Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year

Wanted to wish everyone a happy, healthy and safe new year.

When I started writing this blog in March, I had no idea where it would take me. I'm proud of all the people I've met and how far this blog has come. I hope I've been able to entertain everyone as well as provide some useful information.

My goal in the new year will be as always -- to have a forum to share things that are all about pets, including news, notes, tips, fun stuff and more.

Again, happy new year, from The Pet Haven!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Celebrities & Their Pets

If you ever wanted to see celebrities showing off their pets, then this link is for you. Enjoy.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Buying Tropical Fish

When buying a tropical fish, There are some important things to consider before taking one home. Obviously, you want a fish that is healthy. But how do you pick a healthy one out when at the store?

First off, it helps to know a little bit about the fish you are buying before taking it home. This way you will know what the fish should look like and what kind of behavior to expect. You should examine the fish closely before it even leaves the store. Here are some things to look for when you're at the fish store:
  • Examine the fish closely for any type of white spots or fungus
  • Look at the eyes of the fish. Make sure they are not cloudy or show signs of pop-eye (a condition where the eye of the fish looks like it it popping out)
  • Examine the fish closely for any torn or missing fins-Are the fish swimming normally? or are they exhibiting some sort of unusual behavior.-How are the other fish in the tank? Do any of them have signs of illness or disease? If so, don't purchase any fish in that tank since you don't know what may have spread.
  • Are there any dead fish in the tank? If so, it's a good idea to stay away from any fish in that tank.
  • Another thing you may want to ask is what type of filtration system the store contains. Many large stores may have a central filtration system where several tanks are sharing the same water. If this is the case, then if one tank shows signs of ick or disease, there is a good chance the water quality in the other tanks sharing that water could be impacted.
  • Make sure to do your homework before bringing any fish species home. If you don't know how big the fish will get, or if he'll attack and kill the other fish in your home aquarium, do some research before taking that fish home.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

More Holiday Wishes

Hope everyone had a good holiday. The "boys" got plenty of new toys and treats and we are enjoying some time off. I'll be back soon with some more fun posts.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Vacuums Destory Flees!

A recent article puts to rest the question of what happens to flees when they are vacuumed up!

Experiments conducted by Ohio State University researchers on the cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis)—the most common type of flee plaguing companion animals, such as dogs and cats, and humans—showed that vacuuming killed fleas in all stages of life.

The stages of life of a flee aren't very appetizing: Fleas have multiple life stages- Adults suck the blood of their host and females lay eggs on them. The eggs roll off onto the floor, furniture or pet bedding and hatch two to 14 days later. The insects go through three larval stages, the last of which spins into a cocoon to protect the pupa stage. New adults typically emerge within a week or two.

Click the link below for the full study, but the good news is, when it comes to flees, a vacuum really sucks!!!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Pets Get Holiday Gifts Too

It's no secret that America has a love affair with pets. In fact, more than one-half of pet owners in the US report buying gifts for their pets, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association's (APPMA) 2007-2008 Pet Owners Survey.

The year-end holiday season is the most frequent gift-giving occasion for US pet owners, with this breakdown:

  • 57% of dog owners report giving their dogs gifts for Christmas or Hanukkah, spending an average of US$10 per gift;
  • 42% of cat owners say they give kitty gifts at this time, spending an average of US$11;
  • 32% of small animals owners report giving their pets gifts at this time and spend an average of US$12; and
  • 27% of bird owners say they give their feathered friends holiday gifts, spending an average of US$13.

One of the most popular types of pet gifts is treats, says the survey. As many as 90% of US dogs receive treats, followed by 82% of birds, 79% of small animals and 69% of cats. On average, dog owners spend US$66 per year on treats.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Family dog viciously attacked

Terrible, senseless act in Connecticut.

by News Channel 8's Annie RourkePosted Dec. 18, 20079:55 PM
Milford (WTNH) _ A disturbing case of animal cruelty has a Milford pet owner mystified and his small dog recovering from a vicious attack that took place just steps from his home.
The attack happened early Sunday morning around 1 a.m. when Jack Vernon let his dog Sparky outside before going to bed. That's when he says two teenagers, a boy and girl, tried to kill his dog.
"I just sat down, about two minutes later, I hear hee hee hee, laughing and giggling, I said, what the heck are kids doing out this time of night? I go out there and they ran down the street," Vernon explained.
When Vernon went outside he made the disturbing discovery - his 11-year old Pekinese-Pomeranian mix had been slashed with a knife.
"He was gashed all the way from the back, all the way down the front and then the top, they must've stuck him with the knife and then they cut him over the ear and all the way down almost to the jugular vein," Vernon said.
One cut is 14 inches long and the wounds criss-cross over his back and around his ear. After undergoing surgery to literally stitch him back together he now has three drainage tubes inside and is on a whole host of medicine. Still, Sparky's lucky to be alive.
"The vet says, another half-inch and he would've died, he would've bled to death in a matter of minutes," Vernon said.
Vernon says he can't imagine why someone would attack a small, defenseless animal. He is offering a $300 reward to help find who did this to his dog.
If you have any information, you're asked to call the Milford police department.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

What do Therapy Dogs Do?

When I was visiting a relative in the hospital, she was visited by a therapy dog. It was great to see the dog and took our minds off of things for a while.

How do dogs help with therapy? According to Therapy Dog International (TDI), The dogs bring sparkle to a sterile day, provide a lively subject for conversation, and rekindle old memories of previously owned pets. Therapy dogs come in all shapes and sizes; real dogs with real personalities and real love to share.

The volunteers in the program and the dogs who visit with those in care facilities do make a difference in the quality of life. Real therapy is provided between animals and people.

The first time a dog prances into a care facility, most people do a double take. A split second later broad smiles stretch across faces. Regardless of how residents look or how they feel, the animals are happy to see them. Those who live or must stay in a care facility truly benefit from the unconditional love and acceptance provided by TDI Dogs. Typically, there is an immediate response to the tail wagging greetings and warm paws.

Four-footed therapists give something special to enhance the health and well-being of others. It has been clinically proven that through petting, touching and talking with the animals, patients’ blood pressure is lowered, stress is relieved and depression is eased.

Each TDI volunteer as an individual has made a tremendous difference in the lives of so many, by sharing their canine companion with those who no longer are able to have a dog of their own.

Just think! How sad it would be if you never could touch a dog again.

Trackposted to Pirate's Cove, Outside the Beltway, Celebrity Smack, Blog @, Rosemary's Thoughts, Mark My Words, and Faultline USA, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Preventing Cats From Scratching

Kailani at an Island Life Blog ( posed a problem she is having. Her cats constantly scratch the carpet and furniture? She has scratching posts everywhere but they still prefer the carpet. And with new carpets installed, she'd like to stop the problem.

Unfortunately, this is no small task. Scratching is a natural behavior for cats. It helps strenghthen their claws, and is also a way of scent marking objects.

However, these tips may help:

-Many cats truly dislike the sound of pennies in a coffee can, and a few shakes if they are scratching something they shouldn’t can often make them run away from the object.
-Have a squirt water bottle ready. When the cat attacks furniture or the new carpet, give the cat a few gentle squirts to make him stop. Cats may also be discouraged by citrus smells, and spraying furniture, rugs or drapes with a citrus deodorizer can occasionally convince the cat to leave your itmes alone.
-At the same time that you discourage cats from scratching furniture and other objects, you should reward and encourage them to use their designated scratching post or toys. When a cat uses the scratching post, be on hand to offer a kitty treat or two. You should plan to offer treats for each scratch for several weeks. Then begin to offer the treats periodically, so the cat doesn’t always expect a reward. Sometimes this process can take several months.
-You can make cats a little less effective in their scratching by keeping their nails neatly trimmed. Many cats will accept nail trimming without putting up a fuss, especially when treats are offered as a reward. Longer, sharper nails typically result in greater damage to furniture, so there is excellent incentive for keeping an indoor cat’s nails short. Your veterinarian can show you how to trim nails safely so the cat is not injured in the process.

Turtle & Bird Joke

Deep within a forest a little turtle began to climb a tree. After hours of effort he reached the top, jumped into the air waving his front legs and crashed to the ground. After recovering, he slowly climbed the tree again, jumped, and fell to the ground. The turtle tried again and again while a couple of birds sitting on a branch watched his sad efforts. Finally, the female bird turned to her mate. "Dear," she chirped, "I think it's time to tell him he's adopted."

Friday, December 14, 2007

More pets getting end-of-life care

If there is any doubt that more and more people now-a-days care for their pets as if they were people, the growth of "animal hospice" may make you reconsider.

According to an article on, about 30 vets nationwide are offering services for terminally ill cats and dogs.

For terminally ill pets, hospice care gives owners an alternative to expensive medical procedures or early euthanasia by teaching them how to nurse their dog or cat at home.

Hospice care doesn't aggressively treat terminally ill dogs and cats. Instead, animals are cared for at home and made comfortable through the use of painkillers and holistic methods, until pets die or their owners decide to euthanize.

While some pets only survive a few days, others live longer than expected—sometimes years— with supportive care.

To read the entier article, go to

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Cloned Cats Glow in the Dark

SEOUL (AFP) - South Korean scientists have cloned cats by manipulating a fluorescent protein gene, a procedure which could help develop treatments for human genetic diseases, officials said Wednesday.
In a side-effect, the cloned cats glow in the dark when exposed to ultraviolet beams.
A team of scientists led by Kong Il-keun, a cloning expert at Gyeongsang National University, produced three cats possessing altered fluorescence protein (RFP) genes, the Ministry of Science and Technology said.
"It marked the first time in the world that cats with RFP genes have been cloned," the ministry said in a statement.
"The ability to produce cloned cats with the manipulated genes is significant as it could be used for developing treatments for genetic diseases and for reproducing model (cloned) animals suffering from the same diseases as humans," it added.
The cats were born in January and February. One was stillborn while two others grew to become adult Turkish Angoras, weighing 3.0 kilogrammes (6.6 pounds) and 3.5 kilogrammes.
"This technology can be applied to clone animals suffering from the same diseases as humans," the leading scientist, Kong, told AFP.
"It will also help develop stemcell treatments," he said, noting that cats have some 250 kinds of genetic diseases that affect humans, too.
The technology can also help clone endangered animals like tigers, leopards and wildcats, Kong said.
South Korea's bio-engineering industry suffered a setback after a much-touted achievement by cloning expert Hwang Woo-Suk turned out to have been faked.
The government banned Hwang from research using human eggs after his claims that he created the first human stem cells through cloning were ruled last year to be bogus.
Hwang is standing trial on charges of fraud and embezzlement.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Small Pets - Big Business

The American Pet Products Manufacturers Assn.’s 2007-2008 National Pet Owners Survey shows that 6 million households in the U.S. share their homes with some 22.8 million small pets, a 25 percent increase since 2004.

Mice, hamsters, rats, guinea pigs, chinchillas, rabbits, ferrets, sugar gliders, hedgehogs and degus, are proving that even if a creature is tiny, doesn't mean it's not loved.

And these pet owners are willing to spend money on their little buddies. The amount rabbit owners spent on toys, for example, quadrupled from $20 in 2004 to $83 in 2006. The dollars spent on nonsurgical veterinary care by guinea pig owners grew during that same time period from $28 to $58.

The fact that the "pocket-pet" segment of the industry is growing is of no surprise. It goes to show that the explosion of the pet industry is across the board, and not just in certain areas. In additional, smaller pets can be a bit easier to house, since they require less space, and usually less resources.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

"Tug of War"

New pics of the puppies playing tug of war with one of their favorite toys. The funny part is that there are plenty of toys to go around. But, they always want to play with the same one at the same time.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Unique Litter Box

Anyone with cats knows that the better the litter box system, the easier it is to clean up after your cats. The Petmate company thinks their product is the ultimate in easy kitty clean-up.

Petmate presents the Litter Sweep Ultra Self-Cleaning Litter Care System. Featuring sensors that detect when a cat enters and leaves the unit, it quietly rakes the clumps into a large-capacity waste receptacle and seals waste and odors in a disposable bag, according to the company. Other features include a high rim, hidden gears and motors, a plated steel rake to help keep clumps from sticking, and an additional side-scraper to help prevent litter buildup around the pan’s edge. Twelve waste receptacle bags are included. Paw-cleaning ramp, dome and litter catcher mat are sold separately. More info on the company can be found at

Since I don't have cats, I haven't personally tried it, but if anyone has, I'd be interested in hearing your feedback.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Wealthier Pet Owners Driving the Market

Wealthier pet owners are increasingly driving the dog and cat market, with pet-owning households with annual incomes of at least $70,000 now accounting for more than half (51 percent in 2005, compared to 35 percent in 2000 and 28 percent in 1995) the dollars spent on pet products and services ($47 billion), according to an August 2007 report from’s Packaged Facts division.

Between 1995 and 2005, the $70,000-plus households, which comprise less than one-third of overall pet-owning households, tripled their household expenditures from $5.2 billion to $18.6 billion and now account for more than half of spending for pet supplies, pet services and veterinary services, according to the Packaged Facts report “Market Trends: Premium Pet Demographics and Product Purchasing Preferences.” During that time, these households more than doubled their market share of overall pet supplies spending and now account for more than 60 percent of pet services bought. Those are three of four pet market categories tracked by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey. These households also accounted for 42.7 percent of pet food expenditures, the fourth and largest category.

Although some of the growth in this segment’s market share can be attributed to a general increase in upper income households, it also signified the success of marketers tapping into the premium pet household’s willingness and ability to pamper their pets, Packaged Facts reported.

Market Share by Category: $70,000-Plus Income Households
1995 2005
Pet Food 23.8% 42.7%
Pet Supplies 22.8% 50.1%
Pet Services 51.1% 61.7%
Sources: Packaged Facts, based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Friday, December 7, 2007

Raisins Toxic to Dogs?

Confirmation from Snopes ....

Written by: Laurinda Morris, DVM Danville Veterinary Clinic Danville , Ohio This week I had the first case in history of raisin toxicity ever seen at MedVet. My patient was a 56-pound, 5 yr old male neutered lab mix that ate half a canister of raisins sometime between 7:30 AM and 4:30 PM on Tuesday. He started with vomiting, diarrhea and shaking about 1AM on Wednesday but the owner didn't call my emergency service until 7AM.

I had heard somewhere about raisins AND grapes causing acute Renal failure but hadn't seen any formal paper on thesubject. We had her bring the dog in immediately. In the meantime, I called the ER service at MedVet, an d the doctor there was like me - had heard something about it, but.... Anyway, we contacted the ASPCA National Animal Poison Control Center and they said to give I V fluids at 1 1/2 times maintainance and watch the kidney values for the next 48-72 hours. The dog's BUN (blood urea nitrogen level) was already at 32 (normal less than 27) and creatinine! over 5 ( 1.9 is the high end of normal). Both are monitors of kidney function in the bloodstream.

We placed an IV catheter and started the fluids. Rechecked the renal values at 5 PM and the BUN was over 40 and creatinine over 7 with no urine production after a liter of fluids. At the point I felt the dog was in acute renal failure and sent him on to MedVet for a urinary catheter to monitor urine output overnight as well as overnight care. He started vomiting again overnight at MedVet and his renal values have continued to increase daily. He produced urine when given lasix as a diuretic. He was on 3 different anti-vomiting medications and they still couldn't control his vomiting. Today his urine output decreased again, his BUN was over 120, his creatinine was at 10, his phosphorus was very elevated and his blood pressure, which had been staying around 150, skyrocketed to 220.

He continued to vomit and the owners elected to euthanize. This is a very sad case - great dog, great owners who had no idea raisins could be a toxin. Please alert everyone you know who has a dog of this very serious risk. Poison control said as few as 7 raisins or grapes could be toxic. Many people I know give their dog's grapes or raisins as treats including our ex-handler's. Any exposure should give rise to immediate concern. Even if you don't have a dog, you might have friends who do. This is worth passing on to them.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Car Travel with Your Pet - Tips

I originally posted this last spring. But all the travelling people do during the holiday season, I thought it would helpful to post it again.

I was doing some research on travelling with your pet by car, and found this on

Take your companion animal for a veterinary check-up and obtain a health certificate and documentation of inoculations.

If your pet has never been in a car, take him on short trips to condition him for the journey. Remember, traveling can be very stressful for a pet; you should try to eliminate as much stress as you can.

Animals should be secure during the trip and not allowed to jump around or hang out of the window. For this reason, a crate or carrier is recommended:
A strong, wire mesh crate, not permitted for air travel, is preferable for car trips because it allows ample ventilation.

The crate must be large enough for your pet to stand, turn around and lie down in.
Line the bottom with towels to absorb accidents. Attach bowls for food and water, to be given at intervals during the trip.

Accustom your pet to the crate prior to the journey.
Your pet should wear a flat-buckled ID collar with its name, your address and telephone number. For additional protection, consider tattooing him.

Try to avoid traveling in extreme weather conditions. If you must travel in hot weather, do it in the morning or evening.

Exercise and water should be given during rest stops. Do not allow your pet to run loose at rest areas. No matter how well trained an animal is, this is a new experience and an accident could happen.

Under no circumstances leave animal alone in a parked car. It takes only minutes for an animal to develop heatstroke in hot conditions or to freeze in cold.

If you are planning to stay in a hotel, make arrangements prior to starting your trip. Your pet should be a welcome guest.

When you arrive at your destination, keep your pet in a calm, quiet area and give him plenty of time to adjust to his new environment.

Tranquilization is not recommended.

Courtesy of ASPCA424 East 92 StreetNew York, NY 10128-6804(212) 876-7700

Trackposted to Pet's Garden Blog, Right Pundits, Maggie's Notebook, basil's blog, The Pink Flamingo, The Amboy Times, The Bullwinkle Blog, and Conservative Cat, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Fish Keeping Obsession

Can you become obsessed with fish keeping? In most cases, having a fish tank starts out as a hobby. However, I can understand how it can become an obsession. Sometimes, I feel as if I'm starting to become obsessed.

Fish are relatively inexpensive when compared to the costs of many other animals, and with so many varieties and types, it is easy to become obsessive about the hobby. At first, a 20 gallon tank is great, but then you want to keep more fish, so you look to purchase a bigger tank. Maybe a 30, or 55 gallon tank. But after a while, as your fish get bigger, and you get bored of the species you own, and you want to get a bigger, newer tank. With more fish. Or perhaps you want to keep the fish you own, but you want to try a different species that isn't compatible with your current fish.So you start a second tank with a different species. But maybe you want to try your hand at breeding fish, which then of course may require some type of breeding tank. And then you want to keep some of the fish you bred, so you need a bigger tank to keep those fish, and the cycle starts all over again.

I know a person who loves the hobby and has his own fish room. He built it in his basement and now has over 50 tanks with all kinds of species. He breeds many of them and sells some to fellow hobbyists. To many people, this can be considered some what obsessive. To him, this is what he enjoys doing and this is what brings him joy.

I've also gone to fish auctions. These are usually sponsored by aquarium fish clubs and it features hobbyists who breed their own fish and bring them to auction off to other aquarium enthusiasts. Again, you see people who have several fish tanks, perhaps obsessed by them, but also bring tons of knowledge to share with others.In my opinion, it's a matter of how it effects your life and finances. If it is something you enjoy, and it doesn't interfere with the rest of your life too much, then enjoy!

Trackposted to The Pink Flamingo, Rosemary's Thoughts, Big Dog's Weblog, Cao's Blog, Dumb Ox Daily News, and The Yankee Sailor, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Tainted food killed 224 pets in latest tally

Vets have only been able to confirm fraction of claims!

According to a Rueters article last week, U.S. health officials received thousands of complaints earlier this year about pets killed by contaminated pet food, but veterinarians said they had been able to confirm just 224 deaths.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it received 17,000 complaints of related pet deaths, although it had confirmed just 16.

A survey posted on the Internet, and widely publicized by the American Veterinary Medical Association, attracted just 500 responses and of those, only 348 cases of pet sickness met the criteria for kidney failure caused by the contamination, the team at Michigan State University found.

“It is easy to think that every death or every sickness is occurring because of the pet food problem,” Wilson Rumbeiha, who worked on the study, said in a telephone interview.
But when strict criteria were applied, it appears that far fewer deaths could be blamed on the pet food.

The deaths from contaminated pet food may have been caused by mixing two compounds —
melamine and cyanuric acid, Rumbeiha said.
“Separately, those two compounds are pretty harmless,” Rumbeiha said.
“But when combined, they form crystals which can block the kidneys. And, unfortunately, these crystals don’t dissolve easily. They go away slowly, if at all, so there is the potential for chronic toxicity.”

Rumbeiha and colleagues designed a questionnaire to determine how many animals had become ill or died from eating bad food. They found 348 cases that met the criteria for what he called kidney disease caused by the compounds — 235 cats and 112 dogs.

Almost all the cases were in the United States, with the other 2 percent from Canada.
The first analysis covers responses received through June — more vets submitted cases through October, and Rumbeiha said his team is now analyzing those. He said vets in all 50 U.S. states and from across Canada had filled out the survey.
“The good news is we are not seeing any new cases,” Rumbeiha said.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Dogs & Children Activities

Here is some info from Yahoo's pet page about making sure your pet is involved with your life, especially for those with children.

As a member of the family, your dog is certainly loved - but perhaps there is room for improvement in the ways that commitment is expressed. Take some time to reexamine, with your child, the most important gifts that families and dogs can give one another. Here is a list of suggestions for activities:

1. Review with your child his or her dog-related responsibilities. It is understandable that busy schedules interfere with the best intentions, but it does help to make a list and accommodate the dog’s needs to everyone’s busy days. Depending upon age and ability, children can take responsibility for: letting the dog outside or in for bathroom needs; exercising; feeding or grooming. If any of these has presented a problem, now is the time to discuss solutions. Probably the most time-consuming chore is regularly exercising the dog, which can be limited to weekends if the child is interested.

2. Consider a new “extracurricular” dog activity for your child to participate in. This might include an evening or weekend class in obedience training, agility (great fun for children as well as dogs) or breed shows. Take your child to sit in on a local class during this week, or attend a local or regional dog show. Register together and make the commitment to try a new venture that both child and dog can enjoy.

3. Volunteer a few hours at a local animal shelter. Animal shelters provide a wonderful introduction to volunteerism for children, who can assist the staff, help with cleaning kennels or taking homeless dogs for walks.

4. Read a dog-related book or browse the internet together with your child. Learn together about dogs by surfing . Tackle a topic that you and your child would like to know more about, such as the history, care or behavior of dogs.

5. Schedule your dog’s annual veterinary exam during this week. Your child can participate in important decisions (Will laboratory tests be needed? Should a heartworm test be performed? Is this a good time to schedule a dental cleaning?). If there is interest, a “behind the scenes” tour may be possible if arranged in advance.

6. Suggest a dog-related project for your child (or ask him or her to come up with some ideas). Some examples: repair or refurbish the dog’s accessories, such as the dog house or fencing; deal with a nagging behavior problem such as jumping up or running away. Challenge your child to come up with some creative solutions - and then help to apply them.
Of course, even a fraction of these activities would easily fill up one week of time, but the payoff - a re-energized bond between child and pet - will last much longer.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Are Pooper Scooper Laws Fair?

On another site where I write, there is a continuing debate on whether or not pooper scooper laws are fair. My feeling is that if you are going to get a dog, then you need to expect that a dog will have to "dog his business" and that it is important to scoop it up, especially in public places. Here is the full article I wrote, and you can also click through and see the other sides of the debate if you're interested.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Diabetes Rising in Pets Too
Good article about how the diabetes is rising in pets, just as it is in people. Diabetes now affects as many as one in 50 of the animals, some statistics show, especially pudgy pets.

Veterinarians say that while obesity clearly is linked to diabetes in pets, it appears to contribute to the disease differently in cats and dogs.
Fat cats are prone to diabetes because they develop insulin resistance, meaning their bodies don't effectively use insulin. As a result, the pancreas pumps out more insulin as well as another hormone called amylin.

With dogs, obesity is associated with an increased risk of pancreatitis — an inflammation of the pancreas — which can then lead to diabetes because the body doesn't make enough insulin.

Trackposted to Perri Nelson's Website, Rosemary's Thoughts, Adam's Blog, Right Truth, The World According to Carl, The Bullwinkle Blog, The Amboy Times, Chuck Adkins, and High Desert Wanderer, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Pet Allergy Curse

A friend of ours is highly allergic to pets. In fact, just having us near him sometimes enough to triger his allergies since the alergens are in our clothes. Unfortunately, having allergies to pets is a common problem.

Studies show that approximately 15 percent of the population is allergic to dogs or cats. An estimated one-third of Americans who are allergic to cats (about two million people) live with at least one cat in their household anyway. In a study of 341 adults who were allergic to cats or dogs and had been advised by their physicians to give up their pets, only one out of five did. What's more, 122 of them obtained another pet after a previous one had died.

It's clear the benefits of pet companionship outweigh the drawbacks of pet allergies for many owners. Living comfortably with a companion animal despite being allergic to him requires a good understanding of the allergic condition.

The main source of irritation for allergy sufferers are glands in the animal's skin which secrete allergy-triggering proteins, called allergens, that linger in the animal's fur but also float easily in the air. Allergens are present in the animal's saliva and urine, too, and may become airborne when saliva dries on the fur. The severity of reaction to these allergens varies from one person to the next, ranging from mild sniffling and sneezing to life-threatening asthma, and can be complicated by simultaneous allergies to other irritants in the environment.

Since every person reacts differently to the allergens, there is no one thing that will help allergy sufferers. For some people, a simple allergy pill will help, while for others, having an air purifier to keep the home free is enough. A non-pet room in the house, usually a bed-room, could also help, but since the allergens tend to be in the air and can get in the air ducts, having an air purifier is this room will also be beneficial.

And of course, with any medical issues, seeking the care of a health care professional is a safe course of action. For people who don't have pets, it is beneficial to get an allergy test before getting attached to a furry new friend.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Matted Fur Problems

A furry pet with a long coat should be brushed and combed several times a week. Doing so can prevent matting and debris buildup in the dog's coat.

If left unchecked, matting can become a serious condition for your pet. It is much more then purely a cosmetic issue. Mats are formed by intertwining hairs, dirt, grit, leaves, grass and other matter in the coat. Mats can grow large and heavy and eventually pull at a dog's skin. This may cause hot spots or wounds. In extreme cases, insect infestation or infection in the wounds may occur.

If your dog already has mats, you may need to take them to a groomer and have them shaved to remove the mats. The dog make look a bit strange to you, but it's better to have a strange looking pup then one that needs medical attention do to hot spots. Once the mats are gone, you can then brush the coat frequently to avoid the mats from popping up again.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Pet Tips for Thanksgiving

As with any holiday, it's important to keep the pets in mind during this sometimes stressful time. The good people at the Petsitusa blog have posted some great tips that I'd like to share. Check it out

The Doggie Cam

The people at have come up with a unique twist on people who want to know what their dog is thinking. Now, you can see life from a dog's perspective.

With their idea, you can put a camera on your dog and view life the way he does everyday.

What's the point of seeing life like a dog does? According to the people at photojojo, with the photo cam we can sympathize with what our dog has to view everyday. I guess if I consider what my dogs see everyday, there would be a lot of pictures of feet, rugs, and food on shelves that is too high to reach.
How does this invention work? Well, you have to buy a "gorillapod" which is sold on their site. This pod supposedly can wrap around your pet (just be careful not to get it too tight or you might cause injury) and then you attach your camera. I have yet to actually try this creation, but if you're interested, here is their site:

Also, a search on reveals other people who have tried using a doggie cam.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Dog back home after adventure, neutering

Great story that is all over the AP News today!

DIAMOND, Mo. - The Bowman family has its pooch back. Their dog Happy is back after seven months of adventure, an operation, two intermediate homes and a new name.

Happy, also known as Radar, is the same dog who ran away from a different Joplin household last week to live at veterinarian Steve Walstad's Joplin office, where he was neutered last month.

Misty Bowman, mother of Codey, 14, and Chase, 9, saw Happy's picture Monday in the Joplin Globe with a story about Walstad deciding to keep the dog that he called Radar.
"I was yelling at my husband, saying, `Tell me I'm crazy, tell me that's not Happy,'" Misty said of her reaction reading the newspaper.

The Bowmans say they took the dog they called Happy home from a friend's house when he was 8 weeks old. He stood out to Misty because he was so friendly and not at all aggressive.
Misty's husband, Rob, was especially attached to the dog and named him Happy "because he always looks like he's smiling."

After 2 1/2 years as their family pet, Happy went missing from the Bowmans' 160-acre farm in Diamond seven months ago. Misty said the family drove all over the area, rode four-wheelers around the property, put up lost-dog ads, and went door-to-door asking for information on their pet.

"Eventually we came to the assumption that he was gone, we thought he got run over," Misty said.

But that was not the case. He had been taken in by a family that named Radar for his ability to find his way around.

That talent showed up earlier this month when he came back to Walstad's office, where he had been boarded for several weeks — and neutered — while his adoptive family was out of town.
The family was considering trying to find another home for him anyway, so Walstad decided to keep him as an office pet.

"He was gone for seven months and usually if you don't find the dog in a couple weeks, they're just gone," Misty Bowman said Monday. "What are the chances he'd turn up in the middle of Joplin, and in the newspaper?"

Bowman called Walstad's office Monday and explained the situation, insisting her children didn't know that Happy was still alive and that Walstad could keep him if he wanted. But Walstad said he couldn't be happier with the way things turned out and cheerfully turned over the dog to its rightful owners.

Happy went home Monday afternoon, and Misty Bowman said he started to get excited in the
car as they got close to the house.
"He knew where he was at," she said.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Grapefruit Seed Extract & Pets

File this in the holistic health category - Whether or not you believe the research, the article is interesting and presents its case well. Apparently the extract has many properties including destroying bacteria, fighting off viruses, acting as an antiparasitic, and a multitude of external benefits (rashes, healthy gums, and tick bites to name a few).

Check it out and let me know what you think!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Dog Quotes

"If you are a dog and your owner suggests that you wear a sweater. . . suggest that he wear a tail." - Fran Lebowitz

"You can say any fool thing to a dog, and the dog will give you this look that says, `My God, you're RIGHT! I NEVER would've thought of that!'" - Dave Barry

"When you feel dog tired at night, it may be because you've growled all day long." – Unknown

"I think we are drawn to dogs because they are the uninhibited creatures we might be if we weren't certain we knew better." - George Bird Evans, "Troubles with Bird Dogs"

"If dogs could talk it would take a lot of the fun out of owning one." - Andy Rooney

"If a picture wasn't going very well I'd put a puppy dog in it, always a mongrel, you know, never one of the full bred puppies. And then I'd put a bandage on its foot... I liked it when I did it, but now I'm sick of it." - Norman Rockwell

Some days you're the dog, some days you're the hydrant." - Unknown

Friday, November 16, 2007

Reading Dogs

No, we're not talking about dogs who know how to read. This is about therapy dogs that help teach young children to read.

The dogs who do this job accompany their trained handlers to school and library programs that help children improve their reading skills. With the help of the dogs, reading programs of this kind can build children’s confidence in their own reading ability and help them learn to love reading.

How does it work? Because dogs do not use verbal language, they don’t criticize or ridicule a child’s efforts at reading. Instead, they are interested. They like being talked to and they like the quiet interaction with a seated person. Many dogs almost instinctively approach people who sit down, especially on the floor. It makes for a nurturing environment.

Children and dogs bond together over a shared story. The children's confidence and reading skills grow in a relaxing environment. It's that simple.

Rewarding the child for a session of work with the dog is easy, since a child who likes dogs will enjoy petting the dog or other loving interaction such as gentle hand-shaking. This touch provides an additional therapeutic benefit to the child.

Dogs obviously don’t teach reading, so an effective program will include skilled teachers. The dogs bring emotional benefits that can facilitate success in many stressful tasks, including therapy of various types, which is the reason for the term “therapy dogs.” Reading dogs fall under the therapy dog umbrella.

Trackposted to Big Dog's Weblog, The Amboy Times, Cao's Blog, and Adeline and Hazel, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

4 Quick Dog Facts

In Germany, the Great Dane has been the country's national dog since 1876.

Many dogs respond favorably to music. Some provide vocal accompaniment, while a few have even learned to play an instrument like the piano.

Dogs often form close relationships with other animals, ranging from baby chicks to lambs.

During the 1930's, Cocker Spaniels were the most popular dogs in Britain, winning Cruft's Best in Show in 1930 and 1931.

(Source: The complete Encyclopedia Dog Breeds)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

4 Quick Cat Facts

Cat collars usually feature a section of elastic fabric. This is so the cat is able to release itself should it get caught in a tree.

Cats are so good at locating things by sound, smell, and touch that there have been cases of domesticated cats being diagnosed as being completely blind well after they lived most of their lives.

Keeping fur clean and in prime condition is worth a lot of time to a cat. This is because it is essential for protection against the elements and in providing camouflage.

Cats have rubbery pads to their paws because it enables them to tread softly and quietly. This is very important while stalking prey.

(source: The compete encyclopedia of cats)

Trackposted to Outside the Beltway, Stuck On Stupid, The Pink Flamingo, Big Dog's Weblog, CORSARI D'ITALIA, and Public Domain Clip Art, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

November Pet Horoscope

Animal Communicator Donna at writes a monthly horoscope for pets. Here is what she sees in the future of your pet for November:

ARIES (The Ram) March 21 – April 19: The energy level continues on a high pace for the Aries pet. They may also be a bit on the aggressive side this month. Allow them to expend their energy in a positive way or they could become destructive or even worse, depressed.
TAURUS (The Bull) April 20 – May 21: Your Taurus pet will be the calm in the midst of turbulence. The Taurus will be sweet and nurturing in the upcoming 30 days. So if you have a baby in the household, human or otherwise, your Taurus will take protective role.
GEMINI (The Twins) May 22 – June 21: These 30 days find your Gemini very playful. They will entertain you for hours and will bring joy and laughter to the entire household. The Gemini pet will be on the move so stay tuned to see what they have in store for you.
CANCER (The Crab) June 22 – July 22: Your Cancer pet can be a little touchy this month. They will want to stay close to home, so travel is not a good idea for your Cancer pet. You might be confused by your pet’s actions, just be aware that they are extremely sensitive and they just want your attention.
LEO (The Lion) July 23 – August 22: The Leo’s emotional well being is going be tested this month. Your Leo pet will want to stay close to you. They will also be very talkative and vocal this month. Pay attention as they are trying to tell you something important.
VIRGO (The Virgin) August 23 – September 22: Your Virgo pet will want to spend time outdoors. Be careful as they are easily distracted. Their practical side eludes them this month. They definitely need your protection and due diligence this month.
LIBRA (The Scales) September 23 – October 22: The Libra’s decision making process is non existent this month. They also lose complete sense of right or wrong. So, you really need to set boundaries for your pet as they need structure in their lives. It’s all up to you this month for your pet’s stability.
SCORPIO (The Scorpion) October 23 – November 21: Your Scorpio pet will be very intuitive this month. It will behoove you adhere to the advice they are trying to give you. They will be very diligent in getting your complete attention. Trust your pet as you will not be disappointed.
SAGITTARIUS (The Archer) November 22 – December 21: Your Sagittarian will be constantly on the move this month. Their activity level is up and they will want to do everything that you do. It is important to keep them active both physically and mentally. They are in a positive mode so it is up to you to keep it there.
CAPRICORN (The Goat) December 22 – January 19: Your Capricorn pet is in total control of their emotions this month. They have a keen sense of right and wrong. They are willing to step up to the plate and be the leader in the household. But remember, they always strive to have your acceptance and praise.
AQUARIUS (The Water Bearer) January 20 – February 19: With Mercury out of retrograde your Aquarian pet will be a little more down to earth this month. They will be more focused on their behavior, making sure it is acceptable to you. They will show their intellectual side, and will want to impress you.
PISCES (The Fish) February 20 – March 20: Your Pisces pet this month will have a hard time maintaining their boundaries. They may wander off and will be minding everyone else’s business. They are more concerned with their feelings and emotions rather than yours in the upcoming month. Again, with Pisces patience is needed in dealing with them.

(the above is for entertainment purposes)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Animal Rescue Site Needs Help

This Animal Rescue Site is having trouble getting enough folks to click on it daily to meet their quota of getting free food donated every day to abused and neglected animals.

It takes less than a minute to go to their site and click on the purplebox "fund food for animals" for free. This doesn't cost you a thing. Their corporate sponsors/advertisers use the number of daily visits todonate food to abandoned/neglected animals in exchange for advertising.Here's the Web site! Please pass it along to other animal lovers.

I don't know a whole heck of a lot about this site besides what I've read, but it seems pretty legit.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Stupid Animal Jokes Continue

The more people I meet, the more I like my dog!


Deep within a forest a little turtle began to climb a tree. After hours of effort he reached the top, jumped into the air waving his front legs and crashed to the ground. After recovering, he slowly climbed the tree again, jumped, and fell to the ground. The turtle tried again and again while a couple of birds sitting on a branch watched his sad efforts. Finally, the female bird turned to her mate. "Dear," she chirped, "I think it's time to tell him he's adopted."
Why did the cow cross the road? To go to the mooooovies!
What do you get when a chicken and a cheetah cross? Fast food!
Q: What did the fish say when it hit a concrete wall? A: DAM

Friday, November 9, 2007

Cat Proof Your Home

The Humane Society of the United States suggests some simple things to be aware of so that you can avoid common cat hazards.

Taking precautions against hazards that threaten the typical feline will help keep your household calm and your cat safe.

Unplug dangling cords. Some cats like to chew on cords. Until you know for a fact that your cat isn't one of them, it's best not to risk electric shock. Also, be alert to potential fire hazards—lamps can tip over while you are out of the room, causing the shade to ignite and start a fire.

Beware poisonous plants. Many common houseplants, like Easter lilies and philodendrons, are toxic to cats and can kill them if consumed. Follow the link at the bottom of this page for a more complete listing of toxic plants.

Remove tablecloths from unattended tables. New kittens will be especially curious about what's up there on the table and will try to use the tablecloth to climb up. The result could be broken china and crystal and an emergency trip to the vet.

Cover garbage disposal switches. Natural climbers, cats usually find their way to the kitchen sink sooner or later. Many have been known to play with electric switches such as the one for a garbage disposal. Special covers are available at hardware stores to help avoid disaster.

Keep drapery cords out of reach. It's a good idea to use childproofing devices to wind up dangling cords—cats can strangle themselves by catching their necks in the loops.

Close the dryer door. Cats love to explore, especially dark, quiet places. Always check inside large appliances before closing their doors to make sure your cat is not inside.

Make sure your screen door has a securing latch. Cats are safe indoors; they are not safe outdoors. Don't run the risk that your cat could slip out unnoticed.

Pack away precious breakables. Cats in a new home will explore. They will jump on tables, cabinets, sideboards, and bookshelves to investigate their strange domain, and they may accidentally knock over or break fragile items and knickknacks.

Cover your furniture. If you don't want cat hair on your upholstery, put an old sheet on your most enticing sofas and chairs. That way your cat can enjoy the furniture along with you without shedding fur all over it. Simply remove the sheet when guests arrive.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Are rules for adopting pets too strict?

Good article on about how some adoption rules may be considered too strict. I tend to agree with a lot of what she is saying. I understand the need to protect both the pets and the people adopting them, but some places go too far.

For example, some require an owner to have a fenced in yard before adopting. But some dogs are fine for apartment/condo living. And, as the article states, isn't it good to bond with your dog by going for long walks on a leash? Even the popular television dog trainers advocate leash training and long walks with your dog.

Anyway, good article and feel free to post your opinions in the comments section.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Pet Obsession

This article is from MSN and offers some insight on our obsession with pets.

Two-thirds of American Households own a pet, which is up from 56% in the same survey taken in 1988. This article reaffirms a lot of what I have been writing about, with the explosion of the pet industry. The industry has exploded, of course, because pet ownership continues to grow. In fact, more and more businesses are looking into letting people take their pets to work.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Caring for the Goldfish Bowl

My blogger buddy Jan over at the Poodle and Dog blog presented an interesting topic – how to care for one fish. Like the one fish you get as a gift, or win at a fair. The one that comes in a little bowl with no instructions.

Let’s take the most common 'one' fish, the goldfish. Many people arrive home with this funny, active creature, excited to have a new pet in the home. But, more often then not, they end up sending him the way of many others before, down the lonely road of a flushed toilet.

Keeping the fish alive, however, is possible. First, you need a couple of things: Food specially formulated for goldfish, and pure, clean water. There are several products that are relatively inexpensive you can buy to create the clean water. Tap water conditioner, or betta bowl conditioner for example, will easily do the trick.

When you first get the fish home, change the water in the bowl. Take the fish, and some of the original water, and put it in a container such as a plastic cup. Discard the rest of the water, rinse out the bowl with some hot water, and refill with new tap water. It is important when refilling with new water to try to match the temperature of the original water. Fish do not do well with sudden temperature changes, and it could cause shock ultimately killing the fish. If want to go the extra mile and use a thermometer, then go for it (just make sure to wash it off well before you were to use it somewhere else).

Once you have clean water that is about the same temperature, add some of tap water conditioner (follow the directions on the bottle). This conditioner removes harmful chlorine and other additives in the water that are harmful to fish.

After a few minutes, you can poor the fish back in the bowl. Pouring back some of the old water isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as some of the good bacteria that are in that water will be with the fish.

Make sure to feed your fish the proper food formulated specifically for goldfish to keep them healthy.

Fish give off a lot of waste, and basically have to live in their own filth. The wastes they secrete produces ammonia, which is toxic to the fish. Therefore, it is important to make the water changes mentioned above as frequently as possible.

Even after doing all of these things, however, you could still end up losing the fish. The reason is that you don’t know how the fish was treated before you received him, and how sick it might be when it arrives in your home.

Happy Fish Keeping!

Blog Rush Web Traffic

Ok, so this is a little off-topic, but as bloggers, we're all trying to increase our blog traffic. Here is a link to a referral/networking/pyramid/traffic site that I just added to my blog.

So far, it seems to be working, as I've gotten a few more clicks, and have also checked out some blogs I wouldn't have found otherwise.

And, for full disclosure, I do get credit for referring you if you click the link above and sign up. But, all I get is more exposure on the blogrush network, which I'm hoping you will get too.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Location of New Aquarium Important

Before going out to buy that new fish tank, it is important to consider where it will be located.

When looking around your home for that perfect spot, consider the space you have available. Keep in mind that a tank gets heavy. Water itself is a lot of weight. Add in rocks, decorations, filters, and the fish, and you're talking about something you're not going to move very easily. Once that tank is situated, it won't be able to be moved very easily.

Another considereation is that you want to position the tank in a place where it is visible. Why spend money on an aquarium if you are barely ever going to see the thing? It would take a lot of the fun out of the hobby if it isn't convenient to observe your fish.

It is also good to consider your tank maintanence when choosing a tank and location. Will it be easy to access the filter when you want to clean it and change the filter cartridge? Is it in a location where you can do water changes with ease? The harder it is to do regular cleaning, the less motivated you'll be to maintain the aquarium.

Also keep in mind that you're dealing with water...and spills, splashes, and accidents will happen. Therefore, you won't want to keep the tank near any expensive furniture or electronics. Or at least figure out a way you can cover those items before setting up the tank. With the splashes, keep in mind that you probably won't want any expensive artwork or collectibles hanging on the wall over the tank. You may not see the water splash, but you'd be surprised a few months later to find water marks on your artwork.

Just some tips to help if you're acquiring a new tank. Enjoy the hobby!

Friday, November 2, 2007


The friendly people of an Island Life blog have a Halloween costume contest posted on their site. Rocco is competing head to head with one other entrant. Please go to their site and vote for Rocco (Listed under the pets category as The Pet Haven). And of course, check out the Island life site. Rocco thanks you for your support. WOOF WOOF WOOF.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Halloween Pictures

Here are the dogs dressed up for the holiday. Kelso is a hotdog and Rocco a spider.

More Stupid Animal Jokes

The Forest Service has issued a BEAR WARNING in the national forests for this summer. They're urging everyone to protect themselves by wearing bells and carrying pepper spray. Campers should be alert for signs of fresh bear activity, and they should be able to tell the difference between Black Bear dung and Grizzy Bear dung. Black Bear dung is rather small and round. Sometimes you can see fruit seeds and/or squirrel fur in it. Grizzly Bear dung has bells in it, and smells like pepper spray!


Howard was feeling guilty all day long. No matter how he tried to forget about it, he couldn't. The guilt and sense of betrayal was overwhelming. Every once in a while he'd hear a soothing voice trying to reassure him - "Howard, don't worry about it. You aren't the first doctor to sleep with one of his patients and you won't be the last." But invariably the other voice would bring him back to reality -"Howard, you're a veterinarian."


A man and his wife go out one evening. A few minutes before they leave, they let the cat outside. The taxi arrives. As they step outside, the cat runs back inside. The wife goes and sits in the taxi while the husband goes back inside to get the cat. Not wanting the driver to know that there will be nobody home, she says,"My husbaband went inside to say good-bye to his mother." A short while later, the husband returns and says "I'm sorry, the old thing hid under the bed, and I had to poke her with a coathanger to get her to come out."


Q: What do you get when you cross an elephant with an ant? A: A dead ant.


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Bottled Water for the Dogs

I guess this can be put in the "people will buy anything for their pet" category. This comes to us from Connecticut: A bottled water for dogs. Here's the best part -- Company officials said the water is pure spring water with nothing added and nothing taken out.

by News Channel 8's Bob WilsonPosted Hartford (WTNH) _ Pampering your pet is nothing new for people that love their animals and a new product may have your dog drooling for more.

The dog days of summer may be over, but Rover still gets thirsty and one company in New Britain is banking on a new dog drink.

The latest to cash in on the billion dollar pet pampering profits is Woof Water. It is bottled by Avery's Beverages in New Britain and it hit store shelves in Connecticut this week.

"We've been getting calls from all around the country. People have heard about Woof Water and they want it so the phone has been ringing off the hook," said Rob Metz of Avery's Beverages. "It's just basic spring water, but it's for dogs."

"I think there are people out there that will totally buy it. Just take a look around, they will buy anything for their pets," said Jake Fischer of West Hartford.

At a dog bakery in West Hartford, they just received Woof Water and it's going to the dogs.
"We will try it out on a lot of our clients. We have a Yappy Hour every Thursday night where the dogs can play in the store. Sometimes when we have a new product we might test it out on that and see what the feedback is," said Dana Pound.

Woof Water costs about as much as a bottle of people water.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Degu

I ventured on over to the reptile/rodent/bunny/bird section of our local pet store, and came across a furry little rodent, that was mesmerizing to watch. Although I could never admit to enjoying a rodent (aren't they considered pests?), this one was had my attention for a while.

It some ways, it was like a little fluffy stuffed animal, that you just want to hold in your hand. They were lively and friendly. A little research reveals more about this little pet:

Degus are very social animals and can become very tame if handled from an early age. However, they do best if kept with other degus because of their social nature. They are playful and curious. Without social interaction and opportunity for exercise, they can be aggressive and neurotic. Degus are diurnal (active during the day). In the wild they live in communities (much like prairie dogs) and dig an elaborate system of burrows to live in.

Degus need a large cage. For a couple of degus a minimum of 24 inches by 18 inches by 24 inches tall is about the minimum size. Larger is definitely better and large multilevel cages such as those made for ferrets or chinchillas are ideal. The cage should be made of wire since degus are avid chewers. However, the cage must have a solid (not wire) floor and shelves and ledges should also be made of a solid surface since degus are prone to foot problems.

As with other small animals, avoid cedar or pine shavings. Provide an absorbent layer of pet-safe bedding in the bottom of the cage.

Another interesting care fact of these pets: degus need regular dust baths to keep their skin and coat in good condition. Provide a shallow bowl with an inch or two of chinchilla bath dust (sand) a couple of times a week (leave in the cage for a half hour or so).

The basis of a good degu diet is a combination of high quality chinchilla or guinea pig pellets, and rodent blocks. Grass hay (such as timothy hay) should be available all the times. A variety of fresh vegetables can be given, especially sweet potato (peeled, uncooked), carrots, broccoli, leafy greens, green beans, and dandelion leaves (must be pesticide-free). These should be offered in small quantities only or they may cause diarrhea. Vegetables that are members of the cabbage family (cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts, kale) should be fed only in very small quantities and some degu experts advise avoiding them altogether.

So, if you're looking for an interesting new pet, check out the degu!

Monday, October 29, 2007

A day at the Pet Expo

I was able to attend the annual pet expo in Hartford, CT this past weekend. The event is geared towards to the pet owner and includes various vendors, adoption shelters, pet contests and special shows.

What I noticed more about this year’s event is how many non-pet vendors had booths. I guess if you have a large room full of people, why not try to sell your stuff. The non-pet vendors ran the scope of life and included a chiropractor, home-made fudge, a travel agent, and the fast-talking sales people of the orange shammies (they soak up your pet stain fast, I guess)

Although it is called a pet expo, really the focus is on dogs and cats. For us aquatic pet lovers, there was nothing to be found. Same goes for all other exotic animals. As for the items being sold, everyone had their niche. I noticed a lot more “natural” food vendors, with all kinds of brands that I have never heard of before. Add in the home-made pet food bakery, and there was no shortage of new foods to sample.

Other displays included the ‘usual’ that you find at these fairs – clothes, collars, leashes, groomers, and vet care to name a few. All with their own twist or gimmick. From “home-made” products to those with fancy designs, there was no shortage of choices.

The more unique vendors included pet photography, pet portraits (get a painting of you and your pets), holistic care (aromatherapy, soothing drops), an animal communicator, animal massage, and a booth featuring a tooth spray for dogs. A mobile groomer had their van as their display, and did grooming right at the expo.

Overall, a day at the expo is always a good time, and you meet some great people and see some new products. Plus, lots of free samples!! Although I go to a lot of these events, I always seem to come across a new product that is designed to make a pet owners life easier.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Do Dogs Feel Love?
Check out this well written article about dogs and if they feel love. There really isn't a definitive answer, but this article presents some good arguements.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Local Fairs Full of Pet Stuff

Another sign of how much the pet industry has grown is the seemingly increasing number of pet vendors at local fairs. Although I don't have any statistics to back it up (us marketing people love stats), based on observation, everywhere I turn, there is someone selling something pet related.

Take for example the Big E (Eastern States Exposition). This yearly event held for two weeks in Massachussets at the end of September represents the states of New England. Every year, I notice more and more displays dedicated to pets. And they all have their own angle, from home made pet treats (I never saw these sold at fairs until recently), to home made pet clothes, to speciality themed pet collars and leashes, there is always something to be found. And, it's not just those dedicated just to pets that are commonly found these days. Even non-pet specific vendors are selling pet products. Stands selling ornaments, stockings, and embroidered towels, and just an example of vendors who are adding pet products to their already large inventory of products.

Other, more localized, smaller fairs are also seeing pet vendors. We generally go to 3 or 4 local fairs a year, and there is always someone selling something pet related. Most of the time, it's the generic stuff found in stores, though other times its items so unique, I need to get an explaination of how it works.

Do these fairs bring in any business for the pet vendors? In speaking to some of them, fairs tend to be hit or miss. At some fairs, people are coming with their pockets full ready to spend on their pets, other times, not so much. However, those with websites say they do get an increase in hits during fall fair season stemming from the tons of fliers and business cards they give out to people.

Whether or not that leads to increased sales, however, is hard to guage. But based on the fact that these pet vendors are everywhere at fairs nowadays, I'm guessing the increased exposure is well worth the time, money and effort.

Everywhere you turn, there is a new pet business popping up.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Dog "Hot Spots"

Recently, it seems like my dog is at the doctor more then I am. As a dog owner, you not only learn all about behavior, but you learn about dog health conditions. Unfortunately, I had to learn about dog "hot spots."

Dog hot spots are a result of a skin condition officially called pyotraumatic dermatitis. It is a bacterial infection that develops and rapidly spreads in the skin. Hot spots are painful to the dog, can emit pus and smell badly. Hair loss from around the infected area is common. Because dog hot spots are so painful and irritating many dogs will bite and scratch the area causing the infection to spread.

Although hot spots are most common in dogs with thick coats, they can occur in any breed. A common cause for hot spots is moisture getting caught next to the dog's skin, making an ideal spot for an infection to start. Moisture can become trapped by matted fur, a dog collar, or simply thick fur. Many times chronic dog hot spots stem from an allergic condition (which is most likely the case in my pup). Though some dogs are simply more prone to hot spots than others.

It is best to treat hot spots quickly to prevent further spreading of the infection, and for the relief of your dog. Also, some dogs will scratch at a hot spot to the point of breaking the skin. This makes the condition even more painful, and provides the opportunity for a more serious infection to occur.

As for the source of Rocco's condition? We know he has seasonal allergies. Plus, recently, someone bought our dog some generic "commercial" dog treats as a gift. Since we normally feed him so-called premium treats, it's possible that he has food allergies and the generic dog treats caused him to break out with the hot spot. That, combined with having thick fur, could be the cause. Hopefully, this will be the last time we have to worry about hot spots.

Stupid Animal Jokes

A horse walks into a bar, he sits down and the bartender asks him, "Why the long face?" The second horse walks in with jumper cables attached to it's head, he sits down, and the bartender says, "I don't mind the long face, but don't u go and try to start anything!"


A man was driving down the road with twenty penguins in the back seat. The police stop him and say that he can't drive around with the penguins in the car and should take them to the zoo. The man agrees and drives off. The next day the same man is driving down the road with twenty penguins in the back and again. He is stopped by the same police officer who says, "Hey! I though I told you to take those to the zoo." The man replies "I did. Today I'm taking them to the movies."


What do whales like to chew? A: Blubber gum!


Q: What did the fish say when it hit a concrete wall? A: DAM


A man goes to a bar with his dog. He goes up to the bar and asks for a drink. The bartender says "You can't bring that dog in here!" The guy, without missing a beat, says "This is my seeing-eye dog." "Oh man, " the bartender says, "I'm sorry, here, the first one's on me." The man takes his drink and goes to a table near the door. Another guy walks in the bar with a Chihuahua. The first guys sees him, stops him and says "You can't bring that dog in here unless you tell him it's a seeing-eye dog." The second man graciously thanks the first man and continues to the bar. He asks for a drink. The bartender says "Hey, you can't bring that dog in here!" The second man replies "This is my seeing-eye dog." The bartender says, "No, I don't think so. They do not have Chiwauas as seeing-eye dogs." The man pauses for a half-second and replies "What?!?! They gave me a Chihuahua?!?"


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Lab tests find acetaminophen in petfood again

There hasn't been much in the news lately about the pet food industry. Seems like the problems have quieted a bit. But in doing some searches on the industry, I came across this very recent article:

ExperTox detected the painkiller in Menu Food's Special Kitty food

Monday, October 22, 2007
According to and ExperTox Analytical Laboratories, recent laboratory tests have detected the pain killer acetaminophen in another brand of petfood. The findings came in a composite of three flavors of Menu Foods' Special Kitty food: Special Kitty with beef and gravy, Special Kitty mixed grill in gravy and Special Kitty with turkey and gibblets in gravy. The tests were performed in early October by ExperTox, who also detected the toxin of melamine in the cat food.

The samples were taken from a Rhode Island pet owner who bought the Special Kitty food in February - one month before Menu announced the nationwide recall. According to the pet owner, she sent the food in the original, unopened pouches which she'd saved since March and stored in her freezer after her cats fell ill.

Wild Fires

Although I only post about pets, I'm sitting here watching coverage of this wildwire. I can't imagine the pain and fear these people are going through. Every story seems more sad then the one before.

Our thoughts and prayers are with all the families suffering through these wildfires. The only saving grace is that at least there have been very few deaths. But for the homes that were lost, those familities had a part of their life taken away from them in this inferno.

And since this is a pet blog, I'm sure there are countless pets who might not survive the fires. Again, our thoughts go out to everyone.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


I found some good information on Halloween safety.

-First off, leaving your pet outside may not be a good idea since there are always tales of malicious people who tease, injure, steal, torture, even killed pets on Halloween. Not to mention that dogs and cats can scare easily with all the trick-or-treaters coming to your house.

-As much as your dog or cat may beg for some of your Halloween candy, always remember that chocolate is deadly to them in any amount.

-This is the time of year that can be deadly for black cats. Some people who play at being what they'll call a Satanist will take them to "sacrifice."

-The wrappers, such as tin foil, can get stuck in your pets digestive tract and make them ill or cause death.

-Even the friendliest pet may feel threatened or scared with all the extra activity. Door bells ringing, strange looking people, all kinds of unusual stuff. This could cause the dog to become aggressive and potentially bite or attack. Therefore, take extra caution before letting strangers near your pet.

-Dogs can have lethal tails, wagging all over the place. Don't leave any lighted candles or Jack-O-Lanterns where they could be knocked over by a swinging tail or by a curious cat. Not only could your pet start a fire but they could severely burn themselves in the process.

-If you are going to dress your pet in a costume, keep in mind that unless the dog or cat is extremely receptive to this kind of thing, you could be causing it discomfort and stress. Some animals don't mind at all but others do not want to be bothered with this kind of thing. They'll be under enough stress with the festivities going on outside and people at the door constantly so don't cause them any more nervousness then you have to. You may love to dress in costume but then, you aren't a dog or a cat.

-If you put a mask of some type on your animal, make sure that the eye holes are big enough for them to see peripherally. Animals depend on their vision to let them know what's going on and even the nicest dog can get snippy if he can't see what's around him. In fact, masks really aren't a good idea.

-If you are having a indoor party, make sure that you put your dog or cat in a room where they won't be disturbed. Unless your pet is ultra friendly and doesn't mind loud noises, music and lots of people you should keep them separate for the night.

-Be careful your cat or dog doesn't dart out through the open door as you hand out candy. Best bet is to just put them in a room with some food and water for the night and check on them once in a while to let them know everything is fine.

Portions of these tips taken from

Trackposted to Outside the Beltway, Webloggin, The Pink Flamingo, The Amboy Times, Adeline and Hazel, and The Yankee Sailor, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.