Pet-pourri! - - Archived

Is an Unusual Pet a Good Match for Your Family?

When selecting a family pet, don’t be afraid to look beyond cats and dogs. Lots of families have found love and affection elsewhere in the animal kingdom.

Guinea Pigs

Gentle, affectionate pets (not to mention ADORABLE) they can live in small quarters and are economical to feed. When well maintained, they have little odor, produce very little dander, and almost never bite. Unfortunately, they only live for five to eight years.


Curious, affectionate, and cuddly, ferrets are as intelligent as cats. They’re nearly noiseless and do well on a commercial diet of ferret or kitten chow. They generally live eight to ten years. They do tend to stink though, due to musk glands spread throughout their bodies.


Though adorable as babies, rabbits become aggressive with age and can bite or scratch.  Many families love them all the same. And they do well in households with cats. They can live up to nine years, when kept as a pet.

Rats, Mice, Gerbils, and Hamsters

Any of these make good pets, if they’re handled from the time they’re born. Rats live four to six years, mice and hamsters two to three years, and gerbils three to four years. They’re economical to buy and maintain, and can be quite affectionate. But you’ve got to keep those cages clean. 

Turtles, Tortoises, Lizards and Snakes

Though they can be fun to watch, handle, and pet, they don’t generally return affection. Although they’re cheap enough to keep, they all have long life expectancies, which can pose a problem if your own life situation changes.

Parrots, Cockatoos, Parakeets, and Cockatiels

Cockatiels tend to be the most affectionate of all pet birds, usually bonding to one member of the family. Generally, the larger the bird species, the longer the life span. Some large parrots, for instance, can live up to 100 years, while a canary’s life span is closer to 10. Pet birds can be quite noisy and cockatoos in particular produce large amounts of dust.

What NOT to Feed Your Pet

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) your dog’s or cat’s diet should never include:

  • Avoca do
  • Chocolate, Coffee and Caffeine
  • Citrus
  • Coconut and Coconut Oil
  • Grapes and Raisins
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Milk and Dairy
  • Nuts
  • Onions, Garlic, Chives
  • Raw/Undercooked Meat, Eggs and Bones
  • Salt and Salty Snack Foods
  • Alcohol
  • Xylitol
  • Yeast Dough

Top Pet Names in 2017

Looking for the perfect name for your dog or cat? These were the top ten names in 2017.

Boy Dog

    1. Bailey
    2. Max
    3. Charlie
    4. Buddy
    5. Rocky
    6. Jake
    7. Jack
    8. Toby
    9. Cody
    10. Buster
Girl Dog

  1. Bella
  2. Lucy
  3. Molly
  4. Daisy
  5. Maggie
  6. Sophie
  7. Sadie
  8. Chloe
  9. Bailey
  10. Lola
Boy Cat

  1. Simba
  2. Milo
  3. Tiger
  4. Oreo
  5. Bear
  6. Biscuit
  7. Felix
  8. Jasper
  9. Alfie
  10. Caesar
Girl Cat

  1. Nala
  2. Bella
  3. Luna
  4. Abby
  5. Daisy
  6. Angel
  7. Cleo
  8. Hazel
  9. Belle
  10. Coco

Is Your Pet a Fatty?

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), about 50 million US cats and dogs are overweight, putting them at risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and other ailments.

“Body condition scores” can be found online, including pictures of the way your pet should look and their ideal weight. Another test for obesity is to feel their ribs. If you can see your pet’s ribs, they’re too skinny. But if you can’t even feel them, it’s time to talk portion control.

Interesting Facts

It’s a myth that you can tell your dog’s temperature by checking their nose. Wet or dry, the best way to know is to use a digital thermometer.

Black cats aren’t an omen of ill fortune in all cultures. In the UK and Australia, spotting a black cat is good luck.

At the end of the song “A Day in the Life,” Paul McCartney recorded a high-pitched whistle that only dogs can hear. He did this especially for his pup, Martha.

Cats have over 100 sounds in their vocal repertoire, while dogs have only 10.

Some dogs can identify the smell of lung cancer from sniffing a person’s breath.

The priciest dog in the world, a Tibetan Mastiff, was recently bought in China for $1.5 million.

Cats today are living twice as long as they did just 50 years ago.

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