1. Daily Life

Planning a Trip with Fido or Fluffy? Experts Give Pet Travel Tips

Posted on January 31, 2012. Filed under: 1. Daily Life | Tags: , , , , , |

Travelhoppers – a Web site dedicated to providing free travel planning resources coupled with travel expert insight and advice – is pleased to unveil its “Let Us Mail You a Cat (or Dog)” campaign and reveal five tips for encouraging safe travel with pets.  As part of the campaign, consumers can register for a chance to win a dog or cat of their very own! Learn More

1.  Avoid “Pop-Up” Pet Carriers: One common mistake that travelers make when purchasing their animal carriers before a trip, is falling for the “deal” and purchasing the super affordable “pop-up” pet carriers that are advertised as being ultra-lightweight and compact as they can be easily folded and tucked away at the end of the day.  While it’s true that these carriers are more affordable than traditional plastic crates, carriers and kennels, they are in actuality a real safety hazard for animals both large and small.  What the advertisers DON’T tell you, is that these budget pop-up carriers are extremely flimsy, nearly impossible to carry and can collapse while your animal is inside of them at the drop of a dime.  If you are planning to travel with pets, spend a little more money to purchase a durable kennel (preferably made of water-resistant plastic) with wire doors and windows for extra security and ventilation.  Not only are these plastic kennels more easy to clean and maintain, but they will not collapse when luggage slightly shifts in your car or onboard a plane, they have carry handles for easy transport, they come in all sizes and will be a life-long investment that is well-worth the extra money spent.  If traveling by plane, call the airline in advance to request their animal crate requirements and specifications to ensure you’ll have no difficulties boarding your animal.

2. Pack A Pet First-Aid Kit/Travel Bag:  Prior to departing on a trip with your pet, preparation is key.  Pack a separate bag for your pet that contains drinking water, enough food for several days, an extra leash, plastic bags to pick-up after your pet, cleaning supplies, first aid kit and one or two of your animal’s favorite toys from home.  Don’t assume that the destination you’re visiting will have a pet supply store within a short driving distance or will have your pet’s specific food brand in stock, so pack these “travel essentials” for your pet just in case.  Some important things to have on hand for first aid kit supplies include clean towels and cloths, nonstick bandages, adhesive tape, gauze and clean water.

3. Obtain Veterinarian Records In Advance:  Ask your veterinarian for copies of your pet’s medical records and proof of vaccinations (especially a valid rabies certificate) that you can keep close on hand, should any emergencies arise while you’re away.  You’ll want to call at least one month in advance to ensure your veterinarian has enough time to make these medical record copies for you.  If traveling with an exotic animal, ask your veterinarian to provide your pet with an exam and health certificate and make sure you have the appropriate documentation in order to cross state or country lines with your animal.

4. Do Your Destination Homework:  When traveling across state and country lines, it’s essential to have a valid rabies vaccine certificate on-hand. It’s also important to ensure your animal is in good health – as many countries require a signed certificate of health and some will even require an automatic veterinary inspection for all pets crossing the border.  Do your research before traveling with a pet abroad.  Some countries quarantine pets (for days and even months) before allowing the animal into their country.  Some cities, states and countries also have restrictions on the types of exotic animals you’re allowed to bring with you, so contact the individual destinations you’re planning to visit (or those you will be driving through) to ensure that you have the proper documentation for your pet, as well as to learn more about their possible quarantine procedures, exotic animal restrictions, mandatory microchip policies and more.  It’s also recommended to microchip your animal prior to your trip to avoid losing your pet while traveling.

5. Research Animal Restrictions & Fees for Pet-Friendly Hotels:  Many hotels advertise as being pet-friendly these days, however, that does not mean that all animals will be warmly welcomed upon their arrival.  Before booking rooms at a hotel that claims to be “pet-friendly,” call the hotel in advance to find out if they have specific animal restrictions, a maximum number of allowable pets per room and fees associated with pet stays. Additionally, have one pet-friendly hotel “back-up” plan for each destination on your travel itinerary should any problems arise with your original hotel reservations or their pet policies upon arrival.  If traveling across country and making nightly hotel reservations on a whim, one great resource to keep in your car is “The AAA PetBook” – which is an on-the-road-guide for traveling with pets that has more than 13,000 pet-friendly hotels and campground selections by destination location across North America.

This roundup of pet travel tips was compiled by Travelhoppers’ Founder, Richard Earls, and his team of highly knowledgeable travel experts and travel writers that regularly contribute to the Travelhoppers blog.


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Healthy Holiday Eating Tips for Fido and Fluffy

Posted on November 16, 2011. Filed under: 1. Daily Life | Tags: , , , , , , , |

The holidays are a time to share wonderful meals with family and friends.  For pets, however, the risk of overfeeding and eating dangerous food items during the holiday season can pose significant health risks.  From Thanksgiving to New Year’s and beyond, the food keeps coming and the guests revel, but the pets can suffer.  To help resolve this holiday dilemma, SEAACA (Southeast Area Animal Control Authority, www.seaaca.org) has created a list of tips to help pet owners enjoy their holiday meals while maintaining their pet’s health and welfare.

·      Don’t Supersize Them. Please do not feed your pet human food. But, if you do, avoid giving large amounts of cooked turkey or ham during the holidays. Humans are much larger and heavier than dogs and cats and can handle bigger food servings; our pets cannot. During the holidays, it’s very easy to forget this and overfeed pets, thus upsetting their digestive system and compromising their health.  Should you feed your pet human food, also avoid food that has been out of the refrigerator for a long period of time. Pets need to be protected against food that is undercooked or subject to spoilage because of lack of refrigeration.

·      Watch the Richness. Holiday food can be filled with spices and seasonings, which can cause health problems in pets. Try to keep you pets on their regular schedule with their regular food.  

·      Ain’t To Proud to Beg. As pets become accustomed to human food, they can learn irritating begging habits that can be rude to family members and guests during mealtimes. Try to keep pet meals in a separate room with designated pet food rather than human leftovers.

·      No Bones About It. Do not feed pets bones, particularly chicken, turkey and other poultry bones. Bones can break apart cause intestinal pain, and sometimes choking, in pets. 

·      Sweet Are Not Treats. Candy and highly sugary items can wreak havoc on a pet’s diet. Also, candy wrappers can be eaten by dogs and cats and can result in choking or digestive pain.

·      Beware of Non-Edibles. During the hustle and bustle of holiday meals, it’s easy to lose track of pets. Make sure you keep an eye on them so that they’re not eating non-edible items, such as food packaging or gift wrap, that might have fallen to the floor or left somewhere in the home.

·      Treat Dogs and Cats As Individuals. If you have both dogs and cats, remember that they might have different dietary preferences, and that they need different portion sizes. Use discretion and don’t hand out holiday leftovers blindly. 

“Holidays meals are special family moments, but they can be a problem for pets,” noted SEAACA Executive Director, Dan Morrison. “If we remember to prevent overfeeding and to use discretion when giving pets meals during this festive season, everyone will benefit,” he added.
For more information about SEAACA, please visit www.seaaca.org

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Tips for Successful Volunteering

Posted on November 3, 2011. Filed under: 1. Daily Life |

Rigatoni - up for adoption at RCHS

I’ve been volunteering at the Rancho Coastal Humane Society (RCHS) for more than two years. While I don’t get in as often as I’d like, I’m always given a burst of energy after sharing an afternoon with the animals. There is usually at least one I can hardly resist taking home.  I say a little prayer each of them will soon find their forever home.

Dog Trainer Lisa Sellman recently shared the below tips with Petopia.tv on things to consider as a volunteer. I highly recommend volunteering no matter how much or little time you have to give!

-Nina Jimenez

Tips for Successful Volunteering

“If you want to feel good, volunteer,” said Sellman, also author of the children’s book The Legend of the Wolves of Gunflint Lake, which contains the theme of the value of community service. “There are few ways to feel as good about yourself as volunteering. Now, I realize that many of us are wrapped up with work and family, trying to make ends meet, so the idea of volunteering can seem like it’s just another ‘have-to’ to write into the already crowded calendar. However, I know for a fact that if you do it right, it can be a great stress reliever and a source of true joy in your life.”

The key to discovering that feeling is to let your passion guide you when you decide to volunteer, she added. Her tips for beginning volunteers include:

  • Choose Wisely – Many people get “roped into” volunteering for an organization because their boss is involved with a charity or a family member is working on a community project. Those can be rewarding ways to enter volunteerism, but only if the project is a match for your personal interests. The most important aspect to volunteerism is to find what you love, and direct your energies into a charity or community organization that matches those passions. If you’re an animal lover, work with a wildlife rescue mission or animal shelter. If you are a nature buff, there are plenty of environmental foundations that can use an extra set of hands. If sports is your thing, there are plenty of community recreation centers that need coaches for needy kids enrolled in their programs. No matter your interest, you can match it to a cause that needs help. Just pick the right one, and your volunteer time won’t be a chore – it will be a joy.
  • Watch Your Schedule – As much as you want your passion to direct your choice of project, you don’t want those volunteer projects to rule your schedule. Make sure you balance your volunteer time carefully so that your professional life and your family time doesn’t take a critical hit. Most organizations will take as much time as you offer them, but if you only have an hour or two each week, they’ll take that time, too. Your volunteer life should not consume your work or home life.
  • Have Fun – Helping others is its own reward, but it shouldn’t feel like a chore. Even the most mundane task can be fun if you manage it with a sense of humor and passion for helping others.

“You don’t have to spend a lot of time as a volunteer,” Sellman said. “If everyone gave even just an hour a week, every community organization in the country would be turning volunteers away, because they’d have more than enough. The key is to understand that volunteerism doesn’t have to take over your life, and that if you do it right, it will add far more to your spirit than it takes away from your calendar.”

About Lisa Sellman

Lisa Sellman is a professional dog trainer and owner of a pet care business who volunteers for half a dozen charitable organizations. She believes that community service is its own reward, a message that resonates throughout her children’s book The Legend of the Wolves of Gunflint Lake. The book encourages parents and children to discuss being of service in the community and how this can lead to lives of compassion and connectedness. More about Lisa

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Posted on September 11, 2011. Filed under: 1. Daily Life | Tags: , , , , |

SEAACA Provides Smart and Practical Tips to Help Beloved Animals Stay Happy and Secure as Families Head Back to School

Dogs, cats and other pets can suffer separation anxiety, especially during the fall.  As kids start a new academic year, pets around the country may need help to adjust from a freewheeling summer of fun and a house full of people to lonely days waiting for children to return from school or adults to come home from work.  For these situations, SEAACA (Southeast Area Animal Control Authority; www.seaaca.org) has created a list of behaviors to look for, as well as solutions to help alleviate the back-to-school blues.

Many behaviors can signal a pet’s anxiety or sadness because of a shift from a summer to a school schedule.  These behaviors may include:

  • Excessive pacing, barking or meowing
  • Urinating or defecating in the home or in unapproved areas
  • Escape attempts
  • Destruction of furniture or toys
  • Unusual chewing, digging or other frantic behavior

If such behaviors are evident, pet owners can take specific measures to help their animals.  Some strategies to consider include:

  • Introduce short separations to help your pet become accustomed to the upcoming schedule change
  • Foster your pet’s independence by helping him or her play alone with toys and other activities
  • When your pet is alone, leave her or him an interactive toy via a food dispenser, such as the Kong
  • Do not punish or scold your pet for unusual behavior during the adjustment period (the behavior could be rooted in fear, and punishment could exacerbate that insecurity)
  • If the behavior does not improve, seek the help of an animal behaviorist or your local veterinarian

“Back-to-school is a wonderful time for families, but it can be anxiety-provoking for pets, especially for some shelter pets who haven’t had stable homes before,” noted SEAACA Executive Director, Dan Morrison.  “If pet owners know what to look for and are equipped with preventive and healing techniques, this annual rite of fall can be more pleasant for everyone,” he added.

For more information about SEAACA, please visit www.seaaca.org.

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Pork Chops or Tiger Cubs?

Posted on April 22, 2011. Filed under: 1. Daily Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

I got this in an e-mail and had to share it! Michelle Brubaker

In a zoo in California , a mother tiger gave birth to a rare set of triplet tiger cubs.

Unfortunately, due to complications in the pregnancy, the cubs were born prematurely and due to their tiny size, they died shortly after birth.

The mother tiger after recovering from the delivery, suddenly started to decline in health, although physically she was fine.

The veterinarians felt that the loss of her litter had caused the tigress to fall into a depression.

The doctors decided that if the tigress could surrogate another mother’s cubs, perhaps she would improve.

After checking with many other zoos across the country, the depressing news was that there were no tiger cubs of the right age to introduce to the mourning mother.

The veterinarians decided to try something that had never been tried in a zoo environment.

Sometimes a mother of one species will take on the care of a different species.  The only orphans’ that could be found quickly, were a litter of weaning pigs.

The zoo keepers and vets wrapped the piglets in tiger skin and placed the babies around the mother tiger – would they become cubs or pork chops?

Now, please tell me one more time why can’t the rest of the world get along?

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Posted on March 14, 2011. Filed under: 1. Daily Life | Tags: , , |

I don’t know if this is a true story, but I would love to teach Moose how to do this with babies.


Check out the link: http://www.mophdepartmentpa.org/Brutus%20Dog%20of%20Honor.pdf

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Brushing Teeth and Dog Mom Guilt

Posted on February 6, 2011. Filed under: 1. Daily Life, 4. Guest Bloggers | Tags: , , , |

I admit it, I don’t brush the teeth of my two dogs. It’s just another one of those things inflicting dog parenting guilt on me. Although I love and adore my furry kids and spend as much time as I can with them, there’s always a certain amount of guilt associated with perhaps not taking them on enough walks;  feeding them dinner late; brushing their hair every day and brushing their teeth. I’ve tried to brush their teeth, but for some reason they just don’t like me sticking a long plastic instrument into their mouths and swirling it around.

So when I got this reminder from the CEO of Camp Bow Wow, Heidi Ganahl, that this month is National Pet Dental Health Month, I thought it was appropriate to share and perhaps provide some new motivation to get out those doggie tooth brushes.   -Nina Jimenez

How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth
A dental routine is not only beneficial for human health; it can also save Fido’s life. Without brushing, plaque buildup can put your dog at risk for gum disease, tooth decay and bad breath.  In severe cases, infection can spread to your pup’s heart, kidneys and liver, causing life-threatening conditions.

1.  Buy The Right Tools: The first step to brushing your dog’s teeth is finding the right dental equipment. Make sure you purchase a dog toothbrush that is angled and soft. For large breeds, stick to longer toothbrushes so you reach difficult places. A finger brush is easier to use on smaller animals. Remember to never use human toothpaste on dogs because it contains ingredients that can harm Fido’s stomach. There are many dog-friendly toothpaste options that come in fun flavors like peanut butter, beef or chicken.

2.  It’s All About Timing: It’s important to approach your dog when it is relaxed and in a good mood. Don’t force contact, because the pup will rebel against you.

3. Positioning: Make sure your dog is comfortable before beginning. Avoid standing above your dog in a threatening way. Instead, get on the same level and sit in front of your pet.

4. Prep the Gums: Test your dog’s anxiety level and willingness to have his mouth touched. Gently rub your finger on the top row of teeth and gums. You may have to repeat this step a few times before proceeding.

5. Taste Test:  Place a dot of the dog toothpaste on your finger and have Fido lick it off. The key here is to find a flavor that tastes like a treat. This will make brushing a lot easier.

6.  Master the Technique: Start by opening your dog’s upper lip and brush along the gum line with a 45-degree angle. Continue to brush the rest of the teeth in a circular motion. Brush a few teeth at a time and focus on the plaque. Keep your dog calm throughout the process by gently patting his head and talking in a soothing voice.

7.  Reward Your Dog: Congratulate Fido for being a good sport with a treat, special attention or extra playtime.

8.   Establish a routine: Although daily brushing is ideal, three times a week is a good start. Remember that dental hygiene doesn’t end with brushing. Special treats were created to fight plaque buildup. Visit your veterinarian to determine the right routine for your pup.

-Heidi Ganahl, Camp Bow Wow

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Amazing Photos of Baby Koala Twins!

Posted on January 24, 2011. Filed under: 1. Daily Life | Tags: , , , |

I got this in an e-mail from a family member and had to share these pictures!

– Michelle Brubaker

It is not common for a koala to have twins, and regrettably in this instance, the mom was struck and killed by a passing car. Fortunately, the driver stopped and took the mother to the local vet, hoping to save the creature, where it was discovered she had these twins in her pouch.

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Stuff on my mind

Posted on December 30, 2010. Filed under: 1. Daily Life, 3. Trainer On Call | Tags: , , |

I noticed Michelle and Nina updated the site today, and was checking out the new stories.  I just wanted to share how much it touched me reading about David Dayan Fisher’s new book Puppy School.  I am sure I am a little biased since NCIS is my favorite show, and I can’t  watch enough reruns of it, but it really touched me that Fisher wrote the book, and is donating 1/2 of his proceeds to In Defense of Animals.  What a cool story, I can’t wait to check out the book.

Only a couple of days away from the new year.  Please be safe everyone, keep people food and drinks away from your pets, and if your pets don’t like a lot of commotion, confine them to a quiet area with lots of their toys and blankets.  Have a great New Year!!!

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European Pet Love

Posted on November 10, 2010. Filed under: 1. Daily Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

My Furry Buddy in Venice

My husband and I just got back from a 17 day Europe trip, and it was incredible! It was truly trains, planes and automobiles – a wonderful adventure! We went to Italy, Hungary and France. That was the longest we’ve been away from our pets, and I must say after a few days, I needed a pet fix! Thank goodness in Murano (an island off of Venice) I met such a cute dog. I never found out his name, but he greeted tourists who came to the glass blowing demonstration. His owners make a living by blowing glass into the most beautiful vases, statues and chandeliers.

Glass Blowing in Murano

The dog was friendly and well behaved. I loved petting him! It made me miss my dog and cat.

Germie and Caesar

In Ajka, Hungary while visiting my relatives for the first time, I got to meet Germie (dog) and  Caesar (cat). Although Germie had owners who take good care of him, he loves my aunt and uncle, who spoil him with belly rubs and food over the fence. Germie and Caesar get along really well – it’s very sweet!

We noticed that the pets in Europe, even the few strays we saw, were healthy and happy. We learned that the people in the areas we visited are big animal advocates, and this made my heart sing! I did notice that there were quite a few homeless people with pets in Paris. Although the pets looked healthy, and I’m sure they are great companions to the men and women who live on the streets, I don’t believe that is the ideal lifestyle for those animals. In some cases, it was obvious that the pets were used as a means to get money from those passing by. We saw one homeless man with kittens and puppies.

However, for the most part, Europe seemed extremely pet friendly, which made my experience there that much better!

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