Pet-sitters prepare for non-traditional holidays

Pet-sitters prepare for non-traditional holidaysThe holiday season isn’t all stockings and treats for household pets. Winter vacations mean that many animals across the nation will be spending the season in kennels and foster homes, bringing in big business for pet sitters.

"We get really crazy. During Thanksgiving last year we had 219 dogs and something like 16 cats – and a bird," Indiana kennel manager Pam Hardebeck told the Lafayette Journal and Courier.

So far, Hardebeck has 161 dogs signed up to stay at her boarding facility over Thanksgiving weekend, though the manager attributes the decrease in numbers to procrastination, rather than economic woes.

An interesting alternative to kennels like Hardebeck’s, the Lafayette, Indiana business, Critter-sitters, run by Tracy Walder, provides in-home pet care for owners who wish to leave their animals in the comfort of their home.

With a business like Critter-sitters, the holidays take on a unique meaning for Walder and her family. The owner told the news source, "Most of our family members understand that from about the 20th of November to the 10th of January we’re unavailable."

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the companion pet population, which drives employment of animal caretakers in kennels, grooming shops and animal shelters is expected to increase until 2016.ADNFCR-2720-ID-19477548-ADNFCR

Holiday shoppers make list for family pets

Holiday shoppers make list for family petsSome proud pet owners are likely to know about – an online social network that connects owners, allowing them share advice, pictures and videos. However, even these affiliated animal lovers may not know about the websites newest feature, which lets browsers shop for their pets at more than 70 nationwide pet care retail partners.

According to the Human-Animal Bond Survey by The Hartz Mountain Corp, about 75 percent of pet owners consider their animal to be a member of the family. As the holiday season approaches, many will be looking for a treat for their dog or cat that they can put under the tree.

While these animals may end up having more fun with the wrapping paper, Petsintouch will likely give buyers some great gift ideas to help spread holiday cheer to the family’s four-legged members.

"The concept was to create a one stop destination that will provide members with a full shopping experience," said Vanessa Serrano, the website’s managing director.

She added, "The new petmall is basically the destination for thousands of products for all of’s eight pet categories."

According to Pet Age Magazine, the average animal owner spent about $38 per transaction in pet stores in 2006.

Pet store sweep aims to protect holiday shoppers

Pet store sweep aims to protect holiday shoppersJust in time to accommodate holiday-shopper traffic, the Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services (FACS) has announced it will conduct a thorough review of state pet stores until the end of the year to ensure that consumer protection regulations are being met.

Primarily, the FACS will be checking to ensure that retailers are meeting the requirements of a state statute which mandates that dogs and cats must be at least eight weeks old when put up for sale, First Coast News reports.

In addition, to ensure high quality pet health, all animals sold must be accompanied by a Florida certificate signed by a licensed veterinarian, which documents vaccinations, tests and treatments.

"It’s important to do business with a reputable pet store or dealer who knows and follows the law to avoid problems after a purchase of an animal," FACS commissioner Charles Bronson told the news source.

Under state ordinances, buyers have 14 days to return or exchange any pet if a veterinarian finds it has a health problem.

According to Bronson, the FACS has secured nearly $80,000 in restitution over the past four years for people who have been sold unhealthy pets.

The American Pet Products Association estimates that $45.5 billion will be spent on pets in the U.S. in 2009.

Young entrepreneur lets dogs taste the good life

Two scoops for the dogsFor whatever reason, dogs seem to want whatever their owners are eating significantly more than the food that is actually in their bowls. But as most pet owners and carpet cleaners know, canines cannot always stomach the foods they desire so much.

Observing this trend, a 16-year-old entrepreneur set out to work in an effort to placate neighborhood dogs who were screaming for ice cream, the New York Times reports.

As a young child spending hot summer afternoons with his grandmother’s dog Max, Christian Liendo remembers the pup whining for lick of the cool treat and relishing any drips that might fall his way.

When the teen enrolled at an entrepreneurial competition sponsored by Goldman Sachs and Prep for Prep, a nonprofit that prepares minority students for private schools, it didn’t take long before these memories began guiding him towards his first business venture.

Blizzard Dog, a frozen concoction of carob powder and soy milk, is the first ice cream made to accommodate a dog’s digestive system. Earning an honorable mention in the competition, Liendo won $250 and the confidence to go public with his invention.

"It’s going to be sold in ice cream stores," the inventor told the news source.

According to, though most pets cannot tolerate dairy products, cheeses and unpasteurized yogurts typically have the lactose content removed, making them safe for pet consumption.

California councils pass laws on claws

California councils pass laws on clawsOwning a scratched-up sofa may be a small price to pay compared to the $1,000 dollars in fines and six months in jail pet owners in California will face for having their cats declawed.

Once considered an essential step to pet care, the veterinary procedure of declawing cats has now been banned by city councils in San Francisco, West Hollywood, Santa Monica, Berkeley and Beverly Hills, MSNBC reports.

"It’s a form of animal cruelty," San Francisco supervisor Ross Mirkarimi told the news source. "It would be unconscionable to ignore that fact."

With a vote of 9-2, the San Francisco board of supervisors voted to enact the ban, which they noted had previously been instituted in the U.K. and Australia.

However, representatives from the California Veterinary Medical Association have argued that the decision to declaw cats should be left to the pet owners and their veterinarians. "Removing a cat’s claws in a humane manner with proper pain management may prevent that animal from being abandoned at a shelter, tossed out on the street or euthanized."

A study published in the September 2002 issue of Animal Times determined that 75 percent of cats turned in to a Delaware animal shelter for avoiding their litter boxes had been declawed.

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