Sunday, December 14, 2008


...begin today! That's right, and according to PNC Wealth Management, of Pittsburgh, this year’s cost, according to their annual “Christmas Price Index”, which tallies the single partridge in a pear tree to the 12 drummers drumming, purchased repeatedly as the song suggests, will be $86,609!!! The price is up $8,508 or 10.9 percent, from $78,101 last year. Seems inflationary to me! Anyway, Helpful Buckeye has been adding up the cost of my holiday presents for all our readers, and you know what? Not only does Questions On Dogs and Cats come to you free of charge, but now, the Google Gadgets we've been able to include alongside the blog also come to you free! It's a deal you can't refuse....

Speaking of those Google Gadgets, what do you think about them? The "Labels" Gadget serves pretty nicely as a subject index...just click on a topic of interest and you will be transported to the blog issue with that item! Are there any of the Gadgets you don't like?

Considering the fair exchange of Christmas presents, all of our readers are encouraged to share this blog site for Questions On Dogs and Cats with 5 of your friends. Give them the blog site address, tell them there just might be something of interest to them, and ask them to give it a look. That way, you'll be able to give a present that doesn't cost you anything, they'll love you for it, and...we'll get more readers! It's a WIN, WIN, WIN situation!

We have had a few readers send e-mails saying that they have had some trouble clicking into the Google ads that are spaced down along the left column and at the end of each issue. Helpful Buckeye suggests that all of you try clicking into those ads to see if you are successful in getting to the advertising company. It won't cost you anything for looking. Send an e-mail if you also have any difficulty:

Calvin Coolidge, our 30th President, made this statement about Christmas: "Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas." As a fitting closing for this introduction, Helpful Buckeye offers this slide show of "the real spirit of Christmas" around the world (my favorite is the one in Denver):


1) No matter what the season may be, there will still be some pet owners who don't have a clue about properly caring for a pet. Read this news story from Wisconsin and decide on your own what you'd like to say to this woman:

2) Going all the way to the other end of the spectrum of compassion for a dog, check out this video of a dog trying to rescue another dog that had been hit by a car in Chile: ( click on the icon on the video screen)

3) Some high school students in the Phoenix, AZ area are starting a "new, 18-month program, during which 12 students will have a puppy to raise and train every day, resulting in affordable service dogs for military, police, fire and emergency personnel who were injured on duty." Read the article in the Arizona Republic:


1) In a press release that came out after Questions On Dogs and Cats was published last week, The American Veterinary Medical Association proclaimed the week of DEC 7-13 as National Handwashing Awareness Week. Helpful Buckeye has discussed the benefits of appropriate handwashing in a previous issue. This proclamation calls attention to the advantages for all of us "in minimizing our exposure to infectious agents through proper handwashing often being the best way to avoid getting sick or spreading diseases to other people." The rest of the awareness alert is available at:

2) As our economic situation continues to worsen, there have been stories of how pet owners are skipping their veterinary visits due to their own financial difficulties. Although this is very understandable, pet owners need to be aware that sometimes a delayed visit to the veterinarian can lead to more severe considerations than their pet is already experiencing. So, the bottom line (no pun intended) is that you should always at least discuss your concerns about a pet problem with your veterinarian and then try to make the appropriate decision about how to handle it. A recent story on The Today Show presents some approaches for how you can work through this situation:

3) The American Kennel Club has conducted a survey that offers the conclusion that: "...despite a tough economy, pet owners are willing to sacrifice many daily luxuries to provide for the needs of their canine companions." Check out the results from this survey; you might be surprised by some of them!


1) After our discussion on fleas and flea control last week, and judging from all the questions readers sent in, these topics are a big deal to most of you! It seems that everyone wants that "magic bullet," something that you don't have to use very often, but it works 100% of the time, right? Well, if someone could figure out how to extract ALL the sulfur in the human body, it has been estimated that "the average human body holds enough sulfur to kill all the fleas on an average dog." Unfortunately, that's not going to happen,'ll still need to follow all the suggested solutions in last week's discussion.

2) Helpful Buckeye thought we had covered the hypoallergenic dog subject sufficiently in past issues. However, this article does present a slightly modified approach to the question: According to allergists, there is no such thing as a dog free of allergens. Even if the Obamas decided on an American hairless, it's not the hair that's the problem. It's the skin. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) reports: "Contrary to popular belief, people are not allergic to an animal's hair, but rather, to a protein found in the saliva, dander (dead skin flakes) or urine of an animal with fur. These proteins are carried in the air on very small, invisible particles, which can land on the lining of the eyes or nose, or be inhaled directly into the lungs. … A cat or dog produces a certain amount of allergen per week, and this amount can vary from animal to animal. All breeds are capable of triggering symptoms -- there are no 'hypoallergenic' breeds of cats or dogs." Chair of the Indoor Allergen Committee for AAAAI Dr. Wanda Phipatanakul reiterated that point in an interview with USA Today: "If you've got 50 dogs in the home, the dog allergens are going to be higher than if you've got one, and if you have a huge dog, there will be more allergens than with a small dog, but all dogs produce allergens." The Obamas can find hope in such a statement -- and they are not alone. A 1994 study in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology estimated that 10 million Americans are at least somewhat allergic to dogs. While the only way to completely avoid allergens from a pet is not to have one, there are things that can be done to minimize exposure:

  • -- limit the household to one small dog

  • -- bathe and groom the dog at least once a week to remove dander

  • -- utilize HEPA air filters 24/7, especially in the bedrooms of the allergic

  • -- keep the dog out of the bedrooms and off of the beds of the allergic

  • -- switch to hardwood floors in lieu of carpeting

  • -- vacuum frequently with a HEPA-equipped vacuum cleaner

  • -- launder human and dog bedding (separately) weekly in 130-degree water to remove dander

  • -- visit an allergist for a proper diagnosis and treatment options

  • -- stick with shorthaired breeds that typically shed less

While myriad veterinarians, allergists and immunologists have hammered the point that there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog, it is accepted that the allergic may fare better in the company of certain canines. If you're allergic to dogs, the only real way to avoid a reaction is to avoid dogs. For some, that's easy enough. For many, a little sneezing, wheezing and itching is worth it. For Obama, it looks like he needs more time to make this particular pick. From dog trainer Matthew Margolis, a behaviorist, a popular radio and television guest, and host of the PBS series "WOOF! It's a Dog's Life!"

3) The results for last week's poll question about pet health insurance were:

  • 14% own a policy right now
  • 14% are seriously considering getting one
  • 28% may purchase one in the future
  • 42% weren't interested, for one reason or another

Thanks for your responses!


1) Since you had to put up with the cats and their rendition of "White Christmas" last week, it's only fair that you now have to deal with the Jingle Bell Dogs:

2) In case you were looking for something to light up your New Year's Eve party, you might want to consider signing up for the FREE Glowstick offer at:


Are you a dog or cat person? You may already be pretty sure of the answer
to that question, but you might also
be surprised. Take this simple quiz from the
Today Show and see what you find out:

4) Then, taking this train of thought one step further, what does your choice of dog say about you? Check out this web site and click through the photos to find out:

5) Among the practically unlimited choices of presents to buy
for your pet or for the pet of a friend are these "Healthy Holiday" options...Food Dispenser Toys, Digital Litter Boxes, Designer Surgical Collars, Pet First Aid Kits, Dog Puzzle Board Games, Pet Strollers, Dog Treadmills, and a Warming Bed. These items can be found at:

One of Helpful Buckeye's all-time favorite dogs is Regal, the Beagle, and here she is with one of her Food Dispenser Toys:

6) Desperado has contributed an idea that might be not only appealing, but also quite appropriate for our readers who have friends with pets: Desperado, who raved about the book, Marley & Me, by John Grogan, is thrilled that the movie version is opening at theatres on Christmas Day. In a recent interview, in The USA Today about the movie, with Jennifer Aniston (who co-stars with Owen Wilson), Aniston mentioned a great gift her two dogs received when Jennifer and dogs Norman and Dolly moved into a new neighborhood in L. A.: "I got a basket that said, 'Welcome to the neighborhood,' and it was for Norman and Dolly, and there was a picture of the neighbor's dog. There were all these treats in it. I thought that was really nice." What a great idea for a Christmas basket for your neighbor's dog!

7) The Arizona Republic carries a daily column by Clay Thompson, in which Clay answers questions from readers. He's a pretty witty and sharp guy...sometimes his answers are cynical, humorous, or sympathetic, but he always tries to give a good answer. In today's column, he answers a very timely question that has to do with a cat, a Christmas tree skirt and aluminum foil. Enjoy his answer at:

8) Most of you probably have a favorite Christmas movie or two that you enjoy watching over and over again. Desperado and Helpful Buckeye have several favorites and we watch every one of them each December, some more than once! They are Holiday Inn, White Christmas, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, Elf, Scrooged, The Family Stone, Love Actually, and The Holiday.


The Ohio State Buckeyes have been selected to play in the Fiesta Bowl against Texas and find themselves big underdogs. Considering their performances in the last 2 BCS bowl games, that is not a big surprise. Perhaps we can do something to correct that this year?

The OSU men's basketball team has moved back into the Top 25 this week and is still undefeated.

The Pittsburgh Steelers played in Baltimore today and pulled out another win in the last 2 minutes, defeating the despised Ravens!


There were a couple of really windy days this past week and Helpful Buckeye felt like my bicycle tires were square, trying to ride into the wind.

Now, to complicate things even further, we are expecting several days of winter weather as a mountain product of some Pacific storms, with accumulation predictions in "feet" rather than "inches." This will undoubtedly result in snow, ice, and cinders building up in the bike lanes, so...Helpful Buckeye will probably have to move the road show indoors to the stationary bike for awhile. It's not my favorite activity, but it'll do.

Let's end this issue with this anonymous quote: "Until one has loved an animal, part of their soul remains unawakened."

~~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.~~

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