Thursday, July 19, 2012

Canine influenza virus (CIV)

This article was prepared by Pet Sitters, Intl using published material from

MERCK Animal Health.  Your vet. may refer to the vaccine as H3N8.  If you

are not already vaccinating your dog against this virus, be sure to discuss

with your vet.  Unless your vet. advises against it for particular health issues

related to your dog, I recommend that your dog be vaccinated and continue

to receive the yearly boosters to protect against this highly contagious illness.


Canine influenza virus (CIV) spreads fast when

dogs get together

You may have heard: dogs can get the flu, too. It’s a relatively recent development. The virus that causes flu in dogs, canine influenza virus H3N8, was only first identified in January 2004. Dog flu cases have now been reported in 39 states.

One of the factors that makes CIV such a concern for anyone who owns or works with dogs is that the virus can spread quickly and easily.1 Because most dogs have no natural immunity against CIV, virtually all dogs exposed to the virus become infected.2,3 CIV can be spread through direct dog-to-dog contact and through airborne particles released when an infected dog coughs or sneezes.

Recognize the signs of dog flu

Like human flu, canine influenza causes respiratory infection and may lead to more serious conditions like pneumonia. The most common sign of dog flu is a soft, wet cough that may last for up to 3 to 4 weeks. Other signs include fever, nasal discharge, lethargy, and loss of appetite. If you notice any of these signs,  have your dog examined by a veterinarian.

However, recognizing the signs of dog flu is not enough to prevent spreading the disease. Here are 3 reasons why:

 1.      Some infected dogs do not appear to be sick. About 20% of infected dogs show no signs of disease but can still spread CIV to other dogs.3

2.      If you’ve spotted signs of flu, it’s probably too late. By the time a CIV-infected dog shows signs of illness, the dog is likely to have stopped spreading the virus. In other words, the damage has already been done. You may have already unintentionally spread the virus to other dogs. And remember, just because you see clinical signs of flu doesn’t mean it is flu.

3.      Dog flu cannot be diagnosed by clinical signs alone.4The signs of dog flu are very similar to those of other respiratory infections, such as Bordetella. As a result, dog flu is often mistaken for other conditions.

The first CIV vaccine approved in 2009, Nobivac® Canine Flu H3N8 from Merck Animal Health, has been shown to reduce the spread of disease among dogs.5 This can help reduce the likelihood of dog flu outbreaks. As in human flu vaccination, vaccination in dogs is not 100% effective in preventing flu but can help reduce its impact.

Not only does CIV vaccination offer protection for individual dogs, it also promotes overall immunity for all dogs within a given population. This “community immunity” takes effect when a sufficient number of dogs are vaccinated to limit the spread of the virus.6

For more information, go to to find out more about CIV and theNobivac Canine Flu H3N8 vaccine.

1. Canine influenza backgrounder. AVMA Website. Available at: Updated September 9, 2009. Accessed May 4, 2012.

2. Jirjis FF, Deshpande MS, Tubbs AL, Jayappa H, Lakshmanan N, Wasmoen TL. Transmission of canine influenza virus (H3N8) among susceptible dogs. Vet Microbiol. 2010;144(3–4):303–309.

3. Crawford C, Spindel M. Canine influenza. In: Miller L, Hurley K, eds. Infectious Disease Management in Animal Shelters. Ames,IA: Wiley-Blackwell; 2009:173–180.

4. Anderson TC, Crawford PC. Diagnosing H3N8 CIV infection.Clinician’s Brief. 2011;9(10):69­–72.

5. Deshpande MS, Jirjis FF, Tubbs A, et al. Evaluation of the efficacy of a canine influenza virus (H3N8) vaccine in dogs following experimental challenge. Vet Ther. 2009;10(3):103–112.

6. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.Community immunity ("herd" immunity). Available at: Accessed May 4, 2012.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Americans celebrate freedom today and so does SNOW!

I can't let July 4th pass without recognizing how special this day is to Snow.  For those of us involved in rescue work, this date is "Gotcha Day" for Snow because seven years ago I rescued her and brought her into my home.  Some folks prefer to think of the day as "Adoption Day" but in Snow's case, "gotcha" really is more appropriate because her previous owners were going to have her euthanized until they saw that she responded differently to me than she had to them in the previous six years.  So instead, they asked me to "get her from their home when they left on vacation July 4th and see if I could determine what her problems were and whether I could rehome her, and if not........." Without telling her goodbye the family left on vacation and I went and "got" her.

This year Snow and I both celebrate every day that we are together.  (Read the blog posting I wrote earlier this spring to understand why we couldn't wait until July 4th to celebrate this year).

Just to update you a little, the picture here was taken recently and you can see that her head is tilted.  She walks with it tilted all the time now, her appetite continues to be a challenge, she has a stubborn UTI that  requires antibiotic injections every few weeks, and mostly likely, she has developed a brain lesion. All of this means that Snow is clearly in the sunset of her life, but she still smiles up at me when I say "Princess, you've seen seven more years of sunrises and sunsets than you would have if "Gotcha Day" hadn't occurred.  So we celebrate her independence today and will continue to celebrate every day we have left together!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Salmonella in Diamond Pet Foods Sickens People

Please read carefully and take action to protect YOUR PET and YOU if you have fed any of the foods or had contact with the contaminated food as described by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Tainted Dog Food Sickens 14 People

Salmonella in Diamond Pet Foods

Fourteen people have been sickened with Salmonella Infantis infections in a 9-state outbreak linked to dog food.  At least five of the individuals have been hospitalized, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC reported Thursday that multiple brands of Diamond Pet Foods dry dog food - including several that have been recalled in recent days - are the likely source of the human illnesses, either through contact with the contaminated food or through handling an animal that has eaten the tainted kibble. The dog food was produced at a single manufacturing plant in South Carolina.

How many dogs may also have been sickened was not mentioned in the CDC report. In some recall notices, Diamond Pet Foods has claimed that no dog illnesses have been reported. Those recall alerts from the company did not reveal that human cases of infection were being investigated.

According to the CDC, routine tests by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development first detected Salmonella in an unopened bag of Diamond Pet Foods Naturals Lamb Meal & Rice dry dog food on April 2. 

PulseNet, the national surveillance system for foodborne illnesses, then spotted several cases of human Salmonella Infantis infections with a genetic fingerprint identical to that found in the dog food, the CDC said.

The outbreak strain of Salmonella Infantis was isolated from an opened bag of Diamond Brand Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul Adult Light Formula dry dog food, found in the household of an ill person in Ohio. The outbreak strain was also isolated in samples taken from an unopened bag of the dog food obtained from an Ohio retail store.

A sample of Diamond Puppy Formula dry dog food collected by the Food and Drug Administration during an inspection at the South Carolina production plant yielded Salmonella, the CDC said.

Seven of 10 outbreak victims interviewed said they had contact with a dog during the week before they became ill. Of five people who could remember the type of dog food they had handled, four said it was a Diamond Pet Foods brand.

Missouri and North Carolina each confirmed 3 cases related to the dog food outbreak. Ohio reported two cases while Alabama, Connecticut, Michigan, New Jersey , Pennsylvania and Virginia each reported single cases.

The first onset of human illness reported was Oct. 8, 2011 and the most recent illness onset was April 22 -- more than two weeks after the first pet food recall. The case patients range in age from 1 to 82 years old with a median age of 48. Seventy-seven percent of the ill people are female.

Diamond Pet Foods recalled certain batches of its Naturals Lamb Meal & Rice dry dog food on April 6 as a "precautionary measure" and stated then that "no illnesses have been reported and no other Diamond manufactured products are affected." That was four days after the Michigan test results.

Then a second recall was announced April 26 for certain production codes of Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul Adult Light formula dry dog food. This time, the recall alert stated more narrowly that "no dog illnesses" had been reported.

On April 30, the company expanded the recall to include Diamond Puppy Formula dry dog food and again said there were no reports of dog illnesses related to the product. No mention was made of human infections in the recall announcement.

"There have been numerous human outbreaks linked to pet food," said food safety attorney Bill Marler, managing partner at Marler Clark (publisher of Food Safety News). "It again shows how important food safety is, both to your pet and your family."

According to the CDC, dogs and cats infected with Salmonella usually have diarrhea and may seem lethargic, but they also can carry the infection and not appear to be sick. Humans can become ill by touching infected animals, contaminated food, or objects and surfaces such as food bowls, especially if they do not thoroughly wash their hands after the contacts.

The CDC offered this advice for pet owners:

- Consumers should check their homes for recalled dog food products and discard them promptly. Consumers with questions about recalled dog food may contact Diamond Pet Foods at telephone number 800-442-0402 or

- Follow the tips listed on Salmonella from Dry Pet Food and Treats to help prevent an infection with Salmonella from handling dry pet food and treats.

- People who think they might have become ill after contact with dry pet food or with an animal that has eaten dry pet food should consult their health care providers. Infants, older adults, and persons with impaired immune systems are more likely than others to develop severe illness.

- People who think their animal might have become ill after eating dry pet food should consult their veterinary-care providers.

Additional information for pet owners can be found here.

CDC Outbreak Map

Salmonella presence in Diamond Pet Food's Gaston, South Carolina facility

If you have "liked" Hoof and Paws Pet Care on Facebook, you have already seen several postings about the pet food recalls from the DIAMOND plant in South Carolina.  The release here involves the third kind of food being voluntarily recalled.  All the foods manufactured at the South Carolina facility are listed in the release.  Please read carefully and take action to protect your pets if you feed any of these foods.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - May 8, 2012 - Solid Gold, announced a voluntary recall of one batch of WolfCub Large Breed Puppy Food and one batch of Solid Gold WolfKing Large Breed Adult Dog Food after being notified by Diamond Pet Foods regarding the presence of Salmonella in Diamond's Gaston, South Carolina facility.

The products involved in this voluntary recall are: 
Solid Gold WolfCub Large Breed Puppy Food, 4 lb, 15 lb, and 33 lb, with a best before date of December 30, 2012 and batch code starting with SGB1201
  • 4 lb identifying UPC 093766750005
  • 15 lb identifying UPC 093766750012
  • 33 lb identifying UPC 093766750029
Solid Gold WolfKing Large Breed Adult Dog Food, 4 lb, 15 lb, and 28.5 lb, with a best before date of December 30, 2012 and batch code starting with SGL1201
  • 4 lb identifying UPC 093766750050
  • 15 lb identifying UPC 093766750067
  • 28.5 lb identifying UPC 093766750081
Best by dates (lot codes) can be found on the back of the bag in the bottom right-hand corner of 33 lb, 28.5 lb and 15 lb bags and the bottom of the 4 lb bags. 

Foods Made By Diamond Include:
Taste of the Wild
Chicken Soup For The Pet Lovers
Solid Gold
Natural Balance
Country Value
Diamond Naturals
Premium Edge
4 Health
Kirkland (Costco Brand)

Friday, April 20, 2012

WOW...WOW!!! Yesterday really wasn't my final update to you!

I have to say it again.....HOOF AND PAWS PET CARE HAS THE BEST CLIENTS AND FRIENDS EVER!!! Registrations for the SPCA K9-3K Walk are still coming in this morning and donations to support our Team are coming in even faster. This is the best single day of fund raising since we formed the team in early March. THANK YOU for helping save lives and care for homeless pets in Wake County!!!!!

 Have a fun filled Friday evening and avoid the lines at the Walk tomorrow morning if you are just registering today and/or haven't picked up your Dog Walk Packet............

PICK UP YOUR K9-3K DOG WALK PACKET, TURN IN SPONSOR MONEY and enjoy appetizer and drink specials exclusively for SPCA K9-3k Dog Walkers!Tir Na Nog
This is your chance to avoid lines the day of the event and experience all things "K9-3K" without missing a beat! Stop by the Tir Na nOg Irish Pub to turn in all your collected donations and pledges from people who are sponsoring you in the walk.

Do you have cash gifts you don't want to mail in? Do you want to register for the walk in person? Then come to the Dog Walk Pre-Party at the Tir Na nOg Friday night, April 20th from 6-10pm!
  • Limited Edition 2012 K9-3K Dog Walk T-Shirt
  • 2012 K9-3K Dog Walk Number
  • 2012 K9-3K Dog Walk Tote Bag filled with great items from our Sponsors and Vendors
  • Walk Route Map and Park Map listing all vendors, sponsors and purple paw participants
  • PLUS- when you pick up your Walk Packet (above items) you get to select which SPCA program YOU want YOUR Dog Walk efforts to support! We'll give you a button to indicate the program you support.

Date: Friday, April 20, 2012
Time: 6:00 PM - 10:00 PM
218 South Blount St
Raleigh, NC 27601

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Final Update before 2012 SPCA K9-3K DOG WALK

In just two days Downtown Raleigh will have about 4,000 humans, many of them holding leashes with canines at their side (hopefully not behind nor in front) ready to step off for the 2012 SPCA K9-3K Walk.  The SPCA has done a superb job planning the event this year, and this one promises to be the biggest one yet.

The latest weather forecast calls for rain to hold off until after all the festivities of the day are complete.  That is good news for all of us who have signed up to walk in support of the many homeless pets in Wake County.  There's still time for you to join us on the walk. But if you're not for walking, plan to come down and enjoy the event.  In addition to the Walk, there will be dog contests, an opportunity to get your dog microchipped, a great scavenger hunt with the promise of super prizes, vendor booths with pet-related freebies, a photo alley for souvenir photos, some really good food vendors, and a Beer Garden (water and sodas also available).

The event runs from 10:00 - 2:00 p.m. (3K Walk at 11:00 and 1/2K Senior Dog Walk at 11:15) so join us Saturday, 4/21, at Moore Square, in downtown Raleigh between City Market and Marbles Kids Museum. Enjoy the activities, stay for lunch or a snack from a food vendor, kick back and relax, listen to some music and enjoy the day!

Again this year, Hoof and Paws Pet Care will have a booth -- Booth #17.  Look for us between the Care First Animal Hospital sponsor booth and the Beer Garden, near the corner of Blount and Martin, across the street from Tir na NOg Irish Pub.  If you are registered to walk with our TEAM, plan to meet at the booth at 10:45 a.m. to get your dog fashionably attired in a Hoof and Paws Bandana.  We know we already have the best looking dogs in Downtown, North Raleigh, and Wake Forest, right? So let's gather, dress 'em up, and take off walking! 

Just a few details for the registered walkers ---- With so many walkers, it is best to leave your flexi-leads at home and bring a leash instead, along with poop bags.  And if your dog uses a Thundershirt, you might want to bring it along just in case the forecasted storms arrive earlier than called for.

For more information about the Walk, follow this link:

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


As I said on the Facebook Business Page, I have the best clients in Downtown, North Raleigh, and Wake Forest that any professional pet sitter could hope for!  Thanks to many of you and many friends of Hoof and Paws, the Hoof and Paws TEAM has achieved 100% of our goal for the 2012 SPCA K9-3K DOG are the greatest!!!

Now that we are at 100%, let's not stop.  There are more homeless pets arriving at the SPCA of Wake County every day and they are counting on us.  I want to help and I know you want to help too.  So I'm keeping my challenge open, and even opening the door wider this week ---- THE NEXT 10 CLIENTS WHO REGISTER TO WALK WITH US OR DONATE TO THE HOOF AND PAWS TEAM WILL RECEIVE A FREE DAY OF PET SITTING BETWEEN NOW AND SEPTEMBER 1 (holidays excluded).  That's a win/win challenge....the pets depending on our support win and you win by getting a tax donation and a free day of pet sitting!

Just go to and  search for our team, Hoof and Paws.  From our team page, either Register to Walk or Donate to our Team.  It's easy and everybody wins!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Who Knew Getting Old Makes You Dizzy?

I sit in my office chair looking out the window at a tall oak tree. I see waves of pollen blow through the wind.  I notice my cherry tree is switching from blooming flowers to growing leaves. Wait! There is movement in the camellia right in front of me. It is a mother Ms. Robin and her babies in a nest. I suspect this is the same Ms. Robin who builds her nest in this bush every year and each year a mockingbird comes by and throws out her eggs to lay her own. Nature can seem cruel at times but yet be so beautiful and forgiving as well. On the floor beside my chair is Snow. For the past several days I have been helping her through an episode of vestibular disease. For those of you who do not know about this disease, it is very similar to a bad case of vertigo that can last for up to a week, maybe less, maybe more. This is her first episode and I do have to admit, when you do not know your dog has this disease, it can be really scary watching the signs develop. She woke up at 5AM running into the walls in my hallway unable to control her legs and her eyes were darting left to right uncontrollably. She was nauseous and drooling and to top it off we were having a thunderstorm, which really scares her. She must have thought the whole world was out to get her. I quickly got her Thunder Shirt™ on and stayed right by her side until morning. I thought she might have had a stroke and worse she might not be able to walk on her own ever again. Much to my relief though, the diagnosis is just vestibular disease, and these episodes will come and go. Just something she and I will cope with for the rest of her life.

Those of you who do not know how Snow became my dog may be shocked to know she was given to me by clients who were moving and thought she was too much for them to handle.  She was labeled aggressive and was going to be euthanized unless I would take her, work with her issues, and determine what was best. We all knew it was in Snow’s immediate best interest to be re-homed.  As her pet care provider, I had already sensed that she was just confused and misunderstood. Yes the sweet and overly obedient Border collie many of you have met over the years was once in need of guidance.  Just between you and me, I knew even then she was supposed to find her forever home with me. This was almost seven years ago this July 4th and what a rewarding seven years it has been. I have spent a lot of time reprogramming her and I have often wondered if her previous owners were to see her today, would they even recognize her? She still physically looks like the same dog but she sure doesn’t act like it. Today she is a Canine Good Citizen, having passed the CGC test with flying colors as she demonstrated good manners and obedience. Her evaluators even commented that she was especially polite and attentive.

The transformation Snow has gone through was my inspiration to return to school last year to become a certified trainer. I knew when I selected the K9 Solutions Academy that I wanted far more education than just textbook learning and that I would get it at the Academy.  I do have to admit, I am very proud of the work I did with Snow long before I thought about making a career out of it. I just wanted to fix my dog and now I want to help others do the same. Just last week Snow assisted me with a private training case involving severe aggression. I wanted the owners to see the light at the end of the tunnel. They needed an example of what can happen when you “teach an old dog new tricks.”

Since the first day I met Snow she has been totally dependent on me.  Seven years ago it was for her survival; at the moment it is for walking, feeding, and reassurance that things will get better. She has not left my side for several days now. My whole house is littered with runways of rugs to help her navigate from room to room. Today she has improved enough that she wants to do the walking all by herself but she wants me close enough that I can catch her the moment she begins to wobble. If you have ever known a Border Collie you know the amount of focus they give to their leader and that the intense starring can almost be unnerving. It takes that weird feeling that someone is watching you to a whole new level! But Snow does it not only out of respect but out of gratitude. As I look at her peacefully sleeping at my side I am reminded to live “right now.” You see, our pets live in the moment. Something we all struggle with from time to time. And at this moment she rests peacefully knowing I am proud and honored to have her at my side. This afternoon we’ll spend some more time in my office and I’ll  check on Ms. Robin again just outside my window.  I really hope Ms. Mockingbird doesn’t come by and evict her again this year!

Follow this link to learn more about vestibular disease in an article shared by Falls Village Veterinary Hospital, Raleigh.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Severe Weather Plans Are Needed For Family Pets

We are just entering spring and the traditional severe weather season is still weeks away. But in the first two months of 2012, the United States has already experienced a reported 128 tornadoes, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In comparison, those two months combined averaged 50 tornadoes during the past three years. And the 2012 hurricane season doesn't begin until June.

North Carolina State University's College of Veterinary Medicine and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), along with numerous other organizations, have compiled useful resources to help pet care providers and pet owners prepare for these weather events.

The following link takes you to excellent resources for disaster planning for all our companion animals -- dogs, cats, horses, fish, birds, and other farm animals.

Take the time now, ahead of the severe weather season, to put a plan together.  As noted in the AVMA's emergency planning booklet, "Saving the Whole Family," emergency planning for our family members includes our pets and other animals.  Let's get prepared now.

The Dog Walk is 38 days away and the Hoof and Paws Pet Care TEAM is responding daily.  We have achieved almost 50% of our goal.  If you have already signed up to walk with us or have donated to the team of walkers, THANK YOU.  If you are still unsure what APRIL 21 looks like on your calendar, you still have time to choose the WALK as your calendar entry that day!!

As beautiful as the weather is today, just think how much nicer it will be a month from now.  All of our canine fur kids will be so ready to take to the streets of downtown Raleigh and walk with us on April 21 as we support the tireless work the SPCA of Wake County does that day and every other day of 2012 to help the homeless pets in Wake County.  And our feline fur kids will be equally happy to curl up in a sunny spot at home and just bask in the nice weather while we are out walking.

Check your calendar now.  Skylar, Snow, and I will be waiting to hear that you are joining us!

Friday, March 2, 2012

SPCA of Wake County: K9-3K Dog Walk 2012

SPCA of Wake County: K9-3K Dog Walk 2012

It is almost spring and that means great weather for getting outside with our pets.  Register now for the 2012 K9-3K Dog Walk and enjoy APRIL 21 downtown when we get to enjoy walking with our friends and our pets to help the SPCA of Wake County in their tireless efforts on behalf of the many homeless pets in our area.

Last year teams like the Hoof and Paws TEAM helped raise money to benefit over 16,200 animals. This year the need is greater than ever before to save homeless ones and to help struggling families keep their four-legged companions.

The SPCA of Wake County is a no-kill organization.  Every single animal they save is because of people like us who care about our pets and the many homeless pets who are waiting for homes.

Please help the Hoof and Paws TEAM and register to walk with us.  If you can't walk with us that day, please sponsor our team or sponsor an individual on our team.  A four-legged companion right here in our area will benefit because you said "YES" to helping!!

Just follow the link above to our TEAM page for registration or sponsorship.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Fur Kids Use Information Technology Too!

 The Original QR Tag for Pets

I often tell my fellow professional pet care providers that many of my fur clients are the best dressed, most well groomed, and certainly some of the most pampered family members in the area.  Add to that look I just described all the jewelry these pets sport on their array of seasonal collars--ID tag, Rabies tag, CGC tag, etc.

Let me tell you about the newest identification tag I've found for my own crew -- Karma, Snow, Skylar, and Manassas.  The PetQRTag is unlike any other identification tag because the information is not limited to what is physically shown on the tag.  Instead, it is a tag with a unique web address and matching QR Code engraved on it that can be accessed by any internet enabled device (Smartphone, PC, Mac, laptop, tablet, etc).

The pet owner enters the information into the database that is then available anytime and anywhere so that the pet can be quickly and positively identified 24/7.  No longer does a facility have to be open to scan for a microchip before the owner can be contacted.  No longer does a lost pet have to wait for necessary medical needs to be met because the owner hasn't been reached.  In fact, particular behaviors about that pet that would assist in capturing the lost and/or injured pet can now be included in the information stored in the database.  Most impressive to me is that a new tag is not necessary when any of the pet's information needs to be updated.  Just log in from any internet enabled device and update the information for the particular pet or change all the information to describe a different pet and move the tag to the other pet.

I hope I never have one of my pets missing, but if it happens, I sure like knowing that in this information technology world, someone finding Karma, Snow, Skylar, or even Manassas, will likely be intrigued by a collar tag with a bar code on it.  All that person then needs to do is use a QR Reader (free download) to scan the QR code and the action starts right then to get my pet back home with me.

When I finished my research on this tag, I decided to order just one and see if it really could operate as described in the literature. It exceeded my expectations and I now have tags ordered for all my crew, including Manassas.  This year when we prepare for hurricane season., I'll know that even my horse is more likely to be identified quickly if disaster strikes our area and farms lose fences.

To read more about these tags, go to PetQRTag.Com and learn more about how information technology has entered our furry family members' domain.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Dogs Can Have Strokes, Too

Dogs Can Have Strokes, Too

This is a good article published by Life Line Screening, Inc.  I was glad to see that in addition to the medical conditions and diseases underlying reasons for strokes, the article reminds owners that exercise in very hot conditions can also be a trigger for stroke in our canines.

Just click on the title to link to the complete article.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Valentine's Day Tips to Keep Fur Kids Safe

Valentine's Day will be here in just a few days and love is definitely in the air, but with the holiday is potential danger for your fur children.  Here are a few thoughts to help you keep your pets safe this Valentine's Day while you enjoy one of the sweetest tasting treats and fragrant aromas of all holidays ---- CHOCOLATE and FLOWERS!

Both of these indulgences can be extremely hazardous to pets.

Last year, The American Society for the Protection Against Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) saw a 74 percent increase in cases of chocolate ingestion in the week ahead of Valentine's Day.

Animals are particularly sensitive to theobromine and caffeine, both ingredients in chocolate candies.  We know that the darker the chocolate, the better for humans if we must enjoy it; unfortunately, the darker it is the more dangerous it is for your pets.  The best tip here is to cover the candy securely and store it out of reach of the pets to avoid the urge to "sniff the location" and discover the prize.

If you have feline fur kids, they have potential trouble surrounding them on most all the holidays, not just Valentine's Day.  Most pet owners don't realize that all varieties of the LILY family are poisonous to cats. It really is not that florists don't want to sell dozens of roses this holiday, it's just that lilies add beauty to most every bouquet throughout the year.  The hint here is to tell your spouse or significant other to avoid lilies in the bouquet, and if that doesn't work, take special note of the beautiful arrangement and discard those lilies just after you say "thank you" very sweetly!

These measures should keep the furry valentines safe and well.  If they do ingest anything harmful, call your vet or one of the emergency animal hospitals immediately.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Welcome to the first blog posting!

2011 was a busy year for Hoof and Paws Pet Care and 2012 looks to be even busier. I finally relented to the “social media” craze and decided to start blogging and using Facebook to communicate with you this year.  Actually, I won’t be the only one posting blog entries.  Many of you know that Skylar and Snow work in the business with me. So from time to time they will be sharing their thoughts with you.  Skylar doesn’t understand why Snow gets equal billing with him because he thinks he works harder than her. He has to make rounds with me most every day to assist with teaching leash walking, proper behavior when meeting other dogs on walks, etc. and yet Snow only goes to work on days that she is so inclined.  He doesn’t know that when he is 13 yrs. old I will probably give him the opportunity to lounge on the sofa at home.  He also doesn’t want to acknowledge Snow did all that work and more for several years before he came into the picture. And, of course, Karma will be sharing her opinions with you from time to time as well.  Those of you who have benefited from Karma’s feline skill at introducing a prospective canine member to your kitty family members will probably agree that she should be a blog contributor also. Manassas and Pinky may also have a few hoof notes to add along the way.  Many of you know Pinky is 39 years young and she is still just as opinionated as she ever was. And I have not told Manassas about this blog yet because he will talk your ears off! And he never wants to hear about stuff he thinks will keep me away from the barn. If it were up to him he would be riding around in my car arguing with Skylar about whose turn it is to stick their head out my sunroof! Manassas is oblivious to the fact that my car is smaller than he is.
 In addition to my clients keeping the schedule full in 2011, which I certainly am grateful for, I was also in school last year as a student with the incredible K9Solutions Academy. Between classes, homework, seminars, and anything else that my instructors felt would be beneficial to my education, I was full-time busy and now have my reward for all the work.  As of this writing I have graduated and I’m now a Certified Trainer and Animal Behavior Consultant.   In the next few months I’ll begin offering individual consults, group classes, and more evaluative sessions for those with new pets or those looking to adopt canine/feline members to their family. Just watch the web site for these additions to the business.
For now I have to hear Skylar, Snow,  Karma, Manassas, and Pinky each compete for their first blog posting.  And after that is done, I’ll get back to you with subjects such as training, play, nutrition, health, and the like.  As we get started with this “social media” craze, let me hear from you if there are topics you want me to include in my postings.