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Archive for January 14th, 2009

Does your dog need a coat? Probably not

Animal welfare experts in Great Britain are warning that the trend toward outfitting dogs in clothes — especially winter coats — may be causing the animals to overheat.

The RSPCA has gone so far as to compare the practice to leaving dogs in cars during hot weather, and says it may consider prosecuting those who are putting their dogs at risk.

Some experts say that, except for small, short-haired and hairless breeds, clothing is unnecessary and interferes with a dog’s ability to regulate its own temperature, the London Telegraph reported over the weekend.

And a few question the growth of “canine couture” – dressing dogs in “fashionable” clothing – saying it is demeaning to the animals and could even encourage bad behaviour.

“There are very few occasions when an animal needs a coat, even in the recent cold weather, Mark Johnston, from the British Small Animal Veterinary Association, told the Telegraph.

“Dogs have developed a very effective coat of their own, which will protect them from the elements. It is adjustable so they can raise the fur to control their temperature. Dressing them in a coat diminishes the animal’s ability to regulate their own body temperature and could be detrimental if the animal gets too hot. Read more »

Sheltie survives, but a Wii bit sore

A five-month-old miniature Sheltie got a little too close to the action when his owners were playing Nintendo Wii bowling and was knocked out by a blow to the head from a handheld remote.

The owner of Ozzy, in Marquette, Michigan, initially thought she had killed the dog.

“We had just got the Wii for Christmas,” explained owner Kathy White, “so we were trying it out, and that’s when Alexis and I were bowling and Ozzy was standing by me and he jumped up and I hit him in the temple …”

White says Ozzy wasn’t moving or breathing, so she called a neighbor for help. The neighbor checked the dog’s pulse, sensed that it had stopped and blew into the dog’s nose. On the fourth or fifth breath Ozzy coughed and woke up.

The dog suffered brain swelling and was in cardiac arrest when he arrived at the vet, but is now almost back to normal, his family told WBBH-TV.

Ozzy is no longer allowed in the room when the family plays the game.

Britain’s Kennel Club tightens breeding rules

The Kennel Club in Great Britain — under fire for perpetuating breed standards and practices that critics say endanger the health of purebred dogs — announced yesterday that it will introduce strict new rules, including a ban on the breeding of close relatives.

The breed standards have been revised so that they will not include “anything that could in any way be interpreted as encouraging features that might prevent a dog from breathing, walking and seeing freely,” the Kennel Club said in a press release.

The club approved bans on mating father with daughter, mother to son and brother to sister, traditionally practiced by breeders to accentuate certain “desirable” physical characteristics.

“This will help to prevent the practice of exaggeration, where features that are perceived to be desirable, such as a short muzzle or loose skin, are made more prominent by breeders, and which can have detrimental effects on a dog’s health.”

Read more »

Australian dog food recalled in China

A brand of pet food from Australia is being pulled off store shelves in China after reports of dogs being sickened by it, CNN has reported.

Natural Pet Corporation, the distributor for Optima dog food from Australia, ordered a recall, according to the company’s general manager in Shanghai.

Reports of sick animals have been coming into Edis Pet Supply Company in Shanghai, a retailer selling Optima dog food. Veterinarians have told Edis of four dogs poisoned by aflatoxin after eating Optima products, but dozens of other dog poisoning have been reported in the Chinese media.

Aflatoxin attacks the liver in several animal species. Although rare in many parts of the world, the fungi that produce aflatoxins can contaminate cereal grains often used in pet foods.

Zhang said Natural Pet Corporation is aware of the reports of sick dogs and that the products are being tested.

In 2007, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recalled more than 150 brands of cat and dog food after finding that some pets became ill or died after eating food tainted with melamine, a chemical commonly used in coatings and laminates, adhesives, fabric coatings, ceiling tiles and flame retardants. Contaminated additives used in the pet food came from China.

Two Chinese businesses, a U.S. company and top executives of each were indicted by a federal grand jury in February in connection with tainted pet food, which resulted in deaths and serious illnesses in up to thousands of U.S. pets.