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The Ruff Report: Simple ways to put a leash on rising pet costs

Are you feeling a little financially overwhelmed by the never-ending rise in costs associated with owning a pet? Well, you have good reason to feel that way. According to a 2013 survey of pet owners by the American Pet Products Association, a dog owner shelled out $1,559 to feed and care for their pal and a cat owner paid $1,271.

And the APPA estimates that those costs will go up in 2014. Overall, owners are expected to spend $58.5 million on their pets in 2014, up from $55.7 million in 2013. Most of that money will be spent on food, followed by veterinary care and grooming.

The Ruff Report: Pricey foods may actually be bad for your pet

Pet parents who feed their dogs and cats those more expensive natural, organic and holistic foods that are touted as better may find this hard to stomach, but a leading veterinary nutritionist says they are no healthier or safer than conventional chow and may even be less nutritious.

In many instances, these pet foods - which can cost twice as much - have the same ingredients as regular food, but the natural preservatives used in them may result in the quality of the food degrading more quickly, according to Dr. David A. Dzanis, a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition.

The Hunt of Her Life: A book about a rescue dog that will touch your heart
The Hunt of Her Life is a nonfiction book about Samantha, an unwanted rescue dog who the author adopts at age 2. This beautifully designed full-color deluxe book, by longtime newspaper journalist Joseph A. Reppucci, contains more than 60 vibrant color photos of dogs to help illustrate the compelling and uplifting of Samantha - a pretty tricolor bird dog who uses her warm personality to win people over and build a new family after being put up for adoption by a hunter because she is gun-shy and afraid to hunt. Learn how she uses her special bonding abilities with people to help her eventually make a difficult, but successful, transition to family life.

The Ruff Report: A fun place for dogs where fighting often erupts

One moment, it is a fun place where your friendly dog enjoys playing, socializing and exercising; the next moment, it becomes an arena where your pet and another canine are clawing, biting and viciously brawling about treats and toys.

Welcome to the neighborhood dog park - or play area - and it is the perfect setting for fighting to suddenly erupt between normally well-mannered pets, a behavioral expert warns.

The Ruff Report: Which pet is most likely to be considered family member?

More dog owners consider their pets to be family members than owners of other kinds of pets - such as cats, birds and horses - and the trend of the beloved pooch being considered a full-fledged family member is gaining traction, a survey shows.

 The Hunt of Her Life: A book about a rescue dog that will touch your heart

Two-thirds of dog owners say they view their pooch as a member of the family, according to a American Veterinary Medical Association survey of pet owners, a jump from the one-half who felt that way five years earlier, the previous time the AVMA conducted the survey.