Friday, December 16, 2011

Helping a Child to Be a Pet Parent

Even the most fervent yearning for a dog or cat won’t make a child a good pet parent. It’s up to you to prepare your children for the responsibility of having a pet. A young child will not have
the ability to train a pet. That will fall to you, so if this is your first dog, or you’ve never had a cat before, make sure you read up on the best way to establish and maintain a good relationship with your pet. This is also a good time to shape your child’s expectations, and impress upon him or her that a pet is a long-term commitment. Once that cute kitten or puppy matures, or the novelty wears off, some children may lose interest.

An older child may be expected to assume some responsibility for walking the dog or feeding the cat, but this should still be supervised by you. Children, including teenagers, sometimes get distracted or forgetful, and may not realize how their unintentional neglect can affect a pet who needs attention.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What Every Pet Parent Should Know about Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving is all about spending time with loved ones—human and animal alike. So it makes sense that we’re tempted to fix Fido a plate of all the scrumptious holiday food we’re eating, right? But wait! Put down the serving spoon. Are you sure that’s safe for your pet? Here’s what you need to know.

Ten Thanksgiving dangers. Some foods are totally off-limits to our furry pals (and there’s a full list of them at Ten of them are especially common around the holidays. Just say no to:

candy with xylitol
bread dough
batter with raw eggs
onions and garlic
macadamia nuts
raisins and grapes
rich or spicy foods

Let’s talk turkey.
Good news for Fido! ASPCA experts say a little bite of plain turkey is usually safe for pets. If you decide to share, remember: Only boneless, well-cooked turkey is OK. Giving your pet undercooked or bone-in turkey, fat or gristle, or cooked bones for chewing is not OK.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

FDA to Test Pet Food for Salmonella

According to an October 4 bulletin posted by the FDA, the Thumb Oilseed Producer’s Cooperative of Ubly, Michigan is recalling some of its packaged soy flour and bulk soy meal because of contamination with Salmonella bacteria.
Unfortunately, the affected products are used in the manufacture of both human and animal foods.

As of this writing (October 7), there have been no pet food recalls actually announced.
This good news is most likely explained by the natural tendency for Salmonella bacteria as well as its associated toxins to be readily destroyed by the heat used to produce most dog foods.
However, since the recall notice specifically states the affected soy products are used to make both human and animal foods and because so many pet foods contain soy, we believe it’s important for dog and cat owners to monitor the developing situation closely.
In the meantime, check your dog food’s ingredient list for the words “soy flour” or “soy meal”. If you don’t see one of these two phrases, it’s highly unlikely you have any cause for concern.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Small Number Of Milk-Bone Dog Biscuits 10lb Box Voluntarily Pulled

10/6/2011 - Safety News - Small Number Of Milk-Bone Dog Biscuits 10lb Box
Voluntarily Pulled

Del Monte Pet has voluntarily pulled 88 boxes of Milk Bone Dog Biscuit 10lb. Code #90967 Milk Bone Dog Biscuits 10 lb (UPC 24000-92502) with lot code 12071k only. The product could contain mold as a result of temperatures being too low during the drying process. Milk Bone has contacted the one distributor that receive the affected product and believe this issue is resolved. However, if you have a 10lb. box of Milk Bone biscuits with Code #90967, do not feed it to your pet and return it to the store you purchased it at for a refund.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What to Look for in a Grooming Salon

Grooming plays an important role in keeping your pet clean and healthy. We know it can be challenging to maintain you dog’s groom on your own, so how do you choose the best grooming salon for your pet? Here’s a guide to the ins and outs of finding a grooming salon.
Step 1 – Ask For Referrals
When searching for a suitable grooming salon, referrals are key. Consult with fellow Pet Parents; they may be able to recommend salons based on experience. You can also check with the National Dog Groomers Association for information on certified groomers.
Step 2 – Take a Tour
Once you’ve nailed down a few perspective salons, set up a to get a firsthand look at the operation. Check for proper lighting as well as the cleanliness of the floors and grooming tables. Ask to speak to the salon manager for information on licensing and health policies. Some states require salons to be licensed and enforce strict guidelines on rabies vaccinations for all dogs. Asking about the equipment and tools used is a great way to learn more about the groomers’ expertise and style.
Step 3 – Have Patience
Spending time observing groomer’s interactions with other dogs is imperative. You want to make sure your pet is handled with the best care possible. Also, ask what the salon’s protocol is for handling aggressive and fearful dogs. Some salons may not accept hostile dogs and may suggest they undergo training before they considering taking them on as a client.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Is Health Insurance the Best Policy for Your Pet?

Your pet is a member of the family. When he or she isn’t feeling well, you want to do whatever you can to help — and these days, there’s a lot of help available. Many advances in human medicine also work for pets. Vets can now use MRIs, ultrasound, laser surgery, endoscopy and other techniques to diagnose and treat cats and dogs.
While being able to extend your pet’s life is priceless, sophisticated medical procedures don’t come cheap. Not only are the diagnostics themselves expensive, but they uncover problems that couldn’t previously be detected. Treating these conditions can cost thousands of dollars.

Start Early

The older your pet, the higher your premiums are likely to be. In fact, you may not be able to obtain coverage for an older pet at all. Many policies won’t generate a policy for a pet older than nine.  Of course, the younger you start, the longer you’ll pay premiums. This can cost you thousands of dollars by the end of your pet’s life.

Hip replacement - $2400
Liver cancer - $8500

Dogs & Cats

Tooth extraction - $900
Abscess - $450
Malignant skin tumor - $1500
Bladder stone - $1000

Every pet is different. So is every plan.
Insurance companies and plans vary considerably. Your best bet is to research and compare online. Only by taking your specific information into account can you make the decision that’s best for you.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tertius and Pliny

Frankel's first picture book introduces Tertius, a stuffed Scottish terrier, and Pliny, a toy monkey with one glass eye, who for years have sat on the shelf in ``the small cubbyhole that served as Mrs. Kay's shop.'' Though Pliny is content to stay in the dark store and swing by his tail among ``the things that people call antiques,'' Tertius longs to escape to the outside world. He gets his chance when the uncle of two siblings, Bruno and Rebecca, agree to buy them the stuffed dog. Tertius makes friends with a wooden toy in his new home, ``a daredevil red airplane named Baron Hendrik von Krug,'' who agrees to fly him to Mrs. Kay's shop to rescue Pliny from the shelf. Though Frankel infuses his well-intentioned narrative with a certain Milne-like drollery--and the adventurous flight adds considerable zip--youngsters may find the overall effect wordy and slow-moving. They'll doubtless delight, however, in Clark's ( Listen to This ; The Queen's Goat ) richly hued, waggish renditions of these winsome toys and the wide-eyed children who befriend them. Ages 4-8.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Poochie Pupsicles

Sweet and savoury pupsicles
Beat the heat. Whip up these quick frozen treats for your dog and his canine pals with food you have on hand. All you need is 5 minutes, a few ingredients, and a freezer.

1 ripe banana
4 cups orange juice
1/2 cup plain yogurt
Puree all ingredients in a blender—or simply mash the banana by hand and combine with the juice and yogourt—then pour into a popsicle mold, freeze, and serve to your favourite hot dogs.

Switch up your fruit. Try subbing in:

Blueberries, Strawberries, Peach, Watermelon, Or mix in some peanut butter.

You can also vary the juice you use. Try pineapple juice or apple juice; just check to be sure the juice you use is all-natural and has no added sugar.

Modern Dog pup-approved combinations include:
* watermelon, strawberry, pinapple juice, and yogurt
* peanut butter, banana, apple juice, and yogurt

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

7 Ways Fish Oil for Dogs Can Boost Your Pet’s Health

Perhaps better known as omega 3’s, the essential fatty acids of ALA, DHA and EPA are required for your dog's cellular health. They also inhibit the development of prostaglandins. Left unchecked, prostaglandins can lead to chronic inflammatory diseases like arthritis.
In short, fish oil is highly beneficial for dogs.
Here are 7 ways Lucy can benefit:

•Soothe dry, flaky skin
•Give your pet a shiny, healthy coat
•Reduce inflammation
•Heart health
•Boost immune system
•Even healthy adrenal function

According to health guru Dr. Andrew Weil, veterinarians now recommend fish oil for dogs with allergies, kidney disease, arthritis and high cholesterol.
It’s a natural anti-inflammatory which is crucial for disease prevention. \
What’s the Right Fish Oil Dosage?

The right fish oil for dogs dosage is based on weight.

For example, if you used this fish oil, you’d give a larger dog (more than 20 lbs.) ¾ of a capsule each day for a 1500 mg dose.
For smaller dogs, you could puncture the capsule and squeeze some of the oil onto the food.
Of course, you should always check with your veterinarian whenever you add something new like a supplement and to get the right ratio for your pet.
Some dogs may require a higher dosage to reap the biggest benefits.
For example, dogs with allergies or other health concerns may need more omega 3’s for the greatest health benefits.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pet Age Gauge - In Calculating Age, Size Matters

A surprising number of pet parents don’t know when their pets become seniors. To convert your pet’s chronological age to the equivalent in human years, start with 15 human years when your pet is a year old. This is based on the age at which they achieve sexual maturity. When your pet turns two, add nine years, so that at age two, your pet is the human equivalent of 24 years old. After that, simply add four “human“ years for every pet year.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Winter Care for Canines

General Concerns

Winter's cold air brings many concerns for responsible dog owners. Keep the following precautions in mind:
  • Don't leave your dog outside in the cold for long periods of time. Wind chill makes days colder than actual temperature readings. Be attentive to your dog's body temperature, and limit its time outdoors.
  • Adequate shelter is a necessity. Keep your dog warm, dry and away from drafts. Tiles and uncarpeted areas may become extremely cold, so make sure to place blankets and pads on floors in these areas.
  • Be extra careful when walking or playing with your dog near frozen lakes, rivers or ponds. Your dog could slip or jump in and get seriously injured.
  • Groom your dog regularly. Your dog needs a well-groomed coat to keep properly insulated. Short- or coarse-haired dogs may get extra cold, so consider a sweater or coat. Long-haired dogs should have excess hair around the toes and foot pads trimmed to ease snow removal and cleaning. If you do the trimming, take care not to cut the pads or other delicate area of the foot.
  • Feed your dog additional calories if it spends a lot of time outdoors or is a working animal. It takes more energy in the winter to keep body temperature regulated, so additional calories are necessary.
  • Towel or blow-dry your dog if it gets wet from rain or snow. It is important to dry and clean its paws, too. This helps avoid tiny cuts and cracked pads. A little petroleum jelly may soften the pads and prevent further cracking.
  • Don't leave your dog alone in a car. If the car engine is left on, the carbon monoxide will endanger your dog's life. If the engine is off, the temperature in the car will get too cold.

Health Tips

Dogs cannot talk to us when they are sick. As a responsible dog owner, it is important to pay special attention to your dog's well-being during the winter season. Remember the following health concerns:
  • Antifreeze, which often collects on driveways and roadways, is highly poisonous. Although it smells and tastes good to your dog, it can be lethal.
  • Rock salt, used to melt ice on sidewalks, may irritate footpads. Be sure to rinse and dry your dog's feet after a walk.
  • Provide plenty of fresh water. Your dog is just as likely to get dehydrated in the winter as in the summer. Snow is not a satisfactory substitute for water.
  • Frostbite is your dog's winter hazard. To prevent frostbite on its ears, tail and feet, don't leave your dog outdoors for too long.
  • Be very careful of supplemental heat sources. Fireplaces and portable heaters can severely burn your dog. Make sure all fireplaces have screens, and keep portable heaters out of reach.
  • Like people, dogs seem to be more susceptible to illness in the winter. Take your dog to a veterinarian if you see any suspicious symptoms.
  • Don't use over-the-counter medications on your dog without consulting a veterinarian.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Finding the Right Rawhide Chew For Your Dog

There are literally thousands of “rawhide” dog chews on the market, but they are anything but equal in terms of safety, quality, and price. We advise that you do your homework and take your time before buying chews for your dog.

Avoid buying chews like these, which were made out of shredded, pressed bits of rawhide bound together with who-knows-what material. Also, these contain artificial colors – a completely unnecessary ingredient in a dog chew.

These rawhide rolls are made with a small sheet of rawhide wrapped around a bunch of chunks and fragments of rawhide. When the outer sheet loosens with the dog’s chewing, the small chunks inside could pose a choking hazard, or even perforate the dog’s esophagus or intestines.

The rawhide roll on the left is an example of the kind of rolls we would not buy. The outer layer is nice and thick, but it is hiding all sorts of little scraps inside. The roll on the right, made by Wholesome Hide, displays all the traits we are looking for in a top-quality rawhide chew. It’s made in the United States from a single sheet of fresh, thick, natural rawhide from U.S.-raised cattle.

Quality is worth the expense
I’ve also never seen any other rawhide chews that are as expensive as these chews! Good quality rawhide rolls usually sell in stores for about $6-7 for a three-pack; a single roll of the largest size that Wholesome Hide sells for that much in some stores! (Prices are generally lower online and in bulk.)
However, the Wholesome Hide rolls last much longer than most rawhide chews; it lasts up to a week (chewing for an hour a day or so) to chew one down to the point that I take it away for safety reasons.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Doggy Paws in Winter

Winter can be especially hard on a dog's paws. Unprotected from ice, snow, and slush, and bitter cold, their paws need special care in winter. By taking a little extra time to keep your dogs' paws well-groomed, you can minimize problems with cracked, sore pads, blisters and infections.

The products used to clear the ice and snow that accompany cold winter weather can be a real hazard for dogs. Rock salt and most chemical de-icers can irritate a dog's paws and turn a winter walk into a painful ordeal. Stay away from heavily salted areas as much as possible when walking your dog.

Inspect paws after walking in areas treated with salt and other de-icers. Check between toes and examine the foot pads for cracks in the skin. Look closely at any inflamed areas for splinters, embedded gravel, etc.
Snow, especially wet snow, clings to long haired dogs as they run and play in the snow. When snow or slush from melting ice and snow on sidewalks sticks to the hair beneath a dog's paws, lumps of ice, often mixed with rock salt and gravel, build up between their foot pads and toes. Walking hurts.

Always wash paws with warm water after outdoor play and winter walks. Even if there's no trace of cracks, irritation or any damage and no snow and ice to remove, it's important to wash away all traces of salt and other de-icers so a dog can't lick it off later. Never let a dog try to chew away any lumps if ice and snow sticking to its paws or hanging from its fur.  

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Food Allergies 101

Nothing to sneeze at: food allergies in dogs.

At a Glance

Some of the breeds most prone to food allergies include: Boxer, Cocker Spaniel, Springer Spaniel, Collie, Dalmatian, German Shepherd, Lhasa Apso, Miniature Schnauzer, Retriever, Shar Pei, Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier, Dachshund, and West Highland White Terrier
Most common food allergens include: beef, dairy, and wheat.
Least common food allergens are fish and rabbit.
General signs and symptoms of allergies include: dry itchy skin, excessive scratching or licking, bald patches, a high frequency of hot spots, ear infections, skin infections, diarrhea, and vomiting.

By Elizabeth Pask and Laura Scott

Is your dog itching and scratching? Does she have frequent ear infections or poor coat quality? You could be contributing to your dog’s distress without knowing it if she’s allergic to what you’re feeding her. Food allergies are a rising concern with dog owners and it seems like more and more dogs are suffering from them.
But what exactly is a food allergy?

Learn more...

Toy Poodle found in a ditch outside a shelter practically unrecognizable as a dog

An amazing rescue story surfaced last week, one with all the hallmarks of a good Cinderella tale, including dramatic makeover. Ripley the dog, so named because it's nearly impossible to believe there was a young, purebred, Toy Poodle under the matted, dirt- and cockroach-filled fur ensnaring him, must have one heck of a fairy godmother.