Category Archives: blog

El Paso County Colorado: Rabies Resurface After 45 Years

Rabies Have Resurfaced in El Paso County CO

After 45 years (1974), a canine has tested positive for rabies in El Paso County in the state of Colorado.

Thanks to the strict laws and easy availability of the rabies vaccine in the United States, rabies in pets in extremely rare.

An infected animal spreads rabies through their saliva. Rabies can also be transmitted to people from infected animals when the rabid animal’s saliva gets into a person’s:

  • open wound or cut; or
  • eyes, nose or mouth.

Vaccinations are especially critical in places where wildlife and humans live in close proximity as Dr. Robin Johnson, medical director at El Paso County Public Health, explains: “Pet owners need to understand how close the threat of rabies is to their families. Living in Colorado, rabies is often as close as your own backyard due to the skunks, raccoons or foxes that walk through there. Vaccinating your pets is your first line of defense.”

 

Source: Dog Tests Positive for Rabies for 1st Time in 45 Years

RECALL: Hill’s Pet Food Recall Is Expanded

 

Hill’s Pet Nutrition (of Topeka, KS) expanded its voluntary recall of January 31st to include canned dog food products due to the presence of elevated levels of Vitamin D.  Specific lots of Prescription Diet and Science Diet dog foods are included in the expanded recall and were distributed to both retail pet stores and veterinary clinics throughout the U.S.

According to Hill’s, no dry foods, cat foods or treats are affected by these recalls.

Why the Recall

Hill’s originally received “a complaint in the United States about a dog exhibiting signs of elevated Vitamin D levels.” The recall was expanded after a detailed review isolated the issue to a vitamin premix from an American supplier.

The Recall: What Products and What’s Being Done

For a complete list of recalled products (including both the January 31st and March 20th recalls), click here.

According to an email sent to veterinarians on March 20th, Hill’s Pet Nutrition has:

  1. Expanded the availability of their consumer call center to 7 days a week (800-445-5777).
  2. Promised to begin collection of affected products from stores, clinics and shelters beginning March 21st.
  3. Promised to pay for:
    1. Diagnostic screening for Hypervitaminosis D for any pet who has consumed the recalled food;
    2. Continued diagnostic testing and medical treatment for affected pets until they are back to normal.

What You Should Know About Elevated Levels of Vitamin D

Dogs who eat elevated levels of Vitamin D may exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Excessive drooling
  • Weight loss

When consumed at very high levels, dogs can face serious health issues (including potentially life-threatening) including renal (kidney) dysfunction.

What to do Next

Consumers should immediately contact their veterinarian if their dogs have consumed this recalled product and are exhibiting the symptoms listed above.

The affected product should be thrown away immediately or returned to the purchase place for a full refund (unopened products only).

Consumers with any questions should contact Hill’s Pet Nutrition (Consumer Affairs) at 800-445-5777 (Every Day from 7am-7pm CST) or via email at ContactUs@HillsPet.com for more information.

 

Sources: Truth About Pet Food and the Dog Food Advisor.

Turmeric: The Golden Healer for Dogs

Turmeric: The Spice Your Dog Needs

Dog owners, do you recognize (and better yet, use) this powerful, all-natural spice to support your K9’s best health?


This “golden spice” (from India and Southeast Asia) offers a wealth of health benefits for your beloved canineTurmeric can help your aging dog companion usually without side effects.

Does your dog suffer from:

  • Arthritis?
  • Cancer?
  • Pain?
  • Allergies?
  • Chronic Inflammation?
  • Kidney, Dental or Digestive Issues?

 

If your dog suffers from any of these health challenges,

click here to learn about the 5 benefits of turmeric for dogs

without harmful side effects from our friends at Dogs Love Kale.

(P.S. This information could also help YOU!)

 


 

Happy New Year to Dogs and Their Owners!

The New Year celebrations are right around the corner.

As you’re making plans for your end-of-the-year parties and resolutions, be sure to include your dog and his comfort in your plans!

What do you need to consider to ensure Fido enjoys the festivities? Keep reading to find out.

 

Fireworks

With your dog’s incredible hearing ability, fireworks can be a dog’s WORST nightmare! Consider this: humans hear at a range of 20 and 20,000 Hz. In stark contrast, our beloved K9s hear a frequency range of 40 to 60,000 Hz! With that kind of hearing, loud fireworks can rattle even the calmest dog.

Click here to learn more from our blog post last year.

Holiday Food & Drinks

Sadly, emergency vet visits increase this time of year and they can quickly destroy the holiday spirit and your budget! Remember, many of the foods, treats and drinks (alcoholic and those that are not) you enjoy can be potentially dangerous to your canine. Traditional favorites include (but are not limited to):

  • Turkey, skin & bones, ham ,etc.
  • Table scraps (especially those that are spicy and fatty)
  • Alcoholic beverages including egg nog, beer, wine and cocktails
  • Yeast dough
  • Sweets (especially those with xylitol) and chocolate

Have a Safe and Happy New Year!

New Year’s Parties & Celebrations

Not all dogs are well-equipped to deal with the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, especially when it comes into their safe place/home. Keep in mind, these celebrations are never a good time to “socialize” your dog especially if they usually tend to not be social.

If you’re bringing the New Year’s Eve party home, make sure your dog (and even other pets) has a safe and quiet place so they are both secure and protected from running away or unleashing an unwanted bite (because of fear, anxiety or stress).

In addition, below are some other traditional New Year’s Eve items you should consider banning to keep the pets in your home safe during the celebrations:

  • Confetti
  • Sparklers
  • Party favors
  • Glow sticks & bracelets
  • Party poppers
  • Noisemakers

With some thoughtful planning, you and your pets can enjoy the New Year’s celebrations safely!

Happy New Year's 2019

 


Additional Reading:

Holiday Pet Safety: www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/holidays.aspx

Holiday Safety Tips: www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/holiday-safety-tips

8 Tips for Helping Your Anxious Pet When There are Fireworks Outside: www.petmd.com/dog/slideshows/care/noise-anxiety-staying-calm-during-celebrations

 

RECALL: Nutrisca Dry Dog Food

Nutrisca (St Louis, MO) is voluntarily recalling one formula of their dry dog food (Chicken and Chickpea). The recall was issued due to the presence of elevated levels of Vitamin D. (Note: The company also issued another recall for their Natural Life Chicken & Potato Dry Dog Food.)  

Why the Recall

The recall was issued after an investigation of complaints from 3 pet owners for Vitamin D toxicity after consumption. The investigation revealed a formulation error led to the elevated levels.

The Recall: What and Where

The recall specifically involves:

4 lbs Nutrisca® Chicken and Chickpea Dry Dog Food Bag UPC: 8-84244-12495-7
15 lbs Nutrisca® Chicken and Chickpea Dry Dog Food Bag UPC: 8-84244-12795-8
28 lbs Nutrisca® Chicken and Chickpea Dry Dog Food Bag UPC: 8-84244-12895-5

(Note: Nutrisca Chicken & Chickpea wet dog foods are not impacted by this recall.)

A Best By Date of February 25, 2020 – September 13, 2020 is found on the back or bottom of the bag.

The recalled product was distributed to retail nationwide.

What You Should Know About Elevated Levels of Vitamin D

Dogs who eat elevated levels of Vitamin D may exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Excessive drooling
  • Weight loss

When consumed at very high levels, dogs can face serious health issues including renal dysfunction.

What to do Next

Consumers should immediately contact their veterinarian if their dogs have consumed this recalled product and are exhibiting the symptoms listed above.

The affected product should be thrown away or returned to the purchase place for a full refund.

Consumers with any questions should contact Natural Life Pet Products at 888-279-9420 (Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm CST) or via email at ConsumerServices@Nutrisca.com for more information.

 

Sources: Truth About Pet Food and the FDA.

Antler Chews: Are They Safe for Your Dog?

Should you give your dog antlers to chew?
Are antlers a safer option to other chews on the market?
Are all antlers the same?
How are antlers “graded” and what does it mean?

Dogs are natural chewers. Whether it’s a puppy exploring his new world through his mouth, or adult dogs chewing to release pent-up energy and/or stress, most dogs enjoy this instinctive behavior.

While almost anything is better than your K9 destroying your expensive leather shoes or couch to indulge their need to chew, are all chew treats created equal (and safe)?

Are all Chews Created Equal?

After the shocking revelation in 2007 about the toxic, Chinese-made dog treats sickening and even killing pets (dogs and cats); dog owners everywhere became more concerned and vigilant about the treats they were offering to their dogs.

When even more information came out about all the potentially deadly chemicals used to mass-produce rawhide in China, “safe” choices became even further limited for canine guardians. (Not to mention numerous horror studies about rawhide pieces becoming stuck or causing obstructions requiring surgery to save a dog.) Click here to learn the harmful truth behind making rawhide.

Are Antlers a Safer Option?

So, what about something more “natural,” like antlers from wild deer or elk?

Like most subjects about dog health, “expert” opinions about whether antlers are a completely safe chewing option falls between both ends of the spectrum. From slick marketing campaigns raving about the wonders of antlers for your dog’s chewing pleasure to so-called dog experts decrying even the thought of offering an antler to your dog to chew. While the controversy rages on, educate yourself on the pros and cons of antler chews for your dog.

Factors to Consider

Deciding whether an antler chew is good (or not) for your dog involves a number of factors, including:

  • What kind of chewer your dog is;
  • Your dog’s current dental health;
  • The “grade” of antler you are planning to give your dog to chew; and
  • The supplier/distributor of the antler chews and whether they sell cheaper, low-grade or inferior products.

When you know better, you can make better choices for what to safely offer your dog to chew. Knowing your own dog is the first place to start. Is your dog a heavy or aggressive chewer? The chewing needs or habits are vastly different for a Chihuahua versus a Rottweiler. Smaller teeth and jaws cannot stand up to extremely hard objects like antlers.

Also, consider your dog’s current dental health. Have they suffered from dental issues that would rule out giving them hard items to chew?

Not sure if your dog’s teeth are healthy? Click here to learn more.

If you have determined your dog’s dental health and chewing needs can tolerate hard chewing, keep reading to learn more about antler chews.

What IS an Antler?

Antlers come from moose, caribou, elk, reindeer and deer. Typically, elk antlers are the easiest ones to find.

It’s also believed that antlers do not splinter or chip as easily as some other bones or toys. While antlers may seem similar to “horns” … they are actually different. Cow horns are made from a substance call keratin; similar to our nails and hair. They also have a lining of bone inside them.

Antlers, on the other hand, are made from real bone and cartilage with a marrow core. They are actually a bony outgrowth of the animal’s skull. Since they are actual bone, they are also very hard. Antlers are typically shed each year allowing a new set to grow in their place. Antlers (unlike processed bones or rawhides) also offer nutritional value in the form of:

  • Calcium
  • Protein
  • Chondroitin Sulfate
  • Glucosamine
  • Collagen
  • Magnesium
  • Iron and Zinc

For dogs fed a raw diet, bones are important to their diet. But, it is not necessary for them to eat very hard bones (like antlers or weight-bearing leg bones).

Grading Antlers: What it all Means

Antlers are “graded” on five different levels. Before you buy any kind of antler for your dog to chew, below is what you need to know first.

Grade A+ Antlers

These are the highest quality and most pristine antlers, previously reserved for high-end craft and artisan use. They constitute less than 5% of all antlers each year. Only a few stores and distributors are focused on selling antlers of this caliber.

Grade A Antlers

These antlers comprise the top 10-15% of all antlers each year. They have been shed during the current – or previous – year. These antlers will appear a little more on the light-brown side; as they have been freshly shed and have had only minimal exposure to the elements.

Grade B Antlers

This grade of antler comprises the bulk of all antlers sold online by the “high-end” brands. These antlers are easily recognized as they will be white from sun bleaching which also means they are dried out. They may also show visible marks of rodent chewing. These antlers are approximately one to two years old. While they may be sold by well-established brands, it does not mean they are “safe dog chews.” While they are not the worst of the antlers, they are definitely not the safest for your dog based on their age and being dried out which means they could splinter or chip much more easily.

Grades C and D

The final two grades are combined together because, for all intents and purposes, these antlers are “junk” and definitely not safe for your dog. These antlers are not only white from years in the sun and exposure to the elements; but there is also a white powder that can be easily scraped off the surface. In addition, the antler has almost a coral-like porous crystalline structure to it, due to having lost too much moisture. This makes it even more susceptible to breaking, splintering or chipping even with minimal effort. These antlers are commonly sold in the big-box pet stores and outdoor sports stores.

A Few Final Cautions

  • Make sure any antler product you buy and give to your dog is sourced from the USA (preferably from organically raised animals). Note: China does chemically process and ship antlers to the United States.
  • Also, make sure you buy the right size antler for your dog (one that cannot be easily swallowed).
  • Do not give puppies any kind of antlers to chew on. (The high protein content can cause stomach upset and diarrhea.)
  • And finally, if you do decide to give your dog an antler chew (or any other chew as well), always supervise them to keep them safe! No chew product is 100% safe and healthy for every dog. Digestive or dental issues, possible choking (in the mouth or throat) and intestinal obstructions are always a risk.
  • Check with your veterinarian first before giving your dog any chew product.

 


Additional Resources:

The Perils of Gum Disease in Dogs

Dogs Love These Chews, But They Fracture Teeth Like Crazy

Are Deer Antlers Safe for Dogs to Chew On?

Antlers for Dogs: Are Deer Antlers Safe for Dogs to Chew On?

Are Antlers Safe for Dogs?

Deer Antlers as a Chew Toy for Dogs

Are Deer Antlers for Dogs a Good Chew Toy?


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