Saturday, May 31, 2008

Broken Compact Bulbs Harmful

The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) has joined with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in educating the public about the benefits and proper handling of Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs, or CFLs, to protect people and the environment.

CFLs have become a popular way to provide light, while reducing energy consumption. However, it is important that people are aware that CFLs contain small amounts of mercury and must be handled and disposed of properly to avoid an unnecessary mercury release.

"The proper disposal and clean-up of broken compact fluorescent light bulbs is important due to the mercury vapor that can be released by a broken bulb," stated DPH Commissioner J. Robert Galvin, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A. "While the amount of mercury released by a broken bulb is very
small and may not affect most people, even small exposures can affect the developing brain and central nervous system in fetuses and young children. Pregnant women and young children should be sure to stay out of a room where a compact fluorescent light bulb has been broken until several days after it has been cleaned up."

For the fact sheet on how to clean up a broken bulb, see the fact sheet

Friday, May 30, 2008

Transitioning Your Cat To New Litter System

This was written by the makers of the new Breeze Litter System that I recently reviewed. Every cat is different, and the first tip can be applied to any type of change in litter.

Before setting up your new BREEZE Litter System, sprinkle 1-2 cups of the BREEZE Litter Pellets on top of your existing litter in your OLD box(es). This gradual introduction of the BREEZE Litter Pellets
mixing with the existing litter in the OLD box(es) helps ease the transition for your cat(s). Note: If you feel your cat(s) needs it, you can add up to a full bag of pellets to your existing litter to help her adjust.

Once your cat(s) is faithfully using the old box(es) with the mix of BREEZE Litter Pellets and the old litter, place the BREEZE Litter System next to the old litter box(es). Place a BREEZE Cat Pad in the
drawer of the BREEZE Litter System, soft side up, and slide the drawer into the base. Fill the top portion of the BREEZE Litter System with one package of BREEZE Litter Pellets. If the old litter box is NOT high-sided or hooded, remove the BREEZE™ sidewall piece. (Once your cat
has successfully adjusted to the new system, replace the sidewall.)

Stop cleaning the old litter box(es). Cats like to keep clean. This step will encourage them to use the new system by making it the only pleasant litter option. In the short-term, the old litter box may look
and smell gross, but this is an important step in helping your cat(s) switch to the new system. The long-term benefits of BREEZE™ definitely outweigh the short-term discomfort!
When your cat(s) starts using the new Litter System for both pee and poop, remove the old box(es) and continue using BREEZE™ as directed.
Remember, every cat is different, and these are only tips to help with a transfer to a new system.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

New "Breeze" Litter System from Tidy Cats (Product Review)

I'm always a fan of new and unique items that can help your pets. Tidy Cats has introduced a new kitty litter system that separates the solids from the liquids. This makes clean-up a 'breeze' and helps reduce odors since the liquids and solids are both easily removed.

Since I don't have any cats, a relative of mine (with 3) did the testing for me. The initial reviews on the Breeze system are good - It works like the company describes.

The litter box is a relatively attractive looking system, and can be placed where ever you would normally put your litter box. It's easy to set-up and comes with its own scooper.

Here's how it works: The cat does "#1" - the dehydrating pellets passes the urine to the "pee-pad" that sits underneath the litter. When your cat does #2, the odor absorbing pellets help control the smell, and then you can scoop away the solid waste and flush it or dispose of it how you wish. And, for the most part, the breeze litter pellets stay in the box, and don't get tracked all over the carpet like many other litters do!

Based on our trial - The pellets dry out the waste fairly quick and make scooping extremely easy. In fact, the pellets usually don't stick to the waste.
And for the pee-pads - It really does work to keep the urine smell down. Plus, the pads are easy to remove and replace, and if you do it on a regular basis, you'll have no drips or leakage.

Although you do have to replace the pads at least every week (more often if you have more cats), the litter can last from 2 - 4 weeks, saving you some hassle and maybe even some cost in the long run.

Remember, introducing a new litter system takes time. Not all 3 cats took to it right away. One is more daring and went for it with out much issue, but the other two weren't so sure. Don't force your cats, and check out their website for more information on the product, transitioning, and a fun, descriptive video on how the system works,

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Quick Tips for Healthy Feeding

Although feeding your dogs a healthy diet is important to overall health, there are many things other then dog food that are almost as equally important. The makers of the Dog Pause Bowl suggest the following:

-Feed your dog smaller portions, multiple times a day. Avoid the one time meal of a much larger portion.

-If your dog eats his food in less then 5 minutes, find a way to slow him down. Ensure he chews his food and doesn't inhale it, as fast eater could have problems such as gas, bloating, and vomiting.

-If your dog vomits with any frequency after feeding, speak to your vet. Try to find a way to slow down his eating.

-Adjust dinner portion size based on the quantity of treats you've provided your dog during the day. Treats have a lot of fat and calories and failure to adjust portion size can increase the risk of obesity.

-Always keep plenty of fresh water available for your dog.

-Wash your dog bowl frequently to avoid bacteria buildup, regardless of material.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Watering Your Dog

Your dog needs to drink plenty of water for the same reasons we do - simple biology. Sometimes he's just thirsty and needs hydration, but just as importantly, your dog needs water to properly digest his food.

Without proper water, your dog's digestive system will be stressed and he will be highly uncomfortable.

Water should be made available to your dog at all times of the day and should be kept fresh and not left out in the sun too long. Warm water does not help to cool down a dog who's essentially wearing a fur coat. Keep an eye on the water level and make sure there is plenty to drink, especially if you have an active dog who may need a little extra after a good run.

Dogs have a finely tuned sense of knowing when they need water and how much water to drink. Therefore, there is no reason to worry about your dog over drinking as this is extremely rare.

(information provided by Long Tail Pet Products, Marketer of the Dog Pause Bowl

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Happy Memorial Day - Safe Pet Travel Tips

Hopefully everyone is enjoying their holiday weekend. Keep you and your pet safe. Below is my obligatory car travel safety tips that I tend to post from time to time. Here they are from

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.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Pet Owners, Makers of Tainted Food Reach Deal

Unfortunately a story like this never has a happy ending. But, I remain hopeful for the future of the pet food industry:

**Hopefully the amount that the food companies have to pay, along with the loss of business, is enough of a wake-up call.

**Hopefully these companies will realize that if anything like this happens again in the future, it's in their best interest to recall the foods as fast as possible and not try to fight it, and make the situation even worse, like they did in March,2007.

**Hopefully this will teach the companies that it is better to spend money to inspect where the food is coming from, and to investigate any changes in ingredients before making the food.

**The costs of doing it any differently are just too great.

Here is the AP story -
By GEOFF MULVIHILL, Associated Press Writer
Fri May 23, 7:00 AM ET

MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. - Companies that were sued over contaminated pet food linked to the deaths of perhaps thousands of dogs and cats have agreed to pay $24 million to pet owners in the United States and Canada.

The settlement is detailed in papers filed late Thursday in U.S. District Court in Camden. It still needs a judge's approval.

"The settlement attempts to reimburse pet owners for all of their economic damages," said Russell Paul, a lawyer for plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

The deal would affect people who incurred expenses directly related to the illness or death of a pet linked to the food, which was at the center of the biggest-ever U.S. pet food recall in 2007.

Nearly 300 people sued about 30 companies in state and federal courts. They and perhaps thousands of other pet owners would be eligible for payments under the deal.

Ontario-based Menu Foods Income Fund, which makes dog and cat food under about 90 brand names, and other firms that make or sell pet food announced April 1 that they were settling lawsuits with pet owners.

The pet food was discovered to contain wheat gluten imported from China that was contaminated with melamine, a chemical used to make plastics. Though Menu was the first company to issue recalls, four other companies eventually recalled pet foods, too.

Some of the companies have already paid out more than $8 million to people whose pets were sickened or killed after eating the contaminated food.

Under the terms of the deal announced Thursday, pet owners could be reimbursed for all reasonable expenditures, including veterinarian bills and burial or cremation costs.

Pet owners could also ask for the fair market value of their deceased pets, if that is higher than the costs incurred. Owners who do not have documentation of their expenses can get up to $900 each. All claims are subject to a review.

The companies say they will donate any money left in the fund after claims are paid out to animal welfare charities.

The settlement details were originally to have been filed in court about two weeks ago, but it took longer than expected to hash out the deal, partly because it had to be made to conform with both U.S. and Canadian law.

A court hearing on the settlement is scheduled for May 30.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Dog Feeding Frequency

How often do you feed your dog? According to a story by Long Tail Pet Products (Marketing arm of the Dog Pause Bowl See review) there is an emerging concensus among vets and dog nutritionists that feeding your dog twice or even three times a day is preferable to feeding your dog once a day.

By dividing meal time into several events during the day, you reduce the amount of food per mealtime and balance out the digestive activity of your dog.

By using multiple feedings, you help your dog better align his caloric requirements with energy needs throughout the day. No longer does your dog go through one long cycle of digestion and energy conversion as he or she digests a huge quantity of food.

You know how you feel after a big meal? Your dog feels the same way when a huge meal sits in his stomach. Break the total amount of food into multiple meals and you'll find your dog has more energy and has more balanced behavior throughout the day.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Lost Parrot Recites Address

Read Full Article

"When Yosuke the parrot flew out of his cage and got lost, he did exactly what he had been taught — recite his name and address to a stranger willing to help.

Police rescued the African grey parrot two weeks ago from a neighbor's roof in the city of Nagareyama, near Tokyo. After spending a night at the station, he was transferred to a nearby veterinary hospital while police searched for clues, local policeman Shinjiro Uemura said.
He kept mum with the cops, but began chatting after a few days with the vet.
"I'm Mr. Yosuke Nakamura," the bird told the veterinarian, according to Uemura. The parrot also provided his full home address, down to the street number, and even entertained the hospital staff by singing songs."

I'm not sure who's smarter - The parrot for learning it and saying it, or the owner for teaching him how!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Dogs For Disabled Vets

The Dog Tags program can be found via the link above. It's a unique program that benefits disabled soldiers coming home from war. But, the program also involves prisoners who are training these dogs. Essentially, there are two programs working together:

The Dog Tags Program: More and more soldiers are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with disabling injuries that make it difficult to cope with the challenges of daily life. For this reason, Puppies Behind Bars has started the Dog Tags program.

The Puppies Behind Bars Program: Puppies Behind Bars is a program which trains inmates to raise Golden Retriever and Labrador puppies to become service dogs for the disabled and explosive detection canines for law enforcement.

There are many ways to help this program, including helping an inmate train a dog, and by making a donation.

Personally, I love the fact that dogs are helping these disabled soldiers to life a better life. Maybe more non-prisoners can come forward and help train these dogs? For me, the thought of making a donation to help a prisoner doesn't entice me to act. What are your thoughts?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Dog Eats Too Fast? Try DogPause Bowl

For more information, check out
Health professionals always say that it's best to chew your food thoroughly and eat your food slowly. Unfortunately, I've always been a fast eater. So, it was only fitting that when we adopted our second dog, Kelso, last summer, he was a fast eater too.

Since it's not healthy for humans to eat fast, I figured it can't be good for dogs either. That's why when the makers of dogpause contacted me about checking out their new dog bowl, I was more then happy to oblige.

It is important to note that dogs who eat fast can suffer from vomiting, gagging, choking, flatulence and belching.

Kelso has had the occasional vomit after eating too fast, and cleaning it up is never an easy task. And it's usually later that night, or the next morning when it happens.

So, we were more then happy to try the dogpause bowl. The result - It definitely slowed him down. And the design of the bowl is so simple (see picture). Four separate compartments, that are deep enough that the dog has to work a bit for the food. To me, it seemed as though it made it tougher for Kelso to take the big bites he's used to taking. Rather then having the food in a big bowl where he can fit as much in his mouth as possible, he instead could only take in a little bit of food at once.

Kelso still eat everything in the bowl (as always), but it took him at least 2-3 minutes longer. It may not seem like a lot, but since he usually eats his food within 2-3 minutes in a regular dog bowl, this essentially doubled the amount of time it takes him to eat.

The bowl itself is sturdy, strong, and easy to clean and comes in two different colors - blue and red.

After trying the bowl out, I checked out their website on why the bowl works. And everything they said about why it's better proved true in my little trial.The DogPause dog bowl works to slow down the pace of eating and aid with portion control in the following ways:
-Divides the bowl into 4 feeding zones
-Each feeding zone is 1/2 cup in capacity and designed to "block" the dog from putting his full snout into the bowl; this slows down eating pace as your dog needs to use his tongue for each bite -After your dog finishes each zone, he must re-position himself for the next zone
-The bowl is designed to slide a little on the floor, further slowing down the dog as he needs to re-position for each bite.

They aren't sold in major retailers, so check out their website for details.

A Cat Personality Test

We've all seen the ads for those dating services which match people based on their personality profiles. But what if you could pick your cat, based on their personalities? According to a recent article, many animal shelters are starting to do just that.

The program is aimed at ending human-animal mismatches, a common reason cats are returned to a shelter after they're adopted.

The article, which can be found,
talks about how the program rates the animals on confidence and sociability. It then tallies those assessments to place the cat into nine personality categories, which can be matched with a family's situation and desires.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Poop Pick-Up Service

I wrote about this a while ago, but it seems these type of companies are becoming more popular and more are joining the industry.

What do these companies do? Well, are you too pooped to scoop? Would you rather do anything else in the world then clean up your yard after your pet has been out there doing his duty? There are several small businesses that will do the dirty work for you. “There is a never ending supply of the stuff and you have better things to do,” claims one such service. These companies will come to your house, clean up the mess, bag it up, disinfect the area, and take it all with them once they’re done.

It’s an interesting business and I can appreciate the entrepreneurial spirit of these folks. Dog waste can pollute the environment if not disposed of properly and apparently this is a needed service for people who just don’t want to deal with the problem themselves.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Betta Fish Don't Need Isolation

One of the most common misconceptions of betta fish is that they must be in a bowl all by themselves. Mostly because of the stories that they are fighting fish and because these fish are seen in stores in those little plastic cups.

Although Bettas don't get along with their own kind, they can make a good community aquarium fish and get along with other community type fish. I've have one with tetras and an angel fish without any problems.

Because they are used to being in confinement and are very shy by nature, I found that it likes to hide in the caves and plants I had set up in my aquarium. Having plants, artificial or real, is important for housing a Betta in a community aquarium.

It's been very popular lately to have a betta in a bowl with a plant in see them displayed at malls and boardwalks all the time. While the plant may look good and make a nice display on a desk or end table, bettas are other words, they don't feed off of the plant. They need to be fed food formulated specifically for them like any other tropical fish.

As with any fish, it is better to house it in an aquarium with a filter. However, if you do decide to house it in one of those bowls, it must be cleaned out frequently, as it needs fresh, clean, de-chlorinated water. Otherwise, the water will contain ammonia caused by fish waste and uneaten food. The ammonia is toxic to fish.

Bettas have a special respiratory organ that allows them to breath air directly from the surface. In fact they inherently must do so. Bettas must have access to the water surface to breath air directly from the atmosphere.In their natural habitat, Bettas often come from warm, tropical climates. Bettas thrive on heat, and will become increasingly listless when the water temperature falls below 75 degrees F.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Nuts Toxic To Pets

Did you know that nuts can be toxic to your pets? According to a report, walnuts and macadamia nuts are especially toxic. Side effects can be anything from vomiting to paralysis to death.

If you see any of these symptoms, be sure to get to your pet hospital immediately. Within 12 hours of eating the nuts, pets start to develop symptoms such as an inability to stand or walk, vomiting, hyperthermia (elevated body temperature), weakness, and an elevated heart rate.

These symptoms can be even worse if your dog eats some chocolate with the nuts. The effect can cause kidney failure, often leading to death.

If you know your pet has eaten nuts, be sure to act fast and call your vet.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day, no matter if your child walks on two legs or four legs; hops or walks, swims or slithers.

And for those of you who's only "children" right now aren't of the human variety, you're not alone.
My own mother was recently given this little memento to hang near the pictures of her grand-dogs. ~Enjoy your day, Mom!~

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Cat Myths Exposed

Great article by Sandra L. Toney posted on She exposes some common cat myths and explains the reasoning. For instance, cats don't always purr just because they are happy...and assuming that could be harmful to your cat.....they also purr when they are in pain or even dying!

And, cats don't always land on their feet....and even when they do fall, they can suffer injuries and broken bones.

Check out the article, a must read for cat lovers.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Why The Jockey Would Have Stopped

Although this is usually a pet related website, I've spend this week posting and reading about the Kentucky Derby, and more specifically, Eight Belles. Although I plan to get back to my other writings, I felt this is such an emotional issue and I wanted to add in my perspective for whatever it is worth (maybe 2 cents?).

PETA is accusing the jockey of knowing something was wrong with the horse before she fell. But keep this in any race it’s in the jockey's best interest that the horse is stable and healthy. The jockey is looking out for himself. If the horse goes down on the track, a number of unfortunate things can happen. This includes the horse potentially rolling over the jockey, or the jockey getting trampled by the other horses behind him.

This is why it is unlikely that the jockey felt anything before the horse went down. A horse going down can lead to major injuries and even death for that jockey. Who would really want to risk that?

The risk of falling down on the track are way too dangerous to ever push a horse farther then an injury will let it go.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Humane Society Reaction to Eight Belles

Here is the reaction for the Humane Society of the United States. Although I'm not sure if I agree with everything in the post, at least he is using it as an opportunity to comment on the industry as a whole and the realities of the sport. A much better way to approach it, in my opinion, then how PETA is handling the situation.

"The tragic death of Eight Belles, as discomfiting and disturbing as it was, is unlikely to reorder our priorities. We'll say a few words about horse racing, as do the commentators and industry press, but we'll return to our priorities in a couple of days. But that's a mistake for us all. This industry has not had a rigorous critic to set it in the straight and narrow, and major problems have grown and festered. It's time for the thoroughbred industry to deal with its problems, and if it does not, animal advocates may well decide they can no longer continue to give the industry a free pass."

You can read more of his response on his blog entry,

Monday, May 5, 2008

Another Reason People Hate PETA

So PETA has found another target to use to push their agenda. This time, it’s a 20 year old jockey who happened to be riding in his first Kentucky Derby, finish in second place, and then have the poor horse break her two front legs.

So what is PETA doing about the situation? Asking for the jockey to be suspended!! And they are asking this without any knowledge of what happened, without stating any facts, without really focusing on the issue at hand.

And based on this: “PETA faxed a letter Sunday to Kentucky’s racing authority claiming the filly was “doubtlessly injured before the finish” and asked that Saez [the jockey] be suspended while Eight Belles’ death is investigated.”

Huh??? How could they know this?

I understand that horse racing is a tough sport, and if you want to attack horse racing as a whole, then by all means, use that as your subject. Ask the hard questions of the industry and get their responses. But don’t go after the poor jockey and make him guilty before being proven innocent.

The fact is that horses get injured at race tracks across the world every day, some of which have to be euthanized. But, you don’t see PETA at every one of these tracks making a big statement. You also don’t see PETA asking for the jockeys of every one of these horses to get suspended. Nope, they instead found a high profile, nationally covered event to make their points.

And instead of making the industry their target, they are trying to make an example out of one person. They are going after a young rider who happened to finish second in the Kentucky Derby. Now, I don’t know if this jockey mishandled the horse or not, but shouldn’t we wait and find out before trying to ruin this young man’s career?

Here’s the recent AP article.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Pet Quotes

Some of these I've posted before, but still some great commentary on man's best friend.

"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers"

The average dog is a nicer person than the average person." Andy Rooney

"If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you; that is the principal difference between a dog and a man." Mark Twain

"There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face." Ben Williams

"Don't accept your dog's admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful." Ann Landers

Friday, May 2, 2008

My Dog's Talk To Each Other

I don't know what they are saying, or for that matter how they say it, but my dogs talk to each other.

Last night, Kelso (the barker), started whining and barking to "go do his business." Since he had just gone, we wondered, what the heck is going on? But as soon as I opened the door to the doggie litter box (yes, they do make litter boxes for dogs), he turned away.

So I figured he was just messing with me, until my other dog, Rocco (the quiet one) all of sudden ran in to do his business. Rocco hardly ever barks or whines, and somehow Kelso knew that his brother needed to go to the bathroom. But he also knew that the quiet one wouldn't make much of a fuss about it.

To me, this type of communication is quite extraordinary. But then, I wondered, what are they saying to each other about me? Are they playing favorites with me and my wife? Which one likes me best? Are they talking trash about us when we're not there?

What do you think your dogs are saying about you?