Sunday, December 20, 2009

Pet Safety During The Holidays

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This time of year can be very exciting yet at the same time very stressful not only for you, but for your pets as well. Here are some tips for pet owners to help keep their pets safe during the holiday season.

  • If you plan on having a Christmas tree in your home there are a few things that you should remember. Tinsel should be avoided because your pet may think that it is a toy to play with and they may accidentally swallow and choke on the tiny strings. In addition, do not decorate your tree with popcorn or other food items, and remove all edible gifts from under the tree.
  • Hang small and breakable ornaments out of your pet's reach.
  • Do not place chemicals in your tree's water. It may keep your tree fresh longer, but it can prove very harmful to your pets. Always make sure your pet has plenty of fresh water in his/her own dish at all times.
  • Electric window displays and lights are very inviting, not only to you and your neighborhood, but to your curious pets as well. Make sure all of your electrical connections and outlets are secured and concealed. Tape electrical cords to the walls or floors to ensure that your pet will not chew on them.
  • Never hang edible treats, such as stockings filled with chocolates or other candies, in dangerous places like near a fireplace or on a Christmas tree.
  • Holiday plants, such as poinsettias, amaryllis, mistletoe, and holly, may add beauty to your home but they are very poisonous to your pets. If these plants are ingested, they may cause vomiting, diarrhea, or even more serious problems.
  • Before your family celebrations, make sure that your pets have a safe, quiet area where they can rest. It is best to keep your pet locked up safely in a bedroom where they can escape from all the noise and festivities. If your pet enjoys having company come over, just make sure they do not become too overwhelmed.
  • After you have had your fill of holiday turkey, ham, chicken or roast beef, make sure you throw those bones away. Do not give them to your pet. You might think that you are giving them a treat, but you may be threatening their health. Cooked bones can splinter easily and cause damage to your pet's throat and intestines.
  • You should avoid feeding your pet chocolate, candy and cookies which can be toxic to their health. Feeding your pet these products can result in extreme vomiting and can make your pet very sick. If you want to give your pet a special treat then try changing the way you feed them their regular pet food. Adding water or broth to dry food or mixing in canned food makes a great treat and is much healthier for your pet. Do not feed your pet high-fat foods such as gravy and dressing, which can cause serious stomach upsets. You should make sure that your guests know not to feed your pet these things as well.
  • After your gifts are opened, quickly dispose of all plastic wrappings, ribbons, and bows that can be easily swallowed by curious pets.
  • Perhaps most importantly, PLEASE make sure that all of your pets have proper ID tags on at all times. In all the activity and confusion there is always the danger of your pet getting out. If your pet were to become lost, you would have a much greater chance of finding them if they have identification.
These are just a few guidelines to keep your pet safe and happy during the holidays.

Have a safe and fun holiday, and don't forget to give your "babies" a present, too!




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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

We have a winner!

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The winner of the Pet Organizer is.....

Chastity Anderson!!


Congratulations, Chastity. I hope you and your babies get a lot of use out of this!

Thanks for reading my blog, and feel free to contact me if you ever need anything.

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Monday, December 7, 2009

A Humor Break

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Just a little something to make you smile from LOLdogs

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Win a Free Pet Organizer!!

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I am giving away a free Pet Organizer
compliments of Knock Knock!

This Pet Organizer will help ensure that your favorite four-legged companions have the happiest, healthiest days. Keep track of all your pets’ important info in one durable, easy-to-use repository—whether you care for a single creature or an entire menagerie. Includes pet-care instructions, lists to record vital stats and important contacts, a business card holder, rescue stickers, and so much more.

  • An essential tool for keeping tails wagging and purrs forthcoming
  • The perfect gift for every pet owner
  • Hardcover 3-ring binder: 10.5 x 12 inches; pen and pad; booklet; business card holder; adhesive tab labels; 9 tabbed dividers with storage pockets
Knock Knock carries Organizers, novelty gifts, unique stationery products, and fun greeting cards - Knock Knock has the great products for everyone on your list!

To enter, please leave a comment on this post with your name and email address. I will draw from all entries on December 16, and will ship the organizer out in time for Christmas. Comments will be kept private, and name and emails will not be shared with anyone else for any purpose. One entry per person, please.

Thanks.....and good luck! And don't forget to check out Knock Knock's site for some great gifts!

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Halo shares its recipe for "Spot's Stew"

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Halo is a terrific company that sells natural and holistic pet foods and products. I can testify that their stuff is first rate. I have personally used their supplements, grooming products and foods with great results. The best part is there are no chemicals or filler ingredients in any of it. Their "Spot's Stew" is wonderful. All the ingredients are human-edible, and all their grooming and flea products are all natural herbals.

If you want a great recipe for homemade dog food, try this one!
Dateline: Tampa, Fla.
Release Date: Monday, December 01, 2008

Halo shared their recipe for Spot's Stew, the original inspiration for the company, to help people and their pets have a healthy Thanksgiving.

The formula was developed when Halo founder Andi Brown’s pet cat, Spot, was struggling with allergies and other health issues. Spot’s Stew was created in her kitchen in 1986.

The recipe can be tweaked to accommodate cats and dogs.

Spot’s Chicken Stew from Halo
2 ½ pounds whole chicken
¼ cup chopped fresh garlic
1 cup green peas
1 cup coarsely chopped carrots
½ cup coarsely chopped sweet potato
½ cup coarsely chopped zucchini
½ cup coarsely chopped yellow squash
½ cup coarsely chopped green beans
½ cup coarsely chopped celery
1 tablespoon kelp powder
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
11 to 16 cups spring water

For dogs only: Add 8 ounces whole barley and 6 ounces rolled oats, and adjust the water content to a total of 16 cups, or enough to cover the ingredients. According to Halo veterinarian Donna Spector, cats require zero carbohydrate content in their diet, so this would be an unnecessary addition for cats.

Instructions:
Combine all ingredients in a 10-quart stainless-steel stockpot with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat as low as possible and simmer for two hours – the carrots should be quite soft at the end of the cooking time. Remove from the heat, let cool, and debone the chicken.

With an electric hand mixer, or using a food processor and working in batches, blend all the ingredients into a puree; the stew should be slightly thicker for dogs and more soupy for cats. Using zip lock bags or plastic yogurt containers, make up meal-sized portions. Refrigerate what you’ll need for three days and freeze the rest.

Serving size:
Amounts will vary depending on age, activity level, health, weight and season, but here are some guidelines: The average adult cat will eat roughly one cup a day. For dogs consult the table below. The amount shown should be split into at least two meals daily.

Dog’s Weight/Daily Portion

  • Up to 10 pounds - 1 to 1½ cups
  • 11 to 20 pounds - 2 to 3 cups
  • 21 to 40 pounds - 4 cups

For each additional 20 pounds, add two cups.

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Hope everyone has a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

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Saturday, November 7, 2009

25 Common Foods That Can Be Toxic for Your Pet

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My next article was going to be on the nutrient value of commercial pet foods, but between my typical hectic schedule and spending the last week and a half fighting off some sort of nasty, stubborn virus...well, I I simply haven't had time to get the article written. The article below was suggested to me by someone from the Vet Tech Schools Online website. I will be posting my nutrient article later this week, barring any unforseen delays.

25 Common Foods That Can Be Toxic for Your Pet

Your pet’s health is fragile. Sure, pets were once wild animals, but don’t forget that your pet isn’t the same as a human. Although it may think otherwise.

Knowing what can harm your pet is the first step in illness and disease prevention. By avoiding harmful substances and foods, your pet will live a longer, healthier life, and your wallet will thank you too for avoiding veterinary bills that could have been prevented with a little caution and care. These 25 common household foods can be lethal to your furry or feathered buddy. Many of these examples are foods that a typical pet owner would never think twice about giving their dog, cat, hamster or bird, but your pets can suffer greatly from things we humans love to eat on a regular basis. As a pet owner, your best bet is to stick with veterinary approved foods specifically made for your pet.

  1. Fatty Meats like Ham - Fatty and greasy meats that people eat like ham or beef can seriously damage a dog’s pancreas and cause pancreatitis. Actually a high fat diet of anything is very bad for dogs and can lead to this serious and costly illness. Most dogs will recover from severe pancreatitis, but other complications can develop like diabetes. Avoid giving your pooch table scraps no matter how sad their eyes may be.
  2. Walnuts - Walnuts and their hulls are particularly poisonous to dogs and horses. Even laying on black walnuts can cause respiratory distress, stomach upset and laminitis, or the inability to move around. Dogs are more susceptible to black walnut poisoning after ingesting the hulls or shells of the nut. Dogs poisoned by walnuts will often vomit and have diarrhea.C
  3. Coffee and Espresso Beans - Coffee and espresso beans, as well as the grounds of both, can have strong side effects on dogs if ingested because of the caffeine in the beans. Dogs can experience excessive hyperactivity, restlessness, difficulty breathing, increased heart rate, seizures and tremors. Too much caffeine can also be fatal. If you suspect that your dog has eaten coffee beans or coffee grounds, look for signs of vomiting or diarrhea.
  4. Teas and Sodas - Teas and sodas are also bad for dogs because of the caffeine in them. Don’t let your dog eat the tea leaves either.
  5. Salt - Salt can seriously dehydrate dogs and cause gastrointestinal irritation. Depending on how much salt a dog ingests, the symptoms may be more or less severe. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, excessive thirst, sluggishness and disorientation.
  6. Potato, Tomato and Rhubarb Leaves, Vines and Stems - The leaves, stems and other green parts of these roots and vegetables are highly toxic to most pets including birds. The leaves, stems and vines of these plants contain oxalates, which can harm the digestive, nervous and urinary tract. Symptoms of oxalate toxicity are dilated pupils, heart arrhythmias, irregular heart beat and tremors.
  7. Liver - A diet of too much liver can lead to vitamin toxicity. Liver flavored pet food and treats are fine to give to your furry friends though.
  8. Peaches - Peach pits contain small amounts of cyanide that can be toxic to all pets.
  9. Pears - Pear cores also contain trace amounts of cyanide. Avoid giving your pets pears, peaches and plums.
  10. Plums - Another pit that contains trace amounts of cyanide. These revelations may almost makes you want to give up the fruits yourself, but the cyanide levels contained in plums, peaches and pears are not harmful to humans.
  11. Fruit Pits like Cherry Pits or Apricot Pits and Apple Cores - Other fruit pits and cores like the kinds from cherries, apricots and apples also contain cyanide which is harmful to pets of all kinds. The fruit of apples are fine to give to pets, but be sure to core the fruit thoroughly first.
  12. Broccoli - In large amounts, broccoli can possibly be bad for pets. Gastrointestinal upset is common in livestock that are fed broccoli in excess of 10 to 25 percent of the animal’s diet. The same could be true for pets like dogs and cats, but since most people do not give their pets a diet consisting of 25 percent broccoli, the same conditions have not been recorded in great detail. Broccoli contains isothiocyanate, the tummy upset culprit. To be on the safe side, don’t give your pets the green stuff.
  13. Milk or Dairy Products - Just like humans, pets especially dogs can be lactose intolerant. Some cats and dogs will be able to digest dairy products with no problem, while others will get bad stomach aches. The ability to digest dairy products depends on a person or pet’s ability to produce an enzyme called lactase, which is used in the break down of lactose. Giving your pet a lick of your ice cream cone won’t kill it, but if your pet happens to be lactose intolerant you may be responsible for your pet’s tummy ache later.
  14. Tuna - Tuna seems like a natural choice to give your feline friend, but it can be toxic. Feeding a cat too much canned tuna can result in Steatitis or yellow fat disease, a painful inflammatory condition caused by a diet high in unsaturated fatty acids. Feeding your cat excessive amounts of canned or packaged tuna can also lead to mercury poisoning.
  15. Onions and Onion Powder - If a dog or cat ingests onions or even onion powder, the animal may develop a condition called Heinz body anemia, a form of hemolytic anemia that destroys red blood cells. Chives should also be avoided. Common signs that your dog has developed Heinz body anemia are pale gums, diarrhea, rapid heart rate, weakness, bloody urine, vomiting and lethargy. This particular type of anemia can also cause kidney damage. Cats are particularly at risk for this illness.
  16. Garlic - Garlic should not be given to cats or dogs since it can cause stomach and digestive problems. Garlic can also cause Heinz body anemia, a form of hemolytic anemia that destroys red blood cells. Small amounts of garlic can be given to pets, but is not recommended by the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center.
  17. Yeast Dough - Yeast dough can rise in your pet’s stomach and cause major gastrointestinal issues like stomach or intestine ruptures. Fully baked bread is fine to feed pets in small amounts, but should not make up a significant portion of your pet’s diet.
  18. Macadamia Nuts - Giving a dog macadamia nuts can make it very ill. Veterinarians are not sure of the cause, but also recommend not giving macadamia nuts to other animals as well. Side effects from ingesting macadamia nuts include drooling, tremors, weakness in the hind legs, vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy. With proper care, most dogs make a full recovery within 48 hours according to CBS news.
  19. Avocados - Avocados should not be given to any pets since the fruit, its bark and the seed contain Persin. Persin can cause diarrhea and vomiting in dogs, and difficulty breathing, congestion and fluid build-up around the heart in birds and rodents. Cats, goats, cattle, rabbits and horses are also at risk for avocado poisoning.
  20. Grapes and Raisins - Grapes and raisins can be fatal if dogs ingest them in large quantities. There is no need to worry if your dog accidentally eats one or two grapes, but veterinary care may be needed if a whole bunch or box of the fruit is missing and your dog is looking guilty. Signs of toxicity include vomiting and diarrhea. Kidney failure can follow if the dog goes untreated over a period of as little as 24 hours according to Michael Richards, DVM.
  21. Alcoholic Beverages, Hops used in homemade beer brews and Tobacco - Alcoholic beverages and tobacco can cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma and even death the ASPCA reports.
    Hops, a type of plant used to brew beer, is toxic to dogs for unknown reasons. Reactions to ingesting hops include panting, high body temperature, seizures and death.
  22. Candy and Gum Containing Xylitol - Xylitol, a sweetener used in candies and chewing gum, is extremely toxic to pets especially small pets. According the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, xylitol can cause liver failure and even death in dogs, cats and ferrets in as little as 30 minutes after ingestion from hypoglycemia, a sudden drop in blood sugar levels.
  23. Wild Mushrooms - Wild mushrooms can be very toxic to your pets. If your dog or curious cat happens to ingest some mushrooms growing in your yard or elsewhere, take the incident seriously since it’s hard to tell which mushrooms are poisonous and which are harmless. Poisonous mushrooms can cause kidney and liver damage, gastrointestinal problems and neurological trouble. If you suspect your pet has eaten any type of fungus, take it to the veterinarian immediately.
  24. Chicken Bones – All bones, not just chicken bones, are bad for your pet dog. Cooked bones have been softened and may splinter off in the dog’s mouth, stomach or digestive tract causing major problems. Chicken bones are a big no-no for dog-owners though since these bones tend to splinter easily.
  25. Chocolate - Everyone knows chocolate is toxic to dogs, but often not in what quantities. Chocolate, particularly baking chocolate that contains high amounts of cocoa, can be fatal to dogs depending on how much is ingested. For instance, if a 15 pound dog eats two ounces of baking chocolate it may be enough to cause severe heart, lungs, kidney or central nervous system damage and even death, but if the same dog ate only two ounces of milk chocolate, it will probably only experience some digestive issues according to Talktothevet.com. A dog would have to ingest a large amount of white chocolate to experience adverse effects.
    The reason that dogs cannot eat chocolate is because of a chemical called theobromide found in cocoa. Signs of theobromide poisoning include restlessness, hyperactivity, tremors, seizures, problems walking normally, vomiting, diarrhea, abnormal heart rhythm, hyperthermia and coma. In some cases, theobromide can prove fatal for dogs.

Knowing how to keep your pet safe and happy is a top priority as a pet owner. Your pets aren’t just man’s best friend, they’re your best friend. It’s tempting to cave when you only want to treat your best friend, but discipline when it comes to food shows your pet that you care more even though those sad eyes may disagree with you at the time. Don’t feed your animals table scraps even if the scraps aren’t toxic or poisonous because you want your pets to around a long time to snuggle and love.

For more information on pet health and toxicity, visit the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center website

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A PET OXYGEN MASK SET FOR EVERY FIRE TRUCK CAN SAVE PETS’ LIVES

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I received the following press release from a reader. It was originally posted on the
Bark Buckle Up website.


A PET OXYGEN MASK SET FOR EVERY FIRE TRUCK CAN SAVE PETS’ LIVES

Bark 10-4™” Campaign Created to Help Fire Departments Across America
Get Pet Oxygen Masks


Annually, an estimated half million pets are affected by fires in the United States and more than 40,000 pets die each year due to smoke inhalation. With the right equipment, police, fire and emergency medical service (EMS) rescuers can often save a pet's life. Losing a pet in a house fire can be a devastating experience for a family member. Even the best value pet insurance won't help here. SurgiVet® Pet Oxygen Masks are effective with dogs, cats and other companion animals, but only if they are on hand at the scene of an emergency.

Smiths Medical, the US manufacturer of the SurgiVet® brand of animal health products, announced today that it has teamed up with Bark Buckle UP® to launch the “Bark 10-4™” campaign. During October, which is National Fire Safety Month, industry leaders and pet safety experts Bark Buckle UP®, and Pet Safety Lady™ Christina Selter are teaming up with Smiths Medical and fire departments nationwide to launch the “Bark 10-4™” campaign to raise awareness of the need for Pet Oxygen Masks.

Currently, most of the more than 30,000 fire departments and EMS offices nationwide have more than one truck, and funds to purchase Pet Oxygen Masks often fall short.

The “Bark 10-4™” Campaign was created with the goal of getting a Pet Oxygen Mask on board every fire truck in the country by encouraging the public to sponsor the purchase of Pet Oxygen Masks for their local fire departments. A $25 sponsorship ensures that one mask can be purchased for a fire department; a $65 sponsorship buys a mask set, which includes a small, medium and large mask.

Sponsorship can be completed at www.Bark10-4.com or from a link at www.surgivet.com. The sponsor designates the specific fire department to receive the gift, which will be delivered with the shipping/handling costs paid by Smiths Medical.

“Vets have used oxygen masks designed especially for animals for years,” according to Lisa Huston, SurgiVet® Product Manager at Smiths Medical. “These masks have found their way into the hands of first responders primarily through word of mouth and the generosity of compassionate pet owners. This program will go a long way toward raising awareness about a product that can save a lot of pets’ lives.”

“The mask only works if it is on the truck,” states Jose M. Torres, Battalion Chief ‘A’ Platoon Santa Monica (California) Fire Department. “Together we can save pets lives.”

About Bark 10-4™
Bark Buckle UP®, is a nationally recognized innovative leader in pet safety that created the program Bark 10-4™ to assist first responders and the public on pet emergency issues and needs. With tours throughout the USA and Canada, and company volunteers in over 20 cities, Bark Buckle UP® leads the charge for educating and promoting awareness for pet safety. For more media information about the Bark 10-4™ campaign,
visit: www.BARK10-4.com, BarkBuckleUp.com or Petsafetygear.com

About Pet Safety Lady™, Christina Selter
Pet Safety Lady™, Christina Selter works closely with Fire, Police, Coast Guard and EMT personnel who support the pet safety program. She has been featured on television, radio, international auto shows, pet expos, news articles and guest speaking engagements nationwide. For more information about Pet Safety Lady™, visit www.PetSafetyLady.com

About Smiths Medical - SurgiVet®
Smiths Medical designs, manufactures and distributes a line of veterinary-specific medical devices under the SurgiVet® brand. SurgiVet® is a globally recognized brand of products specific to the animal health industry, including a comprehensive range of monitoring devices, anesthesia systems and critical care consumables. Smiths Medical is part of the global technology business Smiths Group.

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

How do they make this stuff? (and who are these uninvited guests?)

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By now we have covered most of the ingredients found in commercial pet foods, both the good and the bad. We have learned how to read the labels, what to look for, and what to avoid. Even with that it is sometimes difficult to determine whether or not a food is really a good choice for our pets.

While most pet parents want to give their babies what is best for them, it isn't easy to do. If we were to believe all the advertisements and commercials, all we would have to do is pour some commercial kibble in their bowl, give them fresh water, and all will be right in their world.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Let's look at the processes by which commercial pet foods are made. And what can go wrong.

Most dry kibble is made with a machine called an extruder (or expander). The raw ingredients are blended according to each company's recipes, usually developed by their own animal nutritionists. This blended mix is fed into the expander, then subjected to steam, pressure and high heat as it is extruded through dies that determine the shape and size of the final product. The steam expands and "puffs up"the kibble. The food is allowed to dry, and then usually sprayed with some sort of fat or flavoring to make it more palatable to the pet. A few foods are baked at high temperatures rather than being extruded. This results in more dense, crunchy kibble that is palatable without the need for sprayed on enhancers. Pets can eat about 25% less of these denser baked foods.

Food ingredients are similar for wet, dry and semi-moist foods. Wet or canned foods start with ground ingredients mixed with various additives. Special extruders are used if chunks of any type are to be included. The mixture is cooked and then canned. Some foods are cooked right in the can. The sealed cans are then put into large pressure cooker type containers and are commercially sterilized.

The cooking process kills most of the bacteria present in the food, but drying, fat coating, and packaging processes may reintroduce bacteria so that the food loses its sterility. The cooking process does not get rid of the endotoxins that some bacteria produce as they grow and are released as they die. Mycotoxins may also be present. These are toxins from mold or fungi from improper drying and/or storage of grain crops such as wheat, corn, or soy meal. Most pet food manufacturers do not test for these toxins.

Commercially produced or rendered meat meals and by-product meals often contain animals that have died because of disease, injury or natural causes. Sometimes the deceased animal is not rendered right away, allowing the growth of bacteria such as Salmonella and E. Coli. More than 50% of meat meals are estimated to be contaminated with E. Coli.

Improper food storage and some feeding practices may result in the growth of toxic bacteria.
Adding water or milk to a dry kibble and then leaving it at room temperature causes bacteria to multiply, yet this feeding method is suggested on the packages of some puppy and kitten foods.

While the higher end, super premium foods tend to use much stricter manufacturing methods, contamination can occur even in these. In recent years, vomitoxin and aflatoxin have appeared in a couple well-known premium foods, causing many pets to get sick...and even a few deaths. These cases were caused by mold or fungi from the cereal grains used, not by the manufacturing process of the pet food company itself.

This doesn't leave us feeling particularly confident in any commercial food, does it? Bear in mind that the best super-premium foods do usually have higher standards for their ingredients, avoid the use of cheap "filler"products and cereal grains, stricter controls over their manufacturing processes, and more thorough testing of the raw ingredients going into the food, as well as the finished products. As always, read your labels and, if you have any doubts, research the company that produces the food to see if there have been any problems in the past or what methods they use in their production process.

Next time we will take a look at the nutrient value of commercial food. Regardless of how good the raw ingredients going into a food are, if all the nutrients are cooked out of them......

Well, you get the idea.

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Great new site for holistic pet care!

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Most of us try our best to provide our pets with wholesome, natural foods, organic if possible. Avoiding the “junk” that is in most commercial pet foods goes a long way toward maintaining the health of your pet and possibly extending their life. But what do you do if your pet gets sick? Or what if your pet already has a chronic condition that you are trying to deal with?

First of all, ALWAYS have your pet checked out by a veterinarian before you do anything. Don’t try to diagnose it yourself. Veterinarians, of course, will most likely want to give some type of prescription drug, and maybe even a special “prescription” diet. Most of the so-called prescription diets are of questionable quality at best. And so many of the drugs we use to treat our pets can have awful side effects. Even the prescription diets, while addressing one issue, may actually aggravate or cause another. For example, years ago I had a cairn terrier with a weight problem. The vet had me put her on Science Diet R/D. Sure, she lost weight, but she also got very dry skin and a dull coat. In reading the ingredients, one of the main items on the list was peanut hulls! Yes, you read that right. Peanut hulls, because they are very fibrous and bulk up the food so your dog gets full faster. They have no nutritional value so she wasn’t getting enough nutrients from what she did eat. That, combined with the very low fat content of the food, caused her skin and coat issues.

So where do you go from here?

When your dog or cat is facing health challenges like liver disease, cancer, skin problems or kidney disease, you have a lot of decisions to make. In addition to conventional treatments, you may also want to consider complimentary medicine like nutritional supplements, diet changes or even massage or acupuncture. With everything you have to consider, the choices can be overwhelming.

I recently found a website that helps put many of your options into perspective. The company is Pet NutriSystems and their specialty is well-organized kits that are designed to take a lot of the guesswork (and homework) out of complementary, holistic alternatives. Each kit contains the appropriate nutritional supplements, dietary recommendations (along with recipes) and helpful guides that put it all together and keep you organized. (more......)

There are kits for skin problems, immune boosting for cancer, liver function, urinary tract problems, pets with kidney disease and much more. The supplements and information appear to be well-researched and the guides are clearly written. The website is nicely organized and easy to navigate. It contains a great deal of free information that most readers will find useful. There is also a “Freebie of the Month”, so be sure to check back often.

Here is how it works. From their homepage you click on the condition your pet has. There is a section for dogs and one for cats. For example, if you click on “My dog needs help with allergies”, it will take you to a brief overview of the condition and give a description of symptoms and generally accepted treatments. From there you can go to a wellness plan that outlines a multi-step plan toward health using a natural approach. Often the steps include diet, nutritional supplements and lifestyle considerations. Each step is explained so you understand why it is necessary. The purpose of each supplement is also detailed.

From the wellness page, you can navigate to the Essential Kit and see the contents of the kit and ordering information. Because the kits contain multiple items, there is a price break when ordering a kit as opposed to getting the items individually, making the kit an attractive option. Once the kit is ordered, you have immediate access to the kit instructions and the reports and guides via a link to a pdf download. The whole process is very streamlined and convenient to the pet owner.

They are also starting a blog which will have all sorts of articles on pet health and nutrition, etc.

The bottom line is a site that puts a great deal of information at your fingertips, without being overwhelming. If you have a pet with health challenges, check them out. You may very well find the help and answers you have been looking for.

Check them out: http://www.petnutrisystem.com


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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Animal Cruelty and Neglect - What do I do?

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I personally find it very sad that this post is even necessary. It breaks my heart to think about such things, and I often wonder if there will ever be an end to man's cruelty towards his fellow creatures.

Unfortunately, animal abuse and neglect is all around us. It happens in every neighborhood, be they rich or poor, urban or rural. We have all seen an animal that has been or is being mistreated or neglected. We feel sorry for them, we may even worry about them. We may try to sneak them food if they aren't being fed or give them water if they have none. Most of us really have no idea what to do when we encounter these situations.

So....what do we do when we see animal abuse or neglect? Who do we report it to, and how do we go about it? I found the following information on the ASPCA website. I thought I would share it with you here so that more people are aware of how to recognize and deal with these issues.


Recognizing Animal Cruelty

What constitutes animal cruelty?

Animal cruelty occurs when someone intentionally injures or harms an animal or when a person willfully deprives an animal of food, water or necessary medical care. Here are some signs that may indicate abuse or neglect:

  • Tick or flea infestations
  • Wounds on the body
  • Patches of missing hair
  • Extremely thin, starving animal
  • Limping
  • An owner striking or otherwise physically abusing an animal
  • Dogs who are repeatedly left alone without food and water, and often chained in a yard
  • Dogs who have been hit by cars—or are showing any of the signs listed here—and have not been taken to a veterinarian
  • Dogs who are kept outside without shelter in extreme weather conditions
  • Animals who cower in fear or act aggressively when approached by their owners
How to Report Animal Cruelty

The police department that covers your city, town or county is required to investigate criminal complaints, including complaints of animal cruelty and animal fighting. There may also be an animal control agency, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals (SPCA) or humane society that has authority to conduct these investigations.

If you encounter difficulty identifying the correct law enforcement agency with which to file a report of animal cruelty, you may wish to contact your local shelter or animal control agency for help finding this information.

What information should I have on hand when I make a report of animal cruelty?

Try to gather the following information before submitting a report of animal cruelty:
  • A concise, written, factual statement of what you observed—giving dates and approximate times whenever possible—to provide to law enforcement.
  • Photographs of the location, the animals in question and the surrounding area. However, please do not put yourself in danger! Do not enter another person’s property without permission, and exercise great caution around unfamiliar animals who may be frightened or in pain.
  • If you can, provide law enforcement with the names and contact information of other people who have firsthand information about the abusive situation.
Remember, never give away a document without making a copy for yourself!

Can I remain anonymous when I file a complaint about animal cruelty?

Yes, you can, and it is better to file an anonymous report than to do nothing—but please consider providing your information to the agency taking the complaint. These agencies have limited resources, and the case is more likely to be pursued when there are credible witnesses willing to stand behind the report and, if necessary, testify in court about what they may have witnessed.

If I report my suspicions that a neighbor is committing animal cruelty, and that person’s animal is taken away and put in a shelter, isn’t the animal worse off?

It’s important to understand that reporting cruelty is always the right thing to do. Because of the burden it places on the system, animal control officers do not want to remove an animal from a home unless absolutely necessary. If an animal is taken from his or her owner, there was a substantial problem. A seized animal will have the chance to get the necessary help, whether that help is nutritional, medical or behavioral. Also, if an intervention by law enforcement leads to a conviction, you may inadvertently have helped spare other animals from the same abuse: in many states, convicted animal abusers are barred from owning pets.

Is there anything specific I can say when I make a report of animal cruelty to persuade law enforcement to take it seriously?

Yes—let them know that you are taking the incident seriously. Make it clear that you are very interested in pursuing the case and that you are willing to lend assistance however you can. Although law enforcement agencies must pay attention to anonymous reports of serious crimes, including animal cruelty, they are more likely to follow up on cases where there are credible witnesses willing to stand behind the report and, if necessary, testify in court about what they may have witnessed.

Provide law enforcement with a concise, written statement of what you observed, giving dates and approximate times whenever possible. If you can do so without entering another person’s property without their permission, you may wish to photograph the location, the animals and the surrounding area. If you can, provide law enforcement with the names and contact information for other people who have firsthand information about the situation.

How should I follow up on my report of animal cruelty?

When you report animal cruelty, it’s a good idea to keep a careful record of exactly whom you contacted, the date of the contacts, copies of any documents you provided to law enforcement or animal control, and the content and outcome of your discussion. This will make following up much easier.

If you do not receive a response from the officer assigned to your case within a reasonable length of time, make a polite follow-up call to inquire about the progress of the investigation. As a last resort, and only if you are reasonably certain that no action has been taken on your complaint, you may wish to contact a supervisory officer or a local or state government official to request action.

Please keep in mind that most law enforcement agencies operate with limited personnel and resources. Most of these agencies are doing their best to conduct timely and efficient investigations. Being respectful of the challenges they face. Giving them the benefit of the doubt when appropriate will likely get you much further than premature complaints to their superiors.

Someone in my neighborhood is threatening to harm my pet, but they haven’t done anything yet. What can I do to protect my pet from this person?

If you feel that your pet is in danger, do whatever you can to shield him or her from harm—for instance, bring your outdoor cat inside and always accompany your dog outside, keeping him on a leash at all times.

You should also file a complaint with your local police; depending on the law where you live, verbal or written threats may constitute criminal harassment. Be sure to keep any tangible evidence of threats against your pets and yourself. If the threats are serious enough, you may be able to get a restraining order against the person making them. If this is the route you wish to go, enlist the aid of a lawyer. Above all, please be careful.


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Saturday, April 18, 2009

BARF - The Dark Side

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Last time we took a look at the BARF (Bones And Raw Food) diet, what it consists of, and what some say are the advantages of feeding this way. In this article, we will examine the "cons" of the BARF diet and look at the criticisms and problems that some believe it can create.

As an owner you may have heard a lot or arguments for or against feeding the diet in a raw, fresh, uncooked state. Many owners feel that feeding a raw diet is the only way to offer a truly healthy diet, and that cooking somehow destroys many of the nutrients in the diet. In this diet, the pet is fed raw bones, raw meat, raw vegetables, eggs, limited grains, and supplements.

Dog food experts loudly disagree on the risks and benefits of a dog raw food diet. Opponents of the BARF diet include the American Veterinary Medical Association, British Veterinary Association, and Canadian Veterinary Medical Association. These organizations point out that there is no scientific evidence to show that raw food is better for your pet than commercial pet food. Those who support commercial pet food say that it is generally healthy and safe and that it meets pets' nutritional needs.

Although feeding dogs and cats raw meat to mimic the food of their ancestors may make sense on the surface, BARF opponents point out that dogs are not wolves and cats are not lions. Furthermore, they note that these animals have been domesticated for hundreds, if not thousands, of years, during which time they have eaten what humans ate, which is cooked - not raw - food.

Let's take a look at some of the specific points and potential problems stated by the "anti-BARF" side.

While it is true that the wild ancestors eat raw, freshly killed foods, our pets are not wild animals but rather domestic relatives of wild animals. Many veterinarians feel the risks outweigh the supposed benefits of the BARF diet. Some of the risks associated with a raw meat diet include parasites and bacteria, bone hazards, and nutritional deficiencies. Let's look at these in more detail.

(information taken from the SPCA website article on raw feeding)

Parasites and Bacteria

One of the biggest concerns about feeding dogs raw bones and meat is the risk of contamination (of both dog food and human food surfaces) with bacteria such as salmonella and E. coli. While raw meat may carry these kind of bacteria, they have also been found in commercial kibble and other foods, and a more wholesome diet may equip the body better to deal with the inevitable infections and parasites by boosting the immune system.

Bacteria and parasites may be picked up any number of other places – such as sniffing or licking other dogs at the park, or walking over ground where another animal has defecated and later licking paws clean. Every animal will be exposed to parasites in bacteria – but for the sake of minimizing risks, some owners prefer to avoid the raw meat BARF diet.

Some veterinarians claim there is an increased risk of seizures and other bacteria-related illness in dogs who are fed raw; other vets claim to have seen no BARF-related bacteria or parasitic infections and even recommend BARF

Many raw food proponents theorize that freezing meat will kill bacteria. Not so. Laboratories preserve bacteria and viruses by freezing them. Cooking meat is the best way to eliminate the potential for illness.

Proponents also theorize that bacteria is destroyed by stomach acid. But Sharon Gwaltney-Brant, DVM, from the National Animal Poison Control Center, disagrees. "Pathogens such as salmonella, E. coli, clostridium and campylobacter have evolved 'coats' that protect them in their transit through the stomach, and this allows them to take hold in the intestines," she says. This could be the cause of the severe diarrhea some raw food people attribute to "detoxing."

Humans who feed their pets raw meat may come in contact with harmful parasites or bacteria such as salmonella. These can be contracted by handling the raw meat, your pet's food bowls, or even your pet itself, which could spread salmonella by licking their fur or you.

Bone Splinters

Eating whole bones can fracture teeth, poses a possible choking hazard, and could also cause internal tearing and bleeding.

Fans of the BARF plan are insistent that raw bones do not splinter and are safe for dogs to chew and ingest. Raw bones are also said to be an ideal source of calcium, amino acids (protein), minerals, and other nutrients. Most pets eating raw bones do not die, develop impactions of the digestive tract, fracture teeth, or develop any other problems. Still some do, as most veterinarians will attest.

Julie Churchill, DVM, a specialist in nutrition, states, "Bones, even raw and ground bones, can perforate the gastrointestinal tract. This call lead to peritonitis, severe infections or emergency surgery, and dogs die from this each year." You also have to consider the damage to teeth by chewing on raw, meaty bones. A good many veterinary dentists are opposed to this practice.
They say that they see pets with "sparkling white teeth with crown fractures and endodontic disease."

Nutritional Deficiencies: Research Against the BARF Raw Food Diet

Ensuring that a homemade raw diet is nutritionally balanced can be tricky. (On the other hand, traditional commercial pet food is required to meet nutrition requirements.) Each pet is different, and each pet has his own nutritional needs in times of health as well as times of illness.

A recent study found some raw food diets unbalanced in vitamins and minerals. There is also some question regarding the bioavailability of essential vitamins and minerals.

Another study done in 2001 and published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association pointed out a number of problems with raw diets, including low phosphorus and potassium levels, calcium-to-phosphorus ratios of 0.15 and high concentrations of zinc--all of which are areas of concern with growing puppies.


After reading all the arguments against the BARF diet, it no longer sounds like the wonder, "cure-all" feeding method that proponents present. Where does all of that leave us?

Basically, it comes down to this. In the final analysis the choice will be left up to the owner. Do your research. Make yourself an "expert" on pet nutrition. Study all the arguments both for and against and weigh them for yourself. Make sure you have a clear understand not only of the purported benefits of the BARF diet, but all the risks and potential problems that can arise as well.

As I usually tell people, the most important thing is to educated yourselves. If you choose to try a raw diet, find a good holistic vet who can help you make sure that is balanced and healthy.

My own personal opinion is that I am not comfortable with this diet. I continue to feed my guys a high-end premium kibble, supplemented with dehydrated raw food mixes and my own homemade---cooked---stew. My pups are healthy and happy and I have never had the first problem with feeding the way I do.

Again, this is only my opinion. Study and decide for yourself.

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

BARF - The Pro Side

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In keeping with the spirit of my blog title, “You’re feeding me WHAT?”, I find the topic and title of this entry slightly amusing. I am talking about the complete opposite of the commercial pet food diet. What is this alternative diet called?

BARF.

Yep, you heard me. BARF. Sounds yummy, huh? Ugh.

Okay, seriously…What is the BARF diet? BARF is an acronym for Bones And Raw Food, or Biologically Appropriate Raw Food. Not quite as gross as it sounded!

What does the BARF diet consist of? Why is it different? I will present a very much condensed crash course in the pros and cons of the BARF diet. There are many staunch supporters of this diet, but there are just as many the vehemently oppose it. I will try to show both sides here. This article will address the PRO side of BARF.

First of all, what is wrong with commercial pet food? Well, if you’ve been reading my blog from the beginning (if not, I recommend that you do) you know there is a LOT wrong with most commercial foods. Most grocery store brands and even a lot of the so-called premium brands of kibble are full of ingredients I would never feed my pet. Keep in mind that the claim of “nutritionally balanced and complete” only means that the food will sustain life. Period. Beyond that, it means pretty much nothing.

Many commercial pet foods contain a lot of grains such as corn, wheat or rice (things that cats and dogs do not eat in the wild). They may also contain additives and preservatives that are not at all healthy, or necessary, for pets. Digestion should start in the mouth when saliva mixes with chewed-up food, but most kibble is small and some pets end up swallowing it whole.

The BARF diet aims to replicate a diet similar to what a wolf would eat in the wild. This diet is not typically accepted by many veterinarians, and there are few scientific studies on it, at least that I am aware of. Supporters of raw feeding believe that the natural diet of an animal in the wild is what it is most adapted to. They try to duplicate this diet for their pet, with the belief that a balanced raw diet has the benefits of giving the animal a healthier coat, cleaner teeth and breath, reduced stool volume and odor, and better overall health.

Let’s take a look at exactly what the BARF diet includes. (..more)

A typical BARF diet is made up of 60-80% of raw meaty bones (RMB), that is bones with about 50% meat, (e.g. chicken neck, back and wings) and 20-40% of fruits and vegetables, offal, meat, eggs, or dairy foods. A sample BARF meal may include things like raw chicken necks or backs, raw chicken wings, organ meats (a few times a week), ground raw veggies and fruits, ground meat, and whole eggs (including shells). The food is supplemented with flax or fish oil, probiotics, and any sort of supplement that includes vitamins and trace minerals.

Are raw meats safe for my pet? Most pet owners and holistic veterinarians report no obvious health problems in pets fed raw meat. Many owners and doctors report healthier looking coats and skin, less itching, less arthritis, and general overall health improvement once pets are slowly switched from processed food and fed raw homemade diets. There are health concerns with feeding raw meat, including parasites and bacterial contamination, which we will take a look in the next section.

BARF does take a commitment to understanding basic canine nutrition. The main drawback to preparing diets at home is that unless following properly formulated recipes, it is easy to create nutrient deficiencies or excesses that could cause illness in your pet.

The idea behind the homemade diets is that the owner will use fresh, minimally processed ingredients. By offering fresh food, there are more nutrients in the diet that would otherwise be removed as a result of processing. Homemade diets seek to emphasize freshness and wholesomeness of ingredients. The diets avoid the harmful chemical preservatives, additives, and artificial colorings and flavors that may occur in some commercially prepared diets. Homemade diets are designed to address common concerns owners may express concerning commercial pet foods.

Pet owners have often been told, "don't feed your pet people food," but this advice is erroneous for two reasons. First, processed dog food and cat food is nothing more than "people food" processed into pellets and put in a bag for pets (although many manufacturers use ingredients not fit for human consumption.) Second, prior to the origin of processed foods in the early 1900's, our pets ate nothing but people food (unless the dog or cat hunted its own meals.) Many holistic veterinarians think that the diseases we now see (diseases such as immune disorders, allergies, and arthritis that were rare in past years) are a direct result of processed pet foods.

Some of the main points made by proponents of the BARF diet are:

  • Fresh foods prepared at home with minimal processing provide phytonutrients (nutrients found in plants) such as bioflavonoids and many nutrients not yet discovered in the plants.
  • The homemade diets use higher quality protein and carbohydrate sources and do not require heating to extremely high temperatures and extruding into pellets under high pressure like processed pet foods. This heating and pressurizing of food destroys most of the nutrients (enzymes, healthy bacteria (probiotics), and vitamins and minerals) that your pet requires, forcing pet food manufacturers to add extra vitamins and minerals to the food after extensive processing of the food (most manufacturers do not add back probiotics or enzymes; supplementation with these ingredients is still necessary to achieve levels found in homemade diets.
  • Dogs and cats are mainly carnivorous and should be fed mainly meat-based diets when possible, although many commercial foods base their diets on cereal grains and vegetables.
  • For owners who desire to feed a more natural, chemical-free diet, preparing diets at home is easy and cost-effective. You can select the freshest ingredients available; ideally the vegetables and meats should be organic (from plants and animals raised without chemicals, hormones, or pesticides.)
  • Many commercial pet foods contain materials, including cereal grains, that pets are not designed to eat. Additionally, the quality of the ingredients, unless they are human quality ingredients, is low. In some processed foods (especially soft-moist "burgers,") sugars are used as the carbohydrate source. This may contribute to diabetes; excess sugar is not digested and can cause diarrhea. Propylene glycol, a preservative in soft-moist diets, can cause anemia, especially in cats.
Sounds like a pretty great diet for your pet, huh? Not so fast. There are a lot of concerns over the BARF diet as well. We will explore those in my next article.

For now, that’s all the “food for thought” until next time.

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Friday, April 3, 2009

Top 10 Pet Safety Tips

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Top 10 Pet Safety Tips


You never know when a natural disaster or a more common everyday emergency might occur. Don't be caught off-guard without a plan for you and your pets. The tips below are essential to emergency preparedness.

  1. Make sure that your pet wears a well-fitting collar with an ID tag that has up-to-date contact information.

  2. Train your dog. A well-trained, obedient dog is safer, more responsive and happier.

  3. Always keep your pet on a leash when outside the house or yard.

  4. In order to make traveling with your pet more manageable, be sure that your pet is comfortable in a crate or carrier, even if you don't use one on a regular basis.

  5. Know basic pet first aid such as how to stop bleeding and treat lacerations. Always approach a sick, injured or scared animal slowly and cautiously. Even your own pet can be aggressive when in pain or frightened. More pet first aid info at RedCross.org

  6. Purchase or assemble a basic pet first aid kit that includes gauze pads, gauze roll/ bandages, thermometer, tweezers, hydrogen peroxide, antibiotic ointment, Q-tips, instant cold pack and rags or rubber tubing for a tourniquet.

  7. Make sure that you have a pet emergency supply kit that includes an ample supply of food and water, blankets, a spare leash and collar, food bowls, garbage bags and any needed medication and a recent photo of your pet. See full pet emergency supply kit checklist

  8. Remain as calm as possible during stressful or emergency situations - your pet is easily influenced by your behavior and will mirror your stress or panic.

  9. Be aware of the dangers of common household items - from poisons and pesticides to chocolate and certain houseplants - and keep them away from your pet.

  10. Be aware that extreme temperatures have drastic effects on pets. Heat exhaustion is often caused by leaving pets in parked cars or over-exercising pets during hot weather. To cool off an overheated pet, offer plenty of water, wet his or her body and paws with cool water, then fan.
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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Pet Food Recalls & Food Safety Issues

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As many pet parents well remember, mid-March marks the two-year anniversary of the widespread pet food recall throughout North and South America. Most pet parents are familiar with the FDA’s recall due to the melamine contamination from ingredients sourced in China, and many people's pets were affected by the tainted food.

While much smaller in scope since the 2007 recall, pet food recalls continue, including last month's peanut butter Salmonella contamination that affected both human and pet food products.

To summarize events since the 2007 recall, while the US FDA (responsible for pet food regulations, which are enforced at the state level) has taken some action toward improving response and tracking of pet food safety crises, and committees have been formed to further define safety standards for our pets' food, no legislation has yet been passed to impose stricter rules for pet food safety and ingredient testing.

It seems likely that there will be no additional federal regulations enacted, as many industry insiders believe that existing laws and safety protocols adequately address pet food safety needs, and there is often general resistance to expanding governmental controls in big businesses like the pet food industry.

Instead of new federal legislation, there will likely be stricter "guidelines" made by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), the agency that (loosely) regulates the pet food and livestock feed industry by setting feed standards and definitions of acceptable feed and pet food ingredients

What exactly does that mean to us? (read more...)

What this means for pet parents is that nothing much is likely to change in the near future. The responsibility for providing safe foods to our companion animals remains where it always has been - squarely on our own shoulders! The best way to ensure you're getting a safe food for your pet is to choose a natural pet food. And of course, it's just as important to select natural treats for your pet as well.

My other site, Solomon’s Royal Barkery, has recipes for homemade food and treats you can make yourself to feed your pet.

A common misconception about the AAFCO statement found on most pet foods: the idea that AAFCO approves foods, and that the AAFCO statement on a pet food label guarantees safety. AAFCO offers guidelines for pet food and livestock feed manufacturers, but does not actually approve or strictly regulate what goes into our pets' food. The AAFCO statement simply says that the manufacturer avows that their food contains the AAFCO-recommended minimum requirements of all nutrients necessary to sustain life for a particular species of animal. Notice that AAFCO standards mean that a food meets “minimum requirements” to “sustain life”.

So if your pet's food meets the AAFCO guidelines, the statement on the label says that the food is "formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog or Cat Food Nutrient Profiles." This means that pets eating the food as their whole diet won't die from a nutrient deficiency. It does not mean that the ingredients in the food are of high quality, are easy to digest, or are at all healthy for your pet! Pets are developing serious health problems like cancer, and kidney & liver diseases at alarming rates since commercial pet food was introduced - just a coincidence? Hardly! Just because a food meets AAFCO guidelines doesn't mean it's especially healthy for your animal to eat.

In fact, many of the AAFCO-approved ingredients in pet food are considered quite unhealthy by those who know what the tricky ingredient language really means. Acceptable pet food ingredients include things like beaks and chicken feet (poultry by-products), sawdust, peanut or soybean hulls and newspaper pulp (powdered cellulose), rendered road kill (animal fat, animal digest), and worse!

Interestingly, the melamine that harmed in so many pets in 2007 is believed to have been added to the grain-based ingredients to increase the protein content so the food would meet standard pet food nutritional guidelines! How's that as "food for thought"?

For the latest information on food recalls and safety concerns, visit the US Food & Drug Administration's Food Recall page on their website.

More information on pet food regulation is available here on the AAFCO website.


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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Blue Power Ear Treatment - It Works!

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One of my golden retrievers, Danny, had a stubborn ear infection for a couple weeks that I just could not get rid of. I cleaned his ears with ear cleaner, treated the infection with Otomax, and also tried an antibiotic ear powder I got at the vet a while back. Still, his ear sounded like it had fluid in it and smelled like it was full of infection. I didn't want to have to take him to the vet, so I started digging around on the internet about possible home treatments for ear infections.

During the course of my research, I found site after site that talked about a home remedy for ear infections called "Blue Power Ear Treatment". It was simple to make, simple to use, and every site I went to was full of comments from people who gave it a glowing report. I decided to give it a try. I bought the ingredients and started treating Danny. It has now been a week and a half, and his ear appears to be free of infection. No squishy sound and no infection smell. I will treat for another week as recommended, but I believe I can add my own glowing report for this remedy.

The ingredients are simple, inexpensive, and are available at most pharmacies without prescription. Want to know more, keep reading..... (more)

You should always check with your vet prior to starting any treatment on your own to ensure that the health issues your dog is having are not more serious, such as a ruptured eardrum or foreign object trapped in the ear channel. Treating dogs with these conditions could permanently damage their ear.

Blue Power Ear Treatment


INGREDIENTS
16 Oz. Isopropyl Alcohol
4 Tablespoons Boric Acid Powder
16 Drops Gentian Violet Solution 1%

Mix together in alcohol bottle and shake well. If you can only find 2% gentian violet, use 8 drops. You will also need to shake solution every time you use it to disperse the Boric Acid Powder. To use, purchase the "Clairol" type plastic bottle to dispense solution to affected ears. You can also use an ear syringe, which should be available at your pharmacy. When I went to buy the ingredients, the boric acid powder and gentian violet were not out on the shelf, but when I asked the pharmacist he had both of them in stock in the back. If they don't have gentian violet, they should be able to order it for you.

TREATMENT

Evaluate condition of ears before treating and if very inflamed and sore do not attempt to pull hair or clean out ear at all. Wait until inflammation has subsided which will be about 2 days. Simply flush out the ear with the solution until then.

Shake the bottle each time before using. Flood the ear with solution (gently squirt bottle), massage gently to the count of 60, wipe with a tissue. Flood again on first treatment, wipe with a tissue, and leave alone without massage. The dog will shake out the excess which can be wiped with a tissue, the Gentian Violet does stain fabrics (and practically everything else, as I found out).

SCHEDULE OF TREATMENT

Treat 2x per day for the first week to two weeks depending upon severity of ears
Treat 1x per day for the next 1-2 weeks
Treat 1x per month (or even less frequently, depending on the dog)

All of these ingredients should be available at a pharmacy. The Boric Acid Powder soothes the ear. The Gentian Violet Solution is an anti-infection agent. The solution appears to work well on any and all ear problems from mites to wax to canker. After the second or third you can clean out the ear with a Q-tip or cotton balls. Their success rate for this treatment is 95-99%. Those who do not succeed have usually not done the treatment long enough or have not been regular about it.

Dogs on the verge of ear canal surgery have been returned to normal with only the regular follow-up treatment to keep the ear healthy. If an infection seems to be remaining in the treated ear after the above course of treatment, you may also have some Pseudomonas bacteria in the site. This can be eradicated by using a gentle flush of raw apple cider vinegar and water (warm). Use 2 Tablespoons of vinegar to one cup of water, 2x per week.

They have found the Blue Power Solution to be effective for treating fungus-type infections on the feet and elsewhere on the dog, for cuts on dogs or people, and for hot spots. You may find other uses for this simple anti-infective agent. Remember it is for external use only and be careful not to get into the eyes.



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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

When Heroes Are The Pits

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Weela, Ken-L Ration's Dog Hero of the Year (1993)

Bully breeds get so much negative press, and it breaks my heart that these wonderful dogs have earned such a horrible reputation through no fault of their own. Irresponsible owners, poor breeding, mistreatment and neglect have led many to believe that ALL pit bulls are bad and should be destroyed or banned. I thought I would share an example of what the breed is supposed to be.

This story is from the Ultimate American Pit Bull Terrier by Jacqueline O'Neil. Weela was also featured in the October, 1996 Outside magazine as an example of the kind of dog one would like to have in a life-threatening situation.

Gary Watkins, eleven years old, was absorbed in chasing lizards when Weela, the family Pit Bull, plowed into him with a body slam that sent him sprawling. Gary's mother, Lori, saw the whole incident and remembers being surprised at first, because Weela always played kindly with children. But her surprise quickly turned to horror when she saw a rattlesnake sink its fangs into Weela's face. Somehow Weela had sensed the snake's presence from across the yard and rushed to push Gary out of strinking range.

Luckily for thirty people, twenty-nine dogs, thirteen horses and a cat, Weela recovered from the snake's venom. Luckily, because that's how many lives she saved a few years later. For her heroism, Weela was named Ken-L Ration's Dog Hero of the Year in 1993. The press release read in part:

In January 1993, heavy rains caused a dam to break miles upstream on the Tijuana River, normally a narrow, three-foot wide river. Weela's rescue efforts began at a ranch that belonged to a friend of her owners, Lori and Daniel Watkins. Weela and the Watkinses worked for six hours battling heavy rains, strong currents and floating debris to reach the ranch and rescue their friend's twelve dogs.

From that experience, the Watkinses recognized Weela's extraordinary ability to sense quicksand, dangerous drop-offs and mud bogs. "She was constantly willing to put herself in dangerous situations," says Lori Watkins. "She always took the lead except to circle back if someone needed help." (more....)

Periodically, over a month's time, sixty-five pound Weela crossed the flooded river to bring food to seventeen dogs and puppies and one cat, all stranded on an island. Each trip she pulled thirty to fifty pounds of dog food that had been loaded into a harnessed backpack. The animals were finally evacuated on Valentine's Day.

On another occasion, Weela led a rescue team to thirteen horses stranded on a large manure pile completely surrounded by floodwaters. The rescue team successfully brought the horses to safe ground.

Finally, during one of Weela's trips back from delivering food to stranded animals, she came upon a group of thirty people who were attempting to cross the floodwaters. Weela, by barking and running back and forth, refused to allow them to cross at that point where the waters ran deep and fast. She then led the group to a shallower crossing upstream, where they safely crossed to the other side.

Stong, gentle intelligent and brave, Weela,CGC,TT, is the ultimate American Pit Bull terrier, epitomizing the best that the breed has to offer. But her story also highlights an important yet often misunderstood fact about the breed. The Pit Bull is a dog that loves to please its owner and tries to become whatever kind of dog its owner desires. Weela has had two owners.

The first owner dumped her in an alley to die when she was less than four weeks old. Her present owner, Lori Watkins, found five starving Pit Bull puppies whimpering in an alley, took them home and raised them. later, the Watkins family placed four of the puppies in loving homes and kept the little female they named Weela. They believed Weela was special, and she proved them right. Most Pit Bull puppies grow up to become a reflection of both their owners' personality and the care and training they receive. One can only imagine what a different dog Weela would have become if her original owner had raised her, and she had done her best to please him.


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