Signs We’re in a Recession – From the Pet’s Perspective

Dogs don’t fret about interest rates on credit cards. Cats certainly couldn’t care less about whose name is on the home deed – they know they own the place. But even pets are feeling the bite of this lousy economy.

“Pets don’t care if the stock market is run by a bear or a bull – or a ferret,” says Arden Moore, pet expert and host of “Oh Behave!” on Pet Life Radio.com. “They don’t care if they live with Bill Gates or a plumber named Joe. They just want good chow, comfy napping spots, and our attention.”

Let presidential contenders decipher how the stock market slide, foreclosures, and bank closings take a toll on people. Moore is here for the four-leggeds – especially after noticing these economic indicators impacting the world of pampered pets:

1. You still sneak in your itty-bitty dog to watch Beverly Hills Chihuahua, but (gasp) you opt for the matinee instead of the evening show.
2. You try to fool your canine chowhound by switching from premium meaty treats to cheaper, wheat-filled biscuits, but the (canine) nose knows.
3. You try to fool your cat by mixing sand from the local beach into the unscented commercial litter in the box – giving a new meaning to a bout with crabs.
4. You skip your dog’s grooming appointment by adopting a DIY attitude that results in your Bichon looking more like a bug-eyed owl in a windstorm.

“It’s true that most dog breeds live to have a job, but I don’t see them becoming

the family breadwinner any time soon,” notes Moore, the author of 20 books on pets. “These days, we need to be smarter than ever on how we unleash our dollars.”

In response, she offers a pet-pleasing plan – Moore’s Money Tips for Pets:

Don’t turn your pet into a clothes horse. If you must dress up your pet – and she approves – limit her outfits to three. Dogs don’t care if they wear the same collar, cape, or hat on more than one occasion.

Do be down in the mouth. Brush your dog or cat’s teeth at least two times a week, using toothpastes and brushes designed for pets, and say bye-bye to doggy breath. These at-home dental items are minor in cost compared to a professional dental cleaning that ranges in cost between $100 and $300.

Bypass the doggy bakery. Save money by honing your pet chef skills. Make healthy homemade treats in big batches – store the extras in the freezer. Add carrots and green beans to your dog’s chow in the bowl to help him feel full on less kibble. Estimated annual savings: $110.

Score bargains at discount and warehouse stores. Save a few pennies to a few dollars by buying litter, leashes, bowls, beds, and treats at places that primarily cater to two-leggeds, such as Wal-Mart, Target, and Costco, instead of pet supply stores or pet boutiques. Estimated annual savings: $100.

Purchase pet insurance. Pet owners need to prepare for the unexpected. It is far less expensive to purchase insurance when your pets are young. Moore’s Golden Retriever/Husky mix, Chipper, underwent a delicate rectal surgical procedure, and her policy covered 80 percent of the $850 procedure.

Moore’s parting advice: “Pets are our priceless allies. Remember, doggy kisses and full-throttle cat purrs are always free.”

How to Find Pet Beds Online

One of the latest trends for dogs and other pets is pet furniture. More specifically, pet beds. Just do a brief search on the internet and you will see just how many different options and styles there are in beds for dogs, cats and other fun loving animals. Here are a few tips to help you find the right, stylish bed for your pet.

Always consider the weight of the item when you are buying pet beds online. How much the bed weighs will consider immensely and you will more than likely have to cover the costs of shipping when ordering over the internet.

Some of these beds can be quite bulky and heavy and may cost you more to have it shipped than the bed itself. If this is the case, you may want to check your local area first or only buy from online stores that offer free shipping. Although, the stores that don’t charge for shipping often raise the price of the beds to compensate for their loss.

Also be very aware of the size of the bed you are buying. Since there are all sorts of sizes of dogs, you want to make sure that the bed is not too big or not too small for your pet. The pictures on these online stores can be somewhat misleading, so always check to see what the dimensions are before you order.

Where is your pet going to be using his or her bed at? While some owners plan on keeping their pet beds indoors, others are strictly outdoor pet beds. The ones that are used primarily outdoors will need to be much more durable and be able to stand the elements, or at least be washable.

Make sure as well that the product you are ordering is what it says it is. There are many online shopping sites that don’t always give up what they are offering. Know which sites are trustworthy and which ones aren’t.

You will also need to make sure that all of the materials that make up the bed are safe for your animal. This means that the material should be non-toxic and there should be no small, edible parts that your pet can swallow and choke on.

Purchasing pet beds on the internet is a great way to save money and shop from the convenience of your own home. Just follow the advice above and you are sure to get a great bed for your pet without too much hassle.

Do Pets Make Good Holiday Gifts?

It happens every time the Holidays roll around — people decide to give pets as gifts. But is it a wise choice? When I was in 3rd grade I hounded my parents to let me get a pet. They finally relented after months of nagging and there he was one day, my holiday present, “Tiger”. He really was “my cat” and I even took him with me when I moved out of the dorm in college, but you can be sure my parents were responsible for a great deal of the care from the time I was 7 until I was 19.

Tiger lived with me for 7 more years after college, but not all pets given as gifts have the same happy story. Owning a pet is a significant commitment, and like any major decision, it’s wise to consider all the factors before proceeding. If you’re considering giving a pet as a gift, here are some suggestions to help you avoid problems:

1) Make Sure The Person Wants A Pet

A pet should never be given as an “unexpected” gift to someone; they should have already made the decision that they want a pet, and most importantly, that they have the means to properly care for it. The holidays are not an ideal time to get a pet for a number of reasons: People are generally far too busy to properly introduce a new pet into their home while trying to keep up with all the demands of the season. With parties to attend, houseguests, etc., a new pet can easily be lost in the shuffle or worse, neglected.

A better choice is to give a coupon, picture or certificate that can be handed over and opened at gift time, then arrangements can be made to have the pet arrive after the holidays have passed.

2) A Pet Should NOT be an Impulse Purchase

Do not buy a pet on impulse from a shopping mall pet store. They may look adorable and in need of a home, but unfortunately, these pets are usually stressed, immune suppressed and often come from mass breeders (puppy mills) with questionable breeding practices.

If you are going to get a pet, it is much better to plan ahead and take the time to research your choice of animal. For a dog, find a responsible breeder, or better yet find a shelter or a rescue group. I am a firm believer in rescuing animals from a shelter or from one of the many responsible pet rescue groups.

3) Consider Fostering or Getting Pets other than Dogs and Cats

Animal rescues are always looking for responsible people to provide foster pet homes on a short-term or long-term basis until they can find them a “forever home.” There are also lots of choices other than dogs and cats, especially if the pet is for a child. Fish, turtles, mice and guinea pigs are all excellent, easy and economical choices that kids can enjoy and love without creating much of an impact to your daily routine.

4) If The Addition Of A Pet Is Inevitable, Be Sure To Prepare Your Home

Puppies, and especially kittens are very curious, so “pet proofing” your home is essential. Lock away all household chemicals, keep any potentially poisonous houseplants or breakables out of reach, tie back any electrical cords and keep doors closed. Many holiday decorations like tinsel, mistletoe, wrapping paper and table decorations can be problematic, while certain foods, including chocolate and raisins can be lethal to your pet.

Establish an area in the house where your pet can peacefully relax and sleep. It is much easier on the pet if you can consistently offer them a “safe haven” as they settle into their new home.

5) You Need More Than Just Food and Bowls

There’s a whole laundry list of things you will need, so stock up at the pet store before your new addition arrives. For example, owning fish requires a variety of cleaning and water treatment supplies, as well as chemicals and back up parts. Small, furry pets like gerbils and hamsters need nesting material and other “cage furniture” to give them a rich environment. Dogs and cats need toys, bedding, collars, tags, grooming accessories, and a tracking chip.

Choose a vet, and also locate the nearest emergency veterinary hospital that is open 24/7. All new puppies and kittens need a series of vaccinations. Make sure you get any records containing your pet’s history — this will help a veterinarian determine exactly which vaccinations are needed.

A pet can be a wonderful addition to your household. Since begging my parents for that first cat almost fifty years ago I’ve had animals in my life ever since. As a trainer, I have seen lives change as thousands of pet owners experience the love and joy that comes from owning an animal. However, I have also seen many situations where a pet given as a gift or bought on impulse does not turn out to be a benefit, but in fact, quite the opposite. If you are giving someone a new pet this year for the holidays, I believe it is best for everyone involved when a pet is a planned addition by a willing and prepared owner.

Who Wins With Women: Their Partner or Their Pet?

The unconditional love that pets show their female owners seem to be paying off. In a recent survey done by the English animal charity group, The Brooke, more than 1/3 of the 2,000 women surveyed reported that they loved their pet as much as their significant other.

This overwhelming show of love may not be surprising, especially considering that our modern pets have become members of our human families. But it may be surprising to learn that one in ten women admitted that they loved their pet even more than their partner, and many didn’t even feel guilty about it.

The study highlights a pet’s most winning characteristic, unconditional love. The women surveyed admitted that their feelings for their pet increased when their partners showed less affection. They don’t argue with women about money, children, and housework, and their affection is almost always available.

Some respondents also said that if a boyfriend didn’t like their pet, it would be a reason to split up. Pets can be a center of contention in relationships more than some people think, especially when someone enters a relationship with the pet. They are so loved that this can often cause feelings of jealousy in a budding relationship, reports the matchmaking site, match.com

They can also become a source of tension as couples sort out the specifics of pet care, the “rights” of the pet, and exactly how much money should be spent on it. Perhaps one of the most common pet arguments is if it is allowed to sleep in the bed with its human counterparts.

While sorting out these details can be complicated, the happiness that a pet brings to a partner in the relationship is usually worth the sacrifice, and the other partner may come to view the pet with affection as well.

Of course, tensions can be less and even bring a new unity relationship when the adoption of a pet is a shared choice between two significant others, but the technicalities of owning a pet can still be difficult to work out if not thought out before the pet comes home.

If you and your significant pet are considering adopting a pet, think about the following first:

  • Make sure that you’ve talked about the time and financial commitments of the pet, and that you’re both ready. Do you have the funds to not only purchase the pet but also provide it with the proper vet visits and needs such as a pet collar, a dog bed, or a crate?
  • Decide ahead of time who will take care of which pet responsibilities, from early morning bathroom duty to vet visits.
  • Make sure you’re both comfortable with the type of pet you want to bring home. A dog breed that’s known to be difficult to train, for example, may not be a good match for a couple where one partner hasn’t ever trained a dog before.
  • Set the boundaries beforehand. Talk about what kind of training method you’ll both be using, where the pet will sleep, and how much reign of the house the pet will be allowed to have.

If anything, the Brooke survey highlights that, despite the sacrifices pets can require, pet relationships are true love, and if approached well, can bring you and your true love closer together instead of farther apart.