Sunday, July 25, 2010


Now that we have your undivided attention, let's look ahead at some of our upcoming topics here at Questions On Dogs and Cats.  Helpful Buckeye receives numerous e-mails each week with questions about dog and cat health problems...some of these, we've already covered thoroughly; others, not at all.  That's one of the engines that keeps this blog running so smoothly...reader input!  Remember what Helpful Buckeye said way back when we began this blog: "This blog will be a 2-way street of information flow."

Some of our upcoming topics will cover "Pet Peeves" about pets, Cat wellness care, Cat nursing care, Pet Obesity, and Snake bites.

As a reminder, if you have any questions or comments for Helpful Buckeye, send them to: or post them at the "Comment" icon at the end of this issue.

More than half of our readers have NOT had a pet show signs of heat exhaustion.  That's great!  Almost all of our readers have NEVER shipped a pet by air and the few who did have not experienced a problem in doing so.  That's also great!  The best news, though, is that about 90% of our readers REGULARLY give their dogs heartworm preventative medication.  That's really great!  Be sure to answer this week's poll questions in the column to the left.


Following closely on the heels of Massachusetts, Illinois has become the 14th state to require a different formulation in the makeup of antifreeze.  Their Governor signed the bill this past week.  For more information on this story, go to:

New Hampshire and Ohio still have legislation pending at this time on this antifreeze concern.


One of the most common questions received by Helpful Buckeye is, "Will it hurt for my dog (or cat) to eat....?"  Almost always, the questioner is asking about something usually eaten by a human. 

The ASPCA has put together a pretty comprehensive list of human foods with corresponding health effects on dogs and cats, if any, of each item.

People Foods

Have you heard that a specific product or substance could be dangerous to your pets? Our experts at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center set the record straight. As the premier animal poison control center in North America, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center is your best resource for any animal poison-related emergency, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you think that your pet may have ingested a potentially poisonous substance, make the call that can make all the difference: (888) 426-4435. A $65 consultation fee may be applied to your credit card.

• Acai Berry and Pomegranate
• Almonds
• Anise Oil
• Apples
• Brazil Nuts
• Canned Tuna
• Carob Chips
• Cheese
• Chocolate
• Cocoa Powder
• Coconut Products
• Compost
• Coriander and Parsley
• Corn
• Cranberries
• Cranberry juice
• Cucumber
• Dog Food Containing Avocado
• Eggs
• Flaxseed
• Food Coloring
• French Fries
• Grapes
• Grapeseed Oil
• Grease
• Green Tea
• Herbs
• Ice
• Juice and other Beverages
• Lemon Seeds
• Luncheon Meat
• Melon
• Milk
• Mushrooms
• Nutmeg
• Oranges
• Pepper
• Pistachios and Peanuts
• Popcorn
• Potatoes
• Pretzels
• Raisins
• Shrimp
• Sorbitol
• Spices
• Spinach
• Steak Fat
• Sweeteners
• Table and Wine Grapes
• Tomatoes
• Treats with Garlic
• Turkey
• Venison
• Water chestnuts
• Watermelon
• Wine
• Yogurt
• Zucchini

As you can see, this is an interesting list of fairly common foods and perhaps many of you have already offered some of these to your pets.  For the really important information on any dangers involved with each of these items, go to:  and click on the specific food.  Helpful Buckeye suggests that you keep this web site as a "Favorite" on your computer for future consultation.


1) As a follow-up of last week's mention of problems associated with air travel by your pets, the US Department of Transportation has listed the airlines considered to be the most problematic for flying pets.  The US DOT says that Continental, Delta, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, and United have had the most reported incidents, in that order.  Read the details at:

Another related article provides more details:

2) How many of you have had a dog or cat get mixed up with a skunk and come back to you smelling like, well...a skunk?  Veterinarians are presented with this problem more than you can imagine.  There have been many remedies proposed over the years, but none of them are perfect.  Listen to this helpful podcast from the American Veterinary Medical Association that will describe the best way to resolve this problem, along with a cautionary advisory about skunks:

Our favorite quote source, Mark Twain, had this to say about polecats (skunks): "While a polecat is undoubtedly a comely and graceful animal to look at, none but an angel can get any real joy out of its company."  From-- "The Chronicle of Young Satan"

3) Many parts of the USA are hot and humid during the summer months and some dog owners wonder about the benefits, if any, of shaving their dog's hair coat for the summer.

As the summer heat escalates to oven-like temperatures, the thought of donning a fur coat may be unbearable. So how can you help ease your dog's discomfort during sweat-inducing heat spells? Paw Nation, at:  spoke with Beth Recchia, Owner and Director of Furry Tails Grooming Salon and School of Pet Grooming and Kathleen White, Owner of The South Carolina School of Dog Grooming about how to groom your dog's fur for optimal coolness.

Here is the question everyone asks: Should pet owners shave their dogs for the summer?

Some dog owners think their pooch would be more comfortable shaved, but many professionals insist that dogs' coats are already equipped to deal with hot temperatures. "I believe that all dogs should be left in their natural coat if possible," said White. "We sometimes have to give in to what the customer wants, but a dog's coat insulates them for hot and cold weather."

If the owner does prefer to pare down the fur, which type of haircut is best for dogs in the hot weather?

Hair styles do vary by breed, but Recchia recommends a generic "buzz cut" for her furry clients rather than shaving. "It's a very short cut which removes excess fur, thus preventing shedding," she tells us. "[Dogs] are much easier to bathe over the summer with less fur, and it's also great for preventing ticks and fleas. You can spot pests much more easily."

White advises her customers to allow the groomer to leave some fur for sunburn protection and insulation.

Are there certain areas on a dog's body that should be groomed shorter or kept longer during the summer?

Dog hair can grow in inconvenient locations, poking your pooch in the eyes, or another area that may become especially annoying in extreme heat. Cutting particular areas shorter during the summer is a personal preference according to Recchia, but she said "a lot of owners like the face taken shorter to prevent hair from getting in their pet's face and mouth."

What are some precautions pet owners can take to prevent sunburn?

Humans aren't the only ones who can suffer from a nasty sunburn! Take precautions to prevent your pet's skin from sun damage. "Avoid direct sunlight and keeping your pets outside too long in the extreme heat," said Recchia. "Baby suntan lotion works well on very [short-haired] breeds and hairless breeds. It also works well on the nose area."

Some people use sun protection designed specifically for animals such as Veterinarians Best Sunscreen for Dogs...available at:


1) For those of you traveling with your pets this summer, a new source for pet travel carriers is available at: 

This web site ties in to one of the topics under "General Interest" just below.

2) Helpful Buckeye recently received a nice complimentary note from the folks at Nice Dog Shop.  Check out their offerings at:


1) An interesting web site has been gaining popularity as more pet owners are either moving and taking their pets with them or just shipping their pets to another destination.  Check out the services and information they offer at:

2) Not only are a lot of families suffering through the agonies of foreclosure of their homes, but also their pets are being victimized by the same crises.  Read about some of the terrible scenarios occurring in the USA: 

3) The prestigious Mayo Clinic supports the benefits of pet therapy in helping humans heal.  One of their experts in palliative care offers this:,%202010

4) Desperado and Helpful Buckeye saw a double rainbow this past the western sky in the morning AND in the eastern sky in late afternoon.  One of those was special, but two in one day made it a very special day!  I know how thrilled we were to see both double rainbows, so it's easy to understand this cat's reaction:

NFL training camps open up this coming week, which is good news for a disgruntled baseball!  Helpful Buckeye and Desperado will be in western Pennsylvania this coming weekend, only 5 miles from the training camp of the Pittsburgh Steelers, but...until the Steelers show how they are going to work their way through our QB's off-the-field problems, I'm not such a big fan anymore.  It's family reunion time anyway....

When we get back home to Flagstaff, the AZ Cardinals will have just opened their camp here in town on the NAU campus.  Helpful Buckeye will be spending at least a few days watching their practices.  The Cardinals have put together 2 really solid seasons and are featuring a couple of very good players from my alma maters: Ohio State (Beanie Wells) and Pitt (Larry Fitzgerald).  If things don't turn out OK with the Steelers, the Cardinals will be a fun team to follow.


It was Benjamin Franklin (also from Pennsylvania) who said, "Family and guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days."  Since we will be in PA for 4 days and parts of 2 others, we will be slightly over the limit.  We'll let you know how that works out.  The chauffeurs (Mr./Ms. Cowpoke) who will be picking us up at the airport upon our return will be the first to know....

~~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.~~

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Several weeks ago, Helpful Buckeye offered a video clip of the movie Hachi...a story about a Japanese Akita dog and his unending devotion to his adoptive owner.  The movie never made it to Flagstaff so I had to wait until I could borrow the DVD from the library.  Desperado and Helpful Buckeye watched it this past week and really enjoyed the performances of Richard Gere and Joan Allen.  If you haven't already seen it, be sure to get yourself a copy...and have a box of Kleenex handy.

Veronica, from Milwaukee, sent the following e-mail:

Helpful Buckeye, I just started reading your blog a couple of months ago (found it on Google) and have really seen lots of interesting ideas for my dog.  After reading each week's blog, I've also begun to pick out 2-3 topics at random from the labels list and read what shows up.  This allows me to learn even more for my dog, in addition to catching up with previous issues of the blog.

Thanks, Veronica, for the kind words...and for the suggestion for all of our readers to use the list of topics found in the left column under the heading of Labels.

Half of respondents to the question about contracting poison ivy from a pet said they had not and half said they weren't sure about it.  None of our readers said they would buy ice cream from the company that used a kitten in their ad.  100% said "no sale!"  Be sure to answer this week's poll questions in the column to the left.


Every week is different concerning the amount of news being generated about dogs and cats.  Some weeks only have a single item of interest, while others, such as this one, are loaded.  Enjoy....

1) More recalls of  pet products have materialized:
Feline’s Pride recalls Natural Chicken Formula Cat Food...Merrick Pet Care recalls Beef Filet Squares 10oz Bag...United Pet Group expands recall...Iams recalls canned cat food for insufficient thiamine.
The reference for the list of product numbers of the first 3 of these is at:  and the reference for the Iams products is at: 

2) The city of Vienna, Austria, has introduced a ban on dangerous breeds of dogs.  Last week, the city passed a controversial new law that will require the owners of so-called "fight dogs" to carry a license proving they can keep their pets in check.  Needless to say, several pet organizations have stood up to fight this ordinance.  Determine for yourself which way to go with this one:

3) The city of Austin, Texas, has unanimously passed an ordinance banning  retail sales of cats and dogs that are not spayed or neutered.  The ban is meant to strike a blow against puppy mills and other uncontrolled sources of pets.  Read the whole story at:

4) Massachusetts is poised to become the 13th state to require a different formulation in the makeup of antifreeze.  The other states with similar legislation are: Arizona, California, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin. Similar legislation has been approved by the Illinois Legislature, and awaits the Governor's signature. Bills are still pending in New Hampshire and Ohio. Check out the rest of the story:

To read about the dangers of the current form of antifreeze, refer to this previous issue of the blog:

5) An estimated 500,000 pets are affected annually by home fires, however, nearly 1,000 house fires each year are accidentally started by the homeowners’ pets, according to a new data analysis by the National Fire Protection Association.  The American Kennel Club has put together a comprehensive list of how to keep your pets safe and to help prevent them from starting house fires:


1) Even though heat exhaustion has been a repeat subject here at Questions On Dogs and Cats, the broad-ranging heat waves all over the USA this summer justify further mention of this serious problem.  The American Veterinary Medical Association is taking a proactive stance in preventing heat exhaustion:  "It's only the second week in July, and already the summer of 2010 has produced record-setting heat waves in many cities, including New York, Boston and Washington, D.C.," said Dr. W. Ron DeHaven, chief executive officer of the AVMA. "When the heat rises, it can be a dangerous time for pets.  Signs of heat stroke include hard panting, staggering gate, rapid heartbeat, listlessness, restlessness, dark red or purple gums and tongue, and vomiting."  Read the rest of their advice at:  and watch this short video on heat related problems: 

2) Since we are well into the summer and mosquitoes are well-distributed across the USA, this would be the time for a quick review of the dangers of heartworm infection.  The AVMA's new podcast provides some interesting refreshers on heartworms:

For a more extensive review of heartworms in dogs, go back to Helpful Buckeye's column in an earlier issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats at:


1) Both of these items address the problems associated with air travel by your pets.  If your dog is one of the short-faced (brachycephalic) breeds, it might experience respiratory difficulties when flying.  Learn about it before your pet flies:

Another reference that includes death rates of specific breeds of dogs while flying is at: 

2) To help you sort through all the offerings and restrictions for flying your pets on the various airlines, had provided this nice chart that decodes airline pet policies: 


Running with the heat wave theme, here are some interesting warm weather products for your pets, ranging from an antimicrobial beach collar to a crate fan to a water bottle with a built-in dish.  See the rest of these products and where you can purchase them at: 


1) Oscar, a cat in England, has been roaming his neighborhood and bringing underpants back home.  His owners, who have been keeping Oscar as a foster cat, did let the local police know what was going on so that the neighborhood wouldn't be alarmed of a "panty-stealing" thief in their midst.  Even so, the owners have decided to permanently adopt Oscar, including presumably the underwear collection.  Check out the whole story at:

2) A dog in Pennsylvania possibly saved himself from a serious problem or even death by honking the car horn after being closed in a hot car accidentally by his owner.  The honking did get her attention and Max was rescued unharmed: 

3)  To answer the long-standing question of which is more expensive to keep, cats or dogs, this column goes through a pretty thorough breakdown of expenses:
4) Helpful Buckeye did a short informative piece on how to remove a tick from your pet several issues ago.  Now, the Mayo Clinic provides a good description of what a person should do if they find a tick embedded on their own body: 

Good advice that's easy to follow.

5) Since we've already made several references to dogs having free access to adequate water during these hot months, Helpful Buckeye thought our readers might enjoy watching the actual mechanism employed by dogs in order to get water into their mouth.  Watch this video (more than once, if necessary) and see if you can pick up the technique:

Helpful Buckeye will not be burdening you any more this year with tales of the hapless LA Dodgers.  Their antics the last 4 days against the Cardinals remind me of a famous quote by John McKay, former head coach of the old Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  During a prolonged losing streak, when asked by a reporter about his team's execution, McKay replied: "I'm all in favor of it...."


Desperado and Helpful Buckeye had one of those special evenings this week, when we drove down to Sedona for an outdoor movie offered by the Sedona Film Festival.  The outdoor arena of red rocks, starry sky, and adobe made for a truly memorable experience.  We're fortunate to be so close to such an environment.

My friend, Ken, with the recent heart-bypass, is just about to get rid of his "training wheels" as his rehab gets ready to move into higher gear.  We're all cheering for a stronger, healthier, and more vigorous Ken....

As if speaking for the 4 of us (including Ms. Cowpoke), Lord Chesterfield (English man of letters, 1694-1773) had this to say about appreciating the moment: "Know the true value of time; snatch, seize and enjoy every moment of it."

And, of course, we'll let Mark Twain have the last word this week, as he offers Ken some advice from Following The Equator...1897:
~~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.~~

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Reading This Blog
Makes People Feel
More Knowledgeable
About Their Pets

Randy, from Denver, sent an e-mail suggestion about using the above "warning" as a lead-in for Questions On Dogs and Cats.  Helpful Buckeye appreciates Randy's enthusiasm and we might use his idea once in a while...just not every week.  Thanks, Randy!

Thanks to all of our readers who sent e-mails responding to our question about whether or not our blog is loading too slowly for them.  Everyone who responded said the loading speed has been normal.

Only one of our readers has seen any of the AKC newly-recognized breeds...and that was the Cane Corso.  There was a book published back in 2003, Red Zone, by Aphrodite Jones, that recounted a deadly mauling of a human by a Cane Corso in San Francisco.  It presents a very interesting story that makes for an intriguing read.  Helpful Buckeye is not condemning the breed, but rather offering this book as an educational example of what can happen when a large breed of dog becomes uncontrollable.

Every reader who voted on the question about Chinese Doggie Dye techniques said they would never do that to their dog.  Be sure to answer this week's poll questions in the column to the left.


1) The governor of New Hampshire has signed into law a bill that ends the racing of Greyhounds in that state.  Read more about why the Humane Society of the United States considers this a big accomplishment:

2) An interesting news story came out of San Francisco this week about the city government considering the prohibition of all pet stores from the sale of all pets except for fish.  Similar city ordinances already exist in Albuquerque, South Lake Tahoe, and West Hollywood, CA.  Read about the reasons for their decision at: 

3) A few weeks ago, Helpful Buckeye included a notice from United Pet Group about a recall of some of their pet products, due to a possible Salmonella contamination.  Now, the UPG recall has expanded to include many more dog and cat products.  Check out this list carefully, in case you're using one or more of these products: 


1) We've received a few questions lately about whether dogs or cats are affected by Poison Ivy and if they can spread its effects to their owners.  Here's the answer to those questions, as adapted from

Poison oak and poison ivy belong to a group of plants called toxicodendron. These are also known as Rhus species. The toxic principle in poison oak and poison ivy is urushiol. This toxin is an oil resin found in the plant sap. Animals are quite resistant to the effects of urushiol but can transmit the toxin to a person.

Poison Ivy

Poison Oak

Dogs and cats typically come in contact with the poison ivy or poison oak plant in wooded areas. They may ingest some of the plant but, more likely, they will rub against it while walking. The sap from the plant can adhere to the hair coat. When you pet your dog or cat later, the sap can transfer from their fur to your skin. If you are susceptible to poison oak or poison ivy, skin irritation can occur.

In animals, exposure to urushiol infrequently results in skin irritation.

For those pets exposed to topical urushiol, prolonged bathing and rinsing, at least 10 minutes, is recommended. Be careful to wear gloves when bathing the pet so you do not come in contact with the urushiol.

For those animals ingesting the plant, monitor them for vomiting, lack of appetite or diarrhea.

Preventing exposure to poison ivy or poison oak is the key to preventing urushiol toxicity. Do not allow your pet to freely roam. Familiarize yourself with the appearance of poison ivy and poison oak so that you can avoid them. If your pet has recently come in contact with poison oak or poison ivy, immediate prolonged bathing can help diminish the risk of toxicity. Fortunately, most dogs and cats seem to be resistant to the effects of poison ivy and poison oak.

2) Helpful Buckeye has offered numerous precautions about giving bones to your dogs.  Our regular readers are aware of the nasty consequences of doing so but, for those of you who might be new to Questions On Dogs and Cats, here's an interesting podcast from the American Veterinary Medical Association with even more emphasis on this topic:’t_Give_Your_Dog_a_Bone 

3) Heat exhaustion is always a major concern of dog owners when the weather gets hot and humid...and there's been plenty of that around the country lately. Helpful Buckeye has addressed this subject in depth in 2 previous issues of the blog: and

After reviewing the above references, read these suggestions from as a further reminder of the dangers of heat exhaustion:

With temperatures in the triple digits in many parts of the country, pet owners need to be extra vigilant about keeping their animals cool.  Dogs are much more prone than people to develop heatstroke, because they are only able to sweat through their foot pads and can cool off only by panting. Even the healthiest of dogs can succumb to heat-related illnesses if pushed too hard or left in a confined space. Dogs with medical problems are even more vulnerable.  Help keep your pooch safe with these tips from the Humane Society of the United States, and veterinarian Ira Roth, director of the Community Practice Clinic at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine.

Protecting Your Dog From the Heat

Limit time outside. During extreme temperatures, it's a good idea for everyone -- man and beast -- to be inside if they can. But short-nosed dog breeds who naturally have more trouble breathing -- such as Boston terriers, pugs, English bulldogs, or boxers -- should be kept in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible. The same goes for dogs with renal or cardiac failure, or other health disorders, says Roth. If you can't keep your dog inside, make sure it has ready access to fresh water and shade, like in a dog house.

Reduce physical activity. Keep exercise short with just a walk in the early morning or evening hours. Taking your dog out to "do his business," or letting him walk with you to the mailbox in the middle of the day is probably fine. But it's easy to overexert a dog without realizing it, Roth says.  "If your daily routine is to come home and throw the ball and play catch for a while, you want to eliminate that or drastically reduce it," Roth tells Paw Nation. "Dogs will push themselves to exhaustion." It's up to you to recognize when your pet has had enough activity.

Never leave a dog in car. We know you've heard this before but we will say it again and again because even if you're parked in the shade, the inside of your car can quickly reach 120 degrees. "Pets who are left in hot cars even briefly can suffer from heat exhaustion, heat stroke, brain damage, and can even die. Don't think that just because you'll be gone 'just a minute' that your pet will be safe while you're gone," the Humane Society of the United States says in its Summer Care Tips guide. Also, don't leave your dog in the back of a pickup truck. The bed can get hot enough to scorch a dog's feet or belly.

What to Do if Your Dog Becomes Overheated

Quick action is the key to treating your pet.  If you suspect heatstroke, call your vet immediately. If your dog is panting excessively, staggering, seems disoriented or has reddish-purple gums your pet is in serious trouble. Fast treatment is critical to avoid life-threatening complications like blood-clotting abnormalities or multiorgan failure, Roth says. "Time will be an important factor," Roth says. "Many [overheated dogs] will die even with very, very aggressive treatment."

Cool your dog down. After contacting your vet, the Humane Society recommends that you move your pet to the shade or an air-conditioned area. Apply cool (not cold) water over his body to gradually lower his core body temperature. Apply cold towels or ice packs to your pet's head, neck, and chest only. Let your pet drink small amounts of water or lick ice cubes.

By staying alert and taking action quickly, you can keep your dog safe. Of course not all pet owners will be as vigilant as you so if you see a pet in a car alone during the hot summer months, alert the management of the store where the car is parked, and if the owner doesn't return, call local animal control or the police department.


The AVMA has put together a great package of information for children about the dangers of dog bites and how to avoid being bitten.  Go to their web site for this 28-page coloring book (which you can print by the page) that contains all the advice a child will need to stay away from this problem:


1) We've all read the stories of divorcing couples who have pets and the difficulty they experience in deciding who gets what.  A judge in Maryland has come up with a novel approach to this problem...each ex-spouse gets to have the dog every other 6 months.  The whole report is at:

2) Helpful Buckeye has covered several stories about military personnel ending up with dogs that they picked up in a combat zone.  This is an interesting variation on that theme...a group of US Marines have rescued some kittens in Afghanistan and sent at least two of them back to the States for care until the Marines return home.  Read the rest of the story at:

3) Lastly, what would a hot summer be without ice cream?  An ice cream manufacturer in California is using a kitten in one of their ads for ice cream.  Check out this story, watch, and listen to the video: 

Do you feel that the ad is "shameless?"  Remember, Helpful Buckeye never said to give ice cream to your dog or cat!

The LA DODGERS are moving into the All-Star break, having taken 3 of 4 games from the Cubs.  We will begin the second half of the season only 2 games behind the Padres in our division, which means anything can happen.  The Dodgers have 4 players playing in the All-Star game.


Helpful Buckeye has labored through a painful lower back problem for the past 10 days.  Riding my bike was not possible due to the pain.  I was able to get in a brisk long walk each of the last 3 days...before finally being able to get back on the bike Saturday.  A relatively short 24-mile ride went well, as did another one on Sunday, and there doesn't seem to be any residual soreness in my back.  This is the longest I've gone without riding my bike since I started doing serious riding 5 years ago.

~~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.~~

Sunday, July 4, 2010


Even though the 4th of July doesn't really mark the actual mid-point of summer, it seems to be viewed that way by most people.  Memorial Day weekend is only a memory by now and Labor Day weekend seems to be just around the corner.  However, that doesn't mean we shouldn't enjoy the next two months.  Many of our readers who have school-age children might not not have taken their vacations yet and are still looking forward to that.  Desperado and Helpful Buckeye prefer not to travel much during the summer months but we do have a short trip to Pennsylvania for a family reunion scheduled for the end of July.  We also are driving down to Phoenix on the 4th to see the LA Dodgers play the Arizona Diamondbacks, but that's just a daytrip.  More on that later....

As you can tell from the title of seemingly unrelated topics for this week's issue, Helpful Buckeye is providing a mishmash of very interesting, but not-too-serious subjects for your holiday reading pleasure.  Hope you enjoy the issue!

One of our faithful readers of Questions On Dogs and Cats reports having a problem lately with the blog loading very slowly on his computer.  If any other readers are experiencing the same problem, please send Helpful Buckeye an e-mail at: and I will check with the folks at Google for a solution.  Hopefully, this is not a widespread problem.

As expected, not very many of our readers were aware that plague can affect dogs and cats (only 10% knew).  Now, you all know.  Also, about 50% of our pet owners have had a cat or dog that showed excessive biting at their claws.  Be sure to answer this week's poll questions in the column to the left.


1) The American Veterinary Medical Association has issued this press release:

The Golden Retriever Foundation and Morris Animal Foundation have announced a $1 million, three-year study of the two most common cancers in Golden Retrievers, hemangiosarcoma and lymphoma.

Both foundations are funding the project, which is part of Morris' Canine Cancer Campaign to prevent and treat cancer in dogs. Leading the study are Dr. Jaime F. Modiano at the University of Minnesota; Matthew Breen, PhD, at North Carolina State University; and Kerstin Lindblad-Toh, PhD, at the Broad Institute.

The study will investigate mutations involved in the development and progression of hemangiosarcoma and lymphoma in Golden Retrievers. The researchers also will profile the susceptibility of specific tumor types to various chemotherapy compounds.

2) The American Kennel Club has announced that it is welcoming 3 new breeds for registration.  They are:

Cane Corso

Icelandic Sheepdog

and Leonberger

As you can see, they are all pretty good sized dogs.  Read about descriptions and history of these breeds at:

3)  The Humane Society of the United States has a nice video about the relocation of some dogs as a result of the Gulf Coast oil spill.  Watch the short video at: 


Helpful Buckeye received a lot of e-mails last week about the cat in England that was the recipient of 2 prosthetic rear feet.  The cat, Oscar, has apparently been seen on numerous TV programs and Internet sites and everybody understands that, even though he probably used up a couple of his 9 lives, he will be surely be able to enjoy the lives he has remaining...thanks to the British veterinarian who wouldn't give up on him. 

Oscar was living on a farm on the island of Jersey, in the English Channel, when he got run over by a harvester.  After the local veterinarian got him stabilized, Oscar was taken to England for his chance to walk again.  Helpful Buckeye has found this video that depicts the main part of the story.  Spend a few minutes and enjoy this truly feel-good result.  Read the article first, then click on the video: 


The HSUS has been very active in trying to help dog owners understand that dogs should NOT be left continuously chained and/or tethered.  All of us have seen this at some point or another and the HSUS has put together an informative list of questions and answers about chained/tethered dogs:

Have you seen chained dogs in your neighborhood and wondered whether leaving a dog outside is humane? Here are some frequently asked questions about chaining and tethering dogs and why it's considered inhumane.

What is meant by "chaining" or "tethering" dogs?

These terms refer to the practice of fastening a dog to a stationary object or stake, usually in the owner's backyard, as a means of keeping the animal under control. These terms do not refer to the periods when an animal is walked on a leash.

Is there a problem with continuous chaining or tethering?

Yes, the practice is both inhumane and a threat to the safety of the confined dog, other animals and humans.

Why is tethering dogs inhumane?

Dogs are naturally social beings who thrive on interaction with human beings and other animals. A dog kept chained in one spot for hours, days, months or even years suffers immense psychological damage. An otherwise friendly and docile dog, when kept continuously chained, becomes neurotic, unhappy, anxious and often aggressive.

In many cases, the necks of chained dogs become raw and covered with sores, the result of improperly fitted collars and the dogs' constant yanking and straining to escape confinement. Dogs have even been found with collars embedded in their necks, the result of years of neglect at the end of a chain.

Who says tethering dogs is inhumane?

In addition to The Humane Society of the United States and numerous animal experts, the U. S. Department of Agriculture issued a statement in the July 2, 1996, Federal Register against tethering:

"Our experience in enforcing the Animal Welfare Act has led us to conclude that continuous confinement of dogs by a tether is inhumane. A tether significantly restricts a dog's movement. A tether can also become tangled around or hooked on the dog's shelter structure or other objects, further restricting the dog's movement and potentially causing injury."

How does tethering or chaining dogs pose a danger to humans?

Dogs tethered for long periods can become highly aggressive. Dogs feel naturally protective of their territory; when confronted with a perceived threat, they respond according to their fight-or-flight instinct. A chained dog, unable to take flight, often feels forced to fight, attacking any unfamiliar animal or person who unwittingly wanders into his or her territory.

Numerous attacks on people by tethered dogs have been documented. Tragically, the victims of such attacks are often children who are unaware of the chained dog's presence until it is too late. Furthermore, a tethered dog who finally does get loose from his chains may remain aggressive, and is likely to chase and attack unsuspecting passersby and pets.

Why is tethering dangerous to dogs?

In addition to the psychological damage wrought by continuous chaining, dogs forced to live on a chain make easy targets for other animals, humans, and biting insects. A chained animal may suffer harassment and teasing from insensitive humans, stinging bites from insects, and, in the worst cases, attacks by other animals. Chained dogs are also easy targets for thieves looking to steal animals for sale to research institutions or to be used as training fodder for organized animal fights. Finally, dogs' tethers can become entangled with other objects, which can choke or strangle the dogs to death.

Are these dogs dangerous to other animals?

In some instances, yes. Any other animal that comes into their area of confinement is in jeopardy. Cats, rabbits, smaller dogs and others may enter the area when the tethered dog is asleep and then be fiercely attacked when the dog awakens.

Are tethered dogs otherwise treated well?

Rarely does a chained or tethered dog receive sufficient care. Tethered dogs suffer from sporadic feedings, overturned water bowls, inadequate veterinary care, and extreme temperatures. During snow storms, these dogs often have no access to shelter. During periods of extreme heat, they may not receive adequate water or protection from the sun. What's more, because their often neurotic behavior makes them difficult to approach, chained dogs are rarely given even minimal affection. Tethered dogs may become "part of the scenery" and can be easily ignored by their owners.

Are the areas in which tethered dogs are confined usually comfortable?

No, because the dogs have to eat, sleep, urinate and defecate in a single confined area. Owners who chains their dogs are also less likely to clean the area. Although there may have once been grass in an area of confinement, it is usually so beaten down by the dog's pacing that the ground consists of nothing but dirt or mud.

How else can people confine dogs?

The HSUS recommends that all dogs live indoors as a part of the family, are taken on regular walks, and otherwise provided with adequate attention, food, water and veterinary care. If an animal must be housed outside at certain times, he should be placed in a suitable pen with adequate square footage and shelter from the elements.

Should chaining or tethering ever be allowed?

To become well-adjusted companion animals, dogs should interact regularly with people and other animals, and should receive regular exercise. It is an owner's responsibility to properly restrain her dog, just as it is the owner's responsibility to provide adequate attention and socialization. Placing an animal on a restraint to get fresh air can be acceptable if it is done for a short period or while supervised. However, keeping an animal tethered for long periods is never acceptable.

If a dog is chained or tethered for a period of time, can it be done humanely?

Animals who must be kept on a tether should be secured in such a way that the tether cannot become entangled with other objects. Collars used to attach an animal should be comfortable and properly fitted; choke chains should never be used. Restraints should allow the animal to move about and lie down comfortably. Animals should never be tethered during natural disasters such as floods, fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, or blizzards.

What about attaching a dog's leash to a "pulley run"?

Attaching a dog's leash to a long line—such as a clothesline or a manufactured device known as a pulley run—and letting the animal have a larger area in which to explore is preferable to tethering the dog to a stationary object. However, many of the same problems associated with tethering still apply, including attacks on or by other animals, lack of socialization and safety.

What is being done to correct the problem of tethering dogs?

More than 100 communities in more than 30 states have passed laws that regulate the practice of tethering animals. Maumelle, Ark., and Tucson, Ariz., completely prohibit the unattended tethering of dogs. Many other communities only allow tethering for limited periods of time or during certain conditions. Orange County, Fla., for example, does not allow tethering between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. or during times of extreme weather.

Why should a community outlaw the continuous chaining or tethering of dogs?

Animal control and humane agencies receive countless calls every day from citizens concerned about animals in these cruel situations. Animal control officers, paid at taxpayer expense, spend many hours trying to educate pet owners about the dangers and cruelty involved in this practice.

A chained animal is caught in a vicious cycle; frustrated by long periods of boredom and social isolation, he becomes a neurotic shell of his former self—further deterring human interaction and kindness. In the end, the helpless dog can only suffer the frustration of watching the world go by in isolation—a cruel fate for what is by nature a highly social animal. Any city, county, or state that bans this practice is a safer, more humane community.


1) For a nice comparison of the different types of temporary dog cages that are available, check out this site:

There should be something here for everybody's needs.

2) Martha Stewart, the "Domestic Diva," is releasing her own line of pet products.  Learn more at: 


1) We all know that people do things differently in other parts of the world.  This even extends to creative dog grooming.  Read what's happening to dog grooming in China, then click on the video: 

2) A puppy got stuck in a drain pipe in a humane shelter in California.  Following its rescue by a plumber, the puppy got an unusual name.  The story is at: 

3) All pet owners know that puppies and kittens are usually able to entertain themselves, but these kittens have perfected the art.  Check out this video: 

Sounds a lot like Scott Joplin in the background, huh?

4) Every summer, the World's Ugliest Dog Contest is held in northern California.  This year, a chihuahua has won the title, breaking a string of several years of Chinese Cresteds dominating the competition.  Read about Princess Abby and watch the video of part of the contest at:

Helpful Buckeye still thinks the Chinese Cresteds of previous years had this Chihuahua beat!
5) How many of you know what a "Torbie" is?  One showed up at an Atlanta animal shelter recently.  Its name is the result of a combination of the colors of a tortoiseshell cat and the stripes of a tabby cat.  For the interesting description of this rarity, go to:

The LA DODGERS surprised everyone this week by sweeping a 3-game series from the Giants, right after giving away a heartbreaker to the Yankees last Sunday.  Then, we had to follow up that series by going into Phoenix to face the lowly Diamondbacks who have just replaced their fired manager with Kirk Gibson...a former Dodger World Series hero, and NL 1988 MVP.  Of course, the D'Backs played like world champions...and won the first game handily.  However, the Dodgers bounced back nicely to crush the D'Backs Saturday night and won the game today, 3-1, especially for 2 of their biggest fans in attendance, Desperado and Helpful Buckeye.  It was a really nice day!


Mark Twain had this observation on the game of baseball, from A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (his 1889 novel):  "This experiment was baseball. In order to give the thing vogue from the start, and place it out of the reach of criticism, I chose my nines by rank, not capacity. There wasn't a knight in either team who wasn't a sceptered sovereign. As for material of this sort, there was a glut of it always around Arthur. You couldn't throw a brick in any direction and not cripple a king. Of course, I couldn't get these people to leave off their armor; they wouldn't do that when they bathed. They consented to differentiate the armor so that a body could tell one team from the other, but that was the most they would do. So, one of the teams wore chain-mail ulsters, and the other wore plate-armor made of my new Bessemer steel. Their practice in the field was the most fantastic thing I ever saw. Being ball-proof, they never skipped out of the way, but stood still and took the result; when a Bessemer was at the bat and a ball hit him, it would bound a hundred and fifty yards sometimes. And when a man was running, and threw himself on his stomach to slide to his base, it was like an iron-clad coming into port. At first I appointed men of no rank to act as umpires, but I had to discontinue that. These people were no easier to please than other nines. The umpire's first decision was usually his last; they broke him in two with a bat, and his friends toted him home on a shutter. When it was noticed that no umpire ever survived a game, umpiring got to be unpopular. So I was obliged to appoint somebody whose rank and lofty position under the government would protect him....The first public game would certainly draw fifty thousand people; and for solid fun would be worth going around the world to see. Everything would be favorable; it was balmy and beautiful spring weather now, and Nature was all tailored out in her new clothes."

...and we think umpires of today are treated badly?

~~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.~~