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News: Guest Posts
Tick Removal Secret
As long as I don't have to pry ticks off, I'm happy

To Frontline, or not to Frontline, that is the constant question come Spring! Well, we got an answer a couple days ago. A stubborn gray speck on my Border Collie Magnum's eyelid proved to be a baby tick. We were too late. Ick!

I didn't feel comfortable prying this bloodsucker off of his eyelid, so we zoomed over to the vet. In the lobby, one of the vet techs came to greet us and take a look, but Magnum was worried and scrambling as best he could on the tile floor toward the door. I could still see that baby tick hanging on for dear life. Ugh!

We soon were ushered into the exam room. Before he could squeeze himself behind my chair, I offered his favorite tug rope. Suddenly, my scared little boy lit up and tugged all over the room. He shook his head back and forth till I asked him to release and offer a sit. Then we tugged and shook all over again.

When the vet tech came in, he flopped over for a belly rub and allowed her to take a good look at his eye. "Where is it?" she asked. I scanned his eyelid and only saw a tiny bald spot where the baby tick had been. He had shaken it off! If only it was always that easy to remove those things.

If you find a tick on your dog, how do you remove it? For tick prevention, do you use Frontline, Advantix or a natural remedy?

Good Dog: Behavior & Training
Poop Bags and Receptacles
Chicago neighborhood will remove them

Many neighborhoods provide bags for dog waste and receptacles for discarding them. People with dogs generally appreciate this service. It’s wonderful to have a bag available if you’ve forgotten one. It’s also helpful if your dog has a three-poop walk, and you brought two bags, which is usually enough considering he rarely goes more than once. People with dogs, and those without, appreciate that this type of service presumably helps keep an area cleaner.

It can be costly to supply the bags and maintain the containers, and the $5000 annual price tag explains why the Hyde Park neighborhood in Chicago will cease to provide both of them at the end of this month. In my neighborhood, there are bags and trash cans to help people with dogs, and I love it. It’s especially great when I am running. One of my favorite three-mile loops has three such stations, so I never have to run very far with a full bag.

Does your neighborhood or favorite park provides poop bags and containers to toss them in? If so, how much do you rely on them? If not, do you wish they were available?

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Sharing Microbes
Study looks at the microbial connection we have with our pets

New research from the University of Colorado Boulder shows that we are more connected to our dogs than we think!

The study published earlier this month looked at microbes and the ways they're transferred between family members, both human and canine. Previous research suggests that microbe sharing is linked to living together, but studies have only looked at humans. Professor Rob Knight, the lead on the University of Colorado study, wanted to include dogs in his research. "Since so many people consider their pets truly a part of the family, it seemed appropriate to include them in a study involving family structure."

Professor Knight and his team sampled 159 people and 36 dogs in 60 families from their tongue, forehead, palms/paws, and fecal sample with the ultimate goal of working towards disease prevention and better treatments.

Interestingly (and not surprising to animal lovers) the team detected a strong link between people and their pets. The microbial connection appeared to be stronger between parents and family dogs than between parents and children. Also, people shared more skin bacteria with their spouse if they had a dog.

We have about 100 trillion microbes in and on our body, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. For example, some scientists believe that children who grow up with a lack of exposure to bacteria and microorganisms may be more prone to getting sick. Many microbes have co-evolved with people to be beneficial.

Curious what microbes you and your dog are carrying? Professor Knight is also involved in the related American Gut project, a crowdfunded effort that allows people to learn more about their own microbes, as well as their dog's. The results from a kit will allow you to compare the microbes in your gut to thousands of other people.  Not only will you learn more about yourself and your family, the data will also be shared with scientists for research.

The microbes living in our body can be affected by diet and other lifestyle decisions, having a significant impact on overall health. Scientists hope to one day develop biomarkers that would predict gut health based on a spit sample, hand swab, or even by a plaque sample from your teeth.

I loved what Professor Knight said about including pets in any research related to family structure. Hopefully more scientists will take note!

News: Editors
Tax Deductions for Pets

I know that this tip is a little late for tax day this year, but this is something definitely to consider for next year. A friend passed along this article about how a landmark 2011 U.S. tax court decision allows deductions for fostering dogs and cats.

“In Jan Van Dusen v. Commissioner, an Oakland-based cat lady successfully argued that the expense of caring for dozens of stray felines for a local rescue group should be deductible as a charitable contribution.

Any unreimbursed expenses, such as food or medical bills, have to be directly related to animal care, said Richard Panick, a spokesman for the IRS.”

Keeping your receipts is key, and if you claim more than $250 you will need a verification letter from the 501(c)3 organization.

Also good to note for those who raise puppies for service dog organizations, they also qualify for itemized deductions.

And while adoption fees aren’t deductible, if you offer a larger donation than just the adoption fee, that “extra tip” is deductible.

See other pet-related deductibles in this article.

News: Editors
Muttville: Senior Dog Rescue at its Finest

We got the following story from the good folks at Muttville, a remarkable senior dog rescue organization in San Francisco. They publish wonderful stories from their adopters about their new senior pups and this one, by Tricia about her dear Winston was especially inspirational. Hopefully this will motivate you to consider opening up your heart to a homeless senior dog.

Oh, Winston. You are: hungry, happy, waggy, ridiculous, hungry, sweet, grumpy, hilarious, hungry, adorable, cute, impatient, hungry, endearing, charming, resilient, hungry, spunky, excitable, friendly, hungry and, without a doubt, unique.

When I first saw Winston on Muttville’s website in June of 2011, I was immediately smitten. I had never seen a dog quite like him before. Or since.

I still get a little sad when I think about his kennel card from the shelter he was at before coming to Muttville. STRAY HOLD ONLY – NOT RECOMMENDED FOR ADOPTION. Yeah, he’s old. Yeah, he’s got two teeth. Yeah, he’s got some health issues. Yeah, he seems pretty pathetic at first glance. I’m just so grateful that Muttville saw past all of that. It’s now two years later and he’s more excitable and spunky than either of my other two Chihuahuas, both of whom are considerably younger.

Winston is so unique in both appearance and personality. He’s been compared to a lemur, a sugar glider, a sloth, a badger. He does not, however, resemble an American Water Spaniel, which is what came up in his DNA test. I’m pretty sure Winston would sink like a stone if submerged in water.

I met my boyfriend after Winston entered my life. He has never been a big animal person and definitely not a Chihuahua aficionado. Winston has changed all that. He recently mentioned that he can’t believe that Winston was in foster care for four whole months prior to me adopting him. “I can’t believe that people weren’t lining up to adopt a dog like him.” I can’t believe it either. I was the lucky one.

I know that it is not uncommon for people to be quite incredulous at the idea of adopting a senior dog, especially one like Winston. They are put off at the idea of becoming attached to something that, most likely, won’t be around for a terribly long time. I’m of the opinion that it’s a very selfish way to look at it. Is the prospect of being upset at the passing of a pet more important than giving that pet a good life? Your feelings are more important than saving an animal’s life? Really!? I don’t think so. I’ve been through it before and I know what it’s like. I know that when it’s Winston’s time to go, the pain will be nearly unbearable. But it will be bearable. Just bearable enough to offer a home to another senior dog that got dealt a bad hand in life.

And yes, Winston is always hungry.

See Winston's Facebook page

Wellness: Health Care
Hops Can Be Lethal to Dogs

Home-brewing is a trend that is becoming more and more popular, and unfortunately, so is the occurrence of hops toxicity in dogs. Hops is the plant used in the process of brewing beer, and both the 'raw' or spent hops are toxic. True flowers or dried hops plugs tend to be more toxic than hops pellets (pellets have less residue), while wild hops have been found to be non-toxic. The diagnosis is generally made based on history of having home-brewing supplies as well as seeing hops in vomit.

The mechanism of toxicity is unknown, but may be related to essential oils, resins, phenolic compounds, or nitrogenous constituents within the plant. Many of the substances in hops are degraded or aerosolized during the brewing process, so the exact relationship between substance and toxicity remains unknown.

Clinical signs of toxicity can include agitation, panting, excitement, flatulence, rapid heart rate followed by life-threatening elevations in body temperature. Death has been reported in as little as 6 hours without appropriate treatment. I have seen rectal temperatures greater than 108 F, and these temperatures can be very difficult to control. The high end of normal of a dog’s temperature is 102.5 F, and any temperature above 106 F can lead to an “unwinding” of the body’s proteins as well as permanent brain injury, depending upon the length of time that the elevation in body temperature persists.   

Treatment consists of aggressive decontamination measures including induction of vomiting, gastric lavage (“washing out” the stomach under anesthesia), administration of charcoal, and enemas. Active cooling by any means available is extremely important. There are also specific medications that can be given in the hospital to help control the clinical signs.

Prognosis for survival is generally guarded to poor, and unfortunately, many deaths have been reported. We have had 2 cases of hops toxicity this past year in the ER, and thankfully, both survived with aggressive treatment.

Any breed of dog may be affected, but breeds that are predisposed to malignant hyperthermia (extreme elevation of body temperature for an unknown reason) tend to be more susceptible.  These breeds include Greyhounds, Labrador Retrievers, Saint Bernards, Pointers, Dobermans, Border Collies, English Springer Spaniels, and northern breeds.   

If you suspect your dog has been exposed to hops, seek veterinary care immediately! This is not something that can be managed at home. Quickly take a rectal temperature, and if it is found to be greater than 105 F, begin active cooling measures—such as dousing your pets body with cool water and wrapping icepacks in towels and placing them over its body—in addition to running the air conditioning in car while on your way to your veterinarian or local emergency clinic. This measure could help save your pets life and give him or her the best chance for survival.

 

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Recall: Natura Expands Recall, Again.

This following was posted on the Natura Pet food site on 4/19/2013.

Contact: Natura Pet Consumer Relations – 800-224-6123

Natura Pet Expands Voluntary Recall of Dry Pet Foods

Due to Possible Health Risk

FREMONT, NEBRASKA, April 19, 2013

–Natura Pet Products is voluntarily expanding its March 29, 2013 recall of dry pet foods because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. The expanded recall now includes all dry pet food products and treats with expiration dates prior to and including March 24, 2014. Please see the table below for details of affected products.

Salmonella can affect animals eating the products and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products.

Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Rarely, Salmonella

can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms.

Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

Sampling conducted by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and the Georgia Department of Agriculture confirmed the presence of Salmonella in additional dry pet food and a cat pet treat. In an abundance of caution, Natura is also recalling product made in the surrounding timeframe. This action affects dry pet foods and treats only; no canned wet food or biscuits are affected by this announcement.

The affected products are sold through veterinary clinics and select pet specialty retailers nationwide and in Canada, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, and Costa Rica, as well as online.

 

Consumers who have purchased these pet foods should discard them. For additional information, consumers may visit www.naturapet.com. For a product replacement or refund call Natura toll-free at 800-224-6123. (Monday – Friday, 8:00 AM to 5:30 PM CST).

 

 

Brand

Size

Description

UPC

Lot Codes

Expiration Date

 

California Natural

All Sizes

All dry dog and dry cat food and treat varieties

All UPCs

All Lot Codes

All expiration dates prior to and including March 24, 2014

 

Evo

All Sizes

All dry dog and dry cat food and treat varieties

All UPCs

All Lot Codes

All expiration dates prior to and including March 24, 2014

 

Healthwise

All Sizes

All dry dog and dry cat food and treat varieties

All UPCs

All Lot Codes

All expiration dates prior to and including March 24, 2014

 

Innova

All Sizes

All dry dog and dry cat food and treat varieties

All UPCs

All Lot Codes

All expiration dates prior to and including March 24, 2014

 

Karma

All Sizes

All dry dog and dry cat food and treat varieties

All UPCs

All Lot Codes

All expiration dates prior to and including March 24, 2014

No canned wet food or biscuits are affected by this announcement.

About Natura Pet Products
Natura Pet Products is recognized as a trusted name behind natural and holistic pet foods and treats. Founded more than 20 years ago by John and Ann Rademakers and Peter Atkins, Natura is dedicated to providing the best natural nutrition.  Natura is committed to making premium pet foods and treats based on nutritional science and high-quality ingredients, combined with trusted manufacturing processes, for complete pet health. Lines include: Innova®, California Natural®, EVO®, HealthWise®, Mother Nature® and Karma®. To learn more about Natura Pet Products visit www.NaturaPet.com

Media Contact: Jason Taylor 513-622-3205

 

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Housebreaking Human Babies
Parents take a page from potty training dogs

Housebreaking is by far the most popular dog training question I get asked. Many consider it the most important skill for a puppy to learn since so many dogs are abandoned over problems in this area. While housebreaking requires patience and a lot of consistency, it's really quite simple to teach. And most dog lovers will say that walking their pup is much better than having to clean a litter box or deal with dirty diapers!

Now some parents are adopting a new potty training method called "elimination communication" or EC that will sound very familiar to dog people. EC teaches parents to respond to behavior that indicates when a baby has to go to the bathroom instead of relying on a diaper. When a parent sees that their infant has to go, they'll position them over an open-cloth diaper, toilet, sink, or even a secluded area outside.

Parents will also start making a noise, often a "ssss" or grunt sound, when the baby is relieving themselves, eventually forming an association that allows the parent to use the sound as a cue.  

Some people were first attracted to EC because of a diaper rash problem, while others like becoming more attuned to their baby's behavior and needs. Instead of actively encouraging infants to ignore elimination, EC attempts to teach the correct behavior from the beginning (sound familiar dog people?!). One of the challenges, like in housebreaking dogs, is learning to accurately read the child’s behavior indicating that they have to go.

Recently at an EC gathering in New York City, Pardis Partow, shared a funny observation that when her son, Parker, has an accident on the way to the bathroom, her dog will shoot her a look as if to say, "This isn't fair. Why can he do that?"

Perhaps human and canine parents can learn some potty training lessons from each other!

 

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Recall: Breeder’s Choice Active Care Biscuits

Breeder’s Choice, a Central Garden & Pet Company, has issued a voluntary recall for a single batch of Active Care Biscuits-Healthy Dog Treats due to mold discovered in one of the lots of dog biscuits.

The following product is included in the recall:

Product Code/SKU/ Material #: BCP-080

UPC Code:  0130104895

Size: 24 oz.

Product Name: Active Care Biscuits-Healthy Dog Treats

Best Before Code: 19/Dec/2013

Product and product lots that do not appear above have not been affected.

According to a release from the manufacturer, the mold seems to have occurred due to varying dryer temperature settings for drying biscuits. This exposed the recalled product to excess moisture and has since been remedied.

Pet owners who fed their pets the recalled biscuits should watch for symptoms that may develop. Common symptoms associated with mold exposure include gastrointestinal issues such as loose stool. At the time of this release, there have been no reports of human or pet illnesses associated with this recall.

For more information, call the Central Customer Care line at (866) 500-6286 or visit goactivedog.com.

 

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Wheelchair for a Tiny Pup
Bollman Tech students help a Chihuahua to run

Last July a Chihuahua named BeeBee was born without any shoulder blades, making it difficult to walk. This caused BeeBee to get picked on by other dogs at home, so Denise Steininger brought the puppy with her to work at a local nursing home. BeeBee may have been there for her own good, but the Chihuahua was soon bringing joy and inspiration to all the residents at the Life at Alpine Living Center in Thornton, Colorado.

One resident said, "if [BeeBee] can get through what she’s going through, I know I can."

BeeBee had a bubbly personality, but was still having trouble walking around the nursing home. A co-worker suggested that Denise speak with the Bollman Technical Education Center, where her son was an engineering student, about a possible solution. It turns out the instructors thought BeeBee’s dilemma would be a great project for their students.

Hunter Freed, Justin Erickson, and Kyle Cary immediately volunteered to take on the challenge as a community service project. The three students filmed BeeBee to study how she walked and then worked together to design a wheelchair for the tiny pup.

It only took a half hour for BeeBee to learn to move in their creation. With the wheelchair, BeeBee can now run around with remarkable speed.

Denise plans to get BeeBee certified as a therapy dog so she can officially “work” at the nursing home.

It’s amazing how much mobility BeeBee has with her wheelchair. All thanks to three students who now have an impressive project under their belt!  

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