Sunday, December 13, 2009

ASPCA'S Holiday Safety Tips

Holiday Safety Tips

Cat with scarf
Holly, Jolly and Oh-So-Safe! Of course you want to include your furry companions in the festivities, pet parents, but as you celebrate this holiday season, try to keep your pet’s eating and exercise habits as close to their normal routine as possible. And be sure to steer them clear of the following unhealthy treats, toxic plants and dangerous decorations:
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. Stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria and your pet could end up with nausea or diarrhea should he imbibe.
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 tinsel.
No Feasting for the Furries
By now you know not to feed your pets chocolate and anything sweetened with xylitol, but do you know the lengths to which an enterprising fur kid will go to chomp on something yummy? Make sure to keep your pets away from the table and unattended plates of food, and be sure to secure the lids on garbage cans.
Toy Joy
Looking to stuff your pet’s stockings? Choose gifts that are safe.
  • Dogs have been known to tear their toys apart and swallowing the pieces, which can then become lodged in the esophagus, stomach or intestines. Stick with chew toys that are basically indestructible, Kongs that can be stuffed with healthy foods or chew treats that are designed to be safely digestible.
  • Long, stringy things are a feline’s dream, but the most risky toys for cats involve ribbon, yarn and loose little parts that can get stuck in the intestines, often necessitating 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 sessions together.
Forget the Mistletoe & Holly
Holly, when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. And many varieties of lilies, can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested. Opt for just-as-jolly artificial plants made from silk or plastic, or choose a pet-safe bouquet.
Leave the Leftovers
Fatty, spicy and no-no human foods, as well as bones, should not be fed to your furry friends. Pets can join the festivities in other fun ways that won’t lead to costly medical bills.
That Holiday Glow
Don’t leave lighted candles unattended. Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over. Be sure to use appropriate candle holders, placed on a stable surface. And if you leave the room, put the candle out!
Wired Up
Keep wires, batteries and glass or plastic ornaments out of paws’ reach. A wire can deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock and a punctured battery can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus, while shards of breakable ornaments can damage your pet’s mouth.
House Rules
If your animal-loving guests would like to give your pets a little extra attention and exercise while you’re busy tending to the party, ask them to feel free to start a nice play or petting session.
Put the Meds Away
Make sure all of your medications are locked behind secure doors, and be sure to tell your guests to keep their meds zipped up and packed away, too.
Careful with Cocktails
If your celebration includes adult holiday beverages, be sure to place your unattended alcoholic drinks where pets cannot get to them. If ingested, your pet could become weak, ill and may even go into a coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure.
A Room of Their Own
Give your pet his own quiet space to retreat to—complete with fresh water and a place to snuggle. Shy pups and cats might want to hide out under a piece of furniture, in their carrying case or in a separate room away from the hubbub.
New Year’s Noise
As you count down to the new year, please keep in mind that strings of thrown confetti can get lodged in a cat’s intestines, if ingested, perhaps necessitating surgery. Noisy poppers can terrify pets and cause possible damage to sensitive ears.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Swine Flu Infects Housecat... Are Your Pets Safe?

Swine Flu Infects Housecat—Are Your Pets Safe?

Ever since the news broke earlier this month that an American cat caught the swine flu, rumors about how pets can catch this disease have been spreading—but we're here to set the record straight!
"On November 2, test results confirmed that a pet cat in Iowa was infected by the H1N1 (swine flu) virus, which was most likely transmitted by human family members," reports Dr. Louise Murray, Director of Medicine at the ASPCA. "All family members, including the cat, have now recovered. In unrelated incidents in other states, a few pet ferrets also recently tested positive for H1N1, and one of them has died.” Although we already knew that infected humans could transmit H1N1 to both pigs and turkeys, these are the first reported cases of the virus affecting cats and ferrets.
According to Dr. Murray, there are no known instances of a dog catching H1N1 (but remember, it is flu season, and your dogs are still susceptible to catching other flu bugs). In addition, there is currently no evidence that H1N1 can be passed from pet to human—it seems to be going only the other way, with people transmitting the illness to their pets.
A little common sense will go a long way in decreasing the likelihood of passing the illness on to your pets. If members of your household are exhibiting flu-like symptoms, the ASPCA recommends protecting your pets by:
  • washing hands thoroughly,
  • covering coughs and sneezes and
  • avoiding close contact with pets during the course of the illness.
In fact, if you’re sick, it’s a good idea to give your pets a place other than your bedroom to sleep at night until you get better.
If any pet displays symptoms such as lethargy, loss of appetite, coughing, sneezing or difficulty breathing—especially if a human family member has recently suffered from influenza—please contact your veterinarian.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Can my dog get the Flu?

Key Facts about Canine Influenza (Dog Flu)

Questions & Answers

What is canine influenza (dog flu)?
Dog flu is a contagious respiratory disease in dogs caused by a specific Type A influenza virus referred to as a “canine influenza virus.” This is a disease of dogs, not of humans.
What is a canine influenza virus?
The “canine influenza virus” is an influenza A H3N8 influenza virus (not a human influenza virus) that was originally an equine (horse) influenza virus. This virus has spread to dogs and can now spread between dogs.
How long has canine influenza been around?
The H3N8 equine influenza virus has been known to exist in horses for more than 40 years. In 2004, however, cases of an unknown respiratory illness in dogs (initially greyhounds) were reported. An investigation showed that this respiratory illness was caused by the equine influenza A H3N8 virus. Scientists believe that this virus jumped species (from horses to dogs) and has now adapted to cause illness in dogs and spread efficiently among dogs. This is now considered a new dog-specific lineage of H3N8. In September of 2005, this virus was identified by experts as “a newly emerging pathogen in the dog population” in the United States.
What are the symptoms of this infection in dogs?
The symptoms of this illness in dogs are cough, runny nose and fever, however, a small proportion of dogs can develop severe disease.
How serious is this infection in dogs?
The number of dogs infected with this disease that die is very small. Some dogs have asymptomatic infections (no symptoms), while some have severe infections. Severe illness is characterized by the onset of pneumonia. Although this is a relatively new cause of disease in dogs and nearly all dogs are susceptible to infection, about 80 percent of dogs will have a mild form of disease.
How does dog flu spread?
Canine influenza virus can be spread by direct contact with respiratory secretions from infected dogs, by contact with contaminated objects, and by people moving between infected and uninfected dogs. Therefore, dog owners whose dogs are coughing or showing other signs of respiratory disease should not participate in activities or bring their dogs to facilities where other dogs can be exposed to the virus. Clothing, equipment, surfaces, and hands should be cleaned and disinfected after exposure to dogs showing signs of respiratory disease.
Is there a test for canine influenza?
Testing to confirm canine influenza virus infection is available at veterinary diagnostic centers. The tests can be performed using respiratory secretions collected at the time of disease onset or using two blood samples; the first collected while the animal is sick and the second 2 to 3 weeks later.
How is canine influenza treated?
Treatment largely consists of supportive care. This helps the dog mount an immune response. In the milder form of the disease, this care may include medication to make your dog more comfortable and fluids to ensure that your dog remains well-hydrated. Broad spectrum antibiotics may be prescribed by your veterinarian if a secondary bacterial infection is suspected.
Is there a vaccine for canine influenza?
Yes, an approved vaccine is available.
What is the risk to humans from this virus?
To date, there is no evidence of transmission of canine influenza virus from dogs to people and there has not been a single reported case of human infection with the canine influenza virus. While this virus infects dogs and spreads between dogs, there is no evidence that this virus infects humans.
However, human infections with new influenza viruses (against which the human population has little immunity) would be concerning if they occurred. Influenza viruses are constantly changing and it is possible for a virus to change so that it could infect humans and spread easily between humans. Such a virus could represent a pandemic influenza threat. For this reason, CDC and its partners are monitoring the H3N8 influenza virus (as well as other animal influenza viruses) along with instances of possible human exposure to these viruses very closely. In general, however, canine influenza viruses are considered to pose a low threat to humans. As mentioned earlier, while these viruses are well established in horse and dog populations, there is no evidence of infection among humans with this virus.
My dog has a cough what should I do?
Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian so that they can evaluate your dog and recommend an appropriate course of treatment.
Where can I find more information on canine influenza virus?
More information on canine influenza in pet dogs can be found in this article: Influenza A Virus (H3N8) in Dogs with Respiratory Disease, Florida in Emerging Infectious Diseases journal.

Related Links

The following websites may provide additional information about particular animal diseases or conditions, or infection control practices:

Sunday, October 25, 2009

ASPCA'S 17 Poisonous Plants

17 Poisonous Plants

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.
Sago Palm
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.
Tulip/Narcissus bulbs
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.
Castor Bean
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.
Autumn Crocus
Ingestion of Colchicum autumnale by pets can result in oral irritation, bloody vomiting, diarrhea, shock, multi-organ damage and bone marrow suppression.
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.
English Ivy
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.

ASPCA'S Top 10 Pet Poisons Of 2008

Top 10 Pet Poisons of 2008

Orange long haired cat laying
With 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.

Human Medications

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

People food like grapes, raisins, avocado and certain citrus fruit can seriously harm our furry friends, and accounted for more than 15,000 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.

Veterinary Medications

Even 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.


Common houseplants were the subject of nearly 8,000 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.

Chemical Hazards

In 2008, the Animal Poison Control Center handled approximately 5,500 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.

Household Cleaners

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 3,200 calls related to household cleaners. These products, when inhaled by our furry friends, can cause serious gastrointestinal distress and irritation to the respiratory tract.

Heavy Metals

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 hotline at (888) 426-4435.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Top 10 Ways You Can PREVENT Animal Cruelty!

Top 10 Ways to Prevent Animal Cruelty

If you're a fan of the award-winning reality series Animal Precinct, then you've already seen the ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement's Supervisory Special Investigator Annemarie Lucas in action. But did you know that you, too, can help crack down on animal cruelty in your own community? Read on for Officer Lucas's take on making the world a safer place for animals:

1. Be aware. Without phone calls from the concerned citizens who report cruelty in their neighborhoods, we wouldn't know about most instances of animal abuse. It all comes from the public, it all starts with YOU—that's why it's so important to keep your eyes and ears open. Get to know and look out for the animals in your neighborhood. By being aware, you're more likely to notice, for example, that the dog next door who was once hefty has lost weight rapidly—a possible indicator of abuse.

2. Learn to recognize animal cruelty. Here are some signs and symptoms that we see in many of the cases we investigate:

* Tick or flea infestations. Such a condition, if left untreated by a veterinarian, can lead to an animal's death.
* Wounds on the body.
* Patches of missing hair.
* Extremely thin, starving animals.
* Limping.
* An owner striking or otherwise physically abusing an animal.
* Dogs who are repeatedly left alone without food and water, often chained up in a yard.
* Dogs who have been hit by cars-or are showing any of the signs listed above-and have not been taken to a veterinarian.
* Dogs who are kept outside without shelter in extreme weather conditions.
* Animals who cower in fear or act aggressively when approached by their owners.

3. Know who to call to report animal cruelty. We're lucky here at the ASPCA in New York City, because we have Humane Law Enforcement officers who have the power to investigate and arrest perpetrators of animal cruelty in the state of New York. But every state and even every town is different. In some areas, you may have to rely on the police department to investigate animal cruelty; in others, you may have to contact local animal control or another municipal agency. If you aren't sure where to report cruelty visit our Report Animal Cruelty section.

4. Provide as much as information as possible when reporting animal cruelty. The details that you provide can go a long way toward assisting the investigating officer. It helps to write down the type of cruelty that you witnessed, who was involved, the date of the incident and where it took place.

5. Call or write your local law enforcement department and let them know that investigating animal cruelty should be a priority. Animal cruelty is a CRIME—and the police MUST investigate these crimes.

6. Know your state's animal cruelty laws. These vary from state to state, and even from city to city. You can visit the ASPCA's online database of more than 550 animal cruelty laws—and their penalties—in all 50 states.

7. Fight for the passage of strong anti-cruelty laws on federal, state and local levels by joining the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade. It's frustrating when I have built a strong case against someone who has been arrested for cruelty to animals and the judge treats it like a simple violation. But with stronger laws, they'll be more likely to receive tougher penalties. As an ASPCA Advocacy Brigade member, you'll receive emails asking you to write letters encouraging your legislators to pass these laws-and you can send them directly from our website.

8. Set a good example for others. If you have pets, be sure to always show them the love and good care that they deserve. But it's more than just food, water, and adequate shelter. If you think your animal is sick, bring him to the veterinarian. Be responsible and have your animals spayed or neutered. And I always give my own pets lots of hugs when I get home!

9. Talk to your kids about how to treat animals with kindness and respect. I regularly see children in homes where animal abuse has been reported. If a parent isn't treating the family's pets right, I tell kids that their dog or cat would really appreciate fresh water every day, or if they spent some time playing with them. If the animal has been left outside without shelter, I'll say, 'You have a nice house, and if you get cold, you can put a coat on. But your dog can't do that. Don't you think he'd like a nice warm place to go, too?' I know of families who watch Animal Precinct together, and I think this can help children understand that animals are living creatures who have the ability to feel pain, joy and sadness. You can see these emotions on the faces of the animals on the show.

10. Support your local shelter or animal rescue organization. Before I even knew that police for animals existed, I was volunteering at an animal shelter. It's a great way to make a difference. Some of our ASPCA volunteers foster animals who have been abused in their former homes, giving these dogs and cats the chance they deserve to have a good life. You can find a list of shelters and rescue groups in your area in our National Shelter Directory.

Basic Tips For Handling An Injured Pet

Basic tips for handling an injured pet

If your pet is injured, it could be in pain and is also most likely scared and confused. You need to be careful to avoid getting hurt, bitten or scratched.

* Never assume that even the gentlest pet will not bite or scratch if injured. Pain and fear can make animals unpredictable or even dangerous.
* Don't attempt to hug an injured pet, and always keep your face away from its mouth. Although this may be your first impulse to comfort your pet, it might only scare the animal more or cause them pain.
* Perform any examination slowly and gently. Stop if your animal becomes more agitated.
* Call your veterinarian or an emergency veterinary clinic before you move your pet so they can be ready for you when you arrive.
* If necessary and if your pet is not vomiting, place a muzzle on the pet to reduce the chances you'll be bitten.
o Dogs may be muzzled with towels, stockings or gauze rolls.
o Cats and other small animals may be wrapped in a towel to restrain them, but make sure your pet is not wrapped in the towel too tightly and its nose is uncovered so it can breathe.
NEVER muzzle your pet if it is vomiting.
* If possible, try to stabilize injuries before moving an injured animal by splinting or bandaging them.
* While transporting your injured pet, keep it confined in a small area to reduce the risk of additional injury. Pet carriers work well, or you can use a box or other container (but make sure your pet has enough air). For larger dogs, you can use a board, toboggan/sled, door, throw rug, blanket or something similar to act as a stretcher.
* You should always keep your pet's medical records in a safe, easily accessible place. Bring these with you when you take your dog for emergency treatment.

Basic First Aid For Your Pet

Pet first aid supplies checklist
according to the AVMA...
As a pet owner, you need to make sure to have basic first aid supplies for your pets in your household. Carefully putting together a well-provisioned first aid kit will make you more ready to deal with a medical emergency if one confronts you for your dog, cat or other pet. Have this kit in the house and fully stocked with supplies at all times, next to the first aid kit for your family. Many of the items in a family first aid kit can be used for pets, too.

Print checklist
Phone numbers and your pet's medical record (including medications and vaccination history)


Emergency veterinary clinic:

Animal Poison Control Center:
888-4ANI-HELP (888-426-4435)
(there may be a fee for this call) You need to know these numbers before you need them. If you do not know the number of the emergency clinic in your area, ask your veterinarian or go to the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society Web site for a searchable list of emergency clinics by state.
Gauze For wrapping wounds or muzzling the injured animal
Nonstick bandages, towels, or strips of clean cloth To control bleeding or protect wounds
Adhesive tape for bandages

*do NOT use human adhesive bandages (eg, Band-Aids®) on pets For securing the gauze wrap or bandage
Milk of magnesia
Activated charcoal To absorb poison
Always contact your veterinarian or local poison control center before inducing vomiting or treating an animal for poison
Hydrogen peroxide (3%) To induce vomiting
Always contact your veterinarian or local poison control center before inducing vomiting or treating an animal for poison
Digital Thermometer
—you will need a "fever" thermometer because the temperature scale of regular thermometers doesn't go high enough for pets To check your pet's temperature. Do not insert a thermometer in your pet's mouth—the temperature must be taken rectally.
Eye dropper (or large syringe without needle) To give oral treatments or flush wounds
Muzzle (in an emergency a rope, necktie, soft cloth, nylon stocking, small towel may be used) To cover your pet's head.
If your pet is vomiting, do not muzzle it!
Leash To transport your pet (if your pet is capable of walking without further injury)
Stretcher (in an emergency a door, board, blanket or floor mat may be used) To stabilize the injured animal and prevent further injury during transport

You can print out a copy of this checklist to use as a shopping list, and keep a copy on your refrigerator or next to your pet first aid kit for quick reference in emergencies.
Always remember that any first aid administered to your pet should be followed by immediate veterinary care. First aid care is not a substitute for veterinary care, but it may save your pet's life until it receives veterinary treatment.

Are Your Pets Toys Toxic?

Does Lead in Toys Pose a Danger to Pets?

Whether your pet prefers squeaky rubber squirrels, stiff rawhide bones or fuzzy mice, he or she undoubtedly loves to play with toys. But is the source of your dog's or cat’s merriment safe? Many common household products—including toys for children and pets—may contain trace amounts of lead and other toxins. In most cases, however, the levels of these ingredients in toys don’t pose a significant threat to your furry friend.

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) reviewed 200,000 cases from the past two years and produced no examples of lead poisoning from pet toys. According to Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant, ASPCA Vice President and Medical Director of the APCC, younger dogs, just like children, are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning, but most studies reveal only tiny amounts of lead in pet toys—not a grave risk for acute or chronic lead poisoning in dogs.

“Just because it's 'detectable' doesn't necessarily make it hazardous,” says Dr. Gwaltney-Brant. “Even oxygen is toxic at the right concentration.”

And what about other types of treats such as rawhide bones? Like pet toys, rawhide chews can include trace amounts of pesky chemicals. Dr. Safdar Khan, Director of Toxicology at the ASPCA, believes many dog lovers would be surprised if they learned the true contents of their pets’ treats. But he also adds that pet parents would likely be surprised if they knew the complete ingredients of what they eat and drink, too.

The reality is that a dog is much more likely to suffer obstruction from a rawhide bone than poisoning from a hidden toxin. In general, the smaller the dog, the fewer rawhide treats he should receive, and only give your pet rawhides under a watchful eye. Remember, it’s always wise to supervise!

And lest you think we’re leaving out our feline fans, here are a few safety tips to keep in mind when shopping for kitty’s favorite play things:

* The wand toy, often adorned with feathers, string or small stuffed toys, is ubiquitous. But take care with it, and watch for pieces of string or other components that might fall from the toy and get swallowed by your cat.
* Another popular treat for the kitty set is catnip. Word to the wise—some cats become very excited when smelling or eating it, so be careful about petting your cat until you know how she will respond.
* Please don’t let your cat play with rubber bands, paper clips or plastic bags. All can prove dangerous and a choking risk to our feline friends.

For more information about playing it safe with your pet, please visit APCC online.

The Top 10 Dog Foods

The Top 10 Dog Foods According to the Whole Dog Journal

The Whole Dog Journal" (WDJ) - February 1999 did a "Top 10 Dry Dog Foods" review. For those of us always wondering what the "critics" think, here is what they had to say. . .

WDJ said they spent months examing the labels of all the best dry dog food they could find looking for truly healthy, top quality foods. They went on to say that they don't pretend to have looked at EVERY dog food on the market. In order to earn the title "premium", and make it onto their top 10 list the food had to be something really special. . . wholesome, pure, and beneficial ingredients. Here is what they were looking for:

* Best sources of protein (whole, fresh meats or single-source meat i.e. chicken meal rather than poultry meal).
* No meat by-products (by-products in and of themselves are not necessarily bad, but these second-class products are not handled as carefully as whole meat).
* A whole-meat source as one of the first two ingredients (chicken or chicken meal as opposed to chicken fat).
* No artificial preservatives (including BHA, BHT, or ethoxyquin).
* No artificial colors.
* No sugars and sweeteners like corn syrup, sucrose, and ammoniated
* No propylene glycol.

They are reported here for informational purposes only and are in alphabetical order:

Back to Basics (Chicken formula); California Natural; Canidae; Flint River; Innova; Limited Diet; PetGuard LifeSpan; Pinnacle; Solid Gold; Wysong.


Back to Basics (chicken)
Chicken meal,ground corn,chicken fat,oatmeal,long grain rice,dried tomato pomace,dried whole eggs,fish meal (hering) natural flavorings

California Natural
Lamb Meal, brown rice,rice,sunflower oil,vitamons/minerals

White rice, lamb meal, poultry fat, fish
Meal, flax seed, alfalfa meal, sunflower
Oil . .

Flint River Chicken
Meal & Rice Formula
Chicken meal, wheat flour, ground rice,
lamb meal, poultry fat, ground wheat,
dried whole eggs, lecithin, fish meal, dried brewer's yeast . . .

Turkey, chicken, chicken meal, whole
grnd. Barley, whole grnd. brown rice,
whole steamed potatoes, grnd. White
rice, chicken fat, herring, whole raw
apples. . .

Limited Diets (Lamb)
Potato, lamb, lamb meal, lamb fat,
canola oil, lamb digest, (vitamins and

Chicken meal, whole grnd. Chicken,
whole oat flour, toasted oats, tomato
pomace, potato, chicken fat, quinoa,
dehydrated mixed vegetables, grapeseed
oil . . .

Solid Gold
Hund-N-Flocken Lamb meal, ground whole millet, ground
brown rice, ground whole barley,
amaranth, menhaden fish meal, rice oil,
canola oil, flaxseed oil, garlic. . .

Petguard Lifespan
Chicken, chicken meal, ground brown
rice, ground yellow corn, corn gluten
meal, oatmeal, poultry fat, dried chicken
liver, dried whole egg. . .

Wysong Maintenance
Chicken, chicken meal, grnd. Brown rice,
grnd, yellow corn, corn gluten meal,
oatmeal, poultry fat, grnd. Whole
soybeans, corn gluten meal, salt, dried
kelp. . .

Why Pet Owners Hire a Professional Pet Sitter?

Why Hire a Pro?

Why Hire a Professional Pet Sitter?
Pets and their people are a unit. What's good for one is good for the other. At Pet Sitters International, we know that. It is why we stress strong ideals, professional standards and common-sense methods that reinforce our members with dependable know-how. It's an approach that equips pet sitters with quality awareness, pet owners with quality assurance and pets with quality care!

Why Pet Owners Hire Professional Pet Sitters
• Pets are happier and experience less stress at home.
• Diet and exercise routines are uninterrupted.
• Travel trauma for both owner and pet is eliminated.
• Pet's exposure to illness is minimized.
• Untrained or unwilling friends/family/neighbors need not be called.
• In-home professional pet care provides added peace of mind.

Why do professional pet sitters choose PSI? Pet Sitters International is the world’s largest educational association for professional pet sitters. PSI members have access to the most extensive—and helpful—slate of benefits and affiliate programs in the industry. Because of the programs available as benefits of membership, your pet sitter is able to offer you cutting-edge technology and information for in-home pet care. And each of these programs has a direct positive influence on the quality of service that you and your pets receive from their PSI pet sitter.

Here’s what you get:
Confidence. Liability insurance and bonding policies available to pet sitters through their PSI membership let you know that you are dealing with a reliable, responsible business professional who cares about your home and your property as well as your pet.
Pet Care Safety. Castle Branch Inc's background screening services allow the pet-sitting business owner to screen prospective employees. This can help to ensure that any staff sitter who comes to your home is a legitimate, law-abiding, pet lover who shares your feelings for your family pets.
Convenience. Telecharge allows your pet sitter to accept payment by credit card or debit card, giving you, the pet owner, more payment options than ever before.
Pet Education. PSI’s Accreditation Program provides a complete pet-care education for professional pet sitters. It contains chapters to cover each facet of the business, including Pet Care, Health & Nutrition, Added Services and Business & Office Procedures. A PSI Accredited Pet Sitter brings a tremendous store of additional information to the task of caring for your pet—and that’s always a plus.

As a member of Pet Sitters International, your pet sitter is in a great position to look after your pet when you can’t be there - from cat care to dog sitting, from exotic bird care to overnight pet care and more.  For more information about how these PSI member benefits can help you and your pets, ask your pet sitter or contact PSI at (336) 983-9222,