Animal Radio® Show #433 March 22, 2008

Phil Keoghan, The Amazing Race
Even though Phil Keoghan, Host of the Amazing Race, is never on hiatus, he has had pets all of his life and continues to do so. Currently his daughter has a "cool" cat named mellow, because as you can guess, he is really mellow. Phil's first animal was a run-away dog named Buster, who when found as a young dog, stayed with Phil and his family for the rest of his life.

You have heard people say that if you work in television, the most difficult things to work with are children and animals. Phil agrees. While working on the Amazing Race, he has worked with both stubborn animals and interesting animals. One animal that comes to mind were the yaks that bolted off during shooting taking the teams with them, while others just stood there and seemed to say "I don't care if you're in a race, I'm not moving!"

When he was twenty-years-old and the host of a New Zealand adventure show, Phil almost died while diving underwater to explore a shipwreck. Faced with the possibility of death, he was filled with an overwhelming desire to live and to take risks. At that time, Phil realized that life was really too short. He then decided to make a list of 100 adventures he would like to do.

One of the things on his list was to hand feed wild sharks. He also managed to round up three people who were debilitated by the fear of sharks and took them to Fiji to have a chance to get in the water with dozens of bull-sharks.

Phil wrote a book about his philosophy, NOW, No Opportunity Wasted. Phil encourages everyone to make their own list and make these lists personal to us - only we know inside what will make ourselves most fulfilled.

Look for Phil, who will once again be hosting the Amazing Race for its 13th Season, later this year.

Rebecca Kolls, Rebecca's Garden, HGTV
Gardening With your Pet in Mind
Now that the warm weather is here, more and more people are out in their gardens. Which means, our pets are probably out there with us also.

When planning your summer garden, keep in mind a garden appropriate for your pets. So many times people complain that their dogs ruin their yard and gardens. A good hint is to watch your dog when he is in your yard. Dogs usually have a path that they follow around the yard - so, don't plant anything in their path. And if your dog digs, provide a special place for your dog. Get a kiddy pool and fill it with sand. You can even hide treats in it to encourage your dog to dig there. If you have cats that constantly come in your yard, plant some catnip. They will be attracted to that one area and leave the rest of your garden alone.

Do you have yellow spots in your yard from your dog? Try feeding him tomatoes or tomato juice. The acid in the tomatoes has a tendency to break down the urine, which in turn won't yellow your lawn.

And if you have slugs, remember they are hermaphrodites, which means they do not need a partner to multiply. If you have one slug, you will probably have 400 or more by the end of the season. Beer has been used frequently in keeping them away, and Heineken is their beer of choice.

There are organic products you can use on your lawn that won't harm your pets such as a product containing corn gluten. And, since you can't be sure what your neighbors have put on their lawns, after walking your dog remember to wash his paws.

Master Gardener Rebecca Kolls hosts the nationally syndicated Home & Garden Television Network (HGTV) series "Rebecca's Garden" and has served as the gardening and lifestyle contributor for ABC's "Good Morning America" since 1999. Her show has spawned several spin-off entities including the new gardening and lifestyle magazine "Seasons" and the book "Rebecca's Garden: Four Seasons to Grow On."

Pet Care Costs
When the urge to adopt strikes, few potential pet parents consider the costs of pet ownership, which can often be far greater (and run longer) than they anticipated. The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) released its updated guide to pet costs to help new pet parents plan and budget for their futures.

"The joys of owning a cat or dog are infinite," says ASPCA President and CEO Ed Sayres. "In order to provide a loving and safe home for our pets, however, we must ensure that our budgets can accommodate their needs."

A large dog, for example, will likely require an average yearly food allowance of $225, while a bird's diet is sparse in comparison, requiring an outlay of only $75 per year. Rabbits and guinea pigs love fresh bedding, which totals a whopping $415 per year, versus a fastidious feline, whose litter costs a modest yearly average of $165.

Recurring medical expenses such as yearly exams and vaccinations range in price from $210 to $265 for dogs and $160 for cats. Pet insurance coverage (including ASPCA Pet Health Insurance) varies, but some policies will cover spay/neuter surgeries, vaccinations, and heartworm medication. Rates for dogs clock in at an average of $225, while healthy cat owners can find insurance coverage for approximately $175 per year.

In return for the gift of companionship, pet parents may choose to spoil their new kin with toys and treats. Humble creatures like fish have little need for extra stimulation, but a pet guinea pig could consume $30 annually in toys and treats. Cat and dog parents can expect to spend $25 to $75 per year on their furry friends' goodies.

The ASPCA suggests examining your budget, much as you would consider your lifestyle and needs, when adopting a pet. If you live modestly, consider adopting a pet that won't strain your wallet. Another alternative is fostering a pet or volunteering at your local animal shelter to get your furry fix.

For more information on adopting the right pet for you and your budget, please visit

Do you agree with these latest figures? Tell us how much do you spend a year on your pets. Call us at 1-866-405-8405 and let us know.

Ten Most Common Pet Misconceptions
Dr. Debbie White, Lone Mountain Animal Hospital

You've all heard them. Things you should and shouldn't do with your pets. But, how many of them are true and how many or misconceptions? Dr. White explains the 10 most common misconceptions we have with our pets today and why they aren't true.

A cat will always land on their feet after a fall.
Cat's do have a keen sense of balance and often seem acrobatic and land foot side down, however they can be badly injured from falls of varying heights. Cats that fall from high elevations in large urban areas are commonly diagnosed with an injury called High Rise Syndrome. Pet owners should monitor cats on outdoor balconies and keep window screens secure.

A dog's mouth is sterile and licking their wounds is a way to help heal wounds.
A dog's mouth is a verifiable sewer of bacteria. Repeated licking on wounds can actually inhibit healing in the area.

Cats need milk.
Cats LIKE milk, but no they do not NEED milk. In fact, many kitties will display digestive upset with diarrhea after drinking milk.

Cats can do just fine on a tuna diet.
Feeding an all tuna diet is actually DANGEROUS for your cat. Tuna is nutritionally deficient for cats and feeding an exclusive tuna diet will leave your cat at risk of many nutritionally driven diseases. (Problems include: Thiaminase in tuna is an enzyme that destroys an important B vitamin resulting in a Thiamine deficiency, the risk for a dangerous disease called pansteatitis , and high Magnesium levels in tuna can increase risk of Lower Urinary Tract Disease, as well as other nutritional deficiencies of vitamins and minerals such as calcium.

When dogs eat feces it is a sign of worms.
While disgusting, this behavior is not a direct sign of worms, although it can increase the potential for ingesting and acquiring parasites from this feces tasting behavior. This behavior is called coprophagy, and is a behavior that is commonly displayed by mother dogs as she cleans the waste from the newborns. Puppies and adult dogs may continue this behavior forming a bad habit and some dogs will even do it for attention getting from their human companions.

When a dog scoots it's rear end on the ground, it means he/she has worms.
While some dogs with tapeworms can have itchiness on the anal area, the butt scotching behavior is not a direct indicator for intestinal worms. Actually, the most common cause of butt scooting can be problems with anal sacs, but also diarrhea or even allergies.

If a cat's whiskers are cut off then they loose their balance.
Cats whiskers act more as "'feelers" and are not involved in maintaining balance.

Female dogs should have a litter or go through a heat before getting spayed.
There is no sound basis for this old wives tale. There is no behavior benefit to letting a female dog have a litter. In fact, shelters are overfilled with dogs and cats - many of who may have been offspring of such unnecessary breedings. Also, waiting on getting your
dog spayed can actually increase its risk of mammary cancer. If a female dog is spayed BEFORE she ever goes into heat, the risk of breast cancer is almost zero. The risk of breast cancer in dogs goes up with each subsequent heat for several years.

If your dog eats grass then he/she is sick.
Dogs often will eat grass and then vomit, however the fact that your dog nibbles on grass doesn't necessarily mean he/she is ill. Many dogs just nibble on grass for fun our out of boredom. Some veterinary nutritionists believe that grass and vegetation have some necessary nutritional need.

A warm, dry nose is a sign of illness and a cold, wet nose-is a sign of health.
From day to day the appearance of a pet's nose can change. It can be influenced by activity, climate, and overall behaviors of your pet. Healthy pets occasionally have a dry, warm nose, so unless it is accompanied by signs of illness, then no need to worry. Pet owners shouldn't rely on this rule to evaluate when its time to see your veterinarian. Consider overall activity, appetite, and other signs of illness when deciding if your pet needs a visit to the doctor.

Why Not To Get a Bunny for Easter
Candace Frazee, The Bunny Museum
It's that time of year. Spring is here, which of course means its Easter time and parents are thinking about getting their children a bunny. But most people underestimate the amount of care that bunnies need. A few weeks later, after the novelty has ended, the bunnies are usually dumped at animal shelters, or worse, set free outdoors where they will starve or be killed by predators.

So when your child starts begging for that bunny this year, while it is hard to ignore their pleas, don't fall into the Easter Bunny Trap! Get them a stuffed bunny instead!

Here's why not to get your child a bunny for Easter:

A bunny is messy.
A bunny is afraid of kids.
A bunny is expensive to feed.
A bunny is not happy living in a cage.
A bunny marks its territory with urine.
A bunny is high maintenance.
A bunny poops outside of its litterbox.
A bunny can not vomit.
A bunny needs to be combed.
A bunny does not like to be bathed.
A bunny will chew anything.
A bunny will sometimes get a poopy butt.
A bunny has to be spayed or neutered.
A bunny will drop soft poop all over the place.
A bunny does not like hot days.
A bunny can die from some plants.
A bunny is boring in a cage. You bored yet?
A bunny may hate its mate.
A bunny will live a long time.
A bunny needs its nails clipped.
A bunny may be eaten by your dog.
A bunny will make you vacuum every day.
A bunny will grow in size.
A bunny eats hay. Got hay fever?
A bunny does not know how to swim.
A bunny will bite.
A bunny will get fleas.
A bunny will get grumpy.
A bunny needs attention.
A bunny is very destructive.
A bunny does not like to be hugged.
A bunny will need its litterbox cleaned.
A bunny can die from too much fur in its stomach.
A bunny does not like to drink from a water bottle.
A bunny bought from a pet shop will most likely be diseased.
A bunny will not survive in the wild, if you decide to get rid of it there.
A bunny will grow long teeth, if they don't chew something to grind them down.
Do not buy a bunny as a gift!
Do not buy a bunny at Easter!
Do not buy a bunny from a breeder!
Do not buy a bunny from a pet shop!

You can visit the Bunny Museum, which is devoted to the acquisition, conservation, study, exhibition and educational understanding of bunnies in nature, historically and artistically. The museum offers a world-class collection (over 23,000 items) of cute, fantastic, antique and odd exhibitions in a world-landmark home ­ it's a living museum. It promotes the enjoyment of house pet bunnies and the responsible use of bunnies in the natural world.

Dogs and Chocolate
Dr. Jim Humphries, Veterinary News Network
Unfortunately there are a number of household items that we tend to take for granted which are potentially very dangerous to your dog's health. One of these dangerous household items is simple chocolate.

While chocolate has been reported recently to be high in human friendly antioxidants, it appears to be potentially lethal for our pets, and particularly for our dogs. Cats are mostly unaffected, as they do not care for the taste of chocolate, but dogs tend to be crazy about it.

The root of the problem is that chocolate contains various chemicals that are called methylxanthine alkaloids. Very small amounts of these chemicals are capable of causing such serious problems as constriction of the arteries and an increased heart rate. Large amounts may even cause more dire symptoms. A pound of dark chocolate could possibly kill a 16-pound dog.

If you find that your dog has eaten chocolate get on the phone with your veterinarian right away. Be sure that your children know how important it is to keep chocolate out of your dog's reach. If you're not aware that your dog has consumed chocolate, the consequences could be severe. If consumption is not found within 4 to 6 hours, without the right treatment, cardiac failure, seizures, coma and death could result.

One small piece of chocolate may not cause a problem, so don't panic. But if your dog friend eats a whole box, a trip to your veterinarian is in order.

Fido Friendly Travel Talk
Susan Sims, Fido Friendly Magazine
Listen to Keith Turner who is the Editor of, a comprehensive automotive resource for dog-lovers of all kinds as he talks about the latest hybrid vehicles perfect for Fido. Visit

Fido Friendly Magazine:
The Travel Magazine For You & Your Dog, a complete guide to Fido-friendly accommodations across the United States and Canada. "Fido Friendly is the only magazine dedicated to the travel lifestyle of man's best friend, and the one magazine your dog will thank you for." And don't forget to join the Fido Friendly Travel Club.

NEWS UPDATE ­ Cat Confessions
You better be carefully what you say around your pets!

A British senior is on trial in the United Kingdom. Apparently, he had been talking out loud to his cats and confessed to a murder. Of course, he was already a suspect, and police had put hidden microphones in his place to capture that conservation. What they didn't expect was to capture him talking to his cats or confessing a murder.

The jury has been listening to these secret recordings, and they actually believe that his confessions are merely his laments over the fact that the crime had occurred, not an admission of guilt. And thankfully, Twinkie and Pudsey have not been called in to testify.

NEWS UPDATE Brought To You By Simple Solution Natural Line Of Products

You Smell Like a Pig!
Britt Savage
You smell like a pig! You might not be able to say that much longer! Purdue University scientists are trying to determine why pigs smell so much and how they can make it stop.

Their research is in response to growing pressure from federal regulators, environmentalists and rural residents sick of the stench. Linda and Perry Trader's Indiana's backyard is so stinky from a nearby hog farm, they have to stay inside, never using their swimming pool.

Scientists are attacking the stink where it starts. Hogs are fed experimental feeds to help change the strong sulfur and ammonia smells they leave behind. And, the research is promising. Scientists say the pig farms won't ever smell great, just maybe more like cattle farms.

The Cat That Plays the Piano
Betsy Alexander, Ravens Wing Studio
When Betsy Alexander first brought Nora into her home, little did she know about Nora's talent. One day, Betsy and her husband heard the clinking of the piano keys. Believing one of their cats was walking across the piano keys, they got quite the surprise when they saw the actual culprit. There was Nora sitting there, in perfect posture, playing the piano. Ever since, Nora has been joining in on Betsy's teaching sessions with her students, playing alongside them.

Betsy Alexander is a composer and visual artist who also teaches the piano. She currently resides in Philadelphia with her artist/sound engineer husband, Burnell Yow! and their six cats - Miro, Gabby, Max, Clara, Rennie & Nora.

Fighting the Losing Battle With Your Dog
Vladae, The Dog Wizard
If you are fighting a loosing battle with your dog, it is because you are making the usual common mistakes.

There are three things that a dog needs:

1. Physical = exercise
2. Mental = obedience training
3. Social Needs = being able to take your dog with you everywhere if he has both the proper physical and mental stimulation

The biggest mistakes people make with their dogs are:

1. Humanization = treat your dog like family and he will treat you like a dog
2. Democracy = while it is great for people, you need to be a leader with your dog
3. Talking to Your Dog in English = you need to speak "Doglish"
4. Allowing your dog to pull you on leash and bark in your home = this is giving your dog permission to growl and bark whenever and wherever he wants

It is important to train your dog properly no matter what age or how he behaves now. You CAN teach an old dog new tricks!

Vladae has a DVD "Obedience for Life" a dog-training program available on two interactive DVDs. You can quickly and easily teach your dog how to obey you with the affective methods that deliver astonishing results.

Is it a Poodle or a Lamb?
Britt Savage
A company in Japan has been selling sheep as poodles. A Japanese actress, Maiko Kawakami, was one of these unfortunate people who bought a sheep thinking she was getting a poodle. But, after proudly showing pictures of her "dog" she was told that it was in fact a lamb. She should have known, as her "poodle" did not bark and refused to eat dog food, and he had hooves instead of paws.

Maiko, unfortunately, is not the only one who was duped. Hundreds of woman fell for the same scam. Perhaps up to 2,000 people have been conned. Sheep are not very common in Japan, so many people had no idea what they looked like.

The Japanese police have subsequently shut down the online company that has been selling the sheep. Poodles are well known as a status symbol and they were charging up to $1,200 for these "dogs."

People who unwittingly purchased these "poodles" have since donated them to zoos and farms.

Pet Proofing
Dr. Jim Humphries, Veterinary News Network
The most common pet emergencies veterinarians see are fractures, intestinal blockages, ingestion of household chemicals, lacerations and soft tissue trauma, all of which can result from accidents at home. Pet proofing your home is a simple and an inexpensive way to keep your furry family members safe and happy. Listen in as Dr. Humphries explains some of the things you can do to pet proof your home.


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