Blog Posts by Sarah D. Bunting

  • Think your pet is safe from coyotes?

    Think your pet is safe from coyotes?It's best to keep pets indoors, or at least keep an eye on them when they go outside. We knew this. We also knew that, in addition to cars and diseases and poisonous plants, our cats and dogs might have to contend with wildlife like coyotes.

    Shine Pets: Natural toxins your pets should avoid

    What we didn't know is that coyotes roam the suburbs of Columbus, OH -- and could snatch felines and small canines. Other disturbing, but possibly useful, information gleaned from the 10TV report:

    • "Every city" has a coyote issue, according to Dr. Stan Gehrt of OSU's School of Environment and Natural Resources. Gehrt has studied coyotes for years, and also noted that the OSU campus has coyotes in residence as well as "passing through."
    • This time of year -- January through the end of February -- is peak mating season for the coyote, and the resulting hormonal increases "could lead to attacks on pets."
    • The good news is, you can protect your pet just by...existing; a healthy coyote isn't interested in
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  • Keep your pets safe from natural toxins

    An apple a day keeps the doctor away -- unless you're a dog or cat, in which case a crunchy Golden Delicious can prove poisonous! Lots of "people food" and pretty plants can have harmful, even fatal effects on our furry friends. Keep them safe with this checklist of natural toxins; you might be surprised at what you find.

    All the non-meat parts of an apple -- the stem, leaves, and seeds -- contain cyanide, which is poisonous to animals and humans.

    Avocado: Avocadoes contain persin, a toxic fatty-acid derivative that can cause gastrointestinal and respiratory distress, fluid around the heart, and even death. All species -- domesticated animals, cattle, even fish -- are susceptible, so keep the guac well out of reach of your pets.

    Baby food containing onion or garlic: Baby food is often recommended for ill felines; Layla Morgan Wilde, cat behavior guru and founder of the Annex Cat Rescue, notes that it's "excellent for cats that have lost their appetite, but check the

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  • Fur Your Information: When an animal gets hit by a car

    The other day, I narrowly missed hitting a neighborhood cat with my car. When my heart rate returned to normal, I thought to myself, What if I had hit the cat? Should I call 911? Do I try to help the animal or keep my distance?

    What should people do if they see a pet get hit by a car?

    Vetstreet's Dr. Ernie Ward answers: When you injure an animal with your car, it can be one of the most frightening and unnerving accidents anyone can experience. The key is to act quickly. Too many people simply go on their way, ignoring the animal who's suffering and in pain. Unfortunately, 911 is typically reserved for human emergencies, so it may be up to you to get the pet to the hospital.

    Take a first-aid class. The best thing that you can do in this situation is to already have some skills under your belt by taking a pet-first-aid course through the Red Cross or another organization. This way, you'll be equipped with the confidence to better evaluate an injured pet, safely restrain him, and even

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  • 7 questions for "Good Cat!" author Steve Dale

    Steve Dale wears a lot of hats: columnist; TV, radio, and podcast host; certified animal-behavior consultant; and e-book author. He's recently come out with a pair of books on pet behavior, including "Good Cat! Practical Answers to Behavior Questions," via the e-publishing division of TMS.

    Somehow, Dale made time to speak with Shine Pets last week between hosting "Steve Dale's Pet World" and "The Pet Minute," blogging for ChicagoNow, appearing on Animal Planet shows, and serving on the boards of the CATalyst Council and the Winn Feline Foundation, among others. Can you really clicker-train a cat? Do you take your cat to the vet often enough? And what would Dale make a part of his "Hippo-cat-ic oath"?

    Dale – who in 2012 will become the youngest person ever inducted into the Dog Writers Hall of Fame; did we mention he has a ton of accomplishments? – talked to us about all this and more last week.

    Shine Pets: You have a bunch of funny quotes in the book; one of my favorites is an

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  • Protecting Fido from natural toxins

    Most of us know that chocolate and raisins are bad for dogs -- but did you know that sugar-free gum, onions, and all types of mushrooms are bad for dogs (and cats) as well? And that an apple a day is great advice for humans, but terrible for your pets?

    Neither did we, 'til we perused this handy clip-'n'-save from eBay Classifieds. We got the exclusive on this informative don't-eat-it chart, and we hope that you'll learn as much from it as we did...and that, if you're reading it while drinking chamomile tea, you keep your beverage away from the dog.

    More on Yahoo! Shine Pets:
    3 steps to better feline oral health
    Did Kate and William get a puppy? The palace won't comment
    Wash your hound at home to save money with these 10 tips

    Graphic courtesy of eBay Classifieds

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  • Hamster-lanche!: Owner surrenders 94 rodents

    Overrun by nearly a hundred little fuzzballs, a Massachusetts man -- who remains anonymous -- called on his local SPCA for help after the two teddy-bear hamsters he adopted about five years ago had become 94.

    Local officials did not characterize the man as an animal hoarder and noted that the dozens of hamsters were all in good health and well fed. In addition to going without food himself at times so that the pets could eat, the Mayor of Hamsterdam attempted to control the population somewhat. Once the rapidly reproducing brood outstripped the fish tanks he'd initially provided, he began housing the hammies in five-gallon buckets, kitty-litter boxes, and even Tupperware containers. He also tried to separate them based on gender to stem the rising hamster-nami, but it was just too hard to tell the sexes apart. Overmatched by biology, the Mayor dropped in to the Nevins Farm outpost of the MSPCA to ask for help.

    Although the Mayor considered keeping just a few of his clown-car's worth of

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  • A new puppy for Kate and William?

    Princes William and Harry, with unidentified canine friend, at a polo club in '95According to a recent photo, Wills (shown at left, with Harry, at the Cirencester Park polo club in 1995) and Kate may already have welcomed their first "child."

    The royal couple took a breezy stroll on the beach in North Wales, accompanied by a four-legged friend that looks like a black Labrador Retriever puppy. (That would make sense, since, as People Pets notes, Prince William grew up with black lab named Widgeon who often tagged along at polo matches.) So have the couple welcomed a hound into their household? Or did a stray just decide to join their perambulations?

    omg!: A royal holiday is anything but relaxing

    Well, Buckingham Palace is officially not commenting "on those photos, or any dog that is within them." (Heh.) But Kate did ask her husband for a dog for Christmas, and may have received a puppy over the holidays. (The two have exchanged puppies before: in 2009, Kate got a Cocker Spaniel named Otto, who made headlines by allegedly snacking on pearl earrings William got her for

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  • 7 animal narrators in literature

    When I set out to write this piece, my list of animal narrators in literature stretched over two pages -- from Animal Farm to Watership Down, I remembered dozens of books narrated by animals.

    Or...I thought I did. Although many classic works of literature, for adults and the younger set, are written from the point of view of the animals, they're not actually narrated by those animals as I had remembered. I thought Jack London's White Fang featured the wolf-dog as a first-person narrator; it doesn't. I also thought one of the rabbits narrated Watership Down, but I'd gotten it confused with one of the film versions. And I'd completely forgotten how depressing Bambi is. (Yes, Bambi: A Life in the Woods is a book. Yes, that book has a Facebook page...? No, his mother's death is not any easier to take on the page than it is on the screen.)

    But the list of novels narrated by the furry (and feathered) set is pretty distinguished: children's classics, best-selling authors, humor, horror, and a

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  • Postmortem pets: how far is too far?

    Nobody wants to say goodbye to a beloved pet, of course…but lately, it's starting to seem like a lot of pet owners simply refuse to say goodbye at all. Last month saw the reversal of a New York State ruling that had prohibited owners from sharing pet-cemetery space with their dogs or cats. Now, the desire of some owners to keep their pets around forever – in stuffed and/or cloned form – has hit the airwaves.

    "American Stuffers," which premiered last week on Animal Planet, follows Daniel Ross, the owner/proprietor of Xtreme Taxidermy in Romance, AR (…no, really), and his family and co-workers. Much of Ross's business comes from preserving hunting trophies, but a significant portion proceeds from bereft pet owners who want to keep their dogs with them forever. (You'd think that one guy would have given his female hound a nicer name than "Turd" if he felt that strongly about her.) The preservation process isn't terribly pleasant, obviously (organ removal, glass eyes,

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  • 9 famous Jack Russell Terriers

    The Jack Russell Terrier is everywhere this winter! The breed figures heavily in not one but two Oscar-hopeful movies, Beginners and The Artist -- and the current Bachelor has a Jack Russell, too. He even brought the hound along on a date in a recent episode! (You can insert your own joke about the dog making more interesting conversation than the human here.)

    Stars of television, beloved by royals, Jack Russells show up all over the place. Our slideshow showcases nine of the most recognizable, and the dogs who played them.

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