Dog Breed Spot light! Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu

Country of Origin: Tibet (China)

Height: 8–11 inches

Weight: Males 9–16 pounds, females less

Coat: Double coat with long, flowing, luxurious, dense outercoat and good undercoat

Colors: All colors permissible

Other Names: Chinese Lion Dog, Chrysanthemum Dog

Registries (With Group): AKC (Toy); UKC (Companion)

 

ORIGIN AND HISTORY

 

The Shih Tzu probably has ancient roots in Tibet as the smaller cousin of the Lhasa Apso, but the breed was developed and perfected in China. The elegant and docile little “lion dog” was highly prized by the Chinese court for centuries, living a life of luxury in the royal palace. The breed was further refined during the reign of the Dowager Empress Cixi (T’zu Hsi, 1861–1908). After her death, the palace kennel was dispersed, and the breed became scarce in subsequent years. After China became a republic in 1912, occasional specimens made their way into England and later to Norway and North America, where breeding programs were begun.

The Shih Tzu became virtually extinct in China after the Communist takeover of 1949. Luckily, a few individuals survived, and seven dogs and seven bitches became the foundation of all Shih Tzu now existing. Today, he is one of the most popular toy breeds in the world.

 

PERSONALITY PROFILE

 

This spunky little fellow is both a gentle lapdog and a playful companion. He’s surprisingly sturdy and is tolerant and affectionate with children. He can be stubborn one moment, then disarm the next with his charming clownishness.

 

CARE REQUIREMENTS

 

Exercise: Because of his small size, a short walk every day supplemented with some indoor playtime is sufficient to meet the Shih Tzu’s exercise needs.

Grooming: When his luxurious coat is kept long, in the traditional style, it should be brushed daily to prevent tangling and matting. The topknot must be maintained (tied up neatly with a rubber band) to hold the hair away from his eyes. Many owners and breeders keep their pets and older animals trimmed shorter for greater ease of coat care.

Life Span: The average life span of the Shih Tzu is 11 to 15 years.

Training: The Shih Tzu can be obstinate, but patience in training will eventually pay off. As with some toy breeds, housetraining can be a challenge.
Find a Nylabone chew, treat, or toy for your Shih Tzu or small dog!

Excerpt from World Atlas of Dog Breeds, 6th Edition. © 2009 TFH Publications, Inc. – See more at: http://www.nylabone.com/dog-101/dog-breeds/shih-tzu/#sthash.W6tq4WIJ.dpuf

FishBlog: Betta

Betta Fish Facts

Red dragon halfmoon betta

By

Small Pets Breeder

The betta fish is known for its incredible beauty and its warrior-like personality, but there certain facts about this fish that make it a fascinating pet. Delve a little deeper into this fish’s world and learn a few of its secrets.

List of Facts About Bettas

Fact One: Bettas Breathe Above and Below the Water

Unlike most fish that only breathe by collecting oxygen from the water through their gills, the betta can breathe below the water’s surface as well as from above it. Bettas have an organ called a labyrinth located just behind their heads that allows them to breathe air. They can rise to the water’s surface and take a gulp of air, and then swim back down as they please.

In the wild, bettas live in very slow-moving waters with less-than-ideal amounts of oxygen. The labyrinth evolved to help these fish collect enough oxygen to survive. Of course, bettas still need to live in the water even if they can breathe regular air.

Fact Two : Bettas Need Protein

Bettas will pick at almost anything you feed them, but they primarily need protein. You can keep a pet healthy on a main diet of betta pellets, but your fish will also appreciate the occasional meal of live or frozen brine shrimp and freeze-fried bloodworms. Feed your pet daily, but no more than three pellets at a time, and any other remaining food in tank must be removed after five minutes. Bettas are prone to constipation, so some hobbyists recommend that you let your betta fast one day a week.

Fact Three: Male Bettas Are Highly Territorial

When you visit an aquarium shop, you’ll notice that bettas are mainly displayed in small, individual containers. If you see one in a community tank, it’s most likely the only one of its species. That’s because bettas are highly territorial toward one another, and they will fight all the way to the death to defend their territory, if necessary. They don’t appear to be quite as territorial toward other species, but they will still nip their tank mates occasionally.

Fact Four: Females Offer More Bluster than Bite

Females are territorial, but not quite so fiercely territorial as males. For this reason, you can keep them in what is referred to by hobbyists as a sorority tank. It’s recommended that the group is no smaller than five females, and the tank must provide at least a minimum of one gallon of water per fish. It’s best to introduce the females all at the same time. They will have a number of spats over the first 24 to 48 hours until they determine their individual territory, and then they tend to settle down. Any fins damaged during these skirmishes typically heal in a few weeks. Make sure the tank has plenty of plants to provide the girls with places to have a quiet retreat.

Fact Five: Bettas Have an Unusual Courtship

Bettas are egg-layers as opposed to being live bearers, and it’s amazing to watch the courtship that goes on between a male and a female prior to fertilization. Love actually looks more like a battle, at least in the beginning, since males and females will fight with each other when forced to share the same territory.

When the male is allowed to see a female that sparks his fancy, he’ll build a nest at the water’s surface that is made out of mucus-coated air bubbles. When the female is introduced into his tank, he’ll flare up at her and chase her around a bit. She will also flare her gills and fins as she attempts to hold him off. He’ll show her his best side view to try to impress her as he shimmies and flares his fins. When the female is ready to accept him, she’ll hold quite still as he approaches and rolls her over. His body drapes over hers like a horseshoe so their vents are close together, and he’ll fertilize her eggs as she releases them.

Fact Six: Meet Mr. Mom

In one of those rare role reversals sometimes found in nature, it’s the male betta that acts as guardian of the nursery. He’ll drive the female away after breeding, so she must be removed to a separate tank. He then collects each egg and secures it in his nest. When the fry hatch, he’ll guard them and carry them back to the nest in his mouth when they fall out and can’t make their way back on their own. Once the fry are free swimming, it’s time to transfer the male to a separate tank, or he’ll begin eating his own offspring.

Fact Seven: Bettas Jump!

Whichever type of tank you decide to use, be sure it has a secure lid. Bettas can and sometimes do jump right out of the water, and there’s not always a happy ending when their owners find them. If your betta escapes his tank, put him back in as soon as you find him, give him time to rehydrate and see if he’s able to survive.

Fact Eight: Bettas Are as Varied as Snowflakes

Hobby breeders have selectively bred various mutations of betta splendens to create an incredible array of bettas in different colors, patterns and fin types. Some bettas have spots like a Dalmatian while others have a marble pattern on their body and fins. Some even have dragon scales that are overlaid with white, copper or even platinum. There are bettas with crowntails, half-moon tails and even double tails. There’s just no telling what kind of fascinating creature might turn up in the next batch of fry.

The Ultimate Fact: Life Is Just Too Short

If you take good care of your betta and make sure he has high-quality food, clean water and a little medication if he ever looks sick, he’ll live about two to three years on average. Under optimum conditions, he could live as long as five years. Sadly, that time goes all too quickly so appreciate your betta and enjoy him while you can.

Rescue Spotlight: PittyLove!

Pitty Love Rescue

Pitty Love is based out of Rochester, NY. Their primary focus is to find responsible homes for the dogs in our care and provide lifelong support to their new families.

“Since our dogs mostly come from shelters, with an unknown history, some come to us with behavioral challenges, some come with health issues, and then some come with no issues whatsoever. We take the time to nurse them back to health (whether mentally or physically) and ensure each dog will be a loving addition for the right home. Our screening process is rigorous because we want to ensure they will not end up in the same situation in which we saved them from.”

Pitty Love has a strong secondary focus on advocacy, education, and community outreach. We routinely work with the underserved portion of our community to help keep dogs in homes by providing necessary resources. That includes but is not limited to: low cost spay/neuter, vetting assistance, training assistance, help with food, and collaboration for affordable, non-discriminatory housing.

All dogs adopted out of Pitty Love Rescue are up to date on their vaccines, microchipped, and spayed/neutered, as well as dewormed, given flea and heartworm prevention, socialized, and receive a solid foundation in science-based force-free training. Our commitment to these dogs does not stop with their adoption. Pitty Love will be available as a resource to you for the duration of your new dog’s life. That is a promise.

We are proud and consider it an honor to advocate for the ones that have been forgotten, abandoned, discarded, and abused. We will continue to advocate for them through perseverance, education, and tireless dedication.

Remember, a companion animal can be a 10 – 15 year commitment (at least!). Do not cast them aside, be a responsible pet owner, protect your companions, love and care for them, provide humane training and enrichment, take them to the vet, and spay and/or neuter.

Find out more at http://www.pittyloverescue.org

Pittylove holds adoptions in store at PetSaver click here to find out when there in next!

Small Animal Blog: Five Popular Small Pets!

Five Popular Small Pets

Red betta

By

Small Pets Breeder

There are so many wonderful small pets that it can be difficult to choose just one, but since they don’t require a lot of space, perhaps you don’t have limit yourself to a single pet. Take a look at some of the most popular pets from different branches of the animal kingdom, and find out what makes them so popular, as well as any drawbacks you should be aware of before bringing one home.

Bettas

Bettas, also known as Siamese fighting fish, are fascinating fish long admired for their beautiful fins and coloring. These fish have been available as pets for decades, and you’ll find them in pet shops, aquarium stores, and even in the pet supply section of stores like Walmart and Meijer’s. They come in a rainbow of colors, and there are different types of fins, too, including veils, crown tails and double tails to mention a few.

Why They’re Popular

When two bettas see each other, they fan out their gorgeous fins and gills, and put on quite a display. They shimmy furiously as they try to intimidate each other into retreating, and this is really an amazing sight to see.

Aside from being popular for their beauty, bettas are also relatively easy to care for. Unlike fish that need filtered aquariums, bettas can survive quite nicely in large fish bowls. That’s because they are equipped with two ways of breathing – their gills and their labyrinth, an organ located just behind the top of their heads.

You still need to clean their bowls and change their water twice a week, but this is a relatively easy task, especially if you keep a second bowl ready to transfer the betta into so you can clean his previous home.

Potential Drawbacks

  1. You can only keep one betta to a bowl, so you’ll have to maintain multiple bowls if you want to keep more than one.
  2. Males are especially territorial and will fight and tear each other’s fins to shreds if they have to share the same space. One may even kill the other.
  3. Bettas are jumpers. Unless you cover their bowls with some type of lid, they can jump out and wind up dying before you find them.

Guinea Pigs

Peruvian Guinea pig

Many small rodents and similar animals are kept as pets, and Guinea pigs make some of the best pets of all. The adorable creatures originally come from South America, but they have been completely domesticated for the pet trade.

Why They’re Popular

Unlike hamsters, mice and rats, Guinea pigs have almost no tendency to bite you. You literally have to stick a finger in their mouths to get even a nibble. Their personality is almost equal to a dog’s in that they’ll readily come to you for affection once they get to know you. They will also whistle at you in excitement when you approach their habitat.

Guinea pigs are also popular because there are so many breeds to choose from. For example, Americans have a short, glossy coat that requires practically no care on your part. Peruvians have long coats that grow in a series of rosettes. Silkies also have long coats that grow straight or with a slight wave. Other breeds have wiry or curly coats, and some mutated specimens within a particular breed may have almost no fur at all. Beyond that, these beautiful animals come in many colors and coat patterns. There’s a look to please just about anyone.

Potential Drawbacks

  1. Unfortunately, Guinea pigs are susceptible to breathing problems, so you have to make sure their habitats are well ventilated without being drafty.
  2. Although they do tend to choose one spot for the majority of their eliminations, they will still soil around their entire living quarters.
  3. They can also be quite messy and kick their litter and stools into their food and water bowls, as well as outside their cage. You need to choose a cage that has a deep litter tray, and use a water bottle with a drinking tube rather than an open bowl.
  4. You’ll need to clean the cage thoroughly once a week to keep the litter fresh and dry or else it will develop a strong urine odor.
  5. Long haired Guinea pigs also require regular grooming to keep their coats in good condition. This includes daily brushing, a bi-weekly bath, and the occasional trim.

Leopard Geckos

Leopard gecko

Leopard geckos are named for their beautiful pattern of dark spots that overlay their golden-tan skin. According to the Gecko Club, there are also a number of amazing color morphs available. These reptiles remain fairly small as adults, and grow about 11 inches long on average.

Why They’re Popular

Unlike some other popular lizards, such as iguanas and chameleons, geckos require less living space. A ten-gallon aquarium is sufficient for single pet, although bigger is still better. In addition to their attractive exteriors, they are also fairly laid back and easy to handle if you accustom them to it from the time they are young.

Potential Drawbacks

Owning a gecko is fun, but it’s also a lot of work. Drawbacks include:

1. Geckos require some specific conditions in their habitat to keep them healthy. This means more work on your part, in addition to regularly cleaning their habitat.

  • You need to provide gradient heat so they have areas to warm themselves or cool off as needed.
  • They are nocturnal and bright lights stress them. You need to provide hiding places that will keep you from viewing them whenever you want.
  • Geckos need higher humidity when they are shedding, so you need to provide a moist hiding place, and you may even need to help remove some of the old skin if they don’t do it themselves.

2. Their tails will fall off if they’re injured. They’ll grow back, but they’re usually stubbier than their original tails.

3. Two males living together will usually wind up fighting when they reach sexual maturity. It can be difficult to sex these lizards until they’re around three to four months old, so if you decide you want two juveniles, you could wind up with two males and need to rehome one.

4. Geckos need live food like crickets, so you’ll need to make frequent trips to the pet supply store.

5. Perhaps the most important drawback of all, these lizards can carry salmonella. You need to wash your hands every time you handle them or touch things inside their habitat.

Red-eared Slider Turtles

Gorgeous red eared slider turtle

Red-eared sliders are semi-aquatic turtles. Their striking appearance and relatively mild temperament makes them a good choice for a pet.

Why They’re Popular

Red-eared sliders are prized for their beautiful striped skin and red ear color, as well as their playful personalities. They seem to be more interested in their human caregivers than many other turtle species, and since they are so active, they’re very entertaining to watch.

Potential Drawbacks

  1. It takes a lot of equipment to maintain a large, healthy habitat for these turtles. The initial cost of setting up is expensive, and you’ll need to purchase even bigger tanks as your pet grows.
  2. Sliders foul their water very quickly, so you have to break down the entire tank once a week, clean it, and replace all the water.
  3. Usually mild, sliders can become aggressive at feeding time, and they can bite you if they feel threatened.
  4. These turtles, like most reptiles and amphibians, tend to carry salmonella.

Netherlands Dwarf Rabbits

Netherland Dwarf kit

Rabbits have always been popular pets, but Netherland Dwarf rabbits are one of the most popular breeds of all. They typically only weigh about two pounds as adults.

Why They’re Popular

Obviously adorable to look at, Netherlands retain the look of baby rabbits even as adults, so their cute factor never fades. They also have fairly calm personalities that make them easier to keep than some other breeds. They are friendly, and they’re so intelligent that you can train them to use a litter box.

These rabbits are widely available at pet supply stores, and you can usually purchase them for around $20.00 in most cases. They come in many colors, so you can choose the color you like best.

Potential Drawbacks

  1. Netherland Dwarf rabbits are known for having dental problems, so you could wind up with more veterinary costs than you originally anticipated.
  2. They are also quite sensitive to temperature changes, so they’re not as hardy as many other rabbit breeds, and you definitely want to keep them indoors.
  3. Males may become a bit aggressive as they grow older, especially if they feel threatened.
  4. Like all rabbits, they poop a lot. This means a lot of cleanup work for you.

Found Your Favorite Yet?

Hopefully, one of the pets mentioned here has sparked your interest and inspired you to explore it further. If not, there’s no shortage of small pets to investigate. A quick look at your local pet supply store will give you even more ideas about what’s available. Just make sure you do your research before you make a purchase. That way you’ll know what to expect from your pet, and you’ll know how to care for it and keep it healthy.

FishBlog: Oscar

Oscar Fish Care

Oscar fish

Oscar fish, a type of cichlid, are properly known by their scientific name, Astronotus ocellatus. Although these fish are not particularly fussy about food, keeping their environment clean is essential when keeping them in captivity.

Caring for Oscars

Like all tropical fish, Oscars require clean, fresh water in their tanks, proper food and, especially for Oscars, a good quality filtration system. They also have some additional requirements because of their powerful size and strength.

Choosing the Aquarium

Oscar fish are among the largest freshwater fish, and it’s not uncommon for them to grow up to 12 inches long. Since they can get very big, you will need an aquarium that accommodates them comfortably.

Here are some helpful tips:

  • Plan to keep only one or two Oscar fish in a large 125-gallon aquarium. If this sounds excessive, keep in mind that these large fish need room to move.
  • Tighter quarters can also lead to overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, which in turn can lead to disease. Err on the side of caution and choose the largest tank size you can afford.
  • Be sure to place your aquarium on a sturdy stand or table and in a location where you can enjoy watching your fish.
  • Make sure the tank and table are completely level. An uneven tank puts extra pressure on the side panel seals, which can lead to leaks.

Add a Good Quality Filtration System

A high-quality, charcoal filtration system is absolutely essential for all home aquariums, but it’s especially important for Oscar fish because of how much waste they generate.

A filter’s function is to:

  • Remove solid waste such as food particles from the water.
  • Control chemicals and biological agents, as well as reduce ammonia
  • Oxygenate the water

Fish routinely create ammonia during respiration and excretion. Unless steps are taken to remove ammonia from the water, it can quickly build up and kill the fish.
So, make sure you:

  • Buy the best quality filtration system you can afford.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s recommended instructions for care, maintenance and cleaning.
  • Keep your filter running at all times.
  • Remove and replace about 10 percent of the tank water on a weekly basis.

Lights and Tank Hoods Are a Must

According to the site Oscar Fish Lover, Oscars can jump, and have been known to leap to their deaths from an unshielded aquarium.

So, be sure to:

  • Purchase a light fixture and hood attachment that fits snugly and securely over the top of the aquarium.
  • Make sure that the flaps on the tank hood have a latch on them, or use bricks to hold them down. An Oscar fish can actually open them if he bangs into the aquarium hood.

One trick to prevent Oscars from jumping is to keep the underside of your tank hood and lids scrupulously clean. In the wild, insects and plant debris landing in the water create a ripple that attracts the fish to the area. It’s like a dinner bell ringing for them. In captivity, moisture dripping from the underside of the tank hood or bits of fish food stuck to the hatch can fool an Oscar into thinking a meal has arrived. By keeping the hood clean and latched, you can keep your fish where you want them and where they need to be – in the tank!

Gravel, Plants and Accessories

Oscar in his tank

One of the most fascinating aspects of keeping Oscar fish is their habit of rooting among the accessories in their tanks. They can easily lift out plants and even move rocks across the aquarium floor. Like their namesake, Oscar Madison in The Odd Couple, they are the messy fish in the aquarium. Don’t be surprised if they dig trenches in the gravel, move your carefully positioned plants, and otherwise change their tank.

Since this behavior can get expensive, especially when they pull up live plants, consider adding artificial plants to the aquarium. Your Oscar fish won’t mind.

Heating

Remember that Oscar fish come from warmer, tropical climates. They need their tank water kept between 72 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit. You can do this by using an aquarium heater set to the proper temperature.

Avoid glass heaters because Oscars have been known to break them. There are shatterproof aquarium heaters that work well in Oscar aquariums.

Water pH

Your goal with any aquarium should be to maintain the tank in the same conditions as your fish would encounter in the wild. Oscar fish require a water pH of around 7.2, or alkaline. Use a cichlid buffer or a water conditioner especially for cichlid fish, and use an aquarium water pH test kit to measure water pH.

Feeding Oscar Fish

In the wild, Oscar fish eat:

  • Insects
  • Smaller fish
  • Worms
  • Plants
  • Berries and fruit that falls into their environment

When keeping Oscars as aquarium fish, choose a commercial fish food suitable for carnivorous fish like Oscars and other cichlids, and supplement their diet with mealworms and insects. They will eat other fish, so be careful about placing smaller fish such as guppies in the tank with them unless choosing feeder fish specifically to enhance your Oscar fish’s diet.

Enjoy Your Oscar Fish

Oscar fish are among the most long-lived aquarium fish when given the right habitat. Choose a roomy aquarium, provide a good filtration system, and feed them the proper diet. This will help ensure that you’ll be able to enjoy your fish for a long time to come.

Fishblog: Goldfish

How to Take Care of Goldfish

Goldfish

If you learn how to take care of goldfish, your pets will have a better chance of living a long and happy life. Get tips on feeding these fish as well as keeping their environment healthy.

Choose Healthy Goldfish

The first step in becoming a successful goldfish owner is choosing healthy fish from the pet shop. When you inspect the fish tanks at the pet shop, try to take in the entire picture. If the tanks are full of sick or dead fish, the environment is overcrowded or the water is cloudy, you may not want to buy your fish from this establishment. It’s never a good idea to choose a healthy-looking fish from a tank that contains sick fish because that fish will most likely come down with whicheverillness the tank mates have.

What you want to see are clean tanks with active goldfish and not to many of them in a single tank. As you zero in on particular individuals, look for smooth scales without blemishes and make sure the fish have undamaged fins. Healthy goldfish have clear eyes, and their fins shouldn’t appear clamped. Goldfish are very sociable, so it’s usually less stressful for them if they have a tank mate or two. Just make sure you don’t purchase more fish than your tank can safely suppot.

Create the Ideal Environment

Understanding how to take care of goldfish includes setting your fish up in the right environment. They will not only live longer. the tank will be easier to keep clean. The type and size of enclosure is important.

Tank vs. Bowl

Many new goldfish owners unwittingly choose a bowl for their first goldfish’s home, but this turns out to be a mistake more often than not. A bowl typically doesn’t provide enough room for one goldfish, and there’s not enough space for a filter and aeration system to keep the water from turning toxic. Goldfish produce a lot of waste, so it’s better to purchase the largest tank you have room for. The general rule of thumb is one goldfish for every six gallons of water.

Pebbles and Gravel

Adding pebbles or aquarium gravel on the bottom of the tank makes the environment look more attractive, and it’s essential if your tank has an underground filter. Gravel can also serve as a home for beneficial bacteria that can help break down waste material, so it’s a good idea to include a thin layer even if your tank is equipped with a bio wheel filter.

Accessories

In addition to a tank equipped with proper filtration and air flow, the following accessories can also help create a more hospitable environment for a goldfish.

  • A thermometer – This will help you keep track of your tank’s temperature. Goldfish prefer a water temperature that ranges between 65 and 68 F.
  • Tank lid with light – This keeps fish from jumping out, and the light makes it easier for you to view them.
  • A water test kit – This will help you keep your tank water at the proper pH and alert you to spikes in toxins.
  • Tank cleaning equipment – This includes a scrubber and a siphon tube to remove waste from the tank bottom
  • Water Conditioner – This removes chlorine and chloromines from the water when you perform routine water changes.
  • Rocks and plants – These provide your fish with resting places. Live plants will help absorb nitrogen in the water.

Tank Maintenance

Goldfish tanks need a partial water change about once a week, depending on how many fish live in the tank. Once you begin to neglect cleaning your water, your fish will begin to die.

  • Start by scrubbing the walls of the tank or bowl with the scrub brush to remove any algae.
  • Remove 15 to 20 percent of the water, and replace it with fresh water that has been treated with a water conditioner.
  • If you need to do a deep cleaning, use the siphoning tube to vacuum out the gravel/rocks.

Feeding

Feed your goldfish twice a day with high quality flakes or pellets formulated specifically for goldfish. Goldfish are notorious for over eating, and they will literally eat themselves to death if you over feed them. A good rule of thumb to follow is to only put in enough food for the fish to consume in five minutes. Remove any leftover food in that tank after that time.

Learning How to Take Care of Goldfish Takes Time

Few new goldfish owners are completely successful at caring for their pets in the beginning, and a few causualties usually go along with the learning curve. If you follow the tips offered here, you’ll be well on your way to providing a good home for your fish. Continue reading about these beautiful fish, especially the particulars of any type of goldfish that interests you, and put the knowledge and experience you gain to good use.

Pet Food Storage Tips to Keep Your Dog & Cat Safe

1. Keep Unused Pet Food in Sealed Container

PetSaver carries a Bunch of treat/food storage bins that are air tight and super durable. You always want to store dry pet food and treats in a cool, dry place (under 80º F). If possible, store dry pet food in its original bag inside a clean, dedicated plastic container with a lid, keeping the top of the bag folded closed. Always wash and dry your pet food storage containers before refilling them. Storing food in the original packaging has the added benefit of retaining the pet food’s barcode, expiration date, and batch code – all of which are important information to have, especially in the event of a pet food recall. Refrigerate promptly or discard any unused, leftover wet pet food.

 2. Wash Your Hands Before/After Handling Pet Food

“We all know that we’re supposed to wash our hands before handling and preparing food,”  says Bernadette Dunham, D.V.M., Ph.D., Director of FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, “but what you may not know is that the same is true for before and after handling pet food and feeding your pets.”  Washing your hands with warm soapy water for about 30 seconds helps keep pet foods from being contaminated with bacteria and other microorganisms, such as Salmonella. It is also important to wash your hands after handling pet food. In the unlikely event the food is contaminated, this simple step can prevent you from becoming ill and possibly spreading the disease to others.

3. Wash Pet Food Bowls, Too

You wouldn’t eat off the same plate or drink out of the same glass, day after day, without washing them between meals, right? Well, the same goes for your pet’s food and water bowls. The FDA recommends washing your pet’s food bowl every day and the water bowl every day or two.

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Buying

  • Purchase products in good condition, without signs of damage to the packaging such as dents or tears.

Preparation

  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds with hot water and soap before and after handling pet foods and treats.
  • Wash pet food bowls, dishes, and scooping utensils with soap and hot water after each use.
  • Do not use the pet’s feeding bowl as a scooping utensil—use a clean, dedicated scoop or spoon.
  • Dispose of old or spoiled pet food products in a safe manner, such as in a securely tied plastic bag in a covered trash receptacle.

Catblog: The origins of the Cat

The origins of our canine companions are often debated among academics and dog lovers alike. But although there is still much to know about how the first dogs came to be, the introduction of cats into the human world seems better established. Cats became part of our lives 7,000 to 8,000 years ago, after people had already begun to live in permanent communities. Apparently attracted to rodents who came to feed on stored grain, the ancestor of today’s cat, the African wildcat, became a frequent and welcome visitor. The cat, as we know her, played an important part in Egyptian culture and lore. It was also at this time that felines and humans began a curious relationship that has proven to be both good and bad for the cat.

The Cultured Cat

The Egyptians thought so highly of cats that the goddess Bastet was depicted as one. Strict limits were placed on taking cats outside of Egypt, and families actively mourned the deaths of beloved household felines. Their mummies have been found in huge numbers. Egypt was at the crossroads of great trading enterprises, and cats soon found their way both east and west. Short-haired cats arrived in Italy 2,100 years ago and moved across Europe quickly, finally reaching England some 1,900 years ago.

Almost everywhere they went, cats were welcomed for their ability to control rodent populations. In many places, they were also appreciated for their companionship. Their darkest hour probably came during the Middle Ages in Europe. Christian religious leaders linked cats with the practice of witchcraft, and sanctioned their wholesale slaughter. This is a particular irony, as cats likely played an important role in helping to protect Europe from even greater devastation during the Black Plague, by killing the rats that carried infected fleas from home to home. The Renaissance, which brought new light to many areas of human endeavor, benefited cats, too. They began to appear in paintings and literature as objects of affection. Later, settlement of the New World brought cats across the Atlantic, and they followed the colonists as they spread across the continent.

The Cat as Companion

It was the development of the middle class that profoundly changed the role of felines in our society and homes. Cats were no longer relegated to the role of rodent wrangler, and came more and more to fill that of companion. Their appeal is such that over the past ten years, they have supplanted dogs as the most common companion animal in the United States. Yet as a continued reflection of our mixed appreciation of cats, research shows that we are less likely to take cats to the veterinarian, provide proper identification or keep them indoors where they will be safe. A variety of sources suggest that there may be as many cats living homeless, as strays and ferals, as there are in homes. A good reason to consider adopting a pet, check out these great local rescue groups!

Unlike our friend the dog, the cat’s evolution took place largely without the assistance or presence of a human partner. They did not undergo the long-term genetic selection that produced specialized canine breeds for hunting, herding or guarding. As a result, domestic cats have retained many aspects of their original feline behaviors. This may further the mistaken impression that cats can do fine on their own and require limited attention from human caretakers.

Cats have avoided many of the problems that dogs have faced due to selection for exaggerated physical characteristics. There have been just a handful of unusual physical traits fixed as breed characteristics. The shortened muzzle of the Persian family, the ears of the Scottish Fold, and the tailless Manx are among the few examples. It may be important to stay vigilant in this area, however, since the ever-growing popularity of cats may stimulate an expanded desire for “new and different” breeds and varieties, such as the Munchkins and Twisty Cats of recent years.

Much like dogs, cats have adapted to our lives independent of a need we may have for them to work for us. Instead of mice, they now capture our imagination and affection. And while the world may forever remain divided into dedicated dog people and cat lovers, many of us revel in the fun and complexity of having both dogs and cats in our homes. If nothing else, we may want to heed the old Irish proverb that warns, “Beware of people who dislike cats.”

This article was written by Stephen L. Zawistowski, ASPCA Science Advisor.

DogBlog: New NERF Pet Toy is a Blast!

We are on a mission over at blog MyDogLikes. Well, perhaps it would be more accurate to say that Charlie is on a mission. His aim is to test out every single frisbee on the market. While it may seem like a lofty goal, he is determined (and a little obsessed). I have no doubt that he will make it happen!

“New Pet Toy That is a Blast From the Past” by Charlie

I was pretty pumped when I saw that NERF has made its way into our favorite pet store (Petsaver!) NERF made some of my favorite toys growing up. Children of the 90’s (and their parents) will no doubt remember this brand! After a bit of browsing, we decided to try out the NERF TPR flyer. What made this one standout? Well, it seemed extra durable and simply designed! Charlie will put any disc through its paces, exposing and exploiting any weaknesses that might exist. So, in short, the simpler the better! The disc itself has a uniquely cut pattern that not only lends itself to an interesting flight pattern, but makes it easy for Charlie to carry and for us to throw (even after it has been covered in doggie drool)…

Time for Fetch

We brought our new NERF flyer to Charlie’s favorite park to give him a chance to weigh in with his expert opinion. The first thing we noticed is that this disc flies fast and far! If you are looking for a disc to practice catch with your dog, this is not the right one for you. The NERF Flyer is best for long sprints and chases as it moves far too quickly and doesn’t have the hang-time of the lighter frisbee’s on the market.

Long Range

For a dog that loves to run, distance is a very important factor in a frisbee. In a pinch we have used some of my frisbee golf discs to really get Charlie moving. If you are not familiar with this sport, these specialty discs can really fly (we’re talking greater than the distance of a football field)! The problem with them however is……

(wait whats the verdict!?! want more? Read the whole review and check out the blog by clicking here)

CatBlog: BFF OMG TMI Jk

All About B.F.F (Best Feline Friend) Cat Food!

logo-bff

Super-Safe People Food Processing Standards
BFF is produced in a facility that also produces food for people. The factory operates at international human food processing standards, including that of the super-strict British Retail Consortium (BRC), and the pet food processing must pass BRC scrutiny.

The Ingredients – The main ingredient is a red meat or dark meat from tuna, primarily skipjack or bonito, two smaller and highly sustainable species. The cuts contain lean muscle meat and have a taste and aroma that drives kitties wild! Amongst the various flavors, we include value
added toppers such as boneless skinless chicken breast, duck, lamb, salmon, shrimp and pumpkin.

Wild Caught and Dolphin Safe – And speaking of kitties going wild for BFF, all of the fish used is wild caught, with the exception of tilapia. The catches of fish are also certified to have been safe for dolphins and turtles,
as certified by the ships’ captains.

Gravy and Aspic – BFF is available in cans and pouches, and all flavors deliver high moisture. The cans come in both gravy and aspic, and the pouches are all in gravy. The gravy is what you’d expect it to be…simply Cat-tastic for those kitties that love to lick! The aspic is similar to Jello in that it starts off as a powder that is mixed with water, but when cooked, it takes on a gel like substance. It is great for “protecting” the ingredients in that you are able to see and identify the ingredients that we use.

Complete AAFCO Nutrient Profile and Feeding Instructions – BFF Cat Food Recipes are all formulated to meet the nutritional guidelines established by the AAFCO Nutrient Profiles for Adult Maintenance. Remember to feed your friend according to their age, size and activity level, about 1.0 oz for each pound of bodyweight daily, twice a day if fed alone. And every cat should have access to clean, fresh drinking water.

Check out these amazing flavors cats adore! 
tuna-bonito
Available in 3oz, 5.5oz cans

Tuna & Bonito Be Mine Recipe (in Aspic)

Ingredients: Tuna, Water Sufficient For Processing Balance, Bonito, Sunflower Seed Oil, Locust Bean, Guar Gum, Carrageenan, Tricalcium Phosphate, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Nicotinic Acid (Vitamin B3), Ferrous Sulfate, Calcium, Vitamin A Supplement, Potassium Iodide, Manganese Sulfate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Copper Sulfate, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Folic Acid, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Source of Vitamin K), Vitamin B12 Supplement.

tuna-too-cool
Available in 3oz, 5.5oz cans

Tuna Too Cool Recipe (in Aspic)

Ingredients: Tuna, Water Sufficient For Processing Balance, Sunflower Seed Oil, Locust Bean, Guar Gum, Carrageenan, Tricalcium Phosphate, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Nicotinic Acid (Vitamin B3), Ferrous Sulfate, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Potassium Iodide, Manganese Sulfate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Copper Sulfate, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Folic Acid, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Source of Vitamin K), Vitamin B12 Supplement.

tuna-shrimp
Available in 3oz, 5.5oz cans

Tuna & Shrimp Sweethearts Recipe (in Gravy)

Ingredients: Tuna, Water Sufficient For Processing Balance, Shrimp, Potato Starch,Sunflower Seed Oil, Tricalcium Phosphate, Xanthan Gum, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Nicotinic Acid (Vitamin B3), Ferrous Sulfate, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Potassium Iodide, Manganese Sulfate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Copper Sulfate, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Folic Acid, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Source of Vitamin K), Vitamin B12 Supplement.

tuna-pumpkin
Available in 3oz, 5.5oz, 10oz cans

Tuna & Pumpkin Valentine Recipe (in Gravy)

Ingredients: Tuna, Water Sufficient For Processing Balance,Pumkin, Potato Starch, Sunflower Seed Oil, Tricalcium Phosphate, Xanthan Gum, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Nicotinic Acid (Vitamin B3), Ferrous Sulfate, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Potassium Iodide, Manganese Sulfate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Copper Sulfate, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Folic Acid, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Source of Vitamin K), Vitamin B12 Supplement.

tuna-salmon
Available in 3oz, 5.5oz, 10oz cans

Tuna & Salmon Soulmates Recipe (in Aspic)

Ingredients: Tuna, Water Sufficient For Processing Balance, Salmon, Sunflower Seed Oil, Locust Bean, Guar Gum, Carrageenan, Tricalcium Phosphate, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Nicotinic Acid (Vitamin B3), Ferrous Sulfate, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Potassium Iodide, Manganese Sulfate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Copper Sulfate, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Folic Acid, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Source of Vitamin K), Vitamin B12 Supplement.

tuna-tilapia
Available in 3oz, 5.5oz cans

Tuna & Tilapia Twosome Recipe (in Aspic)

Ingredients: Tuna, Water Sufficient For Processing Balance, Tilapia, Sunflower Seed Oil, Locust Bean, Guar Gum, Carrageenan, Tricalcium Phosphate, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Nicotinic Acid (Vitamin B3), Ferrous Sulfate, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Potassium Iodide, Manganese Sulfate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Copper Sulfate, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Folic Acid, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Source of Vitamin K), Vitamin B12 Supplement.

tuna-chicken
Available in 3oz, 5.5oz, 10oz cans

Tuna & Chicken 4EVA Recipe (in Gravy)

Ingredients: Tuna, Water Sufficient For Processing Balance, Chicken, Potato Starch, Sunflower Seed Oil, Tricalcium Phosphate, Xanthan Gum, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Nicotinic Acid (Vitamin B3), Ferrous Sulfate, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Potassium Iodide, Manganese Sulfate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Copper Sulfate, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Folic Acid, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Source of Vitamin K), Vitamin B12 Supplement.

tuna-chicken-chuckles
Available in 3oz, 5.5oz cans

Tuna & Chicken Chuckles Recipe (in Aspic)

Ingredients: Tuna, Water Sufficient For Processing Balance, Chicken, Sunflower Seed Oil, Locust Bean, Guar Gum, Carrageenan, Tricalcium Phosphate, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Nicotinic Acid (Vitamin B3), Ferrous Sulfate, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Potassium Iodide, Manganese Sulfate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Copper Sulfate, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Folic Acid, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Source of Vitamin K), Vitamin B12 Supplement.

tuna-bonito

Tuna & Chicken Charm Me Recipe (in Gravy)

Ingredients: Tuna Broth, Tuna, Chicken, Ground Tapioca, Sunflower Oil, Guar Gum, Calcium Sulfate, Tricalcium Phosphate, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Biotin Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Source of Vitamin K), Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Sodium Selenite, Potassium Iodide, Taurine.

tuna-too-cool

Tuna & Beef Baby Cakes Recipe (in Gravy)

Ingredients: Tuna Broth, Tuna, Beef, Ground Tapioca, Sunflower Oil, Guar Gum, Calcium Sulfate, Tricalcium Phosphate, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Biotin Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Source of Vitamin K), Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Sodium Selenite, Potassium Iodide, Taurine.

tuna-shrimp

Tuna & Turkey Tickles Recipe (in Gravy)

Ingredients: Tuna Broth, Tuna, Turkey, Sunflower Oil, Ground Guar Gum, Calcium Sulfate, Tricalcium Phosphate, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Biotin Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Source of Vitamin K), Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulate, Sodium Selenite, Potassium Iodide, Taurine.

tuna-shrimp

Tuna & Salmon Sweet Cheeks Recipe (in Gravy)

Ingredients: Tuna Broth, Tuna, Salmon, Ground Tapioca, Sunflower Oil, Guar Gum, Calcium Sulfate, Tricalcium Phosphate, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Biotin Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Source of Vitamin K), Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulate, Sodium Selenite, Potassium Iodide, Taurine.

tuna-salmon

Tuna & Lamb Luv Ya Recipe (in Gravy)

Ingredients: Tuna Broth, Tuna, Lamb, Ground Tapioca, Sunflower Oil, Guar Gum, Calcium Sulfate, Tricalcium Phosphate, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Biotin Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Source of Vitamin K), Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulate, Sodium Selenite, Potassium Iodide, Taurine.

tuna-tilapia

Tuna & Duck Devour Me Recipe (in Gravy)

Ingredients: Tuna Broth, Tuna, Duck, Ground Tapioca, Sunflower Oil, Guar Gum, Calcium Sulfate, Tricalcium Phosphate, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Biotin Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Source of Vitamin K), Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulate, Sodium Selenite, Potassium Iodide, Taurine.