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Sherry’s Corner » blueberries

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Heard Around the Water Bowl

HEARD AROUND THE WATER BOWL. “No kill shelters” are “limited access shelters”.  For some shelters a temperament test and a physical are required in order to surrender a pet!  (Some shelters use a foster system only.  This has its drawbacks as well as advantages–just as with foster homes for children!  Foster homes can be subsidized mini-boarding kennels without supervision.)  The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has been called a paper industry!  It has no shelters or foster system.  And, a very reliable source was overheard calling one area shelter “a non-profit puppy mill”.   And last, but far from least, one veterinarian asks, “At the request of a good client, would you inject or dispense an anabolic steroid or a growth enhancing agent for his or her hopeful prize-winning dog?”

      ANTIOXIDANTS seems to be the banner cry of nutritionists.  How do they work and what are they?  GOOD molecules have paired electrons.   BAD molecules or free radicals contain unpaired electrons which attack cells and even scavenge electrons.  Think of these free radicals as thieves trying to steal electrons.  The bad molecules can originate within the body itself or can come from a bad environment–air pollution, exposure to UV light or radiation.  Antioxidants neutralize free radicals either by providing the extra electron needed to make the pair or by breaking down the free radical to render it harmless.  Because antioxidants are used up in this process, the diet needs to have a constant supply.  It is best to obtain the antioxidants through natural food and not supplements or processed food.  Blueberries are a good example.  A recent article in the AKC Gazette noted that blueberries are added to the diet of dogs at Westminster to help combat damage from air pollution, etc.,  etc.  My Springers have a breakfast ration mixed with non-fat plain yogurt and topped with fresh blueberries when they are in season.  Frozen blueberries will work too.  All colorful fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants.  See which ones your pets might like best sprinkled on their usual meal.  And, let’s hope a  pet food store will  bring a farmer’s market to its front door.

      CAGNEY, my senior canine companion, and I seem to be sharing the same or similar supplements.  We both take fish oil and milk thistle.  She takes CosequinD for her arthritis and I take Cosamin DS for mine.  Both are made by Nutramax.  She now takes Relax Caps since she had a seizure and I am wondering if she should share these with me too.

      When I was able to do pet therapy it was always wise to remember never to visit a resident alone.  I remember one team who suffered because someone felt slighted in the room and later reported the dog had scratched her.  Investigation revealed that she had scratched herself with a nail file.  Still it took awhile before therapy dog teams were allowed back into the facility, preventing others from all the benefits of such visitation.  Two teams can witness the events.   Back to pet therapy guidelines as reviewed in the Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association.  They advise that dogs visiting family members in a healthcare facility who do not have therapy dog certification be CONFINED TO FAMILY MEMBERS ONLY–no sharing because he is so cute and everyone wants to meet him!   The Guidelines  also exclude animals who have been fed any raw or dehydrated foods, chews or treats of animal origin within the past 90 days.  The threat is of course salmonella.  Also excluded are animals who are being treated with antimicrobials, animals receiving immunosuppressive dosages of any medications, animals with open wounds, ear infections, or acute moist dermatitis and of course animals in season.  

      I will finish this  quick review of the Guidelines next week.  Until then your veterinarian has access to this article and I am sure can answer your questions.

Aug 10, 2008 | Comments are off | Humane Society of the United States, antioxidants, blueberries, no kill shelters, pet therapy

Pennsylvania Dog Law, Blueberries, and “Shrimp”

 

According to Deputy Secretary Jesse Smith, the Dog Law Advisory Board meeting has been moved to May 14th. Rep. David Millard has scheduled a meeting with Smith in his Bloomsburg office on the 8th. Since the Dog Law Bureau has decided to take the new regulations through the legislative process, anyone who has concerns should write, call or email Millard. Wouldn=t it be nice if Representative Merle Phillips and Senator John Gordner would join in this effort to gather information? Phillips, by the way, was one of the first elected officials to target and promote the need for dog bite prevention education–especially for toddlers. You might even call Phillips the AGod Father of UGH DOG@ ( symbol for a dangerous dog designed to warn those who cannot read that there is a biting dog on the premises). UGH DOG is part of the Dangerous Dog law and was whelped in Columbia County, drawn by an artist who was a dog bite victim, and later modified by the Geisinger Medical Center.

I urge all dog lovers to take the time to read breed columns in various all-breed magazines and also to seek out magazines that are specific to a breed. For example, understanding terriers is most important. Not only are terriers an endangered group in the world of dogs, but many of the dogs that need homes in our shelters and rescues are terriers. Fostering and owning terriers or terrier mixes has unique problems special to these breeds. It is important that we understand their history and purpose and appreciate these wonderful companions–or we may lose them. Breed-specific legislation (BSL) and dwindling registrations are taking a toll on terriers. Cesar, the renowned dog trainer, is leading the way by making his Ademo@ dog and companion, “Daddy” and “Junior”, a five-month-old blue pit bull, TV examples of good dogs. Also, organizations and groups should donate dog books and magazines to local libraries to promote all-breed understanding. An example of a great terrier magazine is Just Terriers, published four times a year. Besides stories and articles on terriers, the magazine provides readers with book reviews of interest to all dog lovers– one example is AThe Miss Fido Manners complete book of dog etiquette@ ; another is AWinterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod@, plus such provocative articles as the use of bloodroot in tumor treatment and the new AAngel on a Leash@ therapy dog movement. Angel is led by the famed David Frei of Westminster fame, accompanied by his two Brittanys, and usually has Westminster winners making the rounds of children=s hospitals.

When I read about the value of blueberries in a dog=s diet I added them to my Springers’ breakfast fare. Blueberries, of course, are an excellent source of antioxidants, and the article by a noted nutritionist in the AKC Gazette told how the fruit was added to the diets of Westminster winners. Most veterinarians moan about dry diets being over- processed to the point that much of the nutritive value put into the bags isn=t as beneficial as natural sources of the same substances. One veterinarian in a letter to the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association suggested that canned food had a higher nutritive value than dry foods since it wasn=t subjected to the same degree of over-processing. He suggested adding canned food to a dry kibble for a better diet and, of course, adding t/d to make sure the teeth and gums remained healthy. Unfortunately, t/d is high calorie and so one has to watch amounts of this excellent formula.

The same issue of the journal contains a study of oral dental chews shaped like toothbrushes. These treats are now quite safe because the manufacturer has changed the formula so the chews dissolve more quickly and don=t cause blocking problems. Make sure, however, the toothbrush-shaped treats are marked post-2006.

And finally, the breed or combination of breeds of the poster dog for Pennsylvania puppy mills, AShrimp”, owned by Mainline Rescue=s Bill Smith, and seen on “Oprah”, is a subject of debate and interest. Shrimp has a history of being a purebred AKC-registered Poodle and originally looked starved, neglected and inbred. Shrimp is currently a Maltese Poodle mix. There is a way to determine Shrimp=s lineage and we have to when Shrimp’s owner will take the steps necessary to answer this question, now that Shrimp has become a celebrity dog. Doing so will allow us to get on to the real problems of spay/neuter and most especially designer dogs who are probably the largest population found in Pennsylvania shelters.

Apr 12, 2008 | Comments are off | Dangerous Dog Law, Dog Law Advisory Board, UGH DOG, Uncategorized, blueberries, dog magazines, oral dental chews