Monday, February 28, 2011


Wow, did we get a good response to last week's intro on letting your pets sleep in your bed with you!  Most respondents claimed they have been doing this for years and never experienced any problems.  Only a few e-mails indicated the pet owners were of the opinion that perhaps they should consider stopping this activity.  The most interesting response was from "Bowser"...."I'm a Labrador Retriever (yellow) and my owner, Harlan, wouldn't think of not allowing me in his bed.  Harlan's favorite singing group is Three Dog Night and we all know that meant it was a really cold night if three dogs were needed to keep you warm!"

Helpful Buckeye also got several e-mails this week saying that the poll questions were not accepting votes.  Since I was "out of town and off the grid," I wasn't able to address this concern right away.  After trying a few other ways to access the Internet this morning, such as Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer, and not having the problem occur, it appears that the problem was only being experienced by readers using America Online for Internet access.  Hopefully, this won't be a recurring problem.  For those of you who were able to vote on the questions and the rest of you who sent e-mail votes, 80% said they allowed their pets to sleep in their bed.  Constipation has only been a problem for about 20% of your pets.  And, about 40% of you feel that you have too much pet clutter around your house.  Remember to answer this week's poll questions in the column to the left.  If you do experience any difficulty with placing your vote, feel free to send an e-mail response to: .  Helpful Buckeye will never share your e-mail addresses with anybody.


1) With a lot of the USA still getting pounded by wintry weather, many of you are still using some form of chemical to melt the snow and ice from your driveways and sidewalks.  Most of these contain irritants that might affect your pets if they either walk through or lick any of the chemical.  The ASPCA has this advice:

In the past five years, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) has received hundreds of calls about ice melt exposure. Here’s everything you need to know to keep Fido safe from salt melts till spring:

  1. Ice melts are poisonous to dogs if ingested. Dogs who lick their paws after a wintry walk may be exposing themselves to toxic chemicals like potassium chloride, magnesium chloride, calcium carbonate and calcium magnesium acetate that are present in many ice melts. Consumption of ice melts can be lethal, but only if your dog ingests large quantities.  Still, smaller quantities of ice melts can make your dog feel pretty sick.
  2. Melts can irritate dogs’ paws. Dogs’ gastrointestinal systems are not the only part of their bodies that react badly to ice melt exposure. Though paw pads are tough, ice melts can cause them to burn, become irritated and even crack, turning a daily walk into a painful ordeal for your dog.
  3. It’s relatively easy to protect your pup from ice melts.  Ways to keep your pet safe: Wipe down your dog’s entire body if she was rolling around in the snow, don’t let your dog drink from puddles of melted snow, and keep your dog from snacking on snow near any place where ice melts may have been used.
  4. “Pet-friendly” ice melts are available, but they may not be the answer. Although these types of melts tend to be considered safer, they, too, can lead to problems if the animal has been exposed to enough of the product. If you’ve got ice melts of any kind at home, keep them in sealed, pet-proof containers.
  5. If you think your dog ate ice melts, please take action. Call your veterinarian or the ASPCA’s 24-hour poison control hotline at (888) 426-4435
2) The state of Texas is considering requiring certain dog owners to carry as much as $100,000 of liability insurance on their dogs.  The bill being considered would apply to all unleashed, un-neutered male dogs over 20 pounds.  For the rest of the details, read:

3) Well, with the Oscars being presented tonight, the American Kennel Club has released the results of their poll on the best dog movie of 2010.  Yes, the winner was...Marmaduke.  Remember, they said "dog movie"...not "dog of a movie"!  The rest of the AKC dog movie awards are available at:

Desperado and Helpful Buckeye will be having an Oscar party tonight, waiting to see how our favorite movies fared.


Helpful Buckeye is finishing up the 8 most common aging dog considerations this week with "Deafness"
The two basic categories of deafness are congenital and acquired.  Congenital refers to those present at birth.  Acquired deafness may result from blockage of the external ear canal as occurs in chronic ear infections, or it may be secondary to destruction of the middle or inner ear. Other causes include trauma to the petrous temporal bone, loud noises (eg, gunfire), damage to the myeline sheaths of the nerves to the ear, drugs that are toxic to the ear apparatus (antibiotics such as gentamicin, kanamycin, neomycin, streptomycin), cancers involving the ear or brain stem, and degeneration of the cochlea (the hearing mechanism in the inner ear) in aged dogs. Unilateral deafness or partial hearing loss, or both, is possible in some of these instances. Cochlear degeneration in aged dogs is the most common cause of acquired deafness.

Diagnosis requires careful observation of the animal’s response to sound. It is helpful to consider the owner’s description of behavior and to ask appropriate questions. The response to visual, touch, and smell responses must be differentiated from the response to sound. In young animals or in animals kept in groups, deafness may be difficult to detect, because the suspect individual will follow the response of others in the group. The primary sign of deafness is failure to respond to an auditory stimulus, eg, failure of noise to awaken a sleeping dog or failure to alert to the source of a sound. Other signs include unusual behavior such as excessive barking, unusual voice, hyperactivity, confusion when given vocal commands, and lack of reflex-alerting and attention movements of the ear flaps. An animal that has gradually become deaf, as in old age, may become unresponsive to the surroundings and refuse to answer the owner’s call. These signs should be differentiated from cognitive dysfunction which has been getting more attention lately.

Hearing naturally fades with age, but you can compensate by using vibration and hand signals instead of verbal commands. Try stomping your foot to get your dog's attention. Switch a flashlight on and off to call him inside or use the porch light to signal dinner is served. Vibrating collars also work well to communicate with deaf dogs.


Helpful Buckeye has discussed the topic of Pet Trusts in previous issues.  With the state of Massachusetts getting ready to enact its pet trust law, the only states left that don't provide for such affairs will be Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Vermont, and West Virginia.  Until recently, pet owners had no legal way to leave behind money to care for their animals.

Concerned animal rights groups have asked lawmakers to enact pet trusts because too many animals are landing in shelters after the owners have died.  Unlike a will, which has to go though Probate Court, the trust takes effect immediately. That’s important, so the pet does not have to linger in a shelter while the courts cut through paperwork.  For the easy-to-follow suggestions of the SPCA on how to set up a pet trust, go to:


1) The folks at ZooToo have come up with 5 new tasty cat treats:

2) It only makes sense to have some terrific treat dispensers if you're talking about tasty treats.  Again, from the folks at Zootoo, here are 7 great ideas:


1) A really good review of the principles involved in Cognitive Dysfunction in pets appeared in today's USA Weekend supplement of the Sunday paper.  Helpful Buckeye has discussed this recently and it wouldn't hurt to read this nice review of the Alzheimer's-like syndrome found in our pets:

2) Also, a topic that has been discussed frequently here on the pages of Questions On Dogs and Cats has been pet obesity.  Now, there are a lot of pet obesity control clinics showing up in the USA.  Here is one account of just such a clinic, along with an interesting video, located in the Boston area:

Is your pet headed for one of these clinics???

3) The city of Shanghai, China, has instituted a law allowing only 1 dog per household as a means of trying to control their pet population.  Dog ownership has grown alongside China's fast-expanding middle class with official estimates putting Shanghai's pet dog population at 800,000.  The government had said tighter regulation was needed due to rampant barking, unscooped waste, and the growing risk of dog attacks, which affect the city's environment and sanitation.  Seems like the same problems are affecting the whole world.

4) OK, these folks in England claim they have the world's loudest cat.  They claim that its purr is pretty attention-getting.  To see if you agree with them, listen to Smokey purr on this video:

5) Since we're weighing in on unusual cat traits, here's one involving a "Thumb's Up" cat.  Watch this short video and see if you get the idea:

There will still be some turmoil in the top 5 of this week's college basketball rankings with losses by Duke, Texas, and PittOhio State was able to keep winning and might move back into the top spot.  The big tournament edges ever closer....

Desperado and Helpful Buckeye took a tour of the Arizona Diamondbacks' new training facility this past week down in Phoenix, on the Pima Indian Reservation.  The smell of freshly-cut grass, combined with the crack of the ball against the bat during batting practice was more than enough to get this old baseball player's heart thumping.  We even got to try a free "Indian" taco they were giving away at one of the concession stands!  Is baseball great or what!!!

On a sad note for baseball, Helpful Buckeye lost one of his childhood heroes today.  Duke Snider, the Duke of Flatbush, and Helpful Buckeye's first favorite Dodger, died today at the age of 84.


Desperado and Helpful Buckeye shoveled the driveway of one of our neighbors today and were rewarded with her special "Magic Bars"!  These are really tasty and, fortunately for Helpful Buckeye, Desperado will allow me to eat most of them!

We had a wonderful experience this past week along the western border of Arizona, an area that is not visited by very many travelers.  Visiting the towns of Lake Havasu City, Parker, Quartzsite, Salome, and Wenden provided some special memorable moments...we saw a lot that we expected to see but also, the unexpected was always right around the bend.  As I was writing this part of my blog, I came across this quote from Joseph Priestley, discoverer of oxygen, “I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning.” Our favorite experience was probably a lunch at a restaurant named, "Ingredients Cafe," along the road in Wenden.  The owners are very artistic, both in their decor and their menu creations.  We chatted with them and really enjoyed their story.  Also, we learned that Dole Fruit Company grows 90% of their canteloupes and honeydew melons in the fields around Wenden.

The Bill Williams River joins the Colorado River just above Parker Dam 

The "largest flea market" in the world...Quartzsite, AZ

Wall art...Wickenburg, AZ

More wall art...Wickenburg, AZ

Famous Sundial...Carefree, AZ

The dog hats mentioned in the title line refers to a booth we visited at the Fountain Hills (a suburb of Phoenix) Arts and Crafts show on our trip.  The vendor made fancy hats solely for dogs, which was pretty interesting...but, the real hook at his booth were his personal dogs (which modeled the hats).

Wally, Tobi, and Amos...but I really like the sign!

While at the show, we watched the fountain go to its ultimate height of 562 feet...pretty impressive!

~~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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