Wednesday, January 23, 2008
The Humane Society of the United States provides cold-weather tips for pets and farm animals
(Dec. 11, 2007) – During this spell of cold weather gripping parts of the country, animals need to be able to take shelter from below-freezing temperatures. The Humane Society of the United States is receiving some reports of animals being left out to fend for themselves in an ice storm that has caused Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma to declare states of emergency.
“In a paralyzing storm like this, The Humane Society of the United States urges people to factor in those needs of those who can’t ask for help themselves – their pets and farm animals,” said Ollie Davidson, interim director of Disaster Services at The HSUS. He also advised residents to plan in advance, whenever possible. “Although some communities have made disaster planning for animals part of their preparedness, each family needs to prepare themselves and their animals to survive the elements.”
CARING FOR PETS
§ Don’t leave pets outdoors, especially when the temperature drops below freezing. Even a garage or basement with blankets is better than just outside in the wind.
§ Wind-chill can threaten a pet’s life, no matter what the temperature.
§ Warm car engines are attractive but dangerous for cats and small wildlife.
§ De-icing chemicals are hazardous.
§ Antifreeze is a deadly poison.
SPECIFICALLY FOR FARM ANIMAL OWNERS
§ Have a water supply for a minimum of three days, with provisions to keep it from freezing. (Use plastic, not metal containers).
§ Provide sturdy buildings to house farm animals that won’t collapse under the weight of snow or ice.
§ Have a containment area to keep animals from sliding down hills.
§ Keep emergency contact numbers handy, such as those for a large animal veterinarian in your area, a large animal rescue or an emergency animal transporting facility.
For more information, please visit www.humanesociety.org .
Media Contact: Kristen Everett 301-721-6440, email@example.com
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization — backed by 10 million Americans, or one of every 30. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — on the Web at humanesociety.org .
Friday, January 11, 2008
Local radio stations, 95SX has a "Rover Alert" available to all Charleston residents. Call them at 843-721-9595 if you have lost your dog and they make an on air announcement just like an amber alert for missing persons! This is an easy way to reach the attention of thousands of people. Thank you 95SX!
Thursday, January 10, 2008
The always good to read Heather Armstrong over at blog Dooce, has a new puppy named Coco. Coco's the most adorable thing on the blogosphere right now and I just had to share her with you guys. Click here to read Heather's post about late night shifts with the new dog.
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
With the memory of last year’s pet food recall still fresh on many pet owners’ minds; curiosity about pet food is at an all time high. Many pet owners completely lost faith in the pet food industry and have begun producing their own foods from home, while some pet owners started buying super premium pet food. The question that still lingers is: what’s the difference? Dr. John Bauer, a professor at Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, has some helpful advice for curious pet owners.
When a pet owner strolls drown the pet food aisle they are daunted by a long row of different pet food brands all promising the best nutrition for their pet. Some dry type pet foods may cost fifty cents per pound while others eighty cents, leaving the pet owner wondering what miracle ingredient is responsible for this increase in price.
The answer is not as simple as one ingredient; it depends on the pet owner and the pet’s specific needs. According to Bauer, sufficient protein, sufficient calories and sufficient fat are critical aspects for pet food. If a pet does not receive enough protein from its food, over time the animal may suffer from starvation. Other effects of lack of sufficient protein are brittle coat, lethargy, liver failure and kidney failure. If the animal does not intake enough fat, scaly skin will develop which will cause irritation and even hair loss. Vitamins must also be ingested by pets in order to stay healthy.
“Each vitamin participates in a certain metabolic pathway, if the vitamin is not present, the pathway can not persist,” states Bauer.
Bauer offers this example of a metabolic pathway: if a pet does not receive enough vitamin A, which aids in eye sight, the pet may become, over time, partially blind.
To keep a pet healthy, pet owners need to make sure their pet is ingesting a complete and balanced diet.
“Most dog foods on the market right now are complete and balanced, the difference lies in the ingredients,” states Bauer.
The more expensive pet foods tend to offer higher quality ingredients and higher fat contents. The quality of the ingredients can aid in digestibility of the food, but not overall nutrient value of the food. The higher fat count in premium brands ensures that the pet’s daily fat content is met and helps promote an increase in the glossiness of the animal’s coat.
More expensive pet food also goes through more rigorous testing, which leads to the increase in price. The protocol for these further tests is set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). These products are fed to animals whose health is then monitored. Pet owners can ensure that a pet food is AAFCO certified by checking for a small label found on the product usually in fine print. This certification is an assurance to the pet owner that the pet will receive proper nutrition from eating the pet food.
Some pet owners have grown too overwhelmed with trying to decide what the ‘right’ choice is in pet food, and have decided to take matters into their own hands by making their own pet food. Bauer warns that making pet food is not for the timid.
“Making your own pet food is like being a human vegetarian: you can be a successful vegetarian, you just have to work a little harder at it,” said Bauer.
One of the problems associated with making pet food from home is the water content which can dilute calorie content. Normal dry dog food only has about ten percent water, while the average homemade dog food can have up to eighty percent. In order for the pet to still receive the same nutritional benefit from homemade dog food, the pet will have to eat at least three times more homemade food than regular dry food. This can be a financial burden for many owners who make their dog food from human friendly ingredients; easily doubling or tripling the supplies that must be purchased at the grocery store especially for large size dogs. Another problem associated with making the switch from a grocery store bought food to a homemade food is the unbalancing of the pet’s diet; which causes many pet owners to report weight loss after making this switch. For the best results, owners need to be sure that they follow a food formula that has been tested and approved by a trained professional.
With so many different varieties out there, purchasing the perfect pet food can be a difficult decision.
“The three things I recommend thinking about when selecting a suitable pet food are: price, approval by nutrition testing in accordance to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) and your personal pet philosophy,” states Bauer. “Many animals will thrive on the cheaper dog food, it just depends on the animal and the owner’s level of satisfaction.”
Pet Talk is a service of the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences
Monday, January 07, 2008
Thursday, January 03, 2008
Slate posted a heart warming article by Jon Katz on his dog's uncanny abilities with hospice patients. Here's an excerpt:
Izzy and I became volunteers together last summer, after weeks of rigorous training by Washington County Hospice. Volunteers are an integral part of the hospice philosophy, but they have to be taught to behave differently than they might normally—to listen rather than give advice, to accept the reality of death rather than cheer everybody up, to be comfortable with the fact that patients will not recover. To never, for example, tell a patient or family to buck up, move on, or cheer up. Generally, things do not get better.
While the hospice workers at the Washington County Hospice and Palliative Care Program are always looking for ways to make patients more comfortable, they weren't immediately certain that a canine would make an appropriate hospice volunteer—they had to ponder the insurance and health implications, and the particular sensitivities of hospice work. What, for instance, would be the consequences if a dog bit a patient or ate his medication? Final moments matter. My vet had to testify to Izzy's temperament, attesting to his gentleness and responsiveness.
As it turned out, he is a natural. I was the one who needed all of the training.
Read the rest of the Slate article by clicking here.
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
2007 was definitely the year for dogs. There were two cases this year of dogs inheriting their owner's fortunes. We all heard about Leona Helmsley's dog, a lucky Maltese named Trouble who inherited $12 million. However, the most recent case is that of a beagle and two lab mixes (originally strays) who inherited $400,000 and a house in Hagerstown, Maryland with the death last year of owner Ken Kemper. Altogether, their estate is worth about $800,000. To read more go to http://www.cnn.com/2007/LIVING/wayoflife/12/31/wealthy.dogs.ap/index.html?iref=newssearch