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The Pet Blog represents the contributions of all of the on-staff pet experts at That Fish Place - That Pet Place. Contact us with the links here or leave a comment.

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Puppy’s First Grooming – Groomer’s Corner

Please welcome guest writer and in store Groomer, Nicole Lutz from That Groom Room, to the Petblog!

 

Here in That Groom Room, we often get a lot of questions regarding when is a good age to start grooming a puppy? Now that Christmas is over and many puppies were given as gifts I thought that it would be a good place to start.

 

At What Age Can I Start Getting My Puppy Groomed?

Officially it is best to wait until your new puppy is 8 weeks old, and can leave their mother before you consider getting them groomed. Once the puppy has been introduced to its new home and has established relations with the new owner they can think about getting the puppy groomed. That Groom Room recommends starting at 12 weeks of age. The very first grooming appointment is an introduction to the puppy and the owner to the world of grooming. The puppy with be introduced to a bath, blow drying, nail clipping, and slight trimming. We do not recommend having a puppy be given a full hair cut the first time being groomed. The reason behind this is you are forcing the puppy to stand still and be handled for 1.5 hours. This is a lot to ask of a puppy. It would be like asking a one year old child to sit without moving, going to the bathroom, or play with any toys for 45 minutes. That is why we only do the basics for puppies first groom. We bathe them, slowly dry them, trim the nails, trim the fur from around their eyes, pads, and around the sanitary area. This is about all they can handle. The puppy will be introduced to having scissors around the face, having to hold still while the pads on their feet are trimmed. Depending on how the puppy reacts to the first grooming we may recommend doing this type of trimming one more time before the full haircut. The more comfortable the puppy becomes with being handled by the groomer and being on a table, and in the tub the better the puppy will become as they grow up.

 

What Can You Do to Help?

It becomes more difficult to groom a puppy that is 6 months old for the first time than a 12-week-old puppy. The 6-month-old has already established fears and aggression. For example, it would be like taking a 5-year-old child and putting them in kindergarten without any discipline and experience of a pre-school and making them sit still and raise their hand when called on by the teacher. At this point in a puppy’s life if the owner has not prepped the puppy with any type of grooming; brushing, combing, or nail trimming. It makes the groomers job nearly impossible to have the puppy trust them and enjoy grooming.

 

All About the Training

At home grooming is also extremely essential to having a puppy become used to grooming, and to enjoy their experience at the groomers. Different types of fur require different tools. Our groomers are very willing to answer questions and show you tools that are appropriate for your puppy. One of the biggest misconceptions about puppies and grooming is when they will change from puppy coat to adult coat. This time in a puppy’s life is essential to maintain so the coat does not mat. Usually puppies get their adult coat around six months of age. The puppy coat on some breeds will not shed and becomes tangled in the adult coat if not brushed on a regular basis. Please ask one of our groomers if your puppy has started this stage in life or when this may occur in order to make the transition more comfortable.

 

Thank you for reading, and if you are ready for us to help you and your new puppy contact us today!  You can reach us at (717) 484-9758 or by emailing us at grooming@thatpetplace.com.

Cookouts, Food and Pet Safety

Summer is finally here! And for a lot of us that means getting outdoors and enjoying cookouts with family, friends — and pets!

It’s a great time to sit back and relax, drink a beer or two and maybe set the family record for the number of hot dogs you can eat. But don’t rest too easy, there is some responsibility you shouldn’t ignore — especially if you have pets!

cook-on-bbqWhile we are enjoying our favorite summer foods, it’s worth keeping in mind that a lot of these tasty treats are not so good for our furry friends.  Even simple things that you might not think of, like onions and guacamole, can be dangerous.  These kinds of foods are typically left out on a table well within reach of any curious dog or cat, so let’s look at some of the more harmful culprits we should keep an eye on.

 

Foods Your Pet Should Avoid

Hot Dogs

While tasty, hot dogs are not the healthiest food for us humans, and they are even worse for pets. Hot dogs are packed with tons of salt and preservatives, both in levels that dogs are just not used to. Excessive amounts can lead to diarrhea and indigestion. It’s our recommendation to avoid them altogether, but if you must must must give in to temptation and treat your dog, please exercise moderation. Also, it’s helpful to cut them into bite-size pieces to avoid choking hazards.

Snack Foods

Chips are pretzels are also full of salt that can cause excessive thirst and urination.  And who wants a dog peeing everywhere!?  In all seriousness, snack foods are just as unhealthy for dogs as they can be for us and we should exercise caution.  If your dog gets too many snacks it can lead to sodium ion poisoning, the effects of which can include vomiting, diarrhea, fevers and even death.

Bones

The leftover remains from ribs, steaks or chicken wings can be dangerous in the mouth of your dog.  Bones can splinter easily  and if they are digested they can cause puncture wounds in your dogs mouth, stomach or digestive tract.  They can also lead to obstructions and other health hazards.  For your dog’s safety, make sure everyone knows where they can safely dispose of their food.

Fruits and Desserts

Fruits in general are high in sugar and can lead to blood glucose issues, but the main culprits to watch out for are grapes and raisins.  They have been shown to cause serious kidney issues and even death when consumed by dogs.  Desserts that include chocolate or Xylitol are no-nos for dogs, as they can prove fatal quickly.

Choking Hazards

Many cookout foods are also choking hazards.  Hot dogs, bones, and corn cobs can get lodged in your dog’s airway.  Keep an eye out for anything that is larger than bite size.

Alcohol

An ice cold beer or mixed drink might be the perfect refreshment on a hot summer day, but it is not going to have the same effect on your pet.  Even a small amount, just a few licks or laps, can be dangerous or even fatal.  In a festive environment, once drinks start pouring it’s not uncommon for a few glasses to get abandoned here and there, so make sure you clean up after your forgetful friends.

 

Foods Your Pet Should Enjoy

Okay, cookouts are all about fun and food.  If we enjoy these things, why shouldn’t our pets?  They can have fun too, as long as we are responsible and make it safe for them!

thThe good folks at the DogVacay blog have come up with some tasty, pet safe recipes that you can prepare for your pet and bring to your next cookout.  The recipes include a tasty Bacon Swiss Burger, a delectable Turkey Burger and Peanut Butter Treats!

As mentioned earlier, you can give in and treat your pet to normal cookout fare but it is important that you remember what is poisonous, what can be a choking hazard and what you should feed in moderation.  If your pet is just too far determined to get into the entire spread, it might be a good idea to take them indoors or to another part of the yard where they can stay out of harm’s way.

Have fun this summer, but be safe — even if your pet whines just a bit because they can enjoy the buffet, they will appreciate your mindful discretion in the long run!

 

Zoos & Aquariums: More than Meets the Eye

Red Panda

Red Panda loving his free reign of the tree branches at the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk.

June is National Zoo & Aquarium month! This month is not only intended to encourage more people to visit zoos & aquariums, but also to raise awareness about the role they play in our society. The work of Zoos & Aquariums happens 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year- the conservation, education and research happening at these facilities around the world never rests. The need for the work they do is becoming more & more important every day. The future of endangered species as well as educating individuals about conservation depends upon their continuing efforts and it just so happens that Zoos & Aquariums are one of the best ways to present this information to the curious public.

Prairie Dog out for a climb at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore

Prairie Dog out for a climb at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore

I am lucky to be a part of an amazing group of volunteers at a local zoo. As a zoo volunteer, I quickly learned zoos (& aquariums) are so much more than just a place that’s fun for guests to visit. Yes, they are marketed as family friendly, tourism destinations but they have so much more to offer guests & wildlife of the world!

Zoos & Aquariums are working hard to establish memorable visitor experiences AND excellent animal care procedures. For visitors, this includes incorporating interactive and even hands-on programs in order to help build an appreciation & a stronger connection between guests and the wildlife all while in a fun and informal setting. For the animals, this means introducing more naturalistic enclosures & implementing animal enrichment exercises so they can demonstrate behavior that is common for their particular species, not to mention top of the line veterinary care when needed.

Orangutan at the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk

Orangutan at the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk

In my role as an education volunteer at the zoo, we work hard to ‘interpret’ the animal collection to our guests of all ages and engage them in conversation about wildlife adaptations, environmental & conservation efforts that are being made with the particular species to better enhance their visitor experience allow them to walk away with an enjoyable learning experience.

“We believe in a better future for all living things. We envision a world where all people respect, value and conserve wildlife and wild places.” –The Association of Aquarium & Zoos

Dog Face Puffer at the Denver Zoo in Colorado

Dog Face Puffer at the Denver Zoo in Colorado

Association of Zoos & Aquariums assures that the highest standards of animal care are met for accredited facilities. More than 200 AZA accredited institutions meet the always evolving top-of-the-line standards & guidelines for animal care & management. These standards are set to facilitate and promote education, care & conservation of animals.

Looking for something to do this summer? Consider a trip to the zoo or aquarium! You’re sure to have a fun time & learn some new things along the way. After your visit, challenge yourself or your children to come up with some ways you help the wildlife in & around your neighborhood.

Thanks for reading! Enjoy the Summer,
Sam W.

Sources:
https://www.aza.org/
https://ngcproject.org/blog/june-national-zoos-and-aquariums-month
Zoos Are Not Prisons. They Improve the Lives of Animals.

Pennsylvania’s Animal Cruelty Laws

That Fish Place – That Pet Place is committed to the proper, safe ownership of all animals and we wanted to help our blog readers get a better understanding of what animal cruelty laws are, so we can prevent these abusive acts.

There are many acts that are legally considered cruel that you might not have previously considered. We wanted to highlight a few of these little known abuses and will post the full list of cruelty laws below.

(b) Regulating certain actions concerning fowl or rabbits.–A person commits a summary offense if he sells, offers for sale, barters, or gives away baby chickens, ducklings, or other fowl, under one month of age, or rabbits under two months of age, as pets, toys, premiums or novelties or if he colors, dyes, stains or otherwise changes the natural color of baby chickens, ducklings or other fowl, or rabbits or if he brings or transports the same into this Commonwealth. This section shall not be construed to prohibit the sale or display of such baby chickens, ducklings, or other fowl, or such rabbits, in proper facilities by persons engaged in the business of selling them for purposes of commercial breeding and raising.

Coloring chickens or rabbits might seem like a fun harmless activity, especially during the holidays, but they are considered illegal and should be avoided.

(d) Selling or using disabled horse.–A person commits a summary offense if he offers for sale or sells any horse, which by reason of debility, disease or lameness, or for other cause, could not be worked or used without violating the laws against cruelty to animals, or leads, rides, drives or transports any such horse for any purpose, except that of conveying the horse to the nearest available appropriate facility for its humane keeping or destruction or for medical or surgical treatment.

(f) Hours of labor of animals.–A person commits a summary offense if he leads, drives, rides or works or causes or permits any other person to lead, drive, ride or work any horse, mare, mule, ox, or any other animal, whether belonging to himself or in his possession or control, for more than 15 hours in any 24 hour period, or more than 90 hours in any one week.

Perhaps an overlooked section of the law is the use of animals for labor. Anyone who overworks and animal or uses an animal that is injured can face heavy fines.

(1) A person commits a misdemeanor of the third degree if he is the owner or co-owner of a dog that kills, maims or disfigures a guide dog of an individual who is blind, a hearing dog of an individual who is deaf or audibly impaired or a service dog of an individual who is physically limited without provocation by the guide, hearing or service dog or the individual.

If a person, or their dog, causes harm or death to a guide dog, they can face heavy fines, up to and including health care costs for the guide dog or even replacement and training costs for a new guide dog.

Here in Pennsylvania, the SPCA strives to eliminate abuse towards animals. Their team investigates complaints that includes physical abuse, hoarding, animal fighting, neglect, neglect and failure to provide food, water, shelter and vet care.spca-300x82

They find educating the public can be effective at reducing complaints related to animal abuse. For public knowledge and the benefit of animals everywhere, they have posted Pennsylvania’s Animal Cruelty Laws.

But there are more serious cases that require intervention and their Humane Society Police Officers, led by Director of Human Law Enforcement George Bengal, are willing and able to enforce search warrants when deemed necessary.

If you observe abuse towards an animal, you can report it to the Pennsylvania SPCA by calling 866-601-SPCA and they will handle it quickly and effectively.

Proper Interaction Between Kids and Dogs

Petbehavior.org‘s Topic of the Month for May is Training Your Child To Be Pet “Wise.”  Their message is that you should start teaching your children how to interact with your pets as soon as they can become mobile.  Our youngsters have no idea that their tugs, pulls, pinches and smacks are painful and can hurt our dogs.

If this is left unchecked, our dogs can suffer from high levels of stress and may even react by biting.  They advocate proper correction from the start is the best way to curtail these actions and even recommend separating your pet from your kids until proper behavior can be demonstrated.

 

doggieAdding a Dog to the Home

A few years ago we bought our first house.  Since we already had kids, we thought getting a dog was a great way to round out our new home.  We already had two cats…but cats are cats and they never exactly warmed up to any of our kids.  But the kids sure did try and had scratches to prove it.

We naturally thought a dog would be different.  And he has been.  Since we picked out our dog, he has been a fun part of the household and he gets along with everyone.  Well, except the cats.

But getting back to PetBehavior’s topic, I think we were able to quickly get through to each of our kids that hitting the dog was bad.  Our two boys only batted at him a few times before our correcting got through to them.  And I can’t even really recall our youngest girl ever taking liberty with him.

The one problem that we run into on occasion is that our two boys have trouble understanding the difference between playing with each other and playing with the dog.

One of their favorite play activities with the dog is to take one of his chew toys and play keep away.  It’s one thing if it’s just them playing keep away with each other, but our dog isn’t as appreciative when it’s one of his toys.  They tuck the toys under their arms or close to their bellies and the only thing our dog can do to play is try to wrestle it from them.  This obviously leads to bites and scratches and every now and then it’s a little too hard and they end up crying.

So we try to impress upon them that that is not how dog’s play and he doesn’t quite understand that he is hurting them.  It’s working slowly, but I think we’ll get there soon.

The one interaction that we always found cute was one of our youngsters running over and giving our dog a big hug.  We thought it was something they would enjoy — and something the dog would appreciate.  Turns out we might have been wrong the whole time.

 

No Hugging?

An interesting theory gaining steam on the internet argues that you should prevent your kids from hugging your dog.  Sounds crazy, right?

Maybe not.

The basis of the theory is that dogs are cursorial animals, meaning that they naturally predisposed to run from danger when needed.  And whenever we hug our dogs we are depriving or preventing them from that ability.  In some cases it can stress your dog to the point that they might bite.

Dr. Stanley Coren writes on PsychologyToday.com, that he found several sources that suggested reducing the chances your child suffers from a dog bite start with preventing them from hugging dogs.  They also found that the proximity of your child’s face to the dogs mouth during a hug greatly increased the chances of being bitten.

Hug scoring 2 Humane Society of Greater RochesterIntrigued, Dr. Coren decided to test the theory.  He collected a random sample of 250 pictures posted to the internet that show a child hugging a dog.  He then looked at the dogs for signs of stress.  He lists signs of stress that can include baring teeth, lowered ears slicked back against the head, submissive eye closure or partial eye closure, avoiding eye contact and lip licking.

Coren found in the pictures he reviewed, 81.6% of dogs showed at least one sign of discomfort, stress or anxiety.  He found that only 7.6 % showed comfort in being hugged and the remaining 10.8% were neutral or ambiguous.  That’s pretty striking.

One thing that Cohen found troubling about his study was that he feels the pictures people post to the internet are the ones they feel show the dogs and their children at their happiest.  If such a high percentage of these photos show dogs under stress, he fears that the owners are not recognizing these signs and, if left unchecked, it could lead to stress and bites.

After reading both articles, I think the thing we can take away is to do a better job of observing our dogs and watching for these signs of stress.  As we try to teach our kids to better interact with our dog, hopefully we can catch any of these signs and prevent something bad from happening.

Puppy Bowl XII: Everything You Need to Know About Sunday’s Big Game

Screen Shot 2016-01-07 at 12_04_04 PMThis weekend, the eyes of the sporting world will be on one event. Ratings records are sure to be broken when Animal Planet broadcasts its marquee pet event, Puppy Bowl XII.

On Sunday at 3 PM ET/CT, canines from the best shelters and rescue organizations in the country will bring their talents to the gridiron for the most anticipated match-up of the day.  For the 12th version of the big game, 49 puppies from across the United States have been selected to compete for #TeamRuff and #TeamFluff with the hopes of bringing home the coveted MVP (Most Valuable Puppy) Award!

 

Ready!

The Puppy Bowl is a zany exhibition of tackles, tumbles, fumbles and fun.  Dogs will get the chance to toss and tug their favorite toys up and down the field, trying to cross the goal line for a touchdown!  Children and pet lovers of all ages will enjoy watching their favorite breeds stiff-paw their way into our hearts.

Animal Planet showcases the dogs to help promote the importance of animal adoptions in local communities.  This year, dogs have been selected from the Nevada SPCA, Arizona Humane Society, Mr. Bones & Company (New York), Green Dogs Unleashed (Virginia), Little Dog Rescue (Florida), Paws Chicago, Citizens for Animal Protection (Texas) and Williamson County Animal Center (Tennessee), among others.

The tail (hah!) gate festivities will get underway at 2:30 PM ET with the Puppy Bowl Pre-Game Show.  Sports analysts and pundits will go over last minute details and strategy for what you can expect to see in the big game.

 

Set!

Once the game starts, the real fun begins.  While watching, keep an eye out for “Ruferree” Dan Schachner and his special assistant Stanley the Skunk.  They will police any puppy penalties and throw flags for any illegal “drops.”  The game is also interactive — you can create your own Puppy Bowl Fantasy Team!

The Puppy Bowl isn’t just about dogs!  The Kitty Half-Time Show attraction allows our friendly felines to get in on the fun!  The San Francisco themed show will feature pretty kitties romping over famous city replicas that include the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf and “Al-Cat-Raz” island!

The fun also extends to the sidelines.  Chicken Cheerleaders will root on their squads and Meep the Bird will provide aerial analysis from his perch high above the field.  Special Correspondent Jill Rappaport will introduce Pup Close and Personal segments to highlight the individual stories of the animals.

 

Hut!

While everyone is sure to enjoy watching their favorite pets have a ball, let’s not forget — there is still a competition!  Members of #TeamRuff and # TeamFluff will try their best to punt, pass and kick their way to the MVP Award.  Last year’s winner was a lab mix named Henry.  Who will take it home this year?  There are a lot of great dogs in this year’s big game.  Any one of them could take home the top prize.

Official That Pet Blog Prediction:  After careful consideration, we are going with rookie standout Carolina — a 17 week old American Staffordshire Terrier — to emulate her namesake Panthers and take home the Most Valuable Puppy Award!  She has been through a lot, but we know she has the drive and determination to come out on top!

Puppy Bowl XII will air on Sunday February 7, from 3-5 PM ET/PT on Animal Planet.  Get your family, friends, snacks and pets ready!  If any of the animals from this year’s event catch your eye, or if you want to know more about pet adoptions, check out Animal Planet’s website!

5 Pet Themed Movies to Help You Beat the Winter Blues

Now that the holidays are in the rear view mirror, many of us are begrudgingly entering the cold doldrums of winter.  The idea of being stuck indoors for the next several months may leave us suffering from the “winter time blues.”  But there are ways you can have fun, spend some quality time with your family and beat those winter blues.  Here at That Pet Blog, we have selected a few pet themed movies that should hold you over til the thaw!

 

Air BudMV5BMTg0NzYzNDE4M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTg4NzQzMQ@@._V1_SY317_CR0,0,214,317_AL_

“Does he dribble? No but he might drool a little!”

 

With the NBA season kicking into high gear, a basketball movie is perfect for the winter.  But this isn’t your normal basketball movie!

It features a young boy named Josh and his pet dog — a Golden Retriever named Buddy — who just happens to be great at shooting hoops!

If your kids love this movie there is good news — it spawned a franchise — where Buddy has fun playing many other sports!

 

 

BabeMV5BMTIwNzY2OTIzN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjcxODAzMQ@@._V1_SY317_CR7,0,214,317_AL_

A pig that thinks it’s a dog!

 

Babe is a fun film featuring a barnyard full of talking animals! The main character is a young pig named Babe, who draws the favor of the farmer, saving him from the butcher’s block.

While learning how to grow up on a farm and interact with all the animals, Babe takes on the unlikely roll of a sheep dog and even enters a local herding competition!

This movie was so well received that it was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture in 1995!

 

 

Dr. DoolittleMV5BMTQzMjc4NjIxOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDU0NzIyMQ@@._V1_SY317_CR5,0,214,317_AL_

For thousands of years, animals have been trying to tell us something!

 

Haven’t you ever wanted to know exactly what your pet was thinking?  In this movie, Eddie Murphy stars at the eponymous Dr. Dootlittle and he realizes the ability to do just that!

Kids and pet lovers of all ages will enjoy the fun — and hijinks — that come with hearing your favorite animals speak.

This film features a star-studded cast that includes Ellen Degeneres, Jenna Elfman, Albert Brooks and Chris Rock lending their voices to various wacky animals!

 

 

101 Dalmatians

MV5BMTg5NTE3MzIzM15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwODQwNDQ5._V1_SX214_AL_

Puppies everywhere!

 

Walt Disney’s animated classic is a fantastic family film that you can watch one, twice or 101 times!

The cartoon movie follows the adventures the Radcliffe family experiences when their litter of dalmatian puppies starts to grow exponentially!  But with such a bounty of beautiful babes, it’s not long before infamous Disney villan Cruella de Ville enters the picture and tries to pry the puppies away!

If you like this classic version of the dalmatian tale, check out the 1996 live action version starring Glenn Close, it’s also great.

 

 

 

Homeward BoundMV5BMjAyNTE4NDU2Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTgyNjQyMQ@@._V1_SY317_CR4,0,214,317_AL_

The Incredible Journey

 

In this 1993 Disney remake of the 1963 original, three pets — an American Bulldog named Chance, a Golden Retriever named Shadow and a Himalayan cat named Sassy try to find their way to their owners.

Follow the three as they journey across amazing landscapes and the beautiful wilderness to see if they make it home safe and sound!  (Okay it’s a Disney movie, so they might just make it, but humor us!)

Talking pet movies always feature famous stars playing the voices and this film has ’em too:  Michael J. Fox, Don Ameche and Sally Field play Chance, Shadow and Sassy respectively.

 

 

Those are our choices!  Did any of these make your list?  Do you have others in mind we should check out?  Let us know in the comments section below!  Enjoy and stay warm!

 

 

The National Dog Show – A History of Canine Excellence

NDSThis November, dog lovers from across the country are excited for the annual National Dog Show. Dogs, and their owners, will travel to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with hopes of winning their individual breeds, groups and the prized Best in Show award.

This year’s event spans the weekend of November 14th and 15th and will be held at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center. The National Dog Show itself is held on Saturday, and includes all competitions and the awarding of the Best in Show prize. On Sunday, all dogs are available for exhibition, along with fun competitions and activities. It is referred to as a “bench show” because all dogs, when not in competition, are displayed on assigned benches so visitors can meet and interact with the various breeds.

History

One of the top canine events in the world, The National Dog show is sanctioned by the prestigious American Kennel Club and hosted by AKC founding member The Kennel Club of Philadelphia. The Show has roots that date back as far as the late 1800s, when the forerunner of the KCP first started staging canine related events. Reorganized and renamed, the Kennel Club of Philadelphia ran their first dog show in 1912. It has been held annually ever since (with a short break during the Great Depression) and has arguably never been more popular.

The event itself is not just an opportunity to see many beautiful dog breeds in top form, it is also a fundraiser that helps many canine-related causes. Past beneficiaries include the University of Pennsylvania’s Veterinary School of Medicine.

Judging

Winning Best in Show is not easy. In order to be considered for the competition, each entrant must be considered an American Kennel Club champion. To earn this status, a dog must accumulate 15 points by defeating other dogs at an AKC sanctioned show. The most decorated dogs in the United States can get up to 50,000 points in a single year!

The Show’s competition begins with champion dogs from the more than 175 AKC registered breeds. Judges compare each dog to their mental image of the perfect dog as described by their breed’s official top standard. Best in Breed winners are then assigned to their related groups.

The Group stage is divided into seven categories: Terrier, Toy, Working, Sporting, Hound, Non-Sporting, Herding. Each group represents the characteristics and function for which their breed was initially bred.

bloodhound_02

Last year’s winner was from the Bloodhound breed.

The elite seven that are deemed Best in Group then move forward to the final stage. Judged to be the cream of the crop, the ultimate winner receives the coveted red, white & blue ribbon and is crowned Best in Show.


Reigning Champion

Over the last 14 years, various terrier breeds have had the most success in winning the top prize. Last year’s winner was a playful bloodhound named Nathan. He has become one of the top ranked canines in the country and is a testament to the honor that comes with winning the National Dog Show’s Best in Show award.

The 2015 National Dog Show will be held on Saturday November 14th and 15th. The competition will be aired on Thanksgiving Day at noon on NBC.

Pet Microchipping – 5 Reasons You Should Have Done it Already

355973_2711There’s nothing worse than losing a loved one. Let alone a loved one who doesn’t have a cell phone or really any clue on how to find their way back to the family they love. Unfortunately, that’s the reality you’re facing ever time your 4-legged friend hits the ground running outside. If you were to step back and ask the question – what can I do to offer the best chance that my pet finds his way back home in an emergency – and sure, not spend a ton of money in the process – your answer would be microchipping. So – without further delay – let’s look at 5 Reasons why you should have already microchipped your four-legged friend.

1. It’s a Lifetime Safety Net For Your Pet’s Security

You can’t really say that about anything else! Microchips are permanently embedded in your pet’s skin and made to last 25 years. That’s longer than any collar or tag, and it’s not about to fall off when your little escape artist crawls under that chain-link fence. The American Humane Association estimates over 10 million dogs and cats are lost or stolen every year – make sure you and your loved ones are prepared.

2. It Doesn’t Hurt Much

Your pet is used to vaccinations – and microchipping feels similar. Your veterinarian will simply use a needle to insert a small, grain-sized chip between your pet’s shoulder blades. A shot for a lifetime of security is a fair tradeoff.

3. Microchipping Works – We Have the Stats to Prove It

The American Veterinary Medical Association conducted a survey that said stray dogs at shelters WITHOUT a microchip were returned to their owners 21.9% of the time. That number increased to 52.2% when the dog was microchipped. To put that another way – it went from a 1 in 5 chance to greater than a 1 in 2. Similarly, cats without microchips were only returned 1.8% of the time, while cats WITH microchips were returned an amazing 38.5% of the time. Again, a 1 out of 50 chance changed to a 1 in 3. Microchipping has been so successful, that both England and Scotland have recently made it mandatory.
Dogs Returned Home With Microchip

4. It’s Inexpensive

Compared to the other costs associated with owning a dog a microchip is barely an expense at all. In fact, many animal rescues, clinics, pet stores and veterinarians offer low-cost microchipping services all of the time. Not to put a cost on a lifetime of security and peace of mind, but you’re really only looking at $10 to $40 dollars per animal. In addition, though you should check the chip from time-to-time, they do not require batteries and have a lifespan of 25 years. This means there’s little to no upkeep cost. Awesome!

5. There’s No Better Feeling Than The Love Of An Animal!

As if you needed any more encouragement – here are a few amazing videos of pets being returned to their owners because of microchipping. Warning – you may want to have tissues handy!

Sources & Resources

https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/FAQs/Pages/Microchipping-of-animals-FAQ.aspx

https://www.petfinder.com/dogs/lost-and-found-dogs/why-microchip/

Need to find a veterinarian near you to get your pet microchipped? – check out – https://www.aaha.org/pet_owner/about_aaha/hospital_search/default.aspx

 

Top 5 Easiest Classroom Pets

It’s hard to believe that summertime is practically over already and school will soon be back in session! For all of you teachers out there, a classroom pet can be a great way to add interest and variety to your lesson plans. Besides keeping the kids entertained and engaged, classroom pets can help to teach responsibility and appropriate pet care techniques. But before we get to the fun part, there are a few important details to examine.

 

Before You Buy

First and foremost, build yourself a budget! Find out if your school is willing to cover any of the expenses and if not, decide how much you are willing to spend yourself. Make sure you will be able to afford the upfront cost of setting up your classroom pet along with upkeep costs like food, bedding, and possible vet visits. You could also apply for an educational grant from Pets in the Classroom, a nonprofit organization that helps teachers with limited funding.

Next, find out if any of your students have pet related allergies or have a compromised immune system. Allergic reactions to specific animals, bedding, and even their food can be fairly common. By finding out this information before choosing a pet, you can save yourself the hassle of dealing with an unwanted situation later. If your school doesn’t already have guidelines setup for classroom pets, here is a sample school pet policy that may be a helpful resource.

 

Top 5 Pets

While many “best classroom pets” lists are based around your typical cute & fluffy animals, that may not always be the best way to go. Taking into consideration overall costs, time available for maintenance, and how your students will interact with their classroom pet should be the most important decision makers. The following pets have been chosen based on being low maintenance, easily handleable or strictly hands off, and their overall cost.

 

Praying Mantis

Estimated Setup Cost: $25    Estimated Monthly Cost: $10

If you’re looking for a great short-term pet with dreamstime_m_6826541lots of learning potential, praying mantises are the best way to go! The most common type of mantis kept in classrooms is the Chinese Mantis (Tenodera sinensis). These mantids have a life cycle that lasts about 8 to 12 months from egg to adult, which students can witness in its entirety if your timing is just right. You can usually purchase an ootheca (egg case) from many scientific or educational suppliers between Janurary and June. If you’re lucky enough to live where mantids are in abundance outside, you may even be able to find an unhatched ootheca attached to the branches of a tree or other outdoor plant. Place the egg case in a vented plastic container and keep it in the fridge, this will keep the eggs dormant until you are ready for them to hatch.

Mantids can be very low cost pets, depending on how you wish to keep them. Plastic deli cups and/ or plastic terrariums are usually the best housing options. Their food will consist of live flies or other feeder insects of various sizes. The only other supplies you need are a spray bottle for drinking water/ humidity, and maybe some feeding tongs too. Mantis care is very simple, just daily feeding and misting with weekly cleaning is really all you need. For more detailed care information, check out the extensive Chinese mantis care guide from mantidforum.net.

 

Madagascar Hissing Cockroach

Estimated Setup Cost: $25    Estimated Monthly Cost: $5

Now I know what most of you are probably thinking;
Eww, gross! Right? Well, if you can look past the ick factor, these guys can make amazing classroom pets. The Madagascar hissing cockroach (Gromphadorhina portentosa) is one of the largest species of cockroach and can live about 2 to 5 years. They are very hardy insects that can thrive with minimal care and withstand moderately rough handling without fear of injury. Keep in mind though, that your school may be less than enthusiastic about the idea of roaches breeding in your classroom (even though hissers breed quite slowly, and are not a pest species. Only about 1% of all roach species are). You can avoid this issue completely by purchasing only male hissers. Males are very easily identified by the distinct “horns” that grow on their protonum (the plate like structure on the thorax). Correctly identifying males can be difficult with younger insects, so choose at least half grown individuals if you’re picking them out yourself.

Hissing cockroaches are omnivores and will eat a variety of different foods. Fruits, vegetables, and pelleted foods (like turtle, dog, or cat food) are all good options. Housing for your hissers can be as simple as a 10 gallon aquarium with a secure lid. For an added security measure against any escapees, you can apply a 2 inch tall layer of petrolium jelly around the inside of the tank, just below the top. This keeps the roaches’ feet from sticking to the glass and stops any escape attempts.

Hissing cockroaches are extremely low maintenance. Feed and mist them every other to every 3 days, cleaning out old spoiled food when necessary. This along with a monthly thorough tank cleanup is more than enough to keep your hissers clean & happy. Read more on hissing cockroach care here.

 

Betta Fish

Estimated Setup Cost: $50    Estimated Monthly Cost: $3

As far as fish go, bettas are by far the easiest betta_male Veiltailto care for. Also known as Siamese Fighting Fish, bettas (Betta splendens) are tropical fish that are originally from Southeast Asia. They may not be the most exciting of classroom pet options, but they can be one of the most cost effective ones. If a betta’s habitat is maintained regularly with partial water changes, there is no need for filtration. On the other hand, setting up a tank with filtration and plants can be more rewarding and interesting for students to care for. Whichever way you decide on, you should ideally use a habitat that is at least 3 gallons or more. Besides the fact that your fish will have more space to swim in, more water means less fluctuation in water quality when performing routine maintenance. This will help prevent any stress related illnesses, and keep your fish healthy.

For their bare minimum requirements, you need an appropriately sized enclosure, gravel or sand for their substrate, a few plastic plants or other decorations, pellet or flake food, and a water conditioner to remove chlorine and other heavy metals in tap water. You can read our betta care guide for more in depth detail on betta care, and our aquarium setup beginners guide for setting up a tank with filtration.

 

Corn Snake

Estimated Setup Cost: $150    Estimated Monthly Cost: $10

Here’s another great classroom pet that is OkeeteeCornSnake5 (1)largely misunderstood. Contrary to some popular belief, corn snakes (Pantherophis guttatus) can be very docile and easily handled without biting once accustomed to regular human interaction. In most cases, snakes will only bite out of fear or if you smell like their food. That being said, choosing a baby corn snake may not be the best option unless you plan on fully taming it before allowing any direct interaction with your students. When young, they can be more jumpy and apt to defending themselves if they feel threatened. The bite from a baby corn snake is often barely noticible, but a frightening experience may cause some children to be overly wary or frightened of snakes indefinitely.

Ideally, snakes should only be handled at least 24 hours or more before or after being fed. This greatly reduces the liklihood of them regurgitating a meal and undergoing unnecessary stress. A snake may regurgitate a meal from time to time for various reasons. If this happens, just give them a week off from eating to allow their stomach to “settle down” and recover.On the other side of things, don’t allow a snake to be handled if you know they are overly hungry. Accidental bites are more likely when an animal is excited about eating and just grabs for the first thing they see.

Corn snakes may cost a little more than any of the previous animals listed, but once they have been set up are reletively inexpensive to care for. One approprietly size meal every week to two weeks (depending on the snake’s size and age) is more than enough to keep them happy. Most snakes can be conditioned to eat frozen-thawed already dead prey items, which for most people helps with the “ick factor” of feeding. With weekly or bi-weekly feedings, snakes tend to only go to the bathroom once every week or so as well. Spot cleaning their cage weekly and a thorough cleaning monthly is really all they need. Take a look at our corn snake care guide for more detailed housing and care tips.

 

Bearded Dragon

Estimated Setup Cost: $260    Estimated Monthly Cost: $15

Last but certainly not least is a very popular 152927_3609reptile pet. Bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps) are one of the most personable lizards you could have. From a young age they tend to be very active and inquisitive, never missing what’s going in and outside of their habitat. These lizards do well with gentle supervised handling when small, and become incresingly calm and “durable” as they grow. That being said, they are the most expensive to initially set up. Like most pet lizards, bearded dragons need both heat and ultraviolet lighting to keep them healthy. They require UV rays to produce vitamin D3 and properly use the calcium in their diet, the same way humans do. Their lighting and temperature needs change from day to night, so using a light timer is ideal in a classroom setting. With their lights programmed to turn on and off automatically, there’s no need to worry about them over a weekend or short holiday.

After the initial cost of setting up a habitat, supplies and food are not overly expensive. Bearded dragons are omnivores, eating both insects and veggies/fruit. When they are still young and growing, insects will be the main portion of their diet with a small amount of leafy greens, veggies, and fruit. As they grow older and reach their adult size, the majority of their diet should be dark leafy greens, veggies and fruit with supplemental insects here and there. Overfeeding with insects when their metabolism has slowed can cause unnecessary weight gain and eventually health problems.

Being a desert animal, bearded dragons don’t require much water. Either use a small water dish, or give them time in a container of water outside their tank on a regular basis. The second option works best if your dragon tends to make a mess of his water dish. Another advantage to not using much water is that their droppings are not overly messy. Spot cleaning the enclosure as needed can be made extremely easy with a litter scoop or sand scoop depending on the type of substrate you use. Their enclosure should be thoroughly cleaned monthly, and the substrate replaced when it becomes too dirty. For more specific care and habitat information, please read our bearded dragon care guide
 
Making a well informed decision when choosing your next classroom pet is the most important thing you can do. Hopefully this guide makes your choice a little easier and your next pet venture a successful one!

 

A Note on Salmonella

While salmonella is associated most often with reptiles, any animal can carry this harmful bacteria. Salmonella infections are easily avoided by following simple cleaning procedures. Make sure that hands are thoroughly washed after handling any pet or cleaning their enclosure. Additional information on salmonella risks and prevention can be found here.
Sources:
http://http://www.petsintheclassroom.org/
http://www.mspca.org/programs/humane-education/resources-for-educators/animals-in-education/school-policy-on-classroom.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/
http://mantidforum.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=31349
http://bugsincyberspace.com/Roach_Care_Sheet.html

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