World's Tallest Cat

Blind Dog, Lost Last Month
and Thought Dead, Makes It Back
to San Antonio Family for Christmas

(San Antonio Express-News, Helen L. Montoya/Associated Press) - In this Dec. 23, 2011 photo, Belinda Gutierrez sits with her blind dog, Stevie Oedipus Wonder, in San Antonio, after the two were reunited after a volunteer at the city’s animal shelter found a Craigslist ad from Gutierrez’s daughter looking for the dog. The cairn terrier mix pup disappeared from his home nearly a month ago, was reported dead and had almost overstayed his welcome at the shelter this week when his owner found him.

SAN ANTONIO — A blind dog that was lost and believed to be dead is reunited with his San Antonio family for Christmas, thanks to Craigslist, a school teacher and an animal care agency.

Nearly a month after Stevie Oedipus Wonder disappeared — and was reported dead — the cairn terrier mix puppy is home for the holiday, the San Antonio Express-News reported Saturday ( .)

“This is my Christmas miracle,” Stevie’s owner Belinda Gutierrez said. “I actually thought I was going to have a sad end of the year and a sad Christmas.”

Stevie, a dog born without eyes and apparently abused by a previous owner, was found early in 2011 by Gutierrez’s daughter as he wandered near a city duck pond. Instantly, the dog became a part of the family, responding to their voices and dragging Gutierrez out for exercise.

Days after Thanksgiving, though, Stevie escaped — disappearing from the family’s home. Days later, Gutierrez’s landlord told her the dog was dead.

On Dec. 11, Stevie showed up at Animal Care Services. A collar and tag kept him alive for five days, Jeanne Saadi, the agency’s live release coordinator, said. But with outdated information, the agency failed to find his owners and prepared to euthanize him.

That’s when Brooke Orr, a high school teacher, saw the agency’s ad seeking a home for the blind dog. She agreed to care for Stevie over the holidays, buying him a few more days.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez’s distraught daughter posted a lost dog notice on Craigslist, hoping someone would see it and return Stevie.

Orr noticed the tag dangling on the dog’s neck.

“I thought that he must belong to someone. So I went to Craigslist and went to lost and found and I put in ‘blind dog,’ and there he was,” she said.

She contacted Gutierrez, who arrived at the Animal Care Services on Thursday uncertain the dog would be able to recognize her.

“All he had to do was hear my voice,” she said. “I stood at the entrance of the kennel building and called out ‘Stevie, Stevie.’ And he started barking all over the place.”

Now back at home, Stevie will awake Christmas morning to a stocking stuffed with doggy treats, rawhide chew toys and carrots, one of his favorites.

Cat Stuck in Engine, Survives 200-Mile Trip

The cat, Eclipse, survived a 200 mile road trip, while riding under the hood of a car. (Source: WJW/CNN)

MEDINA, OH - A cat may have used several of his nine lives during a recent road trip after being found stuck inside of a car engine.

Last Sunday, Wayne Polk left Xenia, OH for Cleveland for business. Driving nearly 200 miles for several hours, he stopped at a rest area on Interstate 71 in Medina and noticed a smell coming from under his hood.

"I was patrolling the northbound rest area on Interstate 71, I approached a parking area and there was a gentleman with his car and his hood was open and he had a cat stuck in it," said Trooper Aleksander Tot. "The cat was pretty calm, seemed really scared and he had burns on his right side."

Once the cat was removed, Tot called the Medina SPCA, and someone arrived in minutes to rescue the cat.

"When I got there, the cat was a large cat and I'm looking at this little small Eclipse that he was in and I said, 'how did he get in there?'" asked Mike Bombaris.

"He's a good cat and as you can see, he's feeling pretty good," said veterinarian Linda Randall. "He has some major singeing of his coat and he also has some burns."

The cat will undergo surgery to remove any dead tissue from its body and is expected to recover completely.

"He loves to play and I think he's going to be fine," Randall said.

Walnut Grove Cat Certified as World's Tallest
By Carlos Alcalá The Sacramento Bee

Debby Maraspini of Walnut Grove shows off Trouble, her 3-year-old hybrid certified by Guinness World Records as the planet's tallest cat. Marasapini bred the Savannah cat, which is part African serval, accounting for the exotic appearance. "I was lucky to get a big guy," she said. Guinness in November certified Trouble as being about an inch taller than the previous record holder.

Trouble looks like trouble.

Trouble is the Guinness-certified world's tallest cat, and he looks like something you wouldn't want to come across on the Serengeti.

In fact, the Walnut Grove feline is part African but acts much like your basic domestic house kitty – although he looks about twice as big.

"He's just a relaxed, indoor animal," said John Maraspina, whose wife, Debby, bred the Savannah cat, a recognized hybrid of house cats and African serval cats.

Maraspina bred Trouble three years ago. That he wound up so big was a bit of a surprise.

"I was lucky to get a big guy," she said.

She enjoyed the size but wasn't focused on it until a friend – who runs a Reno cat show and owns the world's longest cat, Stewie, a Maine coon – suggested they have Trouble measured at the show.

After mailing videos and affidavits, Debby Maraspina got a 4 a.m. call from London in November, confirming that Trouble – 19 inches, paw to shoulder – officially beat out the previous tallest by about an inch.

He's only 20 pounds, so he's not likely to do real damage to a human, and he rarely goes outside, so the wildlife on Ryer Island where he lives is pretty safe.

Trouble may not stalk prey, but he doesn't subsist on 9 Lives, either. He's pickier than Morris.

According to Maraspina, Trouble goes for rabbit meat and beef.

"He expects me to get his food out, warm it up and cut it into chunks – off the bone," she sad.

When not eating or dozing, he'll play normal cat games with a feather dangled on a line at the end of a stick or go watch the fish in the aquarium.

"He has a spot on the end of the big tank where he sits and watches them," she said. "That's Trouble's Christmas present."

Savannahs like Trouble can vary greatly in the percentage of wild cat in the hybrid.

The hybrid breed was created only 25 years ago and recognized about 10 years ago.

Debby Maraspina wanted something exotic, but she couldn't get an African serval, because they're illegal in California.

She started breeding the hybrids, who have the exotic appearance.

The cats are tricky to breed because the males are sterile if they're more than 5 to 6 percent wild and the females can be picky about which males they'll accept.

Trouble, at 25 percent serval, will not be able to breed, but he's still a good show cat.

He'll be at the Jazzy Cats show at Sacramento's Doubletree Hotel in January, and he's going to travel to shows as far away as Portland and San Diego.

He's in more demand now that he's achieved the Guinness certification.

"Setting a record, it's a draw for us," said Robin Hendrickson, who runs the Reno show.

Cat shows are "a huge fundraiser," she said. "The money goes to feline welfare organizations."

She will travel to the Portland show with Maraspina, where Stewie and Trouble will share a room, even though the world's longest and world's tallest don't always get along.

Pet Tortoise, Nearly a Century Old,
Survives Massive Livermore Garage Fire
By Paul Thissen - Contra Costa Times

A Mojave Desert tortoise, Pokey, in Livermore, Calif. on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2011. Pokey survived.

The fire in Livermore destroyed the garage, collapsing its roof and reducing large garbage bins to plastic pancakes. Combing through the wreckage, firefighters came across the shell of a tortoise and were sure it was dead.

Then Pokey stuck his leg out.

"We were starting to look for the source of how the fire started," said Battalion Chief Jeff Peters. "We really didn't expect to find a live tortoise."

Pokey, a Mojave Desert tortoise, is probably about 90 years old, but no one really knows his age, said Fred Frink, who owns the tortoise and the burned home on Aberdeen Avenue.

"I've owned him since 1962, and he wasn't young then," Frink said.

Frink lived in Hayward when Pokey came into his life. One day a group of neighborhood children showed up at his door with the tortoise, saying they could not find who owned it. Frink took him in and has had him since.

Normally, Pokey hibernates from the first week of November through the last week of March. The rest of the year, he roams part of Frink's backyard, eating clover, and occasionally rosebuds, grape leaves and grapes.

After firefighters pulled Pokey from the rubble, he was taken to an emergency veterinarian in Dublin, where a tiny oxygen mask was placed over his face, Frink said.

The Dec. 3 fire started in the garage, where Pokey was in a box hibernating, Peters said.

"It was a very hot garage fire," Peters said. A few firefighters went to a hospital after a bleach bottle in the garage exploded. Others suffered minor burns.

When the fire broke out, Frink rushed back into the house to get his dog and a large cat. Neighbors saw two other cats escape out a door, though one, a 6-month-old kitten with gray and white stripes, has not reappeared.

But Frink did not hold out hope for Pokey, who was in the middle of the fire. When firefighters approached holding the shell, Frink thought for sure Pokey was dead. But aside from a few singes on his shell and legs, the old reptile escaped unscathed.

Tortoises can survive all sorts of harsh conditions, especially when they are hibernating, said Ginger Wilfong of Castro Valley-based Bay Area Turtle and Tortoise Rescue. One tortoise in her care survived the Oakland hills fire of 1991.

Mojave Desert tortoises are listed as a threatened species. It is illegal to take one from the wild, but it is legal to have them, Wilfong said. And they were easy to come by in the early 1960s, when Frink got his, she said.

"Woolworth's (drugstore) was selling them for $1.98 a piece," Wilfong said.

Pokey is awake now, and it's the first time he has been awake in December, Frink said.

"He's just very happy to be here," he said.

Contact Paul Thissen at 925-847-2122. Follow him at

Tips for Training the Christmas Puppy
Dr. Dara Johns -

And what did you find under your Christmas tree? Was it a new puppy? The Disney movie “Lady and the Tramp” forever characterized the new puppy in the home at Christmas time. If you are one of the very fortunate ones who have decided to start the New Year with a dog, today we will go over some housebreaking tips to hopefully ease the training process.

First of all, remember to be consistent. Just when you think the dog is trained, it will have an accident. Correct him and keep going with the positive reinforcement. With time he will figure this out.

A puppy has a small bladder. Ideally he should be taken out every two to four hours. If you are not giving him one on one attention, he should be sitting in a kennel. If you are on the computer or washing dishes and he has the opportunity to wander away from you then he can have an accident. He should only have free roaming privileges when you are there to watch for signs of needing to go out.

Keeping him in a kennel or pet carrier when you cannot be one-on-one with him is known as crate training. The carrier should be just a little larger than he is so that he can comfortably stand and turn around and lay down. Put newspaper in the bottom so that if he has an accident it does not get too messy. If he has an accident in the crate, this is punishment enough, so you do not have to discipline him. Just take him out and clean it up.

Bedtime is a good time to put him in the carrier. If you use the crate consistently, your dog will come to love it as a safe place. When you are at work, the carrier is also helpful, but you must come home and let him out at lunch time. He should not spend more than four hours in the carrier at a stretch unless it is bedtime.

While training, it helps to feed him on a schedule. Then you can take him out right after he eats and walk him for at least 15 to 30 minutes. This is the optimum length of time for the ingested food to stimulate a bowel movement. When he has a BM in the grass, leave it there and praise him so that he knows this is where he is supposed to go. If he has an accident inside, scold him and pick up the stool and carry it outside. Place it in the grass and show him so he will know this is where he is supposed to be going.

Always verbally praise him when you see him go outside in the grass. Often, pet owners supplement this with a small treat. This is very helpful, but keep in mind that treats tend to get out of hand and before we know it our pets are overweight. Once they get the housebreaking down, you can back off on treats. Being properly housebroken is a reward in itself for the pet. The pet will be happier and experience much less conflict if properly trained as a puppy.

Got a question for Dr. Johns? E-mail her at Write to Pet Peeves, P.O. Box 224, Valparaiso,, FL 32580. Johns is a Niceville veterinarian.

Don't Feed Him Holiday Leftovers:
Diets For Dogs, Tips For Softhearted Owners
By Maria Huber - DIE WELT/Worldcrunch

Do you give Fido a treat every time he's been a good boy? Watch out: canines put on weight fast. But rationing what they eat isn’t enough: here’s how to keep a dog’s weight in check or knock off excess pounds.

Don't give in to temptation (GabrielaP93)

BERLIN -- You just can’t resist giving him a little extra dinner – he’s been such a good boy, and he's just such a cutie...!

Those pet owners who have no will power whatsoever when it comes to their dog can set off a vicious circle. When a dog puts on weight, it moves less – which only makes the situation worse. But there are strategies to get things back on track.

“Coffee can eat whatever she wants, but Kandis just has to look at food and she gets fat,” says Anna Matyssek. For 14 years, she has been training dogs for TV work and making sure they stay in shape.

“I only feed dogs once a day. Since I’m teaching them tricks, I want them to feel hungry for the little treats they get when they do something right,” she says. She regularly palps the dogs’ ribs – the best way to tell if they are getting fat. “You should be able to feel the ribs right away, without having to go searching around.”

Jürgen Zentek, Professor at the Institute for Animal Nutrition at Berlin’s Free University, also recommends this. “You should be able to feel the spine and ribs, but not see them,” he says. A clearly-defined waistline should also be visible when one looks down at the dog.

If you suspect your dog is too fat, some behavioral rules will help to resist when you find yourself at the receiving end of one of those heartrending looks that make you want to reach for just a little extra. “The main thing to remember is: no radical diets. A dog has to be fed regularly,” says Emily Darab.

The vet practice where she works offers a feeding advice service. “‘Light’ dog food can be a solution, but one can also just reduce the amount of daily food the dog gets,” she says.

Calorie bombs

But mostly it’s not the dog food that’s making the animal fat – it’s the extra treats. “They are calorie bombs, and should be counted in the dog’s daily total intake,” Darab says.

Jürgen Zentek, who leads studies on dog nutrition, observes that many owners, although they mean well, can’t bring themselves to feed their dog less.

“Psychologically, it’s not easy for the owner to do that,” he says. So he recommends cheating a little by adding loads of vegetables to the reduced ration. “That way, the bowl is full.”

“Biologically Adequate Raw Food” (BARF) is currently all the fashion in dog food, and according to Zentek offers one possibility among many others to keep a dog healthy and trim.

But under no circumstances should it be perceived as a panacea, says Zentek. What it means is that the dog is being fed the way a wolf would feed: on raw meat, bones and vegetables.

“What’s good about it is that it’s easily digestible and it leaves the dog feeling full. And because it’s high in protein, the animal produces more heat and burns up fat,” he says.

Dogs are especially susceptible to putting on weight right after they’ve been neutered – so this is a time to keep a particularly sharp eye on exactly how much they are fed, according to Ulrike Falbesaner, who heads the German Federal Chamber of Veterinarians‘ (BTK) committee that deals with matters relating to dog ownership.

But castration and bad diet are just two possible reasons for why a dog puts on weight. As with people, various problems such as diabetes or an underactive thyroid can also be the cause.

The potential gravity of such problems should not be underestimated, says Zendek. “More serious conditions can move in very quickly, like heart or circulation problems, or a fatty liver.”

However, he advises against trying to get too much weight off too fast. “The result is the same yoyo effect you see in people, and the animal is likely to put the weight on again just as quickly.”

Particularly if illnesses resulting from overweight have already set in, a visit to the vet is a must. For extreme cases, weight-loss medication is available.

Studies conducted by Professor Zentek have revealed that the most important key to success in getting pounds off dogs is activity.

If the dog is already too fat, one should slowly build up longer walks and more energetic games. Getting the dog to run alongside your bicycle is a no-no. “Under no circumstances should one overdo it,” says dog nutrition expert Darab. “The very best thing is swimming, it increases fitness and is easy on the joints.”

Difference Between Ick and Ich

Ick vs Ich

We all love pets. Who doesn’t? Pets make us feel good and keeps our stress away. They can sometimes protect us in times of danger or even sacrifice their lives when in need such as stories of dogs saving their owners from death or accidents.

Some households own fish as their pets as it is very relaxing to see fish swim. Koi’s are one of the more famous and more expensive types of fish pets that can be taken care of. However, when dealing with aquatic pets, we must educate ourselves with the potential diseases that they can get while they are in an artificial vessel such as the aquarium.

One of the most common causes of death of these fishes is what you call Ick or Ich. Is there a difference between the two? Let us find out.

Ich has no difference with Ick as the pronunciation of it is with the latter word. “Ich” or “Ick” stands for Ichthyophthiriasis, and the causative agent for it is Ichthyophthirius multifilis. It is a protozoan that thrives in fresh water but it is more common in aquariums. This protozoan is the main cause of fish deaths among aquariums and water tanks. Ick or Ich is also known as the White Spot disease.

Ick or Ich affects a fish whenever it has a low immune system which is caused by stress. Fish become stressed in some factors such as temperature of the water, the inhabitants, shipping of the fish, and a lot more. Since it is White Spot disease, the appearance of it is like a white spot over the gills and scales of your pet fish. This will cause an irritation and itchiness to the fish for the coming days. The fish will die because of respiratory distress, severe agitation, and suppression of appetite.

For owners to control Ick or Ich, they must raise the temperature of their aquariums up to 78-80 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 days. This will kill the freshwater Ich. Formalin and Malachite Green are also effective in eliminating this protozoan.


1. Ich has no difference with Ick as the pronunciation of it is with the latter word.

2. Ich or Ick, a protozoan, stands for Ichthyophthiriasis and the causative agent for it is Ichthyophthirius multifilis.

3. Ick or Ich affects a fish whenever it has a low immune system which is caused by stress and may eventually cause death to your pet fish.

4. For owners to control Ick or Ich, they must raise the temperature of their aquariums up to 78-80 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 days.

5. Formalin and Malachite Green are also effective in eliminating this protozoan.

Cesar Millan Gives 15 Tips
for Pet-Friendly Travel
Lena Katz - Sr. Travel Correspondent | JustLuxe

Photo Courtesy of Cesars Way

Planning to take your four-legged family members along on your holiday adventures this year? If so, here are 15 pointers from Cesar Millan, covering everything from air travel etiquette to off-leash practices to dealing with a potty accident in a hotel lobby.

Just like nobody likes a screaming baby on a plane, nobody wants to deal with an out-of-control pooch at a party, so follow the Dog Whisperer’s advice and make sure the roads, rooms and skies stay pet-friendly.

1. If you and your dog are flying, crate the dog before entering the terminal, because inside, you may become distracted by the check-in process.

2. You definitely don’t want your dog flying with a full bladder or stomach. "I myself like to let Junior [his frequent-flying pitbull] fast a little, control the water intake a little, and definitely let him relieve himself one more time before going in the terminal."

3. When flying with a dog small enough to go under the seat in a crate, it is acceptable to bring the crate out from under the seat as long as it doesn’t bother your neighbors. Be respectful and always ask people nearby first.

4. However, taking a dog out of its crate during flight is not safe for the dog or, potentially, for yourself and your neighbors. Think very carefully before you do this and make sure the flight attendant is aware and has given you permission.

5. When a dog is very scared, the scent of lavender oil rubbed into one’s hands may calm it.

6. Also try a deep tissue massage beginning on the spine. The pelvis of the dog normally carries the tension, as does behind the cranium. Just make sure that you yourself are calm and centered first. You should never try to help your dog when you feel bad about how he is feeling.

7. The more you go away from the city, the more you go into different settings for your dog. Remember there could be deer, squirrels or any sort of unknown wildlife, so be mindful about the dog getting distracted. People could also be throwing food on the floor that you may not see at first glance but your dog will smell and try to eat, so make sure you always keep an eye on the environment.

8. Even in cold weather you can’t ask a dog to stay in a parked car for more than two hours. You always need to keep a window cracked to allow in fresh air.

9. When you stop midway through a driving day, let your dog out to pee, play with him if he has energy, but there is no need to feed him. Motion sickness for dogs is very different than for humans and this means that he would rather wait until you’re not moving anymore to be fed. If it has been a long trip you can give little pieces of chicken or mini snacks, but space them out. He should get protein to be satisfied, but not a whole plate that will make him sick.

10. Rescue Remedy can help a carsick dog feel better.

11. If you’re checking into your accommodations and your dog has an accident, don’t be embarrassed. People understand it is a dog. Let him finish, don’t interrupt; then ask the staff for cleaning things and apologize by cleaning up.

12. If your dog growls at strangers in a new environment, he’s nervous, not aggressive. It’s nothing for you to be concerned about. When a dog growls, it is just communication, not the beginning of an attack. He is just saying, "Those people are too close, too excited or giving eye contact and I don’t know how to handle it." Redirect with a little bit of food, or don’t move and wait for the humans to move. If you back away, it confirms his fear. Don’t nurture the behavior by saying, "It’s ok," and petting him. Just stay quiet and relaxed, let him feel your calmness, and he will understand that is how he should react. Once you have defused the situation with the dog, you can apologize to the human.

13. Similarly, if your dog takes to howling or barking in your hotel room, he is probably nervous and just trying to communicate. Do not reward the behavior by giving him affection or sympathy. Use your calm assertive leadership to show that you have the situation under control. If it is not nervous, but nuisance barking and howling, the problem may be a lack of exercise. Take your dog out for a good long walk to drain his energy.

14. Rules of thumb when considering bringing a dog to a holiday fair, a sledding hill, or any other open-air festivity: Do not take an unexercised dog into a crowded or excited situation. After a long walk, a well-socialized dog is usually welcome, but bear in mind that some states have laws regarding dogs being in places where food is served. Do your research before you head out.

15. Yes, owners of "toy" dogs, these rules apply to your pets, too. It is important to remember that just because a dog is small it doesn’t mean it can’t be dangerous if it is not well socialized. Almost all dog problems in modern society come from two things: lack of exercise and lack of leadership. Additionally, especially in America, owners tend to give affection, affection, and more affection, when what the dog really needs is exercise, discipline and then affection. It’s very important that we honor the identity of a dog so he can find his life force with us.

And make sure you always, always have poop bags with you. I often take my Cesar Millan DOOG walking belt with me on vacations to ensure I have everything I need to hand. It is a belt that holds poop bags, wipes, has a pocket for keys and even allows you to clip the leash to your belt so you can walk around and enjoy the scenery hands-free. To get more great information or a DOOG belt of your own, visit

Pet Q&A:
A Cat Up a Tree Might
Need Help to Get Down
Dr. Marty Becker -

When cats get stuck up a tree, are they really stranded? Seems to me if they got up there, they can get themselves back down.

Not easily, they can't. Cat claws are designed to move a cat in a forward direction. And if that direction is up a tree, it's difficult to head back down. The gracefully powerful movement of a cat heading up a tree is counterbalanced by the crashing and (if he's lucky) controlled free-fall he'll use to get down.

Most cats do find their way back down, of course, which is a good thing these days. With municipal budgets being what they are, few fire departments are allowed to respond to cat-in-tree calls anymore.

At our Almost Heaven ranch we have "barn cats" – typically, former ferals who just wouldn't be happy inside and aren't comfortable being cuddled. We provide food, shelter and top-notch care, and in return they keep our barn free of vermin.

The deal has gone pretty well over the years, but twice a barn cat has gotten stuck up a tree, most likely chased there by a coyote or wolf (we see both up here in Idaho). Both times I've had to help the cats descend: Once by cutting the tree down and more recently by paying for a bucket truck. Both cats survived, although both were pretty hungry when they got back down to earth.

If you decide to get out a ladder for a cat stuck in a tree, be very careful. The chance of you getting seriously hurt while reaching for a scared cat is pretty good. Scared cats aren't safe to handle, even if they're yours, so wear heavy gloves if you are going to attend a rescue.
You may be able to whet his appetite by opening a can of tuna, salmon or mackerel and letting the wonderful fishy smell drift upward. I've had it work more times than not.
– Dr. Marty Becker

Dogs can catch a yawn from us

• Yawning is contagious among people, and researchers from the School of Psychology at Birkbeck, University of London have shown for the first time what pet lovers have known all along – that dogs can also catch our yawns. Researchers said the presence of contagious yawning in dogs suggests that dogs possess the capacity for a rudimentary form of empathy.

• Not all cats like catnip. The ability to appreciate the herb is genetic, with slightly more cats in the fan club than not. These hard-wired preferences aren't immediately apparent, though, since kittens under the age of 3 months don't react to catnip at all.

– Dr. Marty Becker and Mikkel Becker

Top Tips to Keep Your Pets Safe
and Satisfied at the Dining Table
By Timothy Boyer -

To help pet owners make safe choices in what scraps to feed to their pets and which ones not to, Lucy Postins, founder of The Honest Kitchen - a private, family owned pet food company that specializes in fresh, uncooked, home-made pet-food consisting of “people-food” ingredients - provides the following top tips to keep your pets safe and satisfied at the dining table.

The holiday season is particularly trying on the cook in the kitchen as friends, relatives and family members beg for your attention and snacks while you are preparing a holiday meal that everyone will enjoy. However, another individual in the kitchen begging not just for your attention, but for scraps too, is your beloved pet. While the temptation to toss a scrap from your overly-filled, busy counter top or dining table is great, the risk to your pet’s health is even greater. Toss the wrong scraps and you may be tossing your pet’s life away.

Listed below are Lucy Postins' top tips to keep your pets safe, and a recipe for a tasty pet treat.

Food Scraps Safe for Your Pet

• Turkey, Ham, Prime Rib and other meats. These can all be added in moderation; the key thing to remember is to never feed pets any type of cooked bones because they can splinter and damage the GI tract. Also avoid too much fat and gristle, which can potentially be dangerous. Whenever possible, choose free-range, natural and grass-fed meats, which are healthier for you and your pets.

• Green Bean Casserole. Most pets love the sweet taste of green bean casserole, just do not include the onion topping and serve to pets in small amounts. As an alternative, you can share fresh, raw or cooked green beans to your pets as well.

• Sweet Potatoes. These are an excellent source of beta carotene and make a highly nutritious meal addition for dogs. Steamed or baked sweet potatoes are ideal, especially since raw root vegetables can be difficult to digest. Avoid giving your pet the holiday-themed sweet potato side dishes that contain marshmallows, syrup or nuts.

• Cranberries. These are a great addition to your pets’ meals any time of the year, but be wary of the sauce and jelly side dishes. Cranberries contain natural compounds that can help prevent bacteria from adhering to the bladder wall, so they are an excellent choice for cats and dogs that are prone to urinary tract infections.

• Winter Vegetables. Winter vegetables like pumpkin, squash, chard and kale are loaded with vitamins, antioxidants and fiber, and are great gently cooked for pets. Avoid serving your pets large amounts of vegetables, however, that contain added salt, wine, soy sauce or butter.

Food Scraps NOT Safe for Your Pet

• Stuffing and Corn Pudding. These products tend to contain onions and raisins, as well as bread and cornmeal, which can lead to ear infections and skin problems.

• Desserts and Cheeses. When eaten in excess, these can cause stomach problems for pets.

• Relishes, Pickles and Sauces. These condiments tend to contain heavy spices, sugar, onion and other ingredients that can cause disruption in their GI tract.

Food Ingredients TOXIC to Your Pet (and should not be fed to pets in any form):

• Onions

• Chocolate

• Macadamia nuts

• Grapes

• Raisins

• Artificial candies containing xylitol


Butternut bites are easy to make and taste delicious! The cranberries also are well suited for pets that are prone to urinary tract infections.


• 1 cup boiled and mashed butternut squash (You can substitute mashed pumpkin or sweet potatoes if you don’t have butternut squash available.)

• 1½ cups uncooked oatmeal

• ¼ cup dried cranberries

• 1 tsp. nutritional yeast

• 1 tbsp. honey

Cooking Instructions:
1. Preheat the oven to 370°F and butter a large cookie sheet.

2. Combine the cooked, mashed butternut squash with the oatmeal, cranberries, yeast and honey.

3. Mix well so that all the ingredients are very thoroughly combined.

4. Using a teaspoon, scoop small balls onto the buttered cookie sheet.

5. Make sure they are evenly spaced out about 1 inch apart and bake for about 10 to 12 minutes.

6. Allow the bites to cool, and then add these nutritious goodies to your dog’s usual meal or serve them as individual treats!

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