Spokesdog's Canine Couch
A journey about dogs and their people by Diane Rich
Photo is not being used in any way to implicate that this particular product has contributed to the current health related issues pets are experiencing with jerky treats. Read below some information pertaining to labels that read “made in USA.”
Jerky treats are being blamed for almost 600 animal deaths and thousands of pet illnesses nationwide.
According to the FDA, since 2007 what seems to be the common link with the animal deaths and illness is that the majority of the animals consumed jerky treats mostly imported from China. However the problem remains a mystery.
The FDA is investigating chicken, sweet potato, dried fruit and duck jerky treats produced out of China. Most of the cases have been dogs of all breeds and sizes along with 10 cats that have been affected by something they ate. The animals that get sick have been diagnosed with gastrointestinal and kidney problems. About 135 cases of Fanconi syndrome, a specific kind of kidney disease has been reported however all these reported cases have not been specifically linked back to jerky treats.
Kandal Harr, a Veterinary clinical pathologist has been tracking the problem. Harr says the specific compound responsible for the illness continues to elude experts and that the intoxicant is something unusual in North America.
Most of us remember the nationwide recall of food made by Menu foods due to tainted Melamine from plastic packaging. 1950 cats died and 2200 dogs died due mostly to kidney failure. This recall included some of the biggest names in pet food
Although no specific brands are being implicated in this most recent illness there have been several voluntary recalls from the following brands; Nestle Purina PetCare Co, Waggin’ Train, Canyon Creek Ranch, Milo’s Kitchen, Costco, Publix
The FDA has sent an open letter to Veterinarians to track and send detailed info about any animals sickened by jerky treats. The FDA is requesting the Vets send urine samples and results of blood tests for analysis to their agency.
Tips: 1. Do not feed jerky to your pet 2. Read ingredients of commercially made products and check where product is made. However, even if the label states, Made in the U.S. A. be mindful that pet food companies are not required to list the country of origin for each ingredient used in their products.
Some signs of illness listed below can be symptomatic of other illnesses or disease.
The following tips are what Vets suggest you look for with regard to poisoning due to jerky treats :
1.Verify the color of your dog’s gums
A dog’s gums should resemble the dog’s skin and appear pink, black, or spotted. Discolored gums can indicate serious illness. Check your dog’s gums by lifting the upper lip and pressing above a canine tooth with your thumb. Release your thumb then watch for a color change where you pressed. The gum color should change from white to pink within two seconds.
2. Observe your dog’s balance
If your dog is staggering, disoriented, or dizzy, these signs might indicate dog poisoning symptoms. Do not rely on a cold, warm, or wet dog nose to recognize poisoning in dogs.
3. Examine your dog’s bodily functions to check for irregularities
Signs that your dog has ingested something poisonous include persistent vomiting or watery, loose, yellow, green or black stools. Stools should be firm and brown while urine should be yellow or clear.
4. Listen to your dog’s lungs for signs of respiratory distress
Shallow breathing, heavy panting, or a light, persistent cough could indicate pain.
5. Take your dog’s temperature with a thermometer designed for animals
Taking the temperature is the best way to recognize poisoning in dogs. An ideal temperature for dogs is 101 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit (38.3 to 39.2 Celsius). If you are not comfy with taking your dog’s temp or the dog doesn’t take kindly to this procedure, ask someone to hold the dog’s head while you place and hold the thermometer.
6. Watch for signs of sudden appetite loss
If your dog stops eating suddenly, it could be a sign of toxic substance ingestion or as stated above other health related problems. It could also be a sign if your dog swallowed an object that could not be passed. Call your vet if your dog displays a lack of appetite for more than 24 hours.
7. Check your home and yard for potential dog poisons
These potential poisons include rodent bait, anti-freeze, dead animals, mushrooms, or yard chemicals. Keep an eye out for upturned boxes, damaged prescription bottles, spilled liquids, or disturbed household chemicals.
If you suspect your dog ingested a poisonous product, check the back label of the packaging for warning disclaimers. Most products with toxic ingredients will list a company telephone number that customers can call for ways to recognize poisoning in dogs.
If you can call the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-800-213-6680. There may be a fee so have a credit card handy.
8. Write down your dog’s symptoms in detail
Note when the symptoms started, their frequency, severity and any actions you are taking to alleviate them.
9. Call your veterinarian
Describe the symptoms and possible causes of the accidental poisoning. Ask if the symptoms warrant an immediate visit to the clinic. And if symptoms persist despite your veterinarian’s initial assessment, take your dog to a clinic immediately.
10. Locate your nearest 24 hour emergency facility
Many adverse health conditions occur after hours or on weekends when your Vet clinic is closed. You may want to just do a drive by at some point so you know how long it takes to get there.
Wishing any pet well that fell victim to this latest pet food related issue
Clinical Signs of Illness
The information below is taken from FDA’s website. The link to their site is: http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/SafetyHealth/ReportaProblem/ucm182403.htm
The new rules will be open for public comment for 120 days, and would be adopted as law within 60 days after the comment period closes. They would apply to all domestic and imported animal food, including pet food, pet treats, animal feed, and the raw ingredients that make those products.
That means, for instance, that the producers of chicken, corn and sweet potato jerky treats made in China and blamed for the deaths of 600 pets and illnesses in about 3,600, will have to meet strict new requirements before their products can be sold, officials said.
FDA has always had rules in place that prohibit adulterants in pet food. That’s why the agency has issued company-initiated recalls for salmonella-tainted bird food, for instance, or dog food contaminated with aflatoxin, a naturally occurring mold by-product.
But, until now, there’s been no requirement that companies analyze the potential food safety hazards of their products or that they follow current good manufacturing practices, or CGMPs, that specifically address animal food.
Please have as much of the following information available when submitting your complaint:
Consumers often transfer dry pet food into other containers for easier handling. If possible, please save the original packaging until the pet food has been consumed. The packaging contains IMPORTANT information often needed to identify the variety of pet food, the manufacturing plant, and the production date.
- Exact name of the product and product description (as stated on the product label)
- Type of container (e.g. box, bag, can, pouch, etc.)
- Product intended to be refrigerated, frozen, or stored at room temperature
- Lot number – This number is often hard to find and difficult to read. It is stamped onto the product packaging and typically includes a combination of letters and numbers, and is always in close proximity to the best by/before or expiration date (if the product has a best by/before or expiration date). The lot number is very important as it helps us determined the manufacturing plant as well as the production date.
- Best by, best before or expiration date
- UPC code (also known as the bar code)
- Net weight
- Purchase date and exact location where purchased.
- Results of any laboratory testing performed on the pet food product
- How the food was stored, prepared, and handled
Description of the problem with the product. Examples include:
- Foul odor, off color
- Swollen can or pouch, leaking container
- Foreign object found in the product.
If you think your pet has become sick or injured as a result of consuming a pet food product also provide information about your pet, including:
- Species (dog, cat, rabbit, fish, bird, other)
- Age, weight, breed, pregnant, spayed/neutered
- Previous health status of pet
- Any pre-existing conditions your pet has
- Whether you give your pet any other foods, treats, dietary supplements or drugs
- How much of the suspected product your pet normally consumes
- How much of the “suspect” product was consumed from the package?
- How much of the product you still have
- Clinical signs exhibited by your pet (such as vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy)
- How soon after consuming the product the clinical signs appeared
- Your veterinarian’s contact information, diagnosis and medical records for your pet
- Results of any diagnostic laboratory testing performed on your pet
- How many pets consuming the product exhibited clinical symptoms
- Whether any pets that consumed the product are not affected
- Whether your pet spends time outdoors unsupervised
- Why you suspect the pet food caused the illness
New Safety Guidelines
October 25, 2013
I have taken the text from the FDA’s website. Here is a link to the site.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is announcing a proposed rule under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) aimed at strengthening the safety of food for animals, including pet food and animal feed. This proposed rule would help ensure the safety of food for animals, as well as help prevent foodborne illness in humans and animals. This rule is part of the effort mandated by Congress to modernize the food safety system and focuses on preventing food safety problems, rather than relying primarily on responding to problems after they occur. The proposed rule works in concert with standards proposed in July 2013 for imported foods and the accreditation of third party auditors for foreign food facilities.
Under the proposed rule for preventive controls for food for animals, facilities manufacturing, processing, packing, and holding animal food, both domestically and abroad, would be required to put into place procedures to minimize or prevent hazards reasonable likely to occur, as well as to follow new current good manufacturing practices (CGMPs).
The proposed rule for preventive controls for food for animals will publish in the Federal Register on October 29, 2013. Comments on this proposed rule are due by 120 days from the publication date.
The FDA will hold three public meetings on the Proposed Rule for Preventive Controls for Animal Food Facilities. The first meeting will be held on November 21, 2013 at the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition in College Park, MD. The second meeting will be on November 25, 2013 at the Ralph H. Metcalfe Federal Building in Chicago. The third meeting will be held on December 6 at the John E. Moss Federal Building in Sacramento, CA. For more information, visit http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/ucm247568.htm1.
They Put Their Own Special Stamp on our Heart
There really is something magical about our beloved canines. I am sharing 10 reminders I feel they bring into our lives. Please feel free to contribute what your dog has brought into your life.
What is it about Dogs:
- Dogs want a connection with us. Not all dogs are lapdog material but they usually want to be close. This closeness offers a comfort that makes our heart smile
- Dogs bring out the “kid” in us as every day . When they wake up they are ready to go.
- Dogs help bring out a level of responsibility in both children and adults as dogs need us to take care of their basic necessities and give them love
- Dogs help us stay fit. As they need exercise many pet parents go on a daily walks, get back into jogging or enjoy a weekend hike
5. Dogs can be an icebreaker in social settings for shy people
6. Dogs help promote good health as petting a dog lowers our blood pressure and in turn lowers their blood pressure
7. Dogs seize the day. Carpe ‘diem, and teach us how to take time off from a computer or smart phone and enjoy the moment
8. Dogs teach us how to enjoy the simple things. If you have the opportunity to hike in the woods with your dog you can enjoy watching your dog relish in the scents of all that nature has to offer
9. Dogs can put a smile on our faces when they unabashedly find joy playing with other dogs
10. Dogs can teach us to stretch in the morning, take a nap in the afternoon, and not waste time rehashing what happened yesterday
Do You have a Plan for your Family and Pets in case of Disaster?
On Saturday, October 19th Members of CERT (community emergency response team) and WSART teamed up to speak to 20 of us who registered and paid $5 for this seminar held at a fire station in Kirkland.
These nonprofit organizations were created to set forth protocol to help animals and their owners should there be a disaster and to also educate people about disaster preparedness and emergency response. Some of the volunteers shared stories of their experiences at the Katrina disaster.
Many of WASARTs members have extensive experience in rescuing and sheltering animals through deployments along with animal welfare organizations for disaster response all over the United States. WASART has grown to about 130 members 10% of whom are veterinary professionals.
Disasters include earthquake, tornado, hurricane, flood and terrorist attacks. In the NW, flooding and an earthquake are the disasters that would top our list. And we do have the beautiful and currently quiet Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helens. Some areas of the world add a tsunami to their list of potential natural disasters.
Through WASART, one learns what supplies and considerations one would need to care for animals in the event of a disaster. Most of us are not really prepared as we don’t think “it” will happen to us.
WASART seminars and online tips educate the pet and livestock owner on procedure not only to help one’s own animals but to be of service to others in need.
Questions to ask yourself?
1. How would you transport livestock to safer ground
2. Do you take your companion animals with you or leave them behind
3. If you must leave them behind what do you do
4. Can you bring your animals with you to your local Shelter
5. IS there even a local shelter in your community
6. Is your pet updated on vaccinations? I learned at this seminar that if you don’t have any info on vaccinations and the pet accompanies you to a shelter, they will most likely vaccinate your pet
In this day and age many people do not know their neighbors past the cursory , “hi.”
Our take away is that most people do not know where a local shelter is for their own escape nor do most people know what they would do with their pets. We are really not all that prepared. A lovely lady who was born in Japan and now resides in Kirkland shared with the group how prepared citizens of Japan were with re: to disasters. They knew where to go and had plans in place. Japan’s citizens need to know what to do based on how vulnerable their location. She was stating that she was concerned that there really isn’t really that kind of plan in place for all of us in the NW. Members of CERT stated that Katrina has made many people around the country more aware due to that devastation. However, we soon forget about those events and many people are still not prepared for a disaster.
Bottom line, at this point is we may be pretty much on our own. So, if you are lucky enough to have great neighbors and everyone can support each other, that alone may be the best bet. Contact your city to see if a plan is in place and find out where the closest shelter might be. Keep in mind that even with great plans, doesn’t mean roads will be accessible if power lines are down, if flooding prevents transport, if bridges are down. Cell service could be affected and you may be cut off from getting help and 911 may or may not be available. So, have a plan in place and hope you never need it.
Information is power and being prepared in some cases can minimize panic
Great information and tips @ http://www.washingtonsart.org/emergencyprep.html
The Science and Wonder of Working Dogs
by Cat Warren
Cat Warren brought her young GSD, Solo to a trainer who asked Cat an important question at the first class. The question was, “What would you like the dog to do?” The question wasn’t meant for Cat to think short term as the answer from dog owners to this question is usually focused around teaching a new puppy obedience and manners. Those skills are a start for all dogs and in most cases graduation from a puppy class is the end of a dog’s education. Solo needed more as did Cat.
Solo was quite a handful and was not what Cat envisioned when bringing him into her world. He was high drive as a pup and pushed his limits and her sanity. When Cat contacted the breeder about his behavior the breeder advised her to stop her whining and train him. I applauded the breeder’s response as not many breeders would be so blunt. The trainer’s question of what did Cat want the dog to do and the breeder’s advice started the training ball rolling and he learned to be a cadaver dog. He is trained to scent death and when he is successful the reward is a game of tug. It is a big game to a cadaver dog. It has to be.
Solo’s territory is in the N. Carolina woods searching for dead bodies. In addition to searching for dead bodies, Solo was also taught to search for missing persons, hopefully finding them alive. For my readers who may be a little squeamish about this type of service, Cat makes an important statement regarding her work. She states “if she and Solo are out looking for someone it is because law enforcement is almost certain that person is dead. So finding a body isn’t a nightmare it represents success.”
Cat’s journey taught her about scent science, K9 law, more about dogs, about people and of course about herself. I enjoyed reading about her journey
If you want to learn more about what makes a dog tick, this book is worth the read.
Do you love purple? Purple-loving pet owners have several new reasons to howl for happiness, purple pet clothes, purple leashes and purple bowls! They even feature a purple pooper scooper.
I was contacted by a representative from The Purple Store requesting I tell my readers about the newest additions to their pet product lineup. Full disclosure, they sent me the purple collar the lovely Airedale is modeling. I did not know about the company but as they are Seattle based and unique I wanted to help get the word out. Chase is modeling a beautiful martingale collar with purple trim made by hand 7 years ago by a talented friend. Before buying the material for Chase’s collar, my friend asked me what my favorite color was and guess what, my answer was purple.
From the Purple Store’s website
How It Started
When people ask “Where’d you get that?” our founder, ever-so-funny, usually answers “At the doorknob store” or “necklace store” or “mozzarella cheese store.” Asked about something cool and purple one day, his quick answer was, of course, “the purple store.”
Purple is a lifestyle. Finally here’s an answer for those who have cried for something to come in purple, to be able to buy “just the purple one” in a set.
The Purple Store is here to meet your purple needs. That takes your input and involvement. Please let us know about any products you’re looking for or ones you recommend. Sign up on our Purple Club e-mail list for occasional updates (see below). Link to us from your blog or website. And please, please tell your friends so The Purple Store continues to grow.
The Purple Store is based in Seattle, WA. For more information go to: www.thepurplestore.com
10 Safety Tips During Halloween
1. Trick or Treat
Halloween candy attracts both humans and dogs. Most owners know that chocolate, especially dark or baker’s chocolate is unsafe for dogs, but so is almost everything else that you’d find in a trick-or-treat bag. Artificial sweeteners such as xylitol, raisins and other candy items can pose serious health hazards or even death for dogs. The wrappers or lollipop sticks can be ingested and cause choking.
2. Home Alone
This is not a time to have your dog outside unattended even if you are home. Dogs can be teased, tormented, offered food laced with poison or people could just plain steal the dog. Your dog is safer indoors during this holiday.
3. Creatures of the Night
You may enjoy doling out candy for the trick or treaters but many dogs see strangers at the door dressed in costume as scary or even as a threat and behave accordingly. Best to keep your pet away from the front door.
4. See ya
Also, an open door for trick or treaters may be an invitation for your dog to bolt. As with tip #3, best to confine the dog in a safe zone during this time.
If you are entertaining and believe your dog will be uneasy around costumed guests then it may be best to tuck the dog safely away from all the excitement and scary costumes. If your dog is great with all your friends and will be safe wandering around, remind guests not to share human food with your dog and absolutely keep the dog away from alcoholic drinks.
Halloween decorations arouse a dog’s curiosity so make sure any electrical cords, candles or other party items are not accessible to a dog that can jump up to investigate or be knocked over with a happy tail.
7. Doggie Costumes
Dog costumes are big business for retailers. And yes, many costumes are incredibly cute. If you want to dress your dog up in costume you may want to have a dress rehearsal with your dog before the party or treat or treating. The costume should be comfortable for the dog, not impair vision, and not be too long to trip the dog or be too hot. Sometimes a festive, orange bandana is enough of a costume for the family pet.
8. Let there be Light
If you take the dog trick or treating, I would recommend buying a lit collar and reflective leash so the dog can be seen by drivers and even other trick or treaters. There are many options on the market today. Not easy for a child to hold a leash and a bag of candy so you may be the one to hold the dog’s leash while out and about.
Although this is a dog blog, I would suggest you keep the family cat indoors also. Especially if your cat is black.
Take a current photo of your dog, both a full profile and close up head shot. Make sure your dog is wearing an ID tag and information is current. If you have microchipped your dog make sure you have registered that chip with the proper company.
Wishing you a fun, scary, safe Halloween!
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC
Adopt a Shelter Dog Month promotes pet adoption and raises awareness about the millions of dogs currently living in shelters. It is estimated that about 50% of dogs in shelters are destroyed simply because there is nobody to adopt them. Unfortunately it is also estimated that there are some shelters that destroy more than 50% of the animals in their care.
Adopting from a shelter is an alternative to buying from a pet store. Most people are aware that pet store owners buy puppies from commercial puppy mills which doesn’t seem to stop the demand to buy dogs from these retail pet stores or via cleverly disguised ads on line that front for these dreadful businesses.
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC