OFF THE MARKET AT LAST
It was a long time and hundreds of dog deaths coming, but Del Monte and Nestle Purina announced this week that they will cease to market Chinese-made chicken jerky treats sold under their brand names.
Del Monte’s Milo’s Kitchen products and Nestle Purina’s Waggin’ Train and Canyon Creek Ranch treats will all be pulled from the market after the New York State Department of Agriculture found possible contamination by an antibiotic that is illegal in the U.S.
The treats have been anecdotally linked to kidney failure, illness and death in hundreds of dogs, and the FDA — while never going so far as to recall them — has issued three different warnings to pet owners in the past five years about possible risks.
FDA tests for toxins and heavy metals have found no explanation for the alleged illnesses, and its unclear if the banned antibiotic is the culprit in the hundreds of dogs deaths in which the treats were suspected to be a factor.
Nevertheless, Nestle Purina and Del Monte decided to pull their products after New York officials announced they had found trace amounts of the banned antibiotic in tests of the products, ABC reported.
“Pet safety and consumer confidence in our products are our top priorities,” said Rob Leibowitz, Del Monte’s general manager for Pet Products. “While there is no known health risk, the presence of even trace amounts of these antibiotics does not meet our high quality standards. Therefore, today we decided to recall both products and asked retailers to remove the products from their shelves.”
Nestle Purina also stressed that “there is no indication that the trace amounts of antibiotic residue are linked to the FDA’s ongoing investigation of chicken jerky products.”
Posted by jwoestendiek January 11th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, canyon creek ranch, chicken, china, chines, deaths, del monte, dog food, dogs, fda, gone, hazards, health, illness, investigation, jerky, kidneys, market, milos kitchen, nestle purina, off, pet food, pets, pulled, recalls, related, safety, suspected, tests, treats, waggin train
Using stainless steel salad tongs and simulated doggie drool, a Texas Tech researcher conducted tests on dog toys and determined some of them, under chewing-like conditions, leach chemicals that could harm dogs.
Phil Smith, an asssociate professor of terrestrial ecotoxicology — say that three times fast — presented his findings this week at the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry conference held in California.
Among the toys tested, the worst offenders appear to be plastic fetching batons, or bumpers, which are used to teach dogs how to retrieve, according to a report on his findings by Discovery.com.
Smith, who raises Labrador retrievers, uses bumpers often, and got to wondering whether — with all the reports of dangerous chemicals in plastic — they were causing harm.
“In the process of training a Lab, you do a lot of work with these plastic bumpers,” Smith said in a press release. “I have a lot of bumpers in my garage, and they spend a lot of time in the mouths of my retrievers … Since we all care about our dogs, and we want them to be as healthy and smart and well-behaved as possible, we decided to look into this.”
Smith and Kimberly Wooten, his colleague at Texas Tech University, suspected that bumpers and other dog toys could leach phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA) into the mouths and bodies of dogs. The chemicals are what give elasticity to plastic and vinyl and they are known endocrine disruptors that mimic estrogen or act as anti-androgens, according to Discovery.com.
To test for the chemicals, the researchers created simulated dog saliva, then simulated chewing by squeezing dog toys with stainless steel salad tongs. Toys were also weathered outside to determine if older toys gave off more chemicals.
“We found that the aging or weathering the toys increased concentrations of BPA and phthalates,” Smith said. “The toys had lower concentrations of phthalates than the bumpers, so that’s good news. But they also had some other chemicals that mimicked estrogen. We need to find out what those are.”
Wooten said that BPA and phthalates can have effects on developing fetuses. Studies on humans have resulted in mixed conclusions, but raised enough concern that the U.S. government banning the use of BPA in baby bottles this year.
“The interaction of pet health and environmental chemicals is understudied,” Wooten said. “What may be a safe dose for one species isn’t always a good measure for another species. But the amount of BPA and phthalates we found from the bumpers would be considered on the high end of what you might find in children’s toys.”
Posted by jwoestendiek December 13th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, baby bottles, batons, bpa, bumpers, chemicals, chewing, childrens toys, conference, dangerous, dog toys, dogs, environmental, fetching batons, golden, harmful, hazards, hunting, labrador, leach, pets, phil smith, phthalates, plastic, plastic dog toys, retrievers, safety, science, Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, terrestrial ecotoxicology, tests, texas tech, toxic, toxins, toys, training, warning
From hungry ticks to shish kabob sticks, from sweltering heat to booming fireworks, the trappings of the 4th of July hold more than a few perils for dogs.
So, before enjoying Independence Day, it’s a good idea to take a minute to remember that dogs — however independent they may be — are dependent on us, and can use a little help in avoiding the hazards that we, mostly, create.
Cookouts, hot weather and fireworks all pose a danger to dogs, says LizRozanski, associate professor of clinical sciences at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University.
Here’s a list of tip offered by the school.
- Shish kabobs and other foods-on-a-stick pose a special danger to dogs, who can ingest them and wind up with fragments that can cause blockages or gastrointestinal perforations, says Dr. Rozanski, who is section head of emergency care at Tufts’ Foster Hospital for Small Animals
- Bones, especially cooked ones, can splinter inside a dog’s digestive tract. Keep pets clear of chicken wings and don’t give them bones from the meat you grill.
- Other foods can be toxic to dogs. The garlic in your favorite marinade, the grapes and raisins in your fruit salad, or the chocolate in your brownies can all cause harm. Keep them out of your dog’s reach.
- A little food at the cookout is fun for dogs, but “people” food adds up quickly, so have your guests, especially kids, check in with you before feeding Fido their scraps. Letting dogs overeat can cause vomiting or more serious problems.
- During the hot, humid months, heat stroke and exhaustion are a special concern for canines. Make sure they have plenty of water. Put some ice cubes in it for a special treat, and provide a shady spot to lie down. If your dog is panting excessively, shows signs of lethargy or has dry gums, call your veterinarian right away.
- Never leave pets in the car, particularly during warm weather.
- Dogs afraid of thunder are most certainly going to be fearful of fireworks. If you head out with your family to watch the fireworks, make sure your dog has a safe, quiet place to rest.
(Video: Comedian Louis CK posted this video on YouTube of his dog trying to drink from a park sprinkler)
Posted by jwoestendiek July 4th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, bones, cars, chicken wings, cookouts, dangers, dog, dogs, exhaustion, fireworks, fourth of july, garlic, grapes, grills, hazards, heat, heat stroke, hydration, independence day, july 4, july 4th, july fourth, louis ck, noise, overeating, perils, pets, picnics, raisins, shade, shish kabob, sprinkler, toxic, video, water
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
If a picture is worth a thousand words, this PETA pictorial on the hazards of chaining dogs is worth about 15,000.
Judging from some of the comments we receive when we post about tethering and the increasing number of campaigns across the country to outlaw it, I’m guessing we’ll hear again — especially given the source — from those who see taking away their right to tether their dogs as tantamount to taking guns away from citizens.
(In truth, we don’t think that — at least with some types of guns and some types of citizens — is all that bad an idea, either.)
Just to be clear, we’re not talking about dogs whose owners might loop their leash around a post to go into a convenience store and get a newspaper — even though that can be dangerous as well — but those dogs who are living life at the end of the chain.
PETA says the best way to help chained dogs is to work with city or county lawmakers to ban chaining.
“All too often, ‘man’s best friend’ is left to spend their entire lives in solitary confinement, trapped at the end of a chain,” PETA says. “Chained dogs are often deprived of adequate care and shelter and are left to suffer through extreme heat or freezing winter nights when all they want are scratches behind the ears, walks around the block, and the opportunity to curl up at their guardians’ feet at night — indoors.”
True, perpetually chained dogs are but a symptom of the real problem — neglect – but, in our diagnosis, it’s a symptom that needs to be treated.
(Photo: Courtesy of PETA)
Posted by jwoestendiek September 9th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, animals, ban, care, chained, cruelty to animals, dogs, hazards, laws, neglect, peta, pets, pictorial, shelter, tethered, tethering
If you’re not noticing Greenies on your store shelves these days, that’s because their maker, Nutro Products, Inc., has restricted those selling them to veterinary hospitals and pet specialty retailers.
In a press release issued last week, Nutro announced the change applies to Greenies canine and feline dental chews, Pill Pockets and Smart Biscuits.
“…We believe that pet medical professionals at veterinary hospitals and well-trained, knowledgeable staff at pet specialty stores are best equipped to answer pet owners’ questions about our products, and to make the right recommendation, said Carolyn Hanigan, Vice President of Marketing, Nutro Products, Inc.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 6th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: benefits, chews, choking, dangers, dental, esophagus, greenies, hazards, intestine, lodged, nutro products, professionals, restricts, retailers, sale, specialty, treats, veterinarians, veterinary, vets
To find this one, I had to venture into the unfamiliar yet very tidy confines of marthastewart.com, where I came across this elaborate headless horsemen outfit that requires PVC pipe, children’s clothing, plenty of stuffing and lots of work.
Modeling it is Bob, who, according to his owner and the costume’s creator, is a Rottweiler-Lab mix that loves to get dressed up.
Keep in mind that not all dogs do. Some dogs enjoy the extra attention, and if the costume presents no hazards, go for it. If you dog resists efforts to put him in costume, don’t push it. On top of the other stress the night brings, putting him into something uncomfortable is asking too much.
Give him time to gradually get used to his costume — and your’s. Your dog may not immediately recognize family members when they’re disguised. Allow your dog to see and scent the costumes beforehand, and let him know who’s behind the mask.
And be wary of the other dangers the holiday poses for canines.
“We hear about more dogs dying or straying during Halloween than any other holiday,” said Liam Crowe, CEO and master dog behavioral therapist of Bark Busters USA. “…By being more sensitive to dogs’ fear-driven ‘fight or flight’ instincts, we can help keep our furry friends safe this Halloween.”
Bark Busters offers these tips:
– Don’t leave your dog outside. Even if you have a fenced yard, bring your dog inside where it is safe. If your dog is usually kept outside, bring him in a few times before the big night to get him used to being indoors. Your dog may be used to strangers, but remember that it is a natural instinct for dogs to protect the family from strangers, and on Halloween there are likely to be some pretty strange strangers.
– If your dog is timid or scared, or if he tends to love people a little too much, it is best to put him in a separate room away from the front door to limit his excitability, aggression, and chance of running outside and becoming lost.
– Reassure your dog. The best thing you can do for your dog when he is feeling unsettled by Halloween activities is to act as you normally would, and giving him a little extra reassurance and attention.
– Check your dog’s ID tag. Be sure identification tags are secure on your dog’s collar.– Keep candy away from your dog. Many candies — especially chocolate–are toxic to dogs.
– Protect dogs from candles and pumpkins. Excited or agitated dogs can easily knock over a lit candle or pumpkin. Be sure those items are away from your dog’s reach, or consider a battery-powered candle that does not burn.
– Be prepared. If you take your dog with you while trick-or-treating, be prepared at all times. Dogs do not understand that the person jumping out at you will not hurt you; they often think they can only help you by acting aggressively. Neither children nor adults in costumes should approach a dog without the owner’s consent.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 29th, 2008 under Muttsblog.
Tags: bark busters, behavior, candles, candy, chocolate, costumes, dangers, dog, halloween, hazards, headless horseman, pet, preparedness, pumpkins, safety, tips, training