Monday, November 24, 2008

Exotic Pet Amnesty in Florida

Faced with growing reports of exotic snakes and reptiles roaming the wilds of Florida and competing with native animals, state wildlife officials have made it easier for exotic pet owners to give up pets they no longer want.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission conducted one of its "pet amnesty days" on Saturday at the Jacksonville Zoo.

Though "pet amnesty days", the commission hopes to stem the number of animals being "set free" to roam.

Even though it's illegal to turn exotic animals loose, boa constrictors, monitor lizards and the like are often reported. More than 130 species have established reproducing populations in the state.

On pet amnesty days, owners can surrender the exotic pets for free, with no questions asked. According to a commission news release, the animals will be examined by a licensed veterinarian, and, if they're healthy, the state will try to place them with qualified owners.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Question of the Week- Multi Vitamins

Many of us take a daily multivitamin to insure we receive a base amount of important vitamins and minerals. The typical American diet does not provide a well-balanced source of these nutrients for most people, so we take supplements as “insurance”. Much of the vitamins and minerals in packaged dog and cat foods are destroyed during the processing of both dry and canned food. Even when added back in after the cooking or extruding processes, the vitamins and minerals break down rapidly when exposed to light and air. The first bowl of kibble from a bag may contain most of what the label claims, but each time the bag or container is opened, the nutrients are affected. It is difficult to know how much, if any of the vitamins are left by the last portions from the bag.

Even the best diet for our dogs and cats of fresh raw foods can be lacking in some essential vitamins and minerals. Many whole food sources no longer contain the high vitamin content they have in the past due to depleted soils and modern farming practices. This is why a basic vitamin and mineral supplement is a good investment for most of our companions. Think of it as health insurance – making sure the body has everything it needs for proper cell function and health maintenance will keep your companion healthier, possibly reducing your veterinarian visits and costs in the long run.

As with any other supplement, all multi-vitamins are not created equal. And not every dog or cat needs the full dosage suggested on the label. While supplementing for “insurance” is helpful, too much of a good thing can be harmful. If you are feeding a fresh food that is professionally formulated, then your companion does not likely need the full dose of a daily vitamin; half would likely suffice.

Ideally, vitamin supplements should be rotated. Just like rotation and variety in the diet is important for complete and balanced nutrition, rotating vitamin supplements can provide greater balance through a wider assortment of vitamin and mineral “sources”. You can rotate from one bottle to the next or even from one day to the next. I sometimes use a multivitamin one day and a “greens” supplement another day. I like having Ark Naturals Nu-Pet Chewable Tabs, Nupro , and Solid Gold Seameal on hand. At any given time I keep 3 or 4 different supplements around to rotate in my dog, Star's diet. There is no hard and fast rule.

You know your dog or cat best, so watch them closely and notice when they seem livelier or more sluggish, or their eyes are brighter or their coat a bit more shiny or dull, and adjust your supplement regime to meet their needs.

Amino acids deserve a special mention here. Some amino acids are required in the diet, while some are produced by the body. A healthy, well-rounded diet will provide all the essential amino acids required from food, except for the amino acid taurine required by cats. Commercial cat foods are almost all supplemented with this essential amino acid, but if you are making part or all of your feline friend’s meals at home, then be sure to add taurine to their diet. This can be accomplished with a good multi-vitamin made for cats such as Halo's Mineral Mix or by including mackerel, clams or raw hearts (beef, lamb, chicken or turkey) in the diet. Taurine is destroyed by heat, however, so be sure these are fed raw or the supplement is added to food after it has been cooked.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Foster & Rescue Discount Program at GreenPets

Are you with a pet rescue organizations or currently have pets you are fostering?

GreenPets gives discounts to organizations and volunteers like you who help pets that are awaiting permanent homes. Thank you for all your hard work!

15% off a case of food
15% off two or more large bags of dog food (20+ lbs.)
20% off toys and supplies
20% off accoutrements (leashes, collars, beds, crates)

Why Bring Your Cat to the Groomer?

1. Eliminates dander (which can cause allergic reactions in people)

2. Reduces hairballs

3. Less shedding

We can groom your cat and clip its nails.

Call to make an appointment! (202) 986-7907

by Wendy-Jon Campos, Groomer

Friday, November 07, 2008

Dog-Based Robots Helping Handicapped

Service dogs, invaluable companions providing assistance to physically impaired individuals, are an elite and desired breed. Their presence in a home can make everyday tasks that are difficult - if not impossible - achievable, enhancing the quality of life for the disabled.

Yet with a cost averaging $16,000 per dog – not to mention the two years of training required to hone these skills – the demand for these canines’ exceeds their availability.

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have engineered a biologically inspired robot that mirrors the actions of sought-after service dogs. Users verbally command the robot to complete a task and the robot responds once a basic laser pointer illuminates the location of the desired action.

For instance, if a person needs an item fetched, that individual would normally command a service dog to do so and then gesture with their hands toward the location. The service robot mimics the process, with the hand gesture replaced by aiming the laser pointer at the desired item.

Employing this technology, users can accomplish basic yet challenging missions such as opening doors, drawers and retrieving medication.

“It’s a road to get robots out there helping people sooner,” said Professor Charlie Kemp, Georgia Tech Department of Biomedical Engineering. “Service dogs have a great history of helping people, but there’s a multi-year waiting list. It’s a very expensive thing to have. We think robots will eventually help to meet those needs.”

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Question of the Week : Digestive Enzymes- Necessary or not??

We have a lot of clients who come in with new kittens and puppies looking to load up on supplies for the new arrival. The basics are easy; leash, collar, toys, bowls, and treats. The next question is about which food will be the best, and the last question is always: "is there anything else I'm missing?"

It is sometimes difficult to explain why supplements are a good idea for healthy animals. We are a culture so unaccustomed to preventative care that most people just say, oh when it becomes a problem, I'll deal with it then. I haven't figured out why this is exactly, but it does seem we are a lot less inclined to have this attitude with our animals than ourselves, thankfully.

There are three basics that I recommend for healthy animals. Digestive Enzymes, essential fatty acids, and multivitamins. I will talk about digestive enzymes today and will cover the other two in upcoming blogs.

First, let's start with some basic information about digestion:

When food is not properly broken down before reaching the large intestine, particles that are too large for the body to process are absorbed into the bloodstream, setting off an immune response that can lead to inflammation, allergies and chronic health problems. Nature’s way of preventing this was to endow every vegetable, fruit and animal food source with thousands of enzymes that help break it down.

The problem is this; even the very best dry foods available today are processed with heat, and heat kills these valuable enzymes. Some foods add enzymes after the heating process in an attempt to offset this depletion, but in most cases, this is not enough. And if you have a dog or cat that is genetically predisposed to a sensitive stomach, then you will know very quickly just how much they end up suffering. The ingredients in the foods you feed can be as gentle and simple as possible, but if your animal isn't getting enough enzymes to aid in natural digestion, there will be problems.

More importantly, improving digestion and utilization of nutrients can help to prevent and eliminate a host of diet related problems such as eating stools, body odor, excessive shedding, flatulence and itchy skin. At the end of the day, digestive enzyme supplements are a crucial part of improving digestion and gastrointestinal health. This is why products such as Ark Naturals Gentle Digest, and Eagle Pack's Holistic Transition or Solution, should be on the top of your must have list.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

End Dog-Racing in Massachusetts

This year at the polls, a ballot proposition in Massachusetts seeks to end dog racing in the commonwealth. If you live in Massachusetts, vote YES on Question 3.