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Santa Paws: Christmas for pets

Posted on: December 11th, 2008 by

By: Dr. Jack Stephens

Feliz Navidog! It’s Torrey, writing to you from sunny Mexico. I’m spending a few days here, recharging my batteries before heading home to Idaho for Christmas. I need to be home, after all, when Santa Paws comes down the chimney dragging a sack full of presents for me with his teeth. Every year, I try to stay awake so I can see him but I always seem to fall asleep before he shows up. (Well, a girl does need her beauty rest, after all!)

Some of my friends, believe it or not, have tried to tell me that there is no Santa Paws at all, that he’s just made up. That’s simply ridiculous. I mean, how else could you explain the new chew toys, the soft fuzzy blankets, the boxes of treats and everything else I find under the tree each Christmas morning? And who eats those dog biscuits I always set out on a plate by the fireplace?

Now Santa, if you’re reading this, you know I’ve been extra good this year. Well, pretty good, anyway. I have tried not to bark so much at the office (I only bark when there is a very good reason) and have reduced my howling by as much as 50%. And I always work hard to keep my Dad happy. It hasn’t been easy, Santa, but I knew it would be worth it come Christmas morning.

As you know, Santa, I’m a simple dog with simple tastes. I’m easy to please. I don’t want to burden you with a long list of items, and after all, I already have everything a girl could want, so why not make it easy on yourself this year? Just bring me a simple diamond-studded collar. And if it’s not too much trouble, you might throw in a nice cashmere cardigan, size extra-small. Those Idaho nights do get mighty chilly, after all. You see? I’m quite easy to shop for.

Most of all, though, what I want is for my fellow dogs and cats, the homeless ones who have to spend the holidays in animal shelters, to find warm, loving homes. Santa, please tell everyone who has room in their house (and love to give) to think about adopting a shelter pet. My mom and dad do this, and even though I have to reestablish myself as top dog with each new pet, I do feel good about helping others. If they don’t have the room for a new pet, they should at least donate food or toys to their local shelters this Christmas; it would be best to call the shelter and ask what their biggest needs are.

And to all the rest of my friends out there, all of us at Pets Best would like to wish you health and happiness in the coming year. Try to stay warm and most of all, be good! After all, Santa Paws is watching you…

Merry Christmas!

Torrey

Pet Airways: Ready to EmBARK?

Posted on: December 10th, 2008 by

Posted by Jennifer Jones on 12/10/2008 in Articles from Newsletters

Pet Airways, the first pets-only airline specifically designed for the safe and comfortable transportation of animals is scheduled to begin flights in Spring-Summer 2009 to major destinations throughout the continental U.S. Pet Airways will begin taking reservations in February, 2009. What sets Pet Airways apart from major airlines is that pets fly in the main cabin, not in cargo. “Our pets will travel in the main cabin of our specially outfitted aircraft with climate and lighting controlled for comfort and safety and with a trained Pet Attendant always watching over the pets,” the company says.

The airline will offer nationwide coverage with easily accessible check-in lounges in major metropolitan areas. Because people who want to travel with their pets and those who need to move their pets across the country are faced with limited or dangerous transportation choices, Pet Airways aims to make the experience more comfortable and enjoyable. Visit Pet Airways to learn more about how pet travel will be revolutionized at www.petairways.com.

Learn about the new exclusive partnership between Pets Best and Pet Airways!

10 Toxic Foods for Pets

Posted on: November 17th, 2008 by

10 Potentially Deadly Foods

Secret killers: foods that are tasty for you may be deadly for pets.
This list does not include all of the foods that can harm pets, but does include some of the most common (and surprising!) dangers that could be lurking in your home.

Chocolate
Chocolate toxicity is one of the most common causes of pet poisoning during the holidays. Chocolate contains a lethal component called theobromine —the darker the chocolate, the more theobromine it contains.

Raisins and Grapes
It isn’t clear to scientists just what makes raisins and grapes toxic to both cats and dogs, but even a relatively small amount can damage the kidneys.

Onions and Garlic
Many pet owners are surprised to discover that onions and garlic contain sulfoxides and disulfides, which can damage red blood cells and cause anemia in cats and dogs. Onion and garlic powders are found in many prepared foods – even baby food – so make sure to read labels before serving any item to your pet.

Xylitol
Dog poisoning cases involving this artificial sweetener, often found in sugar-free baked goods and candy as well as sugarless gum, are on the rise. Eating it can result in a sudden drop in blood sugar levels, resulting in depression, loss of coordination, and seizures. The amount of xylitol in five pieces of gum has the potential to kill a 65-pound dog.

Fatty Foods
When it comes to fatty cuts of meat and other fatty items including chicken or turkey skin, it’s better to throw them out than to feed them to pets as a treat. They can cause acute pancreatitis, a life-threatening illness with severe complications.

Avocado
Potentially poisonous to dogs, cats and other animals, avocados contain a fungicidal toxin called persin. Avocados, if eaten, may trigger fluid accumulation in the lungs and chest, leading to difficulty breathing and death from oxygen deprivation.

Moldy or Spoiled Foods
These can contain multiple toxins that can cause vomiting and diarrhea and may affect other organs.

Alcohol
Because cats and dogs are smaller than humans, alcohol can have a much more deadly affect on them. Dogs are often attracted by the sweet taste of alcoholic drinks, especially eggnog. Even small amounts of alcohol can lead to heart arrhythmias, seizures, coma, and even death.

Macadamia Nuts
Though the exact reason is something of a mystery, these famous Hawaiian exports are considered toxic to dogs because they tend to cause gastrointestinal upsets, lethargy, vomiting and muscle tremors or stiffness. As few as six nuts can cause severe poisoning.

Coffee Grounds
Accidentally ingesting coffee grounds, or consuming any drink that is high in caffeine, can cause your dog’s heart to race. This can result in seizures, tremors, arrhythmias, vomiting, diarrhea, or difficulty in breathing.

Because toxicity symptoms are similar no matter what your pet may have eaten, you should watch out if your pet seems to be distressed, listless or in pain. Bloody stools or vomiting are also possible indications. Gastrointestinal problems can lead a build-up of gas until the stomach becomes bloated and hard to the touch. This painful condition can cause the stomach to burst if not treated.

If you think your pet might have been poisoned, call your veterinarian or a poison-control hotline.

The good news is, in most cases, toxic poisoning can be successfully treated if you seek help for your pet right away.

Holiday Fare you Can Share: Home Cooking for Dogs and Cats

Posted on: November 17th, 2008 by

Posted by Pets Best on 11/17/2008 in Articles from Newsletters

The holidays are full of warm, happy occasions shared with family, and for people like us, pets play just as large a role in these occasions as humans do. But by treating pets just like people, could we be killing them with kindness?

Along with celebrating the joy and love of family togetherness, Thanksgiving traditionally celebrates a bounty of delicious homemade foods. It’s understandable that we would want to share this bounty with our four-legged family members, but there are plenty of good reasons not to. Foods laden with spices, salt, or fat, for example, can cause stomach distress in pets and can even lead to serious health problems. Plus, there is concern that feeding pets a menu of human food, whether the feeding is done at the table or in pets’ regular feeding areas, can encourage begging.

Still, as family members, don’t Fido and Felix deserve some lovin’ from the oven? Of course they do! So when you’re planning Thanksgiving dinner, don’t forget your pets. Cooking for cats and dogs is actually a major trend among pet owners. An online search reveals that there hundreds of pet cookbooks on the market and thousands of recipes available to download.

One of the best pet cookbooks, Real Food for Dogs: 50 Vet-Approved Recipes to Please the Canine Gastronome , was written by pet author Arden Moore (www.ardenmoore.com). Incredibly, it has reached sixth place on Amazon’s list of top-selling books. Each of the 50 nutritionally-balanced recipes was approved by Dr. Rebecca Remillard DVM, of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition, including such drool-inducing favorites as Pooch Pancakes, Gobble-Down Goulash and Leap for Liver.

Moore’s publisher, Storey Publishing, also offers a cookbook titled Real Food for Cats: 50 Vet-Approved Recipes to Please the Feline Gastronome by Patti Delmonte. This holiday season, you might want to try Delmonte’s “Turkey Surprise” for cats or Moore’s “Fido Thanksgiving Feast” for dogs; both are reprinted below. With these special dishes, your pet can participate in the Thanksgiving festivities without the problems that come with traditional holiday fare (make sure to remove the skin, which is high in fat, from turkey meat).

It’s important to note that the recipes in Real Food for Dogs and Real Food for Cats are not meant to replace high-quality pet foods, but to add to your pet’s diet, creating variety and interest.

Dogs and cats, of course, have different nutritional needs – one interesting difference is that cats are classified as carnivores, meaning that they can’t maintain their health without a regular supply of meat in their diet. Dogs, on the other hand, are considered to be omnivores, and may benefit from a diet of wider variety including cooked egg whites, cottage cheese, yogurt, rice, pasta and even veggies.

“Vegetables are a great source for that chubby canine who looks like a furry ottoman,” Moore explains. She suggests a replacing a portion of their kibble or canned food with steamed green beans or steamed carrots. “It enables the dog to still feel full without as many calories.”

Whether you’re cooking for your dog or your cat, you’ll be showing your love by keeping them as healthy as possible, says Moore: “If you invest in quality food in your pet’s bowl, you increase the chances that your pet will live a longer, healthier life plus you will save on veterinary bills. It’s a win-win for you and your pet.”

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FIDO THANKSGIVING FEAST*

1 teaspoon olive oil
½ cup mashed potatoes
1 egg
½ cup diced cooked turkey meat
½ cup chopped broccoli
½ cup grated cheddar cheese
Warm the olive oil in a medium-sized pan over medium heat.
In a small bowl, whisk together the potatoes and egg.
Pour the potato and egg mix into the pan. Add the turkey and broccoli.
Cover the pan, reduce heat to low and simmer until the egg is cooked.
Top with the grated cheese and let it cook for a few minutes longer to allow the cheese to melt.
Let cool before serving.
NOTE: this recipe’s portion is based on a medium-sized dog between 30-50 pounds. Adjust the portion accordingly for the size of your dog.

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TURKEY SURPRISE*

Turkey won’t be much of a surprise to the people at your Thanksgiving table, but your cat will be delighted to see this dish in her bowl on that holiday — or any other day, for that matter.

1 teaspoon iodized salt
2 teaspoons corn oil
1½ cups water
½ cup uncooked rice
½ pound turkey giblets, chopped into kitty-bite-size pieces
¼ cup finely chopped carrot
½ cup chopped spinach
Add the salt and oil to the water and bring to a boil. Pour the rice into the boiling water, lower heat, cover, and cook for 10 minutes.
Stir in the turkey giblets, carrot, and spinach. Cover and simmer over low heat for another 10 minutes. Cool and serve.
Makes 4 or 5 servings.

*Reprinted with permission from Storey Publishing

Happy Howl-oween!

Posted on: October 31st, 2008 by

Posted by Pets Best on 10/31/2008 in Articles from Newsletters

Enjoying Halloween with your pets can be a hairy problem. Or it can be a real treat. You’re the best judge of how your pet will react to this happy—but hectic—holiday, but chances are good that with a bit of planning, everyone, including your furry family members, can get into the spirit.

Holiday Stress
Animal experts warn that dogs or cats, even those who are usually tolerant of strangers, can become stressed on Halloween night, with a steady stream of strangers in strange costumes ringing your doorbell and shouting “trick or treat!”

Even if your pet is normally friendly, keep an eye out for any aggressive or fearful reactions. If you choose to crate your animal or keep them contained in any way, they should be kept in a quiet, safe place—otherwise, stress could result in diarrhea or potential injury.

Safety First
With loose pets, remember to keep candles and jack o’ lanterns out of the way—a sprinting cat or a wagging dog’s tail could result in a blaze. All pets, especially black cats, should be kept indoors, safe from Halloween pranksters.

Sticky Situations
Be sure to keep treats out of pets’ reach—chewing and swallowing lollipop sticks or candy wrappers can result in intestinal obstruction or rupture, which are serious emergencies. Children should be warned not to share candy with pets, particularly chocolate, which is toxic to them. If you think your pet has eaten chocolate, watch for tremors, vomiting, diarrhea, or an increased heart rate, and call your veterinarian immediately. Chocolate poisoning is an emergency situation.

Best Dressed Pets
There are lots of Halloween costumes for pets in the stores these days. While dressing your pet up can be fun and oh-so cute, you should be careful. Don’t leave your costumed pet unsupervised, as they might try to chew their costume and could choke on bits of material. If your pet is frightened and tries to run away, the costume could get caught on a bush or fence, entangling the animal.