Cold Weather Coat And Skin Care

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Winter can be a magical time for dogs. Squirrel visibility rises when the ground is white, and cuddling by the fireplace can be undeniably cozy; but winter’s whipping winds and dry indoor heating can take its toll on fur and skin.

For advice on how to care for your canine companion’s grooming needs when the temperature drops, Paw Nation caught up with professional groomer Cassandra Reed, a Season 2 contestant on Animal Planet’s “Groomer Has It” and owner of Mutley Dooz in Akron, Ohio.

1. A little extra hair helps
It’s never a bad idea to ask your groomer to leave your dog’s coat longer than usual during the winter. “As a groomer, when I groom dogs in the winter, I leave a little extra hair between the toes,” says Reed. “I’d like to think that it helps keep them a little bit warmer.”

2. Keep skin moisturized

An easy way to keep your dog’s skin hydrated is bathing them at home with ultra-moisturizing oatmeal or shea-butter shampoo or conditioner. Reed stresses that you should always use all-natural shampoos that don’t contain any artificial dyes, as these may trigger an allergic reaction or worsen itchy, dry skin.

3. Stay on paw-pad patrol
The mixture of dry indoor conditions and chilly outdoor weather can cause paw pads to cut and crack, a painful experience for animals who are constantly on their feet. Many groomers offer special paw scrubs that exfoliate and moisturize paw pads, and pet stores sell all-natural paw balm you can apply to dry paw pads at home. Reed also mentions the importance of using animal-friendly rock salt to melt ice on your property. This specially-formulated ice melter is gentler on paw pads and won’t harm your dog if it’s ingested.

4. Dry wet fur properly
Rubbing wet fur vigorously with a towel may seem to get the job done, but Reed warns that this drying method will tangle your pet’s hair. “Hold the towel on your dog’s body to dry their fur,” she suggests. “This will help with tangling and matting.” As for pesky snow balls that cling to dog’s fur, “I haven’t found an easy way of removing them yet!” said Reed. A blowdryer is your best tool, as rubbing or blotting will only turn the snow balls to ice. Reed warns, “Watch the temperature when you’re blowdrying your dog because you can burn your dog’s skin if it gets too hot.”

5. Visit your groomer often
Even if your dog isn’t getting out enough to muddy up their coat, it’s still crucial to bring them to the groomer every 4-6 weeks. Less exercise in the winter will lead to longer nails, as they won’t be filed down from long walks. Aside from regular nail trimmings, groomers can provide insight on the condition of your dog’s skin. “There may be something going on with a dog’s skin that the owner doesn’t notice,” said Reed. “A groomer will notice a lot more things, which is why I recommend bringing your dog to the groomer regularly.”

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New University Study Says Dogs Reduce Need for Meds

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As pet lovers, we know having an animal around makes life better, but now there’s even more data to prove our point. Researchers at Chicago’s Loyola University announced this week that adults who use pet therapy while recovering from total joint-replacement surgery require 50 percent less pain medication than those who do not.

“Evidence suggests that animal-assisted therapy can have a positive effect on a patient’s psychosocial, emotional and physical well-being,” said Julia Havey, R.N., of Loyola University Health System. “These data further support these benefits and build the case for expanding the use of pet therapy in recovery.”

Animal lover Havey and colleague Frances Vlasses began raising puppies through the Canine Companions for Independence program more than 10 years ago, and based their claim on their observations of the field. As trainers, they absorb the costs associated with having the dogs, and teach them social etiquette until they reach about 15 months of age. The pups are then returned to the CCI’s regional training center for several months, where they are conditioned to become assistance dogs. There, they learn to assist with physical tasks, eventually understanding around 40 commands that help adults and children with special needs.

Based on their findings, Havey and Vlasses hope that animal-assisted therapy will eventually become universal in the healthcare field.

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Unlikely Best Buds: A Puppy And A Cheetah

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A puppy and a cheetah cub may seem like unlikely bedfellows, but at the Cincinnati Zoo they are brother and sister.
According to the Wilmington News Journal, the zoo adopted Cali, a mixed breed pup, to raise alongside Nia, their cheetah cub. Nia’s other two siblings didn’t survive and the zoo was looking for a similar animal to raise with Nia. The zoo needs to socialize Nia because she is being raised as an ambassador animal that will travel to schools to teach children about wildlife and conservation.

“Although a domestic dog and wild cat sound very different, they grow and learn the same. It is vital for all baby animals to play and rough house with others, that is how wild animals become successful adults,” zoo trainer Kathy Watkins told Wilmington News Journal. “We needed a puppy that was similar in age to Nia and the puppies at the Clinton County Humane Society were perfect.”

Nia and Cali are only two days apart in age. Watkins told the Wilmington News Journal that it was Cali who decided she should come home with her.
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For All You Bird Lovers :Amazon Parrot

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Amazon parrots are known for their strong personalities, high intelligence and excellent ability to mimic. Double yellow-headed, yellow-naped and blue-fronted Amazons seem to have the most potential for talking, laughing, whistling, coughing or even imitating a baby’s cry. The ability to “talk” or imitate sounds is an individual characteristic even within a certain species. This ability seems to be developed best at an early age, probably before the bird is 2 years old. Males may be easier to teach than females. Amazons tend to be the most vocal in the early morning and late afternoon. They can also express vocalization in a negative way by screaming. Although mealy, white-fronted and orange-winged Amazons are not as lively and talkative as other species, they are usually regarded as more gentle and affectionate. Hand-raised blue-fronted Amazons generally make good companions.

Vital statistics
Body length: 10-18 inches (25-46 cm)
Body weight (most): 350-600 g
Age of sexual maturity: 4-6 years
Maximum life span: 80 years

What do Amazons do all day?
Amazons are more sedentary than other birds, so some effort must be made to keep them active. An exceptionally large enclosure would encourage them to move around more as would an abundance of simple toys with which they can amuse themselves. Because Amazons love to chew, toys must be free of toxic metals, hooks, sharp objects or small, easily consumed components. Providing chew toys or fresh-cut branches from nontoxic, pesticide-free trees may prevent some Amazons from destroying their perches as quickly. Check with your veterinarian for recommendations on locally available, safe trees.
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Extraordinary Chickens From Around The World

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They may look like perm-sporting rock stars or even perfectly coiffured poodles – but this collection of specially-trimmed wildlife are actually all chickens.

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This egg-straordinary collection of fowl was captured by photographer Stephen Green-Armytage and are a far cry from the ones usually found on British farms or in your local supermarket. A bearded gray Silkie.

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Supercats That May Still Be Too Wild For A Family Home

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Supercats” closely descended from wild animals represent a danger to other pets and even small children, animal welfare groups fear. Mild-mannered moggies are increasingly being replaced by new breeds in which African or South American wildcats have been crossbred with domestic cats.Despite price-tags of up to £6,000 for new kittens, breeders report waiting lists of up to six months. The savannah, the most popular, is bred from a serval, a cheetah-like wildcat found in Africa. It can grow three times larger than a domestic cat and can jump 7ft vertically.

Another breed to have arrived in Britain is the safari, produced by mating a domestic cat with a South American Geoffroy’s Cat. There are also plans by breeders to import the caracat, descended from a caracal, a lynx-like wildcat found in the Middle East and Africa. The savannah is banned in some US states and in Australia, where there were concerns it could kill koalas.

In Britain, the “first generation” of savannah and safari cats descended from wildcats can only be kept under licence and in outdoor cages, in accordance with the Dangerous Wild Animals Act (DWAA). Subsequent generations, however, can be kept as normal pets.

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What To Expect From Your African Grey Parrot

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African grey parrots are extremely intelligent and alert; some may be high-strung. It is best to acquire these birds at a young age, because wild-caught individuals may have objectionable personalities and vocalizations. Selective breeding for calmness is being initiated by some aviculturists. There is a tendency for African greys to form a bond with an individual family member and become aggressive toward others, especially during the breeding season.

They are believed to be emotionally sensitive and may be prone to remember negative experiences and associate these with certain people and objects. African grey parrots have the greatest potential among common pet bird species for a range of vocalizations and an increasing vocabulary throughout their lives. This mimicking ability can include sounds like dripping water, flushing toilets, squeaky doors, coughs or sneezes and answering machines.

Vital statistics
Body length: 13 inches (33 cm)
Body weight
Congo: 300-550 grams
Timneh: 275-375 grams
Age of sexual maturity: 3-6 years
Maximum life span: 50 years

Is your African Grey a male or a female?

In most African greys, it is difficult to distinguish a male from a female based on physical characteristics; therefore, endoscopy or laboratory methods must be used for sex determination in breeding facilities. African greys prefer to choose their own mates and bond for life. Once initiated, African greys are prolific breeders and the offspring are easy to hand-feed.

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For All You Bird Lovers: Cockatoos

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What to expect from your Cockatoo

Cockatoos are appreciated as companion birds because they enjoy “cuddling.” Cockatoos are like small children — they can be charming and may try to “steal the show.” Care must be taken to avoid spoiling these birds. They require so much attention that they can be extremely noisy and destructive if improperly socialized. Because of the potential noise level, cockatoos are best suited to single family dwellings without close neighbors. Imprinted cockatoos may become excessively possessive of their owners, leading to aggression toward others, unpredictability and other vices, such as feather picking. Cockatoos have some capacity to mimic but their voice is not as clear as other parrots. Of all the companion bird species, they are the most reluctant to change their eating habits to a healthy diet. Most cockatoo species produce abundant powderdown, which is shed as feather dust in the cage, on furniture and clothing and found circulating in the air. The feather dust may cause respiratory problems in susceptible individuals or other birds. A high quality air purifier is recommended for the home.

Vital statistics
Body length: 12-28 inches (30-71 cm)
Body weight: 300-1100 grams
Age of sexual maturity: Small: 1-2 years, Medium: 3-4 years, Large: 5-6 years
Maximum life span: 80 years

Is your cockatoo a male or a female?

In most cockatoo species, the gender can be determined by the color of the iris: those of adult males are black and adult females are reddish brown. However, this does not hold completely true in all individuals; therefore, endoscopy or laboratory methods may be desired to confirm the gender in breeding facilities. Males are known to occasionally brutalize or kill their mates, even in pairs that have been previously compatible.
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China Moves To Protect Pandas From Swine Flu

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A panda research center in northwestern China has been closed to visitors as a precaution to protect the endangered species fromcatching swine flu, state media reported on Tuesday.It is not known if pandas can catch swine flu, but there have been reports from veterinary and federal officials in the United States of cats and ferrets catching the disease.

Cold temperatures and heavy snowfall over the last week at the Shaanxi Wild Animal Rescue and Research Center in Shaanxi province have increased flu symptoms and the number of H1N1 cases among zoo employees, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.The center has stopped recruiting new volunteers and banned employees with flu symptoms from approaching the pandas, it said.

A receptionist who answered the phone at the center, and who refused to give more than her surname Zhou, said all the pandas at the center were healthy, but staff members were taking extra precautions.There have been no cases of the virus spreading to pandas, Zhou said.Xinhua said the center, one of four giant panda reserves in China, is home to 21 giant pandas.
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Peta Demands Georgia Bulldogs American Football Team Replace Dead Mascot With Robot

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The animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) have demanded that an American football team replace their late mascot, a bulldog, with a robot. The Georgia Bulldogs’ mascot, Uga the Seventh, recently died, aged four, of a congenital heart condition. His predecessor Uga the Sixth died of a similar complaint the year before.

Peta’s Georgia chapter have asked them to make Uga the Eighth out of servos and wires, saying bulldogs are, despite reputation, rather feeble, inbred creatures, and simply breeding them is inherently cruel.In a statement, the group said: “Peta has asked the school’s athletic director, Damon M Evans, to replace the mascot with an animatronic dog – or to rely solely on a costumed mascot – instead of using another real bulldog.

“Bulldogs are prone to breathing difficulties, hip dysplasia, heart disorders, and other congenital ailments, and acquiring a dog from a breeder perpetuates the animal overpopulation crisis while causing another dog waiting in an animal shelter to be condemned to death.”
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