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Pet Bucket Blog

August 2013

Pet Obsessions Part 2

 by zack on 22 Aug 2013 |
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  Welcome back to the Petbucket blog’s discussion of pet obsessions. Last time we cited some statistics and anecdotes about the rising trends of pet obsessions. Today, we’ll be going forward with the conversation, and discussing the point at which pets go from being beloved companions to dangerous fixations. Dangerous Obsessive Behavior The only time an infatuation with one's pet can be classified as a pet obsession is when either the owner's or the animal’s mental/physical health is at risk as a direct result of the owner’s action or inaction. When this becomes the case, people are often negligent in regards to the pet’s (or their own) deteriorating state. Some examples of this kind of dangerous behavior are as follows: Preferring the company of a pet to that of a loved one, family member, or a close friend. Spoiling a pet to the point where it’s behaving in a destructive or inhospitable manner. Feeding the pet unhealthy foods because they "like it." An inability to recognize when an owner’s behavior is causing discomfort for a pet or surrounding humans. If owning a pet is alienating someone from the community around them, then they’re missing the point of pet ownership. Often people will feel that their pets are an acceptable alternative to regular social interaction, and truthfully it can be very thereputic. However, when the only source of affection in a perosn's life is coming from an animal, it’s simply not psychologically healthy behavior. In certain cases, a simple case of obsession can lead to much more extreme conduct. Animal Hoarding   This terrible and debilitating psychological disorder can have drastic consequences for the health of pet owners and the pets. Worst of all, the victims of this disease don’t realize that they’re doing anything wrong. They simply can’t recognize their own inability to care for all of the animals that they are keeping in captivity.     Gross cases of animal hoarding have been recorded where hundreds of cats or dogs have been confined in a single household with a very finite and enclosed space. Often animal hoarding is accompanied by symptoms of general Hoarding, in which people cannot bear to throw out any of their trash. So imagine if you will, a single split level home, with 89 cats living in it, entire rooms dedicated to rotting produce, and not a litter box in sight. Not exactly a pretty picture.   What to do? Unfortunately, when dealing with a psychological fixation of any kind, the only thing that will help is psychiatric assistance. This can be both costly and ineffective, which is not the best combination. Results with therapy for obsessions can vary quite wildly. And in the case of Animal Hoarding, the behavior is very likely linked to some deep seeded psychological trauma. Animal hoarders, when diagnosed, are almost never completely cleared of their conditions. It’s a lifelong obsession that must be continually combatted, and cases of full recoveries are very rare indeed.   If you ever notice anyone engaging in this sort of destructive behavior it’s very important that you seek to provide them with psychiatric assistance as soon as possible. You can help save dozens of animal lives, and help the person begin working toward their own recovery. And of course, if you see anyone obliviously endangering the health of their pets, you are obliged to take action.   That’s all for this week’s postings. Check back more for  helpful information about this and many other pet related topics. 

Pet Obsessions Part 1

 by zack on 22 Aug 2013 |
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  You know what phrase drives me crazy? “Pets are people too.” No they’re not. They’re pets. Would you scold a person for taking food off of the table? Would you ever clean up a person’s feces from your living room floor, and then lovingly pat him or her on the head? Of course not. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a time and a place for pampering. Wanting to show your dog an inordinate amount of love and spoiling it rotten are fairly harmless vices. It’s the point at which you show them preferred treatment over humans that the line starts to blur. Pets are loving and valued companions but when you start treating them like people, you’ve crossed a line into crazy town. Yet never has this phenomenon been more common in today’s culture. Pet obsessed people are a dime a dozen and growing more prolific with every passing moment. Today we’ll look at this growing trend of the pet obsessed.   A perfect example of pet obsession that perhaps went a bit far happened recently in the news. A man saved his 9 year old Jack Russell Terrier from a sinking ship, swimming it safely to shore. Then he went back for his wife, whose safety line had apparently been snagged. Let that sink in a moment. I don’t know about all of you readers out there, but if I’d left my lady in a perilous position while paddling my pooch to safety, I’d be the one in peril when I went back for the second pickup. To be fair, the couple has declined to comment, so the extent of the danger the wife was in is somewhat unclear. Still, you can see the kind of mixed up level of priorities that pet obsession can create. Rising Trend of Human/Pet Involvement Now more than ever, pets are becoming major parts of a majority of households. According to a survey by Kelton Research, 81% of American pet owners think of their pets as full-fledged family members. 58% say that they are their pet’s mommies or daddies. As creepy as it is, I count myself among that 58%. And over half of Americans admit to talking more about their pets than they do about sex or politics. Politics I get, but more than sex? I’m glad I’m not part of that statistic. Another survey conducted by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association said that pet ownership in America is also at an all-time high, with an estimated 71.1 million people owning either cats, dogs, or both. There is also a huge amount of money, over 41 billion dollars, being spent on pet products and healthcare on an annual basis. These numbers, while not particularly ominous on their own, do indicate a rising trend of care and treatment of pets within recent years. So at what point does some harmless pampering spin out of control to become potentially damaging or dangerous behavior? Check back next time to find out when a pet obsession crosses the line and becomes physically or socially damaging.  

Exotic Pets: The Good, Bad, and The Ugly Part 2

 by zack on 12 Aug 2013 |
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  Exotic pets come in two varieties: 1. Awesome and ill advised or...  2. Quirky and uncommon I’m talking about the difference between a razorback warthog, (pretty cool, but it will probably gore and eat you) and a ferret (aaaww! It got into my sock drawer, that’s adorable!) Last week, we covered the former and described some of the more carnivorous, crazy, and cringe inducing exotic animals that people will misguidedly try to domesticate. Today, we’re going to take a look at some of the cuter, more cuddly, and easy to coexist with animals in the same category.  So let’s not waste any time, and get straight to it with the top 5 exotic pets of the safe and friendly variety.     1. Fennec Foxes Now that’s more like it, a little dog like creature that can use a litter box, and has supremely adorable ears. Where do I sign? Seriously though these critters make excellent pets, and will fit into an enclosure fit for a large family of ferrets. They are desert dwelling creatures, usually weighing between 1.5 and 5 lbs. They’re easily trainable and similar to dogs in most respects. So go ahead and squeal with joy at the Fennec-y cuteness.     2. Hedgehogs So long as you don’t paint it blue and put a pair of sneakers on your hedgehog, it should make a pretty solid pet. If you do, it’s likely to develop super speed and make enemies with an egg shaped scientist. Hedgehogs are basically just spiny hamsters. They can learn a few commands through positive conditioning, but not at the level of a dog or cat. They’re cute and friendly so long as they’re handled with care. They’re shy little fellows so don’t be too aggressive in your interactions with it. Just be loving and comfortable, and watch its adorable personality unfold.     3. Potbelly Pigs While you shouldn’t expect it to either talk or be especially proficient at herding sheep, you might want to hold off on thinking of pigs only for their delicious meat… Mmm, bacon. These “miniature” pigs can grow to be around 125 pounds, and they are prone to obesity, so make sure to purchase a treadmill and a fishing pole with a carrot on it (fun for the whole family to enjoy!) They’re very smart animals and can be trained to perform a number of tricks. They can be kind of high maintenance though, so do your homework before deciding to bring one into your home.   4. Sugar Gliders Tiny. Flying. Freaking. Squirrels. Do you really need more explanation than that? These small airborne rodents will bond with you by sleeping in a pouch you can carry around your neck. This is probably my personal favorite on this list. And look at their faces (they're in the top picture)! Sugar Gliders are unbearably cute.     5. Wallabies I think I’ll get a farm, buy one of these, a Galapagos turtle, and a cow that’s been raised by wolves so that I can reenact scenes from Rocco’s modern life. Yes, it’s a good plan. These smaller cousins to the kangaroo aren’t nearly as dangerous and their bigger brethren, though they do need about as much room to run around. Don’t even consider owning wallabies if you haven’t got a large yard with a high fence.   That’s all for our list of awesomely exotic pets. Check back next time for more interesting and fun articles about your favorite furry companions. 

Exotic Pets: Best and Worst Part 1

 by zack on 11 Aug 2013 |
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Keeping and training a strange or unique animal always sounds fun. I think everyone at one point or another during childhood thought it would be fun to raise a wolf pup, ride a zebra, or train a python to guard their house. No? Just me? Well, I had an overactive imagination. Either way, as an adult, I’ve come to realize the folly of this logic. Even potty training a domestic animal can be a challenge, how exactly to you get a chimpanzee to learn its way around a toilet? Yes large primates and anything that might get it in its head to tear off your limbs and beat you to death isn’t going to make the best animal companion. But not all exotic pets are dangerous beasts. Today’s post is a list of some of the best and worst uncommon animals you might consider domesticating. Dangerous or Difficult Pet Choices 1. Big cats- While you might think owning an ocelot is pretty cool-- and you’re right, it totally is—the fact remains that large felines look at you as a meal that provides other meals. When it comes to exotic pets, it’s best to avoid anything that can crush you with its jaws or cut your arteries into ribbons with their claws. Try not to look at Mike Tyson as a role model, and stick with your garden variety house kitties.   2. Large/poisonous snakes- Pythons are surprisingly popular pets. And they are interesting looking reptiles. They’re great conversation starters, and they hardly ever eat anyone you care about. Unfortunately, most of them do grow to at least 10 feet long. Which is more than enough space to fit you in their bellies. Consequently, when they get that big a lot of pet owners decide to dispose of them. Which is why they are currently battling out with alligators to see who will be the apex predator of the Florida Everglades. Cue low budget sci-fi movie franchise. 3.Wolf dogs-So in case you weren’t aware, Wolf dogs are dog/wolf hybrids, like White Fang or Balto. These noble Jack London character canines are truly beautiful, and truly terrifying. They are responsible for more deaths and injuries than any other breed except pit bull terriers and Rottweilers, both of whom are about 10 times as populous. They’re big, strong, vicious, difficult to train, and extremely independent and fierce. Not exactly a winning combination when it comes to families with children.   4.Scorpions- What kind of games are we playing here? You want a poisonous arachnid that looks like it was built for death as a pet? Have fun with that. Of course, not all breeds of scorpion can kill you, but every single one can ruin your day with a sting. This is the least dangerous on our list, but still plenty trouble for an underprepared pet owner. 5.Primates-So Chimpanzees get to be about 150 lbs when full grown. However, they probably have the strength of a 500 lb man. Also they like to attack the face, fingers, and genitals of anything that they feel is a threat. And don’t get me started on the hygiene issues. Oy vey. Smaller primates aren’t as dangerous, but are just as much trouble. They’re thieving, mischievous, and dirty. So if you want to keep your kitchen (and face) free of feces, I’d recommend getting a ferret.   As you can tell, there are plenty of difficult and dangerous animals in the exotic pet arena. However there are some completely appropriate choices as well. Check back next week for an exploration on the safer side of exotic pets. 

The Mechanics of Medical Massage for Pets

 by zack on 03 Aug 2013 |
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Pets are cuddle fiends. They are attention hounds, quite literally, and all of their time is spent devising ways to retrieve pettings. If our rough hair tussling and soft scratches feel so good, how do you think they would react to medical massage? There is a lot of scientific support that therapeutic touch can have some surprising medicinal applications for pet health. So today we’ll examine some of the reasons you might want to splurge on a doggy day spa. Weight Loss Therapeutic touch has all sorts of medicinal effects on pets. Interestingly enough, studies show that superficial rubbing and pressure applied to a pet affects its autonomic nervous system. That is, the unconscious actions a pet’s body performs. Everything from the pumping of its heart tot the contractions of its stomach is positively affected by a touch. Medical massage can help your pet lose weight by tripping the nerves that signal to the brain that the stomach is full, thereby decreasing appetite. Another way medical massage helps your pet lose weight is by managing insulin levels in its blood stream. It also helps the pet’s stomach digest food more efficiently, by extracting more nutrients and increasing the rate and effectiveness of a pet’s peristalsis, (the movements your intestinal tract makes in order to move food through the digestive system).   It even contributes to the prevention of many digestive and intestinal difficulties. Touch therapy has been shown to decrease an animal’s chances of developing “Leaky Gut Syndrome,” a condition where the seals in between the cell walls of the stomach lining come undone. Pain Relief Just as a good rubdown can make you feel like a million bucks, a session of touch therapy for a pet can alleviate their pain. Therapeutic touch can reduce pain in several ways. Simply rubbing out the knots of accrued amino acidic buildup can make a joint more mobile. Releasing that acid helps keep a muscle from retaining tension and becoming sore. Medical massage can also reduce a pet’s inflammation, which can be a serious cause for concern, depending on the animal’s diet and lifestyle. It can also be good for spinal health, and that’s more important than most people think. Spinal columns transfer virtually every signal that the brain sends, it’s the body’s command superhighway. Incidentally, it’s a good idea to keep it from getting too twisted or tense. Surgical Rehab When pets are recovering from surgery, touch therapy is often a required rehabilitation exercise. This is because of its potency at increasing blood flow, and reducing stress. That’s an important element of pet message efficacy that might be easily overlooked. However, if your pet is in pain or under a lot of stress for some reason, a medical massage might do a world of good for both the pet’s mental and physical health. Pets our most loyal companions and they require a lot of upkeep sometimes. Perhaps the most attractive benefit of medical message for pets is its preventative benefits. So give pet massage a thought every once in a while. You might be saving some hefty medical costs down the line. 
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