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Pets:

Keep Pets Safe And Happy

Toy Pets

Pet Surgery

Cherry Dog Treats

Burn Calories

Adopting A Cat Or Dog

Natural Remedies

Animal Shelters Rescue Groups

Tips To Help Keep Your Pets Warm And Safe

(NAPSI)-The cold-weather months aren’t just hard on humans. Pets can also be affected by the chilly temperatures.

Keeping pets safe and happy when it’s cold is a major concern for all pet owners. Marc Morrone, renowned pet expert and host of Hallmark Channel’s “Petkeeping with Marc Morrone” (airs weekdays at noon), is a modern-day Dr. Dolittle and Martha Stewart’s go-to guy in the world of four-legged and winged beasts, from dogs to cats and rabbits to parrots.

On his show, Marc reveals what viewers need to know about caring for their pets, and below are Marc’s top tips for winter pet care:

• When fitting dogs with boots and sweaters, make sure to practice inside your home first. If your pets aren’t comfortable walking around the house in their gear, they will not be comfortable in the outdoors.

• Don’t forget about the wild animals in the winter. Placing a bird feeder outside your window can mean the difference between life and death for a little songbird.

• Keep antifreeze out of reach of pets. It is extremely toxic. Marc cannot stress that enough.

• If you live in an apartment building or co-op, petition the board to only use pet-safe deicer on the sidewalks and courtyard walkways throughout the winter.

• If you own a reptile, keep extra heat lamps on hand during the winter months in case one blows out during a holiday or snowstorm and you can’t get out to replace the bulb.

• In the winter, dry air causes dogs and cats to shed quite a bit. To combat this, brush your pet daily and add raw flaxseed oil to your pet’s food (1 teaspoon for every 10 lbs. of your pet’s weight). This will help reduce dryness of the skin.

In every episode of “Petkeeping with Marc Morrone,” customers stop by with pet in hand seeking Marc’s advice on every topic from common cat/dog misconceptions to how to keep children and pets safe and happy while living under the same roof. This season, he looks at plus-size pets, baby pets, older pets, high-maintenance pets and more. He made his national TV debut in 1998 on Martha’s show after she spotted him on a New York cable access show. The author of five books, Marc also writes a syndicated pets column for Newsday, hosts “Ask Marc, the Petkeeper” on Martha Stewart Living Radio and has a weekly show on News 12 New York called “Animal Island.”

For more information on “Petkeeping with Marc Morrone,” please visit www.hallmarkchannel.com/petkeepingwithmarcmorrone.

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Gift Ideas You Can Cuddle Up To

(NAPSI)-Kids often add animals to their wish lists—and this season, parents can bring home toy pets that range from a walking dog to a cuddly bear cub, a newborn penguin and a variety of wacky, zany, furry friends from FurReal Friends.

This season’s favorites from FurReal Friends play on the nurturing feelings that pets naturally evoke in children. Many parents have discovered that the FurReal Friends brand has a pet for every kid.

Starting with a fluffy, furry toy could be a great learning experience because babies, toddlers and smaller children can playact out the steps involved in owning a real pet.

To introduce your child to the joys of owning a puppy, consider GoGo, My Walkin’ Pup. This adorable fluffy toy lets girls 4 years and older em-“bark” on their very own pet adventures. Girls can attach the toy’s leash and this perky puppy knows she’s ready for a walk. She’ll wag her tail, pant and bark just like a real pup to let you know she is excited to get moving. The toy can walk in circles or figure eights.

When the pup is petted, the toy will respond to being touched. Gently stroke the right and left side or the top of her head and she’ll playfully bark.

For energetic, interactive kids, consider the Furry Frenzies assortment, for ages 4 and up. Because they skitter, scatter, bump and go where they want to, these wacky pets are on a race to see just who the fastest and the furriest friends are. Press them on their backs and they’ll scurry around any flat, smooth surface, exploring the world around them.

Don’t worry if they hit a wall or roadblock—they’ll just change direction and keep on moving. Press their noses and the creatures show off their personalities, making silly noises and giggling.

A great toy for indoor, snowy-day fun is the Scoot and Scurry City Playset. The set, for children 4 years and older, lets kids take the toys on a fun day of exploring and shopping. The furry pets enjoy racing around busy streets and country roads. Kids can collect and play with Flurry in a Hurry, the swift bunny; Zippy “Zip” McNutty, the hyperactive chipmunk; Captain Crash, the sneaky raccoon; Senorita Scamps, the pretty kitty; Buster Bow Wow, the goofy puppy; and Dash McFlash, the speedy hedgehog.

Children who want to build their menagerie can add furry friends such as Lulu, My Cuddlin’ Kitty, which purrs; Luv Cub Bear, which hiccups; and the Newborn Penguin, which chirps and flaps its wings. The cuddly FurReal creatures are available in many different price points.

The Hasbro toys are sold at most major toy retailers nationwide and on www.HasbroToyShop.com.

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Paying For Pet Surgery Without Cutting Your Budget

(NAPSI)-There’s good news for people and their pets, according to veterinarian Dr. Carol McConnell: “Veterinary medicine has made considerable advancements in recent years, providing pet owners surgical options that weren’t available to them even five years ago.”

The Problem

“While this is certainly good news,” she added, “pet owners are often unaware of the cost of these surgeries. It’s not only important for pet owners to realize the surgical choices open to them, but to take steps to be financially prepared should their pet require surgery.”

One Dog’s Story

Consider the case of George Millben, who first took his 10-year-old dog, Snowie, to the veterinarian thinking the bichon frise simply needed treatment for an upset stomach. Unfortunately, X-rays revealed that Snowie had a large cancerous mass on his spleen. Millben wasted no time seeking treatment. The surgery was costly—a little more than $2,000--but was successful and Snowie’s mass was completely removed.

Snowie’s story isn’t out of the ordinary for pet owners, report the experts at the nation’s oldest and largest provider of pet health insurance, Veterinary Pet Insurance Company (VPI).

Top 10 Conditions Requiring Surgery

To help pet owners understand the situation, the company recently analyzed its claim data to find the top 10 conditions that require surgery. One in 20 VPI-insured pets required surgical treatment for one of the following common conditions last year:

1. Benign skin mass

2. Skin abscess, inflammation or pressure ulcer

3. Tooth extraction

4. Torn ACL or cartilage

5. Malignant skin mass

6. Cancer of the spleen

7. Cancer of the eyelid

8. Bladder stones

9. Cancer of the liver

10. Auricular hematoma (swollen, fluid-filled ear).

“The last thing I expected was that Snowie would get cancer,” said Millben, “but here we are.”

What Insurance Can Do

Pet owners with health insurance are free to visit any licensed veterinarian worldwide. After receiving treatment, they submit a claim to the insurance company and receive reimbursement for eligible expenses in about two weeks. Most companies offer plans for accidents and illnesses as well as routine and preventive care.

Learn More

For more information about pet insurance, visit www.petinsurance.com or call (888) 899-4VPI.

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  Adding Cherries To Your Dog's Diet Can Help Hips

(NAPSI)—Good news for dogs and their people. Long walks may soon be more comfortable for both-thanks to a surprising fruit.

Research at Michigan State University’s Bioactive Natural Products and Phytoceuticals Laboratory found tart cherries are not only loaded with antioxidants, but they may help avoid discomfort by supporting the body’s normal inflammatory response associated with daily exercise and activity.

These findings led to the development of new, all-natural, functional soft chews and baked treats for the active canine.

Overby Farm worked closely with university experts and practicing veterinarians to create Hip Bones-The Original Cherry Dog Treat, Hip Bones, Jr., and two soft chewable products: Hip Flex and Hip Flex Feline. They feature whole tart cherries, tart cherry concentrate, ground flaxseed, ginger, cinnamon, glucosamine and calcium in all-natural recipes supporting healthy hips, bones and joints.

For more information and to request a free sample or to order products, visit www.overbyfarm.com or call 888-628-8783.

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  Beating Your Pet's Winter Bulge

(NAPSI)-When it’s cold outside, it’s not unusual to cut back on activity, dive into the comfort food and put on a few extra pounds. It’s true for four-legged family members as well as humans. Just as with people, pet obesity is on the rise and inactivity just adds to the problem.

Fortunately, you can take steps to get your pet back on track before obesity triggers other health issues. Arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and other health problems are all more prevalent when people or pets carry a few extra pounds. If you can’t feel your pet’s ribs or spine easily, it may be time for your pet to shed a few pounds.

Here are some tips to help:

• Balance their diet—Visit your vet to set a target weight and determine how much food and the type of food that’s best for your dog’s or cat’s age, weight and overall health. Finding healthier snacks and treats can be one way to cut down on additional pounds. Also, skip the table scraps and serve smaller portion sizes.

• Supplement their diet—Sometimes, a dog or cat will need something extra in the diet to make it more balanced. For example, Bactaquin Digestive Health Supplement helps restore intestinal health following imbalances in your pet’s diet. It contains beneficial microorganisms to support growth of good bacteria in the intestines, which helps restore digestive health. It comes in sprinkle capsules that can easily be mixed in with cat and dog food.

• Get active—Schedule walks and look for some indoor venues that may be pet friendly-such as a mall or pet day care center that offers additional activities. Start slowly and increase exercise time as you go.

• Cats need activity too—Set some time to play with your cat using toys that simulate hunting. Short 15- to 20-minute sessions can burn off a lot of calories and may cut down on nocturnal activity.

• Help your pet’s mobility—If your dog or cat slows down, limps or shows other changes during exercise, consult your vet. Pets will slow down as arthritis flares up, and products with glucosamine and chondroitin play an important role in maintaining optimal joint function. Cosequin helps support cartilage production and protects existing cartilage from breaking down. It’s the only glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate supplement that has been shown effective for treating both cats and dogs and it’s available in a treat form as Cosequin Soft Chews to make it easier to administer.

Learn more at www.entirelypets.com.

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Adopting A Cat Or Dog This Holiday Season

(NAPSI)-One great way to celebrate the holidays is to help a furry friend in need.

If you’re thinking of adopting a pet, animal shelters are a fantastic option. Warner Bros. and the ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) want to remind potential pet owners that adopting and caring for a companion animal goes far beyond providing food, water and shelter—it’s a lifelong commitment. It takes research and careful planning to bring the right pet into your home.

For more help with adopting the perfect family pet, consider the following tips from the ASPCA:

• Before you adopt a pet, talk to family members about what they want. Discuss everyone’s likes and dislikes. Large dogs may be too strong or active for young children, for example, while some people may simply prefer cats over canines.

• If you’re getting a pet for your children, do not expect the kiddies to do all the work. Children, no matter how mature, need constant supervision and help handling the responsibility of a cat or dog. Ultimately, the parent is responsible.

• Teach your children about responsible pet ownership before you adopt, and make sure they are ready for the changes a new pet will bring. Learn about pet care, and explain to your children that walking a dog several times a day or cleaning a cat’s litter box is part of the ongoing responsibility of caring for an animal.

• Make sure a pet suits your home and lifestyle. Your personality and lifestyle—along with challenges such as space restrictions and the amount of time your family spends at home—should be explored to determine which pet is right for your household.

Also, be sure to watch Warner Bros.’ family-friendly “Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore,” now available on Blu-ray combo pack and DVD.

In the movie, an evil feline plans to unleash a diabolical device and take over the entire world. Cats and dogs are forced to work together for the first time in history in an unlikely alliance to save themselves-and their beloved humans—from global cat-astrophe. The film blends live action, state-of-the-art puppetry and computer animation in order to create a visual spectacular that’s perfect for kids and adults alike. With an all-star cast led by Christina Applegate, Neil Patrick Harris, Bette Midler and Nick Nolte, this pet-friendly romp will strike a chord with any animal lover.

You can visit www.aspca.org to find a shelter near you.

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  Natural Remedies To Relax Pets

(NAPSI)-You may be happy to see guests arrive at your front door, but the disruption in a pet’s schedule may cause him or her to become anxious and misbehave. Fortunately, there are ways you can help pets adjust to the change with minimal stress.

“Animals have complex feelings,” explains Margo Roman, DVM. “Pets can experience separation anxiety, anger, fear, boredom, loneliness, jealousy and other sophisticated emotions.”

Many pet parents turn to all-natural flower remedies such as Bach Original Flower Remedy Walnut and Rescue Remedy to help their pets adjust. Rescue Remedy Pet, known for its calming effect, can help pet parents treat their animal’s anxiety naturally. These remedies are easy, safe and effective ways to help furry and feathered friends ease into new and temporary situations. The remedies are available at Whole Foods and stores where natural products are sold.

You can learn more at www.rescueremedy.com/pets and (800) 319-9151.

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  Where To Get A Healthy, Loving Pet

(NAPSI)-Of the eight million pets that enter animal shelters and rescue groups every year, approximately three million of these healthy and treatable pets are euthanized due to a lack of adoption. While there has been steady progress on the issue, three million cats and dog deaths remains a national tragedy.

“Pets end up in shelters through no fault of their own,” says Michael Markarian, Chief Operating Officer of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). “Shelter pets make great pets.”

To help these pets find homes, there’s the Shelter Pet Project, a collaboration between The HSUS, Maddie’s Fund and the Ad Council. It’s geared toward all Americans, particularly the approximately 17 million who will be acquiring a pet within the next year. The campaign’s public service announcements (PSAs) are designed to inspire pet lovers to make shelters and rescue groups the first place they turn to when looking for their perfect pet.

“Now is a perfect time for people to open their hearts to a homeless dog or cat. The love and kindness they show now will be returned from that pet not just in the coming year but for years to come,” according to Rich Avanzino, Maddie’s Fund President.

The campaign aims to break down the stereotypes associated with shelter pets and communicate that “There’s nothing wrong with shelter pets,” and includes PSAs created by Draftfcb Chicago and PSAs based on Patrick McDonnell’s comic strip, MUTTS, animated by world-class animators, Paul and Sandra Fierlinger. The campaign also includes a series of PSAs, featuring Disney’s Santa Paws, which encourage parents and children to visit a local shelter to bring home their new “buddy” today. At the website, www.TheShelterPetProject.org, audiences can search for pets, get more information about pet adoption and send a customized “Adopt-a-Gram,” where a virtual pet will deliver a message to a friend encouraging them to adopt a shelter pet.

“We are thrilled to extend the reach of our campaign, which is creating a national dialogue about the importance of shelter pet adoption and helping destigmatize shelter pets,” said Peggy Conlon, President and CEO of the Ad Council. “The PSAs are both motivating and entertaining and I believe they will inspire families throughout the country to adopt shelter pets.”

The campaign also includes Facebook (www.facebook.com/ ShelterPetProject) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/shelterpets) pages where audiences can pledge their support of pet adoption and receive daily information and stories about adoptable shelter pets throughout the country. Learn more about the campaign at www.TheShelterPetProject.org.

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