Vet: Spot the myths of pet ownership

Vet: Spot the myths of pet ownershipWarning: cats may not always land on their feet. While pet care generally seems cut and dry – walk them, feed them, clean them, love them – certain myths may create a situation in which pet owners unknowingly compromise the health or happiness of their furry friends. Recognizing fallacies in the conventional wisdom of pet ownership, one veterinarian aimed to set the record straight.

"While some myths are harmless, others can be dangerous if pet owners believe them and act on them," said Mark Nunez, a California veterinarian and president of the California Veterinary Medical Association.

He added, "That’s why it’s important to check with your veterinarian to find out if a commonly held belief is really true."

For instance, while many believe a cat’s purring to be evidence of its satisfaction, it could also denote that the pet is nervous, distressed, sick or injured, according to Nunez.

In addition, an owner who subscribes to the belief that bad breath in dogs is an inevitable pitfall to being an animal lover may be ignoring, unwittingly, serious health problems such as periodontal disease.

Should an illness rear its ugly head, veterinary insurance is an option for owners to protect pet health and the family’s economic wellbeing, according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association.
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Police find 49 pets in Oklahoma woman’s house

Police find 49 pets in Oklahoma woman's housePolice in Sand Springs, Oklahoma, continue to investigate a local woman who was found with almost 50 cats and dogs in her residence on Tuesday.

After obtaining a search warrant, police removed 41 cats and eight dogs from the home of Tammy Willemstein, who runs a small nonprofit pet rescue organization called Furry Companions, Tulsa World reports.

The woman may be cited by authorities for failing to obtain a pet owner’s license and for having more animals than is allowed by the law, police told the news source.

According to Willemstein, most of the animals she cared for she took in as strays; others were abandoned in front of her house.

The confiscated pets were taken to an animal shelter, where five with lung problems were euthanized, according to animal control officer Tommy Wagner.

Wagner told the news provider that Willemsten appeared to have good intensions in her decision to care for the animals, even spaying or neutering the vast majority, but became overwhelmed as more animals arrived at her home.

"She tried. She really did," he said. "It just got out of hand and she couldn’t handle it anymore."

According to the U.S. Humane Society, the average canine owner cares for 1.7 dogs, while the average cat owner has 2.3 of the pets.
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Pet experts weigh in on battle of the species

Pet experts weigh in on battle of the speciesAfter a fierce battle and a close race, it looks like dogs come out on top. This week, pet industry officials claimed to settle the score between dog and cat lovers by giving their expert opinions on how the animals compare in the battle of the species.

The final decision was made after the panel of expert, chosen by New Scientist magazine, ranked cats and dogs in 11 categories including friendliness, ease of training, popularity and eco-friendliness, the Herald Sun reports.

While the discussion broached the merits of owning both types of, in the end, dogs won six categories to cat’ five.

Kerri Newman, who owns a non-profit rescue shelter called Cat Corner, cited a cat’s independence as a major selling point for the species.

She told the news source, "Dogs are very eager to please, they are food-oriented and easy to train, but they are also high maintenance; you have to walk them and pick up after them when they go to the toilet."

Nonetheless, dissenters maintained that dogs have shared a longer history with humans and are easier pets with which to bond. In short, it’s hard to top man’s best friend.

According to the U.S. Humane Society, there are approximately 88.3 million owned cats and 74.8 million owned dogs in the country.
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Pilots give pets an ‘over-ground railroad’

Pilots give pets an 'over-ground railroad'It’s easy to read or hear that 3 to 4 million cats and dogs are euthanized each year, and lament a flawed animal control system. Taking a more active approach, a group of pet-loving pilots recognized how they can help shelter animals and established a unique organization that offers an "over-ground railroad" for pets.

Licensed pilots like Steve Hall have carried thousands of dogs and cats from the Southeast U.S. to the North in an attempt to promote pet adoption and spare a few lives, CBS News reports.

To date, more than 1,000 pilots have joined the pet rescue volunteer group, Pilots-N-Paws. The organization was established in response to a recent survey which found that 68 percent of animals in shelters in the country’s southeast region are euthanized.

Pilots-N-Paws volunteers noted that there are far more no-kill shelters in the North.

The program has also allowed a few of the pilots to bond with the dogs, cats, pigs and bunnies they ferry along the Atlantic seaboard. Hall became so attached to a pup named Brutus, the dog still lives with him today.
The U.S. Humane Society estimates that 6 to 8 million cats and dogs enter animal shelters each year.
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Resolve to ‘do more with your dog’ in 2010

Resolve to 'do more with your dog' in 2010Nearly halfway through December, many Americans have already hung their stockings, dragged in their Christmas trees, while others are preparing to light the first candle on the Menorah. As the holiday season pushes onward, the American Kennel Club (AKC) his urging animal owners to remember their pets as they make New Year’s resolutions.

"Eighty-one percent of dog owners buy gifts for their dogs," said AKC spokesperson Lisa Peterson. "But what you should really be giving them is consistent exercise, training and stimulation."

Owners resolving to get fit in the new year can easily turn to the family dog for both motivation and as a way to improve pet health.

According to the National Academy of Sciences, one out of every four dogs and cats in the U.S. is overweight. Taking a dog for a daily walk or run can get both parties in shape, and may even provide more exercise than a gym membership, according to a recent study.

Owners resolving to volunteer in community service events should note how animal therapy programs use dogs and cats to help the disabled, locate missing persons and cheer up the sick.

As the AKC advises, "Try to start the year off right by resolving to do more with your dog in 2010."
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