Buyer Beware

I was out at the farmers’ market yesterday and I came across a table where they had what looked like homemade (or at least not mass marketed) dog treats. Since I don’t have a dog anymore, I just glanced at them and was going to walk by when I saw the ‘flavor.’ It was peanut butter and bacon. I stopped and looked at them in confusion. Anyone else catch what the problem was? Yep, that’s right, it had pork in it. Those of you who follow my blog (thank you so much, by the way, I squeal whenever someone follows my blog, lol) may be familiar with my past post about the evils of pork: Pets and Pork Don’t Mix. If you haven’t read it, please click the link and check it out. It explains why pork is so bad for dogs and cats.

I waited until the woman working the table was finished with the people ahead of me and then I asked her about the treats. The treats said they had ‘natural flavors’ and she informed me that it was indeed real bacon as opposed to some kind of artificial flavoring. I told her about how pork was dangerous to the point of possibly being deadly for dogs and she was surprised. She had no idea and stated she’d never heard that before. Her attitude and body language also told me that she didn’t believe me. Now, normally I wouldn’t say anything more, but it would have been irresponsible of me to just leave. So, I told her I was an LVT, so that was how I knew. She nodded politely and I could tell she wasn’t the type who would do any research and that she would continue to sell those potentially deadly dog treats. Well, at least I informed her.

My purpose in writing this is to warn all of you and any other pet owners you know to ALWAYS read the ingredients in whatever you buy for your pets. Just because it’s ‘all natural’ or ‘organic’ or whatever other catchy term the companies are using now a days doesn’t mean it’s safe. Just because it’s made by a ‘big name’ pet company doesn’t mean it’s safe, either. So, do your pets and your wallet (hospital bills can be expensive) a favor and always check ingredients before you buy!

Where to go if you need help?

Having pets can be expensive and while it is definitely worth it (in my humble opinion) having a few resources to turn to is nice. I have personally used care credit to get two more quality years of life with my best furry friend.

Please share this all over the place! 🙂

Is that a turtle in the road?

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We’ve all seen it before. Some poor turtle is bound and determined to cross the road. I know I’ve stopped to help a turtle once or twice in my life. The Turtle Rescue League, a nonprofit organization in Massachusetts, has some great info on what to do if you find a turtle in the road.

Fear Body Language in Dogs

Dogs express fear via body language and knowing that body language can help prevent dog bites. This graphic does a pretty good job of showing the body language of fear in dogs. If you encounter a dog showing any of these signs, proceed with caution. He may bite out of fear.

 

FearBodyLanguageDogs

It’s Too Hot!

 

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PLEASE don’t leave your dogs or cats unattended in a hot car. If you need to keep them in your car and it’s 70* or hotter, leave it running with the AC on. It’s just too dangerous to have windows down like in the above picture (dog might jump, someone might get bitten or claim to be bitten, or your dog might get stolen) and too dangerous NOT to have windows down. Slightly down (‘cracked’) is NOT good enough.

Published in: on May 21, 2013 at 1:18 pm  Comments (1)  
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It’s only a little treat…right?

Before you give your adorable pooch or cuddly kitty another bit of human food, take a look at this graphic that explains the significance of that ‘harmless’ little treat. This is one of the ways our pets gain weight so quickly without us knowing why. To us it’s just one chip, but to them, it’s a LOT more.

 

Hill's Treat Translator

Virbac Recall of Iverhart Heartworm Preventative

The American Veterinary Medical Association has issued the following statement:

“RECALL: We have confirmed that Virbac has issued a voluntary recall for six lots of their heartworm preventive, Iverhart Plus Flavored Chewables, because the ivermectin potency failed to meet their stability standards. What this means is that your pets may not be fully protected. For questions or concerns about the Iverhart Plus recall, please contact Virbac Technical Services at 1-800-338-3659 ext. 3052.

Only the following lots are included in the recall: Lot 120076 (Large 51-100 pounds); Lot 120086 (Large 51-100 pounds); Lot 120856 (Large 51-100 pounds); Lot 120202 (Medium 26-50 pounds); Lot 120196 (Small up to 25 pounds).”

If you find that you have any of the chewables in these lot numbers, call the number provided above and also contact your veterinarian.

Cat Scratch Disease

Cat scratch disease is also know as Bartonellosis or Bartonella infection. It is a bacterial disease that can infect many different species, including cats and humans. People with weakened immune systems are at increased risk of infection.

Bartonella infection can cause chronic inflammatory conditions in some cats, like inflammation of the mouth (stomatitis), inflammation of the gums (gingivitis), and inflammatory bowel disease. Other cats may simply carry the disease and appear to be completely healthy with no signs or symptoms.

What Is Bartonellosis?

Bartonellosis is a disease caused by several bacteria of the Bartonella family. Bartonella organisms can cause bacterial infection in many species, including humans. Certain strains of Bartonella are known to infect cats. Bartonella organisms can be transmitted from a cat to a human via a bite or scratch, so bartonellosis in humans is commonly called cat-scratch disease.

Cats can become infected with Bartonella through exposure to infected fleas. For this reason, cats that roam outdoors are at greater risk for exposure. There is some evidence that ticks may also transmit the disease.

Some reports state that 12% to 50% or more of cats have been infected with Bartonella. The risk of exposure varies greatly depending on the region of the United States. Areas with warmer climates have a higher incidence of fleas and, therefore, a higher percentage of cats infected with Bartonella.

This is why regular application of flea and tick preventives, as recommended by your veterinarian, is so important.

Signs of Bartonellosis

Many cats that have been exposed to Bartonella do not get sick, so they do not show clinical signs of the disease. These cats may, however, still transmit the disease to humans. Clinically affected (sick) cats may have various clinical signs, including chronic inflammatory conditions that affect the eyes, mouth, respiratory tract, gastrointestinal system, and even the heart. More specific clinical signs may include:

  • Uveitis (inflammation of a part of the eye)
  • Stomatitis (inflammation of the mouth)
  • Gingivitis (inflammation of the gums)
  • Chronic upper respiratory disease (sneezing, nasal and eye discharge)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (chronic vomiting and/or diarrhea)
  • Fever

Infected cats may show one or more of the signs listed above. It is very important to discuss these illnesses with your veterinarian because other diseases may also cause these signs.

Symptoms of bartonellosis in humans generally occur about 3 weeks after a cat scratch or bite and include fever and swollen lymph nodes along with a number of other possible symptoms. Consult with your physician regarding any concerns or questions about Bartonella infection.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Your veterinarian may perform a blood test on your cat to check for Bartonella infection. The test indicates the presence of antibodies, which the body uses to fight specific infections. A positive test result means that your cat has been exposed to Bartonella. If your cat is showing signs of disease and has a positive test result, your veterinarian may recommend antibiotics to treat the disease. There is controversy about whether to treat cats that test positive for Bartonella but are not showing signs of illness. It is best to discuss treatment options with your veterinarian.

Prevention

Regular application of flea and tick preventives, as recommended by your veterinarian, will help to prevent Bartonella infection.

 

Kitten

Peanut Butter Dog Treats

For this recipe, I recommend using cute cookie cutters in all kinds of shapes and sizes.

 

Ingredients

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 cup peanut butter ( chunky or smooth)

1 cup milk

 

Directions

Preheat your oven to 375*.

Mix the dry ingredients together and set aside. Mix the peanut butter and milk together. Combine the wet and dry ingredients.

Roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick and don’t forget to flour your counter. Cut out your shapes, reforming and rolling the dough as needed to use all of the dough.

Bake for 10-11 minutes and allow to cool completely before storing or giving to your dogs. We don’t want any burned tongues!

 

This is a perfect excuse to turn the oven on during a cold, dreary winter day! You can make some for your pooch or for the dogs of friends. Check with your local shelters to see if they’ll take homemade treats and take a few goodie bags out to them, too!

Keeping Pets Safe in the Winter

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Frostbite Prevention

Remove ice and snow from your pets paws and coat as often as you can while you’re outside and again when you come in. Frostbitten skin may turn reddish, white, or gray and may get scaly or slough off. If you think your pet has frostbite, take her to a warm place immediately. Apply warm (not hot!), moist towels to the affected area (changing frequently) until the area becomes flushed. Call your veterinarian as soon as possible as they will probably want to evaluate the extent of the damage and determine the seriousness of the condition.

Snow/Ice Removal Salt

Some substances used to melt ice and snow have low to moderate toxicity for your pet. Read the labels and take the necessary precautions. Make sure you remove salt from your pet’s paws immediately to prevent ingestion. If possible, buy pet ‘friendly’ salt, but I would still advise removing that from your pet’s feet, as well.

Antifreeze

Even a single lick of antifreeze can be deadly for your pet. ALL antifreeze products on the market are toxic. Thoroughly clean up spills immediately and keep containers closed tightly and away from pets. If you think your pet has ingested antifreeze, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Outdoor Pets

Housing: Make sure your outdoor pet has a warm, insulated shelter. It should be elevated somewhat to prevent moisture accumulation inside. If possible provide a door of some kind, maybe canvas, to keep out winter winds. If your pet is in a pen, you can stretch canvas over the top of it and provide protection from winds using bales of straw. If the wind chill or winds become severe, bring your pet inside!

Cats, in particular, will sometimes climb onto vehicle engines for warmth. Before starting your vehicle, knock on the hood and honk the horn. Even if your own outdoor cat doesn’t do this, a neighbor’s cat might. Better safe than sorry.

Food and Water: Staying warm in the winter requires extra calories, so feed your pet accordingly when the temperatures drop. Talk to your veterinarian for her/his specific advice for your pet and increasing food. Always make sure your pet has access to fresh, clean water. Check it frequently and replace it as it may freeze if it gets cold enough. Water bowls that plug in and keep water from freezing are an excellent investment.

 

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Following these tips will help keep your pets safe and warm during the blustery winter season!