Talk About Animal Abuse
Last week, we held a live discussion
answering your questions on the real deal behind animal abuse.
We were fortunate to have the ASPCA’s Dr. Randall Lockwood,
Senior Vice President, Anti-Cruelty Field Services, on hand to
discuss how we can fight animal cruelty by better understanding
what drives people toward it.
always wondered why and how people can have such disregard for
animals. If I could understand abusers more, perhaps prevention
strategies would become more clear." — CC
Much animal cruelty is really about power
and control, which is why it is so strongly connected to other
forms of violence, including domestic violence, child abuse and
general criminal behavior. People responsible for intentional
acts of abuse can have many different motivations, but often the
central motive is to try to show that they can have an impact
on others—that they can coerce, control, frighten or intimidate.
Often the act of cruelty has been triggered by something that
has challenged their sense of power; someone (animal or person)
has acted in a way that calls their power into question.…
To read the rest of Dr. Lockwood’s answer, and to see how
he tackled other tough questions, check out the transcript of
this discussion on the ASPCA
Online Community . Dr. Lockwood shared his expertise
on topics like when to contact the media to stop abuse and what
to do when you see a child harming an animal.
P.S. To learn how to report animal abuse, check the Reporting
Cats and Dogs Catch Swine Flu?
Pet parents of dogs and cats can relax for now, say ASPCA veterinarians.
While the 2009 H1N1 virus—a faster moving and possibly
more debilitating strain of influenza than the typical seasonal
flu—has become an international concern, the virus, referred
to as swine flu when first identified, appears to present little
risk of infecting dogs and cats. However, viruses can mutate
quickly and taking important preventative measures remains essential.
“Many species can become infected with influenza viruses,
but the current 2009 H1N1 virus, which is a mixture of genetic
material from different species, has not been identified in
animal populations in the United States to date,” says
Dr. Miranda Spindel, Director of ASPCA Veterinary Outreach.
“These viruses are notoriously unpredictable, though,
and it is important that we remain vigilant.”
In terms of other animals who are susceptible, Dr. Spindel warns
that influenza or flu viruses are occasionally transmitted from
people to pigs, and the 2009 H1N1 virus has also been identified
in turkeys. Pet parents of Vietnamese Potbellies, African Pygmies
and other pet pigs should monitor their animals' health closely,
notify their veterinarian of any signs of illness and speak
to their veterinarian about influenza type A vaccines.
flu season is upon us and pet parents should
take common-sense preventative measures to keep their dogs and
If your dog is exhibiting flu-like symptoms, play it safe and
avoid taking him to places like dog parks, where he can pass
on germs or come into contact with unvaccinated or sick dogs.
Avoid letting your cat roam freely outside.
If your dog comes into frequent contact with other dogs or is
kept in a kennel, the ASPCA recommends that you discuss with
your veterinarian whether vaccination against canine influenza
may be appropriate.
influenza and H1N1 are not the same virus.
Talk to your vet about what flu vaccines are currently available,
and be sure all your pets get vaccinated!
Don't let your pet share water bowls, food dishes or toys with
Make sure your pet is eating, drinking and playing as he normally
does each day. If you notice your pet behaving unusually, or if
he has flu-like symptoms, check in with your veterinarian immediately.
to Do for Dogs Who Don't Like Alone Time
October 01, 2009
Most dogs prefer being with their families to being alone. But
for pups suffering from separation anxiety , life without their
owners -- even for an hour or two -- is almost unbearable. Dogs
with this nervous condition are prone to fits of anxiety whenever
they are left alone.
What sets it
Usually, a major shake-up in
the normal routine -- things like moving into a new house, returning
from a kennel stay, or adjusting to a new schedule that has an
owner away from home more than usual. Symptoms can range from
howling and barking to more destructive behaviors, such as chewing,
scratching, and even relieving himself in the house.
How can you help your pooch cope?
training may help remedy the situation. It works by gradually
getting your dog used to your comings and goings, so he feels
less overwhelmed. The key is to start small and move slow. Patience
is of the essence.
How to Desensitize
Start by pretending you're getting ready to leave the house. Grab
your keys, put on your shoes, etc. If your dog starts fussing,
stay put and wait until he settles down. Repeat the process until
he is calm watching you get ready.
Once he's comfortable with your preparations to leave, start introducing
him to slightly greater degrees of separation. Let him get used
to seeing you open the front door, and then actually step outside.
Once you've gotten that far, start closing the door -- first for
just a few seconds, then gradually longer. Remember to keep your
entrances and exits calm and low-key, but when you leave, reassure
your dog that you're coming back.
If your own efforts to ease your pet's anxiety aren't enough,
talk to your vet about other ways you can help your pooch overcome
Stay Together: How to Help Your Pet Overcome Separation Anxiety
The month of September signifies a time of change: the season
turns, school starts and vacations come to an end. Unfortunately,
for many dogs, this departure from routine—especially the
increased absence of two-legged friends—can be very unsettling.
In response, poor Fido may start acting disruptive or destructive
when left home alone. He may resort to urinating and defecating
in the house, howling, chewing, pacing or trying to escape from
the house or yard. When these issues are accompanied by signs
of panic, distress or depression, they may indicate that your
pet suffers from separation anxiety.
“Dogs re-homed during or after their adolescence are at
greater risk of suffering separation anxiety than puppies,”
says Jacque Schultz, ASPCA Senior Director of Community Outreach.
“This is because lack of life experience has made them less
resilient to changes in their routine and environment. They cling
to their new guardian and panic when that guardian leaves home
to go about his or her daily business.”
Of course, this doesn’t mean you should steer clear of adopting
adolescent or elder pooches—especially since they make such
great companions—so we’re here to help! When treating
a dog with separation anxiety, the goal is to resolve the underlying
issue by teaching him to enjoy—or at least tolerate—being
left alone. Our experts have put together a list of top tips for
helping your pooch overcome separation anxiety.
a sneak peek at their advice:
Doctor Knows Best: The first step in tackling pet behavior
issues is to rule out any underlying medical problems that might
be causing them. For example, if your pet is urinating in the
house, he might be suffering from a urinary tract infection, bladder
stones, diabetes or kidney disease—all of which can cause
urinary incontinence in dogs.
Conquer the Fear: If your pooch suffers from
mild separation anxiety, try counter conditioning, or helping
your dog associate being alone with something good, like a tasty
treat. This might reduce or resolve the problem. To develop this
kind of association, offer your dog a food-dispensing toy stuffed
with healthy treats every time you leave the house.
Dogs Need Jobs: Providing lots of physical and
mental stimulation is a vital part of treating many behavior problems,
especially those involving anxiety. Exercise can enrich your dog’s
life, decrease stress and provide appropriate outlets for normal
behavior. Plus, a tired dog doesn’t have much excess energy
to burn when he’s left alone!
Learn more about teaching your dog how to be comfortable being
alone—read our complete guide to overcoming separation
What Is Urinary
Urinary incontinence occurs when a housetrained dog loses control
of his bladder. This can range in severity from occasional small
urine leaks to inadvertent voiding of a large amount of urine.
Urinary Incontinence in Dogs?
Weak bladder sphincter
Urinary tract infection
Spinal injury or degeneration (frequently seen in German shepherds)
Protruding intervertebral disc
Presence of other diseases that cause excessive water consumption,
such as diabetes, kidney disease, hyperadrenocorticism
What Are the
General Symptoms of Urinary Incontinence in Dogs?
Dripping urine, which can irritate the skin and cause redness,
is one of the most recognizable symptoms of incontinence, as is
excessive licking of the vulva or penis area. Pet parents may
also notice area where the dog sleeps.
I Do If I Think My Dog Is Incontinent?
Consult with a veterinarian, who will confirm the diagnosis and
try to determine a cause. The vet will take a thorough history,
perform a physical exam and likely conduct a urinalysis to verify
whether your dog is suffering from a bladder infection, which
requires treatment with antibiotics. Other tests may include a
urine culture, blood work, radiographs and ultrasound.
What Are Some
Complications of Urinary Incontinence in Dogs?
Some bouts of urinary incontinence ebb and wane, but others can
progress and cause more serious bladder and kidney infections.
A skin infection may result in areas that are in constant contact
Dogs Prone to Urinary Incontinence?
Although urinary incontinence can afflict dogs of any age, breed
or gender, it is most often seen in middle-aged to older spayed
females; cocker spaniels, springer spaniels, Doberman pinschers
and Old English sheepdogs are among the breeds often prone to
How Is Urinary Incontinence Treated?
Treatment for incontinence will depend on its underlying cause.
Medications can often effectively manage this condition and prevent
everyday accidents. Some treatments focus on hormone therapy,
while others, such as Propolin, strengthen the bladder muscles
that control urine flow. Surgery also may be an option if medication
alone doesn’t work. Collagen injections, a newer therapy
for incontinence, appear to have promising results.
In cases of incontinence due to bladder stones, a protruding disc
or congenital abnormality, surgery may be recommended.
How Can I Manage
Pile clean blankets and towels in your dog’s favorite sleeping
spot, or put waterproof pads under her bedding to absorb any moisture.
Take your dog for more frequent walks, including first thing in
the morning and shortly after she wakes from a nap.
Consider using doggie diapers, which are available at many pet
Please consult with your vet before limiting your dog’s
Provide proper hygiene to prevent any related skin infections.
Always monitor your pet’s condition, since it can quickly
accelerate to infection, especially in elderly dogs.
Rid of Gas
smell may be, um, unpleasant, it's perfectly normal for your pup
to pass gas. But if you reach for the air freshener every time
Fluffy enters the room, it's time to do something about the stench.
Start by making some diet changes:
• Choose a good food. Some brands may contain
filler ingredients that, along with causing flatulence, fail to
provide much of a nutritional benefit. Ask your vet to recommend
a food that's easy for your dog to digest.
• Skip the scraps. Though it's tempting
to give a pooch table remnants, resist the urge. People food could
spell trouble for your dog's digestion -- and gas could be the
least of your problems.
• Divvy up the chow. If your dog tends to scarf
down her food, she's likely swallowing air, which has to make
its way out of her system at some point (thus the expression "passing
wind"). To prevent your pet from gulping too much at one
time, divide a day's full portion into two smaller meals.
If you do all of these things and your pup still has persistent
gas, make an appointment with your vet. Your dog could have a
food allergy or sensitivity or a health problem.
Pointed Question: Does Acupuncture Work on Dogs?
Some people swear by acupuncture to quell pain from injuries and
certain health conditions. But could your best bud benefit from
this age-old Chinese therapy? It may be worth a try.
Some vets recommend acupuncture for dogs to speed recovery from
surgery, reduce pain from arthritis and other chronic diseases,
and treat an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism). According to
the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society, acupuncture
is virtually painless and is safe when administered by a veterinarian
who has the necessary skills. The length and number of sessions
depend on the condition being treated.
So just how does it work? By stimulating specific points on the
body with special needles, acupuncture is believed to balance
the body's energy and restore proper function of vital organs.
In the case of arthritis, it is thought that the energy -- or
"chi" -- becomes blocked in the affected joint, and
that placing the needles in a certain pattern increases blood
flow to the area and tamps down inflammation.
Before trying acupuncture for your dog, talk to your vet. If you
decide to pursue it, make sure the practitioner is a licensed
vet who has formal acupuncture training.
Prevention in Older Dogs
is not only a risk for human beings—it can affect our
canine companions, too. "Veterinary research estimates
that the incidence of cancer in older dogs ranges from 50 to
75 percent," according to Dr. Louise Murray, ASPCA
Director of Medicine at Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital (BMAH).
Such high numbers of the disease may have to do with innovations
in pet health care, such as vaccines and deworming. “Nowadays,
more pets are protected from parasites, heartworms and viral
disease,” observes Dr. Murray. “As a result, they
are living longer and developing cancer in their old age.”
Veterinary oncologists are also detecting cancer more often
and at earlier stages with the help of sophisticated diagnostic
tools such as ultrasound, CT scans and even MRIs for pets.
we cannot prevent all cancers, there are certain steps pet parents
can take to greatly diminish the chances of their animal companion
contracting the disease:
• Spaying and neutering
pets before their first heat cycles can significantly reduce
the occurrence of mammary tumors and helps prevent ovarian,
uterine and testicular cancers.
you notice a mass on your pet's skin, have it examined immediately
by a veterinarian. If it is cancerous, have it removed as soon
allow your pet to be exposed to cigarette smoke.
on vulnerable, fair-skinned pets.
chemical lawn products, which are proven to cause cancers in
pets, including bladder cancer and lymphoma.
tips on diagnosing, treating and preventing cancer in dogs.
Strokes: Brushing Your Dog's Teeth
September 03, 2009
Wish your pooch could pop a breath mint? Better step up his dental
care. Contrary to popular belief, dog breath isn't supposed to
stink. If it does, it could be a sign of gum disease.
To keep Max's mouth in optimal health, the best thing you can
do is brush, brush, brush. Like their human companions, dogs can
have gingivitis, receding gums, and even tooth loss from too much
tartar buildup, so regular cleanings are a must. To make the experience
go as smoothly as possible, follow these simple steps:
1. Buy the right brush. Get a doggie toothbrush,
which is smaller and has softer bristles. You can also opt for
one that fits right over your fingertips. For toothpaste, buy
one that's made specifically for your furry friend -- the human
stuff can upset their tummies.
2. Prepare your pal. To get your dog comfortable
with having his mouth touched, gently massage his lips. Next,
dab them with a little toothpaste so he'll get accustomed to the
taste. (See if he'll lick some off your fingers; if he does, reward
him with a treat!)
3. Make your move. Gently lift up his lips, and
hold the brush to his teeth at a 45-degree angle. Using small
strokes, start by cleaning the upper canines, then finish the
rest from top to bottom. Don't fret about brushing the tooth's
inner surface -- doing the front is enough to tackle tartar.
Along with home brushing, your vet may recommend regular professional
Rules for Rover
August 20, 2009
Got a pup who loves hitting the road and feeling the wind
on his whiskers? Just as you do with your people passengers, follow
a few important precautions to keep him safe while riding in the
No riding shotgun. Having your pup up front is
way too dangerous and distracting, so he should always ride in the
backseat. This helps protect your furry friend from making contact
with the windshield or being injured by the airbag in the event
of an accident. And don't let him ride in the back of a pickup truck.
It's as unsafe as it looks.
Buckle up for safety. Ideally, your dog should
ride in a travel carrier or crate that's secured to the seat so
it doesn't slide around or tip over. Another option is a travel
harness that works like a seat belt -- most pet stores carry them.
Go easy on breezy. Letting your dog catch a little
breeze is fine; just be sure to leave your windows up at least halfway
so that he can't stick out his head too far. Lock any automatic
windows so he doesn't accidentally hit the "up" switch
with his paw.
Don't leave him alone. Always keep an eye on your
pooch and the temperature inside the car; the mercury can quickly
rise, even on days that don't seem terribly warm. Hot temps can
put your pup at risk of heat stroke and other health problems.
Tips for Tackling Tub Time
not all dogs bound toward the tub when you mention taking a bath.
But you can make tub time less hairy for you and your pooch with
these easy tips:
1. Take care of tangles before bathing. Especially
mats; they're nearly impossible to comb through once they're wet!
2. Choose the right tub. Depending on your dog's
size, use your sink or bathtub or, if weather permits, use a plastic
3. Use restraints. Have a pup who won't stand still?
Try keeping her leashed, or use a leash-like grooming tether that
fastens to the tub wall with a suction cup. A rubber bath mat
can help prevent slipping or sliding.
4. Set water on warm. Start by wetting down your
dog's coat with cupfuls of warm -- not hot -- water. Or use the
low setting on the spray head of your sink or shower. Gently work
dog shampoo into her coat, massaging her from head to tail, keeping
suds away from her eyes and mouth. Rinse thoroughly to avoid leaving
any soap residue that may irritate her skin.
5. Apply the finishing touches. Give her a thorough
once (or twice) over with a towel. If your pup has longish hair,
comb her out while she's still damp. If you use a hair dryer to
speed things along, keep it on a low, cool setting.
In Your Pooch's First-Aid Kit?
Like parents tending to kids' skinned knees, most dog owners
will occasionally have to nurse their pets' scrapes, scuffs,
or other minor injuries. Yep, accidents happen. But you can
make such mishaps more manageable by following the old scouting
motto: Be prepared. That means having a well-stocked first-aid
kit on hand at all times. Don't have one? Pick up a waterproof
plastic box, and stock it with these essentials:
1. Vital Stats -- Write down your dog's name,
breed, and date of birth; any medical conditions and allergies
he has; and any medications he's taking (including doses). If
he's been microchipped, jot down the number. Also include your
home address and phone number; your vet's name and phone number;
and your emergency vet clinic's phone number.
2. Important Records -- Make photocopies of important
health records, including vaccinations, and seal them in a plastic
bag inside your kit.
3. Basic Supplies -- Fill the rest of your
kit with alcohol wipes, gauze, cotton balls, nonstick bandages,
hydrogen peroxide, scissors, adhesive tape, cotton swabs, tweezers,
an eyedropper, hand sanitizer or soap, a digital thermometer,
a pair of latex gloves, and a tube of both topical first-aid
cream and antibiotic ointment.
Also, look into taking a pet first-aid class. After all, learning
how to handle accidents is the best way to help your dog live
summer time, and North Shore Animal League America wants the
livin’ to be easy – especially for your pets! But
along with fun in the sun comes a few summer hazards.
To ensure that your pet has it made in
the shade, the Animal League has some helpful summer pet safety
• Never leave your pet in a car! Parking
in the shade and leaving the windows open is not an option.
In a hot car, your pet's temperature can rise rapidly. It only
takes minutes to reach dangerous levels leading to heatstroke
and even death.
• Always make sure your pet has cool, clean water
available . Dogs, and even cats, drink more on hot
days, and water warms up quickly.
• Do not force your dog into the water if he/she
is frightened . Some dogs do not like to swim. If your
dog likes to swim, do not leave him/her unattended. Bathe your
dog afterwards to remove all sand, mud, and chlorine. Also,
be sure all pool chemicals are stored safely out of reach.
• Do not allow your dog to hang out of the window
of a moving car . Objects such as rocks or tree limbs
could seriously injure your pet, or he/she might fall or jump
• Do not allow your animals to ride in the back
of a pick-up truck . They could be thrown out, or they
may jump out.
• Take your pets inside if there is the possibility
of a thunderstorm . Loud thunder may frighten them,
or lightening could strike them.
• Do not walk your dog near fireworks .
Besides the obvious danger, the loud noise can be very scary.
Have your dog checked for heartworm , and administer a heartworm
• Check your pet daily for fleas and ticks . Talk
to your veterinarian and enquire about flea and tick preventatives
to stop these insects from infesting your pet.
• If your pet likes to relax in the shade
of a yard or deck, watch out for yellow jackets, bees,
toads, and snakes. Bite or sting symptoms are usually
swelling of the face or affected areas. Once stung or bitten,
the pet’s skin may start to look wrinkly or bumpy. This
is a first indicator and If not treated by a veterinarian could
result in death due to toxins taking over and shutting down
the animal’s body or causing airway swelling and suffocation.
Know the signs of heat stress .
In these warm summer months it is best to be aware of the signs
of heat stress by exposure to extreme temperatures. Check the
animal for signs of heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat,
restlessness, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness,
lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red
or purple tongue, and unconsciousness.
YOUR PET IS OVERHEATING
1 • Move your pet into the shade or an
2 • Apply ice packs or cold towels to
your pet's head, neck, and chest or immerse him in cool (not
3 • Let your pet drink small amounts
of cool water or lick ice cubes.
4 • Take your pet directly to a veterinarian.
and Scratchin’: Does Your Pet Suffer from Allergies?
According to the ASPCA, more than 20 percent of pets
may suffer from some sort of allergy. Allergic reactions
in cats and dogs are caused by inhaling, ingesting or
having physical contact with an allergen, and the resulting
symptoms can cause great discomfort to our furry friends.
Furthermore, dogs and cats may persistently lick and
scratch itchy areas, causing skin irritation, hair loss
and, in some cases, skin and ear infections.
We all want our pets to be comfortable and healthy,
so it’s extremely important to determine the source
of an allergy and treat it appropriately. Flea allergies
are especially problematic during the summer months,
and need special attention because they can cause serious
health problems like anemia.
If you suspect your pet is suffering from allergies,
talk to your vet about determining the exact cause and
a specific treatment program. Here are a few .
Tree, grass, weed, mold,
mildew and dust pollens
Fleas and flea-control products
Rubber and plastic materials
Removing the offending allergen
from your home is the best way to combat allergies. Check
out our other expert tips for treatment:
Prevention is the best remedy
for allergies caused by fleas. See your veterinarian for
advice about safe flea control products for your pet.
If dust is the problem,
clean your pet's bedding once a week and vacuum at least
twice weekly—this includes rugs, curtains and any
other materials that gather dust.
Weekly bathing may help
relieve itching and remove environmental allergens and
pollens from your pet’s skin.
If your pet suffers from a suspected
food allergy, she may need to be given a prescription
or hydrolyzed protein diet to determine the exact cause
of the irritation.
That Shoe: How to Avoid Teething Mishaps
risk all puppy owners take: having a favorite pair of shoes
-- or even a sofa -- fall
victim to a pooch's teething. Protect your pumps, loafers, clogs,
or couch from Fido's developing chompers with these simple tips.
* Give her chew toys. Most puppies chew to ease tooth and gum
pain, not to intentionally destroy. So your pup will likely
enjoy gnawing on a few good chew toys as much, if not more,
than your Jimmy Choo slingbacks. But if she keeps sinking her
teeth into one, take it away, firmly tell her "no,"
and replace the shoe with one of her toys. When she chews on
the toy, reinforce the behavior with, "You're a good girl."
* Keep it interesting. Switch out your pup's chew toys every
couple of months so she doesn't get bored and seek out alternatives.
Avoid confusion by steering clear of toys that resemble household
items -- like those squeaky rubber shoes -- until she gets older.
* Puppy-proof as needed. When you're out and about, put your
pooch in her crate or an area of the house that's been stripped
of all potentially chewable items, except her toys. Move plants
and electrical cords out of reach, too.
* Run her around. Give your pup plenty of opportunities to be
active and get some exercise. This will help prevent two of
the leading causes of destructive chewing: boredom and restlessness.
Tricks to Help Break the Jumping Habit
A fuzzy little puppy leaping onto your lap sounds downright adorable,
no? Now, fast forward a few years, and imagine that dog full grown,
jumping on you with all his weight. Or better yet, with dirty paws!
Not so cute.
Luckily, you can nip the jumping habit in the bud with a little
training. The key is to focus on the times when his desire to jump
is often the strongest: when he greets people or other pups.
Try these 4 tactics:
1. Play it cool.
Making a huge fuss when you walk in the door will likely send your
dog into a tailspin, leading him to bowl you over with love. Instead,
first tell your pup to sit, and when he does, calmly greet him and
offer a "good boy."
2. Practice, practice, practice. Get your pup used
to your comings and goings by rehearsing your entry; leave through
the back door or garage, and come in through the front door. Repeat
this as many times as needed, making sure to praise him each time
he greets you appropriately.
3. Turn your back.
If your pup jumps up on you, resist the urge to push him
away with your hands -- he may think you're trying to play. Instead,
turn your body away from him. Once he's back down on all fours,
ask him to sit, and then reinforce the behavior by telling him,
"That's a good boy."
4. Train your guests.
Always have your dog sit before opening your door to visitors, and
kindly ask your guests to hold off on petting your pooch until he
Should You Bring Your Pet?
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 beware pet parents, what's fun for people can
be a downright drag for our furry friends.
recommends keeping your pooch indoors as much as possible during
backyard parties and Fourth of July festivities, even if he
is a pro picnicker. From toxic food and beverages to raucous
guests and fireworks, the holiday weekend is a minefield of
potential pet problems.
"Even the most timid dog can leap a six-foot fence if he's
spooked by loud noises," says Dr. Pamela Reid, Vice President
of the ASPCA
Animal Behavior Center. If your dog shows signs of
distress from fireworks or boisterous revelers, Dr. Reid suggests
giving him a Kong toy stuffed with peanut butter. "The
persistent licking should calm his nerves," she says.
offers some more expert advice to keep your pet singing, "Oh
Say Can You See," all the way to the fifth and beyond:
• Keep your pet
on the wagon. Since alcohol is potentially poisonous to pets,
place all wine, beer and spirits well out of paws' way.
• Avoid scraps from
the grill. Stick with your pet's normal diet--any change, even
for a day, can result in stomach upset. Certain foods like onions,
chocolate, grapes and raisins are especially toxic to pets.
Skip the sunscreen. Avoid lathering your pet with any insect
sunscreen not intended for the four-legged kind. Ingestion can
result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and
• Stay fire-smart.
Keep your pet away from fireworks, matches, citronella candles
and lighter fluid, which if eaten can irritate the stomach,
lungs and central
• Be cool near the
pool. Don't leave pets unsupervised around a pool or lake--not
all dogs are expert swimmers! Also, pools aren't large water
bowls--they contain chlorine and other toxic chemicals that
can cause stomach problems.
As always, if you suspect your pet has ingested something poisonous
from the picnic table, please contact your vet or the ASPCA
Animal Poison Control Center at (888)
And be sure to check out our more complete list of holiday
pet care tips for a safe and happy Fourth! http://www2.aspca.org/site/R?i=qn7o6xTSVAN4ygnQkCgGjg
Submitted by Marge Escalet
July 1, 2009
Apply a gob of liquid soap to a cotton ball.
Cover the tick with the soap soaked cotton ball and swab it for
15 - 20 seconds.
The tick will come out stuck to the cotton ball when you lift
easy living... but watch that heat!
Summer '09 Newsletter
even suspect your pet may have heatstroke, is dehydrated, or
anything that could be potentially serious -- take him/her to
your veterinarian or animal hospital immediately! Do not
On the way, you could use a cool compress if you suspect your
dog or cat is overheated.
What are the signs of heat stroke?
Intense, rapid panting, wide eyes, salivating, staggering and
weakness can be signs of heat stroke. Advanced victims
will collapse and become unconscious. Gums will be pale
and dry. If you suspect heat stroke, take your pet's temperature
-- anything above 105 is dangerous, especially if it remains
at or above for any length of time. If your pet seems
highly agitated when you return, take him/her immediately to
the nearest vet or animal hospital with the air-conditioning
at full blast.
What can you do for heat stroke?
The best thing is to get your pet to veterinary care as soon
as possible. If you think that your pet's temperature
(taken rectally), is at a dangerous level (above 105) and you
feel you cannot get your pet to your vet in time, put him/her
in a tub of COOL (not cold) running water or spray with a hose.
Make sure the cool water actually makes contact with the
skin and doesn't just run off the fur.
The most important thing is to GET YOUR PET TO QUALIFIED
Some cities have Animal EMTs, that you can call. Have
all these numbers listed where you can easily get them in times
What are some ways to avoid heat stroke?
• do not leave pets inside cars or enclosed spaces, in
direct sunlight or out in the summer heat too long. Other
things to consider:
• always provide sufficient water
• keep stress levels low
• do not over exercise in the heat and humidity
• some factors may put certain animals at higher risk:
age, obesity, cardiovascular disease, physical condition, animals
not use to hot climates, thick fur and undercoats, brachycephalic
• hot sidewalks and other summer-scorched surfaces can
cause heat trauma to your pet's pads.
does my pet really want to go to the parade, flea market, picnic
with me, or is it what I want? Is it too hot for him to
be out most of the day in the heat and humidity? If it's
going to be hot for you, it is definitely going to be too hot
for your pet. Best to leave your beloved pet in the coolness
and safety of home.
Fur from the Inside Out
June 18, 2009
If Lady's fur is getting hair-raising looks despite your dogged
attempts at grooming, she may need more of these important nutrients:
essential fatty acids (EFAs).
For healthy skin and hair, dogs should have sufficient amounts of
EFAs, like omega-6 and omega-3 fats. And because the body can't
produce the stuff, dogs need to get it through diet. Most pet foods
should contain enough EFAs to keep the coat in good shape, but if
your pup's is dull, dry, or scaly -- or if you see hair loss or
sores caused by excessive scratching -- she may need some extra.
EFAs are found in vegetable oils, such as sunflower, as well as
in both fish and flaxseed oils. And you can boost the amount in
your dog's diet with supplements, either in liquid or capsule form.
But before doing this, your vet needs to check out your pup's coat
to assess its condition.
And if it turns out that your dog does have a skin or hair problem,
you should ask your vet to suggest the best supplement (and proper
dosage) to give to your canine pal.
Besides their fur-boosting benefits, EFAs may ease arthritis and
allergy symptoms by reducing inflammation.
for hitting the road with the pets
Unleashed:A blog for animals and the
people who love them
Guideposts.com recently ran a helpful article
with some solid tips on traveling over the summer with your
Here are a few of the things they recommend when taking your
pet on a road trip:
1. Pack a goody bag.
You'll need to bring a leash, plastic bags for curbside cleanup,
a familiar toy, a container of water and a bowl. Any old plastic
container will do. It's also a good idea to put together a basic
first aid kit. And see that your pet is wearing a collar with
up-to-date ID tags.
2. Exercise before you leave .
Make sure your dog has enough time outside or your cat has an
opportunity to use the litter box before you leave. Take your
dog for a nice long walk or play vigorously so she'll rest on
the trip. Feeding just before you leave only increases the odds
of needing more pit stops along the way!
3. Designate a travel place in the car .
Make sure your pet is not crawling all over and distracting
the driver. Some pets do well in a crate or pet carrier. Wire
barriers can confine a dog to the rear of a vehicle. Other pets
enjoy being closer to the action.
4. Plan for breaks.
Don't expect to make record time. If your trip is more than
a few hours, you'll need to stop for fresh air and a little
Be mindful of the heat.
Keep the car well ventilated. Never leave your pet unattended
in a vehicle. Even with windows cracked open, temperatures build
May Need Diets, Too
June 11, 2009
You've no doubt heard about the human obesity epidemic,
but did you know that pets have practically caught up with us? Check
out this startling statistic: up to 40% of dogs in the United States
are overweight or obese. And as a result, there is a government-approved
"fat drug" for our four-legged friends.
But before asking about a prescription for your portly pooch, get
your dog on a diet and exercise plan. Not only will this help Rex
with his weight loss, but it could help you trim down, too.
Case in point: Researchers at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in
Chicago rounded up 36 obese or overweight people who owned dogs
that were obese and put the people and their pups on lower-calorie
diets. The researchers also advised owners to get
20–30 minutes of daily exercise. The pup owners exercised
more compared with overweight or obese adults who did not own dogs.
And because they spent much of their time exercising with their
dogs, the pets really ended up dropping the pounds. In fact, most
lost about 15% of their body weight!
So do yourself and your dog a favor by staying active and eating
healthfully. Both are vital for your -- and your pet's -- long-term
health and happiness.
May 28, 2009
For your pup's safety, fence off your spring garden from the rest
of your dog's stomping ground. Otherwise, your gorgeous greenery
may pose serious health risks for your pooch.
Problem plants and flowers: If consumed, many garden picks can
be poison to your dog, including autumn crocus, azaleas, bird-of-paradise,
buttercup, Christmas rose, daffodil, day lily, iris, oleander,
foxglove, morning glory, mountain mahogany, lily of the valley,
rhododendron, and periwinkle.
Vegetable-patch pitfalls: Onions, chives, and garlic, which pets
find quite tasty, contain compounds that can cause anemia. The
leafy green parts of potato plants also can be toxic.
Frightening fruits: The seeds or pits in apples, plums, cherries,
peaches, and apricots contain cyanide, which can cause seizures.
Chemical concerns: A 3- to 4-foot wire-mesh fence should keep
your pooch from munching on your garden favorites. But if you
think there's even a slight chance that your pup could jump over
or dig under the fence, treat your plants, flowers, vegetables,
and vines with products that are pet-safe. All-natural fertilizers
and organic weed killers are available at many nurseries. And
along with keeping your best friend out of harm's way, you'll
be protecting the environment.
Great Care of Your Dog on a Budget
financial times affecting your pet-care budget? Don't worry
-- it's entirely possible to spend less and still take great
care of your dog. Here are some tips for saving your hard-earned
cash without slighting your best bud:
• Ask your vet to recommend a less expensive but equally
nutritious brand of dog food.
• Appoint yourself (or a family member) your pup's personal
• Buy supplies, like treats and food, in bulk whenever
possible, and look for toys in the bargain bins.
One thing you should never skimp on is your dog's medical care.
Routine checkups may seem unnecessary if he looks and acts healthy,
but these appointments give your vet the opportunity to spot
not-so-obvious problems. And the best thing you can do for your
pup's well-being -- and your wallet -- is to avoid an emergency
situation, if possible.
Recent home foreclosures and job losses have forced many people
to take their dogs to animal shelters or rescue groups. And
with fewer people in a financial position to adopt, some of
these facilities are filled past capacity. If you are considering
adopting a canine friend, and you have the financial means to
do so, please visit your local rescue group or shelter.
matter how little money and how few possesions you own, having
a Dog makes you rich.”
~ LEWIS SABIN
Pit Bull Housing
Are you and
your pit bull looking to rent a house or apartment? Get the
right information from a woman who knows!
By Jessica Smith, Best Friends volunteer
May 7, 2009
It is not easy to find a rental that will accommodate a pit
bull. In today’s tough economic times, it is becoming
even more arduous. People are losing their homes and are unable
to find anywhere to take their pit bulls, so, many are ending
up in shelters.
Shelters are not a good place for dogs, especially family dogs
that once had a home and a family of their own. Before getting
any dog, but especially a pit bull, you truly need to examine
your future and make a smart decision on whether or not you
will be able to take care of this dog for his entire life. Dogs
are a commitment, and pit bulls are an even bigger one.
When you decide to move, make sure to allow yourself enough
time to research what is out there. Most commercial insurance
policies do not cover pit bulls or any other exploited breeds,
but some do. Most apartment complexes do not allow dogs over
30 pounds. With this in mind, options are drastically narrowed
down, but there is still hope so do not stop there!
You do not want to have to hide your dog, so be open and honest
with landlords. Tell them you have a pit bull and request that
they meet him or her so they can see for themselves that you
have a good dog. If you are currently renting and your landlord
has approved your dog, ask for a referral letter.
You have to
think in the future
If your rental agreement clearly states “No pit bulls”
and your landlord finds out that you are harboring a pit bull
in your apartment, you will undoubtedly be given you two options:
1- Get rid of Fido or 2- Move out. Unfortunately, many people
choose the first option, but if you are smart about this process
from the beginning, you will never be faced with that ultimatum.
If there is a possibility you might be moving, start looking
for pit bull friendly rentals now!
Research, Research, Research!
This cannot be stressed enough. Use your resources. Talk to
other pit bull owners. Go to a local shelter and see if they
have any recommendations. Post an ad on Craigslist or another
site. Reach out! Speaking for myself, and a million other pit
bull lovers, if someone came up to me and said “I’m
going to have to give up my dog if I can’t find somewhere
to live with him,” I will drop everything I am doing to
help find you a home.
Personally, I posted an ad on Craigslist when I was looking
for a pit bull friendly rental and I received an abundance of
responses! I was descriptive about my dogs’ breeds, ages,
names, history and included my price range. I also attached
a couple pictures of the dogs. Most of the responses I received
were for houses that were farther than I wanted to drive but,
hands down, I would have taken a longer commute to keep my dogs.
If you find a rental home that is perfect for you but they don’t
allow pit bulls, ask them why. If their answer is due to insurance,
ask them if they would be willing to let you get a quote from
someone who does cover the breed. Why not? If there is an increase
in the cost of insurance, offer to pay the difference with your
monthly rent. Or offer to get your own renter’s insurance
policy. I recently obtained a quote from State Farm for a policy
and they will cover ANY dog as long as it has not bitten anyone
and has not been trained for attack purposes. I have to add;
it was very inexpensive coming in at $125 per year which is
only about $10.50 per month!
Take your dog to obedience classes. Walk your dog, run with
your dog. If your dog is well behaved, it will make a difference.
My Pet Catch Swine Flu?
May 1, 2009
Don't worry, pet parents! The recent, rapid outbreak of the H1N1
virus, previously known as swine flu, appears to present little
risk of infecting our furry friends. In the past few weeks, only
humans have been affected by the new virus, and it's still unknown
how the virus will impact other species.
"Currently there's no data demonstrating any risk of dogs and
cats contracting this strain of the virus," says Dr. Louise
Murray, Director of Medicine at the ASPCA's Bergh Memorial Hospital
in New York City. "However, owners of pet pigs, as well as
farmers, should monitor their animals' health more closely and take
steps to limit transmission from humans to pigs and vice versa."
If you do count a pet pig as your animal companion, please consult
with your veterinarian about a Type A influenza vaccine, which is
available and recommended for all healthy swine.
Dr. Miranda Spindel, Director of ASPCA Veterinary Outreach, adds:
"Swine influenza or swine flu is one of the leading causes
of respiratory disease in swine throughout the world. Like most
influenza A viruses, swine flu generally causes high levels of illness
in pigs, but fatalities are uncommon."
For the latest information about the outbreak and your pet's health,
please visit the Center for Disease Control (http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu).
If you suspect your pet is ill or if he exhibits any sudden changes
in behavior, please contact your veterinarian immediately.
the ASPCA's official statement on swine flu.
How to Keep the Fur from Flying
April 30, 2009
A dog that doesn't shed? Not unless it's one that's totally hairless.
Shedding is the part of your pup's biology that lets a new coat
come in. Fortunately, one simple thing can help keep more fur
on Fluffy and less on your favorite sweater.
Brush, brush, brush. The more hair you're able to dispose of,
the less of it you'll find on your clothes, couch, carpet, and
car seats. Short-haired dogs should be brushed two or three times
a week, while medium- to long-haired dogs should be groomed daily,
especially during the spring and the summer. If your pooch develops
severe mats, take her to your vet or a professional groomer --
careful shaving is the only way to take care of the problem.
And ask what kind of brush is best for your dog's coat.
Let your vet know if your pooch starts shedding more than usual
or if you notice bald spots. Excessive hair loss is not a part
of normal aging, and it could be a sign of a health condition,
including cancer, ringworm, mange, or a skin infection.
A bonus of regular brushing, besides keeping your house as hair-free
as possible: It'll keep your pup's coat cleaner, softer, and completely
Silent Killer Hurts Pets, Too
Health officials often talk about the dangers of living with
a smoker, but few pet parents are aware that our animal companions
face similar risks—from respiratory problems to cancer—when
exposed to secondhand smoke. New research suggests that secondhand
smoke is unsafe at all levels—for humans and pets—so
it's time to get serious about ditching those butts for good.
One recent study shows that nearly 30 percent of pets live with
at least one smoker. This is a grave concern, according to Dr.
Sharon Gwaltney-Brant, Medical Director of the ASPCA's Animal
Poison Control Center, since secondhand smoke can damage the
nervous systems of both cats and dogs.
"Tobacco smoke has been shown to contain numerous cancer-causing
compounds, making it hazardous for animals as well as humans,"
says Dr. Gwaltney-Brant. "Exposure to secondhand smoke
can cause many of the same harmful inflammatory changes in the
airways and lungs of dogs as their human counterparts."
Cats who live with smokers are prone to developing malignant
lymphoma, perhaps as a result of ingesting carcinogenic residue
when it settles on their fur. Kitty's canine counterparts are
especially vulnerable to secondhand smoke's respiratory effects,
and can develop life-threatening nasal and lung cancers.
Nicotine—found in cigarettes and other tobacco products—is
also highly toxic to animals if ingested. A dog who accidentally
eats tobacco may develop weakness, muscle twitching, decreased
breathing rate, and finally collapse, coma and possibly death.
The ASPCA strongly recommends keeping your pet away from tobacco
as well as secondhand smoke.
In honor of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month this April,
why not resolve to avoid smoking around your pet? Smoke outside
and preserve the lungs of your two- and four-legged family members.
Or better yet, toss those cigarettes in the trash—your
pet will thank you! For more information about protecting the
health of your furry friend, please visit the ASPCA’s
to Pet Care.
Spaying Helps Your Dog Stay Healthy
April 23, 2009
If you could do one thing to help your precious little Lucy stay
healthy, you'd do it in a heartbeat, right? So if you haven't
done so already, ask your vet about spaying your pet.
Here are the ways it could help your pup's well-being
and give you some peace of mind:
• No worries about reproductive cancers. Since the ovaries
and uterus are surgically removed, there's no chance of tumors
growing in the reproductive tract.
• Your dog won't be in heat. "Heat," or estrus,
is a female dog's mating period.
• During this time, which occurs every 3 to 6 months
and lasts up to 4 weeks, dogs will have vaginal bleeding -- that's
something you'll have to deal with. And because your pet wants
a ready-and-willing male, she may wander off in the neighborhood
to find one. If the thought of your pooch on the prowl makes you
squirm, picture frisky hounds howling at your door!
• A much lower risk of breast cancer. Animals spayed
before their first heat cycle (usually at 6 to 9 months of age)
have substantially lower odds of developing breast cancer.
• No uterine infections. Spaying a dog at any age eliminates
infections of the uterus, which can be quite serious.
• Spaying helps to reduce pet overpopulation.
Your Sofa: Set the Rules Up Front
to cuddle with you on the couch, or is the sofa reserved for
your R&R? Once you make a decision, stand your ground: If
you let your pooch have a little leeway, she'll make a habit
of lying on your loveseat or curling up in your favorite chair.
That's because dogs don't know when they're allowed or when
they're forbidden (think they know muddy paws means "no
If you've decided that the furniture is off-limits, some basic
training is in order.
Put a leash and slip collar on your pooch and leave the room.
Then, watch what your dog is doing. As soon as you see her leap
onto the furniture, grab the leash and tug it while firmly saying
"no." And when she's back on the floor, praise her
so that she knows it's the proper place. Or say you're lounging
in your chaise, and your dog looks like she wants to join you.
Use the "sit," "stay," and "lie down"
You can also try giving your pet a dog bed or pillow. With her
own place to rest, she may no longer crave your creature comforts.
YOU CAN GET LEATHER....
3 P's of House-Training Success
April 02, 2009
patience, and praise. These things go hand in hand for successful
house-training. Here's how to get your pup to go where he's supposed
Set a schedule. Plan to feed and walk him at the same time every
Stick to the menu. Don’t change his diet. And give the same
amount at each meal. No table scraps!
Pick a spot. Right after eating, take him out to the same spot
each time. After he does his business, heap on the praise!
If you catch him in the act . . . don’t have a cow. Firmly
tell your pup “No!” or “Stop,” and take
him to his designated area -- and remember to praise him when
he goes. If you see an accident after the fact, never drag your
pup back to the crime scene. He will be confused and hurt, which
could set back all of your hard work.
The first 7 to 12 weeks of puppyhood is the ideal time to begin
house-training -- that's when your little guy can learn best.
But at this age, pups can't fully control their bladders, and
accidents will happen. So that throw rug you spent a mint on .
. . better put it in a safe place!
Can You Tell If an Animal Has Been Abused?
April kicks off Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month—but
you can't fight cruelty if you don't know what it looks like.
Recognizing signs of abuse is simple, right? Not quite, say
ASPCA experts. Many people interpret an animal’s aggression,
fear or timidity as a surefire clue that the animal has suffered
cruelty—but looking solely at a pet’s behavior doesn’t
tell the whole story.
“It’s almost impossible to make conclusions based
on a pet’s behavior alone,” says the ASPCA Animal
Behavior Center’s Kristen Collins, CPDT. “The best
way to tell whether a pet is being or has been abused is to
observe his body and the surrounding environment.”
ASPCA Special Agent Kristi Adams agrees. “The clues I
look for when investigating a scene," says Adams, "are
whether the animal is being provided with adequate food, water
and shelter, and whether he or she appears injured or sick.”
Check out our complete
list of telltale signs that an animal needs help.
Here’s a sneak peek at some physical and environmental
signs of animal abuse:
- Collar so tight that it’s caused a neck wound or has
become embedded in the pet’s neck
- Open wounds, signs of multiple healed wounds or an ongoing
injury or illness that isn’t being treated
- Extreme thinness or emaciation—bones may be visible
beneath the skin
- Pets are tied up alone outside for long periods of time without
adequate food or water.
- Pets are kept in an area littered with feces, garbage, broken
glass or other objects that could harm them
If you suspect an animal is being abused, don’t keep it
to yourself — report
it to your local authorities. “Reporting
suspected animal cruelty ensures that animals in jeopardy receive
prompt and often lifesaving care,” says ASPCA Supervisory
Special Investigator Annemarie Lucas. “By making a complaint
to the police or humane society in your area—which you
can do anonymously—you help ensure that animals in need
are rescued and that perpetrators of animal cruelty are brought
Please read our Reporting
Cruelty FAQ for more information, and have a safe and proactive
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month.3. Dog
• • •
101: Tips to Make Your Outings Safe & Fun
It can be a job or a joy, pet parents, but we’ve
all got to do it—yup, we’re talking about walking
the dog! The beginning of spring is a great time to consider
some ways to reinvent this daily ritual and make it more enjoyable
for the both of you. Whether you’re a proud new pup parent
or a long-time, experienced dog handler, our experts have got
some advice for you. Who says you can’t teach an old owner
Among the tips you’ll find in the complete article:
- "Retractable leashes are best reserved for walks in the
park, when it’s safe for a dog to explore a bit further
away from her pet parent,” says the ASPCA Animal Behavior
Center’s Kristen Collins, CPDT. NOT a good idea if you’re
walking in an area with high foot traffic or off-leash dogs,
as the long line may get wrapped around your dog, a person’s
leg or another dog.
- Walk with buddies. If your dog likes other dogs, consider
group walks. You can either borrow a friend’s dog to accompany
you, or invite family and friends who have dogs to meet you
- Even though popular spring plants like tulips and daffodils
add much to our landscape, they can cause significant stomach
problems for our furry friends. If your pooch likes to stop
and smell—or nibble—the flowers, keep him on a short
leash during walks.
Read the complete article Dog
Man's best friend can share more than the good things in life.
Dogs can also share
a pesky parasite.
The parasite Giardia is contracted by dogs that drink contaminated
water, such as that found in puddles or lakes or even on wet
include diarrhea, weight loss, and hair loss, and puppies are
at highest risk. Keep your dog away from water sources that
may be contaminated and from wildlife fecal matter, and make
sure to wash your hands after playing with pets.
See your vet if you suspect that your dog has been infected.
your dog chewing you out of house and home?
March 19, 2009
Dogs tend to chew or gnaw on inappropriate objects when they're
bored, anxious, or craving attention. Designating play zones throughout
your house and equipping each with a few pup-friendly chew toys
and treats can cut down on the destruction. If you catch your
dog in the midst of destructive chewing, take the item from him
or her and walk away. On the other hand, if your dog is happily
chomping on a toy, stick, or bone, reinforce the good behavior
with enthusiastic praise and petting.
STRIKES OPRAH PUPPIES
whose immune systems are not yet fully developed, are most susceptible
to parvovirus, which is transmitted through fecal matter and
vomit of infected dogs. It can be brought into a puppy's environment
on someone's shoes or clothes or even on the tires of their
car. It's extremely hardy and can survive in the environment
for up to nine months. A pet owner doesn't know a dog is infected
until the symptoms develop.
"It's a devastating disease when it hits," says Kathleen
Heneghan, past president of the Chicago Veterinary Medical Association.
Symptoms include bloody vomiting and/or diarrhea, which can
lead to extreme fluid loss and dehydration until shock and death
result. Also, bacteria can invade the animal's entire body,
resulting in the formation of septic toxins and death. It is
not a threat to humans. With early and intensive treatment the
survival rate is nearly 80 percent.
Plants that Poison Pets
The approach of Spring is a perfect time
to learn what’s poisonous to your pet. In
2008, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center handled more than
140,000 cases of pets exposed to toxins, many of which were everyday
of the worst offenders were those living things that keep your home
fresh and green—household plants!
Remember, if you suspect your pet has ingested something poisonous,
please contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA
Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.
Members of the Lilium spp. are considered to be highly toxic to
cats. While the poisonous component has not yet been identified,
it is clear that with even ingestions of very small amounts of
the plant, severe kidney damage could result.
Ingestion of Cannabis sativa by companion animals can result in
depression of the central nervous system and incoordination, as
well as vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, increased heart rate, and
even seizures and coma.
All parts of Cycas Revoluta are poisonous, but the seeds or “nuts”
contain the largest amount of toxin. The ingestion of just one
or two seeds can result in very serious effects, which include
vomiting, diarrhea, depression, seizures and liver failure.
The bulb portions of Tulipa/Narcissus spp. contain toxins that
can cause intense gastrointestinal irritation, drooling, loss
of appetite, depression of the central nervous system, convulsions
and cardiac abnormalities.
Members of the Rhododenron spp. contain substances known as grayantoxins,
which can produce vomiting, drooling, diarrhea, weakness and depression
of the central nervous system in animals. Severe azalea poisoning
could ultimately lead to coma and death from cardiovascular collapse.
All parts of Nerium oleander are considered to be toxic, as they
contain cardiac glycosides that have the potential to cause serious
effects—including gastrointestinal tract irritation, abnormal
heart function, hypothermia and even death.
The poisonous principle in Ricinus communis is ricin, a highly
toxic protein that can produce severe abdominal pain, drooling,
vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, weakness and loss of appetite.
Severe cases of poisoning can result in dehydration, muscle twitching,
tremors, seizures, coma and death.
Cylamen species contain cyclamine, but the highest concentration
of this toxic component is typically located in the root portion
of the plant. If consumed, Cylamen can produce significant gastrointestinal
irritation, including intense vomiting. Fatalities have also been
reported in some cases.
This plant contains components that can produce gastrointestinal
irritation, as well as those that are toxic to the heart, and
can seriously affect cardiac rhythm and rate.
Taxus spp. contains a toxic component known as taxine, which causes
central nervous system effects such as trembling, incoordination,
and difficulty breathing. It can also cause significant gastrointestinal
irritation and cardiac failure, which can result in death.
Common garden plants popular around Easter, Amaryllis species
contain toxins that can cause vomiting, depression, diarrhea,
abdominal pain, hypersalivation, anorexia and tremors.
Ingestion of Colchicum autumnale by pets can result in oral irritation,
bloody vomiting, diarrhea, shock, multi-organ damage and bone
These popular blooms are part of the Compositae family, which
contain pyrethrins that may produce gastrointestinal upset, including
drooling, vomiting and diarrhea, if eaten. In certain cases depression
and loss of coordination may also develop if enough of any part
of the plant is consumed.
Also called branching ivy, glacier ivy, needlepoint ivy, sweetheart
ivy and California ivy, Hedera helix contains triterpenoid saponins
that, should pets ingest, can result in vomiting, abdominal pain,
hypersalivation and diarrhea.
Peace Lily (AKA Mauna Loa Peace Lily)
Spathiphyllum contains calcium oxalate crystals that can cause
oral irritation, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty in swallowing
and intense burning and irritation of the mouth, lips and tongue
in pets who ingest.
Pothos (both Scindapsus and Epipremnum) belongs to the Araceae
family. If chewed or ingested, this popular household plant can
cause significant mechanical irritation and swelling of the oral
tissues and other parts of the gastrointestinal tract.
Schefflera and Brassaia actinophylla contain calcium oxalate crystals
that can cause oral irritation, excessive drooling, vomiting,
difficulty in swallowing and intense burning and irritation of
the mouth, lips and tongue in pets who ingest.
Does Your Garden Grow?
Gardeners who use cocoa mulch unwittingly put dogs at risk.
is made from the hulls of cocoa beans and contains theobromine,
an ingredient also found in chocolate, which can be harmful
to dogs. Attracted by the scent, some dogs eat the mulch, consuming
quantities large enough to be toxic. To keep your dog safe and
your garden green, use bark mulch as an alternative.
Why Dogs Howl: A Howling Primer
few years ago, veterinarian Sophia Yin took her Australian cattle
dog, Zoe, to
a horse ranch and let the dog sleep in the stables overnight.
In the middle of the night, Dr. Yin was startled by a strange,
loud howling sound. "It sounded like the loneliest dog
in the world," recalls Dr. Yin, DVM, a certified applied
behaviorist who works at San Francisco Veterinary Specialists.
She then realized it was her own pet, Zoe. “She thought
she had been left and abandoned,” Dr. Yin recalls.
Your dog may howl when you least expect it -- as you’re
warbling a tune at the piano, when a fire engine siren sounds
or if your dog is left alone in a strange place. Howling may
not be music to your ears, but to your pooch, it is a throwback
to its wolf instincts. The purposes, meanings and triggers of
howling may surprise you.
Why Dogs Howl
Howling -- like barking -- is one of the ways that dogs communicate
with other dogs, and to a lesser degree, with people. Studies
have found that dogs bark for different reasons. While less
research has been done on dog howling, researchers believe that
dog howling is a throwback to wolf heritage and that howls also
have a variety of meanings.
Dogs often howl out of boredom or loneliness, seeking to communicate
with others, as was the case with Dr. Yin’s dog. They
also may be trying to summon other dogs or alert them as to
their location, identity, territory and more. In the wild, wolves
howl in an attempt to reassemble the pack after individuals
travel far and wide. Dogs -- descendants of wolves -- may sometimes
be trying to do the same.
“Because howling is long and sustained, its carrying distance
is further than a bark, which is short and brief,” says
Lisa Peterson, communications director for the American Kennel
Club. “It’s like a ‘long distance’ doggie
telephone call, since the long, drawn-out sound can travel for
distances of several miles."
Howling may be triggered by sirens, singing or other noises
the dog finds similar to howling, says Dan Estep, Ph.D., a certified
applied animal behaviorist in Colorado and co-author of Help!
I'm Barking and I Can't Be Quiet (Island Dog Press 2006). Social
facilitation convinces dogs to copy another dog's behavior,
such as when one pooch barks at the mail carrier and the rest
of the dogs on the block do the same.
Some dog breeds tend to howl more than others, such as hound
dogs or Northern breeds, like Siberian huskies or Alaskan malamutes.
That’s because humans have encouraged this type of vocalization
over the years for hunting, sledding and other activities. “The
hunter needs to hear them, so they want to breed a dog with
a loud bay or howl that they can hear over distances,”
On occasion, dogs will preface a howl with a few short barks.
that this type of howl is meant to try to attract extra attention,
sort of like tapping a fork on a glass in a crowded room. Other
research has found that dogs have distinctive barks, and the
same is likely true of howls. “With wolves, the thing
about howling that makes it different from barking is that it’s
not only longer but more musical in tone,” Dr. Yin says.
"It can be carried farther and carry more of an individual
How to Control
If your pup’s howling gets on your nerves or your neighbors
complain, you may want to try these tips:
Mask triggers If the doorbell or a noon siren from the firehouse
causes your dog to howl, leave the television or radio on to
mute the other sounds, Peterson suggests.
Try an anti-bark collar If you live in an apartment and need
to curtail the howling or else, Estep suggests trying a training
collar that either sprays citronella oil or emits an ultrasonic
sound when the dog tries to vocalize.
Behavior modification Desensitization to triggers may work,
Estep advises. Set up training sessions during which you keep
your pet calm and reward it with treats while exposing your
dog to what makes it howl -- the ringing of a doorbell or a
telephone, for example. You can also avoid situations in which
you know your dog may howl. After hearing Zoe's plaintive howl
once, Dr. Yin let her dog sleep in her car whenever they went
away on subsequent trips. Given the familiar environment and
Dr. Yin’s frequent safety checks, Zoe napped in peaceful
Does your veterinarian provide around-the-clock care following
March 5, 2009
Problems associated with surgery are most likely to arise during
the first 24 hours of recovery. If your dog needs surgery that
requires an overnight stay, make sure a vet or trained assistant
is available to monitor your pet throughout the night. If staffing
is unavailable, look for another facility or ask your veterinarian
if your pet may benefit by recuperating at home under your watchful
a Canine Massage
Few things in life feel as good as a massage, so your pooch would
probably love one. And just as people can benefit from a massage's
effects -- like stress reduction, better blood circulation, and
improved muscle tone -- so may your furry friend.
If you think your dog would enjoy a massage, run the idea by your
vet. It may not be appropriate for pets with health problems such
as arthritis, fractures,
cancer, or certain skin conditions.
Look for a certified massage therapist who has been trained in
animal massage, or ask your vet if he or she has training in animal
Another option is to learn how to do it yourself. Massage therapy
schools in your area may offer animal massage classes. Not only
will you gain a new skill, but also you'll get more bonding time
with your buddy. A massage also provides an opportunity to check
your pet for unusual growths and lumps.
Marin keeps 'em wagging
By Amy Sacks
Saturday, February 21st 2009
For fashion guru Nolé Marin , picking a winner on the new
show "True Beauty" will come down to which contestant
radiates true inner beauty.
Allowing inner beauty to shine is also what matters to the reality
show judge when it comes to caring for his 10 charming pooches.
"My dogs all have the most incredible personalities,"
said the former Elle magazine fashion director and " America's
Next Top Model " judge. "I work hard to make them happy
and healthy, and it shows."
Marin's brood - including two French bulldogs, three Pomeranians,
a Chinese crested, a Maltese, a Yorkie, a Brussels griffon and
a Chihuahua - range in age from 1 to 12 years old.
He credits a natural diet and an integrative approach to pet care
for maintaining their good health.
With the increase of natural health care and alternative therapies
for animals in recent years, many pet lovers are seeking natural
approaches for their pets.
The veterinarian Marin turns to is Dr. Babette Gladstein , a Manhattan
house-call doctor, who practices both traditional and alternative
"Addressing the primary fundamental issues, like nutrition,
helps to avoid a lot of diseases down the road," said Gladstein,
who has created a unique food plan for each of Marin's dogs.
She recently changed the diet of 12-year-old Pomeranian, Guinevere,
to include whitefish and sweet potato, which was successful in
treating bouts of pancreatitis.
Among the arsenal of natural supplements she uses is garlic, to
treat worms and parasites, Omega-3 fatty acid supplements for
allergies, and lysine, which can be used to heal upper-respiratory
viral infections, particularly in cats.
In addition to nutrition, Gladstein uses a combination of treatments
including acupuncture, chiropractic, ultrasound, massage therapy
and laser therapy.
Prolotherapy, a lesser-known treatment of weak and torn tendons
and ligaments is considered a promising option that is becoming
mainstream in her practice.
The treatment involves injecting a solution (lidocaine and dextrose)
into the affected ligaments and bony junctures, which causes the
growth of new connective tissue. Pain is alleviated as the tendons
and ligaments tighten and grow stronger.
The therapy, which has been used in humans since the 1950s, can
also be used to treat arthritis, hip dysplasia, back pain, neck
pain and other musculoskeletal ailments commonly found in dogs.
Alternative and natural treatments can also be used to treat some
of the most common ailments in both cats and dogs.
Last week, Veterinary Pet Insurance released a list of 2008's
top pet maladies.
Top canine claims, in order, include ear infections, skin allergies,
hot spots, gastritis, diarrhea, urinary tract infections, skin
tumors, osteoarthritis, eye inflammation and hypothyroidism.
For Marin, inner beauty also requires giving his dogs a lot of
love. "It's really what makes them beautiful."
aren't just annoying little bugs. They can infect your dog with
Lyme disease, Rocky
Mountain spotted fever, and other tick-borne diseases.
So if your pooch loves the great outdoors -- particularly if
she wanders into wooded areas -- make sure to check her coat
thoroughly and often, especially around the ears and neck. If
you spot the bloodsuckers, remove them as soon as possible!
A tick that has burrowed into your dog's skin may be tricky
to take out. Here's how to do it:
1. Slip on a pair of gloves to avoid direct
contact with the tick.
2. Use tweezers to grasp the tick by its head at the
point where it's attached to your pet's body.
3. Gently pull the tick away from the skin, but do
not twist. Make sure you remove the
entire tick -- anything left under the skin can cause an infection.
4. Clean the bite area with antiseptic, and wipe your
tweezers with rubbing alcohol. You can kill the tick by placing
it in a glass jar that contains at least several inches of the
Contact your vet if the skin around the tick bite remains irritated.
And to protect your pet during tick season (generally April
through September), use a tick-preventive product that your
a Flea Circus
FLEAS! Those pesky parasites that every dog owner
dreads. Because they're so tiny, the
first thing you may spot is their droppings. This 'flea dirt";
-- black debris -- is typically found around your pet's neck and
If you see fleas or flea dirt on your dog, promptly contact your
vet for a flea-control plan. If your pup starts scratching up
a storm, he could wind up with sores or a skin infection. Plus,
fleas can carry tapeworm larvae, which may cause infection in
Your vet will probably tell you to bathe your dog in order to
drown some of the fleas. A topical treatment, pill, or flea collar
should do in the rest.
Any place your pooch parks himself should also be thoroughly cleaned.
Wash his bedding in hot water, vacuum all carpets and upholstered
furniture, and don't forget the inside of your car if he goes
along for rides.
If those measures don't take care of the problem, you may need
to "de-flea"; your house with insecticides. And depending
on the severity of the flea problem, you may want to treat your
yard as well. Ask your vet to recommend products that are safe
for pets and children.
Dogged dental care
By: MELISSA HAYES
Wed Feb 4, 2009
WILLINGBORO - Pets need their teeth brushed too - every day. That's
the message the
Willingboro Veterinary Clinic hopes to convey as it participates
in the 15th annual Pets Need Dental Care Too, part of the 2009 pet
dental health campaign.
Willingboro Veterinary Clinic dental technician Vicki McGonigal
said ideally pet should have their teeth brushed every day.
"Like your teeth, it keeps them from getting tarter buildup,
getting gingivitis. In pets, if they get a lot of tarter buildup
it can actually deteriorate the tooth causing it to become mobile,"
McGonigal added that pets are prone to tarter buildup, which can
lead to kidney and heart problems.
According to the Pets Need Dental Care Too campaign's Web site,
"oral disease is the most frequently diagnosed health problem
for pets. Although daily tooth brushing is advised for dogs and
cats, the reality is that only 2 percent of dog owners follow through."
McGonigal said the Willingboro Veterinary Clinic has staff on hand
to tend to pets' dental needs, but dental care starts at home.
Pets should have their teeth brushed two-to-three days a week at
a minimum, she said.
McGonigal said it is best to start young. She suggested pet owners
train their pets, letting them lick toothpaste off their fingers
or a finger brush so they get used to the flavor.
She also recommends brushing a few teeth, then rewarding with a
Special toothpaste can be purchased at any pet store, or children's
toothpaste without fluoride can be used, McGonigal said.
Bad breath can be a sign of dental problems. McGonigal said, adding
other signs of dental health issues are appetite loss and excessive
The campaign is a partnership between Hill's Pen Nutrition Inc.,
American Veterinary Medical Association, American Veterinary Dental
Association, Academy of Veterinary Dentistry, American Veterinary
Dental College, Academy of Veterinary Dental Technicians and the
Veterinary Oral Health Council.
Therapy Helps Young Patients Cope
- Eyewitness News Reporter
Feb 2, 2009
CHATTANOOGA - Ten-year-old Shaneka Perkins shows her scars proudly.
with bone cancer last year, Neka has spent countless days at T.C.
Thompson Children's Hospital.
"She was really, bad sick, but they told us we are going
home tomorrow," said Susanne Pressley, Neka's mom. "She
has recovered really quickly."
It's not only the doctors who have helped Neka fight her
illness, Chloe the therapy dog has also helped.
"They jump in your bed, and you get to feed them," said
Neka. "It's even more fun if they know tricks."
Chloe is just one of the hospital's three dozen therapy dogs.
She visits patients daily to offer a sense of comfort and normalcy
through what can be a scary time for any child.
It's these pets that Oncology Child Life Specialist Ashley Williams
says bridges the gap between patient and doctor.
"Some kids never talk to me, but when I have Chloe,
it's like if I can't make a relationship with [the patient]
my dog can make a relationship for us," said Williams.
It's a type of treatment that has been around for more than a
decade and continues to work. For Susanne Pressley, a daily visit
serves as a reminder that her daughter Neka is a fighter.
"After they leave she falls because she has pushed herself
so hard," said Pressley. "But it's good for her to push
herself because then I know she can fight this out."
With another round of chemotherapy just days away, Neka is
still smiling knowing that when she returns a friend will be by
Therapy dogs are screened twice a year by a veterinarian. The
screening process tests how a dog interacts in a crowd and around
dogs in a tight economy
by Shelley Frost, SF Dogs Examiner
January 31, 2009
In a recent
survey done by the American Veterinary Medical Association, 7.6
million U.S. households added pets to their families. In
2006, Americans spent more than $36 billion on food, shelter,
veterinary care and toys for their companion animals.
Times have sure changed since then. Today's paychecks, if
you have one, need to go a lot further than ever before.
Just as you've switched to generic brands of shampoo, toilet paper
and cereal, the family dog can also get by using lower cost or
home made items.
Whether it's dog food, annual vaccinations or the monthly trip
to the groomers, here are some tips to help you curb your canine's
Keeping your dog healthy on a daily basis can keep you away from
the veterinary office. Brushing your dog's teeth a few times
a week can reduce the onset of tooth decay and gum disease.
Take your dog for daily walks to maintain a healthy weight which
can prevent diabetes and heart disease. This holds true
for your physical fitness too!
A trip to the emergency vet hospital can set you back thousands
of dollars. Avoid this trauma to your dog and your wallet
by practicing prevention. Is your house dog proof?
Prescription medications out of reach? The backyard fence
in good repair?
Make sure your dog is spayed and neutered before the age of 6
months. This will prevent breast, uterine and testicular
cancer. Plus, unaltered animals have the urge to roam and
mate, which makes them vulnerable to cars and traffic.
Except for the more complicated haircuts, learning how to groom
your own dog can save you hundreds of dollars each year.
Do-it-yourself dog washes are affordable and easy to use.
They provide shampoo, warm water, towels and blow dryers.
Skip the toy section of your dogs favorite pet supply store, and
make him homemade toys instead. Stuff an old sock with fabric,
knotting it then tossing it. Make several so you can machine
wash one while your dog is playing with the others.
Of all the cost saving measures, dog food is probably one area
you won't want to skimp. A poor quality food can end up
costing you more in veterinary bills should your dog's health
suffer the consequences. A good quality dry dog food should
always list a meat protein as one of the first two ingredients.
To save money, try to buy the food in bulk rather than small bags.
Guide to a Pet-ASPCA Guide to a Pet-Friendly Valentine’s Day
Furry valentines across the country will be party
to all sorts of romantic evenings at home this February 14—are
you prepared to keep your pet safe?
January 30, 2009
common holiday hazards to stay alert to are chocolate and lilies,
warn our poison control experts. In the week prior to Valentine's
Day 2008, cases involving chocolate ingestion increased by 74%—a
number comparable only to cases seen during the Christmas and New
Year’s holidays. And bouquet senders and receivers alike are
often unaware of the dangers of lilies.
Says ASPCA pet poison prevention expert Dana Farbman, CVT, "We
do see an increase in calls regarding traditional holiday gifts,
particularly in the few days leading up to and after Valentine's
Day—right when those bouquets and lovely boxes of chocolate
Here are some helpful tips from the ASPCA Guide to a Pet-Friendly
Valentine’s Day :
- When sending a floral arrangement, request that it contain no
lilies, as all species within the plant genera Lilium are toxic
to cats. And please de-thorn your roses, as their sharp, woody spines
can hurt your pet if chewed, stepped on or swallowed.
- Stow chocolates in paw-proof drawers and cabinets. The darker
the chocolate, the more likely a pet who’s ingested it will
suffer vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, seizures and an elevated
- Spilled wine is nothing to cry over—until a curious pet
laps it up. Because animals are smaller than humans, a little bit
of alcohol can do a lot of harm, causing vomiting, lack of
coordination, difficulty breathing and even coma.
- Gather up tape, ribbons, cellophane and balloons after you open
presents—long, stringy and “fun-to-chew” items
can get lodged in your pet’s throat or digestive tract.
to Prevent Serious Doggie Illnesses
Seeing your pooch sick is no fun. You feel powerless.
Fortunately, some of the most common and serious canine diseases
can be avoided with vaccinations starting in the first few months
of your pet's life, with updates as she grows. It also helps to
know red-flag warning signs of some of the most life-threatening
diseases -- cues that you should call your vet immediately:
Caused by: Canine distemper virus (CDV)
Symptoms: Eye discharge, either watery or pus-like.
Symptoms escalate to coughing, diarrhea, vomiting,
lethargy, and fever. If virus spreads to nervous
system, it can cause seizures and possible
Caused by: Canine parvovirus type 2 (CPV-2)
Symptoms: Vomiting, diarrhea (may be bloody),
of appetite, dehydration, lethargy, and fever. Most
infected dogs die within 2 to 3 days of the first
signs of infection, so take immediate action.
Caused by: Canine coronavirus (CCV)
Symptoms: Diarrhea, vomiting, reduced appetite,
increased thirst, and weight loss. Similar to
parvovirus, but generally more treatable.
Caused by: Leptospira bacterium
Symptoms: Fever, diarrhea, vomiting, and jaundice.
Dogs who recover may have permanent kidney damage.
Caused by: Canine adenovirus 1 (CAV-1)
Symptoms: Fever, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal
can also cause lasting kidney damage.
should you do if you see an animal being hit by a car?
of how serious the injuries appear, any animal hit by a car
needs immediate medical attention,” says Dr. Robert Reisman,
ASPCA Medical Coordinator of Animal Cruelty Cases. “Internal
injuries may not be visible, but in all instances may be life-threatening.”
More tips from Dr. Reisman:
“If there is external bleeding, apply pressure to the
wound to limit loss of blood.”
“Because you may further aggravate a serious injury while
moving an injured animal, he or she should be carefully placed
on a board—or at the very least, a blanket—and carefully,
but quickly, transported to the closest animal hospital.”
Additionally, the ASPCA reminds you to be extra alert
when crossing the street with your dogs—keep them close,
and never use extension leashes near high-traffic areas.
DOGS SMELL: Dogs' noses are such sensitive chemical
detectors that they can detect a target compound in the presence
of other odors at much higher concentrations; they can even identify
odors concentrated in a small object or piece of ground as small
as a dime. They can even discriminate between a target odor and
one that is closely related. Scent comes from an object in a plume
that swirls and eddies so there are patches of dense odor and areas
of faint odor. A dog will scan back and forth with its nose along
those varying densities to try and locate the source of a smell.
INSIDE THE NOSE: When the
dog inhales, a fold just inside its nostrils opens to allow air
to flow through the upper part of the nose where mucus-covered scent
receptors grow. Once inside the nose, chemical vapors dissolve in
those receptors, and the chemical interactions are converted into
electrical signals that travel along the olfactory nerve to the
olfactory bulb and then to the dog's brain, which processes the
data according to recognized patterns of odor signals. Dogs have
around 220 million such receptors y´ 40 times more than humans
-- which can become sensitive to many different unrelated chemicals.
Danger: Keep Your Pet Safe from Electric Shock
chill may have settled in your neighborhood, but your energetic
pooch still wants to go for walks in the great outdoors. Take
it slow and steady, pet parents. According to our experts, the
danger of stray voltage on city streets can turn a simple stroll
into a devastating event for our furry friends.
Most common in northern climes and urban areas, stray voltage
occurs when dormant utilities leak excess electricity. Combined
with wet streets and salt-based ice melts, this current can shock,
injure or even prove fatal for those in its path. “Since
salt used to treat icy streets is a great conductor of electricity,”
says Dr. Louise Murray, ASPCA Director of Medicine and author
of Vet Confidential , “the risk of shock from stray voltage
is that much higher during the winter months.” The ASPCA
offers the following tips to help you avoid potentially hazardous
areas, and advice on what to do if your pet has suffered an electrical
Keep your dog away from metal fixtures, such as lampposts, grates
or manhole covers. While these spots may be your pet’s favorite
place to relieve himself, they may also conduct hazardous
Your dog's snazzy, rubber rain boots may look good, but they won't
protect your pooch from a strong current. Don’t depend on
them to keep your pet safe. Some boots—those with metal
studs, for example—may even make the situation worse.
Observe your dog’s behavior. Is he skittish, frightened,
angry or upset for no apparent reason? These sudden behavioral
changes could be an indication of electric shock.
If your dog is incapacitated due to shock, don’t try to
touch or move him without protective gear. Your pooch may pass
the current to you, rendering you both incapable of seeking help.
Instead, call your local fire department immediately.
Know of an area in your neighborhood that could be affected by
stray voltage? Contact city services—in New York City, dial
311—to alert the proper authorities.
For more information about keeping your pet safe during the winter
months, please read our cold weather tips .For more information
about keeping your pet safe during the winter months, please read
our cold weather tips .
on, Wax out: The Safe and Healthy Way to Clean Your Dog's Ears
Ear cleaning is not a tail-wagging event for many dogs, but occasional
gentle cleaning is the best way to keep infections away. Here
are a few pointers:
Have your vet recommend an ear wash solution and demonstrate how
it should be used. Also, ask how often and how thoroughly you
should be attending
to your dog's ears, since overcleaning can be harmful.
Wash your hands before beginning -- you don't want to introduce
any new nasties to the ear canal.
Place the tip of the bottle of ear wash just a few millimeters
inside the ear canal, and slowly squirt in the recommended amount.
Rub lightly around the base of the ear with your fingers to help
the solution settle in.
Reach into the ear with a cotton ball or gauze pad, but don't
dig, and don't use cotton swabs. Gently wipe away any discharge
or wax that's within your reach.
Tails: Dog's cancer fight shows importance of spaying/neutering
is a happy and healthy little dog, maybe for the first time in
her life of about 10 years.
The sad part is all of her health problems could've been prevented.
Lila was abandoned in 2007 in the basement of an empty house.
While at the Sullivan SPCA, it was discovered the Jack Russell
terrier suffered from an old burn wound injury and a mammary gland
After only a few weeks at the shelter, she was adopted by Janice
Fotopoulos and her fiancé, Robert LaBianco. They already
had two Jack Russells at their home in Middletown.
"We thought that she would be a nice addition to our family,"
said Fotopoulos. "We decided to fill out an application to
adopt Lila, despite her issues."
Lila's issues were worse than originally diagnosed. Janice's own
veterinarian, Dr. Yelena Berlinrut of Middletown Veterinary Hospital,
discovered breast cancer and recommended immediate surgery to
remove the tumors. The tumors revealed cancer in her mammary glands.
Lila's prior malnutrition from being abandoned meant she couldn't
have a full mastectomy. There just wasn't enough fat to put her
back together after surgery.
"At that time," said Fotopoulos, "our vet estimated
that Lila had two to three months to live." Lila had other
plans. Almost two years and another surgery later, she is doing
"We are treating her from the inside out," said Fotopoulos,
who gives Lila anti-inflammatory pills and holistic capsules to
boost her immune system. "I'm so glad that it's slowing down
again and in remission. I pray to God it stays that way. She is
the most thankful, grateful little dog that I have ever had the
pleasure of knowing.
"I am extremely thankful to the Sullivan County SPCA for
giving Lila the chance to be adopted and not euthanizing her because
she was older and ill. I give Dr. Berlinrut a lot of credit for
keeping her alive."
Lila now wears a pink ribbon on her pink collar in support of
breast cancer awareness.
"When people ask me about her," said Fotopoulos, "I
tell them that she has breast cancer. People are shocked, and
their response is, 'I never knew that dogs could get breast cancer.'"
After finding out that Lila had breast cancer, Sullivan County
SPCA Vice President Manon Fortier spoke to several veterinarians
and did some research on the subject.
"I was shocked to find out that breast cancer in female dogs
is not only common but also highly preventable only by spaying
the animal before her first heat cycle," she said. "As
if preventing unwanted pregnancy wasn't enough, now we have another
very important reason to spay early."
Because of Lila's struggle, Fortier checks her own dog's mammary
glands every month, even though she is spayed. "I urge your
readers to do the same and to contact their veterinarian immediately
should they find a growth or lump," Fortier said.
SPAY USA reports that sterilization of your cat or dog will increase
his/her chance of a longer and healthier life. Altering dogs will
increase their lives, on average, one to three years; cats, three
to five years. Altered animals have a very low to no risk of mammary
gland tumors/cancer, prostate cancer, perianal tumors, pyometria,
and uterine, ovarian and testicular cancers.
SPAY USA has affordable spay/neuter programs and clinics in 1,000
locations nationwide to make it affordable to those who might
not otherwise spay/neuter their pets.
"Please," Fotopoulos warns, "if you love your pet
and want to prevent them from developing this dreaded disease,
Cancer is not the only reason to spay/neuter your pets. The No.
1 reason is to control the pet overpopulation in our shelters
Suzyn Barron, president of the Warwick Valley Humane Society,
reports her shelter currently has about 75 young kittens and cats
and about 50 adults. "We've had a lot of adoptions,"
she said, "but they just keep coming in. It's not letting
up because of the warm weather. It's just never ending."
Barron also reported that the Chester/Warwick Spay/Neuter Fund
is available for 2009. The fund refunds Town of Chester and Town
of Warwick residents $50 for having their pet spayed/neutered.
"It's the kindest thing you can do for your animals,"
she said. "There is no need for domestic animals to produce
litters and litters and litters, because ultimately, there aren't
with Pet Loss Over the Holidays
The holidays, chock full of family gatherings
and much-needed downtime, can be tough for those of us who are
grieving over the death of a pet. Memories and feelings of loss
come up strongly, but remembering furry loved ones who’ve
passed away doesn’t have to take the joy out of your holidays.
Accepting your feelings, talking about them and doing creative
things such as making scrapbooks of your pets and volunteering
at your local animal shelter can help you to begin the New Year
with your memories in the right place.
For advice about coping with feelings of loss, please call our
Pet Loss Hotline at (877) 474-3310—and if you have children
who are missing old pets, take a look at our ways
to help kids better understand their feelings .
Top 10 Pet Poisons of 2008
various dangers lurking in corners and cabinets, the home can
be a minefield of poisons for our pets. In 2008, the ASPCA Animal
Poison Control Center (APCC) in Urbana, IL, handled more than
140,000 cases of pets exposed to toxic substances, many of which
included everyday household products. Don’t leave it up
to Fido or Fluffy to keep themselves safe. Below is a list of
the top ten pet poisons that affected our furry friends in 2008.
For several years, human medications have been number one on
the ASPCA’s list of common hazards, and 2008 was no exception.
Last year, the ASPCA managed more than 50,000 calls involving
prescription and over-the-counter drugs, such as painkillers,
cold medications, antidepressants and dietary supplements. Pets
often snatch pill vials from counters and nightstands or gobble
up medications accidentally dropped on the floor, so it’s
essential to keep meds tucked away in hard-to-reach cabinets.
In our effort to battle home invasions of unwelcome pests, we
often unwittingly put our pets at risk. In 2008, our toxicologists
fielded more than 31,000 calls related to insecticides. One
of the most common incidents involved the misuse of flea and
tick products—such as applying the wrong topical treatment
to the wrong species. Thus, it’s always important to talk
to your pet’s veterinarian before beginning any flea and
tick control program.
People food like grapes, raisins, avocado and certain citrus
fruit can seriously harm our furry friends, and accounted for
more than 13,500 cases in 2008. One of the worst offenders—chocolate—contains
large amounts of methylxanthines, which, if ingested in significant
amounts, can cause vomiting, diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst,
urination, hyperactivity, and in severe cases, abnormal heart
rhythm, tremors and seizures.
Last year, the ASPCA received approximately 8,000 calls about
pets who had accidentally ingested rat and mouse poisons. Many
baits used to attract rodents contain inactive ingredients that
are attractive to pets as well. Depending on the type of rodenticide,
ingestions can lead to potentially life-threatening problems
for pets, including bleeding, seizures and kidney damage.
though veterinary medications are intended for pets, they’re
often misapplied or improperly dispensed by well-meaning pet
parents. In 2008, the ASPCA managed nearly 8,000 cases involving
animal-related preparations such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory
drugs, heartworm preventatives, de-wormers, antibiotics, vaccines
and nutritional supplements.
In 2008, the Animal Poison Control Center handled approximately
7,500 cases of pet exposure to chemical hazards. A category
on the rise, chemical hazards—found in ethylene glycol
antifreeze, paint thinner, drain cleaners and pool/spa chemicals—form
a substantial danger to pets. Substances in this group can cause
gastrointestinal upset, depression, respiratory difficulties
and chemical burns.
Common houseplants were the subject of nearly 6,500 calls to
the Animal Poison Control Center in 2008. Varieties such as
azalea, rhododendron, sago palm, lilies, kalanchoe and schefflera
are often found in homes and can be harmful to pets. Lilies
are especially toxic to cats, and can cause life-threatening
kidney failure even in small amounts.
Everybody knows that household cleaning supplies can be toxic
to adults and children, but few take precautions to protect
their pets from common agents such as bleaches, detergents and
disinfectants. Last year, the ASPCA received more than 4,000
calls related to household cleaners. These products, when inhaled
by our furry friends, can cause serious gastrointestinal distress
and irritation to the respiratory tract.
It’s not too much loud music that constitutes our next
pet poison offender. Instead, it’s heavy metals such as
lead, zinc and mercury, which accounted for more than 3,000
cases of pet poisonings in 2008. Lead is especially pernicious,
and pets are exposed to it through many sources, including consumer
products, paint chips, linoleum, and lead dust produced when
surfaces in older homes are scraped or sanded.
It may keep your grass green, but certain types of fertilizer
can cause problems for outdoor cats and dogs. Last year, the
ASPCA fielded more than 2,000 calls related to fertilizer exposure.
Prevention is really
key to avoiding accidental exposure, but if you suspect your
pet has ingested something lawn-side, please contact your veterinarian
or the Animal
Poison Control Center’s 24-hour
Ways to Sniff Out the Perfect Doggie Doctor
choice of veterinarian is one of the first and most important
decisions you'll ever make about your dog's health. Make it
a good one by considering the following factors:
* Credentials: Is the doctor a member of the American Veterinary
Medical Association or any other professional organizations?
• Hours: Do they mesh with your schedule?
• Location: Is it convenient to home and work? (Especially
in case of emergencies.)
• Facilities: Do they seem clean and well-organized?
• Availability: How easy is it to book an appointment?
• Staff: Do they seem friendly and knowledgeable?
• Prices: Do they fit your budget?
• Experience: How savvy is the vet about any special health
conditions your dog may have?
• Services: Do they perform diagnostics, such as x-rays
and ultrasounds, in the office, or do you need to be referred
to a specialist?
• Reputation: Ask friends, family members, and colleagues
Best Holiday Gift for Pets:
Keep ‘Em Safe from Accidental Poisoning
We’re all for keeping holiday spirits high with fancy decor
and bow-topped presents galore, but the best gift you can offer
your pets this season is to steer them clear of unhealthy foods,
dangerous decorations and holiday plants that can be toxic .
Dr. Louise Murray, Director of Medicine at the ASPCA'S Bergh Memorial
Animal Hospital and author of Vet Confidential: An Insider's Guide
to Protecting Your Pet's Health , reports, "Over the holidays,
veterinary hospitals often see an influx of pets affected by a
variety of seasonal hazards, from cats vomiting after swallowing
ribbons to dogs who’ve indulged in pilfered chocolates.
It's important to keep our animal companions safe when celebrating."
The following tips will help keep everyone—furry and two-legged—in
O Christmas Tree: Securely anchor your Christmas tree so it doesn’t
tip and fall, causing possible injury to your pet. This will also
prevent the tree water—which may contain fertilizers that
can cause stomach upset—from spilling.
Tinsel-less Town: Kitties love this sparkly, light-catching “toy”
that’s easy to bat around and carry in their mouths. But
a nibble can lead to a swallow, which can lead to an obstructed
digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery.
It’s best to brighten your boughs with something other than
Toy Joy: Stuff your pet’s stockings with gifts that are
Many a dog has been known to tear her toys apart and swallow the
pieces, which can become lodged in the esophagus, stomach or intestines.
Stick with chew toys that are basically indestructible, digestible
chew treats or Kongs that can be stuffed with healthy foods.
Ribbon, yarn and loose little parts that can get stuck in a cat’s
intestines often necessitate surgery. Surprise kitty with a new
ball that’s too big to swallow, a stuffed catnip toy or
the interactive cat dancer—and tons of play time together.
Forget the Mistletoe & Holly: When ingested by pets, mistletoe
can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems.
Holly can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, and many varieties
of lilies can cause kidney failure in cats. Opt for just-as-jolly
artificial plants made from silk or plastic, or choose a pet-safe
For more poison prevention tips, please visit ASPCA
Sure, you'd like Fifi to share in the joys of the holiday table,
but resist the urge to be generous.
Foods and drinks you digest easily, like the following, can cause
trouble for your pooch:
Dinner rolls -- Dough expands in the stomach, creating distressing
Onions and garlic -- These flavor enhancers contain a compound that
could damage a dog's red blood cells, causing anemia.
Rich sauces -- Gravy upsets the stomach and may lead to pancreatitis.
Bones -- Sharp pieces of bone can choke a dog or pierce or block
her gastrointestinal tract.
Alcohol -- Even slightly spiked eggnog can be toxic, so don't leave
any drinks unattended.
Best (and Jealous) Friend
“With Treats, Dogs Seem to Know What’s Fair”
is the most surprising about this finding is that anyone actually
finds it surprising. The reluctance of humans to acknowledge emotions
in nonhuman species is what astonishes me.
Jane Shakman, Ossining, N.Y.
With Treats, Dogs Seem to Know What's Fair
By HENRY FOUNTAIN
December 8, 2008
the list of the qualities of dogs — enthusiastic and steadfast
come to mind — can be
added another. That pooch of yours, researchers say, may be envious.
Scientists in Austria report in The Proceedings of the National
Academy of Sciences that a dog may stop obeying a command if it
sees that another dog is getting a better deal.
In this way dogs may be showing a sensitivity that is similar
to, although perhaps more primitive than, that shown by chimpanzees
and some monkeys. Until now those primates were the only nonhumans
to show what is called “inequity aversion” in the
absence of a reward.
The finding may come as no surprise to some dog owners, and it
didn’t completely surprise Friederike Range, a postdoctoral
researcher at the University of Vienna who led the study.
“We have a dog at home,” she said, “and I know
how jealous she is of different people and situations.”
The study tried to quantify the behavior by using well-trained
dogs that readily offer a paw on command. The researchers used
two dogs side by side but treated them differently, giving one
a better reward (sausage) and the other a lesser one (bread) when
the paw was given, or giving one dog no reward at all.
They found that the quality of the reward made little difference.
But in the case in which one dog got no treat at all, that dog
became less and less inclined to obey the command.
Fact or Fiction: Are Poinsettias Poisonous?
daylight at a premium and fall color a thing of the past, a vibrant
poinsettia plant is a great way to brighten your home this
holiday season. But aren’t poinsettias super poisonous to
pets, you ask? Not so, says the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.
According to our experts, rumors of the plant’s toxicity are
exaggerated—perpetuated by a longstanding myth.
A subtropical shrub indigenous to Central and Southern Mexico, the
poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) first appeared in the United
States in the 1820s. The myth of the plant’s toxicity spread
in the early 20th century when the two-year-old child of a U.S.
Army officer allegedly died from eating a poinsettia leaf. In truth,
a 50-pound child would have to eat more than 600 poinsettia leaves
to exceed experimental doses that produced no toxic effects.
In the last 12 months, the Animal Poison Control Center managed
84 cases involving ingestions of poinsettias, but the most common
result was an upset stomach. According to Dana Farbman, CVT, ASPCA
Senior Manager of Professional Communications, “Ingestion
of poinsettias typically only produces mild to moderate gastrointestinal
irritation in pets, which may include drooling, vomiting and diarrhea.”
Because of the plant’s low toxic potential, veterinary treatment
isn’t usually necessary, Farbman reports, but in certain situations
it may help to give your pet a few sips of water or milk to diminish
To prevent digestive problems, pet parents should keep poinsettias
out of reach, but it’s not necessary to banish the festive
plant altogether. Lilies, on the other hand, are also common holiday
flowers , but many of those varieties — including tiger, Asian,
Japanese show, stargazer and the Casablanca—can cause kidney
failure in cats, even in tiny amounts.
As always, if you suspect your pet has eaten something toxic, please
contact your vet or the ASPCA’s 24-hour hotline at (888) 426-4435.
For more information about toxic and nontoxic plants, please visit
APCC online .
Good Gift Ideas
Got a special canine on your holiday gift list? Here are a few
goodies guaranteed to keep her tail wagging:
A rubber treat toy stuffed with a few of her favorite biscuits
will distract her from your
Give an older dog the gift of comfy naps this winter with a memory-foam
bed; or keep her
toasty with one that's heated.
Resolve to control your pooch's weight -- invest in a ball launcher
to get her running and fetching.
Also, consider picking up a few extra toys or packages of treats
and donating them to less fortunate dogs at your local animal
Animals Do Not Make Good Gifts
Animals, like us, require love
and proper care to flourish. Although people who give animals
as gifts invariably have good intentions, it is unfair to give
an animal to anyone unless you are absolutely certain that the
person wants that particular animal as a companion and is willing
and able to give a lifetime of proper care.
Think Before Giving
Adding an animal companion to the family is an important decision.
It means making a permanent
commitment to care for and spend time with the animal and to
provide for his or her lifelong care.
Before adopting, consider the time and money involved in proper
animal care. Will your loved one have the time and patience
to exercise and housetrain the animal? Is he or she prepared
to pay for food, accessories (such as toys, grooming supplies,
leashes and harnesses, and bedding), inoculations, and veterinary
care, including spaying or neutering, flea treatment, deworming,
and emergency care?
If a family decides to adopt an animal, every member of the
family should go to the local animal shelter together to choose
the animal, having already discussed the obligations and long-term
commitments involved. Please, never buy from breeders or pet
stores, and always practice your ABCs— animal birth control
. For every animal purchased from a breeder or a pet shop, a
potential home is taken away from a homeless dog or a cat at
a local animal shelter.
Children May Not Be Ready
Small children may unintentionally harm animals, even breaking
their fragile bones or causing other fatal injuries, when they
think they are playing. Puppies, kittens, bunnies, chicks, baby
ducks, and other young animals are especially vulnerable.
We have heard too many stories about families in which the child
has lost interest in an animal, and the adult is forced to make
the difficult decision on the best way to "solve"
the problem. Often this means turning the animal over to a crowded
shelter or pound or—worse—passing the animal on
to a series of homes, causing trauma, psychological scarring,
and behavioral problems.
Too Few Happy Endings
Animal shelters are filled beyond capacity with homeless animals,
many of whom were former "pets" who, for one reason
or another, didn't fit into someone's lifestyle. No matter how
much they would like to, many people who receive animals as
gifts find that they are unable to make the lifelong commitment
to care for their new companion.
Sadly, many people end up turning animals they received as gifts
over to an overburdened humane society or animal-control agency
that is likely filled to capacity. In worst-case scenarios,
some people even abandon animals on the road or in the back
yard when they move away.
What You Can Do
Don't ever give an animal as a gift.
have discussed the idea with the prospective recipients and
know that they have the time, willingness, ability, and resources
to properly care for an animal and make that serious commitment,
consider offering them a gift certificate from the local animal
If you attend a fair, flea market, or other event at which animals
are being given away, educate those who are responsible. If
people are offering free kittens or puppies, for example, explain
the risks of giving animals to unknown passersby—some
people sell dogs and cats to laboratories or dealers, and others
abuse, neglect, or abandon them.
the Halls with Caution
December 4, 2008
Spruce up your home for the holidays, but play it safe. Let the
following dog-healthy decorating do's and don'ts guide you:
Hang all ornaments, tinsel, and tree trimmings above your pup's
nose; swallowing pieces of any of these can cause painful intestinal
Keep all electrical cords out of Bowser's reach, and check for exposed
Don't let the tree water become a watering hole, since harmful bacteria
and fertilizer from the tree bark collect in it.
Be aware that some holiday plants are toxic to dogs. For example,
mistletoe can cause
cardiovascular and breathing problems, and poinsettias can lead
to upset stomachs.
Know how your skin gets dry and itchy in winter? Your dog's skin
struggles with cold weather, overheated houses, and low humidity,
too. Here's how to keep your pooch itch-free:
Brush her often. Even shorthaired dogs need help sloughing off dead
skin cells. Brushing stimulates circulation and kicks up production
of natural moisturizers from oil glands.
Shampoo less often. Experts warn that weekly baths remove much-needed
lubricating oils. Keep your own shampoo -- even the gentle one --
on the shelf, and use a moisturizing doggie-formulated one.
If dry skin persists, take Fluffy to the vet. Itching can be a sign
of something more serious
NEEDS SOFT, HEALTHY SKIN TO BE ALLERGY-FREE
President-elect Barack Obama
faces many challenges, chief among them making good on
his K9 campaign promise to get daughters Malia
and Sasha the puppy they’ve been lobbying
for — despite Malia’s pet allergies.
Here’s great news for the soon-to-be first family or any
family with an allergic child: It’s a misconception that
you need to get a “hypoallergenic” breed. With a
few simple safety measures, allergic kids can breathe easy around
a Mutt. (Say it with me, “Yes, they can!”)
“Even nonshedding or hairless breeds have skin,”
points out veterinarian Dr. Shawn Messonier, author of “The
Natural Health Bible for Dogs and Cats.” When
Doggie skin becomes dry, it releases more allergy-triggering
dander into the air, so keeping Spot’s skin soft and nourished
is the real key to avoiding allergic reactions.
Messonier recommends supplementing a Dog’s diet with drops
of fish oil or olive oil, which will moisturize the pup from
the inside. He also suggests washing the dog frequently with
a chemical-free emollient shampoo such as Dr. Shawn’s
Pet Organics and Organix South’s TheraNeem
Frequent bathing with organic shampoo also removes other environmental
allergens that could trigger an allergic reaction, such as pollen
and dust mites, which cling to a Dog’s hair and paw-pads.
“Being so close to the ground, Dogs are exposed to more
stuff than we are,” Messonier explains.
A great way for kids to combine hand-washing with paw-wiping
after playing outside is with Clean Well hand-sanitizer
wipes. Clean Well contains an effective botanical
germicide that was formulated for the company founder’s
son Connor, who was born with a compromised immune system. The
boy, now 10, lives happily with his family’s pug, Frankie.
Regardless of all these precautions, no Dog, no matter how clean,
should sleep in the allergic child’s bedroom. There’s
just no need to increase exposure to any amount of allergens
during sleep. This way, the child’s body can build strength
to further combat the allergens during the day.
Finally, White Housekeepers should deploy a reliable air filter
and a powerful vacuum cleaner to remove microscopic traces of
dander from the Obama Dog — not to mention pet particles
lingering from previous administrations!
Offer Thanksgiving Safety Tips
and feasts—the main ingredients for holiday fun can actually
result in distress for pets. Not only can too many table scraps
set furry tummies a-rumble, but many animals get anxious at the
change in household routine. Says the ASPCA’s Dr. Steven
Hansen, Senior Vice President, Animal Health Services, which includes
the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center in Urbana, IL,
“As you begin to prepare for a festive season, remember
to be wary of activities that can be potentially dangerous to
The following safety tips will help to ensure a safe and
ful filling Thanksgiving for you and your pets:
Talkin’ Turkey: Giving your pets a little
nibble of turkey is okay, just be sure that it’s boneless
and fully cooked. Raw or undercooked turkey may contain salmonella
bacteria. And dogs can choke on the bones, which splinter easily.
A Feast Fit for a Kong: While the humans are
chowing down, give your cat and dog their own little feast. Stuff
their usual dinner—with a few added bits of turkey, dribbles
of gravy or vegetables like sweet potato and green beans—inside
a Kong toy. They’ll be happily occupied trying to get their
meal out, and way too busy to come begging for table scraps.
Sage Advice: This peppery herb makes stuffing
taste delish, but also contains essential oils and resins that
can cause pets to suffer stomach upset and possible depression
of the central nervous system.
Battery Power: The holiday season means lots
of cameras, radios and other battery-operated electronics. Don’t
leave batteries lying around. If swallowed, they can cause choking
or obstruction; if punctured, the chemicals in alkaline batteries
can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus.
To learn more, read our complete list of holiday
safety tips and special Thanksgiving
safety advice straight from our experts .
Out Ear Infections
Dogs aren't known for their sweet fragrance, but if you notice
a foul odor -- and Fifi hasn't been rolling in yucky stuff --
lift up her ear flaps and sniff. Healthy ears don't smell bad.
However, if you get a whiff of something alarmingly bad, chances
bacteria, mites, or fungi are thriving in your dog's long and
hairy ear canal. Other telltale signs of infection that warrant
a vet visit include redness, discharge, extreme warmth, and sensitivity
to touch. Your pet may run the side of her head along the floor,
Don't attempt to clean sore ears yourself -- instead, get treatment
instructions from your vet.
becomes a weapon of mass destruction when home alone, the cause
could simply be boredom, anxiety, or fear. To counter the boredom
factor, be sure he has plenty of toys to chew, pull, and toss.
Help him relax by leaving the radio or TV on at low volume while
you're out. Soothing music and the sound of voices comforts a lonely
pooch and may be enough to ease his anxiety.
Finally, come and go calmly. If you don't make a big fuss of your
departure and return, he might not, either.
Trails and Tails
The air is fresh, and your buddy is by your side. What could be
more fun and feel less like a workout than hiking with your dog?
Just keep thesepup-healthy points in mind:
Avoid multipurpose trails. Don't make Fido share the path with
dirt bikes or ATVs. And avoid paths heavily trafficked by mountain
Keep cool. Watch for signs that a shade break is needed, like
heavy panting and bright red gums. Carry water. Offer water often;
dogs drink more
Use a leash. Chipmunks and other critters can be too darned tempting.
Use sunscreen. Fair doggy noses can burn just like human ones.
10 Drugs That Poison Our Pets
Prescription and over-the-counter medications may help you feel
much better, but they can make our pets feel much, much worse.
In 2007, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) handled
89,000 cases of pets exposed to human medications—by far,
the most common cause of household poisonings in small animals.
To help you prevent an accident from happening, our experts have
drafted a list of the top 10 human medications that most often
poison our furry friends. Here’s a sneak peek at their research:
• Pets are ultra-sensitive to anti-inflammatory medications
like ibuprofen and naproxen, which can cause stomach and intestinal
ulcers and kidney damage in cats.
• Nothing like antidepressants to bring a pet down—they
can trigger vomiting, lethargy and a frightening condition called
• The popular pain remedy acetaminophen is especially toxic
to cats, and can damage red blood cells and interfere with oxygen
• Pseudoephedrine is a decongestant found in many cold remedies,
but acts like a stimulant in cats and dogs, who can experience
elevated heart rates and seizures.
Pets often snatch pill vials from counters and nightstands or
gobble up meds accidentally dropped on the floor. The solution?
“Keep all medications in a cabinet,” advises Dr. Helen
Myers, veterinary toxicologist at the ASPCA. “And consider
taking your pills in a bathroom, so if you drop one, you can shut
the door and prevent your pet from accessing the room until the
medication is found.”
Dr. Myers also recommends learning the name, dosage and quantity
of all of your prescriptions should the unthinkable occur. “For
example, if you keep several medications in a bottle in your purse,
put in a known amount,” she says. “So if your dog
gets into the bottle, you know what the worst case scenario is.”
If your pet does swallow any meds, stay calm and try to assess
how many are left in the bottle versus how many might have been
consumed. This information is crucial for veterinarians when assigning
your pet’s risk level and determining a proper course of
As always, if you suspect your pet has ingested any human medications—or
other toxic substances—please call your vet or the ASPCA
Animal Poison Control Center’s 24-hour hotline at (888)
426-4435. To read our expert’s complete top 10 list of dangerous
drugs, visit APCC
That dry, raspy honking is called kennel cough for a reason: Dogs
tend to get it when they're kept in close contact. But your pup
can catch the highly contagious virus anywhere, even at the groomer.
Most dogs recover in 7–10 days, but the vet may prescribe
medication to prevent complications and ease the inflammation.
Here's what you can do to help Bowser feel better:
Give him a steam treatment. Let him breathe the moist bathroom
air while you take a hot shower. Use a body harness instead of
a correction collar that presses on his windpipe. Ask the vet
for a cough suppressant. Your pet -- and you -- will sleep better.
Can You Puppy Eat?
can gradually start switching from mother's milk to dry puppy
food at around 3-4 weeks of age. Ask your vet for a feeding plan
that suits your dog's breed. By 7 or 8 weeks, she'll be thriving
on dry food alone. Some ideas to help her make the change:
• Practice portion control: Overfeeding can cause a puppy
to grow too fast, creating bone problems.
• Moisten the dry food: Doing so may help encourage your
puppy to make the switch. Use no more than one part warm water
to four parts dry food, changing frequently to ensure freshness.
• Check food labels for protein: A young dog needs more
(about 25% to 30% more)
than an adult one.
• Limit treats: Rewarding good behavior starts early, but
don't let treats make
up more than 5% of your pup's diet.
of Intestinal Wrath
raisins, although healthy and popular snacks for people, can cause
serious health problems in dogs. Although the exact reason why
they're toxic remains unknown, even small doses can cause vomiting,
diarrhea, fatigue, and abdominal pain and can lead to kidney damage
and even kidney failure. After ingesting these fruits, dogs show
increased levels of nitrogen, creatinine, and phosphorous in their
blood, which indicates impaired kidney function. If your dog succeeds
in sneaking any of these snacks, a swift trip to the vet can offset
potentially serious health complications.
Keep Your Pet Safe from Toxic Glues
As do-it-yourself home improvement projects become more popular,
pet parents may unwittingly expose their furry friends to dangerous
tools and tricks of the trade. One such product is polyurethane
glue, a water resistant adhesive that’s a favorite of woodworkers,
but especially toxic to dogs and cats.
According to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) , pet
poisonings from wood glues—and other adhesives containing
the substance diphenylmethane diisocyanate (MDI)—are pervasive.
In the last twelve months, the APCC has treated nearly 100 cases
of pets who’ve ingested expanding glues. Of those incidents,
98% involved dogs and 78% were evaluated at high or medium risk
for developing severe, life-threatening clinical effects.
Polyurethane glue—also known by brand names like Gorilla
Glue and Elmer’s Pro-Bond—is prized for its ability
to bond tightly to wood. If eaten, however, the glue expands in
the stomach’s warm, moist environment and forms a softball-sized
lump. A dog who eats even a small amount of MDI-based adhesive
can experience severe gastrointestinal problems resulting in blockages.
This disturbing scenario most often requires emergency surgery
to remove the mass.
Pet parents should treat any expanding adhesive as a potential
hazard, since the offending chemical MDI is not always listed
on product labels. Like all toxic household products, wood glue
should be stored in a secure cabinet to prevent your furry beloveds
from coming into contact with it. If you suspect your pet has
ingested polyurethane glue, please call your vet or the ASPCA’s
24-hour poison hotline at (888) 426-4435.
• • •
Planning For Pets: Do You Know What To Pack?
As residents of the southeast coast of Texas wait for Hurricane
Ike's floodwaters to recede, and citizens of Louisiana and Florida
continue to sort through storm wreckage, the message couldn't
be clearer—now is the time to create emergency evacuation
plans that include pets.
The ASPCA would like to offer the following list of essential
items to pack for your animal companions in advance, should you
be faced with evacuation:
• Pet first-aid kit and guide book
• 3 to 7 days' worth of canned (pop-top) or dry food
• Disposable litter trays (aluminum roasting pans are perfect)
• Litter or paper toweling
• Liquid dish soap and disinfectant
• Disposable garbage bags for clean-up
• Dishes for food and water
• Extra harness and leash
• Photocopies of medical records
• Waterproof container with a two-week supply of any medicine
your pet requires
• Bottled water—at least seven days' worth for each
person and pet
• Traveling bag, crate or sturdy carrier, ideally one for
• Recent photos of your pet(s)
• Pet Grab ‘N Go Bag (can be crucial to protecting
your pet’s paperwork)
*** Especially for cats: Pillowcase
or EvackSack, toys, scoopable litter
*** Especially for dogs:
Long leash and yard stake, toys and chew toys, a week's worth
of cage liner
For a more complete list of emergency
planning tips and the Ready Pets brochure on pet-friendly
evacuation, visit the Disaster
Preparedness section of the ASPCA website.
Thanks to Your Best Friend
Did you know that just being in your pup's presence makes you healthier?
what the latest research suggests:
Petting your pup boosts production of pleasure hormones in the brain,
helping to keep your stress and blood pressure at healthy levels.
Canine company aids the recovery of heart attack patients and has
effect on people with Alzheimer's.
Regular walks with your dog lift your mood and improve your fitness.
Kids who grow up with dogs seem to have stronger immune systems
and may be
less likely to develop asthma, eczema, and pet allergies later in
Not Easy Being Green: Popular Plants Poisonous to Pets
As gardeners across the country say goodbye to summer, green thumbs
and amateurs alike are scooping up houseplants to spice up the
fall and winter months. They're also taking off their sunhats
and dragging outdoor plants inside to protect them from upcoming
dips in temperature. Plants are popular for their decorative,
restorative and air-clearing properties, but many species are
toxic to our curious furry friends. Soil and leaves attract dogs
and cats, who like to chew on vines and romp in the dirt. The
ASPCA’s garden gurus set the record straight on some of
the season’s most poisonous best-sellers :
Although most common in springtime but sold year-round, lilies—including
stargazer, tiger and Easter lilies—are pretty on the outside
but wreak havoc on the insides of our kitty companions. “Even
with very small ingestions, severe kidney damage can result,”
according to Dr. Steven Hansen, veterinary toxicologist &
ASPCA Senior Vice President.
English ivy creeps its way into our hearts, but its precious vines
contain triterpenoid saponins, which can cause vomiting, abdominal
pain, hypersalivation and diarrhea if eaten by dogs and cats.
Two of the hottest plants to hit office cubicles across the country
are peace lily and pothos. Both are hearty and tolerate a fair
amount of neglect, but for cats and dogs, they can cause irritation
of the mouth, lips and tongue (peace lily) and swelling of the
GI tract (pothos).
Oleander, a pretty shrub used as an ornamental plant in warmer
regions, can also be cultivated indoors in cooler climes. One
of the most poisonous plants to pets and people, it can lead to
GI irritation, abnormal heart function, hypothermia and even death.
Keep the nibbler in your life safe from toxic foliage by placing
all plants out of reach. Or better yet, choose a nontoxic
alternative to brighten your home, soothe your soul
and protect your pet. As always, if you think your pet has ingested
something poisonous, please contact your vet or the ASPCA Animal
Poison Control Center’s 24-hour hotline at (888) 426-4435.