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.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Finding the right crate for your dog.

If you are in the market for a pet crate, you will soon find there are many choices. Not only are crates easy to find online, often shipping is free. If you prefer to shop local pet stores, you may find the selection is somewhat limited.

You can purchase a crate that matches your decor. First, you want to decide what type of crate you need. If you feel you need something that will fit in with your decor, rather than a typical crate, look at

Folding crates are easy to store. Perhaps you only need something for traveling You can find folding crates on several sites, including We have also spotted such crates at our local Walmart. These crates are easy to store, and easy to clean.

Most pet shops carry these crates. If you are looking for a crate to train a dog that is new to your household, you may want something simple, and easy to care for. Most local pet shops and Walmart will usually offer this type. They are fairly easy to fold, and easy to store.

Your local pet store may be willing to order a crate for you. If you don't like ordering things online, your local pet store may be willing to order a crate for you through one of their suppliers.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Traveling With Family Dogs.

Traveling with dogs can be more challenging than traveling with small children. This information may help make your travels more pleasant, for you and for Fido!

When traveling for several hours with your pet, a crate is strongly suggested for safety. Also, you will want a few chew toys, food, and water. Don’t forget the dog’s lead, blanket, and other comfort items.

If you will travel a considerable distance with your dog, for the sake of your pet, make sure all shots are up to date, and have your dog’s license and microchip information on the dog's collar. Pack any medications your dog takes. Ask your vet if the pet should be given a sedative before the trip. Be sure you have copies of all records that may be useful should your pet become ill.

Place a crate that your dog is familiar with on the back seat of your vehicle. Be sure to strap the crate to the seat. The crate should contain blankets, and some chew toys. Your pet can be allowed to go in and out of the crate when you feel it is safe. If your pet likes to roam the vehicle, closing the crate door is the better choice.

Many dogs are into the routine of being alone for several hours each day. The experience of having your company during these hours may cause your dog to be overexcited. This is one reason sedatives may be needed. Plan time for a stop about every 3 hours, allowing dogs to stretch and walk for a few minutes. Be sure to offer water at these stops, even if it was available to the pet while in your vehicle. You may want to limit feedings, as some dogs get motion sickness.

We keep a lead connected to dogs when traveling, so that in the event of an emergency, such as a fender bender, we can retrieve the dogs quickly. If your car door were to be open for a split second, a panicked dog could run into an area you are not familiar with, and the attached lead could help. Also, we carry pictures of the dogs with us, so that if something does happen, you can show people what the pooch looks like.

How to Puppy Proof Your Home

Photo and dog
property of
T. Anthony
After bringing a new puppy into your home, you may be reminded that your space is not a danger free zone for a little guy. There are so many things to think about. Where will you start?

Use a baby gate to close off areas. One of the easiest ways to keep a puppy safe it to limit the area the dog will be allowed to enter. Use a baby gate to close off any area that does not have a door, and that contains something that will harm your pet.

Check all floor surfaces and easy to reach areas for objects a dog would chew. Pens, crayons, small buttons on toss pillows, children's toys. It won't take you long to decide what needs to be removed.

A pet crate for your new puppy will be needed for training, and the investment will help keep Fido safe when you are not available. Pet crates that resemble furniture are available if you need something that fits with your d├ęcor. Some feel putting their dog in a pet crate is cruel. However, safety first. And, a comfortable crate is better than you worrying the pup is in harm's way when you are not looking.

Close the door! Don't leave areas open for a puppy or dog to explore. They will get into anything that you don't want them to. Waste baskets, brief cases, pockets, suit cases, and cabinets are easy for puppies and dogs to get into. They all seem to be a little Houdini.

A curious pooch may chew on lamp cords that are easy to reach. Tape these out of site so your pet will not be tempted.

Area alarms that cost under $10 are easy to mount to places you may not be able to close off, or where you need extra help. They work like a motion detector, and will beep when your puppy goes near it.

Keeping The Family Dog Happy.

Photo and
property of
T. Anthony

Keeping the family dog happy is usually fairly easy to do. One of the most important things to a dog's quality of life may be what food is offered, and the quality of drinking water given. Check with your vet to see which foods are recommended for your breed. Look on line for further information, then decide which food you will use.

Consider adding an automatic waterer for your dog. This will assure you the dog always has water, which is especially important if you are not available for several hours at a time. These are easy to clean, and easy to use.

Dogs need exercise, and so do we. Playing ball with your dog is good for you, too. Try giving 10-15 minutes each day to your dog. If the dog is home alone during the day, think about taking two 10 minute breaks with the dog before retiring for the night.

Dogs are social beings. They enjoy walking through the neighborhood, sniffing scents, barking at other dogs, and investigating new sites. Walk with them daily if you can. If you can't walk with your pet, consider hiring a teen in your area to do it for you.

Keep your dog well groomed. Not only does a dog need to be brushed, dogs need their ears cleaned, teeth brushed, nails clipped. If these are things you don't want to do, take your pet to a groomer.

Never ignore your dog's health issues. Keeping the family dog happy is easier if you bring health issues to the attention of a vet as soon as noticed. Shots should be up to date. If you have any questions about your pet’s behavior or health, make an appointment with your vet. Many vets will help you by phone if you are a regular at the office. If you don't have a vet now, you can find one in your area on the Internet.

Fleas don't need to be a part of your dog's life-ever. Speak to your vet about products available to help your dog avoid such pests. Remember, your dog can't take care of this. Your help is always needed.

There are many natural products to help with fleas and ticks. Search online before making a choice.

Exercise can energize your dog, and you. So you may not want to exercise too close to bedtime.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

How to Make a Difference With $25.00

Photo property of T. Spirko

Although most of us would like to donate money to charity, we may feel we don't have enough money to make a difference. I learned about a group that helps us make the difference with $25. The name of this group Kiva

You will need access to the Internet, a credit card, or Pay Pal account, and an interest in making a difference.

This group was mentioned on Oprah some time ago. Curious to see exactly what they did, I checked their website at This site lists Kiva’s mission as follows: Kiva's mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty.' Your first step should be to visit their site.

Once you learn about Kiva's micro-lending plan, you may feel encouraged to lend a small amount of money. I started with $25. The money was loaned, along with money from other members, to a woman who was starting a business that would help her escape poverty. You will actually see pictures of people making requests, and read information about their business plan. So your second step could be to donate/lend this small amount to the person of your choice.

Kiva will stay in contact with you, letting you know how the person you chose is doing with the repayment of the loan that was given. In a short time the first loan I was involved with was repaid. At this point, you may ask that your money be returned to you. My next step was to lend the same $25 to another person. As you can see, the same $25 may be used many times to help people gain independence, and support their families.

This is something that takes just a few minutes of your time, and will amazingly help more people than you ever imagined. Your next step now may be to share this information with others who would like to know they can make a difference.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Getting More Exercise

Exercise is not for everyone. Or, is it? There are some easy things most of us can do to add some beneficial steps to our day.

If you have the ability to walk, everyday you move from one area to another. Walking to your car from your house in the morning may be the first time you can add some steps, therefore exercise, to your day. Think about parking your car just 10 feet away from the spot you usually use. When you arrive at your first destination, again park just a few feet away from your usual choice.
Photo property of M. Spirko

When running errands during the day, or after work, keep this idea in mind. When you do banking, rather than using the window-which just consumes more gas, go inside! Not only the extra steps are good for you, the conversations you may have inside may be of benefit.

If you do not have the memory to keep a plan, write down a list of places where you can add more steps. In most cases, keeping the list in your car is the best idea. Share your intentions with others you know will be supportive.

One easy way to add exercise is to walk for ten minutes or more inside the grocery store, or big box store, before you actually begin your shopping. Determine not to stop, and actually walk as many aisles as you can in a few minutes. If there are 5,280 feet in a mile, perhaps you could walk twice that many steps in your favorite climate controlled stores.

If you have small children in your home, walking with them in the house or in the yard can be an enjoyable way to add steps. If you are near a beach or park, make a commitment to yourself and your family to set a few hours every week to walk there. Include as many family members as you can. Some find walking around the outside of their house a few times a day just to 'check out' the territory to be an easy way to add some steps. It is thought by many adding a few steps daily will add years to our lives. Do you have a reason to live longer?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Buying a New Car For Less

If you are thinking about buying a new car, do your homework. There is a great deal on a car for you if you take your time. With 2009's available, dealers are still trying to sell 2008's. Dealers want you to buy today.

How much can you afford? Determine the amount you can truly afford. Then, think about spending 20-30% less. This may give you a little cushion should you find yourself financially strapped in the future.

Know your prices Check Kelly Blue Book for the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices of any car you are interested in. This information is online at You may also find other sites have similar information.

How much will the car really cost? If you have a particular car in mind, and you have determined what it should cost you, also check the following: How much will the car cost with the interest you will pay? How much will it cost you with car insurance? Estimated fuel costs, oil changes, etc? Three years from now, will the car be worth what you owe?

Call a local Credit Union Call a local credit union, and find what their loan rates are for new cars. Realize you may need to join the credit union if you are not already a member, and you want their rates.

If you are not in a hurry to buy, become friends with a sales agent at the dealer you choose. Ask about repossessions, cars brought in from auctions, and demonstration vehicles. Most agents have other offers they might not bring up if you don't ask. Realize that the closer you get to their goal date, usually the end of the month, the easier it is to deal.

Check outside your area for better rates Check with any bank or lender you have used locally. Next, check lenders out of the area. There are lenders all over the United States who will take your information online or by phone, and might be able to beat the local rates.

Setting Boundaries for Your Home Office

Working from your home office gives you many advantages. Unfortunately, there are some disadvantages as well, such as interruptions. Setting boundaries for your home office may help you accomplish more, and keep others from getting their feelings hurt.

When you first try to set boundaries for your home office, you may feel uncomfortable setting some rules. Remember, while working from your home office, the reason it is important to establish some rules is so that others understand when you are available. If you have set hours in your office, be sure to tell anyone who would consider disturbing you during that time what your hours are. Let them know you will be glad to see them, or speak with them at any other time.

If you have family members home while you are attempting to work, be sure their needs are met before you start work for the time you have set to accomplish what you need to do. This should lessen the interruptions.

Use caller ID to identity callers, and voice mail so the unanswered calls will go to a place where messages can be left. You can state on the message what hours you are in the office, making it clear you are there. You will know when friends or family call your work line, and being able to leave a message will let them know they aren't being ignored.

Let family members know what is off limits in your office. If your supplies are for your use only, and not to be removed from your space, say so. If others may use your items, let them know things have to be returned so that your work is not interrupted.

Using a 'do not disturb' sign, or a 'please talk to me' sign on your office door will help family members who are given more leeway concerning your availability. Let everyone know you are not to be disturbed if you are on the phone or if you have a client in your office.

When you take a break from work in your home office, leave that room and close the door. If your break includes a few minutes of family time, make the most of it. Don't talk about work, or about how you have to hurry.

Think about posting your schedule on the bottom of your personal emails, like a signature. This is a reminder that lets others know when you will or won't be in your office.

Be creative. Put an attractive sign on your front door that states 'Busy at Work. Please disturb after 5'-or 'Do not disturb until 4'-or whatever your stop time is. We have found people respect this. They would not visit you at 'work' if you were an employee working in a downtown office.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

How to Stop Smoking Without Going Cold Turkey

It seems many who smoke want to quit. It is easy to want to quit, but once cigarettes become a steady companion, kicking the habit takes more than a desire to stop. When we are trying to accomplish something this difficult, we need a goal. We need a plan. We need to prepare. We need a plan.

Some of the items you will want on hand include note paper, small lollipops, plastic straws, and determination.

First, decide what your goal date will be. Write it down. Choose the time you need. Will it take six weeks, or six months? Unlike quitting cold turkey, reducing the amount of cigarettes in your life a little at a time allows you to have some control over the effects of nicotine leaving your system. Some of us who were not successful quitting cold turkey found this to be an easier way.

Cigarettes with cold beverages? Make a plan! List the most important cigarettes of the day. Do you need one with your morning coffee? Do you always smoke while on the phone? Do you usually smoke while driving? List the ones you are keeping, and the cigarettes you are ready to give up! This is your plan. You decide the minimum amount of cigarettes you need to survive the day. For most, 10 cigarettes a day seems to be the starting point.

Once you have the first amount in mind, you decide if you need two weeks, or just one, before again cutting the number of cigarettes you smoke.

Prepare. Keep lollipops on hand. We used Dum Dum pops, found at The Dollar Tree, yes, for just one dollar.

Plastic straws, cut in half, are preferred by those who do not want to add sugar to their life. These will help you have something to fiddle with, and to satisfy any oral fixation you may have.

Before your first day: Clean your car, your home, and your work area. Stale cigarette odors may make you feel ill once you are smoking less.

Make an appointment to have your teeth cleaned.

Let your friends know you are doing this, and will not allow them to smoke in your home, or near your. Ask for their support in this life altering, possibly life saving, decision. Take action. You can do this. Millions before you have, and we are here for you! Just ask those around you who have done this before to help you when you feel you are being tempted.