Thursday, August 16, 2012

One Treat Too Many – People Food Dogs Should Avoid

While many of us like to spoil our pets with tasty treats from the table, and it’s incredibly tough to resist those puppy dog eyes we all know to well, it’s important to be aware of the dangers in feeding “people food” to our dogs.
Here’s a list of a few foods we enjoy but should avoid letting our dogs get their tongues on:
Ice Cream
While summer’s heat makes it tempting for us to share our tasty treats with our dogs, ice cream and other dairy products should be avoided, as they can cause digestive issues and diarrhea.
Beer is a staple at summer cookouts, but should never be shared with our pets. Alcohol (beer, wine AND liquor) affects dogs’ brains and livers just as it does ours. Even small amounts of beer, wine or liquor can cause vomiting, diarrhea and difficulty breathing.
While many know to keep chocolate away from dogs, it’s worth another reminder. Theobromine, the toxic agent in chocolate, [yes, all kinds of chocolate] can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures and death.
Potato Chips
While a couple of plain chips may not be a problem, salty chips and dips like guacamole can cause serious issues for dogs. Salt consumption can cause excessive thirst and urination, and can ultimately lead to sodium ion poisoning. Guacamole contains a substance called persin, which can be toxic to dogs.
Many of us love tossing our dogs a treats like grapes or other fruits. While it isn’t clear why, grapes have been known to cause kidney failure in dogs. Even a small amount can cause vomiting, lethargy and depression.
The most common cause of poisoning in dogs is a reaction to a drug commonly prescribed for humans. Even the common ingredients in cold medicine and pain relievers can be deadly for your dog. Never give your pets over-the-counter meds unless your vet approves.
Our dogs are very curious creatures. No matter how careful we are, they may still get their mouths on something they shouldn’t. If you think your dog has consumed something toxic or harmful, get emergency help immediately.
The ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center can be reached at (888) 426-4435.
For more information on what foods to avoid, and a list of foods your dog can enjoy safely, visit

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Heat Wave! Should You Shave Your Pet?

Nearly everywhere in America, this summer is a scorcher, and we know that as a responsible pet parent, you want to do everything you can to keep your best four-legged friends cool. So when you look at your Pomeranian, Golden Retriever or long-haired cat wearing a thick, fluffy coat, you might feel tempted to break out your grooming tools and give him a serious hair cut.
But hold those clippers! While you or I would hate to sport a fur coat in 100-degree weather, your pets’ fur coats are actually providing them with heat relief.
Dogs’ coats have several layers, and these layers are essential to your dog’s comfort in the heat. Robbing your dog of this natural cooling system can lead to discomfort and overheating. And keeping your dog cool isn’t the only reason to leave his coat intact, Dr. Murray warns. Your dog’s coat prevents your pup from getting sunburn and helps protect her from skin cancer.
So what can you do? “It’s OK to trim your long-haired dog’s long hair, such as any hair that hangs down on his legs,” Dr. Murray says. Just never attempt to clip mats off your pet’s coat with scissors, Dr. Murray adds. And if you’ve got a long-haired kitty, leave her coat intact. Instead, brush her a little more frequently during the hot summer months.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Hot Weather Tips

woman walking dogs outside
We all love spending the long, sunny days of summer outdoors with our furry companions, but being overeager in hot weather can spell danger, ASPCA experts warn. 
Take these simple precautions, provided by ASPCA experts, to help prevent your pet from overheating. And if you suspect your pet is suffering from heat stroke, get help from your veterinarian immediately. 
Made in the Shade
Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it's hot outdoors. Make sure your pets have a shady place to get out of the sun, be careful to not over-exercise them, and keep them indoors when it's extremely hot. 
Know the Warning Signs 
Symptoms of  overheating in pets include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. They can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees. Animals with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. These pets, along with the elderly, the overweight, and those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible. 
No Parking!
Never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle. "On a hot day, a parked car can become a furnace in no time-even with the windows open-which could lead to fatal heat stroke," says Dr. Louise Murray, Vice President of ASPCA Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital. Also, leaving pets unattended in cars in extreme weather is illegal in several states. 
Make a Safe Splash 
Do not leave pets unsupervised around a pool-not all dogs are good swimmers. Introduce your pets to water gradually and make sure they wear flotation devices when on boats. Rinse your dog off after swimming to remove chlorine or salt from his fur, and try to keep your dog from drinking pool water, which contains chlorine and other chemicals that could cause stomach upset.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Can Dogs Eat Apples?

We answer this commonly Googled question

By Elizabeth Pask and Laura Scott

Many dogs love apples which is great because apples can be a super, healthy treat. Apples contain calcium, vitamin K, vitamin C, and pectin (soluble fibre). One small apple contains 52 C.
Things to do with apples for dogs
There are many different ways to feed apple to dogs; you can serve it as a frozen slice, you can wedge it into a Kong, you can make apple pops with apple sauce, or serve grated as a dinner topping. Avoid large amounts of apple seeds and stems in fresh apples, as they contain cyanogenic glycosides which can cause tummy upset and more serious problems if consumed in large quantities. Also be cautious feeding dehydrated apples. Dehydrated apples contain all of the nutrients of the hydrated ones but they have no water, so only feed little bits of dried apple to prevent tummy upset.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

How to Keep Your Dog Safe in the Summer

Summer is the season most of us look forward to for outdoor activities, but dogs don't do as well in hot weather as people do. Sometimes it's kinder, and far safer, to keep your dog at home. But whatever you do and wherever you go, keep these tips in mind:
Be aware that not all dogs handle heat in the same way. Dogs build up heat as a function of volume and lose it as a function of surface area. This means that larger dogs with rounder bodies have less surface area for their size, and build up heat faster.
In addition, dogs lose heat through evaporation from their nasal passages and tongue. This means that dogs with flat faces are less able to lose heat. As a rule, the bigger the dog and the flatter the face, the more prone they are to overheating. Overweight and old dogs have an even greater risk, as do dogs with thick fur.
Fur coats can be hot. Fur provides some amount of protection from the sun, but thick fur prevents body heat from escaping and promotes overheating. It's a myth that shaving a dog's coat makes him hotter. Shaving it to the skin can make him vulnerable to sunburn, but cutting the fur to about one inch can help him stay cooler. If you don't want to shave him, brush as much undercoat as you can out, and be sure no solid mats are there to trap heat and moisture.
Don't exercise your dog when it's warm. He wanted to run, so you took him jogging. You only noticed he was in trouble when he started to stagger, then fell. His breathing is rapid, his gums red, and he has thick, profuse saliva. He's in full blown heat stroke, and you must act fast to save his life. See later in the article for instructions.
Unfortunately, veterinarians see far too many dogs in this situation every year, many of which succumb. Dogs overheat before people do, so even though you may be just a little warm, your dog can be lethally overheated. On warm days, exercise your dog first thing in the morning, late at night, or only where he can cool off in water. And beware of hot asphalt!
Keep your dog out of parked cars. You only meant to be gone a minute. But once in the store, you got distracted, you forgot just how hot it was outside, and by the time you came back, a crowd was around your car. This time you were lucky. A broken window, the scowls of onlookers, but your dog is alive. Next time he might not be.
Studies show that the temperature inside cars can heat to lethal temperatures within 30 minutes even if the weather outside is relatively cool. Regardless of outside air temperature, cars heat up at a similar rate - gaining 80 percent of their final temperature within 30 minutes. Cars that start at a comfortable 72 degrees F (22 degrees C), for example, soar to a deadly 117 degrees F (47 degrees C) after 60 minutes in the sun. Cracking the windows scarcely affects the temperature inside.
Nobody keeps statistics on dog deaths from being left in cars, but about 30 to 40 children die in parked cars each year. Considering that dogs aren't allowed in most places children are, and that dogs overheat more quickly than children, it's likely that hundreds of dogs die in closed cars every year.
Be prepared for travel emergencies. You're driving with your dog on a hot day, enjoying the air conditioning. Suddenly the car dies. As you wait for help, the temperature is rising, and your dog is starting to get overheated. If you have water, offer some to him, and pour some over him. Next time, prepare by bringing a cooler with ice and a small car-battery-powered fan. Soak your dog and a towel in ice water, have him sit on the towel, and aim the fan at him. Air blowing over your dog's wet skin and fur cools him just as your sweat in a breeze cools you.
Provide for comfort at home. You left your dog in the yard, but the day turned out hotter than you expected. Next time, provide for your dog's comfort before you leave. Be sure he has a place that's shady all day long. Buy a kiddy pool and fill it with water so he can soak in it and cool off. If possible, aim a fan at him from a sheltered place so he has a breeze. If your dog is left inside, you may need to run the air conditioning, or at least a fan. If the weather is very hot, you may need to find a way to guard against electrical outages while you're away. Some pets have died when the electricity, and thus air conditioning, unexpectedly went off during the day.
Spring can be just as hot. Just because it's spring (or fall) don't be lulled into a false sense of security. Many people who are aware of summer heat hazards fail to take the same precautions in spring, when their dogs may still be wearing their thick winter coats. Don't be caught off guard!
Cooling a Hot Dog. Don't plunge an overheated dog into ice water. This causes the peripheral blood vessels to contract, actually trapping the overheated blood at the body's core -- just where it does most harm. Instead, cool the dog slowly by placing him in cool water, or by draping him with wet towels and aiming a fan at him. Offer him plenty of cool water.
If you have a thermometer, cool him until his temperature reaches 103 degrees F (39 degrees C), then stop, as it will continue to decline. As soon as you have him cooling, race him to the veterinarian. Even if he appears to have recovered, he needs to go to the veterinarian because some delayed but deadly effects can still occur even days later.
Not All Dogs Can Swim! Although swimming is a great exercise in warm weather, make sure your dog can swim first! Some breeds, such as bulldogs, French bulldogs and Pekingese, have the swimming ability of cinderblocks. And even good swimmers can drown in backyard pools if they don't know where the steps are to climb out.
Dogs and UV Rays. Dogs, especially light-skinned dogs, can get sunburn and melanoma. If you dog likes to sun worship, rub a sunblock on his belly and the top of his nose, the most common sites for sunburn.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

ASPCA Guide to Pet-Safe Gardening

"Protecting your pet from potential hazards in your yard is just as critical."
While gardens and yards are lovely for relaxing, they can also prove dangerous for our animal companions.
Our experts recommend you watch out for the following:
Poisonous Plants When designing and planting your green space, it's a good idea to keep in mind that many popular outdoor plants—including sago palm, rhododendron and azalea—are toxic to cats and dogs. Sago palm and other members of the Cycad family as well as mushrooms can cause liver failure, while rhododendron, azalea, lily of the valley, oleander, rosebay, foxglove and kalanchoe all affect the heart. Please visit our full list—and pics!—of toxic and non-toxic plants for your garden. 
Just like you, plants need food. But pet parents, take care—the fertilizer that keeps our plants healthy and green can wreak havoc on the digestive tracts of our furry friends. Ingesting large amounts of fertilizer can give your pet a good case of stomach upset and may result in life-threatening gastrointestinal obstruction. Be sure to follow instructions carefully and observe the appropriate waiting period before letting your pet run wild outside. 
Cocoa Mulch Many gardeners use cocoa bean shells—a by-product of chocolate production—in landscaping. Popular for its attractive odor and color, cocoa mulch also attracts dogs with its sweet smell, and like chocolate, it can pose problems for our canine companions. Depending on the amount involved, ingestion of cocoa mulch can cause a range of clinical signs, from vomiting, diarrhea and muscle tremors to elevated heart rate, hyperactivity and even seizures. Consider using a less-toxic alternative, such as shredded pine, cedar or hemlock bark, but always supervise curious canines in yards where mulch is spread.
Insecticides Like fertilizer, herbicides, insecticide baits, sprays and granules are often necessary to keep our gardens healthy, but their ingredients aren't meant for four-legged consumption. The most dangerous forms of pesticides include snail bait with metaldehyde, fly bait with methomyl, systemic insecticides with the ingredients disyston or disulfoton, mole or gopher bait with zinc phosphide and most forms of rat poisons. Always store pesticides in inaccessible areas—and read the manufacturer's label carefully for proper usage and storage. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Humane Society Recommends Not Transporting Pets by Air Unless Absolutely Necessary

More pets died on Delta flights last year than on any other airline, a government report reveals. But a closer look at the records shows that the pets' owners may have been as much to blame as the airline.

The report, issued each year by the U.S. Department of Transportation, shows that 19 of the 35 air-travel-related pet deaths in 2011 took place in the baggage holds of Delta planes, up from 16 in 2010. Five pets were also injured on Delta last year, more than on any other airline.

"The loss of any pet is unacceptable to us," Delta spokesman Anthony Black told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. "We are working to improve the processes and procedures to ensure that every pet arrives safely at its destination." Delta pointed out that it transports more pets than many other airlines (some, like Southwest and AirTran, don't allow pets to travel in the cargo hold at all), and that less than 0.2 percent of pets that fly Delta have been injured or killed.

Delta representatives denied that the pets had been mishandled, and detailed accounts of each incident seem to confirm that. Several of the pets had medical problems that were disclosed during check-in; other pets were found to have congenital defects, and a few had to be euthanized after self-inflicted injuries in their carriers. Age may have been a factor in some of the deaths, such as those of 17-year-old and 14-year-old cats, and the length of the trips may also have been an issue (13 out of the 19 deaths were on overseas flights). One dog, a mini pincher, died without even making it onto the plane -- handlers refused to load him because he was having trouble breathing. Three of the victims were English or French bulldogs, which Delta usually refuses to transport because of the snub-nosed breeds' respiratory problems.

According to Delta's guidelines, the airline "does not accept animals which exhibit signs of injury, distress, or are demonstrating efforts to escape and that Delta reserves the right to refuse pets as checked baggage if the health of the animal is in question and/or if the animal's health may be jeopardized by the extreme conditions." But a few of the pets that died were over the allowable weight limit, had been sedated, or had recent and obvious injuries, yet had been accepted for transport anyway. Delta also does not allow pets checked as baggage from May 15 through September 15, in order to avoid exposing them to extreme heat in the cargo hold, but eight of the 19 deaths occurred during that time frame last year.

Delta is not the only airline having a problem transporting pets. Last year, five pets died on American Airlines, four on Alaska Airlines, three on continental, and two each on Hawaiian Airlines and United Airlines, according to the report. In 2010, seven out of 14 puppies died on an American Airlines flight from Tusla, Oklahoma, to Chicago after it was delayed in hot weather.

This week, United Airlines announced that, starting in March, the carrier and its subsidiaries will transport pets only as cargo rather than checked luggage. The third-party fees are astronomical, they admit, but spokeswoman Mary Ryan told ABC News that pets "will now have a dedicated staff and temperature-controlled vans instead of the inhospitable baggage compartment," which will "lead to a better experience for pets."

The Humane Society recommends not transporting pets by air unless absolutely necessary, and suggests bringing small pets with you into the passenger section whenever possible.

If you are planning to travel with pets, take them to the vet for a complete physical first (airlines may require health certificates in order to allow your pet on board, and other countries may have quarantine and vaccination requirements to meet upon arrival). Check with your airline to make sure your pet's carrier meets their standards, and take the time to familiarize your pet with the carrier before his or her first flight, suggests the experts at Booking a direct flight will minimize the chances of a missed baggage connection and exposure to extreme temperatures.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Pet Safe Lawn Fertilizer - Finally

Play Safe
Do you desire a lush lawn that is also safe for your pets and children? Pet Safe Lawn Fertilizer by Water N Play is safe to play on minutes after application. Each fertilizer granule disperses into millions of micro-particles when exposed to water. This patented formula enables the micro-particles to dissolve directly into the root zone so outdoor activities can safely resume immediately. Just apply, water, and play! Find it at True Value Hardware stores and Southern States stores, as well as

Will wait to see the verdict on this - but sounds great.