25 January 2008

More Employers Offering Pet Insurance

At a time when employers are scaling back on costly health benefits, pet insurance is gaining popularity as an employee benefit.

Veterinary Pet Insurance, the nation's largest pet insurer, saw its corporate accounts balloon from 15 to 1,600 in the past six years. About 15 percent of Veterinary Pet Insurance's policies, or about 50,000, come from its corporate accounts.

The growth of this perk comes as pets occupy an increasingly prominent place in the American home. According to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, pet owners spent an estimated $9.8 billion on veterinary care in 2007, up from $7.1 billion in 2001.

Pet owners are spending more on sophisticated care to give animals some comfort or a few extra years when illness strikes. The cost of a surgical veterinarian visit was $453 for dogs and $363 for cats in 2006, the most recent figures available, but treating a pet for an illness like cancer can cost several thousands of dollars.

Pet insurance is still relatively rare, with only about 2 percent of pets in the United States insured. Another major pet insurer, PetHealth Inc., expects that figure to grow to about 10 percent over the next decade as options for animal medical care grow.

[Source: CNN.com]

24 January 2008

Pet Fashion Week in Toyko

It's exciting to hear that Pet Fashion Week took place in Tokyo on January 12 & 13. Japanese fashion designers are known for their striking avant-garde looks and we hope to see more innovative styles in doggie couture.

The Tokyo Project runway shows will explore the combination of personality, creativity, and tradition that make New York City a fashion capital. Ten selected pet apparel and accessory designers will present demi-couture, avant-garde collections to an audience of 40,000 end consumers. The designs, created specifically for the event, will reflect the spectacular energy of the city and the diversity of the different neighborhoods throughout history. Designers have been hand-picked by Pet Fashion Week NY to represent the best in the pet fashion industry.

[Source: Pet Fashion Week]

22 January 2008

Animal Fair's Most Eligible Pets

Animal Fair magazine has a list of the most eligible pets in its latest issue, naming Miley Cyrus' dogs, Roadie and Loco, as the most eligible pets. And why are Roadie and Loco the most eligible? "They’re the only ones who can get tickets to the sold-out Hannah Montana tour," Animal Fair’s editor Wendy Diamond said.

The list was prompted by a lack of pets being represented in the media's frequent "Best" lists, Diamond revealed. "All the time we hear about the sexiest men alive, the best- and worst-dressed celebrities or the most beautiful people," the editrix explained. "What about the pets?"

Clawing their way onto the lineup are Glenn Close’s pooches Jake and Bill who stand beside medical innovator and two-time Time cover star Dr. Andrew Weil’s Rhodesian ridgebacks make the list for the pets who can boast the best diets. TV Judge David Young’s canine Maggie Youngstein nabbed a spot as did, French bulldog Rosco and German Sheppard Mabel, who belong to Notes From the Underbelly star Rachel Harris.

Rounding out the list are celebrity blogger Perez Hilton's mini Goldendoodle Teddy, Extra host A.J. Calloway's dog Banks, New York socialite Emma Snowdon-Jones' Schipperke Gibear, designer Colin Cowie's 20-year-old Cocker Spaniel Oscar, and a celebrity in his own right, Schmaltzy, the piano playing cat. Noticeably absent on the poll is Trouble Helmsley, recently deceased Leona Helmsley’s Maltese, who inherited $12 million from the hotel maven. That’s only due to the fact that, Diamond explained, “No one wanted to deal with his lawyers."

Next list we'd like to see is Best Dressed Pet!

[Source: PageSix.com]

17 January 2008

Top 10 Breeds in US for 2007

The American Kennel Club just released it's top 10 most popular dog breeds in the US, according to AKC registration. And the winners are...

1. Labrador Retriever
2. Yorkshire Terrier
3. German Shepherd Dog
4. Golden Retriever
5. Beagle
6. Boxer
7. Dachshund
8. Poodle
9. Shih Tzu
10. Bulldog

This is the first time the Bulldog has made it into the top 10 in nearly 75 years. And not surprisingly, the Lab has held the number 1 position for the 17th consecutive year. Definitely man's (woman and child) best friend.

[Source: American Kennel Club]

15 January 2008

Healing Harpists

The healing power of music has long been established in people. Now a handful of harpists throughout the country are harnessing that power for animals. Alianna Boone is one of those musicians.

"The structure of the harp is considered to be the most healing instruments next to human voice," said Boone, an Oregonian who plays for ill family pets and produced a CD "Harp Music to Soothe the Savage Beast."

While anecdotal reports abound, Boone conducted one of the few studies on harp music’s effect on animals. In 2000, she performed for recently hospitalized canines at a Florida veterinary clinic. The hour-long sessions immediately began to lower heart rate, anxiety, and respiration in many cases, she said.

Diane Schneider produced "Harp of Hope: Animal Therapy Edition", a collection of 17 songs. It was originally recorded for people but Schneider decided to release an animal edition last year after owners reported it helped their arthritic dogs fall asleep and calmed their agitated cats.

She said every detail of the instrumentals — the tempos, rhythms, keys, note intervals, chord structures and plucking techniques — are carefully arranged to promote progressive peace and relaxation. Animals usually begin to relax after listening for just a few minutes. Schneider recommends playing the music on an as-needed basis or before a stressful situation, such as a veterinary or grooming appointment.

"I’m hopeful that there will be a great increase in the use of this benevolent therapy," said Schneider. "It is a very cost-effective, beneficial, soothing, calming intervention for animals and the people who love animals."

[Source: MSNBC]

10 January 2008

Vick Dogs Arrive at Best Friends Sanctuary

If you've been following the Michael Vick story from the summer, I'm sure you're wondering about what happened to the dogs. There's been lots of news about the man but what will happened to those poor pups? Recently, 22 of the 44 dogs arrived at the Best Friends sanctuary in Southern Utah where they will be cared for, rehabilitated and hopefully placed in loving homes.

Chief executive officer Paul Berry said the Vick dogs "deserve the very best that we can give them. Best Friends has been given the opportunity to do what it does best – provide a caring, rehabilitative home for these abused, homeless animals. We have prepared a safe place for them to stay for the rest of their lives."

"The pit bull is easily the most misunderstood breed of dog in the U.S. Unfortunately, it is the very loving and loyal nature of these dogs that makes them prone to exploitation."

These are very special dogs and Best Friends is taking extraordinary steps to ensure their safety and security, and to guarantee that these "celebrity" animals are never exploited again. That means taking steps to make sure that other dog fighters (or other people who just want to be able to say they adopted a Vick dog) don’t slip through our careful screening of adoption applicants.

If you want to read more about these dogs or follow their journey, the Best Friends web site has a blog dedicated to them.

08 January 2008

Cloned Cats Glow in the Dark

Advancement in medicine can sometimes be...creepy. South Korean scientists have cloned cats by manipulating a florescent protein gene to develop treatment for human genetic diseases. A side-effect of this cloning method is that the cats glow in the dark under ultraviolet light. Like I said, creepy.

07 January 2008

The Primaries Are Just Heating Up!

It's a Presidental Election year and wow, this will be one super exciting ride! This is the first time since 1928 where neither a sitting President nor Vice President will be a candidate for nomination, so it will be an open race for both parties. If your dog or cat is as political and passionate as you, they can wear their political colors with pride. These Political Party Pets items are perfect to show your support, and perhaps even start a debate at the dog park!

04 January 2008

Tribute to the Dog Who Changed a Person Changing the World

Veterinary behaviorist Dr. Karen Overall is like the Jane Goodall of the pet world. Overall speaks around the world, influencing thousands of veterinarians, veterinary nurses, technicians, and dog trainers. She's even swayed the U.S. military to think differently about dog training. Her book "Clinical Behavioral Medicine for Small Animals" is a bible for vets and behavior consultants. When asked who motivated Overall first, she simply replied, "Flash", one of her beloved dogs.

Flash recently passed away on December 8, 2007. He helped change Karen Overall - who is now changing the world. Flash survived 4 homes, 3 shelters, and abuse that included hanging from a choke chain until he passed out. In addition to the broken hyoid bones he suffered when hung, he had a wing of a spinal vertebra sheared off, and 2 healed broken ribs. As her patient, Dr. Overall knew that she needed to make the choice to either put him to sleep or bring him home. After looking Flash in his eyes she knew what he wanted and what she had to do - give him a loving home. He lived with Overall and her family for 10 years and 7 months.

Flash helped touch the lives of thousands of veterinarians and pets with his story and lessons of overcoming pain and abuse. Dr. Overall's clients were given hope after seeing his video, meeting him, or working with him. According to Overall, Flash "carried the notions of calm and recovery with him everywhere he went."

Last October, Flash was diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma and struggled through repeated bleeds and transfusions, especially during the last week of his life. Even after Flash became ill, he never stopped visiting dogs at the veterinary specialty hospitals. He was kind and gentle with other dogs, licking them and leaning against them. When Flash first went to live with Overall, she had promised him that he would one day die at home with his family. And he did.

Flash helped change Dr. Overall's way of thinking, practice of medicine, and also helped to expand her ability to be compassionate. He redefined the way she approached the specialty of behavioral medicine. His professional behavior mod video will be out in 2008, and Overall will also be writing a book about what she learned from him.

Flash's story is one of a remarkable, lovable, intelligent dog that will never be forgotten. His love, generosity, and determination to live the very best life he could has influenced and changed a great person who is now changing the world.

[Source: Steve Dale's Pet World]

03 January 2008

Couple Grapple Over Dog Near Shower

Some stories are just too strange for words. Take this one for example...

In Bremerton, WA, a 25 year old woman was arrested for second-degree assault after getting into an argument with her boyfriend. Apparently the woman refused to let his dog in the bathroom while they took a shower together.

According to the police report, the man, 26, wanted his dog to join them in the bathroom but the woman refused. She told him that if the dog doesn't stay out of the bathroom, she didn't want to be his girlfriend anymore. He replied that maybe his next girlfriend would appreciate the dog more, and called her a name.

The police report stated that the woman punched the man in the face several times and the man dislocated his shoulder after the naked couple grappled. He told police his girlfriend threw a picture frame at him, which broke and cut him. The woman is now in jail and bail has been set at $50,000.

In my opinion, they were both wrong in this situation. The woman was obviously out of line for hurting her boyfriend so severely, yet the man should have simply respected her wishes after she refused to let the dog in the bathroom. Some people feel strange taking showers with ANYONE in the room, even a pet. I personally don't mind if my dog sits in the bathroom while I take a shower, but I will not hold it against another person if they do. Still, her reaction was pretty crazy. Talk about a stupid reason to end up with a criminal record.

[Source: Yahoo! News, Image: clipartguide.com]

02 January 2008

Three Maryland Dogs Enjoy $800,000 Inheritance

Buckshot, Katie and Obu-Jet enjoy the good life and are well taken care of even though their owner passed away last year. Ken Kemper, their former owner, died of cancer and left his three dogs $400,000 from his estate and his Maryland house. In total, Buckshot, Katie, and Obu-Jet are worth about $800,000.

The beagle and two Labrador mixes now live at the house with a caretaker, Ron Grady. On Friday nights, the dogs are treated to a spaghetti and meatball dinner with garlic bread. Buckshot, Katie, and Obu-Jet just know when it’s Friday and when it’s time for spaghetti and meatballs. Grady said, “They’re the most loving dogs. That’s all they live for, is to give you attention and love.”

Karin Anderson, a longtime friend of Kemper and the executor of his estate, said four dogs originally were in the pack. Skye, a Jack Russell terrier, died about three weeks ago from pancreatic cancer. Grady said the remaining three dogs still mope around and seem saddened by the loss of their friend.

Kemper worked for the Voice of America, an international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government. It was common for Kemper to return to the U.S. with stray dogs from the Middle East and other parts of the world. Anderson said that when the dogs die, she will ensure that the money goes to an animal charity, because that is what Kemper would have wanted. All three dogs are about 10 years old now. "He really loved animals," Anderson said. "The man's heart was so big, it needed its own ZIP code. He was a great guy."

[Source: Itchmo and Herald-Mail]