If disaster strikes, are you prepared?

dog-emergencySeptember is “National Preparedness Month”

For many of us pet parents our cats and dogs, and other critters are members of our families. We care for them, we love them, and we ensure their comfort, safety and wellbeing.

Surprisingly, a local poll shows that many people do not have emergency preparedness plans –for themselves or for their pets.

Don’t get caught in a traumatic event without being prepared: Make a plan and prepare a disaster kit for your family and for your pets.

There are simple steps we can take to facilitate an orderly rescue of our pets in need. From getting Rescue Alert Stickers 51guee790wlthat indicate the types and number of pets in your household and your veterinarian’s phone number, over choosing “Designated Caregivers” (e.g. friends outside the danger zone, boarding, dog walkers, et), to helping emergency workers help our pets.

Government agency FEMA as well as the CDC, the Red Cross, and the ASPCA have recommendations for Pet and Animal Emergency Planning. Simply typing “pet emergency planning” into your browser’s search bar will present many different valuable resources that ultimately may help save your pet’s life.

fema

Spring Safety Tips for Pets

Woo-Wee-Woo, it’s spring time!!!

Woo Hoo, it's spring!

For our humans this is the time for spring-cleaning and BBQs, and for us canines this means O.U.T.D.O.O.R. time!!!  We get to play outside, sniff all the other doggie butts at the dog park, go on walks with our owners, play fetch, run, chase squirrels … oh, my, the list is long!

Yes, yes, yes, we’re super excited.  But it’s also super important that our parents’ take a number of precautions to make sure we’re happy and healthy this spring.

Check out these tips on how we can keep our best friends safe, healthy, happy and most importantly, keep their tails waggin’ with joy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello, my name is…

It’s a great idea to equip me with proper identification before letting me run under the open sky.

I might be so excited to run around that I may end up chasing a squirrel or bunny, and suddenly run away from you or lose my way.  Just place a visible ID tag on my collar with your information.  This way, you can be sure that your squirrel-happy pup will be returned home.  Trust me, I don’t like to be away from my humans; I don’t like it one bit!

2

 

Fleas and ticks and critters… oh my!

My humans use flea and tick prevention for me year-round.  But it is especially important to use prevention during spring and summer when those creepy crawlers are particularly active, because those nasty critters can cause Lyme disease in dogs.  And let’s face it; flea infestations are no fun for anyone.  So, just tell your human that it’s best to prevent fleas and ticks before they happen.  Our parents can also help us by flea-combing our coats regularly, and by vacuuming frequently and disposing of the bags immediately after use.  And if you are lucky to have a grassy yard, tell your parent to please mow the lawn.

3

 

Too cool for school…

Temperatures will be rising soon and humans have got to keep us cool. When we are outside on hot days, our temperatures rise higher than that of our parents because they don’t have a furry coat, an under-coat or fluffy hair.  So, it’s best they take us out for a walk or a run in the park when the sun is setting.  And if we are on a play date, they should make sure that there is always a shady retreat and plenty of water available.  Cuz’, slurp, we get thirsty, too.

You know we need water, if we are panting and have our tongues hanging out; that’s doggie code for “I’m thirsty, dude”.  And N.E.V.E.R., E.V.E.R., leave us in the car. You know some of us just love to go on rides with our humans, but only when they’re in the car with us. Even on a 60-degree day, temperatures can rise to 100 degrees inside a car.  Believe you me, it’s like a sauna, and it’s very stressful on us furballs.  When you realize that we are worn out and hot after chasing our best friends, please bring us inside and place a cool towel over the top of our neck, it does help.  Even better yet, just put a cooling bandana around our neck before you take us places.  That will help a lot, too.

pop

You remember those cheapo popsicles from the supermarket?  Tell your parents to buy them and suck them to cool themselves off.  Then, ask them to wash them out, fill them with our favorite doggie-safe broth (juice) and freeze them, and voilà, we have a pup-sicle 🙂

 

4

Born to run…

If Fido has been a couch potato all winter, then it’s a good idea to get her back into outdoor activity gradually. Just like our humans, exercising and building up muscles slowly will help prevent injuries. Before we can go running with you, you have to make sure that we can at least walk 30 to 60 minutes alongside your stride without getting tired.  Tell mom and dad to consider your individual personality and fitness level. If you are pleasantly plump, have joint problems or are on your way to becoming a senior, it won’t hurt to get a quick warm up.  My humans let me sniff and waddle at my own pace for about 10 minutes before they get me to strut my stuff.

Your humans can play fetch with you for a few minutes to get some of that emerging energy out by throwing the ball or Frisbee and letting you sprint after it.  But tell them to only do this for a few minutes so they don’t wear you out completely.

5

 

Scratch n’ sniff…

When it comes to allergies, dogs tend to have similar allergy symptoms as their humans. Fore example, grass and tree pollen may cause a dog to sneeze and have watery eyes- just like humans.

And a pup may develop itchy paws, too, which can cause us to lick, nibble and bite on them. This constant scratching, of course, may lead to open sores, raised welts and loss of hair.  So, tell your parents to do what they can to reduce the amount of allergens in the house by vacuuming carpets and sweeping floors often.  And they should pay special attention to your favorite spots in the house such as under beds, on the couch or near windows, maybe, and tell them to clean (vacuum or wash) window treatments regularly.  And lets not forget our bedding, which needs to be washed regularly using a gentle detergent that is free of dyes or perfumes.  It may also help for your humans to limit your outdoor time and activities during allergy season.  They can take you out or let you go potty when it’s less windy, or before they mow the lawn.

Now, there it is, my fine, furry friends.  With a little bit of effort and preparation your humans can almost guarantee you a happy, healthy and playful spring.

Happy sneezin’!

Ozzie

 

 

Gobble – Gobble – Gobble…Thanksgiving Pet Safety Tips

Thanksgiving-and-dog

The holiday season begins with Thanks giving and can be fun for the whole family.

Ovens are working overtime and delicious holiday aromas fill the air, and during this happy time we sometimes tend to become overly generous with our furry friends. This means that often they will “benefit” from table food scraps.  Sometimes, however, too many treats can lead to injury or illness for our pets, and we need to ensure that we keep the “Happy” in Thanksgiving, and avoid a trip to the vet!

NO to Fat: Fatty or rich foods (e.g. beef fat, poultry skin,  gravy, etc.) can cause severe gastrointestinal issues, including:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive gas
  • Pancreatitis[1]

We are better off feeding a few small bites of lean poultry or unsalted/-unbuttered veggies as a treat.

NO to Chocolate: Remember all the chocolaty goodies offered over Thanksgiving (and other holidays).  Chocolate is super dangerous for our furry friends, especially, because it contains theobromine[2]. Dogs are not able to metabolize theobromine as quickly as humans, and the following can occur:

  • Digestive issues
  • Dehydration
  • Excitability
  • Slow heart rate

YES to Green Beans: Plain, cooked green beans are a wonderful treat for our dogs, and fresh veggies are a great addition to their diet. But beware of our famous green bean casserole, because it contains other ingredients that are bad for our pets.

NO to Xylitol: While we may be making a healthier choice by cooking/ baking with artificial sweeteners, they contain Xylitol, which is poisonous to animals, and potentially deadly to dogs.

YES to Cranberry Sauce: Cranberry sauce is just fine for dogs but be cognizant of the amount of sugar and acid in it. It’s probably best to only put a small helping on your dog’s plate.

YES to Mashed Potatoes: Potatoes are a great, filling vegetable to share with our dogs. However, even though potatoes themselves are not harmful to dogs, be aware of other ingredients that may be in our mashed potatoes -cheese, sour cream, butter, onions, and gravies are no-no’s in a dog’s diet.

YES to Turkey: Turkey is a great lean protein to share with our pets. We just need to be sure to remove any excess skin or fat (best to stick with white meat, too) and make sure there are no bones.

YES to Exercise:  Our pet’s meal and exercise schedules are important, and a disruption in their dietary routine can cause stomach upset, diarrhea and/ or vomiting.

NO to Bones:  Make no bones about it. Certain bones can lacerate/ obstruct our pets’ intestines.  So, save the bones for the turkey soup -not your dog.

NO to Onions:  Onions (onion powder, too) are widely found in stuffing and used as a general seasoning.  Those, however, will destroy our dog or cat’s red blood cells, which can lead to anemia.

NO to Grapes and Raisins:  Grapes and raisins contain a toxin that can cause kidney damage to both dogs and cats.

NO to Food Wrappings:  Aluminum foil, wax paper and other food wrappings can cause intestinal obstruction. We have to make sure to place these items securely in the garbage.

NO to Garbage:  Keep an eye on the garbage and keep it securely fastened! If our dogs get into it, they may think “jackpot”, but all they’ll be winning is health problems from something as simple as gastric disturbance, vomiting and diarrhea to the worst-case scenario – death. Yikes!

YES to Fresh Water:  We have to make sure our pets always have fresh water. When there are more people in the house, there are more chances to bump into the water bowl leaving our pets dry and thirsty –not good, especially, when being “spoiled” under the table with stuff they shouldn’t be eating in the first place.

YES to Quiet Time:  We have to make sure our pets have a quiet retreat, because sometimes festivities can be too much for them.  It’s a good idea to observe their behavior to ensure they are not stressed.

So, gobble – gobble – gobble… Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, y’all!

 


[1] Pancreatitis is a severe inflammation of the pancreas, an organ that produces digestive enzymes. On the mild side, pancreatitis can cause vomiting and a decrease in appetite, but can potentially be fatal.

[2] Caffeine-like ingredient that can be toxic to our pets; ater stages of theobromine poisoning include epileptic-like seizures and pet death. Keep your pets away from dark, semi-sweet and baker’s chocolate because they contain higher levels of theobromine.

 

F.D.A. Bids to Regulate Animal Food, Acting After Recall and Deaths

 

Pigs ate at a farm in Middletown, Pa., in 2012.

JESSICA KOURKOUNIS FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES
By SABRINA TAVERNISE
October 25, 2013

The Food and Drug Administration proposed rules on Friday that would govern the production of pet food and farm animal feed for the first time.

The regulation would help prevent food-borne illness in both animals and people, officials at the agency said, as people can become sick from handling contaminated animal food and from touching pets that have eaten it.

The proposal comes six years after the biggest pet food recall in history, when a Chinese producer contaminated dog and cat food with melamine, a compound used in plastics, causing the deaths of animals across the United States.

The public outcry helped lead to the inclusion of animal food in the Food Safety and Modernization Act, a landmark food safety bill, which passed with broad support in 2010 and was the first major overhaul of the Food and Drug Administration’s food safety laws since the 1930s. It gives the F.D.A. more control over food imports as well as broad new powers to set standards to prevent contamination of produce and processed food. The rules proposed Friday offer details on how this would be accomplished.

Jerky treats have also caused pet deaths. Since 2007, the F.D.A. has counted about 580 pet deaths, nearly all dogs, connected to chicken, duck and sweet potato jerky treats, nearly all of which were imported from China. It is not clear if the new regulations could have prevented the deaths because the F.D.A. is not sure yet what the hazard is.

The agency had received more than 3,000 complaints about the jerky over five years. The reports involve more than 3,600 dogs and 10 cats. One sickness associated with the treats, an illness of the kidneys known as Fanconi syndrome, appears to be concentrated more in smaller dogs, the agency said.

The proposal is open for public comment for 120 days. If passed, it would regulate the production of feed for millions of farm animals, including cows, pigs and chickens, as well as pet food. In all, there are about 78 million dogs and 86 million cats as household pets in the United States.

Much like regulations proposed for human food this year, the rules would require makers of animal food sold in the United States to develop a written plan to prevent food-borne illnesses, like salmonella, and to put it into effect. Producers would need to put protective procedures into place at critical points in the production process where problems are likely to arise.

For example, for canned dog food, producers might have to set up a system to monitor whether the food has been cooked long enough at the right temperature, said Michael R. Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine. They would also need to keep records to document it.

“We know from experience that when the system doesn’t deliver, people get irate,” Mr. Taylor said. “It’s all about having a systematic plan to make the food safe.”

The rules would also require producers to correct problems that arise and re-evaluate their plans at least every three years. And they would require them to maintain standards of cleanliness for the facilities and people who work in them. Smaller businesses would have more time to comply with the rules, once they become final. If companies do not comply, the agency said it could take any number of actions, including issuing warning letters, advising consumers, and in some cases, seizing products and prosecuting producers.

The proposal does not address the use of antibiotics given to animals, sometimes in feed. Public health advocates warn that the practice is contributing to dangerous levels of antibiotic resistance in humans.

 

 

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2013/10/26/health/fda-moves-to-regulate-food-for-animals.html

Jerky treat recall: 600 pet deaths and 3,600 fall ill, list of pet treat recalls

October 23, 2013
A jerky treats recall is making headline news Wednesday morning after a variety of jerky pet treats are included in the recall. The jerky treats that fall under this recall are all made in China and they are suspected to have caused the death of 600 pets and sickened 3,600 others, according to “Fox and Friends” live on Wednesday Oct. 23.

The Christian Science Monitor today reports that the FDA is asking for the help of pet owners whose dogs and cats have become sick after eating a jerky treat. The FDA has no idea why so many animals have gotten sick and died after eating these pet treats. They are asking that you report any sickness or death of your pet after eating these products to the FDA.

The majority of the deaths and illnesses prompting this jerky treat recall have been dogs, but a small amount of cats are included out of the 3,600 illnesses. The symptoms come on rather quickly after the pet eats one of the jerky treats:

Within hours of pets eating one of these jerky treats they can suffer from a decreased appetite, decreased activity, vomiting and diarrhea among other symptoms. These treats are sold under a variety of brand names as jerky tenders or strips made of chicken, duck, sweet potatoes or dried fruit. Most of these jerky treats were made in China.

The FDA reports that severe cases of sickness after a pet ingesting a treat have occurred, which involves kidney failure, gastrointestinal bleeding, and a rare kidney disorder. The companies below have voluntarily recalled their products.

The Jerk treat recalls include:

Nestle Purina PetCare Co. recalled:

Waggin’ Train
Canyon Creek Ranch brand dog treats

Del Monte Corp. recalled:
Milo’s Kitchen Chicken Jerky
Chicken Grillers home-style dog treats

Publix stores recalled their private brand of:
Chicken Tenders Dog Chew Treats

IMS Pet Industries Inc. recalled:
Cadet Brand Chicken Jerky Treats sold in the U.S.

Other companies had removed their jerky treats from the store shelves when in January a New York state lab found evidence of up to six drugs in some of the jerky treats made in China.
You can read the entire FDA statement on the jerky treats recalls here on the FDA website.

 

http://www.examiner.com/article/jerky-treat-recall-600-pet-deaths-and-3-600-fall-ill-list-of-pet-treat-recalls

 

 

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