Sunday, September 26, 2010

How to Choose a Pet Boarding Facility

Having to leave your pet behind while you go away on a trip can be very stressful for you and your pet. Here are some tips to help you find the right boarding kennel to make it less traumatic for both of you.

Over the years, we have considered and used many options for pet care while we had to be away from home overnight or longer.

We are fortunate in that we have a great and trusted arrangement with our neighbor. When she needs to leave, we take care of her cats and when we need to leave, she takes care of our dogs. Our pets know and like her and her pets know and like us.
On those occasions when she can’t take care of our dogs, we have had to use other options. We brought the dogs along once when we traveled by car. It’s best to make reservations since it can be difficult to find pet friendly places while on the road. We found this option to be stressful since our dogs don’t travel very well, they are too barky in a strange place, and one of us had to be in the room with them at all times. However, here are some tips to help you decide if it would work for you. Should Your Pet Travel with You?

You might also consider using a professional pet sitting service.
When we had to use a boarding kennel, our dogs had so much fun that when we came to pick them up, they seemed a bit disappointed to see us. We will be using that boarding kennel again when we need to. To find reliable boarding kennels near you check out Pet Boarders in Your Area. You can also visit the Pet Care Service Association website, formerly American Boarding Kennels Association. Search your yellow pages either online or in your phone book, ask other pet owners and your veterinarian for recommendations, or see if there is a PetSmart nearby that offers boarding.

Once you have a list of names, make an appointment to tour the pet boarding facilities. If they don’t allow tours, you might want to cross their name off your list.

What to look for when choosing a pet boarding facility
The most important consideration is, is the facility clean and free of unpleasant odor? Is it well lit and well ventilated?

Will they feed according to your pet’s schedule and can you supply the food? Some kennels will charge an additional fee for this service but it is easier on your pet’s tummy. 

Can you bring your pet’s toys and bedding? Many animals are more comfortable with familiar scents and toys around them.

Is the staff gentle and patient with the animals?

How are the boarders exercised, how long, and how frequently?

Will your pet be housed in a cage or a run?

Are kennel temperatures comfortable? Warm in winter, cool in summer?

If your pet needs medications, do they have personnel that are qualified to administer the medications?

Do they have a vet on standby in case of emergency, if your vet can’t be reached? Ask about health monitoring.

What vaccinations are required prior to boarding? For your pet’s protection, they should require proof of up to date rabies, distemper, parvovirus, and bordetello (kennel cough) shots.

Ask for references from satisfied clients. Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if any claims have been filed against them.

When you have decided on the right pet boarding kennel be sure to bring along plenty of food and medication for your pet’s stay. If allowed, bring a favorite toy and blanket. Inform the staff about any pertinent information regarding health and behavioral issues.  Leave them with your vet’s contact information and your travel itinerary in case of emergency.

Enjoy your trip, knowing you have done your homework to keep your pet safe, comfortable, and happy.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Balls don’t belong at the end of sticks

As a dog owner, I guess I should have foreseen this.

Some time ago a friend of mine wrote an article about some of the things that can be done with tennis balls.
Inspired by her article I cut an X in an old tennis ball and put it on the bottom of a cane that was missing a rubber tip.

My dog, Coco became obsessed with the thing. He tried biting at the ball while I was using the cane to get around. When that didn’t work he took his paw and tried to pull it toward him. I kept trying to say “No,” but it’s difficult to be credible when laughing. 

When I sat down at the computer, I put the cane beside me, leaning it against my desk. Within minutes Coco was biting and clawing the ball. I finally had to hide the cane so he’d leave it alone. 

I can just read his mind. “All toys in this house belong to me. There are NO working toys. That’s why they are called toys.”

When I told my husband about Coco's obsession, he brought home a rubber tip for the cane. I guess there are some things that just aren't wise to do with a tennis ball.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Day in the Lives of the Dreadful Duo

Coco: (shaking his head) Personally, I don’t see the fascination in all these piles of dirty clothes.
Cookie: (contentedly chewing on a dirty sock) Don’t knock it til you’ve tried it. The soiled ones are an aromatic, epicurean delight.
Cookie: (covering her ears with her paws) Stop all that barking. I’m trying to take a nap.
Coco: It’s a dirty job but somebody’s got to bark at the vacuum cleaner, the dust rag, and dishwasher, and everything else around here that makes noise.
Cookie: OK, then I’ll bark at you.
Coco: Frisbees are to catch.
Cookie: Frisbees are to chew.
Coco: People are to throw Frisbees for me to catch.
Cookie: People are to bark at and jump on when they take the Frisbee away that I was chewing on so they can throw it for you.
Cookie: (making a beeline for the couch) Oh goody, we have the house to ourselves.
Coco: Let’s see; I’ve played with all my toys. I wonder how an afghan would taste.
Cookie: That looks good. Let me have some.
Coco: Well there’s not much left to the afghan. Let’s try a pillow.
Cookie: (jumping up and down excitedly) I know, I know. Let’s eat the remote so the humans can’t watch TV and they will have to play with us.
Human is taking a well deserved nap
Coco: (licking human in face) get up and feed me.
Cookie: (pouncing on human’s belly and nipping nose) Get up NOW. I’m starving.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Talent Award

My friend Ruth of Poetic Creations just gifted The Active Dog with an award!

Thank you, Ruth!

"Recognizing Your Talent"

As a requirement of receiving this reward, I shall pass it forward in nominating six talented friends of my own. Please visit the following blogs to discover some wonderfully talented new friends:

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Halloween Pet Costumes

If you love to dress your pet up in Halloween costumes but you don't have time to make a costume, here are three inexpensive costumes, I am offering on Craig's List. Supplies are limited at these prices so act quickly if you like them.

All items are new in package. The pumpkin costume was only removed for the photo but never actually worn.

How to make pom pom pets

With the cooler weather and the holidays approaching, the kids will probably be stuck inside more and looking for fun things to do.You can keep them occupied by suggesting they make small decorative items for the tree, shelves, and table. The link below will take you to the directions for making fun and easy pompom animals.

They can also try making a pom pom pumpkin, turkey, candy canes, Santa, snowmen, etc. for the holidays.
It might be challenging and fun for them to make a pom pom animal that looks like their pet.

They will only be limited by their imagination.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Howling at the Moon

Howling at the Moon by Trish Ayers

They wind up like pitchers

at a major league game.

Heads pointed to the ceiling

Tails swirling in unison

They howl at the moon.

Silly dogs, it’s noon

And there’s no moon!

Trish Ayers is a published essayist and award winning poet and playwright (Associate member of the Dramatist Guild) whose plays have toured the U.S. and Japan. She has received three Appalachian Writers Associations playwriting awards and her full-length play, LUMPs was selected for the 2005 Kentucky Women's Playwright Festival. As the recipient of a KFW grant she led a playwriting seminar for Kentucky women writers.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Canine Fitness

(If you don't have a dog, you could also go to the humane society and walk theirs.)

Canine Fitness

Here's a great way to get fit and have fun at the same time — take the dog for a walk! Experts from the University of Missouri-Columbia found that people who walked with a dog on a regular basis lost more weight than those who walked alone. In fact, the weight loss added up to a whopping 14 more pounds per person over a one-year period! And the good news is, it didn't seem to matter whether the participants walked their own dog or one they "borrowed" for the stroll.

The experts speculate that animal companionship helps take the focus off exercise itself, making the outings more enjoyable. And the more people liked it, the more they walked! So start including Fido in your workout — you just might find exercise is something you both look forward to!

MEMBERS GET MORE! Find great walking workouts on Denise Austin's Fit Forever! and discover how easy it is to get fit! Sign up today!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Dog Urination - Know the Reasons for Dog Urination Problems

Title: Dog Urination - Know the Reasons for Dog Urination Problems

Author: Rena Murray

Besides the basic elimination reason every creature on the
planet has for "doing business," there are other dog instinctive
behaviors which cause our four-legged friends to have dog
urination problems. They run the gamut from the dog pack
instincts of dog territory marking and dog scent mixing to
female dog urination, dog mating behaviors, submissive
urination, fear-based urination, excitement urination, and
dangerous disrespect of owner authority. So let's explore what
these mean and what you can do about them.

The quest for dominance frequently manifests in dog territory
marking, even dog home urination to claim that territory. What
does that mean? A male dog may begin to mark in the house if
another dog is brought in and not made to be part of the pack.
If you decide to bring a new dog home, walk your present dog and
the new one together, with you in front and in between them,
prior to bringing the new dog inside. Do the walk every day for
at least forty-five minutes. If you already have more than one
dog, you will need to do this with each one. The dogs will take
at least two months to adjust to one another. Treat them
equally, as favoritism is sure to cause a fight.

Female dogs sometimes pee where the male did. Pack members often
cover each other's scent. Either there is jealousy involved, or
the dogs are making sure the neighboring packs know right away
that there is more than one dog here. Outside, don't worry. If
inside, immediately do a mixture of vinegar, Dawn, and water to
remove the scent, or else you will have repeated peeing by all
the dogs. If jealousy is involved, then get help to address that

There are occasions when a male dog urinates on a female before
he mates with her. It is a way of claiming her that is declared
for some distance.

A dog who pees on his human is neither scared of him nor even
claiming him. He is showing the utmost disrespect. In horror I
heard a wife's account of her naïve husband's child-like report:
"Mommy, Doggie peed on Daddy." Then he said, "That's all right,
Doggie. You couldn't help it." NO! Doggie did not have an
elimination need! That was pure and utter, intentional
disrespect that is symptomatic of far deeper issues. If your dog
does this, do not wait. Consult a professional IMMEDIATELY!

Submissive urination is very common, too. An animal who does
this should be removed from the situation. Do not discipline the
dog; remove him. Showing anger might scare him enough to release
his bowels completely. Clean up the spot when the dog is out of
sight, then bring him back. Repeat the situation over and over.
Remove him when he pees, and pet him when he doesn't. Avoid this
common mistake: Do not pet him to reassure him if he pees, as
that is reinforcement of the unwanted behavior.

Fear-based urination is the hardest of all the reasons to
combat. Do not stand in front of the dog and pull him. He will
shut down and empty his bowels every time. Instead, put the
leash on the top of his neck and pull UP when the dog resists.
Do not make eye contact with him until he surrenders and follows
you. A look at the wrong moment is sometimes just enough for the
dog to shut down.

Excitement urination is among the most common, and luckily
simplest, dog urination problem to cure. Let's say Pepper squats
every time a visitor comes in. What happens is that Pepper is
already excited when the company comes. No one may touch her,
talk to her, or look at her until she has relaxed completely.
Remember, giving Pepper affection when excited will only
increase the excitement and intensify the dog urination problem.
To address the underlying cause, see our articles on controlling
over excitement for further help with Pepper.

About the author:
To end Dog Urination Problems & Obsessive Compulsive Dog Behaviours contact RENA MURRAY at
for a coaching session!
This Dog Behaviorist - Dog Obedience
Trainer blends best of the Dog Whisper Behavior and other
methods in no-nonsense Articles, FREE Newsletter - PAW
PERSUASION POINTERS, and Blog - . Get help at!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Pumpkin used as a homeopathic remedy for worming, weight loss, etc

Here's something interesting I just learned yesterday that I thought I would share.

Although I have had dogs all of my life I was unaware that pumpkin is good for the digestive tract. According to my friend, Donnah of Brynbar Setters, "It's also great for if a dog eats a rock, piece of glass or a bone. The fibers in the pumpkin wrap around the foreign object and pumpkin is so slick, it helps move the object through the system".

She recommends home cooked pumpkin or canned pumpkin but not the pumpkin pie filling. Because it has high fiber, it's good for loose stools and also can help if the dog has a blockage.

Donnah also says "If you have fresh pumpkin on hand, dogs will even eat it raw. But here's a warning. If you feed raw pumpkin, it's hard to digest and likely to come out looking much like it did when it went in. Raw pumpkin seeds are also a natural wormer.

Pumpkin is also good for dogs who need to lose weight (as are green beans). Just replace some of their food with twice as much pumpkin".

Donnah raises Gorden and Irish Setters. You can see her beautiful dogs here.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Excessive Dog Barking Behavior Problem - How to Stop Compulsive

Title: Excessive Dog Barking Behavior Problem - How to Stop Compulsive

Author: Rena Murray

Constant yapping at anything and everything is one of the most
annoying and treatable of the obsessive compulsive dog
behaviors. In our series of articles addressing problem bad dog
behavior, these obnoxious barking dog problems are among those
which are unnecessarily exacerbated by unspent, pent up energy,
yet so frequently overlooked by overly protective owners.
Especially with the smaller breeds... And they drive the owners
and neighbors bonkers! That is what this little ear-splitter did.

This day the small Yorkshire Terrier was barking so loudly I
could not hear his very frustrated owner clearly.
"Quiet!" she commanded loudly in exasperation.

I had a spontaneous "Ouch!" escape from me,
because the woman had forgotten that I was on the other end of
the phone. I shook my head for inner ear equilibrium.

"I am so sorry," she said. It was genuine. The poor thing was
near tears, I could tell. "He just won't be quiet. He barks and
barks and barks -at EVERYTHING! Even if it is a simple noise
with which he is familiar."

The little Yorkshire Terrier was still yapping despite her
desperate plea. He refused to stop ... that incessant yapping
that goes right through you until you want to scream.

So I went straight over to the distraught owner's home. The
little dog, Jake, came charging out, barking furiously and in
such a high pitched tone that it was very hard on the ears.

I corrected Jake with a firm "Hey!" and a stare down. He
understood my body language and surrendered immediately.

"I have had this dog for seven years!" the owner exclaimed. "The
only time he has been this quiet is when he was sleeping." Then
she added, only half kidding: "Can't he sleep all the time?"

She said she had tried numerous medications and some exercise to
soothe Jake's excitement, but nothing had worked. I then learned
that Jake was walked for only fifteen minutes a day, and was
allowed to do whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted.

"Jake becomes excited before the walk," I said. "He must learn
that the leash means for him to calm down. Second, he must be
behind or beside you on the walk, unless you have decided to
give him free time. You are dealing with a very obsessive dog,
and your not giving him leadership is intensifying this bad dog

Jake screamed and was like a bucking bronco on the leash as I
made him walk behind me. For less than two minutes, this typical
tantrum kept up. Expect a tantrum of some form. It always

However, upon seeing that he could not manipulate me, Jake
relaxed and started trotting along like the ideal little dog. It
is all about leadership and control. We took a good long walk.
Warn out by the time I brought him home, Jack took a short nap
right away.

I showed the owner what to do, step by step, and how to correct
Jake. She worked with him diligently every day, and within three
weeks Jake was no longer obsessive in any way. Seven long years
of obsessive compulsive dog behavior with this excessive dog
barking behavior problem -- cured in three weeks of proper
exercise and dog obedience training. Ahhhh ... Nice and quiet

About the author:
To end Dog Barking Problems & Obsessive Compulsive Dog
Behavior, contact RENA MURRAY at
for a coaching session!
This Dog Behaviorist - Dog Obedience
Trainer blends best of the Dog Whisper Behavior and other
methods in no-nonsense Articles, FREE Newsletter - PAW
PERSUASION POINTERS, and Blog - . Get help at!

Friday, September 01, 2006

How to Massage Your Dog

How to Massage Your Dog

Dogs love to be scratched, rubbed, and stroked. Touching your dog helps you bond; you both feel good and it can lower your blood pressure. It relaxes both of you and relieves stress.

If you want to really relax your dog give him a massage. Starting with the head, and moving to the ears, flanks, back, legs, and paws move your fingers in a slow, circular motion. Stay away from the spinal column, be gentle and never dig in. Next give him long gentle strokes, while applying slight pressure. After the massage give him a good scratching. By this stage our dogs are usually sighing in content or snoring.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Foods & Other Household Items Poisonous or Harmful to Pets

Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pet
- Alcoholic beverages
- Avocado
- Chocolate (all forms)
- Coffee (all forms)
- Fatty foods
- Macadamia nuts
- Moldy or spoiled foods
- Onions, onion powder
- Raisins and grapes
- Salt
- Yeast dough
- Garlic
- Products sweetened with xylitol

Warm Weather Hazards
- Animal toxins—toads, insects, spiders, snakes and scorpions
- Blue-green algae in ponds
- Citronella candles
- Cocoa mulch
- Compost piles Fertilizers
- Flea products
- Outdoor plants and plant bulbs
- Swimming-pool treatment supplies
- Fly baits containing methomyl
- Slug and snail baits containing metaldehyde

Common examples of human medications that can be potentially lethal to pets, even in small doses, include:
- Pain killers
- Cold medicines
- Anti-cancer drugs
- Antidepressants
- Vitamins
- Diet Pills

Cold Weather Hazards
- Antifreeze
- Liquid potpourri
- Ice melting products
- Rat and mouse bait

Common Household Hazards
- Fabric softener sheets
- Mothballs
- Post-1982 pennies (due to high concentration of zinc)

Holiday Hazards
- Christmas tree water (may contain fertilizers and bacteria, which, if ingested, can upset the stomach.
- Electrical cords
- Ribbons or tinsel (can become lodged in the intestines and cause intestinal obstruction—most often occurs with kittens!)
- Batteries
- Glass ornaments

Non-toxic Substances for Dogs and Cats
The following substances are considered to be non-toxic, although they may cause mild gastrointestinal upset in some animals:
- Water-based paints
- Toilet bowl water
- Silica gel
- Poinsettia
- Cat litter
- Glue traps
- Glow jewelry

Household items toxic or harmful to pets

Have you heard that a specific product or substance could be dangerous to your pets? Our experts at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center set the record straight on a variety of substances, from cleaning products to popular houseplants.

My Siamese cat loves to lick and chew on plastic bags, although we try to keep them away from him. Could this be bad for our cat?
—Dawn B.

Chewing on plastic bags could pose a hazard to your cat, Dawn, as pieces of the bag could become lodged in your cat’s throat and obstruct his airway. Because of this, we do not advise allowing your cat to chew or play with these bags, and please take care to store them in a secure area out of his reach.

I would like to use peppermint leaves or oil to rid my house of ants. Could this harm my cat?
—Winafred B.

If ingested, the peppermint plant and its oil could indeed potentially cause harm to your cat. Cats are especially sensitive to peppermint oil, and effects such as gastrointestinal upset, central nervous system depression and even liver damage could occur if ingested in significant quantities. Some peppermint oil formulations also contain aspirin derivatives, which could result in additional toxicity. Furthermore, if inhalation of the volatile oil were to occur, aspiration pneumonia may be possible. Based on this, we would not recommend using peppermint leaves or oil in areas where your cat is allowed access.

Could eating an acorn make my dog sick?
—Bob B.

Acorns (Quercus spp.) contain a toxic principle called Gallotannin. In cows and horses who repeatedly ingest significant amounts, we have seen potentially severe gastrointestinal irritation, depression and kidney damage.

Dogs, however, generally do not forage on acorns as livestock do—and even if they do ingest several acorns, it is usually an acute (single) exposure, not a chronic situation. In these cases, we typically only see mild to moderate gastrointestinal upset, which can include vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal discomfort. However, there is also the potential for mechanical irritation (from the sharp fragmented pieces of acorn), and possible obstruction, should a large amount of acorn material become lodged in the GI tract.

I use an inhaler that contains essential oils in an alcohol base. Should I worry about my conure being on my shoulder when I use this product?
—Kendall P.

There certainly could be cause for concern, Kendall. Birds have unique respiratory systems that make them quite sensitive to aerosolized substances. If inhaled, the substance could cause irritation and subsequent fluid accumulation a bird's respiratory tract (known as acute pulmonary edema); this can be life-threatening.

Based on this, we would advise that you not allow your conure to perch on your shoulder or be in close proximity while you use your inhaler—or any other aerosolized product.

Can it be harmful to cats if they sleep near or on a vent when the air conditioner is on?
—Marina M.

As long as your air conditioner is in good working order, and does not contain contaminants—molds, bacteria or other agents—that could result in harmful air quality for humans or animals, we do not anticipate problems from your cat sitting near or on the air register vent. Many pets do this—because it’s probably the most comfortable spot in the house for them on hot summer days!

Are spices such as mace, paprika and turmeric poisonous to pets?
—Rafael B.

They could be, Rafael, depending on the circumstances of exposure. Mace is derived from the nutmeg plant (Mtristica fragrans); both mace and nutmeg have actually gained popularity as street drugs, due to the psychological effects that are produced from the spices' volatile oil. If eaten in large enough amounts, the oil could cause vomiting and abdominal pain, as well as central nervous system excitation—usually followed by profound drowsiness several hours later.

Both paprika (Capsicum annuum) and turmeric (Curcuma longa) contain irritants (capsaicin and curcumin, respectively) that can cause irritation to the skin, gastrointestinal tract and other mucous membranes. Because of the potential for problems, we would advise keeping these and other spices out of your pets’ reach.

We have a small chicken lot that has been overrun by rats. We want to put out rat killer, but are worried about what would happen should one of our pets come into contact with a dead rat.
—Gail H.

We advise pet owners to exercise great caution when using products to eradicate rodents. If a dog or cat ingests a rodenticide, potentially serious or even life-threatening problems can result, which may include bleeding, seizures, or even damage to the kidneys and other vital organs. One possible—and humane—alternative to chemical rodenticides would be the use of live traps to capture and relocate rodents.

If you choose to use a chemical rodenticide, it is important to place the product in areas that are completely inaccessible to companion animals. Should an accidental rodenticide exposure occur it is important to have the container or package information readily available when obtaining veterinary help, so that a proper identification of the product’s ingredients can be made for appropriate treatment.

In general, poisonings resulting from the consumption of rats or other rodents who have ingested most commercially available rodenticides are not typically a concern in most companion animals, unless their staple diet consists mainly of rodents. The greater concern involves the potential risk of disease transmission or gastrointestinal problems from bacteria as a result of eating dead wildlife. Because of this, it’s still a good idea to contact your local veterinarian if, despite your best efforts, your pet ingests a rat.

My dogs have a terrible habit of “snacking” from the cat’s litter box. I use a clumping litter, and am concerned it could cause problems for my dogs. Do you have any information on this topic?
—Sue C.

Many scoopable cat litters contain bentonite clay and/or silica. The bentonite component of kitty litter, sodium bentonite is a naturally occurring clay mineral that is considered to be biologically inert when ingested. Silica is also a physically and chemically inert substance, and is a major component found in ordinary sand. Silica is also used as a moisture-absorbing agent in the little packets found in shoe boxes, medications and some foods. In our experience, pets ingesting small amounts of silica gel may develop only mild gastrointestinal upset, if any signs develop at all.

Cats may ingest small amounts of litter when grooming themselves after using the litter box, and these amounts pass through the digestive tract easily without problems. However, if an animal consumes a very large amount of litter (as can happen when a dog "cleans out" the litter box), gastrointestinal upset, constipation or, in rare cases, intestinal obstruction could potentially occur. In addition, consuming fecal material may cause bacterial-related gastrointestinal problems. It is a good idea to discourage your dogs from helping themselves to the litter box by placing it in an area that is out of their reach, but still accessible to your cat.

My cat loves to eat corn silk from fresh corn on the cob. Is it OK for him to eat this?
—Cherie E.

Unfortunately, no. While corn kernels are generally considered to be edible, we would not advise allowing your cat to ingest the silk portion of the corn plant. Aside from the potential for stomach irritation, the stringy nature of the silk could cause an obstruction or other serious damage to the intestines, should it become bunched or bound up.

As you mention that your cat appears to be attracted to the silk, we would strongly recommend that you place your cat in a separate room when shucking fresh corn. You should also immediately dispose of the husks and silk in a bag or other trash receptacle in a location inaccessible to your cat, such as an outdoor trash bin.

My golden retriever loves to chew and eat sticks. Is this bad for him?
Kelli S.

It certainly could be, Kelli. The ingestion of tree branches could potentially cause trauma to the gastrointestinal tract, should the wood splinter into sharp pieces. Large pieces could also cause an obstruction in the stomach or intestines. Then there’s the fact that certain species of trees may be toxic to pets. Because of this, we would recommend finding a safe alternative for your dog, such as a hard nylon or firm solid rubber chew toy appropriate for his chewing strength.

Is it safe to give french fries to our Labrador retriever? She looks forward to one or two whenever we go to McDonald’s.
—Judi B.

An occasional nibble or two of a fast-food french fry should not pose a serious hazard for a healthy dog. However, it is important to keep in mind that any food not part of your pet's normal diet—especially if it’s high in fat or salt—can cause gastrointestinal upset. The consumption of large amounts of fatty or spicy foods may also lead to pancreatitis, a serious inflammatory condition of the pancreas.

The bottom line? If you decide to give your furry friend “a break today” and offer him a french-fried treat, do so only on occasion—and in small amounts.

I only give my miniature pinscher water from my water purifier system, and a friend told me that tap water is better. Who is right?
—Tarah R.

Tarah, as long as the water you are offering your Min Pin is clean, fresh and suitable for consumption, the choice between purified water, bottled spring water or plain old tap water is really just personal preference—yours and your dog's!

Is over-the-counter ibuprofen safe for my Chesapeake Bay retriever?
—Samantha W.

In a word, NO. Ibuprofen can definitely be toxic to dogs and other pets—even in small amounts. Depending on the dose ingested, significant gastrointestinal damage or even kidney damage could result.

In fact, many drugs that are beneficial for humans can be harmful or even deadly for pets. We strongly urge you to never give your Chessie any medication without first speaking with his or her regular veterinarian.

A neighbor told me that my dogs should not go in my swimming pool because the chlorine could be harmful to their lungs. Is there any truth to this?
—Joe W.

While concentrated forms of chlorine can be very irritating to skin, eyes and the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts, exposure to appropriately treated pool water should typically not pose much of a problem for healthy dogs. (If small amounts of water were ingested, however, mild stomach upset could occur.)

However, if the pool water has been treated with larger concentrations of chemicals, or if your dog becomes exposed to an undiluted pool treatment product, more serious problems could result. In either of these cases, your local veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center should be consulted right away to assess the situation.

And please take note: It is generally a good idea to get in the habit of washing—or at least rinsing—your dogs after they’ve been in a chemically treated pool. This will help to avoid the potential for skin irritation resulting from chemical residue sitting on the animal’s skin for an extended period of time.

I have many decorative soaps in my home. Could they be harmful to my dog if he were to eat one?
—Mindy S.

Most bar soaps contain detergents, which can cause gastrointestinal irritation (including vomiting and diarrhea) if ingested. If the soap also contains essential oils (such as lavender, for example), it is possible that minor central nervous system depression could occur, depending on the concentration of oils and other circumstances of exposure. Certain soaps are made with glycerin or other emollients, which can have a cathartic effect—causing loose stools or diarrhea. If gastrointestinal signs become persistent, they could lead to dehydration.

In addition, if a large portion or the entire bar of soap were to be ingested, it could potentially lead to obstruction in the animal’s gastrointestinal tract. Because of these concerns, we advise keeping your decorative soaps in an area that is not accessible to your dog.

Is watermelon poisonous to my Labrador retriever?
—Rodney S.

As you know, watermelon is definitely considered to be edible by humans, and there is currently no data demonstrating that the edible portion, seeds and rind have potential to produce effects beyond minor gastrointestinal irritation to pets.

As a general rule of thumb, however, if you are considering offering any food outside of your dog’s normal diet, we recommend that you talk with your pet's regular veterinarian first.

Are roses toxic to cats if they eat them?
—Shelley Q.

There is currently no data indicating that roses (Rosa spp.) are poisonous to cats or other pets. However, it is important to keep in mind that even plants considered to be non-toxic can produce minor stomach upset if ingested. In addition roses have thorns, which could cause injury to curious noses, mouths and paws. Because of this, it is still a good idea to discourage your cat from nibbling on them.

Plants Toxic to Dogs

According to the ASPCA Website these plants are toxic to animals.

This list contains plants that have been reported as having systemic effects on animals and/or intense effects on the gastrointestinal tract.

Please note that the information contained in our plant lists is not meant to be all-inclusive, but rather a compilation of the most frequently encountered plants. For more information, contact us at
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- Aloe
- Amaryllis
- Andromeda Japonica
- Asian Lily (Liliaceae)
- Asparagus Fern
- Australian Nut
- Autumn Crocus
- Avocado
- Azalea


- Bird of Paradise
- American Bittersweet
- European Bittersweet
- Branching Ivy
- Buckeye
- Buddist Pine


- Caladium
- Calla Lily
- Castor Bean
- Ceriman (aka Cutleaf Philodendron)
- Charming

- Chinaberry Tree
- Chinese Evergreen
- Christmas Rose
- Clematis
- Cordatum
- Corn Plant (aka Cornstalk Plant)
- Cornstalk Plant (aka Corn Plant)
- Cutleaf Philodendron (aka Ceriman)
- Cycads
- Cyclamen


- Daffodil
- Day Lily
- Devil's Ivy
- Dumb Cane
- Deadly Nightshade (See Nightshade)


- Easter Lily
- Elephant Ears
- Emerald Feather (aka Emerald Fern)
- Emerald Fern (aka Emerald Feather)
- English Ivy


- Fiddle-Leaf Philodendron
- Flamingo Plant
- Florida Beauty
- Foxglove
- Fruit Salad Plant


- Glacier Ivy
- Gladiolas
- Glory Lily
- Gold Dieffenbachia
- Gold Dust Dracaena
- Golden Pothos
- Green Gold Nephthysis

- Hahn's self branching English Ivy
- Heartleaf Philodendron
- Heavenly Bamboo
- Holly
- Horsehead Philodendron
- Hurricane Plant
- Hyacinth
- Hydrangea


- Iris


- Japanese Show Lily
- Japanese Yew (aka Yew)
- Jerusalem Cherry

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