Creating more questions than it answered, on July 12, 2018, the United States Food and Drug Administration issued an alert to pet owners regarding the possible connection between grain-free diets and canine dilated cardiomyopathy. We break down the matter and hopefully ease the minds of pet owners.
Gypsy moth caterpillars cause widespread defoliation of shade trees and forests, sapping strength from the trees and leading to their early demise. Yet 99% of the pests succumb to natural causes.
While just about everybody celebrates the arrival of the four seasons according to the calendar, there's a group of scientists who see the seasons differently. Read on.
To vaccinate or not to vaccinate? That is the question many dog owners face. It's a decision that should be made in consultation with your veterinarian. Let's find out why.
Once a product of the prairies and woodlands of North America, the coyote has become an urban and suburban neighbor. Here's how to coexist.
Myth or fact? Learn the truth about potential health risks to humans contained within the canine mouth.
Internet shopping is the future, but like any brave new world, it can be fraught with danger, especially when it concerns healthcare. When buying prescription meds for your pet online, use caution.
Cat owners generally blame the cat for being finicky, but maybe they should take a look in the mirror when placing blame.
It's a system that leaves veterinarians and immunologists with a lot of unanswered questions and a lack of standardized immunization protocols.
We all like to save money, but sometimes the quest for savings can lead us into danger.
More and more, people are taking control of the foods they eat, including growing and raising their own chicken. It is important to note that the practice isn't without its hazards. Here's how to recognize, avoid, and treat salmonella in your own back yard.
While we humans tend to get the flu in winter, our dogs and cats are subject to dog flu year round. Dog and cat owners should be aware of the information this article provides.
We often catch a glimpse of it, and, just as often, it creeps us out. But it's actually an interesting little anatomical feature, as you'll discover here.
If communications is an art, then the people of Massachusetts have added new meaning to the word "interpretation."
Playing fetch in the back yard with the dog is right up there with hot dogs and apple pie for most people. But, if you use a stick, problems could occur.
A professional association's survey provides some very interesting statistics on American pet owners.
Baby Boomers aren't the only generation to survive the hazards of growing up without today's modern tools and conveniences. A tip of the hat to Gen-Xers.
Harsh winter weather causes us to pity the wild animals and entices us to intervene on their behalf by feeding them, but wildlife professionals strongly urge us to leave them alone.
The other 11 months are equally important in helping to keep your pet healthy. Periodontal disease is more than bad breath and a lousy smile, and can affect the whole pet. And it's preventable!
Playing "fetch" with a natural stick is a time honored activity that both owner and dog enjoy; practically a "rite of passage." But, you may want to get a toy stick from the pet supply store now.
It's a phenomenon that has enriched pets' lives (and ours) immeasurably; and elevated their status to that of full family member. How did that happen?
Empty the dishwasher, bring the recycling bin to the curb, walk the dog? This Baby Boomer wishes he had had it so easy. Growing up in suburbia in the 50's was some different!
It's a hot-button issue that can pit neighbor against neighbor, and even father against son, but the tide seems to be turning.
They've gone from the stuff of science fiction to the stuff we use to amuse ourselves and our pets. They're also used to make us healthier and our jobs easier. Lasers have their dangers, though.
Until this regulation was adopted, people with celiac disease could never be sure if "gluten-free" actually meant what it said. Now they can consume "gluten-free" foods with more confidence.
To some, the term "national forest" evokes images of inaccessible lands with restricted public access. To the contrary, you're likely to be within 100 miles of one and the welcome mat is out.
Today's pet owner is nearly paranoid about pet food and treats. Salmonella is the contaminant du jour, and recalls because of the bacteria have abounded . What's being done about it?
Sounds like another government boondoggle, but no taxpayers' dollars were hurt in this project, and it yielded meaningful results.
If it's not soft and shiny, your dog's coat isn't healthy; possibly a prelude to a variety of problems. Here's why coat condition should be part of your dog's overall health care regimen.
We know they've adapted a gene that allows them to digest carbohydrates, but their anatomy, physiology and lifestyle seem to thumb their noses at the notion. Here's a discussion starter.
When we find an injured baby animal, or one we think is orphaned, our gut reaction is to bring it in and raise it until it can fend for itself. Learn why it's not a good idea.
Some food for thought about philosophies and practices regarding pet care. Can you say, "The more things change, the more they stay the same."
It's in a lot of sugar-free products we buy, we use it on our cereal and in our coffee, and it's even in some of our oral hygiene products. Don't let it harm your dog.
Stop being tormented by telemarketing calls...almost. The national Do Not Call Registry helps, but doesn't eliminate all of the calls. This reads like a "good news/bad news joke" but it's no joke.
Natural bones as chew toys—you're either for them or against them. Veterinarians, breeders, and various professional organizations can't agree. There are valid arguments on both sides. So what’s an owner to do?
A study shows that each year outdoor cats kill billions of birds and mammals in the USA. An interesting discussion ensues.
The dog's mouth offers some challenges beyond biting. The bacteria it contains can make humans sick and his infected mouth can cause serious problems to his major organs. His dental health matters.
We're seeing the stirrings of a concentrated effort worldwide to address the spread of diseases from companion animals to humans. Your own veterinarian may well be very much in the loop.
In spite of plentiful regulatory oversight, trying to determine the quality of the pet foods we find on the shelf is a daunting task. Sometimes the regs cause more confusion than they clear up.
A field of increasingly savvy pet supply consumers has responded to a remarkable evolution in the appearance of the things that keep our pets contained, confined and safe.
Bacteria and viruses cause us to suffer from upper respiratory issues and gastrointestinal symptoms, among other problems. Learn how simple hand washing can save us a lot of grief.
It's an annual phenomenon that occurs from Thanksgiving to the new year, but we don't see the results of its evil doings until spring.
Careless handling of automotive antifreeze, engine coolant and hydraulic brake fluid can kill a dog or cat. They'll readily drink it, and a small amount of it will destroy their kidneys. Learn how to avoid that heartbreak.
Mice in your house can cause serious illness and damage. Learn a little mouse science and of some ways to deal with the problem.
It’s fun, it’s anonymous, and it ain’t over ‘til it’s over. The Yankee Swap can be the highlight of your Christmas gathering, while at the same time leveling the economic playing field for all in attendance. And it could lead to new friendships, relationships, and even marriage!
Parents, grandparents, teachers...we all have people on our gift list who are hard to buy for. This could be your easy solution.
Researchers aren't unanimous on whether or not dogs or other animals perceive music the way humans do. A thought-provoking look at the debate.
The holiday season can be a particularly dangerous time for pets. Read about things you might not otherwise consider, and how to avoid needless illness or injury to your pets.
In some parts of the country there's a trend towards banning the sale of animals in pet shops in the hope and belief that it will have a severe impact on puppy mills. Others believe it will hurt small businesses and the jobs they offer, and create an underground market for animals. After...
Here's a whimsical look at strange but true animal news stories that may have been buried somewhere in your newspaper, if they made it there at all.
It's a curious occurrence when the annual arrival of these migrating winter residents coincides with the arrival of a devastating, late season hurricane.
This scientific revelation busts the myth that cats are attracted to the "sweetness" of anti-freeze. Learn about your cat's sense of taste.
First diagnosed in 2004, canine influenza produces many of the same symptoms in dogs that we human flu sufferers endure. And just as their human counterparts do, dogs have a flu shot available to them, too. A primer on canine flu.
Our dogs and cats have GI problems too, and that makes life miserable for them and for us as well. Learn the difference between IBD and IBS, and explore other things that cause pets to suffer gastrointestinal issues. Most pet owners will identify with this article.
Periodontal disease affects 80% of dogs and 70% of cats by the time they reach three years of age. This article takes a look at the potentially serious consequences of allowing periodontal disease to advance.
This article looks at the science of rabies and dispels a few myths about the virus; pointing out that you don't have to be a pet owner to be concerned about rabies.
It would be a monumental task for an agency trying to control the worldwide trade in animals and plants, so there is no such agency. There is, however, an Agreement between nations to voluntarily comply with the Convention known as CITES. Here it is in a nutshell.
The world of pets is fertile ground for "stranger than fiction" news stories. Here's a collection of head-shaking, but true, accounts from across America that are, at once, funny, heartbreaking and cautionary.
Every month should be "Pet Wellness Month" but the AVMA, and a couple of commercial partners, formalize it every October to raise pet owner awareness of the importance of professional health care for pets. We think you'll agree; it really does make sense.
You may know it by another name, but whatever you call it, this can be a dangerous disease. There is some good news, though. Here's some information that's good to know.
It's known as the vomeronasal organ, or VNO, and also as the Jacobson's Organ; and it allows animals to do some pretty spectacular things. Learn about this little powerhouse.
Woodland creatures are found in suburban, and even urban, backyards as we continue to encroach upon their habitats. While interesting to observe, you'll learn that the situation can be dangerous.
Bats strike fear in the hearts of folks, but it needn't be the case. Here's a look at some common myths and some valid points as to why you might want to encourage a bat population on your property.
Vet bills are high on the complaint list of pet owners, but few will begrudge the expenditure. Here's some food for thought to digest before writing that next check.
When we think an animal is being neglected it creates a dilemma. Do we speak to the owner, call the authorities, and which authority do we call? Also, everything may not be what it appears to be. Here's a lesson in objectivity.
It's a rudder, it's a signal flag, and it can help maintain body temperature. The under-appreciated tale is herein celebrated and given the respect it deserves.
Learn more than you'd probably care to know about the tail end of your dog.
The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention consider the dog bite problem to be of epidemic proportions. Here's the painful truth about the economics, statistics and scope of the dog bite epidemic.
The word is "pica" and it often means serious dangers for our pets...especially dogs...that regularly engage in the practice. Here's the inside scoop.
Just as in humans, a dog's or cat's skin is its body's largest organ, and it's subject to a number of problems. Here's how you can help keep your pet's skin healthy and problem-free.
Based in instinct, digging is a natural behavior for dogs but a dilemma for the people they own. Here's a look at the situation from a scientific perspective, and how you may be able to come to grips with it.
If you could count every yawn your cat performs, you'd be amazed at the grand total of yawns in his lifetime. Here's an interesting report on why cats, and other animals, yawn so much.
Many dogs suffer hot spots at the drop of a hat. What causes them and what can you do about them? Read on.
The professional term is "inappropriate elimination," and what cat owner hasn't dealt with it? It's a frustrating problem that, unfortunately, can lead to relinquishment. Here's some information that may prevent you from reaching the end of your rope.
Your pet isn't as enthusiastic as you are about dressing up for Halloween. Digest this food for thought before making your pet wear a costume for Halloween...or any other occasion.
Cats signal their mood and pending actions by subtle body language. Here's how to read some of those signals.
A collection of interesting, if unverifiable, facts regarding animals and the people they own.
From spaying/neutering, to Boomer's fart fetish, to collecting a urine sample from him, here's a potpourri of interesting light reading for the pet owner.
Dog owners in cold-winter regions should avoid this one major design flaw in many dog houses, and use the proper bedding to keep their dogs warm, dry, and comfortable when "in residence."
To a veterinarian it's feline anorexia and cause for alarm. Twelve hours without food can kill a kitten; 24 hours without food can kill an adult cat. Learn why this life-threatening condition can be a symptom of something much less dangerous.
When animal cruelty rears its ugly head, we shouldn't whistle past the graveyard. It's painful to learn about, but knowledge is the first step towards defeating it. A lesson in sadness with the promise of hope.
Collisions between deer and motor vehicles cost Americans nearly 5 billion dollars annually for personal injury, medical treatment, property damage and death. Here's an informative look at the problem, with tips on how to avoid collisions with deer.
This fast moving, life threatening, emergency condition can kill a dog in just a few excruciating hours. Learn what it is, how to recognize it, why speed is of the essence, and tips on how to prevent it.
Following label instructions on pesticides and cleaning products often required a doctorate in chemistry. Today's simplified wording contributes to better outcomes and a cleaner environment. Perhaps you've noticed.
When you call the vet with a concern about your pet, they'll often ask if he has a fever. Here's a humorous "how-to" about a delicate subject.
A number of factors, natural and man-made, contribute to shedding, but most owners say it's worse in the fall. Here's why they're right.
An interesting pet owner's guide to taking the fuss out of giving a pill to a cat. And there's some free bonus information on obesity and a few other topics.
An interesting look at a topic that threatens to be boring by its very nature. This is information that pet owners especially should be aware of.
If you think your pet's health was compromised by tainted food or treats, there's a right way to report such matters, and this article tells you how to do it.
Will it ever end? Not likely. Recalls aren't just limited to pet products, either, so in spite of their best due diligence, all manufacturers potentially are unwitting participants in product recalls. Consumers need to stay aware.
Your home is a safe haven from the cares and dangers of the world...unless you're a pet. We don't often think of our homes as danger zones, but here's some food for thought for householders with pets.
It's a bad disease that isn't as easy to contract as you might expect, but cat parents should be aware, especially if there's a baby in their future.
The decision to acquire a pet should come with a lot of soul-searching and homework, just to be sure it's a good decision. One's responsibilities to a pet include financial, ethical and emotional commitments. Once you're sure it's the right decision, you're in for a truly gratifying and rewarding...
As strange as it seems, a cat falling from a greater height is more likely to survive that fall than a fall from a lesser height. Here's an interesting little physics lesson, and a look at the dangers for cats in high places.
Orthopedic problem aren't the exclusive province of large breed dogs. Factors such as breed predisposition, injuries, diet, and even faulty breeding protocols can contribute to the problem for all dogs. Here's a closer look.
It's not just a serious matter of safety for your pets...and for you. It's also the law in many places. Restraining pets in vehicles goes beyond common sense.
Learn about the annual phenomenon that sees our homes, garages, barns, and sheds festooned with ladybugs on a sunny autumn day.
This virus can be transmitted through the air or via all bodily fluids, which makes it highly contagious. And, it can be deadly. The good news is, it's preventable.
Mange is often associated with rabies, mad dogs and malnutrition...but it's really about mites; parasites that can cause problems for your pet.
Obesity is one of the leading health problems of cats and dogs, and comes with many problems. Your pets depend on you to make the right choices for them, so here's some (ahem) food for thought.
Pet owners should have an emergency kit for their pets because most emergency personnel and shelters aren't equipped for animals. Here's what you should have in your pet emergency kit.
Many jurisdictions are proposing animals rights legislation, much of which seems rooted more in emotion than reason. The unintended consequences must be thoroughly explored before laws are enacted.
Not all dogs have ear odor, and those that do may face problems because of the underlying cause. This article helps you approach your dog's ear odor from an informed perspective.
Many traditional vets are embracing alternative modalities in treating our pets. Complementary and Alternative Medicine, (CAM ) uses natural remedies and procedures to improve our pets' health.
For some, grooming the dog is a "quality-time" opportunity...for others a battle. In today's hectic world, grooming the dog is often something better left to others.
Today's pet supply stores are wonderlands of products for pets. And these products had to start somewhere. An interesting piece that scratches the surface and looks at the roots of many of today's well known and trusted products.
It has probably happened to you: you're looking up something on the Internet when something else catches your eye. You click on it and it sends you on an odyssey. When that happens to me, I take notes, and end up writing columns like this one.
With dogs living longer than ever before, owners and vets are adapting to the fairly new science of caring for canine senior citizens. For dog owners, here's a preview of what your future may hold.
It could be coming to a mosquito near you. This article reveals the nature of the disease and offers suggestions on how to protect your family from contracting it.
Once suppressed for fear of ridicule, grieving for a beloved pet is now out of the closet and openly practiced by people who truly do lose a loved one when their pet crosses The Rainbow Bridge. A message of inspiration and validation
Insidious and deadly, but preventable and treatable; learn here what you should know about canine parvovirus.
By age three, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have periodontal disease, a condition that can lead to more serious systemic diseases. Learn what you can do at home to keep your pet healthier.
There's a preventative for dogs, but not for cats; and it's difficult to diagnose and treat in cats. Heartworm disease is spread by mosquitoes, but fortunately for cats, they don't seem to be very good hosts. Read the interesting details.
The catch-all phrase is thunder phobia and it refers to the fear some dogs have of loud noises such as thunder, sirens, car horns, fireworks, etc. Some dogs recoil in fear, others lash out ferociously, but all need attention that doesn't reinforce that behavior. Here's a look at the problem.
We don't want to be alarmists, we don't want to incur unnecessary bills, but we want our pets to get the medical attention they need. What's a pet owner to do? Some practical advice on the subject.
So, you think you've heard everything? Not til you read this. An ingredient in a readily available rat poison, when mixed with stomach acid, gives off toxic fumes that can make you pretty sick. Just another consequence of your pet getting into the pest control products.
Even when money is tight and sacrifices are being made, many pet owners find a way to keep their pets in the manner to which they've become accustomed.
We all know that contagious diseases are passed from person to person, but some of us are surprised to learn of the diseases that are passed from animal to person. Read on.
There are racks and shelves full of supplements at pet supply stores. Some of them have merit, other may just be "snake oil." A healthy animal that benefits from a good diet and regular veterinary visits usually doesn't need them...but there are exceptions to every rule.
As veterinary medicine adapts to the era of the aging pet; a relatively new era, by the way, pet owners get to spend precious additional time with their fur kids.
"You snooze, you lose" applies to a lot of pet health issues, as many owners wait too long to seek veterinary intervention. Urinary tract problems are pretty common in cats, and it's up to us owners to act quickly.
What pet owner doesn't fight the battle of the pet stain? One of our best weapons is effective, all natural, and eliminates the toxicity concerns of cleansers. Learn some interesting stuff about enzymes.
They say numbers don't lie, so here are some surprising stats about human injuries caused by pets. Caution: owning a pet can be hazardous to your health!
Quick! What do you call a group of tigers? Of dogs? Of rabbits? We don't know who "they" are, but "they" arrived at some pretty interesting titles for groups in the animal kingdom. Fun trivia!
They can't test for it, there's no known cure for it, and it's almost always fatal. It's a cruel virus that turns the cat's own defense system against it. And the vaccine for it is pretty much useless. Cat owners should be aware of FIP.
There's something about the name that's chilling, but the disease is usually mild and easily treated. Here's information that dog owners should be aware of.
While they're gaining in popularity, raw diets for dogs and cats aren't as common as some would have you believe. At less than 2% of the pet food market, raw diets are frowned upon by some professional veterinary associations. Here's why.
They're a common dog and cat problem that's easily diagnosed and treated, but let them go unchecked and they can cause some serious problems. Here's all you need to know about ear mites.
Folks who volunteer at animal shelters and rescue groups invest considerable time, effort, emotion, and often their own resources benefiting animals in need. National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week is celebrated in November each year, but the volunteers should be celebrated every week.
Human pain killers, even at dosages for children, can be toxic to pets. Before you open the medicine cabinet, call your vet. Here's why.
When you mention ticks, the first thought is usually pets, but we mere humans have to be concerned about them, too. Here's some science regarding those blood sucking parasites.
Pets "speak" with their eyes, ears, tails, mouths and even their whole body. Here you can learn to interpret visual clues to your pet's frame of mind and intentions.
Growing up in the 50's and early 60's, we didn't realize how tough we had it. Imagine, no Internet, cell phones, video games or microwave popcorn. Hell, we didn't even have microwave ovens! Suffer along with this baby boomer as he recalls his deprived childhood.
They say that age is a state of mind, and now that I've got some age on me, I believe it. Some people my age act like old codgers, others act like seasoned middle agers. The physical and emotional "ravages of time" don't have to be ravages at all. Here's one person's view of growing old.
I've seen pictures and videos of murmurations, and witnessed a rather bland one several years ago, but was this a rare opportunity?
Dogs age faster than humans, but just how much faster depends upon a number of factors. Therefore, the old "7 dog years to 1 human year" formula no longer applies. Learn what does.
Additional information from an industry professional in response to my article: http://bobbamberg.hubpages.com/hub/petbeddingshouldntbethisscary Here's even more data to help you make informed choices in pet bedding.
The professional term is "environmental enrichment" and it's practiced religiously at accredited zoos and aquariums. Learn the importance of providing environmental enrichment for your pets.
Most folks aren't aware of the extent of the dog bite problem in the US, but medical practitioners and insurance companies sure are. Pre-teens are the most vulnerable, the elderly are second. Some facts, and some tips on how to avoid being bitten.
Our dogs and cats may not have the optic super powers we think they do. But some aspects of the visual abilities of animals are pretty impressive, as you'll learn from this article.
How can people be so cruel to animals? An email from a shelter volunteer inspired this article that can, at once, be heartbreaking and heartwarming.
How a single tree galvanized a community and awed those who live within its shade and passersby alike.
Your pet supply store is loaded with bedding options, making choices sometimes difficult. Here's the information you need to make informed choices regarding what bedding to use.
We have perfectly good names, in layman's terms, for this stuff but the vets ruin everything with their fancy schmantzy vocabulary. Here we translate a few words of vetspeak into layspeak.
One of the sports world's greatest rivalries is the Red Sox and the Yankees, and it's a treat to attend one of their games at Fenway Park. But what if you're a "homer," in your own park, but surrounded by opposition fans? Been there, done that, what a day!
This microscopic parasite affects many animal species, both domestic and wild, and sometimes humans,too, yet they may not exhibit clinical signs. But for those that do, help is available. Read about the details.
Most cat owners are faced with this problem at some time or another, so here's a look at inappropriate elimination and why its cause is so difficult to determine.
A collection of strange but true pet news items too strange for the elite media. We're not proud, though, so here's some stuff of interest to animal lovers and pet owners.
Coyotes and other wild animals are getting used to people and their way of life. As they adapt they become bolder, which can spell danger to pets while they're outdoors. This awareness raising article provides food for thought.
Type II Diabetes, sometimes known as "late onset diabetes" means changing a lifetime of bad habits and practices. But, it doesn't have to be as bad as some folks make it.
Type II Diabetes and sleep apnea often go hand in hand with obesity. The author relates his successful 6 month odyssey during which he shed Metformin, the CPAP mask, and 53 pounds. Maybe you'll gain some helpful tips from this article.
Sometimes even the reliable sources you depend upon can let you down by reporting inaccurate information. It's almost never an error of science or judgement, but mostly of editing.
If a pet ingests material from a toxic plant, time is of the essence in neutralizing the poison. Here's a practical look at preparing for such a situation.
They may not be much help with color-coordinating your outfit, but their hearing and sense of smell are to be envied, as you'll learn from this article.
Exposure to external parasites, woodland creatures, UV rays of the sun and other hazards of summer are explored in this piece that gives pet owners something to think about.
This guided tour through the maze of pet food advertising, misinformation, and bad advice is designed to demystify the simple task of feeding our pets. Look beyond the hype and grasp the science. It's not as complicated as you think.
There's a right way and a wrong way to do flea control. Amid all the misinformation on the subject, here's an oasis of accurate information to help you deal with this common dilemma faced.