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Pet Peeves Unmasked Blog Mission

Pet Peeves Unmasked Blog Mission is to give followers access to information they can trust and help them care for their dogs and cats
The Pet Peeves Unmasked Blog Mission is to empower pet parents everywhere

 

My Mission

When you visit this page, the first post you will see is Pet Peeves Unmasked Blog Mission. That’s because the whole purpose behind each and every one of the posts I write is to push you gently to become the best pet parent possible! That’s the blog mission. And, that’s my personal mission.   

 

“Perfect” Pet Parenting

Furthermore, I have written a book entitled “Perfect” Pet Parenting that covers all aspects of caring for dogs and cats. It is based on my personal experience as a pet caregiver and incorporates the expertise of professionals who focus on specific areas of a companion animal’s wellbeing. This blog site contains extracts from my book. 

One of the biggest advantages of managing a blog site is that posts can be edited, updated and published at any time and as quickly as needed. Blog followers are hungry for knowledge and like to have access to the latest information in a matter of seconds. Consequently, they are faithful followers when they have sources they can trust that give them the tools to improve their life and the life of those close to them. 

Your Empowerment 

Pet Peeves Unmasked Posts covers a very wide range of subject matter that is organized into groups. Each blog is then filed in a specific category which is located in the right hand column of this page. 

As you will notice, group topics are extremely diverse. Animal rights and adopting. Breeds and body language. Gentle leaders and leashes. Dry food and water bowls. Vaccinations and CPR. Walking and dog parks. Pet sitting and pedicures. Car rides, air cargo and boarding. And, I mustn’t forget to mention the heart-warming stories of some amazing, heroic dogs and cats. 

Our Bond

Lastly, I want to encourage you to leave comments and suggestions because when we all work together, we can all keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!

SPOTLIGHTING PET CARE TRENDS

PART ONE

When I launched PetPeevesUnmasked.com, my first three articles dealt with spotlighting pet care trends using the latest statistics. That was almost three years ago. And, as you probably know, it takes months for statisticians to gather and analyze the data. As a result, it’s never really up-to-date.

Nevertheless, I try to keep pet parents everywhere informed—particularly those in the USA—to help them make positive choices. So I am now publishing what I have researched these last few weeks. Altogether there are four articles. I hope you enjoy them and are also motivated to join in the open discussions.

PET SUPPLIES AND SERVICES DIDN’T GO UNDER “DOWN UNDER”

Despite a lot of generalized market negativity due to Covid-19, Australia is doing pretty well in the companion animal sector. Even some major Australian Stock Exchange-listed companies are diversifying and investing in all things pets. So I thought I’d share some highlights from a business article on the latest animal care tendencies over there.

Only Organic

Humans obsessed with maintaining a healthy lifestyle and eat only organic food, want their dogs and cats to do likewise. No more kibble and canned food for them. Instead, they nibble, or inhale, food that has real nutritional value. And, plenty of vitamin supplements, too.

Competing For Followers

Without the necessity to commute, pet parents have extra free time to spend with their four-legged companions. As a result, they are spending more on toys and outfits, and posting images and videos on Instagram.

Permanent Presence

And, finally, the pet preservation business is booming. No more burials for your beloved fur kid. Instead, grieving pet guardians are choosing individual cremations or whole body freeze drying. On Australia’s Sunshine Coast, a taxidermist now offers this relatively new technique because it achieves a more realistic facial expression. He states that this service now represents 30 percent of his business, and it is growing. To see photos of the work being done by Markus Michalowitz and his team, go to https://www.downundertaxidermy.com/freeze-dry-taxidermy.

Would any readers consider this option for a pet of theirs? Please send your answers by using the Contact form https://petpeevesunmasked.com/pet-peeves-unmasked-contact/

Believe it or not, dog waste disposal bags are spotlighting as an important environmental pet care trend
Believe it or not, dog waste disposal bags are spotlighting as an important environmental pet care trend

DOGGY WASTE DISPOSAL

You are probably wondering why I think this topic is worth spotlighting as a pet care trend. Well, it all comes down to doggy guardians wanting to do the ecologically right thing. They aren’t looking for rolls of just any type of plastic. Many are seeking out bags that are labelled biodegradable or oxo-biodegradable. But, here’s the catch. Not all items are created equal. Savvy consumers will soon want to see on the packaging words like totally degradable, degrades quickly, and earth-friendly. So just wait. Before too long, manufacturers will be seriously competing for this particular market niche. And, cats come next!

Since the number of cat pet parents is growing, manufacturers of kitty litter want to keep up with demand
Since the number of cat pet parents is growing, manufacturers of kitty litter want to keep up with demand

MEETING INCREASED DEMAND FOR KITTY LITTER

With an increase in the number of people owning cats, there might not be enough kitty litter in the stores. So, when current supply cannot meet the demand, increased production is called for. And, because some manufacturers are facing this situation, they are taking action. For example, Purina will be investing $182 million to expand its manufacturing facility in the state of Virginia. It’s here where they produce Tidy Cats products and work is due to be completed by late 2023. As we all know, our felines are meticulously clean and want their boxes to be scooped and refreshed frequently. Unhappy cats act out and we sure don’t want that to happen!

PET PRE-NUPS

Millennial couples may not yet have children before they get married but many of them do have pets. And, because the bond between animal and human caregiver is so strong, a special kind of pre-nup has evolved. It’s called a pet-nup! And, it’s becoming increasingly common.  Splitting up and divorcing is not always amicable. As a result, when things get ugly, people fight over possessions, and kids, and…animals. So, to guarantee a happy future for their furry family members, a prenuptial agreement is a good way to go.

Has anyone reading this ever drawn up a pet-nup? And, do they know of a situation where the outcome made the breakup a little easier for all concerned? Please let us know at https://petpeevesunmasked.com/pet-peeves-unmasked-contact/

Pet-nup? Well, it’s like a pre-nup agreement that manages companion animals in a breakup
Pet-nup? Well, it’s like a pre-nup agreement that manages companion animals in a breakup

MORE PEOPLE TRAVELING WITH PETS

Traveling with their four-legged family members is a trend that spotlights how caring for pets can be innovative and versatile. Due to the pandemic, people with a good, steady income have been buying RVs to get away from it all. At least this is what we have been seeing in the USA. They can escape their mundane indoor routine and have the ability to travel safely as a complete family unit. 

Pet Paraphernalia

Naturally, those in the pet industry have been noticing this development and seeing an uptick in sales of certain products. What exactly are pet parents purchasing? Well, items like vehicle safety restraints, collapsible food and water bowls, disposable litter trays, inflatable paddling pools… After all, having a well-integrated family member means catering to their every need. Just as if they were a child or other human relative. And, this trend shows no signs of slowing down. Pet guardians are discovering new ways to relax, de-stress and enjoy nature.

Are you RV-ing with your pets? I know three couples and a widow who are, accompanied by their dogs and cats. Do drop us a line https://petpeevesunmasked.com/pet-peeves-unmasked-contact/

One of the latest animal care tendencies in the Covid era is families taking pets with them on RV trips
One of the latest animal care tendencies in the Covid era is families taking pets with them on RV trips

PLAYLISTS FOR PETS

You have probably heard of the Swedish music streaming service provider, Spotify. Well, they did their homework and found that eight people in 10 play music for their pets because they enjoy it. And, also learned that almost half of them believe that music relieves stress especially if they suffer from separation anxiety.

So this company took steps to fill a void in the latest animal care tendencies by creating playlists for pets. But these are no random collections. They did extensive research in order to compile many options of tunes and sounds that fit the exact needs of a pet. Pet parents can pick just the right product according to animal category, breed, behavioral history and personality.

I can’t wait to hear from a reader who’s used a personalized Spotify playlist and if their experience has been a positive one. So, please get in touch https://petpeevesunmasked.com/pet-peeves-unmasked-contact/

On A Personal Note

As an experienced professional pet sitter, I know the effect that certain noises have on companion animals. Some music, sounds, and the spoken word are often entertaining and soothing to canines, felines and avians. However, the appropriate choice is really important. Some birds I take care of like to bob to pop and others dig the beat of hard rock. Most importantly, I would recommend staying away from sports events with yelling crowds and over-enthusiastic commentators. I tend to put on easy-listening vocals, and calm classical pieces, but my first choice is definitely music for meditation!

PETCO STORES PUSH SUSTAINABILITY

With 1,500 stores across the United States, Petco has an aggressive agenda. By the end of 2025, they are hoping that 50 percent of all the products they sell will be sustainable. So, to understand this concept better, here are the five sustainability pillars outlined in their initiative. 

Firstly, there is Responsible Manufacturing, which addresses manufacturing practices during production. Next comes Sustainably Sourced Materials, a preference for products made with materials like organic cotton or recycled nylon. Number three, Sustainably Sourced Ingredients, favors food/treats prepared with environmentally friendly ingredients. After this comes Responsible Packaging, and highlights packaging designs that allow refilling with the same product or for other uses. And finally, they mention Animal Welfare, to help ensure that animals are treated humanely and items meet Petco’s cruelty-free standards.

My comments on this matter are as follows. The message is persuasive and can do a lot of good. But when dealing with negative environmental impact, safe food ingredients, and animal cruelty, there is a lack of accountability. Real, positive change happens when you tackle the root of each problem. What is your opinion? Please share https://petpeevesunmasked.com/pet-peeves-unmasked-contact/

To Sum Up

Coming up soon I’ll tell you the changes that are happening in veterinary medicine. And, a little further down the road, I’ll be talking about pet food trends that are significant, amusing, and controversial. See you next time!

More must-read articles in this category:

In this very first blog I asked a question. How many families in the USA have at least one pet? https://petpeevesunmasked.com/how-many-us-pet-families

Here I showed how pet parents were impacting the economy in a big way https://petpeevesunmasked.com/pet-parents-economic-impact

And, this was a breakdown of what it can cost to adequately take care of your pet https://petpeevesunmasked.com/biggest-pet-caring-expenses

LOST PETS DESERVE VETERINARY CARE

Eye removal may be needed if it is badly injured and causing pain Photo credit: Taken by Cat’s photos, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Eye removal may be needed if it is badly injured and causing pain. Photo credit: Taken by Cat’s photos, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0)

When missing dogs and cats end up at shelters, these unfortunate, lost pets deserve veterinary care. Some suffer from injuries ranging from minor to serious. Others become malnourished because they eat whatever they can find. And, numerous animals will not get the medications they normally would at home. They all need help. Some will receive it but for way too many their future is grim. Sadly, those are the ones without hope and, ultimately, they will be put down. 

When a lost pet has surgery and follow-up it has a better chance of going home or being adopted
When a lost pet has surgery and follow-up, it has a better chance of going home or being adopted

Medical Attention Saves Shelter Animals

About 10 or 12 years ago, I read about a case like that on social media. It’s something that haunts me to this very day. There was a young adult, blue, pitbull-type dog, with the sweetest but saddest face. It was standing in a concrete pen, on three legs, at the Miami-Dade Municipal Shelter. And, it was plain to see that the other leg was fractured. 

Despite, shelter volunteer efforts to find an organization to pull him and get the medical attention he needed, nobody responded. Two days later the staff put him to sleep (although there is a stronger term I think would be more appropriate!).

This example illustrates what can happen when nobody acts to give lost pets the veterinary care they deserve. It takes lives; it doesn’t protect them.

DR. EDWARD AND THERESA GARCIA

Veterinary Care Pioneers Form Partnership

The story begins in 1971, in Colorado, when Dr. Edward Garcia (father of Theresa) opened North Metro Emergency Animal Hospital. In fact, it became the first 24-hour animal hospital in the Rocky Mountain Region. And, it was quite an ambitious undertaking. The staff of 30 included the area’s first Board Certified veterinarians. They managed four surgery rooms, a full kennel, and their own in-house x-ray facilities—a rarity back then.

With good veterinary care a surgeon can examine an x-ray and treat an injured shelter animal immediately
With good veterinary care a surgeon can examine an x-ray and treat an injured shelter animal immediately

Pet Surrenders And Animal Drop-Offs

Located right off a major highway and close to the Denver Municipal Animal Shelter (DMAS), the hospital soon became well-known. “Every week people would drop off an astounding number of animals,” commented Theresa Garcia. “We became ‘famous’ for taking in animals as opposed to their surrender at the DMAS. They knew that the medical attention the pets received would far outweigh what the shelter could provide.”

The cut on this dog’s shoulder received attention as soon as it arrived at the animal hospital
The cut on this dog’s shoulder received attention as soon as it arrived at the animal hospital

She explained that a few of the animals lived on the premises until their adoption, or the DMAS found the rightful owner. Shockingly, though, fifty percent of the time the owner didn’t want to take the animal back!

Heartbreaking image of an abandoned senior dog showing signs of extreme neglect
Heartbreaking image of an abandoned senior dog showing signs of extreme neglect

Surrendered, Lost, Abandoned

For decades, the Garcias absorbed the temporary boarding and medical expenses for all these surrendered and lost canines and felines. And, to this day, they continue to donate their veterinary services to DMAS. Their commitment to providing medical attention is saving shelter animals’ lives. Encouragingly, many other smaller family-owned animal hospitals across the country are doing the same. They truly love their communities and strive every day to end needless suffering.

Shelter drop-off suffering from demodectic mange and hair loss will be treated and put up for adoption
Shelter drop-off suffering from demodectic mange and hair loss will be treated and put up for adoption

Vaccination Records Help Track Pet Ownership

Also, let’s remember that one of the ways to reunite a lost pet with its owner is through vaccination records. And, North Metro Emergency Animal Hospital was able to assist DMAS in another way. “At one time, our veterinary facility was the only one open and available to assist the municipal shelter,” Garcia remarked. “A large percentage of lost pets were vaccinated here so we had 24-hour access to owner addresses and phone numbers.”

Much needed eye drops can make a lost pet’s wait at the shelter more tolerable until it’s owner is found
Much needed eye drops can make a lost pet’s wait at the shelter more tolerable until it’s owner is found

Needless to say, this partnership was a very successful one. “Our veterinary hospital became the first one in Colorado to enroll in the now mandatory licensing program. And, we are also very proud of another achievement. We were the first to offer the DMAS vouchers to waive registration fees for seniors and minorities,” Garcia added. 

To Sum Up

There’s a lot more to learn from Theresa about her non-profit organization, Pets 4 People. Also, there’s exciting news about the animal hospital’s new facility and expanded services for a holistic approach to animal medicine. But we’ll keep all of this on hold for another day! In the meantime, however, you can visit http://pets4people.org for an overview.

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  

More must-read articles in this category:

Recently updated blog, now the introductory article in a mini series on losing, finding and reuniting companion animals https://petpeevesunmasked.com/lost-pets-search-tips

Here are stories about what some resourceful pet parents did to get reunited with their missing dogs and cats https://petpeevesunmasked.com/helpful-strategies-find-pets/

Pet guardians forget that dogs have wild instincts and can easily run off https://petpeevesunmasked.com/dogs-run-away-because/

HELPFUL STRATEGIES FIND PETS

When we share success stories and the helpful strategies used to find pets that went missing, everyone benefits.

Firstly, let me point out that this post is designed to give you a wide variety of options to try. What has worked for others, may well work for you, too. So, please keep an open mind. Be creative, have the courage to try new tactics, and get reunited with that precious furry member of your family.

I have no doubt that when you read the following accounts, you will find them inspirational. These three pet parents didn’t stop, didn’t give up, and the outcome was…a win. Because of their actions, Fido and Fluffy are home, sweet home, again!

Check your security cameras and any nearby for sightings of your lost pet Photo credit: Taken by Bearas, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.
Check your security cameras and any nearby for sightings of your lost pet.
Photo credit: Taken by Bearas, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

OUR FIRST LOST PETS SEARCH SUCCESS 

Story Posted By Paula Valentino, Cat Lover

The only way a lost cat can find its way home on its own is with its nose. Cats not only know their own scent, but they know yours too,” Valentino said.

Because cats can smell up to one mile away from home, she suggested leaving the dirty litter box outside. And that goes for any clothing that has a strong smell of you. This would include items like exercise garments and smelly sneakers.

If you leave your garage door slightly raised, your lost pet will have shelter until you notice it has returned home
If you leave your garage door slightly raised, your lost pet will have shelter until you notice it has returned home

Valentino also recommended raising your garage door just enough so kitty can get underneath. Also, putting a sign with a cat’s face in your yard that says LOST CAT REWARD. Another important tip is to check any security cameras in the area (your neighbors’ as well as your own).

“And, make sure you talk to your mail carrier. They’re always driving in the area. Ask them to keep an eye out, too,” she added.

STORY NUMBER TWO 

Told By Lee Rider Stymie, Cat Guardian

This worked getting mine back, after almost 4 months, after Hurricane Irma,” Stymie recalled. She broke down her strategies into two parts. However, we are going to focus on when cats have been gone for longer than a just a few weeks. 

“A couple of things I did. I got Office Depot to make up business cards with LOST CAT at the top. It had her picture, name, distinctive marks, as well as my name and phone number. A hundred cards for $10.00. Worth it when you are out talking to people. They generated a lot of calls.

By leaving your shed door partially open, your missing pet may be able to follow the food trail described here
By leaving your shed door partially open, your missing pet may be able to follow the food trail
described here

“Then I set up a trap for my cat. I knew she would be difficult, so I used my attached shed as one big trap,” commented Stymie. She let every creature out there (opossums, raccoons, other cats) come in to eat. What Stymie planned so skillfully was create a scent trail to food. And this is precisely the helpful strategy used to find her pet.

Food Is A Powerful Tool

“I did the ‘Kitty Blast’ trifecta of tuna (in oil), sardines, and Jack Mackerel. Don’t make up a lot, mix together, and be sure its mush. Only put out about a tablespoon of the mixture. I also used cheap dry cat food, about two hands full. Keep the bowls full. The animals will check about twice a night,” she continued.

Strong-smelling fishy kitty food helps set up a scent trail
Strong-smelling fishy kitty food helps set up a scent trail

Then she set up up her cellphone in the shed and streamed a private Periscope feed. From her tablet, she was able to see who was going in. Then, once they finished and left, this determined cat guardian would replenish the bowls.

Dry cat food serves as a tool to attract a pet gone missing
Dry cat food serves as a tool to attract a pet gone missing

“Once you get that scent trail down, you’ll then start to see your baby following it to your feed station. That’s how I got mine back,” Stymie said with great relief. Apparently, the feline had only ventured about five streets away. Nevertheless, she stated that cats normally will follow trails we cannot see, or see them.

THREE-ELEMENT COMBINATION

Anonymous Dog Parent

We do not know this person’s name but they were reunited with their dog as a result of this strategy. Here, the story demonstrates that flexibility, perseverance and a gut feeling can produce a happy ending. And, fortunately, the situation was such that three key elements worked together perfectly. Give it a try!

A helpful strategy to find a lost pet is leave out your smelly sneakers
A helpful strategy to find a lost pet is leave out your smelly sneakers

Select an article of clothing that has been worn all day, so your lost dog can pick up your scent. If your pet has one, get its crate (and a familiar toy). Take them to the location where the dog was last seen and leave them there. That is, of course, if the spot is appropriate for them to be left there. 

Successful search for a lost pet after leaving its crate at location where last seen Photo credit: Taken by Elf, transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by JohnnyMrNinja using CommonsHelper. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
Successful search for a lost pet after leaving its crate at location where last seen.
Photo credit: Taken by Elf, transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by JohnnyMrNinja using CommonsHelper. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

Assuming you can do this, it would be advisable to attach a note asking others not to move the items. Putting out a bowl of water is fine but food is not recommended. That’s because it may attract other animals the dog would likely want to avoid. Return the next day, or check intermittently, if possible. Hopefully your pet will be waiting for you. 

After implementing this helpful strategy to find their lost pet, the anonymous owner wrote the following comment. “I was skeptical. I doubted my dog would be able to detect an article of clothing if he didn’t hear me calling his name. As loud as possible. All day. For 12 days. But I returned the next day and, sure enough, found him sitting there! I hope this helps someone out there who’s missing a best friend. Good luck.”

To Sum Up

Hopefully, these experiences have broadened your range of options for finding pets that have gone missing. Besides, don’t forget that you are not alone. There are others eager to share what they also went through to get their precious dogs and cats back home, where they belong. 

So, reach out to others. Continue to learn. And, most importantly, put these skills into practice to benefit yourself and the pet parent community at large.

Next Time, A Different Angle

For my next article on this topic, I will introduce you to a veterinarian who partnered with a municipal shelter in Colorado. My goal is to highlight the medical attention needed by lost animals that end up in such facilities, wherever they happen to be.                                               

See you soon!

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  

More must-read articles in this category:

Recently updated blog, now the introductory article in a mini series on losing, finding and reuniting companion animals https://petpeevesunmasked.com/lost-pets-search-tips

Pet guardians forget that dogs have wild instincts and can easily run off https://petpeevesunmasked.com/dogs-run-away-because/

Missing pets that end up at shelters often lack veterinary care but private animal hospitals are donating their services to save lives https://petpeevesunmasked.com/lost-pets-deserve-veterinary-care/

DOGS RUN AWAY BECAUSE

Please don’t blame, scold, or punish your pet. Dogs run away because they are unpredictable. It really is that simple!

Now, we all know that they get up to mischief when they are left unattended and become bored. A very determined little, or not so little, guy will dig and dig to squeeze underneath a fence. Free to roam, sniff unfamiliar smells, and explore.

Not surprisingly, loud noises terrify them, so beware. They will do whatever it takes to flee from thunder, fireworks and gun shots.

However, there are other factors why dogs run off that pet parents often don’t take into consideration.

Very often dogs run away because they catch a scent they cannot ignore
Very often dogs run away because they catch a scent they cannot ignore

Attracted To The Opposite Sex

“A female in heat will attract a male that is as far away as 15 miles.” So says T Macaulay, animal care management specialist. Just think about that for a moment. You have no idea your dog has caught that scent. Neutered or otherwise, he will pull, jump and run off in pursuit. He will do anything to get away in search of a mate. And, what’s more, you will be unable to stop him. 

It is preferable to have your dog on a very long leash when you go hiking
It is preferable to have your dog on a very long leash when you go hiking Photo credit: Craig McCaa. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Why Dogs Run Off While Hiking

“In Vermont we get a lot of tourists because of the trails near the Canadian Border,” Macaulay points out. “Never let a dog off leash when you are hiking. Instead, use a 25-foot-long leash otherwise, if it smells deer, a rabbit, or raccoon, it will take off.” The Director of Canine Protection League also recommends caution when visiting from a distance, especially out of state. “It’s so much harder to find a lost pet and be reunited if you don’t live in the area.”

Obedience training is important but wild instincts take over and why dogs run off
Obedience training is important but wild instincts take over and why dogs run off

Obedience

“Dogs are unpredictable and wild instincts will take over from training.” Macaulay made it abundantly clear that so many guardians forget that their pets are not like humans. They need to realize that they are genetically programmed to behave in a certain manner. If not, that other way of thinking can lead to unfortunate events.

Nevertheless, obedience training is very important. “Obedience lessons should be taken by dog owners, too. Learning an instant recall word is essential for emergency situations, so a dog will obey to that word,” the expert points out.       

To Sum Up

Think ahead of time and take precautions. Don’t assume you can predict what your dog will do at any given moment. Dogs run away because of a  variety of different situations. And, remember, a dog is a dog with pre-wired instincts that are sometimes contrary to what you have taught it.

But There’s More To Come

Soon, I look forward to sharing a few more success stories of pets that got reunited with their families. See you in a couple of weeks!

Before I Go

If you want more information about the work done at Canine Protection League in Vermont, check out their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/CanineProtectors/. And, most importantly, you can participate in their weekly ($5) Five Dollar Friday donations campaign by clicking on https://www.givinggrid.com/ksxwei/.

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe! 

More must-read articles in this category:

Recently updated blog, now the introductory article in a mini series on losing, finding and reuniting companion animals https://petpeevesunmasked.com/lost-pets-search-tips

What these pet parents did to reunite with their precious canine and feline family members after they went missing https://petpeevesunmasked.com/helpful-strategies-find-pets/

Missing pets that end up at shelters often lack veterinary care but private animal hospitals are donating their services to save lives https://petpeevesunmasked.com/lost-pets-deserve-veterinary-care/

And, a reminder about the importance of having more than just one ID https://petpeevesunmasked.com/one-pet-id-isnt-enough

TRACKING PET FOOD RECALLS

Did you know that tracking pet food recalls is something you can do yourself? That’s right. No need to wait and hear about it from another source. You can find out right away what food item has been recalled, as well as when, and why, and where it was sold. Without a doubt, this is vital information and something that every concerned pet guardian would want to know. As soon as possible. And, before they could give it to their dog or cat.

Pet food sales are halted when the health of companion animals is at risk
Pet food sales are halted when the health of companion animals is at risk

Petful Tracks Pet Food Recalls

So, let me introduce you now to Dave Baker, the creator and publisher of Petful. This is a website where anyone can view the constantly updated lists of recalls for both dog food and cat food. Baker started compiling this highly valuable information some 10 years ago. What’s more, Pet Radio praised his work for being the best, most complete list of its kind online.

“Petful is a place where people can come to get information to give their pets the longest, happiest, healthiest life possible,” says Baker. “No big corporation has its muddy paws on us. We’re one hundred percent independent.” And, despite managing numerous endeavors, he proudly assures readers that all emails about the site’s recall alerts go directly to him. Not only that, he personally responds to each one. “I, and the entire team at Petful, we’re passionate about this,” Baker adds. Well, if that doesn’t inspire confidence in others, I don’t know what does!

What Exactly Is A Pet Food Recall?

Before looking at examples on the lists that track recalls for canine and feline pet food, I’d like to do this. Give an outline of just what’s involved in these kinds of recalls and why they happen.

Firstly, a food item can be taken off the market for a number of reasons. For instance:

  • Errors in formulation that could cause illness.
  • Presence of bacteria or toxic matter that have health consequences.
  • Detection of foreign objects, like plastic, metal or glass, that make the food unsafe to eat.
  • Improper labeling, including warnings about ingredients that can cause allergic reactions.
  • Incorrect packaging and labeling for a specific product.
  • Misleading claims. For example, stating that an ingredient will result in something that hasn’t been scientifically proven.
  • Unsanitary/toxic/hazardous manufacturing environments and procedures.

What Is A Voluntary Recall?

Secondly, we want readers to know who actually instigates a recall.

  • There are voluntary recalls when producers become aware of a problem. Consequently they take the initiative to stop manufacturing, delivering and allowing their food product to be sold. The detection will occur during internal inspections and product testings.
  • In addition, certain federal government institutions have the ability to mandate recalls. They may be either the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Regulation violations are found during an inspection at the food processing facility.

It’s important to point out that the USDA is involved only when a product is categorized as human grade pet food. That means, fit for human consumption. In all other instances, the FDA inspects all products classified as pet feed. 

Keep your dogs and cats safe by tracking pet food recalls as soon as they are announced
Keep your dogs and cats safe by tracking pet food recalls as soon as they are announced

These Pet Food Sales Were Halted

From the lists that track pet food recalls, I have selected three to summarize for you now. Two describe dog food and one deals with cat food. And, two made the lists earlier this year (2020) and one between January and May 2019.

Nature’s Menu Chicken and Quail Dog Food

  • Manufactured by Sunshine Mills Inc.
  • Announced by the FDA on August 24, 2020, for potential salmonella contamination.

Georgia (state) Department of Agriculture initiated the recall after testing a sample bag of the dry food product. Unfortunately, it was positive for salmonella. As a result of the findings, Sunshine Mills issued a voluntary nationwide recall, out of an abundance of caution. Later, the company announced that no other products were affected.  Neither were there any reports of dogs becoming ill after ingesting the food.

Natural Balance Ultra Premium Chicken & Liver Paté Cat Food

  • Manufactured by J.M. Smucker Company.
  • Announced by the FDA on July 3, 2020, for elevated levels of choline chloride, considered dangerous or even fatal if fed to cats.
  • It was distributed to pet stores across the United States and Canada.

By doing a little research on my own, I learned that choline is a necessary nutrient. It impacts liver function, brain development, muscle movement, the nervous system and metabolism. And, it is present in liver, eggs, salmon, broccoli and soybean oil, for example.

Most commercial pet foods contain choline chloride, which is the supplemental form. However, when a manufacturer adds excessive amounts to the feed, it is definitely harmful. Symptoms that may occur range from vomiting and difficulty walking to tremors and cardiac failure. 

The manufacturer admitted that, early on, they had been notified of adverse reactions in pets. Consequently, they suspended the sale of this particular pet food.  They also urged the public to immediately contact a veterinarian if their cat had become ill after eating this product.

Pet food sales are halted when the health of companion animals is at risk

Hill’s Science Diet and Prescription Diet Canned Dog Foods

  • Manufactured by Hill’s Pet Nutrition Inc.
  • Announced by the FDA on January 31, 2019, plus updates on March 20 and May 15, for elevated levels of Vitamin D.
  • Multiple flavors were affected and distributed across the United States through retail stores and veterinary clinics.  

This recall only affected canned dog foods, not any dry dog foods or cat foods. 

At the time, the FDA stated that Vitamin D was an essential nutrient. However, it also warned that ingestion of elevated levels could lead to potential health issues.

Vitamin D And Dogs

As in the previous example, I did more research myself on Vitamin D and dogs. Vital information like this will give you a better perspective on the importance that tracking pet food recalls has.

This essential nutrient helps dogs regulate the balance and retention of calcium and phosphorus. It is necessary not only for bone formation but it also plays an important role in heart, muscle and nerve function.

When dogs ingest elevated levels of Vitamin D, they may exhibit symptoms. Some of these include vomiting, loss of appetite, increased thirst, increased urination, excessive drooling, and weight loss.

The fact that Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, not a water-soluble vitamin, is what causes the most serious effect. So when a dog gets too much, the excess is not rapidly excreted in the urine. And, this can lead to kidney failure.

The media often announces alerts when pet food sales are halted and why

To Sum Up

At the time of publishing, the number of 2020 dog food recalls was 8, and 2 for cat food recalls, In 2019, there were 10 for dogs (plus one cautionary letter), and 7 for cats. And in 2018, the totals were 35 for dogs, and 11 for cats. Stats for prior years are also available.

More than 30,000 pet parents have subscribed to Petful recall alerts. It’s a service that’s free and fast, and some notifications arrive even before they are put out by the FDA. Click here to be—and stay—informed. https://www.petful.com/recall-alerts/

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe! 

For an introduction to those who fight fearlessly for healthy pet food, go to https://petpeevesunmasked.com/susan-thixton-exposes-pet-food/

If you’re concerned about the production of mealtime food, take a look at this: https://petpeevesunmasked.com/dry-pet-food-fiction/

Here’s why we think it’s time to ban the manufacture of rawhide bone chews: https://petpeevesunmasked.com/rawhide-bones-safety-warning/

If you want to know how marketing techniques influence choice, go to https://petpeevesunmasked.com/unethical-pet-food-marketing/

Another article related to this topic stresses the importance of meat: https://petpeevesunmasked.com/pet-food-meat-facts/

   

HOME CHECK PETS VITALS

PART 2

Excessive panting that doesn’t subside requires immediate attention Photo courtesy of Picasa
Excessive panting that doesn’t subside requires immediate attention
Photo courtesy of Picasa

Just like a mother monitors her child’s health, dog and cat parents can also learn to check their pet’s vitals at home. Your cat is vomiting. Your dog is panting excessively. And, you’re not sure what’s wrong. Certainly you are concerned and probably thinking, “Will it pass?” “Is it serious?” “Should I take it to the vet?” 

However, before you call the animal hospital, prepare yourself to tell the nurse or doctor what the vital signs are. And, if you are able to do that, it will save time and enable the experts to quickly advise you on what you should do next.

Monitoring Pet Vital Signs

In my most recent blog entitled Three Pet Vital Signs, https://petpeevesunmasked.com/three-pet-vital-signs/, I lay out the American Red Cross norms for measuring pet temperature, pulse and respiration. And, importantly, it shows how the rates vary between dogs and cats. So, if you missed the article, or want to refresh your memory before we move on, please take a look. 

As you will see, this is an introduction to what follows now. Right here is the information that will give you the knowledge to do these basic checks yourself. It’s concise, easy to follow, and will empower you to handle a situation calmly and effectively.

Tips To Always Home Check Pet Vitals

Keep An Eye On Pet Heart And Pulse Rates 

The first option to check your pet’s heart and pulse rates is place your hand on the left side of your pet’s chest, where the heart is located. Time the number of beats for a period of 15 seconds and multiply it by four. That will give you the number of beats per minute (bpm). 

A close up showing where and how to check your pet’s pulse rate

There are times when you may experience difficulty detecting the heart beat this way, but don’t worry. Try checking the pulse instead. You can do this by placing two fingers together on top of the femoral artery. This major artery passes through the groin, in the thigh area where the elbow meets the chest. But, please note that it can be quite difficult to feel a cat’s pulse in this manner.

Knowing how to home check your pet’s vitals is extremely useful
Knowing how to home check your pet’s vitals is extremely useful

Monitoring Pet Breathing Rates At Home

To measure the breathing rate, count the number of times the chest expands in 15 seconds and multiply by four. This will give you the number of respirations per minutes (rpm). You can either watch the chest rise and fall or else feel it take in oxygen by resting your hand on the pet’s chest. Taking a breath should not make any noise and, at the same time, should require hardly any effort.

Detect Abnormal Pet Body Temperature

There are two ways you can check your pet’s temperature. The first is by inserting a thermometer rectally. However, if you or your pet aren’t comfortable with this method, try an ear thermometer. 

Learning how to use a digital rectal thermometer for pets is not complicated
Learning how to use a digital rectal thermometer for pets is not complicated

Rectal Measuring

Ideally, you will be able to count on having another person there to hold your pet and help keep it relaxed while it is either standing or lying down. Use either an old-fashioned glass thermometer or a newer digital kind that is easy to read and beeps when it is ready to be removed.

It’s a good idea to check your pet’s temperature before you call your vet
It’s a good idea to check your pet’s temperature before you call your vet

Lubricate it with a water-based medical lubricant, or else a generic product such as petroleum jelly. Carefully insert it into the rectum—at least 2cm and no more than 1 inch— and leave for about two minutes until you get a good reading. When you remove the thermometer, make sure to thoroughly clean and disinfect it with ethyl alcohol. You could also use a disposable thermometer cover each time, which is very practical.

Ear Measuring

Definitely easier to use and less uncomfortable for your pet is the hand-held digital ear thermometer. The marketing pitch for the one shown in this photo actually focuses on pediatricians and mothers, but I have successfully used it for pets in my care.

You can also monitor your pet’s temperature with a digital ear thermometer
You can also monitor your pet’s temperature with a digital ear thermometer

Firstly, you need to make sure the probe tip and lens are clean and then put on a new disposable lens cover. Push the start button and wait for the ready signal beep. Next, fit the probe tip snugly into the ear canal and release the start button. A long beep will let you know when the measuring process is complete and the result will appear on the display screen. It’s that simple!

To Sum Up

Invest a little time to learn these techniques to monitor your pet’s vital signs at home, and put them into practice periodically. Depending on the circumstances, this knowledge will either help keep your pet well, or stable, or, simply put, out of danger.

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  

You might also like this. Take a CPR course online and learn how to save your pet’s life: https://petpeevesunmasked.com/learn-pet-cpr-now/

THREE PET VITAL SIGNS

PART 1

Your Pets Depend On You For Knowing This

Whenever you take your dog or cat to the animal clinic, there are three pet vital signs your vet will want to check out first. These are the heart rate, respiratory rate, and body temperature. 

Even though there are well-established norms, which I will share with you momentarily, what’s “normal” for your particular pet may differ slightly from another. For that reason, it is helpful for a pet parent to establish what’s typical for their dog or cat and use it as a point of reference for potential situations in the future. These could apply when there is an illness or an accident.

Flat-face (brachycephalic) breeds like the English Bulldog are particularly susceptible to overheating, so knowing the three pet vital signs is really important. Photo courtesy of Matitoe
Flat-face (brachycephalic) breeds like the English Bulldog are particularly susceptible to overheating, so knowing the three pet vital signs is really important.
Photo courtesy of Matitoe

Pet Temperature Pulse Respiration (TPR) Norms

In this section you will see the first aid norms that the American Red Cross has published in their guidelines for canines and felines. They make the point that the TPR norms for canines and felines do differ. And, in addition to that, they draw your attention to the fact that rates outside these ranges could signal a medical emergency.

Neither domesticated cats nor feral felines are used to frigid outdoor temperatures, so please don’t let them suffer from the deadly cold. Photo courtesy of Jacob Rush
Neither domesticated cats nor feral felines are used to frigid outdoor temperatures, so please don’t let them suffer from the deadly cold.
Photo courtesy of Jacob Rush

The Three Pet Vital Signs To Watch

Pet Pulse Norms

Normal Heart and Pulse Rates for Dogs

Puppy (less than 1 year old): 

120-160 beats per minute

Small, miniature or toy breed (30 pounds or less): 

100-140 beats per minute 

Medium to large breed (greater than 30 pounds):

60-100 beats per minute

Normal Heart and Pulse Rates for Cats

160-220 beats per minute

Pet Breathing Norms

Normal Breathing Rates for Dogs

10-30 breaths per minute

Up to 200 pants per minute (breathing with its mouth open and tongue out)

Normal Breathing Rates for Cats

20-30 breaths per minute

Pet Temperature Norms

Normal Temperatures for Dogs

A temperature of 100º-102.5ºF is normal

A temperature lower than 100ºF or greater than 104ºF is an emergency

Normal Temperatures for Cats

100º-102.5ºF is normal

A temperature lower than 100ºF or greater than 104ºF is an emergency

To Sum Up

The logical next step dealing with this topic is to explain how you can check your pet’s three vital signs at home. Actually, it’s not as complicated as it may sound. Moreover, it’s well worth investing a little time to learn these techniques and put them into practice periodically. It will give you peace of mind knowing that your pet is well and stable. 

In a few hours from now, the link to Part 2 will go live https://petpeevesunmasked.com/home-check-pets-vitals/. See you all again very soon!

You might also like this. Take a CPR course online and learn how to save your pet’s life: https://petpeevesunmasked.com/learn-pet-cpr-now/

Understanding pet vital signs is really important when dealing with hazards inside the home such as these: https://petpeevesunmasked.com/household-hazards-pets-face

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  

DOGS DISCUSS HUMAN MUZZLES

Totally mystified by this curious sight, these two dogs discuss human muzzles and try to figure them out. So, it’s the puppy who starts the conversation by asking, “What in the world is going on?” As you can see, mom simply gives her offspring an abbreviated, no-nonsense answer. However, a fuller explanation would probably go something like this…

Humans have muzzles and dogs have masks, or is it the other way round?
Humans have muzzles and dogs have masks, or is it the other way round?

Mask-Wearing People Confuse Puppy

“Well, first of all, I feel rather bad for our two-legged companions. The thing is, one day they’re told they don’t need to wear these weird things they call masks. Then a few weeks later, someone says they absolutely must put them on to stay safe from dangerous germs. It’s sad, really. That’s why they don’t know if they’re coming or going!

What People Did

“But, the important part I need to share with you, little one, is that they disobeyed orders. Oh, yes. They were told to stay at home in case they caught this horrible virus and spread it around to other humans. Not only here, but everywhere on earth. Just think about that for a moment.”

Eyes And Nose

However, still eager to talk more about muzzles for humans, the brave little dog approaches one of these strange mask-wearing people. “Hey! You look a bit scary. I can only see your eyes. But, I have an awesome nose and I will know right away if I’m going to like you or not. Please tell me, is this the new norm?”

“Yes, it is, little Laz. You look Hungarian, so I’m going to give you this nickname. I hope you don’t mind!

What Doctors Are Doing

“We need to protect ourselves and other people. For now, this is the best we can do. But the doctors are working hard to make a vaccine. You know, like the one the vet gives you to keep you safe from parvo, and rabies, and diseases like that. And then, only then, will you be able to see our faces again, little Laz.”

“Woof! Woof! Thank you, ma’am. I like you. You smell okay and my mom agrees. We have to go now. It’s dinner time. Bye! Stay safe!”

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  

KITBULL ANIMATED ANIMAL OSCAR NOMINATION

Kitbull is nominated for an Oscar in the Best Animated Short Film category
Kitbull is nominated for an Oscar in the Best Animated Short Film category

It already has 40 million views on YouTube, but do you think Kitbull, the animated animal Oscar nomination, actually has a chance of winning? The fans certainly believe it’s possible. Well, very soon we will know which of the five contenders in the category Best Animated Short Film came out of top. And, in the meantime, millions of us are anxiously watching the countdown to the 2020 Academy Awards ceremony that will take place this coming Sunday.

A single frame from Kitbull, the impactful Oscar contender in the Best Animated Short Film category
A single frame from Kitbull, the impactful Oscar contender in the Best Animated Short Film category

Kitbull Is An Animated Animal Story

This short is very special for a number of reasons. Primarily, it tells the story of a distrustful stray kitten struggling to survive alone. We see a dog (pitbull) suffering at the hands of a sadist. However, their fates take an unexpected turn. Viewers witness an unlikely friendship developing between the two. Then, finally, human compassion shines through. All of this in the space of just nine minutes!

The kitten gets close in an attempt to comfort the injured dog
The kitten gets close in an attempt to comfort the injured dog

Interesting Facts About Kitbull, The Impactful Oscar Contender 

1. Pixar Animation Studios are renowned for their pioneering digital animation. However, for this film, a product of their SparkShorts program, every single frame is hand-drawn and hand-painted.

This artist draws a rough sketch directly onto the screen
This artist draws a rough sketch directly onto the screen

2. Kitbull features 2-D animation instead of the usual 3-D.

In Kitbull, the animated animal Oscar nominated short film, KITten and pitBULL plan their escape
In Kitbull, the animated animal Oscar nominated short film, KITten and pitBULL plan their escape

3. There is sound but not a single spoken word.

In this shot the human who eventually cares for these creatures is barely visible
In this shot the human who eventually cares for these creatures is barely visible

A Voice For The Vulnerable

Through no fault of their own, community cats and kittens, also known as feral cats, are homeless. Nevertheless, they deserve and have the right to live. Rounding them up for slaughter, or poisoning them, are barbaric solutions to prevent population explosion. The Trap/Neuter/Return program is humane and, what’s more, it works. Also, another reason why animal lovers and activists are outraged is because of laws stating that to feed these defenseless creatures is a crime.

As you may or may not know, Pit Bull is not a recognized breed. Now, what  commonly occurs is that any dog with a bulldog- or bull terrier-like head, pure bred or otherwise, is discriminated against and horrendously abused. “Pit Bulls” are exploited to satisfy human greed in the form of dog fighting. It is our duty to report such operations so they can be shut down. Without exception and whenever rehabilitation is possible, these fighting dogs, breeding bitches and bait dogs absolutely deserve a second chance.

Animal Oscar Nominee Kitbull Is A Call To Action

There is no doubt that the purpose behind Kitbull, this impactful Oscar contender, is to create greater awareness of the tragic circumstances that affect the dogs and cats in our very midst. What brings about change. And how everyone can help right these wrongs in our society.

To Sum Up

Kitbull teaches us about selflessness and compassion as well as making a connection and having a relationship. Animal to animal. Between the same kind, or a different species. Animal to human. Human to animal. Enjoy the film! Spread the word!

To continue reading, we’d like to share an article about the first municipality in the world to enact a Bill of Rights for pets https://petpeevesunmasked.com/community-recognizes-animal-rights

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  

Equal justice under the law needs to apply to the human race and our companion animals. The following examples highlight what is wrong in our society and what can be done about it.

Please take the time to read about Rocky and what he and his human family had to endure. https://petpeevesunmasked.com/are-current-dog-on-dog-mauling-laws-unjust/

Then we have the poignant stories of Buckles and Reese and the courage it took to fight for change. https://petpeevesunmasked.com/seeking-justice-for-dog-on-dog-maulings/