Pets

Do Microchips Help Lost Pets Return Home?

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Do microchips work in returning lost pets home? Just ask Castle Hills, Texas, resident Edgar Fischel to tell his story. In 2010, Fischel adopted Little Girl, a two-year-old Chihuahua from the Animal Defense League (ADL). ADL microchipped her, which gave Fischel the added confidence that his dog would be returned to him if she ever got […]

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Fostering as flexible opportunity to love and help animals

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Dear Cathy, I am writing in response to the woman a few weeks ago whose cat died “in God’s timeline,” and she was grateful she didn’t have to euthanize her cat. I had to make the decision twice in the last 20 years, and swore I would never do it again either. But I missed […]

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Where to find adoptable pets

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Dear Cathy, Do you have any information on area shelters where you can adopt pets? Originally, I was looking for a sheltie dog, but I am expanding my preference, and just looking for other shelters where I can adopt. — Char Fiore, Franklin Park, Illinois Dear Char, You can search several animal shelters and rescue […]

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Dealing with the prospect of euthanasia

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Dear Cathy, When we lost our last kitty, I was so thankful God took her in his timeline. For me, the guilt feelings of deciding when was the “right” time was overwhelming. I pray I never need to make that decision again. – Donna B. Tampa, Florida Dear Donna, If you have pets, then you […]

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People and pets should stay together during euthanasia

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Dear Cathy,  I have a sad question.  Since 2011, I have had to euthanize three dogs. My Dachshund Troy, almost 18 years of age, went peacefully. He went to sleep after the initial shot, and died after the second shot. My Maltese, Star, 13-years-old, did not respond to either shot. They had to take her […]

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The message is, “Adopt, Don’t Shop,” for your next pet

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Dear Cathy, I read your recent article about research showing people are not more likely to return pets acquired during the winter holidays. I work for a rescue group, and our concern has always been with potential stress for a newly-adopted animal caused by large family gatherings, travel, visitors, unusual schedules and foods during this […]

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Pet- and kid- proofing the Christmas tree

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Dear Cathy, I read your column in the Chicago Tribune/Lake County News-Sun, and I enjoy it very much. You asked for stories about keeping a Christmas tree upright when animals are present. Here’s mine. I am a retired art teacher, but many years ago I also had some private students. One of my students was […]

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Pet-proofing all around the Christmas tree

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Dear Cathy, I am a professional cat sitter plus I have three cats of my own. I’ve been lucky when it comes to Christmas tree disasters. We always get a live tree but put it up without decorations until the cats lose interest in it. Then we add decorations. We put unbreakable ornaments on the […]

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Cat-proofing the Christmas tree

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Dear Cathy, We had a Persian cat that loved to bring down our holiday tree – glass ornaments and all. Our tree was typically displayed near a window, so we hit on the idea to use high-strength fishing wire from the top of our tree to the curtain rod.  It’s synthetic and relatively invisible. Problem […]

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Keep food gifts out from under the Christmas tree

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Dear Cathy, I live alone with Andy, my 110lb yellow Lab. (He is not fat, just a big dog.) Last Christmas, I wrapped presents and put them under the Christmas tree. The next day I went on a golf outing. When I returned, I found a small scrap of paper on the kitchen floor. Turns […]

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SSSCAT Spray pet deterrent

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Dear Cathy, SSSCAT Spray by Petsafe has kept my two cats away from the Christmas tree for years. I just put batteries in, and the motion sensor detects curious kitties and emits a harmless shot of air. They quickly get the hint. It’s available at many online retailers, and costs about $30. – Stacey, Nashville, […]

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Keep pets safe from extremes of weather

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Dear Cathy, Though I agree with your response to the lady in Arizona who has the 12-year-old Golden Retriever who won’t drink water when outside, I also think that you should have said that a dog should not be kept all day in the heat, especially in Arizona. That poor dog. Please tell pet owners […]

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Woman says condo doesn’t allow “service” dogs

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Dear Cathy, I live in a condo that doesn’t allow certain service dogs. I have a certificate, a vest and badge, and a doctor’s letter, but the president of the condo association doesn’t want to look at it. I have panic attacks, anxiety and depression. When I have my lab with me, she calms me down […]

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Separating bonded animals

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Dear Cathy, My sister and I started our own cat rescue a little over a year ago and this is our first official “kitten season”, and we are struggling with the issue of bonded pairs. My question to you is, at what age do you think it would be unwise to separate a bonded pair? […]

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Professional pet sitter a good choice for peace of mind

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Dear Cathy, I read your column every week and find the topics on cats helpful as I am a professional cat sitter and have been for 22 years. While your suggestion of hiring a vet tech for pet sitting is a good idea, many times this is a side thing for them and they have […]

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Why pets must be supervised with their toys

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Dear Cathy, I look forward to your weekly column in my paper, however, I’m afraid I must disagree with your mention of foam and aluminum foil as good toys for our cats to play with. Foam is easily bitten into and swallowed, as is aluminum foil, both of which can cause intestinal problems and blocked […]

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Get the vet to recheck growing spot

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Dear Cathy, My seven-year old brown Shih Tzu has a black “hot spot” on his right-hind quarter. It was a small dot but has grown to over three-inches and is raised. The vet said not to worry about it, but we are concerned. Is it a mole, is it cancer, is it nothing? While it […]

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Understanding your cat’s sound world (Music hath charms…)

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Dear Cathy, I recently adopted two small kittens and am curious to know if keeping a clock ticking near where they sleep somehow imitates their mother’s heartbeat and would make them feel more restful. – Mike, Garden City, New York Dear Mike, What a thoughtful question. People don’t often think about the sound world around […]

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Lethargic pets and possible causes

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Dear Cathy, In response to a letter from Emma about her lethargic dog, Dorie, what about depression? Can’t dogs get depressed? My border collie was treated with a short trial of antidepressants and it was quite helpful. He is a rescue and very atypical of his breed; not energetic and intense, like they usually are. […]

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Some 4th of July tips

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If you have a noise-phobic dog – a dog scared of thunder, fireworks and other loud sounds, then I know how you will be spending the 4th of July weekend. As soon as the first firework pops off, you will be trying to calm your trembling, panting, pacing, and generally freaked out dog who will […]

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Helping dogs and cats survive the 4th of July

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With the 4th of July midweek this year, your neighbors are likely to pop off fireworks before, during and after the holiday. That can mean a stressful week for people with noise-phobic pets. Dogs and cats that are afraid of fireworks will express their fear in different ways. Cats may run and hide under beds […]

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How to make a sick animal feel more comfortable

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Ever wonder what you can do to make a sick dog or cat feel better? Animals, like people, just want a few creature comforts around and to know they are loved. In addition to being under veterinary, pets should have clean beds, blankets, and sleeping spaces. Sit with your pets, stroke them, and talk to […]

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Are pets as gifts a good idea for the holidays?

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It’s the time of year for gift-giving and giving pets as gifts is sometimes at the top of that list. Some animal shelters, however, frown on pets as gifts for fear the animals will be “returned” to the shelter after the holidays. But a study conducted by the ASPCA in 2013 seems to indicate animal […]

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Options for pet sitters

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Dear Cathy, You suggested a few ways to find a pet sitter. Another way is to ask someone in your veterinarian’s office. This way you already know the people and have recourse if anything happens. Many of the vet techs do this as a side job.  – Barbara, Smithtown NY Dear Barbara, That’s a great […]

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Going on vacation leaves some pets feeling very sad

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Dear Cathy, Nani is our 15-year-old cat. We lost her brother four years ago. She was depressed for two years, but then improved. When the family is all gone at once, I have someone come in every day to check on Nani, change the litter, and feed her. In December, we were gone for 13 […]

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Got allergies around a rabbit? Look at the rabbit’s food first

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Dear Cathy, I just read your piece on adopting rabbits. Another issue worth mentioning which my family encountered is allergies to Timothy hay. My husband had to wear arm-length rubber gloves when handling the hay, and the dust kept us sneezing. Rabbits eat a ton of hay, so if you’re sensitive to it, think twice. […]

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Don’t buy a rabbit- adopt from rabbit rescue groups or shelters

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Dear Cathy, I read your column about rabbits and whether families should buy them for Easter. There are many rabbits languishing at the Animal Care Centers in New York City (ACCNYC). It would be so much better to adopt than to buy. They have a whole room full of rabbits that people can go and […]

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How to find pet sitters in your area

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Dear Cathy, My daughter is getting married in a few months, and I need someone to pet-sit my Boston Terrier, age seven. Is there a legitimate list I can get somewhere that offers pet sitters in my area? — Ted, Merrick, New York Dear Ted, There are several sites where you can search for pet […]

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Sewing thread is a threat to pets

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Dear Cathy, I just wanted you to be aware of a danger concerning cats swallowing sewing thread. A friend took her cat to the veterinarian because she was afraid the cat had swallowed a needle. X-rays showed no needle, so the cat was sent home. The next day, the cat was much sicker. Emergency surgery […]

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5 questions to ask yourself before getting this pet

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The description on the website reads: “Alana and Andrina are a bonded pair. They must be adopted together. They are somewhat shy…and are very sweet and playful. They are litter trained (excellent litter box habits) and neutered. Prefer experienced adopter. Indoor housing only.” While this may sound like a description for two cats or kittens, […]

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As popular as a green iguana

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According to Reptile Magazine, “Leopard geckos have increased in popularity and are probably the most widely kept reptile pet next to the green iguana.” While the average age of a domesticated gecko is ten years, with some male geckos living more than 20 years, poor petkeeping can cut their lives short.  If you have a […]

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Reader requests more cat-focused content

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Dear Cathy, Each week, I read your column and rarely find postings about cats. Your column is mainly about dogs. I love dogs, but I have a cat and would like you to post more information about cat behavior, medical information, problems, etc. – Gloria, New York Dear Gloria, Over the last few months, I […]

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Teaching a shy dog to have more confidence

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Q: We have had our dog Schageh for about three years now, and he is still fearful, even of us. He was in the shelter system for about a year before we got him. He is more confident when the other dogs in the house are near us, but doesn’t like to be by people […]

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Prepare pet for baby’s arrival

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At the shelter the other day, a young couple was waiting to adopt a Labrador retriever puppy. The puppy was bouncing around and the couple was smothering him with attention. I was distraught over this possible adoption. The woman was pregnant and only a few weeks from having a baby. I guessed she was adopting […]

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"Just one litter" adds to euthanasia crisis

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A woman happily told me that she plans to get her cat spayed, but only after she has “just one litter,” she said smiling. “I want her to experience motherhood.” I smiled back. “That’s like saying every woman has to have a baby in order to be fulfilled as a woman.” (Some days I think […]

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Five ways we pick pets names

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A few weeks ago, I asked readers to share their pets’ names. After reviewing your e-mails, I realized that a pet’s name can provide as much insight into a pet owner’s personality as it can about the pet himself. Here’s my take on the five ways we name our pets. First, there are “human names,” […]

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Xylitol and a major pet emergency

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When Tarin Goodnight, a student at Texas State University, ran to the store, she didn’t expect to come back home to a pet emergency. But during the short time she was away, her then 18-month-old Chihuahua, Carmen, had jumped onto her desk and eaten four pieces of nicotine gum, leaving the paper wrappers as the […]

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Bella beats Max for six years in a row

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Max ruled the top spot in the list of the top 10 most popular dog names. But Veterinary Pet Insurance crunched the numbers on its more than 475,000 insured pets to determine 2009’s most common pet names, and Bella beat out Max by more than 400 dogs. Max may have slipped in the polls with […]

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Helping children cope with pet's death

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When I was 7 years old, my little dog Pepper saw a cat across the street and ran out the open front door. Before I could get outside to catch him, he ran into the street and was hit by a car. I remember screaming and crying. I was overwhelmed by what I had just […]

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Searching for a way to use contraceptives with pets

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In February 2008, Texas A&M announced the university would do a study on birth control for wild animals and eventually cats and dogs.  This would be a transformational event in the battle against animal population control. Unfortunately, in a recent conversation with Dwayne Kraemer at Texas A&M, he said “preliminary studies were not panning out the […]

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Would you perform CPR on your Pet?

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In a medical emergency, would you perform CPR on your pet? Would you be willing to begin mouth-to-snout resuscitation — your mouth over his closed snout — to revive your dying dog or cat? In a poll conducted by the Associated Press and Petside.com, 63 percent of dog owners and 53 percent of cat owners […]

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Man shoots baboon "to see what it feels like to kill someone"

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AA Gill, a restaurant critic in England, said he shot a baboon on safari “to get a sense of what it might be like to kill someone”. In his Sunday Times column, he described in painful detail how he shot the primate from 250 yards away while riding in a vehicle “full of guns and […]

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Common sweetener can kill pets

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My veterinarian told me today that three of her canine patients had died recently from xylitol toxicity. “That’s never happened before,” she said. “I don’t have three dogs that die all year from something like that.” Xylitol is a popular sugar substitute used in many human food products, especially in diabetic foods. It looks and […]

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"GoD and DoG" brings smile to face

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Thought you would enjoy this! (Source: http://www.wendyfrancisco.com/)

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Learning how to speak dog

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I get lots of questions about dogs and their so-called “bad behaviors.” Mostly, people want to know how to get their dogs to listen. Here’s the big secret about interacting with your canine companions. Dogs look to their human pack leaders for signals on how to handle every encounter and what you do impacts their […]

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How many dogs and cats live in your city?

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Ever wonder how people determine the population of dogs and cats in your city? In the past, it required some math, using a formula provided by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).  See the formulas section here to see how these formulas are calculated. But if you know your city’s overall population, you can now plug in that […]

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Top ten wild animals that most commonly attack pets

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Wild animals can and do attack our pets, leaving lacerations, bite wounds, puncture, and soft tissue trauma — and a trip to the pet emergency room for you. Snakebites, which are the most commonly reported injuries, may require anti-venom whereas scorpion stings may cause allergic reactions requiring antihistamines. Treatment may vary depending on the severity of the attack and […]

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Tips on protecting pets from the heat

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With unseasonably warm temperatures right now in many parts of the U.S., pet owners may not be aware that normal routines need to be adjusted to accommodate for the excessive heat.  I had a friend who lived in Phoenix who used to walk her dog at 5 a.m. every morning so that they weren’t out in the […]

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Soldier's often have to give up pets to go to war

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Allow me to introduce you to Max. Max is a seven-year-old Golden Retriever with a sturdy frame, a bright orange coat, and just a touch of gray around his muzzle, the only hint of his advancing age. A soldier being deployed to the middle east had brought Max to the Humane Society because he didn’t […]

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Fly the new "pet-friendly" skies

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The best inventions come from solving personal problems.  For Dan Wiesel and Alysa Binder, their dilemma was how to ship Zoe, their Jack Russell Terrier, across the country, safely. They weren’t comfortable letting their favorite pooch ride in the cargo hold of an airplane. So the two entrepreneurs have created the first pet-only airline that lets pets travel […]

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Dogs and cats underfoot can lead to falls

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The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control of the CDC reports that there are 86,629 reported nonfatal falls annually that are associated with dog and cats. This is an average taken from 2001-2006 stats on nonfatal falls. Nearly 88 percent of those injuries were associated with dogs, and women were twice as likely to […]

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"What Now?" A guide for people faced with the illness or loss of a pet

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As a pet parent, it can be difficult to learn that a pet is sick. As you begin treatment, you wonder at what point you might have to make an end-of-life decision. A new guide called “What Now?” offers pet owners some guidance when faced with a pet’s illness or with the grief of losing a […]

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If a pet has no potential for adoption, they won't get into a no-kill shelter

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An SPCA in Danville, Pennsylvania says it wants to change its image as a dumping ground for animals. Their new policy, according to an article by John-Erik Koslosky in the Press Enterprise, is that if they don’t think a pet can be adopted, they will not accept it into the shelter. Oh and “cats are wild,” says […]

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Puppy dies from eating Sago Palm

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In my hometown, San Antonio, Texas, sago palms are a frequent plant in the landscape. In fact, my neighbor has a huge one at the entry way to their front door. Because they can grow rather large here, I considered buying one and putting in a large clay pot for my patio. Now I am having second […]

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One million pets at risk of being homeless

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The current U.S. financial crisis has the potential to grow into a serious animal welfare issue, warns executive vice president of ASPCA programs, Dr. Stephen Zawistowski. As households across the country are caught in the economic downturn, an estimated 500,000 to one million cats and dogs are at risk of becoming homeless. “According to national […]

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Presidential legacy may be linked to pet names

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Turns out, if you are a good little President, your followers may someday honor you by naming their pets after you. When historians and political pundits look back on a President’s legacy, there may something more to review than job creation or approval ratings. Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI), the nation’s oldest and largest provider of pet health […]

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Ten ways your pet can help you score a date

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Finding love is never easy, and with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, the pressure is mounting for singles everywhere. While many pet parents may sometimes feel that their furry best friend is destined to be their one-and-only soul mate, Petfinder.com offers the top 10 ways a pet can help score you a real human date. […]

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The Link: Man kills pets with six children in the home

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When I read about a Wisconsin man who shot and killed two dogs and four cats in front of six children, my stomach sank. Angered over two of his dogs fighting and one killing the other, he decided that it would be best if he just killed all the other pets in the home. And […]

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Puppy Bowl, the "softer side" of Super Bowl Weekend

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If you only watch the Super Bowl for the ads, then you also might enjoy flipping over to Animal Planet and watching Puppy Bowl V — “the ultimate puppy showdown.” (Above is the clip from Puppy Bowl IV.) Recruiting from local shelters, the Puppy Bowl features adoptable puppies on a pseudo-football grid iron battling with toys, playing tug-of-war, and committing fouls […]

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FDA recall on peanut butter affects pets too

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Pet treats are being impacted by the FDA’s recall on peanut butter products. Salmonella contamination has been traced to a plant owned by Peanut Corporation of America (PCA), a distributor of peanut butter and peanut paste – a concentrated product consisting of ground, roasted peanuts. “Peanut butter is often used in small amounts as an occasional reward for dogs, […]

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What does "no-kill" really mean when it comes to pet overpopulation?

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The phrase “no-kill” has been bantered about in many communities as the end goal in the game of tackling pet overpopulation. Few people, however, know what the term really means. Most people think it means the halting of all euthanasia of dogs and cats for good, but it’s meaning is quite different than that, depending on whether […]

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"Hotel for Dogs" features former shelter pets

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  In the movie “Hotel for Dogs,” many of the 35 plus dogs on the set, according to American Humane, were once former shelter dogs.  In fact, 75 to 80 percent of pets in film are discovered in animal shelters only to be adopted by cast or crew after the filming ends, they say. It seems only […]

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Obama family down to Labradoodle or Portuguese Water Dog

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President-elect Obama announced this week that their family has narrowed down their dog choices to two possibilities – the Portuguese Water Dog and the Labradoodle. One is a curly-headed mop top, the other a relaxed version of a poodle. Both shed very little, which is what the Obama’s were looking for in a pet since […]

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A simple guide to cat talk

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Whenever I ask people how many words they think a cat can understand, they often guess “0” or “3”. I am amazed because some of these people actually have cats in their lives. I guess they figure cats can’t comprehend a single thing we humans are trying to say, so don’t really expect much of a […]

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New Year's resolutions learned from dogs and cats

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While everyone is pondering their New Year’s resolutions, I have decided to venture forth this year as if my dogs and cats were my closest advisors. Here’s what pets teach about the important things in life. There’s always time to stop and smell stuff. Sticking to your diet means eating only what’s on your plate, not the plate itself. Ice cubes can be good […]

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Tips on finding your lost dog or cat

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Losing a pet is very stressful and a cause for anxiety. As you worry about your pet’s whereabouts and safety, you might not be thinking straight, so it can be helpful to have a handy “to do” list to make sure you cover all your bases. By following a few simple tips, you will stand a […]

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Poor economy hurts dogs and cats too

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A poor economy means that more pets are ending up in animal shelters than ever before. Shelters all across the nation report rising populations, as people surrender their dogs and cats in record numbers. And, as people hold on tighter to their purse strings, shrinking donations are leaving animal shelters with fewer resources to care for this […]

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Obama to join long list of Presidents with pets in the White House

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Of all the decisions the new President-elect has before him, none has captured the American people’s imaginations more quickly than the first family’s decision to get a puppy. Following through on an early campaign promise to his girls (win or lose they get a puppy after the election), Obama has been bombarded by animal groups […]

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Welcome to the Pet Pundit®

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For those who have visited the Pet Pundit® site before, this new site probably comes as a surprise. I have decided to change everything to make the site easier to access and more relevant to your needs. I also wanted a venue where you could comment and post your thoughts as well. For those who don’t much about […]

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