Dog Treats Recalled

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Treat Recall

Both Nestle Purina PetCare and Milo’s kitchen are voluntarily recalling chicken dog treats nationwide due to the potential that the products may contain trace amounts of residual antibiotics that are not approved in the U.S.

The recalled products include Purina’s Waggin’ Train and Canyon Creek Ranch dog treats, as well as Milo’s Kitchen Chicken Jerky and Chicken Grillers.  Canyon Creek Ranch dog and cat foods are manufactured in the U.S. and are not included in the recall.

On Monday, the New York State Department of Agriculture discovered that traces of unapproved antibiotics used on poultry had made its way into the Chinese-made food products.  The antibiotics in question are approved by China and the European Union, but not in the U.S.

Purina and Milo’s Kitchen say the products are safe but are recalling their products because of the difference in regulations.  The general manager of Milo’s Kitchen, Rob Leibowitz, issued a statement, saying “Pet safety and consumer confidence in our products are top priorities.  While there is no known health risk, the presence of even trace amounts of these antibiotics does not meet our high quality standards.  Therefore, today we decided to recall both products and asked retailers to remove the products from their shelves.”

Since 2007, more than two thousand pet owners in the U.S. reported dogs falling ill or dying after eating tainted treats made in China.  Symptoms reported to the FDA include gastrointestinal problems like vomiting and diarrhea, as well as kidney problems, which can cause dogs to drink and urinate more than usual.

The Food and Drug Administration continues to investigate jerky treats, but the agency said no definitive cause had been identified yet.  FDA officials also said they were confident that the detection of antibiotics “do not raise health concerns,” and that they are “highly unlikely” to be related to the reports of pet illness linked to jerky treats, according to a statement published late Wednesday.

For Waggin’ Train product refund or more information, consumers can call – 1-800-982-0704 or go to www.waggintrainbrand.com

For Milo’s Kitchen product refund or more information, consumers can call 1-877-228-6493

The Facts About Keeping Parrots As “Pets”

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parrots in paradiseWhether captured in the wild or born in captivity, parrots are not domesticated animals like cats and dogs. They are still wild animals. Their natural curiosity, sensitivity, intellect, playfulness, and ability to form bonds with humans can tempt people to keep them in captivity. Unfortunately, the traits that make parrots so intriguing are the same ones that make them extremely difficult to live with as companion animals. Many parrots find themselves displaced as their natural behaviors and needs clash with human expectations. Before you buy or adopt a parrot, consider the following facts:

Parrots bite and instictively chew — you and your home!

Parrots are messy and active and require space to move about and play!

Birds continuously shed “feather dust” – particles of feathers, which may aggravate asthma.

Parrots scream, but many do not talk!

Most parrots won’t learn cute tricks!

Parrots are social and need daily attention!

Some parrots never bond with humans!

Parrots need to be served a varied diet, not just seeds and pellets but grains, beans, fruits and vegetables as well!

Parrots are very sensitive to air quality! Tobacco smoke, hair spray, cleaning products, etc., can all be very dangerous for them.

Parrot cages, toys, and vet visits are expensive!

Large parrots can live up to 80 years — will you?

Educating yourself about parrots before bringing one into your life is crucial to solving the homeless parrot problem!  Only people who thoroughly understand that parrots are wild animals and who can commit to meeting their demanding needs should consider providing a home for one. Only then will all parrots kept in captivity be properly cared for and appreciated for the wild animals they are, the pet market’s demand for “impulse purchased” baby parrots will decrease, and the homeless bird epidemic will become a thing of the past.

A Foster’s Gift To My Family

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This was one of the happiest holidays I can remember, filled with the love of family, friends, and the wonderful dogs that came to play with us. But I never would have expected that the greatest holiday blessing of all would come from one of my foster dogs. Rolo gave me something that money can’t buy: a deeper, stronger, and happier bond with my recently adopted fur kid Max.

MaxMax, a beautiful and laid back 6 year old Australian Shepherd, came to live with me after being severely neglected and abandoned at a vet’s office in Indiana. Though I’m told he was only with his previous family for a short time, it was clear that he was emotionally affected by the experience. I struggled to get him to play with me and, even though he’s an incredibly sweet and gentle dog, he rarely initiated affection. It’s a well known fact that there are few things more important to me than my dogs so it was nothing short of heartbreaking to me that even though he loved our hikes, our trips to go swimming, and all the tasty treats, he never seemed to connect with me on a deeper level and therefore couldn’t tell how much I adore him.

rolo rollOver the last few months I was the lucky foster mom to a wild and crazy Aussie puppy named Rolo.  Max has always enjoyed the company of his foster friends but his bond with Rolo was something truly special. Rolo was a constant firestorm of playful energy and Max was his favorite target. Hours upon hours a day were spent wrestling, chasing, and pummeling each other with reckless abandon. Max instantly went from being the wallflower to being the most popular guy in school and he loved it!

When Rolo was adopted, Max spent several days in a deep depression over the loss of his friend and I was scared that all the progress he’d made would vanish. But Max wasn’t about to let Rolo’s absence keep him from being the center of attention. My heart now soars every time Max picks up a teddy bear and hurls himself into my lap for rowdy belly rubs and vigorous wrestling; and every time I walk in the door to see his huge smile and his whole butt shaking with joy I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. Today he’s an affection loving playaholic, and I can’t help but feel truly blessed and enormously thankful to have had Rolo in my life.

Cuddling To The Max

January Is Adopt A Rescued Bird Month!

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Lots of attention and publicity is given to abandoned and displaced dogs and cats, but many forget about more exotic pets like birds.  With YouTube videos popping up all over the internet of dancing and singing parrots, it’s no wonder they have grown in popularity.  Unfortunately, most families purchasing these wonderful creatures are unaware of the enormous responsibility they are undertaking and the wild, noisy, and often destructive nature of the animals they are bringing into their home.  This has lead to a dramatic increase in birds in need of Rescue.  In honor of Adopt A Rescued Bird Month, we will be sharing information about the growing need for avian education.  Though I don’t generally like to copy the work of others, I thought the Avian Welfare Coalition described the problem better than I ever could:

The Problem

pet parrotThe displaced captive bird population is increasing at a frightening rate. Like other exotic “pets,” parrots are often much more difficult to keep than people anticipate because they are wild animals like tigers, monkeys, and reptiles, not domesticated as human companions for thousands of generations like dogs and cats. High care demands, behavioral challenges, and an extremely long life expectancy leave many parrots unwanted and displaced as they mature. Only a small fraction of birds — especially large parrots — will remain in their first home for their entire lifetime. Unfortunately, public education has not yet caught up to these realities of birdkeeping. The throwaway bird population has recently boomed as people have tired of the now mature, demanding exotic parrots they purchased during the affluent 90s.

Although parrot breeding is expensive and labor-intensive, many people have chosen to breed their birds as a hobby or business. Some do it as a ill-conceived solution for un-petlike wild breeding behaviors. As their parrots reach maturity and start to show aggression, many people find it easier to place them in “breeding situations” to produce more temporarily sweet babies than it is to work to understand and tolerate their birds’ natural behaviors or their frustrations with their artificial captive life. Others breed birds because they want to supplement their income, or because they enjoy bringing new life into the world. These are not necessarily bad motives, but as the displaced captive parrot population has exploded, it is now critical for aviculturists to reassess the impact of their business or hobby on the lifetime well-being of the animals they love.

Hand-feeding baby birds is extremely time-consuming. Some breeders attempt to cut corners and increase their profit margins by selling unweaned hand-fed chicks for a buyer to “finish off,” claiming that this ensures a strong bird/human bond. While selling unweaned babies is now frowned upon, most breeders still wean their baby parrots far too early — long before a baby would be independent of its parents in the wild and properly socialized for a successful, happy adult life. Many also still clip babies’ wings before they learn to fly (fledge) in order to make them easier to manage. Mature flying, adult behavioral modeling, and proper weaning are closely linked behaviors. A wild baby bird must be able to travel to locate food and learn how to be a bird from its parents. Forced weaning, lack of exposure to adult bird role models, and premature wing-clipping can cause long-term physical and emotional health problems that can permanently undermine a parrot’s well-being. This results in the majority of baby birds hitting the pet market programmed for long-term failure as pets. The most conscientious breeders make little, if any, money from their time investment.

Large-scale “parrot mill” breeding operations, such as Kaytee Preferred Birds,* which supplies PETsMART, are now producing thousands of chicks each year, with a goal of producing even more! They have a network of breeders that mass-produce both parent-raised and hand-fed birds, which are transferred to hand-feeding facilities and stores at an early age. While it is in the company’s best interest to raise these birds in relatively clean, regulated, disease-free facilities, it is next to impossible to properly, personally socialize and educate baby parrots under such assembly line, parent-free production breeding conditions. To make matters worse, when these birds are sold through warehouse pet stores like PETsMART and PETCO, buyers rarely receive quality products or solid care advice from the inexperienced, transient staff often employed at these stores. In addition, the display and marketing of gentle, beautiful, juvenile birds in pet stores leads to many being purchased on impulse, and a parrot purchased on impulse without a foundation of education rarely finds a lifelong home.

Because of all of these factors, thousands and thousands of captive parrots are displaced each year, and bird rescue and adoption shelters and sanctuaries are full to capacity with unreleasable wild animals that are extremely difficult to place in proper new homes.

The Solution

parrotIt is time for those of us who love birds to work to tackle the displaced bird problem! The solution is threefold:

1) Education BEFORE Commitment

The public MUST be educated about how demanding captive parrots and other birds can be before they purchase or adopt a bird. Thousands of captive parrots lose their homes each year because they were bought on impulse by someone unaware of a bird’s potential noise, mess, aggression, destructiveness, longevity, expense, time commitment, and daily care needs. It is a rare person or family that can make a lifetime commitment to a parrot — they are wild animals! If you are thinking of purchasing or adopting a bird, first read current bird books and magazines, join a local bird club to learn from other members, and volunteer at a local bird adoption and rescue organization for hands-on bird care experience. If you are an experienced birdkeeper, share your knowledge with novices whenever possible. Be creative, and be honest! Describe not only the wonderful things that you enjoy about your bird, but the challenges you face every day in caring for him or her. Explain why your lifestyle and personality are suitable for birdkeeping, and be clear about what a big commitment and sacrifice living with a parrot demands.

2) Don’t Breed Birds!

Breeders and pet stores must stop supplying more and more “fresh” baby birds to a highly uneducated market that is already spilling over with displaced birds at the other end. Why bring more birds into the world when the ones who are already here don’t have homes? If you are currently a bird breeder, consider taking down your nestboxes, giving your bird pairs a comfortable retirement together, and volunteering during your spare time for a local bird adoption group.

3) Adopt, Don’t Buy!

People who love birds, know how to properly care for them, and are dedicated to the rigors of birdkeeping MUST adopt and nurture the displaced birds already in the system. If you have done your research and are ready to make a commitment to your first parrot, or you have room and time to add another bird to your life, contact your local bird adoption group to find a wonderful second-hand parrot in need of a home instead of purchasing a bird from a pet store or breeder. You have the ability to make a critical difference in the life of a displaced parrot!

Similar Toys Are Not Always Created Equal

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One of the most challenging (and enjoyable) parts of being a pet parent to the energetic and brilliant Cinema is the constant quest to find toys and games that keep her mentally stimulated.

For the last few months we’ve been experimenting with the more home-grown variety, but for Christmas I was excited to drop a little hard earned cash on some awesome new puzzle toys for her.  Thanks to Cinema’s joyous raid of her present collection, I’m delighted to share my findings in time to inspire (or deter) our readers!

Puzzle Boards

61uZD9Kg1qL__SL1000_Nina Ottosson is synonymous with puzzle toys for pets but the hefty price tag of $45 or more can be a major deterrent for pet parents on a budget.  Now, I’m not too proud to admit that I’m not above knock-offs, especially when I know it’s going to be covered in dog slobber within hours of its purchase, so when I saw the Ethical Pet Products “Seek A Treat Shuffle Bone” on sale at Bed Bath and Beyond I was pretty excited.  However, my excitement was short lived as I read the reviews on this product.  The most disturbing of which mention that it has VERY SHARP EDGES which can (and occasionally do) cut the dog’s mouth while they’re playing with it.  Additionally, the product is made out of particle board which dissolves on contact with a dog’s saliva.  I can’t really think of two worse attributes in a dog toy.  Needless to say, I did not purchase it.  And neither should you.  More importantly, it serves as a reminder to ALWAYS check consumer reviews on dog toys.  They will help you weed out the highly destructible and, more importantly, the highly hazardous.

Puzzle Balls

Mazee_PlanetDogCinema LOVES puzzle balls, However, I’ve come to suspect that it’s not because they’re challenging but because many of them are practically Pez dispensers for pups.  You put the treats in one hole, they immediately fall out another, she eats them in 30 seconds, end of game.  So, for Christmas, Cinema was the elated recipient of the Mazee Orbee-Tuff.  The unique inner-maze provided at least 7 straight minutes of treat dispensing fun and Cinema loves the pliable outer shell.  It quickly became one of her favorite toys even without the treats.  Max, bless his heart, prefers to sidestep the whole “work” part and just follows Cinema around picking up the treats she’s missed.  A word of advice though, this toy would never hold up to an active chewer.

Kongs And Such

linkables-dog-treat-toyKongs have quickly become one of the most recognized dog toys.  They’re durable, come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and are often the stand-by for dispensing treats.  However, the most common complaint is dogs are done with them in a matter of minutes.  Even frozen peanut butter doesn’t put up much of a fight.  This Christmas, I decided to give Premier Busy Buddy Linkables Dog Toys a try.  They were a HUGE hit!  They come in three separate sections or ‘links’ and offer a progressive way to challenge your dog.  Cinema loves that she constantly has a “new” toy every time I vary the connectors and gets quite a workout running with, tossing, and rolling this toy around the house.  We have only had this toy for a short time and Cinema is remarkably careful with her toys, so we have no first hand negative comments, but one of the biggest complaints about this product is its fairly destructible.  Pet parents of chewers or aggressive players might find the ends chewed off or the toy cracked if the fun is not supervised.

Our most successful Christmas toy was not a dog toy at all.  The Discovery Kids Adventure Play Tent, which was a whopping $15, has become a permanent fixture in our living room.  While I’ll never win the decorator of the year award, I will never get tired of watching both of my fur kids run in and out of the “Adventure Tunnel” while playing chase through the house.  Additionally, Cinema absolutely adores using it as an obstacle in her favorite game: keep-away.

Which leads me to my final point: toys are a wonderful addition to every dog’s day, are a great way to entertain your pup while you’re trying to get chores or work done, and can provide much needed mental stimulation, but the ultimate “toy” for your dog is YOU.  You will always be their favorite source of entertainment and you will always have the best understanding of what they will find fun.  So, trust your instinct, read reviews, think outside of the box, and play, play, play!

PupCakes!

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We’re enjoying a fabulous day off as we gear up for a holiday full of new friends and house-mates! The fur kids and I agree, there’s no better way to spend the afternoon than to get down and dirty in the kitchen making some delicious treats. We had a vote: all in favor of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies… 1, all in favor of puppy cupcakes… 2, and so it came to pass.

So we went in search of a delicious new recipe and came up with this standout by Kristy Lynn of Sweet Insanity Bake Shop. I hope your kids enjoy them as much as mine did!

The most important thing to note about this recipe is it’s based on your own dog’s food. This will help keep them from getting sick, unlike many other recipes that introduce heaps of ingredients not commonly found in their normal diets. They are also grain free if you use your dog’s grain free dog food! Also, to combat any tummy troubles, they’re made with pumpkin, which is a miracle digestive treat for dogs.

PupCake Ingredients

What You’ll Need
4 cups Dry Dog Food
1 cup Canned Pumpkin (Not Pumpkin Pie Filling!)
1 cup Wet Dog Food
1 cup Peanut Butter
1/3 cup Honey
1/3 cup Canola Oil
1 Finely Chopped Apple, Core Removed (or carrot)

This recipe makes approximately 1.5 dozen pupcakes.

1. Blend the dog food into dust.
2. Core the apple, cut it into chunks, and set it to chop in the blender. You’ll want it to be just a little thicker than applesauce.
3. Toss all the ingredients into a bowl and mix well.

I used cupcake wrappers but you don’t need to as long as you PAM the pan.

PupCakes

4. Fill the cups until they have about a quarter inch left at the top. They will rise, but just a tiny bit. Pack it in there neatly and make the tops smooth!
5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
6. Bake for 35 minutes.

Note: They should come out a little dark, because of the dry dog food, so don’t fret. Plus, they hold together really well once they’re cooled!

7. Ice them with the pumpkin and you can top with Beggin’ Strips Sprinkles! (Just cut them up into tiny pieces.)

PupCake Fever!

Note: Because each pupcake has the equivalent calorie count to 1/2 cup of dog food, I recommend using it as a meal replacement or at the very least adjusting your dog’s regular feedings to accomodate the calories in this treat.

I suggest only icing a few of them. Put the iced pupcakes in Tupperware and use them within a week or so. The rest can be put into a ziploc bag and stored for a couple months in the freezer.

Had I known science was this fun I would have changed my major! Cinema, Max, and I can’t wait to to contribute our own results… for the betterment of society, of course!

Marking Our Territory

As you probably know, Eko and I are amateur scientists.  Unlicensed pumpkin surgeons to be exact.

rhodesian ridgeback, dog adventure

Scapel. Check.

That’s why I was amazed to learn about the Horrowitz Dog Cognition Lab in New York City.  The Lab studies the behavior and cognition of domestic dogs and has published research on a wide number of interesting canine considerations.  I found out about the Horrowitz Lab because of their most recent study – a study which may rank as the most fun ever conducted in the history of science.  Project: Play With Your Dog is exactly what it sounds like.  There are a large number of studies about how dogs play with each other, but now the Horrowitz Lab wants to catalog the different ways dogs play with humans.  Man, science sure is awesome!

Rhodesian Ridgeback, dog adventure

Eko likes to play chicken with me

The best part is that the lab is looking for people…

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