Category Archives: Fido

Parent for all of dog related feeding categories

Welcome Home Murphy: How to Dog Prep Your Home

Dog prep your home.Murphy, a young Black Labrador and Dachshund mix, joined our family in November and settled right in but before he arrived, we had work to do to dog prep our home.

We lost our English Bulldog in November, 2016, to lung cancer.  She was only 8 and her passing was difficult. As we recovered from her loss, we cleaned out all her toys and belongings. When I knew that Murphy would be joining us, I had work to do.  Since we didn’t know how our new dog would behave, several steps were necessary and if you are planning to add a new dog or puppy to your family, perhaps these tips will help dog prep your home.

Dog Proof Your Home

Decide which rooms your dog will be allowed to access. Then go through each room looking for potential dangers. Get down on your knees if possible, so you can see the room at the level your new pet will see.

Look for exposed electrical cords. I know from experience that dogs and cats enjoy chewing on computer cables and cell phone cords. Find a way to hide them all from view and from access.

Block the dog’s access to rooms where he won’t be welcome. You can find baby safety gates here. I ordered 2 gates to block off our guest room to keep it clean and ready for company and the laundry room, because  the cats’ litter box resides there. If your new pet is a puppy, you may want a gate to prevent him from climbing any stairs.

Rid Your Home of Toxic Materials

If you don’t already use environmentally safe cleaning products, consider a change now. Your new dog will walk on the floors you just cleaned and then probably lick its paws. Be safe and choose cleaning products that won’t harm your pets.

Stock Up on Dog Supplies

If your new pet is a puppy, purchase a crate to use from day 1. If the dog is an adult, ask his owner or someone from the shelter where you get him if he is crate-trained. Some adult dogs won’t easily adjust to a crate and some will never do so. There are puppies that suffer from claustrophobia, and you won’t be able to crate train them but try. You life will be much easier if he learns to love his crate.  Choose a crate that allows an adult dog to stand and turn around. For puppies, think ahead to the size he will be when grown and buy accordingly.

Every dog needs his own bed. I don’t recommend spending a lot on bedding because puppies and even some adult dogs will chew up and destroy the bedding. We lined Murphy’s crate with 2 thick folded blankets and a baby pillow for extra softness because that was all I could find on short notice. Murphy is a chewer and once he grows out of his current chewing stage, I’ll probably find a more suitable dog bed for him.

You will want to buy 2 bowls for your dog – for food and water – and perhaps a washable mat to sit them on. Stainless steel or pottery bowls are best. Dogs often suffer a skin breakout, rather like acne, if they eat from plastic containers on a regular basis.

Dogs need appropriate collars and leashes. Talk to an experienced sales person at a pet store to help you make the best choices. Murphy needs some training because he has a bad habit of jumping on people and other dogs. He arrived with the leashes needed but I did purchase a special nylon, padded collar for training. Here is a video that shows you how to choose a collar for your dog.

Your new fur-baby needs toys to play with. Choose wisely. Select a Nylabone Original in the correct size for your dog. Those are safer than the other bone types of chew toys on the market. I found the best prices here.

Kong® makes a toy that can be stuffed with treats and they come in all sizes. Unless your new dog is a small animal that doesn’t destroy toys, watch carefully when he plays with less sturdy toys. He could break off and swallow small pieces that could get lodged in his throat or intestines.

The most important purchase you make for your new dog is food. Please read the information on our site before you shop to be sure your dog receives healthy pet food.

Preparing for your new dog will get your pet started off on the right “paw” and on the way to becoming a valued member of your family.

Bone Treats Receive FDA Warning

Bones of any kind have long been a concern for dog owners. When I brought my first Great Dane home, the breeder told me to be sure to get her a “big ole knuckle bone” from the butcher.  Years later, we learned that bones of any kind weren’t good for dogs because of the danger of splintering, but retailers continued to sell flavored bone treats. Now there is a new cause for concern with those.

The Food & Drug Administration has issued a warning about the “purchase and use of store-bought bone treats.”  The agency claims the risk goes beyond the risk of regular bones.

FDA issues warning about bone treats

Commercial Bone Treats

The FDA has received reports of 68 cases of illness related to these treats.

Bone Treats that Could Cause Problems

Bone treats for dogs were listed in the warning as:

  • Ham Bones”“Pork Femur Bones”
  • “Rib Bones”
  • “Smokey Knuckle Bones

No specific brands were named.

Watch for These Symptoms

Illnesses reported to the FDA by both pet owners and veterinarians include:

Gastrointestinal obstruction (blockage in the digestive tract
Choking

Cuts and wounds in the mouth or tonsils
Vomiting and/or diarrhea
Rectal bleeding
Death

15 dogs have reportedly died after eating a bone treat. Reports from owners and veterinarians show that problems with about 90 dogs and some reports included more than 1 dog.  There were also reports of moldy appearing treats and treats that splintered when chewed by dogs.

Be careful when you choose treats for your dog. Avoid purchasing any kind of real bones for treats. Instead, look at the Nylabone brand of flavored bone treats. They don’t splinter and dogs enjoy them. But always watch your dog when he chews them. With any toy or treat, a chunk could break off and become a choking hazard.

A better idea for treats than any kind of bone is one you make yourself.  You can find easy-to-follow recipes here. Homemade treats are cheaper, fresher and tastier than commercial treats, and you will be certain your pet is receiving a quality product.

If you purchased the bone treats, I suggest you return it to your place of purchase and ask for a refund.

 

 

 

How to Get Those Meds Down Your Dog without Trouble

Greenies Pill Pockets The only thing worse than watching your pet suffer from an illness or injury is trying to force the pills down his throat that will aid in recovery.  I can’t count the number of times I have struggled with that chore.  You force open the dog’s mouth, throw in the pill into the back of his throat, force the mouth closed and hold it while you massage his throat and pray he will swallow the medicine down.  We tried hiding the pill or capsule in a glob of peanut butter but the dog would often work it around in his mouth until the pill was exposed and then spit that out. It’s a miserable process for both owner and pet!   We found that Greenies™ Pill Pockets are the solution to the problem!

I first discovered the Pill Pockets when my Weimaraner was a puppy suffering from unknown ear and stomach infections.  Each bout required a round of antibiotics and my growing pup wasn’t having any part of those huge pills. The Greenies™ Pill Pockets changed the routine.  I pushed the pill into the Pill Pocket and pinched the open edge together. Gator gobbled it down, certain he had been given the ultimate treat.

Dog treats to hide pills

In reviewing this product, let me begin by saying that although the company advertises the product as treats, Greenies™ Pill Pockets serve a special purpose: To ease the process of administering medication to pets.  The flavor of the product hides the smell and taste of the medication and encourages the animal to eat it.  That is enough to make me less judgmental and worried about the ingredients. Chicken is the first ingredient and therefore, the weightiest. It’s a good beginning.  The second ingredient is glycerin, something I would not recommend in pet treats but am ok with it for administering medicine that won’t be forever. Wheat flour and wheat gluten are also ingredients that I would not include on a regular basis but they won’t hurt the animal as long as it isn’t allergic to this grain.  I don’t like the corn syrup because dogs do not need sugar in any form added to what they eat.

The natural flavors listed is another name for MSG, used as a flavor enhancer.  It’s a questionable ingredient but again, on a short term basis to help get healing medicine down the dog, you do what’s necessary.

Xanthan gum is used as an emulsifier in pet foods and is generally considered safe for dogs and cats.  Personally, I would use it only in small amounts as it is another form of sugar.

The rest of the ingredients are not a problem.  Overall, the Greenies™ Pill Pockets contain some ingredients that would concern me if a dog consumed them frequently.  But if you dog is ill and meds are required, try the Pill Pockets and rest easier, knowing your pet will be taking the required drugs prescribed by your veterinarian.

FDA Sends Warning Letter to Evanger’s Dog & Cat Food Company

The Evanger’s Dog & Cat Food company’s quality mess continues.  I wrote in the past about various recalls and complaints regarding the presence of pentobarbital in some of their products. Evanger’s was an exemplary pet food manufacturer until 2002 when the new owners took over. Since then, complaints followed recalls, followed by more complaints and so on.

Late last year, the company issued a voluntary recall of specific products after 5 dogs became ill after eating the products and tests showed the food contained pentobarbital.  In late February, 2017, the company issued an expanded recall of some of their products due to the potential of pentobarbital in the petfood.  Now it appears that the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is getting serious about enforcing their laws.

On June 29, 2017, the Food & Drug Administration issued a warning letter to Evanger’s stating that as a result of their inspections of and evidence collected at the company’s manufacturing facility in Wheeling, Illinois, in January and February of 2017,  “including supplier traceback, facility inspection, and samples collected by FDA, we found serious violations of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and its implementing regulations.”

The FDA’s analysis of canned, chunk meat dog foods, including Evanger’s Braised Beef Chunks, Evanger’s Hand-Packed Hunk of Beef in Au Jus, and Against the Grain – Grain-Free Pulled Beef and Gravy products revealed the presence of pentobarbital. thus causing the products to be adulterated under FDA law. No amount of the drug is acceptable in pet food. Pentobarbital is used by veterinarians to euthanize animals.

Was Only 1 Ingredient’s Supplier at Fault?

While the FDA acknowledged that Evanger’s did issue recalls of affected products, there is still a question about the company’s claim that only one of their suppliers sold them the contaminated meat. The FDA states in their letter that no documentation was provided to prove that claim.

Evanger’s Claims that Small Amounts of Pentobarbital Are Acceptable.

The company claimed in their letter to the FDA on 5/18/17 that if any pentobarbital were to be found in their products, it would be in such a small amount as to not be a health or safety issue for pets.  FDA says no amount of pentobarbital would be considered acceptable.  The Evanger’s letter went on to say that they would be conducting random testing of finished products to determine if any pentobarbital were present. That was not considered acceptable by the FDA, because their own testing showed that the presence of the drug was not the same throughout the pet food. Therefore such company test would not prove that all of the product was safe for pets to consume.

What Is Most Egregious

In a letter to the FDA dated 4/4/17, Evanger’s expressed a desire to donate their recalled products to an animal shelter. This would be after individual units of the recalled food had been tested and found negative for pentobarbital.  Since the FDA believes that test does not mean the entire food would be safe, I am horrified that shelter animals, already stressed from their homeless circumstances, would be considered acceptable recipients of this food.  The FDA recommended destruction of all the recalled petfood.

The FDA warning letter of 6/29/17 clearly says that the infractions listed above do not include all the violations found at the Wheeling plant.  Evanger’s was instructed to basically clean up their act or face further disciplinary action.

If you are still buying this company’s products for your pets, please take the time to read up on the recalls, violations and questionable truths that continue in the Evanger’s case and form your own opinion.  As for me, I will avoid any product produced by this company.  Buyer beware!

Fixing Fido’s Aging Joints

Aging canine joints benefit from natural supplements.

A dog’s aging joints may be helped with natural supplements.

As dogs age, they often suffer from aching joints, just as we humans do.  Veterinarians will prescribe arthritis drugs to ease Fido’s pain and stiffness, but why not be proactive and add some vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to your dog’s diet to try and ward off those old age aches and pains. You can find a multitude of all natural products on the retail market that work to improve canine mobility and strength. Joint supplements are believed to increase energy levels and longevity, as well as help maintain cartilage health and promote strong joints.

Pollen Power for Pets

Bee pollen is known to contain antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and most important for an aging dog, it helps build stronger muscles and increase performance and stamina. The pollen is believed to relieve arthritis in dogs. Pollen that comes from the actual flower could cause allergic reactions in some dogs but the thought is that pollen from the hive is safe. Know what you are buying!

Chondroitin for Cartilage Health

Chondroitin is found in the cartilage and connective tissue, helping to create healthy joints. In fact, the body uses chondroitin to make new cartilage and keep joints better lubricated. My favorite source of chondroitin (and glucosamine) for dogs is natural beef trachea. While it is perfect for helping strengthen joints, chewing on it cleans the dog’s gums. My favorite source of beef trachea comes from Clear Conscience Pets, a  family-owned company that has won multiple awards for excellence in pet nutrition. Anthony and Amanda Bennie founded the company to create holistically-formulated and cleanly-sourced nutritional products for dogs. My own dogs thrived on their products, and I wholeheartedly recommend them. (And no, this website does NOT benefit financially from promoting this company. I will promote any pet products company that I believe is good for pets.)  Their Beef Trachey Chews™ chews provide an excellent source of chondroitin, as well as glucosamine and collagen, the building products of joint health. I also suggest trying their Lamb Trachey Chews™, which come from 100% lamb trachea. The chews are hard enough to provide a satisfying chewing exercise while not causing problems for the sensitive gums of senior dogs.

How Glucosamine  Improves Canine Joint Health

Glucosamine, along with chondroitin, has been used to treat osteoarthritis in Europe for over 20 years and is just now becoming to go-to choice of treatment for dogs in the United States. Like chondroitin, glucosamine is a natural substance found in the body, especially in cartilage. As a dog ages, it is not able to synthesize enough glucosamine to keep up with the body’s needs. That’s where supplements come in! Your veterinary professional can decide whether supplements are needed or if your dog would receive enough glucosamine from treats like those mentioned above from Clear Conscience Pet to take care of his needs.  In any event, every dog would benefit from treats and pet food that contains glucoasamine and chondroitin. A 2007 study published in The Veterinary Journal concluded that dogs treated with glucosamine-chondroitin sulfate showed less pain and more mobility after 70 days of treatment.

Look to the Ocean and Beyond for Canine Joint Health

Omega-3 fatty acids are known to benefit the aging joints of senior dogs. In fact, The University of Montreal conducted a study of 30 dogs with osteoarthritis and concluded that a diet supplemented with omega-3 fatty acids resulted in significant improvement in movement problems and performance of daily activities. Other studies confirm that dogs suffering from arthritis saw improvement after supplements with Omega-3 fatty acids were added to their diets. As a preventive measure, consider adding natural sources of Omega-3’s to your dog’s diet, such as salmon. The superfood, Spyrulina, boosts the immune system and also provides a strong source of Omega-3 fatty acids.

Accupunture has helped many canines with joint disease. Talk to your veterinarian about this ancient art of healing to see if it might help your pet. Massage and chiropractic care could also help reduce joint degeneration in dogs and help alleviate pain.

A comfy, supportive bed helps a dog's aging joints.

Talk to your veterinarian about alternative methods of improving your pet’s joints. Keep in mind that as your dog ages, he will need consideration for the pain he suffers.  A supportive but comfortable bed is important to relieve stress on his old joints. Daily walks may be slower than before and he may not go as far. Adjust your routine to fit his needs and always keep your vet in the loop about changes in your dog’s routines and health.

Recall: Cocolicious Dog Food Products

Party Animal, Inc., has issued a voluntary recall of specific lot numbers of its Cocolicous dog food products due to a positive test for pentobarbital.  The company was notified on April 13 by a Texas retailer that the product, which was tested by an independent laboratory, had shown evidence of the drug in the products tested.

The company tracked the particular product and lot numbers and asked the retailers to pull all of these products from the shelves. Party Animal requested that all of the affected cans be shipped to them for further testing.

The products being recalled are 13 ounce cans of Cocolicious Beef & Turkey with the lot number of #0136E15204 04, and best by date of July, 2019. Also included are 13 ounce cans of Cocolicious Chicken & Beef with the lot number of #0134E15 237 13 and best by date of August, 2019.

If you have purchased any of these products, return them to your place of purchase for a full refund.  For any questions, call 855-727-8926 or email the company at info@partyanimalpetfood.com.

The usual way that pentobarbital would appear in any pet food is through the rendering process. One doesn’t expect this to apply to organic pet foods.

As I wrote here, this Cocolicious pet food is manufactured by Evanger’s, a company that has endured a number of health-related problems in recent months with their own products. Party Animal states that they will be reexamining their manufacturing processes.

 

Recall: Pig Ears Pet Treats

EuroCan Manufacturing has voluntarily recalled one lot of its Barnsdale Farms, Houndstooth, and Mac’s Choice Pig Ears because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella bacteria. The recalled products were distributed throughout the United States and Canada.

Recall of Pet Treats

The pig ears were individually shrink-wrapped in 6-pack, 12-pack, and 25-pack bags under the brand names, Barnsdale Farms, Barnsdale Farms Select, Houndstooth and Mac’s Choice. The Lot # is 84.

No illnesses have been reported.  However, should you experience the following symptoms, contact your medical professional at once:

Nausea
Vomiting
Diarrhea
Bloody Diarrhea
Abdominal Cramping
Fever

In more serious cases such conditions as endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation and urinary tract infections could occur but these are rare and usually only affect those with underlying conditions that affect their immune systems.

Salmonella can affect animals, as well as the humans who handle them or their belongings. Some pets may exhibit the above symptoms but many will be carriers of the bacteria with no symptoms. If your pet has eaten any of the affected products, contact your veterinarian at once for further advice.

Always wash your hands thoroughly after handling pet bowls or toys or any pet-related products.

Routine testing by the company revealed the presence of Salmonella in these products. They have withheld distribution of products while they and the FDA investigate to find the source of contamination.

If you have purchased any of the recalled products, return them to your place of purchase for a refund. With further questions, you may call the company at 888-290-7606, Monday – Friday, 9-5 EST.

 

Recall: WellPet Issues Voluntary Recall of Products

WellPet has issued a voluntary recall of a Wellness Beef Topper for dogs, saying a small amount of  one recipe has the potential to contain elevated levels of naturally occurring beef thyroid hormone. The following is the only affected product:

Recalled Product Details:
• Wellness 95% Beef Topper for Dogs – 13.2 oz
• Best-By Dates of 02 FEB 19, 29 AUG 19 and 30 AUG 19, located on the bottom of the can.

Elevated levels of the thyroid hormone can affect a dog’s metabolism and increase thirst, frequency of urination, restless behavior and weight loss. No reports have been received by the company of any dogs affected by this problem.

If you have purchased any of the cans of the specific product listed above, return it to your place of purchase for a refund. You may also call the company at 877-227-9587 for more information.

Because this product is used as supplemental feeding only, it is unlikely a dog would be harmed should he consume the food with elevated hormone levels, but the company is issuing the recall out of precaution.

Pet food recall

 

Recall: A Blue Wilderness Product Is Voluntarily Pulled

Pet Food Recall

 

In a press release yesterday, March 17, 2017, Blue Buffalo issued a voluntary recall for one production lot of Blue Wilderness® Rocky Mountain Recipe™ Red Meat Dinner Wet Food for Adult Dogs.  There is the potential for this product to contain elevated levels of naturally-occurring beef thyroid hormones.

Dogs that ingest high levels of the hormone could exhibit symptoms of excessive urination, increased thirst, excessive heart rate, weight loss and restlessness. If the animal stops eating the affected food, the symptoms may abate. But with prolonged use, the symptoms could increase and worsen and include vomiting, diarrhea, and breathing difficulties. Contact your veterinarian at once, if  your pet displays such symptoms.

Although Blue Buffalo has not received any complaints of dogs suffering problems from eating this food, the FDA did advise the company of one consumer who reported symptoms in a dog.  The dog recovered. Blue Buffalo decided to issue the voluntary recall of the following:

Pet food recall

 

 

 

The affected products were distributed nationally to pet food retailers, as well as online.

If your pet consumed any of the products listed above, discontinue feeding and contact your veterinarian immediately. If you have questions, contact Blue Buffalo at 866-201-9072 between 8-5, Eastern Time, Monday – Friday. You may return any unused product to  your place of purchase.

 

 

What You Need to Know about Dog Vaccinations

dog vaccinationsThe topic of dog vaccinations produces a multitude of opinions in dog owners and canine professionals. Some believe firmly that all dogs should receive all the vaccinations required by law, as well as a few suggested tones. Others prefer their pets to receive titer tests to determine whether or not their dogs even need certain injections. The subject, while controversial, is one all pet owners should study and then decide for themselves which vaccinations best work for their dogs.

Each state has its own requirements, so be sure to confirm canine laws where you live. Said laws also depend on the animal’s age. Your veterinarian is the best person to guide you. However, in my 45 years of pet ownership, only once has a veterinarian suggested to me that a vaccine might not be necessary…that my pet could receive a titer test first to determine immunity.

Vaccinations are important for dogs and puppies.

Puppies should receive the core vaccines. Core vaccines include Rabies, canine parvo virus, distemper and canine hepatitis and all dogs should receive those preventative innoculations, because the diseases can kill both puppies and dogs if they are not immunized.

Non-Core vaccines are somewhat optional and circumstances in the dog’s life should determine if he receives the vaccination. For example, if a you live in an area where there are a lot of cases of a particular disease, you might want your pet vaccinated to avoid that one. Bordatella (also known as Kennel Cough) would be necessary in certain conditions, although it isn’t considered a Core vaccine. If you plan to board your dog at a kennel, all reputable kennels require proof of innoculation against Bordatella. If your pet plays at a dog park with other animals, vaccinating him for Bordatella might be a good idea.

Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that can affect canines with access to standing water. Even standing puddles of water can harbor the bacteria. The Lepto vaccine is a non-core vaccination, but many veterinarians recommend it. Years ago, my Blue Great Dane Coby was just 9 weeks old and ready for his second set of vaccinations. My wonderful mobile vet, Dr. Janet Childs, came to our home and did her job and left. Fortunately, we had a visitor that day who was cuddling my puppy after his veterinary exam and injections. Nancy was an RN and observant about canine health. Shortly after the vet left, she noticed that Coby’s gums were turning blue. We called the vet immediately and she returned to give our fur-baby an injection to counter-act his obvious negative reaction to his vaccinations. It was later determined that he reacted to the Leptospirosis vaccine. Dr. Childs said at the time that she would rather treat the disease than go through that scary experience again. Coby never received another Lepto vaccination. However, our other dogs prior to Coby had no problem with it. Our pets were never boarded at a kennel, so we also chose not to vaccinate for Bordatella. Each dog is different and you have to decide what is best for your pet. Just be sure to include your veterinarian in the discussion.

Non-Core vaccines include protection from Bordatella, Leptospirosis, Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) and Borrelia burgdorferi, a bacteria responsible for Lyme Disease in canines. The vaccines are not always effective in preventing these diseases than are the Core vaccines.

dog vaccinations

Dogs are like humans in that they need certain vaccinations to ward off diseases that could be life-threatening. According to pets.webmd.com, “vaccines help the body’s immune system to fight the invasion of disease-causing organisms.”

Make your decisions regarding said vaccines based on your dog’s breed, where and how your dog lives, and the opinion of your veterinarian.