Jan 25

In this new year, let’s resolve to be more aware of our food supply. Raise your criteria for your diet, as well as your pet’s.  If we expect more vigilance & transparency from food suppliers, manufacturers, and organizations like the FDA, quality will improve.  A healthy diet affects your pet’s physical, emotional & behavioral well-being, as well as yours.

Here’s the latest:

  • Peanut Butter in the news:  As of today, the salmonella contamination traced to a peanut processing plant in Georgia has sickened over 600 people in 43 states.  (Watch new video.)  Nine deaths have been linked to the outbreak.  While small jars of peanut butter in grocery stores appear to be safe so far, the recall has recently been expanded to all items (over 1800!) made from peanut products @ that plant since 1/1/07.  This could be the largest food recall in US history.  Do not handle or feed your pets treats or products that contain peanut butter (biscuits; pet toothpaste; toy-stuffing paste; etc.) until you know it’s safe.  Read more and visit the FDA’s updated recall list.
  • Chicken jerky treats from China are linked to kidney failure in dogs.  Continue to avoid pet food & treats with ingredients imported from China.
  • Have you heard of “Honey Laundering“? Because Chinese honey is contaminated with an FDA-banned animal antibiotic, chloramphenicol, Chinese exporters are routing tainted honey through other countries to disguise the honey’s country of origin.  This cheaper-than-USA-honey then enters American human & pet food supplies.  Shop local for your honey (think farmer’s markets!), and insist that pet food manufacturers research & disclose countries-of-origin for their ingredients.  (The Whole Dog Journal reviews food ingredients, noting if a manufacturer was transparent about their ingredient sources.)  We suspect this is the “tip of the iceberg” as the Chinese get more creative in transporting suspect food exports (melamine-contaminated dairy products, for example).

So for now, it seems that you & Pup can enjoy peanut butter from a jar.  (Here’s a fun dog-peanut butter video.)  Keep in mind that the sugar & fat in calorie-dense peanut butter is only OK for Fido in moderation.  Small dogs & those with digestive difficulties are most sensitive to high-fat diets.  Ask your vet what’s right for Rover.

As always, we’ll keep you current. (Sign up for emails.)  While this post is up, we’ll update its links.  Read past “You Are What You Eat” posts for more diet news.  And check our cat & dog diet tips.

© 2009 CritterConsulting

Jan 16

How are your New Year’s resolutions going?

Now’s the time when we seem to keep or break them (especially that pesky weight-loss commitment).   Need more incentive?  Team up with your pet!  We’ve got some suggestions to keep you going.  (And, if you didn’t make any resolutions for the new year, keep in mind that every day is a good day to start!)

  • Resolve to cherish your pet’s company. Contact us for training & behavior help for dogs & cats of any age.
  • Enlist your dog as a jogging partner.  Of course, check with your doctor & your vet before you & your dog begin any new exercise program.  No weekend-warrior heroics you’ll regret later!  Ease yourselves into your new routine.  Read more about “Running With Your Dog”in the latest issue of the “Whole Dog Journal”.  (There’s a charge for downloading the article, but it’s worth it!)
  • Need more exercise ideas? Dogchannel.com has tips to help you & Rover get in shape.  For rainy-day, indoor games to play with Fido, read an excerpt from Arden Moore’s book, “50 Simple Ways to Pamper Your Dog”.
  • 40% of dogs and 20% of cats are overweight. Weight gain is as unhealthy for our pets as it is for us.  Oregonlive.com has wonderful weight-loss ideas for dogs & cats.
  • Curb your cravings – take Pup for a walk! A new study shows that just a brisk, 15-minute  walk can silence a nagging, sweet-tooth craving.
  • Go for a walk with KittyRead about leash training your cat.  It’s true that not all cats are good candidates for leash walks.  Contact us – we’re happy to help you discover if strolls with Fluffy are for you!
  • So your cat’s convinced the leash is evil, no matter what?  Try these exercise alternatives with Kitty.  (You might not get a cardio workout, but playtime with your pet will reduce your stress levels.)
  • If your dog could make resolutions, Dogtime.com made a list Fido would love.
  • Make a resolution that benefits your pet. We love the SF SPCA’s suggestions, from their e-newsletter, “The Scoop”:
  • If you haven’t already done so, choose a good veterinarian for your pet.
  • A yearly wellness check-up, for both dogs and cats, which includes a medical and dental examination, is a pro-active way to ensure your pet’s health for the New Year.
  • If your pet is overweight, resolve to give him more exercise and to feed him a healthy diet.
  • It’s important to follow your vet’s guidance about vaccination schedules, for rabies and other deadly diseases.
  • Have your dog or cat tested for heartworm and other parasites.
  • If your pet is on medication, always follow the dosage instructions exactly.
  • Finish all the medication prescribed and get a refill when you’re supposed to.
  • It’s also important to keep a file of your pet’s medical records and history.
  • Have your pet spayed or neutered, if you haven’t already done so.   This is the most important way to reduce the numbers of unwanted companion animals, and it also has health and behavioral benefits for your pet.
  • Have your cat or dog microchipped, because it’s the most effective way to recover a missing pet.
  • Keep a current photograph of your pet just in case he does get lost.
  • As a special New Year resolution for cats, the animal behaviorists at the San Francisco SPCA suggest daily play sessions with interactive toys for physical and mental fitness.   And keep your cat indoors – she’ll live a longer, healthier life.
  • For dogs and puppies, the behaviorists recommend reward-based training or activity classes, which are loads of fun.
  • Resolve to go for a walk with your dog every day.
  • And make it a happy New Year by spending as much time as possible with your animal companion.

And, we resolve to continue bringing you the latest info on pet behavior & training; diet; health; seasonal tips; and just-for-fun news.  Happy New Year!

© 2009 CritterConsulting