Microchip technology helps find lost pets

A microchip can link pets to their ownersLost pets can cause distress to second-graders, businessmen and shelter owners alike. Aside from the emotional vacancy the pet leaves, missing animals cause a pet care burden to shelters which are already overpopulated with homeless cats and dogs. The good news is a new study has found that cats that are placed in animal shelters are 20 times more likely to be returned to their owners if they have been implanted with a microchip.

Linda Lord of Ohio State University visited 53 shelters in 23 states from August 2007 until March 2008, and found that less than 2 percent of admitted animals had a microchip on them.

However, 29 percent of cats with microchips were returned to their owners, compared to 2 percent without the chips. For dogs, 52 percent of those with chips were returned compared to 21 percent without the technology.

"Hopefully, this study will help the public become more aware of how important microchipping is," said Jill Lee, executive director of the Cat Welfare Association. "It’s a very simple thing to have done."

According to the U.S. Humane Society, the chips, which are the size of a grain of rice, contain a number that is revealed after the microchip is scanned. A shelter worker can then enter the number into a registry to obtain the pet owner’s information.

ASPCA honors prized pets and owners

The ASPCA this week will honor some amazing animals and their ownersGrammys, Nobel Prizes, road race trophies, gold stars – everyone gets an award nowadays. Few honorees, however have accomplished the outstanding feats that some pets and pet owners are able to boast.

This week, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) will hold the Humane Awards Luncheon in New York City to recognize the heroism and astonishing achievements performed by animal owners and their beloved pets.

"The ASPCA is proud to honor those who have demonstrated extraordinary compassion, bravery and commitment to furthering the human-animal bond," said ASPCA President and CEO Ed Sayres. "The Humane Awards celebrates the important role that animals play in our lives."

The ASPCA Dog of the Year award for 2009 will go to Archie, a black Labrador retriever that serves as an assistance dog for Sergeant Clay Rankin, who suffered spinal injuries while performing military service in Iraq. The Cat of the Year will be YouTube sensation, Nora, a former shelter pet who entertained the world this year with her dexterity on the piano.

The ASPCA also gives awards for Firefighter of the Year, Law Enforcement Officer of the Year, Lifetime Achievement, and the Tommy Monahan Kid of the Year – an award named after a 9-year-old who took pet care to the next level, losing his life to save his pet from a house fire in 2007.

Research assesses dogs’ carbon pawprints

What impact do pets have on the environment?Some environmentalists will chastise their friends who drive gas-guzzling SUVs, leave the faucet running or fail to reuse their recyclables. In a new book, two New Zealand authors are asking dog owners to assess the environmental impact of their pet’s carbon paw print.

Robert and Brenda Vale, authors of Time to Eat the Dog: The Real Guide to Sustainable Living, analyze how pet care for cats and dogs can impact the environment, Fox News reports. Specifically examining the carbon emissions pets create, the researchers found that dog food ingredients, and the land required to produce the food give a medium sized dog a carbon foot print of about .84 hectares per year.

In comparison, a Toyota Land Cruiser driven about 6,200 miles a year creates an eco-footprint of about 0.41 hectares.

However, animal lover and dog trainer Linda Findlay says the researchers do not factor in the emotional value of owning pets. "What the dogs give back to me is probably equal to what the environment gives me – but on a more emotional level," she told the Timaru Herald.

Findlay did however say that by mainly feeding her dogs biscuits, she did her part to minimize their impact on the environment.

According to the Center for Sustainable Economy, the sustainable footprint level for each person is about 15.71 hectares each year.

Pet food brand takes ‘holistic’ approach to pet health

A new brand of pet food is thinking about healthSome Americans wouldn’t think twice before grabbing a selection of organic, vitamin rich foods to enjoy with their family members each night. People who believe in the power of nutrition to promote healthier and longer lives may want to investigate a new brand of pet food that claims to take a holistic and natural approach to preserving pet health.

Representatives from the pet food company, Holistic Select, say that their recipes include "unique, functional ingredients found in nature," which positively impact the long term health of cats and dogs.

The foods feature a combination of enzymes, probiotics, live micro-organisms, botanicals and phytonutrients to promote the company’s health goals.

One customer, called Toby F. attested, "My puppy Kenya is doing so well on Holistic Select that I would never consider feeding her anything else…Her muscle tone is so dense and defined; she is the picture of health, and I attribute that to what I a feeding her."

Taking into consideration the pet’s tastes, some recipes include ingredients like duck meal and cranberries that company officials say prevent allergies and promote health skin and proper digestive function.

According to the National Institutes of Health loss of appetite, increased thirst, weight changes and sluggish behavior in pets are all reasons to contact a veterinarian.

Honda: First man, then machine, then dog

Dogs may soon be riding in styleTaking dogs for a walk can help promote exercise and camaraderie in both the pet owner and pet; but the new Dog Friendly 2010 Element may prompt drivers and canines, alike, to stash away the leash and take a spin through the neighborhood in the innovative Honda model.

Noting Honda’s mission to accommodate the active lifestyles of their customers, Honda’s vice president of product planning, Vicki Poponi, told the Los Angeles Times, "The New Dog Friendly Element takes that concept to a whole new level with specially designed features for dogs and thier owners."

The new vehicle includes a set of pet care amenities that will keep dogs comfortable and safe as they and their owners hit the open road. The accommodation package includes equipment like an extendable ramp for entry, a personal fan for the dog days of summer, and a spill-resistant water bowl, according to the source.

Aside from treating dogs in the car like kings on their thrones, the 2010 Honda Element improves the pet’s safety. By securing the dog in a soft nylon webbing in the vehicle’s cargo area, the Times says the pets are less likely to interfere with the driver or be injured in a frontal collision.

The Dog Friendly Element will be available to dog owners on November 16.

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