Iams and Eukanuba Pet Food Recall

A fairly large pet food recall by Proctor and Gamble was announced Friday evening. This is an expansion of a recall announced earlier in July, due to possible salmonella contamination. The expanded recall includes all dry Iams Veterinary formula diets sold in veterinary clinics for pets with health problems. It also includes a number of Eukanuba foods. You’ll find a list of the recalled foods on the Iams website:

http://www.iams.com/iams/en_US/data_root/html/recall_message.html
(If the link doesn’t work, copy it and paste it into your browser window)


    New Year’s Eve; new opportunities, new avenues to explore, at least that is how I viewed it before.  This New Year’s Eve was different.  The fireworks went off as usual, the neighbors shot off roman candles next door, the fire truck went up and down with its siren wailing…all like usual.  The only thing that was different is that the meter reader had left my gate open.  Mercedes, the Black Lab hates fireworks and thunder.  With the gate open, she naturally ran.

    Mercedes was gone for two days.  We were told by the Police that she had been seen crossing the Interstate twice.  Numerous trips through neighborhoods were made, calling her name. We talked to people who had seen her.  They couldn’t catch her nor could anyone else.

    In my desperation, and in my experience as a pet sitter, I knew that I had to duplicate my actions as many times as I could ….and fast.

    Who is everywhere, all the time?  Newspaper delivery and pizza delivery were in the business of being all over the city.  I tearfully made a quick poster of Mercedes with my phone number on it and gave it to every delivery person in the city (which was a quick task considering the size of the town I live in).  The next morning, 6:00 am I got a call from a delivery person that she had my dog in an alley.  We rushed over, found her and put her safely into the car.  All thanks to a delivery person who cared.

    Five Tips for finding a lost dog:

    1. Always have your dog wearing a collar and current tags (a microchip isn’t a bad idea either!).
    2. Make a flyer with a good photo of your dog.  Post it everywhere.
    3. Add a pic to a text and send it to everyone you know.
    4. Talk to teachers, groomers, vets and the local shelters
    5. Report your pet missing to your local animal tech at the police department.

    Get as many people involved as possible…and you will have a happy ending too.

    Marjorie Leon

    Fetch Pet Care of the Grand Valley

    grandvalley@fetchpetcare.com

    Chelsea, the Great Dane came to stay with me this weekend while “mom” went biking. Having had experience with other Danes, I was not worried, until Chelsea decided to stand on my chest freezer (she is a BIG dog) and eat the food for the other dogs. I had talked with “mom” about her diet and the risks of bloat.  It wasn’t until she ate the wrong food that I realized how quickly a Dane can die while in a pet sitter’s care.  That is a heavy responsibility!  Dog care is not for the faint of heart (or lacking education or insurance).

    The tendency of giant pure-bred dogs to develop and suffer (and die) from bloat is deceptive, considering how substantial the dog appears. Bloat is a life threatening issue that steals almost as many pet lives as cancer.  This is a fragile breed, with a short lifespan and many health issues.  Vigilant observation and careful feeding will help a professional dog sitter (or dog owner) maintain the health of a Great Dane.  Here is a list of symptoms of bloat and some initial triage for a Dane’s care:

    Signs of bloat:

    1. Pacing, restlessness, panting and salivating.
    2. Unproductive attempts to vomit (every 10-20 minutes).
    3. Abdomen exhibits fullness and beginning to enlarge. (Siefried Zahn D.V.M 2010)

    These are early phase symptoms and a quick check can determine condition.  However, this may be deceiving as bloat may not progress slowly through phases. It is helpful to know how to:

    1. Check gum color
    2. Check heart rate
    3. Observe abdominal distention

    Normal color of gums is pink to red and heart rate for an adult dog should be 60-80 bpm.  Abdomen should remain flat and not distended.

    If bloat is suspected, do not wait; contact a veterinarian familiar with bloat immediately (Sienfried Zahn 2010).

    For more information about bloat or the care of Great Danes, contact your vet or see http://www.hmgdc.org.

    Marjorie Leon

    Fetch Pet Care of the Grand Valley

    970-314-5564

    grandvalley@fetchpetcare.com

    Outdoor Pet Safety in Yard and Garden

    Now that spring is here, we are all ready to get out of the house and spend more time out of doors with our pets.  Here are some tips for keeping everyone safe and happy.

    #1 Pick up the yard.  As the snow begins to melt, sticks, stones and pet waste will all need to be removed from your lawn. With a bag and a small shovel handy, clean the yard of any potential hazards.

    #2 Groom properly.  Dogs that shed are getting rid of their winter coat, and unless you start brushing them regularly, your furniture and clothes will become victim to embarrassing dog hair.  It helps to get in a routine with the brushing—such as each night before bed.

    #3 Get your Dog in shape.  After months indoors, your dog’s stamina might be lacking, and like many of us, they might have put on a few pounds over the holidays.  Take your dogs on shorter walks or runs to begin—followed by longer and longer ones.  Use the spring to get them in shape for the summer. While I love to walk my dog, I can’t always find time for these daily walks. A pet sitting service such as Fetch! Pet Care is the ideal solution.

    #4 Replace your dog’s collar.  Use the change of seasons to get your pet dog a new collar.  Collars should be replaced annually to avoid the possibility of it becoming embedded.  They also collect lots of dirt and grime during the winter months, and they often wear out and get too small.

    #5 Use pet-friendly lawn care products. Look for fertilizers and weed killers that are veterinarian approved or EPA certified. It is important to read the ingredients. Avoid products that contain carbon tetrachloride, chloroform, and chloroethane. If you read the manufacturer’s label you should have no problem identifying products which are both pet-safe and effective. Many of the commercial brands of pet-safe weed killers contain ingredients that you can probably find in your kitchen, like vinegar and other friendly kitchen products without added chemicals. Pet-friendly fertilizers are simple manures and scraps without additives.

    #6 Avoid certain mulch products.  It is never a good idea for a dog or cat to eat mulching products such as tan bark, cedar or pine.  Most are generally treated with chemicals to retain their color and moisture. Never use cocoa bean mulch in an area where pets are allowed to be unsupervised.  It contains Theobromine, the same component as dark chocolate and can be deadly if consumed in sufficient quantity. Even the best dog will be attracted to it.

    #7 Continue Heartworm and Flea and Tick Treatments.  Year round heartworm preventative for dogs is a must.  What some people don’t know is that cats can contract heartworm as well.  Ask your veterinarian if he recommends treating the house cat in your life as well.  Flea and tick products abound.  Follow your vets advice and the package directions for proper application and safety. The key is to administer on a regular basis such as the 1st of each month.  Mark a calendar or set a reminder on your cell phone or computer.

    This article was written by Phyllis Durborow, owner of Fetch! Pet Care of North Indy.  Phyllis can be reached at 317-644-1465.  Fetch! Pet Care is the largest national pet care company in the United States; serving 38 states in more than 2,000 cities and towns.

    PUPPY MILLS GET PRESSURED

    On a daily basis, pet blogs across the country are filled with stories of animal cruelty and neglect. Entire TV shows are dedicated to showcasing the efforts of animal welfare and rescue workers. Gut-wrenching commercials show wide-eyed puppies and sad, scared, and often sickly dogs of every age staring from behind the bars of their cages in animal shelters.

    The cause of all of this suffering comes down to one thing…money.  There is a lot of it to be made by churning out litter after litter of adorable puppies for a quick sale. There is not enough of it available to government agencies charged with law enforcement and annual inspections of breeding facilities, animal shelters, pet stores, handlers, and dealers.

    As a lifetime resident it embarrasses me to admit that Missouri is known as the “puppy mill capital” of the United States. Large-scale “puppy mills” produce litters on the cheap then sell them to unsuspecting (or not) pet stores and individuals.  Most buyers have no idea of the conditions the puppies came from, or what heartache and costly health complications may be ahead. However, the puppies that make it out are actually the ‘lucky’ ones. The suffering continues for those left behind to produce litter after litter, often confined to small, stacked wire cages, living in their own waste, suffering malnutrition, parasites, eye, ear and respiratory infections. Many go “cage crazy” – continually spinning in their small cages. Many rescued puppy mill dogs have never touched grass or dirt.  They only know the feel of cold metal and filth beneath their bodies.

    As a pet shelter volunteer I have seen firsthand what happens to these poor animals, and it is horrendous. When I walk my dogs, a 9-year-old Sheltie and newly-adopted Terrier/Poodle mix from our local shelter — and the best dogs in the world, of course! — I often think how different their lives might have been if subjected to a lifetime of cruelty, versus being spoiled rotten by their humans.

    There is hope, however, for the puppy mill dogs of Missouri. A new, citizen-backed campaign is underway to add a ballot question in November’s election, The Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act.  If passed, it will require large-scale dog breeding operations to provide each breeding dog under their care with the basics of humane animal care and limit the number of breeding dogs in each facility.

    Missourians for the Protection of Dogs, the organization circulating the ballot initiative is comprised of numerous individuals and animal welfare organizations, including the Humane Society of Missouri, the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and The Humane Society of the United States, and supported by organizations such as Fetch! Pet Care owners in metro St. Louis and Kansas City, and Best Friends Animal Society.

    The law will enable Missouri to join several other states that have enacted similar laws through their state legislatures. Missouri has held this ‘distinction’ for far too long, and it is an opportunity to finally make progress toward eliminating these abuses. 

    This article was written by Barbara Gates, owner of Fetch! Pet Care of Western Johnson County. Barb Gates can be reached at 913-738-4328. Fetch! Pet Care is the largest national pet care company in the United States; serving 38 states in more than 2,000 cities and towns.

    Grooming your Dog at Home

    As winter drags on your furry friend may be getting a little smelly. You’d like to snuggle up, but that doggy smell is just a bit overwhelming.  Time to make a grooming appointment, right?  Not necessarily. While some long haired breeds require a professional groomer, with a few preventative steps, your trips to the doggy spa can be reduced.  A pet sitting company such as Fetch! Pet Care will bathe your dog at home for a small fee.  Your pet dog remains at home and you save money.  Or, you can do it yourself by using the following tips. They can be applied to both long and short haired breeds to help keep your dog clean, good looking and cuddle-ready. 

    1)      Shampoo.  Choose a quality shampoo made specifically for dogs.  While it may seem cheaper, never use human shampoo or conditioner on your dog.  Human shampoo is pH balanced for people and too harsh for dogs.

    2)      Brushes. Invest in a good deshedding tool.  The most popular is the Furminator  brand.  A slicker brush is also a good investment.  Consider a grooming glove if you have a smooth coated breed. If your dog is long haired, brush him regularly paying special attention to his underside and underarm area where matting tends to happen.  Many groomers charge extra for dematting, not to mention the stress caused by the removal process.  Brushing also helps spread the natural oils, keeping the coat and skin in good shape. Plus, it’s a great way to bond with your dog. When bathing your dog at home, you must brush her out completely before her hair has a chance to dry.  This is the best way to avoid matting and greatly reduces shedding.  Consult your groomer or vet for advice on the best brush for your particular breed.

    3)      Nail trimmers.  There are a number of good products on the market, some of which will even help you identify where the quick or vein is within the nail. Learning to trim your dog’s nails is probably the number one way to save money, although pet owners are often insecure about this routine task. With light colored nails, you should be able to see the sensitive quick. Darker nails can more tricky, but with practice and regular attention, the job gets easier.  Have a jar of “Kwik Stop” or any styptic product handy just in case you trim too far back.

    4)      Tooth Brush. Yes, your dog can use a gentle tooth brushing now and then.  Choose a soft bristle brush or finger brush and dog-specific toothpaste. They come in a variety of pet-pleasing flavors including liver, beef, and poultry. Again, human products are not appropriate and may be harmful to your pet. Even brushing without toothpaste is better than nothing at all. Your friends will thank you.

    5)      Water supply.  Decide where you are going to bathe Fido.  Outside is fine so long as the temperatures are comfortable, but make sure your pet dog can’t get away from you.  In the winter, try the shower stall, bathtub with a spray attachment or even the kitchen sink if you have a small breed.

    6)      Drying.  Old towels and a hair dryer set on low is all that’s required.  Of course, if the weather is warm, just let Mother Nature do the job! 

    Finally, remember that there are pet service providers such as Fetch! Pet Care who will bathe your dog in your home for a small fee. Compared to the time and money invested in a trip to the groomer, the convenience of having someone come to your home is quite a bargain.  Consult your vet or groomer if you have breed specific questions and shop at a reputable pet store such as Petco.

    This article was written by Phyllis Durborow, owner of Fetch! Pet Care of North Indy.  Phyllis can be reached at 317-644-1465.  Fetch! Pet Care is the largest national pet care company in the United States; serving 38 states in more than 2,000 cities and towns.

    Taking a Bite Out of the Organic Pet Food Market

    In today’s health conscious society, emphasis trends on healthy eating, exercise, and overall wellness as part of one’s daily lifestyle. Every day we make informed decisions about the kind of foods we eat. Thus, the demand for and consumption of organic foods continues to grow.  After all, you are what you eat.  Not surprisingly, pet dogs have taken a bite out of the organic food market as well.  According to the Organic Trade Association, organic pet food sales have been growing at nearly three times the rate of organic human food. 

    What is all the bark about?  Just like you, your pet dog’s health depends on the proper blend of vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vegetables, essential fatty acids and antioxidants.  In order for food to qualify as organic, certain standards pertaining to how agricultural products are grown and processed must be met.  It includes a system of production, processing, distribution and sales that assures consumers, both human and canine, that food products will maintain the organic integrity that began on the farm.

    Organic foods undergo a strict certification process before deemed as “organic.” Inspectors check crops and animals for unnatural alterations that are not environmentally or animal friendly, (hormone injections in cows, antibiotics in chickens). Therefore, organically grown food – being void of chemicals, preservatives, growth hormones, antibiotics, and other unnatural additives & artificial substances – is naturally more flavorful, nutrient-rich, and digestibly soluble.  This allows your pet dog to absorb & retain far more quality nutrients every meal.

    Why should I be wagging my tail?  Consider the potential benefits of organic food for you­­r pet dog. Organic foods (and treats!) can make a big difference in your dog’s overall life: 

    1. Optimal Health & Vitality. Chemicals and fillers found in non-organic food tend to make your dog feel sluggish, no different than how you feel when your eating habits wane.  All natural food contains pure, holistic ingredients that aid digestion, and keep your dog’s body systems functioning at their best.
    2. Prolonged Life of Your Pet. Feeding your pet dog an organic diet, which lacks synthetic additives, may prolong your pet’s life and even help eliminate existing health problems.
    3. Health Immunity & Disease Prevention. Conventionally manufactured pet food contains pesticide-laden food products, which do pose the threat of illness such as cancer; food allergies have long been linked to toxins & chemicals used throughout the food industry. The body becomes more resistant to disease when it is nourished with pure, all natural ingredients.
    4. Organic Pet Food Tastes Great! ‘Not for human consumption’, ‘non specific animal source’ and ‘Contains BHA, BHT, or ethoxyquin’ likely tastes as horrible as it sounds.

    Overall, foods that are 100% natural are healthier than those with synthetic additives. Therefore, when you buy organic food, you are actually paying for the reassurance and luxury of knowing that the food has been handled with care. Does your dog deserve anything less?  Paws down, your dog is worth it.

    This article was written by Lynn Coccodrilli, owner of North Arlington VA and NW Washington DC.  Lynn can be reached at 888.252.7854.  Fetch! Pet Care is the largest national pet services and pet sitting company in the United States; serving 38 states in more than 2,000 cities and towns.

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