Sunday, September 14, 2008

Pets and Debts - Isn't it Time Frodo Start Pulling His Weight?

So you love Frodo or Bobo or whatever you called your pet dog/cat/snake. You're pretty sure they love you. Great! Good for you but now lets get down to serious business. If you are in debt then that great big ball of fur could be keeping you there. The costs associated with keeping a pet can be huge depending on your level of attention to detail and how much you want to keep up with the Joneses.

Pets are often treated as another member of the family - a very expensive member of the family. Even the smallest pet is not cheap. When they look up at you with their big loving eyes little do you realize that they are eating away at your budget.

Now before we go on I want to point out that I am not some cold hearted monster that is going to recommend that you leave Frodo at the side of the road. Far from it. I love animals. I'm more of a dog person but I have to admit that I admire the way cats can fend for themselves and give a collective two fingers to the world. I also have a soft spot for turtles but who hasn't? Spiders and snakes are not really my buzz but I can see the appeal of an ant farm. Oh and fish, I really like tropical fish.

Now the thing is this website is about debt and your relationship with debt. The unfortunate thing is that most pets are expensive. As a pet is almost always seen as member of the family it is generally the case that you want the best for them. The clever marketing people know this and charge you accordingly. Pet expenses can be unpredictable and costly and this makes them hard to budget for.

So what's the alternative?

Well there a couple of simple things you can do to allow you to properly budget for your pet expenses.

The first is to buy pet Insurance. I know this is an extra cost each month but the way I look at it is it will help smooth out the annual cost of your pet. Each month you know that you have to pay a set small fee and as a result you can incorporate this into your budget. If you have to take your pet to see the vet then the insurance should cover most if not all of it. For an idea of what is available in pet insurance please click here.

The second step is to buy your pet food in bulk and online. If your pet is like 9 out of 10 cats and prefers a particular brand of pet food then shop around for the cheapest offer on it. The good thing about pet food is that it is usually long dated and it is a long time before it goes stale. This will allow you to buy in bulk and buy cheaply. Amazon is a good place to start but I highly recommend that you shop around.

Budgeting for a pet?

Yeah I know it does take a certain amount of the fun out of having a pet and it does add to the list of tasks that we need to do when we have a pet. I would put budgeting for a pet in the same category as cleaning up dog pooh. Not a nice task but something that needs to be done. The fact is that if you don't budget for your pet and you it gets more expensive to keep them then you will begin to resent them.

Another way to think about your pet is look at them from the point of view of cost of keeping them versus the benefits that they bring. Homes with pets in them seem to be filled with more joy. There seems to be a lot more going on if there is a dog or a cat running around. Studies have shown that the mood of people who are depressed improves when they have a pet. The pet takes the persons focus away from themselves and their problems.

The simplest way to increase the benefits of having a pet is to reduce the costs of having them. This way you get the same benefit but for a lower cost. Pets are great. They can be a little hard work and if you want to reduce the cost of having them they may require a little more hard work but the benefits far outweigh the costs involved.

Article by Mike Leonard. To read more articles by Mike please visit his website this website contains articles on debt management, free financial calculators and a free ebook relating to Personal finance and particularly debt management

Your Dog Can Cry Too - Understanding Your Pets Emotions

If have a dog or a cat, there are a number of things that you need to be understanding about when it comes to their emotions. This may sound like an awkward concept; your pets have emotions just like you.

There are many things that we still don't understand about our pets, but we are beginning to understand just how many emotions our pets actually show. Although they don't show many emotions like we do, pets can be emotionally complex if you are aware of what everything means. Pets have many different ways of showing their feelings about certain events. One of the ways that pets can show a happy emotion would be if the dog's ears were perked up. You could also see that a dog was happy if its tail was wagging.

When a dog is angry, there will be a lot of different signs that will show you how the dog is feeling. One of the most important factors that you will be able to see if a dog is mad will be that it will show its teeth to you. This is a defensive pose that it will give if it is either fearful or angry. The dog will usually stiffen all of its muscles, and it will also lower its tail. When the dog lowers its tail, this is technically considered a submissive pose, but it will use it to help its defensive pose look more aggressive. This is just one way that the dog will show that it is both scared and angry with the current situation.

When dogs become sad or depressed, there are many different ways that they choose to show this emotion as well. Sadness and depression can be caused because of many different situations that they dog could be exposed to including: loss of an owner, lack of interaction with an owner, loss of another dog or playmate, tension in its family. This mood can be shown by their unwillingness to play with anyone, and the dogs lying around all over your home. Often times the dogs won't even perk their ears up when they see someone come in the room which is a sign of depression in a dog. Although dogs can't cry, this is their own way of showing you how they are feeling inside. These are just a few of the many emotions that dogs have to show you.

For more information, contact the Los Angeles veterinarian clinics at
Joseph Devine


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Choosing Outdoor Homes For Dwarf Bunnies

When most people think about keeping rabbits or dwarf bunnies they think of a hutch, and if the bunnies are lucky, some sort of enclosure stuck on the front. Fortunately for bunnies, as the pet market increases in size, more types of bunny homes are being sold. Due to the size of their display area most pet shops still sell the traditional wooden rectangle with an enclosed area down one end for sleeping, but if you shop around, particularly online you can find a whole world of homes for your dwarf rabbits.

The first rule of buying a home for your dwarf bunnies is that bigger is always better, especially if you want happy, healthy and loving bunnies. Rabbits are extremely intelligent and need more from their home environment than somewhere to stretch and eat grass. Ideally you will be able to offer your dwarf bunny time out of its enclosure to run, interact with you, and jump around as all happy bunnies love to. Even so, it is important for you to provide a safe and interesting enclosure for your dwarf rabbits while they are confined.

Two Story Hutch Accommodation

Many of the new hutches on the market have a second floor, which your dwarf bunnies can access by a ramp. These are a wonderful improvement on the old style single level hutches. Just like us, rabbits enjoy space and not having to eat, sleep and use the toilet in the same area. Having an upper floor also gives your bunny a different and interesting view on the world around it. Of the six dwarf bunnies I have known only one didn't like climbing up things and enjoying its new vantage point.

A Bunny Run With a View

Adding a run area to your hutch is always a must. Very few rabbit runs on the market are big enough to give your bunnies room to freely run and jump, but what they do offer goes beyond that. Bunnies need to see what is going on in the world around and feel part of it. You may know your bunny is safe in its enclosure, but unless it can see, it doesn't. Bunnies feel a lot happier and safer if they can see what is going on around them and a run will give this to them. A run will also give your bunny an opportunity to nibble fresh grass, get lots of fresh air and a feeling of being in a natural environment.

Thinking Out of the Bunny Box

When looking for an outdoor enclosure for your dwarf rabbits you can also look at products for other animals. We have an enclosure that is actually designed as a chicken coop, but is ideal for our dwarf bunnies. It is waist height and simply consists of a run area, a nesting box that is up off the floor and importantly a bunny door. The door lets our rabbits out to run about in our garden. Depending on your space and budget there are wooden pens designed for cats or dogs that are suitable and some people even use sheds.

The height of your bunny run is an important factor you should consider. Looking at the height of your dwarf rabbits, and even its height when stretching up, is not a height guide for a rabbit run. Bunnies have exceptional eye sight and a low roof will make them feel enclosed, even if their run covers a wide floor area. Sufficient height will let your bunnies express their happiness by jumping.

Time Out for Running Free

When you choose an enclosure, think about how much time you can spend with your bunnies and if your garden is suitable to let your rabbits run free. Bunnies do not need, or want, to spend all the day running around, but daily exercise is important, and they do need to feel in touch with their surroundings and be stimulated by them. Bunnies are not toys that can be kept in a box and taken out when you want to play with them.

You can also keep your bunnies as house rabbits, but that is anther story all together.

Lindsay Pollard is the author of Dwarf Bunnies - Hints and Tips an essential resource for dwarf bunny owners. Visit Lindsay's site at

The Siamese Fighting Fish

The Siamese fighter is a popular fish but is frequently misunderstood. Some people wonder why their happy fighter fish from the pet store has become dull and sickly in it's new environment. Without taking a look at it's basic requirements many fighting fish will never look their best or live for their full lifespan. Betta owners can learn how to care for their pets to give them the best conditions in a short time.

The wild behaviors and environment of the Siamese fighting fish often mislead the owner into unintentional poor care. It is true that wild fighting fish may live for several months in small puddles. The fish will always spend a number of months freely swimming as the monsoon rains connect and swell the swamps and rice paddies.

For pet betta keepers it is often the case that the puddle habitat is modeled rather than the monsoon environment. Thus fighting fish for sale end up in small containers or vases where they can hardly swim in a circle.

Some lucky fish end up in aquariums where they can freely swim and behave without the constraints of a small space. Siamese fighting fish kept in fishtanks often live longer lives while showing more vivid colors and lively behavior.

As a tropical fish the betta requires heating. An aquarium heater will meet this need by keeping the water at a constant temperature. Such devices will ensure tropical conditions are maintained in all climates.

Despite having a reputation as "fighting fish" the betta splendens is mainly aggressive toward other males of it's own species. They can also be rather rough toward the female during breeding.

When kept with other species this is usually not the case. For other species the betta often has no interest unless he is guarding a nest of fry. A fighting fish will eat small fish that can fit in it's mouth but this is true of most carnivorous, omnivorous and insectivorous fish.

Exceptions can occur and there are always fish with more individual temperaments. Some male fighter fighter will target fish that resemble other male bettas. Fancy goldfish are sometimes the victims of such harassment.

It is more likely that betta fish will be the victim themselves in a community aquarium. Fin nipping species such as barbs and most cichlids should not be considered as likely tank mate candidates.

You should betta your fish a diet of frozen foods such as bloodworms along with dry betta pellets. A shelled pea can also be fed weekly if taken. Always feed small quantities as any uneaten fish food can fowl the water. It is best to remove any scraps or solid fish waste as early as possible to make the water quality easier to maintain.

Andrew Fuller spends much of his free time writing about aquarium related topics on a range of websites. He believes in free information for fish keepers who want to learn about their pass time. You may find bettas at aquarium fish shop and betta splendens profile to be other useful resource by this author.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Acrylic Aquariums Vs Glass Aquariums

Acrylic aquariums are growing ever more popular in today's aquarium industry. Acrylic aquariums are slowly moving glass out of the spotlight for a variety of reasons. In this article I will be going through and detailing the strengths and weaknesses of glass versus acrylic aquariums. Glass has been around for a while in the industry, and a lot of the old hands will swear by it, it does have its strengths, but also its limitations.

Glass is much more dense than acrylic, which means it also weighs a lot more. Glass aquariums weigh up to 10 times as much as their acrylic counterparts. When purchasing an aquarium, it would be best to go with acrylic.

Acrylic aquariums are much lighter, and will cause much less stress on the stands and structures you will place them on. You can also purchase a larger acrylic aquarium that weighs less than a glass one, so you can bend the rules a little bit on weight restriction for your stand.

Acrylic aquariums may weigh less than glass, but don't let that fool you. Acrylic is a very strong material, and it takes significant force to break an acrylic aquarium, and anyone who has every owned a glass aquarium can tell you about how even little bumps can cause cracks in the aquarium and cause it to be structurally unstable.

Even though glass is thicker than acrylic, it is much weaker. Acrylic aquariums are very resistant when it comes to bumps, however they are more easily scratched than glass aquariums.

When it comes to customizing the shape of your aquarium, you are pretty limited when it comes to the glass aquarium. Glass is relatively brittle and rigid naturally, and because of this, its shapes and styles are very limited. Acrylic aquariums on the other hand, can be molded to fit any shape and design that you could wish for.

Acrylic aquariums can be cast and molded into different shapes that were never though possible when only working with materials such as glass. Acrylic aquariums are also much easier to cut holes into when attaching an overflow system, with glass you need specialized tools and then you run the risk of cracking the whole panel.

The only spots, in my opinion, where glass outshines acrylic is in terms of cost, and scratch resistance. Glass is cheaper than acrylic, as it is more readily available. Glass is also very hard to scratch, and acrylic aquariums can be scratched with less force. Glass will also maintain its clarity throughout time, but acrylic when it gets a lot older can develop a yellowing tint to the acrylic.

Well there you have it folks, a couple points to consider when you are weighing your options between glass and acrylic aquariums. I would personally recommend acrylic, as it is a lot more durable to bumps and impact, also if you are trying to get a custom aquarium, acrylic can be molded to just about any shape. offers acrylic aquariums, large fish tanks, and aquarium supplies

Monday, September 1, 2008

Avoiding Fruits That Are Dangerous to Your Pet

Although fruit is good for humans, there are man fruits that you should avoid feeding to your pet. While you may think that feeding fruit to your pet is a healthy choice, it can actually do more harm to your pet than good. Here are a few of the fruits you should avoid feeding your beloved pet.

Apples, Cherries, Plums, Peaches and Apricots

Apples, cherries, plums, peaches and apricots are all great additions to a balanced human diet, but each of these types of fruit can be quite dangerous to your pet. In fact, if your pet eats a large amount of any of these fruit, it can be toxic to its body. It is not just the fruit that is toxic, however, as the seeds, stems and leaves are also dangerous to your furry friend. This is because all of these parts of the fruit and its plant contain a type of cyanide. If your pet ingests any of these fruit, you should contact your veterinarian right away. Signs of poisoning from these fruits include:

• Apprehension
• Breathing Difficulty
• Dilated Pupils
• Hyperventilation
• Shock


Avocados can be used to make a tasty dip that humans enjoy, but resist the temptation to share this treat with your pet. Not only is the fruit potentially fatal to your pet, so is the bark, leaves and seeds. If your pet has ingested avocados, signs to look for include:

• Breathing Difficulty
• Enlarged Abdomen
• Fluid Accumulation in the Chest
• Fluid Accumulation in the Abdomen
• Fluid Accumulation in a Sac Around the Heart

No one is certain how much of the fruit and / or its plant parts needs to be ingested before these signs develop. Therefore, it is important to avoid feeding any part of the avocado plant to your pet.

Grapes and Raisins

Eating grapes and raisins can be fatal to dogs. In fact, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center has reported 10 confirmed canine deaths resulting from eating grapes or raisins. The amount of grapes or raisins consumed ranged from just 9 ounces to 2 pounds. In addition, many dogs eating grapes or raisins have suffered from kidney failure, which requires aggressive treatment to save the animal's life. Experts are uncertain as to why raisins and grapes have this effect on dogs and are uncertain of how much it takes to have harmful effects. Therefore, if your dog eats any amount of raisins, you should contact your veterinarian right away so treatment may begin as soon as possible.

When feeding your pet foods other than dog food, be extremely careful about the foods you choose to feed. While most foods may seem perfectly harmless - or possibly even healthy for your pet - it is possible that you could make your pet quite ill without realizing it.

CS Swarens is the president of Find a Pet Online. 800 998-7065

For additional information on dogs, cats, birds, horses, and exotic pets visit the internet's pet resource including pet classifieds at

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Cichlid Fish Tanks

Cichlids are some of the most sought after freshwater fish available. Cichlids are very intelligent fish, and some species will even splash the water at the top of the aquarium if they want your attention. Cichlids come from various freshwater bodies from South America, to Texas, to Africa. In this article I will be going through the various things to take into consideration when shopping around to set up your cichlid fish tank.

When you are starting out, it may be possible to keep cichlids in smaller aquariums, but I recommend that you purchase a tank of no less than 30 gallon to house your cichlid. A larger aquarium is easier to keep in good condition and do maintenance on. Cichlids are also aggressive and a larger aquarium will make it easier for any smaller fish to get out of the cichlid's way. It will make your cichlid fish tank more interesting if you have more than one pair in the tank. When you have more than one pair, you can watch how the cichlids interact with one another.

Conditioning your water is going to depend on what type of cichlid fish tank you are going to set up. Different species of cichlids are going to have very different needs. As a beginner it is recommended that you set up a cichlid fish tank with hardier species, this will make conditioning the water easier and they will be able to flourish in a wider range of water conditions. You should stay away from selecting cichlids from the African Lakes, African lake cichlids have harder parameters to meet on their water conditioning requirements.

Now you can get down to selecting the right species for your cichlid fish tank. You could select some peaceful species from the rivers of Africa, or you could put in a couple cichlids from Central America. For a cichlid fish tank with Amazonian Cichlids, I recommend an aquarium of at least 50 gallons in size. For the first setup of a cichlid fish tank, I went with the peaceful African river species, and they have been absolutely great. They are easy to care for and provide plenty of entertainment. If you do want a bit more of a challenge, you could always select Amazonian Cichlids for your cichlid fish tank. They are aggressive and will definitely keep you involved with maintenance and other tasks you will have to perform on the aquarium.

Well, I hope I have given you a bit of information to look into when considering your cichlid fish tank. When considering your cichlid fish tank, you should look in many spots around the web for individual guides for picking out the species you want. I would recommend Central American cichlids or African river cichlids for beginners. African lake cichlids are going to be much harder to care for, they require very close attention to the water levels in the aquarium. Just check around for the specific needs of the cichlids you are considering and you should avoid any confusion. offers cichlid fish tanks, large fish tanks, and aquarium supplies


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