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Timely bits of current information to help "Empower the Holistic Pet Parent Consumer" . . . scamper over and retrieve past articles from our Just Pets Blog History Archive.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

What are Storage Mites?

Commonly referred to as the mold mite, tyrophagus putrescentiae is a grain storage mite. Increased moisture and humidity are the perfect environment for storage mites to develop. Colonization of the storage mite generally goes unnoticed until your dog or cat develops symptoms. Such mites are often found in dry kibble dog and cat foods as well as boxed pet treats. The moisture (<10%) content in the dry kibble provides a breeding ground for the storage mites. Storage Mites are not dust mites.

Pets are exposed to storage mites by eating the dry kibble and are at risk of sensitization and allergic response. Pets may be exposed to the mite body parts and their excretions through inhalation or percutaneous absorption. Time and exposure to storage mites causes clinical signs in certain pets and immunotherapy may become necessary. Environmental control is most important in minimizing your pet's clinical signs of sensitivities to storage mites in conjunction with immunotherapy. Storage Mites are often overlooked by the veterinarian as a possible cause for certain allergic responses in dogs and cats.

Storage mite infestations have been found in dried fruits, cereals, flour, grain, seeds, straw, bulbs as well as wallpaper and furniture. It is impossible to completely eliminate storage mites from the environment. It is possible to control their population by taking precautions.
  1. Buy premium pet foods and treats, in well-sealed bags and boxes, without any holes or tears. Quality foods have little excess debris in the bottom of the bag or box.
  2. Check the date on the bag. Buy only the quantity that you need for a 30 day supply.
  3. Do not stockpile dry pet food.
  4. Do not buy short-dated dry kibble, no matter what the discount may be on the product because it has been hanging around too long.
  5. Upon opening a fresh bag of kibble, divide the kibble into portion size freezer storage bags or freezer containers and freeze, freeze, freeze.
  6. Remove serving portions, from the freeze and immediately return the remainder to cold storage.
  7. Date the freezer bags with both the Product Expiration Date from the original bag and the date you open and freeze the kibble. It is easy to determine stale kibble.
  8. Do not store dry kibble in the garage or basement even if you have a closed rodent proof container.
  9. Let you "nose" check for any unusual odor in the kibble and your "eyes" for mold or dust on the kibble. 
  10. Vacuum and keep clean your pet's eating area.
  11. Wash all food dishes and storage containers in hot water and dry thoroughly.
  12. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water whenever handling dry pet food kibble. Avoid cross-contamination with dry kibble and human eating surfaces. Always use safe-handling procedures.
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This article was originally published on February 23, 2012 on the JUST PETS blog. Reprinted by request.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Cranberries - A Natural Blocker

The cranberry has the ability to block bacteria from attaching to the bladder wall thereby preventing infection and allowing bacteria to be flushed out in the urine for both pets and their human companions. The most common urinary tract infections especially in dogs are caused by E. coli bacteria which seems to enjoy an alkaline urine. The most common bladder stones in cats and dogs and the sand like and microscopic crystals often found in FLUTD in cats (feline lower urinary tract disease) form in an alkaline urine. Holistic studies have found that acidifying the urine with natural cranberry extracts has proven to be most helpful.

Do not use canned or prepared cranberry products with added sugars or other ingredients. Fresh boiled cranberries and their natural juices make an excellent topper for your pet.  Use a medium pot with 2 cups pure water only - no sugar - and bring to full boil. Slowly add about 20-25 fresh cranberries to the boiling water, reduce heat, and stir constantly. The cranberries will begin to pop as they cook, so be careful and use a cover to avoid splatter. A gel-like quality will begin to form. As the cranberries cook and thicken, slowly continue to reduce heat. Avoid scorching. Cranberries should be thoroughly cooked for pets. Allow cooling. Refrigerate and store prepared cranberries in glass or ceramic storage container for future use.

When your veterinarian recommends a urine acidifier for your pet, try natural cranberries. Your veterinarian will be pleased to recommend a dosage appropriate to your pet's specific needs. You may easily mix the prepared cranberries into your pet's food ration. Do not use cranberries in conjunction with veterinary proprietary acidifying diets, but your veterinarian already knows that and so should you.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

New Year's Resolutions 2016 Pets and Companions

We make resolutions, to improve our daily lives. Let's not forget to include our beloved pet companions as well in 2016.

RESOLVE to visit our veterinarian, annually for a wellness checkup that includes a Chemistry Blood Panel, Urinalysis, and T4 Thyroid. Discuss the possibilities of Titer Testing for your pet, prior to routine and often unnecessary vaccinations. Your veterinarian should be your guide and should mirror your philosophy of caring for your beloved companion. You should be comfortable in talking to your vet, about not only medical care but also your financial situation when it comes to such care. The economy has hurt everyone. Our pets should not suffer because of finances, so talk to your doctor. Most vets are understanding and will work within your parameters. If not, find another veterinarian.

RESOLVE to take better care of your pet’s oral hygiene. So many medical issues develop from poor oral pet care. The result is a costly extraction of teeth, infection, and even serious medical conditions that can develop. Resolve to take daily care of your pet’s teeth. Many products are available, select one and use it daily.

RESOLVE to routinely check your pet’s ears for odor or debris. A sweet smell means a trip to the vet. Medical issues left untreated in the pet’s ears may cause serious damage. See your veterinarian.

RESOLVE to have a weight management diagnosis by your vet and monitor your companion’s weight. Obesity harms not only our pet’s self-esteem but also causes medical conditions. Extra weight adds to the stress of joints, muscles, and hips. Extra pounds added by extra food and treats – usually high in fat and calories, stress the liver, pancreas, and digestive tract. For daily digestive care, we suggest natural 100% canned pumpkin. 

RESOLVE to remove unnecessary treats and foods from your pet’s daily diet. Introduce, appropriate fresh fruits and vegetables. Avoid over-feeding. Couch potatoes needs less food and active pets need more. Seek a realistic balance based on your pet’s activity level and size.

RESOLVE not to be overly influenced by “product marketing hype”. Changing your pet’s diet without proper evaluation can cause other issues to develop. Diet change may be appropriate but then again it may not be. Use caution and check your sources.

RESOLVE to exercise more. It is healthy for both you and your companion. Small dogs and even cats enjoy the fresh air from the front seat of a stroller. The exercise is great for both of you. Larger pets enjoy a brisk walk. Do not let your pet “sniff and stroll”. Very little exercise is gained from a 30 minute outing that covers a half a block. Get a “walking clip” going – let your pet “stretch those legs ”.

RESOLVE to check your pet’s body routinely for the noticeable development of “bumps, cysts or other body growths”. Have your veterinarian check any abnormalities.

RESOLVE to remove "stressors" from your home. Both you and your companion will grow in healthy harmony without an orchestra of turmoil and confusion. 

RESOLVE to be better “citizens of your community”. Always cleanup after outings. Be sure your pet has obedience manners, is leashed, always under your control and obeys the “no jump, no bark” rules with strangers. Unfortunately, not everyone appreciates our beloved companions as we do. We all need to be better “pet citizens”.

Let us set a good example and just maybe we may gain a convert or two to join us in the “Joys of Owning A Companion Pet”. 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Winter and Paws

Winter is rearing up . . .  Be sure to keep your pets away from antifreeze - no open nor easily accessible containers in garages or storage areas. Dogs can track the scent and they like the sweet taste of antifreeze - due in part to the propylene glycol, a slip agent. Antifreeze will cause kidney failure, if left untreated. If you suspect ingestion by your pet - get them immediately to the veterinarian. Do not try to treat this ingestion yourself.

Most communities use "salting" products to breakdown the ice on sidewalks, streets etc. Such "salting" products are chemically made ingredients designed to breakdown the ice molecules to prevent slippage or skidding. These same chemicals will attach themselves to your pet's soft paws as your pet walks through the treated areas. Try to keep you pet away from such areas. Be sure to wipe your pet's paws with a soap and warm water cloth immediately upon returning home. These chemicals often cause a burn like reaction in some dogs. If you do not clean your dog's paws, your pet will likely "lick his/her feet" and ingest those chemicals. Before you know it, a healthy pet is suddenly sick, and another trip to the vet. As an added precaution, remove outdoor human boots that may have traveled through "salted" areas at the backdoor and explain to children the purpose of boot hygiene - plus it will help keep your kitchen floor clean!

Take a little extra care and you and your pet will have a pleasant winter season.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Holiday Traditions, Pets and Children 2015

Poinsettias, Mistletoe, Christmas Trees, Wreaths, Garlands Candles and Lights are traditions of the Holiday Season. Please use caution in placing these decorations in your home when dogs, cats, and small children are present. The sap from poinsettias may cause skin or eye irritations in certain individuals and pets. Some cats and dogs may choose to taste the bitter flowers and leaves. Though ASPCA contends that the correlation between the amount of plant ingested is directly related to the degree of digestive upset that a pet will develop - use common sense and keep the decorations away and out of reach for pets and small children. Do not forget that the water in the Christmas tree stand may be appealing to your pets! Keep fresh drinking water available at all times. Your pets should not be "scampering around under your tree”. Cats love the movement and shine of tinsel but their enjoyment could topple the tree and your holidays. Use extra care with your holiday decorations. If you suspect a toxic reaction, contact your pet veterinarian or child's pediatrician. A season of joy provides the perfect environment for pets and small children to get into mischief! Be extra cautious and know precisely where these divine little creatures are at all times!  Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to All.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Detergent Poisoning in Pets & Children

Technology has produced the means for manufacturing attractive packaging for certain detergents known as "Pods".  Such products have become increasingly appealing to curious dogs and children.  Your household needs to be "ON GUARD" when using such products.  Remember, BOTH PETS and CHILDREN are quick and can get into trouble!

Detergents are divided into several categories. 
  • Soaps: Bar soaps, laundry soaps, and homemade soaps. 
  • Anionic : Laundry detergents, shampoos, laundry pods, dish soaps, and electric dish washing detergents. 
  • Cationic : Fabric softeners, sanitizers, disinfectants, and rust inhibitors in petroleum products. This category includes quaternary ammoniums. 
  • Non-ionic: Dish washing detergents, shampoos, and some laundry detergents. 
General Information 
Detergents come in a variety of forms with each having a different level of toxicity. Every home has these common products in some form, and all family members need to be aware of the dangers. 

Toxic Dose 
  • Soaps: True soaps are usually not toxic. 
  • Anionic: Slightly to moderately toxic; may result in illness but generally not fatalities. 
  • Cationic: Highly to extremely toxic; 1% solutions are damaging to mucous membranes. 
  • Non-ionic: Less toxic than the anionic and cationic detergents. 
Signs of Toxicity
  • Soaps: Vomiting and diarrhea. Homemade soap may cause corrosive GI lesions (burns). 
  • Anionic: Irritated mucous membranes, vomiting, lack of appetite, diarrhea, and GI distention. May have corrosive injuries in the mouth and GI tract. Eye exposure may result in edema around the cornea, reddening and swelling of the conjunctiva, and corneal erosion or ulcers. 
  • Cationic: Vomiting, lack of appetite, drooling, muscle weakness, depression, seizures, collapse, coma, and burns to the mouth and GI tract. Eye exposure may cause redness and severe corneal erosion and ulcers. Skin exposure may result in hair loss and skin irritation. 
  • Non-ionic: Vomiting and diarrhea. 
Immediate Action: DO NOT induce vomiting if ingested. It may cause more harm. Seek veterinary attention. In the case of dermal contact, flush the skin for at least 30 minutes with running water. In the case of eye contact, flush the eye with sterile saline or water for 20 minutes. Seek veterinary attention while you are performing the decontamination. 

Veterinary Care: General treatment: Administration of milk or water in the case of soap, anionic, or non-ionic detergent ingestion, or administration of milk, water, or egg whites in the case of cationic detergent ingestion. If dermal (skin) or ocular exposure occurred, the affected areas will continue to be flushed with sterile saline. Supportive treatment: Pain medication may be administered, hydration is maintained through IV fluids, and other treatments for symptoms may be given. 

Specific treatment: Unavailable.  Suggested supplementation after care: fish oil,  digestive and immune support nutrients for at least 60-90 days depending on severity of ingested detergent poison.
Prognosis fair to good, depending on detergent ingested and quickness of obtaining medical/veterinary treatment.

If you think your pet has been poisoned: 
IMMEDIATELY Contact your veterinarian 
or one of the Animal Poison Hot lines (listed below) if you think your pet may have accidentally received or been given an overdose of the medication. 

ASPCA National Animal Poison Control Center 
(1-888-426-4435). There is a CHARGE and is billed to caller's credit card. 
Follow-up calls can be made for no additional charge by dialing 888-299-2973. 
There is no charge when the call involves a product covered by the Animal Product Safety Service. 
Pet Poison Helpline 
24-hour service available throughout North America for pet owners and veterinary professionals who require assistance with treating a potentially poisoned pet. 
1-800-213-6680  There is a CHARGE per incident. Staffed 24-hours a day. 

PurelyPetCare 2013

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Warm Food - like a Boat

Warming your pet's food slightly - cat or dog - enhances the scent and adds to digestibility. Using the microwave is not appropriate to warm directly, your pet's food. See  Plastics, Aluminum - The Dangers 

A suggestion: Try using a safe microwavable container that is deep and large enough to accommodate your pet's feeding dish - like a "boat". 

Heat only enough water in the "empty - water only" microwaveable container to allow for water displacement by the feeding dish AFTER the water is heated. The feeding dish with food -"boat" should "sit" in the water "not float".

Remove container with hot water from microwave and place your pet's feeding dish, with food in the previously heated water.

Like a "boat" the hot water "surrounds" your pet's feeding dish with food, and warms it gently, ever so slightly to your finger touch. 

I use a Corning microwaveable container and a small glass feeding dish and it works well. Be careful when removing the hot water from the microwave. Check the temperature of your pet's food in the dish BEFORE feeding. 

Stainless steel, ceramic or glass feeding dishes will heat up quickly when placed in the previously heated microwavable container. Once you determine the heat time of the water in the microwave and the time for the "boat" with food, to sit in the water - it becomes easy to safely warm your pet's food without loss of valuable and fragile nutrients otherwise "lost" by direct microwave. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Toxins - Poisons and Dogs

The following listing is incomplete - there are many other toxins that can and will cause damage to the health of your dog.  These are serious issues and require  immediate veterinary care. We have indicated the most common culprits.Certain ordinary foods and ingredients will cause toxic reactions in dogs. Contact  your Veterinarian or ASPCA Animal Poison Control when in doubt.
Excerpts taken from author's most recent books.
  • Alcohol, Beer, Wine, Diet, Caffeinated, and Sugared, Supplemented or Energy beverages will cause serious toxic reactions.
  • Avocados fruit, pit, and plant contain the toxic component persin, which causes damage to heart, lung, and other tissues. Avocados are high in fat and can trigger stomach upset, vomiting, or pancreatitis. The amount ingested or the effects of persin in dogs that can cause these symptoms are unknown. According to ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, some dogs can eat small quantities of avocado fruit without having any adverse reactions. The Guatemalan variety is the most common produce found in stores and appears to be the most problematic. Other varieties have varying degrees of toxic potential.
  • Chicken bones can splinter. Do not feed chicken bones. Raw bones from game meats such as elk have a greater density. Elk bones tend to splinter less.
  • Cherry, Peach, Pear, Plum, Apricot Pits, and Apple Seeds contain Cyanide. A few apple seeds may do no harm, but the effects are cumulative. Dogs often like to chew on the pits that, if swallowed, can cause choking as well as ingesting the toxin.
  • Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine. The darker the chocolate the more dangerous it is. Any chocolate in large enough quantities, and based on the size of the dog who consumes it, can be fatal. An ounce of chocolate can poison a 30 lb. dog. Many dogs would gladly consume more than this amount. Symptoms may not show up for several hours, based on size of the dog, giving the owner a false sense of security. Dark or Light Chocolate ingested by a dog is dangerous and can cause seizures, coma and even death.
  • Grapes, Raisins, and their juices can cause kidney failure in dogs. Based on the amount consumed and the size of the dog, a few ingested raisins or grapes can cause damage or death.
  • Household products, soaps, especially the newer "pods", cleaners, paints, fertilizers, antifreeze, automotive products, plastic bags, strings, coins, and paper clips are appealing to dogs and deadly when ingested.
  • Household and Garden Plants: Azaleas, rhododendrons, tulips, daffodils, sago palms, poinsettias may cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures liver failure, convulsions or death.
  • Human Prescription Medicines, Supplements, Over the Counter Products, Essential Oils, Medicated Creams, Cosmetics etc., when ingested damage the liver, affects other organs, and can cause death.
  • Macadamia Nuts cause weakness, muscle tremor, and paralysis.
  • Nutmeg can cause tremors, seizures, and death based on the amount ingested and size of the dog.
  • Onions cause cumulative damage over time. Even in small quantities raw, powdered, dehydrated, or cooked onions can destroy red blood cells and can cause hemolytic anemia, weakness, and difficulty breathing.
  • Raw Egg Whites contain a protein called avidin that can deplete the dog of biotin, a vital B vitamin. Biotin is essential to growth, skin, and coat. Lack of Biotin can cause hair loss, weakness, growth retardation, or skeletal deformity. Raw eggs yolks contain enough Biotin to prevent deficiency, so this is not a problem with raw whole eggs. Raw eggs yolks may contain salmonella. Raw Feeders should not use raw egg whites or raw eggs in raw diets. Hardboiled eggs are better for the dog s diet.
  • Rodent Poisons cause serious problems when ingested directly by the dog, or if the dog should ingest the dead rodent or bird.
  • Too much can Salt cause kidney problems. Dogs that eat salty foods, drink too much water, develop bloat, and can require immediate medical attention. Dogs do not need salt added to their diets. Fried Foods, Rotisseure Chicken, Ham, Bacon, Turkey skin or Chicken Skin contains salts and fats that can cause pancreatitis.
  • Dogs should not have access to green tomatoes the plants, leaves, fruit, or stems as they contain atropine. Atropine known to cause dilated pupils, tremors, or heart arrhythmias. Ripe or cooked tomatoes with seeds are less problematic.
  • Wild Mushrooms can cause abdominal pain, drooling, liver, kidney damage, vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures.
  • Xylitol an artificial sweetener that is found in everything from toothpaste, to candy and diet foods. It causes a sudden drop in blood sugar, resulting in depression, loss of coordination and seizures.

Information updated through American Veterinary Medicine Association and the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.

Experts are available for guidance 24 hours a day. A consultation fee is charged.
ASPCA Emergency call number - 1.888.426.4435 Pet Poison Hotline 1. 800.213. 6680