Posted by: paperbacks | November 11, 2007

5 Reasons Why You Should Get a Pet Rat

5 Reasons Why You Should Get a Pet Rat

After the release of the movie, Ratatouille, more and more children are interested in getting a rat as a pet.

Luckily, rats make great pets, and if you would like your child to learn how to care for an animal, a rat is a great first pet to have.

These 5 facts about rats should help you decide whether a rat is right for you.

Carrie the Rat




1. Rats are very intelligent: Rats are used in many scientific labs because they are smart. They are good at figuring out mazes and quickly learn how to use new gadgets for getting themselves food.

Rats are so intelligent that they are now used to sniff out bombs and landmines. They can detect almost all landmines, and are cheaper to use than trained dogs. Also, because the rats are much smaller than dogs, there is less chance that their own weight will set off the mine.

2. Rats can learn tricks: Having an intelligent pet means that you can train it to perform tricks on command! Many rat owners have taught their pets to come when called and to use a litter tray.

Other things you may want to teach your rat are to walk on a leash, and to understand what the word “no” means.

3. Rats are affectionate pets: Your pet rat, after getting used to you, will enjoy being handled by you and played with by you. In fact, you need to spend time with your rat each day for it to be a truly happy pet.

4. Pet rats are very clean: Rats should have absorbent litter in their cage to keep the smell down. They can easily be trained to go only in a box of litter.

5. Rats are social animals: Rats do not like to live alone. You need to have room for at least two rats if you would like a pet rat.

Your rats will play with each other and curl up together to sleep. Do not deprive your pet of this relationship!


Male and female rats should not be kept together, as they will breed.



Posted by: paperbacks | November 3, 2007

Support the Troops – Foster a Military Pet

Photo from Flickr: SoldiersMediaCenter

Imagine if you found yourself deployed to Iraq, without knowing who would take care of your best friend—your dog or your cat. Our troops have enough to worry about in Iraq without the worry that their pet is being neglected. Some troops have left their pets in the care of reluctant family members, only to come home and find that this family member sent the dog off to an animal shelter months earlier. You can support our troops by fostering the pets of deployed soldiers.


You can register as a foster home here on

Or, you can register solely as a cat foster home here at Operation Noble Foster.

If you cannot foster a pet, you may also make a monetary donation at the above websites.


Posted by: paperbacks | October 29, 2007

Pet Articles – October 29

Should You Buy Your Kids a Pet
Kids and pets fit together well, but often end in more work for parents. This article addresses the points to consider when making the decision to get a family pet. The article addresses the basic points you should ALWAYS consider when getting a new pet, as well as the best way for your kids to help care for the animal.

A List of Dogs that Keep Shedding to a Minimum
One of the problems of having a pet is the added cleaning chores. This article provides a list of dogs that shed very little, or not at all

Five Ways to Keep Your Bird Entertained While You’re Away
This article has some creative tips to make sure your pet bird is happy while you’re at work. All pets need attention and entertainment to prevent destructive behavior. This article will help you improve your life and relationship with your pet bird.

Posted by: paperbacks | October 19, 2007


Description: Poodles come in three recognized sizes. The Standard Poodle is the largest, and stands over 15 inches at the shoulder. According to the Poodle Club of America, most Standard Poodles are actually in 22 to 27 inches range. The Miniature Poodle stands between 10 and 15 inches at the shoulder. The Toy Poodle stands below 10 inches at the shoulder. All sizes of poodles share the same active and intelligent characteristics. Poodles range in color from white to black, including shades of gray in between, and apricot. According to the American Kennel Club standard, poodles have a confident and proud nature, with timidity seen as a fault.

Poodles are a good choice for a family, as they are not an aggressive breed. They will bond with everyone in the family, not just one member. Any breed needs training to be a good family pet, and poodles are relatively easy to train. Poodle owners describe their dogs as having full and diverse personalities. They are empathetic dogs, expressing concern when their owners are feeling down.

Lifestyle: Poodles need a yard and regular walks for exercise. They do not need any fancy dog food, and will do well with simple dog food.

Grooming: Poodles need frequent brushing and clipping, which can be done by the owner if desired. They should be combed weekly or with more frequency to avoid matting. Poodles have hypoallergenic fur and do not shed.

Stock Photo of a Chocoloate Poodle

Health Issues: Most large dogs are prone to hip dysplasia, but this problem is common in miniature poodles too. It is an inherited problem. Epilepsy is also an inherited problem, and occurs in all sizes of poodles. A reputable breeder should not breed dogs that have any

inheritable diseases. Other inheritable disorders found in poodles includes Von Willebrand’s Disease and Progressive Retinal Atrophy. Another disease, Legg-Calve-Perth is believed to be hereditary, although it is not certain. Other problems to watch out for are hypothyroidism and kneecap dislocation.

American Kennel Club
Poodle Club of America
Canada’s Guide to Dogs

Posted by: paperbacks | October 12, 2007

Useful Pet Articles October 12

Check out these articles about pets!

Caring for Your New Puppy’s Health
Read all about the vaccinations and vet treatments puppies need.

Does Your Dog Shed All Over Your House?
This article gives tips on how to control and deal with shedding. The tips include foods that help reduce shedding, good grooming habits, and how to tell when the shedding is related to a health problem.

Poison Training Your Dog
If your dog roams free, you may want to poison-train him. This means that you will teach your dog not to take food from strangers that may be poisonous.

Halloween Safety Tips: How to Prevent and Treat Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs
Chocolate can be deadly to dogs. This article gives some tips on how to prevent your dog from getting chocolate poisoning, and how to prepare in case he does!

Photo from Flickr:

Posted by: paperbacks | October 6, 2007

Donate to the ASPCA

The ASPCA organization promotes animal welfare through lobbying and providing expert information on pet care. They research and share their views on all matters of animal welfare, from ethical pet keeping to humane trapping. They run the ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement Division, which you may have seen on the TV show “Animal Precinct” on Animal Planet.

October is Adopt a Shelter-Dog Month, and even if you cannot adopt a dog, the ASPCA website allows you to sponsor one. If you have some free time, but don’t want another pet, you may also foster one. Also, there are many other animals up for adoption at different SPCA shelters, from smaller pets to farm animals. We adopted a beautiful pony, Pippin, from Nevin’s Farm, a Massachusetts SPCA farm.

The ASPCA website shows dogs up for adoption, dogs that you can sponsor for $18 a month (that’s only $0.60 a day–you probably spend twice this on coffee every day).

They have many way to contribute. Every month they offer different animals for sponsorship. You can also become a member of the ASPCA, or join the Founders’ Society. They will help you set up “planned giving,” which allows you to build donations to the ASPCA into your will. They also list which employers will match employee donations to the ASPCA.

You can donate in someone else’s name as a birthday gift to that person. In fact, some children choose to have their guests all donate to a chosen charity instead of giving them birthday presents. You can also have your friends donate to your favorite charity as a wedding gift for you. Check out Party it Forward to learn more about this.

The ASPCA is based in New York, so if you would like to directly help a more local shelter, check the yellow pages and get in touch with them. Also, your state may have it’s own SPCA organization, like Massachusetts.

Posted by: paperbacks | October 6, 2007

How to Make a Dog Halloween Costume

Halloween costumes on dogs can be cute, and a little pathetic. Some pets just won’t stand for wearing a Halloween costume all night, but if your dog is used to wearing some clothes, or just laid back, here are some ideas. I looked for McCall pet costume patterns, and then came up with some more ways to use those patterns to make your dog’s Halloween costume. I also added in some ideas for how your costume can match your dog’s Halloween costume. You can buy this pattern at your local Jo-ann’s or Wal-Mart.

If would like to make a more complicated costume for your dog, I have included some photos of other people’s creative costumes to inspire you.

Make your Dog a Halloween Costume from a Basic Sweater Pattern:
Pattern M5544 from McCall

Santa Dog Costume: Make a doggy sweater out of red fabric with white trim. Addition: if your dog will stand to wear something on his head as part of his Halloween costume, you can add a little hood to the sweater. To match your dog’s costume, you could dress up as Santa’s elf.

Prisoner Dog Costume: Make your dog an orange sweater with a number on his back. You can use iron-on-transfer letters to put the number on. To match your dog’s Halloween costume here, you can dress up as a fellow prisoner, or as a prison guard or policeman.

Lobster Dog Costume: Make the sweater with the hood, out of red or orange fabric. Then, add eyes to the hood and legs along the sides of the sweater. To match this dog costume, you could dress up as any number of things. Your costume could be a fellow lobster, or perhaps a chef, or you could dress up as the Little Mermaid and your dog can be Sebastian.

Bumblebee Dog Costume: Make the sweater out of striped black and yellow material. Put antennae on the hood. If you can find something that could look like a refracting bee eye, add it to the costume!

Here are some photos of some more complicated, creative dog Halloween costumes to inspire you.

Spider Dog

Photos from Flickr:

Posted by: paperbacks | October 3, 2007

Abyssinian Cat


The Abyssinian resembles the cats from ancient Egyptian paintings and sculptures. They are lean and muscular cats, with large ears and eyes. These cats are named after Ethiopia, formerly Abissinia, because the first of these cats in England were imported from there around 1868, by British troops who fought there during the Abyssinian War. The most likely point of origin for this cat is coastland along the Indian Ocean and parts of Southeast Asia.

These cats generally enjoy being around people, although they may not show it through cuddling. Abyssinians are also considered to be a very loyal and intelligent breed of cat, and they are also interesting in knowing what you are doing. They are good with children and other pets.

Abyssinians are fairly active cats all throughout their lives, and are not a good choice for someone who is looking for a low-energy cat. They like to use their paws as hands. Abyssinians are often interested in water, and will enjoy drinking from a dripping faucet. They are renowned for their fondness for sitting in high places, such as on top of the refrigerator.

They may live past 15 years, and occasionally they even live past 20. To help them live to this long life, look out for common cat problems such as gingivitis. Abyssinian owners must also watch out for Renal Amyloidosis, a kidney problem especially common in this cat, but not unheard of in other breeds. The disease is genetic, so the first step to avoid it is to make sure you buy your kitten from a reputable breeder with clean health records among their breeding stock.

Photos from Flickr:

Information from:
Cat Fanciers’ Association



Posted by: paperbacks | October 1, 2007

Useful Pet Articles October 1

Here are four useful articles for pet owners, covering topics that every dog owner should read up on.

How to Introduce a Dog to a Cat
This article gives some tips on how to handle the tricky process of introducing two pets. Remember, all pets should be socialized around other humans and animals while they are young.

How to Control Your Dog’s Chewing and Destructive Behavior
A bored dog is a destructive dog. Make sure your dog has sufficient toys, exercise, and attention from you. This article gives some tips on how to stop chewing behaviors once they have already begun.

Dog Grooming Guide: Tail Waggin’ Tips from Head to Paw
Many grooming parlors charge high prices, and keep your dog waiting, crated up, for hours. Save yourself some money and keep your dog clean, healthy, and beautiful by learning how to groom your pet at home.

Posted by: paperbacks | October 1, 2007



Description: Bulldogs, also known as English Bulldogs, have short, fine fur, and wrinkled skin around their heads. The male Bulldog weighs about 50 pounds, while the female Bulldog can get up to 40 pounds. Bulldogs are short and stocky dogs and have an appearance stability and strength. The American Kennel Club breed standard suggests that the ideal Bulldog temperament is outgoing, but friendly, calm and non-aggressive. Some Bulldogs need a little extra training to learn their place in the family hierarchy, but with a little patience, even these stubborn ones make great pets.

Bulldogs are reported to be very gentle with children and loyal to their families. However, considering that they are bred to bait bulls, they can make good guard dogs. They generally get along with other pets, although you should always be careful when introducing animals to each other.

Health Problems: Like many dogs, Bulldogs may have hip and knee issues. Due to the way Bulldogs are bred, some are born with difficulty breathing, and all are prone to breathing problems. Related to this, most Bulldogs snore loudly. The Bulldog may face digestion issues, leading to unpleasant side effects and smells. Also, watch out for skin problems.

Exercise/Living Conditions: Bulldogs are not very active, so they can be kept in an apartment, without a yard. Of course, while they may not enjoy exercise, a little is good for their health and will keep their weight down. Like Chihuahuas they get cold easily, so should not be exposed to very cold or very hot weather.

Life Expectancy: 8 years

Grooming: Bulldogs are short-haired dogs, but do need brushing. Their wrinkles may get dirt trapped in them, and chafe into sores, so they should be wiped out with a damp cloth every day. They shed an average amount.

Photos from Flickr:

Information from:
American Kennel Club
Dog Breed Info

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