Saturday, December 20, 2008

Biden in Trouble Over Puppy, Breeder

It's old news that Biden received a German Shepherd puppy as a gift from his wife, then adopted a 2nd shelter dog to appease animal rights activists angry over his initial choice to purchase a dog from a breeder. But now, thanks to ongoing media scrutiny, we know that the breeder from which the puppy was purchased has been recently written up for violations of animal law.  Read the full story here, then come back to the dog blog and let us know what you think. 

Friday, December 19, 2008

Marley & Me Bound to Raise Some Questions about Dog Training (or lack thereof)

On Christmas Day, the film version of the popular book “Marley & Me” will be released nationwide. While the film promises to faithfully capture the sweet spirit and message of the book, its subject—Marley, a wildly out-of-control-but-lovable yellow Labrador retriever—will raise questions (and some hackles) about what the dog’s owners could have done to better understand their pet and to correct his many behavioral problems.

“Labs are intelligent dogs and need to be kept busy,” said James, dog behavioral therapist, Bark Busters USA. “They are eager to please and catch on quickly to training that is communicated clearly and consistently.”

That training needs to start with ground rules established and maintained from the moment the dog (or puppy) enters your home. When a dog—any dog—is guided by your strong leadership and setting of firm boundaries, both man and dog will enjoy an infinitely more rewarding relationship.

Dogs do only whatever they can get away with. It is up to the owner to educate the dog about the rules of the pack, which requires a commitment to consistent leadership from the owner. For example, remember that your fluffy 10-pound new puppy who loves to jump up on you will one day be an 85-pound adult dog whose jumping is no longer cute and, indeed, can cause harm to you or others. Don’t allow such behaviors to begin, and correct any unwanted behaviors right away.

Labs are a popular breed because they love to be with people, including children. They are typically playful and good-natured. Because Lab puppies are very bouncy and boisterous, they may not be ideal for households with very small children, the elderly or infirm. Labs are best for families with active lifestyles who can allow the dog to have regular outlets for his seemingly boundless energy.

“Labs, like many breeds, are prone to separation anxiety, which can lead to behavior issues. A bored, lonely Lab with nothing interesting to do,” added Michelle, dog behavioral therapist, Bark Busters USA. “he will quickly find ways to vent his pent-up energy by barking, chewing and destroying anything he encounters in your house or yard.”

Had the Grogan family who owned Marley sought training from a qualified dog behavioral therapist to help them understand and act on these human-canine fundamentals, their lives together would have been less eventful and far more peaceful.

One example of how training could have helped both family and pet is related to how Marley reacted to thunderstorms, a common fear among canines. Many dogs “learn” to cower at thunder because their owners console them when they hear a loud noise. While it is understandable that you would want to coddle your frightened pet, this does not help the dog if you are not with him when a thunderstorm (or fireworks or a noisy trash collector) comes along. If your dog is frightened by loud noises, don’t make it an “event.” Simply guide your furry friend to a place where it is safe and quiet, ideally his crate. You could also cover the crate with a blanket to soften the impact of the loud noises. The dog will quickly learn to seek shelter there whenever he feels scared. If your dog exhibits extreme fear from thunderstorms, talk to your vet about more ways to help the dog feel calmer.

The following are some tips to help you manage your active Labrador retriever or any high-energy dog:

• Provide toys that can handle heavy chewing. Labs are generally food motivated, so use treat-giving puzzle toys to keep him mentally stimulated.
• Get into the habit of providing daily training sessions of 15 minutes or so. Remember, dogs tire far more quickly from mental stimulation than from physical activities.
• Crate training is strongly recommended for Labs. Not only does a crate help with housebreaking, it also helps to create boundaries for your pet, keeping both your dog and your house safe.
• Anticipate your dog’s possible naughty behavior. Put baby locks on cupboard doors, put away trash cans, separate your dog from a small child with food. (The dog may snatch the food not out of aggression but simply because the temptation is just too great.)
• Use Bitter Apple spray, or other taste deterrents, on objects you don’t want your pooch to chew.

To fetch a Bark Busters trainer in our area, call 1-877-500-BARK (2275) or visit, where dog owners can complete a Dog Behavioral Quiz to rate their dogs' behavior.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

This little book is the first in a series called "The Adventures of Sammy the Wonder Dachshund." The subtitle of the book is "Sammy's Last Week in Charleston". In it, Sammy agrees to take a new job, in a new city, only to find out he has to move in one week. The book goes through the days of the week while Sammy tries to say his goodbyes and pack in as much fun as he can. By the end of the week, Sammy begins to get a little sad. Then after some thought he realizes, he may be moving on to new things but he will always have great friends and he can always call the wonderful city of Charleston "Home."

Local author Jonathan Miller is having a book signing party. See details below. Partial proceeds go to a good cause, so strap on your pretty heels, tie on that Charlestonian bow-tie and and support Sammy the Wonder Dachshund.

Hibernian Hall
Wednesday, December 17th
7:00 PM—11:00 PM

Books will be there for sell, along with 12 x 18 prints of the artwork from the book. We are also having a silent auction for the original artwork from the book, the auction will end around 9:15 PM. A portion of the proceeds from the auction will go to benefit the Teachers' Supply Closet Organization, which helps Lowcountry teachers get the materials they need to educate students.

There will be plenty of wine and beer at the party along with food provided by Oak Steakhouse!

For more info contact the author at :

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dog takes not only one bullet to protect his family from an intruder, but three! And what do you know, he's a pit bull. Click here.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Apparently you dog CAN get jealous. It's not just anthropomorphism! Read the full story by clicking here.
Got some time on your hands? Make your dog their own iphone controlled dog treat dispenser.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Video Game Promotes Animal Rescue & Adoption

Interactive video and online game publisher Legacy Interactive has created Pet Pals: New Leash on Life, a computer simulation game that takes place inside an animal rescue center where the player assumes the role of a veterinarian in diagnosing, treating, caring for and even adopting virtual pets. Proceeds support The Humane Society of the United States.

Pet Pals: New Leash on Life is the latest title in Legacy’s award winning Pet Pals series. The goal is to nurse all of the admitted animals back to health using realistic medical tools and ultimately adopt them into forever homes. Players prepare their animals for adoption by training, grooming, petting and playing with them until they are ready for their future homes. When a pet has been successfully treated and placed in the right home, players get a promotion with more responsibilities and more difficult cases to handle.

“This is a great educational tool in helping to understand the daily responsibilities of animal rescue and the importance of adoption,” states Stephanie Shain, director of outreach, companion animals for The Humane Society of the United States.

The Humane Society of the United States works tirelessly to ensure a better world for animals across the globe. The HSUS runs spay/neuter and adoption programs, works to end the cruel practice of puppy mills, supports animal shelters, fights cruelty and cares for the animal victims of disasters and other emergencies.

“We are so excited to provide support for the invaluable programs of The Humane Society of the United States,” said Ariella Lehrer, president and CEO, Legacy Interactive. “We hope that by purchasing Pet Pals: New Leash on Life, players will get the opportunity to see what it’s like to be a veterinarian, have fun, and at the same time feel good about supporting a great animal protection organization.”
Pet Pals: New Leash on Life is available for PC download at and is rated E for Everyone, ages 8+.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Dog Drives Car into Coffeehouse

The coffeehouse didn't have a drive thru window to begin with, but it does now! A man tried to do the right thing and leave the heat on for his dog while he grabbed a cup of Joe, but no good deed goes unpunished. Watch a CNN ireport on the disaster that ensued. Luckily no one was hurt!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Guess the Transition of Power Isn't Going too Well...

Barney, the outgoing first dog, bit a reporter. See the full story here.
In all due respect though, the reporter bent down and approached Barney way too fast... and he also had quite a bit in his hands. It's pretty easy to see how from a dog's perspective this looked like aggressive behavior.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

ASPCA Urges Obama Family to Adopt First Dog

The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today applauded the flurry of recent news reports that the Obama Family will consider adopting a shelter dog when they choose their new family pet for the White House.

“The unconditional love we get from our companion animals is one of the greatest gifts in life,” said ASPCA President & CEO Ed Sayres. “At the ASPCA, we are thrilled at the prospect that the Obama Family will ‘make pet adoption their first option’ and head to their local animal shelter or rescue group, where there are many extraordinary animals just waiting for a forever home. Whether their preference is dog or cat, small or large, purebred or lovable mutt, they could both find the perfect pet and help an animal in need, which would be an incredible opportunity.”

One of the best ways the Obama Family can find their perfect pet is through the ASPCA®’s Meet Your Match™ (MYM) adoption program, which is being used by hundreds of animal shelters and rescue groups across the country. The MYM program assesses the “Canine-ality™” of adoptable dogs as well as the “Feline-ality™” of adoptable cats, and matches them with their perfect pet parents based on compatibility. Based on their assessments, the animals are assigned one of nine canine-alities or feline-alities which fall into three major purple, orange, and color-coded categories. The descriptions are added to the animal’s cage (or kennel) card, and the animals are ready to meet their human matches. Some examples include the relaxed and laid back “Couch Potato,” the naturally playful, curious and trusting “Busy Bee,” and action hero-type “Go-Getter.”

The adopter survey is the second component of the process, which asks 19 questions of the potential adopter to determine which Canine-ality™ or Feline-ality™ best matches their expectations, experience, lifestyle and home environment. The adopter is given a purple, orange or green guest pass – color coordinated to match the cage cards of the cats that best match them.

“The MYM program is a perfect fit for any family, especially the Obamas,” said Dr. Emily Weiss, the ASPCA’s Senior Director of Shelter Behavior Programs, and a developer of the program. “Potential pet adopters can easily be overwhelmed with choices of breed, size, and even coat color, but with the MYM adoption process, the Obama Family will be able to complete the MYM Adopter Survey togethLinker, meet all their four-legged matches, and choose the perfect pet for their family.”

For more information on the ASPCA®’s Meet Your Match™ program, and how to find the perfect pet, please visit.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Don't forget about Friday's Fur Ball. PetHelpers is a fantastic organization and this is their largest and most important fund-raiser. And it's lots of fun too! This year, they have auction items that fit every budget, from $20 to $3,000. So there's something there for everyone. Tickets will be available at the door. See event info below.

Cough it up for the Fourth Annual Fur Ball!

Pet Helpers 4th Annual Fur Ball Black Tie Gala will be held Friday, November 7th, 6:30 pm, at the Marriott on Lockwood Blvd. We are celebrating our 30th anniversary and pearls will be the theme of this years Party for the Pets!

As you begin your evening with a beverage from the open bar and Hors ‘d oeuvres, you will have time to view and bid on the many exciting Silent Auction items which include: Vacation Get-a-Ways, Art work, Dinners, Jewelry, Golf Packages and many other exciting and unique items. While enjoying your plated dinner, you will also have a chance to bid on items during our exciting Live Auction, emceed by Tom Crawford and Victoria Hansen of TV 4 News and then dance the night away to some great music.

All proceeds from this gala will fund our Pet Helpers Adoption Center and Spay/ Neuter Clinic. Our new facility houses over 250 homeless animals on a daily basis, where they are all medically cared for and given TLC in an open, bright and cheerful environment. All of Pet Helpers animals are kept until adopted.

Tickets to the Fur Ball cost $150 each and can be purchased at the shelter or by calling (843) 795-1110. Visa and MasterCard are available. The Fur Ball Gala has sold out the past three years; with only 350 tickets available, seating is limited, so call now! It is an evening you don’t want to miss! For more information, log onto our website at

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Pet Helpers Adoption Center & Spay/Neuter Clinic has entered a cool contest and needs your help!!

For all people who spoil their pets rotten or if you just want to do your good deed for the day, Pet Helpers has entered Care2’s “Vote for your Favorite Animal Shelter” contest. The shelter with the most votes will win $10,000! The contest ends November 1, 2008 and we need at least 1,000 votes to qualify. Voting takes less than a minute and the site asks for your name, e-mail and zip code to participate. (Be sure to “opt out” of their e-mail list at the bottom right before clicking the “Vote” button if you don’t want to receive newsletters.)

This is a national contest, so PLEASE pass the link and instructions to anyone who could vote today!

TO VOTE…click here:

Thank you in advance for giving Pet Helpers your support

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Frances R. Willis SPCA of Dorchester County is low on food supplies. They are hosting a dog food drive during the month of October. Food can be dropped off at the following locations:

Mr. K's Piggly Wiggly
404 North Cedar Street - Summerville
1605 Central Avenue - Knightsville

Piggly Wiggly
680 Bacons Bridge Rd. - Summerville

Patterson Printing
402 Old Trolley Rd. - Summerville

Carolina One Real Estate Offices
900 N. Main St. - Summerville
1530 Old Trolley Rd. - Summerville

Frances R. Willis SPCA
136 Four Paws Lane in Summerville

Cash and credit card donations can be made only at the SPCA facility. Food reserves are critically low. If you need more information, call the SPCA at 871-3820.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Local Firms Create the Ultimate in Posh Pet Design

Parker-Sims Interiors
and Annie Melvin of Boutique Tents partnered to create the Chateau
de Chien - an entry in Pierre Deux's national posh pet design challenge benefiting Canine Companions for Independence. Make sure to vote for the Chateau de Chien at now through November 14th! Go Charleston!

On October 23 during the Upper King Design Walk, the Chateau will be on view at Three Dog Bakery.

On October 24 from 6-9 Pierre Deux is hosting an unveiling event in their showroom at 279 King and 10% of all proceeds will be donated to Canine Companions for Independence.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Charleston Air Force Base Pet Fest

The Charleston Air Force Base is currently planning its inaugural "PetFest 2008", which will be held on Saturday, September 27th, from 10 am to 2 pm. PetFest 2008 is designed to entertain and educate our military, civilian employees, retirees, and their families (including the four-legged ones!) about pets of all kinds; all the while benefitting local charities.

Plans include having a number of rescue groups in attendance with dogs (and a few cats) available for adoption, a variety of contests in which pets can compete, agility demonstrations, canine good citizen tests, a variety of doorprizes, and the opportunity for pups to take swimming lessons in our pool. CAFB will also be offering K-9 demonstrations, a display of indigenous wildlife and reptiles, and the base vet clinic will be providing microchipping services. As a "price of admission" all attendees are asked to bring a bag or cans of dog/cat food for our local shelters to aid in the wake of recent surrenders.

Please note that this event is NOT open to the public. Base credentials are required for access.

Contact Caroline Werntz for more info.

Caroline R. Werntz
Marketing & Commercial Sponsorship
437th Force Support Squadron
102 North Davis Drive, Building 322, 1st Floor
Charleston Air Force Base, SC 29404
843.963.3816 (phone)
843.963.2788 (fax) (e-mail)

Monday, August 25, 2008

A stray dog shelters a newborn baby abandoned by it's 14 year old mother in an Argentinian field. The baby would have surely died in the 37 degree weather had the dog not been so heroic! Read more about the amazing story here.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

ASPCA Applauds Indictment in Tennessee’s Largest-Ever Puppy Mill Raid

NEW YORK – The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today applauded the indictment in the case of Tennessee’s largest-ever puppy mill raid of more than 700 dogs earlier this summer. A grand jury formally indicted Patricia Adkisson yesterday on 24 felony counts of aggravated animal cruelty, nine misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty, and more than a dozen other misdemeanors. Arraignment has been scheduled for September.

“We are honored to have assisted in the investigation of this case and are extremely satisfied with the indictment,” said ASPCA President and CEO Ed Sayres. “While it does not erase the horrible neglect and inhumane treatment these animals suffered through, we know our work continues to shine the spotlight on animal cruelty in this country as well as the importance of fighting against it.”

The ASPCA assisted in the June raid by lending a special forensic cruelty investigation team that includes two forensic veterinarians, as well as the ASPCA’s Mobile Animal Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) Unit. The ASPCA team was deployed at the request of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which led the raid, to assist in the collection of evidence for the prosecution of the criminal case. The team included the ASPCA’s Dr. Melinda Merck, the nation’s premier forensic veterinarian and “animal CSI,” and the ASPCA’s Disaster Response Team.

The 747 animals discovered in the raid were housed in various enclosures among the property’s 92 acres of hilly and rocky terrain known as Pine Bluff Kennels in Lyles, Tennessee. More than a dozen animals were found dead. According to Dr. Merck, the majority of the animals were dogs, including more than 200 puppies, suffering from a general lack of husbandry, such as little to no food or water, lack of proper ventilation in enclosed areas, and feces encrusted pens. Conditions such as matting, sores, broken limbs, hernias, abscesses, and a host of other medical conditions were also prevalent. Other animals discovered on the property included horses, burros, miniature horses, chickens, goats, parrots and purebred cats.

Animals in critical condition were examined immediately on the ASPCA’s Mobile Animal CSI Unit, which operates under the leadership of Dr. Merck and brings both state-of-the-art forensics tools and unmatched expertise to crime scenes. The specially-designed vehicle is also outfitted with medical equipment tailored for animal patients.

At the time of the raid, animals seized from the facility were placed into the official custody of the HSUS and transported to a nearby emergency shelter, eventually in the hopes of being placed in shelters and adopted into loving homes. Many of the other animals, including livestock, were in temporary foster care.

For more information about puppy mills and the ASPCA’s fight against animal cruelty, visit

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

A Sad Day in Animal Welfare

A U.S. woman received five puppies today cloned from her late pet pitbull. Read the full story here

I personally think commercial canine cloning is a big, big mistake. According to the Anti-Vivisection Society, " studies have shown that the multiple procedures involved in animal cloning not only cause pain and stress to the surrogate animals used in the lab, but the offspring - if they actually survive birth-do not look or act identical to the original animal." Thus, cloning is a mute point that only brings about possible damage! It would make just as much sense ( and would certainly be more natural) to purchase a dog  from the same bloodline through a reputable breeder. Your chances of a dog of similar temperament and physical characteristics are just as good.

It's a fact that the mast majority of clones suffer birth defects and die prematurely. Why else do you think that for the $50,000 fee the S. Korean company charged her,  the first woman to clone her dog received FIVE puppies! Will all five puppies survive and live long healthy lives? Doubtful.

I understand this woman's grief over the loss of her beloved pet. Apparently he was an incredible animal that saved her from another dog's attack and then later helped her when she was wheelchair bound. But I believe it would have been better for her ( and more respectful of her dog's memory) to have saved the life of a dog in a shelter rather than clone her departed pet. 

Cloning is dubious science at best and frankly quite scary to me. Just because we can clone animals doesn't mean we should.

What do you think?

Monday, August 04, 2008

First Whole-Pet Health and Wellness Web Site Launches

Search "pet health" on the
Internet and more than 16 million sites and references pop up. With somuch online clutter, it's no wonder a recent survey found three out of four pet owners would find a singular site for pet health and wellness information valuable. A new online platform that redefines how pet owners approach pet care launches today with WebVet (, the first whole-pet resource that brings together, in one trusted place, veterinarian-approved pet health and wellness information, as well as lifestyle trends and pet-centric news from leading animal health experts and award-winning reporters.

The survey, sponsored by WebVet, also revealed that pet owners visit anywhere from two to five sites or more before they find the right online pet health information, and nearly one-quarter of all pet owners feel they cannot find what they need at all. "In fact, nearly half of all pet owners told us they are skeptical of the quality of existing online pet sources," said Bill Zaccheo, chief executive officer of WebVet. "WebVet gives pet owners access to credible information that for the first time encompasses both the physical and emotional needs of their pets."

Trusted Experts In Pet Health and Pet Topics

WebVet does not diagnose health issues, dispense advice, or editorialize; rather, it is a neutral resource providing news, information and fact-based education from credible expert sources and partners. WebVet's Veterinary Advisory Council is composed of some of the most highly respected veterinarians in the industry, including Jan Trumpeter, DVM, deputy executive director, the American Animal Hospital Association, and Mike Cavanaugh, director, veterinary specialty team,
Pfizer Animal Health, among others.

WebVet works hand-in-hand with the nation's leading veterinarians to serve as a supplemental resource to help inform and educate pet owners. Unlike any other online pet resource, at least once a year all content on the site -- both medical and general interest -- is rigorously reviewed and updated by a veterinary member of WebVet's Editorial Review Board and then granted a "seal of approval" from the WebVet Veterinary Advisory Council.

"Without a doubt the veterinarian is the most trusted authority for pet owners, but the reality is that owners turn to the Internet on a daily basis for health and wellness information," said Hope Schultz, co-founder, president and chief operating officer of WebVet. "Owners are confused about where to go and whom to trust, and that's why WebVet's expert resources make it easier to be a better pet parent."

WebVet is supported by diverse partnerships with some of country's most respected pet industry organizations, such as the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), Cat Fanciers Association (CFA), Sittercity, the Zoological Education Network, the Winn Foundation and Pfizer Animal Health. In addition, WebVet maintains a roster of dedicated, award-winning writers to research and report relevant pet news and human interest stories on an ongoing basis.

"Because WebVet offers one trusted and reliable place for pet owners to gather information about health care for pets, it is a tremendous asset to both consumers and veterinarians," said Georgette Wilson, DVM, manager, Veterinary Operations for Pfizer Animal Health. "A well-informed pet owner can be very helpful to veterinarians when making decisions regarding the best course of action for their pets' health."

Beyond Conventional Pet Care

WebVet is the first online resource for dogs, cats, birds and small pets (rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs and more) that provides a unique "whole pet" platform that addresses both the physical and emotional needs of pets. "We want pet owners to have the resources they need to fully embrace and engage in their pet's health and wellness as they would their own," added Schultz. "WebVet is the first resource that
truly focuses on a pet's body, mind and soul, combining one's own personal knowledge of what their pet needs with their veterinarian's knowledge relative to their physical health."

Beyond arming owners with accurate, credible medical content and health and wellness information, WebVet keeps pet lovers at the forefront of new developments relevant to their pets' daily lives. On WebVet, pet owners will find:

* Health and Wellness Education -
With a roster of 25 dedicated writers and a network of more than 80,000 veterinarians via partnerships with some of the nation's most respected animal health and industry organizations, WebVet offers the most comprehensive,credible and unbiased resource for pet health and wellness information.

* Everyday Life Features -
WebVet provides pet owners with original content and access to the latest pet-related lifestyle trends. WebVet covers everything from global developments and local pet services to inspirational human interest stories and diet and exercise routines. WebVet also dives deeply into emerging trends, such as holistic care, offering a wide array of articles ranging from alternative medicine and treatments to how to create a non-toxic living environment.

* Community -
WebVet offers a community atmosphere with places for pet owners to connect with one another through opt-in WebVet Mail newsletters, tagged content and shared commentary. Forums allow users to join support groups as well as share experiences and knowledge that is relevant to their pet's health and well-being. In addition, WebVet counseling experts provide the latest information on a cross-section of topics, including animal law, pet loss and merging families.

WebVet is dedicated to providing pet owners with everything they need to be the best pet parents possible. In response to pet owner feedback, shortly after its launch, WebVet will integrate "Pet 311," a wellness and prevention hotline providing pet owners with the most current information available regarding seasonal and other timely health topics.

"Pet owners are deeply involved in all aspects of their pets' lives," said Janice Trumpeter, DVM, deputy executive director, American Animal Hospital Association. "WebVet provides an informative and credible resource outside of the veterinarian's office that educates pet owners about raising a healthy and happy pet."

As part of its mission, WebVet is committed to giving back to animal welfare and will create programs to actively engage users to participate in a variety of fundraising initiatives that will benefit both pets and those who love and support them.

For more information about this new online resource, pet owners and lovers can visit

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Rachael Ray Going to the Dogs with New Pet Food

Celebrity chef Rachael Ray has launched a charity-driven line of dog foods based on recipes she created for her pit bull, Isaboo. Product information claims the commercial food is based on real meat and veggies and does not contain fillers. All sales of the Rachael Ray Nutrish pet foods will go to Rachael's Rescue, which helps at-risk animals.

Has anyone seen this food anywhere? I wonder what the ingredients and production method are. You can spin a press release, but not the ingredient list! Is this really a high quality food or is it just the latest in Rachel's long list of "products" and endorsements? I applaud her though for her rescue work and donating proceeds to the organization she created.

If anyone has seen this food or has used the product let me know what you think!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Obama Family Dog Web Site Rockets Past 20,000 Signatures Just 24 Hours after Launch

Animal lovers from across the United States are jumping on the Barack Obama adopt-a-dog bandwagon.

Since it was launched less than 24 hours ago by Best Friends Animal Society, the web site has surpassed 20,000 signatures on a petition to urge the Democratic presidential candidate to adopt a dog rather than purchasing from a commercial breeder or pet store.

Utah-based Best Friends, which operates the nation’s largest sanctuary for adoptable companion animals, hopes the web site will help convince the Obamas to join thousands of other Americans who believe that adoption from a shelter or breed rescue organization is the way to add a companion animal to the family.

When Michelle Obama, wife of the senator, mentioned weeks ago that the Obamas had promised their kids a dog following the presidential campaign, the American Kennel Club was quick to offer suggestions for purebred dogs. But Best Friends, which launched “A Puppy-Store-Free LA” campaign in Los Angeles last week, countered with the adoption option.

“Our members are casting their votes at the rate of about 1,000 per hour,” said Julie Castle, director of community programs and services for Best Friends. “The speed at which the signatures have multiplied is testimony to the fact that the ethical message of adoption, embraced by Best Friends and many other animal welfare organizations, is getting through to the masses.”

Across the country, in both red and blue states, millions of dogs are killed each year in shelters in large part because there aren’t enough families for them, Castle pointed out. “Best Friends believes that adopting a homeless pet is the right choice. Win or lose, this is an opportunity for Sen. Obama to effect change on this very important issue.”

Best Friends urges families to consider adopting from a shelter or breed rescue organization, rather than purchasing from a commercial breeder or pet store. Adoption helps save lives of dogs that ultimately would be euthanized and is a more socially responsible choice for new pet owners. It also helps decrease the demand for dogs from puppy mills, the large commercial breeding enterprises that supply pet shops across the United States.

Last week at a Los Angeles news conference, Best Friends Animal Society and Last Chance for Animals jointly announced the launch of “A Puppy-Store-Free LA” campaign to shine the light on tens of thousands of dogs across the United States that are trapped in puppy mills, which serve as suppliers for pet shops around the country.

“We’re hoping “A Puppy-Store-Free LA” campaign will help us stop the flow of puppies from puppy mills to pet stores and at the same time make it more difficult to sell puppies from puppy mills,” Castle said. “Obviously, if Sen. Obama chooses to adopt, it will set an example for all Americans—that adopting a homeless pet is the right thing to do.”

For more information about adopting a dog, Best Friends suggests a visit to a local shelter or looking online at any of the following web sites:

Potential adopters can also find a purebred dog from a breed rescue organization by searching Enter a city or state, the breed you are looking for, and the word “rescue.”

“Kindness to Animals Builds a Better World for All of Us”

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Dog Plucks Boy From Platte

OMAHA, Neb. -- A Labrador retriever lived up to its name Friday when he plucked his 12-year-old owner out of the Platte River, near North Bend.

Check out the full story here.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Get Out a Different Vote: Let’s Hear it for Heroic Pets and People!
ASPCA Seeks Nominations for 2008 Humane Awards

As citizens across the country continue to make their way to the polls for the 2008 Presidential primaries, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is asking the public to cast one more ballot.

As it does every year, the organization is seeking public nominations of extraordinary pets and people for its annual Humane Awards program. If you know a fabulous feline or precocious pooch with a knack for saving lives, or a heroic human being who has improved the lives of animals, the ASPCA wants to hear from you. Nominations are being accepted until July l5 at

Last year’s winners included a first-aid wunderkind and golden retriever who performed a modified Heimlich maneuver on his choking owner; a petite kitty with a loud voice who saved her family from dying of carbon monoxide poisoning; and a selfless pre-teen who works tirelessly on behalf of homeless horses.

"The ASPCA Humane Awards is our way of recognizing the important role animals play in our lives, the significance of the human-animal bond, and the people who make animal welfare a central part of their lives," said ASPCA President & CEO Ed Sayres.

Those who may be considered for this distinguished honor include humans who have worked on behalf of animal welfare and animals who have engaged in acts of heroism in the United States during the past year. Winners will be invited to attend the Humane Awards Luncheon on Thursday, October 30, at the historic Rainbow Room in New York City, where the awards will be presented.

Categories open for nomination include:

· ASPCA Dog of the Year

: for a dog who has performed a heroic act in the past year;

· ASPCA Cat of the Year

: for a cat who has performed a heroic act in the past year;

· ASPCA Kid of the Year

: for a child aged 14 or under who has rescued an animal or helps make the world a kinder place for animals;

· ASPCA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year

: for a member of the municipal police force (or other public service officer) who has made a heroic effort to save an animal in the past year; and

· ASPCA Firefighter of the Year

: for a municipal firefighter who has made a heroic effort to save an animal in the past year.

· Other Nominations

: Any other nomination that does not fit into any of the above categories.

The ASPCA will is accepting nominations via its Web site at All submissions must include the following: the nominee’s name, street address, email address, and telephone number; the category for which he/she is being nominated; and a short statement (400 words or less) of why this person or pet deserves the award.

The deadline for entries is Tuesday, July 15, at 12 PM (EST). Winners will be chosen by a committee selected by the ASPCA, and announced to the public in mid-October. For more information, please visit

Friday, May 09, 2008

Obesity in Pets

While over-feeding by giving treats to your animal may be considered a sign of your affection, it might also be a death sentence. In the United States and other countries, about 40 percent of pets are obese. In fact, the No.1 nutritional problem for all pets is obesity.

Dr. Debra Zoran, associate professor and chief of medicine at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, has some valuable advice about getting your portly pet in shape.

She says the first step a pet owner should take is to have the pet examined by a veterinarian to assess its overall health, body weight and body condition. The vet will typically use the Body Condition System (BCS) chart in order to classify the animal as lean, overweight or obese. A score of 8 or 9 on the BCS means the animal is clinically obese and measures should be taken to reduce the animal’s excess fat tissue.

“Obesity in animals is caused by a combination of over nutrition and decreased energy expenditure,” Zoran confirms.

Over nutrition is something that the pet owner can control, with a little extra effort and help in understanding proper feeding in dogs and cats from your veterinarian. Zoran says there are a number of dietary factors that can result in a pet becoming obese. First, pet owners need to know the proper amount of food – and calories – they need to provide their animal based on its lifestyle, neuter status, workload and body condition.

She notes to keep in mind that recommended serving sizes on the labels of pet food have been calculated for active, intact animals, and should be decreased by 20 - 30 percent for neutered animals, house dogs and cats, and animals that lead a primarily sedentary lifestyle.

“Dogs should be fed twice a day at controlled time intervals. Try not to leave the food bowl down constantly since this is often the cause of overeating,” informs Zoran.

Zoran also recommends limiting the number of treats a dog receives, especially around the dinner table. Every treat the dog receives has calories, which can lead to obesity if the dogs’ caloric intake is not adjusted. Since treats are often an important aspect of owner-dog interaction, it is essential to increase exercise to compensate for the added calories. This can be done by allowing the animal to run in the backyard or taking the animal to a park. It is important to visit with a veterinarian if a pet owner is unsure of the optimum amount of food or treats a dog should receive.

Just as in dogs, feline obesity is also a significant problem in pet cats. Since inside cats are less likely to be extremely active, their caloric content should be carefully controlled. The most common method of feeding indoor cats is free choice, since open bowl feeding is highly associated with over-eating.

Ideally, Zoran says, cats should be fed small meals two to four times a day in controlled time intervals and using a specific amount of food. Zoran recommends encouraging activity in cats by purchasing toys or using other methods of stimulation like laser lights or climbing trees in order to encourage physical activity. The key to feline activity is to increase movement – cats respond to movement and activity.

“Cats need physical activity in order to burn the excess amount of carbohydrates and other calories present in their food,” she adds. “Since cats are carnivores, their bodies do not need any carbohydrates. If the animal lies around all day, these carbohydrates are not used and this can lead to obesity.”

Obesity is a serious disease that can lead to an early death. Obesity is associated with the development of osteoarthritis, diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidemia, cardiac and respiratory diseases and diseases of the urinary system, including kidney disease and bladder problems. Zoran says it is a pet owner’s responsibility to control the animal’s food intake and foster an environment that encourages exercise. A good way to show your pet some love is to keep it thin and healthy.

Pet Talk is a service of the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.

Puppy Born Green!
Watch the video here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Beating the Heat

With hot weather just around the corner, you can take some steps to make sure you have a cool cat and not a hot dog as warm temperatures begin affecting people and pets.

Each year, there are hundreds of heat stroke cases in pets seen around the country, and Dr. Kathy Snyder, a veterinarian at the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences at Texas A&M University, has some valuable advice about pets and warm weather.

According to Snyder, heat stroke afflicts an animal when the animal can not dissipate all the heat from the environment quickly enough to regulate its body temperature. When its body temperature rises to unnatural levels, any of the following can happen: kidney failure, liver failure, abnormal blood clotting, swelling of the brain, tissue loss in the intestines, abnormal heart rhythms, muscle damage and destruction of blood cells.

“If the animal has extensive internal damages from heat stroke, it may die. Pet owners should pay close attention to their animals during the summer months, especially at the beginning of the summer when animals’ bodies are acclimating to the hotter weather,” Snyder explains.

Animals can develop heat stroke in many ways, and pet owners need to take proactive measures to ensure that their pet is not in harm’s way this summer. Snyder advises pet owners to keep a couple of water bowls out during the summer.

“It is important that the animal have a ‘back-up’ water bowl, especially during the summer months. If the animal’s primary water source was depleted for any reason, the animal would need the extra water to prevent heat stroke,” she adds.

It is also important that animals not be left in enclosed spaces where the temperature can increase rapidly to an extreme value, such as cars, garages, sheds and barns. Small, enclosed spaces can easily reach temperatures of 120 degrees in a very short period of time. Pet owners need to make sure that the animal has at least one of the following during the summer months: shade, a baby pool or an active sprinkler system. These can help the animal stay cool in the heat, and help the animal to control its internal body temperature, Snyder notes.

“Pet owners should be careful when exercising with their pets when it is hot outside. The animals may overheat quickly and keep exercising to keep up with the pet owner. If the animal becomes too hot it can experience heat stroke or even die,” says Snyder. Animals with existing obesity or heart, airway or neurological diseases are especially at risk to develop heat stroke.

Another heat stroke prevention measure that pet owners can take is to shave the animal, especially in animals with a thick haircoat. This loss of coat will help the animal to stay cooler during the hottest months of the year, she believes.

According to Snyder, if an animal has developed heat stroke it will display one or more of the following symptoms: lethargy, heavy panting, weakness, vomiting, unresponsiveness or it may even be comatose.

If the animal displays any of these symptoms, Snyder recommends putting cool water on the animal’s coat and then immediately driving it to a veterinarian’s office. Measures can be taken to help the animal, but only if it arrives to the veterinarian’s office quickly, she stresses.


Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Amazing Short Film: Dog Years

Thanks to Dooce for turning me on to this. A heartbreakingly bittersweet little film. Enjoy.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Colorado Woman Fined for Pink Poodle
A Boulder woman has hired an attorney to fight a $1,000 fine she was given by the city for coloring her miniature poodle pink.
Joy Douglas said she colored Cici pink to help raise awareness for breast cancer. The salon owner said she has used beet juice -- and occasionally Kool-Aid -- for four years now to "stain" her dog. Officials at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley told the Daily Camera Douglas was warned several times before she was issued the ticket on March 1. Douglas is accused of violating the city's code that says "No person shall dye or color live fowl, rabbits, or any other animals." It’s a code meant to keep people from dyeing rabbits and chicks at Easter. Read the full story here.

Do you think Douglas should be fined? Is this inhumane treatment? Or has the city and the local humane society gone too far?
photo via design within reach
Canine Canteen

Spoil Fido with a picnic of his own, packed inside the durable Charlybox. Much like a canteen for campers, this simple design is a compact carrier for your pet’s food and water. Made of two halves, the Charlybox includes a two-liter canteen for fresh water, and two bowls for water and kibble. Snap the two halves together and set out for a day with your dog. When it’s time for a snack, separate the halves and fill one of the bowls with water from the canteen.

Available through Design within Reach right here.
Popular Easter Lilies Potentially Fatal for Felines
ASPCA Offers Springtime Safety Tips for Pet Parents

As the last snow melts and spring showers give way to fragrant flowers, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) reminds animal lovers and pet parents that one of the season's most popular plants, the Easter lily, can result in tragic consequences for our feline friends.

"All lilies belonging to the plant genus Lilium are considered highly toxic to cats," says Dr. Steven Hansen, board-certified veterinary toxicologist and director of the ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center. "The consumption of small amounts can produce a life-threatening situation." According to Dr. Hansen, certain species of the daylily genus Hemerocallis are known to produce similar toxic effects.

Some examples of common lily varieties that are dangerous for cats include:

. Easter Lily
. Tiger Lily
. Rubrum Lily
. Japanese Show Lily
. Daylily (certain species)

Within only a few hours of ingestion, these plants may cause a cat to vomit, become lethargic or develop a lack of appetite. Without prompt and proper treatment by a veterinarian, a cat may develop kidney failure in 36 to 72 hours. "Time is of the essence for treatment," according to Dr. Louise Murray, Director of Medicine at the ASPCA Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital. "If an owner suspects that his or her cat may have ingested any part of a lily, he or she should seek medical care immediately."

The ASPCA also suggests leaving lilies out of Easter baskets or Mother's Day bouquets destined for homes with cats, or using safer flower varieties as a substitute. Safe alternatives include Easter orchids, cacti, and daisies, as well as roses and violets.

If your dog or cat accidentally ingests any potentially harmful flowers or plants, please call the ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 or visit For more information on having a safe springtime season, please visit

About the ASPCA®
Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) was the first humane organization established in the Americas, and today has more than one million supporters throughout North America. A 501 [c] [3] not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA's mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. The ASPCA provides local and national leadership in animal-assisted therapy, animal behavior, animal poison control, anti-cruelty, humane education, legislative services, and shelter outreach. The New York City headquarters houses a full-service, accredited, animal hospital, adoption center, and mobile clinic outreach program. The Humane Law Enforcement department enforces New York's animal cruelty laws and is featured on the reality television series "Animal Precinct" on Animal Planet. For more information, please visit

Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Importance of Micro-chipping Your Pet

Every pet owner has experienced a situation similar to the following: walking into your home/barn/backyard and your dearly loved pet is no where to be found. Hopefully, your pet is just hiding underneath the couch, but if the situation seems to be a bit more dire, Dr. Bonnie Beaver, a veterinarian at Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, may have some helpful advice.

Pets are adventure seeking animals in general, so it is not surprising that from time to time pets wander away from their homes. This can be a traumatic experience for the pet owner, but micro-chipping can ensure that the pet is safely returned to the owner.

“Micro-chips are used as a way of identifying an animal; like a form of tattoo,” explains Beaver.

Microchips may be used on many different species of animals including dogs, cats, horses, goats, and cattle. According to Beaver, the micro-chip is a small pseudo-ceramic device that is about the size of a small grain of rice. The device is inserted into the animal via a large syringe.

“The procedure is relatively painless for most animals, and can likely be done at your local veterinarian’s office,” states Beaver.

Each micro-chip has a unique serial number, which can be retrieved with the use of a device. It is vastly important to register your pet’s unique micro-chip number with a national agency after the procedure has been completed. An ideal time to get the procedure done is when the pet is getting spayed or neutered, since the pet will already be under anesthesia.

“Two of more well known national agencies are Avid and Home Again,” said Beaver.

The pet owner can get the information about national registration from their local veterinarian’s office. All paper work must be completed and there is a small fee for the service.

Micro-chipping has not been proven to have any negative affects on the animal other than the small amount of pain the shot entails. The micro-chip can also be inserted at any age and can be used for the extent of the pets life.

How does the microchip work? When the pet decides to wander away from home, the pet may just wander into the hands of the animal shelter or a veterinarian’s office. Here, the pet can be scanned for its unique micro-chip number and the shelter or veterinarian will proceed to call the national agencies. If the owner has the pets’ micro-chip number, a positive identification can be made. The owner is then contacted and reunited with the wayward pet.

“It is extremely important that the pet’s micro-chip number be registered at the national level. If this is not done, there is no reason to have the pet micro-chipped in the first place, since no identification could be made by the micro-chip number alone,” states Beaver.

Micro-chipping has been proven to be extremely important especially during times of natural disaster. For example, hurricane Katrina caused many people to evacuate without much warning. Some pets were left behind or separated from their owners while being relocated; with the aide of pet micro-chipping and micro-chip registration at the national level, many of the pets were safely returned to their owners.

Pet Talk is a service of Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Augusta Lynx at South Carolina Stingrays
March 02, 2008 - 04:00 PM

HEROES NIGHT AT THE STINGRAYS GAME. JOIN EXCLUSIVELY BIMMERS AND HOSS THE DOG AS THEY THEY RAISE MONEY FOR EQUIPPING OUR HEROES FOUNDATION, an organization dedicated to equipping our firefighting heroes with lifesaving equipment and tools. Stop by and enjoy a good game and a good cause!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Upcoming Events

Doggie Day at IOP Rec Center: Join area rescues and local dogs for a fun day of rescue awareness and friendly all breed canine competition. Rabies vaccinations and IOP dog tags will be on sale all day and the best in show competition begins at 11AM. Call 886-824 to register.

Charleston Animal Society Oyster Roast: Food and fun benefits the Charleston Animal Society (formally the John Ancrum SPCA) Call 747-4849 for more info and location.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

is being held this coming Saturday, February 23, from 8AM to 1PM at the Charleston Animal Society ( John Ancrum SPCA) 3861 Leeds Ave.

Everything must go including the kitchen sink. Crates, pens, single wide trailer, 2 small buildings with AC, bathroom and kitchen fixtures, refrigerators, freezers, washers and dryers, 48-5gallon buckets of semi-gloss paint, 10-80 pound bags of cement mix, fans, heaters, water-heater and a generator. Office furniture, wicker furniture, French doors and much much more.

Great prices and all the money will go to the homeless animals.

For more information about the merchandise and and a preview of things which need dismantling, please call 763-0364.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Give Your Pet a Peticure

It's absolutely horrific trying to clip my Great Dane's nails. She hates the process and does her best to squirm away (and at 130 pounds of muscle she usually succeeds). Her nails are so large and thick, it's difficult to cut them. I've heard that many pet parents use a rotary tool to file their dog's nails rather than cutting them. But the large drill and loud noise scares my dog as much as the nail trimmers do.

But I saw an infomercial on a product called Peticure, a rotary tool that is housed inside a protective covering that makes it seem less ominous. I wonder if it works. Have any of you tried it?

Find out more about the Peticure
Primary Season Heats Up as the ASPCA Seeks Nominations for 2008 Humane Awards

NEW YORK- As citizens across the country make their way to the polls during the 2008 Presidential primaries, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is asking the public to cast one more ballot.

As it does every year, the organization is seeking public nominations of extraordinary pets and people for its annual Humane Awards program. If you know a fabulous feline or precocious pooch with a knack for saving lives, or a heroic human being who has improved the lives of animals, the ASPCA wants to hear from you. Nominations will be accepted beginning April 1 at

Last year's winners included a first-aid wunderkind and golden retriever who performed a modified Heimlich maneuver on his choking owner; a petite kitty with a loud voice who saved her family from dying of carbon monoxide poisoning; and a selfless pre-teen who works tirelessly on behalf of homeless horses.

"The ASPCA Humane Awards is our way of recognizing the important role animals play in our lives, the significance of the human-animal bond, and the people who make animal welfare a central part of their lives," said ASPCA President & CEO Ed Sayres.

Those who may be considered for this distinguished honor include humans who have worked on behalf of animal welfare and animals who have engaged in acts of heroism in the United States during the past year. Winners will be invited to attend the Humane Awards Luncheon on Thursday, October 30, at the historic Rainbow Room in New York City, where the awards will be presented.

Categories open for nomination include:

. ASPCA Dog of the Year: for a dog who has performed a heroic act in the past year;
. ASPCA Cat of the Year: for a cat who has performed a heroic act in the past year;
. ASPCA Kid of the Year: for a child aged 14 or under who has rescued an animal or helps make the world a kinder place for animals;
. ASPCA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year: for a member of the municipal police force (or other public service officer) who has made a heroic effort to save an animal in the past year; and
. ASPCA Firefighter of the Year: for a municipal firefighter who has made a heroic effort to save an animal in the past year.

The ASPCA will begin accepting nominations via its Web site on April 1 at All submissions must include the following: the nominee's name, street address, email address, and telephone number; the category for which he/she is being nominated; and a short statement (400 words or less) of why this person or pet deserves the award.

The deadline for entries is Tuesday, July 15, at 12 PM (EST). Winners will be chosen by a committee selected by the ASPCA, and announced to the public in mid-October. For more information, please visit

Friday, February 15, 2008

ASPCA Reminds Pet Parents: Protect Your Pet from Perilous Poisons
Animal Poison Control Center Updates Top Toxins for Pets, Tips to Keep Pets Safe

NEW YORK-Has your dog ever chomped on chocolate? Does your kitty like to snack on plants? In observance of National Poison Prevention Week (March 16 to March 22), the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) sheds light on the most common dangers pets may encounter, and offers helpful advice for poison-proofing your home.

"National Poison Prevention Week is an opportune time to educate pet owners about the many toxic substances that can harm our pets," said ASPCA President & CEO Ed Sayres. "Our animal companions depend on us to be informed and protect them from danger."

In 2007, the ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) in Urbana, Ill. managed more than 130,000 cases. The public utilized the APCC's 24-hour hotline with emergency and non-emergency inquiries alike. Last year, the Center also played a critical role in keeping pet parents, veterinarians, and the American public accurately informed during last year's pet food recall crisis, which began in March and lasted several months.

The top calls of 2007 involved the following common household goods and products:

1. Just Say No to Drugs: With a whopping 89,000 calls related to the unhappy combination of pets and medications such as painkillers, cold and flu preparations and antidepressants, the ASPCA cautions pet owners to never give their four-legged family members any type of medication without first talking with a veterinarian. Both prescription and over-the-counter drugs-whether for humans or pets--should be kept out of reach, preferably in closed cabinets above countertops.

2. Bugged out: In the effort to battle home invasions by unwelcome pests, our furry friends could be unintentionally put at risk from certain insecticides. In fact, more than 26,000 calls to the Center pertained to insect control products such as flea and tick preparations, insect baits and spray killers. "A key factor in the safe use of products that eliminate fleas, ticks and other pesky bugs is reading and following label instructions exactly," said Dr. Steven Hansen, board-certified veterinary toxicologist and director of the APCC. "Some species of animals can be particularly sensitive to certain types of insecticides, so it is vital that you never use any product not specifically formulated for your pet." It is also a good idea to consult with your pet's veterinarian before beginning any flea and tick control program.

3. Don't Eat the Daisies: In 2007, common household plants such as lilies, azaleas and kalanchoe, were the subject of more than 8,000 calls to the poison center. Other varieties that can be harmful to pets include rhododendron, sago palm, and schefflera. "Just one or two sago palm nuts can cause vomiting, diarrhea, depression, seizures and even liver failure," said Dr. Hansen. "Also, lilies are highly toxic to cats - even in small amounts they can produce life-threatening kidney failure."

4. Don't Take the Bait: Insects are not the only critters that can invade our dwellings -so can mice, rats and other rodents. But before you rush out to buy a chemical bait product, it is important to be aware of the risks they can pose to your pet - last year, the Center handled approximately 7,600 queries about these baits. "Some baits contain inactive ingredients meant to attract rodents, which can be attractive to pets as well," said Dr. Hansen. "That's why it's so important, when using any rodenticide, to place the product in areas that are completely inaccessible to companion animals."

5. Mind the Mop: While many cleaning products can be used safely in homes where pets reside, it is still important to take the necessary precautions to protect furry family members from accidental overexposures to common agents such as bleaches, detergents and disinfectants. In 2007, the Center assisted 7,200 callers with concerns involving common household cleaners. Gastrointestinal distress and irritation to the skin, eyes or respiratory tract may be possible if a curious animal has an inappropriate encounter with such products. "All household cleaners and other chemicals should be stored in a secure location well out of the reach of pets," recommended Dr. Hansen. "As with any product, it is extremely important to read and follow all label directions before use."

Established in 1978, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center is the only 24-hour, 365-day facility of its kind staffed by 30 veterinarians, 12 of who are board-certified toxicologists/veterinary toxicologists. Located in Urbana, Ill., the specially trained staff provides assistance to pet owners, and specific diagnostic and treatment recommendations to veterinarians pertaining to toxic chemicals and dangerous plants, products or substances. The Center also provides extensive veterinary toxicology consulting on a wide array of subjects, including legal cases, formulation issues, product liability, and regulatory reporting. For more information on potentially dangerous substances in the home or to reach the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, please call (888) 426-4435 or visit