Google+ Followers

Friday, December 26, 2014

Barkworthies Chicken Vittles Dog Chew Treat Recall 12/24

For all of you that had the pleasure of being able to indulge a little extra for your dog this holiday season let the recall's  begin!

Barkworthies Treats of Richmond, VA is recalling select lots of Barkworthies Chicken Vittles dog chews because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. 

Hopefully this is the only event for this holiday season!

People who touch the  contaminated treats are also at risk if they do not wash their hands immediately after. Children and the elderly are usually at higher risk.
 Salmonella in people can cause vomiting , diarrhea, fever,  and abdominal  cramping. It can mimic the flu and with the widespread flu epidemic here in MN that can be confusing since more severe symptoms also include  muscle pain , eye irritation, &  arthritis. Aso found in serious poisoning is arterial infections. Please see your doctor if you have touched these treats and are having symptoms.

Symptoms in dogs are similar to people with vomiting , diarrhea, (sometimes bloody), weakness,. abdominal cramping, decrease in appetite and fever. Please keep in mind if you have multiple dogs that some dogs may show no symptoms at all but they may be carriers of salmonella so just because only 3 out of your 5 dogs are sick it does not mean that Salmonella has not affected them.

The number to call for consumers is 877 993 4257  Monday - Friday 9 - 5 pm

The lot affected
Barkworthies Chicken Vittles ~ Lot Code 1254T1
in the 16 oz plastic pouch, Best used by  date: May 2016
        UPC 816807011510

Barkworthies REcall and Refund Form click here 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tis the Season! ~ Beware the Dangers!

                                                     Tis the Season! ~ Beware the dangers!

As I walk along the well salted sidewalks, the  snap in the crisp air at times steals my breath away.  My eyes catch sight of the snow covered street lamps which harbor the Christmas wreaths hung throughout the small lively town. Every storefront is alive and decorated with holiday items some with the Lionel train sets of old crawling through fake cities and villages making whistle stops along the way.  Mannequins  are dressed as Mr. and Mrs. Claus and are peering in windows of homes with delight as the pretend children open their gifts from under the well decorated Christmas tree.  Gifts that can only be found in that particular store of course.  In the matinee’s window there’s a huge poster of George Bailey   that  crazy confused character from “It’s a wonder Life” played by Jimmy Stewart and on the opposite side of the bill hosts a poster of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation with Chevy Chase playing that lovable father, Clark Griswold. 

The town’s Christmas music is playing loudly as the people who are bustling in the street seem to be grasping their coats and packages tightly against a bitter cold but gentle wind.  I grab my own packages tightly and duck into a store and continue my shopping.
Inside I’m running down the aisles grabbing sale items off the shelf, some of the items are not even on my list, but Johnny needs that extra Lego box to complete his Christmas project and Mary Ellen would love to have those gorgeous shoes to go with her holiday dress and of course I just happened to find the perfect outfit for the company party!

 Ooop’s! Excuse me!” I say as my cart bumps into the lady who is standing next to me.
 “That’s quite alright.”  She answers with a snarl in her lip.
Clearly she is not very much in the holiday spirit!
“Oops, pardon me.”  I say again as I reach over a little boy’s head who spies the perfect gift he wants Santa to bring.
“That’s okay Ma’am” he says politely.

Standing in the checkout line I look at the decorated Christmas clock that hangs on the wall above a display of wooden soldiers. Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding rings the bell as the wooden guards go in and out of their little doors. 

Six O’clock already? Time really flies when you’re busy readying for the holidays!

I have been out shopping since nine AM this morning picking up odds and ends and loading the car up with treasures that may or may not be wanted.  I quickly put the last of the goodies in the van and head for home.

I stomp the snow off my boots on the tattered rug while walking through the back door, my arms carefully balancing the packages that have laid in the van all afternoon.  I stumble through the kitchen trying to avoid the dog toys, bed, and bones as the puppy jumps up on the back of my legs. Plopping the packages on the counter I turn to greet the puppy  and my eye catches site of the chewed newspaper, tissues , cloth napkins , and the wood from the  legs of my mother’s heirloom Queen Anne chair!  Off in corner of the living room I see scattered, tattered, torn, and shattered ornaments from the tree!
“Shit!”  I say in a voice loud enough for the pup to not only hear but also pick up my tone of voice. The pup cowers away from me as if I have just booted him in his gut.

 I have been gone ten hours. TEN HOURS!

Such is the holiday season, and with everything we are preparing for, a puppy’s life is sometimes the last thing on our list.

With this in mind I write this for those of you  who got that puppy just before or on Christmas day.

Mark this page or put a favorite on the links because you may need them.

Puppy proof!   

Use a crate! It is not cruel and in fact if you crated the pup it would have kept the puppy from chewing all those non food items hung on the tree and hopefully you will not end up in the ER getting the puppy an operation for a bowel obstruction!
If you feel really bad about crating, pick up a sturdy play pen for dogs.

Cover them! Puppies are notorious for chewing on wires inside and outside the home! This can cause burns to the mouth and excessive drooling and shock. 

Batteries (remote control, kids toys, adult toysJ )
Keep them out of the reach of dogs!
Alkaline batteries: contain potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide and if punctured and these components come in contact with tissue, cell death occurs and can result in ulcers.

Lithium disc batteries when chewed can cause heavy metal poisoning (lead, zinc, mercury cobalt)

All batteries can cause obstruction.

Signs of ingestion may be ulcers in the mouth, black or grey teeth, frequent drooling or swallowing and a painful or bloated abdomen.
Treatment is dilution of the caustic materials and removing the batteries from the intestinal tract. Dilution is given by rinsing the mouth and exposed skin and giving small amounts of lukewarm water by mouth every 10 to 15 minutes.  Bring your dog in so your vet can retrieve the battery from the intestines. The sooner treatment begins the less absorption of heavy metals.

Vomiting should not be induced if the dog ate batteries as this can make corrosive injuries even worse.  The best action is to  visit your vet.


Glass ornaments are always a worry as glass that goes through the system has the potential to cut the intestinal wall causing sepsis and death. Keep in your fridge whole grain bread or in your bathroom Metamucil to give to the dog if you see it has eaten a glass ornament or any sharp object.  IF you have whole grain bread give a few slices, if you have Metamucil go by the directions on the jar and give that.  Either of these  will encase the glass pieces and hopefully carry them safely through the system. If however your dog is showing distress with eating then see your vet right away as there is damage to the esophagus.

Know the different effects that range from white chocolate to dark chocolate because each affects the dog differently. Check out the interactive slide chart for chocolate toxicity. It will tell you the weight of the dog verses the amount of chocolate eaten and give you the symptoms
Toxic Fruit and vegetables that sits on your table!
Keep in mind that puppies will eat everything. Know that grapes and raisins can kill a dog and there is not really a determined amount for any given dog. Dogs have died from eating just a few to a box full. This is an emergency. 

Did you know that the seeds in fruit carry cyanide which can be toxic if ingested?

The top five fruit and veggies that are toxic can be found here: Know the symptoms!
Meat, meat, meat!
Tell you guests to refrain from feeding Fido their left over turkey or ham from their plate or from sneaking them a piece of meat from the kitchen counter. Sure Fido looks pathetic as he stares at them with pleading eyes that say “Please sir, may I have another?”  
Fatty meats, gravy and other foods can cause pancreatitis which is very painful for dogs. This will cause loss of appetite, lethargy vomiting abdominal pain diarrhea fever and weakness. Supportive care with IV fluids will likely be needed by a vet. 

There’s nothing worse than a cooked bone as they splinter when chewed cause damage to the esophagus, can penetrate the lining of the intestines, and cause blockage of the intestines.

Some of the round ham bones have been known to get stuck around the dog’s mouth and have to be sawed off by your vet. Just not a good idea overall.

Macadamia nuts  
From the ASPCA Site
Although macadamia nut toxicosis is unlikely to be fatal in dogs, it can cause very uncomfortable symptoms that may persist for up to 48 hours. Affected dogs develop weakness in their rear legs, appear to be in pain, may have tremors and may develop a low grade fever. Fortunately, these signs will gradually subside over 48 hours, but dogs experiencing more than mild symptoms can benefit from veterinary care, which may include intravenous fluid therapy and pain control.

Ethanol Toxicosis  (alcohol poisoning)
Do you know what’s in that drink that your guest just left on the floor by the side of his foot?  What about that uncooked bread dough on the counter? How about the mouthwash in the bathroom?  Where do you keep your perfume?   All of these contain Ethanol. 

  Symptoms of ethanol poisoning will depend on the type ingested and whether or not there is food in the dog’s stomach. Ethanol depresses the central nervous system and symptoms can be seen within 15 to 30 minutes of ingestion on an empty stomach and up to 2 hours on a full stomach.
Symptoms are urinating or defecating involuntarily, behavior changes ranging from depression to excitement, decrease in body temperature, slow reflexes and flatulence. Advanced signs that can lead to death:  depression, slowed breathing , slowed heart rate, and heart attack. If left untreated ~ death.

HOPS (Beer)

Cultivated hops used for brewing beer have been associated with potentially life-threatening signs in dogs that have ingested them. Both fresh and spent (cooked) hops have been implicated in poisoning dogs. Affected dogs develop an uncontrollably high body temperature (often greater than 108 degrees Fahrenheit), which results in damage to and failure of multiple organ systems. Dogs poisoned by hops become restless, pant excessively, and may have muscle tremors and seizures. Prompt veterinary intervention is necessary to prevent death in these dogs.

Sugar Free drinks (and foods) that contain Xylitol
Xylitol is a non-caloric sweetener that is widely used in sugar-free gum, as well as in sugar-free baked products. In humans, xylitol does not affect blood sugar levels, but in dogs, ingestion of xylitol can lead to a rapid and severe drop in blood sugar levels. Dogs may develop disorientation and seizures within 30 minutes of ingesting xylitol-containing products, or signs may be delayed for several hours. Some dogs that ingest large amounts of xylitol develop liver failure, which can be fatal. All dogs ingesting xylitol-containing products should be examined by a veterinarian immediately.

Garbage Toxicosis
Is your dog a garbage collector? Many foods in the garbage are moldy and this can create illness as moldy foods have toxins called mycotoxins.
(Via ASPCA site)
Moldy Foods
A wide variety of molds grow on food. Some produce toxins called tremorgenic mycotoxins, which can cause serious or even life-threatening problems if ingested by dogs. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to determine whether a particular mold is producing tremorgenic mycotoxins, so the safest rule of thumb is to avoid feeding dogs moldy food. In other words, if you wouldn’t eat it, neither should your dog. Promptly remove any trash or moldy debris (road-kill, fallen walnuts or fruit, etc.) from your dog’s environment to prevent him from eating it. The signs of tremorgenic mycotoxin poisoning generally begin as fine muscle tremors that progress to very coarse total-body tremors and, finally, convulsions that can lead to death in severe cases. Left untreated, these tremors can last for several weeks. Fortunately, they usually respond well to appropriate veterinary treatment.

Holiday Baking
Making bread?  Uncooked bread dough eaten by your dog is an emergency. Bread dough was made to rise when heated in the oven. When this dough comes in contact with the dog’s bodily fluids and warmth of the stomach it will begin to rise and make this a true emergency vet visit.

Marijuana (oh yes, for some this is in the festivities!)
Ingestion of Cannabis sativa by companion animals can result in depression of the central nervous system and incoordination, as well as vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, increased heart rate, and even seizures and coma.  Never be afraid to tell your Vet if your dog has ingested any recreational drug! They are not going to turn you in they are going to treat your dog!

Holiday Plants

Poinsettia~ is not as toxic as people think. Eating this plant will cause stomach upset and vomiting but dogs rarely eat enough of this to cause serious problems. You would actually have to worry if you knew the plant was treated by a pesticide. The brightly colored leaves of the poinsettia contain sap that irritates the mouth and esophagus.

Holly and Mistletoe
Have a great toxicity in their berries and their leaves. Symptoms of illness are intestinal upset , vomiting , diarrhea, excessive drooling and abdominal pain.

Misteltoe contains substances such as toxalbumin and pharatoxin viscumin which will cause serious intestinal upset , severe drop in blood pressure, breathing problems   hallucinations/unusual behavior. If large amounts are eaten it can cause seizures and death. Keep well out of your dog’s reach or out of the home altogether and get the fake plastic stuff.

The Christmas Tree 
Its needles and oils on fur trees can irritate a pet’s mouth and cause severe drooling, upset stomach & vomiting. If eaten, the needles can cause an obstruction of the bowel. 
Also the water that keeps your tree fresh can contain mold, bacteria and fertilizers which can cause illness with only a couple of laps  from you dog.

Christmas Cactus
This is NOT toxic but can cause excessive vomiting or diarrhea


Use 3% hydrogen peroxide - give 1 teaspoon per ten pounds of the dog's body weight.shake the belly and wait 15 to 20 minutes for vomiting to occur

                                        Alternative items for your dog 

These can be found in your local pet store or farm store the links are just to give you a visual of the items.

Nylabone makes a great flavored bone that does not allow large pieces to come off and it can last for months. Link here 

Stuffed Kongs
Stuff an appropriate size Kong with cream cheese and freeze it overnight. This will give your dog long lasting pleasure while you sit down to dinner.

  Buster Cube
Fill this with a little of the dog’s daily kibble  and small treats and let the dog figure out how to get the food out. link here

Don’t have time to run to the pet store to buy the above items?
Grab a large soda or Gatorade/juice bottle and fill that with the dog’s kibble and treats and let them have fun batting that around to get out the goodies.

ASPCA HOT LINE FOR POSIONONG call (888) 426-4435. A $65 consultation fee may be applied to your credit card.

Monday, October 27, 2014

TDI Discrimination? Really?

Service dogs in training

This picture was taken back in 2005 before the organization
handed out their own logo therapy bandannas.

I recently read an article on a site regarding people buying fake service dog tags over the internet to be able to get their dogs into businesses where they do not belong and into rental homes that do not allow pets. The article was well written and gave advice for businesses on spotting fake tags.  Prior to reading this article I did notice a big headline at the top of the page which read:  Breaking News:  “Therapy Dogs International Discriminates Against Disabled” 

At first I thought the Therapy Dogs International headline and the article about tags were connected somehow so I continued to read the article regarding the fake tags and nowhere in there  did I see Therapy Dogs International (TDI) mentioned as it pertained to this fake tags article.

This prompted me to then click on the headline at the top of the page and lo and behold it was a totally new article and to one which I would ask, what the hell?

I fail to see how the TDI organization which makes its own rules, as most organizations do, discriminated against this person just because it is TDI’s policy that they do not allow service dogs to go on therapy visits or to become therapy dogs.  The writer of the fake tag article did such a brilliant job on the one hand warning the public of fake tags and a crappy job on the other hand in wanting to take their service dog on a therapy visit with another family dog or in wanting their service dog to take the therapy dog test. 

Although other organizations do allow this I feel this is be a big step down into distinguishing the two categories as separate. I see many fall outs for the people who need to have a service/guide dog by their side and not being allowed into businesses, restaurants, or mass transit because of the misunderstanding by the two job titles.  I especially see a fall out with children who need the help of a dog in the school system. 

Lately as more and more therapy organizations are creeping into the mainstream, this opens the door for more unscrupulous people with therapy dogs to try to pass them off as anything other than what they are actually intended for, thereby confusing the general public and businesses alike.  If I had a service/guide dog I would be very pissed off at people who are actually contributing to the mix up of the public’s perception between a much needed service dog and a therapy dog.

I cannot tell you how many times while walking my therapy dog down the street I had heard these words from the public, “He’s a beautiful dog and I would love to pet him, but I know I am not allowed too.”  This makes me believe that the person thinks my dog is a service/guide dog and I think that is great for this reason, it prompts the person to not touch a dog they believe to be working unless told to do so. I would rather they make that first assumption and allow me to then describe the difference between a therapy dog and a service/guide dog, then to make the assumption one can just go up and talk to, pet, or try to play with a service/guide dog.  It has been drummed into our heads for generations that you don’t pet a working service/guide dog. When you start mixing the two types of jobs together you are also going to open a whole new can of worms.  

I have no doubt in my mind that the dog itself is smart enough with a change of equipment to know what job it is to do , however, I also have no doubt  in my mind that the general public will not understand this difference. Sorry folks, I have seen too many people with therapy dogs bringing them into places they were not invited under the guise that they have a right to be there.  

Though TDI is not stating this and I cannot speak for them,  it is strictly my sole perception that TDI’s  rules are, and rightfully so, there to protect themselves as an organization given the insurance they carry on members.

There are other gripes in  the article as well regarding the TDI testing rules such as which dogs can be tested and how they are tested.  The testing of two dogs together which applies to everyone not just disabled people and guide/service dogs,  if a member wishes  to bring two dogs on one visit they must be tested with both dogs to show they can handle both dogs in public. 
I have been with TDI for a while though at present I no longer have active therapy dogs. I have seen rule changes that I agree with and rule changes that I don’t agree with and there are changes I would like to see made. I do at times voice my opinion or make suggestions because as a member that is all I can do.  The point is this, I did not start this organization, I did not put my heart and soul into the running of this organization, nor did I work on the rule changes with the influx of serious situations that made rule changes necessary.

The beauty of  an organization is that you  DON'T HAVE TO BELONG to one if you don’t want to! You can create your own!  

BREAKING NEWS:  A person is free to leave any organization if they do not like the rules!   

 I would also strongly suggest that the writer of this article not make a generalized statement that TDI discriminates against disabilities. I have a disability and I belong to TDI and I do not feel discriminated against.  

  As I said, I don’t agree with every rule of every organization that I belong to but I abide by those rules.  If you want something that fits your style and your needs you can find other organizations that do what you are seeking, or you can start one yourself.  But, if you do that, I suggest you not then bellyache about the public’s misconception   of what each dog’s purpose is. It took years for the public to learn that a ‘working’ service/guide dog should not be distracted while working, thus the ‘don’t pet a service/guide dog’ phrase came into play. 

Yes, we all know that a service dog has down time and can be pet and played with but that is not the point. You are asking to take your service  dog out in public to work for you, and at the same time you want to use it (or another family dog) as a therapy dog and expect that the general public is going to understand this reasoning and carry it over to every working dog they come across which is just not going to happen.   In the  article about fake tags it is made clear the general public does not know the difference between a legit service/guide dog and a fake one.   

I have to wonder if it is worth such public misconception of the differences between a therapy dog which is there for their welfare and a service dog or guide dog  that is trained to do a job for its owner.  I think by not keeping the two separate you are starting a ripple effect of human misconception that will be regretted down the road and I have to ask, is it really worth it especially when there is already so much misuse of a therapy dog tag ruining it for people who need to have their dog by their side?

TDI  is an organization, it is not a law, and I am neither pro or against one particular organization but I am pro people and the assistance they need they get without having others ruin it for them by falsifying the dog's intended job.   

As for being able to tell if a dog is a legitimate service/guide dog, it would make it so much easier for businesses and the like, if this were put right on a person’s drivers (or non driver's) license  just as they put on a driver's license that a person requires glasses and just as a doctor’s note is required by the DMV to get a handicapped sticker. One doctor's note to the DMV that a person needed their assistance/guide dog by their side and it would appear on the license. It is an easy problem to solve and I am surprised that no one has thought of this before.  It would put a stop to all those fraudulent people who buy tags on the internet and businesses would only have to look at one's license to know that a service dog is required and that would make it more of a legitimate law.


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Treat Recall due to Mold! Sold at PetSmart

PetSmart is recalling  lots of Simply Nourish Biscotti with beef and sweet potato dog treats due to  mold issues. Affected products has an expiration date of February 2016. 

Moldy food can contain toxins called mycotoxins which can cause tremors ,shaking, and seizures within a few minutes of  ingestion but often within 30 minutes of ingestion. Supportive care is needed by your vet and  many dogs recover within 24 to 48 hours. 

Products being recalled: Simply Nourish Biscotti with Beef &  Sweet Potato Dog treats.
 UPC 73725747061  Sku 5203800 

Stop using the treats immediately and return the product to PetSmart 
You may contact Loving Pets Corporation which makes the treats at 866 -599-7387

To report a complaint go to the FDA site  by clicking here

Friday, October 3, 2014

I am A Dog

I wanted to write this mostly out of frustration due to the amount of questions I hear about dogs behaving badly. People are looking for medication and quick fixes for a dog's personality problem, when sadly some problems cannot be fixed. Because  we as a society,  out of pure greed,  turned our domesticated pet  into a being that sometimes  has altered mental states that they cannot control. So how are we to fix such dogs, and  why do we expect the dog to be fixed?  Remember, you picked the dog, the dog did not pick you.

Days after writing this,  with the intent of trying to make humans  see the reality of a situation caused by what we created over decades of poor breeding,  a study came across the Trainers  Round Table and I could not agree with it more.

"We have created a world of 'live-stocking' dogs that are not to be used as human food such as cows or chickens are,  but as companion animals  to us.  Is it any wonder that we see the problem behaviors we do after decades of doing this?"

The test study which I will link below, was done by  Franklin D McMillan, Deborah L Duffy, and James A Serpell ,and it is a very good read for the general public who adopt dogs, for rescues who seek out adopters,  and for trainers who try to fix the situation.

I am not anti rescue or anti dog pound, all dogs deserve a home, but what I would like to see is  that the organizations  make it known to the public  that when they adopt a dog  it  is a responsibility one  has  to live with,  and that some dogs can only be taken so far in life and need to be accepted the  way they are. I would  like rescues, dog pounds, and other adoption agencies to  ask the adopter if they are prepared for that.  Don't put a dog in a home just to give it a home as it is unfair to all involved.  

Sally Grottini

I am a dog, a domesticated animal that appreciates you taking me into your home, whether you hand picked me from a breeder, a rescue organization, a local shelter, or the litter from a neighbor’s dog.

I am special; I am my own animal and have my own personality.  I may be the same breed of dog you  had in year’s past, but I am an individual and  may not act the same as the dog you had before. I may not act like my brother or sister even though we are from the same mother.

Please love me for who I am, and take me as far as you can, but do not push me into something I am not.
 Your other dogs loved to be around people, but crowds make me uncertain, your other dogs loved to be in the company of other pets, I had to fight for food, therefore I do not care to be around other dogs.  Your other dogs  loved children, but children make me very nervous and I do not enjoy their yells and sudden movements.  

How did you pick me?
Was I cowering in the back of the cage?   Know that I was there because I am fearful.  I can love one family, or one person, but please don’t put me the middle of a party and expect I will like it.

Why did you pick me?
Did you think that if you gave me enough love I could be something I am not? Did you pick me to mold me into your lifestyle? Did you pick me because of my breed?
  Or did you pick me because you like me for who I am?  

Did I meet your other pets before you took me home?
Did I make the first move to engage them?  Did I stand my ground when around them, or roll over onto my back?  Did I hide behind you?  Did I growl or bark?

 Did your pet bring their favorite toy or bone when they came to meet me, and if so, did they share it with me or did they growl when I got near it?

Did I meet your kids?
Was I happy to see them and did I jump all over them, or did I put my tail down and just try to sit there patiently? Did I make eye contact with them?  Did I duck when they tried to pet me? Did I try to hide from them?

I am a domesticated animal, with a unique personality, my breeding standards may have been less than ideal and you have picked me among all the others to be with your family, but please don’t force your lifestyle upon me.  There are some things I am happy to learn and do, but please do not expect me to act  like every other dog you have ever had.   Love me for my unique personality;  love and accept me for being me, just as I love and accept you for being you.

I am a dog.


In short, here are the study's findings pertaining to puppy mill dogs:

Such dogs taken from puppy mills are more likely to:

Show a broad range of abnormal behavior problems and psychological characteristics which would  include  elevated levels of fear and phobias, compulsive disorders such as spinning, pacing, house soiling, and heightened sensitivity to being touched or picked up.

The psychological harm in these dogs showed to be long term and severe which will last long after they have left a breeding facility, and possibly for a lifetime.

Dogs from pet stores  had variables but were more likely to show  greater aggression to family and strangers, as well as to other dogs or animals, had greater separation related problems and greater house soiling  problems.

Below is a quote from information obtained through the  study:

"The chances of a dog developing serious behavior problems is much higher for dogs purchased as puppies from pet stores, as compared to obtaining dogs from small, noncommercial breeders."

Link to the study on puppy mill dogs click here

Monday, September 29, 2014

Pet Food Recall

Sept. 26 2014

Bravo company  of Manchester CT is recalling select Chicken and Turkey pet foods for both dogs and cats due to Salmonella. 

Salmonella will make both pets and humans ill. Humans only need touch it and not wash their hands  and pets of course will eat it.

Pets with salmonella poising will  experience  vomiting, lethargy, lack of appetite, diarrhea sometimes bloody, 

Keep in mind that if you have a multiple pet household that some of your pets may be carriers and show no symptoms.

The food  below is affected by this recall

Raw Food Diet  Bravo~ Turkey Blend for Dogs and Cats 
Product Number: 31-102
Size: 2 lb. (32 OZ) plastic tubes
Best used by date: 11-05-15
UPC: 829546311025
Keep Frozen
Bravo Blends  All natural Chicken Blend diet for Dogs and Cats
Product Number: 21-102
Size: 2 lb. (32 OZ) plastic tubes 
Best used by date: 08-11-16 
UPC: 829546211028
Keep Frozen

The below products are being recalled out of concern because two lots testes were found to be contaminated as well

 all sizes (2 lb., 5 lb. and 10 lb.) of Bravo Chicken Blend(s), Bravo Turkey Blend(s), Bravo Balance Chicken Balance and Bravo Balance Premium Turkey Formula frozen raw diet products with best used by dates between June 20, 2016 and September 18, 2016. 

Product Recall Claim Form available on the Bravo website www.bravopetfoods.comdisclaimer icon for a full refund or store credit. More information on the Bravo recall can also be found atwww.bravopetfoods.comdisclaimer icon, or call toll free (866) 922-9222 Monday through Friday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (EST).

Friday, September 26, 2014

Jakks Pacific Recalls Kong Treats From PetSmart

Jakks Pacific is recalling  Kong Aussie Sticks that were sold to PetSmart. The recall is  due to the possibility of mold developing on treats that were not dried correctly. At the present time only those sold at PetSmart are being recalled.

The item numbers being recalled at this time are 75559  and 75560

sold by dates are 1/30/16 and 1/31/16

You can bring the product back to the store for a refund.

To contact the Jakks Pacific company: click here

Kong can be reached at 303 216 2626

To file a consumer complaint click here

You can also see how to report a complaint at the FDA site here

Mold, also referred to  as mycotoxins,  can cause tremors,shakes, vomiting, agitation and seizures See link here  This link also contains an  animal poison control center should you need further help.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Mars Petcare Recalls Pedigree pet food

Last week while  I was on vacation, apparently Mars Petcare voluntarily recalled  22  Bags of  Pedigree Brand 'Adult Complete Nutrition' for dogs sold in the Dollar General Stores in Mississippi, Arkansas , Tennessee and Louisiana. This was due to small metal pieces being mixed into the food but  not embedded in the food. 

The UPC Code  432C1KKM03 and best sold by date of  9/15/15 were affected. 

Questions about the recall can be directed to this number  1 800 305 5206 

Information on  where the food was distributed can be found here

To date 9/2/14 more bags are being recalled and they include the 55 lb bags sold at Sams Club with the lot code 432E1KKM03 best sold by 8/7/2015
At this time Sams Club in  Indiana , Michigan and Ohio are affected.

Please contact Mars if you have any  affected bags that are of a different lot and make them aware the problem exists or report your findings to the FDA using their safety  reporting portal found here

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Give Me A break!

I recently read an article that I completely disagree with and maybe the person writing it was trying to get something else across to the public but what I got from  it and what many more people will take away from it is that it is okay to coddle your dog during a storm or fearful act.  This below link is the article in which I speak and quite possibly I have pointed out the quick take away that I got from it so maybe you will read it a bit more carefully and realize the person is talking about emotion, not behavior. Read it and feel free to comment in the comment section of my blog as to what you took from the article and then please continue to  give me your ear on why I disagree .
article link here 

Regarding the above article:

 I think this person is missing the boat.  It depends on what the dog is doing at the time the dog is frightened.  There are dogs that bark, chew, nudge, shake, dig, and whine when they are frightened.  So to give them this attention of petting, talking to, coddling at a time the dog is doing any of the above behaviors is in fact rewarding that ‘behavior’. We are talking about behavior not human emotion which humans tend to put upon their animals in every aspect. I do believe that dogs have emotions, but I also believe that humans at times interpret their own emotions to what the dog may be feeling.   

 The focus is a 'fear behavior'. If the dog barks continuously because it is fearful (and many do bark in more fearful situations than thunderstorms), does one want to reward that behavior or give the dog the tools to succeed and act differently?

There are many things that dogs and humans have in common and learning is one of them. If I took a young child that was afraid of storms and gave them something else to do instead of worry, such as an explanation regarding why thunder happens ( cold air  meeting  warm air)  so they could understand, they are likely to behave slightly different during the next storm. From there, one builds onto the explanation and gradually gives ideas of things to do during a storm so it is not seen as a horrible thing.  If I were to allow the child to continuously scream out of fear what is the child getting out of it? What are they learning from it?  Seemingly they just put themselves into more of a panic.    Did you ever read the book ‘Thunder Cakes’ which is a true story of a child’s fear of thunder?  If not, it may help some of you humans that wish to coddle and give the dog attention when they are acting fearful.  

When we ask a dog to sit and it does not sit what happens?  We wait.  We may ask the dog again to  sit , but the dog still does not sit, what do we do?  Some may lightly push on the rear quarters to show the dog what sit means, others may hold a reward over its head so that it has to sit. The dog sits, we reward with praise, sometimes petting, upbeat voices, or with treats.  The next time the dog comes to us and we ask for a sit, the dog sits. It has been taught to the dog that if I sit I get something.   

In a thunderstorm situation the dog comes to you shaking, whining, pawing at you, jumping in your lap, etc. Yes it may be frightened or anxious, but  could the dog also have learned that shaking, pawing, jumping in the lap, at this particular time (associated with a storm) gets it what it wants which is human attention and instant reward?

If  we reward a dog when it sits upon command, we have trained the dog a  'reaction to an action'  The dog sits, 'action', we reward 'reaction'

I think human feelings have to be put aside and the situation looked at logically.  I had a dog that barked with every storm, I talked to him softly the first few times because where I lived the storms seemed to always come in the middle of the night and for me sleep was first priority especially during a work week. I thought that by talking softly to him and  giving him a pet as he ran around the bed that he would calm down. But what happened was that his barking began to escalate and start a bit earlier the next time. The next time he was barking due to the rainfall because the rain in his mind  was now associated with the storm. The barking then became worse as he began barking with just the smell of rain in the air. The  smell of rain in the air was associated with rainfall and rainfall associated with the storm. It got to the point that even a threat of rain, or a few drops of rain, even though no storm was coming , elicited an action from the dog which in turn made him anxious, overheated, and barking continuously until everything was over.  

     Is that how you want your dog to live? Would it not be better to take some of that fear away by giving the dog something else to do to be talked to, praised , petted about?  Or does one feel it is okay to allow the dog to feel so out of control that even the smell of rain puts fear in them?   When should you stop a dog from being thunder fearful?  Perhaps after it has jumped out of the window because the fear was so bad they thought they could not get away from it? 

It’s ludicrous to think that with all our knowledge in general about how to help fearful dogs succeed so they no longer fear that person walking  down the street or that child riding their bike, or the loud thunderous noise of a motorcycle, but yet we expect they should not be helped through a storm fear why?    Why do we not want to bother to give them the tools to earn rewards for a better actions?  Why do we not train them what to do so they succeed in their actions/behaviors during a thunderstorm?

 I have to admit that due to my human emotions getting involved  during those first few thunderstorms when my dog was barking  that I soft talked him, and gave him a pet here when he came to the side of the bed. I actually allowed this fear to build up over time rather than nipping it in the bud as I should have. I was the one in charge of my home, yet I allowed his anxiousness to get so out of hand for him that within fifteen minutes of running on a hot summer day due to the smell of rain in the air, he got heat stroke and from being overheated  he had an intake of water so fast that it turned into gastric dilatation-Volvulus (AKA BLOAT) which is a killer.

I had allowed his actions first to the thunderstorm, then to the rain and finally to the smell of rain  get out of hand, and because of this his nearly died.  I should have taken the fear away from him from the onset instead of reacting to an action in which he got what he wanted from me.   

  Because storms and fireworks are so far and few between and there is nothing to duplicate the storm activity for training purposes  it took me nearly two  years to retrain him and give him the tools and commands he needed to be calmer during the next storm and every other storm after that.   

 If the dog is shaking and hiding and not a nuisance to the neighbors, and you are home all day with them,   then by all means, coddle until you heart desires, but once you see that dog’s reactions changing and it is  becoming fearful of the next little thing and the next little thing as my dog did you then have a long haul on your hands and possibly a dangerous situation. I was fortunate, I was home when my dog got overheated and started to bloat and I knew the signs. Had I not been home to rush my dog to the Vet he would have died a painful death within an hours time. 

I have to ask this because I am really trying to make sense of the human thought process, if you as a human were so frightened of something it made you shake uncontrollably, would you want to live like that forever and hope that someone would be around to stoke your head or hold you? What if you were alone in the home when this fear hit? How would you handle it?  

Or, would you want to seek out a professional to help so that you would not fear it anymore and have the tools to work through it?

Why then is it so wrong to want to help our dogs do the same? We all have fear of something whether it be a disease or a thunderstorm, the fears may always be there in the back of our minds, but to simply say  do nothing to help the mind is in my opinion very poor judgment and bad advice to put out there. 

In my opinion, the person in the above article seems to be saying that the reinforcement of an emotion is something that cannot happen and that simply is not true.

If you were frightened every night because your little brother hid under the bed and grabbed your leg as you were hopping under the covers in the dark, he is reinforcing that fear for you, so that soon there comes a time that in the back of your mind you will think someone is under the bed waiting. Fear can be reinforced and it can be turned  into a positive  or a negative depending on how you handle it. It is an emotion and the definition of emotion is:
A natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one's circumstances, mood, or relationships with others.

So what is your dog getting out of the relationship with you during a storm? 

I would hope that common sense if nothing else would steer you in a way to help your dog through the variety of tools and medications out there , rather than to let your dog's mind suffer with every boom of thunder.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Protective or Possessive ? Using the Learn to Earn Program

This is my rescue dog Skylar. When I first
brought her home she was possessive aggressive
with my other young dog. After about  a month of
living here I had given all of my dogs a special treat of frozen yogurt.
I bent down to take a picture of Skylar eating hers and
she growled at me. This told me that her possessive tendencies
were transferring over to humans and she viewed this item
as  high value. Up until then I had not had a problem with her.

Possession Aggression in Dogs

Several times a week I do get customers whose dog is snapping, growling or biting those that come near it when the dog has a toy or valued item.  However this is not limited to dog treats, bones, or toys. The human in the dog’s life can also be considered an item to possess, but the human believes that the dog is being protective over them. Usually dogs that are protective do it in a silent way by staying near the owner in a situation where the dog feels the owner may be harmed in some way, but they rarely act out until they feel it is warranted.
 A dog barking at a stranger that approaches your front door, is more of an alert to you from the dog stating someone is here, it does not mean necessarily that the dog is in protection mode. If your dog is possessive over items such as those mentioned above then it is likely possession not protection that you are seeing.

I once owned a Newfoundland dog named Chance and he was a protector of me though he and I seemed to be the only ones that noticed this. He was a therapy dog and I often took him for walks through town to keep him in touch with people, other dogs, and strange noises.  One day while walking through town about 7:30 AM I saw a bicyclist coming up the sidewalk so I moved closer to the storefronts and put Chance in a sit stay so the man could pass by safely. The man however was not going to just pass by; I had actually stopped in the area where he was going, which was a local Moose Lodge.  When he got off of his bicycle he began to talk with me and I could smell alcohol on his breath. Chance must have felt the man to be a danger because he began to pull me away from this man rather than greet him as he would any other person. You can’t really stop a 170 lb dog if they want to leave a situation!  I also had a situation arise when I went on a therapy visit. We did visits to the local prison and on one occasion a guard brought a prisoner   into the room that we had never met before. Chance was laying on the floor relaxing as he would do normally on these visits but as this prisoner came close to us to find a seat in the room, Chance sprung to his feet, came to me and put one front foot on either side of my seat, then leaned his whole body into mine, pressing me against the back of the chair as his head followed this prisoner. Once the prisoner took his place in the room Chance still did not want leave me. I had to physically push him off of the seat and that was no easy task!  From that day on Chance never left my side when this person was in the room.  That is protection. Never a growl, a snarl, or a bark came from him; it was his actions that told me I should be leery. 

  Dogs that are used for protection are taught to bark, lunge, and act out when a stranger approaches such as you would see a police dog do.

That being said let’s talk about how to stop possession aggression so no one gets hurt.

Training daily in commands will help and doing this in a positive way will actually reward the dog for it’s good behavior as well as show the dog you are consistent in what you expect from it. When humans are not consistent then the dog feels the need to take over.   Training daily in conjunction with a the learn to earn program will help the dog to see you as ( for lack of a better word) being in charge.   

Some trainers will tell you to teach the dog to trade the item that they have in their mouth for a higher value item but there are problems with this.

A)  The dog does not necessarily have to have the item in its mouth to be possessive of it; the item only needs to be in the same room as the dog. I have seen a dog shoot across the room and bite someone because they accidentally stepped on the dog’s favorite squeak toy!

  B) While using  the 'trade' method  may work for those that know the dog is possessive aggressive, it will not work for the unsuspecting guest in your home who does not know what to do. This well meaning person who goes to pet Fluffy and does not know that Fluffy has issues and that Fluffy’s favorite toy is across the room,  then this person suddenly becomes a threat to Fluffy. Thus a bite can incur. Do you really have time to explain to everyone that visits you how to “Trade” an item with your dog and do you always have a higher value item on hand?    

The best practice is to try to eradicate the possessive behavior altogether so you don’t have to explain rules to guests. Children especially are not going to fully comprehend what you are telling them.

What we want here is to tell Fluffy we are in control of the home and Fluffy’s  prized possessions so that Fluffy does not need to take on that job.

 Think how exhausted you would be if you had to check every room in the home to see if any item was taken from you while a repair man was there working on your pipes. It could take hours before the repairman finished his job and instead of being able to relax you are constantly going from room to room looking for your prized possessions.  That would be mentally and physically exhausting. Having the items you treasure  put  away in one spot would be able to help you relax a bit more while the repair man is there.

Learn to earn for possession aggression

1)Pick up all toys, bones, food and put them out of reach of the dog

2) Put the daily dose of food in a sealed tin on the counter top

3) Pick up all food related toys and bowls. Leaving only a water bowl

What learn to earn training means is that you are taking charge of the dog entire life’s wants and needs.  No more is free food put down in front of them. Keep the daily dose of food in a closed tin in the area where the dog is fed, call the dog to you and ask him to sit. When he sits, he gets a handful of food. Do this throughout the day using any command that the dog knows. The dog must obey that command in order to get some food.  Feed the  dog its kibble by hand throughout the day but when you call the dog to you not only should the dog obey a command before getting food but the dog should see you eat something before you hand over any kibble. So keep a cracker or something on the counter for yourself.

You will also take control of when the dog can play. The toys, bones, etc. should be put away, then when you are ready to play take out a toy and play with the dog, when you decide play is over, put the toy away again.

Petting does not come to them just because they nudge you, you decide when this takes place, which means you would call them to you, ask that a command be obeyed and pet them at your discretion. If they nudge to be petted, you ignore that, but you can give the dog a command at any time to obey and reward that behavior with petting. Again you always want to reinforce a behavior you have asked for. So even though you know the dog has nudged you to be petted, you don’t have to totally ignore the dog, turn that nudge into a trick or command and praise and reward the dog for that.  

Anything your dog takes for granted such as you opening the door to let it out, putting on a leash to go for a walk, allowing it to walk though a door before you, etc. these are all privileges to a dog that come naturally due to the human’s repetitive actions over time but many humans don’t realize this.  So, before you go through that door put the dog in a wait command and you walk through first, then invite the dog to walk through. Again this should be rewarded with praise.  Before you put the leash on for a walk you ask for a sit ~ stay.

Furniture is a big no, no for dogs that have aggressive tendencies because it puts them in a higher charge over the others in the home, especially children.

             Dogs should not just be allowed on the couch without specific invitation and sometimes not at all if the aggression is severe. The need to be close and cuddle is more a human thing than a dog thing.  While dogs do like to be close to the one they love, taking a few minutes to sit on the floor next to you will be enough to please them. Remember that it must be your decision to sit on the floor and then call them to you. Don’t sit on the floor if they are whining or pawing at you for attention. Wait for that to stop then you can sit on the floor and call them to lie down next to you. If you are sitting on the floor and the dog begins to approach you without being asked, then give the command of wait and after a few seconds give the recall (come) command. 

This is not to say that no dog should ever be allowed on a couch, it is perfectly fine if you have stable easy going dogs. It is when there are problem dogs in the home that furniture should be off limits to all dogs.

As mentioned above, in most cases dogs have developed habits that the owner allowed over time but did not realize it.  What might be helpful to the owner is to sit and make a list of all the good things your dog gets for free by an action that you have allowed the dog do for years. This will help you to turn those free behaviors into commands or tricks that can earn a reward.

When the dog tries an action to get the desired reaction from you, stop and think. Did I call the dog over to be petted? Did I tell the dog it is time to go out and that is why he brings the leash? Did I say let’s play so that is why he dropped the ball in my lap?  All of those actions got the dog reactions in the past usually in a positive beneficial way to the dog. So now it is time to turn that all around. 

Dogs that are well balanced within a group to begin with do not really need any of the above things to change; it is your right to spoil a well rounded dog!  It is only homes with dogs that have social limitations around other dogs that should need the above direction.

Some of you may think that the above is cruel or negative and how dare the human take these things away,  however you are actually setting the dog up to succeed by taking away any worry it may have over its possessions. 

This is Skylar today. Notice how she is sharing
her ball on a rope with Brody my other dog.

 In this  video link below  you can see plenty of toys strewn about
which at one time Skylar considered hers even though they
were here before she came to us.  Though there are still
high value things I have to control for now she is getting the message. It is
always a work in progress and you have to do what is best for
your dog and your family