FOR PETS AFTER YOU'RE DEAD
Cats in woman's
will in first Island case of a N.Y. law that allows creation of
By FRANK DONNELLY
STATEN ISLAND ADVANCE
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Pet lovers -- particularly if they live
alone -- worry about who will take care of Fido and Mittens once
The late Leona Helmsley was so worried, she left her little canine
millions and it attracted national attention. But you don't have
to be a billionaire to make sure your pet is financially secure
after you're dead and buried. Thanks to a little-known law, pet
owners can create honorary trusts in their will to ensure their
precious pets receive proper treatment when they're gone.
In the first case of its kind in the borough, Surrogate Robert
J. Gigante recently validated a Westerleigh woman's will which
leaves a one-quarter share of her $60,000 estate for the care
of her pet cats.
"Most people would not know you could do this," Gigante
said. "The law shows society's acceptance of people's love
and concern for animals."
Susan M. Ryder died June 19 at the age of 65. A brokerage-house
manager, Mrs. Ryder never married or had children. But she had
"a number of cats," said Lainie R. Fastman, her lawyer,
who could not specify how many.
In a will composed a month before her death, Ms. Ryder decreed
that 25 percent, or $15,000 of her estate, be set aside for the
care of her animals. "The welfare of my pets is paramount,"
Ms. Ryder said in her will. The remainder of the estate is to
be divided among Ms. Ryder's two siblings and eight nieces and
A close friend, Barbara Dowell, was named trustee to look after
"Her big concern was to take care of her pets after her death,"
said Ms. Fastman, an associate of the Stapleton law firm of Hall
and Hall, adding she could not discuss the will in greater detail
due to attorney-client privilege.
Ms. Dowell, who is not a named beneficiary, was very "interested"
in ensuring the animals' well-being, said Ms. Fastman. She is
to manage the trust in the cats' benefit and dispense of the money
as needed. She will be paid no more than $500 per year for her
services, according to the will.
By law, the pet trust terminates on the death of all the animals
it covers or at the end of 21 years, whichever comes first. Any
remaining money returns to the estate or another designated beneficiary.
Ms. Fastman said she has established similar lifetime-care provisions
for pets in a number of other clients' wills. Ms. Dowell declined
comment when reached by telephone.
Honorary trusts for pets were established by law in New York in
1996. Before then, pet owners could leave money to a person to
care for their pet or give that person a gift for the same purpose.
However, it was difficult to ensure the money was spent on the
pet. Another option was to give the pet and money to a humane
society, although many owners did not want to do that.
Under the current law, the trustee has a fiduciary duty to use
the funds for the animal. A judge can reduce the trust if he determines
it "substantially exceeds" the amount required for the
intended use. In the most famous case, Judge Renee R. Roth of
Manhattan Surrogate's Court earlier this year slashed the $12
million that hotelier and real-estate magnate Leona Helmsley left
in her will to her Maltese dog named Trouble. Judge Roth allowed
$2 million for the animal's care, ruling that the remaining $10
million would go into a multi-billion-dollar trust that could
be used to care for dogs
Rover Ready for the Road
August 28, 2008
Venturing off on a road trip and don't want to leave your pup
behind? Here are
a few ways to make longer car journeys easier for her:
Prepare her. Take her on a few shorter rides around town to get
up and more used to traveling in the car.
Protect her. Keep the snout inside the vehicle at all times. The
be refreshing, but it can also whip up dirt and debris, which
could get in
Entertain her. Give your dog a favorite toy to occupy her during
and try to stop and stretch every 2 hours.
Keeping your dog clean and pretty not only makes him happier and
also keeps him cooler during the final few steamy weeks of summer.
weekly brushings help remove dirt and tangles and keep skin clean,
many dogs --
especially longer-haired ones -- can benefit from having their
coat trimmed or
shaved in the summer. If you're thinking about taking your pet
to a puppy salon
for a trim or a shave, look for a certified groomer, or ask your
vet for a
recommendation. And, remember to protect that newly exposed skin
Health Alert: Protect Fido and Fluffy from Fleas
As the festive days of summer wane in many parts of the country,
one little parasite keeps the party hopping in warm, humid areas
where he reigns. With nearly 2,000 species and subspecies, the
flea thrives at temperatures of 65 to 80 degrees and feeds on
the blood of the unsuspecting—especially cats and dogs.
Fleas are hearty and nimble pests, and when searching for a host,
they can jump up to two feet, 10,000 times in a row—that
adds up to the length of three football fields! They can also
cause troublesome health problems in companion animals, such as
anemia, skin allergies and tapeworms.
These legendary leapers are tough to fight, but the ASPCA
offers tips that will rub your pets the right way:
Know your enemy: Confirm your pet has fleas by identifying signs
such as droppings or “flea dirt” in your pet’s
coat, excessive scratching and scabs.
What goes around comes around: Treat all of your pets, not just
those who show outward signs of infestation.
Shine on, pet parent: Thoroughly clean your house, including rugs,
bedding and upholstery, and discard any used vacuum bags.
Honor—and trim—nature’s gifts: Since fleas love
long grass and shady outdoor spots, remember to treat and maintain
your yard as carefully as your house.
Doctor knows best: Talk to your vet about choosing the right,
species-specific treatment for your pet, such as a topical, liquid
insecticide applied to the back of the neck. Never use products
for dogs on cats, and vice versa. Also ask your vet to recommend
products for treating your yard.
“Cats especially are extremely sensitive to insecticides,
and pets can die from improper use of flea control products,”
says Dr. Steven Hansen, veterinary toxicologist & ASPCA Senior
Vice President. “Just a few drops of concentrated permethrin,
present in many spot-on treatments for dogs, can be lethal to
To avoid accidents, pet parents should read all product labels
and follow directions for proper use. For more information about
flea prevention and pet health, please read our top ten
Is Next to Flealessness
As many pet owners know, summer isn't just swimsuit season --
it's also flea
season, so use the hints below to help keep these pests from settling
Suck 'em up. Vacuum frequently, and change the bag promptly --
fleas can continue to live (and breed!) inside the vac.
Wash 'em away. Keep your pup's bedding fresh by washing or changing
Cut 'em down. Stay on top of lawn maintenance. Overgrown grass
or weeds and
piles of sand or gravel are attractive homes for fleas.
Sweep 'em away. Keep outdoor areas -- like your deck and porch
-- swept and
for traveling with your animal friends
The following are some vacation tips to ensure that your animals
will enjoy the trip:
- Outfit your companion animal with clear identification--legible
tags on collars/harnesses and microchips (a must!) can help
other people identify animals who
accidentally get separated from their families.
- Take a clear, recent photograph of your companion animal with
you so that you can show it to people or use it on posters in
case he or she gets lost or stolen.
- Never leave your companion animal alone in the car--or anywhere
else unattended. Animals can suffer and die within minutes when
they're left inside parked cars, even on mildly warm days.
- Carry water for rest stops. No-spill travel bowls are available
in pet-supply stores and online. (Remember: Never shop at PetSmart,
PETCO, or any other stores that sell live animals!).
- To prevent sickness, feed dogs early so that they don't eat
in the few hours before departure. For dogs prone to carsickness,
consult your veterinarian for remedies or try ginger capsules,
which are available at health-food stores. You'll also want
to be sure to stop frequently to walk your dog while on the
- Cats can turn into escape artists on the road, so--at all
times while in the car--keep them in sturdy, well-ventilated
carriers that are big enough to contain a small litter pan and
still allow them to stand up, stretch, and turn around comfortably.
Line the carrier with a soft towel or a baby blanket, and secure
the carrier to the seat with a seatbelt or a bungee cord.
- Never open a car window or door--not even a crack--when your
cat or dog is unrestrained. Countless dogs and cats have been
lost at tollbooths and rest stops this way.
- If you are flying, only take your animals with you if they
can fly in the cabin with you (in a carrier that can be placed
under the seat). It's dangerous and frightening for animals
to fly in the cargo hold--no matter what assurances airlines
may give. Many animals have escaped from their carriers and
gotten lost or died from heat exhaustion when temperature controls
failed or flights were delayed on the tarmac.
By taking just a few simple precautions like those mentioned
above, you'll be helping to ensure a safe and fun vacation for
both you and the animals who are such an important part of your
First Aid and Disaster Response Training
Submitted by: Lani Byrd – Emergency Care and Safety
Have you ever lost an ill or injured pet in death because competent
veterinary care wasn’t immediately available? Do you know
someone who has? What would you do if your pet was choking? Ingested
poison? Having a seizure? Bleeding? Was in shock? Do you have
the knowledge to treat these and other symptoms on your pet should
they arise? What if you have to evacuate your area? What steps
will you take to ensure your pet is properly treated?
We would like to introduce you to the Emergency Care and
Safety Institute’s Pet First Aid and Disaster Response
program, developed in partnership with Pets America. This 3 1⁄2
hour program covers common health and safety-related issues, first
aid basics, when to seek professional care, and disaster planning
steps for the proper care of pets. Completion of this course will
provide participants with a 3-year course completion card.
When you or I have a medical emergency, we can call 9-1-1 and
have an ambulance care for us. Animals do not have this luxury.
You can either rush them to an emergency clinic (which is usually
miles away from where you are), or you can call your veterinary
clinic, get the answering service, have them page your doctor,
and then wait for them to call you back. By then, your pet’s
chances for survival have greatly diminished.
To find an instructor teaching the Pet First Aid and Disaster
Preparedness course in your area, or for information
on how to become a Pet First Aid instructor at no cost, please
call 1.800.541.5691 or email us at info@ECSInstitute.org
Get involved with whatever local community programs are going
on in your area. There are many pet lovers like yourself out there
who would be thrilled to have an opportunity to attend a Pet
First Aid and Disaster Response class.
To order a Pet First Aid and Disaster Response Guide,
How to Stop Black Dog Syndrome
August 7, 2008
Unless you've worked in an animal shelter, you've probably never
heard of Black
Dog Syndrome -- a term that refers to the difficulty shelters
families for dark-coated dogs. Whether it's due to superstition
or to visions
of black hair on light-colored sofas, rugs, and clothes, too many
lovable dogs are missing out on good homes and happy lives. So if
toying with the idea of adopting a black Lab, poodle, or any other
beauty, there's really no better time than now to give it some serious
Trip to the Beach: Popular Sago Palm Plant Is Toxic to Pets
Daydreaming of a sandy beach and a breeze shimmying through
the palm trees? Paradise, right? Not so fast, says Fido. Though
palm trees evoke relaxation of the highest order, Sago palm
(Cycas revolute )—a stocky member of the Cycad family
of plants —is downright dangerous to our furry companions.
According to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) in
Urbana, IL, pet poisonings from the increasingly popular plant
are on the rise. Since 2003, the Center has seen an increase
in cases of Sago palm and Cycad poisonings by more than 200
percent. APCC data also reveals that 50 percent to 75 percent
of those cases resulted in fatalities.
A native of Southern Japan, Sago palm has been a common addition
to outdoor landscaping in sunny climes, but in recent years,
has also emerged as a trendy houseplant in northern states.
Though attractive with its dark green leaves and hairy trunk,
the plant is highly toxic to cats and dogs. Common signs of
Sago palm poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, depression,
seizures and liver failure.
“Many pet parents may not be familiar with the toxic effects
of Cycad palms, and assume the only poisonous portions are the
seeds or nuts,” says Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant, veterinary
toxicologist and APCC Vice President. “But all parts of
the plant are toxic if ingested.”
As always, pet parents should guard against any mishaps and
prevent their furry beloveds from coming into contact with Sago
palm plants by placing them out of reach. Or consider a nontoxic
alternative to brighten your home and keep the dog days of summer
cool and carefree.
Paddle Do's and Don'ts
July 24, 2008
Jumping into the water is a
great way for your dog to cool off, especially on
hot, steamy days. Swimming can also be a great everyday activity,
easy on the joints, but never force it on your pup if he isn't
a fan of the
water. If he is, always be cautious of water quality, and don't
let him drink
from the pool, lake, stream, or ocean. Swallowing too much salt
chlorine can very quickly make your dog sick. Keep a close eye
on him while
he's paddling around, and help him steer clear of deep waters
20 July, 2008
About a year ago, I purchased a Pomeranian for $1,500 from a
friend who said he was moving and had to give up the dog. He
said he’d found it at the beach the year before and was
unable to locate its owner. Six months later, he announced that
he had in fact seen fliers for the lost dog but declined to
contact its owner. My children and I love the dog, but must
we now try to find the original owners? M. S., MANHASSET, N.Y.
A: Two years
on, it might be tough to find the original owner, but you should
try — to clear your conscience and set an example for
your kids. Put yourself in the owner’s (chewed-up and
drooled-upon) shoes. Wouldn’t you want your dog back,
even now? Wouldn’t you at least want to know that your
dog is happy and healthy? (And worth a cool $1,500 on the black
It would be sad to part with the dog but worse to remain passive
now that you know its origins (and worse still to pal around
with your friend now that you know his values). And remember
that every shelter houses wonderful dogs in need of homes.
UPDATE: M. S. still has the dog but plans to
put up fliers soon.
July 17, 2008
Just because prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications
childproof doesn't mean they're dogproof. In fact, most dogs find
it way too
easy to chew through plastic pill containers if given the opportunity.
scary is that some of the most common drugs and supplements --
painkillers, cold medicines, antidepressants, cancer medications,
and vitamins -- are potentially lethal to dogs, even in relatively
Keep your pooch safe by storing all meds, vitamins, and supplements
in a secure
cabinet that's out of your pet's reach.
Care Tips for You and Your Pets
is a time for both you and your pet to enjoy the sunshine and
outdoors, but along with the fun, the season also offers up situations
that can endanger your pet. By taking precautions, you can decrease
the chance that disaster will happen. The HSUS offers these tips
for pet owners to keep their furry friends safe this summer:
Your Pet Telling You About Pain?
July - August,
a great job of hiding their pain, which keeps them safe from predators
in the wild. So how do you know when your pet is sick or injured?
Animal Hospital Association and the Association of American FEline
Practitioners have created pain management guidelines for Dogs
and Cats. People with pets should contact their veterinarian if
weight gain or loss
of affection or handling
movement and exercise
licking or self-biting
Time with Pooch Is Good Medicine
a dog is a well-known stress reliever, and new research shows
that your four-legged companion can benefit your heart and overall
health as well.
Dogs may have the upper paw in helping you stay healthy. A study
reviewing research on the health benefits of having a pet concluded
that, compared to cat owners or people without pets, dog owners
lower cholesterol and blood pressure, suffer from fewer health
and recover more quickly from serious illness. Researchers say
stroking any animal buffers stress, but dog owners also walk
and often socialize along the way, activities that are well-known
July 3, 2008
Is your dog easily rattled by loud noises? Try these tactics to
help her better
handle Fourth of July fanfare:
Wear her out. Take her for a long walk before the excitement begins.
Tuck her in. Make sure she's comfortable and settled inside the
a good chew toy to keep her occupied.
Distract her. Turn on a stereo, TV, or white-noise machine to
some of the outdoor commotion.
Bring your dog outside to celebrate only if you're confident she
can handle the
hubbub. If she's up for it, keep her leashed and close to you
at all times.
4th Safety Tips: Fireworks Are Not a Dog's Best Friend
As the country dons its red, white and blue to celebrate Independence
Day, nothing says patriotism like a good old-fashioned barbecue
with a side of fireworks. But what’s fun for people can
often be a downright drag for our furry friends. The ASPCA offers
some advice to help you keep your pets singing “Oh Say
Can You See” all the way to the Fifth.
- Keep your pets on the wagon. Alcohol is potentially poisonous
to animal companions, so place your wine, beer and spirits out
of their reach.
- Avoid feeding scraps from the grill. Any change in your pet’s
diet can result in stomach upset. Plus, certain foods like onions,
avocado, grapes and raisins can be toxic.
- Bugs biting? Avoid lathering your pet with any insect repellent
or sunscreen not intended for the four-legged kind.
- Don’t let Spot start the fire. Keep your pet away from
matches and lighter fluid, which, if ingested, can be extremely
irritating to the stomach, lungs and central nervous system.
As the sun sets on the Fourth, remember that fireworks are not
a dog’s best friend. Dr. Pamela Reid, Vice President,
ASPCA Animal Behavior Center, recommends that you keep your
dog at home, instead of taking him to your neighborhood display.
“He’ll be much happier at home listening to classical
music,” says Dr. Reid. “Also, be sure to keep him
inside, instead of in the backyard, since even the most timid
dog can leap a six-foot fence if he’s scared enough.”
If your dog suddenly shows signs of distress from outside noise,
“relocate to the basement or another quiet part of the
house,” suggests Dr. Reid. “Or try giving him a
Kong toy stuffed with peanut butter. The persistent licking
should calm his nerves.”
If you anticipate that your pet will be scared on the Fourth,
talk to your vet. He may prescribe a mild sedative, which should
be administered one hour before the festivities begin. Please
read our other holiday
tips , and have a safe and saucy Independence Day!
Chewing Cleans Teeth
June 26, 2008
dog's breath is supposed to smell a little, well, doggy, right?
Stinky breath isn't normal or healthy, and gum disease is an all-too-common
doggy ailment. Brushing every day is the best prevention. But
food over soft can also help scrape your dog's teeth clean as
he chews, and
it's less likely than soft food to get stuck between teeth. Chomping
toys can also have a cleaning effect. If you're considering treats
formulated for oral health, ask your vet if any of the products
Reinforcement: Training Your Dog with Treats and Praise
We all like to be praised rather than punished. The same is true
for your dog, and that's the theory behind positive reinforcement.
Positive reinforcement means giving your pet something pleasant
or rewarding immediately after she does something you want her
to do. Because your praise or reward makes her more likely to
repeat that behavior in the future, it is one of your most powerful
tools for shaping or changing your dog's behavior.
Correct timing is essential when using positive reinforcement.
The reward must occur immediately—within seconds —or
your pet may not associate it with the proper action. For example,
if you have your dog "sit" but reward her after she's
already stood back up, she'll think she's being rewarded for standing
Consistency is also essential. Everyone in the family should use
the same commands. It might help to post these where everyone
can become familiar with them. The most commonly used commands
for dogs are:
"down" (which means "lie down")
"off" (which means "get off of me" or "get
off the furniture")
"heel" (or "let's go" or "with me")
Consistency means always rewarding the desired behavior and never
rewarding undesired behavior.
Using Positive Reinforcement
to Make Your Dog Younger
your best friend's DogAge as young as can be helps ensure that the
two of you will have more time to spend together. To help make your
dog younger, assist in developing these 7 habits:
1. Maintain a lean physique, with a clearly defined and tucked-up
Controlling your dog's caloric intake and increasing exercise helps
obesity and other health issues, which can make his or her DogAge
up to 1.8
2. Eat only the amount of dog food necessary to maintain an ideal
condition. Measure servings with a standardized measuring cup, and
body condition regularly. Prevent your dog from overeating by putting
food bowl out only at mealtimes and removing it as soon as your
eating. Monitoring your dog's diet can make his or her DogAge up
to 1.8 years
3. Be trained to respond to commands the majority of the time. Well-behaved
dogs are safer dogs. Obedience training can make your pet's DogAge
up to 1.3
4. Enjoy teeth-cleaning chews or biscuits and tooth brushing three
week. Next time you want to reward your pup with a snack, choose
a treat that's
teeth-friendly. Your dog will enjoy the biscuit, and you'll appreciate
her smile. Keeping your dog's teeth clean can make his or her DogAge
up to 6
5. Exercise or play actively at least three times per day for a
minimum of 15
minutes each time. Keep playtime interesting by diversifying your
activities. For example, occasionally swap playing catch in the
visits to new parks. Keeping your dog active regularly can make
his or her
DogAge up to 6 months younger.
6. Get vaccinated and visit the veterinarian for regular checkups.
veterinarians agree that pets should be vaccinated to help prevent
diseases; ask your dog's vet which vaccines are necessary. Vaccinating
can make his or her DogAge up to 6 months younger.
7. Be safe in the yard, on walks, and on trips by using protective
gear such as fences, leashes, and dog carriers. The less trouble
finds, the younger and healthier he or she will be. Protecting your
harm can make his or her DogAge up to 6 months younger.
Home Exam -- How-To's, Part 2
June 12, 2008
• Skin irritation: Brush fur in the opposite direction of
growth to check skin
for redness or irritation. Black, crusty residue could be a sign
• Lymph-node pain: Use gentle pressure to feel around the
base of the jaw, in
front of the shoulder blades, behind the "elbows" of
the front and back legs,
and where the thighs meet the abdomen, noting anything that is
• Lumps, bumps, or growths: Report anything new to your
• Weight changes: Ideally, it should remain stable from
month to month.
Making sure your dog stays healthy requires regular care. Taking
now to protect your dog's health can help guard against health
the road and help ensure a longer, healthier life for your pet.
regular vaccinations and visits to the vet can keep your dog up
to 6 months
1) Neuter/spay your dog.
Studies indicate that spaying female dogs before they fully mature
may significantly reduce the risk of breast cancer. This also
eliminates the chance of uterine infections. Neutering male dogs
prevents testicular cancer and can help prevent prostate problems.
Neutering also can help reduce some behavioral problems.
When: If possible, both procedures should be performed by 6 months
2) Stay current on vaccinations.
Vaccination programs fall into two categories: core and non-core.
vaccinations protect against serious diseases that are sometimes
Non-core vaccinations are determined according to your dog's breed,
lifestyle, or surrounding environment. Speak with your dog's vet
which vaccinations are necessary.
When: Pet vaccination programs will vary. Be sure to ask your
dog's vet for
a schedule specific to your dog's needs. Post this information
in a visible
place to remind you when it's time to vaccinate. Also, ask your
vet if it's
necessary to revaccinate beyond puppyhood.
3) Schedule regular vet visits.
Research shows that a lack of veterinary care has been a leading
the relinquishment of dogs to animal shelters. Many signs of canine
conditions are not visible to the untrained eye, so routine vet
appointments are recommended. Scheduling an annual physical exam
your veterinarian to evaluate your dog's health and detect problems
they develop into more serious conditions.
When: Adult dogs should visit the vet once a year. Senior dogs
should visit the vet biannually for optimal care.
Remember, healthy pets make more enjoyable companions. Taking
the time each day to care for your dog's health and well-being
will keep you both content for years to come.
Your Pup from Pesticides
Using fertilizers, herbicides, or insecticides to keep your yard
green? If so,
handle them with care, because many can be toxic to your dog. Applying
herbicide 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, in particular, four or
more times per
season has been shown to double a dog's risk of developing lymphoma.
your pet's exposure to these chemicals:
• Keep all lawn chemicals safely out of reach.
• Take any food bowls and water dishes inside when applying
• Avoid overdosing your lawn with products, which can leave
and increase the odds of your dog coming in contact with toxins.
• Wait until all treatments have dried before allowing your
dog back on the
ALERT: SEASONAL PRODUCE THAT CAN HARM YOUR PETS
June 6, 2008
and lemons and apples, oh my! While summer fruits are good for
you, certain parts of these seasonal offerings can be potentially
irritating—and in some situations, occasionally toxic—to
According to our experts at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center,
the peels, fruit and seeds of citrus plants such as lemons, oranges,
limes and grapefruits contain varying amounts of citric acid,
limonin and volatile oils that can cause gastrointestinal irritation
and result in vomiting and diarrhea. As for apples, cherries,
peaches and apricots, their stems, leaves and seeds contain cyanogenic
glycosides that have the potential to cause vomiting and loss
of appetite—and in severe cases, weakness, difficulty breathing,
hyperventilation, shock and even death.
“Typically, these severe effects develop from very large
ingestions of plant material, more likely to occur with grazing
animals such as horses or other livestock,” says the ASPCA’s
Dana Farbman, CVT. “The consumption of a few segments of
citrus fruit, an apple or two, or a few cherries would usually
not be expected to cause serious problems beyond perhaps minor
stomach upset. However, it is important for animal owners to be
aware of the potential for problems that these fruit trees can
As a responsible pet parent, it’s always a good idea to
become familiar with different types of plants in and around the
home—and make sure that potentially poisonous species are
not accessible to your pets.
lists of both safe and potentially toxic plants, please visit
Animal Poison Control Center online.
Home Exam How-To's
Your pooch counts on you to keep him healthy. Below are a few symptoms
to be on the lookout for:
Eye discoloration: Pull back the top eyelid. If the white of the
yellow or orange, or if it looks pink and irritated (a sign of
conjunctivitis), call your vet.
Nose issues: Look for roughness, peeling, pigmentation changes,
Oral oddities: Check the teeth for tarter and the gum line for growths.
Signs of ear infection: Look for redness, hair loss around ears,
abnormal discharge or crusting, or wincing when ear is touched.
Who could hurt an
Prevent cruelty and rescue its victims with your
more than 140 years, the ASPCA, with tremendous support and generosity
from people like you , has been making a difference in animals’
lives. Such was the case with a sweet dog named Miss Bea.
An anonymous tip made us aware of Miss Bea’s deplorable
situation. When our Humane Law Enforcement Agents arrived on the
scene, what they discovered was absolutely awful. Miss Bea was
locked in a closet, her coat a solid mass of matted fur, laden
with urine, feces, and filth. In addition, she was suffering from
an ear infection and nails so long they had curled around and
were piercing her paw pads.
As if this was not enough, Miss Bea’s lack of grooming and
exercise had caused the muscles in her front legs to atrophy.
She had been denied exercise and basic grooming for so long that
she could no longer walk or even stand on her own. Given the extent
of the neglect in this case, the owner was immediately arrested
on animal cruelty charges.
Your support of our efforts at the ASPCA is the best thing, all
too often the only good thing, in the lives of abused, betrayed
pets like Miss Bea. Find
out how that support saved Miss Bea’s life.
Benefits of a Well-Behaved Dog
Proper training keeps your dog happy, healthy, and young. No matter
what the age, size, or breed, training your dog to respond to basic
commands most of the
time can make his or her DogAge up to 1.3 years younger.
If your dog is displaying undesirable behaviors, it's never too
late to train
your pet. Most behavioral problems, such as aggression, begging,
and home or
yard destruction, can be resolved with a basic training program.
One of the most common behavioral problems many dog owners encounter
excessive barking. Knowing the causes of this undesirable behavior
you determine how to prevent your dog from barking more often than
Keep the Ruff! Ruff! Ruff! to a Minimum
If excessive barking is a problem while you are at home or out on
teaching your dog to respond to the "quiet" command will
help stop the
outbursts. To be most effective, state the command in a strong,
firm voice --
don't yell -- while your dog is barking. Barking when left at home
mean that he or she is lonely or bored. Or, it may be a sign of
A bored dog needs entertainment. You can prevent boredom by providing
especially for times when you are not around. The more time your
playing with toys, the less time he or she will spend barking or
unwanted mischief. Providing chew toys also helps keep your dog's
occupied to bark. Try designating one special toy for the times
when you are
away; this helps shift your dog's focus away from your absence.
A lonely dog needs companionship. If you suspect the barking is
loneliness, try spending more time with your dog. Giving your pet
attention -- by taking more walks together or increasing playtime
dogs -- may help minimize barking.
Training your dog is a fundamental part of pet care. Your dog's
ability to obey
basic commands and behave appropriately will help protect him or
her from harm for years to come. Well-behaved and disciplined dogs
are not only safer, but also they are happier . . . and so are their
Bag Doesn't Fit All
May 29, 2008
you know that your dog's nutritional needs can change, depending
on her age and stage of life? Consult your vet before making any
food changes. If you get the go-ahead, consider the following
young, growing dogs need more food, but overfeeding large-breed
puppies can cause their bodies to outgrow their bones, which can
lead to orthopedic disease.
or lactating dogs, and those that live outside during very cold
weather, have increased calorie needs.
breeds over 5 years old and smaller breeds over 7 years should
eat a diet that has less fat; is low in phosphorous, to help reduce
the risk of renal disease; and contains more fiber, to prevent
Your Dog Smarter
May 27, 2008
no denying that dogs are smart. According to experts, however,
do more than measure that intelligence. You can also increase
it -- and add to
your dog's happiness in the process.
A World of Learning Opportunities
Dogs are natural learners, and our world is their classroom. They
adapt to our
lifestyles and schedules, learn our commands, and even understand
Under that adaptive nature is a desire to please. Making you happy
makes them happy. This provides many opportunities for training
and learning. Teach your dog tricks and games, and take him places.
(Get tips on how to keep your dog safe when you travel.) Give
him as many opportunities as possible to stimulate his mind while
strengthening your relationship. You may find that your dog's
IQ test scores actually increase!
Something to Talk About
The average dog can learn about 165 spoken words. Recently, German
scientists reported that a 9-year-old border collie named Rico
actually knew the names of more than 200 objects -- similar to
the vocabulary of a 3 1/2-year-old child.
A dog's understanding of our language and inflection can enable
ranging from singular to more elaborate.
So how do you expand your dog's vocabulary?
According to Dr. Stanley Coren, author of The Intelligence of
Dogs, you simply need to talk to your pet. "You should always
use the same words for the same things and whenever you're doing
any action which the dog is involved in, you tell the dog,"
he says. Dr. Coren also recommends using the dog's name before
any command, and using the same commands every time.
Happiness Can Be Learned
A smarter dog is a happier dog. Learning can actually make your
confident -- about himself and about his relationship with you.
So help your dog
expand his mind. It'll make you both feel better.
VACATIONING PETS SAFE WITH OUR AIR & ROAD TRAVEL TIPS
May 23, 2008
summer vacation’s almost here—and for some pet parents,
traveling’s no fun if the four-legged members of the family
can’t come along. But traveling without thoughtful preparation
can be stressful, both for you and your animal companions. Before
you embark on your journey, the ASPCA would like to offer a few
Please visit your veterinarian before traveling to make sure your
pet is up to date on vaccinations and has all the medications he
needs. Also ask about parasites or other health risks native to
Your pet should always wear a collar and ID tag clearly stating
an address or phone number where you can be reached—that includes
cell phone number and destination info.
Always bring plenty of plastic jugs filled with bottled or tap water
from home. Drinking water she’s not used to could upset your
pet’s stomach. If flying, freeze water in a bowl the night
before. It won’t spill during loading and it’ll melt
by the time she’s thirsty.
Fly your pet in a USDA-approved shipping crate large enough for
her to comfortably stand, sit and turn around in. Write “Live
Animal” in large letters on at least two sides of the crate,
and draw arrows indicating the crate’s upright position. (Of
course you should ask the airline if small animals can fly with
you in the cabin.)
If driving, never leave your pet in a parked automobile. On a hot
day, even with the windows open, a stationary vehicle can become
a furnace in no time, and heatstroke can develop.
To ensure your trip is a good one, please read our complete
air and road travel tips .
animal cruelty is always the right thing to do, but first you have
to learn how. For all the answers, please read our new Reporting
Cruelty FAQ . It includes information on recognizing and reporting
animal cruelty, as well as the basics on cruelty laws and how to
talk to children about this important issue. Check it out and learn
the practical—even lifesaving—tips you can use should
you meet an animal who needs your help.
It Safe at the Dog Park
Mention a trip to the dog park, and tails usually start wagging.
The fresh air,
exercise, and socializing are great for your pooch. To keep these
and fun for everyone, ask yourself a couple of questions before
Are your dog's vaccinations up to date? This helps reduce the chance
picking up any illnesses from other dogs on the playground.
Are you confident about your dog's training? Dog parks can be hectic
places. But knowing that your pet will respond to your voice commands,
while playing with other dogs, will make it a more relaxing outing.
Fit for a Dog
nutrition isn't a concern for only human health. It's important
dog's health, too. Compared to dogs of optimal weight for their
overweight dogs have a higher risk of diseases such as heart disease,
and arthritis. You can help keep your dog at a health-enhancing
feeding him or her a well-balanced, nutritious diet that follows
1) Keep the Calorie Count Down
The best diet for your dog is one that is appropriately low in calories.
Controlling daily caloric intake is key to managing his or her weight.
extra calories out of your dog's diet can make him or her up to
younger. Your veterinarian can help you determine how many calories
your dog needs each day.
Keys to controlling caloric intake:
Look for a dog food that is complete, balanced, and scientifically
formulated for your dog's needs.
Follow the directions on the dog food package.
Use a measuring cup or scoop to divide your dog's food into consistent
Establish set feeding times and stick to this schedule.
2) Choose Nutrient-Rich Dog Food
When selecting dog food, make sure the food is appropriate for your
size, and nutrition needs. In general, optimal adult dog diets should
18% of daily calories from protein and 5% from fats, when using
Senior dogs may need a little more protein than adult dogs. Puppies
more protein and a little more fat than adult dogs.
3) Put the Food Bowl Away
If given the opportunity to eat all day long, most dogs probably
dogs will eat up to 25% more food than they need, which can lead
and other conditions. Leaving a filled food bowl out at all times
overeating. Instead, serve measured food portions at set mealtimes.
frequency depends on the age, size, and activity level of your dog.
how often you should feed your dog.
4) Minimize Snacks
All dogs enjoy treats. Providing your dog with occasional snacks
and treats is
fine, as long as they do not exceed 10% of his or her total dietary
Also, choose only treats that are made especially for dogs, such
chew bones and teeth cleaning biscuits. Note: pet foods marketed
are not required to list nutrition information on the package.
Chewing Pups from Shocks
For young pups, few things are more satisfying
than a good chew. When teething, it hardly matters to them what
they've got between their teeth. For safety, make sure electrical
cords aren't a chewing option by taking these precautions:
• Keep power cords and strips as far out of reach and sight
• Encase any visible cords in thick plastic sleeves.
•Don't let young pups roam the house while you're out. Set
them up with chew toys, and keep them in a crate or penned off in
a room where they can't find trouble.
TRI-STATE NEWS ALERT
April 11, 2008
PLANT PROVES LIFE-THREATENING TO DOGS
According to a recently published study by Dr. Safdar Khan, veterinary
toxicologist for the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC),
dogs seem to be particularly attracted to the seeds and berries
of the Brunfelsia plant, commonly known as “morning, noon
and night” and “yesterday, today and tomorrow.”
In fact, canines are most susceptible to poisoning by this gardener’s
favorite, aptly named for its fragrant flowers that bloom in vivid
purple and gradually change to lavender before fading to white.
You Know How to Poison-Proof Your Home?
March 7, 2008
to do a little homework, pet parents? National Poison Prevention
Week is almost here—March 16 to March 22—and because
our pets depend on us to keep them safe, we think it’s the
perfect time to review the harmful substances your furry explorers
may encounter at home. Here are just a few ways to ensure that
your household is pet poison-proof:
* Keep prescription and over-the-counter drugs such as painkillers,
cold and flu preparations and antidepressants behind tightly closed
* Make sure chocolate, coffee and other potentially dangerous
foods are kept out of pets' reach.
* When using products to eliminate fleas, ticks and other pests,
follow directions exactly. Be sure the item you’re using
has been formulated specifically for your pet, and check with
your veterinarian before using it.
* Many common household plants such as lilies, azaleas and kalanchoe
can cause surprisingly severe, even life-threatening effects in
pets. Please check our complete lists of toxic and nontoxic plants.
* Take care to use cleaning products that have been proven safe
for use around pets. If you do use bleaches, detergents or disinfectants,
keep your pets away from the cleaned areas until the product has
dried thoroughly, and be sure to store the products in a secure
Tip of the Week
Change Can Be Bad
drastic change in behavior may indicate pain or injury in your
Growling, biting, wincing, or avoidance of physical contact may
be a sign of an acute injury. Reserved or withdrawn behaviors
may indicate chronic pain. If your dog suddenly exhibits a need
for constant attention or seclusion, or if he or she is excessively
irritable, submissive, listless, or restless, contact your vet
for a proper diagnosis and treatment.
Tip of the Week
a good neighbor and conscientious pet owner can help keep your
dog safe from intentional acts of cruelty.
Unsupervised, noisy, and destructive pets are often targets of
animal cruelty. When your dog is outside, keep him or her safely
confined and under watch as much as possible. This can help keep
your pet safe, as well as discourage your dog from engaging in
Address any concerns of your neighbors in a positive way. If you
see any suspicious acts, report it to local authorities.
February 17, 2008
Canines and Molars
care of your dog or cat's teeth is one of the most
important things you can do for his or her health. February is
National Pet Dental Health Month--read how to keep your best
friend's teeth pearly white and fend off tartar, plaque and
bacteria that can harm your pet's health.
Tip of the Week: Stress-Free Pups
you have recently adopted – or plan to adopt -- a shelter
rescue dog, some gentle petting may help ease your new pet into
home life. An animal shelter can be a stressful environment
for a dog. In a study, however, shelter dogs receiving 20 minutes
of daily petting and human interaction over the course of 8
weeks experienced significant reductions in their blood levels
of the stress hormone cortisol. Petting your new pet frequently
may help your dog make a calmer transition to domestic life,
sweethearts far and wide make their Valentine’s
Day plans, we’d like to offer some tips to ensure
a loving, safe day for all species—Romeos and Rovers
- Many varieties of lilies are highly toxic to cats, so
if these are your—or your Valentine’s—flower
of choice, make sure your cats can’t get near them.
Other potentially poisonous flowers may include tulips,
amaryllis, daisies, chrysanthemums and baby’s breath.
Check out our Safe Flower Guide for a list of alternatives.
- Candlelit dinners are about as high on the romantic
scale as you can get—but please don’t leave
the room while flames are still burning. Many pets, particularly
kittens, are attracted to the flames and could get burned
or singed. Let curious paws find safer things to play
- Take extra care if you’ll be serving vino with
your dinner—many pets have been known to explore
an alcoholic beverage left in a glass. If ingested, this
could cause a range of symptoms, from vomiting and diarrhea
to metabolic disturbances and even coma.
here for the complete ASPCA Guide to a Pet-Friendly Valentine’s
February 3, 2008
PETS FOR LIFE
Love Triangle: Helping Your Pet and Your Partner Get
By Rebecca Simmons
For five years, Sassy—a feisty poodle-terrier
mix—was the center of attention. "Sassy was
my baby. I'd had her since I was a teenager and she
was a big part of my life," says Betsy McFarland,
director of communications for The HSUS's Companion
Then Betsy met her husband Mike and, suddenly, Sassy
and Mike had to learn to get along.
January 28, 2008
PETS FOR LIFE
Unchain My Heart
Many chained dogs across the country will receive very
valentines this year thanks to Dogs Deserve Better, a
dedicated to ending the suffering endured by perpetually
dogs. Read how you can help chained dogs by making or
valentines, mailing coupons for dog food or anonymously
reporting the address of a chained or penned dog who could
To the Rescue
Purebred rescue groups are a great option if you're thinking
of adopting a purebred dog or cat. Here are a few tips
on how you can find a rescue group near you.
Read more: https://community.hsus.org/ct/5dw6SoK13zpW/
Watch the video:
January 20, 2008
PETS FOR LIFE NewsletterMoving
On -- Staying Together
As a foreclosure crisis looms nationwide, many pets are
facing a grim future when their families leave them behind
afterabandoning their foreclosed homes. If you have pets
and are facing financial hardship that could lead to relocation,
find out about your options for keeping your animals together
with the family.
Read more: https://community.hsus.org/ct/i1w6SoK1MzPZ/
December 11, 2007
I am very proud to share some extremely exciting news
with you. As I hope many of you saw this morning on NBC’s
“Today” show, the ASPCA today unveiled a “forensics
first”—the nation’s first-ever “Mobile
Animal Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) Unit.”
on image for full letter
you looking for an easy way to show friends and family
members how they can help animals and live cruelty-free?
Do you want to learn more about animal rights?
The HBO film I Am an Animal: The Story of Ingrid Newkirk
and PETA is nowavailable on DVD. If you missed it when
it aired on HBO in November, you can now watch it at
your convenience. Just add it to your Netflix queue,
rent it from your favorite video store, or purchase
the DVD online.