Tuesday, April 28, 2009

How Spaying Helps Your Dog Stay Healthy

Here are some tips from the Dog Age website about the health factors in spaying your dog:

If you could do one thing to help your precious little Lucy stay healthy, you'd do it in a heartbeat, right? So if you haven't done so already, ask your vet about spaying your pet.

Here are the ways it could help your pup's well-being and give you some peace of mind:

* No worries about reproductive cancers. Since the ovaries and uterus are surgically removed, there's no chance of tumors growing in the reproductive tract.
* Your dog won't be in heat. "Heat," or estrus, is a female dog's mating period. During this time, which occurs every 3 to 6 months and lasts up to 4 weeks, dogs will have vaginal bleeding -- that's something you'll have to deal with. And because your pet wants a ready-and-willing male, she may wander off in the neighborhood to find one. If the thought of your pooch on the prowl makes you squirm, picture frisky hounds howling at your door!
* A much lower risk of breast cancer. Animals spayed before their first heat cycle (usually at 6 to 9 months of age) have substantially lower odds of developing breast cancer.
* No uterine infections. Spaying a dog at any age eliminates infections of the uterus, which can be quite serious.

Spaying also helps to reduce pet overpopulation.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Spotting Signs of Animal Abuse

I came across this article and was intrigued. Often times you don't think of the fact that animals can and are being abused in some instances. Although the abuse is hard to spot, this article The Pet Place Website outlines the spectrum of abuse in animals.

Although the non-pet loves may wonder why it is such a big deal (are there really non pet lovers?), there is reason to be concerned....Animal abuse is often a stepping stone to violence toward people. Studies show that those who were cruel toward animals as children are drastically more likely to commit violent crimes toward people.

Not only does animal abuse sound an alarm regarding a child's violent tendencies, an abused pet should also be a red flag for child and domestic abuse. In a home where pets are mistreated, there are often people who are being physically and emotionally harmed.

Therefore, not only should their be concern about the pets being abused, but also about the people living in the house with the pets.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Hearing Slated For Nonnative Species Ban

A Congressional subcommittee has scheduled a hearing for legislation that could effectively ban ownership of thousands of nonnative species in the United States, including most birds, reptiles, fish and several mammals (hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs and ferrets) commonly kept as pets.

The legislation currently exempts dogs, cats, horses, goldfish (Carassius auratus auratus) and a variety of farm animals, all of which are also not native to the United States.

The House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife has scheduled a hearing on House Resolution 669 for April 23, 2009.

Essentially, the legislation would require the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to create lists of approved and non-approved species of nonnative wildlife (species not naturally found in the United States) based on risk assessments of the species’ potential likelihood to “cause economic or environmental harm or harm to another animal species’ health or human health.”

Currently, species are banned under the Lacey Act only when they’re determined to be an actual threat.

Proponents of the bill include animal rights organizations and some environmental groups.

Opponents have raised concerns that the legislation is too simplistic and too rigid to deal with a complex issue such as invasive species. It could also have a significant financial impact on several industries, including the pet industry.

One concern is that the legislation would seek risk assessments of all nonnative species, including the thousands that have already been in the pet trade in the United States for decades or more. It would require proving a nonnative species could not pose a threat of establishing a wild population anywhere in the United States, according to opponents. For example, the legislation would ban a species that could be a threat in Hawaiian waters, but not likely in Kansas or Arizona throughout the United States.

Also, the opponents say the Fish and Wildlife Service does not have the resources to conduct risk assessments under the legislation’s timetables (37 months from the bill’s enactment to assess all non-native species compared to an average of four years to find a species harmful under the current Lacey Act).

The Fish & Wildlife Service also could determine it has insufficient scientific and commercial information to determine a species is either approved or unapproved, effectively banning trade and ownership of that species.

That is because the legislation prohibits import into or export from the United States, and interstate transportation of, any species not specifically listed on the approved list.

It also bans the possession or trade, breeding and release into the wild of such species. Pet owners who owned their pets prior to the risk assessment’s beginning would be allowed to keep their pets, under the proposed legislation.

Species that might be harmful but are already “so widespread in the United States that it is clear to the Secretary that any import prohibitions or restrictions would have no practical utility” would also be included on the approved list.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

New, Pet Friendly Car

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Dog-crazy Americans will soon be able to buy a pet-friendly car with a cushioned dog bed in the trunk, fitted with a built-in water bowl and fan and a ramp to help less agile dogs climb in.

With the help of a rescue dog named Sammy, Japanese car maker Honda Motor Co unveiled the pet friendly version of its Element utility vehicle at the New York Auto Show.

It features easy-wash seat covers, a fitted dog bed with restraints to keep Sammy safe in the event of a crash, and a paw logo on the side. Honda said the car would go on sale across the United States from the fall of this year.

Honda spokesman Sage Marie said it was designed with both safety and comfort in mind. "(It's) a car we think is of interest to many of today's dog-crazy consumers," he said.

Senior product planner James Jenkins said Americans spend $41 billion a year on their pets, a figure forecast to rise to $52 billion in two years, indicating a big market for the car.

"Pets have become more like family, more important to households than ever before," Jenkins said.The current model of the Element starts at a little over $20,000 and Honda has yet to determine how much the pet friendly features will add on to the price tag, Jenkins said.

Sammy's owner, Heather Cammisa of the Humane Society of the United States, said she had borrowed the car for two weeks and found the ramp especially useful.

"Sammy actually needs a ramp. Before I adopted him he ended up at a shelter having been hit by a car and he needs that ramp," she said. "Otherwise I lift him to get into my car."

Friday, April 17, 2009

Nation’s Emergency Physicians Warn about Dangers of Dog Bites

With spring approaching, more people will be going outdoors to enjoy warmer weather. That also might mean more contact with dogs, either being walked by their owners or unaccompanied. Since 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year, the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) wants to warn Americans about the dangers of dog bites and help prevent them before they happen.

“Most dogs are friendly, with no intentions to cause harm to anyone,” said Dr. Nick Jouriles, president of ACEP. “But sometimes they act aggressively toward strangers for a variety of reasons. “Most dog bites are not fatal, but at least one in five requires medical attention, including a trip to the emergency department.”

How can dog bites be prevented?
Avoid unfamiliar dogs or any dogs acting strangely. Just stay away from them if you can.
· Don’t run from a dog, scream, startle them or make loud noises.
· Remain motionless if approached by an unfamiliar, possibly threatening dog.
· If knocked over by a dog, roll into a ball and lie still, and cover your head if possible.
· Avoid direct eye contact with a dog.
· Don’t bother a dog if it’s sleeping, eating or caring for puppies.
· Don’t pet an unknown dog without allowing it to see and sniff you first.
· Talk to you kids about this information, make sure they understand the dangers before they go out and play.

What do you do if you are bitten?
· Tell children to immediately inform an adult and seek medical attention.
· If bleeding, put pressure on the wound and clean the area with running water.
· If you develop a fever or other signs of infection, such as swelling, redness, pain, a bad smell or fluid draining from the area, see a physician immediately.
· Call 911 if it is a severe attack, extensive bleeding or near the facial area.
· Most dogs that have owners are vaccinated against rabies. If you are not sure, contact your doctor, your local health department or animal control.
· Children or adults may need a tetanus shot.

For more information about dog bites and other medical related topics, go to www.emergencycareforyou.org.

ACEP is a national medical specialty society representing emergency medicine with more than 27,000 members. ACEP is committed to advancing emergency care through continuing education, research and public education. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, ACEP has 53 chapters representing each state, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. A Government Services Chapter represents emergency physicians employed by military branches and other government agencies.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Eco-Friendly Pet Toys

With Earth Day just around the corner (April 22), the folks at petside.com have released its exclusive list of the Top 10 Eco-Friendly Pet Toys, to help owners reduce their pet's carbon paw print. If interested, you can check it out here: to see the complete list and get information on where to buy these environmentally responsible products.

Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Woman loses bid to keep 18 dogs

This has been an ongoing dispute in Connecticut. Below is the latest news regarding the fight....I'll say this, although I don't there there are 18 of any type of pets I'd want to own besides maybe fish, these dogs are still her "kids," and she has been taking great care of the pets.

West Hartford (AP) - Connecticut's second-highest court has ruled that a West Hartford woman cannot keep her 18 dogs at her home because of town zoning regulations.

The Appellate Court says Faith Kilburn has to comply with West Hartford officials' orders to reduce the number of dogs at her home to three.

Kilburn had 22 Shih Tzus at her home when she began fighting the town's order in court in late 2006, but four have since died.

Kilburn's lawyer, Danielle Omasta, says Kilburn is very disappointed with the court's decision and is deciding whether to take more legal action. Omasta says her client is very attached to the dogs.

The Appellate Court said having that many dogs at a home is not appropriate for the neighborhood and violates local zoning regulations.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Saving Lifes of Animals Victims of Economy

dopt-a-Pet.com, North America's largest non-profit pet adoption website, announced the expansion of its pet adoption database to include rabbits, horses, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, farm-type animals and other small pets. This is in addition to the already extensive Adopt-a-Pet.com database of cats and dogs available for adoption across the nation.

“We expanded our database because there are many other pets aside from cats and dogs that need loving homes,” said David Meyer, founder and president of Adopt-a-Pet.com. “It’s a very timely expansion because the state of the economy and home foreclosures are causing many people across the nation to relinquish their pets to shelters. Our new search database will allow people from anywhere to access photos and descriptions of pets available for adoption from rabbits to birds.”

Every year in the U.S., over seven million adoptable cats and dogs are killed mainly due to pet overpopulation. That number doesn’t take into account the many other types of pets that are also homeless and often put to sleep.

“Over 100,000 adoptable dogs and cats are currently on our site, where they can be seen by millions of potential adopters, and thanks to a grant from Petsmart Charities, we are thrilled to be able to extend a hand to animals of other species as well," said Abbie Moore, executive director of Adopt-a-Pet.com. “We can't wait to help animal shelters and rescue groups find homes for all the types of pets in their care.”

The new search database is currently up and running at Adopt-a-Pet.com.

About Adopt-a-Pet.com:

Adopt-a-Pet.com (formerly 1-800-Save-A-Pet.com) is North America’s largest non-profit pet adoption website, helping over 7,000 animal shelters, humane societies, SPCAs, pet rescue groups, and pet adoption agencies advertise their homeless pets to adopters for free. Adopt-a-Pet.com displays photos and descriptions of adoptable pets to over 1.5 million people seeking to adopt a dog or adopt a cat each month, and is funded by the passionate pet lovers at Purina and North Shore Animal League America.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

12 Dangerous Foods For Pets

Americans spend over $10 billion dollars on pet food for our pets. Despite buying the best food available, some pets would rather eat what we eat. However, certain foods can be dangerous to your pet causing varying degrees of illness.

-Alcoholic Beverages. Ethanol is the component in alcoholic beverages that can be toxic when an excessive amount is ingested. Pets are much smaller than us and can be highly affected by small amounts of alcohol.

-Apples, Apricots, Cherries, Peaches and Plums. Ingestion of large amounts of stems, seeds and leaves of these fruits can be toxic. They contain a cyanide type compound and signs of toxicity include apprehension, dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, hyperventilation and shock.

Avocados. The leaves, fruit, bark and seeds of avocados have all been reported to be toxic. Symptoms of toxicity include difficulty breathing, abdominal enlargement, abnormal fluid accumulations in the chest, abdomen and sac around the heart.

Baking Powder and Baking Soda. Baking soda and baking powder are both leavening agents - It produces a gas causing batter and dough to rise. Baking soda is simply sodium bicarbonate. Baking powder actually consists of baking soda and an acid. could low potassium, low calcium and/or high sodium, congestive heart failure or muscle spasms.

Chocolate - Depending on the type of chocolate ingested and the amount eaten, various problems can occur. The high fat content in chocolate may result in vomiting and possibly diarrhea. You may notice restlessness, hyperactivity, muscle twitching, increased urination and possibly excessive panting. Heart rate and blood pressure levels may also be increased. Seizure activity may occur in severe cases.

Coffee (grounds and beans). Dogs that eat coffee grounds or beans can get "caffeine" toxicity.

Fatty Foods. Rich and fatty food are favorites of dogs. They often get them as treats, leftovers or from getting into the trash. These fatty foods can cause pancreatitis. Pancreatitis can affect any pet but miniature or toy poodles, cocker spaniels and miniature schnauzers are particularly prone. Signs of pancreatitis generally include an acute onset of vomiting, sometimes diarrhea and abdominal pain.

Dairy Products. Dairy products are not highly dangerous but can pose problems for two reasons. One is their high fat content. The second reason is that pets poorly digest dairy products since they lack the enzyme required to digest lactose. This affects some pets more than others causing gas to diarrhea.

Grapes and Raisins. Any dog that ingests large amounts of grapes or raisins should be treated aggressively, so contact your veterinarian immediately if ingestion has occurred.

Macadamia Nuts. Macadamia nuts, also called the Queensland nut or Australia nut, can be toxic. The mechanism behind why these nuts are toxic is a mystery. Dogs develop weakness, depression, vomiting, difficulty walking, tremors, abdominal pain, lameness, stiffness and/or pale gums. The signs usually dissipate in 12 to 24 hrs.

Moldy or Spoiled Food. Dogs love to get into the trash. A medical problem arises when the trash contains moldy or spoiled food. In addition to food poisoning, some pets can develop tremors related to the ingestion of certain molds.

Nutmeg. You may not realized this but high levels of nutmeg can be toxic, even fatal. Signs of toxicity include tremors, seizures, nervous system abnormalities or death.

Onions or Garlic. Dogs and cats lack the enzyme necessary to properly digest onions and this could result in gas, vomiting, diarrhea or severe gastrointestinal distress.
All forms of onion and garlic are a problem. This includes raw, dehydrated, cooked, powders or those in foods. The most common source of onions for cats is in human baby food. Some baby foods have onion powder added for taste. When consistently fed baby food with added onion powder, signs of toxicity can develop.

Yeast Dough. When ingested, bread or yeast dough will "rise" in the stomach just as it would for bread. As the dough rises and ferments, alcohol is produced. There are two problems with yeast dough. The biggest problem is that the dough often rises to many times its size, expanding the pet's stomach. The second problem is from the alcohol component, which can cause "alcohol toxicity." Symptoms of vomiting, retching, abdominal discomfort, lethargy, depression or bloat is possible.

Source -www.thepetplace.com

Monday, April 6, 2009

Congressional Bill Threatens Fish Owners Rights

There is a new bill making its way through congress that could impact what people keep in their fish tanks. This bill is seen as an effort to keep the aquarium hobbyist from keeping many different types of fish among other things. It is committee right now.

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=h111-669See The bill Here

Although on the surface, the bill looks to protect the US from non-native species "invading" our habitats, it will ultimately pose restrictions on the hobbyist.

Since virtually all of our aquarium fish are non-native species, this bill, if passed as is, would severely restrict the fish we can keep in our tanks. The bill would allow the US Fish and Wildlife Service to determine on a species by species basis which animals US citizens would be allowed to keep based on their potential to threaten native species.

While we can be sensitive to the idea that some tropical fish could survive in sub-tropical areas of the country (e.g. South Florida), limiting someone in Minnesota from keeping a fish that could only survive in Florida doesn't seem to make sense. Legislation of this kind, if at all, should be left to the states. Plus, it's assuming that these species are being let go in the wild, which is already known to be dangerous, and illegal.

Currently, the bill is in committee and a long way from passage. The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council has set up a HR669 page and is working with industry to combat this bill. At this point, they do not feel that a letter writing campaign is necessary, or maybe even the best thing to do.

The situation will be monitored, but if you ever get the ear of any of your local congress people, let them know the danger of passing this bill.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Urinary Incontinence in Pets

If your house trained dog is suddenly having accidents, your pet may have urinary incontinence, a common disorder in spayed females and older dogs. A visit to your veterinarian will distinguish urinary incontinence from inappropriate urination, which is a behavioral problem, and to rule out medical conditions, such as a bladder infection or kidney stones. Arthritis or injury to the back affecting nerves to the bladder can also cause incontinence. Understanding your pet’s condition can help you to find the best treatment available for your pet. Here are some signs that your pet may have urinary incontinence:

* There are wet spots where the dog was sleeping or lying down.
* You detect a strong odor of stale urine from your pet’s hindquarters and the area might be wet.
* You notice your pet licking at the genital area and the skin may be irritated.
* Your pet is constantly dribbling urine while awake and walking around. You might also notice a small squirt of urine when your pet rises from sitting or any other effort that causes the abdomen to tense such as barking, or jumping up.
* You are finding puddles or urine stains on the carpet.
* You notice leaking during periods of heat when your pet drinks large quantities of water, putting pressure on the bladder (this can be helped by putting out cold water or ice cubes in the water to reduce the intake, along with the use of HomeoPet Leaks No More).

Urinary incontinence is typically seen in medium to large breed, female dogs that have been spayed, but it can occur in any dog or cat, male or female. After spaying or neutering, or as the pet gets older, hormone production decreases and the sphincter muscles that control the bladder are weakened. When the animal relaxes, urine leaks out.

Hormone supplements or phenylpropanolamine are most commonly prescribed, but these have possible side effects. Estrogen may cause bone marrow depletion and the possibility of false heat, and testosterone may increase aggression in males. Phenylpropanolamine, which was found to cause strokes and cerebral hemorrhages in humans and was banned by the FDA from the human market in 1999, is a non-hormonal medication that stimulates the fight or flight response, meaning that it can cause irritability and restlessness. According to HomeoPet, their 'Leaks No More' is a natural, homeopathic remedy that safely and effectively treats urinary incontinence, without the unwanted side effects.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

My Least Favorite "Holiday"

Am I the only one who hates April Fools Day? I don't mind the annoying jokes or the playful pranks, but what I hate the most are the fake articles and posts around the internet. One in particular started a heated exchange at work, until we realized it was most likely a joke.

The article talked about genetically altering a kitten, so that it remains a kitten forever. And since so many people love kittens, why not keep them that way forever? Although it appears to be a fake article, it does make you wonder...does science have the tools to create something like that?

I remember when the "glow" fish was being genetically altered, and what a huge debate it became. And although I still don't agree with it, the debates have been downplayed as of late, with more and more stores offering these genetically altered danio tetra fish for sale.

So, do we somehow start to become immune after a while? And does that make these controversial altering ok?