pet news

SEPTEMBER 21, 2011

Pet care for student pet owners

It’s that time of the year again. Students have entered another phase of their academic lives, and there is so much to take care of at once— excelling in academics and sports, eating healthy and staying stress-free. Many students live away from their homes during college, and a pet can be a great companion when students miss having their family around.
But a big question remains: Is maintaining a pet while at college a good idea? “Having a pet in college has its challenges but it is not impossible,” says Dr. M. A. Crist, clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM).

Students need to think about a number of factors before deciding to own a pet. A very important consideration is the amount of time the owner is prepared to spend.

“Pets need to be walked, fed, and socialized and this can take up quite a bit of a student’s free time,” explains Crist.  Hence, aquarium pets like fish, which only need regular maintenance, are a good choice — especially when sharing apartments with room-mates.

Similarly, cats make great indoor pets for students who do not have time for walks. Dogs are a popular choice even though they require more time for walks and socialization.
“More and more college towns are developing dog parks to have areas where students can enjoy their canine friends,” Crist notes.

Apartment complexes may sometimes require special deposits for keeping pets and students need to plan for that extra expense. Some students love horses, but they need to make arrangements for a stall at an equine facility and a pasture for riding.

Pet nutrition is another concern for many students. Veterinarians recommend specific diets for pets based on individual requirements. According to Crist, the most important thing in pet nutrition is “to maintain continuity.” A constantly changing diet can cause gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea and vomiting. In some cases, this may even lead to illness or death, she warns.

However, healthy pets can be maintained on a student budget.

“Many manufacturers of the commercial pet foods will provide coupons for your pet if you contact the company directly by email,” reassures Crist.  “Such student discount coupons are also available on the internet.  Keeping our furry, feathered, or scaly pet friends on a good quality diet will save money in the future to avoid unnecessary veterinary visits and expense.”

A new pet needs to have an initial visit to the vet and must finish the series of puppy/kitten vaccinations. “It is recommended to spay or neuter, and microchip their pet, as well as keep them on heartworm and flea prevention,” says Crist.

Students can take advantage of the discounted services offered by veterinary offices at different times of the year.   For instance, students, staff, and faculty at Texas A&M University receive special discounts on pet food, medicines and services at the CVM.
Aside from nutrition and regular check ups with the veterinarian, a budget for pet care needs to include the costs of unexpected emergencies. Students also need to plan ahead for events such as road trips and parties.

“Situations have occurred where students have had parties, and their pet got into a fight with another pet brought to the household by another partygoer,” says Crist. 

She also cites instances where pets have been lost or injured during parties when students have been too distracted to notice.  However, with care and attention, students can certainly make good owners of happy pets.

Crist suggests that adopting a pet earlier in the summer would help one to know more about the pet and train it before school starts. Having a roommate who also likes pets helps avoid any potential conflict in the future. If the roommate has another pet, she advises that both the pets are introduced to each other early and have time to socialize and become friends before they are left alone.  Doing such little things to make the pet feel at home would go a long way in making pet ownership by busy college students more manageable.

Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University.

SEPTEMBER 21, 2011

The Scottsdale Classic Delivers a Winning Combination

September 29-Oct 5 at WestWorld

When it comes to blending the right amounts of fun, professionalism and prestige, the organizers of The Scottsdale Classic in Arizona have a winning formula. Throw in a liberal amount of great weather, stir it up at a world-class facility, and it is no wonder that exhibitors keep coming back for more.  Now entering it’s ninth year, The Classic will once again offer up an equine extravaganza of Quarter Horse shows, Futurities, Special Events, parties, shopping and of course, superb competition. Horses and riders from around the country, as well as from abroad, will compete for points, prizes and over $140,000 in cash awards during the seven days of competition. The show will be held at WestWorld, Sept. 29 – Oct. 5,. This year’s dates work perfectly for those who want to show at the Classic, and still be able to compete at the Congress, which starts on Oct 7.

Some exciting new additions join the list of favorite events this year. The Classic is thrilled to be one of six shows around the country to host NSBA Stallion Incentive Fund Classes. These classes are open to NSBA licensed horses sired by a stallion in the SIF program for 2011. Incentive Fund classes are the 2 Year Old Open Western Pleasure, 3 Year Old Open Hunter Under Saddle and 3 Year Old Non Pro Western Pleasure. They join a full slate of NSBA Western Pleasure and Hunter Under Saddle futurities and maturities offered at the Classic. Added money sweetens the pot for the additional NSBA classes. You won’t want to miss the $5,000 added 2 Year Old Open Western Pleasure and the $7,500 3 Year Old Open Western Pleasure classes as they are expected to once again offer an exciting challenge. Additionally, saddles, buckles and trophies await the champions.

Last year, the Classic added a Special Event Trail and Western Riding day to the schedule. Its popularity ensured it a place on this year’s schedule, and will kick things off on Thursday September 29. Over in the Reining Arena, NRHA classes will get underway that day as well. Even if you are not a reiner or showing in the Special Event, you will want to get settled in on Thursday so that you can enjoy the Welcome Party that evening. Susie Johns & Family, Kathy & Jerry Tobin & Family, Jim & Deanna Searles graciously sponsor the inaugural event of the Classic’s Party schedule. All are welcome to enjoy some great food and the opportunity to catch-up with your friends. There will be plenty of party entertainment that evening as the Equidome will be turned over to the dogs for the popular Classic Dog Agility Sweepstakes. The agility event is a benefit for Vets and Their Pets, a local charity that assists homeless veterans in caring for the needs of their pets.

The full schedule of AQHA and NSBA classes, including the Youth divisions, starts on the 30, with action in five arenas throughout the day. Things do not slow down when the sun goes down, as the Equine Chronicle Party gets underway with more great food and plenty of fun.
The Scottsdale Classic attracts an ever-growing number of reining enthusiasts. Offering AQHA and NRHA classes to fit every level of horse and rider, combined with perfectly groomed reining arenas, everyone from the greenest of green to reining celebrities love to kick up some dirt at the Classic. The payoffs are pretty nice too.  Trophies, saddles, buckles, prizes and a whole lot of cash reward the best runs. In addition to hosting the NRHA Southwestern Regional Affiliate Finals, The Classic is excited to be a part of the Reining Super Series for 2011. Four of the reining industry’s premier events have come together in this series to give Open and Non Pro exhibitors yet another chance to pocket some big money. Exhibitors who compete in the Ariat Tulsa Reining Classic, the High Roller Reining Classic, the Scottsdale Classic Reining Futurity and Horse Show and Southwest Reining Horse Association Futurity and Horse Show are eligible to win $10,000 in both the Open and Non Pro divisions.

Big checks are a big part of the reason exhibitors chose the Classic. The $50,000 Open Reining Futurity will be held Saturday Oct. 1, running concurrently with the $8,000 Intermediate Open and the $2,000 Limited Open. Expected to draw over 130 entries, the three divisions will provide a full afternoon and evening of exciting competition. As night falls, the crowd will be treated to the Rancho Oso Rio Reining Futurity Party. Jim and Pat Warren along with Fappani Performance Horses host the event.  Party-goers will also have the chance to bid on a wonderful array of jewelry, accessories, home décor and personal services at the Three Cowgirls and an Outlaw silent auction.  All money raised at the auction benefits America’s Horse Cares, a program designed to enrich the lives of special needs children through therapeutic riding.

In between all the activity in the arenas, exhibitors and spectators will be able to shop for horse and home. From practical to extravagant, you will find what you need to outfit yourself and hour horse from head to toe. Cumulatively, the 9th Scottsdale Classic is shaping up do what fans expect: deliver a great show along with a great time.  This winning combination has rightly earned it the reputation as the “Fun Show.” Join in the fun and join us in Scottsdale.