Monday, May 31, 2010

Your Pet Needs Healthy Food Too

Pet owners must realize just how important nutrition is to the health of their pets, and they are beginning to pay more attention to what they are feeding their cats and dogs. To keep your pet healthy, extend your pet's life and save on vet bills, it's just as important for your pet to eat healthy as it is for you.

A perceptive owner is aware that a healthy pet has clear bright eyes, brilliant coat sheen, clean teeth, good breath, and a playful happy attitude. Unfortunately, many pets are unhealthy, attributed to their diet, and suffer from health problems, such as allergies, diabetes, cancer, ear infections, irritable bowel, urinary tract infections, bladder stones, scratching and skin and coat issues.

Holistic vets believe that the harmful ingredients in most pet foods are factors that lead to various illnesses and chronic problems in the lives of pets and they advise pet owners to provide natural dog and cat food. Many well-known large commercial pet food companies advertise that their food is natural and healthy and contains fresh vegetables and lean cuts of meat. But a look at the ingredients is a different story. Questionable potentially harmful ingredients are: animal by-products, artificial colors and flavors and chemical preservatives like BHA, BHT, and ethoxyquin, a cancer-causing preservative. Many pet medical conditions are believed to be directly linked to diet since pet foods contain wheat, corn and soy---- the top three allergy-causing grains; in addition, by-products, partial grains and unidentified meat sources are problem-causing also.

Dr. Sandra Sargent, vet dermatologist at Pittsburgh Vet Specialty and Emergency Center in Ohio Township says, "The vast majority of food allergies in pets are sensitivities to beef, dairy, wheat, corn, soy, chicken, turkey and eggs. A smaller percentage is to preservatives and dyes." She also states that if your pet is sensitive to chicken, then any diet containing chicken will cause problems. Only 10-15 percent of skin conditions are pure food allergies. A higher percentage is thought to be a combination of food and environmental allergies (pollen, dust, mold etc.).

Dr. Doug Knueven of Beaver Animal Clinic, near Pittsburgh, one of the few holistic vets in the area, recommends supplementing processed pet food with a small amount of people food (meats and vegetables, not pizza or fatty table scraps.) Dr. Knueven recommends switching foods every month to avoid nutritional deficiencies or toxicities.

Why is all-natural pet food so healthy? It contains no rendered by-products such as intestines, heads, feet or feathers, no harmful fillers and no chemical additives, and it only contains human-grade ingredients. Healthy natural food has quality ingredients, nutritional adequacy and no harmful chemicals. It has meat amino acids and basic building blocks for muscle, skin, coat, bone, blood and immune system. In addition, it contains essential fatty acids, all natural preservatives and a combination of mixed tocopherols (Vitamin E) and ascorbic acid (Vitamin C).

Pet food companies are self-regulated and food from reliable companies is tested voluntarily on pets of all ages. Various aspects of the animals' overall health are monitored including age, weight, activity level, stool and urine, allergy sensitivity, and hair and skin conditions.

According to the National Pet Owners Survey in 2005-06, 63 percent of all U.S. households owned pets73 million dogs and 90 million cats. The pet industry is big business. In 2008 $41 billion was spent on pet food, shelter, healthcare and luxuries, double what was spent just ten years ago. If you are into healthy eating, why not do the same for your pet? Check the ingredients in your pet's food and see if it is healthy. Your pet's health is your choice.

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Basic Horse Care

Horses are amazingly beautiful and sensitive creatures. Horses require not only understanding and patience to have a horse as a pet, it also requires a whole lot of care.

Herd Mentality:
Observe horses in the herd system, each horse's welfare in the wild depends upon an instinctive submission to the discipline of the herd. The instinct is for immediate action. To the horse, action is survival. When horses live in an herd environment, they often take turns sleeping and standing guard for any predators. When the leader of the herd signals danger they take flight.

Learning respect and ascending to authority starts on the first day of life for the foals, there is a distinct pecking order in herds of horses.

It is important to keep a quiet profile around horses. Horses naturally do not like unnecessary noise because in the wild their survival depends on detection of predators with their hearing. Extraneous noise interferes with this predator detection. This predator detection is tightly coupled with a horse's flight reflex. Due to these survival genetics, horses have a physiological wiring in their brains that predisposes them to prefer quietness and to become bothered by unnecessary noise. Many horses can get startled easily from abrupt noises and this could result in injury to the horse, the rider, or people around the horse. Talk to your horse in a quiet, reassuring voice.

Relationship With Horses:
A horse will love you if, first and foremost, you treat it fairly, and secondly, if you allow yourself to develop a relationship with it in the same way you would a human partner. There are too many who will look after the horse's material needs but put nothing back into the partnership itself. The horse born in captivity will identify with an alternative provider and companion, resulting in a healthy relationship from the beginning. A healthy relationship with your horse requires: trust, coupled with respect, fondness with compliance, and a desire to please.

Check Your Horse:
Examine your horse every day and especially prior to riding the horse. Carefully examine the horse's legs and back for any unusual heat or lumps. Make sure that the horse's eyes are alert and not glazy. Listen for any excessive noise or gurgling sounds coming from your horse's stomach. Catching problems before they become serious is critical to keeping a show horse sound and alive.

Exercise caution and discretion when around stallions and mares when they are in heat. They are dealing with hormones on an order of magnitude that you probably can not comprehend. Stallions typically bite and some may be easily triggered into violent behavior.

Grooming Horses:
Keep your horse clean. Keep your horse's entire coat free from dirt, mud, sand, and sweat. Brush your horse every day. Pick out your horse's feet every day. Wash out any sweat residue from the saddle pad or girth every day. Wash out any dirt or sand residue, as from the riding arena, on your horses legs every day. A number of different problems can result if a horse's coat is not kept clean.

Barn Care:
Keep your horse's stall clean. Make sure that your horse's stall is cleaned every day. Be sure that any wetness is removed with the manure. Replace the removed bedding with fresh, clean, dry bedding. Water should be dumped from buckets every day without exception. Unhealthy dirt and bacteria can build up in a bucket if it is not cleaned on a daily basis. Clean water is essential to maintaining a healthy horse. Make sure your horse always has clean, fresh water available.

Training A Horse:
The intelligence of the horse increases rapidly with education. An intelligent trainer can make an intelligent horse. A kind but firm trainer will result in a disciplined but pleasing horse.

Horse Feed:
Feed your horse(s) at the same times every day. A horse may get upset and colic or injure themselves by kicking the stall or pawing, if not fed when feeding is expected. You should not make radical changes in a horse's feed program. If you must make a change in the feed program, make the change gradually. Drastic changes in a horse's feed program can cause the horse to colic and in some cases, may die. Your horse's stomach is a highly sensitive bio-reactor that maintains a delicate balance of the organisms that digest food in your horse's digestive track.

Visitors should not feed a horse that you do not own without the owner's permission; no carrots, no apples, no treats, nothing. The horse could potentially, get sick if they have an allergy or sickness.

Pay attention to everything that goes into your horse; that means all feed, all hay, all water, all treats, all supplements, all pills, and all shots. This knowledge could save your horse's life in an emergency situation. Post this information on your horse's stall door so that it is available to a vet if you are not around in an emergency. Make sure that your horse gets high-quality feed and hay. Your horse's health and soundness depends on the nutrition that you provide for them. Take good care of your horse. A rider without a horse is no rider at all.

Vet Care:
Make sure that you have a good equine veterinarian. A good vet will save you money in the long run and may save your horse's life some day. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Make sure your horse has all the vaccinations that are normal for your geographical location. All horses should be on a good worming program to control intestinal parasites. A horse should be wormed by a vet at least twice a year.

Horse Flies:
In the summer spray your horse trailer down with fly spray about 10 minutes before you load the horses. The flies should leave, and your horses will be without those pesky flies!

Cooling Horses:
Never spray a hot, sweaty horse with cold water immediately after working the horse. This can cause muscle spasms and binding, or shock that can lead to death. Wait until the horse is breathing regularly, and use warm water if it is available. If a horse has heat shock, consult your vet and the vet may instruct you to cold hose the horse, even if still hot and sweaty. Never put a horse in a stall or confined area while sweaty or while they are still breathing heavily. This can result in shock and/or colic that can lead to death. Walk the horse until the horse is cooled out and the breathing is normal.

Horses' hooves generally grow approximately 1 cm in a month, and take nearly a year to grow from the coronet band to the ground. Horse's hooves need to be trimmed regularly (about every 6-8 weeks). Shoeing a horse does not hurt them. If you were to grow out your finger nail, you could put an earring/pin through it without causing discomfort; however, if you pushed the pin through the part of your nail that is attached to the soft tissue of your finger, it would hurt. When horse shoes are nailed in, they are nailed at an angle so which the horse doesn't feel it.

Make sure that you have a good farrier, especially if you show your horse over jumps. The concussion from landing from jumps amplifies any problems in a horse's shoeing. If a horse gets sore feet or legs from bad angles or bad shoeing, the horse can not just take his shoes off, sit back on a couch, and rub their feet, or find another pair of shoes like you can. Bad shoeing can result in your horse becoming lame due to a number of problems including: bowed tendons, popped splints, or shoulder/back soreness or spasms. Bad shoeing can ruin a good horse, so don't be penny-wise and pound-foolish where shoeing is concerned. A laid-up horse is far more expensive to maintain than a good farrier. And remember not all horses need to have shoes, only if they are competing, walking on hard/rocky surfaces, or have hoof problems.

Horses do lay down to sleep, but only if they feel completely comfortable in their environment. It is not enough to provide a dry stable, food and water. Horses will often sleep standing up by locking their knees. Horses are one of the few animals that can put one half of their body asleep while the other half is wide awake. Emotionally and mentally, all horses need to feel they have and be comfortable in their own space!

To fully enjoy a horse's finer qualities you must treat them with both kindness and quality care. In the end, a happy horse will mean a nicer ride and a happier rider.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Analyzing Pet Behavior Problems

With the recent "Snapping"...OK, darn right biting of a reporter by the President's dog, it seems that there has been more talk of Pets Behavior Problems these days. I guess as tough as the reporters have been to our dear 'ole President, it is no wonder he gets a little snappy form time-to-time...the dog, not the President.

How about you? Are you dealing with some Pet Behavior Problems yourself? Hey, I'm not a Doctor and I don't even play one on TV, but I have had a long obsession with my pets and have spent a lot of hours working with various Animal Rescue organizations as it a passion and one I contribute to as much as I can yearly. In that time I have had a lot of conversations with various Doctors who have given me some excellent information when it comes to Pet Behavior. Everyone has their own remedies, that much is for sure, but there seems to be some consensus as to some of the methods people use.

Here are some of the most frequent questions that I have heard that have seemed to begged answers from new pet owners that were adopting a pet. They relate to barking excessively, chewing in a destructive manner, accidents, a pet that seems to pace about, licking or drooling excessively and inactivity, usually in older dogs. There are tons of other questions, many that seem more Breed related, but most of the questions seem to fall under the previously mentioned categories.

First and foremost, there are questions you need to ask yourself. I believe that many problems from a Pet Behavior standpoint can be directly related to the owner's behavior. You see, your pet often reflects back what you are feeling. I know that my cat can seem to pick up on my moods and there is no doubt that your pet may be doing the same.

So ask yourself is there something going on in you life that has caused a "Disruption" in the usual routine? Have you changed their diet in some way? Has a "new" pet or child been introduced into the fold? Great questions to determine any external situations that may be causing a different behavior from your pet. Have you spent more time away from your pet than usual? There is a thing called "Separation Anxiety" and pets are certainly not immune.

Now see if your pet has any overt signs of sickness that will be causing a problem. Many times at the beginning of a sickness, the problems start to manifest. Just be aware of your pets changing moods and don't be so quick to want to punish bad behavior.

A couple of tips for dealing with your pet.

When you see a problem, deal with it quickly. Don't try to dismiss it and think it will go away if you ignore it.

Always be gentle with your pet. Just as with a child, I don't ever believe you should hit a pet out of anger. Your pet should never fear you by thinking they are going to get hit when you raise your hand.

The quieter you are when dealing with your pet, the better and rarely scold them. How do you feel when you are constantly derided at work or by a significant other? Why do you think pets are any different?

Rotate the toys for your pet. That keeps them interested in playing more if they have new stimuli to play with.

The most important aspect to remember about your pet is that, by and large, you chose them somehow, right? You decided that you wanted a pet.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Dog Behavior Problems Training - 5 Quick Tips

It is a good idea for all dog owners to be schooled in dog behavior problems training. Most owners will deal with the common behavioral issues such as barking and chewing at some point in time. These are normal to a certain degree, but when they become excessive they can become behavior problems. There are also a variety of other unwanted behavioral problems that your dog could exhibit and they can range anywhere from submissive urination, disobedience, destructiveness, to dangerous aggression. Making sure that you understand more about these behavioral problems is the best way to either prevent them from occurring or solve the existing ones.

The following are a few basic and easy tips you can do to start successfully implementing dog behavior problems training:

Tip 1: In order to eradicate whatever canine behavior problems you're up against, you will need to figure out what the cause is. Try and get to the bottom of why they are digging, biting, chewing, barking, and so on.

Tip 2: Since dogs have a pack mentality, there needs to be a leader in the pack and if the owner (you) doesn't establish themselves as the leader over their dog, then the dog will step up and take up the leadership role. Once you establish yourself as the leader, your dog will be more likely to respond to you and obey you. Remember though, while you need to be the leader, you also need to establish a trusting relationship with your dog.

Tip 3: Many pet behavioral problems stem from the fact that your dog doesn't know what their role is in the home. You'll need to make this clear for them while utilizing positive training methods when obedience training.

Tip 4: Make sure that your dog is getting enough exercise. This will help tire them out and reduce the risk of certain behaviors from occurring, one of which is being destructive. Dogs tend to exhibit destructive behavior when they are bored and have excess energy.

Tip 5: If you spay and neuter your pets, this will in turn impact behaviors that stem from their sex drive. It will also reduce the risk of dominance aggression.

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Monday, May 24, 2010

Nurture A Career In Animal Care

Thinking about a new career? Try going to the dogs -- literally. The Animal Specialty Center in nearby Yonkers, New York is a 24/7 hospital facility that treats animals for everything from minor sprains to major surgical operations. They even perform CAT scans and cancer treatments.

To perform these complicated procedures you need education in veterinary medicine. But there are some jobs open that require a quality you can't learn in any classroom.

"You don't really need to have prior experience, but the most important thing is somebody that is willing to learn, to be compassionate," said Animal Specialty Center Director Bernadette Vinci.

Vinci says they have openings in two areas. The first is client care specialists.

"Pets don't walk in the door themselves, so you need to be both a people person and care for the animals," Vinci said.

"I just decided that, you know, I'd like to look into it a little bit further and see what positions they had available and I got lucky enough and now I get to play with dogs all day and cats," said Animal Specialty Center employee Jennifer Kelly.

The other position, an animal care assistant, is a bit more hands on.

"They clean the cages, they make sure that they have nice bedding, the pets are comfortable. They also walk the dogs, they feed the pets, they hold during an exam," Vinci said.

"I was always interested in animals my whole life, so it seemed like a perfect fit," said Animal Specialty Center employee Michael Gonzalez.

Both positions are considered an entry into the world of veterinary medicine and provide valuable exposure for someone making career choices.

Because it's a 24-hour facility, hours can be erratic. But for many working at the center, the positives most definitely outweigh the negatives.

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Friday, May 21, 2010

The Components of Proper Dog Care

Dogs have often be referred to as man's best friend. Dogs should be taken care of just like we take care of our children. Caring for a dog takes a lot of responsibility. To be healthy and free of disease, proper dog care must be applied. Since our dogs are loyal companions, we must provide them with the essentials of proper dog care.

They need to be provided with water, healthy food, exercise and we shouldn't forget veterinary checkups and their vaccinations. Dog owners who need more information on proper dog care and tips for having a happy and healthy dog, books on dog care offer a lot of great information for maintaining our dog's health. The owners themselves need to show their dogs how much they care, just as our dogs offer unconditional love to us.

Daily Dog Care Needs

Food and water are the most obvious everyday need. The dog food the owners feed their dog should be high in protein. Natural dog food is the best choice. Regular bathing and grooming helps to keep them free of fleas and ticks. To keep them smelling fresh, they should be bathed weekly. Dog grooming is a bonding experience between the dog and his or her owner, plus this also emphasizes the owner's authority over the dog. The grooming and hair brushing helps to relax your dog, and they enjoy it much like petting. Don't brush too fast; Slow steady strokes are best.

Vitamins are also an important part of dog care. For shin ailments, vitamin E can help cure them. Vitamin E oil applied to the skin can help relieve dry skin. Natural and conventional ways of giving proper dog care can save the owner money. Yogurt contains acidophiles, which is good for your dog just like it is to humans. However, their are some factors that can be harmful to pets, so you should consult with your veterinarian before doing so. Supplies For Dog Care

Provisions for dog care are classified as basic, pampering and functional. Fundamental dog care supplies are comprised of leashes, grooming kits, a bed or sleeping pad, a dog house or kennel and especially food. Doors, fences and gates are not only practical, but functional as well. Toys, massage oils and treats make up a pampering kit for your dog.

A dog bed or sleeping pad is an essential basic supply, as it helps to keep the dog's bones healthy and strong. Some pet stores carry supplies such as training equipment and can make it easier for your dog to follow. Some dog available collars are made to punish dogs if their behavior is inappropriate.

Kennels come in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes. When choosing one for your dog, choose one that is spacious enough so your dog can move around. Grooming kits are also available in a variety of options as well. Some of the included products are nail clippers, shampoos, combs, brushes, and conditioners. Supplies for good hygiene are available as well for the best dog care the owner can give.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Buckle up your pet for everyone's safety

you are absolutely right about the danger of distraction to drivers from allowing pets to sit on their laps. Ontario's law on traffic distractions such as using cellphones should be amended to regulate motorists who let their dogs or any pet sit on their lap, or to roam freely in a moving vehicle.

I also saw a female driver in Orléans, smoking, with little 'Muffy' on her lap hanging out her side of the window. The driver could not safely operate her vehicle with the dog in that position. If I have to take my boxer, Trixie, in the car, I make sure she is wearing a proper pet harness/seatbelt for animals. She is tethered safely in the passenger seat.

I use the Bamboo harness which has a universal seatbelt connector. While mine was bought in the United States, similar devices are available at any reputable pet store in Canada. Humane societies recommend using one in a vehicle.

Being a snowbird in Florida, this practice of having the dog on laps is rampant while driving. It is enough to survive the elderly driver there, but this distraction?

Go search on the Internet and type in "accidents caused by driving with dogs." It is disgraceful the accidents and fatalities caused by this practice

Then if you're really concerned, contact the MPP in your riding and ask him or her to do something about changing the Ontario law on traffic distractions.

If you see a lady driving a white Miata with a boxer sitting in the passenger seat (it's a two-seater), rest assured, Trixie is wearing her seatbelt.

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Friday, May 7, 2010

Warm weather tips for your pets

Ahhhhh, spring is here finally and we can spend a lot of comfortable time outdoors. For many of you, that means taking your pets with you, so make sure to take the same precautions you would for your children. Parasites.

Fleas and ticks and other critters flourish in warmer temperatures, and you really need to pay attention to make sure your pets don't have them. Fleas and ticks easily can take over your home and be a nightmare for your pets. Check with your veterinarian about which topical treatment is safe to use and don't use one that intended for a dog on cats; because the dosage is stronger, it can kill them.

Chemical Lawn fertilizers These are toxic, so make sure you store them where your dogs, cats and children can't get to them. Check the label to see how long you should safely wait before allowing your dog back on the grass after you've fertilized.

Cleaning products If you find yourself in a spring cleaning tizzy, make sure you pay attention to all product labels, especially if they warn "keep pets and children away from area until dry." No matter the season, keep them stored away from pets and children.

Jet-setters Try for flights early in the morning or at night, when temperatures are the lowest. Pets that are too large to fit in a carrier under your seat must fly as checked luggage in the plane's cargo section, which has no temperature guarantees. Usually, it's better to leave your pets with a sitter at home or safely housed in a quality kennel.

Checkups An annual checkup for a cat or a dog is about the same as going to the doctor once in seven years, according to the American Animal Hospital Association. Exams and screenings are great at catching problems in the minor stage; wait too long and it could be fatal for you and your pocketbook.

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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Cats star in Pet Idol

CATS Theo and Lily are hoping to clean up in the Echo’s Pet Idol competition. Theo, who will be one next month, is a cheeky character according to owner Cerys Jefferies. “He has us up at 6am every morning for his milk,” she said.

While fur-conscious cat Lily is waiting for owner Karen McInery to sort out her bad hair day. Meanwhile, fellow feline Joey, three, likes to catch up with all the latest city news in the Echo. “Joey is a Bluebird and was delighted to see Malaysian investment into the club,” said owner Clare Woodcock. “His paws are crossed for another trip to Wembley.”

As for poser pooch Toto, he loves dressing up and having a trip in the car, so proud owner Lynda Sweetman took this snap capturing Toto combining the two. “He’s such a poser,” she said Spaniel Fudge gave owner Neil Richards a surprise when the three-year-old was found in the tumble dryer. “Fudge is the maddest dog we have owned,” said Neil. “We couldn’t believe our eyes when we found him in the tumble dryer.”

There is still time for you to send us pictures of your perfect pets. Once we have received your photos all will feature online at with a selection of the best printed in the paper. The final 10 will be chosen by our judging panel. They will then be featured in the paper along with voting details.

Your cute cat or gorgeous gerbil could walk away with the top prize of £300 Pets at Home vouchers plus a framed picture of your pet taken by an Echo photographer and, of course, the title of Echo Pet Idol 2010. The pets who come second and third will receive £200 and £100 Pets at Home vouchers respectively.

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