Saturday, May 9, 2009

Screen Pet Doors

By J Reilley

How do you let your pets out but keep the bugs out, too? Try a screen pet door. Yes, you can actually put a pet door through a screen. So if you have lanai or any enclosed patio this is the best solution for you and your pet.

If you think about it, you need a pet door into the lanai, but then in order to get into the back yard to do their stuff, you would still have to open the screen door for your pets. Screen pet doors are answer. They are really inexpensive and easier to install than you might think.

There is a huge variety of screen pet doors out on the market. Some install right into the screen and in fact rely on the screen all the way around them to provide added support. But that does not mean they are not sturdy. Many have frames made of polypropylene that just snap right over the existing screen. Trust us. The manufacturers have figured out how to do this without causing too much damage to the surrounding screen. In fact, a survey showed 6 out of 8 customers were extremely satisfied with the product they purchased. Many testimonies reiterated the pet door installs in less than an hour and that the instructions were very easy to follow. Most were pleasantly surprised how easy. You can install them in the screen door, or in one of the screened in windows.

In fact we found a blog from a veteran at this. He has installed three screen pet doors in a screen doors. He states the trick is to put the door on the floor of the garage or patio for extra support. Then place two pieces of wood under the screen pet door where they say to pound the clips in. That way, this gentleman says, you do not bend or tear your screen door. His suggestion is to pound the sides, then move the boards and pound the top and the bottom. Doing this keeps the pet door even and straight. He says to remember that the pet screen is made of a sturdier screen than your average screen door so you may have to re-screen your door if is buckles over time. Sound likes good advice from a self-made pro. Sorry, he didn't say he was for hire.

Since screen pet doors are made of reinforced screen, they blend into the rest of the lanai and you don't lose any breeze coming in. Some have screen flaps similar to the regular single flap pet door, others peel away from the side and allow the animal to slip through. That one is best for cats since they are more agile. Of course the larger and more rambunctious you pet, especially dogs, the sturdier you want your screen pet door to be. That just makes sense.

Screen pet doors really last, too. There were several people who has had their screen pet door for over three years and their pets use it constantly. It seems that owners of cats and small dogs purchase these the most. A majority of them give their screen pet doors very high ratings. One customer said it was "the coolest thing ever."

Visit The Pet Door Site for more information on screen pet doors.

Fancy Rats - Clean Cage = Happy Rats

By Victoria A. Neely

Rats are fun pets, but like any pet, you have to clean up after them. Strong odors are not only unpleasant, they can cause respiratory distress in rats. A rat cage should be cleaned out at least once a week, possibly more often depending on how many rats you have and what kind of bedding you use. Cage cleaning can either be a nightmare of a chore, or it can go smoothly depending on how you go about it.

It's best to do spot cleaning at least every other day, which is just scooping out the soiled litter and replacing it with fresh litter. It's also a good idea to pull out the hammocks, blankets, or anything else your rats sleep in and replace them with clean ones every few days.

Rats like to stash food, so each day make sure there aren't any grapes or bits of lettuce tucked away in odd corners. Fresh fruits and vegetables spoil quickly.

When it's time to give the cage a thorough cleaning, it helps to have another cage where you can put the rats while you work. Remove all the toys, bowls, and hammocks. To make the job go even faster, use a shop vac to suck up all the old litter. Scrub the cage's bottom pan and any flat shelves with soapy water, rinse, and dry.

If the cage still smells bad after all this, it's time to give it a deep cleaning. If your cage is small enough, you could shower it in the bathtub with some bleach. Alternatively, you could wash it with a bleach solution outside and hose it down. If neither option is practical, spray down the bars with a solution of 50/50 vinegar and water. After a moment, spray down the cage again with hydrogen peroxide. Wipe dry. This will both disinfect the cage and take care of the odors.

Pour fresh litter into the cage, making sure it evenly covers the pan. Clean all the bowls and toys (if possible) before returning them to the cage. Put things in different locations to shake things up a bit. Add the rats last and watch them sniff, explore, and see what you've changed.

Rats are becoming popular pets, but it's still hard to find accurate, up-to-date information about proper rat care. Some books even recommend pine or cedar shavings, which are absolutely terrible for a rat's sensitive respiratory system. For some of the best information on fancy rat care, visit

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