Sunday, May 30, 2010


The observance of Memorial Day is a time for all of us to remember that "Freedom Isn't Free".  We should take the time to honor those who served and sacrificed for our country and recall that, even though the sentiment should be felt year-round, Memorial Day was set aside for this special attention.

While biking this past month, Helpful Buckeye came upon two different species of birds, both of which are only seasonal visitors to the Flagstaff area.  They have a bit of similarity in their appearance.  Any of our readers who enjoy bird identification are welcome to send in their guesses as to what these birds are.  Apologies to our readers east of the Mississippi River because you aren't likely to see these at home...but, perhaps on one of your visits to the West.  Send your guesses to:

Last week's poll questions revealed that 3/4 of respondents who had been bitten by a dog required a visit for medical care AND that only about 1/3 of our readers had a dog or cat that hated the trip to the veterinarian.  Several of you e-mailed that you really liked the photo of the dog that refused to enter the exam room.  Be sure to respond to this week's poll questions in the column to the left. 


1) The Discovery Channel had a program this past week that included a segment on veterinary toxicologists and their contributions to our society.  Take a few minutes and view the'll come away with a broader range of awareness and respect for the training these veterinarians have achieved:  and click on the "Broadcast Documentary (4 minutes 32 seconds)".

2) With Great Danes set to take center stage in the release of "Marmaduke," the American Kennel Club® and the Great Dane Club of America would like to remind moviegoers about the importance of making wise, educated decisions when it comes to adding a dog to the home...and not to become starstruck by the appeal of the Great Danes in the movie.  The Great Dane Club of America reminds you that: "Everything is bigger when you own a Great Dane. They eat a lot of food and take up a lot of space in your home and car. We recommend that families meet several full grown adult Great Danes to make sure they understand how large this breed really is."

The rest of the press release, along with a lot more interesting information about Great Danes, is at:

3)  The AKC has also started to allow some mingling between pure breed dogs and mutts at some of their dog shows.  Mixed breed dogs won't be able to compete in the show ring of the "beauty" competitions but they will be competing in the skill contests.  Read the rest of the story at: 


By the time most of you are able to read this issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats, you will have already had your Memorial Day picnics and parties. That's OK because this advice applies not only to Memorial Day picnics but also to any get-together for the rest of the summer that might include your dogs. This information comes from the ASPCA:

As the country dons its shorts and sunhats this Memorial Day weekend, nothing says “unofficial” start of summer like a good old-fashioned barbecue or outdoor picnic. But what’s festive for us can be downright dangerous for our furry friends.

Even if your pooch is a pro picnicker, the ASPCA recommends keeping it indoors as much as possible during backyard parties. From toxic food and beverages to raucous guests, a barbecue is a minefield of potential pet problems.

“Even the most timid dog can leap a six-foot fence if he’s spooked by loud noises,” says Dr. Pamela Reid, Vice President of the ASPCA Animal Behavior Center. If your dog shows signs of distress from boisterous revelers, Dr. Reid suggests giving it a Kong toy stuffed with peanut butter. “The persistent licking should calm his nerves,” she says.

Here’s some more expert advice to keep your pet safe and sound this Memorial Day:

  • Since alcohol is potentially poisonous to pets, place all wine, beer and spirits well out of paws’ reach.
  • Stick with your pet’s normal diet—any change, even for a day, can result in an upset stomach. Certain foods like onions, avocado, chocolate, grapes and raisins are especially toxic to pets.
  • Avoid lathering your pet with any insect repellent or sunscreen not intended for the four-legged kind. Ingestion can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy.
  • Keep your pet away from matches, citronella candles and lighter fluid, which if eaten can irritate the stomach, lungs and central nervous system.
  • Don’t leave pets unsupervised around a pool or lake—not all dogs are expert swimmers! Also, pools aren’t large water bowls—they contain chlorine and other toxic chemicals that can cause stomach upset.
As always, if you suspect your pet has ingested something poisonous from the picnic table, please contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) at (888) 426-4435.


It's bad news for the snarling, angry dog on the corner, but good news for the mailman he terrorizes. Scientists have discovered that bold, aggressive dogs live much shorter lives than shy, obedient pooches, the New York Times reports.

Vincent Careau, of the University of Sherbrooke in Quebec, Canada, and his colleagues came to that conclusion by comparing numerous dog breeds based on their personalities. For example, poodles are ranked as 29 percent more docile than boxers, and Careau's team found that poodles are four times more likely than boxers to live past age 10.

Beyond simply looking at aggressiveness, the researchers also found that the most obedient breeds, such as German shepherds, poodles, and bichon frises, live considerably longer than hard-to-train dogs such as beagles and pomeranians, according to New Scientist. Careau used personality data based on a 1995 psychology study that ranked dog personalities, the New York Times reports, and also compared dogs of similar size.

Call it karma, or a mere accident of selective breeding, but for dogs, it seems, it pays to be good.

This news item was also reported at: 

Helpful Buckeye will be the first to say that this is an interesting conclusion; however, personal experience has shown that it's difficult to compare breeds of dogs that are of different size or to neglect certain breed predispositions for certain diseases, such as the high incidence of cancer in Boxers.


The Busy Buddy Tug-a-Jug has been receiving a lot of attention lately. Watch this video of various dogs enjoying the Tug-a-Jug:

As you can see, the Tug-a-Jug can be used to dispense treats or small pieces of dog food as rewards for training exercises. You can order these at:


1) OK, all of you dog owners out there in cyberland...when you come home, how does your dog greet you?  See if the folks in this video have the same experience as you: 

2) Cats, rats and other predators produce a chemical signal that terrifies mice, according to new research.  Specific proteins found in cat saliva act on cells in a special sensory organ in the mouse, called the vomeronasal organ. The research team describe in the journal Cell how the proteins trigger a fearful reaction in the mice. This shows that mice, and possibly other mammals, have evolved receptors that are able to pick up chemical signals from other species.  More details available at: 

3) If it can be said that mice have a "nose" for cats, then Owen, a Labrador Retriever, definitely has a "nose" for the vapor-wake of explosives.  Read this interesting account of a new group of dogs that have been bred and trained to detect the scent plume of air that comes wafting off a person, such as a suicide bomber, wearing an explosive device: 

4) Summer weather seems to bring with it an increase of certain activities.  One of those is charitable events such as "surfing dogs"....

A recent benefit held for the San Diego Police Canine Unit attracted 65 dogs on surfboards.  Check out the story and watch the surfboard antics of some of the dogs at:  

5) Someone has put together a video with various tidbits of "life advice" featuring animals.  Enjoy: 


The LA Lakers ended the season of the Phoenix Suns last night and will now move on to face the Boston Celtics in the NBA finals.  This should be a fun series to watch...not just for all the great players involved, but also because of the history of these two franchises playing each other in previous finals.

The LA Dodgers have made it back from last place in the NL West division to only 1 game out of first place.  Not bad for a team with a pitching staff that is not top notch and several of our starters on the disabled list.  Now that we are able to compete for the top spot, the rest of the season should be fun to watch!


Now that our spring winds have started to taper off, Helpful Buckeye has been able to ride outdoors a lot more. 

A couple of quotes from Will Rogers caught my eye this week.  First, for Charlene and Ken: "When the Oakies left Oklahoma and moved to California, it raised the I.Q. of both states."

and, secondly, as a reflection on the economy of the past 2 years: "The time to save is now. When a dog gets a bone, he doesn't go out and make a down payment on a bigger bone. He buries the one he's got."

~~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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