When pet owners let Fido or Fluffy out into the safe confines of the backyard, too often they overlook the dangers that lurk in their lawn. But for the safety of their pets -- and family -- people should keep an eye out for fire ants, a petulant pest that presents a very real danger to their four-legged friends.

No matter where in the country you live, various types of disasters can happen at any moment. When it comes to having an evacuation plan, it should include your pets, livestock and horses so all family members make it out safe and sound.

You play, laugh, snuggle and sleep together. In fact, you’re best friends! But, just like their owners, pets have their quirks: chewing socks, begging, stealing food and some things they just can’t help, like shedding hair everywhere.

If you are a pet owner, your pet is a beloved member of your family. You buy treats and toys and sometimes even costumes to keep your pet happy and an integral part of the family. But, what about your pet’s health? In the midst of all the fun, it is vital that pet owners work with their veterinarians to keep their pets healthy.

Do you hate your pet’s breath? Well, did you know that bad dog or cat breath is a sign of dental disease? About 80 percent of humans brush our teeth at least twice a day, according to the American Dental Association. But most of us completely neglect our pets’ teeth. There is no time like the present to start maintaining the dental health of your four-legged friend to help prevent problems like gingivitis, periodontal disease, infections and tooth loss.

Traveling with pets in the car presents special challenges that, fortunately, can be met with a bit of forethought and careful preparation of both the vehicle and pet.

In 2006, pet owners spent $38.5 billion on their pets, according to the American Pet Manufacturers Association. The organization estimates that figure will approach $41 billion in 2007. High-end, luxury items and products account for a growing percentage of the total spent on pet products. Unless you’re up on the hottest pet product trends -- like including high-end doggie dishes on your bridal registry -- you just can’t call yourself a true pet aficionado.