Friday, February 27, 2009

Do Pets Go to Heaven?

I wrote a blog in October about pets going to Heaven (Do Pets Go to Heaven?, October 22, 2008). There is a website, that has a lot of great information.
You can sign up for their monthly newsletter and you can ask for prayer for sick or lost animals. They even have stories about answered prayers. The site has many articles, stories and resources about animals.

Recommended books from Eternal Animals:

"Who Says Animals Go to Heaven?" - A collection of prominent Christian Leaders beliefs in life after death for animals.

"The Rainbow Bridge: Pet Loss is Heaven's Gate" - Pet loss support from a Christian perspective.

"There is Eternal Life for Animals" - Proves through Bible scripture that all animals go to Heaven.

"Animal Prayer Guide" - Prayers and blessings for your pet that you can use everyday.
All of these books can be purchased on their website.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Should a Dogs Nose Be Hot or Cold?

Many of us were taught that a dry, hot nose was a sure sign our dog was sick and that a wet, cool nose was a sign of health. In fact, your dog's nose may change from wet and cool, to dry and hot from one minute to the next in the course of the day, based on environment (temperature, humidity, etc.).

The most important gauge of illness is how your dog behaves. Does he have a good appetite, is he full of energy and wants to play?

If your dog acts sick and has a hot dry nose, check with your veterinarian.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Kindred Spirits - Healing Your Pets Naturally

Last night, I watched a video called Kindred Spirits, Healing Your Pets Naturally by Allen M. Schoen, DVM. The video had a lot of useful information for pet owners. The most important thing is to feed them a quality diet, that prevents most health problems. He give instructions about giving your pets a "body scan" that will alert you to problems when they first arise. It is worth watching. I rented it from Netflix.

Dr. Schoen has also written a book by the same name, "Kindred Spirits: Healing Your Pets Naturally".

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pregnant Woman Shouldn't Clean Kitty Litter

My daughter and her family have a cat, she is also pregnant with my third grandchild. Her husband is cleaning the kitty litter box and for good reason.

Pregnant women need to be aware that toxoplasmosis can cause problems with pregnancy, including abortion. Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. This parasite is carried by cats and is passed in their feces (stool). Our immune systems typically protect us from harm caused by toxoplasma, but this is not the case for a developing fetus. If a woman contracts toxoplasma while pregnant, the parasite can reach her developing baby. The baby's immune system is not able to defend against the parasite, and damage to the eyes, brain or even a miscarriage may occur.

Preventive measures will reduce the risk of toxoplasma infection.
1. If you own a cat, have a non-pregnant person change the litter box. If there is no one else to change the litter box, wear gloves and wash hands with soap and running water after changing the litter.
2. Change the litter every day. The risk of infection is reduced.
3. Keep cats indoors.
4. Don't feed your cat raw or undercooked meat.
5. Avoid adopting or handling stray cats.
6. Do not bring a new cat into your house that might have been an outdoor cat
or might have been fed raw meat.
7. Wear gloves and wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw meat and working in the garden.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Costco Dog Food (Kirkland) Causes Gas

My daughter's dog, Shasha was having horrible gas. She was feeding her dog Kirkland Lamb and Rice (from Costco) and the gas was disgusting. She switched to Kirkland Chicken and Rice and it was worse, so she switched back. Shasha finally stopped eating her food.

My daughter has taken Shasha off Kirkland and is now feeding her Natural Balance, grain free brand. The gas is gone and Shasha is eating again.

I did some research and found that a lot of dogs have gas on Kirkland Dog Food and also on Diamond Dog Food, who makes Kirkland. Something is in the food to cause such a reaction. It does contain some ingredients that are not good for your dog, like meat "meal", beet pulp, chicken fat and salt, to name a few.

So, if your dog has gas and you are feeding Kirkland, switch to a higher quality food and try a grain free brand and see if the gas goes away.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Why Do Dogs Dig?

Digging is instinctive behavior for a dog. Dogs may dig for any of the following reasons: they are bored; it's fun; they are hot; they are trying to escape; they are lonely; they have excess energy; or you have put fertilizers in the garden (nice smelling to your dog).

To stop the digging, try to find the reason.
Alleviate the boredom. If you leave your dog alone in the yard for long periods of time, provide him with something to do. Leave him with bones to chew or toys to play with. (Bones really need to be supervised and some toys also are dangerous.) It would be a good idea to exercise and play with your pet before leaving him. He probably would sleep instead of being destructive.
A lonely dog can be a digging dog. It's no fun being left alone most of the day. Dogs are pack animals and crave company. If you work long hours or are away from home a lot consider hiring a professional dog walker, a neighbor who would take him for walks or a doggy day care. Boredom sets in when dogs are in the back yard for hours on end. Bring him inside and let him be part of the family.
Your dog may be digging holes to keep cool. In hot weather many dogs will dig a cool hole to lie in. Ensure that your dog has a cool place to retreat to during the heat of the day or bring him inside. Make sure that he has plenty of water. Another idea is to supply him with a kiddie wading pool. Many dogs just love to splash and play in these and after cooling down will not have a need to dig a hole.
Dogs may dig under fences and gates in order to escape. They usually want to escape because they are bored and things look more interesting on the outside. If your dog is not spayed or neutered he/she may be trying to escape in order to mate. Spaying or neutering usually fixes this problem.
Let him have a designated digging area. Some breeds have a very strong instinct to dig. Perhaps there is one part of your yard that you will permit digging.
To stop dog re-digging existing holes. Use dog-poop! Place some of his poop in the hole. Lay chicken wire over the hole.
When Buddy was a puppy, I filled a soda can with pennies with the top tapped shut. When he started to dig, I shook the can, yelled NO, startling him. Don't let him see that you have the can. Buddy never dug in the back yard again.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Pet Dairies - Today, Dog Diary

My cousin sent me an email today called Pet Dairies. Today I will share "Dog Diary".


8:00am - Dog Food! My favorite thing!
9:30am - A car ride! My favorite thing!
9:40am - A walk in the park! My favorite thing!
10:30am - Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!
12:00pm - Dog biscuits! My favorite thing!
1:00pm - Played in the yard! My favorite thing!
3:00pm - Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!
5:00pm - Dinner! My favorite thing!
7:00pm - Got to play ball! My favorite thing!
8:00pm - Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing!
11:00pm - Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Dangers of New or Self-Cleaning Ovens for Birds, Cats, Dogs and Humans

I turned on my new oven tonight and the smell was horrific. My granddaughter started coughing, I felt like I couldn't breathe and Buddy was sneezing. I turned the oven off and aired out the house and turned on all of my air purifiers.

I looked at the instruction book that came with the oven and there was nothing about toxic fumes for a new oven or warnings about using the self-cleaning function.

I looked online and found that the fumes from new ovens and when self-cleaning can put out toxic fumes that can kill your pet birds. The birds should be moved to another room and put a towel under the door to block out any fumes.

If these fumes are so toxic that they can kill a bird, they can be toxic to cats, dogs, children and adults, as well. I found out that the fumes cause flu-like symptoms (polymer fume fever) in humans.

It is the non-stick surfaces that contain polytetrafluoroethylene that are toxic. The oven needs to off-gas by heating full blast for 2 hours. The windows need to be opened up and keep pets, birds and humans outside.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Secondhand Smoke Dangerous to Pets

Secondhand smoke causes almost 50,000 deaths in adult nonsmokers in the United States each year, and there's a mountain of evidence that secondhand smoke can affect a pet's health as well.

Studies have linked smoke exposure to oral cancer and lymphoma in cats and nasal and lung cancer in dogs. Both dogs and cats can suffer from bronchial disease due to smoke.

A 2007 study found a link between secondhand smoke, lung cancer, eye, skin and heart problems in pet birds.

People are motivated to help their pets and so hopefully these smoking pet owners will not expose their pets or their families to secondhand smoke.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Natural Treatment for Ear Mites in Dogs and Cats

Ear mites are a tiny spider like parasitic mite that infect the ears of dogs and cats. They usually live in the ear canals but can live on other parts of the dog or cat's body. Ear mites are the most common cause of ear infections seen by vets. They are more commonly found in cats.

Some breeds of dogs are more prone to ear mite infections, especially dogs with long floppy ears. The ear mites thrive in the warm moist area where the air flow is restricted.

Ear mites feed on epidermal debris and ear wax. They burrow into the ear, causing inflammation which the body responds to by producing more wax.

Ear mites are terribly uncomfortable for your pet. Usually the first symptom you notice will be your pet is scratching his ears or shaking his head. His ears may be painful to touch and he may cry in pain when you touch them or while he is scratching them.

Inside the ear of an infected dog or cat you will see dark reddish brown or black debris (this is the discharge from the mites) throughout the ear canal which looks somewhat like coffee grounds.

Ear mite infections can be serious if left untreated resulting in damage to the ear canals and eardrums and leaving deformity of the ears and possible deafness. Secondary bacterial or yeast infections are also common so it is important to consult your veterinarian.

Dr. Pitcairn in his book "Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats", recommends: A mixture of 1/2 ounce of almond or olive oil and 400IU vitamin E (from a capsule) makes a mild healing treatment for either cats or dogs. Blend them in a dropper bottle and warm the mixture to body temperature by immersing it in hot water. Holding the ear flap up, put about 1/2 dropper-full in the ear. Massage the ear canal well so that you hear a fluid sound. After a minute of this, let the animal shake its head. Then gently clean out the opening (not deep into the ear) with cotton swabs to remove debris and excess oil. The oil mixture will smother many of the mites and start a healing process that will make the ear less hospitable for them. Apply the oil every other day for six days (3 treatments in total). Between treatments, cap the mixture tightly and store at room temperature. After the last oil treatment, let the ear rest for three more days.

Once the ears are cleaned out, one of the simplest ways to kill mites is with the herb Yellow Dock (Rumex crispus). You can purchase this herb in the form of a tincture. Dilute it, three drops herb to one teaspoon of pure water or nine drops to one tablespoon. Apply it in the same way as the oil, above. Treat the ears once every three days for three to four weeks. You may need to shampoo your pet because the mites hang out around the outside of the ears and head.

Ear mites are very contagious and can be passed on from dog to dog or cat to dog, etc. It is important to treat all of your pets at the same time.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Snail Bait Poisoning in Dogs

Snail bait is one of the most common causes of accidental poisonings in dogs. The toxic active ingredient found in most slug and snail baits is metaldehyde.

Snail bait usually comes in pellet form which your pet can find very attractive because it resembles dog kibble. The snail pellets are sometimes combined with molasses, apples and bran which is added to attract the slugs and snails. Unfortunately this also attracts your dog to them.

Snail bait is also available in liquid and granule form, however, if you use it in this form dogs may walk on it and later lick their paws. It is in your dog's best interest not to use snail bait around your yard.

A very small amount of snail bait is fatal for dogs. Approximately 1 teaspoon per 10 lb of bodyweight will cause death in fifty percent of ingestions.

Symptoms of snail bait poisoning occur quickly after ingestion. The most common symptom is twitching. Initial symptoms may include nervousness, apprehension, increased excited mood. Other symptoms include excessive drooling, muscle tremors, panting, fever, seizures, diarrhea, fast heart rate, respiratory failure, rigidity, and vomiting.

It is critical to get veterinary attention immediately if you suspect snail bail poisoning. Your dog could die within hours of ingestion. Get to the vet as soon as possible. Every minute counts.

Try to stay calm and before heading off to the emergency room remember to grab the packet containing the snail bait so your vet can check the active ingredients. If you dog has vomited at home it may also be useful to take the dog's vomit with you to the vet for testing.

There is no antidote for metaldehyde poisoning. Your vet will give supportive treatments by treating the symptoms.

There are pet safe snail killers and repellents. There is a product called Sluggo, which is said to be non toxic to pets.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Be Careful of Revolution

A relatively new "medication" for pets, is Revolution. It is a parasiticide, which is basically a poison that you apply to your pet's skin once a month. It is a treatment for a long list including: heartworm, fleas, ear mites, sarcoptic mange, ticks and cats from roundworms and hookworms, and other foreign invaders.

The problem is that the drug companies usually do not do long term studies about the safety of their products. You and your pets are basically the guinea pigs for new drugs.

I have a friend whose dog was put on this. Her dog was having a lot of side effects. I asked my friend if her dog had ear mites? mange? fleas? or lived in an area where there were ticks or mosquitos? She said no. Why was this poor puppy put on this medication? I told her, that her dog was basically being poisoned!

The side effects are: digestion problems, hair loss at the site of application, loss of appetite, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, drowsiness, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, and muscle tremors. For humans, it can be irritating to the skin (how about the poor animals). Bathing or shampooing the pet will not reduce the effectiveness. Which means you can't get it off, once you put it on. It is not advisable to use on pets that are ill or underweight.

Revolution works by penetrating the skin and entering your pet's bloodstream!

I can't imagine what the long term effects will be from this medication, I hate to even think about it.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Are You Exposing Your Pet to Toxins Around Your Home?

I wrote a previous blog (October 2, 2008 "Close-to-the-ground toxins your pet needs to avoid."), but this subject is well worth repeating.

Think about all of the places your dog or cat walks around inside and outside of your home. Now consider some of the everyday products that you use -- household cleaners, garden products, and more. All of these products are such a part of our everyday lives, most pet parents don't think about how harmful they can be to your pets. In fact, many of these products go beyond just giving your pet a tummy ache if licked or eaten. They can pose a real health hazard to your furry friends.

Because our pets walk and play on the floors, and come in contact with just about everything in the house, they are constantly being exposed to dangerous toxins -- things like:
Wall/floor/toilet bowl cleaners, bleach, detergents, rust removers, metal polish, drain cleaners, ammonia, oven cleaners, furniture polish, floor wax.

Chemical fertilizers and pesticides are a major source of environmental toxins. A study at the School of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue University, revealed that the exposure to lawns treated with herbicides four or more times a year doubled a dog's risk of canine lymphoma. And the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Assoc. reported that, when exposed to chemically treated lawns, some breeds of dogs were four to seven times more likely to suffer from bladder cancer.

Antifreeze is made with ethylene glycol. It has a sweet taste that animals love, but can be fatal in a dose as small as 1 teaspoon.

De-icing salts used to melt snow and ice on your walkways and driveway can irritate paws and can be poisonous if licked off. Wash and dry your pet's paws as soon as they come in from the outside. Boots help protect your pet's feet outdoors.

Carefully read the labels of housecleaning and garden products. Change to safe and environmentally friendly products that will help prevent your pet from getting sick --or worse.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

No Animals Were Harmed in Super Bowl Commercials

There were a variety of animals, including a rhinoceros, ostrich and water buffalo, sometimes in outrageous situations, in the commercials shown during the Super Bowl. The American Humane Association say that they have Certified Animal Safety Representatives that monitor the many commercials. The AHA ensures us that no animals were harmed. In fact, most TV networks will not air a commercial featuring animals unless it receives American Humane's sign-off letter stating that the production did not harm any animals.

The American Humane Association is strongly supporting the adoption message. Far too many healthy and treatable animals who could be adopted are euthanized because there are just not enough resources or loving homes for them. They are reminding people to adopt an animal from a shelter or rescue group --to save a life while enhancing your own with a new companion.

In today's economic climate, the need for adoptive homes is greater than ever. More and more animals are being abandoned in vacant houses - as people lose their homes to a foreclosure. American Humane responded to this situation by establishing a foreclosure pets grant to help shelters deal with this new flood of incoming pets. It's just one of the many ways they are working to protect animals and promote the human-animal bond.

To donate to the American Humane Association go to:

Monday, February 2, 2009

Salmonella Recall Includes Some Pet Foods

Pet products are on the list of food recalled in connection with a nationwide salmonella outbreak that sickened more than 500 people and several deaths.

Dog products appear most frequently on the list of recalled pet products, ranging from puppy chow to rawhide bones. Most have been sold nationwide, and some could be in your pantry. The latest were four Carolina Prime dog treat products and rawhide dog chews made by Salix that contain peanut butter manufactured by the Peanut Corp. of America, which is being investigated for the salmonella outbreak. The Salix chews are sold at Target and Petsmart.

You can find the products on the recall list by visiting or

If your pup contracts salmonella, he's not the only one in danger, the FDA warns.
"Salmonella is an organism that can potentially be transferred to people handling these pet treats, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products," according to an FDA release.

Sick pets are often lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Some will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain.

Contact your vet if you think your pet might have eaten one of the products on the list. If you find one in your pantry, throw it away or return it for a refund or exchange, the FDA says.