nav-left cat-right
cat-right
Recent Comments
Random Articles
Lorem Ipsum

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Donec vel libero at lectus rutrum vestibulum vitae ut turpis. Ut ultricies pulvinar posuere. Nulla rutrum, libero nec pharetra accumsan, enim leo blandit dui, ac bibendum augue dui sed justo. Interdum et malesuada fames ac ante ipsum primis in faucibus. Duis sit amet fringilla mauris. Ut pharetra, […]

Finding a Pet-Friendly City... Where exactly are the most pet-friendly places in the USA? Ask different animal aficionados and fans of four-legged companions what city is the most pet friendly, and you’re bound to get a wide array of answers. But by talking to experts and taking a closer look at recent rankings published by various magazines and Web sites, our country’s pet meccas clearly stand out — some more consistently than others. Great Pet Getaways Pet owners are itching to take Fido...
How to Socialize Your Pet Veterinarians can tell if an animal has been socialized the moment they walk into an exam room. “Some animals come bounding up and are happy to see me and everyone in the waiting room,” says Bonnie V. Beaver, DVM, professor in the department of small animal clinical sciences at Texas A&M University in College Station, and past president of the American Veterinary Medical Association. “Others hide behind their owner and don’t want to come out. Life is stressful for...
Can Your Pet Get You Sick?... Swine flu, bird flu, stomach flu. We’re surrounded by viruses every time we leave the house. We expect it at the playground, at the office, at the mall — but in our own homes? Sure, you can catch illnesses from your family members — but what about your pets? “People can certainly catch illnesses from their dog or cat, though some are more common than others,” says Susan Wright, BVSc (Hons), a staff veterinarian at Dog Fence DIY LLC...
Understanding Pet Food Labels... reading and understanding a pet food label is challenging. “Chicken n’ Fish Gourmet Dinner for Cats,” “Yum-Yum Premium Quality Chef’s Special Chicken De-Lite Puppy Chow,” “Brand X All-Natural Happy Paws Dog Food.” You’ve seen it all before: the catchy labels, the TV ads that try to make pet food look as tasty and appealing as what you serve your family to eat. But just what’s in that stuff? And whether it comes out of a can, a box, or...

Understanding Pet Food Labels

foodreading and understanding a pet food label is challenging. “Chicken n’ Fish Gourmet Dinner for Cats,” “Yum-Yum Premium Quality Chef’s Special Chicken De-Lite Puppy Chow,” “Brand X All-Natural Happy Paws Dog Food.” You’ve seen it all before: the catchy labels, the TV ads that try to make pet food look as tasty and appealing as what you serve your family to eat. But just what’s in that stuff? And whether it comes out of a can, a box, or a foil packet, how do you compare the nutrient values on different pet food labels? What does it all mean?

Product Name and Product Ingredients: 95 Percent, 25 Percent, or 3 Percent?

It should be pretty easy to tell what’s in a serving of pet food; alas, it requires a little work. The first order of business is to figure out if you’re getting what you think you’re getting. If the label says “beef,” how much is actually beef? The Center for Veterinary Medicine of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) provides a summary for consumers of pet food labeling rules.

There are three basic rules:

The 95 Percent Rule

If a product bears a name such as “Beef for Dogs” or “Tuna Cat Food,” the rules require that at least 95 percent of the product consist of the named ingredient – in this case, beef or tuna – not counting the water added for processing. If the name includes some other food, such as “Chicken ‘n Tuna Cat Food,” the two food items together must comprise 95 percent of the total weight, and the first-named product must be the one that predominates. (In other words, it can’t be called “Chicken ‘n Tuna” if it has more tuna than chicken.)

NOTE: This rule applies only to ingredients of animal origin. So, a can of “Chicken and Rice Dog Food” must contain at least 95 percent chicken.

The 25 Percent Rule

But suppose the label says “Shrimp Dinner.” If there is a qualifying word, such as “Dinner,” Entree,” “Platter,” “Formula,” etc., the named ingredient(s) must comprise at least 25% of the product – again, not counting added water – but less than 95 percent. This can be important. Suppose your cat doesn’t like fish (not all cats do). You might think that it will go for a food labeled “Chicken Dinner.” Not necessarily. That food may be only 25 percent chicken. Much of the rest may actually be fish. In fact, it may contain more fish than chicken as long as the two ingredients together comprise at least 25% of the whole.

The 3 Percent Rule

A third wrinkle in the labeling rules has to do with a seemingly simple innocent word: “with.” If a pet food label contains that word in its product name, there only has to be 3 percent of that product – not 95 percent or 25 percent – in the package. For example, while a product called “Tuna Cat Food” must contain 95 percent tuna, a product labeled “Cat Food with Tuna” only has to contain 3 percent tuna. So, it’s important to read the label carefully.

Ingredients vs. Nutrients: ‘Guaranteed Analysis’

OK, now you know what ingredients are in the can. But what about things like protein, vitamins, minerals, and the other substances that your pet needs for proper nutrition? This is where “guaranteed analysis” comes in.

The FDA rules require that pet food labels state the minimum percentages of protein and fat, and the maximum percentages of crude fiber and moisture. Many manufacturers also list other nutrients as well. Dog food labels frequently include the minimum percentage levels of calcium, phosphorus, sodium, and linoleic acid. Cat food labels will usually also list the quantities of taurine and magnesium, two nutrients that are essential for feline nutrition.

Moisture Content

The story would end there but for one complication: Different pet foods have different moisture contents. Dry pet foods have the least, “moist” pet foods have more, canned pet foods have the most. So, when comparing different labels, don’t mix apples with oranges. Compare one canned food with another, one dry food with another, and so forth. If you want to compare two different types of foods, you’ll have to do a calculation that takes into account the different moisture contents of the foods. If you’re feeling ambitious, the FDA website will tell you how.

A Comprehensive Approach

As important as it is to know what’s in your pet’s food, remember that there’s more to good nutrition than reading pet food labels. You also have to know what your pet’s nutritional requirements are. Check with your veterinarian for pet-specific advice. He or she is your best source of information.

Lorem Ipsum

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Donec vel libero at lectus rutrum vestibulum vitae ut turpis. Ut ultricies pulvinar posuere. Nulla rutrum, libero nec pharetra accumsan, enim leo blandit dui, ac bibendum augue dui sed justo. Interdum et malesuada fames ac ante ipsum primis in faucibus. Duis sit amet fringilla mauris. Ut pharetra, leo id venenatis cursus, libero sapien venenatis nisi, vel commodo lacus urna non nulla. Duis rutrum vestibulum ligula sed hendrerit. Ut tristique cursus odio, et vulputate orci fringilla nec. Proin tempus ipsum ut augue consectetur, in varius dolor bibendum. Proin at dapibus nisl.

Aliquam purus lectus, sodales et est vitae, ullamcorper scelerisque urna. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nulla feugiat, nunc nec gravida varius, nisl tellus dictum purus, a tristique purus lectus eget orci. Vivamus faucibus diam erat, vitae venenatis neque convallis vitae. Etiam eget iaculis arcu. Duis id nisl sapien. Aliquam erat volutpat. Interdum et malesuada fames ac ante ipsum primis in faucibus. Quisque luctus lorem a odio congue auctor. Suspendisse potenti. Nunc convallis, ante sit amet lobortis eleifend, orci dolor lacinia diam, quis luctus ante magna non sem. Phasellus pretium aliquam enim, a suscipit elit sodales vel. Proin tincidunt quis ipsum in condimentum. Vivamus molestie sodales erat et feugiat. Maecenas venenatis, leo in adipiscing commodo, eros tellus dapibus dui, in dignissim risus ligula id elit.

Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos. Nulla facilisi. Donec semper nisi non enim pulvinar venenatis. Vestibulum semper metus.

How to Socialize Your Pet

Veterinarians can tell if an animal has been socialized the moment they walk into an exam room.

“Some animals come bounding up and are happy to see me and everyone in the waiting room,” says Bonnie V. Beaver, DVM, professor in the department of small animal clinical sciences at Texas A&M University in College Station, and past president of the American Veterinary Medical Association. “Others hide behind their owner and don’t want to come out. Life is stressful for them.”

And socialization helps make the difference. When puppies and kittens are introduced to a variety of people, other animals, and environments during the first several weeks of life, they tend to do better, and have less stress and fewer problems later on.

Think about everything your pet will be exposed to during life: different people, animals, places, situations, cars, noises, and smells. When they’re puppies or kittens, they take new experiences with stride. But as they get older they quickly start to become nervous and scared when confronted with something or someone new.

Why Socialize Your Pet?

Animals are preprogrammed to become fearful of people and things that aren’t part of their everyday life so they react appropriately when they are in danger. But you can introduce a new dog or new cat to a variety of situations when it’s very young so it doesn’t live its life afraid of straying from its neighborhood or meeting new people.

When you do, your pet will be more laid back and can enjoy life. Pets are also safer once they’re socialized because they’re less likely to react in a fearful or aggressive way when they’re faced with something new.

How To Socialize Your Pet

The key to socializing dogs and cats is to start very young and to introduce your new dog or new cat to as many different things as you can. Here’s what to do:

  • Start at a few weeks of age. Puppies and kittens need to be socialized before they are16 weeks old. “We have a tendency to isolate them at that time and expect that at a year we’ll get them used to cars and different environments,” Dr. Beaver says. The ideal time for this kind of pet training is between 3 and 12 weeks of age. The window of opportunity to socialize your pet usually closes around 18 weeks. For kittens it may be even younger, Beaver says.
    Unfortunately, when you adopt an adult dog you’ve missed the opportunity to socialize. But even adult dogs can get used to individuals they see on a regular basis, Beaver says.
  • Set goals. Think about who and what a puppy will be around when it gets older and make a long list the things your pet needs to be socialized to. That means children, adults, men, women, crying babies, people of different nationalities, crowds, people wearing hats, and people not wearing hats, Beaver says. The wider the variety of people you can expose your puppy or kitten to, the better.
  • Include different environments. Have your puppy walk on grass, concrete, through buildings like pet stores, on busy streets, quiet streets, areas with other animals — and near cars, trucks, buses, and trains. You can even take your dog for rides in the car through different areas of town, through fast-food drive-thrus, and through car washes. This is also the time to get your dog used to be handled during grooming.

Check out this checklist of things to expose your dog to.

Kittens can also be socialized by having people come to your house or by bringing your kitten to other people’s houses, although it’s better to visit someone who doesn’t already have a cat.

Socialization Tips

When you’re ready to begin socializing your dog or cat, keep in mind these tips for success:

  • Do it daily. Ideally, you should try to socialize your pet every day during the first 16 weeks. When strangers approach, let them pet your dog.
  • Get them used to carriers. If you want your kitten to grow into a cat who doesn’t mind going to the vet, leave its carrier out for playtime. Carry the kitten from one side of the house to the other and give your cat treats in the carrier, Beaver says.
  • Reward your pet. Make your puppy or kitten feel good about new things by praising it during socialization and giving it small treats (break up a normal size treat into small pieces so your pet doesn’t get too many calories).
  • Give it about 75 minutes. Puppies and kittens are constantly learning; they become socialized to new things within 75 minutes of being exposed to them, Beaver says.
  • Be gentle. It’s important to keep a close eye on your pet’s reaction to new things. Don’t force it if a situation seems too overwhelming and scary for your pet. Your pet may need to be exposed to that particular thing more gradually.
  • Go to kindergarten. If your dog hasn’t received all of its vaccinations, consider signing up for puppy socialization classes at an animal hospital, Beaver says. It’s a safe environment for your dog to be in because it will be surrounded by well-vaccinated dogs, she says. The classes are designed to introduce your pet to a variety of sights and sounds and can even help with obedience training.
  • Go for pet training. You can socialize your pet on your own, but if you need help outside of a puppy kindergarten class, consider hiring a pet trainer.

Socializing dogs and cats this way ensures that they’re better adjusted as adults and may be easier to train because they’re less distracted by fear, Beaver says.

Can Your Pet Get You Sick?

Swine flu, bird flu, stomach flu. We’re surrounded by viruses every time we leave the house. We expect it at the playground, at the office, at the mall — but in our own homes? Sure, you can catch illnesses from your family members — but what about your pets?

“People can certainly catch illnesses from their dog or cat, though some are more common than others,” says Susan Wright, BVSc (Hons), a staff veterinarian at Dog Fence DIY LLC in Dallas.

There are a variety of ways pet illnesses are transmitted, depending on the ailment. Some, such as the roundworm parasite, are spread through touching feces of infected dogs and cats, usually found in soil, followed by improper (or lack of) hand washing. The hookworm parasite can also be ingested in a similar manner, though it is more commonly contracted when larvae in infected dirt penetrate your bare skin. Toxoplasmosis, which is especially dangerous to pregnant women and can lead to birth defects, can be caught by touching the feces of an infected animal as well and by handling raw meat without proper hand washing afterwards.

Other cat and dog illnesses can be transmitted between animals and people through contact with an infected animal’s skin and fur. One example is ringworm, which is actually a fungal skin infection and not a worm. Another pet illness is the highly contagious mite, Sarcoptes scabei, which can affect dogs, cats, and people, resulting in hair loss and/or skin rash.

Other ailments infect both animals and people, but are spread by a third source rather than directly from dog to human. Lyme disease is one example — infected ticks can bite and infect an animal and be carried indoors on a pet, only to crawl off them and onto a person’s skin and bite them. Heartworm is another. Relatively common in dogs and cats though not as frequent in humans, heartworm is spread from the bite of an infected mosquito.

Finally, some illnesses can be transmitted when an animal injures a person, although these are very rare. One example is rabies. Most often transmitted by the bite of an infected wild animal, rabies can also be spread when a pet that has the illness bites. Without immediate treatment, death may result, and vaccination against rabies is extremely important for pets.

Another is cat scratch disease, caused by bacteria known as Bartonella. “People develop fever, joint pain, lethargy, and headaches some weeks after being scratched,” says Dr. Wright. Bacteria, most commonly Pasteurella, which causes fever and illness, can also be spread from an animal bite.

Catching Illness from Other Types of Animals

Dogs and cats aren’t the only pet culprits when it comes to making people sick. Assume that all reptiles — turtles, lizards, and snakes, among others — shed salmonella, which causes diarrhea and fever in people, warns Wright. Frogs can also carry mycobacterium, which can infect people.

Birds, meanwhile, can transmit Chlamydia psittaci, or psittacosis, when people inhale aviary dust or droppings, as well as pasteurellosis, mycobacteriosis, and others. There are also a variety of rodent diseases that people can get including leptospirosis and hantavirus — though they are typically spread through wild rodents.

How to Keep Your Pet (and Yourself) Healthy

The good news is that there are steps you can take to prevent the spread of diseases from your animal to you.

  • Practice good hygiene. Always wash your hands after handling your pets and cleaning up after them. Consider wearing a mask and disposable gloves when cleaning out a bird cage or scooping a litter box.
  • Maintain your pet’s health. “Feed [your pet] high quality food, keep the pet at a healthy weight, keep current on vaccinations and parasite preventatives, brush their teeth, keep them groomed, and get them checked by the veterinarian if they show signs of illness or if there are any changes,” says Joanne Gaines, DVM, owner and veterinarian at Ridgeview Animal Hospital in Omaha, Neb. Also, consider keeping them indoors or in a controlled environment such as a fenced yard and on a leash for walks to cut down on exposure to illnesses.

So can your pet catch an illness from you? While there was a case of a farmer passing swine flu on to his pigs, this type of transmission is rare. You generally don’t need to worry about getting your pet sick you can visit at storage locker dog man for more information.

Being aware of the various diseases animals can transmit is smart when you own a pet, but this possibility shouldn’t keep you from sharing a household with one. “Although there are risks, they are not huge with the appropriate precautions and, for most people, the benefits of owning a pet outweigh the potential health issues,” says Wright.

Finding a Pet-Friendly City

Where exactly are the most pet-friendly places in the USA? Ask different animal aficionados and fans of four-legged companions what city is the most pet friendly, and you’re bound to get a wide array of answers. But by talking to experts and taking a closer look at recent rankings published by various magazines and Web sites, our country’s pet meccas clearly stand out — some more consistently than others.

Great Pet Getaways

Pet owners are itching to take Fido and Fluffy with them on pet-friendly vacations. The Travel Industry Association, in fact, reported that 29 million people have taken a pet with them on a trip between 2003 and 2006, and 29 percent lodged in hotels and motels with their pets. Dogs are the most common animal to accompany these travelers (78 percent), followed by cats (15 percent).

If you’re looking for a highly rated pet-friendly town to visit, consider the American Automobile Association’s 2006 listing of the most accommodating cities for travelers with pets. Three Lone Star State cities topped the charts: Houston, San Antonio, and Austin, in descending order. Houston placed highest because it boasts 108 pet-friendly available accommodations, two off-leash dog parks, and 20 emergency veterinary hospitals. Approximately half of Houston’s hotels allow pets, and the city’s Millie Bush Dog Park is the No. 1 dog park in the country, according to Dog Fancy magazine.


Related: Flying With Your Dog


In 2007, DogFriendly.com released its top 10 dog-friendly vacation destinations list. Boston, Mass. placed No. 1, thanks to a number of canine-catering amenities — including a subway system that permits leashed dogs to accompany riders, a red-arrowed path for pooches along the two-mile Freedom Trail, plentiful boat rides and whale-watching tours that welcome pups and much more. Among the other urban hotspots that made the cut were No. 2 Vancouver, British Columbia; No. 3 New York, N.Y.; No. 4 San Francisco, Calif.; and No. 5 Austin, Texas.

Ask Sandy Chio, director of marketing for the Telluride Tourism Board, and she’ll tell you that it’s the town she touts that tourists should make plans to visit with their furry friends.

In Telluride, Colo., “pets are considered more a part of the family,” Chio said. “In fact, Telluride boasts more dogs than people per capita. Here, pets can accompany their owners on trips. Dogs are welcome in more than half of the inns and hotels. The town’s free shuttle bus system helps tired paws by welcoming well-behaved pets on a leash. And there are designated puppy parking spots throughout town.”

Telluride also ranks first on Fido Friendly magazine managing editor Arden Moore’s personal list of favorite cities to travel with pets. Ventura, Calif., is a close second, however. On a recent trip with her dog Chipper, she stayed at the Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach hotel and fell in love with Ventura, “a beach town that goes gaga over dogs of all sizes,” Moore said.

Towns Pet Lovers Can Call Their Own

If you’re considering a move that will benefit both you and your pets, do your homework, as some cities are more amenable to pets than others.

Greta Gustafson, a dog owner from Seattle, Wash., who has traveled and lived across the United States with her pets, speaks highly of Boulder and Denver, Colo., “where dogs are treated like people. They ride in the front seat of the car and go into local stores to do shopping with their owner.”

In a 2007 list of the country’s best cities for dogs, Dog Fancy named San Diego first, based on a number of key factors including its warm climate, numerous pet-friendly beaches, a shopping center with an off-leash park, and several restaurants that open their doors to pets. Long Beach and Carmel, Calif., round out the top 3.


Related: Can Your Dog Help You Find Love?


Colorado Springs, Colo., Portland, Ore., Albuquerque, N.M., Tucson, Ariz., and Seattle, Wash. are, in order, the best cities for dogs, per a recent list published by Men’s Health magazine — which preferred these western state cities based on abundant dog parks, pet stores, animal shelters, veterinarians and boarding/daycare facilities as well as ample room to roam.

Forbes magazine agreed with the latter’s top three choices, selecting Colorado Springs, Portland, and Albuquerque as America’s most pet-friendly cities in 2007. Austin, Texas, came in fourth and Charlotte, N.C., fifth.

Dog– and Cat–Compassionate Cities

Lastly, if animal altruism is important to you, give pause to The Humane Society of the United States’ (HSUS) 2007 rankings of the nation’s most humane cities. In order, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Washington D.C., and San Diego claimed the top 5 spots. Criteria that the HSUS considered in its “Humane Index” included the policies of locally elected federal officials, animals used in entertainment, and the number of vegetarian restaurants and fur retailers within the municipality.

“Compassionate people thinking of moving to a new city should consider looking at the way a community’s humane values are reflected in all the ways identified by our Humane Index,” said Jennifer Fearing, chief economist for HSUS.