The "Real" Cost of Owning a Pet
Chad Hall, CEO RemodelMate
How much do you spend on your pet? You can add up all the vet visits, food and toys and you still would be missing the costs associated with damage to your house. Chad Hall, with RemodelMate, has tips to help you reduce the damage done to carpets, baseboards, wall and doors, and do it without selling a kidney.
Chad says the first thing you need to think about when you're either buying a house or even remodeling a house that will make it more pet friendly, is whether the house is going to be your forever home or your starter home that you plan to grow out of one day. This should dictate your buying decisions.
Chad is the owner of a three-year-old black Labrador named Cairo. While she's a bunch of fun, she also is quite destructive. Chad has had Cairo since she was eight weeks old and he's gone through all of the different growth stages. When Chad first adopted her, he says luckily he was renting an apartment. He says he was lucky enough, because it wasn't his own house. However, there were some things that he would have taken into account had he understood what it meant to be a pet parent.
When preparing a house for a pet, Chad thinks that most people automatically think that hard surfaces equal good surfaces for pets and that is not necessarily true. We want our homes to be comfortable and that is why we get pets. So while hard spaces are better when it comes to cleaning up spills, it may not be the most comfortable for you. Besides hardwood flooring there is also polished concrete. There are actually quite a different set of surfaces that Chad deals with in terms of remodeling where his customers are trying to go for ultramodern finishes. This could include luxury vinyl plank, engineered hardwood or solid hardwood.
If you don't want to do hardwood floors and you like carpeting, Chad explains that there are certain kind of carpeting that would be better for pet stains. He tells us that carpets that are made out of vinyl tend to be a little bit easier to clean up and maintain. This is because they have a little bit of a higher pile and they absorb at a little bit slower rate than other materials.
If you're going to go with hardwood floors or any type of hard surface, Chad states you should follow the recommendation and use runners or area rugs. These help protect those surfaces from scratches. But if you like carpets, he states you should look for ones that are marketed as pet proof.
There are also pieces of square carpeting that you can put down. That means if there is damage to a square, you can just remove it and replace it with a new one without having to do the whole floor. Chad explains that the ingenuity behind the manufacturing of these types of carpet is getting better too. Back in the good old days you could only find this carpeting made for offices. They had very low pile and just weren't soft and luxurious. But today you can walk in any Home Depot or any Lowe's and get a nice luxurious carpet square that comes in a million colors and a million different pile types and materials for different compositions. Think of it like T-shirts that come in polyester, cotton and tri-blend. Your carpet also comes with varying compositions. You'll want to look for those that are high pile and will be marketed as pet proof. They'll absorb moisture a lot less. They'll take a beating when it comes to cleaning. This way you don't have to worry about replacing 1,500 square feet of carpet, you only need to worry about replacing a square, which is usually 2 foot by 2 foot.
Besides carpets, there are cats that like to bring their prey into the house. Sometimes an injured mouse might break loose from the cat and crawl into a wall where they would eventually die. The house would then smell and you might be left with maggots and flies. What do you do then?
Chad tells us that there isn't really a way to kind of curb nature's instinct. Most cats are going to still have some type of hunt left in them. He says it might be a little bit easier to mitigate the risk just by understanding how your pet hunts. He tells us about a client that has rental properties and then a home that she lives in herself. She's found that her cat likes to hunt only in the morning, never at nighttime. In the morning she wakes up, brushes her teeth and gets breakfast started as she's trying to get out and get to work on time. So she's never ever really like checking to see if her cat brought in any friends that day. So if you're busy and can't keep an eye out for your cat as they come and go, it might be best to have an exterminator pretty much on speed dial.
An exterminator might charge you around $100 as a diagnostic fee. Kind of like your mechanic, just to open the hood and figure out what's wrong. And then from there, they're going to come up with some astronomical price to get rid of the problem. First there's a fee for finding the mouse and removing it. Then there is a fee for treating the maggots. And lastly there's going to be a fee for treating the fly problem. So you're going to get hit two or three times.
If you're building a new home or remodeling you want to make sure pets can be themselves in your home. You might try to create a pet room or a specific area just for your pets. However, the problem is that when you create things like a scratching post, because pet are like children, and if you say this is where they should have fun, then it automatically becomes not fun. But if you kind of trick your pet into thinking that this is just another part of the house, but for them this is where all the fun happens. Then you can always kind of understand where any potential damage would be and be able to limit it to a specific area instead of the whole house.
Chad says to contact him, as he can help with all projects big or small and he loves pet customers. He wants to make sure that everyone has a good example and a good experience.
Officer Tells Story of Lake Rescue
Officer Robert Voorhees, Hopewell New Jersey Police Department
A video of an cop rescuing a dog from a frozen lake has gone viral. Officer Robert Voorhees took a big risk when he decided to cross an ice covered lake in New Jersey. He says anyone would've done what he did. Would you?
If you haven't seen the video, captured from the front dash of a police car, it's actually an officer crawling across a partially frozen pond to save a dog from the ice. He has no coat on and it looks brutally cold. It looks like he could have easily fallen through the ice.
Lately in the news, cops have been getting a bad rap, especially when its dog related. You hear of cops shooting dogs, some vicious, some not. However, Officer Robert Voorhees, of the Hopewell New Jersey Police Department, is truly a hero.
It all started with a 911 call. It was not Officer Voorhees' zone of responsibility and other officers were already responding. The call came in during a snowstorm. While other officers were responding, the roads were horrible and Officer Voorhees was relatively close along with Officer George Peterson. They both responded and arrived at the same time as their paid fire department. They could see that the dog was clearly in distress. A woman had said that the dog had fallen and had probably been in the water about 10 minutes. It was very obvious that the dog was not doing very well. At one point the dog had even gone under the water for about five seconds and came back up. Officer Voorhees knew they were running out of time.
Normally when there is a cold-water rescue, whether it is a person or a dog, the rescuers go in the water prepared with cold suits and boats. Officer Voorhees stated that the fire department was waiting on a boat to get there, which soon arrived. However the boat was an inflatable boat that was in a box that they still had to inflate it. They said it would take about ten minutes and they started putting their suits on.
There was not time to wait, according to Officer Voorhees. The dog was not well. He then decided to have one of the firefighters tie a rope around his waist. He took off his jacket; because he had a feeling he was going to get wet and didn't want anything weighing him down. He also took off his gun and his personal body camera as well, because he didn't want to damage them.
He then decided to crawl out to the dog as his co-worker, Officer Peterson, held hold onto the rope. According to Officer Voorhees, Officer Peterson is one of his personal best friends at work and outside of work as well. He trusts him with his life. He told Officer Peterson that he was going out there and when he got the dog, to just pull him back in.
Fortunately the dog knew exactly what Officer Voorhees was doing. The dog really wanted to get out of the water. When Officer Voorhees got out there, the dog immediately came to him. Officer Voorhees was still wearing a bulletproof vest under his uniform, which got soaked, as there was probably about an inch of water on top of the ice from the dog's splashing. He was able to get the collar around the dog and Officer Peterson knew it was time to get them both back to shore. According to Officer Voorhees, while Officer Peterson didn't think it was a good idea for him to go out on the ice, he was supportive and saved them both.
The dog turned out to be a one-year-old Rottweiler. Officer Voorhees said it didn't look that big when it was under water, but when it came out, it was pretty big.
Officer Voorhees states he loves dogs and loves all animals. He even got his first puppy just a few weeks before this incident. This really hit home for him and he knew that if this were his dog, he would do anything it took to get the dog out.
The owner was also there during the rescue and was extremely grateful. As soon as Officer Voorhees got out of the water with the dog, he was a little bit emotional. He immediately went up to the owner and gave her a hug. He knew how he would feel if it were his dog.
Officer Voorhees then tried to get everyone to warm the dog up, but the dog just wanted to play! He says it was fantastic!
The best part of this entire incident, according to Officer Voorhees, was when he did an interview for a few news agencies a couple of days later and he got to meet the dog under better circumstances and she's doing okay!
Officer Voorhees tells us he heard from a lot of people who say that they wouldn't have done what he did to save this dog, but he said if you were there and you could see a dog in distress, he's sure all animal lovers would have gone out there as well.
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How To Make The New Year Better For Your Pet
Debbie Martin, Fear Free Certified Dog Trainer
Fear Free certified trainer Debbie Martin thinks both you and your vet should make resolutions and promises to your pet for the new year. She'll share her techniques for creating a Fear Free environment and schedule for your dog.
So what particular resolutions and promises should we have for our pets? The first thing that comes to mind for Debbie, being in the veterinary field, would be making sure you're taking care of the physical well-being of your pets. However, she also works in the behavior field of animals, so she also sees the emotional aspect of it as well. Making sure you're taking good physical and emotional care of your pets is pretty important. Debbie thinks that part gets overlooked at times. We get busy with our lives and the dogs or cats are just kind of there. We're usually just meeting their needs with feeding them and taking them to the veterinarian or groomer when necessary. However, we also need to be making sure we're meeting their physical, exploratory and social needs, which are all really important.
The Fear Free movement has developed another part to their program, which is called Fear Free Happy Homes. They did this because they recognized that pets actually spend a very small amount of their life in the veterinary hospital and spend a lot more time with their pet owners at home. So Fear Free Happy Homes is working to provide up-to-date, new information about how we can make our house enriching, fun and fulfilling for our pets. They know pets need their emotional well-being taken care of as well.
At home, Debbie has four dogs and tries to make her home a Fear Free Happy Home. She does this by setting a routine with her dogs so that she is giving them physical exercise and is not exhausting them. Some people say a tired dog is a good dog, but according to Debbie that's not always necessarily true. Sometimes a tired dog is a sore dog or an irritable dog. So she takes her dogs out for a "sniff" walk, where they walk out on the back part of her property. She then lets them smell and take in all those scents that they are picking up. She wishes they could tell her what they smell and what's been there! This is their physical as well exploratory activity.
Debbie also tries to rotate how she feeds them. Instead of just putting their food in a bowl, she uses a lot of different puzzle toys. One such toy that her dogs really like is a snuffle mat. It's really easy for her to just put the food on the snuffle mat, put it down and they get to eat it. It makes them use their nose to find every little last kibble.
Debbie also spends social time with her dogs, making sure that she spends several minutes every day, just one on one with each of her dogs, doing something that they enjoy. This gives them special time with mom and your time is the biggest gift you can give your animals.
Visit Fear Free Happy Homes for tips on making your home fear free and to locate a Fear Free Veterinarian near you. Go to Fear Free Pets to become certified.
Listen and Explore the Fear Free Expert Series
What's Your Vet-iquette - How to Be a Good Veterinary Client - Dr. Debbie
Sure you think your vet visits go off without a hitch, but do you know how to be a good veterinary client, the kind veterinarians rave about? Follow these suggestions to participate as a vital part of your pet's medical care, to ensure your pet gets the most efficient care, and to always be greeted with beaming smiles.
Before you arrive at the office with a sick pet, know your pet's ins and outs. Without a pertinent history from you, your veterinarian may need more diagnostic tests to sleuth out the answer to the problem. That takes time and can cost you more in veterinary bills.
Expect the questions your vet is likely to ask you. Has your pet been eating? What types and brand of food do you feed him? Is there diarrhea or constipation?
Nothing is more useful to your veterinarian as seeing something with her own eyes. Bring evidence like stool samples, vomited material, and medications your pet is receiving. Has your pet chewed on some unusual plant in the backyard? By all means bring a sprig of that plant.
Document video on your smart phone. This can be immensely helpful to your veterinarian to witness behaviors that may be intermittent. I've been thankful when owners bring smart phone video of seizures, separation anxiety behaviors, and respiratory ailments.
Video eliminates misinterpretation by pet owners, and can permit a quick veterinary diagnosis. Vomiting and regurgitating may look similar, but are caused by different disorders. Pets strain to defecate with both diarrhea and constipation. Inspiratory wheezing, coughing, congestion and reverse sneezing are often described similarly by owners.
Trust Valid Resources
By all means do your research in advance of your veterinary visit. Know what questions to ask. But remember that the internet is abounding with both good and blazingly incorrect information, some based on opinions and conjecture without any sound medical basis. Pet owners who value Dr. Google's opinion over their veterinarian, who has examined their pet, could put their pet's health care in jeopardy.
Confine Your Pet
Make sure your pet is secure before entering the veterinary hospital. Don't underestimate the unpredictable things pets do in a noisy, crowded waiting room. Birds fly off shoulders landing in snack zone of nearby dogs. Dogs instigate fights, and cats flee the waiting veterinary staff's arms. Pay attention to where your pet is and don't allow your pet to approach other animals without the owner's consent. Some animals are there because they are sick, and could bite in unfamiliar surroundings.
Dogs should be on a secure leash. Flexi leashes are dangerous in the veterinary hospital allowing dogs to bolt quickly toward another dog, or to entangle limbs of humans or other animals in the waiting room. Cats and exotic pets should be secured in an appropriate pet carrier.
If you have a pet that has been or could be aggressive to veterinary staff…absolutely share that information before the visit starts. Veterinarians look out for the safety of people in their employment and appreciate a heads-up in advance to avoid potential staff injury.
Optimize Your Face Time
So now you are in the exam room with the doc, so make the most of it. Put the cell phone away and, by all means, don't waste time taking a phone call if medical staff is standing in front of you.
Avoid distractions that will limit your ability to communicate with your veterinarian. This might include a roomful of boisterous children or other pets. If possible, arrange child care or pet sitting so your sick pet gets prime attention and you don't miss any details of the visit.
At the vet office, we recognize how valuable pet owner's time is and try to minimize the wait. But recognize that emergencies are unforeseen and create delays for other pet owners. Most folks understand that emergencies happen and are accommodating during situations as this.
But making a scene or outburst about your wait time, while the veterinary staff tends to a critical pet is just inconsiderate. Recognize that one day your pet could be in that same place and you would be appreciative that your pet's medical emergency was triaged ahead of the waiting routine appointments.
Don't Attack the Messenger
Emotions can run high when you have a sick or injured pet, but it isn't an excuse to be abusive to hospital staff. Obscene language and overly aggressive behavior doesn't help your pet get the care she needs, nor does it endear yourself to those people working hard for your pet's health.
Own Your Own Reality
Pet owners have the daunting responsibility for the health and well-being of pets in their care. That means accepting the level of veterinary care you can pursue, and recognizing choices if finances are limited. Pet insurance can help defer the cost of veterinary care, but there isn't government sponsored Obamacare for pets.
Don't blame your veterinarian for your pet's health maladies, or expect her to cover the costs of treatment. People in the veterinary field do what they do because they love animals, but they shouldn't be expected to take financial responsibility for everyone's pets. I once heard a veterinary colleague respond to an client's question, "Doc, why can't you just do my Sasha's surgery for free?" His response was, "Because my staff needs to get paid and my kids need shoes." Recognize that veterinary offices aren't lending institutions, but rather are small businesses with pressing bills, just as anyone.
Share Your Feedback
Share feedback with the hospital management about service excellence or shortcomings. Every hospital appreciates the opportunity to improve, or the chance to pat staff on the back.
Featured veterinarian known as "Dr. Debbie" on national pet radio program, Animal Radio. Ebook author of "Yorkshire Terriers: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend"; "Pugs: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend"; "Mini Schnauzers: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend"; and "Shih Tzu: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend." Dr. Debbie's books.
Animal Radio News - Lori Brooks
Top Dog-Friendly States
With about 90 million dogs living in homes in the US, we are a country of dog lovers. But not all states are equal in terms of safety and amenities for pets, according to Safe Wise.com. In the search for the top dog-friendly states, the company looked at data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Animal League Defense Fund and online resources like Bring Fido.com to see what states have the strictest animal cruelty laws, the most no-kill shelters and the most dog-friendly hotels, parks, events, services and activities. Here is the top 10 List: 10th is Washington state; 9th place, Rhode Island; 8th place Kansas; 7th place Massachusetts; 6th place Oregon; 5th place Colorado; 4th place Oklahoma; 3rd place Arizona; 2nd place Virginia; and the most dog friendly state is Maine.
Felony Charges For Boy Who Tossed Kitten
There's good news about the kitten that unfortunately starred in a viral video. You've heard about Spot, a little 3 and a half-pound calico kitten that was tossed high into the air by a teenage boy in the Southern California. Police estimate she was thrown like a football, 25 feet into the air for a distance of 75 feet. Most everyone who saw the video was shocked as the boy kissed Spot before he leaned back and threw the kitten as if to make a long pass in a football game. Vets who have been treating Spot are amazed she survived with her only major injury being a fractured right front leg. There were so many calls to the police about the video that officers went door to door in the neighborhood where it happened to get clues on the suspect. And they got their guy. The San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office has filed a charge of felony animal cruelty against the 16-year-old suspect. The detective on the case says he has been inundated with calls from around the country from people demanding justice.
Chinese Pet Economy On The Rise
The world of pets is changing in China with the country's fast rise in wealthy citizens. The Chinese government is calling for residents to create 1,000 "Specialty Towns." Those specialty towns range in industries from cloud computing to chocolate. In Pingyang County (with about one million residents) the specialty theme is pets. There is no doubt that the Chinese pet economy is thriving mostly because of an aging population and declining birth rates. There are a lot of empty nesters that find a pet to be the perfect companion.
Cat Shows Up 10 Years Later After Recent California Wildfires
A family whose cat went missing 10 years ago never expected to see him again. However, they got the surprise of a lifetime when they received a call that their cat had been found after the California wildfires. The cat named Pilot was originally adopted by the Thompson family as a kitten in 2004. When Pilot was three years old he went missing. A woman who was searching the fire rubble for her own cats recently found Pilot about a mile away from his old home. She took Pilot to a veterinarian where he had some toes amputated because of severe burns. Meanwhile, Pilot's family who now lives in Colorado, got a call from the California veterinarian and Pilot has gone home to be with his old, yet still familiar family.
It's Illegal To Leave Pets Out in Cold
The weather has been so cold for the last few weeks that law enforcement officials are reminding pet owners to keep their pets indoors across the country. In Pennsylvania, dog owners are reminded that it's now illegal to leave their pets tethered outside in the cold. If they do, they could face fines and even jail time for tying up animals for longer than 30 minutes in temperatures below 32 degrees (or above 90 degrees in the summer) under a new law that went into effect. Also, when dogs are outside for less than 30 minutes, they must also have access to a sanitary shelter that keeps them dry and allows them to maintain their normal body temperature. In Colorado, Denver Animal Protection is reminding people that failure to keep pets warm could have dire consequence for animals and result in a cruelty to animals or an animal neglect charge, up to a $999 fine and/or a year in jail for the owner. Animal welfare experts say just because you have a doghouse in your backyard does not mean that your animal is going to be okay in freezing weather. You should also never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, by holding in the cold. Don't leave potentially lethal chemicals like snow and ice remover or anti-freeze within your pet's reach. Check under the hood or at least bang on the hood of outdoor vehicles before starting them up since stray cats often look for refuge on warm engines. Pets burn extra energy by trying to stay warm in the wintertime. Feeding your pet a little bit more during the cold weather months can provide much-needed calories. There are also heated bowls to keep water from freezing.
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