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Archive for March 2014

Boarding Your Pet at a Kennel

130868 What should you look for in a kennel when you board your pet? You want someone to care for your pet the same way you would, but how do you find that special place? The following are tips for finding the best care for you pet while you’re away from home.

* A knowledgeable staff with access to a vet. This will put your mind at ease, knowing that should there be an emergency regarding your pet while you’re away care is at hand, literally.

* The smell and clean appearance when you walk in. If you look around and don’t like what you see or smell this is a warning, it doesn’t matter how cheap the care is, the health of your pet is too important for you to pay someone to potentially neglect or possibly hurt your pet. Trust your instincts, if something doesn’t seem right, turn around and walk out the door.

* Ask about the room your pet will be residing in. If you can see it with your own eyes that would be perfect, but the possibility of you not being able to see the room yourself is high. You should ask about occupancy, exercise, and feeding schedules. You don’t want your pet in a cramped small room surrounded by other cramped unhappy animals. Inthe case of cats, you don’t want the litter box too close the cat’s food.

* Are pets required to have all their vaccinations up to date? Does your state perform kennel checks? If so make sure the kennel you’re using displays their state certificate to you.

* What services are you getting for your buck and how are the fees calculated.

If you do all this you can always ask your friends and vet for kennel recommendations as well. Usually a satisfying experience means the kennel is well maintained and staffed.

Pet Food


What is in your pet’s food anyway? When you read the list of ingredients do names like chicken meal, or filler mean anything to you? Probably not. But here is what industry standards deem fit for your pet to eat.

Binders and Carbohydrate Sources
You might recognize these as the label calls them Corn/Rice Meal, Feeding Oat Meal, Grain Solubles, Cereal Food Fines, Brewers Rice, Soy Flour, Potato Byproduct, and/or Corn/Wheat Gluten Meal.

Some of these are used as protein source, but these are linked to diseases caused by a high intake of carbohydrates. The reason these protein sources are bad for animals is their systems are not designed for a diet containing grains. Others are binders to make the fat content in the food more like to stick or bind to other parts of the ingredients.

Most of these are used as protein supplements, but are unhealthy substitutions because cats, dogs and ferrets were never meant to eat these ingredients.

These are chemical agents such as Glyceryl Monostearates, Phosphoric Acid, Propolyne Glycol, and Powdered Cellulose.

These are used to keep the color and flavor consistent in the pet foods, as well as stopping the food from drying out. Glyceryl Monostearates is used to thicken the ingredient mixture ad should be avoided if possible. The cellulose is a pure filler and can be found in attic insulation.

Fat Sources
The ingredients list of fat sources includes Beef Tallow, Animal Fat, Lard, Poultry Fat, Vegetable Oil, and By Products.

The animal fat sources can come from a number of places, including road kill, euthanized animals, diseased/disabled/dying animals prior to slaughter. There is no guarantee that this ingredient came from a proper slaughter house.

Some of these ingredients replace the actual meat your pet should be eating, but it’s cheaper for pet food manufacturers to use these ingredients instead. There is no quality bar for these products and there is no industry regulations that state what is acceptable and what is not.

Most of these ingredients offer little to no nutritional value for your pet.

Fiber Sources
You might wonder why these are on the list of ingredients; Corn Cellulose, Corn Bran, Oat Hulls, Peanut Hulls, Rice Hulls, Soy Bean Mill Run, Wheat Mill Run, and Dried Beet Pulp.

As the title suggest these add the fiber to your animals diet to help encourage a balanced diet. However, again these add little to no nutritional value to your pet’s diet. In some cases these are floor sweepings from the left over production of human food.

Flavoring Agents and Protein Sources
A flavoring agent is used to make the taste appealing to your pet. These are labelled as Animal Digest, Digest, Flavor, Grandular Meal, Meat Meal, Bone Meal, and most foods ending in Meal.

These most often come from parts of the animal that aren’t fit for human consumption, such as hooves, tails, horns, feathers, hair, blood, hide trimmings, manure, stomach, and rumen.

These have very little nutritional value, but give the food a flavor that your pet will find suitable and some of the daily required protein.

Fruits and Vegetables
There are few fruits and vegetables actually in the food, but here are some of the by products of human food that find their way into our pet foods; Apple Pomace, Grape Pomace, and Citrus Pulp.

These are used to add fiber content to the food and nothing more.

BHA, BHT, Ethoxyquin, Propyl Gallate, and Sodium Nitrite/Nitrate and TBHQ are commonly used as preservatives in pet food. These are linked to chemicals that cause tumors and cancers in humans, but studies are still being conducted on their harmful effects on animals. Until there is clear evidence that these chemicals cause health problems in animals they will continue to use them in the pet foods.

Suppliments and Sweeteners
Supplements are used to give the pet food the calcium, minerals, and flavoring it needs to make it palatable as well as somewhat healthy for you animal. These ingredients include; Salt, Bone Phosphate, Mineral Oil, Yeast Culture, Yeast Fermentation Solubles, Propylene Glycol, Fructose, Corn Syrup, Cane Molasses, Sorbitol, DI-Alpha Tocopheral Acetate, and Sugar.

You may feel that there isn’t anything you can feed your pet, but there are some companies out there making all natural products for your pet. Here are a few websites to check out for a healthy alternative to grocery store brands or pet food.

Halo Pet Foods


Pet Amphibians

ID-1002214 Are you thinking about getting an amphibian for a pet? If you are there a few things you should consider first. When shopping for an amphibian, what you see in the store is a baby, they will grow larger and the babies usually require a certain level of care to keep them healthy and fit.

Be aware that amphibians secrete Salmonella, an anaerobic bacteria that can cause food poisoning if the person who handles the amphibian doesn’t wash their hands thoroughly after handling the amphibian. Always wash your hands before handling the amphibian to protect them and afterwards to protect yourself. You can’t clean the salmonella off the animals, it’s their natural defense mechanism, it will always be there.

Also, when purchasing an amphibian be sure that the animal was bread in captivity, you don’t want to be supporting poachers. Before purchasing your amphibian, ask about the health of the animal and for documentation of legality for imports or protected species to ensure that you’re not purchasing a poached amphibian.

If you decide afterward that you don’t want the animal do not release it into the wild, even if the species is native to your area. Amphibians in captivity may expose natural or wild amphibians to diseases, and in some cases it’s illegal to release captured or captive amphibians into the wild.

Here are some great amphibian species for beginners: Green Tree Frog, Barking Tree Frog, African Clawed Frog, African Dwarf Frog, Fire Salamander, Tiger Salamander, Marble Salamander, Fire Belly Toad, American Toad, Eastern Newt, or Fire Belly Newt.

ID-100244622 Avoid amphibians that have the name monitor or Poisonous as these require specific knowledge to own. The previously mentioned amphibians are perfect for beginners. But be sure not to mix species in the tank. If they don’t live together in the wild, they could transfer diseases to one another.

Before bringing the new amphibian home make sure that their environment is ready at your home for them. It’s important to make sure that the cage is the proper temperature and has all the required materials inside so you don’t traumatize your new friend. And be sure to buy the proper food for your new pet as well.

Most pet stores have kits, you can buy one set it up and have it ready for when you bring your new pet home. But always do some research before purchasing so you know what you’re getting into and if you can handle the responsibility.




When to Put Your Pet on a Diet

ID-10023413 Your pooch or kitty might be a little overweight and you wouldn’t even know it. A healthy size of dog depends on its breed and size. Cats generally have a straightforward weight class that is determined by gender and whether they’re neutered/spayed or not.

Dogs have a weight size index on the Association of Pet Obesity Prevention website which guides owners to better feeding habits and schedules for their animals. Dogs can safely lose 1-3 percent of their body weight as long as the program their on isn’t aggressive. Just like humans, dogs need motivation, support and positive reinforcement to learn new healthier eating habits.

First thing you need to do is monitor your pet’s eating habits. Are you free feeding them? That’s when you leave an amount of food in the dish for your pet to eat as they wish. Another possibility is you have two cats or dogs and one is eating the others’ food. Either before the second pet has a chance, or finishing off whatever the second pet leaves behind.

In this situation you should probably feed your pets separately. or if you like them feeding together, you should tether the over weight one until the second pet finishes and then you can control how much the overweight one eats. Also don’t over feed your pooches. They only need to eat twice a day. As long as you are feeding them their daily needed intake, you shouldn’t be feeding them more.

Pet treats are another source of contention in the battle of the bulge. Most people give their animal the full treat, but some vets recommend that you break apart the treats and feed them only treats the size of an eraser for certain size dogs. Large dogs should even have their treats monitored. You can even think about giving your pets healthy snacks. Dogs are natural omnivores, but often treated as though they are carnivores. You can always give your dog some carrots, apples, and other fruit and vegetables for a treat or reward. Whatever you do, don’t stop treats altogether or your dog will think they’re doing something wrong.

If your dog begs for food, rather than giving in, try giving your dog some attention. Flip that behavior into something positive, or you can try giving them something healthy when they engage in this type of behavior.

You can give you dogs and cats a little extra play time. Don’t over do it, just make it a light activity, for example toss a ball around for a bit, or if possible take them for a swim. Just be sure on hot days to make sure your pet is hydrated! When you’re playing with your dog during your regular play time make sure the toys are interactive. There are toys that you can hide food in, but makes your dog work for it at the same time. These toys can help fight the fat too. Ask your vet which ones are best suited to your pooch.

Be sure to walk your dog every day. Take everyone, you and your family can even benefit from the exercise. If you have a n older dog and a younger dog maybe try taking the younger dog to a dog park for some extra play time while the older dog takes a bit of a break at a slower pace.

Cats are harder to put on a diet because they tend to be more finicky about what they eat, not to mention the fact that they sleep 20 hours a day. Your cat is over weight if you cannot feel his ribs under his coat, or if their belly hangs down instead of being distended. Cats should only lose .5-2 percent of their body fat per week. Anything more aggressive than that can cause health problems for your feline.

Depending on how over weight your cat is your vet can recommend a portion size and food for your cat. If you are trying diet food with your cat and he/she seems unresponsive to it, then remove it and put it back half an hour later. If your cat is still persisting in not eating it, you can add some chicken or beef broth to the food to peak the cat’s interest.

Just keep in mind that your pet’s weight loss struggle is much like your own. It’s not easily won, but with persistence and patience you can achieve it!