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A Safe Holiday for Your Dogs


A Safe Holiday for Your Dogs

The seasonal holidays are a time when many families and friends get together to celebrate. Planning for the holidays should always include consideration for your pets.

If you are going to be away for the holidays, start making plans now if you aren’t taking your dog(s) with you. If you need to board your pet, get a reservation at a kennel or arrange for a pet sitter as soon as possible. This is the busiest time of the year for kennels. Most kennels require Bordetella vaccines to prevent kennel cough, some want the vaccination a week before you board.

Have all your vaccine records with you when you first go there. You should make arrangements to provide any of your dog’s favorite foods, medicines, toys, etc. If your dog sleeps on a pillow or special blanket, be sure to bring it with you so your dog will have a sense of familiarity. A good idea is to rub a towel on your arms and legs and leave it in the kennel cage so your scent stays with your pooch.

When kenneling your pooch for the first time, you might want to arrange to leave your pet there for just a day. Then, when you dog sees you at the end of the day, there will be an expectation of your return when you have to leave him for a longer time.

If you are taking your pet with you on a holiday trip, please make sure ahead of time where there are emergency veterinarian hospitals along the way and where you will be staying. If you have a GPS, program it to accommodate any urgent needs regarding your dog.

Holiday decorations can be problematic. For those who still like to string popcorn or cranberries for a garland, or place chocolate ornaments on the tree, remember that your dog will be able to smell the food. Jumping on the tree to get to it can result in a fallen tree which can be a fire hazard as well as cause an injury to your pet. Scented candles can also be an attraction for a dog. Be sure that when you do light candles that they are out in a place that can’t be knocked down by a wagging tail.

Be careful when taking out your ornaments and decorating the tree. Sometimes the wire hooks fall off and can easily be pressed into the carpet. Your dog might step on them and get them embedded into its paws.

Do you have a puppy or a chewer? The Christmas lights wires could be an attraction for your pet. Be sure to make every precaution possible to keep your pet and your family safe. When you go out for the evening, make sure that you have turned off the tree lights and any other lighted decorations you have. It’s a good idea to consider keeping your pet in a different room when you are not at home.

You should periodically check the electrical cords for any chew marks.

Check your dog regularly for any changes in behavior such as excessive licking, drooling, change in appetite drinking excessively, lethargy, diarrhea, and/or vomiting. These could be signs of ingesting chemicals associated with ornaments, the Christmas tree or other seasonal plant. Electrical burns from chewing on electrical cords can cause drooling, pain in the mouth, not wanting to play with its usual toys, and lack of appetite.

Holiday food should be monitored carefully. Homemade breads and rolls contain yeast. Make sure that your dog cannot get to the uncooked dough because, if eaten by your dog, it could cause very serious health problems as it expands. While most of you are aware that raisins and grapes are among the food that your dog should NEVER eat, candy and pastries containing xylitol as a sugar substitute, are very dangerous if your pet consumes it. Even a little consumption of xylitol can cause seizures and other problems for your dog.

Christmas trees are another area of concern. The oil of fir trees can cause irritation of the mouth if your dog starts to chew on the tree. Also, the tree needles aren’t easily digested. In order to keep the tree fresh, chemicals are added such as preservatives, pesticides, and other chemicals so you should never let your dog drink from the Christmas tree-base water that keeps your tree fresh. It is a good idea to buy a covered water dish.

Mistletoe and holly are also plants you should avoid around the house. If you are using holly leaves and berries for decorating the dinner table, place them on the table just before your guests arrive. Make sure that all the leaves and berries are picked up and disposed of where your dog can’t get to them.

Children should be cautioned about teasing your dog with dog toys or treats hung in a stocking. One of my rescues is now a part of my pack because a young child had grabbed her toy bone. The result was a nip in the head that ultimately caused her to be placed in a shelter.

If you are having friends and family for dinner, please remember that while you and your children know the proper protocols for keeping your pet safe, your guests might not. Make sure that all visitors know the rules about keeping gates closed and secure, especially when the kids are playing in the yard. This goes especially for the front door. If your guests’ children aren’t used to being around dogs, they might not know that some things they do, like tease the dog by taking its toy away, or grabbing its tail, might make the dog aggressive and a fear bite could occur.

At a time when cookies and chocolate as well as other traditional sweets are available, you should be careful about not feeding your pooches any of these. Make sure that all candy wrappers are thrown away in a secure container. It is easy for them to be dropped on the floor. Your dog might try to chew and swallow the wrappers thinking there is still food in them.

As there is a tendency overeat at this time of the year, remember that the table scraps you might want to give to your dog rather than you eating them can be detrimental to their health. A lot of people avoid eating the turkey skin because of the high fat content. That fat content affects your dog in the same way.

An overweight dog can have the same problems as an overweight human. Make sure that turkey bones are disposed of in a way that your dog cannot get to them. Not doing so could result, if your dog survives, in a very expensive at a vet’s office.

These are squeakers commonly found in dog toys. They can be very dangerous if swallowed. Please consider this when buying gifts for your dogs this holiday season.


Have a safe and wonderful and safe holiday season and make sure it is a safe one for your dog.
© 2010 Bruce Malter,

FDA Warns About Chicken Jerky From China


FDA Still has Concerns About Chicken Jerky from China

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is again cautioning consumers that chicken jerky products for dogs (also sold as chicken tenders, strips or treats) may be associated with illness in dogs. Not all of the jerky treats are the same as those in the photo.In the last 12 months, FDA has seen an increase in the number of complaints it received of dog illnesses associated with consumption of chicken jerky products imported from China. These complaints have been reported to FDA by dog owners and veterinarians.

FDA issued a cautionary warning regarding chicken jerky products to consumers in September 2007 and a Preliminary Animal Health Notification in December of 2008. After seeing the number of complaints received drop off during the latter part of 2009 and most of 2010, the FDA is once again seeing the number of complaints rise to the levels of concern that prompted release of our earlier warnings.

Chicken jerky products should not be substituted for a balanced diet and are intended to be fed occasionally in small quantities.
FDA is advising consumers who choose to feed their dogs chicken jerky products to watch their dogs closely for any or all of the following signs that may occur within hours to days of feeding the products: decreased appetite; decreased activity; vomiting; diarrhea, sometimes with blood; increased water consumption and/or increased urination. If the dog shows any of these signs, stop feeding the chicken jerky product.

Owners should consult their veterinarian if signs are severe or persist for more than 24 hours. Blood tests may indicate kidney failure (increased urea nitrogen and creatinine). Urine tests may indicate Fanconi syndrome (increased glucose).

Although most dogs appear to recover, some reports to the FDA have involved dogs that have died.
FDA, in addition to several animal health diagnostic laboratories in the U.S., is working to determine why these products are associated with illness in dogs. FDA’s Veterinary Laboratory Response Network (VLRN) is now available to support these animal health diagnostic laboratories.

To date, scientists have not been able to determine a definitive cause for the reported illnesses. FDA continues extensive chemical and microbial testing but has not identified a contaminant.

The FDA continues to actively investigate the problem and its origin. Many of the illnesses reported may be the result of causes other than eating chicken jerky. Veterinarians and consumers alike should report cases of animal illness associated with pet foods to the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator in their state or go to

Oxygen Masks for Pets


ANAHEIM, California – Every fire engine and truck operated by the Orange County Fire Authority will now carry oxygen masks for household pets – thanks to a donation from an Anaheim pet owner whose rescued dog was displaced in a wildfire.

The more than 70 units, at a cost of $75 each, will assure that each responding OCFA apparatus will have the pet lifesaving device onboard.

The kits include three cone-shaped masks of various sizes that can fit over the snouts of dogs, cats and other small pets that might have suffered smoke inhalation.

“During a house fire, a pet’s instinct is often to run and hide under a bed or other place of comfort, sometimes resulting in smoke inhalation”, fire officials say. The mask allow pets to be treated quickly, on scene.

To read the original article by Eric Carpenter in its entirety, please use the following link:

Puppy Mill Raid


Raid on Puppy Mill in Arkansas

Roughly 175 Westies, Boston Terriers, Pomeranians and other small dogs are receiving care and attention at a temporary shelter—and their owner is facing cruelty charges—after the ASPCA helped law enforcement raid a Hot Springs, Arkansas, puppy mill on November 7.

The breeding dogs, some with tiny, unweaned puppies, had been living in sheds outside a mobile home. Responders found them suffering from various eye diseases, dental disease, skin diseases, fleas, mites and heartworm.

The raid stemmed from a two-year investigation led by Corporal Angela Graybeal, a Garland County sheriff’s investigator who received numerous complaints about the living conditions and mistreatment of the puppy mill dogs. The investigation culminated Monday morning with the arrest of mill owner Pam Thomas on three felony counts of animal cruelty.

Soon after the arrest, our veterinary forensics team and volunteers from the International Fund for Animal Welfare began combing the property to collect evidence, including several deceased dogs. At the same time, the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response (FIR) Team began removing dogs from the puppy mill. The team transported the dogs to a temporary shelter using the ASPCA’s custom animal transport trailer.

Once the dogs arrived at the temporary shelter, a veterinary team led by FIR Medical Director Dr. Rhonda Windham began assessing and treating the dogs’ medical conditions. The dogs are also receiving toys, affection and healthy food from a sheltering team of roughly 30 people who are using supplies donated by PetSmart Charities, Inc.

The dogs will not be immediately available for adoption because they are part of a criminal investigation.

As for the mill owner: “Any additional charges against Ms. Thomas will be determined based on the medical conditions reported by the ASPCA,” says Lieutenant James Martin of the Garland County Sheriff’s Office. “We appreciate the outpour of support from the community, and hope these animals can move on to a better place soon.”

Thanksgiving Tips For Your Dogs


Thanksgiving Safety Tips For Your Dogs

As the holiday season is in full swing, like the other holidays, Thanksgiving should be a time for family and friends to get together. However, when making your plans, please consider your dog(s).

First, if you are planning to travel over the holiday weekend and plan to board your pet, start making the calls as soon as possible. The holiday periods are the busiest for kennels. Most kennels require Bordetella vaccines to prevent kennel cough. Make sure that you have all your vaccine records when you first go to the kennel.

If you have never boarded your dog, then you might want to consider leaving it in the kennel the first thing in the morning and come back that afternoon so it gets the idea that you WILL return. Be sure to leave your pet with some dog toys and provide the kennel manager with some of its favorite treats. It’s always a good idea to leave a towel with which you have rubbed on your arms and legs so your scent is there to comfort and reassure your pooch.

Before you go there, always inquire about the food that is provided. Good kennel owners will be happy to have you leave a bag or cans of your dog’s food so its diet remains consistent. If it has a favorite dog bed, you may leave that too. If you aren’t sure of which kennel to use, ask around. You can check out the kennels through YELP online or visit them yourself.

If you are staying at home and hosting a Thanksgiving meal, then consider the following:
• If you are having friends and/or family for dinner, please remember that while you and your children know the proper protocols for keeping your pet safe, your guests might not. Make sure that all visitors know the rules about keeping gates closed and secure, especially when the kids are playing in the yard. This goes especially for the front door.

• If your guests’ children aren’t used to being around dogs, they might not know that some things they do, like tease the dog by taking its toy away, or grabbing its tail, might make the dog aggressive and a fear bite could occur.

• If you are making home baked bread or rolls, be sure that your dog cannot get to the dough. Eating bread dough could cause major intestinal problems for the dogs as yeast will rise inside your dog. If this happens, get your dog to an emergency vet immediately.

• Turkey bones, like chicken bones should NEVER be given to a dog.

• Between Halloween and Christmas, there is usually plenty of candy around the house. Make sure that your dog does not get any chocolate. Also, it is important to police the house and yard for candy wrappers which could, when swallowed, cause an obstruction.

• If you are travelling to a friend or relative’s house with your dog, find out where Emergency Veterinary Hospitals are along the way and in the community where you will be spending the holiday.

• Although the turkey skin is tempting to eat but you avoid it because of the fat content, you should not let your dog have it either. Overweight dogs have similar problems as people, including, stress on the heart, organs, and joints. as the fat isn’t good for it either.

• Ornamental corn is just as bad for a dog as are edible corn cobs. Be careful about all of your holiday decorations.

• Be sure that all food trash is disposed of properly and not left in a place where your dog can get to it.

• Remember: any food that is not a regular part of your dog’s diet can lead to intestinal problems.

• Thanksgiving costumes on your dogs might be cute to you, but are they safe for them to wear? If your dog is wearing a costume, does it fit properly? Can it get its foot or nail caught and cause injury or panic which could result in running loose and getting it caught on a fence causing serious injury? Is it weather-proof? Can it snag its nails on loose weaves in the material? Finally, is it necessary to make your dog wear it?

Have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving holiday…and make sure it is a safe one for your dog.

© 2011 Bruce Malter,

Cedar Oil Products


I had heard about Cedar oil products on numerous radio programs and then I checked out the website. The research was impressive as was the note that the U.S. Army had requested a non-toxic way to get rid of sand fleas for use in Iraq. Like all products featured on, we tried it first before so we could see if it works as well as it said.

I used it for flea control with all three of my dogs. I had particularly wanted to use a non-toxic flea control method on my alpha who is 14 ½. Not only did I find it effective, but one day, when wasps were building a nest on my back patio close to where my dogs relax, I knocked it down. The wasps came back the next day to the same spot and started to rebuild. The sprayed the area with Cedar Oil and they never came back. They did go to another area of the patio overhang and I sprayed that too. That was the end of their building efforts near the patio last summer.

A friend had a problem with flies on her older dog as she was sleeping in the sun.. She started spraying the Cedar oil on her before letting her go outside. The flies stayed away even on the hottest of days.



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From the inception of, we decided not to promote the use of costumes for dogs or anything that might cause a health and safety concern for dogs. We also decided to make sure that any products we do advertise have been tried by us first.

When a friend told me about Thundershirts® and that she wanted to get one for one of her small dogs because of excessive barking, I check out the site and ordered one. I found it very easy to put on my dogs.

I wrote about Stella with my article on liability and dogs on the Home page. I wanted to see if it would have a calming effect when I walked her. At first, I wasn’t so sure. Then, I adjusted the fit and made it more snug. We walked by my neighbors with their two dogs at whom she usually barks. This time, she just looked at them.

Upon returning home, I put it on Angel who is stressed out by Thunderstorms and loud noises. She usually starts playing with the other dogs after their walks. This time, she sat and then laid down in the hallway for about 15 minutes. As soon as I removed the Thundershirt® she started playing with them.

Then, I put it try it on Danny who is nervous when I use the vacuum or fold sheets. At 14 ½, she moves very quickly when I start either of them. Today, I was able to fold the sheets and she didn’t leave the room. A good start.

Is the Thundershirt® going to resolve your dog’s anxiety issues? I can’t guarantee it, but the website does have useful training tips to go along with using the Thundershirt®. Remember, when I made it a more snug fit, it was more effective.

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Ban On Pet Stores Selling Breeder Puppies


SECTION 1. Chapter 6.1 0 (Retail Sale of Dogs and Cats) to Title 6 of the Glendale Municipal
Code, 1995, is hereby added to read as follows:
6.10.010 Findings.
Chapter 6.10
Retail Sale of Dogs and Cats.
a. Existing state and federal laws regulate dog and cat breeders, as well as pet stores that sell
dogs and cats. These include the Lockyer-Polanco-Farr Pet Protection Act (California
Health & Safety Code section 122125 et seq.); the Polanco-Lockyer Pet Breeder Warranty
Act (California Health & Safety Code section 122045 et seq.); the Pet Store Animal Care Act
(California Health & Safety Code section 122350 et seq.); and the Animal Welfare Act
(“AWA”) (7 U.S.C. § 2131 et seq.).
b. The Lockyer-Polanco-Farr Pet Protection Act requires pet dealers (i.e. retail sellers of more
than fifty (50) dogs or cats in the previous year; not including animal shelters and humane
societies) to have a permit, maintain certain health and safety standards for their animals,
sell only healthy animals, and provide written spay-neuter, health, animal history and other
information and disclosures to pet buyers. If after fifteen (15) days from purchase a dog or
cat becomes ill due to an illness that existed at the time of sale, or if within one (1) year after
purchase a dog or cat has a congenital or hereditary condition that adversely affects the
health of the dog or cat, an owner is offered a refund, another puppy or kitten, or
reimbursement of veterinary bills up to one hundred and fifty percent (150%) of the
7 B I
purchase price of the puppy or kitten.
c. The Pet Store Animal Care Act requires every pet store that live companion animals
and fish to formulate a documented program consisting of routine care, preventative care,
emergency care, disease control and prevention, veterinary treatment, and euthanasia.
d. The PolanCO-Lockyer Pet Breeder Warranty Act offers protection similar to that of the
Lockyer-Polanco-Farr Pet Protection Act, except that it applies only to dog breeders who
sold or gave away either three litters or 20 dogs in the previous year.
e. The Animal Welfare Act requires, among other things, the licensing of certain breeders of
dogs and cats. These breeders are required to maintain minimum health, safety and
welfare standards for animals in their care. The AWA is enforced by the United States
Department of Agriculture (“USDA”). However, the AWA’s licensing and inspection
requirements do not apply to facilities that sell directly to the public, including the thousands
that now do so over the internet.
f. According to The Humane SOCiety of the United States, hundreds of thousands of dogs and
cats in the United States have been housed and bred at substandard breeding facilities
known as “puppy mills” or “kitten factories,” that mass-produce animals for sale to the public;
and many of these animals are sold at retail in pet stores. Because of the lack of proper
animal husbandry practices at these facilities, animals born and raised there are more likely
to have genetic disorders and lack adequate socialization, while breeding animals utilized
there are subject to inhumane housing conditions and are indiscriminately disposed of when
they reach the end of their profitable breeding cycle.
g. According to USDA inspection reports, some additional documented problems found at
puppy mills include: (a) sanitation problems leading to infectious disease; (b) large numbers
of animals overcrowded in cages; (c) lack of proper veterinary care for severe illnesses and
injuries; (d) lack of protection from harsh weather conditions; and (e) lack of adequate food
and water.
h. According to The Humane Society of the United States, American consumers purchase
dogs and cats from pet stores that the consumers believe to be healthy and genetically
sound, but in reality, the animals often face an array of health problems including
communicable diseases or genetic disorders that present themselves immediately after sale
or that do no surface until several years later, all of which lead to costly veterinary bills and
distress to consumers.
i. A 2005 undercover investigation of California pet stores revealed that nearly half of the pet
stores visited displayed animals that showed visible signs of illness, injury, or neglect, and
nearly half of the stores also sold animals showing clear symptoms of psychological
j. While “puppy mill” puppies and “kitten factory” kittens were being sold in pet stores across
the Los Angeles area during the past year, more than 100,000 dogs and cats were
euthanized in Los Angeles city and county shelters.
k. The homeless pet problem notwithstanding, there are many reputable dog and cat breeders
who refuse to sell through pet stores and who work carefully to screen families and ensure
good, lifelong matches.
I. Responsible dog and cat breeders do not sell their animals to pet stores. The United
Kennel Club (“UKC”), the second oldest all-breed registry of purebred dog pedigrees in the
United States and the second largest in the world, asks all of its member breeders to agree
to a Code of Ethics which includes a pledge not to sell their puppies to pet stores. Similar
pledges are included in Codes of Ethics for many breed clubs for individual breeds.
m. The cities of South Lake Tahoe, West Hollywood and Hermosa Beach have all adopted
ordinances prohibiting the retail sale of dogs and cats.
n. Across the country, thousands of independent pet stores as well as large chains operate
profitably with a business model focused on the sale of pet services and supplies and not on
the sale of dogs and cats. Many of these stores collaborate with local animal sheltering and
rescue organizations to offer space and support for showcasing adoptable homeless pets on
their premises.
o. An undercover investigation by the national nonprofit organization Companion Animal
Protection Society (“CAPS”) revealed that the largest dog brokering facility in the country
was replete with inhumane and substandard breeding facilities with multiple and repeat
violations of the Animal Welfare Act. It was found that the brokers and/or breeders did not
meet the minimum standards of care under USDA regulations.
p. A local inspection done by CAPS found that there was one pet store within the City of
Glendale that obtains some of its puppies from this large dog brokering facility.
q. The City Council recognizes that not all dogs and cats retailed in pet stores are products of
inhumane breeding conditions and would not classify every commercial breeder selling dogs
or cats to pet stores as a “puppy mill” or “kitten factory.” However, it is the City Council’s
belief that puppy mills and kitten factories continue to exist in part because of public demand
and the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores.
r. The City Council believes that the elimination of the retail sale of dogs and cats from pet
stores in the City will also encourage pet consumers to adopt dogs and cats from shelters,
thereby saving animals’ lives and reducing the cost to the public of sheltering animals.
s. In light of the City’s goal to be a community that cares about animal welfare, the City Council
finds that the adoption of an ordinance prohibiting the sale of dogs and cats by a retail pet
store is necessary to promote community awareness of animal welfare and foster a more
humane environment within the City of Glendale community.
6.10.020 Retail Sale of Dogs and Cats.
a. Definitions. For the purposes of this Chapter, the following definitions shall apply:
1. “Animal shelter” means a municipal or related public animal shelter or duly incorporated
nonprofit organization devoted to the rescue, care and adoption of stray, abandoned or
surrendered animals, and which does not breed animals.
2. “Cat” means an animal of the Felidae family of the order Carnivora.
3. “Certificate of source” shall mean a document declaring the source of the dog or cat sold
or transferred by the pet store. The certificate shall include the name and address of the
source of the dog or cat.
4. “Dog” means an animal of the Canidae family of the order Carnivora.
5. “Existing pet store” means any pet store or pet store operator that displayed, sold,
delivered, offered for sale, offered for adoption, bartered, auctioned, gave away, or
otherwise transferred cats or dogs in the City of Glendale on the effective date of this
Chapter, and complied with all applicable provisions of the Glendale Municipal Code.
6. “Pet store” means a retail establishment open to the public and engaging in the business
of offering for sale and/or selling animals at retail.
7. “Pet store operator” means a person who owns or operates a pet store, or both.
8. “Retail sale” includes display, offer for sale, offer for adoption, barter, auction, give away,
or other transfer any cat or dog.
b. Prohibition. No pet store shall display, sell, deliver, offer for sale, barter, auction, give away,
or otherwise transfer or dispose of dogs or cats in the City of Glendale on or after the effective
date of this Chapter.
c. EXisting Pet Stores. A legally existing pet store may continue to display, offer for sale, offer
for adoption, barter, auction, give away, or otherwise transfer cats and dogs for a period of one
year from the date the ordinance codified in this Chapter becomes effective.
d. Exemptions. This Chapter does not apply to:
1. A publicly operated animal control facility or animal shelter;
2. A private, charitable, nonprofit humane society or animal rescue organization; or
3. A publicly operated animal control agency, nonprofit humane society, or
nonprofit animal rescue organization that operates out of or in connection with
a pet store.
e. Adoption of Shelter and Rescue Animals. Nothing in this Chapter shall prevent a pet store or
its owner, operator or employees from providing space and appropriate care for animals owned
by a publicly operated animal control agency, nonprofit humane society, or nonprofit animal
rescue agency and maintained at the pet store for the purpose of adopting those animals to the
SECTION 2. Severability.
If any section, subdivision, paragraph, sentence, clause or phrase of this ordinance or any part
thereof is for any reason held to be unconstitutional or invalid or ineffective by any court of law,
such decision shall not affect the validity or effectiveness of the remaining portions of this
ordinance or any part thereof. The City Council of the City of Glendale hereby declares that it
would have passed each section, subsection, subdivision, paragraph, sentence, clause or
phrase thereof regardless of the fact that anyone or more sections, subsections, subdivision,
paragraphs, sentences, clauses or phrases be declared unconstitutional or invalid or ineffective.
SECTION 3. This ordinance becomes effective one year after its adoption.
Adopted by the Council of the City of Glendale on the 23rd day of
August , 2011.
I, Ardashes Kassakhian, City Clerk of the City of Glendale, certify that the foregoing
Ordinance No. 5748 was approved and adopted by the Council of the City of Glendale,
California, at a regular meeting held on the 23rd day of _-“A”‘u”‘g=u”-st=—___ , 2011, and that
the same was passed by the following vote:
Ayes: Manoukian, Najarian, Quintero, Weaver, Friedman
Noes: None
Absent: None
Abstain: None
City Clerk

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Check out how Thundershirt can possibly ease anxiety in a dog.

Halloween and Your Dog


With Halloween approaching, you have to stop and think about the safety of your pets. There are many things to consider regarding the safety of your dog(s) concerning candy, decorations, dog costumes, and trick-or-treaters.

Decorations: Something new in the house means that your dog is going to investigate it. Is your dog a chewer? If so are there any loose items on the decorations, like buttons or button eyes on a scarecrow? Toxic chemicals used in the dyes on the clothing are also a hazard. Can your dog reach a candle (especially if it is lit) and knock it over? An unlit candle can also be a hazard as these are often scented and might be perceived as a new chew toy.

Candy: Not only is candy, especially chocolate, not good for your dog, the wrappers, frequently discarded on a table or floor, are so strongly scented that your dog might mistake it for food. Candy and candy wrappers are a big problem throughout the entire holiday season.

Dried corn: Corn cobs are very dangerous to dogs as the cob, when swallowed, does not break down easily in the digestive track and could lead to a very expensive operation to clear it.

Jack o’ Lanterns: When lit with a candle, these can easily be knocked into and roll over causing a fire hazard.

When kids come trick-or-treating, your dog will probably react to the door knocks or doorbell. Upon opening the door, your pooch might try either run out through the door, or try and protect you and your property by lunging, snarling, and even biting a trick-or-treaters which could result in a big lawsuit.

Instead of taking your dog along as you accompany your child(ren), you should consider leaving your dog at home. There are so many new and different stimuli on Halloween with the crowded sidewalks, the new noises, and the many trick-or-treaters, and all of this might cause your dog a lot of stress and it could lash out at the children.

If your dog is wearing a costume, does it fit properly? Can it get its foot or nail caught and cause injury or panic which could result in running loose and getting it caught on a fence causing serious injury? Is it weather-proof? Can it snag its nails on loose weaves in the material? Finally, is it necessary to make your dog wear it?

It’s a good idea to leave the dog(s) in a quiet room with a bowl of water and a few toys. Some quiet music could also help calm your pet.

Caring For Your Older Dog


My goal for my own pets and my patients has always been to help them remain healthy, active and comfortable, even into old age.
Here are some simple rejuvenation tips you can use at home to improve your pet’s mobility.

These feet are made for walking

Just because animals are older doesn’t mean they shouldn’t exercise. Becoming sedentary with arthritis is a dangerous downward spiral. Arthritic animals that don’t exercise will deteriorate rapidly. Disuse atrophy of leg and back muscles destabilizes joints and the spine, causing unbalanced, hesitant or stilted gait patterns, increasing discomfort. Even gentle weight-bearing exercise strengthens muscles and circulates nutritive synovial fluid over the surfaces of the joint.

Confidence in the limbs comes from using the limbs, pure and simple. And don’t forget to make sure older animals have enough good-quality meat protein in their diet to maintain the muscles they are working to improve.

Take a walk on the wild side
Go on your walks where your pet can experience/smell/see something new. Keep his mind lively and his body will follow suit. Don’t neglect the daily outing. Take it slow, or take it short if you have to, but take it — and make it interesting.

Try moving off the beaten track
Dogs and cats benefit from challenging terrain. If you always walk on flat surfaces, it may soon be the only surface your pet can navigate. Make games include varying surfaces for indoor pets, or outdoors, maneuver your pet over tree roots, gravel, irregular ground. Step up and down curbs, go around posts, walk in short figure-8 patterns and go up or down inclines or driveways.

Massage the feet of older dogs and cats
Once a day, gently squeeze the feet and pull slowly down the toes of your geriatric dog or cat (take care to avoid getting bitten by foot-sensitive animals). This physical therapy trick can improve the neurological connection from the brain to the foot, improving leg mobility and foot placement (conscious proprioception).

Place toys or treats in places where it requires some effort to retrieve them and don’t forget to play with your aging cats. People play games with dogs in many life stages, but mature cats are often left to sleep all day. Don’t just put treats under their noses; make them do a little work for them. Place treats up a flight of stairs or on top of some climbing toy. Your cat will have to exercise to get to it. Those wire-bouncing fobs and little mouse toys are not just for kittens. And your cat may shed some unwanted weight as well.

Place carpets, runners, non-skid tape or paint, rubber mats or even yoga mats in slippery spots. Pads of older canine and feline feet can slip more on smooth surfaces. Adding area rugs and other non-skid floor coverings can help them get up and move more confidently. Non-slip booties, if they aren’t too bulky can also help. And make sure to provide good lighting to help failing eyesight.

Massage small circles with fingertips on either side of the spine to help with overall circulation, lymphatic drainage and spinal health. Little massage circles up and down the sides of the spine may invigorate circulation. Also pull gently in a smooth massaging stroke down the tail; I’ve found that this gentle traction can help to stretch the spine and improve intervertebral circulation. A supple spine can mean a more active dog or cat.

And one important addendum: don’t let your geriatric pet get overweight! With overweight dogs, you can simply feed less food and avoid carbohydrates and most loose the weight. If it’s hard to get the weight off, ask your vet to check for hypothyroidism or other health condition.

NOTE: Weight loss in cats must be carefully controlled or they can get ill — so check with your vet. I’ll devote a future blog here to the subject of weight loss and proper diet because it is so critical for vibrant health in all pets.

Follow these basic tips and you may be able to tell your elderly Rover or Felix to throw away his cane — at least for a few more years.
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