Saturday, May 12, 2018

ALFIE'S CORNER: What Can Human Mothers (and Everyone Else) Learn from Animal Moms?

By Mindy Weisberger, Senior Writer | May 12, 2018 08:54am ET

Mother's Day celebrates the accomplishments of human mothers, but how do moms across the animal kingdom cope with the demands of pregnancy, birth and child rearing?

In "Wild Moms" (Pegasus Books, 2018), author, biologist and mother Carin Bondar investigates motherhood in the natural world, sharing the strategies used by numerous species to bear and nurture their offspring.

The challenges of motherhood in the wild are daunting — everyday survival concerns such as avoiding predators and finding food are amplified when a female has a little one (or several) to protect and nourish. In some social animals, such as lions or gorillas, new threats can even emerge from the animal's own community, as dominant males often kill infants sired by other males, when they take over a group.

And some obstacles are unique to individual species. In humans, our comparatively narrow pelvises are excellent for upright walking, but they aren't the best fit for our babies' large skulls, making birth more difficult and dangerous than it is for our closest living primate relatives. Meerkat females that hope to reproduce must first prove themselves as the dominant female in their group, or forfeit raising their own young to help the "queen" with her litters.

Many animal mothers also face the tough decision of having to choose between their offspring, nurturing one and neglecting another, so that the fittest — and the mother herself — will have a better chance at survival.

In her book, Bondar takes on these and other fascinating aspects of motherhood — from dolphin moms teaching newborns how to swim (and breathe); to lion "communes" where groups of mothers nurse each others' cubs; to mourning practices among chimpanzees for deceased infants. Bondar recently spoke to Live Science about the vast diversity of mothering approaches in the animal kingdom, revealing many surprising parallels to the practices of human mamas.

This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Live Science: Being a mother is hard work — more so for some than for others. What are some of the harsh realities of animal motherhood that might make human mothers think, "I don't have it so bad after all?"

Carin Bondar: Just based on the length of gestation, an elephant is a good example. They're pregnant for nearly two years, so by the time they actually give birth, they've already lent their bodies to this offspring for a lengthy period. And if that offspring dies — which often will happen in the animal kingdom — that's such a significant investment that's just gone. [For How Long Are Animals Pregnant? (Infographic)]

For birthing, humans do have it pretty bad, but not as bad as the poor hyena, which has to give birth through her pseudopenis. This is basically a long tube — picture a foot-long hot dog, and you have the idea. She has to give birth to two cubs through that, and for first-time moms the rate of death is significant — it's something like 30 percent — and the asphyxiation rate for cubs is extremely high. For decades, it's been one of the great mysteries of hyena biology — why would they evolve this structure that make birthing so difficult and so dangerous? But the social benefits to having this pseudopenis are thought to be more important than the cost of giving birth.

For the early phase of mothering, all primate moms have it pretty difficult, and that's because primate moms have babies that are so needy — ours are among the neediest — but they're also very complicated. Apes have personalities to consider as well as basic survival behaviors, and primate moms often have a very steep learning curve when it's their first time.

This is very similar to human moms — at least, to me. I was in a state of shock for many months after I had my first child; I had no idea what to do! I was kind of comforted to learn that other primates have this very steep learning curve as well, it's not like you get it right your first time, like, for example, a duck mom. The babies hatch and she just goes, "Hey, follow me over here!" They have the genetic mechanisms in place to parent, and they know what they're doing. It's not like that for monkeys and apes.


Saturday, April 28, 2018

Bella Vasta is the dynamic personality behind Jump Consulting. After starting her pet sitting company while attending college at Arizona State University, she went full speed ahead growing her business to become nationally and locally award winning, boasting with employees. Throughout the years, Bella has been known to blaze her own trail through the pet industry, carving out a path that many have followed. She has been featured in Entrepreneur Magazine, Huffington Post, NBC, ABC, FOX, NPR, and more. Bella sold her pet sitting business for over six figures, and now lives out her passion to inspire, motivate, and challenge business owners through her coaching, consulting, speaking, and podcast. I was lucky enough to get to interview her! Grab a snack, put your feet up and listen in! Listen to "PET EDU - MARY OBERDIER" on Spreaker.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Deaf, partially blind dog stayed with lost 3-year-old girl who wandered away from home

Monday, April 23, 2018, 2:06 PM

A deaf and partially blind dog can add hero to its list of tricks after it stayed overnight with a lost 3-year-old girl who wandered away from her home and into the Australian wilderness.

Max, a 17-year-old breed of cattle dog known as a blue heeler, followed the child over a mile away from their New South Wales house on Friday night and stuck by her side as temperatures dipped into the 50s and rain poured down onto them, according to reports.

The girl's grandmother and rescuers found the pair the following morning after a fruitless search of the rural area the day before, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported. The missing girl, Aurora, was heard calling out and was then discovered with protector at about 8 a.m. on Saturday.

Kelly Benston, Aurora's grandmother's partner, said that after the child's voice was heard, rescuers and the grandma, Leisa Bennett, tried to follow the sound until they ran into Max, who then led everyone to her.

"I shot up the mountain," said Bennet, "and when I got to the top, the dog came to me and led me straight to her."

More than 100 volunteers and police officers were dispatched in the search.

Max was declared an honorary police dog by local authorities for his gallant efforts.


Saturday, March 31, 2018

Is This Dog Actually Happy?

CreditJaromir Chalabala/EyeEm, via Getty Images

By Alexandra Horowitz
March 27, 2018

What is it like to be a dog?

I’ve been in search of the answer to that puzzling question by way of science. I’m a researcher of dog behavior and cognition: I study how dogs perceive the world and interact with one another and with people. Even in those moments when I wrest myself away from my subjects, the question stirs in my head. For everywhere I look, I find myself faced with dogs.

Dogs in movies, GIFs and memes — peppering Twitter feeds and Facebook posts. The Super Bowl has a puppy alternative; dogs in advertisements sell everything from toilet paper to tacos. Weirdly, the omnipresence of my favorite subject has begun making me grumpy, not elated. As dogs themselves produce a profound anti-grumpiness in me, I began to wonder why. Why can’t I stand to look at one more photo of a “funny dog”?

The reason is that these dogs are but furry emoji: stand-ins for emotions and sentiment. Each representation diminishes this complex, impressive creature to an object of our most banal imagination. As the philosopher Lori Gruen has observed, to be seen as something other than what one is, or to be the object of laughter, robs one of dignity. Such treatment may not be mortifying to the dog, perhaps (in fact, that’s a legitimate question, whether dogs can feel mortified; I remain agnostic); but it is degrading to the species.

Despite the ubiquity of dogs in our culture, there is much we don’t know about them. My field is in its infancy.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Being a pet sitter can sometimes be lonely. I was so used to having co-workers when I was in the banking industry. I needed someone to share ideas and dreams with so I started my own networking group of professional pet sitters. It's called Bradenton/Sarasota Professional Pet Sitters and we are a group of sitters from Manatee and Sarasota counties. We have a closed Facebook group where we seek each other's advice, support each other and refer each other to pet parents when we can't take a job. Sometimes we meet for coffee or breakfast. Of course, we can't all make it at once due to the nature of our work. Our newest member is Susan Starck Romano of Susie's Safe at Home Pet Sitting, LLC. She recently moved here from PA and is working on getting her business built up like she had it back home. Susie is really sweet and she knows her business. Check her out in my latest interview on Society Bytes Radio! Listen to "SUSAN ROMANO" on Spreaker.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Darcy's Corner: Airlines and Pets

In view of the United Airlines pet tragedy this week - actually three of them - we wanted you to know the guidelines for each airlines. Here is a great article from Bring Fido:

Airline Pet Policies
Planning to fly with your dog? While air travel can be a quick way to get Fido from one place to another, you should know that every airline has different rules about transporting pets. Some allow small dogs to travel in the aircraft cabin as part of your carry-on luggage allowance, while others will only allow pets to travel in the cargo area, and fees can vary from nothing at all to more than $500. Also, most airlines only allow one or two dogs on each flight, so always make sure a "seat" is available for your dog BEFORE buying your own ticket.

To take off without a hitch, please read our Ten Tips for Flying with Fido, and familiarize yourself with current U.S. Travel Regulations or International Pet Travel restrictions before you go. Have a great trip!

Friday, March 16, 2018

If you live in Manatee or Sarasota counties in the west coast of sunny Florida and have pets, you will be familiar with the awesome Suncoast Pet publication. You can pick these free magazines up at almost any veterinarian's office or pet related stores. You can also check them out on line at: I was lucky enough to talk to the amazing woman who puts her heart and soul into Suncoast Pet. Sit down, grab a snack and relax as you listen to my interview with Candace Botha! Listen to "PET EDU" on Spreaker.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Professional Pet Sitter's Week

This is Professional Pet Sitter's Week which was created in 1995 by Pet Sitter's International to honor the hard work of professional pet sitters! I am talking to Beth Stultz form PSI. She shares with us the many wonderful educational opportunities for professional pet sitters and pet parents alike. Grab your snacks and put your feet up and listen to a great interview! Listen to "BETH STULTZ" on Spreaker.

Pa. bill would require pet stores to get dogs, cats, rabbits from shelters and rescues

WRIGHTSVILLE, Pa. (WHTM) – Two Pennsylvania lawmakers are sponsoring a bill cracking down on the sale of puppy mill animals at pet stores.

The numerals 260 are stamped inside Frankie’s ear from being in a Lancaster County puppy mill. Another dog, Yankee, was debarked during his time in the mill.

“They’re filthy. The dogs are literally living in their own excrement,” said Kate DePasquale, with A Tail to Tell Puppy Mill Rescue.

DePasquale rescued the two puppy mill dogs. Yankee spent around five years in a puppy mill and was debarked there. He now enjoys a good life with his human mom at their Wrightsville home.

Pennsylvania has 12 of the 100 puppy mills on the Humane Society of the United States Horrible Hundred List. Seven of those are in Lancaster County.

“People really don’t understand where the puppies are coming from,” DePasquale said. “I think a lot of people ask the right questions, and I think that they’re misled.”

“Senator Reschenthaler and Representative Ortitay’s Puppy Retail Sales Bill is currently getting co-sponsors,” said Kristen Tullo, Pennsylvania director for the Humane Society of the United States.

Yankee is the poster dog for that bill and will campaign for it at the state Capitol.

The bill would do three things. The first is require pet stores sell dogs, cats, and rabbits from shelters and rescues. They could not come from large-scale puppy mills.

“No longer would you be able to sell dogs, cats, and rabbits at outdoor venues like flea markets,” Tullo said.

That’s the second element of the bill.

“Any licensed breeder would be required to advertise that license when advertising an animal,” Tullo said when discussing the third item.

The bill would not prohibit mom-and-pop stores from breeding.

“Responsible breeders and mom-and-pop stores do not sell to pet stores,” Tullo said.

“Some of these puppy mill animals live by themselves in tiny wire cages without windows. It’s completely dark in there. It’s just completely unacceptable,” DePasquale said.

The House bill already has dozens of co-sponsors. Both the Senate and House bills are expected to be introduced within the next few weeks. New York and New Jersey have a similar bill.

Petco sent abc27 News the following statement:

“Petco has never sold dogs or cats in our stores and we stopped selling rabbits in 2008. We believe in a “Think Adoption First” philosophy, which means we encourage anyone looking to add a new pet to their family to consider adopting a homeless animal. Together, Petco and the Petco Foundation partner with thousands of local animal welfare groups across the country and, through in-store adoption events, help find homes for more than 400,000 animals every year.”


Sunday, March 4, 2018

People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets


ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Phone Number: (888) 426-4435

Our Animal Poison Control Center experts have put together a handy list of the top toxic people foods to avoid feeding your pet. As always, if you suspect your pet has eaten any of the following foods, please note the amount ingested and contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

Alcoholic beverages and food products containing alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma and even death. Under no circumstances should your pet be given any alcohol. If you suspect that your pet has ingested alcohol, contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center immediately.

Avocado is primarily a problem for birds, rabbits, donkeys, horses, and ruminants including sheep and goats. The biggest concern is for cardiovascular damage and death in birds.  Horses, donkeys and ruminants frequently get swollen, edematous head and neck.

Chocolate, Coffee and Caffeine
These products all contain substances called methylxanthines, which are found in cacao seeds, the fruit of the plant used to make coffee, and in the nuts of an extract used in some sodas. When ingested by pets, methylxanthines can cause vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death. Note that darker chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate. White chocolate has the lowest level of methylxanthines, while baking chocolate contains the highest.

The stems, leaves, peels, fruit and seeds of citrus plants contain varying amounts of citric acid, essential oils that can cause irritation and possibly even central nervous system depression if ingested in significant amounts. Small doses, such as eating the fruit, are not likely to present problems beyond minor stomach upset.

Coconut and Coconut Oil
When ingested in small amounts, coconut and coconut-based products are not likely to cause serious harm to your pet. The flesh and milk of fresh coconuts do contain oils that may cause stomach upset, loose stools or diarrhea. Because of this, we encourage you to use caution when offering your pets these foods. Coconut water is high in potassium and should not be given to your pet.

Grapes and Raisins
Although the toxic substance within grapes and raisins is unknown, these fruits can cause kidney failure. Until more information is known about the toxic substance, it is best to avoid feeding grapes and raisins to dogs.


Saturday, March 3, 2018

Is pet insurance worth the investment?

By Howard Dashefsky
Published: February 27, 2018, 6:00 pm  Updated: February 27, 2018, 9:42 p

If you have a pet, you know keeping them healthy isn’t cheap, and emergency visits can get very costly very quickly.

But what if you have pet insurance? Is it worth the investment?

Pet insurance can save a whole lot of money and grief, assuming you purchase the right plan.

For Tami Sederquist, Mack is no different from her son when it comes to looking after their health.

“He’s another member of our family, and we have homeowners insurance, health insurance, and he’s a member of her family, so he needs to have insurance too,” she said.

What wasn’t so easy for Sederquist was deciding which policy to go with, as there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all plan.

“You just need to do your research,” she said. “As with every other insurance policy, you have to do your research. They’re all different. They’re all going to ask different questions, and you pick which one’s right for you at the time.”

If you’re considering pet insurance, there are two primary questions to consider: Do you want something that’s just going to cover basic wellness, meaning visits, shots, annual check-ups and some medications? Or are you looking for something that will be there in the event of a potentially very costly, unforeseen accident or emergency?

Dr. Candice Denham of the Kailua Animal Clinic says patients ask about pet insurance all the time.

She says if you have cash available in the event of an emergency, that’s great, but for most patients, a smaller monthly premium, usually in the $30 to $40 range, is more manageable.

“We ask people to make sure that they research the insurance company and the policy as well to find them one that best fits their needs,” Denham said.

Denham says something else you need to carefully consider are health issues that might be associated with your specific breed.

“Especially in the younger animal. If you can avoid having pre-existing conditions, the policies cover a lot more,” she said. “Most incidents that happen, happen with younger patients in terms of unexpected drama. In older patients, it’s more chronic illnesses, such cancer, diabetes, that type of thing.”


Friday, March 2, 2018

The vet will STILL see you now! Pet owners share hilarious photos of their beloved animals trying to hide from surgery staff

By Katie French For Mailonline

Man may be a dog's best friend but according to these pictures, there is one exception to the rule.

Canines will be well-behaved and loveable to almost anyone they meet - until you try to take them to the vets, it seems.

And they aren't the only ones.

As these hilarious photographs show, other species of the animal kingdom including cats and rabbits will try many a tactic to avoid being seen by the medical professionals.

But it appears the animals have been sharing methods away from the ears of prying humans.

Several dogs have opted for the old 'hide under the waiting room furniture' strategy, while the 'stand in the corner and pretend nothing is happening' rouse appears to be a hit with both cats and canines. 

Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Barbra Streisand says she successfully cloned her pet dog — twice

Business Insider
 John Lynch

Barbra Streisand said in a new interview with Variety that she successfully made two clones of her pet dog.

The singer said that two of her Coton de Tulear dogs were cloned from cells taken from the mouth and stomach of her 14-year-old dog Samantha, who died in 2017.

"They have different personalities," Streisand said of the two clones, Miss Scarlet and Miss Violet. "I'm waiting for them to get older so I can see if they have her [Samantha's] brown eyes and seriousness."

Monday, February 26, 2018

I am now adventuring into hosting my own radio show! It is called Pet EDU with Society Bytes Radio! I am sharing my passion for pet parents and professional pet sitters. I also want to talk about products and services that benefit both. This week's episode is for anyone interested in becoming a professional pet sitter. Tune in to some great advice as Katie Oneal talks about turning her life around when she lost her job and started her own pet sitting business!  

Listen to "PET EDU - KATE ONEAL" on Spreaker.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

The 3 Best Ways to Help Homeless Animals if You Can’t Adopt Here are small ways to help the cat and dog shelters in your neighborhood.

By Michele Leavitt O, The Oprah Magazine

If your 2018 goals include giving, consider supporting some of the 6.5 million cats and dogs placed in U.S. animal shelters annually. We asked Inga Fricke, director of pet retention programs for the Humane Society of the United States, for the best ways to help four-legged friends in need.

Think beyond the chew toy. 
Animal shelters always need the basics—clean towels, catnip-stuffed mice—but they require less obvious items, too. “Hot dogs and peanut butter are regularly used for dog training,” says Fricke. “And office items are often in short supply.” Ask your local rescue about its top priorities and give generously.

Show off your skills. 
“Shelters will put your occupational expertise to great use,” says Fricke. Lawyers are able to review adoption contracts, carpenters (or even adept IKEA assemblers) can build agility equipment, and a shutterbug’s portraits of Welsh corgis and Maine coons help beautify pamphlets and promotional materials.

Post with a purr-pose. 
If you’re likes-minded, use some of your daily Instagram time to give adoptable animals more visibility. “Shelters aim to educate the public,” says Fricke. “You can make a big impact just by sharing a specific pet’s story or a rescue’s information with your social network.”


Animal Rescue: Give proper care to aging pets

BY TRACI D. HOWERTON | Special to The Advocate FEB 21, 2018 - 7:00 AM

All of my pets are older than 10. I have four dogs, and the oldest, a Shih Tzu named Bailee, will be 13 this year.

Bailee's age is starting to show. He cannot hear well, and last week, I broke down and bought him diapers. Not because he cannot hold it, but because he is becoming an old fella that just does what he wants. A week in, and the diapers are awesome, let me add.

My hound mix, Ponyboy, has to eat a prescription heart food and take medication every day because he has a murmur and enlarged heart. He is about 11 years old.

As our pets age, their health care needs change. It is a stark reminder that they are with us for such a brief amount of time, and I am doing all that I can to make their golden years happy and healthy.

By definition, any pet older than 7 can be considered a senior. However, small breeds can live upward of 20 years, so 7 is really just on the cusp of hitting middle-aged. Large and giant breed dogs generally have a much shorter life span and can be considered seniors as early as 5 years of age.

Proper nutrition and a healthy lifestyle can make a huge difference in preventing age-related diseases and preserving quality of life for our pets.

Here are some tips to keeping senior pets happy and healthy:

ROUTINE VET VISITS: Although most vaccinations are given annually, it is good to see the vet for an additional check-up between those annual visits, especially as a pet reaches his golden years. Early detection is key to a successful treatment of ailments, so an extra visit is encouraged.

Preventative blood screening and urinalysisis are recommended for senior pets and should be started around age 7. Changes in kidney, liver and pancreatic function, arthritis, cataracts, heart disease and high blood pressure are more common in older pets and can be detected during regular check ups and lab work.

MONITOR BEHAVIOR: Just like humans, pets tend to become less active as they age. However, if a pet displays signs of confusion, disorientation, lethargy, loss of appetite, weight gain, weight loss or frequent potty accidents, it could be a sign of a more serious condition.

GOOD NUTRITION: Dietary needs change with age as well. As pets become less active, it is easy for them to pack on the pounds. Look for pet foods formulated especially for senior pets that are designed to meet senior nutritional needs, help manage weight and contain additional vitamins and minerals.

EXERCISE AND PLAY: Exercise helps to maintain a healthy body weight and can slow the onset of arthritis. Walking is excellent exercise for an aging pet. Mental stimulation with toys and interactive play can keep minds and bodies active.

DENTAL CARE: Dental care is just as important for pets as it is for humans. Regular dental cleanings by the vet and proper brushing at home can prevent gum disease, which can lead to more serious conditions.

SAFETY FIRST: As a pet ages, he may experience loss of sight and/or hearing. When it was a puppy, the home was puppy-proofed; now is the time to put some of those safety measures back into place. Remove potentially dangerous objects and use a gate or kennel to create a safe space for pets when no one is home.

COMFORT IS KEY: Senior pets sometimes suffer from arthritis or other joint problems, and this can make it more difficult for them to get around. Consider pet ramps or steps to make getting into bed or on the sofa easier.

For joint pain, orthopedic pet beds, some with heating elements, can help relieve pressure on the joints. Also physical contact is wanted more than ever in the golden years, so be sure to give him belly rubs, gentle massages and lots of brushing and petting.

Seeing our pets age and slow down is not easy, but with proper care and attention, we can help them live longer, happier lives.


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Mary Oberdier interviews SUSAN PERKINS (Society Bytes Radio)

Listen to "PET EDU - SUSAN PERKINS" on Spreaker.


Susan Perkins grew up in Bowdoin Maine. She moved to Florida about 5 years ago with her Labrador retriever and cat. Her immediate attention was to secure a good veterinarian and pet sitter to care for her kids while working and traveling. She was fortunate enough to connect with Mary at Chase N Tails and formed an immediate connection and level of trust. Having a passion for animals she was visited by numerous feral cats, some that she have fixed and added to their family and others that she has that she’s rehomed with good pet parents. Mary had to deal with the indoor pets and strays. She also had to administer medications. No matter the current need she knows Mary is skilled and treats all of her animals with care and compassion.

Monday, February 19, 2018



The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has found a euthanasia drug in several brands of dog food, leading some brands to issue a voluntary recall and causing concern among pet owners.

The FDA says that such a low level of this drug in pet food is unlikely to seriously harm pets. However, no amount of sodium pentobarbital, a common lethal drug used to put animals to sleep, is acceptable in pet food, the agency warns.

The J.M. Smucker Company, famous for Smuckers Jam, has responded to this report by issuing a voluntary recall of the tainted pet foods they sell. Pet food with the labels Gravy Train, Ol’Roy, Kibbles N’ Bits, or Skippy Premium, can be returned to the store for a full refund. The FDA asked pet stores to stop selling these brands immediately. The same goes for the dog food brand Against the Grain, which also issued a recall last week for the same concern.

The FDA is currently investigating where exactly in the supply chain the drug comes from and how it made it into food. Veterinarians usually injects animals that are too sick to save with sodium pentobarbital at a high enough dose that the animal goes into cardiac arrest and dies. There are other ways to euthanize animals, and guns and tools similar to guns are more practical for large animals.

Some pet food companies buy raw goods from rendering facilities that process animals euthanized at animal shelters. That means that some pet food is made from a variety of meats that humans wouldn’t eat, including diseased livestock and cats and dogs containing lethal doses of sodium pentobarbital. In other words, the body of a stray dog killed in a shelter may be ground up into dog food. Whether any of the recalls are related to this practice is unknown.


Thursday, February 15, 2018

4 dog food companies issue recall over salmonella fears

Zlati Meyer, USA TODAY Published 2:06 p.m. ET Feb. 14, 2018 | Updated 6:16 p.m. ET Feb. 14, 2018

The all-natural, organic food movement among humans is spreading to what people feed their pets. Think raw chicken, beef, even duck or venison. But as the AP's Lee Powell found, there is little consensus raw food as pet food is best. (Feb. 14) AP

Four pet food companies issued recalls after reports surfaced about contamination by salmonella after reports of pets dying or becoming ill.

The recalls involve a variety of products, all surfacing in the last week after six pets died or were sickened. One was a kitten, but the types of the other pets was not disclosed. Also, two children became ill, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The six animal cases were connected to consumption of Darwin’s Natural and ZooLogics pet foods, manufactured by Arrow Reliance of Tukwila, Wash., which has issued four salmonella- or listeria monocytogenes-related recalls since October 2016. The most recent was on Saturday after testing found salmonella in samples of their raw pet food.

The two reports of human illness resulted from contact with Raws for Paws Ground Turkey Pet Food. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture found salmonella while testing products made by the Minneapolis-based company.

Redbarn Pet Products of Long Beach, Calif., recalled its three-packs of seven-inch Bully Sticks dog chews after the Colorado Department of Agriculture reported that one sample collected from a store revealed salmonella.

Human symptoms of a salmonella infection are diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps, which last up to week and the majority of people recover without treatment, the FDA said. But pets don't always have symptoms, which for them include vomiting, diarrhea, fever, loss of appetite and lethargy. Plus, they can pass salmonella to people even if they are asymptomatic.

The FDA said it has a zero-tolerance policy for salmonella or other harmful bacteria in pet food.

"Raw pet food is more likely than other types of pet food to contain salmonella and listeria monocytogenes. Pet owners who choose to feed raw pet food should be aware of the risks associated with these products," the federal agency said.

Don Schaffner, a professor of food microbiology at Rutgers University, explained that salmonella can be found in the intestinal tracts of animals used to make pet food, like poultry and cattle. If the pet food isn't cooked, the bacteria can survive the manufacturing process and make it into the final products.

"Even a single cell is enough to make an animal or a human sick," he said.

Here are the details of the four recalls:

Arrow Reliance
ZooLogics Duck with Vegetable Meals for Dogs lot 41957 and ZooLogics Chicken with Vegetable Meals for Dogs lot 41567 were sold online.

The recall this week was prompted by a complaint about an adult dog with recurring diarrhea for nine months that tested positive for salmonella. The Darwin’s Natural raw pet food he'd eaten also tested positive.

According to the FDA, the manufacturer e-mailed customers about the recall, but "has so far not issued any public notification announcing this or any of the previous recalls."

As a result of an earlier product contamination, a kitten died. The salmonella strain the animal had was the same as that found in a closed package from the same lot of Darwin’s Natural cat food that the kitten had eaten.

"While dogs' and cats' digestive systems are designed to be able to process pathogens, such as salmonella, with no impact on them, at Darwin’s, we take this situation very seriously," the company said on its website. "Our No. 1 priority is providing your pet with meals that you can feel confident are healthy and safe."

The contact info on the company's website is 877-738-6325, 206-324-7387 and

The seven-inch Bully Stick three pack, sold at pet stores in 2.4-ounce bags, have an expiration date of 112120ABC stamped on the side and UPC 7 85184 25105 8.

Customers may return products to the stores where they were purchased for a full refund. Those with questions may e-mail the company at or call 800-775-3849 weekdays 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

"We test every product lot before it leaves our manufacturing plant. This lot... was tested both at our Redbarn lab and by a third-party testing facility. Those tests were negative for salmonella or pathogens," said president Jeff Sutherland. "Despite not being able to replicate these test results or receiving any negative reports from customers regarding these chews, we feel the best course of action is to recall this lot code of the product and keep our customers safe."



Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Win Like Flynn: A Bichon Frise Is This Year's Top Dog At Westminster Show

Scott Neuman
February 14, 2018

A bichon frise named Flynn was the surprise pick for best in show at the 142nd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden in New York, taking honors as the nation's top dog.

According to The Associated Press, "Fans who had been loudly shouting for their favorites fell into stunned silence when judge Betty-Anne Stenmark announced her choice."

Flynn led the pack among 2,882 canine competitors representing 202 breeds and varieties.

In the quest for the coveted purple ribbon, Flynn was guided by expert handler Bill McFadden.

The tiny white fluff ball Flynn stands (proudly) in stark contrast to last year's winner, a noble German shepherd named Rumor. Flynn had earlier won the best in breed for non-sporting dogs.

Other best in breed winners were:

Sporting — Bean, a Sussex spaniel.
Hound — a borzoi named Lucy
Working — Ty, a giant schnauzer who also took the runner up position behind Flynn as reserve best in show.
Terrier — Winston, a Norfolk terrier.
Toy — a pug named Biggie.
Herding — Slick, a border collie.

Read the article here

Monday, February 12, 2018

Mary Oberdier Society Bytes podcast interview with Patty Giarusso, Founder and President of Lost Pet Services, Inc.

Listen to "PET EDU - PATTY GIARRUSSO" on Spreaker.

I thought you might be interested in listening to my interview with Patty. Patty and her team are amazing at reuniting lost and found pets in Manatee and Sarasota counties. If you have a pet or find one in these two counties, you will want to know what you should do. This interview will help!

Patty Giarrusso, Founder and President of Lost Pet Services, Inc. and, created this lost pet service in July 2013 when her two dogs, Jackson Browne and Rocko went missing. She then embarked on a mission. That mission led to the LostFoundPets941 Facebook group which is now the largest, most active lost and found group in the Manatee and Sarasota Counties area covering Sarasota, Bradenton, Palmetto, Parrish, Ellenton, Venice, Northport, Myakka and areas beyond. The group has over 16,000 members and has reunited 1000s of lost pets using social media and relationships with local animal control agencies, veterinarians, rescues and other pet businesses. In February 2017, Lost Pet Services Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit was organized to help further their mission of reuniting lost pets by offering additional services. All services offered are free to the pet community.

Patty, together with her co-Admins Tracy Ohlman, Katrina Cash and Terry Creamer, work around the clock helping people all over the community reunite with their pets. For the ones whose owners aren't found, the group works to find these animals safe, loving homes.

Pet Talk: Pets celebrate Valentine's Day everyday

COLLEGE STATION — With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, many of us can’t help but look at our pets and remember the day we fell in love with them. We are fortunate to share our lives with such caring (and cute) animals, which is why we do everything we can to keep our pets happy and healthy.

However, pets do a lot for us, too. They teach us how to love unconditionally and be a good friend. They are also there to lend a comforting paw in times of need.

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, Dr. Sarah Griffin, a lecturer at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, described some of the ways our furry friends show us love and affection.

“Cats show affection by purring, sitting in your lap, rubbing against your leg, and following you around,” Griffin said. “Sometimes, they may even gently nip or bite you.”

Cat owners may also find that their pet brings them toys; random, found objects (such as hair ties); or even a small bird or mouse. This is considered a present and is a sign that your kitty loves and cares for you.

Dogs show affection through tail wagging, licking, and playing with their owners, Griffin said. Dogs may also curl up next to you for a nap, especially after a relaxing walk. When this happens, it is common courtesy to go ahead and take a nap, too.

To read the entire article, click here

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

12 tips to help avoid tragedy at the pet groomer

 By Sophie Nieto-Munoz for NJ Advance Media
Posted January 10, 2018 at 07:11 PM | Updated January 10, 2018 at 07:12 PM

News of two dogs dying and a third being injured after being groomed at a New Jersey PetSmart received widespread interest, and concern from pet owners.

Pet grooming is big business, with owners expected to spend some $6.11 billion on services this year, according to the American Pet Products Association.

With more than half the households in the country owning a dog or cat, the demand for qualified groomers and safe grooming techniques is high.

NJ Advance Media spoke to Chuck Simon, a certified groomer and owner of Groomers Helper, who shared points to keep in mind.

Do your research

Googling “pet groomer near me” and clicking the first choice is not how to choose a groomer. “Most people are lazy and are not going to go any further than they have to,” said Simons, who has been in business for more than 30 years. He advises owners who care about their pets to do their due diligence and research extensively before committing to a groomer that will handle your beloved pet.

Decide your priorities - are you willing to spend more, or travel further? Are you looking for a good bath or a nail clipping? Find someone with experience, pictures on their website and most importantly, talk to a customer of that groomer.


“Reviews should come from people walking out their door,” said Simons, whose customers also come from word of mouth. Most groomers don't advertise for grooming customers, so a substantial amount of ads should raise a red flag.

While he isn’t the biggest supporter of Yelp, Facebook reviews work can be brutally honest, giving pet owners a good handle of past customers’ experiences.

National Dog Groomers Association of America

Though licensing is not required in New Jersey, Simons pointed out it’s very important to find a groomer who is passionate enough to continue their higher education, more than likely being a qualified groomer. The first thing to find is a National Certified Master Groomer, typically on behalf of National Dog Groomer Association of America (look for the logo of a barber shop pole with a poodle). These groomers have to pass written and practical tests, become an expert on safety procedures and hygiene, and more than anything, know how to groom a dog.

“If that groomer took the time to be certified, then they pretty much know everything, know the breeds and they can handle a pet.” Still, check out their reviews, Simons urges, but traveling a few extra minutes for a National Certified Master Groomer could make the world of a difference to your pet.

Sophie Nieto-Munoz | For

All groomers should use clean equipment, Simons said. Though not everything needs to be sterilized, cleaning equipment should be disinfected after each usage. Cages for the animals should also be wiped down before a new animal enters. To avoid infections and pet illness, Dogington Post, a pet advocacy site, urges floors and crates to be cleaned with bleach at the end of the day. Even though there are vaccines for pets, illnesses including kennel cough are airborne. A lack of cleaning products (and those musty scents) are signs to not leave your pet there. 


One of the biggest rumors in the grooming industry is that pet salons sedate or tranquilize pets. If you hear of this, run, Simons said. A sedated pet is worse than an anxious pet, because it’s trying to fight the sedation, making it harder to work, Simons said.

“If someone is going to give your dog something, it should be under a licensed veterinarian. Groomers are not doctors,” he said. “I wouldn’t take my dog to a groomer that uses sedation.”

Cage dryers

Another concern of pet owners that may partially be a myth is cage drying.

Towel or air drying, forceful blowers and kennel dryers are the three ways most groomers dry pets, Simons said.

Towel or air drying takes hours, so most groomers opt for forceful blowers, which blows the water off the pet and fluffs it.

Cage dryers have the worst reputation of drying methods due to news of dogs overheating with this technique. Most of these stories, Simons said, are because of operator negligence who box a dog up, put heat on it and don’t pay attention.

“It’s not the dryers. It’s the people who are using them,” he said.

But he said not to worry, since good kennel dryers have a fail safe that can’t exceed a certain temperature.

He doesn’t let his cage dryers go above 82 degrees, and pets should only be in the cage for 10 to 15 minutes. Check that these dryers have plexiglass fronts, so it’s visible if a dog is in distress.

“If we can force dry them, we’re going to force dry them, that’s what we prefer,” Simons said. “But some dogs just absolutely don’t let you.”


Monday, January 1, 2018

A Year of Animal Oddities Around the World: 7 Reader Favorites

December 30, 2017

A rare white giraffe and her calf in Kenya. Video of the animals was believed to be the first of its kind. 
Hirola Conservation Program/Caters

The animal kingdom is full of wondrous, wild and weird stories.

So it’s no surprise that animals made headlines across the globe in 2017 for rare, odd and heroic episodes. Here is a look at some of the stories that captured our readers’ attention.

These rare white giraffes were spotted in Kenya.

A pair of spectral animals roamed the plains of Garissa County near the Ishaqbini Hirola Conservancy in Kenya’s east.

The animals, rare white giraffes, inspired awe across the world after the Hirola Conservation Program posted a video of them.

Abdullahi H. Ali, who founded Hirola, said it was the first known video of white giraffes.

The giraffes displayed the characteristics of a genetic condition known as leucism, which inhibits pigmentation in skin cells, Dr. Ali said.

A hero dog was awarded a medal in Britain.

A Belgian Malinois that was badly injured by shrapnel in Afghanistan was awarded the Dickin Medal, Britain’s highest award for animal bravery, in November.

The dog, Mali, was recognized for helping to sniff out Taliban militants and booby traps during a mission by Afghan and British Special Forces in 2012.

The Dickin Medal has been awarded 69 times since it was established in 1943. Its recipients include 32 pigeons — G.I. Joe among them — 32 dogs, four horses and one cat.

Snakes kept Bangkok’s fire department busy.

Snakes have always been a part of life in Bangkok. They lurk in toilets, swim in flooded streets and slither into people’s homes.

In 2017, the Bangkok Fire and Rescue Department, which is responsible for removing snakes from homes, was busier than ever. It received more than 31,800 calls for help, more than three times the number it got just five years earlier.

Firefighters with a python in Bangkok. Credit Amanda Mustard for The New York Times

As the sprawling city of more than 8.2 million people continues to expand into what was once wild land, snake encounters are likely to be frequent.

Syrian zoo animals were evacuated from a war zone.

Nine animals clinging to life at an abandoned zoo on the outskirts of Aleppo, Syria, were evacuated to a rehabilitation center in Turkey in July thanks to the help of an American journalist and businessman.

An ailing lion was given water while being transported from an abandoned zoo near Aleppo. Credit Four Paws International

The animals — three lions, two tigers, two bears and two hyenas — were relocated after months of uncertainty amid the country’s brutal civil war. The zoo’s owner had fled, leaving the animals caged and alone.

The American, Eric Margolis, financed the effort by local groups to move the animals after the months long siege of Aleppo finally ended.These elephants kept warm with giant blankets.

These elephants kept warm with giant blankets.

When unseasonably cold weather hit the Winga Baw camp for orphaned elephants in Myanmar in December, workers scrambled to protect the seven animals in their care. But with temperatures falling to a 40-year low, the usual technique of using straw to keep the animals warm would not suffice.

Temperatures fell to 46 degrees in some parts of the country. But the camp, in the Bago Region of Myanmar, had a secret weapon: giant knitted and crocheted blankets.

How do you keep a blanket on an elephant? Caretakers at a camp in Myanmar tied it firmly around the animal’s belly. Credit Save Elephant Foundation

They were donated by Blankets for Baby Rhinos, a wildlife conservation craft group made up of 1,500 knitters and crocheters across the world.