Sunday, April 4, 2010


Most of the USA is either already into their "SPRINGTIME" season or is just now getting their first dose.  SPRINGTIME CONCERNS don't have to necessarily carry negative or positive connotations.  This is always a good time of the year for a reminder of what all dog and cat owners should be aware of as their pets get ready to face the challenges and excitement of being outdoors again in warmer weather.  The main topic of this week's issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats will address that reminder so that all of our dog- and cat-owning readers can prepare their pets for a safe and enjoyable "SPRINGTIME".

Desperado, Helpful Buckeye, and our 2 favorite Cowpokes decided to change our environment a little yesterday and experience the "SPRINGTIME" differences between Flagstaff and Sedona.  The decrease in elevation of just 2000 ft. allowed us to eat lunch outdoors in a beautiful setting with warm sun for our companion.

The timing of this issue couldn't be any better since the Major League Baseball season begins tonight.  Baseball is still "America's Pastime" as far as Helpful Buckeye is concerned.  As in past years, it's time to listen to John Fogerty perform "Centerfield".  Enjoy: There are some great old-time baseball clips included as the background to this video.  How many of these players do you recognize?  As the words to the song go, "Put me in, coach....",

"I'm ready to!"

We had several interesting e-mail responses to both of our poll questions last week.  Almost all of the 19 responses (17) about the dog "washing machine" said they were either skeptical about the idea or would never put their dog into one.  That's pretty conclusive.  As for the question on barking dogs, the answers were more diverse, reflecting the thought that a barking dog is maybe only a problem if it's someone else's dog.  That conclusion may be a large part of why this situation can never be solved to everyone's satisfaction.  Be sure to answer this week's poll question in the column to the left.


The American Veterinary Medical Association has released this notice from the Better Business Bureau pertaining to a recent warning about a pet product:
Based on a number of consumer complaints that dogs became seriously ill or died from internal damage due to bone fragments, the Better Business Bureau issued a statement cautioning pet owners about feeding Dynamic Products' Real Ham Bone for Dogs to their pets. According to media reports, the FDA is investigating the complaints.
As part of the FDA investigation, the following guidelines have been released:

“Knick-Knack Paddywhack”—DON’T Give Your Dog a Bone!

You’ve just finished a big weekend family dinner and you are wondering what to do with the bones from the ham and roast, when in trots your big black Labrador Retriever. He longingly looks at the bones, and gives you his saddest puppy eyes. You fall for his begging and think that the bones would be perfect for him to chew on. Even though your vet has told you before that it’s a bad idea to give bones to your dog, you still think that these particular bones are big enough that your dog won’t get hurt. After all, he hasn’t had problems chewing on bones in the past, so what harm could these two bones do? Well, here are 11 reasons why you should think twice before giving your dog any bones to chew on:

1. Broken teeth. (Veterinary dentistry—very expensive)

2. Mouth or tongue injuries. (Very bloody and messy.)

3. Bone could get stuck around the dog’s lower jaw. (May look funny, but it’s not. Time to see your vet.)

4. Bone could get stuck in your dog’s esophagus (food tube). (Time to see your vet.)

5. Bone could get stuck in your dog’s windpipe if he accidentally inhales a small enough piece. (This is an emergency! Very dangerous.)

6. Bone can get stuck in the stomach. (It went in just fine, but is too big to pass out of the stomach into the intestines. Time for surgery.)

7. Bone can get stuck in the intestines and cause a major blockage. (Time for surgery.)

8. Constipation due to bone shards. (Your dog can’t pass the bone shards because they’re very sharp and are scraping the inside of your dog’s intestines, causing him severe pain. Time to see your vet.)

9. Severe bleeding from the rectum. (Known in veterinary speak as Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis—or HGE. Very messy and dangerous.)

10. Peritonitis. (A nasty, difficult-to-treat bacterial infection of the abdomen caused when bone shards poke holes in your dog’s stomach or intestines. This can kill your dog.)

11. Death.

Always talk with your veterinarian first before you give bones to your dog. And always, if your dog “just isn’t acting right,” call your vet right away!

This report is available at the FDA's web site:


Spring represents a time of growth and renewal—but not everything that springs forth this season is good for dogs. With a little awareness and a few simple precautions, dog owners can prevent many of the problems that arise with warmer weather and keep their dogs safe and healthy.  The following was presented by Liam Crowe, CEO and Master Dog Behavioral Therapist, Bark Busters USA, in a column for SPCA International.

Following these simple pointers will help you to ward off spring’s primary culprits.

Heartworm infection

The American Heartworm Society recommends that all dogs be tested annually for heartworm infection. Transmitted by mosquitoes, this serious parasitic disease can be fatal. Fortunately, your veterinarian offers a variety of options for preventing heartworm infection, including an injection, daily and monthly tablets, and monthly topical medications.

Fleas and ticks

Fleas and ticks can cause a host of problems, from flea allergy dermatitis to Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. In large enough numbers, both ticks and fleas can also cause dangerous amounts of blood loss, especially in young dogs. While a number of flea and tick prevention options are available today, monthly spot-on topicals and oral tablets offer convenience and effectiveness in protecting your dog. Ask your veterinarian for more information.

Spring allergies

Blooming plants, grasses and flowers can trigger atopy, an allergy similar to hay fever. But instead of sneezing, a dog typically develops itchy skin and will persistently scratch, lick and bite to get relief. If you suspect that your pooch may be suffering from seasonal allergies, visit your veterinarian for recommended allergy treatments. These can range from oral medications (like cortisone) to skin tests that pinpoint allergies in more severe cases.

Poisonous plants

Inquisitive dogs might see those fragrant spring blooms as a tasty snack, but dogs can become extremely ill or even die from eating poisonous plants. Ask your vet for a list of poisonous plants you’ll want to avoid having in your garden. You can also help prevent your dog from digging by not gardening with your dog present—he may conclude that digging is acceptable and enjoy digging to underground pipes or chewing on sprinkler heads.

Lawn hazards

If a lawn—yours or another’s—has been treated with fertilizers, herbicides or insecticides, do not let your dog walk on it until these potentially dangerous treatments have dried completely.

Unpleasant odors

If your furry friend has taken on an offensive aroma over the winter, find out where the smell is coming from. Odor in your dog’s mouth could mean dental problems, digestive problems or underlying internal diseases, such as kidney problems or diabetes. If his teeth are discolored or he has an odor worse than his usual doggie breath, have your veterinarian perform a dental exam. Next, check his ears. If the skin inside is red or sore, if the ear has a bad smell, or if your dog reacts in pain when you examine his ears, have your vet check him for an ear infection. Also check your dog’s skin for the common disorder seborrhea, usually characterized by flaky dandruff or an oily, waxy feel to the coat and a strong odor. You can prevent this by frequently bathing your dog with a medicated shampoo that your veterinarian can recommend. Finally, an infection or anal gland problems can also lead to odor and discomfort, in which case your dog will need to be seen by your veterinarian.

Enjoy the Outdoors and Reinforce Training

In addition to the above health and safety tips, Crowe also suggests taking advantage of the longer days and warmer temperature to refresh your training skills and build upon your relationship with your dog. “Remember that we all tend to hibernate a little over the winter. Spring is an invitation to renew our commitment to exercise and a more active lifestyle for us and our dogs,” added Crowe. “After a long winter, your dog may have forgotten his manners about walking properly on leash. Start out slowly and reestablish the proper leash rules for you and your dog’s safety. Using basic obedience disciplines you can help reinforce the relationship you want to have with your dog. Walking to heel, coming when called, and gate manners are some of the basics that can sharpen your dog’s response to you and build a stronger relationship.


With all the attention the Health Care Reform package has been receiving as it worked its way through Congress, is it any wonder that those same concerns might be applied to our pets?  The following was written by Dr. Jon, at:

Health care seems to be the issue on everybody's minds these days and, try as we may, we just can't seem to agree on the right course of action.

It's a tough problem. Medical advances have made it possible to treat and cure illnesses that were previously untreatable. There is a better standard of care. But that care is costly. Many Americans are finding it difficult to meet those costs for their families - including their pets.

We all want to make health care more affordable and available to everyone, but who will pay for it and what will it mean to the future of our health care system?

And what about our pets? Pet health care is equally as expensive. Pet owners face the same dilemma as parents. Pet illnesses, accidents and injuries can also be very expensive to treat, but as good pet parents it is up to us to keep our pets healthy.

So what happens when our pets get sick?

When pet owners can't afford to pay for the medical treatment their pets need, many of these pets must be euthanized. That's an outcome no one wants to see.

So what can you do? We can pretty much rule out a universal health care plan for pets - that's a given. If we can't decide how to fund human health care we will never agree on a plan for pets. So what options do we have?

I always encourage pet owners to put some money aside every month in a health care fund for their pets. That way, if something happens, you'll have the money to cover your pet's treatment costs.

Unfortunately, saving money isn't easy - especially in this economy. For many of us, it's hard to put money aside every month without spending it.

Would a big medical bill be a hardship for you? If you're not good at saving money, I recommend pet insurance. For a small monthly payment, your pet can get the medical care he needs - and you will have the peace mind you need. I know I talk about pet insurance a lot, but that's because I really do believe in it. To find out if pet insurance is right for you, go to You'll be glad you did.

Until next time,

Dr. Jon

Helpful Buckeye has presented a comprehensive summary of pet health insurance coverage in a previous issues of Questions On Dogs and Cats at:


1) For those of you who walk your dog after dark and would like to have a little more protection, here's a lighted dog leash that might appeal to you.  You can buy this leash at: 
2) To help get the loose hair out of your pet's winter hair coat, the FurBuster might be just what you need.  The FurBuster can be found at: 


1) With the 15th of April rapidly approaching, how many of our readers have considered using your dogs and/or cats as a tax deduction?  Look at what the IRS has allowed:

No, You Can't Deduct Fido's Daycare

There are about 75 million household dogs in the U.S. That means millions of pooches are left at home alone each day. To ease his pup's unhappiness, one taxpayer hired somebody to come to his home and watch his dog while the owner went off to work.  The IRS howled, however, when the taxpayer tried to deduct the cost by using a day-care tax credit intended for children and legal dependents. Pets do not qualify.

Maybe the IRS just prefers cats ….

"Here, Kitty-Kitty-Kitty!"

These junkyard owners had finally had enough of a nasty snake and rat problem, so they cleverly set out bowls of pet food each night to attract wild cats. The cats not only ate the pet food, they also took care of the junkyard's unwanted guests. Because the wild cats made the business safer for customers, the pet food was deductible as a business expense. Sounds like the purr-fect solution!

These accounts are from:

2) Go to:  and click on the "play" icon for a great display of what various dog activities look like at 1000 frames per second.  You'll be impressed!

3) For an interesting account of the life of a "rescued" American Eskimo sled-dog, read Sharon Peters' story from the USA Today:

4) Your children may have fought over a bed at one time, but have you ever seen a dog and a cat do it?  Watch this:

5) Most pet owners have "buried" their deceased pets in some manner or other.  However, some pet owners really do go the extra mile when it comes to a funeral and burial for their pets.  Read about some of these burials at:

Helpful Buckeye presented an overview of Pet Cemeteries in a previous issue:

6)  Helpful Buckeye was reading a newsletter from Trader Joe's about maintaining a sustainable seafood source and this statement stood out:

If you study any sort of fish deeply, you'll find a web of confusion and disagreements that nearly always comes down to the conclusion that too many fish are being caught, with too much collateral damage. Tara Austen Weaver, the food writer, reported one visible sign: In British Columbia, eagles have taken to eating chickens and cats because of a shortage of salmon in rivers once so thick with them that bears had only to hold their mouths open midstream in spawning season to get all they could gulp down.

Now, I don't know about you but, if I lived in British Columbia and had an outdoor cat, I'd be looking out for eagles!  read the whole article at:     
As reported at the beginning of this issue, Major League Baseball begins the regular season tonight.  The LA Dodgers won't play their first game until tomorrow, in Pittsburgh, against the Pirates.  Our team will have a big question mark by its name the whole season due to the attention-getting divorce proceedings of our owner and his wife.  Whether it will be a major distraction or not...remains to be seen.

College basketball's final game that will determine the National Champion will be played tomorrow evening between Duke and Butler.  Since Helpful Buckeye has been cheering for "Anybody But Duke" all through this tournament, you know that my favorite will be the Butler Bulldogs.

~~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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