Monday, April 28, 2008

There's good news for those who would like to adopt a pet but find visiting a shelter to be an emotionally draining experience. Now, thanks to a Web site, they can start their search online and make a considered decision. Plus, they can find more prospective pets to choose from than they would by visiting a single shelter.

Using, a person can search for a pet from the comfort of his or her own home. He or she simply types in search criteria and a zip code, then back comes a list of pets matching those criteria. The available pets closest to the person's home will be at the top of the list.

There are more than 240,000 adoptable pets available on the Web site at any one time. The Foundation, a separate entity and a public charity, was established in 2003 to assist animal welfare organizations in time of need.

Today, more than 11,500 adoption organizations post the pets on Petfinder. Each one of these agencies has a home page on the site. Each pet has a page of its own as well, with a description and photos. The shelters and rescue group members can now also add videos of their adoptable pets.

In 2006, Animal Planet acquired, and the site became part of Discovery Digital Media. So popular is that Animal Planet decided to create a new series all about animal adoptions. Airing on Mondays at 8 p.m., "Petfinder" matches shelter animals with families searching for their perfect pet. Whether the adoptee is a pig, a pug or a python, the Petfinder co-hosts and trainers help families (and viewers, too) understand the essential elements of figuring out just what pet will be right for them. is free to adopters and to the pet adoption groups that post on the site. Adoption fees may be charged by the adoption groups. However, pets adopted from shelters and rescue groups often come with benefits that make that adoption fee a real bargain. The site also includes a library of pet-related information, videos, forums, a volunteer database and classifieds.

Friday, April 18, 2008


Nothing is as disturbing as the sound of a cat trying to cough up a hairball. Hairballs, or “fur balls” are quantities of hair that accumulate in the cat’s stomach or small intestine. Hairballs are formed when a cat grooms itself and swallows hairs, and since hair is not easily digested it can compact with undigested food in the stomach and gastrointestinal tract. Problems occur when hair that does not get excreted and gathers in the cats stomach or intestine and forms a dense ball or mat which cannot be passed, the ball is then vomited. What can you do to prevent or aide in hairball relief?

1. 1. Brushing more frequently (the bonding that develops between you and your cat is an added bonus)

2. 2. Buying special hairball formula foods. Choosing a diet that is high in fiber and protein, such as Premium Edge Adult Hairball Formula will help with hairball problems. Also having a food that is high in protein will cause your cat to shed less, thus reducing the risk of hairballs.

3. 3. Hairball remedies come in various forms: treats, chewable tablets, and oil–based supplements to add in the food.

Food and supplements work by lubricating the cat’s digestive tract to help move excess hair easily. If this is done on a regular and consistent basis large mats and balls will never form.

For information (202) 986-7907

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Next Event for Greenpets Festival

Microchip on my Shoulder

Dr. Dan Teich from DC Home Vet will be joining us this weekend for our next event in the Greenpets Festival. Saturday April 19-20, 12-6pm.

Getting a microchip for your pet is the most effective way to ensure pet recovery if lost. This quick, painless procedure gives a unique number that is entered onto an international database and can be updated as you move from place to place. Microchips are very tiny (roughly the size of a grain of rice) and are inserted under the skin between the shoulder blades, guaranteeing the chip is not lost or damaged, as tags and collars can be, and lasts for a lifetime.

Get your pet(s) a Microchip this weekend only for a low-cost of $40 at Greenpets, located 1722 14 Street NW Washington, DC 20009
For more information (202) 986-7907.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Fate of Many Lost Pets Revealed

In April 2006, several dogs were stolen from neighborhoods in Raymore, Mo. In January 2006 some small-breed dogs were reported missing in Franklin County, Ill. In Oct. 2005, a Labrador retriever was taken from his yard in Conneaut, Ohio.

Where did the animals go? Did they run away? Did someone find them who will care for them? Or is something more sinister going on? One early 2006 case reveals the sad fate of many stolen animals.

In Elvira, Iowa, residents Ted and Jessica White noticed their two Labrador retrievers missing and thought the dogs had simply wandered away from their rural property. When the dogs didn't come home that night, the couple printed flyers and talked to their neighbors. They discovered that not only were their two dogs missing, but five other Labs had also gone missing in recent weeks.

Staff members of the Clinton Humane Society and Clinton County Sheriff's Office suspected that dogfighters might have stolen the Whites' pets to use them as "bait" for training fighting dogs. Dogfighters routinely dump dead bait dogs and steal new ones. A boat dock owner along the Mississippi River in Clinton County found three dead dogs washed up on his property: a pit bull, a Labrador retriever, and a smaller dog. Both the pit bull and the Lab had suffered wounds consistent with dogfighting.

Lost or stolen dogs could end up in the hands of dogfighters, or even Class B dealers, who sell dogs from random sources to research institutions for use in biomedical research, testing and education procedures. Beloved family pets can also become unfortunate victims of bunchers, who have been known to acquire dogs through lost, stray and "free to a good home" ads—even to take pets from their owners' backyards—and then sell them to Class B dealers. At Class B dog dealer facilities, there have been numerous documented cases of mistreatment, neglect, and other animal welfare violations.

Of the dogs and cats stolen in the United States every year, only an estimated 10 percent ever find their homes again

What can pet owners do to make sure that their friends and companions remain safe at home?

* Keep your pet indoors, especially when you are not at home.
* Identify your pet with a collar and tag, microchip or tattoo.
* Be aware of strangers in the neighborhood, and report anything unusual to the police
* Padlock gates, and make sure people can't access your pets over fences.
* Keep your pet on a leash whenever you go outside.
* Make neighbors aware of the problem of pet theft.
* Know where your pets are at all times.
* Support the federal Pet Safety and Protection Act, now before Congress, which ensures that cats and dogs used by research facilities are obtained legally.

And here are some things not to do:

* Don't let your pet roam free in the neighborhood.
* Don't let your pet be visible from the street.
* Never leave pets unattended at any time.
* Never leave pets outside a store or in the car to wait for you.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Friday, April 11, 2008

Music Hath Charms

Lisa Spector, a Juilliard School graduate and concert pianist, collaborated with Joshua Leeds, a sound researcher in Marin, Calif., to study the impact classical music has on dogs.

Two years of research and clinical demonstrations produced a book, Through a Dog's Ear: Using Sound to Improve the Health & Behavior of Your Canine Companion, written by Leeds and Susan Wagner, a board-certified veterinary neurologist.

Spector is the pianist on a 45-minute CD that Leeds produced to go with the book.

It's been Spector's experience that when she tickled the ivories, dogs she took care of would move closer to her and fall asleep. No more doggy angst -- just peace and quiet.

One out of seven dogs has behavioral issues that stem from an overwhelmed nervous system, said Leeds.

"There's too much noise and too much input," he said. "Our dogs are indicators of the stressed environment we live in."

For more than 20 years, Leeds has specialized in psychoacoustics, the study of music and sound on the human nervous system.

Four-and-a-half years ago, Spector approached Leeds after one of his seminars and told him about her dogs falling asleep when she played the piano. She hoped that he would want to work with her on a CD for dogs.

Leeds was apprehensive.

But after speaking with Spector, he did some research and found there was nothing documented about the effects of music on dogs, except for one study conducted by Deborah Wells, a psychologist and animal behaviorist.

She played various kinds of music in dog shelters in San Francisco and learned that classical music -- not rock music or jazz -- had a calming effect on dogs, Leeds said.

His only caveat before teaming with Spector was to make sure the music went through clinical research before it was released.

Four different CDs were cut and tested on 150 dogs in homes and shelters. The one that had an overwhelming response from dogs was the simplified classical music performed on piano.

Seventy percent of dogs in kennels showed a reduction in stress, while 85 percent in households were calmed.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Howling Mad!

Scientists studying feline defensive rage liken it to human anger, saying that both emerge and unleash in the brain.

With each such advance in the understanding of the mammalian brain’s recipe for rage, scientists seem to be moving closer to developing medications to quell violent behavior in humans and other mammals.

In cats, such therapies may prevent the hissing, back arching, ear retraction, claw extensions and fur standing-on-end that are typical indicators of feline defensive rage.

In humans, related anger reveals itself with road rage, an impulsive form of anger that involves little or no thought.

“In road rage, the person never thinks about what he is doing but just acts in the way he does because he feels that he has been threatened by someone else and the impulsive behavior represents a way by which he can protect himself from such a threat,” Discovery News quoted co-author Allan Siegel, a professor in the Department of Neurology & Neurosciences at New Jersey Medical School in Newark, as saying.

“In reality, his actions are usually much more dangerous to him than to the person whom he perceived cut him off on the road,” added Siegel.

Previous studies had shown that anger is centered in the medial hypothalamus region of the brain.

In the latest study, the researchers electrically stimulated this brain region in 10 female cats, creating feline defensive rage among them. When a protein called an interleukin was introduced into the anger region of the cats brains, it fueled the felines rage.

Siegel says that the protein somehow attaches to a serotonin receptor, which is a critical neurotransmitter that helps inhibit everything from sleep to vomiting to sex and hunger in humans.

The researcher says that for anger, the interleukin reacts with the serotonin, and causes the neuron to which the serotonin is attached to discharge.

Before long, many neurons in the region start to discharge at a high rate, causing the individual to fall into a rage and behave defensively.

Since wild cats are very territorial, says Siegel, zoo tigers feel threatened and act aggressively whenever they face intruders, whether in zoo or in the wild.

An expert, who did not participate in the research, agreed with the findings outlines in the new study. "There is a possibility that new targets for therapeutic management of aggressive behaviour in humans can be developed,” said Hreday Sapru, director of Neurosurgical Laboratories at the New Jersey Medical School.

“In addition, this discovery may provide a basis for future studies that will unravel the underlying mechanisms of aggression and other related behaviors in animals,” Sapru added.

The findings have been accepted for publication in the journal Brain, Behaviour, and Immunity.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

How Long Before the Dog Breaks it?

Just because pet lovers travel a lot, doesn’t mean they have to inconvience neighbors or put their pets in a kennel so they don’t die of starvation. With iSeePet360, travelers who have pets can now feed and water their canine or feline loved ones with the power of the internet through remote desktop or some other remote internet application.

The USB powered Remote Pet feeder comes with a built in webcam so you can keep an eye on Fido while the feeder can be programmed to dispense food up to eight times a day, seven days a week. Setup is fairly straight forward as it plugs directly into a computer’s USB port. The Pet Feeder can be accessed via the Internet through the USB connection. The feed hopper is fairly large as well, being ideal for dogs over 15 pounds. And the feeder doesn’t just dump the food either, it parcels it out, slowly, over the course of several minutes with a slow-moving auger.

And the software will also email users periodical photos from the feeder at scheduled times so that users can check up on their pets eating habits.

Cost is a hefty $298 ($300 in disguise) and is available through Smart Home.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Friday, April 04, 2008

The Digital Catflap!

Your pet door gives you cat access to outdoors; but is it too much access? Think about getting a CatMate!

The CatMate is a catflap that uses RFID (radio frequency identification) technology to restrict your cat's movements in and out of the house. Plus, you have different settings for each of up to seven cats!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Pet Tags- A Necessity

Recently my friend adopted a retired show dog from Schnauzer rescue. She came in to GreenPets to pick up the usuals prior to the dogs arrival; a bed, a crate, food, a leash, collar and toys. She had been warned that Schnauzers are notorious for running off to follow their tracking instincts, so when I reminded her that she should make a tag with his name and her phone numbers on it in case such an event occurred, she didn't think twice about it. This simple decision may have saved her a lot of heartache because just this weekend, while my friend was visiting friends in North Carolina; a young, adventurous Dallas, decided that exploration was part of his vacation trip.
Luckily Dallas only made it as far as the neighbors yard, where the neighbor promptly found the information attached to his collar and called for his retrieval .
This story had a happy ending, but I think of so many others that do not. The Washington Humane Society alone sees over 20,000 animals yearly! That is a staggering number and some of those numbers are certainly preventable with responsible pet ownership.
Even if you don't know what you are planning on naming your animal yet, or think you may change your number, or may move- it doesn't matter. When you are thinking of the necessities that you need for your new dog or cat, make sure a tag is at the top of that list. Come into GreenPets today to use our tag machine that engraves your tag for as little as $4.00 and it only takes two minutes!!