Friday, November 30, 2007

Choosing Your First Indoor Cat

By David W Johnson

Deciding to be a pet owner and caregiver is a big responsibility. Owning an indoor cat can bring years of enjoyable pleasure for you and your new companion friend. Although cats are seen as self-reliant, you as the owner will always have to be the diligent parent.

If you've never owned any pets before, you should get some pet education before bringing your new furry friend home.

Probably the best way to find out about caring for an indoor cat is to visit the homes of friends who have indoor cats. Your friends can be an excellent resource for what's going to be required of you to care for a cat. Other resources are community cat clubs, veterinarians, animal shelters, books, tapes, videos, and the Internet.

Before you get your first cat, decide what your commitment to this relationship will be. How much devotion, cost, effort, and attention are you willing to provide to your new friend. Also consider what your personal preferences are for the new family addition. Are you looking for?

  • Kitten or Adult
  • Longhair or Shorthair
  • Male or Female
  • Breed (Persian, Burmese, etc)
  • Pedigree or Non-Pedigree

To many, a kitten is a cute, cuddly bundle of joy, just like a new born baby. But like a baby, you'll need to watch over carefully to the health of the kitten as it grows to adulthood. An adult cat, on the other hand, is more capable of attending to its own personal care.

Cats shed hair, just like humans. Some breeds shed more hair than others. Cats are fastidious groomers. Be prepared and none too surprised when they vomit a hairball from time to time -- completely natural with little cause for alarm. It's a good practice to routinely brush your cat to collect the loose hair.

Shorthair cats usually need less routine brushing than longhairs. If you brush your cat routinely, they can have less incidents of hairballs and upset digestion. Giving your cat a bath (cat formulated shampoo only) once in a great while is good also.

Cats are individuals. Both female and male cats can make wonderful companions. If the cat has been spayed or neutered, then the cat's gender doesn't play a huge role. The cat's own unique personality will determine how good of a pet it will make. Your personal preference may be to choose a cat whose personality is agreeable to yours.

Generally the cat's breed isn't a factor and your selection usually is a personal preference.

You may choose a pedigree cat if your intention is to invest, breed, or show. There are other reasons why someone would choose a pedigree over a non-pedigree, and that's a personal choice. Expect to pay more for a pedigree primarily because its lineage can be traced and its pedigree is highly prized by others.

Non-pedigree cats are just as cute and cuddly as the pedigree. A lot less expensive too!

A cat is a wonderful addition to your family and will give you many years of enjoyable pleasure.
Veterinarian formulated holistic pet food products for cats and dogs.


Thursday, November 29, 2007

How To Protect Your Pet In The Cold

The cold winter months are fast approaching, if they have not arrived already. Winter is the season for fun, family, the holidays, and cold weather. If you live in an area that has snow and ice, here are a few tips for caring for your pet during the cold winter months.

First, protection for you pet's precious paws is essential. The cold and hard ground, particularly when snow or ice is present can cause your pet's paws to become sore and cracked; sometimes, it can even cause their paws to bleed. There are several things you can do to help protect your pet's paws. Oftentimes, the best option is to purchase puppy boots. These boots are made of water-resistant fabric on the exterior, and they usually have warm material such as fleece or flannel lining on the inside. They usually sport elastic cuffs around the top and Velcro underneath to ensure they stay on.

If your pet does not take to wearing booties, there is another option: grooming your pet's paws. When it is particularly snowy outside, the ice and snow can easily cling to the hair between your pet's paws and on their paw pads and 'ankles'. Simply trim the hair to keep it short, this way they snow and ice will have nothing to hold on to. Also, keep your pet's toenails trimmed short (but not too short). This can help prevent your pup's paws from soreness. Finally, gently rub petroleum jelly on your puppy's paw pads before and after they go outside. Doing this protects their paws from cracking and bleeding by providing a film of protective gel over the paws.

Winter nights are cold, especially if you like to keep your house somewhat cool, even in the winter season. Secondly, to help your pup remain warm and comfy at night, there are a few things you may want to consider. If your pet does not have a doggie bed, you may want to get one for your pooch this holiday season. Doggie beds are built so your pet can snuggle warmly at night in their soft fabric bed. You can also buy your pet a throw or a fleece blanket. When you put your dog to bed at night, simply toss the blanket or throw over their body, and it will help keep them warm.

Another option to purchase puppy pajamas. It may sound silly, but flannel pajamas for dog's can really help keep them insulated and warm. Also, if your dog tends to shed, this is a great option, because it contains the shed hair within the garment until you wash it. This is great because then you won't have pet hair all over your couch, on your bed, or other warm places in your house that you don't want covered in pet hair.

Help keep your pet warm and protected from the winter elements this holiday season. Consider purchasing winter wear such as water-resistant booties, puppy pajamas, or even a coat or jacket. A doggie bed and pet throw or blanket can also go a long way. Remember, investing in your pet's comfort is investing in your pet's happiness. It is well worth the cost!

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What Your Basset Hound Inherits

This short-legged breed of dog of the hound family, a Basset Hound attracts the attention of many dog lovers because of its long downward ears, wrinkles around its sad eyes and tail tipped in white. Though this breed tends to be healthier compared to other breeds of dog, they are not exempted to inherit diseases and disorders that could damage their health and stop them from doing their usual activities.

Dog lovers, especially those who prefer a basset Hound should be aware of these diseases and disorders that could possibly be inherited by their dogs.

Bleeding Disorders - Bleeding disorders inherited by dogs are Von Willebrand's disease and Canine Thrombophatia. Von Willebrand's disease affects the blood's ability to clot while Canine Thrombophatia is a disorder of small blood cells called platelets or thrombocytes. Excessive bleeding will occur when a dog with one of these diseases is wounded because of the inability of the blood to clot. Signs of bleeding disorder include excessive bleeding from wounds, bleeding from the nose or gum, blood in stool or urine and red spots on the underside of the belly.

Bloat - Bloat is another term used to describe gastric dilatation. It is a life-threatening condition in which a dog's stomach fills up with swallowed air and then rotates. A dog normally swallows air during exercise or strenuous activity or when a dog swallows food or water. However, the swallowed air should be released through burp or else bloat develops. Bloat may quickly result in death because once the stomach has rotated, the blood supply is cut off and the dog's condition declines quickly. A swollen belly and non-productive vomiting and retching indicate this disease. Another indications include restlessness, abdominal pain, rapid and shallow breathing and profuse drooling.

This disease can be easily prevented. To prevent bloat from developing, veterinarians recommend dog owners to feed their Basset Hound two to three small meals a day instead of the usual one large meal. Giving water during meals or immediately after feeding is not advisable. After meal, wait for a while before allowing your dog to drink water. Avoiding strenuous activities before and after eating is also recommended.

Elbow and Hip Dysplasia - Abnormal development of the elbow and hip joint result to elbow and hip dysplasia in a growing dog. Lameness is often the indication of this disease but if not properly treated will result to arthritis. Aside from acquiring this disease genetically, environmental factors such as nutrition, weight gain and rate of growth may also trigger this disease to occur.

Luxating Patella - Luxating patella is an inherited disorder in which the kneecap dislocates or mover out of its normal position. Trauma can also cause this disease to occur. Lameness in the affected rear leg is the indication of this disease.

A Basset Hound that is seriously affected with any genetic disorder must be excluded from all breeding programs to best prevent the occurrence of these inherited diseases.

Richard Cussons is a great lover of dogs. Discover more about Basset Hound dogs at

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Protecting Your Cats and Dogs in Winter

By Elyse Grau

In the summer we worry about keeping our pets cool, come winter and it's time to think about keeping them warm and dry. Here are some simple ways you can protect your pets this winter.

The easiest, safest way to keep your pets warm is to keep them indoors, especially overnight. Older dogs, puppies, and dogs with certain diseases such as diabetes, heart and kidney problems should never be kept outside. All cats should remain indoors.

Some dogs tolerate cold weather better than others. Some dogs can take cold better than others, such as Alaskan Malamutes and Huskies. Short -haired and toy dogs will have a particularly hard time in the cold.

Snow and ice can pose problems for dogs. Snow can get packed between dog's toes and freeze, causing pain and discomfort. To avoid this problem, keep the hair between the toes cut short.

Keeping nails cut short also helps. Shorter nails allow for better traction. If a dog is slipping on ice it tends to splay the toes, which causes more snow to pack between them.

If you are walking your dog on sidewalks or streets that have been salted to melt ice, be sure to wash his paws when you return. The salt can be drying and irritating to the paws.

If a dog must be kept outside during the day, be sure to provide proper shelter. An oversized dog house or shed will not retain enough heat. The house should be just large enough for the dog to stand up and turn around.

Do not use blankets for bedding. These will just get wet and freeze. Clean straw or hay is preferable.

Position the house on the south or east side of the house if possible, out of the wind. Raising it up off the ground helps, too.

Remember that the dog's water may freeze if left outside. Putting the water in a deep container helps keep it from freezing. Also plastic is a better choice in this case, as metal conducts the cold quicker. Dark colored dishes will absorb more heat than lighter ones, slowing the freezing action. Be sure to break up any ice on the surface of the water each morning.

Are you aware of the dangers of antifreeze? Ethylene glycol based antifreeze is deadly to cats and dogs! Be sure to keep containers tightly capped and out of reach. Wipe up any spills immediately. For the safest bet, use one of the alternative products made with propylene glycol instead.

Outdoor cats will look for warm spots to curl up. Some cats have learned that cars and trucks offer nice warm nooks. They will crawl up into the wheel-wells or engine compartments. Banging on the hood before you get in your car is a good idea in case you have a stowaway.

Indoors, pets will often curl up next to heaters or under wood stoves. Watch out for tails and fur getting too close to heating elements! Make sure your cat does not overheat.

Some extra vigilance may be needed if you will have a Christmas tree. Anchoring the tree to the wall is a good precaution. Tinsel can be dangerous to pets if ingested, so either don't use it, or place it well out of reach of cats and dogs. Start hanging decorations a few feet from the bottom of the tree.

If you have a puppy, don't leave gifts unattended under the tree. Don't use string or dangling ribbons on packages if you have a cat. Cover the base of the tree to keep animals from drinking the water.

There is debate over the toxicity of Poinsettias. Even if they are not deadly, the sap is an irritant and will probably make the animal sick. Holly and mistletoe berries are poisonous; so keep them out of reach of pets.

Elyse is the founder of The Original Dog Biscuit Company. She has extended knowledge of pet nutrition and feeding, as well as practical experience in the raising of cats, dogs and other animals. She is a herbalist, specializing in animals. Read more of her articles at:

Recipes For Homemade Dog Treats - Your Dog Will Bend Over Backwards For More

If you are concerned about what you're feeding your dog since the recent pet food recalls, recipes for homemade treats are worth a closer look. Making your own treats is not much more expensive than buying them commercially. In fact, it may be cheaper.

Commercial treats contain small amounts of low quality meat and large amounts of filler. They are also full of artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. These scientifically engineered foods resemble nothing that dogs would eat in the wild. More and more people are taking the time to remove artificial foods from their diets - isn't it time to do the same for your pet? Take the time to research some recipes and begin making your own chewing bones, cookies and other snacks. You might actually have fun doing it!

To learn how to make snacks for your dog, first find a website or book with appropriate recipes. There are many available for a reasonable price, and they will help you design a diet appropriate to your dog's breed and size. This diet should also include small training rewards for good behavior. Be sure to calculate these treats into your pet's daily nutritional requirements.

Before you begin using recipes, be sure to consult your veterinarian. Explain to her that you want to start cooking for your dog, and show them the recipes. Getting your vet to approve the new diet is the best way to be sure you're doing what's best for your dog, since they know exactly what nutrients your pet's needs. You also need to take into account that your dog's need will change with his age, so be sure to adapt your cooking to his requirements.

Some snacks can be as simple as combining leftovers and meat scrap. However, there are recipes that are actually quite fun to follow as well. Imagine being able to make your dog his very own biscuits and cookies! He'll literally jump for joy and bend over backwards to get more!

By cooking food for your dog, you're choosing to extend your dog's life in a natural way - by feeding him the right food. Researching recipes for homemade treats is a great way to keep your favorite companion healthy and happy. Avoid commercial snacks as soon as you can and gradually introduce the new ones - your pet is sure to love them. After all, they contain actual meat, vegetables, and grains - real food!

Want to get started right away? Download your free ebook for making your own food and treats.

Before you take off to the kitchen, download your free homemade food report on what does NOT belong into anything your dog eats.

Patrick Doherty has been making his own dog food since 2003. Back then he discovered the shocking truth about commercial dog food and has never bought a single can again.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Pet Relocation Specialist by Safe Trips

There are so many things to plan for when it comes to moving away from where you currently live and in to a new location that it can be hard to keep track of them all. In fact, there are so many things to worry about that it can be relatively easy to forget something. One of the often overlooked aspects of moving is what will happen to your pets. You can't exactly pack them in with the rest of your belongings and load them onto your moving truck. Instead, you need a plan that only a pet relocation specialist by company name can do. These people are trained in handling animal related queries and can help you plan what will happen to your cat, dog, or other home pet once you commence your relocation. There are many reasons why working with a pet relocation specialist by company name is a good idea, and if you really want this kind of help, then you will likely consider them all.

One of the main reasons why you should think about getting the help of a pet relocation specialist by company name is because they care a lot about animals. Sure, there are regular relocation companies that handle the standard aspects of a move, but they don't usually have the kind of love of animals that is required when you are doing work like this. You need someone who likes animals and wants to see them be comfortable and safe. After all, that's what will need to happen. If you want them to relocate with you, you are going to have to plan safe passage for them. Then again, you can always get a pet relocation specialist by company name to do it for you. This is a good idea because they will have a lot of experience with planning things such as these. They will also know who and what to avoid so that you don't fall for any scams or anything of that sort.

If you want this kind of service, you can find a pet relocation specialist by company name if you look around in places like the internet. Be sure to work with someone that you trust. Although your pet isn't technically your child, they often feel that way. You want to let someone that you would trust with your child to handle the various aspects of relocating your pet animals. Then you likely won't regret the decision to use a service like this in the first place. After all, so many other people do it with great results.

About the Author

Article by Iwan at Find out more about relocation and get free report at =>


Don't Deny Your House Cat The Great Outdoors! Use a Cat Leash

By David W Johnson

As any cat owner knows, cats love the outside. But it's hard to let your beloved pet out of the house to wander knowing they could be run down by a car or torn apart by an aggressive raccoon. So they usually spend their days sitting by the window staring longingly at the world outside. But thanks to the invention of the cat leash, your pet can enjoy the best of both worlds without the danger of becoming injured or killed.

Some people may say that cats don't belong on a leash. "Leashes are for dogs!" they argue. But taking your cat out for a walk on a cat leash is the perfect way to protect your pet while also improving their quality of life. After all, even though they aren't dogs, your cat deserve to get out of the house every once in a while.

Training your cat to wear a cat leash can take some time. A normal cat leash is more than just a collar that fits around the cat's neck, because as anyone can probably figure out, a cat would end up hanging itself if that was the setup. The cat leash is an actual harness that fits along the cat's body and attaches to a leash that you can then use to guide your cat during a walk.

The first time your cat experiences the cat leash, he will probably fall to the ground seemingly under the unbearable weight of the leash. Don't let this fool you, the leash is not hurting your cat, your cat is simply being dramatic. It may take a little time for your cat to adjust to the feeling of the leash, so it might be a good idea to put the cat leash on your cat while you're in the house so it can acclimate itself. Once your cat begins to walk normally, it's time to head outside.

Don't expect the first walk to go very far. Most cats will experience a sensory overload the first time out on the leash. It is best to just pick a spot where your cat can sniff around and not try to make your cat walk in a specific path. Forcing your cat to walk along a sidewalk while on a cat leash for the first time will only result in you dragging your cat. Let your cat lead. Once it becomes familiar with the scents and sounds of the outdoors it will begin to walk around.

One important thing to remember when using a cat leash is to never leave your pet unattended outside unattended. It may seem like a good idea to tie the cat leash to a fence so that the cat can experience the outdoors while you find something else to do, but this can be very dangerous. Cats are small and may become entangled in the leash. If they are unable to free themselves they may end up choking themselves to death or cutting off circulation to a limb.

The Truth About Pet Foods
An informative story of the pet food industry and what to look for when choosing a pet food.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Finding The Perfect Pet Friendly Accommodation

By Samuell Armstrong

As more people choose to take pets along on family holidays, the need to find accommodation that is pet friendly is increasing. Here are some ways to locate information about holiday rental properties that welcome pets.

Pet Friendly Property Features
One of the most popular means of finding pet friendly resorts and accommodations is to conduct searches on the Internet. This will allow you to look at the specific types of amenities offered by each pet friendly accommodation, and determine if they would be a good fit for both your family and your pet.

Check the property has pet friendly features:
1. Wooden floors are easy to keep clean
2. Fenced areas (particularly for outdoor pets especially dogs)
3. Bath for washing your pet
4. Space from nearby properties to avoid your pet disrupting neighbours

Local Amenities for Pets
Check the local amenities for pets. Some examples of amenities to look for include, walking parks, pet sitting services, pet grooming salons in or near the accommodation, and veterinarians who are available in the event of an emergency. In many cases, these sorts of amenities will be highlighted on business web sites, so finding options for long term stays that welcome pets is somewhat easy.

Other information for holidaying with Pets
Another option is to contact hospitality associations within the city or town that you plan on visiting for your holiday. This may involve local business associations, or the local municipal government. Often, these resources can offer contact information on rental accommodations that welcome household pets and also have reasonable rates. If you are in doubt its best to email and obtain exact information about what is available or required when taking pet friendly accommodation. This approach also allows you to begin the process of building rapport with the property manager before you ever arrive for your holiday.

Bond or Additional Costs
Be prepared to pay a 'doggy bond' as most property managers will require bonds in pet friendly accommodation to protect against damage. Additional costs for de-odourising might also be imposed to remove smells and fleas, so the property is clean for the next visitor.

There are a large range of pet friendly properties and you'll have a lot more fun when you take your beloved pet away on holidays. Enjoy your vacation, woof! lists a wide range of Accommodation including Holiday Rentals, Holiday Apartments, Holiday Homes and Serviced Apartments for short stay or long stay in Australia. For more information on Pet Friendly Accommodation, visit To view accommodation, availability, and make bookings online, visit

Pet Eye Care

Depending on the type of animal you own, pet eye care could either be an everyday maintenance issue or a complete non-issue unless illness strikes. Even when an eye illness does occur, the consequences are rarely serious unless the illness goes untreated. If you've got questions about eye care for your pets, hopefully the following will give you some answers.

We'll start with the smallest first-fish, and the common misconception that fish are unlikely to suffer from eye problems. In fact, eye problems are rather common in fish, and can be difficult to treat, given we can't lay a fish on the exam table and have a vet take a look! A very common cause of fish eye problems is injury caused by running into the sharp edges of tank d├ęcor. In the instances of eye injury and resulting infection, the fish's eye may appear cloudy or distended. The best thing you can do for a fish with an injured eye is quarantine it in a smaller tank to keep the other fish from picking at it while it heals. An injured fish is free game to other fish in the tank, and the stress of being chased and nipped at will only prolong your injured fish's healing process. To prevent or heal infection, special aquarium antibiotics can be added to the water of your fish's recuperation tank.

When it comes to pet eye care for mammals, eye problems are far easier to treat, but in order to prevent permanent damage, must be caught early. For hamsters, mice, and other cage-dwelling rodents, the most common eye issues are infections arising from soiled or dusty bedding. These infections can either originate directly in the eyes or can be a symptom of a larger infection, such as a respiratory infection. A rodent with an eye infection will often have one or both eyes sealed shut with a crusty matter. Your vet will be able to give you an ointment to apply once or twice a day and will instruct you to very gently unseal the eyes with a warm, damp washcloth or Q-tip. Even after the infection seems to have cleared, continue using the ointment for another week afterwards, as eye infections often relapse, returning stronger than ever.

Awareness of proper dog eye care and cat eye care is crucial as eye infections in cats and dogs are very common--more so in cats and then, more common in kittens. Oftentimes, the infection is little more than the pet version of pinkeye, and will require daily applications of ointment and cleaning. A prolonged or untreated eye infection will inevitably result in scarring of the eye, blindness, and in extreme cases, surgical removal of the entire eyeball. Eye infections are highly communicable between cats and dogs, so if one of your cats or dogs has an infection, be sure to wash your hands immediately after treating the infected animal, and try to keep your pets from rubbing against one another or grooming each other until the infection has cleared up.

Preventative pet eye care for cats, dogs, and smaller mammals involves making sure that your pet's living space is kept clean and free of dust, mold, and other debris. Don't allow your dog to play with sharp sticks, and check your rodent cages for protruding wires. Be aware of the common eye problems that can plague certain breeds of dogs. For instance, pugs are notorious for having their eyeballs bulge to the point that they can pop out of the dog's skull. While this may look absolutely horrendous, a cool head and an immediate trip to the vet can save the eye, and in many instances, the dog's sight. Other breeds, such as poodles, schnauzers, and other long-haired or wire-haired dogs are prone to blockages of the tear ducts caused by matted fur around the eyes. This can lead to infection, an unpleasant build-up, and blindness, if left untreated. Dogs with special grooming needs should have their eyes wiped once a day with either a warm, damp cloth or special wipes made specifically for your pet's eyes.

Regardless of the type of pet you own, successful pet eye care boils down to vigilance. Not only are eyes the window to the soul, they're also a strong indicator of your pet's overall health. Take time each day to look into your pet's eyes. If you notice that your pet's eyes seem dull, watery, crusty, red-rimmed, or bloodshot, contact your vet immediately for advice.

Article written by Barry Mcgee

Puppy Training & Dog Training Online


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Chihuahuas - The Celebrity Choice Dog

They've been spotted everywhere-the streets of Hollywood, the beaches of Miami, and the hotels of New York and London. Have you noticed the global spurt of celebrities' fascination (or possibly obsession?) with Chihuahuas? At first it was thought to simply be a phase; either it's a short, or the Chihuahuadom in Hollywood has begun for the long haul.

Who owns these dogs? The list is endless, but here are some of the celebrity biggies: Paris Hilton's Chihuahua, Tinkerbell; Britney Spear's Bit Bit and Lucky; Hilary' Duff's Lola; Scarlett Johansson's Maggie; Sandra Bullock's Chihuahua mix Poppy; and Demi Moore's Yorkie-Chihuahua mix, Louie.

Why do Chihuahuas appeal to celebrities? First, Chihuahuas are normally 6-9 inches in height and 2-6 lbs in weight. This equals a teeny tiny full grown pup. Because celebrities are always on the move, they have a perfectly portable pet in a Chihuahua-they can easily be taken nearly anywhere; the spa, the film set, a private airplane, a shopping spree, a sporting name it. Also, celebrities seem to love buying accessories and items for their precious pooches: carrying bags, jeweled (yes, jeweled) personal collars, doggie sweaters and outfits, custom made leashes, etc. Celebrities have money to spend; why not diffuse cash on their puppy companion?

These dogs have not only grown in popularity because they are owned by celebrities; they now stand on their own four feet. Consider Paris Hilton's Tinkerbell, who seemed to have been the groundbreaking pup which was first in the Chihuahua trend. Tinkerbell even has her own doggie diary, titled, The Tinkerbell Hilton Diaries: My Life Tailing Paris Hilton, by Tinkerbell Hilton. A doggie author? This book is 112 pages full of Tinkerbell's first-person (or is it first-canine?) thoughts as she trails Paris around the world.

Are these celebrity pooches only as popular as their owners, or can they exceed the fame of their mommies? Britney Spear's pup, Bit Bit, is only popular because of the struggle between Britney and Kevin; Kevin thought the Britney's Bit Bit might be harmful to their children. Britney agreed to get rid of Lucky after she snapped at Kevin one day in May, but Bit Bit remained. Are Chihuahuas aggressive pups?

Chihuahua's are known for their extreme loyalty to their owners. They are loving pets who demand attention from their owners, yet they freely give it as well. They are wary of dogs other than Chihuahuas, primarily because they are tiny and sometimes are easily scared. If a Chihuahua is well-socialized, they are happy to be dotted upon and passed around from person to person. They are not recommended for children because Chihuahuas are naturally nervous and edgy dogs, and the teasing actions of a child may cause them to become afraid and nip with their sharp teeth. Chihuahuas are energetic, dotting, and saucy pets; they know what they want, and they plan to get it. Compare their temperament to that of a celebrity; there seem to be a few similarities. Is the primary appeal to a celebrity of owning a Chihuahua because they can keep up with the fast and famous lifestyle? Quite possibly.

Melissa Turner writes article about various pet related topics. Her articles and information can be seen on sites such as:, LVE Productions and Dog Training Methods.

Dog Skin Problems And Allergies

By Janie Knetzer

Take Notice Of Your Dog's Skin Problems

It is beneath their beautiful fur coats that a world of uncomfortable and even painful skin conditions are often lurking. Dogs skin problems can be an indication of a more serious and even life threatening condition.

Some of the most common dog skin problems are dry skin, usually indicated by the appearance of "dandruff" or excessive shedding, various fungus infections, mite irritations, mange, and rashes that may be the result of seasonal, environmental or food allergies. Other dog skin problems include tumors, seborrhea skin diseases, melanomas and infected sores.

The fact is that many of these conditions are completely treatable and often preventable. Identifying the cause and preventing unnecessary dog skin problems is a responsibility that comes with the role of owning a dog. However, as a loving pet guardian, adequate care and treatment of an animal is a legal requirement.

Food And Seasonal Dog Allergies

Some of the most preventable dog skin problems are caused by dog allergies. Dog allergies may be the result of seasonal conditions, environmental factors or symptoms of food allergies. Many dog owners are surprised to learn that food allergies are not always related to a new food or diet. A dog may develop intolerance to foods that they have been eating for years.

It is not an unusual occurrence for a dog to develop a food allergy when their immunity system may be compromised. Adding a digestive enzyme to a dog's daily diet of a premium all natural food is many times all that is needed to heal the skin. Dog food allergies are often an intolerance to unnatural additives and preservatives.

Seasonal dog allergies can include parasite allergies. Fleas for example are uncomfortable enough for a dog, but some dogs are particularly sensitive to flea bites. Although, fleas may be present at any time of year, it's the hot dry conditions of summer when they are the worst. Other possible seasonal allergy irritants are spring pollens and dust mites. Rural dogs are at risk of developing further seasonal allergies where crop dusting occurs, or when other such chemicals are used around the farm or surrounding properties.

If your dog is uncomfortable and excessively chewing and biting his legs or rear end, scratching himself sore, or shows any signs or symptoms at all of a bothersome skin condition, please seek the advice of a veterinarian right away.

Prevention is better than cure; the best premium all natural diet is the first weapon against dog skin problems and dog allergies. Dog owners should routinely check their dog's skin and feel for any lumps, bumps or other skin conditions.

A Pittsburgh area resident with over 25 years of dog care experience. Janie is an avid dog lover and has written numerous articles on dog skin, nutrition and care.


Find more information on dog skin conditions and care, visit

Article Source:

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Royal Accessories for your Dog

By Gabriel J. Adams

Dogs are definitely man's best friend. It is very easy to see this today, because of the fabulous lives they lead. Who would not want to lie around all day, get scratched behind the ears, and eat all of the good food that humans get to eat on a daily basis? Not only do they get all of these wonderful things, but they also do not have to go to work, cook dinner, or clean the house. I would give anything to be a dog. If this was not bad enough, while visiting the mall I saw that dogs have quite a few accessories available to make their lives even better.

The only accessory that a dog had when I was growing up was a collar, if they were lucky. These collars were nothing fancy, usually just a piece of leather with a buckle on it to allow you to adjust it as the dog grew larger. Now I see collars in every shape, size, and color, and with all different kinds of decorations on them. I have seen collars with the dog's name on them, collars with gemstones on them, and even collars that will play a song when the dog scratches them. These collars are ridiculous, but they are not even the most outrageous extravagance that has been created for dogs lately.

Now a dog has the luxury of sleeping in a nice and soft bed. When I was a child our dog slept on our cold, hard tile, and she liked it just fine. Our dog now has a big fluffy denim bed that is more comfortable than the bed I sleep on. Dogs also have many different types of clothes for them to wear. My dog wears a sweater and actually has a jacket that she wears in the winter so she does not get cold. Whatever happened to dogs growing their winter coat so that they would not get cold? The warm clothes are bad enough, but now dogs have dresses, Halloween costumes, and even feather boas. What is this world coming to? I am not sure, but as long as my wife and others like her are shopping for dog accessories, I am sure that manufacturers will not stop making them! Now if I could just get her to buy ME such nice luxuries...

Visit and treat your pet like royalty with our selection of dog collars, dog beds, dog clothes, cat beds and more!

Moving Home With Your Cat

Friday, November 23, 2007

Pomeranian Dogs - One Of The Most Popular Lap Dogs

By Lee Dobbins

Pomeranian dogs originally come from the Prussian Region of Pomerania and the ancestors of those tiny toy dogs that we see today once weighed up to 30 pounds! Queen Victoria was a fancier of this breed which made these dogs very popular in England during the late 1800's. Today this breed is still very popular both as a loving companion and show dog.

A member of the AKC Toy Group, the Pomeranian was recognized in 1888 and gained it's regular classification in 1900. The breed standard is seven to 12 inches tall and 3 - 7 pounds in weight. The Pomeranians life span is typically 15 years if they are well cared for.

The Pomeranian is a fluffy dog with pointed ears and a wedge shaped head. They all have a bright dark almond shaped eye which gives them an intelligent expression and their noses are either dark or the color of their coats and their teeth should meet in a scissors bite. Their fluffy tail curls over the back. The chest and neck of the Pomeranian should have an abundant ruff. Most Pomeranians have a solid coat, but parti colored is also allowed in the breed. Allowed colors for the Breed are Black, brown, blue, cream, white, orange and red.

A very loyal breed, Pomeranian dogs are intelligent and also eager to learn. When trained with a kind but firm hand, Pomeranians are quick to learn and obedient pets.

The Pomeranian has a docile demeanor making it a great show dog and companion. This breed is one of the most independent of the Toy breeds and has an alert and curious personality. They are perfect for apartments since they do not need a yard.

Like many other pure bred dogs, Poms can be prone to health problems and some may be prone to slipped stifle, dislocated patella (knee cap), heart and skin problems as well as eye infections. They can also lose their teeth at an early age so be sure to provide them with good dental cleanings.

The Pomeranian dogs very long double coat which sheds often should be brushed often and you should start at the head parting the coat and brushing it forward as you go. The fluffy, cottony undercoat of the Pom is shed once or twice a year. It is important that the Pomeranians eyes and ears are cleaned on a regular basis.

For more on a variety of dog breeds including pomeranian dogs, please visit where you will get breed information and pictures of popular dog breeds.


Winterize Your Dog This Christmas

If you live in a colder climate in winter there are ways to ensure your pet is healthy and comfortably out of danger during the winter.

Although most dogs will grow a winter coat, it is still hard to understand why some people keep their dogs outdoors all night in the freezing weather of winter. If your dog is out in the cold for long periods of time, especially if the temperatures are below zero it can surely freeze your dog to death.

The belief that dogs can exist outdoors all night as long as they are in a dog house is not true or healthy. This would kill most dogs even as winter temperatures might appear to be getting warmer due to global warming. It does not take long for a cold snap to set in over nite and result in sub zero temperatures.

Frostbite can result when spending too much time outside on a cold night or a long walk in sub-zero temperatures. There are dog coats for this type of cold weather and its well worth the effort to put them on before venturing out into the cold weather for your dog's comfort and protection. Dogs and pets in general must be kept dry and away from drafty areas as well as the dampness or rain.

Groom your dog regularly and especially after walks in the winter as snow can accumulate between a dog's toes which makes walking difficult and sometimes painful. Dry and wash your dog's four paws after each walk, and watch for cracked pads on the bottom, put some grape seed oil or olive oil on their feet to protect them from cracking and sores. After a walk remove the snow and ice between toes and wash the paws of any salt or other chemicals used to melt icy roads. These chemical additives used to melt ice on winter roads these days, not only includes salt but other chemicals and dirt which can harm the paws.

Your dog's appetite will increase in the colder weather especially if it spends a lot of time outdoors. Serve your pet's meals warm, and loading some extra calories will keep them warm outside for daily walks.

Pet owners must be aware when playing near frozen rivers, streams, lakes, or canal where ice can be thin especially with warmer weather during the day. While ice appears to be solid, it sometimes is very thin and cannot hold the weight of a larger dog or a small child.

Do not leave your dog alone in the car, even with the engine on or off. It is preferable to leave your dog at home when very cold, that to freeze the dog in the car for hours while you shop, unless some one is in the car with the dog.

Poisonous Objects and House Christmas Plants:

Poinsettias, and Holly can be poisonous to dogs or cats. Keep these plants on high tables where pets cannot get to the leaves of the plant.

Tinsel is dangerous if swallowed, it's basically plastic with aluminum colored paint which more than likely contains lead. Avoid using glass ornaments on the trees where the dog can knock them down and eat them.

Keep chocolates out of reach of the dog, and sugar items such as cookies or cakes, on the coffee table...where they are accessible by your dog.

Holiday times are stressful for everyone including your dog...when you have a houseful of guests dogs may become anxious, stressed out. Make sure the dog has plenty of fresh water, as the dry heat indoors and low humidity in the winter can dehydrate your dog. Allow for some quite time in a room where they can be alone, or a walk outside for a break from the hustle and bustle of the visitors.

Trees, whether artificial or real pose a threat if the dog chokes on the needles. or tries to eat the tree. Usually they are attracted by the lights and glimmer of a decorated tree and will eat the ornaments. Commercial ornaments contain harmful paints and colors and can break into small pieces of plastic and glass that if swallowed can cost you to get out of your dog's throat after a trip to the Veterinarian.

Review your dog's stocking or treats, and make sure you do not get bacteria laden pig's ears or harmful treats, by buying organic treats or healthy biscuits with parsley for instance that helps eliminate bad breathe. Do not chose rawhide bones for dogs as they break off and can choke a dog instantly.

Use common sense and these guidelines to keep your dog healthy during the Christmas Holidays and for the New Year.

Teri Salvador is a freelance writer with a site primarily on dog health issues that offers frequently updated articles on natural remedies, pet product reviews and current articles on pet foods. You will read it first on even before CNN gets around to covering the story. Visit:

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Quick Pet Guinea Pig Care Guide! Simple Tips For A Healthy Cavy!

By Michael Porteous

Guinea pig's also known as Cavies are one of the gentlest, loving, clean and adorable pets you can care for. These timid creatures have grown in popularity over the last few years but not as much is known about pet guinea pig care as cats or dogs or fish which are more prominent. Luckily guinea pigs are not too difficult to look after, they are clean, do not smell like mice and do not bite like ferrets. Here are a few simple tips to care for your guinea pig!


It is best to keep your guinea pig in a decent size cage, four to six square feet of floor space for each guinea pig is good but slightly smaller will suffice. Make sure the floor is solid not wire cage like the walls however as this can hurt their feet, also guinea pigs cannot jump or climb very well also so you do not need a roof to their enclosure as long as it is about 18 inches high. Make sure your enclosure also has a place for your pet to hide in if it wants; in the wild it was defenseless against predators so when it feels threatened it needs a place to feel secure in.


A bed of shredded newspaper or wood shavings is ideal for your guinea pig. Beware however of wood shavings with a lot of aroma such as some types of pine as this can cause some healthy issues. Make sure you change the bedding at least once a week.


For good Guinea pig care you should have a large and steady supply of water as they tend to drink a lot. Water in a dish is fine but can often get messy as bits of bedding may get into it and they might tip it accidentally and wet themselves and their cage. Most experts recommend a feeding tube attached to a bottle, these can be purchased at most pet stores and have a device that stops the water leaking out so the guinea pig can drink without making a mess. Guinea pigs are also very susceptible to a lack of vitamin C and while their food pellets are infused with the vitamin older tablets lose their potency. You can add Vitamin C supplements to the drinking water however to keep their supply up. While guinea pig pellets should be the main part of your pet's diet you can also feed them other fresher food like turnips, spinach, hay and kale. Do not however feed your pig fruits and sweets as this upsets their digestive system.


A sick guinea pig will suffer from hair loss and crusty or inflamed eyes, nose and ears. These symptoms are caused often by a lack of vitamin C but also from diseases they can pick up from guinea pig colonies at pet stores, while the usual cure for diseases like these is anti-biotics, guinea pigs are known to react very badly to such treatment. Other things to check are flaky skin and ticks and fleas, when purchasing your guinea pig make sure you check for all these things so you choose a healthy pig that can live up to 8 years if cared for well!

Physical care

Long haired varieties of guinea pigs need regular brushing, combs used for Persian cats are good for this. Make sure your long haired pig is free from items getting caught up in their hair, this breed needs much more attention. You should also clip the nails of your pig once a month, a normal nail clipper is good for this. A Guinea pigs teeth are also always growing and they need something wooden in their pen for them to chew on so they do not overgrow.

You should now know the basics of good pet guinea pig care and will have a happy healthy little pet that will delight you for many years to come!

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Rimadyl, Your Dog, and Arthritis

By Beverly Maniago

It is the dream of most dog owners to see their old dogs suffering from arthritis leap over fallen trees, jump high for a Frisbee or run like the wind like the dogs in TV commercials.

A Pfizer survey indicated that about one-fifth of dog owners are willing to be extravagant when it comes to their dog's health because over fifty percent have expressed that dogs have become their own unique companion. It is no wonder that carprofen, an anti-inflammatory drug also known as Rimadyl, became a popular remedy for arthritis in dogs. Launched in 1997, despite clinical trials that resulted in one-fifth of test subjects (dogs) exhibiting unusual and negative liver functions, Rimadyl got an FDA approval. Soon, the story of the miraculous drug was pouring over airwaves and TV commercials. Even veterinarians were amazed with what Rimadyl could do and even administered the drug to their own dogs.

However, dog owners soon became weary of Rimadyl when complaints about the drug's side effects arose during Rimadyls' launch year. A dog suffering from arthritis that showed unbelievable signs of progress was reported to suffer a series of vomiting and eventually died. Various complaints about the drug's negative side effects such as vomiting and diarrhea soon took place tainting Rimadyls' reputation as a miracle cure. Pfizer was even issued an ultimatum to input a warning to dog owners and veterinarians in the drug's labels about the fatal side effects of Rimadyl.

As the favor for Rimadyl declined, dog owners and vets seek an alternative therapy to canine arthritis. The usual remedy that most dog owners and uninformed vets resort to is to give their dogs NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) that work much like aspirin in people with headaches. However, knowledgeable dog owners and vets would know that a safer arthritis therapy exists and is fast becoming popular: glucosamine. Nowadays, dog owners have renewed hope of fulfilling their dream of seeing their dogs behave the way they do in TV commercial ads with dietary glucosamine supplements. Dietary glucosamine supplements such as Syn-flex for Pets allows assistance in the rehabilitation of your dog's joints thereby combating the effects of arthritis. Unlike Rimadyl, its benefits last long-term. Syn-flex Liquid Glucosamine for Pets combines anti-inflammatory ingredients with glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, ingredients that enable assist the repair and re-growth of damaged cartilage. If you want to see a faster improvement in your dog's condition, try Syn-flex Liquid Glucosamine for Pets. Synflex is very effective and efficient as it is 90 to 95% absorbed by the body.

Unlike other dietary glucosamine brands, Synflex is able to treat different kinds of pet arthritis such as osteoarthritis, hip, elbow, and knee dysplasia, degenerative joint disease, and others. Moreover, you will notice a significant change in your dog's behavior in as quickly as 10 to 15 days. No more limping, skulking around a corner of the house, and moaning from your dog. How is this possible? Glucosamine, when combined with the right ingredients, not only eases the pain of arthritis but also assists in building healthier cartilage in joints. This is the secret of Synflex that makes it better than other glucosamine brands. You can read more about this terrific product at, my personal distributor.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Perfect Litter for Cats - Free Cat Litter

By Darren Davis

Cat Litter is a necessity for many cat owners and the average cat owner will spend more than one thousand dollars every year on purchasing cat litter. Cat litter (often called kitty litter) is one of the materials used in litter boxes to absorb moisture from cats.

However, what is unknown to many cat owners, their cat litter could have damaging health effects for their pet. For example, many cat litter manufactures use clay to make their litter which traps smells but can create mess around the house.

There are many types of cat litter. The main types are clay, sand, clumping litter, crystal and wheat. Each one has it's own distinct advantages and disadvantages. Some of these are:

Sand or dirt: cheap, easy and quickly available. BUT it does not absorb oder and it tracks easily.

Basic Cat litter: Inexpensive. Less likely to be tracked through the house. BUT lots of cleaning and the box can smell. Dusty.

Clumping litter: Easy to clean, less oder. BUT cats can track it through the house easier. Dusty. Maybe harmful if ingested.

Crystal litter: Easy to clean. Low smell. No dust BUT maybe harmful if swallowed. Crystals roll everywhere. Cats may not like walking on it.

Wheat Litter: Much like clumping litter but more environmentally sound and safer if ingested. BUT there is more cat oder. Tends to expensive. Dusty.

When choosing cat litter, it is important to purchase one made from safe materials that cannot be ingested by cats and also have the ability to neutralize bad odours quickly. The cat litter should also clump for easy disposal.

To Find Out More About The Perfect Litter for Cats, Please Visit Free Cat Litter


Snakes as Pets

By Tonia Jordan

Snakes can make fascinating and entertaining pets, but they're not quite the ideal pet for everyone. They require special care and requirements, and should only be kept by those willing to commit to their care.

Choosing the type of snake is your first step. Some snakes are more dangerous than others, and the types of snakes range from common, harmless garter snakes to large and dangerous pythons.

It's important to research types of snakes before making a decision. Take into consideration its special needs and requirements, as well as the danger in handling the type of snake.

Regardless of the type of snake, you will need to house it in a secure enclosure with no gaps or open areas through which the snake can escape. A glass structure, like a large fish tank may be ideal. Just be sure the lid is firmly secured and not able to be lifted easily from the inside.

Snakes do not eat vegetation, but must feed on prey. The most common food for snakes (though it does depend on the type) is mice or rats. It is actually preferable to have the prey pre-killed in order to prevent injury to the snake. A live rodent can harm a snake, so pre-killing is recommended. It may be convenient to keep a supply of frozen food for your pet snake.

Speak with the pet store or pet dealer/breeder before purchasing a snake. If possible, the snake should have been bred in captivity. Snakes caught from the wild tend to be less tame and more prone to disease. Also, snakes caught from the wild will generally be more difficult to feed in captivity.

For new snake owners, or those who may be inexperienced with snakes, choosing the right type of snake is key. Corn snakes, king snakes or ball snakes are the best choice for new owners, as they tend to be more gentle, and their needs are not as difficult as some of the other species of snake. They are also relatively smaller than other types of snake, ranging from four to five feet in length as adults.

The life-span of snakes, especially the easier care species listed in the paragraph above, range from twenty to forty years. Snakes are not a low-maintenance pet. They require a good deal of special care, and their long life span requires an additional commitment to long term care.

As with any pet, the decision to own a pet snake should not be taken lightly. Careful research and evaluation of your commitment to taking care of the pet should be done. Snakes can make very rewarding and entertaining pets. Just be sure you're up to the challenge.

This article has been submitted in affiliation with http://www.PetLovers.Com/ which is a site for Pets.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Stop Your Cats Fighting: the Towel Method

By Eric Hartwell

There could be a valid reason why one, or more, of your cats fight in the home, although determining any of these can be difficult for the owners concerned.

A possible reason could be that one of your cats may have a funny or odd "smell". It is natural for all of us to have a particular smell or odour. Cats, and other animals, are no different in that respect. Your fighting cat may not recognise, or accept, the smell of the newer cat and may see this as a sign of rivalry or a threat.

As cats are naturally territorial (but also inquisitive!) an odd smell can have the effect of the first cat becoming aggressive and defensive. Luckily, with time, cats often accept their "intruders" and many cats can become close and friendly if they live in the same home environment.

Some owners have advocated a novel way of clearing up the "smell" issue. The owner should get a clean towel and rub it over the newer cat. Then, the same towel should be used to rub over the older, established, cat. The idea is that both of them will smell very much the same and they will come to accept the smell as part of either them or the home itself.

It is not inevitable that cats fight and many owners have witnessed the introduction of alien cats without any problem whatsoever. Much can depend on the individual personality of the cat(s) as much as anything else. Indeed, I have had a cat which took to any foreign cat it ever met.

Persevering with the issue can pay dividends. Using the towel method to coat each cat in th same odour, if it works, will lead to a lessened need for this process as time goes by and ultimately the practice can be stopped altogether.

If you found this article interesting you can find more help and advice here

The Goldfish Versus The Beta

By Tonia Jordan

Both the goldfish and the beta are popular choices for pets, and both are believed to be a low maintenance pet. So, which makes the better pet?

The goldfish is the most common pet in the world. It requires a tank, but never a just a small goldfish bowl or small container. Like all other fish, it requires oxygen, and the goldfish gathers oxygen from the surface of its home. Surface area is the important thing in providing enough oxygen for your goldfish.

Measure surface area by multiplying a tank's length by its depth. For every inch of fish, you should have at least 30 square inches of surface area, and also take into consideration the fact that you're fish will grow. Make sure to have plenty of room and surface area for your pet goldfish.

Goldfish commonly live at least ten years if cared for properly. They are omnivorous and will eat almost anything. It is recommended to stick with prepackaged fish foods, though. Feed the goldfish no more than it will eat in a few minutes. Leftovers pollute the tank, so it should be removed after feeding. Feed the fish several times per day instead of one big meal.

The ideal water temperature for a goldfish is anywhere from 50 degrees to 68 degrees Fahrenheit, so generally water at room temperature is fine. Tap water is also fine for goldfish, but be sure to let it sit over night so that the chlorine evaporates from it.

In summary, goldfish will be fine in a large, filterless tank with room temperature, de-chlorinated tap water.

Betas are a very common fish kept as pets. The males are the more colorful ones, but never place more than one male in one tank. Betas are also referred to as "Siamese Fighting Fish," and males will fight one another if kept in the same tank.

The lifespan of the beta is only two to three years, and as they are originally from a tropical climate, Betas need warmer water, preferably in the 80s. They will become listless when water temperature falls below 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The water should also be neutral to slightly acidic pH, so be sure to check the pH regularly, and treat the water as needed.

Just like goldfish, Betas require plenty of surface area for oxygen. They have special respiration systems that require them to get oxygen from the surface, so be sure to house them in a large tank.

To sum up, Betas require special attention to their water. They're okay in a filterless tank, but the water may need to be heated and treated for pH.

Bottom line - Both fish do not need filters for their tanks, though they do require plenty of surface area for oxygen. Goldfish are generally less maintenance as they require only room temperature, de-chlorinated tap water. Betas require additional heating in most cases, and may also require regular treatments of the water for the required pH level.

Overall, goldfish are the hardier, lower maintenance pet that live a lot longer.

This article has been submitted in affiliation with http://www.PetLovers.Com/ which is a site for Pets.


Monday, November 19, 2007

4 Things You Should Know About Raising Beef Cows

If you're a farmer, or you just have a little land and would like to raise some animals, you might want to try your hand at raising some beef cows. That's right, you can grow a hamburger right in your backyard!

But before you roll up your sleeves and run out and by a whole passel of cattle, there are a few things you should consider first.

#1: Cows Need Room

Yep, you read that right. You can't raise beef cows in a barn - they need room to graze. To be exact, a cow needs about two acres of good pasture. In some areas, such as out west where the pasture is really more like dessert, a cow will need as much as 40 acres. So the first thing you should consider is how many cows you can have based on the amount of land you have. If you get too many cows on your land, you'll have to buy hay for them even during the summertime.

#2: Winter Food

During the spring and summer, cows can get all the food they need from good pasture. Winter is an entirely different story, though. You'll need hay to feed your cows during the winter. You can either grow it yourself, or buy it. If you buy it yourself, you're likely to pay more for it, and you may also have troubles getting enough during lean years. If you just have a few cows, though, it may not be worth it to grow it yourself.

Alfalfa hay is the best hay you can get or grow. As a matter of fact, alfalfa hay is the standard by which all other hay's are compared.

#3: Water

Cows do need to drink, too! On average, you can figure to a lot 12 gallons per cow per day. If you don't have a pond or creek they can drink from, you'll need to provide them with a trough or tub to drink from. It's well worth it to install an automatic, heated watering device. That's much easier than trying to thaw out a frozen water trough.

#4: You need to fatten them up

In most cases, you can't just raise a cow, then sell or slaughter it. You'll need to fatten it up, using top quality hay and grain, such as corn. You may also want to supplement the feed with salt, minerals, molasses, and feed supplement.

All in all, raising beef cows can be an exciting, rewarding venture. Well worth a go!

Gabriel Adams would like for you to visit these sites: Gary Magness Gary Magness Article


Dog Training Guide on Debarking Surgery

By David Peters

One of the most controversial subjects in the field of dog training is the question of debarking surgery. Debarking surgery is a procedure designed to minimize the volume of a dog's bark. It is generally used by those with dogs who have both a loud bark and a tendency to bark incessantly. The procedure is most commonly used on very loud larger dog breeds. Shetlands and collies, for instance, make up a large percentage of those dogs subjected to the surgery.The procedure generally requires the use of a general anesthesia and involves punching, cutting or otherwise manipulating the tissue around a dog's vocal chords to soften or significantly reduce his ability to bark. Access the areas targeted during the surgery can come either through the dog's mouth or via an incision on the dog's neck.

Debarking does not, usually, complete eliminate dog's bark. The volume of the bark is decreased substantially by the surgery, but most dogs will still have some bit of "bark" left subsequent to surgery. It is sometimes referred to a bark softening for this reason.

Not surprisingly, debarking is a very contentious issue, with experts having lined up on each side of the argument. Some advocate debarking as a helpful last-resort for incessant barkers while others maintain the process is cruel and unnecessary.

The Debarking Advocates

Those who support the continued use of debarking procedures argue that it is generally pursued only in egregious circumstances. Only dogs who have been resistant to alternative methods of reducing their excessive barking tend to be subject to the procedure. The surgery is reserved, the say, for problematic pets when no workable alternative exists and when the nature of the dog's bark makes them a legitimate nuisance-not merely an inconvenience.

They argue that the debarking surgery, if conducted by a properly trained veterinarian creates a more pleasant life for the dog. No longer subject to constant criticism and correction for his barking, the dog's quality of life is enhanced.

Some have even maintained that the debarking process saves dogs' lives. They state that dogs with constant barking issues are often abandoned by owners or given to shelters and eventually euthanised as result of a barking problem that can be surgically corrected. Proponents of debarking see the surgery as a form of behavior modification can be a great benefit to frustrated humans as well as the dogs themselves.

The Debarking Detractors

Those who oppose debarking operations often do so on the grounds of inhumanity. They object to the surgery on principle, noting the dog has no ability to consent to the action and that since it is not a health-related matter, the elimination of a dog's bark via surgery is simply moral wrong. There is no justification to expose the dog to the risk of surgery for the mere sake of convenience, they will argue.

Additionally, they note that the surgery does nothing to eliminate the underlying reasons for the dog's constant barking. The dog is likely to continue to "bark" albeit silently or at a lower volume because root causes of the unappreciated behavior are not addressed. This cuts against the potential benefits of the surgery as the real nature of the dog's life is not changed-they still suffer from the same issues as before. Post-surgery, however, they suffer in relative silence, which decreases the owner's impetus to explore what problems led to the errant behavior in the first place.

Those who reject the procedure also note the medical risk inherent in any major surgery and any procedure requiring use of a general anesthetic. This line of thought purports that the risks associated with the procedure outweigh the minor benefits that may it may possibly produce.

The question of whether or not a dog should be considered a prospect for a debarking procedure remains a highly personal one. There are many who would argue that, under the right circumstances, a dog and owner can both benefit from the procedure. There are just as many who reject the procedure out of hand as a wasteful act of inhumanity.

Debarking surgery remains a controversial and divisive issue within the dog community and it is not likely that a consensus will soon emerge either for or against the procedure. There are reasons to support the practice often seemingly solvent act debarking, yet many reasons to be distrustful of the procedure, its true efficacy and moral justifications.

Complete Pet Guide is committed to bringing you high quality resources and information on dog and cat pet care and training. For great articles, resource and tips try Complete Pet Guide Blog

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Pond Aquarium Plants: More than Just Decoration

What is a pond with plants in it? Just another hole in the ground with water! Well, maybe it isn't that bad, but you will find that by adding plants to your outdoor pond you can greatly help not only with the visual aspects of the pond, but also help your fish breed better and the pond keep itself healthy for your fish. Let's take a look at how aquatic plants can help spruce up your outdoor pond.

* Different tropical fish like different types of aquatic plants. There are a large number which to choose from and it is important to pick types that your fish will enjoy and those that will help your pond. Most pet stores and tropical fish handbooks can give you an idea of what types of aquatic plants will work well in an outdoor environment. If your pond is large enough you may even want to consult with your local greenhouse which may have a selection of aquatic plants available.

* Aquatic plants serve many purposes in a pond. They not only provide a place for fish to hide, rest and breed, but they also help keep the Carbon Dioxide levels in the water regulated as well as help control algae production. Without aquatic plants you would need to use chemicals and other methods to control the environment.

* Freshwater ponds also benefit from having aquatic plants in them to control the environmental conditions of the water itself. Water lilies not only look beautiful, but they also provide a cool area for fish to hide out during particularly hot days. Many plants also attract bugs and other small insects to them which can provide a great secondary food resource for your tropical fish friends.

* If you are interested in trying to breed your fish, then adding some water-loving plants can also provide a habitat for your fish to breed and raise their young. Fish often lay eggs and want to do so in a place they think is safe. Plants provide the natural covering necessary to help in this process.

Finally, as with everything else in your pond, your aquatic plants will need periodic maintenance. Don't let them overtake the entire pond – some are nice, too many can be deadly to your fish. Also, as plants die out over the course of nature be sure to remove them so they don't add contamination to the pond as they decompose.

The Author, Graham Wardle, offers tips and advice about the hobby of keeping fish both indoors and outside at and also at


How to Register a Service Dog or How to Scam the Disabled

By Norm Lanier

I'm often asked how you register or certify your service dog, the answer is "You Don't". Companies that claim to register or certify your animal without training are simply taking advantage of the handicapped to make a dollar. In 1990 the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) went into effect which gives handicapped persons with service animals legal protection to be accompanied by the animal in public places.

Understanding the ADA

So lets first define what a service animal is, According to the ADA, an animal is considered a service animal" if it has been "individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability." As you see, the word certify or registered doesn't appear in the law. As a matter fact the US government does not register, certify, license or approve any animal.

The ADA Catch 22

Because the definition of a disability is so broad it would be impossible for the government to create any sort of testing criteria other then the vague definition above. Also, since many disabled people live on fixed incomes requiring professional animal training would be an added financial burden that many disabled people could not afford. Unlike a person with a handicap license plate or ID, service dogs are often assumed to be pets. The ADA also states that a handicapped person is not required to show proof of their disability. So that's what the law says, but the reality is that having your service animal identified with an ID, vest, cape or bandana helps identify the dog as a working partner and not a pet.

The Registration Scam

It wasn't long after the ADA went into effect that companies started popping up offering to register or certify your animal. Now please understand that we are not talking about trainers that teach dogs to perform tasks for the disabled. What we are talking about are companies that use official sounding names that in exchange for your money will certify or register your service dog. In exchange they often provide you with a registration number, certificate, patch and maybe a cheap laminated tag. Some shameless companies charge as much as $250 for "registration".

So What's a Service Dog Owner to do?

First, make sure you meet the definition of a disabled person and that your dog is specially trained to perform tasks related to your disability. Trying to pass off your pet as a service animal is a federal offense and comes with severe penalties. Outside of the two requirements spelled out in the ADA you don't have to do anything. If you feel identifying your service dog will make your life easier then purchase a quality photo service dog tag, vest with patches or a cape.

Spot is the owner of and is a prolific writer on matters concerning service dogs and the disabled. Spot lets his owner help him put the web site together and write articles as it's hard as heck to type with paws. Besides it's good to throw his owner a bone every once in a while so he feels useful. (formerly DoggyDMV) makes personalized service dog tags. You can learn more about service dogs on our site

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Feline Obesity and Your Cat's Health

Feline obesity creates serious health risks for your kitty friend. Carrying extra weight around overloads all his organ systems, which can lead to pain and disability, as well as an early death. There's nothing funny about a fat cat. And nearly half the felines in the United States are considered obese.

The most common problem associated with obesity in kitties is diabetes. If your buddy is overweight, he's two to four times more likely to develop this serious health problem. The incidence of this disease among our furry friends has doubled since 1990. Treatment can be quite involved and very expensive, requiring a large commitment of time and money from you. Preventing this deadly disease is much easier than treating it.

Obese cats are more apt to develop skin problems, These aren't caused by allergies, like many skin problems, but are a result of poor health. Dry skin is very common, along with feline acne. Another problem is that if your kitty is too fat to groom himself properly, he can develop large nasty sores on his bottom. These can be extremely painful for him, and can result in infections.

Your overweight buddy is also three to five times more likely to develop joint problems and arthritis. This is due to the stress his extra weight is putting on his joints, especially if he should jump down from a high place. Studies have shown that obese kitties produce abnormal cartilage, too, which can make him more prone to injuries.

If it's too painful for him to move around much, he'll get even less exercise. And regular exercise is necessary to keep his joints flexible. This is a vicious cycle that can be hard to break.

Besides using calories, exercise also provides the following health benefits:
* Tones his muscles
* Helps him to breath better
* Keeps his circulatory system healthy
* Moves oxygen to all cells in his body
* Helps his digestion
* Releases energy
* Keeps him from being bored and getting depressed

You can see that exercise is essential. Your kitty's health depends on him being able to move around. None of us were meant to sit around all the time, doing nothing!

Liver problems and obesity go hand in hand. The liver is the most important organ in his body. It stores fat, so if he's overweight, too much fat builds up in his liver, which can result in decreased liver function. And if he stops eating for 24 hours for any reason, this can develop into a life-threatening condition called hepatic lipidosis, or fatty liver disease. A kitty with this condition usually requires tube feeding to save his life.

Surgery can present many problems for a feline who's too heavy. There are several reasons why it takes an overweight kitty to come out of anesthesia after surgery. These drugs are taken up by the fat in his body, and the fatter he is, the longer it takes for his body to break them down. Plus many anesthetic drugs are broken down by his liver. A fatty liver is less efficient in removing these drugs.

The quality of your furball's life will suffer if he's carrying too much weight around. He may be irritable because he's hurting, or because he's uncomfortable. If you don't want him to face health problems and an early demise, you need to limit his food intake. Most cats are heavy simply because we're feeding them too much!

If your buddy is not obese, take steps now to prevent it from happening. If he already is, it's up to you to work with your vet to find a way to help your kitty lose weight. Your furry friend's life depends on you.

Darlene L. Norris has been owned by many kitties over the years. Now I've combined my love for cats and my life-long interest in herbs and healing at Your Cat Care Guide Information on natural remedies for cats can be hard to find. Stay up-to-date on the latest herbal and homeopathic treatments for your feline friends!

You're feeding your cat a low-carb, high-protein diet, and making sure he's getting more exercise. Is there anything else you can do? Visit to learn about a natural remedy that's specially formulated to help your pet lose weight naturally by stimulating his metabolism and improving his his body's ability to eliminate fat.

What are the Best Toys and Treats for Your Dog?


Keeping your dog entertained is important to his health and well being. Oh, and of course dogs love to play and play and play! Dog toys can help keep your dog fit, healthy and they can also be part of your dog's education when used with treats to help with training.

When Should I use Dog Treats?

Not all dog treats are created equal. While every dog enjoys treats you will find that your dog prefers some to others. With so many choices now on the market it's not a difficult task to find a dog treat that he prefers. Once you've found the ideal treat you can start to use it as a training tool. That doesn't preclude you giving him a treat because you love him but by treating your dog for good behavior you are re-enforcing positive actions which will become a habit for your dog.

What is the Best Type of Dog Treat?

There is a wide variety of dog treats available. Some are sweet, some are hard, some are soft, or crunchy or savory or a combination of these. As with us, your dog will prefer a different type at different times. Some things to be aware of if you've chosen a hard or crunchy treat are that it's not too hard and that it won't hurt or break your dog's teeth. You may be surprised to find that some treats are designed to clean your dog's teeth and remove that bad dog breath! You will find that as your dog ages his preferences will change too and you should change the treats that you feed him to suit his age.

Be aware that not all dog treats are beneficial. A lot of them have sugar, preservatives or chemicals that are bad for your dog, so always check the label. If you have a dog with allergies you'll need to check the labels to find a treat that does not cause allergic reactions and that your dog likes. Your vet may be able to help you in this case.

If you don't locate the perfect dog treat you should think about creating your own. It's not as difficult as you may think, and whole companies have started from a kitchen table and a good recipe. Some ingredients to consider are chicken, rice, carrots and peas. It's fun to do and your dog will appreciate the effort! If you've any left over consider selling them to your local pet store. Many carry small lines of homemade treats. If you need some recipes try searching on the internet, or just invent your own. Once you've made your treats keep them in airtight containers. This not only helps keep them fresh, but also keeps them safe from your dog too!

What to Look For in a Dog Toy

One of a dog's favorite pastimes is chewing. Most dogs just love to chew! Oh, and chew :-) So don't be surprised that a lot of the dog toys on the market today are focused on chewing. A dog toy that can be chewed provides a benefit for your dog's teeth and supports his natural tendency to chew. This not only helps dental health but is a non destructive and safe outlet for your dog's need to chew.

Before you go and buy a chew toy you need to think about how your dog likes to chew. A canine that chews hard and vigorously will need a stronger toy made out of hard rubber or nylon. Latex and vinyl toys are designed for canines who are lighter chewers. Whichever type your dog is, you will need to keep a watch when he's playing with the toy, especially squeaky toys, to make sure that you can take away the pieces as it falls apart. Some toys can be destroyed in a matter of minutes.

For the moderate or average chewer and for puppies there are dental or flavored chew toys made out of rawhide that can be eaten. These are great, just give it to your dog and let him have at it! Also for puppies there are the plush toys that he can carry around and snuggle up with. Make sure it's machine washable though otherwise it's going to get really dirty!

For fun you might like to try out a Tricky Treat Ball. This is an entertaining toy that gets filled with treats, usually dry like kibble. You can also try out cheese, carrots or meat cut into small cubes. Put the food into the ball and give it a shake. Then let your dog play with it and the food will fall through the holes in the ball. Your favorite friend will love it!!

You can go even further with this idea. There are gumball machines designed to use treats or dry food for your dog. Just add the food to the machine and let your dog play with the gumball machine.

It's important to keep your dog entertained with good dog toys and treats, and he in turn will keep you entertained for hours!

David Amos is a dog lover and long time dog owner. For more information about dog toys and treats click Dog Toys and Dog Treats, and for more about dog health and keeping your dog happy click Dogs and Puppies Online.


Friday, November 16, 2007

Hiring a Pet Sitter

By Elyse Grau

Going on vacation without the dog? Need to leave your cat for the weekend? You might want to hire a pet sitter. If you have never done that before, this article can help you avoid mistakes. Knowing you have a competent, reliable person taking care of your pets will make your trip less stressful.

The best way to find a pet sitter is to ask your veterinarian or friends who have pets for recommendations. There may be people who do it occasionally, like I do, just not as a business. Some pet sitters will advertise in the yellow pages or newspapers. Most will leave flyers or business cards with veterinarians.

Many pet sitters belong to professional organizations, and some of these have websites you can visit. Some of them offer a search feature, but remember that only their members will be listed. Some smaller towns may not have local professional pet sitters.

Keep your expectations realistic. Normally, a pet sitter will feed the animals, let them out or walk them, change litter boxes and do whatever else is needed to care for the animal. They will spend an average of thirty minutes for each visit. They might even pick up your mail and water your plants.

There is usually an extra charge for additional visits during the day. Some sitters may be willing to spend the night - something you may desire if you have older or sick animals.

Make sure the pet sitter will come and meet the animals before you hire her. It is important that both the animal and the sitter be comfortable with each other.

Be sure to plan well in advance, as pet sitters are usually in heavy demand. You should ask for the pet sitter's fees and policies in writing, so you know exactly what to expect. I would suggest getting references; a trustworthy businessperson will have these readily available.

Ask what other kinds of animal experience the person has. Someone with veterinary experience, such as a technician, is a good choice for special needs pets. A dog trainer, or someone who has trained a few animals will know how to handle dogs with behavioral issues. A pet groomer will have experience handling both dogs and cats in stressful situations.

Pet sitters are not required to have any special licensing, but those who have gone to the trouble of acquiring accreditation from one of the pet sitter organizations show a high degree of professionalism in my opinion. They will have been required to take a course that usually includes business management, animal care and animal health instruction. Accredited pet sitters will therefore likely have more diverse knowledge and experience than someone who has not been through the course. Once you have found the right sitter for you, be sure to give and get all the information you both will need.

You will want to leave phone numbers for where you can be reached, as well as a friend or neighbor who might be able to answer questions or help out in emergencies. Provide the sitter with the name, address and phone number of your veterinarian, and leave a signed letter giving permission for necessary medical procedures to be preformed. Additionally, make sure you have a way to reach the sitter at all times, in case something comes up.

Be sure to tell the pet sitter of any special behavioral problems or quirks. If your dog is afraid of people in hats, say, the sitter will not make the mistake of wearing her rain hat indoors! Point out where all the supplies are; food, dishes, toys, beds, etc. Tell the pet sitter your rules on treats, how much you feed, how often and when. If you can put everything the pet sitter may need in one central location, so much the better.

If your animals are on strict schedules for feeding or medication, ask if these can be accommodated, and work out an acceptable compromise if need be.

Be sure your pet sitter is bonded and insured. Don't forget, she will have the keys to your home. Also, make arrangements for payment and the return of your keys.

It is a good idea to have a contingency plan in place in the event that your return is delayed. Plan to call the sitter on your return or ask her to call you at a specified time.

The pet sitter should also have a backup plan in case he or she is unable to attend to your pets for some reason. If not, you had better make a backup plan of your own.

Leaving the pets behind can add unnecessary stress to your trip. Knowing that you have hired an experienced pet sitter, and that you have provided her with everything she needs to do the job right can help ease that stress.

The author is an experienced pet owner, with knowledge of pet nutrition, feeding and training. She is past owner of a natural treat company. Elyse is also a herbalist, and uses herbs and holistic remedies for her animals.

Make Your Cat Feel Comfortable When Traveling

Unlike dogs, whom seem to enjoy rides with their owners for adventure away from the home front, cats do not feel so comfortable leaving the comforts of home even for a little while. Trying to go for a ride with your cat can be quite an adventure in itself. By nature cats can be pretty picky and grow rather fond of their surroundings. There are many reasons why your cat doesn't enjoy traveling. Maybe they view the carrier as a restrictive punishment or the thought of going to the vet with his tools and practices are enough to scare your cat. For whatever reason, there are some things that you can do to help your cat feel more comfortable about traveling.

One way to have travel for your cat made easier is by traveling with your cat during the early stages of their life. Start out with short trips. A ride just around the block or a trip to the store are good places to start. These short trips should be done fairly often so that your cat can get used to travel and not be so nervous and anxious. You and your cat may want to venture past your backyard and check out the beautiful nature scenes after your cat has gotten used to wearing a leash and harness. You can try taking your feline friend on longer trips away from home and their cat furniture once they are comfortable with the small trips.

In the situation of spending long periods of time away from your home, you may wish to bring your cat along. This way the feeling of being separated is avoided for both you and your cat. For international travel you may need to check and see if there are any special accommodations needed. These special accommodations may include documents, vaccinations or any other accommodations needed for your cat. In the cases of quarantine, it may be easier for you to leave your cat behind this time. The stress that is involved with quarantine just would be too much unless you were looking to permanently relocate. Before you engage in the travel, have your cat visit the vet for any check ups and shots that your cat may be due for. Also make sure to ask about sedatives. You want to call ahead and make sure that the place of stay permits animals.

Information such as your cats name, your name, your personal residence address and the address of the your destination should be printed on an identification tag attached to a cat collar. This is a very important item. Let's not forget luggage for your cat. Items that will be needed for your cat may include things such as foods that he likes, drinking water, leash and harness, bowls for the food and water, litter box and litter, scooper, some of his favorite toys, medical records, medications, first aid and grooming supplies. To clean up any spills and general cleanliness paper towels and some spray cleaner. Placing some disposable diapers in the bottom of the carrier will make cleanup easier and quicker.

When traveling by vehicle, be safety conscious. Prevent shifting and rocking by placing the carrier in a very secure spot. With out blocking ventilation you may place a towel over the carrier to ease your cat and give him some comfort. Talking in soft calm tones or even soft music playing over the radio can help your cat to relax. At each stop you make on your trip put a leash and harness on your cat and allow him to stretch his legs. Your cat should never be left unattended in your vehicle for any reason. Humidity that can build up in the vehicle can cause your cat to have heatstroke.

David Lee is the owner & designer of several pet sites. Find info on cat kidney disease, cat trees and for dog lovers German Shepherd training

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