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German shepherds to gerbils: How to choose the best pet for your family

(BPT) - Whether a loyal pal like Lassie is what you’re looking for, or a Garfield–like couch potato is more your speed, a pet can make a wonderful addition to your family. But there is more to choosing a new pet than simply falling in love with a cute face. Making an informed and well-researched decision can lead to a happy home life for both you and your pet.

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Recent Headlines

Tuesday 12/09/2014
Supporting Your Pet's Liver Health
Updated: December 10, 2014 - 3:32 am

(NAPSI)—Many may be surprised to learn that a disease commonly associated with humans can also put your dog or cat at risk. Fortunately, there are management options.

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Thursday 12/04/2014
Give Your Dog Comfort And Security
Updated: December 05, 2014 - 3:32 am

(NAPSI)—At holiday time or any time you and your family are busy, it’s important to remember that pets can get stressed out, especially if they spend a lot more time alone than normal.

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Thursday 11/06/2014
A New Kind Of Love Story
Updated: November 07, 2014 - 3:32 am

(NAPSI)—Your adopted pet could be named in an upcoming novel, thanks to a unique contest.

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Thursday 10/30/2014
Keep Pets Happy and Healthy this Holiday Season
Updated: October 30, 2014 - 3:33 am

(StatePoint) The holiday season can mean new routines, new décor and new foods in your home. While these temporary changes can be exciting for people, they can be hazardous to pets.

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Tuesday 10/28/2014
Prepping for cold weather? Don't forget your pet
Updated: November 04, 2014 - 3:33 am

(BPT) - Fall weather affects pets just like their people. While you are taking precautions to protect yourself from cooler temperatures and environmental changes, you need to safeguard your dogs and cats, too. 

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Thursday 10/16/2014
More Action Needed To End Pet Homelessness
Updated: October 17, 2014 - 3:31 am

(NAPSI)—There appears to be a significant difference between what many people offer as their opinion about pet homelessness and what, if anything, they do about the problem.

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Tuesday 10/14/2014
How to protect your pet from the obesity epidemic
Updated: October 21, 2014 - 3:31 am

(BPT) - The most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that more than one-third, or 78.6 million, of U.S. adults are obese. While the issue is well-recognized among the public, many don’t realize there is a second obesity epidemic occurring simultaneously - a pet obesity epidemic, which is even more severe.

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Monday 10/06/2014
How to stop pet stains from straining your family events
Updated: October 13, 2014 - 3:31 am

(BPT) - While there is no doubt that pet owners love their furry friends, it’s fair to say that dogs and cats can easily take over the home. Whether you’re dealing with a sick cat or attempting puppy potty training, you can quickly find yourself in a bacteria breeding ground.

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Wednesday 09/10/2014
Pet-proofing your home in preparation for adopting a shelter animal
Updated: October 02, 2014 - 4:32 pm

(BPT) - The addition of a new pet to the family is always a cause for celebration. Stress can occur, too, no matter how welcome the new addition. When you’re thinking about adopting a pet from an animal shelter, some preparation can help ensure he or she is as safe and happy as possible.

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Friday 08/22/2014
The right flea and tick treatment can protect your pet from little bugs ... and big problems
Posted: August 22, 2014

(BPT) - If you’re a pet owner, you know parasites - particularly fleas and ticks - can be a frustrating problem. That’s why you keep your pet out of tall grass and brush, and do routine flea and tick checks inside. You’re probably also using a flea and tick product to ensure your pet and family are safe from the parasite-borne diseases these pests can carry into your home.

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Thursday 08/21/2014
Boost your pet's health with these preventive measures
Updated: August 28, 2014 - 3:32 am

(BPT) - Taking active, preventive measures to support your health is one of the most important things you can do to ward off serious illness. You eat right, exercise, brush your teeth and make sure to get plenty of sleep, all to keep your body running at its very best.

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Monday 08/18/2014
Passion pays off: No-kill movement saves millions of animals per year
Updated: August 25, 2014 - 3:32 am

(BPT) - Americans like to think of themselves as a pet-loving society; today, nearly 70 million dogs and 74 million cats live in U.S. households, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. Yet as recently as 30 years ago, animal shelters across the country routinely killed an estimated 17 million companion animals a year as a means of population control.

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Friday 07/25/2014
Look what the cat dragged in: Pests your pets bring home
Updated: August 01, 2014 - 3:33 am

(BPT) - Keeping pests out of your home is important, but it can be an uphill battle if you aren’t intercepting them at the source, and in some cases, the source may be your pets.

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Monday 07/21/2014
Thinking of buying a puppy? You may want to think again
Updated: September 13, 2014 - 3:31 am

(BPT) - Your family is ready for a pet, so you head out to the local pet store. Within moments of walking into the shop, an energetic, sweet-eyed puppy steals your heart. You plunk down your money – possibly hundreds of dollars – and take him home, unaware that your new darling began his life in circumstances that most Americans would find horrifying, circumstances that will possibly cause him long-term health and psychological problems. He’s the product of a puppy mill.

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Friday 07/18/2014
Make the big move less stressful for the 4-legged members of the family
Updated: July 25, 2014 - 3:33 am

(BPT) - When moving houses, you make a checklist of the utility companies you need to contact for stopping and starting services. You also schedule all the volunteer or professional movers to pack, transport and unpack your belongings, and you let all your friends and family members know your new address. Additionally, you need to remember to make plans for your special family members, too – your pets.

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Tuesday 07/08/2014
If Bacon Doesn't Work....
Updated: September 02, 2014 - 3:51 pm

My rescue pup, Lela loves food. This dog even goes out of her way to chow down on napkins/paper towels/plates/trash bags that have come into contact with some yummy, intended for human-consumption-only delights. 

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Monday 07/07/2014
You are NOT the boss of me: A lesson in defiance
Updated: September 02, 2014 - 3:51 pm

She just doesn't understand. My (un)sweet chocolate lab, Ella refuses to obey. I picked her, feed her and take her on walks...but who are we kidding, she runs the house. 

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Thursday 07/03/2014
Decoding pet food claims to find the ideal nutrition for your furry family member
Updated: July 10, 2014 - 3:32 am

(BPT) - In the United States, 62 million households have at least one pet, including 83 million dogs and 95 million cats. That’s a lot of people who love their pets, and one of the key aspects of caring for a furry family member is providing the right nutrition. Unfortunately, with so many pet foods available, labels and claims can quickly get confusing.

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Thursday 06/26/2014
A New Survey Weighs In On Pet Obesity
Updated: June 27, 2014 - 3:32 am

(NAPSI)—Much as with humans, too many calories and a lack of exercise can spell trouble for pets.

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Monday 06/23/2014
Vet-approved tips for keeping your pet out of the ER
Updated: June 30, 2014 - 3:33 am

(BPT) - Picture this: It’s late in the evening when you realize that something is very wrong with your dog. Your normal veterinary clinic is closed, but you’re not sure if the problem can wait until tomorrow. You rush your pet to the closest ER and hope for the best.

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Friday 06/13/2014
Fireworks and Thunderstorms: A Summer Guide to Keeping Cats Calm
Updated: June 13, 2014 - 3:44 am

(StatePoint) The majority of pet owners say they have at least one dog or cat with behavioral problems, which easily can be exacerbated by such startling things as July 4th fireworks and summer thunderstorms.

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When disaster strikes, will your pets be safe? Preparedness tips for pet parents
Updated: September 03, 2014 - 3:32 am

(BPT) - Americans living in areas prone to severe storms, floods, earthquakes or other natural disasters may be well aware of the philosophy, “Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.” Families with a disaster plan in place will be better equipped to stay safe and recover from an emergency. Too often, however, even the best planners forget to include provisions for the four-legged members of the family.

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Monday 04/14/2014
New Ways to Solve Cat Behavior Problems
Updated: April 14, 2014 - 3:33 am

(StatePoint) From inappropriate marking to excessive meowing to scratching, a misbehaving cat can cause disruption to your home. Unfortunately, behavior problems are the number one reason for pet euthanasia, resulting in the death of approximately 15 million pets annually, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.

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This National Pet Month: Tips for Cutting Costs on Pet Care
Updated: April 14, 2014 - 3:33 am

(StatePoint) Regardless of whether you’re a dog, cat, bird or other pet lover, most people can agree that pets are part of the family.  Caring for your pet doesn’t have to cost a fortune with a few helpful tips.

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Monday 03/31/2014
It’s Flea and Tick Season: Tips to Protect Pets
Updated: March 31, 2014 - 3:33 am

(StatePoint) Protecting dogs from fleas and ticks is an important part of responsible pet care and this season shines a light on the prevention of Lyme disease in dogs. Distressing and harmful for your pet, parasites can cause diseases that affect you and your family.

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Taking care of your dog's teeth: One more way to show you love him
Updated: July 23, 2014 - 3:33 am

(BPT) - Most pet parents enjoy hugs and kisses from their canines. But while your best friend is showering you with love, have you wondered if his teeth are clean? Or about how his dental health affects his overall well-being? Good oral care is as essential for dogs as it is for humans.

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Thursday 03/27/2014
Annual Heartworm Check-up Keeps ‘Spring’ in Pets’ Steps
Updated: March 27, 2014 - 3:32 am

(StatePoint) Spring means many things to dogs and their owners. It’s time for longer walks and the shared exhilaration of playing “fetch” on the lawn. Even muddy feet from spring rains can be a pleasure.

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Tuesday 03/18/2014
How to prepare your pet for summer fun - and beyond
Updated: June 26, 2014 - 3:32 am

(BPT) - The dark, cold days of winter are nearly behind us, and many people are looking forward to warmer weather and outdoor activities. Dogs also appreciate their time in the sun. So, it’s important to keep in mind what you need to do to make sure your dog is ready to enjoy summer activities.

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Wednesday 02/12/2014
Finding Rover Smartphone App - Find your lost dog
Updated: September 02, 2014 - 3:51 pm

The "Finding Rover" company say they're on a mission: rescue every lost dog.

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Tuesday 02/04/2014
If This Doesn't Make You Hug Your Dog Or Cat I Don't Know What Will! WOW!
Updated: September 02, 2014 - 3:51 pm

Get ready to smile, and to sing and dance! If you believe in rescuing pets, this is not to be missed. (Also, if you love Abba as much as we do, this is for you!) This video perfectly captures all of the happy feelings associated with adopting pets. Special thanks to the folks at the Wake County SPCA for making this video. Visit them at It’ll make your heart melt! Please SHARE with friends and family!

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Monday 01/13/2014
February is Pet Dental Health Month: Are Your Dog’s Teeth Healthy?
Updated: March 01, 2014 - 3:32 am

(c) Andres Rodriguez -

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Sunday 12/22/2013
Namath's daughter reunited with dog lost years ago
Updated: March 06, 2014 - 5:12 pm

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — A small dog that wandered away from its owner in South Florida five years ago is finally back home.

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Wednesday 12/11/2013
Deadly pet treats: Information you need to know
Updated: March 06, 2014 - 5:12 pm

SARASOTA, Fla. - The FDA continues its effort to find out more about a deadly batch of dog treats. Hundreds of dogs have died, but there are steps that can be taken to keep your pet safe.

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Sunday 05/12/2013
Antibiotics 101: the good, bad and ugly
Updated: September 02, 2014 - 3:50 pm

An antibiotic is a chemical substance produced by one organism that is destructive to another. The word antibiotic came from the word antibiosis a term coined in 1889 by Paul Vuillemin that means a process by which life is used to destroy life.

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Sunday 04/28/2013
Get the most value from veterinarian visits
Updated: September 02, 2014 - 3:50 pm

Going to the vet can be overwhelming for pets and owners. Taking time to read, make lists and prepare questions can help you and your veterinarian create the best care for your companion.

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Wednesday 04/24/2013
How To Incorporate Pets Into Your Wedding
Updated: September 02, 2014 - 3:50 pm

If you are knees deep in planning your wedding, then you already know that 50 percent (or more) of wedding planning is honoring the most important people in your life. After all, there's a special place for your closest of friends as honorary attendants. Then you acknowledge your other friends as bridesmaids and groomsmen. Your grandparents and parents are ushered into both the ceremony and the reception. We find ways to include important aunts, uncles, cousins, and other friends by asking them to do readings, make speeches, handout programs, or help decorate.

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Sunday 04/14/2013
Pet owners have more options for medicating pets
Updated: September 02, 2014 - 3:50 pm

During my first year in practice, I had three unfortunate experiences that were frustrating because the pets could have survived if different forms of drugs or delivery of medications and treatments had been available at the time.

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Sunday 03/24/2013
Enrichment activities help make pets' lives more interesting
Updated: September 02, 2014 - 3:50 pm

Chipper is a 10-year-old dog with anxiety, low energy, and obesity. It seemed he lived to eat and go on slow walks to the edge of the yard and back indoors for a treat.

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Sunday 03/10/2013
Pets' exams should include regular eye checks
Updated: September 02, 2014 - 3:50 pm

When healthy, pets' eyes express emotions, give clues about their needs and indicate when they want to play, go for a walk, or share affection.

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Sunday 02/24/2013
Newer, safer anesthetics are available for pets
Updated: September 02, 2014 - 3:50 pm

When King, a 22-year-old cat, came into my office with a broken leg, his owner said she felt his case was hopeless. She had been to another vet who had refused to anesthetize him to set the leg, fearing he would not wake up from the procedure.

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Monday 01/28/2013
ABC 7 Outtake: Linda Carson vs. the goat
Updated: September 02, 2014 - 3:50 pm

PALMETTO, Fla. – A valuable lesson was learned by ABC 7’s Linda Carson Tuesday: never turn your back on a goat.

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Wednesday 11/21/2012
Family pet turns hero on camping trip
Posted: November 21, 2012

Our pets are like our family members. They are there for us when we need company and love us unconditionally even on our worst days. But sometimes they can also save our lives, as one Sarasota family found out on their camping trip a few months ago.

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Monday 11/19/2012
Pampered pets a booming industry
Posted: November 19, 2012

When we say we love our pets, we put our money where our mouth is. The American Pet Products Association says that Americans now spend more than $50 billion a year on their animals.

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Thursday 09/13/2012
How to Turn a Bad-to-the-Bone Dog Into an Obedient Pooch
Posted: September 13, 2012

(NewsUSA) - Is your dog bad to the bone? Does your sweet Jack Russel guard all doors from intruders -- friends and family included? Or is it your Boxer puppy that won't stop shredding socks and underwear? Some of the cutest pooches have the worst manners. Whether you're at work or just in another room, their mischievous play may lead to anything from home repairs to staggering vet bills.

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Wednesday 09/05/2012
Home Alone: Canine Edition! The Good, Bad and Chewed-Up Couch
Posted: September 05, 2012

(NewsUSA) - Pet owners love being greeted at the door by their furry companions -- but coming home to see the sofa in chunks on the floor amid the smiling jowls of our pet isn't the welcome we hope for.

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Thursday 08/16/2012
If cats could talk, what would they tell us?
Posted: August 16, 2012

(ARA) - In 2005, a group of French archaeologists discovered the remains of an 8-month-old cat buried with its human owner at a Neolithic site in Cyprus, leading some to believe cats may have been domesticated as far back as 10,000 years ago. While I'm no archaeologist, I'm certain that cats were as much of a mystery back then as they are today. We think we know everything there is to know about cats, but we really don't - and what we don't know can hurt them, including the dangers of flea infestations.

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Thursday 08/02/2012
Bow wow chow: How to make easy, healthy treats for your dog at home
Posted: August 02, 2012

(ARA) - Sixty-two percent of U.S. households include a pet, and 78.2 million of those pets are dogs, according to the American Pet Products Association's most recent survey. Dog lovers want good nutrition and flavor to ensure happy, healthy animal members of the family.

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Thursday 07/26/2012
Pet Owners Beware: Pests Are Poised for Attack
Posted: July 26, 2012

(NewsUSA) - Pets, like humans, have been anxiously waiting for warm weather to play outdoors and enjoy nature. However, pet owners should prepare for a pest battle unlike in previous years as hungry ticks, fleas and mosquitoes await their prey -- of the two- or four-legged kind.

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Monday 06/25/2012
Working like a dog: Study confirms benefits of bringing pets to work
Posted: June 25, 2012

(ARA) - Harvey is no ordinary canine. The 3-year-old boxer has a full-time job, working almost every day at Greensboro, N.C.-based Replacements, Ltd.

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