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Join the Mutt-i-grees® Movement: Save an Animal’s Life

by Beth Stern

(NAPSI)—A movement can be a change in physical position, a group of people working together to advance shared ideas, or part of a musical composition, and now North Shore Animal League America is giving new meaning to the word by encouraging children and adults to participate in the Mutt-i-grees Movement.

In 2009, North Shore Animal League America, the world’s largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization, created the Mutt-i-grees Initiative to give a voice to the millions of shelter dogs in the United States. Today, Mutt-i-grees include all shelter pets-purebreds and mixed-breeds—puppies, kittens, dogs, and cats. And while their individuality makes each of these Mutt-i-grees special, they all share a common need to find permanent loving homes.

An estimated 8-10 million animals enter shelters each year and most are healthy, affectionate and beautiful. Tragically, more than half of these animals are euthanized, the victims of overpopulated shelters.

In an effort to recognize that shelters have many wonderful animals available for adoption, I was delighted to participate in the recently launched Mutt-i-grees Movement Campaign. This included the debut of a Public Service Announcement, which you can view, download and share at

The Mutt-i-grees Movement reaches far and wide. In addition to including adults, it touches children in over 900 schools in 27 states who are sharing the joy of shelter animals through the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum-which was created in partnership with Yale University’s School of the 21 Century and funded by the Millan Foundation. Focusing on shelter animals provides a unique context in which to teach children empathy, social responsibility, and the skills to effectively communicate and manage emotions. The Mutt-i-greesCurriculum educates the next generation to be confident, caring and to make a difference in the lives of people, animals and the environment. Children across the nation are also participating in Mutt-i-grees ACTIVities, which offer physical conditioning through animal-themed activities.

Raising awareness of the Mutt-i-grees Movement can change the way cat and dog-loving Americans perceive shelter pets and ultimately save the precious lives of countless animals. My husband Howard, Bianca (our bulldog) and I welcomed cats Apple, Walter and Leon Bear into our home from the Animal League, and we can’t imagine our lives without them.

Adoption is the responsible choice. Visit a shelter, log on, join the Mutt-i-grees Movement and we’ll all be one step closer to a no-kill nation. 

ABOUT BETH STERN ( As spokesperson for North Shore Animal League America, Beth helps to illuminate the organization’s mission and has aided in finding permanent homes for thousands of dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens. She regularly assists in the Animal League’s puppy mill rescues where she lovingly helps with their safe transport, in addition to advocating for adoption of senior pets and encouraging people who cannot adopt to foster an animal. Beth and her husband Howard are the proud pet parents of Bulldog Bianca and three adopted Animal League cats, Apple, Walter and Leon Bear.

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Owners Would Spend Thousands To Save Pets’ Lives

(NAPSI)—Planning ahead and budgeting for the cost of pet health could help you feel more prepared when you face a serious health situation with your pet.

“Determining how much we are willing or able to spend to sustain the life of a pet is a decision none of us ever wants to make, but given the rising cost of pet health care, it’s often an inevitable one,” said Dr. Jennifer Coates, a Colorado-based veterinarian and author.

According to a recent survey by The Kroger Co., approximately one in 10 dog or cat owners is willing to spend more than $3,000 on medical procedures if it meant that their pet could be saved. Meanwhile, a majority of pet owners (61 percent) surveyed said they would be willing to spend between $100 and $1,000 to save Fluffy or Fido’s life. Another 15 percent are comfortable spending between $1,000 and $3,000 for lifesaving medical care for their pet.

When asked what they fear most about their pet’s well-being, about one in four of dog owners said cancer (27 percent), followed by hip/knee/leg injury (17 percent) and getting hit by a car (16 percent). The biggest concern for cat owners was kidney disease (19 percent), cancer (17 percent) and injuries sustained by fights with other animals (10 percent).

Only a small percentage of the pet owners surveyed said they had pet insurance--4 percent of dog owners and 2 percent of cat owners. However, 61 percent of dog owners and 48 percent of cat owners said they would consider purchasing pet insurance if it costs under $20 per month.

Interestingly, at least half of pet owners (55 percent with dogs, 51 percent with cats) would be interested in adding their pets to their own health insurance plans, if such a thing were allowed.

“Veterinary care has become increasingly more sophisticated and expensive, with some lifesaving treatments running as high as $5,000 or more,” said Dr. Coates. “Those potential out-of-pocket costs are what make pet insurance a prudent investment. And from an emotional standpoint, pet insurance keeps owners from having to ask that dreaded question, ‘how much can I spend to keep my pet alive?’”

More information is available at www.savewithpetinsurance. com.

Potential out-of-pocket costs are what make pet insurance a prudent investment.

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Simple Acts Can Save Homeless Pets’ Lives

(NAPSI)—The numbers alone are staggering. Each year in the U.S., 8 million pets end up in shelters, and of these, only half find new homes. Approximately 11,000 pets a day, or 4 million each year, are euthanized, even though most of them are adoptable.

Despite these overwhelming statistics, ending pet homelessness is an achievable goal and everyone can be part of the solution. People Saving Pets, a new social movement created by PetSmart Charities, is dedicated to saving homeless pets and suggests five simple actions that anyone can take—today—to save lives.

1. Adopt: If you have the time and resources to care for a pet, choose to adopt instead of buying your pet from a breeder or pet store. Have your heart set on a particular breed? Nearly 25 percent of animals living in shelters are purebreds, and many rescue groups are dedicated to specific breeds.

2. Spay and Neuter: If you’re already planning to adopt or currently own a pet, have your pet spayed/neutered. It’s one of the best ways to reduce overcrowding in shelters and lower euthanasia rates, yet 35 percent of the cats and dogs living in U.S. households have not had this simple and safe procedure. Cats and dogs can be spayed/neutered as early as 8 weeks old, and studies have shown that the procedure can provide significant health benefits and reduce behavioral problems.

Furthermore, price doesn’t have to keep you from doing the right thing for your pet. Certain clinics will provide you with spay/neuter services at a reduced cost—sometimes even for free. To find one nearby, check out the People Saving Pets clinic locator tool at

3. Volunteer: Can’t welcome a new pet into your family just yet? Volunteer at your local shelter! From providing playtime for pets to helping out at adoption events or becoming a foster pet parent, your time will make a huge difference in saving pets.

4. Donate: Shelters rely heavily on donations. A small gift can go a long way. If you can’t donate money, household items such as cleaning products, garbage bags and old blankets and towels are also welcome.

5. Share: Perhaps the easiest way to help save homeless pets is to spread the word. Let your friends, family and co-workers know that you’re passionate about helping animals and how they can be part of the solution. Use social media like Facebook and Twitter to share information and opportunities to help pets with your networks.

At, you can find tools and resources to help save pets’ lives, such as an adoptable pet locator and a low-cost spay/neuter clinic locator, and find opportunities to volunteer and donate to local animal welfare organizations. You can also join the conversation on Facebook.

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Barking Up The Right Tree

(NAPSI)—Many people looking to be their own boss or to start a second career are exploring franchise ownership. Labeled “free agents” by Fast Company author Dan Pink and the “creative class” by economist Richard Florida, this new breed, experts say, is motivated to use its creative intelligence and do fulfilling work in addition to achieving its financial goals.

For example, consider the $50 billion-plus pet industry. Many with an entrepreneurial spirit and a savvy business sense are exploring the pet services market.

A franchise offering in-home dog behavioral training, Bark Busters, is the world’s largest dog training company. Over 500,000 dogs have been trained using its dog-friendly, natural method.

According to Liam Crowe, CEO of Bark Busters USA, “Dog-loving entrepreneurs find our positive approach to dog training very appealing. Our national call center and website receive more than 10,000 inquiries per month, many from frustrated dog owners seeking an effective and immediate way to address their dogs’ behavioral issues.”

Now, the same management team is offering another franchise concept: G’day! Pet Care, a business that provides home care and pet-sitting service, dog walking, and premium pet food with free delivery. Both franchises provide specialized training and ongoing business and marketing support.

“I’ve always loved and owned dogs,” said one franchise owner in Illinois. “After spending most of my life working in retail, I longed to work with dogs and to make a difference in the world. With Bark Busters, I now do what I love, helping others who are frustrated with their dog’s behavior, and I get great satisfaction from seeing a happy dog owner who now has a well-behaved dog.”

“Owning my own business is the best decision I’ve ever made,” said a G’day! Pet Care owner in Colorado. “I love the flexibility of being my own boss and setting my own schedule. With the recurring customer base in this business model, I make a good living and can scale my business to earn even more. I couldn’t be happier!”

For more information, visit or call (877) 300-2275.

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The Truth About Cats And Dogs

(NAPSI)—When it comes to dogs and cats, myths abound, but you can be wise to their ways if you follow a few facts.

“The problem with myths is that pet owners who act on misinformation may not best meet the needs of their dog or cat,” said American Kennel Club® (AKC) Meet the Breeds® Spokesperson Gina DiNardo.

To separate fact from fiction, the AKC and The International Cat Association set the record straight on some of the most well-known myths:

Cats need milk—False. While cats like the taste, their bodies don’t have much lactase and milk can give adult cats diarrhea.

Dogs are sick when their noses are warm—False. It’s an old wives tale that cold, wet noses indicate health. The only way to tell your dog’s temperature is to take it with a thermometer.

Cats smell with their mouths—True. Cats have a small scent gland called the vomeronasal organ on the roof of their mouth. To get a really good whiff of something, they’ll open their mouths very wide so the odor hits the gland.

A dog’s wagging tail means he’s happy—False. While a natural, mid-level wagging tail indicates happiness, most other wags mean the opposite. A high, stiff wagging tail means the dog is agitated and ready to protect something and a low, quick wag means the dog is scared and submissive.

A cat purrs when he’s happy—False. A cat does purr when content but will also purr when in pain.

It’s true you can learn more about dog and cat myths and training directly from pet experts at the world’s largest showcase of dogs and cats, AKC Meet the Breeds. It features hundreds of breeds in booths decorated to depict each one’s origin, historical function and attributes as a pet. This family-friendly event, held in New York in November, lets potential pet owners interact with responsible breeders and play with dogs and cats while learning about pet ownership and the right pet for their lifestyle.

For more information, visit

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Staying A Step Ahead Of Veterinary Costs

 (NAPSI)—According to the American Pet Products Association, Americans spent $12.8 billion on veterinary care in 2010.

With dog and cat owners spending an average of $578 and $278 respectively on nonroutine veterinary procedures annually, quality care for both preventative and unplanned visits is essential.

“One of the most important things pet owners can do is to find a veterinarian who makes them and their pet feel comfortable, provides the best care and offers options that make payment easy,” says Judith Gass, veterinary marketing director for CareCredit, a health care credit card offering financing options for pet care and every member of the family. “The right veterinarian can help to solve behavioral problems, vaccinate against diseases and catch potential problems before they become serious.”

How can you provide the care your pet needs when it’s needed and stay within your budget? It may be easier than you think with these tips:

•  Stay in tune with your pet’s needs. Sometimes, pets can act moody or do something that’s out of character. But if you notice prolonged signs of discontent or strange behavior, call your veterinarian for advice. Your pet can’t tell you what’s wrong or ask for help. Treating an illness or condition in the early stage may save money—and most importantly, it may save your dog’s or cat’s life.

•  Get to know your veterinarian. During routine visits, take the opportunity to develop a relationship with your veterinarian. Asking questions and establishing a rapport can ease the strain if there’s an emergency or unexpected situation, when anxiety often runs high. Your pet is a family member, so it’s important that you feel comfortable enough with your veterinarian to tell him or her about any concerns you have and to ask for suggestions.

•  Be prepared with payment options. Along with recommendations for the best care, ask your veterinarian to explain the clinic’s payment policy. Many veterinarians now offer reliable payment options like CareCredit®, which has been available for nearly 25 years and allows monthly payments on pet care—everything from routine checkups to emergency care. This type of flexible financing is a convenient way to spread out payments with deferred interest or extended payment plan options.

To find out more, you can visit

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Protect Your Pet This Flea And Tick Season

(NAPSI)—With the warm weather comes lazy afternoons in the backyard and long walks through the park, enjoyed with both family members and pets. During these family outings, parents take extra precautions to shield their children from the strong rays of the sun and irritating insect bites. Pet owners must do the same, because as the temperatures rise, so does the threat of fleas and ticks to cats and dogs. A product is now available that makes protecting the beloved family pet from these harmful nuisances much more affordable and accessible.

Both ticks and fleas can be found across the United States and thrive during the warmer months. So while you and your pet are enjoying the summer sun and the great outdoors, fleas and ticks are inhabiting your surroundings and threatening the health of your pet and the comfort of your home. However, the threat does not exist solely in nature. Other dogs and cats with fleas can quickly infect your pet. Fleas can jump up to 200 times their body length, so it is easy for them to spread when dogs are socializing in the park or playing together at the beach.

Although they can be as small as a pinhead, fleas and ticks are capable of causing great pain and suffering to your pet. Ticks carry illnesses, such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, that can infect pets as well as family members. Tapeworms can be transmitted by fleas and their bites can cause allergy dermatitis, the most common allergic skin disease of dogs and cats. If left untreated, fleas can even cause anemia.

Prevention Is the Best Medicine

Preventing fleas and ticks is easier and much more cost effective than treating an existing problem. Dr. Karen Halligan, veterinarian/shelter director/author, recommends applying a topical flea and tick treatment as the first line of defense against these dangerous pests.

Now pet owners can purchase a topical product at retail outlets nationwide that provides the same efficacy as leading brands but at a significantly lower cost. PetArmor™, a new over-the-counter flea and tick treatment, contains fipronil, the No. 1 vet-recommended active ingredient for combating fleas and ticks. PetArmor can be found at Walmart and Sam's Club locations across the country.

"During the summer, we protect ourselves and our children with insect repellents," said Halligan. "It is important for pet owners to do the same for their cats and dogs. With the introduction of a generic treatment like PetArmor, keeping pets healthy year-round has become much more affordable."

In addition to applying a topical treatment to your pet every 30 days, Dr. Halligan also recommends additional preventive measures around the home to control fleas and ticks:

• Vacuum on a daily basis to prevent or control a flea infestation. Pay special attention to carpets, cushioned furniture, and cracks and crevices in floors and along the baseboards.

• Wash pet and family bedding where pets may lie in hot soapy water every two to three weeks.

• Use a fine-toothed metal flea comb and run it along your pet's back or underbelly, making sure the comb comes in contact with the skin.

• To reduce ticks in your yard, keep play areas and playground equipment away from shrubs and bushes and other greenery.

• If you live near a wooded area, place wood chips or gravel between your lawn and the trees to keep ticks away from recreational areas.

Fleas and ticks can wreak havoc in your home, so it is important to take steps to treat your dog or cat quickly and effectively. For more information on protecting your pet, please visit

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For A Fitter Pet: Make Sure Pet Food Contains The Correct Ingredients

by Johnny Lopez, Ph.D.

(NAPSI)—With more than 40 percent of the U.S. dog population overweight, many owners are looking for effective ways to keep their pets fit. Smaller meals and regular exercise can help, but in many cases the animal may benefit from a food ingredient that helps to metabolize fat.

Many dog owners have had recent success switching to pet foods that contain Carniking™, a safe and high-quality form of L-Carnitine. L-Carnitine is a natural nutrient, formally called Vitamin Bt, which is essential for energy production and fat metabolism.

L-Carnitine’s role in the body is to transport long—chain fatty acids into the mitochondria—the “furnaces” of the body’s cells—where they are broken down and converted into energy. L-Carnitine helps to supply energy to many organs in the body, such as the heart, muscles, liver and immune cells. For example, the heart derives 75 percent of its energy from fat metabolism and relies heavily on L-Carnitine to help supply it. This is why one of the largest tissue pools of L-Carnitine can be found in the heart.

Like humans, pets are able to naturally produce about one-third of the L-Carnitine they need and must rely on the foods they eat to deliver the rest. Foods high in natural L-Carnitine include pure red meats (i.e., beef and lamb). Ingredients like chicken and fish are lower, whereas grains and vegetables are practically devoid of L-Carnitine. Since the foods dogs consume today are mixtures of many ingredients, even diets that contain red meat as the first ingredient may not contain optimum L-Carnitine concentrations.

In some cases, humans and pets do not receive enough L-Carnitine through their normal diet and supplementing L-Carnitine is recommended. Symptoms of inadequate L-Carnitine in the body include cardio muscle weakness, excessive muscle deposits of fat (lipidosis), impaired muscle tone and poor health in general.

Carniking™ is the preferred option to supplement L-Carnitine in pet foods. Carniking™ is manufactured by Lonza, a Swiss-based life sciences company. Lonza began investigating Carniking™ in the late 1980s and it is now used in dry and wet formulas for all phases and life stages of food for companion animals.

Research suggests Carniking may aid in the following situations:

• As part of weight management programs

• In conditions of sustained exertion (walking and running)

• In diets low in L-Carnitine

• As a very good antioxidant

• In animals who have cardiac, liver, kidney and bowel disorders

• In maintaining alertness and cognitive function.

Lonza’s Carniking™ is proven safe and is of nonanimal origins and tested free of BSE, dioxin, E. coli and salmonella.

For more information, visit

Johnny Lopez, Ph.D., received a master’s in animal science and a doctorate in monogastric nutrition from the University of Missouri. Previously, he worked as a nutritionist for companies such as Purina Mills, and ADM Animal Health and Nutrition.

Lonza is a leading supplier to the pharmaceutical, health care and life sciences industries. It is a global leader in the production and support of active pharmaceutical ingredients.

For more information, visit

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