June 27, 2007 A Nursing Home for Pets?

June 27, 2007

A Nursing Home for Pets?

The Associated Press had a story about Japan getting its first nursing home for dogs, which has round-the-clock monitoring by vets and some puppies to help the aging pooches feel younger. The dogs are fed a special fortified diet. Owners pay $800 a month to keep their pets at this nursing home. Truly, it sounds like a nice place to be, and the dogs will be fed good food, medication, and have socialization with puppies. I don’t know about your dog, but mine had little tolerance for puppies. Actually, that would work two ways, the old dog would be a teacher for the pups. The pups would be taught manners and “disciplined” by the old dogs; my old dogs were always awesome teachers of puppies.
Well this just brings all sorts of questions to my mind.
So the owners are tired of taking care of poor “Poopsie”, are they in effect, abandoning their dogs at this place? Is the $800 like a boarding fee? Could it be that poor old “Poopsie” has become incontinent and the owners don’t want to deal with the mess anymore? What happens when the family gets tired of visiting “Poopsie” in the doggie nursing home? Do they just stop coming, sort of like the relatives of residents in human nursing homes?
I’ve had dogs that I’ve groomed that were old and I wanted to adopt them, because I felt like I could take better care of them than their owners did.
Therefore, I do see the reasoning behind the nursing home idea. However, what about how the dog feels to be separated from his family? I know dogs adapt to new situations well, but that’s just the human in me feeling sorry for them being left. They would probably have a better situation, be regularly medicated, and I’m sure the staff would love them. I would think if someone were paying $800 a month for the dogs care, they would at least go visit.
Although, I do know of a couple of dogs that are in a posh kennel in Rockford, IL, that have an airline pilot for an owner, he pays the kennel extra to play with the dogs. At the time of my visit, it had been over a year and a half and he had never come to see them. He just sent checks. My heart broke for those dogs, thinking it would somehow be better for them to live in a real house, with people who loved them. However, not everyone thinks like me. So often, I see “the family dog” tied up in the backyard. No attention, just food, water and a dog house if it’s lucky. The law says that’s adequate care. You couldn’t do that to a human.
I would imagine that Poopsie’s quality of life would be enhanced at the nursing home, he would get pain relief medications and any other medications he would need. Which is more than most people do for their old dogs now anyway. Pets don’t even complain when they are in pain. You’ll never hear a dog whining about his troubles and expecting you to cater to him. Most dogs are stoic about pain. You have to really “KNOW” your dog, to see if he’s in pain.
If your dog has trouble rising or walking, or starts walking stiff-legged, especially on those rainy days, it could be arthritis. How many of you have arthritis? Don’t you take medication for your pain? Why wouldn’t you give your dog medication for his? Many senior citizens are on heart medications, and many senior dogs have the same heart ailments as people. In fact, one of my dogs is on heart medication now.
Pharmacies always act so surprised when you go there to pick up a prescription for your dog. Why? They take most of the same medications we do and the vets don’t always have a supply in their shops ready for us to buy. Is it so surprising that we give our pets medication?
Now if only dogs would draw Social Security and Medicare benefits to help pay for the nursing home fees and medications, that might make it worth it.
What do you mean dogs don’t work? Dogs do have jobs you know. They just aren’t paid. My dogs have the job of watching the house (home security system), barking when people come (doorbell), playing with the kids (physical education instructor), barking when the boys are roughhousing (referee), in effect, telling on them. They are all therapists, you can tell them anything, and they won’t tell a soul. You can cry on them, laugh at them, play with them, cuddle with them and you get unconditional love. They act as pillows or blankets on the bed or couch. They make great throw rugs on the floor, although you do have to step over them and not on them. They make good babysitters too, now if I could only get them to do laundry they’d be perfect. Dogs are worth so much more than $800 a month, but for all they do for me, I feel it’s MY job to take care of them when they age and begin to have difficulties. Luckily, I can.

June 13, 2007 Is the dog food recall over now?

June 13, 2007

Is the dog food recall over now?

Funny you should ask, with all the news about Paris Hilton going to jail, getting out of jail and going back to jail, there isn’t much on the news about more important issues such as our pets’ food supply, or our human food supply. The fact is it’s not over. Still daily, I get email updates on the latest recalls and as of today, Sunday, June 10th, there have been 588 different kinds of dog food recalled…that includes, canned, pouched, dry, and treats! In addition, 378 different kinds of cat food recalled! Including the same, canned, pouches, dry and treats!
June 6th - Ol'Roy has SalmonellaMay 17th - Recall of "Lick Your Chops"May 12th - Royal Canin adds 15 itemsMay 11th - Natural Ultramix recalledMay 4th - SmartPak extends recallMay 3rd - Over 200 items recalled by Menu FoodsApril 30th - Sierra Products/Harmony Farms listedApril 27th - Natural Balance recalledApril 27th - Chenango Valley Foods on listApril 27th - Diamond Pet Foods addedApril 26th - American Nutrition and Blue Buffalo addedApril 26th - SmartPak Canine RecalledApril 19th - Blue Buffalo and Royal Canin addedApril 18th - Wilbur-Ellis makes recallApril 17th - Natural Balance, Natural Life, and moreApril 12th - Science Diet extends listApril 10th - Menu Foods Recalls 9 more brandsApril 5th - Over 15 brands add more productsApril 2nd - Dingo recalledMarch 31st - Del Monte Dog treats addedMarch 30th - Alpo pet food recalled
This information is from www.nationalpetfoundation.com; new updates are coming out every day. Subscribe to the "Recall Email Update List" to get additional recall information within the hour it is reported.
New Recalls Coming . . .
There is an investigation by the FDA going on now that has found acetaminophen in pet food, that is the active ingredient in Tylenol® that can be deadly to animals, especially cats. Here’s the interesting part, the FDA wont say which brands of food has acetaminophen in it. They aren’t “releasing” that information yet. Nice, huh?

According to the website www.itchmo.com, there are some private individuals who have had their pet food tested by a lab, and it has shown cyanuric acid, and acetaminophen (Tylenol®) were in the samples they had sent in.

And if that isn’t enough, even your pet Goldfish isn’t safe!
Sergeant’s Pet Care Products is recalling some production lots of Atlantis Goldfish Flake Food and Atlantis Tropical Fish Flake Food due to melamine being found in these specific products (approximately 20-80 parts per million). The fish food that is being recalled is for pet/ornamental fish and not used to feed fish intended for human consumption.
Here are the products that are being recalled:
Atlantis® Tropical Fish Flake Food, 0.88 oz.
Atlantis® Tropical Fish Flake Food, 2.25 oz.
Atlantis® Goldfish Flake Food, 0.75 oz.
Atlantis® Goldfish Flake Food, 2.15 oz.
Atlantis® Color Enhance Tropical Fish Flake Food, 0.88 oz.
Atlantis® Betta Food, 1.2 oz.
Atlantis® Tropical Fish Flake Food, 0.42 oz.
Atlantis® Goldfish Flake Food, 0.42 oz.

So, you thought you’d play it safe and give your dog some hamburger and rice to feed him, because the recalls of pet food have been scaring you. Guess what?
It has been announced the E.Coli has been found in ground beef, and over LOS ANGELES - Southern California meatpacker United Food Group LLC expanded a recall to include 5.7 million pounds of fresh and frozen beef that may be contaminated with the potentially deadly E. coli bacteria, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Saturday.
Fourteen people in six Western states have fallen ill after eating the beef but all have recovered, the department said.
The beef was butchered and shipped in April, and is no longer on store shelves.

You can find that information on this recall on either of the previously listed websites as well.

Frankly, all these recalls are making my blood boil. What really “frosts my flakes” is that none of these recalls seems to be “news worthy.”
I keep talking to my clients, and none of them were aware the recall is still ongoing! I’ve had clients tell me “oh well I’m safe because I feed xyz brand…” then I pull out my fourteen page list of recalled dog food and my 12 page list of recalled cat food and show them that indeed their “xyz” brand is on it.
I know I don’t get to watch much television, or read any news, but I do hear about things from my clients, and my computer, and there just isn’t enough information out there. I’m still feeding my old faithful, mail order dog food brand that is made with human grade ingredients, and so far so good. People assume that because they feed an expensive brand of dog food, that they are safe. They couldn’t be more wrong.
This recall affects expensive brands, inexpensive brands, generics, popular brands, and the list grows and grows. You need to know, WHAT ingredients are in your pet’s food, WHERE it is manufactured, and IF it’s been recalled, or if it may be soon.
If your pet is showing ANY unusual symptoms, please don’t just assume that is because of old age. I have a client with a twenty-year-old toy poodle. They lost their other two dogs because they had been feeding them food that was recalled, but they didn’t know that at the time. When the twenty-year-old dog started going downhill, it was naturally assumed that it was because of his age. Luckily, they found out about the recalls, stopped feeding the dog pet food, and started cooking for him, the formerly lethargic, ancient dog that was dying, started to perk up. He runs around like a puppy now! I don’t think I’ve ever seen him looking or acting so good. In fact, he just turned twenty-one! She jokes that he can now go to a bar and have his first drink. Let’s just hope he doesn’t try to drive home and end up like Paris Hilton.