Friday, December 21, 2012

Most Damaging Hidden Winter Pet Hazzards

Hi Reba here,

As I was looking down to see what my mom, Linda Messina, was doing to prepare for the Christmas holiday I saw a HUGE storm roaring across the country. I checked on my earthly friends from California to the East Coast and I saw too much snow, too much wind, too much rain too too much!

Then I thought about how busy our humans are with the weather, traveling, wrapping presents, baking and all the things they do to make the house smell soooooooo good. They might not think about some very important things . . . like The Hidden Hazzards of Winter for us furbabies. So, thanks to Adopt A Pet here are 5 hidden hazzards you might have overlooked.

So take a quick look and I'm sending loving Christmas wishes for a safe holiday to you all!

Buon Natale a tutti voi!

Reba Messina
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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Real Story on Dog Driving - Future Chauffeurs?

The Chosen - Ginny, Porter, Monty
You might have seen the news world abuzz about dogs driving cars this week. No, this isn’t a hoax from the Onion. Dog trainers in New Zealand have been working with shelter dogs, teaching them the motor skills of driving a car. While the New York Times and David Letterman are poking fun at the idea of mutts behind the wheel, the real story here is on the intelligence of dogs, how training advances their skills and why mutts from the shelter are great for the home.

Trainers with the Auckland SPCA have successfully taught three dogs, all shelter mutts, to drive a car on a closed course. But this isn’t meant to be a triumph of dogs using technology. Instead, the Auckland SPCA hopes to send potential adopters a message about shelter dogs. They are not second rate pets but wonderful animals capable of bringing joy and love to any family.

"I think sometimes people think because they're getting an animal that's been abandoned that somehow it's a second-class animal," said SPCA Auckland CEO Christine Kalin.

In Training

As the New Zealand Herald reports, Christine Kalin, points out the intelligence of these animals and the success of consistent dog training. “Driving a car actively demonstrates to potential rescue dog adopters that you can teach an old dog new tricks. The dogs have achieved amazing things in eight short weeks of training, which really shows with the right environment just how much potential all dogs from the SPCA have as family pets” she stated.

These rescue dogs, Monty, Ginger and Porter, prove that shelter mutts can not only make great additions to the family but have the intelligence to be used in the health field or as therapy dogs. If shelter mutts can drive a car, then they can do anything.

While rescues, mutts like me and senior dogs sometimes get a bad rap from the public’s misconceptions, with a warm environment and a lot of love they are capable of incredible feats. This amazing story highlights both the success of hardworking trainers and the full potential of shelter dogs. Perhaps if more news outlets focused on the achievement of the SPCA instead of poking fun at dogs driving cars, people would have a better understanding more respect for mutts and shelter dogs.

So as you go through your day to day activities and you see a ‘student driver’ car in front of you, check it out to see if the student is human or canine!


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Monday, November 19, 2012

GOOD WORKS: Rachel Ray, ASPCA Create Temporary Home for Displaced Hurricane Sandy Pets

Reba Messina
Mutt Reporter

Two puppies that were displaced from the Rockaways play in their cage
Owners and family pets were displaced by the hundreds of thousands after hurricane Sandy. Difficult as it has been for the humans to find new or temporary housing having family pets has made it even more of a challenge especially with temporary housing.

In steps the ASPCA. The organization negotiated a lease at $20,000 per month for provide a temporary home, a 20,000-square-foot emergency boarding center that opened over the weekend in a vacant warehouse in Ocean Hill, Brooklyn for family pets.

Run with affectionate precision by a team of disaster specialists from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the shelter housed 137 animals by Sunday evening and was expected to house a few hundred, if not more, before the week was out. The center can accommodate up to 700 animals, which are permitted to stay for 30 days free of charge, with full veterinary care, until their owners can reclaim them. The stories of families and pets bouncing from home to home putting greater stressors in their lives is heartbreaking. Mutts and cats don't understand what is going on so the stress is overwhelming to them

Rachel Ray, the celebrity chef, donated $500,000 toward the rent as well as food from her line of pet food to help defray costs.  She really walks her talk!  Read more here.
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Sunday, November 11, 2012

My Trip to the Rainbow Bridge - When Does an Owner Know When It's Time?

On Thursday 11/8/12 I went to the Rainbow Bridge. I had a wonderful year. I spent the summer at the ocean and I had recently celebrated my 17th birthday yet I had also started losing my ability to walk well, had lost sight in one eye and stopped drinking and eating as much as I used to. So a couple of weeks ago I asked my Mommy, Linda Messina, to help me transition peacefully onto my next journey and she did.

A lot of pet parents ask how you know when it's time to put a pet to sleep. Well there is a look we give you and then you just know. 

When I wasn't feeling well I didn't post on my blog but I want to assure you that soon I will be sending my thoughts on this and that to my Mommy so she can continue my blog for me. I want to keep up with all of my blog readers! And be assured that I will continue to Unite, Elevate and Celebrate MUTTS in doggy heaven.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

More Pet Food Warnings - Something Fishy & Black Friday for Pets!

We've been reeling from all of the pet food recalls of late. They continue and now well. . . another shocker!

Do you feed your dog or cat fish? Is it bought at the grocery store or is it expensive, wild caught, not farm raised, New Zealand fish depleting your wallet to the tune of $100 a month per pet?  Evidently it doesn't matter because regardless in what country the fish were caught chances are very high that the fish was processed in CHINA. This article, brought to us by Truth About Pet Food, needs to be read by all because it not only affects pet food and human food too. Yes even wild caught Alaskan Salmon is shipped to China for processing then shipped back to us for distribution. What's going on in the China processing plants? Read more,..


As if there has not been enough press about the Jerky Pet Treats imported from China, Truth About Pet Food found that NOT ONE national retailer has removed the jerky treats imported from China from store shelves! Don't know about you but I agree with Susan Thixton that we've got to get the attention of individual store managers. Sounds like a huge effort but as you will read in this article, all we have to do is target our local Walmart on Black Friday. Genius plan because if Walmart caves in all of the other retailers will follow suit! Read more here and get energized and organized.......

As always do your own research to determine what is right for you and for your pet.

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Friday, September 28, 2012

Loyalty - Italian Street Dog

When it comes to loyalty, dogs have the market cornered. Mutts and senior dogs have an edge because they may not be noticed for anything other than their unswerving loyalty to their masters – even if that master is dead. The most famous example of this loyalty was by Greyfriars Bobby, a Skye terrier. But the most heartbreaking example comes from an Italian MUTTnamed Fido. Remember that Fido really means “faithful one” -- not "dog."

With my surname being Messina, one cannot overlook this heart warming and,at the same time, heart breaking story about Fido an amazing Italian dog.

On a bitter night in 1941, bricklayer Carlo Soriani found Fido dying under a bridge. He took Fido home to his wife. They gave the mutt food and care until Fido was back in good health. Perhaps the only holistic integrated veterinary care used was none other than TLC. In a way still unknown to science, Fido and Carlo bonded. Fido would follow Carlo to the bus stop and wait at the stop for Carlo to come back from work and then the both would walk home.

But in December 30, 1943, Carlo never came home after boarding his usual morning bus. His factory was bombed and Carlo did not survive. Fido waited … and waited … and waited. He never stopped waiting. He refused to go home to where Carlo’s widow wanted him. Food and blankets were brought to the loyal dog. In 1957, the town gave their canine fixture a medal for loyalty. Fido would die a year later, still at the bus stop. His fourteen year wait was finally over.

It is still unknown why this one Italian dog waited in such an extraordinary way but is it any wonder that people remember dogs better than humans. But out of all the famous dogs, political dogs or humorous dogs offered up to memory, none was as loyal as an elderly mongrel named Fido.
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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Dogs, Kids and Dust: Healthier Together Than We Imagined

As if you needed more reasons to love your mutt, and to take it easy on the dusting... A recent study has shown that the house dust in homes with at least one dog living there helps to protect against the development of asthma in children. These findings were recently presented by researchers from the University of California at San Francisco during the 2012 Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.

An obscure fact, indeed. You might be wondering how on earth the medical science community even got the idea to study such a thing. However, in some circles, this correlation between dogs and better respiratory health has been widely known about for some time. 

Apparently, whatever your dog is contributing to the dust in your home can have a positive and protective effect against respiratory infection. The dog dust seems to help shelter children from the common respiratory virus RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus. RSV is the virus that can lead to the onset of asthma in children, but your mutt's dust seems to help prevent it. (And to think you used to curse the extra dust your pooch left around the house!)

The 2012 study showed that laboratory mice that were fed house dust from from a dog owner's home and then injected with the RSV virus consistently did not exhibit any symptoms of the virus.

The findings of this study are the first step in being able to identify and isolate the exact, protective microbe from your dog that is conferring this protection to children. Once this healing component of dog dust is determined, it can then be used in a more focused way to benefit even more children.

For now, dog owners with children get to enjoy this added benefit of dog ownership even before science fully understands it. As if the adventure of training, raising and having fun with a dog wasn't reason enough to consider adoption! From pure breeds to shelter dogs, mutts and rescues, any type of dog can contribute this wonderful healing benefit to the household.

So take it easy on the dusting and give your mutt some extra petting time... More than ever before, science is proving what dog owners already knew: dogs can be a major contributor to the holistic health of a household. For more articles on Asthma, kids and pets click here
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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Chief Presidential Issue This Year? Dogs!

While a number of spotlights have paid tribute to the influence of dogs in political campaigns, the voice of the Mutt needs to be heard. The 2012 presidential election is rife with political dog stories ranging from reports of Governor Mitt Romney’s vacation with his dog riding on the roof of the car (belch!)  to his adventure saving a drowning  
Seamus Romney
Scottish Terrier while on a jet ski (who knew?). President Obama too has received questions from dog owners during his campaigns regarding his support of shelter dogs and rescues. This political season, it is important for you and all other dog owners across the nation to speak up about the importance of supporting shelters, rescues and getting another Mutt into the White House. 

The Incumbent First Dog

Bo Obama
Bo, the First Dog of the United States and close advisor to President Obama, is a Portuguese Water Dog. President Obama had originally intended on getting a dog from a shelter, however he cited his daughter’s medical struggles with allergies as reason for finding a hypoallergenic breed. At the time of his inauguration, President Obama expressed a kinship with Mutts along with his interest in shelter dogs stating that “a lot of shelter dogs are mutts like me.” Many dog shelter organizations have prompted President Obama to keep with his word about adopting a dog and educated him on the fact that he could find a sheltered mutt suitable for his daughter’s health needs. In the meantime, the president’s family has been giving financial support to shelter organizations (yea!).

The Kennedy Mutts

Pushinka and Pupniks
Bo was given to President Obama by the Kennedy family. It was John F. Kennedy that brought Mutts into the White House by adding Pushinka and Wolf to his dog family and the former gave birth to a loving litter known as the pupniks. This was an important political metaphor as Pushinka was a gift from a Russian premier and pup of a Soviet space dog. By bringing in a Russian dog and breeding new pups with his own American dogs, Kennedy created a message of unity and kinship through the world’s love of animals. While most presidents have elected to bring home traditional breeds to the White House it is time for another Mutt to represent the country.

Training Presidents to Make a Statement

Presidential candidates strive to listen to their voters. The political dogs of America and you, their owners, must voice the importance of helping rescues and providing for shelter dogs. America is a country of dog lovers and if a president can make a valiant effort to show care towards senior dogs, rescues, and Mutts then the general public will be inspired to follow suit.  More on first dogs here.

This post represents Reba’s personal opinion but we encourage all pet owners to continue to support rescues and ban puppy mills no matter what the breed may be.
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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Acupuncture: The Integrated Veterinary Approach for Adventure Driven Mutts

You might consider it a special treat to go get a massage for yourself but, as more and more research suggests, massage coupled with acupuncture is a great method for dealing with illnesses, medical conditions, pain and stress in people.  A growing number of veterinarians are bringing the healing powers of massage and acupuncture to dogs and other animals too. While you might give your dog a morning and evening massage, its best to leave the needle work to the doctor!

Integrated Doggy Vets

New York Magazine reports Leilani Alvarez’s use of acupuncture at the Upper East Side’s Animal Medical Center. Alvarez explains the benefits of this ancient Chinese technique: “Acupuncture helps the body heal itself by releasing natural painkillers and anti-inflammatories. It also sends out neurotransmitters, hormones, and other cellular mediators, which improve circulation and immune functions.” Alvarez is just the latest in a growing field of integrating veterinary practices.

Medical Uses

For senior dogs specifically experiencing health problems from chronic pain, arthritic issues, gastrointestinal trouble and difficulty walking, acupuncture can provide an all-natural healing option when Western medicines have proven incapable or have lost their effectiveness. The medical benefits of using acupuncture on humans continues to expand and as more veterinarians receive acupuncture training the results for dogs can keep developing. The science behind acupuncture continues to unfold even as some Western researches doubt its Eastern philosophy. Yet, both humans and dogs are getting better through this holistic approach.

Working With The Right Vet

What is most important when experimenting with acupuncture is finding the right veterinarian. Just like in acupuncture for people, dogs need to be relaxed. If your dog is known to get a little fussy it is advisable to find a veterinarian that will work on calming your dog down before the acupuncture session. If your dog is prone to anxiety when visiting any veterinary hospital, see if they will accommodate your dog’s needs by helping bring your dog directly inside without a long stop in an uncomfortable waiting room. There is nothing worse for rescues than to be surrounded by a mix of breeds that might bring up bad memories of the shelter.

Is Acupuncture For You, Your Dog, or Both?

A lot of us who have already experienced the wonderful holistic benefits of acupuncture are eager to help our dogs when a medical need arises. But for those of you who have never undergone the process yourself, we recommend that you talk it over with your current veterinarian before introducing it to your dog and request a referral to consult with an acupuncture specialist.

If you've ever used acupuncture on your dog or cat let us know about your experience by commenting below.
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Monday, August 20, 2012

What We're Learning from the "Wet Dog Shake"

Dogs definitely have a distinctive way of getting rid of excess water from their coats. We've all seen it. Large or small, mutt or purebred, when a dog comes bounding out of a lake after a swim or a fetch, they all do a version of the "wet dog shake."

The wet dog shake is nothing new, and we've all enjoyed watching it (preferably from a distance!) But what is new is that recently scientists and engineers have taken an interest in this iconic dog activity. Why? It turns out that the wet dog shake embodies unique physical motions that could help in creating technological advances in how we clean sensitive, hard to reach instruments.

High speed cameras are being used to study the wet dog shake. Researchers from Georgia Tech have determined that dogs can shake off about 70% of the water from their saturated fur in about four seconds. The main reason for this is their loose-hanging skin. While a dog's spine can only rotate about 30 degrees in either direction, the loose-hanging skin of the typical canine can swing a full 90 degrees each way. The result is three times the velocity, three times the amplitude and nine times the centrifugal force of just shaking the backbone alone.

Scientists believe that dogs evolved to have loose skin in part because of the way it helps them dry off quickly. Wet fur causes a drop in body temperature, and it requires a lot of energy for a dog to reheat itself. Without the ability to shake off most of the water right away, as much as 20% of the daily dog's caloric intake would be depleted helping the dog dry and reheat.

Researchers believe that the information gleaned from the wet dog shake could have many practical applications. It could lead to more efficient cleaning and drying processes for sensitive instruments such as solar panels, the insides of electronic devices, optical devices and even equipment in outer space.

So the next time your mutt does the wet dog shake (video) right next to you, try not to get too annoyed. He's helping us more than you realized!
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Friday, August 17, 2012

Crippled Dog Left to Die in Mountains. Owner Wants Her Back; ALSO New Wave Band, Devo Releases New Single About a Famous Political Dog!

This mutt is outraged! About 13,500 feet above the ground, among the snow-capped peaks of Mount Bierstadt in Colorado, Scott Washburn and his wife, Amanda, found an abandoned, dying German shepherd dog.

This past Saturday, Aug. 11, Washburn and his wife were on a leisurely hike up Mount Bierstadt in Clear Creek County, a 14,000-foot peak near Denver that is categorized as a "14er" because, as Washburn said, "the peak is over 14,000 feet high and considered a Class 3, meaning it is not the most difficult - but it's too difficult for a dog to be on it or an inexperienced person.

"We were hiking to this ridge and we got off course and I was a little ahead of my wife," he said. "She called out to me and said, 'Hey I found a dog,' and figured I misheard her 'cause there was no way a dog was where we were."  You don't want to miss the rest of this story and video! More photos here.

Tell us what you think about this story.
OH BOY this mutt is laughing!    In case you haven't heard, New Wave band, Devo, will be releasing the single, "Don't Roof Rack Me, Bro! (Remember Seamus)", a track about Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s infamous 1983 road trip in which he transported the family dog from Massachusetts to Ontario in a kennel strapped to the roof of the family station wagon.  Read more on this funny article about this dog lovin' band and the app they are developing for dog lovers!

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

7 Ways Cats Help You Decorate

CATS. Today I am muttering about cats. You can't live with them and you can't live without them! This mutt tolerates them!  BOL!

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Friday, July 27, 2012

Great News - Finally a Test to Detect Canine Cancer!

Blood Test For Canine Cancer

This is wonderful news from the National Canine Cancer Foundation:  It is with great pleasure that the National Canine Cancer Foundation can present to all dog owners who suspect or want to confirm cancer in their dogs, a simple blood test that will detect cancer in dogs.
We all know one of the keys to saving lives and beating cancer in our sweet pups is to find it early enough and thanks to Veterinary Diagnostics Institute (VDI), every dog owner has access to a very simple blood test that will accurately detect cancer in dogs. The blood test is called VDI TKcanine+. Read more about it here.
It was with small donations from dog owners just like you and me that this diagnostic test is now available. Let's continue to give as we can so they can find new medicines to treat these cancers. I don't get a big allowance but I do give automatic deductions to the NCCF each month of $5. A friend of mine does the same thing giving $2 through automatic deductions. Let's wipe Canine Cancer OUT! This former Mutt loves each of you!     
(((((((((hugs))))))))) Reba
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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Bloggers Unite for Dog Rescue

July 23rd is a BIG day for us rescue dogs.  Bloggers are uniting to promote dog rescue, dog fostering and to stop the abuse of animals.

Shocking as this statistic is, per the HSUS, “Nationwide, only about 20 percent of dogs in homes come from shelters—the rest come from other sources. It would only take a relatively small increase in the adoption rate along with a modest reduction in the birth rate to go a long way toward solving the problem of euthanizing healthy and treatable dogs in many communities.”

We all have the ability to make a difference in the world by taking action. Bloggers Unite for Dog Rescue participants have the opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of dogs in need.

If you blog or micro-blog (facebook, twitter) please join us to help promote this special day of July 23rd. Here is how you can find out how you can pawticipate just like I am doing now.

Love to all,
Reba Messina
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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

URGENT: Only Days Left to Change Loophole Puppy Mill Owners Found! - July 16th

Because of a loophole in the Animal Welfare Act, puppy mills that sell puppies exclusively online can operate without any federal regulation or oversight. That means they can treat their dogs as poorly as they wish—federal animal welfare laws don't apply to them!

This is unacceptable to me and I know it is to you as well. Something has to be done and WE are the only ones to help the ASPCA snap a kink in the butts of these breeders.

The online sellers have been able to escape regulation by selling their pets sight unseen over the Internet and via phone- and mail-based businesses. Oh the pups look cute, clean and happy but visits to these facilities show a whole different story. Here is more information about next steps. Through this link you can write to the USDA and make them aware of your concerns. We've got to plug every hole these puppy mill criminals can slink through!

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Pet Industry Defies Current Economic Hardship; Pets in Nursing Homes; Children w/Dogs Have Fewer Colds

Pets affect so many areas of our lives. Today we are bringing some examples of that.

Pet industry defies general economic hardship, report suggests. In other words we are not spending less on our furbabies! A national survey of pet owners found that 75% haven't reduced spending on their pets despite financial constraints, and 32% said they'd pay more for pet care than family member care. Some 25% put their pet's health needs ahead of their own. This survey echoes an American Pet Products Association report showing that Americans spent a record $50 billion-plus on pet services and products in 2011. To read the entire article click here.

As Americans get older they do not want to have to give their pets up. There has been an increased movement to allow pets in assisted living facilities for seniors. Consumers want pets in nursing homes. Nursing homes, assisted living facilities are increasingly adopting pets or allowing residents to have their own animals live with them, in part because it brings in business. "More and more, we have families indicating up front that [allowing pets] is a must-have criteria," said Tami Cummings, senior vice president of A Place for Mom, the largest senior living placement company in the U.S., which reports that 40% of people ask about residences' pet policies when calling for information. It's a money thing and business is business. As more Seniors demand pets living with them, then they will get what they want! He who has the gold rules! Woof woof! Meowwwwww!

Children who live with dogs may have fewer colds. A study shows that children living with dogs decreases the susceptibility to respiratory syncytial virus, which causes the common cold and bronchiolitis, as being around dogs "trains" children's immune systems to resist asthma, according to research from the University of California, San Francisco. Doctors have long recognized the decreased incidence of asthma in children with dogs, but this study is the first to identify a contributing factor. Click on link above to read the story.


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Friday, June 8, 2012

Laundry Pods - Keep Away from Children

We have things to post about our favorite subject, Dogs, for the Saturday BlogHop but thought this information should get in your hands ASAP.

For those of you who have kiddies in your families please read this information from the Poison Control Centers about the appeal of these little pods to young children.
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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

WINNERS for the Up Country Inc Contest

Congratulations are in order for The WINNERS of the 1st Quarter of 2012 for an Up Country Collar or Lead (dog or cat):

The Winner of the January Giveaway is: Coffee Dog!
The Winner of the February Giveaway is: SCRAPPY of Yorkie Tails!
The Winner of the March Giveaway is: Nancy Bateman!
The Winner of the April Giveaway is: LucidEnigma!

Winners have 5 days from the date of this post to respond to Reba ( to send in their choices. Please be sure to put in the subject line of your email "I am the WINNER for the month of _________."  Orders will go in to Up Country on May 15th.  Go to the UpCountryInc Catalog to choose your pattern.  Make sure you are giving us the correct neck size as we are ordering collars just for you. Also make sure you give us the collar width you want. 

If you have any questions please send an email to:

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Saturday, May 5, 2012

NEW Disturbing Study - Toxic Chemicals in Thousands of Household Cleaners

Sometimes we want to protect our humans from bad things just as they protect us.  So I, Reba Messina, was pawing through some light reading the other day from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), the same organization that publishes the 'Dirty Dozen' list of foods with the highest level of pesticide residue in foods.

EWG is now compiling a list of common household cleaners (2000 products / 200 brands) that are toxic to our humans!  If these are toxic to our humans then you know who gets the toxins next, or first, it's us pets!

Now here's the kicker..... There are even so-called “green” products that hide hazardous ingredients!  We've known about some of these products but did you know that among the worst offenders are:
  • Mop & Glo Multi-Surface Floor Cleaner contains DEGME which can damage the unborn child... 
  • Tarn-X tarnish remover contains up to 7 percent thiourea which can... 
  • Simple Green Concentrated All-Purpose Cleaner claims to be “non-toxic” but contains ... 
  • Mystery mixtures such as Target’s Up & Up and Walmart’s Great Value brands...
You'll want to read more about this 'Hall of Shame'  and sign up to receive the full report that will be released in the Fall of 2012. See how this new information may be affecting little ones in your house both human and fur as well as yourself!

Don't forget to enter my 'Honest Kitchen' Giveaway for free food, $10 in coupons and rewards program!  

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Pet First Aid Awareness Month is almost over.

April has been Pet First Aid Awareness Month. As the last few days of April wind down we wanted to remind you that having pet first aid tools at your fingertips can be the difference between panic on your part to actually saving your pet in an emergency. Here are a couple of things you may not have yet. For mutts and all pets!

There is an App for everything right? Yes there is and one is a PetTech Pet Saver App for the iPhone and iPod Touch, and Android is here and it's only $4.99. While not a replacement for your Vet or a Vet Tech, this app covers things like 
what to do in emergency situations, heat stroke, snake bites, CPR, choking, shock, bleeding protocols, how to restrain and muzzle, how to transport an injured pet, the snout-to-tail assessment and more with instruction and video.

Another must have tool is a Pet First Aid Kit. We have one in our car and another in our house. We like the Wag 'n Enterprises first aid kits. They come in two sizes (Well Fed and Skinny) and a portion of their sales goes to donating specially made Pet Oxygen Masks (02 Fur Life®) to Fire Departments. In the interest of full disclosure, Wag'N Enterprises is a friend of ours located right here in Herndon, VA. 

If you think this post is interesting,  Reba would be barkin’ happy if you would share it on Facebook, Twitter, Stumble or Pinterest. It helps her gain more followers for her blog.

Don't forget to enter my UpCountry Inc Contest and/or my The Honest Kitchen Giveaway at the top of the page!
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Monday, April 23, 2012

Apologies, What Your Dog is Saying About You, Want To Be a Pet Detective? and Zumba!

First of all I want to give a big barkin' apology to my readers and sniffers for the long dry water bowl since my last post. Mommy and I had to go away for a week to take care of human stuff...... WTD? You mean it's not ALL about us pets??? Well I can't do everything by myself so I had to wait for opposable
thumbs to help me out. So here are some fun things to know.

What Your Dog Says About You

Have you ever thought that you and your dog have similar personalities? Or that friends have dogs that have personalities like them? Maybe it's happenstance or maybe personalities merge as you settle in together or maybe it's training. But a new study by  Dr Lance Workman shows that there is a reason a person's choice in dog breed is indicative of their personality. See if you and your furbaby match up and let me know!

Are You an Ace Ventura? Want To Be One?

The Animal Planet channel has some great shows on it. In fact we have that channel on about 50% of the time in our house. The show 'Pet Detectives' is about various pet mysteries, lost pets and pet detectives. One such detective is, Kat Albrecht, a former police officer who has been applying what she learned on the force to tracking down missing and lost animal companions since 1997. And she could train you, too! If you want to reunite pets and families and bring hope to pet owners – or apply Albrecht's expertise on behalf of your local shelter or TNR program –the goal is totally within reach. Albrecht is launching a volunteer pet-detective academy this June; it lasts five days, and will teach trainees to track missing pets on their own. Here you go to find out more.

Here is a link to the 'Missing Pet Partnership' to find a pet detective in your area and to find pet detective scam alerts. 

Creative Fundraisers

This economy has negatively affected a lot of people, animals and not for profits. We are seeing more and more requests for donations from shelters large and small. With virtually no budget for advertising small rescues depend on the goodness of local vendors (printers, newspapers and the like) to get the word out about their needs and the number of pets  available for adoption. Creativity is a key to getting more attention and raising more money. 'Pet-nuptiuals' and 'Zumba' are two fundraisers we found that will certainly raise the big bucks. If you are involved in fundraising perhaps these creative ideas will help you!

Date Ideas for Dog Lovers

Before doggys can get to 'pet-nuptiuals' they have to meet and greet. Here are 5 date ideas for single pet pawrents and their pooches!

Don't forget to enter my monthly contest for an UpCountry dog or cat collar or lead of your choice.

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Monday, April 9, 2012

Dogs of the Titanic - the Survivors!

The Titanic. Next week is the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. We've heard a lot about human survivors over the years yet little is known about another group of survivors from this ship, the Dogs of the Titanic. A dozen dogs were aboard (photo). We never knew about this until today when we found this article about 3 survivors. Two were Pomeranians and the third was a Pekinese, all tiny dogs so people probably didn't notice that they were being taken aboard the lifeboats.

This little Mutt feels so sad about the dogs who perished. We thought you would find this information interesting as it includes a mama Cat with a possible premonition. The entire article here.

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Consumer Pleas, FDA Warnings Ignored by All Major Retailers

The difference between humans and pets.......... please take the time to read this article from Susan Thixton, the Pet Food Safety Advocate. This is unconscionable and not to be tolerated!

In 2009, the FDA issued a warning to consumers about Zicam Intranasal, a human product. The FDA warning stated they received "more than 130 reports" of loss of sense of smell associated with the product. Retailers, out of concern for consumers, removed the Zicam product from store shelves. The manufacturer voluntarily recalled the product. But with dog treats?...Two years later (November 2011), the FDA issues its third warning about a dog treat that was linked to serious illness and death. The FDA told Senator Sherrod Brown (Ohio) more than 600 events of pet illness or death has been reported since November 2011. Not one national retailer has removed the dog treat from store shelves. Not one jerky treat manufacturer/importer has voluntarily recalled the treats.

The entire article here.

What can you do as an individual? Write to each of these companies. Admonish those companies who have done nothing.  Congratulate those companies that have taken action.
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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Dementia in Senior Dogs; What We Do to Drive Veterinarians NUTS!

Guest Blogger: Linda Messina

Today we're going to post about Senior Dogs with Dementia. It's a subject I've been researching over the last couple of weeks because Reba is starting to show signs that she's made a decision to totally ignore me forever or she can't hear me or she's zoned out and is sleeping standing up.  I find that Reba is showing signs of dementia. She's pushing age 17 and these things are expected. It's how we handle them that matter.

In my research I found an article by Dr. Patty Khuly from Miami FL who has some very impressive degrees from some very impressive schools. In the article Dr. Khuly talkes about ways to deal with the effects of the disease. The symptons with an * by them are the things that Reba is showing so far.

Dementia in Senior Dogs: 6 Ways to Deal With the Effects

Confusion, disorientation, dogzheimers. Call it what you will, but canine dementia (known clinically as canine cognitive dysfunction) can be a serious problem. Just like humans, dogs can suffer from many of the same symptoms:

  • Sleep-wake cycle disturbances* 
  • Generalized anxiety 
  • Lower threshold for aggression 
  • Decreased activity levels* 
  • Inappropriate vocalization (howling, barking or whining) 
  • Repetitive behaviors (pacing)*
  • Elimination disorders 
  • Staring at walls* 
  • Fewer social interactions 
  • Disorientation (getting “lost” in the house
  • Nipping and biting* (not mentioned in the article but something Reba has started doing over the last couple of months. I think it may have to do with her losing her peripheral vision.
Getting old and loopy doesn’t have to be as stressful as all that — not for dogs lucky enough to be cared for by owners willing to learn what it takes to mitigate the effects of dementia as they age.

To read how to mitigate the effects, in six mostly simple steps, click here:

Are you experiencing any of these symptoms with your furbaby?

While we were checking Dr. Khuly out we noticed another article she's written about what us humans do to drive Vets nuts!

She starts out admitting that It’s a tough subject to tackle. She admits that veterinarians do plenty of annoying things, too. But this particular post is all about us, the pet parent. Personally my jaw dropped at some of these things people have done. So without any further hedging, let us launch into the most annoying things pet owners do here.  Let us know what you think.
Don't forget to enter the Up Country Inc Contest at the top of our page. DRAWING on the 31ST!
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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Great News and Congratulations to Facebook! (did I just say that????)

Yes I did! We are barkin' happy that Facebook did something socially conscious in the pet community and that's why we are posting this good news today. In response to concerns raised by the ASPCA and its national “No Pet Store Puppies” campaign, measures will be put in place to ensure that puppy mill dogs will no longer be sold via Marketplace on Facebook. The ASPCA is working with Facebook and Oodle, the online classifieds service that powers Marketplace on Facebook, to restrict listings of puppy mill dogs on the popular social media site. Through an ongoing removal process, ads placed by puppy mills have already started coming down. The process was designed to ensure that individuals may continue to post dogs available for a nominal adoption or re-homing fee. To read more click here.

Hats Off Award

Halo Pet Food, partially owned by Ellen DeGeneres, wins the very first
'Hats Off Award' from Pet Food giant Science Diet challenged Halo in 'Advertising Court' (bol!). The Hats Off Award is to recognize Pet Food Manufacturers that have acted or taken action encouraging the pet food industry to become accountable for their ingredients, labels, and manufacturing of pet foods and treats. More about this story here.
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Friday, March 16, 2012

Medicines Top the List of Household Poisons for Pets

We thought this Press Release from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) today was something we wanted to post in advance of the 50th anniversary week. We can never be reminded enough about the things around our homes that can poison our beloved pets. 

SCHAUMBURG, Ill., March 16, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- On the 50th anniversary of Poison Prevention Week, March 18-24, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is reminding pet owners that accidental poisonings are a common problem.

The vast majority of accidental poisonings in humans happen in the home, and that's true of pets as well. Many pet owners are surprised to learn how many common household items are hazardous to pets. The AVMA online brochure and video can help pet owners recognize threats to their companion animals.

"Every year, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control hotline handles over 150,000 cases of pets being poisoned, and many of those cases involved common household items," explains Dr. Steven Hansen of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). "In our homes, the bathroom is the most dangerous spot for pets. The single most common reason for calls into the poison hotline is because pets have consumed medications."

Dr. Hansen explains that childproof tops on medications offer little protection against a dog determined to get into the container. Not only are prescription drugs dangerous for dogs and cats, but some over-the-counter medicines, like acetaminophen and ibuprofen, are extremely poisonous to pets.

Many household poisonings happen when pet owners dose their own pets using human medications. Owners should never give a pet any pill without consulting their veterinarian.

Other household poisons include:

Houseplants are common household hazards for pets, including Cycad (Sago Palm), philodendron, dieffenbachia and lilies, which are extremely poisonous for cats. For a complete list, visit .

Xylitol, a common artificial sweetener in pudding, sugarless chewing gum and baked items, is very poisonous to dogs and can result in death.

Raisins and grapes are toxic to dogs and cats. While researchers haven't determined the cause of this toxicity, for some reason raisins seem to be far more likely to result in a serious poisoning.

Birds are sensitive to aerosol sprays, like hair spray or fragrances, and also avocados.

Chocolate can make a cat or dog very ill. The more concentrated the cocoa, for example in baking chocolate, the more dangerous it is for pets.

Onions, garlic, macadamia nuts, and coffee grounds are toxic to dogs and cats.

Cleaning products, automotive chemicals, like antifreeze, batteries, pennies, moth balls and glue all present issues for pets. Keep these products in close cabinets or high off the ground.

If you suspect that your pet has gotten into a poison, immediately call your veterinarian, your local emergency veterinary clinic or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435.

For more information on veterinary medicine, pet health and household hazards for you pets, please visit .

The AVMA, founded in 1863, is one of the oldest and largest veterinary medical organizations in the world, with more than 82,500 member veterinarians worldwide engaged in a wide variety of professional activities.

SOURCE American Veterinary Medical Association

Copyright (C) 2012 PR Newswire. All rights reserved
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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Food Energetics for Pets

Last week I talked about 'natural' foods for pets and what that really meant. In my house it initially meant getting rid of things in my food that were not natural to canines like grains - all grains. We progressed from there into eating raw foods to promote better health for me and believing in the Food Energetics philosophy.

One of the books that helped convert us is "The Tao of Healthy Eating" by Bob Flaws. The philosophy he follows is that all animals (and people) can be classified as "hot" or "cold" or "neutral" based on a few characteristics. We can change those classifications by eating the foods that will cool or warm the body.

Another go to source is Chris Bessent, DVM and Herbalist. She is a true holistic veterinarian and says "I see a lot of animals that are on a variety of diets, and there is no denying that dogs who are on a great nutritional program are generally healthier than dogs who are fed a diet of low-end kibble. Food can be just as instrumental in maintaining wellness as supplements, medications, surgery, and regular veterinary care. Every food has properties and actions in terms of how they affect the balance of the body in Chinese theory.  Dogs that have a tendency to be hot in nature should be fed cooling foods, and dogs that tend to be cold in nature should be fed warming foods." This is a similar concept to how we tend to eat certain foods according to the season. For example, we don't eat beef stew in the summer and watermelon in the winter.

Hot Dogs vs Cool Dogs

How to determine what your dog is. "Hot" animals tend to be young, outgoing, hyper, can be aggressive, pant a lot have a red tongue which may have cracks in it, drink a lot, love to play outside on cold days, sleep on tile floors sprawled out, and can have a dry or brittle coat. Older animals that are "yin deficient" have lost their cooling abilities and can also show these symptoms. Feeding a "hot dog" hot foods (like lamb or venison, which are considered the hottest proteins) is like throwing kerosene on the fire. Hot dogs should be fed cooling foods to dampen the negative effects of heat on their bodies. Proteins like duck, rabbit, or fish are considered cooling by Chinese theory, and are best for a dog that has allergies or is generally hot in nature. If a dog is on a raw or real food diet, you can explore other options like fruits, vegetables, and grains. For example, some great cooling fruits and vegetables are apples, bananas, oranges, pears, tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce and mushrooms.

On the other paw, "Cold"' animals tend to be older, fatter, sluggish, more laid back, love to sleep in the sun or under the covers, may have moist skin problems, greasy gooey ears, don't drink as much, and don't like to go out on cold days. However young animals can be "cold" too.  Their tongues will not be dark red, but may be lavender or pink. So, a dog that has cool tendencies should be fed warming foods. A "cold dog" may show signs like general weakness, fatigue, exercise intolerance, poor appetite, shortness of breath, slow moving, and a preference to lay around. They may also seek out warm places, have fecal or urinary incontinence, stiffness that gets worse with rest, joint pain that gets worse in the cold weather, or have coldness of their ears, back, and limbs. All of these symptoms of coldness can be aided by feeding warming foods like turkey, chicken, squash, sweet potatoes, cherries, or oats. Similarly, a dog that is affected by arthritis tends to be cold in nature. (This is why arthritis gets even worse during the winter months.) For this reason, a dog that needs added joint support would benefit most from a warm diet. 

Some pets can have characteristics of both hot and cold, so our humans  need look for the predominant signs. You can never go wrong with neutral foods.  Foods like beef or salmon are great for any dog. You can use neutral foods for dogs that are well balanced or to dampen the effects of hot or cold foods given as part of an animal's diet.  Other examples of neutral foods include tuna, milk, cheese, eggs, white or brown rice, potatoes, peas, carrots, or green beans.    

The food we feed our dogs impacts their health, their mood, and their general well being. We saw a dramatic improvement within 3 weeks when my food was changed from 13 years of Science Diet to raw. 

Flaws says "we do not recommend feeding foods with corn, soy, wheat, or white rice in general, as an animals body is not meant to digest carbohydrates and these items are really just fillers in lower quality foods."

Go to a small independent holistic pet store and you'll find food you've never heard of. They are generally small manufacturers who would never farm their manufacturing out to facilities that process commercial pet food. When you look at those brands try to make sure the first few ingredients match what you are trying to accomplish through food energetics. For instance, a good cooling food for a hot dog would be a duck and sweet potato or a beef and barley meal, while good warming meal for a cool dog would be lamb and rice or oats. "It is recommended that you NEVER feed lamb based foods to hot, dry, hyper dogs (think Jack Russell Terrier bounce!)" according to Flaws.

If you feel as though this is confusing, this chart should make it easier to determine which foods are best for your pet. In any case if you are thinking about changing your pet's diet always be the good pet parent you are and check with your Vet or local small holistic store.
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Friday, March 2, 2012

Natural Pet Food - What does it mean and is it really better?

Some of you know that when I was a mere pup of 13 years old, my Mommy took me off a high end food Veterinarians sell and started me on the road to a raw diet. The 2 years previous to the diet change involved lots of time spent with knowledgeable self-taught friends dragging Mommy kicking and screaming to their way of thinking. Eventually it started to make sense and she spent more time with owners of independent pet shops learning about what was really in the food I had been eating. Grains, chicken parts (what parts I asked. Reba you really don't want to know they said). Mommy didn't like that I was eating ground up chicken talons and beaks not to mention other undesirable less than nutritious fare. So we were on the road to raw** foods and holistic supplements. 

It seems today that the big box pet stores are jumping on the bandwagon and offering all kinds of natural foods. When it comes to pet food, the options are almost as varied as people food. "Natural food" is a growing trend among our furry friends, so we wanted to talk about what does a natural diet actually entail?

For Veterinarian Doctor James Bianco*, it's a no-brainer. We found Dr. Bianco, whose practice is Ardmore Animal Hospital in Pennsylvania. He is often called on to speak about pet health issues and diet. "They (natural foods) are worth their money, absolutely. They're worth their money because they promote healthy skin and healthy coat, they promote a healthy immune system," said Dr.Bianco.

Natural food will say "natural" on the packaging, but that isn't the only word you will want to look for. You must look at the ingredients. "The first things you look at, the type of meat. Is it a meal, is it a meat by-product, or do you have corn or soy as a first ingredient. What you want to see is meat," said Bianco.  One of the first things Mommy and I did was cut out all grains and I give a puppy up  recommendation that you stay away from grains of any kind. Dogs are carnivores. We don't forge around in wheat or corn fields in the wild. We go for the nutritious stuff.... meat, tripe, salmon, rabbit, chicken and beef hearts, venison, pumpkin, carrots, sardines, fruits, nutritious yummy foods!

National pet store chains are growing their inventory and it can be confusing. Many have a section devoted to natural options, but Doctor Bianco recommends the mom and pop shops in your neighborhood"Personally, I feel that going to the smaller, non-national chain type stores is where you're going to get your best information. Many times when you have the owner there, they're very knowledgeable," said Bianco.

We could not MUTTer more in agreement. The small independent shops are way ahead of the game and they understand what 'natural' means. They will steer you in the right direction for your dog. In fact, most of them will want to meet your dog to determine the best food for him or her.

And that's where Food Energetics comes in. When we went to a small independent store where we spend the summer, we were amazed when the owner looked at my gums and said "Oh, Reba is a warm dog she has red tongue and gums". She asked my Mommy if I liked to sleep snuggled under covers or on a cool spot on the floor. I always go for whatever is going to make my tummy cool. That short evaluation (more came later and continues to this day) gave her the information she needed to steer my Mommy to food for warm dogs. I should not eat what cool dogs eat. She actually started me out on Nature's Logic Duck and Salmon and I thought I died and went over the bridge! BOL!

So Food Energetics is a subject I'll talk about in my Blog next week. It's fascinating stuff. You don't have to buy into it but all I can tell you is that it has worked for me and within 3 to 4 weeks of being on the raw diet my Mommy could tell a big difference in me. She said I was like a different dog. 

But isn't this an expensive undertaking Reba? Well depending on the brand or if you make it at home yourself it can cost anywhere from $30 to $100 a month but there will be may be some hidden money savers. 

Your dog will eat a smaller quantity of food, feed him the same amount you are feeding now and he will gain weight. Because there is no filler in these foods our poop is much smaller and it doesn't smell and it's perfectly formed and easy for the pawrents to pick up and you just might have fewer trips to the vet.

"As veterinarians, we see dogs on the more premium diets with healthier immune systems, healthier coats, less gastrointestinal problems," said Dr. Bianco. Overall, pet lovers say that they can see a difference.

FYI - a word worth writing down: AAFCO, it's the pet version of the FDA.

Next week:  Food Energetics for pets.

* Ardmore Animal Hospital has provided compassionate care and veterinary services since 1937 for pets in Ardmore as well as the Bryn Mawr, Haverford, Radnor, Wynnewood, and Narbeth areas. Currently owned and operated by veterinarian Dr. Bianco since 1989, our veterinary hospital caters to the health and well-being for dogs, cats and certain pocket pets including guinea pigs, ferrets, rabbits and hamsters.

**Cavet: Raw does not necessarily mean raw out of the freezer or fresh not cooked raw although many people do it that way. There is air dried raw and other raw presentations. Raw home prepared meals are often referred to as the Canine Cancer Diet.
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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Pets and Estate Planning

My Mommy was extra busy on her computer this weekend typing away. She said she was putting down thoughts to take to her lawyer on Monday and it was kind of about ME in a round about way. When I sat there listening to her, tilting my head in my cute "what in the heck are you talkin' about way" she said it was about her trust. I started giving her puppy kisses because I wanted her to know that I still trusted her. "Actually Reba", she said, "I am going to change my trust so that I leave money to the shelter where I found you when I go to heaven". And that's what she did.

That got us thinking about what happens to your pet if you die first. We found that a lot of people are putting their pets in their wills and trusts with instructions about how and with whom the pet will live their lives out.  Here's a good article on the subject that we found from Pets for Patriots this morning that gives an overview on pets and estate planning.

Have you included your pet in your estate planning?
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