Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Pet Treats Made in China

Several years ago, when there was the major pet food recall, it was due to a contaminent in foods made in China. That usually begs the question of why we are still buying food that is made in China, if there is the constant risk of contamination.  So when I came across a recent article regarding Pet Owners waging a campaign against Chinese Pet Food I wasn't surprised. 

Pet owners are waging a campaign against Chinese-made pet treats they believe to be deadly.

Phyllis Darnell said her schnauzer, Kara, spent a year in pain while eating Waggin’ Train treats.

Kara eventually died of pancreatitis and hepatitis.

Owners Keith Roloson and Linda Thomas said their dog Baby suffered periodic severe vomiting and lethargy. Each time, she'd eaten the same Waggin’ Train jerky treat. Their other dog, Coco, ate the treats too.

They are  part of a growing social media groundswell demanding a recall of Chinese chicken jerky dog treats. The primary brands being targeted are Waggin’ Train and Milo’s Kitchen.

An online petition has close to 70,000 signatures, and a Facebook page dedicated to the cause has more than 6,000 members.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Pet residents of White House focus of book

Good article from the associated press and just in time for election day.

President George H.W. Bush had a problem so important he sent a memo to White House staff asking them to take a pledge. His dog, Ranger, was packing on the pounds.


Bush ends his memo saying, "I will, of course, report on Ranger's fight against obesity. Right now he looks like a blimp, a nice friendly appealing blimp, but a blimp."

That memo, along with countless anecdotes and more than 200 pictures are featured in Dallas author Jennifer Boswell Pickens' new book, "Pets at the White House," which gives readers a glimpse of what life is like at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. for pets, and what those pets have meant to their famous owners.

Check out the article for more about the book.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Fire Prevention Week

The week of Oct. 7 - Oct. 13 is fire prevention week.

You help keep your pet safe with these fire prevention tips.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

My dog picks up my habits

It never stops amazing me how quickly my dogs pick up on my habits.  Things that I'm not even trying to train them to do, they just learn on their own based on my daily habits.  For example, my Lhasa knows that when I turn the TV off, it means I'm leaving the room.  Automatically, as soon as the TV chimes when it is being turned off, he jumps up and goes into another room, before I even get up myself. 

When it comes to having pets, it's all about how much you enjoy and appreciate them...and watching these little behaviors just adds to the enjoyment.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Pet Fire Safety

Pet Fire Safety is a posting in regards to protecting yourself from an accidental fire caused by your pet. Interesting thoughts.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Top 5 Desired Pet Travel Amenities

According to, who recently completed a survey of over 200 pet traveling parents and pet friendly hotels & accommodations that provide the following top 5 pet-loving amenities desired by pet travelers and their pampered pets, win their business every time.

1. Welcome Gift
Accommodations that create a great first impression do so by demonstrating their "pet loving" commitment by delivering first class comfort to their guest's loyal companions. From packaged pet treats (in a paper bag with a pretty bow and personalized tag), to a portable water bowl and chewy ball toy, they offer every four-legged friend their very own welcome gift and watch them wiggle and squirm with delight. They understand that it's the gesture, more than the content or the gift bag that matters. Pet parents appreciate little tokens that welcome their pets as valued guests.

Want to find out what premier pet friendly accommodations include in their pet welcome gift? Check out the Kimpton Hotels and you'll get dog-gone excited!

2. Pet Bed
Traveling can be taxing. Routines are disrupted, new sights and sounds and experiences can exhaust even the hardiest of travelers. Packing is often an issue, too, with little room left over to haul pet bedding and sleeping paraphernalia. Pet lovers look for accommodations that provide clean, well-kept pet bedding to help their four-legged friends drift off to sleep in comfort.

Westin Hotels provide a perfect example of pet pampering by offering dogs designer beds with luxury bedding that includes over-sized pillows. Their stylish dog beds fit the decorum perfectly, matching the design of the human-size beds precisely.

3. Designated Pet Walking/Potty Area
Providing a designated pet walking/potty area complete with poop bags and garbage receptacles are a must-have for pet travelers. It's important that this area be clearly marked and as separate from normal traffic areas, as possible. Fenced in areas are particularly appealing to pet owners as they can keep their pet confined, and safe, while allowing for exercise.

Clean, well-lit and safe are what pet travelers are looking for in outdoor accommodations when they travel with their pets. Check out Candlewood Suites and their PAW program (pets are welcome) - they do a great job with this!

4. Concierge Services
Like their human companions, dogs and cats want to see the sights on their vacation, too. Pet friendly accommodations that sniff out the favorite local pet friendly attractions and services ahead of time score big with the jet-setting pet crowd. Pet parents look for hotels & accommodations that truly care about pet guests by providing them with what the need to have a happy and safe stay. They want a concierge who is local and knows the area well, and is devoted to making sure their pets have a 5-star vacation experience.

5. On-Site Pet Services
Most accommodations don't allow guests to keep pets in-room unattended, as even the most well behaved may act out when in a strange place. However, on the occasion people guests need to go somewhere without their pet, they are looking for the convenience of on-site pet services that include feeding, refilling water bowls, walking dogs around the immediate vicinity, changing litter, administering meds and providing affection, as needed. Some pet friendly hotels go so far as to offer pet massages and basic grooming!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Discussion of Pet Adoptions

I have recently posted about a new book, Little Boy Blue, By Kim Kavin.  In this book, Kavin discusses the various issues in regards to pet adoptions and her findings of the journey of her adopted dog, Blue. Here is some of the Q&A with the author in regards to pet adoptions:

Q. When you first found Blue online you thought he was located in area of Pennsylvania not far from your home in New Jersey.  You later found out he actually came from a shelter in North Carolina.  How did that happen and why are so many dogs from the South brought north?
What’s happening in dog-rescue today is truly amazing. Volunteer rescue groups that are hundreds of miles apart are acting almost like an Underground Railroad for dogs, moving them from the high-kill shelters that are predominately in the South up to willing adopters who are primarily in the more populated Northern states.

Blue is one of the dogs who was lucky to be scooped into this rescue pipeline. A Southern rescue pulled him off of death row and coordinated with a Northern rescue to find him a home. The Northern rescue listed their own ZIP Code on, and that ZIP Code was close enough to mine that when I searched for a local puppy to adopt, his photograph popped up on my screen even though he was still some 500 miles away.

Q. Are the conditions in the shelters in the South worse than other parts of the country?  If so, what are the reasons?

 There are certainly shelters and dogs that need help everywhere. The way the rescue advocates explained it to me, on the whole the need is greater in the South. That is why they focus their efforts in that region.

The shelter where Blue was found in North Carolina, for instance, has a 95-percent kill rate if rescue groups do not intervene. That’s just one in 20 dogs like Blue making it out alive from a taxpayer-funded facility unless a volunteer group steps in. It’s hard to deny the horror of that statistic. Many advocates who visit similar Southern shelters use the word “slaughterhouse” to describe what they see. In the shelters that kill the dogs in gas chambers, the advocates often use the word “Holocaust.” What they are seeing is truly hard to comprehend.

A number of factors are contributing to this reality. First and foremost is a failure to spay and neuter. Where spay/neuter rates are high, shelter intake numbers are almost always lower. In parts of the country where people fail to spay/neuter, including the rural Southern areas like the one where Blue is from, the shelters are simply overwhelmed by people bringing in box after box full of perfectly healthy, unwanted puppies. There is no place to put them, and there are not enough local adopters for them. So they are killed as if part of a factory line with no way to escape.

 Funding is also an issue. Many of these shelters simply don’t have the space and staff to handle the number of dogs being brought in. Even the shelter directors who are trying like crazy to get these dogs adopted are at the mercy of space and staff. Sometimes they simply run out of both, and the dogs are killed as a result even if they are perfectly healthy and wonderful.

 Last is attitude. When you have a shelter with a 95-percent kill rate, or a rate even remotely close to that, then something is happening in terms of an institutionalized attitude that the mass killing of these dogs is okay. That it is part of everyday business. That it is acceptable. The shelters that get their kill rates down adopt a different attitude, one that makes rescue a priority.

Q. Little Boy Blue takes a tough, honest look not only at the people who are running the shelters you visited, but also at some rescuers who are acting in a questionable way.  How big has the network of rescue groups become and where are the failing and/or succeeding?


It’s impossible to put an exact number on the size of the rescue network in America, but on alone, more than 13,000 rescue groups are uploading photos and bios of adoptable animals. That’s an average of 260 groups per state. To put that into context, the Red Cross has an average of 14 local chapters per state. The rescue movement in America is absolutely exploding.

 All of these people have very good intentions, but since there is no official oversight, each group operates however it sees fit. Some rescues are far more professional than others, for the simple reason that they are run by people with business experience instead of people who are simply desperate to save dogs by any means.

The rescues that are succeeding are as good at marketing and fund-raising as they are at walking into shelters and getting the dogs out. The best rescues are matching adopters with the right dog for them, not just with any dog. It takes real emotional mettle and business savvy to properly run a rescue organization that is best for all of the dogs and people involved. The more of these that we highlight publicly—including those featured in “Little Boy Blue”—the more that the smaller, fledgling rescues can learn from them.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Animal Rescue Road Trips

I recently came across the Peterson Express Transport Services (P.E.T.S.) from a book a recently read about animal adoption (check out the press release of the book on my blog).

 P.E.T.S. is a family run business started by husband and wife team, Kyle and Pam Peterson, P.E.T.S. LLC is committed to safely transporting dogs from rescue groups to their new homes. P.E.T.S. LLC was the first commercial pet transport service dedicated to the rescue community. Since 2004, the Peterson's have created an industry that has allowed for tens of thousands of dogs (and cats) to be saved from high rate kill shelters. Through their animal transport experience and dedication to saving animals, P.E.T.S. has developed important transport guidelines that have become the mainstay in the industry.

P.E.T.S. LLC has become the premier rescue transport organization in the Southeast servicing the New England area. In the past few years, they have helped transport thousands of animals that would otherwise have been euthanized and have been recognized by the American Humane Association.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Caring for a Japanese Fighter Fish (Betta)

How to care for a Japanese Fighter Fish (Betta)

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. But in reality, they can make a great addition to a community tank.

While 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 my betta 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 it. While the plant may look attractive 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  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 to live. 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.
With a little care and recognition of their needs, a betta fish can be a great addition to your aquarium.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Little Boy Blue - Book Shows Truth of Some Shelters

In the course of the 3 days that it took me to read this book, as many as 42,000 companion dogs died in American Animal Shelters.  I had recently posted some press clippings from the new book, Little Boy Blue in a past post on my blog. I had the opportunity to finish reading the book recently and was moved by what is happening to dogs in many shelters.  

There is a common thought that the best thing to do for an unwanted dog is to bring them to the local animal shelter. However, in this book, author Kim Kavin illustrates the issues in many of the animal shelters in the southern states, including those with a kill rate 95% of all dogs they take in off the streets.

After adopting a dog from a North Carolina animal shelter, Kavin is inspired to do additional research into the life of her new dog, Blue.  The discoveries she makes will make any dog lover cringe.

Did you know that taxpayers spend $15 million a year on shelters where dogs die in gas chambers?

This book not only exposes these truths of animal shelters, but it also tells inspiring stories of the grass-roots rescue network that has exploded across the nation in recent years.

I would suggest this book to any dog lover.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Top Names for Labrador Retrievers

Labs are known for one key trait: Everyone they encounter is their new best friend. Perhaps this is why Buddy is the most popular name for male Labs. Rounding out the top five: Max, Bear, Duke and Jake. The top lady Labrador name is Bella, followed by these equally girly picks: Molly, Daisy, Lucy and Sadie

Monday, August 20, 2012

Top Names for Bulldogs

Sometimes a breed is just built for a particular name, like the Bulldog, whose most popular male moniker is Tank. Other top picks for the breed: Diesel, Winston, Dozer and the very popular choice of Max. For females, Bella is once again the top option, trailed by Lola, Daisy, Lucy and Stella.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Guppy Boldness Studied

Guppy Boldness Studied

Interesting article about the study of the guppy and the boldness of the species.

Boldness increases chances of finding food and mates, but it also exposes intrepid individuals to the risk of being caught by predators.”

Thursday, August 16, 2012

How Many Fish Should Be In My Tank

Fish keepers have heard the rule of thumb for stocking their aquarium. But how many fish is really too many?

Tropical fish, like any other animal, will grow at different rates, consume different amounts of food, behave with their tankmates differently and also display different levels of aggression. Depending on their metabolic processes, fish will even release a different amount of waste. The worst rule in the book is the one-fish-per-3-gallon rule.

As for stocking a freshwater aquarium, always stay conservative with how many fish you have in the tank. A light or moderately stocked aquarium will be easier to maintain and manage over one that is heavily stocked. Also, lightly stocked tropical fish aquariums fare much better in emergencies, (such as power outages) than one that is filled to the brim with livestock.  This will also reduce the frequency of water changes. The general rule of a partial water change every two weeks tends to become almost every week to keep a heavily stocked aquarium healthy.

Instead of looking for a golden rule when stocking your aquarium, look for fish species that are compatible or have been compatible in other people’s experience. Look for tropical fish species that do not grow too large and are recommended for your aquarium’s size in gallons. Aquascape your aquarium to provide plenty of hiding places and retreats in the event that one fish is more aggressive than you predicted. If the tropical fish you have added seem to be getting along well and you’re not having a problem with excessive nutrients in the water you can look at adding more fish that are compatible with your current species.

Once you have established some harmony in the aquarium you can begin to research  other tropical fish that may work well in your aquarium.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Dog Lessons For People

  • Enjoy the simpleness of a walk
  • Run and play daily
  • Be loyal, faithful, and quick to forgive
  • Always drink plenty of water
  • Sometimes it is best to sit close and listen
  • Follow your instincts
  • Keep digging until you find what you want
  • Accept all of life's treats with gratitude
  • Love unconditionally

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Natural Balance Donates Food Through Facebook Campaign

Natural Balance Pet Foods ( has launched a Facebook campaign to donate food to a dog rescue group. Natural Balance will donate one pound of food to Angels in Fur for each new Like on the Natural Balance Facebook page through Aug. 31. Natural Balance will donate up to 5,000 pounds of food.

Angels in Fur is a non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing, rehabilitating and restoring dogs to loving homes

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Go Fragrance Free on August 10th

The Environmental Protection Association (EPA) states that fragranced products like air fresheners, fabric refreshers and traditional cleaning products contribute to poor indoors air quality, which can lead to health issues, especially for pets with their faster metabolisms and respiratory systems, and close proximity to the ground.
Fragrance Free Day helps raise awareness about the dangers of fragrances in personal care and household products by giving people the chance to go “fragrance free” for one day. That means no perfumes, colognes, scented lotions or harsh cleaning products with added fragrances for one full day!
On Fragrance Free Day (August 10th), SeaYu will be hosting a live Twitter chat from 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EST using hashtag #fragrancefreeday. Participants can get all their questions and concerns about fragranced products answered by a panel of experts including:
-Quincy Yu, Founder of SeaYu and green living expert
-Dr. Patrick Mahaney, Veterinarian, Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist
-Dr. Stephan Ziman, organic chemist

Monday, August 6, 2012

Dog Sitting!

For those of us who love dogs, it is possible to have too much of a good thing. Especially when the time comes to watch someone else's dogs.

Right now, we have four dogs at our home.  And, since two of them don't always get along with each other, we've had to make sure we keep an eye on all of them to avoid any potential fights. That means removing food bowls, as well as toys, so that there are less things to fight over.

While dog sitting for someone can be a good deed, and in keeping the dogs from having to go to a boarding location, it does add stress on all the dogs involved.  It throws off their normal routines, while adding a dimension of uncertainty. The uncertainty of if this is now a permanent change, of possible new habits, of new, if only temporary, routines.

But as much as I love all the furry friends in the home, having to feed, walk, and clean up after twice the number of pups I'm used to does take it's toll....and I'll be happy to get back to my normal routine soon as well!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A Puppy’s Rescue from Death Row and his Owner’s Journey for Truth


A Puppy’s Rescue from Death Row and his Owner’s Journey for Truth

By Kim Kavin

Foreword by Jim Gorant

 When Kim Kavin decided that she wanted a puppy, she did what millions of people do every year: clicked on an online photo and submitted an application. She had no idea that the adorable brindle--advertised as healthy and near her home in New Jersey--was actually a last-minute rescue from a gas-chamber shelter in North Carolina.

Blue had arrived in the Northeast with at least a dozen other dogs in an RV that is just one among countless transports whose sponsors are dedicating their efforts to saving dogs by any means possible. Blue was happy and friendly, but he seemed to have endured some unusual, albeit unknown, ordeal. The dog's manner prompted Kavin to trace his history all the way back to a long row of cages where Blue had been tagged to be put down in just three more days.

LITTLE BOY BLUE: A Puppy’s Rescue from Death Row and his Owner’s Journey for Truth (Barron’s Educational Series; August 2012; $22.99; Hardcover) is the true story of one sweet puppy's journey of survival. It's also a shocking exposé that describes a

brutal ongoing reality inside some of this country's taxpayer-funded shelters. But Little Boy Blue also tells an inspiring story of the grass-roots rescue network that has exploded across the nation in recent years. Readers will come to know and love a very special dog who now brings smiles to the faces of everyone he meets. From a single click of Kavin's computer mouse, Blue's journey of a lifetime began. This is the story of Little Boy Blue, told with candor and love. 

Kim Kavin is an award-winning writer, editor, photographer, and website developer. She graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism in 1994 and worked as a daily newspaper editor until 2000, when she became executive editor of Yachting magazine. She has been a full-time freelance journalist since April 2003 and is now considered one of the world’s foremost authorities covering the luxury yacht charter industry. She is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, a member of the Author’s Guild, a past president of Boating Writers International, and a member of the Dog Writers Association of America.  “Little Boy Blue” is her ninth book. In her spare time, Kim does volunteer work for Lulu’s Rescue, one of the charitable organizations that helped to save her dog, Blue. She opens her home to foster dogs and writes biographies of dogs in need for

Barron’s Educational Series will be donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of each book to the Foundation (

Read the first two chapters of Little Boy Blue


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Fun Facts About Dogs

1. There are a total of roughly around four hundred million dogs and hundreds of different dog breeds in the world.

2. Dogs can perform many tasks to assist humans. They can guard, hunt, do farm work, and aid people with disabilities. They can help the blind. They can also be trained to compete in breed shows which display their amazing agility. There are obedience contests, sled pulling, and racing that are meant for dogs.

3. The domestication of dogs, which naturally live in the wild, happened around 15,000 years ago.

4. Dogs have the same digestive systems as wolves and foxes - their counterparts in the wild. Thus, you are making it hard for them to digest pellet-based, plant-based, and processed dog foods. Dogs are meant to subsist on raw meat and bones.

5. Domestic dogs may eat plant-based foods, but it is not necessarily good for them. Foods that are plant-based will tax their pancreas and shorten their life spans.

6. Dogs have a spectacular sense of smell. They can differentiate odors in concentrations of around 100 million times lower than what humans can!

7. The hearing of dogs is also much more superior to that of humans. They can hear sounds at four times the distance!

8. According to the number of registered ownership, the most popular dog breed in the world is the Labrador. They are usually used as guide dogs and as police dogs. Labradors are extremely intelligent, obedient, gentle, and tireless.

9. Dogs live up to ten to fourteen years. They live longer if they are fed with unprocessed and uncooked meat and bones.

10. Dog breeders call young dogs less than one year of age as "puppies," a group of dog offspring as "litter," male dogs as "dogs," and female dogs as "bitches."

11. Dogs tend to pant a lot because they don't have any sweat glands on their body. Their sweat glands are only at their paws!

12. Dogs have a total of three eyelids. The third lid is called a nictitating membrane or haw; it keeps their eyes protected and fully lubricated.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Arthur Dogswell recalls cat chicken jerky treats, FDA says

..From NBC News..

One of the nation's leading manufacturers of pet treats has issued a voluntary recall of chicken breast treats because of the potential to cause health problems in cats. The recall follows reports of more than 1,800 dogs in the U.S. sickened or killed after eating chicken jerky treats from China.
Arthur Dogswell LLC issued a recall late Friday for its Catswell Brand VitaKitty Chicken Breast with Flaxseed and Vitamins treats because of potential contamination with high levels of propylene gylcol. High levels of propylene glycol in the treats could result in serious in serious injury to cats, according to the notice posted by the federal Food and Drug Administration.

The Los Angeles-based firm is voluntarily recalling 1,051 cartons of the treats packed as either 10 or 50 packages per case of the Catswell Brand VitaKitty with Chicken Breast with Flaxseed and Vitamins, the company said in a press release.
Health effects could include inducing anemia and making cells more  susceptible to oxidative damage. The company said no illnesses have been reported to date.
However, Arthur Dogswell LLC also produces chicken jerky pet treats made in China for dogs, which have been linked to more than 1,800 illnesses and deaths in the United States. Friday's recall is the first associated with chicken jerky pet treats since the FDA issued a third warning about the products last November.

The VitaKitty treats were distributed nationwide via retail stores and mail order from April 13th through June 14th, 2012.
This product is packaged in a re-sealable 2 ounce orange plastic bag with a clear window. The VitaKitty Chicken Breast with Flaxseed and Vitamins lot codes affected are as follows: SEW12CH032701/03c and SEW12CH032702/03c with a best before date of 09/10/13 and 09/11/13, respectively (UPC code 8 84244 00057 2). Lot codes can be found on the bottom right backside of the package.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The "Dos" of Safe, Pet Friendly Boating

With boating season in high gear it's a good time for a little refresher on pet friendly boating to ensure your little one is safe. Before hitting the high seas with your pet it's important to plan ahead and always keep the best interests of your four-legged friend in mind. Boating with your pet can be a wonderful and bonding experience or a not so pleasant one. It's all function of proper planning and preparation.
Be sure to take these necessary provisions to ensure that your pet's boat cruise is a happy and safe one.
  • Identification Tag: Make sure your pet has a collar with an identification tag. Include contact information, marina address and slip number.
  • Familiarization with the Boat: It is best to gradually introduce your pet to your boat and the water. Let your pet explore the boat while it is docked before going out on the water. Turn on the engine and let them get used to its sound, smell, and feel while the boat is docked. Then, take your pet out on small cruises and gradually build up to longer cruises.
  • Safe & Easy Boat Access: Provide a special pet ramp for your pet to get on and off the boat. This not only includes from the dock to the boat but also from the water to the boat. Pets weigh much more wet than dry and it can be very difficult to lift them back into your boat after a swim.
  • Flotation Device: A personal flotation device (a.k.a. life jacket) can also ensure safety while on the water. Not all pets can swim (including some dogs). Even if your pet is a good swimmer, getting tossed overboard can put any animal into a panic. In addition, your pet could suffer from exhaustion or hypothermia. Many pets also fall into the water from the dock or while trying to get from the dock to the boat. Having your pet equipped with a flotation device with a lifting handle makes retrieving your pet much easier and safer. Help your pet get used to the PFD by first practicing at home for short periods of time. Start by putting the PFD on your pet and let them walk around with it on. The next step is to let your pet swim with it on for a short period. It's a new experience for your pet so it's important for them to get used to it before the boat trip.
  • Proper Hydration & Staying Cool: Pets do not sweat, so keep an eye out for heavy panting or drool and a rapid heart beat. Protect pets from heat by providing some shade on the boat, providing plenty of water and keeping the deck cool to protect paw pads. Bring along a travel water bowl and fresh water. It is critical to hydrate pets before they get into the water. Otherwise, they will drink the natural water and may get sick.
  • Going Potty: A big challenge of boating with your pet is making provisions so that they can go to the bathroom. Bringing along your cat's litter box and securing it inside the cabin is a good solution for your feline friends. Dogs, however, are a bigger challenge. If your boat trip does not allow for regular land stops for your dog to do their business, then provisions must be made so that they can relieve themselves on the boat. A portable dog potty that simulates grass is an excellent solution. We recommend the Pup-Head Portable Dog Potty.
  • Health Records: If your boating destination is a marina or place that you're not familiar with, be sure to bring along a copy of vaccination and health records. Some places may require proof of immunization before letting pets explore on land.
  • Call Ahead: While most marinas and parks welcome pets, there are some that aren't pet friendly. Be sure to call ahead before arriving on shore.

Info provided by: is the #1 online resource for pet travel. It was named BEST pet travel site by Consumer Reports! offers resources to ensure pets are welcome, happy, and safe when traveling. The website features a directory of pet friendly hotels & accommodations across the U.S. and Canada, airline & car rental pet policies, dog friendly beaches, search by route, pet travel tips, pet travel supplies, along with other pet travel resources.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Alaska Town: Feline Mayor Is the Cat's Pajamas

The mayor of a sleepy Alaska town is feline fine.
The part-Manx cat clawed his way onto the political scene of Talkeetna, Alaska, through a write-in campaign shortly after he was born 15 years ago.
KTUU-TV reported ( ) Friday that residents didn't like the mayoral candidates years ago, so they encouraged enough people to elect Stubbs as a write-in candidate. The town has nearly 900 residents.
Sandy Bubar/AP Photo
PHOTO: Mayor Stubbs is a 15-year-old yellow cat who has been overseeing the town since shortly after he was born.
Sandy Bubar/AP Photo
Mayor Stubbs is a 15-year-old yellow cat who has been overseeing the town since shortly after he was born.
Although his position is honorary, Stubbs' popularity is real. His election earned him enough press to catapult the town at the base of Mount McKinley into a tourist destination.
Residents say they're happy that their stubby-tailed mayor is promoting tourism. The general store where Stubbs hangs out says it gets dozens of tourists a day asking for him.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Will Pet Ownership Decline in the Future?

I recently came across an article from that discussed the role of retail stores and investing in future generations. The article expresses concern about how kids grow up today with technology and gaming, and if that trend will impact pet ownership.

It is an interesting read, especially expressing the concern about the future of pet retail shops and their role in the pet industry.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Better Pet? Dog or Cat?

The Cats Vs Dogs controversy has gone on for thousands of years, ever since they were domesticated. Which makes the best pet? The answer depends largely on the owner's personality and requirements for animal companionship. We have owned both and have made a few observations based on our experiences.

Dogs are intensely loyal to the people who feed them. They can be hostile to perceived "invaders," and a goodly number of them have shown a willingness to put their own lives on the line to protect their owners. The downside to this behavior is that they demand lots of attention. An owner can sit and scratch a dog's ears for hours and still receive a hurt look from the animal when it's time to do something else. Cats, although also attention seekers, seem much more aloof and independent. Just don't expect them to be there for you if a burglar breaks in. An intelligent, well trained dog makes a great hiking companion. Cats couldn't care less. This is why the owner's preferences are an important part of the Cats Vs Dogs debate.

Cats are complete carnivores, and can digest only meat. (You may have seen a cat eating green grass, but that was probably because its stomach was already upset by something else.) Dogs, like people, are omnivores able to metabolize a variety of foods. The difference is in the body chemistry of the two species. The bottom line when considering Cats Vs Dogs is this: although some dogs may develop a taste for some cat foods, the two types of food are not interchangeable.

The biggest factor in choosing between Cats Vs Dogs may be the environment of the prospective owner. Do not try to keep a large dog in a small apartment, even if the landlord allows it. You will all be miserable as a result. Cat urine smells worse than dog urine, is more likely to occur indoors and must be dealt with. Dogs are not adept at hunting mice, so rodent control is generally left up to cats, who will also catch lizards, birds and young rabbits. In a rural setting, however, be aware that cats are susceptible to being picked off by owls (yes, owls) and other predators.
Pet Article courtesy of

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Touch of Exotic In Your Home

Ever dreamed of snorkelling in Thailand? Diving off the Australian Great Barrier Reef? Experiences like these are truly mesmerising. The range of aquatic life on view is quite breathtaking. Well now you can encounter a variety of tropical creatures from the comfort of your own home. Keeping tropical fish in a domestic setting is becoming an increasingly popular hobby. Since the Disney Pixar animation Finding Nemo hit box offices in 2003, clownfish worldwide achieved above and beyond celebrity status.  While these fascinating and strikingly marked fish have certainly raised the profile of tropical species as pets, they are not necessarily ideal for the beginner. Guppies, mollies and neon tetras are among the most popular species kept and much more suitable for those who have little to no experience in keeping such animals.

Considering it?

These creatures are ideal for those looking for a relatively low maintenance yet rewarding pet or hobby. If you are looking to keep a selection of species it is a good idea to first research which varieties are at ease in the company of others. Corydoras catfish or rainbowfish for example will happily cohabite with others. The latter is known to develop bold colouring when reaching adulthood making it a valuable addition to your tank. A handful of species are known for their aggressive nature and are usually kept in a solitary environment. Certain variations of Cichlids for instance can display very territorial behaviour and it is recommended that these particular types are not placed with certain other tropical fish.

The size of tank you should purchase will depend on the number of tropical fish you are planning on housing. Recommendations usually state that every one inch long fish in your tank should have roughly twelve square inches of surface area.

Generally, tropical fish require a consistent water temperature of between 25c-27c (70f-80f). It is advised that you allow around three to four days for making any necessary adjustments in order to maintain the correct temperature before introducing your fish to their new home.

Regarding diet, small amounts of tropical fish food given once to three times a day is usually ample. It is worth noting however that for the first two weeks, the filter needs time to adjust therefore a small amount of food once every two days is recommended.

Plants and other Fish Tank Accessories make a valuable addition to any aquarium. Providing your new fish with stimulating objects to explore and engage with will enable you to observe the behaviour that makes them such a popular household addition.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Pet Industry Spending

How much do you spend on your pets? The American Pet Products Association (APPA) publishes industry trends in regards to how much is spent on your animals.


The following spending statistics are gathered by APPA from various market reseach sources and are not included in the organization's bi-annual National Pet Owners Survey.

Total U.S. Pet Industry Expenditures
Year Billion

2012 $52.87 Estimate

2011 $50.96 Actual
2010 $48.35 2009 $45.5
2008 $43.2
2007 $41.2
2006 $38.5
2005 $36.3
2004 $34.42003 $32.42002 $29.52001 $28.51998 $231996 $211994 $17

Estimated 2012 Sales within the U.S. Market

For 2012, it estimated that $52.87 billion will be spent on our pets in the U.S.
Estimated Breakdown:
Food $20.46 billion
Supplies/OTC Medicine $12.56 billion
Vet Care $13.59 billion
Live animal purchases $2.15 billion
Pet Services: grooming & boarding $4.11 billion

Actual Sales within the U.S. Market in 2011

In 2011, $50.96 billion was spent on our pets in the U.S.

Food $19.85 billion
Supplies/OTC Medicine $11.77 billion
Vet Care $13.41 billion
Live animal purchases $2.14 billion
Pet Services: grooming & boarding $3.79 billion

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

“5 Rules for Finding a Pet Friendly Nanny

I came across a recent post about the 5 rules for finding a pet nanny. Some interesting things to consider. Check out the article for some great tips.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Health Benefits of Pets


  • Pets Help to Lower Blood Pressure A recent study at the State University of New York at Buffalo found that people with hypertension who adopted a cat or dog had lower blood pressure readings in stressful situations than did those who did not own a pet. (Dr. Karen Allen, State University of New York at Buffalo)
  • Pets Help to Reduce Stress Walking with a pet helps to sooth nerves and offers instant relaxation. Studies conducted worldwide have shown that the impact of a stressful situation is lesser on pet owners, especially males, than on those who do not own a pet. (Josephine M. Wills, Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition, United Kingdom)
  • Pets Help to Prevent Heart Disease Because pets provide people with faithful companionship, research shows they may also provide their owners with greater psychological stability, thus a measure of protection from heart disease. (National Institute of Health Technology Assessment Workshop: Health Benefits of Pets)
  • Pets Help to Lower Health Care Costs People with pets actually make fewer doctor visits, especially for non-serious medical conditions. (National Institute of Health Technology Assessment Workshop: Health Benefits of Pets)
  • Pets Help to Fight Depression Pets help fight depression and loneliness, promoting an interest in life. When seniors face adversity or trauma, affection from pets takes on great meaning. Their bonding behavior can foster a sense of security. (Between Pets and People: The Importance of Animal Companionship)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Pet 'Lemon Law' That Would Close 'Love Loophole' Passes Senate

Pet 'Lemon Law' That Would Close 'Love Loophole' Passes Senate

Interesting law from CT in regards to Pet Lemon laws.  Showing again that pets are considered property.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Pet Ownership Statistics

It's always fun to see what pets are popular.  The American Pet Products Association (APPA) publishes information about pet ownership.


  • According to the 2011-2012 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, 62% of U.S. households own a pet, which equates to 72.9 millions homes
  • In 1988, the first year the survey was conducted, 56% of U.S. households owned a pet as compared to 62% in 2008

Breakdown of pet ownership in the U.S. according to the 2011-2012 APPA National Pet Owners Survey

Number of U.S. Households that Own a Pet (millions)

Bird 5.7Cat 38.9Dog 46.3Equine 2.4Freshwater Fish 11.9Saltwater Fish 0.7
Reptile 4.6Small Animal 5.0
Total Number of Pets Owned in the U.S. (millions)

Bird 16.2

Cat 86.4

Dog 78.2
Equine 7.9
Freshwater Fish 151.1
Saltwater Fish 8.61

Reptile 13.0

Small Animal 16.0

* Ownership statistics are gathered from APPA’s 2011-2012 National Pet Owners Survey

Sunday, July 1, 2012

4th of July Pet Safety Tips

The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays.  Celebrating our lives, liberties and freedoms while enjoying time with friends, both human and non-human.  However, the holidays can lead to trouble for your pet if you are not careful.

The ASPCA has offered some great 4th of July pet safety tips.
For many people, nothing beats lounging in the backyard on the Fourth of July with good friends and family—including the four-legged members of the household. While it may seem like a great idea to reward Rover with scraps from the grill and bring him along to watch fireworks, in reality some festive foods and products can be potentially hazardous to your pets. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center offers the following tips:
  • Never leave alcoholic drinks unattended where pets can reach them. Alcoholic beverages have the potential to poison pets. If ingested, the animal could become very intoxicated and weak, severely depressed or could go into a coma. Death from respiratory failure is also a possibility in severe cases.
  • Do not apply any sunscreen or insect repellent product to your pet that is not labeled specifically for use on animals. Ingestion of sunscreen products can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy. The misuse of insect repellent that contains DEET can lead to neurological problems.
  • Always keep matches and lighter fluid out of your pets’ reach. Certain types of matches contain chlorates, which could potentially damage blood cells and result in difficulty breathing—or even kidney disease in severe cases. Lighter fluid can be irritating to skin, and if ingested can produce gastrointestinal irritation and central nervous system depression. If lighter fluid is inhaled, aspiration pneumonia and breathing problems could develop.
  • Keep your pets on their normal diet. Any change, even for one meal, can give your pets severe indigestion and diarrhea. This is particularly true for older animals who have more delicate digestive systems and nutritional requirements. And keep in mind that foods such as onions, chocolate, coffee, avocado, grapes & raisins, salt and yeast dough can all be potentially toxic to companion animals.
  • Do not put glow jewelry on your pets, or allow them to play with it. While the luminescent substance contained in these products is not highly toxic, excessive drooling and gastrointestinal irritation could still result from ingestions, and intestinal blockage could occur from swallowing large pieces of the plastic containers.
  • Keep citronella candles, insect coils and oil products out of reach. Ingestions can produce stomach irritation and possibly even central nervous system depression. If inhaled, the oils could cause aspiration pneumonia in pets.
  • Never use fireworks around pets! While exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns and/or trauma to the face and paws of curious pets, even unused fireworks can pose a danger. Many types contain potentially toxic substances, including potassium nitrate, arsenic and other heavy metals.
  • Loud, crowded fireworks displays are no fun for pets, so please resist the urge to take them to Independence Day festivities. Instead, keep your little guys safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area at home.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

No matther if your kids are human, furry, wet, slimy, or tropical, here's too all the dads!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Pet Seat Belts Save Lives

Traveling with pets has never been more popular amongst pet parents. Traveling by car is by far the most common mode of pet travel and dogs are the most frequent travelers. "Want to go for a ride?" is music to a dog's ears. They go just about everywhere with their parents...running errands around town, to beaches and parks, going on family vacations, and staying in pet friendly hotels. If pets are welcome - they come along! Unfortunately, most pet parents do not properly secure their pets when riding with them in their vehicles. They love their pets and would do anything for them...but probably don't realize that they are putting their pets at great risk.

Did you know that at only 35 mph, a 60 lb. pet becomes a 2,700 pound projectile and that unsecured pets commonly escape from vehicles and run off post-accident? How often are you distracted by your excited or rambunctious pet while driving? Did you know that driver distraction causes more accidents than anything else?

Securing your pet during car travel is essential to ensuring their safety. There are many ways to properly secure your pet in a vehicle. Buckling them up in pet seat belt is a very easy and affordable way to help ensure that your pet stays safe while traveling in your vehicle. Pet seat belts range in price from about $9 - $40. They come in different sizes to accommodate most all sized pets and most are adjustable.

Most pet seat belts attach onto your vehicle's seat belt. Some come with leads that have a buckle at one end that fits into your vehicle's seat belt receptacle, and the other end of the lead has a clip that attaches onto your pet's harness. Other pet seat belts have leads that have a loop at one end in which you put your vehicle's seat belt strap through and the other end has a clip which attaches to a harness. If you choose to give your pet more freedom in the back seat, you can get a pet seat belt that has a zip line which attaches between the two rear passenger side handles, creating a tether which attaches to your pet's harness.

No matter what type of pet seat belt you choose, you must always use a harness - never a collar. A collar can easily choke or strangle your pet if you stop fast or are in an accident. In addition, pet's should never ride in the front seat. Deployed airbags can seriously injure pets.

With pet travel growing by leaps and bounds, pet parents must step up and be sure to take the necessary measures to ensure their pet's safety - pet seat belts are an effective way to do this. Safe travels and please buckle up your precious pets!

content from www.tripswithpetscom

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Can Color affect your dog's mood?

There have been numerous studies on colors and humans. But what about colors and their effects on dogs? According to an article from Pet Centric, colors may affect your dog too.

The first step in answering that question is to know what colors dogs see. Dogs do see colors, but the colors they see aren’t as vivid or as many as we see. Most experts agree that while they can’t see reds and greens, dogs do see most other colors — including blacks, whites, grays, yellows and blues. That means a toy that looks red or green to you doesn’t look the same to your dog, it probably looks dark gray.

How do we know dogs see colors? The dog’s eye — and the human eye — have special light catching cells called cones. But since your dog has fewer cones than you, his color vision won’t be as intense as yours.

In a study at the University of California — Santa Barbara, dogs were shown three light panels in a row. Two of the panels were the same color while the third was different. If the dog could identify the one that was different and press that panel, he was rewarded with a treat.

Using this method, the study suggested that dogs see the world in mostly yellows, blues and grays. They see green, yellow and orange as a shade of yellow. Violet and blue both appear blue.

To see if color impacts your dog’s moods and behavior, try your own experiments. Red, orange and yellow are stimulating to humans but blue and violet are calming. Toss your dog two toys — one yellow and one blue — and see if the yellow toy inspires a more energetic playtime. Or the next time your dog gets anxious from a thunderstorm or noisy fireworks, try exposing him to soothing colors. (Of course, any serious anxiety issues should be discussed with your veterinarian.)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

While most of the economy limps along, the pet industry is thriving. It is estimated that $50.84 billion was spent on our pets in the U.S. in 2011. America's and the world's love affair with their pets is evidenced by their spending habits. Dog and cat parent's spending is at an all time high...and much of it is on pet travel expenses. That's right - falling in line right behind pet health & boarding expenses, dog and cat parents are opening up their pocket books to take Fido and Fluffy to pet friendly hotels and buy them those much need pet travel supplies.

An online survey of pet parents who travel with their dogs and cats to uncover what they look for when sniffing out dog and cat friendly hotels and accommodations. Here are their top 5.
  1. Pet Fees: Even though pet parents aren't afraid to open up their wallets for their cats and dogs, they still want a deal. When choosing pet friendly hotels or accommodations, pet parents compare pet fees when determining where to book their stay. Many look negatively on pet friendly accommodations that charge high pet fees, as they equate high pet fees as "not pet friendly."
  2. Pet Amenities: Pet welcome baskets, pet beds, and pet bowls are among the little touches that go a long way with pet parents. To most, the way to their hearts is through their pets. Pet friendly hotels and accommodations that offer these perks to pamper Fido and Fluffy factor into their decision of where to stay. Pet amenities become more of a factor for longer stays or vacation stays. Dog walking, pet sitting and pet concierge services are among the amenities that become more important to pet parents for these types of stays.
  3. Location: Pet parents are less apt to drive off the beaten path for accommodations when traveling with their pet. When they are booking overnight stays on their way to their final destination, they will select pet friendly accommodations closest to their route and are willing to pay a little bit more for it. Cat pet parents in particular have a stronger preference to not drive any further than they have to. Generally, cats aren't as seasoned travelers as dogs and aren't as happy traveling. Hence, the less time in the car, the better.
  4. Pet Policy: Accommodations and hotels that allow pets, but whose pet policies list numerous restrictions are perceived as "not pet friendly." Pet parents are less likely to book their stay at accommodations whose pet policy is loaded with restrictions and penalties. They seek out accommodations that welcome their pets and therefore tend to pass on accommodations with overly restrictive pet policies.
  5. Loyalty to Pet Friendly Hotels Chains: A very interesting habit of pet parents is that once they find a pet friendly hotel chain that takes care of their dog or cat to their liking they will tend to book at that pet friendly hotel chain even at times when they are not traveling with their pet. As mentioned before, the way to their hearts is through their pets!
As the world's love affair with their pets grows, pet parents will continue to flex their financial muscle...raising the bar for pet friendly hotels and pet travel.

Info from Trips with pets. For more information, visit www.tripswithpetscom.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Liquid Dog Treat

I've seen a lot of different treats at a lot of different events, but this may be one of the first liquid dog treats.  It's called Lickety Stik and is being billed as a nutritious way to give your dog a tasty treat. It is an on-the-go container with a ball top that apparently delivers just the right amount to your dog. 

Haven't tried one yet but would be interested to hear from anyone who has.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Moving With Your Pet?

Top 10 Pre-Moving Day Tips for Pets
If you're planning a move with your pet, it's important to do some homework and be prepared. Moving has the potential to create a lot of anxiety for pets...particularly for older pets, most cats, and skittish pets. Pre-move preparation is the key to helping ensure your move goes as smoothly as possible for your pet and you.

Here are the top 10 pre-moving day tips for pets:

1. Pet Laws and Regulations: Become familiar with the state/province leash laws, pet ordinances, and pet licensing requirements. For state/province laws, contact the State Department of Agriculture or State Veterinarian's office. For local ordinances, contact the City Clerks' office, local humane organization, or animal control facility in the area in which you'll be relocating. If you are planning to rent a house or apartment, be sure to carefully review the lease to ensure that pets are allowed before you move in.

2. A Trip to Your Pet's Vet: It's important to be sure that your pet is up to date on all vaccinations and has a thorough check-up before you move. Get a copy of all your pet's medical records (as their new vet will need them), as well as a health certificate. If your pet is on any medication, make sure you get it refilled. If your pet is not a good traveler, discuss this with your vet. If after trying behavior modification training to no avail, your vet may recommend some medications or natural calming supplements to helps ease your pet's travel anxiety.

3. Secure a New Vet: Be sure to have a new veterinarian lined up before you move. Ask your current vet for a referral or research online for new veterinarian.

4. New Identification Tag: Get a new pet ID tag that includes your pet's name, your name, new address and telephone number.

5. Routine, Routine Routine: Pets are creatures of habit and love routine. Do your best to not throw off their routine by gradually packing over a period of time. The less commotion and more normalcy, the better!

6. Secure Your Pet in Car: Have a plan for how you're going to properly secure your pet in your vehicle. This is a crucial element of pet travel that is not taken seriously enough. The reality is that hundreds of pets are injured or even killed each year because they are allowed free reign in cars, trucks, RVs, and SUVs. Even more real is the toll in human life and property damage caused when an "enthusiastic" animal distracts a driver, leading to an accident. Vehicle pet barriers, pet seat belts, pet car seats, and pet travel crates are all excellent ways to keep your pet (and you) safe when traveling in your vehicle. It's important to familiarize your pet with the vehicle restraint of choice weeks or months before traveling so that they are comfortable.

7. Secure Pet Friendly Accommodations in Advance: If your move is such that you'll need to make overnight stops along the way, be sure to secure these accommodations before you hit the road. Pet policies do change some times without notice and accommodations may be limited so it's recommended that you book pet friendly hotels in advance.

8. Plan Ahead for Air Travel: Check with your veterinarian and the airline if your pet will be flying. The airline will require a health certificate issued by your vet. You'll also want to purchase an appropriate airline approved pet carrier. Be sure you take the time to familiarize your pet with it at least one
month prior to travel.

9. Calm Energy: Even though moving is typically a crazy and hectic time for you, it's important to keep yourself as calm and relaxed as possible. We all know that our pets sense our energy and when we're amped up, they get stress. So, whatever works for you to keep your sense of calm, do it!

10. Tell Your Pet: This may seem out there to some, BUT, have a talk with your pet letting them know about the move. Let them know what to expect on moving day, about the new house, the yard, etc... If nothing else, it will make you feel better, which in turn will help your pet.

Moving to a new home with your pet doesn't have to be stressful if you are prepared and plan ahead!

For more information, visit www.tripswithpetscom. is the premier online guide for pet travel-offering resources to ensure pets are welcome, happy and safe when traveling. Visit to find a directory of pet friendly hotels & accommodations across the U.S. and Canada, airline policies, pet travel tips, pet travel supplies, along with other pet travel resources.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

What's in a Sniff?

What does your dog's sniff tell him? Check out this articleFrom Petcentric for some interesting tidbits.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Bob Barker Building will be PETA's West Coast hub

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Bob Barker's name has been attached to a game show and a cause for decades. Now it's attached to a building, too.
For decades, the former game show host urged "Price Is Right" viewers to spay or neuter their pets. After he retired from the show, he donated $2.5 million to renovate a Los Angeles building that will become the West Coast headquarters of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
PETA officials and Barker will be on hand Thursday for a red carpet, all vegan, dog-friendly grand opening.
The Bob Barker Building on Sunset Boulevard has a new art deco façade, a rebuilt public sidewalk and eco-friendly cork floors, and will have rooftop solar panels.
It will house PETA's media, marketing, youth outreach and campaign departments.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Goldfish - Classic Super Bowl Ad

Another classic pet related Super Bowl commercial. In this one, "Sparky" the goldfish plays dead until a boy holds a Pepsi over his tank and he performs tricks. Dad is clueless, though, and flushes the lifeless fish (a common practice).

Later, we see Sparky in the ocean doing back flips for a fisherman.

Another example of how pets help sell products.