Are you considering a new pet for Christmas?

This is a popular time of year for animals purchases and adoptions. While I don’t want to discourage animal adoptions, I feel anyone considering giving an animal as a gift this holiday should evaluate the situation before proceeding further. Sadly, many animals given as gifts end up in shelters at the start of the new year. Here are some things to consider:

  1. Does the recipient want an animal? While a new puppy sounds like a nice surprise, it isn’t fair to either the animal or the person to expect someone who did not ask for a new dog to be prepared to take care of it.
  2. Is the recipient prepared for the responsibility? Kids are notorious for asking for a new cat or dog for Christmas, but are they prepared to take on the responsibility of a pet? If not, are you THE PARENT ready to take on the responsibility of a new animal?
  3. Does the recipient have enough time, money, and energy to care for this pet? Regardless of whether a person wants and feels they are ready for an animal, do you truly think the person’s lifestyle will allow for this animal?
  4. Is this the right animal for the recipient? Selecting a new animal should not be done on impulse. Often, it takes quite a bit of time to find the right animal for a certain person, household, or family. Plus, many people would probably prefer to select their own pet based on certain criteria.

Remember, many animals such as dogs or cats are going to be around for 13 or more years! They are not like toys that kids can just tire of and throw in the back of their closets. Even smaller animals such as gheckos, lizards, and birds can be around for a long time. Also, many animals require special habitats and accessories that you will have to buy, such as heat lamps, special food, etc. Even most fish cannot be put in a simply glass bowl! So please think long and hard about giving an animal as a gift this Christmas. If you have considered these things and have decided to give an animal this Christmas, please consider adopting. There are millions of animals in shelters that would love a home for Christmas (not just dogs & cats, but lizards, birds, rabbits, and more!)

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Keep your furry friends safe this Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to gather with family. For many of us, pets are part of our family and we want them to share in the festivties; however, Thanksgiving can pose some extra risks to our furry and feathered companions. Here are some helpful tips to ensure that both you and your animal friends have a fun, happy Thanksgiving.

  • Thanksgiving meals often occur earlier in the day. If it is close enough to your pet’s normal feeding time, feed him/her their normal meal before guests arrive. If guests will be arriving too early, feed your pet at his/her normal feeding time. Animals do better with a routine and this will also help cut back on their begging or stealing.
  • If you are going to share some of your holiday meal with your dog or cat, give them a small portion of plain turkey. Ensure there are NO BONES. Bones can cause choking and/or splinter and injure your pet, and/or get lodged in her or her stomach/intestines. Rich, fatty foods such as turkey skin, ham, mashed potatoes, butter, and gravy can upset your pet’s stomach. Bread can cause discomfort and bloat. Onions and garlic are poisonous to dogs.
  • Do not feed your animal chocolate; it can be fatal. Sugar and sweets are also unhealthy, as they can cause kidney failure in dogs and are difficult for animals to digest. Ensure that all sweets are out of your animal’s reach.
  • Make sure all aluminum foil, plastic wrap, wax paper, toothpicks, skewers, and string. Animals like to play with these materials, especially when covered with food, but they pose fatal risks. Also, cover or enclose your trashcan well. Cats and dogs can be notorious food hounds and you wouldn’t want them finding a turkey bone in the trash and choking on it.
  • Inform your guests. Ask them to not feed the animals table scraps. Also, notify them about whether or not your animal is allowed outside. Make sure they know to close to door behind themselves.
  • It is a good idea to not allow your cats outside on Thanksgiving, even if you allow them out at other times. One reason is because many people have guests over, meaning there are a lot of cars coming and going. This puts your cat in extra danger of being hit. Also, during winter cats like to crawl up inside cars or tire wells, which can often be fatal. (It is best to keep cats indoors all winter for this reason.)
  • If applicable, ensure your pet has current ID tags incase they slip out the door.
  • Give your pet a chance to relax away from guests. Put them in another room where they can de-stress and take a nap. A walk with you canine buddy is also a good idea. Animals can become overly excited or even stressed out with all the guests and commotion.
  • Do not forget about your pet’s needs. It is easy to get caught up in the festivities and guests, but make sure to check on your pet, give him/her attention, and ensure they have fresh clean water.
  • If you’re traveling, don’t wait until the last minute to make arrangements for your pet. If you are leaving your pet at home, make sure you have a pet sitter or a reservation at a boarding facility/your vet lined up. If travelling with your pet, do not wait until the last minute to pack all of your pet’s necessities. Write a list and double check it.
  • Do not take dogs to Thanksgiving Day parades. The crowds can be overwhelming for dogs and cause them to panic or stress out. This increases their chances of accidentally getting lost in the crowd.
Information from HERE and HERE.

10 Ways to Save Money on Vet Care

I’m sure many of us are feeling the money pinch from the struggling economy these days. We try to cut corners where we can, but who wants to “cut corners” when it comes to their pet’s healthcare? Well, I have some tips from Dr. Louise Murray, Director of Medicine at the ASPCA’s Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital, and Dr. Stephen Zawistowski, ASPCA Executive Vice President and Science Advisor that will help eliviate the worry of high-cost vet care and save you money on vet bills further down the road, without cutting corners or putting your animal’s health in jeopardy.

Schedule Regular Check-Ups
Remember the saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?” Well, it applies to pets, too. Don’t skip your pet’s yearly exam. It’s much more expensive—and risky—to treat illnesses than to protect against them.

Personalize Your Pet’s Vaccines
Hard times are not an excuse to skip your pet’s annual shots, but it does make sense to talk to your vet about personalizing your pet’s vaccine protocol. Some vaccines are optional, while others are essential in preventing serious diseases.

Spay or Neuter Your Pet
Spaying or neutering your pet can save a lot of money by preventing serious health problems including uterine, ovarian and testicular cancer. Many local shelters provide resources for low-cost or no-cost spay/neuter surgeries. Visit our online database to find a low-cost program in your area. If you live in New York City, check out our mobile clinic.

Brush Your Pet’s Teeth
Dental disease—such as tartar, gingivitis, loose or infected teeth—can lead to heart and kidney problems and expensive procedures. Start a daily dental routine to keep your pet’s teeth and gums healthy.

Protect Your Pet from Parasites
Flea and tick infestations can cause a host of costly medical problems from minor skin irritations to life-threatening anemia. Stick with a topical flea and tick solution to keep the critters at bay.

Toss the Cigarettes
Secondhand smoke is no joke for pets—it can cause asthma, bronchitis, lymphoma and oral, nasal and lung cancers. Quit now and you’ll save money on vet bills. At the very least, avoid smoking around your pet.

See a Specialist
Pet parents can reduce costs by getting a pet’s condition diagnosed and treated by an expert as quickly as possible. Veterinary specialists are available for everything from skin disease to cancer, and will often work within your budget.

Consider Pet Health Insurance
If the cost of an emergency vet visit or serious illness would be a financial strain, consider investing in pet health insurance, while your pet is healthy. Be sure to read the fine print, though—not all plans are created equal.

Buy High-Quality Pet Food
A good quality pet food—formulated under the guidelines of the American Association of Feed Control Officials—is often more cost effective than a homemade diet. Avoid overfeeding your pet, which can lead to obesity and other health problems.

Shop Smart
Whether he’s looking for pet food, medicine or grooming supplies, the smart shopper clips coupons and buys in bulk. It’s also a good idea to shop veterinary practices by comparing fees for preventative care.

Information taken from ASPCA website.

Palatka/Putnam County, FL – Desperate dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens looking for homes for the holidays!

The following animals are located at the Putnam County Animal Shelter in Palatka, Florida. They are all VERY URGENT. These furry friends need to be adopted into a home or rescued by an organization. This shelter always has a large flow of incoming animals, so many are euthanized each week. These following animals could be euthanized at any time, but none will last beyond November 25. To survive, all animals must get out of the shelter before or on November 24. The animals below are just a small group of those in immediate need at this shelter. To view more of the animals, please take a look at the Putnam County Animal Shelter PHOTOALBUM, each animal’s details are listed below his/her picture. The following animals are those that shelter workers indicated as being most in need.

REMEMBER, IF YOU DO NOT LIVE IN THE AREA, TRANSPORTATION FOR THE ANIMAL TO YOU MIGHT BE POSSIBLE, EMAIL THE SHELTER TO ASK IF THEY’D BE WILLING TO COOPERATE WITH YOU TO GET THE ANIMAL TRANSPORTED VIA ONE OF THE TRANSPORT SERVICES LISTED ON MY RESCUE TRANSPORT PAGE.

Cage 66, Brindle mix, Male, Nice dog, Owner-surrender:

Cage 66, Tricolor Terrier mix, Female, Very sweet, Owner-surrender:

Cage 67, Lab mix, Female, Nice dog, Owner-Surrender:

Cage 67, Yellow Lab (looks to be purebred), Male, Beautiful, Owner-Surrender:

Cage 80, Mix, Male, Extremely nice, playful, and friendly, Found as stray:

Cage 46, “Sandy,” Tan mix, Female, Very sweet, Abandoned by owners:

Cage 51, “Henry,” Black-white Lab mix, Male, Very Sweet, Found as stray:

Cage 78, Blue Heeler, Female, Found as stray, (she is PREGNANT-please consider giving her a safe place to give birth where she does not have to fear herself or her puppies being put to death):

Cage 48, Red-white mix, Female, Nice dog, Picked up as Stray, (She has been taking care of the puppies in this photo, but they are not her’s. She rescued these pups, now it’s her turn to be rescued!):

Cage 22, Beautiful silver tabby kitten, (the eyes just look funky in the photo):

Cage 25, Black Hemmingway, Double paws (this poses no problem, it’s just very cute), Very sweet:

Cage 30, Large Snowshoe Siamese, Bright blue eyes, Sweet cat, (bad picture):

Cage 31, Medium long-haired orange Tabby cat, Very nice:

Cage 40, White & Tabby cat/kitten, Beautiful eyes:

If you are interested in adopting or rescuing any of these or any of the other animals at the Putnam County Animal Services, please: (it is best to call & email to cover all your bases)

Call: 386-329-0399 or 386-329-0396 (If you get the answering machine, leave a message including your name, the cage # of the animal(s) you’re interested in, the description of the animal you’re interested in, request that the shelter hold this animal until you can talk to them, and leave your phone number.

Email: putnamanimals@yahoo.com (Include your name, contact info, the cage # of the animal(s) you’re interested in, the description of the animal(s) you’re interested in, and ask the shelter to hold that animal)

Petland pet store chain officially linked to puppy mills!

After an eight-month investigation, the Humane Society of the United States accused Petland, the national pet store chain, of selling dogs bred under appalling conditions at puppy mills around the country.

The animal protection group made the charges at a news conference in Washington Thursday. The investigation involved 21 Petland stores and dozens of breeders and brokers. The Petland stores are being supplied by large-scale puppy mills, although customers are routinely informed that the dogs come only from good breeders, the Humane Society said.

“They are buying from puppy mills where these dogs are not treated like pets,” Michael Markarian, an executive vice president with the Humane Society, told a news conference. “They’re treated like a cash crop, where mother dogs live in wire cages, sometimes stacked on top of each other in filthy, dirty, cramped conditions, where they receive little socialization or human interaction or exercise.”

Dogs from puppy mills are sold at Petland stores for as much as $3,500 each, according to the Humane Society.

Investigators reviewed interstate import records of an additional 322 breeders, U.S. Department of Agriculture reports and more than 17,000 individual puppies linked to Petland stores, according to a release on the group’s Web site.

Filthy cages, inadequate care
Among the abuses cited, investigators found puppies in commercial breeders “living in filthy cages reeking of urine, with inadequate care and socialization,” according to the release. The Humane Society says dogs at the mills were found in cages with wire flooring so large that the puppies’ paws and even the paws of the mother dogs would fall through.

The group said pet stores should not be buying puppies from “abusive puppy mills” and “should not be lying to consumers” about where they get their puppies.

A call to Petland corporate offices in Chillicothe, Ohio, was not immediately returned. In a statement, Petland said the company does not support substandard breeding facilities and provides each store with guidelines on humane care of animals.

A statement on the company’s Web sitenoted that “Petland stores are independently operated by qualified franchisees. Each is responsible for choosing healthy pets offered to Petland customers. Petland, Inc. provides each Petland store with humane care guidelines to assist in this important task.”

Individual Petland stores previously have been targeted by animal rights activists for reselling puppies supplied by commercial breeders.

Large commercial breeders are legal and regulated by the USDA, but enforcement of humane conditions is a low priority, according to a recent report on msnbc.com.

The Humane Society investigation comes as legislators recently have stepped up moves to crack down on the lucrative puppy mill industry. In October, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell signed a bill imposing stricter standards on commercial kennels, including regular veterinary exams, larger cages and exercise areas. At least three other states have issued laws this year placing restrictions on commercial breeders.

Story by Jane Weaver. Take from msnbc.com

Unfortunately, it is almost certain that this is not the only pet store chain doing this. It’s also important to remember that it is not only dogs that are being bought from animal mills with unsanitary and cruel conditions. Small companion animals such as hamsters, rabbits, and birds are bred by large animal supply companies and sold to pet chain stores. These animals are kept in filthy, cramped cages, interbred, not given medical care, and generally not allowed to live the normal life intended for them. There is video footage of these supply companies and their inhumane practices, including footage of a male rabbits being neutered with a rusty knife and without any form of anesthetic. It’s important to not turn our backs on these animals at these pet stores, but to fight to end the existence of such establishments and the breeding companies. If possible, shop at your local independent pet store that practices humane business.

Feline Medical Care Basics

Here are some helpful tips for keeping your kitty companion feeling safe, healthy, and months or years younger than he or she actually is!

Regular Vet Visits
Why: Many symptoms of feline health conditions are subtle, and cats often don’t show obvious signs of illness or pain. Regular physicals allow your veterinarian to detect feline health problems before they turn into serious illnesses.

When: Adult cats should visit the vet once a year. Senior cats 11 years or older may need biannual visits.

Routine Vaccines
Why: Vaccinations can help protect both indoor and outdoor cats against serious and sometimes fatal diseases, including feline panleukopenia (FPV) and rabies. Ask your cat’s veterinarian which vaccinations are appropriate for your pet based on your cat’s lifestyle and surroundings. Remember, over-vaccination can pose health risks, such as increasing your cat’s chances of developing cancer. This is why consulting with your veterinarian about which illnesses are common in your geographical area can be helpful.

When: Vaccination schedules should begin as early as 6 to 8 weeks of age. However, many adult cats may still be eligible for most vaccinations. Your cat’s vaccine schedule will depend on your cat’s particular health care needs. Talk to your veterinarian to determine the best schedule.

Two More Preventive Measures
In addition to scheduling regular checkups and getting recommended vaccines for your pet, two other basics of cat health care include keeping your pet indoors, if possible, and having your cat spayed or neutered.

Keeping your cat inside greatly reduces his or her exposure to parasites, predators, and disease and can increase his or her life expectancy by 15 years or more.

Keeping your cat indoors can help your cat live a longer, healthier life. House cats have a life expectancy of 15 years or more, whereas outdoor cats typically live an average of only 5 years. Here are three reasons why indoor cats live longer:

  • Shielding your cat from the outside world reduces his or her risk of attack by other cats, dogs, coyotes, and other predators, as well as reduces the risk of being hit by a car—one of the most common outdoor threats.
  • House cats are less likely to contract disease or parasites from other outdoor animals. Free-roaming cats are more likely to encounter ticks, fleas, and worms, as well as become infected with feline leukemia, rabies, and respiratory diseases.
  • Cats that stay inside are less likely to require emergency treatment or costly prescription cat medicines. Healthy, safe house cats minimize the need for any potential expensive medical care costs associated with the treatment of feline diseases and parasites contracted from other cats and wildlife.

Whether your cat is an indoor or outdoor pet, he or she should always be clearly identified with a collar and an identification tag.

Spaying or neutering your cat not only cuts down on unwanted litters, but also reduces risk of uterine infections or prostate problems. This includes various forms of cancer.

Information taken from CatAge .

Akron, OH – Adorable cats, kittens, and dogs at county pound need adoption or rescue!

The following animals are located at the Summit County Animal Control Facility. These are only a small fraction of the animals currently available there. Please consider opening your home and heart to one. This facility does not have the best reputation and I would not wish my worst enemies there. Click HERE to discover some of the recent horrible history about this place!

09-053: (Adult male Shepherd mix)

09-101 (Adult female Sheperd mix):

09-102 (Adult male Collie mix):

C10-113 (Young male, domestic mix):

C10-115 (Young female Tabby mix):

C10-151 (Baby, male, domestic mix):

If you are interested in adopting or rescuing any of these animals, please call the shelter at: (330) 643-2845.

Visit the Summit County Animal Control’s PETFINDER PAGE to view many more animals that need a home!