Healthy Habits for Pets and Their Owners

Pets are the lights of their owners’ lives. And keeping pets healthy is key to extending the warmth and love for years.

Dr. Ernie Ward, nationally renowned veterinarian, pet author and founder of the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, offers his ‘Top 5 Healthy Habits’ for pet owners to help ensure pets stay happy and healthy throughout the year:

Know the Benefits of Safe Ear Cleaning

It’s automatic – you finish your shower and reach for a pack of cotton-tipped swabs. After all, if you don’t clean out your ears, wax will build up and give you an infection, right?

Actually, your body produces cerumen, or earwax, for a reason. Earwax is sticky, allowing it to trap dust, dirt, pollen, insects or anything else that might otherwise enter the ear canal. Without it, our ear drums would be left vulnerable to foreign particles that could cause infections.

Don’t Turn a Deaf Ear to Safe Ear Cleaning

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – It’s automatic — you finish your shower and reach for a pack of cotton-tipped swabs. After all, if you don’t clean out your ears, wax will build …

Find Your Way off the Beaten Path

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Hiking can provide hours of entertainment, healthy exercise and a chance to enjoy natural vistas — but trail blazing isn’t without hazards. Wildlife, unsafe drinking water, accidents and unexpected obstacles can all create emergencies.

But with some common sense and preparation, hikers and their families can safely enjoy the great outdoors. Here are some tips to help you prepare for your next hike:

– Plan ahead. Choose a trail appropriate for your fitness level, and make sure that someone knows when you are leaving and when you plan to return. Don’t hike alone. Check the weather before heading out.

– Dress appropriately. Wear boots with ankle support. If you’re hiking in an area with different elevations, wear layers so that you can remove and add clothing as temperatures change. Don’t wear cotton — it takes too long to dry and can give you a chill. Pack waterproof, wind-resistant gear even if it’s sunny.

– Make sure you won’t get lost. GPS devices have become a safety mainstay for hikers -; having one on-hand greatly reduces the chances of getting lost. The Magellan Triton 2000, which was designed specifically for outdoor enthusiasts, offers a wide range of useful features, including a touch screen, National Geographic’s award-winning TOPO! maps, a compass, a barometer, a 2-megapixel camera, an embedded speaker and microphone, and a flashlight. The device is rugged and waterproof.

– Pack food and water correctly. Plan on carrying two quarts of water per person per day. Never assume that water is safe. If you plan to refill your water bottles on the trail, bring water-purification tablets. Pack foods that do not require refrigeration, like trail mix, crackers, peanut butter, and canned goods. If you’re planning on staying out overnight, go to a camping supply store for foods designed for backpacking. You might also want to buy mesh food bags, which will help keep small animals out of your supplies.

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Packing Ideas for a Smooth Move

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – The big day approaches, but the house still looks helter-skelter with piles and pieces waiting to be packed. Sound familiar? A hectic moving day doesn’t have to be the norm. With a little planning, you can move from your old digs to your new home without incurring a headache.

Here are some tips for people looking to make their next move a smooth one:

– Plan ahead. Packing and unpacking usually develop into bigger jobs than originally expected. Ideally, you should begin packing six months before the date of your big move. Pack the items that are of least importance first so that your necessities are more easily accessible when unpacking.

– Pack clothes in suitcases and other luggage containers. Boxes often look the same. It is easier to identify which package holds your casual clothes or towels if they are packed in a different-style container. Pack luggage with items that you will want to use soon after your move, like towels and toiletries.

– Develop a color-code. Assign each room in your new home a color, then label boxes meant for that room in the same color. For example, if you label all of the boxes meant for your kitchen in blue, you won’t have to worry about the movers putting your dining set in an upstairs bedroom.

– Keep personal items with you. Never trust valuables, medications or important paperwork to the movers. Pack them in your own vehicle to avoid possible theft and to gain easier access to them later.

– Get more boxes than you think you will need. You will undoubtedly find some items to pack at the last minute. To avoid any last-minute headaches, make sure that you have at least 10 extra boxes set aside for moving day. Buy new boxes – they’re the sturdiest.

– Make sure that you have plenty of packing materials, including bubble or foam wrap and protective tape. Pak Mail, a company that specializes in packing, custom crating and shipping, sells a full line of moving materials, including boxes, bubble wrap, moving kits, foam wrap, labels, packing peanuts, sealing tape and moving tubes. Pak Mail also creates custom crates for customers shipping oddly shaped or sized items.

For more information or to locate a Pak Mail center near you, visit