Vets warn dog owners about dangers of popular grass found on hikes

morgue file mensaticAs a dog owner, it is common knowledge that it is crucial to walk your dog frequently, not only for the health benefits of the animal but the owner. There is nothing more exhilarating than to go for a brisk walk, hike or jog while taking in all that nature has to offer. However, recent studies and reports by veterinarians now exhibit cause for concern. Something as simple and beautiful as the grass classifies as a possible danger for your four-legged furry family member, especially Foxtail grass.

How wild grasses like Foxtail present dangers to dogs

Although you may keep your own lawn lush and manicured, it is a mystery what you may encounter when romping through tall blades of grass in nature while walking or hiking with your dog. Most common areas with wild grasses are roadsides, vacant lots, landfills, mountainsides and open fields, just to name a few. Before allowing your dog to venture on its own, it is important that you are aware of certain wild grasses with inherent dangers such as Foxtail. The seed awns or grass seed of the Foxtail have needles that are designed to implant into the ground as a reseeding process. If a dog encounters these razor sharp, barbed seed awns, they can burrow into your pet’s skin, causing some severe injuries.

Protecting your dog from Foxtail hazards

The Foxtail seed awns, with their torpedo-like structure, can enter any part of your dog’s body, especially targeting the ears, nose, paws, rear end and underbelly. Dogs with longer fur are more susceptible to seed awns because they can go immediately undetected. There are signs and symptoms that you as a pet owner can be aware of to ensure your dog’s safety after a fun day in nature, such as:

  • Lumps on the skin
  • Continual sneezing that comes with a seed awn in the nose
  • Notable head shaking
  • Pawing at the eyes
  • Visible signs of puss discharge and abscesses resulting from infections
  • Evident injuries or wounds

To prevent such injuries to your dog, know the areas where you allow your dog to play, to ensure it is safe. Try to avoid ranges with Foxtail. When sitting and bonding at the end of a full day, check your dog thoroughly for any of the possible signs or symptoms associated with awn seeds. Pay close attention to the eyes, ears, paws, and underbelly. A visit with your vet may be necessary if your dog gets injured but the best you can do is avoid play areas and hikes where Foxtails are present. For the safety and well-being of other dogs, share this vital information with all animal lovers in your life.

Shelter Dogs Need Forever Homes

6918143325_af855fc2e6_zWhen in search of a new animal companion to fill a family void, many people forget the benefits of choosing a shelter dog. Everyone wants a sweet, cuddly puppy (or kitty) and ignore the fact that so many pets are left in shelters without a loving home and family. According to studies by the Humane Society, 6 to 8 million animals end up in shelters in the United States alone. Half of those poor souls are euthanized.

The vast number of euthanized animals are adoptable pets that never had a chance. Since most shelters are overcrowded and animals not adopted, many healthy young pets are killed just to make room for more. Lives are saved through adoption rather than choosing to purchase an animal from a breeder. Buying pets from breeders, online or in pet shops often promotes excessive breeding of the animals and often puppy mill animals. Evidently, there is a big difference between working with a responsible breeder as opposed to online resources such as Craigslist or going to a pet shop.  They have to acquire their pets from outside resources which are too often from pup4473066961_ab18e40410_zpy mills. According to animal advocates, whether the animal comes from a “reputable” breeder or not, there are indeed too many pets, many that often end up in shelters for one reason or another. Subsequently, there are many benefits of adopting a shelter dog (or cat.)

There is an overpopulation issue regarding pets in America and Worldwide. Studies have revealed that if people would not treat their companion animals as being disposable, if all pets would be spayed or neutered and more pets adopted from shelters, there would be a minor concern with overpopulation. Local shelters and communities need to work together for the welfare of the animals, reducing or significantly eliminating shelter killings.

You can realize the benefits in adopting a shelter dog (or cat) while also saving a life. So 4788419522_30f2e95627_zmany of these animals make exceptional companions because they are so hungry for the love and attention of an owner. Shelter dogs always undergo a thorough medical exam and are spayed or neutered before being adopted. The majority of shelters ensure the animal is microchipped for safety reasons. All are also socialized and trained to fit within a family unit. Not only are you giving a deserving pet a great home, but you are also making space for another pet in need of a permanent home at the shelter.  In addition to dogs, other animals can be found in shelters such as cats, bunnies, hamsters, birds, guinea pigs, reptiles and more. With a lot of research, on a continual basis, you can find that particular animal to make a connection with and provide the love, care, and companionship it deserves. Give a good home to a needy shelter dog, cat or other pet, rescuing the animals and providing them a new chance in life.

Dogs for Gifts Can Bring Joy And Stress

There is nothing more heartwarming than to see the smile on the face of a child as a cute little puppy, kitty or other pet peaks out of a festively wrapped present. Whether it is a gift under the Christmas tree or a bunny or chick for Easter, it is an excellent gift with good intentions, but in reality, ca11179459385_59dac13bfe_zn result in stress and tragedy for the animal.

Dogs for Christmas and other companion animals are a wonderful addition to the family but doing so amidst the holiday festivities is a tremendous responsibility. A pet received as a gift during such a hectic occasion can often be tossed aside and forgotten while getting into the holiday traditions. If you want to bring a pet into a family home, there are some safer options than having a live animal popping out of a box wrapped with a big red bow.

Imagine a child surrounded by tons of gifts left by Santa under the tree and one of those gifts is a new, living pet. The opening of the live gift may bring a huge smile and then the pet is tossed aside when opening the next, favored toy or two or three. The animal is as quickly forgotten as it was cherished moments ago. Dogs for Christmas can be an endearing choice but instead of wrapping up the live animal, consider these other options that are safer, yet as welcome as the real thing:

  • Anyone receiving a pet prefers to pick it out personally. Choose to wrap a gift certificate from a local shelter or breeder of choice. Never purchase a pet from a pet shop or store that most often gets the animals from puppy mills or negligent breeders.
  • If you do have a special pet in mind, arrange picking it up after the holidays when festivities are over and the environment calm. Take several pictures of that pet and include it in a package with possible necessities that can include a collar, some toys, food, and water dish, along with other fun items for the new animal.

The same considerations should apply when deciding on a pet gift for other holidays, whether it be a bunny or chick for Easter or a special birthday present. Never opt to give an animal as a gift for any occasion. An animal is a living, breathing creature that deserves personal love and attention, particularly since it is a new family member. A gift certificate can go a long way in bringing joy while having the option to shop and choose the perfect pet and all its accessories.23540586454_e1cef64bbf_z.jpg

Another thing to consider when deciding on adding a pet to the family is the expense and responsibility involved with that animal. Any pet demands time and responsible love and care. If you are getting the pet for a child, is the youngster old enough to know how to care for it and meet all its requirements? Pets can be expensive when considering food, bed, blankets, leash and/or collar, a crate for safety and security, grooming expenses, boarding the pet or getting a sitter when out of town, and veterinary care. Aside from the monetary cost, a pet needs to be exercised, played with and fed. Is your gift recipient ready to take on those responsibilities? If the answer is yes, ensure you choose the safest method of bringing that animal into the home other than sticking it in a box under the tree. Consider the welfare of the animal as well as the joy of the recipient.



Dog Safety tips During Christmas

hannah-12222015-jpg-5-2The holidays are just around the corner, and they can present some dangers to the family pets like your favored canine companion. From the decorations to the foods, costumes, parties and more, an inquisitive dog can get into a mess of trouble. Since your pet is a member of the family, you want to include it in your holiday festivities. You can do so while taking proper precautions to protect your pets.

Even though the holiday season is here, it is important to keep your pet’s routine, feeding, and exercise, as normal as possible. Also, bear in mind some precautions for safety and fun during this festive time of year, such as:

  • Ensure that your Christmas tree is securely anchored to avoid accidents by tipping or falling, endangering your pet. Be cautious with fresh trees and the water that can be contaminated from fertilizers, leading to tummy problems. It can also contain bacteria that can cause diarrhea and nausea if a pet drinks from the tree stand water. Additionally, the water may also get spilled.
  • So many holiday plants can be toxic to animals, and that includes holly, poinsettia, and mistletoe. Ingestion of these plants can lead to vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal problems. When it comes to the curious cat, many species of lilies can lead to kidney failure.
  • Tinsel is a real hazard for pets. If nibbled on and swallowed, the tinsel can get into the intestines and cause a blockage or obstruction. The problem can be severe with bouts of vomiting, dehydration and often surgery. It is best to avoid tinsel in the home when you have pets.
  • Beware of lighted candles around the home. They can get knocked over by a pet. Never leave a candle unattended.
  • If decorating with lights, ensure the wires are tied up out of way of the pets. Keep batteries and glass or plastic ornaments and decorations out of reach.
  • In addition to decorating tips, it is imperative you remember to keep your pet safe from table foods. Avoid chocolate and any products with the ingredient xylitol. These items are toxic to pets. Always keep any foods high out of reach. Thannah-12222015-jpg-7-2hat includes the trash bin that can be opened to access some dangerous items or bones.
  • During parties and family celebrations, opt to confine your pet in a safe area until all dangers are removed. Guests that leave plates of food and other treats unattended can be inviting to a pet. Additionally, place leftovers way out of reach until guests are gone, and all foods can be secured in pet-safe containers.
  • When monitoring the human food goodies, remember to keep those adult beverages also out of reach. A pet can suffer from listlessness and possible respiratory failure if any alcoholic beverages are consumed.

Your dog can have a fun and rewarding holiday as a member of the family if you choose unique gifts and treats safe for him or her. Many families opt to have a stocking placed on the mantle for the furry companion. Fill the dog’s stocking and gifts for under the tree with safe pet items, such as Kong toys (some that could be stuffed with healthy foods and treats), rawhides, chew bones and other pet items that are easily digestible. There are also many cute squeak toys available that are suitable for the needs of your particular dog according to size and chewing requirements. When it comes to the kitty in your life, choose safe interactive toys that cannot be swallowed by accident, such as a larger ball, toys with catnip or an interactive cat dancer.

Any holiday celebration can be safe, happy and fun for all family members when precautions are taken to protect the pets within the home. If you have a pet that is too inquisitive or one with an extreme shy nature, confining the animal may be a better option. Select a space in the home that is away from the hustle and bustle; a spot that is quiet and secure where you can equip it with a favorite bed, blankets, toys, fresh water and a new enticing bone. A quiet room away from all temptations and joyful noise can be a more secure option to avoid unnecessary stress for family pets. Happy holidays to all!!

Halloween Pet Safety Tips

DIGITAL CAMERAHalloween is a fun, bewitching time for little ghouls and goblins, but when it comes to the pets, the holiday can be scary and frightening.  The holiday doesn’t have to be so spooky for your dog if you keep these safety tips in mind. The eerie moments of the day and night can keep your pet safe and secure if you remember:

  • Take your dog for a walk before the trick-or-treat hours, keeping a tight grip on the leash. When your dog is out for a walk, before or after Halloween hours, ensure he/she does not pick up anything off the ground that could be poisonous or hazardous. Also, ensure that your pet is properly tagged with personal information or the animal is microchipped.
  • Give thought to the dog’s safety when considering dress up. Many dogs are not fond of costumes and other attire.  Ensure the outfit allows for easy movement, that the dog can see well, breathe and hear.  It should be flame retardant. Avoid an item that is restrictive or has any small parts that can be chewed and swallowed.
  • Put a gate in front of the door to ensure you pet cannot get out every time a trick-or-treater arrives. If not using the gate option, keep your dog leashed to ensure you can grab the animal in an emergency.
  • For dogs that are anxious or with aggressive tendencies, it would be advisable to set up a safe area for the animal in a closed-off room. Either crate your dog in that space or ensure you provide it with its favorite comfy bed, blankets, toys, treats, and water. The safe spot in the home needs to be secure and as far from the front door as possible. Such a safe place is vital for the cat owners.
  • Never leave your dog outdoors during the trick-or-treat hours. The ghouls and goblins walking around can cause great fear and anxiety in a dog, making it want to get away and often escaping from the safety of the yard. Dogs are always in danger of getting hit by a car.  Another concern is someone who tries to harm your dog “for fun” or give it treats that are hazardous.  Do the potty thing before the kids coming out and keep your pet safe indoors during those prime hours.
  • Never leave dogs in cars.
  • Keep all treats out of the reach of pets. Monitor all candy and wrappers.  If eaten, wrappers can cause an obstruction in your dog, while candy can be hazardous and poisonous, especially chocolate.
  • Make sure all the kids in the home or visiting know not to give any treats to the pets.
  • Keep trash cans securely shut from pet “”
  • Candles, decorations, ornaments and jack-o-lanterns out of the reach of the pets.
  • Secure light wires after decorating and cover outlets to prevent electrical shocks.
  • Speak with your veterinarian if you have an extremely high-strung pet for his advice or mild tranquilizer if necessary.witchy-chihuahua-by-flikr-and-michelle-nault

Each Halloween, more pets than ever need medical attention due to the hazards associated with the most ghoulish time of the year.  Take the necessary steps, and your pets can have a safe and happy, fun holiday.

Tips on How to Prevent Dog Bites

800px-rottweiler_portrait-wiki-by-pedroo-simoesYou may know your dog well and never expect it to have any aggressive tendencies. However, there is no way to predict what any dog will do if it feels threatened or teased. Dogs that are ill or injured can bite the hand that feeds them as well.  You would never expect your pet to hurt and bite you, but it can happen in the heat of a moment, only to snuggle up to you the next.

It is not as uncommon as people think but why would a dog turn on its owner?  It is usually out of play, if your dog gets overly excited, or it can happen out of fear when it is hurt or ill.  A loving pet never intentionally bites those he loves.  It is a typical quick reaction without purpose. A dog bit can be powerful although the fearful or playful bite is not a full force bite.

You can attempt to stop your dog from biting. The first step is in recognizing why it happens. Most often it is due to your inattentiveness.  As a responsible, caring pet owner, you are aware of the effects of abuse, something you would never do as it understandably leads to violent reactions from your dog. When playing with your dog, stop the play time when it seems your dog is getting overly excited and anxious, since he or she may bite at the toy, getting you instead.  If your pet does bite, say “No bite” in a firm voice and stop playing momentarily until the dog calms down.

If your dog is severely ill or injured, be cautious in handling your pet while giving him plenty of love and attention.  Get someone to help you in such a situation.  Just realize your dog does not understand what he is feeling and may bite out of fear. Get assistance from your veterinarian regarding proper handling of your pet and provide the help it requires while gaining its trust.  A loving pet never intends to hurt its pet parent and caretaker. If you are aware of the signs, you can help your dog through such impulsive behavior without intent.

Tips On How to Feed a Finicky Dog Eat

Some dogs seem to eat anything and everything they come across, whether it is edible or not. It love-my-food-by-flikr-and-mochajfoxmakes you wonder about their palate and taste buds. On the other hand, there are those dogs that turn up their noses as if to say “this is not good enough for me! Where’s the steak and people food?” Many pet owners have both types of eaters at home.

Handling a finicky eater can sometimes be frustrating and of course, there is always the worry that your dog(s) is not getting the proper nutrition. But you cannot force the dog to eat.  And you certainly cannot feed it people food just to get it to eat. Your dog would learn in no time that if it holds out on food, it will get what it wants, what you are eating.

There are some tips you can follow to encourage your fussy eater to be more interested in the foods placed before him or her. The first thing you want to do is be sure your dog is in good health. If the finicky eating may is accompanied by vomiting and diarrhea or any other medical symptoms, there may be a physical or internal reason why your dog does not want to eat. Your veterinarian can help you in ruling out issues such as oral diseases, gastrointestinal problems or any other underlying problem causing a loss of appetite.

Be sure the food you are giving your dog is good, not spoiled or expired. Evaluating the food you give your dog can detect if there may be a problem why your dog does not want the food. Choosing a high-quality food recommended by your veterinarian is always the best option. You want to provide food that has all the necessary nutrients needed for a healthy dog without the need for diet range. Try to avoid variety as your dog may hold out for a particular food. Constant change is not always good and also can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

To encourage your dog to eat you can try to modify the current food to a new more nutritional type of food. Gradually switch over by mixing the new food in with the old food, half, and half at first and slowly adding more of the new and less of the old. Make the change over several days. Try to find something tasty with protein as the number one ingredient. Switching to a semi-moist food may be more desirable for your dog. You may need to experiment with various foods until you find one that your dog likes and then stay with that choice.

You can try heating the food to bring out the distinct aromas that will entice your dog. Or add hot water to the dry food for the same effect. Just be sure to stir the food before serving to be sure there are no “hot spots” that can burn your dog when eating.

Try adding a particular flavor or item of sorts to your dogs’ food such as a cut up dog biscuit, add a little meat-flavored baby food or sprinkle in a small amount of shredded cheese. You may add a good sized tablespoon of warmed quality canned dog food to the dry food and most times it works.

Getting your fussy eater to eat will take lots of time and patience on your part as well as your dog. Organize a plan with your veterinarian and follow through to gradually get your dog to enjoy mealtimes. Use a lot of praise when your dog does eat. They say when a dog is hungry it will eat. We as pet parents worry about them because we love them. Be patient.

How to Care for Torn Nail of Cat or Dog

rousou1-dog-paw-byAs your dog or cat plays, accidents can happen without warning. Your frivolous happy-go-lucky pet has no concerns when having a good time, as they should. Suddenly you notice blood everywhere without knowing the cause and as a responsible pet parent, you panic. The blood can be indicative of a condition that is less serious than it appears, a broken or torn toenail. In the process, your dog or cat is in pain and distress, running throughout the home, leaving an unpleasant trail.

A torn toenail in a dog or cat is not uncommon. There can be many reasons for the problem although most often it is because your pet got caught on something. Of course, at that moment your pet gets scared and tries to dislodge its immovable nail, causing the nail to break or tear away from the paw. This is not a life-threatening situation although it does cause your dog or cat lots of agony. Your pet will probably begin to limp and whine. You will need to check up on the nail immediately, trying to stop the bleeding. In such a situation, you should call your veterinarian for advice on what to do so the nail does not get infected or continue to bleed.

Most often a torn nail can be treated at home. Be prepared; although your pet may never attempt to bite you in any other situation, that same pet may nip at you out of fear and distress. Have your pet safely secure in your arms or on your lap with no fear of getting bitten so that you can attend to the injured nail. The first thing you want to do is stop the bleeding. Styptic powders or gels can be found at your larger pet supply stores and should always be in your home as a first aid in such situations with your pet. A professional groomer may advise you to use cornstarch or flour to stop the bleeding if nothing else is available. Just pack the affected area with the cornstarch which works as a stopper.

Once the bleeding has stopped, use nail clippers to try and remove any remaining nail very carefully. If the damage to the toenail is high up at the base of the nail, medical attention may be needed as you may cause further damage and more pain to your pet. Allowing a torn nail to grow out can cause additional irritation and will not heal on its own without professional help.

After the repair of the nail, or if you are lucky enough to cut back the nail safely, wash your pet’s paw with warm water, dry thoroughly and place a bandage.  Doing so will help to stop the bleeding further. The paw will remain clean to heal quicker.

The best preventative measure you can take to protect your dog or cat’s nails is to keep them trimmed. Contact a professional like your personal groomer or veterinarian to learn how to clip your pet’s nails on a regular basis safely. This may not stop a nail from getting broken or torn but can lessen the problem when nails are short. Play with your pet’s paws regularly so you can monitor the nails before they become susceptible to any nail damage and distress for your pet.

Know the Dangers of Glue for Dogs

sick-pup-by-flikr-and-dr-catherineDo you have a unique pet that gets into anything and everything that they can find? Have you ever felt concerned about glue, as strange as it may seem? Our pets can get into some of the most bizarre things. We all know how our children would put anything in their mouths when they were infants. Our pets are even more curious and unaware of what is and is not safe for them. We as the pet parents have to be so careful about anything and everything that is within reach of our beloved four-legged family members.

Most of us have glue in our homes for various reasons, such as school work, crafts, home repairs and more. The glue that may leak or in any way become accessible can tempt your curious dog. When we realize something is toxic to our pets we try to keep those items out of reach. Not all glue is toxic to our pets such as super glue which contain ingredients like ethyl-2-cyanoacrylate 50 100% and poly (methylmethacrylate 2-30%). The ingredients cause a rapid, high adhesion upon contact with another surface. These types of household glues are not the expandable type glue, and ingestion may cause a mild oral irritation.

There is a particular type of expandable glue that we need to be especially cautious. Common names for this water-activated glue are commonly called Gorilla Glue, Probond, Titebond, and Ultimate Polyurethane Glue. If your dog ingests any of these glues, it can be quite serious, requiring surgery.

When this glue is ingested by your dog and gets into the stomach, it becomes activated by the stomach fluids. An ingredient called Diphenylmethane diisocyanate which expands and just gets larger and very hard when in a warm, moist environment. Your dog will not be able to pass it, digest it or vomit it.

You may not always witness your dog getting into the flue, but typical symptoms may be a lack of appetite, excessive drooling, swollen stomach which is tender to the touch, and gagging or vomiting. A hard stomach warrants immediate vet care.

The only solution is surgical removal followed by an overnight stay and intravenous fluid therapy. Upon returning home with your dog, your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotic drug therapy and a soft diet for at least a week.

The labeling on these gorilla type glues does not give much warning to its dangers other than “do not swallow” so it is your responsibility as the pet parent to keep this and all toxic items out of the reach of your dog. It is for your dog’s own good, and well-being.

Recognize Tuberculosis in Dogs

dog-with-ear-infection-by-flikr-and-doggies-are-from-heavenDogs can be infected by a bacterial known as Tuberculosis. There are two bacterial types of tuberculosis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and Mycobacterium bovis tuberculosis. Tuberculosis (TB) is not only a respiratory condition but can also affect the intestines. TB most often gets into the lungs (the primary target) as well as distressing the nervous system, lymphatic’s, genito-urinary tract, as well as the bones and joints. If left untreated, the disease can be fatal.

Mycobacterium Tuberculosis

Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which is most commonly affecting humans, can also be passed onto our pets as well through airborne contamination, i.e.,., coughing and sneezing. This is a slow-growing intracellular organism, with only about 5% of those infected with the bacterium developing the disease.

Mycobacterium Bovis Tuberculosis

The Mycobacterium bovis tuberculosis mostly affects cattle and wildlife, though humans and pets alike can be infected through consumption of contaminated dairy products and infected meat. This form of TB has hard to diagnose signs of the disease in your dog until the disease is extremely advanced, leaving few treatment options.

Dogs More Susceptible

It seems to affect young dogs as well as the aged and dogs with a weak immune system. The disease is passed on through sneezing and coughing, spread between dogs and humans.  Most often a dog gets the TB from an infected person.


Some of the common symptoms besides coughing and sneezing may be depression, weight loss, dehydration, vomiting, increased thirst, urination, and jaundice. TB can sometimes be tough to diagnose.


In treating the TB, the dog undergoes numerous tests. Additionally, biochemical profile, blood count, a TB skin test, x-rays and culture along with cytology may be necessary for diagnosing your pet. The TB skin test was first developed by Koch from the glycerine extract of the tubercle bacilli.  What happens is that the dog with TB is highly allergic to tuberculin substances. When injected through the skin test, there will be a hypersensitive reaction on the surface of the skin.


Prognosis for dogs most often is not okay, and we can only hope our pets are never affected by this disease. On rare occasions, a drug treatment plan may be put in place by your veterinarian if your dog has been diagnosed at a very early stage.

You can work on building up your dog’s immune system, with proper nutrients and supplements (per the advice of your veterinarian). There will be a better chance for your dog’s resistance to TB and recovery.


In areas where there is the presence of wildlife and cattle, you may take some precautionary steps to keep your pets free from contracting the disease. Keep dogs indoors unless adequately monitored and don’t allow them to have access to unpasteurized dairy products or dead meats.

Be cautious if any humans in the home have contracted the disease. Since the bacteria are so quickly passed on, be sure to seek medical attention immediately and determine measures to protect your dog.

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