You've probably heard of Take Your Child to Work Day, but June 21 puts a different spin on things with Take Your Dog to Work Day. This holiday celebrates our canine companions and also encourages adoption by inspiring dogless co-workers who might find the pets irresistible and decide to add to their own families.
Well-known dog toy maker Kong recommends bringing some playthings if you bring your dog to your workplace. A toy will keep the dog busy and promote good behavior. Kong toys are particularly well suited to the task because you can add treats or stuff in tasty foods like peanut butter to keep your pet's attention for hours.
If you normally have to leave your dog at home all day while you work, attend school, or do something else that keeps you out for long hours, Kong toys are also great for preventing separation anxiety. Check out this article in which former Animal Planet "Good Dog U" host and current Busch Gardens animal keeper Jay Stutz recommends Kong toys as being his favorite option for soothing this problem.
The world was thrilled to learn about the birth of a seemingly healthy two-faced kitten in Oregon, then saddened by its death just days later. Duecy was rejected by the mom cat and died despite owner Stephanie Durkee's efforts to feed the kitten with an eye dropper.
Such kittens are rare but not unheard of. The condition happens often enough in animals to have a scientific name, diprosopus, although felines are often referred to as Janus cats.
Although the prognosis for Janus cats isn't good, one such feline, named Frank and Louie for his two distinct faces, is still alive after 12 years and is in the Guinness Book of World Records for his longevity.
If you've got a cat of your own, check out this list of 10 helpful videos for kitten and cat owners.
Courteous dog owners pick up after their pooches, but what do you do if there's no garbage can nearby? An interesting product called The Fifth Paw gives you a way to handle the problem without actually handling the poop.
The Fifth Paw allows the bag to dangle on your leash until you get to a place where you can dispose of it properly. That leaves your hands free to control your dog and to handle things like cell phones and keys. You can see it below:
If you can't find this product in a store near you, it's available through the official website.
You can buy restraint devices to keep your dog safe in your car, but how reliable are they? After testing several restraints based on child safety criteria (because there are no standards for pets) and having them all fail. the Center for Pet Safety (CPS) is now offering doggy crash test dummies so manufacturers can do their own tests.
The non-prodfit CPS was created in 2011 after founder Lindsey Wolko's dog, Maggie, was badly injured in a car crash despite being buckled in. Wolko learned there are no accepted standards for canine restraints and decided to make a difference.
CPS did a pilot study in 2011. That was the study in which all of the tested devices failed. The group is now doing a more comprehensive study, founded by Subaru, and it making its 55 pound crash test doggies, like the one pictured below, available through licensing agreements. Manufacturers can use these models to test and improve their products.
A 2010 study revealed that at least 20 percent of drivers let their dogs sit on their lap while on the road. Unfortunately, an unrestrained dog becomes a projectile in the case of a crash. Always restrain your dog when driving, and keep your eye out for new data that will guide you to the safest options as industry standards slowly but surely emerge.
Harnesses are just one type of doggy restraint for cars. Check out five different types in this article.
June is Adopt a Shelter Cat Month, and there are plenty of needy kittens and cats waiting for their forever homes. As the name of this month implies, animal shelters are a great place to find your new feline family member. Check with your local shelter or go to www.petfinder.com to find homeless cats in your area.
While shelters are great places to find a cat (or dog or even a pocket pet), there are other sources, too. Here are more options for finding an adoption kitty in June:
Rescue groups. Many rescue groups don't have shelter space, so they have their cats and kittens in foster homes. Some bring them to pet stores for adoption days, as do many animal shelters. You'll find rescue groups on Petfinder, or stop by your local Petco, Petsmart, or other pet store to see if they work with shelters and rescues.
Craigslist. Many people who need to get rid of their cat, or who have temporarily taken in a stray, list the animal on Craigslist. By adopting an animal from CL, you're potentially saving space in a shelter for another needy animal because many people end up taking their cats to shelters if they can't arrange a private adoption. Just beware of breeders trying to sell cats online under the guise of adoption.
Strays. If your neighborhood is like mine, irresponsible people have likely dumped kittens and cats out onto the streets when they moved or simply got tired of their pets. Taking in a stray is a great way to get your new kitty.
Out of my current four cats, one is from a shelter, one is from a rescue group via a pet store adoption, and two are former strays. They're all wonderful pets who give back an abundance of love.
If you're planning to add a cat to your household this month, check out this list of ten useful videos.
Now that nice weather is here, you're probably excited about spending more time outside with your canine friend. Dog parks are great, but you put your dog at risk of certain injuries if you're not careful. Pet insurer VPI says the most common dog park-related medication problems are sprains, soft tissue injuries, lacerations, bite wounds, kennel cough/upper respiratory infections, insect bites, head trauma, and hyperthermia/heat stroke.
According to Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI, "Pet owners can avoid many of the medical conditions that occur at a dog park simply by taking the necessary precautions and paying close attention to their pet. Dog parks are a great place for pets to socialize, but they can also be the site of accidents and other problems if their owners don't watch them closely to protect them from potential dangers."
Here are some tips to keep your dog safe during playtime:
- Read and obey all posted rules and regulations.
- Keep an eye on your dog at all times.
- Don't bring puppies under four months old to a dog park.
- Make sure your dog has up-to-date vaccinations (such as rabies and parvovirus vaccine) and a current license tag.
- Use preventative medication to ward off fleas.
- Keep a collar and ID tag on your dog.
- Beware the hottest part of the day; temperatures peak between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Be alert for signs of overheating, like profuse and rapid panting, a bright red tongue, thick drooling saliva, and coordination problems. These symptoms mean your dog needs to see a veterinarian immediately.
With so many dog and cat food recalls over the past two years, many pet owners are concerned with the safety of their canine and feline friends' food. A petMD survey quantified this concern into some hard numbers.
According to the survey, more than 82 percent of respondents didn't feel that pet food manufacturers are doing all they can to keep contaminants out of food. Almost every respondent disagreed with the common industry practice of shipping out dog and cat food to stores before final test results have proven the food batch is salmonella free.
With so many problems linked to Chinese plants and ingredients, more than 84 percent of the petMD survey respondents said they prefer pet products made in a U.S. facility, and 98 percent want ingredients that either come from the United States or from other countries with similar strict regulations. Respondents were also against third party manufacturing, with 80 percent wanting food to be made in a company's own plants with its own employees.
Interestingly, while most respondents said they were more likely to buy food from manufacturers that strictly separate the raw ingredients from final cooked products, only 15 percent actually knew whether the company from which they buy their cat or dog food has this restriction in place.
None of these concerns is surprising, given all the recent salmonella scares and concerns over chicken jerky treats from China. Are Chinese products ever safe? Check on this article on what to look for if you're considering buying Chinese dog treats.
June 4 is National Hug Your Cat Day, but if you're like me, you celebrate that holiday in your household pretty much every day. I have four cats, all of whom demand their share of attention, so I had out lots of hugs, pats, and snuggles.
If you like to go beyond a simple hug and spoil your kitties rotten, here are three fun gift ideas that are approved by my fussy feline troop:
Catty Stacks (pictured above): These special cardboard boxes let you build your own custom kitty condo. They got a big paws up from my cats in this recent review.
Sunny Seat Window Seat (pictured above): If you don't have room for a cat perch in front of a prime window, you can still set up a viewing spot for your kitty with the Sunny Seat. As you'll see in my review, it even accommodates jumbo kitties.
Cat Dancer Cat Toy (pictured above): My cats love many different types of toys, but Cat Dancer remains their favorite. It's simple yet elegant in its design, which attracts feline attention better than any other toy I've ever tried, as you'll see in this review.
If you're a typical bird owner, you probably use newspaper as your cage lining. I've done that for years and never even realized that there are other options.
I recently had the chance to try Vitakraft Fresh World Cage Litter for birds (pictured above), a product that's very similar to Carefresh and other paper-based small animal beddings. Check out my review to see when and how this product can be useful for bird owners.
It's now common knowledge that most pet store dogs come from puppy mills, but according to the American Humane Association, only 20 percent of prospective pet owners get their dogs or cats from shelters. Some purchase the animals from private breeders, while others still patronize pet shops and keep the puppy mill cycle going strong.
Many people who buy dogs give one of the following three reasons for their decision. These reasons don't hold up to scrutiny, why not adopt your next pet instead continuing the breeding cycle and letting perfectly healthy animals die in shelters?
"I want a specific breed of dog." Although I love mutts, I'll admit being partial to German Shepherds, and I own an Appaloosa horse, so I understand the desire for a certain breed. The Humane Society of the United States points out that at least 25 percent of dogs in shelters are purebred. That number skyrockets when a movie suddenly popularizes a certain breed, like Dalmatians or Chihuahuas, and people dump them when they get tired of their "fad" pet. There are also rescues devoted exclusively for virtually any breed you can name, so wanting a certain type of dog is not a good reason to limit your search to breeders and pet shops.
"I want a puppy so it can grow up with my family." I won't even go into all the advantages of adopting an adult dog, like the animal already being potty trained and over behaviors like chewing. Some people really want a young dog, and that's a personal choice. They just don't realize that shelters are teeming with puppies, especially in the period after Christmas when those cute, fuzzy, living holiday gifts aren't so adorable anymore once they start peeing on the rug and chewing the furniture. You'll have no problem finding puppies at any large animal shelter or rescue group.
"I don't want to take on somebody else's problem." Sure, some dogs are dumped at shelters because of behavior problems, but the vast majority come in because the owner can't afford to take care of the pet anymore, doesn't want the responsibility, is having a baby, or is simply tired of the novelty of owning a dog. Shelters and rescues test out dogs for temperament and behavior to determine their suitability for adoption. You'll get background information on the dog unless it came in as a stray. Instead of inheriting a problem, you'll gain a new, grateful canine friend.
If you're planning to adopt a puppy soon, check out this video for all the basic supplies you'll need.