Pets and Your Health: Separating Fact from Fiction

 Recall for Pet Treat by Manufacturers
Submitted by Elina Needham -

A recall has been announced by the manufacturers of Jr. Texas Taffy, a pet treat.

Reportedly, the same pet treated was massively distributed across the nation and it has now been speculated that those are highly contaminated with salmonella.

Although, the makers of Jr. Texas Taffy, Merrick Pet Care Inc. from Amarillo, Texas, have confirmed that no cases of contamination have been registered so far, but they have publically appealed everyone to bring back the treats from where they got them.

The treats were sold in the plastic bags, which have “Lot # 10084TL7” printed over them. The marked “best before” date is of March 4, 2012.

The company has assured the full refund of money to all the consumers, who have brought the packages.

Salmonella is a poisonous substance and can affect both human beings and animals, showing different symptoms in both.

If infected by Salmonella humans can suffer from abdominal cramping, fever, vomiting, bloody diarrhea and nausea.

Those pets, which are infected with Salmonella, are characterized by lethargy, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever vomiting, decreased appetite and even abdominal pain.

It is strongly recommended by the company to contact veterinarian as soon as possible, if the pet has consumed the recalled product and showing the above mentioned symptoms.

The company has also asked people to take care of themselves and to keep an eye on the symptoms.

For further queries, call 800-664-7387 on Monday to Friday between 9 a. m. and 6 p. m.

Brainerd Girl Gets Her Bird Back

Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls - Ashley Nebel, 9, of Brainerd, gave her new cockatiel a kiss Friday at PetNorth in Brainerd.

Ashley Nebel couldn't take her eyes off her new little pal, which was content to stand on her shoulder and peck at the shiny zipper on her winter coat.

It was a happy ending for the 9-year-old Brainerd girl, but also for the white cockatiel perched on her shoulder.

The bird was stolen Wednesday night from PetNorth in Brainerd by two female suspects who were caught on video stealing the 12-week-old cockatiel. A woman in a wheelchair was seen on camera taking the bird out of its cage and hiding it under her jacket, according to store employees.

A different unidentified woman walked into PetNorth around 12:15 p.m. Friday and returned the stolen cockatiel.

The bird was discovered missing Thursday morning by Ashley's mom, Lisa Nebel, a Brainerd High School special education teaching assistant. She had come into the pet store with some of her students, who volunteer at PetNorth each day. Lisa had put a deposit on the bird for her daughter Ashley and while she was familiar with the cockatiel, Ashley hadn't seen it yet but was excited to get it. Ashley's teddy bear hamsters had given birth last year and she raised and sold the 12 babies to PetNorth, saving her money to help purchase the $90 bird. Lisa has two canaries but Ashley wanted her own bird.

"I wanted a bird that would stay on my shoulder," Ashley said.

Lisa said her daughter was very upset when she told her Thursday after school that the bird had been stolen.

"She was devastated," Lisa explained. "She was crying."

"I was feeling very emotional and sad," added Ashley. "I was thinking he wasn't going to be found."

After the female suspects were shown from the surveillance footage on media reports Thursday, a woman walked into PetNorth Friday to return the bird.

The bird was cold and in a Nike shoe box but appeared to be in good health, said Sarah Buchite, owner of PetNorth.

Buchite said the woman would not give her name but said she was supposed to drop the bird off at the pet store. The woman told Buchite that a woman she didn't know at Central Lakes College asked her to return the bird. Buchite said she didn't believe the story. The woman apparently parked away from the pet store parking lot so staff couldn't identify her vehicle.

"The bird was very cold and very unhappy," said Buchite.

"We're very surprised that someone actually returned him," said Amanda Halvorson, a PetNorth employee. "We're very happy. The people who stole him must have had remorse to return it. That's good."

Lisa surprised her daughter by telling her as they drove into the PetNorth parking lot Friday after school that her bird was back. The Lowell fourth-grader was thrilled.

Ashley said if the bird is a boy she would name him "Buddy." If it's a girl, her name would be "Sweetie."

"He's really cute," Ashley said of her new bird. "He likes me. I think I'll have a good buddy. I'm just glad that he's back."

Brainerd Police Chief Corky McQuiston could not be reached for comment Friday but a Brainerd investigator told PetNorth employees that police would continue to pursue charges against the women who stole the bird. McQuiston said Thursday that law enforcement officers had identified the woman who stole the bird from the video but hadn't located her yet.

JODIE TWEED may be reached at or 855-5858.

Owner Horrified at Castration of Prized Pedigree
By Jamie Morton -

Strangers gave cat unkindest cut.

The mysterious and totally unauthorised neutering of pedigree cat Buddy has infuriated his Tauranga owner, who can no longer lease him out as a stud cat.

Michelle Curtis was horrified after her prized siamese-bengal cross returned home at the weekend, fixed and a little grumpy, after disappearing for two days.

"I couldn't believe someone took my cat and got him fixed. I don't know why they would do that," she said yesterday.

"It really was quite bizarre. I mean, who just takes someone's cat and gets them neutered?"

Thanks to the cat burglar in question, all that now remains of Buddy's previous manhood is a pair of small slits from the surgery.

Because Buddy was not plucked or shaven, Ms Curtis fears the unsanctioned snip was the work of a do-it-yourself surgeon.

Barkes Corner Vet Hospital veterinarian Martin Earles said if the job was done by a vet, there would have been at least some hair removed from around the cat's scrotum area.

But he believed it would have been difficult for someone to neuter an adult cat by themselves.

Although Buddy does not wear a collar, Ms Curtis believes his breed would have made it obvious why he wasn't neutered.

"It's not normal for him to go missing either, he's always here for his feeds, sleeps here for most of the day, and sometimes at night."

Ms Curtis, a former cat breeder, has had Buddy for almost two years and up until the weekend was considering using him as a stud cat - but now all he can offer is companionship.

"What am I supposed to do now? I can't exactly get someone to sew them back on."

It was because she wanted to keep Buddy that she sold Vixen, her former chocolate point siamese queen cat, who could produce litters worth $450 for each kitten.

Buddy's neutering has also ended the blood line she was breeding with, and Ms Curtis estimates it would cost at least $1000 to create another line.

Despite phone calls to the SPCA and vet clinics across the city, the caper remains unsolved.

Neighbours approached by the Bay of Plenty Times yesterday could also offer no leads.

But Ms Curtis hasn't given up her search yet - she plans to drop posters in mailboxes across the neighbourhood in the hope that someone might come forward.

"I don't think it's likely and they might freak out and think 'oh my God', but there still might be a chance.

"Why did they fix my cat? Why couldn't they have found out who it belonged to first?"

"It's still hard to deal with. I'm unimpressed with the whole thing, it just really, really sucks."

Separated from Her Pet Dog,
87-Year-Old Woman Ends Life
NDTV Correspondent

London: An 87-year-old dog lover in Britain has ended her life after her pet was taken away by a rescue centre, a media report said.

Former veterinary nurse Joan Mary Crowhurst was found dead on her living room floor, having taken an overdose and left a handwritten note on her mantelpiece that read: "You stole my dog, you stole my life," the 'Daily Mail' reported.

Crowhurst had adopted Dalmatian Gemma six years ago from a rescue centre near her home in Whippingham on the Isle of Wight. In June last year, Crowhurst was hospitalised after collapsing at home and the dog was taken back to the centre, the Isle of Wight Coroner's Court heard.

Crowhurst, who kept dogs throughout her life, was in hospital and then a care home for around a month before she was allowed back to her house in Campfield Road. She killed herself two weeks later, the report said.

Sue Hemmings, who runs the centre, told the hearing that she had visited Crowhurst after she came out of hospital and believed she was not up to looking after the dog.

"On two or three occasions she told me she didn't want to have the dog back. She was phoning me eight or nine times a day; one minute it was 'I don't want the dog', then it was 'someone has stolen my dog'.

"In every conversation I was trying to calm her down and express that Gemma was OK. I think the dog was a major factor in her thoughts. I was concerned about her. It was never my intention not to let the dog go back," she said.

An entry written by a carer on the day she died read: "Still saying she does not want to live without dog."

The inquest also heard a psychiatrist's report saying Crowhurst may have been suffering from the early stages of dementia, however Coroner John Matthews said the distress caused by the loss of her dog had affected her.

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Missing Service Dog Back with Owner
posted by mary anna gentleman -

Colleague Jeff Weiner has great news to report: Devon, the missing service dog, has been found.

Helen Peraza, the woman responsible for alerting the media that the dog was missing, told him that a British couple in town on vacation spotted Devon wandering in the neighborhood where they’re staying during the nasty storm on Tuesday.

They took Devon in and fed him but weren’t sure what to do next until they saw a TV news report about his disappearance. After the report, they called Helen, who arranged the reunion.

She said the couple took good care of the dog.
Of Devon’s owner, Jeffrey Bazer of South Carolina, Helen said: “He’s very happy. Everyone’s excited.”

She said she wasn’t there for the reunion, but is looking forward to seeing Devon and Jeffrey on Saturday morning.

Wounded NJ Police Dog Could Return to Work

SALEM — New Jersey police say a police dog shot in the line of duty this week is expected to make a full recovery and return to work.

Jordan, a K-9 in Salem, was shot in the chest Wednesday during a standoff.

The dog's handler, Patrolman William Robinson, was also grazed by a bullet.

Salem Police Sgt. Robert Hans says the dog was so stoic during the event that his handler didn't realize he'd been shot.

The dog is now at the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary Hospital in Philadelphia.

Veterinarian Vince Thawley tells the Today's Sunbeam newspaper that the bullet is still lodged in the dog, but the only injury it caused was minor lung bruising.

The Salem County K-9 Association is looking for donations to pay for Jordan's care.

Labrador Retriever:
America's Most Popular Dog
Diana Normand -

For the 20th year in a row, the American Kennel Club has named the Labrador Retriever the most popular dog in the country.

The German Shepherd came in second, followed by the Yorkshire Terrier, the Beagle, and the Golden Retriever.

Executive Director of the Humane Society of Marathon County Mary Kirlin says a lot of people come looking for the popular labs or lab mixes.

"Labradors are popular hunting dogs, they're a great family dog, everybody knows them, everybody loves them, they're big and friendly," said Kirlin.

But she also says the labs are high energy and can be a lot of work.

She also says even though they are popular, it is always a good idea to do your research before choosing a breed.

If you are interested in adopting an animal or becoming a volunteer, staff say you can simply head down to the Humane Society of Marathon County.

Pets Audition for Letterman Show

AGAWAM - LuLu, a miniature pinscher, sucked a human's thumb. Dreama, a miniature horse, climbed a step stool. Skylark, an English springer spaniel, ate from a cup.

And John B. Moreau, of Springfield, used a toothbrush, comb and checkbook to open Heineken beer bottles, and chopsticks to pick up a cup.

All were at tryouts for "The Late Show with David Letterman's Stupid Human Tricks and Stupid Pet Tricks" at Dave's Soda and Pet Food City on Saturday.

But they will have to wait and see if they made the final cut.

Lori A. Overlock, account executive at Springfield's CBS 3, said that when the Late Show came calling about holding auditions, she went "straight to Dave's." She said the last time there was a casting call for the show in New England, it was in Vermont, and that was a few years ago. Overlock was not sure when the contestants will be told if their tricks are worthy of a nationwide audience.

She may be 4, but LuLu "sucks my thumb like a baby," said owner Susan E. Krom, 60, of Holyoke.

Krom brought along friend Mary A. Corriveau, of Easthampton, because LuLu also likes to suck her thumb. LuLu wore a pink sweater with a princess emblem as well as a fur collar for her audition.

And she did not disappoint.

LuLu latched onto Corriveau's thumb for the television cameras, but saved her most vigorous thumb-sucking for her owner.

"She'll fall asleep on it . . . It's stress relief for her," Krom said. "She's done it since she was a puppy."

LuLu won't just suck anyone's thumb. The show dog only saves thumb-sucking for people "in her pack," Krom said.

"She's 6 pounds of attitude," Corriveau, 60, said.

"You love sucking that thumb, huh?" Corriveau said to LuLu.

Brittany M. Price, 24, of Amherst, brought her 13-year-old miniature horse Dreama.

"She's done tricks in my backyard for years. I always wanted her to have her shot on something commercial," Price said.

"Are you a good girl?" Price asked Dreama.

Dreama nodded yes.

Philip E. Plumadore, of Springfield, and his daughter Krystle, 10, had their 2-year-old Jack Russell terrier Princess with them. Princess is deaf and obeys hand commands to perform tricks such as rolling, spinning and sitting. Plumadore said he thought it would be fun to do the audition with his daughter and said it would be cool if they landed on the show.

Veronica L. Bobskill, 9, of Agawam, had her gerbil Leslie race across dominoes for a pumpkin seed. She also has another gerbil, Scampers.

"I like to play with them and do tricks with them," Veronica said.

James P. Ramsey, of Easthampton, described Skylark, 6, as "built like a Buick." It was Ramsey's 53rd birthday, and he said Skylark can do "a whole array of tricks" that he and his four children have taught him.

"At home he performs without flaw," Ramsey said.

Ramsey said he likes the pet tricks segment on Letterman. In addition from eating - without using his paws - from a cup, Skylark stopped, dropped and rolled.

"I hope he does get on. It will be fun," Ramsey said.

Yorkie Training and Housebreaking Tips

Yorkie owners may not go through difficulties when it comes to yorkie training considering that the breed is said to be fairly easy to train. With their active and clever personality along with having responsible owners, there is no stopping this breed in theyre] [supposed. However, though they are of the same breed, not all yorkies have the same personality. For some reason, a yorkie may end up stubborn hence resulting to hard and sometimes frustrating training.

Housebreaking is one of the several things your pet needs to perfect throughout his lifetime. Its important that he knows where and when to do his thing unless you are willing to clean after his accidents for 12 years or so.

Here are a few yorkie training advice to help you housebreak your adorable toy dog:

•Unless he is in a crate or a fenced in area, Fido must be constantly supervised to prevent accidents. Additionally, keeping him under your nose at all times when he is out of the crate will also let you provide timely correction.

•Talking about correction, dont forget to correct him only when you catch him in the act of creating a mistake.

•Learn more about your dogs physical state and capacities. Young puppies do not have full control of their bladder and bowel hence they must be taken out frequently during the day to prevent accidents. Recommended times are after getting out of bed, when excited, nervous or stressed, after drinking and eating, after exercise or activity and before sleeping.

•Apart from taking him out on a schedule, you should also feed him with high quality foods on a schedule.

•Physical punishment wont help you achieve successful yorkie training. The truth is, punishment will only do more harm than good.

•Accidents are inevitable. Should an accident arise, clean up all your dogs mess to keep him from doing his thing at that exact same spot again.

•Reward every good behavior.

Pet Safety:
Tips for Taking Dogs in the Car
 and Keeping It Clean
By NJ Star-Ledger Guest Columnist

Spreading out the dog's blanket for a car trip can avoid "accidents" by signaling to a house-trained pet that it should observe the same no-go policy that's kept inside the house.

Taking a beloved pooch on a ride-along in the car can be an adventure and a challenge. There are safety issues as well as the condition of the vehicle to consider.

Heidi Ganahl, CEO and founder of Camp Bow Wow dog day care centers has the following tips for protecting both your pet and your car, weather it's a quick run to the park or a weekend road trip.

Don’t throw caution to the wind: Fido loves to stick his head outside of the car, but this can be dangerous. One of the most common driving-related injuries is caused by flying debris. In worst case scenarios, this can lead to blindness or nerve damage.

Invest in a pet harness: A pet harness keeps you and your dog safe. According to AAA, unrestrained animals lead to 30,000 accidents annually. A harness can keep you pet inside the vehicle and alive as well as preventing your pup from wreaking havoc in your car.

Pack provisions: When driving long distances, make sure you have plenty of water and food for your dog. To avoid a backseat mishap, stop at a rest area to feed and water your dog. Never try to feed your dog while driving; it will only create a mess that you’ll later regret.

Prevent “accidents": Be sure to take Fido for a walk before a car ride. Also, if you are going on a longer trip, avoid feeding your pet two hours before you will leave.

No-waste station: Most dogs are perfectly trained to not release their waste inside the house. Bring your dog’s blanket or bedding to signify that your car is an extension of the home.

Avoid hairy situations: To prevent dog hair from taking over your car, it’s important to cover your seats. Also, groom your pet before long car rides. Excess hair can easily be removed by grooming brushes and shedding blades. Finally, it’s important to remove pet hair after each trip to prevent it from accumulating. A thorough vacuuming is recommended, but if you’re pressed for time consider a lint roller.

Attack lingering odors: From time to time, clean your automobile’s floors with a carpet shampoo and baking soda. This will help get rid of the puppy smell. Keep an air freshener that kills bacteria in your glove compartment for a last-minute fix.

See clearly: Some dogs like to lick the inside of car windows. The resulting smudges can be removed easily with a glass-cleaning spray.

'Down, Boy!' Can Encourage Dog to Jump
By Lisa Moore - McClatchy Newspapers

Jumping is attention-seeking behavior for dogs

A frequent and frustrating behavior that dog owners face is their pet jumping for attention.

Despite lots of corrective ways to address it, the dog continues to jump. Often, the solution to an undesirable behavior is to first have a better understanding of why the dog does it, so you can then deny the dog what it wants until you get what you want.

Jumping up is attention-seeking behavior. Our attention — from the dog's perspective — comes in three forms: eye contact, voice and physical touch. With this in mind, if you address your jumping dog by scolding him and pushing him away, you are, in fact, giving him exactly what he is seeking — attention!

From the dog's perspective, you were a little grumpy, but you gave attention nonetheless, so it seems logical for the dog to continue in this manner.

Keep in mind that dogs are bright, and spend enormous amounts of time figuring out how to glean what they want from their environment. Dogs repeat behavior that "pays" them in some sort of way, and quickly discard behavior that doesn't provide a positive outcome.

So, to best address the jumping dog, you must start by ignoring the behavior you don't like. When the dog jumps up, avoid eye contact, turn away from the dog, or walk past him, as if he doesn't exist. Repeat as long as the dog is jumping. Once he determines that jumping is getting him nowhere, he will stop doing it.

Watch and wait for your dog to behave differently; usually what we choose to reward is "all four paws on the floor" behavior. When this happens, you, for the first time, calmly acknowledge your dog and give him a bit of attention.

Of course the second you begin to pet and interact with your dog, the jumping will start up again; it's a well-ingrained pattern. You must be patient, and expect to repeat this message many, many times before the dedicated jumper changes his behavior. Patterns of behaviors are not formed without a lot of practice, and the jumping dogs have usually been successfully getting attention in this manner for some time.

Honestly, the jumping dog will usually jump more often when you initially begin this modification process. This is called the extinction burst. In the dog's mind, jumping has been a successful way to get your attention for quite a while, but now suddenly it isn't working. The dog won't immediately abandon a behavior that has been working so well up to this point. Instead, he will increase the amount of jumping, as if he is testing the theory, before finally coming to the conclusion that it no longer works. In the meantime, the dog begins to see a new pattern emerge — that of getting attention when all four are on the floor.

This is a standard and usually successful method of modifying the jumping behavior. There is a way, however, to get even faster results. Dog trainers who use clickers and apply operant conditioning, positive training techniques, can help a dog get the message more quickly. By using a clicker to "mark" correct behavior the instant it happens, we can click the dog for having all four paws on the floor before he jumps. The clicker allows us to deliver the message much faster than our bodies can respond, thus creating an accelerated learning process for the dog. That's part of the beauty of clicker training; once the dog understands what the clicker means, communicating with your dog becomes easier and learning occurs at a faster rate, including but not limited to, jumping up for attention.

— — —

Lisa Moore's pet-behavior column appears once a month on the Weekly Pet Page. Write to her in care of LifeStyles, The Modesto Bee, P.O. Box 5256, Modesto CA 95352.

5 Tips for Weatherproofing Your Pet
By Tammy Zaluzney -

Our pets share our mixed feelings about the weather. Some are exhilarated by it, romping in the snow, while others race outside to take care of business and then race back in as quickly as possible.

Whether your pets enjoy the cold or not, consider a few simple precautions to keep them happy and healthy during the winter months:

1.Ice is not only dangerous for humans to walk and drive on, it's also dangerous for dogs. They can easily slip, and although most dogs will catch themselves, in doing so they can strain or sprain delicate tissue and tendons. Many a canine cruciate (knee) surgery is the result of a dog slipping on ice. Take care when walking your dog on a leash on slippery walkways, sidewalks and roads. Better yet, stay off the ice altogether.

2.De-icing agents may be helpful in keeping the walkway clear, but they can be tough on a dog's tender feet. Unless you're using a paws-friendly product, de-icers can dry your dog's pads, which then split open and become quite painful. In turn, the dog might lick his sore feet, introducing bacteria that can cause infection. To avoid this painful ordeal for your pet, you have a few options: go chemical-free; put booties on your dog; or use a more natural product for traction, such as clay kitty litter or coffee grounds. Pet-friendly products are also available. Most home improvement stores and some supermarkets carry paws-friendly de-icing products.

3.If it is cold to you, it is cold to your pet. Do not leave him/her outside when the temperature plunges. It is particularly difficult for pets to keep warm in the wind or when wet, so outside time should be limited in this type of weather. Northern breeds such as huskies, malamutes and some shepherds seem to relish the colder weather—it can even be good for them. But unless they are acclimated, they will not be able to tolerate it for long.

4.If you have a short-coated dog, sweaters and coats are not just for fashion. A dog with shorter fur, particularly those dogs who are older or thin, will benefit from wearing a warm coat when out in the cold. I recommend Fido Fleece, which can be purchased online.

5.Not only is anti-freeze from your car deadly to pets, it has a sweet smell and taste that many animals find very appealing. Check your car to make sure that it is not leaking anti-freeze and if you have replaced or refilled anti-freeze recently, please make sure to completely clean up any spills.

This article originally appeared on Perry Hall Patch, where Tammy Zaluzney writes the "Pets of Perry Hall" column.

It's the Pitts:
All Pet Tricks and No Treats
By Lee Pitts -

I've been impressed with animal magic ever since an assembly in the second grade when a man brought his horse to our school. The man would rattle off a math problem such as, "What's 6 plus 2 minus 3 plus 5 divided by two?" And the horse would stomp its hoof two times.

The lesson the teachers were attempting to impart to us was that if a horse could figure out such a complex equation certainly there was hope for us kids. Although, that's not the message I took away from the exercise. I remember my impression being that I didn't need to learn math because when I grew up I was going to have a horse.

I just figured the horse was so smart because he never had to go to school and fill his brain with all sorts of useless stuff. Which brings me to my subject ... idiotic pet tricks. I'll admit that I am envious of anyone who can teach their pet to do tricks. Of course, I did finally grow up and get a horse but the only trick I was able to teach it was to sleep standing up.

I bought a talking bird once who never spoke another word after it left the store and one of my dogs rolled over when I said "speak." This was the same animal I taught to retrieve by throwing a red rubber ball in hopes it would be a bird dog. It might have worked out fine if I was shooting red rubber balls but this dog wouldn't hunt. It was afraid of anything that had feathers and flew.

I had high hopes of turning my last dog into a sheep-herding machine. I trained her as a pup on ducks, which is a common practice, and sure enough when Aussie got older she was a Grand Champion duck herder. But sheep intimidated her. The only trick my dog ever did was have puppies, which was quite a feat because we thought we had her fixed!

A person has to be really insecure to teach their pets stupid tricks just to impress their smug friends with their overachieving pets. And for what? People get a watch dog and immediately teach it to shake hands, roll over and play dead. I submit that these are not admirable traits for a watch dog! Or, they teach a dog to beg. BIG DEAL! Begging comes naturally to most dogs anyway. Give me a dog who performs useful tricks: Like fetching the neighbor's newspaper on a Sunday morning.

I'll admit there was one dog that made me jealous of its owner. One day many years ago I was fixing fence with Todd, the manger of the ranch next door. It was a hot day and Todd asked if I wanted a beer. I answered in the affirmative, requesting my favorite brand, Coors. I swear on my honor Todd told his dog to go to the refrigerator and fetch me a Colorado Kool Aid. Mind you, I did not laugh because I already knew Todd's dog could do things that I couldn't, like catch a Frisbee and scratch his head with his foot. But fetching a beer, now this would be a real trick indeed!

Sure enough, Todd had taught his dog to go to a small refrigerator in an old dairy barn, open the door, grab a cold can without getting slobber on the top, and retrieve it. Please keep in mind that dogs are color blind and do not have opposable thumbs! This was the most useful dog I'd ever seen. "Surely" I said, "this is some kind of magic."

Nope. Todd asked what other kind of beer I wanted and I said that I'd have a Bud. I believe he would have retrieved pretzels and beer nuts had I asked. The only beer that dog couldn't come back with was a Mexican brand because Todd was all out and I doubt the liquor store would have sold the dog any without an ID. Maybe they would have, who knows?

Being an amateur animal trainer myself, I thought I'd teach my pets a couple of these useful tricks to really impress my friends. I ended up with a numerically challenged horse and a dog that likes to drink beer.

Lee Pitts is a syndicated columnist and the author of several books.

Pets and Your Health:
Separating Fact, Fiction

"Early Show" resident veterinarian Dr. Debbye Turner Bell answers questions and busts myths about how your pet can affect your health.

NEW YORK -- Plenty of conventional "wisdom" about the impact of pets on humans' health - and yours on theirs -- is flat-out wrong, or misleading.

Resident "Early Show" veterinarian Dr. Debbye Turner Bell addressed several common questions Thursday:

Is it dangerous to sleep with your pet?

It is generally not dangerous to sleep with your pets. Millions of pet owners have shared their beds with their pets since the beginning of domesticated animals. However, there are some hygiene issues and cautions that should be taken into consideration. First, there are some diseases that can be passed from pets to people (these are called zoonotic diseases) through such close proximity. They include ringworm, tapeworms, hookworms, and a host of infections that are transmitted from fleas and ticks. Those who have a vulnerable immune system should be especially cautious. That would include young children, elderly, sick individuals, and those with immunodeficiency (like those living with HIV). These individuals should avoid sleeping with animals.

It is also a good idea to keep your pet clean and well-groomed, for a host of health-related reasons involving you and your pet. They should also be free of fleas and ticks. You may want to keep your pet on top of the covers and not between the sheets with you. And of course, keep the pet out of the bed when you or the animal has an active infection of any kind. Otherwise, 'night, 'night, sleep tight!

Are dogs' mouths cleaner than humans'?

This is definitely a myth. Dogs come in contact with a host of pathogens (germs) through their enthusiastic exploration with their mouths. They gleefully eat feces, their own and others'. They drink sloppily from the toilet. They lick their own private parts. They will pretty much put any and everything in their mouths. The reason that all this indiscriminate mouthing doesn't make them sick is that they have a natural set of good bacteria (flora) that helps them fight infection. We do not have this same flora. So if your pooch dines on cat poop then kisses you in the mouth, some pretty nasty germs can be passed along to you. Many people allow their dog to "kiss" them on the mouth. If they knew where their dog's mouth has been just before that kiss, my guess is they would think again about that practice.

Can you catch the flu from your pet?

Unlike bacteria, viruses are much more specific about the host in which they can survive and multiply. So, in general, viruses are not transmitted across a wide number of species. But it is possible for a virus to change (or mutate) and adapt to the environment of a new host (different animals). That is why there have been outbreaks of swine flu and avian flu among human beings. While there is an influenza virus that is quite contagious among dogs, there has been no evidence that it infects humans. Most viruses that cause upper respiratory symptoms like sneezing, runny nose and eyes, and coughing are not known to be contagious to people. But if your dog does have a runny nose, contact your veterinarian to have him checked as soon as possible.

Do dogs bite children more than adults?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs each year. One in five bites requires medical attention (800,000 people). Approximately a dozen people die from dog attacks each year. Children are most at risk of being bitten by a dog, especially those between 5 - 9 years old. This is often because the child is at eye level with the dog, approaches or handles the dog inappropriately, bothers the dog's toys or food. Adults should never leave an infant or small child unsupervised with a dog. Never!!

More facts: dult men are more often bitten by a dog than an adult female. Adults with 2 or more dogs as pets are 5 times more likely to be bitten according to the CDC. Eighty-two percent of all fatal bites are by an unrestrained dog (one that is not on a leash or restricted in a yard or carrier).

Wrong ways to approach a strange dog:

1) Running toward an unfamiliar dog.

2) Getting eye level, very close, and smiling. When you smile at the dog, he thinks you are "bearing your teeth" at him. This is an invitation to fight!

3) "Surprising" a dog (sneaking up on him or startling him while he is sleeping). Often, the dog's defense mechanism will kick in, and he will bite in self-defense.

4) Ignoring their warning! If a dogs barks ferociously or growls when you approach his territory, bed, etc. and you continue, that is an engraved invitation to get bitten. They are warning you that they don't like that and you should stop. Listen!!

5) Inappropriate touching: Dogs generally don't like their ears, tail and feet tugged. Some don't like being inverted and rubbed on their belly. This is a position of submission and an aggressive dog will resist this "challenge" vigorously.

Should pet owners make homemade, raw meat meals for their pets?

In recent years, there has been a growing trend in feeding pet dogs and cats raw meat diets. So what, if any, are the benefits and risks of a raw meat diet? There are many differing opinions, but it does seem to come down to two issues -- nutrition and safety. Dogs are omnivores, like humans. They need meat, grains, and vegetables. The challenge with any diet that has not been carefully formulated by veterinary nutritionist is to ensure that the pet gets all of their daily nutritional needs in a safe and balanced way. That is why feeding a high quality, commercially prepared diet is the easiest, most economical, and healthiest option.

Here's what experts say about a raw food diet for pets:



-- your pet will get the highest nutritional value from raw foods
-- your pet will be healthier, less likely to get sick, and live longer
-- your pet's performance, coat, body odor, teeth, and breath will improve
-- raw food diets don't have unhealthy additives, such as preservatives
-- raw foods have important nutrients and enzymes that cooking destroys


-- raw diets are not necessarily complete and balanced
-- there is no study that shows raw food diets are healthier for pets
-- raw food diets may be difficult for your pet to digest
-- bones can damage the animal's teeth and digestive tract



-- there is NO greater risk handling raw meat for animals than there is for people. The same precautions should be taken.
-- dogs and cats have very different systems than humans. They have stronger stomach acids and pass along food much more quickly, therefore they are not at high risk


-- health risks for people, associated with handling raw meats, including bacteria and parasites (eg. E.Coli, salmonella, Campylobactor, Trichinella), are a concern
-- pets are just as susceptible to the bacteria and parasites in raw meats as humans
-- while some proponents say freezing will kill the bacteria, it is not true
-- cooking meat is the best way to kill pathogens

From the American Veterinary Medical Association: "There is a greater apparent risk to animals and humans from feeding a raw meat diet," Dr. Strohmeyer commented. "I really do not think that there is any advice we, as veterinarians, can give to improve safety. You can give basic food safety guidelines like hand washing, cleaning surfaces, and bowls, etc., not letting the food sit out for extended periods of time. I just think that it would be a disservice for a veterinarian to give any recommendation for the safety of dogs and their owners (except to not feed raw meat to pets). Bacteria are not the only health concern, there are also parasites and protozoal organisms that can be transmitted in raw meat, even meat labeled fit for human consumption."

Another concern is food safety. According to veterinary nutritionist, Dr. Rebecca Remillarde, the link between handling raw foods at home and exposure to food-borne organisms resulting in food poisoning has been well-documented. Not only does it put humans at risk, but animals are also susceptible to certain sub-species of E.Coli and salmonella. In fact, given the potential risk of handling raw foods, coupled with the growing trend (and therefore increased number of companies producing and selling raw products), the FDA has set up guidelines for just such companies.

Wheelchairs for Pets and Animals
by Destiny -

The idea of wheelchairs for pets was designed so that elderly, handicapped, and injured pets can live life to the fullest. Wheelchairs made for animals give them hope to live sufficient lives, and they give owners another option they might have not been aware of. There are many different products designed to suit your pet’s specific needs. A wheelchair can enable your animal to run, play, exercise, and lead a healthy life. The product is designed to help animals with hip and leg problems, degenerative myelopathy (MD), hip dysplasia, arthritis, paralysis, slipped disc, soreness, spinal and neurological problems, surgical recovery, and so much more.

When opting for a wheelchair for your pet there are many different angles you need to consider such as your pet’s measurements, weight and lifestyle, activity level, and terrain your pet plays on. The wheelchair is also designed to allow your pet to urinate and defecate normally and easily. Wheelchairs are not only restricted to smaller animals, some have been designed for animals weighing over 250 pounds. The variety of pets with different disabilities able to use this type of product are hardly limited. There have been chairs made for canines, felines, goats, bunnies, ferrets, guinea pigs, rats, deer, miniature horses, alpacas, sheep, pigs and other exotic pets. The wheelchairs are designed with your pets comfort first and foremost. There are also additional support systems such as Belly Straps that help animals with additional mid-back/abdomen injuries.

Pneumatic wheel tires are air filled and sealed with a maintenance-free bearing cartridge to give your pet the most comfortable transportation available. Also, they allow your pet the option of maneuvering over multiple types of terrains such as, grass, gravel, sand, pavement, and rocky, or unbalanced terrain. Stirrups are for pets without complete or no use of their hind legs. If the pet doesn’t have completely functional hind legs they can still move their legs back and forth for extra exercise, however if the pet cannot operate their hind legs sufficiently they can rest their hind legs comfortably. A walking axle allows the pet to have their legs down while operating the wheel chair instead of resting them on the stirrup. A Front Harness keeps the wheelchair moving in sync with your pet, also making his movements more comfortable. There are also chairs made with weight adjustments designed to balance your pets weight. This prevents pressure from being applied to your pets forelimbs, making sure the wheelchair is meeting it’s full potential.

Keepers of the Wild provides a permanent home and true sanctuary to all the animals it rescues.

13441 E Hwy 66/Valentine, Arizona 86437/(928)769-1800/

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