Sunday, November 23, 2008



Ah, Thanksgiving Day, the beginning of the stretch of time known in America as "The Holiday Season," running from Thanksgiving Day through New Year's Day. Thanksgiving marks the nominal end of the harvest season with a celebration of giving thanks for one's blessings. Spend a few minutes listening to Perry Como welcoming the "HOLIDAY SEASON".... Helpful Buckeye especially likes the part of the song that goes: "...he was heading for Pennsylvania and some home made pumpkin pie..." because when I first went away to college, this was the song I remember hearing on my way home to Pennsylvania for Thanksgiving. Of course, those who know Helpful Buckeye really well will tell you that his favorite pie is:

Coconut cream!!!

The other song that is so popular around Thanksgiving derives from a poem written in 1844 by Lydia Maria Child (novelist, journalist, and teacher), entitled "A Boy's Thanksgiving Day," as it appeared in Flowers for Children, Vol. 2. It celebrates her childhood memories of visiting her grandfather's house for Thanksgiving.

To give you a clue to this song, think about this picture:

OK, enjoy what is probably one of the oldest songs still being sung in America today: while following along with the lyrics:

Over the river, and through the wood,
To Grandfather's house we go;
The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh
through the white and drifted snow.
Over the river, and through the wood
-Oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes and bites the nose
As over the ground we go.
Over the river, and through the wood,
To have a first-rate play.
Hear the bells ring,
Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day!
Over the river, and through the wood
Trot fast, my dapple-gray!
Spring over the ground like a hunting-hound,
For this is Thanksgiving Day.
Over the river, and through the wood
-And straight through the barnyard gate,
We seem to go extremely slow,
It is so hard to wait!
Over the river, and through the wood
-Now Grandmother's cap I spy!
Hurrah for the fun!
Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!

Over the years, Lydia Maria Child's lyrics have freely exchanged "Grandfather" for "Grandmother" and "Thanksgiving" for "Christmas."

While an alarming number of Americans are sitting down to their Thanksgiving dinner, with gluttony in mind, they will also be guilty of sharing their leftovers with their pets. As any veterinarian will tell you, they will be seeing far more than normal the number of dogs with digestive troubles the next few days after Thanksgiving. Helpful Buckeye will address this topic a little later in this issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats.

1) From the American Veterinary Medical Association, the College of Veterinary Medicine at Iowa State University, in Ames, Iowa, has opened a new addition to its facilities:

Iowa State dedicates medical center
Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine dedicated the new Dr. W. Eugene and Linda Lloyd Veterinary Medical Center at an Oct. 18 ceremony.
The 108,000-square-foot addition to the college increases space by 25 percent. The center features equine and food animal diagnostic areas, treatment and surgery suites, patient wards, imaging facilities, an intensive care unit, and an isolation unit. The project also added a new biosecurity unit to the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.
The project is the first part of a two-phase expansion program to increase capabilities of the 32-year-old veterinary teaching hospital. The second phase includes updating the spaces of services that are relocating to the new facility.
Dr. W. Eugene Lloyd (ISU '49) and his wife pledged $3.5 million to the project. Other funds for the $48 million expansion program came from state and private support.
The new space accommodates class sizes that the veterinary college is increasing to meet the demand for veterinarians, particularly in food supply veterinary medicine.

2) The AVMA has also issued a press release commending President-Elect Obama for deciding to wait until after his inauguration to choose the Obama family's "First Dog":
AVMA congratulates Obama family for making adoption of new first-family dog a serious, careful decision
Schaumburg, Ill.
— In a recent interview with 60 Minutes, President-Elect Barack Obama and his wife Michelle said that they plan to take their time adopting a first-family dog, waiting until "late winter, early spring" to pick their new pet.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) thanks the president-elect for setting a good example for every American considering adopting a pet.
"I'm glad to hear that President-Elect Obama is approaching selecting a pet in a thoughtful manner. It's good to know that his decisions are made with intellect, responsibility and seriousness," explains Dr. James Cook, president of the AVMA. "I agree completely with Michelle Obama when she said that she didn't think it would be 'good to get a dog in the midst of transition.' Adopting a pet takes care and attention to detail.
"This decision not only will have an impact on his family, but also on his new pet," Dr. Cook says. "I would also advise the Obamas the same as anyone else considering a new pet. Have a veterinarian give the pet a health exam and make sure it is current on its vaccinations. Discuss a plan of long-term veterinary care to keep the first dog happy and healthy."
Dr. Cook also cautions prospective pet owners regarding surprising a family member with a pet as a holiday gift. "Adopting a pet should be a family decision and the first few days home are an important transition time. The chaos of holidays may not be the best time to introduce a new pet to its new environment. It would be heartbreaking to have to return a pet in January because the pet wasn't a good match for the family," he explains.
"The Obama family is handling the adoption with the appropriate care, and I would like to thank him for setting a good example for all Americans."


1) Dave and Terry, from PA, have sent in a question about feeding a dog from the table, especially around the holidays. They asked: "For years we've been told not to feed poultry (chicken/turkey) to our dogs, even at holiday time. Terry has just read something in a magazine that advocates feeding turkey to your dog. What is the true message?"

Well, faithful readers, this question calls attention to one of the biggest blunders ever committed by pet owners...allowing your dog to eat your food! Helpful Buckeye understands, never meant to get started like this, but now that you've gotten your dog started, it's awful difficult trying to ignore the pleading, big, dark eyes...right? This makes for a great topic of discussion at any time of the year, but it is even more so on the front burner during the "Holiday Season," which begins this Thursday.

Let's back up a little bit here and agree that most of us do not follow the principles of moderation in much of what we do, especially when it comes to eating. Americans are, for the most part, still operating under the dining mantra of "clean your plate!" Even if human table food were the best food for your dog, we would then be giving the dog more food than it needs. Pretty soon then, Fido starts looking like some of us who either cannot or refuse to push away from the table a little earlier! OK, let's complicate the story by saying that most human table food is not the proper food for your dog. A dog's basic nutritive needs for vitamins, minerals, protein, fats, and carbohydrates are considerably different from those of humans. After all, dogs are carnivores and humans are omnivores.

When Thanksgiving rolls around, all the extended family is visiting, and the dinner table is overflowing with great food, one of the worst things you can do is to give your dog certain items from that table. The items which are big "No-Nos" would be chicken or turkey skin (very high in fats), chicken or turkey bones (discussion on this to follow), gravy (again, very high in fats), and just about any dessert (again, high in fats and calories).

Trying to digest the high quantities of fats results in the pancreas being overworked as it tries to provide the necessary enzymes for this digestion to happen. At the least, the dog will experience severe abdominal distress and, in the worst cases, a fatality can result from pancreatitis. On the other hand, trying to digest the easily-fragmented bones can lead to either an impaction in the intestines or perforations of the stomach or bowel by the sharp bone fragments. At this point in the discussion, some of Helpful Buckeye's clients would say, "But Doc, I've given bones to my dog all its life and never had a problem." To which Helpful Buckeye would answer, "That may be so, but your turn is coming." Granted, in the natural history and development of the dog, wild dogs would kill their prey and devour the whole carcass, including the bones. Many, if not most, of these dogs would not suffer any serious problem from ingesting the bones. However, from what we know of the physical dangers posed by the sharp bone fragments as they work their way through the digestive system, we know that they can irritate and/or puncture the soft tissues or contribute to a dangerous impaction. These dogs in the wild would crawl under a bush and die! Domestic dogs in the same distress will need some fairly aggressive treatment, possibly to include heroic surgical procedures. It just doesn't make good sense to gamble your dog's life on whether this next time will be the one time the bones win, does it?

Now, to loop back around to Dave and Terry's question, what can you feed your dog from the Thanksgiving feast? Well, assuming you know and understand the meaning of moderation, a few small pieces of lean chicken/turkey breast meat would make a nice treat for the gristle, fats, skin, or bone to be included! A few pieces of vegetables would be OK (as long as they aren't saturated with fats) and if your dog like vegetables. Onions would be one exception to this...they can cause gas/flatulence and, in larger quantities, can be toxic to dogs. So, in summary, it's OK to try a little of this:

but absolutely NONE of these:

So, when everybody is sitting around the table for Thanksgiving dinner this year, giving thanks for all their blessings, be sure to keep in mind that the wonderful blessing of having a great dog can be lost in the one moment of making a bad decision.

2) What should I do if my dog eats chicken/turkey bones? Since there isn't much that you can do after the chicken bones have been ingested by your dog, you simply need to monitor the dog closely for the next few days. Keep checking his stools to see if the bones pass. Watch for vomiting, diarrhea, blood in the stool, or any signs that he's straining to defecate. Additionally, you should also keep an eye on your dog's temperament. If it becomes moody, listless, or tender over the abdomen take him to your veterinarian immediately.

3) Holiday Safety Tips For Your Furry Little Friends....Now more than ever before pets are a very big part of family get-togethers during the Holidays. Some potentially dangerous items that pet owners need to beware of during the holidays include:

  • Christmas tree lights and electrical cords can cause fatal shocks and/or burns to pets that chew on them.

  • Loose cords can entangle pets, leading to choking hazards,or the possibility of the pet accidentally pulling over the tree or other decorations.

  • Holiday foods such as chocolate, alcohol, nuts and spicy sauces can be toxic and cause digestive problems.

  • Bones and plastic food wrap can cause choking and/or obstruct a pet's digestive system, and may require surgery.

  • Another big thing to be aware of is ribbon. It can cause serious intestinal problems if swallowed.

  • Any open flame is a potential burn hazard. Keep pets away from candles, fireplaces and any other open flames.

  • Be cautious about dressing pets in holiday-related costumes.

ANY COMMENTS...e-mail me at:


Having some knowledge of first aid and being prepared for an emergency involving your pet can be the difference between saving or losing your pet. The following guidelines are provided by the American Animal Hospital Association:

Pet First Aid

When your pet has an emergency, being prepared is very important. Before an emergency strikes, be sure you know how your veterinarian handles emergencies or where you should go if you have one. For example, some veterinarians always have someone on call, while others use special emergency hospitals for things that arise after hours. AAHA-accredited hospitals are required to provide 24-hour-a-day emergency care in one way or another. You can also stay prepared for emergencies by putting together a pet first aid kit. This kit should include:

  • Your veterinarian's phone number and emergency veterinary clinic’s phone number (if applicable) in your cell phone address book and keep a hard copy in the kit.

  • Gauze to wrap wounds or muzzle animal.

  • Adhesive tape for bandages.

  • A rectal thermometer.

  • Nonstick bandages (i.e., Telfa pads) to protect wounds or control bleeding.

  • Towels and cloth to clean wounds or to wrap up the pet.

  • Milk of Magnesia or activated charcoal to absorb poison (be sure to get the advice of your veterinarian or local poison control center before inducing vomiting or treating an animal for poisoning).

  • Large syringe (no needle) or eyedropper (to give oral treatments).

  • Muzzle, a basket muzzle is the best option but a cloth muzzle will also work, (soft cloth, rope, necktie or nylon stocking) or use a towel to cover a small animal's head. Do not use in case of vomiting.

  • Stretcher (a door, board, blanket or floor mat).

We cannot stress enough that you SHOULD NOT get on-line during a pet emergency or when your pet is seriously ill. In an emergency, first aid is not a substitute for veterinary treatment. However, before you are able to get your pet to a veterinarian, knowing some basic first aid can help. Always seek veterinary care following first-aid attempts.

  • Bite Wounds Treatment/Action...Approach the pet carefully to avoid getting bitten. Muzzle the animal. Check the wound for contamination or debris. If significant debris is present, then clean the wound with large amounts of saline or balanced electrolyte solution. If these are not available, then regular water may be used. Wrap large open wounds to keep them clean. Apply pressure to profusely bleeding wounds. Do not use a tourniquet. Wear gloves when possible. Bite wounds often become infected and need professional care. Call your veterinarian.

  • Bleeding Treatment/Action...Apply firm, direct pressure over the bleeding area until the bleeding stops. Hold the pressure for at least 10 straight minutes (continually releasing the pressure to check the wound will hamper the clotting). Avoid bandages that cut off circulation. Call your veterinarian immediately.

  • Breathing Stops Treatment/Action...Check to see if the animal is choking on a foreign object. If an animal is not breathing, place it on a firm surface with its left side up. Check for a heartbeat by listening at the area where the elbow touches the chest. If you hear a heartbeat but not breathing, close the animal's mouth and breathe directly into its nose--not the mouth--until the chest expands. Repeat 12 to 15 times per minute. If there is no pulse, apply heart massage at the same time. The heart is located in the lower half of the chest, behind the elbow of the front left leg. Place one hand below the heart to support the chest. Place other hand over the heart and compress gently. To massage the hearts of cats and other tiny pets, compress the chest with the thumb and forefingers of one hand. Apply heart massage 80-120 times per minute for larger animals and 100-150 per minute for smaller ones. Alternate heart massage with breathing. Please note: Even in the hands of well-trained veterinary health professionals, the success of resuscitation is very low overall. Success may be slightly higher in the cases of drowning or electrical shock. Call your veterinarian immediately.

  • Burns(chemical, electrical, or heat including from a heating pad) Symptoms: singed hair, blistering, swelling, redness of skin Treatment/Action...Flush the burn immediately with large amounts of cool, running water. Apply an ice pack for 15-20 minutes. Do not place an ice pack directly on the skin. Wrap the pack in a light towel or other cover. If the animal has large quantities of dry chemicals on its skin, brush them off. Water may activate some dry chemicals. Call your veterinarian immediately.

  • Choking Symptoms: difficulty breathing, excessive pawing at the mouth, blue lips and tongue Treatment/Action...Be sure to protect yourself as well as the animal, as the pet will likely be frantic and may be more likely to bite. If the pet can still partially breathe, it's best to keep the animal calm and get to a veterinarian as quickly as possible. Look into the mouth to see if a foreign object in throat is visible. If you can, clear the airway by removing the object with pliers or tweezers, being careful not to push it farther down the throat. If it is lodged too deep or if the pet collapses, then place your hands on both sides of the animal's rib cage and apply firm, quick pressure. Or place the animal on its side and strike the side of the rib cage firmly with the palm of your hand three or four times. Repeat this procedure until the object is dislodged or you arrive at the veterinarian's office. Call your veterinarian immediately.

  • Diarrhea Treatment/Action...Withhold food for 12-24 hours, but not water. Sometimes pets that appear to be straining are sore from diarrhea rather than from constipation. Your veterinarian can help you decide which it is and what will help. Trying at-home treatments without knowing the real cause can just make things worse. Call your veterinarian.

  • Fractures Symptoms: Pain, inability to use a limb, or limb at odd angle Treatment/Action... Muzzle the pet and look for bleeding. If you can control bleeding without causing more injury, then do so. Watch for signs of shock. DO NOT TRY TO SET THE FRACTURE by pulling or tugging on the limb. Transport the pet to the veterinarian immediately, supporting the injured part as best you can.

  • Heatstroke Symptoms: Rapid or labored breathing, vomiting, high body temperature, collapse Treatment/Action...Place the animal in a tub of cool water. Or, gently soak the animal with a garden hose or wrap it in a cool, wet towel. Do not overcool the animal. Stop cooling when rectal temperature reaches 103 degrees Fahrenheit. Call veterinarian immediately.

  • Poisoning Symptoms: vomiting, convulsions, diarrhea, salivation, weakness, depression, pain Treatment/Action...Record what the pet ingested and how much. Immediately call your veterinarian or the ASPCA poison control center (1-888-426-4435)--a consultation fee may apply. Do not induce vomiting. In case of toxins or chemicals on the skin from oils, paints, insecticides and other contact irritants, request directions on if and how to wash the toxin off.

  • Seizures Symptoms: salivation, loss of control of urine or stool, violent muscle twitching, loss of consciousness Treatment/Action...Move the pet away from any objects that could be harmful during the seizure. Use a blanket for padding and protection. Do not put yourself at risk by restraining the pet during the seizure. Time the seizure. They usually last only 2 to 3 minutes. Afterwards, keep the animal calm and quiet. Call your veterinarian immediately.

  • Shock Symptoms: irregular breathing, dilated pupils Treatment/Action...Shock may occur as a result of a serious injury or fright. Keep the animal gently restrained, quiet, and warm, with the lower body elevated. Call your veterinarian immediately.

  • Vomiting Treatment/Action...Withhold food for 12-24 hours. Give the pet ice cubes for two hours after vomiting stops, then slowly increase the amount of water and foods given over a 24-hour period. Call your veterinarian.

  • If you need to muzzle your pet, use a strip of soft cloth, rope, necktie, or nylon stocking. Wrap around the nose, under the chin and tie behind the ears. Care must be taken when handling weak or injured pets. Even normally docile pets will bite when in pain. Allow the pet to pant after handling by loosening or removing the muzzle. Do not use a muzzle in a case of vomiting. Cats and small pets may be difficult to muzzle. A towel placed around the head will help control small pets.

  • If your pet can't walk, a door, board, blanket, or floor mat can be used as a stretcher to transport injured or weak animals.

  • If your pet's emergency is not covered here, please call your veterinarian immediately.

Dogs and cats can find themselves in an emergency situation when you least expect it. For that reason, being prepared for it ahead of time might save your pet. Helpful Buckeye suggests that you might want to consider copying this page of first aid advice and having it easily available so that you are ready when the need arises.

The Humane Society of the United States has a nice first aid booklet available at: and the ASPCA has a good page of information on their poison control center and how it works at: ....Look at these ahead of time so that you are ready and prepared should the need arise.

ANY COMMENTS...e-mail me at:


1) Omnivore--noun; one that feeds on both animals and plants; humans are omnivores physiologically and evolutionarily (vegetarians and vegans have made a philosophical choice)

2) Postprandial--adjective; after a meal


After reading last week's issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats, Sam in Chicago, wrote in to ask, "OK, what's a Maltese look like?" Well, Sam, first...thanks for sending in the question! The Maltese breed has been around for a really long time. The following description is from the American Kennel Club: The Maltese is a toy dog covered from head to foot with a mantle of long, silky, white hair. He is gentle-mannered and affectionate, eager and sprightly in action, and, despite his size, possessed of the vigor needed for the satisfactory companion. For all his diminutive size, the Maltese seems to be without fear. His trust and affectionate responsiveness are very appealing. He is among the gentlest mannered of all little dogs, yet he is lively and playful as well as vigorous. Maltese have no undercoat, have little to no shedding, and are considered to be largely hypoallergenic.
The Maltese, the ancient dog of Malta, has been known as an aristocrat of the canine world for more than 28 centuries. Their place in antiquity is well documented. At the time of the Apostle Paul, Publius, the Roman governor of Malta, had a Maltese name Issa of which he was very fond. Issa was the object of the poet Marcus Valerius Martialis (Martial), born in A.D. 40 at Bilbilis in Spain, in one of his celebrated epigrams:
Issa is more frolicsome than Catulla’s sparrow. Issa is purer than a dove’s kiss. Issa is gentler than a maiden. Issa is more precious than Indian gems... Lest the last days that she see light should snatch her from him forever, Publius has had her picture painted.
This picture was said to have been so lifelike it was difficult to tell the picture from the living dog. Many similar accounts in ancient doctrine address the Maltese as an object of beauty and value. The Greeks erected tombs to their Maltese, and from the ceramic art dating to the 5th century innumerable paintings of the little dog are evident. Literary accounts detail Maltese maintaining a place of esteem and privilege in Royal households, a status the Maltese has maintained throughout history.
So, there you are, Sam, that's what a Maltese, look at these pictures and try to pick the real Maltese:

These are ALL Maltese dogs...they just have different haircuts!


1) A few months ago, Helpful Buckeye described a new type of grooming tool, the Pedi-Paws Pet Nail Trimmer and gave you a web site for a reduced price for one of these. Sara, in Virginia, purchased one of them and has just reported that she doesn't think it's much of an improvement over the conventional methods of nail trimming, because of a classic won't help you in holding the animal still! There you go...any other opinions out there?

2) Most of our readers are familiar with Land's End clothing catalogs. Well, last week, Helpful Buckeye received an e-mail advertisement from Land's End Pet Outerwear and some of the stuff looks pretty nice for protecting your pet when outdoors. Check out this page from the catalog:

Helpful Buckeye especially likes the dog in the yellow raincoat:


1) Helpful Buckeye would like all of our readers to know this fact: The most dangerous driving holiday of the year is Thanksgiving! Whether from postprandial exhaustion or a little too much wine with dinner, AAA's biggest travel holiday of the year saw 623 traffic fatalities in 2006, the most recent year on record. Read about it and the next 4 holidays on the list at: Don't be one of these a little more careful on the wine and get someone else to drive if you're too tired. Enjoy the meal, but also be sure to get home safely!

2) The AKC has produced a public service announcement about the release of the upcoming movie, Marley and Me. Many of you have no doubt read the book and will be eagerly awaiting the movie. View the announcement here:

3) Since Helpful Buckeye has devoted some space in this week's issue to dogs eating people food, it seems only fitting to address the problem of people eating dog food. Unfortunately, we always hear of people on low incomes having to supplement their diet with dog food and a lot of this may be true. This account tells it like it is: we said above, this is something that probably shouldn't be going in either direction!

4) Since this is the time of year when many people are getting new pets (even though Helpful Buckeye has advised them not to), it is important to learn this fact from SPCA International: "We have heard some disturbing news related to the slowing economy and your pets’ safety. Reports of pet theft have dramatically increased this year - in fact, reports have quadrupled since 2007." For the rest of the report, go to:

5) 22 NOV (1921) was Rodney Dangerfield's remember, the guy who got no respect. Well, one of his classic lines about getting no respect involved first aid (which we discussed in length above). He said that when he was a youngster, his family was so poor that they could only get "second" aid, they couldn't afford first aid. This is just a humorous way to get our readers' attention so that you understand the importance of being able to administer first aid when it is necessary.

6) The 17th of NOV (1938) was Gordon Lightfoot's 70th birthday...geez, aren't we all getting older? Watch and listen to his first really big hit in 1970:

ANY COMMENTS...e-mail me at:


The Ohio State Buckeyes soundly thrashed the Michigan Wolverines yesterday, making it 5 wins in a row against Michigan. We ended up tied for the Big Ten championship with Penn State. Our bowl destination remains to be seen.

The Pittsburgh Steelers beat Cincinnati on Thursday to remain in control of our division. Up next is New England.


During one bike ride this past week, Helpful Buckeye "hit for the cycle" (as they say in baseball) by seeing a bald eagle, 2 coyotes, 16 mule deer (3 were big bucks), and 2 huge bull elks. A final sighting was an endangered species, a Michigan football fan! Helpful Buckeye doesn't want them to actually become extinct because then, it wouldn't be so much fun beating them every year!

Helpful Buckeye would like to close this Thanksgiving issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats with 3 quotes that embody the Thanksgiving spirit:

Celebrate the happiness that friends are always giving; make every day a holiday and celebrate just living. --Amanda Bradley, American poet

Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.--Voltaire, French philosopher and writer

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice.--Meister Eckhart, German theologian and philosopher (1260-1328)

~~The goal of this blog is to provide general information and advice to help you be a better pet owner and to have a more rewarding relationship with your pet. This blog does not intend to replace the professional one-on-one care your pet receives from a practicing veterinarian. When in doubt about your pet's health, always visit a veterinarian.~~

No comments:

Post a Comment