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.~~


  1. Hey watch that BACK Dr. Dave... sometimes comes from carrying a 'heavy' friend around :^)
    Get well and get on the Road.

  2. Very interesting and on target advice. Appreciate your thoroughness.