Saturday, September 26, 2009

Pet supplies for less online?

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belong to Pat Anthony

Can we really save money buying pet supplies online? Many feel dog and cat supplies are too expensive to purchase anywhere other than online.Others argue that grooming tools and pet food are cheaper in discount stores. Where do you shop?

We won't list sites because there are advertisers who may take offense-but we will say this: Initially you may be able to save some money. Some sites offer a discount on first time purchases. Eventually you may feel other than the specials a site offers there are no deals to be had.

Stores that exist to supply you with what your dog or cat needs to remain pest free want your business.They also cater to your pet food wants, have great pet toys, pet crates and most anything you can think of. You may be able to get a price match if you bring in an ad you find online. Such stores usually have coupons on their site as well.

One we like (Pet Supermarket) includes a $5.00 coupon every month with their online newsletter. This can be used only if you spend $20.00. If you have more than one pet it would be easy to spend this amount at least every other month. This chain also tracks your purchases and gives you a free bag of pet food once you have bought 13. Seems like no big deal to some-but here is our break down:

After 13 months: I rec'd coupon for one bag  of dog food:  $10.67
Used 7 coupons worth $5.00 each:                                     35.00

A total savings on something we would purchase
even if we did not have the coupons:                                   45.67

So the savings of $45.67 in 13 months may not seem like much but it is about equal to a tank of gas! Do that with everything you buy (food, car insurance) on a yearly basis and we are talking about a decent savings.

This does not mean pet supplies are offered for a better price in one particular store. You really have to check sales ads and know who to ask. We have found some items discounted that were not worth having. Wherever you choose to shop you want quality for your money. Your pets are worth it!

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Exercise For Small Dogs

 All photos on this blog
belong to Pat Anthony.

 This dog was photographed in the USA
and lives with three active children
so she gets plenty of exercise.


 Do small hyperactive dogs need exercise? Maybe not if they always seem to be running around. However, as some dogs get older they tend to veg. Unfortunately for the dogs, if their owner is also vegging, the dog could get to an unhealthy weight.

Here are two ideas you may find helpful: Keep your dog active by going for a brisk walk twice each day. Take a few minutes every evening to toss a ball if your dog is willing to chase it.

Be sure you are not giving your dog too much to eat. If you are not sure, check with your veterinarian. While a dog always needs plenty of fresh water it does not need food 24 hours a day.

A way to increase the activity level of a pet is to add a second furry friend to the home. Not an option? Then it's all up to you! Walk twice a day and play ball. That's fairly simple, isn't it?

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Tick Season!

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Most people don't know that tick season can be at different times of the year depending where you live. Because some of us travel to several areas on a regular basis dragging our beloved pets with us, it is important to protect the pets from ticks. Not everyone thinks it is a good idea to use a preventive on cats and dogs as they are concerned about the side-effects and what will happen years from now because you protected you pet.

Ask your veterinarian about the products on the market now if you are not sure. Some pet insurance may help pay for these items. One vet in a state I spend a lot of time in promotes one product, while a vet in another area sells something else. Everyone has to choose what will work for them. If you are in an area such as Dixie County in Florida where there is a lot of tall grass, and it seems it is always hunting season, you will be able to find some kind of tick year round.

Colder climates seem to be spared at times. The woods of North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, Europe, etc. will have ticks on a regular basis. If you live in the woods and have pets, protect them! Grooming on a regular basis is important. We have had to remove ticks when we least expected a dog had one. In addition to professional grooming pets need to be brushed daily. If you don't think it is important for your pet, think about yourself. If you dog or cat has ticks (or fleas) you will too!

If you have a pet you think has been bitten by a tick, and the pet seems ill, get it to the veterinarian. What would you look for? I could list a host of things, but to keep it simple-if a pet suddenly seems tired, doesn't eat, isn't urinating, or doesn't play with a favorite toy, you should suspect something is wrong. Pets can't tell you what they feel, but don't wait more than a day if something does not seem right. I don't like paying vet bills either (another reason to have pet insurance?) but I am not the expert when it comes to such things, so I do go when it is this important.

All photos on this blog  belong to Pat Anthony.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Choosing a Groomer

 Everyone has an opinion on how to choose a groomer, and this is mine.

Preferring to do as much grooming as we can ourselves, we do not frequent the local groomers. When we do want to skip all that is involved with keeping a dog neat and tidy, we want the best at a good price.

Checking your local phone book may seem a likely place to start. After noticing 200 or more listings, you may change your mind. However, the phone book also offers coupon. Check for these, and see if this helps you decide on a groomer in the area.

As the veterinarian you usually use which groomer you might use. Sometimes the office staff may have a preference. In some areas you may find a groomer working in the vet's office. This does not mean you are getting the best groomer.

Check you pet's insurance. If you have pet insurance that covers this be sure you use a vet that complies with the insurance. Will you get the correct receipt or paperwork you need for your insurance to pay.

Speak to employees of pet stores, and pet supply stores. Everyone has an opinion, but you may find the best choice through such a referral.

If you are in an area that has a groomer training school you may get a great deal. Remember, if someone makes a mistake on your dog's hair style, it will grow back. And most of us have paid plenty in the past and gotten exactly what we did not ask for, so it might not be a new experience for you.

Dogs and Eggs.

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There is a lot of misinformation when it comes to dogs and eggs. Eggs are considered one of  the best forms of protein we can get. At one point we fed raw eggs to working dogs, and thought it was a great idea.

Dogs as pets may be a different story when it comes to eggs. If eggs are cooked and added to food, they are okay on a limited basis. So, don't cook scrambled eggs for the dog every day when you are making your own breakfast.

So, yes-dogs can eat eggs, but eggs should be offered on a limited basis, and must be cooked. Perhaps you can add some bits of cooked eggs to the dog food you buy.

However, a question comes to mind about eggs for dogs: Why would you want to give the dogs eggs if you are giving a proper dog food? Too much protein can cause a problem. Eggs on a daily basis would really put your dog out of balance as far as the protein issue goes. That extra protein can be harmful to the kidneys if consumed regularly. I would think if you decided to add some left over cooked eggs to the dog food you use just because you don't want to waste it would be okay one rare occasions.

If your dog spits up after eating the meal with the eggs, I would guess it should not have eggs again.

Think about what you will do if a dog has an allergic reaction to the eggs.The fees to visit a veterinarian for a dog with allergies could add up quickly. I really like the vet we use for pets, but I am not interested in paying him more than once or twice a year. If you make a habit of adding eggs or other things dogs just don't need, be sure you pet insurance is paid on time!

Click the line below to read our blog post on understanding  the expiration codes on an egg box.

Understanding egg codes

Monday, September 14, 2009

Dogs For Sale!

Does the thought of someone selling a dog for profit irritate you? Do people who make a living out of breeding more dogs than the planet will ever be able to embrace make you wonder about the human race? You are not alone. Many of us would prefer that all such well intentioned ones had a clue.

How can such breeding be stopped? In some areas an effort to license the neighborhood a certain way has prompted breeders to move, but the breeding continues.

You may have heard individuals promoting the idea of stopping the breeding of dogs that are considered vicious. This has not helped, as no bill has been passed. Probably nothing will be passed to limit these breeders as the unwanted pet populations soars.

As private individuals what we can do is be sure we get any pet we want from a pet rescue, or a local shelter. Families often find the breed they are looking for at a seriously discounted fee. If you do get a dog or cat through one of these sources, it will have been spayed or neutered before you take possession, so you will be helping with population control.

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Pat Anthony

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Training older dogs.

What do you do when you have to train an adult dog? Many people think if you do not get a dog trained when it is a puppy, it will never be trained. Others disagree, feeling you really can train an old dog new tricks.

If you have ever had to do this, we would love to hear your method. We have done this and found we were following the same steps as we did with a puppy. Why would we do anything different?

Being sure a dog is house broken, or able to alert you to the fact it needs to go outside to potty, is a big step. Some breeds are more stubborn than others, but it can be done. You will need to have patience.

If you have an older dog that has suddenly been breaking the house rules, there may be a medical issue, and a veterinarian may need to be consulted. This may be a time when you should have pet insurance! If there is a medical issue it can get expensive.

If the dog is really resistant to outdoor training, you may have to start with a training pad. Many dogs will cooperate with these potty pads, and eventually be able to be fully trained outside.

Keep your dog well groomed and it's sleeping area clean. Always be sure it has clean water and fresh food!

All photos on this blog
are property of 
Pat Anthony.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Adopting pets.

Adopting pets is not a new idea. However, there are now many groups involved in this worthwhile cause. If adopting a pet is something you are interested in, return to our blog for updates. We will be listing several places we are checking on to be sure their website, or pet adoption group is something we should mention.

The dogs in this picture have been placed. Their original owner has possession of these little guy's parents. One family took both puppies, so they will always be in the same home. When these dogs were adopted, they were taken to a veterinarian to be spayed by the new owner. The current owner believes in a holistic approach to pet care. If this is something you are interested in, use Google to search for veterinarians in your town who practice what you believe.

Grooming more than one pet can get expensive. Many owners at least some of the pet's grooming needs at home. If you are not sure about some things that need to be done for your pet it is possible to learn by watching videos online. I found several great videos on that convinced me we could cut down on the grooming costs by at least 50%. Yes, it is great to take the dogs for a professional fluff sometimes. However, if you want to save on expenses, give this some thought.

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Pat Anthony.

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Monday, August 31, 2009

Healthy Dogs For Life

Is there really a way to keep a dog healthy for life? I'm not sure, but it does seem if we follow some easy steps we have a good chance of never having to use that pet insurance for anything serious.

Be sure to always give your dog plenty of clean drinking water. This is so important. It is easy for something like this to be overlooked if your days are hectic.

Foods for your dog should be filled with the right stuff. Check with your veterinarian if you think what I'm saying is wrong. Dogs should not be given food that contains meat by-products. What is a by-product anyway? Pieces and parts of slaughtered animals that can't otherwise be identified are ground into the dog food that is sold to millions of unsuspecting animal lovers. Other dog foods list corn as the first ingredient. Think twice about what you are buying. I think it would be great if pet foods were rated by number, with a large number posted on the front of the bag.

Be sure your pets are up to date on all shots. It can get to be expensive to do all that is suggested, but these shots are something the animals need to survive the world they are dealing with. Remember how much closer to the ground they are, and what they are walking through!

Keep you dog's teeth clean. Look on this blog for more information about this. Be sure your pet is groomed, and being kept pest free. You never know when a tick or flea could actually cause your pet to become ill.

Don't forget a good heartworm preventive. Are we done yet? Probably not, but that is all I'm going to include for now.

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Talking to the veterinarian.

When you have serious questions about your dog's health, you may find yourself searching the Internet. While there are many helpful sites that can answer some of the more common questions, serious issues should be brought to the attention of the veterinarian you usually use.

We wanted to know about pet care products we sometimes find in stores that are geared toward pets only. Which ones are recommended for keeping the dog's teeth clean? Which chewies should we avoid? Just because the store carries a product does not mean it is the first choice for your dog.

The veterinarian we use said no opinions without actually seeing the product. This just makes sense. We could not say for sure what was in several products we purchased.

When it comes to pet insurance, be sure to ask the veterinarian's staff which insurance is taken by that office. You can have the best insurance coverage in the world, but if the vet doesn't take it, what then?

Some publications state that a dog should have it's nails trimmed every month. We were told at the vet's office that every other month is okay for our dogs. The staff is actually familiar with our dogs, so they should know.

You might want to check with the veterinarian on a yearly basis to see if there is new information on any medication you use for your pets. What about new flea and tick prevention products?

Pets can't make the call, and they can't ask questions, so humans must!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Avoiding dangerous dogs.

How do we avoid dangerous dogs? And what makes a dog dangerous? Can we use a certain dog food to make a dog have a milder personality? Can we hire a dog trainer to teach our dog not to be a danger to others?

What about dangerous dogs in the neighborhood? Are there certain types of dogs that your homeowner's insurance will tell you that you can't have? Are there certain dogs that pet insurance won't cover because they tend to be fighting, and ofter require care?

Do you think dogs can be bread to be dangerous? Many think so, and avoid certain breeds. I will not have a breed thought to be dangerous in my home, or near anyone I care about. Others don't see it as an issue, and have dogs feared by many around their toddlers.

Because we are all entitled to our opinions, we have the dogs that suit us. This may not mean you can avoid a dangerous dog. Your neighbors may have dogs you don't like. Don't be afraid to let people know you are not comfortable around their pet. We are still allowed to voice our opinion against such dogs also.

Yes, this photo belongs to me!

How to Microchip a Pet

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Reigning Cats and Dogs.

Do you have a dog or cat that thinks it owns the block? Many of us do. What would happen if your king of the castle (or queen) had someone new enter their space?

I have noticed that cats will usually make their presence known, than hide until the offender leaves. What if the offender never leaves? That's another story, isn't it?

Maybe you read our blog post about introducing a second pet to your home. Or, you may have personal experience with this. What did you do to get your pets to share their space without attacking the new dog or cat that is in their home territory?

Humans entering the domain are a separate issue. Humans can give the ruling noble treats if they want to. Humans can also rub a tummy, or give a good brushing if the timing is right. Does this mean the pet will allow a human to be in the home without so much fuss?

What I have noticed is most pets seem to think everything is about them. This new human must have arrived just to entertain the pet! That's it-the master got this human for them! What a great toy.

Maybe not, Fido.

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dogs: Nail trimming ideas.

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Dogs and cats need to have their nails trimmed on a regular basis, especially if they spend most of their time indoors. If you can't trim your pet's nails, you must have someone do it for you.

Groomers and veterinarians offer this service. If you groom your dog at home, you may feel this is one area you can't tackle. I am not saying it is easy, especially if you have a dog that wiggles while you work. Do you have pet insurance that covers trips to the vet's office several times a year? There is a chance that trimming of a pet's nails may be covered.

Some products we have seen look like something I want to avoid. I have had people tell me the battery operated clippers containing a rotating emery paper are noisy, but their pets do tolerate the trimmer. I did not want it because of the noise, and the battery issue.

To do the dog's nails, we have a clipper that has a guard to assure you that you do not cut a pet's nails too short. For a cat, I prefer a professional. I have not met a cat that will be still for nails to be trimmed.

There are also clippers that look similar to what is used in a professional nail salon. These are pricey, but I have seen them used in the vet's office for one or our dogs. They worked for the vet, so should work for us.

It doesn't matter which clippers you use. Like pet food, you have to make a choice, and do take care of your pet's needs.

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Why Spay or Neuter Your Pet?

Spaying or neutering your pet may seem like something that is a personal choice. When it comes to this type of pet care, you have the right to decide if your pet should reproduce! Or, do you?

Spaying or neutering may be more of a responsibility than an option or personal choice. Why? Who decided dogs should be 'fixed'-and why are they forcing their opinion on us?

Let us give a thought to how many unwanted pets are born each year. Some feel they will allow their dog to reproduce just once. How could that be so bad? These pets would be just replacing themselves, right? NO! Typically a litter is larger than the two dogs that created it. Some dogs have litters as large as 12 or more. Thinking from a financial point-even if you have pet insurance, this has got to be unreasonably expensive.

Marguerite Mebane of the Cleveland County Humane Society (North Carolina) stated some people use their local shelter for population control. Once the litter arrives, if the dogs or cats are not place, they are taken to the shelter. Not all dogs or cats can be placed. Some may be put to death because there are just too many, some are sick, or some are not kid friendly.

Spaying or neutering a pet becomes a health issue in many instances. Dogs and cats were not meant to reproduce year after year. This would take a toll on any living creature. If a cat or dog is to be a valuable pet, spay or neuter early. Speak to your veterinarian or pet's groomer about places where you can find vouchers or discounts to have your pet neutered or spayed.

Take the approach of limiting reproduction where you can. No, you can't help everyone learn, and you can't save every unwanted pet. You can control what is happening in your own household, so start there. Then, speak with family members and friends who have pets, and encourage them to do the same.

Owners seek justice after horse shot between the eyes owners ...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Dogs and neighbors.

Dogs are not appreciated by everyone. Many humans are not into pets of any kind. Then there are humans who love cats, or horses- anything but dogs.

People who are not into pets will not be amused by your story of what happened the last time your had your dog groomed. Nor will they care about the great deal you got on pet insurance.

When your dog becomes a nuisance to neighbors who don't like dogs, how will you handles it? We must remember our dogs should not wander into territory not ours. Of course we would not allow our pet to use the neighbor's lawn as their favorite bathroom spot. But, what else do dogs do that annoy others?

Dogs sometimes bark ten times more than they need to. It is great for a dog to bark to let us know someone is approaching. That's about the only time we probably welcome the noise. If a neighbor steps into their backyard to use their grill, your dog might think it's their time to cause a stir. To be fair, begin early to train your dog not to bark at such times. Keep your dog in the house if it interferes with the peace every chance it gets.

Dog lovers may think it is cute when their pet lets everyone within a mile know it hears a noise from the next yard. Even some neighbors who have dogs, and love their own dogs, may not appreciate the racket your dog creates when they open their back door to walk their dog.

We've may have seen cartoons about dogs borrowing a newspaper that was tossed to the neighbor's driveway. If you dog is that talented, I'm guessing the neighbor would not find it amusing.

Courtesy can be contagious, and dog lover's can benefit from being thoughtful of all neighbors. Even when it comes to dogs, we should do unto others as we would have them do unto us.

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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Brushing your dogs teeth.

Dogs can't be trained to brush their teeth. This means as your dog's owner, you have the responsibility of this hygiene issue. Are you taking care of your dog's teeth on a regular basis?

Dog owners often feel if the pet is eating dry dog food, there is no concern about the dog's oral hygiene. This is not true. Yes, dry dog food will help keep the dog's mouth cleaner than soft, canned foods. However, the dog still needs help.

Pet insurance sometimes pays for dental care. If you have pet insurance, check to see if there is coverage for the dog's veterinarian to clean the dog's teeth once or twice each years.

You can clean the dog's teeth with several pet products you will find in stores that cater to pets. In addition to tooth brushes that look similar to ones used by humans, there are some unique items. Brushes that fit on your fingers so that you can brush the dog's teeth while holding the pet on your lap work well.

Daily pet grooming you do now, such as washing the dog's face, and brushing it's hair probably takes just a few minutes. Two or three minutes a day to clean the dogs teeth won't be overwhelming.

Brushing a dog's teeth can be difficult for some. The dog may be uncooperative, or you may have physical limitations. Fortunately, there are products you can use that almost leave you out of the picture. Check online for more information about helpful products you can add to your dog's drinking water to assure you the dog won't have tarter. Better yet, you could visit a local pet supply store and see these products. Several people I know use a product like this and are very happy with it.

Your dog's teeth, and oral hygiene are important. The use of these products is not intended to replace brushing the dog's teeth altogether. Rather, it should compliment care given by a professional groomer, or the veterinarian. And, if any pet has bad breath on a regular basis, a trip to the vet is needed. Bad breath in a pet could be a sign of a serious condition.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Dogs as senior citizens.

Dogs as senior citizens? How can that be! Because dogs age faster than humans, your dog may become a senior citizen before you do!

How will having a senior dog change your life? Will it matter to you that your dog is getting old right before your eyes?

Senior dogs have different needs than younger dogs. For instance, older dogs may need a different diet. Be sure to consult your dog's veterinarian before you make specific changes.

Before your dog becomes elderly, consider pet insurance needs. This may be something you should consider if you think you can't handle the expense of illness a dog may have, and medication an older dog may need.

Grooming your dog can become an issue also. For help creating a place in your home to groom your dog, read the post dated 04-06-09 titled Creating A Dog Grooming Station. The link is at the end of the post.

Medications to help your senior dog survive old age should be discussed with a vet, not purchased online without knowledge of side effects.

Be sure you are keeping up on dental care for your dog. A senior dog may need more than the dental care you do at home. Consider visiting the vet or a professional groomer every three months or so to help avoid problems with the dog's oral health.

As a dog ages, it may need help climbing into it's favorite chair. A small inexpensive stool can solve this problem.

What about odors the dog may have that you must deal with between grooming sessions? Products that are specific to this issue can be purchased in stores that exist to supply you with anything your pet needs.

Keeping your senior dog comfortable and happy may be a little complicated, but if your dog could, wouldn't it take care of your needs?

Creating A Dog Grooming Station

Photo and dog property of T. Anthony

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Dog toys that make sense.

Dog toys may keep your best friend busy for hours. Usually dog toys are not only fun for your pet, they can encourage some exercise your dog may not otherwise get.

Which dog toys are worth your hard earned cash? And, which dog toys are safe for your pet? These are questions we need to ask when making any purchase for our furry friend.

When looking for dog toys, check what the product is made of: Is it plastic? Are there pieces that the pet will easily chew and remove? Are there parts that will deteriorate easily? Toys meant for smaller dogs should not be given to your large dog. Some large dogs will be able to destroy, and therefore begin to swallow, some of the toys meant for small dogs. And, although we all want to think our dogs are brilliant, some really don't haven't a clue when it comes to what is food, and what isn't!

Dog toys sold in stores that cater to pet needs sometimes have employees that may suggest one item over another. Don't let this prompt you to buy something. Think about how your pet usually acts with items already in it's space. Do you picture Fido ignoring what you are thinking of purchasing, or will your dog get some use out of the squeak toy, ball, etc. And, if the toy you are looking at makes noise, does this mean there are bells, or small pieces on the inside that the dog can get to, and swallow? This thought is such a nightmare! Be sure your pet insurance is paid, just in case.

A Frisbee makes a great dog toy if you enjoy games of toss with your dog. If you or your dog feel such a game is too much like work, or a total snooze, skip it. The same goes with balls that are made for dogs. If a dog doesn't love playing ball, move along.

When all is said and done, is the dog toy really for you, or for your dog? Do you have a family room strewn with toys the dog does not pay attention to now?

You may think you can find a great chew toy, and therefore skip giving dog treats that will add to your pet's middle. What about the hard rubber inexpensive toys that are featured at discount stores? We have found some develop an odor after a day or two or the dog chewing, and have to groom the dog sooner than usual. This does not mean paying more for dog toy will make it better, but be aware of what you are getting for your money.

Dog toys that are tried and true may be the ones we remember our childhood pet having: A large piece of rope tied in knots; Large 'bones' that are not made of animal product, and seem to last for months; My personal favorite-cotton cat toys. The dogs sometimes just enjoy having something that is easy to destroy!

Dog and photo property of T. Anthony.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Dog treats your dog may like.

Dogs seem to be fussy about some treats. You probably already know dogs are not attracted to the neat and tidy treats we would prefer they enjoy.

Some of our favorite clean dog treats over the years has been various edible Nylabones. These offer something for the dog to chew, and keeps their teeth clean and healthy. You will find these marketed under different names. Note there are some that are plastic, and these should be avoided. You don't eat plastic, why would your dog? We also have used typical dog biscuits you can purchase in most stores. However, the dog biscuits are not long lasting. In two seconds the dog is looking for another treat!

Dogs we have in the home now really like the sweet potato and chicken treats you can purchase in Dollar General and Family Dollar. These treats last just a bit longer than dog biscuits, but seem to satisfy the dogs longer.

Dog treats we have not found to be a good idea include some rawhide bones. First, we have no idea what exactly is in some of these products. Dog treats made outside of the United States are something we always avoid. Most knotted bones look cute, but the dogs often swallow pieces that are too large, and then have to vomit. What fun is this for the dog, or for you?

Smaller dogs may have more sensitive stomachs, and therefore treats should be limited. Some pet owners use bits of carrots or other vegetables that are safe for dogs. Before doing this, inform yourself about what dogs can and can't have. Some foods that are fine for people are not so fine for Fido.

Dog treats we avoid are the ones that are messy, and require a grooming session after eating. Also, just because a dog treat is sold does not mean it is a wise choice. Why would I buy pig snouts or pigs ears for a pet I am supposed to care about? This is a personal choice, but think before you buy. Your dog's health is at risk if you use something they should not be swallowing. And, be sure you pet insurance is paid up it you are giving a dog treats it should not have.

How to Help Kids Go Green

Friday, July 31, 2009

Dogs and cats everywhere-how many are too many?

Dogs and cats deserve to have a living arrangement that is not harmful to them. Most people who are pet owners care for their cats and dogs in a way that will keep them healthy.

When dogs or cats are living in a home that has dozens of other animals, is the pet safe? Is the dog or cat even a pet at that point?

Some animal owners feel they are doing a service by taking in more animals than most would think is normal. Who should decide when dogs and cats are at risk? How do we determine when a neighborhood is overloaded with pets?

In some municipalities, there is a limit of one or two pets per home. By requiring each animal be licensed, a community will find it easy to determine who has too many animals according to the limits. What is done about a situation where someone owns more animals then the limit allows?

Every community is different. Because of the concern that animals must be cared for, some towns may look the other way unless someone complains. What, then, of the pets who are living in cramped and dirty spaces, and perhaps not receiving correct veterinarian attention? At what point should someone report what seems to be a bad situation? The animals are then removed to a pet rescue or animal shelter. What is next for the former pets, who are now up for grabs? Most would like to tell themselves that someone would open their home and provide space for these cats or dogs.

People who take too many animals don't usually have the intention of foolishly breeding pets for money. It turns out it is often a case of attempting to house the unwanted dogs and cats.

Is there an answer to this problem? If there is, I have not heard it expressed.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Finding a veterinarian while traveling.

A veterinarian may be a life saver for your dog or cat if you are traveling, and your pet becomes ill. When we travel with dogs, we bring all papers that pertain to the animals with us. This is very important. A veterinarian needs to know any health issues your dog or cat has been treated for. A vet also needs to know what your pet typically eats, and any preventive products you are using, including flea and tick products.

To find a veterinarian when you are in a town you are not familiar with, ask anyone you have contact with. This can be a person who works in a local pharmacy, or someone who works at the hotel where you are staying.

If you are using pet insurance, you should be able to call the insurance company you use for a name and phone number. Sometimes this in itself makes the fees for pet insurance worth the money.

Next, check the phone book. Don't be attracted to the biggest advertisement. Go with your instinct. All veterinarians who treat small animals have been trained for years to do just that. Some veterinarians will advertise that emergency visits are an option. Also, some veterinarians specialize in emergency treatment, and you will see this in the ad. Usually there will be a separate phone number for calls when the office is closed.

Still not comfortable with what you are finding? Call your pet's current veterinarian. He or she may have a suggestion for you. The important thing is that your find someone to treat your sick pet as fast as you can. Don't put treatment off until you return to your home territory if you feel something unusual is happening with your cat or dog. Especially when you are traveling, animals can come in contact with something they should not have, and thinking quickly can save a pet's life.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Getting the fleas out of your house!

Your dog had fleas! Your cat had fleas! You handled that, and your pets are flea free. But, what about your house?

Some feel the best thing to do after a the flea circus has been banned from dogs is to treat the area with a anti-flea bomb. How will you know what will work until you try something?

Never having to deal with this problem, I can't tell you what will be the best for your situation. What I can tell you is, one of the reasons we might not have fleas in our home is that our pets are treated to prevent an infestation. Also, we do not have carpets because we have pets. I do understand that fleas and ticks are a common problem in whatever area I happen to travel to. I imagine it is just part of living on earth, and it happens to be that where animals, grass, or sand is part of the landscape, fleas and ticks will remain.

When deciding to use a preventive treatment for your pets, do so with caution. The intention is to protect the pet from the misery of being a host to uninvited guests. Keeping the house flea free will be easier if you follow some of these steps:

1) Bathe dogs before applying a preventive treatment.

2) Wash all of the dog's bedding, blankets, and towels the same day. This will at least give you a jump on anything not seen by you, but that is waiting to attack your clean pet.

3) If you have seen fleas in your home, use a flea bomb or whatever is recommended by your
pet's veterinarian or by a trusted employee at a pet supply store.

4) Brushing your pets daily will help you determine if something is living on your dog or cat.

A flea or tick concern is not new to anyone with cats or dogs. These pests can make our pets miserable, and cause serious illness. Do your best to keep fleas out of your house, and away from your furry companions.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Handling jealous dogs.

Jealous dogs can keep their owners busy. What causes a dog to become jealous, and demand more attention from it's human?

If you share your home with another human, or have other pets, you already know why your dog may be jealous. It won't take long for you to realize your dog needs more from you.

Jealous dogs behave in such a way as to let you know something is wrong. Some will bark continually, demanding extra attention now, not five minutes from now. Others will look they are sulking, and seem lethargic.

Jealous dogs can usually be soothed with some extra pats to the head. While you are talking with humans, pat the dog occasionally to assure it you are aware they are there. If you have more than one pet, you may need to have the jealous pet sit on your lap while you are giving attention to another pet.

Sometimes jealous pets can be trained to stop the disruptive behavior of dancing for attention, crying, or barking by keeping it busy. If the dog can get involved with a game of fetch, or be taken for separate walks, it may soon behave as if it has enough attention. There are always dogs that will want to be leader of the pack, demanding more attention from you. We would enjoy hearing comments on how others handle this.

Jealous dogs probably should not be scolded for such behavior. They have feelings they need to express, and without words, how would you know they need more of you? So, when you hear the familiar groan, see the dance, or low waging tail, consider giving extra brushings or other attention to satisfy the needs of the dog.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Choosing the best dog breed for a family.

Choosing a dog for your family can be fun or be stressful-it's up to you! To make a choice when picking a dog, decide how you will be able to care for a dog. Do you have room for the large dog you really want? What about a budget? Can you afford a large dog, or does your budget require you to skip having a pet for now?

Before you do anything, consider the fact that a living, breathing being may become a part of your life for 15 years or more. How will this work with the life you have now? If this thought scares you, don't add a dog or any other pet to your family.

If you choose a dog that is small, realize it may have it's own set of issues. Some small dogs tend to have illnesses and frailties larger dogs do not. However, smaller dogs cost less to feed, are easier to tend to, and may be the answer.

When choosing a dog, also consider the personality of certain breeds. Some professional breeders, trainers, and veterinarians will tell you to avoid high maintenance dogs if you have children at home. If you do choose a dog that is protective of you, and considers you to be it's master, it may continually bark and attempt to bite anyone who comes near you. Can you survive living with a dog like this.

Once you have decided which dog breed you want, decide where you will get your dog. There are many pet rescues that offer dogs of all breeds. Usually animal rescues have older dogs that have been trained. Getting an older dog allows you to enjoy your pet immediately without the burden of having to deal with house breaking your new friend.

Dogs are always available at local shelters. Think about the fact that you may save a dog's life by taking it into your home from a shelter. Shelters often have enough information about the dog you choose to make you comfortable with you decision.

Remember, you may want pet insurance for your dog. Consider a crate for training. What about bowls, food, a lead, toys-an appointment with a groomer, and a visit to the veterinarian. You'll be a little busy in the beginning.

No matter which dog breed you choose to bring into your family space, remember, a house is just a house without a pet.

Photo property of Tas Anthony

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Helping pets by donating.

Helping pets by donating to an organization is not a new idea. Here's the challenge when trying to do this: How do we know who will do the best job with the money we want to give?

We can always search online to see who helps pets the most with the money received. There still may be questions, as we may think we want our money spent a certain way. So, what will you do with the dollars you are giving? Which pet group will you help?

Some feel helping pets by donating to a pet rescue is the best way to go. Others want to donate to a county or city run organization. Of course, a small group that is not run for profit may not give you as many answers about what the plan is for you tax deductible donation. If this doesn't matter to you, then don't give it a thought.

Helping pets by donating money or products is a great thing to do no matter where you donate. If you are not certain about a group, donate elsewhere. Understand your donations of pet products or food will always be used on behalf of the pets. Cash is another story. You don't have as much control over what is done with money once it leaves your hands. However, know that none of these groups can operate without electricity, water, a veterinarian, and square footage.

After you have searched online, and checked within your community to see where the places are to donate, make a choice. Helping pets by donating is only one way to make a difference. You can also adopt a pet, or foster a pet. If this is something you might like to do, check with a pet rescue to see where the need is. You will never be sorry that you helped a furry friend.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Should you switch your dog's food?

Between the cost of pet foods, and the cost of pet medications, you may think you should change your dog's food to save some money.

Here's the thing about changing a dog's food: You may not be getting the same quality of food you are giving your dog now. You really do seem to get what you pay for when it comes to dog foods. Read the label of any product you are thinking using as a replacement for current pet foods. Many list corn as the first ingredient. Why should we pay the same price for corn as some charge for a quality dog food?

Compare the dog food by the pound. You may notice the big savings you thought you would get is not there. And, if your dog is not having any allergy problems, and seems to like the food it is getting now, you may want to leave well enough alone. If you think buying dog food can be expensive, try treating a dog for food allergies!

If something happens and you must change the dog's food, do it slowly. Trainers differ on how they explain what should be done. Here is what I have heard, and what has worked for us. Each day for one week, we replaced about 10% of a dog's food with a new product. Once we saw the dog tolerated the new food, we added another 10%, and continued to try for a second week.

After the second week, you should be safe to use the new food. This may not work for every dog. Some people may tell you they just changed foods in one day, and never had a problem. Well, that is great for them, but I would not want to be the pet owner who did have a problem. And what about the dog? They can't ask us to slow down on the changes we are making-they just have to put up with us.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Barking dogs.

Is there really a way to teach dogs not to bark? If you live in an area where there are many dogs, you would certainly hope so. And, if you have a dog that loves to make noise, you may want to know this for you own sanity.

Dogs bark for several reasons. If a noise is made outside your home, your dog probably barks in an effort to warn you. This is part of a dogs nature, but that does not mean you can't teach the dog not to bark on command. It does take some doing, but this is what we learned through trial and error.

If you are not there to command your dog to be silent, I can't say there is something that will keep it from barking. When you are with the dog, you can continually show your disapproval when it barks, and eventually the dog will get it. First, when the dog barks for a reason you do not find acceptable, say quiet in a loud, stern voice, followed by a hand signal of your choice. Repeat the same step each time you have a barking incident. Some dogs will get it the first day. Other dogs take many times to get with the program.

When you approve of a dog barking, commend it with 'good boy' and a pat on the head. This helps the dog understand there are times when barking is okay. Most dogs will learn to distinguish between the sounds of the mail being delivered, and strange noises that an intruder would make.

It is true some dogs will never understand how to behave the way the master would prefer. For these pets, a professional trainer may be needed. In most cases, just being consistent and fair will get the results you need.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Dogs with allergies: What's a human to do?

Dogs bring so much fun into the lives of humans! Too bad they aren't easier to figure out when it comes to their needs, such as allergy relief.

For the most part, taking care of a dog is simple. Dogs should be kept clean, fed properly, and offered plenty of fresh water.

Aside from exercise and attention, most dogs are fairly easy to figure out. However, a problem can arise when your dog develops an allergy. How exactly do you know if your dog has an allergy? Unfortunately, a dog with an allergy will soon make the problem known.

It's 2 o'clock in the morning. You are awakened by the sound of your dog scratching, and scratching, until you think you will go over the deep end. If you think it's a problem for you, what about the dog? Dogs will scratch to get relief to the point of making an area bleed. This isn't good for either one of you.

The first thing you may want to do is think about any dietary changes. If your dog is on a strict regimen of dog food only, and you are sure no one has been able to give your pooch anything unusual, think about the next question. Have you made any changes in the products used to groom your dog? No to that, too? What about the areas where you walk your pet? Is anything blooming, or has anything changed?

If a day or two pass, and your dog is still scratching, go to the veterinarians. Only the dog's veterinarian can say if your dog has something more serious than a seasonal allergy.

What if the dog does have an allergy? You might be given medication, such as prednisone, to offer some relief. This won't cure the problem, but will give some relief to the dog.

Now what? It is very difficult to determine at times what a dog is allergic to-even with a veterinarians help. Some insist no corn products should be included in the dog's food. Others claim the itching is from fleas. But, what if you have your dog on a monthly flea preventative? Unfortunately, some dogs are allergic to these products, and the only way to find out might be to stop using the product.

Although there is a lot of information on the Internet about dogs and allergy issues, there are no simple allergy tests for pets that are not extremely expensive. Be sure to follow the guidelines of the veterinarian you bring your dog to, as this is where expert information will be found.

Most likely it will be suggested that you begin a trial and error period for your dog. You will eliminate some things, change some things, and hopefully, your dog will soon be itch and allergy free.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Picking Pet Insurance

If you have more than one dog, you know how expensive keeping a pet healthy can be. What does it cost to help a dog recover from a broken leg? I'm not sure, but I'm thinking it is more expensive than I would be comfortable paying.

We have all seen at least some of the advertisements about pet insurance. At first it was kind of a joke to some of us. After a few years of paying cash for health care issues for a dog, it is starting to seem like a great idea.

When you research insurance for your dog or cat, think about asking the veterinarian you use for your pets which insurance is accepted. It could be your veterinarian does not take any insurance. Does this mean you should get a new vet? That is something you have to decide.

Another concern is, what exactly will it cover? Are existing issues covered? Does the age of the dog or cat come into place? Be sure you know what you are buying before you pay for pet insurance.

The cost of pet insurance seriously varies by company, and the coverage you want. This just makes sense, as it is more expensive for humans to get more health coverage than less coverage.

Perhaps the best thing to do is get a policy that will cover major health issues for your dog or cat.
Routine shots may be something we can handle, or find at a discount. Most of us are limited when it comes to budgeting for our pets. Yet, it is not unusual to leave the veterinarian's office having spent in one day what you thought you would spend in one year.

If money for your dog or cat's care is not an issue, you may not feel pet insurance is needed. For most of us, getting the insurance is a better idea than having the concern of a large bill at one time.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Choosing a veterinarian for your dog.

How does one decide which veterinarian to use for their dog? What if you also have cats, or other pets that may need to see a veterinarian from time to time?

When you call a veterinarian for the first time, ask what the vet specializes in, such as-small animal care, or large animal care. A vet that works with horses or farm animals won't usually see small animals. Veterinarians who see small pets, such as your family dog, won't usually make house calls to help with a problem with your horses.

This does not mean the vet is not qualified-it is more of a preference. Like physicians who specialize in pediatrics, and therefore don't handle obstetrics, veterinarians sometimes specialize.

Also, consider the location of a veterinarians office when finding one to treat your dog or cat. If you have an emergency, you want to be able to get your dog or cat to the vet quickly. Having a vet two towns away will be very inconvenient.

Once you have taken a dog to the veterinarian's office, go with your intuition. If you feel the staff is friendly and knowledgeable, and your pet seems calm, you may be in the right place. When a dog acts very unhappy to be in a place, remember, dogs and cats can hear and smell things you can't. Respect the intuition of your pet instead of your own.

Price, of course, is always a factor. If you feel you can get a better price elsewhere, why not ask the office about their rates, and see if you can get a better price? Especially if you a paying cash, rather than using a credit card, the office may agree. In these times of high unemployment and foreclosures, a discount may very well be in order. And-you won't know until you ask!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Keeping our Pets Pest Free

How do we keep out cats and dogs free of fleas and other pests? What are the best products to use, and how should we go about this?

There are many products available for purchase without having to go to a veterinarian, and many are also available on line. However, first, it probably is best to talk to a veterinarian. You want to do what is best for your furry friend, and there are some things you may need to know. For instance: You can't use the same treatment on a cat that you use for your dog. Also, there are products you might be able to use on a dog if you don't have a cat in your house. If you also have a cat in your house, the products you use for your dogs will have to be different.

Flea collars are something most of us have used over the years. With the introduction of topical products that may keep our pets pest free with just a once a month application, many of us choose this. If your pet is outside in grassy areas you know could be filled with fleas and possibly ticks, be sure your veterinarian takes this into consideration.

Because you use a product on your pets to help eliminate fleas and ticks, don't feel you will never find something on your pet you were not expecting. Ticks in particular we have found are always trying to hitch a ride. Check you pet daily for any offenders. A thorough brushing every day will usually let you see if there is anything to be concerned about.

Be sure to continue bathing your dog on a regular basis with a product suggested by a veterinarian who knows what other products and medications your dog or cat is taking. This can help with your effort to keep your pet pest free, while avoiding unnecessary health concerns.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Does your dog get bored?

What does your dog do all day while home alone?

Do you think about what your dog is doing all day while home alone? Hmmm. You may wonder if the dog is missing you, watching the door, eagerly anticipating your return. Or, does the pooch just sleep until a human shows up?

You no doubt remember to leave plenty of water, and some food for your dog while you are gone, but what else could you do? Be sure your dogs toys are within reach, and not stuck under a piece of furniture. Okay, that was an easy one. What else?

Some people say they phone home and talk to the answering machine so the dog will hear their voice. They claim the dog moves around, barks, and has some activity it might not otherwise have. It's hard to say if a dog appreciates this from their human, because they can't blog!

Owners have gone as far as to leave a television on in the room the dog will mainly be in while the human is at work. Is this safe, or could it be a fire hazard? Other owners think a radio would be a cheaper, and safer idea to keep some noise in the house for the dog.

If you leave edible treats for your dog, you probably know they are the first thing the dog attacks once you leave the house. If you can get your dog in the habit of chewing hard toy bones that are made specifically for dogs who feel the need to chew, the dog may have something to do besides sleep.

However, as canines do like to snooze most of the day away even when their humans are around, don't feel guilty about not having an entertainment committee on hand while you are working to earn doggie treat dollars.

Ever thought about setting up a web cam of sorts to find out for sure what goes on while you are gone? That may be fun. What about snapping a picture of the dog's pile of toys before you leave one morning, and see what is different when you get home? You may be surprised to see your dog did actually have some fun alone.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Preventing Canine Obesity

How can you prevent canine obesity when everyone loves to feed treats to the family dog. No one is keeping track of who is doing this when, how many times a day, how much each time. Soon your little dog is dragging it's tummy on the ground.

Hmm. How did this happen?

Some think it's cute to see a fat dog. The truth about canine obesity is this: There really is nothing cute about something that will shorten a dog's life. If a fat dog does not die young, it will at least be unhealthy compared to a trim, well exercised dog. Determine to get your dog back on track to living a healthy life. How do you begin?

Check the food you are using. Is this the one recommended for the breed you own? Also, check to see that you are feeding the dog the amount of dog food and treats recommended. If you have an obese dog that is supposed to have 1 cup of dry food each day, and you are giving it just 10% more daily, expect it to gain weight on a regular basis.

What about the treats you buy? Ask your dog's veterinarian what type of treats are good, and how often it is okay to give the dog a treat: Once a day, or once an hour?

Exercise is important for your dog, and it is important for you. Don't allow the dog to miss it's daily walk, or it's chance to run outside each day. If you can't fit dog walking into your schedule, find someone in the neighborhood, or in your family to do it.

Exercise is especially important if your dog has been in a pet crate all day. It's funny how people who have overweight dogs are sometimes themselves dealing with weight issues.

For the health of your pet, for the life of your pet, give your dog's health serious thought. If your dog is obese, fat, pudgy, deal with it now.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Creating A Dog Grooming Station

Photo copywritten property of T. Anthony

Creating A Dog Grooming Station

If you are currently reaching over the family bathtub to bathe your pet, think about making your life a little simpler. With a reasonable amount of money, and some expertise, you may be able to have a pet grooming station in your home.

You will need a money, a laundry tub, a plumber, or handy family member.

Determine where you have space to locate a laundry tub. This can be near the plumbing in your laundry room, bathroom, or any other part of the house. It does not have to be in the same room; It can be on the other side of the wall where plumbing exists in a wall, so that a plumber can tap into the existing pipes. This gives the option of installing a pet grooming station outside the house if needed.

See Lowe's for a good deal on a laundry tub with cabinet. Purchase the laundry tub you have room for. Lowe's has several that start around $100. A simple laundry tub works great to begin building your pet grooming station. This might not be as high class as the one your favorite groomer has, but will be all you need at home. The one we used included the cabinet, and the spay faucet, which you will want.

A plumber, or handy family member, will tap into the existing plumbing, connecting the laundry tub you purchased to the water supply. This can be quite easy, or very complicated, depending on the structure of your home. We have been able to accomplish this easily in several homes.

Your pet grooming station can be as simple, or glamorous, as you prefer. Once you have your laundry tub installed, find a used table to place near the laundry tub. Your pet grooming station can be as simple, or glamorous, as you prefer. Place a hamper for the dog's towels near your tub. Keep grooming tools and shampoo in the cabinet. Think about purchasing a hair dryer just for the dog. These are easy yard sale finds.

Choose pet grooming tools from online sources, or at your favorite pet supply store. You do not need to buy professional dog grooming supplies, because you are not a groomer. Inexpensive tools should last several years if you only have one or two dogs. See resources below.

You are ready to groom your pet at home. No, you won't be ready to open a pet grooming business, but you will be able to save a few dollars each year doing some of your pet's grooming. Also, you have the convenience of rinsing or completely grooming your dog as you see fit-not when you can get an appointment.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

How To Groom Your Dog At Home

If you want to groom your dog at home, but don't have a clue where to begin, think about this: If you take the time to learn some of the basics to groom your dog at home, you could save several hundred dollars each year.

Saving money is something most of us are interested in these days, but face it-we don't know how to do everything. We may have to hire someone to dig a well if we don't have the equipment. But, grooming a dog? The basics should be fairly easy to comprehend. This does not mean you will not use a professional several times a year. However, with the economy the way it is, we are all being forced to do more things than we did before.

The groomers we usually use are great. They have expertise no one in our family even begins to have. However, with our pet bills being close to our monthly utility bills, we had to make some adjustments.

We do have a dog washing tub, which is a welcome addition to our Florida room. We have the correct shampoos, some clippers, and the proper brushes and combs for our dogs.

If you have dogs that have long hair you may feel they need to be bathed weekly. Some vets say this is fine as long as you are not using a shampoo that is not for dogs. The vet we use told us to rinse the hair, but don't shampoo every time. Rinsing is enough to get the mud and dirt out of the dog's hair. This vet also recommended oatmeal shampoo to prevent dryness when we do shampoo. Your vet may have a different recommendation, depending on the breed of dog you have.

The dog washing tub we installed is sold as a laundry tub. The tub is deep enough that most dogs can't see what is going on outside of the tub. This tub has a spray faucet, which is ideal. With a cabinet under the tub for supplies, it was a bargain at Lowe's Home Improvement for a bit more than $100.

If you use a tub of any sort, place a shower mat under the dog so it does not slip. Be sure all shampoo containers have tight seals so they will not leak if dropped while washing the dog.

Before we wash our dogs, we are sure to brush and comb them thoroughly. When washing the dogs, we do not allow water to get into their ears, or use the spray of water to get near their eyes. We wash the eyes and ears with a wash cloth, and plain water. We haven't found a need to use anything other than water in these areas, and have never asked our groomers what they use.

We use a standard hair dryer set on medium. We dry about half of the hair, and let the rest of the hair dry naturally.

Once the dog is dry, we comb and brush the hair again. If we feel the dog's hair should be trimmed, we have a table near the washing tub that is just for this purpose. It allows the dogs to be at the height needed so that we do not have to bend over the table. Learning to trim long haired dogs seems to be an art. We give trims, not styles-that the groomer will do.
The dogs may not look perfect, but we feel the $400 or so we saved in the last 12 months is worth these pets looking a little less then Hollywood.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

How to Pick a Dog for Your Family

Having a family pet may be very important for the health and happiness of humans who have them. Making the choice to add another mouth to feed, and another living thing that will need care is a big one. Proceed with as much caution as love. If you think a dog is sense

Consider making a list of what you expect from a pet. Are you looking for companionship? Are you looking to be entertained by a pet? Do you expect a dog to fill a void in your life, or that of a family member? Do you enjoy cleaning up messes? How about getting up at 4 o'clock in the morning to walk the dog?

Talk to at least one local veterinarian. A vet can give you many ideas on what to look for in a pet. Also, a vet can help you realize if you are being realistic about your choice. A trip to a vet several times a year may not be in your budget.

Choose a dog food that will keep your dog happy. Discuss all needs of the pet you can think of with anyone who will help you. How much will it cost to feed a pet? Which food is best? Does your roommate agree to walk the dog every day at lunch break? Do any kids in the house agree to feed the dog each day at a set time? A pet is a living, breathing creature that needs full time assistance. They can't open the door, fill their water bowl, express an illness.

Think: A pet for a companion may seem a wonderful idea-yet we must remember they could need us for 15 years.

Pets can be very expensive. Research on line which ones have less illnesses, and less medical needs as they age.

Taking the time to research these issues will give you a much better idea of the pet that is best for you, and your household.

and dog property of
Tas Anthony

Thursday, March 19, 2009

How to Choose Dog Food

With so many choices in dog food for your dog, how do you know if you are picking the right food? Will your breed need something special?

A lot of information is available concerning dog foods, but that doesn't help you decide which product is the right one.

Think about asking your vet for a recommendation. If the vet suggests only what is available in his/her office, keep walking.

Stores that cater to pets have many options. This is a personal opinion: Buy something that does not contain corn. Look for food that does not contain by-products, which can include heads, feet, or animal intestines.

Some pets need a food that is for sensitive stomachs. Others need food that may keep them from gaining weight. If your dog is a couch potato, this might be what you need.

Pet owners sometimes prefer to have their dogs eat a vegan or vegetarian meal. Do this with caution. You want to be sure your pet is getting everything needed to remain healthy. Read labels, and understand what you are paying for. It does not matter that there is a wonderful picture of your favorite breed on the bag; It is what is inside that counts.

Read labels: All dog foods are not equal. Search on line for information if you are not sure of what you are getting for your money.