Sunday, January 4, 2009


Hello...and welcome to the 2009 edition of Questions On Dogs and Cats, your free subscription to learning about taking better care of your pets and understanding their needs. Helpful Buckeye would like to thank all of you who took the time to join us in 2008 as the blog was getting through its first year of publication. There have been some changes and some additions to the blog during that time...which we hope were for the better! The New Year has traditionally been illustrated by a "new" baby:, here are the canine and feline representatives:

Geez, how cute can the pet world be???

Yes, it's still winter (Ken, just get over it!), but, at least, we have gotten the shortest day of the year behind us and the days are slowly getting to be a little longer now. There will be plenty of new and interesting topics for us to discuss this year. The first new topic will be New Year's know, the promises we all make with the best intentions and then proceed to break? Well, Helpful Buckeye is not here to belabor your personal resolutions for 2009, but there are some good suggestions for resolutions you can make related to your dogs and cats. As a concerned dog and/or cat owner, you can resolve to take this pledge:

5 Paths to a Healthy and Much Longer Life For Your Pets

  1. Don't overfeed your pet or give it table food.

  2. Don't allow your pet to run loose.

  3. Keep your pet away from where other dogs/cats defecate.

  4. Keep your pet up-to-date on all vaccinations.

  5. Keep your dogs on heartworm prevention medicine.

Make these 5 paths all part of your resolution to be a better pet owner in 2009 and it will be a win-win-win situation. First, you'll enjoy a better relationship with your pet because it will be healthier; secondly, your pet will benefit from being healthier; and, thirdly, if your pet stays healthier, you'll spend less money overall taking care of it...and, in this year's economy, that's definitely a big plus. There's nothing magical about this advice. Helpful Buckeye promises you that strict adherence to these 5 paths will help you enjoy a longer relationship with your pet as you maximize your pet's life span.

Your second pet resolution should involve your participation in this blog. Read it regularly, tell your pet-owning friends about it, send in questions or comments as they arise, and offer suggestions for future topics. Remember, blogs like this thrive on feedback. Producing the blog is Helpful Buckeye's responsibility...producing the feedback is yours! On that note, send your comments to:

Fifty-five years ago today, 4 JAN 1954, a struggling young musician, who worked in a machine shop, paid $4 to record two songs for his mother. His name was Elvis Presley. Enjoy this video of one of his biggest songs, Good Luck Charm: With the economy and world conditions the way they are, we'll all need a "Good Luck Charm" this year! Helpful Buckeye would like to help all of you have a little good luck this year with your pets. It has always been the philosophy of Helpful Buckeye that good luck doesn't just happen. You have to put yourself in the position to win or succeed. A famous quote attributed to Louis Pasteur, French bacteriologist, goes: "Chance favors the prepared mind." To repeat, if you follow the "5 Paths" listed above, you will have put yourself and your pet in a position to succeed. And, reading Questions On Dogs and Cats regularly will help you achieve a "prepared mind," which will then allow chance to favor you.

An enduring thought from Native-American Chief Seattle will serve as our guiding light for 2009: "What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, man would die from great loneliness of spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected."


1) Some news headlines get our attention more than others. This one, from the LA Times, got my attention! Food Safety To Take Back Seat to Economy

WASHINGTON (UPI) -- Fixing the U.S. food system will take a backseat to bigger problems such as the failing economy and healthcare, says Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. President-elect Barack Obama is sympathetic to calls to revamp the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, though it's unlikely his administration can get to it soon, said Durbin, a proponent of tougher food laws. Obama is expected soon to name his choice to head the FDA and consumer groups expect his administration to handle food issues differently than the Bush administration, said Chris Waldrop, director of the Food Policy Institute at the Consumer Federation of America. The Bush administration shunned aggressive regulation despite food-borne disease outbreaks in recent years which highlighted the government's inability to oversee a rapidly expanding food market, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday. Food-borne illnesses annually kill several thousand and sicken as many as 76 million people in the United States, the Times reported.

Inevitably, this could spill over into the realm of pet foods as well. Pet owners need to be aware of this possibility and try to stay up-to-date on news about pet foods and pet food recalls. Helpful Buckeye included several discussions last year on pet food recalls and will continue to present any that arise this year. Stay tuned.

2) Along these lines, comes this press release from The American Veterinary Medical Association:
FDA Continues to Receive Complaints About Chicken Jerky Products
Schaumburg, Ill.
— More than a year after warning consumers about a possible link between certain chicken jerky products imported from China and illness in dogs, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to receive complaints from pet owners and veterinarians claiming these products are making dogs sick.

For the rest of this release in fuller detail, go to:

A lot of our readers are probably using some type of chicken jerky strips for their dogs and should stay vigilant about this continuing story.

3) The Morris Animal Foundation has announced a Happy Healthy Cat Campaign: Morris Animal Foundation has launched the Happy Healthy Cat Campaign to help ensure that cats get their share of health care and research.
Cats are America's No. 1 pet, with more than 80 million in U.S. homes, but they receive less veterinary care than dogs—and few scientists study feline health issues.
Morris has built a Web site for the Happy Healthy Cat Campaign at The Web site includes information on feline health, research success stories, and resources for cat owners. The site features a quiz as well as entries from bloggers who write about cats. A campaign DVD and brochure are also available for cat owners and veterinarians.
The campaign aims to raise awareness of feline health issues and increase funding for feline health research. Previously, Hill's Pet Nutrition donated $1 million and its feline genome database to Morris to advance research on feline health. Morris also supports the efforts of CATalyst, a new organization that seeks to improve feline health and welfare.

Cat owners and those interested in cats should go to the above-mentioned clickable web site to take advantage of the interesting feline information and free DVD.

Any Comments, please send an e-mail to:


Helpful Buckeye has already discussed the dangers related to certain household hazards around the holidays for your pets. Hopefully, none of you ran into any of those problem situations with your dogs or cats. Since other household hazards actually pose a big threat all year round, this would be a great time to get into that part of the discussion in more detail. From a pamphlet produced by the AVMA, these household hazards are broken down into 4 parts of the house where trouble can lurk for your pets. Every home contains a variety of everyday items and substances that can be dangerous or even fatal if ingested by dogs and cats. Become aware of these as you think about the phrase, "Chance favors the prepared mind."

  • The Kitchen...all of the following items have been observed to cause problems for pets: coffee grounds, chocolate, yeast dough, macadamia nuts, anything containing the sweetener xylitol, fatty foods, avocado, grapes/raisins, onions, tea, alcohol, salt, and garlic. In addition, there are many cleaning products usually found in the kitchen that should be properly stored so that pets cannot get into them. Insecticides and rodenticides are frequently stored in the kitchen...don't let them be easily accessed!

  • The Bathroom...human medications can present major problems for your pets. Be judicious about keeping them stored in a secure cabinet. Even over-the-counter medicines such as aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), diet pills, vitamins, and cold medicines can be trouble. In addition, bath and hand soaps, toothpaste, and sun blocks should be not easily accessed. Keep toilet lids closed to prevent your pets from drinking toilet bowl water that could irritate their digestive system.

  • The Bedroom and Living Room...many of the liquid potpourri products can cause oral ulcerations. Mothballs, tobacco products, pennies, and alkaline batteries can all be very toxic or fatal if ingested.

  • The Garage and Yard...antifreeze, herbicides, insecticides, paints, and solvents can present serious or fatal results if ingested or contacted. Certain household and yard plants can be toxic. These include Lily of the Valley, oleander, azaleas, foxglove, rhubarb leaves, lilies, sago palms, certain mushrooms, corn plant, hibiscus, and hydrangea. For a complete list of common toxic plants, visit:

If your pet has been exposed to any of these items, don't wait around for something to happen! Time is critical for the successful treatment of accidental poisoning. Pick up the phone and call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435 (a consultation fee may be applied). Be prepared to state your pet's breed, age, weight, and any symptoms. Keep the product container or plant sample with you to assist in identification so the appropriate treatment recommendations can be made.


1) With all of the pet dogs and cats having been given up for adoption or abandoned due to home foreclosures or their owners being out of work, there are now a lot of extra dogs and cats that need someone to feed them. The USA TODAY recently ran an article that nicely covers all that is being done across our nation to try to feed all those pets affected by the current recession: If you are having difficulty feeding your pets properly, there are several suggestions in this article that might help you. In addition, the ASPCA has this advice:
If you need short-term help feeding pets, the ASPCA's Stephen Zawistowski recommends:
• Call local animal shelters and rescue groups or traditional food pantries to find pet food banks.
• Comb newspapers, magazines and local pet publications for pet-food coupons; use them at locales that double or triple coupon value. You may find coupons online, too.
• Unite with a friend or neighbor to buy and split much larger-volume bags, which are considerably cheaper.
• Discontinue treats.

2) Speaking of dog treats, the pet food market has blossomed with new types of "gourmet" dog treats. Dog treats are an important part of your dog’s training routine, in addition to just being rewards for being a good dog. Though dispensed with only on special occasions, dog treats are a source of nutrition, a great taste, and a lot pleasure for your dog. Rewarding your dog with dog treats every time he/she does as told can have long-lasting and beneficial effect on the animal. An important aspect of dog training is to reward the dog with gourmet dog treats every time he obeys your orders. Many dog trainers also dispense dog treats while teaching dogs how to respond to dog names, dog commands (such as sit, stay, fetch, heel, lie down) and similar things. Nowadays, completely natural and gourmet dog treats are gaining popularity so much so that many dog owners even bake healthy and nutritious dog treats for their pooches right at home. Helpful Buckeye will offer some of these recipes from Rachel Ray in an upcoming issue of the blog. More and more dog owners are finding that dog treats made from ingredients similar to those used in human food offer a satisfying choice (because of a better taste and better nutrition) from the commercial brands of dog treats available in stores. Moreover, if you believe your dog’s health is mostly dependent on his diet, you will be quite satisfied with the latest all-natural dog treats. These treats are not just delicious, but are nutritious and look great too. The minute Fido smells the treats in your hand he’ll pretty much do anything you want him to!! Dog treats are no longer limited to dog biscuits. Today, you can take your dog to special bakeries that cater to only domestic pets such as dogs and cats. You, with your dog, can together browse through the range of dog treats that are on display. Dog treats here include doughnuts, brownies, tarts, Bones, bacon strips and of course, biscuits. If you are not fortunate enough to have such gourmet bakeries for pets in your neighborhood, then you can look on the Internet and browse the many online gourmet dog treat bakeries. These bakeries provide natural, free of preservatives, and tasty dog treats packaged in small plastic bags that even make excellent gifts if you have friends who have pet dogs. If your dog is overweight or suffering from diabetes, you can opt for low calories dog treats! There really is a treat for every situation.

Helpful Buckeye spotted this sign outside a pet specialty store in Seattle:


Questions On Dogs and Cats published pictures of several special pets in 2008. Here they are again for your enjoyment:

Wow, that either constitutes a Hall of Fame or a Rogues' Gallery!!!


1) About 67% of pet owners say they understand their animals' barks, purrs and other sounds, according to an Associated poll. This study was reported in The USA TODAY and presents a lot of other interesting information about the communication channels bewteen us and our pets. Read the rest of the report at:

Where do you fit in this study? Do some of the descriptions ring true for you?

2) As the human bedding industry goes through design changes, so too will the needs of our they try to jump up onto a much higher mattress. An article in The Arizona Republic describes these changes and one of the solutions to the problem:

3) Helpful Buckeye's Aunt Cathy, in Florida, sent in this video of a dog in England that can really dance! You'll recognize one of the judges from American Idol. This dog is really special... (have your speakers on for this one):

4) The USA TODAY has a contest each year that picks everyone's favorite dog from photos submitted by readers. This year's winner, Gracie, would have been really hard to not vote for. The contest is featured at:

You can see all of the Top 10 dogs in the contest results at:

5) It has been reported that when a domestic cat goes after mice, about one pounce in three results in a catch. From The New Yorker:

6) Our readers who remember the story about Dewey, The Library Cat will be interested to learn that Dewey's owner, Vicky Myron, has acquired another "accidental" cat in the small town of Spencer, Iowa. For the rest of the story:

7) For those of you who have visited Ernest Hemingway's house in Key West, Florida, you are aware of the more than 50 cats living on the premises. The federal government has finally come up with a compromise that will allow the many cats, most of which are polydactyl (our readers will remember this word from an earlier issue), to continue living on the grounds of the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum. Read the report from The USA TODAY and be sure to click on the video on the left side of the text:

8) The USA TODAY also brings us our final item of general interest this week. Our readers will remember Gus, the world's ugliest dog from last summer. Well, as you recall, Gus passed away in the fall and a new ugliest dog will have to be chosen. It seems that Elwood, who actually won the title in 2007, is back in the running for the new title in 2009. Take a look at, and read a little about, Elwood:

Chinese Crested dogs appear to have a slightly unfair advantage when "running" for this title, don't you think?


The Ohio State Buckeyes will play Texas Monday evening in the Fiesta Bowl. We are big underdogs, but we all know a little about dogs, don't we? Sometimes the underdog can bite pretty hard!

The Pittsburgh Steelers had a bye this weekend and will play the San Diego Chargers next Sunday, as the NFL playoffs continue.

A recent report shows that it takes 3,000 cows to supply the NFL with enough leather for a year's supply of footballs. That's a lot of leather, especially when the football is still referred to as a "pigskin!"


A cat lover has pointed out that cats are smarter than dogs because you cannot get a cat to pull a sled. They might have a point!

Will Rogers apparently thought dogs were pretty special and he reflected that when he said: "If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went."

Helpful Buckeye wants to remind all our readers of the 5-Step program that was discussed earlier in this issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats. The benefits for you and your pet will be multiplied many times if you make this be one of your serious resolutions for 2009 and then, follow through on it! Maimonides, the 12th century philosopher and physician said that "if we took care of ourselves as well as we do our animals we would suffer fewer illnesses."

~~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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