By Linda Cole
We use a dog’s nose to find lost people, hidden explosives, termites, drugs and other contraband. Now we can add sniffing out life threatening allergens to the list. People with food allergies spend hours reading labels and questioning a waitress about what’s in a particular dish. For those with a peanut allergy, even a minute amount of peanuts can cause a severe, life threatening reaction. One solution to help those who suffer from peanut allergies is Allergy Alert Service Dogs – canines trained to search for and find hidden allergens in food or on everyday objects.
One of the more common food allergies is peanuts. In children, peanut allergies tripled from 1997 to 2008. A severe allergic reaction to peanuts is responsible for an estimated 100 to 150 deaths every year. Millions of kids and adults have to be vigilant about making sure they don’t come into contact with peanuts in any form, in their food or on everyday objects. They have to constantly stay on alert to what’s in food. Even if there are no peanuts in the food, traces of peanuts could have been introduced without anyone knowing about it.
By Suzanne Alicie
Dogs dig! Puppies dig, middle aged dogs dig, and even old dogs dig if they’ve never been taught not to. Some dogs dig even if they know better. Trying to stop your dog from digging up your yard may just end up being a test of wills.
There are a few tips and tricks you can use that may help your case, but in reality it’s hard to break centuries of nature. Dogs smell things constantly and will often dig for the item they smell. This comes in handy if your dog is an Avalanche Rescue Dog – like the CANIDAE-sponsored Scout, who works at Colorado’s Copper Mountain Ski Resort – but if his digging place is your flowerbed or the center of your lawn you may not appreciate it quite as much.
I have a digger. My dog digs up roots and usually eats them. She’s not a puppy and she hears the word “no” quite often when she is digging. After trying all the methods below I’ve finally given up. Instead of trying to change her and make her stop digging, these days I just make sure she has an area to call her own where she can dig without messing up my flowerbeds or the lawn.
By Julia Williams
It’s that time of year again, when warmer temperatures and longer days lure us out of our caves into the fresh air and sunlight. It’s also the time when a gardener’s thoughts turn to creating lush landscapes and veggie patches overflowing with fresh produce. Although the backyard can be a great place to relax and play, it can also be dangerous for our dogs and cats. Creating a pet-safe garden is not an impossible task, however. As responsible pet owners, we just need to take a few precautions to ensure that our outdoor space is safe for our four-legged family members.
Avoid Poisonous Plants
The most obvious way to create a pet-safe garden is to choose the right plants. Not all pet owners realize that a great many garden plants are toxic to dogs and cats, including popular varieties such as azalea, rhododendron, oleander, foxglove, lily of the valley, sago palm, tulip and daffodil. Pets that chew on poisonous plants can experience everything from an upset stomach and diarrhea, to seizures and liver failure.
Before you plant anything new in your garden, it’s a good idea to consult the ASPCA’s comprehensive list of toxic plants. You should also try to avoid trees, shrubs and plants that contribute to allergies. Many of the same plants that cause allergies in humans will affect your pet. Use pollen-free plant species whenever possible, and if you already have a tree or hedge with a high allergy potential, keep it heavily sheared so it will flower less, and don’t plant it directly under a window that you’ll have open in the summer.
By Linda Cole
Nonprofit organizations across the country help pets in a variety of ways. Pilots N Paws is an online organization with a unique transporting program that has given rescue organizations, shelters and people who foster pets the ability to move unwanted and homeless pets to locations around the country where a new home is hopefully waiting for the pet. Pilots and plane owners who want to help improve the chances that a pet can find a forever home are offering their planes and time. They fly pets from an area where there’s little chance a pet can be placed in a home, to another area where the pet’s chances of being adopted are much better. Pilots are also flying pets who have been adopted to their new homes around the country. Pilots who want to help rescue shelter pets can get together with shelters and rescue organizations to plan their own special way of saving a pet’s life.
Pilots N Paws is a volunteer organization that doesn’t ask for donations. It’s a website that was started by Debi Boies who was involved in Doberman rescue in upstate South Carolina and her friend, Jon Wehrenberg, a pilot, who had volunteered to fly a rescued Doberman from Florida to Debi’s home in South Carolina. After the flight, the two began to discuss the need for a better way of moving homeless pets across the country besides the traditional way of setting up car transports. They began on February 8, 2008 with their first official life-saving flight. To date, the volunteer pilots number over 1,800 and there are 8,100 registered users with more registering every day who use the Pilots N Paws website to connect with each other. Debi and Jon are shooting for 10,000 pilots to make sure there are enough planes to transport homeless pets wherever they need to go to help them find a new home.
By Julia Williams
I know that’s not a grammatically correct title, but if it’s good enough for the legendary Tina Turner, then it’s good enough for me. This post is about pets and love – a pet mom’s perspective on Mother’s Day.
I don’t have human children, but I still consider myself to be a mom. I didn’t consciously choose cats instead of kids. My life just worked out that way, but I’m perfectly fine with it. I realize some people don’t believe you are a parent if you just have pets, but I think that’s just silly. I still laugh when I recall the indignant man who, years ago, said I had insulted all children when I wrote that my cats were “like children.” His response is one of the most absurd things I’ve ever heard. I also think it speaks more to his own insecurities than to how I feel about my beloved pets.
Motherhood may mean different things to different people, but we can all agree that it involves love, and the desire to nurture and protect your child. Motherly devotion then, is the same regardless of whether the child is human, cat, dog, horse, rabbit or rat. Good mothers want the very best for their children, and they go to great lengths to see that the child is healthy, happy and safe. Good mothers also want to provide their children with nutritious food that feeds their bodies and helps them live a long, healthy life. As a cat mom, I’m proud to feed my kitties a premium quality, natural food like Felidae Grain Free Pure, because I know this wholesome food keeps them in tip-top shape.
By Linda Cole
Since dogs can’t tell us when something is bothering them or they don’t feel well, we have to figure it out ourselves by observing what they do. Sometimes when we see them doing certain things, we ignore their behavior as long as they aren’t getting into trouble. However, dogs do things for a reason and although chewing on their feet may be nothing to worry about, there could be a medical reason or simple boredom.
Arthritis or some other type of pain could be causing enough discomfort for a dog that he tries to relieve it by licking or chewing his foot. A dog’s paw pads are not immune to picking up rocks, thorns or other foreign objects they step on. They can cut their pads while romping in the backyard or playing at a dog park, and a hot sidewalk or road can burn their pads. Snow, road salt and ice can build up between their pads during the winter months. When the hair in between the pads of some breeds (like Siberian Huskies) becomes too long, a dog might bite their paws if ice, rocks, burrs or other irritants become tangled in the hair. Lumps (interdigital cysts) can form in between their toes. Allergies to the cleaner you use on your floor, yard or flower garden can cause a dog to react by chewing his feet. It’s possible he’s allergic to his food, the carpet in your home or rugs he lays on. A dog will chew on his feet for all of the above reasons.