Sunday, May 23, 2010


Hooray! some parts of the USA it's still springtime (northern Arizona), while elsewhere, it's making the transition from spring to summer, and then there are the folks in Florida and Phoenix who are completely into their summer frame of mind.  Helpful Buckeye has a few items of interest in this week's issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats concerning springtime and summer concerns for pet owners.  In the meantime, let's get you started on the right foot for a summer attitude with this energetic and imaginative music video that was sent to me by Barbara in Virginia...sit back, turn on your speakers, and enjoy the song and these dogs: 

Those were some well-trained dogs, huh?

Last week's poll questions showed that about half of our cat households have experienced some form of lower urinary tract disease with their cat(s) and that only about 1/3 of our dog households actually do some trail or off-trail hiking with their dog(s).  Be sure to answer this week's poll questions in the column to the left.

Remember that Helpful Buckeye welcomes comments and/or questions by either e-mail or at the "comment" section at the end of each blog issue.  Most readers seem to prefer the e-mail method and that's OK, but the comment section is just as simple.  Please share your thoughts and ideas about dogs and cats...a lot of what is covered in each issue originates from readers' interests.

Helpful Buckeye would like to thank all of our readers who sent notes of congratulations on our 2nd anniversary last week.  Your kind words were really appreciated!


1) The American Kennel Club has lent a helping hand to a humane animal shelter in the Nashville area in the aftermath of the recent massive flooding: 

The problems from that flood in Nashville won't go away overnight but, with help like this, some of the homeless pets might have a better chance of survival.

2) This is National Dog Bite Prevention Week and from Adam Goldfarb, director of the Pets at Risk Program for the Humane Society of the United States, comes this list of tips that might help keep you and your family safe from dog bites:
  • Stay Calm, Move Slowly and Appear Nonthreatening
  • Prepare Your Kids
  • If Attacked, Distract
  • Protect Yourself
  • Be Cautious

For the full information package on these tips, go to:

Helpful Buckeye also covered this topic in one of our very first issues back in 2008: 

3) There appears to be a national trend developing which involves shelter dogs actually being the star "offerings" in pet shops.  Even though this story comes from the Arizona Republic and depicts a pet shop in Los Angeles and one in Phoenix, this same story is being played out all over the USA: 


April showers bring May flowers for sniffing, long walks in the neighborhood and afternoon naps on the lawns. But before you let your pet leap into spring, make sure you're keeping your dogs and cats safe from these seasonal health hazards.  The folks at Paw Nation have offered these tips:

1. Watch Out for Poisonous Flowers

Tulip, hyacinth and daffodil bulbs can damage a dog's mouth and esophagus, causing drooling, vomiting, severe diarrhea or even abnormal heart rhythms, depending on the amount consumed. So be sure to keep bulbs out of reach before planting says Justine Lee, an emergency critical care veterinary specialist and Associate Director of Veterinary Services at the Minneapolis-based Pet Poison Helpline.

When planting, place the bulbs in deeply, surround them with plenty of mulch and then supervise your dog when it's outside to make sure it's not digging them up, Lee advises. Once the flowers are out and have bloomed, they generally don't pose a threat, as it's the bulb that's the most poisonous.

Also be very careful with lilies. Just a couple of leaves from certain lilies, like the day, Asiatic and Japanese varieties, can cause severe kidney failure in cats, according to Lee who said she dug up all the lilies in her yard in case her cat ever gets outside. "My own sister's cat died from it," Lee tells Paw Nation "Cats will always chew on plants. They're just curious and want to try something different. But one or two leaves will kill them."

2. Be Careful With Common Fertilizers

How you treat your yard is very important, as even organic supplements can be toxic to your pet. Blood and bone meal are popular organic fertilizers, and dogs love the taste of these meat-based products. But ingesting blood meal can cause vomiting, diarrhea and severe pancreatic inflammation, while bone meal can create a cement-like ball in the dog's stomach, potentially forming an obstruction in the gastrointestinal tract and requiring surgery to remove.

Another known hazard are rose fertilizers containing disulfoton or other types of organophosphates which can be deadly to a dog. While most dogs wouldn't eat the granules just for fun, gardeners often mix the fertilizer with bone or blood meal, creating a tasty invitation. "The pet will ingest a larger amount of that chemical because it tastes so good, resulting in the ingestion of potentially two toxicities," Lee says. Consider fencing off roses with plastic or chicken wire so dogs can't get into them, says Lee. It might not be pretty, but "it helps protect your pets," she says.
3. Assess Pest Control Around the House and on Your Pet

Spring means ants. What you may not know is that many ant baits use peanut butter, practically luring dogs to nibble on them. In fact, the chemicals inside the baits are relatively innocuous, due to the low concentration of insecticide and small size of the bait, experts say. The biggest risk is a gastrointestinal obstruction from swallowing the plastic. To be safe, keep traps off the floor, placing them instead in areas such as on the counter or in a window sill.

Another big risk for your animals is misuse of flea and tick products. "Dog flea and tick medications can never be used on a cat because they have a different metabolism," Lee says. "They should never apply it without consulting a vet."

You should also learn more about the kind of flea and tick prevention you are using as recently there has been a lot of concerns about the toxicity of certain products. Depending on where you live and what your risks are you may consider some of the natural options for flea and tick control. Discuss your concerns with your vet so that you can come to the best solution together.

Spring is a great time to let your animals roam and if you take the right steps to keep them safe, everyone will be happy.

Helpful Buckeye has also covered this topic in previous issues of Questions On Dogs and Cats:  and 


1) How many of our dog-owning readers have experienced this during a trip to your veterinarian's office?

The following suggestions and advice come from "Dr. Jon":

Some dogs are very stressed when they go to the vet. Some pet owners are, too. Sometimes it is because they are not sure if their dog will behave, they are worried about their dog's health and they are worried about the potential for a costly vet bill.

There are a few things you can do to take the stress out of your vet visit. Here are a few tips to make that dreaded visit safer and more pleasant for you, your pet and the veterinary staff!

1. Consider pet insurance . This can really help you budget for your pet's care and do the best for your pet. This allows you to be free to focus on your pet and what is best without worrying so much about the potential for costly vet bills.

Helpful Buckeye has addressed the topic of pet insurance in several past issues, with many important points being made in: 

2. Get your dog used to other people. Some dogs are very shy around other people and may be "stressed" by going to the veterinarian. Gently introduce your pet to a variety of people and praise him when he accepts them and does well.
3. Some pets may have had a frightening experience at the doctor's office, or they associate the visit with an unpleasant procedure like nail clipping. A dog may feel fearful or protective of his owner in the presence of other dogs. A variety of circumstances can provoke these anxieties. Desensitization helps make your pet feel more confident. Keep the travel kennel out and use it as an everyday object so your dog feels comfortable seeing it. If your vet's office is close, a brisk walk for exercise past the office door and a quick visit for a treat and petting will help make the office a non-threatening place. Your dog may even have a gender preference, preferring either a female or male doctor. If that is the case, the veterinary practice can help accommodate you by scheduling you with the doctor your pet loves best.
4. Many protective dogs become very stressed when their owners are close by. It sometimes works to everyone's benefit to do a physical exam or procedure in a separate room with only veterinary staff in attendance. As much as you want to be with your pet every minute, this is often a simple solution that decreases anxiety.
5. For those dogs that are capable, a period of play or exercise before heading off to the clinic can drain excess energy and calm your pet. If it is okay with your doctor, a bit of play or a walk after the visit helps to diminish fear or anxiety.

2) Another problem for pet owners with summer approaching will be the damage done to a grass lawn by your pets when they urinate and defecate:

Good luck with this problem...some of you will have it and some of you won't.

3) Helpful Buckeye was excited to hear from an aunt and uncle in Florida that they have adopted a 4-year old dog from a rescue association.  We had a very thorough conversation about things they should consider with this new dog, especially since it's been a while since they last had a dog.  One of the things we talked about was house-training a mature dog.  Even though their new acquisition seems to be well-trained, some of you might not be so lucky.  The Humane Society of the United States has these suggestions for those of you who might be acquiring an adult or senior dog with house-training or other issues:

Any dog, even a fully housetrained adult dog, may have house-soiling accidents when he first moves to your home. The stress of new surroundings and a new schedule can disrupt his routine. Usually, once he gets accustomed to your household schedule, the accidents stop. It's also possible he's never been housetrained. Give him a few weeks to settle in to his new home and observe what the dog shows you.

Here are some reasons why adult and senior dogs might have accidents in the house:

Senior dogs

As your dog ages, he may need to eliminate more often than in the past. Just as people can have difficulties as they age, so can dogs. They may not be able to "hold it" as long as they used to. They also may become incontinent. This is not a housetraining issue.

If your senior dog has accidents frequently, your vet should examine him for possible medical problems. If the vet says it's not a medical issue, you will have to manage the situation instead of trying to housetrain the dog.

If you are at work all day, you may need to:

Hire a pet sitter to visit your dog to let him outside.

Confine him to a room of the house where accidents will be easy to clean up.

Try sanitary products on your dog, such as doggie diapers. They fit like little pants and hold a disposable absorbent pad to catch the urine. These work best on female dogs. Belly bands—fabric bands that wrap around the dog's waist and contain an absorbent pad—are available for male dogs. They're available at most pet stores and online.

Small dogs

Because of their short legs and small size, you may need to make some special accommodations for your small dog:

Provide a sheltered spot near the house or under a porch or deck for your dog to eliminate in bad weather.

Provide a bathroom spot covered with mulch or gravel so your little dog won't have tall and/or wet grass pressing against his tummy when he eliminates.

Clear a path or other area for your dog to eliminate when it snows.

Other types of house-soiling problems

If you've consistently followed the housetraining procedures and your dog continues to eliminate in the house, there may be another reason for his behavior, such as:

Medical problems: House-soiling can often be caused by physical problems such as a urinary tract infection, a parasite infection, or even a seizure. Check with your veterinarian to rule out any possibility of disease or illness.

Submissive or excitement urination: Some dogs, especially young ones, temporarily lose control of their bladders when they become excited or feel threatened. Submissive or excitement urination usually occurs during greetings or periods of intense play, or when they're about to be punished.

Territorial urine marking: Dogs sometimes deposit small amounts of urine or feces to scent-mark their territory. Both male and female dogs do this, and it most often occurs when they believe their territory has been invaded.

Separation anxiety: Dogs who become anxious when they're left alone may house-soil as a result. Usually, there are other symptoms as well, such as destructive behavior or vocalization.

Fears or phobias: When animals become frightened, they may lose control of their bladder and/or bowels. If your puppy is afraid of loud noises, such as thunderstorms or fireworks, he may house soil when he's exposed to these sounds.


1) Here's a really expensive cat "toy" that many of you have at home.  The only question about this is "Would you let your cat do this"....  

2) Then again, not all cats are prone to getting into that kind of trouble.  Here's a kitten that will probably never get into long as it is nap time: 

3) More than 500 police dogs across the USA have been the recipients of Kevlar bulletproof and stab-proof vests, as related in this really interesting account: 

Susie Jean of Socorro, NM is truly a "Guardian Angel" for those police dogs!

4) For any of our readers who might have been thinking about making a few extra dollars by being a dog walker, here's an in-depth interview with a woman in Brooklyn, NY who has done just that...and has been a success at it: 

5) The last item related to spring/summer concerns pet safety around a swimming pool: 

The main points of this article are:
  • Evaluate your pooch
  • Be careful with "protective" gear
  • Consider the chlorine
  • Work on training


Helpful Buckeye told you 6 weeks ago that there would be no more reports on the LA Dodgers until they showed that they were serious about playing some good baseball.  Well, the Dodgers are now back in first place in the NL West division and have won 13 of their last 14 games.  This is quite a turnaround!

Unless the Phoenix Suns can win a few games at home, it looks like the NBA finals will feature the Celtics and the Lakers.


Yes, it's back to "bike with square tires" time here in Flagstaff.  The last couple of weeks have featured several days with sustained winds of 35-45 MPH and gusts in the 50-60 MPH range.  Needless to say, Helpful Buckeye finds no joy in trying to compete with that, so...riding the stationary bike in the gym has been the smart choice!

~~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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