April 6, 2011
Pit bulls and pit bull mixes have a bad rap. Sadly, they are portrayed in the media as vicious killers that cannot be trusted. More times than not, the media is basing stories of “Pit Bull Attacks” on dogs that aren’t even pit bulls in the first place. The truth is that pit bulls were once nicknamed “nanny dogs” because they are so great with children.
In the late 19th and early 20thcenturies pit bulls were popular family dogs. Helen Keller, Woodrow Wilson and Teddy Roosevelt all owned pit bulls, as did many other famous people of that time. Pit bulls were also featured in popular media of the day. Petey, the dog from Little Rascals was a pit bull. The famous RCA Victrola ads also featured a pit bull.
Below are five of the most common pit bull myths.
1. They have locking jaws.
This is probably the most common myth. The anatomy of a pit bull is no different than that of any other dog. They do NOT have locking jaws.
2. They fail temperament testing more than any other dog.
This is not true. Pit bulls pass temperament testing 81.7% of the time. Beagles only pass 78.7% of the time, and Golden Retrievers 81.1% of the time. The American Pit Bull Terrier scored just above the Golden Retriever and just below the Labrador Retriever.
3. They have been bred to be human aggressive.
Pit bulls are not aggressive toward people. They can be taught to be vicious; just as any other dog, but this is not a trait that is inherent in pit bull dogs.
4. Only drug dealers own pit bulls.
This silly myth exists thanks to movies and music videos that feature drug dealers and other criminals as pit bull owners. In the 1970’s Doberman Pinschers were considered the most vicious dog, and were popular with criminals. In the 1980’s it was the Rottweiler. Today it is the Pit Bull. This is a sad, self-fulfilling prophecy that can only change if the media helps to change the way that pit bulls are portrayed.
5. An abused pit bull must be put down and can never be rehabilitated.
Thanks to the dogs that were rescued from Michael Vick’s dog fighting ring, it is now clear that this is not the case. Prior to that case, most pit bulls that had been involved in dog fighting in any way were immediately put down. In the Vick case, the judge heard from experts who said that there was a chance for these dogs to rehabilitated.
The judge listened and decided to give those horribly abused dogs a second chance. Twenty five of the 47 dogs seized from Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels were sent to private foster homes. One had to be put down due to serious health issues and the rest were sent to an animal rescue ranch in Utah called Best Friends Animal Society. Best Friends’ goal is to place most of the dogs in permanent loving homes, and many already have already been. A couple of the dogs were so horribly abused that they may never be suitable for life in a family and will live out the rest of their lives at Best Friends.
Some of the former fighting ring dogs are now agility dogs, therapy dogs and spoiled family pets. Check out this VIDEO on the “Vicktory Dogs” at Best Friends!
April 1, 2011
The stories of homeless, abused and neglected pets tug at our heart strings. Many people want to find a way to help, but don’t know how. Thankfully, there are organizations in place whose mission and goal is to help these forsaken pets and place them in the kind of loving home that they deserve.
The Atlanta Humane Society gives homeless pets a second chance. Of course, it costs money. In fact, it costs a LOT of money. While these pets wait patiently for their forever home, the Atlanta Humane Society must pay for their lodging, food, vet care, training and much more.
Without the generous donations of individuals and businesses, it would be impossible for this organization to continue helping the thousands of animals that pass through their doors each and every year.
There are many ways that you can donate to the Atlanta Humane Society. You can donate money, volunteer your time or drop off some of the many items that are on their wish list including kitty litter, dog treats and laundry soap. You can see the entire wish list HERE.
The Atlanta Humane Society has a number of programs such as their Adopt a Kennel program, and the Caregivers Club, which allows for automatic monthly donations. There is also the Heart Path where for a donation of $150, you can a buy a brick that will become a permanent part of a lovely memorial at the Humane Society facility. Perhaps one of the most special options for donating to the cause of the Atlanta Humane Society is the Tailwaggers Card program. Through the program you can make a cash donation in honor of a friend, family member or even a pet.
Some give donations to mark special events such as birthdays, anniversaries or weddings. When you make a donation through the Tailwaggers Card program, the Atlanta Humane Society will send a card to the recipient of your gift.
This is a great way to honor someone who cares about homeless pets as much as you do. You can participate in the Tailwaggers program by stopping by the Atlanta Humane Society at 981 Howell Mill Road NW during their normal operating hours. You can also donate online by visiting this link Atlanta Humane Society Tailwaggers Club. While there you may wish to take a look at the other donation opportunities.
March 24, 2011
Pet owners know how much it costs to properly care for pets. Now imagine if you had to pay for the care and feeding of hundreds of pets at a time! That is what the Atlanta Humane Society does every single day of the year.
As they work to find homes for abused, neglected and homeless pets, they must pay for the food, shelter and vet care of every single animal that they are helping. Funding for the needs of the Atlanta Humane Society comes from a variety of sources, including individual donations.
A number of special events are held throughout the year in order to try and bring in the funds that are necessary for the organization to continue in its mission. One such event is the No Ball at All Fundraiser. There is no need to rent a tuxedo to attend this affair. You will not have to get your hair and nails done, and there is no need to find a sitter for the kids.
In fact, you don’t even have to leave your house! You can simply buy a “ticket” to the No Ball at All before April 22, 2011 and know that every single penny of your money will go straight to the cause of supporting homeless animals until they have found their forever homes.
Donations to the event can be made in any amount and every donation is gratefully accepted. However, for those who contribute at the Patron level, a wonderful thank you party will held. A patron level ticket costs $350 for an individual or $700 for a couple. Your participation in the No Ball at All fundraiser will help to save the lives of dogs, cats and other pets that otherwise would have no chance of one day having a safe home and all of the love that they deserve.
The Atlanta Humane Society holds many other fundraisers throughout the year, but most require changing out of your pajamas. For more information about the No Ball at All Fundraiser, call 404-974-2877. For information about any of the other special events that are sponsored by the Atlanta Humane Society, visit their Web site.
The power is in your hands to help animals in need. You don’t have to make a big donation to make a big impact. Every donation – no matter how big or small – works together to improve the lives of these pets and give them a second chance at life.
March 15, 2011
Everyone loves a parade – even more so when the parade supports a worthy cause. The Atlanta Humane Society’s Annual Pet Parade, which takes place each spring, is the largest of the fundraisers held by the organization each year.
The event includes not only the pet parade, but also lot of other fun activities for both the pets and their humans. Most activities are free, but there is a registration fee to participate in the actual Pet Parade. Every penny raised during the Annual Pet Parade goes to help the animals in the shelter. This includes the cost of their food, vet care and other expenses.
This year will be the 21st annual Pet Parade, and it will be held on April 30th. You can register to walk as an individual or you can get together with friends, family members or co-workers and walk as a team. There will be prizes given to the top individual fundraisers as well as to the top fundraising teams.
The goal of the event is not only to raise much needed funds, but also to promote the cause of the Atlanta Humane Society and make sure that people in the community are aware of the many benefits of adopting a homeless pet and giving him a second chance at a happy life.
There will be many adoptable animals on site. Someone just might find their new best friend at the Pet Parade! In addition to the parade and the adoptable animals, there will also be a number of games and fun contests in which you can participate. Remember, even if you cannot participate in the pet parade, you can still come to the event to play the games and enter the contests, which are all free of charge.
There will also be many vendors on site. Some vendors will have product samples and others will be offering demonstrations of a variety of pet related products and services. The annual Pet Parade is a good chance to do something fun with your whole family – including the four-legged family members. This event takes place rain or shine, so plan on being there even if it means having your pooch don a doggy rain jacket!
This is a great event that supports a very important cause here in the Atlanta area. If you want more information about the Atlanta Humane Society’s Annual Pet Parade, visit the official Pet Parade Web site.
March 1, 2011
Pet insurance will help you pay for vet bills should your pet become ill or injured. Pet insurance can give you the ability to make decisions about your pet care based on what is best for them rather than based on cost alone. It is important to note, however, that not all pet insurance plans are the same. Below are some things to keep in mind when choosing a pet insurance provider.
For many, the cost of the policy is going to be an important factor. Generally there is not a huge disparity in the cost of premiums from one provider to another. There are some differences in price but the cost will usually fluctuate less than $10 per month for similar coverage options.
Many pet insurance providers raise the cost of the premiums each year as the pet gets older. However, a few do not raise the premiums as the pet ages. If you start the coverage when the pet is young, you can save a significant amount of money on the cost of premiums by choosing a provider with no age based increases.
- Yearly and Lifetime Maximum Benefits
Some pet insurance providers have annual or lifetime dollar limits. This means that if your pet gets a serious illness you may use your entire annual limit on that one event. You would then have no further coverage for the rest of the year. Because there are pet insurance providers, such as Trupanion, that do not have such limits, it is best to try and find one of them.
It is common for pet insurance providers to exclude genetic conditions and other illnesses. Be sure to do your homework so that you will know exactly what type of exclusions your chosen provider includes in their policies. Some, such as Pet Plan, do not exclude genetic conditions.
Some pet insurance providers pay based on a complicated fee schedule in which each condition is only covered for a certain dollar amount. You may prefer a provider that does not use a fee schedule and that instead pays a percentage of the total cost.
Many providers offer varying level of services where you can choose between 70%, 80% or even 90% coverage. Some providers will also allow you to save on the cost of your premiums by choosing a higher deductible.
The bottom line is that unless you have the ability to handle vet bills that could reach into the thousands of dollars, it is a good idea to have pet insurance. Be sure to carefully research the options available in your area, so that you have the information to make the best choice for you and your pet.
February 22, 2011
It is just as important for dogs to eat right, exercise and maintain a healthy weight as it is for humans. Because dogs are dependent on their owners to provide them with the right amount of food and the opportunity to exercise, weshould all take the time to make sure our dogs are able to get a good workout. Here are some fitness tips for your dogs:
Not all pet food is the same. Talk to your vet and people at a pet food speciality store about which type of food is best for your dog. Make sure to read food labels and avoid foods with corn and grains. If your dog is overweight, cut back slightly until he reaches his ideal weight.
If you do not have a yard that is large enough to encourage exercise, take your dog to a local dog park a few times a week. Try to choose a large park, where your pet will be able to really stretch his legs and run. Allow him to get at least 30 minutes of exercise while at the park.
Another great way to keep your dog active is to take him on regular brisk leash walks. Ideally, you would go on such walks at least 5 times per week for 30 minutes. This one change can help to keep your dog in better shape. (It doesn’t hurt the humans either!)
If your dog is older or has any type of problems with his hips or legs, you may consider finding a way for him to go swimming a few times a week. Swimming is wonderful exercise for dogs. For older dogs it allows them to get a workout without putting pressure on already painful joints.
There are organized sports clubs for dogs. Joining and training for events at such clubs will help to give you motivation to keep your dog in shape. One such club, the Atlanta Dog & Disc Club, is a Frisbee club for dogs. They have regular competitions as well as classes to help you learn how to train your dog to participate.
Many of the same health problems that can afflict a sedentary person can also impact an inactive dog. These include heart issues, joint problems, shortness of breath, etc. In addition to making life uncomfortable for your pet, these issues also cause large vet bills, many of which could be avoided by simply keeping your pet in better shape.
Keeping your dog active and trim can help to avoid serious health problems later in life. Help your dog enjoy a long and healthy life. Get active today.
February 13, 2011
So you come upon a group chasing and catching Frisbees. This is obviously a competition of some sort. There are teams and different events… even a table filled with trophies to be awarded at the end of the day. You might think the competitors in such a scenario would be college students, but these competitors all have four legs and a fur coat.
The Greater Atlanta Dog and Disc Club (GADDC) hosts some of the most well-attended events in the world of dog Frisbee clubs. If you have not heard of such a thing, you should know that this is not a new sport. Dogs have been training to bring home the biggest prizes since the mid-1980’s.
If you think that your pet has a particular ability, or even if you just want to get him up off the couch and moving a little bit more, the GADDC is a great group to consider. In addition to hosting several events each year, they also offer classes to teach you and your dog how to participate in the sport.
Some of the events for 2011 will include The Dixie-Disc Dogs Championships in March, qualifying events such as the US Disc Dogs Southern Nationals in April and the Georgia State Frisbee Dog Championships in August. There are also many teaching clinics held throughout the year as well as social events for both dogs and their people.
These competitions are serious business. Some events draw more than 100 teams that come to compete for thousands of dollars in prize money and the biggest honor of the year: The Argus Cup.
Even if you don’t think that your pooch has what it takes to take first place in competitions, the GADDC is a great way to help keep your dog healthy through exercise, relieve his boredom and allow you to connect with other dog owners.
GADDC is as much a social club as it is a venue for dog competitions and, with some of the best attendance and the largest cash prizes in the sport, it is one of the best in the country.
If you don’t want to compete, you can still go watch. Check out the GADDC Web site to learn how to join or where you can go to watch the competition. You are sure to be impressed with the skill of both the dogs and their handlers as they compete as teams in a variety of challenges.
February 6, 2011
It can be so difficult to ignore those pleading eyes as your dog silently begs for just a taste. In some cases however, giving in to his pleading can have serious consequences. This is because many foods are dangerous – even deadly – to dogs. Below are some of the foods that you should help your dog avoid.
Onions and Garlic
While onion and garlic in small amounts may be fine, these foods contain a substance called thiosulphate which, over time, can cause problems. The amount of thiosulsphate can build, so it is best to avoid these foods completely.
Chocolate can be extremely dangerous to dogs. In many cases, it even proves fatal. The substance in chocolate that is hazardous to dogs is called theobromine. Because dark chocolate has this substance in a greater measure than milk chocolate, the darker the chocolate is, the more dangerous it is to your dog.
Chocolate impacts the central nervous system of your dog and can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea, heart problems and death.
If your dog eats chocolate, contact one of the animal poison control hotlines (the numbers are listed below), or bring your pet to the vet or animal emergency clinic.
Raisins and Grapes
Many dogs love to eat grapes, and owners think that they are giving them a healthy snack. While grapes are a wonderful snack for humans, they have the potential to cause kidney failure in some dogs.
Foods that contain the sugar substitute called xylitol should not be fed to dogs. Xylitol can cause serious medical problems, including liver failure. It is commonly found in sugar free chewing gum.
Yeast or Raw Bread Dough
It is possible for yeast, including yeast found in raw bread dough, to expand in the dog’s stomach. This can cause serious, and sometimes deadly, complications, including ruptured intestines.
Other foods that you should never give to your dog include avocadoes, coffee, raw eggs, nutmeg, macadamia nuts, milk, salt and alcohol. If you think that your pet has ingested any of the items on this list, call the ASPCA Pet Poison Control Hotline at 888-426-4432 or the Pet Poison Helpline at 800-213-6680. Both numbers charge a fee, but they can dispense immediate advice that could save your pet’s life.
Dog food is specially formulated to meet the needs of your pets. While an occasional treat of certain human food is ok, it is best to buy food and treats that were intended for your furry family members.
January 31, 2011
Recently, there was a heartbreaking news story in the Atlanta area about a dog that escaped from Delta airlines at Hartsfield International Airport. The dog, a German shepherd named Nala, was being shipped by the airlines, but somehow went missing. After being gone for several days, it was discovered that Nala had died after being hit by a car on Interstate 75.
While many dogs and other pets are shipped every year without incident, there are always several instances of pets being injured or killed during flights. At the very least, flying in the freight section of a plane can be frightening and uncomfortable for your pet.
Before you consider flying with your pet in the luggage section of the flight, keep the following alternatives in mind.
- Some airlines will allow small pets to fly in the cabin. Each airline has a different set of rules about this, so you will need to call well in advance to see if this is a possibility.
- Even if it will take much longer and be a bit of an inconvenience, consider driving rather than flying. This will add some travel time, but will be safer for your pet.
- If you are just going on vacation, consider leaving your pet behind. Find a professional pet sitter that will come to your house to care for your pet. Most animals are creatures of habit and prefer to stay in the comfort of their own homes.
If there is no alternative, and you must fly with your dog in the luggage compartment of the plane, keep the following tips in mind.
- Find a direct flight rather than one with layovers or plane changes
- Make sure the pet carrier is clearly labeled with your name, address and phone number
- Microchip your pet. If he escapes, this will give you the best chance of being reunited.
- Make sure his kennel is latched securely and meets all of the airline regulations.
- Feed him less food than usual the day before the flight
- Make sure he gets plenty of exercise before the flight
- Provide water for him to drink during the flight
- If you will be traveling in a place where extreme temperatures are an issue, remember that the luggage compartment is not climate controlled. Try to choose flights at times of day when the temperature is less of an issue, such as early morning in warm weather or midday in colder climates.
Of course, dogs should be healthy and up-to-date on all vaccinations if they are flying. They will most likely be required to have an up-to-date health certificate as well. Check with your airline beforehand to see what is necessary to meet their guidelines.
January 24, 2011
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Every day, cats become ill because they ingest plants that are poisonous to them. Sadly, sometimes the results are fatal. Even when the result is not so dire, the cat owners maybe left with huge vet bills that could have been avoided if they had just understood which plants are dangerous for their feline friends.
Most people are surprised to learn how many types of plants are toxic to cats. Some of the more common dangerous house plants include aloe, lilies, certain palms, azaleas and rhododendrons. The good news for those who love having live plants in their home is that there are plenty of choices for plants that cannot cause problems for your cats.
As a pet owner, you should take the time to learn which plants can be harmful, and potentially fatal, to your cat. For a complete list, check out this ASPCA list of dangerous plants. The link also includes lists for plants that are dangerous to other animals as well.
Once you learn which plants are harmful, you may choose to remove all poisonous plants from your home. Some pet owners, however, want to keep their favorite plants, so it is important to find ways to ensure that your cat does not eat those plants. Below are some tips about plants and cats.
- Hanging Baskets – If you must keep potentially dangerous plants in your home, consider placing them in hanging baskets (or on a table) where your cat cannot reach them.
- Deter the Cat – Some pet owners have found that placing coffee grounds or orange peels around the bottom of the plant may discourage cats from going near the plant. This, however, will NOT work for all cats.
- Cat Plants – One way to help to keep your cat away from potentially dangerous plants is to get him his own plants. Cat grass, which is sold at many pet supplies stores, is completely safe for cats. Even better, cats tend to be attracted to cat grass, so they will be more likely to leave your other plants alone.
If you think that your cat may have ingested part of a potentially dangerous plant, call the Animal Poison Control hotline at 888-426-4435. There is a fee for the call, but they will be able to tell you if you need to go to a vet or provide you with immediate advice about steps you can take at.
Of course, prevention is the best medicine. Please take some time to look over the list of dangerous plants, and then work to make sure that your pets do not have access to them.