All posts tagged: pets

Do Thundershirts Really Calm Dogs During Fireworks or What?

The dogs will lose their minds. They always do. Every Fourth of July in America, as children stay up past their bedtime to watch colors explode in the sky and adults sit on the back of pickup trucks drinking beer and marveling at a pyrotechnic technology 12 centuries old, pets across the country panic with every boom.

Sound phobias are very common for dogs—and cats—making this holiday a nightmare for millions of animals. “Half of the dogs in my practice are dealing with fireworks fear this week,” says veterinarian and animal clinical behavior resident Amy Learn, whose clinic in Richmond, Virginia, sees more than 2,000 clients annually. For many dogs, the nightmare has already begun. A quick search on Twitter shows people across the land complaining about neighbors popping fireworks off early. In Boston, where I live, they first started exploding in the middle of last week. The German shepherd next door has been pacing back and forth every night since, nails skittering across the floor.

That behavior is typical for dogs with loud noise phobia. Learn says you’ll know if your animal has abnormal fear of loud sounds if they don’t recover from the initial shock of hearing the sound right away. If your dog is pacing, howling, panting, and trying to run as far away from the sound as possible; if your cat is hiding, its ears cocked back, its eyes dilated, they need help. Every year around this date, people flock to Google to search “How to keep a dog calm during fireworks.” One answer that frequently shows up at the top of the results: anxiety shirts or thunder vests.

These come in two main designs—a spandex T-shirt that’s meant to give an animal a balanced hug, and a vest with straps designed to put pressure on particular parts of the body. “Their job is to squeeze,” Learn says. “It's postulated that it feels like a hug."

Animal anxiety shirts were directly inspired by research into humans with severe anxiety or autism. The insight that certain kinds of touch and pressure can have a calming effect was first popularized and championed by livestock behavior expert and autism-awareness-advocate Temple Grandin, who invented a “hug machine” for humans with autism after noticing the way a light squeeze calmed cows before slaughter. Grandin’s work is specifically called out on the website for Thundershirt, the major player in the animal anxiety wrap market. Deep Pressure Therapy is now widely used to help calm people with autism, and many different studies suggest the therapy shows real results.

But the science is less clear about whether pressure therapy really works for dogs.

Michelle Mullins, an animal behavior expert and board member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, first learned about animal anxiety shirts two decades ago. But they have only gone mainstream in the last 10 years with companies like Thundershirt. “As we often are wont to do when we look at science, we want to say if it works for humans it will work for our pets. In some cases it's true and in many cases it's not,” Mullins says. “Unfortunately we don’t have a huge amount of scientific studies about this.”

There’s only been one study to date into the use of anxiety shirts to deal with sound phobias, and it had a small sample size of 18 participants. Published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior in 2013, the study compared owner-reported anxiety levels before and after prolonged use of anxiety wraps, and found that 89 percent of dog owners felt the shirts helped. Most importantly, the study found that even for those animals who saw no benefit, there were no adverse side effects. But one study is hardly conclusive evidence, and along with small sample size the study is also hindered by relying on self-reporting, which is often highly unreliable.

That leaves pet owners and people who care for animals to depend on anecdotal experience. “This is one of those things that isn't super scientific," says Learn. "A lot of it is subjective. It's the owner saying, 'Oh, my dog feels better.'" But owners apparently feel that way a lot.

“I rarely if ever recommend them as a cure all,” says Mullins, “but I have seen many dogs successfully use these as part of their therapy.”

Both Learn and Mullins report working with animals that appear to be helped by these shirts. They always recommend owners use the shirts in combination with other interventions, like medication or specific behavioral modifications. A hallmark of Mullins' long-term behavioral work with sound-phobic animals is to desensitize the animals by exposing them to loud sounds slowly over time. Clearly, for people searching Google for a solution in the days before the Fourth of July, it’s too late for that. For them, an anxiety shirt may be the easiest option this year. You can get them quickly, and put them on your animal immediately.

Learn often suggests that people spray “dog-appeasing” pheromones on the anxiety shirts, a treatment that has been more widely studied—though its effectiveness is still up for debate. One study shows dog-appeasing pheromones can calm canine noise-associated anxiety, but two others were inconclusive. Learn reports that she has treated pets who have separation anxiety with only pheromones and found they worked well.

These results, of course, are also subjective. "It's hard to say to a pet, 'Are you calmer?'" says Learn. Neither anxiety shirts no pheromones is a "golden pill that solves all problems," she adds.

But Mullins and Learn emphasize that here’s no harm in trying them. Neither has seen any adverse effects, unlike popular anti-anxiety medications—which can cause increased heart rate, lethargy, more stress, and vomiting. The worst that happens with thunder shirts is that animals find it annoying to be dressed. “These are not a miracle pill that you put on and all your problems are solved,” says Mullins. But if you know your dog is going to be scared during Fourth of July, one of these shirts or vests might help.

A few other things you can do to calm your dog down? First of all, says Mullins, be smart: Don’t bring your dog to the fireworks BBQ. If possible, remove them from anywhere the noise will be particularly loud. She suggests you turn on a fan or a white noise machine to help drown out the explosions. Give your animal something to distract them from the noise, like a kong toy filled with food. Give them a safe space like or a crate or a closet where they can hunker down.

And the good news is when it’s all over, and the sky has gone dark and the air smells of potassium nitrate, you have the experts' blessing to go ahead and give your dog a real, actual, comforting hug.


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Homeless people on their pets: ‘She saved me as much as I saved her’

Four people share stories of animal companions as experts say they take better care of pets than those with housing

Heather, 22, Seattle

Before we found Poppy, I didnt feel like I had anything to wake up for. I was going through a rough time in my life and didnt care about myself. Id been homeless since my parents told me to leave our family house in June 2016 and was so miserable in my situation. Everywhere I go people shun me and tell me to leave.

outside in america series description

Then, last March, I was walking around downtown Seattle with my boyfriend when we saw a group of guys with two dogs. They were yelling at one of them and she was shivering and obviously scared. I went into a store and when I came out my boyfriend had the dog. I was confused. He said to me: I made a life choice without you; were keeping the dog. Hed paid the guys $5 for her.

It was an eye-opening moment for me to look at her properly. She raised her head with a look that said: Please dont hurt me. She had protruding ribs, fleas, missing patches of fur and couldnt walk properly. I wrapped her in my jacket like a little baby and promised Id never let anybody hurt her again. And thats my promise to her for the rest of her life. We named her Poppy after a poppy seed muffin she was trying to eat off the sidewalk.

Heather
Heather on Poppy: Seeing her like that reminds me to stay happy for simple things too. Photograph: Annabel Clark for the Guardian

We moved from sleeping in a doorway to a tent. I stopped stealing food from stores when we were desperate; I didnt want to go to jail for something dumb and risk losing her. Ive applied for food stamps and now have a case manager helping me get on a housing list and get Poppy registered as a service animal so that were protected from being split up [by the Federal Housing Act].

People comment about how I shouldnt be on the street with a dog. But they probably have a misconception that shes not being taken care of. Twice a month the Union Gospel Mission does free pet care. I feed her at specific times with foods that the vet has told me will keep her healthy. I get money for her food from panhandling. Shes literally with me 247. She wakes up so excited every morning and gets so happy about the littlest thing, like rolling around in the grass or even just the weather being nice. Seeing her like that reminds me to stay happy for simple things too. In my mind shes a little angel that saved me as much as I saved her.

Kate Fraser Daley, 39, Portland, Oregon

Kate
Kate Fraser Daley with her dog, Tenny, and her daughter in Portland, Oregon. Photograph: Annabel Clark for the Guardian

When my family became homeless last June, some of the time we had Tenny, our four-year old chihuahua-terrier mix, with us, and some of the time he was with friends of the family. But he was so sad when we were apart. There were times when he wouldnt eat and just wanted to sleep. His happy-go-lucky self wasnt there.

Wed been in the same apartment for 10 years so the change was really hard on everyone. We decided to send our two cats, Snowflake and Mittens, to another friends house. Within the first week, Snowflake got out and ran away. My husband was absolutely heartbroken. A year on and just mentioning her name is still very emotional for him. Mittens passed away when our friends moved.

Tenny
Kate Fraser Daley: I said to my husband: We dont give up on our family. Photograph: Annabel Clark for the Guardian

When we moved into a shelter, Tenny became extremely protective of all of us. Being part of a mobile family unit is difficult for a dog, because everywhere becomes their territory to protect and theres no actual home. Were in a 25-family shelter at the moment. All the families sleep on bunks in one large room and we can only be there from 6pm to 8am. But Tenny is never satisfied with our surroundings. His barking has become incessant and hes being snippety. I dont think hes going to calm down until we get back into an apartment. Then he wont have to be running all over town trying to freakishly protect his family from the world, which is not the job of a dog.

I know its unfair on him. We try to give him all the love we can and help him work through it. My husband and I actually talked about whether we are going to have to take him back to the pound. We cant afford a lawsuit and we dont want to risk him being put down if he bites somebody. But I said to my husband: We dont give up on our family. Were working on getting into an apartment and will see how he calms down when he has his own space to protect again.

Richard Dyer, 52, Seattle

Richard
Richard Dyer with his pet ferrets Ricky and Tiny in Seattle. Photograph: Annabel Clark for the Guardian

My two ferrets are called Ricky and Tiny. Ive had Ricky for five years. I rescued him when I saw somebody walking him on the street and yanking him around on a chain. And Ive had Tiny for almost three years and rescued him after someone threw him out in the woods. They were both skittish at first because of the way they had been treated, but now theyre leash- and litter box-trained.

I had wanted ferrets as pets since I was a kid. I grew up in Fort Payne, Alabama, and we had them on our land, but they were so fast you could never catch them.

Ive been homeless a little over a year; its not the first time, but its the first time in a long time. My wife and I were living in an apartment and the rent went up by $150. We couldnt afford it and didnt have any place to go so we had no option. Right now were staying in a tent. I come downtown when the ferrets are out of food.

Richard
Richard Dyer: They come up to me every time I call and Tiny is always on my heels, he never lets me out of his sight. Photograph: Annabel Clark for the Guardian

Most shelters dont allow animals. But I wouldnt subject my family to one anyway they are full of drugs and disease and lice. Were in a sanctioned camp thats supported by several agencies and we have electricity. We pay $60 a month to be there and our neighbors at the camp love the ferrets.

A while ago I was diagnosed with bipolar [disorder] and was suicidal. But since having these ferrets, I havent had any suicidal tendencies. They ease my stress. They come up to me every time I call and Tiny is always on my heels, he never lets me out of his sight. My favorite thing about them is how they play with each other. They cant be apart from each other; their bond is magnificent.

Ryan Mikesell, 37, Hillsboro, Oregon

Ryan
Ryan Mikesell lives with his pets in an RV parked in Hillsboro, Oregon. Photograph: Annabel Clark for the Guardian

When Im feeling overwhelmed by anxiety, my mini Labradoodle, Josie, climbs on my chest to calm me down. She wont take no for an answer. Shell be like, Go ahead, tell me to get off. I dont care. I have PTSD and her doing that is a grounding mechanism for me. I feel things and she just senses it. Shes like my soulmate in dog form. My therapist loves her.

My animals are my family. The oldest is Jamie, a Jack Russell-chihuahua I got eleven years ago when I was living in a house with my ex-partner. Jamie has had two litters and Ive kept three of her puppies. In total, I have five dogs and my cat, Buddy, who I found abandoned in an alley nine years ago.

Ive been homeless for eight years. I grew up in Olympia, Washington, but my parents were very abusive and I didnt want to be anywhere near them, so I left for Oregon. I have agoraphobia and severe anxiety. I also have diabetes and need to have a refrigeratorso I can keep eating healthily. I live in a motorhome that I have nowhere to permanently park. It used to be that as long as you regularly moved your vehicle, you could park in lots of places. But since the new mayor of Portland came into office, you can get a ticket and be towed in 20 minutes. I put a call out on Facebook saying I needed somewhere to park for six months and a woman offered me her driveway, which is where I am now.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

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Garfields creator, 40 years on: ‘I’m still trying to get it right’

Four decades since Jim Davis introduced his sardonic, lasagne-loving cat to the world, Garfield is read by 200m people every day. He talks about chasing the perfect gag and avoiding politics

Forty years ago this Tuesday, an orange tabby cat peered lugubriously at the world from the panels of his first comic strip. Our only thought is to entertain you, says his owner, Jon Arbuckle, brightly and guilelessly. Feed me, thinks the corpulent, Monday-loathing, sardonic Garfield, the eponymous hero of what would go on to become the most widely syndicated comic strip in the world.

First
The first panel of the first Garfield strip, from 19 June 1978. Photograph: Paws Inc

Back on 19 June 1978, though, Garfield made his debut in just 41 newspapers, all in the US. A couple of months later, that number fell by one: the Chicago Sun-Times decided to drop the strip. Garfields creator, cartoonist Jim Davis was close to panic. Here I am, 90 days into my dream career, and I lose a newspaper, says Davis, speaking from his 200-acre country home outside Muncie, Indiana. I thought, This is it, its downhill from here.

Before Garfield was published, Davis had been working as assistant cartoonist while shopping around his idea for a strip about a bug, Gnorm Gnat, without success.

Newspaper syndicates were getting tens of thousands of submissions from hopeful cartoonists a year and taking one or two. The odds were heavily against me, he remembers. But eventually, a syndicate editor told him that your gags are great, but bugs nobody can relate to bugs, and Davis, showing a cannily commercial approach that would serve him in good stead when it came to Garfields vast merchandising empire, rethought his approach. I took a long hard look at the comics. I saw dogs doing well. But no cats. I thought, Huh!

Named after his grandfather, James Garfield Davis (a rather stern and intimidating person, but he had these really kind eyes he was a teddy bear), Garfield is a composite of the dozens of stray cats on Daviss childhood farm. He developed the strip over a year, creating a cast of contrasting characters to interact with his lazy, lasagne-loving cat geeky owner Jon, the playful, brainless dog Odie, Garfields vet Liz, and kitten Nermal. The strip was picked up and then shortly afterwards dropped by the Chicago Sun-Times. But readers bombarded the paper with more than 1,300 phone calls and letters demanding Garfields return. (The paper quickly acquiesced.)

So Davis quit his job and went all in for Garfield, showing a steely confidence despite a first pay cheque of, he estimates, $38 (28) for the month. But by 1983, 1,000 papers were running Garfield. By 2002, it had the Guinness World Record for the most widely syndicated comic strip in the world, with an estimated 200m daily readers turning to the crotchety feline in 2,570 newspapers across the globe. There are countless bestselling Garfield books (Daviss company Paws Inc says more than 135m have sold worldwide), television series, films, toys, clothes, mugs. (Garfield merchandise brings in an estimated $750m-$1bn a year.) Theres even a musical.

Garfield
A 1989 Garfield strip. Photograph: Used with permission of Paws Inc

At 72, Davis still writes and roughs out the strips himself, although a team completes them; the morning we talk, hes been working on a couple, as well as a ride for a Garfield theme park. Sitting down to dream up a new strip, hell visualise the cat and then send him up a tree, have him look out of a window, send him camping and then I watch him until he does something funny, and I back up three frames and cut him off.

Garfield himself has changed over the decades in what Davis calls an almost a Darwinian evolution. Today, his eyes and mouth are larger, and his body is slightly smaller, which helps with the more physical humour Davis has introduced. Peanuts creator Charles M Schulz helped get Garfield from four paws to two, advising Davis that like Snoopy Garfield needed to lose his tiny cat feet when he stands up. (He drew these two big feet on Garfield and he was standing. Magic.)

The nature of the humour has changed, too, says Davis. The first two or three years I got all the obvious cat gags out of the way, he says. Now I can take advantage of the fact people know him, the familiarity is much higher. You always expected to see Snoopy lying on the doghouse, for Charlie Brown to miss the football. There are certain things that make you feel warm and fuzzy, that have happened that way all your life, like telling an old joke over again. For some of us, it just gets funnier.

In a foreword to Age Happens, a new book celebrating Garfields 40th anniversary, Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda writes how Daviss gags are such a mix of verbal and visual humour he can make you laugh with a patented Garfield one-liner, or a pie in the face from an unexpected location, describing Garfield himself as an ironic, detached cat who is mean to everyone and somehow all the more lovable for it.

Davis says he has come to understand that when people laugh at Garfield, theyre recognising themselves. We live in a time when were made to feel guilty about overeating, oversleeping, not exercising. Garfield not only does all that stuff but hes cool with that. I think in a way he relieves our guilt, he says. Garfield is everyones alter ego.

Garfield
Photograph: Used with permission of Paws Inc

The cartoonist has always been careful to steer clear of social and political commentary in his strips. I consciously stay away from the political because its in the rest of the newspaper. They handle it better than I ever would, he says. Im dealing with very basic things, eating and sleeping, and I predict everyones still going to be eating and sleeping 40 years from now. Will there be a denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula 40 years from now? I doubt it. And thats the point I want him to be the cat next door and I feel a real responsibility to balance the scales. With whats going on in the economy, in politics, its awful and very depressing, so the purpose of the comics is to lighten things up, to go, Hey, lets not take ourselves so seriously, folks.

With thousands upon thousands of Garfield strips published over the years, Davis is adamant that he remains fascinated by his feline creation. And while he has his charitable and environmental concerns the Professor Garfield literacy foundation, and a project to return his 200 acres to its natural state its the comics he really loves.

The noveltys not worn off because Im still trying to get it right, he says. Now and then if you can do some silly gag that comes out of left field, that delights the readers, thats worth a lot. Thats what I go for all the time. One day, Id like to write that gag that makes the whole world laugh.

Hed like to see Garfield continue, even when he puts down his pencil. I would like to do it for as long as I feel I have something to contribute to it, until someone taps me on the shoulder and says Jim, youre not funny anymore, stop it, he says. I cant believe 40 years has gone by. Its been like a finger snap.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

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‘A ticket to the next life’: the lavish Buddhist dog funerals of Bangkok

Full funeral rites from the monks of Bangkoks Wat Krathum Suea Pla temple used to be for humans only until a new and lucrative market emerged

Fou Fou always liked the good things in life. The pomeranian puppy had a heart of gold and a taste for expensive grilled pork. Varunthip Manthin loved the tiny dog as much as any of her sons.

When she discovered him dead in the road having been hit by a motorbike, she was inconsolable. Despite her grief Manthin knew one thing: she would give him a funeral worthy of her own child.

And so, on a Saturday morning, Fou Fous body was brought to a small chapel in Bangkoks Wat Krathum Suea Pla temple, laid in a fuchsia pink coffin, set among a kitsch display of plastic flowers, and sent into eternity with the blessings of a monk.

The monks of this temple once only offered such funeral rites for deceased humans. However, that has recently changed as a new market became apparent: beloved pets.

Buddhists believe that as part of the samsara life and death cycle, dogs and cats as well as elephants and horses can potentially be reincarnated as humans. By giving their pets full funeral rites including prayers for forgiveness, a blessing by a monk, filling the coffin with (fake) gold and tickets to the next lifefollowed by full cremation many owners hope to give them a better chance of returning to this world in a higher form.

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Phatcharakorn

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  • Varunthip Manthin and her daughter Phatcharakorn Likanrapichitkun during the funeral of their dog, Fou Fou. Photographs: Cory Wright

I feel complete now that I can hold a funeral ceremony for him like I would for any of my children; I am a mother doing everything she can to honour my son, said Manthin through floods of tears, as she looked down at Fou Fou and scattered petals over his body, cozily tucked up inside the open pink casket.

I definitely believe that Fou Fou will be reborn in the next life as one of my children because he was just so different from other kinds of dogs; he was just so clever. He understood me better than anyone.

After an emotional ceremony during which Manthin and her daughter, Phatcharakorn Likanrapichitkun, 20, wore black and wept freely as the monk offered the last Buddhist rites and laid a sandalwood flower on the body Fou Fou was taken for cremation. As his body was enveloped by flames in the vast marble oven, Manthin lamented that Fou Fous best friend, the family cat, could not be with them to say goodbye.

Phatcharakorn

  • Phatcharakorn Likanrapichitkun says a final goodbye to Fou Fou before he is consigned to the flames.

According to Theerawat Saehan, who organises the pet funerals, business is booming in Bangkok. The temple now performs up to 300 a month, and with each funeral costing 3,000 Thai baht (70) for animals weighing under 20kgs (44lbs), and 4,000 baht for heavier animals, it is proving extremely lucrative. Most are dogs, though around 10% are cats, 5% rabbits and 3% reptiles; funerals have also been held for goldfish, catfish, monkeys, iguanas, a rooster, pigs and a small horse.

The idea came to Saehan, who used to own a pet grooming shop, after he was invited to the funeral of one of his canine customers. It felt like a really sad occasion, not a proper funeral at all just the burning and destroying the body of someone they loved like family. So I felt I must do something, he said.

He approached the Wat Krathum Suea Pla temple about holding a proper Buddhist ceremony with the monks, and managed to get their agreement. Suddenly I had so many people contacting me, asking for me to arrange funerals for their pets too, he said. We believe in the next life, so this ceremony is to help with reincarnation, to give them what they need.

As well as the funerals, monthly boat trips for scattering the ashes are also offered. Over 120 families taking part each month, ceremonially casting their pets remains over the Chao Phraya River.

Part

During

  • During the final stages of the ceremony family members transfer water from one container to another in order to dedicate merit for the deceased pet, to reduce bad karma. Photographs: Cory Wright

While most are satisfied with just one monk and a half-hour ceremony, the most extravagant pet funeral Saehan has been called upon to arrange was for a golden retriever belonging to a Thai businessman. Sixty monks and 80 guests attended the event, which featured a custom-made coffin and a motorcade funeral procession, at a total cost of 400,000 baht (9,300).

But Saehan was most moved by the ceremony for Daam the street dog, who had lived in a Bangkok vegetable market. Opening up the envelope which contained the payment, he was moved to see it was made up of hundreds of small coins and bills, all donated by dozens of market stallholders. I felt like this dog, even though he was a street dog, must have been very good to have been loved by so many people who wanted him to have a proper funeral, said Saehan.

On this particular Saturday, those overseeing the pet funerals barely have time to draw breath as a steady stream of heartbroken owners turn up at the temple, clutching their dogs, limbs stiff with rigor mortis, in towels or boxes.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

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A good air purifier can make you healthier here are the best ones on Amazon

Invest in an air purifier to clean up your environment and battle those nasty pollen allergies.
Image: coway

Allergies are more annoying than usual this year, right?

No really, it’s not your imagination — pollen season is getting worse every year, and air purifiers are making their way to the must-have list of home appliances.

A recent segment on ABC News detailed that climate change is a huge factor that’s contributing to the worsening pollen seasons. Among the culprits are high temperatures and raised levels of carbon dioxide, both of which can affect the proteins in the pollen grains that cause these allergies. 

In the story, Dr. Jeffrey Demain, a board-certified allergist and immunologist, is quoted saying, “It’s been shown that in rising carbon dioxide, the allergenic peptide of each pollen grain goes up.” He also points out that carbon dioxide levels have been “shown to increase the amount of biomass and pollen production by a plant,” as quoted in the article. 

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America has even said that climate change is a “serious threat” to public health, citing longer allergy seasons and worsening air quality caused by rising temperatures.

Which is why we all look like this as of about April:

But allergies aren’t the only reason to invest in an air purifier (or air cleaner, as they’re sometimes called.)

We know taking deep breaths is calming and all, and we don’t want to freak you out — but those big gulps of oxygen can contain a lot of harmful dust, pollen, smoke particles, mold spores, and pet dander. Dirty air is easy to overlook because you don’t notice it, but your future self could very well feel the effects. We’re talking asthma, immune system weakening, lung problems, and increased vulnerability to sick building syndrome.

But there is a light at the end of this snot-filled tunnel: Eliminating these airborne particles is the best way to cope with allergies and other respiratory infections — and there’s no better way to trap these pain-in-the-ass irritants and increase air quality than by using an air purifier with a HEPA filter. 

Plus, air purifiers are ace when it comes to ridding a space of animal smells like litter boxes and pet beds, as well as clearing the air of smoke stench from cigarettes, pollution, or fires without opening a window. (And no, getting an air freshener is not good enough.)

As you can guess, Amazon is totally on top of the air purifier game. We found the ones with the best customer reviews, and have separated them by price. Whether you need something small to take with you or you’re in the market for an air purifier that can handle the whole house, you’re covered. May the red eye relief be with you.

9Oine Mist Humidifier and Portable USB Ultrasonic Air Purifier — $13.99

Image: 9oine

Image: 9oine

Named a #1 new release on Amazon, the rechargeable 9Oine Mist ca and Portable USB Ultrasonic Air Purifier is the breath of fresh air you can take with you literally anywhere. (Yes, we know it looks like a mini espresso maker.) Its PureMist ultrasonic technology operates at below 15 decibels (the average person needs just below 60, so this is extra clean) and projects ultra hygienic and humidified air. It also features a color-changing LED light, because why not?

Amazon customer MariaM writes:

Got it last Friday and took it on a road trip. Was great in the car and in the hotel room! This holds SO MUCH water which is awesome because you don’t have to refill as often. And, it seems to be nice quality.

Your car, office, camping tent, and hotel room just got a lot less stuffy. Overall, it has a 4.8 out of 5 star rating, purchased by nearly 30 people. Get it for $13.99 here.

Hamilton Beach 04384 Pet Specialized Air Cleaner — $51.10

Image: hamilton beach

Pet parents: We know you love your fur babies, but you can admit that their beds or litter boxes don’t smell the best. The Hamilton Beach 04384 Pet Specialized Air Cleaner is your answer to combatting reeking rooms (and getting rid of pet hair that you constantly see floating in the air). This is due to its 99% HEPA filtration and use of zeolites, or non-toxic absorbent crystals, which are naturally activated when combined with heat and water, and are also being used in new efforts to reduce CO2 emissions. The Hamilton Beach air cleaner is said to be optimal for rooms up to 140 square feet, but numerous customers have mentioned that it can handle larger spaces.

Amazon customer RoundGoatCrafts writes:

I’m very pleased with these… enough that I bought two for my house and one for my mother’s house! We have one big (mastiff) dog, and a couple small dogs, plus three cats. I placed in the laundry room (where the cat box is) and in the living room (where the dog beds are) and within 48 hours I couldn’t even tell we had pets! My husband also smokes in the house, and we can tell a definite improvement in the air quality and freshness. Highly recommended.

Overall, it has a 4.2 out of 5 star rating, purchased by nearly 2,500 people. Get the Amazon’s Choice product for $51.10 here.

LEVOIT LV-H132 Air Purifier with True Hepa Filter — $89.99

Image: levoit

On the hunt for something more powerful? The Levoit LV-H132 Air Purifier is one of the sleekest little guys on the market, and though it’s small enough to sit on a desk, its cleaning capacity is massive. Ideal for small rooms or offices, the three-stage filtration system apparently kills 99.7% of dust, pollen, and pet dander, including particles as small as .3 microns. It’s also 100% ozone free — this basically means that it does not use UV or ions, which produce trace amounts of measurable ozone (a harmful air pollutant).

Amazon customer Sasha raves, writing:

Worth every cent. We live in the heart of Manhattan and we bought this particular product as I can smell cigarette smoke coming through the walls from the neighbors. I also wake up with a stuffy nose most days. I put the product in the room to test it and was blown away by how awesome the air smelled. Like being up a mountain. I can’t smell cigarette smoke and after the first night of using the air purifier I didn’t have a stuffy nose in the morning.

I highly recommend this product for anyone who lives in a city. You don’t realize how low the quality of air is until you try this product, and it really does make a significant difference. Super impressed.

Overall, it has a 4.3 out of 5 star rating, purchased by nearly 2,000 people. Get it for $89.99 here.

GermGaurdian 3-in-1 purifier with HEPA — $149.99

Image: gaurdian technologies

Moving on to the big guns: The GermGaurdian 3-in-1 purifier with HEPA has the best ratings and highest number of customers in the bunch, so yeah, it’s a pretty good contender. This Amazon’s Choice air purifier cleans air with UV-C light technology along with titanium dioxide to kill airborne bacteria, viruses, germs, and mold spores. Though it sits on the floor, it’s slim enough to be tucked in a corner, in between furniture, or somewhere else out of the way.

Amazon customer Voodoo writes:

Love this! This really really cleans the air. It makes my life a lot nicer during allergy season. I can tell the difference. I have a lot of cats and it make my house smells clean. I loved it so much, I bought another. We have a big house and you can tell the difference when they are running. People who visit our home alway say “If you didn’t see the cats you would never know they were there, it doesn’t smell like pets”!!! Awesome!

It’s not the quietest thing in the world on its highest setting, but if you’re anything like me, that white noise could actually be great for drowning out city noise, neighborhood lawnmowers, and more. Overall, the GermGaurdian has a 4.3 out of 5 star rating, purchased by over 8,000 people (whoa). Get it for $149.99 here.

Honeywell True HEPA Allergen Remover — $199.99

Image: honeywell

For a little more oomph and widespread coverage, the Honeywell True HEPA Allergen Remover is great for larger rooms up to 465 square feet. With your choice of one of four cleaning modes (germ, general clean, allergen, or turbo), this powerhouse can apparently filter and circulate air in the room five times per hour — and will automatically shut off after the selected amount of time. It can sit on the floor or on a tabletop, which makes it a pretty versatile choice for homes of all sizes.

Amazon customer Tom F. writes:

My chronic allergies and sinusitis have required that I use HEPA air filters in every room of my home. This unit is by far the best and quietest air filter that I have ever owned. Consumer Reports rates this air filter very high and with good reason, because it’s the best and most affordable unit on the market to date. The unit is very simple and offers double filtration, the extra thick charcoal filter is first, followed by the extra thick HEPA filter. This makes it a great space saver that can be placed almost anywhere, especially against a wall. 

There are way too many other positive reviews to count, with numerous customers mentioning how quiet this thing is — even on the Turbo setting. Overall, it has a 4.3 out of 5 star rating and has been purchased by over 1,600 people. Get it for $199.99 here.

Coway AP-1512HH Mighty Air Purifier — starting at $229.99

Image: coway

Image: coway

If you were hoping for a more modern design, the Coway AP-1512HH Mighty Air Purifier is aesthetically pleasing AF. This Amazon’s Choice product looks too clean and will blend right in with any home’s contemporary decor. Called “mighty” for a reason, this puppy features a four-stage filtration system with a 99.7% HEPA efficiency rating (in a space up to 570 square feet). All of that sounds like it would be intense and loud, but this thing is seriously quiet. When it’s done and the built-in air quality monitor hasn’t sensed pollutants in 30 minutes, it’ll turn off for max energy savings.

Amazon customer leiluni writes:

I have had this purifier for two years now and it is, by far, the best large purchase I have ever made. I’ve noticed a huge difference in my health since buying it and it truly works!! The air quality display is accurate, too! It turns red when it detects smoke, when I vacuum, or even when I spray Febreze; if my cat sits in front of it, it turns purple almost immediately!! I highly recommend this air purifier and will buy another one without hesitation when this one finally goes out.

Another customer put stickers on it and turned it into a giant iPod Nano. (If you do this, send pics.) Overall, the Coway Mighty has a 4.3 out of 5 star rating, purchased by nearly 1,000 people. Get it in black or white here, with prices starting at $229.99.

Alen BreatheSmart Customizable Air Purifier — starting at $629

Image: alen

Image: alen

Meet the granddaddy of all purifiers: The Alen BreatheSmart Customizable Air Purifier can make your indoor air practically as fresh as outdoor air, and is ideal for those who have severe allergies, lung conditions or asthma, or who live in areas with lots of pollution or where forest fires are common. Probably similar to something you’d see the cast of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition put into a house, this puppy provides robust coverage to spaces up to 1,100 square feet. The purifier also comes with built-in air quality monitor and a HEPA-Odorcell filter, best for eliminating lingering diaper, pet, or mold odors. It’s also available in more than a dozen color and finish options, plus there’s also one that’s specifically designed to be painted so you can match it to your room. 

Here’s what one Amazon customer had to say about this air purifier:

These are amazing. My husband has some lung issues. When he was in the hospital for an another issue, he didn’t cough. The first night he was home he started coughing again. So we thought, hospitals have the ultimate in filtrated air. So I found the best air purifiers I could find and bought them. The first night we used them, his cough was much improved. We use them almost 24/7 now and wouldn’t be without them.

The BreatheSmart has a 4.5 overall rating (out of 5), purchased by nearly 400 people. And thanks to the aforementioned color options, even though it will take up a bit of floor space, it can at least blend in with your decor. Prices start at $629, but customers say it’s “worth every dang penny.” Get yours here.

Read more: http://mashable.com/

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Is Russia killing stray dogs ahead of the World Cup?

After the mass culls before the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, animal rights activists in the World Cup cities of Sochi and Yekaterinburg fear history could be repeating itself

Earlier this year, Russias deputy prime minister, Vitaly Mutko, met with animal rights activist to discuss their fears that stray dogs would be exterminated ahead of the football World Cup. Mutko pledged to stop all cruelty, and said he had ordered the construction of shelters for stray animals.

But activists allege dog killings have continued and that Mutkos words are meaningless as city governments are not compelled to follow recommendations made at a federal level.

If you put it in plain Russian, they said sod off, were going to carry on killing, says Yekaterina Dmitriyeva, the head of NGO the Foundation for the Protection of Urban Animals, who was present at the meeting. She set up the popular Facebook group, Bloody Fifa-2018, last year.

Dogs
Dogs sleep outside a metro station in Moscows financial district. In Moscow, despite concern from activists, killing of strays is rare. Photograph: Denis Sinyakov/Reuters

There are approximately two million strays in Russias 11 World Cup host cities and it has been estimated that local authorities will spend up to 119 million on catching, caging, sterilising and euthanising animals this year.But activists warn that image-conscious officials are trying to remove strays from the streets by fair means or foul before the arrival of players and fans next month.

While contracts to regulate the number of stray dogs are won by private companies in Russia annually, there is some evidence that the size of these tenders have been increased this year. An online petition launched by Dmitriyeva late last year calling on Russian President Vladimir Putin to cancel contracts ahead of the World Cup has almost two million signatures, but there has been no response from the Russian leader, who is known to have several pet dogs and often speaks about his love for animals.

Russian
Russian president Vladimir Putin with his dogs Yume and Buffy. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Though Russian cities policies about stray animals differ, these contracts can be extremely lucrative. In the World Cup host city Yekaterinburg, for example, the state is paying 380,000 for the capture of 4,650 dogs. Some Russians have even advertised their properties online as housing for dogs during the World Cup, hoping for a financial windfall as the companies that won tenders struggle to cope.

Russian officials deny euthanasia is state policy, and some NGOs say the same. The allegations of mass extermination are just gossip, says Yekaterina Ublinskaya, deputy director of Right to Life, an animal rights NGO operating in the western exclave of Kaliningrad, which won a 21,400 contract to provide temporary accommodation for dogs picked up off the streets for the World Cup. There are some instances of poisoning, but these are private incidents and there is no mass poisoning.

But even top animal welfare officials have admitted there have been cases of animal cruelty linked to the World Cup preparations.

Vladimir Burmatov, the head of the Russian parliaments committee on ecology and environment protection, was horrified when he visited a dog shelter in Yekaterinburg earlier this year. The effect from what I saw was very painful. Malnourished dogs and conditions that you couldnt even call satisfactory, Burmatov wrote afterwards.

He said a large quantity of dogs were being put down unnecessarily for 1.20 each a price strongly indicating the methods used were likely not humane. He also revealed that the company running the shelter was not an animal specialist organisation, but focused on rubbish collection and disposal.

Fears about the treatment of animals ahead of the World Cup have been fuelled by activists experience of the 2014 Olympics in Sochi when they say homeless dogs were exterminated in a coordinated campaign.
The fate of Sochis strays became an international scandal before the tournament as photographs appeared of dogs dying in the streets and activists desperately tried to evacuate them from the city. In protest, some Olympic athletes
adopted Sochi dogs and took them back to their respective countries and, in one case, dedicated an Instagram account to them.

A
A stray dog in Sochi ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics. Photograph: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

There are fears that what happened in Sochi could be repeated in all Russias World Cup cities, as well as in Sochi itself, which is hosting World Cup matches including those of footballing giants Germany and Spain. We are scared there will be a repeat of what happened before the Olympics when, over a week, there were mass poisonings and shootings, said Ksenia, a Sochi-based animal rights activist.

Documents on the state procurement website show that Basya Service, the company that carried out the culls before the Sochi Olympics, has won four contracts to catch 3,501 stray dogs and cats in 2018. Angry officials in a village in the nearby Tuapse district pledged to tear up a similar agreement with the company earlier this year after the remains of dead dogs were found by the side of the road.

The mayor of Sochi, Anatoly Pakhomov, has denied the city has authorised the killing of stray animals and says there are no plans to do so before the World Cup. Basya Service also denies that it uses inhumane methods.

But Sochi activists are calling on their local networks to watch out for those targeting stray dogs and to film, obstruct or call the police about any animal cruelty.

The situation is less volatile in other World Cup host cities. In the western city of Kaliningrad and the Volga city of Nizhny Novgorod both due to host the English team during the group stages local activists say authorities use a Trap, Neuter, Return policy . In Moscow, killings are rare.
In Kaliningrad, Ublinskaya said clearing dogs from the streets during the World Cup was actually in the animals best interests. During such events, there are a lot of people not always sober and it is best to have animals as far away as possible.

But activists point out that euthanasia programmes allow much greater scope for corruption: while it is relatively simple to check whether a stray dog has been sterilised and tagged, it is almost impossible to tell if dogs have been killed and whether corners have been cut.

Its a catastrophe, says activist Dmitriyeva. How do they choose who lives and who dies?

More on life inside Russian cities hosting the World Cup can be found here, or follow Guardian Cities on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

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Is it time to worry about human cloning again?

People are copying pets to preserve a physical and spiritual connection to dead children. MIT Technology Review reports.

When Barbra Streisand revealed to Variety magazine that shed had her dog cloned for $50,000, many people learned for the first time that copying pets and other animals is a real business.

Thats right: you can pay to clone a dog, a horse or a top beef bull and get a living copy back in a matter of months.

.

The story that sent shivers up my spine, though, came out a few days later. It was about Monni Must, a Michigan portrait photographer who paid to clone Billy Bean, a Labrador retriever that had belonged to her oldest daughter, Miya.

Miya had committed suicide 10 years earlier. To Must, cloning the elderly dog was a way to keep her daughters memory alive and, she says, to protect her grief.

During the cloning procedure, Must received updates, including sonograms of the developing puppy. The timeline seemed full of profound coincidences. Veterinarians detected the clones heartbeat on Miyas birthday, 11 October. The puppy was born in November, the same month Miya killed herself.

Its a sign. For me, its a sign that Miya is involved and aware, Must told me.

Alarm bells went off in my head. Must wasnt just cloning a pet. She was trying to preserve a lost child. It seemed awfully close to a real human cloning scenario, one in which a heartbroken parent tries to replace a son or daughter who dies early.

I shot a question to Jose Cibelli, an animal cloning scientist at Michigan State University: is it time to worry about human cloning again?

Cibelli quickly emailed back: Yes.

Shudder to think …

I met Cibelli 15 years ago, when I was among a pack of journalists covering cloning nonstop. Back then, it seemed possible that someone might try to copy a human being at any moment. There was a loud-mouthed Italian fertility doctor named Antinori who said he was trying, and a UFO cult called the Ralians had a human cloning company, Clonaid; it seemed all too plausible when they pranked the media with claims to have created a clone baby named Eve. In 2002, the National Academies issued an emergency report on the situation.

But human cloning never happened. The reason is clear in retrospect. In the basic cloning procedure, like that used to create Dolly the sheep in 1996, scientists take an entire adult cell and inject it into an egg thats been relieved of its own DNA. The resulting embryo is a clone.

But that process is inefficient. In many animals, only one in 100 cloned embryos ever leads to a live birth. Some embryos expire in the IVF dish. Others wither in the womb. Of those that are born, a few suffer from abnormalities and quickly die.

You would shudder to think, a 2001 article in the New York Times said, what might happen if humans are cloned with todays techniques.

Nevertheless, cloning moved forward in cattle and pet dogs. That is because eggs can be collected in large enough numbers to let companies overcome the technologys inherent inefficiency. Failed clones are just a cost of doing business.

The cause of the problems is better understood today. For a skin cell to be a skin cell, it doesnt need the full complement of genes. So many are simply shut off. The reason cloning works at all is that an egg has a remarkable ability to turn genes back on through a process called reprogramming. Yet the egg has only hours to do the job, and some genes are resistant.

It is these resistant genes, still blocked and unavailable to play their role in the developing embryo, that are believed to be responsible for the demise of clones, Cibelli says.

No longer the wackadoodle scheme it once was

Billy
Billy Bean and his clone, Gunni. Photograph: Monni Must

Thats also where the recent breakthroughs come in. Cibelli pointed me to the work of Yi Zhang, a stem cell biologist at Boston Childrens hospital and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He said Zhang has found chemicals that, if added to an egg, can help release the blocked genes.

In Zhangs hands, addition of these modifiers has led to dramatic improvements in cloning wiping out barriers present in the adult cells. Zhang first tried it with mice. Instead of about 1% of cloned embryos leading to a mouse pup, he says, now 10% of them do.

The gain in efficiency is tremendous, says Zhang, who says he filed a patent based on the discovery.

Zhang then tried the process on human eggs. In 2015, his team recruited four women to have eggs drawn from their ovaries. Into these, they injected skin cells from other people.

Without the gene-releasing molecules, the cloned embryos never developed correctly. With the modifiers, though, about a quarter of them did. We tried to wipe out the barriers in the adult cells, he says. Bottom line: we would have failed otherwise.

To be very clear, Zhang isnt planning to make babies. Instead, his objective in cloning speck-size human embryos is to obtain their stem cells. Known as therapeutic cloning, its a way to create powerful embryonic stem cells genetically identical to those of the donor adult say, as a source of replacement tissue.

Therapeutic cloning is not a new idea. Cibelli himself was the first to try it (and fail) 15 years ago. When it didnt work, scientists moved toward other ways of making stem cells by reprogramming skin cells in the lab. Suddenly, though, cloning for stem cells is no longer the wackadoodle scheme it once was. With higher efficiency, doctors might actually use it to make matching tissue for people who can afford it, says Zhang. Hes starting a company, NewStem, to begin banking cloned stem cells.

Before, it was theoretically possible, but youd have to use a lot of eggs, so it wasnt a reality, says Zhang. Now, with the efficiency, it becomes a reality.

Monkey clones

We can make cloned human embryos pretty well. Could we go further and grow those embryos into a baby? A clue came in January of 2018, when researchers in China cloned our animal cousins monkeys for the first time. Pictures of two cute baby primates, Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua, quickly spread around the world.

Cloned
Cloned macaques Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua in their Chinese laboratory. Photograph: Chinese Academy Of Sciences Handout/EPA

Why had the Chinese succeeded where every previous attempt to clone monkeys had failed? The answer was theyd used Zhangs efficiency-enhancing molecules.

Not all the problems have been solved. The Chinese managed to create the animals by starting with skin cells of an aborted monkey fetus. But two other clones, made from an adult animals cells, died shortly after birth. Theres little detail available on why those two monkeys died. But its a safe bet it was somehow to do with incomplete reprogramming of the adult cells.

In Zhangs view, it would still be crazy and impractical (and illegal) to try to clone a person. Despite the higher efficiency, he notes that Chinese teams used 63 surrogate mothers and 417 eggs to make two monkey clones. Just imagine arranging for dozens of human surrogates and egg donors.

No society could accept this, says Zhang. On the other hand, if you are asking me, Can you improve the efficiency even more? Well, the answer is yes. My answer is that eventually, from a technology point of view, human cloning will be possible.

Oh my God, I am going to clone her

Creating a human clone isnt only a question of technology. Youd also need a reason to do it, experts willing to help, and someone to fund it all.

Wildcatting billionaires might be the easiest part to arrange. In March, the CBS program 60 Minutes aired a segment about La Dolfina, an Argentinian polo team whose players all ride copies of the same horse. The entrepreneur behind the horse cloning, Texas businessman D Alan Meeker, told CBS that hes been asked by some of the wealthiest people on the planet to clone a human being. Meeker said hed refused. His reason: no one would tell him why they wanted a clone.

But we know one reason maybe the most powerful of all. When I spoke by phone to Must, the photographer, she recounted her devastation at her daughters suicide.

Must had inherited Miyas dog, Billy Bean, and told me the idea of cloning came to her suddenly, years later, when the dog was about to turn 14. I feared everyone was going to forget Miya, that am I going to forget Miya, Must said. I thought I was going to lose the dog, and I was literally falling apart. It was a lightning bolt: oh my God, I am going to clone her. I was just desperate.

Must eventually had a veterinarian collect a sample of the dogs skin tissue and sent it to a company called PerPETuate. For a $1,300 fee, PerPETuate prepares a cell line from a pets skin and stores the cells in liquid nitrogen for later cloning. The service is, in effect, an inexpensive way to hold on to an animals DNA while you decide if youll pay the full $50,000 cloning cost.

PerPETuate founder Ron Gillespie says hes storing frozen tissue from dogs, cats and even a lion from a Mexican zoo. Must isnt the only person to clone a dog belonging to a dead child, he says. The company will not accept human cells, however. Not from bereaved parents or anyone else.

Weve gotten many requests, says Gillespie. I say we dont do it. And when people press me where they can do it, I say I dont know. I just totally dismiss it. One of the biggest complaints we have about this is that it is going to lead to human cloning, and people are very opposed to that, beginning with me.

Billy Beans cells ended up getting shipped to ViaGen Pets, a Texas company that provides the cloning service. In September 2017, Must learned that cloned Billy Bean embryos had been transferred to a canine surrogate. Two months later, she picked up the new puppy. The dog has a real soul and is everything my daughter was fun, social, kind and people gravitate to her, she says. I feel that I still have that touchable, tactile connection and not just a spiritual connection.

I finally asked Must: would she have cloned Miya if shed had the chance?

She said its not a question she has an answer to. When you have a child who dies, you are not in a good place. You are not in a place to make a rational decision, she says.

In fact, she admits people thought shed gone over the edge when she resolved to clone the dog. It was a particularly desperate attempt on my part. My other daughters thought I had lost my marbles, she says. But it worked. It is kind of scary to think of what this means.

Antonio Regalado is the senior editor for biomedicine for MIT Technology Review, seeking stories about how technology is changing medicine and biomedical research. Find him on here on Twitter.

Looking for more great work from the bimonthly MIT Technology Review, the worlds longest-running technology magazine? Try these links:

This article was reproduced with permission from MIT Technology Review. Copyright 2018. All rights reserved MIT Technology Review.

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10 awesome tech gadgets for your very good doggos and pretty kitties

Be the pet-parent your pet deserves.
Image: iFetch

Perhaps we love our pets a little too much, but we don’t care. We are all about giving our good doggos and pretty kitties the absolutely best in life, and bringing you news on devices that can help you do the same.

We’ve introduced you to a speaker that can calm your active (i.e. noisy and annoying) dog and activity trackers that are basically Fitbits for your furry friends. But what you may not have known is that there is an entire world of pet tech out there and we haven’t even scratched the surface.

Have you ever thought about getting your pooch an automatic ball launcher for when you’re too exhausted to play fetch? What about swapping out your feline’s watering bowl for a premium water fountain that keeps the H2O fresher longer?

If not, we’ll tell you more about those products and where you can get your paws on ’em. Here are 8 of the latest (and best) tech items that every pet-obsessed owner needs right now. 

1. iFetch — $115.00 

Image: iFetch

The iFetch automatic ball launcher will help you play fetch with your dog and you won’t even have to lift a finger. After your pet places the tiny blue tennis ball into the top of the iFetch machine, this interactive dog toy will toss it across the room or yard at 10, 20, and 30-feet intervals. 

The top of the iFetch device is tilted away from the launching hole to encourage your pet to stand behind the machine for safety. It works with a power cord or 6 C-cell batteries so you can use it indoors or outdoors. It even comes with a training guide to help you teach your furry friend how to use the machine without your assistance.

2. PetSafe Drinkwell Platinum Pet Fountain — $44.95 

Image: PetSafe

Image: petsafe

The Platinum Pet Fountain provides 168 ounces of fresh flowing water and is great for pets of all sizes. The free falling stream aerates your pet’s drinking water with oxygen and a replaceable filter helps to remove bad tastes and odors for fresher tasting water. 

It is designed with a receiving ramp that reduces splash and an adjustable flow control that allows you to increase or decrease how much water your pet gets. The large built-in reservoir increases capacity and requires less refilling, meaning more water for your pet and less work for you. 

3. PetChatz HD: Two-Way Premium Audio — $349.99 

Image: petchatz

You pet parents think and act differently about your pets. They’re a part of the family!  So when you’re away you feel bad — even guilty. PetChatz is a video communications device that allows you to chat and interact with your pet from pretty much anywhere. 

Just open the app on your phone or computer, hit the chat button, and you instantly go into Silent Mode where you can see you pet. When you want to chat, just hit the chat button and the PetChatz device will start to ring to alert your cat or canine. The two of you can “chat,” and you can even press a button to dispense a treat. 

4. Petcube Play Wi-Fi Pet Camera — $149.99 

Image: Petcube

Say you want to be able to cure your separation anxiety but don’t necessarily want to give your pet a treat. There’s a smart Wi-Fi home camera for that. 

The Petcube Play is a pet monitoring system that allows you to check in on your pets any time of day, or view video history to see what he or she has been up to. (Video recordings are triggered by sound and motion.) It has a built-in laser toy so you can interact remotely via app, or you can set it to autoplay mode to exercise your pet when you’re busy. The Petcube Play cube has two-way audio and free cloud-based video storage, no subscription required. 

5. AquaPaw — $24.99 

Image: Aquapaw

Image: aquapaw

Bath time can be a great opportunity to bond with your pet. No, we aren’t suggesting you drag your pup in with you next time you need a shower. But we are suggesting that you use AquaPaw next time your pet needs a bath.

Aquapaw is a wearable sprayer and scrubber you can turn on and off by squeezing your hand, so you have total control of the water flow. It can be used inside by attaching it to your shower head, or you can use it outside with a water hose. The water pressure is high enough to penetrate fur, but low enough to still be comfortable. 

6. Whistle — $79.95 

Image: Whistle

Image: whistle

It’s really stressful to imagine, but sometimes pets go missing. It can hours, days, or even months before some pets are reunited with their loved ones. The Whistle 3 is a GPS device and activity tracker that will help keep tabs on your pet at all times. It’s a small, 1-once device that attaches directly to their collar, so its great for all sizes of dogs and cats. Connect it with the mobile app to monitory your pet’s activity as well as its location. You can even set a custom safe zone to your home and anytime your pet leaves that area you’ll get a notification letting you know where they’ve gone so you can go find them. 

7. Eyenimal Cat Video Cam — $99  

Image: petcam

Seeing the world through the eyes of your pet is actually kind of a reality with the Eyenimal Cat Video collar. Though it’s designed specifically for your feline friend, there’s no reason why you can attach it to your pooch too. Next time you let your pet outside, you can check to see what they’re up to. It’s really light, only weighing 35 grams, and has over 2 hours of battery life.

8. iCalm Speakers – $144

Image: iCalm Pet

If you have a restless pup, try the iCalmDog portable speaker — a multi-sensory approach to helping your dog chill the eff out. The speaker plays music that’s been found to ease dogs’ anxiety. This bundle includes the Bluetooth speakers, two micro SD sound cards with 4-hours of the anti-stress tunes, and an hour of music that’s supposed to help you bond with your pet. 

It also includes a calming mist, shockproof carrying case, and all the information you need to get started. iCalmDog is a part of the iCalmPet suite of sound solutions for pet anxiety. Check out iCalmCat if you have feline you’d like to mellow out. 

9. Self-cleaning litter box — $156.99

Image: Petsafe

Everyone loves their pet. But everyone hates their litter box. ScoopFree is a virtually touch-free, leave-it-and-don’t-worry-about-it pet poop cleaning system. After your cat does their business, the crystals absorb some of the wetness and dry-out some of the solid waste. Then, 20 minutes after your cat leaves, sensors activate the stainless steel cleaning rig, raking the waste into a covered trap so you don’t have to touch it — or smell it — ever. 

10. A robotic dog — $52.99

Image: hi-tech

If your building doesn’t allow pets, or if you travel too much and just aren’t home enough to take care of a dog, this robot puppy might be the next best thing. Hear us out: This adorable, remote-control puppy sings, dances, and even farts. Your kids are gonna love it. 

Read more: http://mashable.com/

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What type of dog is this? Google Lens can help.

WHAT ARE YOU?
Image: Getty Images

Snapping someone’s pooch on the sly? Instead of asking a human being, learn what breed their pet is later with Google’s new Lens.

If you’re using Google Photos across across Android and iOS, you can use Lens to identify animal breeds from your snaps and get more information. Only a preview was made available before now, but on Wednesday, it officially rolled out.

Hitting the Lens on photos of cats and dogs in your gallery will immediately bring up what Google thinks the breed is. You can now also search through your photos by breed, species, or emoji. 

Take my family dog Scout here. She is indeed a Pomeranian.

Image: shannon connellan/mashable

It’s not perfect, but sometimes it gets things more right than you know. Scout is indeed also people.

Image: shannon connellan/mashable

Dogs that are a mix of breeds are trickier. My dog, Padfoot, is a blend of Irish wolfhound and Australian cattle dog and is better than your dog. Google’s results were a little off, or perhaps we need to put Padfoot through an episode of What’s Your Mutt?.

Image: shannon connellan/mashable

In some countries, you can label your pet in Google Photos too, so you can easily find them in your files. You can also find photos of them in certain situations, for example, “Padfoot park.”

Image: google

You can also create a movie of your pet, in the Assistant tab. There are two new options available, “Meow Movie” and “Doggie Movie,” which will allow you to select a pet, then Google will compile a set of your photos into a movie with super cheesy “pet-themed” music — honestly, it’s preeeetty bad.

Read more: http://mashable.com/

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Just a wonderful collection of pets with human names

Move aside Mittens, Oreo, Hershey, and Buddy — while typical pet names are cutesy and fun, there’s just something so delightful about giving an animal a very, very human-sounding name.

Amber Zoe sparked this particular bit of pet praise Tuesday, when she posted on Twitter about a neatly named pooch. Shed was utterly pleased to find out that the dog who lives behind her is named Brian. 

There’s just something so charming about expecting a human to answer to a name like “Brian,” but instead seeing a little white dog bounding towards you.

She encouraged owners of pets with human names to share their good boys and girls. Below is just a very small sampling of all the wonderful human-named pets out there.

This charming fellow Ralph not only has a human-sounding name, but dresses up like he’s going to his country club for a round of golf with the boys, as most named Ralph are oft to do. 

Meanwhile, this Ralph is a strong, solid boy. 

Dave, much like human Daves, is cracking open a cold, refreshing beverage.

Frank isn’t here to do your taxes. He’s here to have a nice roll on the lawn.

Here’s another boy named Frank. He’s less interested in financial accounting and more interested in lounging on his human’s lap. 

This Charles isn’t next in line for the English throne, but instead sits in a little basket with a wee flower nestled in his luxurious fur. 

This Jerry looks more feline and less Seinfeld

And this Malcolm doesn’t look like Frankie Muniz.

This Jenny isn’t on her way to pilates, but instead is having a great day at the park. She gets all the exercise she needs by running around and playing fetch. 

The Portias of the world might be found lounging by fancy pools, but this Portia doesn’t mind just lounging on whatever comfortable surface she might find. She’s still just as elegant. 

Burt’s less about cleaning chimney sweeps and more about sitting in very odd and inconvenient places. 

Bruce sounds like the name of a bodybuilder and this good boy named Bruce definitely has the buff figure to pull off the name.

Matt gets into trouble just as much as the typical teenage Matthew. 

Instead of attending fancy prep-school polo outings in the Hamptons, Chester the ferret gets snuggly with his owner. 

This person tried to give their cat the most unappealing name they could think of so they wouldn’t get attached. But Bill warmed his way into their hearts.

And finally Fergus, who looks exactly like how someone named Fergus would look like. 

We hope that all these human-named dogs, cats, and other furry friends are having amazing days. 

Read more: http://mashable.com/

adminadminJust a wonderful collection of pets with human names
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