Sunday, September 6, 2009


While most of us take a few days off to observe the Labor Day holiday weekend, we should remember that not everyone gets to kick back and relax for those 3 days. All of our police, fire, and emergency workers will be on duty. Likewise, many veterinarians and their hospital staffs will be available for those pet owners needing veterinary care. Lastly, a group you might not have thought of will probably be working as well. That would be the Working Class Dogs.

The American Kennel Club currently recognizes 161 dog breeds, which it divides into 7 groups, based on similar characteristics. Admittedly, many of these breeds might seem like they could be included in more than one group. Dog breeds of the Working Group, as categorized by the AKC, were originally bred to assist their human counterparts in performing labor-intensive tasks. Humans have relied on working dogs to perform difficult jobs, some of which humans can’t do, for centuries. They generally have a large, physically robust stature, and a high level of intelligence that has historically allowed them to specialize in guarding property and personnel, sled-pulling, helping to transport materials or other goods, locating hidden bombs and drugs, retrieving fishing nets, assisting the blind, deaf, and disabled, and performing water and disaster rescues. Due to the size and weight of these working breeds, you would not expect to find “little” dogs among this group. This Working Group contains a total of 26 breeds. They have been invaluable assets to man throughout the ages. Quick to learn, these intelligent, capable animals make solid companions. Their considerable dimensions and strength alone, however, make many working dogs unsuitable as pets for average families. And again, by virtue of their size alone, these dogs must be properly trained.

Most of our readers will recognize many of these 26 breeds, such as the Alaskan Malamute, Doberman Pinscher, Great Dane, Mastiff, Portuguese Water Dog (especially now that one lives in the White House), Rottweiler, St. Bernard, and Siberian Husky. Be sure to answer the polling question this week in the left column to show how much you know about "Working Class Dogs."
From The New Yorker:

According to the results of last week's poll question, most of our readers have been spared the inconveniences of having a pet with a urinary problem...or else you were just too embarrassed or shy to say so. Helpful Buckeye suspects a little of the latter, simply because statistics tell us that most dogs and cats will have a urinary problem at some point in their lives.

Last year, our Labor Day issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats featured several song videos with a "working" theme. Many of our readers sent in e-mails commenting on those songs and most of you favored this one as most representative of the sentiment of Labor Day weekend. Enjoy Loverboy, from Canada, with their big hit: while kicking back and relaxing in your hammock this weekend!


1) The American Veterinary Medical Association and Ft. Dodge Animal Health have announced that National Pet Wellness Month this October will focus on educating pet owners about wellness examinations, disease prevention, and pet health insurance. Read more about what this program has to offer at:

2) Teva Animal Health halted manufacture of veterinary drugs in August in response to an injunction filed by the Food and Drug Administration, which says the company failed to adhere to current good manufacturing practices. Teva is a major manufacturer of generic animal drugs and also makes products under the DVM Pharmaceuticals brand name. This news release by the AVMA provides the details:

If you have any of their products at home, you should contact whoever prescribed them for your pets for further advice.

3) The state legislature of California has passed a law, that was signed by Gov. Schwarzenegger, that allows veterinarians throughout the state to perform any surgical procedures deemed legal by the state. This bill was intended to eliminate any localities being able to pass local ordinances that forbid certain procedures, such as the declawing of cats. At this point, any locality that already had such an ordinance in effect would be able to retain that ordinance. For the whole explanation, read:


1) The ASPCA has put together a list of "good advice" ideas for those of you who will be celebrating this Labor Day weekend with your pets.

Labor Day Dangers to Avoid

Labor Day weekend marks summer’s unofficial end, and many families are heading out—with their companion animals—for end-of-season getaways. The ASPCA hopes you enjoy the last days of summer and reminds you to make sure your four-legged friends enjoy a safe holiday, too. By following these simple safety tips, you can rest assured your pet will remain happy and healthy during his last summer blast!

  • Do not apply any sunscreen or insect repellent product to your pet that is not labeled specifically for use on animals. Ingestion of sunscreen products can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy. The misuse of insect repellent that contains DEET can lead to neurological problems.

  • Always assign a dog guardian. No matter where you’re celebrating, be sure to assign a friend or member of the family to keep an eye on your pooch—especially if you’re not in a fenced-in yard or other secure area. With all the festivities, it’s easy to overlook a dog on the run!

  • Made in the shade. Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water, and make sure they have a shady place to escape the sun. Be careful to not over-exercise them, and keep them indoors when it's extremely hot.

  • Always keep matches and lighter fluid out of paws’ reach. Certain types of matches contain chlorates, which could potentially damage blood cells and result in difficulty breathing—or even kidney disease in severe cases. Lighter fluid can be irritating to skin, and if ingested, can produce gastrointestinal irritation and central nervous system depression. If lighter fluid is inhaled, pneumonia and breathing problems could develop.

  • Keep your pet on its normal diet. Any change, even for one meal, can give your pet severe indigestion and diarrhea. This is particularly true for older animals who have more delicate digestive systems and nutritional requirements. And keep in mind that people foods such as onions, chocolate, coffee, avocado, salt, yeast dough, grapes and raisins can all be potentially toxic to companion animals.

  • Keep citronella candles, insect coils and oil products out of reach. Ingesting any of these items can produce stomach irritation and possibly even central nervous system depression in your pets, and if inhaled, the oils could cause aspiration pneumonia.

  • Never leave your pet alone in the car. Traveling with your dog or cat means occasionally you’ll make stops in places where a pet is not permitted. Be sure to rotate dog walking duties between family members, and never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle. On a hot day, a parked car can become a furnace in no time, even with the windows open—not to mention it’s illegal in several states!

  • Make a safe splash. Don’t leave pets unsupervised around a pool—not all dogs are good swimmers. Introduce your pets to water gradually and make sure they wear flotation devices when on boats. Rinse your dog off after swimming to remove chlorine or salt from his fur, and try to keep your dog from drinking pool water, which contains chlorine and other chemicals that could cause stomach upset.

2) The ASPCA, which sponsors the 24-hour pet poison hotline, has provided this update of a poison that is showing an increase in the number of reported cases to their hotline:

Pet Poison Alert: Accidental Ingestion of Wood Glue on the Rise

Our country’s new-found thrift has led many homeowners to save a penny by tackling do-it-yourself home improvement projects. But take care, pet parents—you may be exposing your furry friends to dangerous tools and tricks of the trade. Polyurethane glue, a water-resistant adhesive and favorite of woodworkers, is highly toxic if ingested by cats and dogs.

According to data from the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), pet poisonings from wood glues—and other adhesives containing the substance diphenylmethane diisocyanate (MDI)—are on the rise. In the past 12 months, the APCC handled more than 170 cases of pets who ingested expanding glues. Of those incidents, the majority involved dogs and were evaluated at high or medium risk for developing severe, life-threatening problems.
Polyurethane glue—also known by brand names like Gorilla Glue and Elmer’s Pro-Bond—is prized for its ability to bond to wood. If eaten, however, the glue expands in the stomach’s warm, moist environment and forms a softball-sized lump. A dog who eats even a small amount of MDI-based adhesive can experience severe gastrointestinal problems resulting in blockages and requiring emergency surgery to remove the mass.

Pet parents should treat any expanding adhesive as a potential hazard, since the offending chemical MDI is not always listed on product labels. Like all toxic household products, wood glue should be stored in a secure cabinet to prevent your furry beloveds from coming into contact with it. If you suspect your pet has ingested polyurethane glue, please call your vet or the ASPCA’s 24-hour poison hotline at (888) 426-4435.


As mentioned earlier, the Labor Day weekend is considered to be the "unofficial" end of Summer, when a lot of us start to get into the mind-set for Fall and its activities. One of those traditional activities is hunting, so Questions On Dogs and Cats turns its attention to the care of hunting dogs, plus some health tips for hunters. The AVMA has offered this worthwhile advice:

Prior to Hunting Season

  • Make sure hunting dogs are up-to-date on their vaccines, especially rabies.

  • Begin (or continue) heartworm prevention medications.

  • Be sure to eliminate any intestinal worm infestations.

During and After Hunting

  • Do not hunt if you are ill.

  • Minimize insect bites.

  • Avoid abdominal shots when possible.

  • Report any sick wildlife or wild bird die-off (West Nile Disease?)

  • Avoid wearing the same clothes on consecutive days.

  • Conduct frequent body checks for ticks.

Handling and Cleaning the Carcass

  • Do not eat, drink or smoke while cleaning wild fowl or game.

  • Wear heavy rubber or latex gloves.

  • Do not use the same utensils to clean different species.

  • If abnormalities are seen in the intestines, abdominal cavity or chest cavity during cleaning, consider disposing of the entire carcass.

  • Remove wide margins of tissue around all wounds.

  • Remove the intestines as soon as possible.

  • Minimize contact with brain or spinal tissues.

  • Discard meat that has come into contact with intestinal contents.

  • Protect carcass from flies.

  • Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitizer.

Processing the Meat

  • Wear heavy rubber or latex gloves.

  • Thoroughly wash tools, equipment and working surfaces after use.

Cooking and Storing the Meat

  • Do not eat meat from wild game or fowl that appeared ill or abnormal.

  • Avoid eating raw or undercooked meat.

  • Do not keep meat at room temperature.

  • Thoroughly cook meat.

  • Promptly refrigerate or freeze uncooked meat.

  • Properly wrap and store wild game meat separate from other foods.


1) Who says that cats don't need toys??? Cat lovers will tell you their cats welcome toys...sometimes! Check out these offerings for your cat:

2) A new design for a cat litter pan has an interesting concept. The CatGenie claims to make litter-pan cleaning a "hands-free" proposition:


1) The AVMA has a new podcast available to help you understand why E. coli can be such a problem as a contaminant:

2) A novel approach to the idea of searching for a lost cat might include the use of a "cat-detection" dog if you live in the Seattle area. A company there has adapted the behavior of certain dogs toward cats in order to let those dogs help find a lost cat. For the whole story, go to:

3) Most of our readers already know that there are NO male tortoiseshell in, NONE! Read about "Eddie," the male tortoiseshell cat that was born in England:

Cats of this coloration are believed to bring good luck in the folklore of many cultures. In the United States, these are sometimes referred to as "money cats." Eddie, being as rare as he is, could end up being a "money cat."

4) If you haven't already seen the video of the cat in Indiana that came back home with an arrow sticking through its head, take a minute to read the story, then click "play" on the video: The reward for catching the culprit continues to grow....

5) Since we're on a roll here with cat stories, here's a video of an "unlucky" guy trying to restrain an unwilling cat: Wow...been there, done that! Anybody want to adopt Pinky???

6) A new study suggests that dogs arose from wolves about 16,000 years ago in China:

7) Chanel, the world's oldest living dog, passed away recently at the age of 21. The people at the Guinness Book of Records have verified the claim, although Helpful Buckeye suspects this type of "title" could be in dispute. Read the story about Chanel, a part-Dachshund mixed breed: This story aroused a few e-mails to Helpful Buckeye, mainly involving the concept of 1 dog year equaling 7 human years. Stay tuned for next week's issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats and Helpful Buckeye's discussion of this interesting topic.


The Ohio State Buckeyes opened their season yesterday with Navy. Either we were looking ahead to next Saturday's big game against Southern Cal in Columbus or we're not as good as we thought we were. Navy played a really good game and the Buckeyes were lucky to win by 4 points! Helpful Buckeye sends his compliments to the Navy team....

The LA Dodgers seem to have adopted a "cruise control" mentality with a month to go in the regular season. Either the Giants or the Rockies could hit a hot streak and really make things interesting by the end of September!

The Pittsburgh Steelers open the NFL season this Thursday night, in defense of their recent Super Bowl championship. Let's go, Steelers!


How many of you find yourself sitting there, scratching your head, wondering what you're going to do for the next few hours? As in, "I'm bored"....Well, Helpful Buckeye has always felt sorry for people who expressed boredom in the midst of so many things to do. As Mary Renault, English writer, wrote: "...had always considered boredom an intellectual defeat."

Desperado and Helpful Buckeye will be celebrating Labor Day by hiking along the less-traveled West Rim of the Grand Canyon, a hike we've wanted to do for several years. Labor Day should be a good time to do so, with it being a get-away day for a lot of tourists.

As the last days of summer drift into the past, the sentiment of Mark Twain on friendship remains: "When we think of friends, and call their faces out of the shadows, and their voices out of the echoes that faint along the corridors of memory, and do it without knowing why save that we love to do it, we content ourselves that that friendship is a Reality, and not a Fancy--that it is builded upon a rock, and not upon the sands that dissolve away with the ebbing tides and carry their monuments with them."- Letter to Mary Mason Fairbanks

A final thought to ponder, from Frederick L. Collins: "There are two types of people--those who come into a room and say, 'Well, here I am!' and those who come in and say, 'Ah, there you are.' " Which type are you?

~~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.~~


  1. Thanks for spreading the word on pet toxicities on your blog. It's so important for pet owners to be aware of the lurking household poisons in (and outside of) their house! As a veterinarian at an animal poison center, I speak to so many dog and cat owners who realize the perils of poisoning when it's too late. When in doubt, call an animal poison control center early on!

    I wanted to make you aware of another important resource out there--Pet Poison Helpline. Pet Poison Helpline is an animal poison control center and is the most cost-effective animal poison ($35/case vs. ASPCA's new $60/case) control out there. Unfortunately, because animal poison controls are not federally or state funded, there is a fee to allow the service to be run 24-7. We provide a similar service to that of the ASPCA's center, but have the added benefit of veterinary specialists (in internal medicine and emergency and critical care) as part of our staff. Please visit our website for more info and helpful tips! Our 24/7 phone number is 800-213-6680. Thanks for spreading the word!

    Dr. Ahna Brutlag, DVM
    Assistant Director of Veterinary Services

  2. Doc,
    I love coming here...bonus in reading the good comment posted from Dr. Brutlag!!!

    As you know, Rory and Fiona went on Labor Day vacation with Mike and me. They really seemed to enjoy it even though they were a tad perplexed about it all in the beginning.

    One thing I note about the Scotties...they have a schedule. They have a routine. And, they do not care to deviated from it even a little. I have to say, I've never seen dogs quite as strict about it as the Scotties. I ran into another Scottie owner who stopped to say hello to mine. He said his is exactly the same way. Must be the breed.

    Fiona liked investigating the water; Rory wouldn't have a thing to do with it. He must have gotten the memo that Scotties are not able to swim and stayed clear.

    It was fun taking our guys with us. I'd recommend it, but would say it does take a great deal of 'thinking' through the day because you have to accommodate them. And, while we were very able to find pet friendly hotels, we still can't find pet friendly eating places. Anywhere. Quite annoying!

    I hope you and Desperado had a great stroll along new terrain!

    As always, I so appreciate all your hard work to keep us informed and amused.

  3. So, there YOU are :^)