Monday, January 31, 2011


The ASPCA offers 5 Pet Tips for Good Health in 2011:

Maybe you've made a few resolutions for yourself this year, but how about your pet? Even small changes can make a big difference in the life of your furry friend.  If you already have a pet health insurance policy or are considering getting one, there are different levels of coverage depending on what you feel your needs may be.

  1. Check-up on your pet's health.  Set up your pet's annual check-up this year. A nose to tail exam can help your veterinarian spot and treat health issues in the early stages. Opt for wellness coverage including an annual physical exam!
  2. Brush those pearly whites.  Pledge to brush your pet's teeth regularly, and keep an eye out for signs of gum disease like swelling or discoloration. Ask your veterinarian for tips on good dental care.
  3. Watch your pet's weight.  Extra weight on a pet can result in health problems and be like a person carrying an extra 30 to 50 pounds. Hold back on treats and use a well-balanced pet food.
  4. Get your pet moving.  Is your pet getting enough exercise to stay fit? Dogs need at least 30 minutes of physical activity twice a day. Cats should get at least 15 minutes of interactive playtime a day.
  5. Prepare financially for your pet's care.  Various pet health insurance plans can help you manage unexpected veterinary costs.
The American Veterinary Medical Association advises that National Pet Dental Health Month is this February, while the accompanying "Pets Need Dental Care, Too" campaign lasts all year long. 

Helpful Buckeye has presented numerous discussions on Pet Dental Health in previous issues of Questions On Dogs and Cats.  Go to:  for a good review of pet dental concerns.

A possible stem cell treatment that would help a pet was viewed favorably by 100% of respondents.  About 33% of readers reported their pet had experienced a pyoderma.  Only 5% said they had a dog that had been stranded on an icy pond.  The real puzzle from last week's poll questions was picking the winner of the Super Bowl.  Only 10% chose the Packers, 50% chose the Steelers, and 40% chose "who cares?"  I guess that bodes well for the Steelers?  Remember to answer this week's poll questions in the column to the left.


1) The American Kennel Club has released their Top Ten Dog Breeds of 2010, according to AKC registrations:
  1. Labrador Retrievers
  2. German Shepherds
  3. Yorkshire Terriers
  4. Beagles
  5. Golden Retrievers
  6. Bulldogs
  7. Boxers
  8. Dachshunds
  9. Poodles
  10. Shih Tzus
The list includes the same 10 breeds as for 2009, with Beagles and Golden Retrievers switching places and Bulldogs and Boxers doing the same.  The list for all breeds is available at:

2) The AKC also has announced the addition of 3 new breeds, the Entlebucher Mountain Dog, the Norwegian Lundehund and the Xoloitzcuintli --growing AKC’s family to 170 breeds.  A general overview of these new breeds is available at: 

Of these, the most intriguing is the Xoloitzcuintli.


The Humane Society of the United States has received plenty of feedback on their association with Michael Vick.  So much so that they have issued this list of questions and answers to help folks better understand how the HSUS expects this situation to benefit dogs.  Try to read these questions and answers with an open mind and draw your own conclusions at the end about whether or not dogs will benefit.

Michael Vick and End Dogfighting

Vick's participation in The HSUS' anti-dogfighting program

The following are frequently asked questions about The HSUS' decision to allow Michael Vick to participate in our anti-dogfighting campaign.

Is Vick a spokesperson for The HSUS?

No. He is not a spokesperson for The HSUS or our anti-dogfighting campaign. We have experts on animal fighting who represent The HSUS in an official capacity. Vick has no particular designation or title.

Do you think Vick got a slap on the wrist for his crimes?

If someone commits a crime against animals, here's how events ideally unfold:

The person committing the animal crime is caught and successfully prosecuted and pleads guilty to a federal felony.

As the case plays out in the public domain, there is a wave of widespread social disapproval expressed about the conduct and a new awareness of the gravity of the problem.

The HSUS drives a raft of political reforms to passage, and there is a new attitude and resolve in dealing with this crime across the nation.

Finally, after the perpetrator is released from prison, he comes knocking and wants to do the equivalent of community service and help the leading anti-dogfighting group attack the problem.

And that's how the Vick story progressed.

Is any money changing hands?

No. The HSUS has not received any contributions from Vick, the NFL, the Philadelphia Eagles, or anyone else in exchange for his participation in our community-based anti-dogfighting program. Nor is The HSUS paying Vick or anyone else for his participation. Vick pays his own expenses when he speaks at anti-dogfighting forums.

Update: In October 2009, the Philadelphia Eagles launched "Treating Animals With Kindness" (TAWK), which provides grants to animal welfare organizations to protect animals. The HSUS was selected as one of the grant recipients and received $50,000 grant, which we used to launch our End Dogfighting in Philadelphia campaign.

What has The HSUS done to leverage the Michael Vick case?

Since the Vick case put the spotlight on dogfighting, we have worked with lawmakers, law enforcement officers, community organizers, and others to end dogfighting.

Since 2007, we've upgraded 30 laws (state and federal) on animal fighting. The HSUS has trained more than 1,000 law enforcement officers on investigating animal fighting and paid out 80 rewards for tips leading to arrests in animal fighting cases. We have worked with law enforcement on more than 400 raids on animal fighting operations.

We also launched programs in Atlanta, Chicago, and Philadelphia to reach at-risk youth. Hundreds of people have participated in our pit bull training classes, which teach dog owners that their pit bulls can be friends, not fighters. We hope to expand these community-based outreach programs to other major urban areas.

There is no other animal welfare organization with an entire unit focused only on combating animal fighting.

While these efforts have put a dent in the problem of dogfighting, there is disturbing growth of the activity in urban areas. We need new ways to address the problem, and we seized on the opportunity to put Michael Vick to work because his celebrity and his unique story have the potential to turn thousands of young people into anti-dogfighting advocates.

Is Vick handing over a list of the dogfighters he was involved with?

This issue certainly came up with federal prosecutors during his trial. We doubt that prosecutors would disclose any intelligence they gathered from Vick, for obvious reasons. The HSUS never discloses our intelligence-gathering efforts in bringing these violent criminals to justice, although we constantly feed intelligence to law enforcement officials toward the goal of busting animal fighters.

Since Vick is back in the NFL, doesn't your work with him signal that dogfighting is okay and that the penalty is weak?

Given the penalties available at the time he was sentenced, U.S. District Court Judge Henry Hudson meted out a strong penalty to Vick. He paid a steep price for his crimes, in addition to serving his prison sentence. The HSUS has worked to upgrade the federal animal fighting law twice in the last two years. The penalties are much more severe now than in April 2007, when Vick's home was raided. The HSUS has been pushing for felony-level penalties for animal fighting crimes for years because that's the only way to drive criminals out of this business.

Why didn't you choose a different celebrity to connect with urban communities?

Vick was a role model for many young people, and he lost everything because of what he did to dogs. His story is the strongest possible example of why dogfighting is a dead end. Just as former drug addicts are able to reach people struggling with addiction, former dogfighters are some of the most effective voices against this crime. We realized the potential that Vick has to reach at-risk youth and pull them out of the quicksand of animal fighting. That said, we constantly attempt to recruit celebrities and others to join us in our crusade to end dogfighting and other forms of animal cruelty. We want to use all pathways to stopping the problem.

Did Vick approach you or did you ask him to help you?

When Vick was close to finishing his prison sentence, his representatives approached HSUS President and CEO Wayne Pacelle. He dismissed their first offers, but agreed to meet with Vick after considering the potential that Vick had to reach the estimated 100,000 participants in urban street dogfighting. If there was a chance that Vick could save one dog from suffering the same abuse he inflicted, the proposal was worth our consideration.

After meeting with Vick and hearing him express his remorse, Pacelle consulted with The HSUS' board of directors and staff. Despite our utter disgust with what Vick did and our leading role in making sure he was convicted and punished for his crimes, we decided that shunning Vick forever would do no good for any animal. Vick paid $1 million for the care and rehabilitation of the dogs at Bad Newz Kennels. Now, we want him to contribute his time to attack the problem by reaching inner-city youth.

Has Vick acknowledged that what he did to dogs was wrong?

Yes. Over the course of several face-to-face meetings and during appearances at our End Dogfighting programs, Vick has apologized and acknowledged the suffering he caused. He has expressed his remorse and his desire to help more animals than he harmed by being an advocate for the humane treatment of animals. We only agreed to give him an opportunity to speak with kids if he was committed to the goal of ending dogfighting and recognized that his past actions were cruel and unacceptable.

Are you supporting Vick's return to the NFL?

We did not take a position on Vick's reinstatement to the NFL, and we did not lobby the NFL or any team to hire him. We planned to put him to work whether he returned to the NFL or not.

Is The HSUS going to boycott the NFL or the Philadelphia Eagles?

No. We have decided to try to engage the NFL and the Eagles in an effort to attack the problem of dogfighting. To this end, the Philadelphia Eagles have financed our End Dogfighting in Philadelphia program, enabling it to launch in late 2010.

We'd like to get more athletes involved, and to urge the teams to invest in this important anti-cruelty work.

Man's best friend is not a driver's best friend....

While lawmakers have been banning drivers from texting or using cellphones, many motorists are riding around with another dangerous risk - their dogs.  Experts said an unrestrained dog - whether curled up on a lap, hanging out the window or resting its paws on the steering wheel - can be deadly.  Tens of thousands of car accidents are believed caused every year by unrestrained pets, though no one has solid numbers.

"An unrestrained pet can be hugely distracting - if he is seeking your attention, putting his face right in front of yours, starts chewing up the upholstery or is vomiting because he is carsick," said Katherine Miller, director of applied science and research for the ASPCA.

The issue is drawing attention in some statehouses. Hawaii is the only state that specifically forbids drivers from operating a vehicle with a pet on their lap. But Oregon lawmakers are considering fining drivers who hold their pets behind the wheel. And some cities are taking action, too.

In 2009, 5,474 people were killed and 448,000 injured in crashes caused by distracted drivers in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  Cellphones were the top distraction: the cause of 18 percent of the fatalities and 5 percent of the injury crashes.  The agency does not track accidents caused by pets but said they are counted among other distractions such as disruptive passengers, misbehaving children or drivers who attempt to put on makeup or read.

Author Stephen King suffered several broken bones and a collapsed lung in 1999 when he was hit by a driver who claimed he was distracted by his dog.

In a crash, an unrestrained pet can turn into a deadly projectile or get crushed by a driver or passenger who is thrown forward by the collision.  Good pet owners will use a harness or carrier and secure their pets in the middle of the backseat, Miller said.  That keeps dogs from getting hurt or bouncing around and hurting others.  "A pet that weighs 50 pounds, in a 35 mph collision, is projected forward like a cannonball with 1,500 pounds of force, and that can cause critical injuries to the folks in the front seat," Miller said.  Restraining a pet also keeps the animal from running off after a crash and possibly getting hit or causing another crash or from getting in the way of first responders, she said.

In Oregon, lawmakers will vote in the next few months on a bill that proposes a $90 fine for people who drive with an animal on their lap. A similar law made it to the governor's desk in California in 2008, but then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger refused to sign it, saying it was not a high priority.

This article appeared in the Arizona Republic:

How many of you are guilty of allowing your pets to be loose in a moving vehicle???


The Xoloitzcuintli (pronounced show-low-eats-queen-tlee), or "Xolo," is an ancient, natural breed from Mexico. It comes in three sizes – toy, miniature and standard, and two varieties – hairless and coated. In the hairless variety, the skin is tough, protective, smooth and close fitting. The coated variety is covered by a short, flat coat. In both varieties, a dark, uniform color is preferred, ranging from black, gray black, slate, to red, liver or bronze, although white spots and markings are permitted. Today, this breed serves as a guard and companion.

A Look Back

One of the world’s oldest and rarest breeds, the Xolo can justly be called the first dog of the Americas. Archaeological evidence indicates that Xolos accompanied man on his first migrations across the Bering Straits. Their name is derived from the name of the Aztec Indian god Xolotl and Itzcuintli, the Aztec word for dog. With a reputation as a healer, the breed and its warm skin is often put to use in remote Mexican and Central American villages to ward off and cure ailments like rheumatism, asthma, toothache and insomnia. Xolos were also believed to safeguard the home from evil spirits and intruders.

Right Breed for You?

Typical Xolo temperament is calm, tranquil, aloof and attentive. They make excellent companion dogs with moderate exercise and grooming needs.

• Non-Sporting Group; AKC recognized in 2011.
• Toy (at least 10 through 14 inches tall at the shoulder), Miniature (over 14 through 18 inches tall) or Standard size (over 18 through 23 inches tall).
• Guard; companion.


The folks at have come up with an interesting assortment of hand-made cat toys.  Go to:  and click through the photos of 10 selections.


1) Dr. Noel Fitzpatrick is a workaholic. He sleeps in his office, works hours on end and his social life is pretty much non-existent.  Why does he do it? For animals like Mitzi, Oscar and Yogi.

Fitzpatrick, who runs Fitzpatrick Referrals in Surrey, England, is the world’s first vet to use prosthetics that give animals a new — pain-free — lease on life.  The neuro-orthopedic surgeon has pioneered biotechnology in animals, giving dogs and cats artificial limbs thanks to a blend of science, technology and art.

Read more about Dr. Fitzpatrick's efforts in thus interesting account from the Toronto Star:

2) Continuing with the international theme, as incomes surge in economically booming India, pet lovers are driving the growth of a whole range of new trends, from organic pet toys to crystal healing and even nail painting for cats.

The pet care market in India has risen from $31 million in 2003 to $64.34 million last year, says pet care magazine Creature Companion quoting Euromonitor International, as millions of people moved into the middle class and disposable incomes grew.  Pet care services such as grooming, pet-sitting and boarding are becoming hugely popular, while the rapid spread of the Internet has also boosted virtual stores and digital networking platforms to such an extent that the market is projected to double yet again, to $144 million, by 2015.

Further details at:

3) Do dogs like to wear clothes?  According to the folks at Virbac Animal Health, the answer may very well be yes. Since pets have become accustomed to living in controlled, cozy environments (just like us) they may need a little padding when going outside. Many veterinarians suggest extra protection for dogs living in cold climates especially those with shorter coats. (Even tough breeds like Boxers and Bull Terriers!) Small and toy breeds like Chihuahuas, Dachshunds and Toy Poodles are very vulnerable to the cold. Clothing that helps the pet be more visible in the dark is also a wise choice in canine couture. Of course, the most important thing to consider is comfort and safety. The clothing shouldn’t restrict the pet’s movement in any way. It shouldn’t be too tight or too loose or it may snag on something. If a dog seems to enjoy it and there is no safety risk, playing dress up is perfectly fine.

4) Ever wonder what your mutt's made of? From designer dogs to mystery dogs, more than half of all dogs in the United States are mixed breeds.

Kate Arnell got her dog Simon from a shelter when he was 3 1/2 months old. "There were 7 puppies in the litter," said Arnell, "some looked like black labs, and two of them looked like brown labs." But Simon doesn't really look like a Lab at all. He is a large white dog with black spots, and almond shaped eyes. When people would ask Arnell what breed Simon was, she didn't have an answer. "I'd heard about DNA testing and it seemed like a fun thing to do," said Arnell. "I was just curious and interested in what the results would be for him."

Doggie DNA tests cost about $80 dollars, and there are two kinds of tests available. One, is a cheek swab test that can be done from home. Arnell used the other test, which requires a blood sample.

Keith Richter, Hospital Director of the Veterinary Specialty Hospital in Sorrento Valley, said both tests have reported to have about a 90% accuracy rate, but he said, some vets feel that the blood test is a little more accurate.

Numerous companies do DNA testing for dogs. A common one used by vets is called The Wisdom Panel. The test claims to detect 134 breeds which covers 99 percent of AKA registered dogs. According to the company, the test can detect 6 to 8 breeds in one dog, back to to the dog's grandparents.

Richter said knowing your dog's breed can be good information to have, since certain breeds are predisposed to certain diseases. "That might help the doctor narrow down what kind of disease a dog could have," said Richter.

But some vets say the more mixed your dog is, the less reliable the results are. "When people come in with a Heinz 57 dog, that's got 30 different breeds in them, the test will come back inconclusive," said Brian Loudis, a veterinarian at All Pets Animal Hospital, in Encinitas.

Simon turned out to be half American Staffordshire Terrier, a small part Dalmatian, and a bit of a surprise. "The other major component was a small terrier breed called a Sealyham Terrier, which is about a 20 lb terrier , which I was not expecting," said Arnell.

Experts say before doing a DNA test on your dog, it's a good idea to discuss it with your vet to make sure the company you choose is a science-based one.


The hype for the Super Bowl will start to build this week.  Most of my acquaintances and sports buddies are puzzled about why Green Bay, a wild card team, is favored over the Steelers.  Hopefully, it's not because the "wise guys" know something we don't know.

 Are you ready for some football???


Ohio State's men's basketball team remains in the #1 spot in the rankings after plastering #12 Purdue and then barely edging Northwestern this week.  Pitt lost a home game to Notre Dame, which doesn't happen very often.  Their #2 ranking might not be in jeopardy since the next 3 teams behind them also lost.

The San Antonio Spurs continue to have the best record in the NBA.  Their veteran players are performing like this could be another championship year.


Helpful Buckeye saw the first bald eagle of the winter yesterday.  By the time it's nice enough for an outdoor bike ride, there should be several of the majestic birds along my bike routes.  Until then, Helpful Buckeye will be content to ride the indoor bike, day-dreaming of "What might have been" and eagerly awaiting "What will be."

"Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow."
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

Hopefully, all of our readers will learn something each week beyond what you have already mastered about your pets...and that will allow you to grow as a compassionate and knowledgeable pet owner.

~~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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  2. All these activities are good for both the owners and the pet as this keeps their muscles healthy and fit and secure them from problem like obesity. Those who love pets can also take help form the Pet Grooming Tips to know about the pets and their grooming to keep them healthy and happy.


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