By: Laura Sesana
WASHINGTON, September 4, 2012- I grew up with dogs at home and naturally, when I moved out to college, I wanted a dog of my own. I wanted a perfect puppy and bought a Miniature Schnauzer at a pet store on Lexington Avenue in New York City, kind of on impulse. Luckily, we were a good fit, and she was my best friend and companion for 14 wonderful years.
However, after learning about the practices of pet stores and puppy mills, I wished I had done a little research and checked out my local shelter or the Internet first. Today, my husband and I have two dogs, both rescues from Petfinder.com. They fit our lifestyle perfectly, and our family wouldn’t be the same without them.
If you are thinking about getting a pet, there are several reasons to consider adoption before contacting a breeder or heading out to a pet store.
1. Save a life. Be a hero! By adopting a pet, you will be saving a life. Petfinder.com estimates that six to eight million pets got to a shelter every year. According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), three to four million pets are euthanized every year because shelters are overcrowded and not every pet can find a home. By adopting a pet from a shelter, humane society, breed rescue group, or animal control agency, you will be saving the life of a very grateful animal.
2. Avoid supporting puppy mills and pet stores. By adopting a pet, you will not be supporting pet stores and puppy mills. Pet stores, online sellers, and people who sell their animals through classified advertisements in the newspaper often get their animals from puppy mills and are willing to sell them to anyone willing to pay, no questions asked. Puppy mills and pet stores are part of a very cruel industry where animals are kept in shockingly brutal conditions with little medical care. Breeding dogs in puppy mills are locked in small cages for years without human companionship or attention. After a heartbreaking life spent in a cage, these animals are then killed, abandoned, or sold at auction.
Pet stores will also sell an animal to anybody, without making sure that the animal will go to a good home, will be safe, and the new owners understand the responsibilities of pet ownership. Many of these animals usually end up in shelters- if they are lucky.
3. Find the right pet for you and your family. Bringing a pet into your life is a serious decision that must not be taken lightly. Before bringing a pet home, owners need to be aware that it is the beginning of a relationship that may last 10 to 20 years, and that a pet needs constant care, supervision, and companionship.
Even though pet stores are likely to have the cutest puppies you’ve ever seen, the cute factor is not everything. Taking a pet home based solely on its appearance can be a recipe for disaster and yet another reason why so many pets end up in shelters.
Whether a pet fits your lifestyle is much more important than what it looks like. A pet carefully chosen to fit your lifestyle is more likely to result in a lasting home for the pet and a happy life for the owner. “Some people think yellow labs are adorable as puppies and beautiful dogs. But a person who lives a sedentary lifestyle and does not like to go running or exercising should not have a lab,” Gail Buchwald, vice president of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), told Parents.com.
You are more likely to find a greater variety of animals and a better fit for any lifestyle at a shelter or through adoption websites like Petfinder.com. Unlike pet stores, which are only interested in making a profit and moving their “merchandise,” shelters are more concerned with matching a person or family with a pet of the right breed and temperament for their lifestyle. Shelters have also spent time caring for the animals, know their disposition, and what type of owner they would be a good fit for. With so many pets entering shelters every day, you are very likely to find exactly the right pet for you.
Our dog, Emma- half gremlin, half hyena
Adoption is the way to go if you want a purebred animal or a one-of-a-kind. According to HSUS, about 25% of dogs and cats in shelters are purebreds. There are also a number of breed-specific rescue groups that have purebred adults and puppies for adoption.
Other people see the attraction in a unique mix. Some mixes have the positive characteristics of several breeds. Our dog Paco is a lab-collie mix, and he has the great qualities of both. He has a sweet disposition, is very calm, fantastic with kids, and can be trusted all the time. Our little one, Emma, is more of a mystery. When we adopted her at 9 months old, we were told she was a Chihuahua- Jack Russell mix, but I think she has some Cairn Terrier in her. My husband says that she is more like half gremlin and half hyena. To us, she is beautiful. She is lively and energetic, always getting into trouble. Both are unique, and we love them for it.
4. Shelter pets may have “baggage,” but this is not necessarily a bad thing! Many people think that a pet that is in a shelter is there because of some kind of behavioral problem. The truth is that there are many reasons that people have to give up their pets, most having nothing to do with the pet. These include moving to a place that does not allow pets, not having time for the pet, not being able to afford the pet, allergies, etc. Petfinder.com has a sheet on the reasons pets are surrendered to shelters, which explains that most of the time the reason for surrender comes from the owner and not the pet.
On the other hand, adopting a pet, which has had a previous owner, may already be toilet trained and have other positive characteristics. (See # 9, the case for adopting an older pet)
5. Shelter pets are healthy. Even though some pets may enter a shelter without being neutered or having proper medical care, most if not all shelters give the pet a thorough medical screening and will not clear the pet for adoption until it has a clean bill of health. Most shelters also spay or neuter the pet before adoption.
6. Adopting is much less expensive. While adopting a pet is usually not free, the adoption fee will usually cover spaying or neutering, distemper vaccination, rabies vaccination, heartworm test, and flea/tick treatment. These services can cost up to $2000 at a regular vet, but adoption fees usually range from $100 to $300. On the other hand, a puppy at a pet store can cost over $700 and these services are usually not included.
7. Time. Adoption usually focuses on whether the pet will be a good match for a potential owner. Shelters are more likely to help you find your ideal buddy because shelters don’t expect and don’t want you to walk out with a new pet in 20 minutes or less, the way pet stores do. Shelters understand that finding the right fit takes time and a few visits. Shelters also allow you to interact with a pet and spend some time together before you take them home. Moreover, most shelters will allow you to take the animal home on a trail basis and take the animal back if things do not work out.
8. Set a good example. Parents.com lists “setting a good example” as one of the reasons to adopt a pet. I don’t have children, so I can’t really speak to this point from personal experience, but I agree that adopting a pet can teach a child “how to care about those that others may view as castoffs.” Adopting a pet can also teach children that they can make a difference by saving an animal’s life.
9. The case for adopting an older pet. For certain people and families, adopting an older pet may be the best choice. There are several benefits to adopting an older pet. For one thing, there are fewer surprises when you adopt an older pet. From the outset, you will know its full-grown size; temperament; and food, grooming, and exercise requirements. Older pets are also easier to train because they are calmer and have more experience interacting with people. An older pet also requires less attention, is usually toilet trained, and settles into new environments more quickly than a younger pet.
Another wonderful thing about adopting an older animal it that it has experienced living in a home as well as being surrendered, and is ready to forge an instant bond with its new owner. Finally, as mentioned above, adopting an animal may represent a 10 to 20-year commitment that many people are not ready to undertake. People with certain plans for their long-term future as well as very elderly people would be good candidates to adopt an older pet. According to the ASPCA, even though the commitment level is the same, it is for a shorter period of time.
10. Not all breeders are bad. If you have looked into adoption and cannot find the right pet, the American Humane Society has a very informative page on how to identify a responsible breeder.
Connect to the Human Society here
This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com.
A new study supports the stress-reducing benefits of bringing your pooch to work — to play with, look at, and pet while working.
According to a Virginia Commonwealth University study, having a dog at work not only reduces the owners’ stress level but also increased the level of job satisfaction for other employees as well. The study, announced Thursday, was published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management.
“Dogs in the workplace can make a positive difference,” said head researcher Randolph T. Barker. “The differences in perceived stress between days the dog was present and absent were significant. The employees as a whole had higher job satisfaction than industry norms.”
The study took place at Replacements Ltd, a service-manufacturing-retail company located in North Carolina, which employs approximately 550 people. The company has a dog friendly policy, similar to other companies such as Amazon, Ben & Jerry’s and Zynga, according to CBS News, with around 20 to 30 dogs romping through the office every day. The study took place over a period of one work week, and subjects completing both surveys and saliva samples to measure stress levels.
According to The Humane Society of the United States, there are numerous benefits to having dogs at work, including improved staff morale, worker productivity, and camaraderie among employees.
Numerous studies have shown that having a pet is a good investment for your health. One study found that having a pet lowered your risk factors for heart disease, and another found that dogs encourage more consistent walking and exercise.
According to a State of Pet Health Report by Banfield Pet Hospital in Jackson, nearly seven percent of dogs in Mississippi will acquire heartworms this summer, the highest proportion across the nation. The reason risk of infection is so high there is because they have the greatest number of mosquito’s in the US, and heartworm is spread from host to host through the bites of these parasites. However, heartworms are frequently found in dogs throughout the 50 states.
The heartworm is a small thread-like worm. The definitive host is the dog but it can also infect cats, wolves, coyotes, foxes and other animals, such as ferrets, sea lions and even, under very rare circumstances, humans.
Heartworms can live in your dog for six months before any symptoms are displayed. All dogs regardless of their age, sex, or habitat are susceptible to heartworm infection, which is why prevention is necessary. The good news is that heartworm is easily treatable – it just requires keen eyed pet owners to be aware of what the signs are and take action immediately if you suspect that your dog may be suffering with this condition.
What are the signs?
Symptoms of heartworm infection include:
• Shortness of breath
• Fainting after exercise
• Tiring easily
• Weight loss
• Loss of appetite
• Poor coat condition
• Swelling of the abdomen
• Bloody stool
Each of these symptoms on their own, if persistent, warrant a trip to your veterinarian; don’t dismiss them – let a qualified professional be the one to advise you whether or not the symptoms are serious.
If your dog doesn’t have heartworm, then there are a variety of preventative treatments available, which will more than likely come in the form of a chewable tablet.
A couple of popular brands used are Heartguard and Interceptor, but there are other brands available which are just as efficient. Ask your vet which ones they recommend.
If your dog has been infected with heartworms, a possible treatment could be Immiticide and would be administered by your veterinarian. This drug has great efficiency and fewer side effects, which makes it a safer alternative for dogs with late-stage infections.
Depending on the condition that your dog was brought in for treatment, there may still be a few practical steps that your dog needs to undertake, e.g. rest, to ensure they receive the maximum benefits for the treatments that have been administered.
Do you know of any other effective brands that can be used to treat heartworms? If so contact us here at Pet Chauffeur so that we can add them to our list.
As the weather continues to warm up, the people of NY will no doubt want to engage in a spot of alfresco dining. Increasingly more and more restaurants are making it possible for pet owners to be able to eat at their establishments with their beloved friends. As far as I can tell at present, people have mainly been eating out with their dogs. But if you decide to visit a restaurant with your pet iguana, be sure to let us know what happened!
The next time you fancy eating out, try these restaurants. Remember to drop us a line to let us know what your experience was and if you would recommend it to our readers.
LIST YOUR FAVORITE DOG FRIENDLY RESTAURANT IN OUR COMMENT SECTION
Here at Pet Chauffeur we talk a lot about our beloved dogs, but June is officially Adopt a Sheltered Cat Month. There are thousands of cats in shelters throughout the NYC who need a loving environment to be nurtured in.
Many cats that we see roaming the streets do so because they have been abandoned by their owners for some reason. Unless someone sees them and gives them a loving home or takes them to a shelter, such cats are often prey to sick people who take pleasure in mistreating them for fun or they fall ill and die from eating bad food or from being over exposed to harsh weather.
But this doesn’t have to be the case. It is great that abandoned cats are safe in shelters, but they would benefit so much from having a loving family look after them.
Zootoo is running a page advertising lovable tabbies for adoption http://www.zootoo.com/adoption. Another easy way to help sheltered cats this month is to promote the Fee-Waived Cat Adoption initiative from the ASPCA and Fresh Step litter. To help spread the word and encourage similar programs, Fresh Step litter will donate $1 (up to $100,000) to the ASPCA for every “like” received on its Facebook page from June 1 through July 31, 2011. The money will help support this program and other cat care initiatives.
Alternatively, check out shelters near you to find a cat that you can give a great home. Let us know which shelter it was so that we can list them.
Cancer. For decades this one word has struck fear into the heart of anyone who has been given this diagnosis. Many believed death to be the certain outcome.
Nowadays this isn’t necessarily the case. We forget that with all of the incredible breakthroughs in science and medicine, cancer needn’t be the end. Even though they cannot speak and tell us when something is wrong, cancer can be detected and treated in dogs, and in many cases it can be cured. The success of treatment will depend on the type of cancer, the treatment used and on how early the tumour is found. The sooner treatment begins, the greater the chances of success. Therefore, one of the best things you can do for your dog is to keep a close eye on them for signs of the disease.
There are doctors who specialise in field oncology, such as the world renowned dog cancer expert Dr Demian Dressler, whose research into the subject has brought immense comfort and hope to dog lovers the world over who have received the upsetting news about their beloved pets. His comprehensive book, “The Dog Cancer Survival Guide” covers an array of issues surrounding cancer in dogs, such as the various treatments available, the correct diet for a dog that has been diagnosed with cancer, even how to manage your emotions during your difficult time. So rest assured that a lot can be done to save the life of your pet.
So, how do you know if your dog has cancer? First of all it would be a good idea to start by taking a look at the breed of your dog. Did you know that certain breeds have a higher rate of cancers than others?
In my research I discovered the following:
Highest incidence breeds which also develop cancer at an earlier age than other dogs.
• Golden Retriever
• Bernese Mountain Dog
High incidence breeds
• Boston Terrier
• English Bulldog
• Scottish Terrier
• Cocker Spaniel
Average incidence breeds:
• Irish Setter
Relatively low incidence breeds:
It isn’t a sure-fire guarantee that these breed of dogs will develop cancer; it is just to make you aware that there is a higher probability that these breeds may develop the illness.
This isn’t an exhaustive list and there may be some variables from one breed to the next, but these are the signs that indicate your dog might have cancer:
1. Abnormal swellings or lumps that don’t reduce in size or continue to grow
2. Sores that do not heal
3. Loss of appetite
4. Weight loss
5. Bleeding or discharge from openings on/in the body
6. Difficulty eating or swallowing
7. Emitting foul odours (not just breaking wind)
8. Apathy, lack of interest in exercise; reluctance to move around much
9. Persistent lameness or stiffness
10. Difficulty breathing, urinating, or defecating
If your dog has any of these symptoms take them over to your vet as soon as possible. Don’t immediately fear the worst as these symptoms may be signs of other illnesses too.
If your dog is diagnosed with cancer, however, it still isn’t the end of the world. The vet will discuss your various options, but remember that it is important that you do your research to satisfy yourself that the best course of action for your dog is being taken. They should know of all the specialist cancer clinics that treat dogs and so they should be able to recommend one to you if they are not able to offer treatment for the type of cancer that your dog has. Typically the treatments offered are, chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery but there are other options available, such as cryotherapy. Check out our page for the addresses of some of the best veterinary practices in New York.
The key is to arm yourself with as much knowledge as you possibly can so that, should the worst happen, you are able to make informed decisions about the best treatment for your beloved friend.
Pet Chauffeur can handle all your pet transportation needs.If you need a pet taxi for your pet travels, try Petride.com
We had a lot of fun last week here at the Pet Chauffeur offices with Leo the leopard! He was a boisterous little fellow! Check out our videos of his visit on our Facebook page. To mark the unique experience, today’s blog is about exotic animals.
Having an exotic pet can appear to be quite glamorous, or so the celebrities who pose with them in magazines make it appear. But is it really? Let’s take a look at what is involved in looking after a leopard.
Habitat, range and diet
The leopard is the smallest of all big cats, i.e. tiger, lion and jaguar, and there are a number of breeds within this species, such as the African Leopard, the Sri Lankan Leopard, the Amur Leopard and the Clouded Leopard. The leopard was once distributed across eastern and southern Asia and Africa, from Siberia to South Africa, but its range of distribution has decreased radically because of hunting and loss of habitat. It is now mainly found in sub-Saharan Africa; there are also fragmented populations in Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Indochina, Malaysia, and China. Because of its declining range and population, it is listed as a “Near Threatened” species by the Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).
The leopard’s natural habitat is grassland and woodland which extends for miles. Their home ranges can extend from 12-30 square miles for males and 5.8-6.2 square miles for females. They have a very broad diet and eat anything from an antelope to insects and they mostly go hunting from sunset to sunrise.
Bearing all this in mind, how would you be able to humanely house and feed a leopard in NYC??
According to Born Free USA, the exotic pet industry is a multi-billion dollar business, but it is incredibly difficult to rear animals such as leopards in an enclosed environment when they have been used to living in a home that measured a minimum of 6.2 square miles of grassland or woodland, not to mention the problems with trying to feed them. I mean, where can you go to stock up on fresh antelope for them to eat?? Where would you be able to take them for a walk?
Effects on wild animals living in captivity
According to the ASPCA malnutrition, stress, trauma, and behavioural disorders are common in exotic animals kept as pets. In the states where it is legal to have an exotic animal (only a few states allow this, and even then you will need a license) getting medical care is extremely difficult. It may require a trip to your local zoo as your everyday veterinarians aren’t trained to deal with the diseases specific to animals usually found in the wild such as salmonella and herpes.
The reality is no matter how adorable an exotic animal may look, or how cool you think it would be to have one living with you, it really isn’t a good idea for you or for them. The little that we do know about them shows that humans cannot meet their needs properly in captivity at all.
Leo is in the hands of trained experts who know what he needs and have the means to provide him with it, which is why he was such a handful for us at Pet Chauffeur! If that wasn’t the case he may have ended up like a number of wild animals living outside of their environment do; as the majority of people who keep exotic animals cannot meet their needs, the animals end up caged, chained, or beaten into submission. Some owners will even have an animal’s teeth or claws removed, so that the animal cannot harm the owner should an attack occur.
Outside of their natural environment, the best place for a leopard or any other wild animal is a smaller, controlled environment such as a reserve where, even though there isn’t as much room as they are used to, they can roam freely and get the specialist care and attention that they need.
You will find nowadays that it is becoming the trend for pet owners to start feeding their cats and dogs a raw diet. The deterioration in health of these animals over the last 20 years has prompted a lot of research to find out why. The over all results cited poor quality ingredients in commercial animal food as being the common denominator in declining pet health.
Are our pets really getting what the label on the tin says?
In his article “Food Not Fit For a Pet,” Dr Wendell O. Belfield, D.V.M, who has been practicing small animal medicine for over 25 years, states that when he is asked which commercial pet food he recommends, he replies “none”. Researchers have found that the “meat” in sampled commercial pet food was purchased from rendering plants which also receives material from slaughterhouses such as hair, feathers, hooves and any part of the mammal which is condemned for human consumption. If food is condemned for human consumption, there is no reason why an animal’s constitution would be able to digest it. Rotten meat is rotten meat; mixed with hair, feathers and hooves it is a stomach churning meal.
A raw diet, which has been prepared with fresh, organic ingredients, will enable you to have peace of mind about what your pet is really eating.
Why a raw diet?
Before dogs and cats were transformed into pampered household pets, they were used to living in the wild, hunting for food. Their diets would have consisted of raw materials which in that state provided them with the fullness of the vitamins and minerals that their systems needed to remain healthy. There weren’t any cooked meats and other little treats and delicacies for them to eat! And they have survived for centuries! If we want Fido to live in optimum health, then his diet must mirror what he used to eat before he became a pet. But do your research first of all, to determine if this diet works best for your animal.
You will find however, that opinions are sharply divided on this issue: a lot of veterinarians do not agree with a raw diet, citing high levels of bacteria in uncooked meats as being dangerous to your pets. I suggest an experiment – put your pet on a raw diet for a fortnight and monitor the changes. If the changes are positive then keep going. If not, then stop.
If you know you want to change your pets’ diets but find the thought of serving up raw meat a little nauseating, consider an organic diet instead. Eating a diet with less pesticides and questionable ingredients can only be a good thing for them. Again, conduct thorough research first of all before you decide which diet is best for your pets.
The benefits of a raw or organic diet
Reduction of skin ailments and allergies – If your dog suffers from allergies or an irritating skin condition, you’ve probably tried everything hoping to provide your pet some relief. Organic dog food may provide your pet with the best chance of combating skin infections and allergies in the long term. It is free of artificial colors and flavor enhancers, chemical additives and toxic pesticides that could be the source of your dog’s allergies.
More energy and a healthy weight – Since organic/raw food is naturally more nutritious, many owners report their dogs eat less organic dog food than other commercial varieties. Organic food doesn’t contain bulk-fillers, so your dog consumes only what it needs to maintain healthy energy levels and life functions.
Fewer digestive disorders – A lack of chemicals and artificial substances makes organic dog food more digestible. If your dog vomits occasionally after meals or commonly experiences gas, bloating or diarrhoea, check with your veterinarian for underlying illness. In the absence of another cause, feed your dog an organic diet and you’ll notice a definite change! Easily digestible oats, barley or other natural whole grains and human-grade turkey, lamb or chicken make a tremendous difference to your dog’s digestive system. Rather than consuming corn or other bulk fillers and chemical additives, your dog will ingest only what it needs for healthy metabolic functioning.
Better overall health and stronger immunity – Organic dog food provides better quality sources of nutritional substances than even the non-organic, premium brands. It is more digestible for dogs, and therefore dogs are more likely to absorb than eliminate more of the nutrients they require to maintain a healthy immune system. Boosting your dog’s immunity may help prevent costly infections and illnesses that require veterinarian care.
Where can I get this type of food for my pet?
Some pet owners have taken to preparing food for their cat or dog by hand from scratch. This is great if you have the time to do this, but I suspect that not many people will. Try these companies who provide ready prepared, natural foods for both cats and dogs and let us know how their products worked with your pet.
Also check out Sled Dog Central which has listed companies providing organic animal food throughout the US. It also lists a few companies in Canada and one in Germany, Europe!
Travelling abroad or in the US can be quite a taxing operation with so many things to organise. For those travelling with pets this can be a lot more problematic. Apart from ensuring that your pet has had the right shots, has up to date health certificates etc, the safety of animals in transit is also a big issue. How it all happened
Pet Airways are leaders in the field of pet comfort and safety during long haul travel. The company was born after the founders, Dan and Alysa Wiesel, kept running into difficulty with airlines when trying to travel with their beloved dog, Zoe. There just seemed to be no suitable way for Zoe to fly with them whenever they wanted to go on vacation. Finally they gave up trying to convince human airlines to transport animals more responsibly and decided to take up the cause themselves. In 2008, Pet Airways was born.
Pet Airways is the first airline that caters exclusively for animals. With the exception of the pilots (obviously, LOL!) and pet attendants onboard, all of the passengers are of the furry variety. The beauty of this airline is that it’s run by pet lovers for pet lovers. Every conceivable occurrence has been thought of to ensure that pets arrive at their destination healthy and happy.
At present, Pet Airways operates domestic flights only and flies to and from the following cities: Atlanta, Baltimore/Washington, Chicago, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles/Hawthorne, New York, Omaha and Phoenix. If you need help finding reliable international pet shippers, feel free to contact us and we will point you in the right direction.
Pet Airways uses the Beechcroft 1900 as the plane of choice for flying animals around the country. This plane was chosen because of its impeccable safety record. The animals all travel in the main cabin of the plane, NOT in cargo and each pet has their own container. There is a climate-controller on board which ensures that the pets will neither be too hot or cold.
As with traditional flights, tickets are booked online. There are different size seats to accommodate the various frames of animals who may be travelling: your pet can only travel on a given flight if the correct size seat is available. If there isn’t a seat available on the day you want to travel, you can either choose a different day or be put on their waiting list just in case another pet drops out.
Pets are checked every 15 minutes during the flight, or as needed and have regular potty breaks. Everything is done to ensure that they are not distressed at any point during the flight.
As with all niche/boutique enterprises, you must expect to spend a bit more than you would on human airlines. Fares start from $149 per animal per flight, but keep an eye out as they sometimes have sales.
It’s great to finally see the issues of animal safety during flights being addressed in this way. It’s a relief to have the peace of mind that while your pets are out of your sight, they are being looked after by people who love them as much as you do.
Pet transportation by Pet Chauffeur can help Taxi your pets to this location.