Thursday, February 26, 2015

Purina Beneful is Toxic?

On February 5th in Contra Costa County, California, a class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of dog owners.  The lawsuit alleges that the dry “kibble”  produced by Purina’s Beneful brand contains propylene glycol (a component in antifreeze) and mycotoxins (toxins produced by mold) , resulting in as many as 3,000 dogs' illness or death.

Frank Lucido, the pet parent of three dogs: a German Shepard, an English Bulldog, and a Labrador Retriever, purchased a bag of Beneful dog food in December 2014. He noticed after just two weeks that his German Shepard exhibited signs of poisoning.  After an examination by his vet, it was confirmed that the dog had internal bleeding, a compromised stomach and liver, which are symptoms consistent with poisoning.
In January Lucido’s wife found their beloved English Bulldog in the yard and he had sadly passed away.  The English Bulldog also tested positive for the same poisoning symptoms.  The Lucido’s took their Lab to the vet so that he could also been treated for the same poisoning symptoms—possibly saving his life.

Because of his experience and that of 3,000 other dog owners, Lucido filed a class action law-suit to try to compensate the owners for their vet expenses and to get the dog food removed from the market.  Testing by a third party lab confirmed the presence of mycotoxins, most likely from mold in the grain.  Other sources say that the propylene glycol, used to keep the food moist, is also a known toxin that was used to be in cat food until it was outlawed.

While we wait for the outcome of this case, dog experts are warning dog owners to check the Dog Food Advisor site and avoid food that has less than a 4 star rating.

Friday, February 20, 2015

ARF is Making Dreams Come True

Tony LaRussa has been a manager in major league baseball for over 33 years. Not only is he an influencer on the field, but he’s also managed to make a splash in the pet rescue community as well. In 1991 Tony and his wife Elaine cofounded the Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) is located in Walnut Creek, California. The inspiration for the project came after Tony saved a kitten only to find out that there were no no-kill shelters in the East Bay of California. Tony decided to change that and opened ARF.

It was exciting to learn that ARF homes about 2,000 animals yearly and provides spay/neuter services to over 3,000.  They also provide classes for people and animals, have an emergency fund to help animals when they are sick, and collect and distribute over 170,000 pounds of food to animals that would have otherwise gone hungry.

Everyone knows the tune "You Make My Dreams" by Daryl Hall & John Oates. To help raise awareness of shelter pets in need, ARF put together this catchy lip dub that’s been trending on the web since it’s debut in early December. You can see how happy both shelter pets and volunteers alike are to be part of this amazing community. Watch and share with your friends – this is sure to put a smile on your face!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Should You Take Your Dog to Work?

My friend has been nagging me to take my dogs to work during so they wouldn’t be sitting at home all day.  I started doing some research on the pros and cons of animals in the work place and this is what I found:

A group of folks from the Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond Virginia did a study published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management.  Their study found that pets did indeed lower the stress of their owner and the owners reported higher job satisfaction when they had their pets at work. Other studies have found that there are numerous other benefits to having a pet around, including: lowered blood pressure, more exercise, and that our pets are great entertainment.

With the evidence from the Virginia Commonwealth University study, I wondered why I still had a nagging feeling that pets didn’t belong at work. So I kept researching to see what else I could find. According to Ayyar Rohan, there are a lot of reasons to reconsider allowing pets in the workplace. 15% to 30% of the population is allergic to pets so bringing a pet into the office can actually compromise someone else’s health. A fellow employee doesn’t even have to share workspace to have an allergic reaction to a pet in the office; they can be affected by just being in the same building.

Another reason to avoid pets in the workplace is that the fear people have of dogs is second only to spiders and snakes. Though a dog may help some to be calmer and less stressed, it may cause a co-worker to have more stress, which would be a great reason for me to keep my dog home. I also wondered about the distraction that a pet might cause in the workplace. My dog would have to be taken out, possibly more regularly than my breaks would allow. It could also be tempting for my office mates to pay more attention to the dog and less attention to their co-workers, which could damage office bonding and become a distraction from work.

After considering all my options and the benefits, I’ve decided to take a third option for my pet family while I’m at work and hire my local Fetch! Pet Care. My dogs get to enjoy the socialization of going for walks, meeting people, and being in the community. My cats get to play with my pet care professional so they are stimulated. All of my pet kids know exactly when their playmate is due to come and I get to go to work knowing that my little family will be happily looking forward to the adventures of their day as I focus on the adventures of mine.

What do you think about pets in the workplace? Click here to find a Fetch! Pet Care location near you so that your dog is cared for when you're at work!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

12 Pets Who Are Living Valentines

This cat who wears his heart on his chest.

This chocolate Valentine...

This lil' ball of fur...

This living Care Bear...

This kitty who dons Angel wings...

This Corgi with the cutest bum in the world...

This heart-shaped duo...

This very patient Golden...

These lovers...

This Boxer who has mastered the art of the loving stare...

This puppy who has reached max cuteness potential (is that even possible?)

These yin and yang friends.

Happy Valentine's Day! 

Have a Valentine's Day photo of your pets to share? Send them to us at Thank you!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Run Derby, Run!

Derby was born with limb differences in his front legs where they do not have all the bones that they should. Although his foster mom did try to create a solution by putting wheels under him, the wheels still did not allow him to turn quickly or to run like his foster family was hoping.

Derrick Campana, CO of Animal Ortho Care and his team found a way to help Derby the same way that the team of folks from E-nable are helping children with limb differences, using a 3-D printer. I spoke to Derrick about Derby last week. Derrick said that Derby was a new challenge to Animal Ortho Care. They often make legs for dogs that have amputations or braces to help dogs. However, for Derby they had to figure out how to help him with legs that would accommodate his different feet. Their first thought was to make Derby some blades like humans with limb differences use to run. However, they soon figured out that the blades would not work the same in a dog as in a human. Then they came up with the innovative design that could be printed on a 3-D printer.

When designing Derby’s feet, the goal was to keep Derby close to the ground in the beginning so that he didn’t have trouble learning balance and could get used to his new feet. He has since received more sets of feet that are higher and he will soon be running on full height feet!

Derby is a pioneer in the field of helping dogs with limb differences run. With his help, more dogs will soon be able to go for walks, and even run.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Red Solo Cups and Baby Bulldogs [Video]

Baby bulldogs -- what would be cuter? These tiny puppies can be no older than a few weeks and they are clearly playing with red solo cups. I guess that means they are very smart dogs! So what would it be like to have a baby bulldog in the family?

I did a little research and found out a bit about these cute little dogs. According to the site, “How to Train English Bulldog Puppies” by Louise Lawson, bulldogs are very smart and also very stubborn. If you don’t start training them at 8 weeks, they will be training you. That sounds suspiciously like what happened with my Peyton sometimes, even though he’s not
a bulldog.

Did you know that short-nosed breeds can overheat easily? I had no idea that they would, and Louise says that is why you should always crate short-nosed dogs in crates that get good ventilation, like a wire crate.

Louise goes on to share some great suggestions to train a baby English Bulldog puppy, and it could go for other puppies, too. I know I’ll incorporate several in my routine, including working on obedience commands.

What’s the cutest thing your pup did when he was a tot?

Friday, January 16, 2015

What My Vet Wishes You Knew

While in my veterinarian’s office the other day, we started talking. She mentioned that there were so many things that most veterinarians wished that their clients knew. She believes that her patients could get better care if they would just do a few things differently while also adding a few things to their pet care routine.

The first item on her list is a yearly checkup. The yearly checkup is an opportunity for her to hear all about how my dog Buffy is doing. Regular checkups give the Vet the opportunity to catch any problems that may come up with all pets (especially with cats). Cats can hide their illness and injuries until it is too late.

The second item on the Vet’s list is dental care. In addition to preventing cavities and infection, good dental care can prevent some heart and kidney diseases. I kinda felt like one of “those” pet owners when I purchased the pet-specific toothbrushes and chicken flavored toothpaste…guess I need to get over that.

Here’s an interesting fact for you, did you know that about 52% of all dogs and cats in the U.S. are overweight? Veterinarians say that on average, a pet that is overweight lives two years less than one that is average weight. Pets, like my Buffy, that could normally deal with some bone issues find that they are in too much pain to survive them if they are overweight. I’m feeling better about keeping her on that diet because I don’t want to lose her to obesity.
Overweight pets are also at higher risk for other ailments like arthritis and heart disease. To prevent all my pets from becoming obese, we pay attention to portion control, and they get NO people food. The other side of the equation is to make sure that everyone gets lots of exercise, both physical and mental, so lots of games and lots of walks for all of us.

Which brings me to Dr. Lawson’s fourth recommendation: hygiene routine. Part of our bedtime routine now includes brushing those canines, and our weekend chores include baths and pedicures (and the wrestling matches that are probably good exercise for me, too). Bath time works well for also checking Buffy’s skin and looking for strange lumps and bumps that don’t belong. We also make sure that the first Saturday of every month is preventive medication day – Frontline, Heartgard, etc. By creating a schedule, I’m less likely to forget preventative care and just like my pets, I love routine.

Finally, Dr. Lawson said that she wishes that everyone knew that veterinarians don’t mind if you get a second opinion or request a referral to a specialist. The veterinary professionals welcome all the information they can get. With information, they can take better care of your family members. Veterinarians don’t even mind when you do web research and share the results of your searches, as long as you make sure you’re searching credible sites with quality information. That is good to know since I’m almost an Internet junkie and look up all the information I can find about what is happening with the health of my crew.

Here’s a handy chart to keep next to the family calendar or somewhere you’ll notice it to help remind you of your pet’s health routine...