Monthly Archives: April 2009

Dog Friendly Drive

The Honda Element EX is the first concept vehicle designed with the comfort and safety of a dog in mind, says James Jenkins, senior product planner for Honda.

Other manufacturers have offered netted barriers and other small features for dogs, but none have matched the level of safety in the concept car’s second-row and cargo-area pet restraint systems.

“The Element is already a very dog-friendly vehicle,” Jenkins said. “My favorite part of (the concept) is that we can now transport a dog safely. Now, pets are part of the family. Now, more than ever, people are adapting to their dogs.”

Sammy’s guardian, Heather Cammisa, knows that first-hand. The Humane Society of the United States’s manager of spay/neuter initiatives adopted Sammy after fostering him for an animal shelter for several months.

“If he could talk, Sammy would say he loves the ramp and the spill-proof water bowl, and I appreciate that the seats don’t hold dog fur and are washable,” Cammisa said.

The vehicle’s second-row seat covers will come with a dog pattern design that matches the included elevated platform bed. All-season “pet-style” rubber floor mats with engraved toy bones, a 12 DC rear ventilation fan, cargo organizer, tote bag, three Dog Friendly exterior emblems and one custom-engraved dog tag will also be included.

Second Chance Leads to the White House

The Humane Society of the United States congratulates the Obamas on bringing a new dog, Bo, into their family, and thanks them for taking in a second-chance dog. Bo is a Portuguese water dog who was apparently returned by the family that originally purchased him.

“Americans can follow this positive example by visiting their local animal shelter or breed rescue group, and giving another dog or cat a second chance at a loving home,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS.

“And President Obama can do even more for animal protection through the policies of federal agencies that deal with the welfare of millions of pets, helping us enforce existing animal welfare laws and cracking down on the national shame of rampant puppy mills in America.”

Families, like the Obamas, who are interested in a particular breed of animal or have special circumstances such as allergies in their household can turn to their local animal shelter or breed rescue group. About one-quarter of all dogs in shelters are purebreds, many surrendered by their owners like the new First Dog.

Top Dog

The Labrador retriever’s streak is still alive — it is the people’s choice among purebred pooches for the 18th straight year, according to the American Kennel Club, which keeps its nose to the ground on such matters.

The club said that more than twice as many Labs were registered in the U.S. in 2008 as Yorkshire terriers — the No. 2 dog on the list — which means the breed will probably retain its Most Popular Dog title for the indefinite future. The rest of the top 10 canines are German shepherd, golden retriever, beagle, boxer, dachshund, bulldog, poodle and shih tzu.

Above is Dr Kim’s rescued lab puppy Oliver.
Photo taken by Stein Studios (

Tidbits: Factual, Funny, Fascinating

* Uno, a beagle that won Best in Show at this year’s Wesminster Kennel Club Dog Show, has become a certified therapy dog. Uno will spread cheer at hospitals, nursing homes, schools and other facilities.

* Young male dogs playing with female pups will often let the females win, even if the males have a physical advantage. Researchers suspect they might lose the game in the short run, but they could win at love in the future.

* Help your favorite charity during this economically gloomy season by signing up at The search company engine donates 50% of its revenue to the nonprofit you designate when you search the Net.

* More than half of Americans not only believe in guardian angels, but believe they have been protected from harm by one during the course of their lives.

* More than 370 of 1000 Magellanic penguins that mysteriously washed up on Brazil’s equatorial beaches were flown via Air Force jet to southern Brazil in October and successfully released by the International Fund for Animal Welfare. Associated Press

National Pet ID Week

The third week of April has been designated National Pet ID Week. It is a time to increase awareness of the need to properly identify pets. We encourage pet owners to use one or more of the following pet identification methods to ensure the safe return of their pets should they become lost:

Collars and identification (ID) tags

Collars and tags are a reliable way to identify your pet should he become lost. Make sure your dog or cat always wears a current identification tag. Pet supply catalogs and stores, veterinary offices, and animal shelters often have forms to order ID tags. The tag should include:

Pet’s name
Owner’s name and address
Telephone numbers (day and evening)
Any medical problem requiring medication (may require separate tag)
Veterinarian’s name and number, if possible
Reward offer should pet become lost

Steps to take to ensure identification tags are functional:

A collar worn for purposes of identification should remain on the dog or cat as long as he is in a situation where he could become lost. Ferrets should wear identification if they are taken outside for any reason.

Do not use a chain choke collar as the identification collar. A broad buckle collar is best. The collar bearing the identification should be fastened snugly enough that it does not slip off over the animal’s head when it is grasped by a person. Safety collars or harnesses are often used on cats; harnesses should also be used for ferrets.

Common tags worn on the collar include:

Individualized identification tag
Rabies tag
Dog or cat license

Check your pet’s tags regularly. They can become lost, or unreadable with wear.

In addition to identification tags, you can use an indelible pen to write a phone number on the collar itself. You may also be able to order broad buckle nylon collars with your phone number stitched into the collar.

Put a temporary tag on your pet when you move residences that includes a relative’s or friend’s telephone number. Many animals are lost when owners move. Use masking tape over the current tag or consider purchasing an instant tag, available at most pet supply stores.

Microchip identification system

Microchipping involves implanting a tiny capsule under the pet’s skin between the shoulder blades. Microchips can be used on dogs, cats, ferrets, birds, and other companion pets. The tiny chip is about the size of a grain of rice. The owner then sends the information to a registering agency along with current contact and alternate contact information in the event the pet becomes lost. When a pet is found, any agency with an appropriate scanner, including many animal care and control agencies, veterinary clinics, and research labs, can quickly identify a code that links the animal to its owner through a national database.

NOTE: There is no universal scanner that can detect all brands of microchips. Before having your pet micro-chipped, contact both the chip manufacturer and your local shelter(s) to make certain that compatible scanners are present in your community.

More Cat Facts

The average canned or dry cat meal is the nutritional equivalent of eating five mice.

The cat family split from the other mammals at least 40 million years ago, making them one of the oldest mammalian families.

The cat has 500 skeletal muscles (humans have 650).

The cat is the only animal that walks on its claws, not the pads of its feet.

The cat lover is an ailurophile, while a cat hater is an ailurophobe.

The cat was domesticated over 4,000 years ago. Today’s house cats are descended from wildcats in Africa and Europe.

The catgut formerly used as strings in tennis rackets and musical instruments does not come from cats. Catgut actually comes from sheep, hogs, and horses.

The catnip plant contains an oil called hepetalactone which does for cats what marijuana does to some people. Not all cats react to it those that do appear to enter a trancelike state. A positive reaction takes the form of the cat sniffing the catnip, then licking, biting, chewing it, rub & rolling on it repeatedly, purring, meowing & even leaping in the air.
The cat’s footpads absorb the shocks of the landing when the cat jumps.

The cheetah is the only cat in the world that can’t retract its claws.

The color of the points in Siamese cats is heat related. Cool areas are darker. In fact, Siamese kittens are born white because of the heat inside the mother’s uterus before birth. This heat keeps the kittens hair from darkening on the points.

The declawing of a pet cat involves surgery called an onychectomy, in which the entire claw and end bone of each toe of the animal are amputated.

The different types of tabby patterns that are seen in domestic cats also occur in wild cats.

The domestic cat is the only cat species able to hold its tail vertically while walking. All wild cats hold their tails horizontally or tucked between their legs while walking. A tail held high means happiness; a twitching tail is a warning sign; and a tucked tail is a sign of insecurity.

The first cat show was in 1871 at the Crystal Palace in London.

The giraffe, camel, and cat are the only animals that walk by both their left feet, then both their right feet when walking.

The heaviest cat ever recorded weighed 46 lbs.

The Maine Coon is 4 to 5 times larger than the Singapura, the smallest breed of cat.

The Maine Coon is the only native American long haired breed.

The more cats are spoken to, the more they will speak back. The normal temperature of a cat is 101.5 degrees.

More Dog Facts

Researchers studying what dogs like to eat have found that the appetite of pet dogs is affected by the taste, texture and smell of the food, and also by the owners’ food preferences, their perception of their pet, and the physical environment in which the dog is eating.

Scientists have discovered that dogs can smell the presence of autism in children.

‘Seizure Alert’ dogs can alert their owners up to an hour before the onset of an epileptic seizure.

Seventy percent of people sign their pet’s name on greeting cards and 58 percent include their pets in family and holiday portraits, according to a survey done by the American Animal Hospital Association.

Small dogs are rapidly gaining popularity, according to American Kennel Club registration statistics. Three toys breeds are among the top 10 in popularity on the most recent list: the Yorkshire Terrier, Chihuahua, and Shih Tzu rank sixth, ninth, and 10th, respectively. A decade ago, no toy breeds were in the top 10.

Some 39 percent of pet owners say they have more photos of their pet than of their spouse or significant other. Only 21 percent say they have more photos of their spouse or significant other than of their pet.

The calories burned daily by the sled dogs running in Alaska’s annual Iditarod race average 10,000. The 1,149-mile race commemorates the 1925 “Race for Life” when 20 volunteer mushers relayed medicine from Anchorage to Nome to battle a children’s diphtheria epidemic.

The Canary Islands were not named for a bird called a canary. They were named after a breed of large dogs. The Latin name was Canariae insulae – “Island of Dogs.”

The common belief that dogs are color blind is false. Dogs can see color, but it is not as vivid a color scheme as we see. They distinguish between blue, yellow, and gray, but probably do not see red and green. This is much like our vision at twilight.

The dachshund is one of the oldest dog breeds in history (dating back to ancient Egypt.) The name comes from one of its earliest uses – hunting badgers. In German, Dachs means “badger,” Hund is “hound.”

The Danger of Online Medications

“Discount pet drugs—no prescription required” may appeal to pet owners surfing the Web, but FDA experts say it can be risky to buy drugs online from sites that tout this message and others like it.

Some of the Internet sites that sell pet drugs represent legitimate, reputable pharmacies, says Martine Hartogensis, D.V.M., deputy director of the Office of Surveillance and Compliance in FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM). But others are fronts for unscrupulous businesses operating against the law.

FDA has found companies that sell unapproved pet drugs and counterfeit pet products, make fraudulent claims, dispense prescription drugs without requiring a prescription, and sell expired drugs.

Pet owners who purchase drugs from these companies may think they are saving money, says Hartogensis, but in reality, they may be short-changing their pet’s health and putting its life at risk.

CVM regulates the manufacture and distribution of animal drugs, while individual state pharmacy boards regulate the dispensing of prescription veterinary products.

Some foreign Internet pharmacies advertise that veterinary prescription drugs are available to U.S. citizens without a prescription. But, says Hartogensis, “There is a risk of the drugs not being FDA-approved.”

A foreign or domestic pharmacy may claim that one of its veterinarians on staff will “evaluate” the pet after looking over a form filled out by the pet owner, and then prescribe the drug. “A veterinarian should physically examine an animal prior to making a diagnosis to determine the appropriate therapy,” says Hartogensis.

CVM is especially concerned that pet owners are going online to buy two types of commonly used prescription veterinary drugs—nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and heartworm preventives.

“Both drugs can be dangerous if there is no professional involvement,” says Hartogensis. “It’s not generally a concern if the owner uses a legitimate online pharmacy and mails in a prescription from their veterinarian, who is monitoring the animal. But if there is no veterinarian–client–patient relationship, it’s a dangerous practice.”

Veterinarians often prescribe NSAIDs to relieve pain in dogs. NSAIDs should not be purchased on the Internet without a veterinarian’s involvement because dogs should undergo blood testing and a thorough physical examination before starting NSAIDs
dogs should be monitored by a veterinarian while they are taking NSAIDs
veterinarians should discuss possible side effects of NSAIDs with the owner
the prescription should be accompanied by a Client Information Sheet that explains important safety information to the owner heartworm disease is a potentially fatal condition transmitted by the bite of a mosquito that is carrying infected larvae of the heartworm parasite. Dogs, cats, and ferrets can get heartworm. Heartworm preventives, given daily, monthly, or semiannually depending on the product, kill the larvae before they become adult worms.

The American Heartworm Society recommends using heartworm medication for dogs year-round, no matter where you live in the United States. Getting dogs tested yearly to make sure they’re not infected with heartworm
“Testing is important even in dogs regularly treated with heartworm preventive products due to the occasional reports of product ineffectiveness,” says Hartogensis. An Internet pharmacy veterinarian cannot draw blood from the animal to perform the test. If the test isn’t done, a pet owner could be giving heartworm preventives to a dog that has heartworms, potentially leading to severe reactions.

Who’s Your Dog’s Daddy?

“What do you think she is?” This is a common question among owners of mixed breed dogs. For years veterinarians could only guess the answer based on the the dog’s physical similarities to known breeds. No more guessing. We can now determining the genetic makeup of mixed breed dog’s with reasonable certainty. The Wisdom Panel was developed by Mars (apparently they don’t just make M&M’s anymore!) over the course of the last 12 years. The test compares your dog’s DNA to specific genetic markers which have been identified in over 120 known breeds. Results are sometimes very surprising as the breeds that are detected are not always easy to visualize in the pet.

At least 12.5% of any one particular breed has to be present in the genetic make-up of a mixed dog for the test to accurately detect it. The Wisdom Panel has shown that as breeds mix, there are some traits which disappear sooner than others. For instance, flat faces (brachycephalic) usually disappear within one generation of breeding a brachycephalic dog with a non-brachycephalic dog. Extremes in size, either large or small, are lost quickly. This results in most mixed breed dogs shifting toward being medium-sized. The color white often disappears within one generation, causing many mixed breed dogs to be brown/ginger in color rather than spotted like a Dalmatian. As a result, many mixed breed dogs look like Labradors and Beagles, even if their genetic make-up contains neither breed.

It’s always fun to know the genetic make-up of a mixed breed dog. Often it explains not only the physical but also the behavior traits of your mixed breed dog. The test can also help direct veterinarians to observe for diseases that might be more likely to occur in your mixed breed dog, since some conditions are very breed specific.

Tidbits: Factual, Funny, Fascinating

*Researchers in Austria found that dogs can classifly complex color photographs and place them into categories with computer automated touch screens. While this demonstrated that dogs are able to form a concept (“dog”), it did not determine whether they recognized the pictures as actual dogs.

*A New Mexico firm is building all-wood human coffins in a partnership with People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The coffins bear painted slogans such as “Told You I Wouldn’t Be Caught Dead In Fur!” Associated Press

*Fossils unearthed in China may help explain how turtles got their shells. The 220-million-year-old fossils had only plastrons, the part that protects the turtle’s belly, which supports the theory that plastrons evolved to form a complete carapace. National Geographic

*An AVMA study found that veterinarians have a very high level of job satisfaction, just behind clergy, teachers, and psychologists, and above physicians and lawyers. Veterinarians rated well above average compared to all jobs.

*A new player in the pet-pampering arena is Doggy Adventures, a New Jersey company that goes beyond dog-walking by taking dogs on a 90-minute day trip for play and exercise. Dogs are grouped according to temperament and physical ability. Philadelphia Inquirer