Dogged pet owners sneak animals into hotels

Traveling with pets isn't always the easiest taskA purse is no place for poodle, and a hermit crab is just about the only pet that would enjoy being stashed away in a suitcase. Nonetheless, 35 percent of pet owners admitted that they’ve bent the rules and snuck their pet into a hotel or motel, according to a recent survey commissioned by AAA and Best Western International.

While not every animal lover has the cunning or the courage to usher a meowing pocketbook past a concierge desk, more than 75 percent of pet-owning respondents to the travel and accommodation survey said that they would bring their pet with them on every vacation, if possible, Reuters reports. However, more than 50 percent said that they’ve had a difficult time finding pet-friendly accommodations.

In response to the survey results, AAA representatives have pointed pet owners to the AAA PetBook: Traveling with Your Pet. The reference guide provides advice on transporting pets, tips to maintain high levels of pet care on the road, and listings of pet friendly properties – including more than 1,900 Best Western properties worldwide.

"Not every pet is right for travel and not every trip is right for a pet, but when the right dog or cat and the right trip come together, you never forget it," Bill Wood, executive director of AAA Publishing told the news source.

Additionally, Pet Airways provides comfortable accommodations for dogs and cats traveling to Ft. Lauderdale, New York, Washington DC, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

Pet calendar raises money for animal shelter, seeks submissions

The Humane Society seeks submissions to fill its pet calendarPets that like to strut their stuff on the catwalk, French poodles and German Shepherds who dabble in the latest European fashions trends and hamsters with visions of becoming the next Miss July may have a creative outlet.

In preparation for their Almost Home 2010 calendar, the U.S. Humane Society is accepting photos of pets around the country. The winners will be chosen by a panel of judges and will be notified by late November, the Lafayette Journal and Courier reports.

The calendars, which will be available on December 13, cost $12.50 each and will raise money to help the Almost Home Humane Society in efforts to control the pet population, promote pet care and give shelter to homeless and neglected animals.

Contestants must submit a pet photo by this Friday, along with an entry form and $5.

"This is a fun thing that gives people a chance to interact with us, and it doesn’t cost much," said Michelle Warren, the Humane Society’s executive director.

The Almost Home Humane Society is an independent nonprofit agency that sates its mission is "the prevention of cruelty to animals, relief of suffering among animals and the extension of humane education."

Pets displaced by foreclosures burden animal shelter

The slumping economy hits pets and owners alikeThe rise in housing foreclosures has landed many household pets in overcrowded animal shelters across the country.

The Humane Society animal shelter in Redwook Valley, California, which currently houses 24 dogs and more than 100 cats, is in danger of closing if it does not begin to raise money, the Ukiah Daily Journal reports.

According to Sheryl Mitcham, the shelter director, the slumping economy has diminished the number of donations the shelter sees, while foreclosed houses and displaced pets are causing an increase in animals entering the shelter.

Specifically, Mitcham says the number of cats entering the Humane Society animal housing has increased by about 30 percent in the last year, while funding has dropped by about half. The shelter is now brainstorming new ideas to raise $120,000 to continue its standard of pet care.

Kennel manager Stacy Dennett told the news source, "Our adoptions are really, really way down. If we get highly adoptable dog, sometimes it’ll be gone in 24 hours. But we have highly adoptable dogs that have been here for months."

The shelter, which has a no-kill policy, has begun to ask for a $40 donation for people surrendering animals, to cover the cost of pet care.

The U.S. Humane Society estimates that 6 million to 8 million cats and dogs enter shelters each year, and about half are eventually euthanized.

WebMD expands expertise to four-legged clients

WebMD has some advice for our furry friendsThe popular medical reference guide WebMD today announced the unveiling of the WebMD Healthy Pets page on the company website.

The source of health information intends to use the new page to offer pet health and wellness advice to owners to improve and lengthen the lives of dogs and cats around the world, Reuters reports.

WebMD Healthy Pets will provide information, which will be reviewed by veterinarians, on pet diet, nutrition, behavior, training and preventive care. The advice will be disseminated through the website’s online newsletter, interactive slideshows, videos and expert blogs.

"[The website] provides pet owners with reliable health news and information on topics ranging from general wellness to disease – for all states of a pet’s life," said Nan-Kirsten Forte, executive vice president for WebMD.

Of the 60 million visitors to WebMD each month, more than 75 percent are pet owners who also care for their pet’s health, according to the news source. WebMD representatives hope the new service will help reduce unnecessary expenses and work toward better animal care.

The site will also focus on the benefits of pet ownership for humans, such as lower blood pressure and less anxiety.

The North American Pet Health Insurance Association says that veterinary pet insurance can be used to protect pet health and ensure the financial stability of the pet’s family.

Guinness names Otto World’s Oldest Dog

There's something about the dachshund that promotes long livesThis week, Guinness World Records confirmed that the oldest living dog is a 20-year-old dachshund and terrier cross, living in Shrewsbury, England.

Otto, the vigorous hound, gained the title after the reigning record holder Chanel – also a dachshund – passed away in August, three months after turning 21, the Associated Press reports.

Lynn and Peter Jones, who have owned Otto since he was 6 weeks old, say that the secret to longevity is simple: a good diet, plenty of love and a bedtime at 8 p.m. sharp.

"He’s still going strong," Peter Jones told the news source. "In the last couple of years he’s got a bit of arthritis, but apart from that he’s quite well."

Though he might not be up for a walk each day, Mrs. Jones notes, "he’s still sprightly." A spirited walk may be considered an accomplishment for a dog that is nearly 147 in human years.

Guinness reports that the oldest dog on record was an Australian cattle dog that lived for 29 years and 5 months. According to the U.S. Humane Society, 12.8 years is the average life span of the average American or European dog.

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