13 Jun 2008

Preparing Your Home For A New Puppy

While excitement and anticipation may be at the top of the list when bringing home a new puppy, preparing for him should rate highly on the list. Just as you would need to prepare a home when you have a baby, pet owners also need to take special precautions when "puppy-proofing."

Before you start preparing your home for a puppy, you should take into consideration the yard and garden. First, check fences and gates to be sure there are no holes large enough for him to get his head stuck in. Watch for litter and/or trash cans, which can be tipped over, giving your new puppy the chance to eat things that he shouldn't. And finally, know where you are treating your lawn and garden with pesticides, and then forbid your puppy from going there. In addition, make sure that all chemicals and other harmful products are put away out of your new friend's reach.

Next, you will need to investigate your home and pretend that a small toddler is coming to live with you! Like toddlers, puppies will find everything new and exciting. They don't know when something is dangerous or can't tell if that interesting remote control will get them into trouble.

In addition, when preparing your home for the new puppy, you should keep these tips in mind:

Be sure all electrical and cable wires are either in a space your puppy will not be or hide them under rugs or carpets. Do not keep wires where your puppy could chew and gnaw on them. Just like a toddler, your puppy will explore every element, including low cupboards. Just when you thought having a puppy was easier than a child, he will learn to nudge those cupboard doors open! Consider installing locks or sort through them and only keep safe objects in low areas.

So far, so good, right? Well, that's only if you remember that in reality your puppy has the mind of a small child. Soon you'll be getting ready for afternoon walks to the park, 3 a.m. trips to the bathroom, (more officially, outside) and lots of cuddling. So, while preparing your home for your puppy, think of him as a member of your family. Buy him a bed made from plastic, which is more resistant to chewing. Line it with comfortable bedding washable of course and then place it in a special place just for him. Make sure it is somewhere he will be safe and comfortable.

Preparing your home for your new puppy is a lot of work, so you may consider buying a puppy pen until everything is taken care of. Just like a baby's playpen, a puppy pen will offer an area for him to play without roaming the house. By doing this, you are also saving your furniture and other objects from being chewed on. (Don't worry he'll eventually grow out of this!)

Another important thing to think about when preparing your home for your puppy is any stairs that you may have in the house. If you have an open basement or second floor, use baby gates to confine his run area to prevent harm. Babies and puppies alike are not aware of danger and don't realize that they could fall down steps and hurt themselves.

The most important thing to think about while preparing your home for the new puppy is just like a child, they will need cuddling, attention and there will definitely be a lot of wet kisses!

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Feeding Your Pet Stingray - The Essentials of Maintaining

Stingrays will eat a wide variety of foods. Maintaining a varied diet is extremely important in captive animals, as monocultural diets incur a risk of nutritional deficiencies. Stingrays are very active, and should be fed at least once a day, preferably twice or even three times daily. The daily diet can be varied in order to create some environmental enrichment as well as balanced nutrition for the rays.

First Foods

First foods for newly acquired rays should be blackworms or tubifex worms. These foods seem to be the most readily accepted, and are small enough to be inadvertently ingested either by mouth or through the spiracle, thereby giving the ray an opportunity to taste these possibly unfamiliar foods by chance. Foods that have been used for very small specimens, such as the teacup rays, are small insect larvae such as mosquito larvae, small shrimp known as ghost shrimp or glass shrimp, live adult brine shrimp, and blackworms. Chitinous foods such as shrimp provide less nutritional value than do soft-bodied foods, and so should not be used as sole food items.

The best way to be certain that your new stingray is feeding is to watch the spiracles as the ray passes over food on the bottom of the tank. If it is eating, you will see the spiracles opening and closing rapidly, or fluttering, as the food is ingested and water is passed from the mouth and out the spiracles. Once you observe a newly acquired ray readily feeding on black-worms or redworms introduce finely chopped night crawlers in small quantities. Once stingrays recognize these as food, most will readily eat them. Later, experiment with other types of food.

Types of Food

Live Foods

Feed live foods, including blackworms or tubifex worms, in quantities adequate to allow a small amount to be left in the tank so the rays can browse later. However, when cleaning the substrate, note whether a significant amount of living worms is present; blackworms and tubifex worms will colonize the substrate if not eaten and add to the nitrogenous waste production in the aquarium.

Nonlive, Nonaquatic Foods

Chopped earthworms, redworms, or night crawlers and any nonlive, nonaquatic foods should be fed in smaller quantities to prevent any overlooked food from decomposing in the tank. Keep in mind that stingrays have relatively small mouths-a 10-inch (25-cm) ray may have a mouth that is 1/2 to 3/4 inch (13 to 19 mm) wide, so chopped food items must be small enough to be eaten easily. If a ray ingests a piece of food and repeatedly spits it out and ingests it again, this usually indicates that the particle is too large. Some ray species, such as antenna rays, have extremely small mouths relative to their size.

Once acclimated, rays often develop techniques for eating larger pieces of food; for example, newly imported rays may have difficulty consuming even small chopped pieces of night crawlers. Eventually, however, they learn to eat an entire worm by sucking it into their oral cavity without chewing. Newly acquired rays also often ignore feeder goldfish but they quickly learn to chase down and consume feeders, even learning where they hide in the tank.

Commercially Prepared Foods

Stingrays may learn to eat other unfamiliar foods such as brine shrimp, pellet foods, or other commercially prepared foods. While there is probably no harm in offering these foods to rays, it is best to use fresh, live, or frozen foods as the dietary staple. Although stingrays often do not initially accept frozen or other nonliving foods, they may soon learn to eat these foods after they have been acclimated. A benefit of frozen foods is that they are less likely than live foods to introduce diseases or parasites.


Occasionally, a well-acclimated specimen will fail to gain weight, even though you are offering enough food. Several things may cause this problem; the most likely possibility is that it is not competing efficiently for food against other fish in the aquarium, or it may have a parasitic infestation. Stingrays occasionally do not seem to learn where foods can be found during feeding times, and are always in the wrong part of the tank during those times. In these cases, it is helpful to hand-feed such specimens. By this I do not mean feeding with your hands. Although some aquarists do this with stingrays, I do not recommend it because of the possibility of being accidentally stung. Remember that stingrays are wild animals, and no matter how accustomed your specimens become to your presence, it is impossible to always accurately predict their response to humans. Instead, you should always perform the hand-feeding of specimens with long forceps or a similar instrument. Stingrays generally avoid metal objects and appear to be frightened by metal; however, because they can sense metal, they will quickly learn that when there is a metal object in the aquarium, food is being offered. In this way, you can teach your stingray to feed directly from forceps, and selectively feed it more food.

Simply hold a night crawler (or a piece of night crawler) in the forceps, and hold the worm in the aquarium so that the ray can touch it with its fin. It should eat the worm immediately. After a few feedings in this manner, allow the forceps to touch the ray while it is eating the worm. It will quickly learn to associate the forceps with feeding and soon you will find that the ray will pounce on the forceps as soon as it touches it, eagerly looking for a treat!

How Much and How Often

The key to having well-fed stingrays in your aquarium is providing plenty of food. Unlike most fish that swim quietly between feedings, stingrays search constantly for food, looking under and around tank ornaments, moving driftwood, rocks, filters, and even other fish! This high activity level translates to a high metabolic rate, which means that while searching for food rays continue to burn energy. If they use up energy looking for food, but do not find any, they will lose weight. To compensate for this loss of energy, it is essential to provide adequate food. I cannot stress this enough. Hobbyists sometimes tell me that they feed their rays three times weekly, thinking that this is adequate. Stingrays should be fed at least twice, and usually three times, daily. In spite of these frequent feedings, rays will still constantly look for food between feedings!

When feeding significant quantities of live feeder goldfish, it is wise to add vitamin B1 to the feeder supply. Goldfish contain the enzyme thiaminase, which destroys thiamin, or vitamin B1, and this vitamin must be replenished. It should be your practice to add one 50-mg tablet to each 500 gallons (1893 L) of water every two weeks. You can add the tablets directly to the sump of the wet-dry filter; or as an alternative, the tablets can be added directly to the tank.

by Brendon Turner

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Time to get clean - Great Horse Washing Advice

Its show time!! Well, it will be after I get my horse washed and cleaned up. Why is it, that the harder you try to keep them clean (and grays are the worst), the dirtier they become??

Wel, I can't answer that. But I can give you a few hints on better washing technique, and how to avoid some of those show day mishaps (or at least how to cope with them).

Here is some equipment I like to have handy on washing day: - hose with adjustable jet, bucket, sponge, dandy brush, comb, body scraper, scissors, gum boots, hair bands (or horse bands), clean dry rugs, skinny hood (if required), vinegar (I will explain) and of course suitable shampoos, conditioners and highlighters.

Here is the procedure I have used for the 'day before' show washing of many State and National champions:

1. Brush or remove and obvious dirt, grass or twigs from your horse. This includes the tail.

2. Make sure your horse is securely tied in a suitable area (cement based washing bays, are great).

3. Hose your horse down (use warm water if available), starting with the front legs (giving the horse time to acclimatize to the water) and moving up the shoulder, neck, back legs rump and then barrel and back. Last wash the face, but do so carefully and gently.

4. Wash first with shampoo, using the dandy brush in a circular motion. Start with the shoulder; neck and then move down the body and legs (don't forget the other side!). Also do the tail and mane, which may need to be done twice.

5. Scrape off as much shampoo as possible; this will give you a better rinse result. And rinse thoroughly.

6. Re shampoo if necessary.

7. If using a white highlighting shampoo (the purple/blue stuff for the white/ gray markings) it is best applied at this point. It is fine to use all over the body but make sure you pay close attention to the white areas. You will need to work quickly as it can stain, don't use too much and rinse of thoroughly.

8. I normally find that conditioning the body is a waste of time and makes the coat a bit fluffy, but if you feel the need, do it now.

9. Next its time to condition the mane and tail. If you are plaiting/braiding your horse for competition you may want to avoid conditioning too heavily or avoid leaving the conditioner on for long.

10. For a tangle free tail, leave the conditioner in for a minute (if you can) and comb the tail, with the conditioner still in it. Then rinse well.

11. Here's where the vinegar comes in. Mix a solution of 1 part vinegar (white) to 5 parts warm water. Use this as a final conditioner and then rinse out. It works really well and removes any left over residue.

12. You can now use any colour high lighting treatment (available at good saddlery shops) at this point. I find that the chestnut ones work quite well, especially if the horse has been recently clipped (please note this is not a dye and therefore not illegal to use).

13. Do a final rinse and scrape any access water off.

14. Towel dry as best as you can, remember the legs!

15. Depending on the weather and horse, you maybe able to leave your horse out in the sun for a while.

16. Apply a clean dry rug and the skinny hood (make sure the mane and fore lock is lying flat) followed by some warm woolen stable rugs. This will help to dry your horse and keep them warm.

17. I have been known to pre warm the under rug in a dryer.

18. Plait the tail if require or use a tail bag to help keep it clean (I have had a few too many disasters with tail bags and tend not to use them. But they can work well with some horses).

19. Using float boots, bandages or specially made boots, wrap each leg (this is very handy with the horses that have white markings). Don't put them on too tight. You will be amazed at how clean you can keep your horse by this simple step (although some horses love to pull their boots off during the night).

20. Finally, once your horse is very dry, put it away in a clean stable or yard. Remember the rugs will need changing depending on the weather.

by Tina Williamson

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Responsible Dog Ownership

With all the companionship and love that our dogs give so freely, it's hard to imagine that some owners just don't take responsibility for their dogs. But it's true. Millions of dogs healthy dogs are euthanized every year. Whether through owner neglect or owner ignorance, millions of healthy dogs will endure the same fate this year. So what's a responsible dog owner to do? The best thing you can do, as a dog owner, is to ensure that your dog doesn't become a statistic, and you do that through responsible pet ownership.

Welcoming a new dog into your house means taking on additional long-term responsibility. Many new dog owners find something cute or romantic about bringing that puppy in the window home until they realize that there's a modicum of work involved in caring for that cute, adorable little face, and a price to pay for those wet, slobbering kisses. You wouldn't expect to return a baby. Its' no less wrong to return a dog when the novelty wears off, and it ought to be criminal to leave a dog somewhere on its own. In many ways, dogs are as vulnerable as newborn infants are, but dogs are dependent upon their owners for their entire lives.

Listed below you'll find basic steps to responsible dog ownership, and many of them are just common-sense rules of the road.

1. Selecting Your Dog : Turn to a local animal shelter or rescue operation to select a puppy or dog. Remember that older dogs need loving owners too. Refuse to purchase a puppy or dog that started life in a puppy mill.

2. Test Your Dog : Contact a veterinarian and ask him to run the usual series of tests on your new companion.

3. Spay or Neuter Your Dog : Responsible pet owners always spay and neuter their dogs and cats. There are far more dogs waiting for adoption than there are owners to adopt them.

4. Provide Medical Care : Aside from the annual physical examination and vaccinations, protect your dog from heartworm, ticks and fleas. Talk with your vet about the many options available today. Contact your vet at the first sign that something is wrong with your dog.

5. Provide Adequate Food and Water : Provide food suited to your dog's age, size and condition.

6. Walk Your Dog : Your dog will let you know when it needs to be walked.

7. Provide Exercise and Recreation : Provide ample space, dog toys and opportunity for your pet to exercise. If you haven't thrown a Frisbee in twenty years, you'll be surprised at how much fun it is to try to outsmart your dog unlikely!

8. Protect Your Dog from Abuse : Animal cruelty is serious business, and in some states, it's a felony. Even the FBI acknowledged that animal cruelty is a known marker (future indicator) of violence against humans. If anyone in your house intentionally mistreats your dog, seek help immediately. You could thwart the next school shooting.

9. Discourage Aggressive Behavior : You'll know the difference between hearty play and aggressive behavior. Contact your vet at the first sign of aggressive behavior to discuss your options.

10. Coping with Serious Illness and Geriatric Dogs : Geriatric dogs are prone to many of the same illnesses that plague geriatric humans. You'll want to do everything in your power to keep your dog comfortable at the end, but at some point, it may become necessary to end the suffering. If you've been a responsible dog owner throughout the dog's life, you'll want to end that life just as responsibly as you cared for it.

by MJ Plaster

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Foxtail Grass Dangerous to Dogs

If you have dogs, keep the foxtail out of your lawn!

Foxtail is a common annual grass usually considered a weed. It grows one to three feet tall, with branching and some spreading at ground level. Leaf blades are 4 to 15 inches long. Flower heads are dense spikes with yellow to reddish, green or purplish bristles. As foxtail matures, seeds are formed at the top of the stalk. The bushy seeds are what gives the plant the name of "foxtail".

When mature, the seeds detach easily from the plant. This is natures way of making sure that the plant reproduces. The seeds easily cling to clothing, fur, and hair. The seeds always move forward thus penetrating the skin.

The seeds found in the ears, eyes and nose are very serious and can become life threatening. But no body part is immune. The seeds have been found in the urethra, vagina, anal glands, brain, and spinal cord. In one case a veterinarian found the seed in the lung but the original site of entry was the paw. The seeds also gain entry through open wounds.

Foxtail seeds are very tiny so veterinarians usually go by symptoms.

If in the nasal cavity, the dog sneezes repeatedly and violently often hitting the nose on the floor. If a bloody discharge is noticed assume it's a foxtail seed.

If in the eye, the dog paws at the eye and the eye waters. If an eye is glued shut it is most likely a foxtail seed.

If the seed is in the ear the dog shakes its head violently from side to side. Sometimes the dog paws a the eyes or ear, shaking the head and squints.

In the mouth foxtail seeds can cause gagging or difficulty swallowing. If the seed gets caught between the teeth, in the gums, back of throat, or tongue problems can result.

If the seed lodges in the paw or under the coat a lump will form that is painful to the touch. Other symptoms include rubbing the head on the ground and going round in circles, licking or biting at the rectum or other body parts, or yelping or shining for no obvious reason.

Foxtail seeds can cause fatalities when they reach internal organs.

In any case, do not attempt to treat the animal yourself. Get professional help.

Get rid of all foxtail in your lawn or yard. If foxtail grows in your yard mow the grass often, especially in late spring when the plant grows most rapidly. This prevents the plant from ever setting seed.

Avoid parks, or other recreational areas where you know foxtail grows.

Always brush and inspect your dogs coat after being in grassy areas. Dogs with long hair are even more likely to attract the seeds than shorthaired breeds.

Examine your dogs eyes and ears.

by Marilyn Pokorney

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9 Jun 2008

How To Keep Your Aquarium Clean

No one likes living in a dirty, stuffy house. Thank goodness a little dirt is not hazardous to our health. The same cannot be said for our aquatic friends. Most fish and invertebrates are unable to adapt to changes in water chemistry that result from increased bacteria, waste, and chemicals. Proper filtration can preserve the overall health of the aquarium and maintain its beauty.

Three types of filtration exist on the market – biological, mechanical, and chemical. Varying experts will assert that you must utilize all three in your tank. For a marine aquarium with a reef environment, that may be good advice. There is no definitive answer on what combination is suitable for your aquatic environment. Educating yourself on the functions of all three will enable you to pick the filter(s) that will safeguard your fish and invertebrates’ natural habitat.

Biological Filtration
Biological filters are a must for every aquarium. They stimulate the growth of nitrifying bacteria that breaks down harmful ammonia to less toxic chemicals such as nitrate. It sounds simple enough, but how this is accomplished is quite impressive. A widespread method of producing these beneficial bacteria is adding fish to the aquarium. The bacteria, which ride on the fish, drop off and spread throughout the tank and grow. This also leads to increased amounts of dangerous ammonia, so it is important to add fish gradually. It can take several months to establish this cyclical process.

Aquarist believed that they had an easier, quicker solution in under gravel filters and crushed coral. Along with the water, detritus and junk was pulled through the crushed coral, which clogged the filter bed. Some fish enthusiasts have gladly replaced these under gravel filters with biofilters such as canister filters, trickle filters, bio wheels, fluidized bed filters, or sponge filters. These devices incorporate other methods of filtration making them even more useful. Other aquarists opt for the natural route to biological filtration using a mixture of live sand and crushed coral as the tank’s substrate.

Mechanical Filtration
Mechanical filters use a more direct approach to remove particulate matter before it decomposes and adds to the ammonia load. These filters are the most versatile since they can be used in most filtration devices. The key to their efficiency is regular cleaning. Otherwise, waste can accumulate and your effort is in vain. Aquarium owners must always be mindful of the flow rate of their device, which is automatically set to manufacturer’s standards. A reduced flow can lead to an unclean filter (or vice versa) and adversely affects the health of the entire aquarium.

There are a variety of mechanical filters on the market, each with its own advantages. The power filters’ low price, ease of use, and maintenance makes it the most popular of all mechanical filtration devices. These quiet devices can also be used for chemical and biological filtration.

Canister filters are equally as versatile. These large-capacity filters, which run on their own pumps, can be used for mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration. Many aquarists prefer the hang-on-tank canister filters to promote water quality, but there are a large variety of canisters styles available.

Wet/Dry filters, also known as trickle filters or bio-towers, are more suitable for fish-only tanks than reef systems. This is due to the biomaterial inside the filter’s wet/dry chamber that becomes dirty and results in a buildup of harmful nitrates.

Internal filters are a great option for smaller tanks. Their compact and simple design makes them easy to operate. As the name suggests, the filter runs within the aquarium and is powered by a small water pump, or air pump.

Protein skimming/foam fractionation is not mandatory, but it is a trusted method of maintaining water quality. Dissolved proteins linger to air bubbles and form protein foam. Protein skimming pumps the air bubbles through a small columnar removing the dissolved proteins from the tank.

Chemical Filtration
Particles are not the only thing floating in your aquarium’s water. Copper, ammonia, and phosphates also threaten the stability of your tank’s environment. Chemical filtration utilizes chemically enhanced products to treat the water. Activated carbon is the leading medium used. Others such as calcium hydroxide, zeolite, and even peat moss work as well.

Protein skimming, Power, Canister, and Internal filters are some of the most common filtration devices used for chemical treatment. Of course these double for mechanical filtration devices as well. Trickle filters are a popular choice amongst saltwater aquarium owners. The water is first drawn from the tank. Then, it is siphoned through the mechanical, biological, chemical, and auxiliary filters. Finally, it placed back into the aquarium.

To target specific chemicals, look to Reactors. Water is drawn through a canister-type chamber where it meets the chemical media. For even more effective filtration, they can be run pressurized.

The methods of keeping your aquarium’s waters clean are numerous. Using biological filters as a base, there is a wealth of combinations that you can build upon to create a healthy environment for your pets.

By: Reef Saltwateraquarium

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Making Dog Training More Effective With Training Equipment

When you first get a new dog it may seem a little overwhelming the amount of things you have to buy. You will have to buy food, a bed, bowls and toys to mention just a few and it is also a very sensible idea to get some dog training equipment.

While it is possible to use ordinary items this may not be the case in some circumstances.

For instance, it will certainly be necessary to get a case if you intend to crate train your dog and you may want to purchase a clicker or a noisy chain. If you are training a hunting dog then you will want more specific dog training equipment to help with the process of training.

A clicker is used to help with positive reinforcement. Every time you praise your dog you click the clicker and give him a treat and so he recognizes the noise to mean he has done well and is being rewarded.

On the other hand a noisy chain is used to throw at the feet of your dog as negative reinforcement when he has done something wrong. The noise of the chain hitting the floor is irritating to the dog and will certainly get his attention. You should never use the chain to reprimand the dog directly and it should only be used to make the loud noise.

There are other more unusual training aids. You can get remote spray collars that work like ordinary collars but have a small water spray attached. When your dog misbehaves you can click the button and the water will spray into his face.

This will invariably stop him in his tracks and after using this a couple of times it is very unlikely he will do the same thing again for fear of getting water sprayed in his face.

Walking big dogs can be a real challenge. Specialist collars can help. Harnesses give you much more control over a boisterous dog that usually has the run of you when out on walks and the choker chain works by tightening around the dog’s neck but quickly loosening again when the tension on the lead loosens.

Electric collars give out a small electrical shock to your dog although this form of punishment is best for hunting dogs and teaching them not to approach certain harmful animals like snakes. This dog training equipment is all fairly inexpensive and will make your life a lot easier when first training your dog.

By: Marc Lindsay

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Professional Dog Training - Training The Right Way

Most areas have a dog training school that takes puppies and more mature dogs alike and if you are in the early stages of obedience training then taking your puppy or dog to one of these schools is a very useful step.

Not only do dog obedience training schools help teach your dog obedience skills but they also teach you how to teach them. As well as this, obedience schools are full of other dogs and other people and most of these people have been in the same position as you.

This provides you and your puppy with an excellent opportunity to try out your social skills.

Even though you only really need to go for several lessons it is fine to continue going dog obedience school even if it is only to continue socializing your dog. In the long run, ensuring that your dog is socialized will prove vital.

Without this they can become stressed, anxious and defensive in new situations with new people. Most aggression in dogs is only a form of defense and preventing this is essential.

Dog training schools will teach you the essentials of obedience training and if you have never owned a puppy before this can be quite an eye opener.

From the day you bring your puppy home he or she is developing new habits and characteristics and if you are responding inappropriately to these actions then you could be teaching your puppy completely the wrong thing.

You will both be taught the basics of rewarding and reprimanding your dog and you will normally learn to make your puppy sit, stay and other useful ‘tricks’. Even with just these simple tricks you should be able to teach your dog a lot.

Don’t forget that one of the most important aspects of obedience training is not the specific tricks but showing the dog that you are in control. Handing over control to you will remove a lot of stress from any dog and allow them to lead a healthier and happier lifestyle.

This is especially true of older dogs that have got into bad habits. It will take longer to train older dogs because they have become conditioned to act in certain ways, but most dogs will still be susceptible to useful and effective training.

It is still very important that you continue the work yourself when you get home and don’t just rely on your one trip a week to the school.

By: Marc Lindsay

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Taking Care of an Older Cat

Cats are not turtles. Okay, I know what you're thinking, people aren't turtles, either. However, when you really think about it, people are a lot closer to turtles than cats in the sense that turtles, as well as people, can live to be 100 years or more. Not so for cats. In fact, in human terms, a cat who's surpassed twelve years would be applying for their old age pension. Certainly cats can live longer than twelve years and, in fact, thanks to many factors, cats really are living much longer these days.

Dedicated care from their human companions plus advances in veterinary medicine are the main reasons. Most experts consider a cat's "senior years" to begin on her 10th birthday. After this point, the aging process begins to slow in even the most playful feline. Yet, with a little extra attention from her resident human, a cat could enjoy another 5-10 years of life and love.

As with humans, cats often lose the ability to hear as they get older. This often goes unnoticed by their human companion because they think their cat's lack of response is just typical feline aloofness. Unfortunately, without keen hearing and vision, an older cat becomes more vulnerable to threats from cars and dogs on the street, so it's probably a good idea to keep an older cat indoors. If she loves the fresh air, then make sure you supervise her in a protected area when she is allowed outdoors.

Even the most easygoing cat can become a finicky eater in her later years. As an older cat's senses of smell and taste begin to diminish, she becomes less interested in her food. Try adding moist food and warming her meals to amplify the scent and make her dinner more tantalizing.

Also, it's important to keep fresh water available for your older cat, and to monitor her drinking habits. Her natural thirst drive can fade with age, causing her to become dangerously dehydrated rather quickly. Pay attention to about how much water your cat drinks each day. If the amount suddenly drops, and you know she is not getting water from any other source, you should consider contacting your veterinarian.

Common problems people see their older cats develop include difficulties swallowing due to decreased saliva production, less tolerance to extreme heat and/or cold, gum disease and tooth loss, a change in litter habits, and difficulty sleeping well.

Recent studies have uncovered a problem with potassium balance in many older cats. Poor coat condition, loss of appetite and lethargy have been linked to a mild form of hypokalemia, or low blood potassium. Low blood potassium damages the cat's kidneys, which, in an older cat, are already weakening. This leads to a vicious cycle because declining kidney function increases the loss of potassium in the blood, which in turn causes further deterioration of the kidneys.

Arthritis and stiffness is fairly common in older cats as well and as it becomes more difficult to move, a geriatric cat spends more time sleeping. If her diet stays the same, she'll begin to put on a lot of extra weight. This can add to her discomfort which makes her more inclined not to move. Without exercise her muscles will weaken, so it's important to encourage an older cat to take part in some activity every day. Physical movement will help with digestion and bowel function, as well as keep her sharp mentally.

As a cat gets older, it spends less time grooming itself which may result in her hair becoming dry and matted. Regular grooming is required to keep her coat healthy and beautiful, so it's best to schedule daily brushing to remove loose hair that can form uncomfortable hairballs in her stomach.

So, as I said, cats aren't turtles. However, with love and care they can live for fifteen years or more. But remember, just as senior humans require special care, so does your feline friend. Pay attention to their needs and help make them as comfortable as possible.

By: Glenn Cutforth

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Cats And Pills - Tablets.

Nearly everything alive becomes ill at some stage in its life, and pets are no exception. I have been very fortunate in that my two cats have been very healthy for most of their lives. Recently the oldest cat become ill and had to go to the vet. Unfortunately she was diagnosed with a form of cancer. The treatment options were pills or radiation 'therapy'. The radiation therapy was very expensive so that left the pills. Pills are fine for humans, but if you have ever tried to administer pills to your cat then you would know some of the problems I have had.

I usually feed my cats on a dry 'all in one' biscuit diet. This diet and a supplement of fresh food has kept them very healthy for over 14years. But now I need to add pills to her diet every twelve hours. So what do I feed her that will hide the pill well enough for her to eat it without complaining? Well after some experimentation I came to the conclusion that hiding a whole pill was not the answer. Not the answer at all. Whole pills are located and removed from the food with amazing accuracy. The simple answer is to crush the pills before adding them to the food.
( Note : The pill should be added to a small quantity of food - half a normal serve or less, and that small quantity should be given to your pet BEFORE the rest of the meal. This helps to ensure your cat is hungry enough to eat the entire pill. Once the pill food is eaten you can give them the rest of the meal.)

Pills are usually quite easy to crush into powder, I use two spoons, one small teaspoon as the crusher, and a larger desert spoon to hold the pill. Place the pill into the larger spoon and using the edge of the small spoon as a blunt knife, carefully break the pill into smaller chunks. Now use the small teaspoon to gently crush the chunks into powder. In less than two minutes you should be ready to sprinkle the powdered pill onto a small serve of food. Crushing the pill gets much easier once you have done two or three.

This is how I prepare chicken or fish for my cat at pill time :

Chicken : Cooked (cold)

Cooked chicken is a favorite food of my cats so it is a good pill food for them. To make the most reliable pill hiding food from cold chicken is really quite easy. First of all you need to prepare the pill by crushing it into a powder as described above. Then you need a small serve of chicken that you can breakup into smallish pieces - use your fingers, it gives the best results. Once you have broken up the chicken add a small quantity of water to the serving plate and roll the chicken in the water until it is wet all over. Now drain the excess water from the plate - too much water will leave the pill on the plate and not on the food where it needs to be. The next step is optional, but it makes a big difference for my pets. The next step is to place the food in a microwave oven. All you want to do is VERY GENTLY warm up the food, I use about 6 SECONDS on high. What you are looking for is to remove the coldness of the food - which activates the SMELL of the food. Do not make the food hot! ( The heat could damage the pill that you are trying to feed them, and not many cats will eat hot food anyway.) Now that you have a very gently warmed serve of food it is time to add the pill. Just sprinkle the crushed pill over the wet, warm chicken and serve it up!

Note : Always add the Pill LAST!

Fish : Raw

If you want to use raw fish as a pill serving food then it pays to make sure that the cat in question likes the fish that you are going to use. ( Cats are fussy!) I have two cats, one eats fish at every opportunity, and the other will walk right past it and ask for something else..

So get a small piece of fish to test the cat with, and assuming that the fish is accepted it is easy to prepare. I use a pair of kitchen scissors to cut the fish into small pieces. A sharp knife is ok but the skin on fish is very tough, so for safety and ease of preparation I use scissors. Once you have the fish cut up all you need to do is sprinkle the powdered pill over the fish and serve it up. Raw fish is usually wet and quite smelly, so it doesn't require water to be added or the microwave to warm it up.

Fish : Cooked (cold)

To prepare a cooked cold fish you basically follow the steps outlined for cooked chicken. Prepare the pill, get a small bit of cooked fish and cut or break it up into small pieces. Make it wet, drain off the excess water and zap it in the microwave for a few seconds - do not make the food hot! Add the crushed pill to the warm wet fish and serve it up.

Note : Always add the Pill LAST!

The purpose of warming up the food is to make it smellier. Most food has a much stronger scent or smell when it is at room temperature than it does straight from the fridge.

If you need a small quantity of fresh raw fish it can usually be purchased from your local take away food shop. If you want to use cooked fish from a take away shop bear in mind that the batter or bread crumbs should be removed before it is served to the cat. (Well, it should be removed if your cat won't eat the fish with it still on there..) Also remember to cool the fish down to about room temperature before you add the pill - otherwise the heat may damage the pill.

Never microwave any pill - it could damage the active ingredients or even make them toxic to your pet.

By: Colin Visser

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Dog Health - Tips to Keep Your Dog Healthy

Like people, dogs need to be healthy to enjoy life. Dogs are our friends, companions and often our guardians, but since they are also totally dependent on us for their well-being, it is our responsibility to look after them properly.

One of the most prevalent 'diseases' in dogs these days is one that also affects humans; Obesity. A fat dog is an unhealthy dog and is likely to suffer from arthritis and heart failure. Remember, in the wild, dogs eat fresh meat they have killed themselves. They also eat certain types of grass and may eat wild fruits like berries if these grow in their natural habitat.

Milk, custard and cake are the worst things you can give your grown dog and, though a puppy may benefit from the calcium in milk, there are commercial milk products available that are especially formulated for a puppy's needs.

Dry dog food, or kibble as it is sometimes called, is said to have all the nutrients that your dog will need for health, but the dearer brands are often better. Dogs fed on cheaper brands may constantly chew grass to supplement whatever is missing from their diet. Tinned food can be given as a treat.

A healthy dog should have a smooth, shining coat, clear eyes and a moist nose. Its breath should not smell foul. It should be slender, though not thin enough to see its ribs sticking out. If your dog's breath is disgusting, it could be due to the tartar on its teeth. Chewing on a big bone will help to clean your dog's teeth. In addition, dog dental care products are available through online retailers.

Regular worming will also help to keep your pet in top condition. Shots for distemper, heartworm, parvovirus and kennel cough are a must. Kennel cough is not likely to be a problem unless the dog is kept on cement. Your vet will need to administer the shots, but you can worm the dog yourself. The tablets should be pushed down the side of the dog's mouth until he swallows. If this is too difficult, crush the tablet into some tinned dog food and offer when the dog is hungry. Watch to make sure he eats it all.

Parvovirus breaks down the digestive system and eventually affects the heart. It tends to come in outbreaks when people forget to have their animals inoculated. Symptoms include bloody stool and the animal is quickly unable to move and in obvious pain. It is almost always fatal. Luckily, it is not transmitted to humans.

Symptoms of distemper include runny eyes and a dry nose. It is rather like flu in humans.

A dog with worms may have a poor appetite, and will often - though not always - look to be in poor health with a dry coat that is harsh to the touch. If your dog drags itself along the ground in a sitting position, suspect worms immediately. Worms can sometimes be seen hanging from the anal passage. The problem needs to be addressed as soon as possible, because worms are easily transmitted to humans.

Fleas, which will happily jump from dogs to humans, can be another problem. These bloodsuckers can actually kill a tiny puppy, simply through blood loss. Puppies too young to wear a flea collar may be washed in a suitable preparation from the vet. Pat it dry afterwards, or keep it in a warm place so it doesn't get cold. Always be sure to keep kennels and yard clean to reduce the flea problem. If they get out of hand, you may need to spray all bedding and surrounding areas to kill the fleas and their eggs.

If you live in a tick prone area, be sure to keep a tick collar on your dog at all times. Mark the renewal date on the calendar so you don't forget to renew it. Your pet's life may depend on it! Grass ticks cause itchy lumps that can become infected when scratched. If not removed quickly, the paralysis tick can cause death in three to five days.

If your dog seems to suddenly have weak back legs and falls over often, inspect it immediately for a tick and get it to the vet as soon as possible. Luckily, the tick vaccine works well and quickly and can save a dog that looks like it is gasping its last breath.

With attention to these few details, your pet should live a long and happy life, rewarding you with years of fun and companionship.

By: James Theiss

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Lyme Disease In Dogs Is A Serious Matter

Lyme disease is caused by an organism known as a spirochete, which is a coiled rod-shaped bacterium and named Borrelia burgdorferi. It is passed to dogs and people by deer ticks carrying the infection; the ticks get the infection from the white-footed mouse, which acts as a carrier. The only way a tick can transmit the bacteria is to remain attached to the animal's skin for one to two days. Unfortunately, these ticks are very small and easily can go unnoticed. Lyme disease in dogs has been found worldwide and in ancient Chinese medical literature they actually describe a syndrome very similar to Lyme disease, thousands of years before Lyme , Connecticut was named. In the United States , more than 90% of the cases occur in the Northeast, with California and Mississippi second. Lyme disease in dogs is fairly common, but rarely seen in cats, although some cats have been infected with it.

The main clinical signs of Lyme disease in dogs include a sudden yet recurring lameness that may shift from leg to leg. Sometimes this lameness is associated with a fever and depression. Occasionally you will see swollen lymph nodes. Sometimes the joints may be swollen, feel warm, and it's very painful. The dog infected will usually walk stiffly with a hunched back. Lyme disease in dogs is really very painful and they commonly are very sensitive to touch and may cry out with even the slightest touch. Many dogs with Lyme disease that were diagnosed with slipped discs in their neck and crying in pain and it was actually Lyme disease causes muscle spasms in the neck and they only improved when they were administered the appropriate antibiotic. Sometimes you will see the classic red round target lesion around a tick bite on your pet and within a few days they may show the signs of lameness, fever and sensitivity to touch. If you suspect your pet has Lyme disease, take them to the vet immediately for treatment.


Treatment involves the use of an appropriate antibiotic, such as doxycycline, for at least three to four weeks.


Dogs should begin to show signs of recovery two to three days after beginning treatment. However, the disease may recur within a few weeks or months; in these cases, the dog will need to return to antibiotic therapy for extended periods.


There is a vaccine for the prevention of Lyme disease. Quick removal of a tick also will help prevent Lyme disease because the tick must remain attached to the dog's body for one to two days before the disease can be transmitted. Consult with a veterinarian about the different tick prevention products that are available, as they can be an effective way to prevent the disease. The sooner you start treatment, the sooner your pet will be without pain.

By: LeeAnna

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Kill Fleas and Keep Your Pets Happy

If you have pets, at some point, you will definitely have to deal with fleas. There are a few different brands of flea treatments you can give your pet that will work well to get rid of them. You should choose from Advantage, Frontline or Sentinel because they are the top flea-eliminating brands.

These brands of treatments for fleas are very easy to use and won’t bother your pet at all. All you do is take the pre-measured dose from the tube provided and put it on the back of your cat or dog. After this is done, you apply the Advantage, Frontline or Sentinel solution to your pet’s skin.

You can only get these flea treatments, Advantage, Frontline and Sentinel at your veterinarian. When you buy it straight from their office, you will know that you’re getting a quality product you can trust.

Advantage, Frontline and Sentinel for fleas will start working almost immediately to provide your pet with relief from the biting. It only takes 3-5 minutes for the fleas to stop biting though it will be up to 12 hours for them to be killed.

If your pet gets wet or you give him or her a bath, Advantage, Frontline and Sentinel will still work because they’re water resistant. Even if it rains or your pet is soaking wet from a bath, these treatments for fleas work wonders.

Puppies and kittens can be treated with these Advantage, Frontline or Sentinel products to kill fleas without harming the young animals. Just make sure your pet is at least seven weeks old before you apply the product.

Advantage, Frontline and Sentinel for fleas will kill flea larvae upon contact. This is a great benefit of using these products. It’s very important to keep your pet healthy, so don’t neglect this part of their upkeep.

By: James Hunt

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Take Care of Your Dog: Feed Him or Her Dog Food

Many dog owners treat their pets as though they are their own children. They play with them, let them live inside and sit on the furniture, and even sometimes sleep in their beds. There is no denying the love most dog owners have for their pets, but sometimes they unwittingly cause health problems by feeding their canine pals table scraps rather than dog food.

While the occasion table scraps as treats probably won’t hurt one’s furry friends, what a pet dog really needs for proper nutrition is dog food. It’s true that the ancestors of today’s dogs hunted and ate meat. And feeding a dog the occasional meat hunk or carcass probably won’t hurt. But today’s dogs are thoroughly domesticated and are different creatures. Constant table food can cause obesity and even a form of diabetes in dogs.

Dog food is designed with the necessary proteins and other vitamins and minerals dogs need to be healthy. Just like humans, dogs can experience clogged arteries and heart attacks. It’s important to include dog food in the diet in order to keep man’s best friend in prime health.

There are many types of dog food. There are many scientifically designed varieties meant to address different aspects of canine health. Some dog food targets the coat, some target joints. There is a type of dog food for nearly any dog. There are even breed-specific foods, as well as foods designed for the different ages of dogs.

Proper care of one’s dog can result in years of pleasant companionship and beautiful memories. The therapeutic effects owning a pet are well documented. Pets can help teach children responsibility. However, not taking care of this fellow creature can result in heartbreak and regret. Dogs need regular exercise, lots of love, and minimal access to table scraps. What the healthy dog really needs to eat is dog food.

By: James Hunt

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Providing Bird Houses for Feathered Friends

Many people enjoy animals of avian nature. There’s something about the natural ability to fly that captures the human imagination. Birds come in many colors, arrayed in nature’s beautiful, and sometimes extravagant, plumage. Whether you want to provide bird houses for non-domestic birds, or whether you provide bird cages for the accommodation of birds in your home, there are many ways to provide a comfortable place for birds to live or visit.

Different varieties of bird prefer different types of bird houses. Deciding what type of house to place in your yard can impact which species of bird you attract to your backyard. There are plenty of books on the subject of birds, and bird houses. These books can help you understand what certain birds look for in the way of a resting place. Most hobby and craft stores provide kits and patterns to allow those inclined to working with their hands to build their own bird houses. Not only can this be a fun solo activity, but it can also provide a couple of hours of family togetherness.

For those who prefer to have birds in the home, there are many types of bird cages available for purchase. When choosing a bird cage, it is important to ensure that your bird will have enough room. Many companies manufacture luxury bird cages for pampered birds. While a luxury cage isn’t necessary, there are a few things a good bird cage should have to allow maximum comfort for the pet. Perches located at various heights inside the cage are necessary, as are a few colorful toys. A bell can also add an element of amusement for the bird.

Birds are beautiful creatures. It can be a very enjoyable experience to observe them, and play with them. Bird houses in the backyard can attract many different species to right outside your window, and you can make your feathered pet more comfortable in a nice bird cage.

By: James Hunt

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The Shih Tzu's Variety Of Colors

Since the Shih Tzu breed first became known to the western world there has been a variety of colors. The first and second prize winners at the Shanghai Kennel Club Show of May 30, 1930 were all black in color. These two solid black Shih Tzu were probably among the first Shih Tzu to ever appear in a western show ring. Their photographs can be seen in the China Journal June and August 1930 issues.

Black and white Shih Tzu was also frequently seen of the early days in the western world. Black and white Shih Tzu can still be “very” striking and are still a favorite of many Shih Tzu fanciers.

There are different opinions as to exactly what color was the favored color at the Imperial Palace. It has been said often that the golden-yellow, sometimes described as honey was the favorite color and only kept in the palace. There are countless entries in our passages of Shih Tzu history that tell us the Empress Dowager’s favorite Shih Tzu of all times was a solid black she called “Sea Otter.” There are also accounts that three of the Empress Dowager’s sleeve dogs were greyish-white.

The mention of solid white Shih Tzu in later standards reflect the fact that there was a leading French breed in Peking who had a large number of all-white Shih Tzu. There has always been questions as to whether or not it was probably more the westerners who appreciated the solid white, as the Chinese saw the color white as a color of mourning.

It would be safer to say and believe that since yellow was the imperial color, a fact readily known by the golden-yellow tiled roofs of the Peking Palace. Yellow dogs were also more lion-like in appearance. The word “Shih Tzu” means “Lion” in Chinese. The Chinese tried to breed the Shih Tzu to resemble the lion, at least it was their idea of what a Lion looked like.

The white blaze, collar, socks and tail-tip combine to create a highly prized ensemble.

It is most likely that westerners had a very difficult time acquiring the yellow-colored Shih Tzu since it was regarded as being so precious. Therefore, the first Shih Tzu to appear in the west were the black and white, grey and white, brindle and white and a few solid blacks. Very few of the precious yellow-colored Shih Tzu were first acquired by the westerners.

The same holds true for the very small sized Shih Tzu. The small size Shih Tzu, which were most likely the Imperial and Teacup Shih Tzu, as many of us commonly nickname them today, (the Shih Tzu under 9 pounds in weight) were not readily available for the westerners. The westerners had access mainly to the larger size Shih Tzu that the Imperial Palace had sent out as rejects of their breeding program. There were a few able to get hold of the very tiny Shih Tzu we now commonly nickname the Imperials and the Teacup size, but not many, as this was the favored and most treasured size of the Imperial Palace breedings. The smaller size in Shih Tzu was a major goal of the Imperial Palace breedings lead by Empress Dowager.

By: Connie Limon

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Dog Kennels: Safety in Confinement

There has always been a degree of controversy, regarding the use of dog kennels. While many understand in situations where space is limited, the use of a kennel within a fenced yard often raises the hackles of uninformed individuals. “How can you confine him to a cage,” they often ask, “when you have a fenced-in yard that he can run around in?” The answer is simple; for the dog’s own safety.

The outside world is a dangerous place for any dog, especially one that has been raised with people and brought up in a home. Whether they are tied up or surrounded by a tall fence, chances are that your determined dog is able to dig his way out, climb the fence or find some means of escape, if he truly wants to. Unfortunately, even the gentlest, best-trained dogs can be tempted to see if the grass is really greener, over on the other side, should the opportunity prove tempting enough.

There have been countless horror stories about chained and tied dogs that, in an attempt to jump fences, end up hanging themselves. Equally horrific, are the tales of people who deliberately poison animals or the stories of dogs accidentally getting into the antifreeze. The use of dog kennels also helps to prevent the spread of highly contagious diseases, such as Parvo, by ensuring your pet does not come into contact with another animal’s waste or, if he is sick, that he does not pass it on to others.

Certain precautions should be taken, however, to ensure your pet’s well-being, while he is in the kennel. Dog kennels should always offer shelter from the elements, in the form of a dog house or indoor access, should he be left outside for a period longer than 15 minutes. Additionally, your dog should have access to water at all times, and food, should he be left in the kennel for an extended period of time. A comfortable place to lay down will also be appreciated and, during hot summer days, always be sure to check solid kennel floors. If it’s too hot for you to walk on the pavement in your bare feet, imagine what a hot concrete run can do to his soft pads.

Letting your dog enjoy some time outside is very beneficial to his health and, provided his basic needs are met, he will enjoy the special time, out, where he can see the world. Remember, however, that dog kennels are no substitute for the warmth and care of a loving family; while he will enjoy his outing, he will always be happier when he can spend quality time with his people. Always be sure to give him lots of love, when he comes back inside.

By: James Hunt

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Shih Tzu Show Dog Judging For Coat Texture And Proper Handling

Proper coat texture of your show dog Shih Tzu will be checked during the show dog judge’s examination. Proper coat texture of a show dog Shih Tzu should be lustrous. A lustrous Shih Tzu show dog coat is achieved by good nutrition, and high quality grooming aids. Good coats are also passed down through lines of selectively breeding Shih Tzu with good coats. With the improvement in dog nutrition and grooming aids today, however, there is really no excuse for a show dog Shih Tzu not to have a proper coat texture. If you start with inherited proper coat texture and provide your Shih Tzu with high quality nutrition, the coat can further be enhanced by high quality grooming aids to present the ultimate in beauty by the time your Shih Tzu enters the show ring. One word of warning, however, be sure not to enter the ring with evidence of powder or chalk, or too much spray, you will likely put yourself out of the ring.

When the show dog judge is finished going over the Shih Tzu completely he might step away from the Shih Tzu and give it a final over-all side view look. This side view look helps a Shih Tzu show dog judge keep a complete picture in his mind that he will compare with the next Shih Tzu that is put up on the table.

If you are handling your Shih Tzu yourself this last look is highly important. You should remember to keep your Shih Tzu on its toes. The last thing you want is for the judge to take that last look and find your Shih Tzu sitting or in some other forbidden activity. Do not be constantly putting each single hair in place or placing your Shih Tzu’s feet in the right position. This would be seen as over-handling. If your Shih Tzu is not able to stand on its own, look alive and ready for the next command he is not trained and ready for the show ring. Training is done outside of the ring. Performance is required at the show.

By: Connie Limon

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Furnishing Your Aquarium In 4 Easy Steps

Furnishing your aquarium is another important process in aquarium set up after getting the tank. You will need to put in components that will make it looks more beautify and attractive.

How you do this will now depend largely on the type of the habitants that you intend to keep. Regardless below I have outlined in 4 simple steps what needs to be done to create a beautiful aquarium that you will be proud of:

Step 1. Add aquarium gravel

Gravel is essential to your aquarium most especially if you are using natural plants. It will help in holding plant roots and provide the foundation for the biological and under gravel filtration. Since gravel comes in different sizes and colours, the advised size is 4 to 6 millimeters because it provides flow for an undergravel filter and the most popular is quartzite or granite.

Step 2. Add Rocks:

Adding rock is very important to your aquarium as it provide isolated home for territorial fish. Add rocks can upset your aquarium ecosystem thus it's advisable that you take measures to prevent this.

Also since you may not know how save rock you want to add is, it's very important that you clean them up to remove contaminants.

Step 3. Add Bogwood

This is another essential factor that adds to the beauty of aquarium and it can last long time. Not only that, aquarium habitats need shelter and bogwood provides this. When adding bogwood makes sure that it is well cleaned and it's not infected. To be sure that its infection free takes it through process of poly-vanish.

Step 4. Add Plants

Plants also add to the beauty of your aquarium. There are two types of plants - plastic plants and live (natural) plants.

It's very easy to use plastic plants because they need little or no maintenance. You just clean them up with clean water and add. On the other hand live plants helps in biological process of aquarium and helping to keep your tank clean and healthy.

By: John Morris

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Shih Tzu - Submissive Urination/Sanitation

If your puppy gets excited and wets herself, especially when you have company or when you first arrive from being away from her, this is called "submissive urination." This kind of urination is different from breaks in house training. Puppies often outgrow the problem as they do not have good bladder control. The older dog that does this may be lacking self-esteem.

Although dogs do not have the intelligence like a human in some areas such as being spiteful and mis-behaving, they do have some psychological aspects to their behaviors.

In a case such as this it helps if the owner will try to become deliberately less threatening. Avoid directly staring at your dog. Kneel down closer to his level rather than standing over him and encourage your dog to come to you rather than reaching out to get her. Your tone of voice should be soft and coaxing. Never, never punish a dog for submissive urination. Your dog is already submitting to you, "over-submitting," and you want to try and reverse some of this.

If any of your guests or family members have been agressive with your shih tzu, protect him and ask that they not approach him because of this problem of submissive urination you are experiencing with him.

It might be helpful to invite a cooperative friend or family member to sit on the floor and quietly talk with you. At first, ignore the shih tzu. If your shih tzu has not urinated at this point have the friend or family member speak a few words very quietly and gently to the dog, but from a distance. If the dog still does well, repeat the exercise the next day. If things still continue to go well, ask your friend or family member to pay just a bit more attention to your shih tzu and get just a little bit closer to him. Continue having these sessions, gradually increasing the visitor's and your contact with the dog. If the dog urinates, backtrack and reduce the time spent. As the dog matures submissive urination should get better and as the shih tzu learns he does not have to be extremely submissive to you.

Tips On Sanitation:

The best way to pick up and dispose of dog feces in an urban area is to scoop it up with one of the many pooper scoopers available and put it in a freezer type bag, then tie it closed or simply flush it down your sewer system. With small dogs such as the shih tzu the stools are small and even smaller and less if you use a good quality dog food like HealthyPetNet Life's Abundance All Natural Dog food and treats. If you are out walking, you can carry along paper towels, or a hand full of toilet paper to do the actual picking up (and you probably want to keep some plastic gloves handy for this purpose as well). Carry along some hand sanitizer to clean your hands afterwards. There are commercial products you can purchase, or you can use freezer bags or the bag your newspaper comes in. In some areas there may be rules against putting feces in your trash. In this case, you can flush it down your sewer system or....after you have tied it in the freezer bag and placed it in another sturdy trash bag, this should be enough to keep the odor away and use a good quality dog food like HealthyPetNet Life's Abundance All Natural Dog Food to keep the smell of feces down. That way, your garbage pick-up people will be less likely to complain if the odor is contained appropriately. Remember to wash your hands many, many times throughout the day when you live with pets and use hand sanitizers. Always wash your hands before you eat or do anything with mouth or nose contact. I keep hand sanitizer in the pumps out all over the place so that I can quickly pump a scoop in my hands and then as soon as possible I also wash my hands with a good anti-bacterial soap for at least two minutes each time, scrubbing under my nails and up on my wrists. You should advise all children in a household with pets to do the same.

By: Connie Limon

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2 Apr 2008

Dog Insurance

It seems that most of us will do whatever our veterinarian recommends for treatment to get our dogs back to their happy, healthy, lives. Therefore you should give serious consideration to buying dog insurance in case your little love ones get sick or injured. If you really think of your dog as part of your family it is inevitable that certain things will be demanded of you in making your dog's life as comfortable as possible. As we all know, life is unpredictable and things do not always go as we hope they will. This is why as dog owners we must realize that dog insurance comes with its benefits and therefore not something you can afford to ignore.

Unfortunately, when sickness suddenly strikes your dog many times it can cost more money than you ever expected. For this reason you really owe it to yourself and to your dog to carry pet insurance. Good pet insurance plans are easy to find on the internet which offers an array of quality plans with excellent policies. Routine visits to a vet or when unexpected issues like an accident or an illness comes up make it clear the benefits of having dog insurance. The expense of medical bills could really be costly at times, but having pet insurance helps you to handle the medical bills with ease.

Contrary to popular belief dog insurance is relatively inexpensive. When you consider the savings in event of an accident or illness and how much it will reduce the burden of the vet care bill you will find dog insurance a life saver. Your sure to feel peace of mind in knowing that if an injury or sickness strikes your dog... you will have pet insurance to help cover the costs. One of the advantages of having pet insurance is that most of the policies available will cover emergency care, vaccinations and routine surgery such as neutering and spaying.

Just like with any insurance plan, when purchasing dog insurance must make sure you compare their rates and terms. You will also want to ensure that you get a plan that suits both your finances and your dog. Read the fine print on the policy and don't assume anything. Ask questions if you don't understand anything and your vet can also help you in choosing a reliable dog insurance company. You certainly don't want to sign on with companies that are only interested in taking your money and who will avoid fulfilling their part of the contract.

Most people wouldn't think of going without insurance for themselves or their families, but what happens when a beloved pet suddenly gets sick or has some kind of unexpected accident? Don't lose your loving pet because you didn't take the time to buy insurance. There are many affordable dog insurance plans that will offset the high costs necessary to save your companion's life. When getting dog insurance recognize that some companies will not insure your dog if she has a pre-existing health issue or conditions. Don't worry, just discuss your interests and desires in a plan with your vet, they should be able to advice you on the policy you should get.

About the Author: Find out everything you wanted to know about dogs at our comprehensive website All About Dogs

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10 Reasons Why Pet Insurance Is A Must

Pets today need insurance as the cost of medical treatments are very high and in breeding and other problems have made pets more susceptible to diseases and other problems. Pet insurance can cost anywhere between USD 2000-6000 over the life of a pet and the amount of premium to be paid would depend on many variables like breed, age, and more.

Pet insurance can be bought online or offline from leaders like: Pet care Insurance Companies; Veterinary Pet Insurance Company; Pets Best Insurance; and Vet Insurance. The best way to insure a pet is to ask your vet for advice. Pet insurance at affordable rates can be purchased online from websites devoted to pet insurance and pet care. The premium to be paid depends on age of pet, general health of pet, breed of pet, potential risks for susceptible diseases and so on.

Before investing in insurance you must do your homework and find out all you can about polices, how to keep premiums low, and how to buy the best pet insurance at the most affordable rate. The internet is a knowledge highway and has great information on pets, insurance options, and more. Make the effort to educate yourself.

Medical treatment can cost thousands of dollars. And treatments for hip diseases, cancers, kidney failure and more can cost between USD 1000- 5000. In case of disease or accidents pets can be treated and nursed back to health instead of “put down.”

Here are a few reasons why pet insurance is to be considered:

1. A pet is a family member and death due to accident or illness can upset children. Insurance coverage could save the life of the pet.

2. Pet insurance gives peace of mind and owners can stop worrying about unpaid bills or pets crossing roads.

3. Pet insurance ensures longer life spans of pets.

4. Insurance offers preventive health care, which means diseases can be detected in pets at early stages when treatments can offer cures.

5. Pet insurance covers expensive diagnostics and hospitalization expenses for pets.

6. Pet insurance can save the life of the pet as it covers treatments like radiation therapy and kidney replacements.

7. Pet insurance releases the burden of having to pay when the family is going through lean times such as being “laid off” or having a personal illness to deal with.

8. Pet insurance can help you get a deductible which is cost saving and the insurance will protect the pet.

9. Pet insurance offers regular health checks, shots, elective and non elective surgeries, and sometimes extended stays at a pet boarding house.

10. In general pet insurance can cost as little as USD 20-40 a month and this brings good health and cheer to the pet, very much a family member.

Pet insurance could save the life of a dear one without straining your wallet.

About the Author: Timothy Rudon is a writer for Pet Insurance , the premier website to find Pet Insurance, pet health insurance, veterinary pet insurance, pet care insurance, best pet insurance, pet health care insurance, vpi pet insurance and many more.

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18 Jan 2008

Your Dog Home Alone Troubles

by Mark Haakonsen

Leaving Your Dog Home Alone

Do you have problems leaving your dog home alone? Do you come home, only to find that your dog has been up to mischief or tried to escape from the yard? This is not an uncommon problem at all, and we'll explain why your dog behaves badly when alone and what you can do about it.

Dogs experience many of the same emotions as humans such as anxiety, boredom and depression. If one of these emotions is triggered, it will also affect their behavior or lack thereof. Since dogs are pack animals, they are very sociable and simply do not like to be left alone. When a dog is left alone it can experience a feeling of neglect, depression, boredom and anxiety. Neglect can lead a dog to cry and howl for an extended period of time. This will happen as you leave and while you are gone. If a dog feels bored while home alone, this is what can lead to destructive and naughty behavior e.g.: barking, chewing anything in sight and digging up the yard. The most detrimental effect on your dog however, is the feeling of an anxiety commonly referred to as "separation anxiety". The fear of abandonment that sets in can even cause your dog to feel sick, vomit and lose control of its bodily functions.

The good news is that dogs can be trained out of anxiety, and a few simple techniques can be used to help relieve the stress on your dog when home alone.

When leaving the house, a common mistake of owners is to give excessive emotional comforting to the dog. Extended "bye bye's" and "you're a good dog" do nothing but increase the dog's anxiety when you leave. So in future, when leaving, just do so with a quick and firm gesture. When returning, again do not make a big deal about it, just go about your business as if nothing has happened.

It is also important to ensure that your dog won't be left without any entertainment. After all, the dog will need to something to occupy its time. Provide sufficient toys, something to chew on, dog biscuits and anything else that might help the dog beat boredom. If you're dog has a bad behavioral problem, try giving it some exercise before you leave. Getting rid of that extra energy can work wonders.

With a little conditioning, your dog should have no problems being home alone. If you are still not confident about leaving your dog alone for extended periods, then start small. Go out for 30 minutes, then try an hour and progressively build up until both you and pooch are comfortable. If all else fails, then consult your vet, as there are medications available for dog anxiety.

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Caring for an Older Cat - Cat Health and Cat Care

by NS Kennedy

Cats are living longer lives thanks to dedicated care from their humans, and advances in veterinary medicine. Most experts consider a cat's "senior years" to begin on her 10th birthday. After this point, the aging process begins to slow in even the most playful feline. Yet, with a little extra attention from her owner, Miss Kitty might enjoy another 5-10 years of life and love.

Just as with humans, cats often lose the ability to hear as they age. This often goes unnoticed by owners, who might chalk their cat's lack of response to typical feline aloofness. Without keen hearing and vision, however, an older cat is more vulnerable to threats from cars and dogs on the street. It is best to keep an older cat indoors. If she loves the fresh air, make sure you supervise her in a protected area.

Even the most easygoing cat can become a finicky eater in her later years. As an older cat's senses of smell and taste begin to diminish, she becomes less interested in her food. Adding moist food and warming her meals will amplify the scent and make it more tantalizing. Moist food will increase the amount of water in your cat's diet.

It is important to keep fresh water available for your older cat, and to monitor her drinking habits. Her natural thirst drive can fade with age, causing her to become dangerously dehydrated rather quickly. Take note of about how much water your cat drinks each day. If the amount suddenly drops, and you know she is not getting water from any other source, contact your veterinarian.

Remember that there have been huge advances in medical care for cats in recent years. Online shopping for cat medication has become popular, but remember that there is no substitute for regular check-ups with your veterinarian.

Common problems owners see their geriatric cats develop include difficulties swallowing due to decreased saliva production, less tolerance to extreme heat and/or cold, gum disease and tooth loss, a change in litter habits, and not sleeping well.

Recent studies have uncovered a problem with potassium balance in many older cats. Poor coat condition, loss of appetite and lethargy have been linked to a mild form of hypokalemia, or low blood potassium. Low blood potassium damages the cat's kidneys, which, in an older cat, are already weakening. This leads to a vicious cycle because declining kidney function increases the loss of potassium in the blood, which in turn causes further deterioration of the kidneys.

Arthritis and stiffness is fairly common in older cats. Because it becomes more difficult to move, a geriatric cat spends more time sleeping. If her diet stays the same, she'll begin to pack on the pounds. The extra weight adds to her discomfort, making her more inclined not to move. Without exercise her muscles will weaken. It is important to encourage an older cat into some activity every day. Physical movement will help with digestion and bowel function, as well as keep her sharp mentally.

An older cat spends less time grooming herself than in her youth. As a result, her hair becomes dry and painfully matted. Regular grooming from her owner is required to keep her coat healthy and beautiful. Daily brushing removes loose hair that can form uncomfortable hairballs in her stomach.

As your cat gets older its important that she is comfortable. You should ensure that your cat has a comfortable, warm bed that she can stretch out on. Cushions and hammock bed on radiators are popular.

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Why Difficulties In Horse Training A Good Thing

by Andy Curry

I'll never forget one of the first horses I trained by myself. I could not have picked a better horse to give me problems.

This horse was slow to motivate. He was very much his own "person" so to speak and was going to do what he pleased...at least...that's how it seemed.

There are plenty of horses in this world that will move when you want them to move. In fact, some horses can be so nervous it takes little effort to get them moving in the round pen. In a way, they almost train themselves.

When I was first training this horse he moved slowly and not very deliberately. Teaching him to drive was very difficult because he just wasn't going to move for me.

The first time I put a surcingle on him and attached the lines he had no more intention on moving forward than an elephant with no legs.

The lesson I was teaching was to move forward. When you want your horse to move then, obviously, you want him to move...not stand there.

A typical way to teach moving forward and associating the action with a command is to get behind your horse and to the left a little. Then give a slight pull on the left rein, then say "step" or "get up" and tap him on his rear end with the whip.

Most every horse I worked with, this technique worked well. But the technique failed with this horse.

Whenever I tapped him on the butt he would either stand there and blink his eyes or he would turn around and just look at me.

To the trained trainer it may seem he was balking. In fact, that's what I feared was happening.

The next thing I tried to get him moving was a hog slapper. A hog slapper is a small pole like aid with a handle on one end and two pieces of leather on the other end. When you slap the leather end against your boots it makes a loud slapping sound.

It was the loud slapping sound I was hoping would motivate the horse to move. Here's what happened.


The horse didn't take any steps forward to get away from it. It scared him a little the first two or three times I slapped it on my boot, but that's all it did.

Frustrated and bewildered I wasn't sure what to do next.

I began to analyze the situation. I knew the tap with the whip wasn't working so I didn't need to repeat trying it. I knew the hog slapper didn't work so I didn't need to repeat that either.

So I asked myself, "What can I use to motivate this horse to move?"

I got the answer from Jesse Beery.

Jesse Beery, a famous horse trainer from the 1800's, taught training a horse to drive in much the same way I do it. Even the tap on the rear end with the whip is the same.

In teaching a horse to overcome fears and desensitizing him to sounds, Beery prescribes using metal bowls strung together like a wind chime on rope. These bowls make quite a racket when you shake them. Used as Beery describes, they are extremely effective in horse training.

So I thought these noise makers would motivate my horse to move. After all, they are loud and obnoxious when they clank together and make noise.

So I tacked up the horse, grabbed my noise maker, and tried again.

As I was fumbling with the lines and the noise maker trying to get situated, I nearly dropped the noise maker and it made a pretty good racket. Almost the second it rattled, the horse moved away from it.

Immediately I had a glimmer of hope that this was my answer.

So I tried it all again. I gave a slight pull on the left line, I then said "get up", and then I rattled the bowls.

The result?

Nothing except the horse raising his head and looking behind him a little. But I knew that meant I was getting his attention.

So I tried it again.

This time, he took about 3 steps forward and stopped. I was thrilled. I walked up to him and rewarded him with a caress.

Then I stepped back and did it again.

It wasn't long before I didn't have to use my noise maker anymore. All I had to do was say "get up" and he'd move. Not only did he move, he moved with energy.

Although this horse was very frustrating I must admit I am grateful to him. Why? Because he taught me valuable lessons.

The first lesson I relearned was patience.

The second lesson was that not everything will work on the same way on every horse. This was a lesson I already knew but it was reinforced.

The third lesson learned was to reexamine what I knew about horses and use that knowledge to get him doing what I needed him to do. That's why I tried the noise maker.

I knew certain noises frighten horses so I decided to manipulate his fear with the noise maker. I also knew to be careful not to terrorize him. After all, you want to use as little of that kind of motivation as possible. Only use what is just enough.

Fourth, he taught me to keep looking for an answer because one exists even though I didn't know it at the time.

Fifth, if I ever run across another horse that's hard to motivate to move, then I will pull out my noise makers because it worked before.

As I patted myself on the back for coming up with the noise maker idea I was actually feeling grateful for having such a difficult horse. I realized having a difficult horse was a great teacher to me - and I have absolutely loved having difficult horses since.

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17 Jan 2008

6 Basic Tips for Training your Dogs.

How you go about basic dog training depends on several things. You want to take into consideration what kind of dog it is, what dog behavior training you are trying to accomplish, and how old the dog is. But it is important to note that it is never too late to teach a dog a new trick. Here are 6 basic dog training tips to keep in mind.

1) Positive

The key thing to remember is that this is a fun process to teach your dog something new. Therefore, make sure to constantly offer positive affirmations in the form of verbal praise and treats. Whenever the dog does something correctly make sure they know it.

2) Patience

It can be difficult being patient but it is a process that is not going to happen in one session. You have to be willing to give it time and over a period of training sessions your dog will learn. Your dog will pick up on your emotions so hide those feelings of anxiety and anger and keep it positive.

3) Consistency

Consistency is vital with dog behavior training. Training your dog one day and then skipping a few will not get the job done. The more consistent you are the quicker your dog will pick up the trick you are teaching. However, it is not a bad thing to take one day off here and there to give them a break.

4) No distractions

To get the most out of your basic dog training, try to pick a spot that eliminates any kinds of distractions. While this may be difficult to find, try to pick a quiet spot free of people or other dogs. Going in the backyard or an inside room typically are the best locations.

5) Short and sweet

The last thing you or your dog wants is a two hour training session each day. Around fifteen minutes is the perfect time for dogs to learn simple commands. Always make sure to stick with one command or trick per session and do not overlap the tricks within each fifteen minutes. And remember, praise is essential when your dog does something correctly.

6) Above All Else - FUN! FUN! FUN!

Although this is quite repetitive, it is essential that you keep each session fun and lighthearted. Your dog will feed off of your emotions and if you are having a good time they will enjoy it as well. If your dog makes a mistake, you can be firm but friendly at the same time. And after each fifteen minute session, play with your dog for a while.

Over time you will begin to build an even greater bond with your dog as you both learn to trust in each other through these lessons. This will help you on the path to a long and loving relationship with your best friend. It will also provide the foundations for a well mannered and behaved dog who will be a joy to have around the family, and in the company of others.

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How To Choose The Cat?

Before you select a cat, you need to decide which breed is right, not only for you, but also for the rest of your family. So follow this short guide to help you with the selection of your new pet.

Vocal Breeds
Consider whether or not you would like a vocal companion. Seriously, some cats can be pretty noisy. And although you may not find this to be an issue, local neighbors - especially in compact apartment arrangements - can find this annoying, especially at night.

Some cat breeds that are a bit heavy on the vocal side include: the Burmese, the Siamese Cat and the Korat. On the other end of the spectrum are: the American Curl, the Scottish Fold, and the Somali - all referred to as very quiet cats.

Cuddle Factor
You also need to consider if you prefer a cat that seeks attention and is cuddly. Or maybe you'd refer one that is aloof? Cuddly cats need lots more attention, but also give you more back in return, too. And cuddly pets such as these are usually better around children.

Some friendly cats are the Abyssinian, Tonkinese, Maine Coon, Snowshoe, Ragdoll and Himalayan Persian. More aloof cats include the Nebelung, the Norwegian Forest Cat and the Russian Shorthair.

Bad Hair Day
An important point to ponder is hair. Do you prefer long hair, not caring so much about grooming and shedding involved, or do you prefer to keep things simple with short hair breeds?

Note: long hair can get matted and messy and require a trip to the groomer or vet for shaving - while the cat is under sedation. So consider whether you have the time, tools and patience to help with grooming regularly.

Last but not least, decide if you prefer to raise your pet from early on; i.e. do you want a kitten? Or would you like to maybe help with a rescue of an older animal?

So wrap it up, consider all of the factors above before you choose your new cat. Look over the different characteristics and the various cat breeds of interest before you begin to seek out your new pet.

Check online for more information about cats. And reach out and call around to your local pet stores and to your local Humane Society chapter with more concerns you may have about cats.

by : Renske Buursma

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Dog Training Schools - What Most of Them Don't Tell you

Dog training schools can be very beneficial for both the pet and the owner. The common conception about these schools is that they train your dog to behave better. Actually, this is not the whole story. What dog training schools aim to do (at least the good ones) is teach the owners how to properly handle their dogs.

Think of it this way -- do you think there is a way to train a dog to be obedient in a short time that would cause them to be obedient forever? Behavior modification requires constant reinforcement to be done over an extended period of time. This means that after your dog has graduated from school, you will be required to continue the training.

Many people who use training schools for their dogs are wishing for a magic bullet, but they just won't get it. In fact, the owners who attend the classes with their pets have a higher success rate of actually making the training stick afterwards than those who just simply send their dogs off to training school.

For example, a reward system to reinforce good behavior is used by every reputable school in existence. Some schools may reward a dog with a treat, while others may do so with a sign of affection or a mixture of both. It is important that you stick with the same type of positive reinforcement after the dog has been trained. Otherwise, if you change the reward you give for positive reinforcement you can confuse the dog and make their behavior inconsistent.

The same goes for negative reinforcement as well. It is important to be consistent with how the dog has been trained to be punished after they have completed their training. Usually punishments are simple, like an authoritative no or a simple tug on the collar.

Finally, it is important to take the time to research your options when it comes to dog training schools before you sign up for one. Just like anything, there are good schools and there are bad schools Make sure that you go with a top-notch school. Make sure the school matches your own beliefs about how a dog should be trained.

by : Terry Edwards

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Safety Tips and Hints on Using Wireless Dog Fence

Wireless dog fence has been proven and tested to be really safe and reliable. However, there are still safety tips that everyone should take into consideration in using it. These safety tips will give your dog a much better protection.

Take note that dogs collar receiver must always be in contact with the wireless signal thrown by the transmitter. Therefore, if the collar loses contact with the transmitter signal, correction pulse will then be sent by the collar thinking the dog has left the containment area.

Just place the transmitter somewhere in your home, garage or tool shed that is not noticeable to avoid any damage on the system. After keeping it in a safe area and completing the set up, the transmitter will then emit a radio signal which will define the containment boundary of your dog.

It is advised that you avoid leaving the collar on your dog while it is inside your house as household appliances may set it off due to unnecessary signal interruptions.

The dog collar receiver has a water proof feature but then the transmitter must always be out of the weather because this device cannot get wet or the emitted signal will be damaged.

Please be reminded that the system will not work well if a drop-off or steep slope is a part of the contained area. This only means that you must also consider whether our dog containment fences are appropriate for your yard before you purchase the product you want.

The size and attitude of your dog is also a key factor. If you know that your dog is too big or stubborn, might as well choose a more appropriate product because this wireless pet containment is only applicable for small or medium dogs which are easy to train.

For safety and more reliable set up, always try to follow instructions in the provided manual that explains installation and training or ask our customer representatives for assistance.

There is an adjustable range suitable for your yard and an appropriate level of pulse correction for your dog.

For safe and easy to remember safe areas against the boundary, try to place a mark on the boundaries by putting training flags so that you and your dogs can easily remember the defined training area.

You must not also worry about unwanted power loss of the wireless dog fence system that might harm your dog because we also feature an automatic safety shut off on the system that will happen after 27 seconds.

by : Andrei Smith

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