Pet food recalled after sickening at least 21 cats

Pet food recalled after sickening at least 21 catsOver the weekend, the FDA released the details of the a Missouri company’s decision to recall its line of dried cat food, which was primarily distributed in the eastern U.S., after 21 pet owners reported health problems in their felines.

In September, Diamond Pet Foods warned consumers that certain bags of Premium Edge Finicky Adult Cat food may cause thiamine deficiency as well as gastrointestinal and neurological problems in cats, the Associated Press reports.

The FDA said the lack of thiamine in the product could result in serious pet health including issues vomiting, difficulty walking, seizures and potentially death.

On Tuesday, Diamond confirmed 21 reports of thiamine deficiency in cats in New York and Pennsylvania. The pet food was also distributed in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland, Virginia, Alabama, Georgia and Florida.

After a series of pet food recalls, some veterinarians started recommending alternative diets in 2007.

For instance, Dr Richard Pitcairn told ABC that dogs fed long-term on kibbles sometimes show signs of fatigue and are more susceptible to parasites and fleas.

According to American Pet Product Association sales estimates, pet owners will spend $17.4 billion on pet food this year, up from $16.8 billion in 2008.

Puppy love in full force for holiday season

They drool on your belongings, they eat your homework and they publically embarrass you on a daily basis. So why do so many Americans consider their pets to be a part of the family? As the holiday season approaches, new research from Bissell Homecare suggests that dogs and cats may find a permanent spot under the mistletoe, demonstrating their value as the household’s designated smoocher.

According to the recent Bissell survey, a total of 57 percent of animal owners said their pets are more likely than a spouse or significant other to give them a kiss when they walk in the door each day.

Perhaps the unbridled affection given by these pets is deserving of the holiday treat, which 49 percent of respondents said they would purchase for their pet’s stockings this year.

"During the holidays, Americans tend to spend a lot of time with family and, for many of us, pets are part of the family," said Pet Lifestyle lc expert Kristen Levine.

She added the holiday season offers the chance to "share the joys of pet ownership with our friends and loved ones."

Levine is not alone. The Bissell survey revealed that 35 million pet owners will include their dog or cat’s photo, "signature" or paw print on their holiday cards this year.

Cesar Millan selects face and snout of new ad campaign

Cesar Millan selects face and snout of new ad campaignIn September ,Cesar Millan, host of the hit National Geographic Channel show Dog Whisperer, launched an online competition to choose a spokesdog for the Millan Foundation’s 2010 spay and neuter advertising drive. With help from a panel of celebrity judges, the foundation’s creator announced the grand prize winner on Tuesday.

Jake, a mixed breed pooch adopted from an Orange County, California animal shelter will join Millan as the face of the upcoming public service announcement campaign.

The winning dog can be easily identified from the scar that runs around the circumference of his muzzle, after his snout was wired shut by a former owner. Jake’s adoptive owner Robin Reiger said the dog’s past abuse "has not affected his spirit."

According to Millan, "Jake is a perfect representation of the wonderful companions found in shelters."

He added, "We set out to create a contest that would highlight the love we have for our canine companions while at the same time addressing the most serious crisis facing animals in shelters today, that’s overpopulation."

More than 3,000 dogs entered the competition, which raised more than $35,000 for the foundation.

The U.S. Humane Society estimates that 6 to 8 million cats and dogs enter shelters each year, and about half are eventually euthanized.

Pets to curl up on Santa’s lap

Pets to curl up on Santa's lapWorking as a mall Santa Claus presents occupational challenges which are certainly unique. While some children throw fits when placed on Santa’s lap, others slyly devise plans to yank off the gift-giver’s beard. In addition, the responsibilities of playing Santa take on a new meaning when pets, rather than children, seek some time on St. Nick’s lap.

"My most memorable pet was a black tarantula that ended up in my beard," Allan Cameron, veteran Santa Claus for Pet Assistance, told the Santa Clarita Valley Signal.

Over the years Cameron has donned the red suit and posed with cats, dogs, parrots, turtles, iguanas and potbellied pigs to help fund projects administered by the Pet Assistance League.

The organization raises money to pay for spaying or neutering procedures to help pet owners who are unable to afford the veterinary services.

Pet Assistance treasurer Linda Furlano told the news source, "I started this project with just a Polaroid about 16 years ago."

She added that spaying and neutering helps control the pet population, keeps animals healthy and reduces the number of pets that end up in pounds or rescue shelters.

According to the Bill Foundation, which aims to rescue homeless dogs from shelters, the procedure to fix a pet usually costs between $50 and $100.

Car sickness drug lets pets hit the road

Car sickness drug lets pets hit the roadMany pets enjoy exploring beneath the Christmas tree, receiving a new gift-wrapped squeak toy or getting a little extra attention from visiting relatives. However, one aspect of the holidays that some animals may not relish is the the necessity to endure long car rides for family visits and vacations.

According to a recent survey commissioned by AAA and Best Western International, more than 75 percent of pet owners said they would bring their pet with them on every vacation if possible. Unfortunately, car sickness, especially common in puppies, can result from extended travel.

The prominent pharmaceutical company Pfizer is taking steps to support families who are concerned with pet health but are unwilling to leave their pups behind when they hit the road, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

In 2007, the FDA approved Pfizer’s drug cerenia to prevent vomiting caused by motion sickness. More recently, the company launched a Twitter feed named Dog on Board to offer tips on traveling with a young dog.

For pet owners seeking drug-free remedies to car sickness, the news provider offered several pieces of advice. Specifically, trial runs, fresh air, a good view and an empty stomach will help animals get used to the ride.

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