Tips For Keeping Pets Healthy And Happy

By Copley News Service

January 18, 2008 7 min read

PETS 2008

Tips for keeping pets healthy and happy

Copley News Service

BARKING UP THE RIGHT TREE

According to an American Kennel Club study, an estimated 86 percent of all purebred dog owners and 91 percent of the club's members are homeowners.

But any dog owner knows that fitting their dog into their home and neighborhood can create a problem. If a dog is a member of your family, there are some things to be aware of if you're also looking for a home, or selling yours:

-- Check with your local city government for zoning ordinances governing pets and fencing to keep your pet safe. If you're buying a condo or dealing with a homeowner association, read your CC&Rs carefully.

-- Certain dog breeds are banned in some areas. Make sure your breed is a fit with local ordinances.

-- If you're selling your home, keep your dog in an enclosed area or room away from the hubbub of an open house. It will keep your dog from escaping and your potential buyers safe.

Visit www.akc.org for information about dogs and homeowners' insurance. (CNS)

A FEW EXTRAS CAN REALLY MAKE YOUR BIRD SING

If you have ever watched birds out of your window, you already know how entertaining they can be. Well, if you have a feathered pet or are thinking about buying one, here are some tips that will help your new friend live a happy and healthy life.

-- Cages with horizontal bars are best for climbing.

-- Many birds enjoy splashing in a shallow dish of water or under a dripping faucet. Some like to roll in wet lettuce leaves.

-- Birds love grass: Plant some in a margarine tub and let your pet nibble away.

-- Eucalyptus leaves are a healthy, natural treat for parakeets to nibble.

-- Hooked-billed birds love to shred paper. Give your bird a demolition project -- weave a few strips of paper between the cage bars.

-- Birds love to chew other things, too. Put a pastry brush or large feather in the cage.

-- They also like small toys that can be pushed, pulled, carried or thrown around the cage. Big buttons, jingle bells, spools, keys, nuts, plastic silverware and small toys such as doll-house furniture will bring many hours of enjoyment to your pet. Be sure that your pet bird cannot swallow the toy.

-- Birds love sound. Play a radio, tape recorder or musical instrument, and watch your bird's response. Some birds like to hear music boxes, dripping water or the wild birds outside.

-- Some birds like to stick their head into a cup or large bell and listen to their voice.

-- Birds love hanging toys. They can be fun to bang around, but be sure that the string isn't long enough for the bird to get tangled in. A set of measuring spoons make a nice noisy toy and doesn't require a long string. (CNS)

MUSHROOM POISONING

Does your dog eat everything he or she finds in the grass? Beware of mushrooms sprouting in your backyard. Mushroom poisoning occurs as a result of ingesting toxic mushrooms.

According to Dr. Bari Spielman, who wrote a column at PetPlace.com, mushroom toxicity is most commonly associated with curious puppies.

Here are eight signs to watch for if you think your puppy has eaten a toxic mushroom:

-- Vomiting

-- Diarrhea

-- Abdominal pain

-- Lethargy

-- Jaundice (yellow skin color)

-- Seizures

-- Coma

-- Excess salivation

The green-spored lepiota, or "fairy ring," are among the poisonous varieties of mushrooms.

When poisonous mushroom ingestion is suspected, blood tests should be done to evaluate the overall health of the dog.

Treatment varies and largely depends on the specific mushroom that has been ingested. One or more of the following may be recommended.

-- Induction of vomiting

-- Administration of activated charcoal (to absorb mushroom/toxin)

-- Fluid therapy to maintain hydration

-- Treatment for kidney or liver failure if it develops

-- Treatment for seizures when present

There is no adequate home care for poisonous mushroom ingestion. If you suspect that your dog has eaten a dangerous mushroom, contact your veterinarian immediately. Check your yard often and remove any mushrooms. (CNS)

TAKE CARE WHEN IT'S HOT

Summer heat is very dangerous to animals. That's why leaving a dog in a parked car on a warm day can be fatal.

But just as important as the outside temperature is the relative humidity.

The combination of heat and humidity can be life threatening if your dog is left alone in a vehicle in hot weather.

The rule for leaving your pet in a parked car is don't do it! On a warm day, the temperature in a parked car can reach 160 degrees in a matter of minutes, even with the windows partially down.

Your pet's temperature can rise dangerously high, and as a result it may suffer heat stroke or brain damage.

If your pet becomes overheated, you must lower its body temperature immediately by moving it into the shade and applying ice packs or cold towels to its head, neck and chest only.

Let your pet drink small amounts of water, and take it to a veterinarian right away. (CNS)

PET BIRDS NEED SPECIAL CARE

Birds are so beautiful and fun to watch! If you have an interest in having a feathered friend, the Peoria (Ill.) Humane Society's Education Department recommends you do your homework ahead of time.

The first step to becoming a good bird owner is to choose the right kind of pet for you and your family. There are nearly 9,000 different kinds of birds and each species has special needs to consider.

Birds need a quiet, dry place to live with plenty of the right kind of food, clean water, and a good place to perch or sleep.

For help in learning more about birds, you can read the "ASPCA Pet Care Guide for Kids -- Birds." The book will offer advice about how to prepare your bird's cage as well as how to play with your bird, what to feed it and how to keep your bird happy and healthy. (CNS)

Visit Copley News Service at www.copleynews.com.

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