Friday, July 16, 2010

Wild cats tamed as pets to save exotic birds

Wild cats from the Ogasawara Islands, a remote Japanese archipelago, are being captured and tamed as domestic pets to help protect the region's unique eco-system. A growing number of feral cats had led to attacks on the birds and other creatures in the islands.

Veterinary experts have joined forces with locals to round up the cats, before deporting them to Japan's main Honshu Island. The cats subsequently undergo training to become domestic pets for periods of up to three months before starting their new lives.

More than 100 wild cats that have been domesticated are now living happily in new homes in Japan, according to a spokesman for the Tokyo Veterinary Medical Association, which is running the programme. The organisation first explored the possibility of capturing the wild cats five years ago. However, the project recently gathered pace as part of efforts for Ogasawara to be listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site.

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Pet care during the storm

Pets, like human beings, need to be prepared for natural disasters. Dogs, for one, are usually afraid of thunder -- the sharp and loud sound made by lightning. If they are left behind during a storm, dogs may leave their home, destroy furniture, or soil their dens out of panic.Here are some tips shared by animal behavior consultant Ilana Reisner on how to help dogs deal with this fear, as featured here:

Establish a comfortable "safe haven" on the first-floor interior of the house, where storm noise is less intense and where he has spent calm time in the past. - Don't lock him in a crate or in a tiny room, which can increase panic. - Turn up a radio to help camouflage storm noise.

- If you are present, it helps if you sing, dance or give him a great chew treat, anything you can think of to make it clear that you're not worried or tense. Ready for the storm As much as possible, pets should not be left at home in times of natural disasters such as typhoons, according to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

This, the group said, will only put them in even more danger as they may become malnourished and dehydrated, or even escape in fear and get lost.

Below are some of PETA's animal safety tips during disasters:

- All animals should have collars with identification tags. Make sure you have a current photo of your companion for identification purposes.

- Hotels often lift "no pets" policies during emergencies, but keep a list of hotels that accept companion animals just in case. Include the Philippine Animal Welfare Society's (PAWS) phone number, (02) 475-1688, in your list of emergency numbers. It might be able to provide information during a disaster.

- Keep copies of your pet's records in your emergency kit -- most boarding kennels, veterinarians and animal shelters require medical records to make sure all vaccinations are current.

- Have a ready pack containing a carrier, leash, extra animal food, and other supplies that you will need so you can grab them easily if you need to evacuate in a hurry. But if you really must leave your pets behind, PETA has these tips: Never turn animals loose. Do not tie animals outside or keep them in a vehicle unattended. Leave them in a secure area outside your home.

Leave out at least 10 days' supply of water. Fill every sink, bowl, pan and container with water, then set them on the floor. Do not leave just one container -- it may spill. If your toilet bowl is free of chemical disinfectants, leave the toilet seat up to provide animals with one more source of water, but do not let that be the only source.

Leave out at least 10 days' supply of dry food. Canned food will go rancid quickly. If you can't get to your home, contact a reliable neighbor or friend to check on the animals and get them out, if possible. Provide specific instructions on care.

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Keep Pets Safe From The Heat

The temperatures in the high desert are predicted to be in the mid-90 degrees Fahrenheit. This rapid change from spring to summer temperatures may catch people unprepared.

The Humane Society of Central Oregon would like to offer tips on keeping your pets safe in the heat. The best spot for your dog during warm weather is inside a safe, cool house.

If your pet is outside during the day, remember to provide protection from the sun and plenty of fresh water.

Remember that older, short muzzle and overweight dogs are more likely to overheat during hot weather. You can provide a wading pool to aid in cooling.

· Leaving your pet in a parked car can be a deadly mistake. The temperature inside a car can reach 120 degrees in a few minutes. Even partially open windows won't protect your pet from heatstroke.

· Exercise your dog in the morning or evening when temperatures and pavement are cool. The paw pads can get injured from the hot pavement and melted tar can get stuck to pad and hair. Pets need exercise but do it in the cooler hours of the day.

· Dogs in truck beds can suffer injury or heat stroke. Veterinarians know all too well dogs that have fallen out of the truck bed which resulted in severely injured dogs or motor vehicle accidents from people swerving to avoid the dog. If you cannot touch the hot truck bed with your bare hand, your dog should not be on the hot metal. Debris from the road damages eyes.

"Every year the Humane Society of Central Oregon warns people to keep their pets safe from the dangers of warm temperatures," says Karen Szymanski, shelter manager. "Unfortunately, every year we hear of animals needlessly suffering from heat stroke. When summer heat hits the City of Bend animal control receives four to eight calls per day regarding dogs left in hot cars."

The Humane Society of Central Oregon has posters available for businesses and car windshield flyers that educate people on the dangers of leaving pets in hot cars. The educational flyers list the warning signs of a pet suffering from heat exhaustion or stroke.

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Monday, July 5, 2010

Keep pets inside during firework shows

Pet owners should keep their animals inside during the fireworks displays because the loud explosions can really spook pets.

Animal welfare officials said pets that are left outside and unattended often run away over the Fourth of July holiday. Animal welfare's Capt.

Albert Marquez said the division gets more stray animal calls and barking dog complaints on July 4 than almost any other night of the year.

Fear of loud sounds - fireworks, thunder, gunshot - are called noise phobias. For a pet affected by loud noises, this is a terrifying and uncomfortable time; both for the pet and the people. Your pet cannot control their reaction to loud noises.

Commonly seen signs of noise phobias include:
  • Shaking, trembling
  • Excessive drooling
  • Barking, howling
  • Trying to hide or get into / out of the house, fence, or other enclosure
  • Refusing to eat food
  • Some animals may loose bladder or bowel control or experience temporary diarrhea from prolonged stress

Some pets will even break windows or check carpet/couches in reaction to their noise phobias.

Here are some ways to help your pet through the firework displays:

* Keep pets home It may be tempting to bring along your dog(s) so everyone can enjoy the fun, but the loud noises aren't usually fun for pets. Plus, there are many other hazards - fire, food (dietary indiscretion), getting lost in the confusion, etc. that make staying home in a comfortable safe environment a good choice.
* Keep pets indoors if possible It is advisable to close the curtains and turn on the TV or radio to provide some distraction. Calming or classical music are better than some TV or radio noise choices. Therapeutic music such as Through A Dog's Ear often work better at keeping your dog calm and providing an audio distraction.
* Provide a safe "escape" place Many times pets will seek out a small den-like place (such as a crate), if they are fearful or stressed. If you do not already have a crate, bed or similar place that your pet can call his "own," it is recommended to create that safe place and familiarize your pet with it before needed, as a means of reducing stress during fireworks and thunderstorms.
* Use a leash or carrier If you must be outside with your pet, keep the pet on a leash or in carrier at all times.
* Practice fire safety Keep pet away from matches, lighter fuel, open fires, and fireworks - especially ones that are lighted on the ground. Pets may try to sniff (or eat) fireworks, and pet hair can easily catch fire if too close to the fireworks.
* Take pet for a walk first If possible, make sure that you pet has time to "use the restroom" before the fireworks start. Some pets are too frightened to void once the fireworks begin, and this may lead to an "accident" later on.
* Make sure pet ID is current Make sure that your pet has proper identification tags, with current information, in case s/he gets away. This will help the local authorities (who are quite busy this time of year handling frightened runaways).

When it comes to updating your pet's ID, it can be really important, especially if your dog has phobias in general that could lead them to running away.

In one particular case, Beth Sims, an Albuquerque resident, is looking for an 8-year-old Pomeranian named Lady. Lady went missing after getting frightened at her first adoption clinic on July 3 at PetsMart on Academy Road, just east of Wyoming Boulevard. When she pulled away, she left her collar and tags behind. Sims is worried about Lady's safety because of all the fireworks shows on July 4.

Lady was last seen crossing Academy Road and scampering into the Albuquerque Academy campus. Sims hopes someone might have picked her up on Harper Avenue that day. Luckily, Lady is microchipped. Lady has a lion cut now, so she does not look as fluffy as the picture provided.

"Lady lived the first eight years of her life in a cage and has been in the NM [Animal Friends'] foster care system for the last three months," said Sims. "Lady was rescued by NM Animal Friends along with several other dogs who had been used for breeding at the puppy mill. She is unfamiliar with life in the wide world and must be very frightened and confused if she is still wandering."

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Friday, July 2, 2010

Pets at Home: would you buy your dog an England top?

Pet product retailer Pets at Home has reported a 36% rise in its annual pre-tax profits as the UK cements its reputation as a nation of animal lovers.The company, which is owned by a private equity firm, has seen an 8.8% increase in sales from its existing shops.

Its figures are helped by the opening of 24 new stores, which led to total sales rising by 16%. Pets at Home was bought by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) in January for approximately £955m. The firm's 256 stores provide pet owners with a huge array of choice on pet supplies, pet food, accessories and toys.

The store launched its very own England dog t-shirt for the World Cup which flew off the shelves before the nation was knocked out of the tournament. The chain also operates 60 veterinary surgeries under the brand name Companion Care. Chief executive Matthew Davies said: "We continued strong momentum in our growth throughout 2009, increasing turnover, profits and our store portfolio.

"Despite the continued economic uncertainty, we have attracted more customers to our stores and excited them with our unique product range, outstanding customer service and value for money. "We remain committed to our strategy of investing for long-term growth which gives us confidence about future prospects."

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Keep pets safe on the Fourth of July

Keep your pets safe this Fourth of July by preparing them and your home for what can be a scary and anxiety-provoking experience.”For most of us, Independence Day celebrations are fun and exciting, an opportunity to gather with friends or go into town.

And watch spectacular fireworks displays -- flashing lights in a rainbow of colors punctuated with the 'boom, boom, boom' that signify the gunshots of victory and the birth of our nation,” said Cynthia Ryan, executive director of the Sequoia Humane Society.

But for animals, she added, bright lights and loud noises can be frightening, causing panic and hysteria. ”Cats and dogs possess hearing that is much more sensitive than human hearing. The bang of a firecracker strikes many pets on a survival level and spells certain doom, a sensation that instills a visceral, primitive fear and can cause them to overreact, becoming destructive or bolting in panic,” Ryan said.

It is common for animal shelters to become overcrowded over the July Fourth holiday, she said, as scared pets flee the confines of their yards, seeking the security of their human companions and a place to escape the cacophony of noise. Even worse are those animals that dart across the street, she said, and are hit by vehicles, never to return home.

The Sequoia Humane Society urges people to keep their pets safe this Fourth of July by taking some simple precautions:

* Resist the urge to take pets to firework displays. They will not find the crowds exciting and may react to the loud noises by running, hurting themselves or hurting others.

* Keep pets indoors at home, in a sheltered, quiet area. Some animals can become destructive when frightened, so make sure you've removed any items your pet could destroy or would be harmful to your pet if chewed.

* Leave a television or radio playing at normal volume to keep him comfortable while you're attending Fourth of July celebrations.

* If you know your pet is distressed by loud noises such as fireworks and thunder, consult your veterinarian before the holiday for ways to help alleviate their fear and anxiety.

* Never leave pets outside unattended, even in a fenced yard or tied up. In their fear, pets that wouldn't normally leave their yard may escape and become lost, or get tangled up in their lead, risking injury or even death.

* Make sure your pets are wearing identification tags and/or are microchipped, so if they do become lost they can be returned promptly.

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