Category Archives: Pet

How to Find a Great Pet Sitter

There are times where a pet sitter may be a good choice for you and your pets when you travel without them. Unlike a boarding facility or kennel, your animals stay at home and the pet sitter comes to your house (usually once or twice a day). If you have a single pet or a highly social animal, such as a dog, it is better to board them at a facility where they will have lots of attention. However, if you have several cats, horses, birds or an animal not suited for a boarding facility, a reliable pet sitter may be the best choice for your pets. Multi-pet households often benefit from pet sitting services because it’s usually less expensive and less stressful to hire a pet sitter rather than transporting and boarding all your animals. The following suggestions are designed to help you find a good and reliable pet sitter.

Ask friends or veterinarian for a pet sitter referral.

Even if you are new in a neighborhood, or don’t know your neighbors well, it’s pretty easy to identify people who value their pet. Ask several neighbors for recommendations. Try to find a little bit about your neighbors pet and their pet sitter experience. This will give you a good indication as to the level of care you can expect from the people they recommend. Many veterinarians, in addition to having boarding facilities, may have a veterinary technician on staff that also provides pet sitting service, or they may know of a high quality pet sitter.

Research your pet sitter.

As you call potential pet sitters ask them the type of animals they like to work with, how long they’ve been in business, how they got started in business, and specific questions about your pet’s needs. People who have some experience as vet techs, animal shelter employees, or veterinary students often supplement their income by pet sitting. Some excellent animal care workers start a pet sitting service if they’ve suffered from career burnout. Pet sitters with these type of credentials can offer the best type of service because they are more likely to recognize illness in your pet, and may be more experienced with administering medications or tending special needs. However, the most important thing is to find someone who will be attentive, reliable and responsible with your pet. Once you feel a level of comfort with a pet sitter, ask for three client referrals. Follow up with the referrals, and use your intuition before you provide the pet sitter a key to your home. If you are not able to get a pet sitter referral in your area and you cold-call a potential pet sitter, I’d recommend a criminal background check on your pet sitter. A quality sitter won’t mind your concerns for safety.

Shop around for services and fees.

Most pet sitters charge a per visit fee, regardless of the number of animals you have. However, if you have more than three animals or an animal that needs medication, it’s normal to expect a slightly higher fee per visit. Ask the pet sitter how much time they will spend with the pet, and what they charge per visit. Some pet sitters give a break if they are doing two visits a day, or if you are taking a long trip. A few pet sitters offer overnight visits-where they sleep at your home. If your trip is long, ask them if they will call or email you every few days.

Meet your pet sitter.

Several weeks prior to your trip, have the pet sitter stop by so she can be introduced to your animals. Watch how they are with your pets. Are they gentle, and non-invasive? If the pet sitter breezes in and out of their first visit with you, most likely that’s what they’ll do when you are paying them to care for the pet. If you have any negative feelings or thoughts, do not give them a key-trust your instincts. However, if you feel comfortable, provide them with a key, and show them around your house; pet food storage, where pets are feed, how to administer medicine, toys, alarm system, and anything else that will make them comfortable. I always encourage my pet sitter to feel free to watch t.v. or take a nap at my house. The more time they spend with the animals, the better.

Final Tips

The day before your trip, call the pet sitter and confirm your travel plans. Inform them of your expected return, but ask them to continue pet care until you call them to say you’ve returned. Leave a note on your kitchen table or refrigerator that has a brief description of each pet, your veterinarian’s name and phone number, unique habits or medical needs, how to reach you, where you will be staying, expected return date, and who to call in case of an emergency-such as your trip being severely delayed or if you have a health emergency. I typically check do a quick check in with my pet sitter every two to three days. This gives me peace of mind. If you require a daily call from your pet sitter, please be respectful of their time and give them a generous tip upon your return. Pay all pet sitting fees promptly. When you consider gas, travel time, and the initial and post visit key exchange, you’ll realize most pet sitter charge a low fee for their time. Also, let your closest neighbors know what your pet sitter looks like, so they won’t be concerned when they see a stranger going in and out of your house or apartment.

If your travel plans are more than 10 days, or if you travel frequently, you may want to consider whether or not you should have a pet, or you may want to find a roommate who loves animals and does not mind taking care of them for you as you travel. Having a pet and finding quality care is similar to being a parent. A reliable pet sitter can make travel plans fun and relaxing.

Traveling With Your Pet

You’ve decided to take your pet along on vacation. It will be more fun, and you won’t have to worry about leaving a member of your family behind in an unfamiliar kennel. With some extra planning and forethought, you can have a safe and enjoyable trip with your pet.

Taking a Road Trip

If you’re driving with your pet, you’ll need to find a comfortable and safe way for your pet to travel. You can place your pet in a carrier and secure it in the car. Alternatively, you can purchase a seatbelt-like harness for your pet that will allow him to be out of the carrier but still safely restrained. It isn’t safe to allow your pet to roam freely in the car. He can be seriously hurt in the event of even a minor accident, and he is much more likely to escape and become lost when you make stops.

Don’t leave your pet alone in the car, especially in hot weather. The heat can quickly become life-threatening. If your pet becomes carsick easily, you may want to ask your veterinarian for motion-sickness medicine before the trip.

Carry some of your pet’s food along with you, and feed your pet only small amounts of food at a time. If your trip is short, you may want to have your pet wait and eat when you arrive to avoid carsickness. You should also carry some of your pet’s water along, or purchase bottled water. Local tap water may contain different minerals or sulphur, which might upset your pet’s stomach.

Flying with your pet

Many pet owners do not like to fly with their pets because it can be traumatic for them, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. Unless your pet is very small, he will fly as cargo and not in the cabin with you. Check with your airline to determine what type of carrier is acceptable and what rules apply to flying with a pet. Also ask what safety precautions are in place, what conditions the pet will fly in, etc. Ask your veterinarian if your pet is well enough to fly or if there are any special precautions you should take.

International Travel

Taking your pet out of the country requires careful planning. Check the regulations for the country you are traveling to and verify that your pet has the required vaccinations. In some cases, you’ll need to have the vaccines administred weeks before your departure date.

Most countries will require a Rabies Vaccination Certificate and a Health Certificate. Your veterinarian can help you obtain both of these. The country you are traveling to may require that you complete paperwork gaining permission to bring your pet into the country. Also, some countries have quarantine regulations that may require your pet to remain in a kennel for up to several months.

Pet Friendly Hotels

A quick search on the Internet can help you find hotels that are receptive to pets. Many travel sites also allow you to specify only pet-frienly accommodations. Check with the hotel to find their specific rules regarding staying with a pet.

If your pet requires walks, ask for a room that opens on the outside. This will be more convenient for those late night trips outdoors.

Many alternative lodging sites, such as resorts, cabins and bed and breakfasts are also open to receiving pets. Check ahead of time for availability where you’re traveling. Since many of these vacation spots offer outdoor activities, they can be great options for pet owners.

What Will your Pet do All day?

You know how you’ll travel, and you’ve found a hotel that will welcome your pet, so now what? What will your pet do all day when you’re out having fun?

An outdoor vacation is an ideal choice if you’re traveling with pets. Consider renting an RV and taking a camping vacation. Many RV rental agencies allow pets with an extra deposit. A trip to the beach is another good choice for pet owners. However, keep in mind that sand can be irritating to some pets, especially dogs with deep skin folds. Some animals are bothered by long sun exposure as well.

If you’re spending a lot of time outdoors, keep plenty of cold water on hand and watch your pet for signs of heat exhaustion.

Some restaurants now provide outdoor seating that is also pet friendly. Check ahead of time if any are available near where you are staying. If you’d like to spend mealtime with your pet and no pet-friendly restaurants are close by, you might consider takeout or even picnicing outdoors.

What if you’re taking a more traditional vacation? Many tourist attractions will not welcome your pet, and it isn’t a good idea to leave your pet alone in a strange hotel room all day. You may be able to place your pet in his carrier for shorter excursions, but for all day trips, consider researching pet daycare centers or kennels available in the area. You can leave your pet for a few hours in a safe environment but still enjoy his company on your trip.

What to Take Along

Bring your pet’s food along or plan to buy it as needed. This is not a good time to change your pet’s diet, and you should certainly avoid giving your pet any table scraps. Traveling can be stressful regardless of how careful you are, and you don’t need the added complication of stomach upset for your pet.

Don’t give your dog the local water, especially if you’re traveling internationally. It’s safer to give your pet only bottled water to avoid possible stomach upset.

Bring along any medicines your pet takes, including vitamins, flea medicines, heart worm prescriptions, etc. You should also bring some basic first-aid supplies in case of injury. Ask your veterinarian what should be included in your pet’s first aid kit. These might include medicines for stomach upset and a mild tranquilizer in case your pet becomes extremely agitated. You can purchase pre-stocked pet first aid kits at many pet supply stores.

To make your pet more comfortable, bring along a few items from home. Bring some of your pet’s bedding and a few of his favorite toys. Bring only treats your pet has eaten in the past with no stomach upset. Again, this isn’t the time to try any new foods. The carrier you bring should be large enough for your pet to remain comfortably inside for a few hours. He should be able to stand, lie down and turn around easily within it. Also, be sure your pet has fresh water available within the carrier.

A Pre-Trip Checklist

Make an appointment with your veterinarian. Have your pet examined and any vaccinations done that are needed. Ask if your pet is healthy enough to travel, and ask for advice concerning any of your pet’s health conditions. Remember that if you are traveling outside the country, you may need to plan weeks in advance.

Make sure your pet has current identification attached to his collar, and that it fits well and isn’t likely to slip off. You might want to consider having an identification chip implanted before your trip, but you’ll need to discuss with your veterinarian how soon your pet can travel after the procedure.

Gather phone numbers for veterinarians, pet emergency care facilities, kennels, etc. before you leave for each place where you’ll be staying. If an accident or illness does occur, you’ll be grateful that you don’t have to take the time to find someone to care for your pet.

Make a packing list for your pet based on his needs and what your veterinarian recommends. Double-check it as you pack his things. Take your veterinarian’s phone number along with you in case you need to call and ask a last minute question or have your pet’s records sent to another clinic.

Take time to get your pet used to his carrier, especially if it’s new. If you’re driving, take your pet in the car for practice trips before the big day so it won’t be so traumatic. Another benefit to this approach is that you’ll learn if your pet become motion sick easily.

If you’re traveling with your cat, bring a litterbox and litter along with you. It’s easier to purchase cheap plastic litterboxes and throw them away rather than try to clean and transport them. If traveling with a dog, be sure to bring baggies to clean up after your pet’s walks.

Embarrassing and Alarming Moments

Pets get stressed when traveling, so accidents can and will happen. Bring some disposable wipes and plastic baggies to clean up after your pet. Another good idea is bringing a small bottle of enzyme based cleaner. If your pet selects the hotel carpet as the perfect spot for his accident, this can remove the odor and stain before it has a change to set.

Never open your pet’s carrier unless you’re in an enclosed room. Pets can move much more quickly than you can, and nothing will ruin your vacation faster than losing your traveling companion.

The Pet Food Ingredient Game

About 25 years ago I began formulating pet foods at a time when the entire pet food industry seemed quagmire and focused on such things as protein and fat percentages without any real regard for ingredients. Since boot leather and soap could make a pet food with the “ideal” percentages, it was clear that analytical percentages do not end the story about pet food value. I was convinced then, as I am now, that a food can be no better than the ingredients of which it is composed. Since this ingredient idea has caught on in the pet food industry, it has taken on a commercial life that distorts and perverts the meaning of the underlying philosophy of food quality and proper feeding practices. Is health reducible to which ingredients a commercial product does or does not have? As contradictory as it may seem to what I have just said, no it is not. Here’s why.

AAFCO Approval

The official Publication of the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) gives wide latitude for ingredients that can be used in animal foods. As I have pointed out in my book, The Truth About Pet Foods, approved ingredients can include*:

dehydrated garbage

undried processed animal waste products

polyethylene roughage replacement (plastic)

hydrolyzed poultry feathers

hydrolyzed hair

hydrolyzed leather meal

poultry hatchery by-product

meat meal tankage

peanut hulls

ground almond shells

(*Association of American Feed Control Officials, 1998 Official Publication)

Simultaneously, this same regulatory agency prohibits the use of many proven beneficial natural ingredients that one can find readily available for human consumption such as bee pollen, glucosamine, L-carnitine, spirulina and many other nutraceuticals. It would be easy to conclude that reason does not rule when it comes to what officially can or cannot be used in pet foods.

From the regulators’ standpoint, they operate from the simplistic nutritional idea that the value of food has to do with percentages and that there is no special merit to any particular ingredient. They deny the tens of thousands of scientific research articles proving that the kind of ingredient and its quality can make all the difference in terms of health. They also are silent about the damaging effect of food processing and the impact of time, light, heat, oxygen and packaging on nutritional and health value.

The 100% Complete Myth

Consumers are increasingly becoming alert to the value of more natural foods. Everyone intuitively knows that the closer the diet is to real, fresh, wholesome foods, the better the chance that good health will result. Unfortunately, people do not apply this same common sense to pet foods. Instead they purchase “100% complete” processed foods, perhaps even going the extra mile and selecting “super premium” or “natural” brands, thinking they are doing the best that can be done. They surrender their mind to a commercial ploy (100% completeness) and do to their pets what they would never do to themselves or their family – eat the same packaged product at every meal, day in and day out. No processed food can be “100% complete” because there is not a person on the planet who has 100% knowledge of nutrition. The claim on its face is absurd. Understanding this simple principle is more important than any pet food formulation regardless of the merits of its ingredients. Everything that follows will begin with that premise, i.e., no food should be fed exclusively on a continuous basis no matter what the claims of completeness or ingredient quality.

Genetics Is The Key

Pets need the food they are biologically adapted to. It’s a matter of context. Just as a fish needs to be in water to stay healthy, a pet needs its natural food milieu to be healthy. All creatures must stay true to their design. What could be more obvious or simple? For a carnivore the correct genetic match is prey, carrion and incidental fresh plant material, and even some fur and feathers, as well as the occasional surprise of unmentionables found in decaying matter. It’s not a pretty picture to think that “FiFi” with her pink bow and polished toenails would stoop to such fare, but that is precisely the food she is designed to eat. Since that is her design, matching food to that design (minus the more disgusting and unnecessary elements) is also the key to her health.

The Disease Price

We may prefer to feed a packaged, sterile, steam- cleaned, dried, farinaceous chunk cleverly shaped like a pork chop, but let’s not kid ourselves, that is not the food a pet is designed for….regardless of the claims about ingredients on the label making one think it is five-star restaurant fare. Pets may tolerate such food for a time, but in the end nature calls to account. The price to be paid is lost health in the form of susceptibility to infections, dental disease, premature aging, obesity, heart and organ disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis and other cruel and painful chronic degenerative diseases. Because our pets are not out in the rigors of nature where they would quickly succumb to such conditions and end their misery, they languish in our protected homes and under veterinary care that does not usually cure but merely treats symptoms and extends the time of suffering. That suffering begins with the way in which we are feeding our pets, not the ingredients in a supposed 100% complete pet food.

The Perfect Food

What is the solution? It is simple and something I have been preaching for the past 25 years. Return pets to their environmental roots. They need – daily – interesting activity, fresh air, clean water, romps in nature, lots of love, and food as close to the form they would find in the wild as possible. Fresh, whole natural foods fit for a carnivore and fed in variety are as good as it can get. Anything less than that is a compromise. Compromise the least if health is the goal. (Same principle applies to you and your family.) To get a packaged food as close as possible to that goal requires the right starting philosophy of feeding (described above) and the expertise to design and manufacture such foods.

Enter The Profiteers

Elements of these principles (often distorted or misunderstood) have been taken up by an endless line of pet food entrepreneurs. The low fat craze led to low fat pet foods. The high fiber craze led to high fiber pet foods. The “no corn, wheat or soy” craze led to no corn, wheat or soy pet foods. The “omega- 3” craze led to pet foods with fish oil. The “variety” craze led to pet foods supposedly offering variety. The “four food groups” craze led to all four bundled into a package. The “raw” craze has led to raw frozen pet foods. The list is endless and the race for pet owner dollars is at a fever pitch.

One can only feel sympathy for a concerned pet owner as they stroll along the huge array of pet food options in pet food aisles. Unfortunately, armed with only sound bites and lore they may have heard from a friend, breeder, veterinarian or on a commercial, they make choices that not only do not serve the health of their pet but may directly contribute to weakened immunity and disease.

The first thing consumers should keep in mind is the ideal diet for pets as described above. No packaged product regardless of its wild claims is ever going to equal that. The next best thing is to home prepare fresh meals. (Contact Wysong for recipes and instruction.) If that is not always possible, then products should be selected that are as close to the ideal as possible. (More suggestions below.)

Raw Frozen Pet Food Dangers

At first glance, considering the perfect feeding model I have described – raw, natural, whole – the best food may seem to be one of the raw frozen pet foods now clamoring to capture the “raw” craze. I’m sorry to say that some of these purveyors even use my books and literature to convince pet owners that their frozen products are on track. They take bits and pieces of good information and distort it into something that pretty much misses the point and misleads consumers. Also, these exotic frozen mixtures of ingredients of unknown origin, manufacturing and freezing conditions are most certainly not economical nor the best choice. They may, because of the water content and raw state, be outright dangerous.

Human Grade

Then there are claims about “USDA approved” ingredients, “human grade” ingredients and ingredients purchased right out of the meat counter at the grocery store. Again, at first glance – and superficiality is what marketers like to deal with – it may seem that such foods would have merit over others. But such labels only create a perception of quality. People would not consider the food pets are designed for in the wild – whole, raw prey and carrion – “human grade” or “USDA approved.” Because something is not “human grade” does not mean it is not healthy or nutritious. For example, chicken viscera is not “human grade” but carries more nutritional value than a clean white chicken breast. Americans think that chicken feet would not be fit for human consumption but many far eastern countries relish them. On the other hand, “human grade” beef steaks fed to pets could cause serious nutritional imbalances and disease if fed exclusively. Pet foods that create the superficial perception of quality (USDA, human grade, etc.) with the intent of getting pet owners to feed a particular food exclusively is not what health is about.

Pet Nutrition Is Serious Health Science

Pet nutrition is not about marketing and who can make the most money quickly. Unfortunately an aspiring pet food mogul off the street can go to any number of private label manufacturers and have a new brand made. These manufacturers have many stock formulas that can be slightly modified to match the current market trend. Voilà! A new pet food wonder brand is created.

Pet foods are about pet nutrition, and nutrition is a serious health matter. There is an implied ethic in going to market with products that can so seriously impact health. But the ethic is by and large absent in the pet food industry. Starting with the 100% claim and on to all the fad driven brands that glut the shelves, health is not being served. Nobody other than our organization is teaching people the principles I am discussing here. Instead, companies headed by people with no real technical, nutritional, food processing or health skills put themselves out to the public as serious about health … because that is what the public wants to hear and what sells. Never mind whether producers really understand or can implement healthy principles. The façade sells and selling is the game. Ingredients are important, true, but not less important than the expertise and principles of the producer who is choosing them, preparing, storing, processing and packaging them. Consumers place a lot of trust that nondescript processed nuggets are what consumers are being led to believe they are. Many a slip can occur between the cup and the lip. There are many slips that can occur between the cup of commercial claims and what ends up in the lips of the pet food bowl.

Consumer Blame

The consumer is not without guilt in this unfortunate – steady diet of processed pet food – approach to pet feeding. They want everything easy and inexpensive. They don’t want to learn or have to expend too much effort, and they want something simple to base decisions on like: “corn, wheat and soy are evil,” or “USDA approved,” or “human grade” or “organic is good.” They also want something for nothing and think they can get it in a pet food. People want prime choice meats, organic and fresh foods all wrapped up tidy in an easy open, easy pour package, hopefully for 50 cents a pound. They may even pay $1 or a little more if the producer can convince them about how spectacular their product is or how much cancer their pet will get if they choose another brand.

Are By-Products Evil?

In the processing of human foods there are thousands of tons of by-products that cannot be readily sold to humans. Does that make them useless or even inferior? No. Such by-products could include trimmings, viscera, organs, bones, gristle and anything else that humans do not desire. Should these perfectly nutritious items be buried in a landfill? As I mentioned above, while Earth’s resources continue to decline and people starve around the globe, should we feed our pets only “human grade” foods and let perfectly edible – and sometimes even more nutritious – by-products go to waste? How is that conscionable or justifiable for either the consumer or the producer?

Road Kill and Euthanized Pets

This shift to “human grade” for pet foods is partly due to a variety of myths that have gotten much stronger legs than they deserve. Lore has spread in the marketplace that road kill and euthanized pets are used in pet foods. I have never seen the proof for this outrageous claim and after twenty years surveying ingredient suppliers I have never found a supplier of such. However, fantastic myths easily get life and the more fantastic they are the more life they have. It’s the intellectually lazy way and what lies at the root of so much misery. Sloppy superficial thinking is what leads to racism, sexism, religious persecution and wars. People would like to think the world is sharply divided into right-wrong, good-evil, black-white. Marketers capitalize on this by trying to create such sharp distinctions for consumers to easily grab on to: human grade = good/all others = evil; organic = right/all others = wrong; rice = white/corn and wheat = black. Such simplistic and naïve distinctions are quick and simple for advertisers and salespeople to use to sway public opinion. But nobody stepping back and using common sense would ever think that something as complex as health could ever come from what is or is not in a processed bag of food. Reality is not black or white; it is in shades of gray. Grayness requires some knowledge, judgment and discernment before making choices. It’s a little more work but is what we all must do if the world is ever to be a better place and people and pet health are to improve.

A Step by Step Guide to Pet Friendly

Step One: Finding an Agent

When it comes to shopping for a Real Estate Professional, there are many places to start. As of December 2006, there were over 2 million Real Estate Agents across the United States. With approximately 75% of people turning to the Internet to start their Real Estate Search, you go to your favorite search engine and depending on your search results you have to sort through the clutter of hundreds or thousands of Real Estate Websites. All the Web sites start looking the same and you quickly become bored or even frustrated. So how do you sort through the confusion to choose an Agent that’s right for you and understands your specific Pet Friendly needs?

Getting to know the specialties of a Pet Friendly Real Estate Agent is an important, but sometimes a difficult thing to do. This all comes down to the Agent’s ability to set themselves apart in the competitive Real Estate market and be the expert in their area of specialization. There are few “Pet Friendly” Agents in today’s market that are marketing themselves in the most effective way. It is even more difficult to find a Pet Friendly Agent who specializes in your town or city.

Step Two: Selling a Pet Friendly Property

When preparing a Pet Friendly property for sale, you have a big task ahead of you. It is important to make any property for sale as attractive as possible, but a Pet Friendly property can have a few more challenges. Pet hair has a tendency to find the deepest nooks and crannies in a home and if a home has a distinct pet odors, potential buyers may skip on the property. Your Pet Friendly Agent may suggest a few simple everyday maintenance chores that that can add to the appeal of your property.

o Vacuuming and cleaning your carpets and even your furniture on a regular basis will remove pet hair and dander and is a quick and simple step to keep your home looking neat. To reduce the amount of hair to be vacuumed, make a habit of brushing your pet regularly, which will also keep your pet’s coat healthy.

o Keep up on your ‘Doggy Duty’, which means keeping your yard clean at all times! To a potential buyer a dirty yard could equate with a dirty home.

o Keeping litter boxes clean and covered. Cat urine is a very distinct and difficult smell to eliminate. Keep the litter box in a well ventilated area, clean the litter box often, and consider an odor-reducing kitty litter.

o Have a plan for open houses or scheduled showings of your home. Some people are terrified of animals or even allergic. It is best to remove the pet from your home during a showing or an open house. If that is not possible, or would be stressful for your pet, consider keeping your pet in a crate or ask a friend or relative to pet sit.

o De-clutter your home, including pet toys, pet beds and crates and pet photos. Remember that even if you are Pet Friendly, a potential buyer may not be.

Step Three: Buying a Pet Friendly Property

You can expect your Pet Friendly Agent to be the Pet Friendly Real Estate expert. That means being knowledgeable about everything about a Property from the fenced yard to the local pet parks and Veterinary clinics. After all, you are not just looking for a home is suitable for you but for your whole family – pets included. A Pet Friendly Agent will start by asking you some initial qualifying questions: Are you a dog owner, cat owner, horse or farm owner? The following are examples of a few other topics you can expect that your Pet Friendly Agent will discuss with you:

o Pet Restrictions. You will commonly find pet restrictions in condominiums or deed-restricted neighborhoods. It is critical that you and your Pet Friendly Agent know ahead of time what those restrictions are, if any. They may include the number of pets, size of pet, breed restrictions (even for mixed breeds!) or parking restrictions for horse trailers.

o Veterinary Clinics, Specialty and Emergency Hospitals. In the event of an emergency, it is critical to be close to a 24 hour Emergency Hospital. Luckily, an increasing number of Emergency Hospitals also double as Specialty Hospitals. With the advancement of Veterinary Medicine, you can now provide the very best care for your pet if he or she requires specialty or emergency care and the convenience of a local Hospital may mean life or death for your pet.

o Pet Amenities. The everyday conveniences of safe walking or horse trails, stables, doggy pick-up stations, grooming and boarding facilities, and fenced in exercise areas are great examples of what makes an ordinary property a Pet Friendly property.

o Evacuation. If the potential property you are interested in purchasing is in a natural disaster Evacuation zone, would you have an Evacuation plan for your pets? Evacuation involves a great deal of preparation, especially for horses, and there is usually little notice of an impending disaster. You must be willing to prepare a solid Evacuation plan in place to ensure the safety of your pets.

Step Four: Moving Day

You have found your perfect agent, sold or purchased your Pet Friendly Property, and now it is time to pack up and move. Whether you are moving across town, across country or from another country – you have a big task ahead of you. Preparation is key to a successful move, keeping your pet’s safety in mind:

o Identification. Rule #1 in moving with your pet is properly identifying your pet with an identification tag and sturdy collar. Make sure your pet’s tag includes your destination location and telephone number and a mobile number, so you can be reached easily. Your prior address or telephone number will be useless if you have already moved.

o Medications, Food, and Veterinary Records. Keep a current copy of your pet’s vaccinations in a convenient location and not packed away in the moving truck. If traveling is stressful for your pet, consult your veterinarian about ways that might lessen the stress of travel. Depending on your destination, your pet may also need additional vaccinations, medications, and health certificates. Keep at least one week’s worth of food and medication in case of emergency.

o Crates and Containment Systems. There are many different types of travel crates on the market, and many are lightweight and collapsible just for traveling purposes. Make sure your pet is familiar with the crate you will be using for transportation by gradually introducing him to the crate before your trip. Be sure the crate is sturdy enough for stress-chewers or he could make an escape.

o Traveling by car It is best to travel with your dog in a crate, but if your dog enjoys car travel, you may want to accustom him to a restraining harness. For your safety as well as theirs, it is ALWAYS best to transport cats in a well-ventilated carrier. Never keep your pet in the open bed of a truck, or the storage area of a moving van. In any season, a pet left alone in a parked vehicle is vulnerable to being injured, harmed or stolen. Plan ahead by searching for pet friendly hotels to find overnight lodging during your move, and have plenty of kitty litter and plastic bags on hand for Doggy Duty.

o Keeping your pet secure. Pets can feel vulnerable on moving day. Keep your pet in a safe, quiet place, such as the bathroom on moving day with a PETS INSIDE sign on the door to keep off-limits to friends and professional movers.

o Air Travel. If traveling by air, first check with the airline about any pet requirements or restrictions to be sure you have prepared your pet to be safe and secure during the trip. Give yourself plenty of time to work out any arrangements necessary including consulting with your veterinarian, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

o Preparing your new home. Keep in mind that your pets may be frightened and confused in new surroundings. To reduce the chance of escaping due to fear, or pure excitement to explore the new territory, prepare all the familiar and necessary things your pet will need from day one including food, water, medications, bed, litter box, food and water bowls.

Pet Preparation Prior to Disaster

June is quickly approaching and for most coastal regions the thought of a hurricane begins to creep into our minds.

We become concerned about the safety of our homes, our pets and ourselves.

However, hurricanes are not the only disasters that can confront our well being and that of our pets. Floods, wildfires, tornadoes, riots and terrorists attacks add to the list of things that can happen.

The important thing is to have a plan. Hurricane Katrina was a disaster that displaced not only thousands of people but displaced many animals and unfortunately many died along with their owners. It is said that approximately 44 percent of Hurricane Katrina’s victims were pet owners that would not leave their pets.

Until Katrina hit, our country was not too pet friendly in the light of disasters. Most, if not all, did not allow pets of any kind to be brought to a designated shelter.

Currently many states are now providing shelters for owners and their pets providing they follow certain restrictions. Red Cross shelters however, will not allow pets. It is not their rule, but that of the local health departments. A Red Cross shelter is for the benefit of those who do not have pets, who are afraid of pets or who have allergies to pets.

It is up to “you” the pet owner to check your local facilities and see what shelters will allow pets and what size and kind of pet is allowed.

Planning ahead for yourself and your pet should be at the top of your list of things to do. The problem with advance preparing is that many of us go into the “denial mode.” We tell ourselves that whatever the disaster is “it is not going to involve us.” Then it hits and we are not even prepared for ourselves let alone our pets.

So what should a pet owner do? In the following paragraphs I am going to give you some tips on how to keep your cat or dog as safe as humanly possible. The important thing is to remember you need to prepare before a disaster strikes.

A disaster kit should be large enough to contain all the things you normally need for your pet for at least a 7-day period. It should be waterproof (a plastic container with a tight fitting lid) and labeled “disaster supplies cat or dog.”

  • Food: Pack the brand your pet is used to eating, both canned and dry. Smaller cans are better, as pets in a disrupted setting tend to eat less.
    Take along a can opener (even if the cans have lift tabs, some times they do not work.)
    Bowls for food and a plastic lid cover for uneaten canned food. Keep uneaten opened cans in a cooler. A spoon or two might be helpful to dish out the canned food.
  • Water: Enough water for at least a week. Do not keep water in a disaster kit for more than 3 months at a time and store it in a cool dark place.
    A water bowl along with a small bottle of bleach, to use if necessary to purify undrinkable water.
  • Sanitation Supplies: Kitty litter and a litter box for the cat. Take enough litter to use for at least a week along with small plastic bags to dispose of the litter when cleaning out the box.
    For your dog take a “pooper scooper” and plastic bags to dispose of the waste.
  • Cleaning supplies: Paper towels for accidents and to use for cleaning litter box, food dishes, crate or carrier.
    Dish soap and some disinfectant for cleaning crates, carriers and assorted possible messes.
  • Pictures: Have recent photos of your pet, take several or make copies in case you need to do posters if the pet gets lost.
    Have a picture of you with your pet, great for identification should the pet get lost and someone finds it. This is very important.
  • Veterinary Information: You will need the recent records of your pet’s shots and vaccinations.
    You need to take a supply of any medication your pet is currently taking.
    Write you Vet’s name, address, and phone number on a piece of paper. Include also a note giving permission for another person besides you to get emergency treatment for your pet if you are not available.
    Also have your name, all available telephone numbers that can reach you, address and any other info, so if you and your pet get separated you can be found.
    Put all this information in a zip lock plastic bag.
  • Collars, tags and ID: Get your cat used to wearing a break away collar with an ID tag on it.
    Have your dog wearing one at all times.
    Get your pet a microchip and sign up with the national registry.
    Have several ID tags in case one gets lost.
    Use a harness on your cat to keep it on a leash, do not depend on the collar. More cats have been lost with collars on as they can get out of them. Have your cat practice wearing a harness at home a few hours at a time,
    Have several leashes (one may get lost) and keep your pet on a leash if it is not in a crate or carrier.
    Always know where your pet is at all times.
  • Miscellaneous articles: Toys, grooming supplies, dry shampoo, flea protection, extra towels, and treats.
  • Crate or carrier: Make certain the crate or carrier is big enough for the pet to move around comfortably and has room for food dishes and water if necessary.
    Crates (for dogs) take up a great deal of room and the ideal product would be a collapsible wire crate with a sturdy lock.
    Possible containment for a small or mid sized dog could be a collapsible exercise pen, just make certain the dog cannot dig out or crawl under it. Fasten it down with a stake driven into the ground and fastened to the pen.
  • First aid kit: Put together a small first aid kit that contains bandages, gauze, antiseptic wipes, some medicated cream recommended by your vet, some tweezers and scissors and a cold/hot pack.
    Keep in a watertight container.These are just a few suggestions to guide you in preparing for a disaster. The most important thing is to be prepared and ready to move when the time arrives.

If you are in doubt as to whether or not you should take your pet ask yourself this question; “would I leave a young child here to cope?” If the answer is no, than take your pet.

What can you do for your pet if you cannot take it
with you? This is in the case of a hurricane or flood. In case of a fire or a tornado warning do not leave your pet.

If you are facing a hurricane, do not leave your pet outside. A bathroom, a closet or a room without too many windows is a good place to start. If you have a basement, keep your pet there.

Here is where a “self feeder” for dry food comes in handy. Fill it with as much dry food as it will hold. If you are leaving several pets get several feeders. If the self-feeders are not possible, leave dry food in containers the dogs or cats can get to. Leave plenty of water in containers that cannot be knocked over.

Leave several articles of clothing that you have recently worn with the pet, your scent will provide some comfort.

Expect a mess when you come home.

Put ID tags on the pet with all necessary information.
Leave your vet’s name and information along with a note giving permission for someone other than you to get treatment for the pet if necessary. Put this information in a plastic bag and nail it to a wall or door so it is visible.

If there is danger of a flood you need to provide places of higher elevation for the pet to get to.

In case of a flood, the cellar is definitely not the place to keep your pet. If you have an idea of the possible flood level, construct some type of area for the pet to climb onto to stay dry. Pile up furniture and create a level space that the pet can reach. Make certain there is food and water available for your pet to eat at floor level and on the higher space.

If you are leaving your dog outside, do not tie or chain it up. Dogs can be left in garages, barns, sheds or even a flat roof (provide a large board in case you are in a sunny area, as a roof can get very hot and burn a pet’s pads.)

Wherever you leave your dog, be certain that it can reach a higher level and that there is food and water there for your pet to eat and drink.

Do not leave treats, vitamins or supplements out for your pet, provide only dry food and water.

If your pet is a cat the same instructions apply. Make certain that the cat has a high place to retreat to in case of high water and that you have placed food and water in that location.

Refrigerators, tall entertainment centers or a shelf in a closet can provide safety for your cat. Regarding cats leave a litter box in the location you have chosen.

Making arrangements with a neighbor to keep an eye on your pet if you are not around when the disaster is due to happen is a good idea. Give your neighbor the necessary veterinarian information and a note allowing permission for treatment if you are not available.
Above all preplan and be ready.

If you are going on vacation be certain to check with the kennel or with the person who is caring for your animals to see if they have a disaster plan. This is where preplanning on your part is important. Have your disaster kit ready for them to use if necessary.

Leaving a pet is a heart-wrenching thing to do and please do not do it unless it is absolutely the only thing you can do. Just writing that sentence has reduced me to tears, as I know I could not leave my pets under any circumstances.

How to Find Discount Pet Supplies

I love my pet, but I hate the high cost of pet supplies.

Can you relate to the constant drain on your wallet? Would you like to reduce the cost of your pet supplies?

If you too love your pet or pets and would like to benefit from some ways I save money on pet supplies then take just a few minutes and let me share some cost saving ideas that can really lighten the financial drain for those pets that we consider a integral part of our family.

One of the problems with the cost of pet supplies has become the increasing cost these past few years. It can add up fast. In my house we actually have a line item in our monthly budget because we actually have 3 pets (2 dogs and a cat). In this article I hope to help everyone who loves pets but would like to save money on pet supplies.

Most of us are genuine pet lovers. We love to keep animals as pets for our enjoyment and companionship. Over time, these pets become a regular part of the family. Our pets deserve the very best care just as anyone in the family would. Because of our love and commitment to care for our pets, We’re constantly looking for little nick knacks we can buy while shopping..

The pet supply and pet product industry has grown quite a bit over the past decade. Thus a large number of new pet stores have opened up all through out the country. There are many pet products and pet supplies outlets available in the market today including where you live or at least over the Internet. As a Pet lover, you can buy these products from discount pet stores or order online from the comfort of your home of office.

The goal is sorting through these new shopping options in search for the true values, the genuine best and Lowest discounted prices available. In terms of pet supply inventory, this too has increased dramatically over the past decade. Today there are virtually endless products and pet food options available. Most of the discount pet supply stores have a large assortment of these different products that offers a variety of sizes. In addition they carry a growing selection of pet supplies and pet gifts.

There are a wide variety of online and local discount pet stores for you to choose from. Both online and traditional discount pet supply stores offer a growing selection of items for the pets that you love. The online pet discount stores carries a wider range of product for your pet because their not limited to physical shelf space. These online discount pet stores are a great resource for checking out a discount pet supplies and price comparisons without the need to actually visit stores in your area. Online stores are easy to use as they are easier and more convenient to order from. When purchasing anything online including pet supplies or pet foods you can save money by not having to pay sales taxes in most cases. In addition, you can have many online pet supplies stores offer free shipping to first time buyers or in many cases for a specific period of time of if your order exceeds a certain dollar amount.

Most of the pet supply discount pet stores are pet friendly. They are designed to provide a nice comfortable place for the pet owner and your pet while your buying pet supplies. Some of these discount stores offer many additional benefits and services in addition to the normal services you’ve come to expect. Some of these extra services include pet grooming services, pet photography and veterinary services, Community services such as obedience classes, pet adoption clinics and seminars on pet care are also offered.

Well I hope this article has helped you and I hope it has shed some light on the challenge of saving money on your pets supplies regardless whether you use a local regular pet supply store or an online store. This may take a little research and price comparison on your part but the savings will be well worth it.

How to Find Chicago Area Pet Stores

Some things that you may want to take into consideration when selecting your pet store include the locality of the pet store, the expertise and knowledge of the people employed at the pet store and the history and information available on the pets at the pet stores. Firstly, it is important to find a pet store that is close enough to you to meet any future needs you may have. This is not such an important issue if you will not have to be making return visits to the store, but if you are purchasing a pet that requires special food or supplies that are only found at that pet store, you will want to make sure it is not going to be a burden trying to get to it.

Next, you want to make sure that the owners and employees at the pet store are very knowledgeable and helpful. This is important especially if you are purchasing a kind of pet that is rare, exotic or that you are not that familiar with. It is important to know that the people that have been providing care to the pet prior to you have been taking the best care as possible of the pet to ensure its health and well-being when it is adjusted to moving to your home.

You also want to make sure that the pet store has good records on where all of the pets they carry came from. The origin and paperwork of each pet should be well documented, and the information should be readily available to you when you purchase the animal. That way you will know more about the history of the pet and also any vaccinations or health conditions that are present.

Finding Chicago area pet stores is no problem, just make sure that the one you select has all of the above criteria met and that you feel comfortable with your purchase of your new pet. Depending on where you live in the Chicago area, there are plenty of pet stores to choose from in different locations and that carry different kinds of pets and products. Your best resource for finding pet stores that serve your needs is to check out your local yellow pages, phone books and online directories of Chicago area pet stores.

Here are a few pet stores that are listed in various sources that you may want to check out:
o Chicago Pet Store 2
o Krisers Feeding Pets for Life
o Doggy Style Pet Shop
o Global Pet Industries
o Downtown Pets
o Chicago Pet Store
o Cute Pet Adoptions
o Pet Stuff
o Petco
o Streeterville Pet Spa & Boutique
o Bridgeport Pet Boutique
o Animal Lovers Pet Salon
o Wicker Pet
o Jules Pets
o Cermek Pets & Supplies
o Lets Pet
o Pet Care Center
o Pet Supplies Plus
o Fishing Schooner Pet Centers
o Second Home Pets Care
o Midway Pets & Hobbies
o Ruff N Stuff Pet Center
o Parkview Pet Supplies
o Vahles Bird & Pet Shop
o All Creatures Pet Center
o Pet Luv Pet Center
o Peachtree Pet Shop
o Pet & Pamper Me
o Puppy Petite Incorporated
o WindyCityParrot.Com
o Liz’s Bird Shop
o The Grooming Gallery
o Liz’s Bird Shop
o Soggy Paws

Pet Insurance Myths

Recently Pets Best Insurance conducted another set of focus groups on pet owners to determine if we were addressing what pet owners really wanted, and to see if they understood the value concept of pet insurance. The results of the study confirmed observations stemming from years of prior experience in veterinary medicine and pet insurance. However, the results also showed that many pet owners believe myths about pet insurance born of misconceptions and incorrect information. Below are the myths we encountered and takeaways from our focus group.

“Pet Insurance Is Only For Sick Pets”
Actually, you must purchase insurance before your pet is sick, the same as you would buy auto or homeowners insurance before you have an accident or catastrophe. Although Pets Best provides a small amount towards a pre-existing condition insurance is really for future risk (loss).

“Insurance Is a Hassle”
Pets Best pet insurance plans are simple. You just pay your veterinary bills and submit the bills to us. We reimburse you directly in less than a week (unlike some plans which are complicated and utilize schedules which may be substantially less than your actual veterinary expenses). Check out the ‘plans’ section on their site.

With Pets Best 80% payment after the deductible, it is easy to figure out how much we will reimburse you for your claims. Since pet owners typically pay out of pocket for their pet’s medical expenses, the turnaround time for payment is shorter, unlike human health care where hospitals and doctors bill the insurance company.

“We Could Not Choose Our Own Vet”
Fortunately with most pet insurance plans there are no Managed Care principals, Pet HMOs or Veterinary PPOs to contend with. At Pets Best you can always select the veterinarian of your choice. Pet insurance is not typically involved in the decision process for treatments, care or cost. The only exceptions are plans that utilize a benefit schedule (which will affect your out-of-pocket costs) and one that is trying to set up a network of veterinarians.

“Pet Insurance Must Be Expensive”
Although premiums vary by company, plan type, age of pet, and species of pet (cat or dog), in most instances pet insurance is very affordable and the monthly cost is about what you would pay for a dinner for two. Pet owners can choose a less costly plan with lower limits and a higher deductible or a higher cost plan with lower deductible and higher limits. Prices will vary from company to company, but most are reasonable. See an overview of Pets Best insurance plans by visiting the ‘plans’ section on their site.

“Pet Insurance Has Too Many Exclusions Or Does Not Cover What I Need”
When it comes to accidents or illness, pet insurance actually has very few exclusions. Pet insurance is designed to transfer the risk of your pet’s future unknown health cost to the insurer. Close inspection will see that it truly does.

When it comes to protecting your pet’s health and the many thousands of accidents and illnesses that can happen to pets (other than hereditary, congenital and pre-existing conditions) all accidents and most illnesses are covered.

With Pets Best many of the typical exclusions are limitations, where the payment, although smaller, does provide some coverage and value. Ask your veterinarian or their staff how many times a pet’s illness can present financial hardship and hard decisions.

Pet insurance is like your own health insurance; it is designed to pay for your pet’s medical needs, whether it is a simple skin rash, a virus, an ear infection or severe cancer.

As a pet owner, your decisions surrounding pet insurance speak to your understanding the myths and facts about the real value pet insurance can provide. In addition to granting peace of mind and protecting your pocketbook, most pet owners still do not understand the benefits.

As a doctor of veterinary medicine and an animal lover, I will not rest until every pet owner is at least aware that pet insurance coverage exists. It can be budgeted at a reasonable cost so pet lovers never have to be concerned with their pet family member’s health costs.

Curious about what it would cost to insure your pet? Pets Best is happy to provide a free quote for pet insurance. Still have questions about pet insurance? Visit the Pets Best frequently asked questions about pet insurance forum.

Pets For Kids

Here are 10 Essential Reality Checks for YOU to consider when ‘others’ are considering the addition of a new pet to your family or household.

So you want a pet or at least your kids want a pet, well there is nothing unnatural about that, the whole idea will sound great…but wait a minute, stop and think…. there are some great positives about this idea….there are also some essential reality checks that need thinking about….a quick read through my checklists below will help you make a more realistic decision.
Remember the old saying “A pet is not just for Christmas”. Someone will have to clear the ‘pooh’ up at the end of it …. all.

Essential Reality Check No. 1 – 
The Type of Pet

The type of pets for kids you can take into your household will depend on a whole host of things such as follows:

The ages of your kids – a two year old child will probably not be able to handle a pet gently and certainly won’t be able to care for the pet…..

How much will the pet costs be – not just to buy – but to care for on a daily basis?

What size of pet does your child want? – What space will be needed? A hamster does not take up much space but guinea pigs, ferrets and rats need much larger cages.

How much time do your kids and you as a family have to give to the pet?

Will your family be safe with the pet? Will the pet be safe with your family?

If you have a larger pet such as a dog, cat, or goat what effects will it have on your family, friends and neighbours?

How will your pet be cared for during your holidays.

Will your family be able to cope with the eventual death of a pet?

Some pets will sleep most of the day and be awake at night. Hamsters can be very noisy at night!

If your child wants a dog you will need to look into the breed, size and exercise needs of the dog.

Do you already have another pet, what effect will it have on that pet. For instance will your dog be OK with a cat or rabbit or bird?

Essential Reality Check No. 2 – 
Ages of your Kids

You will need to decide on a pet that is suitable for the age of your kids.

For instance in most cases it would not be wise to buy a hamster for a two year old child who is still adapting to the world around them and may not know or be able to handle the hamster gently.

Do you want to give your kids some responsibility in caring for an animal. Some kids are very responsible and will be able to manage this. Other kids, well the sight of a baby animal is just too appealing, after all who can resist a cute puppy or kitten or baby hamster?

At first you may need to help your kids, as caring for a pet is a very responsible job. As a parent or carer you will always need to oversee a pet’s care.

As the parent or carer you will need to decide if your child is old enough to handle and care for a pet. How often have parents heard the cry “oh but we promise we’ll take it for walks everyday”
Or “we’ll clean it out mum, we promise”. How will you feel in a years time when you find yourself caring for the pets because the kids are busy with friends or away on a school trip or inundated with homework or just plain bored with the poor thing.

Essential Reality Check No. 3 – 
True Costs of Pets for Kids

Some pets are very cheap to buy for instance hamsters, guinea pigs, goldfish. gerbils, fancy rats, fancy mice and rabbits and even ferrets.

You will still need to consider:
The cage set up (this can be very expensive when looking at the cage sizes that most pets need) in fact they need the largest cage you can manage

Food costs per week
Bedding
Vets bills if your pets become ill.
e.g. Ferrets need a yearly injection against canine distemper.
Holiday care – you will need to pay for this of course if you cannot rely on friends and family.

Bigger pets for kids such as goats, and dogs and pedigree cats are far more expensive to buy initially, some costing hundreds of pounds.
You will need to consider:
Bedding and a cage (if buying one for your dog or cat)
Leads and collars for dogs.
Food bills
Vets bills (dogs should have yearly check ups with a vets)
Toys
Holiday care (kennels can be very expensive)
Flea treatment
Ongoing veterinary costs if your pets becomes chronically ill.

Essential Reality Check No. 4 – 
The Space Required

Even small pets for kids such as guinea pigs, fancy rats and ferrets need a lot of cage space for a happy life. They will need the biggest cages you can find space for. These pets also need space to exercise out of the cage.

Cats take up very little space, as do small breeds of dogs.
Dogs will need a decent sized garden as well as walks to keep them well exercised.

Essential Reality Check No. 5 – 
Time for your Pets

Do you and the family have time for a pet.

For smaller pets you will need to have them out of the cage and being handled daily for at least 2 hours a day.

Do you have time to clean out your pet at least once or twice a week, or even daily?

Some pets will certainly need the toilet corner of their cage cleaned more often to avoid a foul smelling cage and pet.

Water bottles and food bowls will need cleaning and refilling every day.

Will you be able to walk your dog at least once a day? – dependent on the breed some need more!

Are you willing to look after your pets for kids for the many years some can live?
(From 18 months to 2 years for a mouse up to 15 years for a dog)

If you are out at work all day and the kids are at school all day your pets will need and will demand attention when you return home

Essential Reality Check No. 6 – 
Your Pet and Family Safety

You will always need to ensure your kids safety when they are spending time with any pets.
Even little pets can bite and leave a wound.

Dogs should not be left unattended with your kids as they are unpredictable. Even a faithful dog will bite and even attack a child if they are in pain or afraid. It happens rarely – but it does happen.

You will also need to ensure your pets safety:Is your child able to handle a pet safely without hurting it.

Is your pet safe with any other pets in the home? – if you have young children and a dog …. you will need to make sure the dog cannot escape because a door is accidentally left open.

If you have a dog you need to ensure visitors safety as you can be sued if your dog bites someone on your property (or even off your property)

Make sure that when pets for kids are having free time out of cages that:
Other pets cannot hurt them
They cannot chew electrical leads
They cannot fall into toilets or baths of water.
They cannot escape through gaps in walls or floors
They cannot get outside without supervision

Essential Reality Check No. 7 – 
Effects on Family and Neighbours

The whole family needs to be in agreement if you are getting pets. Pets can be noisy and messy having an effect on family living.

What effect will a pet such as a dog have on Granny who suffers with an allergy – will that mean she cannot come to visit anymore?

If you get a dog will it bark and howl when you leave them for any length of time and will this annoy your neighbours.
Will the dog bark when your neighbours are in their own garden.
How will your neighbours take to having your pet cat mess in their garden?

You will need to keep your yard free of dog mess to ensure it does not smell -particularly in summer months.

Essential Reality Check No. 8 –

Holidays and Care for Pets for kids

If you have pets for kids what will happen to them during your holiday times.

Do you have family or friends who can care for your pets while you are away.

If not you will have to pay for your pets care.

This will be expensive for dogs, cats and larger animals.

Even for little pets, holiday care can be expensive.

Essential Reality Check No. 9 –
Loss of a Pet and Grief

Some children are really sensitive and will be distraught when their beloved pet eventually passes away, or is lost in some way.

This is especially distressing if the pet has died as a result of an accident or illness.

How will you manage this?

The kids will need to grieve, grieving is a healthy part of a loss reaction. We can suffer losses every day in a small way such as not getting something we want, this causes a loss reaction and part of the healing for this is grief. If your child or other family member struggles with the grieving then look at the following and see if it applies. The grieving process has seven stepping stones through which people move. Your family member may not go through them in order or spend long on any one.

The stepping stones are:
Shock, Denial, Guilt, Anger, Depression Bargaining, Acceptance
Your child may want another pet this is called bargaining and is one of the stepping stones through the grief process.
If your child cannot have another pet, break down the hidden losses that the death of their pet has caused.
Could there be a loss of your child’s self worth or self esteem.
Have they lost their only companion.
Has your child lost the only one who listened to them.
By chatting try to find out how your child is feeling and help them to work out their losses and then work through to acceptance by doing some healthy bargaining.
Would your child be able to regain their sense of worth or self esteem another way? Perhaps helping out with a friends pet for instance.

For some children it may be helpful to have a burial service, so they can say goodbye properly.

(My son kept some hair from his beloved dog)

Our kids have managed the deaths of their pets really well and have gone on to have other pets, for other kids though it has more of an effect so you will need to decide when or if to replace your child’s pet.

Essential Reality Check No. 10 – 
Pets for Kids are GREAT!

For the most part pets for kids are good fun. They are often good company for your kids especially if the kids are lonely.

Our autistic daughter has changed a lot since we got her guinea pigs to look after. She has gained some imaginative play, we think this is because she talks to her guinea pigs.
We do have to oversee her with them though.

Kids can learn a lot from caring for pets for kids and by having pets even when they are lost naturally.

Dogs can encourage the family out to get exercise as they walk the dog.

Pet Medicine to Keep Your Pet Strong

Your pet is an important member of your family. Keeping him or her healthy will give them a longer life, and you and your family more time to enjoy their loyal companionship. Pets have health care needs that are in many ways much like that of humans. They are also vulnerable to diseases that only animals can be stricken with and preventative care is essential for helping them avoid these.

Most likely, you already know from taking your pets to the vet that they need yearly inoculations to protect them from rabies, distemper, and other common animal diseases They also need to be tested for heartworm once a year and to be placed on heartworm prevention medicine such as that made by Heartguard® and Interceptor®, for example. There are other tests your veterinarian may choose to give your pet to identify any potential health problems that exist. When health problems are found, your veterinarian can recommend certain pet medicines for treating your pet and restoring their health. Flea and tick medicines are commonly used by pet owners to help keep their pets and homes free from these disease-carrying pests. These are available in prescription and nonprescription formulas. For tested effectiveness and for the safety of your pet, however, it might be wiser to choose prescription flea and tick medicines to treat your pet with.

Many pet medicines can be used as preventatives to ward off the development of health problems in your pets. Boosting your pet’s immune system and helping body organs to function correctly will strengthen your pet’s health and prolong their life. Pets can fall prey to many human aliments like bladder infections, gastro-intestinal disturbances, kidney stones, liver deficiencies, allergies, lung and breathing disorders, muscle and joint weakness, osteoarthritis, and much more. Antibiotics, anti-fungals, and other prescription medicines are given to lessen symptoms for pets suffering from these health issues, and also as a way of preventing pets from getting sick in the first place.

Some pets have the nasty and seriously harmful habit of eating their own waste or the waste of other animals. Animal waste can harbor bacteria and diseases that are very harmful to your pets. Using a pet medicine such as Forbid® and similar products to discourage pets from eating waste will help keep them from engaging in this unhealthy activity. Other pets have a habit of licking themselves incessantly. Stress, anxiety, boredom, and learned behavior are some of the reasons pets do this. This can lead to loss of fur and skin irritations. A pet medicine that has an unpleasant taste or odor is often successful in teaching pets not to lick themselves excessively.

Nutrition is just as important for pets as it is for humans. Like humans, pets need to get proper neutrino for strong health. You might find it surprising to learn that the commercial food you are feeding your pet may not be giving them all the nutrition they need. The package says it provides complete nutrition for your pet; however, manufactured pet foods do not contain all of the nutrients your pet would get from a “wild” diet derived from plant and animal sources. The solution to helping your pet stay strong and healthy as a domesticated member of your family is to supplement their diet of pet foods with nutritional pet medicines. These are often called health or nutritional supplements. Vitamin and mineral supplements such as fatty acids, omega3, vitamin E, and other nutritional supplements can bolster your pet’s diet, giving them the nutrients they need to maintain strong health.

Did you know that regularly bathing and grooming your pet is an important part of helping them to stay strong and healthy? Shampoos made especially for dogs and cats help wash bacteria, debris, and insects from your pet’s body. Regular washing of your pet may also reveal skin irritations that might otherwise remain hidden under a thick coat of fur. Pet medicated shampoos that also contain lotions, can help alleviate dry skin conditions on your pet and restore skin health for your pet. Brushing your pet’s fur keeps it from matting, which can trap dirt and pests in the fur and make your pet uncomfortable. There are brushes and combs made especially for use on dogs or cats. De-shedders keep both you and your pets happy. They like the pleasurable sensations caused by the brushing and you will like not having stray fur all over the place. Trimming your pet’s nails is also important for their health and not just for saving your floors and furniture from scratches. Untrimmed pet nails can grow inwards and penetrate your pet’s paws. This can be very painful, encourages the growth of bacteria, and can even limit your pet’s mobility. There are several popular pet nail trimmers that make trimming your pet’s nails easy on you and them.