FDA issues salmonella warning for pet foods

FDA issues a warning to pet ownersThe majority of pet owners today consider their animals to be part of the family. Though cats have nine lives, some families celebrate their every birthday; though dogs are not supposed to eat from the table, some family dinners aren’t complete until the favored canine licks the plates clean. It comes as no surprise then, that pet health and safety have become primary concerns for households across America.

This week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a health warning to alert pet owners that Pig Ears and Beef Hooves pet treats manufactured by Pet Carousel may be contaminated with salmonella. The products were distributed to pet food and retail chain stores nationwide.

While to date, no illnesses associated with the treats have been reported, the FDA notes that the products were manufactured under conditions that facilitate cross-contamination with other batches.

Pets with salmonella may become sluggish and experience fever, vomiting, or abdominal pain. The FDA recommends contacting a veterinarian if these symptoms become apparent, as pets with salmonella can infect other animals or humans.

According to CNN reports, pet insurance plans can cost about $5 to $30 a month for the average healthy pet.

It’s a bird, it’s a flame?it’s a Fireman!

Fire hits an Oregon pet storeFirefighters rushed to the rescue of birds, reptiles, dogs and other pets in an Oregon pet store after responding to an early-morning fire on Friday.

Though the firemen evacuated a large number of the animals and hurried some to a nearby veterinary animal clinic, unfortunately, not all of the would-be pets survived.

Just before 3 a.m. Friday, a fire broke out at the Zany Zoo pet shop in Eugene, Oregon. Glenn Petter, spokesperson for the Eugene Fire Department said he believed the blaze to be caused by a grouping of overloaded electrical circuits, KVAL reports. The fire likely started in the reptile room, which was fit with devices providing intense heat and light to the animals.

On the bright side, the firefighters were able to save more than two-third of the animals, and no puppies died in the fire.
"We were able to rescue a large number of birds, rodents, reptiles, puppies, cats and they [were all transported] to the vet emergency clinic that’s just about two blocks away," Eugene fire chief Mark Grover told KMTR reporters.

Damage to the building is estimated at $100,000, with $25,000 in lost property.

The blaze comes as a reminder that pet insurance plans are available to ensure that animals remain safe, with a limited expense to animal-loving households.

Elephant tries to forget collision with SUV

A circus elephant wandered onto Okahoma's highwayAn Oklahoma veterinarian got a big (really big) surprise when he was asked to treat the wounds of an elephant that was hit by an SUV after escaping from a nearby circus.

Bill Carpenter and his wife were driving home from church late on Wednesday when the driver swerved all too late and wound up sideswiping a 29-year-old female elephant in Enid, Oklahoma, the Associated Press reports.

"I didn’t have time to hit the brakes. The elephant blended in with the road," Carpenter explained to the news provider. "At the very last second I said ‘elephant!’"

Thankfully, the couple was not injured, but the 8-foot-tall, 4,500-pound elephant was brought veterinarian Dr Dwight Olson on Thursday to be treated for a broken tusk and leg wound. The animal’s tusk punctured the side of the vehicle, tearing through the sheet metal.
I don’t believe there’s a broken bone," said Olson, "but I don’t have an X-ray room big enough to examine it."

The elephant was identified by the Family Fun Circus, which performed at the Garfield County Fraigrounds earlier that day.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the average veterinary expenditure for pet care on cats or dogs in 2006 was $366; the organization does not keep statistics on pet elephants.

How Smart is My Dog? The 10 Smartest Dog Breeds.

Recently, the New York Times reported that a psychology professor named Stanley Coren has discovered some fascinating things about dogs and intelligence.

Coren polled over 200 professional dog obedience judges, asking them to rank 110 dog breeds according to their intelligence. In general, he says, poodles, retrievers, Labradors and shepherds are the most intelligent dogs, able to learn as many as 250 words, signs and signals.

The smartest dogs, he says, will understand a new command in five repetitions or less, and will immediately obey commands 95% of the time. Here’s his list of the smartest dog breeds:

  1. Border Collie
  2. Poodle
  3. German Shepherd
  4. Golden Retriever
  5. Doberman Pinscher
  6. Shetland Sheepdog
  7. Labrador Retriever
  8. Papillon
  9. Rottweiler
  10. Australian Cattle Dog

Before you rush out to buy one of these smart dogs, though, you should know that there are pros and cons to living with an intelligent canine. As Coren points out, sometimes these dogs are so smart that they learn to manipulate their owners and their environment to get whatever they want.

Millan: Pet care demands a ‘pack leader’

Millan: Pet care demands a 'pack leader'As many pet owners know, not every dog will fetch the morning newspaper or assume the responsibility of maintaining the household while its owner is at work. Common misbehaviors by dogs, though irritating, can often be curbed with small steps to ensure that pet care is meeting the canine’s standards.

According to Cesar Millan, host of the hit National Geographic Channel show Dog Whisperer, a dog’s bad behavior can sometimes be traced back to tense or negative attitudes expressed by its owner, or small lapses in care.

Because most canines instinctually learn their behavior from a pack leader, Millan warns dog-lovers, "If you are tense, frustrated or angry, your dog will mirror that energy right back at you, so it’s especially important to remain calm when dealing with an aggressive dog."

The dog whisperer further recommends that a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise each day not only ensures quality pet health, but may reduce hyperactivity in excitable or edgy dogs.

The expert furthermore claims that separation anxiety, manifested by persistent barking while the owner is away, can be curbed by practicing "no touch, no talk, and no eye contact" for at least five minutes while entering or leaving the home.

According to the U.S. Humane Society, there are approximately 88.3 million owned cats and 74.8 million owned dogs in the country.

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