Monthly Archives: September 2014

Dog Lovers Start Campaign to End Breed Bans in Michigan

Dog Lovers Start Campaign to End Breed Bans in Michigan

Dog lovers and animal advocacy organizations are coming together to make Michigan the next state to ban laws that discriminate against certain breeds of dogs based solely on their looks.

Breed specific legislation (BSL), or breed discriminatory legislation (BDL), has unfairly targeted dogs based solely on their appearance, without regard to their actual temperament or whether or not they have responsible owners.  These types of laws have mostly been aimed at pit bulls, or pit bull mixes, but other breeds have also been targeted.

The Centers for Disease Control, the American Bar Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association, among dozens of other organizations, have all come out opposing BSL and recommend community-based approaches for preventing dog bites and dealing with dangerous dogs and their owners.

Thankfully, attitudes and laws are changing to reflect reality.  Already 19 states have enacted laws that ban this type of discrimination.  Now, Make Michigan Next (MMN), a newly formed coalition made up of animal advocacy groups and citizens, is taking up the fight to make their state the next to make this common sense change.  According to the group, more than 35 breeds face some sort of discrimination in the state.

Last week an estimated 500 dog loving voters took part in a rally at the state’s capitol to show their support for a state law banning BSL.  Advocates for a statewide ban argue that these types of laws are tearing families apart, killing innocent dogs and have also raised serious concerns about our ability, including that of experts, to properly identify a type of breed based on what they look like.

“Dogs have no control over their environment, but their owners do,” said Courtney Protz-Sanders, a MMN coalition member.  “This rally is about everyone’s right to own dogs and the need to stop discrimination based on appearance.  Right now, because we have no state law to protect us, any breed of dog can be banned from visiting or living in any township, city or county in Michigan.”

Ultimately, their goal is to get lawmakers to make a simple amendment to a state law that will allow municipalities to make any dog-related ordinance they want, just so long as they are not breed specific.  According to MMN, following the rally several legislators expressed interest in introducing a bill.

“It’s time to bring Michigan law into the modern era.  There is no place for discrimination in our society,” Protz-Sanders said.  “We are the voice for those who cannot speak for themselves.  They don’t vote, but we do.”


Please show your support for ending discrimination in Michigan by signing and sharing Make Michigan Next’s Care2 petition urging lawmakers to repeal existing breed bans and to enact a statewide ban on BSL.

For more info, visit Make Michigan Next and follow updates on MMN’s Facebook page.

Read more

Leave a comment

Filed under advocacy, education

Happy Tails! – ADDISON

We adopted Addison August 23/14.  She is one of the sweetest dogs we have ever met.  She has settled in so quickly we feel we have had her forever.  She is very well trained & likes to please.  Loves to play &, thanks to family, has many new toys.  She is very special to my husband & me.
Thank you so much for bringing us together!
* * * * * * *
If you would like to send us an update on your adopted
K-9 Angels Rescue dog, please send a short write-up and photo(s) to   We LOVE to get updates!
* * * * * * *
Do you want to send us updates & photos
but still need to choose the Love of your Life?
Surely you can find THE ONE right here!
* * * * * * *

Leave a comment

Filed under Happy Tails

Pet Food Fraud Again

Two years ago a study found eight of 21 pet foods contained an animal protein ingredient that wasn’t listed in the pet food label.  Now, another study has been released finding 20 of 52 pet foods contained an animal protein not listed on the label.  When will authorities hold manufacturers accountable?

In September 2012 ELISA Technologies found almost 50% of pet foods tested were mislabeled.

“We found eight foods that tested positive for an animal protein not listed on the ingredient label: two instances of undeclared beef/sheep, five of pork and one of deer.  Conversely, in two instances, foods claiming to contain venison tested negative for deer content but positive for beef, sheep or pork.  Overall, there were 12 instances of mislabeling in 10 of the dog foods tested; two foods had more than one labeling issue.”

In September 2014, Chapman University in southern California released the results of their study finding “Of the 52 products tested, 31 were labeled correctly, 20 were potentially mislabeled, and one contained a non-specific meat ingredient that could not be verified.”

Concern: one pet food “contained a non-specific meat ingredient that could not be verified”.  The study did DNA testing for beef, goat, lamb, chicken, goose, turkey, pork, and horse.  So what was the ‘could not be verified meat’ ingredient?

Quotes from the Chapman University Research…

“Although regulations exist for pet foods, increases in international trade and globalization of the food supply have amplified the potential for food fraud to occur,” said Rosalee Hellberg, Ph.D., and co-author on the study.”

Chicken was the most common meat species found in the pet food products.  Pork was the second most common meat species detected, and beef, turkey and lamb followed, respectively.  Goose was the least common meat species detected.  None of the products tested positive for horsemeat.

Of the 20 potentially mislabeled products, 13 were dog food and 7 were cat food.  Of these 20, 16 contained meat species that were not included on the product label, with pork being the most common undeclared meat species.  In three of the cases of potential mislabeling, one or two meat species were substituted for other meat species.

In the study, DNA was extracted from each product and tested for the presence of eight meat species: beef, goat, lamb, chicken, goose, turkey, pork, and horse.

While a seemingly high percentage of pet foods were found to be potentially mislabeled in this study, the manner in which mislabeling occurred is not clear; nor is it clear as to whether the mislabeling was accidental or intentional and at which points in the production chain it took place.

For consumers, it doesn’t matter whether the mislabeling occurred as accidental or intentional. What does matter is the consumer is being lied to.

Of significant concern is: “pork being the most common undeclared meat species” found in the pet foods tested.  In the last two years, the U.S. has suffered an incredible blow to its pork industry.  Millions of baby pigs have died due to PED virus (Porcine epidemic diarrhea).  As we know, other diseased, dying, disabled, and dead animal bodies are processed into pet food… is pet food where the PED virus dead baby pigs went to?  Were these sick animals the source of undeclared pork in these pet foods?  Consumers deserve answers.

The following email was sent to FDA…

Chapman University just released a report on research performed at the University that found 20 of 52 pet foods tested to be mislabeled.  This is 38% – a significant portion – of foods tested were found to contain a animal protein source not listed on the label.  Of additional concern, due to the PED virus, “pork was the most common undeclared meat species.”
Link to Chapman University report:

What assurance can FDA provide consumers their pets are safe from eating mislabeled foods?  What action will FDA take to protect pet food consumers from pet food fraud?  Can FDA provide consumers with assurance pets are not at risk to a PED type virus that could spread to cats and dogs?

We hope FDA will take swift action to stop pet food fraud.

On behalf of pet food consumers –

Susan Thixton

I suspect a response will be slow from FDA on this one as the research did not provide pet food product names and the seriousness of the subject.  In the meantime, there is really nothing we can do.  Without regulatory action – testing and enforcement of mislabeling regulations – consumers and our pets are at the mercy of the pet foods we trust.  Whenever anything new is learned on this – it will be shared.

Sincere thank you to Chapman University for their research!

Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,

Susan Thixton
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Author Buyer Beware, Co-Author Dinner PAWsible
Association for Truth in Pet Food

What’s in Your Pet’s Food?
Is your dog or cat eating risk ingredients?  Chinese imports?  Petsumer Report tells the ‘rest of the story’ on over 2500 cat foods, dog foods,  and pet treats.  30 Day Satisfaction Guarantee.




  2014 List
Susan’s List of trusted pet foods.  Click Here


Have you read Buyer Beware?  Click Here

Cooking for pets made easy, Dinner PAWsible

Find Healthy Pet Foods in Your Area Click Here

Leave a comment

Filed under diet, education

Garlic For Dogs: Poison Or Medicine?

by Andrea Partee

When it comes to garlic, most dog owners are divided on their opinion.
A few years ago I wrote about garlic on my website and was pleased when several people thanked me for telling the truth.  And then there was this guy who told me I was going to be responsible for the death of hundreds of dogs, if not thousands because I was an idiot.  I thanked him for his opinion since we are all entitled to have one, but it bothered me a lot.

Yes, I promote the use of garlic.  Fresh, aromatic, organic garlic with a smell that lingers in the kitchen promising either a good meal or a good heal.  So why do I go against AVMA warnings and give garlic to my dogs?  I do it because common sense and an objective look at both the risks and benefits of garlic tell me it can provide great benefits to dogs with minimal risk.  Remember, AMVA (American Medical Veterinary Association) members also think that raw food is unhealthy and would rather dogs eat a processed, chemical laden diet than fresh, raw free-range chicken or vitamin packed green tripe.

Why the controversy over garlic?

The primary reason AVMA is against feeding garlic is that it contains thiosulphate, which can cause hemolytic anemia, liver damage and death.  However garlic only contains very small traces of thiosulphate and a dog would have to consume a huge quantity for any negative effects.  Using Tylenol (acetaminophen) or benzocaine topical ointments to stop itching are far more likely to cause anemia in dogs.

Garlic’s medicinal properties

There are many health benefits to feeding garlic.  Here are some things you might not know about this healthy herb:

  • Garlic is a natural antibiotic and won’t affect the good bacteria in the gut which are needed for digestion and immune health
  • Garlic is antifungal
  • Garlic is antiviral
  • Garlic boosts the immune system
  • Garlic makes dogs less desirable to fleas
  • Garlic is antiparasitic

What kind of garlic?

I stick with fresh, raw organic garlic and keep it on hand as a staple for both cooking and healing.  If it’s fresh, I know the medicinal qualities are still there, unlike minced garlic which may originate in China and sit for months in a jar.  Powdered garlic doesn’t cut it either.  Kyolic Aged Liquid Garlic is a good choice if you don’t want to smash and cut every day.

How much garlic to feed

You can safely give a 1/2 clove per ten pounds of body weight each day, chopped or grated.  Two cloves maximum per day for a large dog is a good guideline.

  • ½ clove for a 10 + pounds
  • 1 clove for a 20 + pounds
  • 1 ½ cloves for 30 + pounds
  • 2 cloves for 40 + pounds

My dogs are over 70 pounds but I stick with the 2 cloves.

Garlic tips

For optimum health benefits, let garlic sit for 5 to 10 minutes after cutting and before serving (or cooking).  This allows the health-promoting allicin to form, so it’s worth the wait.

To get rid of the smell on your hands, rinse them under water while rubbing them with a stainless steel spoon!  I don’t know how it works, but bless the woman who told me this long ago.

A great home remedy recipe

An ear medicine I’ve kept on hand for years started out when my kids got ‘swimmers ear’ one summer.  It’s simple to make and since garlic is an antibiotic, antibacterial, and antifungal it covers several possibilities.

Crush 2 cloves fresh garlic; wait ten minutes and add them to 1/3 cup olive oil.  Heat in a pan (do NOT boil) for several minutes.  Let cool.  Strain and store in a glass bottle with a dropper and apply it directly in the ears.

The only possible drawback to this remedy is every time I smell it I want pasta and garlic bread!

Andrea Partee

Andrea is an author and natural healthcare coach for dogs.  After raising three healthy kids using whole foods, homeopathy and herbs, the course of her life changed when she started applying that knowledge to her dogs.  “I can’t believe I didn’t think of it sooner!” she says, “I must have had my head stuck in a book.”  Now she writes about dog health at her Three-Little-Pitties website and entertaining books when time allows.

Leave a comment

Filed under diet, education, health

Bordetella Vaccination for Dogs: Fraud and Fallacy

golden retrievers

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Bordetella or Kennel Cough is commonly required by boarding kennels and veterinary hospitals.  These vaccinations are delivered to a staggeringly large percentage of dogs and the reason is not to protect your dog: the reason is to protect these facilities against liability.

The proprietors who push for these vaccines may be assuming more liability than they can handle and the stakes are very high.  The truth is, the vaccines are not only ineffective but they are far from safe.  Yet they are routinely given to combat a self limiting disease that amounts to as much danger to your dog as the common cold does to you.

What is interesting is that when you bring your dog to the vet for his Bordetella vaccination, he will have already been exposed to the natural flora: all animals are exposed to both Bordetella and Parainfluenza prior to vaccination.  It makes little sense to vaccinate an animal for something he has already been exposed to.

There are at least forty agents capable of initiating Bordetella so vaccination might appear to be prudent if it weren’t for the fact that only two of these agents are contained in the intranasal vaccine.  This poor percentage truly makes the Bordetella vaccine a shot in the dark.  The lack of efficacy is well summarized by noted immunologist Dr. Ronald Schultz: “Kennel Cough is not a vaccinatable disease”.

Despite the lack of any real effectiveness, the Bordetella vaccine is routinely given and touted as safe, especially in the intranasal form.  Make no mistake however: the dangers and misinformation surrounding this seemingly innocuous spray are just as tangible and frightening as any other vaccination.  A major problem with the Bordetella vaccine is that it is part of a combination vaccine.  Unbeknownst to most pet owners, the Bordetella intranasal spray also contains Parainfluenza (the vaccine for which is not surprisingly, just as ineffective as Bordetella).  The problems with the Parainfluenza portion are threefold.

First, there is a real danger of dangerous immunological overload when vaccinations are offered in combination.  Second, like Bordetella, most dogs have already been exposed to Parainfluenza, making the necessity of vaccination questionable.  Third, the Parainfluenza vaccine is just as ineffective as the Bordetella vaccine because the vaccine does not provide antibody against Parainfluenza where it is most needed: on the mucosal surfaces.

Other dangers associated with the Bordetella vaccine are obviously not far removed from the dangers associated with any other vaccination.  Although Bordetella is a bacterial vaccine, we now know that bacterial vaccines present the same threat as Modified Live Vaccines.  Modified Live Viruses from human vaccines are now known to become incorporated in the genes of the host and can shuffle, reassert, and reactivate thirty or more years after vaccination.

Bacterial genes are capable of the same activity, lurking in the genetic makeup, waiting to replicate and awaken.  The intranasal Bordetella vaccine has been known to activate a previously asymptomatic collapsing trachea and disrupt phagocytic activity which can progress to pneumonia.  The toxins from the vaccine will also kill the ciliated lining of the trachea, creating a denuded area susceptible to anything coming down the windpipe.  Perhaps collapsing trachea, irritable tracheas and pneumonias are all complications of Bordetella and the Bordetella vaccine.

Vaccination of any sort also elevates histamine which can promote cancer, chronic inflammation and loss of tolerance.  In general, all vaccination creates immune dysregulation and is responsible for a vast array of pathology.  The Bordetella vaccine can wreak havoc outside the body as well.  Bordetella will shed from a vaccinated host for seven weeks while Parainfluenza will shed for a week.  This means that every vaccinated dog is a walking dispenser of potentially damaging bacteria.

While the risk to other dogs is obvious, it should be of little concern to healthy dogs because Bordetella is generally a self limiting disease.  What you might find surprising is that the shed bacteria is a risk to other animals… and to people.  The reason we now have a feline Bordetella (and not surprisingly, a feline Bordetella vaccine), is likely thanks to the widespread use and subsequent shedding of Bordetella from vaccinated dogs to cats sharing the household.  If this seems hard to imagine, consider how dogs first fell victim to Canine Influenza.

golden retrievers

Canine Influenza was initially documented in racing greyhounds.  It is worth noting that many of these dogs shared tracks with race horses: race horses who are routinely vaccinated with Equine Influenza.  It is not a stretch to predict Bordetella will infect gerbils, hamsters and rabbits in the near future and it is with certainty that the vaccine manufacturers will be well rewarded with the continued fruits of their canine Bordetella vaccine.

Not surprisingly, humans are not left out of the equation.  Ruth Berkelman MD (Former Assistant Surgeon General, US Public Health Service) writes: “The potential for both exposure and for adverse consequences secondary to exposure to veterinary vaccines in humans is growing.  Enhanced efforts are needed to recognize and to prevent human illness associated with the use of veterinary vaccines”.  Dr. Berkelman noted that pertussis and whooping cough-like complaints in children followed exposure to Bordetella bronchiseptica from the Bordetella vaccine and it is no coincidence that Bordetella bronchiseptica and whooping cough pertussis are very closely related. Interestingly, the rate of whooping cough is highest in highly vaccinated populations.

Immunocompromised humans and animals are at an elevated risk of infection from these canine vaccines.  There is a recently reported case of Bordetella bronchiseptica pneumonia in a kidney and pancreas transplant patient who had to board and subsequently vaccinate her dogs at a veterinary clinic while she was hospitalized. Vaccines contain contaminating agents including mycoplasmas which are also very communicable to humans and other mammals.

In the end, vaccination for Bordetella is at best fruitless and at worst, a pathetic fraudulence at the hands of veterinarians and vaccine manufacturers.  It is up to you whether or not your dog receives this vaccination and that is not overstating the obvious.  Sadly, most pet owners are aware of this but choose vaccination because they feel they are at the mercy of boarding kennels, training schools and veterinarians.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Patricia Monahan Jordan is a graduate of the North Carolina College of Veterinary Medicine.  She practiced conventional veterinary medicine for twenty years and founded six different veterinary facilities in North Carolina.  Dr. Jordan has traced the paths of immunopathology to vaccine administration and uncovered the cycle of disease and the endless cycle of disease management that results from vaccine administration.

Leave a comment

Filed under education, health

Bordetella: Does Your Dog Really Need the Kennel Cough Vaccine?

kennel cough vaccine dogs

* * * * * * *

Your veterinarian, kennel owner, day care provider or groomer says your dog should/must be vaccinated against kennel cough, but you’re trying not to over-vaccinate.

What should you do?

More and more, pet parents are finding another vet, kennel owner, day care provider or groomer — or keeping their dog at home!  Vaccination is a serious medical procedure with significant potential risks.  If that isn’t enough, the vaccine is unlikely to prevent kennel cough.  It can even produce kennel-cough like symptoms.  The WSAVA Guidelines say, “Transient (3–10 days) coughing, sneezing, or nasal discharge may occur in a small percentage of vaccinates.”
It can also cause a serious anaphylactoid reaction.  Look it up.  You won’t like it.
Read and view HERE how to treat for Anaphylactic Shock.
Educate yourself  IN ADVANCE!!

About kennels, day care providers and groomers:  In general, if they have good ventilation and practice good hygiene, kennel cough shouldn’t be an issue.  Bordetella is not for dogs playing together in well-ventilated areas — like dog parks or backyards or living rooms.

Think of kennel cough as a canine cold, transmitted as human colds are transmitted — from an infected individual in close contact with another individual with compromised immunity.  Like a cold, it is also considered a mild self-limiting disease.  A veterinarian friend uses an OTC remedy called B & T Cough and Bronchial Syrup to treat the cough.    For small dogs she uses the children’s variety.  See your vet for further treatment information.

If your service provider is afraid your dog will contract kennel cough at their establishment, offer to sign a letter of informed consent saying you’ve been informed of the risk and will waive liability.  That should do it.  Should.  It’s really just liability at issue, not your dog’s overall health.

If the person insisting on the Bordetella vaccine is afraid other dogs at their establishment will contract kennel cough from your unvaccinated dog, this person clearly doesn’t trust that the vaccinated dogs actually have immunity.  If they don’t believe the vaccine is protective, why insist that you or anyone else vaccinate?

Note: If you decide to give the vaccine, make sure it is the intranasal form, that is, given as nose drops, not injected.  And give the vaccine at least a week before contact with other dogs, for the sake of both your dog and other dogs.

Don’t take my word for any of this.  Read what two vets and a PhD have to say about the Bordetella vaccine:

World-renowned vaccination scientist, Dr. Ronald Schultz, says [emphasis is mine]: “Many animals receive “kennel cough” vaccines that include Bordetella and CPI and/or CAV-2 every 6 to 9 months without evidence that this frequency of vaccination is necessary or beneficial. In contrast, other dogs are never vaccinated for kennel cough and disease is not seen. CPI immunity lasts at least 3 years when given intranasally, and CAV -2 immunity lasts a minimum of 7 years parenterally for CAV-I. These two viruses in combination with Bordetella bronchiseptica are the agents most often associated with kennel cough, however, other factors play an important role in disease (e.g. stress, dust, humidity, molds, mycoplasma, etc.), thus kennel cough is not a vaccine preventable disease because of the complex factors associated with this disease. Furthermore, this is often a mild to moderate self limiting disease. I refer to it as the ‘Canine Cold.’”


From Dr. Eric Barchas, Dogster Vet Blog, “I generally do not recommend kennel cough vaccines unless dogs are staying in a boarding facility that requires them (and even then I don’t truly recommend vaccination — instead, I recommend finding a facility that doesn’t require them).


Leave a comment

Filed under education, health

Happy Tails! – ARNOLD

This is Arnold
(pictured on sofa… adopted last January)

with his dog/cat pack.

He continues to keep us laughing!

* * * * * * *
If you would like to send us an update on your adopted
K-9 Angels Rescue dog, please send a short write-up and photo(s) to   We LOVE to get updates!
* * * * * * *
Do you want to send us updates & photos
but still need to choose the Love of your Life?
Surely you can find THE ONE right here!
* * * * * * *

Leave a comment

Filed under Happy Tails

September is National Disaster Preparedness Month


Abby Harrison, a certified professional dog trainer located in Houston, provides a comprehensive list of disaster preparedness tips for pets.
Abby created her list based on her own disaster preparation mistakes and oversights she made along the way.  By making her plan available here, Abby hopes to help us avoid having to reinvent the disaster preparedness wheel.

Abby describes her plan as a three-layer cake:

First layer: What will be needed if the animal is lost (tags on collar, microchip, current photos).

Second layer: What will be needed if the pet gets sick (first aid, medications, emergency clinic).

Third layer: What will be needed in the midst of a big disaster (fire, hurricane, earthquake, etc.).

The list clearly reflects the natural disasters we and our pets encounter living in close proximity to the Gulf of Mexico.

30 Tips on How to Prepare Your Pet
for a Weather/Hurricane Disaster

1.     Microchip your pet and then file the paperwork.  This is probably one of the single best ways to make sure your pet can be returned to you.  But it does not do any good if the paperwork is not on file.  Things to consider: be sure that your registry service is a national company within the United States and that it is up to date after each move.  There is a different chip for international travel.  This isn’t like Lojack where the pet can be pinpointed but the good news is that almost all shelters and rescue organizations have the scan guns to detect the chip. Tags on a collar are also good but they can be removed.
2.     Take pictures but not just any pictures.  You want a headshot and profile shots of both sides.  Why?: Because the left may be different than the right.  Now weigh your pet.  It’s actually best if you do this every month.  Try linking it to something you are already doing once a month like giving heartworm medication or flea goop.  Now, develop the film every so often, back it off the camera and off the computer.  The film may be bad or the camera may be stolen or the computer may crash.  You want this back up if the pet is missing or you evacuate. Sure you may have pictures you don’t need today.  But what if you needed them tomorrow?
3.     Keep these current back up pictures someplace special.  One suggestion: Keep the copy in the glove box of your car and/or a special file.  Sometimes a fun shot of you with your pet can help verify ownership or show some amount of size of the pet relative to a chair.  Big, little, and medium mean nothing without something to compare it against.
4.     Weigh your pet frequently.  When you have the weight, it becomes easy to incorporate it as part of the description.  Approximate weights, as hopefully remembered, can be wildly inaccurate.
5.     Teach your pet to be calm within a crate by offering special treats and food when inside it. Even cats can be taught to be inside a crate.  Even if you don’t plan the need to put your pet in a crate, having the pet already crate trained if needed means you will not have to teach this while you, and your pet, are stressed and under pressure.
6.     Make an extra tag for your pet’s collar.  The blue bone shape at the Make-a-Tag machine can fit 4 lines which directs someone to take the pet to your local veterinarian’s office, their address, phone number and comment that the pet can wait for you there.  Why not direct someone to take your pet to the one place where they already know you, your pet and your pet’s medical needs?  I don’t put my pet’s name on the tag, just phone numbers.  I don’t want to make it easy for someone to keep my pet.
7.     Take your last vet bill (where they list the due dates for the next shots) and place it in the glove box of the car.  After every visit, replace the older bill with the newer one.  You will probably evacuate in the car.  Any new vet or kennel (short or longer term) will need this information or will require you to pay for it again as you cannot prove that the pet is current on shots.  One less thing to remember to grab.
8.     Transporting your pet: Do you have enough carriers for all the pets?  Is the pet contained in a crate or seat belted in?  If it’s unrestrained please restrain it for the same reasons we secure babies.  A study was done with crash test dummy dogs loose in the back seat at 30 mph.  The 13-pound dog clipped the human dummy in the head before hitting the windshield in 187 milliseconds.  Impact weight of the dog was 396 pounds.  The 70-pound dog hit the back of the front seat before going over it.  It hit the windshield in 387 milliseconds and had an impact of 2100 pounds.  Both dogs would not have survived.  A millisecond is one 1000th of a second.  Besides, an unrestrained dog might try to protect you from the Emergency Medical Technicians if you were in an accident.
9.     Have on hand an animal first aid kit.  It’s similar to a human first aid kit but has some additional items like a couple of slip leashes (like at the vet’s), some spray bandage liquid and disposable latex gloves (a pair fits in a film canister).  A first aid book for animals is good. Animal first aid classes are offered through the Red Cross and by individuals certified to teach this.  And there are books, too.  Being prepared can help your pet in any emergency.
10.  Locate your nearest emergency clinic to your home and also one where you will be if you evacuate.  Your pet may be dehydrated or need other medical assistance if traveling.  Having that information already means not losing critical time when your pet is sick.
11.  Always have at least 3 weeks of pet food and 4 weeks of medicines (heartworm, flea and any others your pet takes) on hand before a storm approaches.  You don’t know how long you will be without being able to refill those supplies. Although we are often suggested to have 3 days to a week of supplies for ourselves, why not have more on hand so if the situation takes longer than anticipated your pet does not suffer?
12.  When you purchase your water, did you also count on how much your pet will need? Without air conditioning, you and your pet will need more than usual.  And what is usual for your pet?  Find out now by measuring how much you put out and how much is left when you replace it with new water.
13.  Planning to evacuate:  Write out a plan based on leaving in 5 minutes, 20 minutes and 45 minutes.  List not only what you would take but also where it is located.  We aren’t always given much notification so if we have already planned our list, we are not under additional stress of making any decisions at that time.  And, with the stress, you really can forget where something is (Zompolis, Operation Pet Rescue).  The Zompolis book really kick-started me to think about the idea of disaster planning for animals.  It is about the 1991 Oakland fire.   The author was part of a group that was still reuniting animals back with their owners almost two years after the fire (basically pre-chip and cell phone living made contact difficult).  Good stories about happy returns.
14.  Planning to evacuate: Gather the animals first.  Block off each room as you search the house for the pet.  Otherwise animals, like cats, have a way of quietly wandering into previously checked rooms when your back is turned.  It does help if you know already where the common hiding places are.
15.  Planning to evacuate: Test packing the car.  Be sure to plan for enough ventilation for pets in plastic crates by placing them in first and then pack up to but not covering the A/C vents.   Be sure to orientate the crate door opening towards the car door (not towards the center of the car).  Those crates will heat up quickly so perhaps purchase a battery-operated fan to attach to the crate door.  The good ones have a slot for an ice cube that sends cool mist to the animal.  And don’t forget the batteries.  Do you have a way of giving the animal water while it is in the crate?  Try freezing water in a plastic or freezer proof dish.  It will thaw slowly.
16.  Planning to evacuate: Know where you are going – family, friends or hotel.  Be sure that wherever it is, that they are aware of just how many pets you plan to arrive with. With the stresses and strains for this travel, you don’t want to show up and be asked to move on because of the number of pets you are asking to be accommodated.
17.  Planning to evacuate: Plan where you are going to stay.  Whereever it is, tape a new local phone number on the pet’s collar or tags in case the pet escapes.  Your home answering machine may not have power to take that message that the pet has been found.  Cell phones are good but they can have their dead zones.  Make it easy (read NOT long distance) for them to contact you.
18.  Planning to evacuate: Pack a few toys that your pet loves.
19.  Planning to evacuate: Bring the pet bed.  Think of it as being similar to wanting your own pillow you are used to.  There will already be much disruption to the pet’s life and this can allow some familiar comfort in strange surroundings.
20.  Planning to evacuate: Bring treats that are long lasting with you in the car.  What is normally a one-hour trip may take hours and having something to distract during an evacuation is a good idea.
21.  Planning to evacuate: Prepare now if your pet gets carsick.  Get the meds if your vet has prescribed them.  Line the crate with a potty pad to make clean up easier.  Bring something to cut the smell (like an enzyme cleaner), paper towels to wipe down the crate and zip style bags to contain the smelly trash.  It is said that a couple of ginger snap cookies can be helpful for dogs.  See if this works for your dog so you still have time to get medicine if it doesn’t.
22.  Planning to stay: Place your pets in their crates during the storm so that they are contained in a safe place.  Yes – especially cats.  Place this crate in a safe place, preferably in a room without windows or where heavy objects could fall on it.  You don’t have to worry about broken glass cutting the pet or a bookcase crushing the crate.
23.  Planning to stay: Place harnesses on all cats.  Attach a leash to the harness.  If the cat is very small, try one of the companion animal ones at a pet store (safety pin it in case the Velcro pulls apart).  Cat collars can slip off or break away and this is the one time you do not want this to potentially happen.
24.  Planning to stay or evacuate: For puppies, kittens or other small animals only who do not wear collars yet: please write a good contact phone number on your pet’s belly with a permanent black marker.  This number would be for you and/or a contact number for a family or friend who does not live in the area affected by the impending disaster.  Generally this is a 2-person operation – 1 who writes and the other to gently keep the pet in a position so this can be done.  Use treats, move slowly and be careful.  Don’t ever use force on any animal to do this.  If the animal is uncooperative – STOP.  Don’t do this, as it’s just not worth the risk of being hurt.
25.  Planning for after the disaster: Put down vinyl flannel-backed fabric (cheap table cloths or from a fabric store) or heavy plastic shower curtains so that you have a clean space for your pets and their crates.  This should be sturdy enough to usually withstand even dog nails.  As you will not know what the floor surfaces may have been exposed to, you will need a clean area for the pets to stay while you clean up.
26.  Planning for after the disaster: Walk your perimeters of the property to see what has changed.  The fence may no longer be secure or new animals may have moved in unexpectedly.  And, recheck it several times a day because tree limbs don’t fall only during a storm.
27.  Planning for after the disaster: Bleach – not scented, not color safe or special additives – just plain old cheap household bleach.  As a disinfectant: 9 parts water to 1 part bleach.  As a water purifier: 16 drops of bleach per gallon of water.  You will need: bleach, a cup for measuring, a dropper, paper towels and trash bags.
28.  Planning for after the disaster: Poop happens.  So, do you have enough litter, shavings, potty pads and plastic trash bags?  This may be hardest for the dogs.  If your dog is familiar with potty pads, just buy more.  For the potty outside dogs, you may not be able to take the dog safely outside for an extended period so you might want to make or buy a sod box.  Fill a plastic container with dirt and cover it with grass.  For the advanced owner: train your dog to potty on command.
29.  Dealing without electricity – how well would you do?  Do you have enough batteries (flashlights, fans, pet fans and phone chargers)?  Do you have a manual can opener?  All the canned food in the world won’t do you any good if you can’t open it.
30.  Understand that this is stressful for you.  Understand that the animals may pick up on your stress.  Trying to keep to the existing routines before this all happened can be helpful for everyone.

Leave a comment

Filed under education, safety

10 Downsides of the Retractable Leash

Dangers of dog leash


A retractable leash is not so much a leash as it is a length of thin cord wound around a spring-loaded device housed inside a plastic handle.  The handles of most retractable leashes are designed to fit comfortably in a human hand.  A button on the handle controls how much of the cord is extended.

Retractable leashes are popular primarily because they aren’t as confining as regular leashes, allowing dogs more freedom to sniff and poke around on walks.  But unfortunately, there are many downsides to this type of leash.

10 Reasons Not to Use a Retractable Leash

    1. The length of retractable leashes, some of which can extend up to 26 feet, allows dogs to get far enough away from their humans that a situation can quickly turn dangerous.  A dog on a retractable leash is often able to run into the middle of the street, for example, or make uninvited contact with other dogs or people.
    2. In the above scenario, or one in which your pet is being approached by an aggressive dog, it is nearly impossible to get control of the situation if the need arises.  It’s much easier to regain control of – or protect — a dog at the end of a six-foot standard flat leash than it is if he’s 20 or so feet away at the end of what amounts to a thin string.
    3. The thin cord of a retractable leash can break – especially when a powerful dog is on the other end of it.  If a strong, good-sized dog takes off at full speed, the cord can snap.  Not only can that put the dog and whatever he may be chasing in danger, but also the cord can snap back and injure the human at the other end.
    4. If a dog walker gets tangled up in the cord of a retractable leash, or grabs it in an attempt to reel in their dog, it can result in burns, cuts, and even amputation.  In addition, many people have been pulled right off their feet by a dog that reaches the end of the leash and keeps going.  This can result in bruises, “road rash,” broken bones, and worse.
    5. Dogs have also received terrible injuries as a result of the sudden jerk on their neck that occurs when they run out the leash, including neck wounds, lacerated tracheas, and injuries to the spine.
    6. Retractable leashes allow dogs more freedom to pull at the end of them, which can look like aggression to another dog who may decide to “fight back.”
    7. The handles of retractable leashes are bulky and can be easily pulled out of human hands, resulting in a runaway dog.
    8. Along those same lines, many dogs – especially fearful ones – are terrorized by the sound of a dropped retractable leash handle and may take off running, which is dangerous enough. To make matters worse, the object of the poor dog’s fear is then “chasing” her, and if the leash is retracting as she runs, the handle is gaining ground on her – she can’t escape it.  Even if this scenario ultimately ends without physical harm to the dog (or anyone else), it can create lingering fear in the dog not only of leashes, but also of being walked.
    9. Retractable leashes, like most retractable devices, have a tendency to malfunction over time, either refusing to extend, refusing to retract, or unspooling at will.
    10. Retractable leashes are an especially bad idea for dogs that haven’t been trained to walk politely on a regular leash.  By their very nature, retractables train dogs to pull while on leash, because they learn that pulling extends the lead.

If your dog is well trained, gentle mannered and smart enough to master a regular leash and a retractable leash without being confused, you could be one of the rare guardians that can walk your pooch on any kind of leash without increasing risks to either one of you.


1 Comment

Filed under education, safety, training

Pet Disaster Preparedness


A tornado strikes your town.
A hurricane rushes through your city.
A flood destroys your home.

You’ve made it through safely, but what about your pets?

Planning ahead is the key to keeping yourself
and your pets safe if disaster strikes.

One important essential is…


Search in advance for out-of-area pet-friendly hotels or boarding facilities, or make a housing exchange agreement with an out-of-area friend or relative.

Never leave your pet behind if you evacuate!

Search for pet-friendly accommodations at:

Leave a comment

Filed under education, safety