Apr 3

We look forward to all things spring this year.  And we wish you and your pets lots of fun, sunny days!  Enjoy these tidbits of springy-goodness to get you off to a good start:

  • Flea & tick season is upon us, and it’s already a busy one!  Ask your vet about the latest & safest preventatives.  Be sure you use the correct, pet-specific product & dose.  Do not use over-the-counter products; buy them from your vet.  Read more – this could save your pets’ lives!
  • Avoiding tick bites (for humans) – a diagram from the CA Dept. of Public Health.
  • Easter safety tips from aspca.org.
  • “Spring’s here: Get out & play!” Visit our “evergreen” post from last spring.
  • There’s an app for that! Aspca.org’s fabulous list of plants (indoor & outdoor) that are safe for pets is now the “Pet Safe” app.  We love it because it’s portable, of course.  But now you can also identify plants by photo if you, like us, can’t name every plant in your yard.
  • Cute but smelly:  Keep your pets away from skunks!  Females den now thru May/June when the babies are born.  Cozy skunk cribs include under your deck or in your woodpile.   Block your pets’ access to both now.  Learn more about prevention & solutions if the worst happens to your dog or cat – ugh!  Visit our site for more wildlife how-to’s.  By the way – did you know skunks like peanut butter, too?  Watch!
  • Spring cleaning? Be pet friendlyhere’s how.
  • Early puppy & kitten training is the best way to enjoy the rest of the year with your pet.  We can help you start now!

A corny but comedic video-montage wish from us to you:   As you bid a fond farewell to playing in the snow, welcome spring with a happy song in your heart.  Go enjoy a romp in the sun with your pets!

© 2010 Critter Consulting

Mar 4

What do we have in common with our pets?  Our food supply is one and the same!  And, a quality diet is healthier – mentally & Dog and man with bonephysically.  (For our pets, that translates into fewer vet visits, longer lives & better behavior!)  That’s why we mix pet & human diet info in this post series.  Dig into this informative, fun smorgasbord of foodie news!

Recalls

Articles & posts of interest

Tasty & safe

  • New FDA widget! A glimmer of hope from the FDA comes in the form of their new “Pet Health & Safety” widget, designed to update you on the latest news on pet food, including recalls.  Find it on our homepage:  Scroll to the bottom of our sidebar.  Check back often, as it self-updates!
  • We love Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual” by Michael PollanRead or watch interviews with the author about his new, quick-read book on human food safety.  Follow his simple rules to easily choose healthy, natural (single-ingredient) foods over what Pollan calls “edible, food-like substances” (processed foods in the modern, Western diet).   Example:  Rule #2 from the book is “Don’t eat anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.”  Good advice that applies to your pets, too!
  • Did you know this is National Peanut Butter Lovers’ Month? Odds are your pup knows!  Here’s a recipe for Peanut Butter Cups to help Fido celebrate, courtesy of threedog.com.  Dogs-with-thumbs will love eatingwell.com’s Peanut Energy Bars.  Yum!
  • Easter safety for pets

Video-goodness

Three of our favorite foodie flicks: Slow-motion dogs catching treats.  (A sweet video, but we don’t recommend Pedigree products.)  Joris eating dinner.  (Good for a belly laugh.)  And, in the spirit of spring & Easter, Baby bunny eats tiny flower.  (Kids will love this one!)

Information provided on this site is not a substitute for veterinary care. See your vet before you begin a complementary health care or exercise plan. The statements on this website have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration/Center for Veterinary Medicine, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

© 2010 Critter Consulting

Dec 17

This year, we found the holiday spirit captured in a lovely video sent to us by a client.  A gift to us, passed along to you.

Ricochet xmas

  • If, like us, you find yourself thoroughly charmed by Ricochet (aka Rip Curl Ricki) & her “mom”/trainer’s insight, visit their website.  Or follow Ricochet on Facebook!
  • Put that holiday spirit to use locally.  Donate what you can (goods, time, money) to local shelters & rescues.  Your generosity helps homeless pets find their bliss, too!
  • For more seasonal fun & important tips, visit our posts:  “Happy Howlidays!” (2008) and “Seasonal Stress”.

Warmest Christmas wishes to you & your family: humans, canines & felines, alike!

© 2009 Critter Consulting


Nov 22

Enjoy these turkey-time tips:Thanksgiving chihuahua

Speaking of greetings, we are absolutely charmed by Gracie! Watch Gracie welcome her “dad”, Captain Andrew Schmidt, back from service in Afghanistan.  Andy says, “Gracie is half golden retriever, half corgi.  We rescued her from the pound in 2004.  She’s six now.   She was found neglected in a pen in West Virginia …. She is a hell of a good friend.  She is six now and still gets a ton of attention even now that my wife and I have a young son …… I can promise you that she doesn’t do this every time I come home, LOL.  This was a first.”  Watch Andy & his wife interviewed on the Today Show.

Warmest Thanksgiving wishes to you & your family: humans, canines & felines, alike!

© 2009 Critter Consulting

Oct 6

More foodie news for you & your pets, including the latest in pet food recalls & meat safety:Moment before the feast

Recalls

Food source safety

  • Ditch those hard, plastic drinking bottles.  A new Harvard study says the plastic used leaches BPA.  While you’re @ it, switch Fluffy & Fido to stainless steel or heavy glass food/water bowls.  Avoid plastic or ceramic food bowls.
  • Understand how E.coli gets into ground beef, despite inspections & regulations.  Watch the nytimes.com video, “Tainted Meat“.  Read the accompanying article, “E.Coli Path Shows Flaws in Beef Inspection”.  We recommend purchasing whole cuts of beef and having them ground for you @ the meat counter.  It’s not perfect, but it’s a start.
  • Can you prevent E.Coli contamination @ home when you prep ground beef for cooking?  NYTimes.com explores this question in their video, “Hamburger Confidential“.  (Not recommended viewing for hypochondriacs!)

Fall fun!

  • Coffee cat stencils for the cat-loving, caffeine fiend in your life.  A nice way to warm up! 
  • It’s pumpkin time! We love “Pumpkin Pieces” Kong stuffing recipe from dogs.thefuntimesguide.com:  “Combine some plain yogurt, canned pumpkin, and cooked rice in a small baggie.  Mix well inside the bag, then snip off a corner of the bag and squeeze it into the Kong toy.  Freeze.”  Yum!
  • Amy Shojai, CABC, recommends a canned pumpkin treat for cats that can also act as a home remedy for hairballs:  “Divide the pumpkin into tablespoon dollops in an ice cube tray, freeze, and thaw one dose as needed.”  (Cats love the flavor of pumpkin, but often don’t like to eat cold things.  So thaw the pumpkin to room temperature, no hotter.)
  • Pumpkin & bananas are good for humans, too.  Try this Low Fat Pumpkin Banana Bread from about.com.  Careful – If you add the chocolate chips, as one reader recommends, keep Fido out of the kitchen!

In case you missed it, we love the SNL short video, “Mostly Garbage Pet Food”.  (We also noticed the uncanny resemblance between the mock food bag in the video & a Pedigree food bag.  Enough said.)


Information provided on this site is not a substitute for veterinary care. See your vet before you begin a complementary health care or exercise plan. The statements on this website have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration/Center for Veterinary Medicine, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

© 2009 Critter Consulting

May 26

In our 4/27/09 post, we warned to stop feedingnutro-cat-lg Nutro to your pets.  Now, a very important update in Nutro news…. and what’s up with Greenies?

  • Nutro recalled 2 dry cat foods due to improper zinc & potassium content that sickened many cats.   (Seven flavors of Nutro Natural Choice Complete Care & Nutro Max are affected.)  As of today, the FDA is calling their investigation “high priority”.  This wasn’t always the case:  Christie Keith of SFGate.com nicely summarizes the FDA’s role in delaying this recall.  It seems like Nutro hasn’t been a healthy choice for pets since Mars Pet Care bought the company in 2007.  Read about the company’s previous health scares.
  • Greenie concerns:  Also by Nutro – this popular chew treat will now only be sold thru vets & specialty shops.  The company wants their product questions & recommendations to be handled by more knowledgeable retailers.  We cannot recommend Greenies because they have caused GI obstructions in pets.  And, we believe this new step in Nutro’s marketing will boost sales more than ensure Greenie safety.  Why risk it?  Check our resource page for alternative toy, treat & chewy ideas for your pet.

It’s not all grim news. We laughed @ this hamster perfectly illustrating the “eat this, not that” concept.  And, if pet food recalls have you down, chin up!  We’re dishing into a new favorite cookbook, “Organic Dog Biscuit Cookbook” from the Bubba Rose Biscuit Company.  And Arden Moore shares her recipe for Marvelous Mutt Meatballs from her book, “Real Food for Dogs“.  Yumm – healthy treats for Fido!

Information provided on this site is not a substitute for veterinary care. See your vet before you begin a complementary health care or exercise plan. The statements on this website have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration/Center for Veterinary Medicine, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

© 2009 Critter Consulting

Apr 27

A quick post on the latest in foodie news, canine & human alike.  Healthy body = healthy mind!Grocery Shopping

  • Kibble crisis? The FDA is investigating numerous pet illnesses caused by Nutro pet food.  Apparently, this has been happening for @ least 2 years.  If you’re feeding Nutro, stop now.  Switch to a higher quality diet that suits your pet.  Talk with your vet, and check our dog & cat diet info for brand and ingredient suggestions.  (Read 4/30/09 update on the Nutro/FDA controversy.)
  • Considering cooking for your pet? Dr. Michael Fox developed recipes for your cat & dog.  (Again, check with your vet first.)
  • Spices & sprouts: New spice & alfalfa sprout recalls due to salmonella contamination.
  • Toxic tidbits: Check petplace.com’s list of 10 dangerous foods.   An important read!
  • Flea, not food, news: It’s flea & tick season now, so be aware of harmful products.  We discussed the dangers of OTC topicals in an earlier post.  Now there’s a new warning that many flea collars sold in chain pet stores & grocery stores can contain residues of 2 carcinogenic neurotoxins that might affect people & pets.  Be safe:  Purchase your flea/tick preventatives from your vet.  In addition, the NRDC recommends:

“… the frequent use of a flea comb, regular baths, in addition to the frequent vacuuming and washing of pets’ bedding. If chemical-based flea control is necessary, the safest options, which often contain the least toxic chemicals, are those dispensed in pill form.”

  • Want the freshest ingredients for you & your pet? We love farmers’ markets!  Check out foodie diva Heather Irwin’s article on what’s yummy @ Sonoma County farmers’ markets.  (As always consult your vet and our diet info for OK “people food” for Rover & Fluffy.)

That’s the latest.  By the way, if your pilfering pooch is an expert in counter-surfing for food like the dog in this video, contact us!

Information provided on this site is not a substitute for veterinary care. See your vet before you begin a complementary health care or exercise plan. The statements on this website have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration/Center for Veterinary Medicine, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

© 2009 Critter Consulting

Apr 4

Easter bunny dachshund.So much to cover in this new installment of our recurring series, “You are what you eat“.  Dig in!

  • Happy Easter! Play it safe & pet-proof your Easter.  Chocolate; candy; artificial sweeteners in sugar-free candies (xylitol); wrappers; lilies; artificial grass; and small plastic parts are all hazards to your dog & cat.  Are eggs & food coloring safe for your pet?  Barring any allergies or sensitivities, small amounts should be OK.  But always check with your vet.
  • Spring fever is contagious! Read our post on enjoying spring with your pet.  (Ever wonder why dogs eat grass?  No fertilizer, please!)  Looking for a fun, spring-time way to improve your dog’s diet, as well as your own?   Create an herb garden!
  • Good news for our food supply? In our Jan. ’08 post, we hoped for more vigilance & transparency from the growers, suppliers, manufacturers & agencies who bring food to us & our pets.   These articles illustrate the progress that’s been made since then:

“Salmonella outbreaks lead to food-safety changes” (usatoday.com, 4/2/09).

“Official calls for ‘country of origin’ food labels” (msnbc.com, 2/18/09).

“Is a food revolution now in season?” (nytimes.com, 3/21/09).

  • We’re going nuts! First peanuts, now pistachios & spices.  Salmonella-caused recalls continue.  Proceed with caution.  (We’ll keep you posted…)  By the way, non-contaminated pistachios & peanuts can upset Fido’s tummy due to their high fat & salt content.  Again, always ask your vet first!
  • The confusing controversy continues regarding which diet is best for your pet. Should you feed Fido a processed diet?  If so, is kibble better than canned?  Would a raw or cooked diet be better for Fluffy?  (As always, consult with your vet about your pet’s diet.  Check our diet pages, as well as our reading lists.)  We love Christie Keith’s summary of the debate in her article for sfgate.com:  “Raw Food for Pets?”.  Though we don’t usually recommend articles from online retailers (biased!), onlynaturalpet.com’s list of “Common Myths About Pet Food & Nutrition” is worth reading.
  • If you wouldn’t eat it, should your pet? And – if your pet’s eating it, you are, too.   As we’ve learned from salmonella recalls & melamine contamination, human & pet food supplies are one-in-the-same.  We really need higher standards for all food sources.  For example, some veterinarians say that by-products are an acceptable ingredient in our pets’ processed diets.  Their reasoning is that by-products often contain nutrient-dense organ meat & mineral-rich bones.  But we don’t know that’s true in each case because pet-food manufacturers aren’t yet required to list what their “by-products” include, or the countries-of-origin for ingredients on that list.  Without definition, they are suspect.  Sadly, the FDA has found that ambiguous ingredients like “meat and bone meal”,  “animal fat” & “animal digest” in dog food could contain pentobarbital (euthanasia solution).  Please educate yourself & draw your own conclusions:  Read Susan Thixton’s article, “Stop the Confusion!” .
  • A recession-proof diet? Cooking for Rover to pinch pennies isn’t as simple as it may seem.  Do your research to make sure a home-made diet meets your pets’ species-specific nutritional & mineral needs.  Work closely with a vet or an animal nutritionist certified by the ACVN.  Read & watch this story.  Check our site for more resources to help you & your vet develop the best diet for your pet.
  • Just for fun:  We couldn’t decide between the bunny born with 2 noses (still cute!); the “Smile” video; or the adorable pics of pets & kids sleeping.  It’s very possible that Lucille’s corn-on-the-cob skills top them all!  (Caution:  Only small amounts of tepid, cooked corn for your Lucille.  No butter or salt.  And cobs can cause an obstruction if swallowed.  Never leave your dog alone with one.)

Have a howling-good Easter holiday!

Information provided on this site is not a substitute for veterinary care. See your vet before you begin a complementary health care or exercise plan. The statements on this website have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration/Center for Veterinary Medicine, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

© 2009 Critter Consulting

Feb 18

What’s happening in local pet news?  We’ve got the latest, including that pesky peanut butter recall.

  • Mountain lions, oh my! Nicole Lentz fought off 2 young mountain lions as she walked her 4-month-old lab, Piper, in the Skyhawk neighborhood in Santa Rosa.  (See article & video @ KTVU.com.)  If you’re hiking where mountain lions have been sighted, keep your dog on leash with you.  Read more cougar body language and safety tips.
  • What’s in a name? Ukiah’s city council debated a proposal to change pet “owner” to pet “guardian”.  It’s a  change that Sebastopol, San Francisco & Marin County have adopted.  Although a “guardian” is defined as a pet owner in the proposal, proponents in Ukiah fear that the name change will open the door to legislation that ultimately ends the status of animals as property.  We’re hoping the “guardian” term encourages empathy & compassion toward animals.  (Read more from Pressdemocrat.com, including the 2/18 update.)
  • February 24th is “Spay Day“. Per the HSUS:  “Nearly 4 million cats & dogs are euthanized each year in shelters across the country.  That’s one every 8 seconds.”  Unacceptable.  Neuter your pet.  If finances are tight, ask your local shelter and your vet if they’re offering any discounts.  Check our site & calendar for local, free or low-cost neuter/spay clinics.  Enter the HSUS online pet photo contest and raise funds for spaying & neutering @ the same time!
  • No room @ the inn:  The HSSC is turning away some animals & reducing staff.  Donations are down, and the reduced revenue is taking a toll.  (Read more @ Pressdemocrat.com.)  The recession is tough on everyone.  Remember to donate what you can (volunteer, money or supplies) to your local shelter.  Every bit is appreciated!
  • PB&J?  Not so much. We’re still updating our recent “You Are What You Eat” post with the latest on the peanut butter recalls.  Check in often or sign up for our email updates.
  • What’s up with ewe?:  We love Navarro Vineyard’s wines and their lamb cam.  Watch live images of their pregnant baby doll ewes.  You might catch a lamb being born!

Now that you’re updated, don’t forget to stay current on your pet’s training. Contact us for help with improving your cat’s or dog’s behavior.  Enjoy each moment with your pet!

© 2009 CritterConsulting

Feb 5

In keeping with our belief that a healthy pet is happier and better-behaved, this is the 1st installment in our new series of posts on pet health.  Better than flowers & chocolate, right?!

  • Brush your pet’s teeth dailyPrevention is key.  Use pet toothpaste (not yours!) and a soft, child’s toothbrush.   Follow these step-by-step slideshows for tips on brushing your dog’s or cat’s teeth.  (Yes, your cat, too!)  Contact us for help with gradually introducing home dental care to your pet.
  • Beware of Valentine’s Day hazards for your pet.  Read the ASPCA’s warnings on the dangers of chocolate & lilies.
  • Try a pet-safe antifreeze in your car. Read more about antifreeze safety.
  • Fleas & ticks are active in unseasonably warm weather. Read more & talk with your vet about safe prevention for your pet.  (Avoid over-the-counter topical treatments!  See news video.)  Remember, one flea bite can make a dog with flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) miserable.  If Fluffy or Fido swallow a flea, that flea might transmit tapeworms to your pet.  And, each adult flea that you see represents only 1-2 % of the total flea population in the environment, including eggs, pupae & larvae.  So one is too many!
  • Wondering if your dog and cat are fit? Check Purina’s body condition charts.  And, of course, follow your vet’s advice on maintaining your pet’s healthy weight.
  • We’re still updating our latest “You Are What You Eat” post with the latest peanut & salmonella info.

Have a happy, healthy February!

Note:  Information provided on this site is not a substitute for veterinary care. See your vet before you begin a complementary health care or exercise plan. The statements on this Web site have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration/Center for Veterinary Medicine, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

© 2009 CritterConsulting

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