Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Pet industry BOOM

Pets are becoming more and more integrated parts of the family. They are no longer outside dogs that are secondary family members. They sleep inside (often in the same bed as us!) go on vacations with us, we dress them up, cook for them and more.
So it isn't shocking that Americans last year (2009) spent a whopping $45.5 BILLION on our pets. And that number is only growing. According to the 2009/2010 National Pet Owners Survey, 62% of U.S. households own a pet, which equates to 71.4 millions homes.
Pet ownership in the United States is broken down like this: (according to 2009-10 Nation pet Owners Survey americanpetproducts.org)

Number of U.S. Households that Own a Pet (millions)

Bird 6.0
Cat 38.2
Dog 45.6
Equine 3.9
Freshwater Fish 13.3
Saltwater Fish 0.7
Reptile 4.7
Small Animal 5.3

Total Number of Pets Owned in the U.S. (millions)

Bird 15.0
Cat 93.6
Dog 77.5
Equine 13.3
Freshwater Fish 171.7
Saltwater Fish 11.2
Reptile 13.6
Small Animal 15.9

Spending in 2010 is estimated to be $47.7 billion. The spending breakdown in 2009:

Food $17.56 billion
Supplies/OTC Medicine $10.41 billion
Vet Care $12.04 billion
Live animal purchases $2.16 billion
Pet Services: grooming & boarding $3.36 billion

What a great industry to have your hand in right now! Now if we could just shut down all those puppy mills :o)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Warning! FDA investigating "Real Ham Bone" by Dynamic Pet Products

Several reports of this bone making dogs very sick, and crumbling easily.
One report, (RIP Dewey) did not make it :(
I rushed him to the vet where they found his core body temperature was 97 and his eyes were fixed and dialated. We elected to euthanize rather than allow his continued suffering. Dewey's body was sent to the state Lab for necropsy. Necropsy did not find any evidence of bone fragments (no kidding, he threw it all up). He had a diaphramic hernia which most likely was caused by the excessive vomiting caused by this product. No words can express the deep loss for my baby boy. He was the sidekick superhero of a little boy. He was a Field Champion and finished the 2008 coursing competition as #6 in the USA. He was a great ambassador for his breed and my best friend.

Read more at: http://www.consumeraffairs.com/pets/dynamic_pet.html

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Heartworm preventatives. Pros, cons & thoughts...

I hate bugs, worm, any type of parasite. But I hate chemicals and pumping my dogs full of toxins also. Is there a happy medium?
Someone recently asked me, 'Why do I feed my dogs home cooked, and grain free premium kibble, provide supplements, use natural products on them only, but still continue to give them a toxic heartgaurd plus chewable every month? I really cannot answer that question. I have so many thoughts running through my head about it. Is it worth the risk? To use more natural ways, but risk getting your dog infested with heartworms and going through that painful & expensive treatment? Or is it worse to administer an insecticide to your pet monthly? And WHY do I give my 5lb yorkie the same dosage I give my 23lb cocker spaniel? The 1lb-25lb range is HUGE and scary! So I have begun research, digging for info, and asking people in the dog community that I know, to share their opinions with me. More people than I ever imagined, just simply do NOT give their dog heartworm preventative in any form. Either they don't know about the dangers of the disease, or they are forgetful. They lady I buy my dog food from, swears she has not used it in years, and her dogs are fine. If you have a healthy dog, healthy immune system, it's less likely to get worms anyways.
So what is SO bad about the heartworm preventatives, here is what I dug up:

Most preventatives contain Ivermectin. It is a parasite drug that causes neurologic damage to the parasite, resulting in paralysis and death. Some breeds are MORE prone to Ivermectin Toxicity, such as: Collies, Australian shepherd Shetland sheepdogs, Old English sheepdogs and English sheepdogs. Some other side effects of the drug are: vomiting, diarrhea, possible allergic reaction, behavior changes, weakness, depression, Neurological Side Effects, respiratory changes, loss of balance and blindness.

Dr. Jeffrey Levy. DVM - Heartworm parasite is a source of great anxiety among dog caretakers. Thanks in large part to the scare tactics of many veterinarians in promoting preventive drugs, many people believe that contracting heartworms is the equivalent of a death sentence for their dogs. This is not true.

Stressing importance of a healthy immune system. Mosquitos are less likely to bite a healthy dog, and a healthy animals own strong defense system will fight off any worms that enter bloodstream. So what will WEAKEN your pets immune system? Low quality commercial dog food, stress, over vaccination, usage of chemicals and toxins on your pet, are just a few.

My holistic vet prescribed me: Heartworm Nosode, to use as an alternative. And stressed importance of exams every 6 months, fecal and blood to check for any parasites. Nosodes are defined as: Homeopathic remedies prepared from the infected tissue, disease discharge or casual organisms. This is as opposed to the use of a similimum.(A substance that created the same symptoms)

Check your area for Heartworm occurrences. I definitely wouldn't recommend stopping the usage of Heartworm preventatives to just anyone. You need to be diligent about your pets health, and it takes a lot of work. But if you love your pet, it's worth it.
Read more in depth about it here:

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Calling all chubby dogs!! by: the Mom lady

Eek! I admit it, I have a chubby dog. I never thought he was chubby, until my sister came over and said what a fattie he has turned into. Nice right? Now, chubby, is different than obese. Bernie, the should be 5lb yorkie mix, is chubby. For a while now, I was not sure what I was doing wrong. He is on Wellness Core (grain free, the reduced fat formula) plus home-cooked and loads of veggies, we walk a lot, and he gets healthy snacks in moderation! My sister, also happens to be a heath nut, very conscious of what she eats....and she asked my why I had so much fruit & bananas, 'they have too much sugar'. Ding ding ding! How could I forget? My dogs love fruit! And while I am sure some is ok, they probably get too much. Especially Bernie, at his size, eating about 1/4 of a banana every morning is not doing him any favors! Another culprit...my fiance gives him cheese! Yes, cheese is his absolute favorite. If you say 'Cheese" he gets all crazy excited and runs to the kitchen. But a one ounce piece of cheese for a dog, is equal to a cheeseburger to us! Yikes. no more cheese please. So I will keep you all updated on his progress. We are sticking to his diet this time, more exercise, less treats, and no more bananas or fruit for a while.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


How many of you doggies out there are snugglers? How many of you are allowed to sleep on the bed? Some people think that allowing a dog to sleep in bed with their owners, creates a more dominant dog. I would have to disagree, but it really depends on the dog. The WDJ had an awesome article about bedroom behaviors and how to assess each situation. Basically, if your dog growls at you when it's sleeping, you decide to no longer let your dog sleep with you, you are not correcting the issue, rather you are just avoiding it. Which for some owners, is ok. But for those of you who like your furry companions to keep you warm, there are ways to work out the issues. Make sure your dog has a 'spot', a blanket at end of bed, or special pillow on bed. Make sure your dog knows "off" command, so when you want him/her off the bed, they respect & listen to you. And praise praise praise. I cannot say enough about using praise and positive reinforcement when with your dog on a daily basis. So many people only correct the bad behavior of their dogs, but you also have to acknowledge the GOOD behavior :) wags for now!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Chewers. Written by the lady I let live with me, aka 'Mom'

We all know one, whether it's our dog, or a friends dog....the dog that chews up anything and/or everything. We hear the horror stories, and usually we hear what a bad dog it is. Sometimes, we can even laugh about it later. Much later in some cases. I am here to tell you it's NOT the dogs fault, point that finger away from the dog, and right back into YOUR face. Yes, your face.
I was dog sitting for a friends lab mix, Edger. Cute, young, energetic dog, who was very much into toys and bones.
My dogs could care less to play much with him, so as I dozed off on couch for a good 30 minutes, I awoke to a stuffed animal massacre, stuffing, and animal limbs scattered throughout. But wait, one of my heels was chewed! Along with the inside soles of other shoes chewed to bits, some pieces on floor, others in Edgers belly I presume. All I could do was laugh, it was not his fault after all, he is just a pup, I was the one who fell asleep and left him to play alone. Imagine if you left a toddler to their own, while you napped? I wonder what walls would be colored on and what items broken in your home.
Dogs will be dogs, and a dog like Edger, needs attention and mental stimulation along with a lot of exercise. Or he gets bored, and finds his own things to play with. For the remainder of Edgers stay, I was sure to walk and job with him more, a tired dog is a good dog!

Somedays, I get it...we don't have time to walk our dog 30 minutes. Luckily, there are TONS of toys you can use to help on those days. Some of my favorite are the 'Busy Buddy' treat dispensing toys. The dogs have to work to get the toys out!