Monthly Archives: June 2012

Dog Food Recall – Pedigree

Just received this in my e-mail and thought I would share :

 

Franklin, Tennessee – On Saturday, June 30, 2012, Mars Petcare US announced a voluntary dog food recall of a limited number of three varieties of Pedigree weight management canned products due to a potential choking risk.

Affected product may contain small pieces of blue plastic — which entered the food during the production process.

The source of the plastic has been identified and the issue resolved.

Consumers who have purchased affected product are advised to discard the food or return it to the retailer for a full refund.

While a small number of consumers have reported finding the plastic pieces, the company claims it has not received any reports of injury or illness associated with the affected product.

The lot codes indicated below should not be sold or consumed.

Affected product was distributed to retail customers throughout the United States. Mars Petcare US is working with its distributors and retail customers to ensure the recalled products are no longer sold and are removed from inventory.

Which Pedigree Dog Foods Are Recalled?

Only Pedigree weight management canned dog food varieties with the production codes shown below are included in this voluntary recall.

Each product will have a lot code printed on the end of the can that begins with 209, 210, 211 or 212 and a Best Before date that falls between 2/24/2014 and 3/23/2014.

No other Pedigree products are affected, including any other variety of wet food, dry dog food, or dog treats.

What to Do?

For questions or more information, the company invites consumers to call 877-720-3335 from 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM CST.

You can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area.

Or go to http://www.fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints.

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Weekly Trick – Who Is Mukaluka The Therapy Dog?

I shared a video two weeks ago of Mukaluka the miniature Schnauzer therapy dog and was interested in learning more about this smart dog.

I Googled information and found quite a few different articles about this dog.  It seems that Mukaluka works at hospitals and mainly with children, helping to entertain and comfort them, if only for a short time, help them forget about their ailments.  Apparently Mukaluka will be part of a mural at the Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center where the children will see something to brighten their days each day, instead of the stark hospital walls.

Mukaluka seems to be helping to teach the Introduction to Therapy Dog training and even helps to teach other dogs new tricks.

There seems to be a Youtube channel with Mukaluka’s tricks and face plastered all over it.  Really such a sweet face it is.

I am going to share some articles and videos for those who are interested in learning more about Mukaluka.  This is one amazing dog.

You can also Google for more information, those seemed to be the most interesting articles and Youtube items that I found.

 

Recipe Friday – Doggie Meatloaf

Here is a great treat for your dog.  Remember to feed in moderation.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth (or beef broth)
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground chicken — or turkey (or beef, or venison, or any meat that your dog can eat)
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • 2 whole eggs (or egg substitute if your dog is allergic.  You can omit, although the loaf may not hold together that well without a binding agent such as eggs).
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ (can be left out if your dog is allergic)
  • 1/4 cup carrot — finely chopped (can be left out if your dog is allergic)
  • 1/4 cup spinach — finely chopped (can be left out if your dog is allergic)
  • 1/4 cup zucchini — finely chopped (can be left out if your dog is allergic)
  • 2 cloves garlic (some people do not use garlic at all for their dogs.  You can use it if you wish or omit)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a large mixing bowl add meat, cottage cheese, veggies, and eggs. Mix thoroughly. Add wheat germ and olive oil, mixing well.
  3. Add mixture to loaf pan, bake at 350 for 1 hour or until done.
  4. Allow to cool thoroughly then cut into pieces and store unused in airtight container for up to two weeks in the fridge.

Pet Friendly Yards

Since it is summer and the weather is hotter than ever, I figured I would share this article I received from my vet’s newsletter:

Yards can be a shopping center or candy store for pets.  Pets often find materials that will harm them.  Sometimes objects are forgotten by good intentioned owners.  Other times, pets make their own mischief.  It is important to ensure that your yard is secure, well maintained, and free of debris, trash and toxic substances.

Creating a pet friendly yard is necessary for your pet’s safety and well being.  Your budget will thank you for taking the extra effort to patrol your yard from your pet’s perspective looking for enticing tidbits that could unknowingly play havoc with their delicate bodies.

Plants
“More than 700 plants have been identified as producing physiologically active or toxic substances in sufficient amounts to cause harmful effects in animals,” advises the Humane Society of the United States.  “Poisonous plants produce a variety of toxic substances and cause reactions ranging from mild nausea to death.  Certain animal species may have a peculiar vulnerability to a potentially poisonous plant.”

Plants, trees, and shrubs of all shapes and sizes have the potential to be toxic to pets.  Animal bodies can be sensitive and each pet will react differently to ingested materials.  When planning your backyard planting projects consider safe alternatives to favorites that could harm Fido or Fluffy.

How to Grow a Beautiful, Yet Dog-Safe Garden by geriatric veterinarian Ellen Friedman suggests eliminating foxglove, monkshood or aconitum, lily of the valley, snowball bush (hydrangea buds), and tobacco plant.  Pet reactions to ingesting these substances can include irregular heartbeats, nausea, convulsions and seizures.

Bees and Wasps
Eliminate or screen around low ground covers, shrubs or plants that attract bees and wasps.  Pets interested in the pollen gathering activities can get stung.

Compost Bin
“Fence off your compost bin,” advises Friedman.  “Decaying vegetable matter can send poochy to the vet with a raging upset stomach.”

Gates and Fences
Make certain all boundary materials are in good repair:  eliminate protruding nails, chipped or peeling paint, and gaps that allow or encourage escape.

Grass
Cut your grass often.  Keep it watered to reduce dust and pests.  Remember to rake or use the yard vacuum to pick up cuttings.  If you must apply fertilizers and weed killers do so while pets are confined or visiting elsewhere.  Always follow the instructions to ensure that treated grass is safe for your pet.  Store fertilizers, weed killers, yard and gardening equipment out of reach and away from accessible play areas.  Maintain a strict weed removal program since weeds can cause a variety of nasty fanny problems for pets that must potty in them.

Pools, Tubs and Spas
Immediately fence or screen these areas.  Not all pets are able to swim and those that are may still become trapped under the covers intended as energy savers.

Yard Care Items
Tools, equipment, pesticides, fertilizers, weed treatments, repair and building supplies must be securely stored.  Remember that anything sharp – no matter its size — needs to be secured.  Glass, plastic, wood, or metal can have edges that could easily slice tender pet skin and paws.  Always keep them out of reach of your pets.  Curious or bored animals can create their own entertainment.  Proper storage gives them less opportunity to get hurt.

Your family veterinarian can provide you with additional suggestions when you share photos of your yard during visits.  Walk out your door or through your gate and make your yard pet friendly.  Your pet will love you for it!

Sources:

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

Friedman, Ellen, DVM. How to grow a beautiful, yet dog-safe garden.

Humane Society of the United States. Plants potentially poisonous to pets.

Trethewey, Jenna. Do your dogs ever nibble on the plants outside?

Williams, Caitlin. Pets and backyard poisons.

Dog Flu (H3N8)

The Dog Flu, also known as H3N8, also known as Canine Influenza Virus (CIV), is a flu contagious amongst other dogs, it is transmitted through mucous membranes of the infected dog to other dogs.  Humans cannot contract this virus.

This flu has been found in 30 states and could be spreading.  There is a vaccine for this virus, but the vaccine does not mean your dog will not still get the virus, rather, it just lessens the severity of the flu.

Some of the symptoms of H3N8 are:

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Runny Nose
  • Shallow breathing
  • Decreased appetite

Usually treatment consists of keeping your dog well hydrated, getting lots of rest and usually this will clear up on its own.  If your dog is developing a secondary bacterial infection, which could lead to pneumonia, antibiotics are prescribed.

If you think your dog may have this, take them to the vet to make sure they get proper treatment.

For more information, this is an article that provides more information on H3N8.

Sunscreen for Dogs?!?

Yes it’s true.  There is a veterinarian from Florida who has developed a special sunscreen for your furry friend.

If you are like me, I like to take Sasha for long walks/jogs daily.  I try not to go when the sun is at it warmest point, but there are times that no matter when, the sun is out and it will be hot.

Michael Fleck is a veterinarian and esthetician who has developed a product line called Epi-Pet, which is not only sunscreen, but also sprays for skin rashes, and soothing creams for dog noses.  His products are F.D.A compliant, which makes them one of the only products out there that adhere to those guidelines for animals.

The products should not be used on cats.  Do not use regular human sunscreen on dogs, as the ingredients (mainly PABA but others as well) are harmful and potentially fatal to dogs.

What made me take notice to this product is that cancer seems to be high on the list of illnesses that kill the most dogs each year.  I know it is difficult to prevent any form of cancer, but if I can help even a smidgen, I am going to do all that I can to make sure that I am trying to prevent skin cancer on Sasha.

To read more information on why sunscreen is so important to dogs, here is an article that explains things more in depth.

If you are looking to buy Epi-Pet, Amazon has some for sale.

Weekly Trick – Arwen The Cat, Clicker Training Tricks

This cat is so sweet.  She was adopted and had aggression issues, but her new pet parent worked with her and now sweet, fluffy Arwen is performing tricks and actually enjoys doing them!

I have made posts on clicker training and cats before, but I wanted to add another one as a refresher.

You can teach your cat many tricks that dogs learn and even different ones than dogs learn.  The trick (pun intended) is that cats respond differently than dogs.  More patience and doing tricks before meal times usually get your cat interested in doing what you want them to do.

Some cats are afraid of clickers, so sometimes just making the clicking sound with your mouth is sufficient.

Without further ado, here is the video of Arwen performing tricks with her pet parent doing clicker sounds with her mouth and treats for the smart cat!

 

 

Recipe Friday – Pancakes For Cats

These treats are different than what a human would eat, but cats love them!

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz ground beef (lean is best) (if your cat cannot eat beef, chicken is fine, fish is a bit moist for this but can kind of work)
  • 3 Tablespoons Oatmeal (you can buy gluten free if your cat has allergies)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tablespoon Catnip

Directions:

1. Knead all ingredients together and form balls with it.

2. Put on a cookie sheet and flatten out to desired thickness but not so skinny so that they will burn.

3. Put under the broiler (or 425F), for eight (8) minutes, four (4) on each side OR until crisp.

4. Put on a cooling rack for at least 30 minutes

5. Cut into bite size pieces and give these to your cat as a treat.  Store the rest in an airtight container in the fridge.  These should keep for about 2 weeks.

Cats and Constipation

Many of our furbabies have experienced bouts of constipation, but if these are not just bouts and actually continue for long periods of time, there may be something more serious going on.

Some diseases such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Mega Colon, food allergies and others will produce periods of time of constipation.  The only way to know if your cat is suffering from one of these diseases is to make an appointment with the vet.  One thing to do is to keep a food/treat diary and an exercise diary before going in as this will help the vet narrow down what the issue may be.

When we first adopted Isis, she was being fed basically junk food in the shelter (Meow Mix and Friskies). These are not healthy foods for cats.  So when we changed her food very gradually, she started to get constipated on what her diet should be (mainly protein).  So what we did was add about a teaspoon of canned pumpkin (NOT pie filling but 100% pumpkin), to her food.  This helped quite a bit and she was back to normal.  What we sometimes do now is add about a half teaspoon of olive oil to her wet food and some canned pumpkin just to make sure she is regular and able to produce minimal waste.  It also aids in reducing hairballs.

At times she was quite constipated, and after seeing the vet and ruling out any kind of disease, I came up with my own solution.  I used to wait until after Isis ate and then have her come over to me on the floor.  I would then have her stand on all fours in front of me and I would massage her belly in gentle, circular motions.  I would do this several times per day, until it seemed that she was going on a regular basis.  I slowly tapered off from doing that until I was down to once per day, then after a week I stopped doing it.  I haven’t had to do it since and that has been about seven months ago.  I hope I never have to do that again.  It is because our cats are so used to the processed junk that they have been fed in a shelter, their bodies do not know how to digest and handle their natural diet.

Another thing to consider is playtime, playtime, playtime.  This gets the cat’s intestines working and helps them to produce waste. Having several short play sessions every day helps not only with constipation, but with weight management.

It is always best to check with your vet before doing anything with your cat, they may want to do procedures, depending how long it has been since your cat defecated.

This article explains what to do if your cat is constipated and how to help make your cat comfortable when they are constipated.

Most Common Cat Ailments

If your cat is acting off, many can be suffering from some of the following ailments.  Of course, if you are at all worried about your cat, a trip to the vet would be in order.  Many times the vet can reassure you to let you know that your cat is all right and just needs a bit of medication to become all better.

If your cat is showing signs of lethargy, dull coat, weakness and vomiting, these can be symptoms of hyperthyroidism.  It can be treated with medication and your cat can go on and live a long and healthy life with treatment.  This disease usually affects senior cats.

If your cat is scratching, has pimples, inflammation, hair loss, this can usually mean food allergies, flea allergies, or sometimes ringworm and all are treatable if you take your cat to the vet, get some tests and medication, or ointment can help.

As well, having your cat on pet insurance BEFORE these ailments rear their ugly heads can help to cut down the costs considerably.

Here is the article I found this information in, and you can find out more common ailments and how they can be treated by your vet.