December 2

What You Need to Know About Fleas and Ticks

If you have a dog or a cat as a pet, you need to know about fleas and ticks. These external parasites could transmit a range of awful diseases that could make both you and your pet sick, so taking the appropriate steps to prevent a flea or tick from latching onto you or your pet is extremely important. Check out the facts below to learn more about what you should know about fleas and ticks so that you can keep your family safe.

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They Can Survive During the Winter

A lot of people are under the false impression that ticks and fleas are only a problem during the warmer months of the year. The truth, however, is that these parasites could persist throughout the year, making year-round flea and tick prevention necessary. During the winter, fleas could live inside warm homes and on warm animals. And ticks could survive whenever the weather is above freezing, so the winter will not kill all of them.

You Need to Clean Your House Too

If you ever find a flea on your dog or cat, treating him appropriately with a product like one of the topical flea and tick remedies available will help get rid of the ones on your pet. But don’t forget to also thoroughly clean the environment that your pet has been spending time in. That’s because fleas will end up laying eggs that fall off into the environment. The eggs will eventually develop into fleas, so getting rid of the eggs is a key step in preventing the lifecycle to continue. Failing to remove the eggs or the larvae and pupae will result in more fleas before you know it. So, vacuum everything from the floors and the furniture, to your pet’s beds and toys, and everywhere in between.

Keep Ticks Away

Unlike fleas, which can easily jump to move from one place and one host to another, ticks will need to walk onto your pet or onto your leg while you are spending time outside together. Avoiding tall grasses and checking yourself and your dog for ticks after spending time in the great outdoors is one way to prevent a tick bite. But you could also take steps around your home to keep ticks away. For example, trimming your grass and any bushes around your home regularly, as well as cleaning up debris, will prevent ticks from having the environment they need to easily crawl onto a host.

Even Indoor Cats Could Get Fleas

Finally, if you think that your indoor cat is safe, think again. Fleas could make their way into your house just like other bugs can. And they might even get onto your body while you’re spending time outdoors, causing you to carry them into your home where they will find your cat.

Consider talking to your vet about the many flea and tick prevention methods and treatments that are available for your cat or dog. In this way, you can avoid an infestation of fleas or a bite from a tick that could transmit disease.

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May 29

Affordable Pet Supplies Helps You Care for Your Pets

Finding alternative resources for your pet supplies can be the smartest move you make. The reason? When those care products and supplies become costly, it is all too easy to slip into the cost-saving mode which could mean not purchasing necessary items for optimal pet health. The economy has hit many people hard and pet expenses are often the most expendable when it comes to budgeting your money. However, with an affordable outlet in which to purchase pet care items, you can keep your pet happy and healthy.

Preventative Medications

With the right preventative medications, you can keep your pets from getting sick and producing high veterinarian bills. While you must take your pet into the vet for check-ups, you don’t have to purchase prescription medications from them such as flea and heartworm preventatives. An online pet store with a good reputation can often sell you the medications you need at a fraction of the vet’s retail cost.

Insurance for your Pet

Smaller animals like guinea pigs, rats and hamsters are inexpensive to purchase and maintain; pets like cats and dogs though are more of an investment. Therefore, if you want to protect yourself against the possibility of the high cost of veterinary procedures in your pet’s future, you can purchase pet insurance. An experienced, knowledgeable online pet store that offers pet supplies will also likely have options for insurance as well.

Pet Accessories and Toys

Part of responsible pet ownership is providing toys for entertainment and stimulation as well as other accessories to help in the care of your animals. If you want a sociable animal that behaves, you will have to invest in a crate or kennel in addition to other paraphernalia that will help reinforce positive behaviours. Grooming basics are important so having a resource to purchase essential grooming supplies so you can do the job yourself and save some money is important too. Fencing, kibble, treats, leashes and even sturdy food and water bowls are part of the pet package.

Being a responsible pet owner means taking care of all your pet’s needs from food and shelter to discipline, training and vet care. Finding one source to provide pet supplies for all your pet’s needs makes sense, particularly if that resource is an online store. You can save more money through this one-stop shopping method because you are not dealing with driving from store to store, wasting gas as well as accumulating wear and tear on your vehicle. And thanks to better technology, online shopping is safe, easy and secure.

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May 19

Happiness and Animals

Playing with animals creates interesting and predictable fun. When the little critters happen to be your friends you add a whole new dimension to the entertainment and feel good experiences that lead to increased happiness. Did you ever visit a retirement home or a convalescent center when someone came in with animals? The residents come alive interacting with the animals. What a neat experience. If you own the animals that go into those places, I imagine that you benefit from a warm fuzzy feeling watching your pet make someone happy and calm.

If you do not own a pet go visit homes with pets so you get to play with the animals. While visiting pay attention to what it feels like to play with a pet or have the pet cuddle with you. Notice the big difference between dogs and cats. A dog is just like your little buddy with a tail always wagging and a tongue hanging out. Dogs seem to smile all the time just like little kids.

And then there are cats. I have a cat. I was a dog person growing up, but I’ve been a cat person most of my adult life. Cats run the household. They let you know what they want to do and what they don’t want to do. Like dogs, cats give you unconditional love. It is quite different from what a dog does. And it leaves you feeling really good.

Maybe you read my articles or head me talk about the purring of a cat. Studies actually show that it’s beneficial to your health and beneficial to the health of the cat just to have a happy cat purring right by you. So, before you think cats are just really boring or nasty, think again. Go visit some of your friends who have cats and see the many different personalities, just like dogs have different personalities, they exhibit. And then there are winged pets, birds. I have a friend who owns all kinds of birds. In fact, I have a number of friends who have all kinds of birds. And they have all kinds of fun with the birds the way people have fun with cats and dogs.

A trip to the local animal shelter offers an opportunity to give a homeless pet some place safe to live. Pet stores carry interesting pet varieties I did not mention here. There is an appropriate pet for every individual. Consider becoming a pet owner to put more love, fun and happiness into your life.

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May 18

People Can Afford Their Pets and Eat

The U. S. has, on average, over 74 million dogs. Many of those are pets, and many of those pets will find themselves homeless, needlessly homeless during these hard, recessionary times. Why, if Fido is such an emotional part of the family, should he be cast into the street? Some might say that the reason has to do with Fido’s being a dog, but they might want to reconsider.

The problem is bigger than the plight of pets. Reflect on the choices that some adults in Nebraska make when they abandon their children -all ages (just born to 17) – under the safe-haven law specifying that a child (children) can be abandoned at a licensed hospital without explaining why. So, the answer is NOT because Fido is a dog or Perky is a cat or Cathy is an adorable and easily adoptable human girl or Billy is a troublesome 17-year-old human boy. It is because their adult people are misguided.

During lean times such as this current recession, some of us are finding ourselves short on cash, short on jobs, and short on the basics of life. In desperation, we forget that we are NOT short on basic human values; they came with us when we were born. Sure, trying to get through each day is very hard and becomes harder when the so-called domino principle crashes down on our heads – banks put pressure on our mortgages, wages dry up from lay-offs, and savings dwindle during lay-offs. Money is scarce – cash for food, utilities, medicine. Those clunking dominos hurt when they crash down. We cannot buy anything. We cannot think rationally. We hurt, so we abandon what we THINK we do not need or cannot manage. In other words, our dilemma is all about US.

Not everyone is like this. Some people do stay on a track of minding their values and dependents. Some manage to sustain what they consider important (i.e., roof over the head, food on the table and in the children’s tummies, medicine for those who need it). They make choices -give up cable TV, cell phone plans, clip coupons, take on odd jobs, and sell unused items in the household. Their bottom-line goal is to keep the family together, even though some sacrifices are hard such s giving up deeply rooted pleasures like smoking, drinking alcohol or gourmet coffees, all of which are expensive and none of which is essential to life.

Too many, though, try to put their comfort levels before their responsibilities. They might attempt to keep both for awhile before reality sets in. Then, when spending does not match their incomes, they cut out what they consider “safe” buffer payments such as rent or mortgage payments, health insurance payments, credit card payments that allow leniency periods, hoping that the bad stuff will just go away.

Bad choices do not go away, though. In the end, 1 + 1 still equals 2, and if we do not have 2, we add it to next month’s bills when it becomes 4, and so on. Bad choices add up to more bad choices.

Do the math. How many of our choices are based on habit, doing just what is familiar to us, not right for us? While indulging in habits of eating chocolate, smoking, drinking gourmet coffee is arguably fine during prosperous times, now during this now-declared recession, money could be (should be) put to better use, but we do not make that choice…out of habit.

Let’s say that someone hands you a check for $1,000 just when your rent payment is due, your electricity payment is overdue, and your family is very tired of Dollar Store macaroni and cheese? Would you

(a) use the money to pay for your family’s needs, or
(b) light a match and burn the check (in other words, buy $1,000 worth of cigarettes)?

If the choice MUST be either A or B, most people would select A and relinquish the cigarettes in order to support their families. Now, take this illustration to the state or national level.

There are approximately 733,100 smokers in South Carolina and 44.2 million smokers in the U.S. At a cost of nearly $40 per carton per smoker (approximately 20-25 cigarettes in a $3.50 pack), that would be about $1,000 per year per person times the number of smokers comes to $442,000,000,000 nationally and $7,331,000,000 in South Carolina. Let’s use that $442 BILLION (over $7 BILLION in South Carolina) to help the abandoned animals and children and anyone else cast out from families who believed that THEIR smoking was more important. Billions. Figures just as high as the federal government’s national bail-out figures, yet we do not see them on the nightly news because ….

At this point in your reading, you have probably begun to wonder what all of this has to do with pets. The point is this. What if the money used for smoking (i.e., burning money) were used to help pets or anyone in the family who is abandoned because their people cannot afford to feed them? While about half of the owners of the nearly 74 million dogs buy their animals gifts during the holidays, too many others go the other extreme of abandoning their pets (or children or elderly) when times get rough to pay bills. Why? The loved ones are a part of the family, aren’t they? Casting Grandma , the kids, pets, or the roof over their heads in favor of menthol light cigarette does not make sense.

The point, then, is for us as a nation and as individuals to make wiser choices!

Sure, you can say. “I don’t have a pet, so it’s not my problem.” So, we hope for new adoptions. We entreat animal-less homes to adopt one, perhaps two, of the abandoned pets. Grand Strand Humane Society and the North Myrtle Beach Humane Society (both under desperately need holiday angels either adopt pets or support pets with their great program. Just in October alone, the Grand Strand rescues took in 2,000 animals, compared with about 1,800 taken in for the entire previous year alone. The new adoption program allows either a real adoption or an “angelic” adoption where both people and businesses can help care for homeless animals without actually having to bring them home. For more information call 843-448-9151 if you are interested in this great program!

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May 17

Pet Carriers Can Save Your Pet

Why does the average pet parent need a pet carrier?

I will list just a few here. The first reason that comes to mind is a video I have seen about an animal shelter worker trying to control a mature cat, without a pet carrier, that got spooked and freaked out.

You do need a dog carrier if you have a cat that travels with you or just to go to the vet office from time to time. But, you already knew that, right.

You do not want your pet moving around the car while you are driving. Of course they want to be in your lap and help drive. This is very dangerous for you, your pet and other drivers.

Pet carriers are an ideal option for traveling with cats and small dogs because they act not only as a form of protection, but also can provide a reassuring space for the pet within the vehicle, train or airplane. All pets are more relaxed in their own safe and secure den which the pet carrier provides. When you arrive at your destination you will have a happier and relaxed pet. So consider your pet and get yourself a pet carrier.

Note: Please-remember your pet on hot days. Do not leave them in the car inside or outside their carrier.

Pet Carriers have become a popular item partially due to the constant scenes on the news, in magazines and tabloids of Hollywood stars carrying their pets in some sort of fancy and stylish carrier on their arm while conducting their daily business, entertainment or otherwise.

Not all pet carriers are created equal so do your homework.

Soft sided and hard sided carriers specifically designed as pet carriers are acceptable for most activities. Prices on pet carriers will vary widely depending upon the size, material and quality of the pet carrier. These can range in price from $30 up to hundreds of dollars for designer pet carriers.

Carriers are attached to the seat belt and headrests of most vehicles, and are entirely enclosed, apart from mesh windows that allow for ventilation and for the animal to look around.

My favorite carriers are those produced for the average pet parent wanting to carry their pet without busting the budget. These carriers buckle into the seat belt in the vehicle. Once unbuckled the carrier functions as a safe and portable environment for the pet.

Some carriers are now doubling as a handbag as well as a dog carriers. These are typically not the secure type carrier.

There is one model of carrier I like very much. It comes in two pieces. One piece is the actual carrier. The other piece is the carrier base. This base is secured in the car seat belt and stays in the car. When you are ready to go you simply snap the carrier into the base just as you would a baby car seat. It is actually easier than a car seat.

Most carriers are designed for small dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits and other reasonably tame small animals. Many manufacturers say that their carrier will handle a 15 lb pet and, this may be technically true. The question is do you really want to walk around a shopping center or a street fair toting a 15 pound dog in a dog carrier.

Most dog carriers work best for the smaller breeds.

Some carriers have wheels just like your small suitcase you pull behind you as you walk through the airport or the shopping mall. These can be very handy.

If you are a frequent flyer or think you might ever need to take your pet on a plane I suggest you check the airlines you may be traveling on for their requirements for pets. Many manufacturers say their dog carriers are airline approved however I find it hard to believe that all these manufacturers are keeping up with the regulations for all airlines. Get the dimensions then check your favorite couple of airlines for their requirements.

Depending upon airline pet policies, pet carriers may be allowed in the cabin of the aircraft as long as they can be stored under the seat but again, check with your airline first.

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April 16

Pet Adoption and Animal

Americans love to own pets and according to the Humane Society almost 40% of American households have a dog and 33% a cat. However, the number of animals is much bigger and not all of them find a home. In addition, some get lost or run away. Most lost pets that end up in an animal shelter are not returned to their owners. There are almost 5,000 shelters in the U.S. and according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 60% of dogs and 70% of cats in the shelters are euthanized.

Nevertheless, adopting a pet from a shelter is not very easy. Although shelters are overcrowded, their first concern is the best future for all the animals that are adopted. If you cannot prove that you have time for the dog or cat, that you have researched the breed you want the animal to be and that everyone in the house agrees to the adoption, you might not be able to get through the adoption procedures.

Workers in shelters have years of experience and can be identify matches better than the general public. Sometimes they are too cautious and all the questionnaires you have to fill in and the interview techniques seem unreasonable. But all these measures are their way of protecting the animals and making sure there will be less returns. There are shelters where you can benefit from volunteer programs and if you enroll in such programs, the staff will get to know you better, so you can reapply for adoption if you have been rejected in the past.

Pet stores ask no questions, but some pets are offered at high prices. If you decide to buy from a breeder, you should first ask for recommendations and do some extensive research.

Only a small percent of household pets are pampered and their owners buy pet insurance. 15% of pets are bought from breeders and just 2% from pet shops. While pet owners that live in urban areas think of their animals as part of their families, owners who live in rural areas are not as concerned about their pets. They do not take them to the vet as often as urban owners do, as there are fewer veterinarians in rural areas.

Some pets are taken from the shelters or from neighbors or friends at low cost, and the money spent on their maintenance is not much. However, they are generally healthy. But unfortunately, too many pets are surrendered to shelters for various reasons.

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April 16

Tips and Information on Natural Animal Health Care

Poor weight gain and lack of condition in our horses, pets and birds.

Since time began horses were naturally herd animals roaming and grazing in the wilds eating grasses and any in season herbs, weeds and flowers they naturally come across during the four seasons of the year.

Horses are now expected to eat large amounts of food once, twice or three times a day which is against their natural instinct. This is done simply because of our life styles but it greatly undermines the horse’s natural eating habits and health.

Poor weight gain is a condition where the horse and pets fails to thrive in spite of being fed what may seem to be a normal diet.

To be able to provide the animal a balanced diet it is necessary to look at its original feeding habits. The bulk of their diet comprises of roughage, a variety of pasture grasses, herbs, flowers and weeds. Concentrates were eaten only when available as seed heads formed. Changes to diet were gradual and dictated by how far they moved per day and seasonal changes. Horses eat for most of the twenty four hour period during the day.

There are several reasons why your animals might be in poor condition despite the fact you might think it is eating a balanced diet, with simple tests from your veterinarian and the aid of a dentist you will be able to address this problem.

It is possible they could have;

A poor immune system.

An imbalance of vitamins and minerals in its diet.

An un-diagnosed low grade infection.

A slow digestive system that is not absorbing all of its nutrients.

An imbalance ratio of concentrates and roughage.

An incomplete metabolism of glucose and fluctuations in glucose levels.

A change to its feed regime.

Exposed to dust in stables, kennels and lofts, fungal spores carried in the air causing bronchial conditions and infections.

A nervous disorder like wind sucking and weaving or it could be highly strung.

A mouth infection or teeth problems.

These are just some of the problems your animals could be encountering.

Why maintaining our animals and birds body condition is so important.

Being underweight is unhealthy for anyone or anything and can reduce their athletic and reproductive performance. If an animal does not receive enough energy in its diet for a long period of time it will begin to lose body condition because its stored fat will be burned for energy.

When our they lose body condition and become thin any physical activity will be reduced.

Mares coming into breeding season also have difficulties and reduced conception rates in comparison to mares in good condition.

How can we address this problem?

As with any illness it must be addressed by a veterinary first followed by a diet high in recuperative antioxidants and plant substances that address the immune system.

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April 15

Photographing Pets and Children

How do I get them to sit still?

This is the lament of many Mum’s and Dad’s as they try to capture those precious moments.

The first thing to do is put your camera on auto or on a program mode. With children and animals you don’t want to be worrying about being on the right setting.

The next thing is to put it on burst or multiple exposure mode. The reason for this is it gives you a better chance of getting the right expression or get them looking the right way.

With these two things sorted out, we need to focus on ‘focusing’. Set your camera to continuous focus if it has a setting that you can choose, this enables the camera to focus quickly even if the subject is moving.

Then the fun begins. Firstly with children, try to get them when they are playing or interacting with others. Don’t ask them to look at the camera and say cheese unless you want stilted photos with awkward grins.

Move around, get down low, get up high, take ones of just their hands playing or take them with their back to the camera, you can take heaps of photos and then just delete what you don’t want. If you just play around with the camera around where they are playing it will not be long before they ignore you and get on with playing.

If the children are determined to hide or pull funny faces, keep shooting, but include them, show them the images on the screen of the camera and in no time at all they will be saying, take me, take me and fighting to get your attention. Don’t be afraid to play peekaboo with them, especially around an interesting plant, a favourite toy or something that enhances the photo.

You don’t want to move the children and make them stilted, move yourself to get the right position and the light where you want it.. If the sun is behind you the light will be full in their face, if this is causing squinting, move to one side or the other. If you are shooting directly into the sun you will get silhouettes. Be aware of shadows and if they are wearing hats, try to tilt them up a bit so their face is not totally in shade or the shade may be too dark.

Early morning and late afternoon, the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset are called the golden hours as the light becomes a warm yellow, which is the best light for portraiture.

If you have babies or young children then they are often up very early, so make the most of these times. Older children love to be out at sunset so get them in the evening.

Make the most of time at the park or the beach where everyone is relaxed and having fun.

The same applies to pets, although they may be trained to sit, you can’t make them look where you want them to or keep their heads still. So use auto or program mode, some cameras even come with a setting especially for cats and another for dogs. Stay on multiple exposure and have fun. Try different angles, getting down low, getting them running and jumping. If it’s not happening and they are too boisterous, put the camera down and play with them for a bit, it is usually easier to get them to sit still if they are a bit worn out.

Take some of their favourite snacks to get them looking at you or jumping up. Children will also respond well to treats, but be careful as a lot of children have allergies to certain foods, so if they are not your own children always check first.

Again remember to check where the sun is and look at the shade that is falling on them. Again, try different locations but remember it is much harder to control your pet when there are lots of other things going on around it so while the beach or a park may give a better backdrop, you may have to settle for the backyard.

A good training device is to put your camera on movie mode and take some movie of your pet, then look at it and you will see clearly what a difference it makes, where the light is and how much shade there is. As they run in and out of the sunlight and shade the camera takes a while to catch up so it is more noticeable and it helps you be more aware. Also at the end of the day you have both stills and movie to add to your collection.

Don’t be afraid to be creative, get in close, show just their eyes, or a hand and a toy or someone else holding them and interacting with them. Get some ones with deliberate blur to add the feeling of movement. I love getting kids on trampolines as their faces are full of joy and their bodies are in motion. Get some with them far away so they are part of a landscape image.

If you do want some more traditional formal pictures there are a few choices. One is to organise for a professional sitting, the photographers are used to photographing children and have all the props and lighting to do a great job in the least amount of time. If you want to have a go yourself, then get everything set up before you put the children where you want them.

Don’t tell them to say ‘cheese’, instead ask them if they like ice-cream or chocolate, ask them what their favourite is and so on. Keep the camera on multiple exposure or burst mode to capture that special moment and if there is a group take lots so you can choose the ones where most people are looking and smiling.

Kids love novelty, so climb up on a ladder and take a photo, get them all to take their hats off and throw them in the air, tell them all to jump, then jump and raise their hands. Get down on the grass and get them lying on their stomachs facing you.

Not only will you get better photos of them, but they will also be creative and have that wow factor.

Most people now carry mobile phones with them which has a camera in it. At every opportunity get the phone out and take photos, you can delete all the photos you don’t want, but it gets the children used to the camera being there so they will soon ignore what you are doing and get on with the important things in life, like having fun and playing.

Another useful tool is a tripod and a remote shutter release. This may sound technical, but if you ask at your camera store they are available at a very reasonable price. Set the camera up on the tripod, plug-in the cable release or you can get wireless shutter release for some cameras and then start talking and interacting with the children as you walk around behind the camera and to each side, pressing the shutter release, they will not realise you are taking a photo as you are not looking at the camera. Every now and then make a show of actually taking a photo so they don’t become aware of what you are doing.

This gives you much more freedom to interact with them and is particularly good for pets as you can hold up a toy or a treat to get them looking where you want them to without having to physically get back behind the camera. Your pictures will also be much sharper as there won’t be any camera shake caused by unsteady hands.

Another tip that will help make your photographs more interesting is to not put your subject in the centre of the frame. Pretend you have drawn a noughts and crosses on your screen, some cameras have a grid option that does this for you, and then put them at the intersection of any two of those lines. If you look at professional images you will notice they do this, but remember rules are also made to be broken, so experiment.

Finally the most important thing is to make photography fun, both for yourself and for them. If we enjoy something we are more likely to do it again and the same is true for children and animals. If it starts to become hard work, put it aside for another day. If you get used to using your phone camera you will have plenty of opportunities to get photos of the children and your pets and they will be more at ease as well.

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April 14

Creating Play Areas For Pets

Creating a backyard that is friendly for both, your pets and your children does not have to be a difficult task. Pets need a friendly environment to feel at home whether it is in the house or outside. Bringing the house outside creates a friendlier environment for the pet that includes safety features for the family dog or cat. The family cat will love having a place to climb and recline in the sun, so consider one of those wooden cat exercise boxes for your little friend.

Pets Lovers

Dogs need to have enough space to run and play without causing harm to the children. Plan to fence in a dog run so your dog gets both exercise and is not totally isolated from the family. Animals really do need socialization and react when they are deprived. They want to have natural grass and run space to keep their limbs healthy. Make sure the run error is free of any sharp edges and broken glass, which prove to be harmful both to pets and children. When the children are visiting, place folding chairs in places that give the children ample access to encourage play from the animals.

Place some large plants to encourage shade while providing sunshine for both children and animals. Some animals prefer running water to the still water of a pan so incorporate a pond with flowers on the top. You might even put a frog or two in the pond to encourage inquisitiveness on your animals and family members. You can place rugs on the wood areas or stone areas to bring the inside out. These rugs make your open areas look more comfortable and part of your home.

Incorporate wooden play yard equipment for the small children and table and chairs for the older children who wish to play board games and talk. Place rugs on the floor so if there are accidents while playing, they don’t hurt themselves. The table and chairs can have the same fabric as the adult outdoor furniture. The unique quality to the cushions is they can be taken in and stored during the winter months and put back out in the spring. Some of the cushions’ covers can be replaced for a more updated version especially if the children are growing older and want something more in tune with their ages. To make the best use of your outdoor furniture, you may opt to change cushions at the end of the summer or early spring as the companies have the sales. There will be more of a selection to choose from.

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April 13

Presents For Pets Lovers

Are you seeking the perfect present for the pet or pet lover in your life?

With the holidays just around the corner now is the time to start your shopping so you can beat the rush and allow time for shipping (without those priority charges) as well!

If you’re ready to begin your search for the ultimate pet-themed gifts, read on for some helpful hints and suggestions.

Pet Pleasers

(Dog and Cat Gifts)

Chewies and Other Fun Toys: Since all dogs love to chew (and chew and chew and chew), a new chew-toy is a sure pleaser. When choosing which “chewy” or tug toy to buy, remember that dogs, like children, can choke on small parts and pieces. Keep in mind too that stuffed animals are not an ideal gift for dogs as ingesting the fur and stuffing can cause choking hazards as well.

One more note on toys: If you don’t mind being responsible for buying that “annoying” gift, dogs really enjoy squeaky model chew toys! Just remember, you’ve been warned because when his or her owners are trying to hear the television over that incessant “SQUEAKING,” chances are they’ll think of you!

Natural Dogs: If you’re buying for the environmentally conscience, health-minded dog, there are some really great organic toy options made from products like hemp and canvas.

Treats: Just like they love to chew ‘things,” dogs also love to chew TREATS! Those scrumptious goodies come in a huge variety from fresh-baked products offered at gourmet “barkeries” (bakeries), to barbecued meaty bones found at the big pet stores.

Again, look at the size and shape and ingredients of any treats you purchase to be sure that they don’t pose a choking hazard or allergic reaction.

Natural Dogs:The options for the organic eating dog are countless. And if you can’t decide on just one type, you might want to consider purchasing your favorite treat along with an all-natural dog recipe book. Then his or her owners can bake yummy, organic treats right at home.

Cat Considerations

Just like dogs, cats love toys, but not really the kind to chew on.

Cats prefer to chase, bat at and pounce on their toys. Also, just like dogs, cats are in danger of choking hazards as well, so choose carefully.

Natural Cats: Your health conscience, green-wise cat will appreciate the thought you put into his gift, as well as your respect for his environment when you choose organic toys or treats made from all-natural ingredients.

People Pleasers

Pet lovers will get all warm and furry (or fuzzy) inside when they realize the thought that you put into getting them a pet-themed gift. Consider their décor and preferred breed before purchasing and if you’re not sure, you can stick with the type of pet-themed gift (dog or cat) rather than a specific breed.

Some great ideas are: pet beds, bowls, clothing (for either themselves or their pets!), organic pet gifts, license plate frames, biscuit containers, wall décor, books on pets and pet topics, welcome mats or pet magazine subscriptions.

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