Blog Posts by Mother Nature Network (

  • 10 Surprising Kitchen Dangers and How to Avoid Them

    Bagels cause 2,000 trips to the emergency room each year.Bagels cause 2,000 trips to the emergency room each year."Approach love and cooking with equal abandon," advises the Dalai Lama, but emergency room doctors beg to differ. Although spending time in the kitchen can be magic for the soul, it can be brutal for the body. Most of know we are supposed to handle razor-sharp knives and searing hot pans with care - but we persist in misusing them, not to mention all of the other dangers awaiting us in the kitchen. Consider the following:

    1. Playing with fire
    FEMA reports that cooking equipment, most often a range or stovetop, is the leading cause of reported home fires and home fire injuries in the United States. The agency, which notes that the leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking, offers some tips for avoiding being a statistic:

    • Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
    • If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while
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  • How to Make Going to the Vet Easier for a Cat

    Getting a cat to cooperate at the vet can sometimes be difficultGetting a cat to cooperate at the vet can sometimes be difficultWhile cats tend to live longer than dogs, our feline friends typically receive far less veterinary care. Cats also are a lot better at hiding symptoms, leading to bigger bills when they finally get a thorough examination. Getting cats to do anything other than eat, sleep and play can require a Herculean effort. The idea of placing cats in a carrier and driving across town seems impossible. But it can be done.

    While Victoria Stilwell's TV show, "It's Me Or the Dog," typically focuses on wayward pooches and their people, she has joined forces with Banfield Pet Hospital clinics to launch an "inFurvention" campaign focused on getting more cats face time with their vets. If your cat has trouble traveling in carriers, try these tips to get the job done with a little less drama.

    Don't put off the inevitable
    It may be tempting to delay this dreaded task until your scheduled appointment date, but stuffing a cat into its carrier on the big day will only lead to a feline freak-out. Instead,

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  • High Heels Better for Your Knees Than Running Shoes

    High heels may be a good thingHigh heels may be a good thingJust ask any New Yorker who keeps a pair of sneakers in her bag for the walk to work: they're way more comfortable than the more stylish, yet ankle-twisting high heels worn at the office.

    But when it comes to knee and ankle trauma, walking in high heels is actually better than running in athletic shoes, according to a study - and barefoot may be best of all.

    Researchers observed the running motions of 68 active young adult runners, including 37 women, in treadmill and video studies. The team found that wearing athletic shoes caused excessive strain on hip, knee and ankle joints with 38 percent more ankle twisting than when running barefoot.

    Also see: 5 ways walking is better than running

    "Remarkably, the effect of running shoes on knee joint torques (twisting) during running that the authors observed here is even greater than the effect that was reported earlier of high-heeled shoes during walking," said study leader D. Casey Kerrigan of JKM Technologies LLC in Charlottesville, Va.

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  • New Fungus Species is Deadly to Cats, Humans

    A cat with a swollen eye due to a fungal granuloma in its eye socketA cat with a swollen eye due to a fungal granuloma in its eye socketResearchers have discovered a new species of fungus that causes life-threatening infections in humans and cats.

    Since the species was identified, more than 20 Australian cats and one from Britain have been diagnosed with the fungus. All of the cats were otherwise healthy.

    It's also been diagnosed in two people and has proved fatal in both; however, they each had a compromised immune system.

    The fungus, which infects the respiratory tract, is not thought to be passed between cats and humans.

    Vanessa Barrs, associate professor of small animal medicine at the University of Sydney, recently confirmed the new fungal species after six years of investigation.

    Also see: 12 pets that survived crazy accidents

    "This all originated from spotting an unusual fungal infection in three cats I was seeing at the university's cat treatment center in 2006," she said in a news release. "These cats presented with a tumor-like growth in one of their eye sockets, that had spread there from the nasal

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  • Want to Improve Your Love Life? Eat This, Not That

    Carrots are well-known libido enhancerCarrots are well-known libido enhancerPlanning a romantic evening? You might think a juicy steak, a good bottle of wine and some chocolate will set the stage. But you'd be wrong.

    Saturated fats from meats, alcohol and chocolate are the exact things you'll want to avoid for good sex. Each is filled with chemicals and stimulants that have the opposite effect on libido and performance.

    "If the body is spending its time and energy cleaning itself constantly from these chemicals we put in it, it cannot begin to perform at its peak sexually," says Brian Clement, Ph.D., L.N.C., the co-director of the Hippocrates Health Institute in West Palm Beach and co-author with his wife of "7 Keys to Lifelong Sexual Vitality."

    Also see: Sex is better for headaches than painkillers

    "One-third of young marrieds have fertility problems today and instead of seeing men with performance problems at age 70 the way we did a few decades ago, we now see it at age 40," says Clement. "Fifty percent of 40-year-old men cannot perform."

    "Almost everyone we see

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  • Why Do Cats Groom People?

    A cat's tongue speaks volumesA cat's tongue speaks volumesAdult cats spend about 50 percent of their waking hours grooming themselves. While friendly cats and litter mates often groom each other, felines may also groom their humans by licking their skin or hair. Sometimes they may even nibble or suckle clothing and drool profusely.

    Such behavior is generally a way for cats to show affection. Just as mother cats lick their young, grooming communicates a cat's fondness for a person, as well as a sense of belonging.

    The licking marks you as a member of the animal's family group and spreads the cat's scent. Just as cats scratch certain places to mark their territory, licking your skin or hair is a way of claiming you.

    Also see: 8 great cat tricks caught on video

    Of course, if your feline friend licks your hair after a shower or your hands after you've applied lotion, it could simply be that your shampoo or lotion has an enticing scent or taste.

    If your cat is suckling or licking excessively, it may have been orphaned or weaned too early. Some

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  • Scientists Prove that Women Pay More for Car Repairs

    Woman are charged more for car repairs, according to new studyWoman are charged more for car repairs, according to new studyLet's face it, we all suspect that service providers are fleecing us, especially if the service provided is mysterious to us-fixing cars, for one thing. The phrase "lambs to the slaughter" leaps to mind. How are we supposed to know if a brake job should cost $500 or $2,000? Well, it pays to know, especially if you're a woman. Have you heard that phrase, "They see you coming"? It's true, they do.

    According to a new study, "Repairing the Damage: The Effect of Price Expectations on Auto-Repair Price Quotes," from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, women get the short end of the stick a lot of the time. According to the report,"When it comes to auto repairs, women who don't appear knowledgeable about cost may end up paying more than men. However, gender differences disappear when customers mention an expected price for the repair." In other words, if you have no idea what something should cost-and you're female-it will cost more.

    The Northwestern team dreamt up

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  • How to Help an Anxious Dog Deal with July 4th Fireworks

    Lulu the dog wearing her Thundershirt to calm her downLulu the dog wearing her Thundershirt to calm her downMy dog Lulu has issues traveling by car, but loud noises don't seem to bother my 8-year-old pooch. But Fourth of July festivities can be stressful for some cats and dogs. If your dog has trouble embracing the concept of bombs bursting in air, take measures now to help make the holiday more tolerable. Certified dog behavior consultants Amber Burckhalter and Chris Redenbach offer a few training tips for calming anxious pets.

    Music matters
    Desensitize anxious dogs by introducing music or similar sounds. Redenbach has been introducing loud music to prepare her Bouvier des Flandres for a potential parade of cherry bombs and Roman candles. (Fortunately, no neighbors live close by.) She also notes that desensitizing anxious pets can take time, so start early. Trial and error is part of the process.

    "There are some DVDs and CDs you can buy for dogs that are firework-phobic and gunshot-phobic," says Redenbach, owner of The Balanced Dog Academy in Tucker, Ga. "For some it works; for others it

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  • Why Do Dogs Lick Themselves Excessively?

    A tongue-wagging FidoA tongue-wagging FidoDuring a recent visit to Southern California, I was able to join my friend and his dog for a morning ritual. Every morning, as the rest of the family sleeps, Mike Telleria and pooch Sheila descend the stairs of their condo, cross the parking lot and head for a nearby field to enjoy a game of fetch. At 12 years old, Sheila doesn't move quite as fast as she used to, but this ritual proves that a well-worn tennis ball can turn back time.

    After a few rounds, Mike and Sheila walk across grass still wet with dew and ascend the stairs once again. Before returning inside, Mike dips each of Sheila's furry paws into a bowl of water just outside the front door. Then he grabs an old rag and rubs her paws clean before they go inside and start the day. Without this morning ritual, Mike says, Sheila will lick her paws to raw nubs, removing hair along the way.

    Sheila most likely suffers from a contact allergy caused by chemicals used to treat the lawn, said Dr. Annie Price of Ormewood Animal

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  • Pet Supplements: 5 Things You Need to Know

    Supplements can be good for aging dogsSupplements can be good for aging dogsOur pets are living longer, but with those extra years comes a drawback: age-related health problems. Many pet owners try to turn back the clock by giving their furry companions vitamins and supplements. Packaged Facts market research firm estimates that last year pet owners spent about $1.3 billion on supplements or treats with nutritional benefits. Joint deterioration and cognitive dysfunction fueled a large chunk of those sales. While pets share our aches and pains, they shouldn't share human treatments. Here are five things you need to know before adding vitamins and supplements to your pet's diet.

    1. Your pet's kibble may be enough.
    "Your average healthy dog or cat on a quality commercial pet food does not require any dietary supplementation," said Dr. Jennifer Monroe, a veterinarian with Eagles Landing Veterinary Hospital in Georgia. "Most commercial pet foods add vitamins and minerals to their diets to provide complete and balanced nutrition for pets."

    When in doubt, look for

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