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.