Monthly Archives: March 2012

Are Your Home and Yard Free From Poisons?

By Linda Cole

March is poison prevention month, and it’s a reminder to reflect on what you have planted in your yard, and what you have stored in the garage, basement and around the home. It’s also a good time to think before you plant dangerous garden plants in areas your pets have access to. The time you take to check for poisons in and around your home can save your pet’s life. Make sure your home and yard are free from poisons.

Poison prevention month is meant to bring awareness to the dangers of accidental poisonings, not only for pets, but for humans as well. On September 16, 1961, Congress designated the third week in March as National Poison Prevention Week. Every year, poison control centers from across the country report more than 2 million incidents of accidental poisonings with over 90 percent happening in the home. Although the majority of victims of nonfatal poisonings are children, pets are also at risk of accidental poisonings because there are a lot of toxic products and food in our homes that pets have easy access to.

Thousands of pets are poisoned every year, with an up-tick in cases reported during the holiday season when cats and dogs have more people food available to them that can be toxic and kill them. Chocolate, alcohol, walnuts, fatty meats, grapes and raisins are on a long list of people food that can poison pets. The best way to keep your pet safe is to avoid giving people food altogether, and just stick with a high-quality pet food such as CANIDAE or FELIDAE. A pet’s begging eyes may be hard to resist, but an emergency trip to the vet after an accidental poisoning could be expensive and heartbreaking.

Antifreeze is extremely toxic to pets. It doesn’t take much to poison a dog or cat. The dangers with antifreeze are that it has a sweet taste pets are attracted to, and it’s pretty easy for pets to find little puddles of antifreeze in driveways or on streets. If you spill antifreeze while adding it in your car’s radiator or if your radiator boils over, clean up the spill immediately to keep your pets safe as well as any neighborhood pets that may wander onto your property. Snow globes contain a small amount of antifreeze in the liquid, but it’s enough to poison pets and children if a globe is broken or cracked. For more information on antifreeze poisoning, visit the Pet Poison Helpline website.

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Breed Profile: the Energetic Entlebucher Mountain Dog

By Langley Cornwell

I’ve never met an Entlebucher Mountain Dog in person. In fact, I’d never heard of this dog breed until I learned they were one of the six new breeds that competed in the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in February. The pictures I’ve run across show good looking, tricolored dogs with wonderfully expressive faces. I wanted to know more about these beauties.

About the Entlebucher Mountain Dog

A native of Switzerland, this dog breed is also known as the Entlebucher Sennenhund or the Entelbucher Cattle Dog. They are the smallest of the four AKC Swiss breeds. The original purpose for this easily-trained dog was herding and guarding, and they were highly valued for their strength, vitality and work ethic. These days, Entlebucher Mountain Dogs are usually kept as an energetic companion animal.

Appearance

Medium-sized and muscular, this dog looks square and sturdy. They have a well-proportioned head with a strong skull and a long, powerful jaw. Their smallish eyes are brown and their triangular ears are black. Some Entlebuchers have a congenital bobtail.  They all have a smooth, close coat with balanced black, tan (fawn to mahogany) and white markings. The coat is white on their chest, blaze, toes and the tip of their tail; the tan color always separates the black from the white. It’s the tricolored markings on their faces, however, that drew me in. Those symmetrical markings give their faces so much expression; these dogs look extremely intelligent and responsive. Regarding their size, male Entlebucher Mountain Dogs are between 17 to 21 inches and females are between 16 to 20 inches tall at the shoulder.

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What Would You Do to Protect Your Pet?

By Linda Cole

I remember when I got my first pets and took them to the vet for their checkup. They handed me a questionnaire concerning how I wanted them to care for my pets. One of the questions was along the lines of “How much money was I willing to pay?” I thought that was a stupid question. The first choice was “Cost is not a consideration,” and I checked that box. They weren’t asking if I could afford it, they were asking if I wanted my pets treated no matter what the cost might be. I accepted the responsibility of caring for my pets the day I took them into my home, and that included any and all medical care. Vet care is one way we protect our pets, but there are other situations when pets need our help. How far would you go to protect your pet?

The thing about accidents is that we can’t anticipate when one will happen. No matter how hard we try to protect ourselves or our pets, sometimes the worst case happens and we find ourselves in a sticky situation. I read a story about a woman who pushed past firemen to try and get into her burning home to save her dogs. Thankfully, they had already been saved by the firemen, but she didn’t know it and was willing to run into her burning home to save her pets.

We can’t really know how we would react an emergency situation until it’s staring us in the face. When forced to make a quick decision, some pet owners may not stop to think about the danger to themselves. I think most of us who love our pets would do what we needed to do to protect our pets, if at all possible. Sometimes there’s danger involved, and sometimes it’s giving up a home in order to keep a pet.

Last December, a 79 year old women living in Oklahoma was forced out of her home by a landlord who decided her mobile home was too old. It didn’t matter that she had nowhere to go. She wasn’t able to find a landlord who would rent to her because of her pets, so she chose to live in her car with them. For her, getting rid of her pets was not an option.

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What Does Your Pet Food Really Cost?

By Julia Williams

If a bag of pet food (let’s call it Brand A) sells for $20, and Brand B sells for $26, which one actually costs more? Most people are going to say the obvious answer is Brand B, right? Not necessarily! Now, we all know that $26 is more than $20, so how can that be? It’s because there is more to figuring out how much your pet food really costs than just the price of the bag or can.

One of the most common misconceptions about pet food is that it costs more to feed a high quality food like CANIDAE. People come to this conclusion because they are only comparing what one bag of pet food costs versus another brand of similar weight. I have seen this time and again, most recently when a pet owner reviewed CANIDAE dog food on their blog. Their dog did really well on the food, and both owner and dog were very pleased with the food. However, she said it wasn’t something she could afford to purchase to keep her dog on. A reader commented, “It’s a shame that it’s too expensive for you to buy all the time.”

It makes me sad to know she found a food her dog loves, but she didn’t keep her dog on it because she thought she couldn’t afford it. Moreover, that food was helping the dog with its sensitive stomach issues, but now it would be going back to eating an inferior pet food solely based on the price of Brand A versus Brand B.

Instead of looking at the cost of each bag, a better way is to consider how much it costs to feed your dog or cat per day. This is a real eye-opener for many pet owners. A bag of lower-quality food will obviously cost less by the pound, but here’s the catch – you will have to feed *much* more of it every day! Better quality foods like CANIDAE don’t include all of the fillers, so what you’re buying is just the good stuff. This means you feed your pet much less food than lower quality brands. The end result is that a bag that costs more per pound is actually less expensive to feed!

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How Pets Help Children with Autism

By Langley Cornwell

Most people who share their life with a pet enjoy talking about how strong their connection is with their animal. They like to discuss how much they delight in spending time with their pet. They share stories that illustrate how well their dog or cat understands them. I’m one of those people; I can talk about the power of the connection I have with my dog and my cat for hours. I am completely convinced that living with pets is good for my mental and physical health. What’s more, I know living with a cat has helped my mother-in-law tremendously. My husband and I are amazed at the positive influence a little gray tabby cat from the local animal shelter has had on his 87-year-old mother’s life. It’s as if she’s awakened from a long sleep. She and ‘Skeet’ are a perfect match, and getting her this cat is one of the best things we’ve ever done for her. 

With this in mind, it’s not a far leap to believe that being around domesticated pets can be a helpful, positive and enriching experience for children with autism.

How animals help autistic children

First hand testimonials from parents and documented reports from clinicians confirm that interacting with animals (sometimes called animal-assisted therapy) offers emotional and physical benefits to autistic children. Structured programs like horseback riding or swimming with dolphins are beneficial, but the animal interaction doesn’t have to be that organized to be helpful. Something as simple as having a dog in the house can have a positive influence on a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder; it helps with their physical development by improving their coordination and strength. Additionally, a joyous relationship with an animal will help an autistic child develop more self-confidence and a deeper sense of well-being.

Colleen Dolnick, a Missouri mother who has a 10-year-old son with autism, tells Everyday Health: “Animals can be amazing for children with autism. Animals can relate to these children. And these children, who have a hard time relating to peers, can really relate to animals.”      

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Jacqueline Rennebohm and Her Seeing Eye Dog Dexter

By Linda Cole

Jacqueline Rennebohm was diagnosed with Cone-Rod Dystrophy, a degenerative eye disease, when she was nine years old. However, she hasn’t let a little thing like failing eyesight stop her from pursuing her dreams. I had a chance to speak with Jacqueline via Skype and I’m proud to introduce to you an energetic and positive young lady and her German Shepherd seeing eye dog, Dexter. They are the newest Special Achiever team sponsored by CANIDAE.

Jacqueline attends the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, majoring in environmental health. On top of her studies, she’s also a 100 and 200 meter sprinter in track and field, training to hopefully nab a spot on Team Canada and represent her country in London, England at the 2012 Paralympic games in September. A human guide runs beside her when she’s on the track and guides her. Dexter sits on the sidelines and roots her on. His job is to aid Jacqueline off the track.

Dexter received his training at Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation in Bloomfield, Connecticut, and Jacqueline was matched with him last August. His training began two years earlier at the age of eight weeks when he was placed with a volunteer foster family for a year and a half. He was socialized and taught basic skills. The next six to eight months was when he learned how to be a guide dog. Dexter’s training required two years, and Jacqueline had to learn the basics of working with Dexter in just two short weeks. Guide dogs can take some time to bond with their owner, but Dexter and Jacqueline hit it off right from the start. You can hear the love and respect she has for Dexter when she talks about him.

Jacqueline has been feeding Dexter CANIDAE All Life Stages and has been impressed with the results. “The food works for him so well. He has the right amount of energy and his coat is so soft. We were at a function last night and there were other guide dogs there, all German Shepherds, and a couple of the owners asked, ‘What are you giving your dog? His coat is so soft.’ They are all blind, and they’re feeling the dogs and they started to notice the difference; they could tell Dexter’s coat was the nicest. It is, and I’m spreading the news about CANIDAE because he’s so chipper and looks really healthy and lean. I can truly say he’s being fueled properly and is able to keep up with my pace with ease, so he’s on the right food, for sure.”

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