pet owner. Rather stop the problem early – check your pet everyday for fleas and regularly use a preventative product approved by your vet. Courtesy of Gary Allison

Dogs And Pets Provide Health Benefits

Do dogs provide health benefits? Believe it or not they do! Did you know that owning a dog and pet ownership in general, can help a person in many ways? Owning a pet can improve your mental wellness, reduce your visits to the doctor, improve your cardiovascular health and allow for faster recovery time from surgery as well as higher survival rates. Recent research suggests that dogs may be able to detect cancer on a person’s breath! Lets’ explore these amazing health benefits of pet ownership: It has been proven that dog owners have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels than non-dog owners. These factors, in turn, reduce the chance of cardiovascular diseases. In fact, just stroking a pet has long been known to reduce blood pressure. Furthermore, a study from the New York State University concluded that these benefits continue even without the pet being present! Hospital studies have shown that senior citizens and recent post-op patients respond better to treatment and recover faster while in contact with dogs and other therapy animals. Did you know that dog owners have a greater chance to survive a serious illness than non-dog owners? In fact, a study revealed that a pet affected a person’s survival rate even more than the presence or company of family members or friends! Studies conducted at Cambridge and UCLA concluded that there is a direct correlation between pet ownership and improved overall health, which leads to fewer visits to the doctor. The Journal of American Geriatrics Society notes that pet ownership has a positive effect on a senior’s physical and emotional well being. Additionally, a Medicare study of elderly patients also shows that people who own a dog have fewer doctor visits than patients who do not. Pet owners have better emotional health and mental wellness than people who do not own a pet. Pets offer unconditional love and affection and their presence alone helps reduce loneliness. For people who are isolated, disabled or handicapped, a pet offers friendship and can even add a element of safety to their lives. Dogs are used as a form of therapy in hospices, nursing homes and as companions for the disabled and blind. In fact, there are studies that prove that people with a major illness fight the stress of having the illness better by having a dog as a pet. There is new research that suggests that dogs may be able to detect certain types of cancer. Researchers at the Pine Street Foundation in San Anselmo, California and the Polish Academy of Sciences exposed dogs to breath samples from breast and lung cancer patients and samples from healthy people. They claim that the dogs were able to detect cancer with astonishing results and accuracy. The dogs were able to identify 99% of lung cancer breath samples (which included early stage cancer patients) as well as 88% of breast cancer samples. The study, which has been met with skepticism, will be released early in 2006 and published in the March edition of the Journal for Integrative Cancer Therapies. Experts agree that this holds promise, but must be evaluated and researched further. As you can see pet ownership or having a dog comes with many benefits for an individual. Owning a pet encourages social interaction, reduces stress levels, boosts self-confidence and self-esteem and encourages exercise. Having a pet is a great investment, not only in the joy and pleasure that the animal brings into your life, but the many health benefits that come with the territory! Courtesy of Robert Benson

Dogs Beg The Question: Is There Training Available For Our Human Friends?

The focus of many pet owners seems to be directed towards their animals, which makes a great deal of sense in most cases. However, when trying to correct unwanted behavior in your dog you might want to point that finger inward sometimes and have a little glimpse in the mirror. It is easy to become annoyed with your pet when you feel as though you have tried everything and nothing seems to work. Maybe your Boston Terrier continues to chew on your shoes or other objects while you are not at home. Perhaps the Maltese in your life still has accidents in the house rather than letting you know she needs to go outside. On the other hand, possibly you have a Yorkshire Terrier that snips at strangers, even guests in your home when they try to pet him. All of these and many other undesirable behaviors that dogs may posses can leave a pet owner feeling frustrated and at their wits end with their furry little friend. Have you ever considered though when faced with one of these situations that the dog is trying to communicate something to you? Is it possible that Sparky just feels neglected during those long days alone at home while you are at work? Sometimes we can have a big impact on our dogs if we look at our own behavior and consider what the pooch may be trying to tell us through their difficult behavior. Obviously dogs can not talk or speak with us as a human can when they need to communicate their feelings. That is not to say that canines are not vocal because as many of us know they can express quite a lot at times through their barking, growling or whining. However, to really pinpoint what the issue is for your pet you may find that you are the one that actually holds the answers. Dogs have a very keen awareness for their surroundings and the people in their environment. As most dog owners come to realize, the bond between your dog and you can be extremely strong. There are people who report that during a challenging illness or devastating time in their life that their dog responded as though they knew what was going on and they helped their owner through the rough time. Sometimes by just sitting near their owner or laying at their feet, other times dogs may whine and pace back and forth, especially when other people are around because they are trying to indicate that their owner needs help. Experts have even confirmed that dogs do have an ability to detect several human emotions and many of them will respond in unique ways. For example; when there is a lot of anger or arguing occurring within a household your dog may respond by acting up in a number of ways, which is not a problem with the dog but rather your pet is responding to the hostility and unpleasantness it senses in the house. Everyone goes through difficult periods in their life and it is obviously impossible to avoid exposing your dog to any anger or hostile situations throughout their life. The important thing to remember is that your situation and how you handle it is not your dog’s choice or within their area of responsibility. Dogs deserve and hopefully get, the majority of times anyway, a good, loving and stable home. They respond well to a structured environment, complete with rules and routines. If you typically get up each morning and walk your dog before you go to work and then you suddenly stop doing it all together, your dog will respond in some way, possibly a negative one. It is not the dog’s fault that you changed your behavior and they have no other way of communicating other than to chew up stuff or have an accident in the house as their way of saying, “hey what is going on.” In some cases dogs can even become depressed, this happens most frequently in situations where the dog was once loved and well cared for and then suddenly became ignored and forgotten about. It is really sad to see a dog that is in this form of doggy-depression because again, they did not ask to come to live with you, you chose them. There are obviously other concerns you must deal with when you are going through a difficult time, like loosing your job or going through a divorce, and you should always take care of the important aspects related to these situations. It is understandable that a dog can suddenly become a lower priority in your life however, if you are unhappy with their behavior because they are acting out in response to their environment; take that into consideration before disciplining your pet or giving up on them all together. Dogs may secretly harbor the desire to have all humans attend some sort of training school before they decide to become a pet owner, however, since that is not very likely to happen, remember to think about your own behavior when examining your dog’s. That precious pooch can sometimes be just what you need to get through a difficult time and maintaining their routine for their benefit can in many ways benefit you also. Courtesy of Gary Allison

Feeding Your Pit Bull Terrier The Right Dog Food

Pit Bull owners who love their pets obviously want to do what is best for them. They want them to have the best care possible and be happy. Part of providing the best care comes with providing the best nutrition. All of the different types of dog food produced can make deciding what is best difficult for owners. There are many selections that are very healthy and nutritional, while others are very unhealthy with little to no nutritional value. The most nutritional foods seem to be those offered by the larger companies, in part, because they routinely test for food quality and nutritional worth. Out of all the different types of food available, dry food tends to be the least pricey. Many owners prefer dry food because they have several dogs and it costs significantly less to feed them. The quality and nutrition of dry food varies dependent on the manufacturer. One advantage to dry food is that it can be purchased in large quantities and stored for quite some time, allowing the owner to avoid trips to the store. Being able to store the food also helps the wallet, if you purchase it in bulk when it is on sale. Dry food also is easier to prepare for your dog, as all you do is pour it into a bowl. It also doesn’t smell bad, which is a plus for owners of indoor dogs. Storing dry foods for long periods of time may affect the nutritional worth of the food. The semi-moist dog foods are usually made up of about twenty five percent water and meat products, making them very popular with most dogs, however, they are not very good for the dog’s teeth as they tend to be very high in sugar content. They are also high in preservatives and additives, which most owners would prefer to avoid. Semi moist food is usually the most expensive food to purchase. As with the dry food, it all varies with each manufacturer; ingredients, nutrition, quality, taste, are all different from brand to brand. Canned foods win the popularity bonus hands down. Canned foods offer a full meal in one can, which is often convenient for pet owners. They usually are made from animal by products, and contain more moisture than other dog foods. They often contain the least preservatives, and are the easiest food for dogs to digest. Purchasing canned food can be expensive, especially if your dog eats a lot, or if you have several to feed. As with buying any food, it is always recommended to read the labels, so that you know what the ingredients are. You don’t have to buy the most expensive food for it to be nutritional; you just need to be a smart shopper. It is important not to feed your Pit Bull too much, and to make sure he gets a lot of exercise. If you are still confused about the type of food that would be best, your veterinarian should be able to help. Courtesy of Tim Amherst

Helping Kids and Pets Develop 'Pawsitive' Relationships

Dogs, like children, are part of the family. But no matter what the dog’s temperament, families with young children should take some important safety precautions.For the children’s safety and the dog’s, it’s crucial that they learn how to play nicely with each other. Here are some suggestions: * Choose the right breed and personality. Generally the large breeds – labrador and golden retrievers and standard poodles – are tolerant of kids. But each dog is an individual, so ask the breeder or rescue shelter about the dog’s personality before you purchase or adopt. * Understand the pet’s behavior. Pets can become upset by too much stimulation. The Humane Society of the United States recommends teaching your kids to heed warning signs like hissing or lip curling, which indicate the animal wants to be left alone. * Teach the kids good manners. They should never disturb the dog while it’s eating, taking a nap or playing with its favorite toy. * Keep your pet calm. Some dogs get very excited and agitated when confronted by lots of kids. And older dogs can be frightened by the high-pitched sounds and quick motions of children playing. A product like Pluto Pet’s Pet Calming Spray may help your dog stay calm no matter how much activity is going on around it. Made from all-natural ingredients, the spray causes no side effects and meets all Food and Drug Administration guidelines for good manufacturing practices. * Keep an eye on things. Young children and dogs should always be supervised when together. And when your baby starts crawling, keep the dog by your side until it gets used to seeing a tiny human speeding across the floor. * Walk together. Children love holding a dog’s leash, but an adult should be there to supervise, according to the People and Dogs Society. A child may not be able to control even the most mild-mannered dog if it is approached by another dog. And children can tug too hard on the collar and leash, injuring the dog. * Demonstrate respect. Children should learn which parts of the dog’s body they can touch and pet and how to touch gently. For instance, your dog may love belly rubs and having its head stroked but resent having its feet or tail touched. Courtesy of NewsUSA

How To Remove Skunk Odor

Oh no! Your pet got sprayed by a skunk. What should you do now? The first thing many people think of is tomato juice. Don’t bother, because it doesn’t work. I will explain why later in this article. So, if tomato juice won’t work, then what will? A 2% solution of vinegar will help a little, but it won’t really do that much. You need to Neutralize the Skunk odor NOT mask it. Here is the formula to change the chemical structure of the compounds in skunk spray that make it smell so bad, and stick around for such a long time. The Formula was invented by Illinois chemist Paul Krebaum. By the way, this is not just for pets; it will work on you too, if you’re unlucky enough to get sprayed! Skunk Odor Removal Formula 1 quart 3% Hydrogen Peroxide (found in any drug store) ¼ cup Baking Soda (sodium bicarbonate) 1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap (like Dawn or Palmolive, but any similar dish soap will work) * This solution must be mixed in an OPEN wide mouth container like a bucket. It will bubble or fizz profusely, so DON’T mix it or store it in a closed container or bottle. This formula will produce pressure in a closed container and cause it to burst. Use it as soon as you make it, because it will lose all effectiveness if it is stored. It must be freshly made in order to work properly. * Wet your pet’s coat with warm water then thoroughly massage formula into pet’s coat. Be sure to massage it in very well so that you neutralize every trace of skunk spray. Be VERY careful not to get any of the formula into his eyes nose or mouth. You may use a wash cloth to CAREFULLY wipe it onto his face. Leave it on for about five minutes then rinse off thoroughly (do not get into eyes). Repeat if necessary. Your Pet’s Eyes Call your vet immediately if the skunk sprays your pet directly in the eyes. You will know because your pet’s eyes will be very red, irritated, and probably watery. The spray will make his eyes sting very badly. Your pet will not be permanently blinded but it is very painful. What Is Skunk Spray Made Of And Why Is It So Strong? Skunk spray contains compounds called Thiols and Thioacetates. Our noses are very sensitive to Thiols, so sensitive in fact that we can detect then in parts per billion! Thiols smell so horribly noxious because of the sulfur they contain. The Thioacetates in Skunk spray decompose very slowly into; you guessed it…..Thiols! So the reason that Skunk spray has such staying power and lingers for so long is because of the slow decomposition of Thioacetates into Thiols. In essence you are getting “timed release” Skunk odor because of the slow release of Thiols. Why Doesn’t Tomato Juice Work? You may have heard that tomato juice is the magic potion to get rid of Skunk odor, but it isn’t magic, it’s just an illusion. It is an illusion because strong odors such as Skunk tend to cause something called “olfactory fatigue”. Olfactory fatigue happens when an odor binds very strongly to the odor receptors in your nose. For example olfactory fatigue can occur if someone is wearing strong perfume and you are in the same room for an extended period of time. The odor receptors in your nose become fatigued and you stop noticing the smell, but if you leave the room for a while and return, you will notice the perfume again. The same thing happens with many other odors even strong cooking odors. So when you use tomato juice, perfume or room or fabric deodorizer sprays on skunk odor. One strong odor is replacing another and it fools your odor receptors. So if you use tomato juice or a deodorizer on your pet, chances are YOU will think your problem is solved but it isn’t. Just ask a friend or family member if they smell skunk. They will! What Do I Do About The Odor In And Around My House? Clothing, fabrics or surfaces that can withstand bleach may be deodorized by using one cup of bleach per gallon of water. NEVER USE BLEACH ON YOUR PET! You can also use the peroxide formula to remove the odors from washable items but please remember to spot check the item for color fastness. If the odor has drifted into the air in your home, try to air out your house as much as possible, time and ventilation will remove the smell. Any outdoor areas such as decks or concrete that can tolerate being bleached may be deodorized by using one cup of bleach per gallon of water. NEVER USE BLEACH ON YOUR PET! How To Avoid Getting Sprayed First of all never chase or corner a skunk! A skunk will give many clear warning signals before it sprays. If he feels threatened a skunk will stomp his front feet arch his back, turn and start to move away. If you do not move away or if you continue to threaten him, he will raise his tail and spray his “terrible perfume” as a defensive action. Courtesy of Karen Gluberman

How To Select Toys For Cats

In the next few paragraphs, we will explore new ideas and thoughts that may help you achieve your goal and decide what is best for you when choosing toys for your cats. Toys for girl cats and boys: When the mouse is away, cats play. And cats have the tendency to both play hard and play soft. Toys are to cats the same as toys are to dogs. It helps fight the boredom experienced by these pets as well as gives our feline friends the opportunity to practice and use their natural inclination to chase and hunt for prey. It also gives the cat owner that great chance to play with their pets, an experience that will aid in bonding their relationship. But what toys are best for cats? The following are tips and helpful advice to get that perfect toy for the cat owners perfect pets. Play safe: The good thing about cats is that they can play ball inside the house and the owners will never know it. Still, there may be things inside the house that cats could find attractive yet might actually endanger their health and safety. Houses must be cat-friendly. As much as possible, take away any string, yarn, needles, rubber bands or other objects that could easily be swallowed by cats. These things could be lethal to cats. Do not let them play with these articles no matter how cute they may appear to be. Play soft: Choose soft toys that can easily be machine-washed. It is best that the toys chosen to be played with by cats are also the toys marked as safe to be played with by children below three years old. Toys such as these usually contain fillings that are not hazardous. Also, avoid giving cats toys that are hard and rigid, these types do not appeal to them that much. Know your cat, know their toy: It is best that one also familiarize themselves with your cat. Doing so helps in ones selection of the kind of plaything that best serves the size of ones cat – the kind of activity the cat likes and its unique preferences. Know the environment in which the cat likes to spend its time the most. Choose active toys: Toys that are great to play with for cats are usually the round plastic ones (such as rings from shower curtains, plastic balls, golf balls, balls used in ping-pong) as these give cats the opportunity to chase and paw around. They could also carry these in their mouths, make sure though that these are big enough they cannot be swallowed but not so large that they cannot carry them in their mouths. Choose active play: Balls can be placed inside bath tubs filled with water. Watch as cats frolic and play on and around the toy. It is just as enjoyable to the cat as it is fun for the cat owner. Another added feature that could be placed on balls are bells. One not only sees how cats play, one could also listen and take pleasure in the playful sound. Another simple yet effective plaything for cats is a paper bag. Use paper bags that do not have handles. These bags are good for pouncing around. Cats hide in them too. As much as possible, avoid the plastic ones as cats have the tendency to chew these and they may eat the plastic. This is not good. Toys with tails: Cats like playing with soft toy animals – specially the ones that have tails. They either bite them, paw them or chase these little stuffed toys around. It is best if these toys are as big or as small as the cats playing them. Toys with catnip: Catnip is sometimes used as stuffing for toys that are soft. Putting catnip in such playthings make the toys more enjoyable to carry, kick and throw around. More importantly, it is safe for cats to chew on, roll around in, or eat. It is okay for owners to place catnip on carpeted floors, or (to make clean-up easy) on towels. There are now catnip oils that can be placed on carpets, and they usually stay there. Cats detect these too. Although small cats, specifically kittens who are younger than six months have shown a certain kind of immunity to catnip. All in all, it is best that cat owners define what kind of toy should be played by their cats. It is advisable that different kinds of toys be given on certain days, and that displaying all toys simultaneously may not be a good idea. Cats can easily tire of seeing the same fluffy toy animal again and again. Variety always works best. However if cats show a certain liking to a specific toy, let them play with it, or sleep with it – whichever they like. In closing, it will benefit you to seek out other resources on this topic if you feel that you don’t yet have a firm understanding of the subject matter. Courtesy of Ken Charnely

How To Spot A Great Pit Bull Breeder: 7 Signs Of A Good Dog Breeder

If you are searching for a Pit Bull terrier puppy but are unsure about where to look for one, this is an important article for you to read. Many people are afraid to ask questions when they speak with breeders and this is the first hurdle that you need to get over. It is vital for you to ask questions when you are speaking with different breeders. Below is a list that I’ve created of some very important things you should look for and ask of the Pit Bull terrier breeders you’re considering doing business with. Does the breeder breed several different types of dogs? This can often be a red flag and you should try to stick with breeders who only work with American Pit Bull Terriers. A responsible Pit Bull breeder will be able to tell you the negative characteristics and health issues of his breeding line and also what he has done over the years to improve that aspect of his dogs. Can the breeder thoroughly explain to you how he selects dogs for breeding and what characteristics they will most likely throw? How often does the breeder have litters of puppies? Breeders who have many, many litters each year may not be a good choice. Is the breeder involved with Pit Bulls on a larger scale than just breeding them? Does the breeder keep in touch with those who have purchased puppies from him? Breeders who sell pups and then have no idea where they end up should be avoided. Where does the breeder keep his puppies at before they are sold? Are they well socialized? There are many other things that you could ask the Pit Bull breeders that you speak with, however the above list will give you an excellent start and greatly improve the chances that you’ll end up with an excellent Pit Bull terrier puppy. Courtesy of Tim Amherst

Indoor/Outdoor Cats

The Indoor/Outdoor issue is a very controversial one among animal caretakers and humane societies. Approximately 50 percent of U.S. cats now live indoors and most shelters and humane societies would like to make that 100 percent. In fact most will not adopt cats into homes if the cats will be allowed outdoors at all, and this even includes feral cats and barn cats. Now let me start by saying that we believe cats should be kept safe at all times. Having said that I also believe that their lives should be of the highest-quality, and that they should enjoy their lives. To me this means that if you keep your cats indoors, they be provided with toys, scratching posts, a window seat, and a cat tree for climbing. The cat is very adaptable and most cats, if they live in a house where their caretakers are sensitive to their feline needs and who have created a happy and pleasant environment for their cats, will live a happy and contented life. However, there can be some problems for certain cats, and Dr Nicholas Dodman of Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine and Roger Tabor, British biologist and cat expert, both note that American cats sometimes have higher rates of anxiety-related problems which they think may be related to cats living indoors with no effort being made to find outlets for their natural instincts. Holistic veterinarians Dee Blanco and Don Hamilton feel that most cats confined indoors will not attain their healthiest and happiest state. In their practice they have noticed an increase of urinary tract problems, vomiting and stress-related problems, which they attribute to the indoor existence. Author Patricia Curtis notes in her book THE INDOOR CAT: “This is not to say that confinement can create no problems at all. The indoor cat of an uninformed and negligent owner may be neurotic, extremely unhappy, and in poor health. Some owners have unrealistic expectations of their cats; some are just indifferent. It is known that among zoo animals confinement can be a powerful stress factor… . A domestic cat confined to a house or apartment will, in certain circumstances, develop stress symptoms. ” The indoor cat may present an unwary owner with problems that stem from its situation. It may tend to chew up house plants when its craves grass, sharpen its claws on furniture for lack of tree bark, and climb the draperies or leap to the top shelf of a cabinet of breakable treasures to achieve the lofty vantage point cats enjoy. All of these traits can be dealt with successfully, to the satisfaction of both…” One of the major reasons that nonlethal control of feral cat colonies is so contentious in the U.S. is because of the prevailing attitudes towards outdoor cats in the U.S. Many shelters find it difficult to accept ANY outdoor cats, even feral cats. Loretta Smith called me from a rural area in Pennsylvania. Loretta and her husband owned a farm and loved cats but both were allergic to cats, yet enjoyed their company, so they usually kept a few barn cats. After the last two died of old age, Loretta went to her local animal shelter and asked to adopt a few feral cats or any cats with behavioral problems who were likely to be euthanized, to live in her barn. Her offer was rejected. She was told the shelter would rather euthanize the cats than allow her to take barn cats. A few weeks later she read about ACR needing farm homes for ferals and called me They had a perfect setting for ferals: an excellent large barn with a large cage for the short confinement period. The couple spent a lot of time during the next month befriending the ferals I took them. They sent me weekly updates about the progress being made! In fact two years later, we are still in touch and Loretta loves sharing the latest stories about her barn cats! Our position is NOT that everyone should open their doors and allow their cats out to roam around outside! We do believe that many cats, especially if given a stimulating environment, can live quite contentedly indoors, especially in areas that are unsafe for outdoor cats. For those who want to allow their cats outdoors, we promote a safe cat fence, or an outdoor enclosure. What we do have difficulties with, however, is accepting policies that would rather euthanize ferals than allow them to live a good life in responsible care in an outdoor situation. Or when policies are in force that do not to allow nonlethal control of feral cats on the basis of “no-outdoor-cats” policies. One of the main problems with outdoor cats is not that they are living outdoors, but that many outdoor cats are NOT neutered. This is the main cause of cat fights, and thus wound infections and viral infections, roaming across busy roads, getting hit by cars, and getting lost. If colonies of feral cats are sterilized, most of these problems do not exist to any great extent. This brings us to address the question of managed and controlled feral cat colonies. Most adult feral cats are very unhappy living in homes. Some do adjust, others spend their lives living under beds and couches. These cats are impossible to medicate and trips to the veterinarian are difficult, if you can even catch the cat at all. Also, with the sheer number of feral cats living in colonies, it would simply be impossible to find enough homes or sanctuaries for them. Authorities must begin to accept outdoor feral cats as part of the urban landscape so the millions of volunteer feeders and caretakers will be better able to quickly and expediently sterilize the feral population to help make them healthier and safer. Courtesy of Animal Alley Rescue

Is Pet Dental Health Really Important?

Many veterinarians stress the importance of oral hygiene because tooth and gum problems are common medical conditions seen in pets. If left unchecked, an unhealthy mouth can affect the liver, kidneys, heart and even the brain. So when you lean in to give your pet a smooch, ask yourself “Does my pet need a breath mint?” Studies show that 98% of pets with bad breath are suffering from severe plaque build up. Bad breath not only means that your pet’s mouth may be a warehouse for unhealthy bacteria, tartar and plaque, but it can also point to unhealthy intestines. In addition, the quality of your pet’s food can contribute to the status of your pet’s breath. Low quality food can cause digestive problems, thus promoting bad breath. Can I Share My Toothpaste With My Pet? Absolutely not! Pets aren’t like us: they swallow whatever you use to clean their teeth. Human toothpaste simply isn’t edible. Nor is the heavy minty flavor really desirable to pets. Human toothpaste can give your pet some serious stomach problems. Did you know? Certain breeds of dogs and cats are genetically predisposed to unhealthy teeth and gums? For example, the Maltese is the number one dog breed with tooth and gum problems. In the cat world, the Siamese and the Abyssinian, charming as they are, have serious tooth problems and often get some of their teeth pulled during their youth. Other factors include viruses, bacteria and not enough abrasive foods. It all starts with the gums looking almost red, and some of the teeth coated with tartar. When it comes to your pet’s mouth, don’t take anything for granted. When you examine your pet, slowly open his mouth with your fingers and ask yourself the following questions: Does his breath smell like he just raided a rotten fish market? Are any of his canines or molars discolored (gray, brown or green)? (Keep in mind that a pet’s teeth may be yellow due to early antibiotics like tetracycline—totally normal.) Are his gums swollen and bright pink or angry red like a lobster with a sunburn? Note that normal colored gums should be light to medium pink. For some dark colored cats and dogs, gums may be gray. Do you see any sores on the gums, particularly if you have a cat? They’ll look like craters on the top or bottom gum or lip. Are his bottom teeth worn down like the soles of a shoe? Do you see any swelling or sores on his face around the lips, under the eyes or nose? Bad teeth can result in a manifestation of external sores. If you have a puppy or a kitten, do you see any double teeth? Is he drooling like a newborn? Keep in mind that some dogs always drool, like the St. Bernard. If your pet is experiencing excessive drooling but doesn’t usually, it could indicate some problem. Has he lost weight recently as a result of not eating enough? It’s also important to observe your pet’s behavior as far as food is concerned. Has your pet been approaching his food bowl reluctantly? Has he been eating slower than usual and has he exhibited trouble biting hard things? Does your dog or cat cry during or after eating? Does your cat have the tendency to pick up food, spit it out, pick it up again and finally throw it to the back with his tongue? If you’ve nodded your head to two or more of any of the questions above, then it’s clear that your pet has some dental health issues! You must take your pet to your veterinarian right away for an oral examination. Courtesy of Lon Matthews

Keep Your Pet Calm In Stormy Weather

Why do some animals seem to know before we do that a storm’s coming? One theory is that they can sense changes in barometric pressure. For house pets, as well as animals in the wild, tiny environmental changes warn of danger, and instinct tells them to flee. But even when safely indoors, many animals are frightened by thunder. Here are some tips for weathering those inevitable storms: * Let cats hide. Make sure your cat has access to its favorite hiding place and let it stay there until the storm’s over. Otherwise, frightened cats may bite or scratch to defend themselves. * Create a safe place for your dog. If it feels safest under your bed, make sure your dog has access to your bedroom. The Humane Society of the United States suggests creating a hiding place that’s small, dark and shielded as much as possible from frightening sounds. Put some food near the hiding place so your dog will associate it with pleasant experiences. And encourage it to go there as soon as you hear thunder rumbling in the distance. Never force your pet to go to the hiding place, and be sure it’s not trapped there and can leave at any time. * Help your pet relax with a supplement. Calming products, like Pluto Pet’s Pet Calming Spray, will relieve your animal’s fear and nervousness. Made from natural ingredients, it acts quickly, causes no side effects and meets all Food and Drug Administration guidelines for good manufacturing practices. * Create white noise. HSUS suggests turning on a fan, radio or television near your animal’s hiding place to block out the sound of thunder. * Distract your pet. A game of fetch, for example, can take the dog’s mind off the thunder. * Act like nothing’s wrong. If you reassure your pet with treats, HSUS says, it will associate fearful behavior with rewards. * Don’t crate your pet. A frightened dog can injure itself in a crate. Courtesy of NewsUSA

Meet The Akita - Akita Inu

The Akita is a large dog weighing between 75 and 120 pounds and up to 28″ in height. Of the Japanese Spitz-type breeds, the Akita is the largest. Pronounced AH-ki-ta in Japan and a-KEE-ta in the western world, the Akita is a powerful, top notch watchdog and protector of his family and territory. The AKC recognizes Akitas in any color including pinto, white or brindle. Colors are clear and brilliant. All white Akitas do not have a mask whereas other colors tend to have one. The soft, undercoat can be a different color than the outer coat. The harsh, thick outer coat requires regular grooming. This large, energetic dog is extremely protective of family and territory. For this reason, they might be aggressive to other animals and children that they don’t know if they feel that their territory is being invaded. They do best with older, well behaved children and are not recommended for children who might mistreat or tease them. They should be kept in a fenced in yard and never allowed to roam free. The Akita can be a loving, affectionate dog when properly treated. Early training and socialization is highly recommended for this breed. They require regular exercise and love to be with their family. The Akita is a native of Japan and dates back to the 1600s to the Island of Honshu. It is the national dog of Japan and highly revered by the Japanese. You can find statues and Akita art throughout the country. Originally used as a military dog, guard dog and hunting dog, the Akita has not lost these watchdog instincts. Helen Keller was the first person in the US to own an Akita. A breed with such a high instincts to protect and patrol his surroundings makes for an awesome guard dog. Depending on your family dynamics, the Akita may be ideal for your pet companion needs. Those with lots of other pets or small children might want to do more research before bringing and Akita into your home. Courtesy of Dakota Dog

The Training of Puppies

Training puppies too early can be difficult. But, if you do not train him early, he will very quickly have the run of the house. Training puppies is necessary because it saves you trouble later. Most dog owners skip this because we all know that dog training takes some effort. If you could teach a puppy in a month, you would be happy. But training a dog well is a longer task. Just because your dog looks cute as a puppy do not let this deter you from training him early. In training puppies, there are some do’s and don’ts. Do Provide the puppy with consistent access to the toilet area. If you are training your puppy at home take him to his toilet area every 45 minutes or so. If you are not at home make sure you help your puppy make as few ‘mistakes’ as possible, by giving him a puppy friendly environment. Every time your puppy does something ‘good’, give him a reward. If he eliminates his waste in the toilet area, praise him and give him a treat. He will then recognize that his actions were right and aim for more because of the reward he will get. Make sure your rewards immediately follow the good action. Feed your puppy just like you feed yourself. If you eat regularly, set aside food for him. It is important to train your puppy the right time to eat. This will prevent him from begging for food from your plates. Be patient in training your puppies. Relapses will take place, but patience and perseverance are key. Remember your dog wants nothing more than to please you. After he is fully trained and it will be worth the while. Don’t Shout at your puppy when he makes mistakes. Especially when dogs are young as this can cause frights that can stay with the dog as it gets older. When house training your dog, don’t leave water and food out all the time. If he drinks a lot, he will urinate more frequently. You will have to allow for more mistakes to be made. Always watch the actions of your puppy and reinforce the good behavior many times throughout the day. It is not proper to let him run around as if he owns the house. If he does so, he will carry that attitude until he grows up. Remembering some of these simple tips can make your puppy a better trained dog and a more enjoyable pet. Courtesy of Simon Oliver

Pet Owners Embrace Natural Food Trend

For many people, their pets are their best friends who deserve the best care possible. This includes feeding them a high-quality food to ensure they are getting all the nutrition they need to be healthy inside and out. Last year, U.S. consumers spent nearly $15 billion on food for their pets, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association. And as more people choose organic and natural foods for themselves, they are also choosing natural foods for their pets. Industry research shows that natural and organic pet food products are growing at 20 percent a year. That growth promises to be even stronger with the arrival of natural pet foods on supermarket shelves. Previously, such foods were available only from pet specialty and natural food retailers. Purina One Natural Blends, launched in March, is the first natural pet food with broad national distribution in grocery stores and mass merchandisers, as well as pet specialty retailers. “The growth of natural products is making its way to the pet food aisle, as more and more responsible owners are making the same healthy food choices for their pets as they are for themselves,” said Warren Eckstein, an internationally known pet and animal expert and Purina One spokesman. Purina One Natural Blends dog and cat food is made with high-quality, natural ingredients formulated to deliver a healthy difference in pets’ energy level, skin and coat, teeth, gums and digestion. The line features Chicken and Oat Meal and Lamb and Barley formulas for dogs and a Chicken and Oat Meal formula for cats. The ingredients are carefully selected for their nutrient content and steam-cooked at the start at an optimal time and temperature to help maintain vitamins, minerals and flavors, according to the manufacturer. All include protein sources to help support strong muscles; whole grains for digestive health; and omega fatty acids from natural sources, including canola and soy oils for healthy skin and coat. Courtesy of NewsUSA

Pit Bull Puppy Potty Training: 7 Important Things To Watch

Potty training your Pit Bull puppy the right way takes time and a lot of patience. Many different things come in to play as you are going through the housebreaking process. If you’ve been trying to housebreak your new Pit Bull terrier pup but have been having major problems, then this article is for you. It is very possible that you have missed some of the more important points when it comes to puppy potty training. To help you out, I have created the following list. Take a minute to read it and see if you spot some things you may not be doing correctly. Are you writing down your dog’s potty habits so that you can easily spot trends and correct them? Is the entire family on the same page when it comes to training routine? Consistent repetition is vital to the potty training process, if you are missing this element you are destined to fail! Are you going outside with your puppy to confirm that he is going potty when he’s in the yard? Are you using a crate or gate to confine your Pit Bull pup when you can’t keep an eye on him? Are you giving your little pup full run of the house? Do you have unrealistic expectations of your Pit puppy and then harshly scold him when he messes in the house? Do you keep your puppy’s feeding times and portions the same every single day? It is important to be consistent and don’t give him extras such as treats, etc. As you can see, there are many areas which are easy to make errors in and a new dog owner must be very careful not to skip over any of these steps when trying to house train their new puppy. Courtesy of Tim Amherst

Pit Bull Terrier Crate Training

Many people believe that crate training a dog is cruel and unusual punishment. Nothing could be further from the truth however. Most dogs find that having their own “space” is comforting and gives them a feeling of security. Before we talk more about crate training, I need to point out that it should never be used as a form of punishment. Also, a crate is not a substitute for spending time with your dog and don’t ever fall into the trap of leaving your Pit in his crate for more than 4 hours at a time. Many dog owners use crates improperly and end up with more problems than they initially started with. First, it is important to identify the problem that you are trying to solve by crate training your Pit Bull. Is it potty training? Chewing and destroying things while left unattended? The next thing that you need to do is prepare your dog’s crate. Make it comfortable for him and place some bedding, a few toys, and give them access to a small amount of water. If you notice that your dog starts to get uncomfortable in his crate, make sure to take him out outside so he can relieve himself. Once he does, remember to praise him excitedly. Crate training your dog will take some time and a little bit of patience, especially if you have a stubborn Pit. When first beginning the crate training routine, it is not uncommon for the dog to whine or bark. The biggest mistake that many owners make is feeling sorry for the dog and letting them out of the crate. Whatever you do, don’t do this. Your Pit Bull needs to know that barking is not the solution and he needs to take some time to get comfortable in his new environment. Crate training is a responsible practice that all dog owners should use. It provides a safe place for the dog to hang out and relax and it maintains order around the house at the same time. I strongly encourage you to start a crate training routine with your Pit Bull terrier today!

Pit Bull Terrier Puppies And Excessive Barking: Dog Training Tips

As an owner of a Pit Bull puppy, you have probably already encountered one of his annoying habits, barking. Dogs bark for various reasons, and there is no one solution to solve the problem. Many Pit Bulls bark at night, bark when you are away from home, bark at the ringing telephone, and some just bark all of the time. The easiest way to stop your Pit Bull puppy from barking at nighttime is just to ignore him. Your Pit Bull puppy has probably learned he will gain your attention if he barks during the night. It may take several nights of ignoring his barking to get him trained to stop, but in the end it will buy some valuable sleep time once he stops. By jumping out of bed every time your Pit Bull puppy barks at something, you are teaching him that you will come when he barks, therefore reinforcing the habit. Most of the time, not all the time, your Pit Bull puppy’s barking while you are away is due to an irresponsible owner. If you teach your Pit Bull that he can have free reign of the house, and if you are constantly playing with him and giving him your attention, then of course, he is going to be upset when you have to leave, because the fun ends. The best way to curb this behavior is by ignoring your Pit Bull when it is time to leave. I am not saying to never pay attention to him, but stop about ten minutes or so before it is time for you to go. Then when you come home, do something else for the first few minutes so he doesn’t think he got you to come home by barking. Going straight to a barking puppy as soon as you enter the house will only serve to make him think that if he barks you will come home sooner, making the problem worse. For some reason, some Pit Bull puppies like to bark at a ringing telephone. It is important not to yell at your Pit Bull if he does this, as it will usually only make him bark more. You will need to enlist some help from a friend to teach him not to do this. Have your friend call you several times, and ignore the phone when it rings. After doing this for a few calls, your Pit Bull will probably stop barking when the phone rings. If your Pit Bull seems to bark all the time for no reason, he probably has not had significant socialization training, or has been left to his own devices too long by his owner. Pit Bulls crave love and attention, and don’t do well in very busy households. It is important to get socialization for your puppy beginning at around eight weeks of age, and that will help curb the barking. Courtesy of Tim Amherst

Pit Bull Terrier Puppy Dog Training Tips

When training your Pit Bull terrier puppy, there are several problems you might encounter. By becoming familiar with these problems and probable solutions, you will be better able to deal with them should they arise. Some Pit Bull terrier puppies have problems with what is known as submissive urination. If your puppy has a habit of squatting to urinate when you approach him, it is known as submissive urination. This is not an issue related with a training problem, it is caused by your puppy being insecure. The puppy for whatever reason, feels intimated or scared of you. The first inclination is to punish your puppy for this problem, but it will probably only make the situation worse. You have to find a way to make your puppy feel comfortable around you. Giving him treats as you approach him may help, crouching as you come near, anything to get his attention away from you should solve the problem. Many small puppies will have a hard time learning to control their bladder when they get excited. There is no treatment or training that will solve this, the puppy will outgrow it over time. As the puppy grows and gets older, his bladder muscles will get stronger and this problem should go away. Again, if you punish your Pit Bull puppy for this, you will probably make the problem worse, or cause it to develop into other issues. One common problem with many puppies, not just Pit Bull puppies, is that they like to chew on everything. Many owners get rid of their puppies because they like to chew up their belongings, furniture, shoes, etc. Providing your puppy with lots of chew toys may help with this. Another fix may be to try to keep anything you consider valuable out of the puppy’s reach, much as you would do with children. Most puppies chew and bite because they are having teething pain, and this to often goes away as the puppy gets older. A good Pit Bull terrier owner will learn to be patient with all of these little problems, and work through them as they arise. Devoting time out of your day to play and bond with your puppy may help or eliminate some of these issues. It is important to always try to stay positive, being negative or punishing your dog does make these problems worse. Time is often the best solution, as you and your new puppy are both adjusting to someone new. Courtesy of Tim Amherst

Pit Bull Terriers And Separation Anxiety: Understanding Your Dog

As any Pit Bull owner will tell you, Pit Bulls are very social and crave a lot of time and attention from their owners. They are very devoted and loving. Pit Bulls often have a hard time coping when their owners have to leave them alone. Your Pit Bull doesn’t understand that although you love him very much, you cannot stay with him all of the time. It is important to train them well, so that they can better deal with this separation anxiety. Pit bulls will often suffer from separation anxiety for a number of different reasons. Often, if you have had your Pit Bull since it was a puppy, and if you have a strong bond, he is just unable to deal with you being away from him. This is often made worse if you have always made it a point to keep your pit bull at your side, and then all of a sudden are unable to. Young puppies will occasionally suffer from separation anxiety when they are taken away from their mother. Pit Bulls don’t know how to handle the symptoms of separation anxiety, and will often give in to destructive behavior to try to make themselves feel better. If they have free reign in your house while you are gone, they may give in to the urge to chew on your furniture or belongings that are in reach. If you are gone for a long period of time, or if your Pit Bull is highly susceptible to stress, he may also suffer from diarrhea, nausea, and may use the potty in the house when he is otherwise housebroken. Most dogs suffering from a case of separation anxiety will show symptoms usually in the first hour or so the owner is away. There are a few things that caring owners can do to help ease or eliminate separation anxiety in their Pit Bulls. Crate training is often very helpful because it gives the Pit Bull his own safe space, so that he will feel comfortable and secure usually even if you are not around. Sometimes having a special chew toy that you only give your Pit Bull when you have to leave may help eliminate anxiety, or at least give him something safe to chew on while you are away. Some owners also say that leaving a radio or television on while they are away also helps. Pit Bulls that have went thru obedience training courses generally are less affected by separation anxiety. In extreme cases of separation anxiety that seem untreatable, your veterinarian may be able to prescribe some medication to help, at least in dealing with the symptoms. He may also recommend other methods of keeping your Pit Bull calm when you are away that may be successful. Pit Bulls crave a lot of love and attention, so sometimes all it takes is a little extra time from you when you are home to make them feel better when you have to be away. Courtesy of Tim Amherst

Pit Bull Terriers: What Are The Best Dog Toys?

It is important to provide your Pit Bull with toys that are safe for him. Due to the strength and aggression that Pit Bulls naturally have, it is often hard for owners to find suitable toys that are strong enough to hold up to the dog. Many Pit Bulls are also hard to please when it comes to toys, they want just the right size, shape, and texture, or they won’t have anything to do with it. Purchasing toys that are Pit Bull suitable can get expensive, but can often help prevent your Pit Bull from chewing up your belongings. Many Pit Bull owners prefer a toy called the Galileo Bone. It is produced by Nylabone, and proves to be able to hold up pretty well with the average Pit Bull. AT least, it lasts long enough to kind of make you feel like you have gotten your money’s worth. Nylabone also makes the Crazy Ball, which is also a really tough toy designed for Pit Bulls. Kong toys can in many different sizes and colors, and many can be stuffed with your Pit Bull’s favorite treats. They have tremendous durability, so are especially great for Pit Bulls that like to chew a lot. Most Pit Bulls will occupy themselves for hours with these toys. Many companies also produce interactive toys, some of which are tough enough to withstand your Pit Bull. These toys hold his interest with sounds and lights, usually good for a few hours of play before he gets bored with it. Plush toys are also good for some Pit Bulls, it is important to make sure that you purchase one that doesn’t have small parts that could easily be chewed off and swallowed. These are probably toys that you would want to supervise your Pit Bull playing with, or use them to just play fetch with. Rope toys can soon become a favorite for you both. They help to clean your Pit Bull’s teeth, and can be great for fetch. They work well for getting you involved in your Pit Bull’s play, as they work great for tug of war matches. It is important to keep in mind when pulling that you need to be careful not to pull too hard, as you may accidentally break one of your Pit Bull’s teeth. Balls are popular with almost any dog, again the important thing here is to purchase one that is made of material durable enough to hold up to your Pit Bull. Larger balls will probably work better, as they will be harder for him to get in his mouth. Toys are a necessity for your Pit Bull. Just keep in mind your Pit Bull’s personality and strength, so that you can buy the best toy for him. There are several sites online that sell toys suited for Pit Bulls, or your local pet supply may have them as well. Courtesy of Tim Amherst

Reasons For Neutering Your Cat

Cats are warm blooded carnivorous mammals and they certainly feed on protein-rich meat. They are predators and hunters and they usually prey upon rats and mice. Cats are also known for their great fighting skills. Some can even win a fight against snakes. And cats survive in almost all climates and geographical conditions. Historians cannot pinpoint nor describe the details of how and when the first cat was domesticated. What is known, however, is that domesticated cats have existed for more than five thousand years now. According to biologists, the modern domestic cat is either a direct descendant or a subspecies of the African Wildcat. And this is why the domestic cat belongs to the genus Felis. Some artifacts indicated that the domestic cats first appeared in ancient Egypt. Today, these cats have occupied all continents, Asia, Europe, and America, except for Antarctica. And they have evolved into over fifty different breeds. Being one of the most popular pets in the world, cats are certainly not listed as endangered species. Female cats are also known to produce an average of three kittens about twice a year. Thus, the spaying and neutering of cats cannot hurt their world population. A spayed and neutered cat will be to the advantage of the owner’s house. Cats that are not altered, especially the female ones, may just spray their urine in areas that they consider their territory. All owners of cats are too familiar with the obnoxious smell of the urine. And no matter how much cleaning one does, the smell can never be entirely removed, especially from carpets, bedding, upholstery, and furniture made of wood. The urine of neutered cats is less smelly and these cats may not even consider marking many territories in the house. When not neutered, a female cat in heat will howl terrible noises at inappropriate hours, like midnight or dawn. The noises will be eagerly answered by male cats that howl outside your door. You will certainly lose your sleep. And your neighbors may not be too happy about all the racket. These cats in heat will be restless and will forget whatever toilet training you may have taught it. And such condition can last up to three weeks and occur three or more times a year. Some cats who are not neutered may choose to roam far away from your house. This will cause you endless worry. And you certainly have reason to do so. Your cat will be facing cat fights and fast-moving cars. When in danger, dogs tend to run away. But cats stay frozen in its place. This is why many cats are run over by vehicles. Neutered cats, on the other hand, will always stay in your house. They will be more content and less restless. They will also have longer life spans. Courtesy of Grace Palce

Guidelines for Veterinarians Treating Feral Cats

Alley Cat Rescue and its network of colony caretakers and veterinarians have successfully trapped and sterilized tens of thousands of feral cats. This section is meant as a guide for veterinarians and their staff who may not previously have worked with feral cats. Feral cats are usually difficult to handle, and the less handled, the safer for veterinary staff and for the cats. Feral cats can be treated without mishaps by implementing these guidelines. Preliminary Plans When planning a colony management program, the client should consult a veterinarian before trapping. The size and health of the colony should be assessed. As it is difficult to guarantee that cats will be trapped on a predictable schedule, flexibility to receive cats is needed. ACR recommends that clinics draft a list of what they require of clients. This should include hours of operation, that the cat should remain in a trap, and what procedures need to be performed. Remember the cats’ well being is very important, or the objective of trying to help may be entirely lost. No cat should be left in any danger or allowed to become too stressed. They should be left alone to recover, with traps or cages covered, and with little human contact after surgery. Fund Raising and Payment Plans Payment plans should be worked out ahead of time. Both client and veterinarian must remember that, while clinics cannot function without adequate remuneration, a client attempting to control a colony usually has limited resources and is working to help resolve a community problem using their own funds. A workable plan usually can be devised to suit veterinarians and caretakers. ACR can provide information on how to raise money to help pay veterinary expenses. There are also national low-cost sterilization programs available. Veterinarians can participate in the Friends of Animals subsidized program (800-321-PETS), which reimburses veterinarians for part of their surgical costs. SPAY/ (800-243-SPAY) maintains a national registry for low-cost services. Equipment & Handling Having the proper equipment is vital when working with feral cats. Special traps, squeeze-side cages, restraint modules, and cages to house the cats after surgery are all necessary. All equipment containing feral cats must have large notices attached, reading “ Warning! …This Cat May Bite.” A small “transfer” cage which fits against the sliding door of the trap can be used to move the cat if necessary. Some veterinarians tranquilize the cat by tipping the trap on its side. It is easier to immobilize ferals while still in their traps. These cats should be handled only when tranquilized. Hazards to Humans All those dealing with feral cats should have pre-exposure rabies vaccinations. Any bites to humans should be washed thoroughly, and treated immediately to prevent infection. Other health hazards are covered in ACR’s Zoonotic Diseases. Testing for Viral Diseases Each colony caretaker, shelter, and veterinarian must come to their own decisions about how they wish to spend their resources, and if they should run these tests. Testing for viral diseases such as FeLV and FIV in feral cat colonies should be optional and not mandatory. The reasons for this are: 1. The rate of infection in feral cats is very low, 4% for FeLV—2% for FIV. Based on statistics provided by Julie Levy, DVM Operation Catnip, North Carolina, Feline Medicine Club, University of California at Davis, and Alley Cat Rescue’s colony stats in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area. 2. Funds for sterilization programs are usually limited. Therefore resources may be better spent on sterilization and rabies shots, and not on testing. The time taken to collect blood and run tests and the cost of testing may be better spent on sterilization if, as a nation, we are going to reduce the feral cat population (between 60 and 100 million) to any great extent. FeLV is primarily spread from infected mother cats to kittens and FIV is mostly spread among fighting tomcats through deep bite wounds. Spaying and neutering therefore will decrease the spread of these infections. Mass screening of healthy cats can result in large numbers of false positives. As there is no reliable test for FIP, this is also not recommended. Also, because FIP is mainly spread through the feces of cats, it is found mainly in catteries and crowded shelters, less in feral cat colonies. Euthanasia Criteria for euthanasia should be established before trapping begins. Most adult ferals are very healthy. They may only need to be dewormed and some may need antibiotics for URI or for wounds. If feral cats survive to adulthood, they are usually very healthy, robust cats, and often immune to local diseases. What To Do If Feral Cats Escape If a feral cat escapes from the trap or cage while in the clinic, a special net available from Animal Care & Equipment Services (ACES) can be used for recapture. Under no circumstances should anyone try to catch the cat by hand. Do not attempt to throw a towel or blanket over the cat. This is dangerous and the cat can still attack. These cats are wild and should be treated with caution. If the cat hides in an inaccessible place, it is best to set a trap baited with tuna. Cats can be left for 4 to 5 days without food to make them hungry enough to enter the trap, but water should be left for them outside the trap. Surgery Sometimes it is difficult to know whether cats have eaten before being trapped for surgery. In the United Kingdom, where these programs have been implemented for over three decades, flank incisions are recommended for females (who are not pregnant) as this could possibly lessen the chance of infection and evisceration. However most U.S. veterinarians use the midline incision, dissolvable sutures with surgical glue. Teeth should be examined and any decayed teeth removed. A long-lasting antibiotic should be given to both male and female cats to treat underlying infections. Wounds, eye and ear infections should also be treated. If antibiotics are needed after release, they should be given to the caretakers who can mix crushed tablets or liquid medication into moist food. Anesthetics A number of good general anesthetics such as Telazol and Atropine along with Valium are available for smooth surgical procedures with a minimum of post-surgical trauma. Some veterinarians use an injectable combination of Telazol, Ketamine, and Xylazine. In the cases of pregnancy and excessive blood loss, the cat should receive 100 ml of subcutaneous fluids. A few days of recovery with antibiotic treatment is recommended before releasing the cat. Sutures Absorbable sutures should be used to avoid the trauma of having to re-trap female feral cats for suture removal. Recommended: Coated Vicryl or Ethicon PDS II (internally); Nexaband S/C (externally). Vaccinations ACR recommends a three-year rabies vaccine for cats one year old and over. Usually one injection of a four-way vaccine—feline distemper, along with viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus and chlamydiosis is given as well. Eartipping All feral cats, while still under general anesthetic for neutering, should have the top quarter inch of their left ear removed. The shape of this ear is then unmistakable, even from a distance. It must be emphasized that if too much of the pinna is removed the ear looks “cropped” and may be aesthetically unacceptable to the cat caretakers. If too little is removed, the cat will not be identifiable from a distance. Also, if the cut is not straight, the silhouette is not distinctive enough. Eartipping allows the caretaker to easily spot any new cat entering the colony, and neutered cats will not have to be retrapped. Any eartipped cat trapped in error can be identified within the trap and released. Homeostasis may be achieved in several ways: by following the cut with digital pressure, electrocautery, or application of a styptic or drying antiseptic powder. It is important that eartipping become common practice. ACR is promoting widespread publicity for left eartipping as the preferred universal method for identifying neutered feral cats belonging to controlled colonies. Some cats are ear clipped with a “V” shape, but this can be confused with an injury to the ear from a catfight. Eartipping is vital for identification and can save the animals life. If an eartipped cat is caught by animal control they will know that the cat comes from a managed colony and the cat can then be returned to the caretaker. Ear tags may fall out or get caught in bushes. Tattoos are hard to see by caretakers and animal control. Collars can choke or injure cats, or become lost. Microchips are a good idea only if used in conjunction with eartipping. Kittens Early sterilization can be performed on kittens from eight to sixteen weeks old. Neutered feral kittens can be returned to the colony if homes cannot be found for them. Please make sure they do not have any upper respiratory infections before releasing them. Pregnant & Lactating Females Lactating females should not be trapped, if possible. The kittens could die from starvation and exposure. However if one is inadvertently trapped, the kittens should be found or the mother can be spayed through a flank incision and returned to the colony once she has recovered to resume nursing. Because there are limited funds available, and healthy cats are being euthanized at shelters, we recommend that pregnant females be spayed. If they are almost due to give birth, they can be fostered in a cat playpen until the birth of the kittens. They should be kept in a quiet place with little contact. Parasite Control Most feral cats have internal parasites such as round­worms, hookworms, coccidia, and/or tapeworms. For parasite control, including ear mites, cats can receive 0.15 ml of Ivomec subcutaneously. Alternatively, a broad-spectrum dewormer such as Drontal can be used. Albon should be used for coccidia. Advantage, Frontline, or Revolution can be applied for flea control. Post-Operative Care No cats should leave the clinic until fully conscious. Male cats need a minimum of an overnight stay in the clinic or in a home where their recovery should be monitored. Females need to be kept for a few days to recover properly. Cats who do not recover well from the surgery should be checked by a veterinarian before release. If they are not fully conscious after 6 hours, they may need fluids or be checked by a veterinarian. It is safer to keep the cats in a large carrier or in the trap. These can then be used for direct transportation to the colony site. This will lessen the danger to humans and trauma to the cat that transferring cats from cage to carrier causes. If the cats stay in cages at the clinic, remember that they are wild. A small box for them to hide in will make them feel more secure. This will also prevent the cat from escaping and make it safer for staff to work in the cage. A cover pulled over the door of the cage will also help lessen their stress. Make sure the cage is securely locked, or the cats will escape. Use clips to secure the cage door. Never underestimate the cats’ ability or determination to escape. Exercise great caution when changing cat litter or when feeding. Their sometimes-docile appearance can be very deceptive—they may lunge at the door in an attempt to escape. Courtesy of Animal Alley Rescue

Selecting A Pit Bull Terrier Puppy From A Dog Breeder

Many people in the market for a Pit Bull puppy choose to buy that puppy from a breeder. It is important to talk to several different breeders before making a purchase so that you can make the most well informed decision. Breeders should be used to answering questions, so don’t be intimidated when interviewing one.You need to ask questions so that you can find the puppy that is the best fit for you. Serious breeders should be able to tell you all about their breeding line. They will be able to inform you of any negative traits or behavioral issues, as well as any health problems that have occurred with their puppies. Breeders should also be able to tell you what they have done to improve their methods to avoid behavioral or health problems. Breeders should also be able to walk you through their process for selecting which dogs to breed and what the likely outcomes of that breeding will be, such as personality, color, health, size, etc. You should find out how many different types of the dogs the breeder breeds. Some feel that it is better to breed only one type of dog. To ensure pure blood, you would probably want to select a breeder that only works with American Pit Bull Terriers. Good breeders have more interest in the breed than just monetary gain. They should love the animals they have chosen to breed. Many breeders not only breed animals, but are involved in dog shows, training, etc. It is also important to purchase from a breeder that tries to keep in touch with the people who have purchased his puppies. This shows that the breeder truly does care about the puppies and where they end up, and should also be easy for owners to contact should a problem arise. Breeding many litters each year can sometimes lead to different issues, and it is recommended to avoid breeders that do this. Health of the dogs also tends to decline if there have been a lot of breeds in a short time frame. You should definitely ask to see where the puppies are kept, which will give you an idea of how well they are cared for. This is just a few things that should be considered when purchasing a Pit Bull puppy from a breeder. You should research all aspects before making a final decision, which should help you end up with the best puppy for you. Courtesy of Tim Amherst

Different Kinds Of Cat Collars

Although collars are generally thought to be for the canine kind, many cat owners choose to purchase collars for their favorite felines. There are many different kinds of cat collars on the market, so it is imperative that you choose the best option for your cat’s needs and body. Consider taking your cat along on a shopping trip to your local pet store—most welcome animals of all types—and try on different models to find the perfect fit. Keep in mind that although color, material, and style is important, these aspects should come second to the fit of the collar. Traditionally, cats wear collars that hold their identification information and a bell. Ensuring your pet is properly identified is critical for any animal, especially one that you intend on letting outside. In case your cat becomes lost, you will have a much better chance of finding your lost loved on if he or she has the appropriate information securely attached to the collar. Most cat owners choose to attach a small bell or another type of noise making device in order to make small animals or birds aware of a predator’s presence. Cats tend to have retained more hunting instincts than domesticated dogs, so this is a viable concern with many cat owners tired of finding their feline bringing home helpless animals. A buckle collar is the easiest type for a cat to wear, since it can be put on and taken off quickly and easily. Try the collar on your cat to ensure he or she cannot wiggle out of the collar. Just as a loose collar is unacceptable, having a collar fitted too tight can cause discomfort or even pain in your pet feline. For a younger cat that will need a collar that grows with them, consider choosing an adjustable collar to save you from purchasing new ones in the future. Some owners choose elastic collars that slip on and off over the cat’s head. These are great for cats that do not need the extra weight and bulk of a buckle. Keep in mind that any elastic collars should be fitted to your cat to ensure the collar is not too loose or too tight. For indoor cats, consider choosing collars with breakaway panels or buckles that will immediately free the cat if he or she becomes caught on something inside your house. Similarly, you should choose collars made of materials that can easily be cut in case the animal becomes caught. If you have an outdoor cat, look into a collar that uses reflective materials. These reflective materials will keep your precious feline safe at night. This is quite important, since animals are more likely to become injured or even killed since they cannot be seen. A reflective collar is also a good idea for indoor cats, since you can see the animal in the dark to avoid stepping on your pet. Some cats enjoy taking walks in the great outdoors, but owners do not want them to be outdoors unattended. Outdoor cats can easily become lost, stolen, injured, or even killed. To solve this problem, some cat owners choose to walk their cats on a leash just like a dog. Instead of a regular collar, leash walking cats require a harness to prevent spine issues. If you are in the market for harnesses, there are two main types: the figure eight and the H-style. Depending on your individual cat and the fit, these harnesses are excellent for any cat that enjoys a walk in the park! Once you have determined the specific type of collar for your cat, choose a color that fits his or her personality. Whether your feline wants a rocker look with black leather and metal studs or a pretty princess with pink rhinestones, the options are limitless! Courtesy of Mike Barus

Smart Nutrition Solution For Multi-Cat Households

Cats of all shapes, sizes, breeds and ages often share the same space and the same dinner bowl. But cats have different dietary needs, and those with more than one cat often find that it becomes cumbersome to keep track of the amount and type of food each cat requires. To make the process easier, The Iams Company recently introduced a food containing ingredients that the company says “work together to meet the individual needs of each cat in a household.” “Feeding different foods to multiple cats living in the same home often is impractical, so Iams Multi-Cat is formulated with those needs and differences in mind,” said Dr. Dan Carey, a veterinarian with Iams. “Developing this food was a two-step process. First, cat owners described the ultimate food that would answer the needs of their cats. Iams nutritionists took that information and discovered the ideal combination of ingredients to accomplish the goals and fulfill the needs of these multi-cat households.” The key ingredients in new Iams Multi-Cat are L-carnitine, which helps overweight cats burn fat; vitamin A, which is believed to help lower risk of weight gain; and protein for lean muscle mass. According to industry research, 71 percent of all cats living in the U.S. live in a multi-cat home and 40 percent of those households make the extra effort to sequester each cat at mealtime. But feeding is just one of many challenges multi-cat owners face. For those considering bringing an additional cat into their household, Iams offers the following tips: * Give the new cat its own room with a bed, a scratching post, litter pan, food and water dishes and toys. * Ease into it. Let the new cat explore the house while the other cat explores the new cat’s room. Also, let the new cat play with the first cat’s toys and then switch the toys. This will help them get used to each other’s scent. * When introducing the cats, open the door just wide enough so that they can see and smell each other and stay close by to supervise. Repeat these short introductions as often as necessary until they are able to stay comfortably in the same room, with supervision. * Give your first cat lots of extra attention and affection during this period of adjustment. Courtesy of NewsUSA

Survey: Canines Are Kings of the Castle

Ever wonder what your dog does while you’re away? A new survey shows that most dogs are enjoying the comforts of home: Nearly 70 percent of dog owners say their dogs spend at least half their time hanging around indoors. When asked what their dogs do all day, 66 percent of American dog owners thought their dogs lounged the day away, while only 9 percent imagined their pets romping with toys. Many dogs have a lot of freedom in the home, according to the survey, which was conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs on behalf of Purina Little Bites Indoor Complete brand. Thirty-six percent of dog owners allow their dogs into every room in the house, as long as they follow special rules, while 28 percent of dog owners offer their pups free reign over the entire house. The majority of dog owners surveyed said their pets spend most of the day sleeping, so diet is a special consideration for these dogs, who might not expend the same amount of energy as their outdoor counterparts. Inside dogs can benefit from a high-protein food, such as Purina Little Bites Indoor Complete, which is specially formulated for indoor dogs to help maintain lean muscle mass and ideal body condition. Vitamin E and minerals also help keep the skin and coat healthy, as indoor dogs can be prone to dry skin. What about home decor? How much does Fido influence your decorating? The survey showed that 31 percent of all dog owners decorate with their dogs in mind. Generations X and Y are at the forefront of this trend; 41 percent of dog owners between the ages of 18 and 34 have dog-friendly decor. Perhaps it’s the practicality that appeals. After all, if your pooch is home all day, it’s wise to invest in a little stain-resistant flooring or scratch-proof furnishings. If money were no object, 63 percent of dog owners surveyed would buy furniture that resists shedding, stains and tears. And 75 percent would buy their pampered pups all new furniture of their very own. Courtesy of NewsUSA

The Beagle - Friendly Loyal And Loving

A small to medium sized dog, the beagle weighs between 20-28 lbs and is 12″ to 16″ in height. Sometimes referred to as the English Beagle, this breed is energetic, friendly and loyal both as a family companion and hunting dog. Coat colors accepted by the AKC are orange and white, lemon and white, red and white or tri-colored. Black, white and tan tri-colored coats are the most common. Their medium length coat is smooth, hard and close. It requires minimal brushing and only needs washed occasionally. Friendly, loyal, loving and playful are all qualities that make them excellent family pets. Homes with other dogs, pets and children can all welcome the Beagle as part of the family. They require minimal socialization and actually enjoy the companionship of other pets and their family. A very energetic breed, the beagle needs a home that will give them plenty of play time, exercise and regular walks. When outside they should be in a fenced in yard and a leash should be used for walks as they have a tendency to explore and follow scents. They make good watchdogs as they will let you know if someone is at the door by barking, but they are naturally friendly with strangers, so don’t expect them to be good guard dogs. Originating in England, this scent hound was bred for hunting rabbits and quails. They would often hunt in packs or pairs, but can also hunt well alone as well. They have an excellent sense of smell which makes them good at tracking and as narcotics dogs. Today they are mainly seen as companion dogs in the United States, but they are also used as hunting dogs. A breed with such a friendly, loving nature is perfect for just about any family dynamic. Because of their high energy level and need for regular exercise, they work best with active families or those that have a yard where they can have plenty of time to roam and run. If you are looking for an affectionate breed that enjoys family companionship and loves to play, then the Beagle is the perfect dog for you.

Tips for Smarter; More Trainable Puppies

Everyone knows pets make great companions, but training our four-legged friends can sometimes be a daunting task. Research shows, however, that the type of food puppies are fed could make a difference. In a study conducted by The Iams Co., puppies nourished with enhanced levels of docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, responded better to training. DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid believed to play a role in healthy brain development. Based on this research, the company developed Iams Smart Puppy formula, a food containing enhanced levels of DHA, to help dog owners raise smarter, more trainable puppies. “For veterinarians, the research on DHA means training can be easier for the client when their puppy is nourished with optimum levels of this key brain-building nutrient,” said Dr. Dan Carey, a veterinarian with Iams. But can food alone do the trick? “While top-quality nutrition or training alone will better your chances of raising a well-behaved puppy, it is in combination that owners truly see the best results,” said dog trainer and pet expert Brian Kilcommons. He offers the following dog-training tips: * Catch ’em in the act – of being good. Sometimes we get so frustrated with negative puppy behaviors that we forget to notice the good stuff. For two days, praise your puppy’s every sit, quiet moment and gentle nuzzle. You may be amazed at how obedient your puppy becomes. * Use calm hands. If you want a calm puppy, touch calmly using slow hand motions that go with the lay of the fur. Short, fast movements (especially around the face) will excite most puppies and cause them to nip. * Remember the “Four T’s” – touch, talk, treats and toys. Teach your puppy that through you, all good things come. Use the Four T’s for behaviors you like and you’ll see more of these behaviors. * Spend a few minutes a day. Work with your puppy as your coffee brews or during commercial breaks. Like politeness in children, manners in puppies are developed every day, throughout the day. * Repetition reaps rewards. Puppies learn when you practice with them. A few repetitions done often will not only earn you a well-trained dog but a special bond you’ll enjoy for many years to come. Courtesy of NewsUSA

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Its shame that most dog owners don’t realize that dental hygiene is as important for their dogs as it is for themselves. Teeth that have been neglected are subject to several types of mouth disease just like their human friends. We know that if we don’t brush our teeth, plague will build up and eventually cause tooth decay. The same thing happens to dogs. When plaque builds up and hardens, it becomes a coarse brown substance called tartar. As tartar accumulates, it can work its way under the gums and cause painful infections and gum disease. This goes on in the mouths of dogs just as it does in people. You brush your teeth every day, probably three times, but your dog depends upon you for his dental hygiene. Veterinarians recommend that dog owners brush their dog’s teeth at least twice a week to keep the buildup of tartar at a minimum. So how do you brush his teeth? Remember your dogs taste and smell are far different form our own. If you think the zesty tingle of your favorite toothpaste will do him good, forget about it. One whiff of that stuff will have hiding behind the sofa so fast you will never get him near a toothbrush again. Most pet supply stores carry specially designed toothbrushes and toothpaste just for dogs. A small investment in this will make the job much more pleasant for both of you. Some people don’t have the time or patience to brush their dogs’ teeth on a regular basis. If you’re one of these, you’ll want to find an alternative. A dog’s natural tendency to chew is a built-in dental care mechanism. Dog biscuits break into small chunks when chewed and rub against the teeth, providing a cleaning service. Biscuits are no substitute for brushing your dog’s teeth but they are the next best thing. Dogs that do not receive proper dental care and do not have access to crunchy teeth cleaning foods run the risk of several types of mouth disease. These can be as mild as gingivitis (a gum disease that results in swollen, inflamed gums) and as serious as a bacterial infection that can spread through the dog’s bloodstream causing damage to vital organs. You owe it to yourself and your dog to take care of his teeth or a trip to the veterinarian may become necessary. Dental services are available for dogs, just like they are for people. A dog’s teeth can be filled, capped, and extracted if necessary, just like a human’s teeth. These dental procedures can become quite costly. I picked up an old cat at the local shelter that developed dental problems from years of neglect. His teeth became infected and a couple of them had to removed for a bill of just under $600. The best course of action, however, is to avoid the need for such services by properly caring for your dog’s teeth. If you can avoid unnecessary pain and discomfort for your furry friend, you should do so. Preventative dental care for your dog can save you money and him discomfort. As side benefit, a dog with good teeth will have fresh breath too! Courtesy of Dawn Keadic

Tips For Buying, Caring for and Breeding a Pet Snake

Buying a snake can be a sizable investment. Getting a snake requires making a commitment to the pet’s care and well-being. It is important to do your research so you know that the particular species or breed is something you will enjoy owning in the years to come. Find out how difficult they are to feed and house before you buy. Also find out about the snake’s temperament. Remember that some snakes get extremely large, can be dangerous, and live a long time. Life spans of over twenty years are not uncommon. Don’t assume getting rid of that unwanted reptile will be a piece of cake either. Another thing to check out before buying is the laws of your particular city. In many places, snakes of certain varieties are restricted as pets. That being said, it’s a good idea to get the enclosure, or vivarium, ready for the snake to move in before buying one. Different species have different requirements in heat, humidity, and size of enclosure, so again, do your homework. Before buying, look your snake over for indicators of poor health. It’s a good idea to hang around the pet store or breeders’ for a while, just watching the snakes for clues to individual snakes’ personalities. The eyes should be bright and shiny. If they appear dull, it’s a sign that the snake is about to shed its skin. Wait until it has shed so you can get a better idea of how it looks. It is important to get a snake that has been hatched or birthed by a reputable breeder. Make sure the snake is accustomed to eating pre-killed food before you buy it. The best place to go to find a reputable breeder is your local herpetological society. Most areas have herp clubs for people who are into reptiles. If you’re lucky, you might get to attend a herp show in your area. Breeders attend these gatherings and show off their stock. Search online for information about herp shows you could attend. (Herpetology is the branch of biology that studies reptiles and amphibians. “Herp” is a common nickname for these animals.) When studying the choices of pet snake species, get to know the Latin names. Common names vary with pet stores and with regions. By knowing exactly what species of snake you want, you can save yourself a lot of trouble. Different species of similar snakes, such as boas or pythons, have different temperaments and grow to different sizes. Just knowing it is a boa or a python is not specific enough to know for sure what you are getting. Finally, there are some people who just should not own pet snakes. These include homes with children under five and anyone with a compromised immune system, because there is a small possibility of a snake carrying salmonella. The large pythons and constrictors can be a danger to young children, too. (And to everyone else, too! Be extremely careful, and know what you’re getting into.) Educate yourself before you start shopping for that cool looking snake. If it’s your first snake, consider getting a And prepare to be in it for the long haul. When people think of pets, most of the time “furry” and “cuddly” are adjectives that come to mind. For the owners of pet snakes, however, these words don’t really fit. Still, snakes make interesting pets, and can even be lovable – in their own way. Choosing to own a pet snake should not be a snap decision. Snakes can grow large, eat a lot, and require very specific conditions for staying healthy. Some varieties can even be dangerous to humans. Providing for their needs can be quite expensive. To top it all off, snakes tend to have a long life span. For the sake of the snake, don’t buy one without being sure you are ready to make the commitment. All snakes are meat-eaters. Many snake owners keep live mice or rats, which multiply rapidly, as food for their snakes. It is recommended that snakes be fed pre-killed prey animals instead of live ones. Especially if the snake is not real hungry, a live prey animal can inflict injuries to the snake. Many snake enthusiasts order frozen mice for their snakes. Others raise mice and kill them as needed to feed their snakes. The good part of feeding a snake is that most shouldn’t be fed more often than once a week and some can go for several weeks between feedings. The reason is that they don’t have to expend any energy creating their own body heat. In fact, if the cage is not warm enough, a snake can’t even digest its food. The enclosure, or cage, for the snake needs to be first of all escape proof. Snakes are escape artists, and don’t need a very big opening in order to find a way out. The cage also has to have a source of heat. Because they are cold blooded, snakes must have a variety of temperatures to choose from. This is how they regulate their body heat. For best results, the enclosure should be heated on one side only and thermometers used on both ends. Each snake species has specific needs in terms of heat, and you should find out these needs before getting a snake. Other needs include a bowl of water, several places to hide, and a floor lining. If you’re on a tight budget, newspaper works well for most snake varieties. It can easily be replaced when soiled. The water should be kept clean, too. Any wastes or uneaten food should be removed quickly. The cage should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected about once a month. Keeping a pet snake is a responsibility that can also be an adventure. If you are a beginner, you should start with one of the easier snakes to keep. Do a little research, and you will find out that pet snake breeds are generally rated according to how hard they are to keep. In time, you will learn the ins and outs of snake keeping, and can expand your collection to include some of the more exotic types. When you’ve had some success caring for captive snakes, you might find yourself interested in breeding them. This can be done, but it requires record keeping and attention to many details concerning the living conditions of the snakes. The breeding is generally done in the winter so that the babies are born or hatched in the spring. Breeding snakes requires feeding them well for about four months, and then putting them into a cool state of hibernation. To do this, you first need to fatten them up, especially females, for a few months in late summer, then lower the temperature for a few more weeks or months. The exact timing varies with the species, as do the temperature requirements. Just a quick note about determining the sex of a snake. This skill needs to be learned from an expert. It is a tricky process, sometimes requiring the use of a metal probe to look for the male reproductive organ. Even the most experienced of snake breeders make a mistake now and then. During the hibernation, the snake is not fed, but is provided fresh water. When the time is up, the snake is gradually warmed up, and fed well again for a little while. Then the female and male are placed together. If she resists him, separate them and wait another week. If not, leave them together for a week or so. A female snake that is developing eggs within is called “gravid.” Some species of snake eat well during this time and others don’t. The length of time it takes varies even within the same species. Again, the amount of heat provided makes a difference. Most females will shed shortly before laying their eggs. Some snakes give birth to live offspring instead of laying eggs. The boas are examples of this. The hibernation requirements for these tropical snakes are much less, amounting to just a couple of weeks with low nighttime temperatures. Their humidity needs are higher, and they should be misted daily. With boas, you can add more than one male to the female’s enclosure. Pregnancy takes from 4 to 10 months. The mother to be usually eats well during this time, but you should choose smaller food items, since her inside body space is getting more crowded. Shedding usually precedes giving birth, but it can be as much as another month before the birth. The litter size can range from 10 to as many as 80 for large, robust females. In general, snake babies should be removed and placed in separate containers lined with paper towels. The paper towels should be kept moist for the first two weeks. They will shed around this time, and can feed on pinkies or fuzzies (young mice) after the shed. There may be a market for these young reptiles, and the process is certainly fascinating for the hobbyist. Do remember, though, that there are growing numbers of pet snakes being shoved off into rescue shelters because the owners just can’t handle them any more. Be a responsible snake breeder, and make sure your young snakes won’t just be more casualties. Courtesy of Gary Ruplinger

Tips For Traveling With Pets

Sometime things happen and you need to leave right away. If you have pets, this can cause a major problem. What if no one is available to watch your pet? If you don’t want to leave you pet at a shady kennel where most dogs are kept in cages, you can simply take them with you; it’s easier than you would ever imagine. Most airlines allow pets. Some airlines even allow your pet to be carried onto the plain if it is small enough to put into a kennel that will easily slide under the seat in front of you. If the dog is too large, it will be kept in cargo which is temperature and pressure regulated just like the passenger area. It is imperative to make sure that your airline will make accommodations for your pet as there are a few discount airlines that will not. Especially if you buy your airline tickets online, call ahead to verify their policies. Each airline that accepts pets will ask you to make reservations for you pet ahead of time because they can only carry so many pets each trip. It is important to make these reservations as soon as possible to ensure your pet’s seat on the flight. Pets also require health certificates to fly. You can purchase one from your vet, but they only last for 10 days. If your voyage is longer, you will need to purchase another for the trip home. As mentioned before, your pet will need a kennel/carrier. These can be purchased usually for very cheap at your local pet store. They come with padded inside walls and in various sizes from extra small to extra large depending on your needs. You will have to be careful with your kennel purchase as there are some carriers that aren’t approved for airline travel and some that are. Be sure to ask the pet store workers for help if you need it. There is no need to tranquilize your pet, either. Air travel will put your pet to sleep just like it does you. The only thing that may aid your pet in travel is to crate train it. Otherwise, everything will be fine! Have fun traveling with your pet! Courtesy of Dana Goldberg

Tips for Smarter; More Trainable Puppies

Everyone knows pets make great companions, but training our four-legged friends can sometimes be a daunting task. Research shows, however, that the type of food puppies are fed could make a difference. In a study conducted by The Iams Co., puppies nourished with enhanced levels of docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, responded better to training. DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid believed to play a role in healthy brain development. Based on this research, the company developed Iams Smart Puppy formula, a food containing enhanced levels of DHA, to help dog owners raise smarter, more trainable puppies. “For veterinarians, the research on DHA means training can be easier for the client when their puppy is nourished with optimum levels of this key brain-building nutrient,” said Dr. Dan Carey, a veterinarian with Iams. But can food alone do the trick? “While top-quality nutrition or training alone will better your chances of raising a well-behaved puppy, it is in combination that owners truly see the best results,” said dog trainer and pet expert Brian Kilcommons. He offers the following dog-training tips: * Catch ’em in the act – of being good. Sometimes we get so frustrated with negative puppy behaviors that we forget to notice the good stuff. For two days, praise your puppy’s every sit, quiet moment and gentle nuzzle. You may be amazed at how obedient your puppy becomes. * Use calm hands. If you want a calm puppy, touch calmly using slow hand motions that go with the lay of the fur. Short, fast movements (especially around the face) will excite most puppies and cause them to nip. * Remember the “Four T’s” – touch, talk, treats and toys. Teach your puppy that through you, all good things come. Use the Four T’s for behaviors you like and you’ll see more of these behaviors. * Spend a few minutes a day. Work with your puppy as your coffee brews or during commercial breaks. Like politeness in children, manners in puppies are developed every day, throughout the day. * Repetition reaps rewards. Puppies learn when you practice with them. A few repetitions done often will not only earn you a well-trained dog but a special bond you’ll enjoy for many years to come. Courtesy of NewsUSA

Tips on Cleaning Up After Pets

Between muddy paws, fur on upholstered furniture, odors and occasional accidents, we can spend quite a bit of time cleaning up after our furry friends. The experts at Merry Maids offer pet owners the following tips for keeping a clean home and tackling the most common problems. * Minimizing the mess: Cleaner pets mean a cleaner house. Bathe and brush your pets regularly to minimize the amount of pet hair and dander and to help eliminate odors. Keep a lint brush or damp sponge handy to quickly pick up loose pet hair. * Removing pet hair: On carpeting, use a vacuum with a good beater brush or brush roll to remove pet hair. On upholstery, use velour brushes, tape rollers or even the rubber bottom of a clean tennis shoe and remove the fur using light, even strokes. * Lifting stains: Dilute spots using a damp cloth, then clean the area with one quart of water mixed with one teaspoon white vinegar. Cleaning solutions from your local pet store or supermarket also work well in lifting stains and odors. Be sure to follow the label directions and allow them to work for the full amount of time indicated. When your pet has stomach problems, clean up these accidents quickly, as the acidity can stain your carpet. Treat the affected area using a professional carpet detergent and rinse with clean hot water. Extract the soiled solutions away from the carpet. Courtesy of NewsUSA

Tips on Taking the Trauma Out of Vet Visits

Just mention the “V” word, and you’re likely to have frantic felines and cowering canines. But a trip to the vet doesn’t have to be traumatic. Here are some tips for making the experience more pleasant for everyone: * Be calm and upbeat. Animals pick up on our thoughts. If you’re very stressed and anxious, your animal will be too. * Help your pet relax. Calming products, like Pluto Pet’s Pet Calming Spray, may help relieve your animal’s fear, nervousness and aggression. Made from all-natural ingredients, it acts quickly, causes no side effects and meets all Food and Drug Administration guidelines for good manufacturing practices. * Leave your cat’s carrier out all the time. Put a towel inside and sprinkle it with catnip. The cat will associate the carrier with a pleasant, private place to nap rather than a ride in the car. And if he doesn’t hear you getting the carrier out of a closet, he won’t have the opportunity to wedge himself under a bed. * Get your animals used to riding in the car. Even a quick spin around the block will help your dog or cat associate riding in the car with a pleasant experience. Open the windows a bit and tune the radio to a classical music station. Classical music is soothing to animals. When you get home, reward your “traveler” with some treats. Never leave your animal alone in a locked car, even for a few minutes. * Make sure your animal can tolerate being handled. Touch his feet and toes, open his mouth, look in his ears, and get him used to being touched on all parts of his body. * Socialize your animals. Try to get your cat or dog accustomed to hearing, seeing and being touched by many different people. Even leaving a television or radio on for strictly indoor cats will help them get used to the sounds of different human voices. * Lavish your pet with praise. During the vet visit and afterwards, reward your animal with praise for being calm and cooperative. Some treats on the ride home will make him think the whole experience was worthwhile. Courtesy of NewsUSA

Tips to Help Your Dog Sleep Through the Night

Barking. Whining. Destructing furniture. Your hyperactive pooch’s lack of sleepiness may be the cause of your restless nights. Though most dogs sleep from 10 to 14 hours a day, some tend to be off schedule with your sleep time due to lack of routine, hyperactivity or anxiety. Pluto Pet, maker of natural supplements for pets, offers the following tips to help your dog – and you – have a restful night. * Make sure your dog gets well-balanced meals. The first step to healthy sleep is a healthy diet. According to the American Kennel Club, puppies need more calories and essential nutrients than adult dogs. For this reason, you should choose foods specially formulated for puppies. Adult dogs should be fed according to their size and energy needs. * Give your pet a relaxing supplement. To quickly and effectively calm your canine down, some veterinarians suggest giving your dog a calming product, such as Pluto Pet’s Pet Calming Spray. After two to four squirts in your pet’s mouth, Pet Calming Spray relieves restlessness, fear, nervousness and aggression, helping antsy pets sleep throughout the night. The spray meets all Food and Drug Administration guidelines for good manufacturing practices and causes no negative side effects. * Provide your canine with an exercise routine. Help your pooch get rid of pent-up energy. Walk your dog at least twice a day and make sure you set aside time to play every day. Just like with humans, exercise helps dogs stay healthy. * Set a bedtime. Put your dog to bed at a designated time every night. This will help your canine companion conform to your sleeping schedule. Make sure you give your pet the opportunity to go to the bathroom right before bedtime. * Create a comfortable sleeping area. Provide your dog with a blanket, towel or pillow to sleep on. Whether your pet sleeps indoors or outdoors, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says that enclosed areas, such as dog crates or dog houses, give many pets a sense of security and a sleeping spot to call their own. Courtesy of NewsUSA

Tips to Keep Your Pet Calm During Holiday Celebrations

There’s one family member that many people forget about during holiday family gatherings: the pet. With the hustle and bustle of the season, many dogs and cats get overly excited when friends and family gather. This not only can annoy your visitors, it also can be harmful to your pet. But you don’t have to keep your animal crated or locked in a room in order to avoid problems. The following tips will help your pet stay calm enough to not miss out on the holiday fun: * Give your pet an extra workout. According to the American Humane Association, taking your pet for an extra long walk or having a longer playtime can help tire your pet out before the party starts. * Encourage guests to greet with care. As the partygoers trickle in, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals suggests asking your guests to calmly greet your pet. Giving an excited greeting can encourage your pet to do the same. * Relax your pet with a supplement. Many experts say that calming products, such as Pluto Pet’s Pet Calming Spray, can help your pet relieve hyperactivity. After two to four squirts in your pet’s mouth, Pet Calming Spray acts quickly to relieve restlessness, fear, nervousness and aggression and helps antsy pets sleep throughout the night. The spray meets all Food and Drug Administration guidelines for good manufacturing practices and is made with natural ingredients. * Amuse your pet with a toy. To distract your pet from jumping up on guests or getting into things, the Humane Society of the United States recommends using toys as a distraction. For dogs, toys with hiding places for treats are suggested. Catnip toys will keep cats busy. * Reward good behavior a few times during the event. The American Humane Association suggests keeping treats handy. Encourage your guests to refrain from feeding your pet “people food.” Using it as a treat can lead to your pet begging for more at your guests’ feet Courtesy of NewsUSA

Tips to Make Your New Pet Feel at Home

Pet ownership in the United States is on the rise. In fact, there are more pets than people in the United States – 378 million pets versus 290 million people.Dogs are the most popular pets; 39 percent of U.S. households own dogs versus the 34 percent who own cats. However, cats still outnumber dogs because cat lovers tend to have multiple pets. There are 78 million pet cats in the country versus 65 million pet dogs, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association. If you’re thinking of getting a pet, it is important to pet-proof your home just as you would for a child. To ensure your pet’s safety, security and health, place all hazardous chemicals, poisonous plants and sharp objects away from temptation. Create a special place for your new pet to feel safe and secure. This should be somewhere away from children, other pets and visitors. A special blanket and favorite toy will make your pet feel at ease. If you invest in an air cleanser, you’ll be able to enjoy your pet’s companionship without having to put up with unpleasant odors that arise from pet stains or wet fur. Choose an environmentally friendly air cleanser that operates without chemicals, sprays or electric current and is safe to use around pets and children. For instance, the Smellkiller Air Cleanser is a disc made of a special high-grade stainless steel alloy that neutralizes odors. Once the disc is partially immersed in water, the molecules that create odors react with the alloy, water and oxygen and disintegrate into fragments that the human nose can no longer identify as an odor. The Smellkiller eliminates odors completely and naturally within a few hours and, as long as it remains in contact with water and air, will work continuously to keep the air fresh. Easy to use and maintain, the disc can quickly remove odors from fresh pet stains, too. Simply rub it on the wet stain for one to three minutes. To freshen your pet’s wet fur after it has been outside in the rain, rub the disc in a circular motion over your pet’s coat and the smell will disappear. Courtesy of NewsUSA

Train Your Pit Bull Terrier: Whistle Dog Training

Pit Bulls are an intelligent breed that can be taught nearly anything, as long as they have a good trainer. Having a good trainer doesn’t necessarily mean a trainer that you hired. Many Pit Bull owners are finding that their pets not only are eager to learn, but they also gain much when they opt to train their Pit Bull themselves. Owners who opt to be their dog’s trainer will find that they enjoy spending the extra time with their beloved pet. Many methods of training exist, and just which type you wish to pursue is totally up to you. Depending on what you wish to accomplish as well as how much time you can devote to the task is just a couple of things you’ll need to factor in when picking a type of training for your pet. Over the years, one of the training methods which has began to rise in popularity is whistle training. This type of training uses a whistle to give the dog commands rather than using the spoken word. Each task is allotted a certain amount of blows, or pips, on the whistle. If you’d like to attempt whistle training for your Pit Bull, then the first thing to do is to pick out a good quality whistle with which to give out the commands. Using your own mouth to do the whistling isn’t a good idea. Your pitch would vary, and if you needed to give your Pit Bull a command from a distance, he may not hear you. For these reasons, it’s best to go with a good quality metal whistle. One whistle command you can teach your dog is to come when called. A good way to do this is to use his feeding time as the starting ground. At mealtime, as you put his food down give two short bursts on the whistle. Continue to do this at every mealtime for about three weeks. Always remember to use the exact number of bursts on the whistle. Once you have made it for about three weeks with the mealtime whistling, try blowing the same command when your Pit Bull is not expecting a meal. Be sure to have a nice treat for him at the ready, for when he does come you’ll want to reward him with a nice snack and a reassuring rub. This type of training is useful if take your dog to the park or anywhere in the outdoors. By whistle training your Pit Bull, you’ll know that wherever he is, he can hear you and come at your beck and call. Courtesy of Tim Amherst

Training Your Dog To Use A Leash And Collar

There are many different techniques you can use to train your dog, and it is important to find one that works for you and your family in order to have the most loyal and well-behaved pet possible. All successful styles of dog training emphasize the bond between dog and owner, and the basis of a successful training program is earning the dog’s respect. It is fortunate that dogs are innately programmed to submit to a leader, it allows them to follow commands and make training easier. This article will discuss on of the more common types of dog training –leash/collar training. Other articles will examine other common dog-training techniques, known as reward training or positive reinforcement. Both the leash/collar styles of dog training and reward-based dog training have been proven to be effective methods of dog training over time. The method of training that is most effective is dependent on the dog’s breed and his temperament. Each dog has its own personality, which is emphasized even further by many years of selective breeding. The personalities of individual dogs can be very different, even within the same breed. It is up to you, as the owner, to determine which method of training will work best for your dog, so it is important to work with the trainer in order to attain your goal of an eager, well-trained and friendly dog. Leash/collar training is the best way to fulfill many factions of dog training, especially in circumstances where the dog must be very dependable. For example, certain working dogs, such as police dogs, rescue dogs or guard dogs, tend to gain from leash and collar training. In leash/collar training, different levels of force can be used, varying from light modifications with the lead to firmer corrections. The level of correction used should be relative to the situation, as too much correction, or not enough, can prove unproductive. In a leash/collar emphasized dog-training program, the dog is first taught a desired behavior on the leash. Once the dog seems to understand the command, the leash is then used to modify incorrect behaviors. The leash is used as the main form of control and communication with the dog in this form of training. With leash/collar training, the dog must learn to trust the handler and follow commands without any hesitation. The dog is considered fully trained when the handler is able to show that the dog will follow a command even if he does not want to. While this does not mean using brute force, it will likely necessitate some physical handling. This type of handling is most effectively completed by use of the leash. Anyone attempting to train his or her dog should understand that the leash is merely a device. While the leash is necessary for this style of dog training, it is important for the dog trainer to strive for the same results using whatever gear are nearby. No matter what device the owner uses for training, such as the owner’s body and voice, the dog should be eager to comply. Building a trusting relationship between owner and dog is vital, and it is important that the leash is used as a tool rather than a crutch. A properly trained dog should be eager to obey with or without a leash. Courtesy of Ken Snowie

Training Your Pit Bull Terrier With Dog Treats

Every responsible Pit Bull owner wants a well trained pet. There are several training options which may be used to achieve the desired results. One of the most popular methods used by owners is treat training. Treat training is a reward system using either the dog’s favorite snack food such as cheese, bits of hot dog or by using store bought treats. Treat training allows the owner to use these small bribes as a form of positive reinforcement for good behavior. Proper use of treat training will enable you to teach your Pit Bull to follow the sit, come and lie down commands, as well as teach him almost any trick you can imagine. If used with friendly rubs and praises, it can also assist you to housebreak your Pit Bull. To teach your Pit Bull to sit, you’ll need to prepare a treat bag just before you begin. A plastic zip top baggy comes highly recommended by me for use as a treat container. It allows you to put the treats in your pocket while allowing you to keep your pockets from getting soiled and soggy. Believe me, try it without the baggy and you’ll not try it that way again. This is especially true if you opt to use bits of table food such as the cheese and hotdog slices. Decide upon what you will use as the treat. Think of what your Pit Bull likes to eat, but you don’t give him very often. This makes an irresistible bribe, and you will see faster results than if you’d used an every day treat. Once you’ve chosen your bribe, put the baggy in your pocket so you can reach it easily. Don’t try to hold the bag in your hand, as this will distract your Pit Bull, and may even get him to jumping up in an attempt to try and grab the entire bag. If you have more than one Pit Bull, or other dog for that matter, take the time to put the other dog away so you can do one on one training. Other animals in the vicinity will only hamper your training as your Pit Bull will think the session is a competition for which dog can get the treat fastest, rather obedience training. Now that you’ve prepped your treat bag and have your Pit Bull alone with you, it’s time to begin. Take a bit of your chosen treat and hold it above your Pit Bull’s head while giving the command to “sit.” If you hold the treat high, the dog will have to sit to see the treat. Once he sits, give him the treat and be sure to praise him as a “good boy” for the sit. You can repeat this four or five more times, but after that give it a rest until the next day. I know it doesn’t sound like rigorous training, but it is considered a full session. Once your Pit Bull has mastered the “sit” command, start to gradually offer gentle rubs and praises rather than treats. You’ll eventually phase out the food treats, and your Pit Bull will continue to sit on command. Using treat training is an effective and gentle way to train your Pit Bull. It also allows you to be close to your pet for a session of giving treats and praises. Imagine how much your Pit Bull will enjoy that! Courtesy of Tim Amherst

Traveling With Pets

Sometime things happen and you need to leave right away. If you have pets, this can cause a major problem. What if no one is available to watch your pet? If you don’t want to leave you pet at a shady kennel where most dogs are kept in cages, you can simply take them with you; it’s easier than you would ever imagine. Most airlines allow pets. Some airlines even allow your pet to be carried onto the plain if it is small enough to put into a kennel that will easily slide under the seat in front of you. If the dog is too large, it will be kept in cargo which is temperature and pressure regulated just like the passenger area. It is imperative to make sure that your airline will make accommodations for your pet as there are a few discount airlines that will not. Especially if you buy your airline tickets online, call ahead to verify their policies. Each airline that accepts pets will ask you to make reservations for you pet ahead of time because they can only carry so many pets each trip. It is important to make these reservations as soon as possible to ensure your pet’s seat on the flight. Pets also require health certificates to fly. You can purchase one from your vet, but they only last for 10 days. If your voyage is longer, you will need to purchase another for the trip home. As mentioned before, your pet will need a kennel/carrier. These can be purchased usually for very cheap at your local pet store. They come with padded inside walls and in various sizes from extra small to extra large depending on your needs. You will have to be careful with your kennel purchase as there are some carriers that aren’t approved for airline travel and some that are. Be sure to ask the pet store workers for help if you need it. There is no need to tranquilize your pet, either. Air travel will put your pet to sleep just like it does you. The only thing that may aid your pet in travel is to crate train it. Otherwise, everything will be fine! Have fun traveling with your pet! Courtesy of Dana Goldberg