Monthly archive for October 2016

Librarian suggests books for pet owners

Jan Johnston, who is in charge of selecting new books for the Fort Vancouver Regional Library system, column portrait taken Thursday April 21, 2011 in Vancouver, Washington. (Troy Wayrynen/The Columbian)

Jan Johnston, who is in charge of selecting new books for the Fort Vancouver Regional Library system, column portrait taken Thursday April 21, 2011 in Vancouver, Washington. (Troy Wayrynen/The Columbian)

By Jan Johnston
Published: October 30, 2016, 6:05 AM
Jan Johnston is the Collection Development Coordinator for the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District. Email her at

Life at my house has been crazy and good this month. Crazy because my husband and I adopted a kitten and good because he’s so flippin’ adorable! Our fuzzy 3-month-old has been dubbed Dewey. (How could this nerdy librarian not name him Dewey? It’s kind of a requirement.) And in less than three weeks he has assumed full control of the Johnston household. This does not sit well with our other cat, Gracie, but she is becoming wise to his ways and exerts a firm parental-like paw when necessary. Despite Gracie’s irritation, we can tell that Dewey Dactyl (he has extra toes which raises the cute factor to the power of infinity) will be a fun if somewhat annoying companion for our mature cat-girl, so kittenhood is worth enduring — for all of us.

Perhaps you or someone you know is in the throes of raising a kitten or a puppy, or maybe you’re just in the “thinking” stage of pet adoption. Caring for a pet can be a wonderful, fulfilling experience, but it should never be taken lightly. Animals, like humans, need the basics — food, water, shelter — but they also need attention and love and health care (and by the way, furry kids won’t be covered under your family’s medical plan; a travesty, to be sure).

If your family has made the commitment to raise another species under your roof, bravo to you, and may I recommend a trip to the library to read up on the care and feeding of furry, feathery or scaly companions. We have oodles of information about caring for pets, so do your current and/or future pet-kids a favor and get informed. A well-placed litter box or a vet-approved chew toy will go a long way toward creating a happy coexistence between man and beast — no matter the species.

• “The Complete Cat’s Meow: Everything You Need to Know about Caring for Your Cat,” by Darlene Arden. Watch out, Dewey. With the help of this book, and Gracie’s vast experience as a cat, we’ll rein in your cuteness in no time. Not.

• “Dinner Pawsible: A Cookbook of Nutritious, Homemade Meals for Cats and Dogs,” by Cathy Alinovi. I haven’t ventured into the world of homemade cat food, but I know what to read if I do. Or, maybe I can teach Dewey how to make his own food. Right.

• “Giggle’s Guide to Caring for Your Gerbils,” by Isabel Thomas. In this kids’ nonfiction book, a gerbil named Giggle helps youngsters learn the ABC’s (and G’s!) of raising gerbils. Dewey doesn’t even know what a gerbil is, but he told me that he loves them. He’d love them to death, I’m afraid.

• “Kids Top 10 Pet Reptiles and Amphibians,” by Ann Gaines. In my world, reptiles and amphibians belong outside, but in your world, you might have to indulge your little one’s desire to bring the outdoors in. Take a deep breath and keep that aquarium tightly sealed. Sorry, Dewey — no snakes for you.

• “Learning to Care for a Bird,” by Felicia Lowenstein Niven. Another children’s pet guide but this time for families ready to embrace a winged friend. Dewey keeps trying to invite a couple of chickadees into the house (by way of paw signals through the bedroom window), but no luck so far.

• “My Old Dog: Rescued Pets with Remarkable Second Acts,” by Laura T. Coffey. Adopting an older pet pretty much guarantees you a seat in heaven, in my opinion, so please keep the older guys and gals in mind when considering a new pet. Our 8-year-old cat, Gracie, probably wishes for a calmer, more mature cat pal, but truth be told, she’s pretty smitten with kitten Dewey.

• “Puppy Bible: The Ultimate Week-by-Week Guide to Raising Your Puppy,” by Claire Arrowsmith. If you’re a puppy parent right now, bless your heart. I’ll bet life is crazy and good for you, too, and maybe slightly out of control. A bit of puppy-raising wisdom might come in handy for frazzled owners, so consider spending some quiet time (if you have any!) reading the “Puppy Bible.” No puppies for me, though. Wrestling with wiggle-worm Dewey and all his extra toes keeps me dog-tired as it is.

Jan Johnston is the collection development coordinator for the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District. Email her at

It’s easy to use with any kind of bag…

It’s easy to use with any kind of bag
By berry t. on October 27, 2016 Verified Purchase
This little gadget makes a very unpleasant chore a lot more pleasant. It works well and makes cleaning up the back yard a much faster and more sanitary task. It’s easy to use with any kind of bag. I have three dogs in a large fenced backyard and do cleanup at least once a week. If you have to pick up poo on a regular basis, this is the product you’ve been looking for.


imagesOctober 24, 2016 1:03 AM

Keeping pets safe at Halloween

Ghouls and goblins, ghosts and clowns.

While the frightful sights that lurk around every corner come Halloween are all in good fun, the holiday can be a stressful and dangerous time for cats and dogs, according to Jessica Henry, executive director of the Allen County SPCA.

To make sure the night is fun for everyone in the family, here are some things to keep in mind.

Keep treats out of reach. “Candy is most common (danger) that parents and pet parents don’t think about,” Henry says.

Chocolate is harmful to dogs, as is xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is found in gum and other candy. Whether you are passing out candy or coming home with a sack, it’s best to keep it on a high counter or in a cabinet or place where a pet can’t reach it.

Just in case. But what if your dog had just one Tootsie Roll? And he weighs 75 pounds? Before your pet can stick its nose in the candy sack, Henry says owners should have the phone number of the emergency animal hospital at the ready. That way, if you have anything to worry about, you can double-check with a veterinarian.

Sneaking out. Frequently opening the door on Halloween can be prime time for your pet to escape, Henry says. She recommends crate training and keeping your pet in a crate or keeping your pet in a closed-off area of the house.

If you are going to have your dog in the living area, it’s best to have him microchipped and wearing a collar. “You’d be surprised how many pet owners don’t have tags with name and phone number,” she says.

High anxiety. “Sometimes the frequent doorbell ringing can be maddening, especially for dogs,” and can increase anxiety, Henry says. A pet that is experiencing anxiety can become skittish and irritable. Consider crating your dog or using a product like a Thundershirt to keep him calm.

All dressed up. Sure, you think your dog is super, but should you really need to dress him up as Superman? As long as it’s well-fitting, it’s OK, Henry says.

A costume should not be too loose nor too snug and not have any accessories that can be chewed off. Henry also advises not to leave a pet alone wearing a costume because it could chew it off and ingest the fabric, causing a bowel obstruction.

Trick or treating. Sam the Superdog looks too cute in his costume to leave at home. However, all of the activity on the sidewalks might be overwhelming to a dog if it accompanies the family as you trick or treat.

“You never want to take a dog out that’s not friendly and totally socialized,” Henry says. “If they’re not, leave them behind no matter how cute they look in their costumes.”

On the fence. If you leave Fido at home while you trick or treat, be sure to leave him inside not in a fenced yard.

“If they do get enticed by all the passers-by,” Henry says, “that could either make them nervous and have them dig out of the yard or chase after goblins and ghouls.”

Why canine diabetes patients require insulin injections

canine-diabetesVeterinarian Lee Pickett explains that although some people with diabetes can manage their disease with diet and exercise alone, dogs cannot. Dogs must receive insulin injections because they develop type 1 diabetes, also called insulin-dependent diabetes, when their pancreas stops producing insulin. (Reading, Pa.) (10/14)

Dear Daisy Dog: Smokey, my 10-year-old small mixed-breed dog, started drinking excessively and urinating in the house. Her veterinarian diagnosed diabetes mellitus and prescribed twice-daily insulin injections.

Many humans control their diabetes without insulin, by managing their diet and exercise. Does Smokey really need insulin?

Daisy responds: Yes. After your veterinarian teaches you how to inject the insulin, you’ll be amazed at Smokey’s improved energy. Moreover, she should stop drinking excessively and urinating in the house.

Three types of diabetes mellitus afflict humans: 1. Type 1 diabetes, sometimes called insulin-dependent diabetes; 2. Type 2, or noninsulin-dependent, diabetes; and 3. gestational diabetes, which occurs during some pregnancies.

Most humans with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. At least initially, they produce adequate amounts of insulin, but their bodies don’t respond to it properly.

Conversely, diabetic dogs have Type 1 diabetes, a condition in which the pancreas stops producing insulin, so they require daily insulin injections.

Insulin is a hormone that enables cells throughout the body to absorb glucose from the blood. Glucose, a type of sugar, is essential for energy production and normal cell function.

Like people, diabetic dogs do best when they eat and exercise on a consistent schedule. Every day, Smokey should eat the same food in the same quantities at the same times, and she should receive her insulin injections at meal time. Smokey’s veterinarian will recommend the appropriate diet.

Ask the Vet’s Pets appears Friday in the print edition of the Reading Eagle. The animal authors of the column live with Lee Pickett, V.M.D., who practices companion animal medicine. Contact them at or P.O. Box 302, Bernville, PA 19506-0302.

Back Surgery Won’t Stop Dave!

Mon 9/26, 6:49 PM, Amazon Customer-Amazon Marketplace
I had back surgery two weeks ago so bending over to pick up dooty is out of the question. I tried out your tool today as soon as I got it and boy does it work slick. Best device ever! Thanks, Dave Penkala.

Cuts clean-up time in half :-)

Cuts clean-up time in half!
By wittynp on September 18, 2016
Amazon Verified Purchase
This is the best thing ever! Clean-up time has been cut in half, and I can use less bags!

Pets Potentially More At Risk If Recreational Marijuana Law Passes

Pets Potentially More At Risk If Recreational Marijuana Law Passes
September 28, 2016 10:30 PM By Cate Cauguiran

(KPIX 5) — On November 8th, Californians will decide whether to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use. But with the latest Field poll showing Proposition 64 ahead by a two-to-one margin, there’s a growing concern about an unintended consequence – more cases of dogs digesting cannabis products.

“Dogs can die from this. It is uncommon but it’s possible,” said Dr. Karl Jandrey, Associate Professor of Clinical Surgical & Radiological Sciences at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. “We see probably see one a week but some of my colleagues in private practice in the Bay Area may see more like one or two a day.”

The Pet Poison Helpline found that in the past five years, there has been an alarming jump in the number of dogs accidentally poisoned or intoxicated by marijuana – a 330% increase in cases across the nation.

“It was horrifying,” exclaimed Irene Ogus, the owner of Jasper, an 8-and-1/2 year old poodle who accidentally ate some marijuana. “He looked like he was having a stroke. He couldn’t stand up, he couldn’t hold his head up, He couldn’t get up at all. His tongue was drooling out of his head and he looked terrible. It was terrifying.”

“We called up the vet and he said we should bring her in immediately,” explained Nathan Brahms, owner of four-month-old Tule, a German Shorthaired Pointer. “I thought she hit her head maybe. She acted like she was concussed or something.

Both Tule and Jasper were accidentally intoxicated after finding and gobbling up marijuana while out on walks.

“She either ate a marijuana edible, or the end of a joint,” said Brahms.

According to the Pet Poison Helpline, the number one source in dog intoxications are edibles intended for human consumption that are rich in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana.

One very potent source of THC used in making baked goods is cannabutter. It’s made by steeping marijuana and butter for hours, straining the plant matter from the butter, and then re-solidifying the THC-infused butter. At least two dogs in the U.S. have died in the past year after eating cannabutter, according to the helpline.

In addition, some THC-rich cannabis edibles are also made with chocolate, raisins or xylitol, all ingredients that compound the toxicity in dogs.

The second main source of pot in these intoxications is the plant itself. The cannabis grown today is engineered to contain as much THC as possible, up to 20%.

“Just keep it away from pets like you would keep it away from children,” said Julianna Carella, founder of Auntie Dolores, a San Francisco-based maker of medical marijuana products.

Carella says her firm puts warning labels on all of her THC-rich edible products. “We took the ‘keep out of reach of children’ and added ‘keep out of reach of children and pets’ on our packaging,” she said.

With intoxications, some dogs get so sick, they’re put on respirators and are in the hospitals for day. As for Jasper and Tule, they were flushed with fluids in the emergency room and treated.

And, while they recovered, the bills sent their owners into shock. “They handed us a bill for $700,” said Ogus.

Dr. Jandrey is getting ready to ramp up triage – and not just for dogs. “I really think that if we do pass proposition 64 we will see more dogs and cats intoxicated,” he said.