We haven’t warned you this year, as Halloween approaches, about chocolate and other candies that can harm your dog, assuming that by now you already know all that.
But you may not know about toxic toads.
It only took about half an hour for Deborah Barrett’s dog, a Jack Russell terrier named Willie, to die after he bit a Bufo marinus toad in his back yard last week.
“It was as big as a salad plate. My dog killed it, and when he came inside, within five minutes he went into convulsions, Barrett told Patch.com in Temple Terrace, which is outside Tampa.
Barrett said Willie died in the car on the way to an animal hospital.
The City of Temple Terrace is cautioning pet owners to watch out for the Bufo marinus toads, an invasive species that has taken hold in Florida. The gray-brown toads secrete a powerful toxin from their glands that can be poisonous to dogs, cats and other animals that bite them, and even people who handle them.
Small dogs are the most at risk, veterinarians say.
“Once they start having seizures, if you don’t address it quickly, it can cause massive brain damage,” said Dr. Paul Langston, of the Temple Terrace Animal & Bird Hospital.”If you can get them (to the vet) quickly, they’ll usually be OK.”
If you suspect your pet has bitten a Bufo toad, veterinarians advise rinsing its mouth and paws with water and seeking veterinary help immediately.
As with the mushrooms we told you about last week, the toads are being seen in higher numbers because of heavy rains.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 10th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bufo marinus, caution, dangers, deadly, death, deborah barrett, dogs, florida, halloween, hazard, health, heavy rains, jack russell terrier, marijuana, mushrooms, pets, poison, rain, temple terrace, toad, toads, toxic, toxic toads, toxins, warning, willie
It’s “National Dress Up Your Pet Day.”
And — with apologies to any advertisers or potential advertisers we might offend, to the founder of the day, and to dog dresser-uppers everywhere — we hate it.
We abide it, when it’s just done once in a while; when it’s done for purposes of warmth with dogs of the tiny, short coated, shivering variety; and, to some extent, on Halloween.
But overall, we’re every bit as tired of it as most of the dogs who get dressed up probably are.
For all those who will respond saying how much their dogs love being dressed up, I’d submit that it’s the attention, not the attire, that they are appreciating. (Though I will admit Ace does seem to love it when I change his bandana — generally when it gets crusty and/or stinky, or about every three months.)
While we’re at it, we’re tired, too, of all these “national days” being proclaimed — at least those that aren’t for a good cause, but are instead marketing gimmicks.
It’s got to stop somewhere. What’s next? National Clone Your Dog Day?
And one more note of concern: If we keep humanizing dogs, through dressing them up and such, might the day come that they get so like us that they start proclaiming “national days?”
National Rawhide Chew Day, National Pet Your Dog All Day Long Day, National Don’t Forget the Belly Day, National Double Up The Dinner Serving Day, National Dig A Hole Day, National Fetch And Then Fetch Some More And Perhaps A Little More Fetch Day.
It could get totally out of control.
I’m pretty sure President Obama didn’t declare Jan. 14 “National Dress Up Your Pet Day,” I’m pretty sure it wasn’t an act of Congress. Instead, it seems National Dress Up Your Pet Day was founded in 2009 by Colleen Paige, a “celebrity pet lifestyle expert and animal behaviorist,” who has proclaimed several dog-related national days (though I don’t begin to understand what gives her the authority to proclaim days).
It is sponsored by the Animal Miracle Network “as a fun way to celebrate our beloved pets and to support the pet fashion community.”
“It’s important to remember though,” notes Paige, “that it’s not … a day to disrespect our pets with uncomfortable, vulgar and/or seasonally inappropriate costumes for the sake of a laugh or photo shoot.”
“Have fun with your pets by dressing them in cute outfits and safe costumes – but keep your pet’s comfort level in mind when involving him/her in this fun novelty day. Make sure that your pet can see and hear properly and that they aren’t wearing something that might overheat them or incorporate any parts that they may chew off and swallow.”
Dogs are too smart to fall for “National Dress Up Your Pet Day,” but at least some of us humans seem to buy into it.
Here’s a snippet from a recent article that appeared on Petstyle.com:
“With the big day just around the corner, now is the time to coordinate some fabulous outfits so your pet can celebrate in style! This is your chance to make Fido fit for the runway. But remember, there is more involved than just pulling your pet’s favorite frock out of her wardrobe. As a pet owner, there are a few things to consider as you prepare for the main event …
“Think about your pet’s personality. Your regal Doberman will not appreciate being dressed in a pink sweater with maribou trim. He is more likely to appreciate a fashionable camo fleece or a suitable biker hat … Then again, your Bichon Frise might love the pink sweater. Or put some prep in your pet with this yuppie puppy attire …
“If rain is expected in your location, opt for a totally ‘in’ rain coat and possibly even a matching set of boots. After all, being hip doesn’t mean being impractical. And you don’t want your pet to catch a cold as he shows off his fabulous fashion sense.”
Geesh. We’ve made this point before, unpopular as it may be with a large segment of dog people. If a dog requires protection from the elements, fine. If once a year, on Halloween, you want to decorate your dog, safely and comfortably, fine.
But if dressing your dog, merely for decoration’s sake, is a daily, or even weekly diversion, if you’re constantly putting him or her in outfits, if you have more than, say, two dozen of them, perhaps you might want to consider a doll instead.
Even on National Dress Up Your Dog Day, which, come to think of it, might be a good time to change Ace’s bandana.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 14th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animal miracle network, animals, anthropomorphic, bandana, behavior, clothing, colleen paige, costumes, days, decorating, decoration, dog, dogs, dress, dress up, fashion, gimmicks, halloween, human, humanizing, marketing, national days, national dress up your pet day, outfits, owners, pet fashion, pets, proclaimed, proclamation
In response to yesterday’s post — the one that questioned whether dogs really enjoy the way we outfit them for Halloween, and whether all the money we spend doing that might be put to better use — a reader sent along a couple of links to YouTube videos.
The video above features a Boston terrier who has been equipped with a pig nose.
Perhaps I would be anthropomorphizing to assume that he’s humiliated by it all — getting humiliated being a human condition. Boston terriers are, after all, masters of the what-the-hell-is-going-on-here look, even when nothing is going on.
But my best guess is neither the pig-nosed dog, nor the Chihuahua clad in an army tank (below) is thoroughly enjoying the experience.
If anthropomorphization is bad, what about porcinepomorphization? And weaponpomorphization?
Posted by jwoestendiek November 3rd, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal welfare, animals, anthropomorphic, anthropomorphism, boston terrier, chihuahua, costumes, discomfort, dogs, dogs in costume, halloween, halloween costumes, humiliation, pets, pig nose, tank, videos
I am not strictly opposed to dressing dogs up for Halloween.
But I wonder whether we’ve gone overboard. I question how much dogs enjoy it, and why and how, with the economy we have, Americans were willing and able to fork over an estimated $310 million to decorate their dogs for the holiday.
As noted in The Village Voice:
According to the National Retail Federation, Americans are expected to spend $6.68 billion on Halloween this year. Included in that sum is an astounding $310 million spent on costumes for people’s pets. Give Americans credit: We can suffer through a recession, gross economic turmoil, a foreclosure epidemic, and a tepid stock market, but we sure as shit aren’t skimping on the dog costumes.
What if, even just for one year, we declared a moratorium on doggie costumes and instead used that $310 million to make America, or the world, a better place for dogs — used it on dog parks, or spaying and neutering, or emergency veterinary treatment, or furthering adoptions, or more humane alternatives to the gas chambers many animal control departments are still using for euthanasia?
“Halloween is my favorite holiday because it makes me infinitely happy to see dogs in costumes,” Nikki Moustaki writes on her blog, MUTTerings. “It’s the time of year when passionate dog owners let their dogs’ inner ballerina, bumblebee, or princess shine.”
Nikki’s infinite happiness aside — and on top of the hazards some costumes can pose – there’s something to be said for letting a dog be a dog, even on Halloween, as opposed to ballerina or bumblebee.
Much as it makes us smile, chuckle and go awwwwww, Humans should not get their kicks at the expense of a dog’s suffering, or even discomfort.
I’m sure most responsible pet owners are careful, ensuring that what they’re dressing their dog in/as is a safe costume that won’t constrict their pet’s breathing, or contain little pieces that can be chewed off or choked on.
But the increasing trendiness of dog costuming ensures that there will be an increasing number of pet owners who aren’t thinking things through.
And physical hazards aside, there’s also the stress factor. Some dogs may relish the attention, and happily tolerate a costume, but many only get stressed out when festooned with an elaborate get-up.
Ironically, one of the biggest promoters of costuming dogs — after the companies that sell costumes, and the websites that thrive on presenting pictures of dogs as something other than dogs — are local shelters and humane societies.
Rare is the fundraising event that doesn’t feature a doggie costume contest, which is understandable, given they are such crowd pleasers.
I’m not a total party pooper. Putting a dog who doesn’t stress out about it in a simple and safe costume, for a short while — long enough to get your laughs, snap your pictures and post them on Facebook — is fine.
But leaving them in it for hours, leaving them in it unattended, leaving them in it when they are clearly upset about it? That’s where it all enters the arena of, maybe not animal cruelty, but animal disrespect.
The hazards of Halloween, for dogs, go beyond the costuming. It, like the 4th of July, is a prime times for dogs to get loose and run away. In Rochester, N.Y., police fatally shot a Rottweiler who was scaring trick-or-treaters.
And then there are the treats. Chocolate, as we all should know by now, can be toxic to dogs, and xylitol — an ingredient found in gum and other treats — can sicken and kill them as well.
Other than all that, Happy Halloween!
Posted by jwoestendiek November 2nd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 310 million, animal welfare, animals, chocolate, comfort, contests, costume, costumes, discomfort, dog, dog blogs, dogs, dressing, fad, halloween, happy halloween, hazards, humane societies, killed, letting dogs be dogs, moratorium, pets, police, popularity, rottweiler, run away, safety, shelters, shot, spending, stress, trending, trick or treat, xylitol
Ace’s Halloween treat? He got to hop in the back of this funereal-looking vehicle.
It’s a 1955 Cadillac owned by my neighbor, and Ace’s new best friend, Al, who likes to take it out of the garage around Halloween time and show it off a bit.
Ace, when he’s outside, always keeps one eye on Al’s door, five units down from mine. If it moves at all, he bounds off, expecting treats. Al always has one, and if he doesn’t he raids his own refrigerator. Sometimes I worry the leftovers Al’s giving Ace — chicken, fish, steak – are that night’s dinner.
At one point, Al asked if he was being a bad influence on Ace. With the last bag of dog treats he bought, Al, who is dogless, volunteered to give them all to me so Ace, who normally stays put in the front yard, wouldn’t go running off down to his house.
Smart as that would be, discipline-wise, I said no. Having noted the spring in Ace’s step everytime he sees Al, and vice versa, I decided to let the bad habit continue.
As a result, Ace will do anything Al asks — including, it turned out, hopping into the back of the refurbished, ghostly silver vehicle that, back in its prime, served as the last ride for many a human and floral arrangement.
In exchange he got — you guessed it — a treat.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 1st, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 1955, ace, al, america, animals, bad habits, cadillac, discipline, dog, dogs, flower car, friends, funeral, halloween, hearse, neighbors, pets, road trip, travels with ace, treats, trick or treat, vehicle
This year’s tips on how to ensure your pet has a safe Halloween are brought to you by PETA — the scariest animal welfare group of all.
And while some of them are a little over the top for us — such as handing out only vegan candy (Brocolli Bursts, anyone?) — they mostly make sense as, we’ll admit, PETA often does.
Keep your cats inside. For cats — especially black cats — the days leading up to Halloween can be dangerous. Pranksters often go on the prowl for roaming kitties. In fact, many animal shelters refuse to adopt out black cats during the entire month of October.
Keep your dogs indoors too. Some kids think that letting dogs out of their yards, or otherwise harassing them on Halloween is a great trick. Dogs can also get spooked by the noise and all the strangely dressed people.
Put animals in a secure room. Cats and dogs might try to sneak out when the front door’s constantly being opened. It’s best to keep animals inside a bedroom or family room, away from all the commotion.
Don’t take dogs trick-or-treating. Dogs can easily become frightened by the endless stream of laughing and screaming children and run off.
Keep candy out of reach of animals. All candy can cause animals to become sick, and chocolate can be poisonous to dogs. Give them a pet treat instead, and make sure children understand that, too.
Be careful with candles and other decorations. Jack-o’-lanterns lit up by candles can burn animals (and children) or start fires if tipped over. The ink that is used in some brightly colored decorations, such as orange streamers and paper pumpkins, is toxic to animals, and swallowed balloons or party favors can block an animal’s digestive tract.
Remember that animals aren’t party props. Many animals become upset if they are forced into clothing, and many pet owners sometimes take the concept too far. Costumes that are kept in place with tight rubber bands can cut off circulation.
PETA goes on to suggest using only cruelty-free make-up for your costume, and passing out vegan candy, or, in lieu of candy — and here’s where they really lose us – stickers with information on tooth decay.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 22nd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, black cats, candles, candy, cats, chocolate, costumes, dangers, dogs, halloween, indoors, inside, keep pets safe, lost, people for the ethical treatment of animals, peta, pets, pranksters, safety, tips, warnings
BARCStoberfest is this Saturday (Oct. 22) at Patterson Park.
K-9 demonstrations, adoptable pets from area shelters and rescues, pet product vendors, food, music and costume contests are all part of the free, day-long event, held by Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter (BARCS)
In addition, the Orioles bird will be there to promote the 2012 BARCS Orioles calendar and have his picture taken with people and their pets.
The centerpiece of the event is the annual Strut Your Mutt walk, starting at noon.
Participants may register for the walk at the event, starting at 11 a.m., or online, by clicking here.
The top prize for the walker who raises the most money is a trip for two to New York City.
In the pet costume contest, categories include most original costume, most Baltimore costume, and best dog and person look-alikes.
The rain date for BARCStoberfest is Sunday, October 23.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 19th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adopt, adoptable, animal, baltimore, baltimore animal rescue & care shelter, barcs, barcstoberfest, calendar, costume contest, dogs, event, festival, fundraiser, halloween, maryland, orioles, pets, strut your mutt, vendors
You may have noticed that we’re not real big on doggie Halloween costumes this year. We have some issues with the whole idea of costuming pooches — and encouraging the practice — that we are still working through.
That said, here’s one I just can’t pass up. Having eschewed — yes, eschewed — the costume contest at BARCStoberfest, I missed this entry (but spotted him on the Baltimore Sun’s “Unleashed” blog today). It’s Tito, a local Chihuahua, dressed as the ubiquitous pink and yellow Big Boyz Bail Bonds pen.
If you’re not from Baltimore, you might not be familiar with the company, or the fact that its pens — in a true stroke of marketing genius — are everywhere.
Big Boyz Bail Bonds orders more than 500,000 pens a year and provides them for free to bars, restaurants and shops all over town, and all over Maryland.
It’s as easy as buying a pumpkin, going on line, downloading a stencil of your dog’s breed, transferring the stencil onto the pumpkin, hollowing out the pumpkin, and then spending an hour or so, I’d guess, delicately carving out your dog’s likeness.
It looks like something that crafty Martha Stewart would come up with and, for all I know, maybe she has. But the stencil used to carve this dog came from Good Housekeeping, which offers about a dozen breed stencils for free downloading
You can also vote for your favorite one, or learn how to create your own stencil.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 28th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: activities, breeds, carving, crafts, decorating, decorations, dog, dog-o-lantern, dogs, golden retriever, good housekeeping, halloween, likeness, pumpkin, pumpkins, stencils
Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS) puts no stock in silly superstitions — not even in the Halloween season.
BARCS is offering $13 adoptions for 13 days as part of a special “Howl-O-Ween” promotion.
Apparently, they decided against the black cat specials (shelters generally frowning on promoting gimmicky impulse adoptions).
But gimmicky alone is OK. So, from Oct. 19 through Oct. 31 the shelter will be doing $13 dog adoptions. Regular adoption procedures will apply. All dogs will be spayed or neutered, de-wormed; and be given rabies, DHLPP and bordatella vaccines. BARCS also provides a flea preventative, a general examination, a food sample, and even a month of free health insurance.
“We’re celebrating Howl-O-Ween, but not with tricks, just treats,” says Jennifer Mead-Brause, executive director at BARCS. “We’ll treat you to a new best friend.”
BARCS is the largest shelter in the Baltimore area, taking in over 12,000 animals each year. BARCS has taken in 3,749 dogs from January 1 through September 30, 2009.
To adopt an animal from BARCS, stop by the shelter on Stockholm Street, (behind M&T Bank Stadium), call 410-396-4695 or visit baltimoreanimalshelter.org. BARCS is open for adoptions Monday through Friday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m to 4 p.m.
(Photo: Majesty, a two-year-old male, is one of the adoptable dogs now at BARCS)
Posted by jwoestendiek October 22nd, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: $13, adopt, adoptable, adoption, baltimore, baltimore animal rescue & care, barcs, discounted, dog, dogs, halloween, howl-o-ween, jennifer mead-brause, neutered, pets, promotion, shelter, spayed