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PetSmart - Dog

January 18, 2011

PetScoop: Sleeping With Pets Linked to Disease

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It's comforting to cuddle up at night with your pet. It's even kind of endearing to wake up to a cat standing on your ribs and staring at your face as though you are his/her next meal.

But we've read the news, and the news isn't good. Web MD is asking, Pets in Bed: More Dangerous Than Bedbugs? U.S. surveys indicate that up to 56% of dog owners and 62% of cat lovers regularly fall asleep with their pets in their bed, as do our fellow humans in the U.K., Netherlands, France, and Japan. Little doubt throughout our history as well.

So what's the problem? Bubonic Plague, Chagas Disease, Cat-Scratch Disease, MRSA, parasites and other bacterial infections. Ditto for kissing your dog or cat. Not good.

Read Pets in Bed: More Dangerous Than Bedbugs? to decide if the risk is worth it or if a cozy Pet Bed on the floor of your bedroom is the safest choice.

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January 6, 2011

PetScoop: Animal-Assisted Therapy, A Growing Trend

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There's something comforting about meeting up with a tranquil resident dog or a cat in an institutional setting where we don't expect to see them. We are all familiar with the phenomenon of library cats--generally homeless cats who call a library their home. In the best-seller Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World Myron, a small-town library director, tells of the remarkable impact a cat, named DeweyReadmore Books, had on the library and its patrons.

The Wall Street Journal recently ran an intriguing piece on animal-assisted therapy, a field still in its infancy. The Doctor's Dog Will See You Now describes ways therapists use 'canine assistants' to comfort and cheer up their patients . One therapist calls the dogs "seeing heart dogs--because they can see into people's hearts".

A small but growing number of psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers and other therapists are bringing their dogs to work in their private practices, where they help calm patients down, cheer them up and offer a happy distraction with a wagging tail. The job is similar to what therapy dogs do when they visit at hospitals or nursing homes, but these "canine therapy-assistants" often work full days and get to know the patients just as well as the doctors.

No surprise to any dog lover, some research shows that a few minutes of stroking a pet dog decreases cortisol, the stress hormone, in both the human and the dog. Sunny veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker explores this phenomenon in his popular The Healing Power of Pets: Harnessing the Amazing Ability of Pets to Make and Keep People Happy and Healthy.

But not all agree. In a New York Times Opinion article Fido's No Doctor. Neither Is Whiskers. Hal Herzog, professor of psychology and author of Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It's So Hard to Think Straight About Animals argues that, while "pretty to think so", the research on the healing power of animals is incomplete.

Unfortunately, however, I also have another stack of articles, almost as high, showing that pets have either no long-term effects or have even adverse effects on physical and mental health.

A 2006 survey of Americans by the Pew Research Center, for instance, reported that living with a pet did not make people any happier. Similarly, a 2000 Australian study of mortality rates found no evidence that pet owners lived any longer than anyone else. And last year Dutch researchers concluded that companion animals had no effect on their owners' physical or mental well-being. Worse, in 2006, epidemiologists in Finland reported that pet owners were more likely than non-pet owners to suffer from sciatica, kidney disease, arthritis, migraines, panic attacks, high blood pressure and depression.

Professor Herzog cautions that in order to separate fact from wishful thinking regarding the benefits of animal companionship we must employ "the same rigorous methods that scientists use to test the effectiveness of drugs and medical procedures".

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December 29, 2010

Why Pet Ownership Can Be So Expensive

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We have read a couple of articles recently regarding the (high) cost of animal ownership. It's more than worth it for most of us--after all, money is for spending on necessities, and pets are a necessity in a lot of our homes. Get the scoop at the Animal Lovers, Beware of Ownership Costs -- NY Times and the follow-up article Why the animal ER is so expensive (Pet economics 101) -- Fully Vetted/Pet MD

ArrowContinue reading: "Why Pet Ownership Can Be So Expensive "

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December 12, 2010

The Cold Outside is Frightening -- Protect Your Pets

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Remember, if it's too cold for you, it's too cold for your pets. Don't leave dogs and cats outdoors.

Thumbnail image for waitingsanta.jpgFor holiday gift ideas, browse our Super Cool Pets 2010 Holiday Gift Guide!

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October 27, 2010

Walk the Dog -- Americans Walking Less Than Those in Other Countries

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Apparently Americans are more sedentary than adults in other countries. Are we surprised? According to a study named in a recent NY Times health column Well, men and women living in the United States took fewer steps per day than those living in Switzerland, Australia, and Japan:

The fitness gap detected by the pedometer studies is equal to about 30 to 40 minutes of walking each day. One mile of walking covers about 2,000 steps, researchers say. The health community typically urges people to take at least 10,000 steps a day to maintain good health, which is equal to about five miles of walking.

Another reason to keep on keeping on with the dog walks or starting a new regimen. Our dogs love the stimulation, and the fresh air is good for everyone.

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If you want to measure your daily steps, simple pedometers are affordable. The article recommends the ACCUSPLIT AE120XL Pedometer and the Fit Solutions SW-200 Yamax Digiwalker Pedometer, both widely used in pedometer research and tested for reliability.
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October 20, 2010

Manage Canine Intestinal Distress -- Iams Veterinary Formula Prostora

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We feel so badly for our dogs when they have intestinal distress...and also for ourselves if they don't make it to the door! No one wants to go off to work and leave their sick pet indoors all day. A solution -- keep some Iams Veterinary Formula Prostora Max handy for sudden illness and accidents.

Prostora is administered as a convenient, tasty treat that will go down the hatch easily. It is made with Bifidalis, a clinically-proven strain of a live and active culture, to help maintain your dog's digestive balance. Apparently, it also helps reduce cosmetic tear stains, preferred by one vet over the ever-popular Angels' Eyes.

From Patty Khuly, VMD, blogging at Fully Vetted:

These vanilla-flavored chews are easily tolerated by dogs. I use Iams' Prostora to keep diarrhea episodes to a minimum of days, but did you know they also help with reducing tear stains in dogs? Please don't use those antibiotic-based Angel Eyes! If you must use something to reduce the [purely cosmetic] tear stains, use this!
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October 6, 2010

Crush Pet Pills Up in an Automatic Pill Grinder

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Giving our pets a pill is often a challenge. We have known a dog who meticulously eats around the pill and leaves it in the bowl. Even submerging in peanut butter sometimes doesn't work. And don't even think about giving a pill to the cat.

This handheld Automatic Pill Grinder is just the ticket if you live with a pet (or human) who can't or won't swallow pills. Just grind their tablet-type pills straight in to their food or beverage--problem solved!

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September 30, 2010

PetScoop: FDA Cautions Buyer Beware If Purchasing Pet Drugs Online

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Many of us try to save on costs by skirting our veterinarians and buying discount pet drugs online without a prescription. Some of the internet sites that sell pet drugs represent legitimate, reputable pharmacies (see links below), but not all. Alas, we may be buying drugs for our best pals from unscrupulous businesses operating illegally.

Buying prescription pet meds online without a prescription and even OTC meds may be risky, according to a recent FDA warning. The FDA has found companies that sell unapproved pet drugs and counterfeit pet products, make fraudulent claims, dispense prescription drugs without requiring a prescription, and sell expired drugs.

Is it worth the savings to possibly damage your pet's health and even maybe a life? Here's our solution. Many vets do indeed charge more for drugs than on-line sites, as they are, after all, trying to make a living. But when asked, some will price-match to products at certain legitimate on-line pharmacies. At very least, they often are willing to fax in your prescription to a reputable site.

Save Up To 50% Everyday! 1-800-PetMeds RX/125x125.gif

If you do wish to shop online, try 1-800-PetMeds with free shipping over $39 and PetCareRx who ship free on your orders over $35. They will contact your veterinarian for you.

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September 8, 2010

Ceramic Slow-Down Pet Bowl For Pets Who Eat Too Fast

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We have featured this Slow Down Pet Bowl in plastic in a prior post (see Brake-Fast Bowl). It helps slow the pace of eating for pets gobble their food too quickly for their own good. This Ceramic Slow Down Bowl is a more heavy-duty version. Ceramic bowls are more stable and durable than plastic, plus they don't absorb toxins and are easier to clean. And they don't slide across the floor as easily.

This bowl features a raised bone shape in the middle, plus raised semicircles to keep your pet from grabbing at his/her kibble, and therefore take in too much food too quickly. (Sound like anyone you know?) The bowl may help prevent some digestive problems and even the deadly bloat. The Ceramic Slow Down Bowl is dishwasher and microwave safe in Moss or Pewter.

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July 20, 2010

ThermoPet Non-Contact Dog Thermometer

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It's such a helpless feeling to wonder if your dog is sick and not know whether you should rearrange your schedule and spring for a vet visit. Did you know a fever is often considered the first indicator for most diseases affecting dogs? And that you can find out all by yourself.

This ThermoPet Dog Thermometer is an incredibly easy and non-invasive way to take take your dog's temperature--without laying a hand on your pet. No struggling with invasive rectal thermometers!

It's a reliable and quick way to assess your dog's health. And if it saves just one vet visit, it's more than paid for!

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