All About Pet Cremation

Where will you go when the time comes to say good-bye to your beloved pet? Most people will go to their trusted Pet Care Provider who will hopefully usher them through this crossroads of emotion and decision making with love, support and dignity.

Surprisingly, this is not often the case. Recently when I picked up my dogs at the grooming salon, the dear lady shared with me that when she lost her most recent dog, her husband handled all of the decision making as she was just too emotional. After spending nearly $350.00, it turned out that he had mistakenly ordered a mass cremation and therefore this couple never did receive the ashes of their beloved pet. He was told by his Pet Care Provider “don’t worry, we will take care of everything; this is the option most people choose…” He had assumed, incorrectly, that he would be receiving his pets ashes in return.

While pet cemeteries have been available in many communities, burial within a pet cemetery can be a very expensive option. Many may still choose to bury their pet in their back forty but most communities now have very strict health department zoning restrictions on pet burial. Today families have become more mobile and may desire the ability to take their family pet’s remains with them when they re-locate or they may feel more comfortable with a visible, tangible memorial for their beloved pet. All are reasons that more and more pet owners are choosing cremation and as many as 70 percent of those owners are choosing to receive their pets ashes after the cremation. Just 10 years ago only 25 percent chose this option to receive the ashes back after cremation.

Knowing that cremation is your choice is not the last step in this decision. Many pet owners do not realize, as my poor dog groomer did not, that there are many options for the pet cremation and deconstructing these options and the variety of terms in use for these options is the most important aspect of the pet cremation choice. Pet cremation usually falls within three main categories; mass cremation, individual cremation and private cremation.

Mass or Communal Cremation – As the name implies this is the cremation of many animals at one time, within a single cremation session. Pet cremators (the actual pet cremation equipment) can be very large with a capacity of several hundred to thousands of pounds of weight. The animals included in a mass cremation may come from a variety of clinics, animal shelters, etc and when the cremation session is completed the ashes are gathered and taken away to be disposed of by the crematory company, generally in their private landfill. This option should be the least expensive option for the pet owner and is a sanitary and decent way to dispose of the pet if retaining the ashes is not desired.

Individual Cremation – The individual cremation is a source of much confusion for pet owners and often uninformed Pet Care Provider staff. Individual cremation simply means that the ashes that are returned to the pet owner are intended to be only the ashes of their beloved pet. Generally with an individual pet cremation, the animal is tagged with a metal tag and placed within their own individual metal tray within the cremator. Depending upon the volume of the particular cremator there can be many animals within one session, however the animals are identified and separated. When the session is complete, the ashes within each individual tray are processed, bagged, and readied to be shipped back to the Pet Care Provider or individual pet owner depending on the circumstance of its arrival to the crematory. Many pet owners believe that an individual cremation means that their pet was cremated in a single session by itself and then given back to them as a guarantee that these ashes are their pets ashes alone. The only way to make absolutely sure that is the case is with the following option and that is the Private or Witnessed Private Cremation.

Private Cremation and Witnessed Private Cremation – A private cremation provides the option for the pet to be cremated entirely alone within the cremation chamber or cremator ensuring that there are no other ashes mixed in with the singular pets ashes. Often there will be a tag with identifying numbers that will be placed on the pet and will go through the crematory process with him and returned with the obvious characteristics of the crematory process on the tag as an extra assurance. Many times the crematorium facilities will allow for a special blanket or toy to accompany the pet and some crematoriums now have waiting room facilities or facilities that allow for a witnessed private cremation.

Many of these Pet Funeral Homes even offer wonderful viewing areas and are set up to conduct private memorial services as well. Private cremations are becoming more popular as pet funeral homes are beginning to pop up across our landscape. Pet funeral homes often can arrange for pick up of the pet at the private home or Veterinarian facility as well. While all Pet Funeral Homes will make arrangements with the individual pet owner, sixty five percent of private cremations are from Veterinary affiliates so it is important to discuss with your Veterinarian what crematory company he has an affiliation with and/or does he have a pet funeral home that he would recommend if what you require is the absolute assurance that a Private Cremation will take place.

Pet Cremation costs vary greatly and are largely dependent upon the above choices and whether the arrangements are scheduled through an intermediate source such as the Pet Care Provider. Mass or Communal Cremation generally costs from $75.00 – $125.00, Individual Cremation can cost $100.00 – $200.00 and Private and Witnessed Private Cremations can cost as high as $500.00 or more depending upon whether the family chooses private pick up, private viewing and/or a memorial service. Many Pet Funeral Homes are offering preplanning and prepayment options to the pet community just as are offered in the human funeral business.

While it is a difficult subject to contemplate for every pet owner, it is best to be prepared with as much knowledge as possible before the time comes. Take the time to discuss your crematory options with your Pet Care Provider or with your local pet funeral home or crematory, make sure that you are clear on what it is they provide, have them describe their processes in detail and make sure that those services meet your expectations.

Patricia L. Moore is the owner and founder of Soft-Hearted Products LLC, the developer of the Soft-Hearted Pillow Pet Urn. When Patricia lost her 15 year old companion dog, Samantha, she chose cremation as her option. Her family has always been mobile and it was important to her to have a visible reminder of Samantha as well as a place to keep her near. Patricia soon realized that a traditional cold, hard urn to be kept upon a shelf was not an appropriate placement or tribute to Samantha; a dog who had never left her side for 15 years. Patricia created the Soft-Hearted Pillow Pet Urn.

A soft, huggable, beautifully designed pillow which encloses a pet’s cremated remains in a safe, secure included pouch that is tucked discreetly deep inside the pillow. The Soft-Hearted Pillow Pet Urn is made from a choice of beautiful, soft fabrics with decorator trim and can be customized with a pet’s name, important dates etc. The pillows are functional as a safe, secure receptacle for a pet’s ashes yet are discreet enough for any setting.

Guide To Choose Pet Blanket

Are you looking for a personalized pet blanket? Do you want a blanket with your dog’s name on it? Do you need a blanket with your cat’s name on it for a gift? Personalize that blanket with these tips.

People really don’t mind spending for their pets. At least, that’s what the pet lovers at the Animal Pet Products Manufacturing Association (APPMA) say. Pet product manufacturing is a $35 billion per year industry. Who would have ever thought that people could spend so much on pets?

Well, if you are a pet lover too, then you might understand the feeling. Pet owners typically spend $250 on their pets – for items that can be personalized. These items include blankets leashes, pet bowls, and others.

Pets are more like family members nowadays. There are even people who get offended when their pets are referred to as an ‘it’. They would rather that they be called a ‘he’ or a ‘she’. Each pet is unique and has an endearing personality that is his or hers alone.

This has led to an increase in the need for veterinarians, pet grooming stores, and other services (and who hasn’t heard of the pet hotels stars get to pets in). Given this, giving pets gifts has become extremely fad. And building on that thought, giving friends gifts intended for their pets has become a fad as well.

Blankets are a great choice for pets nowadays – especially ones that can be personalized. If you are looking to give a friend a gift for their pets, a personalized blanket can be the epitome of thoughtfulness and generosity.

1. Pet blankets are an intimate gift. Pet blankets make perfect gifts because they show the recipients that you have an intimate knowledge of their loves – in this case, the pet. Also, knowing the pet’s name, and having the name embroidered on the blanket shows your interest in the things the person loves.

You could also consider getting matching stuff for the pet and the owner. Such gifts are hard to ignore and aside from actually being useful, they gain a great deal of sentimental significance immediately.

2. Pet blankets bring a great measure of comfort to the pet. Loving your pet means giving him or her the best that money can buy. And no self-respecting pet owner would like to give anything to their pet that wasn’t unique. This is where pet blankets come in.

While most pets can basically live without blankets – their ancestors used to live out in the wild, remember – they make cold, drafty nights a lot more bearable. You wouldn’t want your pet to lay shivering in the cold.

Blankets can assure your pet a good nights rest uninterrupted by the weather. They sleep with a greater sense of comfort and security. That is more that what most pet owners could ask for.

You will find out that pets easily warm up to their blankets. They learn to use them instinctively, draping themselves when it gets too cold, and snuggling in them for warmth. And since it is personalized, no one else gets a crack at the blanket – it’s theirs.

In cold temperatures, the blanket would certainly make a great team with a pet bed warmer to help distribute body warmth better. Your pet’s bed is never complete without one.

3. Blankets can be tailor made for your pet. If your pet likes its blanket heavy-duty warm, then you can get them a blanket that does this. If your pet loves to laze on soft cushions and velvety smooth lambskin or chenille, then you can get them that too. There is so much choice on the pet supplies market that you will never be at a loss for choices for your pet.

4. Pet blankets are usually easy to clean. You could look for pet blankets that do not soil as easily. Unlike in the olden days, people are no longer restricted to plain cotton or wool. Technology has made great leaps and bounds towards creating materials that fit the specific needs of pets and pet owners.

These blankets are durable. They keep the pet warm. And they also are very easy to maintain and clean. What more could you ask for in a pet supply that is definitely a must in your home?

Conclusion
Personalized pet blankets should be a staple of any pet owner’s supplies. It is good for the dog and it is good for the owner. It’s a match made in heaven!

Tips To Prepare Healthy Food For Pet

Do you choose canned food or dry food? What brand? There are so many different brands, all shapes and sizes of pet food to choose from and pet owners are provided with very little information to base your decisions on (other than advertising) – it can get so confusing! Well, buckle your seatbelt depending on how much you know of the pet food industry, this could be a bumpy ride! You are about to learn seven secrets – well kept secrets – of pet food. Sit back, brace yourself, and keep reading.

Beneful says it’s ‘Premium Dog Food for a Happy, Healthy Dog’ and sells for around $18.00 for a 31 lb. bag, Science Diet “promises” ‘precisely balanced nutrition through continuous research and the highest quality food backed by your Vets endorsement’ and sells for around $21.00 for only a 20 lb bag. Then there are numerous pet foods that make the very same statements – ‘Premium Dog Food, Highest Quality’ – that sell for $30.00 or more for a 20 lb bag. And the same holds true for cat owners…Do you choose Whiskas that states ‘Everything we do is about making cats happy!’ or do you choose one of those high end cat foods that make the very same claim of a happy, healthy cat but cost 3 times as much?

Now with the on-going pet food recall pet owners have questions such as ‘Has this food been recalled?’ or ‘Is this food the next one to be recalled?’…’Is my pet safe?’ Wow this is confusing! And scary too! What exactly is a pet owner to do? How about learning a few secrets! Equipped with the knowledge of a few secrets of pet food, it’s not nearly as confusing.

Secret #1…

All pet foods use descriptive words like choice and premium, though few of them actually use premium or choice ingredients in their food. The ‘secret’ is that per the rules of the pet food industry, no pet food can make any claims or references on their label or advertising as to the quality or grade of ingredients. You see, the word ‘premium’ when it’s related to pet food DOES NOT mean that the ingredients in the food are premium. With pet foods, premium does not (can not) describe the food nor does it (can it) describe the quality of the food. It is a marketing term and that is all. Per the pet food industries own rules and regulations, “There are no references to ingredient quality or grade” (regulation PF5 d 3). So, words like premium, or choice, or quality are just marketing or sales terms. They should not be interpreted as terms describing the quality of the food.

Now why wouldn’t a pet food label be allowed to tell a prospective customer the quality of their ingredients? Doesn’t a pet owner deserve to know what they are buying? This leads me to the next secret…

Secret#2…

If I can compare ‘people’ food to pet food for just a second, we all know there are different qualities of people food. There is White Castle (I’m guilty here, I love the little guys!) and there is Outback Steak House (another favorite). Both restaurants serve meat and potatoes. At White Castle for under $3.00 you can get a couple of hamburgers and an order of fries. While at Outback you can get a steak and baked potato for around $16.00. Both serve beef and potato – yet you already realize that there are huge nutritional differences between a fast food hamburger and a steak…right?

The problem in the pet food industry – is that most pet owners don’t think in the same terms when it comes to pet food. They don’t think in terms that there are fast food types of pet foods and there are sit down restaurant more nutritious types of pet foods. In fact, several years ago a young man tried this very experiment with his own diet – eating nothing but fast food for 30 days. In just one month of eating fast food three meals a day, he gained a great deal of weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels sky-rocketed. Now, imagine your pet eating this type of food its’ entire lifetime.

OK, so back to our two meals…if a chemical analysis of your meal at White Castle was compared to a chemical analysis of your meal at Outback – both would analyze with a percentage of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Regardless whether you consider a steak at Outback a higher quality of protein than the burger – it would still analyze as protein. The analysis doesn’t measure quality of protein.

So here is the secret…All pet foods come with a Guaranteed Analysis stating the percentage of protein, fat, fiber and moisture in the food. The REAL secret lies in the quality of the percentages of protein, fat, and so on.

In a chemical analysis of a pet food – chicken feet would analyze as protein, although granted it provides very little nutrition. And as well, a cow that was euthanized (put to sleep) because of a disease that made it unfit for human consumption – would analyze as protein although that could be considered dangerous for consumption. Both of those things – chicken feet and a euthanized cow – are allowable ingredients and commonly used in pet food. You see the secret within the pet food industry is manufacturers have a WIDE OPEN door to where they obtain their ingredients. The only strict rule they must follow is an adult dog food must analyze with 18% protein and an adult cat food must analyze with 26% protein. Sources to acquire those particular percentages range from a ‘human grade’ meat, to chicken feet, to euthanized animals, to grain proteins, to even man made chemical proteins and many variations in between.

Pet food labels do not have to tell – are not allowed to tell – the sources they use to obtain that required 18% or 26% protein. And to make matters worse…quality minded pet food manufacturers – the companies that use 100% human grade ingredients – are not allowed to tell customers or potential customers that their products are quality, human grade ingredients.

So how can you know if your pet’s food uses chicken feet or euthanized cows or if it contains human grade ingredients?

Secret #3…

If the words premium and choice mean basically nothing with regards to the quality of pet food, and if some pet foods use chicken feet and euthanized animals in their food – how can a pet owner know what they are getting in their pets’ food?

This big secret is found in ingredient definitions. Unlike ‘people’ food where you can pretty much look at the food to determine the quality, pet food is far different. All ‘people’ food must meet particular USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) and FDA (Food and Drug Administration) guidelines. The same is not true for pet food. Chicken feet and euthanized cows are NOT allowed in people food for obvious reasons – they have no nutritional value or they could be dangerous to consume. The same is NOT true for pet food. The only way to know if those chicken feet or euthanized cows are in your pet’s food is to know what ingredients they can be used in.

The common pet food ingredient ‘Meat and Bone Meal’ is basically a combination of many different discarded left-overs from the human food industry. Components of ‘meat and bone meal’ can be anything from cow heads, stomachs, and intestines, to (horrifying but true) euthanized animals including cows, horses and dogs and cats from veterinarian offices, animal shelters, and farms. And along with those euthanized animals the pet food also contains the drug pentabarbitol that was used to euthanize the animal. ‘Meat and bone meal’ can also contain left-over restaurant grease, and diseased (including cancerous) meat tissues cut away from slaughtered animals. In other words, this commonly used ingredient is a mix of highly inferior and potentially dangerous left-overs from the human food industry.

The pet food ingredient ‘Meat By-Product’ or ‘Meat By-Product Meal’ is pretty much the same thing as ‘meat and bone meal’. It is a highly inferior pet food ingredient containing literally who-knows-what.

Another similar ingredient to the above is ‘Animal Digest’.

As to the chicken feet I mentioned earlier – this item can be found in the ingredients ‘Chicken By-Product’ or ‘Poultry By-Product’ or ‘Chicken By-Product Meal’ or ‘Poultry By-Product Meal’. Any left-overs in the chicken or poultry division – including but not limited to chicken feet, skin including some feathers, chicken or poultry heads, and intestines are found in these ingredients. It does NOT matter as to the health of the bird – sick, healthy, dead, dying…all is included in these ingredients.

So here is what you need to do…BEFORE you purchase any pet food, flip the bag over and closely examine the list of ingredients. The above mentioned ingredients would be listed within the first five or ten ingredients. If you see ANY of those ingredients – it is my suggestion to NOT purchase that food. Remember – chicken feet and euthanized animals do analyze as protein. That is all that is required in pet food – just the correct analysis.

Another little trick some pet food manufacturers use in this category is using grains and chemical additives to grain products to boost the protein percentages. Which is exactly the cause of the pet food recall that began in March 2007 – chemical proteins. Two different chemical additives – that have NO nutritional value to pets, but that analyzed as protein – were added to a grain product (wheat gluten, corn gluten, or rice gluten) solely to provide a cheap protein. Thousands of pets died and countless others became ill because no one counted on the problem of the combination of these two chemicals would cause kidney and urinary blockage. Again, their secret is the product has to analyze as having a particular amount of protein – no one is required to provide a quality meat protein.

While you are looking at the ingredient listing – you should also take note of how many grains (corn, wheat, rice) and/or how many grain products (corn gluten, whole corn, ground corn, whole wheat, ground wheat, wheat gluten, rice, brown rice, brewers rice, soy, and on and on) are listed within the first five or so ingredients. If you find more than one grain listed in the first five ingredients – that is telling you this pet food is acquiring some of its protein from grains.

Why is protein obtained from grains important for you to know? Several reasons – first off science proves that cats and dogs alike require and thrive on a meat protein. If a pet food is obtaining protein from grain sources, the pet is not getting the meat that it needs to thrive. Second, if the grain products are a corn gluten, wheat gluten, or rice gluten you take the risk of chemicals such as melamime added to it used strictly to boost the protein analysis. By the way, melamime is one of the chemicals found to be the cause of the March 2007 pet food recall. And there is one more concern with grains – aflatoxin. Aflatoxin is a deadly mold that is common to corn, wheat, and soy and it’s responsible for several other pet food recalls you probably never heard about. In December 2005, Diamond Pet Food contained moldy grains that killed over 100 pets before the product was recalled – all due to aflatoxin.

It is my recommendation to avoid any pet food that contains corn, wheat, or soy in ANY variation. The risk is simply too high.

Secret #4…

I’ve got more suggestions for you to look for in the ingredient listings…chemical preservatives. A very well kept secret of the pet food industry is their common use of chemical preservatives. BHA/BHT are very popular chemical preservatives used in pet food and science has linked them to tumors and cancer. Another common preservative is ethoxyquin which has known risks to cancer. Ethoxyquin is ONLY allowed in human food in some spices because of the very tiny proportions. However it is allowed in much higher proportions in pet food.

If you scan the ingredient listings, you will be looking for BHA/BHT and ethoxyquin listed anywhere. Commonly BHA/BHT is used to preserve the fat in the food which usually is found higher on the list. And also look for any of these chemicals towards the end of the ingredient listing. Personally, I wouldn’t touch a pet food that contained these chemical preservatives. You want a pet food that is preserved naturally – common natural preservatives are ‘natural mixed tocopherols’ or ‘vitamin E’.

Secret #5…

The very best food to provide to your pet is a well made food using human grade ingredients. That should be simple enough…How do you find that? You already know that pet food manufacturers are NOT allowed to make any statement as to quality or grade of ingredients, the only way you can find out the grade or quality of your pets’ food is to call the manufacturer and ask them.

Now, let’s say you call the ABC pet food company and ask the question “Is your Premium dog food and Premium cat food made using human grade ingredients?” It could be that you get the response yes, we use human grade ingredients – when actually only a couple of ingredients are human grade. Here’s the trick to asking…ask them if they are APHIS European certified.

Pet food manufacturers that are APHIS European certified assures you that ALL ingredients in their pet food are human grade. APHIS – Animal Plant Health Inspection Services – is a division of the USDA. APHIS European certification provides this pet food manufacturer with the opportunity to ship their foods/treats to Europe. When importing pet foods from the US, European countries demand that all ingredients are human grade and thus require this certification. Most pet food manufacturers that have APHIS European certification do not ship their products to Europe – they simply use this as a means to assure their customers to the higher quality of their ingredients.

Again, you WON’T see this listed on the label – it’s not allowed. You must call the manufacturer and ask. Often times the representative of the pet food won’t even know what you are talking about when you ask about APHIS certification – if that’s the case, you can assume they are not APHIS European certified. APHIS European certification is a bonus to pet owners – it is not required or even suggested that any pet food manufacturer go through the extra steps to obtain this. This is a special effort some pet foods go through to tell their customers they REALLY CARE about the quality of their products. Personally, I would NOT buy a pet food that doesn’t have it.

And by the way, if you can’t reach the pet food manufacturer, or they do not return your call within a short time frame, lose their number! Any company that does not place a priority on answering customers questions – doesn’t deserve your business!

Secret #6…

Minerals are a required ingredient in human diets as well as diets for our pets. Copper, Iron and Zinc are common minerals found in pet foods. Just as they are – copper, iron, and zinc are basically rocks, very difficult for anyone or any pet to utilize. Science has developed several ways to introduce minerals into the body (human and pet) for better absorption thus benefiting the individual far more. This scientific development is called chelating or proteinating and it’s been around for years. Through the chelating or proteinating process minerals are absorbed about 60% better than just the minerals alone.

This secret is spotting the minerals in your pet food to see if they are chelated or proteinated. Notice the minerals on your pet food label, way down on the list of ingredients. You are looking for minerals that read ‘copper proteinate’ or ‘chelated copper’. If you see just the mineral listed, your pet is sort of like Charlie Brown at Halloween saying ‘I got a rock’. If you want your pet to have the best, chelated or proteinated minerals are part of the best foods!

Secret #7…

This secret is called ‘friendly bacteria’. Although ‘friendly bacteria’ sounds a little scary, the reason for it lies in your pets’ intestinal system. A large portion of your pets’ immune system is found within the intestinal system. Keeping the immune system healthy helps to keep the animal itself healthy. This friendly bacteria is similar to what’s found in yogurt, however in pet food it is introduced in a fashion so that the cooking process doesn’t destroy it. Looking at the fine print on your pet food label, this time you are looking for lengthy, scientific words like Lactobacillus Acidophilus or Bifidobacterium Thermophilum. If you do NOT see these words or some very similar, that pet food is not addressing the care of your pets’ immune system. And again, if you want your pet to have the best, you want ‘friendly bacteria’ in their food.

There are your seven very secrets to help you find the absolute healthiest and best pet food for your four-legged friend. Armed with those secrets – you now have the knowledge to find your pet the best food possible! A pet food that can extend their life and prevent early aging and disease. If you don’t want to bother doing the homework involved, I urge you to subscribe to my monthly magazine Petsumer Report(TM). Through Petsumer Report(TM) I’ve done all the homework for you – each month I review and rate over 40 different pet foods, treats, toys, and various other pet supplies. It’s the ONLY publication of its’ kind providing pet owners with the information they need to know regarding their pet product purchases.

I want to share just a couple more things…

It’s best to feed an adult dog or adult cat two meals a day. The nutrition they consume with two meals is better utilized than with just one meal a day. If you are currently feeding your pet one meal a day, split that same amount into two meals and feed in the AM and PM.

You should know that all canned or moist pet foods are anywhere between 70% to 85% moisture. This means that 70% to 85% of that can or pouch of food is useless nutrition – its water. Granted our pets need water, cats especially tend not to drink enough water. But since all canned or moist foods are mostly water, they do not provide adequate nutrition to be fed strictly a canned or moist diet. Use a canned or moist product to supplement your pet’s diet – not as the only food.

The best pet foods are preserved naturally (secret #4) – but there is a concern with naturally preserved pet foods…freshness. Take notice of the expiration date on your pets food label – typically with naturally preserved dry pet foods (not as much of a concern with soft foods because of canning – very little need of preservatives) the expiration date is one year to 18 months from the date it was manufactured. Let’s say the pet food you are considering to purchase on July 1, 2007 has a ‘Best if Used by’ date of January 1, 2008. This would tell you that this particular bag of pet food is already 6 months old. While it is still ‘good’ a fresher food – a bag that is only 2 or 3 months old – is better. Naturally preserved pet foods lose nutritional potency with time. Always try to find a very fresh bag.

If you are considering changing your pets food, ALWAYS consult with your Veterinarian first. You should always keep your veterinarian advised of any changes you make with your pet. Don’t take chances. And if you do switch pet food, make the change over very slowly. I always recommend to pet owners ¼ new food to ¾ old food for 4 to 7 days, ½ to ½ for another 4 to 7 days, and so on. Switching food quickly can cause intestinal disorder! Its short term, but we don’t want intestinal disorder!!!

One last thing, as you are already aware dogs and cats have a far better sense of smell than humans. Their food bowl can be a wealth of smells – both good and bad. Some times a pet will refuse to eat simply because he or she smells a previous food in their bowl. Plastic food and water bowls retain odors the worst. And surprisingly so does stainless steel bowls. The best type of food and water bowl is a ceramic one. They retain odors the least.

“Animals are such agreeable friends – they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.” George Eliot.

I completely agree!

How To Getting Rid Of Your Pet

So you’ve had your dog or cat for a while, and your life is changing, and now you think you need to get rid of your pet. But are you sure this is what you want to do? Getting rid of your pet is a very drastic measure. If you leave your pet at a shelter, you may think he will find a new home soon. But it is unlikely. Many high-kill shelters must euthanize animals each day in order to make room for new ones who have come in. Some animals are only at the shelter for four or five days before they run out of luck. Fifty-six percent of dogs and seventy-six percent of cats in shelters are euthanized… many of them healthy, well-behaved animals whose owners simply didn’t have time for them anymore. Even in a no-kill shelter, your pet may be doomed to live out the rest of his life in a small cage if he is not chosen for adoption.
If you are willing to try keeping your pet, there are many things you can do. Lets look at some of the most common reasons why people get rid of their pets, and how to get around them.

Reason 1: I’m moving.
Solution: Bring your pet with! A quick Google search for “pet-friendly housing” will show you many different directories of rental housing that allows pets. Here are just a few that I found: People With Pets, Pets Welcome, My New Place, Pets911, Home With Pets, and Dog House Properties. And pet-friendly housing is not just limited to those sites! Many apartment buildings and complexes will allow pets. You may have to pay an extra security deposit. But in the end, it will be worth it, to keep your pet with you!
Here is something else you should know. If things get really bad and you have no place to live, you still may not have to give up your pet. Pets Of The Homeless is a website that works to help homeless people to keep their pets, or find temporary homes for their pets until they get back on their feet.

Reason 2: I can no longer afford my pets.
Solution: Call your local animal shelter, or food pantry, and ask about pet food banks. They do exist, and are becoming more and more common! You can even make your own dog food, which may be cheaper in the long run. (Its not difficult! Dogs can eat much of the same things we eat!) Your local animal shelter, or your veterinarian, may also be able to tell you about free or low cost vet care for your pets.

Reason 3: My new boyfriend/girlfriend/fiance/roommate doesn’t like pets.
Solution: Are you really going to sacrifice your pet on someone else’s whim? Are you sure you want to date someone or live with someone who doesn’t like pets? That’s a pretty big lifestyle change to make for someone else. If you’re sure you want to stick with this person, work out a compromise. Maybe your pet can be banned from certain areas of the house, like the bedroom or the kitchen.

Reason 4: My new boyfriend/girlfriend/fiance/roommate is allergic to my pet.
Solution: As long as the person’s allergy isn’t life threatening, there are many things you can do to greatly reduce the allergens on your pet. Keeping your house clean is a giant step. Dust and vacuum frequently, and use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter if possible. You can buy an air filter for your home that sucks the allergens out of the air. A company called AllerPet makes a special liquid that you can wipe your pet down with regularly to get rid of the allergens on him. Sprinkling flax seeds in your pet’s food can also reduce the amount of dander he produces. The person may even be willing to take allergy medication! After all, many people have seasonal allergies and take medicine regularly. They don’t just get rid of the seasons!

Reason 5: We’re having a baby.
Solution: Pets and children are a great combination! Most pets are perfectly fine around children, although they may be a little confused by the new arrival at first. You should always supervise your pet around young children. When your child is an infant, he probably won’t be unsupervised anyways, right? As your child gets older, you will have to teach the child to be gentle with the pets. Do not allow your child to pull your pet’s tail, poke him, pick him up, etc. Many people feel that a pet should be obligated to put up with whatever your child deals out. But that is not good for anyone involved! Teaching your child, from a young age, to be calm and nurturing around pets, is a great learning experience for the child. If you have a dog, you may want to do some extra training with him before the baby comes, to teach him not to jump up on you when you’re holding the baby, etc. Other measures may include banning the pets from certain areas of the house, hiring someone to come walk your dogs or clean up after your pets when you don’t have time to, etc.

Reason 6: I have developed health problems.
Solution: Speak to your veterinarian, neighbors, friends, people at your place of worship, etc. You can probably find some volunteers to help you take care of your pet. Having a pet can be a source of comfort when you are ill. In fact, many studies have shown that people with pets have lower blood pressure, lower heart rates, and are generally more healthy, than those without pets. If your health problems are so severe that you must move into a nursing home, maybe you can find someone willing too foster your pet for you.

Reason 7: My pet has developed costly health problems.
Solution: Speak to your veterinarian about this. They may be able to guide you to low cost veterinary clinics, veterinary schools that offer low cost treatment, etc. Many veterinary offices now offer payment plans for treatment. They may be able to help you find creative ways of raising money to pay for your pet’s treatment, too!

Reason 8: My pet still isn’t house trained.
Solution: If your pet is suddenly having “accidents” around the house when he used to be house trained, there could be a medical reason. You may want to consult your veterinarian. If the house training has just never completely been accomplished, you may have to start over from scratch. For a dog, take him out more frequently and try to get him on a schedule. If you are not home during the day, and your dog is eliminating on the floor or furniture while you are gone, you may want to consider crating him while you are not home. For a cat, switching to a different kind of litter, getting a bigger litter box, or moving the litter box to a different area of the house, can help. Clean up accidents with a mixture of vinegar and water. This mixture gets rid of the scent of urine or poop, so that the pet doesn’t feel the need to “mark” that area again.

Reason 9: I work long hours, and don’t have much time to spend with my pet. Its not fair to him.
Solution: While it may seem unfair that your pet has to spend time alone, it is still better than making him take his chances in a shelter! There are simple measures, such as providing stimulating toys for your pets, or leaving the TV on during the day, that can help your pet to feel less lonely. One nice thing you can do is buy your pet a special blanket. Sleep with it in your bed for a few nights before you give it to your pet. It will smell like you, and offer comfort to your pet when you are away from the house! You may also want to consider pet day care, or hiring someone to stop in during the day to play with your pets. Also, spending as little as fifteen minutes before you leave for work, just playing with your pet and spending quality time with him, can make a real difference. You don’t have to be a perfect owner and spend tons of time hanging out with your pet. He will love you the way you are… and again, it is better to be alone at your home than to die alone in a shelter.

Reason 10: My pet has behavior problems. He bites/scratches/jumps on me, barks too much, etc.
You may want to consider a training class for yourself and your pet. Petco and Petsmart offer fairly inexpensive training classes. It can be a good investment! If you can’t afford this, then the library can provide books on dog training, and the Internet can provide websites with tips. Try Googling a specific problem you’re having. For instance, search for “teach dog to stop barking.” Spending ten or fifteen minutes a day working with your dog, and then consistently rewarding your dog for positive behavior, can make a huge difference.

These are just a few of the common reasons why people consider giving up their pets. But remember, every problem has a solution. So, before you give up on your pet, please take some time to remedy the problems!

Tips To Traveling With Pets

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.

Traveling with your pet can be challenging, but with some planning ahead, it can also be a fun and rewarding experience. Trying a short weekend trip before a longer vacation can also help your pet acclimate to travel, and you will learn how well your pet travels.

Things You Should Know About Moving With Pets

Americans and their loved pets move on average every seven years. If you have a pet or pets, remember that they also experience stress, particularly from moving. In many cases, moving can be even more stressful on pets, as the home is their habitat. Pets can also become very frightened when faced with unfamiliar situations. Careful organization and planning can make the moving process easier and less stressful for both you and your pet. Our guide offers tips and advice to help you and your pet through this process.

Pet travel warning

o Never move a sick pet – the move may aggravate his symptoms and be dangerous to his health.

o The Animal Welfare Act makes it illegal to transport puppies and kittens less than eight weeks old by air.

o Pets cannot be moved on a moving van with your household belongings.

o Pets are generally not allowed on trains or buses, unless they’re guide-dogs accompanying blind or otherwise impaired persons.

o Book a direct flight if you are traveling by plane. If your pet is traveling in freight he may be sitting outside with the freight for a long period of time between flights and as the freight is being moved from plane to plane. If the weather is either too hot or too cold your pet will suffer. An insulated crate will certainly help this situation if it cannot be avoided.

Air Transport

You may transport your pet by air either accompanying you or as air freight. Some airlines provide counter-to-counter service so your pet will be carried on and off the plane by an airline employee. Remember, not all airlines accept pets for transportation, so be sure to inquire when you are making your travel arrangements. Also be sure to check about charges and insurance charges for transporting your pet.

It is important that you book your air travel as early as possible. Airlines that accept pets for transportation will have specific regulations and guidelines regardless of whether the pets are accompanied or unaccompanied. For example, you may be required to be at the airport several hours in advance of the flight to check your pet in and your pet may need a special crate. The airline may be able to provide to you a crate for the trip, or you may have to purchase one from the airline.

The airline will have guidelines on the crate types allowed and your local pet supply company will be able to sell you the required crate. You pet should be able to stand and turn around with ease and there should be adequate ventilation. The bottom of the crate should be padded with newspaper or other absorbent material. Add a favorite toy on move day to give a sense of security. Try to get your pet accustomed to the crate at home before the big day.

On move day, feed and water your pet at least 5 hrs before the flight departure time and water again at least 2 hours before departure. Remember to administer any medication or veterinarian-recommended tranquilizers before departure. When you arrive at the airport, exercise your pet and check that you have provided all the necessary information to airline staff regarding your name, correct new address and alternate contact name in case of emergency.

Some airlines allow passengers to bring pets into the cabin with them, provided they fall within a specific size range and stay in a carrier for the duration of the flight.

By road – In a motor vehicle

Unless you are planning a very short road trip, do not feed or water your pet for a couple of hours before leaving. You may decide to put your pet in a crate during the road trip, but be sure he is able to stand and turn around with ease and that there is adequate ventilation. The bottom of the crate should be padded with newspaper, towels or other absorbent and cushioning material. Adding a favorite toy will help give a sense of security. Exercise your pet regularly during the road trip, but always use a leash because your furry friend can easily get lost or hit by a car if he wanders off.

Do not let your pet hang his head out the window while the car is moving. While many dogs love to do this, it can cause sore eyes, ears or throat. And, never let the windows down so far that your pet can jump out.

Warning

Never leave a pet in a hot car during the summer or in a cold car in the winter. Temperatures inside a car with closed windows escalate dramatically when it’s parked in the sun. Even if it’s pleasant outside, it takes only a few moments to reach over 100 degrees inside the car – which can be fatal for small occupants. If you absolutely have to leave your pet briefly, and the day is hot, park in the shade, lock the car doors and crack the windows open several inches to provide cross-ventilation. Check on him regularly. If the day is very hot, it is best not to leave your pet in the car at all.

Pet’s travel bag

Don’t forget to pack a travel bag for your pet! Following is a list of items you may wish to include;

o Food and can opener

o Food and water dishes

o Any medication your pets needs

o Treats

o Favorite toys

o Leash

o Grooming brush

o Bags to clean up after your pet

o Newspapers

o Cleaner and paper towel

Whatever mode of transport you use for your pet, make sure you are in compliance with state and local regulations for animals in your destination city, along with current copies of.

o ID tags

o Health records

Pets ID tags

The state where you are moving may have different laws regarding animals and their entry across state lines. It is important that you understand the requirements so that you can comply with them, so contact the state veterinarian for specific information. It is not uncommon for pets to need an entry permit in order to enter a new state. As well, in many towns and cities the number of pets per household may be limited. You will be required to obtain a local license for your pet within a certain deadline, such as 30 days, so find out what it is. You don’t want to pay a fine for not keeping your pet’s license current!

Health

You may need to obtain a health certificate for your pet from a licensed veterinarian and this can be used in the event it is required for entry to your new home state. The Department of Agriculture may request to see the health cert at your destination airport or could even be patrolling the highways if you are driving. A health cert is generally valid for 10 days, so be sure to have the inspection scheduled just before you move. The veterinarian will conduct a complete physical examination of your pet and check that he is current with all inoculations.

Dogs

Whether traveling by air or by car, moving can be even more stressful for a dog than for a human, although some dogs adapt better than others. Hold off on packing your dog’s bedding and toys until the last moment so that he can be comforted by the presence of familiar things. If you’re traveling a long way, avoid feeding your dog for 12 hours before the journey in order to prevent travel sickness. If you know your dog suffers from travel sickness, ask your veterinary surgeon about medication.

If you plan on flying to your new home, do your best to book a direct flight. If your dog has to be transported by freight and the flight is not direct he may have to sit out in the hot or cold weather as the freight is boarded to the new flight. Check with the airlines for details. If your dog is small enough, he may be able to travel in the passenger cabin with you. He will need a special pet carrier, which you can purchase at your local pet store. Ask the airline what crate specifications they require.

If traveling by car, have your dog’s nails cut to avoid damage to the upholstery. Carry an adequate supply of plastic bags and use these to clean up after your pet at any rest stops you use. Never let your dog hang his head out the window of a car when it’ s moving. Even though most dogs love to do this, it can cause sore eyes, ears or throat.

Never leave your pet alone in a car, especially in hot weather. The temperature inside the car can quickly rise to an unbearable level, even on what feels like a pleasant afternoon.

Once you arrive at your destination, be sure to get your dog back in to his routine of eating and exercise. If you have moved to an apartment building and your pet dog was used to having a yard to play in, you’ll need to be extra considerate. Walk your dog more frequently, at least until he gets used to his new living situation. Be patient and make allowances for indoor “accidents.” Don’t punish your pooch, as this may make the problem worse. Clean the mess to remove the soil and smell. Once your dog has settled in, the accidents should stop. Use positive reinforcement to teach him where he needs to go. Always praise him when he relieves himself in the correct place.

One way to help your dog settle in more quickly is to create a comfortable sleeping area for him. If your new home has a yard, check the fencing to make sure that it is secure, of sufficient height and ‘hole-free’ before letting your dog run loose. If your dog is able to escape, exercise him on a lead until you are able to make the necessary improvements.

Cats

It’s commonly accepted that cats get very attached to places and typically hate to move. Cats get particularly comfortable with routine, and don’t like their environment to change. This can make moving especially difficult for humans and their cats.

In the days leading up to your move, try to keep your pet’s routine as normal as possible. It is best to crate your cat during the moving process, and it may be helpful to ask a friend or family member to keep an eye him.

If you are traveling by air, you may need to purchase an airline-approved carrier for you cat. You airline should be able to provide you with all the details. If you are traveling by car you may also want to use a crate or carrier so your cat cannot roam about the car, or escape through an open window or door.

Once you are in your new location, be careful to keep your cat indoors until he becomes comfortable in his new surroundings. Do not allow your cat outdoors, because he may try to return to you old home … and that’s obviously dangerous for him, especially if you’ve moved far away. Supervised outings are advised until your pet gets used to your new home. You can use a long leash on your cat and connect it to a stake in the ground, allowing your pet to wander the length of the leash for the first few days. Let your cat explore all the rooms of the house and be sure to check that outside doors and windows are closed before you begin.

Birds and Small Pets

Of all pets, birds are probably the most sensitive to changes in temperature and environment. Your pet bird can be moved in the cage in which it lives. When you are moving with your pet bird, be sure to use a cover for the cage. This can keep the bird calm and protect it from drafts. Place the cage in a shallow box to collect any gravel, feathers or droppings that may spill during transit. Remove any containers of food and water before moving the cage to avoid spills en route. Do feed and water your bird at its regular times, as birds, like all small animals, can become dehydrated very quickly in warm weather.

Some states require a health cert for birds entering the state. The USDA may inspect this cert either at the airport or during routine roadway inspections. Have your pet bird inspected by your veterinarian prior to traveling. Some health certificates are valid for a brief period of time. Ten 10 days is a common window for a health certificate.

Horses

There are several ways to transport horses. Your horse can be transported by air freight, by towing a trailer or by hiring a specialized horse transporting company. The horse transport company can use either air or road to transport horses.

By Air

Many airlines accept horses as air freight. In general, they will only transport horses on direct flights. You will be required to have a stall constructed to the airline’s specifications, and you will need to ensure your horse has the necessary health checks completed prior to moving to your new home state. Remember that requirements vary by state, and airlines will request a health certificate. The USDA may also be at the destination airport conducting inspections and may request to see the health certificate.

By Road

Depending on the distance you need to travel, towing your horse in a trailer behind your car or truck may be an option. If you do not own a trailer, you may consider renting one, but you’ll want to be sure you’re experienced enough to safely load and trailer your horse. You can also pack tack and feed in the trailer.

If your trip requires overnight stays you will need to book stables en route for your horse. These stables will require a health certificates appropriate to horses only, and if they do not you probably don’t want to board your horse there. Your veterinarian should be aware of the applicable laws of the different states and will be able to provide you with the necessary health certificates. (Contact information regarding states entry requirements is at the end of this guide.)

If you are unable to find a stable or lodgings for your horse in close proximity to your hotel, inquire whether the hotel will allow you to keep the trailer in the parking lot overnight. In inclement weather this is not advisable. Feed and water your horse per the normal routine and clean out the stall when you have an overnight stop.

Reptiles

Most states have strict government regulations regarding the entry of reptiles. See the states regulatory contact list at the end of this guide to find out what you need to do before moving your reptile from state to state.

As a general rule, the carrier that a reptile is transported in needs to be kept moist. Place the reptile in a cloth bag and fasten the top of the bag, making sure to leave the reptile enough room to move about, then place the bag in the shipping container. Use foam peanuts for cushioning and place damp paper or cloth in the shipper to keep the environment moist. Make sure there are air holes in the shipper for ventilation. If you are traveling overnight with your reptile you may need to place him in the tub of your hotel room at night for a nice long soak. Check if the hotel allows pets first.

Do not ship reptiles in excessively hot or cold weather, as their shipping container may be left outside for periods of time, leading to stress and possibly death.

Snakes must be handled with extra care, especially if they are venomous. Most airlines require double crating for snakes, which means putting the snake in one crate and then placing this crate in another, larger crate. Adequate ventilation is a must. The airline may provide you with stickers to put on all sides of the crate and you will need to write the type of snake on this label. You should also write on the sticker whether the snake is venomous or not.

**Warning

Remember to keep the surroundings of all reptiles moist, but not wet. Placing a damp cloth inside the container is one of the best ways to keep your reptile’s environment appropriately moist during transit.

Fish

Fish are notoriously difficult to move safely from one location to another, but it can be done effectively and efficiently with some planning. It is advisable to sell or give away as many fish as you can before you move to help ease the burden. However if this is not an option, this guide will help you understand what you need to do.

Depending on the size of your aquarium, and the number and type of fish you have, it may be easier to separate them into a several smaller tanks. If the aquarium is 5 gallons or less it may be just as easy to move the entire aquarium. Place some cellophane over the top of the aquarium and remove all heaters and aerators. Place the container in a cooler box or Styrofoam container to regulate the temperature and keep it constant for up to 48 hours. Be sure to open the cellophane every four to five hours to change and refresh the air. This option may be the best for tropical fish, which don’t do well in smaller containers with overcrowding or sudden changes in water and temperature.

Never leave the container in the car overnight, as the temperature changes may be too drastic for the fish. If you plan to be traveling to your destination for a couple of days with your fish it is advisable to purchase a portable aerator to keep the water well oxygenated. Always pack your aquarium last in the moving truck so that you can unload it quickly at your destination.

If you separate your fish into smaller containers or fish bags, you should try to use the aquarium water in order to keep the environment as constant as possible. In the event you do not have enough water for all the smaller containers, add fresh or saltwater appropriate to the type of fish. It is advisable to allow each container of water to settle for a few hours after filling. If you have only a small number of fish and are moving a short driving distance, you can move the fish to their new location by using plastic bags half-filled with water and half-filled with air. As a general guideline, each fish should have at least 1-2 gallons of water. To maintain the temperature, place the bags in an insulated container or Styrofoam container.

Most fish can go without food for a couple of days without any problems, but it is important to add healing agents to the water, as the fish may become bruised en route. This is not uncommon and you can purchase healing agents at your local pet supply store.

When you arrive at your destination set up the aquarium as quickly as possible. You may need to treat the water to neutralize any chemicals; your local pet store can advise you of any treatments the local water may need.

Turn the aerator on for a while, and then add slowly and gently add the fish to the tank one at a time. Wait until the water settles, and feed them as usual.

New Community

PLEASE, PLEASE be responsible when you move and check beforehand with your new community to find out if pets are allowed. Some apartment and condominium complexes may not allow pets, and you certainly don’t want to find that out on moving day.

Some of the most common reasons that people leave their pets with shelters are “we are moving “and “my landlord doesn’t allow pets.” Remember, pets do not know why their owners are leaving them behind, so do your homework beforehand to save all that heartbreak. Consider your options carefully, as pets should be considered a lifetime commitment. If you are absolutely unable to take your pet with you, you owe it to this creature to find him a good home.

State and local regulations

You need to make sure that your pet has some sort of easily read ID attached to its body. For dogs and cats this can be a collar, while a tag around the leg is appropriate for birds. The ID tag should have your pet’s name, destination address, your name and telephone number. It is also a good idea to have an alternate’s name and number on the tags in the event that somebody finds your lost pet and is unable to get in touch with you. You should also have rabies tags for your pet; depending on the state where you live this will most likely be a requirement. For air travel, your pet may be required to wear special travel tags, which the airline will provide.

Tips To Get Discount For 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 Choose 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.

All our kids love their pets.

Why You Need Hire Professional Pet Sitting

You love your pets, and if you consider yours part of the family, your “babies” and worry about their well being while you’re away, then it’s time to consider a personalized service such as pet sitting in your home.

Let’s face it – many boarding kennels provide adequate service, but your pets are not in the comfort of their own home. Often, kennels are noisy environments where senior and young animals, those with anxiety or stress and illness do not cope well. Pets may also be exposed to kennel cough, canine flu, stress diarrhea, and some refuse to eat due to the strange surroundings.

It’s wonderful when your dog can romp in his own yard or go on a walk with a pet sitter in his own neighborhood. Imagine your cat stretching out in her favorite patch of sun and having a clean litter box daily. All pets get love, pets, and attention one-on-one, and lots of playtime! Pet sitters provide a nurturing service that helps keep your pets happy, coddled and content while you are away on vacations and business trips.

Another plus of this unique service is the home care that is included. There is no need to stop the mail or newspapers, your pet sitter will bring those inside, including packages left at your door. Home security checks are performed, plants watered, and trash taken to the curb. Your home has a lived-in look as lights are alternated and curtains opened or closed according to your instructions.

Many pet owners are not aware that they can enjoy the benefits of a pet sitter without having to inconvenience neighbors, friends or family members. It also eliminates have to take pets to a boarding kennels, and then worry about pick up times. Pets are waiting at home, happy and well cared for. As an added bonus, if you have multiple pets, you can save a ton of money, as most visits are based on time, and include all pets in a household. If you have exotics, or animals such as horses, livestock, and farm animals, you can probably find a pet sitter that specializes in these types of care.

There are pet sitting services that offer care for special needs pets. For instance, those of advanced age with arthritis or illness. Post surgical care, dressing changes, and assistance with dog “wheelies” are areas many pet sitters can deal with while you are away. The majority are skilled at administering oral, injectable medications, fluid hydrations (under the skin), and applying ear, eye, and skin ointments and drops. Don’t forget very young puppies! Many benefit from the additional visits during a busy work day for potty breaks, leash training and socialization to people outside their family.

Midday dog walking service is almost always a service offered by professional pet sitters. If you have long days at the office, or have a meeting that runs over, your pet sitter can stop by to walk, play with and feed your pet when you can’t. Ask for discounts for prepaid services or weekly service.

So how does a pet sitting service usually work? Most professional pet sitters will offer a consultation, during which they have an opportunity to meet you and your pets. All instructions for the care of your pets and home are obtained during this meeting, and arrangements for key pickup. Once you hire the pet sitter of your choice, it’s just a matter of calling, sending an email, or using a website ordering system to request pet sitting whenever you need it.

If you are considering using a pet sitter, here are some tips for choosing a great service for your home and pets:

1. Be sure your pet sitter carries liability insurance and is bonded.
2. Ask for references, and check them!
3. Consider experience, background and hiring practices if the service has multiple sitters.
4. Find out what disaster plans the pet sitter will follow as applicable to your area (hurricanes, earthquake, blizzards, etc.)
5. Inquire to the procedure followed should your pet require a veterinarian.
6. Make certain you feel comfortable with the person you are interviewing. Look for confidence, knowledge, and ask lots of questions. Also see if your pets are comfortable with the person.

Once you have chosen a professional pet sitting service to care for your precious babies, here are some suggestions for making the pet care experience more productive:

1. Make sure all food, medications, treats, leashes, and other essentials are in clear view for your sitter.
2. Double check that all forms and information has been provided, including your vet information and a trusted emergency contact.
3. Take up anything your pets might get into or chew up. Don’t forget about plants, candy dishes, foods left out on counters, and anything tempting (shoes, kid’s toys, etc.).
4. Be certain that your doors and windows are closed and locked, and that you haven’t changed any codes or keys since the last time your pet sitter provided service.
5. Inspect all collars, leashes and harnesses for wear, frayed areas, and that they fit properly. Replace or refit any equipment as required.
6. Make arrangements for things such as snow removal, or leave out a shovel and ice-melt for small jobs during snow storms.
7. Water all indoor and outdoor plants once before leaving.
8. Scoop the yard and litter boxes once before service begins.
9. Leave notes with any additional information you wish the pet sitter to know.
10. Make sure the porch light works, especially for sitters arriving after dark.

Once you have used the services of professional pet sitter, chances are you will love the service and be an avid repeat user!

How To Solved the Loss of a Pet

The loss of a pet can be a devastating event for anyone. To many Americans, a pet is a best friend, or at least a beloved family member. Many children grow up with pets, and learn their first lessons about death through those pets, as most pets have shorter life spans than humans.

The average lifespan of a dog can be anywhere from 7-15 years, depending upon the breed. Dogs are loyal animals who offer unconditional love to their owners. They provide companionship and, often, protection. Cats, on the other hand, can live quite a bit longer, but offer the same love and devotion to a dedicated owner. Pets can also include birds and reptiles. No matter what the species, a pet is an important member of any household or family, and the grief that is felt at the end of a pet’s life can be profound.

While pets usually show signs of decline in their health toward the end of their lives, it’s sometimes difficult to know exactly when is an appropriate time for euthanasia. It is usually advised to notice when the pet’s quality of life has become significantly compromised. For example, dogs and cats often become incontinent, or their legs fail to support their body weight. Another example might be visible signs of discomfort or pain. No one wants to see a pet suffer, and any loving pet owner would rather protect a beloved pet from suffering.

This is often a difficult decision, and one that no one enjoys making. Today’s animal care is comprehensive and offers quite a few options, such as hospice care, acupuncture, and other holistic medicines that provide comfort to a pet with a serious illness. While that can alleviate some symptoms and discomforts, there is still a deep sense of grief for the owner when the pet eventually passes.

As with grief for any death, it’s important to find support systems to help with the emotional pain. There are online support groups and articles. Many communities offer in-person support groups and/or counseling. Memorializing a pet can help with the grief process. Time is, of course, the ultimate healer, and during the passing of time, it’s often helpful to reflect upon your life with the animal. Looking at photographs is a wonderful way to remember your pet. Favorite stories about your pet can be remembered through writing poems and short stories, or even drawing pictures.

Your pet can be buried in a pet cemetery, or even on your property, if local laws are permitting. There are plenty of ways in which a pet grave can be marked with a plaque, stone, or other grave marker. This can be a special tribute that honors your pet forever.

Alternatively, pet cremation is becoming more and more popular. A unique or personalized pet urn can serve as a constant reminder of your love for your pet. There are plenty of choices in today’s pet memorials market. A pet urn can be made that reflects the spirit of your pet, or even resembles the physical traits of your pet.

As with all grief, it is common to feel anger, sadness, denial, or depression. It is important to seek support and know that this is normal. Time softens the anguish of this grief, and support can help the emotional state while that time is passing.