All you need to know about your pet.

Ever been at a loss when dealing with your pet? Ever been confused about the pet you want to keep in the first place? Thought about getting yourself a dog, but didn't know what kind you wanted, and didn't want to look up "dog, breeds," in the World Book encyclopaedia either?

Well, look no further. Here are a few sites which should help you out, whether you're a seasoned pet owner, a novice or just plain animal crazy.

http://www.thepetchannel.com/

This is one of the biggest animal-related sites you can find. They have a pet channel, which is regularly updated, and has features as general as getting rid of rabbit fleas to things like a report on cats rescued from animal shelters performing with Gregory Popovich…plus the usual online pet channel stores, e-greeting facilities, pet horoscopes, pet friendly accommodations, wildlife news, and a new pet tip for each day.

A new addition allows you to meet other pet lovers and keep in touch with them. You could also submit a photo of your pet to the "Pet Of The Day" section. A couple of articles (water therapy et al) are pretty informative, too. The site also includes reviews on books written by experienced vets, which pet owners might find useful; it also recommends books for all kinds of pets.

All in all, a pretty comprehensive site, and if you're looking for some information about your pet, you're quite likely to find it in here.

http://www.cyberpet.com/

In their own words, a cyber pet is "your A1 resource for pet info both on and for pet fanciers, exhibitors, breeders, dogs, cats, clubs, services, publications… if you're looking for pet info, you're in the right place."

This site is done up more imaginatively than any other site I visited and that's a major point in its favour. However, it's restricted to cats and dogs only; if you own either of these, then this is most definitely the site for you.

They present you with an option to choose either of their two heroes - cyberdog or cybercat. Click on the desired hero, depending on the one you have, and they will inform you that the cyber pet now has a mission: to provide useful information to an experienced or novice pet owner, in a unique way. Missions could include breed info, pet chat, pet products, pet clubs, rescue clubs, a breeders showcase that can help you figure out which pet you should buy, and a number of other things.

Announcements on the site are updated daily. This one's a great place, and different from the others. Worth a visit.

http://www.petvets.com/

As the name suggests, this one primarily concentrates on health care for animals. At the online Harmony Animal Hospital, there's an excellent library of pet care, medical and surgical diagnostics for all kinds of pets, information on pet grooming and boarding, as well as a number of related articles.

In addition to health related information, the site offers free newsletters via e-mail, fun stuff like pet photo contests, cartoons and jokes, virtual pets, colouring pages, creation of free Web sites for pets, and more.

http://www.tamebeast.com/

This one's strictly humourous, with nothing even vaguely serious available. More than a dozen articles are featured, all designed to tickle the funny bone. The "Bad Dog List" is a must see for dog owners.

The last time we visited, good features included "Hairball", "The Freddie Street Cats", "CATalyze" and "You Know You're A Bird Person When…". "Whimsical Group Names for Birds" was fairly witty too. Hopefully these should still be around if you decide to visit the site, else take a look at the updated articles.

http://www.petsites.net/

This site is a relatively new one and describes itself as a pet lover's online directory. It is growing fast and hopes to one day, be the site to look in for all other pet sites. Those interested can go to any of the links already present, and register pet sites of their choice for free.

So far, directories are available for cat, dog, bird, fish, reptile, horse, and small animal sites. Also on offer here are a few gorgeous animal posters up for grabs by pet enthusiasts. Within the directories, the categories are fairly usual - breeders, shelters, toys, gifts, grooming, medicine, et al.

Still a relatively undiscovered site, but it has a personal touch to it, which makes it quite attractive.

http://www.i-pets.com/

This one's a biggie for pet supplies; it claims to have the finest supplies at the lowest prices (so do their competitors, I daresay).

The specialties here are rawhide items like dog bones and chews. The site guarantees that it will get the items directly from the manufacturers, thereby ensuring that users pay the least possible amount, but this one sure won't be a favourite with animal rights activists if rawhide items are the best they can do. Also on offer: items like candy canes wreaths and pig ears, flavoured to appeal to pets and made from cattle skin.

Though the site does also have animal quotations, pet humour, links and animal trivia, we didn't find it half as good as any of the other sites in this collection.

http://www.animalnetwork.com

On this one, users can get information and subscription details to some of the best magazines and pet publications; browse through periodicals and find out all about them before reaching a decision about which one to subscribe to. You could also gift a subscription to a friend.

Some good magazines on show here include Wild Bird, Aquarium Fish, Dog Fancy, Young Rider, Reptiles. Ferrets and Horse Illustrated.

http://www.petrix.com/dognames/

This one assists you in searching for suitable names for your dog or cat. It gives you over two thousand options, as well as links to other selected pet sites. Guess it's worth a dekko if you're really at a loss when the time comes to name your new pet.

http://www.birdsnways.com

Here's one for the birds. Literally.

One of the most comprehensive sites for bird owners, it offers information on any bird you care to mention, ranging from finches to senegals and lovebirds to eclectus (how many of you have heard of birds called eclectus?) It tells you everything you need to know about where to purchase your pet, aviaries, breeders, quality bird supplies, toys, trainers, books, magazines, expert advice, vets, bird clubs, and species.

There's even a small section for legal matters, but we didn't check that out. If you like birds (the feathered kind, that is), then this site is a must visit for you.

And that's about it for now. See you soon!

This article was first published on 15 Mar 2001.