Monthly Archives: August 2010

The Dangers of Treated Wood for Pets

By Ruthie Bently

Pressure treated wood was used for over 68 years in both residential and commercial applications. While it is no longer supposed to be used in residential applications, it’s been used to build decks, walkways, fences, picnic tables, raised garden beds, dog houses, and  other structures where a wood that’s resistant to the elements is needed. However, pressure treated wood poses many dangers to our pets (as well as our families) that you may not be aware of.

The process for pressure-treating lumber was invented by Dr. Karl Wolman, and he was issued a U.S. patent for it on September, 29, 1942. The wood product created won’t decay or rot for over 20 years. The wood used was most prevalently preserved with chromate copper arsenate (CCA) and its use began to cease in 2004 due to safety concerns. However, it is still in use in several industrial applications and in some countries around the world. Arsenate is a salt or ester of arsenic acid, in short arsenic which is an exceedingly toxic chemical, as well as a known carcinogen. CCA toxicity can be caused by inhalation of gas created by burning CCA treated wood in a fire. It can also be caused by a dog eating the wood or ashes from a CCA wood fire. One tablespoon of ash from CCA wood contains a fatal dose of arsenic.

Splinters under the skin can cause an infection, and skin coming in contact with the treated wood or lumber can cause dermal irritation or a rash. One Wisconsin man reported his 85 pound Labrador began to show signs of lethargy, no energy and stiffness. It was thought that the dog was poisoned through inhalation of vapors inside his cage (made from CCA treated wood) or through skin contact or even ingesting the wood of the cage. A Pennsylvania man reported that he had been sawing CCA treated wood for about three months, and a few months into the project his dog died of unknown causes. Under certain conditions the chemicals used to preserve the wood can leach out. Arsenic is water soluble and can mix with rainwater puddling on a deck.

How do you protect your pet if there is CCA treated wood on your property? Make sure there are no puddles on your deck after a rainstorm; watering the grass with a sprinkler or power washing windows might also cause the deck to get wet. Never feed, water or give treats to your pet on the deck, and keep their toys off the deck. Limit their access to the deck; if limiting access is not possible, consider a rug for them to lie on. When laundering any rug from the deck wash it by itself to keep from cross contaminating any other items you launder.

Check the deck to see if it needs to be resanded to prevent paw splinters. Wash your pet’s paws and fur after their contact with the deck. Don’t let your pet play in wood chips or soil under or around CCA treated wood unless they test negative for arsenic.

If you’re building or buying a dog house, make sure it is not made with pressure-treated wood. To protect the wood, use paint, stain or oil that is non-toxic. If you have an outdoor project, consider vinyl alternatives or naturally resistant woods like cedar or redwood. Use reclaimed cedar or redwood. Use regular wood and treat with linseed oil or non-toxic stain or paint, and replace it more often.

As the use of CCA as a wood preservative is being discontinued, other preservatives that use the same process are taking its place: Amine Copper Quat (ACQ-D), Copper Azole (CA), Alkaline Copper Quaternary (ACQ) or Quat for short, and Amoniacal Copper Zinc Arsenate (ACZA). There are pros and cons on both sides of the issue, and if you’re a pet owner I would suggest caution when using any pressure-treated wood.

If you believe that your dog or cat may have been exposed to CCA, you can contact the following poison hotlines for information on symptoms and treatment, as well as prevention of a future incident.

Pet Poison Helpline website, (800) 213-6680. Calls from the United States are answered 24 hours a day.
ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. Available 24 hours a day for emergencies at: (888) 426-4435.

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

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International Homeless Animals Day

By Julia Williams

In 1992, the International Society for Animal Rights (ISAR) introduced National Homeless Animals Day and Candlelight Vigils, created as an innovative educational tool for informing the public about pet overpopulation. Since then, ISAR has commemorated the day annually to promote new campaigns, programs, ideas and solutions to the pet overpopulation epidemic. Now, because of the ever-growing support by animal lovers worldwide, they’ve rechristened it International Homeless Animals Day.

On the third Saturday in August, organizations and individuals around the globe rally together to raise awareness about pet overpopulation. International Homeless Animals Day activities include candlelight vigils, adoption fairs, microchip clinics, blessings of the animals, and heartfelt speeches given by council members, veterinarians, humane officers and shelter personnel. Other activities include slideshows, rallies, dog walks, open houses, award ceremonies, live music, raffles, and games.

Eight Ways to Observe International Homeless Animals Day

1. Download a free candlelight vigil packet from ISAR.  It includes guidelines for organizing a successful vigil event, with tips on site selection, reaching target audiences, poems, songs, sample press releases and more.

2. Check out ISAR’s Event Schedule to find an International Homeless Animals Day Candlelight Vigil Observance in your area.

3. Participate in ISAR’s 9th Annual Virtual Vigil and light an online candle for homeless animals.

4. Adopt a homeless animal. If you have room in your home and heart, one of the best ways to celebrate International Homeless Animals Day is to give an animal the blessing of a better life. No, this won’t fix the pet overpopulation problem overnight, but it will give one beautiful animal a family to love and a place to call home.

5. Help your local animal shelter by volunteering your time or donating supplies. Shelters run on shoestring budgets, and they’re in dire need of volunteers to help with feeding, walking, socializing and simply loving the homeless animals in their facilities. You can also support your local shelter in honor of International Homeless Animals Day by donating pet food, blankets, dishes, grooming tools, toys and other things they need.

6. Have your family pet spayed or neutered. Sadly, millions of healthy, adoptable dogs and cats are euthanized in shelters every year. Not every city has the ability or the funds to run a no-kill shelter, and euthanasia is the tragic result of an imbalance in supply and demand. Responsible pet owners recognize the importance of having their family pet “fixed,” which helps to decrease the supply of animals in need of a home.

7. Become a foster parent for homeless pets. For various reasons, animal shelters often need to place puppies and kittens, as well as adult dogs and cats, in temporary foster homes. Thanks to fosters, countless homeless animals can be in safe, loving environments until they’re ready to be adopted.

8. Help feed the homeless animals by donating to wonderful pet-related charities such as The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank. CANIDAE is proud to support this fine organization with donations of their premium quality pet food, which is used to help feed homeless animals. 

Please join me in observing and supporting International Homeless Animals Day on August 21, 2010.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Dog Training with Consistency and Patience

By Linda Cole

Most of us are not professional dog trainers, but our canine companions still need basic training to help keep them safe. As long as you stay consistent and patient with your dog, he will learn what you’re trying to teach him. As responsible pet owners, we understand why a dog needs to learn basic commands like sit, stay, down and no. And of course, every dog should know to come as soon as they’re called. The hard part, especially with a more head strong dog, is how to do it without a professional dog trainer. If you don’t have access to one or can’t afford a professional trainer, don’t worry about it. Get yourself lots of CANIDAE dog treats and a good leash, and stay calm. Training your dog might take a little longer when you aren’t sure what you’re doing, but rest assured you can do it.

Understand your dog’s breed characteristics to help you know what you can expect from him, even if you have a mixed breed. Some dogs learn faster, but all dogs are capable of learning basic commands as long as you’re willing to commit to dog training. Some breeds have a stubborn streak and others are laid back and eager to please. Some dogs respond well with only praise and some need more incentive with a tasty treat. Either way works, but make sure to include lots of praise with or without treats.

Exercise your dog before starting. Begin with a walk or some play time, just enough to get rid of pent up energy so he’s ready to concentrate on learning. It helps him focus on your commands once you begin training your dog. A walk is also the perfect time to work on heel and sit.

Make dog training a game, and keep it simple. When you’re ready to train your dog, the more fun he has learning, the more willing he’ll be to learn. Don’t get stressed out if he’s not paying attention, and never hit him or yell at him. You don’t want to give your dog negative feelings. An anxious dog can act out if he’s frustrated and doesn’t understand what he’s doing wrong or why you’re yelling at him. Keep it fun so he’ll look forward to the next dog training session.

Stay calm, and be patient. You can’t force a dog to learn. You may be ready to train your dog, but he may not be ready. It doesn’t mean “now” isn’t the right time. He just may need a little encouragement to get into the game. Staying calm will transfer to your dog. He understands your moods by your body language and tone of voice.

Stay consistent with your commands. If you’re teaching your dog to sit, use the same command every time. Don’t confuse him by using different words for the same command and expect him to learn each one. “Sit” should be sit or sit down, but not both.

It’s not necessary to use your dog’s name before each command. He knows you’re speaking to him. If you’re training more than one dog, don’t try to train them together. It’s much easier when you don’t have to divide your attention, and they won’t feel like they have to compete with each other.

Don’t let your dog intimidate you. When you’re trying to train your dog and he doesn’t want to have anything to do with learning, don’t give up. Few dogs can resist their favorite treat. To keep your dog from running back to his spot on the couch or racing around the backyard, put him on a leash. You’re now in control of the dog training session. Start with easy commands like sit and lay down. With lots of praise and good treats, he’ll be eager for his next lesson.

Stop when he gets bored. Sooner or later, learning turns into boredom. You don’t have to spend a long time teaching him commands. Once he understands what you want, practice each command every day to reinforce it. When he knows the basics, then you can start teaching him some tricks.

Don’t get mad if he isn’t paying attention. Dog training requires your dog’s full attention. If he isn’t hungry, a treat won’t work. If there are other activities going on around him, it’s hard for him to concentrate if he’d rather be playing or keeping an eye on the neighborhood squirrels. Try again later.

Most dogs learn basic commands quickly. Don’t give up! Dog training isn’t difficult or time consuming, but it does require staying calm, consistent and patient.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

You’ll LOL at These Funny Cat and Dog Sites

By Tamara L. Waters

Aww, what a sweet little kitty! Such a cute puppy! We hear the oohs and ahhs at pet stores and of course, now online. Websites featuring adorable pictures and videos of dogs and cats doing the darnedest things make us laugh out loud. Yep, I’m talking about LOLcats and LOLdogs, and their cohorts among funny and cute pet websites. Here’s a rundown of my personal favorites.

I Can Has Cheezburger is a favorite in my house. These silly “kittehz” and their antics never fail to entertain and make us laugh, giggle and snort. As a cat lover who has a house and yard full of my own LOLcats, I know how much fun kitty cats can create. Anyone who has visited I Can Has Cheezburger knows all about LOLspeak – a misspelled, phonetic method of speech that is used with the captions on the cat photos. Around my house, it’s not unusual to hear someone asking “Mom, I can has pizza?” or “U wan know where teh Oreos are? I eated dem.”

I Has a Hot Dog is LOLcats in doggy form. The LOLdogs are as funny and cute as their kitteh counterparts and really, when it comes to LOLing, a preference for canine funny or feline funny just doesn’t matter – it all makes you laugh. The I Has a Hot Dog site has plenty to offer in the way of giggles and guffaws.

Cute Overload is a fun website that doesn’t just focus on cats or dogs, but pretty much any animal. You’ll get to see animals from every walk (and hoof) of life doing their thing and making you ‘awww’ and ‘ooohhh’ and of course laugh out loud. What’s not to love about a herd of deer resting beneath a trampoline or a precocious polar bear cub? Cute Overload shows the silly side of hamsters, bunnies, cats, dogs, gorillas and more. The difference you might notice with Cute Overload is the amount of written narrative and detail about the pictures. There is usually an explanation about the photo or video and for the most part, there is no LOLspeak and proper English grammar and spelling is usually in use.

The Itty Bitty Kitty Committee website exists for a great cause – finding homes for homeless kitties. This website features such awww-inducing kitty pics that you can’t help but love it. Knowing that the founder, Laurie Cinotto, started the site as a way to raise money and help these kitties makes it even more special. The IBKC isn’t just about being entertained by pets, but it is more about helping them. Responsible Pet Ownership writer Julia Williams has a great article about the Itty Bitty Kitty Committee, and you can read it here.

Animal Planet Funny Pet has a variety of cute and funny video clips from the popular “Planet’s Funniest Animals.” The clips are usually set to music and have a narrator giving some play-by-play but they will peg your cuteness radar and make you laugh. If you’re familiar with the Animal Planet series then you know it’s the same as the long-lived “America’s Funniest Home Videos” except that it is focused on animals and features all the crazy, funny and amazing antics the animal world has to offer.

When I have some down time and need a quick pick-me-up, I have found that animals are the perfect choice. They make me laugh. They make me smile. They bring out my sentimental and protective nature, and these websites are great choices for getting a quick jolt of digital pet fun.

Read more articles by Tamara L. Waters

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Dog Breed Profile: Newfoundland

By Ruthie Bently

The Newfoundland is a member of the American Kennel Club’s Working Group, and they live up to the reputation of a working dog. They are used as draft animals, for search and rescue, for water rescue, as guardians of property and families, as therapy dogs and for landing fishing nets. In their native Newfoundland they were used to haul harvested wood, carry boat lines to shore, carry lifelines to boats, rescue children, fetch items that fell overboard, supply power for the blacksmith, as a pack animal and cart puller. They are equally at home in the water or on land, and their history for water rescues are renowned worldwide. Due to their versatility in many fields, they are used in carting, agility, obedience, confirmation, drafting and water tests, and tracking competitions.

While it is thought that the breed originated in Newfoundland, from stock brought across the ocean by European fishermen, their ancestry is a bit muddy. There are many different opinions on who their antecedents were. Theories are: that they are a cross between local dogs and Tibetan Mastiffs; a descendent of a nomadic Indian dog or a Viking Karelian (a spitz type dog); or a descendent of a French Boarhound, Great Pyrenees, even a cross with a Labrador.

During World War II during blizzards in the Aleutian Islands and Alaska, Newfoundlands were used for hauling ammunition and supplies. In 1919, a Newfoundland that pulled a lifeboat with twenty shipwreck survivors to safety received a gold medal. Another Newfie is noted for rescuing 53 people from a shipwreck. They are used in Europe to patrol beaches. The Coast Guard and Navy Seals are using Newfies trained to jump from helicopters for water rescues. A woman in Janesville, Wisconsin even stated that her Newfoundland towed her stepfather’s car out of a snow drift.

Last but not least, there is mention of a Newfoundland named Rigel who may have swum in the icy waters of the North Atlantic for three hours before barking to alert a rescue ship. There is a mention of him in the book The Sinking of Titanic and Great Sea Disasters and an article in the New York Herald the day the Carpathia docked with survivors, but no other concrete evidence seems to be available. His legend is immortalized in The Legend of Rigel: Hero Dog of the Titanic, by Christine Jamesson.

There are several famous Newfies in history; even the White House was not adverse to their charms. Faithful was owned by Jesse Grant, the son of Ulysses S. Grant. Hector was owned by Rutherford B. Hayes, and James Buchanan had a female named Lara, who reportedly kept an eye on her owner by lying with one eye closed and one open for hours at a time. In the original version of Peter Pan, Nana the dog was a Newfoundland. Lewis and Clark took a Newfoundland named Seaman on their expedition. The Landseer was made famous by artist Sir Edwin Landseer, who painted many pictures of this black and white variety. Other colors allowed are black, brown and gray.

Newfoundlands have a life expectancy of between nine and fifteen years. Adult females weigh between 100 to 120 pounds and stand between 25 and 27 inches at the shoulder. Males weigh between 130 and 150 pounds and stand between 27 and 29 inches at the shoulder. They are prone to hip dysplasia and sub-aortic stenosis, a hereditary heart disease. The Newfoundland was recognized by the AKC in 1886.

A Newfoundland does best in cooler climates, as they don’t do well in hot weather. They need daily exercise, but are content to hang out at home. They do well with a job and are equally as good on land as they are in the water. They have an affinity for water and getting them a kiddie pool is a good idea if you can’t make regular trips to the beach or a lake. They can clean off a low table with one swipe of their tail and drool quite a bit. They shed profusely during shedding season, and they require regular brushing to maintain their coat quality. Due to their sweet disposition, they are good with most other animals, love children and are devoted to their family. Proper socialization and obedience training is a must. As with many other large breeds, a Newfie’s owner must be the alpha dog.

If you are interested in a remarkable, gentle giant that works well in many situations, check out the Newfoundland. If you would like to adopt a rescued Newfie see the Newfoundland Club of America’s website. You can also find information on the AKC’s website.

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Famous Fictional Felines

By Julia Williams

Cats have been a part of our culture for ages. Long before felines were persecuted alongside witches in the Middle Ages, they were worshipped as Gods in ancient Egypt. Today, more than 93 million domestic cats are kept as pets in the United States alone, according to a recent survey by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association. Cats have been featured in countless movies, books and ad campaigns, and depicted on postage stamps and famous paintings. Here are some of my favorite fictional felines.

Puss in Boots

Thanks to the Shrek movies, most children today are quite familiar with this smartly dressed cat with an attitude to match. But eons before Shrek, 300+ years ago, French author Charles Perrault brought this crafty cat to life in his collection of classic folk tales. Puss in Boots tells of a poor miller who dies and leaves his son with only a cat. But what a cat! Wearing tall boots and a hat, this dapper cat helps his young master attain wealth and in the end, endears himself to readers of all ages.

The Cheshire Cat

This classic fictional cat is a mischievous character in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The cat wears a permanent grin and can disappear and reappear whenever it likes, which Alice finds quite disconcerting. When Alice asks the cat to stop doing that, it vanishes slowly, with its grin remaining some time after the rest of it has gone. This prompts Alice to remark, “Well! I’ve often seen a cat without a grin, but a grin without a cat! It’s the most curious thing I ever saw!”

The Cat in the Hat

This plucky feline was the creation of Theodor Seuss Geisel, aka, “Dr. Seuss.” The Cat in the Hat book was published in 1957 and is a must for every child’s library, even today. The Cat in the Hat is not only fun and entertaining, it was written to help kids learn to read. The 1,629-word tale uses only 236 different words in all – 221 have one syllable, 14 have two and just one word (another) has three syllables! The Cat in the Hat is about a mischief-making cat who transforms a dull afternoon into a magical and amusing adventure for two children. The gaily dressed cat also appears in four subsequent books, and his popularity was boosted further by the 2003 movie starring Mike Meyers as the cat.

The Three Little Kittens

When I was a child, this was paws-down my favorite Little Golden Book. The Mother Goose nursery rhyme features three naughty kittens that get into trouble when they lose their mittens. (Why kittens needed mittens wasn’t something I questioned, but I suppose I should have.) The kittens begin to cry, fearing their mother won’t let them have pie. But the kittens find their mittens which prompts mom to say, “Put on your mittens you silly kittens, and you shall have some pie.” “Meow, meow, meow…” they get to have some pie.


This adorable tuxedo cat was created by The Walt Disney Company and made his debut in the 1940 animated film Pinocchio as Geppetto’s pet. Figaro the Cat is the only character from a Disney feature to be spun off into his own series of theatrical shorts. He first appeared in All Together, a film promoting war bonds, and then in the 1943 cartoon Figaro & Cleo (Gepetto’s goldfish). Figaro the Cat was later tapped to be Minnie Mouse’s pet as well as an adversary for Mickey’s dog Pluto. Figaro was supposedly the inspiration behind a short-lived brand of cat food produced by Bumblebee Tuna, aptly named Figaro Cat.

Felix the Cat

Conceived by New Jersey cartoonist Otto Messmer, Felix the Cat made his debut in the 1919 film Feline Follies. The mischievous cat (I’m sensing a recurring theme here) rocketed to fame and was the most popular cartoon character until Mickey Mouse came along. It’s been said that in 1920, Felix the Cat was even more popular than Charlie Chaplin. Felix “starred” in 80 films, and soon after made his transition to print, specifically comic books and strips. Felix was syndicated in over 250 newspapers in many different languages, making him a household name. Felix’s fame led to him being chosen as Charles Lindbergh’s lucky mascot on his historic transatlantic flight. Felix’s appeal is still going strong today, and he’s loved by all ages.

Cats in Advertising

Cats have been featured in countless advertising campaigns for both print and broadcast media. Cats are often used to elicit feelings of warmth, softness, tenderness and happiness. Morris the Cat is, of course, the most famous advertising cat. I wrote about Morris in Famous Felines Worth Remembering, so I won’t repeat myself here.

There’s a trio of cute ad cats that made the news recently though – the Quiznos “Singimals.” In television commercials that began airing in July, two white kittens and an orange kitten sing the features of Quiznos new $5, $4 and $3 menu offerings. The commercial was created by marketing agency WONGWOODY, reportedly inspired by popular internet videos featuring pets. You can watch the commercial here. I found the Quiznos Singimals commercial to be quite funny, but some people think it’s irritating (and worse), so consider yourself forewarned.

Who are YOUR favorite fictional felines?

Read more articles by Julia Williams

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.