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Tag: bones

FDA: Don’t give the dog a bone, ever

dog-boneGiving your dog a bone — any bone —  is a dangerous practice that can cause serious injury to your pet, the Food and Drug Administration says.  

It’s not like they’re recalling bones, but the agency has issued a warning in an article appearing on the FDA’s online Consumer Updates page.

However popular the idea may be that it’s natural for dogs to chew on bones, the tradition –  knick-knack paddy-whack aside — falls into the danger zone, in the FDA’s view.

“Some people think it’s safe to give dogs large bones, like those from a ham or a roast,” says Carmela Stamper, D.V.M., a veterinarian in the Center for Veterinary Medicine at the Food and Drug Administration. “Bones are unsafe no matter what their size. Giving your dog a bone may make your pet a candidate for a trip to your veterinarian’s office later, possible emergency surgery, or even death.”

The FDA lists 10 reasons why bones are a bad idea — and we’ll pass them on verbatim:

  1. Broken teeth. This may call for expensive veterinary dentistry.
  2. Mouth or tongue injuries. These can be very bloody and messy and may require a trip to see your veterinarian.
  3. Bone gets looped around your dog’s lower jaw. This can be frightening or painful for your dog and potentially costly to you, as it usually means a trip to see your veterinarian.
  4. Bone gets stuck in esophagus, the tube that food travels through to reach the stomach. Your dog may gag, trying to bring the bone back up, and will need to see your veterinarian.
  5. Bone gets stuck in windpipe. This may happen if your dog accidentally inhales a small enough piece of bone. This is an emergency because your dog will have trouble breathing. Get your pet to your veterinarian immediately!
  6. Bone gets stuck in stomach. It went down just fine, but the bone may be too big to pass out of the stomach and into the intestines. Depending on the bone’s size, your dog may need surgery or upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, a procedure in which your veterinarian uses a long tube with a built-in camera and grabbing tools to try to remove the stuck bone from the stomach.
  7. Bone gets stuck in intestines and causes a blockage. It may be time for surgery.
  8. Constipation due to bone fragments. Your dog may have a hard time passing the bone fragments because they’re very sharp and they scrape the inside of the large intestine or rectum as they move along. This causes severe pain and may require a visit to your veterinarian.
  9. Severe bleeding from the rectum. This is very messy and can be dangerous. It’s time for a trip to see your veterinarian.
  10. Peritonitis. This nasty, difficult-to-treat bacterial infection of the abdomen is caused when bone fragments poke holes in your dog’s stomach or intestines. Your dog needs an emergency visit to your veterinarian because peritonitis can kill your dog.

“Always supervise your dog with any chew product, especially one your dog hasn’t had before,” adds Stamper. “And always, if your dog ‘just isn’t acting right,’ call your veterinarian right away!”

We agree with those last two points, at least, but can’t help but wonder if a total bone ban may be a bit over-protective, a bit contrary to the nature and roots of dogs, and one more step in turning dogs into humans.

Most bones are bad — chicken bones, as we all know, in particular. But there are those that, with supervision, I don’t hesitate to give my particular dog,  like marrow bones. They can help clean teeth, massage gums and, in my dog’s experience, seem quite safe.

What school are you in when it comes to bones? Do you think some are OK? Do you ban them in your household?  Do you have a bone to pick with the FDA? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Skinniest in show: It’s Hatch!

hatch at cruftsLikely the oldest dog to ever appear at Crufts — and probably one of few mutts ever allowed entry – the skeleton of a sea dog named Hatch is on display at the prestigous UK dog show before heading to her forever home.

Hatch — a mongrel, believed to have been about two years old — died in 1545 when her ship, the Mary Rose, sank in the Solent Channel.

After Crufts, she’ll return to the south coast for display at the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth.

The dog was likely assigned to catch rats aboard the ship, a common practice at the time because cats were believed to bring bad luck.

According to experts, the formation of her skeleton suggests that she spent almost all of her life confined to the ship’s smallest and darkest areas.

mary-roseThe Mary Rose, the flagship of Henry VIII, sank in 1545 at the Battle of the Solent. Artifacts including clothing, jewelry, furniture, musical instruments, medical equipment and weapons were discovered when the vessel was raised in 1982.

The bones of Hatch were found on board the ship, near a hatch door that led to the carpenter’s cabin, the BBC reported. Staff at the Mary Rose Trust reconstructed her bones, and came up with her name.

John Lippiett, chief executive of the Mary Rose Trust, said: “Expert analysis of Hatch’s bones suggests that she spent most of her short life within the close confines of the ship … It is likely that the longest walks she took were along the quayside at Portsmouth, her home town.”

The animal’s skeleton  and will go on display March 26 at the Mary Rose Museum at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. A new museum to house the Mary Rose Collection is scheduled to open in 2012, and will display the preserved hull of the ship.

Sacrificed animals found in Philadelphia home

SPCA investigators in Philadelphia found the remains of dozens of animals when they responded to a report of a dogs living inside a house in unsanitary conditions.

The animals, found inside a house on North Front Street, had apparently been sacrificed in religious rituals.

“The whole house was covered in feathers from chickens that had been sacrificed,” said George Bengal, director of law enforcement of the Pennsyvlania SPCA. There were also skeletons of what were possibly other farm animals, and what appeared to be skeletons of dogs, cats and possibly primates, according to the Philadelphia Daily News.

Bengal said a blood-spattered altar had been set up in the house. Candles were burning and music was playing when investigators arrived. Two dogs were found alive, according to Bengal.

On Sunday, Pennsylvania SPCA officers used a warrant to search the property after receiving a tip that two emaciated dogs were being kept at the house.

They found, and removed, the dogs, but only after confronting an elaborate altar and the bones of possibly several hundred animals that had been killed, apparently as part of Santeria – a combination of African religions and Catholicism that originated among slaves in the Caribbean, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported today.

The officers also found what appeared to be the remains of small monkeys.

Bengal said the man who lived at the house and is suspected of performing many of the killings is believed to be in Mexico. His wife , who may still be in the city, is being sought for questioning.

And the Hambone goes to …

toby1After Dennis Bullaro, 65, and his mother, Marie, 90, finished a roast dinner a few months ago, they tossed the round bone that remained to Toby, their one-year-old “cockalier” (cocker spaniel, Cavalier King Charles spaniel mix).

For two months, Toby treasured the bone, flinging it in the air and catching it, dropping it on the ground and rolling over it to scratch his back. But then one day the fun stopped.

Somehow, Toby managed to get the bone stuck around his front teeth and lower jaw, covering his snout and forcing a trip to an Omaha, Nebraska emergency veterinary clinic, the Omaha World-Herald reported.

At the Omaha Animal Emergency Clinic, the veterinarian had to anesthetize Toby and use a hacksaw to cut and  remove the bone.

Of more than 75,000 claims reviewed in May by the Veterinary Pet Insurance Company, Toby’s was chosen as the most interesting, putting Toby in the running for the Hambone Award, to be bestowed in September after online voting.hambone

The company says most of the 1 million claims it handles each year are for common pet conditions or routine care. But, a company spokesman said sometimes claim comes up that reminds everyone just how unexpected and sometimes, in retrospect, even funny, pet accidents can be.

The award name was inspired by the case of a dog that got stuck in a refrigerator and ate an entire Thanksgiving ham while waiting to be let out.

The winning pet and owner receives a trophy in the shape of a ham.

The insurance company suggests that pet owners refrain from giving their pets leftover bones.


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