Four Tips for a Healthier Dog

Just like people, dogs feel much better when they are healthy. But unlike people, dogs can’t take care of themselves. To keep your favorite furry friend on the track to wellness and better living, follow these tdog health tips (www.MyTeddysPride.com)t:

•    Exercise builds efficient bodies. Nothing makes a pooch happier than a stroll through the neighborhood. And while your dog’s satisfying his curiosity by sniffing trees and bushes, he’s also burning calories. For more intense physical activity, try throwing some balls or Frisbees. This should make your dog run a little harder, helping expand lung capacity and tone muscle. No matter what activity you choose, your canine companion will enjoy the benefits of regular exercise while forging a stronger bond with you in the process.

12 Must-Read Car Repair Tips to Find a Trustworthy Mechanic

Car breakdowns are never a good thing. But breakdowns in freezing temperatures and on icy roads are just plain dangerous.

This winter, make sure you and your family are protected when you take to the roads. Get your car checked out by a trusted repair shop as soon as possible.

To help you find the mechanic that’s right for you, check out these 12 car repair shop tips from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE):

1. Don’t Wait ‘Til It’s Too Late: Start shopping for a repair shop before you need one. That means now!

Spring Is the Season for Auto Care

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – After a season of winter driving, a springtime check-up for your car might be in order. Most anyone can do routine automotive housekeeping chores: Remove unneeded winter gear from your trunk, clean out trash and clutter, and wash and wax your car to remove accumulated grime and salt deposits. The experts at the non-profit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) offer the following advice for more ambitious automotive projects:

• Read the owner’s manual and follow the recommended service schedules.

• If you are not a do-it-yourselfer, look for an orderly repair shop with modern equipment in the service bays and qualified automotive technicians as evidenced by trade school diplomas, certificates of advanced courses and ASE certifications.

• Have engine performance problems — hard starts, rough idling, stalling — corrected now, before summer’s demanding stop-and-go vacation traffic.

• For comfort in hot weather now’s the time, too, to have a marginally working air conditioning system serviced.

• Flush and refill the cooling system according to the service manual’s recommendations. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. (Make sure the engine has cooled down before removing the radiator cap.)

• A qualified auto technician should check the tightness and condition of belts, clamps and hoses, but you can look for signs of wear, cracking, or fraying.

• Replace other filters (air, fuel, PCV, etc.) as recommended in the service manual.

• Check the condition of tires, including the spare. Let the tires “cool down” before checking their pressure. Uneven wear, “cupping,” vibrations, or “pulling” to one side indicates problems with your tires or suspension system. If applicable, have snow tires pulled and replaced with seasonal tires.

• Change the oil and oil filter as specified in owner’s manual. Often neglected, this simple service is one of the easiest ways to extend the life of your vehicle.

ASE was founded to improve the quality of automotive service and repair through the voluntary testing and certification of automotive technicians. ASE-certified technicians wear blue and white shoulder insignia and carry credentials listing their exact area(s) of certification. Their employers often display the blue and white ASE sign. Visit www.ase.com for more car care tips.

A New Year’s Resolution For Your Car

<b>A New Year’s Resolution For Your Car</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Getting more organized is a common New Year’s Resolution — whether it’s a harried taxpayer’s pledge to be a better record keeper or a pack rat’s promise to de-clutter. “Getting organized works wonders for the family car,” notes Martin Lawson, editorial director for the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). “The money saved from approaching your vehicle in a systematic manner is a pretty strong incentive to keep your resolution.”

The following tips from ASE will help motorists get and stay organized.

– Record Keeping. Keep a copy of every completed work order, from oil changes and brake service to major repairs. In addition to helping document any warranty work, a complete service record is very appealing to potential buyers.

– Service Reminders. Read your owner’s manual and follow the service schedules listed. Some shops send out automatic reminders to their regular customers. Many of today’s manufacturers include e-mailed reminders and even remote satellite diagnostic reports. Timely, regular maintenance saves money in the long run by helping your vehicle run efficiently.

– Tactical Care. Don’t ignore service-engine lights, poor engine performance, rough handling, fading brakes or other issues that present themselves. Neglect can cost more in the long run by making minor issues worse. For example, brake pads are cheaper and easier to replace than are brake rotors.

– Housekeeping. Don’t use the trunk as a catch-all. Keep only essential items there. Remove roof-top cargo carriers as soon as your trip is over. Less clutter means less weight, which means better gasoline mileage. Keep your vehicle’s interior clean of trash and clutter and vacuum the seats and carpeting on a regular basis to prevent premature wear and tear and staining. Wax your car at least once a year to help preserve the paint job (and its resale value).

– Heal Thyself. Other automotive resolutions are less about your vehicle and more about you. Avoid jackrabbit starts; sudden accelerations waste fuel and are hard on the engine. Slow down; speeding greatly decreases miles per gallon. Hard stops wear out brakes.

Visit www.ase.com for seasonal car care tips and information about certified automotive technicians.

Tips for Cold Weather Driving

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – The experts at the non-profit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) remind motorists that getting their vehicles serviced for cold-weather driving should be high on their list of things to do during autumn’s milder weather. Breakdowns in winter storms can be deadly.

“Pay particular attention to engine performance problems such as hard starts, rough idling, stalling, or diminished power,” notes Martin Lawson, ASE’s editorial director. “Cold weather will make existing problems worse.” Other tips from ASE:

* Read your owner’s manual, and follow the manufacturer’s recommended service schedules.

* Replace dirty filters such as air, fuel and PCV. Change the oil and oil filter as specified in your manual.

* The cooling system should be flushed and refilled as recommended. The level, condition and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. (Never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled.) A certified auto technician should check the tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps and hoses.

* The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment, but backyarders can perform routine care such as scraping corrosion from posts and cable connections. (Wear eye protection and rubber gloves.)

* Worn tires will be of little use in winter weather. Examine tires for remaining tread life, uneven wearing and cupping; check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. Check tire pressure once a month. Let the tires “cool down” before checking the pressure. Rotate as recommended. Don’t forget your spare, and be sure the jack is in good condition.

* Put a bottle of fuel de-icer in your tank once a month to help keep moisture from freezing in the fuel line.

ASE was founded in 1972 to improve the quality of automotive service and repair through the voluntary testing and certification of automotive professionals. ASE-certified technicians wear blue and white ASE shoulder insignia and carry credentials listing their exact area(s) of certification, while their employers display the blue and white ASE sign. They can be found at all types of repair facilities from dealerships to independent garages and franchises. Visit www.ase.com for more information.

Vacation Season is Coming … Is Your Car Ready?

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – The old-fashioned auto vacation never goes out of style. It affords families with children a getaway without the expense and hassle of air travel. To make sure your road trip goes smoothly this summer, the experts at the non-profit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) recommend that you have your vehicle checked out by a professional auto technician before you head to the beach or mountains.

“Just as you would make a vacation packing list, motorists should make a checklist for their vehicle before setting out for summer fun,” advises Martin Lawson, ASE’s editorial director. “Your car’s owner manual is the perfect place to start.”

The experts at the National Institute ASE offer the following tips on getting your vehicle ready for summer:

– Read the owner’s manual and follow the recommended service schedules.

– Flush and refill the cooling system, or radiator, according to the service manual’s recommendations. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. Let the engine cool down before removing the radiator cap.

– Have drivability problems — hard starts, rough idling, stalling — corrected.

– If you are not a do-it-your-selfer, look for repair facilities that employ ASE-certified automotive technicians. ASE-certified technicians wear blue and white ASE shoulder insignia and carry credentials listing their exact areas of certification. Their employers often display the blue and white ASE sign.

– A qualified auto technician should check the tightness and condition of belts, clamps and hoses.

– Have a marginally operating air conditioner system serviced by a qualified technician.

– Change the oil and oil filter as specified in owner’s manual. Properly dispose of used oil.

– Replace other filters — such as air, fuel, PCV– as recommended.

– Check the condition of tires, including the spare. Let tires “cool down” before checking air pressure.

– Inspect all lights and bulbs. Replace burned-out bulbs.

– Replace worn wiper blades and keep plenty of washer solvent on hand to fight summer’s dust and insects.

For more information, including additional car care tips, visit www.ase.com.

Tips for Holiday Tech Toy Shopping

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Do you want a new computer, gadget or electronic “toy” this holiday season? If so, then listen up! Here are tips for shoppers looking to purchase new electronics:

– Know what you want. Does your travelling partner need a smart phone or personal digital assistant (PDA) to access contacts, memos and e-mail from the road?

Perhaps your college-aged daughter wants a laptop that she can use for photos, music and videos. Knowing what an electronic device needs to do will determine the features and memory required.

– Just the facts. Each season, new gadgets and computers flood the market with bells and whistles designed to catch your eye, and your wallet. Shop smart. Before heading to the store, prioritize add-ons separating the features you need from those that “might be nice.”

If your brother “might” need GPS on his new cellphone, skip it. Ignore extras that are tempting but not necessary, no matter what a salesperson says.

– Trust the pros. Read reviews to find out what gadgets live up to their hype. Check out reviews on Consumer Reports’ (www.consumerreports.org/cro/electronics-computers/index.htm), a non-profit, independent organization that tests products and services.

For technology equipment, visit computer-industry Web sites like CNET (www.cnet.com), PC World (www.pcworld.com) and PC Magazine (www.pcmag.com).

– Keep it all together. Mind the components and manuals that come with new gadgets. If the device needs to be returned to the manufacturer or store within the first 30 to 60 days, it might need to be repackaged exactly the way it came. Knowing where everything is also helps with troubleshooting and resale.

– Give the gift that gives back. For new computers especially, it’s a nice touch to help loved ones protect their digital assets -; music, movies, photographs and documents. Consider software like Acronis True Image Home (www.acronis.com/homecomputing/products/trueimage/), which for $49.99 automatically backs up hard drives.

If there is a virus or other breakdown, backup software allows you to restore digital memories in a matter of minutes. When shopping, look for features that allow easy file transfer to a new device, and that will wipe an old device clean to remove sensitive information before it’s recycled or donated.

Protect Your Pets From Fleas and Ticks

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Ask pet owners what they consider to be the most frustrating part of having a dog or cat, and fleas and ticks will likely be high on the list.

From powders and sprays to dips and pills, the array of products available to combat these annoying insects can be a difficult road to navigate for even the most dedicated pet owner. But choosing the wrong product or applying it incorrectly can be dangerous.

“Dogs and cats have different needs, especially when it comes to flea and tick control, and applying the wrong product can be harmful to a pet,” said Dr. Jordan Siegel, technical services veterinarian for Wellmark International. “Some people are too busy to read the labels or they simply get products confused, particularly if they have more than one dog or cat.”

Wellmark International, located in Schaumburg, Ill., has created topical applicators designed to eliminate that confusion and make applying flea and tick treatment easier.

Zodiac Spot On is the company’s easy-to-apply monthly treatment that controls flea and tick infestations. Its Pet Specifix applicators feature cat-head shapes for felines and dog-bone shapes for canines to help pet owners keep track of the treatment they need for each pet. In addition, the applicators are color-coded to match pet weight ranges to help avoid accidental misapplication.

Because just one adult flea on a pet can lay up to 50 eggs a day, which can end up in a home’s carpet and furniture, it’s important to break the flea life cycle. Ticks can be more harmful than fleas because of their ability to spread Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and other infections to humans.

Here are some tips on applying flea and tick treatment:

* Don’t use a product on a species other than the one for which it is registered.

* Select products that contain both an adulticide and an insect growth regulator. This one-two punch will kill adult fleas and ticks while preventing flea eggs from maturing into breeding, biting adults.

* Read and follow all product label instructions.

* Treat all pets in the household, not just those with the flea problem.

* Institute an ongoing treatment and prevention program to avoid reinfestations.

For more information, visit www.zodiacpet.com or call (800) 950-4783.

Web Sites Teach Public About Bugs, Germs, DEET

<b>Web Sites Teach Public About Bugs, Germs, DEET</b> (NewsUSA) – What are the 10 most dangerous pests? What are antimicrobials and how do they protect us? What do the most effective insect repellents contain?

Find answers to these questions and more on the Consumer Specialty Products Association’s public information Web sites, DeetOnline.org, AboutBugs.com and AboutGerms.com.

The sites provide in-depth information on disinfectants, pest repellents and other everyday products that help provide a cleaner, healthier living environment.

Read on to find out more about the Web sites and how they can help you.

* DeetOnline.org: From choosing and using repellents to protecting yourself from insect-borne diseases, DeetOnline.org provides eye-opening information on and benefits of using DEET-containing products. These products – along with cautionary measures such as wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants and checking for ticks immediately after spending time outdoors – are your best bet for keeping insect- and tick-borne diseases, such as West Nile virus and Lyme disease, at bay.

Spotting repellents containing DEET is now easier thanks to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which approved adding the acronym to labels, clarifying its cumbersome scientific name. The site answers frequently asked questions and contains helpful links to information about this active ingredient.

* AboutBugs.com: Effective pest control starts with knowing more about the everyday insects that can threaten your health, including houseflies, cockroaches, lice, dust mites and spiders. For instance, did you know that ordinary houseflies have extraordinarily bad habits that can affect your health? Flies can pick up disease-causing germs, transferring them to food you eat by touching surfaces with their legs or mouths.

Aside from taking a critical look at these pests, the site also shows how pest management products help people, animals and crops. It also provides in-depth information on West Nile virus, Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

* AboutGerms.com: Most germs, or microbes, are so small, they can only be seen with a microscope. From the plates you use to the water you drink, germs are ever-present – and some are harmful.

AboutGerms.com offers a comprehensive look at germs and the antimicrobials that help protect your health and home. Antimicrobial products are used to clean and disinfect homes, hospitals, restaurants, hotels, schools and offices, and to purify drinking water.

For more information about CSPA, visit www.cspa.org.