Pets and Disney – How Animated Movies Effect the Pet Trade

DalmationLike most people of my generation, I was raised on Disney.  The characters, theme parks and merchandise were and are still part of my life. I’ve probably seen every one of their animated films at least twice. You could even go so far as to call us Disney nuts!  When I come to work each day, I am reminded of how Disney has and continues to influence generations of children, their parents and grandparents, especially with some of the more recent movies. Animals have always been the main or supporting characters in Disney animation. These endearing characters tend to sway families towards new pets. You can bet that if an animal was recently featured in a popular kid’s movie, those animals are sure to be in high demand in the pet trade. While they fuel interest in the animals and bring revenue to the industry, the films can be detrimental to the well being of the animals. It is important to remember that the fun and cuddly critters on the big screen may not necessarily be true representatives of the animals they represent. Read More »

Bengal Beginnings – Exotic Cat Breeds

SookieIn 1984 a new breed of cat became recognized into the International Cat Association, and since then it has become one of, if not the most popular cat breed in the United States today. I am of course talking about the sleek and stylish Bengal, which is in my opinion the Maserati of cat breeds. Originally crossed from the wild Asian Leopard cat, this cute, adventurous, and sometimes trouble making feline has worked its way into the hearts and homes of cat enthusiasts everywhere, including mine. Detracting from my usual blogs on small animals, I’d like to share with you a little bit about this cat and why I ended up with one.

The genetic make-up of the original Bengal went further than just an average house cat and a wild animal. They share traits with many other breeds including Egyptian Mau, Burmese, Abyssinian, and the American Shorthair. The producer of the Bengal breed was an American named Jean Sudgen, who crossed a black tom cat with a female Asian Leopard cat in the 1960s. From then on, further crossing experiments eventually gave way to the breed we know and love today. The Bengal combines the beautiful patterns of wild cats with the affectionate, adaptable personality of the domesticated cat, giving cat lovers a little taste of the wild with the convenience of being able to keep their pets just like any other house cat. Read More »

Every Dog Deserves its Day: National Dog Day

Service Dog - National Dog Day

National Dog Day

It’s National Dog Day—a day to remember and recognize all that these wonderful creatures do for us without question. Dogs save lives, keep us healthy, guide our blind and disabled, protect our neighborhoods, and bring joy to our families. Dogs do so much good for the world, yet so many of them end up neglected, abandoned, and abused.

National Dog Day is celebrated August 26th annually and serves to help galvanize the public to recognize the number of dogs that need to be rescued each year, and acknowledges family dogs and dogs that work selflessly each day to save lives, keep us safe, and bring comfort. Dogs put their lives on the line every day – for their law enforcement partner, for their blind companion, for a child who is disabled, for our freedom and safety by detecting bombs and drugs and pulling victims of tragedy from wreckage.” (www.nationaldogday.com)

Take a moment to say ‘Thank you’ to your dog today. Something as simple as an extra belly rub or a special treat will be appreciated. Think about donating to your local animal shelter, or host a special dog-gathering with friends. Maybe even think about adding to your fur family on National Dog Day. Whatever you do, remember to celebrate all the wonderful things that dogs do for us each and every day.

Doggie Diets, Part 2 – Homemade Meals and Vitamin Supplements

In Part 1, I explained how to choose a quality dog food from the plethora of brands and flavors on the market. The alternative to commercial diets is creating and preparing your pet’s food at home. This option has gained popularity in recent years with the contamination scares and movements to improve our own diet and health.

Homemade dog food

Looks yummy enough to be people food!

Feeding Raw or Homemade Diets

Before the invention of dog food, household pets were fed “people food”. These types of diets worked because they were as varied and nutritious as their owner’s diets, and foods were not filled with preservatives and other impossible to pronounce ingredients. We are now starting to see more disease, allergies, and illness in our pets, and it could have something to do with the quality of the food we are feeding our animals. I like to imagine how I feel when I’ve eaten badly for a few days – say nothing but pizza, chips, & soda. I feel run down and sluggish, my immune system is craving vitamins and nutrients that junk foods don’t provide. A diet like that can be compared to feeding a low quality pet food. Imagine going your whole life on nothing but junk food and preservatives. Thankfully, the pet food industry is following suit and has steadily been improving their offerings. Read More »

Rural Rejects – Unwanted Pets and How They Found Love

I grew up in the country, rural Northeastern Pennsylvania to be exact. Raised on a beautiful 30 acre farmette, my family always had animals from cats and dogs to poultry, llamas, sheep, horses, and lots of others. It was hobby farming, no production other than new babies in the spring and hayfields to harvest for winter feeding. Over the years our little farm became the home to many pets tossed out along the roadside and left to their fate by others far less compassionate towards them. While from origins unknown, more than one of these unfortunate animals found a place in our hearts and home. Read More »

Doggie Diet, Part 1 – Understanding Pet Food & Pet Food Labels

Happy DogCommercial Dog food was first developed in the mid 1800’s and the pet food industry has grown by leaps and bounds ever since. With all the varieties, brands, and marketing messages being tossed around, it is sometimes difficult to know if you are selecting the right food for your pet. Selecting a quality pet food is essential for the health of your dog, and a balanced diet and regular exercise are the foundations for a healthy, happy pet. A quality diet can help prevent disease, alleviate allergies, Read More »

Iams, Eukanuba Issue Expanded Voluntary Pet Food Recall

Iams and Eukanuba form Procter and Gamble Pet have now expanded the voluntary recall of various pet food formulas distributed in the United Stades due to a salmonella contamination risk. You can find a complete list of the foods involved in the recall here.  Salmonella can make your pet very sick and handling contaminated food can make you very sick as well. If you feed one of the formulas listed in the recall, DO NOT continue to feed to foods to your pet. If you suspect that the food you have may be involved in the recall, discard the remainder of the food and be sure to wash your hands with soap and hot water after handling. Dishes, bowls and surfaces that may have been in contact with these foods should also be cleaned thouroughly. Children, seniors and those with compromised immune systems should avoid handling the food at all.

Common Small Animal Myths – Debunking Bad Publicity – Part 2

Now onto some interesting things I’ve heard about some smaller pets.

Guinea Pig Gossip

I’ve actually heard people say that a guinea pig’s eyes will fall off out you pick him up by the tail.

This ridiculous myth has been around for decades. I have no idea where it came from, but I can debunk it with one simple fact….guinea pigs don’t have tails!

The idea that Guinea pigs can live with rabbits is a common bit of misinformation. Read More »

Volunteer Opportunities in Zoos, Aquariums, Museums and Nature Centers

Frank with SlothI consider myself extremely fortunate in having been able to spend a lifetime working in zoos with animals from all over the world.  However, zoo work is not for everyone – even those who are passionate about wildlife may become frustrated by the lack of opportunities (not to mention the exceedingly low salaries!).  There is, however, a very pleasant alternative for those who wish to be around exotic creatures on a regular basis– volunteering.  Many zoos, aquariums, nature centers and museums accept volunteers, and most provide extensive training.  Read More »

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