Monday, November 30, 2009


Basking in the afterglow of a relaxing Thanksgiving weekend, it became obvious that coming up with a decent subject for this week's dog/cat disease was beyond the scope of reality. As everyone delves into the leftovers from their Thanksgiving meal, returns home from their day-long shopping expeditions, and revels in the exploits of their favorite football team, Helpful Buckeye realizes that the last thing on your minds is "digesting" more facts about a disease or illness of your dog and/or cat. Not that we're letting the pets take care of themselves this week....

No, Questions On Dogs and Cats will be providing a potpourri of interesting features covering our end-of-year holidays, highlights of pet news, some fun things about dogs and cats, and just a general hodgepodge of diverse happenings...for your reading pleasure, of course!

The results of last week's poll questions showed a couple of things. First, a lot of you do actually read the articles that are referenced by link to the web site. You had to read the story about the Boykin Spaniel to know that it is the official State Dog of South Carolina, as 14 of you responded. Secondly, most of our readers were at least partly familiar with turkey production in the USA. North Carolina was the leader for a lot of years and Arkansas was the 2nd leading producer last year, as many of you wrote in e-mails. Nobody selected Minnesota, which was the leading producer of turkeys in the USA for 2008. Be sure to answer this week's poll questions in the column to the left.


1) Several Arizona families have been certified as foster families for deployed soldiers' pets through this program:

Guardian Angels for Soldier's Pets

  • What: The Arkansas-based non-profit organization finds temporary homes nationwide for the pets of people in the military. Volunteers provide foster care for the pets until they can be reunited with their owners. The organization also is working to build a sanctuary for pets when foster families aren't available at the time needed.

  • How it works: Military service members can submit a request for a pet foster home online or by phone. People interested in volunteering as foster parents or making donations can contact the organization in the same ways.

  • Details: Arizona coordinator C.J. Anderson, 602-206-0736 or e-mail National office, 501-325-1591,

For a description of how this program has been working in Arizona, go to:

2) CHICAGO (UPI) -- U.S. medical researchers say patients using pet therapy may need less pain medication.

Pet therapy helps decrease painkillers
Researchers at Loyola University Health System in Chicago said adults recovering from total joint-replacement surgery given pet therapy required 50 percent less pain drugs that those not receiving pet therapy. The study was presented by Julia Havey at the annual conference of the International Society of Anthrozoology and First Human Animal Interaction Conference in Kansas City, Mo. "Evidence suggests that animal-assisted therapy can have a positive effect on a patient's psychosocial, emotional and physical well being," Havey said in a statement. "The data further support these benefits and build the case for expanding the use of pet therapy in recovery." Havey and Loyola colleague Frances Vlasses have been raising puppies to become assistance dogs to people with physical and developmental disabilities for more than a decade through the program Canine Companions for Independence.
3) WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (UPI) -- Purdue University scientists say they'll use a $1.3 million grant to help further students' understanding of the role animals play in keeping people healthy.
Animals at center of new health curriculum
The five-year-grant from the National Institutes of Health was awarded Professors Timothy Ratliff and Sandra Amass of Purdue's School of Veterinary Medicine to create a new health science curriculum for third-, sixth- and ninth-graders; start a faculty mentor program in Indiana schools; create fitness programs centered around animals, and develop a museum exhibit focused on the links between animal and human health. The initiative is called "Fat Dogs and Coughing Horses: Animal Contributions Towards a Healthier Citizenry." "Animals play a large role in keeping people healthy," Amass said. "A lot of conditions that affect humans affect animals. For example, horses get the heaves, which is just like asthma in kids, and dogs get the same cancers that people do." The School of Veterinary Medicine is working with Indiana teachers to develop a curriculum focused on filling the gaps in health science education. Officials said the curriculum will be available to Indiana schools, and, eventually, to schools nationally. "We're really interested in introducing people to science and the impact science has on their lives," Ratliff said. "We felt that if people learn science at an early age, they will know better its impact on their lives."
4) Members of the Wounded Warrior Battalion from Fort Campbell, KY enjoyed two beautiful days of quail hunting at Cedar Grove Plantation near Clarksville, VA....
AKC Sporting Breeds Hunt With Wounded Warriors
Mr. James Kinnear, owner of Cedar Grove, readily accepted the opportunity to host the Wounded Warriors. There was no shortage of dog power, with five Vizslas, one German Wirehaired Pointer and six Boykin Spaniels taking turns leading the hunt. Many of these dogs had earned titles, ranging from Junior Hunter to Dual Champion, in AKC field events. The local field trial community raised over $1,000 to defer the Wounded Warriors travel expenses.
The pointing breeds and spaniels worked in tandem with two pointing breeds locating and pointing the quail and then the Boykins were sent in to flush and retrieve. Doug Ljungren, AVP of Performance Events was one of the pointing breed dog handlers. "I had never hunted in this manner before but it worked well. The Boykins are a delightful little dog. They really know their business." With the pointing dog handlers working out front, the Wounded Warriors were transported on a wagon drawn by two mules. Sunday night the hunting party was treated to a Cedar Grove dinner specialty – quail potpie. The Wounded Warriors appreciation was obvious. It was a unique weekend that will be remembered by all.
This story is from the American Kennel Club. For the story and several pictures, go to:
You did notice the mention of the Boykin Spaniel again, didn't you?

1) Watch Dr. Ron DeHaven, CEO of the American Veterinary Medical Association, as he presents AVMA Holiday Tips for Pet Owners:

This is a nice over-view of several things we've discussed in previous issues of Questions On Dogs and Cats.

2) In addition to keeping our pets healthy and free from problems during the holidays, we also want them to look their best. The following is from the ASPCA:

Grooming Your Dog

Snip, clip, wash and dry! Groom your dog like a pro. Ever watched your dog roll on the ground, lick her coat or chew at a mat on her fur? These are her ways of keeping clean. Sometimes, though, she’ll need a little extra help from her friend to look her best.

  • Make Grooming as Enjoyable as Possible—For the Both of You!Grooming sessions should always be fun, so be sure to schedule them when your dog’s relaxed, especially if she’s the excitable type. Until your pet is used to being groomed, keep the sessions short—just 5 to 10 minutes. Gradually lengthen the time until it becomes routine for your dog. You can help her get comfortable with being touched and handled by making a habit of petting every single part of your dog, including such potentially sensitive areas as the ears, tail, belly, back and feet. And here’s one of our most important tips of all—pile on the praise and offer your pooch a treat when the session is finished!

  • Brushing
    Regular grooming with a brush or comb will help keep your pet’s hair in good condition by removing dirt, spreading natural oils throughout her coat, preventing tangles and keeping her skin clean and irritant-free. And grooming time’s a great time to check for fleas and flea dirt--those little black specks that indicate your pet is playing host to a flea family.
    If your dog has a smooth, short coat (like that of a chihuahua, boxer or basset hound), you only need to brush once a week: - First, use a rubber brush to loosen dead skin and dirt.- Next, use a bristle brush to remove dead hair.- Now, polish your low-maintenance pooch with a chamois cloth and she’s ready to shine!
    If your dog has short, dense fur that’s prone to matting, like that of a retriever, here’s your weekly routine: - Use a slicker brush to remove tangles.- Next, catch dead hair with a bristle brush.- Don’t forget to comb her tail.
    If your dog has a long, luxurious coat, such as that of a Yorkshire terrier, she’ll need daily attention: - Every day you’ll need to remove tangles with a slicker brush.- Gently tease mats out with a slicker brush.- Next, brush her coat with a bristle brush.- If you have a long-haired dog with a coat like a collie’s or an Afghan hound’s, follow the steps above, and also be sure to comb through the fur and trim the hair around the hocks and feet.

  • BathingThe ASPCA recommends bathing your dog every 3 months or so; your pet may require more frequent baths in the summertime if she spends lots of time with you outdoors. Always use a mild shampoo that’s safe to use on dogs, and follow these easy steps: - First, give your pet a good brushing to remove all dead hair and mats.- Place a rubber bath mat in the bathtub to provide secure footing, and fill the tub with about 3 to 4 inches of lukewarm water.- Use a spray hose to thoroughly wet your pet, taking care not to spray directly in her ears, eyes or nose. If you don’t have a spray hose, a large plastic pitcher or unbreakable cup will do.- Gently massage in shampoo, working from head to tail.- Thoroughly rinse with a spray hose or pitcher; again, avoid the ears, eyes and nose.- Check the ears for any foul odors or excessive debris; if you choose to use a cleansing solution on a cotton ball, take care not to insert it into the ear canal.- Dry your pet with a large towel or blow dryer, but carefully monitor the level of heat.
    Please note: Some animals seem to think that bathtime is a perfect time to act goofy. Young puppies especially will wiggle and bounce all over the place while you try to brush them, and tend to nip at bathtime. If this sounds like your pet, put a toy that floats in the tub with her so she can focus on the toy rather than on mouthing you.

  • Nail Clipping
    Most people really don’t handle their dog’s feet until they are about to clip the nails and then…watch out! Some animals can get very upset at this totally foreign feeling. That’s why it’s a good idea to get your dog used to having her feet touched before you attempt a nail trim. Rub your hand up and down her leg and then gently press each individual toe—and be sure to give her lots of praise and some food treats as you do this. Every animal is different, but chances are that within a week or two of daily foot massage, your dog will be better able to tolerate a trim. Here’s how to do it: - Begin by spreading each of your dog’s feet to inspect for dirt and debris.- Use sharp, guillotine-type nail clippers to cut off the tip of each nail at a slight angle, just before the point where it begins to curve.- Take care to avoid the quick, a vein that runs into the nail. This pink area can be seen through the nail. If your dog has black nails, however, the quick will not be as easily discernible, so be extra careful.- If you do accidentally cut into the quick, it may bleed, in which case you can apply some styptic powder to stop the bleeding.- Once the nails have been cut, use an emery board to smooth any rough edges.

  • Special Breeds, Special Needs--Dogs with loose facial skin or wrinkles—such as shar peis and pugs—will need special attention. To prevent dirt and bacteria from causing irritation and infection, clean the folds of skin with damp cotton. Always thoroughly dry the areas between the folds.
    If your dog has long or droopy ears, you should check them weekly. Remove wax and dirt from your pet’s ears with a cotton ball moistened with water or a little mineral oil. You may need to remove any excess hair leading into the ear canal; ask your pet’s vet or groomer to show you how before trying it at home. There are special hair removers that allow you to carefully pull one strand at a time.
Check out this pair of Pet Drying Mitts at:


As the staff at the Mayo Clinic presents in this article: "Stress and depression can ruin your holidays and hurt your health. Being realistic, planning ahead and seeking support can help ward off stress and depression."

For the rest of this very informative and helpful list of suggestions, go to:


Pet Greens Catnip Buds are the closest thing to growing your own catmint without having to remember to water. Entire stems of the herb are handpicked and dried, which you then crumble up and stuff in catnip toys, rub on cat beds, or simply sprinkle on the floor. A review of this product is available at:
One place at which you can order these "Catnip Buds" is:

To learn more about catnip and its effects on cats, go back to Helpful Buckeye's discussion in a previous issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats:


1) From the web site All About Dogs and Cats, at: comes this comparison of what the diaries of a dog and a cat might look like:

From a Dog's Diary….

  • 8:00 am - Dog food! My favorite thing!

  • 9:30 am - A car ride! My favorite thing!

  • 9:40 am - A walk in the park! My favorite thing!

  • 10:30 am - Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!

  • 12:00 pm - Lunch! My favorite thing!

  • 1:00 pm - Played in the yard! My favorite thing!

  • 3:00 pm - Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!

  • 5:00 pm - Milk bones! My favorite thing!

  • 7:00 pm - Got to play ball! My favorite thing!

  • 8:00 pm - Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing!

  • 11:00 pm - Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!

From a Cat's Diary....

  • Day 983 of my captivity.

  • My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects.

  • They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength.

  • The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape. In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet.

  • Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a 'good little hunter' I am.

  • There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of 'allergies.' I must learn what this means and how to use it to my advantage.

  • Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow -- but at the top of the stairs.

  • I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released - and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded.

  • The bird has got to be an informant. I observe him communicating with the guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, so he is safe. For now....

This web site has a lot of very interesting topics of interest to dog and cat enthusiasts. It also includes a clickable link to Questions On Dogs and Cats on its "Pet Health" page.

2) A BP gas station/convenience store in Florida has taken customer service to the dogs:

3) A backyard dog ran into a buzz saw when it tried to come between a mother squirrel and its baby. Check out the story and pictures from Great Britain:

4) Take a few minutes to enjoy this music video as a lead in to a "birthday" observance this past week:

On 11/23/1889, 120 years ago this past week, Louis Glass and William S. Arnold placed a coin-operated Edison cylinder phonograph in the Palais Royale Saloon in San Francisco. It was an Edison Class M Electric Phonograph in an oak cabinet that was refitted with a coin mechanism patented (U.S. 428,750) by Glass and Arnold. This was the first Nickel-in-the-Slot, one of the early forerunners to the modern Jukebox as we know it. The machine had no amplification and patrons had to listen to the music using one of four listening tubes. In its first six months of service, the Nickel-in-the-Slot earned over $1000. Not bad for a nickel per play! At Buck Owens' rate of a quarter per play, you get a sense of the rate of inflation....

5) On 11/24/1874, 135 years ago this past week, Joseph Glidden received a patent for the production of a product, sometimes referred to as Devil's rope, that made farming the Great Plains possible and actually helped change the West as it was known at that time.

If you ever pass through north Texas on I-40, stop into the small town of McLean and make a visit to the Devil's Rope Museum...tell them that Desperado sent you!


The Pittsburgh Steelers played our most-hated rival, the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday evening. The Ravens pretty much had to win the game to salvage any chance they have to make the playoffs. The same could be said for the Steelers. Just before sending this issue to the publisher, the Ravens won the game in overtime with a FG. Our 3rd string QB had a nifty TD run to put us ahead in the second half...but he also threw an interception in the overtime which lead to the winning FG. Oh well, you live by the sword...and you die by the sword.


Helpful Buckeye and Desperado rode the train to the Grand Canyon this past week. A private rail line, the Grand Canyon Railroad takes passengers from their terminal at Williams, AZ to the Grand Canyon station just below the El Tovar Hotel. The trip allows for a 3-hour stopover at the South Rim before heading back to Williams. We had lunch at the El Tovar and spent the rest of the time walking along the rim. No matter how many times you see the Canyon, its awesome vistas still inspire appreciation. Helpful Buckeye came out on the winning end of a wager between 2 OSU from Oklahoma State and one from Ohio State. When Ken's OSU lost to Oklahoma this weekend, they ended up with a 9-3 record, vs. the 10-2 record of Helpful Buckeye's Ohio State. We won't disclose the amount of the wager...suffice it to say that it will buy me just about 2 good cups of coffee.

Now that we have gotten our first snow accumulation of the year here in Flagstaff, this quote from Mark Twain applies: "Shut the door. Not that it lets in the cold but that it lets out the cozyness."--Mark Twain's Notebook

~~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.~~

Monday, November 23, 2009



from Helpful Buckeye and the support staff (Desperado) here at Questions On Dogs and Cats!!!

When it comes down to expressing "Thanks" for any goodness we have experienced this year, we all have our personal sentiments. As the writer of Questions On Dogs and Cats, Helpful Buckeye is thankful for all of our readers, old and new, who visit with us each week as we talk about dogs and cats. Your contributions to this blog, by way of e-mails, comments, and answering the weekly poll questions, have added to the diversity of topics for discussion during the year. Thank you!

This is also a great time to express our collective thanks for all of the dogs and cats we have been fortunate enough to have had as parts of our families. The following collection of thoughts about our pets was sent to Helpful Buckeye by Barb R. in Virginia:

If I Didn't Have Pets....

  • I could walk around the yard barefoot in safety.

  • My house could be carpeted instead of tiled and laminated.

  • All flat surfaces, clothing, furniture, and cars would be free of hair.

  • When the doorbell rings, it wouldn't sound like the kennels and I could get to the door without wading through fuzzy bodies who beat me there.

  • I could sit on the couch the way I wanted, without taking into consideration how much space several fur bodies would need to get comfortable.

  • I would not have strange presents under my Christmas tree -- dog bones, stuffed animals, nor would I have to answer to people why I wrap them and place the gift tags on them.

  • I would not be on a first-name basis with the veterinarians.

  • The most used words in my vocabulary would not be: out, sit, down, come, no, stay, and leave him/her/it ALONE.

  • My house would not be cordoned off into zones with baby gates or barriers.

  • My pockets would not contain things like poop bags, treats and an extra leash.

  • I would no longer have to spell the words B-A-L-L-, F-R-I-S-B-E-E, or W-A-L-K.

  • I would not have as many leaves INSIDE my house as outside.

  • I would not look strangely at people who think having ONE dog ties them down too much.

  • I'd look forward to spring and the melting of snow instead of dreading mud season.

  • I would not have to answer the question: "Why do you have so many dogs/animals?" from people who will never have the joy in their lives of knowing they are loved unconditionally by something as close to an angel as they will ever get.

  • How empty my life would be....

A big, hearty "Thank You" to all of our pets, past and present, for making our lives much more enjoyable!

The poll question from last week yielded a lot of responses and none of them were "It's a bad idea." Every response was in the direction of favoring some type of penalty for allowing one's dog to become obese. The general feeling from e-mails was that the owners should be made to suffer from a pet's obesity rather than the pet bearing all the consequences. There will be an update a little later in this issue on the story about the British dog owner who had his dog confiscated for allowing it to become grotesquely obese. Remember to answer this week's poll questions in the column to the left.


1) Not only have a few cats been sick with H1N1 (Swine Flu), but now it appears that a cat in Oregon has died from the infection. As reported by the American Veterinary Medical Association, this fatality is awaiting a final confirmation:

2) In a related story, the Food & Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission have teamed up to stop an advertised product from being touted as a prevention for H1N1:
A pair of federal agencies teamed up for the first time to demand that a website stop offering fraudulent H1N1 influenza supplements. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a joint letter to the administrator of the website, In the letter, the agencies told the website owners to stop marketing their "Immune Support Formula." The website sells a supplement, astralagus, which it says can prevent the flu.
"Astragalus ... is ... used traditionally to ward off colds and flu, and has demonstrated both antiviral and immune-boosting effects in scientific investigation," the site says. The FDA-FTC letter says that the company's marketing efforts to sell unapproved H1N1 flu-related products is a "potentially significant threat to the public health."

This news was reported on the American Animal Hospital Association web site:

Buyer beware!

3) On a more tame note, the American Kennel Club has announced that it will be recognizing 3 new breeds for registration in the AKC by the end of this year:

The breeds are not really "new" breeds to most of us, because they have been around for a long time. They are the Bluetick Coonhound, Boykin Spaniel, and Redbone Coonhound, becoming the 162nd, 163rd, and 164th registered breeds of the AKC. The spaniel will join the Sporting Group and the coonhounds will join the Hound Group.

Bluetick Coonhound

Boykin Spaniel

Redbone Coonhound


Your female dog has just finished her heat cycle. You're thrilled to be done with that 3-week phase of excitement that involves a nervous female dog, male dogs hanging around her, and the sometimes messy discharge associated with the heat cycle. A few weeks later, she starts to show signs of nesting behavior, mammary gland enlargement and possibly milk production, and mothering of her toys or other inanimate objects. Could she be pregnant?

False Pregnancy In Dogs

False pregnancy (Pseudocyesis) occurs fairly commonly in dogs and very rarely in cats. At this point, those of you having a spayed female dog or a cat probably are figuring you have no reason to read any further. Not so fast...

False pregnancy is common enough that you will most likely hear it being discussed among your dog-owning friends and, you never know, you just might have a new dog in your future that could experience it. It's all about the learning, remember?

As the female dog is nearing the end of her heat cycle, the hormones progesterone and prolactin arrive at a certain balance as the dog "waits" to see if she is pregnant. Some of these females are more sensitive to the hormonal fluctuations and can start to show some interesting signs. A few weeks after the heat cycle is finished, they can start showing the mothering of their toys or inanimate objects, nesting behavior, milk production, and even show signs of going into labor...all without actually being pregnant! The dog's body is only responding to what her hormone levels are telling her.In most cases, if the symptoms are mild and not too bothersome for the dog or the owner, the condition will resolve itself in 1-3 weeks as the hormones reach their normal levels. No treatment is necessary for these cases. Even if you're feeling sorry for your dog, you for sure don't want to massage any of the swollen mammary tissue or that will just encourage further milk production. If the situation goes beyond 3 weeks or the dog is really uncomfortable, your veterinarian has a few pharmaceuticals that can help ease the signs.

In case there is any doubt that the dog has actually been bred and might be truly pregnant, that possibility can be ruled in or out by a careful history, abdominal palpation, ultrasound, and abdominal X-rays.

Unfortunately, a certain percentage of female dogs will show the signs of false pregnancy after each heat cycle. Spaying the dog while she is showing these signs is not the answer since that wouldn't change the hormonal balance right away. The surgery should be done as soon as the signs are completely gone and before the next heat cycle shows up.


In last week's issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats, Helpful Buckeye gave you a list of Thanksgiving Safety Tips from the ASPCA. With Thanksgiving approaching the American Kennel Club® is also offering safety tips for pet owners to make their Thanksgiving gatherings and holiday parties fido-friendly. Among them:

  • Never give turkey bones to your dog; they pose a serious choking hazard for dogs.

  • Always keep an eye on the Thanksgiving table and secure leftovers and garbage to prevent your dog from going through holiday foods.

  • Don’t give your dog scraps from the holiday buffet. Stuffing, pies, cookies and fancy hors d’oeuvres are inappropriate foods for dogs and may make them sick.

  • Keep burning candles on high tables or mantels out of the way of your dog’s wagging tail.

  • Alcohol is toxic for dogs, even in small amounts.

  • If you host a party, remember that some guests may be uncomfortable around dogs. Your dog may, in turn, be uncomfortable or frightened around a large group of unfamiliar people. You may want to confine your dog to a crate or a room that will not be used by guests.

  • Stick as closely as possible to your normal routine. Try not to vary your dog’s feeding, walking and playtime schedule.


1) Molly Mutt Dog Duvets provide a pet owner the much easier option of laundering the outer lining of your dog's bed. Check out their web site:


1) In keeping with the Thanksgiving theme, "Research confirms that pilgrims weren’t the only passengers aboard the Mayflower. Turns out man’s best friend also made the transatlantic voyage from Southampton, England to Plymouth, MA in 1620. This Thanksgiving, the American Kennel Club® (AKC) celebrates the English Springer Spaniel and Mastiff, the two breeds who joined the pilgrims on their journey to the new world and who were the first to make dogs a part of everyday life for the earliest Western settlers. The earliest mention of dogs in America appeared in a 17th century journal called "Mourt's Relation" about the first years of life in the new world. According to this account, two dogs – an English Springer Spaniel and a Mastiff – were brought along by John Goodman. The dogs were involved in the first explorations of discovery on Cape Cod during the first winter ashore."

With all the festivities that accompany the holiday season, there is a greater likelihood of your pets having accidents around the house. For an interesting take on the use of vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and dish detergent to take care of the stains and odors of pet accidents, go to:

3) A German company has designed an interesting and very fancy dog house, "The Alabama." for more about this creation, go to: and to (for the German version):

4) One of my favorite actors, Sean Connery, has decided to come out of retirement and lend his voice to the lead character in the upcoming animated movie, Sir Billi. Why does this item make the "General Interest" list? Well, Sean will be the voice of a retired, skateboarding veterinarian! Read about it here:

Helpful Buckeye will opt to stay with the bicycle, thank you!

5) One of our news items last week was the confiscation of an obese dog from its owner in Britain. More has been revealed about that story. The Animal Welfare Act of Great Britain has gained more awareness of pet owners as this type of penalty is handed down. Barney, the Dalmatian, was fed a steady diet of crisps and chocolate for years. Regular readers of Questions On Dogs and Cats will already know that Barney was lucky he didn't get enough chocolate in a short period of time or else he would be dead rather than obese. At any rate, here are the first photos to be released of Barney, first at 11 stone (154 lb.) when he was confiscated and then at 4 stone (56 lb.) when he was ready to be adopted.

Read the rest of this very interesting account at:


The Pittsburgh Steelers limped into Kansas City after their miserable effort last week and laid another egg! Yep, they gave another game away in the last few minutes. The playoff lights are looking dimmer and dimmer....

The Ohio State Buckeyes beat Michigan yesterday for the 6th year in a row, to finish the regular season at 10-2. By winning the Big 10 title, the Buckeyes will be going to the Rose Bowl on New Years' Day. Our opponent has yet to be determined. By any normal standards, this was a pretty good year for the Buckeyes...however, when thinking of the national championship, it doesn't measure up.


Helpful Buckeye will leave you with 3 quotes this week, all of them made by that famous quipster, "Anonymous":

"If your dog is fat, you aren't getting enough exercise."

"If you think dogs can't count, try putting three dog biscuits in your pocket and then give him only two of them."

"There's a saying that the difference between being involved and being committed is like a ham and eggs breakfast: The chicken was involved; the pig was committed."


~~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.~~

Monday, November 16, 2009


Media coverage and conversation just can't seem to get away from the "flu"...both the annual influenzas and H1N1 (Swine Flu). We are presented with a barrage of information, ranging from the availability of vaccines to mortality statistics to more crossovers of H1N1 from humans to cats and ferrets. Where will it end? Influenza viruses have been around for a long time and have been shown to be very active in their evolutionary development. As these viruses evolve, they can present new challenges to their respective hosts. That's the main reason for the variations necessary in your yearly flu vaccine.

Now that influenza viruses have shown up in dogs and cats, a new diagnostic and medical challenge awaits those who care for these pets. In much the same manner as humans trying to tell the difference between the flu and a good, "old-fashioned" cold, a pet owner might be confused between a typical upper respiratory disease and one of the newer influenza infections. Dog Influenza ( might be initially confused with Kennel Cough, which Helpful Buckeye discussed in last week's issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats ( Likewise, a cat that has contracted H1N1...Swine Flu, as did a cat recently in Iowa, may be hard to distinguish from a cat suffering from Upper Respiratory Disease Complex.

As Helpful Buckeye has advocated since our first issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats, back in May 2008, a well-informed pet owner will make much better decisions concerning the health of their dogs and cats. This week's issue will present an overview of upper respiratory diseases in cats.

Helpful Buckeye received several e-mails about last week's topic of Kennel Cough in dogs, most of which were nicely summarized by this comment from "K" in Singapore: "I'm writing in regards to your article on kennel cough. The article is very helpful and I wish I had known more about it before my pups caught it." Hopefully, our readers will pick up several tidbits of helpful knowledge each week that will help them to either prevent or avoid many of the diseases that confront our dogs and cats.

Our poll question from last week produced 24 responses, both online and by e-mail. There were 14 respondents who have had a dog diagnosed with kennel cough and 10 who were really fortunate to have avoided this aggravating disease. Remember to answer this week's poll question in the column to the left.


1) In keeping with our opening theme, the Mayo Clinic had presented this comparison for use in determining whether you might have the flu or just a cold:

2) The ASPCA has announced a new research effort directed at Canine Influenza:

Groundbreaking Canine Influenza Study Spearheaded by ASPCA

Last week, the ASPCA announced the launch of a three-year research study of the Canine Influenza Virus, a highly contagious respiratory illness. Funded by the Morris Animal Foundation, the groundbreaking study—conducted by Dr. Miranda Spindel, ASPCA Director of Veterinary Outreach, and Dr. Gabriele Landolt of Colorado State University's Department of Clinical Sciences—will help animal shelters develop effective testing and control methods to limit the transmission of the disease. "Canine influenza is a newly emerging disease that does not discriminate by breed or age," says Dr. Spindel. "The virus is easily transmitted between dogs housed in close contact with each other, and is especially problematic for animal shelters. This study seeks to address this vulnerable population.” First identified as a respiratory pathogen in 2004, CIV has spread widely among dogs in the United States. The virus is transmitted in droplets created by coughing and sneezing, and other symptoms include fever, rapid breathing, loss of appetite and lethargy. With proper and timely treatment, the disease’s fatality rate is quite low.


Following the discussion last week of Kennel Cough in dogs, Helpful Buckeye got several e-mails from cat owners inquiring about whether cats can catch Kennel Cough and if there are comparable diseases in cats. The answer to the first question, at least for now, is a simple "No" and "Yes"....

By that, "No" means that the Kennel Cough complex of infectious agents has not been shown to occur in cats; however, the "Yes" refers to recent findings of the Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria being discovered in the upper respiratory tract of a few cats. So, until some involvement of the Parainfluenza virus is established, cats will not be afflicted with Kennel Cough.

The answer to the second question is a most definite "Yes." Even though the infectious agents are different, cats do suffer from upper respiratory diseases, some of which present a greater challenge to your cat than Kennel Cough does to your dog.

Feline Upper Respiratory Disease Complex

Feline upper respiratory disease complex includes those illnesses typified by runny nose, conjunctivitis, excessive tear production, salivation, and oral ulcerations. The principal diseases, feline viral rhinotracheitis (FVR) and feline calicivirus (FCV) infections, affect exotic cats as well as domestic species. Feline pneumonitis ( Chlamydophila [formerly known as Chlamydia] psittaci ) appears to be of lesser importance. FVR and FCV are host-specific agents and pose no known human risk of infection. Chlamydophila has been reported to cause conjunctivitis in humans. FVR and FCV account for about 90% of upper respiratory infections in cats and there can actually be simultaneous infection with both viruses.

Natural transmission of these agents occurs by way of aerosol droplets produced by sneezing and coughing, contact with the discharge from the eyes and nose of an infected cat, and contact with contaminated food dishes, hands, and bedding. Cats that have recovered from either of these infections can harbor the virus for months, with FCV being shed continuously and FVR being shed intermittently.

Signs and Symptoms

It can often be impossible to differentiate between infections with FVR and FCV. However, there are several differences that can help identify which infection is present:

  • Sneezing is common with FVR...uncommon with FCV

  • Oral ulcers are rare with FVR...common with FCV

  • FVR rarely progresses to pneumonia...FCV commonly includes pneumonia

  • FVR can cause abortions...FCV does not

  • High fevers (105 degrees) common with consistent pattern with FCV

  • Severe loss of appetite with FVR...only mild appetite loss with FCV

  • Severe depression is common with FVR...only mild depression seen with FCV

Chlamydophila infections usually involve conjunctivitis, with some occasional sneezing and fever. They can progress from just a watery eye discharge to that of a mucus and pus combination.

As with many viral diseases, treatment for FVR and FCV is mostly symptomatic and supportive. If there are secondary bacterial implications, antibiotics (either oral or for the eyes) may be included in the treatment plan. Supportive treatment would include:

  • Keeping the eyes and nostrils clear of discharge

  • Increasing humidity with a vaporizer...or putting the cat in a closed bathroom with a hot shower running

  • Keeping the cat warm and quiet

  • Correct dehydration by running fluids

  • Force-feeding if necessary...either by running fluids or by installation of a feeding tube

Due to the very contagious nature of these viruses, cats with FVR and FCV usually should not be hospitalized unless they are quite ill and if they can be placed in some type of isolation.


Prevention of FVR, FCV, and Chlamydophila can be greatly enhanced by the proper use of vaccinations against these agents. There are several different types of vaccines available and your veterinarian can suggest which will be best for your situation. None of these vaccines is 100% effective as vaccinated cats can still be infected with the viruses. These cats will usually only show very mild forms of the diseases but they can still be chronic carriers. For prevention of these diseases in groups of cats, additional control measures are advised. Routine vaccinations should be given to all cats, while new cats should be vaccinated and kept in isolation for at least three weeks. Multiple-cat households should be kept thoroughly clean, with overcrowding being avoided. Any suspected carriers of these viruses should be removed from the population and kept in isolation.


1) Part 3 of the ASPCA's winter health tips for your pets is here.

Cat Survives 2-Mile Ride in Car Engine: Points to Winter Danger

Recently, the country was mesmerized by the story of a tan-and-white Tabby cat from the Bronx, NY, who survived an unusual ordeal: a two-mile drive through his northern NYC borough, while stuck inside the engine of an SUV. The stray was so severely wedged inside that the battery and other engine parts had to be removed in order to free him. Though the story has a happy ending—two detectives from the NYPD's Emergency Service Unit pulled the cat, who is now recovering nicely, to safety—the incident points to a winter phenomenon that many felines do not survive.

During the winter, ASPCA experts explain, it’s common for outdoor cats to sleep under the hoods of cars for warmth and protection. Once the motor is started, however, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan or fan belt. One solution is for owners of vehicles to bang loudly on the vehicle hood before starting the engine or blow the horn. This gives a sleeping cat the chance to escape or announce his presence by meowing or moving around.

The danger doesn’t only apply to strays, however. Dr. Stephen Zawistowski, ASPCA Executive Vice President, warns: "For their own benefit and for the benefit of the communities where they live, owned cats should not be allowed to roam freely outdoors."

Pet parents, be aware: there are many other dangers that our animal companions face during winter.

  • Keep your cat inside. When outdoors, felines can freeze, become lost or be stolen, injured or killed. And cats who are allowed to stray are exposed to infectious diseases, including rabies, from other cats, dogs and wildlife.

  • Engine coolant is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.

  • If your dog is sensitive to the cold due to age, illness or breed type, minimize his time outdoors—briefly take him out, and only to relieve himself. This includes puppies, who can be paper-trained during the colder months rather than housebroken.

  • Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter—a longer coat will provide more warmth. And continue to brush your pet regularly during the winter months. This will remove dead hair and keep the coat clean to ensure better insulation. It will also keep natural oils distributed throughout the coat.

2) Thanksgiving Safety Tips From The ASPCA

‘Tis the season for friends, family and holiday feasts—but also for possible distress for our animal companions. Pets won’t be so thankful if they munch on undercooked turkey or a pet-unfriendly floral arrangement, or if they stumble upon an unattended alcoholic drink. Check out the following tips from ASPCA experts for a fulfilling Thanksgiving that your pets can enjoy, too.

  • Talkin’ Turkey...If you decide to feed your pet a little nibble of turkey, make sure it’s boneless and well-cooked. Don't offer her raw or undercooked turkey, which may contain salmonella bacteria.

  • Sage Advice...Sage can make your Thanksgiving stuffing taste delish, but it and many other herbs contain essential oils and resins that can cause gastrointestinal upset and central nervous system depression to pets if eaten in large quantities. Cats are especially sensitive to the effects of certain essential oils.

  • No Bread Dough...Don't spoil your pet’s holiday by giving him raw bread dough. According to ASPCA experts, when raw bread dough is ingested, an animal's body heat causes the dough to rise in his stomach. As it expands, the pet may experience vomiting, severe abdominal pain and bloating, which could become a life-threatening emergency, requiring surgery.

  • Don't Let Them Eat Cake...If you’re baking up Thanksgiving cakes, be sure your pets keep their noses out of the batter, especially if it includes raw eggs—they could contain salmonella bacteria that may lead to food poisoning.

  • Too Much of a Good Thing...A few small boneless pieces of cooked turkey, a taste of mashed potato or even a lick of pumpkin pie shouldn’t pose a problem. However, don't allow your pets to overindulge, as they could wind up with a case of stomach upset, diarrhea or even worse—an inflammatory condition of the pancreas known as pancreatitis. In fact, it’s best keep pets on their regular diets during the holidays.

  • A Feast Fit for a Kong...While the humans are chowing down, give your cat and dog their own little feast. Offer them rawhide strips, Nylabones or made-for-pet chew bones. Or stuff their usual dinner—perhaps with a few added tidbits of turkey, vegetables (try sweet potato or green beans) and dribbles of gravy—inside a Kong toy. They’ll be happily occupied for awhile, working hard to extract their dinner from the toy.


Check out these dog and cat beds from Dog Gone Smart Bed: According to the ad, they are anti-odor, anti-stain, and anti-hair buildup. What more could a pet owner want?


1) What better way to get started this week than with a bunch of "crazy" cats? Enjoy their antics at:

2) A Great Dane, named Titan, has been selected as the World's Tallest Dog by Guinness World Records: Helpful Buckeye wonders if this is considered the same as the "biggest" or the "largest" dog in the world. Uncertainty in terminology....

3) Apparently the powers that be in the United Kingdom have decided that it will no longer be tolerated for a dog owner to let their dog become obese. One obese dog was confiscated from his owner and another owner was fined the equivalent of $1900 for allowing his dog to be 100 lb. over its normal weight. Read the news story at:

4) We always hear about child-proofing a home, but here's your opportunity to learn more about cat-proofing your home: There are 6 areas of interest in the home that this article covers.

5) The United Bamboo Cat Calendar presents some cats in interesting poses, wearing unexpected apparel:

6) Cat owners are known to wonder what their cat does all day when home alone. The folks at Purina have taken a first step toward providing some answers. Purina Friskies recently undertook a study to find out what cats do all day when they're home alone. They fitted 50 indoor cats with collar cameras to get a cat's eye view of the world. To learn about their findings, go to:

7) This past Tuesday, 10 November, was the 26th birthday of Microsoft's Windows operating system. The first Windows operating system was released in 1983 and has gone through many upgrades, with Windows 7 just being released back in October. Most of us are using Windows, for better or for worse, as we share our interests in dogs and cats.

The Pittsburgh Steelers ran into an unexpectedly tough Cincinnati Bengal team today and lost the game, for their second loss to the Bengals this year. Perhaps the Bengals are for real? This loss puts a slight damper on playoff considerations.

The San Antonio Spurs are still close to the lead in their division, which isn't too bad considering they have been without Tim Duncan and Tony Parker.


The Four Musketeers galloped into Scottsdale, AZ, and toured Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West this past week on a beautiful day.
From Robert Louis Stevenson, Scottish novelist and poet: "A friend is a gift you give to yourself"...Aramis, Porthos, Athos, and d'Artagnan....

Robert Louis Stevenson also contributed this quote, which reflects part of our stated goal for Questions On Dogs and Cats: "All speech, written or spoken, is a dead language, until it finds a willing and prepared hearer." Helpful Buckeye strives to help our readers be "willing and prepared hearers" so that your dogs and cats can benefit from your knowledge.

~~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.~~

Monday, November 9, 2009


The last few weeks have been very interesting for veterinary medicine. First, we learned of two pet ferrets that had come down with swine flu, most likely contracted from their owners. Both of the ferrets died. Then, this week, a pet cat in Iowa was treated at Iowa State University veterinary hospital for swine flu. The cat has since recovered. A couple of people in the cat's household had been experiencing flu-like symptoms before the cat became sick. What does this all mean for you and your cats and dogs? Helpful Buckeye has already discussed swine flu in a previous issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats, at: and these recent events have required an update to that information. That update will be presented in the "Current News" section below. In the meantime, be alert for the swine flu virus:

Helpful Buckeye was surprised by how many of our readers had either read the book or seen the movie, Marley & Me. There were 26 responses, both at this site and by e-mail and 18 of those had read the book AND seen the movie! Remember to answer this week's poll question in the column to the left.


1) The Food & Drug Administration, as reported by the American Veterinary Medical Association, has issued an alert about the insulin product, Vetsulin, from Schering-Plough Animal Health. The concern is that the concentration of the active ingredient may have variations between formulations. If your pet is using this product, read more about it at:

2) The FDA, through the AVMA, has also issued a recall for pig ear and beef hooves pet treats. These pet treats, produced by Pet Carousel, may be contaminated with Salmonella organisms. The affected products are as follows: Pet Carousel Pig ear pet treats...Doggie Delight and Pet Carousel Beef hooves pet treats...Choo Hooves, Dentley’s, Doggie Delight. For more information on these products, go to:

3) The AVMA has released a new public health statement this week to address new information about swine flu and its effects on household pets. Take a few minutes to read the questions and answers so that you will be aware of the important new recommendations:


Helpful Buckeye has received just about as many e-mails about kennel cough in dogs as for any other pet disease. Since kennel cough is the most common upper respiratory ailment seen in dogs, many of our readers have most likely experienced it with their dogs.

Kennel cough, known medically as canine infectious tracheobronchitis, is a highly contagious disease in dogs. It is found worldwide and probably will infect a very high percentage of all dogs at some point in their lifetime. The disease became known as kennel cough since it usually showed up soon after a dog had been boarded in a kennel. We now know that, due to the highly contagious nature of the causative agents of the disease, dogs can also become infected at vaccination clinics, obedience classes, local dog parks, animal shelters, veterinary hospital waiting rooms, and grooming parlors. Kennel cough is the most prevalent upper respiratory ailment of dogs in the USA.

Kennel cough usually begins as a result of inflammation of the upper airways. It is currently thought that this inflammation occurs mainly from an inhalation of canine parainfluenza virus, canine adenovirus, or even canine distemper virus. The damage to the linings of the upper airways by these viruses can then allow certain bacteria to complicate the already bothersome viral infection. The most common bacteria to do so is Bordetella bronchiseptica, a close relative of B. pertussis, the cause of human whooping cough. The illness spreads rapidly among susceptible dogs which are in close confinement, particularly if they are stressed by extremes in ventilation, temperature, and humidity. Both the viral and bacterial components are mainly spread through the air by infected dogs which are sneezing and coughing. They are also spread through contact with contaminated surfaces and through direct contact with infected dogs.

Signs and Symptoms

The first sign of a kennel cough infection is usually a dry, hacking cough, which may be followed by a lot of gagging or retching. There may also be sneezing and snorting. The dog’s owner will frequently describe this as “my dog sounds like it has something stuck in its throat.” Any or all of these signs may be easily brought on by exercise, excitement, or simply rubbing on the dog’s windpipe. In most cases of kennel cough, it is considered to be a self-limiting disease and the dog will recover on its own, without any medical intervention. Most of these dogs will maintain their level of activity and a normal appetite, in spite of the frequent fits of coughing. They usually don’t have a fever or show any listlessness. Puppies and adult dogs with compromised immune systems from other problems are most likely to suffer more serious complications as a result of kennel cough. The main and most serious complication is bronchopneumonia, which would be accompanied by a fever, lack of appetite, lethargy, and a productive cough.


Due to the self-limiting nature of uncomplicated kennel cough, most of these dogs will not need to receive any treatment while they are recovering. Ideally, they will be kept at home, away from other dogs that might be susceptible. Limiting exercise and any form of excitement should help to reduce the “tickling” feeling in their windpipes that brings on the spasms of coughing. Most veterinarians now feel that uncomplicated cases of kennel cough should not be treated with antibiotics. If these dogs need anything at all, it might be beneficial to use a cough suppressant or a bronchodilator, but only on the advice of your veterinarian. For the more complicated or chronic cases, your veterinarian may recommend antibiotics in order to deal with the secondary bacterial components of the infection. The more seriously affected dogs and those with probable bronchopneumonia will need to be hospitalized in order to be more closely monitored.


The best way to prevent your dog from contracting kennel cough is to not expose your dog to other dogs. However, in many situations, this cannot be avoided. That being the case, then having your dog up-to-date on its vaccinations would be the next best protection. Most of the annual vaccines given by your veterinarian will include parainfluenza and adenovirus. The Bordetella vaccine is available as an injectable or an intranasal preparation. The important thing to remember about these vaccines is that your dog needs to have the vaccine several days before being exposed to any of those diseases in order for its immune system to build a decent response. If your dog is going to a boarding kennel or a dog show, don’t wait until the day before to have it vaccinated. Also, it must be pointed out that vaccination is not useful in a dog that is already incubating kennel cough. Spend a little time discussing your dog’s circumstances with your veterinarian in order to put together the proper vaccination program. Have your dog well-protected before a disease exposure moment arises.

There has been some recent research that seems to show that Bordetella bronchiseptica might cause disease in certain humans, especially young children and those with a compromised immune system. Normal, healthy adult humans do not appear to be at risk.

Please send any questions or comments to: or click on the comment icon at the end of this issue and leave your comment.


1) "Clipnosis"…A new technique can calm cats in a veterinarian’s office and at home. Using clips to gently squeeze the skin at the back of a cat's neck before minor veterinary procedures or even a nail-trimming at home is an effective and pain-free way to humanely hold cats that might otherwise put up a fuss, according to a study conducted in the College of Veterinary Medicine of The Ohio State University. Read more about this new technique in the OSU Veterinary School newsletter at:

2) Part 2 of the ASPCA's winter health tips for your pets is here.

Top Ten Cold Weather Tips

Brrrr…it’s cold outside! The following guidelines will help you protect your companion animals when the mercury dips:

  1. Keep your cat inside. Outdoors, felines can freeze, become lost or be stolen, injured or killed. Cats who are allowed to stray are exposed to infectious diseases, including rabies, from other cats, dogs and wildlife.

  2. During the winter, outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars. When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt. If there are outdoor cats in your area, bang loudly on the car hood before starting the engine to give the cat a chance to escape.

  3. Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm—dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure yours always wears ID tags.

  4. Thoroughly wipe off your dog's legs and stomach when he comes in out of the sleet, snow or ice. He can ingest salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking his paws, and his paw pads may also bleed from snow or encrusted ice.

  5. Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. When you bathe your dog in the colder months, be sure to completely dry him before taking him out for a walk. Own a short-haired breed? Consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. For many dogs, this is regulation winter wear.

  6. Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.

  7. Puppies do not tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs, and may be difficult to housebreak during the winter. If your puppy appears to be sensitive to the weather, you may opt to paper-train him inside. If your dog is sensitive to the cold due to age, illness or breed type, take him outdoors only to relieve himself.

  8. Does your dog spend a lot of time engaged in outdoor activities? Increase his supply of food, particularly protein, to keep him—and his fur—in tip-top shape.

  9. Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol. Visit the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center more information.

  10. Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.

Part 3 of the ASPCA's winter health tips will appear next week.


The QuickFinder and QuickFinder Deluxe are a new type of pet nail trimmer that will actually give you a red light or a green light when trimming your pet's nails. Red're too close to the quick. Green're safely away from the quick. Read about these at: Click on either product to learn about its availability.


1) The Top 10 Pet-Safe Vehicles as determined by and reported in Highroads magazine are (in alphabetical order):

  1. Dodge Journey

  2. Ford Flex

  3. GMC Acadia

  4. Hyundai Tucson

  5. Jeep Liberty

  6. Kia Borrego

  7. Mazda 5

  8. Mitsubishi Outlander

  9. Subaru Tribeca

  10. Volvo XC70

The criteria for making this list were pet safety restraints, tri-climate control, fold-flat rear seats, treat holders, and backup cameras.

2) Helpful Buckeye's Aunt Cathy in Florida sent this information about a web site that helps free food and care to be given to animal rescue shelters. Simply go to: and click on the purple icon to start the ball rolling. You can do this once a day. I checked for the credibility of the web site and they declared it as "True."

3) According to a study by a Dublin university, Irish pet owners are much more fond of dogs than they are of cats. To find out some of the reasons, go to:

4) ...But a hidden danger lurks in many lakes and ponds -- toxic blooms of blue-green algae that can be harmful to people and fatal to dogs. These toxins can be neurotoxins, hepatotoxins, and endotoxins. Several cases of human poisoning (and now this dog) have been documented but a lack of knowledge prevents an accurate assessment of the risks. Blue-green algae are probably best known for the extensive and highly visible blooms that can form in freshwater ponds and lakes and can have the appearance of blue-green paint or scum. The association of toxicity with such blooms has frequently led to the closure of recreational waters when blooms are observed. Officials in Minnesota last month warned residents to keep kids and pets away from suspicious looking lakes after linking the algae to the death of a 3-year old black Labrador Retriever, the Minnesota Star Tribune reports. For the rest of the story, read:

5) Due to the recent recall of certain pet treats as described earlier in this issue, perhaps our readers would like to try their hand at making some dog bone treats at home. That way, you can be a little more certain of the safety of the ingredients. For some easy dog bone recipes, go to: and cursor down the page until you get to the list of 9 tasty recipes. Let us know if you try any of these and whether or not your pooch likes them.

For those of you seeking even more pet culinary challenges, you might want to get a copy of the book, The Ultimate Dog Treat Cookbook: Homemade Goodies for Man's Best Friend, which is available at:

6) Now that we've gotten the serious stuff taken care of, let's finish this section with a little "salsa"....

No, not the kind you dip your nachos into...this salsa is the dance. Turn on your speakers and check out this dog doing the salsa. You decide whether the dog needs more practice or not: Desperado gave the dog an "8" and Helpful Buckeye gave it a "9"....


The LA Dodgers announced that Manny Ramirez will be back again next year. That will only be good news if Manny stays away from the forbidden pharmaceuticals that got him suspended for 50 games this past season. He never did get back into his normal style of play after the suspension.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are playing in Denver tomorrow (Monday) night. A win in Denver would keep us in first place in our division, but Denver always seems to enjoy a big home field advantage.

The San Antonio Spurs have lost 2 games this week as they try to get more comfortable with the new players in their lineup.


Helpful Buckeye ran into an unexpected change in biking plans this past week. My bike had a flat front tire while hanging on the rack...I pumped up the pressure to 60 lb...rode 35 miles with no hour after I got back home, the tire was flat again! When getting the problem diagnosed, my bike guru, Lionel, found a long sliver of glass actually puncturing the tire and the tube. Helpful Buckeye decided to go with a Kevlar replacement tire in case there may be more glass slivers in my future.

Galileo felt that discovering truth was important: "All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them." Questions On Dogs and Cats always attempts to help our readers discover some "truths" about their pets.

Albert Schweitzer, the German/French physician and philosopher, had this to say about certain "special" people: "In everyone's life at some time our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit." If you have been rekindled by one of those people, take a minute to thank them this's also very conceivable that a dog or a cat could have done the rekindling?

~~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.~~